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(generated from captions) in Britain's general election. A subdued victor, a triumphant loser and hostage-taking in Iraq. And a week of violence

join me for Seven Days. I'm Felicity Davey, THEME MUSIC

This program is captioned live. our weekly look at the world Hello and welcome to Seven Days, foreign correspondents. with reports from the ABC's for 'Asia Pacific Focus' Later stay with us with Michael Maher. in last week's general election First - winners and losers in Britain in reverse. appeared to play out their roles admitted in victory The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the message sent to him by voters that he could not ignore who slashed his majority. Leader Michael Howard boasted And in defeat, the Tory Opposition that at the very least,

his opponent's 167-seat majority. his campaign had severely dented Michael Howard has now stepped down. Jane Hutcheon The ABC's Europe correspondent and the result. followed the campaign for 18 years. Clint Cook has been a taxi driver He's a Conservative voter who feels under Tony Blair. quality of life has plummeted and migrants on social security. For him, there are too many taxes

Then, there's Iraq.

that really comes to my mind The thing we shouldn't have gone there, is that of mass destruction ever found. because there was no weapons He's lied to people, like that running the country, and you can't have someone that keeps lying to its people. is a wounded Prime Minister. Tony Blair, the Prime Minister,

that the word 'lie' and 'trust' There is no doubt about it, in this general election. have been hung round his neck "I have never lied", When Mr Blair said, he was not telling the truth. Howard winning over voters But is Tory leader Michael with his charm? Are you friends with Tony Blair? Am I friends with Tony Blair? Um, not exactly. Despite the desire for change, overtaken Labour in the polls. the opposition parties haven't yet set to be back in the driver's seat Like Clint Cook, Tony Blair looks after Thursday's election. Today Britain woke up to an new era. and Tony Blair still in control, More power to the opposition parties in the next few months or years, but weakened and at some stage

to Chancellor Gordon Brown. due to hand to over power to the people And we've got to listen and sensibly. and respond wisely was vividly demonstrated How Britain voted a 3% swing to the Conservatives by interactive graphics showing the third force in British politics, and a stronger showing for the Liberal Democrats. overshadowed Mr Blair It seems the spectre which has

in the last week of the campaign and indeed for the past few years, of why he went to war over Iraq, that is, the issue in this election. has cost him considerable ground Nowhere was this more clearly shown of rebel George Galloway than in the election who unseated his Labour opponent. and all the other defeats This defeat that you have suffered this evening is for Iraq. that new Labour has suffered for him to deliver I believe that the time has now come to the people of our country. on the things that really matter on this program We've reported many times taken hostage in Iraq. the plight of foreigners an Australian became one of them. Tragically this week of 63-year-old Douglas Wood came First, news of the capture last Monday with the release of a video of him

pleading for his life. more distressing than the first, Yesterday there was another video, in which he gives a 72-hour deadline pulling troops out of Iraq. for the coalition to start Our reports through the week in Iraq, have been from the ABC's Matt Brown

and Adrian Raschella. as well as from Narda Gilmore terrorising him, Flanked by the men who have been process of identifying himself. Douglas Wood began the agonising My name is Douglas Wood. I'm a 63-year-old. my wife is an American. I'm Australian, a US resident,

are fiercely patriotic He says his captors Prime Minister John Howard and he calls on Australian from Iraq. to withdraw Australia's troops kidnapped since the war. More than 200 foreigners have been have been killed. More than 30 of them aid worker Margaret Hassan, Among them, taken hostage in Iraq last year. south of Baghdad overnight US and Iragi forces raided a house and found a purse,

signed by Margaret Hassan. a woman's clothes and documents Those arrested in the raid to being involved in her execution. have reportedly confessed broke their silence The brothers of Douglas Wood would see their appeal. in the hope his kidnappers

