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National Radio Midday Report

US Elections – Loan Debt Recovery – Car Race Deaths – Middle East Attack – Banking Complaints – Digital TV – Manning’s Death – Fiji Military – Rotorua Toddler – Northland Funding – AIDS Symposium

- US ELECTIONS: The United States and the world is still waiting for the outcome of the Florida electoral recount that will decide who wins the Presidency. At last count the republicans had a 362-vote lead, with 64 out of 67 counties counted. 19,000 votes were discounted after two candidates were chosen on the confusing ballot. There is still international votes to be counted and then legal challenges to be considered. Al Gore is not likely to concede if the results of the count come out in George W. Bush’s favour today. Mr Gore has the popular vote, and Democrats say that gives him a mandate.

Details have emerged on phone calls between Mr Gore and Mr Bush on election night. In the First call Gore graciously congratulated Mr Bush. In the second call, Mr Gore said circumstances had changed. Gore reportedly said “don’t get snippy about it,” after Mr Bush reacted to the news. The exchange was over in 90 seconds.

- LOAN DEBT RECOVERY: The Government is looking at the possibility of reciprocal agreements with Australian and British governments to recover money owed on student loans from expatriates.

- CAR RACE DEATHS: Four men appeared in court in connection with a fatal crash at a car race in Queenstown two years ago. Two people were killed and one injured when a car hit spectators.

- MIDDLE EAST ATTACK: The Israeli military has confirmed it carried out a deliberate attack to kill leading members of the militant wing of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s Fatta party. Mr Arafat is meeting US President Clinton. He called the attack a dangerous escalation but says he’s still committed to peace.

- BANKING COMPLAINTS: The Banking Ombudsman says complaints about banking are continuing to rise. In her annual report the ombusman says she heard over 1000 complaints in the year to June.

- DIGITAL TV: The chief executive of Sky TV says it is illogical that TVNZ will invest in its own digital service when there is already one at its disposal - the Sky network.

- MANNING’S DEATH: The officer in charge of the army unit that lost a soldier, Private Leonard Manning, in East Timor says while the death is tragic, it offers a lesson that the Militia behind the attack were better trained than was previously thought. Commander Major Evan Williams says he did not want Private Manning’s death to be in vain. 240 soldiers flew into Christchurch airport this morning at the end of their campaign.

- FIJI MILITARY: The former Fiji military spokesperson Col. Tarakinikini says he has no choice but to stay in the military until his name is cleared.

- ROTORUA TODDLER: Police in Rotorua are trying to locate the parents or caregivers of a toddler who was found alone in a shop. Police say nobody has called after the girl, and say it could be a case of mixed communication or child neglect.

- NORTHLAND FUNDING: The Government is giving a Northland Maori organisation $3m to tackle family violence in the region.

- AIDS SYMPOSIUM: An AIDS specialist says infection rates in the Asia Pacific region make it one of the most important battlegrounds against the disease in the world. A four-day symposium on the disease is underway in Sydney.

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