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Mauritius: PM Anerood Jugnauth to hand over to son
LONDON, UK, 22 January 2017 (BBC) - Mauritian Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth says he is stepping down to hand power to his son, Pravind.

Ex-leader of Maldives plans return to save sinking nation
PARK CITY, US, 21 January 2017 (AFP) - He faces jail in the Maldives, but former president Mohamed Nasheed says he wants to contest elections and guide his island nation away from environmental catastrophe.

Montserrat oriole is no longer critically endangered
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 20 January 2017 (BirdLife) - With two thirds of its suitable forest habitat completely destroyed, the population of Montserrat Oriole dramatically declined after a series of volcanic eruptions during the late 1990s, and suffered from the impact of invasive species.

A huge Viking manor house has been discovered on Björkö
LONDON, UK, 20 January 2017 (IBT) - The remains of a 40-metre-long Viking manor have been unearthed on the island of Björkö in Sweden.

The disappearing fishing villages of Bangladesh
LONDON, UK, 20 January 2017 (Guardian) - A row of mangrove trees sticking out of the sand, exposed by low tide off Kutubdia island in the Bay of Bengal, is all that remains of a coastal village that for generations was home to 250 families.

Activists slam giant Indonesian mill for environmental damage
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 19 January 2017 (AFP) - Green groups said Thursday that one of the world's biggest pulp mills which started production on Indonesia's Sumatra island last month was causing enormous environmental damage.

Pacific islanders call for U.S. solidarity on climate change
CANBERRA, Australia, 19 January 2017 (IPS) - Pacific leaders who are witnessing rising seas, coastal erosion and severe natural disasters in the region are alert to the new president’s declared scepticism about climate change and the contributing factor of human activities.

Sea levels could rise by six to nine metres over time
LONDON, UK, 19 January 2017 (Guardian) - Sea surface temperatures today are strikingly similar to those during the last interglacial period, when sea levels were six to nine metres above their present height, according to research.

Lubna, Christian leaders visit Sir Bani Yas monastery
SIR BANI YAS, UAE, 18 January 2017 (WAM) - The UAE’s Minister of State for Tolerance, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, and around 30 Christian leaders from the Gulf, yesterday visited the site of the early Christian monastery on Abu Dhabi’s western island of Sir Bani Yas.

Why whale sharks love Mafia Island
WASHINGTON, US, 18 January 2017 (NatGeog) - In some places, whale sharks routinely swim between countries, even on a daily basis. But at Mafia Island - a New York City-sized atoll just off the coast of Tanzania - the world’s largest fish are such regulars that scientists started to name them.

Japan to seek UNESCO listing of remote islands
TOKYO, Japan, 18 January 2017 (Japan Times) - The government plans to submit a proposal to UNESCO by around the end of the month to add a number of islands in the country’s southwest to the natural sites on the World Heritage list.

People power in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, 18 January 2017 (Guardian) - For years a graffiti message has appeared throughout San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital, as an urgent demand: Dragado ya! (meaning “dredging now!”).

Nothing to eat but cactus in Madagascar's hunger capital
ANJAPALY, Madagascar, 18 January 2017 (AFP) - A black ribbon is strapped around Karaniteny's straw hat: a symbol of mourning after she lost her 10-year-old daughter Vahana to the devastation of severe drought in October.

Taiwan carries out drills amid rising fears of Chinese invasion
TAIPEI, Taiwan, 18 January 2017 (Guardian) - The Taiwanese military is preparing for a Chinese invasion as fears grow about the impact that future Donald Trump policies towards Beijing may have on regional stability.

Barack Obama transfers $500m to Green Climate Fund
LONDON, UK, 18 January 2017 (Guardian) - Barack Obama has heeded calls to help secure the future of the historic Paris agreement by transferring a second $500m instalment to the Green Climate Fund, just three days before he leaves office.

