The South West Pacific is dotted with small and micro states, with many only recently winning independence and still facing varying degrees of internal instability. These countries range from tiny islands to artificial amalgamations of diverse cultures. The largest, Papua New Guinea, has over 800 different languages, a tough proposition for any national government, quite apart from its other challenges. The region is marked by weak governance and poor, fast-growing populations.
Western Australia’s energy boom has seen the state outpace the rest of Australia in job creation and economic growth, helping the conservative Liberal-National coalition comfortably win re-election. The state’s traditional secessionist sentiment has been fuelled by Premier Colin Barnett, who has demanded a greater share of tax revenues from the federal government in Canberra.
Every schoolboy used to know that at the height of the empire, almost a quarter of the atlas was coloured pink, showing the extent of British rule. But that oft recited fact dramatically understates the remarkable global reach achieved by this country.
A new study has found that at various times the British have invaded almost 90 per cent of the countries around the globe. The analysis of the histories of the almost 200 countries in the world found only 22 which have never experienced an invasion by the British. Among this select group of nations are far-off destinations such as Guatemala, Tajikistan and the Marshall Islands, as well some slightly closer to home, such as Luxembourg.