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Scoop: Top Scoops + Just Politics

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TODAY’S TOP SCOOPS:
NZ Economy: Cullen Warns Of "Heavier Waters" Ahead In 2007/08
Economy: World Bank Says NZ Best Place For Business
Justice: Peace Activists To Appear In Court Today
ICT: Commission Rules Telstra-Clear Will Get Bitstream Broadband Service
World Trade: WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Locked Down – 900 Arrested
Bizarre: Weedy Mascot Looks In Fine Form For Ellerslie -
MORE HEADLINES:
Palestine Monitor Reports Israeli Sound Bombs Kill In Gaza
MORE INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES:

SCOOP COLUMNS:
Suzan Mazur: A Letter From An Alleged Grave Robber
Rosalea Barker: When The President Makes You Angry
No Flies On Misinformation Maestro Dennis Hans
A White (Phosphorous) Christmas - Bodycount Iraq
Cynicism Over Bush / McCain Torture Concession
L. Repscowt Advances A Curious Plame Gate Observation
Toni Solo: Made In Peru Asparagus Leaves Bronx Cold
MORE SCOOP COMMENTARY:

OTHER NEWS (Just Politics):
POLITICAL NEWSLETTERS:
Veterans: Backing For Maori Hero To Get His VC Finally -
Auditor General's Report: Policy Analysts Defend Themselves From Encircling National MPs -
Environment: Judge Rules For Snail – Now Minister Must Act
Election Spending: Are Spending Loopholes Big Enough For A Stock Car?
POLITICAL HEADLINES:
POLITICAL COLUMNS:

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TODAY’S TOP SCOOPS


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NZ Economy: Cullen Warns Of "Heavier Waters" Ahead In 2007/08

“After growing 25 per cent since 1999 against an OECD average of only 16 per cent, the New Zealand economy may be about to enter heavier waters,” Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today. Dr Cullen was commenting on the release of the Budget Policy Statement [BPS] and the 2005 Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update. The Treasury now believes that growth will hold up stronger for longer than in its pre-election forecasts issued in August but that the slowdown, now projected for the 2007 and 2008 March years, will be deeper when it does occur. See... Cullen on BPS, latest economic and fiscal forecast [1]


[1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00286.htm


Economy: World Bank Says NZ Best Place For Business

- Finance Minister Michael Cullen today welcomed a World Bank survey rating New Zealand the easiest place of 155 countries to do business. Australia was sixth. “These international surveys provide an important reminder that, although there is always more work to be done in reducing compliance costs, New Zealand has a lighthanded regulatory regime and a strong pro-business environment." See... Survey result welcomed [1]


[1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00302.htm


Justice: Peace Activists To Appear In Court Today

- Anti-war activist Jon Oosterman is appearing in the Wellington District Court tomorrow (December 20) charged with using offensive language at a protest outside the Governor-General's residence on the day that new US Ambassador William McCormack was presenting his creditials. Another Wellington peace activist, Simon Riddell, is also appearing in court tomorrow, and was arrested for protesting outside the New Zealand Defence Industry Conference at Te Papa in October. He is one of five activists being dragged through the courts after voicing serious concern at Te Papa's continued agreement to host a weapons and arms conference at "Our Place". See... Peace activists targeted for speaking out [1]


[1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0512/S00157.htm


ICT: Commission Rules Telstra-Clear Will Get Bitstream Broadband Service

- ToThe Commerce Commission has released a final determination under the Telecommunications Act providing TelstraClear with regulated access to a wholesale bitstream service supplied by Telecom. Bitstream is an input to the provision of broadband to consumers on Telecom's copper local access network. TelstraClear will combine bitstream with its own transmission and ISP services to create its own broadband services for customers. See... TelstraClear will have bitstream access [1]


[1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU0512/S00280.htm


World Trade: WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Locked Down – 900 Arrested

- Dr Jane Kelsey reports from Hong Kong: - The parallel worlds of protesters who say the WTO is destroying the lives of people in North and South, and of trade ministers who desperately seek a cosmetic deal that can keep the WTO alive, finally met last night when a mass mobilization forced the lockdown of the Convention Centre. But the message being voiced by the activists was drowned out by a focus on the confrontations, rather than the message. See... WTO: Who Is Responsible For The Violence? [1] MORE:

  • WTO - WTO Ministerial Hong Kong - Summary Of 17/12/05 [2] & WTO Draft Ministerial Declaration - 17 Dec. [3]
  • ICTSD - Talks Continue Around Clock In Search Of Consensus [4]
  • Oxfam - Response to draft WTO Ministerial text [5] & Rich countries backsliding on promises [6]
  • EARLIER FROM PROF. KELSEY:
  • Jane Kelsey WTO: Democracy a la WTO [7]
  • WTO: Services Standoff Heightens Risk of Collapse [8]
  • WTO: Declaration of Solidarity Lays Down Gauntlet [9]
  • Jane Kelsey WTO: Standoff on Services [10]
  • Jane Kelsey WTO: Development Deceits [11]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00196.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0512/S00299.htm
    [3] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0512/S00298.htm
    [4] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0512/S00300.htm
    [5] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0512/S00138.htm
    [6] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0512/S00137.htm
    [7] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00195.htm
    [8] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00193.htm
    [9] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00192.htm
    [10] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00185.htm
    [11] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00184.htm


    Bizarre: Weedy Mascot Looks In Fine Form For Ellerslie -

    The odds are on Woody Weed to win the mascot dash at Ellerslie Racecourse on New Years Day, reckons national Weedbusters Coordinator, Carolyn Lewis. If Woody Weed wins or places in the mascot dash, his winnings will be donated to the Royal Forest and Bird Society, who will use the proceeds to support Weedbusting projects being undertaken by their members. See... Weedy Mascot For Charity Dash [1]


    [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC0512/S00035.htm


    MORE HEADLINES:

  • Great reasons to go ape this summer [1]
  • Big Prize Money For Skateboarders At Porirua Fest [2]
  • December Independent Music News... [3]
  • Sunbeds Not Cool Says Cancer Society [4]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC0512/S00036.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU0512/S00128.htm
    [3] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU0512/S00127.htm
    [4] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE0512/S00078.htm


    Palestine Monitor Reports Israeli Sound Bombs Kill In Gaza

    - The General Director of Reception and Emergency in the Palestinian Health Ministry, Dr Mauia Hassanin, declared that four sick Palestinians died on Sunday 18the December due to Israeli sound-bombs and shelling in Southern Gaza. See... Gaza: Four Palestinians die due to sound-bombs [1] . See also… Genevieve Cora Fraser - Israel Breathes Fear into Arab East Jerusalem [2]


    [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0512/S00332.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00212.htm

    MORE INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES:

  • Two Florida Counties, DRE & Scan, Drop Diebold [1]
  • $85m Needed To Tackle Landmine Scourge In Sudan [2]
  • Iraq: UN Envoy Commends Inclusive Elections [3]
  • Brazil: Indians Thrown Off Land [4]
  • Explosion at Leningrad–due to bad management [5]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0512/S00329.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0512/S00308.htm
    [3] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0512/S00307.htm
    [4] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0512/S00305.htm
    [5] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0512/S00301.htm

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    SCOOP COLUMNS


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    Suzan Mazur: A Letter From An Alleged Grave Robber

    - On August 27, 1991, Bob "the biggest dealer" Hecht, now on trial in Rome for antiquities trafficking, sent the following handwritten letter to Turkish journalist Ozgen Acar about their shared enthusiasm for ancient coins, among other subjects. I was mentioned, and since I'd been collaborating with Acar on antiquities stories for Connoisseur and The Economist, Acar faxed a copy of the letter to me from Turkey. See... Suzan Mazur: A Preview Of Bob Hecht's Memoirs [1]


    [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00224.htm


    Rosalea Barker: When The President Makes You Angry

    - Well, I've just watched the last part of President George W. Bush's Sunday prime-time address to the nation, and you should know straight off that I'm pissed off that I missed the beginning of it. See... Stateside with Rosalea: Angry, Angry, Angry [1]


