Fiji

Cyclone Mona downgraded as it inches towards Fiji

The cyclone has pulling a circuit in the ocean to the country's northwest for a day, and is now not expected to reach the second-biggest island, Vanua Levu, until late tomorrow.

Mona has winds as high as 100 km/hr at its centre, although the authorities are concerned about the volume of rain it will bring.

This afternoon, it was about 380km north-northwest of Yasa-i-Rara, or about 460km northwest of Labasa, the main town on Vanua Levu.

Speaker of Fiji Parliament has died

Dr Luveni died Saturday morning after collapsing at her home.

She was 72.

Dr Luveni was beginning her second term as Speaker after taking up the position in 2014 in Fiji's newly established Parliament following eight years of military-led rule.

She was the first woman to serve in the position in Fiji.

Before entering politics she was a dentist and held other roles in public health, later serving in the Bainimarama-led interim government as Minister of Health and Minister of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.

 

     

Big screen outside Fiji court for elections dispute case

MPs from the governing FijiFirst party and the Supervisor of Elections are facing petitions disputing the results of last month's election.

A big screen was placed outside the court buildings to hear proceedings brought by the petitioners, the leaders of the opposition parties, SODELPA and the NFP.

Lawyers for the petitioners said they would be calling eight witnesses before the Court of Disputed Returns including two election candidates, party agents who were at the counting centre and party officials.

Fiji Government ministers sworn in

The FijiFirst government has only slightly reshuffled its front bench after winning another four years in power.

The former head of Fiji's consumer watchdog Premila Kumar takes on the heavyweight portfolios of industry, trade and tourism, local government and housing.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum loses education to Rosy Akbar but retains the role of Attorney General and four other portfolios including economy.

Health has been taken up by newcomer and prominent local surgeon Ifereimi Waqainabete.

Frank Bainimarama sworn in as Fiji PM

Mr Bainimarama's FijiFirst party will have another four years in power after last week's election.

"I, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama swear that I will be faithful and bare true allegiance for the Republic of Fiji, according to law," Mr Bainimarama said before a gathering of party members, diplomats, senior members of the military and judiciary at the presidential residence, State House.

"And I will obey, observe, uphold and maintain the constitution of the Republic of Fiji, so help me God."

Digicel provides new telemedicine facility for Suva Children’s Hospital

Digicel Founder and Chairman, Denis O’Brien, who was in Fiji last week as part of a tour of Digicel’s Pacific markets, launched the new teleconference facility at the hospital in Suva.

Digicel worked in partnership with the International Women’s Association, a non-profit group to see this milestone project through.

Fijians brave heavy rain to vote in election

Weather warnings are in place for the whole of Fiji as more than 550,000 voters make their way to the polling booths.

It is a public holiday in Fiji, which is going to the polls for just the second time in 12 years.

Voters have a choice of 233 candidates, from six political parties, vying for 51 seats.

Voters have been urged to double check where they are due to vote or risk being turned away.

Two-thousand police have been deployed and the military is on stand-by.

The police chief is warning rumour-mongers not to create unnecessary fear.

Campaign continues after Rabuka found not guilty

Supporters cheered the SODELPA leader, former prime minister and 1987 coup leader Mr Rabuka as he emerged from the Suva Magistrates Court late this morning.

Mr Rabuka was charged by Fiji's Independent Commission Against Corruption under Fiji's political party regulations - for providing a false declaration of his assets, income and liabilities.

If convicted, he would have been out of the running for the 14 November polls.

Fiji goes to the polls on 14 November

Local media report Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama advised President Jioji Konrote to dissolve parliament today.

Bainimarama visited Government House in Suva this morning and he met with President Konrote for about 30 minutes.

Bainimarama returned from New York earlier today.

President Konrote will issue the Writ of Elections on Monday.

 

Photo file. Caption: A voter casts her vote in the 2014 General Elections in Fiji 

     

No tsunami threat after 7.8 earthquake off Fiji

The tremor struck at 3.49am at a depth of 608 kilometres.

It was centred 101 kilometres east-southeast of the capital Suva.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre says the earthquake was so deep it is unlikely to make a dangerous tsunami.

There have been no reports of damage.

However, residents in parts of the main island of Viti Levu commented on social media that they were awoken to shaking.