Thursday, June 30, 2016

Labasa Sugar Mill into action

from Fiji Sun:

Labasa Mill Cane Supply Normal After Slow Start

After a slow start the cane processing season, the sugarcane supply to the Labasa Mill has normalised.
Fiji Sugar Corporation executive chairman, Abdul Khan, attributed the slow start to the Vodafone Fiji Fact tournament which led to short supply to the mill.
“The cane supply to the mill have normalised and the reduction of lorries lining up near the mill is due to our ability to process all the cane quickly,” he said.
Other than the usual startup problems that are encountered at the beginning of the season, Mr Khan also confirmed they have had a motor failure.
But, he said they were able to bypass that and crushed as normal.
“We will have the motor fixed and online in a couple of days,” he said.
Other than this, Mr Khan said there aren’t any major challenges this early in the season.
“I think the good rapport between the farmers and ourselves is helping overcome any likely issues being faced,” he said.
As of yesterday morning, the Labasa Mill has processed about 35,000 metric ton of sugar cane.
“Based on our forecast, we should process 655,000 metric ton of cane this season for Labasa FSC mill,” he said.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sandalwood in Vanua Levu

Sandalwood is a great source of income as long as no-one cuts down your tree when you are not looking.
From Fiji Times:

Sandalwood nursery

Luke Rawalai
Thursday, June 30, 2016
AIMED at reviving the sandalwood plant in the Lekutu area and generating income for families, villagers in Veiseaseavula witnessed the opening of new sandalwood nursery.
Project co-ordinator Jovesa Ryder said the main aim of the project was to revive the plant which had vanished from the area since the early colonial era.
Mr Ryder said the stock of sandalwood plants they had in their nursery would be divided into two categories.
"The first category of sandalwood will be planted within the surrounding forests and village boundary as part of our efforts to revive the plant," he said.
"In an effort to provide an income generating project for members of the community, the second category of seedlings would be given to community members to plant for their own use.
He said the community was also involved in bee farming as a form of revenue generation."
Meanwhile, assistant divisional forestry officer North, Uraia Racule said the project was assisted by their department through the provision of technical assistance.
Mr Racule said personnel from their Colo-i-Suva forestry research centre had spent some time with the project owners teaching them how to manage their nursery project.
He said communities and villagers could access their assistance for similar community projects by writing to their office in Labasa, adding they also worked with members of the public in reviving other native iTaukei trees.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Now that's what I call a big fish

from Fiji Times:

Early morning catch wows crowd at Labasa fish market

Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Update: 10:33AM IT took 14 men to carry a huge Saku fish believed to be around 200 kilograms early this morning at the Labasa fish market.
The catch attracted more than 100 people who rushed to the market to get a glimpse of the fish.

The fish was caught by a group of four young men from Cawaira village in Labasa who went out fishing last night.

Fisherman, Jone Rabonu said they did not expect the huge catch.

"There were four of us in our fishing vessel and all we felt was a heavy load on our big fishing net and to our surprise we found this Saku fish trapped inside," he said.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rabuka? I thought he was retired.

A suprise - that the new head of a political party is Sitiveni Rabuka.  I thought he was tired, retired, but he's been retreaded apparently!
from Fiji Village: Sitiveni Rabuka elected as SODELPA Party Leader

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 24/06/2016  

SODELPA President Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has confirmed that former Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka has been chosen as the party leader for SODELPA. 
This has been confirmed after interviews by a panel chaired by former Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase. 
Ratu Naiqama says interviews were done with Rabuka, Viliame Gavoka, Anare Jale and Ratu Kiniviliame Kiliraki. 
The management board met and a vote was taken after discussions. 
Rabuka got majority votes.
------------------and the consequences - some, like Beddoes, have left the party because Rabuka is the new preseident.  Don't blame him.Rabuka will face challenges – Ro Teimumu

