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A charterer’s guide to Papua New Guinea

quite surprising that Papua New Guinea still fails to register on the radar of many adventurous travelers given that it has the largest area of intact rainforest outside the Amazon.

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It’s quite surprising that Papua New Guinea still fails to register on the radar of many adventurous travelers given that it has the largest area of intact rainforest outside the Amazon. With more than 600 islands, this huge island country offers visitors a huge range of fascinating things to engage with, whether it be related to food, culture, activities or the stunning environment itself. Plus, with so many islands making up the country, Papua New Guinea represents the perfect place to take a chartering expedition.

In this article we demonstrate some of the things that should be on the top of your list. 

Biodiversity like nowhere else on earth

Taking a luxury yacht charter to Papua New Guinea would be a waste without the opportunity to immerse yourself in its impressive waters. As a country largely untouched by tourism, Papua New Guinea has gained an international reputation as a premiere site for diving due to the plethora of barrier reefs, coral walls, coral atolls, coral gardens and shipwrecks that lie under its clear waters. 

Divers interested in marine biodiversity are also in for a treat – despite only covering 1 percent of the Earth’s surface, Papua New Guinea has 5% of the world’s biodiversity in an area referred to as the Coral Triangle. This amounts to an incredible 800 species of coral, 20,000 plant species, 600 species of fish, and 750 species of birds. 

Even if you’re more interested in snorkeling, you’ll still be able to catch a glimpse of large pelagic fish, sharks, rays and, in September, you might even spot a pod of orcas if you’re particularly lucky! For those wanting to interact with the water in a drier capacity, Papua Guinea offers some incredible fishing. Jungle rivers teem with Black Bass and river tigers, while ocean fishing can net you some impressive dog tooth tuna, sailfish and marlin. 

Immerse yourself in local culture

The yacht charter to Papua New Guinea is price-friendly, especially if you’re travelling from Australia. Certainly one of the biggest drawcards of Papua New Guinea is the incredible cultural diversity. In a country where over 800 languages spoken, it’s easy to see how unique dances, rituals, festivals, music and art play a huge part in the daily lives of locals. If you’re wanting to immerse yourself in local culture, make sure to organize a “Sing Sing,” a local tribal dance. During this dance, you’ll have the good fortune of the villagers painting you with traditional decorations and demonstrating their unique cultural rites, dance and music. 

Although generally hot and humid all year round, the best time to see all of this is typically during the drier months between May through to October. As an added bonus, these months also happen to be when many of the country’s big festivals are held!

Charter this amazing land today

With an unmatched diversity in flora, fauna and natural scenery, Papua New Guinea is the perfect destination for charterers looking for a travel adventure. Whether you’re a fan of fishing, wreck dives or food, this beautiful country has more than enough to offer and with it only just starting to turn heads internationally, there’s never been a better time to check it out.  

Travel

Anti-LGBTQIA hate speech on the rise in Europe – ILGA-Europe

Homophobic language and hate speech against transgender people are on the rise in many European countries, according to the ILGA-Europe.

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Photo by Nick Bondarev from Pexels.com

Homophobic language and hate speech against transgender people are on the rise in many European countries, according to the ILGA-Europe’s “Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe and Central Asia”, released in February.

The annual report, which includes events that occurred between January and December 2020, provides a snapshot of what happened during the year, at national, regional and international levels, and it documents progress and trends regarding the human rights situation of LGBTI people.

According to the report: “There has also been a substantial rise in hate speech, both from official sources, in the media and online.”

In reports received by ILGA-Europe from different countries, “we see a stark rise in abuse and hate speech against LGBTI people; many who became vulnerable to homelessness have been forced to move back in to hostile family and community situations; LGBTI organizations have had to skew their work towards provision of basic necessities like food and shelter while many governments leave LGBTI people out of their relief packages; and there has been a resurgence of authorities and officials using LGBT people as scapegoats while authoritarian regimes are empowered to isolate and legislate without due process.”

It also noted that the trend of politicians verbally attacking LGBTI people has grown sizeably and spread in countries including Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Moldova, North Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and Turkey.

Religious leaders also propagated hate-speech in Belarus, Greece, Slovakia, Turkey and Ukraine, many of them directly blaming LGBTI people for COVID-19.

