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Residents plead for help

Residents living in flood-prone Vunato and Lovu Seaside settlements, in Lautoka are pleading for help from authorities to help them mitigate their flood problems. Acting advisory councillor Manueli Savou said for years people have had to...

FEO issues notice to FLP over Facebook posting

The Fijian Elections Office (FEO) has issued a notice under Section 144A (2) of the Electoral Act to the Fiji Labour Party directing it to remove its social media Facebook post. Last Sunday, the FLP had claimed via its official social media Facebook page that Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem was forced to resign. The...

Birth rate in mainland China in 2021 drops to record low

BEIJING (Reuters) – The birth rate in mainland China in 2021 dropped to a record low of 7.52 births per 1,000 people, National Bureau of Statistics data showed on Monday. The birth rate in 2020 was 8.52 births per 1,000 people. There were 10.62 million births in 2021, official data also showed.

Farmer suffers $20k loss

A large-scale farmer in Kavanagasau, Sigatoka says he has lost $20,000 worth of vegetables during the recent floods. Imtiaz Khan of Nabitu settlement has been a large-scale grower for the past decade and he says most of his vegetables were ready to be harvested, but have all gone to waste in the past five days of flooding. “Eggplant,...

Saneem: Resignation is ‘fake news’, considers legal action

Fiji’s Supervisor of Elections Mohammad Saneem says he will be taking action against those who have spread rumours that he had resigned. “It’s fake news,” said Mr Saneem. “We will consider taking some actions which we will be making public in a few hours’ time. “It is still Monday morning, we will get something done....

Shortage of COVID-19 testing kits ‘not unique’ to Australia, PM says

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday said the shortages of at-home antigen tests were “not unique” to the country as authorities deal with a runaway Omicron outbreak that has driven up hospitalisation rates and strain testing systems. Australia is facing a shortage of at-home rapid antigen test kits after asymptomatic close...

Seruiratu: Too early to finalise costs of damage

Disaster Management Minister Inia Seruiratu says they should have some rough indications on costs and the extent of damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Cody in all sectors in the four divisions by today. During his visit to the flood-affected areas in the Northern Division, Mr Seruiratu said they wanted to conclude the damage assessment and...

Spanish Civil War bomb found after man recalls childhood attack

MADRID (Reuters) – Police deactivated an unexploded bomb from the Spanish Civil War after a man remembered that Italian fascist bombers had dropped it on his town when he was a child more than 80 years ago. Work on a building in Maella, near Zaragoza in northeastern Spain, was halted after the man said that...

Saneem still SOE; A-G confirms Supervisor of Elections has not resigned

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem has not resigned from his position. Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed this when quizzed by the media regarding the allegations surrounding Mr Saneem’s resignation. The media had also queried if Fiji was going to have the general election this year to which the A-G said: “The elected...

Ali takes a swipe at the A-G

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was flippant about his absence from Fiji while ranting about the “highly despicable and undignified” media that highlighted the prime minister’s absence while Fijians faced a flood crisis. This was the word from human rights activist Shamima Ali. “Our prayers are with the prime minister and his family as he recovers from...

Tongan students long to hear from family back home

Emotional Mele Lenati is longing to hear from her family in Tonga after the devastating underwater volcanic eruption on Saturday afternoon. She said all network communication to Haveluloto in Tongatapu, Tonga where her family lived, was down. The third year University of the South Pacific student said she had a sleepless night after learning what...

UK’s Prince Harry seeks right to pay for UK police protection

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry is challenging a government decision that he should not receive police protection when on British soil even if he covers the cost himself, his legal representatives said. Harry, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, and his American wife Meghan quit royal duties in 2020 to forge new careers in Los Angeles. Subsequently...

COVID-19 Fiji: ‘Positivity rate low among travellers’

The positivity rate among travellers remains low, says Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong. He said they continued to support international travel through the mitigation measures outlined in the present protocol for travel partner and non-travel partner countries. “We are exploring options to transition from hotel stay to homestay for our travellers from travel...

Two people drowned by abnormally high waves in Peru after Tonga volcano

LIMA (Reuters) – Two people drowned off a beach in northern Peru, the local civil defense authority reported on Sunday, after unusually high waves were recorded in several coastal areas following Saturday’s eruption of an underwater volcano in Tonga in the Pacific Ocean. The death of two people by drowning occurred on Saturday on a...

Nausori Highland murder trial: Lawyers to deliver closing arguments today

Lawyers handling the Nausori Highland murder trial will deliver their closing submissions at the High Court in Lautoka today. The matter was listed last week, however, Justice Sunil Sharma had the case against Mohammed Raheesh Isoof adjourned and have it called before Justice Thushara Rajasinghe. The New Zealand resident has been on remand for more...

