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Chatham Islands: hoping for early release from lockdown   


With no Covid-19 cases and its economy desperate to restart, the Chathams is keen to go fishing again, writes Jim Kayes.

It shouldn’t really be a surprise. They are, after all, ahead of New Zealand by 45 minutes.

And though they are part of Wellington’s Rongotai electorate, the fiercely independent locals refer to the mainland of New Zealand as if it’s a different country.

So when Chatham Islands mayor Monique Croon says she thinks the archipelago – some 800km east of the South Island – could come out of lockdown early, it’s easy to dismiss it as another example of the usual rebellious streak.

But there is sense to what she says, because none of the islands’ 700 inhabitants have Covid-19. “We want to see if the Ministry of Health will let us self-isolate, rather than be in lockdown,” Croon says.

The request has to be made through the Canterbury DHB and, while Croon thinks it is logical, “I’m not going to be holding my breath.”

The last people to arrive flew in on Air Chathams just before the nation-wide alert-4 lockdown on Wednesday March 26. Since then, no one has reported to the medical centre with coronavirus symptoms. Croon insists that with the island confined to barracks, they should be okay.

Air Chathams founder Craig Emeny, left, with his son Duane, the company's general manager. Photo: Supplied

Duane Emeny agrees. Born and raised on “the Chats” – as the locals call their home – Emeny is general manager of Air Chathams, the company his father Craig started 35 years ago to fly live crayfish off the island.

Flying a Cessna 180, he would land on bumpy fields, load up and then head to Hawkes Bay with boxes of crayfish for export.

Those flights quickly became the lifeline to the islands – a main trunk line in the air. But just as the Chathams have relied on the airline for more than three decades, now the airline is relying on the Chathams to keep them flying.

“We’ve lost about 90 per cent of our business,” Emeny says.

Pre-lockdown, Air Chathams flew Auckland to Whakatane, Whanganui and Kapiti, once a week to Norfolk Island and freight from Auckland to Christchurch. In winter they would fly three times a week to the Chathams and in summer that rose to six flights.

All up, Air Chathams was in the air for 115 flights a week. Now, it’s just three, and all of those flights are to the Chathams.

“It’s still the most important part of our business and has been for the 35 years since Dad started the company,” Emeny says. “It’s what the island always needed. We are State Highway 1 for the Chats. We are the only way to get there, we’re that essential.”

Emeny says the airline will be okay for 12 weeks with a combination of the 144 staff taking pay cuts and a top up from the government’s subsidy package. “It’s what happens after those 12 weeks - and nobody really knows.”

Even when the alert drops to level three or two, Emeny isn’t sure whether people will be keen to fly again, especially in the close quarters of the small planes that Air Chathams uses.

Add to that, he says, the loss in income most companies are suffering and the rise of video conferencing through the Covid-crisis and business travel may have suffered a hefty long term blow.

Wild horses on Wharekauri Station, looking West to Maunganui Bluff in the far distance. Photo: Kina Scollay


Waitangi port is quiet on the Chathams. Normally bustling thanks to the fishing industry that provides about 75 percent of the Chathams economy, the boats are largely at anchor.

“Moana Fisheries hasn’t stopped, but we are idling,” says Pita Thomas, who owns Waitangi Seafoods and manages Moana Fisheries. He has about 25 boats under him and is sending just one a day out to sea.

Demand is fickle, Thomas says – an order from Auckland on Monday for 2.5 tonne of blue cod had dropped to just half a tonne by Thursday. So he’s wary of putting his boats to sea when he can’t rely on the demand to reflect his supply.

Elsewhere on the island, life is even quieter than usual. Hotel Chatham is closed, its new, nine-room accommodation block empty. The smattering of cafes are closed, too. All that remains open with any regularity are the general stores and two petrol stations, one of which Croon owns and which doubles as a hardware shop.

No worries about supplies though – despite a run on toilet paper like everywhere else around the world. “Everyone is keeping well,” Croon (elected mayor last year) says. “We have a team who are checking on people and making sure they have everything they need.

