Pacu Jalur Festival to enliven Riau Islands – Jakarta Post

Riau Islands is set to host a rowing competition called Pacu Jalur Festival from Aug. 23 to 26 at Tepian Narosa Teluk Kuantan, Kuantan regency.

Pacu Jalur Festival isnt just a competition, its also a cultural pride of the people of Riau Islands province, especially those who live in Kuantan Singingi. Its a rowing competition on a river using long wooden boats; a combination of sports and art, said Kuantan Singigi Regent H. Mursini.

Prior to the festival, smaller rowing events were held in four districts from July 6 to 29, followed by a traditional mini route held at Tepian Narosa Teluk Kuantan from Aug. 19 to 21.

One boat can accommodate between 50 to 60 rowers who are aged between 15 to 40 years old. Each of them has a role to play in the team, one acts as the commander and another acts as the helmsman. Theres also member of the team who is in charge of synchronizing the others movement.

This competition adopts the knockout system, meaning that losing teams are not allowed to compete again.

The race begins after the sound of a cannon explosion is heard. Such is used because it creates a louder sound than a whistle. (kes)

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Pacu Jalur Festival to enliven Riau Islands – Jakarta Post

Weymouth neighbors transform traffic islands into memorials – The Patriot Ledger

Century Road has three traffic islands, all maintained by the neighbors that live there.

WEYMOUTH Century Road, a quiet dead-end street, is distinguished by three traffic islands, each 40 feet long and 10 feet wide that were originally maintained by the town.

That was until Joe Saccardo, a retired State Police trooper living in the neighborhood, and his wife, Mary Ann, began to look after the one directly in front of their home 15 years ago.

He transformed the island, then mostly just grass, into a memorial for his son, Mark Saccardo. Mark Saccardo, a Boston College graduate, died in a car accident in 1997 at 23.

I wanted to do something in memory of my son, said Saccardo, who has lived in the neighborhood for 43 years.

Mark Saccardos island bears a plaque reading This island is maintained in memory of Mark Duke Saccardo. He earned the nickname Duke because of his love for the show Dukes of Hazzard. The island is dotted with small trees, surrounded with purple flowers. Under the shade of the tree is a small stone bench.

Before long, Saccardo said, other neighbors joined in. The second island is maintained by the Proud Century Road neighbors and friends and not in memory of anyone specific.

The third island is maintained by Century Road resident Ginny Flynn. The island is dedicated in memory of her husband, Frank. Frank Flynn, of Weymouth, was a 28-year veteran of the Boston Fire Department. Flynn died in 2014 after a battle with lung cancer.

Joe Saccardo was surprised other residents began to maintain the islands with him.

I think its great that people responded after I did, said Joe Saccardo. It brings together the neighborhood. We may be the only street with islands maintained by residents in Weymouth.

Zane Razzaq may be reached at zrazzaq@ledger.com.

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Weymouth neighbors transform traffic islands into memorials – The Patriot Ledger

Tropical Storm Harvey Begins to Drench the Windward Islands; Tropical Storm Conditions Expected to Arrive Early Friday – The Weather Channel

Story Highlights

Harvey will bring rain and gusty winds to the Windward Islands.

Then, it will track across the Caribbean Sea into next week.

Harvey is not a threat to the United States.

Two other areas of disturbed weather are being monitored for development in the Atlantic Basin.

Tropical Storm Harvey is beginning to bring rain to theWindward Islands, and may posea threat early next week in parts of Central America’s Caribbean coast.

Tropical storm warnings have been issued for parts of the Windward Islands, including Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbadosand St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Warnings are issued when tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Dominica, where those conditions are possible within that timeframe.

(MORE: Hurricane Central)

Tropical storm conditions, with winds of 39 mph or greater, are expected to first reach the Lesser Antilles within the warning areaearly Friday, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area on Friday.

Thunderstorm activity over the storm has not changed much since a Thursday afternoon hurricane hunter flight found winds of 40 mph. Another mission is scheduled into Harvey on Friday morning to see if anything has changed in the storm.

Harvey will bring2 to 4 inches of rain across the Windward Islands from Martinique southward to Grenada, which could trigger life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides in mountainous terrain.

After that, the system will then track westward through the rest of the Caribbean Sea, and will likelypose a threat to parts of Central America and/or Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula early next week.

It’s not clear how strong thistropical storm will become through its Caribbean trek, due to potential interaction with dry conditions and sinking air. Interests throughout the Caribbean should monitor the progress of Harvey through early next week.

At this time, Tropical Storm Harvey is not a threat to the United States.

Invest 92L continues tofesterafew hundred miles to the east of Harvey.

This invest has shown signs of strengthening through late day Thursday, and could become a tropical depression on Friday or over the weekend.

A fresh surge of such dry air, known as theSaharan Air Layer (SAL),is pushing toward 92L right now.This dry air may mix in with the disturbance, preventing thunderstorms from persisting and clustering.

Furthermore, if 92L tracks farther north, as expected, wind shear the change in wind direction with height is strongerto the north of the Leeward Islands, according to an analysis from the University of Wisconsin.

This hostile wind shearthat typically rips apart tropical disturbances and weaker tropical cyclones may inhibit 92L from developing significantly, if it gains enough latitude north of the Leeward Islands this weekend.

A hurricane hunter mission has beententatively scheduled for Saturday afternoonto determine if Invest 92L has organized and strengthened enough to be classified as atropical depression or tropical storm.

It’s worth noting that even if 92L doesn’t develop into a tropical cyclone the next few days, this disturbance will likely continue migrating through the Bahamas, then into the Gulf of Mexico next week and will be monitored for any potential later development.

Finally,a tropical wave emerged off the west African coast Wednesday, well east of Harvey and 92L, kicking offits journey across the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

This latest wave may develop by the weekendbut won’t near the longitude of the Lesser Antilles until early next week.

(MORE: Tropical Cyclone During the Eclipse?)

What form that system takes tropical wave, depression, storm or hurricane and where it exactly tracks remain unknown at this time, though the majority of forecast guidance suggests this system will track north of the Leeward Islands.

(MORE: Why Tropical Waves are Important During Hurricane Season)

We are in the climatological peak of the hurricane season, so each tropical wave or area of low pressure in the Atlantic Basin must be watched closely for development. As the image to the right shows, named storms can form in about every part of the Atlantic Basin this time of year.

