Fiji

Fiji PM says Kiribati set to rejoin Pacific Islands Forum

Forum Chair, the Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, said his office has received a letter confirming this intention from the Kiribati President, Taneti Maamau.

Rabuka visited Kiribati just over a week ago, on his first official overseas visit since taking office.

At the time he said bringing Kiribati back into the Forum was the visit's overall objective.

'Under the pump' Fiji Sevens face unthinkable fate in Sydney

Having won the gold in Rio and Japan, head coach Ben Golling has a tough act to follow and a disappointing finish in Hamilton last weekend where they lost in the quarter-final to Argentina, has dropped the Islands nation down to eighth place in the HSBC World Rugby 7s Series table. Only the top four teams from the 2023 HSBC competition will gain automatic qualification for the Paris Games.

Australia partners with Digicel to boost agricultural productivity in Fiji

Traditionally, farmers have relied heavily on inherited farming knowledge and practices to establish and manage their farms. A major challenge for the industry remains timely access to the latest farming advice.

This innovative project hopes to connect farmers to the latest information and advisory services to help boost their productivity. The project will first undertake market research to determine the information needs of farmers across several regions in the country.

Fiji leader feels he has repaired Pacific-Kiribati relations

On Friday, Rabuka led a high-level delegation to Tarawa - and key on the agenda was Kiribati's membership of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Kiribati's withdrawal from the Forum last July fractured regional unity and solidarity.

President Taneti Maamau refused to attend the annual Leaders' gathering in Suva due to what he claimed was failure by the PIF to address concerns of equity, equality and inclusiveness in a number of key decisions including the appointment of the current Secretary General.

Sayed-Khaiyum returns

He is wanted for questioning by police.

Sayed-Khaiyum, who is the General-Secretary of the FijiFirst party, flew out of the country on Christmas Day following the swearing-in of the new coalition government.

Soon after his departure, the Criminal Investigations Department issued a border alert identifying him as a "person of interest" for allegedly "inciting communal antagonism".

Sayed-Khaiyum was Attorney-General for almost 16 years.

     

Fiji prepares for a surge in Chinese tourists

The Health Ministry stated that Fiji does not have direct travelers from China and so countries that receive passengers directly have the ability to surveil for variants and Fiji now has an in-country capacity to survey for new Covid-19 variants.

However, Tourism Minister Viliame Gavoka said the ministry has committed marketing funds for Japan and China as they are definite that the number of visitors will accelerate this year.

He said they are aware of the surge in Covid-19 cases in China but will ensure that the safety of Fijians is not compromised.

Fiji coalition govt announces new assistance scheme for students

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka revealed on Tuesday that the state will provide F$200 (NZD$144) per child to families who earn less than F$50,000 per year.

The education initiative - a first by the three-party coalition - was aimed at ensuring children from "lower-income homes have the best possible start to the 2023 school year", Rabuka said.

"This is due to the hardship many families are facing in the last couple of years due to Covid-19 and the contraction of our economy, whereby a lot of people have lost their jobs," he said.

Covid-19: XBB.1.5 variant detected in Fiji

Due to this, the Health Ministry states it is ready to review some public health border measures.

The sub-variant, also known as Kraken, was descended from the Omicron XBB subvariant, itself a cross between two earlier strains: BA.2.75 and BA.2.10.1.

It comes just a day after New Zealand revealed the variant had also been detected in the country late last week.

The World Health Organization said it has been detected in at least 31 other countries.

Medical superintendent Jemesa Tudravu told FBC news the variant had high transmissibility.

Fijians encouraged to remain vigilant during cyclone season

The met service issued the statement in light of the formation of the season’s first tropical cyclone, TC Hale over the weekend.

According to the Nadi Weather Office, TC Hale posed no direct threat to the Fiji group as it tracked southeastward away from the country yesterday afternoon.

However, the weather office says a low-pressure system is anticipated to affect the country this weekend, with showers expected throughout the week.

2 deaths, 19 new Covid cases in Fiji

The Ministry of Health says the first Covid-19 death is a 64-year- old man from Suva.

He was presented at a health centre on 23 December with pre-existing medical conditions and later tested positive for Covid-19.

FijiVillage reports the Ministry also says he later passed away on the same day.

He was vaccinated with 2 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The Ministry says the second death reported was of a 34-year-old female Tuvaluan citizen living in Fiji since 2018.

She was admitted at the CWM Hospital in Suva with diabetes complications on 6 December.