Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'Papua New Guinea'

Money Equals Life

April 4th, 2013 · No Comments

The Papuan taipan is arguably the deadliest snake in the world, but not only because of the intensity of its venom. The creature kills humans at such an alarming rate primarily because the antidote to its bite is too expensive for most Papuan medical facilities to afford. That unfortunate fact could soon change, though, thanks […]

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Teksi Driver

March 5th, 2013 · No Comments

Apologies for the late jump on the week, but I’m swamped with prepping an excerpt from The Skies Belong to Us. Back tomorrow with thoughts on the brouhaha in Tasmania’s poppy industry; in the meantime, take a moment to learn about the hardships of driving a taxi in Port Moresby.

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Documents Matter

February 28th, 2013 · No Comments

I have been reluctant to comment on the recent witch burning horror in Papua New Guinea, even though I have previously written at length about that nation’s problems with stamping out superstition-related violence. There was something alarmingly voyeuristic about the way in which the murder was covered, and I didn’t think it appropriate to chime […]

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The Talented Mr. Quan

January 22nd, 2013 · 1 Comment

The Phocea is one of the world’s largest superyachts, checking in at an impressive 75-meters in length. It has also proven to be a monkey’s paw of sorts, as great misfortune has befallen its ultra-successful owners: The Phocea was built in Toulon in 1976 for yachtsman Alain Colas who called her Club Mediterranee. She competed […]

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Accept Your Fake

December 10th, 2012 · 3 Comments

One of the issues I’m grappling with on my in-development Wired story is how we’ll need to redefine the notion of authenticity in the era of ubiquitous 3D printing. If I can make a perfect copy of any object without leaving the comfort of my home, does the original lose its aura of value? That’s […]

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Attention to Detail

September 28th, 2012 · No Comments

Deep apologies for failing to Microkhan much this week, but I have an excellent excuse: I’m in the thick of endnoting my book, which will finally start wending its way through the production process on October 15th. (Street date: June 15, 2013.) Back next week with plenty of tasty victuals; in the meantime, please check […]

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The Power of Gorgor

August 28th, 2012 · No Comments

A mammoth gold mine on Papua New Guinea’s Lihir Island is currently shut down due to a compensation dispute. There is, of course, nothing unusual about that situation, for conflicts between foreign mining companies and local interest are par for the course in the resources-extraction game. What makes the Lihir protest notable, however, is the […]

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The Value of a Vote

June 22nd, 2012 · 1 Comment

This weekend’s national election in Papua New Guinea is a real grudge match between bitter enemies: Sir Michael Somare, the dominant figure in the nation’s politics since independence, and Peter O’Neill, the man who replaced him as prime minister under dubious circumstances. The nastiness of this rivalry is reflected in the cost of electoral corruption, […]

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Optimal Ransom

June 20th, 2012 · 6 Comments

When Nigerian soccer star Christian Obodo was briefly kidnapped earlier this month, I was struck not only by the boldness of the crime, but also by the crooks’ obvious sensitivity to economic realities. For as this early account of the caper makes clear, the kidnappers and Obodo’s family started the negotiations on more-or-less the same […]

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A Game in Which Everyone Loses

May 25th, 2012 · No Comments

As you enjoy the forthcoming three-day weekend, take a moment to think good thoughts for the beleaguered citizens of Papua New Guinea, who are weathering what could be the nation’s nastiest political crisis in years. Matters started to get out of hand three days ago, when Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled that former prime […]

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“One Day It Might be Your Houses”

May 15th, 2012 · No Comments

The last time we checked in with Carol Kidu, Papua New Guinea’s lone female legislator, she was proposing a bil that would set aside a percentage of parliamentary seats for women. Since then, she has become the head of the nation’s forlorn opposition, a role which has brought her into frequent conflict with PNG’s thoroughly […]

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Biblical Wisdom

April 19th, 2012 · 1 Comment

I highly recommend this set of Papua New Guinea images, by the Australian photographer Ben Bohane. The one posted above (larger version here) is a personal favorite for the way it juxtaposes the firearm with the quote from Psalms. I read that quote as so sinister in this context, but alternate translations give quite the […]

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Rage in Port Moresby

April 10th, 2012 · No Comments

As I re-apply nose to grindstone for the book’s sake, check out this footage from yesterday’s mass protest in Port Moresby. Despite its denials, the current Papuan regime is clearly intent on delaying this summer’s scheduled election, perhaps in the hope that Sir Michael Somare‘s influence or health will diminish. The Papuan people are rightfully […]

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Spot the Obscenity

March 16th, 2012 · No Comments

It has been far too long since I have cast Microkhan’s spotlight on Papua New Guinea, one of this project’s most beloved topics of conversation. The troubled country has an election due this summer, one that could well be delayed by a government desperate to cling to power. In the meantime, that government is wrestling […]

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Mutineers Move Markets

January 31st, 2012 · No Comments

The recent unpleasantness is Papua New Guinea provides a salient reminder that the global financial system, despite employing some very sharp minds, often acts on impulse. In response to the recent mutiny outside Port Moresby, Standard & Poor’s has slashed PNG’s credit rating. An S&P analyst explained the firms rational thusly: We have these ratings […]

