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New Zealand Herald Newspaper

Child Beating Inquiry - Tough English Import - Bottrill Inquiry - Desertion Hearing - Child Abuse Priority - Refugee Exercise - Ambulance Flat Tyre - Scorpions Found - Anderton Anti-Pot - Japanese Relatives - 3 Men Escape Boat - Refugee Supporter - Kindergarten Hit

CHILD BEATING INQUIRY: James Whakaruru did not stand a chance from the moment his 15-year-old mother tried to commit suicide - just days before his birth - until five years later when his stepfather beat him to death. Along the way he was subjected to other vicious beatings and came into contact with many welfare organisations, but no one did anything to stop the abuse.

TOUGH ENGLISH IMPORT: Auckland Grammar School is to use an exam imported from England to give students a harder test than it believes they will face from a new local assessment system. The school has signed an agreement with Cambridge University to offer its A level entry qualification when the proposed National Certificate in Educational Achievement is introduced in 2002.

BOTTRILL INQUIRY: A woman who died of cervical cancer after giving evidence to the Gisborne inquiry blamed the whole health system, not just pathologist Dr Michael Bottrill, who misread her cervical smears. The woman, who had name suppression, died in Gisborne on June 13. She was married with several adult children.

DESERTION HEARING: The Army is being forced to explain in court why it is detaining an officer for desertion. The officer's lawyer, Ernie Gartrell, successfully applied for a writ of habeas corpus from Justice Ellis yesterday.

CHILD ABUSE PRIORITY: WELLINGTON - A scathing police report states that the sexual and physical abuse of children is given "extremely low priority" by police chiefs - and in some areas "the investigation of child abuse, no matter how serious, did not happen." The leaked document, Police Child Abuse Teams, written on June 15 by specialist course co-ordinator Detective Sergeant Brent Tomlinson, says staff are untrained, investigation procedures are not followed and delays are common.

REFUGEE EXERCISE: WHANGAREI - Customs has defended its recent refugee exercise which backfired by saying it is just a matter of time before New Zealand's borders are breached by illegal boatpeople. Acting chief executive and controller of customs Robin Dare says New Zealand has only to look across the Tasman to see the threats posed by unlawful breaches of Australia's borders.

AMBULANCE FLAT TYRE: WHANGAREI - An ambulance called to an emergency near Whangarei was delayed about 15 minutes with a flat tyre after its trolley jack failed. The scare has prompted an urgent check on the types of jacks fitted in Northland's ambulance fleet.

SCORPIONS FOUND: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry officials are concerned that 10 scorpions that stowed away in a shipment of Portuguese wine bottles and then escaped on to a Hawkes Bay vineyard could breed in the warm weather. MAF spokesman Dr Derek Belton said officials had searched for the escapers since Wednesday.

ANDERTON ANTI-POT: Jim Anderton will vote against any move by Parliament to liberalise the law on marijuana. The Deputy Prime Minister revealed his stance yesterday in a speech opening Alcohol and Drug Treatment Week, saying that MPs should listen to school principals "in despair" about the effects of marijuana on children.

JAPANESE RELATIVES: Eighty-five years after her Japanese father set foot in New Zealand, Hinemoa Makiri will finally meet her family - and solve a small town mystery at the same time. The 67-year-old Gisborne mother of eight flew out to Japan on Saturday to meet her Japanese relatives for the first time - relatives whose existence she discovered only after a 17-year search.

3 MEN ESCAPE BOAT: Three men were rescued off Little Barrier Island after their boat caught fire and sank at the weekend. Auckland Volunteer Coastguard duty officer Mark Russell said the men escaped unhurt in an inflatable raft after a fire, believed to have started in the engine exhaust system, took over the Clansman, a 12m wooden boat.

REFUGEE SUPPORTER: Supporters of jailed refugeseeker Alexander Tishkovets say a suspicious about-turn by incompetent authorities in his native Tajikistan adds weight to his case to stay in New Zealand. The 27-year-old's long fight to escape his homeland may end this week, as he fears immigration authorities are set to send him back a second time.

KINDERGARTEN HIT: A motorcyclist was seriously injured when he crashed into a kindergarten classroom, setting it alight, after his bike's accelerator appeared to have jammed. The 23-year-old is in a critical condition in the intensive care unit at Auckland Hospital with internal injuries.

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