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Fatal Diving Sentencing – Climate Agreement – Whaling Victory For Japan Expected – Sow Crates – Parliament Returns – Australian Ambush Arrest - Snow

FATAL DIVING SENTENCING: A Nelson Diving Instruction company and instructor have been fined a total of $90,000 under OSH legislation for an accident in which three trainee divers died. The diving instructor remained expressionless during his sentencing. The Nelson Dive Centre was mainly responsible said the judge, and was fined $75,000. A woman who survived the expedition thinks Nelson Dive Centre got off lightly.

CLIMATE AGREEMENT: A meeting of world environment ministers has worked out a plan to slow down global warming. Only the US refused to compromise on the deal. Marathon talks took 48 hours non-stop. The US was loudly booed when it outlined its refusal. NZ’s Pete Hodgson described it as one of the most difficult deals ever done. Under the deal countries will be allowed to trade emission levels. Forestry countries will be allowed to offset emissions by planting forests. And failures to meet targets will earn non-compliant countries tougher targets, not fines. Greenpeace says that lots of loopholes weaken the agreement. Much of NZs emissions comes from methane from animals. The Green Party welcomes the deal as a step on the way, but thinks it will not have a big effect on the climate.

WHALING VICTORY FOR JAPAN EXPECTED: Japan seems to have foiled NZ’s hopes for a South Pacific Whaling Sanctuary. Several pro-whaling countries have come to the IWC meeting at the last minute to vote with Japan. NZ delegate Jim McLay says there has been an addition of several pro-whaling countries at the meeting. One IWC member has already quit over Japan’s vote buying. If the bid fails several countries are planning to declare their own oceans whaling free anyway. Japan has revealed it wants other species of whale included in a resumption of commercial whaling.

SOW CRATES: Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton has joined animal activists pressuring the pork industry over sow crates. 16,000 out of 45,000 sows are kept in sow crates in which they cannot turn around after mating. The industry says it is for their protection. Jim Sutton says he wants sow crates abandoned within four years. A Pork Industry spokesman says the industry wants 10 years to make a transition. Animal Activists are threatening a costly PR war if the industry does not agree to an earlier deadline.

PARLIAMENT RETURNS: A fired up National Party returned to Parliament’s debating chamber today. But Jenny Shipley made an embarrassing slip when trying to quote the PM. MPs were definitely noisy as Parliament resumed. The speaker had to calm members down several times. The PM could not resist a dig at Michelle Boag. Earlier she described Boag as “all fizz no substance”. Christine Rankin was not mentioned in the debating chamber, which was something of a surprise. Nor was the NZ Post debacle mentioned. The Super Bill has got past its second reading now.

AUSTRALIAN AMBUSH ARREST: Police in Sydney have arrested a man near Sydney whose utility matches the description of that used by a gunman who kidnapped British tourist and killed another near Alice Springs.

SNOW: It was business as usual for the ski-fields today with little sign of any nervousness about avalanches. Thousands of skiers took advantage of heaps of snow at Mt Hutt. The Mountain Safety Council is warning people to stay out of the back country.

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