East Timor 2006
Timor. After several years of negotiations, East Timor in January signed a final agreement with Australia on joint oil and gas extraction under the Timor Sea. Income should be shared equally. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in East Timor include Independence Day (May 20) and New Year (January 1). A decision on how to draw the territorial water boundary has been postponed for 50 years pending the depletion of energy resources. The extraction can give East Timor large revenue if production gets underway. The country needs that money more than well.
East Timor is the poorest in Asia and, according to the UN, is only getting poorer. There are few jobs outside agriculture and about 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. The difficult living conditions in March triggered protests in the army, which led to close to 600 of the country’s approximately 1,400 soldiers being laid off for desertion. The layoffs in turn triggered new protests to which large crowds of civilians joined. The unrest led to riots in the capital, Dili, with extensive looting and damage. About 150,000 people fled their homes and some 30 were killed. Half of the residents of Dili sought protection in churches, mission stations or in rural areas. The unrest made it difficult for the authorities and NGOs to distribute supplies, and for many the hardships became difficult. East Timor was on the brink of civil war when the dismissed soldiers emerged as an armed rebel force, and residents of the country’s eastern and western parts were manipulated into politically initiated to consider each other as enemies. Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Portugal sent a total of about 3,000 soldiers to fight the uprising. President Xanana Gusmão announced a state of emergency, dismissed the Defense and Home Affairs Ministers and took command of the army himself. After nearly three months of uprising, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri resigned, who was severely criticized for his way of handling the unrest. New Prime Minister became Foreign Minister Jos谷 Ramos-Horta. After the order was somewhat restored, the UN Security Council decided to send a police force of about 1,500 men to East Timor. Occasional unrest continued during the fall.
Eastern section of the island of Timor, with an area of 14. 874 km ², proclaimed independent in 1999 following the referendum on autonomy held under the aegis of the UN (see below: History). The population, at a 1998 estimate, was 857. 000 residents (were 747. 750 to the census 1990), with an average density equal to 58 residents/km ². In the period 1990 – 95 the TE birth rate was 36, 5‰, that of mortality of 17, 4 ‰; in the same period, life expectancy at birth was 44 years for males and 46 for females. The main city is Dili, which at the 1980 census numbered 60. 150 residents. The prevailing religion is the Catholic Christian one.
HUMAN AND ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
State of Southeast Asia, independent since 2002, whose territory corresponds to the eastern section of the island of Timor, the exclave of Ocusse Ambeno, the island of Atauro (Pulau Kambing) and the islet of Jako (Pulau Jako). The population (924,642 at the 2004 census) shows sustained demographic growth (5.4 % per year in the period 2000 – 2005), which makes it difficult to find the means to combat widespread poverty: the Timorese have the highest fertility rate of the world (7.8 children per woman).
The main economic activity is represented by agriculture, practiced in a subsistence regime, while the only export crop, coffee, is going through a period of falling prices on international markets. The semi-arid climate and the food dependence on rice organized at the time of colonization make the sector extremely fragile. The only prospect of economic development is represented by the exploitation of the oil and natural gas fields discovered off the coasts overlooking Australia, which, moreover, claimed ownership.