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New Zealand Herald

Soldier Dies- Burglars & Vice - West Timor - Soldier Killed History - Boy Sues - Pi Checks Dishes - Waitangi Claims - Surprise Birth - Force Used On Toddler - Lord Of The Rings Obsession

SOLDIER DIES: From his early teens, Len Manning had one clear goal in life - a career in the Army. The country boy who loved shooting and the great outdoors followed his dream, joining the Territorials after leaving school and enlisting in the regular force in January 1997, aged just 21.

- BURGLARS & VICE: Burglars are being squeezed in a police vice generated by pressure on career criminals and a commitment to attend all crime scenes. Police now take an average of seven hours to turn up after a break-in complaint, in line with a Government demand that victims receive "same-day service."

- WEST TIMOR: The terrain near the West Timor border where Private Leonard Manning died is ideal guerrilla country. The mountains are steep and rugged, heavily clad in tropical forest, alive with venomous snakes and spiders, leeches and malaria and dengue fever-carrying mosquitoes.

- SOLDIER KILLED HISTORY: The soldier killed in action in East Timor on Monday was the first New Zealander to die in combat in almost 30 years. Private Leonard William Manning, an infantryman shot dead while serving with 2/1 Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, was also the first battle fatality suffered by the UN-backed peace enforcement team in the former Indonesian territory. The last New Zealand soldier killed in action was Private Kenneth Harding of Victor 6 company, also Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, who died in Vietnam on June 24, 1971.

- BOY SUES: A 12-year-old Hamilton boy who says his life has been ruined by arsenic poisoning is suing the Hamilton City Council and the Waikato Regional Council for $500,000. Joshua Wete is claiming for loss of enjoyment of life, loss of earning potential, medical costs and special education costs after he and his family lived for seven years in a house contaminated by arsenic.

- PI CHECKS DISHES: A mysterious private investigator is roaming Auckland, checking on people's satellite dishes for a secret client. Steven Norman, a private investigator for City of Sails Investigations, has been asking Sky TV owners if they have council permission for their dishes.

- WAITANGI CLAIMS: The Government does not have an open chequebook for settling Treaty of Waitangi claims, although it has abandoned the $1 billion fiscal limit on payouts, says Associate Justice Minister Paul Swain. Answering questions in Parliament yesterday on behalf of Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson, Mr Swain said settlements would be made case by case within the limits of the Government's ability to pay.

- SURPRISE BIRTH: A Southland woman who gave birth in her home had not even been aware she was expecting. When Annette Macann, aged 31, from Greenhills, 15km southwest of Invercargill, started having labour pains about 7 pm on Sunday, she thought it was constipation or something much worse.

- FORCE USED ON TODDLER: Significant physical force was deliberately used to inflict head and body injuries on a Wairarapa toddler whose body was taken to Masterton Hospital on Sunday night, police said yesterday. An autopsy on Hinewaoriki Rerenoa Karaitiana-Matiaha showed "significant force was used to inflict such awful injuries."

- LORD OF THE RINGS OBSESSION: An obsession with the Lord of the Rings film project which led to the theft of more than $213,000 worth of costumes and props from a film site in the Wellington area has had its sequel in the Alexandra District Court. Blu James McLennan, aged 46, unemployed, of Wanaka, yesterday admitted charges of theft as a servant of $213,693 worth of costumes and props from film sets, and a $50 wine barrel, the property of the movie production company Three Foot Six.

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