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National Radio Midday Report

Cabinet Reshuffle – Cervical Smear Test – TVNZ Telstra Saturn Deal – Rescue Helicopter Delay – NZ Biosecurity – US Presidential Election – Peace Talks – Skin Cancer Costs – Tua Fight – Austrian Rail Disaster

- CABINET RESHUFFLE: A Cabinet reshuffle has just been announced by the Prime Minister. Helen Clark wanted to relieve pressure on two ministers who are overworked, Mark Burton and Michael Cullen. Mr Burton has been relieved of the Internal Affairs portfolio and it has been passed on to George Hawkins. Two of Paul Swain’s portfolios have gone to Alliance ministers Matt Robson and Laila Harre, and Mr Swain has been made the Associate Minister of Finance, Revenue and Land Information. RNZ Political Editor Al Morrison says the minor reshuffle amounts to a statement from the Prime Minister that she is pretty satisfied with the first year in Government.

- CERVICAL CANCER TEST: The Medical Association has backed a Health Funding Authority decision not to fund a new test for cervical cancer. The Authority says there is no evidence that a new cervical cancer test does a better job than the standard cervical smear test.

- TVNZ TELSTRA SATURN DEAL: TVNZ this morning signed a preliminary agreement with Telstra Saturn to provide digital TV by the middle of next year. The deal would see more free to air channels from TVNZ and pay TV by Telstra Saturn.

- RESCUE HELICOPTER DELAY: Northland health is investigating a report that a child with serious burns had to wait in pain for an ACC approved rescue helicopter to arrive.

- NZ BIOSECURITY: The Fruit Growers Federation believes New Zealand’s border control system lacks the funding to deal with the recent increase in trade and passenger arrivals.

- US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: In the United States, Democrats have been boyed by the decision of the Palm Beach County to do a manual recount of presidential votes, that could be enough to tip the balance in Al Gore’s favour. Angry Republicans are protesting outside. Three other counties are holding manual recounts bringing accusations from the Republicans that Democrats are only seeking recounts in areas where the Democrats are popular with voters.

- PEACE TALKS: US President Bill Clinton is holding talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barac today, following meetings with Palestinian President Arafat last week.

- SKIN CANCER COSTS: New figures from the Cancer Society show skin cancer is costing the country around $33 million a year. The figures have prompted calls for local authorities to provide more shade by planting trees.

- TUA FIGHT: David Tua may have lost yesterday’s fight but the TV3 and the TAB were big winners. The TAB took 2.62m in bets, and around 40 percent of the bets were on Tua in a very profitable day. TV3 had about 40 percent of the population of New Zealand tuning in.

- AUSTRIAN RAIL DISASTER: Austrian officials say they have confirmed the identity of some of the victims of the alpine train tragedy in the weekend, but DNA and dental testing will be needed to identify the identities of many of those killed.


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