Regional

COVID-19: Fiji announces another 4 new cases; Raiwaqa Health Centre closed to the public

Fiji has announced another four new cases of COVID-19 and includes two more health workers testing positive for the virus. The first case is a border quarantine case – a 22-year-old Tongan national returning from...

Call for more midwives as millions die in childbirth

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Midwives are routinely “overlooked and ignored” despite saving millions of lives a year, the United Nations said on Wednesday, urging the world to hire more women and safeguard new life. In a joint report compiled with medics, the U.N. said urgent investment was needed to plug a global shortfall of...

UK royal Meghan wins copyright case over letter to father

LONDON (Reuters) – Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, on Wednesday won her outstanding copyright claim against a British tabloid after London’s High Court heard neither Queen Elizabeth nor a former senior royal aide claimed ownership of a letter she had written to her estranged father. Meghan, 39, wife of the monarch’s grandson Prince Harry, won...

COVID-19: Patient died a few hours after being transferred to ICU – MOH full statement

Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong said case 125, the 53-year-old man admitted to the Lautoka Hospital Intensive Care Unit yesterday for a severe illness due to COVID-19 “has sadly passed away”. “The gentleman had been admitted at Lautoka Hospital since April 19, when he was admitted for a surgical procedure,” said Dr Fong...

Germany, WHO announce creation of new data hub to fight pandemics

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s cabinet on Wednesday approved an additional economic relief package worth 255 billion baht ($8.2 billion) to help people affected by a third wave of coronavirus infections, the prime minister said. The latest outbreak has accounted for more than half of Thailand’s total infections and deaths and slowed domestic activity. The fiscal...

More twists in Samoa election saga, with more court action likely

The decision by Samoa’s head of state to call a second election will be challenged in the courts, as the country’s month-long political stalemate descends into legal quagmire. Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II on Tuesday announced he would revoke the results of the general election held on 9 April, and Samoans would return to the polls...

Call for state of emergency over food shortage

Bougainville’s offshore islands are so short of food a civil society advocate says a state of emergency should be declared. Ursula Rakova heads Tulele Peisa, which is helping people from the Carteret Islands, where there have been problems for years with sea level rise, to settle on the mainland of the autonomous Papua New Guinea...

Samoa’s Head of State decision called unconstitutional

The declaration by the Head of State to declare the results of the general election of 9 April 2021 void and call for a new general election on 21 May 2021 is unconstitutional and unlawful writes Fuimaono Dylan Asafo. Fuimaono is a law lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland and...

Australia’s most populous state reports first COVID-19 case in more than a month

CANBERRA (Reuters) -Australia’s most populous state on Wednesday reported its first locally acquired COVID-19 case in more than a month and health authorities are working to trace the source of the infection. Australia has largely eradicated COVID-19, but a man in his 50s with no known links to hotels used to quarantine people who have...

5th May

UK royal Meghan to publish children’s book based on husband Harry and son Archie

LONDON (Reuters) – Meghan, Britain’s Duchess of Sussex, is to publish a children’s book next month titled “The Bench” about the relationship between a father and son based on her husband Prince Harry and the couple’s child Archie, the publisher said on Tuesday. The book is the latest venture by Meghan and Harry, Queen Elizabeth’s...

COVID-19: Lautoka Hospital closed to the public; medical services re-routed to network of back-up hospitals

Lautoka Hospital is now closed to members of the public after the new positive case announced this evening was that of a patient who was admitted for a surgical procedure at the hospital. Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong said all medical services would now be re-routed to a network...

COVID-19: Four new cases include an “extremely serious” patient; Lautoka hospital on complete lockdown

Fiji has recorded four more new cases, and among these are two returning peacekeepers from the Golan Heights, and of the two local cases – one a patient at the Lautoka Hospital who has been said to be “extremely serious”. The 53-year-old patient – admitted for surgical procedure that was successfully performed but later developed...

COVID-19: FRIEND founder praises Government’s cash roll-out initiative

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

COVID-19: Suva vaccination campaign ends

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Suva ended yesterday, attributed to the high uptake of the vaccine, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has advised. However, it stated that the vaccination campaign at Prince Charles Park in Nadi and Churchill Park in Lautoka is still going on and it will end once the vaccine stock...

Samoa’s female PM challenger set for rerun after gender quota row

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Samoans could elect their first woman prime minister later this month in the rerun of an April general election that was overshadowed by controversy over the use of gender quota rules in the small Pacific island nation. A new party led by Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, who was bidding to become Samoa’s...

Australia to create disaster recovery office after spate of natural disasters

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will create a new disaster relief department to hasten the delivery of government aid, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will say on Wednesday. Australia has been ravaged by a spate of natural disasters in recent years, including huge bushfires across its east coast and cyclones across the west which bought widespread flooding....

