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National Radio Midday Report

Cabinet Mini-Reshuffle - Trade Stats - Clarkson Murder - Fire Service Funding - Ill Mill - Albanian Rebels – Kenya School Fire – Sniper Kills Baby – Regional Defence – Baxter Murder – Mana Coast Guard – Seconds refund – Drought – Retarded Murderers

- CABINET MINI-RESHUFFLE: The Government has announced a mini-cabinet reshuffle. Marion Hobbs and Dover Samuels are back in the fold. PM has asked Cabinet to support her plan to reinstate Marion Hobbs in cabinet. Dover Samuels will be an under-secretary to Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton, and the Prime Minister has not ruled out a further promotion.

- TRADE STATS: A continued lower level of imports has seen NZ record a trade surplus of $413 million for the month of February. The latest figures reduce the trade deficit for year to February to almost $1.1 billion.

- CLARKSON MURDER: Four people have appeared in the Auckland District Court charged with the murder of Nicholas Clarkson. The same four previously appeared in court charged with the aggravated robbery of Mr Clarkson.

- FIRE SERVICE FUNDING: The Government has confirmed it is considering the three options for funding the Fire Service that were proposed by the Insurance Council.

- ILL MILL: A Public health report has concluded that Kaitaia’s tri board mill is probably making some of its neighbours sick, but there is no scientific evidence to back up the finding.

- ALBANIAN REBELS: The Government of Macedonia says it has driven ethnic Albanian rebels back across the border of Kosovo.

- KENYA SCHOOL FIRE: Kenya’s President has pledged to get the truth behind a suspicious fire that claimed the lives of 58 boys at a boarding school dormitory. Teachers suspect the fire was started by an arsonist bearing a grudge over an alleged cheating scandal.

- SNIPER KILLS BABY: The Israeli army has ordered the evacuation of part of the Palestinian town of Hebron after a baby was shot in the arms of her Israeli father. The Israeli Army says it must have been done by Palestinian security services, because only they have the necessary telescopic sights on their rifles.

- REGIONAL DEFENCE: Singapore says a regional defence agreement that includes New Zealand is as relevant today as a force for stability as it was at its inception.

- BAXTER MURDER: The preliminary hearing for man charged with the murder of Margaret Lynne Baxter will resume on Thursday. The judge is consider written evidence over the next two days.

- MANA COAST GUARD: The Mana Volunteer Coast Guard has had its rescue boats banned from the water by the Maritime Safety Authority and could face expulsion from the Royal NZ Coast Guard Assn.

- SECONDS REFUNDS: The Commerce Commission is telling all factory outlet stores that they must offer all customers refunds on faulty goods after it found that Shanton breached the fair trading act by telling consumers that they couldn’t get a refund on seconds. The Commission says seconds still fall under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

- DROUGHT: The Met Service said rain overnight hasn’t been enough to break the drought conditions in middle New Zealand.

- RETARDED MURDERERS: The US Supreme Court is considering whether the execution of retarded convicted murderers in states which have the death penalty goes against the US constitution.

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