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Scarcity of harvest labour in South Island. St. Patrick's Marathon race on Wednesday. About 250 firemen went South, by last night's express. Count Zeppelin's airship has attained an altitude of a mile. Wholesale pilfering is reported in connection with Pipiriki fire. Fire Brigades' Conference concluded with a banquet Saturday night. A narrow escape from a ba-d accident at the Mauku races on Saturday, Britain will spend over 36 millions on ■her navy during the current year. The French estimates foreshadow Increased taxation totalling nineteen millions. Eight ladies have been selected to be first inmates of the McLean Institute, Christchureh. The British naval estimates include £60,000 for airships and half a Tallinn for submarines. It is stated that Germany intends to annex an island in the Pacific and erect a naval base there. Civil Service retrenchment predicted in Tourist Department and Industries and Commerce Department. The unemployed agitation is subsiding, and the majority of men have been placed by the Labour Department. The London Chamber of Commerce declares that the Colonial preference already accorded is a distinct advantage to trade. The. inquiry into the wreck of the Forrest Hall opened to-day, before Judge Kettle, and Captains Adamson and. Reid as assessors. The British navy estimates provide for four Dreadnoughts, with power to increase the number to eight if German , activity demands it. Violent thunderstorm occurred during Saturday night and Sunday morning in the King Country. Thunder and lightning for several hours. A Mafia gang in Palermo in broad daylight assassinated an American detective who was investigating their connection ■with the "Black Hand." It is stated that the Centre party in the Reichstag will give Prince yon Buelow a majority for a fresh % extensive Dreadnought programme. In opposition to the statement of Lord Salisbury, Mr. Balfour saye that fiscal reform is undoubtedly the first plank in the Unionist platform. His Excellency the Governor -will commence his East Coast tour next Sunday from Napier, and he will occupy ten days in completing it, arriving at Rotoraa on the 30th inst. At the inquest touching the death of an old inmate of the Avondale Asylum, aged 80 years, Dr. Beattie said there was not the shadow of an excuse for sending the man to the Asylum. _ Bishop Julius, adverting to the functions of the organ and organist in-jfe. church yesterday at Woolston, saidthT organist 4?as as much, a ■worshipper at any of the congregation, which was often overlooked. It was his function to assist and'"hot to lead the congregation in. the service di praise. At the Fire Brigades' banquet on Sat< urday Inspector Hugo again commented upon the evils of over insurance, and the remedy for incendiarism. The proportion of fires was abnormal in New Zealand. He also advocated life-saving drill. At present firemen confined themselves too exclusively to property saving.

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TABLE TALK., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 63, 15 March 1909

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TABLE TALK. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 63, 15 March 1909

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