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Middle East Crisis – NZ Troops To Timor – Gloomy Economic News – Cycling Champion Home

- MIDDLE EAST CRISIS: Both sides traded insults at the Middle East Summit. Israeli and Palestinian leaders were there reluctantly and expectations were low. Israeli PM Ehud Barac has hardened his stance, when concessions are desperately needed. Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is giving no quarter either and wants Israeli troops withdrawn before and not after a cease-fire. Both sides are blaming each other, while President Clinton has urged for an end to the blame game. Negotiations didn’t end till Midnight. Diplomats have reported some progress. While they talked there was no let up in the fighting, amongst today’s casualties a 13-year-old Palestinian boy.

- NZ TROOPS TO TIMOR: A third battalion of NZ troops leaves for East Timor next month, and the Government admits that it is proving costly. To make a third rotation stretches New Zealand’s defence capabilities considerably, Defence Minister Mark Burton said. While the Government has to pay for next two rotations, some of the cost should be reimbursed by the United Nations eventually.

- GLOOMY ECONOMIC NEWS: More bad economic news: a new business survey shows business confidence slipping for the second quarter in a row, and the dollar slipped to a new sub US40 cent low overnight. Business is the most gloomy it has been since the Asian crisis. But the low dollar is driving profits for farmers and the tourism industry, and the Prime Minister says that will see more positive economic news soon. The dollar is currently sitting at US39.44 cents, and economists predict it could fall as low as US38.5 cents before it rebounds.

- CYCLING CHAMPION HOME: Hastings cyclist Jeremy Yates returned home today to a hero’s welcome, and in possession of a world junior cycling trophy. European teams are chasing the young cyclist, astonished at his win without a team. The seventh former has study and exams to look forward to for the rest of the year.

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