Macau: Truth, Knowledge, History Of The Tiny Island That China Controls

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

 

Macau

Introduction Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal on 13 April 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999. In this agreement, China has promised that, under its “one country, two systems” formula, China’s socialist economic system will not be practiced in Macau, and that Macau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.
History The recorded history of Macau can be traced back to the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC), when the region now called Macau came under the jurisdiction of Panyu County, Nanhai Prefecture of the province of Guangdong.[11] The first recorded inhabitants of the area were people seeking refuge in Macau from invading Mongols, during the Southern Song Dynasty.[13] Later in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD), fishermen migrated to Macau from various parts of Guangdong and Fujian provinces. However, Macau did not develop as a major settlement until the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century.[14] In 1535, the Portuguese traders obtained the right to anchor ships in Macau’s harbours and the right to carry out trading activities, though not the right to stay onshore.[15] Around 1552–1553, they obtained a temporary permission to erect storage sheds onshore, in order to dry out goods drenched by sea water. They later built some rudimentary stone-houses around the area now called Nam Van. But not until 1557 did the Portuguese establish a permanent settlement in Macau, at an annual rent of 500 taels of silver.

St. Paul’s Cathedral by George Chinnery (1774—1852). The cathedral was built in 1602 and destroyed by fire in 1835. Today only the southern stone façade remains.

Since then, more Portuguese settled in Macau to engage in trading activities, and there were demands for self-administration. In 1576, Macau was established as an episcopal see by Pope Gregory XIII.[17] In 1583, the Portuguese in Macau were permitted to form a Senate to handle various issues concerning their social and economic affairs, with the understanding that there was no transfer of sovereignty.[13] Macau prospered as a port but was the target of repeated attempts by the Dutch to conquer it in the 17th century. Following the Opium War (1839–42), Portugal occupied Taipa and Coloane in 1851 and 1864 respectively. In 1887, the Qing government was forced to sign the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Amity and Commerce, under which China ceded to Portugal the right of “perpetual occupation and government of Macau”; conversely, Portugal pledged to seek China’s approval before transferring Macau to another country. Macau officially became a Portuguese colony.

After the Qing Dynasty was overthrown following the Xinhai Revolution, in 1928 the Kuomintang government officially notified Portugal that it was abrogating the former treaty, and in its place the Sino-Portuguese Friendship and Trade Treaty was signed. Making only a few provisions concerning tariff principles and matters relating to business affairs, the treaty failed to mention the question with regard to the sovereignty of Macau. Consequently, the situation of Portuguese occupation and government of Macau remained unchanged.[19] After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Beijing government declared the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Amity and Commerce to be invalid as an “unequal treaty” imposed by foreigners on China. However, Beijing was not ready to settle the treaty question, leaving the maintenance of “the status quo” until a more appropriate time.

The flag used by the Portuguese Government of Macau until 1999.

In 1966, with the general dissatisfaction of the Portuguese government and under the influence of the Cultural Revolution in mainland China, more serious riots broke out in Macau. The most serious one is the so-called 12-3 incident that resulted in more than 200 people killed or injured. On January 28, 1967 the Portuguese government signed a statement of apology. This marked the beginning of equal treatment and recognition of Chinese identity and of de facto Chinese control of the colony, as an official apology underlined the fact that after 1949, administration of Macau continued only at the behest of the mainland communist government.[22] Shortly after the Carnation Revolution leftist military coup of 1974 in Lisbon, the newly assigned government of Portugal was determined to relinquish all its overseas possessions. In 1976, Lisbon redefined Macau as a “Chinese territory under Portuguese administration,” and granted it a large measure of administrative, financial and economic autonomy. Portugal and China agreed in 1979 to regard Macau as “a Chinese territory under (temporary) Portuguese administration”. Negotiations between the Chinese and Portuguese governments on the question of Macau started in June 1986. In 1987, an international treaty, known as the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration, was signed to make Macau a special administrative region of China. The Chinese government assumed sovereignty over Macau on December 20, 1999.

Geography Location: Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China
Geographic coordinates: 22 10 N, 113 33 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total: 28.2 sq km
land: 28.2 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: less than one-sixth the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: total: 0.34 km
regional border: China 0.34 km
Coastline: 41 km
Maritime claims: not specified
Climate: subtropical; marine with cool winters, warm summers
Terrain: generally flat
Elevation extremes: lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Coloane Alto 172.4 m
Natural resources: NEGL
Land use: arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: typhoons
Environment – current issues: NA
Environment – international agreements: party to: Marine Dumping (associate member), Ship Pollution (associate member)
Geography – note: essentially urban; an area of land reclaimed from the sea measuring 5.2 sq km and known as Cotai now connects the islands of Coloane and Taipa; the island area is connected to the mainland peninsula by three bridges
Politics The Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, Macau’s constitution promulgated by China’s National People’s Congress in 1993, specify that Macau’s social and economic system, lifestyle, rights, and freedoms are to remain unchanged for at least 50 years after the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1999.[9] Under the principle of “one country, two systems”, Macau enjoys a high degree of autonomy in all areas except in defence and foreign affairs.[9] Macau officials, rather than PRC officials, run Macau through the exercise of separate executive, legislative, and judicial powers, as well as the right to final adjudication.[26] Macau maintains its own separate currency, customs territory, immigration and border controls, and police force.

