Ella Henry Resigns – MMP Petition Launched – Local Elections – McCarten Standing For Auckland Mayoralty - Speight Trial – Fiji Election – Garbage Death Investigation – Palestinian Tank Attack – Afghanistan – Murder Accused Committed For Trial – Rapist Charged – Macedonia – East Timor – Condit Interview – Lady Liberty Landing
ELLA HENRY RESIGNS: The demise of Human Rights Commissioner Ella Henry has been welcomed by opposition politicians. Ella Henry accused a police officer of racism after he pulled a car she was riding in up for going through an orange light. National Leader Jenny Shipley and ACT Leader Richard Prebble both say they are very unhappy that it took the Government so long to decide how to deal with the matter.
MMP PETITION LAUNCHED: The first step has been taken to forcing another referendum on the future of MMP. An application has been lodged by Auckland Economist Stuart Marshall on a petition asking whether there should be another referendum on the shape of the system. He is confident he will get the necessary 260,000 signatures as everyone knows it is the right thing to do. Marshall is an ACT Party Member but they are not involved, Peter Shirtcliffe who led an anti MMP campaign last referendum. is bank rolling (modestly) and mentoring the campaign leader. The National Party is helping collect signatures.
LOCAL ELECTIONS: The nominations for local body and DHB elections have closed with a last minute flurry. There are 1100 positions up for grabs. An informal survey found that there were more than enough candidates in most elections. Some say they have slightly fewer nominations than necessary, and most say they have less than in 1998.
MCCARTEN STANDS FOR AUCKLAND MAYORALTY: The President of the Alliance Matt McCarten has made a last minute decision to stand for the Auckland Mayoralty. McCarten said, “there would otherwise be a choice between the dumb and the dangerous. And I think that would be pretty bankrupt.”
SPEIGHT TRIAL – FIJI ELECTION: A treason trial is scheduled to begin against George Speight but more legal wrangling is expected. Speight’s defence team is expected to seek bail for the election in which Speight is a candidate. Meanwhile voting in a general election begins tomorrow. Voting will take a week. Commentators do not expect former PM and Speight Hostage Chaudhry’s party to get as many votes this time around due to different use of preferences by parties, and probably not the absolute majority they received in 1999.
GARBAGE DEATHS: The deaths of two truck staff in garbage compactors has sparked an invesitigation. The victim moved to the back of the truck. His team mate found him crushed, said a company spokesman. The truck has been impounded and an investigation is underway.
ISRAELI TANKS ATTACK HEBRON: Israeli tanks have withdrawn tanks from Hebron after entering it to destroy two houses in retaliation for fire on a Jewish Settlement. One soldier was hurt and two Palestinians were killed in a battle against the tanks. Earlier an 11 year old Israeli boy was shot by a Palestinian sniper.
AFGHANISTAN: The International Committee of the Red Cross are trying to confirm that they will be allowed to visit eight foreign aid workers charged in Afghanistan with preaching Christianity . All Taleban offices are shut for prayers today.
FOUR MURDER ACCUSED COMMITTED FOR TRIAL: The four accused of the murder of Christopher Clarkson have been remanded for trial for his murder. Much of the evidence has been suppressed.
SERIAL RAPIST CHARGED: An Auckland man charged with three sex attacks (in 23 charges) has been remanded in custody after appearing in Manakau District Court. The accused has chosen to defend himself. His wife has been charged in relation to one of the attacks.
OPERATION ESSENTIAL HARVEST BEGINS: A build up of troops is underway in Macedonia. Albanian rebels are planning on handing over 2000 of an alleged 85000 weapons they hold. The decision of how many weapons is not a matter for NATO says the UK defence Minister. Operation “Essential Harvest” will begin in around 10 days.
EAST TIMOR ELECTIONS: There are fears in East Timor that an atmosphere of intimidation is building up in advance of the elections next week. Fretilin is being accused of using language similar to that of the Indonesians in saying that they planned to “clean up” the country after the election. The party claim that they only meant cleaning up trash created during the election.
CONDIT I/V: The embattled California congressman Garry Condit has broken his silence on the disappearance of Chandra Levy in Washington.
LIBERTY: A Frenchman has tried to land on the Statue of
Liberty in a paraglider. The French gave the 92m high statue
to the city of New York.