Thursday, 18 January 2018

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Majority of the tourists visiting the Pacific Island Countries are from Australia and New Zealand. South Pacific Tourism Organisation’s chief executive Christopher Cocker says that 20 per cent of the visitors were from New Zealand while 30 per cent were from Australia. He also added that the remaining market of 49 per cent were visitors from key markets of Europe, North America, China and Japan.
The Fiji Roads Authority has begun work on comprehensive upgrades to create better access on our roads. FRA CEO – Jonathan Moore expects the current operations will be a welcome initiative for commuters with eighty-four bus bays to be upgraded and close to ninety kilometres of new footpaths to be established. “We’re in the progress of renovating footpaths of about 15kms in 17 locations across the country, we’re at the tender stage where we’re awarding another 12 locations for another 24 km and there’s a future plan for this year to work on another 17 locations with another 50kms so that means that around, this year we should be in the progress or completing 90kms of new footpath.” Moore says most of these footpaths will be in areas where there aren’t footpaths now so it will assist some of these more remote areas and in the cities to get people out in more decent conditions to schools and health centres. This comes as the FRA carries out the installation of more than 2500 street lights across the country.
An active trough of low pressure lies slow moving and associated cloud and rain affects the country. It is expected to continue affecting the country until later Tuesday. Expect periods of heavy rain and squally thunderstorms over most places. With more rain forecast, the chance of flooding of low lying areas in all catchments have increased and the following warnings are now in force: 1. A “Flood Warning” is now in force for the low lying areas, small streams and areas adjacent to Vatukacevaceva downstream to Rakiraki Town; 2. A “A Flood Warning” is now in force for low lying areas, small streams and areas downstream of Toge to Ba Town; and 3. A “Heavy Rain Warning” is now in force whole of Fiji. In the past 24 to 36 hours, most parts of the country have received in excess of 50mm of rainfall and more rainfall is forecast. With northerly winds over the country, the interior and the upper catchments are likely to continue receiving rainfall that increases the chance of flooding in the lower catchments in the major rivers. As the trough moves south-eastwards, heavy rain will be easing to showers and an improvement in weather is likely from the west later tomorrow; however the eastern and the northern parts of the country may see some improvement by later Tuesday. Over the Waters, “A strong wind warning remains in force for the Yasawa and Mamanuca Waters”. Dominant northerly winds 20 to 25 knots with rough seas and moderate easterly swells.
More than a hundred thousand Fijians have a form of disability or functioning challenge according to the 2017 Census results. Senior Statistician in the Bureau of Statistics Emali Soderberg highlighted in the 2017 census questionnaire there was a specific question for households to record persons with disabilities or those that are functionally challenged. “The question with persons with disabilities was asked for individuals aged three years and above, out of that we found around 113 595 people had at least one form of disability that’s about 13.7 percent of the total population.” More results from Census 2017 are expected to be released in the coming weeks which will further detail a breakdown on persons with disabilities by gender, age and ethnicity in addition to the type of disability. This data is expected to assist the government with their planning particularly with ensuring accessible services for all Fijians. Meanwhile of the 884, 887 population, the Central Division made up 42.7 percent, 37.9 percent in the Western Division, while 14.8 percent was from the Northern Division with the Eastern Division accounting for 4.2 percent.
People will now be able to lodge their complaints and grievances against the Education System via a Hot-line. This was revealed by Education Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who says this will enable them to deal with complaints received from teachers, parents and students in an effective and practical manner. We are going to setup a hot line in a few days and we will make those announcements so that people can channel those complains through that and it gives us a better mechanism seeing through these complains. Meanwhile, Sayed-Khaiyum says the ministry has already started distributing the free weetbix and milk for Year 1 students to schools. He urged school committees and management to be present at their respective schools to receive these supplies to avoid any complaints. The 2018 Academic year starts on Monday and the ministry is looking forward to a successful year.

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