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One Tree Hill – Economy Class Syndrome – SAS In Court – East Timor – Middle East Conflict – Student Loans – Lisa Blakie – Lions Victory Roar

ONE TREE HILL: Prepare to take your last look at One Tree Hill. Chainsaw attacks in 1994 and more recently have led to the trees demise. The tree will come down tomorrow. Experts say the tree is behaving unpredictably in high winds. Tree attacker Mike Smith says the tree is a symbol of the holocaust. The tree will be dismembered limb by limb with helicopters. A robust consultation will follow on what tree will replace the pine.

ECONOMY CLASS SYNDROME: A Coromandel woman has come forward complaining about “economy class syndrome”. The fit 40 year old stepped off a flight in Amsterdam and straight into hospital several years ago. Diana had a stroke caused by a long haul flight. She wants warnings on all air tickets about the problem.

SAS IN COURT: A former Colonel in the UK SAS has taken the witness stand at the Auckland High Court. The former Colonel says it had been impossible to stop other SAS books being published about the ill-fated Bravo 2 Zero patrol. That was why confidentiality agreements had been drawn up for the SAS soldiers to sign in 1995. Signing had been a condition of remaining in employment. Mark the Kiwi – soldier 5 – is seeking to publish his gulf war memoirs.

EAST TIMOR: NZ Peace-keepers have shot another West Timorese militiamen on the East Timorese border, the third in six weeks.

MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: US President Bill Clinton has invited Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak to the White House for a meeting. Arafat says he will come but will not sit in a room with Barak. This afternoon a 12-year-old boy became the 130th victim of violence in the Holy Land. Israeli tanks are in position around a village near Jerusalem and both sides are using heavy machine guns. Ordinary people are now arming themselves. All sides now think this will be a protracted conflict. There is little to see what the Palestinians are winning for their efforts.

STUDENT LOANS: WINZ has been given $6 million and extra staff to ensure there is no repeat of last years Student Loans fiasco. Thousands of students were left unable to pay fees, rent or power bills. A WINZ spokeswoman says that this year will be better. Students say that they will lose all faith in WINZ if the problems are repeated.

LISA BLAKIE: Police hunting the killer of Lisa Blakie have now positively identified two bags as belonging to her.

LIONS VICTORY ROAR: A roar of black and gold on the streets of Wellington. For the first time in 14 years NZ has a champion rugby team. 10s of thousands of Wellingtonians took to the street. Captain Norm Hewitt says it is “huge mate”. Fans enjoyed the celebrations as much as the players. And a farewell for Alama Ieremia.

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