Regional

The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) says our foreign reserves are expected to remain comfortable till end-2018. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

$24.1bn assets: Fiji’s financial system remains sound – RBF

Fiji’s financial system remains sound with total gross assets at $24.1billion. The Reserve Bank of Fiji’s audited financial statements for the year ending July 31, 2021 showed the bank recorded a net profit of $31.7million...

Australia retail sales slide in August, but relief in sight

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian retail sales dived for a third straight month in August as half the population were trapped in coronavirus lockdowns, though reopening is in sight as vaccinations race toward world-beating levels. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday showed retail sales fell 1.7% in August to A$29.3 billion ($21.27 billion)....

Sydney’s unvaccinated warned of social isolation when COVID-19 lockdown ends

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Sydney residents who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 risk being barred from various social activities even when they are freed from stay-at-home orders in December, New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned on Tuesday. Under a roadmap to exit lockdown in Australia’s biggest city, unvaccinated people are already subject to delays in...

World Bank says Delta variant slowing economic growth in East Asia and Pacific

(Reuters) -The East Asia and Pacific region’s recovery has been undermined by the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, which is likely slowing economic growth and increasing inequality in the region, the World Bank said on Monday. Economic activity began to slow in the second quarter of 2021, and growth forecasts have been downgraded for...

Australia takes on Google’s online ad dominance, calls for data shakeout

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australia’s antitrust watchdog said it wants the power to curb Google’s use of internet data to sell targeted ads, saying the Big Tech firm dominated the market to the point of harming publishers, advertisers and consumers. The comments, in a report published Tuesday, set up another possible showdown between Australia and Google months...

Improper diets: Children not eating a balanced meal – report

Nearly 55 per cent of Fijian children between six to 23 months are consuming diets with the minimum number of recommended food groups, according to a new United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) child nutrition report “Fed to Fail? the crisis of children’s diets in early life”. In a statement, UNICEF said that in an analysis...

Poor nutrition a concern

Global malnutrition in children under two years old is leading to irreversible developmental harm and stunted growth with little improvement seen over the past decade. This, according to a new report released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). In a statement on its child nutrition report 2021 “Fed to Fail? the crisis of children’s...

One death of person with HIV’ COVID-19 not the reason

Fiji recorded one death of a person living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) who was diagnosed with COVID- 19. Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said the death was not because of COVID- 19. He also said several persons living with HIV who were diagnosed with COVID-19 were supported and had fully recovered. He made the...

Ratu Epeli: HIV infection numbers in Fiji not acceptable

UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for the Pacific Region Ratu Epeli Nailatikau says the COVID-19 pandemic must not be an excuse to divert investment from HIV. He says there is a risk that the hard-earned gains of the AIDS response will be sacrificed to the fight against COVID-19, “but the right to health means that no one...

27th September

Australian PM refuses to commit to phasing out fossil fuels

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to commit to phasing out fossil fuels as a major climate conference approaches, while his deputy doubled down on opposing targets for net zero emissions of greenhouse gases. Australia, the world’s top coal and a major gas exporter, is under growing pressure to come up with...

COVID-19 pandemic cut life expectancy by most since World War Two –study

LONDON (Reuters) – The COVID-19 pandemic reduced life expectancy in 2020 by the largest amount since World War Two, according to a study published on Monday by Oxford University, with the life expectancy of American men dropping by more than two years. Life expectancy fell by more than six months compared with 2019 in 22...

Sydney set to unveil freedom roadmap as more COVID-19 curbs eased

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) government plans to unveil its roadmap on Monday for reopening the state from COVID-19 shutdowns, detailing the differing levels of freedoms to be afforded to citizens based on their vaccination status. With 60% of people aged 16 and over fully inoculated – above the national average of...

24th September

Young Pasifika male nurse recognised in 2021 honours

A young Pasifika male nurse has been recognised as New Zealand’s Young Nurse of the year. Daniel Mataafa, who is of Samoan descent, is a Regional Pacific Nurse Case Manager based at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital and said he was “surprised and honoured” to be this year’s recipient. The 29-year-old was recognised by the New Zealand...

Marshall Islands president urges UN to monitor geopolitical tension in Pacific

The Marshall Islands president has urged world leaders at the United Nations to monitor geopolitical tensions in the Pacific. Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York via a recorded video message, David Kabua, said countries in the region were in the middle of a tug-o-war between ‘the world’s greatest powers’. “My own Pacific islands...

Thousands take part in Samoa mass COVID-19 vaccination drive

Today is the second and final day of lockdown in Samoa with health authorities going door to door to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Around 7000 doses of AstraZeneca were administered on Thursday as part of the two-day roll out. Despite the strict lockdown, from 8am to 6pm, it is not compulsory to get vaccinated. Those willing...

23rd September

Former Minister Taito Phillip Field has died aged 68

The former Associate Pacific Islands Affairs Minister, Taito Phillip Field, has died at the age of 68. Samoan-born Field was a Member of Parliament for South Auckland electorates from 1993 to 2008, and he was the first MP of Pacific Island descent. He was also the first New Zealand politician to be found guilty of corruption...

The race to meet vaccination rates for Pasifika

As a stream of Pasifika ethnic specific vaccination drives open in Aotearoa, efforts are turning towards getting shots in the arms of youth. Thirty-six percent of the Pacific population are fully vaccinated, while 67 percent have received their first dose, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said yesterday. This means that 33 percent haven’t been jabbed...

PNG to announce lockdown in several provinces

Papua New Guinea authorities are preparing for a four-week lockdown in at least three provinces at the end of the month. The move has been prompted by a spike in Covid-19 infection rates in Eastern Highlands province as well as the two provinces which sit on the border with Indonesia, Western and West Sepik. While...

Samoa has a budget after midnight resolution reached

Five months after the General Election in April, Samoa has a financial budget to operate with. The Samoa Parliament passed the national budget totalling 983 million tālā after midnight local time on Thursday. This means the private sector will finally be paid for their services after waiting while the government operated on emergency provisions of...

22nd September

Magnitude 6.0 earthquake strikes near Melbourne, tremors rattle southeast Australia

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE, Sept 22 (Reuters) – A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck near Melbourne on Wednesday, Geoscience Australia said, one of the country’s biggest quakes on record, causing damage to buildings in the country’s second largest city and sending tremors throughout neighbouring states. The quake’s epicentre was near the rural town of Mansfield in the state of...

U.N. chief, UK PM increase pressure on leaders for climate change funds

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged leaders of the world’s major economies including the United States to deliver on their commitments toward a $100 billion per year climate fund with less than six weeks to go before a U.N. climate summit. Johnson and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres hosted a roundtable of world...

Fiji sets up Border Health Protection Unit ahead of anticipated visitor influx

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has established a Border Health Protection Unit in preparation for the opening of international borders and the influx of visitors into the country. The Division, set up under the ministry’s Protection Division, plays a leading role in supervising its Border Health Protection Programmes, the ministry said. Health Minister...

Oil prices advance amid U.S. supply tightness signals

TOKYO (Reuters) -Oil prices rose on Tuesday as analysts pointed to signs of U.S. supply tightness, ending days of losses as global markets remain haunted by the potential impact on China’s economy of a crisis at heavily indebted property group China Evergrande. Brent crude gained 63 cents or 0.9% to $74.55 a barrel by 0340 GMT,...

Australia PM says no opportunity for meeting with French president in New York

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday he will not speak with the French president at the United Nations this week even though French anger over cancellation of a $40 billion defence contract could threaten an Australian-EU trade deal. Australia last week scrapped a deal with France’s Naval Group to build...

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