Nation of Kiribati considers relocation

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

The Pacific nation of Kiribati is negotiating to buy land in Fiji so it can move islanders under threat from rising sea levels, in what could be the first climate-induced relocation of a country.

Anote Tong, the Kiribati President, said he was in talks with Fiji's military government to buy up to 2000 hectares of freehold land on which his 113,000 countrymen could resettle.

Some of Kiribati's 32 flat coral atolls, which straddle the equator over 3.5 million square kilometres of ocean, are already disappearing. The total land area is 811 square kilometres and the average elevation is less than two metres above sea level.

Relocation is still a last resort. Kiribati President Anote Tong is hoping to start by relocating some of this citizens to the Fijian island, to farm, and haul away landfill by barge to stop the sea's encroachment on his own country.

Obviously relocation on this scale would be unprecedented, but Kiribati isn't the only Pacific island facing this dilemma. Now-ousted Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed tried to highlight this emerging crisis with his underwater cabinet meeting in 2009. 

Since 2003, the government of Papua New Guinea has been slowly evacuating the entire population of dwindling Cataret Islands. Sun Come Up, a 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary on the Cateret evacuation is well worth a watch. 



Bibi for president?

This Jerusalem Post headline might strike a bit too close to home, both for Republicans unhappy with their slate of candidates and those critical with U.S. politicians' chumminess with the Israeli right: "GOP to nominate [Netanyahu] as US presidential candidate."

No, it's not breaking news -- it's the holiday of Purim, where Jews celebrate their salvation from the ancient Persian empire and the evil Haman with a day of wine-drinking and general meshugana behavior. The Jerusalem Post's (hideous) website features an entire section of joke articles today that look as if they were torn straight from The Onion -- one reports that Netanyahu's wife's infatuation with Madonna will likely delay a strike on Iran, and the headline of another reads: "World Bank: Tel Aviv world's 3rd-largest Sudanese city"

But it's the Bibi-for-president article that takes the cake. "How hard can it be to run a country of 300 million gentiles," fake Netanyahu asks. And a fake Republcian strategist actually makes a pretty convincing case about Netanyahu's political strengths:

"Netanyahu has it all," a top GOP strategist said. "He has Romney's economic credentials, Santorum's conservative agenda, a kooky blonde third wife like Gingrich, and best of all, he just doesn't like Obama."

Sarah Palin, eat your heart out.

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