News

11th July

M, F, nothing? Netherlands mulls erasing gender from ID cards

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – As countries around the world debate the vexed issue of how to reflect gender in official documents, the Netherlands is looking at a more radical solution – doing away with it...

Farmers face crop delivery struggles

Villagers of Mare in Navosa are facing major transportation issues on a daily basis. According to village headman Pauliasi Dai, farmers wake up at 2am, load their produce on horseback and walk three hours before reaching a road to transport their crops to the Nadi or Ba market. Mr Dai said van hire cost $150...

10th July

A-G disinclined to money-printing idea

We are in the business of managing the economy well and not leading the nation into huge inflation, says Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. He made the comment in response to a question from Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Dr Ram Raju during a recent 2020-2021 national budget consultation in Nadi. Dr...

‘Surge in violence expected’

Renowned local psychologist Selina Kuruleca says Fiji could expect an increase in domestic violence cases because of the socio-economic impact caused by COVID-19. She said reduced working hours, loss of income, uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the restrictions associated with it, there could be an increase in domestic violence cases unless people learnt coping mechanisms. She...

Sacred sites blast exposes Australia’s laws skewed to mining

MELBOURNE/SYDNEY (Reuters) – When mining giant Rio Tinto blew up two ancient caves in Western Australia’s iron-ore rich Pilbara with state approval, the destruction was met with anger from indigenous landowners for whom the sites were of deep cultural and sacred importance. The blasts in late May became one facet of the Black Lives Matter...

Police ignored George Floyd’s ‘I can’t breathe’ plea – transcript

(Reuters) – The former U.S. police officer charged in the death of George Floyd told him to stop shouting and save his breath as he knelt on his neck and Floyd gasped for air, according to a newly released transcript of police body camera footage. The death of Floyd, a Black man, in police custody...

Psychologist urges students to ask for help

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has come to the rescue of four Dawasamu Secondary School teachers who were warned of a deduction in salary if they continued to report late to school. School principal Joeli Matea said the warning to the teachers who lived in Suva were from the Education Ministry’s Human Resources Department. He said...

India raises concerns with U.S. over new rules for foreign students

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India has conveyed its concerns to the United States about a new immigration order that could force a large number of Indian students to return home, the foreign ministry said on Thursday. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration issued a new rule this week that would bar foreign students from remaining in...

Meghan seeks to stop tabloid naming friends in UK legal battle

LONDON (Reuters) – Meghan, Britain’s Duchess of Sussex, on Thursday sought a court order to stop the publisher of the Mail on Sunday tabloid from revealing the names of five friends who could be witnesses in an ongoing legal dispute, according to a court filing. Meghan, wife of Queen Elizabeth’s grandson Prince Harry, is suing...

PM to the rescue

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has come to the rescue of four Dawasamu Secondary School teachers who were warned of a deduction in salary if they continued to report late to school. School principal Joeli Matea said the warning to the teachers who lived in Suva were from the Education Ministry’s Human Resources Department. He said...

Money talks: U.S. town prints own currency to boost coronavirus relief

TENINO, United States (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Tucked away under lock and key in a former railroad depot turned small-town museum in the U.S. state of Washington, a wooden printing press cranked back to life to mint currency after nearly 90 dormant years. The end product: $25 wooden bills bearing the town’s name – Tenino...

Marijuana found in school

A school principal from Dawasamu, Tailevu yesterday informed Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama that marijuana was found in the school. Tomasi Seru, the principal of Navunisea District School, revealed this while pleading for help with the building of a school fence. He said after the discovery of the drugs, a team of officers from the Fiji...

Japan, Australian leaders share concern over East, South China Seas

TOKYO/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, shared serious concerns over various moves in the East and South China Seas in their video meeting on Thursday, a Japanese government spokesman said. Asked at a media briefing if the two leaders’ concerns expressed in the meeting were directed to...

Senior officers charged for alleged assault

The officer-in-charge of Tavua and Vatukoula police stations and the station officer of Vatukoula Police Station are among eight officers who have been charged for the alleged assault on two brothers in Tavua. Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde yesterday sanctioned 24 charges on the eight who will be produced in the Tavua Magistrates Court...

EU lawmakers urge Japan to end parental child ‘abductions’

BRUSSELS/TOKYO (Reuters) – The European Parliament urged Japan to comply with international rules on child protection and to allow for joint parental custody after a number of EU citizens were denied access to their children by Japanese mothers. Unlike most countries, Japan does not recognise joint custody after divorce and children often lose contact with...

Police monitor school students at Suva bus station

Students who usually catch the bus from the Suva Bus Stand have been reminded to go straight home and not to loiter around the bus stand after school hours. Police through an announcement made on the intercom system said no student was to be found around the bus station area after 4.30pm. Students were told...

