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Growing Fiji youth suicide problem pushes agencies into action


Niklas Pedersen reports from his recent Fiji assignment. Video: PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Niklas Pedersen

A suicide or attempted suicide is now reported every day and a half in Fiji, say police.

Over the past three years, 422 people has taken their own lives in Fiji. This is almost three times the number of road fatalities in the same period.

Those numbers were highlighted as hundreds of people marched through Suva for World Suicide Prevention day in the middle of September. Read more »

American migrant sailor boosts Tongan America’s Cup challenge dream

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Built for sheer speed … a traditional kalia. Image: Emma Jones/PMC

The world’s oldest and wealthiest race has an unlikely challenger, an ancient Tongan kalia. An American sailor, resident in Tonga’s Vava’u islands, is convinced he has the fastest boat the world has never seen, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Emma Jones

Tonga’s best chance of proving its modern maritime prowess may come in an America’s Cup challenge being touted by an American immigrant to the country.

Mark Belvedere, owner of Eueiki Eco Resort in the Vava’u Islands, claims the Tongan kalia he is restoring is faster than any America’s Cup boat.

“I have, what I consider, a boat that will blow away anything in the America’s Cup, anything you have in New Zealand.” Read more »

Mobile eye clinic changes lives for thousands of Fijians

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A patient being given an eye examination at the Fred Hollows Foundation clinic in Fiji. Image: Zoomfiji

The World Health Organisation says three-quarters of all blindness can be prevented or treated, with the Pacific Islands having one of the highest rates of avoidable blindness in the globe. Asia-Pacific Journalism reports on the Fred Hollows Foundation’s new mobile eye clinic in Fiji.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Emma Jones

An 11.5 metre container on wheels, about the same size as a Kiwi holiday caravan, has already changed the lives of more than 3000 Fijians – and it has only been working four months.

Earlier this year the Fred Hollows Foundation shipped its mobile eye clinic to Fiji. With it being the first of its kind in the world, it was an ambitious and risky venture for the charity.

The goal of the clinic is to provide eye assessments and surgery to people in outlying villages who, due to financial or supportive constraints, are unable to make the journey to Suva for treatment. Read more »

Fiji Report: ‘Read more with your children’ pleads education minister

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Teacher Mareani Sanegar left Rewa at 6am with her Year Three and Year Four students, taking a boat to attend the Literacy Day celebration in Suva. Image: KP Lew/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Kai Ping Lew in Suva

Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy says there is a “deficit culture” of thinking and reading in Fiji.

Speaking at the Literacy Day celebrations at Ratu Sukuna Park, Suva, he added that in order to have a knowledgeable society, Fiji needed to have a literate generation.

He appealed to parents to spend time with their children, encouraging them to read. Read more »

Fiji Report: Minister Rosy Akbar calls for united stand over ‘national shame’


Video report from Niklas Pedersen.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Niklas Pedersen in Suva

Fiji’s Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar, has branded Fiji’s crisis on violence against women as a “national shame”.

Figures from the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre shows more than 750 new cases of domestic violence just this year.

The minister spoke at this week’s third meeting of Interagency Taskforce on Elimination of Violence against Women and Children on Tuesday and called for a united stand against the crisis. Read more »

Fiji Report: Pacific leaders speak out with ‘one voice’ on climate change


Video report by Niklas Pedersen.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Niklas Pedersen in Suva

Seven Pacific leaders have signed a strong document on climate change in Fiji, mapping out what they want to achieve at COP 21 in Paris later this year.

Meeting for three days, the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) leaders said they were speaking with “one voice” on their demands for action.

Host Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama of Fiji described the Suva Declaration as an historic document and UN Special Envoy for Climate Change Mary Robinson called it a “strong statement”. Read more »

Fiji Report: Suva Declaration pushes losses, damages issue for COP21 in Paris

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President Tong of Kiribati (left) and Tongan Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva at the PIDF in Suva yesterday … “migration with dignity”. Image: KP Lew/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Kai Ping Lew in Suva

Recognising losses and damages as a separate issue from adaptation in climate change policy is one of the major developments featured in the Suva Declaration signed by seven Pacific leaders.

The third Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) summit in Suva saw leaders, civil society representatives and the private sector convening to form the declaration which will be brought before COP21 Paris in 12 weeks’ time.

The previous COP agreement featured losses and damages as an element under adaptation, forcing governments to prioritise between both. Read more »

Fiji Report: Women challenge Pacific ‘patriarchal culture’ and violence

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Speakers at last night’s violence against women seminar at USP, including Shamima Ali of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (left) and Tara Chetty of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement. Image: KP Lew/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Kai Ping Lew in Suva

A panel of violence against women at the University of South Pacific has provided insights into the feminist movement in Fiji, the challenges in ending violence against women, and some of the innovative methods being used to tackle the issue.

Panellists speaking at USP last night were Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement executive director Tara Chetty, LGBTIQ and human rights activist Jasmine Kaur and UN Women Pacific Fund project manager Roshika Deo.

Ali spoke about the challenges to ending violence against women in the Pacific region, citing its entrenched patriarchal culture as one of the major factors resulting in the high number of incidents. Read more »

Fiji Report: Sedition cases stir concern in Suva but life goes on

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Business as usual … Eagle Boys Pizza manager Niko Bulai says demand has been constant and the issue has been “contained”. Image: KP Lew/Wansolwara

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Kai Ping Lew in Suva

Despite trials of various individuals charged with sedition in Western Fiji, life goes on as normal in the capital city, Suva, the hub of the country.

But beneath the surface there is some concern among businesses, students, and the public about the potential effects of any escalation of political unrest.

Seventy people have been arrested in the Ra province on charges of sedition and inciting communal antagonism. Read more »

Fiji Report: A day on the job at the Wansolwara newspaper

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Wansolwara editor Sonal Singh (centre) with two editorial colleagues and the front page report on University of the South Pacific student union finances earlier this year. Image: Wansolwara/USP

Pacific Scoop:
Comment – By Kai Ping Lew

Started work yesterday at Wansolwara, the award-winning University of the South Pacific student newspaper, and met with the team of co-ordinators of the regional journalism programme in Fiji.

Tried to get our wi-fi sorted out, but no luck. I found the journalism students really helpful in getting me settled in, and really friendly.

Some of them were really passionate about the ideals of journalism, doing it as a public service, and the need to do it well. I could relate to that. Read more »

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