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New Zealand Herald

Olympic Uniform - Cervical Inquiry - Credit Fraud - Burns Victim - Sharemarket Recovery - War Criminal - Captain Banned – Drug Syndicate - Alcohol Problems - Courses By Internet - Juror Vetting - Iraq Sanctions - Varroa Mite - Ge Research - Suicide Prevention

OLYMPIC UNIFORM: New Zealand athletes appear to have avoided the fashion crimes of past Olympic uniforms and come up with a winning design of their own for Sydney 2000. Gone and forgotten is the pohutukawa flower and toreador hat look of 1992, or the giant silver fern of 1996.

CERVICAL INQUIRY: Some laboratories may have under-reported cervical smear abnormalities at a greater rate than Dr Michael Bottrill, according to evidence at the Gisborne cancer inquiry yesterday. The inquiry also heard that Ministry of Health officials had expressed concern about Dr Bottrill as far back as 1989.

CREDIT FRAUD: Thousands of dollars are missing from the accounts of a 90-year-old credit union, putting at risk the savings of dozens of workers. The Serious Fraud Office has been asked to investigate the affairs of the Auckland Regional Staff Friendly Society, formed to cater mainly to staff of the old Auckland Regional Authority.

BURNS VICTIM: An unconscious burns victim bound for treatment in New Zealand was kept waiting on a stretcher at Tahiti airport for nearly an hour because of a wrangle over his ticket. Air New Zealand would not let the man - Bernard Tevaearai, a Tahiti Government official in his 50s - board flight NZ69 on March 28 because he did not have a return ticket, as required by New Zealand immigration rules.

SHAREMARKET RECOVERY: The New Zealand sharemarket remains on tenterhooks despite posting a modest gain yesterday after a rebound on Wall St. Fear that a further shakeout might be in store in the US pushed the local benchmark NZSE-40 index down during the day.

WAR CRIMINAL: A Liberian man who admitted taking part in war atrocities, including murder and cannibalism, is facing deportation after living in New Zealand for four years. Samuel Brown claimed to have eaten the hearts and drunk the blood of a pregnant woman and her unborn child during the West African country's civil war nearly 10 years ago.

CAPTAIN BANNED: An Auckland rugby captain who led his team from the field in a refereeing protest has been banned for 14 weeks. Premier two team Manukau will be suspended for a week.

DRUG SYNDICATE: A businessman granted bail in Auckland on heroin charges is said to have been a violent crime boss in a syndicate that shipped drugs from Thailand to the United States, Australia and Europe. New details of the alleged drug ring emerged in the High Court at Auckland yesterday as the US failed in its bid to have 37-year-old Hing Hung Wong sent back to jail pending his extradition hearing.

ALCOHOL PROBLEMS: One in every six people who go to a doctor is likely to have an alcohol problem. The finding, revealed by an Auckland Medical School researcher, has prompted him to urge the Government to fund general practitioners into finding and helping problem drinkers.

COURSES BY INTERNET: Students all over the country will soon be able to enrol for lessons at the top private school King's College while still attending their own schools. From next year, the Otahuhu school will become the country's first secondary school to offer courses by Internet.

JUROR VETTING: Defence lawyers want the Court of Appeal to stop prosecutors using Wanganui computer records to vet jurors because it gives the Crown an unfair advantage. The lawyers have linked the cases of two high-profile murder accused, Scott Watson and Arthur Allan Thomas, in their bid to halt the practice.

IRAQ SANCTIONS: New Zealand no longer supports economic sanctions against Iraq. The country's staff in New York told the UN Security Council of the new policy yesterday and Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff outlined it later at a Beehive meeting.

VARROA MITE: Beekeepers are hoping to turn the tables on the parasite killing their bees using economic arguments to convince the Government that a costly eradication programme is essential. Yesterday, an emotional National Beekeepers Association executive member, Lin McKenzie, spoke of beekeepers' anguish over the invasion of the deadly Varroa mite.

GE RESEARCH: Fears are growing that more scientists may be carrying out genetic engineering research without legal approval. The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) has announced an investigation after discovering breaches of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act research approval provisions at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Landcare Research's Mt Albert centre in Auckland.

SUICIDE PREVENTION: Former mental health nurse and whistleblower Peter Neame has criticised the Australian and New Zealand Governments for their handling of youth suicide. In June 1995 Mr Neame was suspended from Coast Healthcare and found guilty of serious misconduct after he had spoken publicly about three former patients whom he felt presented a danger to the community.

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