Oceania & the Pacific

Traditional Chinese medicines seized in Australia contained traces of endangered animals

April 15, 2012

“Experts said the combined risks meant traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs), which are widely available online, posed a “significant potential for harm” to patients and should be avoided entirely.”

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North Korean Rocket Launch expected within the next 24 to 48 hours

April 11, 2012

“The official says that based on the amount of fuel the North Koreans have pumped into the rocket, the trajectory could be very long. The rocket is now expected to travel south by southeast, crossing over the Philippines and, if successful, splashing down in waters not far from Australia.”

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Study: Denmark is the world’s happiest country

April 3, 2012

“The United States ranks 11th, just after Ireland. The unhappiest countries were Togo (ranked last), Benin, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Comoros, Haiti, Tanzania, Congo and Bulgaria.”

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Swimsuit Model Simone Farrow arrested, accused of running an International Drug Ring

March 19, 2012

“Police allege she set up a fake company, and made shipments of drugs — hiding them inside bath products — back to her native Australia using FedEx and the postal service.”

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George Tupou V, the King of Tonga, dies during a visit to Hong Kong at age 63

March 19, 2012

“Tonga’s King George Tupou V, who gave up most of his powers to bring a more democratic government to his Pacific island nation, died Sunday at a Hong Kong hospital.”

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Following the resignation of Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard calls for a leadership vote on February 27

February 22, 2012

“Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard called a leadership ballot for Feb. 27, setting up a second showdown with her predecessor Kevin Rudd as weeks of escalating tension damage the Labor government.”

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The U.S. and 8 other countries staging a major amphibious exercise on the US East Coast this week

February 7, 2012

“With beach landings, 25 naval ships and an air assault, the United States and eight other countries are staging a major amphibious exercise on the US East Coast this week, fighting a fictional enemy that bears resemblance to Iran. After a decade dominated by ground wars against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, the drill dubbed Bold Alligator is “the largest amphibious exercise conducted in the last 10 years,” said Admiral John Harvey.”

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Protesters storm into 7 Syrian Embassies across Australia, Europe, and the Middle East in reaction to the military’s violence

February 4, 2012

“Demonstrators have stormed seven Syrian embassies in Australia, Europe and the Middle East over the reported killing of than 200 people by Syrian forces in the city of Homs. Australian Federal Police say extensive damage was caused to the Syrian embassy in the Canberra suburb of O’Malley after a group of men forced their way in about 9.30pm (AEDT) on Saturday.”

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A ferry with over 300 passengers on-board sinks off the coast of Papua New Guinea

February 2, 2012

“A ferry carrying an estimated 300 passengers has sunk off the north coast of Papua New Guinea, officials have confirmed. A PNG official told the BBC that at least 28 people had been rescued and four rescue boats were at the scene. The MV Rabaul Queen, operated by PNG company Star Ships, was travelling between the towns of Kimbe and Lae.”

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Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister: Failed mutiny has turned the country into a joke

January 29, 2012

“Papua New Guinea’s prime minister says yesterday’s failed mutiny has turned the country into a joke, while the soldiers involved are refusing to give up their weapons until they are pardoned. The ongoing tension comes amid questions about former leader Sir Michael Somare’s role in the events in Port Moresby.”

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Indigenous leaders in Australia condemn the Aboriginal Tent Embassy protesters who clashed with police and tried to storm an event with the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader

January 29, 2012

“Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott were attending an Australia Day awards ceremony at a Canberra restaurant when it was interrupted by about 200 people who had been nearby marking the 40th anniversary of the tent embassy outside Old Parliament House.”

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Rebel soldiers stage a mutiny in Papua New Guinea

January 26, 2012

“The retired colonel who claims to have seized control of Papua New Guinea’s military has threatened to use “necessary actions” to resolve the country’s political stand-off. Colonel Yaura Sasa has told reporters that soldiers under his control fired several shots this morning as they stormed barracks and took defence force commander Francis Agwi hostage under house arrest. The former defense attaché to Indonesia said the action did not amount to a military mutiny or takeover, but said he had been appointed commander by former prime minister Sir Michael Somare.”

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American Association for the Advancement of Science Article: Mitigating Climate Change to improve human health and food security without major sacrifices

January 20, 2012

“After looking at hundreds of ways to control these pollutants, the researchers determined the 14 most effective measures for reducing climate change, like encouraging a switch to cleaner diesel engines and cookstoves, building more efficient kilns and coke ovens, capturing methane at landfills and oil wells, and reducing methane emissions from rice paddies by draining them more often.”

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Sandbrook: How a loss of faith in politicians and democracy could make 2012 the most frightening year in living memory

December 30, 2011

“The dawn of a new year is usually a time of hope and ambition, of dreams for the future and thoughts of a better life. But it is a long time since many of us looked forward to the new year with such anxiety, even dread.”

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IMF Chief Lagarde urges IMF member countries to approve a 2010 agreement that would double the IMF’s resources and give under-represented nations, such as China, more voting power

December 22, 2011

“IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Thursday urged member countries to quickly sign off on an agreement last year to double IMF resources and give under-represented nations, such as China, greater voting power in the global lender. The changes to members’ quotas, which determine how much each country contributes to the IMF and their voting shares, are critical as a euro zone debt crisis escalates and is set to slow global growth in 2012.”

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