El Salvador Disaster – Terralink – Helicopter Crash – Missing Children – Murder Appearance – Suburban Ethnicity – Education Stress Bonuses – Eurobeef Ban – Maternity Care Funding – Middle East Peace – Chinese Taiwan Tourism
EL SALVADOR DISASTER: Hope is fading for hundreds of people buried by a landslide in Central America caused by an earthquake. On the outskirts of San Salvador 1200 people are reported unaccounted for. Earth moving equipment has been moved in. Many rescue efforts have been frantic. International aid is starting to arrive in El Salvador.
TERRALINK: An SOE has gone into receivership for the first time. Terralink is NZ’s largest supplier of Geographic Information Services. Minister Michael Cullen says receivers have been called in at the request of the board because of problems with a June 1999 contract with EDS to provide services to the Landonline project. Terralink employs 200 people. Staff are expected to return to work tomorrow.
HELICOPTER CRASH: Two tourists had to dash to safety when a helicopter crashed on top of Mt Victoria. The pilot was killed. The helicopter crashed meters away from the summit viewing platform. A resident of Mt Victoria who pulled the pilot from the chopper says he heard the crash first and saw it hit the hill.
MISSING CHILDREN: Bad weather and tough terrain are hampering a search for 5 and 6 year old Indian Children who went missing in the Hunua Falls area.
MURDER APPEARANCE: Abuse was yelled at an offender who appeared on murder charges in Upper Hutt this morning relating to a stabbing at the weekend. Angry spectators were kept under control by a strong police presence.
SUBURBAN ETHNICITY: Rising living costs in central city areas are forcing some ethnic groups out of central city areas according to a study. Auckland’s European population dominates in some suburbs and Asians in others, the study finds. Pacific Island people have been forced into outer suburbs where housing is cheaper.
EDUCATION STRESS BONUSES: The Minister responsible for the Qualifications Authority has criticised bonuses paid to NZ Qualifications Authority staff for the stress of a change of government. Unions say they will press for stress bonuses for teachers too.
EUROBEEF BAN: The Health Ministry says its voluntary ban on the sale of beef based imports from Europe is working well. New cases of Mad Cow Disease have been identified in several places in Europe. A spokesman for the MOH says the voluntary ban on products has been complied with well by supermarkets. A supermarket manager in Wellington says the ban has affected only three products out of 28,000. Consumer reaction has been low key.
MATERNITY CARE FUNDING: A spokesman for the Medical Association says that changes for maternity services will reduce the involvement of GPs in maternity services as the new payments remain too low to encourage participation in the scheme. Another health spokesperson has applauded the changes.
MIDDLE EAST PEACE: A planned follow-up meeting to yesterday’s talks between Palestinian and Israeli leaders is raising cautious hopes of a settlement to the long running conflict. Gaps remain very wide still on key issues. Not much for Ehud Barak to smile about yet.
CHINESE TAIWAN TOURISM: Taiwan says it will allow visits from Chinese tourists in a major change in policy. The decision is a major step for the Island’s government on the path to normalising its relationship with China. The first tourists will be allowed in from July.