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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Oceania
Posted: May 15, 2020 at 7:57 am
Where Is Oceania?
The region of Oceania consists of many islands in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Oceania is further divided into the three subregions of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. The term Oceania is often used to denote a continent which comprises of Australia and the nearby islands or as a synonym for Australasian ecozone or the Pacific ecozone. As an ecological zone, it includes Micronesia, Polynesia (excluding New Zealand), and Fiji. New Zealand along with other islands constitutes the separate Australasian ecozone. The term Oceania was coined by Conrad Malte-Brun in 1812 with the inhabitants of the region known as the Oceanians.
Oceania initially consisted of land in the Pacific Ocean which stretched from the Strait of Malacca to the coast of the America. The area is made up of four regions including Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Malaysia. Parts of the three geological subregions are today part of the term Oceania. Oceania extends to Sumatra, Bonin Island, Hawaiian Island, Rupa Nui Island, and Macquarie Island. The islands at the geographical ends of the area include Bonin, a territory of Japan, Hawaii, a territory of the US, and Easter Island which belongs to Chile. Also, a relatively smaller geographic area includes Indonesian Papua Guinea on the Australian continent but excludes the land on the Sunda Plate. Biogeographically, the region is another name for either the Australasian ecozone or the Pacific ecozone. The region of Oceania is one of the 8 terrestrial ecological zones which form the major ecoregions of the earth. The ecozone covers Micronesia, Fiji, and Polynesia (except New Zealand). Geopolitically, the term Oceania is used by the UN, the International Olympic Committee, and several atlases to include Australia and other Pacific nations such as Papua New Guinea. A wide definition of the region includes the region between Asia and the Americas.
Oceania is divided into the three sub-regions of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Melanesia extends from New Guinea Island to the Arafura Sea and Fiji. Melanesia region includes four countries: Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Island, and Vanuatu. It also includes New Caledonia which is a collective of France and the Western New Guinea regions of Indonesia. The islands of Melanesia often have both European and Indigenous names, which results in confusion.
Micronesia consists of several small islands located on the western part of the Pacific Ocean who are shared culturally by Polynesia and Melanesia. Micronesia is politically divided among independent states including three US territories. The islands of Micronesia are estimated to number 2,100, covering a total area of about 1,000 square miles. The largest island, Guam, covers about 225 square miles. Micronesia has four major island groups: Caroline, Gilbert, Mariana, and Marshall.
Polynesia constitutes over 1,000 islands distributed over the central and Southern parts of the Pacific Ocean. The majority of the islands are composed of volcanic islands built by hotspots. Polynesia consists of a largely sank continent of Zealandia which covers a total area of approximately 118,000 square miles with the largest island, New Zealand, Covering approximately 103,000 square miles. Polynesia is defined by the Polynesian Triangle which is drawn by connecting of three islands of Easter Island, Hawaiian Island, and New Zealand.
The history of Oceania is built on that of Australia and other Pacific Islands. The history is also built on the history of the three sub-regions of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. The region was explored for the first time by the Europeans in the 16th century. Portuguese explorers reached Moluccas, Timor, Tanimbar Island and some parts of the Carolina Island and New Papua Guinea between 1512 and 1525. Between 1527 and 1595, several large Spanish expeditions explored the Pacific Ocean resulting in the discovery of the Marshall Island and Palau on the northern Pacific. The Spanish explorers discovered the Pitcairn and Vanuatu archipelagos in the 17th century. A colony of Guam was then discovered by the Spanish in 1668 and used as a harbor and stop-over for the west-bound vessels. Abel Tasman was the first to reach Tasmania and New Zealand and mapped a substantial portion of Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and Fiji. James Cook became the second European explorer to visit New Zealand 125 years after Tasman and in 1778 he became the first European first to visit the island of Hawaii.
Oceania was colonized by Europeans and the Americans. Between 1788 and 1872, the British established several colonies including Australia, New Zealand, and Fuji with much of Oceania becoming a British territory. In the 19th century, Kiribati and Tuvalu Islands also came under the British sphere. Tahiti and Tahuata were declared French protectorates in 1842. The French also took over the Tuamotu Archipelago belonging to the Pomare Dynasty in the 1980s. The Netherlands claimed mainly the western half of Oceania. The Dutch government established its first posts in 1898 and 1902 to the South of the border with British New Guinea. Germany established its colony and a trading station on Jaluit and Ebon islands to promote the copra trade. The US expanded into the Pacific in 1857 by taking over Baker and Howland Islands. Hawaii became part of the US in 1898. The Japanese took control of the Marshall Island at the beginning of the World War I. Japan also colonized several Oceanic colonies.
