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Speaker Apologises – Middle East War? – Education Grading System – Medical Complaints Report – Weather Change – Air New Zealand Loss Warning – Auckland Power Payout - Stalker

SPEAKER APOLOGISES: The Speaker of Parliament has had to apologise about comments about members drinking. He had said yesterday that sometimes MPs couldn’t remember what they had said because they were so drunk. The PM says that the National Party is beating the story up. Journalist Barry Soper says he remembers Rob Muldoon saying “Mishter Shpeaker” over and over again.

MIDDLE EAST WAR? Israel unleashed rocket and tank attacks on Palestinian targets overnight. At least two Palestinians are dead and more than 100 are injured. A spokesman for the Israeli PM says that it was an act of self-defence in response to three bomb attacks. In Hebron Jewish Settlers attacked Palestinian shops in revenge for the death of a 10-month-old baby.

EDUCATION GRADING SYSTEM: Under pressure from parents and the opposition the government has agreed to a new grading system that will give students a grade out of 100 in the 5th form year. The PPTA is concerned people will think this is a percentage mark when it isn’t. Under the compromise there will also be more exams and the assessment system will be based 60% on exams.

MEDICAL COMPLAINTS REPORT: A report from Helen Cull Q.C. says there should be a single complaints organisation for people to contact over concerns about medical treatment. The report also recommends mandatory reporting of sub-standard medical practitioners. The Minister of Health says she is keen to put in place a speedy, open, transparent and accountable system. However she is not committing herself to the one stop shop suggested just yet.

WEATHER CHANGE: More tempestuous weather overnight appears to signal that summer is over. Winds of up to 140kmh scatter caravans at Kaikoura. In Hamilton it was blowing hot air to dry the pitch as camera crews waited for the cricket to start. Augie Auer says that last night’s bad weather was symptomatic of the beginning of autumn.

AIR NEW ZEALAND LOSS WARNING: Air New Zealand has signalled it is headed for a substantial operating loss for the year ending in June. The loss could be more than $100 million. The airline is blaming a cut throat price war in Australia which is affecting its 100% subsidiary Ansett. The announcement sent Air New Zealand’s shares tumbling.

AUCKLAND POWER PAYOUT: A recent cash windfall for Aucklanders has come at a price. The single cheque payout has caused problems at some student flats. A former flatmate in one flat is demanding a share of the payout, but isn’t getting it. Sharing has been a hot topic on the Auckland campus all day especially after one person said he was planning on keeping all the money.

STALKER: British police are trying to trace a stalker who has been targeting middle aged celebrities who made a name for themselves in the 1970s. Letters to several stars have been under investigation for some time. Handwriting experts say all the letters came from the same person.

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