US Says “Very Sorry” – China Crisis Ends – SA Soccer Tragedy – Social Services Merger – Sir Harry Secombe – Ngaire Dawn Porter – Police Complaints – Israel – Turkey Economic Crisis/Riots
US SAYS “VERY SORRY: China has announced it will allow the 21 men and 3 women crew of a US spy plane to leave the military base on Hainan where they have been held. Earlier the US said it was “very sorry” for landing on the island. The US Secretary of State Colin Powell repeated that the US was not apologising for the crash itself. US President George Bush said he was reminded about how nice it was to be President.
SA SOCCER TRAGEDY: At least 47 people are dead after a stampede at a soccer match at Ellis Park, Johannesburg. The SA Broadcasting Commission is reporting that too many tickets were sold to the match.
SOCIAL SERVICES MERGER: The State Services Minister Trevor Mallard says that the merger of DWI and the Ministry of Social Policy is designed to ensure that social policy is informed by what happens on the ground. The National Party say the merger has been pursued in order to get rid of Christine Rankin.
SIR HARRY SECOMBE: The entertainer and former goon Sir Harry Secombe has died aged 79. Sir Harry earned a Knighthood for his career as an entertainer. His devotees included the Prince of Wales. Spike Milligan is now the only surviving Goon.
NGAIRE DAWN PORTER: NZ actress Ngaire Dawn Porter has died in London aged 61. Porter starred in the Forsyth Saga and as Madame Bovary. She moved to England at age 22.
POLICE COMPLAINTS: Police and lawyers are welcoming plans to overhaul the Police Complaints Authority. The Authority is being beefed up from one, to three, assisted by six independent investigators.
ISRAEL: Israeli and Palestinian security officials have reportedly agreed to meet following a gun battle at a Palestinian refugee camp. The gun battle signalled an escalation in the conflict. The agreement to meet followed statements from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
TURKEY ECONOMIC CRISIS: Police in Turkey has used water cannon to stop 50,000 demonstrators from storming Parliament in Ankara. The Turkey PM has refused to quit in the wake of an economic crisis.