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Fijian Government announces $200m unemployment income support, unveils US$1.78 billion Covid-19 budget

The Fijian Government has announced a $200million(US$100 million) in unemployment income support to Fijians affected by COVID-19, both in the formal and informal sectors. Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made the announcement while delivering the 2021-2022 National Budget in Parliament Friday. He announced that beginning from 01 August, 2021, every affected Fijian will be entitled to a monthly allowance...

Convening Parliament court’s power: Samoa Law Society

Samoa's Court of Appeal, which sat on Friday with a view to determining a case that could finally settle a three-month long national political impasse, has been told that it has the constitutional power to force Parliament to convene. The question of whether the courts have the legal right to convene Parliament, or whether that power is exclusively vested in...

Fiji records 1,043 positive cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths reported

Fiji has recorded 1,043 new positive COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths Sunday. Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong confirmed the new COVID deaths for the period of 14 -July to 17 July. Dr Fong said the first COVID-19 death was a 77-year-old woman from Toorak. “She presented to the CWM Hospital Emergency Department in severe respiratory distress....

Fiji rejects lockdown calls as virus cases soar

Fiji dismissed calls for a hard lockdown Friday as Covid-19 cases reached record levels in the Pacific island nation, insisting a "no jab, no job" vaccination push would contain the virus. The troubled tropical paradise has been devastated by a runaway outbreak of the Delta variant which began in April, ending a year without local transmission and quashing hopes the...

PNG Prime Minister plans to visit Micronesia

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape is planning to visit Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Republic of Marshall Islands(RMI), Kiribati and Nauru. A spokesperson from FSM President David Panuelo confirmed discussion amongst PM Marape and the Micronesian leaders regarding visits to the five nations. “I am not able to confirm or deny that the PM of PNG will be...

Pacific islands Wallis and Futuna branded Covid-free

The Pacific archipelago of Wallis and Futuna has declared itself Covid-free, with no cases among the French remote island's 11,500 inhabitants since 01 April, authorities said. Many remote Pacific island nations have remained free of the virus after shutting the borders soon after the pandemic began but the risk of an outbreak remains high. The French overseas collectivity's administrator superior said...

Vanuatu PM appeal court denies govt appeal

Vanuatu's prime minister Bob Loughman and 18 other government MPs have lost an important appeal case moving them a step closer to possibly losing their parliamentary seats. In early June the speaker of parliament at that time, Gracia Shadrack, declared that 19 seats held by Loughman and other government MPs, were vacant, because the MPs had been absent from parliament...

World leaders dial in as New Zealand hosts special APEC meeting on pandemic

U.S. President Joe Biden, Russia's Vladimir Putin, China's Xi Jinping and other world leaders meet virtually on Friday for the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, seeking collective actions to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts. New Zealand, the revolving Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation host, said this week it will chair the extraordinary meeting ahead of a formal gathering in November,...

Fiji, the World Bank and debt

By Samantha Magick When Fiji’s Minister for Economy delivers his budget address this evening many eyes will be on figures around the country’s debt-to GDP ratios. This week, Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers were preoccupied with the challenge of managing debt taken on as a result of COVID-19’s economic damage. They directed the Forum Secretariat to explore options such as...

Tough task preventing ‘dirty cash: PNG Economist

It is difficult to prevent and control money laundering activities in the country as a range of techniques up to sophisticated ones are used, Papua New Guinea economist Paul Barker says. He said there were extensive international and domestic rules and oversight mechanisms to help prevent money laundering, but the task of prevention and control was very challenging. Money laundering involves...

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