NEW CALEDONIA NEWS

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December 1, 1999
PINA Nius Online

STRIKE ENDS AT TONTOUTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (December 1, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---A strike that affected flights at New Caledonia’s Tontouta International Airport ended on Tuesday, RFO-radio reports

The strike was staged by USTKE union (Union des Syndicats des Travailleurs Kanak Exploités) members within the Tontouta Air Services (TAS) company, which manages the airport.

USTKE was demanding the reinstatement of one of the union’s sacked members.

The strike resulted in the disruption of many international flights, including long flight delays, as a result of roving strike actions within TAS’s service areas (luggage, check-in, catering).

In the past week, companies usually using TAS’s catering services no longer were buying food from TAS, involving other companies at stopovers instead.

After talks on Tuesday, USTKE Secretary-General Gérard Jodar and TAS President Jean-Luc Pérodeau signed a memorandum of agreement and normal service resumed at Tontouta on Wednesday.

Negotiations will continue.

 

CYCLONE VICTIMS GET 1.9 MILLION US DOLLARS IN COMPENSATION

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (December 1, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---New Caledonians affected by two cyclones which struck the French territory early this year will receive a total of 190 million CFP (about U.S. 1.9 million) in compensation, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The payment process started this week in the villages of northern New Caledonia.

In the remote Belep islands, special flights are to be chartered later this month to hand over the checks.

Last January and February, cyclones Dani, Ella and Frank struck New Caledonia, damaging some 5,000 homes and the infrastructure of 23 villages.

The French government's Ministry for Overseas Territories is providing assistance in the amount of 263 million CFP (about US$ 2.6 million).

 

SYMPATHY AND SUPPORT TO CYCLONE-STRICKEN VANUATU

NOUMEA, December 1, 1999 (PINA Nius Online) – France’s Secretary of state for Overseas Territories, Jean-Jack Queyranne, has expressed "sympathy and support" to Vanuatu authorities following an earthquake and a tidal wave that struck the northern island on Pentecost on Saturday, killing ten and causing extensive damage, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

Queyranne said humanitarian aid in the form of 15,000 water purification tablets and fresh water was provided earlier this week.

 

NEW CALEDONIA NEWS December 1, 1999 PINA Nius Online

SOUTHERN PROVINCE RE-OPENS REHABILITATED ECO-TOURISM SITE

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (December 2, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---New Caledonia’s Southern Province officials reopened an improved eco-tourism site Wednesday.

Madeleine Falls has always been a popular destination for both overseas tourists and locals, but a few years ago it became a victim of its own popularity. Its natural beauty was threatened by over use and the destruction of natural habitat.

From 7,800 visitors in 1989, figures rose to an estimated 40,000 in 1999. Authorities then decided to temporarily close the site to the public in order to protect it.

Now, with protective measures in place and new tourist facilities constructed, French National Assembly member and Southern Province Vice-President Pierre Frogier has reopened Madeleine Falls.

Wednesday’s official ceremony was attended by local traditional chiefs, who participated in the rehabilitation process.

The project was jointly funded by Southern Province and the French government for a total cost of 98 million French Pacific Francs (about US$ 980,000).

At Madeleine falls, 95% of the plants are endemic to New Caledonia, and some are only found at that location.

The project included replanting some of the rare species, as well as re-directing the public to a newly created site -- Blue River Provincial Park -- away from areas that need to be preserved and to which access now is forbidden.

The park contains some 1,850 plant species and a significant colony of birds, including New Caledonia’s very own cagou (a crested pigeon) and the endemic gecko rhacodactylus laechianus.

 

FLYING BANKNOTES OF NEW CALEDONIAN HIGHWAY

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (December 2, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---Money has wings!

Drivers on the Savexpress Highway near Noumea witnessed a strange show Wednesday: a man running around on the road trying to collect banknotes that had flown away from his vehicle, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The notes had accidentally blown out the window from the back seat of the owner’s car and went flying all over the place amidst heavy traffic. Although the incident caused significant traffic disruption, the owner eventually retrieved his money and none of the banknotes was reported stolen.

 

MARITIME TRAINING AGREEMENT SIGNED BETWEEN

NEW CALEDONIA AND VANUATU

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (December 2, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---New Caledonia’s maritime school head has just ended a one-week visit to neighboring Vanuatu, under an exchange program between the two country’s maritime training schools, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

Christian Blanchard, who heads the New Caledonian school, met his Vanuatu counterpart, Ken Barnett, on Espiritu Santo Island, home to Vanuatu’s school.

Blanchard headed a delegation including the Pacific Community's maritime resources consultant Michel Blanc.

Barnett visited New Caledonia last August, resulting in a training agreement which plans for the training of a ni Vanuatu maritime trainer.

Another ni Vanuatu trainee will spend time in New Caledonia and attend courses at the Ecole des Métiers de la Mer (EMM).

An EMM specialist is also to fly to Espiritu Santo next year and train Vanuatu counterparts.

The three projects are to be funded by the Pacific Community.

The memorandum signed last week is aimed at "improving the variety and quality of raining provided to seamen and fishermen in both countries, so as to increase job opportunities and at the same time improve safety at sea."

 

AUSTRALIAN ICE SKATING SHOW IN NEW CALEDONIA

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (December 2, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---Noumea is offering a strange present to residents for the end of the millennium: an Australian ice-skating show in the middle of the South Pacific, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The show, "Stars on Ice," could well be renamed "Ice On Heat."

"I don’t want to sound pretentious, but I think we’re really offering a nice present to the New Caledonian audience for the end of this millennium," New Caledonian event organizer Gilbert Thong said.

A similar show was staged in Noumea in 1971.

The Australian choreographed musical show features eleven female and two male skaters.

The skating area will be 9 meters long and, 6 meters wide. The wooden floor of Anse-Vata’s Gymnasium will be frozen using a chemical cryogenic system.

The show starts Tuesday, December 7 and closes on Thursday, December 9.

 

This bulletin was produced by the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA). Editor: Patrick Antoine Decloitre E-mail: padec@iname.com 

For more information, contact Nina Ratulele, PINA Administrator, at pina@is.com.fj 

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Damodar Centre, 1st Floor 46 Gordon Street Suva, Republic of the Fiji Islands Tel: (679) 303 623 Fax : (679) 303 943 Postal Address: PINA, Private Mail Bag, Suva, Fiji Islands Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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