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National Radio Midday Report

Power Prices – Wairarapa Toddler – Lange Defamation – US Election – Zemin Protests – Speed Cameras – Predatory Pricing – Ethiopia/Eritrea Peace Agreement – Fahey To Pay Costs – Clinton In Ireland – Maori TV

- POWER PRICES: Power prices may soon be on the way down. The national grid operator, Transpower, says a drop in transmission charges should see a drop in power prices of up to 2%. Transpower says it is dropping its charges to lines companies by an average of 14% from April. Transpower says it is lowering charges because of the drop in the value of the national grid and the savings the company has been able to make.

- WAIRARAPA TODDLER: A witness has told the Masterton District court that a couple of days before the Wairarapa toddler known as Lilybing died she was left on a toilet at night for up to three hours. The witness said Lilybing was being toilet trained by Rachel Namana, one of the two people being charged with her manslaughter. The witness was a teenage girl who looked after Lilybing at a Kohanga Reo.

- LANGE DEFAMATION: Former Prime Minister David Lange has ended a five year defamation battle with Australian Consolidated Press over a political column in North and South Magazine. Mr Lange dropped the defamation action, which has never reached the courtroom. The editor of North and South said the decision was a victory for the freedom of the press.

US ELECTION: With time fast running out, Democrat presidential candidate Al Gore is still clinging to the hope that the Supreme Court will order a resumption of a hand count of disputed ballots in the state of Florida. The nine justices have been deliberating for over 30 hours, but there is no indication of when they will make a decision.

- ZEMIN PROTESTS: The Police Commissioner says it was only because protesters became violent that police moved them during a free Tibet protest while Chinese President Jiang Zemin was in New Zealand last year. Former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley says she spoke to police but did not instruct them on how to handle the protest. However, the manager of the hotel where Shipley was due to meet Zemin for a state dinner said Mrs Shipley was urging police to move the protesters because Mr Zemin’s arrival was being delayed.

- SPEED CAMERAS: Police say an early present for the public will be a nationwide intolerance of speedsters. By next week speed cameras are being reset to catch anyone going more that 10k over the speed limit, not just the top 15 percent of speedsters as they were previously set.

- PREDATORY PRICING: The Commerce Commission is investigating a claim that Tranz Rail used predatory pricing to drive the Top Cat Ferry out of the Cook Strait Market, and then raise its freight charges. A commerce Commission spokesperson says the investigation could lead to a prosecution, and if found guilty, Tranz Rail could face a fine of up to $5 million.

- ETHIOPIA/ERITREA PEACE AGREEMENT: Ethiopia and Eritrea have signed a peace treaty in Algeria to end 2 years of conflict that cost tens of thousands of lives. Military and financial exhaustion on both sides seems to have forced the agreement, and suspicion and mistrust appear to remain between the two countries.

- FAHEY TO PAY COSTS: Convicted Christchurch sex offender Morgan Fahey has been order to pay $93,553 in costs after being struck off the Medical Register.

- CLINTON IN IRELAND: United States President Bill Clinton is in Ireland in the first leg of a three day visit aimed at revitalising the Northern Ireland peace protest.

- MAORI TV: The Maori Television Trust says it may take legal action over the Government’s indecision about establishing a Mori TV channel. The trust has been left in limbo by the Government for the past year.

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