Papua New Guinea: The Truth Knowledge And The History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Papua New Guinea

Introduction The eastern half of the island of New Guinea – second largest in the world – was divided between Germany (north) and the UK (south) in 1885. The latter area was transferred to Australia in 1902, which occupied the northern portion during World War I and continued to administer the combined areas until independence in 1975. A nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville ended in 1997 after claiming some 20,000 lives.
History Human remains have been found which have been dated to about 50,000 years ago. These ancient inhabitants probably had their origins in Southeast Asia. Agriculture was independently developed in the New Guinea highlands around 9,000 years ago, making it one of the few areas of original plant domestication in the world. A major migration of Austronesian speaking peoples came to coastal regions roughly 2,500 years ago, and this is correlated with the introduction of pottery, pigs, and certain fishing techniques. More recently, some 300 years ago, the sweet potato entered New Guinea having been introduced to the Moluccas from South America by the then-locally dominant colonial power, Portugal.[8] The far higher crop yields from sweet potato gardens radically transformed traditional agriculture; sweet potato largely supplanted the previous staple, taro, and gave rise to a significant increase in population in the highlands.

Little was known in the West about the island until the nineteenth century, although traders from Southeast Asia had been visiting New Guinea as long as 5,000 years ago collecting bird of paradise plumes,[9] and Spanish and Portuguese explorers had encountered it as early as the sixteenth century (1526 and 1527 Don Jorge de Meneses). The country’s dual name results from its complex administrative history prior to Independence. The word papua is derived from a Malay word describing the frizzy Melanesian hair, and “New Guinea” (Nueva Guinea) was the name coined by the Spanish explorer Yñigo Ortiz de Retez, who in 1545 noted the resemblance of the people to those he had earlier seen along the Guinea coast of Africa.

The northern half of the country came into German hands in 1884 as German New Guinea. During World War I, it was occupied by Australia, which had begun administering British New Guinea, the southern part, as the re-named Papua in 1904 once Britain was assured by the federation of the Australian colonies that Queensland, with its equivocal history of race relations, would not have a direct hand in the administration of the territory. After World War I, Australia was given a mandate to administer the former German New Guinea by the League of Nations. Papua, by contrast, was deemed to be an External Territory of the Australian Commonwealth, though as a matter of law it remained a British possession, an issue which had significance for the country’s post-Independence legal system after 1975. This difference in legal status meant that Papua and New Guinea had entirely separate administrations, both controlled by Australia.

The two territories were combined into the Territory of Papua and New Guinea after World War II, which later was simply referred to as “Papua New Guinea”. The Administration of Papua was now also open to United Nations oversight. However, certain statutes[10] continued (and continue) to have application only in one of the two territories, a matter considerably complicated today by the adjustment of the former boundary among contiguous provinces with respect to road access and language groups, so that such statutes apply on one side only of a boundary which no longer exists.

Peaceful independence from Australia, the de facto metropolitan power occurred on September 16, 1975, and close ties remain (Australia remains the largest bilateral aid donor to Papua New Guinea).

A secessionist revolt in 1975-76 on the island of Bougainville resulted in an eleventh-hour modification of the draft Constitution of Papua New Guinea to allow for Bougainville and the other eighteen districts of pre-Independence Papua New Guinea to have quasi-federal status as provinces. The revolt recurred and claimed 20,000 lives from 1988 until it was resolved in 1997. Autonomous Bougainville recently elected Joseph Kabui as president but his death from a heart attack has meant deputy John Tabinaman is now its leader.

Geography Location: Oceania, group of islands including the eastern half of the island of New Guinea between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia
Geographic coordinates: 6 00 S, 147 00 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 462,840 sq km
land: 452,860 sq km
water: 9,980 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly larger than California
Land boundaries: total: 820 km
border countries: Indonesia 820 km
Coastline: 5,152 km
Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; northwest monsoon (December to March), southeast monsoon (May to October); slight seasonal temperature variation
Terrain: mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Wilhelm 4,509 m
Natural resources: gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fisheries
Land use: arable land: 0.49%
permanent crops: 1.4%
other: 98.11% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Total renewable water resources: 801 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.1 cu km/yr (56%/43%/1%)
per capita: 17 cu m/yr (1987)
Natural hazards: active volcanism; situated along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”; the country is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides; tsunamis
Environment – current issues: rain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought
Environment – international agreements: party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: shares island of New Guinea with Indonesia; one of world’s largest swamps along southwest coast
Politics Papua New Guinea is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state. It had been expected by the constitutional convention, which prepared the draft constitution, and by Australia, the outgoing metropolitan power, that Papua New Guinea would choose not to retain its link with the British monarchy. The founders, however, considered that imperial honours had a cachet that the newly independent state would not be able to confer with a purely indigenous honours system — the Monarchy was thus maintained.[11] The Queen is represented in Papua New Guinea by the Governor-General, currently Sir Paulias Matane. Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are unusual among Commonwealth realms in that their Governors-General are effectively selected by the legislature rather than by the executive, as in some parliamentary democracies within or formerly within the Commonwealth whose non-executive ceremonial president is similarly chosen and as would have been the case had the link with the monarchy been severed at independence such that the governor-general was an autochthonous head of state.

Actual executive power lies with the Prime Minister, who heads the cabinet. The unicameral National Parliament has 109 seats, of which 20 are occupied by the governors of the 19 provinces and the NCD. Candidates for members of parliament are voted upon when the prime minister calls a national election, a maximum of five years after the previous national election. In the early years of independence, the instability of the party system led to frequent votes of no-confidence in Parliament with resulting falls of the government of the day and the need for national elections, in accordance with the conventions of parliamentary democracy. In recent years, successive governments have passed legislation preventing such votes sooner than 18 months after a national election. This has arguably resulted in greater stability though, perhaps, at a cost of reducing the accountability of the executive branch of government.

Elections in PNG attract large numbers of candidates. After independence in 1975, members were elected by the first past the post system, with winners frequently gaining less than 15% of the vote. Electoral reforms in 2001 introduced the Limited Preferential Vote system (LPV), a version of the Alternative Vote. The 2007 general election was the first to be conducted using LPV.

People Population: 5,931,769 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 37.3% (male 1,124,174/female 1,086,478)
15-64 years: 58.7% (male 1,791,342/female 1,690,089)
65 years and over: 4% (male 111,023/female 128,663) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 21.5 years
male: 21.6 years
female: 21.4 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.118% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 28.14 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 6.96 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 46.67 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 50.68 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 42.47 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 66 years
male: 63.76 years
female: 68.35 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.71 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.6% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 60,000 (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 600 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2008)
Nationality: noun: Papua New Guinean(s)
adjective: Papua New Guinean
Ethnic groups: Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian
Religions: Roman Catholic 27%, Evangelical Lutheran 19.5%, United Church 11.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 10%, Pentecostal 8.6%, Evangelical Alliance 5.2%, Anglican 3.2%, Baptist 2.5%, other Protestant 8.9%, Bahai 0.3%, indigenous beliefs and other 3.3% (2000 census)
Languages: Melanesian Pidgin serves as the lingua franca, English spoken by 1%-2%, Motu spoken in Papua region
note: 820 indigenous languages spoken (over one-tenth of the world’s total)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57.3%
male: 63.4%
female: 50.9% (2000 census)
Education expenditures: NA

Netherlands And Australia Hold Russia Partly At Fault For Downing Of Malaysian Jet

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

(FLIGHT MH17 WAS SHOT DOWN WITH A RUSSIAN MISSILE FROM A RUSSIAN HELD MILITARY LOCATION)

Friday – 9 months of Ramadan 1439 H – 25 May 2018 m
Joint investigation team in Malaysia plane crash offers a shattered missile (Reuters)
Amsterdam: Middle East Online
The Netherlands and Australia have taken responsibility for the downing of the Malaysian plane over Ukraine during its flight MH17 in 2014, officials said on Friday, in a move that could trigger a judicial move.
In a statement, the Dutch government said the two countries “hold Russia partly responsible for the downing” of the Malaysian plane, a day after investigators found that a Bock missile hit the plane while it was flying, moving from a Russian military unit in Kursk. All 298 passengers, mostly Dutch, were killed.

