Schools bill the Ministry of Education for expenses incurred in sorting out Novopay, the UN upgrades Palestine’s status and a kapa haka group takes on ‘Gangnam Style’. Here is your lunchtime news wrap – bite-sized updates of local and international news delivered fresh every afternoon.
Ministry billed for schools’ Novopay woes
Thirty-two schools have billed the Ministry of Education for staff costs they incurred while sorting out the Novopay payroll bungle. The $125,000 invoice is being presented to Education Secretary Lesley Longstone today. The ministry says it hasn’t ruled out compensating schools, but says at the moment its priority is to fix problems and help schools through the end-of-year process.
Doha fire accused pleads not guilty
The owner of a daycare centre in Qatar in which 13 children – including New Zealand triplets – died in a fire has finally appeared in a Doha court and has pleaded not guilty. Defence lawyers have asked judges to bring charges against Nike, whose shop the fire started in. Criminal proceedings have been delayed four times since the May fire after Gympanzee owner Iman Al Kuwari repeatedly failed to show up. Al Kuwari’s trial is scheduled to begin on December 19.
UN recognises Palestinian state
The United Nations has this morning voted overwhelmingly to recognise a Palestinian state. The 138-9 vote gave Palestine a long-sought victory and defeated the will of the United States, who immediately criticised the “unfortunate and counterproductive resolution”. The vote is largely symbolic and will do little to diffuse tensions between Israel and Palestine, but the result was nevertheless celebrated by crowds of Palestinians in the West Bank.
Leveson report condemns UK media
Lord Justice Brian Leveson has condemned decades of “outrageous” behaviour by British newspaper in his report into media ethics. He found there was a subculture of unethical behaviour at some outlets that had a devastating effect on innocent people. Leveson has called for a rigorous system of self-regulation to be backed up by legislation. But British Prime Minister David Cameron says new laws are unnecessary, and could infringe the media’s freedom of speech. The report has been welcomed by News International’s New Zealand-born chief executive Tom Mockridge, but he too says self-regulation is enough.
BlackCaps finally taste victory
New Zealand has beaten Sri Lanka by 167 runs in their second test, ending a nine-test winless run. Sri Lanka needed 316 runs going into the final day but New Zealand kept the pressure up, bowling Sri Lanka out for 195. BlackCaps captain Ross Taylor praised his team’s bowlers for setting up the victory early.
Odd bite: Maori take on Gangnam Style
Rotorua’s Te Arawa Maori kapa haka group has taken on South Korea at its own game, performing a rendition of popstar Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ in Seoul in October. The group was helping celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries and also performed a rendition of a Korean love song, as well as Pokarekare Ana. New Zealand’s Ambassador to South Korea Patrick Rata said the group received a “stunning” reception in the middle of Seoul’s busiest shopping district.