    [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00225.htm


    No Flies On Misinformation Maestro Dennis Hans

    - John Edwards began his widely discussed guest column for the Washington Post , titled “The Right Way in Iraq,” with these dramatic words: “I was wrong.” See... Dennis Hans: I Was Right [1]


    [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00222.htm


    A White (Phosphorous) Christmas - Bodycount Iraq

    - George W. Bush, 12 December 2005: “How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say; 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We’ve lost about 2,140 of our own troops.” As the Occupation of Iraq is approaching three years, the mass murder of Iraqi civilians is not questioned, but normalised in Western conscience. President Bush reached the stage where he is able to make his own figure of Iraqi deaths, with no remorse or sadness. The war was not the result of “wrong intelligence”; the war was an illegal act of aggression, and a premeditated mass murder. ‘Democracy’ is used as a tool to manipulate the public and justify war crimes. See... Ghali Hassan: The Crimes of U.S. ‘Democracy’ [1] MORE:

  • Gabriele Zamparini Gabriele Zamparini: White (Phosphorous) Christmas [2]
  • Jay Shaft IV With Vet - I’m Just Not The Same Person I Was Before Iraq [3]
  • Dahr Jamail - Dahr Jamail: An Increasingly Aerial Occupation [4]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00213.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00208.htm
    [3] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00219.htm
    [4] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00204.htm


    Cynicism Over Bush / McCain Torture Concession

    - In deciding not to follow through on his threat to veto Sen. John McCain’s amendment against torture, Bush actually surrendered very little. Torture is still in the eyes of the beholders in the defense and intelligence communities. See... Bush Gesture to McCain: Less than Meets the Eye [1] MORE:

  • Augustine Peterson - Bush Fools Americans Over McCain Ban On On Torture [2]
  • Bernard Weiner - Those Secret Torture-Prisons: A Modest Proposal [3]
  • William Fisher - Remembering Eleanor & the Human Rights Declaration [4]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00211.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00209.htm
    [3] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00203.htm
    [4] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00199.htm


    L. Repscowt Advances A Curious Plame Gate Observation

    - The Associated Press recently released a story stating Bob Novak is confident that President Bush knows who leaked Valerie Plame’s name to the press. Does President Bush know who leaked Valerie Plame’s name, or is President Bush the person that initially ... See... L. Repscowt: Is HE the leak? [1] MORE PLAMEGATE:

  • Jason Leopold - Jason Leopold: The Case Against Karl Rove [2]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00206.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00194.htm


    Toni Solo: Made In Peru Asparagus Leaves Bronx Cold

    - In the first few days of December the United States marked emphatically another stage in its progressive imperial decline by frenetically and unexpectedly closing a bi-lateral "free trade" deal with Peru. Just a couple of weeks beforehand, Peru had joined Ecuador and Colombia in withdrawing from negotiations on a broad Andean regional trade treaty. Then, abruptly, early in December, Peru's negotiators were ordered to Washington. Outstanding differences were resolved and the negotiations declared successfully closed. Peru sold out its sovereignty to the United States for the sake of marginal benefits like increased asparagus exports. It was not so much a US victory as an unmistakeable sign of the Bush regime's failure to sustain credible leadership in the Americas. See… Varieties Of Imperial Decline [1]


    [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00198.htm


    MORE SCOOP COMMENTARY:

  • Russell Brown et al- Public Address 19/12/05 - Apes And Brains [1]
  • John Roughan - Winning the Kwaso War! [2]
  • Syed Atiq ul Hassan - Syed Atiq ul Hassan: Oz Needs Social Reform [3]
  • Sol Salbe - Letters in the Australian Jewish News re Cronulla [4]
  • Norman Solomon - At the Gates of San Quentin [5]
  • William Fisher - Wink, Wink, Nod, Nod [6]
  • Evelyn Pringle - TeenScreen - New York Times - Danger Signs [7]
  • Mary Pitt - Mary Pitt: Time To Fish Or Cut Bait [8]
  • Sanjay Upadhya - Nepal: Between The Dragon And The Peacock [9]
  • Kamala Sarup - The Evolution of Nepal's Strategic Thought [10]
  • Narconews - Bolivia Goes to the Polls [11]
  • Narconews - Coca Growers' Nancy Obregón Arrested in Peru [12]
  • Good Returns - Book Review: Climbing the Property Ladder [13]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00223.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00215.htm
    [3] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00216.htm
    [4] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00205.htm
    [5] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00202.htm
    [6] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00200.htm
    [7] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00221.htm
    [8] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00220.htm
    [9] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00218.htm
    [10] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00217.htm
    [11] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00214.htm
    [12] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00210.htm
    [13] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00207.htm


