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Bush, Kerry in sprint to finish

Broadcast: 01/11/2004

Bush, Kerry in sprint to finish

Reporter: Normant Hermant

TONY JONES: First to the US, where with one day remaining in the election campaign nothing seems to
be able to separate George W Bush and John Kerry in the polls, not even the new videotape of Osama
bin Laden.

Both campaigns are now in a sprint to the finish and most analysts say the result will come down to
one thing - which party can get more of its supporters to the polls on election day.

Norman Hermant reports.

NORMAN HERMANT: There is plenty of time for rallies, almost none for rest in a race this close.

Both campaigns are now hopping across the US, touching down in the handful of battleground states
that will decide this election two days away.

JOHN KERRY, DEMOCRAT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can't wait till I see '1' tomorrow and '0' on
Tuesday.

And then roll up our sleeves and get to work for America.

NORMAN HERMANT: Tomorrow alone John Kerry will hit Florida, Wisconsin Michigan, Ohio, then back to
Wisconsin.

And George W Bush is matching that pace.

As the hours tick away he comes back to the same message again and again.

GEORGE W BUSH, US PRESIDENT: These are historic times and there is lot at stake in this election.

The future and safety - the future safety and prosperity of America are on the ballot.

Ultimately, this election comes down to who do you trust.

Who do you trust to lead this nation?

NORMAN HERMANT: That's the same question John Kerry is asking.

JOHN KERRY: So let me ask you plain and simple, are you ready to put commonsense back into the
leadership of this country?

Are you ready for new leadership in America?

Two more days and help is on the way.

NORMAN HERMANT: Both campaigns seem relieved that the emergence of the new Osama bin Laden tape
appears to had little impact, although it raised questions for both candidates.

REPORTER: How can the fact that he is alive and at large be seen as anything but a failure of your
administration?

GEORGE W BUSH: First he will not intimidate or decide this election.

REPORTER: In fact it was some of your surrogates who made it as much a political issue, right at
the beginning after the tape appeared, and even before the Republicans.

JOHN KERRY: I don't want them doing that.

I think that's wrong.

I think that every American is outraged at the sight of Osama bin Laden and anything that he says
about the American electoral process.

NORMAN HERMANT: Getting every vote means targeting every possible constituency.

For Miami's rabidly anti-Castro Cuban Americans the President has this.

GEORGE W BUSH: I strongly believe the people of Cuba should be free from the tyrant.

NORMAN HERMANT: After months in the spotlight the Democrat challenger is still working on his
image.

Every chance he gets John Kerry's showing any camera he can he is just a regular guy.

The battle even extends to attending church.

George W Bush does it and so does Senator Kerry.

But for him these visits are especially crucial.

For the fifth week in a row he worshipped with African Americans.

The Democrats have launched a huge campaign to register new voters from that community and in
several states they've been urged to vote early.

Both campaigns say in the end this election will come down to what they call the ground game.

In the US voting is not compulsory and both parties have invested huge amounts of time and money in
organising armies of volunteers to get their supporters to the polls.

In Ohio alone it's estimated 150,000 volunteers are blitzing the state.

In another battleground, Florida, that effort has led to a surge in early voting.

Both parties know that a hundred votes here, a hundred votes there could tilt a crucial state in
their favour and give them the White House.

Norman Hermant, Lateline.

(c) 2006 ABC

from the occupied Gaza Strip. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Australia has
recorded its 29th consecutive monthly trade deficit, despite a strong increase in exports. During
September, Australia exported over $13 billion worth of goods and services. However, this was
overshadowed by booming imports. The long wait for Australia's trade recovery continues, September
producing the 29th deficit in a row. Over the past 12 months, the deficit has been worse than $2
billion on three occasions. September delivered the latest - a shortfall of $2.1 billion. Exports
improved by a touch under 4% - the 14th successive month of higher shipments - but once again they
failed to match imports, which were up more than 5%. Cars provide the typical example of what's
happening across the trade spectrum. We've seen a 12% increase in car exports, very welcome news,
but a 25% increase in car imports. So again, we're seeing a very bad balance of trade figure and
that doesn't augur well for the future. On the face of that, the Reserve Bank should not be too far
away from making its long-forecast decision to raise interest rates to take the heat out of the
domestic economy and stem the appetite for imported goods. But few analysts put the likelihood of a
rate rise coming from tomorrow's Reserve Bank board meeting any higher than 10%, and the Australian
Industry Group argues it's not necessarily a foregone conclusion in coming months. I think the bank
will be very cautious 'cause to put up interest rates in this environment entails a lot of risks.
The risk of further hurting exporters and over-committed home borrowers. Russell Barton, ABC News.
The debate over abortion laws in Australia has been reignited with one Government MP calling for a
ban on the termination of late-term pregnancies. The Parliamentary Secretary for Health,
Christopher Pyne, wants abortions beyond 21 weeks outlawed. Both the Health Minister Tony Abbott
and the Acting Prime Minister John Anderson agree the number of abortions being carried out is
concerning. Around 100,000 pregnancies are terminated each year and Mr Anderson says it's time for
a wide ranging debate on the issue. Many of us think that they are potential fellow Australians

