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Tonight - how Australia is

set to pay the price for the

big dry. It might be possible

in some areas to import the

food stuffs that would otherwise come from Australian

sources. Broadcaster Alan

Jones convicted but not jailed.

Another 'Mary Celeste' - the

mystery of a missing crew.

And cricket's prolific prince

ends a record-breaking career.

Just wanted to be remembered

as someone who would come out here and try and entertain.

Good evening. Juanita

Phillips with ABC News. Get

ready to pay up to four times

as much for certain foods as a

result of the drought. The

latest grim warning has come

from the federal Treasurer who

says that if crops fail along

the Murray-Darling this winter,

it would have a major impact on

the prices that consumers pay

at the supermarket. And the

news is no better on the Prime

Minister's plan to save the

Murray-Darling. Victoria is

still refusing to sign up, and

now wants it scrapped

altogether. It was already

bad. Now adding insult to

injury for irrigators, the

Prime Minister has voiced what

many of them fear. He says if

it doesn't rain and crops fail,

more food imports may be

needed. It might be possible

in some areas to import the

food stuffs that would

otherwise come from Australian

sources. That's fine as long

as we maintain the robust

nature of our science-based

quarantine system. The

Treasurer says some food prices

could skyrocket. We had

Cyclone Larry. The price of

bananas went up four or five

times. That's what you could

be seeing in relation to

stonefruit, horticulture. The

bleak outlook as put more

pressure on Victoria to sign up

to the Prime Minister's $10

billion water security plan.

Before a meeting of the

country's natural resource s

Minister in Brisbane, John

Thwaites called for the Prime

Minister's plan to be scrapped.

This is not the time for

making threats, which seems to

be what Malcolm Turnbull is now

doing. This is where I

struggle to see the logic

behind Victoria's position. It

has some of the leakiest, least

efficient, oldest irrigation

systems in Australia. This

morning, Malcolm Turnbull also

thought the plan could proceed

without Victoria. It will be

more couple bersome. It will

not work as well. But John

Howard didn't think so.

Without Victoria, it won't

work. And by this afternoon,

the minister had changed his

view of the Australian mind. It is the considered

Government that without

Victorian participation, the

plan cannot work. From Washington, the Opposition Leader is supporting a national

solution. I've always

encouraged our Victorian

colleagues to take a

constructive approach. As for

the winter crops, the

Murray-Darling Commission says

the most rain comes late in the

season. The national farmers

Federation still believes there

is cause for hope. It seems

the long-range weather

forecasters are backing them

up. In some rare positive news

on the drought, they say that

the dry El Nino weather pattern

is almost certainly about to be

replaced by the wet La Nina.

That mean s a 70% chance of

above-average rainfall this

winter. For those who put

their faith in scientific

signals, rather than divine

science, the chances of rain

are good. Our model s

indicate we are likely toe see

a la neen Nah later on in 2007.

The Bureau of Meteorology is

not alone in predicting at

rival of La Nina. It says a

50% chance others are more

hopeful. All the longer term forecasts are quite positive.

At the moment, our models are

saying around about a 6 o-70%

chance or two chances out of

three that rainfall will exceed

average between now and the end

of June. La Nina brings rain,

just as le neen know hold s it

back. Usually a weak la

neen Nah means variability in

the weather patterns. If

they occurs, well, yeah, the

drought is going to sort of

gradually ease rather than end

with a bang. With so much

riding on forecasts, caution is

present in every meerth logical

appraisal, but those who track

La Nina's last appearance are

optimistic. Last time we had

one in 2000, we saw above-normal rainfall, over

about 95% of the Australian continent that year. Unfortunately the 5% that

missed out, included just about

every major capital city in

Australia, but over the most of

the continent, we saw above-average rainfall that

year. The experts agree this

current quiet spell will break.

The question is when will it

be. Radio broadcaster Alan

Jones has avoided a jail

sentence for naming a child

witness in a murder case.

Instead, he has been put on a good behaviour bond and fined

$1,000. Late today, Jones and

2GB lodgesed an appeal against

the conviction. Alan Joans

emerged from sentencing today

cautious in his comments.

