Cancer Inquiry – US Relations – Television – East Timor, Babies, Troop Pay, Volunteer Soldiers, Evacuation – All Blacks Farewell – Tax Cuts Editorial – Ansett Strike – Rambuka – Travel Perks – Karla Cardno.
CANCER INQUIRY: Some of the hundreds of women whose cervical smear slides were misread by Gisborne pathologist Dr Michael Bottrill will have an agonising wait for their results. Health officials have revealed that only women with misdiagnosed high-grade abnormalities, including invasive cervical cancer, will be notified immediately because they are at the greatest risk.
US RELATIONS: Bill Clinton's relaxing of the ban on military exercises with New Zealand is confined to peacekeeping operations, not conventional defence exercises. This caution, from the United States Ambassador, Josiah Beeman, comes in the wake of President Clinton's state visit to New Zealand.
TELEVISION: Poverty and homeless organisations have condemned a new television game show in which two hard-up families compete to win a house. The TV2 programme Mitre 10 Dream Home has given two families 10 weeks to renovate two decrepit 1930s weatherboard bungalows on adjacent subdivisions.
EAST TIMOR – BABIES: Newborn babies Interfet Libertinho da Conceicao Teme and Connor Ryan are tiny but potent symbols of hope for New Zealand's East Timorese community. Independence activists Jorge and Tina da Conceicao Teme believe it was nothing short of providence that their son was born a fortnight prematurely, on Monday.
EAST TIMOR – TROOP PAY: New Zealand troops risking their lives in East Timor are likely to receive a boost to their allowances after lagging well behind their Anzac cobbers. The Defence Force yesterday announced a review of operational daily allowances, acknowledging it had been jolted into action by a glaring disparity between what NZ and Australian soldiers are paid. Australia has increased its daily allowance to a taxfree $A125 ($155), which works out at more than four times what New Zealand soldiers now receive in the hand from a half-taxed $41.60c a day.
EAST TIMOR – VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS: Part-time soldiers are being called to arms for East Timor. Members of the Territorial Forces have been asked to volunteer for the Australian-led international peacemaking force. Three Auckland doctors, Territorial Force specialists, are on standby to head to the ravaged territory as part of a medical support unit which would accompany New Zealand troops on the ground.
EAST TIMOR – EVACUATION: : Seventeen minutes on the ground at Dili Airport was all it took for the crew of a New Zealand Air Force Hercules to rescue 135 East Timorese fleeing their country. Wing Commander John Cummings last night recounted how he landed his aircraft and scooped up a group of mostly women and children who had been sheltering in fear at the United Nations compound in Dili.
ALL BLACKS FAREWELL: Singer-songwriter Neil Finn serenaded the All Blacks last night as the team held its World Cup farewell dinner in Auckland. The former lead singer for Split Enz and Crowded House was the guest of honour at a private function for the All Blacks, who are hoping to repeat the tournament successes of their 1987 predecessors.
TAX CUTS - EDITORIAL: It is the task of Governments to plough the field, it is up to private enterprise to sow the seeds. That is the idea that has propelled all economic policy for the past 15 years. The Government has done its part thoroughly, private enterprise is another story. So little new seed has been sown that all political parties at this election are looking for a general fertiliser. They had better pause in that search for the moment and look over the fence. The neighbour is contemplating a new plough. If the Australian Government manages to pass the tax changes it announced this week, New Zealand's next Government, whatever its stripe, will have to look again at its company tax rate. A rate of 30c in the dollar across the Tasman will put investment in this country at a serious disadvantage. A competitive tax regime is one of those "fundamentals" that Governments must get right.
ANSETT STRIKE: Ansett New Zealand's locked out pilots want to work for free to get all the airline's planes flying again for the rest of the school holidays. The pilots made the offer yesterday saying they were worried the week old lock-out - which caused the cancellation of between half and two-thirds of Ansett's flights - was putting the airline in a dangerous tailspin by letting passengers down during the holidays.
RAMBUKA: Don't mention the coup. Or at least, not within earshot of Bulou Rabuka's dad. The daughter of the former Fiji Prime Minister had her turn in the limelight yesterday as the country's netball team made a mockery of their lowly world championship ranking in Christchurch, overwhelming Zambia to claim 13th seeding - 13 places higher than they were on Monday.
TRAVEL PERKS: Air travel perks for former MPs and their spouses are to be phased out from this year's election. The Speaker, Doug Kidd, confirmed yesterday that the decision had been taken by the Parliamentary Service Commission, a committee of MPs which oversees the administration of Parliament.
KARLA CARDNO: The stepfather of murdered teenager Karla Cardno wants the Parole Board to refer her murderer back to the High Court to be sentenced to preventive detention. Paul Joseph Dally, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1989 murder, was refused parole yesterday. He can reapply for it in a year.