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What’s on RNZ News at midday – Feb 24

The coronavirus outbreak is set to cost Air New Zealand as much as $75 million, as it moved to cut more flights to lessen the impact; and an electorate vehicle lobby group says the Government’s plan subsidies for the cars have been delayed. 

1.The coronavirus outbreak is set to cost Air New Zealand as much as $75 million, as it moved to cut more flights to lessen the impact. The airline has issued a revised forecast for its full year earnings, cutting its estimate of operating earnings by between $35m to $75m to a range of $300m to $350m.

2.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern anticipates cabinet ministers will decide to extend the ban on foreign travellers arriving from mainland China - which is due to expire tonight. An initial two week ban was put in place in early February to try keep the coronavirus out of the country, and it was then extended for a further eight days.

3.South Korea and Italy are stepping up measures against Covid-19 to try and contain the number of viruses there. More than 600 people have the virus in South Korea and six people have died.    

4.A "small number" of people have been spoken to for making threatening remarks towards the family of a boy injured in his Flaxmere home, police say. The four year old was severely injured, and suffered brain damage in an incident on 29 January. He remains in Starship Hospital and no one has been charged or arrested and police say the boy's immediate family have not been cooperating with the investigation.

5.More than 1000 fish and eels have been killed following an ammonia leak at Silver Fern Farms meat processing plant in Taranaki. The gas leak on Wednesday last week has contaminated the Tawhiti Stream which flows into the low Tangahoe River. In a statement, the Taranaki Regional Council says it was alerted to fish being killed as a result of the spill on Friday and is investigating.

6.The case of the man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks was back in court today. Brenton Tarrant faces 51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one under the Terrorism Suppression Act. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and his trial is due to start in June. The nature of today's pre-trial application in the High Court at Christchurch and the outcome is currently suppressed by Justice Mander.

7.A police officer has escaped without charge after an investigation found he may have assaulted a teenager. The Independent Police Conduct Authority an assault did occur but the police decided it was not in the public interest to charge the officer.     

8.Napier council staff will look whether more signs are needed at a dangerous beach following the drowning of a seven-year-old boy, Mayor Kirsten Wise said. Marama Te Pou was swept out to sea while playing in the water on Friday afternoon.

9.Two experts in family violence law say justice has not been served in the conviction of   Karen Anne Ruddell for the manslaughter of her abusive partner. Ruddell claimed she was acting in self defence when she stabbed Joseph Ngapera in November 2018.

10.A Crown prosecutor says a man who targeted an Asian family in a road rampage received a manifestly inadequate jail term. Fraser Milne was jailed for two and a half years for chasing a Chinese-New Zealand family through Awhitu Peninsula, causing their vehicle to flip onto its roof last March.

11.An electorate vehicle lobby group says the Government’s plan subsidies for the cars have been delayed. New Zealand First says it’s held up a plan to introduce the subsidies for fuel efficient cars and penalties for gas guzzlers.         

12.Palestianians in the Gaza Strip say they are outraged at the way an Israeli army bulldozer picked up the body of a man killed by Isaraeli forces near the boundary fence. Israel says the man was trying to plant an explosive device.     

13.One of the world’s chief climate negotiators has criticised the Australian Government over its views on climate change in the wake of the bushfire crisis. Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres became the UN’s top climate negotiator in 2010.        

14.One person has died in a Dunedin house fire overnight. Fire responded to a call about a blaze at a house on Challis Street in the suburb of Vauxhall just before 3am. The Crew found the one-storey house well engulfed in flames. A person was found in the burning home, but despite attempts to resuscitate them, the person died.

15.A magpie is being blamed for a power outage that left about 10,000 customers in the Wairarapa without electricity this morning. Powerco said contractors believe the bird touched wires on a pole about 8am this morning, triggering the outage in the Martinborough and Greytown regions. Power was restored shortly before 10am.

16.The search is continuing for a missing swimmer on Waihi beach. A teenage boy got into difficulty while swimming at the beach last Friday. Police are coordinating a shoreline search by members of the Waihi Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.

17.Several Auckland beaches are experiencing Jellyfish blooms which is prompting warnings from the Regional Public Health Service. Warm water has attracted the jellyfish towards shore, causing some swimmers to break out in a rash known as 'sea bather's eruption.' In a statement, ARPHS said some of the jellyfish were microscopic and could get caught in togs.
 

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