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(generated from captions) This Program is Captioned Live. Today Live. Today - fighting on two

fronts. Colonel Gaddafi's

forces try to retake towns from

the rebels. And at least 17

dead after an explosion at a

military depot in the east of

Libya.

Also today - Julia Gillard en route to

Minister. The people's

Congress in China hears the

country can balance growth and

inflation. And Australia gets ready for a cricket against Sri Lanka. ready for a cricket showdown

against Sri Lanka. Hello. inflation.

You're watching ABC News 24.

I'm Nick Dole. First a look at the weather around the country: the weather around the

Forces loyal to the Libyan leader, Moammar Gaddafi, have

been fighting on two fronts as

the Government tries to re-establish control.

people were killed when Witnesses in Zawiya say many Witnesses in Zawiya say

Government recapture the city, while there Government forces attempted to

are conflicting claims about

which side controls the oil

port of Ras Lanuf. Hundreds have gathered on the streets of

the capital in an attempt to

revive the protests there.

dispersed them with tear gas. Forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi

In Zawiya, there are reports of at least 13 people dead and

hundreds injured and there have

been running battles at

Tajoura, on the outskirts Tripoli, one week after

protesters were killed there.

At least two explosion s have

ripped threw you a military

depot near the main rebel-held

town of Benghazi in eastern

Libya. The blast destroyed one

warehouse in the base and

damaged a second, killing at

least 17 people. Witnesses report two simultaneous explosions at the military

base. The injured say it was base.

sabotage, but it's unclear

whether or not it was an

accident. In the east of

Libya, rebels have pushed forward, leading to clashes

with forces loyal to Gaddafi.

The army's reported to have used helicopters and artillery

fire after the rebels attacked a military base on the outskirts of Ras Lanuf, one of

Libya's major oil ports. This

morning a sandstorm closed in

over the coastal road which forms the battleground

back in Benghazi had planned to use the lull to consolidate

their forces. At Al Brega,

where Wednesday's battle was fought, properly trained

soldiers had taken over from

the volunteers. But many of the volunteers, without waiting

for orders, were heading wildly

down the road to the next

objective, the objective, the pro-Gaddafi stronghold of Ras Lanuf. The

regular soldiers had no

alternative but to get

support them, even though the themselves ready and go and

volunteers had jumped the gun. These are the advance guard,

volunteers, not trained soldiers, and they're soldiers, and they're all heading off towards Ras Lanuf,

which is only about 15km away which is only about 15km

from here. Already you can

hear the sound of mortar fire.

It looks as though the battle

for Ras Lanuf has already

started. Spirit and enthusiasm

of the rebels is their main

weapon. This is the second

battle where it's being tested.

Close up, the fighting was pretty fierce. Colonel Gaddafi's men

other day, but here they've got superiority in weapons and they're on their own home territory. The battle has

moving backwards and forwards

all afternoon and into the

evening. The unrest in Libya is

across the Arab part of a series of protests

new Prime Minister has been

welcomed as a guest among protesters at welcomed as a guest of honour

among protesters at Cairo's

Tahrir Square. Essam Sharaf urged demonstrators to cooperate and play their part cooperate

in rebuilding the country. Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh

reports. Crushed in a sea of

humanity, Egypt's new Prime

Minister arrives in Tahrir

Square, a scene so momentous in

this country, many could

believe it this country, many could not

happening. An official of such ranking in ranking in a rally that large, that exposed. "We love you, we love you", the crowd chanted. love you", the

TRANSLATION: I'm here because

I get my legitimacy from you.

I will exert all my efforts to

respond to your demands. If I

fail, I will join you. As fail, I will join you. As the

crowd demanded the ouster of

all of the previous regime's patience and called on

protesters to help him rebuild

Egypt. Essam Sharaf's

appointment is being celebrated

as yet another victory of people power. For weeks,

protesters had called for his Mubarak-appointed predecessor

to go. But there are still

other demands. The emphasis of

these protesters now is mainly state security. The minister of They would like to see it of interior's most feared arm.

completely desolved and those

who issued the order to fire on

protesters during the uprising held accountable, held accountable, releasing all

political prisoners is yet

another pressing issue. On

Thursday, authorities released

two sentenced leaders of the

previously outlawed Muslim

Brotherhood group. Showing up

in Tahrir Square, they thanked

more. TRANSLATION: We were the military but asked for

released on medical grounds,

but we want the verdicts

completely dropped. We also completely dropped.

were want back-up businesses that

were shut down and confiscated.

