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New Zealand Herald

Cricket Victory - Drugs Billionaire - Meningitis - Waitangi - Library Skills - Speed Bust - Millennium Baby - MFAT Papers - Kirton Back - Nuclear Disarmament - Editorial: Migration

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CRICKET: New Zealand's high-flying cricketers last night ended their series against the West Indies as they started it - with another stirring win in the fifth one-dayer at Jade Stadium. Having crushed the West Indies 2-0 in the tests, New Zealand capped off one of their most successful home series in history when they beat the tourists by 20 runs to effect an unprecedented 5-0 clean sweep in the ODIs.

DRUGS BILLIONAIRE: The Herald may be forced to take its fight to name a drug-smuggling American billionaire to the High Court in the hope of avoiding a drawn-out legal battle. The Herald has applied to the Otahuhu District Court to lift its suppression of the name of the businessman who was discharged without conviction after admitting three charges involving more than 100g of cannabis resin and leaf.

DRUGS BILLIONAIRE: Sky TV says it cannot stop the name of the American billionaire who walked free on drugs charges from being broadcast in New Zealand. The man's name could appear in news reports on the worldwide CNN network, which is shown on Sky.

MENINGITIS: Thousands of Auckland children could be given a trial vaccine in an attempt to beat the epidemic of meningococcal disease that is killing and maiming New Zealanders. The nine-year epidemic, which has claimed 142 lives, continued this week with five new cases - a teenager and four infants - reported in Auckland.

WAITANGI: Maori rights campaigner Titewhai Harawira has threatened to disrupt Waitangi Day celebrations again by naming Ngapuhi tribal elders with histories of violent or sexual abuse. Mrs Harawira said she would leave Waitangi's Te Tii Marae quietly if asked to on Waitangi Day, but would embarrass her tribe.

LIBRARY SKILLS: Many New Zealand children struggle when faced with using a library or looking up information in a reference book. The shortcomings are revealed by the Council of Educational Research, which studied skills tests on 5400 pupils in years five to eight (ages 10 to 14).

SPEED BUST: Police cracked a gang-related drug ring yesterday in raids which netted "speed" with a street value of more than $80,000 and uncovered guns and stashes of cash. But a laboratory used to manufacture the speed - formally known as methamphetamine - was the major find, said Detective Sergeant Darryl Brazier, who headed the four-month police operation codenamed Mexico.

MILLENNIUM BABY: The parents of the millennium's first baby hope to take their son home next week, after spending 11 anxious days by his bedside. Baby Tuatahi Manaakitunga still has tubes emerging from his nose and mouth after undergoing surgery at Green Lane Hospital in Auckland last week to correct faulty heart vessels.

MFAT PAPERS: New Zealand's involvement in the East Timor crisis has improved relations with our closest defence partners, says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. But in briefing papers to the new Government released yesterday, the ministry warns that the proposed defence review, including a reassessment of the contract to buy 28 F-16 fighter planes from the United States, will be closely watched in Washington and Canberra.

KIRTON BACK: Former New Zealand First MP Neil Kirton has found himself a new job as a "ministerial liaison consultant" for the Alliance MP and Minister of Customs, Phillida Bunkle. The former Associate Health Minister, whose arguments with National's Bill English stretched the last Coalition to breaking point, will advise Ms Bunkle and other Alliance ministers on how to work with Labour in government.

NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT: The Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, Matt Robson, has promised to do his best to promote nuclear disarmament. He was responding to briefing papers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that said progress in international efforts had stalled.

EDITORIAL - MIGRATION: Few more important tasks await the new Government than attending to the country's migration loss. The Department of Labour's briefing of the Minister of Immigration predicts a net loss of 6300 people this year. That would be an improvement on the 11,400 fewer who arrived than departed in the year to June. But if the economy is picking up as strongly as recent signs suggest, we would normally expect a population increase from immigration over the next year.

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