Australia to release most from COVID-19 high-rise lockdown despite surge

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s second-most populous state will relax restrictions on many of the 3,000 people locked down in nine public-housing towers despite surging numbers of COVID-19 cases, state premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday. Victoria state on Saturday confined residents of the towers in their homes amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, prompting widespread...

Gruesome killing: Farming community traumatised by event

Residents of a small farming community in Sigatoka are still reeling from the gruesome killing of a 53-year-old woman, allegedly hacked to death by a man on Wednesday morning. The woman’s 14-year-old daughter was also allegedly attacked in the tragedy at Kabisi and has been admitted to the Lautoka Hospital. Neighbour James Daven Prasad and...

COVID-19: Quarantine period for returning Fijian soldiers to end this weekend

The 14 days COVID-19 quarantine period for 162 Fijian soldiers who arrived from Sinai late last month will be completed this weekend. This has been confirmed by acting PS for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong at a press conference this afternoon. He said the soldiers were under quarantine in a...

EU has failed to halt decline of bees and butterflies, auditors say

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European measures taken to protect bees and butterflies and prevent their decline across the bloc have been largely ineffective, auditors said on Thursday. The European Court of Auditors looked at the effectiveness of the European Commission’s framework of measures aimed at protecting species also including wasps and beetles – such as its...

July trial date for man alleged to have raped stepdaughter

A 40-year-old man who is alleged to have raped and sexually assaulted his 15-year-old stepdaughter had his bail extended by the High Court in Suva today. He is charged with six counts of rape and two counts of sexual assault. State lawyer Sheenal Swastika told the court that the prosecution was ready for the trial....

COVID-19: Fiji records additional five border control cases

Fiji has five more border quarantine confirmed cases of COVID-19 taking the total to eight now. The five new cases were confirmed by Ministry of Health acting permanent secretary Dr James Fong in a press conference this afternoon. All eight cases are border quarantine cases and all patients are in stable condition. Dr Fong added...

Afghanistan to release prisoners from Taliban list in push for talks

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan is to release more Taliban prisoners in the hope of getting peace talks going, a government spokesman said on Thursday, after the insurgent group provided the government with a revised list of several hundred of their detainees. Disagreement over about 600 prisoners from a total of 5,000 the Taliban want released...

Stoeckel: Containment of COVID-19 puts Fiji in a strong position

Fiji’s track record in containing COVID-19 continues to put the destination in a strong position to reassure international visitors that it will be a safe destination to visit when borders reopen. According to Tourism Fiji, the importance of developing a “destination-wide” program to communicate Fiji’s achievement in containing COVID-19, and showcase the safety measures in...

South Korea finds just one case of coronavirus antibodies out of 3,000 tested

SEOUL (Reuters) – Just one person in a South Korean survey of more than 3,000 people showed neutralizing antibodies to the novel coronavirus, health authorities said on Thursday, indicating the virus has not spread widely in the community. While the sample size is small it is believed to be a reliable indicator of a low...

Post Fiji launches hamper pack initiative

Fijians living overseas can now order hamper packs from Post Fiji and have them delivered to any family affected by COVID-19. This, after Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa launched the Post Fiji hamper pack initiative in Suva today. Post Fiji CEO Anirudha Bansod said the pandemic had affected hundreds of families...

Fijians warned against pyramid schemes

The Consumer Council of Fiji has discovered that certain organised groups have been trying to lure Fijians into ‘get rich quick’ pyramid schemes by making enticing promises of high returns within a short period of time leaving consumers hundreds of dollars out of pocket. According to the CCF, Fijian consumers are being targeted by notorious...

Italy seizes German-flagged charity vessel for breaking safety rules

ROME (Reuters) – Italian authorities have seized a boat operated by a German NGO that last month rescued more than 200 people stranded at sea, because it did not comply with safety rules, the Coast Guard said on Thursday. In April, Italy banned migrant rescue ships from docking in its ports until July 31 because...

Court: Man facing arson and attempted murder charges fit to stand trial

A  38-year-old man who is alleged to have set his house on fire in June this year at Nadera, Nasinu, has been further remanded by the High Court in Suva. The matter involving Pranil Alvin Singh was called today before judge Justice Daniel Goundar. Mr Singh is charged with one count of arson and two...

Yemen cemetery struggles to dig enough graves as coronavirus spreads

TAIZ/ADEN (Reuters) – In Yemen’s Taiz, cemetery supervisor Dabwan al-Makhlaafi had to hire mechanical diggers to keep up with demand for new graves at a cemetery originally built for fallen government fighters, as coronavirus spreads through the war-torn country. “Workers were not able to keep up with the digging, burial and finishing of the graves,”...

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