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Japan's attempt to overturn commercial whaling ban fails
FLORIANOPOLOS, Brazil, 14 September 2018 (Guardian) - Anti-whaling nations defeated by a decisive margin proposals from the Japanese government that would have allowed for the return of whale hunts.

Wildlife officials race to trap rogue rat on St. Paul Island
UNALASKA, US, 14 September 2018 (APM) - A rat is loose on St. Paul Island. And that’s a big deal because the Pribilof Islands have always been rat-free.

US Virgin Islands: What about us?
WASHINGTON, US, 14 September 2018 (WTOP) - It can take years to recover from a major hurricane, and the U.S. Virgin Islands were struck by two Category 5 hurricanes last year, some of the most powerful storms to ever sweep through the Caribbean. So why don’t we hear about how those tiny tropical islands are recovering?

Heartache in the San Juan Islands
PORTLAND, US, 14 September 2018 (OMG) - The orca calf lived for only half an hour, but the mother spent 17 days carrying its body on her nose this summer, crossing the Salish Sea from the San Juan Islands into Canadian waters and back in a visceral display of animal grief that captivated whale watchers around the globe.

Barrier islands protect coasts from storms, but are vulnerable too
STARKVILLE, US, 14 September 2018 (The Conversation) - When hurricanes like Florence make landfall, the first things they hit often are barrier islands – thin ribbons of sand that line the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Futuna rejects seabed exploration and mining
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 14 September 2018 (RNZ) - The kingdoms on the French Pacific island of Futuna have ruled out allowing any work related to seabed mining in their waters, saying their stance is final.

Whaling vote: Australia tells Japan it has lost argument for killings
FLORIANOPOLOS, Brazil, 14 September 2018 (Guardian) - There is no longer a “social licence” for countries to kill whales for profit, Australia has told the International Whaling Commission in Brazil.

Aruba hotel named Caribbean's first certified carbon-neutral resort
EAGLE BEACH, Aruba, 13 September 2018 (Caribbean News Now) - Aruba’s Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort has just become the first hotel in the Caribbean to achieve carbon neutrality.

Agreement reached to pursue Green Antigua and Barbuda goal
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, 13 September 2018 (Caribbean News Now) - The clean energy provider PV Energy Limited will, jointly with the state-owned utility APUA, resume the finalisation of their joint Green Antigua and Barbuda project to bring solar renewable energy and grid-stabilising energy storage facilities for the benefit of the people of Antigua and Barbuda.

Huge MPA to be created off northern Vancouver Island
VANCOUVER, Canada, 13 September 2018 (TC) - Shell Canada Ltd. has given up its ocean exploration rights off northern Vancouver Island, clearing the way for the creation of Canada’s first protected marine area under the Canada Wildlife Act.

Marianas residents to keep fighting US military plans
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 13 September 2018 (RNZ) - The US military plans to relocate as many as 5,000 Marines from Japan to Guam, and use the Northern Marianas islands of Tinian and Pagan for live-fire exercises.

Elephant birds: Who killed the largest birds that ever lived?
LONDON, UK, 13 September 2018 (BBC) - Prehistoric humans are under suspicion of wiping out the largest birds that ever lived after fossilised bones were discovered with telltale cut marks. According to scientists, it's evidence that the elephant birds of Madagascar were hunted and butchered for food.

Opposition to mechanical kelp harvesting off Scotland
LONDON, UK, 12 September 2018 (BBC) - A plan to harvest tonnes of wild kelp on Scotland's west coast is being opposed by local communities.

High ice and hard truth: the poets taking on climate change
LONDON, UK, 12 September 2018 (Guardian) - Greenland poet Aka Niviana’s way of life is disappearing as her country thaws, while the subsequent meltwater threatens Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner and her fellow Marshall Islanders thousands of miles away. Their joint trip to the melting glaciers inspired a climate call to arms.

Seychelles gets first 'White Flag' designation in the region
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 12 September 2018 (SNA) - Seychelles is the first Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) in the Indian Ocean to be awarded the White Flag certification for having clean seas. 

