-Don?t forget to wind your clocks FORWARD by 1 hr when daylight saving begins on SUNDAY, 27th of October-
1. ?AMBASSADORS AND DEFENCE ATTACHE DAY? IN THE GOLAN HEIGHTS – Fiji?s resident ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Mr Robin Nair yesterday attended a one day event known as the ?Ambassadors and Defence Attaches Day?, accompanied by his Counselor, Mr Aliki Salusalu at Camp Ziouani, Golan Heights.
2. GOVERNMENT OF ALGERIA TO STRENGTHEN BILATERAL RELATIONS WITH FIJI – The Minister of Defence, National Security and Immigration, Joketani Cokanasiga held a bilateral meeting with the Algeria Minister of Maghreb and African Affairs Mr Madjid Bouguerra in New York yesterday.
3. FIJIAN ECONOMY REMAINS UPBEAT – At the beginning of ?the fourth quarter of 2013, figures show that Fiji?s prospects and performance in almost all sectors remains upbeat.
4. INITIATIVE TO EMPOWER RURAL WOMEN – The vital contribution rural women make towards the development of Fiji?s economy is valuable to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.
5. FIJI PROVIDES MEDICAL SUPPORT TO REGIONAL NEIGHBORS – Improvement in Fiji?s health care facilities and resources has seen the Ministry of Health provide medical support to both the local population as well as regional friends.
1. ?AMBASSADORS AND DEFENCE ATTACHE DAY? IN THE GOLAN HEIGHTS
Fiji?s resident ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Mr Robin Nair yesterday attended a one day event known as the ?Ambassadors and Defence Attaches Day?, accompanied by his Counselor, Mr Aliki Salusalu at Camp Ziouani, Golan Heights.
Mr Nair was especially invited to the event based on his coverage and area of responsibility for the greater Middle Eastern Region including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries, the Arab League Members Countries, North Africa, North East Asia and Seychelles Group of Islands.
Mr Nair was warmly welcomed by the Head of Mission and Force Commander, United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), Lieutenant General Iqbal Singh Singha who extended his appreciation on presence of the ambassador in honour of Fijian soldiers.
Lt. General Singha said Fiji has exceptionally well-trained professional soldiers who are among the world?s best United Nations peacekeepers.
?Their attitude and personality lend substantially and positively to the difficult work in the Golan Heights. It is a pleasure for me to work with such high quality soldiers,? Lt. General Singha said.
?Fiji should be proud of their men and women in uniform and for the great contribution they are making to regional peace,? he added.
Mr Nair took the opportunity to express the country?s pride for Fijian soldiers especially in their peace-keeping efforts.
?I am very proud of our soldiers. They make Fiji proud. They make Fiji stand tall in international peace-keeping efforts. It is difficult to express fully the emotions I feel for our men and women here.?I pay tribute to my Government for such pro-active contribution to world peace,? Mr Nair said.
The programme for Ambassadors and Defence Attaches, who were part of this historical event, began with a welcoming reception and later, the Force Commander gave a presentation on UNDOF Roles and Responsibilities as demarcated and mandated by the United Nation Security Council. It also included a Political Brief by the Political Adviser, Operational Brief by the Chief of Staff and a Logistical Brief by the Finance Controller.
Ambassadors and Defence Attaches were also updated on the challenging security situation brought about by the Syrian crisis.
On completion of open house discussions, Ambassadors and Defence Attaches were taken on a tour on two Observation Posts.
The Fiji Battalion carries the maximum number of troops in the Golan Heights and also covers the most volatile operations on both sides of the border between Syria and Israel.
The Fiji Battalion commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho is also commanding the Nepalese contingent, bringing the number under his command to around 600 soldiers.
Ambassdor Nair was offered the traditional sevusevu by the Fijians and later hosted to an afternoon tea lead by Lt. Col Qiliho where he provided a brief on Fiji Battalion?s operations in the Golan Heights.
