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National Radio Midday Report

Mahuta Tributes – Samuels Reconciliation – Workplace Deaths – Chicken Pox Research – Disorderly Cop – Highway Investigation – Kiwi Dollar – Lockerbie Verdict – Pinochet House Arrest – Car Restraints – GM Commission – Taiko Boost – East Timor

- MAHUTA TRIBUTES: Tributes are flowing for the late Tainui leader Sir Robert Mahuta. He died last night at age 61. He was admitted to hospital with kidney problems last month after suffering ill health for some time. Mahuta negotiated the 1999 Tainui settlement with the Crown. Prime Minister Helen Clark said Mahuta made a huge contribution to Maoridom. Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said Mahuta was an outstanding Maori leader.

- SAMUELS RECONCILIATION: Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Maori Affairs Minister Dover Samuels have taken the first step towards reconciliation in a meeting last night. The two have not met since a rift between them began over the scandal caused by the investigation into Samuels’ alleged relationship with an underage girl in his care, which led to his dismissal as Maori Affairs Minister by the Prime Minister, despite the allegations being found to be false.

- WORKPLACE DEATHS: The Labour Department is looking at ways of recording all workplace deaths, following a study that shows most occupational fatalities are not identified because there is no way of distinguishing workplace deaths from other deaths in New Zealand.

- CHICKEN POX RESEARCH: International research has found that treating children with chicken pox with a common painkiller, sold as Neurofen in New Zealand, increases the risk of children contracting a flesh eating disease.

- DISORDERLY COP: A Hastings policeman will appear in court next week following investigations into his actions on New Years day at a bar. Staff and patrons said he arrived intoxicated, abused people and got into a fight. He is charged with disorderly behaviour.

- HIGHWAY INVESTIGATION: The Wellington coroner has resumed his investigation into eight deaths on a stretch of State Highway one north of Wellington, between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki.

- KIWI DOLLAR: The New Zealand dollar has firmed slightly after United States Federal Reserve cut its key interest rate this morning.

- LOCKERBIE VERDICT: Libya has called for a quick lifting of UN sanctions against it following the verdict in the Lockerbie trial. A Libyan secret service agent was found guilty of the bombing, but the co-accused was acquitted. The Libyan Government says there is no evidence it was involved.

- PINOCHET HOUSE ARREST: Chilean officials have put Augusto Pinochet under house arrest for alleged human rights offences during his dictatorship.

- CAR RESTRAINTS: The Land Transport Safety Authority says that despite publicity an alarming number of people are putting their children at risk by not putting their children in approved car restraints.

- GM COMMISSION: Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons has called on the Royal Commission into Genetic Modification to limit GE research in New Zealand to laboratory research on micro-organisms.

- TAIKO BOOST: There has been a significant boost to the recovery programme for the Taiko, one of the world’s rarest sea birds, with the discovery of three new breeding pairs, bringing the estimated number of breeding pairs to 35.

- EAST TIMOR: The United Nations Security Council has extended the UN’s administration of East Timor for a year from today. Meanwhile, training of the country’s new defence force began today.

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