Putin appeared to spontaneously offer Japan a peace deal
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, 12 September 2018 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin turned to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a conference stage on Wednesday and offered to sign a peace deal to end a decades-old territorial islands dispute by the end of the year.

Pro-whaling nations block plan to create sanctuary
LONDON, UK, 12 September 2018 (BBC) - A proposal to create a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic Ocean has been defeated at an International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Brazil.

Marshall Islands warned against adopting digital currency
LONDON, UK, 11 September 2018 (BBC) - The Republic of the Marshall Islands has been warned against adopting a digital currency as a second form of legal tender.

UNCLOS expands to cover marine biological diversity
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, 11 September 2018 (IPS) - Responding to a persistent demand by developing countries, the conservation community and science, the UN General Assembly has commenced a process for bringing the areas beyond national jurisdiction in the oceans under a global legally binding regulatory framework.

Airport project on world's largest island sparks sovereignty row
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 11 September 2018 (Al Jazeera) - Greenland's government has struck a deal with Denmark over funding for upgrades to three airports on the Arctic island, a project of strategic interest to a number of international players including China and the United States.

Nations lock horns as whalers, opponents meet in Brazil
FLORIANOPOLOS, Brazil, 10 September 2018 (AFP) - Pro- and anti-whaling nations locked horns Monday as the International Whaling Commission (IWC) began meeting in Brazil amid outrage over Japan's proposal to end a three-decade moratorium on commercial whale hunting.

Community plant mangroves to protect livelihoods
SUVA, Fiji, 10 September 2018 (WWF) - Torika Lewaca is one of the many fisher women here in Tavualevu village, in Tavua, on the north western side of Fiji’s Viti Levu Island, that depend on mangroves within their traditional fishing grounds, not only for their livelihoods but protection from the impacts of salt water intrusion.

Raoul Island: Never on Sunday
LONDON, UK, 10 September 2018 (Geographical) - When author Lydia Syson set a historical novel on a Pacific island in the remote Kermadecs, the last thing she imagined was that she’d one day see it for herself.

In Solomon Islands, the gendered effects of corporate logging
BOGOR, Indonesia, 10 September 2018 (CIFOR) - Logging in Solomon Islands is openly deemed unsustainable, with round-log exports doomed to decline if the present production rate, which is 11 times the sustainable yield, continues.

Captains of island industry
DUBLIN, Ireland, 9 September 2018 (Independent) - Fresh from a visit from the Taoiseach this week, the Aran Islands are capitalising on a recent boom in staycations with a fresh batch of cottage industries, even as islanders battle challenges with access, water supply and that old chestnut - broadband.

Lifeline to Scotland's islands in jeopardy
GLASGOW, UK, 9 September 2018 (Herald) - Scotland's islands are getting record numbers of visitors but the boats and port infrastructure carrying them are old, really old.

Island leaders call on PM to abandon pipeline expansion
EASTSOUND, US, 9 September 2018 (Islands Sounder) - In light of the Canadian government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline and stated commitment to expanding it despite a court ruling quashing the expansion permit, elected representatives from the islands in the Salish Sea, on both sides of the Canadian-United States border, have written an open letter urging Prime Minister Trudeau to abandon the expansion project.

Things lost and saved on the BVI: One year on from Hurricane Irma
LONDON, UK, 8 September 2018 (Independent) - One year after Hurricane Irma brought devastation to residents on the British Virgin Islands, British Red Cross continues to support those affected and help them recover. 

The tiny island defying the world's biggest country
KOROR, Palau, 8 September 2018 (Guardian) - Palau is one of just 17 countries that has refused to give up diplomatic relations with Taiwan and switch allegiance to China.

Four year drought forces Cuba to find ways to build resilience
HAVANA, Cuba, 7 September 2018 (IPS) - Eastern Cuba has suffered drought since time immemorial. But the western and central regions of the island used to be almost free of the phenomenon, until the latest drought that plagued this country between 2014 and 2017.