Obviously we're disappointed

and I can't make any judgments

about all of that. We accept

the decision, but the people I

go to for advice will consider

where we go to next and we will

be looking at that this

afternoon. Last month, he was

found guilty of reading on air a 'Daily Telegraph' article

that named a child witness in a

2005 murder trial. Jones

claimed he had assumed the tel

graph had had been given

consent to identify the boy.

But a the magistrate said a

broadcaster of his experience

should have known it was an

offence, and an example needed

to be made of him and to ensure

that Upper most in Mr Jones'

mind in future is a requirement to comply with all of the law.

In the 199 os, Jones was twice

found guilty of contempt of

court and recently the

Australian broadcast ing

watchdog found that he had

encouraged violence ahead of

the Cronulla riots. Today the

magistrate criticised Joans for

only apologising to the court

for this breach after he had

been found guilty and for not

apologising to the boy at all.

It would be a bit odd for me

to be apologising on the one

hand and arguing to the court

we weren't guilty. The

publisher of the Telegraph was

also fined $4,000. The

magistrate said its legal

procedures had been woefully in

adequate and placing sole blame

on its reporter was

unacceptable. In addition, 2GB

was fined $3,000. But this afternoon, Jones and the

station lodged an appeal.

It's brought immediate

comparisons with the mystery of

the 19th Century ghost ship,

the 'Mary Celeste'. A yacht

has been found drifting off the

North Queensland coast,

computers switched on, even

food on the table, but there is

no sign of the three men who

had been on board. A massive

search is under way for the

men, who left Airlie Beach on

Sunday, bound for Perth. A

Customs plane spotted the 'Kaz

2' drifting on Wednesday night.

The sails were up, one of them

badly torn. A search and

rescue team arrived yesterday,

along with a film crew working

on an ABC documentary about res

cue helicopters. I have a

visual. Unfortunately it is swinging around. A rescuer

was lowered into the water and

he clambered on board. What he

found was mystifying. The the

motor was running in neutral,

laptop commuters were on, food

and cutlery on the table and

all emergency equipment in

place. But the three men who

had been on board had vanished.

It seems very unusual, yes.

The weather obviously on

Sunday, Monday wasn't too good.

There was a fair sort of a wind

blowing out there. But

rescues crews say apart from

the torn sail, the boat doesn't appear to have been through

rough weather. What is adding

to this and make thg aa particular mystery is how good

the condition of the vessel

actually is. The 'Kaz 2' left

from Airlie Beach on Sunday

bound for Perth. The three men

were aged 56, 63, and 69, all

from West Australian. Family

members are on their way to

Townsville this evening. Water

Police are coordinating the

ocean search, while in the air

more than a dozen planes and

helicopters plan to scan more

than 4,000 square nautical

miles. You've got to assume

they have fallen into the water

recently, that's why so many

resources have been put into

trying to find these guys

because you never give up

hope. The yacht's GPSes that

been retrieved along with the

yacht as chart s and laptops.

The boat itself is being towed

to Townsville. Two Sydney men

have been charged over the

seizure of 20 kilograms of

ecstasy worth $4 million.

Police from the Asian Crime

Squad arrested two men this

morning and they have released

video of a raid soon afterwards

on a factory complex. The

police say they found 20kg of

ecstasy powder, 500 tablets and

a pill press. Two men will

appear in court on drug

offences tomorrow. Police will

expect to lay charges against a

third men. An obsessed

collector responsible for

Australia's businessest museum

heist has been sentenced to

seven years' jail. Amanda

Vanstone stole nearly 200 ir

replaceable items from the Australia Museum. Amanda

Vanstone's home was testament

to an obsession that dated back

to his childhood. He began

hoarding road kill, but later

turned to the vast collections

of the Australian Museum to

satisfy his compulsion. It's

not a money thing. REPORTER:

What is it then? Passion. He

began work at the museum as a

pest controler in 1996. By

2003, he had filled his home

with nearly 200 specimens.

I'm more or less like a Clark

Kent. By day I'm a

Kent. By day I'm a mild-mannered pest col officer.

By night, I'm a fanatic taxidermist-osteologist.

The damage done to those

collections has cost the museum

nearly $900,000. To lose

individual parts of that or to

have them so damaged that we

don't actually know what fit s

where is ir replaceable. Of

you can't go out and re-connect

a thylacine skull. Today the

judge said:

The man known to his

colleagues as the rat

collector, claimed he stole the

specimens to protect them. But

the judge found he simply

wanted to have them. Now the

museum's staff are paying the

price. There is quite an

amount now of painstaking work

going through all of those,

more than 2,000 specimens that

were recovered, checking on

each one. Vanleeuwen will be

eligible for parole in 2012.

