The Island Nation Of Tokelau: The Truth Knowledge And The History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BACK)

 

Tokelau

Introduction Originally settled by Polynesian emigrants from surrounding island groups, the Tokelau Islands were made a British protectorate in 1889. They were transferred to New Zealand administration in 1925. Referenda held in 2006 and 2007 to change the status of the islands from that of a New Zealand territory to one of free association with New Zealand did not meet the needed threshold for approval.
History Archaeological evidence indicates that the atolls of Tokelau — Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo — were settled about 1000 years ago, probably by voyages from Samoa, the Cook Islands and Tuvalu. Oral history traces local traditions and genealogies back several hundred years. Inhabitants followed Polynesian mythology with the local god Tui Tokelau; and developed forms of music (see Music of Tokelau) and art. The three atolls functioned largely independently while maintaining social and linguistic cohesion. Tokelauan society was governed by chiefly clans, and there were occasional inter-atoll skirmishes and wars as well as inter-marriage. Fakaofo, the “chiefly island,” held some dominance over Atafu and Nukunonu. Life on the atolls was subsistence-based, with reliance on fish and coconut.

Western discovery and contact

Commodore John Byron discovered Atafu on 24 June 1765 and named it “Duke of York’s Island.” Parties onshore reported that there were no signs of current or previous inhabitants. Captain Edward Edwards, in knowledge of Byron’s discovery, visited Atafu on 6 June 1791 in search of the Bounty mutineers. There were no permanent inhabitants, but houses contained canoes and fishing gear, suggesting the island was used as a temporary residence by fishing parties. On 12 June 1791, Edwards sailed southward and discovered Nukunonu, naming it “Duke of Clarence’s Island”. A landing party could not make contact with the people but saw “morais,” burying places, and canoes with “stages in their middle” sailing across the lagoons.

On 29 October 1825 August R. Strong of the U.S.N Dolphin wrote of his crew’s arrival at the atoll Nukunonu, “Upon examination, we found they had removed all the women and children from the settlement, which was quite small, and put them in canoes lying off a rock in the lagoon. They would frequently come near the shore, but when we approached they would pull off with great noise and precipitation.” (The Journal of the South Pacific, 110 (3), pp.296).

Fakaofo islanders, drawn in 1841 by the United States Exploring Expedition

On 14 February 1835 Captain Smith of the United States whaler General Jackson records discovering Fakaofo, calling it “D’Wolf’s Island”. On 25 January 1841, the United States Exploring Expedition visited Atafu and discovered a small population living on the island. The residents appeared to be temporary, evidenced by the lack of a chief and the possession of double canoes (used for inter-island travel). They desired to barter, and possessed blue beads and a plane-iron, indicating previous interaction with foreigners. The expedition reached Nukunonu on 28 January 1841 but did not record any information about inhabitants. On 29 January 1841, the expedition discovered Fakaofo and named it “Bowditch”. The islanders were found to be similar in appearance and nature to those in Atafu.

Missionaries preached Christianity in Tokelau from 1845 to the 1860s. French Catholic missionaries on Wallis Island (also known as ‘Uvea) and missionaries of the Protestant London Missionary Society in Samoa used native teachers to convert the Tokelauans. Atafu was converted to Protestantism by the London Missionary Society, Nukunonu was converted to Catholicism and Fakofo was converted to both denominations. Peruvian slave traders arrived in 1863 and took nearly all (253) of the able-bodied men to work as labourers. The men died of dysentery and smallpox, and very few returned to Tokelau. With this loss, the system of governance became based on the “Taupulega”, or “Councils of Elders”, where individual families on each atoll were represented. During this time, Polynesian immigrants and American, Scottish, French, Portuguese and German beachcombers settled, marrying local women and repopulating the atolls.

Government

Villages are entitled to enact their own laws regulating their daily lives and New Zealand law only applies where it has been extended by specific enactment. Serious crime is rare and there are no prisons – offenders are publicly rebuked, fined or made to work

In 1877 the islands were included under the protection of Great Britain by an Order-in-council which claimed jurisdiction over all unclaimed Pacific Islands. Commander C. F. Oldham on HMS Egeria landed at each of the three atolls in June 1889 and officially raised the Union Flag, declaring the group a British protectorate. The British government annexed Tokelau to the colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands and transferred Tokelau to New Zealand administration in 1926, abolishing the islands’ chiefdoms. By the Tokelau Act of 1948, sovereignty over Tokelau was transferred to New Zealand. Defence is also the responsibility of New Zealand. However, the Tokelauans are drafting a constitution and developing institutions and patterns of self-government as Tokelau moves towards free association with New Zealand, similarly to Niue and the Cook Islands.