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    OTHER NEWS (JUST POLITICS)


    ------------

    POLITICAL NEWSLETTERS:

  • Molesworth & Featherston Weekend: Dec 16 2005 [1]
  • Transtasman Political Letter – 15 Dec. 2005 Digest [2]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00186.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00201.htm


    Veterans: Backing For Maori Hero To Get His VC Finally -

    Member of Parliament for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell, welcomed the suggestion today from the Waitangi Tribunal, that the Crown should facilitate a joint research effort with the Manahi VC Committee to prepare a submission to the Palace for the award . See... Maori Party Supports Tribunal Report on Maori Hero [1] ALSO:

  • Waitangi Tribunal - Haane Manahi Victoria Cross Claim [2]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00287.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0512/S00143.htm


    Auditor General's Report: Policy Analysts Defend Themselves From Encircling National MPs -

    The Directors of Allen and Clarke Policy and Regulatory Specialists Limited said today that they were pleased that the Office of the Controller and Auditor-General’s report on its inquiry into the Ministry of Health’s contracting with Allen & Clarke. See... Statement from Allan And Clarke On AG Report [1] ALSO:

  • National - OAG report: Heads must roll [2]
  • National - Report shows a saga of monumental incompetence [3]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE0512/S00070.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00282.htm
    [3] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00279.htm


    Environment: Judge Rules For Snail – Now Minister Must Act

    - The threatened giant land snail may be one step further away from extinction thanks to the tenacity of Forest and Bird and the commonsense of a High Court judge, the Green Party says. Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei today congratulated the environmental group for winning its landmark High Court case against State Owned Enterprise Solid Energy, and thanked the judge for his reasoned decision. See... Snails' extinction lies in hands of ministers [1] ALSO:

  • Procrastination will not save the albatross [2]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00270.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00265.htm


    Election Spending: Are Spending Loopholes Big Enough For A Stock Car?

    - The Rt Hon Winston Peters has said that he is disappointed with the Judges' findings in relation to the electoral petition for the seat of Tauranga, as there now appear to be no rules to limit candidate expenditure. "This development means that we have taken the first steps down the slippery slope of US style politics in which wealthy candidates are able to buy their way into politics. "I commenced my action because, like others, I believed that there was gross over expenditure in this case. See... Peters Declares The Law On Expenditure Now Void [1] ALSO:

  • National - National pleased with Tauranga decision [2]
  • National - Bob Clarkson delighted at result [3]
  • High Court Decision - Judgment: Clarkson Wins Tauranga (PDF) [4]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00241.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00242.htm
    [3] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00236.htm
    [4] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0512/S00174.htm


    POLITICAL HEADLINES:

  • NZ Govt - Top officials receive PM's scholarships [1]
  • NZ Govt - Government To Tighten Foreign Fishing Approvals [2]
  • NZ Govt - Interest free student loan costings [3]
  • National - More spin than substance in loan costings [4]
  • National - Hit list schools still vulnerable [5]
  • Green Party - Bush's NSA can't be trusted with Waihopai data [6]
  • ACT - The Letter – 19 December 2005 [7]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00280.htm
    [2] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00273.htm
    [3] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00277.htm
    [4] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00285.htm
    [5] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00276.htm
    [6] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00275.htm
    [7] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00281.htm


    POLITICAL COLUMNS:

  • Nats - www.mccully.co.nz 16 December 2005 [1]

  • [1] - http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00266.htm

    ENDS

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