As his presidency ends, many reflect on Obama's legacy in islands
HONOLULU, Hawaii, 18 January 2017 (HawaiiNewsNow) - Eight years ago, a fresh-faced U.S. senator who represented Illinois and grew up in Hawaii surprised the nation by defeating Washington veteran U.S. Sen. John McCain to become the first black man elected to the White House.

New snail species discovered on Kimberley islands
BROOME, Australia, 18 January 2017 (ABC) - They may be slow-moving and somewhat sluggish, but 150 new species of snail have been discovered by scientists in Australia's far north - proving the slimy molluscs are surprisingly well-travelled.

Anticosti Island aims to be recognized as UNESCO heritage site
MONTREAL, Canada, 17 January 2017 (CP) - The picturesque Quebec municipality of Anticosti Island is trying to become a UNESCO world heritage site.

Climate change eats away Lennox Island
LONDON, UK, 17 January 2017 (Guardian) - Rising sea levels mean that Lennox Island, off the coast of Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada, has lost more than 400 acres in just a few generations. Now its First Nations community wonders if it has a future.

Is the Philippines communist insurgency nearly over?
LONDON, UK, 17 January 2017 (BBC) - The Philippines government is due to begin peace talks with communist rebels on 18 January which could end one of Asia's longest insurgencies.

HSBC funding Indonesian forest destruction
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 17 January 2017 (AFP) - Greenpeace on Tuesday accused banking giant HSBC of helping to arrange billions of dollars in financing for companies whose palm oil operations have been blamed for destroying vast swathes of Indonesian rainforest.

French Polynesia signs first floating city deal
LONDON, UK, 17 January 2017 (BBC) - French Polynesia has signed an agreement that supporters hope could pave the way for autonomous floating cities around the world,

How local elites earn money from burning land in Indonesia
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 16 January 2017 (Mongabay) - A “fire economy” has emerged in Indonesia in which the blazes tearing through the country’s land and forests, driven largely by the global demand for palm oil, are lining the pockets of local elites and their patronage networks, according to a new study.

Pitcairn island with just 42 people gets £18m in UK foreign aid
LONDON, UK, 16 January 2017 (Express) - More than £17.9 million of UK taxpayer’s money has provided a school, health centre and ferry service to the those living on Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific halfway between Peru and New Zealand since 2011.

White-capped albatross census at the Auckland Islands
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 16 January 2017 (Scoop) - Scientists are heading to the Auckland Islands on Wednesday to complete an annual census of the white-capped albatross.

New book reveals shocking treatment of Scottish islanders
GLASGOW, UK, 16 January 2017 (The National) - Historian Ben Buxton’s award-winning book, Mingulay: An Island and Its People, tells the story of life on a small, cliff-girt island in the Outer Hebrides from the earliest times to the present.

Egypt court upholds ruling halting transfer of islands to Saudi Arabia
LONDON, UK, 16 January 2017 (BBC) - A top Egyptian court has upheld a ruling halting a plan to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

Philippines Duterte threatens martial law
LONDON, UK, 15 January 2017 (BBC) - Martial law could be imposed in the Philippines if the drugs problem worsens, President Rodrigo Duterte has said.

Passion for futsal helps reunite Solomon Islands
SYDNEY, Australia, 14 January 2017 (ABC) - Introducing a new sport to a country on the brink of collapse — in an attempt to provide new hope to an entire generation — was an ambitious project.

South China Sea: China media warn US over confrontation
LONDON, UK, 13 January 2017 (BBC) - Blocking China from islands it has built in contested waters would lead to "devastating confrontation", Chinese state media have warned.

The Cuban recession and the introduction of public bonds
CALI, Cuba, 13 January 2017 (IPS) - The macroeconomic data for the close of the year provided by the Cuban government confirms the projections that Cuba would enter a recession as a result of the Venezuelan shock.