The Macau government is headed by the chief executive, who is appointed by the central government upon the recommendation of an election committee, whose three hundred members are nominated by corporate and community bodies. The recommendation is made by an election within the committee. The chief executive’s cabinet comprise five policy secretaries and is advised by the Executive Council that has between seven and eleven members.[30] Edmund Ho Hau Wah, a community leader and former banker, is the first chief executive of the Macau SAR, replacing General Vasco Rocha Vieira at midnight on December 20, 1999. Ho is currently serving his second term of office.

The legislative organ of the territory is the Legislative Assembly, a 29-member body comprising 12 directly elected members, ten indirectly elected members representing functional constituencies and seven members appointed by the chief executive.Any permanent residents at or over 18 years of age are eligible to vote in direct elections. For indirect election, it is only limited to organisations registered as “corporate voters” and a 300-member election committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organisations, and central governmental bodies. The basic and original framework of the legal system of Macau, based largely on Portuguese law or Portuguese civil law system, is preserved after 1999. The territory has its own independent judicial system, with a high court. Judges are selected by a committee and appointed by the chief executive. Foreign judges may serve on the courts. Macau has a three-tier court system: the Court of the First Instance, the Court of the Second Instance and the Court of Final Appeal.

People Population: 460,823 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.7% (male 35,107/female 32,756)
15-64 years: 77.1% (male 169,317/female 186,069)
65 years and over: 8.2% (male 16,053/female 21,521) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 37 years
male: 36.4 years
female: 37.5 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.83% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 8.73 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 4.72 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 4.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 4.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.49 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.11 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 82.35 years
male: 79.52 years
female: 85.33 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.05 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Chinese
adjective: Chinese
Ethnic groups: Chinese 95.7%, Macanese (mixed Portuguese and Asian ancestry) 1%, other 3.3% (2001 census)
Religions: Buddhist 50%, Roman Catholic 15%, none and other 35% (1997 est.)
Languages: Cantonese 87.9%, Hokkien 4.4%, Mandarin 1.6%, other Chinese dialects 3.1%, other 3% (2001 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.3%
male: 95.3%
female: 87.8%

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

Portugal: Truth Knowledge And The History Of This Great Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Portugal

Introduction Following its heyday as a world power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence in 1822 of Brazil as a colony. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy; for most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986
History The early history of Portugal, whose name derives from the Roman name Portus Cale, is shared with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula. The region was settled by Pre-Celts and Celts, giving origin to people like the Gallaeci, Lusitanians, Celtici and Cynetes, visited by Phoenicians and Carthaginians, incorporated in the Roman Republic dominions (as Lusitania after 45 BC), settled again by Suevi, Buri, and Visigoths, and conquered by Moors. Other minor influences include some 5th century vestiges of Alan settlement, which were found in Alenquer, Coimbra and even Lisbon.[6] In 868, during the Reconquista (by which Christians reconquered the Iberian peninsula from the Muslim and Moorish domination), the First County of Portugal was formed. A victory over the Muslims at Ourique in 1139 is traditionally taken as the occasion when Portugal is transformed from a county (County of Portugal as a fief of the Kingdom of León) into an independent kingdom – the Kingdom of Portugal.

On 24 June 1128, the Battle of São Mamede occurred near Guimarães. At the Battle of São Mamede, Afonso Henriques, Count of Portugal, defeated his mother, Countess Teresa, and her lover, Fernão Peres de Trava, in battle – thereby establishing himself as sole leader. Afonso Henriques officially declared Portugal’s independence when he proclaimed himself king of Portugal on 25 July 1139, after the Battle of Ourique, he was recognized as such in 1143 by Afonso VII, king of León and Castile, and in 1179 by Pope Alexander III. Afonso Henriques and his successors, aided by military monastic orders, pushed southward to drive out the Moors, as the size of Portugal covered about half of its present area. In 1249, this Reconquista ended with the capture of the Algarve on the southern coast, giving Portugal its present day borders, with minor exceptions.

In 1373, Portugal made an alliance with England, which is the longest-standing alliance in the world.

In 1383, the king of Castile, husband of the daughter of the Portuguese king who had died without a male heir, claimed his throne. An ensuing popular revolt led to the 1383-1385 Crisis. A faction of petty noblemen and commoners, led by John of Aviz (later John I), seconded by General Nuno Álvares Pereira defeated the Castilians in the Battle of Aljubarrota. This celebrated battle is still a symbol of glory and the struggle for independence from neighboring Spain.

In the following decades, Portugal spearheaded the exploration of the world and undertook the Age of Discovery. Prince Henry the Navigator, son of King João I, became the main sponsor and patron of this endeavor.