Mixed reaction to Japanese beheading in Iraq

Mixed reaction to Japanese beheading in Iraq

Reporter: Mark Simkin

TONY JONES: In Japan there's been a surprisingly mixed response to the death of young backpacker,
Shosei Koda.

The 24-year-old was beheaded in Iraq after the Japanese Government refused to withdraw its troops.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi says the murder will not affect government policy, insisting the
unpopular deployment will continue.

While most of the country is angry and appalled by the murder, many people are criticising the
victim and guards have been posted outside the family home.

Tokyo correspondent Mark Simkin reports.

MARK SIMKIN: Shosei Koda's name means "proof of life" - an awful irony for the people who have
spent four days praying for his survival.

Now that his death has been confirmed, protesters have gathered outside the Prime Minister's
residence, remembering the 24-year-old and condemning the Japanese Government.

"Koizumi is responsible," this woman says.

"If we'd pulled our troops out, or never sent them, Koda would still be alive."

Shosei Koda went to Iraq as a tourist, wanting to see what things were like.

He was kidnapped by a group demanding Japan withdraw its troops.

The government refused, Koda was killed and his decapitated body wrapped in an American flag.

JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER: I regret this killing.

Such a cruel and atrocious act makes me angry.

His family's sorrow is very deep and I offer condolences from the bottom of my heart.

This incident has no direct effect on government policy.

We should support the rebuilding of Iraq by not giving in to terrorism.

MARK SIMKIN: It's the first time Japanese soldiers have operated in a combat zone since World War
II and a poll taken just before the kidnapping suggests two-thirds of the population wants the
troops brought home by the end of the year.

The killing could make an unpopular policy even more controversial.

KATSUYA OKADA, DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEADER: If the self-defence forces had not been sent to Iraq, this
incident would not have happened.

We strongly demand that the troops be withdrawn from Iraq.

MARK SIMKIN: At the same time, though, most of the media and many members of the public are blaming
the victim, not the government.

Shosei Koda has been widely condemned as naive and irresponsible and his family has been inundated
with abusive phone calls and emails.

"I think he caused a great deal of trouble to many people by going there," this woman says.

"He went to Iraq alone and without knowing the situation."

I think it was his fault," adds this man.

"I only feel a little bit sorry for him."

Police have been posted outside the family home and the dead man's relatives have issued a
statement apologising for all the trouble they've caused.

The backlash suggests the political fallout is likely to be limited.

Mark Simkin, Lateline.

(c) 2006 ABC

Iraqi politician assassinated

Iraqi politician assassinated

Reporter: John Stewart

TONY JONES: The deputy Governor of Baghdad, Hatem Kamil Fatah, has been assassinated in a drive-by
shooting by a group of gunmen who rammed his car as it drove past a mosque.

The assassination follows a rocket attack in the city of Tikrit, which killed 15 civilians.

Insurgents fired the rockets at an American base, but one missed and hit a hotel worker.

Meanwhile, Iraq's Interim PM Iyad Allawi says time is running out for the city of Fallujah where US
troops are preparing for a major assault.

John Stewart reports.

JOHN STEWART: The deputy mayor's car was sprayed with bullets as it passed a mosque in the southern
Dora district of Baghdad.

The killing of Hatem Kamil Fatah is the latest in a series of attacks on officials linked to Iraq's
US-backed interim government.

The campaign is designed to disrupt elections scheduled for January.

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN MINISTER: Where terrorists in Iraq kill Iraqis, it reminds us of the
importance of making sure that we support ordinary Iraqis so they can vote in the elections in
early January and Iraq can build a new and a free society.

JOHN STEWART: Meanwhile, US troops are preparing for what could be the biggest battle since the
fall of Baghdad.

For months, American forces have been preparing to take Fallujah, street by street, house by house.

Between 2,000 and 5,000 insurgents are bunkered down in the city.

Weeks of pounding by US aircraft has failed to break their resistance.

