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TC Tino: North assessments deployed to Udu

ABOUT 10 assessment teams have been sent to villages in Udu Point area to assess possible damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Tino. Acting Commissioner Northern Uraia Rainima said the teams left at 11am today following...

No word on pay increment for teachers

THERE has been no clear indication from the Education Ministry on whether teachers will receive pay increments. During Education Minister Rosy Akbar’s meeting with heads of schools on Thursday, the question on when teachers would be paid was asked. A head of school from the Nausori area asked Ms Akbar on the outcome of the...

Akbar clarifies acting posts

POSITIONS of acting head of school can be revoked at the end of the acting period or earlier under certain circumstances, says Education Minister Rosy Akbar. She also told heads of schools that they should view their acting position as a privilege. Ms Akbar said the performance of teachers who were acting in leadership positions...

‘No fees incurred for damaged textbooks’

THERE is no policy to recover damaged books under the free textbooks initiative in schools by Government, says Education Minister Rosy Akbar during a forum at Saint Joseph’s Secondary School in Suva. She said there were no fees incurred if students lost or damaged textbooks. Ms Akbar said parents had raised concerns after some schools...

Philippine volcano shows signs of calming, but danger remains

MANILA (Reuters) – A Philippine volcano that has been spewing ash for days appeared to be calming down on Thursday, but seismologists said the danger of an eruption remained high and authorities warned evacuees not to return to their homes. Some residents took advantage of what they perceived as a lull in the activity of...

Rabuka urges FICAC to probe tender

OPPOSITION Leader Sitiveni Rabuka yesterday lodged a complaint against Government to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) for failure to comply with government financial procurement procedures in appointing consultants to the restructuring of Rewa Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd in 2010. Mr Rabuka said the procedures were laid out in the 2005 Finance Instructions issued...

FTA demands list of appointment

THE Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) is demanding that the Education Ministry releases the names of teachers who have been appointed to act as principals in state and church-owned schools. FTA general-secretary Paula Manumanunitoga said the ministry must publicly release the said data and the performance of teachers who were appointed through the open merit recruitment...

From Australian bushfire ashes, a community rises in solidarity

COBARGO, Australia (Reuters) – For two weeks, builder Rod Dunn has been living at a showground in a borrowed caravan, wearing an old coat donated by a friend. His house, car, sheds and work tools were wiped out by the ferocious New Year bushfires that swept through the Australian town of Cobargo, killing three of...

TC Tino: Prompt action praised

EVACUEES at the 17 centres in the North, that opened yesterday, have applauded the prompt action by police and the emergency operations team headed by acting commissioner northern Uraia Rainima. The evacuees described the response by police as swift and timely. Labasa evacuee Iliesa Seru said they contacted police at midday and by 2:30pm, the...

TC Tino: Not much damage caused in Rotuma

STRONG winds hit Itumuta, Rotuma, yesterday but according to Rotuma Council chairman Gagaj Samuela Manav, Tropical Cyclone Tino did not cause as much damage as initially expected. “The weather was bad in the morning (yesterday),” he said, speaking to this newspaper from Rotuma. “We had strong winds from 8am to 11am but after that, it...

TC Tino: Cruise suspends Yasawa operations

SOUTH Sea Cruises suspended their Yasawa operations after a directive from the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji yesterday. In its travel advisory, South Sea Cruises confirmed all of its Yasawa operations through Awesome Adventures had been suspended until further notice. “South Sea Cruises and Awesome Adventures will be liaising throughout the day with MSAF to...

TC Tino: Fiji Airways cancels flights

FLIGHTS to Tonga, Vanua Levu and Rotuma were cancelled yesterday with more suspended today by national airline Fiji Airways. A total of 11 flights were grounded yesterday while one international flight was brought forward as Tropical Cyclone Tino approached the Fiji Group yesterday. In its second travel advisory this week, the national airline confirmed flights...

Germany adds brown coal to energy exit under landmark deal

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is set to become the first country to drop both nuclear and coal power under a landmark agreement to compensate workers, companies and regional governments as it switches off brown coal-fired plants by 2038. The government struck a deal worth more than 40 billion euros ($44.7 billion) in the small hours...

TC Tino: Business as usual for West towns

IT was business as usual in Nadi and Sigatoka yesterday as most parts of the Western Division did not feel the full brunt of Tropical Cyclone Tino. Nadi Town Council and Sigatoka Town Council special administrators’ chairwoman Debra Sadranu said there were little disruptions caused by the Category 1 cyclone yesterday. “We have our teams...

TC Tino: Police to patrol streets

POLICE officers in the Western Division would be patrolling the streets in urban and rural centres to ensure the safety of the public during Tropical Cyclone Tino. West divisional police commander Senior Superintendent of Police Surend Sami said while the region would not feel the full brunt of the Category 1 cyclone, officers would still...

