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Home – Ohio River Islands – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Apr 282016
 

Around the Refuge

There are activities year-round at Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge including wildlife viewing, photography, fishing and hunting. Learn more on our Visitor Activities page.

The refuge is a natural area. Be mindful of poison ivy, thorny plants, ticks, bees, and mosquitoes. Observe wildlife from a safe and respectful distance. Binoculars allow you to view wildlife closely without disturbing them. Learn more tips and points of interest on our Plan Your Visit page.

Forty species of native freshwater mussels live within the refuge waters on the Ohio River. This includes six federally endangered mussel species: fanshell, pink mucket, sheepnose, spectaclecase, snuffbox, and rayed bean. Mussels are important to the health of a river ecosystem. They are filter feeders, which helps reduce silt, sediment, and pollutants in the water.

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Page Photo Credits All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Paden Island – Kent Mason

Last Updated: Apr 14, 2016

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Vanuatu calls for action from UN on … – Islands Business

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Apr 132016
 

Sep 13, 2015, Samisoni Pareti

2015 September

ATTENDING a Pacific trade and investment seminar in Fiji last month, the official delegate from the Cook Islan…

Sep 13, 2015, Samisoni Pareti

2015 September

LIKE flotsam, the power of the published word via newspapers seems to have floated across the …

Sep 13, 2015, Netani Rika

2015 September

PASTORS out over $21m debt THREE church ministers are embroiled in controversy with their employer after they…

Sep 13, 2015, Samisoni Pareti

2015 September

PNG accuses Forum of misleading island nations HOPES for a free trade agreement between the isl…

Sep 14, 2015, Dennis Rounds

2015 September

A COMPANY of Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) soldiers has joined local police investigations into alle…

Sep 14, 2015, TUIFAASISINA PETER REES

2015 September

FIFTY years of self-government and free association with New Zealand has raised more questions than answers as…

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Vanuatu calls for action from UN on … – Islands Business

Islands (The xx song) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Mar 082016
 

“Islands” is a song recorded by English indie pop band The xx for their self-titled debut studio album. Written by band-members Jamie Smith, Oliver Sim, Romy Madley Croft and then-member Baria Qureshi, “Islands” is a dark and simple indie pop track. It also contains influences from house music and features instrumentation from guitars and synthesizers. Croft and Sim, who provided vocals in the track, sing about themes related to loyalty and love. “Islands” was released on 26 October 2009 as the third single from the album by Young Turks in 7-inch single and digital download formats. In March 2010, the song was re-released as a 12-inch single.

Upon its release, “Islands” received critical acclaim from music critics, many of whom praised Croft and Sim’s vocal delivery. It was ranked at number 28 by music publication NME on their list of “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years”. The song became the band’s highest peaking single in the United Kingdom after it reached number 34 on the UK Singles Chart. It also peaked at number three on the UK Indie Chart. An accompanying music video for “Islands” was directed by Saam Farahmand, and consists of numerous tracking shots that show six dancers performing a dance routine around the members of the band. Every different shot features a slight change in the expression, gestures, and movement of the dancers and band-members. Critics complimented the concept of the video, and felt it was representative of The xx’s musical style. The band performed the song live at the iTunes Festival in 2010 and it was also included on the setlist of their 2010 and 2013 tour.

A cover version of “Islands” was recorded by Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira for inclusion in her ninth studio album Sale el Sol (2010). The cover followed a very similar instrumentation to the original version, but featured a faster tempo and more house elements. Shakira performed the cover live at the 2010 Glastonbury Festival in Pilton, Somerset.

“Islands” was written by The xx band-members Jamie Smith, Oliver Sim, Romy Madley Croft and then-member Baria Qureshi, for the English indie pop band’s self-titled debut album (2009).[3] According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Universal Music Publishing Group, the song is composed in the key of C# minor and has a metronome of 123 beats per minute.[4] Sim and Croft provide vocals in the track, and their range spans from G#3 to E4.[4] Similar to the band’s usual style of production, “Islands” is dark and “nocturnal” in nature and follows a “simple, effective” beat.[1] It features instrumentation from guitars which “twirl like dance floor partners in the background” and synthesisers that “play like a musical shadow”.[1] According to BBC Music’s Lou Thomas, the song features house rhythms and a melody similar to that of Tom Petty’s 1989 song “I Won’t Back Down”.[5] Lyrically, “Islands” is a “psycho-geographical love song”[6] and contains themes of loyalty, which are heard in lines like “I am yours now, so I dont ever have to leave”.[1] The duo’s vocals were described as “girl-boy”,[2] with Croft’s vocal delivery taking on a “pleasant soft-pop vibe”.[7] Sim momentarily interrupts the verses with “four short thumbings”.[7] A “typically heartfelt and bed-cuddly” refrain “I am yours now” is repeated throughout the song, and UK-based online publication Muso’s Guide regarded it as “the closest thing The xx has produced to a hook”.[2]

The song was released as the third single from xx on 26 October 2009 by Young Turks in 7-inch single and digital download formats.[8] A minimalistic and “sexy” track named “Do You Mind?” was included as the B-side to “Islands”, and is composed of “untypically brash drums”.[2] On 15 March 2010, Young Turks released a 12-inch single version “Islands”, which contained various remixes of the song.[9]

The song received critical acclaim. Lou Thomas from BBC Music said there is a “sense of quiet triumph” in what he felt was a musical reference to “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty in the song’s melody, “despite the incongruity”.[5] The Muso’s Guide review of “Islands” approved of the song’s release as a single and complimented Croft and Sim’s vocal delivery, saying they “provide a superb introduction to what the band is all about”.[2] They particularly appreciated its “I am yours now” refrain, naming it “a typically heartfelt and bed-cuddly line that makes The xx the perfect alternative lovers band”.[2] Emily Mackay from NME called the song “gorgeous” and felt it was “the perfect soundtrack for wandering aimlessly along rainy London streets”.[6] Andrew Gaerig from Pitchfork Media chose “Islands” as one of the highlights from the album and complimented Croft’s vocals and Sim’s involvement.[7] In 2011, NME ranked “Islands” at number 28 on their list of “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years”, naming it the band’s “finest moment thus far”.[1]

In the United Kingdom, “Islands” reached number 34 on the singles chart and is The xx’s highest-peaking single in the region to date.[10] Its total stay inside the top 40 of the chart lasted for eight weeks.[10] “Islands” was more successful on the UK Indie chart and peaked at number three.[11] The song also peaked at number 16 on Ultratop chart of the Dutch-speaking Flanders region of Belgium, and stayed on the chart for a total of two weeks.[12]

The accompanying music video for “Islands” was directed by Saam Farahmand, who had previously worked with artists like Simian Mobile Disco and Klaxons.[13] It premiered on MTV on 21 April 2010.[14] Composed of a series of tracking shots, the video shows Croft, Sim, and Smith “listlessly” sitting on a couch with six dancers performing a choreographed dance routine behind them.[14] The dancers carry out the same routine with every next tracking shot, but a slight change in their expressions, gestures, and movement takes place.[13][14] Similarly, the band-members repeatedly change their positions and facial expressions “with differing fervour”.[13] Near to the end of the video, the pattern begins modifying and “the comfortable habits get broken up/break up” as the dancers and band-members leave one by one.[13] The backdrop, which consists of several small “X” letters, also catches fire.[13]

The video received positive reviews from critics. Katie Hasty from HitFix praised the choreography, calling it “eye-popping”, and labelled the video as “classy, contained, and borderline claustrophobic”.[13] She complimented Farahmand for directing a risky concept and commented that the tracking shots were like “an inhale and exhale with each new take”.[13] Furthermore, she felt that the video was representative of The xx’s sound, calling it “morose and hypnotic, just like the band, the aural equivalent of a mumblecore movie”, and opined that the end of the video showed how “love goes”.[13] Chris Ryan from MTV also found the video similar to the band’s musical style, and commented that the slight changes in its pattern “suggest unrest under the surface — much like the band’s pristine, subtly menacing sound”.[14] He also noted that while “it’s often hard to imagine what visuals would go well” with The xx’s songs, the music video for “Islands” “trumps anything we could have ever imagined”.[14]

On 2 October 2009, The xx performed “Islands” live on British music television show Later… with Jools Holland, along with “Night Time”.[15] The song was included on the setlist of their 2010 tour, and was also performed at the ITunes Festival held at The Roundhouse in London in the same year; the band later released a digital EP of their performance.[16] “Islands” was also included on the setlist of the band’s 2013 tour, and a more rock-oriented version of the song was performed.[17]

“Islands” was played during the closing monologue of the fourteenth episode of the sixth season of American television medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, entitled “Valentine’s Day Massacre”.[18] It was also a part of the soundtrack of the tenth episode of the second season of comedy-drama television series Parenthood, entitled “Happy Thanksgiving”.[19]

Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira recorded a cover version of “Islands” for inclusion in her ninth studio album Sale el Sol, which was released on October 19, 2010.[25] Although there was initial speculation that the cover would be entitled “Explore”,[26][27] it appeared on the final tracklist of the album using its original name.[25] In comparison to the original version, Shakira’s cover of “Islands” follows a largely similar and “fairly faithful” instrumentation,[28] but features a faster tempo, “hopeful-sounding” vocals,[29] and “pseudo-house” elements.[30] Prior to Shakira recording the cover of “Islands”, Croft had briefly met her at the London BBC Studios; the former talked about her meeting, saying “We were sitting on a wall outside the BBC and she came up and her bodyguards parted and it was little Shakira, and she says, “Hi!” And I was like, Wow! I found out recently that shes a big fan of The Cure and stuff”.[28]

Shakira’s cover of “Islands” drew generally favourable reception from critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic felt it was a highlight on the album, and commented that Shakira “finds warmth within the art pop of The xx, whose “Islands” is a shimmering peak here”.[25][31] Mikael Wood from Entertainment Weekly appreciated the cover, and opined that “[Shakira] discovers the beating heart inside that band’s subdued electro-goth jam”.[32] Becky Bain from Idolator called Shakira’s version of “Islands” “sunnier than the original” and regarded it as “brilliantly subdued”, complimenting the singer’s overall reworking of the original track.[29] In 2011, Stereogum included the cover on their list of “The 10 Best xx Covers”.[33] Shakira’s cover of “Islands” appeared on the US Billboard Latin Digital Songs chart, peaking at number 39 for one week.[34]

In June 2010, Shakira performed the cover live at the Glastonbury Festival in Pilton, Somerset.[35] Alex Needham from The Guardian called the performance “a slinky cover” that “is a nod to the indie kids”.[35] Maria Schurr from PopMatters felt the performance was “less intimate than the original”, but “managed to amplify the tremendous pop sensibilities embedded beneath Romy Madley Croft”s and Oliver Sim’s hushed coos”.[36] She concluded by saying that “as great as The xx are, its probably safe to say that Shakira can cut a rug better”.[36]

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Falkland Islands – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Mar 062016
 

The Falkland Islands (; Spanish: Islas Malvinas [malinas]) are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf. The principal islands are about 300 miles (480km) east of South America’s southern Patagonian coast, at a latitude of about 52S. The archipelago, with an area of 4,700 square miles (12,000km2), comprises East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 smaller islands. As a British overseas territory, the Falklands have internal self-governance, and the United Kingdom takes responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs. The islands’ capital is Stanley on East Falkland.

Controversy exists over the Falklands’ discovery and subsequent colonisation by Europeans. At various times, the islands have had French, British, Spanish, and Argentine settlements. Britain reasserted its rule in 1833, although Argentina maintains its claim to the islands. In April 1982, Argentine forces temporarily occupied the islands. British administration was restored two months later at the end of the Falklands War.

The population (2,932 inhabitants in 2012)[A] primarily consists of native-born Falkland Islanders, the majority of British descent. Other ethnicities include French, Gibraltarian and Scandinavian. Immigration from the United Kingdom, the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena, and Chile has reversed a population decline. The predominant (and official) language is English. Under the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983, Falkland Islanders are British citizens.

The islands lie on the boundary of the subantarctic oceanic and tundra climate zones, and both major islands have mountain ranges reaching 2,300 feet (700m). They are home to large bird populations, although many no longer breed on the main islands because of competition from introduced species. Major economic activities include fishing, tourism and sheep farming, with an emphasis on high-quality wool exports. Oil exploration, licensed by the Falkland Islands Government, remains controversial as a result of maritime disputes with Argentina.

The Falkland Islands take their name from the Falkland Sound, a strait separating the archipelago’s two main islands. The name “Falkland” was applied to the channel by John Strong, captain of an English expedition which landed on the islands in 1690. Strong named the strait in honour of Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount of Falkland, the Treasurer of the Navy who sponsored their journey.[7] The Viscount’s title originates from the town of Falkland, Scotland, whose name comes from “folkland” (land held by folk-right). The name was not applied to the islands until 1765, when British captain John Byron of the Royal Navy, claimed them for King George III as “Falkland’s Islands”.[9] The term “Falklands” is a standard abbreviation used to refer to the islands.

The Spanish name for the archipelago, Islas Malvinas, derives from the French les Malouines the name given to the islands by French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville in 1764. Bougainville, who founded the islands’ first settlement, named the area after the port of Saint-Malo (the point of departure for his ships and colonists).[11] The port, located in the Brittany region of western France, was in turn named after St. Malo (or Maclou), the Christian evangelist who founded the city.

At the twentieth session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Fourth Committee determined that, in all languages other than Spanish, all UN documentation would designate the territory as Falkland Islands (Malvinas). In Spanish, the territory was designated as Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands). The nomenclature used by the United Nations for statistical processing purposes is Falkland Islands (Malvinas).[14]

Although Fuegians from Patagonia may have visited the Falkland Islands in prehistoric times,[15] the islands were uninhabited at the time of their discovery by Europeans. Claims of discovery date back to the 16th century, but no consensus exists on whether these early explorers discovered the Falklands or other islands in the South Atlantic.[17][B] The first recorded landing on the islands is attributed to English captain John Strong, who, en route to Peru’s and Chile’s littoral in 1690, discovered the Falkland Sound and noted the islands’ water and game.[20]

The Falklands remained uninhabited until the 1764 establishment of Port Louis on East Falkland by French captain Louis Antoine de Bougainville, and the 1766 foundation of Port Egmont on Saunders Island by British captain John MacBride.[C] Whether or not the settlements were aware of each other’s existence is debated by historians.[23] In 1766, France surrendered its claim on the Falklands to Spain, which renamed the French colony Puerto Soledad the following year. Problems began when Spain discovered and captured Port Egmont in 1770. War was narrowly avoided by its restitution to Britain in 1771.

Both the British and Spanish settlements coexisted in the archipelago until 1774, when Britain’s new economic and strategic considerations led it to voluntarily withdraw from the islands, leaving a plaque claiming the Falklands for King George III. Spain’s Viceroyalty of the Ro de la Plata became the only governmental presence in the territory. West Falkland was left abandoned, and Puerto Soledad became mostly a prison camp. Amid the British invasions of the Ro de la Plata during the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, the islands’ governor evacuated the archipelago in 1806; Spain’s remaining colonial garrison followed suit in 1811, except for gauchos and fishermen who remained voluntarily.

