New Caledonia

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Today, we broadcast the final Pacific News Minute of 2017 and Neal Conan continues his series on big stories that will continue to reverberate in the coming year - today: decolonization.

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Wikimedia Commons

A main road on the French Island of New Caledonia was closed for part of the weekend after more violence. An emergency doctor says a pick-up truck repeatedly rammed his vehicle from behind and forced him off the road in what he said was an attempted murder. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

New Caledonia’s independence referendum passed a major hurdle last week. After marathon talks in Paris, pro and anti-independence factions reached agreement on a fundamental point - who gets to vote. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Anti-independence forces will be in charge of organizing next year’s referendum on independence in New Caledonia. The Congress of the French overseas territory elected a president and vice president yesterday. Details from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikimedia Commons

An agreement in 1998 requires a referendum on independence in New Caledonia before the end of next year, and now, we finally have some dates. The new government in Paris says the local government has until next May to organize the vote. If it fails to reach agreement, France will do the job itself…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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After the first round of voting in France's Presidential election on Sunday, Independent centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen emerged to face off against each other next month. Neither finished first in New Caledonia or French Polynesia. More details from Neal Conan in today's Pacific News Minute.

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53 police reinforcements are due to arrive in New Caledonia this month as sporadic violence continues south of the capital. And French authorities warn of  military style operations if unrest continues. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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French Naval forces caught three Vietnamese vessels fishing illegally in New Caledonia. Four others were detained there two weeks ago and last month Papua New Guinea’s Fisheries minister described the so-called Blue Boats as a threat to national security. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

More violence in the French Territory of New Caledonia this week...gunmen shut down a main road for more than a day, while pro and anti independence parties issued very different proposals to address the unrest. We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

On Monday, what was reported as a small but heavily armed group of young men fired shots and threw rocks on the main road that runs south from the capital, Noumea.  Police arrived with helicopters and armored cars, but retreated amid more gunfire and explosions.  The road reopened yesterday.

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The situation in New Caledonia is reported calm, after armed protesters blocked roads in the French territory for more than three days. On Sunday, six policemen were injured, two seriously. As we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, the unrest followed a lethal confrontation at a traffic stop.

Robert Engberg / Flickr
Robert Engberg / Flickr

Last week, foreign ministers from the sixteen members of the Pacific Islands Forum met in Fiji, to get set for the organization's summit next month in the Federated States of Micronesia.  Climate change and disaster management headed the official agenda, but, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News minute, another long standing issue has reportedly been resolved.

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French Prime Minster Manuel Valls is on a three-day visit to New Caledonia.  The French South Pacific Territory is scheduled to hold a referendum on independence in 2018, but what's on the ballot and exactly who's eligible to vote remain to be decided...details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.