MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 22/08/14 5:00PM ?

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1.?????PUBLIC INVITED TO ACCESS MEDICAL ASSISTANCE FROM VISITING MEDIC GROUP?-?The public has been urged to take advantage of the free medical services that is being provided by a visiting medical team from China.

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2.?????LAW GRADUATES REMINDED ON ROLE AT ADMISSION CEREMONY?-?Young law graduates were today reminded on their role in serving the public and to always uphold the principles and values of Fiji?s legal system.

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3.?????SERUA PRAISES GOVERNMENT?S APPROACH TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT?- Community leaders in Serua province have applauded the Bainimarama government for its approach to reach out and assist rural communities.

4.?????MARRIAGE OFFICERS ATTEND TRAINING?- Officials from the All Nations Church participated at a day-long training at the Suvavou House organised by the Registrar General?s office.

5.?????55 COMMUNITIES TRAINED ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH?- The Ministry of Women?s Reproductive Health Unit has so far trained more than 55 communities in Fiji on the various skills and information on Sexual Reproductive Health and Family Planning.

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1?PUBLIC INVITED TO ACCESS MEDICAL ASSISTANCE FROM VISITING MEDIC GROUP

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The public has been urged to take advantage of the free medical services that is being provided by a visiting medical team from China.

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Senior officials of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the Fiji Police Force today received members of the Chinese People?s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) hospital ship ?Peace Ark?.

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Speaking at a briefing on board the Chinese PLAN hospital ship, RFMF Chief of Staff, Brigadier, Mohammed Aziz said that Fiji welcomed the Peace Ark.

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?We hope that you will enjoy your visit with us in the next few days,? Brigadier Aziz said.

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The Peace Ark equipped with 300 beds and 8 operating rooms is in the country for a week and will be providing relevant medical services to Fijians.

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The Chinese PLAN hospital ship is in Fiji as part of the fourth session of ?Mission Harmony? which is a major military exchange activity between China and South Pacific countries.

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The visit also consolidates and strengthens the traditional friendship and mutual cooperation between China and Fiji.

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(Editors, attached is the program for the visiting ship & medical team)

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2?LAW GRADUATES REMINDED ON ROLE AT ADMISSION CEREMONY

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Young law graduates were today reminded on their role in serving the public and to always uphold the principles and values of Fiji?s legal system.

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This was relayed at the High Court of Fiji today as it admitted 37 law graduates as legal practitioners to the bar and the legal fraternity of Fiji. The University of the South Pacific law graduates were reminded to serve the people of the country at the admissions ceremony today.

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While addressing the graduates, Chief Justice Anthony Gates said the oath taken by the practitioners should serve as a reminder for them to act as a responsible, committed, honourable and noble officer of the court.

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?You will at all times be courteous to court, counsel, litigants and witnesses whilst maintaining moral courage and demonstrating your true independence as a member of the bar,? Chief Justice Anthony Gates said.

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The Chief Justice added that the main concerns for lawyers should be to stand up for order, due investigation, proof of wrong-doing, procedure and decorum; and truth and fairness in our justice system.

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Ravinesh Chandra Goundar who was excited to be admitted to bar before the Honourable Chief Justice said he will ensure that no innocent person is found guilty and his/her justice and rights are denied.

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?We will make sure that the rule of law is upheld in each and every judicial action as well as outside the court,? Me Goundar said.

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Most of the new graduates have already secured permanent employment at various law firms in Fiji.

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3?SERUA PRAISES GOVERNMENT?S APPROACH TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

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Community leaders in Serua province have applauded the Bainimarama government for its approach to reach out and assist rural communities.

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This message was conveyed to the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni when she officially visited the Namaqumaqua village in tikina Serua, province of Serua this morning.

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At informal talks between the Minister and community members, Dr Luveni provided information on the government?s vision towards the September election and responded to queries on social welfare and women?s programs. Dr Luveni emphasised that given visits of this nature makes it easier to gauge community needs and responses.?

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The Serua Soqosoqo Vakamarama president, Mrs Maria Tuibau commended the government for establishing new economic opportunities not just for the women of their community but also for the men and the youth.

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?There are more than 1000 women in Serua province who contribute towards development of their communities through participating into agricultural activities, producing handicrafts, virgin coconut oil and poultry projects. The Ministry has assisted us with more than 30 income generating projects over the last 2 years and this has been possible under the leadership of Minister Luveni.

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?The Minister?s visit this morning at Namaqumaqua village demonstrates government?s commitment to positively change the lives of rural communities.? The message she has imparted as the leader of the women in Fiji, that true sustainable growth can be achieved by empowering women into development process is very powerful and it has uplifted the morale of Serua women.

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?For the first time, we have this government that has given so much importance to women?s role and has opened new platforms for economic empowerment to see women achieve greater heights in their lives.

