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National Radio Midday Report

Congo President Dead – More Bonuses – Exam Stress – Lab Staff Shortage – 767s Grounded – ENZA Move – Boy Shot – California Power – Australian Storm Damage – BSE Blood – Dead Woman – Grass Skirt Manslaughter – Chubb Robbery – Big Day Out – Dangerous Bikes

- CONGO PRESIDENT DEAD: United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has appealed for calm in Congo, where officials have finally admitted the president is dead. The Congo Government has called for 30 days mourning. The President’s son has been put in charge of the Government and the armed forces.

- MORE BONUSES: Another case of substantial bonus payment to public sector staff has come to light. The transport ministry has confirmed that more than $370,000 was paid in staff bonuses last year. It comes after the Government has ordered a report on the practice of paying bonuses in the public sector, following controversy over bonuses paid to NZQA and Housing NZ staff.

- EXAM STRESS: The National Youth Counselling group says there has been an upsurge in teenagers seeking help relating to exam results. It follows news that a secondary student killed himself last month after getting exam results.

- LAB STAFF SHORTAGE: LabPlus, the country’s largest and newest public laboratory says it is doing what it can to address its lack of clinicians, which was identified as one of the reasons why the laboratory lost its accreditation in three vital areas of testing.

- 767S GROUNDED: Ansett Australia has grounded three Boeing 767s after finding hairline stress cracks in the aircraft.

- ENZA MOVE: Hawkes Bay pip fruit growers say they are thrilled that ENZA is moving its head office to the Hawkes Bay.

- BOY SHOT: The body of a 16-year-old Israeli boy has been found riddled with bullets in the West Bank town of Ramana. The boy apparently had been visiting a Palestinian friend he had met on the Internet.

- CALIFORNIA POWER: The energy crisis in California is easing somewhat on the second day of rolling power cuts aimed at reducing the strain on the power grid.

- AUSTRALIAN STORM DAMAGE: Most residents of the northern NSW town of Casino have got their power back, after a freak storm unroofed a regional substation, the post office and hundreds of houses. In Queensland 2000 homes are still without and more storms are predicted for today.

- BSE BLOOD: Blood donors are being surveyed on their travel histories as the blood service is considering screening out donors who have travelled in BSE affected countries.

- DEAD WOMAN: Taumaranui police have released the name of a woman found dead in a house in the town yesterday morning. She was Lauren Natasha Shepherd, aged 21. Police would like to hear of any sightings of a 2000 blue Toyota Corolla, registration ZJ1004 between Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning.

- GRASS SKIRT MANSLAUGHTER: The man accused of setting fire to a colleague during a Christmas party has been further remanded after another court appearance today. He is charged with manslaughter.

- CHUBB ROBERY: One of the eight people charged in relation to the Chubb security van heist has been granted bail. He is not charged with aggravated robbery like the other seven, but with conspiring to commit aggravated robbery.

- BIG DAY OUT: Music fans are gathering in Auckland for the Big Day Out, the biggest music festival in the country.

- DANGEROUS BIKES: Two bicycles models sold by K-Mart have been recalled due to safety concerns. They are the Huffy Mudslinger and the Secret Treasure.

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