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Philippines 'losing battle' as WHO records biggest jump in C-19 cases
MANILA, Philippines, 1 August 2020 (Guardian) - Senior doctors in the Philippines have pleaded with the government to impose a strict lockdown in the capital Manila or risk losing the battle to contain the spread of coronavirus.

NHS Western Isles video promotes coronavirus safety message
STORNOWAY, UK, 31 July 2020 (Hebrides News) - NHS Western Isles has joined forces with popular musicians Peat and Diesel to relaunch a music video with some key health messages on how to keep the islands safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Madagascar's lemurs susceptible to coronavirus infection
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 31 July 2020 (Mongabay) - The possibility of lemurs contracting COVID-19 is worrying Madagascar’s scientific and conservation community. Members sounded the alarm in the days following the country’s state of health emergency declaration in March, setting up an emergency unit designed to strengthen the protection of these animals, which are national emblems.

Greek islands filled with locals, not tourists
LONDON, UK, 31 July 2020 (Cruise Critic) - The Greek islands in July and August are not for the faint-hearted - and not just because of the heat. On a typical high season day, the tiny winding streets and cafes of the must-see Greek islands such as Mykonos and Santorini will be so crowded with tourists that you'll get caught up in people jams.

Unlikely alliance against Corfu luxury resort
ATHENS, Greece, 31 July 2020 (AFP) - An unlikely alliance of wealthy landowners, environment activists and residents has emerged on the Greek island of Corfu, where a disputed resort officially launched in July after a near-decade delay.

74% of Sri Lanka's freshwater fish threatened with extinction
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, 31 July 2020 (Mongabay) - A recent conservation assessment of Sri Lanka’s freshwater fish has come up with a total of 139 species, of which 61 are found nowhere else on Earth.

Ornithologists discover more rare hornbills on Philippine island
MANILA, Philippines, 31 July 2020 (Mongabay) - As a rare species of endemic hornbills disappeared from island after island in the Philippines, ornithologists pinned their hopes on Negros: a little-surveyed island in the center of the Philippine archipelago, whose remaining forest areas could potentially hide a population never before seen or recorded by experts.

Pacific Islands must stop relying on foreign aid
MAROOCHYDORE, Australia, 31 July 2020 (The Conversation) - The storm of climate change is approaching the Pacific Islands. Its likely impact has been hugely amplified by decades of global inertia and the islands’ growing dependency on developed countries.

Refugees face healthcare crisis as Lesbos C-19 centre closes
ATHENS, Greece, 31 July 2020 (Guardian) - In a fresh blow to refugees and migrants experiencing dire conditions in Greece, frontline medical charity Médecins San Frontières announced it has been forced to closed its Covid-19 isolation centre on Lesbos after authorities imposed fines and potential charges.

Rodrigo Duterte: 'I'm not joking - clean masks with petrol'
LONDON, UK, 31 July 2020 (BBC) - Philippines' president Rodrigo Duterte has once again told people to disinfect their face masks with petrol - insisting he was "not joking". There is no evidence that gasoline can disinfect masks; having prolonged contact with it can be harmful; and pouring flammable liquids can be a fire risk.

Covid-19: Why Hong Kong's 'third wave' is a warning
LONDON, UK, 31 July 2020 (BBC) - Until recently, Hong Kong was considered a poster child in its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite sharing a border with mainland China, where the first cases were reported, Hong Kong kept its infection numbers down and was able to avoid the extreme lockdown measures introduced in parts of China, Europe and the US.

The one place planning a 'feminist economic recovery' from Covid-19
LONDON, UK, 30 July 2020 (Telegraph) - Last month, a small collection of islands in Hawaii made history. In a vote at its local government office on a Friday afternoon, Maui County became the first place in the world to explicitly commit to involving and prioritising women and gender equality in its Covid-19 recovery plan. 

Extra 23 million people could face coastal flooding within 30 years
LONDON, UK, 30 July 2020 (Guardian) - The combined impacts of human-caused sea level rise, storm surges and high tides could expose an extra 23 million people to coastal flooding within the next 30 years, even with relatively ambitious cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, a new global study has found. 

Caribbean finds there's no good answer to reopening
HAVANA, Cuba, 30 July 2020 (CNN) - For many islands in the Caribbean, the coronavirus presents an impossible dilemma. Some islands have closed to visitors to protect their citizens but severed a key economic lifeline. Others have remained open to tourism and risked exposing a populace to a pandemic that has overwhelmed the capabilities of far richer countries.

Remote islands: Stepping stones to understanding evolution
OKINAWA, Japan, 30 July 2020 (ScienceDaily) - Researchers have investigated evolutionary and ecological changes in ants in the South Pacific archipelago of Fiji to examine a controversial theory for how evolution occurs on islands.

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area
SEATTLE, US, 30 July 2020 (MPA News) - On 11 December 2018, Kiribati made history by being the first country in the world to have its domestic marine conservation initiative – the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) – recognized by the United Nations General Assembly as an exemplary model of international cooperation, coordination, and collaboration in marine protection and conservation.

Pacific islands: The cost to tomorrow of the crisis today
SYDNEY, Australia, 30 July 2020 (The Interpreter) - The global economic recession triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic will have acute repercussions for the youth of today – both now and for their inheritance.

Istanbul islands switch to electric cars from horse-drawn carriages
ISTANBUL, Turkey, 30 July 2020 (Xinhua) - Istanbul's islands on Thursday switched to a new transport system with electric cars after the removal of horse-drawn carriages by local authorities over criticism from animal rights activists.

The small Pacific islands at the centre of a big power play
WASHINGTON, US, 30 July 2020 (WP) - Thousands of miles from their Taiwan Strait flash point, Beijing and Taipei are squaring off in another cross-strait dispute where old animosities collide with local grievances and coronavirus realpolitik. 

