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Lunchtime news wrap: Friday December 7, 2012

Friday 7 Dec 2012 12:26 p.m.

The cleanup continues after yesterday’s devastating tornado, the Government estimates there are 25,000 earthquake-prone buildings in NZ, and no one can agree on who should get rid of the whale rotting on a Malibu beach. Here is your lunchtime news wrap – bite-sized updates of local and international news delivered fresh every afternoon.

Auckland tornado victims named, cleanup continues

Police have released the names of the three men killed when a tornado struck west Auckland yesterday. Tom Stowers, Keith Langford and Brendon Johnson were working on a construction site and died when concrete slabs fell down in high winds.

Residents in Auckland and Rotorua have begun a massive cleanup after the storm, which left 150 homes badly damaged and caused an estimated $11 million in damage. Auckland Mayor Len Brown has asked people not to rubberneck around affected areas and to contact the council or Civil Defence if they want to help.

25,000 earthquke-prone buildings in NZ

The Government estimates there are as many as 25,000 earthquake-prone buildings around New Zealand, and could require them all to be strengthened or demolished within 15 years. The details are continued in a Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission report released this morning. It makes 36 recommendations, which the government says could have “significant economic implications” for building owners. However, despite the large number of at-risk buildings, current building standards around seismic safety will not be changed.

Australian policeman killed with axe

A senior Australian police officer has been killed by a blow to his head with an axe while he was attending an incident in Sydney yesterday. Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson was one of 11 police who faced a volley of abuse and were confronted with arrows and angry dogs when they were went to a semi-rural property after a complaint from neighbours. A 19-year-old man and 42-year-old woman have been arrested in connection with the incident.

Pregnant Kate leaves London hospital

The Duchess of Cambridge has left the London hospital where she had been since Monday, receiving treatment for acute morning sickness. Clutching a bunch of yellow flowers, the pregnant duchess and her husband Prince William paused briefly for the media camped outside the hospital before getting in their car. St James’s Palace says Kate is off to Kensington Palace for “a period of rest”.

Ross Taylor dumped as BlackCaps captain

After days of speculation, NZ Cricket has announced that Ross Taylor has been dumped as BlackCaps captain in favour of Brendon McCullum. Taylor has opted not to take part in the upcoming South Africa tour, even though he was offered the choice of captaining just the Tests. NZ Cricket CEO David White says he is confident Taylor will return as a player for the England series.

Odd bite: Rotting whale causes big stink in Malibu

Authorities in the United States are squabbling over who is responsible for getting rid of a whale carcass on a Malibu beach. Meanwhile, the 18-tonne fin whale sits rotting near celebrity homes. The Los Angeles County government claims the homeowners are responsible for the body because it’s on their private beach. Lifeguards have considered trying to pull it out to sea at high tide, but aren’t sure if their boats are capable of pulling the dead weight.

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