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National Radio Midday Bulletin

Backpacker Fire Tragedy - Rapist Sentence Longer - Mental Health Patient Released - Slavery Charges Dropped - Jury Retires - Todd Allegations - Gambling Review - P.I. Banking Laws - Fiji Crisis - Zimbabwe Elections - Co2 Emissions- Drug Ads

BACKPACKER FIRE TRAGEDY: At least fifteen people are dead after a fire broke out in a backpackers in Queensland early this morning.

RAPIST SENTENCE LONGER: The man twice convicted of raping and murdering Susan Burdett has had his sentence increased under new home invasion laws. The man’s lawyer says she will appeal the sentence because it has been retrospectively imposed.

MENTAL HEALTH PATIENT RELEASED: A High Court judge will shortly make an interim ruling on whether a mental health patient who is considered dangerous should be released back into the community.

SLAVERY CHARGES DROPPED: Slavery charges laid against an Auckland couple have been withdrawn after they pleaded guilty to numerous assault charges and charges relating to mistreatment of children under their care.

JURY RETIRES: The jury in the Christchurch trial of the retired Methveun farmer accused of sabotaging power poles in the South Island has retired to consider its verdict.

TODD ALLEGATIONS: The New Zealand Olympic committee says it will not insist on a drug tests or answers from equestrian Mark Todd after he was accused of sex and drugs allegations in a British tabloid.

GAMBLING REVIEW: The Government is set to launch a comprehensive review of the gambling sector after concerns about the public impact of casinos.

FIJI CRISIS: The military government and the coup leaders in Fiji have resumed talks this morning to continue negotiations about the proposed new government.

P.I. BANKING LAWS: Authorities in the Cook Islands have questioned a report saying they have secret banking laws and say there is no evidence of money laundering in the countries.

ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS: The main opposition party in Zimbabwe the Movement for Democratic Change say another one of its supporters has been beaten to death, bringing the total number of supporters killed to five in the run up to the country’s national elections.

CO2 EMISSIONS: New figures from the government shows New Zealand is producing more carbon-dioxide – a 19 per cent increase from 1990. Greenpeace’s climate change spokesperson Sue Conner says the government must act now to ensure responsible laws on this issue.

DRUG ADS: A lobby group for the drug agencies says there are increased benefits for the direct advertising of medicines.

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