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Timoci Vula

Suva - City Center, Fiji
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About Timoci
Timoci Vula is a journalist based in Suva - City Center, Fiji.
English Fijian Hindi
News Gathering Feature Stories Content Writing
Business Politics Current Affairs

Fong: Be the support to other women

26 Mar 2024  |  fijitimes.com.fj
Sharyne Fong, chairperson of the Women Entrepreneurs Business Council and WIN Convention, emphasized the importance of women supporting each other to increase female representation in leadership roles. Speaking at the GPH in Suva, she encouraged women to build networks, embrace vulnerability, understand their purpose, and prioritize their lives. Jean Tikaram, co-owner of Waitika Farm, echoed the sentiment, advocating for a full enjoyment of life.

Social media presence vital

26 Mar 2024  |  fijitimes.com.fj
At the 3rd Women Invigorating the Nation Convention in Suva, Jonathan and Stephanie Batisarisari of Waka Family emphasized the importance of social media for businesses. They shared their personal and business journey on social media to inspire others and remove the 'smoke and mirrors' of business. The Batisarisaris recently launched Waka Media and advocate for creating an audience first to leverage for business ideas. They encourage personal branding and storytelling, especially for women, to build trust and support for their products.

DPP: Nine charged with 44 counts of sexual offences

04 Jan 2024  |  fijitimes.com.fj
In December, nine individuals were charged with a total of 44 sexual offences in Fiji, including 37 counts of rape, four counts of indecent assault, and three counts of sexual assault. Two offenders were juveniles. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions released these statistics, noting that there were 10 victims, half of whom were under 18, with eight female and two male victims. In one case, a 32-year-old was charged with 18 counts of rape against his 13-year-old stepdaughter, and there were five incidents where the victims and accused were related.

LTA aware of taxi drivers denying services

28 Dec 2023  |  fijitimes.com.fj
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Fiji has noted an increase in complaints about taxi drivers selectively choosing passengers and refusing short-run requests. Acting CEO Irimaia Rokosawa expressed concern over these incidents, which deviate from the drivers' commitment to provide essential services. He emphasized the role of taxi drivers in urban mobility and their responsibility to serve the public without discrimination. The LTA plans to monitor these incidents closely and has reminded drivers to adhere to public service vehicle regulations.

India ministry suspends scandal-hit federation

25 Dec 2023  |  The Fiji Times
The Indian sports ministry suspended the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and dismissed its newly elected officers after the federation elected a president linked to the former president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who faces sexual harassment and criminal intimidation charges. The ministry's actions followed concerns over governance and integrity, prompting a request for the Indian Olympic Association to establish an ad hoc committee to manage the WFI. The WFI is also suspended by United World Wrestling for election delays, and a top female wrestler has resigned in protest. Singh, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, denies the allegations against him.

Employees receive $1320 each

25 Dec 2023  |  The Fiji Times
The Fiji Pine Group has awarded a bonus of $1320 to each of its 527 employees, totaling $652,964, in recognition of their hard work, dedication, and commitment to the company's success.

FCCC inspections target 'unethical' traders

24 Dec 2023  |  fijitimes.com.fj
The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) conducted 2440 inspections to identify unethical behavior among traders during the festive period, recording 146 alleged breaches in November and 37 in December. The FCCC, along with the Ministry of Health and municipal councils, also carried out 118 joint inspections focusing on hygiene, storage, and distribution practices in markets, restaurants, and food production facilities. FCCC CEO Joel Abraham emphasized the importance of consumer vigilance against exploitation, especially during the retail activity spike in the festive season.

500 farmers to benefit from rice paddy price review

24 Dec 2023  |  www.fijitimes.com.fj
Approximately 500 rice farmers supplying to Fiji Rice Ltd will benefit from a significant price review announced by Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka. The price for grade 1 rice paddy has increased from $850 to $1000 per tonne, and grade 2 from $750 to $800 per tonne, marking the highest price paid to farmers. This comes at a crucial time for planting and aligns with the government's commitment to food security and reducing the import bill by revitalizing the rice industry and other agricultural sectors.

NEC client registration suspended temporarily

19 Dec 2023  |  fijitimes.com.fj
The National Employment Centre (NEC) in Fiji has temporarily suspended client registration for the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) program and the New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Work Scheme from January 1, 2024, to July 31, 2024. This suspension will allow the NEC to update and transfer backlog manual registrations into the In-Country Recruitment Database (IRD), aiming to enhance the efficiency of NEC services.

Fiji has 95 per cent connectivity

08 Dec 2023  |  fijitimes.com.fj
Fiji boasts 95% connectivity through 3G, 4G, and 4G+ networks, along with complete digital television coverage. The Fijian Government is addressing the remaining 5% digital divide. Director General Digital Transformation Tupou Baravilala highlighted Fiji's connection to the Southern Cross Cable Network and the completion of the Southern Cross NEXT, which provides additional bandwidth. Fiji is also connected by a submarine fibre cable between Vanua Levu and Viti Levu and is partnering with Google on the 'tabua' cable for connections to Australia and the US. This includes building a second cable landing station and a Tier 3 Data Centre. Trials for 5G and services from low earth orbit satellites like Starlink are underway, enhancing connectivity, reducing latency, and bringing government services closer to the people.

