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Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji, is anisland nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km; 1,300 mi) northeast of New Zealand's North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the west, France's New Caledonia to the southwest, New Zealand's Kermadec to the southeast, Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

Tonga to the east, theSamoas, France's Wallis and Futuna to the northeast and Tuvalu to the north.

The majority of Fiji's islands were formed through volcanic activity started around 150 million years ago. Today, some geothermal activity still occurs on the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni.Dell Latitude D830 Battery

Fiji has been inhabited since the second millennium BC. The country comprises an archipelago of more than 332islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited, and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of circa 18,300 square kilometres (7,100 sq mi).Toshiba Satellite M65 battery

The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the population of almost 850,000. The former contains Suva, the capital and largest city. Most of Fijians live on Viti Levu's coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centres. Viti Levu's interior is sparsely inhabited due to its terrain.Toshiba NB100 Battery

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Dutch and the British explored Fiji. Fiji was a British colony up until 1970; British occupation lasted almost a century. Because of the abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources, Fiji is one of the most developed economies in the Pacific island realm. Toshiba Satellite P10 Battery

Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports. The country's currency is the Fijian dollar.

Fiji has a local government system where city and town councils fall under the general supervision of the Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development.Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau became Fiji's president, after a high court ruled that the military leadership was unlawfully appointed after a 2006 coup. During World War II, the United Kingdom allowed for many thousands of Fijians to volunteer to aid in Allies' efforts via their attachment to the New Zealand and Australian army units. Sony VGN-FW11S Battery

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF), consisting of land and naval units defend and protect Fiji.

Etymology

Fiji's main island is known as Viti Levu and it is from this that the name "Fiji" is derived, though the common English pronunciation is based on that of their island neighbours in Tonga. Its emergence was best described as follows:Hp pavilion dv6000 battery

Fijians first impressed themselves on European consciousness through the writings of the members of the expeditions of Cook who met them in Tonga. They were described as formidable warriors and ferocious cannibals, builders of the finest vessels in the Pacific, but not great sailors. Sony Vaio VGN-FZ31S battery

They inspired awe amongst the Tongans, and all their Manufactures, especially bark cloth and clubs, were highly esteemed and much in demand. They called their home Viti, but the Tongans called it Fisi, and it was by this foreign pronunciation, Fiji, first promulgated by Captain James Cook, that these islands are now known.HP NX8200 battery

History

Pottery art from Fijian towns shows that Fiji was settled before or around 3500–1000 BC, although the question of Pacific migration still lingers. It is believed that the Lapita people or the ancestors of the Polynesians settled the islands first but not much is known of what became of them after theMelanesians arrived; HP NX7400 battery

they may have had some influence on the new culture, and archaeological evidence shows that they would have then moved on toTonga, Samoa and even Hawai'i.

The first settlements in Fiji were started by voyaging traders and settlers from the west about 5000 years ago. HP NW8440 battery

Lapita pottery shards have been found at numerous excavations around the country. Aspects of Fijian culture are similar to Melanesian culture to the western Pacific but have stronger connection to the older Polynesian cultures such as those of Samoa and Tonga. HP NW8200 battery

Trade between these three nations long before European contact is quite obvious with canoes made from native Fijian trees found in Tonga and Tongan words being part of the language of the Lau group of islands. Pots made in Fiji have been found in Samoa and even the Marquesas Islands.HP NC6400 battery

Across 1000 kilometres from east to west, Fiji has been a nation of many languages. Fiji's history was one of settlement but also of mobility. Over the centuries, a unique Fijian culture developed. Constant warfare and cannibalism between warring tribes was quite rampant and very much part of everyday life.HP NC6200 battery

During the 19th century, Ratu Udre Udre is said to have consumed 872 people and to have made a pile of stones to record his achievement. According to Deryck Scarr ("A Short History of Fiji", 1984, page 3), "Ceremonial occasions saw freshly killed corpses piled up for eating. HP NC6100 battery

'Eat me!' was a proper ritual greeting from a commoner to a chief." Scarr also reported that the posts that supported the chief's house or the priest's temple would have sacrificed bodies buried underneath them, with the rationale that the spirit of the ritually sacrificed person would invoke the gods to help support the structure, and "men were sacrificed whenever posts had to be renewed" (Scarr, page 3). HP NC6000 battery

Also, when a new boat, or drua, was launched, if it was not hauled over men as rollers, crushing them to death, "it would not be expected to float long" (Scarr, page 19"). Fijians today regard those times as "na gauna ni tevoro" (time of the devil). The ferocity of the cannibal lifestyle deterred European sailors from going near Fijian waters, HP NC4400 battery

giving Fiji the name Cannibal Isles, in turn Fiji was unknown to the rest of the outside world.

The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman visited Fiji in 1643 while looking for the Great Southern Continent. Europeans settled on the islands permanently beginning in the 19th century.HP 6710B battery

The first European settlers to Fiji were beachcombers, missionaries, whalers and those engaged in the then booming sandalwood and bêche-de-mertrade.

Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau was a Fijian chief and warlord from the island of Bau, off the eastern coast of Viti Levu, who united part of Fiji's warring tribes under his leadership.HP 6530B battery

He then styled himself as King of Fiji or Tui Viti and then to Vunivalu or Protector after the Cession of Fiji to Great Britain. The British subjugated the islands as a colony in 1874, and the British brought over Indian contract labourers to work on the sugar plantations as the then Governor and also the first governor of Fiji, HP 6510B battery

Arthur Charles Hamilton-Gordon, adopted a policy disallowing the use of native labour and no interference in their culture and way of life. In 1875-76, an epidemic of measles killed over 40,000 Fijians, about one-third of the Fijian population.The population in 1942 was approximately 210,000 of whom 94,000 were Indians, 102,000 native Fijians, 2,000 Chinese and 5,000 Europeans. HP Pavilion DV6-1020ED Battery

The British granted Fiji independence in 1970. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987 because the government was perceived as dominated by the Indo-Fijian (Indian) community. The second 1987 coup saw the Fijian monarchy and the Governor General replaced by a non-executive President, Dell Latitude E6400 battery

and the country changed the long form of its name from Dominion of Fiji to Republic of Fiji (and to Republic of the Fiji Islands in 1997). The coups and accompanying civil unrest contributed to heavy Indo-Fijian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties but ensured that Melanesians became the majority.Apple A1281 battery

In 1990, the new Constitution institutionalised the ethnic Fijian domination of the political system. The Group Against Racial Discrimination (GARD) was formed to oppose the unilaterally imposed constitution and to restore the 1970 constitution. Sitiveni Rabuka, the Lieutenant Colonel who carried out the 1987 coup became Prime Minister in 1992,Apple A1280 battery

following elections held under the new constitution. Three years later, Rabuka established the Constitutional Review Commission, which in 1997 led to a new Constitution, which was supported by most leaders of the indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities. Fiji is re-admitted to the Commonwealth of Nations.Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

The new millennium brought along another coup, instigated by George Speight, that effectively toppled the government of Mahendra Chaudhry, who became the country's first Indo-Fijian Prime Minister following the 1997 constitution. Commodore Frank Bainimarama assumed executive power after the resignation, possibly forced, of President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

Fiji was rocked by two mutinies at Suva's Queen Elizabeth Barracks, later in 2000 when rebel soldiers went on a rampage. The High Court ordered the reinstatement of the constitution, and in September 2001, a general election was held to restore democracy, which was then won by interim Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party.Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery

In 2005, amid much controversy, the Qarase government proposed a Reconciliation and Unity Commission, with power to recommend compensation for victims of the 2000 coup, and amnesty for its perpetrators. However, the military strongly opposed this bill, especially the nation's top military commander,Frank Bainimarama.HP 448007-001 battery

Bainimaram agreed with detractors who said that it was a sham to grant amnesty to supporters of the present government who played roles in the violent coup. His attack on the legislation, which continued unremittingly throughout May and into June and July, further strained his already tense relationship with the government. Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

In late November 2006 and early December 2006, Bainimarama was instrumental in the 2006 Fijian coup d'état. Bainimarama handed down a list of demands to Qarase after a bill was put forward to parliament, part of which would have offered pardons to participants in the 2000 coup attempt. HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO Battery

He gave Qarase an ultimatum date of December 4 to accede to these demands or to resign from his post. Qarase adamantly refused to either concede or resign and on December 5, President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, was said to have signed a legal order dissolving Parliament after meeting with Bainimarama.Compaq CQ35-100 battery

In April 2009, the Fiji Court of Appeal ruled that the 2006 coup had been illegal. This began the 2009 Fijian constitutional crisis. President Iloilo abrogated the constitution, removed all office holders under the Constitution including all judges and the Governor of the Central Bank.HP DV9700 battery

He then reappointed Bainimarama as Prime Minister under his "New Order" and imposed a "Public Emergency Regulation" limiting internal travel and allowing press censorship.

