Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal. The nation of the Solomon Islands is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Though the indigenous people of the Solomon Islands all have dark skin, about 5% to 10% also have naturally blond hair – and a new study finds that the genetic quirk responsible for this is different from the one that produces blond hair in people of European ancestry. Researchers from Stanford University and colleagues collected spit samples from 43 Solomon Islanders with blond hair and 42 with the darkest hair. They scanned the DNA in all of the samples and looked for telltale differences that were linked with hair color. Sure enough, they found that on chromosome 9, there was one spot where blonds usually had a “T” (short for the DNA chemical thymine) and dark-haired people typically had “C” (the DNA chemical cytosine), they report in Friday’s edition of the journal Science. That small change results in a significant change in a gene called TYRP1, which was already known to play a role in pigmentation in mammals. This single mutation explains 50% of the variability in the islanders’ hair color, the researchers found.
THE Solomon Islands has a new prime minister: Danny Philip, a veteran politician from the western part of the archipelago. His country is home to half a million people living scattered across a few hundred islands. Mr Philip introduces himself as a leader with whom the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), which has been stationing hundreds of foreign soldiers, police and civil servants in the country since 2003, can do business. But RAMSI cannot be pleased by his expressed intention to honour the militants who rampaged across the country with guns and bankrupted the state until 2003. Mr Philip plans to introduce a “forgiveness bill” aimed at doing just that.
Dr Xing said in the light of so much activity occurring at the edge of Australian plate, Australia was also under threat from earthquakes and tsunamis. “Australia is mostly surrounded by subduction zones,” he said.
These zones are notorious for subduction earthquakes where one plate moves under another, pushing it and all of the water above it up. Such an earthquake was responsible for the 2004 tsunami. “If a large subduction earthquake occurred in the deep water regions such as south of New Zealand or west of the Solomon Islands, it would impact the eastern coast of Australia.”
Only Fiji, among Pacific Island nations, has seen its constitution abrogated, its judiciary dismissed and its army assume control. But what Solomon Islanders call ping-pong politics—frequent government changes, side-switching by politicians in search of more lucrative jobs and an obsession with the parliamentary numbers game—is taking its toll, increasing public disillusionment and leading to outbursts of violence. Take the Solomon Islands. The new prime minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, is the sixth leader since 2006. He served as finance minister until sacked by Mr Philip on November 9th. He outflanked his former boss and now leads more or less the same government. His victory sparked angry protests in the capital, Honiara, and the deployment of riot police.
If you think euro-zone governments are a mess, then Pacific states make them look like models of stability. On November 11th the Solomon Islands’ prime minister, Danny Philip, resigned to avoid a no-confidence motion, after allegations of misappropriation of aid from Taiwan.
Around [1500 B.C.], a seafaring and farming people apparently originating in the Bismarck Archipelago northeast of New Guinea swept nearly 2,000 miles across the open oceans east of the Solomons to reach Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga and to become the ancestors of the Polynesians. While the Polynesians lacked compasses, writing, and metal tools, they were masters of navigational arts and of sailing canoe technology. Abundant archeological evidence at radiocarbon-dated sites--such as pottery and stone tools, remains of houses and temples, food debris, and human skeletons--testifies to the approximate dates and routes of their expansion. By around A.D. 1000, the Polynesians had reached every habitable scrap of land in the vast watery triangle of ocean whose apexes are Hawaii, New Zealand, and Easter Island.
The Polynesian expansion was the most dramatic burst of overwater exploration in human history. Until around 1500 b.c., humans from the Asian mainland, traveling through Indonesia’s islands to Australia and New Guinea, had advanced no farther east into the Pacific than the Solomon Islands.
The project [funding birth registration, which is spearheaded by the EU, and is worth about 6 million euros]– announced ahead of a family planning summit in London next week – will be implemented in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Mozambique, Uganda, Kiribati, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. The countries have a high number of children under five, high numbers of adolescents without a birth registration certificate, low levels of birth registration, and high levels of discrimination in terms of access to basic services against people without birth certificates.
Following the end of World War II, the British colonial government returned. The capital was moved from Tulagi to Honiara to take advantage of the infrastructure left behind by the U.S. military. A revolutionary movement known as Maasina Ruru helped to organize and focus a mass campaign of civil disobedience and strikes across the islands. There was much disorder and the leaders were jailed in late-1948. Throughout the 1950s, other indigenous dissident groups appeared and disappeared without gaining strength. In 1960, an advisory council of Solomon Islanders was superseded by a legislative council, and an executive council was created as the protectorate's policymaking body. The council was given progressively more authority. In 1974, a new constitution was adopted establishing a parliamentary democracy and ministerial system of government. In mid-1975, the name Solomon Islands officially replaced that of British Solomon Islands Protectorate.
It is believed that Papuan speaking settlers began to arrive [in the Solomon Islands] around 30,000 BC. Austronesian speakers arrived circa 4,000 BC also bringing cultural elements such as the outrigger canoe. It is between 1,200 and 800 BC that the ancestors of the Polynesians, the Lapita people, arrived from the Bismarck Archipelago with their characteristic ceramics.
Honiara, organisers say, will be set ablaze with songs, dances and traditional oral chants of the past, spiced with contemporary tunes and live music concerts. Four days after the official ceremony [to begin the Festival of Pacific Arts], Solomon Islands’ 550,000 people will be joined by dignitaries and festival participants to celebrate the nation’s 34th independence anniversary. In terms of the festival, its programme lineup promises not only a feast for the mind but a meeting point where the past meets contemporary Pacific in every way.
Pacific Islands delegates from Nauru, New Zealand and Niue were the first to arrive in Honiara for the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts. The festival which begins on July 1 is expected to attract 1,100 participants and officials from throughout the Pacific. Head of the Niuean Delegation Robin Matangimaemakao said his delegation was impressed by the hospitality shown on their arrival. “I feel amazing, it was a great feeling to get here and the welcome was great.