Solomon Islands: Truth Knowledge And The History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Solomon Islands

Introduction The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the bitterest fighting of World War II occurred on this archipelago. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, and endemic crime have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003, then Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia in reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has generally been effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.
History It is believed that Papuan speaking settlers began to arrive around 30,000 BC. Austronesian speakers arrived circa 4,000 BC also bringing cultural elements such as the outrigger canoe. It is between 1,200 and 800 BC that the ancestors of the Polynesians, the Lapita people, arrived from the Bismarck Archipelago with their characteristic ceramics. The first European to discover the islands was the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, coming from Peru in 1568.

Missionaries began visiting the Solomons in the mid-19th century. They made little progress at first, because “blackbirding” (the often brutal recruitment of laborers for the sugar plantations in Queensland and Fiji) led to a series of reprisals and massacres. The evils of the labor trade prompted the United Kingdom to declare a protectorate over the southern Solomons in 1893. This was the basis of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. In 1898 and 1899, more outlying islands were added to the protectorate; in 1900 the remainder of the archipelago, an area previously under German jurisdiction, was transferred to British administration apart from the islands of Buka and Bougainville which remained under German administration as part of German New Guinea (until they were occupied by Australia in 1914, after the commencement of World War I). Traditional trade and social intercourse between the western Solomon islands of Mono and Alu (the Shortlands) and the traditional societies in the south of Bougainville, however, continued without hindrance. Under the protectorate, missionaries settled in the Solomons, converting most of the population to Christianity. In the early 20th century, several British and Australian firms began large-scale coconut planting. Economic growth was slow, however, and the islanders benefited little.

World War II

With the outbreak of World War II, most planters and traders were evacuated to Australia, and most cultivation ceased. Some of the most intense fighting of World War II occurred in the Solomons. The most significant of the Allied Forces’ operations against the Japanese Imperial Forces was launched on August 7, 1942 with simultaneous naval bombardments and amphibious landings on the Florida Islands at Tulagi and Red Beach on Guadalcanal. The Battle of Guadalcanal became an important and bloody campaign fought in the Pacific War as the Allies began to repulse Japanese expansion. Of strategic importance during the war were the coastwatchers operating in remote locations, often on Japanese held islands, providing early warning and intelligence of Japanese naval, army and aircraft movements during the campaign. Sergeant-Major Jacob Vouza was a notable coastwatcher who after capture refused to divulge Allied information in spite of interrogation and torture by Japanese Imperial forces. He was awarded a Silver Star by the Americans. Islanders Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana would be noted by National Geographic for being the first to find the shipwrecked John F. Kennedy and his crew of the PT-109. They suggested using a coconut to write a rescue message for delivery by dugout canoe, which was later kept on his desk when he became the president of the United States.

The Solomon Islands was one of the major staging areas of the South Pacific and was home to the legendary VMF-214 “Black Sheep” Squadron commanded by Major Greg “Pappy” Boyington. The Slot was a name for New Georgia Sound, when it was used by the Tokyo Express to supply the Japanese garrison on Guadalcanal.

Independence movement

Following the end of World War II, the British colonial government returned. The capital was moved from Tulagi to Honiara to take advantage of the infrastructure left behind by the U.S. military. A revolutionary movement known as Maasina Ruru helped to organize and focus a mass campaign of civil disobedience and strikes across the islands. There was much disorder and the leaders were jailed in late-1948. Throughout the 1950s, other indigenous dissident groups appeared and disappeared without gaining strength. In 1960, an advisory council of Solomon Islanders was superseded by a legislative council, and an executive council was created as the protectorate’s policymaking body. The council was given progressively more authority. In 1974, a new constitution was adopted establishing a parliamentary democracy and ministerial system of government. In mid-1975, the name Solomon Islands officially replaced that of British Solomon Islands Protectorate.

On January 2, 1976, the Solomons became self-governing, and independence followed on July 7, 1978, the first post-independence government being elected in August 1980. The series of governments formed since have not performed to upgrade and build the country. Following the 1997 election of Bartholomew Ulufa’alu the political situation in the Solomons began to deteriorate. Governance was slipping as the performance of the police and other government agencies deteriorated due to what is commonly known as “the tensions”.

Tensions

Commonly referred to as the tensions or the ethnic tension, the initial civil unrest was mainly characterised by fighting between the Isatabu Freedom Movement (also known as the Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army) and the Malaita Eagle Force (as well as the Marau Eagle Force). (Although much of the conflict was between Guales and Malaitans, Kabutaulaka (2001) and Dinnen (2002) argue that the ‘ethnic conflict’ label is an oversimplification). For detailed discussions of The Tensions, see also Fraenkel (2004) and Moore (2004).

In late 1998, militants on the island of Guadalcanal commenced a campaign of intimidation and violence towards Malaitan settlers. During the next year, thousands of Malaitans fled back to Malaita or to the capital, Honiara (which, although situated on Guadalcanal, is predominantly populated by Malaitans and Solomon Islanders from other provinces). In 1999, the Malaita Eagle Force (MEF) was established in response.

The reformist government of Bartholomew Ulufa’alu struggled to respond to the complexities of this evolving conflict. In late 1999, the government declared a four month state of emergency. There were also a number of attempts at reconciliation ceremonies but to no avail. He also requested assistance from Australia and New Zealand in 1999 but this was rejected.

In June 2000, Ulufa’alu was kidnapped by militia members of the MEF who felt that although he was a Malaitan, he was not doing enough to protect their interests. Ulufa’alu subsequently resigned in exchange for his release. Manasseh Sogavare, who had earlier been Finance Minister in Ulufa’alu’s government but had subsequently joined the opposition, was elected as Prime Minister by 23-21 over Rev. Leslie Boseto. However Sogavare’s election was immediately shrouded in controversy because six MPs (thought to be supporters of Boseto) were unable to attend parliament for the crucial vote (Moore 2004, n.5 on p.174).

In October 2000, the Townsville Peace Agreement,[3] was signed by the Malaita Eagle Force, elements of the IFM and the Solomon Islands Government. This was closely followed by the Marau Peace agreement in February 2001, signed by the Marau Eagle Force, the Isatabu Freedom Movement, the Guadalcanal Provincial Government and the Solomon Islands Government. However, a key Guale militant leader, Harold Keke, refused to sign the Agreement, causing a split with the Guale groups. Subsequently, Guale signatories to the Agreement led by Andrew Te’e joined with the Malaitan-dominated police to form the ‘Joint Operations Force’. During the next two years the conflict moved to the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal as the Joint Operations unsuccessfully attempted to capture Keke and his group.

