Local News

COVID-19: Fiji’s Health Ministry stands by decision to delay official death announcement

Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services has stood by its decision to delay the announcement of the death of the 53-year-old patient at Lautoka hospital who tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. Health ministry permanent...

James’ jams a buzz – An idea to support his family

Encouraged by his mother-in-law and his wife, James Louis took it upon himself to learn how to make guava jam and to turn his newfound skill into a business. He started the venture in 2019 and said business had been good over the past two years when he began to earn enough money to support...

Tamavua youths take a proactive approach

Youths from Tamavua Village are taking a proactive approach to protect their families from the perils of COVID-19. Members of the Tamavua Youth Club, Savura netters and rugby teams are manning a checkpoint where anyone entering the village needs to have their details recorded and temperature taken. Tamavua Youth Club assistant leader Kinijioji Balawa said...

Hitmaker with an ear for good music

For more than 40 years, Ramesh Hargovind has been a hitmaker. He has recorded and produced more than 47,000 songs by countless artists. The Toorak resident has travelled the length and breadth of Fiji and faithfully captured English, iTaukei and Hindi music created by locals. And in the process he helped transform ordinary men and...

Kneejerk reaction to program, says FCSS

THE food deployment program during the lockdown in the Suva-Nausori corridor over the weekend was poorly planned, says Fiji Council of Social Services (FCSS) executive director Vani Catanasiga. She said it was evident because they had received feedback from community members in the area throughout the weekend. She said it was an almost kneejerk reaction...

Weather watch: Heavy rain warning cancelled; flood warning remains

A heavy rain warning previously in force for the eastern half of Viti Levu (from Pacific harbour through to Suva to Nausori up to Tailevu), Kadavu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands, Lomaiviti and Lau group is now cancelled. According to the weather bulletin issued from the National Weather Forecasting Centre in Nadi this...

Preventing drowning – Accounting for a greater loss of life annually

The United Nations General Assembly passed its first-ever Resolution on Global Drowning Prevention (A/75/L.76) during the 75th session on April 28, 2021. The resolution was proposed by Bangladesh and Ireland, and co-sponsored by more than 79 nations, including Australia. In introducing the Resolution at the UN General Assembly in New York, the Ambassador and permanent...

Food ration saga – Tread wisely on people’s emotions, says Narube

Government should tread wisely on people’s emotions in these difficult times, says Unity Fiji party leader Savenaca Narube. Speaking on the food distribution by Government during the lockdown in the Suva-Nausori area, he said it was clearly inadequate and unfair to those other areas facing the same or even worse situation. He said the distribution...

Effects of COVID-19- The road back to economic survival

As the global economy tries to get back on its feet despite the pandemic, Fiji’s national financial system is no doubt struggling as well. The tourism industry was knocked over in 2020 because of the border closures and absence of international travel. The resultant $3 billion in lost revenue is not the only contributing factor...

Nausori burglary suspect charged and to appear in court tomorrow

A man who is alleged to have stolen assorted items, including cash worth more than $12,000 from a shop in Nausori has been charged and will be appearing in court tomorrow. According to Police, the 22-year-old is a suspect in a burglary case where he allegedly broke into a shop at Nausori Town on Tuesday...

Food security a concern for family

Flash flooding on Tuesday stopped Naduru residents in Nausori from getting essentials from shops. People also said the crops they were relying on for food during the COVID-19 containment had been damaged by the floods. Taraivini Takayawa said food security was now a huge issue for her family. “My father planted some dalo and other...

Canteen business runs out of stock

Single mother Tarusila Vunisa says the small canteen business her family depends entirely on has run out of stock because she used the earnings to meet their bills and daily needs during the Lautoka lockdown. The 37-year-old said the business used to cater for the needs of her three children aged 11, 5 and 2....

Ali: Tourism vision realised early

The Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport’s vision of the sectoral plan – Fijian Tourism (FT) 2021 – to achieve a $2.2 billion industry was realised ahead of schedule. This was revealed by Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport permanent secretary Shaheen Ali during virtual submissions on the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and...

COVID-19: Navatuyaba youths rotate shifts to protect village; run errands for quarantined family

More than 40 youths in Navatuyaba Village, Toga, Rewa have been actively involved in cordoning off the village in response to the increase in COVID-19 virus cases in the country. Village headman Ratu Peni Todua, 53, said the young men and women rotated in night and day shifts, keeping watch on the village around the...

‘System error’ causes delay

The Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) has apologised to members for the delay in the release of the Cycle 3 payments as those who applied for Phase 2 Round 5 would have received their payment yesterday. This, according to FNPF chief operating officer Pravinesh Singh in a statement yesterday, where it was confirmed that because...

