FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 4:30PM 08/07/13

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1.?PACIFIC SCIENCE PARTICIPANTS URGED TO FORM STRONGER PARTNERSHIPS?-?Fijian President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has urged participants at the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress to form greater and stronger partnerships with governments in the region.

2.?WILD EXTREMES DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE -?Fiji is already feeling the impact of climate change resulting in wild extremes in our weather, says the Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

3.?SCHOOLS ASSESSMENT BEGINS?TOMORROW?-?The Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (LANA) which beginstomorrow?(July 9) for schools nationwide would be able to identify areas of need for students to help teachers develop alternatives for improvement.

4.?JOINT MEETING ON DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE UNDERWAY -?More than three hundred Pacific regional experts on climate change and disaster management are meeting in Nadi this week in a bid to strengthen regional efforts to addressing effects of this phenomena faced by mankind in the 21st century .

5.?BIBLES FOR NAUSORI SCHOOLS?-?Schools in Nausori today received copies of the King James Version Bible from the Baptist International Missions from Chattanooga in Tennessee, USA.

6.?REVIEW OF THE FIJI NATIONAL TRANSPORT SECTOR PLAN?-?Government as part of its commitment to providing better transportation for all Fijians, has embarked on plans to review the Fiji National Transport Sector Plan (FNTSP) this year.

7.?STUDENTS OF LEVUKA PUBLIC PRIMARY PRESENT I-TATAU EDUCATION MINISTER?-?Levuka Public Primary School today presented their?i-tatau?to the Minister for Education, Mr Filipe Bole before travelling to attend the 25th Asia Pacific Children?s Convention in Japan from?July 12 to 24.

8.?MINISTRY OF LABOUR DISPLAYS SERVICES AT GIC -?The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment wil be displaying its services to the public this week at the Government Information Centre from?July 8 to 13.

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1. PACIFIC SCIENCE PARTICIPANTS URGED TO FORM STRONGER PARTNERSHIPS

Fijian President, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has urged participants at the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress to form greater and stronger partnerships with governments in the region.

Officially opening the inter congress today at the FMF Gymnasium, the head of state encouraged representatives of more than fifty countries in the Pacific and the Pacific Rim to explore solutions and become results-oriented.

?I encourage you to form greater and stronger partnerships with governments in the region so that your findings can be translated into policies that can have real and tangible impacts on our people,? Ratu Epeli said.

?In your efforts to develop the “Science of the Pacific” I encourage you to translate the outcomes of your meeting into easily understood messages that can be used by our people to improve their everyday lives now and in the future.?

Ratu Epeli highlighted that climate change, particularly rising sea levels were already affecting countries such as Kiribati, Tuvalu and Fiji and is a real and imminent danger for the region.

?Ladies and gentlemen, in the next few hours we will have the privilege of hearing from the President of Kiribati, His Excellency Anote Tong – one of the region’s outspoken Heads of States on sea level rise,? Ratu Epeli said.

?I can almost imagine that His Excellency’s message will evolve around the issue of climate change, specifically on sea-level rise and how this is already affecting our brothers and sisters in the atolls of Kiribati, and might I add of Tuvalu and the other islands including some right here in Fiji.

?I empathize with His Excellency Anote Tong in the same way that I wish the best for all our other brothers and sisters in the Asia-Pacific region.?

The head of state also challenged participants to take emerging ideas and new technologies and put them into practical forms to be easily used in finding solutions that is needed to ensure human security and sustainable development for the Pacific Islands and its Rim.

Fiji last hosted the 8th Pacific Science Inter-Congress in 1997.

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2. WILD EXTREMES DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Fiji is already feeling the impact of climate change resulting in wild extremes in our weather, says the Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this included an increase in the number of hurricanes and strength of cyclones affecting the region.

He said an average of four such events each are being seen annually and wave heights of recent cyclones have exceeded even the projections of climate change models.

Citing natural disasters that affected the Fiji group recently, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said while scientifically it cannot be proven that the stronger impact was directly due to climate change, ?there is evidence to suggest that disasters in Fiji and the rest of the region are becoming more intense and frequent

?Last year, Fiji declared a state of disaster over flooding and landslides that killed at least six people and displaced thousands more,? Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

?Over 8,000 people sought refuge in evacuation centres organised by Government through the National Disaster Management Office. We had a repeat event with Hurricane Evan earlier this year, though mercifully without loss of life.