Hong Kong wants a massive new island, but where will it get the sand?
TOKYO, Japan, 29 July 2020 (Nikkei) - Plagued by a shortage of land on which to house its swelling population, Hong Kong has come up with a simple-sounding solution: make more! That's the central idea behind "Lantau Tomorrow," a plan to build 1,700 hectares of artificial land with housing for up to one million people in the ocean waters off Lantau.

Making the hotels of Sri Lanka birdwatcher-friendly
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 29 July 2020 (BirdLife) - The Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka’s “Bird Friendly Concept” has been adopted by numerous hotels, resorts, and travel agencies across Sri Lanka to the mutual benefit of birds, birders, and business.

Upgrade of Indonesian palm oil certification falls short
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 29 July 2020 (Mongabay) - An Indonesian government scheme to certify sustainable palm oil doesn’t do enough to protect human rights or the environment, and needs to accommodate input from Indigenous and forest communities, activists say.

COVID-19 is taxing Alaska's beleaguered ferry system
ANCHORAGE, US, 29 July 2020 (Hakai) - Between the pandemic, an aging fleet, and political flux, Alaska’s far-reaching ferry system has fallen on hard times.

Croatia's pristine isle of wellness
LONDON, UK, 29 July 2020 (BBC) - Known as the “healing island”, Lošinj’s excellent air quality and 2,600 hours of annual sunshine make this Croatian island a prime restorative environment.

Malta: The island hoping to be 2020's festival hotspot
LONDON, UK, 29 July 2020 (BBC) - Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has ruined many plans for the summer, one country has spotted an opportunity. Four music festivals are planned in Malta over the next few months.

Anchoring a green recovery in Sao Tome and Principe
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 28 July 2020 (BirdLife) - In wake of the COVID-19, BirdLife is adapting its conservation programmes in São Tomé and Príncipe islands to address the economic and social crisis caused by the pandemic, seeking to herald a green future in this island state.

Martial law fuel attacks on Philippine environmental defenders
MANILA, Philippines, 28 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Attacks on environmental and land defenders in the Philippines have escalated under President Rodrigo Duterte, with at least 43 deaths in 2019, watchdog group Global Witness says in its latest report.

Hundreds of Chinese fishing vessels near Galapagos Islands
QUITO, Ecuador, 28 July 2020 (Guardian) - Ecuador has sounded the alarm after its navy discovered a huge fishing fleet of mostly Chinese-flagged vessels some 200 miles from the Galapagos Islands, the archipelago which inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

App harnesses citizen power to keep tabs on Philippines coral reefs
MANILA, Philippines, 27 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Given that the Philippines has an estimated 33,500 square kilometers of reefs, a volunteer group is relying on a small but growing army of citizen scientists to keep track of bleaching events by submitting photos online or through an app.

Indonesian fishers face livelihood threat from tourism project
MAJENE, Indonesia, 27 July 2020 (Mongabay) - On a breezy afternoon, fishermen are preparing to set sail from a beach on the western coast of Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. Not far off, two excavators dredge earth from the coast as part of land reclamation project for a municipal development.

We would like the French state to apologise
MELBOURNE, Australia, 27 July 2020 (Inside Story) - Nuclear survivors in French Polynesia are calling for changes to the law that governs compensation for people exposed to radiation during French nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

Gabbard urges 'fresh eyes' on Marshall Islands nuclear site
LOS ANGELES, US, 27 July 2020 (LA Times) - One of Hawaii’s high-profile politicians has dismissed a recent Department of Energy report concluding that a leaking U.S. nuclear waste repository in the Marshall Islands is safe for people there.

The German-Danish TV drama that foresaw Covid-19
BERLIN, Germany, 27 July 2020 (Guardian) - It sounds like a plot inspired by Covid-19, but in fact, Sløborn, a joint German-Danish production for TV, was filmed last year on the German East Frisian island of Nordeney. The show tells the story of how life on a fictitious island descends into chaos and destruction as a virus originating from China takes hold. 

Maria Island has been closed to visitors during the pandemic
HOBART, Australia, 26 July 2020 (ABC) - COVID-19 meant Maria Island, popular with tourists and locals alike, was closed to visitors for several months, creating unique circumstances for the rangers left behind to caretake.

Luck? Genetics? Italian island spared from COVID outbreak
GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy, 26 July 2020 (AP) - Stranded on a tiny Italian island, a cancer researcher grew increasingly alarmed to hear that one, and then three more visitors had fallen ill with COVID-19.

Hawaii avoided a C-19 spike - but its tourist economy is shattered
LONDON, UK, 26 July 2020 (Guardian) - Like many Hawaiians, Wallace has been working in tourism since she graduated high school five years ago, and started her front-desk job in December. Then the pandemic came and Wallace lost her job, as Hawaii was forced to make a literally life-changing decision: close down to stop Covid-19 and weather an economic maelstrom unseen in decades.

'Geofencing' helps reduce Sri Lanka's human-elephant conflict
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, 26 July 2020 (Mongabay) - In the past two decades, Sri Lankan scientists have pioneered an effort to track the movements of more than 100 elephants using GPS satellite tracking collars.

What would remote working in Barbados really be like?
LONDON, UK, 26 July 2020 (BBC) - The Barbados Welcome Stamp, which has just started taking applications, gives international visitors the opportunity to work remotely on the island for up to a year.

Highest-ever temperature recorded in Norwegian Arctic archipelago
OSLO, Norway, 25 July 2020 (AFP) - Norway's Arctic archipelago Svalbard on Saturday recorded its highest-ever temperature of 21.7 degrees, the country's meteorological institute reported.

