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New Zealand Herald

Students Arrested - Kit A Consultant - Swimmer Back - Company Fined - Syringes Reused - Probation Service Conduct - Probation Service Conduct - Far North Business - Suharto’s Boat - Videos To Read - Tobacco Companies - Paedophile Flees - Dragged Under Truck:- St Patrick’s Day - Herald In Awards

STUDENTS ARRESTED: The frustrations of students waiting for loans and living allowances boiled over in clashes with police in the streets of Auckland yesterday. Ugly confrontations broke out as police forcibly removed about 100 protest march participants who sat down in the middle of the Queen St and Wellesley St intersection.

KIT A CONSULTANT: Kit Richards, who resigned from Timberlands after criticising the Government's no-logging policy, has confirmed that he was rehired as a $500-a-day consultant. The revelation that the former executive was back working for the state-owned enterprise has further irritated a Government already short on patience with Timberlands.

SWIMMER BACK: Swimmer Trent Bray's Olympic campaign is back in the water, a judge yesterday granting his appeal against a drug test. Lawyers for Bray successfully challenged the New Zealand Sports Drug Agency's testing method, which returned a positive result for the anabolic steroid nandrolene.

COMPANY FINED: A judge who fined a company $30,000 over an Auckland sewer tragedy which claimed three lives says he wanted to send a warning on safety to the rest of the industry. Aquatech New Zealand yesterday admitted three health and safety breaches after workers Eddie Rehia and Darren Skeen were killed by poisonous gas while flushing out sewer lines on Waitangi Day last year.

SYRINGES REUSED: An anaesthetist who worked at Whangarei Hospital for 10 years has been withdrawn from his duties at two Melbourne hospitals after reusing syringes. In Melbourne, 30 patients are being screened for diseases including HIV and Hepatitis B after the doctor repeatedly used plastic syringes with a one-way valve that minimises - but does not eliminate - the risk of a backflow of blood.

PROBATION SERVICE CONDUCT: The probation service, reeling from a string of staff scandals, has revealed that 33 employees were investigated for breaches of conduct last year. Corrections Minister Matt Robson said last night that the figure was unacceptable. "It's too high for this type of service."

FAR NORTH BUSINESS: Far North business and economic development ventures which stack up on merit could benefit from some of the $35 to $40 million expected to be available this year for promoting regional economic development. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economic Development, Jim Anderton, believes the region presents "an absolute goldmine" of development opportunities.

SUHARTO’S BOAT: The Queen's portrait may be gone, but a model sailing boat given to Auckland City by former President Suharto of Indonesia is being given the royal treatment in mayor Christine Fletcher's office. The silver alloy lace model is among treasured gifts and historic city artefacts prominently displayed on the mayor's floor in the Civic Building.

VIDEOS TO READ: Northland kids are confounding popular wisdom by demonstrating that watching videos makes them better readers. New research shows that the use of videos with books can double the rate at which children learn to read.

TOBACCO COMPANIES: British American Tobacco (BAT) New Zealand says it will defend vigorously any Government-initiated lawsuits against tobacco companies. The company was reacting to Prime Minister Helen Clark's announcement that she is considering legal action to recoup smoking-related healthcare costs. She is also considering changing the law to make this easier.

PAEDOPHILE FLEES: A man who disappeared on a stolen yacht just days before he was due to face child molestation charges had skipped bail before. The 40-year-old Auckland man - who cannot be named because his latest alleged victim is his daughter - went into hiding in the South Island in 1986 while before the court on child sex charges.

DRAGGED UNDER TRUCK: A young couple escaped with only scratches despite their car being caught under a truck and dragged for "a very long 16 seconds" up the Harbour Bridge yesterday. Police believe the North Shore couple were saved by a toolbox on the underside of the 30-tonne truck that prevented their grey Mazda from going under the wheels.

ST PATRICK’S DAY: Plenty of Irish New Zealanders will be having a "craik" today, St Patrick's Day, but Thomas Forde be well ahead of most. At 7.30 this morning the self-confessed "burned-out electrician" will be manning his mobile confessional while it is driven down the length of Auckland's K Rd red-light district.

HERALD IN AWARDS: Herald staff were winners at travel awards announced last night. Reporter Bronwyn Sell's story about the Thai island of Phuket won her the Young Travel Writer of the Year award for emerging writers under 23. Herald photographer Peter Meecham was judged Travel Photographer of the Year for a series on skiing in Canada and at Mt Hutt, taken when he was working for the Press, in Christchurch.


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