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New Zealand Herald

Sweet Smokes - Telecom Clear Truce - NZ Soldier - Sierra Leone - Immigration Racism - Brain Drain - Tamihere Apology - Sea Slugs - Police Report Attacked - Govt Popularity - Doctor Confidence

SWEET SMOKES: Cigarette companies are sweetening the taste of tobacco with increasing amounts of honey and sugar, a mixture anti-smoking groups believe is designed to appeal to children. In Ministry of Health documents obtained under the Official Information Act, tobacco companies admit to nearly 350 substances that are added to cigarettes and tobacco

TELECOM CLEAR TRUCE: Telecom and Clear have reached a truce in their long-running battle over Internet access, with Telecom suspending its controversial 2c-a- minute charge. The agreement, signed early yesterday, means Clear will agree to use Telecom's 0867 Internet access code, like most other Internet service providers.

NZ SOLDIER: A New Zealand soldier was attacked with rockets and machineguns before he and three British comrades fled through territory held by African rebels. Major David Lingard, the Britons and 50 Kenyan peacekeepers were surrounded in Makeni, Sierra Leone, two weeks ago by 5000 Revolutionary United Front guerrillas who threatened to skin them alive.

SIERRA LEONE: WELLINGTON - Mother's Day turned out to be especially memorable for the family of Major David Lingard, the New Zealand soldier missing for four days with three British officers in wartorn Sierra Leone last week. After an anxious few days hoping to hear from him but fearing the worst, his wife, Angela, mother Dawn and sons Marcus, aged 11, and Brayden, 9, spoke to him via satellite phone late last week and again yesterday for Mother's Day.

IMMIGRATION RACISM: A Somali microbiologist was denied entry into New Zealand because immigration and airline officials believed his sky-blue suit and yellow socks were not the clothes of a real scientist. Asad Osman Hassan Abdullahi, now a Hamilton laboratory technician, sued the Immigration Minister and the AttorneyGeneral for more than $180,000 over the fiasco, but reached a confidential out-of-court settlement last year. He also received an apology from the Immigration Service.

BRAIN DRAIN: Schools are being warned that a significant number of talented and gifted pupils are giving up because their abilities are being wasted. A booklet the Ministry of Education is sending to schools says these young people make up one of our greatest resources.

TAMIHERE APOLOGY: John Tamihere wept as he asked forgiveness of the woman he had branded a drug addict and a thief. Clapping and singing erupted in the tiny meeting house at Puatahi Marae by the Kaipara Harbour when Naida Glavish embraced Labour's Hauraki MP after his emotional apology on Saturday.

SEA SLUGS: Big sea slugs linked to excess sewage at a North Shore beach are packing a powerful environmental message. Their presence in huge numbers sliming along part of the southern end of Long Bay are a sure sign that something is not quite right, says Torbay resident and scientist Professor John Buckeridge.

POLICE REPORT ATTACKED: A police chief has attacked a special Government report on police racism in Waitara, saying parts of it are rubbish. The Central police commander, Superintendent Mark Lammas, last night disputed anecdotal evidence that the officer who shot dead Steven Wallace was involved in a racist incident which resulted in civil legal action.

GOVT POPULARITY: WELLINGTON - Take a rise in tobacco taxes, add an interest rate lift, some Coalition in-fighting, and mix with controversy over prime ministerial comments on Waitara. What do you get? A recipe for a sharp decline in the fortunes of the Government.

DOCTOR CONFIDENCE: HAMILTON - New Zealand doctors are facing a crisis of confidence, according to a Hamilton surgeon. Health Waikato thoracic and vascular surgeon Ross Blair told the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons' annual congress in Melbourne yesterday that doctors were badly shaken by inquiries into their work.

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