Papua New Guinea is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands (the western portion of the island is a part of the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua). It is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, in a region defined since the early 19th century as Melanesia.
There are several FM radio stations in each town that play local music and two government funded national radio broadcasters. In addition there are several commercial national broadcasters. There is thorough coverage in the daily newspapers, as well as a reasonable amount of overseas news.
The United States and Papua New Guinea established diplomatic relations upon the latter's independence on September 16, 1975. The two nations belong to a variety of regional organizations, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum; the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF); the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC); and the South Pacific Regional Environmental Program (SPREP).
Papua New Guinea relies on assistance from Australia to keep out illegal cross-border activities from primarily Indonesia, including goods smuggling, illegal narcotics trafficking, and squatters and secessionists. Papua New Guinea is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.
Papua New Guinea's education system has three levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The academic year runs from January to December. Most instruction occurs in English.
Agriculture employs 75% of the workforce, many at subsistence level. Minerals, notably copper and gold, are the most valuable exports. Papua New Guinea is the world's ninth-largest producer of gold.
Around 85 percent of the people still live traditional lives, farming and hunting for food and maintaining the spiritual beliefs and customs of their ancestors. Despite the predominant christian beliefs people attribute any sickness or bad luck to an evil influence, such as witchcraft or sorcery, and spiritual healers are as important as doctors.
More often, Papua New Guineans have sought to blend old and new religions. Cargo cults aimed at acquiring the wealth and power of outsiders through blends of Christian and local rituals have been common. Today, indigenized forms of Christianity seek to control the human condition in a period of insistent and significant change.
More than 800 local languages (in addition to many minor dialects) exist in Papua New Guinea – about a third of the world's indigenous tongues. Pidgin (Tok Pisin) is common to most Papua New Guineans.
Papua New Guinea’s social composition is extremely complex, although most people are classified as Melanesian. Very small minorities of Micronesian and Polynesian societies can be found on some of the outlying islands and atolls, and as in the eastern and northern Pacific these people have political structures headed by chiefs, a system seldom found among the Melanesian peoples of Papua New Guinea.
The climate of Papua New Guinea is tropical, generally hot and humid, with two monsoon periods: northwest monsoon (December-March) and southeast monsoon (May-October). In the lowlands temperatures range between 21.1° and 32.2° C (70° and 90° F) while in the mountainous regions lows of 3.3° C (38° F) have been recorded. Annual rainfall totals nearly 5080 mm (nearly 200 in) in the Milne Bay region and about 5840 mm (about 230 in) at the mouth of the Fly R. Port Moresby, which lies between these two points, is sheltered by the Owen Stanley Range and receives only about 1145 mm (about 45 in) of rain annually.