Coronavirus: Spain drives fears of European 'second wave'
LONDON, UK, 25 July 2020 (BBC) - Spain is taking new measures to cut a spike in coronavirus cases, amid fears of a more widespread "second wave". The UK says all those returning from Spain must self-isolate for 14 days from Sunday and this includes the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands.

Scottish island looking for new residents to join population of 30
LONDON, UK, 25 July 2020 (Independent) - The Isle of Rum, which lies off  Scotland's west coast, has urged people interested to apply to live in new houses being built. The homes are based in Kinloch, the only village on the remote island, which currently has a population of about 30.

Australia denounces Beijing's South China Sea claims
LONDON, UK, 25 July 2020 (Guardian) - Australia has declared “there is no legal basis” to China’s territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea, marking an escalation of recent tensions with Beijing and bringing Canberra further in line with Washington.

Free ferry scheme swamps Danish islands with extra tourists
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 24 July 2020 (The Local) - Islanders on Fanø, which is close to west coast city Esbjerg, say they are tired of the spike in tourism this year, a result of the increase in Danes holidaying domestically as the coronavirus crisis curbs international travel.

COVID-19: No return to 'old normal', says UN health chief
GENEVA, Switzerland, 24 July 2020 (WHO) - COVID-19 cases worldwide have surpassed 15 million, and nearly 620,000 deaths. On Thursday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) urged people everywhere to play a part in preventing further spread of the disease, warning that there will be no return to “the old normal”. Most cases, or 10 million, were in just 10 countries, with the United States, Brazil and India accounting for nearly half.

IFC attempt to commercialize Madagascar's beef industry falters
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 24 July 2020 (Mongabay) - In 2018, the IFC, the arm of the World Bank that invests in the private sector, approved a $7 million investment in a company that wanted to buy zebu cattle from farmers in Madagascar and export the beef mainly to rich Middle Eastern countries.

New wave of boat migrants overwhelms southern Italian island
LAMPEDUSA, Italy, 24 July 2020 (Reuters) - About 100 migrants who crossed the Mediterranean in small boats landed on the southern island of Lampedusa during the night, the latest in a wave of arrivals straining an already overcrowded holding centre.

Coronavirus lockdowns reduced human 'rumble'
LONDON, UK, 24 July 2020 (BBC) - Everything we do - from driving our cars to operating our factories - produces ground motions that can be detected by seismometers. An international team of researchers says this noise fell by up to half when coronavirus restrictions were enforced.

PNG hospitals brace for Covid-19 surge
PORT MORESBY, PNG, 24 July 2020 (Guardian) - Papua New Guinea’s Covid-19 outbreak could overwhelm its health system within days, the country’s pandemic chief has warned, as masks have been made compulsory in the capital, and the government has called in the World Health Organization and the military for help. 

Cost of preventing next pandemic by protecting wildlife and forests
LONDON, UK, 23 July 2020 (Guardian) - The cost of preventing further pandemics over the next decade by protecting wildlife and forests would equate to just 2% of the estimated financial damage caused by Covid-19, according to a new analysis.

Trinidad skilfully handles C-19 but falls short with wildlife
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, 23 July 2020 (IPS) - Most of  the countries in the Caribbean have done a great job of containing the COVID-19 pandemic, with a few notable exceptions, namely, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. A University of Oxford study highlighted Trinidad and Tobago as being among the most successful. However, management of wildlife and illegal hunting in that country remains ineffective. 

European islands: trailblazers of the EU Green Deal
BRUSSELS, Belgium, 23 July 2020 (Revolve) - European islands are in an eminently favorable position to be trailblazers of the European Green Deal and the green energy transition. There are more than 2,200 inhabited islands in the EU, where 15 million Europeans live. They usually have access to a rich array of renewable energy sources, such as wind, sun, wave and tide.

A Maine lobsterwoman fights for her livelihood
LONDON, UK, 23 July 2020 (Guardian) - Lobsterwoman Julie Eaton lives on Deer Isle, and fishes Penobscot Bay – a deep blue inlet of the Gulf of Maine, dotted by working waterfronts, rocky islands, wooden schooners and lobster buoys. I ask her what it’s like to start lobster season.

The Arctic Ocean is becoming more like the Atlantic and Pacific
ANCHORAGE, US, 23 July 2020 (Arctic Today) - A new Arctic Ocean is emerging with more algae blooms, bigger waves and more similarities to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, according to a series of recently released studies.

Covid-19 devastates Thailand's tourist islands
KOH SAMUI, Thailand, 23 July 2020 (Guardian) - The streets of Koh Samui, one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations, are eerily quiet. Along Chaweng’s Beach Road, a usually raucous party area, shuttered shops stretch into the distance.

Giant, fruit-gulping pigeon eaten into extinction on Pacific islands
GAINESVILLE, US, 22 July 2020 (ScienceDaily) - A large fruit-eating bird from Tonga joins the dodo in the lineup of giant island pigeons hunted to extinction.

Scottish islands to see major financial investment over 15 years
LONDON, UK, 22 July 2020 (BBC) - The Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland are to receive £100m in government investment. The Scottish and UK governments are to each to provide up to £50m in investment as part of the Islands Growth Deal. Tourism, infrastructure, innovation, energy and skills will be targeted for funding.

Turkey-Greece tensions escalate over Turkish Med drilling plans
LONDON, UK, 22 July 2020 (BBC) - Greece has issued a naval alert after Turkey announced it was sending a ship to carry out a drilling survey in waters close to a Greek island off Turkey's south coast.

Madagascar hospitals overwhelmed with coronavirus
LONDON, UK, 22 July 2020 (BBC) - Hospitals in Madagascar have warned they are overwhelmed after a spike in coronavirus cases in a country where the president has been promoting a herbal drink to treat the virus.

