‘Palau against China!’: the tiny island standing up to a giant

Archipelago is refusing to switch diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China, despite a huge downturn in its tourism industry

Wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sipping an iced tea, Ongerung Kambes Kesolei sits at a veranda saloon overlooking a inn pool, under devotees that slowly push humid air around on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

But the tranquilize of the scene is deceptive, for Kesolei is explaining that his small island home of Palau– a dot on the map in the north-west corner of the Pacific with a population of only over 20,000 people- has attracted the ire of one of the world’s most powerful nations and is now at the centre of a geo-political bunfight.

” They[ China] want to diminish Tsai Ing-wen[ the Taiwanese president] and that’s where Palau comes into play ,” said Kesolei, the editor of one of Palau’s two newspapers.

Palau is one of only 17 countries that has refused to give up diplomatic relations with Taiwan and switch allegiance to China.

Palau, which was under US administration until its independence in 1994, struck up diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1999 after a few years of what Kesolei calls ” wooing” from both Beijing and Taipei. The nearly 20 -year relationship has been strong, with Kesolei saying ” every Palauan has a story” of their relationships with Taiwan, whether travelling there for a holiday, education or medical treatment.

Palau map

But Taiwan’s allies are slowly being chipped away, as China sets the pressure on and seeks to penalise those that recognise self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing considers a Chinese territory. El Salvador switched its devotion last month, and Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic severed ties with Taiwan earlier this year.

Those countries that continue to recognise Taiwan- especially the six Taiwanese allies located in the Pacific, where China is seeking to increase its affect- are feeling the pressure.

‘The governments are having a fight’

For tiny Palau, where tourism accounts for 42.3% of GDP, this pressure has come in the form of what the locals call the “China ban”.

In November 2017, the Chinese government ordered tour operators to stop selling bundle tours to Palau, with reports that doing so could lead to fines.

Some insist Palau has always been a blacklisted destination but that until very recently the Chinese government turned a blind eye.

Businesses
Businesses in Palau are feeling the effect of the drop off in tourism from China Photograph: Kate Lyons for the Guardian

Evan Rees, Asia-Pacific analyst at Stratfor, says China applies such bans- as well as the grant and withholding of Approved Destination Status( ADS) to countries- as” part of a larger toolkit for compelling behaviour “.

Last year, South Korea was the subject of such a traveling outlaw, after a row over its deployment of a US missile defence system, which had a devastating impact on tourism to the country during the course of its PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The forbiddings affect bundle tours booked through travel bureaux, which accounts for about 45% of all Chinese sightseers, said Rees, though independent Chinese travellers are still able to visit “banned” destinations.

One Palauan-based Chinese industrialist said the word “Palau” had also been blocked as an internet search word in China.

The impact of the ban on Palau has been stark.

The number of sightseers from China has plummeted so dramatically that one airline flying charter flights between China and Palau stopped flights at the end of August, because” the Chinese government attained Palau an illegal tour destination perhaps and most likely due to lack of diplomatic status “.

Palauan tour operators and government officials bridle at propositions the ban has brought Palau to its knees- there were still 9,000 visitor advents in July- but tenancy rates at inns have dropped and industries are hurting.

Chinese tourists to Palau

The pain of the prohibition has been especially acute because it was immediately preceded by a staggering boom in tourism from China, with tourist advents from the two countries skyrocketing from 634 in 2008- attaining up less than 1% of all guests- to more than 91,000 in 2015- 54% of all visitors.

At Elilai restuarant, which is heavily promoted as the” best restaurant in Palau” on billboards all over the island, I am the sole diner in a restaurant who are able to comfortably accommodate 50.

Waitress Donita Rose Cagaoan-Tipay is apologetic about the empty chamber, saying it was the result of a” forbidding from China”, though she says she doesn’t know much more about it than that.

” I asked my friend who is a Chinese tour guide, he said Palau and China, the governmental forces are having a fight ,” she explains.

