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CHIEFS from Kubuna and Burebasaga yesterday rejected Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu’s nomination of Ratu Epeli Nailatikau as Fiji’s new Vice President.

And there were concerns raised last night that the rejection would further split the country along vanua lines.

Fijian Affairs Board Secretary, Ratu Meli Bainimarama, confirmed last night that Kubuna and Burebasaga rejected Ratu Epeli’s name although Tovata had agreed with Ratu Josefa’s nominee.

This was a step backward for the consensual approach normally taken by chiefs as past experience shows that members of the council had always gone along with the President’s choice.

Ratu Meli did not want to comment further but said that they were informing Ratu Josefa about the chiefs’ decision.

Interim Fijian Affairs Minister, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, was disappointed that the chiefs did not endorse the President’s choice.

It is now expected that the chiefs will reconvene at a later date and the President will provide another nominee.

Section 92 (1) of the Constitution states that as the position of Vice President becomes vacant, the President nominates someone who will take over the post.

However the nomination has to be endorsed by the GCC, which is the ultimate appointing authority.

In past appointments, the Council has unanimously backed the President’s choice and GCC Chairman, Ratu Ovini Bokini was hoping for the same yesterday.

Although there were requests by Ratu Ovini for unity and support for the President’s choice, close sources revealed that chiefs could not agree.

The chiefs met in the Bose Vakamatanitu or confederacy meeting in the afternoon but were not able to endorse Ratu Epeli’s name.

Sources from within the meeting confirmed there were differences among the three confederacies – Kubuna, Burebasaga and Tovata – on the President’s nomination.

Ratu Epeli was considered by Ratu Josefa to take up the post as he has had a distinguished career and would have been ideal for the position.

Ratu Ovini thanked the President earlier in the day for leading the country in the past few months.

The new Vice President will serve out the four-year term left vacant after former post holder, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi resigned following the military takeover on December 5, 2006.

The Fiji Daily Post was reliably informed that Ratu Epeli had been eyed for the President’s post thus his selection by Ratu Josefa.

With concerns raised in the past about Ratu Josefa’s health, there was a likelihood Ratu Epeli will be taking up office at Government House sooner than expected.

Ratu Josefa is scheduled to travel to Australia for an annual medical review.

Under the Constitution, the President can be retired early on medical grounds.

Ratu Epeli is the current Interim Foreign Affairs Minister and is preparing to leave for Brussels for an important meeting with the European Union on the future of funding of the country’s many development programmes.

He is a son of the late Ratu Edward Cakobau and was Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces in the late 80’s.

A coup led by then Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka ousted him from the military hierarchy in 1987.

He was High Commissioner to London before being appointed Speaker of the House in the Laisenia Qarase-led government.
FIJI made up for their Hong Kong 7s tournament loss when they outclassed Samoa 21-7 in the final of the Adelaide 7s yesterday.

The win sees Fiji now with 104 points on the IRB points table only needing just another win to successfully defend their IRB 7s title.

The performance was a far cry from their pool games’ performance and in last week with the Fijians showing hunger for glory.

After the game coach Waisale Serevi could only thank God and salute his players for their fine performance and at the same time apologise again for losing Hong Kong.

He said he hoped their win could make up for all their supporters.

“It is resurrection day and we have been working hard and praying and I thank the players and God for this,” Serevi said.

Fiji fielded a relatively different line-up in the final with Semisi Naevo, Etonia Naba and Mosese Volavola, Serevi at halfback, Lepani Nabuliwaqa at playmaker, Setefano Cakau at rover and Simione Saravanua on the wing.

Samoa started the game strongly with a try to Apele Faiaga with their short flowing passes but the heavy tackling of the Fijians did the damage.

Fiji replied with a try before the break to level 7-7 and made changes that reinforced their attacking.

Nasoni Roko, William Ryder and Emosi Vucago added firepower that saw Volavola at the end of some great passing and torrid defending to give them the lead 14-7.

From the kick off, the Fiji forwards won possession and made numerous raids in Samoan territory until it came to Ryder, who showed his magic by running between two defenders to score under the post.