A-G on mortgage payment issues

Fijians facing issues with meeting their mortgage payments can access up to 50 per cent of their Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) preserved account, says Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. However, he said, there had been no discussions with retailers and banks on freezing hire purchase or loan repayments. “Many people actually have made...

COVID-19: Labasa market vendors feel the pinch

Market vendors in Labasa say they have already felt the pinch of the effects of COVID-19 restrictions following lockdown measures prohibiting villagers from travelling to town. Two hours into their vending business and most were still hopeful for sales as the market had barely had customers. Vendor Shalend Prasad said they recovered from the impacts...

COVID-19: Student arrested for trying to cross border; among 53 arrests for breaching restrictions

A 16-year-old student is one of the 53 people arrested over the last 24 hours for breach of health restrictions and curfew orders after he was trying to cross the border at Wainibuku. Fiji’s Acting Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said while this had shown that some people were still taking advantage of the instructions...

Fiji Airports: Safety measures accredited

Fiji Airports COVID-19 health and safety measures are accredited by the Airports Council International (ACI), says communications manager Christopher Chand. “This is the Airport Health Accreditation we received from ACI in November last year based on Fiji Airports Travel Safe program,” he said. “Our Travel Safe program prioritises the health and safety of our passengers...

COVID-19: SODELPA calls for opening of Ba hospital to ease pressure

The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) has called on the Government to open the new Ba Hospital after the closure of the Lautoka Hospital to members of the public following the announcement of the new positive case yesterday. In a statement released today, SODELPA leader Viliame Gavoka said: “SODELPA regrets the development at Lautoka Hospital...

Dr Fong: Businesses in breach of restrictions will be closed

IF businesses do not adhere to social distancing requirements, they will be closed down, says Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong. Referring to concerns raised about packed supermarkets, Dr Fong said the “soft approach” had been tried and the ministry would now be more firm on businesses that were not compliant with COVID-19...

Residents affected by disruptions

SOME residents in Cunningham, Tacirua, Khalsa Rd, Sakoca, Nadera, Nadawa and Makoi have been without water for up to five days. Femia Saurara of Cunningham Stage 4 said water supply stopped early on Monday morning but was restored yesterday. She said water trucks were delivering water to affected residents over the past two days. In...

Five days without water

Residents of Sakoca have been without water for five days. Water supply was stopped on Friday night and still not restored when a team from The Fiji Times visited the area yesterday. Fortunately, some residents who had storage containers had collected rainwater. When this newspaper visited Sakoca yesterday, Virisine Bolekinaivalu was washing clothes in a...

Back in Time: Customs censors imports

The Customs Department mounted a special operation to halt an increasing flood of pornographic video cassettes and other material coming into the country. The Fiji Times of March 2, 1980, read the Acting Controller of Customs, Ram Harakh Bechan, had announced a three-man team of senior officers had been engaged for the operation. The department...

Sayed-Khaiyum provides clarity on grocery scheme

Households which have people receiving Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) COVID-19 relief payments are not eligible for Government’s $90 grocery benefit. Economy Ministry acting permanent secretary Shri Goundar said this yesterday as he announced that people eligible for the benefit should apply by sending a text message to 161 – either on the Vodafone or...

No specific time line for budget

The 2021/2022 National Budget consultations and announcement have been pushed back because of the COVID-19 outbreak, says Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. “We had obviously certain time lines that we had set ourselves but, of course, with the recent events, that has somewhat changed that,” the A-G said. “So we don’t have any specific...

$32m to be used for social welfare recipients

Government will use $A20 million ($F32 million) from funds given by the Australian government to fund Social Welfare Department payment recipients, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said. “As announced last week, we had received $A37.5 million ($F59 million) plus $A20 million ($F31 million) specifically for social welfare support payment of designated social welfare payments – and they...

FRIEND praises State initiative

Founder and CEO of the Foundation for Rural and Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND) Sashi Kiran has praised Government’s cash rollout initiative to assist those desperately in need. “The cash rollout for the families dependent on the informal sector is a wonderful initiative and will place some cash in the hands of people who have...

A-G: $90 based on food rations

The $90 payment figure for those unable to work because of COVID-19 containment was based on the food ration packs that were distributed over the weekend. This was the explanation from Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at a news conference on Tuesday. “As the acting permanent secretary for economy said that the food ration packs we gave...

Fong: Potential source point

A family gathering in Narere in Nasinu where members of a few different households converged is now potentially the source point of three cases, says Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong. He said a 27-year-old announced as a COVID-positive case yesterday was also part of the gathering. During the family gathering on April 17,...

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