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Monday, December 3, 2012

WELCOME COUNTRY #209: Solomon Islands


The 209th country just clicked on this blog site.  So you say, how can that be when the United Nations only as 193 members, plus there are only three non-members left (Kosovo, Taiwan and The Vatican)?  Well, a long time ago I counted the list of Google country codes and got up to 246.   Now, however, the Google list has been deprecated.  Not sure what this really means.  Anyway, there are entities such as Antarctica on this list, plus a whole bunch of dinky islands.  Country #209, with only a little more than half a million people, is a member. There are UN members with fewer people:

  Tuvalu           9,847
  Nauru          13,000
  San Marino  13,735
  Monaco       35,427
  Liechstein    36,304
  Marshall Is.  54,816
  Grenada      110,000
  Maldives     320,081
  Malta          419,000

They each have the same number of votes as the USA...one.  I might further add that those island nations could well disappear with sea level rise.  Where do you place more than 300,000 Maldivians (the country is located south of India)?

So, welcome country #209


SOLOMON ISLANDS POPULATION: 584,578



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 Background
The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the most bitter fighting of World War II occurred on this archipelago. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, and endemic crime have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003, then Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia in reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has generally been effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.


The total land area of the 1000 or so islands about equals the State of Maryland.  The capital is Honiara, which is on Guadalcanal.  Some important World War II battles were fought here, where John F. Kennedy and PT-109 were rescued.  Thirty eight thousand were killed, with 31,000 being Japanese.

They have 36 airports, but only one is paved.  the GPA/capita is a lowly $600.  While they obtained independence in 1976, their chief of state remains Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Frank Kabui is the Governor-General.

 Fewer than 2% speak English.  Interestingly enough, 10% have blond hair, and this is not related to any European influence.  Ninety-two percent are Christians, and there are 350 Muslims.

Read about the doings in these islands by clicking on NewsWealth.  Their two major newspapers are the Solomon Star and Solomon Times, whose major headline today was:  Sexual Assaults Appalling.  I guess if you are of the female gender, don't hail cabs.  But the next article indicates that a full court press is being made to attract Australian tourists.  The third is a real concern about global warming.


They are part of the Ring of Fire, and on April Fool's Day of 2007, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake and following 33 foot tsunami caused more than 50 deaths and considerable damage.  Typhoons are prevalent from November to May (they are near the equator, and in the Southern Hemisphere).

Visas are generally not required if you stay less than 90 days.  Except for rioting on one island, and occasional racial attacks, there is no terrorism.

They do welcome tourists, and sometimes hotels get filled.  There are various places to stay, and if you wish to hear a Solomon song being sung, click on King Solomon Hotel.   Very similar to Tahiti.

Although diving for fish and surfing are popular, there are very large sharks and ocean crocodiles in these seas.  Click on "The Solomon Islands:  Headed for Self-destruction?" for a good summary of the location.  And here is a more balanced and positive point of view.

Let me end with Kate and Will, who stopped by a couple of months ago, and, after Kate's earlier hoo-hah, their most reported on activity was watching bare-breasted dancers.  Here is a video clip.   However, the following photo caused a larger "scandal":



What was the big deal?  The local authorities provided suitable attire, but the couple mistakenly wore outfits from the Cook Islands, which are 3000 miles away.

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Oh my gosh, Super Typhoon Bopha shot up to 161 MPH, a Category 5, largely spared Palau and is now battering the south islands of the Philippines.  Manila will probably escape  the devastation.



Here it's December, and the oceans remain relatively warm to allow for a super typhoon, or any typhoon.  Hurricane Sandy was also unusual, but that was way back in October.  GLOBAL WARMING?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for share...