The idea of what constitutes Oceania varies from time to time. The region is defined in several geopolitical and geographic ways. The geopolitical concept used by bodies such as the United Nations, Olympic Committee, and other atlases includes Australia and other Pacific Nations such as Papua New Guinea in their definition of Oceania. The Oceania region has a population 34.7 million people including the population of Australia and 13.4 million people excluding the mainland Australia. Papua New Guinea is the most populated island followed by New Zealand and Hawaii with a population of 5.9 million, 4.2 million, and 1.4 million respectively. Pitcairn Island is the least populated island with only 48 people. Christianity is the major religion within Oceania although there are some other religions including Hindu, Islam, Buddhism, and Indigenous beliefs.
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Oceania is a region made up of thousands of islands throughout the Central and South Pacific Ocean. It includes Australia, the smallest continent in terms of total land area. Most of Australia and Oceania is under the Pacific, a vast body of water that is larger than all the Earths continental landmasses and islands combined. The name Oceania justly establishes the Pacific Ocean as the defining characteristic of the continent.
Oceaniais dominated by the nation of Australia. The other two major landmasses of Oceania are the microcontinent of Zealandia, which includes the country of New Zealand, and the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, made up of the nation of Papua New Guinea. Oceaniaalso includes three island regions: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia (including the U.S. state of Hawaii).
Oceanias physical geography, environment and resources, and human geography can be considered separately.
Oceaniacan be divided into three island groups: continental islands, high islands, and low islands. The islands in each group are formed in different ways and are made up of different materials. Continental islands have a variety of physical features, while high and low islands are fairly uniform in their physical geography.
Continental islands were once attached to continents before sea level changes and tectonic activity isolated them. Tectonic activity refers to the movement and collision of different sections, or plates, of the Earths crust.
Australia, Zealandia, and New Guinea are continental islands. These three regions share some physical features. All three have mountain ranges or highlandsthe Great Dividing Range in Australia; the North Island Volcanic Plateau and Southern Alps in New Zealand; and the New Guinea Highlands in Papua New Guinea. These highlands are fold mountains, created as tectonic plates pressed together and pushed land upward. New Zealand and Papua New Guinea also have volcanic features as a result of tectonic activity.
Although they share some landscape features, each of these regions has distinct physical features that resulted from different environmental processes. Australias landscape is dominated by the Outback, a region of deserts and semi-arid land. The Outback is a result of the continents large inland plains, its location along the dry Tropic of Capricorn, and its proximity to cool, dry, southerly winds. New Zealands glaciers are a result of the islands high elevations and proximity to cool, moisture-bearing winds. Papua New Guineas highland rain forests are a result of the islands high elevations, proximity to tropical, moisture-bearing winds, and location right below the warm Equator.
High islands, also called volcanic islands, are created as volcanic eruptions build up land over time. These eruptions begin under water, when hot magma is cooled and hardened by the ocean. Over time, this activity creates islands with a steep central peakhence the name high island. Ridges and valleys radiate outward from the peak toward the coastline.
The island region of Melanesia contains many high islands because it is a major part of the Ring of Fire, a string of volcanoes around the boundary of the Pacific Ocean. This part of the Ring of Fire is on the boundary of the Pacific plate and the Australian plate. This is a convergent plate boundary, where the two plates move toward each other. Important volcanic mountains in Melanesia include Mount Tomanivi, Fiji; Mount Lamington, Papua New Guinea; and Mount Yasur, Vanuatu.
Low islands are also called coral islands. They are made of the skeletons and living bodies of small marine animals called corals. Sometimes, coral islands barely reach above sea levelhence the name low island. Low islands often take the shape of an irregular ring of very small islands, called an atoll, surrounding a lagoon. An atoll forms when a coral reef builds up around a volcanic island, then the volcanic island erodes away, leaving a lagoon. Atolls are defined as one island even though they are made up of multiple communities of coral.
The island regions of Micronesia and Polynesia are dominated by low islands. The Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, for example, is composed of 97 islands and islets that surround one of the largest lagoons in the world, with an area of 2,173 square kilometers (839 square miles). The nation of Kiribati is composed of 32 atolls and one solitary island dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometers (1.35 million square miles) of the Pacific Ocean.
Island Flora and Fauna
The evolution of flora and fauna across the islands of Australia and Oceania is unique. Many plants and animals reached the islands from southern Asia during the last glacial period, when sea levels were low enough to allow for travel. After sea levels rose, species adapted to the environment of each island or community of islands, producing multiple species that evolved from a common ancestor. Due to its isolation from the rest of the world, Australia and Oceania has an incredibly high number of endemic species, or species that are found nowhere else on Earth.
Plants traveled between islands by riding wind or ocean currents. Birds carried the seeds of fruits and plants and spread them between islands with their droppings. Ferns, mosses, and some flowering plants rely on spores or seeds that can remain airborne for long distances. Coconut palms and mangroves, common throughout Australia and Oceania, produce seeds that can float on salty water for weeks at a time. Important flowering plants native to Australia and Oceania include the jacaranda, hibiscus, pohutukawa, and kowhai. Other indigenous trees include the breadfruit, eucalyptus, and banyan.
