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National Radio Midday Report

Oz Bomb – Cervical Screening – Dr Nitschke – Grass Skirt – Local government – Airline Action – Ecuador Storms – Macedonia – Charities Tax – Wahid Visit – Tree Theft – People Smuggler – Whitianga Waterways – Professional Mourners

OZ BOMB: A New Zealand observer says the bomb dropped in Australia in 1963 was a conventional rather than a nuclear device. Declassified documents suggest a 50 tonne detonation was nuclear – but the New Zealand brigadier says it was a conventional device designed to simulate a nuclear explosion.

CERVICAL SCREENING: The lawyer representing the woman whose case sparked the Gisborne Cervical Screening Inquiry says the appeal court ruling preventing her client seeking exemplary damages has closed the door on people seeking redress for medical misadventure.

DR NITSCHKE: The Medical Council says Australian euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke is planning to apply for registration to practice medicine here.

GRASS SKIRT: An Auckland man who admitted the manslaughter of a friend by lighting his grass skirt at a Christmas party last year has decided not to appeal his sentencing.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Significant changes to the powers local authorities have will be revealed by the Prime Minister and leading local government figures this afternoon.

AIRLINE ACTION: Virgin Blue is taking court action over the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission allowing Qantas to take over its cut-price rival Impulse.

ECUADOR STORMS: At least 38 people have been killed and thousands evacuated from hones after storms pounded Ecuador sparking floods and avalanches.

MACEDONIA: The Nato Secretary General will visit Macedonia for discussions with the government about ending fighting with rebels in the country. A cease-fire is holding for a third day. Meanwhile, US President George W. Bush is rejecting idea of Nato intervention in Macedonia.

CHARITIES TAX: A discussion document has been released by Finance Minister Michael Cullen proposing major changes to the tax exemptions enjoyed by charities.

WAHID VISIT: Indonesian President Wahid is planning to visit Australia and NZ in 10 days, after delaying the trip several times.

TREE THEFT: A farmer has been sentenced to fifteen months prison for stealing a $250,000 worth of DoC trees.

PEOPLE SMUGGLER: Hong Kong has agreed to extradite to the United States an alleged people smuggler known as Big Sister Ping.

WHITIANGA WATERWAYS: The Whitianga community is welcoming a move by Parliament to clear the way for the canal project to proceed. An amendment to the Hauraki Gulf Marine park Act clearing the way was rushed through the House last night. Meanwhile, Conservation Minister Sandra Lee wants to know why Whangarei’s Bird Centre is so strapped for cash its phone has been cut off.

PROFESSIONAL MOURNERS: A Timaru Funeral Director is condemning what he calls distasteful behaviour by people he calls professional mourners, who turn up to funerals of people they don’t know for free food and drinks.

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