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National Radio Midday report

Child Abuser Sentenced – Mad Cat Disease – mad Cow Disease – Murderer Unsupervised – State House Rents – Alcohol ID – Florida Recount – Health Legislation – Overseas Doctors

- CHILD ABUSER SENTENCED: A five-year jail sentence has been handed down to a Northland woman, Patricia Billie Bisset, who bashed her granddaughter so severely she is now brain damaged. The woman’s granddaughter was two years old when the woman took over her care. The judge said the woman imposed sustained torture on the girl over two months. The girl now cannot walk or talk and will probably need care for the rest of her life. The judge agreed the woman was under stress and was in a fragile state, but said she had been entrusted with the care of the girl.

- MAD CAT DISEASE: The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will take action to stop imports of pet food from Germany coming to New Zealand to prevent cats getting a feline variation of mad cow disease.

- MAD COW DISEASE: The meat industry says it is possible New Zealand could end up exporting more meat to Europe as a result of the Mad Cow Disease scare there. But the possible downside of the scare for New Zealand is there may be a fall off in demand for red meat in general.

- MURDERER UNSUPERVISED: Justice Minister Phil Goff has asked officials to investigate whether the law needs to be changed to protect New Zealanders from offenders who served their sentence overseas. This comes after a 20-year-old, Duane Hedges, who served time for murdering his cousin when he was 14 and living in Australia, is to come to New Zealand to live with his mother. A loophole in the law means that the New Zealand citizen will not be required to be supervised, as he served his sentence overseas.

- STATE HOUSE RENTS: Both the Christchurch and Wellington city councils are taking a look at their rent levels with a major plank of the Government’s State Housing policy coming into effect today.

- ALCOHOL ID: The Hospitality Standards Institute says one year down the track, bar and hotel workers are still ignorant of the requirement to ask young people for identification when serving alcohol, following the lowering of the legal drinking age to 18.

- FLORIDA RECOUNT: Guarded by police and watched carefully by Republicans and Democrats, a rental truck carrying nearly 463,000 ballots that could help decide result of the US presidential election has travelled from Palm Beach county to the Florida capital. A recount of these ballots is critical to Al Gore’s hopes of overtaking George W. Bush’s lead for the state.

- HEALTH LEGISLATION: The Alliance has secured more changes the health restructuring legislation currently before Parliament that satisfies the party’s concerns about the bill.

- OVERSEAS DOCTORS: More than three times as many overseas doctors as expected are eligible for a special training package designed to help them to get registered so they can practice here. The Government says it will have to ballot them for the 100 places on the course next year.


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