For a country of its size, Fiji has fairly large armed forces, and has been a major contributor to UN peacekeeping missions in various parts of the world.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

In addition, a significant number of former military personnel have served in the lucrative security sector in Iraq following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Politics

Politics of Fiji normally take place in the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, HP Pavilion DV8 battery

whereby the Prime Minister of Fiji is the head of government, the President the head of state, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Fiji. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.Compaq CQ50 battery

Since independence there have been four coups in Fiji, two in 1987, one in 2000 and one in late 2006. The military has been either ruling directly, or heavily influencing governments since 1987.

2006 Military takeover

Citing corruption in the government, Commodore Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, HP Pavilion DV7 battery

Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, staged a military takeover on the 5 December 2006 against the Prime Minister that he himself had installed after the 2000 coup. There had been two military coups in 1987 and one in 2000. The commodore took over the powers of the presidency and dissolved the parliament, paving the way for the military to continue the take over.Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

The coup was the culmination of weeks of speculation following conflict between the elected Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, and Commodore Bainimarama. Bainimarama had repeatedly issued demands and deadlines to the Prime Minister. At particular issue was previously pending legislation to pardon those involved in the 2000 coup.Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

Bainimarama named Jona Senilagakali caretaker Prime Minister. The next week Bainimarama said he would ask the Great Council of Chiefs to restore executive powers to President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

On 4 January 2007, the military announced that it was restoring executive power to President Iloilo, who made a broadcast endorsing the actions of the military.Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

The next day, Iloilo named Bainimarama as the interim Prime Minister, indicating that the Military was still effectively in control.

In the wake of the take over, reports have emerged of intimidation of some of those critical of the interim regime. It is alleged that two individuals have died in military custody since December 2006. SONY VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

These deaths have been investigated and suspects charged but not yet brought to court.

On 9 April 2009 the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court decision that Bainimarama's take-over of Qarase's government was legal, and declared the Interim Government illegal.Asus M52N Battery

Bainimarama agreed to step down as Interim PM immediately, along with his government, and President Iloilo was to appoint "a distinguished person independent of the parties to this litigation as caretaker Prime Minister, ...to direct the issuance of writs for an election..."Dell Latitude E6400 ATG Battery

On 10 April 2009 President Iloilo suspended the Constitution of Fiji, dismissed the Court of Appeal and, in his own words, "appoint[ed] [him]self as the Head of the State of Fiji under a new legal order". As President, Iloilo had been Head of State prior to his abrogation of the Constitution, but that position had been determined by the Constitution itself. SONY VAIO VGN-FW21L Battery

The "new legal order" did not depend on the Constitution, thus requiring a "reappointment" of the Head of State. "You will agree with me that this is the best way forward for our beloved Fiji", he said. Bainimarama was re-appointed as Interim Prime Minister; he, in turn, re-instated his previous Cabinet.SONY VAIO VGN-FW21M Battery

On 13 July 2009, Fiji became the first nation ever to have been expelled from the Pacific Islands Forum, for its failure to hold democratic elections by that date.

On 1 September 2009, Fiji became the second country to be suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations.SONY VAIO VGN-FW21Z Battery

The action was taken because Commodore Frank Bainimarama refused to hold elections by 2010, elections that the Commonwealth of Nations had demanded after the 2006 coup. He states a need for more time to end a voting system that heavily favours ethnic Fijians at the expense of the multi-ethnic minorities. SONY VAIO VGN-FW33GW Battery

Critics claim that he has suspended the constitution and was responsible for human rights violations by arresting and detaining opponents.

Ethnic groups

The population of Fiji is mostly made up of native Fijians, who are Melanesians (54.3%), although many also have Polynesian ancestry, and Indo-Fijians (38.1%),Dell XPS M1210 Battery

descendants of Indian contract labourers brought to the islands by the British colonial powers in the 19th century. The percentage of the population of Fijian Indiandescent has declined significantly over the last two decades due to migration for various reasons. The Fiji coup of 2000 provoked a violent backlash against the Indo-Fijians for a time.Dell KM958 battery

There is also a small but significant group of descendants of indentured laborers from Solomon Islands.

About 1.2% are Rotuman — natives of Rotuma Island, whose culture has more in common with countries such as Tonga or Samoa than with the rest of Fiji.Dell Studio 1555 battery

There are also small, but economically significant, groups of Europeans, Chinese, and other Pacific island minorities. The total membership of other ethnic groups of Pacific Islanders is about 7,300. Tongans, who as traders and warriors have lived in Fiji for hundreds of years, form the largest part of this community. Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

In the old days there was active commerce between Tonga and Fiji, and later in the history of this relationship the Fijians in the Lau Islands became vassals to the King of Tonga. One particular reason Tongans and Samoans came to Fiji was to build drua (large double-hulled canoes) which they couldn’t build on their own islands because of the lack of proper timber. Sony VGP-BPS13/S battery

Relationships between ethnic Fijians and Indo-Fijians at a political level have often been strained, and the tension between the two communities has dominated politics in the islands for the past generation. The level of tension varies between different regions of the country.Sony VGP-BPS13A/B battery

Demonym

Within Fiji, the term Fijian refers solely to indigenous Fijians: it denotes an ethnicity, not a nationality. Constitutionally, citizens of Fiji are referred to as "Fiji Islanders" though the term Fiji Nationals is used for official purposes. In August 2008, shortly before the proposed People's Charter for Change, Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

Peace and Progress was due to be released to the public, it was announced that it recommended a change in the name of Fiji's citizens. If the proposal were adopted, all citizens of Fiji, whatever their ethnicity, would be called "Fijians". The proposal would change the English name of indigenous Fijians from "Fijians" to itaukei, the Fijian word for indigenous Fijians. Sony VGP-BPL9 battery

Deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase reacted by stating that the name "Fijian" belonged exclusively to indigenous Fijians, and that he would oppose any change in legislation enabling non-indigenous Fijians to use it. The Methodist Church, to which a large majority of indigenous Fijians belong, Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

also reacted strongly to the proposal, stating that allowing any Fiji citizen to call themselves "Fijian" would be "daylight robbery" inflicted on the indigenous population.

In an address to the nation during the constitutional crisis of April 2009, military leader and interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Sony VGP-BPL15 battery

who has been at the forefront of the attempt to change the definition of "Fijian", stated:

I know we all have our different ethnicities, our different cultures and we should, we must, celebrate our diversity and richness. However, at the same time we are all Fijians. We are all equal citizens. HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery

We must all be loyal to Fiji; we must be patriotic; we must put Fiji first.

