Short Briefs Mon 1.3.10
Today, Muslims celebrate the Prophet's Birthday and Hindus Holi. President Ratu Epeli Nailalatikau stresses the importance of religion in nation building and taking Fiji to a better future.
I find it strange that the RadioFiji web page invariably chooses a photo of PM Bainimarama in military uniform, just like the overseas media that seeks to stress his military role. Bainimaramana said the lifting of sanctions was the main issue discussed between Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and Murray McCully when they met last week, but "Ratu Inoke was doing the talking on Fiji’s behalf." Good. One spokesman. One voice.
PM Bainimarama has again stated the SDL, NFP, FLP parties will not participate in the forthcoming National Dialogue or be allowed to return to power in 2014. He claims ther parties are holding secret meetings and were behind the "600,000" petition.
Wages Council chair Fr Kevin Barr expects wage increases from July 1 2010, saying the Council is trying to be fair to employers and workers. The People's Charter sought a national minimum wage in accordance with the poverty line, at present $175 a week. Some 60 percent of workers are below that. The increases will be introduced gradually.
The new $8m bridge at Naqali opened by the PM last week will enable the eleven tikina (districts) of Naitasiri who live past Naqali to get their produce to the markets in time and also transport those who are sick to the hospital and the struggle they used to face in the old bridge will now be a thing of the past. The villages will also soon have access to electricity.
Government is exploring ways to upgrade Nadi International Airport.
The new US Embassy at Tamavua, Suva, to open next year will have cost $100 million, about one-half of which feed back into the local economy. The US Embassy is accredited to Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru, and is the largest US consul district in the world which includes French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna.