Fiji

Homes destroyed on Fiji's Ono-i-Lau island

Cyclone Gita was earlier upgraded to a category five - the highest possible.

The office's director, Anare Leweniqila, said damage assessments were on-going, but so far there were no reports of casualties or injuries on Ono-i-Lau.

"We have only received reports of three completely destroyed houses and we are just working around trying to ascertain the nature of these structures."

Mr Leweniqila said it was unclear if the homes were Fijian bures, made of corrugated iron or wood.

Cyclone Gita to pass directly over Fiji's Southern Lau group

It's expected to strengthen to a category five today as it moves towards Fiji tonight. The last time a category five cyclone hit the Pacific was in February 2016 when Cyclone Winston killed 44 people in Fiji.

Gita earlier hit the islands of Tongatapu and 'Eua as a category four storm, with winds of up to 230km/h.

A hurricane warning remains in force for Fiji's southern Lau group. Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa are expected to be hit with average wind speeds of up to 195km/h, gusting up to 275km/h, Fiji's Meteorological Service director Ravid Kumar said.

Fiji win Hamilton 7s

Playing in their first Cup final of the season, the Fijians overcame a yellow card and a 12 point half-time deficit, with Alosio Sovita Naduva bagging a hat-trick in a man of the match performance.

It was Fiji's first World Series win since Hong Kong ten months ago and coach Gareth Baber said the players stepped up when it mattered.

"I think everything is down to them really: their character, their belief, their love for their country and their families back home and their faith in god," he said.

Highlanders heading to Fiji

Led by new coach Aaron Mauger, the Dunedin-based side have agreed to stage a home game in Suva on June 30 against the Colin Cooper-coached Chiefs - who have played the Crusaders in Fiji in 2016 and 2017.

Club chief Roger Clark says it is a sound sporting decision.

"We are aware of the large following Super Rugby enjoys in Fiji and we're happy to have the chance to showcase our style of game in the islands," Clark said.

"Fiji has produced so many great players including our own Waisake Naholo - it will be great experience for him and all the players."

Fiji team in NSW Cup close to reality

Civoniceva, who captained the Bati at the 2013 World Cup, believes his three-year campaign for a Fiji team in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW will finally come to fruition in 2019 after the FNRL wrote to the NSWRL to advise they had formally endorsed the bid at a recent board meeting.

"The endorsement of the FNRL was the missing piece in the jigsaw so now that we have got that it allows us to start to set up for 2019," Civoniceva told NRL.com.

Damage to Air NZ jet not reported by Fiji ground handlers

A loading platform grazed the Boeing's door on Sunday but was not reported by the ground handling agent Air Terminal Services (ATS).

The airline only became aware of the damage after the aircraft returned to Auckland and routine inspections were made.

Fiji Trades Union Congress national secretary Felix Anthony said the incident highlighted concerns around security at the airport and the safety of passengers.

"We have unqualified people who are performing duties that they really should not be performing," he said.

Two Cypriots charged with money laundering in Fiji

Brothers, Loizos and Cleanthis Petridis will reportedly face two hundred and ninety-nine charges.

The FBC says six of the charges have been filed while the remaining two hundred and ninety-three charges are to be filed at the next hearing.

It is alleged on December 19th, the two allegedly engaged in transactions involving $2660 that were the proceeds of crime.

The details of the remaining 293 charges will be released once the file is produced before Magistrate Jioji Boseiwaqa.

Fiji's Nadi airport signs up new workers

The company, known as ATS, provides baggage, catering and engineering services at the Nadi airport.

More than 200 staff have been off work since December the 16th, saying they were locked out for attending a meeting.

ATS said the gathering amounted to illegal strike action.

FBC News reports about 150 ATS positions have been advertised.

ATS Acting chief executive Hare Mani said close to 2000 applications were received and the company began conducting interviews last Friday.

Fiji government mediation fails to resolve ATS dispute

Fiji's Ministry of Employment said in a statement despite its exhaustive efforts to mediate between Air Terminal Services and employees who participated in an unlawful strike, no resolution had been reached.

The ministry said as a result it had to defer to the decision of ATS management to suspend the employees.

The firm provides baggage, catering and engineering services at the airport in Nadi.

Samoa completes connection to new submarine cable

The Samoa Submarine Cable Company said Samoa, Fiji, and Wallis and Futuna are now inter-connected via the undersea optical fibre system which spans more than 1,470 kilometres.

Samoa's Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa'i, said it's a significant milestone for the project to bring high speed broadband to everyone in Samoa.

The new internet connection is expected to be operational next month.