THE COCOS (or Keeling) Islands are a dependency of AUSTRALIA located in the INDIAN OCEAN, about 1,675 mi (2,700 km) northwest of Perth, and 620 mi (1,000 km) southwest of JAVA, INDONESIA.
Unlike the volcanic peak of their closest neighbor, CHRISTMAS ISLAND, 560 mi (900 km) to the northeast, the Cocos Islands consist of two flat coral atolls, roughly 15.5 mi (25 km) apart.
The islands were long owned privately but are today a holiday resort for Australians attracted to its beaches and abundant wildlife.
The two atolls are the tops of the Cocos Rise, a volcanic ridge rising 5,000 ft (1,500 m) from the ocean floor.
Reefs started forming here only about 1,800 years ago, and today form a lagoon around the main atoll (South Keeling), covering 43 square mi (110 square km), with over 32 mi (52 km) of reef enclosing 26 small islets.
The largest of these are West Island (Pulo Panjang), South Island (Pulo Atlas), Home Island, Direction Island, and Horsburgh Island (Pulo Luar).
The smaller atoll is composed of only one island, North Keeling, which is only 1.2 mi (2 km) long and about 1,320 ft (400 m) wide.
This atoll is entirely covered by the Pulu Keeling National Park, an important breeding ground for seabirds like the red-footed booby and for green turtles.
It is the only island in the Indian Ocean free from natural predators (snakes, weasels, dogs, etc.), and is thus protected as a unique natural habitat.
The park, created by the Australian government in 1995, also includes the reef up to .9 mi (1.5 km) around the atoll, known for its 99 species of coral and endless mollusks, crustaceans, and tropical fish.
The islands' two names have both been used since the 17th century.
The name Cocos appears on mariners' charts at the same time as the sighting in 1609 by Captain William Keeling.
The first settlement wasn't built until 1826, when officials of the East India Company brought Malays from SUMATRA and Java to grow cereals, vegetables, and coconuts (for oil and copra) to supply the company's ships.
The chief administrator was John Clunies-Ross, and although Great Britain formally annexed the islands in 1857, Queen Victoria granted full rights over the islands to the family of Clunies-Ross in 1886.
Sovereignty was transferred to Australia in 1955, but the "kingdom" of the Clunies-Ross family was not finally bought out by the Australian government until 1978 (for 6.25 million Australian dollars) and transferred to the local Cocos Island Council (made up mostly of Malays).
The Cocos islanders then voted to become part of Australia in 1984, giving them citizenship and access to social services.
The Cocos Malays are a unique group, cut off from their culture for eight generations, yet remaining strongly attached to their Islamic faith and traditions.
Most of them live on Home Island, whereas most Australian government workers reside on West Island.
There are no industries, except a small coconut crop, so the island suffers from high unemployment.
Tourism is small, though there are plans to open a large resort.
- The smog has affected tourists’ plans in Thailand
"Several flights were canceled due to the smoke.
The wildfires are storming around in Indonesia, the smoke of which extends 100 km away. Due to the wind direction smog has covered Phuket and Samui, the Thai’s islands. It is said that the smoke is neither life nor health threatening for tourists. There is no burning smell as well. Nevertheless, the tourists are not recommended to go in for sports outdoors. One of the country’s media centre states that the Phuket Island community has sent an open letter to the authorities of Thailand asking about taking steps on the smog elimination. According to what they say, the south part of the country is covered by the poisonous smoke that can cause development of various diseases among the local population. Also the islanders say that smog crashes the tourists’ plans that they cannot fly out because of the flight cancellation. For instance, only five airplanes that took off from Bangkok flying to Phuket and Samui were asked to make a reverse just in the air because of the low visibility conditions. "
- A new camera came out that allows you to make unique photos
"This technical sensation gets its owner to make “not simple” photos.
Germany has developed an interesting type of camera. When running GPS it founds itself on the map and searches for the photographs on the web, which are linked to the geolocation and which are made at a distance of 30-35 m away from the camera. If it gives you out more than thirty five searches the camera will fail when the shutter button is pressed and no snapshot will be made. This smart device can only count the number of pictures shot at one place so far without taking into account its content. However, it is believed that this drawback is to be solved soon. It’s likely that in the nearest future a specially designed app for smartphones is to come out with the same functional features.
Device developers say that using this camera they want to teach tourists how to make real and original shots and at the same time clear the internet from the identical photographs. "