New Caledonia

Arrests in New Caledonia over mine attacks

Two of them have been charged, with one of them admitting to setting two fires to the conveyor belt which feeds ore to the coast for shipping to the SLN smelter in Noumea

The third suspect has been transferred to prison after he had been given a jail term of 18 months in June.

The arrests came only days after 15 trucks were destroyed in Kouaoua.

Earlier police had removed a blockade of the mining site which has been the scene of protracted disputes this year with a group opposed to expanded mining.

New Caledonia votes against independence from France

More than 174,000 voters were eligible to vote in the first such referendum in more than 30 years.

The result has defied predictions as the anti-independence camp hoped for an overwhelming victory to bury the Kanaks' aspirations for a new country once and for all.

The pro-independence side has taken heart from making inroads in the mainly European Noumea area and is determined to invoke the Noumea Accord which allows for another referendum in two years.

Interest has been unprecedented, with turnout at 80 percent and in some electorates soaring to 95 percent.

300 police reinforcements arrive ahead of New Caledonia referendum

According to the public broadcaster, the three squads will be deployed in Kone, Poindimie and Tontouta, which is near Noumea's international airport.

They have just three weeks to familiarise themselves with the new environment to be ready for November 4th.

The one-day referendum will determine whether New Caledonia will assume full sovereignty.

Teen gets 12 years for causing fatal accident in New Caledonia

He was tried behind closed doors and convicted on a charge of theft with violence causing death.

The now 18-year-old was identified as the main person who triggered the woman's fall along the road south of Noumea.

The victim was a 31-year-old nurse going home after a nightshift.

The group of four teenagers was found to have wanted to steal her motorbike but fled when other people came near the scene.

The accident in March last year initially triggered an intense debate on social media over whether her fall was the result of foul play.

New Caledonia man trapped in bus luggage hold

Reports say the man travelled almost 300 kilometres from Koumac to Boulouparis where he tried to get his bags from deep within the bus.

Unaware of him, the driver shut the hold remotely and continued the journey towards Noumea.

The man's daughter said he called her using his mobile phone, upon which she unsuccessfully tried to call the driver.

She then contacted the police who intercepted the bus and freed the man after he had travelled 30 kilometres locked up.

 

     

Trio have cocaine sentences lengthened in New Caledonia

The captain, who is a 70-year old from the Netherlands, has been jailed for nine years, which is two years more than the sentence in the criminal court earlier this year.

The other two, a 54-year-old from Peru and a 39-year-old from Poland, have each been given seven-year jail terms.

According to Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes, the trio had earlier also been fined more than $US25 million.

The street value of the drugs was estimated to be about $US450 million.

Pato meets President of France

Minister Pato was the special envoy of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at a meeting of Pacific leaders with the President in Noumea.

President Macron led the discussion on a wide range of regional and global issues, including climate change and biodiversity.

Minister Pato told the French leader that the Pacific welcomed his statement in Sydney last week affirming the commitment of France to a rules-based international order.

Cyclone Hola bears down on New Caledonia

The cyclone, which caused damage in Vanuatu's northern islands, re-intensified into a category 3 overnight, with sustained winds of about 150km/h at its centre.

At 6 o'clock this morning, local time, (8am NZT) Hola was about 90 kilometres northeast of Lifou, and is expected to pass close to the island of Mare today.

On Mare, electricity supplies have already been cut off and winds in excess of 100 km/h have been reported as well as swells of six to eight metres.

On the main island, well to the west of the cyclone, as much as 200mm of rain was recorded overnight.

New Caledonia goes to highest alert ahead of Hola

It has declared a level two alert to apply in Ouvea at 4pm (New Zealand time) and in Mare at 7pm.

The cyclone weakened earlier today to a category three as it moved away from Vanuatu.

And while it is more than 300 kilometres from Vanuatu, it is still bringing gale force winds, thunderstorms and a threat of flooding.

Forecasters said the cyclone is likely to weaken further later today.

Meanwhile, people in the Loyalty Island group have been preparing for the arrival of Hola.

Alerts lifted in New Caledonia as Cyclone Gita moves away

Initial reports say the category three storm caused no serious damage.

It passed as forecast to the south of the Isle of Pines which was the only part of the territory on full alert.

The system brought gales of up to 130 km an hour as well as heavy rain.

Hilary Roots, who lives on the Isle of Pines, said Cyclone Gita was frightening as it passed through Friday night.

She said there was less rain than forecast but there were very strong wind gusts.

Ms Roots said the eye passed a hundred kilometres to south of the Isle.