In 1415, Portugal gained the first of its overseas colonies when a fleet conquered Ceuta, a prosperous Islamic trade center in North Africa. There followed the first discoveries in the Atlantic: Madeira and the Azores, which led to the first colonization movements.

Throughout the 15th century, Portuguese explorers sailed the coast of Africa, establishing trading posts for several common types of tradable commodities at the time, ranging from gold to slaves, as they looked for a route to India and its spices, which were coveted in Europe. In 1498, Vasco da Gama finally reached India and brought economic prosperity to Portugal and its then population of one million residents.

In 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral, en route to India, discovered Brazil and claimed it for Portugal. Ten years later, Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa, in India, Ormuz in the Persian Strait, and Malacca in what is now a state in Malaysia. Thus, the Portuguese empire held dominion over commerce in the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic. The Portuguese sailors set out to reach Eastern Asia by sailing eastward from Europe landing in such places like Taiwan, Japan, the island of Timor, and it may also have been Portuguese sailors that were the first Europeans to discover Australia.[8]

Portugal’s independence was interrupted between 1580 and 1640. Because the heirless King Sebastian died in battle in Morocco, Philip II of Spain claimed his throne and so became Philip I of Portugal. Although Portugal did not lose its formal independence, it was governed by the same monarch who governed Spain, briefly forming a union of kingdoms, as a personal union; in 1640, John IV spearheaded an uprising backed by disgruntled nobles and was proclaimed king. The Portuguese Restoration War between Portugal and Spain on the aftermath of the 1640 revolt, ended the sixty-year period of the Iberian Union under the House of Habsburg. This was the beginning of the House of Braganza, which was to reign in Portugal until 1910. On 1 November 1755, Lisbon, the largest city and capital of the Portuguese Empire, was strongly shaken by an earthquake which killed thousands and destroyed a large portion of the city.

In the autumn of 1807 Napoleon moved French troops through its allied Spain to invade Portugal. From 1807 to 1811, British-Portuguese forces would successfully fight against the French invasion of Portugal.

Portugal began a slow but inexorable decline until the 20th century. This decline was hastened by the independence in 1822 of the country’s largest colonial possession, Brazil. At the height of European colonialism in the 19th century, Portugal had lost its territory in South America and all but a few bases in Asia. During this phase, Portuguese colonialism focused on expanding its outposts in Africa into nation-sized territories to compete with other European powers there. Portuguese territories eventually included the modern nations of Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, and Mozambique.

In 1910, a revolution deposed the Portuguese monarchy, but chaos continued and considerable economic problems were aggravated by the military intervention in World War I, which led to a military coup d’état in 1926. This in turn led to the establishment of the right-wing dictatorship of the Estado Novo under António de Oliveira Salazar.

In December 1961, the Portuguese army was involved in armed action in its colony of Portuguese India against an Indian invasion. The operations resulted in the defeat of the isolated and relatively small Portuguese defense force which was not able to resist a much larger enemy. The outcome was the loss of the Portuguese territories in the Indian subcontinent.

Also in the early 1960s, independence movements in the Portuguese overseas provinces of Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea, in Africa, resulted in the Portuguese Colonial War (1961–1974). In April 1974, a bloodless left-wing military coup in Lisbon, known as the Carnation Revolution, led the way for a modern democracy as well as the independence of the last colonies in Africa shortly after. However, Portugal’s last overseas territory, Macau (Asia), was not handed over to the People’s Republic of China until as late as 1999.

From the 1940s to the 1960s, Portugal was a founding member of NATO, OECD and EFTA. In 1986, Portugal joined the European Union (then the European Economic Community). In 1999, Portugal was one of the founding countries of the euro and the Eurozone. It is also a co-founder of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), established in 1996 and headquartered in Lisbon.

Geography Location: Southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain
Geographic coordinates: 39 30 N, 8 00 W
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 92,391 sq km
land: 91,951 sq km
water: 440 sq km
note: includes Azores and Madeira Islands
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Indiana
Land boundaries: total: 1,214 km
border countries: Spain 1,214 km
Coastline: 1,793 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: maritime temperate; cool and rainy in north, warmer and drier in south
Terrain: mountainous north of the Tagus River, rolling plains in south
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Ponta do Pico (Pico or Pico Alto) on Ilha do Pico in the Azores 2,351 m
Natural resources: fish, forests (cork), iron ore, copper, zinc, tin, tungsten, silver, gold, uranium, marble, clay, gypsum, salt, arable land, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 17.29%
permanent crops: 7.84%
other: 74.87% (2005)
Irrigated land: 6,500 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 73.6 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 11.09 cu km/yr (10%/12%/78%)
per capita: 1,056 cu m/yr (1998)
Natural hazards: Azores subject to severe earthquakes
Environment – current issues: soil erosion; air pollution caused by industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution, especially in coastal areas
Environment – international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Environmental Modification
Geography – note: Azores and Madeira Islands occupy strategic locations along western sea approaches to Strait of Gibraltar
Politics Portugal is a democratic republic ruled by the constitution of 1976 with Lisbon, the nation’s largest city, as its capital. The four main governing components are the president of the republic, the assembly of the republic, the government, and the courts. The constitution grants the division or separation of powers among legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Portugal like most European countries has no state religion, making it a secular state.

