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Fiji Coup – Solomon Islands – Olympic Jobs – Sockburn Closure – Nurse Shortage – Robert Mahuta – AIDS Conference – UK Manhunt

FIJI COUP: Fiji Coup Leader George Speight has made assurances that he will release his 27 hostages on Thursday. When the release comes he says it will be secret. Today the hostages were reunited at the Parliamentary compound. Speight has been quiet on what his role will be in any new government. Today the NZ Government issued another warning not to go to Fiji. Several Fijian police stations have been occupied. Meanwhile the Fijian economy is falling apart. Sitiveni Rambuka says it will be very hard to reinstate international confidence.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: The government has promised to do all it can to catch the killers of two men shot in hospital.

OLYMPIC JOBS: 1000s of Kiwis are being lured across the Tasman for work during the Olympics in Sydney. The demand for jobs couldn’t have come at a better time for many hospitality workers. The restaurant trade is going through a downturn at the moment. Catering staff are in big demand with pay rates offered of up to $25 an hour.

SOCKBURN CLOSURE: A meat works in Christchurch closes following 100 years of operation, leaving more than 100 workers out of work. One worker who worked for 37 years says he doesn’t know what the future holds. The Alliance group wouldn’t allow TV3 on the site today.

NURSE SHORTAGE: A shortage of nurses is leading to the cancellation of operations in NZ hospitals. Auckland hospital has nearly 200 vacancies. A NZ Graduate will earn a base salary of $26,000. In Australia graduate nurses will earn $38,000. In the US they can earn $65,000. The nurses organisation warned the government two years ago. Minister Annette King is considering short term solutions. A health workforce advisory committee will work on the problem.

ROBERT MAHUTA: A deadline on the job of Tainui chief Robert Mahuta has passed with no word on whether he has walked or not. Today Tainui’s executive council was working behind closed doors discussing Mahuta’s future. Mahuta was the architect of the first major Treaty of Waitangi settlement. Tainui’s value was $240 million in 1999. Tens of millions of dollars have now been written off the tribes bottom line. BNZ concerns are believed to be behind the departure of Mahuta. Huntly GP David Gilgen says he hopes Mahuta goes of his own accord. The executive council was only appointed 10 weeks ago and in that time has become frustrated with Mahuta.

AIDS CONFERENCE: The overall life expectancy in Africa may fall from 70 to around 30 due to the AIDS epidemic. South African President Thabo Mbeki has shocked delegates by questioning whether HIV leads to AIDS.

UK MANHUNT: Six people shot by two gunmen on the run in the UK. The gunmen change cars several times. And take a hostage. Helicopter footage traces the car. The hostage says the gunmen used their guns as toys. One of the gunmen was jailed for 8 life sentences.

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