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Tonga parliament building flattened by Cyclone Gita
LONDON, UK, 13 February 2018 (BBC) - The parliament building in the Pacific country of Tonga has been destroyed by the worst storm to hit the country in more than 60 years.

Island tax haven firms own 23,000 UK properties
LONDON, UK, 13 February 2018 (BBC) - A quarter of property in England and Wales owned by overseas firms is held by entities registered in the British Virgin Islands, BBC analysis has found.

How microplastics are contaminating seabirds in the Aleutian Islands
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, 12 February 2018 (Oceans Deeply) - A nearly decade-long University of Alaska project to monitor the ecology of puffins, crested auklets and other seabirds that flock to the storm-tossed Aleutian Islands has produced crucial baseline information about microplastics contamination in marine waters off Alaska.

Rewarding work of restoring forest in Indonesia
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 12 February 2018 (BirdLife) - Aventinus Sadip is the founder of a plant nursery and a farmer's group restoring forest around the Mbeliling IBA, Flores, Indonesia.

Innovative restoration of coral reefs helps protect Caribbean islands
SANTA CRUZ, US, 12 February 2018 (ScienceDaily) - Researchers have measured the protective role of coral reefs and field-tested a solution that reduces coastal risks by combining innovative engineering with restoration ecology.

Duterte slams top Philippine tourist island as 'cesspool'
MANILA, Philippines, 11 February 2018 (AFP) - The Philippines famous white-sand island destination Boracay is drowning in faeces and may need to be shut down to protect the health of millions of visitors, President Duterte has warned.

Report warns of dire future for Coral Triangle reef fish
LONDON, UK, 10 February 2018 (Guardian) - The US$1 billion a year Live Reef Fish for Food Trade (LRFFT) is threatening the future of key reef predator species like grouper, coral trout and Napoleon wrasse, according to a recent study.

'Sinking' Pacific nation Tuvalu appears to be growing
LONDON, UK, 9 February 2018 (IBT) - The tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu has grown over 180 acres in the past 40 years, despite scientists warning that the islands will be uninhabitable by 2050 due to rising sea levels.

Galapagos fights temptation of lucrative mass tourism
PUERTO AYORA, Ecuador, 8 February 2018 (AFP) - With its iconic giant tortoises, crested black iguanas, huge ocean manta rays and a veritable menagerie of other cool creatures, the Galapagos Islands are one of the most beautiful places you will probably never visit.

How a remote island in Alaska tackled domestic abuse
LONDON, UK, 8 February 2018 (Guardian) - When Stacy Bourdukofsky’s abusive ex-husband touched down on the small island where they live to stand trial for strangling his girlfriend and whacking a man in the head with a bat, she was waiting to board the outbound flight on the same jet.

Indonesia's Dayaks keep plantations, loggers at bay
KAMBIYAIN, Indonesia, 8 February 2018 (Mongabay) - The village of Kambiyain lies deep within the forests of Indonesian Borneo, well off the national grid, and the nights here are typically dark and silent, save for the handful of homes with solar panels or diesel generators.

Bermuda becomes first country in world to repeal same-sex marriage
LONDON, UK, 8 February 2018 (Guardian) - Bermuda has become the first country to legalise and then repeal same-sex marriage, in what critics have called an unprecedented rollback of civil rights by the British island territory.

Dutch government assumes direct rule over St Eustatius
THE HAGUE, Netherlands, 7 February 2018 (Caribbean News Now) - The Netherlands is assuming direct control of the government of St Eustatius after allegations of gross neglect.

Taiwan quake highlights hi-tech island's shoddy building past
TAIPEI, Taiwan, 7 February 2018 (AFP) - Taiwan has built itself a reputation for cutting edge technology, efficient public transport and safe streets. But an earthquake has again highlighted the well-off island's history of shoddy construction and questionable safety standards.

American Samoa gets 'prettier' landfill
LONDON, UK, 7 February 2018 (BBC) - America Samoa has temporarily solved its increasingly urgent rubbish problem by getting a "prettier" landfill site, it's reported.