By Semi Turaga
Sunday 26/06/2016

SODELPA’s parliamentary leader Ro Teimumu Kepa
SODELPA’s parliamentary leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has stated that Sitiveni Rabuka will now face the challenge of trying to bring back those who have left because of his appointment as Party Leader.
Ro Teimumu said this will be his main challenge before the 2018 General elections.
She said it was clearly stated in their management meeting that the appointment of Rabuka would cause an exodus of thousands of party members.
Ro Teimumu hopes that the new party leader will also continue to engage with the SODELPA Youth wing.
Many members of the SODELPA Youth wing along with Pita Waqavonovono resigned prior to Rabuka’s appointment.
Ro Teimumu has also called on the party to work together and aim to win at least 36 seats in parliament in 2018.
She said the 2018 election maybe the last fighting chance that SODELPA has to make a difference.

Monday, June 20, 2016

What a silly idea to promote yoga in schools

Yoga will be part of school curriculum

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Update: 2:31PM EDUCATION Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy announced today that yoga would be part of the primary and secondary school curriculum from this year.
Dr Reddy made the announcement at the International Day of Yoga celebrations at Sanatan Dharam Primary School in Nausori.
He said yoga would be implemented into the physical education period in schools and would benefit the students in their physical and mental health.

--------------------- Reddy backed down a bit and now says it won't be compulsory. That's better!

Yoga exercises optional, says Reddy

Charlene Lanyon
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
NO student will be forced to participate in yoga exercises although it will soon be part of the school curriculum in primary and secondary schools around Fiji.
Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy, at the International Day of Yoga celebrations in Nausori yesterday, announced that yoga would be implemented in all schools across the nation.
"It is a beginning of a new era in education, an era that we are trying to develop to contribute towards character building, towards securing a physically and mentally stable fitter Fiji.
"It won't be compulsory, but we as educators would want to provide a bundle of choice, a bundle of opportunity to our children," Dr Reddy said.
"The Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts have taken on the enterprise to implement this program in schools around the country via our physical education program as all schools are required to allocate time for students to participate in physical education. Within physical education, we can have various sports and what we intend to do is to start the period, whether it is a half day or a day, with at least half an hour devoted to yoga."
Dr Reddy said the practice of yoga would develop the students' physical and mental health.

Friday, June 17, 2016

New historical novel set in Fiji

from the Wanganui papers in New Zealand:
Fijian history depicted in local author's new novel
By Paul Brooks
5:20 PM Tuesday Jun 7, 2016
AT PAIGE'S: Author Saisy Gilbert (seated) while husband Garth (right) reads an excerpt from her novel. Also present are Victoria Campbell (left), Brian Gilbert and Lesley Stead. PICTURE / PAUL BROOKS
An historical novel set in 1860s Fiji, more than 30 years in the making, was launched last Tuesday night at Paige's Book Gallery.
Author Saisy Gilbert, writing as Margaret Waddingham, addressed an enthusiastic crowd at the Guyton St book shop, telling a few stories about her family, her own life in Fiji and explaining how the book,
 The Cliffs of Levuka, came to be.
Paige's owner, Lesley Stead, introduced Saisy and her book, adding that as the night was also the inaugural Book Night, a reading of at least 15 minutes had to take place to register the event nationally and enter a competition to win ... books!
"Margaret has done a magnificent job in writing this book. I have loved every page of it. It certainly does grab you," said Lesley.
Saisy thanked a number of people, including her husband, friends from Broadview where she lives and Victoria Campbell who created her website.
Three people then read excerpts, each vastly different in content. They had no trouble holding the attention of the audience, an interest that translated into sales of the book later in the evening.
Saisy has already started her second novel.
Book Night is designed to motivate hundreds of readers throughout New Zealand to spend part of their evening reading.
Review by Paul Brooks
The Cliffs of Levuka
 covers a lot of ground and engages the talents of a cast of characters as diverse and interesting as the time and place in which the book is set - Fiji in the 1860s, still tribal in its politics and much roughened by the people who populate it.
In such a place has Margaret Waddingham assembled her cast and given them important work to do.
People like Spencer Hunter, whose exploits we follow and whose character we judge.