In May 2010, Attorney-General Aiyaz Saiyed Khaiyum reiterated that the term "Fijian" should apply to all Fiji nationals, but the statement was again met with protest. HP Pavilion dv8000 battery

A spokesperson for the Viti Landowners and Resource Owners Association claimed that even fourth-generation descendants of migrants did not fully understand "what it takes to be a Fijian", and added that the term refers to a legal standing, since legislation affords specific rights to "Fijians" (meaning, in legislation, indigenous Fijians).HP PAVILION DV6000 Battery

Fiji academic Brij Lal, a prominent critic of the Bainimarama government, said he "would not be surprised" if the new definition of the word "Fijian" were included in the government's projected new Constitution, and that he personally saw "no reason the term Fijian should not apply to everyone from Fiji". HP PAVILION DV8000 Battery

Religion

Indigenous Fijians are mostly Christian (97.2% at the 1996 census), and the Indo-Fijians mostly Hindu (70.7%) and Muslim (17.9%). Breakdown per the CIA world factbook: Christian 64.5% (Methodist 34.6%, Roman Catholic 9.1%, Assembly of God 5.7%, Seventh Day Adventist 3.9%, Anglican 0.8%, other 10.4%), Hindu 27.9%, Muslim 6.3%, Sikh 0.3%, other or unspecified 0.3%, none 0.7% (2007 census).SONY VAIO VGN-FZ Battery

The largest Christian denomination is the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma. With 36.2% of the total population (including almost two-thirds of ethnic Fijians), its share of the population is higher in Fiji than in any other nation. Roman Catholics (8.9%), the Assemblies of God (4%),HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

the Seventh-day Adventists (2.9%) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) (2.2%), also are significant. Fiji also is the base for the Anglican Diocese of Polynesia (part of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia). These and other denominations also have small numbers of Indo-Fijian members;HP Pavilion DV8000 battery

Christians of all kinds comprise 6.1% of the Indo-Fijian population. Much major Roman Catholic missionary activity was conducted through the Vicariate Apostolic of Fiji, which has since been renamed the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Suva, which spans the whole of Fiji.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Hindus belong mostly to the Sanatan sect (74.3% of all Hindus) or else are unspecified (22%). The small Arya Samaj sect claims the membership of some 3.7% of all Hindus in Fiji. Muslims are mostly Sunni (59.7%) and Shia (36.7%), with an Ahmadiyya minority (3.6%).HP Pavilion DV8000 battery

The Sikh religion comprises 0.9% of the Indo-Fijian population, or 0.4% of the national population in Fiji. Their ancestors came from the Punjab region of India, but are a much recent wave of immigrants who did not live through the indenture system . The Bahá'í Faith has over 21 Local Spiritual Assembliesthroughout Fiji and Baha'is live in more than 80 localities.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ18 Battery

The first Baha'i in the islands was a New Zealander who arrived in 1924.There is also a small Jewish population. Every year the Israeli Embassy organises a Passover celebration with approximately 100 people attending.

Geography

Fiji covers a total area of some 194,000 square kilometres (75,000 sq mi) of which around 10% is land.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ21E Battery

Fiji is the hub of the South West Pacific, midway between Vanuatu and the Kingdom of Tonga. The archipelago is located between 176° 53? east and 178° 12? west. The 180° meridian runs through Taveuni but the International Dateline is bent to give uniform time (UTC+12) to all of the Fiji group. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

With the exception of Rotuma, the Fiji group lies between 15° 42? and 20° 02? south. Rotuma is located 220 nautical miles (410 km; 250 mi) north of the group, 360 nautical miles (670 km; 410 mi) from Suva, 12° 30? south of the equator.

Fiji consists of 322 islands (of which 106 are inhabited) and 522 smaller islets. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

The two most important islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, which account for approximately three-quarters of the total land area of the country. The islands are mountainous, with peaks up to 1,324 metres (4,341 ft), and covered with thick tropical forests. The highest point is Mount Tomanivi on Viti Levu. SONY VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

Viti Levu hosts the capital city of Suva, and is home to nearly three quarters of the population. Other important towns include Nadi (the location of the international airport), and Lautoka, Fiji's second city with large sugar cane mills and a seaport.

The main towns on Vanua Levu are Labasa and Savusavu. SONY VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery

Other islands and island groups include Taveuni and Kadavu (the third and fourth largest islands respectively), the Mamanuca Group (just off Nadi) and Yasawa Group, which are popular tourist destinations, the Lomaiviti Group, off Suva, and the remote Lau Group. Rotuma, some 270 nautical miles (500 km; 310 mi) north of the archipelago, SONY VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery

has a special administrative status in Fiji, which nearest neighbour is Tonga in the east.

Climate

The climate in Fiji is tropical marine and warm most of the year round with minimal extremes. The warm season is from November till April and the cooler season May to October. Temperature in the cool season still averages 22 °C (72 °F).SONY VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Battery

Rainfall is variable, the warmer season experiences heavier rainfall, especially inland. Winds are moderate, though cyclones occur about once a year (10–12 times per decade).

Economy

Fiji, endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources, is one of the more developed of the Pacific island economies, though still with a large subsistence sector. Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

Natural resources include timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower. Fiji experienced a period of rapid growth in the 1960s and 1970s but stagnated in the 1980s. The coup of 1987 caused further contraction.

Economic liberalization in the years following the coup created a boom in the garment industry and a steady growth rate despite growing uncertainty of land tenure in the sugar industry.Sony VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery

The expiration of leases for sugar cane farmers (along with reduced farm and factory efficiency) has led to a decline in sugar production despite a subsidized price. Subsidies for sugar have been provided by the EU and Fiji has been the second largest beneficiary afterMauritius.Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Battery

Urbanization and expansion in the service sector have contributed to recent GDP growth. Sugar exports and a rapidly growing tourist industry — with 430,800 tourists in 2003  and increasing in the subsequent years — are the major sources of foreign exchange. Fiji is highly dependent on tourism for revenue.Sony VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery

Sugar processing makes up one-third of industrial activity. Long-term problems include low investment and uncertain property rights. The political turmoil in Fiji has had a severe impact on the economy, which shrank by 2.8% in 2000 and grew by only 1% in 2001.Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/T Battery

The tourism sector recovered quickly, however, with visitor arrivals reaching pre-coup levels again during 2002, which has since resulted in a modest economic recovery. This recovery continued into 2003 and 2004 but grew by 1.7% in 2005 and grew by 2.0% in 2006. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ180E Battery

Although inflation is low, the policy indicator rate of the Reserve Bank of Fiji was raised by 1% to 3.25% in February 2006 due to fears of excessive consumption financed by debt. Lower interest rates have so far not produced greater investment for exports.

However, there has been a housing boom from declining commercial mortgage rates.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ220E Battery

The tallest building in Fiji is the fourteen-storey Reserve Bank of Fiji Building in Suva, which was inaugurated in 1984. The Suva Central Commercial Centre, which opened in November 2005, was planned to outrank the Reserve Bank building at seventeen stories, but last-minute design changes made sure that the Reserve Bank building remains the tallest.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ340E Battery

Trade and investment with Fiji has been criticized due to the country's military dictatorship. In 2008, Fiji's interim Prime Minister and coup leader Frank Bainimarama announced election delays and that it would pull out of the Pacific Islands Forum in Niue, where Bainimarama would have met with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ460E Battery

The South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE) is the only licensed securities exchange in Fiji and is based in Suva. Its vision is to become a regional exchange.

Culture

Fiji's culture is a rich mosaic of indigenous, Indian, Chinese and European traditions,SONY VAIO VGN-FZ480E Battery

comprising social polity, language, food (based mainly from the sea, casava, dalo & other vegetables), costume, belief systems, architecture, arts, craft, music, dance and sports.

The indigenous culture is very much active and living, and is a part of everyday life for the majority of the population. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31E Battery

However, it has evolved with the introduction of old cultures like the Indian and Chinese ones, as well as a large influence from Europe, and from various Pacific neighbours of Fiji, mainly the Tongan and Samoan. The culture of Fiji has created a unique communal and national identity.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31B Battery

Fiji's culture was displayed at the Shanghai World Expo 2010, along with other Pacific countries in the Pacific Pavilion.

Language

Fijian is an Austronesian language of the Malayo-Polynesian family spoken in Fiji. It has 350 000 first-language speakers, which is less than half the population of Fiji, but another 200,000 speak it as a second language. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31J Battery

The 1997 Constitution established Fijian as an official language of Fiji, along with English and Fiji Hindi, and there is a discussion about establishing it as the "national language", though English and Hindustani would remain official. Fijian is a VOS language.

