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National Radio Midday Report

Vet Strike – ERO Review – Sewer Pipe Compo – People’s Bank – Shooting – Blaikie Murder Accused – El Salvador Aftershock – Dioxin Test – CPI – GM Directive – Sub/Trawler Crash – Arms Smuggling – Mobile Nurses – Kournikova Slows

- VET STRIKE: The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has made a last ditch legal bid to prevent meat certifying vets from going on strike at midnight tomorrow. 120 vets are due to strike tomorrow, for two and a half weeks. MAF is taking fresh action on the grounds of good faith bargaining. Meanwhile, most meatworks are already preparing for the strike. Work and Income says any meat workers affected by the strike can apply for a special grant, but not a benefit.

- ERO REVIEW: Education Minister Trevor Mallard says some schools are right to be terrified of the Education Review Office. He made the comment at the release of a report on the ERO, which recommends the ERO remains a stand alone organisation, rather than merge with the Education Dept. He said some schools have not been performing up to scratch. The recommendations of the report are likely to be adopted, Mr Mallard says.

- SEWER PIPE COMPO: The Rodney District Council has been ordered to pay a ratepayer more than $250,000 for putting a sewer pile through her property without consulting her. The Council says it’s unlikely to appeal the High Court decision.

- PEOPLE’S BANK: The Government will know within two days whether it has the numbers it needs to set up the People’s Bank, to be run by NZ Post. The Greens and NZ First are being approached by the Government for support. Green Co-leader Rod Donald has been briefed by NZ Post, and Mr Donald said he found the proposal positive.

- SHOOTING: Forensic specialists are gathering evidence and doing tests at the scene of a fatal shooting last night in Delaware Bay, north of Nelson.

- BLAIKIE MURDER ACCUSED: The 31-year old man accused of murdering Lisa Blaikie has been remanded in custody after a brief court appearance.

- EL SALVADOR AFTERSHOCK: A month after the massive El Salvador earthquake, a big aftershock has killed at least 92 people, started fresh landslides and ruined housing. Meanwhile, Red Cross says its facing a shortage of nurses for the relief effort for the Indian earthquake in the Gudjarat region.

- DIOXIN TESTS: The Green Party wants an independent inquiry to see whether New Plymouth residents living near a plant manufacturing 245-T in the sixties suffered harmful effects from being exposed to dioxins. The Health Ministry is taking blood tests, but the Greens say that isn’t enough.

- CPI: Official figures show grocery prices rose more sharply last month than in any time in the last 11 years.

- GM DIRECTIVE: A new European Union directive to regulate the growing and marketing of genetically modified food is up for debate in the European Parliament. It could clear the way for member states to begin licensing new varieties of GM foods.

- SUB/TRAWLER CRASH: US President George W. Bush has expressed his regrets about a crash between a US nuclear submarine and a Japanese fishing trawler, in a phone call to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori.

- ARMS SMUGGLING: Israel is claiming the Iranian backed Hizballah organisation has smuggled heavy weapons into the West Bank from Lebanon. Violence has flared again after Israel’s assassination of a top Palestinian security official they say was a member of Hizballah.

- MOBILE NURSES: A nation wide recruitment programme is underway for nursing staff to help run a rural mobile surgery unit.

- KOURNIKOVA SLOWS: The Anna Kournikova virus is reportedly slowing down in New Zealand. An Xtra spokesperson says the virus peaked yesterday.

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