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Boat People – East Timor Election – Burton Trial

BOAT PEOPLE: The Indonesian and Australian Prime Ministers will talk on the telephone tonight about the Norwegian cargo ship carrying around 460 mainly Afghani asylum seekers off Christmas Island. Both countries are at loggerheads about who should take them in. Australia wants the ship to return to international waters. The human cargo have ended their hunger strike. The Australasian Bio-ethics Committee has labelled Australia’s stand morally outrageous and said New Zealand’s Government should speak out. International law on people seeking to cross borders illegally is vague. Tonight Singapore said it would not be taking boat people.

EAST TIMOR ELECTION: Voting has begun in East Timor’s first democratic election. The results will see East Timor’s first parliament formed. There’s been a huge turnout – the people are eager for democracy. There are still queues at polling booths. There’s been no hint of trouble, despite the predictions.

BURTON TRIAL: An Invercargill jury has begun trying to decide whether 20-year-old Mark Burton was insane when he killed his mother, Queenstown schoolteacher Patricia Burton. Mr Burton suffers schizophrenia and powerful delusions. He has pleaded not guilty on grounds of insanity. The judge has indicated that the weight of evidence indicates he was insane at the time of the murder, and a verdict of not guilty is likely. If he’s found not guilty, he’ll be made a special patient under the mental health act and be held at a forensic facility.

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