New Zealand

New Zealander, 75, jailed for child-sex pictures

New Zealander, 75, jailed for child-sex picturesWellington - A 75-year-old New Zealand man has been jailed for two years on 27 charges of possessing objectionable images, mainly of young boys in sexual poses or acts, following a tip-off from police in Germany, news reports said Thursday.

The Department of Internal Affairs said that Edward Kent, of Christchurch, was the oldest person to be prosecuted for possessing sex pictures obtained via the internet.

Mites living on hissing cockroach may harbour allergy cure

Mites living on hissing cockroach may harbour allergy cureWashington, Apr 30 : A new research has revealed how tiny mites living on the surface of cockroaches may prove to be advantageous to humans with allergies.

Mites, who thrive on the surface of Madagascar hissing cockroaches help decrease the presence of a variety of moulds on the cockroaches'' bodies, which in turn reduces allergic responses among humans who handle the popular insects.

British nurse told she's too fat for New Zealand

Wellington - A British nurse weighing 134 kilograms has been refused permission to live in New Zealand because she is too fat, according to news reports on Thursday.

The 51-year-old nurse, who had been offered a job in a hospital for the elderly, was turned down by immigration officials because her body mass index of 55.2 made her morbidly obese.

Medical assessors said the woman would probably cost the country 25,000 New Zealand dollars (11,200 US dollars) over four years in health treatment.

The woman, who has a 131-centimetre waist, said she was physically fit, had no history of cancer or chronic disease in her family, and her weight did not stop her working more than 60 hours a week.

New Zealand tries to contain swine flu after 13 confirmed cases

New Zealand tries to contain swine flu after 13 confirmed casesWellington - New Zealand has 13 confirmed cases of swine flu and 104 suspected cases, health officials said Thursday as the World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert to the second-highest level.

Health Minister Tony Ryall told a news conference that New Zealand was working under a policy of "contain and mitigate" - trying to contain the virus by monitoring the 10,000 people who arrive at airports from North America each week, and isolating suspected patients and treating them with Tamiflu antiviral medicine.

New Zealand central bank cuts interest rate to 2.5 per cent

New Zealand central bank cuts interest rate to 2.5 per centWellington - New Zealand's central bank slashed its benchmark interest rate Thursday by half a per cent to 2.5 per cent, its seventh cut since July.

The so-called official cash rate (OCR) was already at its lowest mark since it was introduced in 1999 and Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard signalled that he could keep it at or below the current level until late 2010.

"We consider it appropriate to provide further policy stimulus to the economy," he said. "The OCR could still move modestly lower over the coming quarters."

New Zealand says no cause for panic after swine flu confirmed

New Zealand says no cause for panic after swine flu confirmedWellington - The number of swine flu victims in New Zealand grew to 14 on Wednesday, but health authorities said all were recovering well and there was no need to panic.

Officials said there were 31 suspected cases in the country and another 179 people who may have been in contact with those affected were in voluntary isolation around the country and had been offered a course of Tamiflu antiviral medication.

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