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Team NZ - Petrol Prices Rise - Doctor Guilty- Prison Suicide - State Rents- Chinese Protests - Fiji Holidays- Police In Schools - Laila In Solomons - Liquor Monopoly - Domestic Dispute - Not Charged - Wespactrust Park - Suicide Murder - Liquor Showdown

TEAM NZ: Jilted yachtsman Tom Schnackenberg unwittingly introduced Russell Coutts to the billionaire who snatched the skipper from Team New Zealand. Ernesto Bertarelli first met Coutts during the America's Cup in February, then six weeks later offered him a lucrative deal to quit running the Cup and instead sail his Swiss boat in 2003.

PETROL PRICES RISE: Petrol prices are up again - the 16th rise since last July. This time hard-hit motorists are being asked for a further 4c a litre - and they can expect the same increase again within the next week.

DOCTOR GUILTY: CHRISTCHURCH - A doctor and former Christchurch deputy mayor, Morgan Fahey, has admitted 13 sex charges against 11 women dating back more than 34 years. Silver-haired Fahey, aged 68, stifled his sobs and was supported by a prison officer as he answered "guilty" in a hoarse whisper to each indictment read to him yesterday in the High Court at Christchurch.

PRISON SUICIDE: A prisoner arranged a threatening letter to his suicidal teenage cellmate because he thought it might help with a pardon, the Auckland District Court heard yesterday. Former Mt Eden Prison inmate Buddy John Grey, aged 21, of Whangarei, appeared at a depositions hearing charged with inciting 18-year-old Eruera Maaka to commit suicide.

STATE RENTS: At least 40,000 state tenants will receive rent cuts under the Coalition's income-related rents policy, but it will push up demand for state houses. It is estimated to cost $100 million in the next financial year, says Housing Minister Mark Gosche, who outlined plans yesterday for its early introduction on December 1.

CHINESE PROTESTS: A senior police officer's admission that he tried to save the Government embarrassment and minimise Chinese President Jiang Zemin's exposure to protesters has drawn a sharp rebuke from Prime Minister Helen Clark. In evidence to a select committee examining protests during Mr Jiang's state visit last year, Inspector Tom Stenhouse, the head of the Diplomatic Protection Squad, said Chinese officials said it was "a requirement" the President neither saw nor heard protesters.

FIJI HOLIDAYS: Hundreds of New Zealanders are altering Fiji holiday plans as the tourism industry tries to limit the fallout from Suva's turmoil. Travel agents are offering alternative deals to clients who cannot get travel insurance for Fiji unless they booked before 4 pm last Friday.

POLICE IN SCHOOLS: Police will put constables in schools and try to fingerprint truants suspected of crime in a crackdown on young South Auckland burglars. The tough measures are part of an Otahuhu and Papatoetoe police operation which aims to cut the link between truancy and daytime burglary.

LAILA IN SOLOMONS: Laila Harre will travel to two of the Pacific's hottest spots today in the name of youth. The Minister of Youth Affairs will fly to the Solomon Islands for an international conference being held amid ethnic unrest.

LIQUOR MONOPOLY: Two licensed restaurants which have been shut down by police are launching a petition to end the monopoly on West Auckland liquor sales held by the Portage and Waitakere licensing trusts. And an Auckland Regional Council member who owns another restaurant in the area, Carl Harding, is threatening to resign from the Labour Party unless Labour backs moves to remove the trusts' monopoly.

DOMESTIC DISPUTE: WHANGAREI - A woman alleged to have had a domestic dispute with her partner which involved the use of a stove, mop and wheelchair as weapons has been allowed bail as long as she stays away from him. Caregiver Shereen Moana Hauraki appeared in the Whangarei District Court yesterday charged with assault with weapons, assault with intent to injure, and wounding a man with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

NOT CHARGED: Auckland City councillor Phil Raffills will not be prosecuted by the police for smashing a window on a fire truck belonging to the Water Pressure Group. Avondale police found grounds for prosecuting Mr Raffills but have used their discretion to let him off with a warning.

WESPACTRUST PARK: HAMILTON - WestpacTrust Park may miss out on a $4.5 million upgrade despite ratepayer approval for Hamilton's twin-stadium project. A referendum of the city's ratepayers and registered electors showed 61.2 per cent approval of a $30.3 million plan to redevelop Rugby Park and cricket's WestpacTrust Park.

SUICIDE MURDER: A man who blamed the death of a friend on suicide left abundant evidence he was guilty of murdering him before bundling the body into the boot of a car, a High Court jury has been told. Yash Paul, aged 29, has denied murdering his friend, Ranvir Sharma, 40, by shooting him with a rifle at point blank range in the chest at an Ellerslie factory on February 27 last year.

LIQUOR SHOWDOWN: A showdown is looming between the forces of competition and three community-owned Auckland liquor trusts which are vulnerable to charges of extravagance and inefficiency. The three trusts - Portage, Waitakere and Birkenhead - are among the last seven trusts in the country which still have a monopoly of liquor sales in their areas (the other four are in the South Island).

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