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Backpackers Blaze – Gavin Dash – Trampers Found Dead – George Bush Executes Another – Teina Pora Sentenced Again – Fiji Coup – Ruapehu Snow

BACKPACKERS BLAZE: Up to 18 people have died in a backpackers blaze in Australia north of Brisbane. Police cannot complete their count of the dead. The Palace Hostel was booked out on the night of the fire. The backpackers moved into a community centre for counseling. A NZ backpacker told his father by phone that it looks like arson. The person who may have set the fire might have been banned from the hostel the week before. Police have not confirmed the fire is arson yet. Queensland info line 00617 33 643 561.

GAVIN DASH: A man has been arrested for the murder of Gavin Dash. The man appeared calm when he appeared in court. He has been remanded for a psychiatric assessment. The body has not yet been recovered. Police will return to the Makara stream to search again next week. The family found it difficult to convince the police to investigate the disappearance of Gavin initially.

TRAMPERS FOUND DEAD: Two trampers were found dead today in the Tararua ranges. Karen Forster and Gregory Ross were found together and are thought to have died of hypothermia. 50 searchers have been looking for the missing pair. The daughter and sister of the missing pair came back from Australia to help with the search. Police say the case should be a lesson to all trampers.

GEORGE BUSH: Presidential Candidate George Bush today refused to halt the execution of Garry Graham. Graham’s case has been reviewed 33 times. Graham was convicted on the evidence of one eye-witness. Texas is the only state in which prisoners cannot appeal directly to the governor for clemency. Over 100 people have been put to death under Governor Bush.

TEINA PORA: Teina Pora has been convicted twice of killing Susan Burdette and today had his sentence increased.

FIJI COUP: 200 young men are parading in Suva’s Parliamentary compound learning military drill. Meanwhile prayer services continue. Negotiations continue between the military and the coup leaders. George Speight wants the military to hand over power to a civilian government immediately.

RUAPEHU SNOW: Turoa and Whakapapa have opened for the first time this season. Whakapapa has just bought Turoa but the sale is still subject to commerce commission approval. Field managers are talking about linking the two fields together.

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