As an example, thedisturbance that formed into Gertto thenortheast of the Bahamas lastweekend was tracked for nearly 10 days before it finally developed. That tropical wave also originated over Africa.

That said, not all tropical waves orlow-pressure systems that emerge from Africa become tropical depressions or tropical storms, but they are all monitored closely, particularly when atmospheric conditions are ripe for them to spin up.

(MORE: Where Every U.S. Landfalling Hurricane Began Its Journey)

Now is a good time to make sure you have a plan in case of a hurricane strike. The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes has an excellent website to help you make your plan.

Check back with weather.com for updates in the days ahead on these latest systems and the rest of hurricane season.

(MORE: NOAA Predicts Active Rest of the Hurricane Season)

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Tropical Storm Harvey Begins to Drench the Windward Islands; Tropical Storm Conditions Expected to Arrive Early Friday – The Weather Channel

Bids for low-number Cape and Islands license plates reach almost $13000 – The Boston Globe

How much would you pay for the license plate of your dreams?

For low-number Cape and Islands plates, people are bidding as high as $12,760, as of Thursday afternoon.

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The plates up for auction, numbered one through 999, are part of the IC series and have never before been issued.

If you want a number thats special to you, or if you think having a single digit on your license plate will make your beat-up car look classier, act fast, because bidding for the plates ends Friday at 5 p.m.

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Forget yesterday’s news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.

Bids on single and double-digit numbers are in the thousands, but if your lucky number happens to be in the triple digits, you could be sporting it on your license plate for less than $200.

The auction is in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of the specialty Cape and Islands license plates, said Wendy Northcross, chief executive of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.

Northcross said the Cape and Islands plate is especially popular because of its design, which features Easthams Nauset Lighthouse.

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Although seemingly simple, its the states most popular specialty plate, with more than 42,000 on the road since they were introduced in 1996.

Some people tell us, Oh, we just love the lighthouse, Northcross said.

Jay Coburn, the executive director of the Cape Cod Community Development Partnership, attributed the popularity of the plates to vacationers affinity for the Cape.

Half of the second homes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are on Cape Cod, so we have a huge population of part-timers here … and its a really important part of their lives, he said.

Whether you want the plate to show your love for the Cape or to spruce up your ride, the money you bid will be used for good.

All the proceeds go to economic development or tourist promotion on the Cape and Islands, Northcross said.

Proceeds will fund upkeep of visitor centers, business counseling services, loans to small businesses, and affordable housing projects.

The winner of each plate will be notified automatically as soon as bidding closes Friday.

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Bids for low-number Cape and Islands license plates reach almost $13000 – The Boston Globe

Dutch engineers test floating islands with hopes to house communities threatened by rising seas – Fox News

As sea levels around the world continue to rise, countries continue to explore new and innovative techniques to protect infrastructure and coastal communities.

In the Netherlands, a team of engineers is currently exploring the possibility of what life might be like if people lived and worked at sea.

Researchers from Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (Marin) recently tested out a floating mega island which is made of 87 large floating triangles and can reach as large as 5 km (3 miles). The island was put through a simulation where it withstood waves with a height of 50 feet (15 meters).

(Photo/Marin)

The floating islands could be a future housing solution in locations such as the Netherlands and parts of the southeastern United States coast, which are at risk from rising seas.

As sea level rises, cities become overcrowded and more activities are carried out at sea, raising the dikes and reclaiming land from the seas are perhaps no longer an effective solution,” said Olaf Waals, project manager and the concept developer for Marin. An innovative alternative that fits with the Dutch maritime tradition is floating ports and cities.

A recent study from University of Florida researchers said that sea-level rise is accelerating in parts of the southeastern U.S.

The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, said sea levels rose dramatically between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and Miami from 2011 to 2015, and during that time, the rise was six times more than the global average sea rise attributed to climate change.

The reason for the accelerated rise, or “hot spot,” is being attributed to a “one-two punch from naturally occurring climate variations,” specifically El Nio and the North Atlantic Oscillation.

In a statement, Arnoldo Valle-Levinson, lead author of the study and professor of civil and coastal engineering sciences, described the future for some southeastern U.S. cities as Venice-like.

We need to understand that the ocean is coming, Valle-Levinson said.

In a recent interview with Nola.com, Waals said cities such as New Orleans may need space where they could develop or put homes as sea levels rise.

Waals said their first test was to see how the 26-foot-wide model behaves in wind, waves and currents, and it “did well because the island flexes with the waves.”

“The first row of triangles bend with the waves but also reflect the energy of the waves,” Waals said. “It would be feasible to actually absorb a lot of the wave energy.”

Testing was conducted in Marin’s offshore model basin, a large pool where ocean waves, winds and currents can be simulated.

The project has been underway for about a year, and in that time, the research team developed the triangular shaped islands and planned how they wanted to connect them, Erik-Jan De Ridder a senior project manager for Marin told AccuWeather in an email.

Possible uses include providing working space for cultivating food, such as fish; loading and transporting cargo in areas where there is little infrastructure; and storing, generating and maintaining sustainable energy, like solar power.

(Photo/Marin)

Some of the benefits of the islands include the ability to be easily extended by connecting additional islands, as well as easily remove islands.

Drawbacks include potential ecological problems like how the islands could block sunlight from reaching aquatic plants. There will also be considerable economical and technical challenges as well as government regulations to overcome before these islands could become a reality, according to De Ridder.

Many questions remain including how strong the islands need to be to withstand winds and currents, how traffic and transportation would be organized and what effect the motion of the island could have on the people who would live and work there.

Marin will next look to conduct testing in intermediate-sized bodies of water where there is some type of shelter, like a bay. Eventually, the group will aim to move large structures offshore.

De Ridder said it’s difficult to say how soon it will be before housing is possible since they are in the early stages of development, but in 10 years it might be possible to have several houses in a sheltered area.

People will have to get used to the idea that you can live on a floating island, De Ridder said.

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Dutch engineers test floating islands with hopes to house communities threatened by rising seas – Fox News

The Untimely Death Of A Marshall Islands Visionary – Honolulu Civil Beat

After a short, sudden illness that ended with cardiac arrest in a Taipei Hospital, the Republic of the Marshall Islands second highest ranking official, Minister in Assistance Mattlan Zackhras, died on Aug. 8 at the age of 47.

In a statement, Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine praised Minister Matt (as he was known) for work(ing) tirelessly, at home and abroad, on behalf of the Marshallese people and the Islands that he deeply loved.