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The women of Serua province support Bainimarama government, as it has reached out to us through many ways, particularly through National Women?s Expo, livelihood projects, violence free campaign, women centres and awareness programs on women?s leadership, reproductive health to name a few.

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?We are looking forward for the opening of the new Korovisilou Women?s Resource Centre that will be the biggest infrastructure designed to boost economic potentials of Serua women. The women of Serua province will support the Bainimarama government through elections and all the way forward,? Mrs Tuibau said.

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Expressing similar sentiments, the village headman for Namaqumaqua village, Mr Iveri Lavo said the initiatives created by Bainimarama government will help to uplift the lives of the people in his community.

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?There are 250 people in Namaqumaqua and finding a source of income generating is a challenge for the families here. I am glad that in recent years, assistance has poured in from the Ministry of Women and Serua provincial council to upskill the women on handicraft production and garment construction. There are also positive changes seen in families who are benefiting from free bus fare, social pension scheme, free education and also monthly social welfare allowances,? Mr Lavo added.

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4?MARRIAGE OFFICERS ATTEND TRAINING

Officials from the All Nations Church participated at a day-long training at the Suvavou House organised by the Registrar General?s office.

The training will enable these officers most of whom officiate at marriage ceremonies, to be better equipped and understand the regulations and laws when officiating at marriages.

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Acting registrar general Leba Drole said the workshop was targeted at pastors of the ANC because these officers mostly conduct marriage ceremonies especially in rural areas.

?The workshop helped them know their responsibility according to the marriage law so that they can perform their duty honestly and obediently,? Ms Drole said.

She reminded the marriage officers of the two types of marriage according to law.

?The first one is conducted at the Registrar Generals office and the other one is married by a church pastor,? Ms Drole said.

?A pastor can only qualify to become a marriage officer if he is registered as one. The names of these marriage officers usually appear in the government Gazette every year,? she said.

The other type of marriage is conducted in our church or homes by the??talatala??or pastor.

?For any couple who wants to go through marriage by a pastor or marriage officer, the couple need to obtain their marriage license first from the officer of the Register General,? Ms Drole added.

?A talatala cannot conduct the marriage ceremony without the availability of the couple?s marriage license.?

Ms Drole added that couples who need to get married by government and church at the same time need to seek the assistance of a registered marriage officer.

She highlighted that these were some of the challenges usually experienced and such workshops will avoid unlicensed marriages.

Marriage officer Emosi Salele said the workshop was an eye opener for him.

?We are thankful to the office of the Registrar General for this initiative because it is important for marriage officers to conduct their duty in accordance to the law,? Mr Salele said.

Ms Drole said these workshops will continue for all marriage officers in the different denominations of Fiji.

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5?55 COMMUNITIES TRAINED ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

The Ministry of Women?s Reproductive Health Unit has so far trained more than 55 communities in Fiji on the various skills and information on Sexual Reproductive Health and Family Planning.

The Namaqumaqua village in Serua province in tikina Serua became the latest beneficiary of the program coordinated by the Ministry in partnership with UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and Medical Services Pacific (MSP). A team from the Ministry conducted a reproductive health awareness for 40 women and youths of Namaqumaqua village in Serua this morning.

Minister Dr Jiko Luveni says that awareness programs are interactive and enables the participants to seek as much information as possible.

?The awareness programs aim to have a positive impact in the lives of women and youths, to be aware and to make informed decisions concerning their reproductive health.? It emphasizes on the importance of family planning and the use of contraceptives like condoms to stop unwanted pregnancy and stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

?The workshops also empower participants with skills on positive parenting, good communication among family members to address problems like teenage pregnancies. It teaches people about developing a positive mental attitude for personal development and also nurturing relationships that are guided by values of respect and trust for each other.

?This year, the Ministry has increased reproductive health awareness through 30 women resource centres with more than 25 rural communities that have undergone through the awareness program. A total of 60 women and youths have also been trained as Family Planning Agents. And as part of the program, the Ministry has also distributed more than 2000 condoms in communities that have been trained,? Minister Luveni said.

The president of Soqosoqo Vakamarama Serua, Mrs Maria Tuibau was among one of the most active participants at the reproductive health training facilitated at Namaqumaqua village today.

?It is the first time for us to have exposure to such a educational and informative workshop. It has given opportunities for women and youths to brainstorm strategies to address problems like teenage pregnancies. In Serua province, we have cases of teenage pregnancies and particularly some of the young girls are not able to complete their education or cope with the pressures of being a single mother.

?Today?s workshop has been eye opener for parents on the importance of communication between the parents and their child. We also learnt about ways we can protect ourselves from killer diseases like HIV/AIDS and STI?s (Sexually Transmitted Diseases),? Mrs Tuibau said.

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