We want our stolen rights back. Similar demands back. Similar demands echo ed

by many, including this man, by many, including this man,

who asked the new Government to

restore the wealth squandered

by the old. Calls for a better life in a new country.

Kevin Rudd, has thanked

commitment during Australian troops for their

acknowledged Afghanistan. Mr Rudd

months acknowledged the last few

months had been Australian soldiers in the months had been tough for

field. During the three-day

visit, he also met the President, visit, he also met the Afghan he reiterated President, Hamid Karzai, where

long-term commitment to

Afghanistan. He also discussed

plans for transition plans for transition to

Afghan-led security by 2014.

Mr Rudd says he's encouraged by

the nation's progress. When I

the nation's progress. When I

come back here each time, I see the place changing for the

better each time. You know

today is the first time any Australian Government Minister

has had a meeting with the Governor of this province outside this compound. I went

to the Governor's compound.

That is a small symbol of how

things are changing. Sitting down with down with the blokes who run the Education Department here in this province and in this province and listening

to them run through the number of schools that have been

built, run through the number

of teachers that have been

trained, run through the trained, run through the number

of kids and girls who are now

going to school for the very

first time. Let me tell you,

people will always have

something to bellyache about in

terms of what's going wrong in there's a lot of things going right in this country. Foreign

Minister Kevin Rudd. China's

annual session of Parliament

has heard that the country can

maintain growth and rain inflation at the same time.

The National People's Congress has also heard plans to combat climate change. China correspondent Stephen McDonnell was at the great hall of the

people. Basically it starts off

as always with a big speech

from Premier Wen Jiabao, the

country's number 2 leader.

This is China's equivalent This is China's equivalent of, you know,

the Union speech. It's a

marathon effort. He'll marathon effort. He'll go

through all manner of through all manner of subjects,

ranging from inflation, unemployment, environmental

issues, housing. It will go on

for about two hours. for about two hours. It's basically the start of this

10-day annual session of Parliament, where nearly 3,000

delegates from all over the country have gathered, as you

said, where the people are now and

and starting vision from the Premier, Wen

Jiabao. What is potentially being flagged in being

climate change? Basically the

Government here is convinced that global warming is that global warming is caused

by man and that it's because of

CO2 emissions, so these tough

new mandatory targets are new mandatory targets are being brought in. To achieve brought in. To achieve the

targets, Premier Wen is speaking about strengthen ing energy conservation, environmental protection, expanding forests, expanding

renewable energy. It doesn't mean that

reduce here. It will remain a sort of cornerstone of the

economy here and still be quite

big, but they're planning to

expand renewable energy to an extent that, as a precaution of an extent that, as a precaution

of GDP, it will be able to

reduce CO2 emissions. What

they hope is have a they hope is have a significant

impact on China's global effort

in terms of climate

change. What about the economy,

Stephen? Obviously inflation continues to be a major issue

and concern to the Chinese and

the rest of the world, I suppose. What can we expect in the dealing with that? the coming months potentially dealing with that? Yes, well, it's interesting dealing with that? it's interesting what he's saying about inflation. saying about inflation. The Government is clearly it's interesting what he's about it. I'll read you a

little of what he's saying in

his speech today. prices have risen fairly quickly his speech today. "Recently prices quickly and inflation

expectations have increased. This

This problem concerns the

people's well being, bears an overall interest, overall interest, bears on overall interest and affects overall

social stability. We social stability. We must therefore make it really worried about inflation really worried about and of course the social instability that could come from increased inflation. from increased inflation. But they

they think they've got the right measures in place for a soft landing on right measures in place for a

they can still maintain economic growth at a level of around 8%, I around 8%, I think, is what he's talking about and that around 8%, I think, is what inflation he's talking about and that inflation can he's talking about and

inflation can also be kept

under control. There's under control. There's good news with the unemployment figures

for last month showing another drop. The for last month drop. The unemployment rate fell America correspondent America correspondent Lisa Millar reports. In Millar reports. In Miami, the President was the efforts of the efforts of students who'd helped turn around low-performing school. Good performance. performance. That's outstanding. Excellent. He could have been referring to the latest unemployment figures released just

