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National Radio Midday Report

Israel Election – National Deputy – Vet Strikes – Auckland Electricity Payout – ChCh Council Profit – Harre At Picket – Loan Idea Supported – Capital Coast Health – Ebola In Canada – Gene Appeal

- ISRAEL ELECTION: Israel has elected Ariel Sharon as its new Prime Minister. Ehud Barak has conceded defeat. His telephone call to Mr Sharon to concede defeat came only two hours after polls closed. Mr Barak says he will quit as Labour Party Leader and leave parliament after Mr Sharon takes office. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat says he hopes the Middle East peace process will continue under Mr Sharon.

- NATIONAL DEPUTY: The National Party has chosen finance spokesperson Bill English to be its new deputy leader. There is no word yet on how close the vote was, but Gerry Brownlee, who also challenged the position, said it was a decisive victory for Mr English.

- VET STRIKES: The union representing vets who work in the country’s meat works, the National Union of Public Employees, has delayed a strike due to begin at the end of the week because of threats by farmers and meat companies to sue striking vets. The union says the vets have held off striking until Monday.

- AUCKLAND ELECTRICITY PAYOUT: The Auckland City Mayor has reigned in her deputy this morning after he told the media about his plans to fast track a dividend payout from the Auckland Energy Consumer’s Trust to customers.

- CHCH COUNCIL PROFIT: The Christchurch City Council is about to consider what it should do with more than $150m profit it made from the sale of its energy company’s North Island gas network. A divvying up of the money between rate payers has received little support.

- HARRE AT PICKET: Prime Minister Helen Clark and Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton have confirmed they knew of the visit by the Associate Labour Minister Laila Harre to a waterfront union picket in Nelson. Meanwhile, the Waterfront Worker’s Union has lifted it’s picket in Nelson and will go into mediation tomorrow in an attempt to resolve its dispute with Mainland Stevedoring and Carter Holt Harvey.

- LOAN IDEA SUPPORTED: The University Student’s Association has welcomed the Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton’s proposal to reduce student loan debt. At an Upper Hutt marae yesterday, Mr Anderton proposed the introduction of a bonding system, whereby student loan debts are wiped if they agree to stay and work in New Zealand for a certain time, saying there has to be some relief to the student loan debt.

CAPITAL COAST HEALTH: Attempts by Wellington’s Capital Coast Health to turn around its financial situation are under threat and part of the reason is an apparent shortfall in the funding of the new district health board.

- EBOLA IN CANADA: Canadian health authorities are preparing to contain what could be the first case of the deadly ebola virus outside Africa. A woman patient is in isolation in a hospital outside Toronto, after returning sick from the Congo.

- GENE APPEAL: The Wellington High Court has begun hearing an appeal against a decision to allow AgResearch to insert a synthetic human gene into cows.

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