The president, who is elected to a five-year term, has a supervising, non-executive role. The current President is Aníbal Cavaco Silva. The Assembly of the Republic is a unicameral parliament composed of 230 deputies elected for four-year terms. The government is headed by the prime minister (currently José Sócrates), who chooses the Council of Ministers, comprising all the ministers and the respective state secretaries.

The national and regional governments (those of Azores and Madeira autonomous regions), and the Portuguese parliament, are dominated by two political parties, the Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party. Minority parties Unitarian Democratic Coalition (Portuguese Communist Party plus Ecologist Party “The Greens”), Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc) and CDS-PP (People’s Party) are also represented in the parliament and local governments.

The courts are organized into categories, including judicial, administrative, and fiscal. The supreme courts are the courts of last appeal. A thirteen-member constitutional court oversees the constitutionality of legislation.

People Population: 10,676,910 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 16.4% (male 912,995/female 835,715)
15-64 years: 66.2% (male 3,514,905/female 3,555,097)
65 years and over: 17.4% (male 764,443/female 1,093,755) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 39.1 years
male: 37 years
female: 41.3 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.305% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 10.45 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 10.62 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 3.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 4.85 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.31 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.36 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.04 years
male: 74.78 years
female: 81.53 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.49 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.4% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 22,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: fewer than 1,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Portuguese (singular and plural)
adjective: Portuguese
Ethnic groups: homogeneous Mediterranean stock; citizens of black African descent who immigrated to mainland during decolonization number less than 100,000; since 1990 East Europeans have entered Portugal
Religions: Roman Catholic 84.5%, other Christian 2.2%, other 0.3%, unknown 9%, none 3.9% (2001 census)
Languages: Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official – but locally used)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.3%
male: 95.5%
female: 91.3% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 5.5% of GDP (2005)

The Democratic Republic of Sao Tome And Principe: Facts History And Knowledge Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘CIA FACT BOOK’)

 

Sao Tome and Principe

Introduction Discovered and claimed by Portugal in the late 15th century, the islands’ sugar-based economy gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century – all grown with plantation slave labor, a form of which lingered into the 20th century. While independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s. The country held its first free elections in 1991, but frequent internal wrangling between the various political parties precipitated repeated changes in leadership and two failed coup attempts in 1995 and 2003. The recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea promises to attract increased attention to the small island nation.
History The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe were uninhabited before the arrival of the Portuguese sometime around 1470. The islands were discovered by João de

Sand Pedro Escobar and bore his name until the 20th century. Portuguese navigators explored the islands and decided that they would be good locations for bases to trade with the mainland.

The dates of discovery are sometimes given as December 21 (St Thomas’s Day), 1471 for São Tomé, and January 17 (St Anthony’s Day), 1472 for Principe, though other sources give different nearby years. Principe was initially named Santo Antão (“Saint Anthony”), changing its name in 1502 to Ilha do Principe (“Prince’s Island”), in reference to the Prince of Portugal to whom duties on the island’s sugar crop were paid.

The first successful settlement of São Tomé was established in 1493 by Álvaro Caminha, who received the land as a grant from the crown. Príncipe was settled in 1500 under a similar arrangement. Attracting settlers proved difficult, however, and most of the earliest inhabitants were “undesirables” sent from Portugal, mostly Jews. In time these settlers found the volcanic soil of the region suitable for agriculture, especially the growing of sugar.

The cultivation of sugar was a labour-intensive process and the Portuguese began to import large numbers of slaves from the mainland. By the mid-1500s the Portuguese settlers had turned the islands into Africa’s foremost exporter of sugar. São Tomé and Príncipe were taken over and administered by the Portuguese crown in 1522 and 1573, respectively.

However, superior sugar colonies in the western hemisphere began to hurt the islands. The large slave population also proved difficult to control, with Portugal unable to invest many resources in the effort. Sugar cultivation thus declined over the next 100 years, and by the mid-17th century, the economy of São Tomé had changed. It was now primarily a transit point for ships engaged in the slave trade between the West and continental Africa.

In the early 19th century, two new cash crops, coffee and cocoa, were introduced. The rich volcanic soils proved well suited to the new cash crop industry, and soon extensive plantations (roças), owned by Portuguese companies or absentee landlords, occupied almost all of the good farmland. By 1908, São Tomé had become the world’s largest producer of cocoa, which remains the country’s most important crop.

The roças system, which gave the plantation managers a high degree of authority, led to abuses against the African farm workers. Although Portugal officially abolished slavery in 1876, the practice of forced paid labor continued. In the early 20th century, an internationally publicized controversy arose over charges that Angolan contract workers were being subjected to forced labor and unsatisfactory working conditions. Sporadic labor unrest and dissatisfaction continued well into the 20th century, culminating in an outbreak of riots in 1953 in which several hundred African laborers were killed in a clash with their Portuguese rulers. This “Batepá Massacre” remains a major event in the colonial history of the islands, and its anniversary is officially observed by the government.

