Travel & Cultures

Loretta Napoleoni is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organizations on counter-terrorism. Her new book: North Korea The Country We Love to Hate exposes a nuclear chess game of leverage and politics in which, the threat of war between power players is fuelled by economic needs and ego.

People love to take sides, good vs evil—this predilection creates an addiction to war. Loretta suggests a third option…PEACE between North and South Korea.

Deft strategies and an appetite for power have kept us at a stalemate but could this creative solution nullify the nuclear threat?

Loretta Napoleoni asks: ‘Are we Addicted to War?’

In 2017, North Korea attempted to prove to it is a nuclear power and has the capability to threaten the United Stated. The US response has been mixed: while at times Donald Trump has used a strong belligerent language against Kim Jong-un, including threatening military intervention, the White House adopted a peaceful approach, it mobilised the international community to impose economic sanctions. So far this policy has not being effective for several reasons, among which the peculiarity of the North Korean regime and the impossibility to force Pyongyang to end its nuclear programme.

To many, North Korea is an aberration, the antithesis of democracy: a totalitarian regime, ruled by a dictatorial dynasty that successfully reinvented feudalism. Nicknamed the hermit state, it is so secretive that separating fact from fiction is often problematic. Indeed, the mystery that surrounds it has proven advantageous to depict it as the ultimate dystopian society, an evil benchmark against which the spreading of democracy always appears positive. Even Iraq or Libya are perceived as better regimes than North Korea!

North Korea is the enemy we all love to hate.

Yet, for all the comfort this statement may bring, it fails to comprehensively describe the Pyongyang regime or to address the fundamental question: how do we deal with a nuclear North Korea?

From a more accurate analysis it emerges that the DPRK is a unique and resilient nation. It has survived the implosion of the Soviet Union and the modernization of Chinese communism – its northern neighbours and historical sponsors – without even the slightest attempt to open up to the West. Because of that, it does not fit neatly into any political classifications even if at the same time, it displays features of several of them.

The failure to fully understand North Korea has played in the hands of its regime and in particular of its nuclear programme. Donald Trump is the fourth president of the United States who has unsuccessfully promised to end it. Bill Clinton signed a deal in which North Korea agreed to freeze its nuclear development in exchange for oil and a civilian reactor, but neither side fulfilled its commitments and Pyongyang outsmarted Washington. Why? Clinton convinced Congress to ratify the agreement because he was sure the regime would fall before the delivery of the reactor.

George W. Bush initially refused bilateral negotiations but then changed his mind and joined the Six-Party Talks. Barack Obama first appeared conciliatory then retreated into a stonewalling policy called ‘strategic patience’. Finally, during his first year at the White House, Donald Trump led the UN Security Council to pass several rounds of additional sanctions against North Korea, which made Kim Jong-un more determined to show off North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

The young dictator is using the same strategy employed by his father. In the second half of the 1990s, Kim Jong-il used the nuclear program as a bargaining chip to get food, oil and other forms of assistance from the West. He succeeded in stringing along the US administration by playing the deterrence game. In the ultimate analysis, deterrence is a confidence game; to be effective, you need to convince people that, if they step over the line, you really will do the things you say you would do. Washington has to believe that Pyongyang will do to Tokyo or Seoul what it has said it would and Pyongyang has to believe that Washington will use the bomb.

How do we get out of this stalemate? Thinking outside the box. It is clear that becoming a nuclear power has been a game changer for Pyongyang, the regime has finally relaxed and is showing a conciliatory attitude towards South Korea, a nation with whom the DPRK is technically still at war. This confirms that nations seek nuclear capability not to use it but as the best form of détente against old and new foes, as proven by Pakistan, India, Israel and very soon Iran, countries that like North Korea have ignored the non-proliferation ban.

Against this scenario a revision of the international agreements is badly needed. By encouraging a peace treaty between North and South Korea, the United States and China could use such a diplomatic victory as a launching pad for a new nuclear protocol, one that allows proliferation, but only within very well defined parameters, and whose primary aim would be to empower the international community to contain and control nuclear weapons worldwide, including, of course, the US and China.

About the Book: In North Korea, The Country We Love to Hate, political analyst and bestselling author Loretta Napoleni challenges our Western preconceptions of North Korea. Napoleoni situates North Korea in context – historical and ideological – and answers questions central to our global future. This informative book is an account of a country central to world politics and yet little understood. Further, it presents insider narratives of its people, whose self-image is radically different to the image we have in the West. Released in Australia by UWA Publishing.