Birds are very common in Australia and Oceania because they are one of the few animals mobile enough to move from island to island. There are more than 110 endemic bird species in Australia and Oceania, including many seabirds. Many flightless birds, such as emus, kiwis, cassowaries, wekas, and takahes, are native to Australia, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand. The Pacific Islands have more than 25 species of birds of paradise, which exhibit colorful plumage.
Lizards and bats make up the majority of Australia and Oceanias native land animals. Lizard species include the goanna, skink, and bearded dragon. Australia and Oceania has more than a hundred different species of fruit bats.
The few native land animals in Australia and Oceania are unusual. Australia and Oceania is the only place in the world that is home to monotremesmammals that lay eggs. All monotremes are native to Australia and Papua New Guinea. There are only five living species: the duckbill platypus and four species of echidna.
Many of the most familiar animals native to Australia and Oceania are marsupials, including the koala, kangaroo, and wallaby. Marsupials are mammals that carry their newborn young in a pouch. Almost 70 percent of the marsupials on Earth are native to Oceania. (The rest are native to the Americas.)
In Australia and Oceania, marsupials did not face threats or competition from large predators such as lions, tigers, or bears. The red kangaroo, the worlds largest marsupial, can grow up to 2 meters (6 feet) tall, and weigh as much as 100 kilograms (220 pounds). In the Americas, marsupials such as possums are much smaller.
Marine Flora and Fauna
The marine environment is an important and influential physical region in Australia and Oceania. The region is composed of three marine realms: Temperate Australasia, Central Indo-Pacific, and Eastern Indo-Pacific. Marine realms are large ocean regions where animal and plant life are similar because of shared environmental and evolutionary factors.
The Temperate Australasia realm includes the seas surrounding the southern half of Australia and the islands of New Zealand. This realm is one of the worlds richest areas for seabirds. Its cold, nutrient-rich waters support a diversity of plants and fish that seabirds feed on. These seabirds include different species of albatross, petrel, and shearwater, as well as the Australasian gannet and rockhopper penguin.
The Central Indo-Pacific realm includes the seas surrounding the northern half of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. This marine realm has the greatest diversity of tropical coral in the world and includes the worlds two largest coral formations: Australias Great Barrier Reef and the New Caledonia Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site off the coast of northeast Australia, is 344,400 square kilometers (133,000 square miles).
The Great Barrier Reef and the New Caledonia Barrier Reef are underwater hotspots for biodiversity. The Great Barrier Reef is home to 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises; six species of sea turtles; 215 species of birds; and more than 1,500 species of fish. The New Caledonia Barrier Reef is home to 600 species of sponges, 5,500 species of mollusks, 5,000 species of crustaceans, and at least 1,000 species of fish.
The Eastern Indo-Pacific realm surrounds the tropical islands of the central Pacific Ocean, extending from the Marshall Islands through central and southeastern Polynesia. Like the Central Indo-Pacific realm, this realm is also known for its tropical coral formations. A variety of whale, tortoise, and fish species also inhabit this realm.
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Posted: at 7:57 am
Ex-OVERDRIVE journo and long-term adventure motorcycling enthusiast Martin Alva shares his personal journey on making it to the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2020 Oceania as part of Team Middle East
February of 2020 is a month I will never forget.
For many, motorcycling is a weekend hobby or simply another way to commute. For a select few like me, it is also a way of life. From being a pillion rider on my mom's Kinetic Honda DX to owning a BMW R 1250 GS to qualifying for the International GS Trophy 2020, I have devoted the last 18 years of life to off-road and adventure motorcycling.
They say it all begins with a dream and I have to admit, they are correct. The whole adventure riding bug bit me back in 2005 when I first saw a pirated version of Long Way Round starring Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Back then, my idea of an adventure motorcycle was a heavily modified Royal Enfield Bullet and to some stretch of my imagination, a Honda Africa Twin XRV750. Growing up in India in the 90s, I had never ever seen an adventure motorcycle before, and therefore, didn't have the slightest clue about its capabilities.
Long Way Round starring Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor
Then I saw the BMW R1150GS which changed everything for me. Watching Long Way Round and seeing these motorcycles in action unlocked a part of my mind which I didn't know existed.
I was an obsessed 18-year-old who just found his calling. I watched the series on repeat that whole year and searched every nook and cranny of the internet for any and all bits of information I could get on the the motorcycles they rode in that series.
Fast forward 15 years and that teenage obsession is as strong as ever. However, in these 15 years I managed to relocate to Dubai, buy, ride and write-off a few versions of the BMW R 1200 GS and hone my off-road riding skills that eventually got me a seat on the Middle East team at the 2020 GS Trophy in New Zealand.