192,000 jobs were created in February, bringing the

unemployment rate down to 8.9%. below 9% in two years. So our

economy has now added 1.5

million private sector jobs

over the last year,

progress. But we need to keep building on building on that momentum. The

unemployment rate has now months, but the US is a long way from way from where it was before the recession. million people lost jobs during are still out of work. of where we need to go to increase more opportunities for

people to get employed in new jobs and also make sure that those people that were that were over 55 coming that were over 55 coming back

now and finding job security. But even with the

bright employment news, bright employment news, the New York Stock Exchange took a dim

view of the bigger picture.

Violence in Libya and another

spike in the oil price overshadowed the jobs report and shares fell. by a rise in consumer

Most believe it's a sign of growing confidence in an economic recovery.

growing teams working in Christchurch say they've completed say they've completed searching

the city's cathedral and

haven't found any bodies haven't found any bodies there. The earthquake is currently 165,

top 200. One police official

said rescue teams had expected to

cathedral. It is likely now that that estimated death toll will are closing in Samoa at of what's been a fairly subdued election in the South Pacific nation. The Prime been in power since 1998 and some are predict k the Government's majority will increase. The ABC's Sean

Dorney is in Apia, he says there's been a

big voter turnout and few reports of trouble. There was

no trouble at any of the

polling stations that I went to. We did hear that some people had blocked the the roads to stop the roads to stop people getting to voting stations, but

that was discounted. So, no, don't think there's been any

real trouble in this election. The The polling stations I went to, as I said, have been that the ruling party will lose the election? The Prime Minister seems very Minister seems very confident. He is. He's extreme confident. He describes the opposition as the victory. They won 35 out of They've got 36 out of So it would upset for the Human Protection Party to lose.

There have been a number of different opposition parties who

this Tautua Party. this Tautua Party. They've run a pretty determined campaign. It's going to be interesting to

see how they go. But there

aren't too many people here in Samoa who are predicting their prediction of an upset Minister, Julia Gillard, is

flying to the United today in her first primeministerial visit to the

country. The visit was arranged after talks with US President Barack Obama at last

Ms Gillard's agenda includes meetings with the President and the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Discussions this time will focus on issues including trade, Afghanistan and America's role in parade which kicks off tonight.

Around 8,500 people are set to

The issue of gay marriage will

be at the forefront of the march, march, with at least 15 floats promoting marriage equality.

Other floats will feature local and international heroes of the

gay community, including US actress Lily Tomlin. Organisers say the popularity

of the event proves the fight As winter approaches, people

are no doubt thinking of flu vaccinations, but health authorities are urging authorities are urging people, especially parents of especially parents of young children, to

whooping cough. Four infants

have died in Australia in have died in Australia in three years, the latest Melbourne in February. But a trial vaccinating children only

a few days after a few days after birth a few days after birth is showing some in protecting one of the most

at-risk groups from infection. The trial to start vaccinating younger younger babies against whooping cough Robson, who wanted to protect

her son from the disease, which is described by is described by health authorities as an epidemic. He

was four

was vaccinated. We've

five weeks getting whooping

cough, and when they get it,

you know, it's hard for young babies to get rid babies to get rid of it. So we

just thought we'd get it done as soon as possible. I think the think the early results are very even start even start immunising at the moment. While the usually administered at six

weeks, weeks, the trial by the National Centre for Immunisation Research in Immunisation Research in Sydney is vaccinating babies as young as a few days old, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. We're aiming to babies in total, and we're particularly interested also in mother has had a pertussis vaccine mother has had is being recommended in lots of States of Australia at the is being recommended in lots of States of what happens with the the end of alone recorded over 1900 cases of whooping alone recorded over 1900 cases

of whooping cough, or pertussis as it's known. Compared to just over 800 for period last year, and around

500 for the year before that.

