Volcano erupts on Isabele Island

Volcano erupts on Isabele Island 

PUERTO VILLAMIL, 25 May - Wolf Volcano has erupted on Isabele Island, the largest of the Galapagos Islands. It is the first time in over three decades that the volcano has become active. There is no immediate threat to the people that live on the island.

Only about 2,200 people live on the island. As are all the inhabitants of the Galapagos Archipelago, the islanders are used to volcanic activity. Wolf Volcano is 1,600 meters high

and is located on the far nothern tip of Isabela Island, a comfortable 100 kilometres from Puerto Villamil, the only town on the island. Images of the eruption can be found here

The eruption does pose a threat though: conservationist are worried about the population of pink iguanas on the island, the only one in the world.

 

'Restore prison of Devil's Island'

by Jan Ligthart

PARIS - You may think you have seen and heard it all, but you are wrong. A French politician has seriously suggested that the most horrible prison island known to mankind be reopened. Mr. Dupont-Aignan, founder of the right wing DLF Party, thinks Devil's Island in French Guinea, would be the perfect place to lock up French jihadists.

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Kiribati angry about UN red tape

by Jan Ligthart

KIRIBATI, 20 March 2014 - Once again Kiribati challenges the world to do something for the smallest of island nations that are in clear danger because of climate change. The country criticised the UN for their funding mechanisms. Small island nations like Kiribati are being outmuscled by larger states that throw in a lot of expertise and money in the race to get UN funds for climate change adaptation. 

Kiribati berates the UN for making the criteria to access those funds too complicated. The smaller nations do not have the means or manpower to sort out all of these criteria. Kiribati minister Elisala Pita: "We can talk all day about climate impacts, but what can we do without financial support?" 

Only last week Kiribati suffered major damage after king tides flooded the islands of the tiny nation.

 

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Noronha under a dry spell

by Jan Ligthart

FERNANDO DE NORONHA17 March 2013 - The Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha is lucky to have four desalination plants. The island, a nature reserve that attracts thousands of visitors each year, has not seen a drop of rain since June 2013. Now the islanders and tourists have to make do with what little the exhausted fresh water spring offers them. And the four desalination facilities.

Fernando de Noronha has not seen a severe drought like this in 50 years. Although dry spells are common for the island, like on the mainland this one has hit home hard. 

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Climate change threatens pest-free island havens

by Jan Ligthart

AUCKLAND, 26 February 2014 - More than 600 islands worldwide have become havens for rare species after extensive programs to eradicate all invasive species. But according to a new study at least a lot of these islands will be inundated if the sea level would rise by one meter. And it is not only the sea that threatens these sanctuaries: more and bigger cyclones and greater tidal ranges as well as the overall changing climatic conditions put those low lying islands in danger as well.

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Snake has Galapagos worried

by Jan Ligthart

SANTA CRUZ, 24 February 2014 - A false coral snake that was found on the central Galapagos island of Santa Cruz, has a lot of people worried. The locals who ran over the snake with their car were aware that it was an unusual species and took it to the local authorities. Since then a lot of debate has sprung up among scientists, environmentalists and snake experts. Chances are that the snake was brought to the island by humans. This raises a lot of concern since the archipelago is one of the most pristine ecological regions in the world. An introduced species can seriously harm the unique local fauna and flora on and around the islands.

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Rock art Sulawesi oldest in the world

by Jan Ligthart

SULAWESI, 9 October 2014 - Rock art on the Indonesian island Sulawesi is the oldest known form of human creative art on earth. Scientists published these findings in this week's scientific journal Nature. They ised uranium dating techniques that have been around for quite a while but that no one had ever bothered to use on the drawings in the Sulawesian caves.

The art work was discovered in the 1950's by the Dutch, but back then experts estimated the stencils to be around 10,000 years old. Scientists from the Griffith University in Australia sampled 12 stencils of human hands and two images of animals.  They found that the oldest artworks date back at least 39,900 years. Which makes them older than the prehistoric cave art in Europe. 