Foreign Minister John Silk would assume Zackhras duties, Heine said.

Zackhras, a native of Namdrik Atoll, served in RMIs parliament, called the Nitijela, from 2004 until his death and, as Minister in Assistance, the Marshall Islands equivalent of vice president. Pre-dating his career in politics and continuing throughout it, Zackhras was well-known as a leader in promoting sustainable development projects like copra and coconut oil production and pearl farming on Namdrik.

In 2015, Zackhras helped secure more than $375,000 from the U.S. to support black lip pearl oyster farming as a way to bolster economic opportunity in the face of climate change according to Tom Armbruster, U.S. ambassador to the Marshall Islands (2012-2016). Armbruster said the project demonstrated the resilience of the Marshallese people as well as Zackhras own initiative and positive outlook.

He was always a welcoming and warm public servant who put the Marshall Islands and its people first, Armbruster wrote in an email, describing Zackhras death as a real loss.

Marshall Islands Minister in Assistance Zackhras Mattian, center, died earlier this month. Colleagues call his unexpected passing a great loss.

Hilary Hosia

Although Marshall Islands culture, language and legendary seafaring navigational prowess are millennia-old, the Republic of the Marshall Islands wasnt established as a self-governing nation until 1979 after centuries of colonization by Spain, Germany, Japan, and finally the United States.

Between 1946 and 1958, the U.S. conducted 67 nuclear weapons tests in the northern Marshall Islands resulting in radiation contamination, widespread deaths and illness, forced displacement and a severe disruption of culture and society.

In recent years, this relatively young United Nations member (RMI joined the U.N. in 1991) has become a prominent example of how low-lying island nations are being impacted by coastal inundation, coral bleaching, prolonged drought and other climate change-related threats.

In the face of these challenges, Zackhras proved himself to be an effective local and national leader and a tireless advocate for his country and other large ocean states on the international stage.

Andrew Jacobs, the European Unions ambassador for the Pacific, described Zackhras as a true warrior for climate action, saying that his advocacy carried influence around the world in the mould of former (RMI) Minister Tony deBrum. Jacobs called Zackhras death a great loss.

Writing from the RMI capital of Majuro, Jack Niedenthal, general secretary of the Marshall Islands Red Cross Society, called Zackhras a go to senator who always made time to help people and someone who enjoyed celebrating great ideas without seeking to take credit.

Mattlan was simply a genuinely nice person, Niedenthal said.

Mark Stege, outgoing director of the Marshall Islands Conservation Society, explained that as a leader in Parliament, Zackhras elevated his colleagues consciousness about the importance in conservation in the Pacific. Stege said Zackhras was instrumental in building a model of community-driven coastal resources management.

His continued hard work and quiet leadership championing conservation during these times will bear fruit for the Marshallese people for many decades to come, said Stege.

Tamara Greenstone Alefaio of the Micronesia Conservation Trust worked with Zackhras on many initiatives for more than a dozen years praised him as a humble leader who listened with intent and spoke with clarity to advance climate action and advocate for his country. Continuing his work, she said, is the best way to honor his legacy.

In an age of political strongmen, when loud voices, bullies and sabre rattlers get the most headlines, Minister Mattlan Zackhras was the polar opposite. Soft-spoken, down-to-earth, genuinely warm and forthcoming, I had the chance to interview him while on a reporting trip to Majuro in May 2016.

While President Heine was overseas and Minister Matt was acting-president, he still made time to meet with me in his office for nearly an hour. Now, as then, his thoughts on climate change, migration, the nuclear legacy and working for his nations first female president are worth revisiting.

Below are are excerpts from our interview. Comments have been edited for clarity and length.

Jon Letman: I want to ask you about migration. As I understand it, the number of Marshallese living outside of the Marshall Islands is now maybe between 30 percent to 40 percent of the overall population. How does your administration see migration? Is it something you want to stop or slow or does it have benefits?

Minister Matt: I think any government in any country would like to see their people remain where they are. In the second set of (Compact of Free Association) negotiations, I would say that we really fought hard to convince the U.S. side that without the proper support to build the right type of medical facilities and education system that we needed and support along the way that would require, you would always see whether it will increase or decrease people utilizing this so-called safety valve within the Compact agreements.

The provision that allows us to travel (without a visa to the U.S.) its a privilege. I think thats what we try to tell our people: be constructive or be part of the communities constructively and not become a burden. Unfortunately you have some people that just fall through the crack and go out without even proper training. We want to focus on these trade area trainings, when some of our people go out they can be helpful and be part of the community rather than be a so-called burden that we hear a lot.

Is your administration doing something to create conditions so that people are less likely to want to migrate or less likely to feel the need to and what are the focus areas?

This administration wants to create more jobs. Thats why people just leave looking for work. Others may view it differently but right now were facing a brain drain in our country because the most capable and smart people are going out. I dont blame them but at the same time we try to instill a sense of responsibility and (patriotism) towards their country because no matter where they are they will always come back and have to pay their share to the country. Again, you dont want all your capable people going out and a way to stop it is to raise the standard of living. Its becoming harder and harder to find jobs here in the Marshall Islands. Thats why they go out.

Minister Matt, as he was known, worked with Namdrik technician Apii McLeod in 2012 on a project to develop oyster cultivation and harvesting. Theyre holding bags of black lip oyster pearls.

Giff Johnson

We also talked about Kwajalein Atoll, home to the U.S. Armys Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, and how it affects Marshallese living near the base.

Weve always viewed ourselves as a major contributor to world peace. Not only because of Kwajalein military base and the ongoing missile testing there but starting back from the nuclear legacy when the strongest atomic bomb was dropped here as a test site. So I think while the U.S. may find Kwajalein of strategic importance, I think it should be a two-way street. The benefit that we get out of (it) is the assistance that comes through the rental of the facility the lease(through 2066) towards our landowners and rightly so.

In terms of the work force and the small economy there, I see some contribution where most of the workers in terms of the labor force, the majority of it is Marshallese and we have very capable people in the park plants and doing basic stuff. But I would just like to see more training to become more responsible to key areas. We see the value in Kwajalein and the military base but it should be both ways.

You know, theyre benefiting just by testing billion and million dollars worth of military equipment on a daily basis or whenever they do their testing. I know the amount of money spent on this and how important it is for the U.S. but I dont think it should be at the expense of the local people.

