News

16th May

Death toll rises as violence rocks Gaza, Israel and West Bank

Israeli planes renewed air strikes in Gaza early on Saturday and Hamas militants responded by firing rockets into Israel as their battle entered a fifth night and U.S. and Arab diplomats sought an end to...

15th May

Russia declares VTimes news site ‘foreign agent’, sends bailiffs to Radio Free Europe

Russia on Friday designated online news site VTimes a “foreign agent” and also sent bailiffs to the Moscow office of U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) over unpaid fines in a widening crackdown on media critical of the Kremlin. VTimes is the second outlet in less than a month to be designated a “foreign...

From the Editor-in-Chief’s desk: Your May 16 briefing

Bula vinaka Here are some stories that made the headlines in The Sunday Times’ edition for May 16. The big one on Page 1 is about the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre urging women and children to seek immediate help and not suffer in silence if they are going through any form of abuse. Suva-Nausori areas...

COVID-19: Fiji CDC to resume tests from tonight

All remaining staff  at the Fiji Centre for Disease Control have continued to test negative for COVID-19. This was confirmed in a statement by the Permanent Secretary of Health and Medical Services, Dr James Fong. Dr Fong said the centre has been fully decontaminated and will resume processing COVID-19 tests from tonight. “None of the...

Hong Kong freezes listed shares of media tycoon Lai under security law

Hong Kong authorities on Friday froze assets belonging to jailed media tycoon Jimmy Lai, including all shares in his company, Next Digital (0282.HK) – the first time a listed firm has been targeted by national security laws in the financial hub. Also among assets targeted were the local bank accounts of three companies owned by...

10,000 more of Australian-manufactured AstraZeneca to assist in vaccine rollout

An additional 10,000 doses of the Australian-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine arrived into the country last night. According to the Australian High Commission in Fiji the doses arrived into Nadi to further assist the Fijian Government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. “We know this is a difficult time for our Fijian vuvale who are battling the recent COVID-19 outbreak...

Quarantined workers priority for second jabs

More than 400 Lautoka Hospital workers who are in the middle of a 21-day quarantine will be one of the first groups of frontliners to receive their second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Head of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services COVID-19 Vaccination Taskforce, Dr Rachel Devi said the medical and hospital staff members...

Activists, politicians and TV hosts jostle to rewrite Chile’s constitution

On a crisp spring day in 2019, Cote Cumplido took up a banner and joined more than a million people marching through the streets of the Chilean capital Santiago to demand greater equality and major changes to its political system. Now the 33-year-old is handing out flyers with her own name on them on, hoping...

The skills to survive – Makelesi jumps into plan B mode for her family

Makelesi Caine was made redundant in May last year after COVID-19 shutdown Fiji’s tourism industry forcing thousands of hotel workers on redundancy or put a on a massive pay cut. Makelesi was a chief de partie at the prestigious Fiji Marriott Resort in Nadi for the past 20 years. “When I lost my job, my...

Let’s fight this virus together – Nation plunges further into uncertain times

As the nation plunges further into uncertain times, we are all anxious at the handling and what direction we will be going towards as the pandemic continues. By outlining a few areas that are being discussed in the public arena I thought we could bring a little clarity and conversation to these topics. This article...

Heart-wrenching loss – Diaspora, loved ones and COVID -19

Alongside the myriad stories of closed borders, unemployment, struggling health systems, surging COVID cases and accompanying increase in poverty, there is another heart-wrenching COVID-19 experience – not being able to be with loved ones in their last days on earth. This is a Fijian story, but applicable across the globe to diaspora who left their...

Putin says Ukraine is becoming an ‘anti-Russia’, pledges response

President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that neighbouring Ukraine was becoming ‘anti-Russia’ and that Moscow would be ready to react to what he said were threats to its own security. Putin was speaking a day after a Ukrainian court placed Viktor Medvedchuk, a prominent pro-Russian politician who says Putin is godfather to his daughter, under...

Time is of the essence – How to respond to Fiji’s COVID-19 health crisis

By NEELESH GOUNDER and NEIL SHARMA On April 18 2021, Fiji marked 365 days since the last case of COVID-19 “outside of border quarantine transmission”. Just when the pandemic seemed to have come under control, a new positive case of a security personnel working in a border quarantine facility detected on April 17 2021 has...

Look after your diet – Health and wellbeing during the pandemic

With the presence of COVID-19 more prevalent than ever, there are millions of families affected by this world-wide. With the new wave of COVID-19 in Fiji and that too being the Indian variant, it is a serious concern for our country Fiji. COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that is most easily spread from person-to-person...

Contact tracing apps – Critical infrastructure cyberattacks

Last week, we saw a real-world consequence of a successful cyberattack clearly highlighted with the closure of one of the US’ largest trans-continent fuel pipelines (from Texas to New York) because of ransomware. Last Friday, Colonial Pipeline said a cyberattack forced the company to proactively close down operations and freeze IT systems after becoming the...