?The impact of flooding was especially felt in Nadi and nearby areas in Western Fiji. Roads were inundated, the water supply was severed, communications and power were disrupted, farms and the food supply were damaged, shops and schools were closed, every aspect of life was affected,? Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added.

?A similar event occurred in 2009. While we cannot scientifically prove.?

The acting Prime Minister, highlighting the availability of limited resources, added that there is a need for a holistic approach to problem solving that is practical, affordable and involves a close partnership between Government, the business community and civil society groups.

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3. SCHOOLS ASSESSMENT BEGINS?TOMORROW

The Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (LANA) which begins?tomorrow?(July 9) for schools nationwide would be able to identify areas of need for students to help teachers develop alternatives for improvement.

Minister for Education Mr Filipe Bole said this year, LANA has been administered in 727 centres involving 48,641 students.

LANA assesses the Literacy and Numeracy skills of children in classes four, six and eight.?Students would be sitting for Literacytomorrow?and Numeracy?on Wednesday.

Mr Bole said this formative assessment has a strong school based focus and is not an external examination to categorise students into pass or failures.

He added the diagnostic assessment feeds teachers with information on what students can or cannot do in literacy and numeracy. Teachers capitalize on this information to identify alternatives for improvement.

?This assessment brings to light the areas of student need and teachers are to ensure that they identify means of meeting it. A student should receive the best form of education and teachers are to capitalize on this assessment to maximize the students potential,? Mr Bole said.

Teachers mark LANA papers at their individual schools or cluster schools and get to collect immediate feedback on their student?s performance.

The marked scripts are then sent to the Examinations and Assessment Unit where student?s responses are used to generate the individual students report, school report and the national average.

?I wish to convey my best wishes to all the students sitting for their LANA from?tomorrow?and hope that they will put up a brilliant performance in their respective schools,? Mr Bole added.

The assessment will finish on Wednesday July 10.

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4. JOINT MEETING ON DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE UNDERWAY

More than three hundred Pacific regional experts on climate change and disaster management are meeting in Nadi this week in a bid to strengthen regional efforts to addressing effects of this phenomena faced by mankind in the 21st century.

The inaugural joint meeting of the 2013 Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management & Pacific Climate Change Roundtable started at the Sofitel Resort in Denarau this morning aimed at progressing discussions and political commitment on the development of an integrated strategy by 2015.

The four day meeting hosted by the Fijian Government, is jointly organised by Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and SPREP (South Pacific Regional Environment Programme).

Ministry of Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management permanent secretary, Mr Filipe Alifereti said an integrated strategy would replace the current Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Framework for Action 2005 -2015 and Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change 2006 -2015.

Mr Alifereti said the national platform to address climate change and disaster risk management issues urgently needs to be strengthened because effects of this phenomena is clearly evident with relocation of villages and communities around the region.

?We need to look at the climate change and disasters that we face in the Pacific Rim, especially for Fiji. We need to strengthen our national platform. On the same note, we need to access financial assistance from the big players who contribute to the high carbon levels in the Pacific region,? Mr Alifereti said.

?There are a lot of villages in Fiji that need to be relocated and that is all part of the sea level rise. We need to work together to find out how best we can address these to mitigate some of the challenges our people face.?

Mr Alifereti said there are about four villages that have been identified for relocation due to impacts of climate change.

?Vunidogoloa village on Vanua Levu was relocated to higher ground last year and there is a village in Kadavu, some in Serua that face the same problems,? Mr Alifereti added.

?At the moment, we are trying to address it before we have something worse like a Tsunami strike. There are also unexpected occasional high tides that have an impact on village housing,? he said.

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5. BIBLES FOR NAUSORI SCHOOLS

Schools in Nausori today received copies of the King James Version Bible from the Baptist International Missions from Chattanooga in Tennessee, USA.

The Bible donation project to all secondary and primary schools in Fiji is an initiative of Baptist International Missions from USA.

Baptist International Missions director Mr Alan Brooks said a total of 221,000 Bibles would be handed out to all students and teachers in Fiji.

?To date about 29,040 Bibles have been distributed to 74 schools,? Mr Brooks said.

He added that the nature of the Fijian people makes it one of the friendliest destinations in the world.

?I have a heart for Fiji people and I have travelled many places but never found such a friendly place like Fiji,? Mr Brooks said.

This version of the bible includes both the old and new testaments, cross references and a dictionary.

Nausori High School head boy Mr Mitieli Lotawa thanked the generosity of the donors and said the teachings from the Bible would build character and spiritual development of the students.

Principal of the Saraswati College Mr Prasad said, ?The bibles will bring in moral development of the children at school.?