He is treated sympathetically, so this is the type of man the author obviously wants to be part of the future of these islands. Spencer and the native Fijians, that is. He has left a thriving chandlery business in Sydney in the hands of a capable manager and made his way to Fiji, land of opportunity at a time Australia is experiencing a trade downturn.
Then there are John and Laura Webster and twin daughters Sarah and Jane. They are salt of the earth people who run a boarding house where Spencer goes to live.
Samuel and Ruth Bates run a general store in Levuka. Samuel employs Spencer to manage the store for him.
There are other characters, of course, European and Fijian, creating a panoply of light and dark, good and bad, noble and self-obsessed. There are tragedies and high adventure, moments of tenderness and overwhelming passion. The reader has plenty to chew on in this book.
Running in the background is the history of Fiji, the power struggles of nations and individuals and the realisation that things will never be the same again.
Throughout the book the ominous sound of the drums - the lali - start and stop without warning.
The Cliffs of Levuka
 is an easy and interesting read. The author has the gift of grabbing the attention of the reader and holding it until the last sentence. The book is available at Paige's Book Gallery.

Monday, June 13, 2016

UN President elected

Amazing for our little country of Fiji to have the UN President come from our islands.

Fijian envoy elected president of United Nations General Assembly

Posted about an hour ago

Fiji's ambassador to the United Nations, Peter Thomson, has been elected as president of the UN General Assembly, the first person from the Pacific islands to hold the position.

Key points:

  • Peter Thomson is fifth-generation Fijian
  • He says he will push to achieve UN's sustainable development goals
  • Promises more transparency in the office of assembly president
  • Pacific Community (SPC) welcomes his election
He won the job in a two-way contest with Andreas Mavroyiannis of Cyprus, by a vote of 94 to 90 in the 193-country assembly.
It was a rare election for the post of president of the assembly — normally a single candidate is elected by consensus without a vote.
Mr Thomson said his win recognised that the 12 small developing Pacific island states were playing an active role in the UN.
"We're not just here to make up the numbers, we're here to contribute as well," he told Pacific Beat.
He said climate change and saving the world's oceans would be at the top of his agenda.
"Whether you look at ocean warming — or whether it's ocean acidification, declining fish stocks, marine pollution — the ocean is dying, and we're here to tell the world that is not good enough, we're going to turn it around," he said.
"You can expect me to be vocal on these issues."

Sustainable development goals a key focus

Mr Thomson said he would push for progress on achieving the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
"The fact is we have to implement that agenda again if we're going to produce an environment, or sustain an environment, where our grandchildren can live on this planet," he said.
He went on to say: "Anybody who hasn't familiarised themselves with those [goals] is not playing their full role as a human being.
"We must all embrace those [sustainable development] goals — they're the recipe for our survival on this planet."
The Pacific Community (SPC) welcomed the news, with director-general Colin Tukuitonga describing it as a momentous occasion for the Pacific Islands in the international arena.
"It's significant in that it's the first time a representative of the Pacific Islands region has become the president-elect, and it acknowledges the contribution of Small Island Developing States to the UN family," Dr Tukuitonga said.
"This is a well-deserved appointment, and SPC stands ready to assist ambassador Thomson with information and technical support about the Pacific region, as needed."

