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China Crisis: Crew Visited, War Of Words – Sub Sent Away – Flight Voice Recorder Ruling – Fatal Christmas Party Prank Court Hearing - New Governor General – Paddy Burton Farewelled

CHINA CRISIS - CREW VISITED: The first pictures of the US spy plane held by China shows damage to the plane is considerable. The crew have been allowed one visit from diplomats. Nobody is using the word hostages – yet. The diplomats waited all day for a midnight meeting with the crew. The diplomats saw the 24 strong air crew for 40 minutes. The Chinese say the air crew are in “protective custody”. The crew did not describe the accident itself to their vistors. US intelligence say they think the plane is being dismantled. There are concerns in the military that the US President is being too low-key about getting his people back.

CHINA CRISIS – WAR OF WORDS: US President George Bush says the Chinese Government has been given time to do the right thing. He says it is now time to give the plane and crew back. But the Chinese President wants an apology from George Bush before he will give the air crew back. “The US must end military surveillance flights near the coast, China is the victim here”. What is China’s strategy? Analysts believe the leadership may be wanting to buy time for the military to go over the plane. However the Chinese are still keeping a lid on public anger.

SUB SENT AWAY: A US nuclear attack submarine showed up unannounced in a Japanese Port today. This was against standing orders and the sub was sent away after just 20 minutes in port.

FLIGHT VOICE RECORDER RULING: The Court of Appeal has reversed an order of a lower court holding that flight voice recorder data cannot be used in the prosecution of the pilot of an Ansett flight that crashed on approach to Palmerson North.

FATAL CHRISTMAS PARTY PRANK COURT HEARING: Mathew Scofield has already plead guilty to manslaughter charges over a death at the Merrill Lynch Christmas Party. Today a court hearing heard about the events that led up to the death. The defence say the events were a practical joke. The hearing will be significant in determining the sentence for Scofield.

NEW GOVERNOR GENERAL: NZ’s new Governor General was sworn in today starting with a ceremony outside Parliament. In her speech Dame Sylvia talked about child abuse and family violence. Dame Sylvia hails from Dunedin.

PADDY BURTON FAREWELLED: Around 800 people turned out today for the funeral of 49-year-old Patricia “Paddy” Burton. Her son Mark has been charged with her murder. Paddy is the wife of police officer Trevor Burton. In a speech by the daughter Paddy was described as the “greatest mum on earth”. Among the mourners were Police Minister George Hawkins.

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