Mr Nair also presented the ?Ambassadors Cup? to Lt.Col Qiliho for their yearly inter-company rugby tournaments, as a token of the Embassy?s appreciation to Fijian soldiers contribution towards UNDOF mandate and dedication to peace-keeping duties worldwide.
Mr Nair briefed them on the recent achievements of Fiji at the United Nations led by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
He opened the floor for discussions and questions whereby, the Fijian troops responded well and sought the Ambassador?s intervention on matters of concern to them on issues that will assist them perform their duties better during their tour of duty in Golan Heights.
2. GOVERNMENT OF ALGERIA TO STRENGTHEN BILATERAL RELATIONS WITH FIJI
The Minister of Defence, National Security and Immigration, Joketani Cokanasiga held a bilateral meeting with the Algeria Minister of Maghreb and African Affairs Mr Madjid Bouguerra in New York yesterday.
Mr Bouguerra took the opportunity to relay the Government of Algeria?s message of appreciation to the Fijian Government for its 2013 Chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China.
As the previous Chairman of the Group of 77 plus China, Mr Bouguerra expressed Algeria?s understanding of the heavy burden of chairmanship and of Algeria?s full support towards Fiji?s chairmanship and its well recognized efforts in coordinating and guiding the Group?s interests in 2013.
Mr Bouguerra said that despite the geographical distance that separates the two countries, Algeria and Fiji share a lot of developing country experiences. He said Algeria would like the bilateral relationship strengthened.
Mr Cokanasiga thanked the Government of Algeria for their support, and assured Mr Bouguerra that the Fijians government would explore opportunities for strengthening social and economic developmental co-operations.
On the issue of international migration and development, Mr Cokanasiga agreed that international migration is a multidimensional reality of major relevance for the development of origin, transit and destination countries.
In this regard, Mr Cokanisiga recognized that the Group of 77 and China saw international migration as a cross-cutting phenomenon that should be addressed in a coherent, comprehensive and balanced manner, integrating development with due regard to social, economic and environmental dimensions and respecting human rights.
3. FIJIAN ECONOMY REMAINS UPBEAT
At the beginning of ?the fourth quarter of 2013, figures show that Fiji?s prospects and performance in almost all sectors remains upbeat.
In its monthly review, the Reserve Bank of Fiji says sentiments and feedback on investor confidence and optimism received from organisations during the boards recent industry visit to the West and various in-house meetings remained upbeat.
According to the review, the sugar industry remains buoyant.
?Total sugar cane crushed up to 29 September 2013 was 1.15 million tonnes, almost 12 per cent higher than the same period last year.?
?As a result of the improved cane supply and milling efficiency, the volume of sugar produced totalled 126,112 tonnes, nearly 17 per cent higher than the same period last year,? the monthly analysis said.
Consumer confidence continues with new lending for consumption purposes having more than doubled in first eight months of this year to $336.2m, o $336.2 million, while the number of new vehicles sold rose by 46 per cent.
On the job front, the RBF Job Advertisement Survey, labour market conditions have shown further signs of improvement.
?The number of vacant positions advertised cumulative to August, noted an annual increase of 11.5 percent, mostly led by the wholesale and retail trade, tourism, community, social and personal services and the construction sectors.?
Consumer confidence is further supported by encouraging labour market conditions and continued inward remittances which registered a year-on-year growth of 4.9 percent cumulative to July, the review states.
The central banks twin objectives of a comfortable inflation rate and foreign reserves is on track with annual inflation at 2.5 per cent and reserves at $1.83 billion which is sufficient to cover 5.1 months of retained imports of goods and non-factor services.
4. INITIATIVE TO EMPOWER RURAL WOMEN
The vital contribution rural women make towards the development of Fiji?s economy is valuable to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.
Minister of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni made these comments at the media launch of International Rural Women?s Day in Suva today.
