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National Radio Midday Report

Florida Recount – Freighter Rescue – East Timor – Wages Up – Train Disaster – Fiji Elections – Prison Costs – Name Suppression – Petrol Price Fixing – Family Trusts – Terry King Trial – French BSE – Southern Cross Cable – Boating Deaths

- FLORIDA RECOUNT: The United States Presidential Election has entered a new phase, as the deadline for the hand count of ballots to be finished in Florida has passed, though the final tally has not yet been announced. Florida Secretary of State Catherine Harris still has the option of accepting late returns. Any declaration that comes on Friday after all the votes are tallied is certain to be challenged by either Al Gore of George W. Bush, whichever side emerges the loser.

- FREIGHTER RESCUE: A rescue operation is underway off Norfolk Island where one crew member on a Singaporean freighter has died and another two are injured. The freighter is drifting after an explosion in the engine room while en route to Auckland on Monday.

- EAST TIMOR: The continuing tensions in East Timor will dominate talks between NZ PM Helen Clark and Indonesian President Wahid today. The talks will take place in Brunei today, before the two join other leaders at the Apec summit.

- WAGES UP: Salaries and wages have gone up, along with the number of full time jobs, in the past three months. The Statistics NZ quarterly employment survey shows a 3.7% increase in full time jobs and the number of paid hours people are working has gone up by 4%. Salary and wage rates went up but 0.4% giving an annual rise of 1.5% since last September.

- TRAIN DISASTER: Austrian lawyers have brought in American lawyer Ed Fagan, who represented Jewish Holocaust victims’ families, to act for families involved in the Austrian alpine train disaster.

- FIJI ELECTIONS: Fiji’s interim administration has announced that post coup general elections will be held by march 2002. The elections will be held under a new constitution drawn up by the Constitution Review Committee.

- PRISON COSTS: The general manager of the Public Prison Service, Phil McCarthy, says the cost of running Christchurch’s Paparua prison is running over budget and costs have to be reduced.

- NAME SUPPRESSION: A High Court judge has questioned whether granting name suppression to people who receive police diversion should be considered an automatic right.

- PETROL PRICE FIXING: BP says the Commerce Commission did not raise any concerns when it went to the Commission with its scheme to subsidise independent petrol retailers more than two years ago. The Commission is investigating allegations of price fixing after the Deputy PM passed on information from a Wellington petrol retailer claiming BP is attempting to set prices by offering independent petrol station owners financial incentives.

- FAMILY TRUSTS: The Public Trust Office is reporting growing numbers of family trusts being established as the Property (Relationships) Bill is reported back from select committee. Property in trust would not be normally be affected by the new legislation.

- TERRY KING TRIAL: The defence has opened its case in the case in trial of William Haanstra, the man accused of murdering Terry King.

- FRENCH BSE:The French Prime Minister has announced a temporary ban on all meat and bone in livestock feed in reaction to the number of cases of BSE reported in French herds. Several countries have already banned imports of French beef.

- SOUTHERN CROSS CABLE: Internet users in New Zealand are expected to benefit from the Southern Cross Cable network, which has gone live today. The 30,000k network cost more than $2.5b to build, and was two years in the making.

- BOATING DEATHS: Maritime Safety Authority says the number of boating deaths could be halved if a number of simple safety precautions were followed.

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