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New Zealand Herald

Maritual Property Law - Mortgage Rates - Thai Victim - Govt & Growth - Nz Bank - Team Nz - 16-Y-O Stripper - Beggs Petition - Olympic Torch - Petrol Rise - Murder Sentence- Tv3 Rugby - Disgraced Doctor – Police Compensation- Suicide Inciter

MARITUAL PROPERTY LAW: Changes to matrimonial property law may overturn the traditional 50:50 property split in marriage breakups to compensate women for missing out on careers while raising children. The National Party has slammed the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill as a "gold digger's charter."

MORTGAGE RATES: Mortgage rates are on the way up again, with the ANZ raising its interest rates and other banks saying they are reviewing their positions. The ANZ is the first bank to increase its rates since the Reserve Bank raised the official cash rate a week ago.

THAI VICTIM: Shortly after dawn in an Auckland suburban street, a tiny, scared Thai woman crept from the house of a couple who were forcing her into prostitution. While her captors were cooking breakfast, the 28-year-old sprinted away and begged a stranger to help her.

GOVT & GROWTH: The Government is talking up growth prospects for the economy and blaming misunderstandings about the Employment Relations Bill for a fall in business confidence. Finance Minister Michael Cullen yesterday said proposed changes being considered for the bill should allay some business fears.

NZ BANK: "Jimmy's Bank" is in the mail. Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton's plans to launch a Government-owned bank will move a step closer today when the board of New Zealand Post considers how it can set up a retail banking operation.

TEAM NZ: New Zealanders are being asked to dig into their pockets so Team New Zealand can reward their crew for staying put. As threats of defections to other America's Cup camps linger, Team New Zealand want to lure their sailors, designers and shore crew with sign-on fees paid for in part by the public.

16-Y-O STRIPPER: ROTORUA - Police say they are powerless to stop a 16-year-old girl stripping in front of an audience at a Rotorua massage and strip club. The club, which is running a stripping competition, is unhappy about it, but the girl has her parents' consent.

BEGGS PETITION: An upset Yvonne Beggs, the mother of the West Auckland man murdered by his mentally ill flatmate, received a comforting arm from the Prime Minister at Parliament yesterday. But she also took away the blunt political message that Malcolm Beggs' death was the fault of the previous Government's emphasis on tax cuts over mental health funding.

OLYMPIC TORCH: The procession of the Olympic flame around the world began in controversy and problems look likely to dog it all the way to Sydney for the September event. New Zealand organisers of the torch relay confirmed yesterday that former America's Cup skipper Russell Coutts, who is defecting from this country to sail for a Swiss syndicate, will still carry the Olympic flame in Auckland.

PETROL RISE: Most motorists are trying hard to avoid buying petrol, but one Auckland station can't serve its customers fast enough. Queues are still forming around the block from BP Kingsland on New North Rd, where owner-operator Avtar Saini is selling 91 for 103.9c and 96 for 108.9c - 4c a litre cheaper than other city outlets.

MURDER SENTENCE: Yash Paul was last night found guilty of shooting his friend Ranvir Sharma at point-blank range in an Ellerslie factory. The jury in the High Court at Auckland returned its verdict at 9.35 pm. The judge handed down the mandatory life sentence for murder.

TV3 RUGBY: One of the most eagerly awaited rugby test matches - the All Blacks against France - will screen on TV3 after a bidding war involving TVNZ for the free-to-air rights. The two test matches in November have been snatched up in a joint deal between Sky Network and TV3.

DISGRACED DOCTOR: CHRISTCHURCH - Disgraced Christchurch doctor Morgan Fahey faces more complaints about his conduct through the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. Fahey pleaded guilty in the High Court at Christchurch on Monday to 13 sex crimes, including rape. He was remanded in custody for sentencing on June 1.

POLICE COMPENSATION: WELLINGTON - A video depicting some of this country's most horrific crime and accident scenes was played in the High Court at Wellington yesterday to support a $386,000 damages claim against the police by the video's producer. George Raymond Brickell claims that taping and editing such scenes psychologically damaged him during his 16 years in the police video unit.

SUICIDE INCITER: A former inmate charged with inciting a teenage prisoner to kill himself was yesterday committed to the High Court for trial. Buddy John Grey, aged 21, of Whangarei, denies inciting 18-year-old Eruera Maaka to commit suicide in the cell they shared at Mt Eden Prison on February 1, 1998.

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