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Asia and Australia Edition: Strava, North Korea, Malaysia: Your Tuesday Briefing

#briefing-market-module.interactive-embedded .interactive-caption { display: none; } Market Snapshot View Full Overview In the News Photo Credit Kevin Frayer/Getty Images • The Vatican, seeking to end a schism with China, asked two “underground” bishops to surrender their positions to individuals approved by the country’s authoritarian government. Above, a sanctioned ceremony in Beijing. [The New York Times] • Why do heart attacks and strokes hit people with no known risk factors? Scientists have identified a strange accumulation of mutated stem cells in bone marrow as a possible cause — and it grows more common with age. [The New York Times] • The F.B.I.’s deputy director stepped down, under fire from Republicans in Congress and President Trump, and the deputy attorney general appears to be their new target. [The New York Times] • Rescuers were searching for more survivors after seven people were found alive in a dinghy more than a week after their ferry sank near the Pacific island nation of Kiribati. […]

The Unfolding Crisis in Kiribati and the Urgency of Response

At the end of February the scenes in the South Pacific atoll island nation of Kiribati were dramatic and frightening. Waves crashed across the lagoon side of South Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati, swamping everything in their path. For the locals, there was no where to go as the waves left a trail of destruction, flooding the hospital in Betio, destroying food crops and fouling the already severely limited freshwater lens. Michael Foon, from the National Disaster Management Office described the impact: Where the hospital is completely flooded and the surrounding area, resulted in power cuts. This is the first time that we’ve seen this sort of extensive flooding, it goes maybe 200 metres in-shore, and it’s impacting people because they depend on water wells that are now salty. You start seeing breadfruit trees with brown leaves, dropping their leaves and fruit. While locals rebuild seawalls and repair the hospital and other damage, they face yet more king tides in the coming weeks, peaking again on March 20th. But already, this week, the destruction has continued, with the crucial causeway connecting two parts of South Tarawa closed as it has begun to disintegrate in some sections. […]

Kiribati and Climate Change: The Fight You Don’t Read About

If someone was to google “Kiribati,” search results will speak of the sad realities of this Pacific Island nation. “Plagued by sea-level rise,” “Besieged by the rising tide of climate change,” and “Climate change destroys Pacific Island Nation” are the headlines you are most likely to stumble across. Sadly, this island nation, rose to fame as steadily as the level of seawater has been rising to consume their islands […]

New Zealand rejects climate refugee asylum bid

New Zealand rejects climate refugee asylum bid

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

New Zealand will pack up members of a Kiribati family and send them back to their drowning island rather than grant them refuge.

That’s thanks to a ruling by New Zealand’s High Court, which rejected Ioane Teitiota’s historic bid for aslyum. Attorneys had argued that Teitiota and his family shouldn’t be forced to return to an island that is frequently flooding as seas rise, inundating farms and contaminating drinking water supplies. The BBC reports on the ruling:

[T]he judge said environmental problems did not fit internationally recognized criteria for refugee status.

“By returning to Kiribati, he would not suffer a sustained and systemic violation of his basic human rights such as the right to life … or the right to adequate food, clothing and housing,” High Court Justice John Priestley wrote in his judgment. …

But Mr Teitiota’s lawyer had challenged that decision, arguing that he and his family — including his three New Zealand-born children — would suffer harm if forced to return to Kiribati because of the combined pressures of over-population and rising sea-levels.

Which is a reminder of an obvious conundrum faced by residents of low-lying Pacific islands — where the hell are they supposed to go?

Source New Zealand denies climate change asylum bid, BBC

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: [email protected].

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