The boom

The empty eateries are a far cry from 2014 and 2015, when charter flights from China began landing every day each carrying hundreds of tourists.

Leilani Reklai says the impact on the island was overwhelming.” Guys were hanging around town buying land, getting cash in suitcases and buying everything in sight ,” says Reklai, who is the president of Palau’s tourism association.

Leilani
Leilani Reklai, President of the Belau Tourism Association on the island of Palau. Photograph: Kate Lyons for the Guardian

Reklai owned two barges that took tour groups to the Rock Islands, the most famous of Palau’s tourist attractions, which before the Chinese boom would go out four periods a week during peak season.

” But for virtually one year my guys were going out seven days a week” she says.

” Some people were saying’ This is the Chinese strategy, “thats what they” do, they are going to pour a lot of money in here, and got to get addicted like it’s Coke and then turn off the faucet ‘. But of course, fund was louder so people weren’t listening ,” says Reklai.

At 70, Francis Toribiong has had almost every job in the tourism business. He says the dip hurt “everybody”. Toribiong has been forced to sell a 25 -bed hostel but says he got off relatively lightly.

” There are so many young men who went to the development bank and borrowed hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy barges ,” he says. Now, demand has plummeted so much better that they are lucky if they can continue to stimulate enough to cover fuel and the loan repayments.

Francis
Francis Toribiong, who has worked in tourism in Palau for 50 times Photograph: Kate Lyons for the Guardian

A blessing in disguise?

Despite the suffering, most people concur the boom was unsustainable.

At its crest in 2015, 169,000 sightseers arrived in Palau and the country’s power, sea and sewage systems struggled to cope. There was huge inflation, and the price of meat and rent skyrocketed.

” There was an outcry ,” says Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl, president of the Palau Visitors Authority, the government’s tourism marketing limb.” Costs of crabs ran up, prices of fish, rents ran up, people were displaced. There was an apartment that was going for $500 , now they charge $1,200. There was a shortage of rooms. Apartments[ were converted] from apartments to hotels .”

Kevin Mesebeluu, director of the general committee of tourism, says the China ban may be” a blessing in disguise”, devoting Palau a chance to reevaluate its approach to tourism.

” The president has been very clear about the direction ,” he said.” High-value, low-impact sustainable tourism .”

Indeed, the country was heading down this path before the prohibition came into result. In 2015, Palau’s president, Tommy Remengesau, announced a decrease in the number of charter flights between China and Palau, in response to environmental and social concerns.

Boats
Boats sit idle now at Malakal Island, Palau. Photograph: Kate Lyons for the Guardian

Reklani thinks this decision, which came into consequence gradually, signifies Palau escaped much more serious financial hassle.” We definitely got out in time, this sorenes we’re going through, it would have been so much worse ,” she says.

Since the China ban, Remengesau has reiterated his commitment to Taiwan, telling the Nikkei Asian Review that while China was an “important partner” Palau had” more in common with Taiwan “.

A statement from his spokesperson was even more defiant, indicating Palau would not bow to pressure:” Palau is a country of laws, it is a democracy and we construct our own decisions .”

However, there are others who would not mind insuring Palau switch diplomatic horses.

” It’s about hour that we focus our interests and views towards the People’s Republic of China ,” said Senate president Hokkons Baules in July at the groundbreaking rite for a Chinese-backed resort, according to the Island Times.

The China-Taiwan question is expected to be a key issue at the next presidential election in 2020. But the Taiwanese ambassador to Palau, Wallace Chow, says he is not worried about the relationship, saying it is “very solid”.

Speaking to Guardian during an event for 25 Taiwanese youth diplomats who are spending several days in Palau as part of a” soft power” mission, Chow says it is this” down-to-earth, to the people, for the people” approach that will keep Palau onside.

The
The islands of Palau are dotted with signs proving projects funded by Taiwanese facilitate. Photo: Kate Lyons for the Guardian

But Palauans may also be persuaded by the more than $10 m in aid provided by Taiwan to the country each year, reminders of which are dotted around the island as signs announce that road or building programmes are funded by Taiwanese award money.