He converted to give Fiji the 21-7 win.
Sharpton hosting Imus on radio show
Don Imus will appear on the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show Monday, five days after Imus made racially charged comments on his own show about the Rutgers women's basketball team, Sharpton and MSNBC announced Sunday.

Despite Imus' scheduled appearance, Sharpton said his position was unchanged: He wants Imus fired and intends to write the Federal Communications Commission about the matter.

"Somewhere we must draw the line in what is tolerable in mainstream media," Sharpton said Sunday. "We cannot keep going through offending us and then apologizing and then acting like it never happened. Somewhere we've got to stop this."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said his RainbowPUSH Coalition plans to protest Monday in Chicago outside the offices of NBC, which owns MSNBC, over the remark Imus made last Wednesday during his show.

Imus said members of the mostly black Rutgers University women's basketball team were "nappy-headed hos."

The team, which includes eight black women, had lost the day before in the NCAA women's championship game. Imus was speaking with producer Bernard McGuirk about the game when the exchange began on the show, which is broadcast to millions of people on more than 70 stations and the MSNBC television network.

"That's some rough girls from Rutgers," Imus said. "Man, they got tattoos ... ."

"Some hardcore hos," McGuirk said.

"That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that," Imus said.

Jackson said protests are being planned across the country.

"If he has a right to use that platform to insult and degrade then we have a moral obligation to picket NBC and to protest," Jackson said. "If he can violate us in that platform in the name of free speech we'll be picketing NBC in the name of free speech."

James E. Harris, president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, demanded Sunday that Imus "resign or be terminated immediately."

Allison Gollust, a spokeswoman for MSNBC, which simulcasts "Imus in the Morning," said the network considers Imus' comments "deplorable" and is reviewing the matter.

Karen Mateo, a spokeswoman for CBS Radio, Imus' employer and the owner of WFAN-AM, said the company was "disappointed" in Imus' actions and characterized his comments as "completely inappropriate."

Imus, who has not been publicly disciplined, apologized on the air Friday.

"It was completely inappropriate, and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry," Imus said, according to a transcript on MSNBC's Web site.
Health Tip: Dealing With Depression
(HealthDay News) -- Depression can make a person feel unusually sad, worthless, uninterested in activities that used to be fun, restless or even suicidal for several weeks or longer.

Depression is a serious illness that requires professional treatment, often with a combination of medication and psychological therapy.

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers these suggestions for dealing with depression:

* Set a realistic schedule for yourself. While you're getting better, don't expect that you can maintain a full schedule at a regular pace.
* Try not to believe the negative thoughts, like feelings of failure or blame, that depression causes -- such thoughts should ease as depression subsides.
* Participate in activities that make you feel good about yourself and that you enjoy.
* While you're depressed, try to avoid making any major life decisions. If you have to, ask a trusted friend or family member for help.
* Don't drink alcohol or take unprescribed drugs, as either can cause serious interactions with antidepressant medication, and can exacerbate depression.
* Get as much exercise as possible -- at least 30 minutes four to six times a week.
FEA disconnects supply to police
TWENTY families living in the Savusavu police barracks have been without electricity for the past two days.

Police officers say their electricity was disconnected by the Fiji Electricity Authority for non payment of bills.

A confirmation is being sought from the FEA.