The American media have been

criticised for their decision

to show the video made by

Virginia campus killer Cho

Seung-Hui. Police and families

aren't happy about it. I just don't understand the air time

that has been given to this

lunatic. I just don't see why

we would want to give him what

it is he wants. We don't need

to see him again. We don't

need to see his face again.

The gunman sent a video

diatribe as well as photos to a

national TV network on the day

of the shootings. Despite the

outcry, others said it may have

been helpful. It is

disturbing, very upsetting, but

it almost makes sense in some

ways it completes the character

and I guess in that way it's

fascinating and maybe helpful.

Critics though say the

broadcasts merely played into

the killer's hands and gave him

what he wanted. US Defense

Secretary Robert Gates has

visited Baghdad with a blunt

message for the Iraqi

Government: Get your house in

order. The surprise trip came

one day after bombings killed

nearly 200 people in the

capital. Mr Gates told Iraqi

leaders they have to get moving

on political reconciliation.

Frankly, I would like to see

faster progress. I'm

sympathetic with some of the

challenges they face, but by

the same token, to pick up

General Petreas's theme, the

clock is ticking. Just before

he arrived in Baghdad, another

suicide attack claimed at least

11 lives when a bomber rammed a

fuel truck into a Shi'ite

neighbourhood. Mr Gates also

wept to the insur gent

stronghold of Fallujah to meet

senior US commanders . It is a

ter tore target and it has got

a water leak, but it hasn't

deterred the backers of

Sydney's new nuclear reactor at

Lucas Heights. The Prime

Minister described the reactor

as a triumph and the way of the

future. There were00s of

enthusiastic supporters of the

new research reactor at today's

opening, none more so than the

nuclear organisation chairman,

Ziggy Switkowski. He likens

this to Sydney's world renowned

landmarks. We accept the

Sydney Harbour Bridge and the

Opera House and to that is now

joined the Opal reactor. The

Prime Minister didn't draw

quite the same comparisons, but

was still glowing in his

descriptions. There is no

doubt in my mind that nuclear

energy, nuclear science will

bulk ever larger in the

lifestyles and in the

experience, in the challenges

that the nations of the world,

not least our own, have. By

all accounts, the new plant

will be a world leader,

providing neutrons for cutting

edge scientific research and

radio pharmaceuticals, equating

to half a million patient

treatments a year, but that's

just a few aplonk a long list

of benefits. The Opal react

or will open new horizons in

physics, chemistry, material science, medicine and

engineering. The plant has

been operating for eight

months. The operators have

confirmed there is a leakage of

one type of water into another

close to the reactor core, but

they say its not cause ing any

safety risk. They also say the

distinctive grill cage around

the outside of the reactor will

stop any terrorist plane crash

attack and that rocket launcher

s recently stolen from the

Australian Army wouldn't be a

problem either. The reactor

itself is impenetrable by any

small hand-held missile. The

Kons vaition Foundation says

the waste will remain a danger

for thousands of years. The

nuclear organisation says it

will be safely stored.

Tonight's top story - the

Federal Treasurer has warned

that some food prices could

grad drup Pell because of the

drought. Still to come - a

musical tribute to a behave

composer. 500 staff and

patients at Queensland's Gold

Coast Hospital are to be tested

for tuberculosis. A health

care worker was diagnosed with

the disease on Wednesday after

carrying the infection for

about a month. The health

care worker worked in a number

of departments across the

hospital, so patients who have

been to a number of departments

across the hospital will be

contacted. Officials say the

risk of transmitting the

disease from a single case is

very low. It's already been

linked to breast cancer. Now

there are fears of anyway new

cancer risk for women using

hormone replacement therapy. A

British study has found that

the menopause treatment

increases the likelihood of

ovarian cancer by 20%, but some

experts say the research is

alarmist. They say the risk is

extremely small. It is the

largest study of its kind.