Fiji regarded in positive light at UN, Thomson says

Fiji had its first democratic elections in eight years in 2014, when Frank Bainimarama was elected Prime Minister after leading a military coup in 2006.
Despite rights groups and opposition MPs recently raising concerns about human rights in Fiji, Mr Thomson said his country was "regarded in a very positive light" at the United Nations.
"We're doing our bit in UN peacekeeping, we send hundreds of Fijian peacekeepers to the trouble spots of the world," he said.
He said every government faced opposition.
"I don't think we should dwell on the negative today," he said.
"Fiji is a country which I'm immensely proud of — I'm a fifth generation Fijian.
"There was not a stage even when I was a political prisoner in Fiji, lying in the cell of an army prison, that I did not feel immensely proud of my country and all it does in this world."
He added: "[As president] I won't be representing any particular country, I'm there to uphold the charter of the UN, its principles and purposes, for the good of humanity."
He also pledged to keep pushing for more transparency in the largely ceremonial but high-profile post, after his predecessor from 2013 to 2014 was accused by US authorities of taking $US1.3 million in bribes from Chinese businessmen.
Mr Thomson will also oversee the process of finding a new UN secretary-general to replace Ban Ki-moon at the end of the year.
Mr Thomson will begin his term in September at the start of the UN's 71st General Assembly session.
ABC/ wires

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Kia and Kavewa problem with coral bleaching

from Fiji Times:

Coral deaths, coral depletion

Friday, June 10, 2016
Update: 5:45PM A research by the Community Centred Conservation Fiji (C3) has found that the most obvious effects of climate change can be found in the marine ecosystem surrounding Kia and Kavewa in Macuata.
The non-governmental organisation's project officer, Maleli Qera said these changes included coral deaths and coral depletion experienced over many years.
This resulted in the loss of most fish species from certain parts of the Great Sea reef and surrounding fringing reefs.

Coral Bleaching in Fiji worst seen in 16 years

06:27 Sun May 15, 2016

Taken from/By: WEB
Report by: Jacquee Speight
Fiji has lost about 50% of the corals on our shallow reef areas due to coral bleaching- something which is of great concern for communities along the coast.
The world’s oceans continue to heat up from the combined impacts of El Nino and climate change.
Director Reef Explorer, Fiji Victor Bonito says reefs along Viti Levu’s coral coast have not been spared.
“The El-Nino this year on top of our slowly increasing sea water temperatures sort of pushed us over a really high temperature threshold. This is the worst bleaching that we’ve had experienced along the coral coast since Fiji experienced its first mass bleaching event back in 2000.”
Bonito fears the marine life that helped damaged corals to recover last time may be in decline and it is for this reason that Pacific nations need to take action to ensure their reefs remain sustainable.
Scientists estimate that half the coral in protected reefs around Fiji have been bleached.
- See more at:

Navuso Agricultural College

from the Fiji Times:

Girls at Navuso

Shalveen Chand
Friday, June 10, 2016
BIG changes are planned at the Navuso Agricultural School as principal Malakai Tuikadavu is looking to enrol girls at the school, which since its inception has always been for boys.
Situated in Naitasiri, the school run by the Methodist Church in Fiji first opened its doors in the 1920s. As time is evolving so are the teaching methods and a newer approach is being taken.
The man behind the change, Mr Tuikadavu, said NAS was a way of kick-starting the lives of young men and women who chose to farm their land.
"It is something like a prerequisite. When you are joining the school, a student must also be able to go back and use that skill. So we encourage young men especially from village settings to secure their land first," he said.
"We also open bank accounts for each of the students and whatever they earn while here is deposited into their accounts.
"We have had some students who graduated with $10,000 to $15,000 in their accounts.
"These students, these young farmers who have access to land, start off on their own. I know of former students, who upon their return to their village, started their farms and had capital to pay for labourers.
"For some years now we have been slowly taking the steps towards teaching sustainable farming practices. We are lucky that the United Nations Development Program is assisting us with Soil School.
"This program, run by Mike Smith from the Organic Matters Foundation, teaches students how to properly utilise soil and ensure that the soil is good enough for future use. We are trying to move away from the use of chemicals.
"We are what we eat. And we do not want a nation being fed on foods which are chemically enhanced. We also have to ensure that the land which we are using is able to retain its fertility through better and sustainable farming techniques."
NAS sits on 1197 hectares of land. This land is being utilised by the school to grow a variety of crops, farm fish, ducks, chicken and other livestock.
The school is able to market its produce to a large number of buyers.
"In our Soil School program we had 15 girls join us from the Fiji National University's School of Agriculture," he said.
"And after seeing that our women have the capability to become successful farmers and farm managers, we want to open our doors to allow young women into the school. Of course, this is a gradual process but we hope to start doing this by the end of the year.
"And introducing sustainable practices at this level would help the future. Already there are discussions in regards to food security.
"As a nation, as farmers, it is our responsibility to ensure that not only this generation but the future generations are able to reap the benefits of the land."

