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Ba wins 15th league title
Ba soccer team has won the National Soccer League title for the 15th time.

The Men in Black thrashed Savusavu 4-nil and have finished on top of the points table with 49 points.

Ba now qualifies to represent Fiji again in the O-League competition next season.

In addition, Ba also has grabbed a spot to play in the Champions league series for the 19th time in January next year.

Meanwhile, Courts IDC champions Labasa were thumped 6-nil by minnows Tavua this afternoon.

Despite the score line, Labasa will finish second on the points table with 42 points.

Also today, Tailevu-Naitasiri was crowned the Premier Division Champions after they drew 4-all with Dreketi while yesterday they defeated Dreketi 6-1 in the first leg.


Bainimarama Government cuts taxes for 99% of taxpa
In his annual budget address , Fiji's Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama announced his government is cutting taxes for 99% of Fijian taxpayers in 2012 and beyond.

The top marginal income tax will be dropped to 20%, and the tax threshold will increase to $15,600, eliminating taxes for low-income earners.


Prime Minister Bainimarama said that the new progressive tax structure is designed to “put more money in the pockets of Fijians” in a way “that grows our economy and ensures fiscal sustainability.”

“My Government wants to see all Fijians live up to their potential and have happy, productive, successful lives,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said in his address.

Government will also lower the corporate tax rate from 28 percent to 20 percent.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said, however, that “for too long the ‘99 percent’ have been shouldering most of the tax burden. They have the lowest incomes, but contribute the most towards our PAYE collection. This just isn’t fair.”

As a result, a temporary “Social Responsibility Levy” will be applied to the wealthiest 1% taxpayers to support programs that help the poor and marginalized. The levy will be reduced and eventually eliminated as people progress off of welfare program and/or as Fiji’s GDP grows. New taxes will also be applied in some services areas.


The Prime Minister said, “We have to accept the fact that there are certain members of our society who need help. In this way the top 1 percent of taxpayers will now be contributing more fully to the social good.”


He also issued a stiff warning to tax evaders. “No longer will Government look the other way with regard to people and businesses not paying taxes,” and he announced new strong enforcement measures and harsh penalties for those who neglect to pay taxes.


“For decades, Fiji was steered off course by greed, poor management, and selfishness,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said. “I hope you can see by the actions of my Government in recent years that we have been working to set things right for all Fijians.”


The Prime Minister affirmed that no later than September 2012 Fiji will commence work on a new Constitution that establishes a fully representative government that is founded on an electoral system that guarantees equal suffrage. “For the first time in Fiji’s history,” he said, “we will have a truly democratic system: one person, one vote, one value.”


As a demonstration of the Bainimarama government’s commitment toward elections, the government has allocated $5.9 million in the 2012 Budget for electronic voter registration.


In addition, the Bainimarama government will expand aid programmes to “reach the most vulnerable and marginalized in society through targeted social assistance” The budget also extends the education system to rural areas so Fijians can learn trades. “Fiji will be transformed into a “Knowledge Based Society.” the Prime Minster said.


Prime Minister Bainimarama announced more major infrastructure projects. “As we invest in the people of Fiji, however, we must also invest and improve the institutions and infrastructure of our country.”

I don’t need a Danny Boyle: Bappi
Today, Bappi Lahiri turns 59 and plans to bring in his birthday quietly. “We’ll have a party later to celebrate the success of The Dirty Picture,” he says, ecstatic that his song ‘Oo la la…’ is topping the charts. “Back in the 1980s, I had 12 jubilee hits in a year-and-a-half. This song is in the same-Jeetendra-Sridevi Mawwali style and after the recording I had told the composers Vishal-Shekhar, that we had created a superhit.