Thereafter, the archipelago was visited only by fishing ships; its political status was undisputed until 1820, when Colonel David Jewett, an American privateer working for the United Provinces of the River Plate, informed anchored ships about Buenos Aires’ 1816 claim to Spain’s territories in the South Atlantic.[28][D] Since the islands had no permanent inhabitants, in 1823 Buenos Aires granted German-born merchant Luis Vernet permission to conduct fishing activities and exploit feral cattle in the archipelago.[E] Vernet settled at the ruins of Puerto Soledad in 1826, and accumulated resources on the islands until the venture was secure enough to bring settlers and form a permanent colony.[32] Buenos Aires named Vernet military and civil commander of the islands in 1829, and he attempted to regulate sealing to stop the activities of foreign whalers and sealers. Vernet’s venture lasted until a dispute over fishing and hunting rights led to a raid by the American warship USS Lexington in 1831,[F] when United States Navy commander Silas Duncan declared the dissolution of the island’s government.

Buenos Aires attempted to retain influence over the settlement by installing a garrison, but a mutiny in 1832 was followed the next year by the arrival of British forces who reasserted Britain’s rule. The Argentine Confederation (headed by Buenos Aires Governor Juan Manuel de Rosas) protested Britain’s actions,[G] and Argentine governments have continued since then to register official protests against Britain.[H] The British troops departed after completing their mission, leaving the area without formal government. Vernet’s deputy, the Scotsman Matthew Brisbane, returned to the islands that year to restore the business, but his efforts ended after, amid unrest at Port Louis, gaucho Antonio Rivero led a group of dissatisfied individuals to murder Brisbane and the settlement’s senior leaders; survivors hid in a cave on a nearby island until the British returned and restored order. In 1840, the Falklands became a Crown colony, and Scottish settlers subsequently established an official pastoral community. Four years later, nearly everyone relocated to Port Jackson, considered a better location for government, and merchant Samuel Lafone began a venture to encourage British colonisation.[44]

Stanley, as Port Jackson was soon renamed, officially became the seat of government in 1845. Early in its history, Stanley had a negative reputation due to cargo-shipping losses; only in emergencies would ships rounding Cape Horn stop at the port.[46] Nevertheless, the Falklands’ geographic location proved ideal for ship repairs and the “Wrecking Trade”, the business of selling and buying shipwrecks and their cargoes. Aside from this trade, commercial interest in the archipelago was minimal due to the low-value hides of the feral cattle roaming the pastures. Economic growth began only after the Falkland Islands Company, which bought out Lafone’s failing enterprise in 1851,[I] successfully introduced Cheviot sheep for wool farming, spurring other farms to follow suit.[49] The high cost of importing materials, combined with the shortage of labour and consequent high wages, meant the ship repair trade became uncompetitive. After 1870, it declined as the replacement of sail ships by steamships was accelerated by the low cost of coal in South America; by 1914, with the opening of the Panama Canal, the trade effectively ended. In 1881, the Falkland Islands became financially independent of Britain. For more than a century, the Falkland Islands Company dominated the trade and employment of the archipelago; in addition, it owned most housing in Stanley, which greatly benefited from the wool trade with the UK.[49]

In the first half of the 20th century, the Falklands served an important role in Britain’s territorial claims to subantarctic islands and a section of Antarctica. The Falklands governed these territories as the Falkland Islands Dependencies starting in 1908, and retained them until their dissolution in 1985. The Falklands also played a minor role in the two world wars as a military base aiding control of the South Atlantic. In the First World War Battle of the Falkland Islands in December 1914, a Royal Navy fleet defeated an Imperial German squadron. In the Second World War, following the December 1939 Battle of the River Plate, the battle-damaged HMS Exeter steamed to the Falklands for repairs. In 1942, a battalion en route to India was redeployed to the Falklands as a garrison amid fears of a Japanese seizure of the archipelago. After the war ended, the Falklands economy was affected by declining wool prices and the political uncertainty resulting from the revived sovereignty dispute between the United Kingdom and Argentina.[46]

Simmering tensions between the UK and Argentina increased during the second half of the century, when Argentine President Juan Pern asserted sovereignty over the archipelago. The sovereignty dispute intensified during the 1960s, shortly after the United Nations passed a resolution on decolonisation which Argentina interpreted as favourable to its position. In 1965, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2065, calling for both states to conduct bilateral negotiations to reach a peaceful settlement of the dispute. From 1966 until 1968, the UK confidentially discussed with Argentina the transfer of the Falklands, assuming its judgement would be accepted by the islanders. An agreement on trade ties between the archipelago and the mainland was reached in 1971 and, consequently, Argentina built a temporary airfield at Stanley in 1972. Nonetheless, Falklander dissent, as expressed by their strong lobby in the UK Parliament, and tensions between the UK and Argentina effectively limited sovereignty negotiations until 1977.

Concerned at the expense of maintaining the Falkland Islands in an era of budget cuts, the UK again considered transferring sovereignty to Argentina in the early Thatcher government.[57] Substantive sovereignty talks again ended by 1981, and the dispute escalated with passing time. In April 1982, the disagreement became an armed conflict when Argentina invaded the Falklands and other British territories in the South Atlantic, briefly occupying them until a UK expeditionary force retook the territories in June.[59] After the war, the United Kingdom expanded its military presence, building RAF Mount Pleasant and increasing the size of its garrison. The war also left some 117 minefields containing nearly 20,000 mines of various types, including anti-vehicle and anti-personnel mines.[61] Due to the large number of deminer casualties, initial attempts to clear the mines ceased in 1983.[61][J]

Based on Lord Shackleton’s recommendations, the Falklands diversified from a sheep-based monoculture into an economy of tourism and, with the establishment of the Falklands Exclusive Economic Zone, fisheries.[K] The road network was also made more extensive, and the construction of RAF Mount Pleasant allowed access to long haul flights. Oil exploration has also begun, with indications of possible commercially exploitable deposits in the Falklands basin.[64] Landmine clearance work restarted in 2009, in accordance with the UK’s obligations under the Ottawa Treaty, and Sapper Hill Corral was cleared of mines in 2012, allowing access to an important historical landmark for the first time in 30 years.[65][66] Argentina and the UK re-established diplomatic relations in 1990; relations have since deteriorated as neither has agreed on the terms of future sovereignty discussions.[67] Disputes between the governments have led “some analysts [to] predict a growing conflict of interest between Argentina and Great Britain… because of the recent expansion of the fishing industry in the waters surrounding the Falklands”.

The Falkland Islands are a self-governing British Overseas Territory.[69] Under the 2009 Constitution, the islands have full internal self-government; the UK is responsible for foreign affairs, retaining the power “to protect UK interests and to ensure the overall good governance of the territory”.[70] The Monarch of the United Kingdom is the head of state, and executive authority is exercised on the monarch’s behalf by the Governor, who in turn appoints the islands’ Chief Executive on the advice of members of the Legislative Assembly.[71] Both the Governor and Chief Executive serve as the head of government. Governor Colin Roberts was appointed in April 2014;[73] Chief Executive Keith Padgett was appointed in March 2012.[74] The UK minister responsible for the Falkland Islands since 2012, Hugo Swire, administers British foreign policy regarding the islands.[75]

The Governor acts on the advice of the islands’ Executive Council, composed of the Chief Executive, the Director of Finance and three elected members of the Legislative Assembly (with the Governor as chairman).[71] The Legislative Assembly, a unicameral legislature, consists of the Chief Executive, the Director of Finance and eight members (five from Stanley and three from Camp) elected to four-year terms by universal suffrage.[71] All politicians in the Falkland Islands are independent; no political parties exist on the islands.[76] Since the 2013 general election, members of the Legislative Assembly have received a salary and are expected to work full-time and give up all previously held jobs or business interests.[77]

Due to its link to the UK, the Falklands are part of the overseas countries and territories of the European Union.[78] The islands’ judicial system, overseen by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is largely based on English law, and the constitution binds the territory to the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights.[70] Residents have the right of appeal to the European Court of Human Rights and the Privy Council.[80][81] Law enforcement is the responsibility of the Royal Falkland Islands Police (RFIP), and military defence of the islands is provided by the United Kingdom.[82] A British military garrison is stationed on the islands, and the Falkland Islands government funds an additional company-sized light infantry Falkland Islands Defence Force.[83] The territorial waters of the Falklands extend to 200 nautical miles (370km) from its coastal baselines, based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; this border overlaps with the maritime boundary of Argentina.[84]

The United Kingdom and Argentina both claim the Falkland Islands. The UK’s position is that the Falklanders have not indicated a desire for change, and that there are no pending issues to resolve concerning the islands.[86] The UK bases its position on its continuous administration of the islands since 1833 (except for 1982) and the islanders’ “right to self-determination as set out in the UN Charter”.[87] Argentine policy maintains that Falkland Islanders do not have a right to self-determination, claiming that in 1833 the UK expelled Argentine authorities (and settlers) from the Falklands with a threat of “greater force” and, afterwards, barred Argentines from resettling the islands.[88][89] Argentina posits that it acquired the Falklands from Spain when it achieved independence in 1816, and that the UK illegally occupied them in 1833.[88]

In 2009, British prime minister Gordon Brown had a meeting with Argentine president Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner, and said that there would be no further talks over the sovereignty of the Falklands.[90] In March 2013, the Falkland Islands held a referendum on its political status, with 99.8 percent of voters favoured remaining under British rule.[91][92] Argentina does not recognise the Falkland Islands as a partner in negotiations;[93] consequently, it dismissed the Falkland Islands’ sovereignty referendum.[94]

The Falkland Islands have a land area of 4,700 square miles (12,000km2) and a coastline estimated at 800 miles (1,300km).[95] Two main islands, West Falkland and East Falkland, and about 776 smaller islands constitute the archipelago. The islands are predominantly mountainous and hilly,[97] with the major exception the depressed plains of Lafonia (a peninsula forming the southern part of East Falkland). The Falklands are continental crust fragments resulting from the break-up of Gondwana and the opening of the South Atlantic that began 130 million years ago. The islands are located in the South Atlantic Ocean, on the Patagonian Shelf, about 300 miles (480km) east of Patagonia in southern Argentina.

The Falklands are situated approximately at latitude 5140 5300 S and longitude 5740 6200 W. The archipelago’s two main islands are separated by the Falkland Sound, and its deep coastal indentations form natural harbours.[102] East Falkland houses Stanley (the capital and largest settlement), the UK military base at RAF Mount Pleasant, and the archipelago’s highest point: Mount Usborne, at 2,313 feet (705m). Outside of these significant settlements is the area colloquially known as “Camp”, which is derived from the Spanish term for countryside (Campo).

The climate of the islands is cold, windy and humid maritime. Variability of daily weather is typical throughout the archipelago. Rainfall is common over half of the year, averaging 610 millimetres (24in) in Stanley, and sporadic light snowfall occurs nearly all year.[97] The temperature is generally between 21.1 and 11.1C (70.0 and 12.0F) in Stanley, but can vary to 9C (48F) early in the year and 1C (30F) in July. Strong westerly winds and cloudy skies are common.[97] Although numerous storms are recorded each month, conditions are normally calm.

The Falkland Islands are a biogeographical part of the mild Antarctic zone, with strong connections to the flora and fauna of Patagonia in mainland South America.[106] Land birds make up most of the Falklands’ avifauna; 63 species breed on the islands, including 16 endemic species. There is also abundant arthropod diversity on the islands. The Falklands’ flora consists of 163 native vascular species. The islands’ only native terrestrial mammal, the warrah, was hunted to extinction by European settlers.

The islands are frequented by marine mammals, such as the southern elephant seal and the South American fur seal, and various types of cetaceans; offshore islands house the rare striated caracara. The Falklands are also home to five different penguin species and a few of the largest albatross colonies on the planet.[111] Endemic fish around the islands are primarily from the genus Galaxias. The Falklands are treeless and have a wind-resistant vegetation predominantly composed of a variety of dwarf shrubs.

Virtually the entire land area of the islands is used as pasture for sheep.[2] Introduced species include reindeer, hares, rabbits, Patagonian foxes, brown rats and cats. The detrimental impact several of these species have caused to native flora and fauna has led authorities to attempt to contain, remove or exterminate invasive species such as foxes, rabbits and rats. Endemic land animals have been the most affected by introduced species. The extent of human impact on the Falklands is unclear, since there is little long-term data on habitat change.[106]

The economy of the Falkland Islands is ranked the 222nd largest out of 229 in the world by GDP (PPP), but ranks 10th worldwide by GDP (PPP) per capita.[2] The unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in 2010, and inflation was last calculated at 1.2 percent rate in 2003.[2] Based on 2010 data, the islands have a high Human Development Index of 0.874 and a moderate Gini coefficient for income inequality of 34.17. The local currency is the Falkland Islands pound, which is pegged to the British pound sterling.[116]

Economic development was advanced by ship resupplying and sheep farming for high-quality wool.[117] The main sheep breeds in the Falkland Islands are Polwarth and Corriedale.[118] During the 1980s, although synthetic fibres and ranch underinvestment hurt the sheep-farming sector, the government established a major revenue stream with the establishment of an exclusive economic zone and the sale of fishing licenses to “anybody wishing to fish within this zone”. Since the end of the Falklands War in 1982, the islands’ economic activity has increasingly focused on oil field exploration and tourism.

The port city of Stanley has regained the islands’ economic focus, with an increase in population as workers migrate from Camp. Fear of dependence on fishing licences and threats from overfishing, illegal fishing and fish market price fluctuations have increased interest on oil drilling as an alternative source of revenue; exploration efforts have yet to find “exploitable reserves”. Development projects in education and sports have been funded by the Falklands government, without aid from the United Kingdom.

The primary sector of the economy accounts for most of the Falkland Islands’ gross domestic product, with the fishing industry alone contributing between 50% and 60% of annual GDP; agriculture also contributes significantly to GDP and employs about a tenth of the population.[122] A little over a quarter of the workforce serves the Falkland Islands government, making it the archipelago’s largest employer.[123] Tourism, part of the service economy, has been spurred by increased interest in Antarctic exploration and the creation of direct air links with the United Kingdom and South America.[124] Tourists, mostly cruise ship passengers, are attracted by the archipelago’s wildlife and environment, as well as activities such as fishing and wreck diving; the majority are based in accommodation found in Stanley.[125] The islands’ major exports include wool, hides, venison, fish and squid; its main imports include fuel, building materials and clothing.[2]

The Falkland Islands are a homogeneous society, with the majority of inhabitants descended from Scottish and Welsh immigrants who settled the territory in 1833.[L] The 2006 census listed some Falklands residents as descendants of French, Gibraltarians and Scandinavians.[127] That census indicated that one-third of residents were born on the archipelago, with foreign-born residents assimilated into local culture.[128] The legal term for the right of residence is “belonging to the islands”.[71] The British Nationality Act of 1983 gave British citizenship to Falkland Islanders.