For me personally, my adventure riding hobby has rewarded me in the highest possible way. All these years of sacrifice, learning, reading, practicing and dreaming culminated in an opportunity that I never even thought possible for me.
Most of you might know that buying and owning a BMW GS isn't really cheap and riding one off-road day after day, pounding the daylights out of it and at times breaking things isn't something that helps either.
You would think keeping your balance at low speeds on a behemoth like the GS would be tough. But it's easy once you master the technique of keeping your weight centred on the motorcycle, and is as crucial as going fast when it comes to being competitive at the GS Trophy
Having bought my first R 1200 GS at 23, it required more than just skipped meals to save up for this hobby. It required giving up on vacations, side jobs, giving up on buying other essential things a 23-year-old would otherwise love to own.
The obsession didn't make sense to a lot of people including some of my friends. My weekends soon became too predictable and those house party invitations stopped sooner or later. Keeping in mind the Middle Eastern weekend, I used to crash early on a Thursday night to be awake early on a Friday morning for my rides. Saturdays used to be motorcycle washing and maintenance days and then back to work on Sundays.
In late 2018, BMW finally announced the introduction of the Middle East as a participating region for the GS Trophy 2020. This announcement awakened every adventure rider in the region and was enough to revive the adventure motorcycling scene for the winter of 2019 with winter being the only time we can ride as much as we want before the blistering summer heat kicks in.
Sometimes the tests where you're off the bike can be the most brutal, and a true test of how well you play with others - an essential aspect of adventure riding as a group
All my competitive antennae swung into action. Trying to save money, I've never participated in any official BMW or other third-party off-road training which cost a decent sum of money. However, I knew I had to ace both, technical and high-speed trail riding along with slow speed handling and balance manoeuvres to balance the motorcycle in awkward situations.
YouTube came to my rescue and I practiced whatever I could before the big day arrived in Dubai in March of 2019, almost a whole year before the GS Trophy finals in New Zealand. There was a pre-qualifier round in each country in the Middle East and the top five riders would then fight it out in Lebanon for the final three spots to represent the Middle East.
I stood in line with 43 of the finest GS enduro and adventure riders from the UAE and Oman. I knew some of these chaps well. One was a British special forces (SAS) instructor, a few were veterans from the Baja and Rally scenes, some were regulars at levels 1, 2 and 3 of BMW's off-road training schools and then there was me.
Intimidated and feeling utterly foolish, I decided to give it my best. I had nothing to lose. Having never received any professional assessment of my off-road riding skills, I didn't know where I could fit in. If at all I was bad, how bad was I? It was time to find out.
The qualifiers lasted two days. Day 1 was a warm-up where instructors from the BMW Enduro Park in Hechlingen, Germany, took us around warm-up rides and exercises where we rode our own motorcycles. Day 2 was the actual qualifier where we had to ride a BMW-provided R 1250 GS around set courses where we were judged on our technical abilities.
Four challenges later, I was third overall and that meant I had been selected to represent UAE at the qualifier in Lebanon.
We had five months to prepare for the qualifier. Having never ridden in Lebanon, we didn't know what to expect. The terrain in Lebanon is totally different to what we have in the UAE. Here in Dubai, we have a lot of sand and gravel hill tracks. Lebanon is mostly dirt, slush and mountains. Plus, we had to train all throughout summer. Yikes!
Even though the GS Trophy is a team event, the qualifying rounds are about individual skills and your knowledge of BMW GS' history, legacy and product line-up. It's a mix of theory and practical knowledge along with the basic know-how of how to work on the motorcycles. Each rider at the qualifier level not only has to be good at handling the motorcycle but also needs to know how to fix a flat, change wheels, adjust various technical settings, etc.
All three days in Lebanon were competitive days. Out of the 45 riders who were present, 25 got knocked out on day 1 based on scoring and then 10 more were knocked out on day 2, leaving the final 10 to earn their place in the team on day 3.
The final day was all about trail riding, which is where I'm most comfortable. I had to conjure up all my mental strength and focus on the goal to make it through. Having come this far and being so close to being in the top three, I couldn't afford to screw it up now. Also, the other nine riders were equally good, and some were way more experienced.
Somehow, I managed to pull it off! I made it to the final three and that is when it hit me. I finally did it. I have to reluctantly admit that I got teary-eyed and emotional at this point. I had never imagined I'd ever get here. It was a pipe dream, a fantasy that played in my head before falling asleep but now this was a reality!
A lot of people have played a huge part in supporting and helping me and now is the time to thank them, again. The team at OVERDRIVE back in 2007, 2008 and 2009 played a big part in this. It was during my time with Team OD that I got the opportunity to ride in places I could never dream of.