Giant plastic catcher heads for Pacific Ocean clean-up
LONDON, UK, 7 September 2018 (BBC) - When a Dutch teenager went swimming in the sea in Greece seven years ago, he was shocked to see more plastic than fish.

Leading climate negotiator warns world 'out of time' to save islands
BANGKOK, Thailand, 7 September 2018 (AFP) - Island nations like Fiji and the Maldives are almost at the "point of no return" because of rising sea levels warned Amjad Abdulla, head negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), on the sidelines of a six-day conference in Bangkok.

Norway supports renewable energy research centre in Tonga
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 7 September 2018 (RNZ) - Norway is providing $US2 million towards the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency established last year in Nuku'alofa.

Scientists to explain seabed mineral wealth to Wallis and Futuna
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 7 September 2018 (RNZ) - A delegation of French scientists is due in Wallis and Futuna to explain to locals the significance of rare earths which are found off their islands and to chart views on the possible impact of mining these seabed minerals.

Japan says it's time to allow sustainable whaling
LONDON, UK, 7 September 2018 (BBC) - Commercial whaling has been effectively banned for more than 30 years but the International Whaling Committee is currently meeting in Brazil and next week will give its verdict on a proposal from Japan to end the ban.

Tiny US island is drowning and residents deny the reason
WASHINGTON, US, 7 September 2018 (NatGeog) - Few of us could find Tangier Island on a map. A tiny sliver of mud and marsh grass in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, it is one of the most isolated communities in America.

A year on, Caribbean islands bear scars of Hurricane Irma
MARIGOT, Saint Martin, 6 September 2018 (AFP) - One year after devastating Hurricane Irma swept through the Caribbean, the holiday islands of Saint Martin and Saint Barts are still counting the costs of one of the most powerful storms in history.

Alaska refuge can't protect its wildlife from climate change
WASHINGTON, US, 6 September 2018 (NatGeog) - Clam Lagoon, a body of water on the northernmost peninsula of Adak Island, Alaska, was meant to be a wildlife haven. But a continually warming Bering Sea is putting so much stress on the food chain there that its residents can’t find enough to eat: They’re starving, experts say.

Diaper Brigade fights a chemical crisis in Java's rivers
YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia, 6 September 2018 (Mongabay) - Dressed in a hazmat suit with boots, gloves and a mask, Prigi Arisandi waded into a river north of Yogyakarta, a city in the center of the island of Java. The toxic mess he was planning to clean up from a river that locals still rely on for their water: used diapers.

Beach access controversy continues in the Cayman Islands
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, 5 September 2018 (CNS) - A newly formed Public Lands Commission in the Cayman Islands has begun rolling out beach access signs across Grand Cayman as part of efforts to address issues concerning beach access.

US urges top UN court to stay out of Chagos islands row
THE HAGUE, Netherlands, 5 September 2018 (AFP) - The United States told the UN's top court Wednesday it had "a duty" not to take a position on a bitter dispute over the British-ruled Chagos islands, home to a strategic joint US military base.

Australia signs declaration on Pacific climate threat
BOE, Nauru, 5 September 2018 (ABC) - Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island nations have signed a declaration highlighting climate change as "the single greatest threat" to Pacific people, while island nations called on the United States to return to the Paris agreement.

Huge grant from Europe to help save Pacific Ocean
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 5 September 2018 (RNZ) - Four key regional agencies have signed a deal with the European Union to help promote sustainable management and sound ocean governance in the Pacific.

Australia relationship with Pacific on climate change dysfunctional
KOROR, Palau, 5 September 2018 (Guardian) - Australia’s relationship with the Pacific region on the issue of climate change has been described as “dysfunctional” and “abusive” – providing aid to the region to deal with the effects of global warming but undermining attempts to halt its progress, according to a climate change representative for the Pacific nation of Palau.

The sinking islands of the Southern US
LONDON, UK, 5 September 2018 (BBC) - The rich traditions of the Gullah Geechee are at risk of being lost, threatened by what is arguably one of the most harrowing issues the world faces today.