About the Author: Loretta Napoleoni is the best-selling author of Maonomics, Rogue Economics, Terror Incorporated and Insurgent Iraq. She is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organisations on counter terrorism and money laundering. She is a regular media commentator for CNN, Sky News and the BBC, and writes for El Paris, The Guardian and Le Monde. Visit her @

Travel is an important part of culture and community and wildlife is a vital part of the experience. At Anantara Tangalle Resort in Sri Lanka, great care and attention has been given to designing a peace haven for guests that not only supports local communities but helps restore the natural wetlands as well.

Celebrating World Wetlands Day the resort’s Nature Guru, Anuradha Ediriweera spearheaded an initiative to plant one hundred trees along the natural river and mangroves within the resort premises. Resort guests, the local community, and authorities from the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Central Environmental Authority and Department of Forestry also participated in the tree planting event before engaging in a discussion on the values and threats towards the wetlands and the numerous sustainable initiatives championed by Anantara Tangalle. Students from the Kadurupokuna Maha Vidyalaya School in Tangalle and guests were delighted to play a part in the resort’s efforts to rebuild the wetlands.

Anuradha Ediriweera said, “We hope that this initiative will serve as a catalyst to inspire passion within our guests, the local community, and with support from the authorities, to set us on a committed pathway for a more sustainable future by taking actions today to retain, restore and preserve our wetlands and mangroves.

World Wetlands Day is celebrated on 2 February annually to raise global awareness about the value of wetlands for humankind and the planet in general. Wetlands play valuable roles in flood control, water supply, provision of food, waste treatment and are sources of livelihoods among many other benefits. Unfortunately, in fast-growing cities, wetlands are often viewed as a wasteland – places to dump rubbish, fill in or convert to other uses; this general mindset must change and actions taken today to ensure a brighter future for everyone and generations to come.

Uthpala Adaranga, from the Department of Wildlife conservation of Sri Lanka added, “Wetlands play a major role in wildlife conservation. Wetlands are home to a wide range of water fowls, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and many more. Degradation of these vital habitats are causing challenges in wildlife conservation. Awareness, conservation and restoration should be widely implemented nationally and globally.”

The global theme for this year’s celebration is “Wetlands for a sustainable urban future” and highlights the importance of integrating wetlands into a city’s sustainable future planning and development. The benefits of wetlands grow even more crucial as the number of people living in cities has surpassed the 4 billion mark and continues to rise. By 2050, 66% of humanity will be city dwellers as people move into urban areas in search of better jobs and wellbeing. World Wetlands Day 2018 aims to raise awareness on how the wetlands contribute to the future of sustainable cities and rural areas.

Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort offers guests a unique resort experience in Sri Lanka. Located on the island’s southern coastline, the award-winning resort is set on a secluded stretch of beach amidst a 21-acre coconut plantation. Each of the 120 guest rooms and 32 private pool villas exude serenity with spacious interiors that blend comfortable luxury with modern amenities. Distinctive local experiences and rich cultural traditions are woven into the fabric of the resort and its diverse offerings.

For more information on Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, please visit

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Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic have joined forces to further inspire the world through expedition travel. Their collaboration in exploration, research, technology and conservation will provide extraordinary travel experiences and disseminate geographic knowledge around the globe.

People seek exploration in wild places to experience adventure, to contribute to science and conservation, to encounter native wildlife and cultures—Lindblad and National Geographic connect travellers to all this and much more.

Discover the world @

Breaking down digital boundaries which limit human connection and authentic communication, is a the best way to standout in a sea of faceless start-ups. Old fashioned etiquette is a smart strategy for success and as we discover, the new armour for digital entrepreneurs.

Michaela Launerts, has extensive experience in Secondary Education as an English teacher and pastoral coordinator. Passionate about equipping others with the interpersonal skills needed to thrive in the Digital Age, she founded Etiquette & Co., a bespoke consulting service that empowers others to be confident across an array of social and professional situations. In her new book #Girlcode (New Holland Publishers, RRP $24.99), Launerts explores the forgotten art of etiquette and how to use it as a secret weapon for success.

The book speaks to emerging entrepreneurs, mostly Miss Millennials (but we found the content equally applicable to Mr Millennials) everywhere—the switched on social media generation who are lacking essential social skills for the real world. Helping develop the confidence needed to become the best version of yourself, providing the tools to interact with all sorts of people without the anxiety and awkwardness that seems to prevent us from achieving our personal goals.

In this technological age, competition for employment is fierce. In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to be personable. Ironically, the social media phenomenon has led to a rapid decline in people’s social skills. We live in a time where face-to-face contact has been replaced with cyberspace presence and connecting with friends means disconnecting from reality. Now, more than ever, the need to learn how to behave in contemporary social and professional settings in order to be able to thrive within them is critical. If social skills are the building blocks of confidence and character, then the ability to communicate effectively is the VIP ticket to personal success.