We discussed the right of strategic denial which gives the U.S. exclusive military control over more than half a million square miles of land, air and water in the Pacific, including the RMI. I asked Minister Matt if he thought the Marshall Islands would be under threat without the U.S. base at Kwajalein.

The concern now is that there is just so much influence of China in the region. So much so that theyre just next door in FSM (the Federated States of Micronesia) because FSM recognizes China the Marshall Islands dont. Diplomatically, we recognize Taiwan. But threat I dont really see it, but again its these big brothers trying to dominate the region. When you combine all three Micronesian nations Palau, FSM and Marshalls, thats a big body of water and its one of the most lucrative bodies when it comes to fishing. Today theyre not really looking at land its the ocean, because were ocean states.

I know this is a complicated question, but are nuclear issues resolved?

To us it will never be resolved until the U.S. discloses everything because most of what we dont know is still classified. And just recently they were declassified because we worked with the Clinton administration when he was in office and he allowed some of it to be declassified and we found some information like Project 4.1 where we werent aware of it when we negotiated the first Compact. You cannot just wash your hands off of an issue that is still impacting the Marshallese people until today. You have a big dome on Enewetak (atoll) thats leaking and youre just not doing anything about it.

Runit dome? Is it leaking?

Runit dome yeah.

Has there been an adequate response by the U.S.?

Well, theyre saying its not contaminated. After the testing they just brought in all of the materials and shielded it with a large cement dome over it and just say, okay, problem solved.

What do you think Americans today should understand about these nuclear issues?

I think thats the very unfortunate part of our story, is that we dont have access to the major networks like CNN. We can be captured a little here and there whenever theres an article about climate and we link up the nuclear issue with that just to raise the profile again and remind people. But if it was the U.S. and it was the sheer thought of the extent and strength of a nuclear device being tested in their soil that would have been a major issue.

Take Nevada, for example, and try to compare. I think the only difference is that it was done in a different country. And for those who probably dont really understand, I think its on us today, a lot of the youngsters today need to keep the momentum going because most of our leaders that were living back then are dying or theyve already gone, but they were brave. I live until the day that we will see the full disclosure of all the documents.

Is that central to disclosure?

Theres no closure until theres full disclosure to this nuclear (issue). Im glad that its being discussed now at the World Humanitarian Summit, the issue of loss and damage. Well, it has to do with the climate change but again, looking at it from humanitys side. Thats something that we really need to revisit and keep telling the story to anyone and everyone that wants to open their ears and understand.

Last question, real quick President Heine, I believe shes your boss.

Yes.

She is the first female president of an independent Pacific Island nation, the first female president of the Marshall Islands. What is the significance of this?

Shes also the first female president in the Pacific region. I think were just proud of her accomplishments. Theres no question that a woman would have been president, it was just a matter of when. Its a very timely appointment because, were seeing others coming into play. And I dont know about the U.S. but I know for sure about Taiwan. (President Heine) is in Taiwan now for the inauguration of (Taiwans first female president Tsai Ing-wen), she took three of our lady mayors with her so its mostly a womans delegation led by the president.Others were very excited when I attended recent meetings in Guam. They were saying, Oh, it would have been us! Palau, they were also saying it should be us.

While some may say that we are not there yet, I think shes proven so many people wrong and I think she will keep on surprising people. Shes a tough lady and very consistent, no doubt about her education background and how smart she is because shes probably the smartest person in the parliament today but I think she made history and its a positive one for the Marshall Islands.

End note: Three months after interviewing Minister Matt in Majuro, I met him for a second time by chance at the East-West Center in Honolulu at a meeting of Pacific Island nation leaders. When I saw Minister Matt, I called him over and reminded him of our previous meeting. He quickly smiled and took my hand and, as before, was approachable, genuine, and full of warmth.

The rest is here:

The Untimely Death Of A Marshall Islands Visionary – Honolulu Civil Beat

Nearly 100 percent chance of cyclone east of Windward Islands: NHC – Reuters

(Reuters) – A low pressure system located several hundred miles east of the

Windward Islands has a nearly 100 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory on Thursday.

The system was about 465 miles (750 km) east of St. Lucia with maximum sustained winds of 35 miles (55 km) per hour.

Another low pressure system about 1,200 miles east of the Leeward Islands has a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours, the NHC said.

Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman and Nithin Thomas Prasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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Nearly 100 percent chance of cyclone east of Windward Islands: NHC – Reuters

George Smith: Life on Maine islands is inspiring – Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

Maine islands are very special but challenging places to live year-round. In the last 100 years weve gone from 300 to just 15 year-round island communities.

So were especially fortunate to have the Island Institute, which focuses much of its attention on island issues and challenges. I love the institutes regular Working Waterfront newspaper, which I receive online, and I learned a lot from their interesting stories in the new edition of their magazine, Island Journal.

In the new edition, I particularly enjoyed Howie Montenkos astonishing photos, using a technique known as light painting. He assembles a crew of islanders at dusk to shine handheld flashlights that paint the scene with light while Monteko creates a long-exposure photo. They are absolutely stunning.

The list of island challenges is lengthy, from no broadband and extremely high energy costs to rising tides and warming oceans to maintaining schools and year-round jobs. Thankfully, the Island Institute is working on all of these challenges.

Ive been intrigued by some of their initiatives to bring efficient energy to the islands. Their Energy Planning for Island Communities Initiative is providing technical resources and tools to communities to help achieve their clean energy goals.

In July of last year experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory met with energy leaders and community members on Isle au Haut and Monhegan islands to learn about their priorities and identify cost-effective ways for those islands to transition to clean energy systems. Island Institute also crated the Spark! Fund, a competitive grant program providing awards of up to $2,000 for island and coastal energy projects.

The institutes Aquaculture Business Development Program is helping aspiring seaweed and shellfish farmers get started. Nine new businesses were launched in the first year of this program. In the next five years they expect this project to have an $8.3 million impact on Maines economy.

And I have a friend working in Frenchboro on Long Island as an Island Fellow. The institute has many fellows working on our islands in a variety of jobs and projects, including schools, energy efficiency, town management, fire and safety, elder care, and more.