” I’m very confident that the Palauan people know who is their true-life spouse and which side their bread is buttered ,” said Chow.

Under the slowly moving fans, Kesolei says he does not expect a diplomatic switching anytime soon.” It’s part of our culture that we are very loyal to our friends ,” he says.

Palauans also like the image of themselves as countries around the world that is standing up to a superpower.

” Some of my social circle enjoy this limelight. Palau against China! This tiny thing against the world’s biggest[ country ]! Some of my friends say: if we have the power to decide, let’s be the last man standing with Taiwan,[ other] countries will think we don’t simply switch, we stay with our friends until the very end .”

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ global-development/ 2018/ sep/ 08/ palau-against-china-the-tiny-island-defying-the-worlds-biggest-country

Someone Wrote A Funny Guide About Bees And Wasps And You Might Learn Something New

Most of us have been there, sitting in a park or on our porch, enjoying the beautiful summer period and a refreshing cold drink, when abruptly an unidentified flying bugger approaches. Is it a bee? Is it a wasp? We’re simply not sure!

Probably confused by the same notion, one internet user grouped together an “infographic” to help everyone out. “A Comprehensive Guide to Yellow Stripey Things” identifies 8 all kinds of winging bugs and describes them in the best way. Scroll down below to find the guidebook yourself and tell us what you think!

Carpenter Bee

These guys are big fans of timber, especially unfinished or weathered lumber like barriers, porches, etc. where they delve passageways to attain nests, thus their name. Rarely lives here in social nests, these bees are solitary creatures. Carpenter bees are not aggressive or dangerous, especially male bees, as they don’t have a stinger. Having short mouthparts, these bees are especially important in pollinating shallow blooms which are rarely pollinated by other insects.

Honeybee

The domestic honeybee is the textbook bee that( hopefully) every person could identify. Recognise by production and storage of honey, this bee has been domesticated and used for the production of honey and pollination of crops for centuries. As they’re excellent pollinators they frequent realms and wouldn’t shy away from a flower on top of your windowsil. However, while one or two visiting bees might not seem like a problem, determining a hive on your property can be quite a frighten. This might prompt a person to call the pest control, but it’s EXTREMELY important to keep the hive alive, as they’re a vital part to the ecosystem, so it’s best to ring up a beekeeper for assitance.

Bumblebee

The fat fluffy friends of the bee world, bumblebees are here to pollinate your harvests and blooms. Social beings who construct nests and form settlements with a single queen. These soft’ flying pandas’ are non-aggressive and won’t stinging unless protecting their hive, in which occurrence you better run fast as their bites had not yet been barb, like honeybees’, which means they can sting repeatedly!
As the number of bumblebees has dropped drastically in North America, Europe and Asia, there have been many projects started as conservation effort.

Hoverfly

Hoverflies may look like bees and wasps, but it’s merely a guise as they don’t possess a stinger to make any impairment. They use the disguise to try trick predators into thinking that they can fight back, just like bees and wasps could.
Other than being living bee cosplayers, hoverflies simply pollinate buds and do what’s in their epithet- hover around.

Paper Wasp

These bad boys are the architects behind those greys( or brown !) papery nests that somewhat resemble a clump of cotton candy. Unlike their sisters, hornets or yellowjackets, newspaper wasps are genrally non-aggressive and will only sting if elicited, specially when protecting their nest. And while wasps generally have a bad reputation due to aggression and pain stings, newspaper wasps are actually considered beneficial as they pollinate and eat various garden pests, making them especially important in biocontrol.

Yellow Jacket

Another one of the textbook insects, yellow jacket is what the common people know as the wasp. It is sometimes misstep for a bee, due to their similar sizing and colouring, however that could be one’s big mistake as yellowjackets are aggressive and won’t shy away from stinging.
As mean as they seem, yellowjackets also feed on various pest bugs stimulating these flying needles beneficial to farming.

