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New Zealand Herald

Battle of Seattle – Mike Moore – Inheritance Wrangle – Hunger Strikers – House Confiscation – Drinking Age – Breath Testers – East Timor – Americas Cup – Erebus – McGillicuddys – Elephant – Lomu – Editorial: Airline Competition

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BATTLE OF SEATTLE: Seattle is under dusk-to-dawn curfew and the National Guard is patrolling the streets after violent protests disrupted the opening day of global trade talks. As delegates to the World Trade Organisation tried to begin their millennium round yesterday, anti-free-trade activists clashed with police attempting to clear the Seattle city centre.

MIKE MOORE: Mike Moore is making a good impression amid the protests at the Seattle conference of the World Trade Organisation, says Labour MP Jim Sutton. Protesters demanding the WTO's destruction are working against poor people and developing countries, Mr Moore told a news conference in a voice brimming with emotion.

INHERITANCE WRANGLE: A youth who witnessed the slaying of most of his family is embroiled in a legal wrangle with his father over his inheritance. Abu Saad Hakim was aged 8 when his mother, brother and sister were butchered by his mother's partner, Mohammed Yakub, at their Kingsland home in February 1990.

HUNGER STRIKERS: Asylum-seekers accused the Immigration Service of treating them like animals even though they had committed no crime as they stumbled to freedom yesterday after three months in prison. The men, some dropping to the ground in exhaustion as they made the short walk to waiting cars, said Mt Eden Prison authorities simply watched as their health steadily deteriorated.

HOUSE CONFISCATION: For close to 10 years Mangu Awarua lived in his house in the Far North and ignored demands to pay the mortgage. Now he may be having second thoughts whether that was wise: the house has been taken from under his feet.

DRINKING AGE: Aucklander Luke Weinstein had a double celebration last night. Not only was it his 19th birthday, but it was also the first time he was able to legally buy and drink beer.

BREATH TESTERS: Police have vowed to keep using alcohol breath-testers despite fears that secrecy over how they work will mean some drink-drive cases are dismissed. The future of the Seres machines has been clouded by the French maker's refusal to let defence lawyers see its technical manuals - even if ordered to by district court judges.

EAST TIMOR: Army medics battled in vain to save a New Zealand soldier who was critically injured during a road accident in East Timor. Shocked colleagues rushed to help popular Warrant Officer Tony Walser after his Unimog utility truck rolled down a 6m bank on Tuesday.

AMERICAS CUP: The chairman of the America's Cup Village Ltd has walked out unexpectedly just 21/2 months before cup racing reaches its climax - at a time when village administrators are being called to account. Lindsay Fergusson announced his resignation from the board yesterday, and was replaced immediately by board member and Auckland lawyer Peter Kiely.

EREBUS: Air Force investigators are waiting for bad weather to clear over Antarctica before flying there to examine a stranded Iroquois helicopter. Transmission problems in falling snow forced the helicopter to land west of Mt Erebus on Tuesday, and it was towed yesterday to the US-run McMurdo Station to await inspection.

MCGILLICUDDYS: Bring rotten fruit - McGillicuddy Serious Party leader Graeme Cairns will lock himself in the stocks today as he disbands the party after yet another election loss. A mournful Mr Cairns has unpacked his special parliamentary suitcase and conceded defeat to Labour leader Helen Clark after predicting a landslide win for his kilted crusaders.

ELEPHANT: One of Auckland Museum's most popular attractions, Rajah the motheaten elephant, has had a make-over. The body of the former Auckland Zoo inhabitant, put into storage in the early 90s, had fallen into disrepair since the original taxidermy was done in 1936.

LOMU: Jonah Lomu, the outstanding player of the 1999 Rugby World Cup, is backing the Herald's annual Young Kauri Awards. Lomu has agreed to act as 1999 patron, and children who are nominated for the awards will receive a special certificate signed by the giant All Black.

EDITORIAL- AIRLINES: New Zealanders need no reminding of the benefits of airline competition. Some, having tasted the rudimentary service offered by Air New Zealand when it monopolised the domestic market, still insist on flying with Ansett. Australians have similar memories from the time almost 10 years ago when Compass Airlines took on what many regarded as a cosy duopoly. Prices for standard tickets plummeted by up to 78 per cent in a price war that ended with Compass' demise. It is little wonder, therefore, that Australia has put out the red carpet for Richard Branson's Virgin Airlines. The British entrepreneur's mode of operation is to undercut the big players. He has staked out his patch across the Tasman by describing the domestic fares charged by Qantas and Ansett as a rip-off. His no-frills airline promises to lower those fares significantly. Australians and tourists alike will benefit from that and an increased frequency of flights.

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