Now Iraq's interim Prime Minister says time is running out for negotiations with the insurgents and
a major attack is imminent.

IYAD ALLAWI, INTERIM IRAQI PRIME MINISTER: I will do so with a heavy heart, for even with the most
careful plan there will be some loss of innocent lives.

But I owe it to the Iraqi people to defend them.

JOHN STEWART: The US Marines will do most of the heavy fighting and say they're ready.

LT COLONEL WILLY BUHL, US MARINES: We're the good guys.

We are Americans.

We are fighting a gentlemen's war out here, because we don't behead people, we don't come down to
the same level of the people we're combating.

JOHN STEWART: The Interim Prime Minister admits there will be more casualties when the attack
finally begins.

And that is likely to happen soon after Wednesday's US election.

IYAD ALLAWI: I have no choice but to secure a military solution.

JOHN STEWART: The outcome of the battle of Fallujah will be crucial to the future of Iraq's interim
government and cutting support for the terrorist leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man considered
to be the mastermind of hundreds of attacks on western forces.

John Stewart, Lateline.

(c) 2006 ABC

Future Fallujah assault likely to be drawn out: expert

Future Fallujah assault likely to be drawn out: expert

Reporter: Tony Jones

TONY JONES: Well joining us now from London is Lord Garden.

He's a former British air marshal and is now a visiting professor at the Centre for Defence Studies
at Kings College in London.

Thanks for joining us.

LORD GARDEN, FORMER BRITISH AIR MARSHAL: Good evening, Tony.

TONY JONES: A US brigadier general is promising a decisive action against insurgents in Fallujah.

In fact he said, "We will whack them".

This is shaping, how do you believe I should say, this assault on Fallujah is shaping up.

What do you think it's going to be like?

LORD GARDEN: I think it's going to be very difficult to get a conclusive outcome.

They tried in April and failed.

The insurgents have had longer to prepare.

They've got a lot of weapons and they've got alternative towns that they can operate from.

So I think it's going to be prolonged, very bloody.

We've seen the death toll of Iraqi civilians rising significantly and I think it will probably
stimulate greater insurgency.

TONY JONES: How do you think they'll go about doing it?

The US military reckons now there are between 50,000 and 60,000 people there.

That means some 300,000 people have already fled the city.

Does that make their job a lot easier, or is it going to involve the worst possibility, which is
house-to-house fighting?

LORD GARDEN: Well if there are 50,000 left and they reckon there are something between 3,000 and
5,000 insurgents, that means there are about 45,000 people they've got to try and avoid killing.

That'll be very difficult.

They've really started already because they've been pounding from the air with the AC130s and the
helicopter gunships and that will continue.

The biggest problem is the lack of real intelligence.

They don't seem to know quite where the enemy is and presumably the enemy can relocate.

I don't doubt all the streets are wired with explosives as well.

So I think we'll see something similar to what went on in Najaf.

An sort of encirclement, a bit of a siege and then closing in on where they think the real action
can come from.

Of course they can track where the mortars are coming from and where the RPGs are being fired from
- and maybe that will give them some idea of the central location.

But it's going to be a difficult operation, prolonged and it's unlikely to be conclusive in the
end.

TONY JONES: You don't believe they have the ability to occupy and subdue what is effectively the
centre of the insurgency in the Sunni triangle?

LORD GARDEN: Well I think in the end they can certainly take Fallujah, they can flatten Fallujah
from the air, and they can make sure that everybody who is in there is either captured or killed.

That will take a little time to do and it will probably involve a fair number of causalities on
both sides.

But the people who have fled Fallujah will include insurgents, they are in other towns.

There will be a backlash from the general population of Iraq if too many Iraqis are killed and it
will not cure the insurgency.

This is the trouble - expecting that taking one town will solve all the problems.

TONY JONES: So you believe it's possible the insurgents could simply relocate in the face of a
massive onslaught?

LORD GARDEN: Certainly.

This is what they've been doing each time.

We like to fight our battles as set-piece ones using all our technology.

Insurgents prefer to fight a hit-and-run campaign, taking advantage of the fact that they're very
difficult to find.

TONY JONES: You're quite right in saying there's very little intelligence out of there.

The only independent reporting we've seen recently out of Fallujah comes from an Iraqi staff member
of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting who's saying the people there are living under the
capricious rule of different groups of holy warriors, ranging from Islamists to ultra Islamists,
Ba'athists and outright bandits.

Do you rule out that these groups won't decide this is the time to put up a pitched battle against
American forces?

LORD GARDEN: I do rule that out.

It will be very foolish of them, because that is exactly what we want.

