News

22nd January

U.S. charges Belarus officials with aircraft piracy over diverted Ryanair flight

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Four Belarusian government officials have been charged in the United States with aircraft piracy for diverting a Ryanair flight last May to arrest a dissident Belarusian journalist who was on board, U.S....

21st January

Pfizer says has approval in Japan for COVID vaccine for children aged 5-11

TOKYO (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc said on Friday it received special approval in Japan for its COVID-19 vaccine to be given to children aged 5-11. The mRNA-type vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech SE has been the most commonly used in Japan for protection against the coronavirus so far.

Fisherman recalls racing tsunami, raining rocks after Tongan volcano erupted

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Branko Sugar and his son were spearfishing on an outer reef in Tonga last Saturday. The air smelt of sulphur, as it had done for weeks, from the nearby active volcano, but he noticed the ash cloud from the crater was much higher. As the 61-year-old stowed away his spearfishing gear the...

COVID-19 Fiji: Minister responds to critics on school reopening

Why should schools be closed when borders are open? This was Minister for Education Premila Kumar’s response to critics of Government’s school resumption plans. While speaking to teachers at the Balata College in Tavua yesterday, Mrs Kumar reiterated that schools would be COVID-19 safe once they reopened. “If I look at the statistics or the...

COVID disrupts aid flight to tsunami-hit Tonga

WELLINGTON/SYDNEY (Reuters) – As aid trickles into the South Pacific nation of Tonga, devastated by a volcanic eruption and tsunami, an Australian aid flight was forced to return to base due to a positive COVID-19 case onboard, a defence official said on Friday. Tonga is COVID-free and has a strict border control policy, and is...

Court awards farmer $45k in damages

A company that tarsealed a road in Sigatoka has been ordered to pay $45,577 to a farmer for the damage of crop because of flooding. Chief Justice Kamal Kumar found China Gezhouba Group (Fiji branch) Company Ltd had a duty of care towards Liangui Wang of Simla, Lautoka, trading as Fresh Green in Valley Rd,...

World’s first hydrogen tanker to ship test cargo from Australia to Japan

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A Japanese-Australian venture producing hydrogen from brown coal is set to ship its maiden cargo on the world’s first liquid hydrogen carrier from near Melbourne to Kobe on Friday, in a test delayed by nearly a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Suiso Frontier, built by Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI),...

Autopsy to confirm next step of action

A post-mortem examination yesterday of a male found dead inside a flat in Namaka, Nadi on Tuesday afternoon will determine the next course of action by police. The man is believed to have been living alone and his body was discovered after neighbours reported a foul smell emanating from his flat. Police spokesperson Wame Boutolu...

Expat files for judicial review

A High Court in Suva ruling on January 10 reveals the Fiji Immigration Department had detained and deported an expatriate from Fiji in December 2021 for not possessing valid permits to stay in Fiji. Rachel Wailana Whalen-Holderbaum of Waisalima, Nakasaleka, Kadavu was listed in the ruling as a company director and her lawyers had filed...

Saudi gov’t entities sign deals on using hydrogen-power vehicles

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Thursday the ministry had signed eight memorandums of understanding (MoU) with government entities to use hydrogen-powered vehicles.

COVID-19 Fiji: ‘No severe cases in children’

There have not been any severe cases of COVID-19 recorded in children, says Minister for Education Premila Kumar. While speaking during a COVID-19 inspection tour of Tavua schools yesterday, Mrs Kumar said the Ministry of Health had yet to report such cases. She said the global vaccination focus on adults was a clear indication that...

Poland gets formal EU demand to pay fines over judicial regime

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The European Commission has sent Poland notice to pay some 70 million euros in fines for failing to reverse an illegal disciplinary regime for judges, a spokesman said, an escalation in a row between Warsaw and the European Union. The case is one of many disputes between the EU and Poland’s ruling Law...

Minister Kumar: Two schools affected by tsunami and ashfall

There are signs that two schools were affected by both the tsunami and ashfall caused by the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano eruption. This, according to Minister for Education Premila Kumar during a tour of Tavua schools yesterday. “Two schools were flooded by the tsunami and there are signs of ash in the surrounding areas,”...

NZ expert on volcanoes: Further eruptions possible

While data indicates no signs of further underwater eruptions in the past few days, New Zealand volcanologist Professor Shane Cronin says the potential for further eruptions are real. Prof Cronin said current thinking suggested two main scenarios were possible. First, the magma present during the recent eruption had been exhausted, calming the volcano down, or...

Sweden eases quarantine rules, key workers exempted as Omicron rages

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden will loosen COVID-19 quarantine rules and make it easier for employees with key jobs in sectors like healthcare and the police to go to work, the health agency said on Thursday, as the Omicron variant of the virus raged across the country. People testing positive or who live with someone who...

