News

19th May

Germany to offer free COVID-19 shots for all adults from June 7

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will stop restricting coronavirus vaccines to more vulnerable groups from June 7, paving the way for the entire adult population to get free immunizations from that date onwards, Health Minister Jens...

Investor willing to assist families in need

An investor is willing to assist Fijian families who are struggling during these times of need and help put food on their table and provide for their families. Ikram Choudhry, the chairman of Yuri Global Engineering Pte Ltd and Sewa International, opened his hybrid vehicles spare parts company in Lautoka a year ago and he...

Price gouging

The Consumer Council of Fiji registered 27 complaints on increase in prices of items from April 19 to May 13. In response to questions on increase in prices the council chief executive officer Seema Shandil said the council had noted an increase in prices with some traders seeking to take advantage of consumer vulnerability. Ms...

18th May

From the Editor-in-Chief’s desk: Your May 19 briefing

Bula In tonight’s news conference, the permanent secretary for Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong confirmed four new cases of COVID-19 and he warned the numbers are expected to increase as the results for the yet to be processed 11,000 swab tests come in. He also announced the lifting of the 24-hour curfew for...

Britain calls for progress with EU on post-Brexit Northern Irish trade

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain wants to see progress soon in talks with the European Union on solving the post-Brexit Northern Irish border riddle, with its minister in charge of ties with the bloc urging member states to meet their obligations. After the United Kingdom left the European Union’s orbit at the end of last year, checks...

Roofing contractors livelihoods on hold

Jaiwal Building Services company owner Jaiswal Prakash has been greatly affected by the second wave of COVID-19 as major sectors across the country have been placed in an indefinite hold. Mr Prakash is a roofing contractor who specialises with roofing and with the containment restrictions in place he along with his staff cannot return to...

South Africa’s ANC to oppose court challenge by suspended top official

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) will oppose a court application by one of its top officials challenging his suspension, the party said on Monday. Ace Magashule challenged his suspension as secretary general in court last week, the latest twist in a power struggle that has exposed deep fractures in the...

Business continuity for department

For the Ministry of Environment, this pandemic, if anything, has accelerated the speed at which they are “going digital” and has given a new push to hasten their implementation plans towards an online transaction/permit processing system. Ministry of Environment permanent secretary Joshua Wycliffe says as the world grapples with the COVID-19, the ministry considers it...

COVID-19: Lockdown for Suva-Nausori to be lifted; nationwide curfew remains

The 24-hour curfew for Suva and Nausori will be lifted at its close scheduled at 4am tomorrow allowing for limited movement in a highly-controlled fashion. Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong confirmed this tonight and attributed it to the contact tracing that now has high-risk known contacts under quarantine. Suva...

COVID-19: Fiji records 4 new cases; Nadali area cordoned off

Fiji has reported four new cases of COVID-19, and all cases are close contacts of existing cases from the Nadali cluster. These cases were confirmed after running more than 2500 lab tests yesterday. Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong said because of a steadily rising number of cases, they were...

WHO chief urges COVID-19 vaccine makers to advance doses for COVAX

GENEVA (Reuters) -The head of the World Health Organization called on COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to make shots available to the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility earlier than planned due to a supply shortfall left by Indian export disruptions. COVAX, which supplies doses to poorer countries, relies heavily on India’s Serum Institute’s exports of the AstraZeneca shot but...

Vegetable supply affected – vendor

Aruna Devi, who makes a living selling vegetables at the Namaka market, says the supply of vegetables to the market has been affected because of the lockdown. “Business is very bad as not many people are coming to the market these days and we are no longer getting a variety of vegetables from the suppliers...

EU regulator backs month-long storage of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in fridges

(Reuters) -Europe’s drug regulator on Monday recommended extending the storage time for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at normal fridge temperatures to 31 days from five days, easing logistical challenges during rollouts in the region. The change is applicable to unopened vials, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said, adding that the advice by its human medicines...

Carpenters without work

Carpenters around the country are sitting at home because hardware shops are closed, says Nadi carpenter Sumit Kumar. He said when hardware shops closed in containment areas, whatever work carpenters had, suddenly vanished. “Before the hardware stores closed, we were able to find work at least two to three days a week but now, almost...

Court fines Exotic Fiji Ltd employees for breaching COVID-19 health restrictions

“You are putting the public’s life in danger when you operate as a non-essential business,” Suva Magistrate Shageeth Somaratne said as he imposed heavy fines on a manager and an employee of Exotic Fiji Limited. The duo Kevin Kumar and Josua Dolo pleaded guilty to breaching restrictions and were ordered to pay $3000 within three months’ time. Magistrate Somaratne ordered...