I think already some will have dispersed.

It seems moderately clear that al-Zarqawi is no longer in Fallujah, so you'll capture some, kill
some, but the problem will get worse rather than better at the end of it.

It's question of a tactical victory but perhaps a strategic failure.

TONY JONES: It is the interim PM Dr Allawi's who's now issuing ultimatums to the insurgents in
Fallujah.

In the end will he really have much say in what goes on in this military operation?

There are Iraqi troops involved.

The question is how deeply involved they will be?

LORD GARDEN: Yes, again, it's very difficult to tell how many well trained Iraqi troops there are.

The coalition was very slow at getting the training program under way last year.

The times that Iraqi forces have been used, they've had rather mixed success rates.

Some are good but those are in relatively small numbers.

I think it would be unwise for the multinational force to depend on the Iraqis as their sort of
shock troops at the front, because they may not be up to it.

TONY JONES: The assault on Fallujah is considered to be absolutely critical at this point by
military strategists on the ground for the election coming up in January.

From what you're saying it doesn't sound like it will be the answer that they're all talking about?

LORD GARDEN: No, they're in a very difficult bind because Fallujah since April has effectively been
a no-go area.

It will be difficult to make the election in January appear to be universal throughout Iraq if
you've got a whole swathe of Iraq which is under insurgent control.

One can see the political pressure on Allawi and the multinational forces to get on and do
something.

I think the real problem is that this is unlikely to make a lot of difference.

I think come January there will be bits of the country that will not be able to hold the elections.

But on the other hand the January elections are not the democratic end game.

They are to elect a transitional government to do the constitutional process toward elections at
the end of next year.

Maybe it won't too much if not all the country can be represented.

TONY JONES: There has been political pressure from another direction, the US presidential election
campaign.

Do you believe that those politics in the United States have actually compromised this operation
which presumably could have happened during the campaign?

LORD GARDEN: I don't believe that really.

It seems to me that the timetable for the Iraqi elections are so close, it's pretty tight.

If they're going to do something to sort out this area of anarchy and chaos, they'll need to get it
done really before December so that they can start the registration process and so they can get the
elections done in January.

I think they're running out of time anyway.

I don't think the American elections will have made much difference.

TONY JONES: Do they have the capacity to subdue the entire Sunni triangle, in other words, all the
towns and small cities including Fallujah where the insurgents have taken root?

LORD GARDEN: No, I don't think they do.

This is one of the problems.

We've had a political fuss in the UK over the last fortnight about the move of the Black Watch,
about 800 men, out of the British area up to help the Americans.

Really, it's a measure I think of how overstretched and tired - combat fatigue tired - the American
forces are, that they needed to take what was a fairly odd military decision to move a unit well
out of its sector to come and help and relieve some of the American forces.

I think one of the worries is that if Fallujah goes badly and stimulates a lot more violence
throughout the country, that criticism that many have made both in America and in Europe, that
there are insufficient security forces in Iraq, may come back to haunt us.

TONY JONES: Is it also a worry in Britain that those troops have been moved closer to Baghdad to
much more dangerous positions than they were?

Does Britain expect it may have to take more casualties to support the American effort?

LORD GARDEN: Well, the worry is a different one I think in Britain mainly.

It is a growing concern that Britain has remarkably little influence on the overall strategy, that
we now know that it had almost no influence on the coalition provisional authority strategy during
the year and a bit that that was in place.

So, there is a fear that by moving the British troops into the American sector, we'll be swept
along with a strategy which doesn't seem to be the most appropriate.

TONY JONES: That presumably could be a serious problem for Tony Blair coming up to his own
election?

LORD GARDEN: Well, he's had so many serious problems over Iraq, it's dogged him throughout.

It doesn't go off the newspaper front pages and yet he continues and the election which is most
likely going to be in May next year, looks as though he will get re-elected because of our peculiar
voting system and because of the state of the opposition Conservative Party at the moment.

TONY JONES: One of the political ironies of this American election campaign, is that if John Kerry
were to be elected President he's going to expect Europe and Britain presumably to contribute even
more troops.

Here's a critical question - is NATO capable of committing more troops to an unstable Iraq and I
suppose does it have the political will with the Europeans to back such a move?

LORD GARDEN: I think it's a real problem, because Kerry has said he'll convene an international
conference to look for internationalising, which is what all of Europe wants, but on the other hand
the French and Germans not unreasonable say, "We didn't want to go into this in the first place and
we are currently doing a lot in Afghanistan."

I think people forget that there is also the problem of Afghanistan going on.

