Australia: If It's Tuesday, This Must Be. . .

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be. . .

A secessionist uprising has begun to stir in the Torres Strait Islands, a balmy archipelago off Australia's remote northern coast. Charging neglect by the government in far-off Canberra, the 5,000 mostly Melanesian islanders are demanding self-rule, along with $3.5 billion in federal compensation. Their main gripe is that Australian-based fisheries are exploiting the waters surrounding the 15 islands, which include those whimsically named Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

"Independence is the only way for us to go now," says George Mye, chairman of the islanders' 19-member Coordinating Council. After initially dismissing the fuss, Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke last week dispatched a...

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