New elections in December 2001 brought Sir Allan Kemakeza into the Prime Minister’s chair with the support of his People’s Alliance Party and also the Association of Independent Members. Law and order deteriorated as the nature of the conflict shifted: there was continuing violence on the Weathercoast whilst militants in Honiara increasingly turned their attention to crime and extortion. The Department of Finance would often be surrounded by armed men when funding was due to arrive. In December 2002, Finance Minister Laurie Chan resigned after being forced at gunpoint to sign a cheque made out to some of the militants. Conflict also broke out in Western Province between locals and Malaitan settlers. Renegade members of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) were invited in as a protection force but ended up causing as much trouble as they prevented.

The prevailing atmosphere of lawlessness, widespread extortion and ineffective police prompted a formal request by the Solomon Islands Government for outside help. With the country bankrupt and the capital in chaos, the request was unanimously supported in Parliament.

In July 2003, Australian and Pacific Island police and troops arrived in the Solomon Islands under the auspices of the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). A sizable international security contingent of 2,200 police and troops, led by Australia and New Zealand, and with representatives from about 20 other Pacific nations began arriving the next month under Operation Helpem Fren. Since this time some commentators have considered the country a failed state.

In April 2006 allegations that the newly elected Prime Minister Snyder Rini had used bribes from Chinese businessmen to buy the votes of members of Parliament led to mass rioting in the capital Honiara. A deep underlying resentment against the minority Chinese business community led to much of Chinatown in the city being destroyed. Tensions had also been increased by the belief that large sums of money were being exported to China. China sent chartered aircraft to evacuate hundreds of Chinese who fled to avoid the riots. Evacuation of Australian and British citizens was on a much smaller scale. Further Australian, New Zealand and Fijian police and troops were dispatched to try to quell the unrest. Rini eventually resigned before facing a motion of no-confidence in Parliament, and Parliament elected Manasseh Sogavare as Prime Minister.

Geography Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 S, 159 00 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 28,450 sq km
land: 27,540 sq km
water: 910 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 5,313 km
Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate: tropical monsoon; few extremes of temperature and weather
Terrain: mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Makarakomburu 2,447 m
Natural resources: fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel
Land use: arable land: 0.62%
permanent crops: 2.04%
other: 97.34% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Total renewable water resources: 44.7 cu km (1987)
Natural hazards: typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earthquakes, tremors, and volcanic activity; tsunamis
Environment – current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea; on 2 April 2007 an undersea earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale occurred 345 km WNW of the capital Honiara, the resulting tsunami devastated coastal areas of Western and Choiseul provinces with dozens of deaths and thousands dislocated; the provincial capital of Gizo was especially hard hit
Politics The Solomon Islands are a constitutional monarchy and have a parliamentary system of government. Queen Elizabeth II is the Monarch of the Solomon Islands and the head of state; she is represented by the Governor-General who is chosen by the Parliament for a five-year term. There is a unicameral parliament of 50 members, elected for four-year terms. However, Parliament may be dissolved by majority vote of its members before the completion of its term. Parliamentary representation is based on single-member constituencies. Suffrage is universal for citizens over age 21. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is elected by Parliament and chooses the other members of the cabinet. Each ministry is headed by a cabinet member, who is assisted by a permanent secretary, a career public servant, who directs the staff of the ministry.

Solomon Islands governments are characterized by weak political parties (see List of political parties in Solomon Islands) and highly unstable parliamentary coalitions. They are subject to frequent votes of no confidence, and government leadership changes frequently as a result. Cabinet changes are common.

Land ownership is reserved for Solomon Islanders. The law provides that resident expatriates, such as the Chinese and Kiribati, may obtain citizenship through naturalization. Land generally is still held on a family or village basis and may be handed down from mother or father according to local custom. The islanders are reluctant to provide land for nontraditional economic undertakings, and this has resulted in continual disputes over land ownership.

No military forces are maintained by the Solomon Islands, although a police force of nearly 500 includes a border protection unit. The police also are responsible for fire service, disaster relief, and maritime surveillance. The police force is headed by a commissioner, appointed by the governor-general and responsible to the prime minister. On 27 December 2006, the Solomon Islands Government said it had taken steps to prevent the country’s Australian police chief from returning to the Pacific nation. On 12 January 2007, Australia replaced its top diplomat expelled from the Solomon Islands for political interference in a conciliatory move aimed at easing a four-month dispute between the two countries.

On 11 July 2007, the Solomon Islands swore Julian Moti in as their Attorney General. Moti is currently wanted in Australia for child-related sex offences. Australian Prime Minister John Howard called the move “quite extraordinary”. Australia’s Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has described the country as the “laughing stock” of the civilised world. However the Australian charges against Moti relate to events in Vanuatu, and parallel charges which the courts in Vanuatu dismissed in the 1990s. Julian Moti has attracted Australian attention because he advised the Solomons Government to inquire into the role of Australian police in provoking the 2006 Honiara riots.

On 13 December 2007, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was toppled by a vote of no confidence in Parliament, following the defection of five Ministers to the Opposition. It was the first time a Prime Minister lost office in this way in the Solomon Islands. On 20 December, Parliament elected the Opposition’s candidate (and former Minister for Education) Derek Sikua as Prime Minister, with 32 votes to 15.

People Population: 581,318 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 40.1% (male 118,856/female 114,173)
15-64 years: 56.5% (male 166,004/female 162,317)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 9,487/female 10,481) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 19.4 years
male: 19.3 years
female: 19.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.467% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 28.48 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 3.81 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 19.67 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 22.36 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.44 years
male: 70.9 years
female: 76.1 years (2008 est.)

Timor-Leste: The Truth Knowledge And The History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Timor-Leste

Introduction The Portuguese began to trade with the island of Timor in the early 16th century and colonized it in mid-century. Skirmishing with the Dutch in the region eventually resulted in an 1859 treaty in which Portugal ceded the western portion of the island. Imperial Japan occupied Portuguese Timor from 1942 to 1945, but Portugal resumed colonial authority after the Japanese defeat in World War II. East Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later. It was incorporated into Indonesia in July 1976 as the province of Timor Timur (East Timor). An unsuccessful campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives. On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia. Between the referendum and the arrival of a multinational peacekeeping force in late September 1999, anti-independence Timorese militias – organized and supported by the Indonesian military – commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth campaign of retribution. The militias killed approximately 1,400 Timorese and forcibly pushed 300,000 people into western Timor as refugees. The majority of the country’s infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly 100% of the country’s electrical grid were destroyed. On 20 September 1999 the Australian-led peacekeeping troops of the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. On 20 May 2002, Timor-Leste was internationally recognized as an independent state. In late April 2006, internal tensions threatened the new nation’s security when a military strike led to violence and a near breakdown of law and order in Dili. At the request of the Government of Timor-Leste, an Australian-led International Stabilization Force (ISF) deployed to Timor-Leste in late May. In August, the UN Security Council established the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), which included an authorized police presence of over 1,600 personnel. In subsequent months, many of the ISF soldiers were replaced by UN police officers; approximately 80 ISF officers remained as of January 2008. From April to June 2007, the Government of Timor-Leste held presidential and parliamentary elections in a largely peaceful atmosphere with the support and assistance of UNMIT and international donors.
History Early history

The island of Timor was originally populated as part of the human migrations that have shaped Australasia more generally. It is believed that descendants from at least three waves of migration still live in the country. The first were related to the principal indigenous groups of New Guinea and Australia, and arrived before 40,000 years ago. Around 3000 BC, Austronesians migrated through to Timor, and are possibly associated with the development of agriculture on Timor. Thirdly, proto-Malays arrived from south China and north Indochina. The mountainous nature of the country meant that these groups remained separate, and explains why there is so much linguistic diversity in East Timor today.