“There are a few quite scared people, but that’s only natural.”

She says the Chathams will be fine through April, “but by May and June, if they don’t go fishing – then we’re in trouble”.

Thomas’ son Ariki, 13, slipped back onto the island from school in Christchurch a day before the lockdown. Together they have fashioned a Flintstones- style gym on their three acre property. It keeps Ariki and his brother Tarzan busy while dad runs the business from a bedroom in the house.

Ariki Thomas works on out in the “gym" his father Pita Thomas fashioned from a fallen macrocarpa. Photo: Supplied

“We went into isolation when Ariki got home so it’s been a bit longer for us, but we are doing okay,” Thomas says.

He’s pleased the Island's borders have been closed but is firm in his belief that the shutters should have come down sooner. “It was a worry. Once the government put the subsidy in place for business, I thought we should have shut down then. If the virus takes hold here, we are history, but it looks like we’ve been lucky.”

And with a bit of luck, they hope, the DHB might give the Chathams an early release.

* Made with the support of NZ on Air *


Rallenta ma resiste: la Via della Seta ai tempi del virus / IL CASO   

"Molto probabilmente nei prossimi mesi Pechino si concentrerà sul sostegno dei consumi interni e delle industrie che soddisfano questa domanda, oltre ad assicurare la liquidità necessaria alle piccole e medie imprese, nel tentativo di stabilizzare l’occupazione" spiega Yu Jies della londinese Chatham House, un centro studi specializzato in analisi geopolitche

1st Assistant Superintendent | The Club at Chatham Hills   

Westfield (near Indianapolis), Indiana, Working knowledge of the maintenance of golf course tees, fairways, greens. Understanding of golf course maintenance practices; the planting, cultivating, watering, and caring for turf, shrubs and t

1st Assistant Superintendent | The Club at Chatham Hills   

Westfield (near Indianapolis), Indiana, Working knowledge of the maintenance of golf course tees, fairways, greens. Understanding of golf course maintenance practices; the planting, cultivating, watering, and caring for turf, shrubs and t

Monday Spot 6th April 2020   

  Our meeting on this Palm  Sunday was led by Major Ian, and Lt Col Judith Payne delivered the message. Once again the meeting was broadcast from the hall and can be seen in full here   If you haven’t … Continue reading

Holy Week Reflections   

Throughout Holy week there will be a reflection posted on the Corps YouTube Channel at 7pm. Either click on the Corps website & click the ‘Youtube’ tab, or go to and search for Chatham Salvation Army. Join us for … Continue reading

Board of Supervisors Work Session   

Event date: April 21, 2020
Event Time: 04:30 PM - 11:59 PM
115 South Main Street
Chatham, VA 24531

Board of Supervisors Business Meeting   

Event date: April 21, 2020
Event Time: 07:00 PM - 11:59 PM
115 South Main Street
Chatham, VA 24531

Alexander Mikaberidze, "The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History" (Oxford UP, 2020)   

Austerlitz, Wagram, Borodino, Trafalgar, Leipzig, Waterloo: these are the battles most closely associated with the Napoleonic Wars. But how did this period of nearly continuous warfare affect the world beyond Europe? The immensity of the fighting waged by France against England, Prussia, Austria, and Russia, and the immediate consequences of the tremors that spread from France as a result, overshadow the profound repercussions that the Napoleonic Wars had throughout the world. In his new book The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History (Oxford University Press, 2020), Professor Alexander Mikaberidze of the department of History at Louisiana State University, argues that the Napoleonic Wars can only be fully understood with an international context in mind. France struggled for dominance not only on the plains of Europe but also in the Americas, West and South Africa, Ottoman Empire, Iran, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Taking specific regions in turn, Professor Mikaberidze discusses major political-military events around the world and situates geopolitical decision-making within its long- and short-term contexts. From the British expeditions to Argentina and South Africa to the Franco-Russian maneuvering in the Ottoman Empire, the effects of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars would shape international affairs well into the next century. Skillfully narrated and deeply researched, here at last is the complete global history of the period, one that expands our contemporary view of the Napoleonic Wars and their role in laying the foundations of the modern world. Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Kiser Group’s Noah Birk and Aaron Sklar Broker Sale of 398 Apartment Units Throughout Chicago’s Southside in Q1 2020   

