Date: Tue 31 Jan 2006 From: ProMED-mail Source: Falkland Islands News Network (FINN) [edited] ----------------------------------------- On Mon 30 Jan 2006 morning, a military spokesman from Mount Pleasant sent a message to say that there was an _E. coli_ outbreak at Fox Bay Village. The 1st to be affected were residents of a house where military re-fuelers were staying. After calling village residents, there was a lack of knowledge about the problem, so the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Roger Diggle, was contacted, and he confirmed the location of the suspect water source and probable cause of the outbreak. Instructions about boiling water and using water purification tablets were issued for the village. According to former Councilor Norma Edwards, Fox Bay West was not affected by the outbreak, as they have another water source. [Byline: J. Brock] ------------------------------- [The size of the outbreak is not stated. Additionally, the posting did not state whether the organism was identified as _E. coli_ O157:H7. Finding _E. coli_ or other coliforms in a water supply is evidence that the water is contaminated but not necessarily that the cause of any symptoms is bacterial. - ProMed Mod.LL]
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2006 10:07:06 +0100 (MET) WASHINGTON, Jan 2 (AFP) - A major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale was registered Monday east of the South Sandwich Islands in the South Atlantic, the US Geological Survey reported Monday. The quake struck about 345 kilometers (215 miles) southeast of Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands at 0610 GMT, at a depth of 11.6 kilometers, the survey's National Earthquake Information Center said. The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake measured 7.5 on the Richter scale. "Generally speaking, a quake of similar scale can cause a tsunami if it occurs in a shallow area under the sea," the agency said on its website. [The South Sandwich islands are situated eastwards from the Falklands and governed by the UK]
Updated: 28 January 2003 SUMMARY The vast majority of visits to the Falkland Islands are trouble-free. There is little crime or disorder and the risk of terrorism is low. SAFETY AND SECURITY Terrorism: There is no history of terrorism in the Falkland Islands. We are unaware of any evidence of a threat to western interests from terrorism in the islands. However, you should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, in all countries of the world, against civilian targets in public places, including tourist sites. Crime: There is little crime or disorder on the Falkland Islands. LOCAL TRAVEL Four wheel drive vehicles are most commonly used. Stanley roads are metalled, as is much of the 35-mile Mount Pleasant Airport to Stanley road. In addition, there are some 200 miles of unsurfaced roads. Coach and taxi services are available to and from MPA for the RAF and LanChile arrivals and departures. Taxi services are available in Stanley. Local transport should be booked in advance. Speed limits are 25 miles per hour in the Stanley area and 40 miles per hour on other roads. Because of the condition of most roads and the strong winds, extreme care must be exercised when driving outside Stanley, especially on the road between Mount Pleasant Airport and Stanley. Self-drive four-by-four vehicles are available for hire. For longer distances, the Falkland Islands Government Air Service operate three Britten Norman "Islander" aircraft from Stanley Airport to other destinations throughout the Islands. Due to weather and other restrictions it is always worth checking that your flight is confirmed before travelling to Stanley Airport. LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS Customs officers are on duty at all inward international flights. Travellers are warned that drug trafficking is considered a serious offence and will be dealt with severely. The Falkland Islands still have an estimated 14000 mines leftover from the conflict in 1982. These are well mapped and fenced-off. Entering one of these minefields is a serious offence, which will result in prosecution. For the protection and safety of visitors compulsory mine briefing is provided by the military upon arrival. Detailed maps of minefield locations are available on request. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS On arrival in the Falkland Islands you must have a passport valid for a minimum of six months and a current visa if required, a return air ticket (or other evidence of pre-paid onward travel) pre-booked accommodation and sufficient funds to cover your stay in the Islands. Visitors are prohibited from obtaining paid employment without first obtaining a work permit. For further information on entry requirements and RAF Tristar ticket services, you are advised to check with the Falkland Islands Government Office, 14 Broadway, Westminster, London, SW1H OBH; (tel: 020 7222 2542). HEALTH The general standard of health in the Falkland Islands is good. The only hospital is located in Stanley and offers very modern facilities with a full complement of medical, dental and nursing staff. There is no resident qualified optician. Treatment is free to visitors whose country has a reciprocal NHS agreement. Otherwise medical insurance is recommended. To benefit from free treatment, proof of residence in the UK (eg. medical card or driving licence) or an E111 for other nations is required. GENERAL The Falkland Island pound is fixed at a rate of one pound Sterling. Bank of England coins and notes are fully accepted in the Islands at full value. Lan-Chile Airlines currently operate a once weekly flight service to Mount Pleasant Airport from Punta Arenas in southern Chile. Onward air connections from Punta Arenas are available to Puerto Montt and Santiago de Chile, and onward from Santiago to other international destinations. Once a month this service stops in Rio Gallegos, on the southern coast of Argentina. The service will pick up passengers in Rio Gallegos on one week (usually the second Saturday of the month), and drops off passengers in Rio Gallegos the following week. You should check with Lan-Chile in advance for up to date information on Chile/Falkland Islands air services. The RAF operate a twice weekly fare paying service from RAF Brize Norton (via Ascension Island) to Mount Pleasant Airport. This service can be subject to delays due to hazardous weather conditions, especially during the Southern Hemisphere winter. The total journey time takes approximately 20 hours. In Stanley, many of the main shops, hotels and restaurants will accept MasterCard or Visa. However, credit cards are still widely unacceptable in Camp (the countryside). Visitors should check when making bookings. The Falkland Islands is a British Overseas Territory and as such there is no formal British Consular representation. In an emergency, Government House in Stanley will assist British nationals but cannot issue replacement passports. The Falkland Islands Customs and Immigration operate a passport-issuing service. There is a £20 departure tax on leaving the Islands. The Ministry of Defense recommends inoculation against Yellow Fever for passengers travelling on the RAF Tristar service in case flights are diverted to a risk area. Visitors travelling via South America may need a number of inoculations and should check their requirements with their doctor. We strongly recommend that all travellers abroad take out adequate comprehensive insurance. OTHER CONTACT DETAILS Government House, Ross Road, Stanley, Falkland Islands; (tel: +500 27433; fax: +500 27434); e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Rep@figo.u-net.com. Office hours (GMT): Mon-Fri: 0900-1300 and 1400-1730.