Macron rejects Corsican language demand
LONDON, UK, 7 February 2018 (BBC) - France's Emmanuel Macron has said he will not recognise Corsican as an official language on his first visit to the French Mediterranean island.

Fishing with insecticide-laced mosquito nets
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 6 February 2018 (Mongabay) - Fishermen in the Dili district of Timor-Leste have found an extra perk of the insecticide added to their mosquito bed nets: the chemicals act as a Taser for shrimp.

Beijing's militarisation of South China Sea in new detail
BEIJING, China, 6 February 2018 (Guardian) - Beijing has been accused of building “island fortresses” in the South China Sea after a newspaper in the Philippines obtained aerial photographs offering what experts called the most detailed glimpse yet of China’s militarisation of the waterway.

Shredded roofs, shattered lives
ST. THOMAS, USVI, 6 February 2018 (WP) - More than four months after back-to-back hurricanes shredded the roof of his house, Charles Caines feels as if he’s “living in a tent in the jungle” and there is growing concern that a ­decades-long drive to build up a broad middle class has been snuffed out by the storms.

Are we too late to save the elusive birds of this PNG island?
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 5 February 2018 (BirdLife) - Perched on the outer edge of the Malay Archipelago, and sheltered from the vast expanse of the Pacific only by the thin strip of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea’s New Britain boasts an impressive diversity of fauna and flora.

Deforestation wanes in Indonesia's Aceh and Leuser Ecosystem
ACEH, Indonesia, 5 February 2018 (Mongabay) - Deforestation slowed last year in the Indonesian province of Aceh, home to the Leuser Ecosystem biodiversity hotspot, according to local forest watchdog.

Maldives detains former president in crackdown on opposition
LONDON, UK, 5 February 2018 (BBC) - A former president of Maldives, who was in power for three decades, has been arrested at his home as a crackdown on the opposition intensifies.

Cyprus president Anastasiades defeats leftist challenger
NICOSIA, Cyprus, 4 February 2018 (Guardian) - Greek Cypriots have re-elected Nicos Anastasiades as their eighth president in what is seen as a ringing endorsement of his stable leadership over the past five years.

Crofters on Lewis fight windfarm proposal
LONDON, UK, 4 February 2018 (Guardian) - Hundreds of crofters are fighting an attempt by the energy giants EDF and Wood Group to build a windfarm on the island of Lewis.

Maldives orders army to defy judges
LONDON, UK, 4 February 2018 (BBC) - The Maldives government has ordered the security forces to resist any move by the Supreme Court to arrest or impeach President Abdulla Yameen.

Corsica nationalists rally for devolution
LONDON, UK, 3 February 2018 (BBC) - Thousands of Corsicans have held a rally to call for greater autonomy from France.

Philippines gripped by dengue vaccine fears
LONDON, UK, 3 February 2018 (BBC) - Fears over a dengue vaccine in the Philippines have led to a big drop in immunisation rates for preventable diseases, officials have warned.

China plans to allow gambling on Hainan island
HAIKOU, China, 3 February 2018 (Straits Times) - China is drafting a proposal to allow gambling on Hainan Island in what would be an unprecedented move that could reshape gaming in China's territories and transform the economy of a strategic southern province.

Wet season storms cause chaos on Tiwi Islands
DARWIN, Australia, 2 February 2018 (ABC) - On the Tiwi Islands, around two hours ferry-ride north of Darwin, 2,000 mainly Aboriginal residents spent three days this week with no access to fuel, internet, or phones after a Telstra tower was damaged.

Chatham Islands residents evacuated due to fire
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 2 February 2018 (RNZ) - Chatham Islands is an archipelago in the Pacific about 800km east of the South Island and nineteen households have been evacuated ahead of a fast-spreading fire.

Tahiti downplays floating islands reports
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 2 February 2018 (RNZ) - This week an opposition assembly member, Valentina Cross, spoke out against the project of the US-based Seasteading Institute in the lagoon of Atimaono.