Taiwan model against COVID-19 – ‘No one is safe, until everyone is’

While Fiji was moving on the path of preparedness for border reopening and quarantine-free travel bubbles with Australia and New Zealand, with no transmission cases for a year, the Indian B1.617 variant suddenly attacked the borders and force lockdowns across the Viti Levu last month. Lautoka, Nadi, Suva, Nausori and Lami were established as containment...

Israel pounds Gaza to curb Palestinian militants but rockets still fly

As the war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip lit up the skies and sent civilians running for cover for a fifth night running on Friday, diplomats stepped up efforts to try and end the violence. As Gazans marked a grim Eid al-Fitr feast marking the end of the holy month of...

Special moments – Mandali members reach out to the needy

Last Sunday, Mother’s Day was celebrated in Fiji. Facebook was flooded with beautiful moments between a mother and her loved ones despite the COVID-19 crisis. However, those whose mothers had passed away had to cling to the beautiful memories from the good old days. I was one of those who reminisced the good old days...

Company helps out

A global hybrid vehicles spare parts company established in Lautoka a year ago is catering for the needs of some families who are in desperate situation during this COVID-19 crisis in the Sugar City. Yuri Global Engineering (Fiji) Pte Ltd Fiji director Dhurup Chand said 11 per cent of the profit made from their first...

Fund extends contribution payment deadline

In response to the continuous lockdown restrictions the Fiji National Provident Fund has announced the extension of the contribution payment deadline. According to a statement from the fund the deadline for contribution payments has been extended to May 31, 2021. FNPF stated it understood many businesses were shut down to comply with the lockdown and...

COVID-19: Fiji records two new cases

Fiji has reported two new cases of COVID-19. This was confirmed in a statement on the Fijian Government’s official Facebook page this evening. The statement says both of these cases are tied to existing clusters. “The first is a close contact from the most recent Makoi cluster. “The second is a close contact from the...

No normal life for Israelis in range of Gaza rockets

Sirens wail, radio broadcasts are interrupted, cellphones beep with Red Alerts every few seconds, and warning messages flash up on TV. When you hear them, rush for cover. This has become the routine across large areas of central and southern Israel, from small towns bordering Gaza to metropolitan Tel Aviv and southern Beersheva. More than...

Market vendor loses out on income

Suva Municipal Market vendor Krishan Kumar had to sell about $1000 worth of watermelon at half the usual price from his stall on Friday before the four-day lockdown. While speaking to this newspaper yesterday he said if he was not able to sell all his produce he would eventually have to throw it away. “For...

$6m dividend for pine landowners

Fiji Pine Ltd has announced it will pay $6 million in early dividends to their pine landowners for this year. The money will be paid out in three instalments starting this month and ending in November. Company chairman Ratu Wiliame Katonivere said they realised many of their landowners had been significantly impacted by COVID-19. “We...

Peru election race tightens again as conservatives gain ground

Peru’s polarized presidential election race is tightening further, an opinion poll showed on Friday, with socialist candidate Pedro Castillo’s lead being trimmed by right-wing opponent Keiko Fujimori just weeks before the June 6 ballot. Castillo, whose sudden ascendancy has sparked jitters among investors and copper miners, was shown with 42% of the vote in a...

COVID-19: FRIEND attends to 43 emergency calls

The Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND) Fiji attended to emergency calls from 43 needy families in Lautoka today. Director Sashi Kiran 15 calls were from mothers who urgently needed baby formulas while the rest were from families who had nothing at all. She said five teams continued their assessments on applications made...

COVID-19: Manager and his staff arrested for operating a non-essential business

A business manager and his staff were among the 53 people arrested over the last 24-hours for breaching curfew orders and health restrictions. Acting Commissioner of Police, Rusiate Tudravu said the 31-year-old manager and his staff were arrested in the Central Division for operating a business regarded as non-essential. A/CP Tudravu said the Southern Division...

New Zealand PM says to fight hate, study social media algorithms

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday that world leaders and tech firms looking to stamp out violent extremism online would need to focus efforts on understanding social media algorithms that drive content. Ardern was speaking at a virtual summit to mark the second anniversary of the global initiative to end online hate,...

Villagers take precautionary measures

Villagers around Vanua Levu have locked down their villages and restricted movement as part of COVID-19 precautions. Kia Island villager Akuila Tutora said he had to take the measure. “It’s very important that we do this because we need to save lives and prevent the illness from reaching our island,” he said. “So we are...

Russia deems U.S., Czech Republic ‘unfriendly’, limits embassy hires

The Russian government said on Friday it had officially deemed the United States and the Czech Republic “unfriendly” states, and that U.S. diplomatic missions could no longer employ local staff while Czech missions could employ a maximum of 19. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law last month to limit the number of local staff...

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