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New Zealand Herald

Kylie Jones Murderer - Samuels Cleared - Himalayan Mountain Goats - Russian Tinpot - Travis Burns Trial - Higher Petrol Prices - Law Firm Loses - Lockers Comeback - Bop Deficit - Pupils On Pot - Police Cars - Sandra Lee & Local Govt

KYLIE JONES MURDERER: A High Court judge rejected prosecution pleas eight years ago to jail indefinitely the man who went on to murder Aucklander Kylie Jones. Justice Paul Neazor refused to impose preventive detention on Taffy Herbert Hotene in April 1992 for three attacks on Wanganui women, and instead sentenced him to 12 years in prison.

- SAMUELS CLEARED: The Prime Minister will not reinstate Dover Samuels as Maori Affairs Minister despite police clearing him of under-age sex allegations and deciding not to take further action over rape claims. Police expect to complete next week the last part of their investigation - into whether Mr Samuels had sex with a girl in his care and protection 14 years ago.

- HIMALAYAN MOUNTAIN GOATS: ROTORUA - A Taupo deer farmer who battled authorities for the right to retain a herd of thar - Himalayan mountain goats - has won New Zealand's first export order of the animals to South America. Twenty thar belonging to Murray Matuschka have been bought by an Argentine businessman with a property near Buenos Aires who wants to run the animals for hunting.

- RUSSIAN TINPOT: The tinpot boat that carried two adventurous Russian lovers to New Zealand last year has probably never been in such good company. It is now snuggled into a berth alongside multimillion-dollar superyachts at Gulf Harbour, on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. The 8m homemade vessel limped into New

- TRAVIS BURNS TRIAL: Murder accused Travis Burns yesterday identified himself from a security video carrying out an attempted bank raid in St Heliers. Burns is accused of murdering 33-year-old kindergarten teacher Joanne McCarthy at her Whangaparaoa home on November 12, 1998.

- HIGHER PETROL PRICES: Shoppers will soon see the effect of higher petrol prices in their grocery bills. Three of the big four oil companies have lifted fuel prices again.

- LAW FIRM LOSES: The country's biggest law firm has lost a legal battle to retrieve confidential documents being used to investigate one of its former partners. Russell McVeagh McKenzie Bartleet and Co gave the documents to the Auckland District Law Society to help it investigate an allegation of improper conduct against the unnamed former partner in the so-called bloodstock litigation.

- LOCKERS COMEBACK: Lockers are making a comeback at secondary schools around the country after concerns about the weight students are lugging between classes. This year, a Massey University study found that secondary students carried weights up to twice the recommended industrial level for adults of 4kg to 6kg.

- BOP DEFICIT: The balance of payments deficit is "way beyond any finance minister's comfort zone," Finance Minister Michael Cullen said last night. But he told the Financial Markets Association in Auckland that he believed "we have reached the top of the mountain."

- PUPILS ON POT: A school has suspended 24 boys after they were found smoking cannabis and may expel a boy alleged to have provided the drugs. The Hamilton Boys' High board of trustees will this week decide whether to expel a 16-year-old pupil.

- POLICE CARS: Police cars with several hundred thousand kilometres on the clock are due to be replaced in a $20 million upgrade of the police fleet. Senior officers want to have their biggest spendup on cars in years and are seeking cabinet approval to buy more than 650 vehicles.

- SANDRA LEE & LOCAL GOVT: Local Government Minister Sandra Lee's attempts to control fallout over a golden handshake row backfired yesterday amid revelations of her run-ins with the official involved. Leaked documents revealed that Ms Lee had banned the chief executive of Local Government New Zealand, Carol Stigley, from meetings and told representatives of the ratepayer-funded organisation that she "did not want to see [Ms Stigley] again."

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