Local News

COVID-19: Telecom customers to receive double data

TELECOM Fiji residential and business customers will receive double data from tomorrow as part of the telecommunication service provider’s COVID-19 relief package. All remote customers will instead receive free calls to all Telecom numbers and...

COVID-19: Wake-up call

A NEW Zealand national has tested positive of COVID-19, two days after returning from Fiji on March 19. Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said it was still unclear whether the man had contracted the virus while he was still in Fiji or when he was back in NZ. He said this...

Community unites to fish, share

IN the spirit of sharing and caring, some members of a community in Lautoka came together to fish last week. About 10 people gathered at Lomolomo Beach to catch nethili fish. Lomolomo resident Mohammed Shafiq said there was nothing much to do during the COVID-19 lockdown, so they headed to the beach to fish. “We...

Commander apologises for unnecessary panic

REPUBLIC of Fiji Military Forces commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto has apologised to members of the public for the unnecessary panic his armed soldiers may have caused to more than 200 people outside the Fiji National Provident Fund’s Lautoka branch yesterday. He said the five soldiers were called in to assist police control the crowd...

Presence of armed soldiers condemned

The National Federation Party has condemned the presence of armed soldiers outside the Fiji National Provident Fund’s branch in Lautoka yesterday. Party president Pio Tikoduadua said the military should have realised the people were “unarmed and harmless ordinary workers”. “Whoever decided to send armed soldiers on to the streets among the public must be held...

COVID-19: Fijians urged to exhaust other options first

THE COVID-19 assistance will only be focused on companies, individuals and areas that have been identified by Government, says Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) chief executive officer Jaoji Koroi. At this stage, assistance to Fijians who have also lost their employment outside of the identified areas is unclear. Mr Koroi said the fund had emailed...

COVID-19: Workforce stuck in lockdown

As many as 30 per cent of workers at the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) have not reported to duty for more than a week because they live in Lautoka. Acting CEO Ajai Kumar said in a notice to stakeholders that CAAF’s plans have been disrupted by COVID-19. “We have been directly affected by...

150th anniversary: The scars of war

Fifty years ago this newspaper published photographs of wars in the Pacific. The time the Japanese invaded the Pacific was recorded as one of the bloodiest fights. Suva was the centre of operation to evacuate Europeans from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands as Japanese army swept across the Pacific. Some of the bloodiest battles followed...

Opposition Whip ordered to temporarily deactivate all social media accounts

OPPOSITION Whip Lynda Tabuya has been ordered to temporarily deactivate all her social media accounts by Friday. Chief magistrate Usaia Ratuvili set the temporary deactivation as one of the conditions of bail when the SODELPA member of Parliament appeared before the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday, charged with a count of malicious act breaching the Public...

Former lawyer in court for disobeying lawful order

A former prominent Lautoka lawyer Haroon Ali Shah was produced before the Lautoka Magistrates Court yesterday to answer to a count of disobedience of lawful order. It was alleged that Mr Shah joined Azad Ali and Timoci Roqara for a fishing trip on Friday last week at Vuda Point. The trio appeared before magistrate Nayani...

Magistrate issues stop departure order against Bainivalu

A 53-YEAR-OLD former television personality who is alleged to have spread false information on social media in relation to COVID-19 has been granted bail on strict conditions. Nemani Bainivalu appeared yesterday at the Suva Magistrates Court charged with one count of malicious act breaching the Public Order Act. It is alleged Mr Bainivalu uploaded a...

COVID-19: Bank to announce enhanced relief package soon

THE Westpac Bank is in the process of finalising its enhanced assistance package, adjusting it to incorporate the measures announced by Government. A spokesperson from the bank yesterday said the bank would share the information with customers shortly. In response to questions on whether customers will have access to Westpac’s hardship assistance packages, the bank...

COVID-19: Town feels impact

THE Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry says Nadi is already feeling the brunt of COVID-19 pandemic, adding that some businesses may not survive for long. Chamber president Dr Ram Raju welcomed the tax incentives for businesses which would allow them to continue to employ their staff members and the economy rolling. “Tax breaks, deferment...

Wheelbarrow boys feel the impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 has had an unimaginable impact on businesses worldwide, the consequences of which are already being felt here in Fiji. Many workers have been laid off or have lost their jobs across the country and here in Suva, one group of young men shared how they have suddenly experienced a drastic drop in business. At...

Greener Fiji: Forestry Ministry to develop land use plan

THE Ministry of Forestry has yet to develop a National Land Use Plan for the country. This was highlighted by the ministry’s permanent secretary Pene Baleinabuli, while making submissions to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on the Report of the Auditor General — Performance Audit Report on the Progress of Implementation of Policies and...

