Nauru had 17 changes of administration between 1989 and 2003. Bernard Dowiyogo died in office in March 2003 and Ludwig Scotty was elected as the president, later being re-elected to serve a full term in October 2004. Following a vote of no confidence on 19 December 2007, Scotty was replaced by Marcus Stephen. Stephen resigned in November 2011, and Freddie Pitcher became President. Sprent Dabwido then filed a motion of no confidence in Pitcher, resulting in him becoming president. Following parliamentary elections in 2013 Baron Waqa was elected president.
Nauru has a complex legal system. Its Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice, is paramount on constitutional issues. Other cases can be appealed to the two-judge Appellate Court. Parliament cannot overturn court decisions, but Appellate Court rulings can be appealed to the High Court of Australia. In practice, however, this rarely happens. Lower courts consist of the District Court and the Family Court, both of which are headed by a Resident Magistrate, who also is the Registrar of the Supreme Court. There are two other quasi-courts: the Public Service Appeal Board and the Police Appeal Board, both of which are presided over by the Chief Justice.
Nauru is divided into fourteen administrative districts which are grouped into eight electoral constituencies.
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นาอูรูใช้ประโยชน์จากการเป็นสมาชิกสหประชาชาติในการรับความช่วยเหลือทางการเงินจากไต้หวันและสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีน โดยเปลี่ยนการรับรองจากประเทศหนึ่งสู่อีกประเทศผ่านนโยบายจีนเดียว ในวันที่ 21 กรกฎาคม ค.ศ. 2002 นาอูรูได้ลงนามใน
On 21 July 2002, Nauru signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations with the PRC, accepting $130 million from the PRC for this action. In response, the ROC severed diplomatic relations with Nauru two days later. Nauru later re-established links with the ROC on 14 May 2005, and diplomatic ties with the PRC were officially severed on 31 May 2005. However, the PRC continues to maintain a representative office on Nauru.
In 2008, Nauru recognised Kosovo as an independent country, and in 2009 Nauru became the fourth country, after Russia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, to recognise Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia. Russia was reported to be giving Nauru $50 million in humanitarian aid as a result of this recognition. On 15 July 2008, the Nauruan government announced a port refurbishment programme, financed with US$9 million of development aid received from Russia. The Nauru government claims this aid is not related to its recognising Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
A significant portion of Nauru's income has been in the form of aid from Australia. In 2001, the MV Tampa, a Norwegian ship that had rescued 438 refugees from a stranded 20-metre-long boat and was seeking to dock in Australia. In what became known as the Tampa affair, the ship was refused entry and boarded by Australian troops. The refugees were eventually loaded onto Royal Australian Navy vessel HMAS Manoora and taken to Nauru to be held in detention facilities which later became part of the Howard government's Pacific Solution. Nauru operated two detention centres known as State House and Topside for these refugees in exchange for Australian aid. By November 2005, only two refugees, Mohammed Sagar and Muhammad Faisal, remained on Nauru from those first sent there in 2001, with Sagar finally resettling in early 2007. The Australian government sent further groups of asylum-seekers to Nauru in late 2006 and early 2007. The refugee centre was closed in 2008, but, following the Australian government's re-adoption of the Pacific Solution in August 2012, it has re-opened it.
The Nauruan economy peaked in the early 1980s, as it was dependent almost entirely on the phosphate deposits that originate from the droppings of sea birds. There are few other resources, and most necessities are imported. Small-scale mining is still conducted by RONPhos, formerly known as the Nauru Phosphate Corporation. The government places a percentage of RONPhos's earnings into the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust. The Trust manages long-term investments, which were intended to support the citizens once the phosphate reserves were exhausted. However, because of mismanagement, the Trust's fixed and current assets were reduced considerably, and many never fully recovered. The failed investments included financing Leonardo the Musical in 1993, which was a financial failure. The Mercure Hotel in Sydney and Nauru House in Melbourne were sold in 2004 to finance debts and Air Nauru's only Boeing 737 was repossessed in December 2005. Normal air service resumed after the aircraft was replaced with a Boeing 737–300 airliner in June 2006. In 2005, the corporation sold its property asset in Melbourne, the vacant Savoy Tavern site, for $7.5 million.