More than a million British

women aged 50 and over were

questioned about their health

between 1996 and 2001. The

findings published in the

'Lancet' found women who used

HRT for more than 50 years were

-- more than five years were

20% more likely to develop

ovarian cancer. It is a small

risk. It is more an issue for

women to think about how much

they want to take HRT to

relieve their symptoms against

the known risk. Some experts

warn against overstating the

dangers of the treatment. If

women take hormone therapy for

more than five years there is a

risk of one in 200,000 women

that they will get ovarian

cancer. So the risk is very

low. In 2002 HRT was linked

with a greater risk of breast

cancer. Many women stopped the

treatment and that coincidewide

a sharp drop in breast cancer

cases in the United States.

The ultimate advice for women

concerned about the therapy is

to consult their doctor. For

those women who are currently

on hormone replacement therapy,

there is no change -- there is

no reason to change that

treatment based on this new

study. For some women, the

choice is easy. When I was

put back on HRT, at my request,

I went to see my do and the

first thing was I got back my

joie de vivre. 400 Ford

workers in Melbourne were stood

down at the end of their shift

today despite an agreement on a

revised rescue package. Ford's

production schedule has been

heavily disrupted by industrial

action at the car parts manufacturer Coghlan-Russell

Engineering. That company's

administrators have agreed to a

proposal by Ford to fund

operating costs for the next 60

days, but its employees won't

decide until Monday whether

they will accept the proposal

and go back to work. Investors

appear to be getting cold feet

over the Qantas private equity

deal. The business consortium

Airline Partners eased its

offer last week, reducing the

minute mum share acceptance

from 90 to 7 o%. But share s bloink

The bid allows for

institutions to withdraw their

acceptances. Some analysts say

while the deal isn't dead, the

takeover consortium does face

an uphill battle. Some of the

institutions don't want to take

the risk of the bid failing or

the time the bid has to run

being extended further, so they

would rather thaik their money

at current prices and avoid

those risks. The bid closes

on 4 May. Onto finance now,

and the local share market bounced back today. The here

is Alan Kohler. So great is

the pressure of money from

takeovers and $400 million a

month of superannuation that

every time share prices fall a

bit, investors are back looking

for bargains. Macquarie Bank

jumped today after the company

said it was buying the British

police and emergency services

radio network for $4.5 billion.

BHP Billiton went up as well.

Qantas went up a cent as shareholders continued to

unaccept the takeover, and CSL

put in one of the biggest

gains, rising 3%. The mining

stocks went up, despite further

falls on the London Metals

Exchange last night. Tin made

it 12% in two days, while zinc

and copper fell again. The

Chinese market bounced back

because the news on the economy

showed that it's still growing

strongly. In fact, there is

now some concern about

inflation and interest rates.

But China dragged markets

elsewhere in the region higher

as well. Tonight's graph shows

plainly why there has been such

a big increase in debt in the

world. Especially with

leveraged buyouts by private

equity funds. The chart shows

the investment returns in the

developed world since 1980

showing the big recovery out of

the slump from 2000 to 2000

36789 the other line shows the

most commonly used index of

volatility called the Vix from

the Chicago Futures exchange.

It is a perfect time to borrow

money. The only question of

course is whether this can

last. Finally, the Australian

dollar traded steady today

hanging onto recent gaim gains.

I will be back on Sunday at

10am with 'Inside Business'

with CEO of AGL, Paul Anthony.

He is suffering from incurable

brain tumours and confined to a

bed, but that hasn't stopped

Aaron McMillan from his life's

passion. The 30-year-old has

compiled a set of 7 CDs that

tell his life in music. For

six months Aaron McMillan has

called this inner-city hospice

his home and recording studio.

I decided that while my

health wasn't looking fantastic

in prospect that I should put

together a boxed set of all of

my career to date. He is

renowned equally for his

courage and musicianship,

overcoming brain surgery and

long periods of pain. His

dream was to play solo in the

Sydney Opera House and he did

that twice. Aaron is really

an incredibly inspirational

figure, and he is one of these

people who is very self-

motivated, very confident about

his destiny in life. The 7 CD

collection of his performances

covers 12 years of music, but

he wasn't able to go to the

launch. Physically, I'm just

not capable of managing the

trip down to the hall where the

launch is being held, and so I

will have to sit this one out.

Aaron McMillan might have

been missing on stage, but that

didn't deter a full house of

fans. The fact that he has

created this amount of music on

CD in his life, he has actually

lived his short life very fast.