Tubuna urges world leaders to act with urgency

08 Dec 2023  |  fijitimes.com.fj
Sakiusa Tubuna, Fiji’s Assistant Minister for Environment, addressed world leaders at COP28 in Dubai, emphasizing the urgency for bold action to ensure the survival and prosperity of island nations. He highlighted the need for adaptation strategies tailored to the specific circumstances of island nations and called for strengthened regional partnerships, funding mechanisms, and technical support. Tubuna also pointed out the failure to meet the $100 billion per year climate finance target and the importance of operationalizing the Loss and Damage Fund established at COP27.

FIU's first director to retire this year

07 Dec 2023  |  The Fiji Times
Razim Buksh, the first director of the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit, is set to retire at the end of the month after a 36-year career with the Reserve Bank of Fiji. He has served in various roles, including as a technical officer, fraud investigator, senior bank examiner, and FIU team leader. His contributions include membership in the National Anti-Money Laundering Council and leadership in national and international groups. The Governor of RBF and the National AML Council will oversee the appointment of a new director, with Caroline Pickering and Esther Sue acting as interim directors from January 2024.

Pacific islands ready for more action and ambition at COP28

01 Dec 2023  |  fijitimes.com.fj
Pacific nations are heading to COP28 in the UAE with a focus on increased action, ambition, and urgency to address the global climate crisis. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Henry Puna, highlighted the inclusion of youth voices and Pacific High Level Political champions at the event. The Forum's 2050 Implementation Plan, which aligns with the Paris Agreement, was endorsed by leaders prior to COP28. Puna also mentioned a US$50m grant from Saudi Arabia to support the Pacific Resilience Facility. The COP28 is expected to draw record attendance and aims to reinforce commitments to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

GCC delegation China-bound on funded 'strategic visit'

01 Dec 2023  |  fijitimes.com.fj
A delegation from Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs, led by Minister for iTaukei Affairs Ifereimi Vasu, will visit three Chinese provinces on a tour fully funded by the Chinese government. The visit, which is a result of the historic re-establishment of the GCC after 16 years, aims to learn from China's poverty alleviation and rural development strategies to enhance the socio-economic status of iTaukei villages.

Fiji Airways included in expanded TSA Pre-Check program

01 Oct 2023  |  The Fiji Times
Fiji Airways has been included in the expanded TSA Pre-Check program by the Transportation Security Administration, enhancing the travel experience for its customers. The program allows low-risk travelers expedited security screening at over 200 U.S. airports. Fiji Airways' CEO Andre Viljoen highlighted the benefits for passengers, particularly those traveling from the U.S. to Fiji for holidays. The airline offers daily services between Nadi and Los Angeles, and up to five times a week to San Francisco.

Tagimoucia Ranadi wins first major local tournament

01 Oct 2023  |  The Fiji Times
Tagimoucia Ranadi triumphed over Service 12-5 in the women's final of the Fiji Bitter Labasa 7s, marking their first major local tournament victory. Coach Kamanieli Tuiwasa attributed the win to divine strength and support from families and friends, dedicating the victory to their supporters.

Work begins to review national minimum wage

01 Oct 2023  |  The Fiji Times
The Ministry of Employment in Fiji has initiated a review of the national minimum wage rates, with Minister Agni Deo Singh highlighting the involvement of the Employment Relations Advisory Board (ERAB) and the reinstatement of 10 Wages Councils. The review process includes consultations with stakeholders and is being conducted with the assistance of a professional consultant and the Ministry of Finance. Progress is being reported through Parliamentary proceedings and the media.

Fiji Honeymoon Murder: American Bradley Dawson ‘Not in Good Health,' Asks for Bail in Wife's Brutal Murder

26 Sep 2023  |  Fox News
Bradley Dawson, a Tennessee man, appeared in a Fiji court for a bail hearing regarding the alleged murder of his wife, Christe Chen Dawson, during their honeymoon at Turtle Island Resort. Lautoka High Court Judge Riyaz Hamza denied bail and rejected Dawson's local bail sponsors. Dawson, who pleaded not guilty, is accused of brutally beating his wife to death. Prosecutors and Chen's family attorney argue against bail, citing Dawson as a flight risk and pointing to severe injuries found on Chen. Dawson's defense is contesting his unsigned confession to the police. Another hearing is scheduled for September 26 as the case continues.

Fiji judge denies bail for American man accused of killing wife on honeymoon, slams character witnesses

26 Sep 2023  |  Fox News
Bradley Dawson, a Tennessee man, was denied bail by a Fiji judge in the case of the murder of his wife Christe Chen during their honeymoon at the Turtle Island Resort. The judge, Riyaz Hamza, criticized the character witnesses supporting Dawson's bail, one of whom is facing his own serious charges. The court cited strong circumstantial evidence and deemed Dawson a flight risk, noting his lack of ties to Fiji and the potential life sentence he faces. Dawson, who has pleaded not guilty, is accused of severely beating Chen to death. His defense is contesting a 'caution interview' in which Dawson allegedly confessed but later declined to sign. A hearing on this confession is scheduled for September 26. Prosecutors and Chen’s family attorneys opposed bail, highlighting Dawson's actions after the alleged murder, such as ditching his GPS watch and fleeing with his passport.


