French Polynesia

France to reconsider compensation for nuclear test victims

This has been disclosed by the French Polynesian president Edouard Fritch, who communicated the French decision in a letter to the heads of three test victims organisations in Tahiti.

Mr Fritch announced the decision on today's 51st anniversary of France's first nuclear weapons in the South Pacific.

The day has been marked by a commemoration of those who perished and those who continue to suffer radiation-induced illnesses.

The announcement coincides with opposition and church moves to pursue France for crimes against humanity over its test regime.

French Polynesia marks anniversary of first French atomic test

On this day in 1966, the French military carried out the first of its 193 nuclear tests at French Polynesia's Moruroa atoll.

A gathering has been called in Papeete this afternoon.

Roland Oldham, who is the head of French Polynesia's nuclear veterans organisation, said even though former nuclear workers were dying, their descendents continued to face the problem of nuclear fallout.

Cocaine use surprises French Polynesia atoll

The public broadcaster reported that the mayor of Faaite Jean Louis Williams had contacted police to come to the atoll.

In April, authorities found 237kg of cocaine on a burnt out yacht on Faaite after its two sailors had been taken to Papeete and detained.

The yacht had run aground and was on fire when the two men were rescued and given medical care.

When locals tried to clean up the debris of the burnt yacht, they found the cocaine amid signs that hundreds of kilogrammes of cocaine had already been burnt.

Tahiti airport strike yet to end

Most grievances have been settled and outer island airports have resumed full services.

However, in Tahiti firefighters employed by the airport company are yet to agree to return to work.

This has affected the schedule of international flights.

The French High Commissioner Rene Bidal has expressed concern at the impasse and warned that firefighters ordered to maintain a basic service risk jail if they refuse to comply.

The five-day stoppage last week crippled domestic air travel to dozens of destinations and disrupted tourism.


Protocol reached to end crippling French Polynesia strike

After five days of disruptions, media reports say a deal has been reached between the authorities and publicly employed firefighters.

An agreement is yet to be concluded with all firefighters on the payroll of the private company running some of the dozens of airports across the archipelago.

Only a couple of islands had maintained links with Tahiti, throwing travel plans of several thousand people into disarray.

The stoppage also imperiled medical evacuations.

The partial settlement clears the way for a gradual resumption of services to the outer islands.

Obama arrives in Tahiti

A former US president Barack Obama has arrived in French Polynesia for what has been suggested will be a month-long stay.

French Pacific minors face new travel restrictions

The measure is reportedly aimed at curbing travel to recruitment areas of Middle Eastern extremists.

Minors now need a completed form as well as a photo copy of one of their parents' identity cards.

According to media reports, this means that minors travelling between France and French Polynesia and New Caledonia need the authorisation even if they only transit via Los Angeles or Tokyo.

Photo: AFP Air Calin planes at Tontouta Airport in New Caledonia 

Vitamin D supplement stopped in French Pacific

The decision follows the death of a 10-day old infant in France.

Uvesterol D was developed by the Crinex laboratory and is used against vitamin D deficiencies in children up to five years old.

The authorities say the concern is about how the supplement was being administered and not the substance itself.

Parents are advised to seek medical advice on what type of supplement to choose.

Final appeal from Tahiti for Forum membership

He was speaking in Port Moresby on the eve of the Forum leaders' leaders session which is due to discuss the issue.

French Polynesia is an associate member of the Forum and its bid for membership is being considered by the group.

Mr Fritch says as a man of the Pacific he is deeply linked to the region's values and the French territory always acted in solidarity with its Pacific neighbours as the islands share the same DNA.

He said it was time for full membership after the territory's ten years' listening and learning as an observer and associate at the Forum.

French Polynesia's Fritch to set up political party

This follows moves this week to expel him from Gaston Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira party.

Mr Fritch says he wants to build a new political family and his 35 year membership of Tahoeraa was finished.

Relations between Mr Fritch and the 84 year old former president have been steadily worsening since Mr Fritch replaced the convicted Flosse as the territory's president a year ago.

This is despite Flosse having repeatedly designated Mr Fritch, who is his former son-in-law, as his successor.