The Fiji Islands developed many languages, some similar and some very different. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31M Battery

Missionaries in the 1840s chose the language of one island off the southeast of the main island of Viti Levu, to be the official language of Fiji. This island, Bau, was home to Cakobau, the chief that eventually became the self forged "King" of Fiji.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31Z Battery

Missionaries were interested in documenting a language and in standardizing all of Fiji on one official language to make their job of translating and teaching in Fiji a bit easier. Standard Fijian is based on the language of Bau, which is an East Fijian language. There are many other dialects that make up the West Fijian languages including dialects spoken in the Nadroga/Navosa and those of the western island groups and provinces.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ38M Battery

Rugby Union

The national sport of Fiji is considered to be rugby union (see rugby union in Fiji). The national rugby union team is very successful given the size of the population of the country, and has competed at four Rugby World Cups, the first being in 1987, where they reached the quarter-finals.SONY VGP-BPS8 Battery

The Fiji national side did not match that feat again until the 2007 Rugby World Cup when they upset Wales 38–34 to progress to the quarter-finals where they nearly beat the eventual Rugby World Cup winners, South Africa. Fiji also defeated the British Lions in 1977.SONY VGP-BPS13/S Battery

Fiji also competes in the Pacific Tri-Nations and thePacific Nations Cup. The sport is governed by the Fiji Rugby Union which is a member of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance, and contributes to thePacific Islanders rugby union team. At the club level there are the Colonial Cup and Pacific Rugby Cup. SONY VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

The Fiji sevens team is one of the most successful rugby sevens teams in the world, having won the two world cup titles and the 2006 IRB Series.

Rugby League

Rugby league is also widely played. The Fiji national rugby league team, known as Fiji Bati, SONY VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

has competed in the Rugby League World Cup on three occasions, with their best result coming when they made the semi-finals of the 2008 competition. The team also competes in the Pacific Cup.

Fiji has experienced many coups recently, in 1987, 2000, and 2006. SONY VGP-BPS13A/S Battery

Fiji has been suspended various times from the Commonwealth of Nations, a grouping of mostly former British colonies. It was readmitted to the Commonwealth in December 2001, following the parliamentary election held to restore democracy in September that year, and is currently suspended again after the 2006 coup. SONY VGP-BPS13AS Battery

Other Pacific Island governments have generally been sympathetic to Fiji's internal political problems and have declined to take public positions.

Fiji became the 127th member of the United Nations on October 13, 1970, and participates actively in the organization. Dell Inspiron 1320n Battery

Fiji's contributions to UN peacekeeping are unique for a nation of its size. A nation with a population of less than one million, it maintains nearly 1,000 soldiers overseas in UN peacekeeping missions, mainly in theMiddle East.

Since independence, Fiji has been a leader in the South Pacific region, and has played a leading role in the formation of the South Pacific Forum.SONY VGP-BPS13AS Battery

Fiji has championed causes of common interest to Pacific Island countries.

As of 2005, Fiji has become embroiled in a number of disagreements with other countries, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the People's Republic of China, and Vanuatu.Dell Inspiron 1320n Battery

Australia

On 13 April 2005, Fiji's Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, rejected criticism from Australia and some other countries over the prosecution and imprisonment of two foreigners charged with committing homosexual acts, which are illegal in Fiji, and said that other countries needed to respect Fiji's independence.Dell Studio 1450 Battery

Qarase said that as member of the United Nations, Fiji was as entitled as any other country to make its own laws as it saw fit.

The Australian government took a more measured position than its New Zealand counterpart over the controversial Reconciliation, Tolerance, and Unity Bill being debated in the Fijian Parliament. Dell Studio 1457 Battery

Susan Boyd, a former Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, strongly criticized the legislation, but Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that it is an "internal matter" and that Australia does not want to get involved. He did, however, condemn recent threats from the Military commander,Dell Latitude D610 Battery

Commodore Frank Bainimarama, to declare martial law and arrest members of the present government if the bill is passed. The Australian High Commission in Suva told Bainimarama that his threats are not "the proper role for the military in a democracy."

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer visited Fiji for two days of talks, from 28 to 30 September 2005.Dell Studio 1457 Battery

Downer met government ministers and officials, Opposition Leader Mahendra Chaudhry, and Military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama. The talks covered the controversial Unity bill, as well as the future of Fiji's preferential trade access to the Australian market, which the Fijian government regards as a priority. Toshiba Satellite M60 battery

Downer said that he intended to elaborate further on Australian Prime Minister John Howard's promise of a seven-year extension of the SPARTECA–TCF scheme, which assists Fiji's textile, clothing, and footwear industry.

Foreign Minister Tavola expressed grave concern on 7 February 2006 about a proposed regional trade agreement (RTA) between Australia and China,Dell Latitude D830 Battery

saying that Fiji's exports to Australia would be unable to compete with Chinese products. For that reason, Fiji was persisting in its efforts to persuade Australia to renew the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation – Textile Clothing Footwear (SPARTECA–TCF) scheme, to improve the competitiveness of Fijian exports, the Fiji Live news service reported.Dell Latitude D620 Battery

The Fiji Times reported on 14 September 2006 that Prime Ministers Qarase and Howard had discussed possible Australian assistance for the reform of Fiji's sugar industry, with Howard reported receptive to giving aid. Qarase said that he had asked Australia to provide two or three experts to help with the establishment of the proposed Fiji Research Sugar Institute.Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Battery

About the coup, Australia's Foreign Minister at the time, Alexander Downer, said that the military were "slowly trying to take control" and pressure the PM to resign.It was reported that in 2006 Fiji's Prime Minister Qarase asked Australia's Prime Minister John Howard for military assistance should a coup take place, but Howard declined.Sony VGN-FW11S Battery

2009 events; coup and diplomatic rift

On 3 November 2009 Fiji ordered the diplomatic envoys of Australia to leave Fiji within 24 hours. The expulsion of the diplomats followed accusations by leader of Fiji,Frank Bainimarama, that Australia and New Zealand were interfering in Fiji's internal affairs and "wage a negative campaign against the government and people of Fiji".Sony VGN-FW11M Battery

In particular Bainimarama says that the two countries were exerting pressure on Sri Lankan judges, brought in by Bainimarama to replace the uncooperative local judiciary, not to travel to the country and refusing to grant them transit visas. The Australian government denied this and stated that it only advised the judges that once they took up office in Fiji they would be subject to an existing travel ban in place against Fijian officials.Sony VGN-FW139E/H battery

Australia's senior diplomat in Fiji was also expelled in the 2006 coup. Fiji announced its withdrawal of their High Commissioner from Australia.

Australia and New Zealand responded on 4 November 2009 expelling Fiji's diplomats from both those countries.Dell Latitude E5400 Battery

Stephen Smith, Australian Foreign Minister, rejected any accusations of meddling in Fiji's affairs and said that he was "deeply disappointed" by Fiji's actions. The then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that he would maintain his tough stance against Fiji in order to prevent a "coup culture" spreading around the Pacific.Dell Latitude E4200 Battery

China

A diplomatic row with the People's Republic of China erupted on 5 May 2005, when Republic of China (Taiwan) President Chen Shui-bian arrived for a private visit and was welcomed at a private function at Suva's Sheraton Resort by Vice-President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, Ratu Ovini Bokini (Chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs),Dell Inspiron 300M Battery

Senate President Taito Waqavakatoga and several other Senators andMPs, and several judges including Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki. Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola asserted that those who attended the welcoming ceremony did so "of their own accord,"not as government representatives, Dell Studio 1737 battery

and that Prime Minister Qarase's presence in the same hotel where President Chen was staying was purely "coincidental." Chinese Ambassador Cai Jin Biao rejected this explanation, and said that the visit was a violation of the One China Policy, to which Fiji had agreed when diplomatic relations were established in 1975, Dell Inspiron E1505 battery

which would "sabotage relations between China and Fiji." He charged that Prime Minister Qarase and Foreign Minister Tavola had known of the upcoming visit for months. The embassy issued a further statement on 7 May, demanding that Fiji discontinue any effort to establish a dialogue with Taiwan.Dell RM791 battery

The row escalated when, on 16 May, Health Minister Solomone Naivalu voted in support of Taiwan's bid to gain obser

ver status at the World Health Assembly in Geneva. Naivalu had apparently done so on his own initiative, contrary to a government briefing, sparking a major public disagreement between himself and Foreign Minister Tavola. Acer Aspire One battery 10400mAh

Jia Qinglin, chairman of the People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), was dispatched to Fiji and met Prime Minister Qarase during a brief stopover on 21–22 May, a move that Tavola said was not coincidental. He said that Fiji could not afford to lose China, and that the government would ensure that "careless incidences" like Naivalu's vote in Geneva would not recur. Dell Precision M70 Battery

Naivalu responded by saying that his vote was nothing new: "We always support Taiwan to get observer status every year," he said.

