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National Radio Midday Report

Sleeping Engineers – Hydro Lakes – Sydney Storm – American Fires – Milk Powder – Olympic Deal Making – Australasian Airlines – Murder Accused – Solo Balloonist – Middle East - Macedonia

SLEEPING ENGINEERS: Tranz Rail’s roster system is under fire from the Transport Accident Investigation Commission, which is attributing two derailments and one collision last year to drivers falling asleep. The committee’s report says drivers shouldn’t work more than two nights in a row.

HYDRO LAKES: Weather forecasters are predicting significant rainfall over the South Island hydro lake catchment areas over the next few days.

SYDNEY STORM: Emergency crews have been working to clear debris and restore power to thousands of homes in Sydney after severe winds gusting up to 110 km/hr buffeted the city overnight.

AMERICAN FIRES: Scorching temperatures and gusting winds are spreading wildfires over the Western United States. In Canada, firefighters are tackling an out of control fire covering 1300 hectares in British Colombia.

MILK POWDER: The Global Dairy Company has signed a deal to become the major marketer for American skim milk powder. The company says it will not displace New Zealand product.

OLYMPIC DEAL MAKING: Accusations of deal making in the lead-up to Beijing being chosen as host of the 2008 Olympic Games have been made by IOC vice-president Dick Pound.

AUSTRALASIAN AIRLINES: Qantas Airways says if the NZ Government rejects it’s bid to buy a stake in Air NZ it will be forced to form an alliance with another foreign airline to remain competitive. Australian Prime Minister John Howard said it was not in Australia’s interests to have all of the region’s airlines owned by foreign interests.

MURDER ACCUSED: A 29-year-old woman appeared in the Wellington District Court charged with the murder of 76-year-old Tauranga woman Marta Weber.

SOLO BALLOONIST: American adventurer Steve Fosset is experiencing rough conditions forcing him to strap on his parachute as he passes the halfway mark in his bid to be the first man to circumnavigate the globe in a balloon solo.

MIDDLE EAST: Six Palestinians were slightly injured by an exploding mobile telephone in Nablos. An official of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction has accused Israel of responsibility as part of a policy of assassination.

MACEDONIA: British troops will start arriving in Macedonia today in the wake of the peace agreement reached there.

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