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New Zealand Herald

Bottrill Testifies - Battered Tot - All Black Dedication - Sailor In Hot Water - Timor Pay - Evidence Accepted - Major Guilty - Levin Lose Out - Tax System Review - Rail Safety - Act Defies Parliament - Telephone Searches - Art Controversy - White Danger

BOTTRILL TESTIFIES: The man in the witness box could have been talking about someone else. It was as if he could not quite fathom that it was him, and not some anonymous third party, who was there to answer the tough questions, furnish vital answers.

- BATTERED TOT: Battered tot Hinewaoriki Karaitiana-Matiaha had a purple mark on her face and was having difficulty walking the morning before she was delivered dead to hospital, says a family member. The woman, who does not want to be named, said the 23-month-old was stumbling and falling over when family took her to play at the Ngawaka Te Kohanga Reo in Carterton on Sunday, July 23.

- ALL BLACK DEDICATION: The All Blacks may dedicate their Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia to the memory of Private Leonard Manning. The New Zealand Rugby Football Union is considering asking the crowd at Saturday's match to observe a minute's silence for the 24-year-old soldier killed in East Timor last week.

- SAILOR IN HOT WATER: A British sailor plucked to safety from a liferaft in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday is in hot water in New Zealand, with allegations that the yacht he abandoned in heavy seas was stolen. Police confirmed yesterday that they had received a complaint from a Northland couple who are owed $7500 for the yacht DD, which Auckland-based Greg McLelland was trying to sail to Australia.

- TIMOR PAY: The lure of better pay had Private Leonard Manning contemplating a job with the Australian Army 11 days before his death in East Timor. In his last letter home, the 24-year-old wrote that his $27,000 salary would increase to $41,000 if he joined the Australians.

- EVIDENCE ACCEPTED: The former Gisborne pathologist yesterday told about 70 women and their families at a ministerial inquiry that he must accept evidence showing he extensively under-reported cervical smears from 1991 until his retirement in 1996. But during cross-examination, Dr Bottrill added a caveat to his admission: "If I was doing it again, I wouldn't make any major changes. I was completely unaware at the time I retired there was a problem."

- MAJOR GUILTY: A major was dismissed from the Army after being found guilty of two charges of desertion at a court martial in Wellington last night. Trentham-based Major Pedro van der Ent is the first New Zealand Army officer to be court martialled for desertion since the Second World War.

- LEVIN LOSE OUT: The Levin Wanderers rugby team felt destined to win their club championship final. But with an improbable victory in sight, their dream was destroyed by a desperate tackle from a tired and emotional spectator.

- TAX SYSTEM REVIEW: The Government has announced a "top to bottom" two-stage review of the tax system before the next election. But the crucial makeup of the "independent" panel, which will undertake the first stage, has yet to be unveiled.

- RAIL SAFETY: Former railworker Iosa Iuni, who lost a leg in a shunting accident, broke down yesterday as he told a ministerial inquiry into occupational health and safety at Tranz Rail how he struggled to cope with life. A handgrip on a wagon broke in November 1998 and he fell on to the track in the Wellington railyards and was run over, Mr Iuni said.

- ACT DEFIES PARLIAMENT: Five Act MPs yesterday defied Parliament's rules and prematurely disclosed changes to the Government's new labour laws. At a series of seminars throughout the country, the MPs spelled out amendments to the Employment Relations Bill.

- TELEPHONE SEARCHES: WELLINGTON - Police say telephone record searches cost them between $500,000 and $750,000 a year. National crime manager Detective Superintendent Bill Bishop said New Zealand was not an isolated example because there were similar charges in many countries.

- ART CONTROVERSY: Gordon Haar's question is a mixture of incredulity and scorn. The tone of the waterfront worker's voice turns to one of outrage when he is told the artwork involving two tip-up trucks, lights and spinnaker cloth will cost about $50,000.

- WHITE DANGER: Tourists eager to witness the explosive power of White Island in the Bay of Plenty are being warned to steer clear of the volcano after Thursday's eruption, as more action is likely. Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences volcanologist Steve Sherburn ventured onto the smouldering island yesterday to study the aftermath of the eruption, which formed a crater up to 120m wide.

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