Cicada Killer

These are large, scary-looking wasps that live a solitary live. Although they seem especially ferocious, cicada murderers are non-aggressive and simply assault when handled approximately. Male wasps don’t have a stinger, just as the carpenter bees.
These wasps got their epithet from their dominant prey, cicadas. As they help control the cicada population and conserve trees on which cicadas feed, cicada murderers run as a biocontrol.

Dirt Dauber

Also known as mud dauber, grime dauber is a type of wasp that looks very different from most commonly known wasps, as well as any other insect in the list so far. Their name comes from the behavior they nest, as female wasps mold dirt with their mandibles to make a living space for themselves. They prey on various spiders, although some types of soil daubers are known to keep spiders in their nests to help them guard their home.

What to do if you’ve been stung?

While it’s all fun and games enjoying a day outside, things can get serious pretty quick if you get to meet a bee’s or wasp’s fury in a form of a stinger. According to National Health Service, insect stings can be identified by a red swollen lump developing on the skin that is painful, or sometimes itchy. NHS’s advice on what to do if you’re sting 😛 TAGEND

Remove the sting if it’s still in the scalp.

Wash the affected districts with soap and sea.

Apply a cold compress( such as a cloth or cloth cooled with cold water) or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.

Raise or elevate the affected districts if possible, as this can help reduce swelling.

Avoid scratching the field, to reduce the risk of infection.

Avoid traditional home redress, such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, as they’re unlikely to help.

The Weirdest Celebrity Couples You Never Knew Dated Betches

Celebrities, they’re just like us. They eat, sleep, and have questionable date pasts. Celebrities constantly break up and get back together, making it hard to keep track of who dated whom. Just like your friends who never fail to bring up your relationship missteps, I am here to remind you of the weirdest celebrity pairs you never knew dated( or you wholly forgot ).

1. Mila Kunis and Macaulay Culkin

I think this is probably one of the weirdest celebrity pairs on our listing, if not the weirdest. Not simply did Mila Kunis and Macaulay Culkin date, but they were together for eight years! I know, right! Their relationship operated from 2002 to 2011, starting when she was just 19 and he was 22 years old, taking up a major clump of their adolescent lives. Although their relationship may seem random af now, it wasn’t so strange when it began. Culkin was still ridiculously famous from his Home Alone days, while Kunis was staring in That’s 70 s Show. They were basically teenage royalty, a celebrity power couple if you will. But tbh, it’s hard to imagine a hour when The KuKus weren’t a thing.

2. Tom Cruise and Cher

Oh baby, this couple was a strange one. Back in the 80 s, these two( with a 16 year age difference, might I add) had a fling. Cher has said that Cruise is ” one of[ her] top five former lovers ,” so good for you, buddy. But I can’t help but wonder if that got his ego running, ensuing in his downward Ross Geller-inspired spiral of marrying, divorcing, repeating? But hey, who am I to judge? At least Cher get Tom pre-Scientology.

Tom

3. Ryan Gosling and Sandra Bullock

Another odd that built it onto our listing of weirdest celebrity pairs is Ryan Gosling and Sandra Bullock, with another 16 year age difference. Why is 16 the magic number ?? Anyway, back in 2002 these two had a year-long relationship before Gosling married Eva Mendes in 2011 and Bullock married Bryan Randall in 2015. Though their fling was short-lived, Gosling did say that Bullock was one of the best girlfriends he ever had. Aw.

4. Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd

Rachel and Mike? WTF. Girl code specifically states that” one shall not be required to be date their best friend’s past or current boyfriend or spouse”( or something like that ). The reality that Jennifer Aniston dated Phoebe Buffay’s husband is soooo not okay. The two dated while filming The Object of my Affection in 1998. Although Phoebe and Mike didn’t start dating until 2002( Season 9, episode 3 ), it just seems wrong for all us Pals devotees out there.