Nigel the lonely gannet dies as he lived
DUNEDIN, New Zealand, 2 February 2018 (Guardian) - Nigel lived for years on his own on uninhabited Mana Island off the north of New Zealand, surrounded by concrete replica gannets.

Transgender women flee Indonesian city in fear
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 2 February 2018 (Guardian) - Transgender people have been fleeing the sharia-ruled Indonesian province of Aceh amid fears of further violence, an exodus that comes in the same week the national parliament proposed criminalising gay and all extramarital sex.

How tiny nation became Isis recruiting ground
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, 2 February 2018 (Guardian) - Five years ago, Tariq Abdul Haqq was one of a Trinidad and Tobago’s most promising young boxers, a Commonwealth Games medallist with Olympic dreams.

In pursuit of the tortoise smugglers
LONDON, UK, 2 February 2018 (Guardian) - In February 2016, Richard Lewis, a wildlife conservationist working in Madagascar, was contacted by a veterinary clinic with an unusual request. “Someone went to a vet and said: ‘Can you take a microchip out of a ploughshare?’” Lewis recalled. “So they called us.”

Kiribati mourns biggest disaster
LONDON, UK, 2 February 2018 (BBC) - The sinking of the MS Butiraoi just over two weeks ago is thought to have claimed at least 81 lives, among them many children and teenagers.

An ecotourism revolution in Madagascar
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 2 February 2018 (BirdLife) - Until now, only a few intrepid ecotourists have ventured out to Mahavavy-Kinkony in Madagascar, a habitat packed with extraordinary and rare wildlife. But that looks set to change with a new initiative to expand birding tourism – for the benefit of both wildlife and local livelihoods.

How climate change threatens Indonesia's marine tourism
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 2 February 2018 (JP) - Indonesia has a thriving coral reef tourism industry and also has the second largest manta ray tourism industry in the world, with an annual value of over $15 million.

Maldives clashes follow landmark ruling
LONDON, UK, 2 February 2018 (BBC) - Maldives police have fired tear gas at crowds of opposition supporters celebrating a Supreme Court ruling.

Pacific nations drowning in Chinese debt
SYDNEY, Australia, 1 February 2018 (The Australian) - Aggressive lending of hundreds of millions of dollars on discounted terms by China in the South Pacific is leading to financial distress in the region and causing island nations to grapple with debt repayment.

Dutch to help tourism firms on storm-hit Caribbean isles
THE HAGUE, Netherlands, 1 February 2018 (AFP) - The Dutch government has unveiled a 2.48-million-euro plan to compensate tourism businesses on Saba and Sint Eustatius, left reeling after last year's hurricane.

Galapagos hosts nursery for new species of giant tortoise
PUERTO AYORA, Ecuador, 1 February 2018 (AFP) - Crowded under a rock in the Galapagos archipelago, the baby tortoises wait for the sun to go down to leave their shelter.

British aid response to plague in Madagascar
LONDON, UK, 1 February 2018 (Guardian) - Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, has claimed that “heroic” British efforts to tackle an outbreak of plague in Madagascar helped to save thousands of lives.

King tide inundates Torres Strait island
LONDON, UK, 1 February 2018 (Guardian) - Yam Island in the Torres Strait has been inundated by a king tide, driven in part by the super blue blood moon overnight.

Is Grenada's iconic nutmeg production now in Russian hands?
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, 31 January 2018 (Caribbean News Now) - Hard on the heels of predictions of a Chinese takeover of Grenada if the Grenadian government adopts a multibillion dollar Chinese development blueprint, comes a new report suggesting that the promotion, export and exploitation of Grenada’s iconic nutmeg production may now be in Russian hands.

An ecologist makes a big difference on a small island
FELICITE ISLAND, Seychelles, 31 January 2018 (GOOD) - All around the world, there’s unfortunate news about the environment: reefs are bleaching, glaciers are cleaving, and superstorms are brewing.

Corals thrive on remotest islands in the Galapagos
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 31 January 2018 (Mongabay) - The Galapagos Islands are not widely known for their coral reefs as most visitors to the islands’ waters seek big charismatic residents like sharks, manta rays, sea lions and whales, or unique creatures like marine iguanas.

