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East Timor's 1st Winter Olympian gets set to ski
18 February 2014 - When Yohan Goncalves Goutt was 8 years old, on a skiing vacation in his native France, a family friend kiddingly told him that if he kept at it with the sport, one day he could make it to the Olympics. Now 19, he preparing to compete as an Alpine skier in the Sochi Games, representing East Timor, where he founded the officially recognized ski federation. He sees his role at the Olympics in Russia as twofold: He's an athlete, but he's also a sort of ambassador for East Timor, an impoverished southeast Asian nation and the homeland of his mother. (more)

UN peacekeeping mission ends operations as Timor-Leste continues on path to 'brighter' future
1 January 2013 - The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Timor-Leste today ended its operations, in line with the expiration of its mandate and amidst significant progress made in establishing peace and security in the country. 'The Timorese people and its leaders have shown courage and unswerving resolve to overcome great challenges. Although there remains much work ahead, this is an historic moment in recognizing the progress already made,' the Secretary-General's Acting Special Representative and Head of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), Finn Reske-Nielsen, said in a news release. (more)

UN chief congratulates Timor-Leste on peaceful holding of parliamentary elections
8 July 2012 - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated the people, Government, and political parties of Timor-Leste for the peaceful and orderly manner in which the country held parliamentary elections on Saturday. According to media reports, preliminary results on Sunday indicate that Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao's party looked set to win the polls, with the main opposition party, Fretilin, in second place. (more)

Timor-Leste: Peacekeeping drawdown begins
5 July 2012 - The UN peacekeeping force is on track to begin withdrawing from Timor-Leste in October 2012 after a 'remarkably peaceful' parliamentary election campaign concluded on 4 July, ahead of the election on 7 July. The United Nations Integrated Mission (UNMIT) in Timor-Leste began in 2006 after a mutiny by soldiers and a breakdown of order led the government to request international support. In terms of the mission's Joint Transition Plan, UNMIT will withdraw if the parliamentary elections are conducted in line with international standards and without major violence. Two rounds of presidential elections in March and April both took place peacefully. (more)

Timor-Leste: As peace prevails, security forces plan departure
13 April 2012 - Timor-Leste, located mainly on the eastern half of the island of Timor, achieved independence in 1999 from Indonesia. Following a peaceful presidential poll in March and several years of stability, international peacekeeping forces dispatched in 2006 to prevent the outbreak of civil war in Timor-Leste are preparing to pull out. United Nations police are scheduled to depart at year's end, barring any major disruptions to the country's stability or wrongdoing in the upcoming run-off presidential poll on 16 April and parliamentary elections in July. (more)

UN Secretary-General praises people of Timor-Leste for holding peaceful presidential election
18 March 2012 - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated the people of Timor-Leste for demonstrating their commitment to democracy and peace by participating in presidential election. Mr Ban said he was heartened that the 17 March election was conducted in an atmosphere of order and calm. (more)

East Timor makes UN history with ozone treaty signing
16 September 2009 - Tiny East Timor on Wednesday signed a UN treaty to protect the Earth's fragile ozone layer, making it the first environmental pact to achieve backing from all 196 member states, the United Nations said. The Montreal Protocol is designed to phase-out man-made chemicals that damage the planet's ozone layer, which shields life from harmful ultraviolet radiation. (more)

Overview: A new political generation rises in East Timor
30 August 2009 - A former Portuguese colony, East Timor was invaded in 1975 by Indonesia. The tiny, oil and gas-rich nation voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia exactly a decade ago. Now, a new generation of political leaders, most of whom were children or students during Indonesia's rule, is getting ready to take over. One student activist is now East Timor's Secretary of State for Energy Policy and installs solar power in villages. Now they have electricity for five to six hours a day, he said. (more)

Indulge in gourmet and help feed a child, charity says
2 June 2009 - Dining at top-notch restaurants just got more meaningful with a charity drive that hopes to turn gourmet meals across Asia into food for children in one of the world's poorest nations, East Timor. More than 50 restaurants across Asia will donate 15 per cent of their proceeds from special menus or promotions during August to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in East Timor as part of an initiative with regional food guide, the Miele Guide. (more)