Jennifer

Images: Giphy( 2 )

Read more: https :// betches.com/? p= 35100

25+ Dumb Drivers Who Should Not Be Allowed On The Road

We’ve all realized at least one PSA about the hazards of the texting while driving, but where are the warns about playing the cornet while driving( equally dangerous people ).

Yes, the committee is people out there driving distracted by some genuinely outrageous the operations and lucky for us the latter are caught on camera. The men in the following photos could definitely benefit from read a volume on how to drive more safely, however, unlike the guy in one of the photos we don’t recommend they read it while driving. This is our reminder for the next time you’re out on the road, keep your eyes open for some truly bizarre sights because you never know what you will see on the road. However, for now, you are able to scroll below! Don’t forget to upvote your favs!

# 1 How To You Lose The Mattress, Break Your Arm, And Crash The Car All At The Same Time?

# 2 Tree-Wheel Drive

# 3 Hay, Watch Where You’re Moving!

# 4 75 -8 0 MPH, Comprising A Plate With A Fork And Knife And Talking On The Phone

# 5 Journeying A Motorbike While Holding A Baby Is A Bad Idea

# 6 Caught Reading A Book While Driving

# 7 Reckoned It Was A Backpack At First

# 8 My Cab Driver Is Reading “Learning To Drive” … While Driving

# 9 I’m Speechless

#10 Driving Without Hands, Feet, Or Brain?

#12 What Could Move Wrong?

#13 Bungee Cord Would Have Been Too Much Of A Hassle

#14 I Have Likewise Seen A Man Playing The Trumpet While Driving

#15 How You Know They’re Straight

#16 Safety First

#17 Really? Not Even A Helmet?

#18 Simply In Vietnam

#19 Curling Hair With A Curling iron While Driving On A Highway At 90 km/ h

#20 When Tow Trucks Are Too Expensive And A New Paint And Other Minor Repairs Aren’t

#22 Well Secured Load

#23 So This Happened Today

#24 Seen This Guy Many Times With A Shoe .. In His … Mouth …

#25 5 Point Seat Belt

#26 Idiot Of The Week Award Goes To This Lady

#27 How Many Seats Are In This Car?

#28 Well, That’s The Last Time I Eat Spaghetti And Drive

#29 It Ain’t Gonna Drive Itself Home

#30 This Gurl And Her Mom … Filled Up, Got Right Back On The Highway. Dug A Groove The Whole Way

#32 At Least He Wona

t Scratch The Paint

#33 Man Driving With Sun Shades On Freeway

#34 Are A Guitar And Microphone Distracted Driving?

#35 Looks Tiring!

#36 Distracted Driving? That’s California For You

#37 Gotta Get Those Lashes Curled

#38 Yes, She’s Eating From A Pot While Driving

#39 That’s Just Unsafe

#40 This Guy Is Shaving While Driving

#42 Can You Still Assure The Road When Half The Windscreen Is Covered In Phones? Also, Don’t Leave Your Phone In This Taxi

#43 Umm … Not Sure Which Is Worse, The Guy Transporting Sheet Metal On The Scooter, Or The Unsecured Load In The Truck

#44 Hauling A Motorcycle On A Motorcycle

#45 Just Saw This On My Way To Work, Guy Had Skids 15 Feet In The Air With 2 Ratchet Straps And Thata

s It

#46 Driving Over Harbour Bridge, Spotted This Guy On His Route To Collect His Darwin-Award

#47 Who Needs Trunk Space When You Have Tape

#48 At Least He Is Wearing A Helmet

#49 Who Just Starts Driving Like That

#50 Knitting And Driving, With Headphones On And Visor And Review Mirrors Pointed Down, I Suppose To Help Understand The Knitting While Looking Up?

#52 Woman Caught Applying Make-Up While Driving Down Busy Road With A Child In Back Of Car

#53 Saw This Guy Playing A Goddammed Recorder While Driving His Fiat On The Highway

#54 How To Get Decapitated

#55 She Was Snapchatting While Driving( 40 MPH Road( 64,4 KPH )). She Likewise Had A Little Brother In The Passenger Seat While Doing This

#56 She Drove Like This For A Solid 30 Miles

#57 Hey Don’t Worry About Fastening That Giant TV With A Big Rope Because, I Get This!