But I had never imagined that it would sprint ahead in three weeks, faster than last year’s ‘Sheila…’ and ‘Munni…’,” he admits. The composer, who has sung for several actors from Vinod Khanna (‘Bambai se aaya mera dost…’ from Aap Ki Khatir, 1977) and Amitabh Bachchan (Raat baaki… from Namak Halal, 1982) to Sanjay Dutt (Tamma tamma… from Thanedaar, 1990) and John Abraham (Bambai nagariya…’ from Taxi No. 9211, 2006), is thrilled by the response to ‘Oo la la…’

“People still like my voice. Recently at a show in Kolkata I had to sing it three times,” he beams, pointing out that his jazz album, Walking On Love Street, is on CMJ’s Top 5 New World Adds Chart and and WONY Oneonta, New York — Top Ten Jazz Playlist Week. “My song with American Idol winner Shaun Barrows is playing in 38 radio stations, and also hotels, airplanes and stores.”

Walking On Love Street that has Diana Williams as Bappi’s co-lyricist, Doron Zor on the guitar and features five-time Grammy nominee Jeff Lorber. It was recorded at Hollywood’s Rusk Studios, with the acoustics, including sitar, flute and santoor recorded in India with Bappi himself on the tabla. The album is dedicated to his wife Chitrani, who he met at a recording studio. “I was 23 with just three films to my credit, Zakhmi Aurat (1988), Chalte Chalte (1976) and Aap Ki Khatir. She was 19. It was love-at-first sight and I told my parents that this was the girl I wanted to marry. We came home in a car and then on a whim, went walking down love street. We’re still there,” he smiles.

With 462 films to his credit, Bappi who completes four decades in the industry, points out that he’s won many awards and celebrated many jubilees. But this is the first time that two of his songs are topping the charts, in India and abroad at the same time. “It’s a rare feat for any musician and I didn’t need a Danny Boyle to boost me. I did it on my own with an album I produced, composed, wrote and sang for,” he points out. “For years, people have been calling me a copy cat, but these are original. RD Burman, Shankar-Jaikishen and I were merely ‘inspired’. Today’s music directors just take songs from every country and simply ‘chaapo’ (produce) them under their own names.”
New Kidney Dialysis Centre Foundation laid
India’s High Commissioner to Fiji, Vinod Kumar laid the foundation for Fiji’s new kidney dialysis centre at Extension Street, opposite the Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital’s Accident and Emergency entrance today .

Kidney Foundation of Fiji president Mr Dewan Chand Maharaj told those present at the function the assistance of US$100,000 by the Indian Government prompted them to begin fundraising for the new building and to start looking for a piece of land in Suva.

“About six weeks ago I sighted this piece of land and God is always great he gave me this land and we bought it. It has been a long journey for us. The assistance by the Government of India through its generous donation started our fundraising. It has given us life,” Mr Maharaj said.

Two lots of land, next to each other on Extension Street in Suva were purchased

“We bought one lot for $220,000 and the next one for $280, 000,” Mr Maharaj said.

“Other donations included US$3,000 by Vodafone Fiji, US$100,000 from an American citizen who sent his donation through Fiji’s Embassy in Washington, donation by Westpac Bank and also donation from US famous actor Mel Gibson.”

Mr Maharaj thanked the assistance of the Department of Town and Country Planning and the Government for their generous assistance.

“Let me reiterate the Prime Minister’s wish for everyone to move forward together which I believe is possible, and this is your centre and I need your support.” the Kidney Foundation president said.

The Indian High Commissioner Mr Vinod Kumar said he was honored on behalf of his Government to be laying the foundation of the new Kidney Foundation of Fiji Dialysis Centre.

“We are proud to be part of this ceremony, I think it is wise for the Kidney Foundation to have a separate building and provide treatment facilities here for Kidney patients at a very low cost,” Mr Kumar said.

The Kidney Dialysis Centre, which is run by the Rotary Club, a non profit organization is charging patients less than the rate charged in Australia.

