CRISIS SPLITS APEC LEADERS: Hectic diplomacy in Auckland hotels stretched into the early hours today as New Zealand desperately tried to steel Apec's resolve and force Indonesia to halt the deepening carnage in East Timor. Bolstered by the heavyweight Security Council presence of British and American Foreign Ministers, the Prime Minister was trying to build an overnight consensus among Apec members on how best to pressure Indonesia's President Jusuf Habibie after he earlier ruled out a United Nations peacekeeping force in the ravaged territory.
DILI The looting never stops. It's brazen now - soldiers,
police and militia are stealing whatever they can carry.
Dozens of trucks filled with television sets, refrigerators and other household goods are parked on the road outside Dili's military headquarters, ready to make the seven-hour dash across East Timor to the Indonesian province of Nusa Tenggara Timur.
United Nations officials who went under armed escort to Dili wharf yesterday saw looted goods still wrapped waiting to be loaded on to Indonesian ships - pushbikes, mattresses, coffee tables and countless other items.
"They intend to leave nothing behind," said one.
MASSACRES IN TIMOR: Refugees from East Timor tell of
seeing a massacre at a church, a child slaughtered on a Dili
street, and a priest on his knees begging militia to spare
the lives of people around him.
East Timorese Maria Bernardino was told by a friend who had fled Dili for Kupang, the capital of West Timor, that militiamen on Tuesday attacked a church in Suai, 95km south of Dili, killing about 40 people.
PM WITHDRAWS ADVICE: Prime
Minister Jenny Shipley was forced into an embarrassing
diplomatic somersault over reports that the United Nations
is evacuating all its staff from East Timor this morning.
But it was all the fault of her officials, apparently.
Mrs Shipley told world media at the Apec conference shortly after a private meeting with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that the UN was leaving.
After UN officials contradicted her, she was forced to make an embarrassing retraction.
‘MURDER’ BRANDED ON KILLER:
Mental health services knew that axe killer Lachlan Jones
was thinking about murder weeks before he took his
flatmate's life - he had burned the word into his flesh.
The New Zealand Herald understands Jones was referred to a West Auckland acute psychiatric unit in July because he had stamped the word "murder" on to his left calf with a branding iron.
The wound became infected and he sought medical treatment from a GP, who was concerned and referred the 19-year-old schizophrenic to the Te Atarau unit at Waitakere Hospital.
NAVY WIVES: Dozens of Navy wives have
had hopes of reuniting with their husbands disrupted by the
Government's sudden decision to send the frigate Te Kaha to
troubled East Timorese waters.
An early morning announcement took some time to filter through to wives who had saved up to join their husbands in Singapore next week, mid-way through the ship's six-month overseas tour of duty.
They had no quibble with a decision to put the country's newest warship at the disposal of the Australian Defence Force to evacuate people from the humanitarian catastrophe in East Timor, if called on.
MORGAN ON BUGGING:
Tukoroirangi Morgan used parliamentary privilege yesterday
to allege a Labour Party conspiracy involving a bogus tape
and secret bugging of Aotearoa Television offices two years
However, the Mauri Pacific MP's claims were not supported by the police and were strongly denied by the people he accused - Labour MP Trevor Mallard, Labour leader Helen Clark, and a Juice music television videotape editor, Jef Grobben.
Mr Morgan claimed in Parliament that a tape of a conversation between Aotearoa's operations manager, Eric McPhee, and director Morehu McDonald, tabled by Mr Mallard in Parliament two years ago, was a fake.
Police testing showed the tape had been created by splicing from other tapes.
LAWYER SUFFOCATED: A lawyer probably died of
asphyxiation after a 120kg senior prison guard lay across
him in Rimutaka Prison, a pathologist told a coroner's court
The inquest into the death of Andrew John David Paterson, aged 36, of Wellington, was adjourned after Dr Ken Thomson's finding.
Dr Thomson had conducted the autopsy and originally attributed Mr Paterson's death to natural causes.
The guard, still working at the prison and present in court, shook his head at the new evidence. He has interim name suppression, as does another guard involved in the incident, on June 10, 1997.
MOBIL PRICE HIKE:
Mobil increased petrol prices by 2.67c a litre from
There was no immediate word from other companies on matching the increase. Petrol companies have all been lifting pump prices recently after big jumps in the cost of imported oil.
The most recent domestic increases were at the end of last month.
Last night's rise takes the price of octane 91 to 92.9c a litre in Auckland and Wellington, and perhaps a cent more than that in the South Island.