CAPTION: Minister for Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts Mr Filipe Bole with China’s Minister for Culture Honurable Cai Wu after the signing of the MOU for cultural cooperation.
1. PM OPENS 2013 CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT – Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, at the opening of the 2013 National Climate Change Summit at Narewa village in Nadi today, challenged those present that as a small nation, Fiji plainly cannot influence climate change on its own.
2. FIJI AND CHINA TO ENHANCE CULTURAL RELATIONS – Fiji and China are looking to further enhance bilateral relations through cultural cooperation between the two countries.
3. THREE JUDICIAL OFFICERS SWORN-IN – Three judicial officers were sworn-in before His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Government House this morning.
4. MINISTER OF YOUTH ENCOURAGE UNDER 21 NETBALL TEAM TO THINK LIKE CHAMPIONS –The Fiji under-21 netball team presented its traditional ‘itatau’ to the Minister for Youth and Sports Viliame Naupoto this morning.
5. DOMESTIC ECONOMY TO EXPAND BY 3.2 PER CENT – The Fijian Government has welcomed the revision of the projected economic growth figure from 2.7 to 3.2 per cent by the Reserve Bank of Fiji.
6. FESTIVAL TO FOCUS ON COMBATING NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASE – In an effort to reduce non-communicable diseases in the Pacific, the annual Vodafone Hibiscus Festival has adopted the theme “Pacific Wellness” for this year’s carnival.
1. PM OPENS 2013 CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, at the opening of the 2013 National Climate Change Summit at Narewa village in Nadi today, challenged those present that as a small nation, Fiji plainly cannot influence climate change on its own.
Attended by the vanua, including the Turaga na Tui Nadi Ratu Sailosi Dawai, the church, non – governmental organizations (NGOs), educational institutions, government ministries and departments and villages, the Summit aims to bring in all stakeholders to charter a way forward in the face of climate change.
“We are not an industrialised country with high carbon emissions and can only try to persuade those that are to take decisive action to reduce those emissions,” PM Bainimarama said.
“It is clearly a global problem that requires global solutions but rather than merely wringing our hands and telling the international community that ‘something must be done’, we need to take charge of those areas we can influence.
“And we are. We are playing our part in the global quest for a more sustainable energy future. While at the same time doing a lot more to improve our response to the effects of climate change, and especially the extreme weather conditions.”
With the first Summit being held in Labasa on Vanua Levu, the Prime Minister said the venue of the second summit was fitting.
“Of all the possible venues in Fiji to hold these discussions, Nadi is undoubtedly the most appropriate,” PM Bainimarama said.
“Because Nadi, in recent times, has been one of the area’s most affected by the extreme weather events that the scientists say are becoming more frequent and severe because of climate change.”
He thanked the vanua for accepting to host the event.
“To the Tui Nadi and the people of Narewa, thank you for hosting this event – the second National Climate Change Summit, that brings together stakeholders from around the country.”
2. FIJI AND CHINA TO ENHANCE CULTURAL RELATIONS
Fiji and China are looking to further enhance bilateral relations through cultural cooperation between the two countries.
This is also the highlight of the inaugural visit to Fiji this week by the People’s Republic of China’s Minister for Culture, Cai Wu.
Minister Cai is in the country for a short one day visit, where he met with Minister for Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts Filipe Bole and also toured Fiji’s education and culture agencies.
Mr Bole, in welcoming his Chinese counterpart, said Minister Cai’s visit to Fiji had turned a new page in the country’s bilateral cultural relations with China.
Mr Bole and Minister Cai also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cement the friendship between China and Fiji and to encourage the growth of interactions between the two countries culturally.
“The MOU is the framework with which we will operate for our cultural interaction between the two countries. There are a lot of items in that MOU certainly sufficient enough to keep us busy. The whole idea behind the MOU is for cultural interaction for future. It is something that we hope to follow very quickly to try and get some of the actions that are envisaged in the MOU to be done,” Mr Bole said.
Minister Cai has also pledged to provide assistance to the Department of National Heritage, Culture and Arts in purchasing cultural equipment.
“The donation of cultural equipment worth 300,000RMB will go a long way in enhancing culture and arts in the country,” Mr Bole said.
Minister Cai, highlighting the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Fiji in 1975, said both countries continued to enjoy smooth developments in their relations.
“In the field of culture, we have done a lot of work in the past and I see a lot of potential in the future. China has always regarded Fiji as our best friend, best partner and brother among all the Pacific Island countries,” Minister Cai said.
“On the foundation of our bilateral friendship and goodwill relations, we will enhance our cultural connections and interactions in the future. Though China and Fiji have different national situations, we both boast cultural diversity. We treasure our precious traditions and culture.”
Minister Cai said Fiji and China had the common wish to preserve their cultural uniqueness, as well as protecting their sovereignty and independence.
He is hopeful that Fijian and Chinese artists would have more opportunities in the future to showcase their brilliant cultures in the two countries.
“We have also talked about establishing cultural centres in China and Fiji in the near future. We also have a lot of potential in the cooperation in the public cultural service centres for instance, the libraries and museums,” Minister Cai added.
As part of his visit to Fiji, Minister Cai toured national heritage and cultural statutory organisations such as the Fiji Arts Council, Fiji Museum and National Trust of Fiji, Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, Adi Cakobau School (ACS), Lelean Memorial and Dilkusha High School.
Minister Cai and his five-member delegation will depart Fiji tomorrow.
3. THREE JUDICIAL OFFICERS SWORN-IN
Three judicial officers were sworn-in before His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Government House this morning.
Master of High Court Anare Tuilevuka was appointed and sworn-in as puisne judge while Magistrates Thushara Rajasinghe and Mohamed Ajmeer took oath as acting masters of the High Court.