Timor was incorporated into Chinese and Indian trading networks of the fourteenth century as an exporter of aromatic sandalwood, slaves, honey and wax. Early European explorers report that the island had a number of small chiefdoms or princedoms in the early sixteenth century. One of the most significant is the Wehali (Wehale) kingdom in central Timor, with its capital at Laran, West Timor, to which the Tetum, Bunaq and Kemak ethnic groups were aligned.

Portuguese colonization

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to colonize the Malay archipelago when they arrived in the sixteenth century. They established outposts in the (now Indonesian) Maluku Islands and Timor and surrounding islands. During the House of Habsburg’s rule over Portugal (1580-1640), all surrounding outposts were lost and eventually came under Dutch control by the mid-seventeenth century. Effective European occupation of a small part of the territory only began after 1769, when the city of Dili, the capital of so-called Portuguese Timor, was founded. In the nineteenth century, the Netherlands gained a foothold on the western half of the island West Timor, and formally received it in 1859 through the Treaty of Lisbon. The definitive border was established by the Hague Treaty of 1916, and it remains the international boundary between the successor states East Timor and Indonesia.

For the Portuguese, East Timor remained little more than a neglected trading post until the late nineteenth century. Investment in infrastructure, health, and education was minimal. Sandalwood remained the main export crop with coffee exports becoming significant in the mid-nineteenth century. In places where Portuguese rule was asserted, it tended to be brutal and exploitative. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a faltering home economy prompted the Portuguese to extract greater wealth from its colonies which met Timorese resistance.

In late 1941, Portuguese Timor was briefly occupied by Dutch and Australian troops in an attempt to preempt a Japanese invasion of the island. The Portuguese Governor protested the occupation, and Dutch forces returned to the Dutch side of the island. The Japanese landed and drove the small Australian force out of Dili, and the mountainous interior became the scene of a guerrilla campaign, known as the Battle of Timor. Waged by Allied forces and Timorese volunteers against the Japanese, the struggle resulted in the deaths of between 40,000 and 70,000 Timorese. Following the end of the war, Portuguese control was reinstated.

The process of decolonization in Portuguese Timor began in 1974, following the change of government in Portugal in the wake of the Carnation Revolution. Owing to political instability and more pressing concerns over the decolonisation of Angola and Mozambique, Portugal effectively abandoned East Timor and it unilaterally declared itself independent on November 28, 1975. Nine days later, it was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces before the declaration could be internationally recognized.

Indonesian occupation

As political parties began to form and emerge inside the country, the Indonesian military headed an operation that backed Apodeti, a pro-Indonesian party that encouraged divisions between the pro-independence parties of East Timor.[citation needed] A brief civil war occurred in 1975. Indonesia alleged that the East Timorese FRETILIN party, which received some vocal support from the People’s Republic of China, was communist. Fearing a Communist domino effect in Southeast Asia—and in the wake of its South Vietnam campaign—the United States, along with its ally Australia, supported the pro-Western Indonesian government’s actions. The UN Security Council had a unanimous vote for Indonesia to stop its invasion and to withdraw immediately from East Timor’s borders, and was blocked by the United States from imposing any economic sanctions or other means of enforcing this mandate.

The territory was declared the twenty-seventh province of Indonesia in July 1976. Its nominal status in the UN remained that of a “non-self-governing territory under Portuguese administration.”

Indonesian rule in East Timor was often marked by extreme violence and brutality; estimates of the number of East Timorese who died during the occupation vary from 60,000 to 200,000, A detailed statistical report prepared for the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor cited a minimum bound of 102,800 conflict-related deaths in the period 1974-1999, namely, approximately 18,600 killings and 84,200 ‘excess’ deaths from hunger and illness.

The East Timorese guerrilla force, Falintil, fought a campaign against the Indonesian forces from 1975 to 1999, some members being trained in Portugal by Portuguese special forces.[citation needed] The Dili Massacre proved a turning point for the East Timorese cause internationally, and a burgeoning East Timor solidarity movement grew in Portugal, Australia, and the United States.

Independence

Following a UN-sponsored agreement between Indonesia, Portugal and the United States and a surprise decision by the Indonesian President B. J. Habibie, a UN-supervised popular referendum was held on August 30, 1999 to choose between Special Autonomy within Indonesia and independence. 78.5% of voters chose independence, but violent clashes, instigated primarily by elements within the Indonesian military and aided by Timorese pro-Indonesia militias led by Eurico Guterres, broke out soon afterwards. A peacekeeping force (INTERFET, led by Australia) intervened to restore order. The militias fled across the border into Indonesian West Timor, from which sporadic armed raids were attempted. As these raids were repelled and international moral opinion forced Indonesia to withdraw tacit support,[citation needed] the militias dispersed. INTERFET was replaced by a UN force of International Police, the mission became known as UNTAET, and the UNTAET Crime Scene Detachment was formed to investigate alleged atrocities. UNTAET was headed by the late Sérgio Vieira de Mello as UN Transitional Administrator from December 1999 to May 2002. On December 2, 1999 De Mello established the National Consultative Council (NCC), a political body consisting of 11 East Timorese and four UNTAET members charged with overseeing the decision-making process during the transition period leading to independence. However, UNTAET experienced difficulties initially in establishing its credibility amongst the Timorese leadership, leading to street violence. An important workshop on March 1, 2000 brought the Timorese and UN leadership group together to tease out a revised strategy, and identify institutional needs. The Timorese delegation was led by José Ramos-Horta, and included Mari Alkatiri. The outcome was an agreed blueprint for a joint administration with executive powers, including leaders of the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), led by future president Xanana Gusmão. Further details were worked out in a conference in May 2000. De Mello presented the new blueprint to a donor conference in Lisbon, on June 22, 2000, and to the UN Security Council on June 27, 2000. On July 12, 2000, the NCC adopted a regulation establishing a Transitional Cabinet of four East Timorese and four UNTAET representatives. The revamped joint administration successfully laid the institutional foundations for independence, and on September 27, 2002, East Timor joined the United Nations.

Post independence

In April 2006, riots broke out in Dili following rivalry within the military and police; 40 people were killed and over 20,000 fled their homes. Fighting between pro-government troops and disaffected Falintil troops broke out in May 2006. Upon the invitation of the Prime Minister, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Portugal sent troops to Timor, attempting to quell the violence. On 26 June, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri resigned as Prime Minister, following an ultimatum from President Xanana Gusmão that he would resign if Alkatiri did not. José Ramos-Horta was appointed as Alkatiri’s successor on July 8, 2006. In April 2007, Gusmão declined another presidential term. In the build-up to the April 2007 presidential elections there were renewed outbreaks of violence in February and March 2007. José Ramos-Horta was inaugurated as President on May 20, 2007 following his election win in the second round. Gusmão was sworn in as Prime Minister on August 8, 2007. President Ramos-Horta was critically injured in an assassination attempt on February 11, 2008 in a failed coup apparently perpetrated by Alfredo Reinado, a renegade soldier who died in the attack. Prime Minister Gusmão also faced gunfire separately but escaped unharmed. The Australian government immediately sent reinforcements to East Timor to keep order.