CHICAGO, IL - Kiser Group s Partner Noah Birk and Senior Director Aaron Sklar have closed the sale of 398 units and 12 buildings for $27 million throughout Chicago s south side neighborhoods so far this year. The team focuses their brokerage efforts in south side neighborhoods such as such as South Shore, Woodlawn, Chatham and Auburn Gresham. We are seeing the demand for south side buildings outpace the supply, which has really driven the prices on these assets higher, said Birk. This competitive buying environment has yielded some eye-popping results. Despite the onslaught of COVID-19 concerns at the end of the first quarter, buyer interest remains at elevated levels, said Sklar. We have numerous deals in escrow, we put several more under contract during the last few weeks of March, and we ve listed new buildings that we ll bring to market in April. We re optimistic the second quarter of 2020 will be even stronger than the first. Notable Q1 Transactions: Jackson Park-South Shore Drive Portfolio (7500 S. South Shore Dr., 6916 S. Clyde Ave and 7O38 S. Chappel Ave) sold for $18,400,000. Birk and Skar represented both the buyer and seller of the 208-unit portfolio. 7420 S. Colfax Ave. Chicago, a 27-unit South Shore apartment building sold for $2,025,000. Birk and Sklar represented both the buyer and seller. 7042 S. Michigan, a 32-unit Greater Grand Crossing apartment building that sold for $1,100,100. Birk and Sklar represented both the buyer and seller. 7254 S. Jeffery, a 34-unit South Shore apartment building that sold for $1,150,000. Birk and Sklar represented both the buyer and seller. 7251 S. Phillips, a 36-unit South Shore apartment building that sold for $1,740,000. Birk and Sklar represented both the buyer and seller. About Kiser Group: Kiser Group is Chicagoland s leading multifamily brokerage firm. As the leader in our space, Kiser Group provides multifamily expertise to help our clients maximize value in their Chicagoland real estate investments. We equip our brokers with best-in-class staff and resources that are focused on their needs. Learn more at

Re: Chatham County to institute quarantine requirements for anyone entering by air, bus, train, or ship   

I am surprised Chatham County is not instituting quarantine requirements for anyone entering by car off of I-16 and I-95. It seems to me that Chairman Scott gave out half measures.
Posted by Ivan B. Cohen

Why Cuban Doctors Are On The Coronavirus Front Line Globally – OpEd   

By Yossi Mekelberg*

It is a rarity these days for Cuba to receive much attention in the news. The days of the island being at the heart, even a symbol, of revolutionary fervor and superpower rivalry have long gone. However, every time there is a health crisis, this small Caribbean island distinguishes itself with selfless readiness to heed the call to arms, and sends its brigades of doctors and nurses to help those most in need, while the wealthiest countries can barely look after the health of their own people. 

For those of us who regularly visit Cuba and have become familiar with the legacy of the revolution, the Cuban government’s decision to send hundreds of doctors to combat coronavirus not only to its neighbors, but to a total of 14 countries, including Italy and Andorra in Europe, came as no surprise. Neither did the country’s decision to allow a British cruise ship with five confirmed cases of coronavirus on board to dock near Havana after it had been turned away from multiple ports in the Caribbean and the US. Since the early 1960s, when Cuba sent its first medical mission to Algeria to replace French doctors who had left the North African country after it gained independence from France, medical help and humanitarian aid for the less fortunate have become part of Cuba’s DNA. 

From the very early days of the “Barbudos” (the bearded) seizing power in 1959, Cuba’s two main paths to achieving social justice have been through investing in its education and health care systems. This comes from a deep conviction that a successful society requires universal education and health services, instead of these benefits being available only to those privileged enough to be able to pay for them. And, through the years, the expansion of medical internationalism has evolved from a universalist humanitarian ideology to also being a source of influential soft power — what became known as “doctor diplomacy” — and a major source of income for the country; bigger even than tourism or agriculture. 

