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World Of Sound - Crims Get Off - Basketball Danger - Cultural Package - Teenage Driver - NZ Dollar Plummets - Rich List - St Stephen’s College Bullying - Bullying Problems - Cyber University

WORLD OF SOUND: Malcolm Skelton's eyes lit up with surprise when he heard his mother call his name for the first time in eight months. The Otara infant has lived in a world without sound since his hearing was destroyed by the potentially deadly pneumococcal meningitis disease last October.

CRIMS GET OFF: Hardened criminals sentenced to community service or periodic detention are getting off without doing even an hour's work. A lack of staff and resources means it is not uncommon for offenders in South Auckland to slip through the system and avoid their sentences altogether, two former Auckland-based Community Probation Service workers have told the Herald.

BASKETBALL DANGER: New Zealand basketball star Mark Dickel owes his life to an American political hopeful who gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after an on-court collision. Dickel, aged 23, who is preparing for the Sydney Olympics, went into a convulsion and stopped breathing during a friendly game in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

CULTURAL PACKAGE: A bonanza in the arts, culture and heritage sector is in store after Helen Clark outlined spending promises for "a cultural recovery" that far exceed what was promised in election pledges. Te Papa, the symphony orchestra, the ballet, Creative New Zealand and the film, television and music industries are the big winners.

TEENAGE DRIVER: TAURANGA - The teenage driver who killed 12-year-old Simon Hunter on a pedestrian crossing in March was yesterday sentenced to two years' imprisonment. The public gallery at the Tauranga District Court was packed with friends of David Glan Brooker, aged 18, of Mt Maunganui. Many cried as Judge Robert Spear delivered his sentence.

AUCKLAND RAPIST: A special taskforce of 40 police is now hunting a brutal South Auckland rapist and yesterday blocked off two streets in a bid to flush him out. Drivers and passengers in Manurewa were questioned in a bid to catch the man who raped and violated a mother of three, or find people who might know him.

NZ DOLLAR PLUMMETS: The birthday cheque from Aunty Maude in America might be worth more, but the plummeting New Zealand dollar brings few other joys for the consumer. Analysts warn that its declining value - it is now at a 15-year low - will lead to price increases before any benefits from export growth are realised.

RICH LIST: Lion Nathan beer baron Doug Myers has taken line honours again as the country's richest person. Mr Myers, whose cashed-up wealth is conservatively estimated at $545 million, heads off by a healthy $45 million merchant bankers Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite in the National Business Review's annual rich list, published yesterday.

ST STEPHEN’S COLLEGE BULLYING: Education Minister Trevor Mallard says his concerns about violence at St Stephen's School have not been relieved by two official reports. An assault last week, in which a student hit a 14-year-old boy over the head with an iron pipe, prompted Mr Mallard to demand reports on the situation at the Maori boys school at Bombay, just south of Auckland.

BULLYING PROBLEMS: Out at dinner, the man should have been enjoying himself. But he'd started talking about his schooldays and the food grew cold on his plate as he looked back 40 years. Repeatedly beaten and tormented by bigger boys, he'd found school a living hell. But he'd stuck it out because he knew his father would deride him if he quit.

CYBER UNIVERSITY: Auckland University is joining media giant Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation to create an international cyber university. The "e-university" will enable students around the world to swap lecture halls for televisions, satellites or the Internet.

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