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Student Suicide Mag - Auckland Economy Grows - Prison Suicide - Telecom Link Severed - Team Hercules - Mercury Cuts - Mangakino Rape Charge - Mental Illness Naturally Inclined - No Low Riding - Gallipoli History - German Pothead – Cullen’s Budget Blueprint - Police Review - Cervical Cancer Inquiry - Maori Sport Loss

STUDENT SUICIDE MAG: Auckland University's student magazine has published a guide to commiting suicide. Yesterday, 10,500 copies of Craccum, featuring the article "Suicide and how to do it," were spread around the country's biggest university.

AUCKLAND ECONOMY GROWS: The Auckland regional economy will grow nearly 5 per cent this year, outperforming the rest of the country by a healthy margin. Strong demand across all sectors will give the region its best year since 1996, says a report prepared for the Auckland Regional Council by economic consultant Infometrics.

PRISON SUICIDE: A former prison inmate has been accused of helping the depressed teenage cellmate he was meant to watch over to commit suicide. Papakura 18-year-old Eruera Maaka was found unconscious in Mt Eden Prison at 6 am on February 1, 1998, after his cellmate, Buddy Grey, alerted guards.

TELECOM LINK SEVERED: Thousands of Telecom Internet and business customers faced blank computer screens and hefty revenue losses yesterday after a fault severed a vital data link in Auckland. Telecom data transmission and Internet connections across the country were cut at 11.30 pm on Sunday by a fault at the company's Mayoral Drive exchange.

TEAM HERCULES: Forget Lear jet. Don't even think jet. It will be ear plugs and web seating for Team New Zealand and the America's Cup as they are flown around the country in one of the Air Force's noisy, lumbering Hercules for this week's victory parades. However, the Prime Minister's offer of the less-than-luxurious aircraft was gratefully accepted by Team New Zealand last night. "We don't have a problem," said the team's executive director, Alan Sefton.

MERCURY CUTS: A family with three preschoolers had their power cut off by Mercury Energy - despite not having an account with the company. Mercury has admitted it was wrong and has vowed to prevent any repeat of the eight-hour blackout for the Howick family, who buy their power from Mercury's competitor, Meridian Energy.

MANGAKINO RAPE CHARGE: A policeman in Mangakino has been charged with assault and sexual violation, and suspended from duty. Senior police said the charges were another setback for the township hit hard by the brutal murder of Constable Murray Stretch last year.

MENTAL ILLNESS NATURALLY INCLINED: Many senior male psychiatrists believe mentally ill Maori are born that way, an Auckland University survey has found. The survey of 247 psychiatrists - who answered anonymously - shows a majority of European New Zealand-born men with more than 10 years' experience think Maori are naturally inclined to psychiatric illness.

NO LOW RIDING: Students caught testing uniform rules with low-slung and oversized shorts or trousers are being told to pull their belts in. Secondary schools are tightening up on students who wear the oversized uniform bottoms to conform with the baggy look in street fashions.

GALLIPOLI HISTORY: Concerned how little school students know about New Zealand history, Helen Clark is offering a trip with her on an Air Force jet to Gallipoli to stimulate interest in the subject. "I do feel it is a tragedy that less and less history is taught in New Zealand schools," the Prime Minister said yesterday.

GERMAN POTHEAD: A 17-year-old German exchange student has accused his host school in Auckland of illegally trying to deport him after he admitted smoking cannabis. Claudius Von Derschau was four months into a six-month exchange at Michael Park, a Rudolf Steiner school at Ellerslie, when an argument developed between him and his host mother over some missing money and a cannabis pipe she had found in the house.

CULLEN’S BUDGET BLUEPRINT: Finance Minister Michael Cullen should be able to cry, "Honey, I didn't shrink the Government," when he releases his Budget blueprint tomorrow. The Budget Policy Statement, which gives a broad view of the Government's fiscal plans ahead of the June Budget, will show the importance the Government places on social spending and a strong state role in public services, Dr Cullen said yesterday.

POLICE REVIEW: Plans to force thousands of police to reapply for their jobs have been stopped just before a letter was sent to staff telling them the bad news. The process, part of the controversial police review, was halted by Police Minister George Hawkins, who was concerned about the impact the letters would have had on morale.

CERVICAL CANCER INQUIRY: The Prime Minister wants to widen the Gisborne cervical cancer inquiry but Health Minister Annette King says there have been enough delays already. Helen Clark said yesterday: "I haven't got any advice on it, but obviously the scale of it is so serious that one should probably go back and look at whether it is wide enough."

MAORI SPORT LOSS: Maori sport is mourning the loss of one its great identities, Albie Pryor, who died early yesterday after a heart attack. Mr Pryor, legendary for exploits on and off the rugby field, was 67. The Greenlane, Auckland, resident died in Whakatane Hospital after collapsing on Sunday at a friend's tangi in Te Teko.


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