How the pandemic changed kava drink-sharing among Fijians
SYDNEY, Australia, 22 July 2020 (SBS) - Kava, a mildly narcotic drink made from the root of the pepper plant, is used for ceremonial and social purposes in Fiji. It is prepared for celebrations, bereavement, and to welcome visitors to one’s village.

Reef sharks are in major decline worldwide
WASHINGTON, US, 22 July 2020 (NatGeog) - In a sweeping survey of 371 reefs across 58 countries, from the Central Pacific to the Bahamas, scientists discovered that about 20 percent were devoid of sharks. As essential apex predators, sharks help keep fish populations healthy by eating sick individuals and preventing prey numbers from exploding.

Sri Lanka: Rich in biodiversity, and human-wildlife conflict
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, 22 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Human-wildlife encounters have increased rapidly in recent years and go beyond elephants and leopards. Competition has grown over the shared space between humans and wildlife due to encroachment, deforestation, habitat degradation, and climate change, putting humans and animals in conflict over land, water and resources.

Swedish island hires 'Covid Knights'
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 21 July 2020 (The Local) - The so-called ‘Covid Knights' are set to visit some of Gotland's most popular sites this summer, including beaches and the medieval town of Visby, carrying signs with messages such as "keep your distance", "stay at home if you have symptoms" and "wash your hands often".

Indonesia presses China for witness in deaths of fishing boat crews
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 21 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Indonesian authorities say they’re still waiting for China’s response to a request to turn over a witness in an investigation into alleged human trafficking that led to the deaths of four workers on board Chinese-flagged fishing vessels.

An abandoned British island reclaimed by nature
LONDON, UK, 21 July 2020 (BBC) - Marooned in the South Atlantic Ocean between Argentina and Antarctica, the glaciated peaks and billowing tundra grasses of South Georgia cast a dramatic scene.

Exotic insect species increase on islands through human impact
HELSINKI, Finland, 20 July 2020 (ScienceDaily) - A new study reveals that the diversity of exotic species of insects, spiders and other arthropods in the Azores is increasing. This pattern has also been observed in other islands around the world, which can contribute to aggravate the current biodiversity crisis.

Sediment plumes from deep-sea mining could pollute ocean
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 20 July 2020 (Mongabay) - A new opinion piece suggests that deep-sea mining would generate damaging sediment plumes and noise pollution that would negatively affect the midwater column, a critical ocean ecosystem that begins 200 meters (660 feet) below the surface of the sea.

WHO reports record single-day global increase in cases
LONDON, UK, 19 July 2020 (BBC) - The number of new cases of coronavirus rose by almost 260,000 in 24 hours - the largest single-day increase since the pandemic began, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday. The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus passed 14 million on Saturday, with over 600,000 recorded deaths, according to the tally kept by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

Off the grid on a homemade island
TOFINO, Canada, 19 July 2020 (CNN) - Ten miles north of Tofino, British Columbia, off the west coast of Vancouver Island, Catherine King and Wayne Adams live on a sustainable, floating compound. It's called "Freedom Cove," a labor of love, hand-built using recycled and salvaged materials. It's been their home for the past 29 years.

Shopping for a private island in a pandemic
LONDON, UK, 19 July 2020 (BBC) - Social distancing during a pandemic is not so much of a problem if you have your own private island to escape to. The sale of Horse Island, which lies just off the County Cork coast in southern Ireland, attracted interest "from all corners of the globe," according to the agents who helped seal the deal. 

COVID-19: A grave danger looms over the Andaman Islands
DELHI, India, 18 July 2020 (The Hindu) - As the world reels from the impact of C-19, evidence from the Amazon shows that the pandemic disproportionately affects remote indigenous people. Given this, a grave danger looms over the Andaman Islands, which are home to four historically isolated communities, and all of them belong to particularly vulnerable tribal groups.

Eigg islanders ask visitors to stay away for now
ABERDEEN, UK, 18 July 2020 (P&J) - The community-owned island has closed all self-catering, hostel and guest house accommodation, as well as its café and restaurant, until August 31 to discourage any visits from day trippers, campers or sailors.

An island that has kept coronavirus at bay
KOCHI, India, 17 July 2020 (The Hindu) - The Lakshadweep archipelago, with a total land area of 32 sq km and home to about 70,000 people, has not reported a single COVID-19 case so far though cases are rising in other parts of the country.

Can climate refugees have hope?
NEW YORK, US, 17 July 2020 (PT) - Human-caused climate change is, without doubt, significantly impacting us and the planet now. How much does it affect or force migration?

Mass tourism has troubled Mallorca for decades. Can it change?
WASHINGTON, US, 17 July 2020 (Nat.Geog) - The first days of June dawned in a Spain hushed by the coronavirus pandemic. By then, more than 27,000 Spaniards had died of COVID-19, and the country was midway through a 10-day mourning period honoring their lives.

Bermuda pitches island life as escape from pandemic madness
NEW YORK, US, 17 July 2020 (Bloomberg) - The British Overseas Territory of 64,000, known for its pink sand shorelines and balmy climate, is offering one-year, renewable residency certificates for remote workers and post-secondary students. It’s pitching itself as a refuge as Covid-19 cases continue to climb in other countries and upend rules about where people can work.

Double whammy for Madagascar environmental regulator
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 17 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Madagascar’s top environmental regulator has been hit by a one-two punch of its headquarters going up in flames and its director-general being fired, all within the space of just two days this past week.

Protests predicted to surge globally as Covid-19 drives unrest
LONDON, UK, 17 July 2020 (Guardian) - The economic impact of coronavirus is a “tinderbox” that will drive civil unrest and instability in developing countries in the second half of 2020, according to new analysis.