What does etiquette for digital entrepreneurs look like?

While the new breed of digital entrepreneurs are often highly skilled in the digital landscape they are accustomed to, an absence of authentic, face to face interactions can result in a lack of understanding when it comes to the power of interpersonal skills. It’s those real life interactions that build confidence, character and the ability to successfully connect with people regardless of the platform. From networking to effective management and customer relations, soft skills are crucial when it comes to building a thriving business.

Successful entrepreneurship requires the ability to create a climate that promotes customer loyalty and ensures employees are inspired to work to their potential. Best performance, culture, shared vision and customer rapport can only be built on a foundation of strong interpersonal skills. In good news, once a person gains an understanding of the way we perceive certain behaviour, it becomes relatively easy to develop the soft skills needed to empower the savviest of techsperts in reaching their personal and professional goals.

Polished communication skills are a must across all interactions with employees and clients. Being courteous and well mannered promotes a culture of respect and productivity. Humans are social by nature, we subconsciously use our intuition to make our way through the world. The way we feel about certain situations, particular people and the way we make others feel impacts significantly on our experience, in turn, affecting our behaviour. It’s not surprising that the latest statistics point to customer experience, or CX, as being the cornerstone of success for digital entrepreneurs; as the saying goes, the way you make others feel after having had an interaction with you, becomes your trademark—online or otherwise.

Professional Etiquette

Basic manners and etiquette are the ‘filters’ we use in real life to make ourselves look good. Simply put, conveying a positive attitude makes us attractive to others—you need to be approachable. This puts people, your people, at ease, which is a key factor in creating a productive culture and reputable brand. Ultimately you need to be able to make a confident, authentic impact in real life by utilizing what we already know about human interaction. It’s time to make friends with Decorum and Deportment.

While decorum (the way we behave) and deportment (the way we present ourselves) may be terms that have become lost in contemporary vernacular, as long as we remain in control of the technology, they are far from obsolete. By synthesizing our understanding of heritage skills with our ability to use technology to our advantage, building a professional image or brand becomes easy.

Implementing the Basics

First impressions are everything. Learn how to make a good one by perfecting your handshake, a powerful symbol of sincerity, confidence and character.

Don’t be afraid to sharpen your image if required. Does your appearance reflect the high standards and quality that are synonymous with your brand? If not, take into account the basic principles of professional dress and opt for a more conservative look if appropriate. If you want to be taken seriously, self respect always comes first. Stand out for the right reasons. If in doubt, go for clean, polished and pressed.

Ensure your people have a thorough understanding of good old-fashioned customer service skills and use them in their daily interactions including all face-to-face, email and phone correspondence. Set the standard by modelling high quality interactions.

Broaden your horizons. Become familiar with the principles of international business and dining etiquette so that your interactions aren’t limited (or thwarted) by conduct that could be deemed inappropriate by your international peers.

Across all your professional correspondence, be exactly that, direct, grammatically correct, clear and courteous. Don’t waste others’ time by sending or forwarding any content that is irrelevant and ensure your responses are prompt and informative. Address every point or concern raised to avoid communication lag.

Keep your personal life and your professional life completely separate across all social media and professional networking platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. A clean digital footprint is a must when it comes to reputation, so save the selfies for your personal account and ensure maximum privacy settings are in place.

The content you post on online is public and permanent. Ensure you have a good command of formal English so that your expression reflects the quality of your brand.

Never underestimate the power you have over the way you are perceived by others. You are always in complete control. Up-skill if you need to. Bespoke etiquette training programs such as those offered by Etiquette & Co. can be used to train or retrain your people in order that they continue to reflect the high standards of your brand.

Oh and remember, the neo-luddites and digital exiles aren’t against you, they’re cheering you on from the sidelines. Harness the power of charisma and you’ll not only bridge the gap that exists but completely remove the lid that may be tightly screwed on your potential for growth.

Human expansion into wild places is often described in terms of species loss or land fragmentation and destruction—rarely do we identify the displacement of native people, not only in terms of home but heritage as well. Indigenous tribes are tied to the land spiritually and culturally, as custodians of nature defined by their role in it’s wellbeing and through traditions influenced by the land like foraging, crafts and story.

Wild places are shaped by ancient cultures, and for natures sake the balance of progress and preservation demands we value these native people as vital to the health and future of any eco-system.

Earlier this year, Australia helped set a precedent for cultural land denomination by restoring ownership of Shelburne Bay in North Queensland, to the Wuthathi people—reinvesting in native guardians and embarking on a new chapter in conservation.