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Daryl Tarte's books on Fiji

One of the lads in our household picked out a book from the shelves - 'Fiji' by Daryl Tarte, published in 1988, a fictionalised version of life in Fiji - mainly from the point of the view of the Europeans living on Taveuni Island. It's not a bad read, but rather rushed and the disguise of real people is amusing with quite appropriate new names.
Now another book by Tarte has been published, this time by ANU in 2015 and is non-fiction. I hope it is better than the first book. It can be downloaded to read online. It's called 'Fiji: A Place Called Home'. Download book - OAPEN
by D Tarte - 2014
Fiji : A Place Called Home / Daryl Tarte. ISBN: 9781925022049 .... When we glance at a map of the world, Fiji is but a few dots in the vast Pacific. Ocean. In world ...

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Moving Labasa market a waste of money

They've just spent a lot of money on the current Labasa market and now they want to rebuild it elsewhere.

Plan a 'waste of taxpayers money'

Serafina Silaitoga
Sunday, June 05, 2016
STOP wasting taxpayers' money.
A Labasa businessman, Vishal Narayan, made the comment after plans to relocate the Labasa bus stand and market was made known at the National Budget Forum yesterday.
The question on whether the Labasa market and bus stand would be relocated was raised at the forum.
Commissioner Northern Jovesa Vocea told the forum that there have been plans to relocate Labasa market to Subrail Park.
He said the bus stand would also be relocated.
He told the forum that the plans was with the Ministry of Local Government that's handling the projects. But Mr Narayan told the forum that relocating the two premises would be a total waste of taxpayers' money.
"They have just built the double-storey at the market which cost about $350,000 and renovated the market," he said.
"The bus stand has just been done up with cement floors. Are any of these people thinking?
"They need to reconsider. Stop wasting taxpayers' money."
The Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the Minister for Local Government was handling the project.

A bit rough on Tupou

I reckon a suspension for one month would be sufficient.  Others have said worse things and just got away with it. Punishment always seems to be for the Opposition members. Okay if Tupou made the mistake of calling people names, then she should apologize quickly and then get on with the task she's given.

Fiji opposition figure Roko Tupou Draunidalo barred from Parliament for two years

Updated Fri at 9:19pm
The Fiji Government has used its numbers to suspend a key opposition figure from Parliament for more than two years after alleging she called a minister a "fool".

Key points:

  • Committee finds Ms Roko Tupou breached standing orders when she called MP a "fool" and an "idiot"
  • NFP leader had also alleged that Mr Reddy had called the opposition "dumb natives"
  • She is the second opposition MP within a year to be banned for the remainder of the term
Twenty-eight MPs voted in favour of a motion to suspend the National Federation Party (NFP) president Roko Tupou Draunidalo for the remainder of her parliamentary term, and 16 voted against.
The Government-dominated Parliamentary Privileges Committee had earlier found Ms Roko Tupou breached standing orders on Wednesday when she called Education Minister Mahendra Reddy a "fool" and an "idiot", and when she alleged he had called the opposition "dumb natives".
A transcript of the exchange, contained in a report tabled on Friday, has Fiji's Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum saying: "Point of order Madam Speaker, Honourable Draunidalo called the Minister for Education a fool."
According to the report, Ms Roko Tupou responded: "And he implied first in his speech. Calling us dumb natives. You idiot!"
Opposition MPs walked out of Parliament following Friday's vote barring the NFP president, but not before she delivered a response which, among other allegations, questioned the reliability of Hansard.
Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.