Their educational programs are very important, including Outer Islands Teaching and Learning Collaborative, scholarships and Island Scholars Network, and Distance Learning Technology. In the latter program, they partnered with tech company EPlus in 2009 and again in 2014 to secure significant USDA-Rural Development grant funds to install cutting-edge teleconferencing and video recording equipment at 24 sites, including Maines island and remote coastal schools and other rural coastal community schools in Alaska and St. John, Virgin Islands. The equipment allows for highly interactive networking among students and connects them to resources at universities and other educational organizations. Wonderful!

Maines islands are life-changing places for many. If you read the Travelin Maine(rs) columns that Linda and I write, you know we love Monhegan island. In the new edition of the Island Journal, theres a great interview with Mott Feibusch, a young man who first visited Monhegan in the summer of 1990 and moved there to live year-round in 2015. When asked if he had a favorite story or memory of Maine, this is what Mott said.

I visited Monhegan for the first time in winter about 10 years ago. I made frames and painted with the artist Ted Tihansky for a couple of weeks. During that time, there was a blizzard on the island, and we ate fresh shrimp from a five-gallon bucket. We also had a Valentines dinner for 12 people, hiked out to Burnt Head and painted the moon rising on found pieces of tile, made bracelets of discarded copper pipe, and torched sculptures and frames chasing an aesthetic unique to Ted. It was a great introduction to the community I had known from only one perspective. Without that experience, I wouldnt be the person I am today.

Today, Mott is the islands third assessor and assistant fire chief. He works for the power company, pours beer at the islands wonderful brewery, and owns a woodworking business. With his partner, Carley Mayhew, Monhegans postmaster, Mott is now roasting coffee, hoping to turn that into a year-round business. Yup, year-round residency on our islands requires lots of jobs.

You can learn more about the Island Institute at http://www.islandinstitute.org. Prepare to be inspired.

George Smith is a writer and TV talk show host. He can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [emailprotected] Read more of Smiths writings at http://www.georgesmithmaine.com.

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George Smith: Life on Maine islands is inspiring – Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

Trust’s solution to Orkney islands abandoned houses – BBC News


BBC News
Trust's solution to Orkney islands abandoned houses
BBC News
The housing charity Shelter Scotland says Orkney has one of the highest proportions of empty homes in Scotland, taking population into account. Orkney Islands Council has just become the first Scots island authority to appoint an Empty Homes Officer.

and more »

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Trust’s solution to Orkney islands abandoned houses – BBC News

Loved wife and mother dies in Cook Islands – Stuff.co.nz

Last updated22:30, August 16 2017

Sunday Star-Times

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is aware of the death of a New Zealander in the Cook Islands.

A much loved Waikato wife and mother has died in the Cook Islands.

Michelle Robertson, aged 37, died while in Rarotonga on Saturday, August 5.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is aware of the death of a New Zealander in the Cook Islands.

“The Ministry is unable to provide information about the matter due to privacy considerations,” a MFAT spokesperson said.

READ MORE:Auckland woman dies after horse-riding accident while on honeymoon in Vanuatu

“Goodbyes hurt the most, when the story was not finished,” a funeral notice printed in the Waikato Times said.

Robertson was farewelled in a funeral service held at St Peter’s Catholic Church in Cambridge on Wednesday, August 16, followed by a private cremation.

-Stuff

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Loved wife and mother dies in Cook Islands – Stuff.co.nz

The Boom Piers: How Berlin, NH’s Islands in the Stream Came To Be – New Hampshire Public Radio

If you find yourself in downtown Berlin, New Hampshire, take a glance at the Androscoggin River. There, in the middle of the water, youll notice a long, straight line of small rocky islands poking through the surface.

Its almost like the Androscoggin, which was the backbone of the citys once-massive paper industry, has its own literal spine.

In this installment of NHPRsseries Surrounded: Stories from New Hampshires Islands, we dig into what these man-made structures were used for.

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(Editors note: We recommend listening to this story)

Barry Kelly is driving around a field of waist-high grass in Berlin, like hes a safari guide stalking a rhino.

We can go through this field, and there is a spot down there where we should be able to see some piers.

Hes hunting just east of the Androscoggin River, on the property of his family business, White Mountain Lumber Company. (Were in a red pickup truck; its vanity plate reads LOG.)

Thats one right there covered with trees. And there is another one, he says, pulling up to a clearing on the riverbank.

Kelly is pointing to one of 90 or so small rocky outposts that run up the center of the Androscoggin River: the Boom Piers.

How these islands came to be requires some explanation.

The way to get their product here was to put the wood in the water and float it down, explains Paul Poof Tardiff, a historian and columnist for the Berlin Daily Sun.

To set the scene, Tardiff says picture the banks of the Androscoggin lined with mills. Wood harvested north of Berlin would be dumped into the river, and then, during the annual spring river drive, sent down the waterway.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of cords were shipped this way.

As a matter of fact, there were so many logs in the river, you couldnt throw a line in to fish, says Tardiff.

All that wood, however, had different owners. Big players like the Brown Company and International Paper needed to access what was theirs. So they came up with a plan.

They had to divide the river cause they both had the right to use it, says Kelly. So they built these islands of rock out of hemlock framing, and divided the river.

In the 1890s, these companies started building piers: rectangles of different sizes, but generally around 10 feet wide, made of hemlock timber. They were then filled in with rocks.

It took years to complete, but when finished, these piers stood like a row of traffic cones, spaced a few hundred feet apart, depending on the depth of the river, stretching north for eight miles, where the wood was sorted in Milan.

And when they were built, they had chains hooked to big long logs from one pier to another, and those logs were called booms, explains Tardiff. So thats where we get the name Boom Piers.

Once the Boom Piers were in place, one company could now send its wood down the left lane, the other down the right lane. Other mills, like Barry Kellys own family sawmill, could also use these lanes. It was an organized highway.

But by the early 1960s, the economics of sending wood down the water shifted. Bigger trucks and better roads made autotransport more economical.

According to Poof Tardiff, the last still-floating log was pulled from the Androscoggin in November of 1964. The Boom Piers, since then, have been left to the elements–most of the hemlock surrounding them has disappeared. But the rocky centers still poke up through the water.

We got one up here that has as a nice American flag on it, makes it look good, says Tardiff.

Like vertebrae on the river, the Boom Piers still help give this city its shape.

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The Boom Piers: How Berlin, NH’s Islands in the Stream Came To Be – New Hampshire Public Radio

Tree ‘islands’ nixed in latest Water Street plan – Port Townsend Leader

Yellow brick roads, arched entranceways and parking garages were among the ideas that members of the public suggested during an open forum for the Water Street Enhancement Project, which is to be built next year.