Island-based Impact Bioenergy fuels up car with food waste
VASHON ISLAND, US, 16 July 2020 (Beachcomber) - Impact Bioenergy, a manufacturer of systems that convert organic food waste into usable energy and fertilizer, has managed to fuel a hybrid sedan with fuel derived from food waste, able to travel about half a mile per pound.

How sea turtles find small, isolated islands
SWANSEA, Wales, 16 July 2020 (Phys.org) - One of Charles Darwin's long-standing questions on how turtles find their way to islands has been answered thanks to a pioneering study by scientists who equipped 33 green sea turtles with satellite tags and recorded their unique tracks migrating long distances in the Indian Ocean to small oceanic islands.

Hans Egede: Greenland votes on colonial Danish statue
LONDON, UK, 16 July 2020 (BBC) - Citizens in Greenland are voting on whether to keep a controversial statue of a Danish-Norwegian missionary, seen as a symbol of Danish colonialism.

Major Shetland subsea power cable to mainland approved
LONDON, UK, 16 July 2020 (BBC) - Plans for a £600m subsea power cable which would take energy from Shetland to the Scottish mainland have been approved by energy regulator Ofgem.

Climate change: Summers could become 'too hot for humans'
LONDON, UK, 16 July 2020 (BBC) - Millions of people around the world could be exposed to dangerous levels of heat stress - a dangerous condition which can cause organs to shut down.

As C-19 cases climb in the U.S. still none in the Marshall Islands
LOS ANGELES, US, 16 July 2020 (LA Times) - As coronavirus cases climb in California and many U.S. states, some Pacific Island nations have safely ridden out the storm. The Marshall Islands is still COVID-19 free.

Philippine court rejects OceanaGold's bid to keep mining
MANILA, Philippines, 16 July 2020 (Mongabay) - The Philippine Court of Appeals has dismissed a bid by a Canadian-Australian mining company to allow it to continue operating after its mining permit expired last year. 

SIDS need a debt shakeup to survive climate and Covid shocks
LONDON, UK, 16 July 2020 (CCN) - Small island states are sinking, and it’s not just from sea level rise: we are sinking in debt, exacerbated by the collapse of our tourist industries. We are at a high risk of entrenching our public debt vulnerability, and the result could turn back development by decades.

North Atlantic right whales now officially one step from extinction
LONDON, UK, 16 July 2020 (Guardian) - With their population still struggling to recover from over three centuries of whaling, the North Atlantic right whale is now just “one step from extinction”, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Taiwan thwarts Chinese 'invasion' in five-day live-fire drill
TAIPEI, Taiwan, 16 July 2020 (AFP) - Taiwanese soldiers have fought off simulated coastal assaults from China during their biggest annual live-fire exercises of the year, as Beijing ramps up military pressure on the island.

Physical distancing on Arran ferries unrealistic for tourism
LONDON, UK, 16 July 2020 (BBC) - Businesses on the Isle of Arran have warned about the impact on tourism if travel to and from the island remains difficult for visitors. The ferries, operated by CalMac, cannot carry as many passengers as normal due to rules on physical distancing.

Iceland invites you to scream out your lockdown frustrations
REYKJAVIK, Iceland, 15 July 2020 (Iceland Review) - “You’ve been through a lot this year and it looks like you need the perfect place to let your frustrations out. Somewhere big, vast, and untouched. It looks like you need Iceland.” These are the words of a new advertising campaign from Promote Iceland that invites people around the world to scream out their lockdown frustrations.

Italy's Robinson Crusoe despairs as eviction from island looms
ROME, Italy, 15 July 2020 (Guardian) - He has lived alone on an Italian paradise island for over three decades and intimately knows its ecosystem. But as eviction looms, Mauro Morandi, 81, has plunged into despair.

New research shows microplastics in our food, water, air
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 15 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Microplastics, plastic pieces smaller than 5 millimeters, have become increasingly prevalent in the natural world, and a suite of studies published in the last three years, including several from 2020, shows that they’ve contaminated not only the ocean and pristine wildernesses, but the air, our food, and even our bodies.

Indonesia's new lobster export policy threatens Javan rhino habitat
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 15 July 2020 (Mongabay) - The Indonesian government’s controversial decision to allow the resumption of lobster larvae exports now threatens another, far more endangered, species: the Javan rhino.

Dam that threatens orangutan habitat faces three-year delay
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 15 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Construction of a hydropower plant in the only known habitat of a critically endangered orangutan species on the Indonesian island of Sumatra might be delayed for up to three years due to COVID-19 and funding issues.

Madagascar fishers chase dwindling sea cucumbers
NOSY BE, Madagascar, 15 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Far offshore from the luxury resorts and seafood restaurants in the resort town of Nosy Be in northwestern Madagascar, three local fishermen are pulling on their SCUBA diving gear in the sweltering midmorning sun.

Increase in invasive species poses dramatic threat to biodiversity
LONDON, UK, 15 July 2020 (Guardian) - An increase in the spread of non-native plant and animals species around the world could lead to dramatic biodiversity loss, a new study has found, causing permanent damage to ecosystems as they are pushed past biological tipping points.

Nature-led coronavirus recovery could create $10tn a year
LONDON, UK, 15 July 2020 (Guardian) - Tackling the global nature crisis could create 400m jobs and $10tn (£8tn) in business value each year by 2030, according to a report published by the World Economic Forum. 

Greenland's power elite is diverse, but geographically concentrated
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 14 July 2020 (Arctic Today) - Greenland’s most influential people are a diverse, relatively large group of individuals who live in Nuuk, are generally better educated than the population at large, and have close professional ties with each other. These are some of the conclusions of a forthcoming paper seeking to identify Greenland’s “power elite.”

Mediterranean mammals mourn lockdown end
LA CIOTAT, France, 14 July 2020 (AFP) - When Europeans retreated into their homes to observe strict stay-at-home rules to contain the coronavirus, dolphins and whales on the Mediterranean coast basked and thrived in a hitherto unknown calm.

