May 3, 1988 |
For the past 11 days and nights, the young Melanesian rebel leader holding 23 French hostages in a cave has not let go of his ax. It is the same ax, French authorities say, that was used to hack three French gendarmes to death when the hostages were seized. Of that, authorities say they are certain, because the young Melanesian has refused to wipe the gendarmes' blood from the ax blade. The blood apparently serves as inspiration for the kidnapers, who the French charge have "the madness of God."
July 14, 1987 |
A group of New Caledonians has an unusual solution for the political future of this French overseas territory where Melanesians are agitating for independence: They would make it America's 51st state. The statehood idea is being pushed, only half in jest, by the American Assn., an informal coalition of about 10,000 people, most of them French settlers who remember fondly the massive presence of U.S. servicemen in the South Pacific during World War II.