ミニヘッドライン 2012/05/31



An electrical fault is to blame for a series of explosions that shot black smoke and flames into the air in Christchurch today. Witnesses said about five explosions occurred in drains on the corner of Straven Rd and Riccarton Rd after midday. Adam Hogan was in an internet cafe when he heard a loud bang outside. "It was like a big earthquake,'' he said. "There was definitely some force behind it.'' An Orion spokeswoman said the power company was called to the site about 3.15pm and discovered a low voltage underground cable fault. This type of fault was not uncommon, she said, with Orion seeing "a few a week''. "We need to dig up the ground where the cable is and it is quite a reasonable repair job. It can take up to 12 hours.''



Former All Black Stephen Bachop has been convicted and discharged for assaulting his partner after the Rugby World Cup final celebrations last October. The 45-year-old earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of assault, one of possessing cannabis and one of resisting police. In Wellington District Court today, Bachop was convicted and discharged on the two assault and the resisting charges and discharged without conviction on the cannabis charge. A further charge of possessing utensils for cannabis use earlier withdrawn. One of the assault accusations was also earlier reduced from male assaults female to a Summaries Offences Act assault. It is understood the assaults - on his partner and a passer-by who intervened - were filmed on CCTV cameras outside Wellington Central Police Station early on October 24.



Police believe a sexual assault in Wellington's eastern suburbs this afternoon is linked to a similar incident on Tuesday. A 29-year-old woman was approached by a man near the intersection of Tavistock and Buckingham Roads at around 1.45pm this afternoon. She was then grabbed from behind and indecently assaulted. The offender then ran off down Tavistock Rd towards Queens Drive, Kilbirnie, police say. Police say today's incident is similar to one two days ago, where a 30-year-old woman was grabbed from behind and indecently assaulted on Rodrigo Rd in Melrose. Detective Inspector Paul Basham says police are concerned about these two similar incidents in as many days, both in broad daylight.



Police Minister Anne Tolley has today officially opened the new Otahuhu police station in Counties Manukau. The $8.6 million facility is the second new station to open in Counties Manukau this month, closely following the new $10.2 million police headquarters at Botany. Tolley said with another 300 frontline officers, more space was needed. "Staff and the local community will benefit from these new modern facilities." Tolley said the project has come in "well under budget".



A 4.5 magnitude aftershock that jolted Canterbury today was felt as far afield as Dunedin and Hokitika. The 4.5 tremor struck at 10.27am and was centred 30 kilometres west of Ashburton, at a depth of 30 kilometres according to GeoNet. Ashburton police report that there have been no reports of damage at this stage. Hundreds of people posted reports on the GeoNet website that they felt today's shake. The aftershock follows a 5.2 magnitude quake which shook Christchurch last Friday at 2.44pm.



TVNZ presenter Paul Holmes is in hospital in Auckland for a heart procedure. Q+A producer Tim Watkin confirmed today the veteran broadcaster is having routine work to remedy a long-term complaint. "We're wishing him a speedy recovery and looking forward to him returning to Q+A soon and in top form," he said. Holmes is said to be in good spirits and expected to return to work in a couple of weeks.



One of New Zealand's most dangerous drivers is back in jail after being convicted in Napier District Court of drink-driving for a 26th time. Raymond Charles Laing, 45, who was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison when last convicted of drink-driving in Palmerston North early in 2010, also has 31 convictions for driving while disqualified. He has seven for dangerous driving, at least three involving injury to other people. In Palmerston North in August 2009, he crashed into a car whose passengers included an infant.



Realising he had been caught in the act, the 20-year-old Westport man dropped the wig in the shop and ran off. Shop staff gave police a description of the man and the dogs were called in. The dog located the man's clothing dumped on the floodwall, where police said he had made a quick change in an attempt to disguise himself. However, the makeover did not work and he was found and arrested, then charged with shoplifting.



Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing retailer, has announced two new directors will join its board, one of whom is Briscoe Group managing director Rod Duke. Duke will take up the role as a non-executive director in June. Former New Zealand Dairy Board executive Peter Schuyt will join the Pumpkin Patch's board as an independent non-executive director in August, and will take the chair of the board's audit and risk committee once David Jackson stands down in November. Shares in Pumpkin Patch rose 2.3% to 86 cents today, while Briscoe stock is unchanged at $1.18.



The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has axed around 60 staff as part of the Government's Budget cuts, their union says. The Public Service Association (PSA) said the workers are based in Invercargill, Nelson, Rotorua, Napier and New Plymouth offices. And in some centres staff have been slashed by nearly half. PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said staff are already been struggling to meet customer demands. "The job losses will mean fewer people on the phones, fewer people talking to customers face-to-face and less processing work being done."



Ford Motor Co will pursue its boldest attempt yet to tackle a nearly $50 billion risk to its business when it begins offering lump-sum pension payout offers to 98,000 white-collar retirees and former employees this summer. The voluntary buyouts have the potential to lop off one-third of Ford's $49 billion United States pension liability, a move that could shore up the company's credit rating and stock price. It is unclear to Ford, retirees and analysts just how many people will gamble on the offer, which pension experts described as unprecedented in its magnitude and scope.



Film mogul James Cameron has again extended his Wairarapa farm holdings, this time by 25 hectares. Throughout this year, the high-profile Canadian director has succeeded in applying to buying chunks of farm land via the state authority. The Overseas Investment Office released decisions this morning showing it had just approved three further deals, giving him clearance to buy the 25ha. The decisions released were for a 13.4ha block from an unnamed party, a 4.3ha block from American Andrew Scott Miller and a 9.1ha block from Victoria Ann Shaw and Jeremy Richard Bennett of New Zealand. The April decisions released today are the third stage of the process but whether Cameron has finished is not clear.



Queensland-born Assange, 40, has been fighting a Swedish Public Prosecutor request that he be extradited to Stockholm for questioning over allegations of sexual assault against two women in August 2010. Lawyers for Assange argued that the prosecutor was not a judicial authority, the title necessary to order an extradition. Assange's mother, Christine Assange, flew to London to be with her son for the judgment. She criticised the Australian government's lack of help. "(They have been) absolutely useless, in fact contrary to help, they've done everything they can to smear Julian and hand him up to the US," she told ABC Radio in Melbourne. Ms Assange said it was important the facts of the case were told.



Jessica Simpson has signed on to become a Weight Watchers ambassador. The 31-year-old Fashion Star mentor confirmed that she had signed a $4million deal with the diet plan brand on Twitter yesterday. She wrote: "So excited to be part of the Weight Watchers family." Simpson gave birth to her first child with fiancé Eric Johnson, 32, last month - a daughter named Maxwell Drew.



A team of 12 scientists took part in the exploration of the outer Bay of Plenty and southern Kermadec Ridge, aboard Niwa's research vessel Tangaroa. Voyage leader Dr Malcolm Clark says it was the first time that the scientists recorded footage of deep-sea habitats. Dr Clark said the advantage of recording footage was that rather than looking at specimens once they have been pulled up from the sea floor, they could see them in their natural environment. The group of NIWA scientists took samples from a variety of habitats over an area of 10,000 square kilometres.



Sky gazers hoping to witness next week's transit of Venus are being warned not to look directly at the sun with the naked eye. The rare event will be visible in New Zealand from 10.15am to 4.43pm on Wednesday, but the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind is urging people to ensure they use the proper equipment to view the phenomenon. The transit of Venus sees the planet slide slowly along the face of the sun over six hours. It was last seen in 2004 and will not be visible again until 2117. Wellington's Carter Observatory also has several telescopes with solar filters available for viewing the transit throughout the day, at a cost of $9 for adults, $4 for children, $6.50 for concession tickets and no charge for Star Pass holders. A guide to make your own pinhole projector can be found here.




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