Senegal architects ditch concrete for earth in revival of old techniques

DAKAR (Reuters) – Construction is booming in Dakar, where unfinished apartment blocks tower over most streets, their exposed concrete bricks a dull uniform grey. In one site, however, a building stands out – the bricks the workers are laying are made of raw, red earth. Concrete is inexpensive and used with abandon in Senegal’s capital,...

Tough going for restaurant owner

Amol Kumar established the Tasty Pot Restaurant in February this year after business in Nadi began to show signs of revival. A few weeks later, the second wave of COVID-19 hit and sales plummeted. Mr Kumar, who runs the restaurant with his mother, Anuradha Tandon, said even the takeaway service was not working. He said...

COVID-19: Food ration distribution continued today

Food ration distribution continued today. And according to the Government, families who are in need continued to access the emergency food supply that were being distributed by the Ministry of Economy and the Fiji Police team. A Government statement posted on its social media Facebook page stated teams were deployed to informal areas to assist...

Bread sales soar in last-minute rush

Gusuisavu Bakery ramped up production last Friday after authorities announced the Suva-Nausori lockdown. Mariana Siliva, the bakery boss, said they remained open until 8pm to cater for the upsurge in demand. “Most of the villagers from Naitasiri and Namosi always stop by our bakery to buy bread, butter and other groceries like chicken, sausage and...

Sex workers back in business as Dutch COVID curbs ease

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Sex workers will go back to work in the Netherlands this week under an easing of COVID-19 curbs, health minister Hugo de Jonge said on Monday. Authorities will also let parks, zoos, gyms and outdoor swimming pools reopen on Wednesday, after the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations eased pressure on hospitals, the minister...

More forced power outages in Taiwan as demand spikes amid heatwave, drought

TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan imposed power cuts on Monday evening following a spike in demand amid a heatwave and drought and failure at a power plant, in the second such outage in a week, although far fewer homes were affected. Power was restored by 1340 GMT, electricity provider Taipower said. Taiwan, which major chip makers such...

Money service users face issues

Lami residents claimed last Friday they had issues with Vodafone’s M-PAiSA service. They said when they tried to withdraw funds from their M-PAiSA accounts, staff members at the Shop n Save Supermarket, an M-Paisa agent in Lami, said they would not pay out withdrawals but would accept payments for groceries by scanning the QR code....

Chief on food ration distribution

Opposition Leader and Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu is calling on the Government to activate the DISMAC (Disaster Management Committee) machinery and civil society organisation (CSO) networks, including religious bodies and NGOs, to distribute food rations and assist the needy during the Suva-Nasinu-Nausori curfew. “As our nation continues to face unprecedented challenges due to the...

COVID-19: No confirmed cases detected in the Northern Division

Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services has confirmed there are no COVID-19 cases detected in the Northern Division, and the containment zones established in response to this case are no longer in force. This after it flagged a potential case of COVID-19 in the Northern Division yesterday after an individual residing in Labasa initially...

U.S. Supreme Court rejects J&J appeal over Risperdal drug

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a bid by Johnson & Johnson to overturn a $70 million jury verdict against the pharmaceutical company for its failure to warn about risks associated with off-label uses of its antipsychotic drug Risperdal. The court turned away the company’s appeal of a November 2019 ruling by the...

Ex-PM calls for national approach

Former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has called for a national approach to the health challenges brought about by the deadly COVID-19 virus. He said this was not the time to play the blame game but work together as the grave concern was the devastating impact of COVID-19. “It is not the time now to be...

COVID-19: Police record 59 arrests overnight; gathering and loitering top arrests

Fijian Police recorded 59 arrests for breach of curfew orders and public health restrictions in the last 24 hours. And the majority of those arrests were of those found loitering and those gathering for grog sessions. Also among the arrests was a non-essential business operating in the Makoi area. Fiji’s Acting Commissioner of Police Rusiate...

Man in custody for alleged assault

A 20-year-old man who allegedly featured in a social media video assaulting another man is in police custody. This, according to police spokeswoman Savaira Tabua. She said the alleged incident happened in Navua. “Police confirmed that a report has been lodged at the Navua Police Station and they are looking into the matter,” she said....

Brothers blame brigade for losses

A $50,000 two-storey house at Nailuva Rd in Suva was gutted by fire and the incident was reported in The Fiji Times on January 10 1981. The six-bedroom house was reduced to an empty shell with everything inside burnt to rubbles. The families living in the building had blamed the Suva Fire Brigade for the...

Activists and South African gov’t lock horns over coal pollution

PRETORIA (Reuters) -South Africa’s failure to tackle toxic levels of air pollution produced by burning coal is a violation its post-Apartheid constitution, activists and a U.N. rights expert said in court on Monday. Campaigners are suing the South African government in the High Court, hoping to force tougher action against heavy polluters such as state...

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