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New Zealand Herald

Ab Squad Announced - Nz Spy - Coup Support - Breast Exams - Cellist Silenced - Car Crash - Rugby Ad - Britomart Challenge - Baby Swap - Mt Eden Suicide - Cup Smasher - $2m Winner - Child Commissioner - De Facto Maori - Asian Recruitment

AB SQUAD ANNOUNCED: The country's worst-kept secret was revealed in the back of a near-empty 737 as it sat on the tarmac at Christchurch Airport. After most of the passengers had got off the Air New Zealand flight from Australia, Rugby Union president Andy Dalton broke the news to Todd Blackadder. Canterbury's Captain Courageous was the new All Black captain - and 10 of his fellow Crusaders were in the squad announced yesterday.

NZ SPY: A New Zealand-born spy who has become a man without a country may sell his story to the old enemy, the Russians. After five years of relentless harassment by Western intelligence services, Ngaruawahia-born Richard Tomlinson is looking for Russian help after trying and failing to get his book published in several countries, including New Zealand.

COUP SUPPORT: A Northland Maori leader has spoken out in support of Fijian coup leader George Speight and his armed hostage-takers. A spokesman for Ngapuhi, Kingi Taurua, said yesterday that he had received many calls from some factions of the Northland iwi who disagreed with the New Zealand Government's stance on the political crisis in Fiji.

BREAST EXAMS: Ansett New Zealand has dropped breast examinations as part of its medicals since sacking disgraced doctor Morgan Fahey. The airline's new doctor, who took over after Ansett sacked Fahey shortly before he was charged last year with sexually abusing patients, did not think breast exams should be part of medicals for applicants, spokesman John Cordery said.

CELLIST SILENCED: A top Auckland cellist has been silenced by a neighbour who has complained about his "screechy" playing. Auckland Symphony Orchestra cellist Greg Smith has been served with a noise abatement order and could have his $6000 instrument confiscated if he continues to play.

CAR CRASH: A couple and their baby died yesterday when their car and a tourist bus collided on State Highway 3 near Otorohanga. Two other children in the car, aged 7 and 3, were injured in the accident.

RUGBY AD: An advertisement by clothes firm Canterbury of New Zealand has scored badly with some Crusaders fans. The full-page ad, placed in a national newspaper yesterday, shows jerseys on hooks with the names of teams who have won the Super 12 final listed above.

BRITOMART CHALLENGE: The property developer mounting a legal challenge to the AMP skyscraper on Auckland's waterfront wants to build his own skyscraper on the nearby Britomart site. The Herald understands Andrew Krukziener is among 151 entrants from around the world competing to build a transport terminal from the rubble of the original, aborted Britomart scheme.

BABY SWAP: DUNEDIN - Two 10-year-old girls at the centre of a Timaru baby-swap case have the right to choose their own destiny and who they live with, says Children's Commissioner Roger McClay. Mr McClay was speaking yesterday at the inaugural New Zealand College of Practice Nurses conference in Dunedin.

MT EDEN SUICIDE: Authorities are investigating the suspected suicide of another prisoner in Mt Eden Prison. A spokeswoman for the Corrections Department, said the man, aged 51, was found dead in his cell when it was unlocked on Saturday at 7 am.

CUP SMASHER: The man who mangled the America's Cup with a sledgehammer three years ago is quietly laughing at the defection of Team New Zealand heroes for money. The "desertions" simply reinforce the point he was trying to make when he battered the Cup in the first place, says Benjamin Nathan, of Dargaville.

$2M WINNER: With the trouble in his Fiji homeland weighing heavily on his mind, Pradeep Chand thought he would stop for a quick punt on the pokies. Ten minutes later he sat back from the machine in a daze, not knowing what to do next - he had just won a little under $2 million

CHILD COMMISSIONER: DUNEDIN - Government departments "will be getting a clip around the ear" in an independent report on the 1999 death of Havelock North 4-year-old James Whakaruru. Children's Commissioner Roger McClay, who plans to release the report next month, yesterday described his investigation as one of the most significant he had done.

DE FACTO MAORI: Dover Samuels is playing down comments by his leader Helen Clark that she was "the de facto Minister of Maori Affairs." Mr Samuels said yesterday that there was a perception that Helen Clark was replacing him as the Minister of Maori Affairs because she was taking charge.

ASIAN RECRUITMENT: WELLINGTON - Victoria University is alleged to have spent tens of thousands of dollars flying 12 senior lecturers on an Asian recruitment drive, which sources say was a glorified junket. The Dominion newspaper said it was understood that the delegation, headed by Vice-Chancellor Michael Irving, included two staff from the music department, who were there to play the piano at social events.

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