Hours after recording their message on the al-Jazeera network. it was being broadcast there was support for the family. In this Baghdad cafe, for the kidnapping This man says those responsible are the enemy of Iraq. for his health Mr Wood's family fear and say if he's released,

his business and leave Iraq. they'll urge him to close an unwell man, We do not wish Douglas, away from his loved ones. to remain in Iraq In Washington for talks, the appeal could be helpful. the Foreign Minister thinks His head shaven, bruised, deteriorating, and his health seemingly on Arab television Douglas Wood is again shown with two rifles to his head. His captors have demanded from Iraq within 72 hours. Australia withdraw its troops to hear of this ultimatum The family is shocked and horrified

from Douglas's captors. of what action will be taken There's no mention if the ultimatum isn't met. pleading for his life, But the 63-year-old can be heard saying, "I don't want to be killed." another video statement today, Mr Wood's family released on Arab television. which they hope will be played The Federal Government says with terrorists remains unchanged, its policy of not negotiating is now working in Iraq. but an Australian rescue team a terrible toll in the past week. The insurgency in Iraq has exacted The figure put at 250 people killed in attacks since the Iraqi cabinet was announced nine days ago. Late yesterday, a car bomb exploded at a busy intersection in Baghdad targeting a foreign security convoy. At least nine Iraqis and four foreigners were killed. On Friday, 67 people died in suicide bombings, one at a crowded marketplace. Norman Hermant starts our report from last Thursday, followed by South Asia correspondent Geoff Thompson, who's in Pakistan. Today alone, four blasts targeted Iraqi security forces.

At a recruiting centre in Baghdad, as many as 13 people died.

Another 10 police officers were killed in an insurgent ambush.

The latest bloodshed follows yesterday's bombing in the Kurdish city of Irbil that killed as many as 60 people. For the US and its allies in the so-called war on terror, there is better news from Pakistan. Security forces say

a raid in the country's north-west has netted Abu Faraj al-Libbi, described as the third-highest ranking member of al-Qa'ida. Abu Faraj al-Libbi is accused of masterminding two very nearly successful attempts on the life of Pakistan's President in late 2003. Ordered after the successful capture of September 11 planner Kalib Sheik Mohammed, who was then al-Qa'ida's top operative in Pakistan. Former CIA counter-terrorism officials believe that while the al-Qa'ida structure of 2001 may be a thing of the past, Abu Faraj al-Libbi is likely to have maintained at least some form of direct communication with Osama bin Laden. I think this is the best chance we've had in probably two years to get bin Laden.

This man certainly knows where bin Laden was recently.

He may even know where he is now. He was the most important man in Pakistani terrorist activity. He was the mastermind and he knows so many hideouts and so many things which nobody else knows. But Osama bin Laden's senior lieutenants have been caught before while the man himself has remained elusive.

The fallout from Iraq continues, one of the chief culprits in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal pleaded guilty last week to seven charges. But the following day, the judge threw the case out of court,

declaring a mistrial. US soldier Lynndie England had told the court she gave in to peer pressure when she appeared in photographs humiliating captured Iraqis. North America correspondent Mark Simkin reports.

Private First Class Lynndie England arrived at court wearing her military uniform and a stoic expression. The 22-year-old was a little more animated in these images - the photos that revealed what was going on inside Abu Ghraib prison. As part of a deal with prosecutors, Lynndie England pleaded guilty to mistreating Iraqi prisoners and committing indecent acts.

She told the court she posed for the photos because of peer pressure. We're going to delve into her mental health issues, her severe learning deficit, who Lynndie England is as a person and how she got to the situation where she is. The defence team will also argue that Lynndie England was corrupted by this man, Charles Graner, her senior officer and the father of her child. He's now serving 10 years in prison for beating and humiliating prisoners.

This was a young woman who was in many respects under the control, psychologically, of a much older man who outranked her. The next day, Lynndie England's senior officer gave evidence that put her case in limbo

and threw her defence team into turmoil. Charles Graner was the abuse ringleader. He arrived at court in chains, but still did enormous damage by saying this is a legitimate way of coaxing an inmate from a cell. Charles Graner said he told Lynndie England to hold the leash so he could teach the technique to other guards. That suggested the defendant was following orders and prompted an angry judge to declare a mistrial.

Earlier today the judge determined that the defence presented evidence during the sentencing phase that was inconsistent with the plea of guilty. Charles Graner is the father of Lynndie England's child, but as he testified, Lynndie England reportedly turned to the court artist who was sketching his image and said,

"Don't forget the horns and a goatee." The legal proceedings now go right back to the beginning. That's awkward for the army which wants the abuse allegations to go away as quickly as possible and it could be even worse for the defence. The judge has thrown out Lynndie England's plea bargain so she could end up spending more than 10 years in prison - a much tougher sentence than if the trial had gone ahead.