On 10 December 2005, the New Zealand Herald quoted Tavola as saying that Fiji would have to find a way to resolve a stand-off between the PRC and Taiwan, SONY VGN -FZ210CE Battery

over membership of the Suva-basedCouncil of South Pacific Tourism Organisation; China was resisting Taiwanese attempts to join the organization on an equal basis. "If China had its way it would not want Taiwan on that. So we have to resolve the situation amicably and are looking at how both countries can be represented there,"' Tavola said.Toshiba Satellite L305 Battery

In defence of the earlier incident over the Taiwanese President's visit, Tavola said that it was the Pacific way to welcome people. "Even when considering Taiwan as a province of China, he went on, the President of a province is a man of high profile, so when he comes there is an urge to extend hospitality."Toshiba Satellite T4900 Battery

It did not signify any modification to Fiji's adherence to the One China policy, he had explained to the Chinese ambassador.

China has invested in a number of major projects in Fiji. These include the Suva sports stadium, built for the South Pacific Games of 2003.Toshiba PA3399U-2BRS battery

On 14 December 2005, Fiji's Military Commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama began an official visit to China, at the invitation of the People's Liberation Army. He reaffirmed Fiji's support for the One China policy.

It was announced on 24 January 2006 that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao would visit Fiji in April to openSony VGP-BPS10 battery

the China-Pacific Islands Countries Economic Development & Cooperation Forum Ministerial Conference 2006 at Sofitel Fiji Resort in Nadi, a conference of economic and trade ministers from Pacific island countries. Six Prime Ministers from neighbouring countries are expected to participate, according to a Fiji Times report on 23 February. Sony VGP-BPS9 battery

His visit to Fiji will be the first by a senior Chinese government official.

In an interview with PACNEWS on 1 February 2006, Jeremaia Waqanisau, Fiji's Ambassador to Beijing, made a stinging attack on the efficiency of the Fijian civil service, saying that it negatively affected Fiji's ability to present itself to China.Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

Cabinet Ministers visited China without the Fijian embassy being informed, he complained. Certain civil servants were extremely passive in their dealings with China, he said. Another factor inhibiting Chinese investment was the instability caused by friction between the government and the Military,Sony VGP-BPS22 battery

he surmised, and the Fijian embassy in Beijing was continually engaged in damage control.

New Zealand

On 10 June 2005, Foreign Minister Tavola signed a Memorandum of Understanding with his New Zealand counterpart, Phil Goff, aimed at fostering cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Sony VGP-BPL8 battery

Meanwhile, New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark announced that New Zealand would double its annual aid to Fiji, from NZ$4 million to NZ$8 million. Much of this aid, the Fijian government revealed, would be used for poverty alleviation and squatter resettlement.Sony VGP-BPS14 battery

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters (who replaced Goff in late 2005) flew into Fiji on 8 February 2006 for three days of talks with Fijian government officials. He met Prime Minister Qarase,Finance Minister Ratu Jone Kubuabola, and Military Commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama on the first day of his visit; Sony VGP-BPS21 battery

meetings with Foreign Minister Tavola and House of RepresentativesSpeaker Ratu Epeli Nailatikau were held later. The meeting with Bainimarama attracted some media attention; Bainimarama said that the meeting had been approved by Prime Minister Qarase and that there was nothing underhand about it.Toshiba Satellite A200 Battery

The talks are to cover such matters as the Pacific Plan and a cost-sharing agreement for a citizen education project, promoted by the United Nations Development Programme.

The New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters described the 2006 coup as a "creeping siege on democratic institutions".Toshiba Satellite M300 Battery

Helen Clark said that the Fijian constitution only allowed the President to request the dissolving of Parliament if the Prime Minister no longer had the confidence of the Parliament and that this was clearly not the case.  The New Zealand Government has also stated those taking part in the coup will be banned from entry to New Zealand, and that military ties, aid and sporting contacts will be cut.Toshiba Satellite 1200 Battery

Helen Clark has said in the NZ Herald that she would consider sanctions against Fiji.

On 3 November 2009, Fiji ordered the diplomatic envoys of New Zealand to leave Fiji within 24 hours. The expulsion of the diplomats followed accusations by leader of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, that Australia and New Zealand were interfering in Fiji's internal affairs and "wage a negative campaign against the government and people of Fiji".SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery

In particular Bainimarama says that the two countries were exerting pressure on Sri Lankan judges, brought in by Bainimarama to replace the uncooperative local judiciary, not to travel to the country and refusing to grant them transit visas. New Zealand's top diplomat in Fiji at the time was Todd Cleaver.SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery

New Zealand returned the favour on 4 November when it expelled Fiji's acting head of mission, Kuliniasi Seru Savou, from the country.New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully said that "Diplomatic relations with Fiji are roughly the same they have been for the last couple of years unfortunately" and that "we have had our ups and downs and unfortunately today they are down".SONY VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

The event marked the third time that New Zealand's top diplomat in Fiji has been expelled since the 2006 coup.

Papua New Guinea

Relations between Fiji and Papua New Guinea became strained in November 2005, in the wake of revelations that a number of Fijian citizens, possibly mercenaries, had entered Papua New Guinea illegally and were involved in arming and training a separatist militia on the island of Bougainville.SONY VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

On a separate matter, PNG Trade and Industry Minister Paul Tiensten was quoted in Fiji Village on 21 February 2006 as saying that sanctions against Fiji were being considered, following a Fijian refusal of a PNG kava shipment and an earlier rejection of corned beef shipped from PNG.SONY VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

Solomon Islands

Diplomatic relations are currently cordial, although the Solomon Islands government has aligned itself with other countries in the region to urge Fiji interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to restore democracy in Fiji. Fiji and the Solomons are both located in Melanesia, and are both members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. SONY VGP-BPS21B Battery

They also participate in other regional organisations including thePacific Islands Forum. In August 2008, it was announced that the Solomon Islands intended to open a High Commission in Suva, and in December the government of Fiji announced that it had "formally endorsed the establishment of a Resident Diplomatic Mission in Suva by the Government of the Solomon Islands".SONY VGP-BPS21A Battery

Fiji's High Commission to Papua New Guinea is accredited to the Solomon Islands.

Tonga

It was reported on 2 November 2005 that a territorial dispute was looming between Fiji and Tonga over a reef lying to the south of both countries. SONY VGP-BPS21 Battery

The people of Ono-i-Lau in the Lau Islands archipelago claim that Minerva Reef is part of their traditional fishing ground. Attorney General Qoriniasi Bale told the Lau Provincial Council that the government had a team of experts preparing a case to be taken to the United Nations International Seabed Authority, which is based in Jamaica.Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

The reef has also been claimed by Tonga since 1972, and Tonga's Surveyor General, Tevita Malolo, told Radio New Zealand that Fiji had never contested Tonga's claim until now.

Vanuatu

On 11 March 2005, Vanuatu imposed a ban in biscuit imports, ostensibly to protect its own biscuit manufacturing industry, giving a monopoly on the business to the Espiritu Santo-based Wong Sze Sing store.Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

The ban was the second in a year. Bread and breakfast cereals produced by Flour Mills of Fiji (FMF) were the worst-hit; the company claimed to be losing F$2 million annually.