Geography Location: Oceania, group of three atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 9 00 S, 172 00 W
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 10 sq km
land: 10 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: about 17 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 101 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; moderated by trade winds (April to November)
Terrain: low-lying coral atolls enclosing large lagoons
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 5 m
Natural resources: NEGL
Land use: arable land: 0% (soil is thin and infertile)
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: lies in Pacific typhoon belt
Environment – current issues: limited natural resources and overcrowding are contributing to emigration to New Zealand
Geography – note: consists of three atolls (Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu), each with a lagoon surrounded by a number of reef-bound islets of varying length and rising to over 3 m above sea level
Politics The head of state is Elizabeth II, the Queen in right of New Zealand, who also reigns over the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. The Queen is represented in the territory by Administrator David Payton. The current head of government is Kuresa Nasau, who presides over the Council for the Ongoing Governance of Tokelau, which functions as a cabinet. The Council consists of the Faipule (leader) and Pulenuku (village mayor) of each of the three atolls.The monarch is hereditary, the administrator appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in New Zealand, and the office of head of government rotates between the three Faipule for a one-year term.

The Tokelau Amendment Act of 1996 confers legislative power on the General Fono, a unicameral body. The number of seats each atoll receives in the Fono is determined by population — at present, Fakaofo and Atafu both have eight and Nukunonu has seven. Faipule and Pukenuku (atoll leaders and village mayors) also sit in the Fono.

On 11 November 2004 Tokelau and New Zealand took steps to formulate a treaty that would turn Tokelau from a non-self-governing territory to a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand. Besides the treaty, a UN-sponsored referendum on self-determination took place, with the three islands voting on successive days starting 13 February 2006. (Tokelauans based in Apia, Samoa, voted on February 11.) . Out of 581 votes cast, 349 were for Free Association, being short of the two-thirds majority required for the measure to pass. The referendum was profiled (somewhat light-heartedly) in the 1 May 2006 issue of The New Yorker magazine. A repeat referendum took place on October 20-24, 2007, again narrowly failing to approve self-government. This time the vote was short by just 16 votes or 3%.

In May 2008, the United Nations’ Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged colonial powers “to complete the decolonization process in every one of the remaining 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories”, including Tokelau. This led the New Zealand Herald to comment that the United Nations was “apparently frustrated by two failed attempts to get Tokelau to vote for independence”.