A significant population decline affected the archipelago in the twentieth century, with many young islanders moving overseas in search of education, a modern lifestyle, and better job opportunities,[129] particularly to the British city of Southampton, which came to be nicknamed “Stanley north”.[130] In recent years, the island’s population decline has steadied, thanks to immigrants from the United Kingdom, Saint Helena, and Chile. In the 2012 census, a majority of residents listed their nationality as Falkland Islander (59 percent), followed by British (29 percent), Saint Helenian (9.8 percent), and Chilean (5.4 percent).[1] A small number of Argentines also live on the islands.[132]

The Falkland Islands have a low population density. According to the 2012 census, the average daily population of the Falklands was 2,932, excluding military personnel serving in the archipelago and their dependents.[M] A 2012 report counted 1,300 uniformed personnel and 50 British Ministry of Defence civil servants present in the Falklands.[123] Stanley (with 2,121 residents) is the most-populous location on the archipelago, followed by Mount Pleasant (369 residents, primarily air-base contractors) and Camp (351 residents).[1] The islands’ age distribution is skewed towards working age (2060). Males outnumber females (53 to 47 percent), and this discrepancy is most prominent in the 2060 age group.[127] In the 2006 census most islanders identified themselves as Christian (67.2 percent), followed by those who refused to answer or had no religious affiliation (31.5 percent). The remaining 1.3 percent (39 people) were adherents of other faiths.[127]

Education in the Falkland Islands, which follows England’s system, is free and compulsory for residents aged between 5 and 16 years.[134] Primary education is available at Stanley, RAF Mount Pleasant (for children of service personnel) and a number of rural settlements. Secondary education is only available in Stanley, which offers boarding facilities and 12 subjects to General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) level. Students aged 16 or older may study at colleges in England for their GCE Advanced Level or vocational qualifications. The Falkland Islands government pays for older students to attend institutions of higher education, usually in the United Kingdom.[134]

Falklands culture is “based on the British culture brought with the settlers from the British Isles”, although it has been influenced by the cultures of Hispanic South America. Some terms and place names used by the islands’ former Gaucho inhabitants are still applied in local speech. The Falklands’ predominant and official language is English, with the foremost dialect being British English; nonetheless, inhabitants also speak Spanish and other languages. According to naturalist Will Wagstaff, “the Falkland Islands are a very social place, and stopping for a chat is a way of life”.

The islands have two weekly newspapers: Teaberry Express and The Penguin News, and television and radio broadcasts generally feature programming from the United Kingdom. Wagstaff describes local cuisine as “very British in character with much use made of the homegrown vegetables, local lamb, mutton, beef, and fish”. Common between meals are “home made cakes and biscuits with tea or coffee”. Social activities are, according to Wagstaff, “typical of that of a small British town with a variety of clubs and organisations covering many aspects of community life”.

Articles relating to the Falkland Islands

Coordinates: 5141S 5910W / 51.683S 59.167W / -51.683; -59.167

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Falkland Islands – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Islands, Maryland

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Feb 292016
 

ISLANDS There are hundreds of islands in Maryland. While most are inhabited, several islands, such as Assateague Island and Poplar Island, are reserved as parks and wildlife refuges.

Over time, the number of islands in Maryland has decreased. Rising sea levels have caused many islands in the Chesapeake Bay, including Sharps Island and Three Sisters Island, to disappear. Others, such as Smith Island, are in danger of being flooded.

Assateague Island National Park Seashore (Worcester County), May 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

BALTIMORE COUNTY

CALVERT COUNTY

CECIL COUNTY

CHARLES COUNTY

DORCHESTER COUNTY

FREDERICK COUNTY

GARRETT COUNTY

HARFORD COUNTY

KENT COUNTY

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

QUEEN ANNE’S COUNTY

ST. MARY’S COUNTY

SOMERSET COUNTY

TALBOT COUNTY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

WICOMICO COUNTY

Assateague Island National Park Seashore (Worcester County), May 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

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Islands, Maryland

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Geographia: Islands – Timeless Myths

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Feb 292016
 

Crete was the largest island in the Aegean Sea, south of the Cyclades. There were many cities built at the time of Bronze Age civilisation, especially in Cnossus (Knossos, ), Phaestus (Phaistos, ), and Mallia, where great palaces were built. The civilisation in Crete was known as Minoan civilisation, named after the mythical ruler, Minos.

The Minoan civilisation was more advanced in technology, economy, art and culture than the society found in mainland Greece, between 3000 and 1500 BC. Crete also enjoyed foreign trades with Egypt, Phoenicians in Palestine and the Hittites in Asia Minor.

Crete was the sources of many myths, particularly about Zeus, his mistress Europa and his son Minos, as well as Daedalus, Minos’ inventor.

Before the war between the Titans and the Olympians, Zeus was brought up in Crete, to hide from his father Cronus. Rhea, Zeus’ mother, was angry that her husband was swallowing each of her children when the baby was born. Zeus was her baby, and to prevent Cronus from swallowing the infant, she hid Zeus in a cave at Mount Dicte. Rhea then presented Cronus with a stone wrapped in swaddling cloth, pretending it was her newborn son, which Cronus immediately swallowed. The infant Zeus was fed from the milk of the goat Amalthea. The Curetes were Cretan spirits or daimones, and were usually described and depicted as youths. The Curetes clashed their spears against their shields in their war dance, so that Zeus’ cries were drowned out by their noise. See the Creation.

When Zeus abducted Europa, the daughter of King Agenor of Sidon, the amorous god brought the maiden to Crete where she was seduced and she became the mother of Minos, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon. Europa married Asterius (or Asterion), the king of Crete and the son of Tectamus and the unnamed daughter of Cretheus.

Tectamus was the son of Dorus and grandson of Hellen. Tectamus had migrated from Thessaly, and became king of Crete.

However much of the myths surrounding the island, they mostly involved with Minos. Minos had married Pasiphae, daughter of the sun god Helius, and he had many children. Minos became the father of four sons, Catreus, Deucalion, Androgeus and Glaucus (Glaucos); and of four daughters, Acacallis, Xenodice, Ariadne and Phaedra.

See the House of Minos for the genealogy of Crete.

But he had also offended the sea god Poseidon, for refusing to sacrifice the bull (Cretan Bull) that the god had sent to the king. Poseidon caused Pasiphae to fall in love with the Cretan Bull, so that she became the mother of monster that had the man’s body but with the head of bull; the monster was called the Minotaur (“Minos’ Bull”). Here, the myth of Theseus of Athens becomes entwined with that of Minos. Beneath the myth of Minos, another player is involved with the ruler of Crete: Daedalus, the great inventor.

Daedalus became involved with Pasiphae copulating with the Crete Bull that produced the offspring Minotaur; he was the one who constructed the maze-like Labyrinth, which only he could escape. Daedalus earned Minos’ displeasure when the inventor disclosed the secret on how to escape the Labyrinth to Theseus through Ariadne, daughter of Minos, resulting in his confinement in the Labyrinth. Daedalus had escaped when constructed a winged device. Minos tried to capture the fugitive inventor, but in Sicily, the daughter of Daedalus’ new patron killed the king while he was taking a bath.

With Minos’ death, Crete was divided between his two sons, Catreus and Deucalion. Idomeneus, son of Deucalion, was a former suitor of Helen, and he brought 80 ships to Troy. Though he was one of oldest men, he distinguished himself in the war. Idomeneus safely returned home after the war, he was banished by his wife Meda and her lover Leucus.

For more detail accounts of Europa, Minos and his descendants, I would suggest that you read the new Minoan Crete page.

Minos (founder of Cnossus).

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Geographia: Islands – Timeless Myths

Caribbean Islands | Caribbean hotels & villas, Caribbean …

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Feb 292016
 

CARIBBEAN.COM | HOTELS | VILLAS | ACTIVITIES | Top Caribbean Tours Dreaming of the Caribbean? Check out these exciting tours and attractions. Top Caribbean Hotels Browse a selection of top hotels in The Bahamas and the Caribbean. Top Bermuda Resorts Dreaming of Bermuda? Browse this exquisite collection of beautiful Bermuda resorts and hotels. Top Aruba Hotels Planning a trip to Aruba? Check out these exciting Aruba hotels and beachfront resorts. Top Cayman Islands Hotels Browse a selection of top beach front hotels and resorts in the Cayman Islands. Top Bahamas Resorts Planning your trip to The Bahamas? Browse a selection of Bahamas resorts and hotels. Top Anguilla Hotels Planning a trip to Anguilla? Check out these exciting Anguilla hotels and beachfront resorts. Top Antigua and Barbuda Hotels Browse a selection of top beach front hotels and resorts in Antigua and Barbuda. Top Barbados Resorts Planning your trip to Barbados? Browse a selection of Barbados resorts and hotels. Top Jamaica Hotels Planning a trip to Jamaica? Check out these exciting Jamaica hotels and beachfront resorts. Top Curacao Hotels Browse a selection of top beach front hotels and resorts in Curacao. Top Dominica Resorts Planning your trip to Dominica? Browse a selection of Dominica hotels. Top St Barts Hotels Planning a trip to St Barts? Check out these exotic St Barts resorts. Top St Kitts and Nevis Hotels Browse a selection exclusive hotels and resorts in St Kitts and Nevis. Top St Lucia Hotels Planning a trip to St Lucia? Browse a selection of exquisite St Lucia hotels. Vacation Packages Canada-Jamaica Planning a trip from Canada to Jamaica? Check out these Jamaica hotel packages. Top Turks and Caicos Hotels Browse a selection exclusive hotels and resorts in the Turks and Caicos. Top USVI Hotels Planning a trip to St Thomas, St Croix or St John? Browse a selection of USVI hotels. Bahamas Vacation Guides [NEW] Want to know the hot spots in Nassau and Freeport? These locally produced visitor guides provide local knowledge on shopping, dining, activities and entertainment.

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Island – definition of island by The Free Dictionary

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Feb 292016
 

noun isle, inch (Scot. & Irish), atoll, holm (dialect), islet, ait or eyot (dialect), cay or key a day trip to the island of Gozo Islands and island groups Achill, Admiralty, Aegean, Aegina, Alcatraz, Aldabra, Alderney, Aleutian, Alexander, Amboina, Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar, Andreanof, Andros, Anglesey, Anguilla, Anticosti, Antigua, Antilles, Antipodes, Aran, Arran, Aru or Arru, Aruba, Ascension, Auckland, Azores, Baffin, Bahamas, Balearic, Bali, Banaba, Bangka, Banks, Baranof, Barbados, Barbuda, Bardsey, Barra, Basilan, Basse-Terre, Batan, Belau, Belle, Benbecula, Bermuda, Biak, Billiton, Bioko, Bohol, Bonaire, Bonin, Bora Bora, Borneo, Bornholm, Bougainville, British, Bute, Butung, Caicos, Caldy, Calf of Man, Campobello, Canary, Canna, Canvey, Cape Breton, Capri, Caroline, Cayman, Ceb, Ceylon, Channel, Chatham, Cheju, Chichagof, Chilo, Chios, Choiseul, Christmas, Cocos, Coll, Colonsay, Coney, Cook, Corfu, Corregidor, Corsica, Crete, Cuba, Curaao, Cyclades, Cyprus, Cythera, Delos, D’Entrecasteaux, Diomede, Disko, Diu, Djerba or Jerba, Dodecanese, Dominica, Dry Tortugas, Easter, Eigg, Elba, Ellesmere, Espritu Santo, Euboea, Faeroes, Faial or Fayal, Fair, Falkland, Falster, Farquhar, Fernando de Noronha, Fiji, Flannan, Flinders, Flores, Florida Keys, Foula, Foulness, Franz Josef Land, French West Indies, Frisian, Fyn, Galpagos, Gambier, Gigha, Gilbert, Gotland, Gothland, or Gottland, Grand Bahama, Grand Canary, Grande-Terre, Grand Manan, Greater Antilles, Greater Sunda, Greenland, Grenada, Grenadines, Guadalcanal, Guam, Guernsey, Hainan or Hainan Tao, Handa, Hawaii, Hayling, Heard and McDonald, Hebrides, Heimaey, Heligoland, Herm, Hispaniola, Hokkaido, Holy, Hong Kong, Honshu, Hormuz or Ormuz, Howland, Ibiza, Icaria, Iceland, Imbros, Iona, Ionian, Ireland, Ischia, Islay, Isle Royale, Ithaca, Iwo Jima, Jamaica, Jan Mayen, Java, Jersey, Jolo, Juan Fernndez, Jura, Kangaroo, Kauai, Keos, Kerrera, Kiritimati, Kodiak, Kos or Cos, Kosrae, Krakatoa or Krakatau, Kuril or Kurile, Kyushu or Kiushu, La Palma, Labuan, Lakshadweep, Lampedusa, Lanai, Lavongai, Leeward, Lemnos, Lesbos, Lesser Antilles, Levks, Leukas, or Leucas, Lewis with Harris or Lewis and Harris, Leyte, Liberty, Lindisfarne, Line, Lipari, Lismore, Lolland or Laaland, Lombok, Long, Longa, Lord Howe, Luing, Lundy, Luzon, Mackinac, Macquarie, Madagascar, Madeira, Madura, Maewo, Mah, Mainland, Majorca, Maldives, Mal, Malta, Man, Manhattan, Manitoulin, Maraj, Margarita, Marie Galante, Marinduque, Marquesas, Marshall, Martinique, Masbate, Mascarene, Matsu or Mazu, Maui, Mauritius, May, Mayotte, Melanesia, Melos, Melville, Mersea, Micronesia, Mindanao, Mindoro, Minorca, Miquelon, Molokai, Moluccas, Montserrat, Mount Desert, Muck, Mull, Mykonos, Nantucket, Nauru, Naxos, Negros, Netherlands Antilles, Nevis, New Britain, New Caledonia, Newfoundland, New Georgia, New Guinea, New Ireland, New Providence, New Siberian, Nicobar, Niue, Norfolk, North, North Uist, Nusa Tenggara, Oahu, Oceania, Okinawa, Orkneys or Orkney, Palawan, Palmyra, Panay, Pantelleria, Pros, Patmos, Pelagian, Pemba, Penang, Pescadores, Philae, Philippines, Phoenix, Pitcairn, Polynesia, Ponape, Pribilof, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, Principe, Qeshm or Qishm, Queen Charlotte, Queen Elizabeth, Quemoy, Raasay, Ramsey, Rarotonga, Rathlin, Runion, Rhodes, Rhum, Rialto, Roanoke, Robben, Rockall, Rona, Ross, Ryukyu, Saba, Safety, Saipan, Sakhalin, Salamis, Saltee, Samar, Samoa, Samos, Samothrace, San Cristbal, San Juan, San Salvador, Santa Catalina, Sao Miguel, Sao Tom, Sardinia, Sark, Savaii, Scalpay, Schouten, Scilly, Sea, Seil, Seram or Ceram, Seychelles, Sheppey, Shetland, Sicily, Singapore, Sjlland, Skikoku, Skokholm, Skomer, Skye, Skyros or Scyros, Society, Socotra, South, Southampton, South Georgia, South Orkney, South Shetland, South Uist, Spitsbergen, Sporades, Sri Lanka, St. Croix, St. Helena, St. John, St. Kilda, St. Kitts or St. Christopher, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Tudwal’s, St. Vincent, Staffa, Staten, Stewart, Stroma, Stromboli, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Sumba or Soemba, Sumbawa or Soembawa, Summer, Sunda or Soenda, Tahiti, Taiwan, Tasmania, Tenedos, Tenerife, Terceira, Thanet, Thsos, Thera, Thousand, Thursday, Timor, Tiree, Tobago, Tokelau, Tombo, Tonga, Tortola, Tortuga, Trinidad, Tristan da Cunha, Trobriand, Truk, Tsushima, Tuamotu, Tubuai, Turks, Tutuila, Tuvalu, Ulva, Unimak, Upolu, Ushant, Vancouver, Vanua Levu, Vanuatu, Vestmannaeyjar, Victoria, Virgin, Visayan, Viti Levu, Volcano, Walcheren, Walney, West Indies, Western, Wight, Windward, Wrangel, Yap, Youth, Zante, Zanzibar

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Island – definition of island by The Free Dictionary

About Our Islands | US Virgin Islands

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Feb 292016
 

Each of our three major islands has a unique character all its own. St. Croix’s Danish influence is perfect for visitors who prefer a laid-back experience. The historic towns of Frederiksted and Christiansted offer quaint shops, charming pastel buildings and refreshing cultural diversity. From horseback riding near 18th-century sugar mills to playing golf on one of the island’s three scenic golf courses, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes.