Dozens of people showed up at the Aug. 10 forum, hosted by the City of Port Townsend, during which members of the public wrote their ideas for the project on Post-it notes and then stuck the notes on a 30-foot-long map. The forum took place at the Cotton Building.

Paul Schutt was one of those who attended. He attached a few Post-it notes himself.

I live right on Water Street where the projects going to be, he said as he pointed to the location of his home on the map.

Its going to be a good thing. Its an extension of what we did at the other end of the street, he said.

Schutt said he liked what he called the pocket park at the beach end of Tyler Street. The plans right now call for removable bollards to be installed there to block vehicles and make the area more pedestrian-friendly.

Schutt suggested that a water fountain also be built in the pocket park.

Lack of parking is a perpetual complaint, and Schutt suggested that one or two multistory parking garages could be built one of them in the lot behind The Rose Theatre.

The posted comments are to be typed into a spreadsheet and discussed by city personnel, said city engineer Laura Parsons, who was at the event to answer questions. If the person who made the suggestion also left contact information, the city is to contact that person with a response.

The $2.65 million project spans from Taylor Street to the ferry terminal. It is to feature improved sidewalks that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, remove an old buried concrete road, replace an old water main and add a new asphalt street, among other actions. Construction is planned to begin January 2018 and be completed by June 2018.

Earlier plans for the Water Street project included a island of trees to be installed in the center of Water Street near the ferry turnoff road, but updated plans shown Aug. 10 do not include that island.

Parsons said eliminating the island from the design would make it easier for vehicles to make turns.

The street is to be designed with 12-foot-wide sidewalks on each side of it. There are to be two 7-foot-wide areas of the street for parallel parking, and two 17-foot-wide traffic lanes are to be located in the center of the street.

The existing center turn lane is to be removed so that the wider traffic lanes can provide more shared use space for bicyclists and cars.

Im a big biker myself. Its totally on my radar screen, Parsons said of bicyclists concerns.

The design also includes an approximately 4-foot-wide dooring zone so that bicyclists dont have to worry as much about having the door of a parked car fly open in front of them.

Parsons said angled parking had been considered, but the idea was rejected in favor of parallel parking.

Lighting at intersections would be provided by two kitty-corner lamps. There is also to be additional lights placed at the midpoint of each block.

This stage of the design is what is called the 30 percent design stage pretty basic, Parsons said. But the 60-90 percent design stage is to include street striping, signage and elevation information, she said.

Were doing some finer tuning at this point, Parsons said.

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Tree ‘islands’ nixed in latest Water Street plan – Port Townsend Leader

Report: Migrants Trapped in Bad Conditions on Greek Islands | Time … – TIME

E.U. Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos talks with migrants during his visit to the Moria migrant camp on March 16, 2017 on the island of Lesbos, almost a year after an EU-Turkey deal. STRINGERAFP/Getty Images

Thousands of asylum-seekers in Greece’s Aegean islands are stranded in appalling circumstances, according to a new report by Refugees International.

Since a 2016 deal between the E.U. and Turkey, which aims to discourage migrants from crossing the sea to Greece, Turkey has agreed to take back migrants who arrived to Greek islands from its territory. But in reality very few have so far been relocated, according to Refugees International just 1,210 as of June 13.

The result, says a new report entitled Like a Prison: Asylum Seekers Confined to the Greek Islands , is thousands of asylum-seekers trapped in overcrowded and unsafe accommodation on the Greek islands. This “containment” has taken a psychological toll, says the advocacy group, based in Washington, D.C. The report describes how some migrants on the islands of Chios, Lesvos and Samos feel trapped and anxious about the lack of available services. ” Greeces policy of containing people on its Aegean islands is having devastating effects on peoples physical and mental health,” said Izza Leghtas, senior advocate for Europe at Refugees International, said in a statement.

More than 12,000 migrants have crossed from Turkey to Greece this year, according to the IOM, a considerable drop in numbers compared to some 161,000 arrivals during the same period a year before. ” Because far fewer people are arriving along this route than in 2015, the EU and Greece are presenting the EU-Turkey agreement as a success”Leghtas said. “The reality is that thousands of people, many of them traumatized from war or persecution, are trapped and unable to get the help they need.”

TIME has written about the mental strains placed on migrants languishing in Greece in “Finding Home,” a multimedia project which has been following three Syrian refugees since Sept. 2016 as they prepared to give birth and raise a child in foreign countries. Read more here .

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Report: Migrants Trapped in Bad Conditions on Greek Islands | Time … – TIME

Like a prison Asylum-seekers confined to the Greek Islands – ReliefWeb

Refugees International Field Report

By Izza Leghtas

SUMMARY

This report examines aspects of an agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Government of Turkey, laid out in an EU-Turkey statement of March 18, 2016, that was designed to reduce the number of asylum-seekers and migrants arriving in Europe by sea. In 2015, that number had reached more than one million people, of whom 80 percent travelled by sea from Turkey to Greeces Aegean islands. Under the arrangement, Turkey agreed to accept the return from Greece of migrants and asylum-seekers who arrived on the Greek islands from Turkey after March 2016. In general, the substantive claims to asylum by asylum-seekers who fall under this procedure are not to be examined by Greek authorities; rather the asylum-seekers go through an admissibility procedure that assesses whether Turkey can be considered a safe country to which they can be returned. This raises at least two concerns. First, Turkey maintains a geographic restriction to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, documents that provide critical protections for asylum-seekers, and is only prepared to recognize as refugees people fleeing persecution in Europe. Second, Turkey is already overwhelmed by over three million refugees, many of whom already face significant obstacles in accessing employment, housing, and education.

Though the EU-Turkey statement does not explicitly require it, Greece has put in place a containment policy on its Aegean islands. As a general matter, asylum-seekers and migrants arriving on these islands are not allowed to leave for the Greek mainland, and thousands of people are thus confined on these small islands. In July 2017, Refugees International witnessed appalling living conditions for many asylum-seekers in overcrowded and unsafe accommodations, and many are deprived of care and support that is only available on the mainland. And though EU leaders claim their goal is to break the business model of smugglers, the containment policy is actually pushing some people to travel off the islands by paying smugglers.

