- ARMY COMMANDER RELAYS DEVELOPMENT ON NEGOTIATIONS PROCESS FOR FIJIAN TROOPS?- Negotiations on the release of the 45 Fijian peacekeeping soldiers that were serving in the Golan region have moved up another level says the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander, Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga.
- MSAF MOVES TO PROTECT FIJI?S MARINE ENVIRONMENT AGAINST POLLUTION?-?Fiji?s maritime authority MSAF is looking strongly into the implementation of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 1973) in Fiji waters.
- FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY DISPLAY CONTINUES WITH POSITIVE FEEDBACK?-?Fiji?s Foreign Ministry is holding an awareness campaign in the heart of Suva to promote the services provided on both the local and international stage.
- PUBLIC SERVICE VEHICLES OPERATIONAL ON ELECTION DAY?-?All public?service vehicles?will operate normal services during Election Day on?September 17.
- FIRST FOOD BANK PROJECT TO OPEN IN SUVA SOON?-?The government?s Food Bank Initiative has taken shape with the first warehouse now complete and ready to open doors.
1?ARMY COMMANDER RELAYS DEVELOPMENT ON NEGOTIATIONS PROCESS FOR FIJIAN TROOPS
Negotiations on the release of the 45 Fijian peacekeeping soldiers that were serving in the Golan region have moved up another level says the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander, Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga.
Speaking at a press conference today, Brigadier General Tikoitoga said thatprofessional negotiators from the United Nations in New York have taken over negotiations from the crisis management team.
?I have been told by the United Nations Headquarters?that there is a negotiation team now in place in Syria and they have taken over negotiations from the crisis management team made up of the Force Commander and his senior officers at UNDOF.
?Negotiation has moved up another level with professional negotiators from New York now in place to take over the negotiations.?
The RFMF Commander added that the UN has also assured them of its full support and that they will use all the available resources that they have for the safe release of our troops.
?We are thankful that we have the full support of the United Nations and the Secretary General,? Brigadier General Tikoitoga said.
The RFMF continues to appeal to the families of the detained soldiers to visit the crisis center in Vatuwaqa for updates and counseling services.
2?MSAF MOVES TO PROTECT FIJI?S MARINE ENVIRONMENT AGAINST POLLUTION
Fiji?s maritime authority MSAF is looking strongly into the implementation of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL1973) in Fiji waters.
This was key issue discussed at the MSAF Stakeholder Draft Regulations Workshop heldrecently to look at the contribution by the various stakeholders in strengthening the work carried out by the authority. The implementation of this protocol would greatly protect Fiji?s marine environment from pollution from shipping vessels.
MSAF, Manager Standard & Conformance, Mr John Tunidau outlined the key requirements according to the Maritime (Pollution Prevention) Regulation 2014 to stakeholders.
?Looking at the pristine marine environment that we have, it is important that we actually put in requirements for ships to comply with especially when dealing with wastes from ships or pollution from ships.
?This regulations will protect the marine environment and the future generations who will beneficiaries,? Mr Tunidau said.
Mr Tunidau said that they have undertaken nationwide awareness consultations with various stakeholders including those in the international shipping agencies, local ship owners, tourism industry (cruise ships) and also the ordinary fisherman on the regulations and requirements.
He also said once the regulations are enforced, the ship operators will be given three years to build the necessary equipment for the discharge of waste for big ships and the smaller vessels the certain mileage of the reefing system to discharge waste.
?Within the three years the ship owners will be communicating regularly with us to get in their plans for holding tanks and time to build the necessary equipment like the sewerage tank, the oil residue which will take oil because they will not be allowed to directly discharge to sea,? Mr Tunidau said.
There are also penalties in place but right now the ship operators have been given leeway after which the penalties will be imposed.
MSAF held consultations with ship operators, owners, maritime training institutions and other maritime stakeholders to get their feedback on the major regulations of the Maritime Transport Decree 2013 and?Ship Registration Decree 2013 (SRD).
Tuinidau said that the consultations come after the regulations were handed out to the stakeholders three months ago to review.
