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Petrol Prices – Storms – Olympic Drug Scandals – Olympic Feel-Good Factor

- PETROL PRICES: Petrol prices dropped three cents today. Main petrol companies all followed BP. The United States decision to release some of its emergency oil stockpile has reduced the record high crude oil prices. Diesel has not gone down. Australian truckies have been protesting petrol prices, which have not fallen yet in Australia.

- STORMS: Parts of central North Island are still without power tonight after savage storms hit the country overnight. Three yachties were rescued in high seas, returning to Auckland from Tonga. The yacht rolled and was dismasted. They were located by the Westpac Trust rescue helicopter off Great Barrier Island. The trio had to abandon their yacht and jump into high seas to be rescued.

Hawkes Bay and Gisbourne were the hardest hit by the storms. Roofs were lifted by extremely strong winds. Snow closed roads. Snow drifts in High Country farms resulted in stock losses – at the height of lambing season. On the positive side, ski resorts expect to be open till October.

A Father and son suffering from hypothermia are stuck in the Kaimanawa ranges. Rescuers reached them this morning – they’re too weak to walk out and weather is too bad to fly them out.

Tonight will be rainy and windy and the temperature in Taupo is expected to fall as low as minus two degrees.

- OLYMPIC DRUG SCANDALS: Drug scandals have dominated Olympic news. US shot-putter C.J. Hunter says he’ll fight the result of a drug test showing a nandrolone level 1000miligrams the legal level in his blood. Wife Marion Jones, the women’s 100m champion, says she stands by him. She’s aiming for a record five gold medals.

The Romanian women’s individual gymnastics champion has been stripped of her gold medal, testing positive to the banned substance psudoethedrine, an ingredient in cold medicine. She retains her team gold.

Cathy freeman says she doesn’t think the Hunter scandal will affect Marion Jones’ performances, she’s the hot favourite for the 200m.

- OLYMPIC FEEL-GOOD FACTOR: Cathy Freeman’s gold in the women’s 400m captured the imagination of Australia. She carried both Australian and Aboriginal flags after her victory. Her win has created a feel-good factor in Australia, but there are doubts about whether it will have the nation healing effect that has been hoped by some.

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