NEW CALEDONIA NEWS

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Wednesday, September 29, 1999
PINA Nius Online

NEW CALEDONIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS HIS FIRST AID AGREEMENT

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (September 29, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---New Caledonia's President Jean Lèques signed a 1.8 billion CFP (US$ 18 million) aid agreement with the European Union, under its European Development Fund (EDF), Tuesday, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The EDF's current program covers a five-year period.

In addition to developing countries, EDF’s support also is available to French overseas territories.

Under its evolving status, New Caledonia’s President (who was elected last June) now signs EDF support documents. Previously, EDFs were signed by France's representative in the French territory, the French High Commissioner.

The next five years' main focus is on road improvement (especially tar sealing in the Northern part of New Caledonia's main island - 666.4 million CFP-) and aid to the growing fisheries and aquaculture industry (450 million CFP).

Mont Dore town, in the suburbs of Noumea, also will benefit from the European aid. It will receive support to improve its sewage system (666.4 million CFP).

Last week, another French Pacific territory, French Polynesia, signed a similar five-year EDF agreement, provided to develop infrastructure facilities and environmental protection programs.

 

CIGUATERA TOXIN TEST KIT AVAILABLE IN NEW CALEDONIAN MARKET

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (September 29, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---A Hawai‘i-made test kit for ciguatera toxin now is available in New Caledonia, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The ciguatera toxin's effects are well-known throughout the Pacific. When corals flower at certain times of the year, they contain a toxin, ciguatera, which gets into the food chain.

Fish ingest it when eating coral and quantities in fish meat raise to critical concentration levels for humans.

The toxin is passed on whenever a toxic-high fish is eaten by an unsuspecting islander.

The usual symptoms of ciguatera poisoning are shivers, itching and cramps.

In French, the disease is referred to as "la gratte" (itch syndrome).

The new kit, called "Cigua-Check," tests fish meat prior to eating. By placing chemicals on samples of fish flesh, the tentative consumer is able to find out, by the color that results, if the fish is toxic (more or less purple).

 

FRENCH POLYNESIAN TRADE DELEGATION IN NEW CALEDONIA TO EXPLORE EXCHANGES, TRAINING

PAPEETE, French Polynesia (September 29, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---A delegation from French Polynesia's Chamber of Commerce is in New Caledonia this week to explore development of more trade between the two French Pacific territories, the daily newspaper La Dépêche de Tahiti reports.

The delegation, which is led by French Polynesia’s economy minister Georges Pluchon, is to meet business leaders in New Caledonia, as well as members of the local CCI (Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie).

"We came here to see what is being done New Caledonia and to explore the possibilities of creating a Trade Chamber in French Polynesia, just like they have here," Pluchon said.

Skills training exchanges also are being considered.

"The bottom line is to reduce unemployment by increasing the skills in all the small trades."

New Caledonia's trade group, through its training project, manages to get 90% of its graduates jobs. At the moment, this is not the case in French Polynesia. Even qualified persons have difficulty getting a job," Pluchon said.

The two territories are working together to boost trade volume.

"A protocol was signed in 1985, but it never got anywhere. For the past five years, we've been trying to revive it. It doesn't mean we want to increase competition between our two territories, but, instead, to complement each other by trading products that might not otherwise be available," the minister explained.

"We've already drafted our own list."

Exchanges between the two French territories already involve such products as New Caledonia-produced shrimp and French Polynesia's black pearls.

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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