?They reviewed the regulations and stated their comments and these comments need to be in cooperated into the Draft regulations and that is what we have done today.
?So the purpose of this is to present back to them what they have commented on and then make sure that they are satisfied with the draft regulations because it is their regulations anyway,? Mr Tunidau said.
The Maritime Transport Decree 2013 (MTD) and the ShipRegistration Decree 2013 (SRD) came into effect on?July 5?and Draft Regulations will be launched on October, 2014.
3?FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY DISPLAY CONTINUES WITH POSITIVE FEEDBACK
Fiji?s Foreign Ministry is holding an awareness campaign in the heart of Suva to promote the services provided on both the local and international stage.
Held at the old Fiji Visitors Bureau in what is now known as the Government Information Referral Centre, this exhibition will be an opportunity for members of the public to look at some of the servicesprovided by the Ministry. This includes the various positions that are currently vacant with the Ministry, how the Ministry establishes diplomatic relations and various training programs.
The exhibition also looks at how the Ministry assists and facilitates the provision of overseas scholarships and foreign study programs for Fijians.
A student at the University of the South Pacific, Jone Ravuikadavu, undertaking the Post Graduate in Diplomacy and International Affairs program, said he was pleased with the information received from thestaff at the booth.
?This display by the ministry is a good opportunity for aspiring individuals, in wanting to know more about their operations?.
The display is from?Monday?1th ?Saturday September 6th, 2014 with the final day to feature the presence of the diplomatic mission representatives and an exciting two hour program is planned to wrap up the week long display.
4?PUBLIC SERVICE VEHICLES OPERATIONAL ON ELECTION DAY
All public?service vehicles will operate normal services during Election Day on?September 17.
At press briefing held today, the Ministry of Works and Transport permanent secretary Francis Kean highlighted that the Land Transport Authority will have to consult with its Public Service vehicle stakeholders to ensure the provision of normal services to the public on elections day.
?This is directive is issued pursuant to section 8 and 10 of the Land Transport Act 1998 with reference to the provision of normal service by the Public Service Vehicle providers categorized in section 64 and 65 of the Act,? Mr Kean said.
?All service vehicles operations will be normal during elections day to cater and facilitate people transportation needs their respective polling stations around the country,? Mr Kean said.
He highlighted that all technical and logistical arrangements have been made with the relevant authority and other stakeholders.
Fiji Bus Operators Association president Mr Virendra Kewal welcomed the decision made by the ministry to allow for public service vehicles to have normal operations.
?We will ensure that we provide the relevant services for the public and operations will be as normal as possible,? Mr Kewal.
Also present at the press briefing today was representatives from the Fiji Minivan and Carrier Association and Fiji TaxiAssociation.
Mr Kean has urged the general public to utilise the services on the polling day since it has been designed specifically forvoting purposes.
5?FIRST FOOD BANK PROJECT TO OPEN IN SUVA SOON
The government?s Food Bank Initiative has taken shape with the first warehouse now complete and ready to open doors.
Launched by the Ministry of Women and Ministry of Health in Vodafone ATH Fiji Foundation in March this year, the Food Bank Initiative aims to assist those who are challenged with poverty. The bank will be a central storage space for basicfood items. However the Ministry has already distributed food items to institutions that look after the senior citizens for example the Saint Vincent DePaul.
Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni says that plans will come to fruition soon with the opening of the new Food Bank warehouse constructed in the Central Division.
She said that this initiative has received positive response from the business houses that have come on board to provide the food items for the Food Bank.
?We are targeting only the very poor in our society; and in that respect we have the advantage as we have the record of people who are eligible for food bank,? Dr Luveni said.
?We would like to look at the beggars and the street dwellers?, Minister Luveni explained.
Dr Luveni added that the business houses have realised there are a lot of wastage on food particularly when nearing expiry date and because of the food bank the food items can now be utilised by the people in need.
The Ministry of health will monitor the food items deposited into the Food Bank and ensure that all the items have expiry date and thorough quality checks of the items.
Similar initiatives would be replicated in the Western and Northern divisions?based on the assessment carried out by the Interagency Taskforce on Food Bank.