Almost 75% of Japan's biggest coral reef has died from bleaching
TOKYO, Japan, 12 January 2017 (Guardian) - The Japanese environment ministry said that 70% of the Sekisei lagoon in Okinawa had been killed by a phenomenon known as bleaching.

Indonesia adds more than 1,100 to the official tally of its islands
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 12 January 2017 (Mongabay) - The archipelagic country of Indonesia has revised upward the official count of its islands, from 13,466 to 14,572.

US should block China from new islands
LONDON, UK, 12 January 2017 (BBC) - The US should block access to islands built by China in contested waters of the South China Sea, Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of state says.

Cyprus peace talks: Can Cypriots heal their divided island?
LONDON, UK, 12 January 2017 (BBC) - Abdullah Cangil is a 66-year-old Turkish Cypriot, living in Morphou - a border town on the divided island of Cyprus.

Tristan da Cunha expedition
WASHINGTON, US, 11 January 2017 (NatGeog) - In collaboration with the Royal Society for the Protections of Birds and the Tristan da Cunha government, National Geographic Pristine Seas is conducting an expedition to Tristan da Cunha and its surrounding islands

Philippine minister says Dora can't explore pristine Palawan
MANILA, Philippines, 11 January 2017 (AFP) - American children's television network Nickelodeon will not be allowed to build an underwater theme park on one of the nation's most pristine islands, the Philippine environment minister said Wednesday.

Walrus Islands designated as national historic landmark
WASHINGTON, US, 11 January 2017 (ADN) - Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Wednesday announced designation of a historic landmark in Southwest Alaska's Walrus Islands.

Summer Science: The battle for our islands
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 11 January 2017 (NZ Herald) - In 1964, conservation pioneer Don Merton and others declared Maria Island in the Hauraki Gulf predator-free. What was the significance of this and what has happened since in New Zealand island conservation?

Indonesian islands pay price for global smartphone rush
SUNGAI LIAT, Indonesia, 11 January 2017 (AFP) - Deep beneath the murky ocean, Paci breathes through a thin plastic tube as he dredges the seabed for tin, a vital component inside smartphones and tablets that’s brought riches and ruin to his island home.

Malta accused of being tax haven as it takes EU presidency
BRUSSELS, Belgium, 11 January 2017 (Guardian) - Malta has been accused of being a tax haven, just as it takes the helm of the European Union in a critical year for the bloc’s crackdown on tax avoidance.

Philippines President Duterte pushes free contraceptives
LONDON, UK, 11 January 2017 (BBC) - Government agencies in the Philippines have been ordered to offer free contraceptives to an estimated six million women who cannot obtain them.

Vietnamese poachers are rocking the boat in the Pacific
SUVA, Fiji, 10 January 2017 (PACNEWS) - "Blue Boats," a phantom fleet of marginally registered fishing vessels, set sail from small villages in Vietnam to venture out and spread throughout the Pacific. Made of wood and painted in a hue that blends invisibly with the ocean, these boats are virtually undetectable to 21st-century marine radar.

Are tiny grazers the new hope for Caribbean reefs
PANAMA CITY, Panama, 10 January 2017 (SPX) - Thirty years ago a mysterious disease wiped out long-spined black sea urchins across the Caribbean, leading to massive algal overgrowth that smothered already overfished coral reefs.

World’s most endangered fruit bat could soon be extinct
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 10 January 2017 (Mongabay) - Widespread deforestation is causing severe population decline in the little-known Livingstone’s fruit bat found only on two small islands of Anjouan and Mohéli in the Comoros archipelago.

Palau leader proposes luxury only tourism
LONDON, UK, 10 January 2017 (BBC) - Palau wants to cut the number of tourists visiting its idyllic shores by making it a more expensive place to visit.

Taiwan’s illegal factories threaten food safety
TAIPEI, Taiwan, 9 January 2017 (ENS) - Factories illegally built on farms have become a massive threat to food safety in Taiwan. A recent survey shows that at least 60 percent of these factories are of high pollution potential.

