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National Radio Midday Report

Inflation Rise – Congo President Shot – Fiji Sevens Protests – Kirsty Bentley Case – Militia In Custody - Estrada Protests – Sealord Buy-in – Oklahoma Bomber – Physiotherapy Fee – Space Savers – Rugby Coverage

- INFLATION RISE: Inflation has hit its highest annual level for 5 1/2 years. Statistics New Zealand said the consumer price index rose 1.2 percent in the December quarter last year, taking inflation for the whole year to 4 percent. International air travel and fruit prices were the main forces driving prices up. Finance Minister Michael Cullen says he expects inflation to subside rapidly this year.

- CONGO PRESIDENT SHOT: The Belgium Foreign Ministry says the president of Democratic Republic of Congo has been shot dead by one of his own personal guard. In Congo, a curfew has been enforced and the country’s borders closed off, although Congolese authorities have not confirmed the shooting.

- FIJI SEVENS PROTESTS: Protesters from the Coalition For Democracy In Fiji plan to infiltrate the crowd in the Sevens competition in New Zealand next month, staging protests, but not disrupting matches. The coalition is angry the New Zealand government has allowed Fiji to compete in the tournament, despite its opposition to the May 2000 coup.

- KIRSTY BENTLEY CASE: Police investigating killing of murdered Ashburton teenager Kirsty Bentley today confirmed that her father has altered his statement, and will be reinterviewed.

- MILITIA IN CUSTODY: The family of Leonard Manning, the New Zealand soldier killed by militia in East Timor, has been told that a key suspect sought in connection to the killing has been taken into police custody. Meanwhile, in Dili, courtroom glitches have held up the sentencing of the first pro Jakarta militia found guilty of murder.

- ESTRADA PROTESTS: Thousands of protesters have marched through the streets of the Philippines capital Manila demanding the resignation of president Joseph Estrada. The demonstrations came after a senate impeachment court all but acquitted Mr Estrada of corruption charges.

- SEALORD BUY-IN: The Government is expected to announce its approval of the buy-in to New Zealand’s biggest fisheries company Sealord by the Japanese company Nisui.

- OKLAHOMA BOMBER: The Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is expected to be executed in the United States on May 16. The date was set ater Mr McVeigh dropped all appeals on his conviction for the 1995 bombing.

- PHYSIOTHERAPY FEE: The Physiotherapy Board has brought in a fee to cover legal costs after an unprecedented number of complaints including some over the chest tapping treatment of babies at National Women’s Hospital.

- SPACE SAVERS: The Land Transport Safety Authority is launching a campaign advising on the correct use of space saver tires in advance of stricter rules over their use coming in later this year.

- RUGBY COVERAGE: The NZRFU will push for free to air coverage of a planned All Black tour of Scotland Ireland and Argentina, as pay TV provider Telstra Saturn, who are expected to announce they have won the rights, has limited coverage, and the NZRFU want as many people as possible to see the tests.

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