People Population: 1,433 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 42%
15-64 years: 53%
65 years and over: 5%
Population growth rate: -0.011% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: NA (2008 est.)
Death rate: NA (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: NA
Infant mortality rate: total: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: NA (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Tokelauan(s)
adjective: Tokelauan
Ethnic groups: Polynesian
Religions: Congregational Christian Church 70%, Roman Catholic 28%, other 2%
note: on Atafu, all Congregational Christian Church of Samoa; on Nukunonu, all Roman Catholic; on Fakaofo, both denominations, with the Congregational Christian Church predominant
Languages: Tokelauan (a Polynesian language), English
Literacy: NA
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 11 years
male: 10 years
female: 11 years (2004)
Education expenditures: NA
Government Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Tokelau
Dependency status: self-administering territory of New Zealand; note – Tokelau and New Zealand have agreed to a draft constitution as Tokelau moves toward free association with New Zealand; a UN sponsored referendum on self governance in October 2007 did not produce the two-thirds majority vote necessary for changing the political status
Government type: NA
Capital: none; each atoll has its own administrative center
time difference: UTC-11 (6 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: none (territory of New Zealand)
Independence: none (territory of New Zealand)
National holiday: Waitangi Day (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand), 6 February (1840)
Constitution: administered under the Tokelau Islands Act of 1948; amended in 1970
Legal system: New Zealand and local statutes
Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General of New Zealand Anand SATYANAND (since 23 August 2006); New Zealand is represented by Administrator David PAYTON (since 17 October 2006)
head of government: Pio TUIA (since 23 February 2008); note – position rotates annually among the three Faipule (village leaders)
cabinet: the Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau, consisting of three Faipule (village leaders) and three Pulenuku (village mayors), functions as a cabinet
elections: the monarch is hereditary; administrator appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in New Zealand; the head of government is chosen from the Council of Faipule and serves a one-year term
Legislative branch: unicameral General Fono (20 seats; based upon proportional representation from the three islands elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms; Atafu has seven seats, Fakaofo has seven seats, Nukunonu has six seats); note – the Tokelau Amendment Act of 1996 confers limited legislative power on the General Fono
elections: last held 17-19 January 2008 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: independents 20
Judicial branch: Supreme Court in New Zealand exercises civil and criminal jurisdiction in Tokelau
Political parties and leaders: none
Political pressure groups and leaders: none
International organization participation: PIF (observer), SPC, UNESCO (associate), UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (territory of New Zealand)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (territory of New Zealand)
Flag description: the flag of New Zealand is used
Economy Economy – overview: Tokelau’s small size (three villages), isolation, and lack of resources greatly restrain economic development and confine agriculture to the subsistence level. The people rely heavily on aid from New Zealand – about $4 million annually – to maintain public services with annual aid being substantially greater than GDP. The principal sources of revenue come from sales of copra, postage stamps, souvenir coins, and handicrafts. Money is also remitted to families from relatives in New Zealand.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.5 million (1993 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $NA
GDP – real growth rate: NA%
GDP – per capita (PPP): $1,000 (1993 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Labor force: 440 (2001)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: NA%
Budget: revenues: $430,800
expenditures: $2.8 million (1987 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 April – 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%
Agriculture – products: coconuts, copra, breadfruit, papayas, bananas; pigs, poultry, goats; fish
Industries: small-scale enterprises for copra production, woodworking, plaited craft goods; stamps, coins; fishing
Electricity – production: NA kWh
Electricity – consumption: NA kWh
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Exports: $0 (2002)
Exports – commodities: stamps, copra, handicrafts
Imports: $969,200 c.i.f. (2002)
Imports – commodities: foodstuffs, building materials, fuel
Currency (code): New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Currency code: NZD
Exchange rates: New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar – 1.4151 (2008 est.), 1.3811 (2007), 1.5408 (2006), 1.4203 (2005), 1.5087 (2004)
Communications Telephones – main lines in use: 300 (2002)
Telephone system: general assessment: modern satellite-based communications system
domestic: radiotelephone service between islands
international: country code – 690; radiotelephone service to Samoa; government-regulated telephone service (TeleTok); satellite earth stations – 3
Radio broadcast stations: AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA (one radio station provides service to all islands) (2002)
Radios: 1,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .tk
Internet hosts: 273 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: NA
Transportation Ports and terminals: none; offshore anchorage only
Military Military – note: defense is the responsibility of New Zealand
Transnational Issues Disputes – international: Tokelau included American Samoa’s Swains Island (Olohega) in its 2006 draft constitution

Magnitude-7.5 quake strikes Papua New Guinea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Magnitude-7.5 quake strikes Papua New Guinea

  

(CNN)Authorities in Papua New Guinea are assessing the damage after a magnitude-7.5 earthquake struck the Pacific country early Monday.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at 3:45 a.m. local time (12:45 p.m. ET Sunday) near Porgera, northwest of the capital Port Moresby. It was 35 kilometers deep.
“The National Government has dispatched disaster assessment teams to parts of Southern Highlands Province and Hela Province following an earthquake in the early hours of this morning,” Chief Secretary to Government Isaac Lupari said in a statement.
“The National Disaster Centre is working with provincial authorities to assess any damage and impacts on service delivery in the area. The Papua New Guinea Defence Force has also been mobilized to assist with the assessment and the delivery of assistance to affected people as well as the restoration of services and infrastructure,” the statement said.
Lupari warned residents to be aware of potential aftershocks: “It is advisable to stay out of multistory buildings, to be aware of the potential of landslides, and to be prepared to move to open ground in the event that an aftershock is felt.”
According to the USGS’s assessment, “significant casualties and damage are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread.”
It estimated that the quake could have been felt by more than a million residents, with approximately 40,000 exposed to “violent” shaking.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami was not expected.
“Our thoughts are with the people of Papua New Guinea, especially in Southern Highlands and Hela Provinces, affected by this morning’s earthquake and aftershocks. Australia stands ready to assist in assessing the damage and meeting the needs of affected communities,” Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis said on Twitter.
Radio New Zealand International reported that three deaths had been confirmed.

