MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 4:30PM 01/07/13

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1.?PRESIDENT URGES RUGBY PUNDITS TO HAVE HOLISTIC APPROACH TOWARDS RUGBY -?The President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has reminded rugby personalities and executives to work with communities to reach new levels of the sport in Fiji.

2.?NEW PUISNE JUDGE FOR FIJI’S JUDICIARY -?Fiji?s judiciary has welcomed a new addition to its ranks following the swearing in of a Puisne Judge to the Fijian High Court.

3.?JULY IS ROAD SAFETY MONTH: LTA -?The Land Transport Authority (LTA) today officially launched a media campaign to mark July as the Road Safety Awareness Campaign month.

4.?SCHEME TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO 50,000 -?Close to fifty thousand people would be assisted through Government?s Poverty Benefit Scheme, says the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.

5.?GINGER EXPORTATION TO AUSTRALIAN MARKET TO BEGIN SOON -?The Ministry of Agriculture is targeting a thousand (1000) tonne consignment of ginger when it begins exporting to Australia in September.

1.?PRESIDENT URGES RUGBY PUNDITS TO HAVE HOLISTIC APPROACH TOWARDS RUGBY

The President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has reminded rugby personalities and executives to work with communities to reach new levels of the sport in Fiji.

Ratu Epeli, this morning, officially opened a two day conference organized by the Fiji Rugby Union as part of its 100th centennial celebrations with the theme ?Reflections on the past, present and future?.

Ratu Epeli said it was important to recognize those people who nurture the sport below the level of national teams and international competitions.

?We must remember that except for a tiny minority, rugby remains an amateur game. We must acknowledge of the importance of the selfless work of sub-union, club and school officials and volunteers who organize village sides, run the touchlines and referee matches,? Ratu Epeli said.

?These are, and always have been, the foundations of rugby in Fiji. Indeed, if we really want to understand the state of our game and its future, perhaps we should look at the bedrock of community rather than the latest international result.?

?Here in Fiji, we might look to rugby in a similar spirit. Over the past century, rugby helped put our country on the map. Perhaps in the next 100 years this sport can forge an even greater sense of unity and community for all of us in Fiji,? he added

Ratu Epeli highlighted the importance of utilising the conference to seek complex answers and constructive solutions pertaining to the sport in the country.

?I would like to encourage the Fiji Rugby Union to continue to consider a holistic approach to rugby. The sport must continue to be developed at both the local and national levels for both social and competitive purposes. There are many benefits to be achieved in both these areas,? Ratu Epeli said.

Ratu Epeli also acknowledged efforts of academics who have recently been appointed to the Fiji Rugby Union Board.

?I am pleased to note the inclusion into the FRU Board of Academic Dr Esther Williams from USP. I am of the view that FRU should continue to invest in a scientific approach to assist the development of rugby especially at the competitive level,? Ratu Epeli said.

?As we face challenges of introducing reforms that will help shape Fiji rugby?s future, I am optimistic that the Fiji Rugby Union will continue to strive for the betterment and development of rugby in the country,? Ratu Epeli added.

The two-day conference will feature key speakers such as former New Zealand Rugby Seven?s captain Eric Rush and academics from around the region.

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2.?NEW PUISNE JUDGE FOR FIJI’S JUDICIARY

Fiji?s judiciary has welcomed a new addition to its ranks following the swearing in of a Puisne Judge to the Fijian High Court.

Puisne judge, Mr Lal Sirimevan Abeygunaratne was sworn in by the President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today at Government House.

The head of state welcomed the judge to Fiji after he took his oath before senior members of the judiciary.

Prior to his appointment to the Fijian High Court, Mr Abeygunaratne practiced as an attorney at law in the Sri Lankan courts from 1978 to 1992.

He was also the director general of the Consumer Affairs Authority of Sri Lanka.

The newly appointed puisne judge also has vast experience in adjudicating civil and criminal cases and has undergone extensive training by the Judges Training Institute of Sri Lanka during his term as a district judge.

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3.?JULY IS ROAD SAFETY MONTH: LTA

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) today officially launched a media campaign to mark July as the Road Safety Awareness Campaign month.

LTA chief executive officer Mr Naisa Tuinaceva today who officially said the campaign was a collective effort by LTA and media organisations to control or eliminate the unnecessary loss of life in the next six months.

?We would like to lift road safety up to another level this month. The last six months our collective effort with the Police and of course with the local media has help in the drastic decrease of road fatality,? Mr Tuinaceva said.

He said 2006 recorded the most numbers of fatalities with a total death toll of 89.

Mr Tuinaceva said currently road fatality toll is at its lowest in the country.

?I am pleased to announce that we are at our lowest best of road fatality figures at 14 compared to 18 at the same period last year,? Mr Tuinaceva said.

?Through this launch today we are reinforcing the public information component of the authority and governments roads and safety framework.?

Mr Tuinaceva added the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that by the year 2020 the road crisis is likely to be ahead of cancer in terms of lives lost.

?Today?s media launch is aimed at informing the public of ways they can contribute to their safety through clear, coordinated and concise safety messages which will help raise public awareness on road safety issues,? Mr Tuinaceva said.

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4.?SCHEME TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO 50,000

Close to fifty thousand people would be assisted through Government?s Poverty Benefit Scheme, says the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.

The scheme replaces the Family Assistance Program and would expand the coverage of social welfare assistance provided to the poor population.

?Under the Poverty Benefit Scheme a maximum of four persons in a household will be assisted with a maximum of $150 monthly allowance, which is inclusive of the $30 food voucher, unlike in the Family Assistance Program which was category based (elderly, chronically ill and permanently disabled),? Dr Luveni said.

?As per the review it was shown that assistance was exclusive to these three categories and there were some poor people who couldn?t be assisted simply because they didn?t fall in these categories.?

?With the older system we were assisting only 21,000 people, however through the Poverty Benefit Scheme we can assist 50 to 52,000 people,? Dr Luveni added.

?The scheme will increase coverage of Fiji?s poor population from three per cent under the previous system, to 10 per cent under the new system,? Dr Luveni said.

The second major programme for social welfare ministry is the Social Pension Scheme for senior citizens who are 70 years and above, who are not receiving any form of superannuation funds.

?The Social Pension Scheme is reflection of Government?s commitment to provide an inclusive and enabling environment for the elderly in the country. Cabinet has endorsed Fiji?s Ageing Policy that promotes an inclusive and enabling environment for the senior citizens,? Dr Luveni said

?There are more than 5000 senior citizens who would benefit from the Social Pension Scheme.?

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5.?GINGER EXPORTATION TO AUSTRALIAN MARKET TO BEGIN SOON

The Ministry of Agriculture is targeting a thousand (1000) tonne consignment of ginger when it begins exporting to Australia in September.

Ministry of Agriculture, Deputy Secretary, Uraia Waibuta said that the Ministry?s initial target was 1000 tonnes which will be confirmed later in the year.

?We are looking at about 1000 tonnes of ginger in our first consignment and this figure will be finalised in August upon completion of the necessary ground work,? ?Mr Waibuta said.

?We should then be able to finalise whether we will be sending 500 tonnes or 1000 tonnes.?

Mr Waibuta added the Ministry would continue to register farmers and advise them on ginger production expectations.

?We are focussing on how well we can harvest the existing crop and also meet the requirements of the Australian market in accepting the first shipment of ginger,? ?Mr Waibuta said.

?There are certain standards which we are required to meet so the Ministry is working towards that.?

The Ministry has also identified farmers and two exporters who would be involved in the ginger exportation process to Australia.

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