BBC - Asia Pacific:

Australia (done by Greg Witt, Crystal Pierce & Aaron Steinmetz)

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Transnational Issues:

    • Australian Defense Force leads the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, also known as RAMSI, to maintain civiexternal image 2950748569_9cd1a27d61.jpg?v=0l and political order and reinforce regional security. This has been ongoing since 2003. View Video --> Australia's Pacific Overture on Solomon Islands
    • Australia closed parts of the Ashmore and Cartier Reserve to Indonesian traditional fishing and placed restrictions on certain catch.
    • In 2004, Australia declared a 1,000-nautical mile-wide maritime identification zone. The regional states continue to express concern over this declaration.
    • Australia submitted its claims to UN Commission in 2004 on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to extend its continental margins covering over 3.37 million square kilometers or roughly thirty percent of its claimed exclusive economic zone.
    • In 2005, East Timor and Australia agreed to defer the disputed portion of the boundary for fifty years. They decided to split hydrocarbon revenues evenly outside the Joint Petroleum Development Area which was covered by the 2002 Timor Sea Treaty.

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Top Stories in Australia:

- Australian government is opening up a controversial new detention center on Christmas Island. This goes against Australia's previous policy on the issue. Seven boat-loads of asylum seekers or refugees were intercepted just off the shore of Darwin in the last 3 months. 164 have been caught so far this year which is more than all of last year. The new facility cost $40 million to build and has 800 beds. Refugee advocates claim it is too harsh and prison-like.Click here to read full story.

- Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced new measures to reduce gas emissions. The plan calls for cutting emissions by 5% by 2020 and a carbon trading scheme implemented by 2010. Critics call this plan inadequate and a "global embarrassment".Click here to read full story.