From the Editor-in-Chief’s desk: Your October 16 briefing

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Bula vinaka everyone

It’s the end of another work-week. As we count down the hours to the long weekend, we wish you the very best wherever you are. Let’s stay safe this weekend. Plan your journey and please drive safely if you are travelling at the weekend, and observe speed limits.

CASH PRIZES

We are celebrating our 152nd year anniversary and you can get into the draw to be one of 20 readers who get the chance to win cash prizes this month of October. There were 10 lucky winners last month.

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All you have to do is cut out the masthead of The Fiji Times newspaper, write your name, address and a phone contact on it, and place this in a bin at a participating store near you. It’s that easy! Turn to Page 19 for details.

HEADLINES

Here are some headlines in The Fiji Times’ edition for Saturday, October 16.

PAGE 1

Bond debts

GOVERNMENT holds bond debts worth $3.54 billion with the Fiji National Provident Fund and owes $924 million to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), states the 2020-2021 annual debt report released by the Ministry of Economy this week. The State had a $5.2b domestic debt in 2020-2021, out of which $5b was held in bonds. Out of the total $2.4b in external debt, the ADB was owed 38.5 per cent or $924m.

There’s more on Pages 2 and 3.

PAGE 2

Largest bond debtor

THE Fiji National Provident Fund held $3.54 billion worth of government bonds, making the Fijian Government its largest bond debtor, revealed the 2020-2021 annual debt report released by the Ministry of Economy this week. Out of the total $5 billion government bonds debt, 70.8 per cent was held by the superannuation fund. A bond is a type of investment where the FNPF lent money to Government and in exchange Government paid FNPF interest in equal amounts throughout the life of the bond until the amount borrowed was paid back along with the final interest payment.

PAGE 3

High risk entities

FIJI Airways, the Fiji Sugar Corporation and the Fiji Development Bank have been listed as “high” risk entities by the Ministry of Economy in its 2020-2021 annual debt report released this week. The report states the impact of COVID-19 pandemic pushed Fiji Airways (FA) into the “high” risk zone.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Saturday’s edition usually has seven pages of letters of the editor. It’s the bumper issue! Find out what’s trending. Find out what people are talking about. Feel the passion, and the emotions as writers discuss issues they can relate to. Feel the pulse of the nation. Pages 8,9,20,21,22,23 and 24.

PEOPLE

This section is about people. It’s about challenges they face, and the journey to get to where they are today. They talk about their hopes and aspirations. Read about: Josese Rea

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JOSESE Rea was once a big-time businessman along the Natewa and Tunuloa coast in the 1990s having owned four vehicles, a retail and wholesale business and a fishing business. But these all started after a spiritual decision to fast for three months because his late wife who died last year couldn’t conceive. The 75-year-old who is also the traditional leader of yavusa Vunisaiki and lives in Waikatakata settlement shared how God richly blessed him after he completed his months of fasting.

FEATURES/OPINIONS

We have a list of top writers for your weekend reading pleasure. This is the edition thousands of Fijians look forward to every weekend.

Fighting together to win – By MAHENDRA P CHAUDHRY

THERE has been a growing cry from the people for the Opposition parties to unite to fight the general election to bring about a change in government. The past several years have inflicted untold misery and suffering on the nation, made even worse by the COVID-19 crisis. Thousands of families were deprived of their normal source of income as unemployment rose and lockdowns caused the closure of businesses, small and big.

Beating bigger parties at the polls – By NILESH LAL

RECENTLY the Fiji Labour Party, Unity Fiji Party and the Freedom Alliance Party signed a memorandum of understanding to work towards a united front in the upcoming general elections in 2022 or 2023. Such an MOU is of limited effect in a proportional representation system where the electoral success of a party is incumbent on the aggregate electoral share of individual parties.

Fiji: Where things fall apart – Dr BRIJ V LAL

FIJI is a bit like Churchill’s Russia, a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. Here is a beautiful country full of a talented population, sophisticated infrastructure and abundant natural resources which is sadly prone to debilitating self-inflected wounds that hobble its present and dent its future. One coup is bad enough for any country, but three (or four) in short succession is sheer madness.

Exciting end-of-year rugby – By SATISH NARAIN

After watching some champagne rugby where South Africa fought out a close series win over the British and Irish Lions, Australia saw off France in dramatic style, New Zealand’s triumph over Trans-Tasman rivals Australia to keep the Bledisloe on way to setting records and the highly competitive Rugby Championship, we look forward to more rugby during the Autumn Nations Series starting next Saturday.

A.D Patel’s significance – By ROBERT NORTON

AS a long-time observer of Fiji’s political scene and the person who took that group photo in part 1 of his article and recorded the speech quoted in part 2, I would like to comment on Kamal Iyer’s tribute to A.D.Patel (The Fiji Times October 2, 2021). Having known Mr Patel, observed him at political rallies, and interviewed him on several occasions in 1966, I can partly endorse Mr Iyer’s assessment.

Movement for change – By SAVENACA NARUBE

WE desperately need to live in a country that respects our rights and freedoms. We desperately need a government that champions good governance and listens to us, the people. We desperately need a prudent and experienced economic leader that will give us hope that we will solve the crisis we are currently facing and once again live in peace and prosperity.

Rabuka, a force to reckon with – By AJAY BHAI AMRIT

On Monday, October 11, 2021, The People’s Alliance, Fiji’s newest political party was formally launched in the Western Division of Fiji. The location of the launch was not in one of the many glamorous five-star hotels dotted around the region, but in the humble and tranquil setting of the beautiful Nawaka Village in Nadi. This in itself set the tone for a quite remarkable speech, which was delivered by the party leader Sitiveni Rabuka. The name Sitiveni Rabuka is no stranger to anyone Fiji wide, as from a young age he has been involved in sports, local politics, regional politics, peacekeeping tours etc., at the highest level.

ENTERTAINMENT

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We have pages of entertainment news as well inside for your weekend reading pleasure. Check them out.

MOTORING

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This section of the newspaper is more than just about motor vehicles. There’s a lot of information inside for the auto buff.

SPORTS

The big one on the back page is about national 7s coach Gareth Baber stepping down from his coaching role to focus on pursuing a career in 15s rugby.

Coach Baber eyes 15s code

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AFTER leading the Fiji 7s team to a gold medal finish at the Olympic Games, outgoing coach Gareth Baber is turning his attention to the 15s game. “I am certainly looking at opportunities in the 15s game,” Baber said yesterday, after announcing an early end to his contract and that he was stepping down as the Fiji 7s head coach. Although spending close to a decade in the abbreviated code, Baber was ready to make the change, “I understand I have been coaching 7s for the past seven years of my life previous to Fiji and Hong Kong, it has been where my focus and attention has been and certainly since I have been in Fiji.”

MORE INSIDE

There’s more inside. .. but you’ll have to get a copy to know what we are talking about.  Happy reading!

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