Davina William has today's headlines including Mediaworks' receivership announcement; the Opposition's inquiry into the manufacturing sector; reaction to Iran's President-elect, Hassan Rouhani; and the 50th anniversary of the first space flight by a woman.
From the RBG News Centre for Shine TV.
Tens of thousands of celebrators have taken to the streets of Tehran, toting pictures of Iran’s new president and chanting pro-reform slogans as news of his victory spread.
Jubilant supporters are pinning their hopes on an easing of Western sanctions as 64-year-old Hassan Rouhani hails his presidential election win as a victory over extremism.
Rouhani won 50 per cent of the vote, ahead of his nearest rival who got just 16 per cent.
New Zealand’s ambassador to Tehran, Brian Sanders, says the Iranian public have made their views quite clear.
“They want to see change; they want to get away from the status quo. They have had enough of what's been going on in the country for some time.”
Major powers have lost little time in offering to engage with the moderate cleric and former nuclear negotiator, who has promised a more constructive approach to talks.
Brian Sanders says Rouhani has talked positively about dealing with the nuclear issue and improving relations with the West - including the United States.
"These are all things we want to hear," he said.
But he advised caution. “We're going to have to check out what he delivers."
Massey University's Dr Nigel Parsons says it is significant the country's ultraconservative rulers allowed Mr Rouhani to win, after what was widely seen as a rigged victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.
He speculated they would have decided the country's electoral system could not withstand another scandal.
However, he says, Mr Rouhani's influence will be limited because foreign policy is controlled by the Security Council.
Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, agrees. He says it is the Ayatollah (Ali Khamenei), the country's Supreme Leader, who controls Iranian nuclear policy - not the President.
At his weekly Cabinet meeting Netanyahu cautioned world leaders not to be deceived.
"Let us not delude ourselves. The international community...must not be tempted to relax the pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear programme."
"We need to remember that the Iranian ruler, at the outset, disqualified candidates who were not in line with his extreme world view…and we are still speaking about someone who defines the State of Israel as the 'great Zionist Satan."
"Fifteen years ago, the election of another President, also considered a moderate by the West, led to no change in these aggressive policies," said Netanyahu.
"Iran will be judged by its actions."
- Newstalkzb/RBG News
Davina William has today’s top stories, including the killing of three Westerners by Syrian soldiers; the announcement of 700 new Housing New Zealand homes for Christchurch; the issue of tattoos in the workplace; and a story of ‘religious radicalization’ behind the Woolwich murder.
From the RBG News Centre for Shine TV.
Foreign journalists preparing to report on Iran's upcoming presidential elections could soon face even tighter controls.
The Ministry of Culture says 200 foreign journalists have applied to cover the June 14 election. It did not indicate how many of the applications would be approved.
The country's semi-official Mehr News Agency (MNA) said earlier this week that the Ministry is pushing for additional restrictions. Minister Mohammad Hosseini did not give any details on the possible measures, but said previous elections showed controls were needed.
He referred to the case of an Israeli journalist who reported on the 2009 presidential election from Tehran, for a European news outlet. Turmoil and protests ensued after that election, and the Iranian government subsequently restricted access for visiting journalists.
Meanwhile, the country's police are preparing to amplify national security for the 2013 elections. MNA reports that Iran's police chief, General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, was confident of a secure election and a safe campaign period for the eight presidential candidates leading up to polling day.
It's understood that four officers will be assigned to each ballot box, meaning a total of 300,000 policemen across Iran's 67,000 voting stations.
- Newstalk ZB/ RBG News/ MNA
Since this daily news bulletin was recorded, the results of voting on the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill have been announced. It passed by 77 votes to 44 . No MPs abstained. This makes New Zealand the 13th country to legalise homosexual marriage.
Davina William presents today's news, including the 'Monday-ising' of ANZAC Day and Waitangi Day; heightened security in American cities as the federal investigation into the Boston bombings continues; and the final countdown to the third reading of the contentious Marriage Amendment Bill.
From the RBG News Centre for Shine TV.
Davina William presents today's news, including the official conclusion of New Zealand's military deployment in Afghanistan, the release of offer documents for Mighty River Power shares, and a twin focus on the nuclear threats presented by North Korea and Iran as UN Security Council members meet in Kazakhstan.
From the RBG News Centre for Shine TV.
Catch our hourly bulletins every weeknight from 6:30-9:30pm, on Sky 111 or Freeview 25.
If it wasn't for controversy caused by the film Argo; a diary outlining New Zealand's involvement in the Iranian Hostage Crisis might never have come to light.
The film depicts the escape of six US diplomats following the 1979 revolution.
It incorrectly claims New Zealand refused to help.