Seven survivors of missing ferry rescued after A Week adrift in Pacific

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Seven survivors of missing ferry rescued after days adrift in Pacific

This photo released by the New Zealand defense force shows a wooden dinghy, left, carrying seven survivors from a missing ferry and a fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.

(CNN)Seven people who were on a ferry that went missing in the South Pacific a week ago were rescued Sunday, New Zealand authorities say.

The seven were spotted by a New Zealand air force Orion patrol plane as they floated in the open sea about 300 kilometers (186 miles) southeast of Nauru island, said Sandra Ford, spokeswoman of the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Center.
The plane directed a nearby fishing vessel to pick up the survivors, she said.
The seven were among 50 people aboard the inter-island ferry MV Butiraoi, which left the island of Nonouti in Kiribati on January 18, bound for Betio in the Kiribati capital of South Tarawa, according to the release.
Ford said the survivors included three adult females, a 14-year-old girl, and three adult males. The oldest of the group was 34, she said.
A search will continue for other survivors, she said, with aircraft returning at first light Monday, and the fishing vessel, the FV Lomalo, to stay on station overnight.
Ford described the area where the dinghy was found as “quite remote,” and said other ships would take at least 24 hours to get there.
The ferry MV Butiraoi was on a 250-kilometer (155-mile) trip that was expected to take two days, according to New Zealand authorities.
When the 17-meter-long (56 feet) catamaran-style passenger ferry didn’t arrive in Betio on January 20, the search began.
Ford said authorities were still trying to determine when the ferry sank, but she said it was thought to be early in its journey.
New Zealand’s Rescue Coordination Center has been in charge of the search since Saturday, taking over from authorities in Fiji.
New Zealand is about 4,500 kilometers (3,425 miles) south of Kiribati.

Risk of stillbirth is double in pregnant women who sleep on their backs

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Risk of stillbirth is double in pregnant women who sleep on their backs, study finds

 November 20 at 2:55 PM

(iStock)

Pregnant women might increase their risk of a stillbirth if they sleep on their backs during their third trimester, a new study has found.

The research, published Monday in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, is the largest of its kind and the clearest evidence yet that sleeping conditions during pregnancy could have significant effects on the fetus.

Researchers compared the sleeping practices of more than 1,000 women in Britain, 291 of who suffered a stillbirth in the third trimester and 733 of whom had a live birth during the same period. The study found that women sleeping on their backs had 2.3 times the risk of stillbirth. The results add to earlier findings in recent years from smaller studies in New Zealand and Australia.

Researchers behind the new study said they can’t explain with certainty why sleeping position might affect stillbirths chances, but they pointed to data suggesting that when a pregnant woman lies on her back, the weight of the womb can impose pressure on the vessels carrying blood and oxygen to the baby.

Another hypothesis raised by the researchers is that sleeping on your back can increase the possibility of impaired breathing.

The lead researcher, Alexander Heazell, clinical director at the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Center at St. Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, said women should try to fall asleep on their side and not worry too much if they wake up on their back.

“What we don’t want is for moms to wake up and see their on their back and think, ‘I’ve done something terrible to my baby,'” Heazell said. “You can’t control the position you wake up in. And the position you fall asleep in is the position you hold longest in sleep. So that’s the most important thing.”

Heazell said there is a deep need for more research on stillbirths and miscarriages. When it comes to stillbirths in the Western countries, he said, “There is a huge amount of this attitude of ‘Well, it’s just one of those things’ or ‘it wasn’t meant to be.’ Just responding with platitudes.”

He argued, “That kind of fatalistic attitude is a problem. It’s been holding back research.”

If heeded, the new findings could have a significant effect on stillbirth rates, the researchers say. Combining their data with birth statistics, they estimate that if pregnant women stopped sleeping on their back during the last trimester, stillbirths in Britain could decrease by 3.7 percent.

Stillbirths are a common problem in the United States. Stillbirths occur roughly 3 in every 1,000 births (compared with Britain’s 3.5 in every 1,000 births). And each year about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The United States has lagged significantly behind other countries in reducing the rate of stillbirths in recent years, according to recent studies and CDC research.

Better medical technology and improvements to prenatal care have reduced the number of late-term stillbirths in the past few decades, but miscarriages earlier in pregnancy have remained roughly the same.