In its drive to improve the human condition, Cuba followed the thinking of one of the leaders of its revolution, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, an Argentinian physician who declared in the early days of the revolution that, “we must strive every day so that this love of living humanity is transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.” In a speech to Cuban militiamen in 1960, Guevara reminisced about his travels throughout Latin America after his graduation (immortalized in “The Motorcycle Diaries”), when, as a young middle-class doctor, he became acquainted with “poverty, hunger and disease; with the inability to treat a child because of lack of money; with the stupefaction provoked by the continual hunger and punishment, to the point that a father can accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident, as occurs often in the downtrodden classes of our American homeland.” This led him to leave the medical profession and become a revolutionary and, on reaching a position of power, to advance the cause of medical internationalism together with Fidel and Raul Castro and his other comrades.

Cuba currently has about 50,000 doctors operating in 67 countries — many in Latin America and Africa. This is a staggering number and means there are more Cuban doctors working abroad than from all  G7 nations combined, even though the country’s population is only 11.4 million. This comes with a financial reward, which, according to some estimates, is about $6 billion a year. For a country on the receiving end of harsh punitive sanctions from the US, such an income stream, especially of hard currency, is a lifeline. But it is far from the sole reason for Cuba maintaining its international brigades in white. Moreover, from a diplomatic perspective, providing medical help to the developing world has helped to ease years of pressure by consecutive US administrations that have attempted to destroy Cuba’s revolution. There has always been an element of defiance of the US in Cuba’s medical diplomacy, while its domestic health care system stands diametrically opposed to the American model that neglects those who can’t afford to pay for medical insurance. 

Cuba’s drive to improve the health of the world’s underprivileged is complemented by its provision of free training for medical students — including their accommodation and subsistence. Students come from more than 100 countries, chiefly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as from disadvantaged neighborhoods in the US. Two years ago, during a visit to a hospital in Santa Clara, I met, among others, two Palestinian medical students, one from Ramallah in the West Bank and one from the Gaza Strip. They had arrived in Cuba with no Spanish but soon became fluent, and were by then preparing to return to the Occupied Territories to serve their people.

Part of the current US campaign to reverse the rapprochement between Washington and Havana that took place during the Obama administration involves vehemently criticizing what the Trump White House calls the “exploitation” of Cuban medical workers by their government. The State Department tweeted last month that the Cuban government “keeps most of the salary its doctors and nurses earn while serving in its international medical missions while exposing them to egregious labor conditions.” It is legitimate to question how much of what the Cuban government receives from its medical missions finds its way into the pockets of the doctors and nurses themselves, but the US tweet reflects both the hypocrisy and the ignorance of an administration that is making a complete shambles of containing the coronavirus in its own country, while doing nothing to help others.

In Cuba, unlike the US, there are no tuition fees for locals at any level of education, and virtually no homelessness, even if living conditions are very modest. And, as for the working conditions, Cuban health workers are certainly prepared to work in the most remote and difficult conditions because that is exactly what Cuba’s revolution has taught them. Hence, it was Cuban medical teams that led the relief mission in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, and were later in West Africa dealing with the 2014 Ebola crisis.

If the late Fidel Castro were able to witness the US criticism of Cuba’s medical internationalism, he would probably repeat what he said to the judges in his 1953 trial before being sentenced to 15 years’ jail: “History will absolve me.”

· Yossi Mekelberg is professor of international relations at Regent’s University London, where he is head of the International Relations and Social Sciences Program. He is also an associate fellow of the MENA Program at Chatham House. He is a regular contributor to the international written and electronic media. Twitter: @YMekelberg

The post Why Cuban Doctors Are On The Coronavirus Front Line Globally – OpEd appeared first on Eurasia Review. Reported by Eurasia Review 23 minutes ago.
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