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National Radio Midday Report

Vet Strike – Dairy Payout – Takeovers Code – Israeli Government – Constable Charged – NCEA – Arms Shipment – Ship Accident – Email Virus – Space Probe – Penicillin Theft

- VET STRIKE: The Employment court has given Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry vets the all clear to strike on Friday, rejecting a request from MAF for an injunction to stop them striking. The strike will bring the country’s lucrative export meat industry to a halt. The union that represents vets delighted with the employment Court Ruling. The rejection of the injunction means vets will strike for at least two and a half weeks, and will cost the country valuable export dollars. The vets have been involved in a long-standing dispute over wages.

- DAIRY PAYOUT: Farmers in two of the country’s main dairying areas are taking a cautious approach to this year’s bumper payout from the Dairy Board this year. Many farmers will simply be looking to consolidate their financial position by paying off debt. Finance Minister Michael Cullen says concerns remain over the future structure of the dairy industry, despite the billion dollar payout. He says progress needs to be made on the dairy industry mega-merger.

- TAKEOVERS CODE: A Business Leader who helped draft the new rules to protect the interests of small investors - the Takeovers Code - says the controversial Montana Wines investment may encourage more smaller investors at home into the New Zealand share market, despite the damage it did to the international image of the New Zealand share market.

- ISRAELI GOVERNMENT: Israeli Prime Minster Elect Ariel Sharon and outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Barak have agreed on most of the guidelines for a National Unity Government. Meanwhile, violence continues to rise in the Palestinian territories.

- CONSTABLE CHARGED: A central North Island police constable, Brian Scott of Turangi, has appeared in court charged with sexual violation and indecent assault. The officer was arrested last night on three charges arising from alleged misconduct on police premises.

- NCEA: Principals say they are disappointed by National’s U-turn on the new school qualifications system that they introduced, the NCEA. National Education Spokesman says the NXEA is quite different from what it first proposed, and will change it when they come into government. Concerned Teachers says that creates uncertainty among students and parents.

- ARMS SHIPMENT: The Fiji army, customs officials and police have increased port security after a tip off that an illegal arms shipment is on its way from Sydney. This comes as authorities in Suva are stepping up internal security as a Court of Appeal ruling looms, which will decide the legitimacy of the current interim government.

- SHIP ACCIDENT: A man has been seriously injured in an accident on board a docked cargo ship in Auckland this morning. Three crew members have been taken to hospital, with one in a critical condition, after an accident during a lifeboat drill.

- EMAIL VIRUS: NZ is being hit by a serious email virus, which is being distributed via Microsoft Outlook address books. The “Anna Kournikova Vs. B.S.” virus was only discovered yesterday, but is spreading fast. It can crash servers.

- SPACE PROBE: The space probe Mir Shoemaker has landed on the asteroid Eros, the first time a probe has landed on such a small object in space.

- PENICILLIN THEFT: Public Health workers in South Auckland are concerned the public could be at risk following the theft of 240 penicillin tablets.

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