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Lunchtime news wrap: Friday December 21, 2012

Friday 21 Dec 2012 12:39 p.m.

Novopay’s bungles continue, Mahe Drysdale says he’ll be back to defend his Olympic title, but will the world have ended before he gets a chance? Here is your lunchtime news wrap – bite-sized updates of local and international news delivered fresh every afternoon.

Novopay bungles continue

Despite Talent2’s promises that teachers would be paid correctly in time for the holidays, numerous schools are still reporting errors in the Novopay payroll system. School staff received their last pay before Christmas overnight, and the same issues have come up again: teachers overpaid, underpaid, or not paid at all. The newest bungles come just two days after the resignation of Education Ministry head Lesley Longstone, who quit because of “strains” between herself and Education Minister Hekia Parata.

Worst-ever shellfish poisoning outbreak in Bay of Plenty

A total of 27 people have been poisoned in recent days after eating toxic shellfish collected from the Bay of Plenty. As a result, there is a ban on shellfish gathering from Tairua on the Coromandel Peninsula to Whakatane. Authorities also warn that shellfish in the Auckland region could be infected, due to the high amount of algae in the ocean. The warning applies to all bi-valves including mussels, pipi, oysters and scallops.

Mahe Drysdale commits to Rio 2016

After spending a few months reflecting on his gold medal-winning performance at the London 2012 Olympics, rower Mahe Drysdale has announced he will be back to defend his title at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. Drysdale is taking a six month sabbatical from the sport to recharge after a gruelling year. He will miss the World Cup Regattas, but hopes to gain selection for the World Championships in August 2013.

US snowstorm strands holidaymakers

The United States has been hit by its first major snowstorm of the season, with whiteout conditions stranding holiday travellers in the midwest. At least one person died in a 25-vehicle pileup on a highway in Iowa. Airlines have delayed or cancelled hundreds of flights in Chicago and Dallas because of snow, heavy fog and thunderstorms. The snowstorm is expected to move over the Great Lakes towards Canada.

Doomsday looms

It’s the end of the world as we know it… Or so some people think. The hastily approaching end of the Mayan calendar has seen believers flocking to several spots around the world where they think their chances of survival are greatest. You can take your pick from the French Pyrenees, Stonehenge, Russia or Italy – but hurry, because by most predictions you’ve only got until midnight!

Odd bite: The viral hits of 2010

It’s been a pretty good year for The Internet. Grumpy cat, potato Jesus, dog shaming and of course ‘Gangnam Style’ had us all glued to our computer screens and smartphones. 3news.co.nz has collated ten of our favourite viral hits for your viewing pleasure.

And that ends Lunch Bites for 2012. We’ll be back in early January – happy holidays!

3 News

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