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Fiji will be hard to forget
Fiji will be hard to forget says the outgoing Peoples Republic of China’s ambassador to Fiji, His Excellency Dr Han Zhiqiang.

He made the comments at a luncheon hosted by diplomats in Suva this week.

“Fiji will always be in my heart and I will never forget my experience with Fiji and her people,” he said.

“They welcomed me wholeheartedly and have been supporting me which made my work easier as a representative of another country.”

When asked if there were challenges he faced when carrying out his work Dr Han said “My work involved bringing together two nations – two friends and both countries reciprocated well and that is why Fiji is so close to China”.

“China is a true friend and this has been evident through the many development works done around the country and China will continue to do so in the future.”

Dr Han has been in Fiji for the past two years bringing in the much needed aid in terms of upgrading infrastructure works around the country.

He will return to China later this month before taking up his new posting.

“I will always come back not as an ambassador but as a tourist because I love the beaches and the friendly people of Fiji,” Dr Han said.

“Unfortunately it is very hard to say goodbye.”
Defending champs held by Tavua
Defending champion, Ba was held to a goal-less draw by a young and energetic Tavua outfit in the opening match of the 2011 Fiji FACT at Churchill Park this afternoon.

The Men In Black struggled in all aspects of the match and were lucky to come away with a draw as the Gold Miners time and again missed chances at goal in both halves.

Strikers Jone Salaweune, Ravinesh Singh and the midfield combination of pint sized Lovneel Pratap and Ravinesh Chand proved havoc for Ba and despiteb utilising all the substitutes, Coach Josaia Bukalidi failed to get a winning start.

The draw puts a lot of pressure on Ba as they will play tougher opponents in their remaining pool matches.

Tavua coach Kamal Swamy was happy after the draw and said his players listened to the instructions and played well as a team.

“At the beginning of the year we were having some financial problems that’s why we were not able to train as a team”.

“But just recently we moved into camp and trained as a team, it’s a very young team and they played really well, said Swamy.

“The only thing that is a concern for me is the finishing and I believe that lady luck was not with us today”.

“They need confidence and I believe that drawing with Ba who are known as the Giants of Fiji soccer, their confidence level will certainly build up”.

Ba Secretary Iliyaaz Khan said they played according to plan and will need to work harder in the remaining matches.

“We played according to our game plan and now need to work on our weaknesses”.

“I am not disappointed and we are going to regroup as a team”.

“Our main area of concern is finishing and we will be working on that, said Khan.

Ba plays Rewa in the feature match tomorrow at 5.15pm while Tavua is on a Bye.

Play-by-play analysis

4th minute update- Tavua comes on attack and Ravinesh Singh is left in the clear but fails to capitalise on his chance as Ralulu comes to Ba's rescue.

7th minute update- Salaweune breaks away from the right flank for Tavua and comes in with a volley which goes inches over the cross-bar. Tavua is entertaining the fans while Ba is trying to settle in the match.

10th minute update- Tavua is playing with more confidence and has so far launched three attacks on the Ba goal and has kept the Men In Black in their own territory. The crowd on the stands is backing the miners as Ba is still struggling.

16th minute update- Ba has failed to live up to expectation in the opening 15 minutes and Kamal Swamy is barking instructions to keep his players focused on the task.

19th minute update- Salaweune has another chance and comes in with a low shot which is blocked by Ralulu. Scores remain 0-0 with ten minutes of play remaining in the first half.

24th minute update- Ba is trying to control play in midfield by Tavua is scattering its defence which is making things tough for the Men In Black.

27th minute update- Bukalidi makes the first change of the match and Nakama is replaced by Ratu Vula Bonaveidogo.

Halftime update- Its halftime here and both teams are still locked goal-less. Ba will really need to lift its game in the second spell if it wants to start off the tournament on a high note while Tavua has to apply the pressure and get a goal if it wants to win this fixture.

34th minute update- Tavua is continuing to apply the pressure and the fans gathered here are backing the team on while Ba players are trying their best to get things right in the second spell.

40th minute update- Ravinesh Singh misses another chance on Ba goal and Josaia Ratu makes a good save on the other hand, much to the delight of the crowd which is backing Tavua.

48th minute update- Aisea Codro comes in for Raura to add more depth to Ba's defence. Dauniseka comes in with a diving header which goes inches over the cross-bar.

52nd minute update- With less than 10 minutes remaining on the clock, Ba is pushing everyone forward in desperation while veteran Valerio Nasema is guiding his defence pretty well.

56th minute update- With four minutes remaining, Meli Codro and Peter Hughes come in for Marika Madigi and Simeli Naresia while Tavua is yet to make a change.