  00:00             00:00       
AUDIO: NFP leader Roko Tupou Draunidalo speaks with Liam Fox (Pacific Beat)
"Hansard does not record that I referred to the Minister as a fool. It is the A-G who complained that I called the Minister a fool," she said.
"The Hansard does not pick up all of the free flowing discussion, interjections and words spoken at the time. But if you listen to the audio, it clearly is different from what the Hansard records. And this is not the first time we have had issues with Hansard or verbatim, Madame Speaker."

Women's organisation upset over suspension

Matilda Simmons
Monday, June 06, 2016
A WOMEN's community media organisation has expressed its disappointment over the recent suspension of political leader Roko Tupou Draunidalo from Parliament.
femLINKPACIFIC executive director Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls says she is disappointed at the turn of events last week.
Roko Tupou was voted out of Parliament until the next election for using offensive words on Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy during a heated debate in Parliament.
"It is very disappointing that with the suspension of Tupou Draunidalo, women's representation in Parliament is further reduced to 14 per cent," said Ms Bhagwan-Rolls, whose organisation centred on the role of rural women in national decision-making.
"Furthermore, one would have expected that the Speaker — who has oversight of the parliamentary process, including ensuring discipline — could have simply used her power proactively as she observed the debated remarks. She can force a member to withdraw from the House (for the remaining part of the day) as a cooling off period which would have paved the way for dialogue and mediation on the issues of concern.
"In other Parliaments, an initial suspension is for a shorter period such as 20 days. For example, the initial suspension period in the UK Parliament is for five days for a first offence and 20 days for a second offence, during which time they cannot take part in votes and debates in Parliament.
"Instead, what we have is an extremely harsh penalty at a time when both sides of the House should be focused on rebuilding our country following the devastation of Severe TC Winston."
Draunidalo issues public apology June 10, 2016 05:40:53 PMA+ A-||| 0 inShare   Follow @ Twitter Suspended Member of Parliament, Roko Tupou Draunidalo has issued a public policy to Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy, Parliament and the people of Fiji about her utterances in the House last week. The Suspension Resolution (paragraph (B)) required that she issue a formal public apology in certain terms. “I will comply with the Suspension Resolution, without prejudice to my rights to challenge the process by which it was arrived at,” she said in her letter to Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni, a copy of which was advertised in today’s newspaper. “Through you and without prejudice to any such action, I give this explanation and apology to the Hon. Minister Reddy, Parliament and the people of Fiji about my utterances in the House last week.” “As I stated in the House last Friday, I did not say – and have never said - that the Hon. Minister Reddy uttered the words 'dumb natives'. I was replying by way of interjection to a point of order raised by the Attorney-General, who objected to Dr Reddy being called a “fool.” My interjection was to the effect that Dr Reddy had implied worse of the Opposition: “Calling us dumb natives?”.” “I did not intend to imply that Dr Reddy’s utterances had any racial connotations. As I explained in Parliament I included the Hon. Prem Singh as a “native” in my speech (a definition supported by the Oxford English Dictionary). He is a fourth generation one. Indeed, he has been a native longer (in years) than I have been.” “I have many differences with Dr Reddy. I do not however consider him to be racist and did not intend to cast him as such in the words I used. To anyone who has interpreted my words otherwise, I apologise unreservedly.” “I am required to acknowledge that the breach was severe and that it had far-reaching effects. Through you, Madam, I take this opportunity to encourage every Fijian of like mind to work with me to eradicate the barriers that would lead certain sections of our country to put and receive an ethnic slant to the words I uttered.” MP Draunidalo said she is looking forward to inviting Dr Reddy and his family to her home or village one day so that they can share a meal and put the very unfortunate turn of events behind them. She has been suspended for the remaining term of Parliament and during the period of her suspension, Draunidalo will not be allowed to enter the parliamentary precincts including the Opposition Office. By Reginald Chandar

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