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The New Zealand Herald

Olympic Concert- Imax Safety- Athletes Roasted- Forces Pay Rise- Refugee Protest- Era Comes In- Speed Limit Drop- Cervical Smear Inquiry- Gisborne Inquiry Ends- Auckland Shops- Hospital Investigations- Poverty Life Cuts

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OLYMPIC CONCERT: The irony was pointed but it was never going to dampen the party. At the southern end of Stadium Australia, veteran rocker Peter Garrett - bearing an uncanny resemblance to the shaven-headed Australian swimmer Michael Klim - led his band Midnight Oil in a rousing rendition of their signature song Beds Are Burning.

- IMAX SAFETY: The ledge in the Imax cinema complex where Danial Gardner fell to his death may be below the legally required height. Three experts have told the Herald that building code regulations say that a barrier between a change of floor levels in a non-residential building must be at least 1m high.

- ATHLETES ROASTED: Three of New Zealand's elite Olympians - discus thrower Beatrice Faumuina, triathlete Hamish Carter and cyclist Anthony Peden - were not worth the money given to them, based on their performances at the Sydney Games, says Sports Foundation head Chris Ineson. The man in charge of hand-picking elite athletes for Olympic funding roasted three of his charges last night for their dismal efforts.

- FORCES PAY RISE: Lower ranks in New Zealand's defence forces are first in line for a pay rise, Prime Minister Helen Clark indicated after visiting peacekeeping troops in East Timor. "Everyone concedes that the pay of junior ranks - and we are talking across the board - is low," Helen Clark said from Sydney yesterday. "When you get to officer level it is not too bad, but for junior ranks it has slipped. "There has been a

- REFUGEE PROTEST: About 100 Sikhs and Pakistanis are expected to bolster a hunger strike by refugees in Auckland's Aotea Square, despite pleas for the protest camp to end. The protest, over the exclusion of refugees from the Government's partial overstayer amnesty, is into its sixth day.

- ERA COMES IN: It is out with the old and in with the new industrial relations law today, as the Employment Relations Act (ERA) comes into force. Welcomed by unionists, but vilified by employers' representatives, the new law replaces the 1991 Employment Contracts Act.

- SPEED LIMIT DROP: Drivers will be asked to consider dropping the open-road speed limit to 90 km/h and lowering the blood-alcohol limit to help slash the road toll in the next decade. Raising the driving age to 17, introducing hidden speed cameras and spending more money building better roads are also part of a major discussion paper, Road Safety Strategy 2010, to be released on Thursday.

- CERVICAL SMEAR INQUIRY: The panel heading the Gisborne inquiry into the cervical smear scandal will spend the next three months preparing its report for Health Minister Annette King. It is expected to contain a plethora of criticisms and recommendations.

- GISBORNE INQUIRY ENDS: It began with simmering anger - the kind of impotent fury that comes from being wronged. It ended with the hope that something will be done to make sure the wrong never happens again. After a marathon 12 weeks, the Gisborne cervical cancer inquiry has heard its last piece of evidence. Now, the team of three women heading the investigation must go away and formulate a report setting out why there was mass under-reporting of cervical smears in Gisborne.

- AUCKLAND SHOPS: Auckland may have New Zealand's best shops, but it seems the shop assistants spend more time yakking on the phone than actually helping out. Auckland Top Shop judges, who have spent the past few weeks "mystery shopping" around the region, have reported bad service wherever they went.

- HOSPITAL INVESTIGATIONS: Hospitals must be told when their health workers are being investigated over medical misadventures, a hospital-service chairman says. Wayne Brown, chairman of state-owned Northland Health, said yesterday that he was speaking out because his company was being unfairly "caned" over one of its gynaecologists, Dr Graham Parry.

- POVERTY LIFE CUTS: Poverty cuts nine years off the lifespan of New Zealand men and more than six years off women's lives. The stark statistics presented by health researchers are some of the sharpest indicators of the links between poverty and health.

All excerpts copyright (c) 2000 The New Zealand Herald

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