International Women?s Day is observed on the 15th of October each year to celebrate rural women?s contribution in strengthening agricultural and rural development, improving food security thus alleviating poverty.
Here at Fiji, this year the event will be celebrated on the 17th and 18th of October at Koroivolu Park in Nadi which will also include Food and Crafts Fair.
Dr Luveni said rural women play a key role in supporting their households and communities in achieving food and nutrition security, generating income, and improving rural livelihoods and overall well-being.
?This year?s theme is ?claim your right to dignity and education?, and it is with great pride that I say, these basic rights cover all women and today I would like to highlight these rights on rural women. Government of Fiji strongly supports this as articulated in the new constitution,? Dr Luveni said.
Dr Luveni highlighted that the empowerment of rural women and girls can lead them to fully enjoy their human rights and bolster their efforts to improve their lives as well as those of others around them.
?Our government cares for the livelihoods, security, welfare and full development of rural women. The focused approach on poverty alleviation by the government impacts greatly on the Rural Women.
?However, many a times the efforts of rural women are hurtfully branded as just their ?duties? or ?responsibilities?. The hard work, endurance and persistence with which rural women strive to put food on the table cannot go unrecognized and we must refuse to accept it as ?just their duty?,? Dr Luveni said.
The ministry recognizes the hard earned efforts of rural women and girls in Fiji and will progress empowerment and better livelihoods for them.
?The time a rural woman spends in unpaid labor is often longer than what a working class man or woman does. They toil with perseverance, love and patience as they were divinely crafted for the totality of families, communities and even nations.
?We have now come to an era where rural women no longer depend on traditional methods of supporting their families. They are now as enterprising as any other woman in the more developed parts of the country. Rural women have turned entrepreneurs building on their talents and resourcefulness to diversify their income generating methods,? the minister said.
Dr Luveni said the Food & Crafts Fair to mark this important event this year will be a socioeconomic environment for rural women to establish a market for themselves and promote their products.
Information, education and communication (IEC) materials will also be distributed to rural women during the fair to equip them on knowledge and skills on important social issues that they are faced with in their daily lives.
Dr Luveni also urged Fijians to support rural women, empower them and appreciate their contributions towards families, communities and national development.
5. FIJI PROVIDES MEDICAL SUPPORT TO REGIONAL NEIGHBORS
Improvement in Fiji?s health care facilities and resources has seen the Ministry of Health provide medical support to both the local population as well as regional friends.
Recently two patients from Solomon Islands were referred to Colonial War Memorial (CWM) hospital by the National Referral Hospital of Honiara who underwent angiography test conducted by local specialists.
Another patient from Kiribati was also referred to CWM hospital for cardiac check up.
Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said this is one of the key achievements of the Ministry and reflects the improvement into Fiji?s health care system.
?The referral of patients by Solomon Islands and Kiribati to Fiji shows that we have well driven health care facilities and resources which not only benefits locals but our regional friends as well?, Dr. Sharma added.
?Not too long ago a Fijian Government rehabilitation team was also in Nauru to assess amputees with the aim of getting them ready for prosthetic limb fitting in Fiji.
?The request came through Nauru?s Minister of Health during a regional ministerial meeting held recently. A rehab doctor and two physiotherapists were in Nauru with 30 patients,? Dr Sharma said.
?Nauru has a hospital but does not have prosthetic services especially for amputees.?
He added that the selected patients would be travelling to Fiji to get their limbs fitted at the Tamavua hospital.
Meanwhile, ?the Ministry has also commissioned an MRI machine and a CT scanner that had assisted in improved services by the staff.
?Additional to the Cardiac Cat Lab, we have added a non-invasive cardiology in the form of echocardiography to see the status of the heart soon after heart attack or to detect valves and leaks within the heart,? Dr Sharma added.
?We are renovating three operating theatres in the west wing as well and that will take us up to 11 operating theatres and there is already an operating theatre in the eye hospital,? he said.