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The students are members of the volunteers in the program to promote the use of English among Thais, and students from the Thai - New Zealand cultural exchange program. The premier expressed her admiration in the students' enthusiasm in learning the Thai language and cultures, while thanking all the Thai foster families for welcoming and taking care of their Caucasian guests.

The exchange was comprised of several activities testing their interoperable command, control and communications capabilities, including naval gunfire support procedures, helicopter deck landing procedures, vessel boarding, search and seizure techniques. “Engagements such as these are critical to our strong international partnerships,” said Lt. Cmdr. Morgan Roper, response department head at Coast Guard Sector Guam. “These activities allow us to learn the procedures and capabilities of our defense partners, and develop the plans which guide real-world responses.”

The two Narromine residents are part of a 28-person exchange program to all parts of New Zealand. This is a cultural exchange program that has been running for 24 years and the program has been used by several Narromine students during this period. Local Rotarian and mentor for the students, Geoff Smith, said the students would attend school as part of their exchange and they would be exposed to several experiences only available in New Zealand.

The US plans to expand its diplomatic and public diplomacy platform in the Asia-Pacific region, with an additional $US25.9 million ($NZ31.44m) for programme and supporting costs.

“Gangnam style,” Brazil’s burgeoning status and Turkey’s increasing global outreach have all combined to push New Zealand out of a new ranking of the world’s top 20 “soft powers.” In 2011, New Zealand ranked 17th largely on the basis of two things – rugby and Hobbits. This year, the ranking has dropped to 21st, with only the Hobbits featuring.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed it paid $85,000 towards the All Whites' trip to China for a friendly football match. The decision to put taxpayers' money towards a sporting trip was slammed by former foreign affairs minister Winston Peters, who said he was "astonished" MFAT was dabbling in sport.

September 23, 2012

Thirty-two public servants are flitting to Frankfurt for a controversial book fair, which New Zealand is attending as a guest at a cost of $6 million. The Ministry of Culture and Heritage is sending seven staff, and Treasury has two officials going. English will open the October 9 party.

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