By the late 1950s, when other emerging nations across the African Continent were demanding independence, a small group of São Toméans had formed the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe (MLSTP), which eventually established its base in nearby Gabon. Picking up momentum in the 1960s, events moved quickly after the overthrow of the Caetano dictatorship in Portugal in April 1974. The new Portuguese regime was committed to the dissolution of its overseas colonies; in November 1974, their representatives met with the MLSTP in Algiers and worked out an agreement for the transfer of sovereignty. After a period of transitional government, São Tomé and Príncipe achieved independence on July 12, 1975, choosing as the first president the MLSTP Secretary General Manuel Pinto da Costa.

In 1990, São Tomé became one of the first African countries to embrace democratic reform, and changes to the constitution — the legalization of opposition political parties — led to elections in 1991 that were nonviolent, free, and transparent. Miguel Trovoada, a former prime minister who had been in exile since 1986, returned as an independent candidate and was elected president. Trovoada was re-elected in São Tomé’s second multi-party presidential election in 1996. The Party of Democratic Convergence (PCD) overtook the MLSTP to take a majority of seats in the National Assembly, with the MLSTP becoming an important and vocal minority party. Municipal elections followed in late 1992, in which the MLSTP came back to win a majority of seats on five of seven regional councils. In early legislative elections in October 1994, the MLSTP won a plurality of seats in the Assembly. It regained an outright majority of seats in the November 1998 elections. The Government of São Tomé fully functions under a multi-party system. Presidential elections were held in July 2001. The candidate backed by the Independent Democratic Action party, Fradique de Menezes, was elected in the first round and inaugurated on September 3. Parliamentary elections were held in March 2002. For the next four years, a series of short-lived opposition-led governments were formed.

The army seized power for one week in July 2003, complaining of corruption and that forthcoming oil revenues would not be divided fairly. An accord was negotiated under which President de Menezes was returned to office.

The cohabitation period ended in March 2006, when a pro-presidential coalition won enough seats in National Assembly elections to form and head a new government.

In the 30 July 2006 presidential election, Fradique de Menezes easily won a second five-year term in office, defeating two other candidates Patrice Trovoada (son of former President Miguel Trovoada) and independent Nilo Guimarães. Local elections, the first since 1992, took place on 27 August 2006 and were dominated by members of the ruling coalition.

Geography Location: Western Africa, islands in the Gulf of Guinea, straddling the Equator, west of Gabon
Geographic coordinates: 1 00 N, 7 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 1,001 sq km
land: 1,001 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: more than five times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 209 km
Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; one rainy season (October to May)
Terrain: volcanic, mountainous
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico de Sao Tome 2,024 m
Natural resources: fish, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 8.33%
permanent crops: 48.96%
other: 42.71% (2005)
Irrigated land: 100 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards: NA
Environment – current issues: deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: the smallest country in Africa; the two main islands form part of a chain of extinct volcanoes and both are mountainous
Politics São Tomé has functioned under a multiparty system since 1990. The president of the republic is elected to a 5-year term by direct universal suffrage and a secret ballot, and must gain an outright majority to be elected. The president may hold up to two consecutive terms. The prime minister is named by the president, and the fourteen members of cabinet are chosen by the prime minister.

The National Assembly, the supreme organ of the state and the highest legislative body, is made up of 55 members, who are elected for a 4-year term and meet semiannually. Justice is administered at the highest level by the Supreme Court. The judiciary is independent under the current constitution.

With regards to human rights, there exists the freedom of speech and the freedom to form opposition political parties.

People Population: 206,178 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 47.1% (male 49,196/female 47,941)
15-64 years: 49.3% (male 49,326/female 52,324)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 3,350/female 4,041) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 16.3 years
male: 15.8 years
female: 16.9 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 3.116% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 39.12 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 5.98 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 38.36 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 40.11 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 36.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 68 years
male: 66.35 years
female: 69.69 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.43 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 diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria (2008)
Nationality: noun: Sao Tomean(s)
adjective: Sao Tomean
Ethnic groups: mestico, angolares (descendants of Angolan slaves), forros (descendants of freed slaves), servicais (contract laborers from Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde), tongas (children of servicais born on the islands), Europeans (primarily Portuguese)
Religions: Catholic 70.3%, Evangelical 3.4%, New Apostolic 2%, Adventist 1.8%, other 3.1%, none 19.4% (2001 census)
Languages: Portuguese (official)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.9%
male: 92.2%
female: 77.9% (2001 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 10 years
male: 10 years
female: 10 years (2006)
Education expenditures: NA

Senegal: The Truth History And Knowledge Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘CIA FACT BOOK’)

 

Senegal

Introduction The French colonies of Senegal and the French Sudan were merged in 1959 and granted their independence as the Mali Federation in 1960. The union broke up after only a few months. Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia in 1982, but the envisaged integration of the two countries was never carried out, and the union was dissolved in 1989. The Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC) has led a low-level separatist insurgency in southern Senegal since the 1980s, and several peace deals have failed to resolve the conflict. Nevertheless, Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies in Africa. Senegal was ruled by a Socialist Party for 40 years until current President Abdoulaye WADE was elected in 2000. He was reelected in February 2007, but complaints of fraud led opposition parties to boycott June 2007 legislative polls. Senegal has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping.
History Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that Senegal was inhabited in prehistoric times.

