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National Radio Midday Report

Florida Vote – Skyhawks – Southern Cross Premiums – Sealord Sale – Rat Infestation – IRD Commissioner – Health And Safety – GM Commission – Te Papa Funding – Cole Bombing – Baby Dies In Car

- FLORIDA VOTE: A Florida judge has rejected the request by the Democrats for a hand recount of thousands of ballots. The judge found no evidence of illegality or fraud or coercion in the count. The decision will be appealed in the Florida Supreme Court by Democrats. The decision has been seen as a major win for the Republicans. Republicans renewed their call for Al Gore to concede defeat in the US presidential election.

- SKYHAWKS: Disarmament Minister Matt Robson is attempting to force the issue of a Government review of New Zealand’s air combat force by calling for it to be scrapped and the $200m in savings to be spent on health, education or other social services.

- SOUTHER CROSS PREMIUMS: Southern Cross Health Care is raising its premiums by up to 30% for those aged over 45. The company say the new schedule, with a new age band from age 46-64, will make premiums fairer, as younger members are subsidising older members who make more claims.

- SEALORD SALE: The Government is looking carefully at a deal that will see Brierley Investments selling its 50% share in Sealord. Brierley has been looking to sell its share since February but has been restricted by the Government forbidding it to sell to foreign owners. The Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, which owns the other half of Sealord, has announced it has agreed to buy from Brierley in partnership with a Japanese company.

- RAT INFESTATION: The SPCA says the case of a poultry farm in which thousand of chickens were left to starve and rats moved in to eat them is the worst case of its kind they have seen.

- IRD COMMISIONER: An Australian, David Butler, has been appointed as the new commissioner of Inland Revenue.

- HEALTH AND SAFETY: The Former National Minister of Labour Max Bradford says changing worker attitudes to address their own safety has not been looked at by the Government. The Government is proposing major changes to the Health and Safety in Employment Act, including giving workers the right to force employers to improve safety, but Mr Bradford says workers could abuse those rights.

- GM COMMISSION: A US corn grower has told the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification that North American farmers are now ruing their adoption of genetically modified crops because of consumer resistance the genetic engineering.

- TE PAPA FUNDING: Local authorities in the wider Wellington region are rejecting a call from the Wellington City Council to help with funding for Te Papa National Museum.

- COLE BOMBING: Reports from Yemen say six people have been charged with complicity in the suicide bomb attack of the USS Cole Navy Destroyer eight weeks ago.

- BABY DIES IN CAR: Police in Australia are going door to door in West Sydney after a 2-year-old boy died from heatstroke after the car he was sleeping in was stolen.

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