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Fiji Murder – Fiji Treason – Christine Rankin – Drinking Laws – All Black Punch Allegations – Parekura Horomia’s House - Race Riots

FIJI MURDER: Fiji Police have formally charged a man with the murder of John Scott and Greg Scrivener in Fiji. Eight days after the double killing shocked the country the arrest was made last night. A police spokesman said the accused man had confessed to the killings. A wider investigation of a pornography ring has been started as a result of the confession. Scott will be farewelled tomorrow at a large funeral in Suva. Scott was known as an angel of mercy by the hostages during the long seige of the Fijian Parliament.

FIJI TREASON: There was another court appearance today of Fiji coup leader George Speight and 12 others on treason charges. The prosecution asked for changes to how the charges were laid.

CHRISTINE RANKIN: After nine days the former WINZ boss Christine Rankin’s employment case is drawing to a close. Nine days, 4000 pages of exhibits and evidence, and a shocking and horrifying story delivered as promised. In closing submissions Crown counsel Q.C. Alan Galbraith said the case should never have begun, as Rankin had no right to expect to be reappointed. Earlier Minister Ruth Dyson said that Christine Rankin’s case was not about fashion. Dyson said she remembered some swearing from Steve Maharey. Dyson confirmed that earrings had been discussed in a “heated” debate on style and substance with rankin. She could not recall discussion of sunglasses however. In Galbraith’s opinion it doesn’t matter anyway. Rankin’s lawyer disagrees referring to a highly judgmental attitude against his client by the government who wanted to fulfil an election promise and sack Rankin. Galbraith however said the State Services Commissioner had protected Rankin while she had her job, and that she was simply not entitled to expect a renewal of her contract. Rankin’s lawyer on the other hand said there was a conspiracy against Rankin, one that was fulfilled by the actions of SSC Michael Wintringham. Q: What will the political fallout be? A: You can bet that when the house resumes the PM will face questions about Mark Prebble. All eyes are now on Judge Goddard who is considering his decision.

DRINKING LAWS: The Government wants a review of the drinking laws to see how they have worked since the lowering of the minimum age. Calls are being made by the Medical Association for the drinking age to be returned to 20. In Christchurch doctors say that children as young as 10 years old are being admitted close to deaths door. They say that the incidence of appearances at hospital of youth with alcohol poisoning has doubled. Many bars are not asking for ID as they should be according to a survey.

ALL BLACK PUNCH ALLEGATIONS: All Black Jerry Collins could face a complaint to police over an incident outside a Wellington Bar after the French Test. Sonny Shaw says Collins punched him. Rugby Boss Andrew Martin says that Collins says he only shoved Shaw. Shaw said he felt really bad about being punched by a member of a team he passionately supports. Collins has already apologised for an earlier incident in which he punched someone inside a bar on the same night.

PAREKURA HOROMIA’S HOUSE: Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia has embarrassed the government by being responsible for a house not fit to be lived in in Tologa Bay. Horomia says his nephew has been living in the Tologa Bay house, his Grand-mothers, rent free in return for maintaining the house. The National Opposition says this is typical of a hypocritical government. Horomia has been responsible for house since being appointed executor to the Grandmother’s house. PM Helen Clark meanwhile wants the house brought up to scratch ASAP.

RACE RIOTS: Violent race riots have broken out in Bradford in the UK. 1000 youths of Asian descent fought with police burning cars and throwing petrol bombs. 36 people were arrested. The Asians blame the extreme right for starting the riots. The recent UK riots in several cities follow a familiar pattern. The National Front holds a rally. Asian youths turn out to protest, and end up in clashes with the police.

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