Geography Location: Southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago; note – Timor-Leste includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi (Ambeno) region on the northwest portion of the island of Timor, and the islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco
Geographic coordinates: 8 50 S, 125 55 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total: 15,007 sq km
land: NA sq km
water: NA sq km
Area – comparative: slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries: total: 228 km
border countries: Indonesia 228 km
Coastline: 706 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons
Terrain: mountainous
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Timor Sea, Savu Sea, and Banda Sea 0 m
highest point: Foho Tatamailau 2,963 m
Natural resources: gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble
Land use: arable land: 8.2%
permanent crops: 4.57%
other: 87.23% (2005)
Irrigated land: 1,065 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards: floods and landslides are common; earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones
Environment – current issues: widespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion
Environment – international agreements: party to: Climate Change, Desertification
Geography – note: Timor comes from the Malay word for “East”; the island of Timor is part of the Malay Archipelago and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands
Politics The Head of state of East Timor is the President of East Timor, who is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. Although the role is largely symbolic, the president does have veto power over certain types of legislation. Following elections, the president appoints the leader of the majority party or majority coalition as the Prime Minister of East Timor. As head of government, the prime minister presides over the Council of State or cabinet.

The unicameral Timorese parliament is the National Parliament or Parlamento Nacional, whose members are elected by popular vote to a five-year term. The number of seats can vary from a minimum of fifty-two to a maximum of sixty-five, though it exceptionally has eighty-eight members at present, due to this being its first term of office. The East Timorese constitution was modelled on that of Portugal. The country is still in the process of building its administration and governmental institutions.

People Population: 1,108,777
note: other estimates range as low as 800,000 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.1% (male 197,975/female 191,716)
15-64 years: 61.6% (male 347,573/female 334,908)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 17,578/female 19,027) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 21.5 years
male: 21.5 years
female: 21.5 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.05% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 26.52 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 6.02 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 41.98 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 48.16 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 35.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 66.94 years
male: 64.6 years
female: 69.39 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.36 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: chikungunya, dengue fever and malaria (2008)
Nationality: noun: Timorese
adjective: Timorese
Ethnic groups: Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese minority
Religions: Roman Catholic 98%, Muslim 1%, Protestant 1% (2005)
Languages: Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English
note: there are about 16 indigenous languages; Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by significant numbers of people
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 58.6%
male: NA
female: NA (2002)
Education expenditures: NA
Government Country name: conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
conventional short form: Timor-Leste
local long form: Republika Demokratika Timor Lorosa’e [Tetum]; Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
local short form: Timor Lorosa’e [Tetum]; Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
former: East Timor, Portuguese Timor
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Dili
geographic coordinates: 8 35 S, 125 36 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 13 administrative districts; Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro (Maliana), Cova-Lima (Suai), Dili, Ermera, Lautem (Los Palos), Liquica, Manatuto, Manufahi (Same), Oecussi (Ambeno), Viqueque
Independence: 28 November 1975 (independence proclaimed from Portugal); note – 20 May 2002 is the official date of international recognition of Timor-Leste’s independence from Indonesia
National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1975)
Constitution: 22 March 2002 (based on the Portuguese model)
Legal system: UN-drafted legal system based on Indonesian law remains in place but is to be replaced by civil and penal codes based on Portuguese law; these have passed but have not been promulgated; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 17 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Jose RAMOS-HORTA (since 20 May 2007); note – the president plays a largely symbolic role but is able to veto legislation, dissolve parliament, and call national elections
head of government: Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO (since 8 August 2007), note – he formerly used the name Jose Alexandre GUSMAO; Deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis GUTERRES (since 8 August 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 9 April 2007 with run-off on 8 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2012); following elections, president appoints leader of majority party or majority coalition as prime minister
election results: Jose RAMOS-HORTA elected president; percent of vote – Jose RAMOS-HORTA 69.2%, Francisco GUTTERES 30.8%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Parliament (number of seats can vary from 52 to 65; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 30 June 2007 (next elections due by June 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party – FRETILIN 29%, CNRT 24.1%, ASDT-PSD 15.8%, PD 11.3%, PUN 4.5%, KOTA-PPT (Democratic Alliance) 3.2%, UNTERDIM 3.2%, others 8.9%; seats by party – FRETILIN 21, CNRT 18, ASDT-PSD 11, PD 8, PUN 3, KOTA-PPT 2, UNDERTIM 2
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice – constitution calls for one judge to be appointed by National Parliament and rest appointed by Superior Council for Judiciary; note – until Supreme Court is established, Court of Appeals is highest court
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party or PD [Fernando de ARAUJO]; National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction or CNRT [Xanana GUSMAO]; National Democratic Union of Timorese Resistance or UNDERTIM [Cornelio DA Conceicao GAMA]; National Unity Party or PUN [Fernanda BORGES]; People’s Party of Timor or PPT [Jacob XAVIER]; Revolutionary Front of Independent Timor-Leste or FRETILIN [Mari ALKATIRI]; Social Democratic Association of Timor or ASDT [Francisco Xavier do AMARAL]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Mario CARRASCALAO]; Sons of the Mountain Warriors or KOTA [Manuel TILMAN] (also known as Association of Timorese Heroes)
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACP, ADB, ARF, CPLP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PIF (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires Jorge CAMEO
chancery: 4201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 504,Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-3202
FAX: [1] (202) 966-3205
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Hans G. KLEMM
embassy: Avenida de Portugal, Praia dos Conqueiros, Dili
mailing address: US Department of State, 8250 Dili Place, Washington, DC 20521-8250
telephone: (670) 332-4684
FAX: (670) 331-3206
Flag description: red, with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a slightly longer yellow arrowhead that extends to the center of the flag; a white star is in the center of the black triangle
Culture The culture of East Timor reflects numerous influences, including Portuguese, Roman Catholic, and Malayisia, on the indigenous Austronesian and Melanesian cultures of Timor. Legend has it that a giant crocodile was transformed into the island of Timor, or Crocodile Island, as it is often called. East Timorese culture is heavily influenced by Austronesian legends, although the Catholic influence is also strong.

Illiteracy is still widespread, but there is a strong tradition of poetry. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, for example, is a distinguished poet. As for architecture, some Portuguese-style buildings can be found, along with the traditional totem houses of the eastern region. These are known as uma lulik (sacred houses) in Tetum, and lee teinu (houses with legs) in Fataluku. Craftsmanship is also widespread, as is the weaving of traditional scarves or tais.

