French Southern and Antarctic Lands: The Truth, Knowledge And History Of Them

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK)

 

French Southern and Antarctic Lands

Introduction In February 2007, the Iles Eparses became an integral part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF). The Southern Lands are now divided into five administrative districts, two of which are archipelagos, Iles Crozet and Iles Kerguelen; the third is a district composed of two volcanic islands, Ile Saint-Paul and Ile Amsterdam; the fourth, Iles Eparses, consists of five scattered tropical islands around Madagascar. They contain no permanent inhabitants and are visited only by researchers studying the native fauna, scientists at the various scientific stations, fishermen, and military personnel. The fifth district is the Antarctic portion, which consists of “Adelie Land,” a thin slice of the Antarctic continent discovered and claimed by the French in 1840.
Ile Amsterdam: Discovered but not named in 1522 by the Spanish, the island subsequently received the appellation of Nieuw Amsterdam from a Dutchman; it was claimed by France in 1843. A short-lived attempt at cattle farming began in 1871. A French meteorological station established on the island in 1949 is still in use.
Ile Saint Paul: Claimed by France since 1893, the island was a fishing industry center from 1843 to 1914. In 1928, a spiny lobster cannery was established, but when the company went bankrupt in 1931, seven workers were abandoned. Only two survived till 1934 when rescue finally arrived.
Iles Crozet: A large archipelago formed from the Crozet Plateau, Iles Crozet is divided into two main groups: L’Occidental (the West), which includes Ile aux Cochons, Ilots des Apotres, Ile des Pingouins, and the reefs Brisants de l’Heroine; and L’Oriental (the east), which includes Ile d’Est and Ile de la Possession (the largest island of the Crozets). Discovered and claimed by France in 1772, the islands were used for seal hunting and as a base for whaling. Originally administered as a dependency of Madagascar, they became part of the TAAF in 1955.
Iles Kerguelen: This island group, discovered in 1772, is made up of one large island (Ile Kerguelen) and about 300 smaller islands. A permanent group of 50 to 100 scientists resides at the main base at Port-aux-Francais.
Adelie Land: The only non-insular district of the TAAF is the Antarctic claim known as “Adelie Land.” The US Government does not recognize it as a French dependency.
Bassas da India: A French possession since 1897, this atoll is a volcanic rock surrounded by reefs and is awash at high tide.
Europa Island: This heavily wooded island has been a French possession since 1897; it is the site of a small military garrison that staffs a weather station.
Glorioso Islands: A French possession since 1892, the Glorioso Islands are composed of two lushly vegetated coral islands (Ile Glorieuse and Ile du Lys) and three rock islets. A military garrison operates a weather and radio station on Ile Glorieuse.
Juan de Nova Island: Named after a famous 15th century Spanish navigator and explorer, the island has been a French possession since 1897. It has been exploited for its guano and phosphate. Presently a small military garrison oversees a meteorological station.
Tromelin Island: First explored by the French in 1776, the island came under the jurisdiction of Reunion in 1814. At present, it serves as a sea turtle sanctuary and is the site of an important meteorological station.
History The French Southern and Antarctic Lands have formed a territoire d’outre-mer (an overseas territory) of France since 1955. Formerly, they were administered from Paris by an administrateur supérieur assisted by a secretary-general; since December 2004, however, their administrator has been a préfet, currently Éric Pilloton, with headquarters in Saint-Pierre on Réunion Island.
Geography Location: southeast and east of Africa, islands in the southern Indian Ocean, some near Madagascar and others about equidistant between Africa, Antarctica, and Australia; note – French Southern and Antarctic Lands include Ile Amsterdam, Ile Saint-Paul, Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen, and Iles Eparses in the southern Indian Ocean, along with the French-claimed sector of Antarctica, “Adelie Land”; the US does not recognize the French claim to “Adelie Land”
Geographic coordinates: Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): 37 50 S, 77 32 E
Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): 38 72 S, 77 53 E
Iles Crozet: 46 25 S, 51 00 E
Iles Kerguelen: 49 15 S, 69 35 E
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): 21 30 S, 39 50 E
Europa Island (Iles Eparses): 22 20 S, 40 22 E
Glorioso Islands (Iles Eparses): 11 30 S, 47 20 E
Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): 17 03 S, 42 45 E
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): 15 52 S, 54 25 E
Map references: Antarctic Region, Africa
Area: Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): total – 55 sq km; land – 55 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): total – 7 sq km; land – 7 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Iles Crozet: total – 352 sq km; land – 352 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Iles Kerguelen: total – 7,215 sq km; land – 7,215 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): total – 80 sq km; land – 0.2 sq km; water – 79.8 sq km (lagoon)
Europa Island (Iles Eparses): total – 28 sq km; land – 28 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Gloriosos Islands (Iles Eparses): total – 5 sq km; land – 5 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): total – 4.4 sq km; land – 4.4 sq km; water – 0 sq km
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): total – 1 sq km; land – 1 sq km; water – 0 sq km
note: excludes “Adelie Land” claim of about 500,000 sq km in Antarctica that is not recognized by the US
Area – comparative: Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): less than one-half the size of Washington, DC
Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): more than 10 times the size of the Mall in Washington, DC
Iles Crozet: about twice the size of Washington, DC
Iles Kerguelen: a little larger than Delaware
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): land area about one-third the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Europa Island (Iles Eparses): about one-sixth the size of Washington, DC
Glorioso Islands (Iles Eparses): about eight times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): about seven times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): about 1.7 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): 28 km
Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul):
