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New Zealand Herald

Meijie’s Mate - Queen Removed - Busy Teachers - Medical Errors - Lift Muzak - Tuvalu Students To Blame - A Savage Launch - PM In Chile - White Crosses - Driver Punished - Editorial: When We Were Nice

MEIJIE’S MATE: With his mother dead and his father in jail, little Meijie Hu could easily feel alone in the world. But since seeing his mother stabbed repeatedly a fortnight ago, Meijie has a new best mate - the burly policeman helping him through his trauma.

QUEEN REMOVED: Portraits of the Queen have been removed from the Auckland Town Hall in a midnight swoop that has angered royalists and delighted republicans. Mayor Christine Fletcher and five councillors took down the portraits of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh from the council chamber wall. They may be replaced by Polynesian art or the Treaty of Waitangi.

BUSY TEACHERS: Teachers are too busy to decipher vague school instructions about good values, educationists say. While schools are required by law to teach subjects and skills, it is not mandatory to promote values.

MEDICAL ERRORS: All medical errors will have to be automatically reported under new guidelines health authorities are drafting. There is no consistent requirement at present to report and investigate medical errors or system failures which increase medical risk.

LIFT MUZAK: Are you sick of being forced to listen to horrible lift music for hours while you wait for a company to answer your phone call? A survey by Herald reporters has identified companies to avoid if you have better things to do

TUVALU STUDENTS TO BLAME: It started as a secret way of studying after lights out in a dormitory and ended in the tragedy that has left the tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu in mourning. As Tuvaluans in New Zealand gathered in Auckland to remember the dead, further details of the tragedy which killed 18 schoolgirls and a matron emerged.

A SAVAGE LAUNCH: Glamorous actresses, red carpet, paparazzi and ... Triumph motorcycles. Savage Honeymoon enjoyed its world premiere West Auckland-style at the Force Cinema on Queen St last night.

PIHA DEATH NO 5: A Korean man became the fifth foreign national to die in Piha's treacherous surf this summer when he was swept to his death while fishing on Saturday. Ho Joon Lee, aged 36, was knocked over by a wave while fishing on Flat Rock at the southern end of the beach around noon.

PM IN CHILE: In Santiago New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday hailed the return of a socialist leader to Chile as a significant step for the country and its people. She was speaking following the inauguration of President Ricardo Lagos, the first left-wing head of state since former military dictator Augusto Pinochet overthrew the Allende Government in a violent coup in 1973.

WHITE CROSSES: Two new white crosses will join 11 others already dotting the roadside at a notorious black spot on State Highway 1 near Meremere after a fatal car crash yesterday. Two men in their 20s were killed and two German tourists seriously injured in the head-on collision, 64km southeast of Auckland, at 10.30 am.

DRIVER PUNISHED: The grandmother of 3-year-old Michaela Keightley - killed by a police car at a New Plymouth crossing - says the driver has been punished enough. The body of the little girl, who died on Friday as her mother wheeled her in a pushchair across a pedestrian crossing, will return home to her family today.

EDITORIAL: WHEN WE WERE NICE: The house doors could be left open, the car unlocked, a bicycle unpadlocked, and the only property belonging to someone else considered fair game - and for youngsters at that - was the ripe fruit on a neighbour's tree. At a time when an honest deed has become newsworthy by its very rarity, and a new debate has begun over the values we are imparting to our children, the memories of the past include the perception of a much more honest society.

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