In Britain, the nonprofit Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Center launched a campaign Tuesday in response to the new findings to encourage pregnant women to sleep on their side. They included these tips to help women in their sleep:

  • Put pillows behind you to prevent falling on your back. It won’t prevent you being on your back for certain but is likely to make it more uncomfortable.
  • If you wake up for any reason during the night, check your position and go back to sleep on your side.
  • If you are likely to nap during the day, pay the same attention to sleep position during the day as you would during the night.

New Zealand’s new leader: We must be ready for ‘climate refugees’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

New Zealand’s new leader: We must be ready for ‘climate refugees’

New Zealand: We may have to take climate refugees 02:03

(CNN)New Zealand’s new leader, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, tells CNN that her country must be prepared to take in “climate change refugees” from surrounding island nations.

“We need to acknowledge that we are, unless we make dramatic changes, at the front of seeing refugees as a result of climate change,” Arden told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview, her first since taking office last Thursday.

Watch the full interview

  
Watch the full interview09:22
“We see a duty of care there — both to champion internationally the importance of acknowledging and responding to climate change, but also doing our bit.”
The country currently takes in about 750 refugees each year, per United Nations mandates, according to the government.
“We’re looking to ways to build in the responsibility we have on climate change and the way that we approach, potentially, climate change refuges in the future amongst our neighbors,” said the prime minister.
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In order to govern, Ardern’s Labour Party entered into coalition with a conservative, anti-immigration New Zealand First Party.
She denied, however, that her government’s policy would be affected in the area of refugees, saying she had worked “very hard” to build consensus, and was committed on doubling the country’s refugee quota.

‘Never too late’ to talk with North Korea

Ardern takes office at a dangerous time in her region.
US President Donald Trump’s upcoming trip to Asia (though not New Zealand) is expected to focus extensively on North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile programs.
A senior North Korean official told CNN’s Will Ripley in Pyongyang last week that the world should take “literally” a warning from North Korea’s foreign minister about a possible “strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean.”
Ardern said her policy was simple: “It’s never too late to talk.”
“That is a message we’ll continue to send on the international stage,” while encouraging multilateral “dialogue.”

Questioning women in the workplace

At 37, Ardern is New Zealand’s youngest leader in 150 years, and its third female prime minister.
She has spoken openly about being a mother, but has forcefully condemned the idea that women should be questioned about how they balance work and home life. “Certainly it is an issue that’s come up for me personally in the role that I have in politics time and time again,” she told Amanpour.
“It will continue to be so until we speak only about the fact that it’s a woman’s decision when to chooses to have a family. It should not be something that’s raised when her future career prospects are speculated on or even if she enters into a job opportunity or an interview.”

Scientists Take to the Sea to Study a Lost Land (Continent): Zealandia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Photo

The researchers’ ship, the Joides Resolution, contains drilling equipment to help geologists answer lingering questions about Zealandia — such as how and when it formed and what has happened in the area over time.CreditThe Australian National University

SYDNEY, Australia — It’s about half the size of the United States, and it’s been hiding under everyone’s noses — or more precisely, under the waves — for millions of years. Now, scientists are setting sail to finally help solve the mystery of Zealandia, the lost undersea landmass being billed as the world’s eighth continent.

Zealandia, an expanse of 1.9 million square miles, extends from far south and east of New Zealand up to New Caledonia and west to an area off Australia’s northeast coast. It was part of Australia until about 75 million years ago, when it started to break away and move northeast. That movement stopped 53 million years ago, and scientists have slowly discovered the landmass, almost entirely submerged, over the past two decades.

“It’s a long way from anywhere,” said Rupert Sutherland, a Victoria University of Wellington professor who will be on the monthslong voyage from Australia to Zealandia, which began Friday. “A few missions have been going there to look for some specific things, but there hasn’t really been a coordinated plan of attack.”

He continued, “It is quite exciting, this Zealandia exploration. We’ve got an entire continent that has not been explored.”

Scientists who are part of the drilling expedition said sediment would be collected to help answer lingering questions about Zealandia — such as how and when it formed and what has happened in the area over time. They also hope to better understand how the Pacific Ring of Fire, a hot spot for volcanoes and earthquakes, formed.

“What we hadn’t realized until fairly recently was that the formation of the Pacific Ring of Fire greatly modified the continent of Zealandia,” Dr. Sutherland said. “It greatly changed the water depth, and it created topography.”

