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Cruden suspended for missing team flight after drinking session

Cruden admits he's Credit: PA

New Zealand rugby international Aaron Cruden has been suspended for two matches after missing his team flight to Argentina following a late-night drinking session in Auckland.

The fly half admits to being "deeply embarrassed" by his actions, and will now miss this year's Rugby Championship fixtures against Argentina and South Africa.

The 25 year-old, who has represented his country 35 times, was quick to issue an apology, saying:

"I carry the burden of shame and disappointment and I am deeply apologetic to my team, to my family, and also the New Zealand public.

"I have no excuses. I accept full responsibility for my actions and the penalty of missing the next two games, and I will work with New Zealand Rugby to undertake any other disciplinary action to work through this situation."

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Kate rules the waves by beating William in yacht races

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's yacht races in the waters off Auckland ended with a victory for Kate.

ITV News Royal Correspondent Tim Ewart reports from New Zealand:

The Duchess beat Prince William in two races piloting an America's Cup sailing boat, leaving him trailing behind.

As his wife beamed with delight, the Duke joked, "I'm selfless, a selfless husband - I want a quiet night!"

Rolling Stones postpone tour after L'Wren Scott's death

The Rolling Stones have said they "are deeply sorry and disappointed" to postpone the rest of their tour of Australia and New Zealand following the death of Sir Mick Jagger's partner, the designer L'Wren Scott:

The band has said they are planning to reschedule the shows at a later date.

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New Zealand faces flag change vote

The current New Zealand flag Credit: PA wire

New Zealand prime minister John Key has announced plans for a referendum on whether to change the national flag.

He said he wants a nationwide vote in the next three years.

The nation's current flag depicts the Southern Cross star constellation in red and includes Britain's Union Flag in the top left corner.

The 'Silver Fern' - one of the proposed options for an alternative New Zealand flag. Credit: PA Wire

Mr Key has said he favours a silver fern set against a black background, but opponents say that would associate the flag too much with sports teams, which often use it, and is too reminiscent of a pirate ensign.

Maori King scraps 'short' meeting with Kate and William

The Maori King has pulled out of a meeting with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their New Zealand tour.

His officials suggested the engagement was not long enough to do justice to the status of the royal visitors.

King Tuheitia Paki, wearing a tie, walks behind the coffin of his mother Credit: REUTERS/Nigel Marple

"They were offered a 90-minute slot, that was longer than pretty much any other engagement that they have, and King Tuheitia's people decided that wasn't long enough and on that basis they rejected him attending," New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said in statement.

The Cambridges were due to meet King Tuheitia, a former truck driver who ascended to the throne in 2006, on the country's North Island at Turangawaewae, his official residence and reception building.

The Maori King's office issued a statement which reportedly quoted a senior official who said the monarch was "not some carnival act to be rolled out at the beck and call of anyone, and nor should we be prepared to compromise our tikanga to fit into a pre-determined schedule".

New Zealand bans US rap group Odd Future

US rap group Odd Future have been banned from entering New Zealand after immigration chiefs decided the group posed a threat to public safety.

The group, also known as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, were due to perform with Eminem in Auckland on Saturday.

Tyler the Creator, of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, will not be performing in New Zealand. Credit: PA Wire

Group member Tyler, The Creator expressed his frustration on Twitter: "They said we were 'terrorist threats and bad for the society' or whatever. Sick," he wrote. He later tweeted; "I love NZ tho."

Border operations manager Karen Urwin said authorities decided to decline visas to six group members after becoming aware of a 2011 incident in Boston in which some witnesses accused the Los Angeles group of inciting fans to attack police officers.

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