Indonesia touts a drop in deforestation
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 31 January 2018 (Mongabay) - The Indonesian government has reported a second straight annual decline in the country’s deforestation rate, but continues to confound with its definition of what constitutes a forest.

Iolaire disaster centre proposed for Stornoway
LONDON, UK, 31 January 2018 (BBC) - A businessman has proposed building a £5m visitor centre to remember a boating disaster in the Western Isles.

Sumatran villagers cling to their customs as coal mines encroach
SEKALAK, Indonesia, 30 January 2018 (Mongabay) - The inhabitants of Sekalak village, in this forested region of southern Sumatra, have for generations passed down the legend of Puyang Baju Lantung, a man who was said to have transformed into a tiger to serve as the community’s guardian.

How US rapper Lil Uzi Vert helped the tiny Shetland Islands
LONDON, UK, 30 January 2018 (BBC) - Lil Uzi Vert made a Shetland wool company "proud" after he wore a jumper with its name on.

Can Sri Lanka's elephants and humans learn to live together?
LONDON, UK, 30 January 2018 (Guardian) - On this small, densely populated island, clashes between elephants and humans are rapidly increasing. Rangers and villagers are working to find ways to avoid the conflict and the devastating, at times deadly, impacts on both sides.

BVI tourism showing signs of recovery after Hurricane Irma
LONDON, UK, 30 January 2018 (Guardian) - It sounds like an exaggeration but when Hurricane Irma knocked out the British Virgin Islands (BVI) on 6 September 2017 the winds did reach 215mph – faster still inside the tornadoes spinning on the edge of the storm’s eye.

Cousin Island celebrates 50th anniversary success
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 29 January 2018 (SNA) - Cousin Island is this year celebrating 50 years since its designation as a nature reserve and its conservation and research work.

Data on Maltese bird trapping kept under wraps
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 29 January 2018 (BirdLife) - BirdLife Malta was refused access to data about more than 8,000 sites where trapping is authorised each year.

Why we live on one of the UK's most remote islands
LONDON, UK, 29 January 2018 (BBC) - Unst is the most northerly inhabited place in the United Kingdom - sitting 212 miles from the Scottish mainland.

Santorini: an archetypal Greek island fantasy
LONDON, UK, 29 January 2018 (BBC) - Giannis Bellonias was standing on the edge of a craggy cliffside in Imerovigli, a village built on the apex of Santorini’s vertigo-inducing caldera, waiting for sunset from the infamous lookout known as the ‘balcony to the Aegean’.

Nauru gets big climate support
WASHINGTON, US, 29 January 2018 (UPI) - The island nation of Nauru, among the world's smallest and most vulnerable to rising sea levels, gets backing for a climate-proof port, lenders said.

Launch a tourist-friendly Seto Inland Sea ferry system
TOKYO, Japan, 28 January 2018 (Japan Times) - For decades the Seto Inland Sea islands have been accessible to only the most intrepid foreign tourists.

The island where 19th Century land ownership is at risk
CODRINGTON, Barbuda, 28 January 2018 (BBC) - Around the dominoes table, spirits appear high but faces are weary. It is not long before the light-hearted banter is replaced by the topic currently dominating every conversation in Barbuda.

Rescuers find seven survivors of missing Kiribati ferry
LONDON, UK, 28 January 2018 (BBC) - Seven survivors from a missing ferry in the Kiribati archipelago have been found floating in the Pacific Ocean.

Isle of Lewis cinema to open on Sunday for first time
LONDON, UK, 28 January 2018 (BBC) - The cinema on the Isle of Lewis is to open on a Sunday for the first time as part of a trial that has been opposed by Sabbatarian church leaders.

The island that switches countries every six months
LONDON, UK, 28 January 2018 (BBC) - Next week, France will hand over 3,000 sq m (9,942 sq ft) of its territory to Spain without a single shot being fired. But in six months' time Spain will voluntarily hand back the land to France.

Kiribati: ferry carrying 50 people missing for seven days
LONDON, UK, 27 January 2018 (Guardian) - A ferry carrying an estimated 50 people is missing in Kiribati, prompting an international search involving New Zealand and Fiji authorities.