Eastern Senegal was once part of the Empire of Ghana. It was founded by the Tukulor in the middle valley of the Senegal River. Islam, the dominant religion in Senegal, first came to the region in the 11th century. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the area came under the influence of the Mandingo empires to the east; the Jolof Empire of Senegal also was founded during this time.

Various European powers—Portugal, the Netherlands, and Great Britain—competed for trade in the area from the 15th century onward, until in 1677, France ended up in possession of what had become an important slave trade departure point—the infamous island of Gorée next to modern Dakar. Millions of West African people were shipped from here. It was only in the 1850s that the French began to expand their foothold onto the Senegalese mainland, at the expense of native kingdoms such as Waalo, Cayor, Baol, and Jolof.

In January 1959 Senegal and the French Sudan merged to form the Mali Federation, which became fully independent on 20 June 1960, as a result of the independence and the transfer of power agreement signed with France on 4 April 1960. Due to internal political difficulties, the Federation broke up on August 20. Senegal and Sudan (renamed the Republic of Mali) proclaimed independence. Léopold Senghor was elected Senegal’s first president in September 1960.

Later after the breakup of the Mali Federation, President Senghor and Prime Minister Mamadou Dia governed together under a parliamentary system. In December 1962 their political rivalry led to an attempted coup by Prime Minister Dia. Although this was put down without bloodshed, Dia was arrested and imprisoned, and Senegal adopted a new constitution that consolidated the president’s power. In 1980 President Senghor decided to retire from politics, and he handed power over in 1981 to his handpicked successor, Abdou Diouf.

Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia on 1 February 1982. However, the union was dissolved in 1989. Despite peace talks, a southern separatist group in the Casamance region has clashed sporadically with government forces since 1982. Senegal has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping.

Abdou Diouf was president between 1981 and 2000. He encouraged broader political participation, reduced government involvement in the economy, and widened Senegal’s diplomatic engagements, particularly with other developing nations. Domestic politics on occasion spilled over into street violence, border tensions, and a violent separatist movement in the southern region of the Casamance. Nevertheless, Senegal’s commitment to democracy and human rights strengthened. Diouf served four terms as president.

In the presidential election of 1989, opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade defeated Diouf in an election deemed free and fair by international observers. Senegal experienced its second peaceful transition of power, and its first from one political party to another. On 30 December 2004 President Abdoulaye Wade announced that he would sign a peace treaty with the separatist group in the Casamance region. This, however, has yet to be implemented. There was a round of talks in 2005, but the results did not yet yield a resolution.

Geography Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania
Geographic coordinates: 14 00 N, 14 00 W
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 196,190 sq km
land: 192,000 sq km
water: 4,190 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than South Dakota
Land boundaries: total: 2,640 km
border countries: The Gambia 740 km, Guinea 330 km, Guinea-Bissau 338 km, Mali 419 km, Mauritania 813 km
Coastline: 531 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; rainy season (May to November) has strong southeast winds; dry season (December to April) dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind
Terrain: generally low, rolling, plains rising to foothills in southeast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed feature near Nepen Diakha 581 m
Natural resources: fish, phosphates, iron ore
Land use: arable land: 12.51%
permanent crops: 0.24%
other: 87.25% (2005)
Irrigated land: 1,200 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 39.4 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 2.22 cu km/yr (4%/3%/93%)
per capita: 190 cu m/yr (2002)
Natural hazards: lowlands seasonally flooded; periodic droughts
Environment – current issues: wildlife populations threatened by poaching; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; overfishing
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, Whaling
Geography – note: westernmost country on the African continent; The Gambia is almost an enclave within Senegal
Politics Senegal is a republic with a powerful presidency; the president is elected every seven years, amended in 2001 to every five years, by universal adult suffrage. The current president is Abdoulaye Wade, re-elected in March 2007.

Senegal has more than 80 political parties. The bicameral parliament consists of the National Assembly, which has 120 seats, and the Senate, which has 100 seats and was reinstituted in 2007. An independent judiciary also exists in Senegal. The nation’s highest courts that deal with business issues are the constitutional council and the court of justice, members of which are named by the president.

Currently Senegal has a democratic political culture, being one of the more successful post-colonial democratic transitions in Africa. Local administrators are appointed by, and responsible to, the president. The marabouts, religious leaders of the various Senegalese Muslim brotherhoods, also exercise a strong political influence in the country.

