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Telecoms Changes – Telecoms Reaction – Plane Crash – Phillida Bunkle – Women’s Refuge – Nazi Thesis – Race Relations – Eruption – Super Jumbo

TELECOMS CHANGES: Telecom is to be forced to improve its performance but the market is happy with the outcome of the Telecommunications inquiry pushing Telecom’s share price up. Minister Paul Swain says the inquiry wasn’t an anti-Telecom inquiry. Alliance Minister Laila Harre is pleased the government is finally acting. The Government is also going to renegotiate the kiwi share as part of a package of measures. The costs of the regime for Telecom are expected to be around $100 million. Laila Harre says the changes will lead to cheaper phone bills. Ministers sold today’s announcement as world leading which looks to be a big ask.

TELECOMS REACTION: Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung says she is happy to work within the proposed regime. Telecom Users say that consumers will benefit from the changes. A fight looks likely to continue however into local line unbundling says Clear. Telecom has agreed to upgrade its rural network. National has greeted the changes as basically positive but says too many services will be regulated.

PLANE CRASH: Investigations are underway into a light plane crash in Canterbury that killed three. The four seater aircraft crashed in a valley south of Hamner Springs. The crash was found by a farmer. Names of the victims are yet to be released. This is the second crash in the last week.

PHILLIDA BUNKLE: Alliance Minister Phillida Bunkle is giving up her taxpayer funded apartment on Oriental Parade. Many people have said she is not entitled to the apartment as a Wellington based minister. Bunkle says she is not Wellington based although she stood in Wellington Central in the last election. Bunkle says everything she has done has been approved. Nineteen other ministers live in taxpayer funded homes in the capital.

WOMEN’S REFUGE: Women’s refuge is getting a funding boost as part of a more than $2 million boost to funding to fight family violence.

NAZI THESIS: A student who concluded the Nazi’s didn’t use gas chambers to kill Jews in Germany has had his thesis publicly criticised by the University of Canterbury. The Canterbury student, now Dr Joel Hayward, wrote the thesis in 1993 earning himself first class honours for his MA. He has since admitted the thesis was flawed, however the thesis cannot be legally withdrawn after the event. Dr Hayward has dropped his interest in WWII in favour of Napoleon. The University has apologised publicly and says the thesis did not deserve its high mark.

RACE RELATIONS: The Race Relations Conciliator says that complaints to his office have jumped over the last year.

ERUPTION: An eruption near Mexico City has thousands of villagers on the move as large rocks are thrown more than 10 kilometers from the volcano.

SUPER JUMBO: A passenger plane far bigger than the Jumbo is to be built in Europe. Airbus has launched the A380, which has capacity for over 500 passengers in its two deck configuration. There is lots more room in these planes for facilities like playrooms and shops. The first of the Super Jumbos is due to take off early 2006.

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