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Russian Sub – Maori Censorship – Special Treatment For Tuhoe – Moa Find – Olympic Embarrassment

- RUSSIAN SUB: Anger and shock have gripped Russia as the entire crew of the sunken Russian Submarine, Kursk, were announced dead today. There has been widespread condemnation of the Russian rescue effort, which now seemed doomed to fail from the start. The submarine went down nine days ago. Norwegian divers found entire vessel flooded when they finally opened the escape hatch yesterday – a task Russians weren’t able to do themselves. British rescuers have said may have been able to save lives if they had been allowed to help from the start – the Russian military initially refused international help. The names of those who perished are being broadcast on Russian Television. One Russian newspaper has said there were 130, rather than 118 crew on the submarine, another said the Russian navy was more interested in saving face than saving lives. Norway is considering a request to help recover the bodies of the dead.

- MAORI CENSORSHIP: There are new claims that the Government is trying to gag agencies from releasing negative statistics on Maori. Commissioner for Children Roger McClay says he was asked to remove statistics on violence in Maori families from his report on the death of James Whakeruru. He left them out, but is pleased the statistics have come out anyway. The associate Maori Affairs minister, who has also been accused of trying to bully the Women’s Refuge head out of saying negative things about Maori, acknowledged that she did ask Mr McClay to withhold the statistics.

- SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR TUHOE: Conservation Minister Sandra Lee is facing claims she’s giving special treatment to Maori Activist Tame Iti – allocating over half a million dollars for road leading to land co-owned by Mr Iti. It’s a public access road, which is shared by Mr Iti. Mr Iti’s Tuhoe Tribe have criticised DOC management f the area. Ms Lee acknowledged the funding is partly provided to avoid future Tuhoe protests. Five sites on DOC land have been allocated for Maori camp-sites – prompting claims of racial separatism.

- MOA FIND: North Island Kaumatua have made a rare find of moa bones – an adult and chick, thought to be 650 years old.

- OLYMPIC EMBARASSMENT: The Sydney Olympics faces further embarrassment after it was found the design for the Medal to be awarded to athletes features the Roman Coliseum – not a generic Greek one. The Roman Coliseum was the venue for gladitorial blood-sports – not the early Olympics which were held in Greece. The IOC and Australian Greeks have been angered. Games organisers say it is too late for the medals to be replaced.

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