Date: 16 Mon Dec 2002 From: ProMED-mail Source: The Guardian 16 Dec 2002 [edited] ------------------- [We don't get much news from the Falklands so here is some information on the plight of penguins instead! TMB Mod] The most famous symbol of the Falkland Islands, the waiter-like gentoo penguin, has been hit by an unidentified malaise which has killed thousands and left many partially paralysed. Health authorities in the South Atlantic islands are dealing daily with reports of the black-and-white birds being washed ashore dead, or incapable of either swimming or parading the beach. The condition, which has also affected the related magellanic penguin species, has yet to be diagnosed by scientists and vets. Concern is growing on the islands. Its gentoo flock is the largest in the world at 115 000 birds, but it is also vulnerable to epidemic because of its concentration in one small place. "We are talking about 40 percent of the global population being here on the islands," said a spokesman for Falklands Conservation, which is leading the hunt for clues about the condition. Last year, the British government spent GBP 25 000 on a gentoo health project after reports from RAF pilots that the birds appeared to fall over backwards after low-flying jets had roared past. The theory about the much more serious epidemic of deaths and paralysis is that a population explosion in microscopic, toxic sea plants has poisoned penguins feeding on fish. Gentoos, the world's fastest-swimming birds, may also have ingested the plankton. Falklands Conservation said that coastal monitors had reported toxic plankton concentrations, known as "red tides", because the millions of pinkish creatures appear to turn patches of the sea red. The spokesman said: "The tiny plants, known as dinoflagellates, bloom under certain conditions to dangerous levels. Recently, a red tide algal bloom has led to the closure of several shell fisheries along the Patagonian coast. We've got researchers taking seawater samples, which will either confirm or rule out a red tide as a possible cause." Red tides also poison small fish, which may in turn be eaten by larger species, which then become the prey of penguins. "When that happens, the fish can build up their own toxins which can prove fatal to a predator, such a penguin," added the spokesman. Last year's gentoo study by the RAF appeared to clear the species of suffering from lethal nervous stress in areas used for low flying. Scientists watched as helicopters made repeated sorties over penguin colonies in South Georgia, and reported that none of the stiff, ramrod-straight birds keeled over. [Byline: Martin Wainwright]
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 03:17:50 +0100 (MET) by Mark Rice-Oxley WIDEAWAKE AIRFIELD, Ascension Island, March 30 (AFP) - Once upon a time, this was the busiest airfield in the world. Military aircraft, helicopters and transport planes buzzed around the volcanic speck in the glassy Atlantic expanse, as Britain made frantic final preparations for its war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. But with the 20th anniversary of its finest hour approaching, Ascension Island is looking to nature, not the navy, to sustain its future. The British task force may have put Ascension on the map in 1982, but it is tourists that will help it thrive. "Tourism is something we want to promote -- eco-tourism, niche stuff," said Geoffrey Fairhurst, the British-appointed administrator of this island, situated some 4,000 miles (6,500 kilometres) south of Britain, bang in the middle of the Atlantic between the African and South American continents. "We are a small island and it is expensive to get here, so we are not going to get backpackers, but the better-heeled, more mature sort of people, who are more interested in bird-watching, turtles, nature in general," Fairhurst told AFP. One of Britain's last colonial outposts, Ascension emerged from mid-Atlantic obscurity when it played a key role as a 'stepping stone' for a British task force in a hurry to evict Argentinian forces from the Falklands. After Argentina invaded the Falklands on April 2, 1982, Britain responded with the rapid despatch of a fleet of ships, hastily prepared for the 7,500-mile odyssey to the South Atlantic. Ascension Island, a 35-square-mile mountain peak rising out of the sea with an airfield built by the United States during World War II, was the perfect place to reload equipment for battle and drill troops in amphibious landing exercises. "For a time, because of the number of helicopters whizzing back and forth to the ships that were offshore, and the various other planes coming in here, Wideawake airfield was the busiest airfield in the world," Fairhurst recalled. "It even beat Heathrow for a few days. It was pretty hectic." British troops say in retrospect that it was hard to feel warlike on the rugged island paradise, with its beach-holiday palms and benign, subtropical climate. Not even the dark volcanic hills could stir a martial inclination. "We stopped at Ascension," recalled Dave Brown, a private in the parachute regiment. "It was the one day we practiced getting in and out of the landing craft. It was bright sunshine, tropical waters, it was like a pleasure cruise around Scarborough bay. "People thought we are going to stop here and it's going to get sorted out," he said. "The next day we got urgent orders to proceed south." No one lives permanently on the island, but its role as a communications and military hub brings a steady stream of professionals on postings, and that combined with migrant workers from another British south Atlantic dependency, Saint Helena, makes for a 1,000-strong community. "It's bliss," said Fairhurst. "If you like the open-air life, walking, diving, swimming and natural history and all those sorts of things, it's all here." But he added: "We don't have opera or theatre and television's a bit ropey. So if you like those sort of things and restaurants, you're not going to like it here..."