People Population: 12,853,259 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 41.9% (male 2,717,257/female 2,668,602)
15-64 years: 55.1% (male 3,524,683/female 3,552,643)
65 years and over: 3% (male 183,188/female 206,886) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 18.8 years
male: 18.6 years
female: 19 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.58% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 36.52 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 10.72 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 58.93 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 62.79 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 54.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 57.08 years
male: 55.7 years
female: 58.5 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.86 children born/woman (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

12 people killed when tree falls at Catholic festival in Portugal

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

12 people killed when tree falls at Catholic festival in Portugal

Twelve people were killed when a tree fell on August 15, 2017, in Madeira, Portugal.

Story highlights

  • The tree was a 200-year-old oak, local media report
  • A little girl was among those killed, the regional health chief said

(CNN) Twelve people were killed and 50 others injured when an enormous tree fell Tuesday in Madeira, Portugal, officials said.

The tree came down during an important Catholic celebration on the island, regional Health Secretary Pedro Ramos said in a televised news conference.
The dead and injured had gathered to honor Our Lady of the Mountain at a church in a village near the island’s main city of Funchal, Ramos said. Tuesday marked the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when Catholics celebrate the assumption of the body Jesus Christ’s mother into heaven. It is one of six Catholic holy days of obligation.

People help the injured after a falling tree killed 12 people on August 15, 2017, in Madeira, Portugal.

Massive tree crashes down

Video from the scene shows a massive tree crashing down as a panicked crowd screams and flees. The tree was a 200-year-old oak, local media reported.
A little girl was among those killed, Ramos said, adding that seven of the injured were in serious condition, with three people expected to require surgery. Three foreign nationals — one each from France, Germany and Hungary — were are among the injured, he said.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was expected to arrive Tuesday on the island, said the president of the regional government, Miguel Albuquerque.
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa offered his condolences on Twitter.
Madeira, a popular tourist destination dubbed the “pearl of the Atlantic,” is the largest of several Portuguese islands in the North Atlantic.

Man Stabs Four Neighbors To Death In Northern Portugal

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS)

Man stabs four neighbors to death in northern Portugal

A Portuguese man stabbed four people to death in a rural area in the north of the country on Friday before surrendering to police, who said all the victims were the suspect’s neighbors.

The man confessed to killing an elderly couple and a woman in their homes, and then another woman in the street in Tamel, a village on the outskirts of Barcelos, some 380 km north of Lisbon.

“The suspect has surrendered and confessed the crimes,” said a duty police officer in the regional center of Barcelos, adding that all the victims died from neck wounds.

“The investigation continues and is looking into the motives, but it appears to be a local problem between neighbors.”

(Reporting By Andrei Khalip, editing by Axel Bugge and Toby Davis)

Rape: Is There Such A Thing As A ‘Culture’ Of Rape?

 

A couple of days ago one of our fellow Word Press Bloggers ( chanportuguesa.wordpress.com ) left me a comment about an article I had reblogged a couple of weeks before. The article I had reblogged was out of Portugal and the content matter was about a 67-year-old homeless woman who was raped and beaten by a ‘refugee’ who was from North Africa. The article said this man who is in his twenties was a person that was supposed to have been sent to Italy but Italy refused to let him in so Portugal ended up having to keep him. The articles spoke of how messed up Portugal’s political system is in that their own citizens like this 67-year-old woman were having to sleep in the streets yet the government was giving food, clothing and housing to refugees. I know that this is exactly how things are done here in the U.S. so what he was saying sounds familiar as this is how our government has operated for decades now.

 

The following comment is the reason that I thought to do this article today, they make a very good point and I promised I would do this article concerning his comment. When I had posted this reblogged article I had made a comment about the ‘rape culture’ concerning the ‘refugee’, here is the quote. “I am curious to know which culture is that? What  is your though on this article? French troops raped starving children in Central Africa.” Before I started this article I decided to look up the word rape in the online dictionary to see exactly how it is defined, the following is what it had to say. “Rape: origin of rape: Middle English/Anglo-French/Latin from 1250-1300 A.D..” Noun: unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vigina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ or other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.” The article said that this young man beat her in the face breaking several facial bones and he forced sex upon her. To me, it does sound like this young man without a doubt is guilty of what could be described as a ‘text book’ rape of this poor old lady, but this is just my opinion, others may somehow have a different opinion though.

 

Our fellow Blogger said at the end of his comment “French troops raped starving children in Central Africa.” This may be true, it may not, I do not personally know one way or the other. If this has happened it would not surprise me though. It does seem that I remember reading an article or two about a year ago where such things were mentioned, but were those articles truthful, I wasn’t there, I do not know. I also remember reading articles over the past few years where U.N. troops were blamed for this exact same crimes/sins. Were those true? Unfortunately it sounded like it was. I know that in many cultures during armed conflicts that soldiers from many different countries have used rape as a weapon against the people they are fighting against. Here in the States our ‘National Culture’ says that none of our troops would ever do such a thing, but there is always some tares among the wheat. To me, rape is a moral issue. Many will say I am wrong, it is only a physical issue, really, it is both. But if a person, soldier or not, is a moral person, they will not touch another person in this manner. What I am saying is that if a person is brought up in a religion that teaches that rape is a sin and the person who commits such a sin must be executed, a devout person of that religion will never do such harm to another person.