Australia sees remote chance of jail for India travel ban offenders

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday said it was “highly unlikely” travellers from COVID-ravaged India would face the maximum penalties of five years jail and a A$66,000 fine for breaking border rules as he faces pressure to overturn them. Australia last week banned all travellers from India, including its own citizens, entering the country...

4th May

Oil prices slip as pandemic takes toll on India’s fuel sales

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -Oil prices fell on Monday as a catastrophic second wave of a coronavirus epidemic in India cut short a recovery in oil demand there, offsetting optimism about a strong rebound in demand in developed countries and China in the second half of the year. Brent crude futures for July fell 15 cents, or...

COVID-19: Schools reopening on May 24 will depend on pandemic situation – Dr Fong

The reopening of schools in Fiji will depend entirely on the island nation’s COVID-19 situation. Permanent secretary of the country’s Health Ministry, Dr James Fong, said they were – in consultation with the Ministry of Education – considering reopening the schools on May 24. However, he said that judgement depended entirely on the country’s situation...

COVID-19: Health Ministry not rolling back restriction measures just yet

Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services is not considering relaxing restriction measures for any of the six containment zones throughout the country just yet until it is clear of the risks there are. At present, there are six large containment areas – Suva, Nausori, Lami, Rakiraki, and Nadi and Lautoka. Ministry of Health permanent...

UK’s Johnson faces more questions over personal spending

LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced more allegations on Sunday about his expenditure on the refurbishment of his apartment and on childcare for his young son, which his foreign minister dismissed as baseless gossip. Johnson has repeatedly weathered gaffes, crises over Brexit and disclosures of his adultery, but the revelation that he and...

Philippines vows to continue maritime exercises in South China Sea

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines will continue maritime exercises inside its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea, the country’s defence minister said on Sunday, despite a call by China to stop actions that it said could escalate disputes. The Philippine coastguard and fisheries bureau started maritime exercises last month, having boosted...

3rd May

Australia to review lease of port to Chinese firm -media report

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will review the 99-year-lease of a commercial and military port in its north to a Chinese firm, the Sydney Morning Herald reported late on Sunday, a move that could further inflame tensions between Beijing and Canberra. Defence officials are checking if Landbridge Group, owned by Chinese billionaire Ye Cheng, should be...

New Zealand’s Ardern says differences with China becoming harder to reconcile

WELLINGTON (Reuters) -Differences between New Zealand and its top trading partner China are becoming harder to reconcile as Beijing’s role in the world grows and changes, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday. The comments come as New Zealand faces pressure from some elements among Western allies over its reluctance to use the Five Eyes...

Vodafone teams up with Google Cloud on data analytics

(Reuters) – Mobile operator Vodafone Group Plc and Alphabet Inc’s Google Cloud entered a strategic partnership to jointly develop data services, Vodafone said on Sunday. About 1,000 workers in Britain, Spain and the United States will be to asked by both companies to create “Nucleus”, a new cloud-based storage and analytics portal which will host...

Four astronauts return from space station aboard SpaceX capsule

(Reuters) – Four astronauts returned safely to Earth from the International Space Station early on Sunday in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, parachuting to splash-down in the Gulf of Mexico, NASA said. Their return marked the end of the first crew rotation mission to the station by the Crew Dragon spacecraft, developed in partnership between...

COVID-19: Vaccination campaign rolls out in the Western Division

Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services started its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the Western Division today. This is being held at Prince Charles Park in Nadi and Tilak High School in Lautoka and it started at 9am and will end at 6pm. The ministry has, however, stated that the continuance of...

Australia to spend $1.3 billion on childcare, enticing women back to work

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s conservative government will increase childcare subsidies, officials said on Sunday, in a pre-budget announcement that pledges A$1.7 billion ($1.31 billion) to boost female participation in the workplace. The promised spending comes ahead of a Federal election expected in the next 12 months and follows polls showing Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s approval...

World Tuna Day: What does it mean for the Pacific?

World Tuna Day from a professional and personal perspective by *Francisco Blaha, tuna expert, scientist and institutional fisheries advisor. Recent years have seen a power shift, with Pacific Islands Nations gaining greater control and revenue returns from their Tuna fisheries. This has been the result of cooperation and hard work. This article will show that...

Otintaai – Kiribati warrior armour bears message of hope

Otintaai is Kiribati for sunrise. It is the name given to the female warrior costume created by master iKiribati weavers and makers Kaetaeta Watson and Louisa Humphry who share over a century’s worth of cultural knowledge and experience. Made originally for the Ā Mua:New Lineages of Making exhibition at The Dowse Art Museum, which ran from June...

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