The containment policy has had some exemptions, including asylum-seekers with certain vulnerabilities (such as pregnant women or people with disabilities). Those individuals have been allowed to leave the islands for the mainland and have their asylum claims considered in substance. Exemptions from the containment policy have also been granted to those who might be eligible for unification with family members who are seeking or have been granted asylum in another EU country where the asylum claims of all family members would be processed. But the EU and Greek authorities have agreed on a joint action plan, issued in December 2016, that envisions limiting those exemptions. If this occurs, it will result in a worsening of the situation on the islands and will put more people at risk of being returned to Turkey.

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Like a prison Asylum-seekers confined to the Greek Islands – ReliefWeb

Falling tree kills 13 on Portuguese island of Madeira – BBC News


BBC News
Falling tree kills 13 on Portuguese island of Madeira
BBC News
A falling tree has killed at least 13 people and injured 49 at a religious ceremony on the Portuguese island of Madeira. A video shows the tree crashing down on a crowded square in a suburb of the main town, Funchal, spreading panic among people …

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Falling tree kills 13 on Portuguese island of Madeira – BBC News

Fitch Lowers US Virgin Islands All the Way to Triple-C – Barron’s


Barron’s
Fitch Lowers US Virgin Islands All the Way to Triple-C
Barron’s
Seeing few options for improvment to the territory's finances, Fitch Ratings took its credit rating on the U.S. Virgin Islands down all the way to triple-C from B. That's a steep three-notch downgrade, bringing it to a level that indicates significant

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Fitch Lowers US Virgin Islands All the Way to Triple-C – Barron’s

Another loss on Virgin Islands exhibition tour – Nashville Post (subscription) (blog)

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Vanderbilt Basketball Aug 15, 2017 Share

Vanderbilt falls in back and forth contest against Canadian national championship team

authors David Boclair

Vanderbilts mens basketball team lost for the second time in as many days on its tour of the Virgin Islands when it fell 61-56 to Carleton University of Canada on Monday.

The Commodores managed just five assists on 16 field goals and shot 28.1 percent from the floor and 15 percent on 3-pointers. A turnover in the closing seconds cost the Commodores an opportunity to tie.

Matthew Fisher-Davis (pictured) finished with 17 points and was Vanderbilts leading scorer for the second straight game. Larry Austin Jr. scored 14 for the second time in as many contests. All 12 players on the trip saw action.

The contest, played at University of the Virgin Islands, included eight ties and 12 lead changes. The Commodores led by four early in the fourth quarter. They fell behind when they surrendered an 8-0 run and couldnt recover.

Carleton, located in Ottawa, Ontario, has won 13 of the last 15 Canadian Collegiate National Championships.

The teams will meet again Thursday in the last of Vanderbilts four games on the trip. The tour began with an 81-78 loss to the U.S. Virgin Islands National Team on Sunday.

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Another loss on Virgin Islands exhibition tour – Nashville Post (subscription) (blog)

Paon Eatery in Bay Harbor Islands Is Simply Great – Miami New Times

In 2014, as Argentina plunged into economic chaos, Federico Cassino’s life’s work crumbled. Regular customers at his minuscule restaurant where the now-32-year-old chef would prepare a different five-course meal every night, could no longer afford to dine out.

“What we paid for gas went from 50 pesos to 1,000 pesos a month,” Cassino says. “We had to raise prices while our customers had less money to spend. It was like to be a business owner, you also had to be an economist.”

So after years of visiting Miami, Cassino and his wife Sofia decided to move north to start over. The result is their new restaurant, Paon Eatery, which opened in late May on the otherwise sleepy Kane Concourse in Bay Harbor Islands.

The narrow, quaint 40-seater is bordered on one side by a concrete wall decorated with pencil drawings of moose and Argentine landscapes. On the opposite side, a wall-size mirror is obscured by a tall gray leather banquette. Leafy vines, along with amorphous, overturned baskets that double as light fixtures, drop from the ceiling.

The menu offers Mediterranean and Latin American plates pared down to their simplest form and split into sections such as salads, sandwiches (during lunch), entres, and a dozen-and-a-half tapas.

Here, on the oblong islands where people rarely glance left and right as they make their way to or from the beach, Cassino has assembled a menu of hearty bistro fare offered at far more reasonable prices than what can be found at the nearby Bal Harbour Shops.

Cassino was born in Buenos Aires and studied marketing, taking on a professional career while nurturing a lifelong enthusiasm for cooking that began with his Italian grandmother, a pasta whiz, and his mother, who cooked more refined French and Spanish cuisine for the family.

In 2008, he decided he’d had enough of corporate life and enrolled in cooking classes in Buenos Aires. Two years later, he landed a gig at Barcelona’s Hisop, a Michelin-starred seafood restaurant situated just off the city’s Avinguda Diagonal. He quickly moved from menial tasks like cutting vegetables to manning the restaurant’s grill and roasting Mediterranean squid, sardines, and the langoustine-like cephalopods called bogovantes.

After six months, he returned to Buenos Aires, and two years later he and Sofia launched their place, which they called Moment, in a nearly century-old house. Soon, though, the economy began tanking, so they left. They chose Bay Harbor Islands because the short strip of road sees a reasonable amount of foot traffic.

The bulk of Paon’s menu is tapas, most of which cost less than $10. Many suffice as entres. The short rib ($15) is far and away the best bet. Cassino vacuum-packs the hulk of bone-in meat with olive oil and thyme, then simmers it for 18 hours. That’s just long enough to turn fat-laced beef tender, but not so long that it makes the meat disintegrate after a slight touch. Just before it’s served, it’s crisped and given some sheen with a salty, sour soy glaze, then plated with a cold salad of hard-boiled eggs, crunchy romaine hearts, and green onion. The salad lightens each hefty bite of rib meat, making it easy to polish off.

Shrimp with the starchy, crisp, supple Swiss potato pancake called rsti ($9) is another steal. Six of the pink crustaceans boast an impressive crust with just a dash of char, while their interiors remain sweet and creamy. The rsti is like the love child of hash browns and potato pancakes. The outside is roasted to a crisp golden crust dusted with salt, and just underneath waits a creamy layer of softened potato slivers glossed with quality olive oil.

Potatoes appear to be one of Cassino’s strong suits. His “triple cooked potato fries” ($5) seem to be neither potato nor fry but instead are ethereal nuggets of starchy goodness encased in a crackly, greaseless shell. He accomplishes this feat by first chopping the potatoes into bite-size cubes and giving them a long soak in ice water to leech out the starch. Next, they’re boiled, chilled, blanched in hot oil, and chilled again before a final fry turns them into ruffled auburn cubes. Order them naked or crowned with a runny poached egg and squiggles of a garlicky aioli and a smoky harissa tomato sauce.

