Map Page 1124 Area 5,853 square mi (15,007 square km) Population 997,853 Capital Dili Highest Point 9,778 ft (2,963 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP per capita $500 Primary Natural Resources gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble.
THE ISLAND OF Timor, in the Indonesian archipelagos, is no stranger to struggle.
Disputed between the Dutch and Portuguese since the late 1500s, the island was officially split when the eastern portion declared independence from PORTUGAL in 1975, only to be immediately claimed by INDONESIA, setting off 25 years of violence and destruction.
The Democratic Republic of East Timor (or Timor Leste) forms the eastern half of the island of Timor, the easternmost (and largest) of the Lesser Sunda islands (in fact, "timor" simply means "east" in Malayan languages).
The new nation also includes an enclave in the western half of the island (Oecussi-Ambeno), and an island off the northern coast, Atauro.
Timor is located about 620 mi (1,000 km) east of JAVA, and about 300 mi (450 km) northwest of AUSTRALIA.
The island is volcanic in origin and its terrain is mostly mountainous, with difficult access due to steep coasts and coral reefs.
Timor thus remained little explored until the later 20th century, and European influence was restricted to a few coastal settlements (mostly on the north coast) dependent on plantations of coffee, rice, sugar, and coconuts.
The interior mountains contain considerable minerals, including gold, manganese, and marble, but these are largely unexplored.
The discovery of large reserves of offshore petroleum and natural gas promises much for the future of the country, but is also a continuing source of tension between rival claims of the Indonesian and Australian governments.
Both Portuguese and Dutch trading posts were established on Timor in the 16th century, but it was not until 1913 that the Dutch formally recognized the Portuguese position in the eastern half of the island.
Long after the Dutch East Indies became independent as Indonesia in 1949, the Portuguese colony of Timor declared itself independent in 1975.
It was immediately occupied by Indonesia, however, and forced to assimilate with the rest of the island.
After 20 years of violence resulting in the loss of between 100,000 and 300,000 lives (killed or missing), a United Nations-supervised referendum in 1999 resulted in renewed independence in May 2002, and East Timor became a new nation in September 2002.
The country's capital, Dili, built by the Portuguese in the 1620s, is located on the northern coast of the island and is being rebuilt after near complete destruction in 1999.
At independence, East Timor was one of the world's poorest nations, with 70 percent illiteracy, 12 percent infant mortality, and an average life expectancy below 50 years.
The country relies mostly on exports of timber and coffee, while it waits for resolution of its struggles with Australia over exploitation rights of the Timor Gap, the region of seabed off the southeast coast with large fossil fuel reserves.
A settlement between Australia and Indonesia was reached over this prize in 1989, when East Timor was still under Indonesian occupation, and Australia is now unwilling to give up concessions to an area potentially yielding $29 billion in revenues.
This conflict remained unresolved in 2004.
- 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 tourist has robbed a Thai bank to buy a ticket home
"The Australian tourist had a great time in Thailand, as we can see. He has been staying in the South-East Asian country this man realized that he had spent all his money and now cannot get home.
In order to buy an air ticket he didn’t have a better idea, but to go and rob a bank. The Australian broke into one of the departments in the center of Bangkok city wearing a mask and with a gun in his hands, which then turned out to be a toy gun.
23-year old tourist got 170,000 baht from the tellers, but didn’t manage to hide: he was quickly arrested by the police. Being questioned the criminal explained that he took the extreme measure because he couldn’t fly back home.
Thai police was not affected by his story; and by the local law the thief faces up to 10 years jail. "