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NZ earthquake bill hits ¤12bn

The cost of the deadly sequence of earthquakes in the New Zealand city of Christchurch has gone up, and will now likely top ¤11.7bn.

The cost of the quakes equates to about 10pc of the country's annual economic output.

Christchurch has suffered more than 7,500 earthquakes and aftershocks since last September.

The most significant quake hit on February 22. It killed 181 people, destroyed much of the inner city and rendered entire suburbs unhabitable.



Damages blow for show star

A judge has limited the damages actress Nicollette Sheridan may receive if she wins a wrongful termination lawsuit filed over her Desperate Housewives role.

The judge ruled that Sheridan can seek damages for only one year's pay on the show, not for the entire length of the series. The show is entering its eighth and final season.

Sheridan sued the show's network, ABC, and Housewives creator Marc Cherry, claiming he struck her during a fight in September 2008.



Outraged pal



blasts beehive

A MAN, furious after his friend was stung, dumped petrol on to a beehive and set fire to it -- causing an explosion heard throughout his Washington state neighbourhood.

The fire, just a few miles south of the Canadian border, caused a large "whoosh", singed the tree and killed the bees, but no people were hurt.



Girls caught



with zoo goat

Everything went according to plan for two pyjama-clad girls who took a goat they had freed from a Minnesota zoo for a late-night walk.

That is until they walked into a police officer. The stepsisters, aged six and seven, said they regularly took the goat out for late-night walks because their father did not know their mother had bought it.

The unconvinced officer walked the girls home, where their parents explained the girls had attended a birthday party at a zoo earlier that day -- and took one of the goats home.


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