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Men Rule Everything Around Me

December 2nd, 2011 · 2 Comments

Interesting little tidbit in this excellent profile of Lady Carol Kidu, Papua New Guinea’s only female legislator, who is pushing a controversial bill to allocate a set percentage of parliamentary seats for women: Kidu knows that if the bill fails then when she retires next year PNG will likely become the 10th nation in the […]

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Road Hazards

October 28th, 2011 · No Comments

So easy to forget what a high degree of transportation safety we’ve reached here in the United States. I’m not talking purely in terms of vehicle safety—we also are fortunate to have law and order in areas surrounding roads. The lack of that sort of security is what enables folks to blockade entire Indian states, […]

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Taipan Be Not Proud

October 26th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Nearly two years ago, I posted about the exorbitant prices of anti-venom, which seem largely due to the reluctance of pharmaceutical manufacturers to service such a relatively small market. The end result of those companies’ economic sensibility is a dearth of medication in Papua New Guinea, where snake bites are a serious public-health problem: In […]

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Where Do We Go Now?

September 16th, 2011 · No Comments

Given how much I write about Papua New Guinea, it would be much to my discredit if I didn’t wish the nation a happy 36th birthday before I split for the weekend. Here’s to hoping that things start looking up for the country in the post-Michael Somare era; as newly minted prime minister Peter O’Neill […]

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Face Off

September 2nd, 2011 · 2 Comments

When you’ve spent the better part of your adult life at the helm of an entire country, it must be awfully hard to accept a gold watch and fade into the sunset. I’m going to guess that playing bridge, hitting the country-club buffet, and working on your memoirs doesn’t give a type-A personality the same […]

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Drop and Gimme Twenti

August 18th, 2011 · No Comments

An otherwise innocuous story about Fiji’s efforts to combat littering reveals this golden information nugget about law enforcement in Papua New Guinea: “We did some relative studies and found that in Papua New Guinea if you are found littering – you are asked by the authority to do push-ups. For us here we tell them […]

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Tall J Speaks

July 21st, 2011 · 4 Comments

Though Microkhan can’t claim to be the most journalistically rigorous blog on The Tubes, we do strive for a certain amount of fairness. And so we feel compelled to publish a response to last week’s post regarding the Tall J Foundation, they mysterious American mining concern that recently drew the ire of Bougainville’s president. He […]

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The Maestro Has Entered the Building

July 15th, 2011 · No Comments

I was all set to write a thoughtful post about the declining fortunes of cemetery towns, but looks like there just isn’t going to be enough time today. I’m already running late for Microkhan Jr.’s first violin recital, at which he will allegedly do a solo in “Three Blind Mice.” The morning’s more exciting musical […]

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The New Filibusters

July 8th, 2011 · 11 Comments

When last we checked in on Bougainville’s Panguna copper mine, there was considerable talk of reopening the long-shuttered operation—much to the consternation of indigenous groups who have long fought for a more equitable distribution of the proceeds. Now comes word that a few Americans might be sticking their nose in the island’s business, thereby threatening […]

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Powerless

June 3rd, 2011 · 1 Comment

The last time we checked in on Papua New Guinea’s efforts to counter its epidemic of sorcery-related killings, the country was considering making changes to its Sorcery Act of 1971 in order to make it easier for authorities to punish both witchcraft practitioners and those who murder them. Unfortunately, those legal reform efforts seem to […]

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Are You Reeling in the Years?

March 23rd, 2011 · 5 Comments

Those commendable souls who frequent this space may have noticed Microkhan’s recent obsession with Papua New Guinea. This is by accident more than design, I assure you; the endlessly fascinating linchpin of Oceania simply has a lot going on these days, to the point that it has become a topic of much conversation in America’s […]

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Hocus Pocus, Cont’d

March 17th, 2011 · 4 Comments

I’ve previously written about the continued existence of anti-sorcery laws in the Vanuatuan penal code, so I felt compelled to post about the current debate in Papua New Guinea over similar statutes. The PNG government has grown increasingly alarmed over a rash of murders linked to beliefs in witchcraft: In Papua New Guinea (PNG), the […]

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The Garry Trudeau of Papua New Guinea

March 9th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Sad news out of Port Moresby, as cartoonist Bob Browne has passed on well before his time: He was the creator of Mr Grass Roots, perhaps Papua New Guinea’s most loved comic character, which the magazine Islands Business once called “the social conscience of PNG”… Roots became the Papua New Guinean Everyman, the knock-about character […]

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Polyglot to the Extreme

September 17th, 2009 · 3 Comments

It’s basically impossible not to be bowled over by the abundance of languages in Papua New Guinea. Though the nation’s population clocks in at a shade less than six million souls, those residents speak a mind-boggling 830 languages. That’s enough to make PNG the most polyglot country on Earth, beating out runner-up Indonesia by 108 […]

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