The GS Trophy in itself is all about the experience. There are no losers here, only winners. All participants have beaten the 'best of the rest' in their respective regions and have nothing more to prove. It's like the World Cup of adventure motorcycling.
The feeling of being a part of this big group of skilled riders, marshals and the BMW Motorrad team on an all-expenses paid trip across the mind-bendingly beautiful landscape of New Zealand is indescribable. I could write a book on those eight days of my life at the GS Trophy but that won't be enough.
I don't think there's anything else out there quite like the GS Trophy that unites the adventure motorcycling enthusiasts. It's a great opportunity for friendly competition, with the chance to make lifelong friendships with other riders from across the globe.
Even though I carry an Indian passport, I wasn't part of team India. I met my compatriot riders for the first time in New Zealand and we soon realised that India had the maximum number of competing riders in the group, apart from having an Indian Marshal and Indian Media representative.
I'd stand in line to qualify for another GS Trophy in a heartbeat, but BMW Motorrad rules don't allow finalists to participate as competitors again, ever.
Team Middle East made its debut at the 2020 edition of the Int. GS Trophy with Elias Abi Antoun (33), Martin Victor Alva (32) and Jorge Osorio Restrepo (32)
My enthusiasm to ride hasn't fizzled out after the GS Trophy was over and neither has my skill level peaked. I continue to ride with local riders and share all my experience and learnings with them. Two years from now, some of these riders will participate and I'll be on the sidelines, cheering them on.
As BMW Motorrad's marketing team rightly puts it, Make Life A Ride.
Price (Ex-Delhi) Starts Rs 15,95,000
Price (Ex-Delhi) Starts Rs 16,85,000
Price (Ex-Delhi) Starts Rs 1,30,764
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A Cultural Opinion Piece
Youve learned about the wonderful concept of sharing cities- they are sustainable urban cities that are premised on a collective identity and mutual aid. At a crucial time such as our current pandemic, sustainability is key in order to keep big cities afloat. That being said, while this may seem ideal in theory, few cities have actually achieved this status. Quite frankly, in a capitalist society, it may even seem near close to impossible! While there are definitely bound to be issues of such a transition, history has shown that sharing between societies is possible, but even to a larger degree. Oceania is an example of Sharing Nations if you will.
Oceania is a region within the Pacific Ocean which consists of three different smaller categories: Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. These islands became inhabited by the worlds first sea voyagers originating from South-East Asia. The people first began inhabiting Melanesia, as it was closest to South-East Asia and mostly land (at the time), then began migrating to Micronesia and Polynesia (AKA Remote Oceania) which were hundreds of miles away from each other by sea.
Despite the great distance, travel between island nations was very common for a variety of reasons. One being that it granted them access to additional resources. If an island was not abundant in fish or wanted special seashells or wood not found on their island, they could simply go to the next island for aid or trade, which more often than not, was granted in order to forge good relations and if resources allowed so. These relations came in the form of allyship and marriage- many clans enforced exogamy, meaning that you were required to find a partner outside of your kinship line. These marriages only further strengthened relationships between islands, as the married couple would need to support both of their home nations, thus dividing their cumulative resources appropriately. Additionally, oftentimes groups also visited other islands for the simple sake of entertainment, such as performing their cultural dances for each other. The effects of all of these interactions are still seen today- our languages are similar, of our cultural stories and understanding of our creation all share similar plotlines and characters, and many of our dances feature the same techniques. Thanks to these inter-island sharing interactions, each island nation were able to maintain itself sustainably (with the exception of Rapa Nui, AKA Easter island. They had deforested their whole island and were thus unable to create canoes necessary to visit the other islands), proven by the fact that all inhabitable islands in the Pacific were still occupied and independent when the Europeans discovered them hundreds of years later. Unfortunately, colonialism banned these interactions and forced island inhabitants to instead be dependent on the colonizing state.
That being said, its important to note the longevity of Pasifika practices. The islanders had shared space, culture, politics, and resources amongst one another, creating a larger sense of community throughout the islands of Remote Oceania that allowed them to survive in the middle of the ocean for hundreds of years without depleting their nation islands assets. If hundreds of island nations were able to partake in a sharing model with hundreds of miles of the ocean in between them, cities today can do so as well.
Communication and Relative Isolation in the Sea of Islands. The People of the Sea: Environment, Identity, and History in Oceania, by Paul DArcy, University of Hawaii Press, 2008.
Irwin, Geoff. Pacific Migrations. Pacific Migrations, teara.govt.nz/en/pacific-migrations/print.
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Blue Prism and Pactera Announce Alliance to Bring Intelligent Automation Solutions to Asia and Oceania Based Enterprise Clients – Latest Digital…
Posted: at 7:57 am
Pactera and Blue Prism jointly announced an alliance via the Blue Prism Partner Engage program to bring robotic process automation (RPA) solutions to clients in the Asia and Oceania region. The two organizations have been collaborating in the implementation of RPA and intelligent automation services across a variety of industries and sectors, including banking, insurance, retail, and manufacturing.