Two-thirds of St. John is a national park. Its comfortable pace is perfect for enjoying the island’s world-renowned beaches such as Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay and Salt Pond Bay. A nature lover’s favorite, St. John offers hiking, camping, specialty shopping and breathtaking views. If you take just a few hours to visit this island, you’ll find it well worth the trip.

St. Thomas boasts one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. As the most visited port in the Caribbean, downtown Charlotte Amalie offers elegant dining, exciting nightlife, duty-free shopping and even submarine rides. Though it’s full of energy, especially in Charlotte Amalie, this island also possesses numerous sublime natural splendors, such as stunning views of the Caribbean from 1,500 feet above sea level.

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Islands Restaurant – 131 Photos – Burgers – Carlsbad …

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Feb 292016
 

After a long journey to Carlsbad to buy a car, we needed a break to refuel our energy. We decided to stop by and have Islands as our dinner. Upon entering the door, the hostess opened the door to let us inside to get away from the windy and cold outside.

Once seated, our waitress walked past us several times and did not ask us what we wanted to drink. A couple of passes more, she stopped by and asked what we wanted to drink. We ordered and asked for their Cheddar Fries (pretty much just their fries topped with melted cheddar and scallions and comes with sides of ranch for dipping; pretty darn good).

Moments later, she came back with the fries and asked if we were ready to order. We said our group (around 5) was and proceeded to place our orders one by one. I opted for their Hula Burger cooked medium well.

The orders came out momentarily, but one. We asked the waitress where it was and she went back to check. Took her a little bit of time, but it came out. When looking at my order, I noticed that there was mustard in my burger, which mustard usually doesn’t bother me, but for some reason, in this burger, I usually don’t like it. When I do come to Islands, I like to order this burger, so I knew right away it was off. I’m also not the type of person who likes to send back food in thoughts of someone spitting in my food. Not saying that this place would, in hearing horror stories from my friends, I just can’t find myself to do it. So I proceeded to eat it the way it was.

Time and time again, our groups cups were running low of drinks, which we kept having to ask the employee to bring more for us. Not only that, she didn’t check up on us very often to see if we needed anything (like drinks).

Normally I would give Islands a three star rating, but because of the service, it was docked one. Must have been an off day here. Islands usually isn’t like this for me.

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50 Best Island Vacations – Vacation Idea

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Feb 292016
 

Island Vacation Guide Insider Tips & Ideas

Read our editors favorite tips and tricks for getting great deals, packages and specials; when to travel to avoid crowds, lesser-known destination and how to choose the best island vacation for you.

Some have the means to get away to a secluded island several times of year, while others save up for special occasions like anniversaries, honeymoons and family reunions. Here are some of the top reasons to plan an island getaway and ideas on where to go.

Photo: Hotel Monte Mulini

Create fun memories, whether you want to learn something new like scuba diving or take many sunset walks on the beach. Choose a destination with an overwater restaurant and unique honeymoon suites. Couples enjoy getting massages together and many unique spas offer specially designed couples spa suites. Some of the top resorts in the world are located on an island. Private island vacation ideas include Peter Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands, Cayo Espanto in Belize, Kamalame Cay in the Bahamas and Soneva Fushi in the Maldives. Pricing at Kamalame Cay is all-inclusive: meals, snorkeling gear and sea kayaks. There are many resorts for families and couples on Barbados, including Sandy Lane Resort, The Crane Resort and The Fairmont Royal Pavilion.

While most travelers agree that some of the best destinations include Hawaii, French Polynesia and the Caribbean, which spot you choose will depend on your interests and budget. If you live on the East Coast, getting to the Caribbean or Florida will take less time than flying to the Pacific. If you are on the West Coast, Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii are all great choices. Private island resorts on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia should not be overlooked either – they offer awesome scuba diving, snorkeling and secluded sandy beaches.

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50 Best Island Vacations – Vacation Idea

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Caribbean – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Feb 172016
 

Caribbean Area 2,754,000km2 (1,063,000sqmi) Land area 239,681km2 (92,541sqmi) Population (2009) 39,169,962[1] Density 151.5/km2 (392/sqmi) Ethnic groups Afro-Caribbean, White Caribbean, Indo-Caribbean, Chinese Caribbean,Middle Eastern-Caribbean,[2]Arawak (Kalinago, Tano) Demonym Caribbean, Caribbean person, West Indian Languages Spanish, English, French, Dutch, French Creole, English Creole, Caribbean Hindustani, among others Government 13 sovereign states 17 dependent territories Largest cities List of metropolitan areas in the West Indies Santo Domingo Havana Port-au-Prince Santiago de los Caballeros Kingston Santiago de Cuba San Juan Holgun Cap-Hatien Fort-de-France Port of Spain Internet TLD Multiple Calling code Multiple Time zone UTC-5 to UTC-4

The Caribbean ( or ; Spanish: Caribe; Dutch: Caraben(helpinfo); Caribbean Hindustani: (Kairibiyana); French: Carabe or more commonly Antilles) is a region that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean), and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 700 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. (See the list.) These islands generally form island arcs that delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea.[3] The Caribbean islands, consisting of the Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), are part of the somewhat larger West Indies grouping, which also includes the Lucayan Archipelago (comprising The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands) north of the Greater Antilles and Caribbean Sea. In a wider sense, the mainland countries of Belize, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana are also included.

Geopolitically, the Caribbean islands are usually regarded as a subregion of North America[4][5][6][7][8] and are organized into 30 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, and dependencies. From December 15, 1954, to October 10, 2010 there was a country known as the Netherlands Antilles composed of five states, all of which were Dutch dependencies.[9] While from January 3, 1958, to May 31, 1962, there was also a short-lived country called the Federation of the West Indies composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories, all of which were then British dependencies. The West Indies cricket team continues to represent many of those nations.

The region takes its name from that of the Caribs, an ethnic group present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of the Spanish conquest.[10]

The two most prevalent pronunciations of “Caribbean” are KARR–BEE-n, with the primary accent on the third syllable, and k-RIB-ee-n, with the accent on the second. The former pronunciation is the older of the two, although the stressed-second-syllable variant has been established for over 75 years.[11] It has been suggested that speakers of British English prefer KARR–BEE-n while North American speakers more typically use k-RIB-ee-n,[12] although not all sources agree.[13] Usage is split within Caribbean English itself.[14]

The word “Caribbean” has multiple uses. Its principal ones are geographical and political. The Caribbean can also be expanded to include territories with strong cultural and historical connections to slavery, European colonisation, and the plantation system.

The geography and climate in the Caribbean region varies: Some islands in the region have relatively flat terrain of non-volcanic origin. These islands include Aruba (possessing only minor volcanic features), Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, the Bahamas, and Antigua. Others possess rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Definitions of the terms Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles often vary. The Virgin Islands as part of the Puerto Rican bank are sometimes included with the Greater Antilles. The term Lesser Antilles is often used to define an island arc that includes Grenada but excludes Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Antilles.

The waters of the Caribbean Sea host large, migratory schools of fish, turtles, and coral reef formations. The Puerto Rico trench, located on the fringe of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea just to the north of the island of Puerto Rico, is the deepest point in all of the Atlantic Ocean.[16]

The region sits in the line of several major shipping routes with the Panama Canal connecting the western Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean.

The climate of the area is tropical to subtropical in Cuba, The Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Rainfall varies with elevation, size, and water currents (cool upwellings keep the ABC islands arid). Warm, moist tradewinds blow consistently from the east creating rainforest/semidesert divisions on mountainous islands. Occasional northwesterlies affect the northern islands in the winter. The region enjoys year-round sunshine, divided into ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ seasons, with the last six months of the year being wetter than the first half.

Hurricane Season is from June to November, but they occur more frequently in August and September and more common in the northern islands of the Caribbean.Hurricanes that sometimes batter the region usually strike northwards of Grenada and to the west of Barbados. The principal hurricane belt arcs to northwest of the island of Barbados in the Eastern Caribbean.

Water temperatures vary from 31C (88F) to 22C (72F) all around the year. The air temperature is warm, in the 20s and 30s C (70s, 80s, and 90s F) during the year, only varies from winter to summer about 25 degrees on the southern islands and about 1020 degrees difference can occur in the northern islands of the Caribbean. The northern islands, like the Bahamas, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and The Dominican Republic, may be influenced by continental masses during winter months, such as cold fronts.

Aruba: Latitude 12N

Puerto Rico: Latitude 18N

Cuba: at Latitude 22N

Greater Antilles

Lesser Antilles

All islands at some point were, and a few still are, colonies of European nations; a few are overseas or dependent territories:

The British West Indies were united by the United Kingdom into a West Indies Federation between 1958 and 1962. The independent countries formerly part of the B.W.I. still have a joint cricket team that competes in Test matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. The West Indian cricket team includes the South American nation of Guyana, the only former British colony on the mainland of that continent.

In addition, these countries share the University of the West Indies as a regional entity. The university consists of three main campuses in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, a smaller campus in the Bahamas and Resident Tutors in other contributing territories such as Trinidad.

Islands in and near the Caribbean

Maritime boundaries between the Caribbean (island) nations

The Caribbean islands are remarkable for the diversity of their animals, fungi and plants, and have been classified as one of Conservation International’s biodiversity hotspots because of their exceptionally diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems, ranging from montane cloud forests to cactus scrublands. The region also contains about 8% (by surface area) of the world’s coral reefs[22] along with extensive seagrass meadows,[23] both of which are frequently found in the shallow marine waters bordering island and continental coasts off the region.

For the fungi, there is a modern checklist based on nearly 90,000 records derived from specimens in reference collections, published accounts and field observations.[24] That checklist includes more than 11250 species of fungi recorded from the region. As its authors note, the work is far from exhaustive, and it is likely that the true total number of fungal species already known from the Caribbean is higher. The true total number of fungal species occurring in the Caribbean, including species not yet recorded, is likely far higher given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7% of all fungi worldwide have been discovered.[25] Though the amount of available information is still small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to some Caribbean islands. For Cuba, 2200 species of fungi have been tentatively identified as possible endemics of the island;[26] for Puerto Rico, the number is 789 species;[27] for the Dominican Republic, the number is 699 species;[28] for Trinidad and Tobago, the number is 407 species.[29]

Many of the ecosystems of the Caribbean islands have been devastated by deforestation, pollution, and human encroachment. The arrival of the first humans is correlated with extinction of giant owls and dwarf ground sloths.[30] The hotspot contains dozens of highly threatened animals (ranging from birds, to mammals and reptiles), fungi and plants. Examples of threatened animals include the Puerto Rican amazon, two species of solenodon (giant shrews) in Cuba and the Hispaniola island, and the Cuban crocodile.

The region’s coral reefs, which contain about 70 species of hard corals and between 500700 species of reef-associated fishes[31] have undergone rapid decline in ecosystem integrity in recent years, and are considered particularly vulnerable to global warming and ocean acidification.[32] According to a UNEP report, the caribbean coral reefs might get extinct in next 20 years due to population explosion along the coast lines, overfishing, the pollution of coastal areas and global warming.[33]

Some Caribbean islands have terrain that Europeans found suitable for cultivation for agriculture. Tobacco was an important early crop during the colonial era, but was eventually overtaken by sugarcane production as the region’s staple crop. Sugar was produced from sugarcane for export to Europe. Cuba and Barbados were historically the largest producers of sugar. The tropical plantation system thus came to dominate Caribbean settlement. Other islands were found to have terrain unsuited for agriculture, for example Dominica, which remains heavily forested. The islands in the southern Lesser Antilles, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaao, are extremely arid, making them unsuitable for agriculture. However, they have salt pans that were exploited by the Dutch. Sea water was pumped into shallow ponds, producing coarse salt when the water evaporated.[34]

The natural environmental diversity of the Caribbean islands has led to recent growth in eco-tourism. This type of tourism is growing on islands lacking sandy beaches and dense human populations.[35]

The Martinique amazon, Amazona martinicana, is an extinct species of parrot in the Psittacidae family.

At the time of European contact, the dominant ethnic groups in the Caribbean included the Tano of the Greater Antilles and northern Lesser Antilles, the Island Caribs of the southern Lesser Antilles, and smaller distinct groups such as the Guanajatabey of western Cuba and the Ciguayo of western Hispaniola. The population of the Caribbean is estimated to have been around 750,000 immediately before European contact, although lower and higher figures are given. After contact, social disruption and epidemic diseases such as smallpox and measles (to which they had no natural immunity)[36] led to a decline in the Amerindian population.[37] From 1500 to 1800 the population rose as slaves arrived from West Africa[38] such as the Kongo, Igbo, Akan, Fon and Yoruba as well as military prisoners and captured slaves from Ireland, who were deported during the Cromwellian reign in England.[39] Immigrants from Britain, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark also arrived, although the mortality rate was high for both groups.[40]

The population is estimated to have reached 2.2 million by 1800.[41] Immigrants from India, China, and other countries arrived in the 19th century.[42] After the ending of the Atlantic slave trade, the population increased naturally.[43] The total regional population was estimated at 37.5 million by 2000.[44]

The majority of the Caribbean has populations of mainly Africans in the French Caribbean, Anglophone Caribbean and Dutch Caribbean, there are minorities of mixed-race and European peoples of Dutch, English, French, Italian and Portuguese ancestry. Asians, especially those of Chinese and Indian descent, form a significant minority in the region and also contribute to multiracial communities. All of their ancestors arrived in the 19th century as indentured laborers.

The Spanish-speaking Caribbean have primarily mixed race, African, or European majorities. Puerto Rico has a European majority with a mixture of European-African (mulatto), and a large West African minority. One third of Cuba’s (largest Caribbean island) population is of African descent, with a sizable Mulatto (mixed AfricanEuropean) population, and European majority. The Dominican Republic has the largest mixed race population, primarily descended from Europeans, West Africans, and Amerindians.

Larger islands such as Jamaica, have a very large African majority, in addition to a significant mixed race, Chinese, Europeans, Indian, Lebanese, Latin American, and Syrian populations. This is a result of years of importation of slaves and indentured labourers, and migration. Most multi-racial Jamaicans refer to themselves as either mixed race or Brown. The situation is similar for the Caricom states of Belize, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago has a multi-racial cosmopolitan society due to the arrival of the Africans, Indians, Chinese, Syrians, Lebanese, Native Amerindians and Europeans. This multi-racial mix has created sub-ethnicities that often straddle the boundaries of major ethnicities and include Chindian, Mulatto and Dougla.

Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Haitian Creole, and Papiamento are the predominant official languages of various countries in the region, though a handful of unique creole languages or dialects can also be found from one country to another.

Christianity is the predominant religion in the Caribbean (84.7%).[45] Other religious groups in the region are Hinduism, Islam, Buddhist, Rastafari, and Afro-American religions such as Santera and Vodou.

Caribbean societies are very different from other Western societies in terms of size, culture, and degree of mobility of their citizens.[46] The current economic and political problems the states face individually are common to all Caribbean states. Regional development has contributed to attempts to subdue current problems and avoid projected problems. From a political and economic perspective, regionalism serves to make Caribbean states active participants in current international affairs through collective coalitions. In 1973, the first political regionalism in the Caribbean Basin was created by advances of the English-speaking Caribbean nations through the institution known as the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM)[47] which is located in Guyana.

Certain scholars have argued both for and against generalizing the political structures of the Caribbean. On the one hand the Caribbean states are politically diverse, ranging from communist systems such as Cuba toward more capitalist Westminster-style parliamentary systems as in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Other scholars argue that these differences are superficial, and that they tend to undermine commonalities in the various Caribbean states. Contemporary Caribbean systems seem to reflect a “blending of traditional and modern patterns, yielding hybrid systems that exhibit significant structural variations and divergent constitutional traditions yet ultimately appear to function in similar ways.”[48] The political systems of the Caribbean states share similar practices.

