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The New Zealand Herald

Tramper Sorry - Food Price Rise Tipped - Forecourt Assault - Prozac Monkey - Imax Complex Safer - Pm’s Home Guard - Toddler’s Final Hours - Accused’s Mental State - Warriors’ Sale - Attempted Fraud - Qualification Opposition - Cervical Screening Inquiry - Doctor’s Competency

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TRAMPER SORRY: John Painting can hardly believe what almost happened to him and his son on a "bloke-bonding" tramping trip. A tearful Mr Painting sat in the sun in Turangi yesterday, recalling with shock how close he and 13-year-old Matt came to losing their lives.

- FOOD PRICE RISE TIPPED: Shoppers are being warned to brace themselves for soaring food prices as high fuel costs and the plummeting dollar bite into retailers' profits. Supermarket chains say more than 1000 items on their shelves will rise in price up to 5 per cent.

- FORECOURT ASSAULT: A 70-year-old forecourt attendant feared he was about to die as glass shards rained on him after an abusive customer ran him down at an Auckland service station. The attendant, who wanted to be known only as Glen, suffered cuts to his forehead and leg injuries when the motorist hit him as he drove through the front doors of the BP Express Coventry service station in Wairau Rd, on the North Shore.

- PROZAC MONKEY: Even monkeys get the blues. Marc Antony, a bonnet macaque monkey at Auckland Zoo, has not been feeling himself lately. He has been anxious, irritable and a little put out. So his caregivers prescribed the anti-depressant Prozac.

- IMAX COMPLEX SAFER: The architect who designed the Imax cinema complex, where a teenager fell to his death, wants parts of the building made safer. Danial Gardner, aged 16, fell from a window in the complex last Friday, landing on a table 30m below.

- PM’S HOME GUARD: Frontline Auckland police officers guarding the Prime Minister's home overnight instead of patrolling the streets is a waste of already stretched resources, say some staff. One of three incident cars designated for night-time emergency response in the western part of the city has been diverted to Helen Clark's Mt Eden villa at least seven times this month.

- TODDLER’S FINAL HOURS: While Tangaroa Matiu was being beaten to death with a piece of wood, his mother was cleaning blood from a toilet wall, sprayed there during an earlier beating. As the 3-year-old lay dying in his bed, she checked on him just three times. When she finally summoned medical help, it was far too late to save him.

- ACCUSED’S MENTAL STATE: Robert Han, who stabbed and bludgeoned his family to death, was awake and well aware of what he was doing at the time of the murders, a defence witness said yesterday. Han, aged 36, is being tried on three counts of murder in the High Court at Auckland.

- WARRIORS’ SALE: The sale of the Warriors rugby league club is back on track after a High Court hearing dismissed an appeal by Tainui principal negotiator Sir Robert Mahuta. The Auckland court dismissed the application for a stay of execution.

- ATTEMPTED FRAUD: Two men, one a former Tainui executive, have gone on trial for allegedly trying to trick the Waikato tribe into paying $24 million for five central Hamilton buildings - twice as much as they were worth. Craig John Beecroft, aged 29, and Blair Ainsworth Kirk, 30, are accused of fraud in arranging the purchase of five buildings for $11.8 million and then attempting to sell them to Tainui for $24 million between 1997 and June 1998.

- QUALIFICATION OPPOSITION: Opposition is building among teachers to the new national secondary school qualification. At the annual Post Primary Teachers Association conference yesterday, delegates questioned the increased workload and spoke about the need for more teachers.

- CERVICAL SCREENING INQUIRY: Health officials have pleaded with the cervical cancer inquiry to reassure women about the achievements of the national screening programme. In his final submissions yesterday, Kim Murray, for the Ministry of Health and the Health Funding Authority, said the programme seemed to have been successful overall because cervical cancer rates had dropped.

- DOCTOR’S COMPETENCY: Northland gynaecologist Dr Graham Parry relied excessively on ultrasound examinations of patients, the Medical Council concluded when it put his work under supervision. The finding, from a council competency-review committee, was aired yesterday at a hearing on Dr Parry's bid to overturn his interim suspension by the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

All story excerpts copyright (c) 2000 The New Zealand Herald

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