14 Sep 2023  |  Fox News
Bradley Dawson, a Tennessee man, is accused of murdering his wife Christe Chen during their honeymoon at Fiji's Turtle Island Resort. He was found with cash, his passport, and his wife's credit cards after her death. Dawson pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer Iqbal Khan is challenging a caution interview where Dawson allegedly confessed. Khan requested bail for Dawson, citing health issues and his mother's financial dependence. Prosecutors and Chen's family attorney oppose bail, considering Dawson a flight risk. The judge will rule on the bail application on September 14, with another hearing on September 26. Dawson's trial may not begin until 2024. The case includes details of Dawson's escape attempt and the severe injuries sustained by Chen. Dawson's bail conditions would include staying with an American family friend in Fiji, who is facing sex crime charges.

$889k-plus in Fiji taxpayer funds paid out to Vatis Communications

11 Apr 2023  |  asiapacificreport.nz
Fiji's Department of Information spent over $889,000 in taxpayer funds on Vatis Communications for social media management services from September 2019 to January 2023. Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka disclosed the figures in Parliament, detailing two one-year contracts with possible extensions. The contracts were initiated under the previous FijiFirst government led by Voreqe Bainimarama. Vatis, established in 2018, had experience with government and private sector stakeholders, including crisis management and strategic communication.

Fijian Drua to offer contracts

04 Mar 2023  |  www.fijitimes.com.fj
Swire Shipping Fijian Drua head coach Mick Byrne announced that the team will offer new and lengthy contracts to younger players to develop their potential within the club. This strategy is to prevent overseas clubs from poaching their talent, exemplified by Taniela Rakuro's recent performance against Moana Pacifika. Philip Baselala, another young player, will also be playing this season after acclimatizing to the Super Rugby atmosphere.

Lautoka man charged with murder over Tailevu man's death

21 Feb 2023  |  fijitimes.com.fj
A 26-year-old man from Lautoka has been charged with the murder of a 24-year-old man from Nabouciwa, Tailevu, following an incident last October. The accused was arrested in Naikabula, Lautoka, after a prolonged investigation led by the Divisional Crime Officer Eastern. The victim, who had visible injuries, was found outside a Nausori supermarket and later died in the hospital. Evidence from the accused's home linked him to the crime, and he is to be produced at the Nausori Magistrates Court.

DPP confirms receiving police investigation files on Bainimarama, Sayed-Khaiyum, and Qiliho

17 Feb 2023  |  fijitimes.com.fj
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Fiji has received police investigation files concerning former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, former Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho, and former CID Director Mesake Waqa. The files, received on February 17, 2023, are under review following standard procedures, with decisions on charges to be made after legal analysis and managerial recommendations.

Man sentenced to life in Fiji prison for murdering Australian UN aid worker wife

12 Aug 2022  |  The Sydney Morning Herald
Henri Lusaka has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife, Jennifer Downes, an Australian United Nations aid worker in Fiji. Downes, who worked for the UN World Food Program as a logistics officer, was strangled to death by Lusaka in their home in July 2019. The incident occurred while their children were present. Prior to the murder, Lusaka sent accusatory messages to Downes' father and had a confrontation with a UN security official. Justice Gihan Kulatunga stated that Lusaka likely strangled Downes for three to eight minutes. Lusaka had moved to Fiji with Downes from Congo in 2017.

From ‘magic’ grass to roads and schools, China is everywhere in Fiji

14 Jul 2022  |  The Sydney Morning Herald
The article discusses the geopolitical competition between China and Australia in Fiji and the broader Pacific region, highlighting the impact of Chinese development projects and Australia's efforts to rebuild and maintain influence. It covers the construction of a new school by the Australian Army after a cyclone destroyed the previous one, the environmental and health issues caused by a Chinese state-backed bauxite mine, and the controversy over a Chinese company's attempt to mine mineral sand in Sigatoka. The Pacific Island Forum's meeting, where climate change and China's growing influence were key topics, is also mentioned. The article details the strategic moves by China, such as the security deal with the Solomon Islands, and Australia's response, including a $2 billion takeover of Digicel Pacific to prevent its sale to China Mobile. The piece reflects on the cultural ties Australia has with the Pacific nations and its renewed efforts to strengthen relationships in the region.

‘This place will crack’: Centuries-old graves threatened by the sea

14 Jul 2022  |  The Sydney Morning Herald
The article discusses the environmental and economic threats faced by the families of Work, Knowles, and Lalabalavu in Sigatoka, central Fiji, due to climate change. The rising sea levels are endangering the family cemetery at Olosara beach, where five generations are buried. Adi Paulini Lalabalavu-Naulago expresses her concerns about the graves of her ancestors, which are increasingly at risk of being washed away by the sea. The article paints a picture of the local landscape and the emotional connection the family has to the land, while also highlighting the broader issue of coastal erosion and its impact on communities.

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