Iles Kerguelen: 2,800 km
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): 35.2 km
Europa Island (Iles Eparses): 22.2 km
Glorioso Islands (Iles Eparses): 35.2 km
Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): 24.1 km
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): 3.7 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm from Iles Kerguelen and Iles Eparses (does not include the rest of French Southern and Antarctic Lands); Juan de Nova Island and Tromelin Island claim a continental shelf of 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul: oceanic with persistent westerly winds and high humidity
Iles Crozet: windy, cold, wet, and cloudy
Iles Kerguelen: oceanic, cold, overcast, windy
Iles Eparses: tropical
Terrain: Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): a volcanic island with steep coastal cliffs; the center floor of the volcano is a large plateau
Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): triangular in shape, the island is the top of a volcano, rocky with steep cliffs on the eastern side; has active thermal springs
Iles Crozet: a large archipelago formed from the Crozet Plateau is divided into two groups of islands
Iles Kerguelen: the interior of the large island of Ile Kerguelen is composed of rugged terrain of high mountains, hills, valleys, and plains with a number of peninsulas stretching off its coasts
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): atoll, awash at high tide; shallow (15 m) lagoon
Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island: low, flat, and sandy
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): low, flat, sandy; likely volcanic seamount
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont de la Dives on Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul) 867 m; unnamed location on Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul) 272 m; Pic Marion-Dufresne in Iles Crozet 1,090 m; Mont Ross in Iles Kerguelen 1,850 m; unnamed location on Bassas de India (Iles Eparses) 2.4 m; unnamed location on Europa Island (Iles Eparses) 24 m; unnamed location on Glorioso Islands (Iles Eparses) 12 m; unnamed location on Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses) 10 m; unnamed location on Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses) 7 m
Natural resources: fish, crayfish
note: Glorioso Islands and Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses) have guano, phosphates, and coconuts
Land use: Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul) – 100% trees, grasses, ferns, and moss; Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul) – 100% grass, ferns, and moss; Iles Crozet – 100% tossock grass, heath, and fern; Iles Kerguelen – 100% tossock grass and Kerguelen cabbage; Bassas da India (Iles Eparses) – 100% rock, coral reef, and sand; Europa Island (Iles Eparses) – 100% mangrove swamp and dry woodlands; Glorioso Islands (Iles Eparses) – 100% lush vegetation and coconut palms; Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses) – 90% forest, 10% other; Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses) – 100% grasses and scattered brush (2005)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km
Natural hazards: Ile Amsterdam and Ile Saint-Paul are inactive volcanoes; Iles Eparses subject to periodic cyclones; Bassas da India is a maritime hazard since it is under water for a period of three hours prior to and following the high tide and surrounded by reefs
Environment – current issues: introduction of foreign species on Iles Crozet has caused severe damage to the original ecosystem; overfishing of Patagonian Toothfish around Iles Crozet and Iles Kerguelen
Geography – note: islands component is widely scattered across remote locations in the southern Indian Ocean
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): the atoll is a circular reef that sits atop a long-extinct, submerged volcano
Europa Island and Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): wildlife sanctuary for seabirds and sea turtles
Glorioso Island (Iles Eparses): the islands and rocks are surrounded by an extensive reef system
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): climatologically important location for forecasting cyclones in the western Indian Ocean; wildlife sanctuary (seabirds, tortoises)
Miscellany The French Southern Territories (i.e. excluding Adélie Land) is given the following country codes: FS (FIPS) and TF (ISO 3166-1 alpha-2).
People Population: no indigenous inhabitants
Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): has no permanent residents but has a meteorological station
Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): is uninhabited but is frequently visited by fishermen and has a scientific research cabin for short stays
Iles Crozet: are uninhabited except for 18 to 30 people staffing the Alfred Faure research station on Ile del la Possession
Iles Kerguelen: 50 to 100 scientists are located at the main base at Port-aux-Francais on Ile Kerguelen
Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): uninhabitable
Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): a small French military garrison and a few meteorologists on each possession; visited by scientists
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): uninhabited, except for visits by scientists
Government Country name: conventional long form: Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands
conventional short form: French Southern and Antarctic Lands
local long form: Territoire des Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises
local short form: Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises
abbreviation: TAAF
Dependency status: overseas territory of France since 1955; administered from Paris by Administrateur Superieur Eric PILLOTON (since 10 April 2007)
Administrative divisions: none (overseas territory of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are five administrative districts named Iles Crozet, Iles Eparses, Iles Kerguelen, Ile Saint-Paul et Ile Amsterdam; the fifth district is the “Adelie Land” claim in Antarctica that is not recognized by the US
Legal system: the laws of France, where applicable, apply
Executive branch: chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007), represented by Senior Administrator Eric PILLOTON (10 April 2007)
International organization participation: UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas territory of France)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (overseas territory of France)
Flag description: the flag of France is used
Economy The territory’s natural resources are limited to fish and crustaceans; economic activity is limited to servicing meteorological and geophysical research stations and French and other fishing fleets.