Earlier this year, in a study published by the Geological Society of America, scientists argued that Zealandia should be assigned continent status, despite the fact that it’s mostly underwater, because of its distinctive geology. The study outlined all that was known about Zealandia and went through all of the criteria used to define a continent and evaluated Zealandia against that criteria. The findings have been widely accepted, said Dr. Sutherland, who was a co-author of the study.

Continue reading the main story

“The scientific value of classifying Zealandia as a continent is much more than just an extra name on a list,” the study concluded. “That a continent can be so submerged yet unfragmented” makes it useful for “exploring the cohesion and breakup of continental crust.”

175 Km Long Crack In Antarctic Ice Shelf: Largest Iceberg In Our Lifetime Is Possible

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

Plane flies along Antarctica’s giant Larsen crack

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has released new footage of the ice crack that promises to produce a giant berg.

The 175 km-long fissure runs through the Larsen C Ice Shelf on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

If it propagates just 20km more, a block of ice a quarter the size of Wales will break away into the Weddell Sea.

Scientists gathered the new video while recovering instrumentation that had been placed on the ice shelf.

Uncertainty about the stability of the region means researchers cannot set up camp as they would normally do, and instead make short visits in a Twin Otter plane.

The most recent sortie enabled the researchers also to fly along the length of the crack, which is 400-500m wide in places, to assess its status.

No-one can say for sure when the iceberg will calve, but it could happen anytime.

At 5,000 sq km, it would be one of the biggest ever recorded.

When it splits, interest will centre on how the breakage will affect the remaining shelf structure.

The Larsen B Ice Shelf further to the north famously shattered following a similar large calving event in 2002.

The issue is important because floating ice shelves ordinarily act as a buttress to the glaciers flowing off the land behind them.

In the case of Larsen B, those glaciers subsequently sped up in the absence of the shelf. And it is the land ice – not the floating ice in a shelf – that adds to sea level rise.

If Larsen C were to go the same way it would continue a trend across the Antarctic Peninsula.

In recent decades, a dozen major ice shelves have disintegrated, significantly retreated or lost substantial volume – including Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen Inlet, Larsen A, Larsen B, Wordie, Muller, Jones Channel, and Wilkins.

Dr Paul Holland from BAS commented: “Iceberg calving is a normal part of the glacier life cycle, and there is every chance that Larsen C will remain stable and this ice will regrow.

“However, it is also possible that this iceberg calving will leave Larsen C in an unstable configuration. If that happens, further iceberg calving could cause a retreat of Larsen C.

“We won’t be able to tell whether Larsen C is unstable until the iceberg has calved and we are able to understand the behaviour of the remaining ice.”

The removal of the ice would also enable scientists to study the uncovered seabed.

When Larsen B broke away, the immediate investigation chanced upon new species.

Under the Antarctic Treaty, no fishing activity would be permitted in the area for 10 years.

The big bergs that break away from Antarctica are monitored from space.

They will often drift out into the Southern Ocean where they can become a hazard to shipping.

The biggest iceberg recorded in the satellite era was an object called B-15.

Covering an area of some 11,000 sq km, it came away from the Ross Ice Shelf in 2000.

Six years later fragments of the super-berg passed by New Zealand.

In 1956, a berg of roughly 32,000 sq km – bigger than Belgium – was spotted in the Ross Sea by a US Navy icebreaker. But there were no satellites at that time to follow-up.

Many of the bergs that break away from the Weddell Sea area of Antarctica get exported into the Atlantic. A good number get caught on the shallow continental shelf around the British overseas territory of South Georgia where they gradually wither away.

The study of the Larsen C Ice Shelf is led by Swansea University through its MIDAS Project, which involves BAS.

South GeorgiaImage copyright THINKSTOCK
Image caption The remnants of many such bergs end up at South Georgia

[email protected] and follow me on Twitter: @BBCAmos

Hundreds Of Pilot Whales Beach Themselves In New Zealand

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

New Zealand whales: Hundreds more stranded at Farewell Spit

  • 7 hours ago
  • From the section Asia
 Media caption Rescuers help whales return to sea, as more become stranded down the coast

The mass stranding of whales on a remote beach in New Zealand has taken a turn for the worse as 240 more arrived.

Earlier on Saturday, volunteers had refloated some 100 of the more than 400 pilot whales which beached on Thursday.

But a human chain, with volunteers wading neck-deep into the water, failed to prevent a fresh pod making landfall.

The whale stranding, at Farewell Spit at the top of South Island, is one of the worst ever in New Zealand. Dozens of volunteers turned out to help.

