NEWS FROM NEW CALEDONIA AND FRENCH POLYNESIA

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July 5, 1999
PINA Nius Online

HIGHLIGHTS

FRENCH POLYNESIAN SOFT DRINK FACTORY TO BECOME WORLD'S FIRST TO PRODUCE BOTH COKE AND PEPSI

PAPEETE, Tahiti (July 5, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---The beverage conglomerate, Martin, the Coca-Cola producer in French Polynesia, was poised to absorb Pacific Beverage Industry (PBI), which produces Pepsi, making it the first company in the world to produce both rival brands, RFO-Radio reported here Monday.

But, the transfer of shares from PBI to Martin, although it was signed last March and was supposed to take effect on June 30, was delayed last week until the end of September, due to "demands" from both American soft drink giants, who operate in French Polynesia through franchising accords, RFO said.

The Martin group owns the brewery Brasseries de Tahiti and also markets Budweiser beer in the French territory.

U.S. DESTROYER CELEBRATES INDEPENDENCE DAY DURING FIVE-DAY COURTESY CALL IN NOUMEA

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (July 5, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---The U.S. Navy destroyer Hewitt arrived in Noumea Saturday for a five-day courtesy call coinciding with U.S. Independence Day celebrations, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reported.

The ship from the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet carries 24 officers and 315 crew under the command of George Galyo and is fitted with eight Tomahawk missiles and a Sea Sparrow 24-missile launcher.

It is open to the public for visits until Tuesday while refueling in Noumea.

On Thursday, the 171-meter long USS Hewitt is to leave the French Territory for its Californian base of San Diego via Peal Harbor.

"It reminds me of the Pacific war. I was just a kid when the U.S. Army was here. And if the Americans had not been here, maybe we wouldn't be here either today. We want to come and see the boat and honor the memory of those who fell during the Second World War," Martial Tuhenon, a chief visiting the ship, told RFO.

Last February, Hewitt's sister ship, the Fletcher, made a similar visit to Noumea.

PRO-INDEPENDENCE LEADER MEETS FRENCH OVERSEAS MINISTER IN PARIS

PAPEETE, Tahiti (July 5, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---Pro-independence Tavini Party leader Oscar Temaru held talks in Paris with Jean-Jacques Queyranne, French Assistant Minister for Overseas Territories, RFO-Radio reported Monday.

Temaru, who headed a delegation including French Polynesia Member of Parliament Emile Vernaudon, met Queyranne last week to discuss the drafting of a bill setting the framework for French Polynesia's larger autonomy status.

After talks with Temaru, Queyranne said the preparation of the bill would take place after consultations with the widest spectrum of the population and "in the respect of democracy and transparency."

Temaru and his delegation also met the Bills Commission President in the French National Assembly, Catherine Tasca, and French ruling Socialist party officials.

Last May, the National Assembly in Paris approved a constitutional amendment changing French Polynesia from an "overseas territory" to an "overseas country."

The same amendment is set to be endorsed by France's lower house, the Senate, next October 13.

Under the new proposed status, French Polynesia would create its own nationality and negotiate at an international level.

NEW CALEDONIANS COLLECT US$ 9,000 FOR KOSOVO'S CHILDREN

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (July 5, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---New Caledonia's Red Cross Society collected US$ 9,000 in two days that will be sent to children in Kosovo, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reported.

The fundraising took place through charity dinners organized at the Pacific Community's headquarters in the French Territory's capital and in primary schools.

The funds are to be forwarded to humanitarian organizations currently operating in Kosovo.

This bulletin was produced by the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA). Editor: Patrick Antoine DECLOITRE For more information, contact Nina RATULELE, PINA Administrator, at pina@is.com.fj

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