Time and again, he has

confounded doctors, family and

friends with his resilience in

the face of worsening cancer.

Yeah, I'm feeling very good at

the moment, actually. I'm

feeling - I'm impressed with

how well I'm going.

APPLAUSE Aaron McMillan's

health might be failing, but

his musical autobiography

ensures he will always be

heard. One of cricket's

greatest batsman, Brian Lara

has announced his retirement.

The West Indian captain was

already set to leave the

one-day arena after the World

Cup, but he has now decided to

quit all forms of the game.

Here is Peter Wilkins. Brian

Lara was a virtuoso in a

record-breaking career. He

had 17 years in the spotlight.

Just wanted to be remembered

as someone who has come out

here and tried to entertain.

Nicknamed the Prince, Lara's

uncanny ability to a cumulate

runs and his mastery in doing

so has set him apart. He can

dominate and place the ball

well. He can turn a game.

That ability to dominate is

reflected in statistic Cal

landmarks. Lara's First Test

century mess merised those at

the SCG. He smashed the

highest ever Test score of 400

not out and holds the first

class record with his unbeaten

record of 5 01 for

Warwickshire. I have been

knocked hon so many times, as a

player, as a person, and just

that strength, I suppose it

comes from my parents to be

able to pick myself up. Lara

spent the latter part of his

career in and out of the West

Indian captaincy and propping

up a disintegrating landscape

in the former power of the

game. Cricket needs a strong

foundation and that's what's

missing. Lara's Test career

produced 12,000 runs - a

record. Lara will play his

299th and final one-day game

against England tomorrow.

Lara's farewell will co-in side

with the last match for England

coach Duncan Fletcher. He has

resigned after the team's

failure to make the semifinals

at the World Cup and a 5-0

Ashes lost. The West Coast

Eagles club leaders, including

the chairman, chief executive,

senior coach and captain will

meet with the AFL Commission on

Sunday week to outline what has

been done about player

behaviour. I have the

courtesy of the West Coast

Eagles attending this meeting

and look forward to discussing

our concerns and we look

forward to their response.

The Commission says it

supported the tribunal's

decision in this week's

sledging case, but added that

Adam Selwood's alleged on-field

remarks were offensive to women

and not acceptable to the

community. Argentina appears

to have snubbed the Socceroos

by asking for the post

opponentment of its June match

at the MCG. Australia's

Football Federation says 7 p

0,000 tickets had already been

sold for the game. The FFA

hopes to set a new date next

week. To the weather now with

Mike Bailey. Some thunderstorms about the

north-east today and they are

likely again tomorrow in that

region with at least some light

patchy rain also moveing from

the far south-west.

The satellite loop shows

that high cloud that moved

through New South Wales

yesterday and more patchy cloud

moving into South Australia and

then more into New South Wales

for tomorrow. There is a trough associated with that and

also one to the north-east of

New South Wales, and a surface

low pressure cell expected to

develop off the coast. That's

likely to lead to a gradual

increase in showers about the

coast and nearby ranges over

the next day or two and for

tomorrow that patch y rain

getting into the south-west as


Looking hopeful. Thanks,

Mike. Before we go, another

quick look at tonight's top stories. The Prime Minister

says Australia might have to

start importing more food if

there is no water for

irrigation in the

Murray-Darling Basin this year,

and he has urged Victoria to

sign up to a plan to rescue the

river system. Sydney radio

broadcaster Alan Jones has been

fined and placed on a 9-month

good behaviour bond for naming

a child witness in a murder

trial. And a yacht has been

floating off the North

Queensland coast with food on

the table and computers

running, but no sign of the

three-man crew. That's ABC

News for this Friday.

Stateline with Quentin Dempster

is up next. Goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI


This week, the argument for

rainwater tank s despite us

having... The world's biggest

dam, and that is the ocean.

Also, one of our major

hospitals under investigation

over the death of 16-year-old

Vanessa Anderson. There was

no reason to think this is not

going to happen again.

Welcome to Stateline New

South Wales. I'm Quentin

Dempster. What if? Fs a

question that has been asked

many time s in the past week at

the inquest into the death of

16-year-old Vanessa Anderson.

Vanessa Anderson died at Royal