The main fish resources are Patagonian toothfish and spiny lobster. Both are poached by foreign fleets; because of this, the French Navy and occasionally other services patrol the zone and arrest poaching vessels. Such arrests can result in heavy fines and/or the seizure of the ship.

France used to sell licences to fish the Patagonian toothfish to foreign fisheries; because of overfishing, it is now restricted to a small number of fisheries from Réunion Island.

The territory takes in revenues of about $18 million a year.

Marion Dufresne can host a limited number of fee-paying tourists, who will be able to visit the islands as the ship calls.

Communications Internet country code: .tf
Internet hosts: 33 (2007)
Communications – note: one or more metorological stations on each possession; note – meteorological station on Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses) is important for forecasting cyclones
Transportation Airports: 4 (one each on Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island in the Iles Eparses district) (2006)
Ports and terminals: none; offshore anchorage only
Transportation – note: aids to navigation – lighthouses: Europa Island 18m; Juan de Nova Island (W side) 37m; Tromelin Island (NW point) 11m (all in the Iles Eparses district)
Military Military – note: defense is the responsibility of France
Transnational Issues French claim to “Adelie Land” in Antarctica is not recognized by the US
Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): claimed by Madagascar
Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): claimed by Mauritius

Madagascar: Truth, Knowledge, History Of African Island Nation

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

 

Madagascar

Introduction Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagascar became a French colony in 1896, but regained its independence in 1960. During 1992-93, free presidential and National Assembly elections were held, ending 17 years of single-party rule. In 1997, in the second presidential race, Didier RATSIRAKA, the leader during the 1970s and 1980s, was returned to the presidency. The 2001 presidential election was contested between the followers of Didier RATSIRAKA and Marc RAVALOMANANA, nearly causing secession of half of the country. In April 2002, the High Constitutional Court announced RAVALOMANANA the winner. RAVALOMANANA is now in his second term following a landslide victory in the generally free and fair presidential elections of 2006.
History Madagascar, as part of East Gondwana, split from Africa some 160 million years ago; the island of Madagascar was created when it separated from India 80 to 100 million years ago. Archaeologists estimate that humans arrived on Madagascar between 200 and 500 A.D., when seafarers from southeast Asia (probably from Borneo or the southern Celebes) arrived in outrigger sailing canoes. Bantu settlers probably crossed the Mozambique Channel to Madagascar at about the same time as or shortly afterwards.

The written history of Madagascar begins in the 7th century, when Arabs established trading posts along the northwest coast and first transcribed the Malagasy language into Sorabe.

During the Middle Ages, the chiefs of the different settlements began to extend their power through trade with Indian Ocean neighbors, notably East Africa, the Middle East and India. Large chiefdoms began to dominate considerable areas of the island. Among these were the Sakalava chiefdoms of the Menabe, centred in what is now the town of Morondava, and of Boina, centred in what is now the provincial capital of Mahajanga (Majunga). The influence of the Sakalava extended across what is now the provinces of Antsiranana, Mahajanga and Toliara.