“We have been working together with the Government of Fiji and institutions here in the spirit of cooperation, and the main strength of the cooperation is the assistance given to the health sector and to see that this centre which started a few years back is able to provide the services not only to the people of Fiji but also to other developing countries in the Pacific,” Mr Kumar said.

While conveying his well wishes Mr Kumar said he hoped the centre would continue to grow and become the source of good health for kidney patients in Fiji and the Pacific.

Fundraising for the new centre began way back in 2008 when the Prime Minister officially launched donations with $25,000.

The Kidney Foundation centre is situated at the old CWM Hospital and the construction of a new building for a new centre augurs well with Pillar 10 of the Peoples Charter for Change and Progress,which is to improve health service delivery Fiji.
Fiji's first super frozen vessel
Fiji’s first fiberglass super-frozen vessel the “Ocean Bountiful 338” was launched by the Department of fisheries permanent secretary Commander Viliame Naupoto at the Narain Wharf in Suva today.

It belongs to Ocean Bountiful Limited, owned by a Taiwanese family, who migrated to Fiji a few years ago and reside in Lami Town outside Suva.

“Now we are heading into a new era of fishery development whereby we aim to have a fleet of our own for Fiji,” Commander Naupoto said.

The new vessel is smaller than the normal super frozen vessel used in other parts of the world with size ranges from 500 to 800 tonnes.

“Small super-frozen vessels like Ocean Bountiful 338 consumes an average, one tonne of fuel per day and returns to port every two to three months to offload their catch,” Commander Naupoto said.

“This vessel will surely provide more business opportunities for on-shore service providers.

“Each time this kind of vessel calls into our port it will spend a minimum of $120,000 on basic services like fuel , food, and port services.”

Commander Naupoto revealed that services provided to these kinds of vessels in Fiji raked in an annual income of $70million.

Ocean Bountiful Limited executive director Chi Tien-I Jack said he bought the shell of the ship from the Fijian Government and imported parts and technology on the ship from Taiwan.

Commander Naupoto said local ship builders were employed by Ocean Beautiful to clean up the shell of the vessel and marine engineers fitted parts of the super frozen vessel.

“I would like to encourage more local entrepreneurs, vessel owners and vessel charters to join in this existing industry,” Commander Naupoto said.

He concluded by wishing Ocean Bountiful 338 fair winds and a bountiful catch.
Fiji loses to Tahiti, finishes fourth
The Fiji men’s football side recorded one its worst result ever in the Pacific Games after finishing the competition on fourth spot and going down to Tahiti 2-1 in the bronze medal playoff this afternoon.

The Gurjit Singh coached side were stunned with a early Tahiti goal and failed to click in all aspects of the match.

The return of Roy Krishna and Taniela Waqa from suspension did not make much of a difference as Tahiti played with more coordination and passion.

The Tahitians opened their account in the 5th minute through Stanley Atani who neatly beat the Fijian defence and goalie Benaminio Mateinaqara.

Indiscipline crept in the Fijian players which saw the dismissal of Seveci Rokotakala in the minutes before halftime.

Malakai Tiwa, Roy Krishna, Alvin Avinesh, Malakai Kanihewe and Taniela Waqa also copped yellow cards in the tensed affair.

Midfielder Avinesh leveled scores in the 58th minute after flicking in a Roy Krishna corner which deflected off the Tahitian defence.

But Jonathan Tehau dashed Fiji’s hopes of a comeback in the 65th minute after taking advantage of a defensive mistake and slotting the ball into the back of the net.

Tahiti had earlier lost to Fiji 3-0 in the group stages.

Fiji won silver medal in Apia and gold in 2003 Games in Suva.

Flying Fijians presents itatau
Seeking the nation’s blessings before the battle at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand our Flying Fijians presented their itatau to His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Government House in Suva this morning

The itatau is a traditional presentation to the chiefs before the warriors leave the country for contests on foreign soil. It is done to seek the blessings of God and the vanua for protection and success with an aim to return victorious.