An officer says the FEA has given the police station 48 hours to pay the station's power bill or supply will also be disconnected.
Triumphant Fiji-Kings of the World
The World Champions Fiji Sevens Team once again showed why they are the best in the world. The Fiji Team led by the Maestro himself, WaisaleSerevi convincingly thrashed the other powerhouses, South Africa, NewZealand, Scotland and Samoa in rugby sevens at the USA Sevens Championship Rugby Tournament in San Diego over the weekend.The defending World Cup Champions and rightful owners of the MelroseCup once again claimed their title as "kings of the world" of sevens rugby. In a show of international dominance on day one Fiji thrashedScotland 57-5; West Indies 55-7 and Argentina 19-5.In the heart wrenching quarterfinal show down Fiji beat South Africa inextra-time 26-21 to book a spot in the San Diego 7s semi-final against New Zealand. Former skipper Ratu Mosese Volavola scored the winning tryin extra time after both teams were tied 21-21 at full-time. Fiji played most of the game with six players after Lepani Nabuliwaqa was yellowcarded in the first half and then shown a red-card in the second half. World sensation and sevens superstar William Ryder scored two tries along with Waisale Serevi to come from behind and force the extra time before Volavola scored the golden try.In the semi-final the Fiji side again thrashed New Zealand 19-10. Athalf time Fiji led 12-5 after Mosese Volavola and Nasoni Roko scoredbreath taking tries. Volavola again showed his brilliance uponresumption of the second half and together with some ferocious tacklingended New Zealand’s hopes of a grand final appearance. Nadrogastrongman Etonia Naba was sin binned for a late tackle in the secondhalf as Fiji continued whipping the Kiwis with bone crunching tackles. Skipper Semisi Naevo claimed a clean restart which freed up WilliamRyder who opted for a chip kick and beat All Black Lote Raikabula to thechase and scored between the posts. In a twist of fate the mighty New Zealand All Blacks have not been able to beat Fiji since the NZ Sports Minister declared on live television that the Fiji was not welcome in New Zealand last week during the Wellington Sevens due to the unrelated Coup in Fiji. After the broadcast Fiji whipped the mighty New Zealand All Blacks 31-0 in front of their home crowd in Wellington.In the grand final Fiji beat island neighbors Samoa 38-24 to win the San Diego 7s. Nippy Emosi Vucago dictated play with impressive support play from the likes of Etonia Naba, Semisi Naevo, Mosese Volavola and Nasoni Roko. Fiji led 26-7 at halftime after tries from William Ryder (2), Nasoni Roko and Naba while veteran Uale Mai scored for Samoa. In the second half replacement Lepani Nabuliwaqa and skipper Semisi Naevo scored crucial tries to avenge last weekend’s Wellington 7s loss where Fiji was beaten 17-14. The Waisale Serevi coached Fiji side and New Zealand have 60 points and now lead the series with four tournaments remaining.But the beauty of the two day event were the Fiji fans, bhaiya, bhaini,turaga, marama, kids and old timers all showed up with their Fiji Flags and Fiji jerseys. The rugby festival both inside and outside the stadium and the downtown gas lamp party district proved to be a huge attraction. The atmosphere was electric and the Fiji fans dominated the crowd. Nevertheless the highlight of the tournament was when the Fiji team greeted the spectators with their gold medals and showered the Fiji fans with their hugs, kisses, pictures and autographs. The Fiji sevens maestro Waisale Serevi said his side drew inspiration from the overwhelming support they had from the Fiji crowd from all over the US at two day San Diego sevens event. "I was struck by the sea of Fiji flags in the stand and I told the boys we owe it to them to playour best and win," said Serevi. Serevi stated that treatment they gotat the San Diego Sevens including the services at the Marriott Hotel wasthe best the Fiji Team has ever been given since he began playing for Fiji eighteen years ago. The USFiji Times will be there again next year to support the Fiji Sevens team as they defend their USA Sevens title in February 2008.Contrary to the Wellington Sevens the Fiji Team was more than welcome in San Diego and the Fiji American Community will once again be there for them in 2008. God Bless Fiji
Crash leaves woman in hospital
A WOMAN in her early 20s is now admitted at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH) in a serious condition following two accidents.

Spokesman Corporal Suliano Tevita said the incident happened at about 6am on Tuesday (01/05) at Nasole, Nasinu, on the Kings Road after the vehicle she was travelling in veered off the road and hit a power line post.

Cpl Tevita said the vehicle was heading towards Nausori when the driver lost control. “The woman who was the only passenger in the vehicle suffered injuries and was rushed to hospital,” Cpl Tevita said.

He added the 31-year-old driver has been charged with drunk driving and was expected to appear in court.

However, Cpl Tevita said police were appealing for information on the identity of the woman.

Investigations are continuing.
Count me in, Satala says
Why the Men in Black tick

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