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National Radio 8am Bulletin

Christine Rankin – Abdurrahman Wahid – Probation Service Strike – Brain Drain – US Interest Rate Cut – Middle East Peace Process – Macedonia – Tasman Pacific Receivership – Rail Services

CHRISTINE RANKIN: The man at the centre of the case against the crown being taken by Christine Rankin, State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham will be taking the stand in the controversial trial today.

ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: The PM Helen Clark says Indonesia’s President Abdurrahman Wahid wants to make positive changes, but making them happen is very difficult. President Wahid has asked for practical help in training judges during his flying visit to NZ yesterday.

PROBATION SERVICE STRIKE: The community probation service says that its current pay offer will expire shortly, because money from this year’s budget will not be available from the middle of next week.

BRAIN DRAIN: New Research suggests that reports that NZ has suffered a brain drain are misleading. The research suggests that similar patterns of youth migrating away and coming back have been in place for several decades.

US INTEREST RATE CUT: American Interest rates are coming down again. The US Federal Reserve has cut interest rates for the sixth time this year by 25 basis points to 3.75%. Stocks reacted negatively to the decision, they wanted a bigger cut, and headed into negative territory. There was no indication from the Fed about when the US economy would bounce back.

MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS: The US Secretary of State has begun a visit to the Middle East. Colin Powell has arrived in Egypt to talk peace, After talking to Arab leaders he will talk to the Israelis. The US Administration thinks that it is unrealistic to expect Yasser Arafat to be able to stop violence altogether.

MACEDONIA: Macedonia armed forces have shelled a village held by Albanian rebels. Life appears to be returning to normal in the capital Skopje. Meanwhile Kosovo’s Albanian leadership has warned that the conflict could expand.

TASMAN PACIFIC RECEIVERSHIP: The Engineers Union at Qantas NZ – Tasman Pacific Airways - want to know how the company managed to get so heavily into debt. The receiver has said that the company owes $88 million, and that unsecured creditors owed $64 million are unlikely to get anything.

RAIL SERVICES: Meetings will be held today to try to keep the Southerner rail service open. The Dunedin South MP David Benson-Pope says that he thinks the Southerner can be made viable.

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