New sugar price ‘unjustified’ – Chaudhry

The increase in the price of sugar by 90 cents per kg was unjustified and should be rescinded, Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said. He claimed that none of the five reasons given by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) in support of the increase provided any justification for the hefty 64 per...

Australia court rules minister acted rationally in cancelling Djokovic’s visa

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -An Australian court said on Thursday it dismissed tennis superstar Novak Djokovic’s challenge to his visa cancellation as the minister who revoked it reasonably believed Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, may be a risk to the community. The Federal Court also rejected the argument there was no evidence that Djokovic had...

Exorbitant increase to ‘bail out a bankrupt FSC’

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad claims the exorbitant increase in the price of sugar with the concurrence of the FijiFirst Government is aimed at bailing out a bankrupt Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC). He said the 90 cents increase per kilogram approved by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) was yet another example...

India says teen ‘captured’ by Chinese army after going missing near border

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s defence ministry said on Thursday a 17-year-old Indian youth was “reportedly captured” by the Chinese military after going missing near the countries’ shared border. The Indian army has contacted its Chinese counterpart to locate and return the teenager, Miram Tarom, according to a statement on the defence ministry’s Twitter account....

FSC welcomes new sugar price

The price increase approval on sugar by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) will support the industry, says Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) chief executive officer Bhan Singh. He said the commission welcomed the sugar price increase by 90 cents (VEP) per kilogram. “This decision will not only help support the industry and make it...

Queen Elizabeth sends condolences to Tonga

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth send condolences to the king of Tonga after a huge volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami and smothered islands in ash. In a message to King Tupou VI of Tonga, Queen Elizabeth said she was shocked by the devastation. “I am shocked and saddened by the impact of the volcanic...

COVID-19 Fiji: Health Ministry receives hand sanitisers and dispensers

Hand sanitisers and dispensers worth $1 million were yesterday given to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services in a bid to help fight the Omicron COVID-19. Dr James Fong, the permanent secretary, acknowledged the assistance from former Fiji resident and Smart-Gen Australia owner Rakesh Ram. “The donation has come at a time where we’re...

Germany’s Cardinal Marx apologises after Munich sex abuse report

BERLIN (Reuters) – The Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, apologised on Thursday to the victims of historic sexual abuse in his archdiocese after a report found fault with his handling of the scandal as well as with former Pope Benedict XVI. “As the current archbishop, I apologise on behalf of the archdiocese for the...

Juveniles cop suspended terms

Two juveniles who stole $217 worth of liquor from a restaurant in Sigatoka were sentenced to one year and 10 months imprisonment, suspended for three years. The incident happened in November 2020 when the duo were 14 years old. Both pleaded guilty to the offence and the High Court in Lautoka noted they fully understood...

Nausori Highlands murder trial: Isoof handed life sentences for family’s death

Mohammed Raheesh Isoof has been handed life sentences for the murder of Nirmal Kumar and his family in the Nausori Highlands in 2019. Justice Thushara Rajasinghe handed down his sentence at the High Court in Lautoka a while ago. Justice Rajasinghe stated Isoof betrayed the trust of his best friend by murdering them. He has...

Fijian Police investigate claims of impersonation

Fijian Police are investigating a man who has allegedly been posing as a lawyer and obtaining money as fees for those seeking jobs in Australia and New Zealand. This was confirmed by police spokesperson Wame Boutolu who said a complaint was lodged at the Totogo Police Station in Suva. “There is a report and investigation...

Planes, ships head for devastated Tonga as aid operation ramps up

(Reuters) -The first aid flights reached Tonga on Thursday with more en route, five days after a devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami, as communities awaited a ship with equipment to scale up supplies of much-needed drinking water. A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules carrying disaster relief supplies landed at the South Pacific island...

Equipment boost for NDMO

The National Disaster Management Office’s emergency communication capabilities got a boost yesterday as a result of equipment given by the New Zealand government. The new gear will also ensure the effective dissemination of messages at the height of any event. New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji Charlotte Darlow said the incident in Tonga had proved...

Stampede at Liberia church gathering kills 29

MONROVIA (Reuters) -A stampede at a church gathering in Liberia’s capital Monrovia killed 29 people overnight, the deputy information minister told state radio on Thursday. The incident occurred during an all-night Christian worship event at New Kru Town, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of the capital, Jalawah Tonpo said. “The doctors said 29 persons died...

Western Australia state to stay shut as Omicron stalks the east

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The state of Western Australia has cancelled plans to reopen its borders on Feb. 5 citing health risks from a surge in Omicron cases elsewhere in the country, as the tally of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began topped 2 million. WA Premier Mark McGowan made the shock announcement late Thursday saying...

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