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Child Abusers Sentenced – State Agencies Deny Assistance – Submarine Rescue Continues – Stormy Weather

- CHILD ABUSERS SENTENCED: A mother and her partner have been jailed over the death of the woman’s six-year-old daughter. The mother was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the girl’s death, from oxygen starvation to the brain resulting from persistent beatings, while her partner was jailed for 18 months on a cruelty charge. The mother had suffered abuse as a child as well, and her daughter was the result of a rape. Staff at the girl’s primary school had noticed she was always fully covered with clothing, even in hot weather, and was reluctant to go home. The girl, who was at times forced to live in shed, had evidence on the body of severe abuse, including broken ribs and a broken collar bone.

- STATE AGENCIES DENY ASSISTANCE: The Commissioner for Children Roger McClay has funded the drug rehabilitation of a suicidal 14-year-old boy, after six state agencies approached by the boy’s mother had refused to help. The cost of the boy’s rehabilitiatin at Hamner House could cost up to $18,000. Mr McClay said mental health policy is failing young people. United leader Peter Dunne said the case is an example of muddled beaurocracy. Health Minister Annette King has told the Health Funding Authority to investigate. None of the agencies the boy’s mother approached would comment on the case.

- SUBMARINE RESCUE CONTINUES: Two large explosions are now being blamed for the sinking of the Russian submarine, Kurk, in the Barents Sea. Damage is much more extensive than was previously thought. It is not known if any crew are still alive, but oxygen may last long enough for a British rescue submersible to reach the submarine in time. Relatives of the crew are furious about how long it has taken to get the rescue mission underway, and how long it took for Russian authorities to ask for outside assistance.

-STORMY WEATHER: Stormy weather is working its was up the South Island tonight. Snow, high winds and heavy rain have caused trouble on the roads, flight cancellations, and some power cuts. Motorists have been advised to stay at home unless travel is absolutely neccesary.

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