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Economy

Vanuatu floats scheme to sell passports to rich Chinese

Vanuatu's prime minister Joe Natuman during the seventh Pacific Island Leaders' Meeting (PALM) in Fukushima on May 23.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- In a near-miraculous escape, the death toll from a powerful cyclone that hit Vanuatu in March only reached 16. But the economic damage appears to have been even higher than first thought, prompting desperate government attempts to raise funds for reconstruction.

     Aid donors have been distracted by higher-profile disasters such as the recent earthquake in Nepal, limiting aid to a trickle. That has the devastated island looking at other options, including a plan to raise money by selling "honorary citizenship" to wealthy Chinese investors.

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