The tree that bleeds... metal?
LONDON, UK, 5 September 2018 (BBC) - Heavy metals like nickel and zinc are usually the last thing that plants want to grow next to in high concentrations but researchers have been studying Pycnandra acuminata in particular - a tree that grows on the island of New Caledonia - and they think it may use the nickel to defend against insects.

Indonesia mobilizes 20,000 citizens to clean up plastic trash
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 4 September 2018 (Mongabay) - On a Sunday last August, thousands of Indonesians gathered at 76 locations across the Southeast Asian country to participate in a massive cleanup of plastic trash.

Will Solomon Islands abandon Taiwan?
SYDNEY, Australia, 4 September 2018 (The Interpreter) - Over the last couple of years Taiwan has been steadily haemorrhaging diplomatic allies. Countries from Africa, Central America and the Caribbean have switched allegiance to Beijing, leaving just 17 countries maintaining formal relations with Taipei. The largest bloc of such countries is in the Pacific, comprising Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. 

China visa spat hits Pacific summit in Nauru
YAREN, Nauru, 4 September 2018 (AFP) - A visa row between China and host nation Nauru almost derailed the Pacific's largest annual diplomatic summit, it emerged Tuesday, exposing sensitivities about Beijing's rising influence in the region.

UN treaty would protect high seas from over exploitation
LONDON, UK, 4 September 2018 (BBC) - The first significant steps towards legally protecting the high seas are to take place at the UN in New York. These waters, defined as the open ocean far from coastlines, are threatened by deep-sea mining, over-fishing and the patenting of marine genetic resources.

Seychelles is armed with more info to amend coco de mer decree
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 4 September 2018 (SNA) -  Local authorities in Seychelles are now in a better position to make amendments to the coco de mer decree following the completion of a national census of the endemic species.

Icelandic puffin population declining
GRIMSEY ISLAND, Iceland, 3 September 2018 (The Star) - Puffins are in trouble. The birds have been in precipitous decline, especially since the 2000s, both in Iceland and across many of their Atlantic habitats.

Palau shifts to high-quality green tourism
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 3 September 2018 (RNZ) - A proposed tourism education bill in Palau will improve environmental protections and crackdown on non-compliant tour operators.

Mauritius takes UK to court over Chagos Islands sovereignty
LONDON, UK, 3 September 2018 (Guardian) - The UK’s possession of a remote archipelago in the Indian Ocean that includes the strategic US airbase of Diego Garcia is being challenged at the international court of justice.

Nauru: a nation in democratic freefall propped up by Australia
LONDON, UK, 2 September 2018 (Guardian) - As Marise Payne stands in her colourful shirt for the obligatory photo opportunity at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru this week, she might do well to consider the high price Australia pays to prop up one of the most dysfunctional governments on the planet.

Antigua evicts Barbudan storm victims from shelter
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, 1 September 2018 (AFP) - Dozens of Barbudans were forcibly evicted Saturday from a shelter on neighboring Antigua, leaving them without a home almost exactly a year after powerful Hurricane Irma devastated their island.

Saudi Arabia may dig canal to turn Qatar into an island
LONDON, UK, 1 September 2018 (Guardian) - A Saudi official has hinted the kingdom was moving forward with a plan to dig a canal that would turn the neighbouring Qatari peninsula into an island, amid a diplomatic feud between the Gulf nations.

The island where children have given up on life
LONDON, UK, 1 September 2018 (BBC) - Suicide attempts and horrifying acts of self-harm are drawing fresh attention to the suffering of refugee children on Nauru, in what is being described as a "mental health crisis".

Chinese bridge pushes Maldives deeper in debt
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, 31 August 2018 (AFP) - The Maldives opposition said Friday that President Abdulla Yameen had pushed the Indian Ocean nation deeper into a Chinese "debt trap" with a new $200 million bridge opened just ahead of the country's election.

Where young whale sharks party
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 31 August 2018 (Mongabay) - A new study used photo-identification techniques based on the sharks’ distinctive spots to discover a new hotspot for juvenile whale sharks around the tiny island of Nosy Be, in northwest Madagascar.