The influence of regionalism in the Caribbean is often marginalized. Some scholars believe that regionalism cannot exist in the Caribbean because each small state is unique. On the other hand, scholars also suggest that there are commonalities amongst the Caribbean nations that suggest regionalism exists. “Proximity as well as historical ties among the Caribbean nations has led to cooperation as well as a desire for collective action.”[49] These attempts at regionalization reflect the nations’ desires to compete in the international economic system.[49]

Furthermore, a lack of interest from other major states promoted regionalism in the region. In recent years the Caribbean has suffered from a lack of U.S. interest. “With the end of the Cold War, U.S. security and economic interests have been focused on other areas. As a result there has been a significant reduction in U.S. aid and investment to the Caribbean.”[50] The lack of international support for these small, relatively poor states, helped regionalism prosper.

Following the Cold War another issue of importance in the Caribbean has been the reduced economic growth of some Caribbean States due to the United States and European Union’s allegations of special treatment toward the region by each other. [clarification needed]

The United States under President Bill Clinton launched a challenge in the World Trade Organization against the EU over Europe’s preferential program, known as the Lom Convention, which allowed banana exports from the former colonies of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) to enter Europe cheaply.[51] The World Trade Organization sided in the United States’ favour and the beneficial elements of the convention to African, Caribbean and Pacific states has been partially dismantled and replaced by the Cotonou Agreement.[52]

During the US/EU dispute, the United States imposed large tariffs on European Union goods (up to 100%) to pressure Europe to change the agreement with the Caribbean nations in favour of the Cotonou Agreement.[53]

Farmers in the Caribbean have complained of falling profits and rising costs as the Lom Convention weakens. Some farmers have faced increased pressure to turn towards the cultivation of illegal drugs, which has a higher profit margin and fills the sizable demand for these illegal drugs in North America and Europe.[54][55]

The European Union has also taken issue with US based taxation extended to US companies via the Caribbean countries.[when?] The United States has not been in favor of shutting off the practice yet, mainly due to the higher costs that would be passed on to US companies via taxation.[citation needed] Caribbean countries have largely countered the allegations by the OECD by signing more bilateral information sharing deals with OECD members, thus reducing the dangerous aspects of secrecy, and they have strengthened their legislation against money laundering and on conditions under which companies can be based in their nations.[citation needed] The Caribbean nations have also started to more closely cooperate in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and other instruments to add oversight of the offshore industry.

One of the most important associations that deal with regionalism amongst the nations of the Caribbean Basin has been the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). Proposed by CARICOM in 1992, the ACS soon won the support of the other countries of the region. It was founded in July 1994. The ACS maintains regionalism within the Caribbean on issues unique to the Caribbean Basin. Through coalition building, like the ACS and CARICOM, regionalism has become an undeniable part of the politics and economics of the Caribbean. The successes of region-building initiatives are still debated by scholars, yet regionalism remains prevalent throughout the Caribbean.

The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez launched an economic group called the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), which several eastern Caribbean islands joined. In 2012, the nation of Haiti, with 9 million people, became the largest CARICOM nation that sought to join the union.[56]

Here are some of the bodies that several islands share in collaboration:

Coordinates: 143132N 754906W / 14.52556N 75.81833W / 14.52556; -75.81833

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Caribbean – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Georgia Barrier Islands – Georgia Island Beaches

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Feb 142016
 

The segment of the Georgia Barrier Islands runs along the east coast of the state, from the St Mary’s River bordering Florida and Georgia to Tybee Island where the Savannah River and Atlantic Ocean meet. Barrier Islands are found along most of the Eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine with the Georgia islands totaling fourteen.

The Georgia Islands begin with Cumberland Island and also include Little Cumberland, Jekyll, St. Simons, Sea Island, Little St Simons, Wolf, Sapelo, St. Catherine’s, Ossabaw Island, Wassaw, and Williamson Islands. The northernmost island in the chain is Tybee Island, one of the most popular beach destinations in the state.

Little St. Simons is also a premier vacation destination for vacationers wanting to get away from it all and enjoy a private vacation along Georgia island beaches. The privately owned island encompasses 10,000 acres and is home to a variety of trees and plant life, along with endangered and threatened species of birds. Dolphins, otters, and whales can sometimes be seen in the waters around the island.

A vacation to the Georgia Barrier Islands provides dramatic ocean views, luxury hotels, fine dining, spas, relaxation, and privacy. You can also spend time on the sugar-white Georgia Island beaches for quiet strolls, horseback riding, and romantic sunsets. Guests can arrange for a day trip to the island from the mainland for hiking, touring, or boating, and there are also options for overnight stays. Make plans ahead of time when traveling to Little St. Simon’s Island, however, as only a limited number of guests are allowed on the island at one time.

Cumberland Island, at the southern base of the Georgia Barrier Islands chain, is home to a diverse natural ecological setting with hardwood forests of oak trees and pine in the north, along with saltwater marshes supporting numerous species of fish and birds. There are seventeen miles of white Georgia Island beaches along this lovely island, making it a perennially popular destination in Georgia.

At nearby Crooked River State Park, the 500 acres provide hiking trails that will take you through areas filled with wildlife, including assorted birds, turtles, and alligators. Saltwater fishing, kayaking, boating, and miniature golf are available at the park, and RV and trailer camping is available along with individual rental cottages, making it an excellent fit for travelers who want to spend several days on the Barrier Islands.

The northernmost area of the Georgia Islands is Tybee Island, situated along the Savannah River. There are numerous things to do at Tybee for vacationers interested in outdoor excursions, due to the 100-acre Tybee National Wildlife Refuge providing birdwatchers and hikers with plenty of opportunities for sightseeing. The Tybee Island Pier & Pavilion is a great place for picnics and fishing, and at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, you can take a one-hour guided walk along the beach to learn about the local environment. Those interested in history can also visit the Tybee Lighthouse, built in 1736 and still in use today.

At Jekyll Island, vacationers will have miles of Georgia island beaches and dunes to explore. In the nineteenth century, the island was a retreat for the rich and famous, and today visitors can tour the Jekyll Island Historic District. The district encompasses 240 acres of restored homes, chapels, cottages, and stables, displaying examples of Victorian and Gothic architecture, as well as Tiffany stained glass. In August, the island holds the annual Beach Music Festival, which lasts for three days and includes music, barbecue, dancing, wine tasting, and a golf tournament.

Whichever one you choose to visit, the Barrier Islands in Georgia are an excellent vacation destination for travelers who want to spend time outside and enjoy the beautiful beaches and coastline of this part of the US.

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Georgia Barrier Islands – Georgia Island Beaches

Warner Robins, Georgia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Feb 142016
 

Warner Robins is a city in the US state of Georgia, located in Houston County. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 66,588. From 2000 to 2010, the Warner Robins city population growth percentage was 36.4% (or from 48,804 people to 66,588 people). Warner Robins is a part of the larger Macon-Warner Robins Combined Statistical Area with a population of 417,473.

Warner Robins was founded in 1942 from the community of Wellston. It was named for General Augustine Warner Robins of the United States Air Force. It was incorporated as a town in 1943 and as a city in 1956.[3]

The 1940 census shows that the community of Wellston was sparsely populated and inhabited primarily by farmers and their families. Its most notable landmark was a stop on the railroad line. Wellston also had a small sawmill and a grocery store. Peach orchards covered parts of the surrounding land.

World War II would soon change this. The War Department made plans to build an air depot in the Southeast. With the assistance of influential U.S. Congressman Carl Vinson, Wellston community leader Charles Bostic Boss Watson worked with officials in Macon to make a bid to locate this air depot in Houston County. In June 1941, the U.S. government accepted this offer which included 3,108 acres of land.[4]

This air base was initially called Wellston Army Air Depot when it opened in 1942. The first commander was Colonel Charles E. Thomas. He wanted to name this depot in honor of his mentor Augustine Warner Robins, who was called by his middle name Warner. Regulations prevented him from doing this, which required the base to be named after the nearest town. Not deterred by this, Colonel Thomas persuaded Boss Watson and the other community leaders to rename Wellston. So on September 1, 1942, the town was given the new name of Warner Robins.[5] Soon thereafter on October 14, 1942, the base was renamed to become Warner Robins Army Air Depot. So the city of Warner Robins has a unique name that no other town in America has.

Robins Air Force Base is not within the actual city limits of the town. But only U.S. Highway 129 (Georgia state highway 247) separates the base from the city.

Warner Robins is located at 323631N 833817W / 32.60861N 83.63806W / 32.60861; -83.63806 (32.608720, 83.638027).[6]

Warner Robins is approximately 100 miles south of Atlanta.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.4 square miles (92km2), of which, 35.1 square miles (91km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78km2) (0.82%) is water.

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 66,588 people, 19,550 households, and 13,078 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,143.9 inhabitants per square mile (827.8/km2) . There were 29,084 housing units at an average density of 952.7 per square mile (367.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city included 50.00% White, 36.60% African American, 0.30% Native American, 2.60% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, .10% from other races, and 2.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.60% of the population.

There were 19,550 households out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 16.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.1% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.0% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 31.9% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,401, and the median income for a family was $44,217. Males had a median income of $33,030 versus $24,855 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,121. About 11.0% of families and 13.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 or over.

In 2009, Business Week magazine named Warner Robins the best place in Georgia in which to raise a family.[9] The ranking was bestowed once again for 2010.[10] The Warner Robins Area Chamber was named one of the top three chambers of commerce in the U.S. for a chamber in its division in 2009 by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Association[citation needed]. In 2012, CNN Money named Warner Robins No. 7 on its Best Places To Live list for America’s best small cities.[11]

Warner Robins has a humid subtropical climate (Kppen Cfa). It experiences hot, humid summers and generally mild winters, with average high temperatures ranging from 92.0F (33.3C) in the summer to 58.0F (14.4C) high during winter. Snowfall is an extremely rare event. Warner Robins-area historical tornado activity is slightly above Georgia state average. It is 86% greater than the overall U.S. average.[12]

Warner Robins is home to the Museum of Aviation honoring the history of military aviation. It is located next to the air force base. The museum contains exhibits on military memorabilia, airplanes and ground vehicles, the Tuskegee Airmen and Operation Desert Storm. It is the second-largest aviation museum in the country.[citation needed] It is also the largest tourist attraction outside of Atlanta in the state of Georgia.

Warner Robins residents claim that in 1958, Claude Lewis, director of the Warner Robins Recreation Department, invented the game of tee-ball. The first game was played in March of that year with 20 children participating. Lewis wrote rules for the new game and sent rule books out to recreation departments all over the country.[citation needed] In 2006, a field was dedicated and named for Lewis, “The Father of Tee-Ball”, at the Warner Robins American Little League complex.[citation needed]

Warner Robins Little League won the 2007 Little League World Series 32 against Tokyo, Japan.[14]

On December 9, 2008 the Little League International Board of Directors unanimously voted for Warner Robins to become the new Southeast Region Headquarters of Little League Baseball and Softball. Games began to be played in Warner Robins in 2010.[15]

The Warner Robins American Little League girls softball team won the 2009 Little League Softball World Series, by defeating Crawford, Texas, making Warner Robins the only Little League to have won both a baseball and a softball Little League title.[16]

The Warner Robins American Little League girls softball team defended their 2009 championship by defeating Burbank, California in the 2010 Little League Softball World Series. By doing so, Warner Robins became only the fourth Little League program to produce back-to-back championship teams and the first since Waco, Texas in 20032004.[17]

The official motto of Warner Robins is EDIMGIAFAD, which is an acronym for “Every Day In Middle Georgia Is Armed Forces Appreciation Day”. (Originally: Every Day In Middle Georgia Is Air Force Appreciation Day). The coining of this phrase is attributed to Dr. Dan Callahan, a local civic leader.[18] In 2010, Dr. Callahan and a group of community leaders launched an effort to change the acronym to “EDIUSAIAFAD”, as part of a movement to take the sentiment national: “Every Day in the USA is Armed Forces Appreciation Day”.[19]

Robins Air Force Base is one of the largest employers in the state of Georgia and directly contributes over 25,000 military, civil service, and contractor jobs to the local economy.[20] It has provided economic stability for Warner Robins that has benefited the entire Middle Georgia community.

The city of Warner Robins is working on redeveloping and renewing areas that have suffered from urban decay and/or abandonment through neglect and city growth. The city’s plans include development of a centralized downtown area to include shopping, entertainment and restaurants. They want to increase amenities and attract more commercial business to the area.[citation needed]

In May 2009 Warner Robins was listed by the Adversity Index as one of four Georgia metro areas that have had less than nine months of recession over the past fifteen years and have only recently been affected by the Global Financial Crisis of 20082009.[citation needed]

In June 2011, Warner Robins was listed in Wired Magazine as one of 12 small cities that are driving the “Knowledge Economy”. Georgia was the only Southeastern state listed and Warner Robins was one of two Georgia cities ranked (the other one being Hinesville-Ft. Stewart). The rankings featured small cities that are luring knowledge workers and entrepreneurs and who have both a relatively high median family income and a relatively high percentage of creative workers who drive the economy.

Houston County Hospital was dedicated on July 2, 1960 with 50 beds. The hospital was renamed Houston Medical Center in 1986 after renovations. The patient rooms were converted at this time from semi-private to private with 186 beds available.

A new five-story northwest addition was completed in 2009 making a total of 237 beds.

Houston Medical Center is part of the Houston Healthcare system, which serves over 300,000 people annually.[21]

High school football has long been a storied and celebrated pastime in Warner Robins with the city laying claim to state championships, national championships, college stars and NFL players.

The annual Northside vs Warner Robins game draws an estimated 21,000 fans and was named the #3 rivalry in the country by USA Today in 2006.

Warner Robins High School won two National Championships in 1976 and 1981. They have also won four State Championships in 1976, 1981, 1988 and 2004.

Northside High School was crowned State Champion in 2006, 2007 and 2014.

The Warner Robins Little Theatre was established in 1962 as a non-profit community theatre. Just thirty years later, this organization owned their theatre playhouse debt-free.

The theatre continues to thrive. There are five main shows produced every year. Occasionally there are workshops and other special events held for the Middle Georgia community.[22]

The bands Rehab, Stillwater, Doc Holliday Sugar Creek and Luke’s Cabbage Store are based in Warner Robins.

Warner Robins Law Enforcement Center

Nola Brantley Memorial Library

Southeastern Region Little League Stadium

Little League World Series display

Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Davis Drive

State Court of Houston County

The portion of Warner Robins in Houston County is served by the Houston County School System. The portion of the city in Peach County is served by Peach County School District.[citation needed]

On April 30, 1953 a F4 tornado with winds over 200mph hit the city and portions of Robins Air Force Base and killed 18 people and injured 300 more.

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Golden Isles of Georgia

 Islands  Comments Off on Golden Isles of Georgia
Feb 142016
 

Use the following navigation to visit the main site sections

The Golden Isles consist of many unique locations each offering a unique experience. Discover them at your leisure. Come Stay!

Nestled on the Georgia coast, midway between Savannah, GA, and Jacksonville, FL, lies the mainland city of Brunswick and its four beautiful barrier islands: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island. Pristine stretches of marshland, punctuated by small islands known as hammocks, define the breathtaking landscape and create the appearance of a continuous stretch of land reaching out to the barrier islands.

The largest of The Golden Isles, St. Simons Island continues to reveal the remarkable beauty and fascinating history of what 16th-century Spanish explorers called San Simeon. Visitors come year round to swim, stroll and sail along its miles of lovely beaches, to challenge its 99 holes of superb golf and numerous tennis courts, and to explore its countless shops and restaurants.