Shelburne represents a role reversal in human impact on nature—empowering people to restore the land and our connections to it. Andrew Picone is the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Northern Australia program officer based in Cairns. In this article he outlines the impact of this landmark decision.

Crocodiles, stingrays, sharks, dugongs and turtles can be seen in the shallow turquoise waters of Shelburne Bay. Serpentine estuaries, fed by tannin-stained creeks, support immense mangrove forests while tropical heathlands claim the drier ground. Where the dunes have long-stabilised, ancient araucarian hoop-pines grow to emerge above a windswept rainforest canopy, home to palm cockatoos and cassowaries.

At a recent ceremony in the remote town of Lockhart River on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula in far northern Australia, this remarkable stretch of land was handed back to its traditional custodians, the Wuthathi people.

“Most of the land is significant to us and [a] very cultural place,” Loddy Chippendale, a senior Wuthathi Traditional Owner explains. According to Loddy, only certain Wuthathi people can go to some of the most special places.

Concluding decades of advocacy and negotiation, 118,000 hectares of ancestral homelands was finally returned to the Wuthathi people. For them it has been a near 100-year struggle since they were forced off their traditional homelands. As part of the deal, the Wuthathi agreed to a new 37,282 hectare jointly managed national park, which they own, covering a unique landscape of near-pure silica sand dunes and freshwater lakes.

Rewind to 1985. An Australian-Japanese joint venture called Shelburne Silica Pty Ltd was seeking government approval for a 400,000 tonne sand mining project that would include barge and port facilities on the Great Barrier Reef. The Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland’s then coordinator, Don Henry, spearheaded a legal challenge contesting the proposal through the Mining Wardens Court on Thursday Island.

Naively, the mining proponents believed there was no interest in Shelburne Bay from Indigenous people based on an astonishing assumption that the Wuthathi had all passed away. But based on the evidence of then 70-year-old Wuthathi elder Alick Pablo, as well as that of several scientists, economists and others, the Warden’s Court made an unprecedented recommendation against mining.

This recommendation was met with hostility from the state government at the time, which vowed to open up all of the region’s silica dunes to mining.

Realising that the Queensland government wasn’t going to stop sand mining at Shelburne Bay, the Wuthathi people and conservationists convinced then Prime Minister Bob Hawke to intervene. At a press conference in early 1987 the federal government said that although the mine was allowable under foreign ownership rules, it wasn’t in the national interest. In this instance, the national interest was in protecting Shelburne’s environment and the adjacent Great Barrier Reef, by then listed as World Heritage by the United Nations. Hawke made it illegal to export the sand and the proposed mining project collapsed.

But by late 2002, the Wuthathi were forced to take the fight for their country to the Queensland government once again. While Hawke effectively killed off any opportunity to export Shelburne’s sand, the mining leases that had lain dormant were coming up for renewal, a process administered by the state. Knowing there was a risk the licences could be on-sold and renewed, the Wuthathi asked the state government to cancel them.

With support from a growing number of environmental NGOs, including ACF, The Wilderness Society, Queensland Conservation Council and the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, the Wuthathi were successful in convincing then Premier Peter Beattie to cancel the mining leases.

But it was not until 2004, and under threat yet again, that the Queensland Government designated the entire Shelburne area off limits to mining as a restricted area under State regulations. That was also the year the Queensland Government concluded legal proceedings for the acquisition of the Shelburne pastoral lease.

Reversing the ethos of the colonial era, recent Queensland governments have bought back many pastoral leases, facilitating the return of the land to the Indigenous people. To date, Queensland and federal governments have spent approximately $50 million acquiring the most significant properties across the region. Importantly, these lands have been given back to Aboriginal ownership under a landmark initiative known as the Cape York tenure resolution program.

Since 1995, this program has returned more than 3 million hectares of land to Aboriginal ownership. This includes over 2 million hectares of Aboriginal owned and jointly managed national parks and more than 1 million hectares of Aboriginal freehold.

This handback of Shelburne Bay to the Wuthathi people brings to a close 100 years of dispossession and a long campaign to get their land back. While maintaining unbroken cultural connection to their country, the Wuthathi have been planning to permanently return to continue their cultural practices.

Johnson Chippendale, a Wuthathi elder and Chair of the Wuthathi Corporation, said at the ceremony in Lockhart River in December 2016 that since their removal 100 years ago, cultural practices and country stood still. Now, he says “…we got the opportunity to get back to our country to practice our traditional right and customary law.”

While pastoralists, miners and governments have had their time on Wuthathi country, Johnson says, “It’s Wuthathi people now, we’re heading back to country.”

Follow Andrew @andrew_picone