Fiji retaliated on 13 June with a threat to impose a total commercial embargo on Vanuatu.Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

Major income-earners for Vanuatu targeted by the Fijian government include Vanuatu kava, valued at almostUS$3.2 million, and Air Vanuatu flights (US$8 million).

On 29 June, Foreign Minister Tavola said that Fiji was "running out of patience" and that he was writing to the government of Vanuatu in what he called a "final gesture of friendship."Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery

On 27 July, Vanuatu's Trade Minister James Bule signed an order lifting the ban, effective from 22 July. No reason was given for the change of policy, but the Fiji Live news service reported that the decision averted a lawsuit from FMF and the threatened kava ban.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

Fiji's Foreign Affairs chief executive officer, Isikeli Mataitoga, said that Fiji's policy of pursuing diplomatic channels in dealing with such disputes had been vindicated. "Whilst I agree that it can take a bit of time to see it through carefully, it nevertheless, demonstrates to our regional friends that we are principled in our approach to international relations and diplomacy," SONY VAIO VGN-FW31E Battery

Mataitoga said.There was another twist on 28 July, however, when FMF Chairman Hari Punja called the lifting of the ban a fabrication. He said that in place of the ban, the Vanuatu government had introduced a restrictive new quota system for imports which would make it "impossible" to export to Vanuatu.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31B Battery

He called on the Fijian government to continue to pressure its Vanuatu counterparts.

Foreign Minister Tavola denounced the latest move of the Vanuatu government on 3 August, saying that it breached an agreement. On 9 August, he announced that the government had decided to go ahead with its threatened embargo against the importing of Vanuatu kava. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31M Battery

On 16 August the Cabinet finalized the decision, banning all imports of Vanuatu kava for six months, after which the ban would be reviewed. On 18 August, Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority chief executive Tevita Banuve said that importers would be given two weeks to clear their kava stock from the wharf.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31Z Battery

A special license would be granted only to clear the stock, he said. It would not be usable for importing more kava.

On 27 August, Tavola announced that following negotiations at the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting in Papua New Guinea, he expected the Vanuatu government to lift the biscuit ban soon.Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

If they did so, he said he would ask the Cabinet to lift the embargo against Vanuatu kava.

The Fiji Village news service reported on 11 October that Vanuatu's Trade Minister, James Bule, would visit Fiji on 25 October. The purpose of the visit would be to deliver his government's decision to lift the ban on Fijian biscuits, in return for Fiji lifting its ban on Vanuatu kava.Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

In return for Vanuatu's lifting of the biscuit ban on 25 October, the Fijian government announced on 7 December that it was lifting its kava ban for the sake of freer trade among the members of theMelanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

On 22 December 2005, Vanuatu's Finance Minister Willie Rarua formally apologized to Fiji's Acting Foreign Minister, Pita Nacuva, for having imposed the ban.Dell Inspiron Mini 12 battery

Fijian missions abroad

Fiji maintains direct diplomatic or consular relations with countries with historical, cultural, or trading ties to Fiji; Ambassadors stationed in such countries are often accredited to neighbouring countries. Fiji maintains embassies in Belgium (taking care of Fiji's relations with the entire European Union), Dell Inspiron 1720 battery

the People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States; and High Commissionsin Australia, India, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand (in keeping with the Commonwealth practice of calling missions in fellow-commonwealth countries High Commissions rather than Embassies). Fiji also has a Permanent Mission to the United Nations.Dell Inspiron 1564 battery

Foreign reaction to Fijian legislation

Australia and New Zealand have both expressed concern over legislation currently before the Fijian Parliament (as of June 2005), which proposes to establish a Reconciliation and Unity Commission, with the power (subject to presidential approval) to compensate victims and pardon persons convicted of crimes related to the coup d'état which deposed the elected government in 2000.Dell Inspiron 1464 battery

On 30 August 2005, Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon called on the Fijian government to ensure that the legislation reflected the views of its citizens. He emphasized, however, that the Commonwealth did not have a position on the bill.Dell XPS 1340 battery

Fiji and international organizations

Fiji plays an active role in numerous international bodies. The South Pacific Forum was largely the brainchild of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, Fiji's first Prime Minister. The country has been an outspoken participant many international forums.Dell INSPIRON 9100 battery

Commonwealth of Nations

Fiji has been a member of the Commonwealth of Nations since it gained its independence in 1970. It was not a member of the Commonwealth between 1987 and 1997 as a result of a republican coup d'état, and was suspended just three years after rejoining between 2000 to 2001 after a military coup, and is currently suspended after the 2006 coup.Dell Inspiron N4010 battery

Oceania Customs Organisation

On 1 September 2005, it was announced that the Oceania Customs Organization would relocate to Fiji in 2006. Though located in Fiji, it would be totally independent of the Fijian government and of theFiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority (FIRCA),Dell N3010 battery

Finance Minister Ratu Jone Kubuabola said, and for the first three years of its presence in Fiji, its secretariat would be financed by the New Zealand government.

World Trade Organization

Speaking at the 18th Fiji-Australia Business Forum in Sydney on 17 October 2005, Prime Minister Qarase strongly criticized the World Trade Organization, saying that its policies were unfair to small countries like Fiji. HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA battery

"WTO is trying to impose equality of trade in an unequal world," he said, "but for developing countries like Fiji there is no level playing field, just a slippery slope." It would be a long time before Fiji's economy could compete on equal terms with that of more developed nations, he considered.HP Pavilion DM4 battery

International Labour Organization

On 10 January 2006, the Fijian government criticized the International Labour Organization for what it said was the organization's unfair treatment of the Fiji Islands Congress of Trade Unions (FICTU).Labour Minister Kenneth Zinck said the government had received a complaint from FICTU about the ILO's discrimination against it in favour of the rival Fiji Trades Union Congress.HP Pavilion DM3 battery

Diplomatic initiatives

Speaking at the 6th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City on 23 May 2005, Isikia Savua, Fiji's Permanent Representative (Ambassador) to the United Nations, called for equal recognition of individual and collective rights in national and international policies.Compaq CQ35-100 battery

He said that Fiji had embodied both concepts in its Constitution, through such provisions as communal voting(giving each elector to vote for two members of the House of Representatives, one from his or her own ethnic group, and the other from any ethnic group).HP DV9700 battery

On 1 September 2005, Prime Minister Qarase announced his intention to ask his Australian counterpart, John Howard, for more favourable market access for Pacific Island products. He called on Australia and New Zealand to revise the rules of origin under the SPARTECA trade agreement, HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

and reduce the figure from 50 percent to 35 percent, thereby allowing Fiji to export a higher percentage of garments made elsewhere to Australian and New Zealand markets.

On 28 October 2005, Prime Minister Qarase criticized Australia and New Zealand for refusing to grant temporary work permits to Pacific Islanders. HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 battery

He said the two countries were acting unfairly in assuming that such permits would encourage illegal immigration. The Prime Minister claimed that in the absence of such work permits, Pacific Islanders visiting Australia and New Zealand often undertook illegal employment anyway.HP Pavilion ZD8227 battery

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) are the military of the Pacific island nation of Fiji. With a total manpower of 3,500 active soldiers and 6,000 reservists, it is one of the smallest militaries in the world. However, most of its surrounding island nations have no militaries at all,HP Compaq Business Notebook TC4400 battery

in comparison to its size and population has a relatively larger than needed one, even larger than that of Papua New Guinea's. The men in the active army are organized into six infantry and one engineer battalions, with approximately 6,000 reserves. HP Pavilion DV7-2085EL battery

There was formerly one "Zulu" company of counter-revolutionary specialists, which was deactivated in late 2000 due to a mutiny by some of its members.

