French island of New Caledonia to vote on independence on Nov. 4

PARIS (Reuters) - The nickel-rich Pacific island of New Caledonia will hold a referendum on Nov. 4 on whether to break away from France and become independent, a government source said on Monday. Talks on the future of the island, which lies 1,200 km (750 miles) east of Australia and 20,000 km from Paris, began in 1988 after a period of separatist conflict, including the "Ouvea cave massacre" in which 19 Kanaks and two French soldiers were killed. A deal in 1998 provided for a referendum on independence to be held by the end of 2018. (Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Andrew Roche)