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New Zealand Herald

Kopu Furniture - DNA Botch-Ups - SAS Snatch - TVNZ Grilling - SAS Training - Murdered Letter - Global E - Jobs Stay - Super Fund Talks - Rugby Hero Dies - Airline Pilot Charged - Warrior Video - Casino In Hamilton - Editorial: Super Changes

KOPU FURNITURE: Police are investigating the disappearance from Parliament of office furnishings allocated to one-term MP Alamein Kopu. A complaint was made to Wellington police about three weeks ago by Members' Services, a division of Parliamentary Services, relating to a list of furnishings missing from Mrs Kopu's former office on the third floor of the Beehive.

DNA BOTCH-UPS:A string of criminal cases are likely to be appealed after two reports on DNA botch-ups released yesterday. The two high-powered probes into DNA evidence have raised questions about facilities in forensic science laboratories and the disclosure of information to defence lawyers.

SAS SNATCH: Hardened former SAS warriors who snatched a Chinese Indonesian business tycoon from years of captivity in a Javanese village were shocked by the state in which they found him. Johnson Cornelius Lo, who claims to be heir to a huge financial empire built on sugar and Tiger Balm, is recovering in a secret hideaway in Auckland after being found wasting away in solitary confinement.

TVNZ GRILLING: Television New Zealand's senior executives will face a grilling by politicians over the Hawkesby affair and digital television when they appear before the commerce select committee this month. It was made clear last night that the head of TVOne, Shaun Brown, and the head of news and current affairs, Paul Cutler, would be required to front up with new chairman Ross Armstrong and chief executive Rick Ellis.

SAS TRAINING: In a nondescript industrial building a stone's throw from Auckland's Lynnmall shopping centre, a band of ex-SAS soldiers staged a dress rehearsal for a bold hostage rescue in Indonesia. Using a mock-up of a poky room where Chinese-Indonesian tycoon Johnson Cornelius Lo was held in solitary confinement for five years, they spent a week practising their moves.

MURDERED LETTER: New Lynn mother Jian Huang - murdered after being followed home by two police officers - had written to her family in China just days before saying she feared for her life. The letter arrived in Shanghai after her death two weeks ago - too late for her distraught family to do anything about it.

GLOBAL E: Global-e Investments, the United States-backed company trying to raise $US1 billion ($2.05 billion) from skeptical investors, extended its high-level networking yesterday with meetings in the Beehive and the Reserve Bank. Accompanied by a Trade New Zealand official, three key players in the e-commerce venture met the Minister of Finance, Michael Cullen, and Associate Minister for Industry and Regional Development, Pete Hodgson.

JOBS STAY: Nearly 18 months of anguish over keeping her job turned into tearful delight for Lynne Kitt yesterday, after the Prime Minister overturned National's closure of Wanganui's Health Benefits. Ms Kitt rushed forward to hug Helen Clark and Labour's Wanganui MP, Jill Pettis, as her 130 or so workmates applauded the announcement.

SUPER FUND TALKS: National is calling for multi-party talks on the monster super fund outlined by Finance Minister Michael Cullen this week, but wants other options on the table. The Greens want other options discussed too, and are miffed that they were not consulted earlier by Labour.

RUGBY HERO DIES: Tales of Albie Pryor's exploits on and off the rugby field flew thick and fast at his tangi in Te Teko yesterday, but his greatest legacy is still to come. Sporting greats young and old saluted the uncompromising Maori rugby stalwart who touched thousands of lives in recent years as head of an indigenous sports trust.

AIRLINE PILOT CHARGED: An airline pilot involved in a high-speed fatal car crash continued on to work and co-piloted a commercial flight out of New Plymouth last year. Hugh Ian Armstrong Scott, aged 32, was yesterday fined $1000 and disqualified from driving for eight months after admitting a dangerous driving charge.

RODNEY COUNCIL: The troubled Rodney District Council may seek a law change to allow it to carry on with a minder in place. After a council meeting yesterday, mayor Doug Armstrong said councillors seemed to agree to push for an independent party to oversee day-to-day business while the council carried on until local body elections next year.

WARRIOR VIDEO: A videotape at the centre of the latest Rainbow Warrior legal battle has been found - if it was ever missing - and is likely to remain locked up until 2045. Last week Auckland lawyer Colin Amery lost a High Court battle to obtain footage of two French agents admitting they bombed the Greenpeace vessel, killing photographer Fernando Pereira.

CASINO IN HAMILTON: Construction has begun on Hamilton's controversial Riverside Casino, despite next month's High Court appeal from opponents. Heavy machinery was moved in yesterday to start digging foundations and a four-storey-deep car park on a site behind the Victoria St Post Office.

EDITORIAL: SUPER CHANGES: Continual changes to this country's superannuation policy are doing untold damage not only to individual plans but to the stability and growth of the economy. Anything a Government suggests to reduce the uncertainty deserves serious consideration. This Government proposes to start building a fund for the future and the Finance Minister favours "entrenching" it in law so that a bare majority of a future Parliament could not change it.

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