 

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Lost at sea for thirteen months

by Jan Ligthart

MAJURO, 5 February - Jose Salvador Alverenga, a fisherman from El Salvador, was found on an isolated beach on Ebon Atoll of the Marshall Islands after being lost at sea for thirteen months. Or so he claims, since a lot of experts have serious doubts about his story.

Alvarenga told authorities he left for a one day sharkfishing trip from Mexico in November of 2012 but a storm took their boat out into the ocean. He traveled more than 6500 miles across the Pacific before he was discovered on the remote island. He was found near the 22-foot fiberglass boat he had been living in and was brought to the hospital on Majuro Atoll. 

 

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Land of the shrinking mountain

by Jan Ligthart

DUNEDIN16 January 2014 - New Zealand, land of the extremes. But a little less extreme than it used to be. Aoraki better known as Mount Cook, is the tallest mountain in the land of the long white cloud. But not as tall as it was. Scientists found out that Mt Cook has actually shrunk. Officially it is 3,754m high. But due to erosion the newest measurements show that the mountain has lost 30 meters and is now 3,724m high.

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Madagascar: ancient melting pot

by Jan Ligthart

ANTANANARIVO, 11 January 2014 - Only ten percent of the languages spoken on Madagascar proofs to be of African origin, mainly Bantu. The other 90 percent of the vocabulary is a mix of Barito and other Austranesian languages. Genetical research by a group of scientists showed that the original inhabitants of the island have a mixture of genes: 60 percent Bantu (African) and 30 percent Austranesian. The latter derives from the currentday Indonesian islands of Java, Borneo and Sulawesi.   

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Heron Island forced to shut down

by Jan Ligthart

HERON ISLAND, 26 December - Talk about bad timing. At the height of the holiday season, Heron Island had to evacuate all of the guests and most of its staff because of a fire in the generator room. The Australian resort island in the Coral Sea off the Queensland coast has no power, running water or sewerage and saw no other option but to evacuate all 279 guests on Boxing Day. 

According to the Courier Mail, the management of the resort is also trying to contact guests that are to arrive later on this week, since it is uncertain when the resort will be up and running again.

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Something in the air in Fiji

by Jan Ligthart

NADI, 5 November 2013 - After years of struggling and domestic turmoil the tourism industry of Fiji seems to be on the way up. This week the third brand new A330 aircraft of Fiji Airways made its maiden voyage over the territory it was named after: the Island of of Yasawa-i-rara.

The new aircraft of Fiji’s national carrier is decorated with Fijian masi art. It did a low fly-over the breathtaking crown jewel of the nation, the Yasawa archipelago north of the main island of Viti Levu, before it touched down for an official welcome with a traditional Fijian ceremony at Nadi International Airport.

The official welcoming of the new Fiji Airways aircraft

Tiny island has big ears

by Jan Ligthart

COCOS ISLANDS, 2 November 2013 - Even the smallest islands on earth seem to get caught up in the international NSA spying scandal. Indonesian naval and military communications are apparently intercepted by Australia’s spy agency through a secret radio listening post on the remote Cocos Islands. A station on tiny West Island houses radio monitoring and direction-finding equipment and a satellite ground station.

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New island has a short lifespan

by Jan Ligthart

ISLAMABAD, 26 October - Last month saw the birth of a new island in the Arabian Sea. Near the port of Gwadar, in the far southwest of Pakistan, an island appeared after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake. Aptly named Earthquake Island, it seems to have a short life span.

The island is probably the result of methane gas under the seafloor pushing up a massive amount of mud. 

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NZ South Island: 1 million residents

by Jan Ligthart

CHRISTCHURCH, 21 October - For the first time in history the population of New Zealand's South Island has reached one million. More than half of the residents can be found in the Canterbury region (the greater area around and including Christchurch).

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Branson: Necker Island true home

by Jan Ligthart

LONDON, 21 October - Flamboyant entrepreneur Richard Branson has called Necker Island his true home. He defended his permanent move to his private Caribbean island after the Sunday Times suggested he moved for tax reasons only.

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