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P.M. BRIEFING : Aussie Papers Plan Sunday Battle

<i> From Times wire services</i>

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and its major rival in Australia announced plans today for all-out competition in the country’s second largest city with three new Sunday newspaper titles.

Murdoch’s Herald and Weekly Times said it will launch Sunday editions of both its daily Melbourne newspapers, The Herald and The Sun-News Pictorial, on Aug. 20.

Across town, The Age, owned by Sydney publishing group John Fairfax and Son, said it will launch a Sunday edition the same day.

Melbourne, home to 3 million people, has had virtually no serious competition in the Sunday newspaper market for almost 20 years. The Herald and Weekly Times and the Age competed vigorously during the week but operated a joint-venture tabloid, The Sunday Press.

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