EAST TIMOR: Troop Deployments – Australian Forces – Warnings – Aid – Editorial. OTHER NEWS: Act List – ACC and Schools – Ansett Dispute – Third Generation Contraceptives – Fire Death.
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EAST TIMOR – TROOP DEPLOYMENTS: New Zealand's main East Timor fighting force leaves for the Australian command base in Darwin from today, but the troops face a three-week wait for equipment before they can head to the front. A large Australian contingent and 250 British Army Gurkhas are expected to land in the East Timorese capital, Dili, today, spearheading the multinational effort to stop the killing rampage by pro-Indonesian militia groups. (Pictured: Australian General Peter Cosgrove with East Timor Martial Law Commander General Kiki Syahnakrie).
EAST TIMOR - DARWIN - AUSTRALIA: In a city where the scars and memories of war mark highways and cling grimly to massive gun emplacements still staring out to the Timor Sea, Australian Prime Minister John Howard had small comfort to offer. Last night he stood with Opposition Leader Kim Beazley to farewell troops from Townsville to a fate still unknown, but undoubtedly fraught with danger and the risk of death.
EAST TIMOR - DARWIN – WARNINGS: Pro-independence guerrilla commanders have warned that Indonesian forces are preparing to resist United Nations troops when they land in East Timor. Speaking by satellite telephone from the Lospalos district, Lere Anan Timor, deputy chief of the Falintil army, said Indonesian soldiers "are saying they will attack and kill the international troops, using the militias." He said Falintil was well-armed and prepared to fight if necessary, but would only do so with a specific request from the international force, because it was determined to honour the peace agreement signed in New York last May.
EAST TIMOR – AID: New Zealand aid agencies are waiting for fresh news on the situation in East Timor before they act. The first contingent of the United Nations multinational force is due in the Indonesian province today and will be able to give agencies a clearer picture of conditions. World Vision New Zealand spokesman James Addis, who is in West Timor, told the New Zealand Herald that it was dangerous for foreigners as they were being treated with aggression.
EAST TIMOR – EDITORIAL: When our troops are deployed in East Timor, we can be confident their training and personal development have ensured that they will be capable of handling any contingency. Through our short history, New Zealand troops have been recognised for the quality of their performance, in full-scale war, localised peace enforcement or international policing. The essence of defence is being prepared for the unthinkable. In the training of our troops, we prepare for the unthinkable exceptionally well.
ACT LIST: Act has plugged a gap left by the retirement of two MPs with legal backgrounds by promoting a leading commercial lawyer, Stephen Franks, to number three on the party list. The release of Act's list in Auckland yesterday revealed Patricia Schnauer was bowing out of Parliament.
ACC AND SCHOOLS: The Minister of Education, Nick Smith, has disowned a cabinet paper in which he predicts that schools will soon have to pay their own ACC bills. The paper, signed by Dr Smith, says schools have saved $14 million in accident insurance by switching to a private insurer but the gain may not last.
ANSETT DISPUTE: Thousands of passengers can expect another week of disrupted flying, as the crippling Ansett NZ industrial dispute continues. Rival Air New Zealand spent a frantic weekend scrambling to find room for stranded Ansett passengers. Ansett has been operating just a third of its flights since locking out 125 pilots who refused to sign a new contract four days ago.
THIRD GENERATION CONTRACEPTIVES: Up to 40,000 New Zealand women appear to have stopped taking the controversial third-generation oral contraceptive pills since these were linked to at least nine deaths. New Pharmac figures show that in the two months after the link was publicly revealed use of the pills dropped dramatically.
FIRE DEATH: A house fire claimed the life of Northcote rugby fan Jim Balmforth just hours after he cheered Auckland to victory over Otago. "Jim would have loved yesterday's game, with Auckland thrashing Otago. He wouldn't have missed it for the world," said neighbour Jan Keats.
CHILD RIGHTS: Two "fantastic" decisions by the Broadcasting Standards Authority are being hailed as major breakthroughs in child rights. The Commissioner for Children, Roger McClay, had complained about a TV2 item You Be the Judge - where results of a paternity test were broadcast live - and a Holmes report on a woman whose 8-year-old son was said to suffer from attention deficit disorder.