The first two regular battalions of the Fiji Infantry Regiment are traditionally stationed overseas on peacekeeping duties; Compaq Presario 300 battery

the 1st Battalion has been posted to Lebanon, Iraq, and East Timor under the command of the UN, while the 2nd Battalion is stationed in Sinai with the MFO. Peacekeepers income represents an important source of income for Fiji. The 3rd Battalion is stationed in the capital, Suva, and the remaining three are spread throughout the islands.HP Compaq Business Notebook 6735S battery

Organization

  • Commander RFMF - The Commander RFMF is of 1 star rank. He is assisted by the Deputy Commander and the Chief of Staff, who are responsible for Strategic Command and Land Force Command. The current Commander is Commodore Frank Bainimarama.HP Pavilion DV2820EA battery
    • Strategic Command - Strategic Command is responsible for all of the long term and strategic concerns of the RFMF, including welfare, legal issues, sustainability issues etc.
    • Land Force Command - Land Force Command is the operational organisation of the RFMF, and is responsible for all of the main units: HP Pavilion DV6373EA battery

The Fijian Navy

The military includes a 300-man strong Navy, which on 25 July 2005 celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of its founding. It was formed in 1975, following the government's ratification of the United Nations Law of the Sea convention.Compaq Presario CQ71 battery

The Navy is responsible for maritime needs in border control, such as watching over Fiji's exclusive economic zone and organizing task and rescue missions. It currently operates 9 patrol boats. Military aid is received from Australia, the People's Republic of China, and the United Kingdom (although the latter has suspended aid as a result of the 2006 military coup against the civilian government).HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Speaking at 30th anniversary celebrations on 26 July 2006, Commander Bradley Bower said that the greatest challenge facing the navy of a maritime country like Fiji was to maintain sovereignty and the maritime environment, to acquire, restore, and replace equipment, and to train officers to keep pace with changing situations.Compaq Presario CQ70 battery

Political intervention

Fiji's Military has a history of political intervention. In 1987, soldiers were responsible for two military coups, and in 2000, the Military organized a countercoup to quash George Speight's civilian coup. Since 2000, the Military has had a sometimes tense relationship with the Qarase government, HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

and has strongly opposed its plans to establish a Commission with the power to compensate victims and pardon perpetrators of the coup. Among other objections, the Military claims that its integrity and discipline would be undermined if soldiers who mutinied in the 2000 upheaval were to be pardoned.HP TouchSmart TX2-1150EG battery

On 4 August 2005, Opposition Leader Mahendra Chaudhry called for more Indo-Fijians, who presently comprise less than one percent of the Military personnel, to be recruited. (Specifically, as of October 2007, Fiji's military had 3527 full-time members, of whom only 15 were Indo-Fijians.)HP 520 battery

This would help guarantee political stability, he considered. He also spoke against government plans to downsize the military. Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Orisi Rabukawaqa responded the next day by saying that the Military was not an ethnic Fijian body, that it stood to serve the entire nation, and that there was no colour bar in its recruitment or promotion. Asus ADP-36EH C Adapter

He said that many Indo-Fijians had been reluctant to commit themselves to a Military career because of the slow progress of promotion, often preferring to be discharged and to use their record as a stepping stone to a successful career in some other field. Nevertheless, he appreciated the Indo-Fijian contribution to the Military,Dell PA-10 Adapter

and noted the success of Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Aziz, the head of the Military's legal unit who was a pivotal figure in the court martial of soldiers who mutinied in 2000. Ironically the rate of promotion of indigenous Fijian officers had been very rapid after the 1987 coup, and subsequent expansion of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.Delta ADP-90FB Adapter

On 26 August 2005, the government announced plans to study ways to reduce the size of the military. Military engineers would be transferred to the Regional Development Ministry, said Home Affair Minister Josefa Vosanibola, and the reduction of the Military forces would coincide with an increase in the numbers of the police force.http://www.battery-pack.co.uk/

On 26 September 2005, Rabukawaqa revealed that the Military had decided to curtail certain operations in order to stay within its budget. The cuts would affect maritime patrols, search and rescue operations, training and exercises, School Cadet training, and the deployment of Military engineers to rural areas.Delta ADP-90FB Adapter

These cuts would be made to ensure that activities accorded a higher priority, such as peacekeeping operations in the Sinai Peninsula and Iraq, officer cadet training with the New Zealand Defence Forces, and the prosecution of soldiers charged with mutiny, would not be affected, Rabukawaqa said.Dell PA-10 Adapter

The next day, Lesi Korovavala, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs, told the Fiji Village news service that the Military had undertaken the reductions on its own initiative, in consultation with the department, an explanation corroborated by Lieutenant Colonel Rabukawaqa.Dell PA-12 Adapter

On 5 December 2006, the Fijian army staged a third coup d'état. On February 7, 2008, the head of the RFMF and post-coup interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama stated: "Qarase [...] does not understand the role of the Military and as such is misinforming the nation.Asus ADP-36EH C Adapter

If there are practices and policies which have potential to undermine the national security and territorial integrity of Fiji, the RFMF has every right under the Constitution to intervene."  In August 2009, with Bainimarama still controlling the government as prime minister and the constitution abrogated, Epeli Nailatikau a former military commander was appointed acting president on the retirement of Iloilo.Dell Inspiron 6400 Adapter

The Fiji School of Medicine is a tertiary institution based in Suva, Fiji. Originally established in 1885 as the Suva Medical School. After merger with leading institutions in 2010, FSM is now called called College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences under Fiji National University. Dell Inspiron 1520 Adapter

It striving towards Excellence in Training and Education of Health Professionals in the South Pacific. It is located on the main island of Viti Levu in the Fiji Islands.Dell Inspiron 1525 Charger

As the premier medical institute in the South Pacific, FSM has been educating Health Care Professionals since its establishment in 1885 as Suva Medical School to train vaccinators. The School has produced many motivated and skilled health care professionals who are now serving in key positions in the Pacific and overseas.HP Pavilion DV6000 Adapter

The school now provides training in most health science disciplines including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, radiography, laboratory technology, public health, dietetics and environmental health.Dell Latitude D820 Charger

The Fiji Meteorological Service is a Department of the government of Fiji responsible for providing weather forecasting and is based in Nadi. Since 1995, the FMS has been responsible for the forecasting of tropical cyclones for much of the south Pacific Ocean. All their meteorologists have degrees from accredited universities.HP Pavilion DV9000 AC Adapter

Since June 1995, the central weather office of Fiji, Nadi, has been one of six Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers within the World Weather Watch program of the World Meteorological Organization. Its specialty is forecasting tropical cyclones south of the equator to the 25th parallel south, and between the 160th meridian east and 120th meridian west longitude. Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

The office issues two tropical disturbance summaries per day, at 1100 UTC and 2300 UTC, describing tropical disturbances in their region. Marine warnings (gale, storm, and hurricane) are issued four times per day, at 0115, 0715, 1315, and 1915 UTC when needed.Sony VGP-BPS9 Battery

Tropical disturbance advisories are also issued four times per day, and include tropical cyclone positions and forecasts. Fiji helps out nearby island groups such as Samoa and Vanuatu by issuing special advisories to those landmasses. Daily forecasts are issued two to four times per day for the island groups of the Cook Islands, Sony VGP-BPS12 Battery

Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru,Niue, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Wallis and Futuna.

Fijian people are the major indigenous people of the Fiji Islands, and live in an area informally called Melanesia. The Fijian people are believed to have arrived in Fiji from western Melanesia approximately 3,500 years ago, though the exact origins of the Fijian people are unknown. Dell Inspiron 6400 Battery

Later they would move onward to other surrounding islands including Rotuma,as well as blending with other (Polynesian) settlers on Tonga and Samoa. They are indigenous to all parts of Fiji except the island of Rotuma. The original settlers are now called "Lapita people" after a distinctive pottery produced locally. Dell Inspiron 1525 Battery

Lapita pottery was found in the area from 800 BC onward.