Reached by causeway from St. Simons Island, Sea Island is an internationally acclaimed resort. Though much of Sea Island is residential, Island life centers around The Cloister, perennially honored as one of the worlds great hotels. Golf club, beach club, gun club, horseback riding, fine dining and numerous other activities are among the amenities enjoyed by its guests.

Jekyll Island offers an abundance of recreational activities that are sure to please visitors of all ages. Miles of white sand beaches, 63 holes of golf, an outdoor tennis complex, water fun park, fishing pier, nature centers, bike trails and more. Accommodations are invitingly varied and include a grand historic hotel, oceanfront properties, even camping. Jekyll Island, once a haven for Americas elite, now beckons to all.

Accessible only by boat, Little St. Simons Island is the northernmost of The Golden Isles and certainly the most secluded. For many years a privately owned retreat, the Island now offers a limited number of guests the rare opportunity to experience the enchantment and solitude of the isolated beaches and marshlands that bound its10,000 acres of pristine woodlands.

Mainland Brunswick is named for Braunschweig, Germany, the ancestral home of King George II, grantor of Georgias original land charter. The streets and squares of this quiet port city were laid out before the American Revolution and their names, like Newcastle, Norwich, Prince and Gloucester, give Brunswick a decidedly English flavor. The unmistakable flavor of the south, too, can be sampled here, home of the original Brunswick Stew.

Interstate 95, the main Interstate Highway on the east coast of the United States, also serves the coast of Georgia. Within Georgia, it begins from the south at the St. Marys River and the Florida state line and continues north past the border of South Carolina at the Savannah River. Exits 29, 36, 38 and 42 serve the Golden Isles of Georgia.

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Channel Islands of California – Wikipedia, the free …

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Feb 122016
 

The Channel Islands of California are a chain of eight islands located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California along the Santa Barbara Channel in the United States of America. Five of the islands are part of Channel Islands National Park, and the waters surrounding these islands make up Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The islands were first colonized by the Chumash and Tongva Native Americans 13,000 years ago, who were then displaced by European settlers who used the islands for fishing and agriculture. The U.S. military uses the islands as training grounds, weapons test sites, and as a strategic defensive location. The Channel Islands and the surrounding waters house a diverse ecosystem with many endemic species and subspecies.

The eight islands are split among the jurisdictions of three separate California counties: Santa Barbara County (four), Ventura County (two), and Los Angeles County (two). The islands are divided into two groupsthe Northern Channel Islands and the Southern Channel Islands. The four Northern Islands used to be a single landmass known as Santa Rosae.

The archipelago extends for 160 miles (257km) between San Miguel Island in the north and San Clemente Island in the south. Together, the islands land area totals 221,331 acres (89,569ha), or about 346 square miles (900km2).

Five of the islands (San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara) were made into the Channel Islands National Park in 1980. The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary encompasses the waters six nautical miles (11 kilometers) off Anacapa, Santa Cruz, San Miguel, Santa Rosa, and Santa Barbara islands.

Santa Catalina Island is the only one of the eight islands with a significant permanent civilian settlementthe resort city of Avalon, California, and the unincorporated town of Two Harbors.

Natural seepage of oil occurs at several places in the Santa Barbara Channel.[1] Tar balls or pieces of tar in small numbers are found in the kelp and on the beaches. Native Americans used naturally occurring tar, bitumen, for a variety of purposes which include roofing, waterproofing, paving and some ceremonial purposes.[2]

The Channel Islands at low elevations are virtually frost-free and constitute one of the few such areas in the 48 contiguous US states. It snows only rarely, on higher mountain peaks.

Separated from the California mainland throughout recent geological history, the Channel Islands provide the earliest evidence for human seafaring in the Americas. It is also the site of the discovery of the earliest paleontological evidence of humans in North America.[3] The Northern Channel Islands are now known to have been settled by maritime Paleo Indian peoples at least 13,000 years ago. Archaeological sites on the island provide a unique and invaluable record of human interaction with Channel Island marine and terrestrial ecosystems from the late Pleistocene to historic times. Historically, the northern islands were occupied by the island Chumash, while the southern islands were occupied by the Tongva. Scott O’Dell has had a book written about the indigenous peoples living on the island, Island of the Blue Dolphins. Aleuts hunters visited the islands to hunt otters in the early 1800s. The Aleuts purportedly clashed with the native Chumash, killing many over trading disputes. Aleut interactions with the natives were also detailed in O’Dell’s book.[4]

The Chumash and Tongva were removed from the islands in the early 19th century, taken to Spanish missions and pueblos on the adjacent mainland. For a century, the Channel Islands were used primarily for ranching and fishing activities, which had significant impacts on island ecosystems, including the local extinction of sea otters, bald eagles, and other species. With most of the Channel Islands now managed by federal agencies or conservation groups, the restoration of the island ecosystems has made significant progress.Several of the islands were used by whalers in the 1930s to hunt for sperm whales.[5]

In 1972, the Brown Berets seized and claimed the islands for Mexico, citing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, a treaty between Mexico and the USA by which Mexico lost more than half of its territory, and arguing that the treaty does not specifically mention the Channel Islands nor the Farallon Islands. Though the United States had occupied them since 1852, the group speculated that Mexico could claim the islands and seek their return through litigation before the International Court of Justice. However, a detailed analysis of its situation puts in doubt the likelihood of Mexico winning the case at the International Court of Justice.[6]The Channel Islands National Park’s mainland visitor center received 342,000 visitors in 2014. The Channel Islands itself attracts around 70,000 tourists a year, most during the summer.[7] Visitors can travel to the islands via public boat or airplane transportation. Camping grounds are available on Anacapa, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara Islands in the Channel Islands National Park. Attractions include whale watching, hikes, snorkeling, kayaking and camping.[8]

The United States Navy controls San Nicolas Island and San Clemente Island, and has installations elsewhere in the chain. During World War II all of Southern Californias Channel Islands were put under military control, including the civilian-populated Santa Catalina where tourism was halted and established residents needed permits to travel to and from the mainland.[9] San Miguel Island was used as a bombing range[10] and Santa Barbara Island as an early warning outpost under the presumed threat of a Japanese attack on California.[11] San Clemente Island was used to train the Navy’s first amphibious force to prepare for Pacific combat against the Japanese in World War II.[12] San Nicolas Island has been used since 1957 as a launch pad for research rockets. San Nicolas was considered out of eight possible locations as the site of the Trinity nuclear test.[13] Santa Rosa Island was used in 1952 as a base for the USAF 669th AC&W Squadron and they operated two Distant Early Warning FPS-10 radars from the hilltops there. In 1955 another FPS-3 search radar was added, and in 1956, a GPS-3 search radar was installed. A new MPS-14 long-range height-finder radar was installed in 1958. The base was shut down in March 1963, when the 669th was moved to Vandenberg AFB In Lompoc, California. The islands still house US Navy SEALs training facilities and continues to use the Naval Auxiliary Landing Field located on San Clemente Island.[12]

The Channel Islands are part of one of the richest marine ecosystems of the world. Many unique species of plants and animals are endemic to the Channel Islands, including fauna such as the Channel Islands spotted skunk, ashy storm-petrel, Santa Cruz sheep, and flora including a unique subspecies of Torrey pine.

Flora on the Channel Islands include a unique subspecies of pine, oak, and the island tree mallow. Santa Rosa Island holds two groves of the Torrey pine subspecies Pinus torreyana var. insularis, which is endemic to the island. Torrey pines are the United States’ rarest pine species.[14] The islands also house many rare and endangered species of plants, including the island barberry, the island rushrose, and the Santa Cruz Island lace pod. Giant kelp forests surround the islands and act as a source of nutrition and protection for other animals.[15]

Invasive species, such as the Australian blue gum tree, olive tree, sweet fennel and Harding grass threaten native species through competition for light, nutrients, and water. The Australian blue gum, for example, releases toxins in its leaf litter which prevents other species of plants from growing in the soil surrounding it. The blue gum, as well as other species including the Harding grass, are much more flammable and better adapted to wildfires than native species.[16]

The Channel Islands and the waters surrounding hold many endemic species of animals, including fauna such as the Channel Islands spotted skunk, island scrub jay, ashy storm-petrel, Santa Cruz sheep, San Clemente loggerhead shrike, San Clemente sage sparrow. Many species of large marine mammals, including pacific gray whales, blue whales, humpback whales, and California sea lions breed or feed close to the Channel Islands. Current occurrences, if still happen, of the critically endangered North Pacific right whales, and historically abundant Steller’s sea lions in these areas are unknown. Seabirds, including the western gulls, bald eagles, pigeon guillemonts, and Scripps’s murrelets use the islands as well for shelter and breeding grounds. The endemic island fox is California’s smallest natural canine and has rebounded from its near extinction in the late 1990s. Several endemic reptile species including the island fence lizard, island night lizard, and Channel Islands slender salamander live on the islands.[17]

Conservation efforts are being made to maintain the islands’ endemic species. Feral livestock, including pigs, goats, and sheep, pose a threat to many of the species, including the San Clemente loggerhead shrike and Channel Islands spotted skunk. The National Park Service eradicated the feral pigs on Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands during the 1990s and on Santa Catalina Island in 2007.[4][18] Introduced pathogens have devastated island species due to isolation from the mainland. In 1998, an outbreak of canine distemper swept through Santa Catalina Island severely reducing the island skunk and fox populations. Rabies and distemper vaccination programs were initiated to protect the island’s wildlife. Canine distemper is thought to have been brought to the islands on a stowaway raccoon or a domestic dog.[19]

In the 1950s, bald eagles and peregrine falcons on the Channel Islands became locally extinct after widespread use of pesticides such as DDT.[20] The birds ingest contaminated fish and seabirds which poisons the adults and weakens their eggs. Golden eagles, which are natural competitors of other birds of prey, do not primarily feed on these animals and were able to colonize the islands in the early 1990s. In the early 2000s, golden eagles were live trapped and relocated.[21] In 2002 and 2006 breeding pairs of bald eagles were reintroduced to the northern islands.[22] Later in 2006, the introduced adult eagles hatched chicks on the islands for the first time since their extinction. The Channel Islands National Park established a bald eagle webcam on their website in 2007.[4]

Coordinates: 340058N 1194814W / 34.01611N 119.80389W / 34.01611; -119.80389

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Meadowlands Hotels Secaucus Nj New Jersey

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Feb 052016
 

Hotel El Roble Meadowlands Hotels Secaucus Nj New Jersey With the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field. Meadowlands Hotels Secaucus Nj New Jersey Meadowlands Hotels Secaucus Nj New Jersey

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With Meadowlands hotels secaucus nj new jersey the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field.

With Meadowlands hotels secaucus nj new jersey the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field.

With Meadowlands hotels secaucus nj new jersey the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field. With the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field. With the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field.

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With Meadowlands hotels secaucus nj new jersey the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field. With the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field. With the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field.

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With Meadowlands hotels secaucus nj new jersey the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field. With the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field. With the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field.

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With Meadowlands hotels secaucus nj new jersey the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field.

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Hotel El Roble

With Meadowlands hotels secaucus nj new jersey the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field.

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Hotel El Roble

With Meadowlands hotels secaucus nj new jersey the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field. With the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field. With the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field.

With the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field.

Hotel El Roble

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With Meadowlands hotels secaucus nj new jersey the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field. With the collegiate aspect of Oxford so important, there are fierce rivalries that exist whether its an architectural comparison of respective colleges or the perhaps more brazen rivalries on the sports field.

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Meadowlands Hotels Secaucus Nj New Jersey

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Islands | ARKive

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Jan 312016
 

Over the past 400 years, around half of all animal extinctions have occurred on islands. Island species are often only present in relatively small numbers, putting them at greater risk, and the limited habitat available to them means they cannot easily disperse elsewhere. This also means that island species are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as rising temperature and sea levels, extreme weather events, and fires.

Island species are also vulnerable to the introduction of invasive species, as they have typically evolved in isolation with limited competition. Many island species also lack the adaptations to cope with introduced predators. As humans have travelled the world they have introduced large numbers of non-native species to islands, sometimes with devastating consequences, and on some islands the alien species now outnumber the native ones.

The other main risks to island species are natural disasters, habitat destruction, tourism development, overexploitation and pollution. These pressures show their impacts on islands before they would be visible on larger land masses.

Although once widespread throughout Southeast Asia, today the Bornean orangutan is restricted to the island of Borneo. Currently, the main threat to this species is the loss of forest habitat. In the past 20 years, 80 percent of this species habitat has been lost to illegal logging, gold mining and conversion to permanent agriculture such as oil palm plantations.

The Juan Fernndez petrel faces its greatest threats on its tiny breeding island, where numerous introduced species are causing extensive damage to the natural ecosystem.

The Lord Howe Island stick-insect was believed Extinct due to predation by introduced black rats until it was rediscovered surviving on a single island outcrop known as Balls Pyramid.

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US Virgin Islands Americas Paradise

 Islands  Comments Off on US Virgin Islands Americas Paradise
Jan 312016
 

Charlotte Amalie Harbour, St. Thomas USVI

Welcome to usvi.net, the US Virgin Islands oldest and longest running travel website.

There are three main islands to visit in the US Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John. There is also the small, and historically fascinating Water Island.

St. Thomas is the most popular cruise port in the Caribbean. St. Thomas is home of Charlotte Amalie. Charlotte Amalie is the capital of the US Virgin Islands. Charlotte Amalie is both the principle cruise terminal as well as the location islands airport.

St. Croix is the largest of the US Virgin Islands at 82 square miles in area. St. Croix consists of two distinct towns; Christiansted and Frederiksted. The architectural quality and historic interest of the one-time Danish West Indiescapital has made part of Christiansted (founded in 1734) a National Historic Site.

St. John is mainly aUS National Park. St. John offers incredible vantages of nature in the Caribbean.Friends of the Virgin IslandsNational Park volunteers staff an information kiosk on St. John Island. This is a good place to start your visit of St. John.

Spend day after day on beach after beach, each with its own panoramic view. Try camping under the stars. Let a friendly mongoose lead you along a woodland trail. Many of the trails end on a plateau high in the sky, offering panoramic views of white beaches, emerald cays, and turquoise waters.

Water Island is the smallest of the US Virgin Islands at fewer than 1.3 square miles. Water Island is only a short 10-minute ferry ride from St. Thomas. If youre looking for something more than shopping, you will find it on Water Island. To help get around Water Island golf carts can be rented right off the ferry.

Some of the things that can be done in the US Virgin Islands include sailing, scuba diving, skin diving, water skiing and most other water sports. Newer attractions like zip lining are also available. Taking in a round of golf or horseback riding are also options if time allows. If staying over night take the time to enjoy the nightlife.

If looking for a tropical wedding location but do not want to worry about passports this is the perfect place! Imagine being wed on the beach at Magens Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Receptions can be held at any number of locations from beaches to five star hotels and anywhere in between. With scheduled daily flights provided by American, Delta, Jet Blue, and United from major mainland hubs Atlanta and Miami the Islands are a reasonable location for those along the eastern seaboard.

Driving is on the left hand side of the road, steering wheel also on the left!

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US Virgin Islands Americas Paradise

Spratly Islands – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jan 242016
 

The Spratly Islands (Chinese: ; pinyin: Nnsh Qndo, Malay: Kepulauan Spratly, Tagalog: Kapuluan ng Kalayaan,[8]Vietnamese: Qun o Trng Sa) are a disputed group of more than 750 reefs, islets, atolls, cays and islands in the South China Sea.[9] The archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia, and southern Vietnam. Named after the 19th-century British whaling captain Richard Spratly who sighted Spratly Island in 1843, the islands contain approximately 4km2 (1.5sq mi) of land area spread over a vast area of more than 425,000km2 (164,000sq mi).