59th minute update- Meli Codro cops the first yellow card of the match and a minute remains in normal time.

Full-time update- Tavua holds the defending champs to a goal-less draw.

Starting teams:
Ba- Jone Ralulu, Daniel Krishneel, Manueli Kalou, Ronil Kumar, Jone Vesikula, Laisenia Raura, Petero Dauniseka, Simeli Naresia Mavileko Nakama, Marika Madigi, Malakai Kanihewe.

Tavua- Josaia Ratu, Valerio Nasema, Vilitati Ratu, Ame Votoniu, Savenaca Nasara Jnr, Jale Vota, Jone Salaweune, Ravinesh Singh, Saimoni Tukai, Lovneel Pratap, Ravinesh Chand.
President Stresses Importance of Touch Rugby
His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau stressed the important role touch rugby plays in social cohesion and nation building while launching the sport’s world cup campaign at the Holiday Inn in Suva this evening.

Ratu Epeli added that the accolades and prominence touch rugby has brought to Fiji, bagging wins on the international sporting arena, calls for greater support for the sport.

“Not often do we find a sport that can be played by anyone, male and female, young and old as it is played in beaches, villages greens and communities around the country,” Ratu Epeli said.

“A sport that brings the family and community together to play each other in a game that offers both a competitive as well as a social mix with a unifying force that helps to foster team work, discipline as well as social cohesion and community solidarity which are important ingredients for nation building.

“Although touch rugby is a minor sport in the country it has made Fiji proud of its achievements.”

The Touch Rugby Association is hoping to raise about $100,000 to finance logistics and travel for the two teams they plan to field at the Touch Rugby World Cup to be staged from June 22 to 26 at Peffermills playing grounds, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Over 90 teams from 30 different countries will participate at the world cup in two divisions – open and seniors – across seven categories.

Fiji will be represented in the Mix Open and Men’s 30’s categories.

Fiji is seeded 3rd in the world in the Men’s 30’s categories and seeded 8th in the Mix Open.

Ratu Epeli noted that with a track record of successes, since the sport was introduced in Fiji in 1985, teams from Fiji were ready to stun the world.

Past successes include:

· 1999 – placed 8th in the Mix Open Category at the TWC in Australia

· 2003 – Gold Medal in Mixed and Men’s Open Categories at the South Pacific Games in Suva

· 2005 – Gold Medals in Mix, Men’s, Women’s and Men’s 30’s at SPIN, Samoa

· 2006 – Gold Medal (USP team) at World Universities Championships in Singapore

· 2007 – Gold Medal in Men’s Open at SPG, Samoa

· 2007 – Placed 4th in Men’s Open at M30’s category at TWC, South Africa

· 2009 – Silver in Mix and Men’s Open Categories at PMG, Cook Islands

“So their record speaks for itself,” Ratu Epeli said.

“Now I am told that most of the players who will represent the country at the upcoming Edinburgh world cup were part of the winning team from previous tournaments that I have already mentioned.

“Through these achievements, Fiji’s touch rugby has put Fiji on the world map which augurs well for our sporting fraternity and our international relations.
iTaukei Ministry Support Child Protection
The Ministry of iTaukei Affairs joined other government stakeholders in reaffirming their commitment to the National Child Protection Program.

The ministry and major partner, UNICEF met recently to share ideas on the best way forward to effectively drive the key message on child protection to rural iTaukei communities.

Government formally endorsed the program in 2010, followed by the establishment of the Child Welfare Decree 2010.

With the endorsement by the iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary Savenaca Kaunisela, who is also chief executive officer for the iTaukei Affairs Board, the ministry is now in the process of developing policies aligned to the program, and which is to be shortly followed by its activity plan.

Mr Kaunisela said indicative findings of the UNICEF/Social Welfare Baseline Report stated that iTaukei children may be the most affected and the visible growing number of iTaukei children on the streets is a concern.

While the rights of a child is not a traditional concept, there is an unwritten iTaukei code of conduct which governs behavior among its community.

The breakdown of these traditional social strands through various factors including modernisation and media influences have taken their toll in changing behavior patterns and possible causes for extreme violence against children, child molestation, and sexual abuse.

After signing its commitment in January under the Government-UNICEF Multi-Year Work Plan for the Child Protection Program, the ministry is now planning the usage of its existing and biggest network to engage iTaukei communities in the development of child protection plans, strategies, and how it could effectively monitor and document results.

All iTaukei existing mechanisms will be thoroughly considered for driving the awareness program first.