The Europeans are contributing significantly there and are finding for the NATO side that it's
difficult to provide as many troops as are necessary to stabilise Afghanistan, so it's really if
you want troops in Iraq, you'll probably find that things go worse in Afghanistan.

We are pretty overstretched everywhere.

TONY JONES: What do you think Europe will decide?

Obviously the French have taken the view for a long time this is America's mess, let them get
themselves out of it.

The Germans may be a little more forthcoming in wanting to help out.

If there is a new presidency, will that change the equation?

LORD GARDEN: Well, it will certainly change the strains across the Atlantic a lot I think.

If a new president Kerry put together a conference which gave the Europeans time to discuss ways
forward, I think in practical terms it will be very difficult for France or Germany to deploy
significant troops into hazardous situations in Iraq but what they might do is up their numbers in
Afghanistan to relieve others who were prepared to go and do it in Iraq, so in the end you might
get more troops that way.

TONY JONES: All right, Lord Garden we will have to leave it there.

We thank you once again for coming in to talk to us tonight?

LORD GARDEN: Good to talk with you, Tony.

(c) 2006 ABC

China enjoys economic growth at high environmental cost

China enjoys economic growth at high environmental cost

Reporter: John Taylor

TONY JONES: China continues to enjoy breakneck economic growth but it's coming at an enormous cost.

Air pollution is a problem in hundreds of cities and acid rain now falls across two-thirds of the
country.

Long stretches of the major waterways are so polluted all marine life has died.

While there is increasing official recognition of the cost of China's development, it's coming too
late for some of the nation's poorest people.

China correspondent John Taylor travelled to central China's Henan province to file this report.

JOHN TAYLOR: Sometimes companionship is all people have.

38-year-old Liu Yuzhi is desperately ill.

The family is too poor to see a doctor and she is steadily getting worse.

LIU YUZHI, FARMER: TRANSLATION: I feel so painful every day.

Don't feel comfortable.

I have to use my hands to massage myself.

I want to cry.

I want to cry all the time.

JOHN TAYLOR: Prayer gives some comfort.

But she's not the only sick person in Huangmengying village.

WANG LINSHENG, VILLAGE COMMUNIST APRT SECRETARY: TRANSLATION: From 1996 till this September the
number of deaths has surpassed 240, the number of cancer deaths alone is 115.

For these 115 people they died of stomach cancers, liver cancers, lung cancers or rectal cancers.

JOHN TAYLOR: The WHO says it's clear environmental pollution is hurting many Chinese.

BOB DIETZ, WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION: There do seem to be areas where specific diseases are more
common and we have to make the assumption that that's related to the environmental pollution.

JOHN TAYLOR: A short distance away from Huangmengying village, an MSG factory spews out
foul-smelling waste water.

Photographer turned environmentalist Huo Daishan watches on.

He has brought the pollution of the Huai River basin and the suffering of nearby people to national
attention.

HUO DAISHAN, HUAI RIVER PROTECTORS: TRANSLATION: If there's no attention, then the problem will get
more and more serious and has several implications.

Up till now we've spotted several tumour villages which are dispersed throughout the area.

JOHN TAYLOR: This is a tributary of the Huai River, China's third largest, and infamous for its
pollution.

Despite a highly publicised 10-year clean-up effort and billions of dollars spent officials can see
it remains as filthy as ever.

There is a growing official awareness of China's environmental woes.

Soon, a number of provincial Governments will test an experimental green GDP framework which takes
into account environmental damage.

WANG JINNAN, ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH SCIENTIST: TRANSLATION: It is very necessary to establish this
green GDP system.

Otherwise, the concept for broad, balanced and continuous development can't be achieved.

The economic development will bring three overs -- overpollution, overdischarge and
overconsumption.

JOHN TAYLOR: This woman has rectal cancer and has undergone surgery many times.

But she remains in poor health and worries for her children's future.

KONG HEGIN, FARMER: TRANSLATION: If they are thirsty and they want to drink water, I will boil the
water.

I will try to ask them not to drink it.

I will not allow them to eat raw food.

I am scared.

JOHN TAYLOR: Change is coming to Huangmengying village.

Authorities have sunk deeper wells and an American NGO has donated hundreds of water purifiers.

Technicians from Shanghai demonstrate how to set up the water purifiers as an inquiring crowd
watches on.

The task is involved, but not hard.

Once finished, clean cups are especially brought in for the final taste test.

And the difference is obvious.

"This one is very good, that one is not good for drinking," she says.

The simple things make all the difference.

John Taylor, Lateline.

(c) 2006 ABC