PanARMENIAN.Net - Named Pleasant Island by its first European visitors, Nauru is not the easiest place to visit. Access is subject to the whims of transport, weather and the immigration department. Most visitors are politicians, diplomats or development workers - and during the days of Australia's 'Pacific Solution' to the arrival of refugees, extraordinary numbers of security guards and other contractors.
Nauru's climate is hot and very humid year-round because of its proximity to the equator and the ocean. Nauru is hit by monsoon rains between November and February, but does not typically experience cyclones. Fauna is sparse on the island due to a combination of a lack of vegetation and the consequences of phosphates mining. Many indigenous birds have disappeared or become rare owing to destruction of their habitat. There are about 60 recorded vascular plant species native to the island, none of which are endemic. Coconut farming, mining, and introduced species have caused serious disturbance to the native vegetation. There are no native land mammals, but there are native insects, land crabs, and birds, including the endemic Nauru reed warbler. The Polynesian rat, cats, dogs, pigs, and chickens have been introduced to Nauru from ships.
Settled by native peoples from Micronesia and Polynesia, Nauru was annexed and claimed as a colony by the German Empire in the late 19th century. After World War I, Nauru became a League of Nations mandate administered by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. During World War II, Nauru was occupied by Japanese troops, who were bypassed by the Allied advance across the Pacific. After the war ended, the country entered into UN trusteeship. Nauru gained its independence in 1968.
In the years following independence, phosphate exports briefly gave Nauruans the highest per capita income in the world. The primary phosphate reserves were soon exhausted, crashing the local economy in the process, but in 2006–07 mining of a deeper layer of "secondary phosphate" began. As of 2016, most of Nauru's revenue came from the export of phosphate.
The president of Nauru is Baron Waqa, who heads a 19-member unicameral parliament. The country is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Asian Development Bank and the Pacific Islands Forum. It recently became a member country of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Republic of Nauru became the 189th member of the International Monetary Fund in April 2016.
In recent years it has often been in the headlines over controversies surrounding the Australian-run asylum-seeker detention camp, with allegations of human rights abuses and overcrowding. The detention camp is a major employer and source of income on the island. Since 2013 Australia has sent all asylum-seekers arriving by boat into detention on Nauru and Papua New Guinea, and denied them resettlement in Australia despite an outcry from rights groups.
To visit Nauru as tourist you need a passport valid for at least 3 months, a 30 day tourist visa and proof of hotel booking or local sponsor in order to enter Nauru. Nationals of Cook Islands, Fiji, Israel, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Samoa, Solomon Islands. Taiwan, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu may obtain a free visa on arrival.
Nauru is so small that it takes less than one hour to drive right around it. The airport runway cuts across three of the twenty kilometers of road. The only traffic lights on the island are used to stop the traffic and allow the plane to cross the road to the terminal. This is a favorite souvenir snapshot taken by visitors.
As Nauru is a tropical island of coral origin, there's no shortage of beaches along the green coastal ring around the barren inland. Scuba diving and deep-sea fishing are other tourist offerings. Deep sea game fishing is offered by several local businesses with privately owned boats available for charter. The Menen Hotel bar is the country’s only nightclub.
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