 

Now, back to this refugee in Portugal who raped and beat this 67-year-old homeless woman. I know that some people will jump to the conclusion that because he is from North Africa that I am coming down on African or upon Black culture, no, that is not correct. The culture I was referring to in this case is his religion which is that of Islam. I know that I just angered a lot of folks with that statement yet if you will keep reading for a couple more moments you will see more clearly why I have said that. Look at the street level of the Islamic countries, look at that culture concerning women, look at how they are treated. I know that there are some folks who believe in Islam who are educated and kind toward their wives and children so this is not a ‘blanket’ condemnation of Islam. There are good and bad people within every religion on Earth. But, think about this reality for a moment please. Think about the Islamic countries where a woman can not go out of her house without a male relative beside her. I have heard and read articles from Islamic men who believe that if a woman goes out of her house on her own she is just asking to be raped, why else would they go out alone they say. Even if they are hand in hand with their husband and they are showing more skin than a Burka allows, they are a whore. Is this a morality issue on the part of women? Or is it a maturity or moral fallacy of the men, or even of their religion that they were raised in?

 

There is no doubt that morality throughout the world is decreasing rapidly and not just in the Islamic world. Here in the States there was a time when women dressed much more modestly, and so did the men. There was a time when it was considered a sin if you could see a woman’s ankle below her dress and dresses with a v-neck which showed cleavage was scandalous. Yet there was also a time when the men always wore long-sleeved shirts and only long pants, no shorts were allowed and men never took off their shirts in public. Yet it is my assertion that those who sexually attack others are themselves very morally weak. Even if you come from a culture like Islam it is not okay for anyone to force themselves upon another person. It is an obvious truth that when you take Islamic men out of  an Islamic culture and place them in a culture like France, Italy, or Portugal that a huge amount of these morales adult male children think it is perfectly okay to assault ‘single’ women and even very young girls. The world is facing a moral decline yet this article today is only about the evil in the lack of sexual morals. We have also read several times during the past couple of years where in India where Hindu men have been gang raping young women and girls literally to death. It is rather common to hear of the rape cultures within the body of Africa where no religion seems to be at fault. Here in the States we usually only hear of cases where Priests commit these sins on young children.

 

No group is without sin because each group, each religion, is made up of individuals, we stand or fall on our individual merit, or the lack thereof. The reason that today’s article highlights the Islamic culture is because of their teachings. Not so much the teachings of the Quran which is a “Book of the Saying” of the Prophet Muhammad, the huge issues are concerning the Book called the “Hadith” which is the “actions” of the Prophet Muhammad. They are taught from birth that a ‘good’ believer must emulate the actions of their Prophet. Please read this book folks, their Prophet should be the very last person that any parent would ever want their child to act like. The people of Islam know these facts, they tend to try to hide this truth from ‘the western world’. If you really wish to understand why I believe Islam teaches its male followers to perform their lives with such violence toward everyone, especially women and young girls. I know of no other major ‘religion’ that tells their followers to be so violent toward other people that is why many folks I have spoken with do not even consider Islam to be a ‘religion’, they believe that it is no more than a Demonic Cult.

UN Secretary General Confirms Jewish Ties To Temple Mount

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

Middle East

Palestinians Rage over U.N. Secretary-General Guterres Comments on al-Aqsa Mosque Connection to Jewish Heritage

Palestine

“It’s clear as the son is clear that the Temple, which was demolished by the Romans, is a Jewish temple,” Guterres said.

Guterres has completely neglected the UNESCO resolutions, which clearly said that the al-Aqsa Mosque is purely an Islamic heritage.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Assistant Ahmed Majdalani said that remarks made by Guterres is a grave political transgression, and has negatively affected the credence of the U.N. and is clear that he is siding with the oppressive occupying settlements, rather than the people of Palestine. “The statement is a strike to the credibility of the U.N. as a global organization that should stay to the side of the occupied people and be against the power of the occupation,” said Majdalani.

Majdalani demanded that the Secretary General clarifies his statements, given that it goes against all international effort and grants Israel the green light to move towards Jerusalem.

Majdalani strongly criticized Guterres saying that he “lacks cultural knowledge, and must keep in mind the UNESCO’s decision, which considered Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount undisputed Islamic holy sites, dedicated for worship.”

“The U.N. must fulfill its moral and legal obligations towards people of Palestine still under occupation, and to support initiatives on resolving the Palestine cause—ducking responsibility makes the international body useless, becoming a burden to the international committee,” Majdalani said.

Guterres served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and was the Secretary-General of the Socialist Party from 1992 to 2002. He also served as President of Socialist International from 1999 to 2005. In 2012, Guterres appointed American actress Angelina Jolie as his Special Envoy to represent UNHCR Refugee Agency‎ and himself on a diplomatic level.