Six In The Morning Monday January 18

Islands of the missing: Micronesia’s emptying atolls

Updated 0137 GMT (0937 HKT) January 18, 2016

Our ship’s crew brings ashore a barrel of iced drinks.

The atoll’s children don’t care about the refreshments.

They scoop out the barrel’s ice cubes and cradle them with wonderment like diamonds. The youngest shovel them into their pockets.

Living without refrigeration and other modern essentials such as the Internet and cell phones is a way of life in remoter parts of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

Yet it’s not necessarily a choice the younger generation is putting up with.

They’re turning their backs on traditional life among FSM’s smallest atoll populations.

Nukuoro Atoll

Baseball cap tilted down to shield his eyes against the fierce western Pacific sunshine, Mayor Senard Leopold waits on Nukuoro Atoll’s porcelain-white beach to greet our ship.

I’m aboard an expedition cruise vessel, Silver Discoverer, with 60 other passengers taking a 17-day voyage across FSM.

Few ships ever cross this watery nation of 607 islands.

UN whistleblower who exposed sexual abuse by peacekeepers is exonerated

Anders Kompass ‘relieved but sad’ after being cleared of wrongdoing for passing confidential documents relating to abuse in the Central African Republic

The UN whistleblower who exposed the sexual abuse of children by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic has been completely exonerated after an internal investigation.

Anders Kompass, the director of field operations for the office of the high commissioner for human rights in Geneva, was suspended and faced dismissal, after he passed confidential documents detailing the abuse of children by French troops in CAR to the authorities in Paris because of the UN’s failure to stop the exploitation.

The scandal was first reported by The Guardian in April last year, with the child sex allegations and the treatment of Kompass gaining worldwide attention. The UN repeatedly condemned his actions insisting that he had breached protocols by sharing a secret internal document.

Aung San Suu Kyi says Burmese children are ‘wasting time’ on technology

Pro-democracy leader whose party will soon take over power says children ‘read less because the use of technology has increased’

Having spent years under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi knows a thing or two about wasted time.

The Burmese opposition politician, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) party won a landslide victory in last year’s election, has spoken of how technology is causing the country’s young to “waste a lot of their time”, too.

Burma has witnessed a boom in smartphone and social media use, prompting the democracy campaigner to warn technological advances are harming education.

“Now our children waste a lot of their time on computer games, internet games and social networks. Children read less because the use of technology has increased,” she said.

Oxfam report: Wealth of richest 62 people same as poorest half of world’s population

According to Oxfam, the world’s richest 62 people now own the same as the poorest half of world’s population. The aid group also found that the majority of low paid workers around the world are women.

The report, titled “An Economy for the 1 percent,” was released on Monday, on the eve of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, where more than 40 heads of state and government are expected to attend.

Oxfam found that since 2010, the wealth of the richest 62 people – according to the Forbes’ billionaires list – has risen by 44 percent, while the wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion people fell by 41 percent.

The average annual income of the poorest 10 percent has also risen by less than $3 (2.75 euros) a year in the past 25 years – an increase in individuals’ income of less than one cent a year, the aid organization said.

“Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population – a figure that has fallen from 388 just five years ago,” the anti-poverty agency said.

18 January 2016 – 08H25

Rights activists cast doubt on missing bookseller ‘confession’


Rights campaigners cast doubt on Monday over the apparent confession by a missing Hong Kong bookseller paraded on Chinese state television saying he had surrendered to authorities over a fatal drink driving accident.

Gui Minhai, a Swedish national, is one of five missing booksellers from a Hong Kong-based publisher known for salacious titles critical of the Chinese government. Their disappearance has sparked alarm in the southern Chinese city which is guaranteed a range of freedoms not seen on the mainland.

Gui failed to return from a holiday in Thailand in October, according to local media.

In his confession on state broadcaster CCTV Sunday he said he had returned to China to “take legal responsibilities” for killing a college student in a car accident 11 years ago.

Weeping Gui said he had fled the mainland after he was convicted of the crime, despite only receiving a two-year suspended sentence.

Match-fixing in tennis: ATP Tour rejects cover up claim

Updated 0652 GMT (1452 HKT) January 18, 2016

Results and the scorching heat weren’t what most people were talking about on the first day of the Australian Open. Instead, the murky world of match fixing was the center of discussion.

Tennis’ governing bodies rejected claims they covered up or ignored evidence related to match fixing in the wake of an investigation that claimed grand slam winners were among a group of 16 players “who have repeatedly been reported for losing games when highly suspicious bets have been placed against them.”

The investigation, conducted by BuzzFeed News and the BBC, also said that one top-50 player at the Australian Open is “suspected of repeatedly fixing his first set.”