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United States is taking a cautious stance over the possibility of military intervention in East Timor. New Zealand and Australia have hundreds of troops on standby to enter into the troubled territory, but the Pentagon says it has no such plans. A White House spokesperson says any US participation is dependent on the UN security council which has sent a delegation to Indonesia.

Meanwhile the New Zealand frigate Te Kaha is racing to the waters between Darwin and East Timor. Defence Minister Max Bradford has announced the frigate has been made available to assist the Australian Defence Forces in a possible evacuation. The Prime minister Jenny Shipley describes it as a precautionary move. The death-toll for the rampaging pro-Indonesian militia is now estimated at up to 1000 people.

Labour has announced its social welfare policy with increased emphasis on job creation and the scrapping of the community wage scheme. Under that controversial scheme beneficiaries can be required to do community work or risk having their benefit revoked. Labour intends to place more weight on assisting beneficiaries to find jobs and increase its spending in job creation so people will see genuine opportunities.

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