This announcement formalizes a relationship to expand the offering of digital workforce services and solutions to their clients across Asia and Oceania initially including the Greater China Region, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Blue Prism invented the term robotic process automation and has been a leading global RPA tool vendor for almost 20 years. Blue Prism software allows businesses to automate manual, rules-based, mission-critical processes, thereby helping to decrease costs and improve accuracy through the creation of the latest digital workers.
Pactera, as one of the worlds leading IT services and outsourcing firms, has leveraged Blue Prism technology to address a variety of client business issues and opportunities. In addition, Pactera has utilized Blue Prism in internal process improvement initiatives building and deploying automation to improve both the productivity and quality of its own operations.
Pactera is extremely pleased to enter a strategic Asia Pacific & Oceania partnership with Blue Prism, an intelligent automation industry-leader. By linking Blue Prisms industry-leading RPA solution with Pacteras broad regional presence and in-depth localized capabilities for IT and consulting, we firmly believe that the new Blue Prism Pactera alliance will support clients business efficiency transformations and bring new value to the marketplace, stated JinSong Li, Executive Vice President, General Manager of APAC Business Group, Pactera.
During the past several years, Pactera has implemented variety of key automation projects both with high-profile APAC clients and internally within our own firm. Over the course of these engagements we have learned through hands-on experience that Blue Prism is a platform of choice to scale automation initiatives. The Blue Prism Pactera alliance well positions Pactera in achieving a goal of becoming a strategic digital automation partner for our Asia Pacific clients, said Andy Fung, General Manager of Pactera Hong Kong and Program Executive of Pacteras Intelligent Automation Practice (APAC).
We believe this partnership will further align us on Go-to-Market and up-level implementation capabilities via creation of a Center of Excellence (CoE) covering the stated countries and locations; combining Pacteras local client intimacy with a robust, scalable offshore resources pool across the geographies, he added.
Pactera is a trusted partner for technology and system integration across all of Asia, remarked Terry Leung, Director, Strategic Alliances, North Asia for Blue Prism. Pacteras proven ability to guide organizations through digital transformations, combined with Blue Prisms best-in-class intelligent automation platform, well positions our partnership to help clients in Asia and Oceania to realize the benefits of augmented digital workforces.
Pactera holds a leading position in APAC as an intelligent automation implementation service provider given its broad network of Asia Pacific and Oceania practitioners skilled in software robotics and automation. Pacteras locally-based teams help clients to improve their operations and navigate the challenges of the intelligent automation journey via an ideal mix of strong technical know-how and native, cultural understanding of the Asia/Oceania business environments.
Blue Prism and Pactera share a common vision for building out the intelligent automation ecosystem in APAC and helping customers to improve operational efficiencies by automating mission critical work processes that can also be easily integrated with best-in-breed AI-enabled technologies and services, advised Gareth Lane, Head of Alliances, APAC, for Blue Prism. This alliance is a competitive differentiator and one that will provide tremendous value to the clients we serve.
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Friday, 15 May 2020, 11:08 amPress Release: Caritas Aotearoa
Five years ago this month, Pope Francis launched hisground breaking encyclical "Laudato Si' On Care forour Common Home". As the world emerges from the COVID-19pandemic, the message of Laudato Si', that all oflife is interconnected, is a timely reminder of the need forcoordinated action to overcome interrelated environmental,economic and social crises.
From 16 to 24 May, Caritasis encouraging Catholics and all people of goodwill to takegreater steps to care for our common home, through onlinetraining and practical action where possible, to celebrateLaudato Si' Week. Caritas members and partners aroundOceania will join in tree-planting, clean-ups andpromotional events during the week.
Pope Francis andLaudato Si' have inspired and encouraged Caritasmembers in Oceania in their environmental justice work overthe last six years. The unfolding story of small communitiesstruggling to protect lives and livelihoods, homes andcoastlines is told through the annual Stateof the Environment for Oceania report. Stories fromthe region will also be shared during Laudato Si'Week through a globalonline webinar on social action, and a Caritasblog series.
"As a leading partner in this globalinitiative, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand invites everyone tostand together to protect our common home. As we have unitedagainst the coronavirus threat, let us also work togetheragainst climate change and all threats to healthy human lifeon this planet. We can grow through this crisis and build abetter world together," says Julianne Hickey, CaritasDirector.
Laudato Si' Week will end on Sunday,24 May. All people are invited to pray this CommonPrayer for the 5th Anniversary of Laudato Si' atnoon in their respective local time in a wave of globalsolidarity.
Online events taking place duringLaudato Si' Weekinclude:
18-22 May: four 1.5 hourwebinars during the week on eco-spirituality,sustainability, advocacy, and social action in light ofLaudato Si'. Registerand more information here to participate live orview recordings later.