More than 300 of the 400 original arrivals died while medics and members of the public tried to keep survivors alive by cooling them with water.

It is hoped that those of the new arrivals that survive can be moved back out to sea during the next high tide in daylight on Sunday.

Media captionOne volunteer said “people from all over the world” were helping to try to save the whales

It is not clear why the whales continue to arrive on the 5km long (three mile-long) beach next to Golden Bay.

One theory is that they may have been driven on to land by sharks, after bite marks were found on one of the dead whales.

Herb Christophers of New Zealand’s department of conservation told the BBC that the whales were trying to get round the top of South Island, but if their navigation went wrong they ended up on the beach.

In the shallower waters, the animals’ use of echolocation was impaired.

“It’s a very difficult place if you get lost in there and you are a whale,” he said.

Map showing Golden Bay in New Zealand

Experts say that whales that become beached will send out distress signals attracting other members of their pod, who then also get stranded by a receding tide.

Sometimes the whales are simply old, sick, or injured.

Andrew Lamason, from New Zealand’s department of conservation, said those refloated had been tagged, whereas the latest arrivals were not, indicating that they were a new group.

He said 20 whales had been humanely killed by conservation workers as they were in a poor condition.


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Officials have also been looking into how best to dispose of the whale carcasses.

Mr Lamason said that simply towing them out to sea could be problematic as they may become gaseous and buoyant and float into populated bays.

The latest incident in New Zealand was first reported on Thursday evening, but conditions were too dangerous at the time to launch a rescue operation.

Volunteers hold a pilot whale upright during a second mass stranding of whales in New Zealand, 11 February 2017Image copyright AFP
Image caption Volunteers have been trying to keep the stranded whales upright

New Zealand has one of the highest stranding rates in the world, with about 300 dolphins and whales ending up on beaches every year, according to Project Jonah.

Many of these incidents happen at Farewell Spit.

In February 2015 about 200 whales beached themselves at the same location, of which at least half died.

Idiotic John Kerry And His Idiotic Ideas About Israel And Islamic Terrorism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)

After UN veto, Kerry suggests Israel’s West Bank foray spawning ‘terrorism’

Secretary of State John Kerry is defending the Obama administration’s decision to effectively allow the United Nations to condemn Israeli for attempting to build more settlements in the disputed West Bank, saying the “unprecedented” effort has spawned terrorism and violence that jeopardizes lasting peace in the region.

The United States on Friday abstained from a U.N. Security Council vote to adopt a resolution condemning the Israel’s settlement expansion, which allowed for the measure’s passage and disapproval from incoming Republican President Donald Trump.

“Things will be different after Jan. 20,” Trump tweeted minutes after the vote.

Kerry said Israel’s continued and stepped-up attempt to build more settlements, or communities, in the region, which includes East Jerusalem, risks the so-called “two-state” solution between Israelis and the Palestinians, who also lay claim to the region.

“The United States acted with one primary objective in mind: to preserve the possibility of the two state solution, which every U.S. administration for decades has agreed is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Kerry said Friday. “Two states is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace and security with its neighbors, and freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people.”

He also said the administration does not agree with “every aspect” of the resolution but that it “rightly condemns violence” and calls on both sides to take constructive steps to reverse current trends and advance the prospects for a two state solution.”

The resolution was put forward by four nations a day after Egypt withdrew it Thursday under pressure from Israel Trump.

The U.S. not vetoing the measure is being considered a snub to the country’s key Middle Eastern ally and attributed to outgoing Democratic President Obama, who has had chilly relations with Israel throughout his eight-year tenure.

Reaction from U.S. Republicans and Jewish leaders around the world was swift and sharp.

“It was to be expected that Israel’s greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share and that they would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution,” said Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon. “I have no doubt that the new U.S. administration and the incoming UN Secretary General will usher in a new era in terms of the UN’s relationship with Israel.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., blasted the administration for undermining America’s historic Middle East ally.

“This is absolutely shameful,” Ryan said. “Today’s vote is a blow to peace that sets a dangerous precedent for further diplomatic efforts to isolate and demonize Israel.”

Former GOP presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said called the administration’s move “a big mistake.”

Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and president of Human Rights Voices, said the contention that settlements, and not Palestinian terrorism, is the obstacle to peace is false.