Deal in sight for PNG landowners protesting Exxon-led gas project
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 31 August 2018 (Mongabay) - Traditional landholders in the Papua New Guinea highlands say they finally see signs of progress in a cycle of contentious negotiations over land rights and royalties at a massive ExxonMobil-led natural gas development.

Bali takes on plastic pollution
DENPASAR, Indonesia, 31 August 2018 (DW) - The sun is rising over Bali's Saba beach and dozens of people have gathered in yellow t-shits emblazoned with the words, "I am a Trash Hero." Within an hour, they have collected a dumpster's worth of waste.

Mapping trees can help count endangered lemurs
DURHAM, US, 31 August 2018 (ScienceDaily) - Putting a figure on the number of endangered lemurs left in the wild isn't easy, but researchers say one clue might help: the plants they rely on for food.

World leaders who deny climate change should go to mental hospital
LONDON, UK, 31 August 2018 (Guardian) - The prime minister of Samoa has called climate change an “existential threat ... for all our Pacific family” and said that any world leader who denied climate change’s existence should be taken to a mental hospital.

Robot drone could protect Great Barrier Reef
LONDON, UK, 31 August 2018 (Guardian) - An underwater drone that can keep watch over the Great Barrier Reef’s health and kill invading species is ready to be put to the test.

UNHCR urges Greece to address overcrowded reception centres
GENEVA, Switzerland, 31 August 2018 (UNHCR) - The UN Refugee Agency is today urging the Government of Greece to address the situation in Aegean Sea Reception and Identification Centres (RICs), commonly known as ‘hotspots’.

Underwater tech unlocks the secrets of Bahamas Exuma Sound
ELEUTHERA, Bahamas, 30 August 2018 (Mongabay) - Researchers at the Cape Eleuthera Institute have been mapping the deep waters at the northern end of the Bahamian archipelago for many years, but their efforts got a boost recently when they partnered with state-of-the-art research vessel M/V Alucia.

Inside the chaotic world of whale shark tourism
OSLOB, Philippines, 30 August 2018 (NatGeog) - In this town, near the southern tip of Cebu Island in the Philippines, whale sharks are a big draw. Tourism is booming for people who want to watch, swim with, and take photographs next to the world’s biggest fish.

As Bali reclamation project dies, activists seek conservation status
DENPASAR, Indonesia, 30 August 2018 (Mongabay) - Hundreds of people in Bali are celebrating a key victory against a multi-billion-dollar land reclamation project that would have destroyed vast swaths of mangroves on the resort island.

This small island is at the center of an engineering revolution
NEW YORK, US, 29 August 2018 (Forbes) - Most people know the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England, as an idyllic vacation destination. But it has another identity: the center of the world’s offshore wind turbine industry.

Nauru's asylum seeker tents demolished
LONDON, UK, 29 August 2018 (Guardian) - Nauru’s government has moved asylum seekers out of the detention centre and demolished the tents ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum next week.

Huge decline in rare seabird numbers
LONDON, UK, 29 August 2018 (BBC) - Scotland's population of Arctic Skuas could become extinct if the decline in numbers is not halted, according to a study conducted at 33 colonies in Orkney, Shetland and Handa by the RSPB.

Puerto Rico increases Hurricane Maria death toll to 2,975
LONDON, UK, 29 August 2018 (BBC) - Officials in Puerto Rico now say 2,975 people died following Hurricane Maria - a devastating storm that struck the US island territory in September 2017. The revised death toll is nearly 50 times the previous estimate of 64.

Remote islands harbour higher numbers of non-native species
VIENNA, Austria, 28 August 2018 (Phys.org) - The effects of island remoteness from the mainland on the number of species found on islands differs strongly for non-native compared to native species. Numbers of native species on islands decrease with greater remoteness, while numbers of non-native species increase.

Graft and government policy align to keep Indonesia burning coal
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 28 August 2018 (Mongabay) - A far-reaching corruption scandal centered on a proposed power plant in Indonesia has cast a shadow over the country’s risky reliance on coal as a supposedly cheap source of energy.