An export boom threatens to put Madagascar's mud crabs in hot water
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 14 July 2020 (Mongabay) - A recent decision by the Malagasy government to grant permits to export live mud crabs to five Chinese companies has sparked controversy and highlighted the country’s struggle to sustainably manage an overexploited fishery.  

The cultural dimensions of food insecurity in Papua
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 14 July 2020 (Mongabay) - A decade ago, the Indonesian government began to heavily promote large-scale plantation developments in Papua province, a region of savannahs and rich rainforests.

New Zealand and Cook Islands work on 'travel bridge'
QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand, 14 July 2020 (Guardian) - New Zealand’s first travel bubble could be on its way after the Cook Islands’ deputy prime minister said his country was ready to welcome tourist flights as early as next week.

Oceans panel presses coastal states to invest in 'blue recovery'
LONDON, UK, 13 July 2020 (Guardian) - Investing in the marine environment offers many coastal states the possibility of a “blue recovery” from the coronavirus crisis, according to a report setting out substantial economic benefits from ocean conservation.

Beijing's South China Sea project illegal, says US
LONDON, UK, 13 July 2020 (BBC) - China's pursuit of offshore resources in parts of the South China Sea is "completely unlawful", US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said. China claims a large part of the region, and has been building military bases on artificial islands there.

Indonesia approves coal road project through forest
BATANGHARI, Indonesia, 13 July 2020 (Mongabay) - The Indonesian government has granted permission to a coal company to build a road that would cut through the highly biodiverse Harapan forest in Sumatra.

Okinawa demands answers from US after 61 marines contract C-19
LONDON, UK, 12 July 2020 (Guardian) - The governor of Okinawa island in Japan has demanded that a United States military commander take tougher prevention measures and have more transparency after officials were told more than 60 marines at two bases have been infected with the coronavirus over the past few days.

Indonesia is failing to control coronavirus outbreak, say experts
LONDON, UK, 12 July 2020 (Guardian) - Attempts to control a growing coronavirus outbreak in Indonesia, the worst-hit country in south-east Asia, are being hampered by a lack of testing, poor communication from the government and the promotion of bogus cures, health experts have warned.

Japan's 'rocket island' where UAE's Mars mission will take flight
ABU DHABI, UAE, 12 July 2020 (The National) - Locals on Tanegashima island have been watching rockets soar across the skies above them for more than 50 years. Surrounded by emerald green waters and lush green mountains, the island is home to the Tanegashima Space Centre, which is nestled in the heart of mother nature.

Copra production exploding in Marshall Islands
MAJURO, Marshall Islands, 12 July 2020 (RNZ) - With the government subsidizing the copra buying price at US50 cents per pound as incentive and multiple ships servicing the outer islands, Marshall Islands copra makers since January have delivered a bumper crop to Majuro's coconut oil processing factory.

The Maine Island Trail Association Call to Oars initiative
BANGOR, US, 12 July 2020 (BDN) - Swept in by the tide, heaps of plastic bottles, styrofoam and broken fishing gear accumulate on Maine’s islands each year. To clean up this mess, the Maine Island Trail Association usually organizes annual trips, filling boats with volunteers armed with trash bags.

Autonomous sea craft to police Pacific fisheries
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 11 July 2020 (RNZ) - New Zealand robotics firm X-craft is trialling an autonomous sea craft that could one day police Pacific island fisheries. As well as detecting illegal fishing, the Proteus can also help with search and rescue by deploying life rafts, and assess cyclone damage to remote islands by launching aerial drones.

Why are fish wars heating up all over the world?
SYDNEY, Australia, 11 July 2020 (SMH) - The South China Sea is one of the world's most tense regions. But the entry of four Chinese coast guard vessels and 63 fishing boats into Indonesian waters in December, and again in January, still managed to shock and infuriate Indonesia. 

Coronavirus crisis adds barrier to reaching Channel Islands
CAMARILLO, US, 11 July 2020 (VCR) - Channel Islands National Park readied to launch an app in 2020. Then, the coronavirus outbreak and an economic crisis added reasons to release it.

Economies of Pacific islands face collapse over Covid-19
LONDON, UK, 10 July 2020 (Guardian) - The Covid-19 pandemic is the “job-killer of the century”, Fiji’s prime minister has said, as economies across the Pacific face collapse from economic and travel shutdowns, exacerbating existing illnesses, and potentially driving people into hunger.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation raises just $21m of $357m target
LONDON, UK, 10 July 2020 (Guardian) - The Great Barrier Reef Foundation has raised only $21.7m out of a target of $357m in donations more than two years after it was awarded the largest single environmental grant in Australian history.

Surviving in the market space
SUVA, Fiji, 10 July 2020 (UN Women) - How has COVID 19 impacted Pacific women and girls? As some Pacific island nations reverse COVID 19-related restrictions, states are beginning to shift their focus on rejuvenating their economies. This focus will need to recognize the disproportionate way women and girls are experiencing this global crisis, including impacts such as the increased rates of domestic violence and job losses.  

Oil slick threatens Philippine mangrove forest
AKLAN, Philippines, 10 July 2020 (Mongabay) - An explosion aboard a power barge off the Philippine island of Guimaras has spilled up to a quarter million litres of fuel oil, threatening local communities and mangrove and seagrass habitats.

To deny Cook Islands travel bubble is 'criminal'
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 10 July 2020 (NZ Herald) - It's the typical wet, winter in New Zealand that should bring peak season for the Cook Islands. Instead, Rarotonga resorts are on the brink of collapse and in danger of taking the islands' tourism-reliant economy with them.