“The itatau is a very simple thing,” Ratu Epeli said. “But it has very deep rooted meanings. Very emotional and I hope you all know why you have come here today,” Ratu Epeli told players and officials.

“The blessing of the vanua will always be with the team but I urge you players to make sure you give your best shot.

“Fiji will be behind you all the way and we will cheer you on. We know you can do it,” the President said.

“You have been chosen and your coming here today tells me that you have accepted the challenge and are ready to battle.”

Ratu Epeli encouraged the players not to let their armor down as he reminded them to fight till the last drop.

“Play your hearts out for Fiji. You take with you the blessings and prayers of our fathers, and forefathers,” Ratu Epeli said.

The 2011 RWC will kick-off in New Zealand on September 9 with the final for the Webb Ellis trophy on October 23 at Eden Park.

Rugby World Cup pools;
Pool A: New Zealand, France, Tonga, Canada, Japan.
Pool B: Argentina, England, Scotland, Georgia, Romania.
Pool C: Australia, Ireland, Italy, Russia, United States.
Pool D; South Africa, Wales, Fiji, Samoa, Namibia.
Road upgrade to benefit farmers, rural villagers
Government has come to help us and we will ensure this development boosts our livelihood by maximising it for our betterment.

Those were the sentiments of 77-year-old Livai Navudinibili of Malabe Village in Wainibuka during the groundbreaking ceremony for the upgrading of the Wailotua – Nayavu stretch on the Kings Road.

The sealing and upgrade of the nine-kilometer stretch on the Kings Road from Wailotua Village to Nayavu in Wainibuka will mean relief for villagers of Malabe and other nearby villages.

Mr Navudinibili can only recall how his ancestors used to travel on horseback or on foot to reach the urban centre.

He felt emotional on how quickly that changed when the Kings Road was constructed next to their village.

“Things will definitely change for us here at Malabe after the upgrade of this stretch of the road,” Mr Navudinibili said.

“Government emphasised the need for empowerment before it can come to assist us.

“The villagers of Malabe have so far planted 10,000 dalo plants collectively and more than 1000 yaqona plants with the assistance of Government.

“Government provided us with dalo and yaqona plantlets and the onus is now on villagers to secure their market.

“It is all part of this government’s empowerment and development plan for grassroots people and we are so grateful for that,” Mr Navudinibili said.

He added the road upgrade would really benefit villagers, especially farmers.

A Nasau villager, Josevata Dugucagi said: “Our people always have difficulties in carting their produce to the market.”

“This upgrade really means a lot to farmers and villagers. It means quick delivery and turnaround time for their hard work.

“School-children of both primary and secondary can travel with ease to schools of their choice on a daily basis without being worried of getting muddy and dirty.

“It is a doorway to better and bigger developments and much cleaner environment to all these villagers,” Mr Dugucagi said.

While officiating at the groundbreaking ceremony Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said: “Access to better and new roads give those living in the rural areas, especially farmers, school children and business people new and better opportunities.”

“It creates commerce, industry and developments for everyone,” Commodore Bainimarama said.

The upgrade works will be carried out by China Railway First Group of China.

Prime Minister meets ILO
The Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama met with a delegation from the International Labour Organisation this morning .

The four-member delegation included Mr David Lamotte, the Director ILO Country Office, in Suva

The visit was an opportunity for Government to brief the visiting delegation on the various reforms and policies implemented in as far as the labour sector was concerned.

This year alone saw milestone achievements by Government including the Wage Order Regulation, the Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree and strengthening the mediation unit to expedite mediation cases efficiently and in a timely manner.

Apart from meeting the Prime Minister, the ILO delegation also met with the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the week.

Government reiterates that the various existing imbalances in the labour sector are now being addressed and that they will continue to analyse how best to advance this sector for the growth of the economy and the country.

Fiji is party to all eight of the ILO’s conventions upholding workers’ basic rights

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