#58 Just Passing By

#59 This Guy Watching “The Office” On His Laptop While Driving

#60 Comprising The Door Down On At 8 Lane Road

#62 Does This Count?

#63 Shea

s Looking At A Phone In Her Right Hand … And Thata

s Not A Cup Holder

#64 Must Be That New X-Ray Windshield

#65 Six Letters, Starts With An “S”, Ends With A “D”

http :// www.boredpanda.com/ dangerous-distracted-driving /

DNA testing company 23andMe and pharma giant GSK partner to help develop drugs

23 andMe co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki has struck a addressed with medicine giant GlaxoSmithKline .

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has invested $300 million into home DNA testing company 23 andMe, enabling it to develop drugs based on human genetics.

The four-year arrangement allows GSK access to 23 andMe’s vast database to accelerate its medication the investigations and development work.

More than 5 million customers use 23 andMe’s saliva kit to profile their genes. The kits allow users to uncover insights about their genealogy, other people who share your DNA, as well as discover how much of your DNA is Neanderthal.

“We are excited about this unique collaboration as we know that medication targets with genetic validation have a significantly higher chance of ultimately demonstrating benefit for patients and becoming drugs, ” Hal Barron, GSK’s Chief Scientific Officer and president R& D, said in a statement.

23andMe said it already has a portfolio of “early stage” research programmes, which both companies will look to include in these partnerships.

The first project will be a care for Parkinson’s disease, which currently is in preclinical growth. 80 percent of 23 andMe’s patrons have consented to participate in research, and the company said patrons are always in control of their information.

“This collaboration will enable us to deliver on what many clients have been asking for — panaceas or cares for diseases, ” CEO of 23 andMe, Anne Wojcicki, added in a statement.

As noted by Reuters, GSK is not the first drug giant to look at modern genetic data, with contenders Roche and AstraZeneca doing the same.

Read more: https :// mashable.com/ 2018/07/ 26/ gsk-2 3andme-drug-development /

These ‘nano-drops’ could correct your vision from the comfort of your home

Is this your worst nightmare? Because this is my worst nightmare .

Image: Getty Images

Is there anything more annoying than losing a contact lens? A girl in the UK thought hers fell out until physicians received it embedded in her eye decades later.

A recent BMJ Case Report detailed the 42 -year-old woman’s horrific experience. She had visited her eye doctor for pain swelling in her upper eyelid. An MRI exposed a cyst in the eye tissue, which ruptured during the removal surgery. That’s when physicians received a WHOLE CONTACT LENS that had been lodged inside the patient’s eyelid tissue for 28 years.

I repeat: A WHOLE CONTACT LENS.

Here’s some backstory that will probably induce you scream: According to Health, the report says that the contact was “a rigid gas permeable( RGP) ” lens which the woman hadn’t worn since she was a teen. When she was 14 -year-old, she was hit in the eye during a game of badminton and thought that the lens fell out.

Except, it hadn’t. Until her surgery, the lens had been lodged in her eyelid for for almost three decades. The woman didn’t experience any symptoms until that cyst formed.

“The patient never wore RGP lenses following this incident, ” the instance report concludes, according to Health. “We can infer that the RGP lens migrated into the patient’s left upper eyelid at the time of trauma and had been in situ for the last 28 years.”

The only story that one ups this nightmare is the time surgeons in the UK procured a staggering 27 contact lenses balled up inside a patient’s eye during what was supposed to be a routine cataract surgery.

If you wear contacts, just…check you eyes every now and then. Please.

[ H/ T: Teen Vogue]

Read more: https :// mashable.com/ 2018/08/ 16/ woman-finds-contact-lens-in-eyeball-after-2 8-years /