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New Zealand Herald

Drugs Billionaire - Immunisation - Urinator's Name Suppressed - Pig Hunters Found - Wireless Internet - Meningitis - Virgin In Demand - State Housing - Defence Spending - Clark And Waitangi - Gisborne Pathology

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DRUGS BILLIONAIRE: The billionaire businessman in the name suppression row is prepared to battle through the courts to keep his identity from being published in the Herald. The first shots in what could be a long legal battle were fired in the Otahuhu District Court yesterday. The man's lawyer, Marie Dyhrberg, said the case had the potential to change the law.

DRUGS BILLIONAIRE: The drug-smuggling American billionaire slipped out of the country yesterday afternoon after instructing his lawyer to do whatever it takes to keep his identity secret here. He left through the normal public exit after Customs refused a request that he receive special treatment by being allowed to go out a back door.

IMMUNISATION: Thousands of school pupils will have to take vaccination certificates to class as part of a new policy to protect children from disease outbreaks. The Ministry of Health has asked schools to collect information from parents about the immunisation records of new entrants so they can act quickly if a disease such as whooping cough is detected.

URINATOR'S NAME SUPPRESSED: A prominent Aucklander caught urinating on a footpath got an after-hours court order suppressing his identity after a police tip-off that the Herald was investigating. He appeared in the Auckland District Court on Tuesday charged with offensive behaviour after a police patrol saw him urinating on a footpath in inner-city Jean Batten Place last Friday.

PIG HUNTERS FOUND: Two teenagers lost deep in the Urewera Ranges for more than three days have been rescued carrying what they went in to get - a pig. Edward Fraser, aged 17, and his cousin Derek Te Moana, 13, woke up at their Ruatoki home at 3 am on Sunday, grabbed a .270 rifle, mounted a horse and yelled for their three pig dogs to follow them into the bush.

WIRELESS INTERNET: The days of using a cellphone just for voice and short messages are numbered. Two deals yesterday will bring the Internet and a host of new services to the cellular handset. Herald publisher Wilson & Horton unveiled plans by a new associate company, iTouch New Zealand, to deliver news, sports results, share prices and services such as banking and ticket buying to digital cellphones.

MENINGITIS: The Dutch institute that makes two vaccines proposed for testing on New Zealand children in the battle against meningococcal disease says both have produced good results in small European trials. The director of the Dutch Government-owned National Institute of Public Health and the Environment will visit New Zealand health officials next week to discuss the trial.

VIRGIN IN DEMAND: At least two New Zealand airports want Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Express no-frills airline to use their terminals. Aviation experts in Australia doubt the airline will fly to New Zealand straight away, because of the small size of its market.

STATE HOUSING: The Government has frozen state house sales while it investigates changes in housing policy. This follows the sale of more than 600 state houses in the four months before Labour took office.

DEFENCE SPENDING: The Government says priorities for new equipment for the armed forces must be addressed urgently, but it has stopped short of promising more defence spending. Defence briefing papers show a general erosion in spending under previous Governments, says the Minister of Defence, Mark Burton.

CLARK AND WAITANGI: While debate over protocol rages in the Far North, Prime Minister Helen Clark has been assured of Waitangi Day speaking rights at Ngai Tahu's Onuku Marae on Banks Peninsula. Maori Affairs Minister Dover Samuels will meet elders of Te Tii Marae at Waitangi on Saturday. It is understood the elders will be asked to show they can guarantee Helen Clark's "cultural safety."

GISBORNE PATHOLOGY: Mahia MP Janet Mackey has asked for a ministerial inquiry into the lack of pathology services in Gisborne, as Maori threaten to stop family members' bodies being taken out of town for autopsies. Autopsies were required after the deaths of two foetuses this month, and the bodies had to be taken to Hamilton, despite the presence in Gisborne of a pathologist.

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