The Spratlys are one of the major archipelagos in the South China Sea that comprise more than 30,000 islands and reefs, and which complicate governance and economics in this part of Southeast Asia due to their location in strategic shipping lanes. The islands have no indigenous inhabitants, but offer rich fishing grounds and may contain significant oil and natural gas reserves.[10][11] and as such are important to the claimants in their attempts to establish international boundaries.

The area northeast of the Spratlys is known to mariners as Dangerous Ground and is characterized by its many low islands, sunken reefs, and atolls with coral often rising abruptly from ocean depths greater than 1,000 metres (3,300ft) – all of which makes the area dangerous for navigation.

In addition to various territorial claims, some of the features have civilian settlements, but of the approximately 45 islands, reefs, cays and other features that are occupied all contain structures that are occupied by military forces (from China (PRC), Taiwan (ROC), Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia). Additionally, Brunei has claimed (but does not occupy) an exclusive economic zone in the southeastern part of the Spratlys, which includes the Louisa Reef. These claims and occupations have led to escalating tensions between these countries over the status and “ownership” of the islands.

The Spratly Islands contain almost no significant arable land, have no indigenous inhabitants, and very few of the islands have a permanent drinkable water supply. Natural resources include fish and guano, as well as the possible potential of oil and natural gas reserves.[12]Economic activity has included commercial fishing, shipping, guano mining, and more recently, tourism.

The Spratlys are located near several primary shipping lanes.

The Spratly Islands consist of reefs, banks and shoals that consist of biogenic carbonate. These accumulations of biogenic carbonate lie upon the higher crests of major submarine ridges that are uplifted fault blocks known by geologists as horsts. These horsts are part of a series of parallel and en echelon, half-grabens and rotated fault-blocks. The long axes of the horsts, rotated fault blocks and half-grabens form well-defined linear trends that lie parallel to magnetic anomalies exhibited by the oceanic crust of the adjacent South China Sea. The horsts, rotated fault blocks, and the rock forming the bottoms of associated grabens consist of stretched and subsided continental crust that is composed of Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous strata that include calc-alkalic extrusive igneous rocks, intermediate to acid intrusive igneous rocks, sandstones, siltstones, dark-green claystones, and metamorphic rocks that include biotite-muscovite-feldspar-quartz migmatites and garnet-mica schists.[13][14][15]

The dismemberment and subsidence of continental crust into horsts, rotated fault blocks and half-grabens that underlie the Spratly Islands and surrounding sea bottom occurred in 2 distinct periods. They occurred as the result of the tectonic stretching of continental crust along underlying deeply rooted detachment faults. During the Late Cretaceous and Early Oligocene, the earliest period of tectonic stretching of continental crust and formation of horsts, half-grabens, and rotated fault-blocks occurred in association the rifting and later sea-floor spreading that created the South China Sea. During the Late Oligocene-Early Miocene additional stretching and block faulting of continental crust occurred within the Spratly Islands and adjacent Dangerous Ground. During and after this period of tectonic activity, corals and other marine life colonised the crests of the horsts and other ridges that lay in shallow water. The remains of these organisms accumulated over time as biogenic carbonates that comprise the current day reefs, shoals and cays of the Spratly Islands. Starting with their formation in Late Cretaceous, fine-grained organic-rich marine sediments accumulated within the numerous submarine half-grabens that underlie sea bottom within the Dangerous Ground region.[13][14][15]

The geological surveys show localised areas within the Spratly Islands region are favourable for the accumulation of economic oil and gas reserves. They include thick sequences of Cenozoic sediments east of the Spratly Islands. Southeast and west of them, there also exist thick accumulations of sediments that possibly might contain economic oil and gas reserves lie closer to the Spratly Islands.[10][16]

In some cays in the Spratly Islands, the sand and pebble sediments form the beaches and spits around the island. Under the influence of the dominant wind direction, which changes seasonally, these sediments move around the island to change the shape and size of the island. For example, Spratly Island is larger during the northeast monsoon, (about 700 300 meters), and smaller during the southwest monsoon (approximately 650 320 meters).[17]

Some islands may contain fresh groundwater fed by rain. Groundwater levels fluctuate during the day with the rhythm of the tides.[18]

Phosphates from bird faeces (guano) are mainly concentrated in the beach rocks by the way of exchange-endosmosis. The principal minerals bearing phosphate are podolite, lewistonite and dehonite.[19]

Coral reefs are the predominant structures of these islands; the Spratly group contains over 600 coral reefs in total.[9] In April 2015 the New York Times reported that China were using “scores of dredgers” to convert Fiery Cross Reef and several other reefs into military facilities (runways, etc.).[20][21]

Little vegetation grows on these islands, which are subject to intense monsoons. Larger islands are capable of supporting tropical forest, scrub forest, coastal scrub and grasses. It is difficult to determine which species have been introduced or cultivated by humans. Taiping Island (Itu Aba) was reportedly covered with shrubs, coconut, and mangroves in 1938; pineapple was also cultivated there when it was profitable. Other accounts mention papaya, banana, palm, and even white peach trees growing on one island. A few islands that have been developed as small tourist resorts had soil and trees brought in and planted where there was none.[9]

A total of 2,927 marine species have been recorded in the Spratly Sea, including 776 benthic species, 382 species of hard coral, 524 species of marine fish, 262 species of algae and sea grass, 35 species of seabirds, 20 species of marine mammals and sea turtles, etc.[22]

Terrestrial vegetation in the islands includes 103 species of vascular plants of magnolia branches (Magnoliophyta) of 39 families and 79 genera.[22]

The islands that do have vegetation provide important habitats for many seabirds and sea turtles.[9]

Both the green turtle (Chelonia mydas, endangered) and the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata, critically endangered) formerly occurred in numbers sufficient to support commercial exploitation. These species reportedly continue to nest even on islands inhabited by military personnel (such as Pratas) to some extent, though it is believed that their numbers have declined.[9]

Seabirds use the islands for resting, breeding, and wintering sites. Species found here include: streaked shearwater (Calonectris leucomelas), brown booby (Sula leucogaster), red-footed booby (S. sula), great crested tern (Sterna bergii), and white tern (Gygis alba). Little information is available regarding the current status of the islands’ seabird populations, though it is likely that birds may divert nesting sites to smaller, less disturbed islands. Bird eggs cover the majority of Song Tu, a small island in the eastern Danger Zone.[9]

This ecoregion is still largely a mystery. Scientists have focused their research on the marine environment, while the ecology of the terrestrial environment remains relatively unknown.[9]

Political instability, tourism and the increasing industrialisation of neighbouring countries has led to serious disruption of native flora and fauna, over-exploitation of natural resources, and environmental pollution. Disruption of nesting areas by human activity and/or by introduced animals, such as dogs, has reduced the number of turtles nesting on the islands. Sea turtles are also slaughtered for food on a significant scale. The sea turtle is a symbol of longevity in Chinese culture and at times the military personnel are given orders to protect the turtles.[9]

Heavy commercial fishing in the region incurs other problems. Although it has been outlawed, fishing methods continue to include the use of bottom trawlers fitted with chain rollers. In addition, during a recent[timeframe?] routine patrols[by whom?], more than 200kg of Potassium cyanide solution was confiscated from fishermen who had been using it for fish poisoning. These activities have a devastating impact on local marine organisms and coral reefs.[9]

Some interest has been taken[by whom?] in regard to conservation of these[which?] island ecosystems. J.W. McManus[who?] has explored the possibilities of designating portions of the Spratly Islands as a marine park. One region of the Spratly Archipelago, named Truong Sa, was proposed by Vietnam’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and the Environment (MOSTE) as a future protected area. The site, with an area of 160km2 (62sq mi), is currently managed by the Khanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee of Vietnam.[9]

Military groups in the Spratlys have engaged in environmentally damaging activities such as shooting turtles and seabirds, raiding nests and fishing with explosives. The collection of rare medicinal plants, collecting of wood, and hunting for the wildlife trade are common threats to the biodiversity of the entire region, including these islands. Coral habitats are threatened by pollution, over-exploitation of fish and invertebrates, and the use of explosives and poisons as fishing techniques.[9]

Chinese texts of the 12th century record these islands being a part of Chinese territory and that they had earlier (206BC) been used as fishing grounds during the Han dynasty.[23][not in citation given] Further records show the islands as inhabited at various times in history by Chinese and Vietnamese fishermen, and during the second world war by troops from French Indochina and Japan.[24][25][26] However, there were no large settlements on these islands until 1956, when Filipino adventurer Toms Cloma, Sr., decided to “claim” a part of Spratly islands as his own, naming it the “Free Territory of Freedomland”.[27]

Evidence of man’s presence in the region extends back nearly 50,000 years at Tabon Caves on Palawan. Therefore, it is difficult to say when man first came upon this island group. Within historical times, several groups may have passed through or occupied the islands. Between 600BCE to 3BCE there was an East to West migration by members of the seafairing Sa Hunh culture. This may have led them through the Spratly Islands on their way to Vietnam. These migrants were the forebears of the Cham people that founded the Old Champa empire that ruled what was known for centuries as the Champa Sea.[28][29]

In the Song Dynasty work Zhu fan zhi by Zhao Rugua, the name “Thousand Li Stretch of Sands” (Qianli Changsha , ) and the “Ten-Thousand Li of Stone Pools/Beds” (Wanli Shitang , or Wanli Shichuang ) were given, interpreted by some to refer to Paracel and Spratly respectively.[30]Wanli Shitang is also recorded in the History of Yuan to have been explored by the Chinese during the Yuan dynasty and may have been considered by them to have been within their national boundaries.[31][32][33] They are also referenced, sometimes with different names, in the Ming dynasty.[34] When the Ming Dynasty collapsed, the Qing dynasty continued to include the territory in maps compiled in 1724,[35] 1755,[36] 1767,[37] 1810,[38] and 1817.[39]

A Vietnamese map from 1834 also combines the Spratly and Paracel Islands into one region known as “Vn L Trng Sa”[citation needed], a feature commonly incorporated into maps of the era () that is, a combination of half of the 2 aforementioned Chinese island names, “Wanli” and “Changsha”.[40] According to Hanoi, Vietnamese maps record Bi Ct Vng (Golden Sandbanks, referring to both the Spratly and Paracel Islands), which lay near the coast of the central Vietnam, as early as 1838.[41] In Ph Bin Tp Lc (The Frontier Chronicles) by scholar L Qu n, both Hong Sa and Trng Sa were defined as belonging to the Qung Ngi District. He described it as where sea products and shipwrecked cargoes were available to be collected. Vietnamese text written in the 17th century referenced government-sponsored economic activities during the L dynasty, 200years earlier. The Vietnamese government conducted several geographical surveys of the islands in the 18th century.[41]

Despite the fact that China and Vietnam both made a claim to these territories simultaneously, at the time, neither side was aware that its neighbour had already charted and made claims to the same stretch of islands.[41]

The islands were sporadically visited throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries by mariners from different European powers (including Richard Spratly, after whom the island group derives its most recognisable English name).[42] However, these nations showed little interest in the islands.

In the 1950s, a group of individuals claimed sovereignty over the islands in the name of Morton F. Meads, supposedly an American descendant of a British naval captain who gave his name to Meads Island (Itu Aba) in the 1870s. In an affidavit made in 1971, the group claimed to represent the Kingdom of Humanity/Republic of Morac-Songhrati-Meads,[43] which they asserted was in turn the successor entity for a supposed Kingdom of Humanity established between the two world wars on Meads Island, allegedly by the son of the British captain. This claim to this would-be micronation fell dormant after 1972, when several members of the group drowned in a typhoon.[44][45][46][47]

In 1883, German boats surveyed the Spratly and the Paracel Islands but eventually withdrew the survey, after receiving protests from the Guangdong government representing the Qing dynasty. Many European maps before the 20th century do not even mention this region.[48]

The following are political divisions for the Spratly Islands claimed by various area nations (in alphabetical order):

In the 19th century, Europeans found that Chinese fishermen from Hainan annually sojourned on the Spratly islands for part of the year, while in 1877 it was the British who launched the first modern legal claims to the Spratlys.[51][52]

When the Spratlys and Paracels were being surveyed by Germany in 1883, China issued protests against them. The 1887 Chinese-Vietnamese Boundary convention signed between France and China after the Sino-French War said that China was the owner of the Spratly and Paracel islands.[53][54] China sent naval forces on inspection tours in 1902 and 1907 and placed flags and markers on the islands. The Qing dynasty’s successor state, the Republic of China, claimed the Spratly and Paracel islands under the jurisdiction of Hainan.[54]

In 1933, France asserted its claims to the Spratly and Paracel Islands[55] on behalf of its then-colony Vietnam.[56] It occupied a number of the Spratly Islands, including Taiping Island, built weather stations on two of the islands, and administered them as part of French Indochina. This occupation was protested by the Republic of China (ROC) government because France admitted finding Chinese fishermen there when French warships visited nine of the islands.[57] In 1935, the ROC government also announced a sovereignty claim on the Spratly Islands. Japan occupied some of the islands in 1939 during World War II, and it used the islands as a submarine base for the occupation of Southeast Asia. During the Japanese occupation, these islands were called Shinnan Shoto (), literally the New Southern Islands, and together with the Paracel Islands (), they were put under the governance of the Japanese colonial authority in Taiwan.