The grilled octopus ($17) presents a tentacle in peak form, tender inside and aggressively crusted outside, perched atop smashed and roasted fingerling potatoes with skins roasted into crisp shells. A few splotches of a velvety eggplant pure ($6) add an herbaceous richness. A similarly clever touch is deployed in a silky, sweet summer corn soup ($7) gussied up with a few dots of sesame oil. The nutty oil is like a catalyst for the corn’s sweetness, intensifying it while also adding layers of complexity.

The eggplant pure acts like a dressing, coating and seasoning each bite of crisp green beans, cilantro, green onion, and peppery arugula.

The crispy skin red snapper ($19) is a standout on the shortlist of entres thanks to the grilled hearts of romaine on which it perches. The usually watery, tasteless green takes on a new life after being charred on the grill. Its woody flavor mingles seamlessly with the juicy fish.

A simple plate of pappardelle ($17) fails to meet the rest of the menu’s standards. Though Cassino uses a nice, eggy dried pasta and cooks it well, the cream sauce in which it sits is thin, bland, and lukewarm. Porcini and shiitake mushrooms help a bit, but without a thicker, better-seasoned sauce, the dish fails to reach its potential.

Those mushrooms get a second chance packed into the steamed, Chinese-style clamshell buns ($10) Cassino makes. Though these buns have become ubiquitous on menus in recent years, few cooks undertake the laborious process of making them from scratch. The results, however, aren’t stiff, dense buns that harden as they cool. They have the fluffiness and stretchability of the interior of a fresh croissant and only get better once filled with meaty, umami-rich slivers of mushrooms.

Despite Cassino’s time in an ambitious, Michelin-starred restaurant, his latest place proves that food need not be overly fussy to be enjoyable. Such was his mission when he made the more than 4,400-mile schlep from Buenos Aires to Miami.

“We’re casual in our approach, but that doesn’t mean the food has to suffer,” he says.

Paon is a happy respite from the carelessness of the food that can be found just south in Miami Beach. All you have to do is stroll down the road.

Paon Eatery. 1076 Kane Concourse, Bay Harbor Islands; 786-348-0672; paoneatery.com. Monday through Saturday noon to 4 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m.

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Paon Eatery in Bay Harbor Islands Is Simply Great – Miami New Times

Paradise Island in Perry Hall, Maryland with Reviews – YP.com

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Paradise Island in Perry Hall, Maryland with Reviews – YP.com

Solomon Islands signs security deal with Australia to protect against unrest – The Guardian

Manasseh Sogavare, prime minister of the Solomon Islands, inspects a guard of honour during a ceremonial welcome at Parliament House in Canberra. He and Malcolm Turnbull signed a security deal. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Australia and the Solomon Islands have signed a new security treaty one the Solomons prime minister hopes will collect dust and never be used.

In Australia for a week-long visit, the Solomon Islands prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, said the bilateral security agreement he signed on Monday with the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, would provide for the rapid deployment of Australian security forces in the case of civil and ethnic unrest of the kind witnessed in the Solomons in the early 2000s.

The security treaty is just in case, Sogavare said Monday, if the Solomon Islands goes back to what it was in the 2000s.

But were determined to ensure that the treaty will collect dust. We will not allow the country to go down that way. The treaty is about if we fall back into a situation where we were in the 2000s, Australia would come back and assist us.

Turnbull told parliament the treaty will enable defence, civilian and civilian personnel to deploy operationally in emergency situations to provide security or humanitarian assistance at the Solomon Islands governments request.

Sogavare said he was in Australia to thank the country for its unswerving support over 14 years of Ramsi, the $3bn Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands, which pulled the country back from the brink of civil war from 2003.

The Tensions, as they are known in the Solomons, saw increasing ethnic violence between 1998 and 2003, in which militants from Guadalcanal island and nearby Malaita fought over land, jobs and economic development. Two hundred people were killed, hundreds more were beaten and tortured, sexual violence was widespread and several thousand people were displaced from their homes.

In 2003, with the Solomons on the verge of collapse, the government formally requested assistance from its regional neighbours.

Over 14 years until June this year, when Ramsi formally concluded, more than 7,200 Australian soldiers and 1,700 police served in the Solomons. Two Australians died and more than 30 police were injured during election protests in 2006.

Forty-four unarmed Australian federal police remain stationed in the country.

Turnbull said Ramsi had been a success. In 2017 we see a very different Solomon Islands, he said. It enjoys what is by global standards a very low crime rate, it has a high-quality police force, Solomon Islands markets are bustling, children are back at school, medicines are available.

Sogavare agreed Ramsi had restored law and order to the Solomons but said the underlying issues faced by the archipelago nation in particular ethnic tensions and the Honiara-centric development of the country remained.

Ramsi came to the country with specific mandate and has accomplished what it came to do. Law and order was restored, he said. The responsibility now lies with the government and the people of the Solomon Islands to take it from there. The environment is there for the Solomon Islands government and private sector to take the country forward.

Sogavares relationship with Australia has not always been so cordial. He was a staunch critic of Ramsi initially, arguing it undermined Solomons sovereignty. In 2006, during his second term as prime minister, Sogavare expelled Australias high commissioner and defended his attorney general, Julian Moti, whom Australia wanted to extradite on child sex charges.

Sogavare threatened to expel Australian peacekeepers from Ramsi and, a week later, Ramsi peacekeepers raided his office, kicking in a door and seizing a fax machine, in a search for evidence on Moti.

In a speech at the Lowy Institute on Monday evening, Sogavare said his governments primary challenge was simply to hold the country together while it pursues constitutional change to create a decentralised, federalist system of government that has widespread support across the archipelago.

Its only when we go out to play soccer outside that we see ourselves as Solomon Islanders thats a very big challenge for us. If youre not united, addressing development will be very challenging.

He said the Solomons Islands was very worried about a proposed independence referendum in the neighbouring Papua New Guinean province of Bougainville, because the result would likely not be respected by the Port Moresby government, and it could spark reanimated unrest and violence in the province, spilling over into the Solomons.

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Solomon Islands signs security deal with Australia to protect against unrest – The Guardian