Economy Economy – overview: In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of Timor-Leste was laid waste by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias. Three hundred thousand people fled westward. Over the next three years a massive international program, manned by 5,000 peacekeepers (8,000 at peak) and 1,300 police officers, led to substantial reconstruction in both urban and rural areas. By the end of 2005, refugees had returned or had settled in Indonesia. The country continues to face great challenges in rebuilding its infrastructure, strengthening the civil administration, and generating jobs for young people entering the work force. The development of oil and gas resources in offshore waters has begun to supplement government revenues ahead of schedule and above expectations – the result of high petroleum prices. The technology-intensive industry, however, has done little to create jobs for the unemployed because there are no production facilities in Timor. Gas is piped to Australia. In June 2005 the National Parliament unanimously approved the creation of a Petroleum Fund to serve as a repository for all petroleum revenues and preserve the value of Timor-Leste’s petroleum wealth for future generations. The Fund held assets of US$1.8 billion as of September 2007. The mid-2006 outbreak of violence and civil unrest disrupted both private and public sector economic activity and created 100,000 internally displaced persons – about 10 percent of the population. While real non-oil GDP growth in 2006 was negative, the economy probably rebounded in 2007. The underlying economic policy challenge the country faces remains how best to use oil-and-gas wealth to lift the non-oil economy onto a higher growth path and reduce poverty. In late 2007, the new government announced plans aimed at increasing spending, reducing poverty, and improving the country’s infrastructure, but it continues to face capacity constraints. In the short term, the government must also address continuing problems related to the crisis of 2006, especially the displaced Timorese.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $2.608 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $459 million (2007 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 19.8% (2007 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $2,500 (2007 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 32.2%
industry: 12.8%
services: 55% (2005)
Labor force: NA
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate: 50% estimated; note – unemployment in urban areas reached 20%; data do not include underemployed (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line: 42% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income – Gini index: 38 (2002 est.)
Budget: revenues: $733 million
expenditures: $309 million
note: the government passed a transitional budget to cover the latter half of 2007 and has moved the fiscal cycle to a calendar year, starting with the budget they passed for 2008 (FY06/07 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.8% (2007 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 15.05% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $74.94 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $68.78 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: NA (31 December 2007)
Agriculture – products: coffee, rice, corn, cassava, sweet potatoes, soybeans, cabbage, mangoes, bananas, vanilla
Industries: printing, soap manufacturing, handicrafts, woven cloth
Industrial production growth rate: 8.5% (2004 est.)
Electricity – production: NA kWh
Electricity – consumption: NA kWh
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – imports: 0 kWh
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil – production: 78,480 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil – proved reserves: NA
Natural gas – production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 200 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: $1.161 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $10 million; note – excludes oil (2005 est.)
Exports – commodities: coffee, sandalwood, marble; note – potential for oil and vanilla exports
Exports – partners: US, Germany, Portugal, Australia, Indonesia (2006)
Imports: $202 million (2004 est.)
Imports – commodities: food, gasoline, kerosene, machinery
Economic aid – recipient: $184.7 million (2005 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Currency (code): US dollar (USD)
Currency code: USD
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used
Communications Telephones – main lines in use: 2,400 (2006)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 69,000 (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: rudimentary service limited to urban areas
domestic: system suffered significant damage during the violence associated with independence; extremely limited fixed-line services; mobile-cellular services and coverage limited primarily to urban areas
international: country code – 670; international service is available in major urban centers
Radio broadcast stations: at least 21 (Timor-Leste has one national public broadcaster and 20 community and church radio stations – frequency type NA)
Radios: NA
Television broadcast stations: 1 (Timor-Leste has one national public broadcaster)
Televisions: NA
Internet country code: .tl
Internet hosts: 285 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA
Internet users: 1,200 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 8 (2007)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Heliports: 9 (2007)
Roadways: total: 6,040 km
paved: 2,600 km
unpaved: 3,440 km (2005)
Merchant marine: total: 1
by type: passenger/cargo 1 (2008)
Ports and terminals: Dili
Military Military branches: Timor-Leste Defense Force (Forcas de Defesa de Timor-L’este, Falintil (FDTL)): Army, Navy (Armada) (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 284,903
females age 16-49: 272,212 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 224,096
females age 16-49: 231,901 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 13,045
female: 12,670 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: NA
Transnational Issues Disputes – international: Timor-Leste-Indonesia Boundary Committee has resolved all but a small portion of the land boundary, but discussions on maritime boundaries are stalemated over sovereignty of the uninhabited coral island of Pulau Batek/Fatu Sinai in the north and alignment with Australian claims in the south; many refugees who left Timor-Leste in 2003 still reside in Indonesia and refuse repatriation; Australia and Timor-Leste agreed in 2005 to defer the disputed portion of the boundary for 50 years and to split hydrocarbon revenues evenly outside the Joint Petroleum Development Area covered by the 2002 Timor Sea Treaty
Refugees and internally displaced persons: IDPs: 100,000 (2007)
Illicit drugs: NA

Cardinal Pell to face trial on criminal charges in Australia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Cardinal Pell to face trial on criminal charges in Australia

Australian Cardinal George Pell arrives at the Magistrates Court in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Pell, the most senior Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis, arrived surrounded by police and media to learn whether he must stand trial on charges that he sexually abused multiple victims decades ago. (Joe Castro/AAP Image via AP) (Associated Press)
 April 30 at 10:27 PM
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis, must stand trial on charges alleging he sexually abused multiple victims decades ago, a magistrate ruled Tuesday.
Magistrate Belinda Wallington dismissed around half the charges that had been heard in the four-week preliminary hearing in Melbourne but decided the prosecution’s case was strong enough for the remainder to warrant a trial by jury. The number of charges has not been made public
When she asked Pell how he pleaded, the cardinal said in a firm voice: “Not guilty.” Wallington gave him permission not to stand, which is customary.
When the magistrate left the room at the end the hearing, many people in the packed public gallery broke into applause.
Lawyers for Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic had argued all the accusations were untrue, could not be proved and should be dismissed.
Pell, Pope Francis’ former finance minister, was charged last June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the 76-year-old have yet to be released to the public, though police have described the charges as “historical” sexual assault offenses — meaning the crimes allegedly occurred decades ago.
His alleged victims testified in the first two weeks of the preliminary hearing via a video link from a remote location to a room closed to the media and public.
His lawyer Robert Richter told Wallington in his final submissions two weeks ago that the complainants might have testified against one of the church’s most powerful men to punish him for failing to act against abuse by clerics.
But prosecutor Mark Gibson told the magistrate there was no evidence to back Richter’s theory that Pell had been targeted over the church’s failings.
Since Pell returned to Australia from the Vatican in July, he has lived in Sydney and flown to Melbourne for his court hearings. His circumstances are far removed from the years he spent as the high-profile and polarizing archbishop of Melbourne and later Sydney before his promotion to Rome in 2014.
The case places both the cardinal and the pope in potentially perilous territory. For Pell, the charges are a threat to his freedom, his reputation and his career. For Francis, they are a threat to his credibility, given he famously promised a “zero tolerance” policy for sex abuse in the church.
Advocates for abuse victims have long railed against Francis’ decision to appoint Pell to the high-ranking position in the first place. At the time of his promotion, Pell was already facing allegations that he had mishandled cases of clergy abuse during his time leading the church in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia’s largest cities.
So far, Francis has withheld judgment of Pell, saying he wants to wait for justice to run its course. And he did not force the cardinal to resign, though Pell took an immediate leave of absence so he could return to Australia to fight the charges. Pell said he intends to continue his work as a prefect of the church’s economy ministry once the case is resolved.
In recent years, Pell’s actions as archbishop came under particular scrutiny by a government-authorized investigation into how the Catholic Church and other institutions have responded to the sexual abuse of children.
Australia’s Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse — the nation’s highest form of inquiry — revealed last year that 7 percent of Catholic priests were accused of sexually abusing children in Australia over the past several decades.
In testimony to the commission in 2016, Pell conceded that he had made mistakes by often believing priests over people who said they had been abused. And he vowed to help end a rash of suicides that has plagued abuse victims in his hometown of Ballarat.
Pell testified to the inquiry in a video link from the Vatican about his time as a priest and bishop in Australia. He did not attend in person because of a heart condition and other medical problems.
Police said at the preliminary hearing that they had planned to arrest Pell for questioning had he returned to Australia in early 2016 to testify.
His lawyers argued in court that Pell was targeted for “special treatment” by detectives from a police task force that investigated historical sex abuse. Police witnesses denied that accusation.
The investigation of Pell began in 2013 before any complainant had come forward to police, whom Richter accused of running “a get Pell operation.”
Pell’s lawyers told the court in February that the first complainant approached police in 2015, 40 years after the alleged crimes, in response to media reports about the royal commission.
Pell was charged by summons in Rome and agreed to return to Australia to face the allegations.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

China challenged Australian warships in South China Sea, reports say

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

China challenged Australian warships in South China Sea, reports say

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba docked at Saigon port in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on April 19.

