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Military Volunteers Turn Spotlight On Unemployment

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/ USP Journalism on the Fiji crisis (UTS host): http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/archive/coup.html
USP Pasifik Nius stories on Scoop (NZ): http://www.scoop.co.nz/international.htm Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook

SUVA: More than 3000 hopefuls have reportedly flocked to the Fiji military headquarters in the hope of being signed up as new army recruits, prompting a warning by a daily newspaper about the post-coup unemployment crisis.

A mixture of unemployed youth, school leavers and students were put through a fitness test and faced questions as the military sought 200 new recruits, said the Daily Post.

The remarkably quick response to the military's publicity campaign forced a "reality check" in the wake of the May 19 insurrection and the detention of 21 rebels accused of treason - several of them renegade soldiers.

The Fiji Sun said in an editorial today: "A reality check ..,. there are more than 7000 people who are now listed as unemployed as a direct result of the May 19 takeover.

"The revelation that more than 200 applicants registered themselves in the first four hours will prick a lot of nerves."

This indicated the level of unemployment currently existing in the country was higher than expected, the paper said.

"It is cause for concern," said the Fiji Sun.

"It effectively shifts the focus onto the [military installed] interim government.

"Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and his interim ministers have a lot on their plates. They will need the support and cooperation of the people of this country.

"However, at the end of the day, it will be their decision that will count. There are more than 7000 reasons for government to be on its toes."

* Meanwhile, the military seized two rebels and a prison fugitive equipped with arms and ammunition in a dawn raid in the west of Viti Levu yesterday. A church minister was also arrested for harbouring one of the renegades.

+++niuswire

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