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Radio New Zealand News Midday Report

TVNZ Board – Ray Colombus Defamation – Average Wage – ACC Crackdown – School Scheme – Blakie Murders – Attempted Cop Kill – Baby Walkers – Kosovo Violence – Afghan Hijack – Valentines Day – Peanuts Death

TVNZ BOARD :The Prime Minister Helen Clark says TVNZ has no forms to ensure accountability is in place and the government will move quickly to change this. Miss Clark says she is angry over the amount paid to former television broadcaster John Hawkesby, and the reaction of the board in defending itself last week. The Minister of Broadcasting Marian Hobbs will meet with the board today to introduce a broadcasting charter and timetable.

RAY COLOMBUS DEFAMATION: Independent Newspapers Limited says it will decide today whether to appeal the ruling which said it must pay $675,000 for defaming entertainer Ray Columbus after it wrote an article criticizing his business practice.

AVERAGE WAGE: The average hourly wage dropped slightly this month and was driven by the growth of part-time work. Total hours worked also increased.

ACC CRACKDOWN: The Accident Compensation Corporation is cracking down on doctors that may be ripping off the system by providing unnecessary operations and consultations. It is talking to 68 doctors.

SCHOOL SCHEME: Independant schools say they are disappointed but not surprised that the Government is closing down the Target Income Entitlement scheme (TIE) which puts low income and underprivileged children into private schools.

BLAKIE MURDER: Police say they are looking for a sandy-haired middle aged man from between 40-50-years-old in a brownish-beige four door saloon car who witnesses say picked up murdered Timaru woman Lisa Blakie on the day of her death.

ATTEMPTED COP-KILL: The trial has begun of a man who twice tried to murder a Wellington constable last year, by attempting to shoot him and run him down in a car.

BABY WALKERS: A number of child safety groups have come together to convince the government to ban baby walkers. They say the walkers cause accidents and could limit childhood development.

KOSOVO VIOLENCE: Ethnic Albanian’s have caused trouble in Kosovo, by attacking both British and French troops in the Nato lead K4 force sent to bring peace to the province.

AFGHAN HIJACK: Only fourteen of the over 140 passengers on the Afghan airliner hijackers took to Britain have voluntarily returned to their poor and war-torn country.

VALENTINES DAY: Rose shops are gearing up for their biggest trade - Valentines day .A single red rose will cost around $10.00.

PEANUT DEATH: Charles M Shultz’s son Craig says the famous Peanuts’ cartoonist died unexpectedly. His death came after a 3 month battle with colon cancer.

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