“This UN resolution represents the Big Lie of modern anti-Semitism,” Bayefsky said. “Palestinians’ backers on the Council, New Zealand and Malaysia, made today’s slander clear, claiming Jews living peaceful, productive lives on Arab-claimed land was the ‘single biggest threat to peace’ and “primary threat to a two-state solution.’

“Seven decades of violent Palestinian rejection of a Jewish state prove otherwise.”

The measure was adopted with 14 votes in favor, to a round of applause, after U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power abstained. It is the first resolution the Security Council has adopted on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years.

Powers said the U.S. used its veto power in 2007 on a similar matter but that “circumstances have (since) changed dramatically.”

“One cannot simultaneously champion Israeli settlements and champion a viable two-state solution,” she said. “One has to make a choice.”

The Obama White House, under heavy pressure from the Israeli government and its supporters to veto the resolution, kept everyone guessing until the vote whether it would stop shielding Israel from council resolutions and permit it to pass by abstaining.

After the vote, White House officials acknowledged on a conference that Obama made the decision himself after several rounds of discussions with top administration officials.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said afterward that the U.S. has only one president at a time.

Israel believes it has the right to expand settlements in the disputed territories as populations within them expand. Palestinians do not believe the settlements should exist at all, and world condemnation of expansion is seen as a possible first in that direction.

The resolution calls on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activity in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.” And it repeated the longstanding U.N. position that all settlements on land Israel conquered in 1967 are illegal under international law.

A senior Israeli official accused the U.S. of a “shameful move” after learning that it did not intend to veto the text, the BBC reported.

As one the council five permanent members of the council, the U.S. has veto power and has used it to sheltered Israel from condemnatory resolutions. But the Obama administration has long made clear its opposition to Israeli settlement-building in occupied territory, even though it gives Israel tens of billions annually in assistance.

“This last minute political maneuvering is shameful,” said Ric Grenell, former spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the U.N. and a Fox News contributor. “Today’s abstention by the Obama administration will make it harder to find a peaceful solution because it imposes outside positions on Israel without letting them negotiate directly.”

Fox News’ Eric Linton and Jonathan Wachtel contributed to this report.

New Zealand’s Popular Prime Minister John Key Shocks Nation: Resigns

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS PAPER)

New Zealand’s popular Prime Minister John Key stunned the nation on Monday when he announced his resignation after eight years as leader.Key had been widely expected to contest his fourth general election next year. But he said he wanted to ensure he doesn’t make the mistake that some other world leaders have done, and instead wanted to leave while he was on top of his game.

Speaking in a shaking voice, Key said he had made personal sacrifices for the job and the role had taken a toll on his family.

Key said his National Party caucus would meet December 12 to decide on a new party leader and prime minister, and that he expected to officially hand in his resignation that same day.

Key said he would back his deputy Bill English for the role.

The New Zealand dollar fell by nearly 1% on the news and was trading at USD 0.71.

Read | PM Modi, New Zealand PM Key talk cricket to highlight bilateral ties

Key was a successful currency dealer before first he became a lawmaker in 2002. He had a quick rise, becoming leader of his centre-right opposition party in 2006 and then winning his first general election to become prime minister in 2008.

He won subsequent elections in 2011 and 2014 and retained remarkably high popularity ratings. His party was a clear favourite to win again at next year’s election, at least until his announcement.

Key said that steering the country of 4.7 million through the economic crisis of 2008 and on to relative economic success was a proud accomplishment. He also talked about the importance of standing beside the people of Christchurch after an earthquake in 2011 killed 185 people.

“Simply put, it has, for me, been the most remarkable, satisfying and exciting time of my life,” he said. “But despite the amazing career I have had in politics, I have never seen myself as a career politician. I have certainly never wanted my success in politics to be measured by how long I spent in Parliament.”

But he said the role came with costs.

“For my wife Bronagh, there have been many nights and weekends spent alone, many occasions that were important to her that I simply could not attend,” he said. “My daughter Stephie and my son Max have transitioned from teenagers to young adults while coping with an extraordinary level of intrusion and pressure because of their father’s job.”

He said he wasn’t sure what life after politics would bring, other than he would probably take up positions on a couple of boards. He said he would remain on as a member of parliament long enough that he wouldn’t force a special election ahead of next year’s general election.

“All I can say is that I gave it everything I had,” he said. “I have left nothing in the tank.”

Read | New Zealand’s ponytail-pulling PM John Key gets a dressing down on Twitter

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