The Taiwanese island fortress that could halt a Chinese invasion
JERSEY CITY, US, 10 July 2020 (Forbes) - There are only so many ways for China to invade Taiwan. The country’s main island is mountainous and rocky on its east coast. The good beaches are on the west coast, in particular along Taiwan’s southwest plain, but this invasion route would mean China has little choice but to first capture or suppress the Penghu archipelago.

Fear is mounting on an island at the edge of North Korea
TOKYO, Japan, 10 July 2020 (JT) - Yeonpyeong is located at the center of five islands off in the Yellow Sea - known as the West Sea by Koreans - and is strategically located to help South Korea prevent a naval incursion.

NHS expands drone transport of samples from Scottish islands
LONDON, UK, 10 July 2020 (Guardian) - A test project using powerful drones to fly urgent medical samples from isolated Scottish islands is being expanded this winter after successful recent trials

How a single doctor fights to keep C-19 from reaching his rural town
BAMBANG, Philippines, 9 July 2020 (NatGeog) - Anthony Cortez is the only community doctor serving Bambang, a town of 56,000 people in the Philippines. In addition to providing primary healthcare to the many residents who can't afford a private doctor, Cortez leads the town's fight against the coronavirus.

Extinction: One third of all lemurs 'on the brink'
LONDON, UK, 9 July 2020 (BBC) - A third of all the lemur species on Earth are "one step from extinction". This is according to the latest update of the Red List, the comprehensive, continually updated report on the status of species. The update shows that 33 lemur species - primates unique to Madagascar - are now classified as Critically Endangered, with 103 of the 107 surviving species threatened with extinction.

Madagascar authorities seize 144 endangered tortoises
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 9 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Authorities in Madagascar have seized 144 radiated tortoises from poachers in the country’s south, in the biggest tortoise trafficking bust in the country since 2018.

Lawmakers in Indonesia want to question pulp and paper company
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 9 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Lawmakers in Indonesia want to question pulp and paper company PT Arara Abadi about its dispute with an Indigenous community in Sumatra that resulted in a member of the community being jailed on dubious charges.

Aran Islands residents disagree about reopening for tourism
DUBLIN, Ireland, 9 July 2020 (RTE) - As the easing of lockdown restrictions cautiously continues around the country, residents of the Aran Islands are in disagreement about the timing of reopening for tourism.

Climate change: Rising chance of exceeding 1.5C global target
LONDON, UK, 9 July 2020 (BBC) - The World Meteorological Organisation says there's a growing chance that global temperatures will break the 1.5C threshold over the next five years, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Is COVID-19 causing an increase in island suicides?
HONOLULU, Hawaii, 8 July 2020 (KITV) - The COVID 19 crisis could be a deadly one for Hawaii. Not just because of the virus itself, but because of its impact on our mental health. So far, there has been mixed results across the state, with some islands seeing more suicides, others less.

Protecting 30% of planet could bolster economy, study says
LONDON, UK, 8 July 2020 (Guardian) - Nearly a third of the world’s oceans and land area could be placed under environmental protections without harming the global economy, and even produce bumper economic benefits if the right policies were followed, according to a global assessment.

New seaweed kills coral reefs in remote Hawaiian islands
HONOLULU, Hawaii, 8 July 2020 (AP) - Researchers say a recently discovered species of seaweed is killing large patches of coral on once-pristine reefs in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and is rapidly spreading across one of the most remote and protected ocean environments on Earth.

Youth resilience to COVID-19: indigenous knowledge in Tuvalu
FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu, 8 July 2020 (PINA) - Beyond Tuvalu’s closed borders, which are continuing to preserve its COVID-free status, Tuvalu’s younger generations are facing new challenges and opportunities.

SNPA goes traditional as part of its COVID response
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 8 July 2020 (Nation) - The Seychelles National Park Authority (SNPA) is one organisation which has felt the full impact of COVID-19. The organisation which generates over 95% of its revenue from tourism is finding it very hard to operate on a daily basis.

In COVID's shadow, illegal fishing flourishes in Brazil
SAO PAULO, Brazil, 8 July 2020 (Hakai) - In Brazil, environmental monitoring and protection for endangered species have been weakening ever since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic has all but dealt those efforts the killing blow. 

DNA reveals Native American presence in Polynesia
WASHINGTON, US, 8 July 2020 (NatGeog) - Native Americans and Polynesians were in contact across the Pacific Ocean centuries before Europeans entered Polynesian waters, according to a new study published today. 

The sponge with the secret recipe: A cancer-fighting chemical
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 8 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Throughout the waters surrounding Indonesia, a porous tubular creature sits fixed onto coral reefs, its plain appearance hiding a potentially lifesaving secret.

Puerto Rico, still reeling from old disasters, is slammed by C-19
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, 8 July 2020 (NYT) - With hundreds of thousands of people suddenly out of jobs in Puerto Rico, Luciano Soto, a tour guide who has not worked in nearly four months, wanted to be first in line at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, now outfitted as an unemployment office.

Pacific islands can adapt to climate change if locals take the lead
SOUTHPORT, Australia, 8 July 2020 (GIFT) - A collaboration between Queensland-based universities and Pacific Island communities has found climate change adaptation programs are only sustained if they develop local ownership. 

Chathams Islands tourism on the rise post-Covid
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 8 July 2020 (NZ Herald) - Tourism Chathams Islands manager Jackie Gurden says they believe they're on the verge of a tourism boom, as a result of Kiwis currently unable to travel elsewhere overseas.

Fiji has taken another bold step in the battle against nuclear weapons
LONDON, UK, 8 July 2020 (Guardian) - On the streets of Suva in the 1970s it was the young who carried the cause. In afros, headbands and bell-bottom jeans they handed out pamphlets and printed newsletters, performed skits and variety shows, gave lectures, and led rallies on the streets of Fiji’s capital.

