The Harrier jump jet aircraft which played such a vital role in the recapture of the Falkland Islands from the Argentines in 1982 is to be replaced by what the British Defence Secretary, Mr Geoff Hoon, has described as the best aircraft of its type in the world with the agility of a light fighter and the punch of a bomber.
Imagine how it would be if Buenos Aires woke up one morning to find a floating city its own size or bigger moored in the River Plate just outside the Darsena Norte. This is pretty much what happened in the Falkland Islands today, Monday, with the arrival in the outer harbour of Port Stanley (population around 1800) of the Celebrity Cruises ship Mercury,( population anything up to 3000, including 900 crew and staff members from 50 different countries.)
SS Fishing has been fined NZD 1,500 for breaches of the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Act. The company is a joint venture formed by Sanford, Sealord and Amatal to fish for Antarctic toothfish. The company was fined NZD 750 on two charges of not complying with the research provisions of the act.
The Falkland Islands Trust (UKFIT) says its activities to benefit the Islands have been reinvigorated by Princess Alexandra's first visit last year as Patron, which made the Trust's twentieth year rather special. The Trust's annual report for 2000, just published, says the visit has renewed interest in its consultancy and sponsorship activities.
A Royal Air Force Officer, Air Commodore John Cliffe, has been appointed to take over as Commander of British Forces in the Falkland Islands (CBFFI), in succession to Brigadier Geoff Sheldon, who returns to the United Kingdom this month.
According to a press release issued by Falklands Conservation in Stanley, a fire on South Jason Island which began after British Troops detonated unexploded cannon rounds which were found on two crashed Argentine Skyhawk aircraft, 'it is estimated that 90% of the 'tussac' grass which covers the Island has been lost, with the entire southern half of the Island badly affected by the fire'.
The Falkland Islands Government which has already benefited from a grant of 3.2 million euros (US$3.5 millions) from the European Union, can expect to receive another 3.0 million euros in development aid, which will be spread over a 5 years period.
The British Foreign Office Minister responsible for the Falklands Islands and relations with Argentina, Mr John Battle, is planning to make his first visit to the Islands in a few weeks time, either in February or March. He intends to combine it with a visit to Chile, travelling to the Falkland Islands by way of Santiago and Punta Arenas.