Thursday 21 May, 1pm(NZT): Prayer, Reflection and Discussion, includingdiscussion on life after COVID-19. Registerhere.
Wednesday 20 May, 6pm(NZT): Online global youth panel on the climatecrisis: for youth aged 16-25 years from New Zealand,Australia, Malta, and Tonga. Registerhere
For more information and to follow the Week,go to http://www.caritas.org.nzor LaudatoSiWeek.org.Follow the action onFacebook.
Become a member Find out more
A cruise ship that had at least one passenger test positive for COVID-19 may be coming to Eastport – NewsCenterMaine.com WCSH-WLBZ
Posted: at 7:57 am
EASTPORT, Maine No industry may be hit harder by coronavirus impacts than the tourism and marine industry. Coastal and vacation towns across Maine are preparing for a summer season that will look and affect local economies like never before.
As cruise ships remain docked in ordnance with the CDC's No Sail order, one ship may be leaving Miami and sailing to Eastport.
The Oceania Riviera has been in Miami since March with 138 crew members still on board. All passengers since its last voyage have since departed. During the ship's last voyage passengers showed COVID-19 symptoms and later, at least one tested positive for the coronavirus.
Pam Koenig lives in Eastport and is a Registered Nurse Practitioner. She had quite the commute when she was still working, only having to walk up the street to the clinic. A walk up the street to work, and a brief walk down the hill to the waterfront.
Her front porch has a great view of downtown Eastport and the water. If the ship comes to port, her view, and the view of many other residents, will be blocked by the 785 foot long, and 16-deck tall, ship.
But the "view pollution" isn't the concern.
My primary concern is a public health concern," Koening said. "It is not an essential function to accept cruise lines here, it is not.
Koening called the lack of communication from the city's Port Authority "disrespectful" as residents of Eastport didn't find out about these plans until recently.
They have their own debts and their own financial concerns, which we understand too but at what cost?"
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Chris Gardner is the Executive Director of the Port Authority. He said there was no outbreak of the coronavirus onboard and none of the crew tested positive.
It was only that one potential incident and there were no other reports on that vessel," he added.
Another issue if the Riveria comes to dock, is how will the 100 crew members get home?
As we understand it is all in absence of any public transportation, the cruise ship line takes great concern in paying, ensuring these people get home safely and they do so with limiting their interactions with the generalized public," Gardner said.
The remaining 38 members of the crew will stay on board for however long it stays in Eastport. They won't be allowed to leave the boat per CDC guidelines.
They wont be leaving the boat, they wont be walking around the community, none of that. They will be remanded to the vessel for the duration of their stay," Gardner added.
Michael Morse is the Chairman of the Planning Board and the Eastport Development and Growth Effort. He also lives in downtown Eastport, his apartment building is right on the water, and would be directly under the shadow of the ship.
I think we can deal with it.," Morse said if the ship comes to the dock. If the federal CDC and state CDC say this boat is clean, its probably pretty safe.
The profits of the cruise ship being docked in Eastport will go to the repair and maintenance of the Breakwater where the Riviera would be docked.
"If it can be done safely, we think it can be a net positive for the people of Eastport and we will see one-hundred percent of the net proceeds invested right back into the Breakwater facility.
The City Council will discuss the decision and if it approves, it will reach out to the Governor's office for final approval.
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At NEWS CENTER Maine, were focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here:/coronavirusNEWS CENTER Maine Coronavirus Coverage
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Posted: at 7:57 am
While the world lost 178 million hectares of forest in the last 30 years, the rate of net forest loss declined
While forest area has declined all across the world in the past three decades, the rate of forest loss has decline due to the growth of sustainable managment.
The rate of forest loss in 2015-2020 declined to an estimated 10 million hectares (mha), down from 12 million hectares (mha) in 2010-2015, according to the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020).
The FRA 2020 was released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on May 13, 2020.
The FRA 2020 has examined the status of, and trends in, more than 60 forest-related variables in 236 countries and territories in the period 19902020.
The world lost 178 mha of forest since 1990, an area the size of Libya, according to the report.
However, the rate of net forest loss decreased substantially during 19902020 due to a reduction in deforestation in some countries, plus increases in forest area in others through afforestation and the natural expansion of forests, it added.
The rate of net forest loss declined from 7.8 mha per year in the decade 19902000 to 5.2 mha per year in 20002010 and 4.7 mha per year in 20102020.
Among the worlds regions, Africa had the largest annual rate of net forest loss in 20102020, at 3.9 mha, followed by South America, at 2.6 mha.
On the other hand, Asia had the highest net gain of forest area in 20102020, followed by Oceania and Europe.
However, both Europe and Asia recorded substantially lower rates of net gain in 20102020 than in 20002010.
