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Christine Rankin – Jap Imports – Stabbing – Slobodan Milosevic – Microsoft – On Energy – Probation Strike – Fire Fighters Contract - TVNZ

CHRISTINE RANKIN: A day of denial for State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham in the Employment Court today, denying that he distorted WINZ boss Christine Rankin’s career in his evidence. He also denied saying he intended to perjur himself. He said the Crown would consider it would have a very strong case and it would have fight a strong battle against any law suit. Rankin’s lawyer accused Wintringham of raising things in his evidence that had never been put to Rankin. Wintringham said he had no choice but to raise otherwise private matters in his defence. Wintringham said his brief of evidence contained evidence of his attempts to defend Rankin. The case is expected to go all of next week at least.

JAP IMPORTS: The market for cheap Japanese imported cars is expected to go through a big shakeup. All second-hand cars are checked at present for safety, in future the checks will be more more stringent. Cars older than five or seven years will have to meet frontal impact standards. The changes are expected to raise prices. Mark Gosche says he has no sympathy for importers who want to import unsafe cars.

STABBING: A boy stabbed at 2am in the morning in the stomach in his house in Hastings is being described by police as victim of a “crazy random crime”. The 15-year-old boy was found by his mother who saw the offender decamp. An 18-year-old defendant will appear in court tomorrow.

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC: Slobodan Milosevic is tonight in prison in The Hague, the Netherlands, he is likely to be in prison for more than a year before he is taken to trial. A crowd in Belgrade took out its anger on news media when it heard Milosevic had left the country. Milosevic is charged with crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo. A mass grave recently found near Belgrade contains more than 30 bodies including several children.

MICROSOFT: A major victory for Microsoft in court in the US has reversed an earlier order to break up the company. Bill Gates says he feels very good about the decision. The appeals court ruled that Microsoft is a monopoly and acted anti-competitively and illegally. The US Attorney General John Ashcroft also welcomed the decision. In it Judge Penfield Jackson was harshly criticised for talking too much to reporters.

ON ENERGY: On Energy has announced that its customers will not have to face a 20% pay rise. All of its 116,000 South Island customers are being transferred to Meridian Energy.

PROBATION STRIKE: 600 Probation Service staff were today suspended by the Corrections Department after the refused a pay offer last night.

FIRE FIGHTERS CONTRACT: A dispute that has dragged on for more than a decade was settled today in Wellington with the settlement of the Professional Fire Fighters employment contract.

TVNZ: TVNZ has partially upheld a complaint against it by its own Chairman. Ross Armstrong accused TVNZ of bias over a report of comments Armstrong made to a business newspaper about the departure of news boss Paul Cutler. National MP Murray McCully is cynical about the decision. Broadcasting Minister Marian Hobbs is pleased the matter is over.

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