As of 2005, Fijians constituted slightly more than half of the Fijian population. Indigenous Fijians are predominantly of Melanesian extraction, with somePolynesian admixture. Other ethnic groups in Fiji include Indo-Fijians, the Rotuman people, and minority communities, which include Caucasians, Chinese, and other Pacific Islanders.Dell XPS M1530 Battery

New Zealand has a large Fijian population, according to the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs. In 2001, Fijian people were the fifth largest Pacific ethnic group living in New Zealand. There was a decrease of 8 percent between 1996 and 2001. The estimated Pacific Islander population size is 231,800 in 2001 Fijians comprising about 7,000 of that.Dell Inspiron 6000 Battery

The Bose Levu Vakaturaga (Great Council of Chiefs) once passed laws and regulations governing the Fijian people. Today, the Great Council of Chiefs meets yearly to discuss Fijian concerns. The council is responsible for appointing the Fijian president. The council is made up of 55 chiefs selected from the 14 provinces. Dell Inspiron 9400 Battery

Included in the council are three appointees from the island of Rotuma and six appointed by the Minister of Fijian Affairs. The Minister of Fijian Affairs consults with the Fijian president as part of the selection process. Finally, former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka serves a lifetime appointment on the council. Dell latitude D600 Battery

Characteristics

The Tabua is a much revered. It is a whale's tooth which is used in both public and private occasions. The tooth is considered sacred.

Yaqona, otherwise known as kava, is an infusion prepared from the root of Piper methysticum, a type of pepper plant. It is extremely important in Fijian culture - in the time of the 'old religion' it was used ceremonially by chiefs and priests only. Dell Inspiron 8600 Battery

Today, yaqona is part of daily life, not only in villages but across the different races and in urban areas. 'Having a grog' is used for welcoming and bonding with visitors, for storytelling sessions or merely for passing time.

The Fijian language belongs to the Central Pacific - Fijian - Polynesian branch of the Austronesian family. Dell Latitude D610 Battery

About 86 percent of the land in Fiji is owned by indigenous Fijian people. In 1876, Sir Arthur Hamilton-Gordon, the British colonial Governor, prohibited the sale of Fijian land to non-ethnic Fijians. This policy has been continued, hardly modified, to this day. Dell Inspiron 1520 Battery

The Governor also banned the exploitation of Fijians as laborers, and in 1878 imported indentured laborers from India to work in the sugarcane fields. The effects of this immigration created an ethnic polarization which has proved culturally and politically challenging to modern Fiji.Dell XPS M1710 Battery

Indigenous Fijians are overwhelmingly Christian, with the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma claiming the loyalty of 66.6% (1996 census). Other significant denominations include the Roman Catholic Church (13.3%), the Assemblies of God (6.2%) and the Seventh-day Adventists (5.1%). Dell XPS M1330 Battery

About 8% belong to other churches from a large number of denominations. About 0.8% follow non-Christian religions or no religion.

Approximately 70% of Fijians are farmers, some of which are sustenance farmers. They commonly grow sugar cane, cassava, rice, sweet potatoes, and bananas.Dell XPS M1210 Battery

Fijians are known as the canoe building experts of the Pacific, using them to trade with Tonga. They were usually double canoes, similar except one was shorter and served as a type of outrigger. They are united by beams, with a platform on it that extended beyond the sides.Apple A1185 Battery

The Lapita people, named after their distinctive pottery style, were the first people to inhabit Fiji in about 3000BC, and evidence of their settlement exists throughout Fiji, particularly around the Sigatoka Sand Dunes. They were followed by the Melanesians in about 500 BC, and relatively recent trading with the Polynesian Tongans has added to the cultural mix. Apple Powerbook G4 Battery

In the Lau group of islands, aspects of both cultures still intermingle. In the old days there was active commerce between Tonga and Fiji, and later in the history of this relationship the Fijians in the Lau Islands (Eastern Fiji) became vassals to the King of Tonga. Apple MacBook Pro 17 inch Battery

One particular reason Tongans and Samoans came to Fiji was to build Drua (large double-hulled canoes) which they couldn’t build on their own islands because of the lack of proper timber.

From the early 19th century, both European and Chinese traders visited Fiji for its sandalwood, hardwoods, beche-de-mer, marinelife and, more recently, gold.Asus EEE PC Battery

The British ruled Fiji from 1874 to 1970. In 1970, Fiji became a fully independent nation with constitutional arrangements to ensure that traditional Fijian interests were preserved

His Royal Highness Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, sent the Instruments of Independence to Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara. They were received on October 10, 1970. Compaq V6000 Battery

In 1972, the first general elections were held using the 1970 constitution. In 1987, two coups were staged. The first coup was a bloodless military coup. The second coup severed ties with the British Monarchy. In 1990, a new constitution was adopted and in 1992 the first general election using the new constitution was held.HP 6715B Battery

A new constitution enacted in 1997 was more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a civilian-led coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.HP 6910P Battery

Re-elected in May 2006, Qarase was ousted in a December 2006 military coup led by Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, who initially appointed himself acting president, but in January 2007 became interim prime minister.

Name

In August 2008, shortly before the proposed People's Charter for Change, HP NX6325 Battery

Peace and Progress was due to be released to the public, it was announced that it recommended a change in the name of Fiji's citizens. If the proposal were adopted, all citizens of Fiji, whatever their ethnicity, would be called "Fijians". At present, the word "Fijian" does not denote a nationality, and refers exclusively to indigenous Fijians. HP NC6400 Battery

Citizens of Fiji are referred to as "Fiji Islanders". The proposal would change the English name of indigenous Fijians from "Fijians" to itaukei, the Fijian word for indigenous Fijians. Deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase reacted by stating that the name "Fijian" belonged exclusively to indigenous Fijians,HP NX6110 Battery

and that he would oppose any change in legislation enabling non-indigenous Fijians to use it.

Fijians in the United Kingdom include Fijian-born immigrants to the United Kingdom as well as their British-born descendants. With around 3,500 Fijian born residents alone in the UK in 2001, it is the world's fifth largest overseas Fijian community.HP DV6000 Battery

History and settlement

Fiji and the United Kingdom have close ties, with Fiji being a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, although its membership was suspended in September 2009. For several generations, Fijians have served in the British Army. They fought for the British against the Japanese in the Second World War, and later in Malaya, Borneo, Oman and Iraq.HP DV9000 Battery

Fijians have been dubbed the "unsung heroes" of the British army,and, according to Major Charles Heyman, "There is a long military tradition in Fiji and many serve today because their fathers and grandfathers did" and "the Fijians have been an essential part of the British empire and what they are doing, basically, HP Pavilion ZE4400 Battery

is filling the vacant slots in the British Army because we cannot recruit enough from the UK itself". As of 2009, approximately 2,000 Fijians are working for the British armed forces (as a result from recruiting since 1998).

Demographics and population

According to the 2001 UK Census, 3,464 Fijian-born people were residing in the United Kingdom (62% of the total Pacific Islander born population in the country).ibm x60s battery

A publication in 2006 estimates between 3,000 and 4,000 Fijians as living in the UK, this figure differs very little from the UK census of 2001.The largest numbers of people of Fijian origin in the UK can be found in London as well as towns within the proximity of British Army Infantry bases such as Catterick and Salisbury.ibm t60 battery

Fiji is a diverse nation with a mix of many ethnicities, those of indigenous Austronesian origin form the majority of the island's population, with minorities of Indians amongst other groups. Many famous British people of Fijian descent are Indo-Fijians, including Nifa Hindes, Nishan Hindes,Satya Nandan,Ramon Tikaram,and Tanita Tikaram.ibm z60t battery

Culture and community

Many Fijians attend community church services held at various barracks around the country on the first Sunday of every month. The Fijian community in the UK is fairly tight-knit and they enjoy large banquets and meals together, where traditional Fijian dished are cooked in earth ovens, Sony VGP-BPS2 Battery

Raratabu is a popular meal with the community whilst other foodes such as chicken, lamb, fish with coconut milk alongside yam and sweet potatoes are also popular. There are currently no Fijian shops or restaurants in the capital, although many African owned establishments prove popular with the Fijian community. Sony VGP-BPS5 Battery

Food is a major part of Fijian culture, and celebrations take place across the country every year on a day called Fiji day which commemorates the country's independence.Dancing and games of rugby are also a common sight at these celebrations.Fijians and other Pacific Islanders also tend to choose similar night clubs and venues especially in London.Sony VGP-BPS3 Battery

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