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National Radio Midday Report

US Elections – CYFS – Blood Shortage – ‘H’ Word – Fiji Mutiny – Legionnaire’s Disease – Retail Up – Body Found – Dog Thefts - Melbourne Cup – Nelson Stabbing – Scooter Fad

- US ELECTIONS: The last hours of campaigning have begun in the race for the White House. Polling still has the two main candidates virtually neck and neck. Republican candidate George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore are fighting against time to win over the undecided voters.

- CYFS: Prime Minister Helen Clark has rejected a call to disband the Department of Child Youth and Family services, being made by Women’s Refugee Head Merepeka Raukawa Tait. Ms Tait says the agency has no credibility and services should be delegated to community and iwi groups.

- BLOOD SHORTAGE: The country’s blood supplies are running low and people are being asked to respond to a call for more blood donations. The New Zealand Blood Service says there has been a marked increase in the demand for blood but it is hard to say why.

- ‘H’ WORD: Cabinet Minister Sandra Lee will face tough questions in Parliament over her use of the word Holocaust at a hui in the weekend. Ms Lee is under instruction not to talk to media over the incident. The Prime Minister denies she has banned ministers using the word, but says she has advised strongly against it.

- FIJI MUTINY: Eighteen soldiers three civilians are in a stable condition in hospital in Fiji following the attempted mutiny at the military headquarters last week. Meanwhile, Fiji’s military has confirmed that rebel troops carried out execution style killings.

- LEGIONNAIRE’S DISEASE: It is not known whether two cases of legionnaire’s disease in Christchurch are connected. One man is dead and another seriously ill. Usually only about 10 cases of the bacterial disease are reported in a year, so it seems likely the men may have contracted the disease from the same source.

- RETAIL UP: New Zealanders are continuing to buy more, despite rises prices, official figures show. Statistics New Zealand says retail sales in the three months to September rose by around two percent on the previous quarter and nearly six percent on the same period last year. Some of the increased buying may be an attempt to beat anticipated price rises.

- BODY FOUND: A woman’s body has been found washed ashore at Auckland’s Mission Bay this morning. Police investigating the circumstances around the death are not releasing any details. A post-mortem is expected to be carried out today.

- DOG THEFTS: Cambridge police say a spate of dog thefts in the area could be related to illegal dog fighting rings. Owners of small dogs like Jack Russells are being advised to ensure their animals are secure and to advise about any suspicious activity on their property.

- MELBOURNE CUP: Racing gets underway at the Melbourne Cup this afternoon. Six New Zealand trained horses will race. It’s the biggest money making event of the year for the TAB. In Wellington, the Australian High Commission will host over 200 guests to watch the cup.

- NELSON STABBING: A Nelson man has admitted stabbing an 81-year-old woman in the back. He has pleaded guilty to charge of wounding with intent to case grievous bodily harm. He will be sentenced on Thursday.

- SCOOTER FAD: Tens of thousands of New Zealanders are being caught up in the new scooter fad, and warnings are going out about their safety. There have been two deaths and thousands of accidents related to the fad in Australia. Some councils are considering bylaws similar to those regulating where people can ride skateboards.

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