Hybrid ferry standard platform to be implemented for Danish Islands
DRAGOR, Denmark, 27 January 2018 (Clean Technica) - This week, the Danish ministry of industry, business, and financial affairs presented a number of initiatives to strengthen maritime development in the country.

Shetland radar base nearing completion
LONDON, UK, 26 January 2018 (BBC) - A new RAF radar facility that will track Russian military aircraft approaching the north of the UK will be operational soon, the MoD has said. The £10m Remote Radar Head facility is being built at Saxa Vord on the island of Unst in Shetland.

Thousands of Turkish Cypriots demonstrate against Ankara
ATHENS, Greece, 26 January 2018 (Guardian) - Thousands of Turkish Cypriots chanting “we want our country back” have taken to the streets of Nicosia despite heavy rain, after calls for a mass demonstration against Ankara’s heavy-handed policies towards the breakaway republic.

On island of the colorblind, paradise has a different hue
WASHINGTON, US, 26 January 2018 (NatGeog) - Pingelap Atoll, the Micronesian island in the South Pacific, sometimes goes by its other name, The Island of the Colorblind.

Australia to build undersea internet link to Solomon Islands
CANBERRA, Australia, 26 January 2018 (ABC) - Australian taxpayers will foot the bill for a new high-speed internet cable between Australia and Solomon Islands, after national security concerns were raised about a Chinese state-owned company contracted to build the project.

A third of coral reefs entangled with plastic
LONDON, UK, 26 January 2018 (BBC) - Plastic is one of the biggest threats to the future of coral reefs after ocean warming, say scientists. More than 11 billion items of plastic were found on a third of coral reefs surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region.

The ups and downs of marine protected areas
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 25 January 2018 (Mongabay) - To find out if marine protected areas achieve their environmental and socioeconomic goals, we read 42 scientific studies and talked to seven experts to ascertain their conservation effectiveness.

The Falkland Islands preserve wildlife and habitat after war
WASHINGTON, US, 25 January 2018 (NatGeog) - The isolated Falklands, best known for sheep and a brief war, offer a living lesson in what happens when nature is allowed to flourish.

Biofuel boost threatens even greater deforestation in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 25 January 2018 (Mongabay) - Global demand for biofuels containing palm oil looks set to grow sixfold by 2030, potentially driving the destruction of Southeast Asian rainforests the size of the Netherlands, a new report warns.

Indonesia buckles to protests against seine fishing ban
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 25 January 2018 (Mongabay) - Indonesia has eased off from the full enforcement of a ban on fishing using a controversial type of dragnet known as a seine, following protests by fishermen.

Japan opens museum on disputed islands
TOKYO, Japan, 25 January 2018 (AFP) - The Japanese government has opened a museum in Tokyo devoted to two sets of disputed islands, a move likely to spark anger from South Korea and China, which also claim sovereignty.

Indonesia to strengthen environmental impact assessments
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 24 January 2018 (Mongabay) - The Indonesian government says it will revamp the process of carrying out environmental impact assessments, amid increased scrutiny over the legitimacy of many of these analyses in environmental and land disputes across the country.

Deep sea mining: Charting the risks of a new frontier
BREMEN, Germany, 24 January 2018 (DW) - Our growing demand for resources has prompted companies to turn to mining in the depths of the oceans. With help from robots, a team of German scientists is racing to map the potential environmental damage.

How Hurricane Maria forced Puerto Ricans to change their hair
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, 24 January 2018 (Guardian) - Not long after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, unleashing floodwaters, flattening homes and knocking out the power supply, Consuelo Quezada noticed another, more subtle, change to life on the island.

A new population of red handfish discovered in Tasmania
LONDON, UK, 24 January 2018 (Guardian) - Divers in Tasmania have discovered a new population of red handfish, doubling the known population of the elusive and extremely rare fish and raising hopes that more may be found.

