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New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

Lunar Eclipse - Nutritional Supplements- Pacific Storm- Rugby Win- Fiji Sanctions- Suspended Sentences- Problem Gambling- Student Demographics- Tourist Phone Charges- Cost Of Illness- Loner Deaths- Sir Robert Mahuta- Imax Screening

LUNAR ECLIPSE: It was the longest lunar eclipse anyone on the planet will ever see. When the full moon disappeared from sight from 1.02 this morning it hid behind the Earth's shadow until 2.49 am - a phenomenon which will be unmatched for 1000 years.

- NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS: New Zealanders are swallowing up to $145 million in nutritional supplements every year for little or no benefit, says the author of a new report. The study in the New Zealand Medical Journal calls for regulations on the sale and manufacture of supplements.

- PACIFIC STORM: A 65-year-old retired American fighter pilot smoked cigarettes to keep him going as he spent two days and nights bailing water from his stricken yacht in the middle of a Pacific storm. Dewey Hodo said he was "wiped out," about to sink and in "deep do-do" by the time a freighter found him near the Kermadec Islands, about 550km northeast of New Zealand.

- RUGBY WIN: Things don't come much better than this, beating the world champion Australians in front of the biggest crowd in rugby history, most of them our cousins across the Tasman. As Jonah Lomu left Australian star Stephen Larkham sprawling for the last-gasp try to beat the Wallabies 39-35 in the thriller in Sydney, former Australian captain Nick Farr-Jones was moved to call it "the greatest test ever."

- FIJI SANCTIONS: The scale of New Zealand's sanctions against Fiji will become clear when a new Government is announced in Suva in the next few days, says Foreign Minister Phil Goff. He will present options to the cabinet today on action against Fiji, where the multiracial constitution has been suspended since the May 19 coup.

- SUSPENDED SENTENCES: Justice Minister Phil Goff plans to scrap suspended prison sentences because they have failed to cut the numbers going to jail. "They have increased the number but they have not always got the right people into prison, so my basic view is that the sentence has negatives which far outweigh any positives in how it has operated," Mr Goff said yesterday.

- PROBLEM GAMBLING: An alarming increase in problem gambling has brought a plea for the Government to provide help for addicts through the health service. The call has come from the Problem Gambling Committee, which says in its annual report, released today, that there has been a 30 per cent rise in the number of gambling addicts seeking help on its toll-free helpline.

- STUDENT DEMOGRAPHICS: New Zealand schools are becoming less representative of the wider population. Statistics show the number of Asian and Pacific Island students has increased at a faster rate than the overall student population in the past five years.

- TOURIST PHONE CHARGES: With the price of toll calls dropping through the floor, Auckland hotels are cashing in by charging tourists top dollar for phone calls. Telecom charges businesses as little as 4.5c for local calls, yet tourists are being asked to pay up to 85c for calls in the same city.

- COST OF ILLNESS: Infectious intestinal diseases such as campylobacteriosis cost the economy an estimated $216 million a year. Foodborne illnesses alone are estimated to cost $55.1 million a year, or $462 a case, according to a study reported in the New Zealand Medical Journal. The figure is based on an analysis of 119,320 cases.

- LONER DEATHS: With the continuing trend to solo living - one in every six New Zealand homes is a one-person household - it's little wonder we get a few "die-unnoticed" cases like the one last week in the Auckland City-owned Beresford Flats. The surprise, perhaps, is how few there are. Checking through Herald files shows that before the present case of a 65-year-old recluse, apparently dead for three months, there was the discovery in March, in the same block of flats, of a week-dead body.

- SIR ROBERT MAHUTA: Dumped Tainui leader Sir Robert Mahuta has been trying to sell the struggling Warriors rugby league club without tribal authority, a financial adviser to the tribe has confirmed. Sir Robert - who has been sacked as head of the Waikato tribe's cash-strapped corporate arms - is believed to have brokered an unsuccessful deal late last week to sell a half-share of the Auckland team for $100,000.

- IMAX SCREENING: When a 14m-tall Jonah Lomu scored the winning Bledisloe Cup try on Auckland's giant Imax screen, the crowd yelled as if they were on the sidelines. The spectacular game gave the capacity audience gathered at the charity event organised by the New Zealand Herald Foundation plenty of opportunity to dance in the aisles and break into haka.

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