How do we mourn an islet? Where do we mark its grave? | Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner

Ellekan, an islet in Marshall Islands, has been reduced to a pile of sand in the middle of the reef. Those who loved it have already held its funeral

On a trip to the islet of Kalalen, eight years ago, a man named Yoster Harris ran out to meet me.

Yoster is married to the alap, or landowner, of Kalalen and he took my hand and led me to point out Ellekan, a neighbouring islet at the very end of the Majuro atoll lagoon, in my home of the Marshall Islands in the north Pacific.

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Ex-president demands inquiry into Marshall Islands ‘mini-state plot’

Hilda Heine calls for investigation into Chinese couple’s alleged efforts to bribe officials to help set up tax haven

A former president of the Marshall Islands has called for an investigation into an alleged plot by a Chinese couple to establish a mini-state inside its borders and set it up as a lucrative tax-break haven.

The pair were charged by US prosecutors with bribery and money-laundering offences over a “multi-year scheme” that included establishing a non-governmental organisation, allegedly bribing five Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) officials and attempting to bribe a sixth. One of the five was allegedly given cash to bribe others into supporting the carving out of a Hong Kong-style territory.

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Marshall Islands, haven from Covid for two years, gets 3,000 cases in space of weeks

Pacific country had recorded no community transmission of the virus until last week, and healthcare is struggling to cope

After dodging the Covid-19 pandemic for two years, the Marshall Islands is grappling to control the spread of infections, which have tripled since the first community transmissions were detected a week ago.

The number of positive cases in the north Pacific nation, which has a population of about 60,000 people, has skyrocketed to more than 3,000 cases with four Covid-linked deaths and seven hospital admissions.

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Power struggle with China and regional rift in focus as Anthony Albanese heads to Pacific Islands forum

Absence of Kiribati from the meeting is ‘really devastating’ to the body’s long-term strategy, security expert says

When Anthony Albanese touches down in Suva on Wednesday to attend his first Pacific Islands Forum, he will be walking in to a regional meeting that is putting on a brave face.

While it had been thought that the forum would be focused on the growing influence of China and as an opportunity for Australia to showcase its new climate credentials, Albanese will arrive to a group wrestling with other problems.

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Pacific nations walk geopolitical tightrope over Ukraine war, as nuclear legacy looms

Pacific leaders have broadly lambasted the Russian assault, but some countries have resisted outright condemnation of the superpower

Some Pacific island nations have been left walking a geopolitical tightrope in their response to the war in Ukraine, as they try to balance regional alliances with both the west and China and Russia.

Comments by Russian president Vladimir Putin, which many have interpreted as thinly veiled threats about the potential use of nuclear weapons have also touched a nerve in a region long affected by the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons testing by the US, France and Britain.

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Rising sea levels threaten Marshall Islands’ status as a nation, World Bank report warns

Large parts of Pacific country’s capital would be permanently flooded and islands would disappear, according to new projections

Projected sea level rise would mean 40% of the buildings in the Marshall Islands’ capital of Majuro would be permanently flooded and entire islands would disappear, potentially costing the Pacific country its status as a nation, according to a devastating new report from the World Bank.

The report, Mapping the Marshall Islands, containing grim visualisations of the impact of sea level rise on the Marshall Islands, has been two years in the making and was shared exclusively with the Guardian ahead of its release in coming weeks.

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Global shipping is a big emitter, the industry must commit to drastic action before it is too late | Casten Ned Nemra

Around 80% of global trade is transported across oceans on cargo vessels powered by fossil fuels, Pacific nations are calling for decisive global action

  • Casten Ned Nemra is minister of foreign affairs of the Marshall Islands

Many communities around the world have recently been confronted with the dangerous impacts of climate change and as world leaders prepare to meet in Glasgow for the COP26 summit, are examining what action needs to be taken.

But one of the world’s major global greenhouse gas emitters has long escaped global attention.

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Vanuatu coronavirus vaccine rollout to take until end of 2023

The majority of the Pacific nation’s population won’t be immunised for another two years, government planning documents show

Despite a tourism-dependent economy devastated by coronavirus shutdowns, Vanuatu’s Covid-19 vaccination programme will not inoculate most of its population until the end of 2023.

According to the ministry of health’s national deployment and vaccination plan, the first shots will be administered in April this year, but only the most vulnerable 20% of the population will get a jab in the first phase.

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Zoomed to fail? Cracks appear in Pacific Islands Forum as Covid pulls nations apart

Pacific diplomacy hinges on in-person discussion but web-only meetings have fed a growing dispute over the forum’s leadership and purpose

In the Pacific, it is all about the talanoa: the conversation and the consensus.

For the 50 years of the Pacific Islands Forum (beginning life as the South Pacific Forum), meetings have always happened in person, and it is the power of the leaders being together that has given the forum its rare ability to find common ground.

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‘A memory bobbing around the ocean’: message in a bottle found after two years

Conservationist on a remote Papua New Guinean island finds message from American girl thrown overboard more than 2,500km away

This bottle was different. Glass, with its lid sealed tight, it contained a handful of rice grains and a few seashells. And a note.

In November, on the remote Conflict Islands of Papua New Guinea, conservation ranger Steven Amos was cleaning the beachfront on Panasesa island when he stumbled across something that was not thoughtlessly thrown away, but consciously sent as a message to an unknown recipient, somewhere in the world.

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The baby-selling scheme: poor pregnant Marshall Islands women lured to the US

Dozens of women from the Pacific island victims of brazen trafficking ring that operated for years

Rolson Price still scans Facebook for her picture. He’s seen her occasionally, at the periphery of someone else’s photo, instantly recognisable.

But he’s never met her, and concedes he never will.

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Ghost boat laden with cocaine washes up in the Marshall Islands

Abandoned vessel containing 649kg of drug washes up on a remote Pacific atoll after potentially years at sea

Police in the Marshall Islands have found the Pacific nation’s largest-ever haul of cocaine in an abandoned boat that washed up on a remote atoll after drifting on the high seas, potentially for years.

Attorney general Richard Hickson said the 5.5 metre (18ft) fibreglass vessel was found at Ailuk atoll last week with 649 kg (1,430lb ) of cocaine hidden in a compartment beneath the deck.

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Remote Marshall Islands records its first coronavirus cases

Pacific nation was one of the last on Earth without a single confirmed Covid-19 infection

One of the last coronavirus-free sanctuaries in the world has been breached, with the US military importing two cases of Covid-19 into the remote Marshall Islands.

The Marshalls had been one of the last nations on Earth – most of which are in the Pacific – without a single confirmed case of Covid-19.

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Now that nuclear weapons are illegal, the Pacific demands truth on decades of testing | Dimity Hawkins

With a 50th nation ratifying it, the treaty outlawing nuclear weapons for all countries will come into force in 90 days

Nuclear weapons will soon be illegal. Just over 75 years since their devastation was first unleashed on the world, the global community has rallied to bring into force a ban through the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Late on Saturday night in New York, the 50th country – the central American nation of Honduras – ratified the treaty.

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Australia should create ‘Pacific visa’ to reduce impact of climate change and disaster on islanders

Displacement is growing in the Asia-Pacific region, and a new policy paper argues migration policies must be established now

Australia should establish a new “Pacific Access” visa category that could be used by Pacific islanders forced from their homes by climate change and natural disasters, a new policy paper has argued, warning of growing displacement in Australia’s region in coming decades.

Disasters displaced three times as many people as conflict around the world last year, the paper from University of New South Wales’ Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law says, and the Asia-Pacific region is the hardest hit. Between 2008 and 2018, the Asia-Pacific saw more than 80% of all new global displacement.

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