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6. REVIEW OF THE FIJI NATIONAL TRANSPORT SECTOR PLAN

Government as part of its commitment to providing better transportation for all Fijians has embarked on plans to review the Fiji National Transport Sector Plan (FNTSP) this year.

Works, Transport and Public Utilities deputy secretary for operations Mr Manasa Lesuma said the ministry has an allocation of $130, 000 for consultations to first undertake the formulation of ?the Land and Maritime Transport Policies before the review of the FNTSP.

?Terms of References for all documents have been finalised and sent to the Office of the Solicitor General for vetting and clearance,? Mr Lesuma said.

Mr Lesuma added that after clearance has been completed, the ministry would call for tenders and expressions of interest to recruit potential transport consultants to undertake these assignments.

He highlighted that the review of the FNTSP will be for a twenty year period but the Ministry has decided to cluster it into four blocks of five year programmes.

?This is to allow for all transport stakeholders and future investors to reconcile Fiji?s transport achievements and shortfalls which will assist in making better business decisions which will benefit the transport sector in contributing to economic growth of the nation ,? Mr Lesuma said.

Meanwhile, the ministry is looking into sea route licensing for maritime islands and freight rates including passenger fares.

Mr Lesuma said a public consultation benchmarked from a Government initiated Commerce Commission Report on the Review of Freight Rates and Passenger Fares is still underway in which route licensing has been discussed with local ship operators.

The ministry will conduct its last round of consultations in the outer-islands of Rotuma, Vanua Balavu and Lakeba and then submit its recommendations for Cabinet?s concurrence.

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7. STUDENTS OF LEVUKA PUBLIC PRIMARY PRESENT I-TATAU EDUCATION MINISTER

Levuka Public Primary School today presented their?i-tatau?to the Minister for Education, Mr Filipe Bole before travelling to attend the 25th Asia Pacific Children?s Convention in Japan from?July 12 to 24.

Four students from the school have been selected to participate in the convention which is held annually with representatives from the Asia Pacific Region.

Mr Bole congratulated the students on their selection to participate in the event.

?Congratulations on your selection and have an enjoyable time exchanging cultural values,? Mr Bole said.

School head teacher Mr Samuela Wailevu said the event would showcase preparations made by the students.

Class six representative Ravuama Suvavou said she was excited to be part of the event and was looking forward to other cultural dances that would be showcased at the convention.

?I am looking forward to making new friends and get an experience on home-stay,? said Sereana Tinaiseru, another class six representative.

The group would be accompanied by the Bridge Club president Mr Deepak Dutt, Peace Ambassador 2013, Ms Seruwaia Tagilolo, and the Primary School Section principal education officer Mr Petero Suka.

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8. MINISTRY OF LABOUR DISPLAYS SERVICES AT GIC

The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment wil be displaying its services to the public this week at the Government Information Centre from?July 8 to 13.

The display would be open to the public from?8am to 4pm from Monday?to?Friday?and?8am to 1pm on Saturday.

Minister for Labour Mr Jone Usamate encouraged members of the public including all workers, employers, and stakeholders to capitalize on this opportunity provided by Government to visit the Ministry officials regarding any labour related issues.

?Our officers from the various sections of the Ministry would be stationed at the GIC to assist members of the public with any labour related issues they have,? Mr Usamate said.

?Our prime objective for this display is to educate the members of the public on the various services provided by the Ministry, to educate workers and employers on their rights and responsibilities and address and resolve all grievances or issues raised by the public.?

Services displayed by the Ministry include Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation, Employment Relations, Wages Regulations, National Employment Centre, Mediation & Tribunal Services, Workplace Productivity and Child Labour Unit information.

Together with the services the Ministry would also exhibit its OHS inspection equipments such as the non-destructive testing equipments, chemical and hygiene monitoring equipments and other testing apparatuses for public view.

Mr Usamate said the Ministry has achieved significant results in the resolution of cases and complaints that was received through its public consultations throughout the country.

?From the first quarter of this year we have been conducting roadshows around the country and we have successfully resolved 75 per cent of the complaints that were raised during the consultations in the Western division and 63 per cent resolution in the Northern, while the Central Eastern Division consultations are still in progress,? Mr Usamate said.

?Through these consultations were also able to identify the areas of improvement in the services delivered by the Ministry and are developing mechanisms to ensure better service delivery, and ultimately achieving social justice, good faith employment relations and safe and productivity driven workplaces in Fiji,? he added.

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