US intelligence has warned North Korea could be planning a nuclear weapons test in the near future. Officials raised the alarm as a month-long conference began at the UN to reinforce nuclear non-proliferation. One of the first speakers was a defiant Iranian Foreign Minister

who insisted his country had the right to develop nuclear technology. The ABC's Leigh Sales reports that the UN chief has warned of a global catastrophe if members fail to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

Representatives from 189 nations are gathering at the UN to discuss the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. The agreement was signed in 1970, and aims to secure disarmament and make sure nuclear technology is controlled. We all bear heavy responsibility to build an efficient, effective and equitable system that reduces nuclear threats. The UN chief particularly urged the United States and Russia

to do more. An important step would be for the former Cold War rivals

to commit themselves - irreversibly - to further cuts in their arsenals, so that warheads number in the hundreds, not in the thousands. Already the conference looks as if it will end in a stalemate between the nuclear haves and have-nots. Countries without nuclear weapons want limits imposed on all those which do,

while nuclear powers like the US and China want the focus to be on rogue states like Iran and North Korea. The conference continues for a month, and nations will have a chance to upgrade the treaty if they can reach agreement.

While most of us have heard of the Ebola virus, another less well-known, but equally deadly disease, is claiming hundreds of lives in northern Angola. A major international effort is now under way to contain an outbreak of the Marburg virus, for which there is no effective treatment or cure. This report from the BBC's Barnaby Phillips

and we warn, it does contain disturbing images.

A disease so terrifying that those who try to control it take every precaution.

The slightest contact with the Marburg virus can result in a gruesome death. They decontaminate the house before entering. Inside, the body of a 1-month-old baby girl. She died alone and in pain. The virus had already killed her mother. The rest of the family fled in fear. Neighbours look on in horror and in guilt. For two days they listened to the cries of the dying baby. They were too afraid to go in and help in case they caught the virus. A sense of dread hangs over the hospital at Uige. Staff have protection but they've already seen 15 of their colleagues die. This is the isolation ward at Uige hospital - if you like, the ground zero in the fight against Marburg. It's also a place that local people are terrified of because almost every sick person who enters here is never seen again. Inside the ward, doctors can offer no cure to a sick woman. They can only treat symptoms - vomiting and bleeding -

and pray that patients recover. As they leave they dip their feet in chlorinated water

and burn any material that might be infected. Julianne Anoko is with the UN's World Health Organisation. Her job is to win the trust of local people. There's been another suspected Marburg case - a girl has died. Julianne tells the family not to touch the body. It could be contagious. The doctors are here to take a blood sample. But people are still suspicious of health workers. I asked them questions and I tell them, "Why are you angry?" And usually they tell me, "Ah, because you are a vampire, "you are a sorcerer, "you are a witchcraft, you are stealing the bodies, "you are making a traffic of organs." At dusk they bury the baby who died alone. (Man prays) The people of Uige survived decades of war, but today they feel the sharp pain of loss once more. And in neighbouring South Africa, where unemployment and AIDS are rife, residents of Soweto say

they'll take the government to court over the introduction of pre-paid water meters. The residents say that free water is a basic human right. From Soweto, Africa correspondent Zoe Daniel. Rose Madela has had a trial prepaid water meter for almost a year. She says she is saving water, but only because she has to. Both her children wash in this tub

and the leftover water flushes the toilet.

Its not right because I don't use it like before. I must save it. When I go to the toilet I must not flush. Prepaid water meters are about to be installed across Soweto. The new system will improve infrastructure and bring reliable supplies to people's homes, but free water will be restricted to 6,000 litres per home per month - and residents will have to pay up-front if they want more. Maybe at the end, there will be an oxygen meter as well. when you want to breath you have to pop out 10 rands so that you can breathe. We are going to suffer a lot. But authorities say people will only pay for the water they use. They hope to save the seven billion litres a month wasted in Soweto. This man was arrested for pulling out his new meter

and now he's bypassed the system altogether. Residents disagree with Johannesburg Water's claims that most are saving money from the new system. They're planning a protest march

and they plan to take their case to the constitutional court. And that's the world in Seven Days. Stay with us now for 'Asia Pacific Focus' with Michael Maher.