(CNN)Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asserted the right of the Australian navy to travel the South China Sea, after local media reported three Australian warships were challenged by the Chinese navy earlier this month.

As the three vessels traversed the hotly contested waters on their way to Vietnam, they were confronted by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) navy, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Friday.
The ABC said that one Australian defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, “insists the exchanges with the Chinese were polite, but ‘robust’.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in London for a meeting of the heads of Commonwealth nations, refused to confirm or deny the report.
“All I can say to you is that Australia asserts and practices its right to freedom of navigation throughout the world’s ocean, including the South China Sea,” he told reporters.
In a statement to CNN, the Australian Defense Department acknowledged the three vessels were in the South China Sea in recent weeks but wouldn’t comment on “operational details” on the ships.
“The Australian Defense Force has maintained a robust program of international engagement with countries in and around the South China Sea for decades,” the statement said. CNN has reached out to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.
The Australian ships are now conducting a three-day goodwill visit in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
While Australian air force jets have been challenged by the Chinese in the past, this was the first time, Carl Thayer told CNN, that he’d heard of any reports of navy vessels being confronted.
“That doesn’t mean it hasn’t occurred … (But) the challenge is political, it’s intimidatory and if you don’t counter challenge then China can make the argument that the international community has acceded to China’s claims,” said Thayer, regional security analyst and emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales.

Australia, China relations in deep chill

The reported confrontation comes at a moment of frosty relations between Beijing and Canberra. Turnbull admitted to the diplomatic chill on April 12.
“There has been a degree of tension in the relationship which has arisen because of criticism in China of our foreign interference laws,” he told local radio station 3AW at the time.
His remarks followed reports in local media that Australian ministers had been denied visas that would have allowed them to attend China’s signature Boao Forum in Hainan province.
The Chinese government has objected strongly to a new set of laws being considered by Australia to tackle interference by foreign nations in their politics.
Although Turnbull stressed that those laws weren’t targeted at any one country, the legislation came after a series of scandals over large donations to Australian politicians by Chinese businessmen.
“I would like to stress hereby again that we hope the Australian side will abandon the cold-war mentality and ideological bias, stop making irresponsible remarks and work with China,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in February.

China tightens hold on volatile region

The South China Sea is one of the most hotly contested regions in the world. China claims a huge swathe of territory across the sea, overlapping the claims of Vietnam and the Philippines, among others.
Only last week the Chinese navy held its largest ever drills in the South China Sea, including a huge military parade overseen by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
China’s only aircraft carrier the Liaoning took part in the display, launching J-15 fighter jets from the enormous ship’s flight deck.
Speaking from the PLA destroyer Changsha, Xi called for further modernization of China’s military to further his goal of creating a “world-class” force under the Communist Party’s leadership.
To reinforce their claims in the region, China has constructed and militarized a series of artificial islands across the South China Sea, building airfields and radar stations.
The United States regularly conducts Freedom of Navigation Operations close to China’s artificial bases. Last year, Arizona Senator John McCain suggested Australia’s Navy take part alongside the US in those exercises.
“I would not try to tell the Australians what they need to do, but there are exercises where a number of nations join together — we call it RIMPAC [Rim of the Pacific Exercise]— that the Australians participate in. They’re broad naval exercises,” he said during a visit to Australia.

Vietnam’s Fishing ‘Militia’ to Defend Against China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘VOICE OF AMERICA’)

 

Vietnam’s Fishing ‘Militia’ to Defend Against China


FILE - A Vietnamese boat (L) which was rammed and then sunk by Chinese vessels near disputed Paracels Islands in 2014.
FILE – A Vietnamese boat (L) which was rammed and then sunk by Chinese vessels near disputed Paracels Islands in 2014.

Vietnam is reported to be quietly developing a state-supported fishing boat militia to hold off China at sea. The fishing militia is being created at a time when the two sides talk about easing territorial disputes.

That is the opinion of experts who follow those disputes.

Vietnam watchers say the country is asking its commercial fishers to use stronger boats and take military-trained people to sea in case of a clash with Chinese fishers. China has its own fishing militia operating in the same waters.

“I think it’s a good policy to avoid future conflicts where militia fishermen are out in the sea,” said Trung Nguyen. He serves as dean of international relations at the Ho Chi Minh University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Vietnam has been working to develop the fishing militia since at least 2009. Over that time, the two countries have been holding talks. Just last week, Vietnam’s Communist Party general secretary met the visiting Chinese foreign minister. The party official suggested “joint safeguarding (of) maritime peace,” China’s Xinhua News Agency reported.

Vietnam may be trying to appear strong now in case talks fail to produce results, noted Eduardo Araral of the National University of Singapore’s school of public diplomacy.

FILE - A Vietnamese naval soldier stands quard at Thuyen Chai island in the Spratly archipelago.
FILE – A Vietnamese naval soldier stands quard at Thuyen Chai island in the Spratly archipelago.

How the militia works

The Vietnamese fishing militia has not gone to battle with China. If the militia did, it would risk facing the third largest military in the world.

But Vietnamese military forces are arming fishing boats, said Southeast Asia expert Carl Thayer. That may be similar to the deployment of former soldiers to help keep order as needed on land in Vietnam, Thayer noted.

The Vietnamese government requires conscription, he added, so fishermen would already have some military skills.

“Putting them at sea would just be getting people the right age and giving them that training,” he said. “All they did is move what they do on land, how to defend factories … and extend that to sea.

Thayer is emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Thirteen fishing militia platoons have been helping more than 3,000 fishermen work near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. That information comes from a 2017 study by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. China controls the Paracels, but Vietnam also claims the islands.

The study found that more than 10,000 fishermen and about 2,000 fishing boats in southern Vietnam have received military equipment.
In 2014, Vietnam prepared a list of rules to aid fishermen who build “modern large capacity ships” to expand their reach, the study found. It said Vietnamese banks had lent $176 million to fishermen for improvements to about 400 ships.

South China Sea territorial claims map
South China Sea territorial claims map

Record of clashes

China claims about 90 percent of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer South China Sea. Vietnam says it should control the sea’s waters off its long north-south coastline, extending into the Paracels and Spratly Islands.

Sailors died in clashes between the two countries in 1974 and 1988. In 2014, the deployment of a Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea caused a boat-rammingincident at sea and deadly rioting in Vietnam against Chinese interests.

China has long had its own fishing militia with military support and attention from the Chinese President, notes the United States-based Naval War College. Armed fishing boats help defend China’s maritime claims by pushing away foreign boats, the political intelligence service Stratfor reported in 2016.

Five other governments claim all or parts of the South China Sea. They oppose Chinese efforts to build up and expand islands in the waterway.

Vietnam and China often hold talks about settling maritime problems, but talks often fall short of a decision because of historic distrust, Araral said. He added that Vietnam may be sending China the message that while we talk, we assert our rights.

A Vietnamese fishing militia will not be as large as China’s militia, he said, but Vietnam feels it must try.

I’m Susan Shand

Susan Shand adapted this story from VOA. George Grow was the editor.