Judge in Weinstein rape trial says case is not a ‘referendum’ on #MeToo movement

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Four men and three women were chosen on Thursday as jurors in the rape trial of Harvey Weinstein, as the judge cautioned against using the case to make a broader statement about the #MeToo movement. Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges in New York of assaulting two women, and...

TC Tino: Mum joins search for loved ones

ROSALIA Kaitavu left her home early yesterday along with other villagers of Naimasimasi, Serua, to search for her husband and eldest daughter. Her husband Napolioni Kaitavu, a secondary school teacher and her eldest daughter Aliti Kaitavu were allegedly swept away by strong currents while trying to cross the flooded Wainikavou creek on Thursday. When a...

TC Tino: Villagers drink rainwater

VILLAGERS of Vunaniu in Serua are drinking rainwater after their main water pipe was swept away by floodwaters two days ago. Villager Samisoni Matanitaubua said this happened whenever the Selo bridge — where the pipe lay submerged — was flooded. “This is a norm for us as we live in a flood-prone area,” he said....

Yosemite National Park says 170 people ill in possible norovirus outbreak

(Reuters) – Some 170 people who have spent time in Yosemite National Park in recent weeks have suffered from a gastrointestinal ailment “consistent with norovirus” and two have been diagnosed with the illness, park officials said on Thursday. Most of those who became ill spent time in Yosemite Valley during or around the first week...

TC Tino: Vukicibau recalls past experiences

AVELINA Vukicibau of Tubarua Village in Serua is hoping that what happened to their village in the past 20 years will not be repeated this year. She said their village was always severely affected by tropical cyclones. Ms Vukicibau said floodwaters had wiped out several houses in one cyclone that she vividly recalls. The 52-year-old...

TC Tino: Galoa family monitors weather

A FAMILY in Galoa, Serua, is preparing to leave their home if heavy rain continues. Jone Mocenacagi said they had been keeping themselves up-to-date with the current weather situation. He said things could get worse for them if it rained during high tide. Mr Mocenacagi said this could be dangerous for families living in that...

TC Tino: Vunaniu villagers want bridge fixed

A BRIDGE that connects the villagers of Vunaniu in Serua to the main road has been damaged by floodwaters. Villager Kristiana Moce said the damaged bridge had restricted their movement – a norm whenever it flooded. “We need this so that our movement is easy,” Ms Moce said. “We want this to ensure that our...

Pentagon gets request to build roughly 435 kilometres of Trump border wall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon has received a request from within the Trump administration to build roughly 270 miles (435 km) of wall on the border with Mexico and is evaluating its cost and viability, a senior Defense Department official said on Thursday. The disclosure of the request by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)...

TC Tino: Storm surges prompt move inland

STORM surges experienced last night forced villagers of Wainiika Village to move inland. Village elder Saula Tuiqalau said they had relocated all villagers living by the shores. “We have moved them to the village hall because the high waves always affect their houses,” he said. “And we don’t want anything to happen to them which...

Prince Harry appears in public for first time since royal split

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry made his first public appearance on Thursday since Queen Elizabeth acceded to the wishes of her grandson and his American wife Meghan to step back from their senior royal roles and seek a more independent future. The prince, sixth-in-line to the throne, watched children playing rugby league in the...

Ukraine says bodies of all 11 Ukrainians in Iran plane crash identified

KIEV (Reuters) – The bodies of all 11 Ukrainians who died in last week’s plane crash in Iran have been identified and will be transported back to Ukraine on Jan. 19, the interior ministry said in a statement to Reuters on Thursday. The five countries whose citizens died when Iran shot down a Ukrainian passenger...

Rabuka lodges complaint against Govt to FICAC

OPPOSITION leader Sitiveni Rabuka yesterday lodged a complaint against Government to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) for failure to comply with Government financial procurement procedures in appointing consultants to the restructuring of Rewa Co-operative Dairy Company in 2010. Mr Rabuka said the procedures were laid out in the 2005 Finance Instructions issued under...

Senegal rape law offers hope after years of silence

DAKAR (Reuters) – A new law in Senegal that criminalises rape has come too late for one young woman. She was raped last year and is now trying to put her life back together with a baby. But the legislation brings hope to women who campaigned to force the West African nation to accept that...

TC Tino: Strong winds hits Rotuma

STRONG winds hit Itumuta, Rotuma, yesterday but according to Rotuma Council chairman Gagaj Samuela Manav, Tropical Cyclone Tino did not cause as much damage as initially expected. “The weather was bad in the morning (yesterday),” he said, speaking to The Fiji Times from Rotuma. “We had strong winds from 8am to 11am but after that...

Sudan appoints new intelligence chief in wake of failed revolt

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s transitional authorities on Thursday appointed a new intelligence chief days after putting down an armed revolt by former agents linked to toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir, the sovereign council said. The army said two soldiers were killed and four wounded in fighting late on Tuesday in Khartoum with former members of the...

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