And that's the end of the first real news week of 2000... or is it? On second thoughts maybe silly season will end next week.
EXCLUSIVE – New Scoop LOTR Pics
Light Sentence For Billionaire May Be Appealed
- The police say they plan to review the case of the billionaire caught importing drugs into the country next week to see whether they can mount a legal appeal to the sentence. See... Police May Appeal Billionaire's Drug Sentence  in the Headlines wire.
The Price of Freedom
- A drug importing billionare paid around $50,000 to the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation centre as a donation, substantially more than Scoop earlier reported. See... Billionaire's Price of Freedom $50,000 - Police  in the Headlines wire. For our earlier report See... One Very Lucky Billionaire  in the Headlines wire.
Bill Gates Accelerates Sideways
- Accelerating the company's major strategy initiative, Microsoft Corp. today announced that its co-founder, Bill Gates, has created a new role for himself -- Chairman and Chief Software Architect -- so that he can dedicate all of his time to helping drive ... See the announcement of the decision of Bill Gates to step aside in Microsoft speak... Bill Gates Steps Aside As Microsoft President  in the Headlines wire.
And The Payouts Continue…
- On the same day Social Services Minister, Steve Maharey, is scathing of the out-of-court settlement made to a sacked staff member by WINZ, it has been revealed that Coast Health Care Ltd also made a substantial out-of-court cash settlement to a staff member in December who had claimed unjustified dismissal. John Howard reports. See... West Coast Nurse Receives Confidential Payout  in the Headlines wire.
Book Burning Alive And Well
- In a Millennium move back to the dark ages which will likely outrage Christians, Jews and Moslems, a Vatican body formerly known as the Inquisition, has ordered copies of a book entitled Women At The Alter to be warehoused or burned. John Howard Reports. See... Vatican 'Inquisition' Orders Burning Of Nuns Book  in the Headlines wire.
Kofi Annan to Visit Russia Then Godzone
- United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan will make a flying visit to New Zealand shores in the last week of February as part of a regional visit to Australia and South-east Asia. He is expected to be in Wellington from the 22nd to the 24th of February and will meet with Prime Minister Helen Clark and Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff to discuss peacekeeping and disarmament issues. Mr Annan is the second Secretary General of the United Nations to visit New Zealand since Butros-Butros Ghali in 1995. The visit to New Zealand for Mr Annan will follow a visit to Russia scheduled for the end of the current month. See... Secretary-General to visit Russia later this month  in the General wire for the UN's announcement of the Russian and NZ visits.
Maharey Says Nats Suppressed Knowledge Of WINZ Payout
- Social Services Minister Steve Maharey said today that the former National Government had suppressed knowledge of an out-of-court settlement involving a former senior WINZ manager which was reached before the election. See... National hid WINZ settlement  Responding to Maharey ACT is demanding answers on the exact timing of the secret out-of-court settlement. See... Minister Must Reveal Timing of WINZ Payout  . National's Employment spokesman Bob Simcock says the WINZ pay-out in the aircraft charter case is just the first of many this government will agree to make. See... Winz Settlement Won't Be The Last.  Green Party co-leader Rod Donald has described revelations of a secret, substantial payout to an ex-WINZ senior manager as scandalous and says it raises significant questions about the competence of WINZ's chief executive. See... Secret WINZ Payout Scandalous - Greens  all in the Parliament wire.
 - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0001/S00023.htm
 - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0001/S00026.htm
 - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0001/S00025.htm
 - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0001/S00027.htm
PHARMAC Legal Action
-PHARMAC says it is consulting its lawyers over a drug company’s decision to breach its contract and withdraw its antidepressant citalopram (Cipramil) from the New Zealand market. See... PHARMAC Considers Action Over Contract Breach  in the Headlines wire.
Old Bread Dated
- A New Zealand radiocarbon laboratory has helped establish the age of the earliest known bread found in Britain. See... NZ Laboratory Dates Stone-Age British Bread  in the Science wire.
- The recent finding of stoat footprints on Stewart Island is a major blow for New Zealand wildlife, according to the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society. See... Stoat Invasion - Major Blow for NZ Wildlife  in the Science wire.
Green Leader Backs Whaling Challenge
- Green Party co-leader Rod Donald is backing calls by Greenpeace for the New Zealand government to lead a legal challenge over Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. See... Greens Call For Legal Challenge on Whaling  in the Parliament wire. Prime Minister Helen Clark said yesterday evening that Japan’s continued whaling in the Southern Ocean could well have tragic consequences not only for the whales it was targeting but also for Greenpeace activists who are challenging Japan’s whaling programme. See... Japanese whaling could have tragic consequences  in the Parliament wire.
Japanese Whalers get Extra Catch - A Protest Boat
-Two Greenpeace activists in an inflatable boat were dragged half way up the stern ramp of a Japanese whaling ship, illegally hunting whales in the protected Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. The activists had attached the inflatable to a tow-line to prevent the transfer of a harpooned Minke whale from a Japanese catcher ship to the factory ship Nisshin-maru. See... Whaling Activists Dragged Up Stern Of Whaling Ship  in the General wire.
Kiwi Medicial Triumph
- New Zealand biotechnology company Genesis Research & Development has announced that its psoriasis vaccine, PVAC™, had passed a major milestone. Genesis, together with its development partner Corixa Corporation ... See... NZ Company to Trial Vaccine in US  in the General wire.
Medicines Sans Frontiers Appeals To Clinton
- Nobel Peace Prize winning organisation Medicines Sans Frontiers has written an open letter to US President Bill Clinton calling for action on Chrechnya. See... MSF Letter To President Clinton regarding Chechnya  in the General wire.
UN News On East Timor
- 12 January -- UN, INTERFET, the international security force, and Indonesian military officials today signed a memorandum of understanding intended to improve cooperation at the border between East and West Timor. See... UN: Agreement on new Timor border checkpoints  . 13 January -- The UN police completed today the exhumation of a mass grave in East Timor, near the town of Liquica, bringing to 16 the total number of bodies discovered at that site, a UN spokesman said in New York. See... UN East Timor: Police exhumation of mass grave  , both stories are in the General wire.
UN Talks Nuclear Disarmament
- 13 January -- The world has made progress in recent years in fulfilling some of the global nuclear disarmament agenda but the challenges ahead are still formidable, UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala, said Wednesday. See... UN: Obstacles remain to global nuclear disarmament  in the General wire.