Oceania experienced net losses of forest area in the decades 19902000 and 20002010.
The worlds total forest area was 4.06 billion hectares (bha), which was 31 per cent of the total land area. This area was equivalent to 0.52 ha per person, the report noted.
The largest proportion of the worlds forests were tropical (45 per cent), followed by boreal, temperate and subtropical.
More than 54 per cent of the worlds forests were in only five countries the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and China.
The area of naturally regenerating forests worldwide decreased since 1990, but the area of planted forests increased by 123 mha. The rate of increase in the area of planted forest slowed in the last ten years.
Plantation forests cover about 131 mha three per cent of the global forest area and 45 per cent of the total area of planted forests, the report said.
The highest per cent of plantation forests were in South America while the lowest were in Europe.
There are an estimated 726 mha of forests in protected areas worldwide. South America had the highest share of forests in protected areas, at 31 per cent.
The area of forest in protected areas globally increased by 191 mha since 1990, but the rate of annual increase slowed in 20102020.
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Posted: May 12, 2020 at 10:51 am
Societies need to move beyond reacting to the consequences of violence to changing norms of behavior that allow violence to occur.
One of the innumerable awful side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a rise around the world in reported cases of domestic violence. Across the Oceania region there have been reports that violence against women and children has spiked, from Australia and New Zealand to Fiji and Samoa. While governments have a long list of competing interests they will have to prioritize due to the pandemic, it is of critical importance that domestic violence is not ignored. It is an issue of basic human security, with immeasurable negative consequences.
It has long been acknowledged that women are most likely to be victims of violence from within their own home, either by a partner or another family member. It is also incredibly difficult to measure the true scale of violence against women, as most incidences of both domestic violence and sexual assault remain unreported either due to a fear of repercussions or a distrust of justice systems.
Yet even with just the reported cases of violence against women the statistics are brutal. The Australian governments Institute of Health and Welfare states that in Australia one woman is killed every nine days by a partner, and that one in six women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former cohabiting partner. Globally the rate of violence rises to 35 percent of women, according to the United Nations.
Reasonable people read these statistics and nod along, recognizing their blunt reality, but it is important to take a step back and ask ourselves a fundamental question: If relationships and families are meant to be bonds of mutual love and care, then how does this violence exist within them?
The fact of violence is so normalized that I dont think we quite comprehend just how extraordinary it actually is that the core purpose of a relationship has been inverted in an astonishing number of cases. It is not something we should be comfortable with.
Part of this normalization stems from our societal approach to this issue. In early April, the Australian government announced that it was providing an additional $20.8 million to the states and territories to immediately reinforce frontline services that seek to assist victims of domestic violence. This was a welcome acknowledgment that the pandemic is creating an increase in instances of domestic violence, yet it remains a reactive measure: The provision of services after the fact.
At the core of this kind of response is a collective, whole of society, expectation that men will continue to commit violence against women, and the best we can do is to try to clean up afterward. We remain at a complete loss about how to reform masculinity away from this instinctive use of violence as an instrument of human interaction. Yet if we continue to expect this kind of behavior from men we will maintain its insidious and destructive presence in our societies. Social values that tolerate these abuses and justice systems that downplay them perpetuate the violence.
There are obviously limited actions that governments can take toward getting in front of this issue, but it remains a matter that they should take incredibly seriously. If providing basic human security is the primary function of states, then millions of female citizens are currently existing in insecure conditions, demonstrating a failure of the states duty. These millions of individual cases of insecurity also have the ability to compound into wider security dilemmas, as is the case with the related issue of cross-border human trafficking. In this way, states should consider the continued prevalence of domestic violence as an internal security threat.
The financial burden that countries carry from these abuses should also be a considerable concern for governments. It is estimated that domestic violence costs Australia $14 billion a year, alongside the far greater costs in the destruction of peoples lives. In regards to the new environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic it should also be acknowledged that many women may now have their personal financial resources diminished, affecting their ability to leave abusive relationships. Governments can provide resources to assist these women as Canberra did in early April but often the realities of peoples lives make accessing such resources difficult.
It is important that we recognize that the current insecurities created by the COVID-19 pandemic are not just related to personal health and finances. For many women, their personal safety has also been negatively affected. Women already live with violence either directly or the threat of it as an everyday facet of their existence; it should be unacceptable that this current global crisis has accentuated that reality.
If COVID-19 is prompting us to question our assumptions about how states should be organized, then the increase in domestic violence due to the virus should also prompt us to question persistent harmful norms of human behavior. Collectively, we need to question whether we will continue to accept violence against women as an issue that we can only respond to after the fact, or whether we have the will to wholeheartedly reject such violence, and seek to find ways to evolve masculinity away from these destructive traits.
If you are in need of help in Australia a list of resources is available here; resources for those in New Zealand are available here.
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