So, yes, we're seeing a So, yes, we're seeing a large

increase in pertussis, or whooping babies are the most vulnerable.

In February, a 14-day-old baby

died in Melbourne from the

infection, at-risk groups, particularly parents and those

in contact with young children,

to make sure they've been

vaccinated. At the moment with high immunisation high immunisation rates in

young children, it's the young

babies who we can't immunise at

the highest risks. The the highest risks. The peak

medical lobby has welcomed the

trial and can't stress enough

the dangers whooping the

pose. The immunity in the

community is actually waning. That's why we've got increased rates of whooping cough in

adults of child-bearing age.

That's why we want those adults who are having children, just had babies, to be

immunised. It's very porntdz that they do. For parents like Alex Robson, seeing the

prevalence of whooping cough in

the community has backed her decision to have her son vaccinated at such a young age. We've had a few friends We've had a few friends who've had their little ones tested

positive to it as well, so we

just thought, you know, obviously on the increase, so

it is out there. So it's best

to get vaccinated as soon as to get vaccinated as soon as possible, I

possible, I think. The Gunns

pulp mill could be the issue that brings down the Tasmanian minority Government and sends

voters back to the polls. Kim Booth has threatened Booth has threatened to withdraw support for the

government, while anti pulp

mill groups have prowarned

protests will be bigger than

over Franklin dam if the mill

is approved. Kim Booth has

drawn his own line in the sand on

on the pulp mill. If the State

Government offers to underwrite taxpayer-funded support, the the project or provide more

Greens MP will pull out of the

Labor-Greens alliance. I would

withdraw support from the Government and have

hesitation in moving a

the Government or supporting no-confidence motion against

one. There are clearly are clearly divisions between divisions in Government. There

the Greens. But Greens Minister Cassie O'Connor says it's

hypothetical. I'm not going hypothetical. I'm not going to

speculate on hypotheticals.

The Premier has made it very

Government clear that the Labor Party in

Government won't be giving any more financial support

Tamar Valley pulp mill. The

Premier says finance for the

pulp mill is a matter for Gunns

and not the State Government.

But Lara Giddings has said the the project by funding relevant State Government would assist

infrastructure projects, such

as upgrading roads, rail and

port facilities. In terms

infrastructure, we've always port facilities. In terms of

looked at any industry that might need support,

predominantly to ensure roads

are kept as well maintained as possible. Member for bass has

mill will trigger the warned any attempt to dress up

no-confidence motion. Gunns said it requested the Federal Government extend the deadline

for final approval so the company could include consulting environmental controls after

consulting with community and

environmental groups. federal Environment Minister environmental groups. The

will make his final ruling on

when the mill next week, which is

when former union boss, Bill Kelty, will deliver an interim

report on the forest peace bill

forestry round table talks have which he's mediating. The

nothing to do with Gunns pulp

mill, nor should entirely and should be Tasmania, decoupled. Environment

Tasmania, the Wilderness Society and Australian Conservation Foundation are all

party to the round-table talks. They welcome the move by Gunns,

but will not support the Tamar

Valley project. Anti pulp mill

groups want the entire process

to come here, blockade the repealed. People are prepared repealed. People are

site. It will be bigger than the Franklin. Whatever week's decision, Gunns still the Franklin. Whatever next

has to find a backer for has to find a backer for the

$2.5 billion project. Time for

sport with Claire Aird now.

What's happening in the cricket

World Cup tonight? Big match

tonight, Nick. Australia on Sri Lanka and both sides are Pakistan at the top of group A. looking to on Sri Lanka and both sides are

11 that carried it to victory Australia will field the same

against both Zimbabwe and New Zealand. Meanwhile, a decision

will replace the still hasn't been made on who still hasn't been made on

will replace the injured Doug still hasn't been made on who

Bollinger. Bollinger. Let's listen to Ricky Ponting's thoughts on the

matter. One of the reasons matter. One of the reasons the selectors have after this selectors have waited until

getting all the fast bowlers here are

workloads. We had a couple of getting through their

guys come in probably a little underdone. Someone like Shaun

Tait is working

fitness. Wait until the end of the game see how those guys are

going, knowing we have extended break after that. still expect it's extended break after that. I

it will be a bowler than a still expect it's more likely

batter. It's into is to know we the wings at home waiting to join required. Ricky join the squad if required. Ricky Ponting there.

