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New Zealand Herald

Airport Discrimination - Marital Law - Robbie Williams - Paper Recovered - Student Loans Backlog - Polynesian Background - Cervical Inquiry - Cancer & Warts - Heart Of The Nation - Car Hit - Skifield Staff

AIRPORT DISCRIMINATION: Complaints that Customs twice stopped a black passenger at Auckland Airport because of his race will be investigated. The Race Relations Office said yesterday that it would look into a claim of discrimination by the 49-year-old Jamaican-born Auckland lawyer, who believes he was singled out because of his colour.

- MARITAL LAW: The Government is backing away from plans to wipe the words "husband," "wife" and "marriage" from revamped matrimonial property law and is prepared to include a tighter definition of a de facto marriage. But Attorney-General Margaret Wilson is scotching suggestions that there will be substantial changes to the bill, which puts de facto and same-sex couples on a similar footing to married couples when there is a breakup.

- ROBBIE WILLIAMS: To look at him, you would think larrikin British pop superstar Robbie Williams had spent a bit longer in New Zealand than one relatively quiet day. What with that Maori-influenced tattoo on his shoulder, the All Black cap, the ciggy ...

- PAPER RECOVERED: A farming family battled stormy weather to recover more than 20 tonnes of paper from a cargo which has washed ashore on isolated Bay of Islands beaches. The heavy paper rolls, between 1.5m and 2m in length, appear to have broken loose from one of six containers lost overboard from the Bunga Kenari as the Malaysian container vessel fought its way up the east coast of Northland in stormy conditions on Saturday.

- STUDENT LOANS BACKLOG: A huge backlog in the processing of this year's student loans was caused by the Department of Work and Income ignoring advice from institutions experienced at processing the loans. An independent report, commissioned by Social Services Minister Steve Maharey, calls for the scrapping of the department's problematic 0800 call centre and a return to on-campus staff.

- POLYNESIAN BACKGROUND: Polynesians may have migrated to the South Pacific through Southeast Asia and Indonesia, according to new scientific evidence. Genetic research using male DNA has raised questions about previous studies that suggested Polynesian origins were in Taiwan or the southwestern Pacific islands of Melanesia.

- CERVICAL INQUIRY: A gynaecologist has condemned the "misplaced loyalty" of pathologists who he says put the interests of colleague Dr Michael Bottrill above the welfare of Gisborne women. Mr Ron Jones, a gynaecologist for 30 years, yesterday slammed comments made in a Royal College of Pathologists newsletter last year by vice-chairman Dr Andrew Tie.

- CANCER & WARTS: Men are the "vectors" for a wart virus scientifically proven to be linked to the development of cervical cancer, according to a gynaecologist. Ron Jones told the Gisborne inquiry yesterday that 100 per cent of invasive cervical cancer cases were associated with the human papilloma virus (HPV), also known as a wart virus.

- HEART OF THE NATION: The showcase Heart of the National cultural strategy called for an overhaul, not a tune-up, of the arts sector. In the end, it was the report itself which had its engine ripped out. Authors of the controversial $220,000 report saw their work published yesterday, before its key findings were rejected and it was condemned to life on a Government bookshelf.

- CAR HIT: A mother and child were killed near Te Puke last night when their station wagon was hit by a train on what locals say is a dangerous crossing. The local woman and her young daughter were believed to be heading along Collins Lane to Baypac, a kiwifruit packer, to offload some rubbish when an express freight train slammed into the driver's side.

- SKIFIELD STAFF: Red-faced Porter Heights skifield staff may face a hefty bill after an internal drill yesterday turned into a huge callout of emergency services. The full force of Canterbury search-and-rescue resources was put in motion after a report that 14 people had been trapped in an avalanche at Porter Heights.

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