Checkpoint. 2003-02-14

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The United States and Britain are warning that decision time on Iraq is fast approaching, while the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says Baghdad now has only a small chance to avoid war. The warnings come on the eve of a crucial report by weapons inspectors to the United Nations. The report is critical in determining whether the Security Council insists arms inspections should continue or instead backs US calls for war to disarm Iraq. In a speech to military personnel at a Florida naval air base, President George Bush says the choice for the UN Security Council is clear. AUDIO CUT
Thousands more marines have arrived in Kuwait as part of the American preparations for war, while the Pentagon says small units of elite US Special Operations forces are busily operating inside Iraq to lay the foundation for a possible invasion. In his speech, Mr Bush told his military audience that he will not shrink from action. AUDIO CUT
As war looms, aid agencies are preparing for thousands of refugees fleeing [illegible] Ton van Zutphen is World Vision's Middle East Relief Manager - he's predicting at least 200 thousand people will flee to Iran, with tens of thousands more heading for Syria and Jordon. He says the exodus would be sparked not only by fighting, but epidemics resulting from the further collapse of infrastructure, like hopsitals, water supplies and sewerage. IV
Meanwhile, European opposition to Washington's Iraq policy is provoking a growing backlash in some quarters of American society. One tabloid newspaper is calling for a boycott of French and German products in protest at those countries refusal to support the United States. And, as our Washington correspondent Malcolm Brown reports, some US lawmakers are also looking for ways to get back at Berlin and Paris. PKGE
The Government is being accused of failing to fund targetted programmes designed to prevent at-risk youth pursuing a life of crime. The accusations follow revelations that convicted triple murderer William Bell began offending at a young age, racking up more than a hundred offences by his early twenties. [illegible] was yesterday sentenced to 33 years jail for killing three people in the Mt-Wellington Panmure RSA - Kirsty Jones reports. PKGE
The Pitcairn Islanders behind the dramatic sea rescue of an injured New Zealand scientist are critical that they are having to risk their lives because of inexperienced visitors to their region. Claudine Stirling broke her ankle on Henderson Island, nearly 200 kilometres from Pitcairn. Seven islanders and a New Zealand nurse had to travel for 12 hours in the open ocean to Henderson because Ms Stirling's fellow researchers were too inexperienced to take their boat across a coral reef to get her to a passing cruise ship for treatment. Pitcairn Island's communication officer Betty Christian says future research crews should be better trained. IV
Battlelines are being drawn over a report which has gone to the Government today seeking a ban on public advertising of prescription medicines. The report by three Otago Medical School professors, and an Auckland collegue, is yet to be released publicly but as our Health Correspondent Rae Lamb reports, its already sparking controversy. PKGE
The deadline has passed for the first round of public submissions on the proposed merger which will end competition between Air New Zealand and Qantas. Qantas wants to buy a 22-and a half percent stake in Air New Zealand, and already has the New Zealand government's approval - in principle. Competition authorities on both sides of the tasman must now assess the merits of the deal, and those supporting or objecting to it have had their chance to put their views. Our reporter Nathan Mills has been reviewing some of the submissions and he joins me now. LIVE IV
Returning to our lead story - and as the world awaits the result of tomorrow's crucial United Nations Security Council deliberations on Iraq, American and British warplanes have been attacking Iraqi ballistic missile systems. At the same time, thousands more US marines have arrived in Kuwait as part of Washington's military buildup. But opposition is also growing, with millions expected to join weekend anti-war protests around the world. Among them are relatives of September 11 victims who have formed the group Peaceful Tomorrows - our Washington correspondent Catherine Drew prepared this report. PKGE
[illegible] into the economic impact of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease shows it could cost at least 20 thousand jobs, wipe ten billion dollars from the economy and take the export sector four years to recover. The Reserve Bank and Treasury paper says a North Island outbreak of the disease, would halt dairy exports for six weeks, meat exports for up to a year, and beef and lamb prices in key markets could take four years to recover because of damage to the country's reputation. Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Murray Sherwin, says the processing and transport industries would also be hit. IV
The skippers of the Swiss syndicate Alinghi, and Team New Zealand have met for the last time before facing each other tomorrow in the first race of the America's Cup. Neither is giving anything away - our America's cup reporter Todd Niall went to their final media conference, opened by media centre director Bruno Trooblay. PKGE
A parliamentary select committee wants a review of the safety and effectiveness of electric shock therapy. Electro-convulsive therapy, or ECT - which is used as a treatment for severe depression - involves passing an electrical current across a patient's brain to induce an epileptic seizure. But MPs on the Health [illegible] Committee are worried by the lack of information relating to its use. Patric Lane reports. PKGE

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Year 2003

Reference number 144307

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Credits RNZ Collection

Duration 00:59:28

Date 14 Feb 2003

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