Indigenous architecture saves lives in Lombok quakes
BELEQ, Indonesia, 28 August 2018 (Mongabay) - Huge earthquakes have devastated the Indonesian island of Lombok in recent weeks killing hundreds of people. Many more lost their homes in the disaster but where houses made of concrete and brick collapsed, or were severely damaged in the quakes, traditional houses made of wood and bamboo remained standing.

How safe drinking water in rural Vanuatu will save women time
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 27 August 2018 (IPS) - Access to safe water for drinking and an adequate supply of water for other purposes is challenging in the rural areas of Vanuatu. A new project, that uses solar water pumping technology, will save time and energy for rural women whose task it is to collect and make water more accessible to their communities.

Chagos Islands dispute: UK 'threatened' Mauritius
LONDON, UK, 27 August 2018 (BBC) - The British government has been accused of threatening a close ally in an increasingly bitter diplomatic tug-of-war over the fate of a tiny, strategic archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Indonesia's land swap program puts communities in a bind
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 27 August 2018 (Mongabay) - Last year the inhabitants of Konbaki village in the Indonesian island province of East Nusa Tenggara filed a request to farm some 174 hectares, about 430 acres, of land in their village.

Sri Lanka mass grave: Dozens of skeletons found in Mannar
MANNAR, Sri Lanka, 27 August 2018 (BBC) - Experts in northern Sri Lanka are trying to identify the remains of dozens of bodies in a mass grave in the country's former war zone.

The forest beekeepers of Zanzibar
LONDON, UK, 27 August 2018 (BBC) - The indigenous forests of the Zanzibar archipelago have suffered because of intensive farming to produce the spices for which the islands are famous.

Would you welcome a wolf in your back yard?
LONDON, UK, 26 August 2018 (Observer) - Earlier this year, two unexpected guests crossed the sea to reach the largest of the Åland Islands, an archipelago of 6,700 mostly tiny isles between Sweden and Finland.

Islands seek sustainable mobility
ATHENS, Greece, 26 August 2018 (Kathimerini) - Several Greek island municipalities are in the process of drafting plans to promote sustainable transport and tackle the effects of a surge in the population from summer visitors.

Why some men in PNG cut their skin to resemble crocodiles
LONDON, UK, 26 August 2018 (BBC) - The spirit houses - or Haus Tambaran - along the Sepik river in northern Papua New Guinea are the focal points for a regional belief system which reveres spirits manifesting as animals.

Another mass fish kill hits Indonesia's largest lake
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 24 August 2018 (Mongabay) - Millions of fish in floating cages died suddenly this week in Lake Toba, the biggest lake in Indonesia.

The battle to keep French isle McDonald's-free
DOLUS D'OLERON, France, 24 August 2018 (Guardian) - Inside a ramshackle former holiday club on the picturesque Île d’Oléron off France’s Atlantic coast, a group of people were screen-printing old T-shirts with anti-burger slogans inspired by the student protests of May 1968.

Kelp dredging proposal criticised by Scottish conservationists
LONDON, UK, 24 August 2018 (Guardian) - A proposal to mechanically dredge kelp forests off the coast of Scotland has led to an outcry from conservationists, who say it would destroy local ecosystems.

Bird thought extinct rediscovered in Bahamas
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 23 August 2018 (BirdLife) - The Bahama Nuthatch, an endangered bird feared to be wiped out by a storm that ripped through Grand Bahama in 2016, has been sighted for the first time in nearly two years. But with less than a handful of individuals remaining, does the bird have a future?

Overfishing causes crisis in Philippines
GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines, 23 August 2018 (Guardian) - Raul Gomez is an old man who fishes with five crew on a clipper in the seas known as the coral triangle, and he has spent two months now without taking enough to feed his family.

Comoros power grab rejected by opposition
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, 23 August 2018 (IPS) - President Azali Assoumani of the Comoros Islands is tightening his grip on power. First, he insisted on holding a referendum allowing him to extend his term of office and abolish the country’s constitutional court. Which he won.

