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National Radio Midday Bulletin

East Timor - Scott Watson Trial - Wages Of Lotto - Oil Companies In Court - Defence Report - Sexual Harassment - Kirsty Bentley - Israeli Peace - Combined School Boards - Fire Concerns

EAST TIMOR: The polls have opened in East Timor. People are voting on whether to accept independence. Sarah Boyle live from a polling booth in Dili: There are hundreds of people here queuing to vote. They will be here for hours. They say they have felt afraid in recent days. They say they are excited. There were some roadblocks set up in Dili overnight. But there hasn't been any widespread disruption yet. I have not received any reports from elsewhere in East Timor yet.

EAST TIMOR: Indonesian President B.J. Habibe in a televised address says todays vote is an historic moment in Indonesian history. Indonesia fears that East Timorese independence could lead to other parts of Indonesia seeking autonomy.

SCOTT WATSON TRIAL: Defence has opened its case in the Scott Watson trial and says it will be calling 25 witnesses. Laywer Mike Antunovich says that strong feelings can on occasion eclipse reason in a desire to make someone pay. Twice the defence opening was stopped by Justice Heron. He then directed Antunovich not to comment on the crown case.

WAGES OF LOTTO: A Lotteries Commission board member says he has consistently raised concerns about the $400,000 salary package of the commission's CEO. National party official Richard Yates says he opposed the salary package each time it came up. He went along with the decision as it was supported by a independent consultants report, he says.

OIL COMPANIES IN COURT: Allegations made against Caltex, Mobil and Shell in Auckland court by Commerce Commission concerning the simultaneous

DEFENCE REPORT: ACT MP Derek Quigley will release early this afternoon a report critical of defence policy from the Foreign Affairs and Defence select committee. Three government members will issue a minority report supportive of the government's defence policy. Concerns primarily over NZ trying to do too much with too little.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT: A woman awarded $25,000 by the employment tribunal is amazed her former employer is to appeal the decision. The woman was awarded $15,000 for constructive dismissal. She had pictures of her drawn naked and pinned up where she would find them.

POLICE BEATING: Another police district is considering using civilians to accompany police officers working alone. Northland police district is considering the idea following the latest incident in Kaitaia when a police officer was beaten by a man with a block of wood.

KIRSTY BENTLEY: Police team in the Kirsty Bentley inquiry are following up lots of inquiries following a TV show on the case of the murdered teenager last night. Police want to hear from people who saw a green Commer van around New Years.

ISRAELI PEACE: Israel is warning that if agreement is not reached with the Palestinians soon it will implement the Wye River Peace Accord unilaterally. The Palestinians want political prisoners released as per the agreement Israel want's not to release anyone with "blood on their hands".

COMBINED BOARDS FOR SCHOOLS: Five Maori schools on the East Coast have been recommended to have a combined boards of trustees. Criticism from some parents.

FIRE RISK: The Fire Service is meeting with the owner of a block of inner city flats in Auckland today after the building caught fire at the weekend. It does not have smoke alarms.

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