The ministry is also keen to see the program will penetrate 1170 villages and has also started its preliminary engagement with its stakeholders and partners for the program.
Sealing works on Sawani Serea Road
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama officially launched sealing works for the Sawani Serea Road this morning.

The project, which is funded through a $55 million soft loan from the government of Peoples Republic of China, involves the sealing of about 15 kilometers of road.

Commodore Bainimarama in his opening remarks acknowledged China’s commitment to improving and developing infrastructure in Fiji.

“The Chinese Government is a true friend of Fiji helping us build a steady foundation for socio-economic improvement, advancement and empowerment. I am most appreciative of their contribution,” he said.

The vice president of the China Gezhouba Group company limited, Yu Chang Shang said they were honoured to be awarded the contract for the project.

“We want to assure you that we will conduct our job on time for 730 days and with the best quality,” Mr Chang Shang said.

Government has invested over $80 million in the province of Naitasiri through projects such as roads, rural electrification, and water projects.

Commodore Bainimarama said the development of infrastructure was important to the Fijian Government because it helped improve livelihoods of rural communities.

“We want all Fijians to not only become empowered but to rid themselves of the old ways of thinking. We want modernization and the collaboration of all Fiji citizens as one nation, as one people and for Fijians socio-economic advancement.”
Krishna poised to remain at Waitakere
Fiji soccer wonder-boy Roy Krishna is expected to sign another contract with New Zealand based club Waitakere United.

This comes after the club's head coach Neil Emblem revealed his interest in the Siberia lad.

“Roy Krishna is keen to return. He is over the injury which sidelined him for the latter part of the season”, says Emblem.

The ASB Premiership will start in October and if Roy puts pen to paper with Labasa Football he will only be able to feature for the Auckland based side after the November transfer window.

Krishna was also part of the Waitakere Invitational XI that lost to New Zealand All Whites 4-1 last Wednesday.

The All Whites team was led by Perth Glory striker Shane Smeltz.

Krishna is expected to join Labasa in the July transfer window and will stay with the team till the Inter District Championship.

Labasa President Ajesh Sharma had indicated in earlier reports that he is ready to meet Krishna’s demands.
PM hands over land lease
Prime Minister and Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama today issued another set of agricultural land leases to a local farming company.

Kaiming Agriculture Investment Company Limited of Navua has invested in Fiji over the years and their new lease is a first of ten leases to be issued to investors and locals who want to contribute towards the economy.

Commodore Bainimarama said government has always supported individuals and groups that have the nation’s economy at heart.

“The handing over today is very significant. It demonstrated to investors that Fiji could become an investor’s haven. The Government and the people of Fiji have been trying hard over the past decades to market Fiji to the world – to basically tell the world that Fiji is the best location in the Pacific to conduct business because of our geographical location at the hub of the Pacific,” he said.

Commodore Bainimarama said the decision to formally lease the 38.5 hectares will undoubtedly see an increase in economic activities at local and international levels.

“We have always wanted to tell the world that our facilitation processes are among the best in terms of costs, efficiency of services, turn-around time and as genuine hosts to investors,” he said.

“At the end of the day, we want investors to make their money, to help create employment and to leave behind some very positive infrastructures, a robust economy and an elevated standard of living for our people.”

The lease adds to Kaiming’s existing lease where they have a processing plant already in place in Navua.

Kaiming Investment Company representative, Mr Kaiming Qiu was thankful to government for seeing the need to help farmers.

“With this I hope to put in more infrastructure, employ more people and export more to help the economy,” Mr Qiu said.

He said agriculture is becoming a very lucrative market internationally and Fiji’s needs to look at ways to tap this resource based industry.

Mr Qiu said such assistance goes a long way and is now up to his company to do their part in contributing to the national Gross Domestic Product and to increase exports abroad.

Sonu Nigam Tickets in San Jose (CA)
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Tonawai set to lead Fiji 7s team
With less than 5 hours remaining for the Scotland 7s to kick off, Digicel Fiji 7s captain Dale Tonawai is set and ready to lead Fiji in the first game against Scotland.

Coach Josateki Savou said that they will take each game as it comes.

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However, Scotland captain, Scott Riddell said they are confident to beat Fiji.

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The starting lineup for the first match against Scotland sees Dale Tonawai, Sakenasa Aca and Leone Nakarawa in the forwards.

Nikola Matawalu is at halfback, Metuisela Talebula will be at playmaker, Miteli Nacgilevu at rover with Joeli Lutumailagi starting on the wing.

Fiji's first match is against the hosts at 12.04am, they meet USA at 3.10am and their last game is against Samoa at 5.49am.

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