New independence group in Kanaky
A new movement has been formed to achieve New Caledonia's independence from France. The Congress Populaire — the Popular Congress of the Kanak People — was launched after a two-day meeting on the eastern island of Lifou.
It is the successor of the pro-independence United Front for the Liberation of Kanaks, which disbanded in January.
The movement's leader, Yann Celene Uregei, says it wants to achieve immediate independence. It also seeks to unite the Kanak people through the revival of traditional customs.
Australia renews military ties with Rabuka
An Australian air force surveillance plane landed in Fiji on September 25, the first such military contact since the coups of 1987.
Australia announced it would again mount surveillance over Fiji's economic zone when a new defence relationship was established during the visit to Canberra in early September by Fiji's prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka.
Australia's defence minister, Robert Ray, is scheduled to visit Suva in early October for detailed talks on defence links.
Vietnamese National Assembly meets
Vietnam's 395-person National Assembly elected Le Duc Anh as president at its meeting on September 23. The assembly is meeting for the first time following elections and the adoption of a new constitution on July 19.
Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet was elected to a second term. Madame Nguyen Thi Binh was elected a vice-president. Binh has been involved in the attempts to normalise relations with the United States.
The assembly also elected Nong Duc Manh, who, at 51, is the youngest member of Vietnamese Communist Party political bureau, as its new chair. Manh is a Tay, one of the minority nationalities in Vietnam.
Pham Hung was re-elected president of the People's Supreme Court.