WIDESPREAD UNEMPLOYMENT BODES POORLY IN PACIFIC

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Aussie report predicts violence

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 25, 2008) - Unemployment and underemployment are at the core of the Pacific’s "arc of instability," a report by the Sydney-based think-tank said.

South Pacific Island nations are said to turn to violence if its economic, social and political problems are not dealt with, reports Reuters.

"It is only a matter of time before the growing army of unemployed and underemployed turns from restless to violent," said the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney.

The new report on the South Pacific was released last Thursday, said two million Pacific island men, or four out of five were unemployed in towns or villages.

According to the report, island nations such as Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji have all suffered coups, military rebellions and civil unrest, and have been labeled an "arc of instability" by Pacific analysts.

The report titled, "The Bipolar Pacific" stated the South Pacific was divided into nations which are developing and those failing to even supply running water and electricity in homes.

Those islands included Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, while those developing were the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Samoa and Tonga.

The danger was that about 80 percent of the South Pacific’s population was found in the failing group of islands, where employment was rare and living standards were not rising, it said.

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