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    Your daily local news briefing // Saturday 8 April 2017

    WEATHER
    Cairns: 23-30C max, 50-70% chance of rain
    Port Douglas: 26-31C max, 80% chance of rain
    Mareeba: 21-27C max, 80% chance of rain
    Innisfail: 24-28C max, 90% rain


    TODAY'S TOP STORIES

    MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER
    Cairns police have charged a Yorkey's Knob for the alleged murder of 32-year-old Cairns woman China Crawford.
    The 26-year-old man was arrested yesterday afternoon and charged with one count of murder, interfering with a corpse, and stealing.
    Ms Crawford's colleagues discovered her body in a Herald St duplex at Bentley Park on Wednesday afternoon after she failed to show for work for two days.

    MORE CAPACITY NEEDED AT CAIRNS HOSPITAL
    Cairns Hospital is hoping for a state budget boost after experiencing a strong rise in patient activity over the past year.
    Overall patient activity rose 15 per cent over the past 12 months, with the emergency department experiencing record numbers through its doors.
    A new-look hospital board is expected to take the reins of the facility next month, with the unenviable task of tackling the hospital's infamous budgetary woes.

    GRAFTON ST PLAN SCRAPPED
    Mayor Bob Manning has abandoned plans to transform Grafton St from four lanes to two after a backlash from local retailers.
    Cr Manning said council's consultation with businesses in the area found strong opposition to the lane-change plan, with concerns more disruption and road works would further deter shoppers after several years of CBD upgrades.
    Division 5 councillor Richie Bates - widely expected to run for mayor in 2020 - criticised Cr Manning for making a "unilateral" decision to scrap the project without consulting fellow councillors.

    BIG NAMES SIGN UP FOR MARLINS
    Injury woes for Taipans star Steven Weigh have led to the signing of not one, but two Cairns Taipans players to help replace him at the Cairns Marlins.
    Alex Loughton will hit the hardwood for the QBL side along with fellow Taipan Jarrad Weeks.
    The QBL is shaping up as a stellar competition this year, with a range of NBL stars suiting up for teams across the state.
    The Marlins open their season on Friday April 28 against Townsville at the Aumuller St stadium.