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New Zealand Herald

Americas Cup - WINZ - Blues Coach Cancer - Drugs Billionaire - Fantasy - East Timor - Jonah's Noise Machine - Holmes Fall - TV Advertising - Auckland - Editorial: Name Suppression

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AMERICAS CUP: Prada team members decked themselves out as modern-day Pinocchios yesterday to let the world know what they thought of AmericaOne's failure to beat Team Dennis Conner. They accused confirmed finalist AmericaOne, skippered by Paul Cayard, of throwing the race to keep Conner in the America's Cup competition and reduce Prada's chances of reaching the finals.

WINZ: A senior Work and Income New Zealand manager, suspended after the department spent $165,000 on charter flights for staff, has received a secret out-of-court settlement understood to include an apology and a big cash payment. But the Herald is not allowed to name the manager because she has had her name suppressed.

BLUES COACH CANCER: New Blues coach Gordon Hunter has inoperable cancer but is determined to continue his top-level coaching career. The 50-year-old Hunter will undergo chemotherapy treatment but said yesterday that he would "resume active coaching when the Blues assemble on January 24."

DRUGS BILLIONAIRE: The Herald has won the first step in its legal battle to name the American billionaire caught smuggling drugs into New Zealand. A judge ruled yesterday that the newspaper had a right to try to challenge the name suppression order in the district court.

DRUGS BILLIONAIRE: The police have stepped into the case of the drugs- smuggling billionaire. They may appeal against his discharge without conviction. The national police prosecutions manager, Assistant Police Commissioner Neville Trendle, confirmed last night that he would review the file.

FANTASY: Police are preparing to crack down on the dance-party drug Fantasy, after the Government yesterday outlawed its recreational use and supply. The Ministry of Health, fearing users will die, has now classified the drug as a prescription medicine as a "stop-gap measure" ahead of expected changes to drug-abuse laws.

EAST TIMOR: Rising fear of civil disorder among East Timorese youths - who have high expectations of a brighter future now the Indonesians have gone - prompted a plea yesterday for more police volunteers. It came from the Australian commander of the International Force for East Timor (Interfet), Major-General Peter Cosgrove.

JONAH'S NOISE MACHINE: Jonah Lomu's kidneys would burst if he sat in his Nissan Patrol with the volume on full - never mind about ruining the ears. The noise from the nine amplifiers would reach an extraordinary 163 decibels and regardless of whether the ears or kidney went first, Lomu would die, says his cousin Sosaia "The General" Kailahi.

HOLMES' FALL: Broadcaster Paul Holmes was last night nursing a broken leg, extensive bruising and abrasions after being thrown from a horse while trekking at Matapouri, near Whangarei. Holmes, who was riding with family and friends about 1 pm while holidaying nearby, said he was thrown when his mount, Rapanui, suddenly headed downhill for home - at first at a canter and then at a gallop before shying at a log.

TV ADVERTISING: Advertising agencies have applauded plans by TVNZ to cut the number of commercials it screens late at night on TV One. The state-owned broadcaster will cut both the number of advertisements and promotional clips for its own shows from the end of the month in what it says is an experiment to see how viewers and advertisers respond.

AUCKLAND: Stop complaining about the traffic and the weather, Aucklanders. You are living in one of the best cities in the world. An international survey has ranked the city's quality of life as the world's fifth best, and the best in the Southern Hemisphere.

EDITORIAL - NAME SUPPRESSION: A prominent citizen is caught urinating on an Auckland footpath and the legal system goes to extraordinary trouble to protect his reputation. Why? The offence may be minor; the question is not. It is being asked widely in the community since the Herald reported the suppression of the name of a visiting billionaire in the Otahuhu District Court. The response, not only in letters to the editor but in telephone calls coming in daily, suggests the New Zealand courts should seriously review their whole practice of giving special protection to people of high status. Whatever possesses judges to grant name suppression simply because a guilty person holds a position that would attract publicity? Certainly such a person is likely to suffer greater embarrassment than less exalted people who commit the same offence. Most people find justice in that. Embarrassment is the only real penalty the rich or prominent are likely to feel.

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