European contact began in the year 1500, when Portuguese sea captain Diogo Dias sighted the island after his ship separated from a fleet going to India.[5] The Portuguese continued trading with the islanders and named the island as “Sāo Lourenço” (St. Lawrence). In 1665, Francois Caron, the Director General of the newly formed French East India Company, sailed to Madagascar.[citation needed] The Company failed to establish a colony on Madagascar but established ports on the nearby islands of Bourbon and Ile-de-France (today’s Reunion and Mauritius). In the late 17th century, the French established trading posts along the east coast.

From about 1774 to 1824, Madagascar was a favourite haunt for pirates, including Americans, one of whom brought Malagasy rice to South Carolina. Many European sailors were shipwrecked on the coasts of the island, among them Robert Drury whose journal is one of the only written depictions of life in southern Madagascar during the 18th century.

Beginning in the 1790s, Merina rulers succeeded in establishing hegemony over most of the island, including the coast. In 1817, the Merina ruler and the British governor of Mauritius concluded a treaty abolishing the slave trade, which had been important in Madagascar’s economy. In return, the island received British military and financial assistance. British influence remained strong for several decades, during which the Merina court was converted to Presbyterianism, Congregationalism and Anglicanism.

With the domination of the Indian Ocean by the Royal Navy and the end of the Arab slave trade, the western Sakalava lost their power to the emerging Merina state. The Betsimisaraka of the east coast also unified, but this union soon faltered.

French intervention and rule

France invaded Madagascar in 1883 in what became known as the first Franco-Hova War seeking to restore property that had been confiscated from French citizens. (Hova is one of three Merina classes: andriana – aristocracy, hova – common people, andevo – slaves. The term hova was wrongly used by the French to mean Merina.) At the wars end, Madagascar ceded Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) on the northern coast to France and paid 560,000 gold stripers francs to the heirs of Joseph-François Lambert. In 1890 the British accepted the full formal imposition of a French protectorate.

In 1895, a French flying column landed in Mahajanga (Majunga) and marched to the capital, Antananarivo, where the city’s defenders were taken by surprise, as they were expecting an attack from the much closer east coast. Twenty French soldiers died fighting and 6,000 died of malaria and other diseases before the second Franco-Hova War ended.

After the conclusion of hostilities, in 1896 the French Parliament voted to annex Madagascar. The 103-year-old Merina monarchy ended with the royal family being sent into exile in Algeria. In December 1904, the Russian Baltic Fleet docked at Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) for coal and provisions before sailing on to its doomed encounter with the Japanese fleet in the Battle of Tsushima. Before leaving port the Russian sailors were required to put ashore the animals they had acquired, including monkeys, boa constrictors and one crocodile.

During World War II, Malagasy troops fought in France, Morocco, and Syria. Just before the fall of France, Germany planned to forcibly deport all of Europe’s Jews to Madagascar in what was known as the Madagascar Plan. But action on the plan was never begun. After France fell to Germany, the Vichy government administered Madagascar. During the Battle of Madagascar, British troops occupied the strategic island in 1942 to preclude its seizure by the Japanese, after which the Free French took over.

In 1947, with French prestige at low ebb, a nationalist uprising was suppressed after several months of bitter fighting with 90,000 persons killed.[7] The French later established reformed institutions in 1956 under the Loi Cadre (Overseas Reform Act), and Madagascar moved peacefully towards independence. The Malagasy Republic was proclaimed on October 14, 1958, as an autonomous state within the French Community. A period of provisional government ended with the adoption of a constitution in 1959 and full independence on June 26, 1960.

Geography Location: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique
Geographic coordinates: 20 00 S, 47 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 587,040 sq km
land: 581,540 sq km
water: 5,500 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Arizona
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 4,828 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or 100 nm from the 2,500-m isobath
Climate: tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south
Terrain: narrow coastal plain, high plateau and mountains in center
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Maromokotro 2,876 m
Natural resources: graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 5.03%
permanent crops: 1.02%
other: 93.95% (2005)
Irrigated land: 10,860 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 337 cu km (1984)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 14.96 cu km/yr (3%/2%/96%)
per capita: 804 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: periodic cyclones, drought, and locust infestation
Environment – current issues: soil erosion results from deforestation and overgrazing; desertification; surface water contaminated with raw sewage and other organic wastes; several endangered species of flora and fauna unique to the island
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: world’s fourth-largest island; strategic location along Mozambique Channel
Politics Madagascar was historically perceived as being on the margin of mainstream African affairs. But it eagerly rejoined the African Union in July 2003 after a 14-month hiatus triggered by the 2002 political crisis. From 1978 to 1991, President Ratsiraka emphasized independence and nonalignment and followed an “all points” policy stressing ties with socialist and radical regimes, including North Korea, Cuba, Libya, and Iran. But President Albert Zafy, taking office in 1993, expressed his desire for diplomatic relations with all countries. Early in his tenure, he established formal ties with South Korea and sent emissaries to Morocco.

