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National Radio Midday Bulletin

Police Commissioner - Arthur Allan Thomas - Chechnya - IHC Shortchanged - Drug Billionaire - Middle East Peace - Norwegian Train Crash - Gambling Warning - Pope To Step Down? - Lytellton Port - Cyclone Iris - Coromandel Scallops - Tourism Bonanza - UK Flu Claims Author - UN Banking Error

POLICE COMMISSIONER: Peter Doone's future may be decided at the first Cabinet meeting of the year in two weeks time. The election night incident in which Mr Doone's car was stopped and his partner was not breath tested is being inquired into by the Police Minister and Attorney General. The incident is looming as a test for the new government.

ARTHUR ALLAN THOMAS: The wife of Arthur Allan Thomas says she does not believe reopening the case would do any good. Jennifer Thomas says she and her husband want to put the matter behind them.

CHECHNYA: A major counter-offensive by Chechen rebels has led to battles in several towns previously taken by Russian forces. Half of Shali and part of Argun have been taken by the rebels. The Chechens have wrested away the psychological initiative. Russian forces appear to be regrouping.

IHC SHORTCHANGED: The Intellectually Handicapped Society says it now has a bar on people using its services unless they can provide their own funding. The IHC Southern Region says that it has no choice but to refuse services to people who do not have their own funding.

DRUG BILLIONAIRE: A visiting billionaire is to leave the country by Wednesday after being discharged without conviction on charges of drug importation. The case has given an impression that there are different laws in NZ than previously had been thought. Meanwhile internet news site owner Bruce Simpson says that he listed information about foreign newspapers which carried the mans name because the law is confusing.

MIDDLE EAST PEACE: Negotiations between Israel and Syria on a land for peace deal are being spurred along by President Clinton. State Department spokesman James Rubin says new ideas have been raised.

NORWEIGAN TRAIN CRASH: Human error blamed for collision of two passenger trains in Norway which killed 19. The Northbound train went through a red light. Both drivers died in the crash.

GAMBLING WARNING: Internal Affairs is warning that increased spending on Casino gambling may endanger funding through the Lotteries Grants Board to charities and community projects.

POPE TO STEP DOWN?: A Senior Roman Catholic Bishop has raised the possibility that the Pope may step down because of his failing health. The Vatican has not responded to the comments from a senior German Bishop. In the Vatican discussing succession is regarded by some as treachery.

LYTELLTON PORT: Lytellton port unions are meeting today with employers following a 36 hour break to mark the death of a woman on a picket line.

CYCLONE IRIS: Vanuatu Government and Red Cross is preparing to send aid to islands hit by Cyclone Iris.

SCALLOPS OFF: Environmental factors are thought to have spoiled the scallop season in Coromandel. The season has now finished.

TOURISM BONANZA: The Bay Of Islands is experiencing a tourism bonanza with eight cruise liners visiting Paihia. The Legend of the Seas will visit today with 1600 passengers.

UK FLU: A virulent flu sweeping Britain has claimed a famous author as one of its victims.

UN BANKING ERROR: A banking error has left the UN Environment Programme chasing $700,000 from a woman who accidentally received the money into her bank account which is just one digit different from the UNEP. The UN wants its money back while the woman beneficiary is suing to keep the windfall.

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