Chuukese defiant about independence from FSM
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 23 August 2018 (RNZ) - Efforts are continuing to have Chuuk leave the Federated States of Mircronesia (FSM) despite warnings its departure would adversely impact the island group. The FSM consists of the states of Pohnpei, Yap, Kosrae and Chuuk but around 50,000 Chuukese are scheduled to take part in a secession vote next March.

If Vanuatu can ban single use plastics, so can other countries
PORT VILA, Vanuatu, 21 August 2018 (IPS) - Last month, Vanuatu became one of the first in the world to implement a ban on single use plastic bags, straws and polystyrene food containers.

Nicobar Islands lost 97% of mangrove cover following 2004 tsunami
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 21 August 2018 (Mongabay) - Superseding initial reports that documented 60 to 70 percent mangrove cover loss, a new study reveals that in fact 97 percent of mangrove cover in the Nicobar Islands was razed due to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

New perspective on how lemurs got to Madagascar
LONDON, UK, 21 August 2018 (BBC) - Scientists believe the story of how lemurs arrived on Madagascar is more complex than we thought. After looking again at the fossil evidence, they question the idea that lemurs have been evolving in isolation on the island for 50 million years.

Skull could offer clues to date of Eigg massacre
LONDON, UK, 21 August 2018 (BBC) - Historians are hoping to accurately date a notorious 16th Century massacre on the Isle of Eigg by carbon dating a skull.

New waste initiatives for Niue on the horizon
SUVA, Fiji, 21 August 2018 (SPREP) - Niue is entering a new era on the journey for a Cleaner Pacific with the very first Niue Waste Recycling facility to be built. 

Kiribati Kaoki Maange System, over a decade of operation
SUVA, Fiji, 21 August 2018 (SPREP) - Known as the “Kaoki Maange” System (return rubbish) there is a ‘money-back’ process in place for aluminium cans, PET bottles and used car batteries in Kiribati.

Komodo protesters say no to development
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 21 August 2018 (Mongabay) - Locals and activists have denounced plans to build tourism infrastructure in Indonesia’s Komodo National Park, a string of sun-kissed islands best known for their resident giant lizards.

Arctic's strongest sea ice breaks up for first time on record
LONDON, UK, 21 August 2018 (Guardian) - The oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen, even in summer.

Deposit to be applied to alcohol in glass bottles in Seychelles
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 21 August 2018 (SNA) -  A deposit of SCR2 will be applied to alcoholic drinks in glass bottles beginning in October in an effort to incentivise recycling and cut down on litter in Seychelles.

Orkney tidal turbine generating phenomenal result
LONDON, UK, 21 August 2018 (BBC) - A flagship tidal energy turbine has generated more electricity in its first year than Scotland's entire wave and tidal sector produced before it.

Human rights groups call for children to be taken off Nauru
LONDON, UK, 20 August 2018 (BBC) - A group of human rights organisations has demanded the Australian government remove all child asylum seekers held on the Pacific island of Nauru.

Plastic bag levy reduces plastic usage in Fiji
SUVA, Fiji, 20 August 2018 (SPREP) - Fiji used approximately 70 million plastic bags in 2010.  Since the introduction of the new levy in August 2017, this number has dropped by almost half, peaking at just over half a million plastic bags in January 2018.

PM of Fiji opens the second Clean Pacific Roundtable
SUVA, Fiji. 20 August 2018 (SPREP) - The Clean Pacific Roundtable opened today to a call from the Prime Minister of Fiji, Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, urging delegates to aim for maximum ambition in the quest for a Cleaner Pacific.

Ban on killer sunscreens urged to save Pacific corals
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 20 August 2018 (RNZ) - Pacific islands are being urged to consider following Hawaii and ban certain sunscreens to protect their coral reefs.

Dayak women grapple with the impacts of oil palm plantations
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 20 August 2018 (Mongabay) - Oil palm plantations have expanded voraciously in Indonesia, increasing by 4,500 square kilometers per year from 1995 to 2015, and almost all permits issued in East Kalimantan are in blocks or grids that pay little attention to natural features, such as rivers, or the land claims of local communities.