Antarctica's Weddell Sea deserves protected status
LONDON, UK, 23 January 2018 (BBC) - A submersible mission in Antarctic waters has revealed unique ecosystems so rare they deserve special protection, say scientists.

Legal recognition for communities occupying conservation areas
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 23 January 2018 (Mongabay) - The Indonesian government has acquiesced to the reality that local and indigenous communities already manage land within conservation areas, saying it will begin formalizing this de facto stewardship this year.

New global registry of invasive species is launched
LONDON, UK, 23 January 2018 (Guardian) - From yellow crazy ants on Christmas Island to little fire worms in the Galapagos, the deliberate or accidental introduction of non-native species is the biggest driver of biodiversity loss on islands and world heritage sites, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Barbados sewage crisis causes a flood of problems
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 22 January 2018 (Caribbean News Now) - The unthinkable has happened to one of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations - and it has struck at the height of tourist season.

New Caledonian crows show how technology evolves
LONDON, UK, 22 January 2018 (BBC) - Tool-making crows have allowed us to see the first foundations of a technological breakthrough.

Mesoamerican Reef gets improving bill of health
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 22 January 2018 (Mongabay) - A recent report tracking the health of the Mesoamerican Reef indicates that conservation efforts might be helping to turn the tide for the reef itself and the people who depend on it.

Great Barrier Reef to get $60m rescue package from government
LONDON, UK, 22 January 2018 (Guardian) - Malcolm Turnbull has announced a $60m rescue package for the Great Barrier Reef which includes research on developing “resilient” coral, and paying farmers to pollute less.

Scottish Islands Bill receives backing from rural affairs committee
EDINBURGH, UK, 22 January 2018 (Holyrood) - In a new report MSPs endorsed the Islands Bill, but recommended the Scottish Government includes a provision to carry out an impact assessment where evidence suggests the existing law has a significant detrimental impact on the islands.

Exiled Maldives leader says Chinese deals on islands are 'land grabs'
HONG KONG, 22 January 2018 (SCMP) - Exiled Maldives opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed on Monday accused China of seizing land in the politically-troubled Indian Ocean archipelago and undermining its sovereignty.

State of emergency over worsening crime in Jamaica
KINGSTON, Jamaica, 21 January 2018 (Caribbean News Now) - For the past year or so, as the island’s murder rate has burgeoned, Jamaican netizens have been fixated on one topic: violent crime.

Millions spent on Great Barrier Reef projects against expert advice
LONDON, UK, 20 January 2018 (Guardian) - Millions of dollars of commonwealth money is being handed to tourism-linked groups for Great Barrier Reef protection, despite official advice recommending against the projects, or repeatedly finding them to be failing.

Ancient maps show islands that don't really exist
WASHINGTON, US, 19 January 2018 (NatGeog) - The treaty that drew the first borders of the newly established United States after the Revolutionary War refers to an island that does not exist.

Indonesia and Malaysia react to EU ban on palm oil in biofuels
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 19 January 2018 (Mongabay) - Officials in Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s biggest producers of palm oil, have lambasted the European Parliament’s decision to phase out the commodity from motor fuels over the next three years due to environmental concerns.

Coral reefs at make or break point
LONDON, UK, 19 January 2018 (Guardian) - The battle to save the world’s coral reefs is at “make or break point”, and countries that host them have a special responsibility to take a leadership role by limiting greenhouse gas emissions, plastic pollution and impacts from agriculture, the head UNEP has said.

Swallowed by the sea
KUTUBDIA, Bangladesh, 19 January 2018 (NYT) - Anyone who doubts climate change should come to this lovely low-lying island, lapped by gentle waves and home to about 100,000 people.

Scapa Flow microplastics levels similar to Forth and Clyde
LONDON, UK, 19 January 2018 (BBC) - Scientists have found levels of microplastic pollution on beaches around Scapa Flow in Orkney are similar to those in industrialised areas like the Forth and Clyde.

Advanced plumbing and metalwork found on Greek island of Keros
WASHINGTON, US, 18 January 2018 (NatGeog) - During the dawn of the Cycladic Bronze Age, a gleaming white monument rose up out of the Aegean Sea.