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The New Zealand Herald

Paralympics Opens - Dollar Drop Continues - Woman Arrested - Players Checked - Victim Asks Why - Child Accidents The Worst - Man Deserves Apology - Brains Demanded - Mayors Sign Pact- $1m For Ops - Fees Under Scrutiny - Tagging Discouraged

For more of these stories see, http://www.nzherald.co.nz

- PARALYMPICS OPENS: New Zealand launched itself into the biggest Paralympics in Sydney with a haka last night as Olympic Stadium burst into a blaze of colour and movement. The Kiwi team, the largest to take part in a Paralympic Games, marched into the opening ceremony to the pounding rhythms of bands from the five continents.

- DOLLAR DROP CONTINUES: The nightmare run continues for the kiwi dollar. The currency has plunged against the US dollar in overnight trading, falling below 39 US cents to a new record low of 38.95 US cents. It is also down against the pound, to 27.03 British pence.

- WOMAN ARRESTED: A 39-year-old Wellington woman was arrested overnight following the disappearance of an 11-month-old baby boy. The woman has been charged with abandoning a child, as police divers returned to the Ruamahanga River and Lake Wairarapa to continue a search begun last night.

- PLAYERS CHECKED: Six thousand young rugby players are in line for spinal weakness checks in a programme aimed at preventing crippling injuries. The New Zealand Rugby Football Union is considering screening players to identify existing back and neck problems. The scheme would be aimed at 16-year-olds.

- VICTIM ASKS WHY: "I can't understand why he hit me." They are the only words that Auckland road rage victim Jim Ellyett has ever spoken to friends about the unprovoked assault which nearly killed him in August.

- CHILD ACCIDENTS THE WORST: New Zealand has one of the worst fatal accident rates for children in the developed world, with an average of two children dying a week, a Dunedin study has found. Car crashes are the main cause, followed by drowning and suffocation.

- MAN DESERVES APOLOGY: A man who alleged police brutality after he was ejected from a cricket match at Eden Park has been told by a judge that he deserves an apology. Aden Andrew Barclay, aged 29, a Mt Albert electrician, was yesterday convicted in the Auckland District Court on one charge of resisting police arrest and one of trespassing on Eden Park.

- BRAINS DEMANDED: New Zealand's newly graduated nurses, doctors and IT professionals - already in high demand overseas - will find it easier to work long term in England after radical changes to the British work permit scheme. The scheme shows just how much countries are competing to attract skilled migrants.

- MAYORS SIGN PACT: Mayors from the country's northern and southern extremities, and one locality in between, signed a pact yesterday to trade ideas on how to pump development and jobs back into rural New Zealand. Although they chose Wellington to sign the regional partnership agreement, there is nothing big-city about the initiative of the mayors of the Far North, Southland and New Plymouth districts.

- $1M FOR OPS: The Health Funding Authority will spend $1 million on private operations for more than 130 patients waiting for heart bypasses. Green Lane Hospital revealed last week that 137 patients had been waiting more than six months for potentially life-saving surgery - more than four times as many as a year ago.

- FEES UNDER SCRUTINY: Bank fees are likely to come under scrutiny again following an Australian report that has exposed hidden credit card charges worth millions of dollars. The report, from the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, says banks there are making millions of dollars through hidden "interchange fees."

- TAGGING DISCOURAGED: In one corner, David Tua, 110kg, aged 29, 32 knockouts, a devastating left hook. In the other, Dame Barbara Goodman, aged 68, a featherweight but powerful force against violence. This is not Las Vegas but ringside Auckland, where Dame Barbara, an elegant voice of liberalism in local politics since 1968, is taking on David Tua, boxer and role model in a poster campaign to "knock out tagging."

All stories (c) copyright 2000 The New Zealand Herald

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