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Interest Rates – MPs Air Points – Runaway Train – Abandoned Baby – Polygamy – Whitianga Development – Kiwi Who Helped Great Train Robbers Confesses

INTEREST RATES: People with mortgages are just a little better off today. Added to earlier cuts by the Reserve Bank, a $100,000 mortgage is now $60 a month cheaper. The rate cut is good news for home owners. Floating mortgage rates are at their lowest levels in 18 months. Real Estate agents are pleased. The Real Estate Institute says the market has improved in April. The Reserve Bank’s next announcement is in early July.

MPS AIR POINTS: MPs have decided to surrender a perk, Air Points. Accumulated Air Points will be surrendered on leaving the house, otherwise they will be named in Parliament. The decision follows a complaint from the Green Party’s Rod Donald. MPs will also be expected to use MPs for their travel. The Speaker says it is impossible to make MPs surrender their Air Points. ACT says it has been a Green Party stunt. “The rules are the same as the old rules, just with new words,” says Richard Prebble.

RUNAWAY TRAIN: A runaway freight train rumbled through Ohio today for more than 100 kms. Emergency services considered derailing the train. They eventually stopped the train by attaching an engine to the back of it and slowing it. A rail engineer then jumped aboard and put on the brakes.

ABANDONED BABY: A baby was found abandoned in a pram beside the road at 1am in the morning in Napier last night. The mother was found later wandering the streets drunk. The police think that if the baby hadn’t been found it may have died of hypothermia. The 22-year-old mother – who had been to a party - has been charged with abandoning her child. The child is with its grand-parents.

POLYGAMY: A polygamist in Utah has been charged with bigamy. A fundamentalist Mormon Tom Green has five wives and 25 children. Green married most of his wives when they were 14 or 15. He has also been charged with raping a child, his wife who he married when she was 13. She is not planning to leave him but and is now the mother of six. 10s of thousands of people practice polygamy in Utah. Green thinks he has been targeted as part of a bid to bring the Olympics to the state.

WHITIANGA DEVELOPMENT: The small town of Whitianga is furious over a $100 million canal development, that has been stopped by Conservation Minister Sandra Lee. The Minister decided at the last minute not to allow the project. Over 40 sections in stage one of the development have already been sold. The developers and council spent five years trying to comply with the act. Now they have been asked to jump through the hoops again, this time with the Hauraki Maritime Park Law. Contractors who have lost their jobs are devastated. For years Whitianga had been counting on the cash injection from the project.

KIWI HELPS GREAT TRAIN ROBBERS: A retired Hamilton Dentist has revealed his role in the Great Train Robbery. Bill Wilkinson was a charter pilot working in Britain four years after the robbery. He only realised what was in the bags he transported to Portugal later. Two of his passengers on the Portugal flight were criminals. Wilkinson kept his secret all these years until he saw that Ronnie Biggs had given himself up.


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