National News Brief, Monday January 27

Fiji almost certain to be expelled from Commonwealth; man killed trying to help beaten woman; motorway shooting "justified"; developers shell out for leaky homes; airline price wars create cross-Tasman deals; confidential military files found on $18 MP3 player

Fiji will almost certainly be expelled from the Commonwealth and may be expelled from the Pacific Islands Forum, says Prime Minister John Key. On his way to a special meeting of the forum in Papua New Guinea, Mr Key said it was up to Fiji's self-appointed Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama whether Fiji returned to democracy, reports the Press.

A 34-year-old father of three has died after trying to help a woman outside a pub, reports the Dominion Post. Mark McCutcheon tried to intervene when he saw a Mongrel Mob member beating a woman outside the Sandford Arms at Ongaonga. He was stabbed and got into his car, driving 1.5 kilometres before veering off the road and dying in a paddock.

The accidental shooting of courier driver Halatau Naitoko by police appears to have been legal and his family will be unable to sue for compensation, reports the Herald. The 17-year-old Auckland father was shot and killed on the Northwestern Motorway during a police chase on Friday. Police were aiming at Stephen Hohepa McDonald, who allegedly had a sawn-off rifle and had been the subject of a chase for an hour. Mr Naitoko was in the line of fire. Scott Optican, an associate professor of law at the University of Auckland, told the Herald the shooting was legally justified.

The courts are asking property developers to personally compensate the victims of leaky homes, reports the Herald. Developers' personal assets, such as their houses, are no longer automatically protected and can be used in large settlements. This is a good sign for other victims, says lawyer Matt Josephson.

Airline price wars have driven return tickets between Sydney and Auckland below $300 for the first time in 20 years, reports the Dominion Post. Lower-priced jet fuel, greater seat capacity and decreased demand for seats have combined to push down prices. The best deals are on Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue.

A Whangarei man unwittingly downloaded confidential American military files onto his computer after buying an MP3 player from a thrift shop in Oklahoma, reports the Press. Sixty files contained the names and personal details of American soldiers, including those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and information about equipment deployed to bases. "The more I look at it, the more I see and the less I think I should," said 29-year-old Chris Ogle, who paid $18 for the MP3 player but found that it would not play music.