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New Zealand Herald

Booze Laws - Hostpital Lawsuit - Fiji Sport - Driving Tests - Business Confidence- Boat Accident - Adult Smokers - Airways Corp- Morgan Fahey - Appeal Quashed - Internet Names

BOOZE LAWS: Eddie McMullan took four bullets in Cyprus and served time in a Korean POW camp. Yesterday he went into battle again, in memory of his dead daughter, fighting to change the law of the land. The justice and electoral select committee, sitting in a gloomy conference room in a Parnell motel, listened in silence as the 65-year-old veteran of the Royal Ulster Rifles recited the sadly familiar litany of his loss.

HOSTPITAL LAWSUIT: The families of victims of the 1997 Raurimu massacre are angry their $2.6 million lawsuit against the hospital responsible for the care of gunman Stephen Anderson has been struck out. The High Court at Wellington has dismissed claims brought by Helena Van De Wetering, Isobel McCarty, Gordon Brander and his three sons against Capital Coast Health, saying it was not sensible to suggest that they relied on the hospital service to protect them from harm.

FIJI SPORT: Fiji is being sidelined from New Zealand and Australian sporting events and both Governments are warning that sporting sanctions could be imposed. The NZ Minister for Sport, Trevor Mallard, last night said the cancellations sent a message to Fijians to sort their country out.

DRIVING TESTS: People who fail their driving test will not be told they have "failed." Instead a kinder, gentler phrase such as, "You have not come up to the standard we are looking for," will be used.

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE: The Government is slamming the brakes on business-unfriendly policies, scotching Alliance talk of an extra week's annual holiday and postponing moves on paid parental leave as it tries to rebuild economic confidence. And in a bid to soothe business concerns about Alliance influence, Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday made it clear that Labour, through Finance Minister Michael Cullen, is in control of the economy.

BOAT ACCIDENT: KAIKOHE - A partner in an Auckland law firm was driving a 5.3m powerboat when it hit and killed a snorkeller who was diving alone without showing a diving flag. Lawyer Russell Bartlett's family, including business and academic leader Sir Colin Maiden, were on board.

ADULT SMOKERS: The number of adult smokers increased last year but on average they sucked on almost one cigarette fewer each day, according to the latest statistics. Twenty-six per cent of respondents aged 15 and over told an ACNielsen survey last year that they were smokers, up from 25 per cent in 1998.

AIRWAYS CORP: The Airways Corporation has hit back at a Herald investigative report on its global expansion plans and the allegations against its management and chairman. The corporation, which is under scrutiny by Auditor-General David Macdonald at the Government's request, said the article, published on Tuesday, contained factual errors.

MORGAN FAHEY: CHRISTCHURCH - Convicted sex offender Morgan Fahey almost succeeded in having sex charges against him thrown out or stopped indefinitely in March because of pre-trial publicity. Last week, the Christchurch doctor pleaded guilty to 13 sex charges against 11 women. He will be sentenced in the High Court at Christchurch today.

APPEAL QUASHED: That was Henk Bouma's reaction last night to news that the man who brutally killed his wife will serve at least 13 years' jail after a landmark court decision. The Court of Appeal ruled that David Poumako, aged 25, will have to wait 13 years before being eligible for parole even though he shot dead Beverly Bouma before Parliament passed home invasion laws last July.

INTERNET NAMES: New Zealand Web-users can now register seven "offensive Anglo-Saxon biological terms" as domain names. The Internet Society of New Zealand lifted a ban on registering Internet sites using the offensive terms at midnight last night.

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