South Pacific Island: Kiribatis Bets On Solar

BUARIKI, KIRIBATI — As late as 1990, nightfall in Kiribati (pronounced “Kiribass”), a patchwork of tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, was accompanied by a peculiar odor. More than 60 per cent of the country’s 103,000 people had no electricity, and whenever dusk fell, many of them would light greasy kerosene lamps in order to see.

The kerosene fumes were unavoidable, villagers recalled, and the light was not quite suitable for weaving or reef fishing — two economic activities that are central to village livelihoods. “Uncomfortable and annoying,” recalled Roniti Piripi, a villager on North Tarawa, a two-hour boat ride from the grid-connected capital in South Tarawa.

But in 1991, an agent from a government company came to his village, Buariki, and offered to lease him a solar home system for a one-time payment of US$52 and regular monthly payments of $7. Piripi said he leapt at the opportunity and hasn’t looked back. The solar system that he leased 25 years ago now powers his family’s home and dry-goods shop on Buariki’s unpaved main street. They also have a second solar panel from the energy company, which they purchased for around $170, and several hand-held solar lights (donated to 10,000 Kiribati households last year by the Taiwanese government).

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Mad about otters: in Singapore

Logistics manager Alvin Tan lugs a 15kg camera bag containing two long camera lenses to work almost every day.

He wants to be prepared should a message about an otter sighting pop up on Finding Toby, the otter-watch WhatsApp group that he belongs to.


He rushes to join the group, made up of about 20 otter watchers, as soon as he finishes work or before he goes to the office. The 44-year-old enjoys taking photos of the mammals, especially their pups because "they have this blur look which I find very cute".

His weekends are often spent "chasing" otters all over Singapore. His accounts administrator wife, 44, and 11-year-old daughter sometimes join him on these trips.

He has taken more than 10,000 photos and 100 videos of the otters in the last six months and shares them on social media. "The otters have become like family. I want to know how they are doing. They seem to recognise faces and will not run away when they see a familiar face."

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American Airlines Brings Civility Back to Flying

American Airlines wants you to know it would really, really appreciate it if you could ask before raising the window shade, and if you could not hog the armrest. Also, be nice to the flight attendants when they greet you.

American Airlines

American Airlines

In a new campaign, which begins this week, aimed at the “world’s greatest fliers,” the airline says it wants to get away from fixating on features like the speed of its Wi-Fi or the size of the entertainment console.

Instead, the campaign praises travelers whose actions — like ceding the armrest to the middle-seat passenger — make the in-flight experience a better one. “Customers really have a huge impact on the flying experience,” said Fernand Fernandez, American’s vice president of global marketing.

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How to Travel Internationally With Kids

Even for young children, travel offers many benefits. They remember more than you realize (researchers at Harvard University have shown that children as young as 17 months retain long-term memories), and exposure to different cultures, languages, and even food can influence young minds for a lifetime.

In an age when screen time is increasingly taking the place of outdoor play, travel is the opposite of digital distraction. It’s teaching your children the art of paying attention, finding the novelty in everything, and treating life as a grand adventure. You might be going to look at old churches or ancient rice paddies, but what you’re really showing your children is that being present in the moment has value. Being present is nearly a lost art in our modern lives and carving out that time when they are young will be one of the most important gifts you can give them—even if you travel no farther than your own backyard.

With practice, patience, and perspective, it’s possible to raise happy travelers. 

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Nam Hai Resort

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