Y2K COMPUTER BUG HITS FIJI EARLY

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 24, 1999 – Radio Australia)---The Year 2000 computer bug has hit Fiji seven months early.

All the country's telecommunications were out of action for several hours today, prompting speculation of sabotage following the Fiji national elections. But, as Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports, there was a more innocent explanation.

"Following last week's swearing in of Fiji's first ethnic Indian Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, there was a series of weekend fire-bombings around Suva and nearby Lautoka. A security guard was killed at one location, but none of the fires caused much property damage.

"Then, this morning, the country's telecommunications system went silent.

"However, the outage was not related to the election.

"Telecom Fiji was testing out its preparedness for the Y2K bug and the whole system crashed.

"As one Suva businessman told me hours later after services were restored, Fiji's had a preview of what might happen at midnight on December 31.

"Sean Dorney, Suva."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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