Hate speech on social media has risen in Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Malta, Montenegro,
Russia and Turkey, and in the general media in Slovenia and Ukraine, while hate speech is an ongoing issue in Georgia, Ireland, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and the UK.

There are also countries where LGBTQIA rights are not only stagnant, but even backslid. In Kazakhstan, for instance, legislators introduced a discriminatory norm in the healthcare law, raising the age limit for trans healthcare access from 18 to 21 and excluding those with a mental health or “behavioral disorder” diagnosis. Similarly in Kyrgyzstan, a new version of the law “On acts of civil status” came into force in autumn, making it no longer possible for trans people to change their legal gender marker.

Fortunately, according tot the report, “many courts and governmental institutions are beginning to have a larger awareness of this growing trend, and beginning to talk about regulating online hate speech, including on the EU level.”

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Travel

Iran subjects LGBTQIA children to electric torture – UN report

A United Nations (UN) report claims that the Islamic Republic of Iran imposed electric shock torture on LGBTQIA children, among its human rights violations.

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A United Nations (UN) report claims that the Islamic Republic of Iran imposed electric shock torture on LGBTQIA children, among its human rights violations.

In this UN report, the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern that these practices occurring in 2016 eyed to “cure” LGBTQIA children.

According to the UN Special Rapporteur for the Islamic Republic of Iran, Javaid Rehman, he is “concerned at reports that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children were subjected to electric shocks and the administration of hormones and strong psychoactive medications. These practices amount to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and violate the State’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

The UN report stressed that “international law is clear in affording the protection of human rights of all people, including LGB and intersex persons,” and so “the reported treatment of these individuals violates their rights to liberty, fair trial, integrity, privacy, dignity, equality before the law, non-discrimination and the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, as enshrined in international law.”

It is actually illegal to have same-sex relations in Iran, with sex between men meriting the death penalty and sex between women meriting 100 lashes.

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Travel

Nowa Dęba becomes first Polish town to withdraw anti-LGBTQIA declaration

Nowa Dęba, a town in the southeastern part of Poland, rescinded its previous declaration against “LGBT ideology.”

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Photo by Marek Piwnicki from Unsplash.com

Nowa Dęba, a town in the southeastern part of Poland, rescinded its previous declaration against “LGBT ideology.”

Earlier, a resolution that set it up as an “LGBT-free zone” was passed. This was one of the handful passed in Poland, with localities declaring themselves as an “LGBT-free zone” free from “LGBT ideology.”

Poland has been targeting sexual minorities and organizations supporting them in the past, with the “LGBT-free” zones a product of the country’s ruling Law and Justice Party that wanted towns in Poland to be free from “LGBT ideology”.

When Nowa Dęba joined the anti-LGBTQIA bandwagon, the town lost access to select EU funding; just as it lost its twinned status with the town of Fermoy in Ireland last October.

For the non-discriminatory move, 10 councillors voted in favor of rescinding, one abstained and four didn’t take part.

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Travel

Biden dumps Trump transgender military ban

New US President Joe Biden repealed Donald Trump’s ban on transgender Americans joining the military.

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New US President Joe Biden repealed Donald Trump’s ban on transgender Americans joining the military.

If remembered, Trump banned trans people from joining the military in his first year in office. At that time, Trump cited as justification for his transphobic policy “tremendous medical costs and disruption”.

The ban took effect in April 2019. And though trans personnel who were already serving were allowed to continue, new recruits were locked out. As of 2019, there were 8,980 active duty transgender troops in 2019, according to Department of Defense data.

“Transgender servicemembers will no longer be subject to the possibility of discharge or separation on the basis of gender identity,” the White House said following Biden’s move. “Pres. Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity.”

The move may be considered more egalitarian, but following anti-militarization sentiments, bullets/bombs released even by trans people still kill.

According to new US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, his department will “immediately take appropriate policy action to ensure individuals who identify as transgender are eligible to enter and serve in their self-identified gender.”

“The United States Armed Forces are in the business of defending our fellow citizens from our enemies, foreign and domestic. I believe we accomplish that mission more effectively when we represent all our fellow citizens,” Austin stated.

