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National Radio Midday Report

Shell Go-Ahead – Open Sky – Reward Offered – Worker Killed – Tariffs Removed – Florida Recount – Middle East Conflict – Psychiatric Deinstitutionalisation – Toxic Substances – Whangarei Buses – E-Cheating – Social Worker Register

- SHELL GO-AHEAD: Shell oil has been given the go ahead by the Commerce Commission to take over Fletcher Energy. The approval is subject to Shell shedding a list of Fletchers’ assets. Last month their application was turned down by the commission on the grounds that the take over would allow Shell to dominate the industry. Among the list of assets to be shed is the Challenge petrol station chain.

- OPEN SKY: NZ and Australia will sign an open sky agreement on Monday to create a single aviation market. Transport Minister Mark Gosche says the agreement will remove a restriction which has prevented airlines operating more than a limited number of flights beyond their own territory.

- REWARD OFFERED: Police investigating the murder of Justin Dyne are offering a reward of $50,000 for information leading to a conviction, and say there is likely to be more than one person involved in the killing. The 25-year-old’s body was found in the Waitakere Ranges in September.

- WORKER KILLED: Occupational Safety and Health inspectors are investigating the scene of a fatal industrial accident on a Fletcher building site in Wellington this morning.

- TARIFFS REMOVED: The Prime Minister’s announcement that the world’s 38 poorest countries will get tariff-free access to NZ shores has raised concerns that it will be at the expense of New Zealand jobs.

- FLORIDA RECOUNT: The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the hand counting of votes in the crucial country of Palm Beach can go ahead. There has been no change in the intention of Florida Secretary of State, a Republican, to announce a result tomorrow.

- MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barac says there is no miracle cure for the deadly conflict with Palestinians in recent months. He has ruled out the immediate prospect of a peace summit. Meanwhile Palestinian President Yasser Arafat says he has not lost hope that US President Bill Clinton can engineer a peace deal before he leaves office in January.

- PSYCIATRIC DEINSTITUTIONALISATION: A British expert on the care of criminals with mental disordered recognises that mental health services in countries all over the world have gone too far in deinstitutionalising psychiatric care.

- TOXIC SUBSTANCES: The Environmental Risk Management Authority is surprised about the large number of notifications about toxic substances being made. Three years ago ERMA predicted it would receive 6000 notifications but in it’s annual report it says it has received 130,000 notifications, with 28 companies accounting for over half of those.

- WHANGAREI BUSES: There has been Concern in Whangarei over the future of the city’s bus service. Drivers have not been paid this week, and one of the buses is being held by a local firm because repair work has not been paid for.

- E-CHEATING: The explosion of new communication technology has led to a ban on cell phones and other electronic devices from school certificate and bursary examinations. Some students have been trying to cheat using text messaging on cell phones.

- SOCIAL WORKER REGISTER: Proposals for register of social workers progressed further today with the announcement that a paper will be sent to cabinet in the next few weeks.

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