Starting in 1997, globalisation encouraged the government and President Ratsiraka to adhere to market-oriented policies and to engage world markets. External relations reflect this trend, although Madagascar’s physical isolation and strong traditional insular orientation have limited its activity in regional economic organisations and relations with its East African neighbours. It enjoys closer and generally good relations with its Indian Ocean neighbours — Mauritius, Réunion, and Comoros. Active relationships with Europe, especially France, Germany, and Switzerland, as well as with Britain, Russia, Japan, India, and China have been strong since independence. More recently, President Ravalomanana has cultivated strong links with the United States, and Madagascar was the first country to benefit from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). Madagascar is also a member of the International Criminal Court with a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the US-military (as covered under Article 98).

President Ravalomanana has stated that he welcomes relations with all countries interested in helping Madagascar to develop. He travels widely promoting Madagascar abroad and has consciously sought to strengthen relations with Anglophone countries as a means of balancing traditionally strong French influence. He has also cultivated strong ties with China during his tenure.

In November 2004, after an absence of almost 30 years, Madagascar re-opened its embassy in London. On 15 December 2004 the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, announced the closure of the British embassy in Antananarivo to save £250,000 a year. He also announced an end to the DFID-funded Small Grants Scheme, the only aid Britain gave to this, one of the world’s poorest countries. The embassy closed in August 2005 despite petitions and protests from African heads of state, a European commissioner, the Malagasy Senate, many British companies, 30 or so NGOs operating in Madagascar, and members of the public.

The British Embassy was previously closed (also for financial reasons) from 1975 to 1980. The Anglo-Malagasy Society are campaigning to have it re-opened once again.

People Population: 20,042,551 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 43.7% (male 4,408,615/female 4,349,862)
15-64 years: 53.2% (male 5,298,805/female 5,371,764)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 275,087/female 338,418) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 17.9 years
male: 17.7 years
female: 18.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 3.005% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 38.38 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 8.32 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 55.59 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 60.59 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.45 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 62.52 years
male: 60.58 years
female: 64.51 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.19 children born/woman

MH-370 Debris Found Off Tanzania: But Still Not The Plane Or The People

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News)

Debris off Tanzania from MH370 but plane’s fate still a mystery

A piece of aircraft wreckage found in June off Tanzania has been confirmed as coming from doomed MH370 flight, Malaysia said yesterday.

The debris, found on Pemba Island off the Tanzanian coast, is the latest piece of wreckage to be linked to the Malaysia Airlines jet, whose disappearance remains a mystery.

Malaysia’s transport ministry said the piece of debris, which had been taken to Australia for expert analysis, was found to have part numbers, date stamps and other identifiers confirming it came from the Malaysia Airlines jet.

“As such, the experts have concluded that the debris, an outboard flap, originated from the aircraft 9M-MRO, also known as MH370,” a ministry statement said.

“Further examination of the debris will continue in hopes that evidence may be uncovered which may provide new insight into the circumstances surrounding flight MH370.”

Authorities had earlier said the piece of debris was “highly likely” to have come from MH370. However, the confirmation appears to have so far shed no fresh light on the plane’s fate.

The Malaysia Airlines jet was carrying 239 passengers and crew when it disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. It is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean, but an extensive hunt off Australia’s west coast is drawing to a close with nothing yet found.

However, several pieces of debris that apparently drifted thousands of kilometers toward the African coast have been identified as definitely or probably from the Boeing 777.

Those finds have confirmed the plane went down but have so far shed no light on why and have fuelled questions over whether the official search is focused in the right area.

The Australian-led operation is scouring the seafloor within a remote 120,000-square-kilometer belt of the Indian Ocean where authorities believe the passenger jet went down.

The search is nearly finished, however, and families are bracing for it to be called off.

An American amateur investigator, Blaine Gibson, handed other possible MH370 debris to Australian officials on Monday, saying several pieces were blackened by flames, raising the prospect of a flash fire onboard.

Gibson, a lawyer who has traveled the world trying to solve the MH370 mystery, told Australian reporters the debris had washed up in Madagascar.