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Travel

New Zealand, Britain ease rules on blood donations by gay, bi men

New Zealand and Britain eased the rules on blood donations by gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men (MSM), as both countries continue to face supply issues brought about by Covid-19. This development follows the June 2020 move of the American Red Cross to change its restrictions on blood donations.

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Getting rid of a discriminatory practice… albeit somewhat slowly.

New Zealand and Britain eased the rules on blood donations by gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men (MSM), as both countries continue to face supply issues brought about by Covid-19. This development follows the June 2020 move of the American Red Cross to change its restrictions on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, and other MSM, also because of supply issues. Australia also said it would follow suit, though the change will not apply until January 31, 2021.

The antiquated, yet still current practice is to ban MSM from donating blood within 12 months of having sex with another man. But starting June 8, the wait time will be cut to three months.

Just to emphasize: In all the countries where changes were introduced, though, it is not a pro-LGBTQIA move; instead, there’s severe shortage of blood donations in due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Particular to New Zealand, the government cut the celibacy period from a year to three months, regardless of whether they had used condoms, the New Zealand Blood Service said on its website.

Meanwhile, in Britain – which previously had a three-month deferral period – a behavior-based policy will now be used. This means that anyone — gay or straight — who has had anal sex with multiple partners or a new partner will not be able to donate blood.

The antiquated restrictions on gay and bi men donating blood was imposed by many countries at the height of the HIV and AIDS pandemic in the 1980s.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Relaxing weekend activities to try

If you want to shake off some stress, here are some safe and relaxing weekend activities you should try.

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Staying at home for an extended period can cause many individuals to start feeling cabin fever or quarantine fatigue. Days can become so dull that many people crave to engage in different activities to serve as an outlet for their frustrations.

If you want to shake off some stress, here are some safe and relaxing weekend activities you should try.

Go Camping

Nowadays, it is no longer advisable to spend your day at the beach, as it can get too crowded for social distancing to be possible. For camping, campgrounds have more control over how many campers they can allow to pitch tents and park RVs. If this is your first time going camping, it would be best to do some research on how to survive a weekend in the great outdoors. Sites like outdoorcommand.com have several tips that you can use to prepare for your upcoming trip. 

Drive Around

If your area does not have restrictions on local travel, you can choose to drive around your town to appreciate your neighborhood a bit more. It can be an excellent way to get to know your locality, including areas you haven’t visited yet. Before you know it, you’ll discover sites that would soon become your favorite spot when everything goes back to normal. You can also choose to head out to the countryside

Take a Hike

Aside from camping, another activity that you can do during the weekend would be hiking. Choose a time when there aren’t too many people exploring the area. This way, you can enjoy the view without having to worry about being too close to others. Surrounding yourself with nature can also help boost the immune system, helping you fight off infections better. 

Pick Up a New Hobby

If your weekdays are filled with work duties, you can set aside your weekends for enjoying a hobby. Know what you are passionate about and give it all your energy once work is over. This way, you can have a work-life balance that allows you to destress. 

Do Yoga

One activity that you can squeeze into your busy days would be yoga. Not only will it help you relax, but it will also improve your overall health and wellness. It can be an excellent way to destress and let go of negative vibes. Make sure to stick to poses that are most suitable for you, and gradually increase the range of motion to improve your flexibility. 

Learn a New Recipe

If you aren’t happy with the food that you’ve eaten over the past few months, it will be best to learn a new recipe during the weekend. You can try to experiment and create your own version of a dish. If you feel confident in your cooking, you can send some to your friends and family. Who knows, you may even start a food business with it. 

Start a New Movie or TV Series

The movie and TV industry is always providing great value in entertaining people. The internet also became a good source of new platforms to watch movies and TV shows with various genres. You can even reminisce about your yesteryears with some old movies and series you used to watch with your friends and family. Hulu and Netflix are some of the reliable platforms that can satisfy your cravings for entertainment.

Engaging in relaxing weekend activities can help you refocus on your goals in life. If you feel suffocated by staying at home, you can choose to go out and explore. However, you should always keep safety in mind. Bring essentials like sanitizers and weak your mask whenever possible.

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