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New Zealand Herald

Teddy Danger - Drowning Tragedy - Biosecurity Fines - Parliament On TV - CNG Dying - Turia Considers Quitting - Doctor Checks - - Singapore Trade

TEDDY DANGER: If you go down to the wards today, your teddy could be in for a nasty surprise. A study has found the toys are riddled with bacteria that can make other children ill. Christchurch School of Medicine researcher Dr Paul Corwin said teddy bears should be banned from doctors' surgeries, creches, daycare centres and hospital wards.

- UNDERCOVER MUSO: A former Auckland man working as a police officer in Sydney has been charged with murder after shooting an unarmed suspect in a stolen car. Reuben Heath Sakey, aged 26, a former West Aucklander who played drums in the 1980s heavy-metal band Nine Livez, is the first New South Wales police officer to be charged with murder after shooting someone in the line of duty.

- DROWNING TRAGEDY: The senior teacher who was first to notice the body of a drowning boy during a school camp swimming session, did not dive in to save him because she was "more concerned about getting all the other children out of the water." The evidence from Howick Intermediate School teacher Kath Pinson in the Thames Coroner's Court yesterday, prompted a distraught cry from the mother of one of two boys who drowned during the February camp.

- BIOSECURITY FINES: Dishonest international travellers will soon face $200 instant fines for lying to biosecurity inspectors. Officials hope to have the scheme in place by the end of the year and are promoting it as another weapon in their fight against foreign pests.

- PARLIAMENT ON TV: Parliament's question time will be broadcast for 45 minutes live on Sky Television, with the taxpayer footing the bill for the subscriber-only service. The pilot scheme will start on the Sky News digital channel next Tuesday, with footage provided by TVNZ.

- CNG DYING: Compressed natural gas is dying as a vehicle fuel - even though petrol prices are skyrocketing. The big four petrol companies say they have slashed the number of CNG pump sites because of dwindling demand.

- TURIA CONSIDERS QUITTING: Tariana Turia admitted in Parliament yesterday that she thought about quitting last week in the furore over her "holocaust" comments. Asked in Parliament by National's Roger Sowry if she had thought of resigning, she said: "Yes. However, I apologised for any offence I might have caused and the matter for me is now closed."

- DOCTOR CHECKS: Patients will be able to check a hospital doctor's qualifications under a plan aimed at restoring public confidence in medical specialists. But the idea of registering credentials has struck resistance from some practitioners.

- SINGAPORE TRADE: National Party leader Jenny Shipley put a proposal to the Government last night that could see the party support the Singapore free-trade treaty. Mrs Shipley, whose Government initiated the Singapore deal, put the compromise to Labour after renewed sparring in Parliament yesterday over a clause that reserves the right to favour Maori.

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