Japan occupied the Paracels and the Spratlys from February 1939 to August 1945.[58] Japan administered the Spratlys via Taiwan’s jurisdiction and the Paracels via Hainan’s jurisdiction.[51] Parts of the Paracels and Spratlys were occupied by Republic of China after the 1945 surrender of Japan,[59] since the Allied powers assigned the Republic of China to receive Japanese surrenders in that area,[54] however no successor was named to the islands.[59]

In November 1946, the ROC sent naval ships to take control of the islands after the surrender of Japan.[58] It had chosen the largest and perhaps the only inhabitable island, Taiping Island, as its base, and it renamed the island under the name of the naval vessel as Taiping. Also following the defeat of Japan at the end of World War II, the ROC re-claimed the entirety of the Spratly Islands (including Taiping Island) after accepting the Japanese surrender of the islands based on the Cairo and Potsdam Declarations. The Republic of China then garrisoned Itu Aba (Taiping) island in 1946 and posted Chinese flags and markers on it along with Woody island in the Paracels. France tried, but failed, to make them leave Woody island.[51] The aim of the Republic of China was to block the French claims.[54][60] The Republic of China drew up the map showing the U-shaped claim on the entire South China Sea, showing the Spratly and Paracels in Chinese territory, in 1947.[54] Japan had renounced all claims to the islands in the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty together with the Paracels, Pratas and other islands captured from the Chinese, and upon these declarations, the government of the Republic of China reasserted its claim to the islands. The KMT force of the ROC government withdrew from most of the Spratly and Paracel Islands after they retreated to Taiwan from the opposing Communist Party of China due to their losses in the Chinese Civil War and the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949.[56] The ROC quietly withdrew troops from Taiping Island in 1950, but then reinstated them in 1956 in response to Toms Cloma’s sudden claim to the island as part of Freedomland.[61] As of 2013[update], Taiping Island is administered by the ROC.[62]

After pulling out its garrison in 1950 when the Republic of China evacuated to Taiwan, when the Filipino Tomas Cloma uprooted an ROC flag on Itu Aba laid claim to the Spratlys and, the Republic of China (now Taiwan) again regarrisoned Itu Aba on 1956.[63] In 1946, the Americans reminded the Philippines at its independence that the Spratlys was not Philippine territory, both to not anger Chiang Kai-shek in China and because the Spratlys were not part of the Philippines per the 1898 treaty Spain signed with America.[51] The Philippines then claimed the Spratlys in 1971 under President Marcos, after Taiwanese troops attacked and shot at a Philippine fishing boat on Itu Aba.[64]

Taiwan’s garrison from 19461950 and 1956-now on Itu Aba represents an “effective occupation” of the Spratlys.[64][65] China established a coastal defence system against Japanese pirates or smugglers.[66]

North Vietnam recognised China’s claims on the Paracels and Spratlys during the Vietnam War as it was being supported by China. Only after winning the war and conquering South Vietnam did North Vietnam retract its recognition and admitted it recognised them as part of China to receive aid from China in fighting the Americans.[67]

In 1988, the Vietnamese and Chinese navies engaged in a skirmish in the area of Johnson South Reef (also called Yongshu reef in China and Mabini reef in Philippines).[68]

Under President Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan stated that “legally, historically, geographically, or in reality”, all of the South China Sea and Spratly islands were Taiwan’s territory and under Taiwanese sovereignty, and denounced actions undertaken there by Malaysia and the Philippines, in a statement on 13 July 1999 released by the foreign ministry of Taiwan.[69] Taiwan and China’s claims “mirror” each other; during international talks involving the Spratly islands, China and Taiwan have cooperated with each other since both have the same claims.[64][70]

It was unclear whether France continued its claim to the islands after WWII, since none of the islands, other than Taiping Island, was habitable. The South Vietnamese government took over the Trng Sa administration after the defeat of the French at the end of the First Indochina War. In 1958, the PRC issued a declaration defining its territorial waters that encompassed the Spratly Islands. North Vietnam’s prime minister, Phm Vn ng, sent a formal note to Zhou Enlai, stating that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) respected the Chinese decision regarding the 12nmi (22km; 14mi) limit of territorial waters.[71] While accepting the 12-nmi principal with respect to territorial waters, the letter did not actually address the issue of defining actual territorial boundaries.

In 1999, a Philippine navy ship (Number 57 – BRP Sierra Madre) was purposely run aground near Second Thomas Shoal to enable establishment of an outpost. As of 2014[update] it had not been removed, and Filipino troops have been stationed aboard since the grounding.[72][73]

Taiwan and China are largely strategically aligned on the Spratly islands issue, since they both claim exactly the same area, so Taiwan’s control of Itu Aba (Taiping) island is viewed as an extension of China’s claim.[53] Taiwan and China both claim the entire island chain, while all the other claimaints only claim portions of them. China has proposed co-operation with Taiwan against all the other countries claiming the islands. Taiwanese lawmakers have demanded that Taiwan fortify Itu Aba (Taiping) island with weapons to defend against the Vietnamese, and both China and Taiwanese NGOs have pressured Taiwan to expand Taiwan’s military capabilities on the island, which played a role in Taiwan expanding the island’s runway in 2012.[74] China has urged Taiwan to co-operate and offered Taiwan a share in oil and gas resources while shutting out all the other rival claimaints. Taiwanese lawmakers have complained about repeated Vietnamese aggression and trespassing on Taiwan’s Itu Aba (Taiping), and Taiwan has started viewing Vietnam as an enemy over the Spratly Islands, not China.[75] Taiwan’s state run oil company CPC Corp’s board director Chiu Yi has called Vietnam as the “greatest threat” to Taiwan.[74] Taiwan’s airstrip on Taiping has irritated Vietnam.[76] China views Taiwan’s expansion of its military and airstrip on Taiping as benefiting China’s position against the other rival claimaints from southeast Asian countries.[65] China’s claims to the Spratlys benefit from legal weight because of Taiwan’s presence on Itu Aba, while America on the other hand has regularly ignored Taiwan’s claims in the South China Sea and does not include Taiwan in any talks on dispute resolution for the area.[77]

Taiwan performed live fire military exercises on Taiping island in September 2012; reports said that Vietnam was explicitly named by the Taiwanese military as the “imaginary enemy” in the drill. Vietnam protested against the exercises as violation of its territory and “voiced anger”, demanding that Taiwan stop the drill. Among the inspectors of the live fire drill were Taiwanese national legislators, adding to the tensions.[78]

On 23 May 2011, the President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, warned visiting Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie of a possible arms race in the region if tensions worsened over disputes in the South China Sea. Aquino said he told Liang in their meeting that this could happen if there were more encounters in the disputed and potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands.[79]

In May 2011, Chinese patrol boats attacked 2 Vietnamese oil exploration ships near the Spratly Islands.[80] Also in May 2011, Chinese naval vessels opened fire on Vietnamese fishing vessels operating off East London Reef (Da Dong). The 3 Chinese military vessels were numbered 989, 27 and 28, and they showed up with a small group of Chinese fishing vessels. Another Vietnamese fishing vessel was fired on near Fiery Cross Reef (Chu Thap). The Chief Commander of Border Guards in Phu Yen Province, Vietnam reported that a total of 4 Vietnamese vessels were fired upon by Chinese naval vessels.[verification needed] These incidents involving Chinese forces sparked mass protests in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City,[81] and in various Vietnamese communities in the West (namely in the US state of California and in Paris) over attacks on Vietnamese citizens and the intrusion into what Vietnam claimed was part of its territory.[82]

In June 2011, the Philippines began officially referring to the South China Sea as the “West Philippine Sea” and the Reed Bank as “Recto Bank”.[83][84]

In July 2012, the National Assembly of Vietnam passed a law demarcating Vietnamese sea borders to include the Spratly and Paracel Islands.[85][86]

In 2010, it was reported that the former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad believed Malaysia could profit from China’s economic growth through co-operation with China,[87] and said that China “was not a threat to anyone and was not worried about aggression from China”, as well accusing the United States of provoking China and trying to turn China’s neighbours against China.[88] Malaysia displayed no concern over China conducting a military exercise at James Shoal in March 2013.[89] Malaysia also suggested that it might work with China with Malaysian Defence Minister Hishamuddin Hussein saying that Malaysia had no problem with China patrolling the South China Sea, and telling ASEAN, America, and Japan that “Just because you have enemies, doesn’t mean your enemies are my enemies”.[90] However, until present Malaysia still maintained a balance relations with the countries involved in this dispute.[91] But since China has start enroaching its territorial waters,[92] Malaysia has become active in condemning China.[93][94]

The editorial of the Taiwanese news website “Want China Times” accused America for being behind the May 2014 flareup in the South China Sea, saying that Vietnam rammed a Chinese vessel on 2 May over an oil rig drilling platform and the Philippines detained 11 Chinese fishermens occurred because of Obama’s visit to the region and that they were incited by America “behind the scenes”. “Want China Times” claimed America ordered Vietnam on 7 May to complain about the drilling platform, and noted that a joint military exercise was happening at this time between the Philippines and America, and also noted that the American “New York Times” newspaper supported Vietnam.[95]

In a series of news stories on 16 April 2015, it was revealed, through photos taken by Airbus Group, that China had been building an airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef, one of the southern islands. The 10,000-foot-long (3,048m) runway covers a significant portion of the island, and is viewed as a possible strategic threat to other countries with claims to the islands, such as Vietnam and the Philippines.

Various factions of the Muslim Moro people are waging a war for independence against the Philippines. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of Nur Misuari declared its support for China against the Philippines in the South China Sea dispute, calling both China and the Moro people as victims of Philippine colonialism, and noting China’s history of friendly relations with the Sultanate of Sulu in the region.[96] The MNLF also denounced America’s assistance to the Philippines in their colonization of the Moro people in addition to denouncing the Philippines claims to the islands disputed with China, and denouncing America for siding with the Philippines in the dispute, noting that in 1988 China “punished” Vietnam for attempting to set up a military presence on the disputed islands, and noting that the Moros and China maintained peaceful relations, while on the other hand the Moros had to resist other colonial powers, having to fight the Spanish, fight the Americans, and fight the Japanese, in addition to fighting the Philippines.[97]

While the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a peace deal with the Philippines, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) did not and renewed armed resistance against Philippine rule in Zamboanga; on September 15, 2013, in response to the MNLF’s fighting against the Philippine Army, the New York Times published an article crediting every Philippine government for having struggled to bring peace to the Muslims of Mindanao since 1946 when it became independent and claimed that it is the belief of the Muslims that they are being subjected to oppression and exploitation by the Christians that is the problem which is causing the conflict and the newspaper also claimed that the conflict stretched back to 1899 when Moro insurrectionists were quelled by the American army.[98] On January 26, 2014 the New York Times published another article claiming that “every Philippine government” has “struggled to bring peace to Mindanao” and claimed that reports of exploitation and oppression by the Filipino Christians originated from what Muslims “say” and the newspaper also praised President Benigno S. Aquino III’s “landmark peace deal” with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).[99] The New York Times labelled Moro fighters as “Muslim-led groups” and as “violent”.[100] The New York Times blamed “Islamic extremist groups” for carrying out attacks in the Philippines.[101] The New York Times editorial board endorsed Philippine President Benigno Aquino’s planned peace deal and the passage of “Bangsamoro Basic Law”, blaming the “Muslim insurgency” for causing trouble to the “largely Catholic country”.[102] The New York Times claimed that “Islamic militants” were fighting the Philippine military.[103]

The New York Times claimed the peace deal between the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “seeks to bring prosperity to the restive south and weaken the appeal of the extremist groups”, and linked the winding down of an American military counterterrorism operation to increased American military cooperation with the Philippines against China.[104] The New York Times hailed Mr Aquino’s “peace agreement” as an “accomplishment” as it reported on Aquino raising the “alarm” on China in the South China Sea.[105] The New York Times editorial board published an article siding with the Philippines against China in the South China Sea dispute and supporting the Philippines actions against China.[106][107] The New York Times editorial board endorsed aggressive American military action against China in the South China Sea.[108][109]

American and Filipino forces launched a joint operation against the Moros in the Mamasapano clash, in which Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters manage to kill 44 Filipino police commandos and caused massive blow back for the botched raid, putting a decisive halt to American plans for its Asia military “pivot” in the Philippines.[110] Moros have reported that 4 caucasian-looking (American) soldiers were killed in the Mamasapano clash along with the 44 Filipinos.[111]

The Moro National Liberation Front published an open letter to the United States President Barack Hussein Obama and demanded to know why America is supporting Philippine colonialism against the Moro Muslim people and the Filipino “war of genocide” and atrocities against Moros, reminding Obama that the Moro people have resisted and fought against the atrocities of Filipino, Japanese, American, and Spanish invaders, and reminding Obama of past war crimes also committed by American troops against Moro women and children like the Moro Crater massacre at Bud Dajo.[112]

The Moro National Liberation Front accused the Philippines, Japan, America, and Spain of conspiring against the Moros and recounted their invasions, imperialism, and atrocities against the Moros and demanded that they end the current colonization against the Moro people, the MNLF recounted that the Spanish were greedy colonizers, that the Americans committed massacres of Moro children and women at Mount Bagsak and Bud Dajo, and that the Japanese “exhibited tyranny, cruelty and inhumanity at its lowest level”, and “had to suffer their worst defeat and highest death mortality at the hands of the Bangsamoro freedom fighters”, demanding an apology from Japan for crimes committed against the Moros.[113]

The Moro National Liberation Front questioned the humanity and morality of the Philippines, Japan, America, and Spain, noting that they have done nothing to end the colonialism and war inflicted upon the Moros and reminded them that they have resisted and fought against Japanese, American, and Spanish atrocities and war crimes while the Filipinos bent over, capitulated and submitted to the invaders, the MNLF brought up the massacre committed by American troops at Bud Dajo against Moro women and children and boasted that compared to the Japanese casualty rate in the Visayas and Luzon, the amount of Japanese imperialists slaughtered by the Moro freedom fighters was greater by the thousands and that there was no capitulation like the “Fall of Bataan” to the Japanese by the Moros while the Luzon Filipinos submitted.[114] The MNLF said that the Japanese, American, and Spanish cruelty has been continued by Filipino rule.[115]

Japanese scholar Taoka Shunji criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for trying to falsely portray China as a threat to Japan and that it was invading its neighbors like the Philippines, and pointed out that the Spratly islands were not part of the Philippines when the US acquired the Philippines from Spain in the Treaty of Paris in 1898, and the Japanese ruled Taiwan itself had annexed the Spratly islands in 1938 and the US ruled Philippines did not challenge the move and never asserted that it was their territory, he also pointed out that other countries did not need to do full land reclamation since they already control islands and that the reason China engaged in extensive land reclamation is because they needed it to build airfields since China only has control over reefs.[116]

Champa historically had a large presence in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese broke Champa’s power in an invasion of Champa in 1471, and then finally conquered the last remnants of the Cham people in an invasion in 1832. A Cham named Katip Suma who received Islamic education in Kelantan declared a Jihad against the Vietnamese, and fighting continued until the Vietnamese crushed the remnants of the resistance in 1835. The Cham organisation Front de Libration du Champa was part of the United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races, which waged war against the Vietnamese for independence in the Vietnam War along with the Montagnard and Khmer Krom minorities. The last remaining FULRO insurgents surrendered to the United Nations in 1992. Vietnam has settled over a million ethnic Vietnamese on Montagnard lands in the Central Highlands. The Montagnard staged a massive protest against the Vietnamese in 2001, which led to the Vietnamese to forcefully crush the uprising and seal the entire area off to foreigners.

The Vietnamese government fears that evidence of Champa’s influence over the disputed area in the South China Sea would bring attention to human rights violations and killings of ethnic minorities in Vietnam such as in the 2001 and 2004 uprisings, and lead to the issue of Cham autonomy being brought into the dispute, since the Vietnamese conquered the Hindu and Muslim Cham people in a war in 1832, and the Vietnamese continue to destroy evidence of Cham culture and artefacts left behind, plundering or building on top of Cham temples, building farms over them, banning Cham religious practices, and omitting references to the destroyed Cham capital of Song Luy in the 1832 invasion in history books and tourist guides. The situation of Cham compared to ethnic Vietnamese is substandard, lacking water and electricity and living in houses made out of mud.[117]

The Cham in Vietnam are only recognised as a minority, and not as an indigenous people by the Vietnamese government despite being indigenous to the region. Both Hindu and Muslim Chams have experienced religious and ethnic persecution and restrictions on their faith under the current Vietnamese government, with the Vietnamese state confisticating Cham property and forbidding Cham from observing their religious beliefs. Hindu temples were turned into tourist sites against the wishes of the Cham Hindus. In 2010 and 2013 several incidents occurred in Thnh Tn and Phc Nhn villages where Cham were murdered by Vietnamese. In 2012, Vietnamese police in Chau Giang village stormed into a Cham Mosque, stole the electric generator, and also raped Cham girls.[118] Cham Muslims in the Mekong Delta have also been economically marginalised and pushed into poverty by Vietnamese policies, with ethnic Vietnamese Kinh settling on majority Cham land with state support, and religious practices of minorities have been targeted for elimination by the Vietnamese government.[119]

In 2005, a cellular phone base station was erected by the Philippines’ Smart Communications on Pag-asa Island.[122]

On 18 May 2011, China Mobile announced that its mobile phone coverage has expanded to the Spratly Islands. The extended coverage would allow soldiers stationed on the islands, fishermen, and merchant vessels within the area to use mobile services, and can also provide assistance during storms and sea rescues. The service network deployment over the islands took nearly one year.[123]

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Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism