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New Zealand Herald

East Timor - Motorway Signs - Mental Health Murder - Ansett Strike - Stowaway Rat - John Storey

EAST TIMOR: Indonesia yesterday hinted it might invite a United Nations peacekeeping force, which could include about 120 New Zealand troops, into chaotic East Timor. New Zealand is ready and able to join a peacekeeping force, Defence Minister Max Bradford told Parliament yesterday.

MOTORWAY SIGNS: Auckland motorway commuters can today learn all about crashes, lane closures and conditions ahead by reading four huge screens spanning roadways. The electronic "variable message signs" are designed to give drivers early warning of what lies ahead, and will hopefully reduce the gridlock caused by accidents such as last week's truck crash on the Victoria Park viaduct.

MENTAL HEALTH MURDER: The father of mentally ill murderer Lachlan Jones says he insisted a year ago that mental health services contact him immediately if they had any more dealings with his son, but he never heard a word. The families of both Jones and his victim, Henderson man Malcolm Beggs, are outraged at the failure of the mental health system to stop the tragedy.

ANSETT STRIKE: Transport Minister Maurice Williamson played a little loop-the-loop last night with a suggestion that foreigners be brought in to fly Ansett's grounded planes. In a bizarre press statement, he said he intended talking to the Minister of Immigration about bringing in replacements for pilots calling in sick during the airline's industrial dispute.

STOWAWAY RAT: The stowaway rat that popped up on the lap of a business-class passenger during an Air New Zealand flight has been found dead in the plane's cockpit. Engineers found the rat last night after a three-hour search. The aircraft had been fumigated by quarantine officials on Tuesday.

JOHN STOREY: Ousted Dairy Board chairman John Storey has support from a man who also knows the anguish of being suddenly dumped from a top job - former Prime Minister Jim Bolger. An upset Mr Storey said yesterday he would step down as head of the country's largest company following his shock defeat in an election for a directorship of the Hamilton-based milk processor, New Zealand Dairy Group.

...the NZ Herald is online at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/

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