Bahrain shows the way for Gulf countries to protect their biodiversity
NAIROBI, Kenya, 9 January 2017 (UNEP) - An archipelago off the coast of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain was once made up of 33 islands before extensive land reclamation increased the number to 84.

East Timor axes Australia border treaty over oil reserves
LONDON, UK, 9 January 2017 (BBC) - East Timor says it wants to tear up a controversial 2006 maritime border treaty with Australia which has soured relations between the two countries.

Hope for a fresh settlement in Cyprus
LONDON, UK, 8 January 2017 (BBC) - There is small corner of Europe where time has stood still since 1974. Whole neighbourhoods lie deserted. Houses crumble gently into empty streets.

Sri Lanka protest over Chinese investment turns ugly
LONDON, UK, 7 January 2017 (BBC) - Several people have been injured in southern Sri Lanka during a protest against allowing China to build a port and industrial zone.

Tourism: Boon or threat for the Galapagos?
BONN, Germany, 6 January 2017 (DW) - It's only 8:00 a.m., and already hot and humid. The cruise ship Silver Galápagos, with 100 passengers on board, is anchored in Great Darwin Bay, which looks like a bite chomped out of Genovesa Island.

NOAA plans to open federal waters in Pacific to fish farming
HONOLULU, Hawaii, 6 January 2017 (AP) - As traditional commercial fishing is threatening fish populations worldwide, U.S. officials are working on a plan to expand fish farming into federal waters around the Pacific Ocean.

Taiwan politician's funeral features 50 pole dancers
LONDON, UK, 6 January 2017 (BBC) - A Taiwanese funeral featuring 50 pole dancers has become the talk of the Chinese internet this week.

Australia and Indonesia: A tense but pragmatic relationship
LONDON, UK, 5 January 2017 (BBC) - In the wake of Indonesia's abrupt suspension of military ties with Australia, the relationship between the two countries is once again under strain.

Rethinking inclusive sustainable coastal tourism in Cox's Bazar
GLAND, Switzerland, 5 January 2017 (IUCN) - Located north-west of Cox’s Bazar town, the island of Sonadia has been identified by the Government of Bangladesh as an ‘Ecologically Critical Area’ or ECA to protect it from over exploitation.

Arctic coastlines turn to mudslides
LONDON, UK, 5 January 2017 (IBT) - One coast retreating fast is that of Herschel Island off the coast of Canada in the Beaufort Sea. At Herschel, thawed permafrost is collapsing in the form of mudslides, spreading out into the coastal waters in sediment plumes stretching for miles.

Island sanctuaries vital as Australia grapples with feral cat problem
PERTH, Australia, 5 January 2017 (ABC) - A national study involving more than 40 scientists and almost 100 field studies has found feral cats cover 99.8 per cent of Australia's land mass, with pest-free islands providing rare sanctuaries for native wildlife.

Polar ship's Antarctic base gets £100m upgrade
LONDON, UK, 5 January 2017 (BBC) - The UK's largest Antarctic research station at Rothera on Adelaide Island is to receive a £100m upgrade funded by the government. The money will also fund the modernisation of buildings and facilities at British Antarctic Survey stations in Signy in the South Orkney Islands and at Bird Island and King Edward Point, both in South Georgia.

Climate change: Fresh doubt over global warming pause
LONDON, UK, 5 January 2017 (BBC) - A controversial study that found there has been no slowdown in global warming has been supported by new research.

Local NGOs: Ecosystem services, not orangutans, key to saving Leuser
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 4 January 2017 (Mongabay) - Five years ago, there were likely very few people outside of Indonesia who’d ever heard of a place called the Leuser ecosystem. Today, this enormous and besieged tropical rainforest on the Indonesian island of Sumatra is on its way to becoming as well known as the Amazon in terms of its unique wildlife and its worldwide conservation significance.