The value of the Trust is estimated to have shrunk from A$1.3 billion in 1991 to $138 million in 2002. Nauru currently lacks money to perform many of the basic functions of government; for example, the National Bank of Nauru is insolvent. The CIA World Factbook estimated a GDP per capita of $5,000 in 2005. The Asian Development Bank 2007 economic report on Nauru estimated GDP per capita at $2,400 to $2,715.
There are no personal taxes in Nauru. The unemployment rate is estimated to be 90 percent, and of those who have jobs, the government employs 95 percent. The Asian Development Bank notes that although the administration has a strong public mandate to implement economic reforms, in the absence of an alternative to phosphate mining, the medium-term outlook is for continued dependence on external assistance. Tourism is not a major contributor to the economy.
In the 1990s, Nauru became a tax haven and offered passports to foreign nationals for a fee. The inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) identified Nauru as one of 15 "non-cooperative" countries in its fight against money laundering. During the 1990s, it was possible to establish a licensed bank in Nauru for only $25,000 with no other requirements. Under pressure from FATF, Nauru introduced anti-avoidance legislation in 2003, after which foreign hot money left the country. In October 2005, after satisfactory results from the legislation and its enforcement, FATF lifted the non-cooperative designation.
From 2001 to 2007, the Nauru detention centre provided a significant source of income for the country. The Nauruan authorities reacted with concern to its closure by Australia. In February 2008, the Foreign Affairs minister, Dr. Kieren Keke, stated that the closure would result in 100 Nauruans losing their jobs, and would affect 10 per cent of the island's population directly or indirectly: "We have got a huge number of families that are suddenly going to be without any income. We are looking at ways we can try and provide some welfare assistance but our capacity to do that is very limited. Literally we have got a major unemployment crisis in front of us." The detention centre was re-opened in August 2012.
Nauruans descended from Polynesian and Micronesian seafarers who believed in a female deity, Eijebong, and a spirit land, an island called Buitani. Two of the 12 original tribal groups became extinct in the 20th century. Angam Day, held on 26 October, celebrates the recovery of the Nauruan population after the two World Wars and the 1920 influenza epidemic. The displacement of the indigenous culture by colonial and contemporary western influences is significant. Few of the old customs have been preserved, but some forms of traditional music, arts and crafts, and fishing are still practised.
There are no daily news publications on Nauru, although there is one fortnightly publication, Mwinen Ko. There is a state-owned television station, Nauru Television (NTV), which broadcasts programmes from New Zealand and Australia, and a state-owned non-commercial radio station, Radio Nauru, which carries programmes from Radio Australia and the BBC.
Australian rules football is the most popular sport in Nauru; it and weightlifting are considered the country's national sports. There is a football league with eight teams. Other sports popular in Nauru include volleyball, netball, fishing and tennis. Nauru participates in the Commonwealth Games and the Summer Olympic Games.
Fauna is sparse on the island due to a combination of a lack of vegetation and the consequences of phosphates mining. Many indigenous birds have disappeared or become rare owing to destruction of their habitat. There are only about 60 recorded vascular plant species native to the island, none of which are endemic. Coconut farming, mining, and introduced species have caused serious disturbance to the native vegetation. There are no native land mammals, but there are native insects, land crabs, and birds, including the endemic Nauru Reed Warbler. The Polynesian rat, cats, dogs, pigs, and chickens have been introduced to Nauru from ships. The diversity of the reef marine life makes fishing a popular activity for tourists on the island, as well as SCUBA diving and snorkeling.
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- This article incorporates public domain text from the websites of the United States Department of State & CIA World Factbook.