‘National Geographic’ Reckons With Its Past: ‘Our Coverage Was Racist’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR)

((Commentary from: Oldpoet56) During my lifetime I probably read articles within National Geographic Magazines about a dozen times. Because I only read spot articles here and there I never realized that they had been this racist. Their history on race is disgusting, and this does disappoint me greatly. I do commend them though on finally recognizing this glaring fault and for having the guts to ‘call themselves out’ on this issue. Hopefully in their future they will eliminate this fault. I know that any of their magazines that I come across in the future I will be looking to see if their racism has stopped.)  

‘National Geographic’ Reckons With Its Past: ‘For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist’

In a full-issue article on Australia that ran in National Geographic in 1916, aboriginal Australians were called “savages” who “rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings.” The magazine examines its history of racist coverage in its April issue.

C.P. Scott (L) and H.E. Gregory (R)/National Geographic

If National Geographic‘s April issue was going to be entirely devoted to the subject of race, the magazine decided it had better take a good hard look at its own history.

Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg asked John Edwin Mason, a professor of African history and the history of photography at the University of Virginia, to dive into the magazine’s nearly 130-year archive and report back.

What Mason found was a long tradition of racism in the magazine’s coverage: in its text, its choice of subjects, and in its famed photography.

Enlarge this image

The April issue of National Geographic is all about race.

National Geographic

“[U]ntil the 1970s National Geographic all but ignored people of color who lived in the United States, rarely acknowledging them beyond laborers or domestic workers,” writes Goldberg in the issue’s editor letter, where she discusses Mason’s findings. “Meanwhile it pictured ‘natives’ elsewhere as exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages—every type of cliché.”

Unlike magazines such as Life, National Geographic did little to push its readers beyond the stereotypes ingrained in white American culture,” Goldberg says, noting that she is the first woman and first Jewish person to helm the magazine – “two groups that also once faced discrimination here.”

To assess the magazine’s coverage historically, Mason delved into old issues and read a couple of key critical studies. He also pored over photographers’ contact sheets, giving him a view of not just the photos that made it into print, but also the decisions that photographers and editors made.

He saw a number of problematic themes emerge.

“The photography, like the articles, didn’t simply emphasize difference, but made difference … very exotic, very strange, and put difference into a hierarchy,” Mason tells NPR. “And that hierarchy was very clear: that the West, and especially the English-speaking world, was at the top of the hierarchy. And black and brown people were somewhere underneath.”

For much of its history, the pages of National Geographic depicted the Western world as dynamic, forward-moving and very rational. Meanwhile, Mason says, “the black and brown world was primitive and backwards and generally unchanging.”

One trope that he noticed time and again were photographs showing native people apparently fascinated by Westerners’ technology.

“It’s not simply that cameras and jeeps and airplanes are present,” he says. “It’s the people of color looking at this technology in amusement or bewilderment.” The implication was that Western readers would find humor in such fascination with their everyday goods.

Then there’s how the magazine chose its subject matter. Mason explains that National Geographic had an explicit editorial policy of “nothing unpleasant,” so readers rarely saw war, famine or civic conflict.

He points to an article on South Africa from the early 1960s that barely mentions the Sharpeville Massacre, in which 69 black South Africans were killed by police.

South African gold miners were “entranced by thundering drums” during “vigorous tribal dances,” a 1962 issue reported.

Kip Ross/National Geographic Creative

“There are no voices of black South Africans,” Mason told Goldberg. “That absence is as important as what is in there. The only black people are doing exotic dances … servants or workers. It’s bizarre, actually, to consider what the editors, writers, and photographers had to consciously not see.”

Then there’s the way women of color were often depicted in the magazine: topless.

“Teenage boys could always rely, in the ’50s and ’60s, on National Geographic to show them bare-breasted women as long as the women had brown or black skin,” Mason says. “I think the editors understood this was frankly a selling point to its male readers. Some of the bare-breasted young women are shot in a way that almost resembles glamour shots.”

Mason says the magazine has been dealing with its history implicitly for the last two or three decades, but what made this project different is that Goldberg wanted to make reckoning explicit — “That National Geographic should not do an issue on race without understanding its own complicity in shaping understandings of race and racial hierarchy.”

Although slave labor was used to build homes featured in a 1956 article, the writer contended that they “stand for a chapter of this country’s history every American is proud to remember.”

Robert F. Sisson and Donald McBain/National Geographic

For those of us who have spent long afternoons thumbing old issues of the magazine and dreaming of far-off lands, Mason wants to make clear that looking at foreign people and places isn’t a bad thing.

“We’re all curious and we all want to see. I’m not criticizing the idea of being curious about the world. It’s just the other messages that are sent—that it’s not just difference, but inferiority and superiority.”

So where does the storied publication go from here?

One good step would be to invite the diverse contributors to the April issue to become part of the magazine’s regular pool of writers and photographers, Mason suggests.

“Still it’s too often a Westerner who is telling us about Africa or Asia or Latin America,” he says. “There are astonishing photographers from all over the world who have unique visions – not just of their own country, but who could bring a unique vision to photographing Cincinnati, Ohio, if it came to that.”

He notes that the magazine’s images have so often captivated, even when they were stereotypical or skewed. Mason says a number of African photographers have told him that it was magazines like National Geographic and Life that turned them onto photography in the first place.

“They knew that there were problems with the way that they and their people were being represented,” he says. “And yet the photography was often spectacularly good, it was really inviting, and it carried this power. And as young people, these men and women said, I want to do that. I want to make pictures like that.”

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Ecuador grants nationality to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

Ecuador grants nationality to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Last Updated Jan 11, 2018 2:24 PM EST

QUITO, Ecuador – Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living in asylum at the nation’s embassy in London for more than five years.

The nation’s foreign minister announced Thursday that officials had decided to permit Assange’s naturalization while they look for ways to resolve his situation.

Ecuador gave Assange political asylum after he sought refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid a Swedish extradition request on a case of alleged rape. While Sweden temporarily dropped that investigation, British officials say they’d still arrest him on charges of bail jumping. Assange also fears a possible U.S. extradition request stemming from the leaking of classified U.S. documents.

Britain’s Foreign Office said Thursday it had rejected Ecuador’s request to grant diplomatic status to Assange, who was born in Australia.

“The granting of Ecuadorean nationality does not in any way change Julian Assange’s legal status in the U.K.,” a government spokesman said. “The Government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve the situation is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice. Nobody should pretend that granting him Ecuadorean citizenship is a route to solving this longstanding issue.”

Akubra girl “Dolly” killed herself due to bullying

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS)

 

Akubra girl “Dolly” killed herself due to bullying, company says

The post said the girl, Amy Jayne Everett, died January 3, and that “we need to make sure that anyone in crisis knows there is always someone to talk to.” It also urged people to act to stop bullying — a plea her father made Sunday.

“This week has been an example of how social media should be used, it has also been an example of how it shouldn’t be,” Tick Everett said in a Facebook post. “If we can help other precious lives from being lost and the suffering of so many, then Doll’s life will not be wasted.”

“…lets stop the bullies no matter where, but especially in our kids, as the old saying goes. You will never know what have untill it’s gone,” he said.

He added: “if by some chance the people who thought this was a joke and made themselves feel superior by the constant bullying and harassment see this post, please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created.”

The BBC reports the girl starred in a well-known Akubra ad campaign when she was eight years old. It also reports the family released a statement to media outlets on Wednesday saying the girl was “the kindest, caring, beautiful soul”.

“She was always caring for animals, small children, other children at boarding school who were less fortunate than herself.”

Twenty percent of children in Australia say they were bullied over the past year, according to the BBC.

The wide-brimmed Akubra hat is one of Australia’s most recognizable brands, the BBC reports.

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