They were all sworn-in before Chief Justice Judge Anthony Gates and Chief Registrar Yohan Liyanage.
Mr Tuilevuka obtained his Bachelor of Laws and Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practices from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.
The puisne judge has also been awarded a Bachelor of Arts, Public Administration/Sociology from the University of the South Pacific (USP).
Mr Tuilevuka started his legal career as a legal officer for the Fiji Law Reform Commission and went on to become principal legal officer at the Office of the Attorney General.
He had a stint as a solicitor at Munro Leys before joining the Judiciary as Resident Magistrate, Labasa Magistrates Court and was the Master of High Court in Lautoka.
Prior to commencing his law studies, Mr Tuilevuka worked as administrative assistant and part-time tutor and lecturer at the USP.
He is an ex-student of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Memorial School and completed his primary education at the Draiba Fijian School.
A master of high Court is authorised to sit only in the High Court.
4. MINISTER OF YOUTH ENCOURAGE UNDER 21 NETBALL TEAM TO THINK LIKE CHAMPIONS
The Fiji under-21 netball team presented its traditional ‘itatau’ to the Minister for Youth and Sports Viliame Naupoto this morning.
The 12-member team is going to represent Fiji at the World Youth Netball Championships at the Commonwealth Arena in Glasgow Scotland from August 22 to 31.
Minister Naupoto encouraged the team members to think like champions and play to the best of their ability.
“My point is that we are champion first before we jump into the netball court. Champions will train hard. Champions value team work. Champions will never give up. Champions will perform to the best of their capability they know so it is something that you start of with,” Mr Naupoto said.
“We must be champions in our minds, in our hearts, in our soul, and champion physically in our body in our preparation. You have to feel the champion in you now before you board the plane, while you are in the plane, when you arrive in Scotland before you jump into the court and then jump into the court before you jump into the court in Scotland,” Mr Naupoto said.
The Fiji U21 team coach Unaisi Rokoura is optimistic her players will perform to their best in Scotland.
“We also have two team members who have represented the national team before so they will be a boost to the side. I believe the girls will do their very best in Scotland,” Ms Rokoura said.
Fiji is ranked number nine in the world.
5. DOMESTIC ECONOMY TO EXPAND BY 3.2 PER CENT
The Fijian Government has welcomed the revision of the projected economic growth figure from 2.7 to 3.2 per cent by the Reserve Bank of Fiji.
Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Mr Filimone Waqabaca said there was an air of confidence and optimism in the country which augured well for the government’s medium term target of 5 per cent growth.
He said Government would continue to strive for this by working with the private sector, civil societies and other stakeholders to build a better, stronger and sustainable performing Fijian economy.
“Our aim though in the medium term is for 5 per cent growth and Government will continue to strive towards this. It is not impossible and I am optimistic that we can achieve our target growth,” the permanent secretary said.
The 2.7 per cent growth figure announced in the 2013 Budget was derived from estimate figures available at that time.
“After the first half of 2013, the RBF is now in a better position to revise the projected figure and certainly the sectors that have led to the upward revision are sectors performing quite well,” he said.
Mr Waqabaca said the robustness in the wholesale and retail sector was the result of Government putting more money in hands of the people by increasing the tax threshold from $15,000 to $15,600 and reducing the tax percentage from 25 per cent to 7 per cent for the lowest band.
He said Government had also provided strong support of several sectors such as the textile and footwear sector, the agricultural sector and tourism amongst others.
There were stimulus given to investors at various levels including the declaration of tax free zones and duty free goods.
RBF Governor and Macroeconomic Policy Committee chairman Barry Whiteside, said the revised growth projection reflected the growing sense of optimism in the economy and was consistent with the strong growth in various partial indicators.
The other sectors that provided impetus for the upward revision in growth included communication, financial intermediation, construction and the transport and storage.
Mr Whiteside, said, “after a detailed reassessment of the relevant data and information available, the domestic economy is now forecast to expand by 3.2 per cent this year”.
He added the upward revision to the economic growth projection mirrored the increased investment by the private sector, statutory corporations and Government, which is estimated at 28 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2013.
The additional growth of half per cent will come as a relief for Fijians since the International Monetary Fund has downgraded global growth projections from 3.3 per cent to 3.1 per cent.
This has been attributed to the risks in key emerging countries such as China and India together with deeper recession in Euro Zone and slower growth in the United States economy.
According to the IMF, despite its bounce back status, the US economy will only be growing by 1.7 per cent in 2013 while Fiji’s neighbours Australian and New Zealand economies are expected to expand by 2.5 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively.
The chairman added that, “the GDP growth forecasts for 2014 and 2015 have been revised upward to 2.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.”
6. FESTIVAL TO FOCUS ON COMBATING NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASE
In an effort to reduce non-communicable diseases in the Pacific, the annual Vodafone Hibiscus Festival has adopted the theme “Pacific Wellness” for this year’s carnival.
Minister for Health Doctor Neil Sharma there was a need to capitalise on advocacy in the Pacific region on the importance of preventing NCDs.
“The Pacific has a high number of non-communicable diseases,” Dr Sharma said.
“Non-communicable diseases, principally cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, impose a major and growing burden on health and development in the Pacific Region.”
Recently at the “Pacific Ministers on non-communicable and Post 2015 Development” meeting held in Apia, Samoa which was attended by Dr Sharma, one of the areas highlighted was the increase in premature deaths which is directly linked to diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
Minister Sharma said a collective commitment could decrease statistics and he was optimistic every person would take ownership of their health.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has also set up hub centres in various sub-divisional hospitals to provide efficient services to the people.
Dr Sharma said the opening of these hub centres positioned the ministry to easily provide various services and facilities including therapy sessions with dieticians, dental, physiotherapy, eye screening, sugar levels check and foot care.