Coronavirus: Spain's holiday islands shake off party image
MADRID, Spain, 8 July 2020 (BBC) - As Spain scrambles to save its vital tourism industry from the threat of a blank year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some sense an opportunity to change perceptions about Spanish holidays and start a move upmarket that has been long on the agenda.

Global resistance to vaccines could complicate efforts to control C-19
WASHINGTON, US, 7 July 2020 (WP) - Samoa might seem like a simple place to eradicate a disease. The Pacific island nation, halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, has a land mass smaller than Rhode Island and a population of less than 200,000. 

Civil war didn't hurt this mangrove forest, but shrimp farming might
MANNAR, Sri Lanka, 7 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Environmentalists have opposed plans to establish shrimp farms in the Vidattaltivu nature reserve, home to an important mangrove forest and biodiversity-rich marine habitat in northern Sri Lanka.

Activists have called for a financial probe into the Korindo Group
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 7 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Activists have called on the Indonesian authorities to probe the finances of the Korindo Group, a privately owned conglomerate, in the wake of an investigation that exposed a $22 million “consultancy” payment made by the company. They’re also pressing for the protection of the rights of Indigenous communities affected by the company’s oil palm operations in Papua province.

Innovative financial approaches key to unleash SIDS economic potential
NEW YORK, US, 7 July 2020 (IPS) - Our world is transfixed by the great human toll and economic impact of the worst global pandemic in a century. For the 65 million inhabitants of SIDS, the impact of COVID-19 is reminiscent of the worst forms of extreme weather events that SIDS contend with annually.

Final days of doomed crew on Chinese shark finning boat
LONDON, UK, 7 July 2020 (Guardian) - Accounts from Indonesian crew on illegal fishing operation reveal ‘inhumane’ conditions including bodies dumped at sea.

Indonesia minister in row over eucalyptus necklace Covid-19 claim
LONDON, UK, 7 July 2020 (Guardian) - Indonesia’s agriculture minister has been condemned by health experts for claiming that a necklace made from eucalyptus can help prevent transmission of Covid-19.

Russia challenges Norway's position in Svalbard
KIRKENES, Norway, 6 July 2020 (Barents Observer) - In what appears as an organized and coordinated campaign, a number of Russian newspapers and media companies have published a series of stories that express a highly negative, partly aggressive, attitude towards the authorities in Oslo.

Gray areas and weak policies mar lucrative Asian trade in live reef fish
PALAWAN, Philippines, 6 July 2020 (Mongabay) - High demand for wild-caught reef fish from Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia to stock upscale restaurants in East Asia could be driving overfishing and depletion of fish stocks, export trends indicate.

That coconut oil you love? Species have gone extinct over it.
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 6 July 2020 (Mongabay) - A new study found that coconut oil production, by some measures, is more destructive than palm oil production, with coconuts affecting 20 threatened species per million liters of oil produced, and palm oil only affecting 3.8 species per million liters.

C-19 may worsen burning and haze as Indonesia enters dry season
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 6 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Reallocation of disaster preparedness funds for the COVID-19 pandemic could allow a flare-up of forest fires and haze as the dry season gets underway in Indonesia, with smog from Sumatra reported to have reached Southern Thailand.

World treating symptoms, not cause of pandemics, says UN
LONDON, UK, 6 July 2020 (Guardian) - The world is treating the health and economic symptoms of the coronavirus pandemic but not the environmental cause, according to the authors of a UN report. As a result, a steady stream of diseases can be expected to jump from animals to humans in coming years, they say.

Dominican Republic votes in election postponed over virus
LONDON, UK, 5 July 2020 (BBC) - People in the Dominican Republic are voting to choose a new president, in an election that was postponed from May because of the coronavirus crisis. The vote could end the Dominican Liberation Party's 16 years in power.

Calls for ferry clarity as Scottish islands prepare to welcome visitors
GLASGOW, UK, 5 July 2020 (Herald) - There are islands and then there are double islands. As Scotland prepares to reopen for tourism, it is the second category that worries James Stockan. The leader of Orkney Islands Council has to figure out how to maintain lifeline services to what he calls “our double insular places, the ones that take two journeys to get to”.

Coronavirus funerals: Sri Lanka's Muslims decry forced cremation
LONDON, UK, 5 July 2020 (BBC) - Sri Lankan authorities are insisting on cremation for coronavirus victims - a practice forbidden by Islam. The nation's minority Muslim community says they are using the pandemic to discriminate.

A reminder that the Southern resident orcas are still struggling
EASTSOUND, US, 4 July 2020 (Islands' Sounder) - The Southern resident orcas waited until the very end of June to return to the Salish Sea this year, but their visit may be short-lived. According to the Orca Behavior Institute, part of the L-pod popped into the waters west of San Juan Island on June 26 just to be seen heading back out to sea the next morning.

The Trinidad haven for world's tiniest bird
LONDON, UK, 4 July 2020 (Guardian) - At the foot of Theo and Gloria Ferguson’s property stands a giant silk cotton tree. Reminiscent of those enchanted species in children’s fables, this ancient sentinel’s huge varicose limbs yawn upwards and outwards, towards a canopy of leaves that scratch the sky.

Trafficking of thousands of songbirds in Indonesia
MEDAN, Indonesia, 3 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Smugglers managed to ship more than 7,000 birds, including wild-caught songbirds, by air from Sumatra to Java in Indonesia, highlighting the country’s weak enforcement against the deeply entrenched bird trade.

In Madagascar's capital, pollution threatens an oasis for birds
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 2 July 2020 (Mongabay) - Tsarasaotra Park, located in the center of Antananarivo, is one of the few remaining refuges for the waterbirds of Madagascar’s highlands. The fast pace of urbanization in the capital is degrading the park’s biodiversity and putting the birds at risk.