India daily COVID-19 case count touches 8-month peak, 314 deaths

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India reported 271,202 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, its highest daily count in eight months, taking its total tally to 37.12 million, the federal health ministry said on Sunday. Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 314 to 486,066, the ministry said.

Schools in Fiji will stay closed until cleared

Schools in Fiji will stay closed until the Government is sure that the impacts of the underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga have cleared our waters in the event some of it need to be activated as evacuation centres. Attorney-General and acting PM Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said they planned to re-open schools for Years 8 – 13...

COVID-19 Fiji: Additional requirements for informal gatherings

Fijians wanting to hold indoor events with more than 20 people are now required to obtain a permit. Outdoor events, on the other hand, do not need a permit but organisers are required to enforce COVIOD-safe measures or they will be shut down. Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said while there were no...

Concerns mount for Tonga after tsunami triggered by underwater volcano

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Pacific nations and humanitarian groups struggled to establish communications with Tonga on Sunday after a tsunami triggered by a massive volcanic eruption cut telephone and internet connections, raising concerns for the tiny island nation. An underwater volcano off Tonga erupted on Saturday, triggering tsunami warnings and evacuation orders on the shores of...

Fijian Government to provide $250 cash to affected farmers

The Fijian Government will provide $250 cash to all cyclone-affected farming households for land preparation, cultivation, and procurement of planting materials. Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum their estimates showed they had 20,000 households that would qualify. He said the Government had allocated $5million for this purpose. He said recent flooding had been tough on farmers. “Many of...

COVID-19 Fiji: Heath Ministry reports 733 new cases and 9 deaths

Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services has reported 733 new cases of COVID-19 since the last update on January 12. Of that, 249 new cases were recorded on January 13, a total of 291 new cases were recorded on January 14 and 193 new cases on January 15. “Of the 733 cases recorded since...

Israeli finance minister tests positive for coronavirus

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would self-isolate but continue working from home. “I feel good and will isolate in the next few days,” Lieberman said on Twitter. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tested positive on Monday. Lieberman has faced some public criticism...

NDMO advises precautions to avoid exposure to airborne ash

The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has advised members of the public living in the maritime islands within the Eastern Division to take the necessary precautionary measures to avoid any exposure to airborne ash as a result of the recent volcanic eruptions in Tonga. The Fiji Meteorological Service in Nadi had advised that airborne ash...

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses situation in Tonga following volcanic eruption, tsunami

There are no official reports of injuries or deaths in Tonga, as the Defence Force prepares to head to the islands, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. Communication with the islands has been cut off since yesterday evening and members of the Tongan community in New Zealand are desperately awaiting news of their loved ones. Ardern...

Djokovic’s actions could weaken COVID-19 safety adherence – Australia govt lawyer

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Lawyers argued over what impact Novak Djokovic would have on support for vaccination in Australia as the Federal Court was set to decide on Sunday whether or not the unvaccinated tennis superstar can stay and defend his Open title. Three Federal Court judges will decide the fate of the world number one tennis...

What’s happening today!

Bula vinaka everyone. Here is another edition of some basic information you may need to know for today. First, here is your weather forecast for today: Weather Occasional showers and isolated afternoon thunderstorms over the Northern Division Cloudy with some showers and isolated afternoon thunderstorms over Kadavu, the eastern parts and eastern interior of Viti...

China urges local govts to minimize impact from COVID-19 curbs over Lunar New Year

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s state planner on Sunday urged local governments to minimise the impact from COVID-19 restrictions over the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday to help a rebound in consumption, as rising cases of the Omicron variant threaten economic growth. “Local governments should avoid simplified, one-size-fits-all … COVID-19 epidemic and control measures (over the...

Ethiopia says WHO chief has links to rebellious Tigrayan forces

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) -Ethiopia’s foreign ministry has called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate its leader for supporting rebellious forces fighting the Ethiopian government. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who previously served as the Ethiopian health minister and foreign minister, said earlier this week that aid was being blocked from getting through...

UK’s Labour has biggest lead over Johnson’s party since 2013-poll

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party has opened up its biggest lead over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s governing Conservatives since 2013 after an outcry over revelations of social gatherings at Downing Street during COVID-19 lockdowns, an opinion poll showed. The poll by Opinium gave Labour 41% of the vote share compared with 31% for...

Milk for dollars helps Venezuela’s ranchers weather economic woes

BARINAS, Venezuela (Reuters) – Cattle ranchers in Barinas state, one of Venezuela’s main agricultural regions, milk their herds in the small hours each morning before selling the milk in dollars to make ends meet, as a lack of credit worsens a long-running economic crisis. Venezuela’s agriculture industry has been hit by years of regulations and...

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