French bank backs out of financing Indonesian coal plant
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 4 January 2017 (Mongabay) - French bank Société Générale has confirmed that it will not finance the expansion of Tanjung Jati B-2 coal plant project in the Jepara district of Indonesia’s Central Java province.

Revillagigedo Islands: The Mexican Galapagos
MERIDA, Mexico, 4 January 2017 (Yucatan Times) - The Archipelago of Revillagigedo was inscribed on the World Natural Heritage List of UNESCO “because it contains exceptional values in its natural terrestrial and marine richness.”

Barra flag recognition could boost economy
LONDON, UK, 4 January 2017 (BBC) - Campaigners have said the official recognition of the Barra flag could boost the island's identity.

Hawaii residents renew push for stricter pesticide rules
HONOLULU, Hawaii, 3 January 2017 (AP) - Hawaii residents concerned about pesticide use by major agriculture companies on the islands are planning a push to strengthen regulation over chemicals they fear harm their health.

Other small islands face debt struggles too
HAMILTON, Bermuda, 3 January 2017 (Royal Gazette) - The UK Crown Dependency of Jersey is facing a massive deficit dubbed “the black hole”.

World's smallest elephants killed for ivory in Borneo
LONDON, UK, 3 January 2017 (Guardian) - Even the planet’s smallest elephants, tucked away on the island of Borneo, are no longer immune to the global poaching crisis for ivory.

Sudden sale may doom carbon-rich rainforest in Borneo
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 2 January 2017 (Mongabay) - For three years, a group of conservation NGOs in Sabah, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo, has been working to keep the forests from an area known as Forest Management Unit 5 out of the sawmills.

On a Fijian island, hunters become conservators of turtles
YADUA ISLAND, Fiji, 2 January 2017 (NYT) - Pita Qarau pulled his boat next to a turtle, which was trying desperately to flee the buzz of the boat’s noisy engine.

Lagavulin's 200-year anniversary boost to island of Islay
LONDON, UK, 2 January 2017 (BBC) - A whisky distillery plans to invest £580,000 in community projects to mark its 200 years on the island of Islay.

Census find sheds new light on St Kilda's history
LONDON, UK, 29 December 2016 (BBC) - Researchers have discovered the oldest known record of the population of St Kilda. The census lists 90 people living on the remote archipelago on 15 June 1764 - 38 males and 52 females, including 19 families and nine individuals.

Petronas said to eye new island for Canadian LNG plan
TORONTO, Canada, 28 December 2016 (FP) - Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. is seeking to move ahead with a proposed US$27 billion liquefied natural gas plant in western Canada after identifying a new site for shipping the fuel, a shift that may help reduce costs and quell local opposition.

Stelida archeological site on the Greek island of Naxos
TORONTO, Canada, 27 December 2016 (Star) - The first archeologists to find strange stone artifacts on Naxos were French researchers working on the Greek island in 1981.

Indonesia’s rich list stacked with palm oil billionaires
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 26 December 2016 (Mongabay) - Fourteen of the 32 Indonesian billionaires identified by Forbes magazine are palm oil tycoons, having accumulated their wealth at least in part through the industry.

Chagos islanders plead for end to 50-year exile
LONDON, UK, 24 December 2016 (Guardian) - New Year’s Eve marks the conclusion of a 50-year agreement under which the UK has allowed the US to use the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia as a military base. On New Year’s Day the agreement will be rolled over into a new one lasting a further 20 years.

Subantarctic Islands could hold secrets to global warming
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 24 December 2016 (NZ Herald) - It appears a daring operation to poison mice off the isolated Antipodes Islands has been successful.

Alaska's Bogoslof volcano in Aleutian Islands erupts again
ANCHORAGE, US, 22 December 2016 (ADN) - A volcano in the Aleutian Islands was showing "continuous" seismic activity Thursday after two eruptions that dramatically reshaped a small island closest to its vent.