Global whale 'hot spot' discovered off East Timor
2 January 2009 - One of the world's highest concentrations of dolphins and whales -- many of them protected species -- has been discovered off the coast of East Timor, local and Australian researchers said on Wednesday. A 'hot spot' of marine cetaceans migrating through deep channels off the Timor coast, including blue and beaked whales, short-finned pilot whales, melon headed whales, and six dolphin species was uncovered in a study for the Timor government. 'We were all amazed to see such an abundance, diversity and density of cetaceans. Most of them are actually protected,' principal scientist Karen Edyvane told Reuters. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

East Timor: The country where nearly two-thirds of men smoke
4 June 2014 - East Timor has one of the highest smoking rates in the world, with nearly two-thirds of its men hooked on the habit. Why is one of South East Asia's poorest nations so addicted to tobacco? Most cigarettes cost less than $1 a packet. They are stacked under large sun umbrellas bearing the logos of various brands, such as L.A. and Vinte e Tres. All carry health warnings but these are effectively meaningless to many smokers -- about half the adult population can't read. In the capital, Dili, the iconic Marlboro cowboy still rides the range on posters above shops, despite having ridden into the sunset in most other countries where advertising is banned or restricted. According to figures from the Journal of the American Medical Association, 33% of East Timor's population smoke every day. The figure for men stands at 61% -- the highest in the world. 'Young people are smoking more and more each year, especially young boys,' says Dr Jorge Luna, The World Health Organization's local representative. 'It is a very serious problem.' (more)

Timor-Leste: Fragile environment in jeopardy
31 July 2008 - The fledgling nation of Timor-Leste (East Timor) is seeking funding to tackle climate change from various places -- including the Global Environment Facility, but it is unlikely to come through before 2010 because the new country has not completed its environmental legislation due to lack of data. Limited human resources make it difficult to undertake impact, vulnerability, and adaptation studies. However, signs of an environment in trouble are everywhere in Timor-Leste. Rivers are filling up with silt washed down from higher ground as the hillsides erode, causing water to breach the banks. Landslides destroy roads in the wet season, causing havoc for rural residents. (more)

East Timor: 100,000 still displaced nearly two years on
3 February 2008 - Some 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) -- nearly one-tenth of East Timor's population -- are still displaced throughout the country. They include 30,000 in 53 camps sprinkled throughout Dili, the capital city. Most of the IDPs were forced from their homes in April and May 2006 when widespread civil unrest was triggered by the dismissal of 594 military officers, almost half the nation's defence force, and the subsequent military confrontation with the nation's police force. By the time the conflict ended some 150,000 people had been displaced, and 6,000 homes destroyed in Dili alone, according to UN estimates. (more)

East Timor violence drives hundreds from homes
10 August 2007 - About 1,000 East Timorese have fled their homes because of ethnic and political violence triggered by the controversial appointment of a new government this week, police said. It was not clear who was responsible for the attacks but ethnic tensions have simmered for decades in the district and political divisions have worsened the conflict. (more)

Mobs set buildings on fire in East Timor
8 August 2007 - Mobs torched government buildings and foreign aid offices Tuesday, as street violence triggered by the appointment of East Timor's new Prime Minister spread beyond the capital, police and witnesses said. East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, faces major security, humanitarian, and economic challenges. It has significant offshore oil and gas reserves, but unemployment in the nation of less than 1 million people hovers at around 50 per cent. (more)

East Timor election campaign ends with violence
28 June 2007 - A number of people were hurt in clashes between rival political supporters in East Timor on Wednesday as campaigning ended ahead of parliamentary elections in three days time, police and a politician said. (more)

Political parties clash in East Timor
31 March 2007 - Gangs from rival political parties scuffled and threw rocks in East Timor, injuring at least 20 people, authorities said Friday, in what was believed to be the first violence directly related to next month's presidential elections. (more)

Dozens wounded in East Timor clashes
27 August 2006 - Fresh fighting between rival gangs left dozens of people wounded in East Timor. (more)

Fighting in East Timor injures 13
24 August 2006 - Hundreds of youths from rival gangs armed with machetes and stones fought in East Timor's capital, injuring at least 13 people. (more)

East Timor's foreign minister resigns, government threatens to unravel
26 June 2006 - East Timor's Nobel prize-winning foreign minister resigned in protest after the country's ruling party ignored demands to fire the Prime Minister over accusations he provoked bloody unrest. (more)


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