Richard Sewell was second secretary at the New Zealand Embassy in Tehran at the time and his partner Grant Allen says the notes show what really happened.
He says its real life evidence of what happened, and as it's not an official document it's not covered by confidentiality.
- RBG News/Newstalk ZB
Persecution of church leaders in Iran continues, where it seems that there are different laws and standards are applied to Christians.
In the latest incident five members of the Church of Iran denomination appeared before a judge at the 14th Branch of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, Fars province in Iran on March 10th and were handed exorbitant bail terms.
Dan Wooding from assist News has the details on what the bail terms were.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has put his political weight behind an international call for the release of an American pastor, imprisoned in Iran for his faith.
Pastor Saeed Abedini was arrested last July for 'endangering national security'.
He was building an orphanage.
He was sentenced to eight years in prison in Tehran.
At a congressional hearing on his case on March 12th, the State Department declined to testify.
A week later - late last Friday afternoon - John Kerry released a statement, calling for Abedini to be ‘immediately released’.
“I am deeply concerned about the fate of U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini, who has been detained for nearly six months and was sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. I am disturbed by reports that Mr. Abedini has suffered physical and psychological abuse in prison, and that his condition has become increasingly dire. Such mistreatment violates international norms as well as Iran’s own laws.” “I am also troubled by the lack of due process in Mr. Abedini’s case....The best outcome for Mr. Abedini is that he be immediately released.”
According to Fox News, just hours before Kerry’s statement was released, a letter was received by Saeed Abedini's family – his third since his imprisonment, written on the margins of newspapers.
In it, Pastor Abedini writes of his continued torture and abuse – and of the importance of forgiveness; for his interrogators and the prison doctor who would not treat him, so 'we will not become a tool of darkness and revenge’ but ‘vessels of light, love and forgiveness.’
At Tehran's Evin Prison, medical staff have refused to treat him because he is a Christian, and therefore ‘unclean’.
“I could not fall sleep one night due to the pain when all of a sudden I could hear the sound of dirty sewer rats with their loud noises and screeches. It was around 4 in the morning. It sounded like laughter in a way.”
“Even though many would call me unclean and filthy and would not even want to pass by me and they had abandoned me and they were disgusted to touch me because they were afraid that they would also become unclean, but I knew that in the eyes of Jesus Christ, and in the eyes of my brothers and sisters, I am like the sewer rat, beautiful and loveable – not disgusting and unclean – and like the rats I can scream with joy within those prison walls and worship my Lord in joy and strength. The Joy of the Lord is my strength. Amen”
Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini met in Iran in 2002 and married two years later. Naghmeh is a US citizen; Saeed became one in 2010.
Both converted from Islam to Christianity.
A global online petition set up by Abedini's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, has accrued more than 540,000 signatures of support.
- RBG News
An on-going committment to each other and to stability is the message from two key players in the Middle East conflict.
Benjamin Netenyahu has welcomed Barack Obama to Israel today, the US leader's first visit to the Jewish state since taking office. Although their countries are closely allied, the relationship between the leaders themselves has often been cool, ostensibly due to differing positions on Jewish settlements in the West Bank and how to handle Iran's nuclear programme.
Now Mr Netanyahu has alluded to a historic compromise to end the Palestinian conflict 'once and for all'. The U.S. President has made similarly sweeping statements, declaring that America's alliance with Israel is "eternal" and "forever". In an arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion airport on Wednesday local time, Mr. Obama told Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres that he had made Israel the first overseas stop of his second term, because he wants to "reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations."
He maintains that it is crucial to have a secure state of Israel alongside a sovereign Palestinian state; but the main focus of this visit appears to be the situation in Iran and Syria. Regarding recent media reports of chemical weapons fuelling terrorism in Syria's violent civil war, Obama said that development would be a "game-changer". But he added that the U.S. and its partners are working to learn the facts, before the international community takes further steps.
President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu say they are united in their determination to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, which they agree would be a threat not only to Israel, but the region as well. PM Netanyahu stressed that once Iran reaches an "immunity zone" in its uranium enrichment process, there will not be much time left for action. Mr Obama prefers diplomacy over military action as a resolution to Iran's nuclear programme, but acknowledged Israel's right to act on its own discernment in defending herself; however, it remains to be seen if he would endorse airstrikes against Iran's nuclear sites.
Barack Obama says the military and intelligence cooperation between the US and Israel has never been stronger and indicated that discussions will start on extending America's military assistance to Israel beyond 2017, which is when the current agreement runs out. He also promised there will be no interruption in funding for Israel's state-of-the-art defence system, Iron Dome, which shoots down missiles before they land.
The US President has three days remaining in his four-day Middle East tour, including a meeting with Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, on Thursday.
- Newstalk ZB/ RBG News