Greener Fiji: Family turns back yard into garden

EREMASI Tamanisau has turned the compound of his residential property at Tuisowaqa Place, Namadi Heights, Suva into a subsistence farm. Over the past few months, he has managed to harvest farm produce such as cassava for his family, which usually cost them around $8 a heap at the market. “In September last year, we decided...

Taina: Utilise the land

WHILE many of us sit in an airconditioned office from Monday to Friday, Taina Cavu of Lomai in Waidina, Naitasiri gets up very early and sometimes works in the heat with her husband to ready their produce to be sold at the Suva Municipal Market. At 53 years old, Mrs Cavu said she has been...

26 Fijians stranded in India, call for aid

TWENTY-SIX Fijian nationals who are stranded in New Delhi, India, want urgent Government assistance as they do not have enough money to look after themselves for another 14 days. The group includes patients who had heart surgeries and family members who accompanied them. They were scheduled to fly out of New Delhi on March 28...

Fiji’s central bank forecasts recession in domestic economy

After almost a decade of economic growth, Fiji’s central bank has forecast the domestic economy to fall into a recession. The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) released its economic review for March, which stated that the magnitude of the contraction would depend on how long the pandemic would last and the extent of local contagion....

COVID-19: Civil servants will soon work from home; Govt services won’t be affected

CIVIL servants in certain departments within the different Government ministries will soon begin working from home. Attorney General and Civil Service Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said this does not mean services provided by Government would in any way be affected. Government does not have a timeframe. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said all permanent secretaries would be making necessary...

COVID-19: Schools to remain closed for two more weeks

SCHOOLS will remain closed for another two weeks, until April 17, 2020. This is the advisory from the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts taking into account the control measures still in place for COVID-19. The Ministry in a statament issued this evening said it will closely monitor the situation and advise on the school...

COVID-19: Supermarkets install hand sanitiser dispensers

Two major supermarkets in Lautoka have installed hand sanitiser dispensers in their shops. Newworld and MaxValue have taken the lead in the fight against COVID-19, installing the dispensers in their outlets in the Sugar City. Lautoka City Council senior health inspector Shalen Singh in a recent COVID-19 public awareness said the installation of the dispensers...

Four juveniles and six others front court on alleged breach of national curfew

Four juveniles and six others alleged to have breached the national curfew hours in the Western Division on Monday night were produced at the Lautoka Magistrates Court today. The accused persons all face a charge each of lawful order. Isaia Dau and Ana Waiwalu appeared before Magistrate Sekonaia Vodokisolomone and have both been remanded in...

COVID-19: Vatani and Dromuna villages ban outsiders

As part of efforts to stop the spread of COVIDD-19, outsiders are being turned away from a checkpoint set up by villagers of Vatani and Dromuna, Kaba in Tailevu. Speaking to The Fiji Times this afternoon, Vatani villager Josaia Tugonedau said they had set up the checkpoint on Monday. He said a small shed had...

COVID-19: Fiji Airways operate recovery flight

Fiji Airways today flew a recovery flight between Nadi and Brisbane. Australians who were stuck in Fiji left the country on the morning flight and Fijians who were in Australia are coming back home on the return flight. A video released by Fiji Airways showed airline staff bidding the departing passengers farewell. All the incoming...

COVID-19: Impossible to repatriate 26 Fiji nationals stranded in India – Karan

It is impossible to repatriate the 26 Fiji nationals who are stranded in India, says acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Yogesh Karan. He said the Fiji High Commission in New Delhi had been able to contact a majority of them in the last 24 hours. A spokesman for the 26 had told The Fiji...

COVID-19: Nil reports of curfew breach up north; ComPol commend northerners

For the Northern Division to record nil reports of disobedience of lawful order with regards to the curfew hours is a commendable effort, says Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho. In a statement, Brig-Gen Qiliho urged the northerners to continue to support all efforts made towards the nation’s campaign in dealing with the COVID-19 situation....

FCOSS calls for wise and prudent leadership; Committed to support Government efforts

The Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS) and other NGOs are committed to supporting Government efforts and will work to ensure this work is done without doing harm to communities and citizens. FCOSS executive director Vani Catanasiga said this in a statement as she noted that stigma and fear were counterproductive to an effective and...

COVID-19: PSRU Unit commanders equipped with body cams

Fijian Police officers have now been equipped with body cameras to assist them in the fight against the global impact of COVID-19 and in line with efforts by the Government to contain unnecessary spread in the country. Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said COVID-19 Police operations were being boosted with body cameras that were...

Farmers introduced to ‘Cigar Box’ investment tool

Some 50 participants who were part of a week-long workshop earlier this month were introduced to an innovative investment appraisal tool called ‘Cigar Box’. Facilitated by the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council (FCLC) and supported by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Netherlands, and the Fiji Government through the Ministry of Agriculture...

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