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National Radio Midday Report

Chechen Hijackers - Forensic Beds - Auckland Transport - Maori Business - Fletcher Break-Up - Papua New Guinea Mutiny – Fiji Government – Kuwait Bombing – Foot And Mouth – Pet Food – Power Prices – Ambulance Accidents – Exorcism Manslaughter

- CHECHEN HIJACKERS: The women and children passengers and crew on board a hijacked Russian Airliner have been released in Saudi Arabia but negotiations with the two Chechen hijackers continue. The hijackers agreed to release all the hostages but change their minds. Chechen authorities have disowned the hijackers.

- FORENSIC BEDS: The Ministry of Health will increase the number of forensic beds for criminal inpatients with severe mental illnesses after a review of mental health services in the justice system.

- AUCKLAND TRANSPORT: Auckland City Council staff are confident they will get the $75m funding needed for their ambitious transport centre plan.

- MAORI BUSINESS: Prime Minister Helen Clark says there is tremendous potential for Maori businesses in Gisborne and the East Coast to contribute to the regional economy.

- FLETCHER BREAK-UP: The High Court in Auckland has given final legal approval to the break-up of Fletcher Challenge into three stand alone companies and the sale of the energy division to Shell and Apache.

- PAPUA NEW GUINEA MUTINY: A New Zealand led review of the Papua New Guinean military is believed to have sparked a mutiny. There are conflicting reports about whether the military have regained control of the Port Moresby barracks.

- FIJI GOVERNMENT: Fiji’s caretaker Prime Minister and former interim PM have delayed announcing a caretaker government.

- KUWAIT BOMBING: The formal investigation into the bombing blunder in Kuwait that killed Kiwi SAS Major John McNutt and five Americans has begun in the Persian Gulf.

- FOOT AND MOUTH: World governments are scrambling to build defences against foot and mouth as Britain has declared all out was on the disease. Britain will destroy even health animals with links to affected areas, and have brought in the military for logistical support.

- PET FOOD: Making cat food is bringing more jobs to Wanganui, with the expansion of the Lucky Pet Foods factory.

- POWER PRICES: Predictions are being made that competition for power consumers will step up following decision by the biggest retailer, On Energy, formerly TranAlta, to drop its prices.

- AMBLANCE ACCIDENTS: The union representing ambulance officers is calling for a law change to bring some protection from prosecution to drivers for accidents that happen when on a call-out.

- EXORCISM MANSLAUGHTER: A 37-year-old pastor has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of a Korean woman in Mt Roskill last December. It was claimed an exorcism was being performed to cast out demons from the woman’s body.

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