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National Radio Midday Report

Boat People – East Timor Election – Burton Trial - Gates Trial – Simpson Trial – Coffin Investigation – Cinema Turnouts – GE Free Trek – Boy Racer Bill – Kitten Experiments

BOAT PEOPLE: Australia may force the Norwegian ship carrying about 460 mainly Afghan asylum seekers to leave its waters today. Australian SAS soldiers spent their first night in control of the ship last night. Australia’s foreign affairs minister spoke to his Indonesian opposite, who doesn’t want the ship either. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson says Australia should step in and help the asylum seekers.

EAST TIMOR ELECTION: East Timor’s historic first free elections are now well and truly underway. Long lines are forming at polling booths and the turnout is expected to be large.

BURTON TRIAL: The defence is drawing to close in the trial of 20-year-old Mark Burton, the man accused of killing his mother, Patricia Burton, in Queenstown. Mr Burton, who suffers from schizophrenia, is pleading not guilty on grounds of insanity.

GATES TRIAL: The director of mental health told a Wellington jury that in his opinion David Gates fails to fully meet the legal test for insanity. Mr Gates is pleading not guilty to the murder of Wellington law student Gavin Dash in 1999 on ground of insanity.

SIMPSON TRIAL: An Ambulance officer told the High Court that Auckland doctor Christopher Simpson was highly agitated but emotionally flat on the night he killed his terminally ill elderly mother, Marjorie Simpson. Mr Simpson is pleading not guilty on grounds of insanity.

COFFIN INVESTIGATION: Police investigating the suspected killing of Auckland chef Michael Coffin are looking into whether he had any problems with drugs or alcohol. Police upgraded their investigation from a missing person case to a murder inquiry after they found his car and did forensic testing on it yesterday.

CINEMA TURNOUTS: Up to 50 provincial cinema operators having a drop in turnouts are blaming parallel imported videos of the latest films.

GE FREE TREK: The 400km trek by a Christchurch family to Wellington in support of a GE Free NZ has ended with a colourful rally at Parliament. Deputy PM Jim Anderton greeted them and invited them to his office to discuss their concerns. The family are looking forward to an organic lunch with Green MPs.

BOY RACER BILL: Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove launched a campaign to gather support for a member’s bill to clamp down on ‘boy racers.’

KITTEN EXPERIMENTS: A US scientist accused by anti-vivisectionists of drilling holes in the heads of anaesthetised kittens and sewing their eyes shut says his experiments are humane.

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