To domestic cricket, Tasmania and 170 runs in its Sheffield has beaten NSW by an

Shield match in Hobart. Blues were dismissed for Shield match in Hobart. The

the second innings. Luke Blues were dismissed for 209 in

Butterworth, Adam Maher each took wickets for Adam Maher each took three

the win. In Melbourne, wickets for the Tigers during

Victoria are on top, leading

272 runs in their innings 272 runs in their second Perth, the home innings against SA and in

Perth, the home side have their first innings off to a great start against Queensland, thanks to Marcus Harris's 157. A short time spirits of the people of

Christchurch. They secured 33-18 win over the NSW Waratahs

Zealand. While the Blues won in the super rugby game in New

out against western force at Sharks. The game last night

was shifted from Christchurch week's earthquake. It was dedicated to

Pike River Mine disaster. a piece, both sides scoring three tries

a rusty start to record the a piece, the Crusaders overcame

win. It's the Waratahs' first

loss from three games this loss from three games

season. In Johannesburg, Blues were too strong for Lions and picked up a Lions and picked up a bonus

point in the process. Lions have

have now lost 16 straight in this competition over the two seasons, but at half this competition over the past

were well placed with an eight-point lead.

their un doing. The side brilliantly their un doing. The Auckland

side brilliantly led by man of

the match Luke McAllister. be vying for a spot

final when they meet in Perth 39-point win blitzed past St Kilda with a 39-point win at Docklands, while tonight west coast host

raining Premiers Collingwood.

The Bombers dominated last

as they continued the unbeaten year's beaten grand finalists

run against new coach James Hird. Essendon were 37 points improve for the Saints in the at

second half. The Bombers will play

play either West Coast Collingwood in next week's play either West Coast or

final. The American golfer Kyle Stanley leads at 6 under final. The American golfer par after the second round of par

the stroke clear of Appleby is the Stanley's four under for the day with his short game helping him out while Appleby had an down round of

Central Coast Mariners striker

Matt Simon will be given until the the last minute to prove his fitness for tonight's A league soccer preliminary grand final against Gold Coast. Simon

missed the second Brisbane with a foot injury, but he'll be needed against

Gold Coast to have Gold Coast to have survived successive knock-out finals to

make it this far. Coach make it this far. Coach Miron Bleiberg says that gives Bleiberg says that gives his

side the momentum. The winner week's grand final. Looking at the satellite image first

Queensland tropics due it a monsoon trough

thunder and storms. moisture streaming from moisture streaming from a

tropical low over the NT and tropical low over the NT and Queensland border is causing

thundery rain. A high thundery rain. A high is

keeping the south mostly dry. Looking ahead to tomorrow, it

will be cooler in Queensland, with isolated across the interior and the

north. Isolated showers north. Isolated showers in the east and on the north coast of

NSW. Mostly dry with warmer northerlies developing. It will be developing. It will be mostly sunny and

Victoria, warmer northerly winds will push throughout the State. Fine and dry across

northerly winds again developing northerly winds again

developing there. SA can

expect isolated showers in expect isolated showers in the

Far North, mostly clear

easterlies. WA can expect

showers and storms stretching

across the interior. It across the interior. It will be hot in the be hot in the east, ahead of be hot in the east, ahead of a cooler change in the west.

Monsoonal showers and storms

north and east of the NT. It

will be dryer and warm in the

south-west. Looking ahead to

the capitals for Monday now.

It will be a cloudy day across

most of the major cities.

Showers will continue in

Brisbane. It will be sunny in Perth, with a top of 30 degrees. degrees. That's the latest from ABC News 24. from ABC News 24. 'Behind the

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