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ABC News 24: 4pm News wkend -

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(generated from captions) Live. The Prime Minister praises the work of Australian

soldiers on her first visit to

Afghanistan. The US to issue a

travel warning over an Al Qaeda

threat on Europe. VIPs arrive in Delhi with final rehearsals underway for the Commonwealth

Games opening ceremony. And

the countdown is on for the NRL

grand final kick off.

You're watching ABC News I'm Nick Lucchinelli. It will You're watching ABC News 24.

be cloudy across most of the capitals tomorrow. The east coast should expect some

showers. Strong winds in Melbourne and thunderstorms Melbourne and thunderstorms in

Darwin with a top of 35 degrees. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has praised the

work of Australian soldiers on

her first visit to Afghanistan. It is also her first overseas trip as Prime Minister. She trip

series of meetings. With and on her way to Europe for a

here is Europe series of meetings. With more

Emma Alberici. The Prime here is Europe correspondent

Minister flew into Kabul to see

the Australian troops and discuss the country's discuss the country's military presence in Afghanistan with

President Hamid Karzai. The

Europe leg of her Europe leg of her international

tour involves meetings with

fool ball a governing body FIFA

where she'll lobby for

Australia 's bid to host the

world cup. Julia Gillard will

spend three days in Brussels attending the Asia spend three days in Brussels

attending the Asia Europe

meeting. She'll become the

to have done so. The so-called first Australian Prime Minister

ASEM gathering of 16 Asian

leaders and the 27 members of

the European Union is the first

of four overseas summits she'll attend in the coming weeks.

Plit are there any signs the attend in the coming weeks.

government is looking to increase Australia's troop

numbers in Afghanistan? Julia

Gillard's trip comes at a where troop numbers have been Gillard's trip comes at a time

very much on the political

email from a soldier on the

frontline make its way to the

media. That soldier was saying

for that more resources are needed

for them to be able to do their

job. Last week we Opposition suggest that Opposition suggest that an

extra 300 to 400 troops are

needed on the ground in Afghanistan. Julia Gillard, while she was in Afghanistan, met with the head of the David Petraeus. They spoke international forces, General

about the international strategy. She also spoke to local commanders at Tarin Kowt. While Australian soldiers and one of them raised the them raised the Opposition's proposal of them getting more

support. Here's what she had to say. We take the advice to say. We take the advice of

Angus and CDF and all the rest

of it. We're obviously having

a little bit of a silly debate a little bit of a silly

at the moment about tanks,

would you believe. I haven't

heard anybody say they want a tank over here, advice upon force protection, so we provided the additional

over $1 billion for some new

force protection and if we get further advice you need stuff

we'll certainly end respond to

it. We've got to have the

experts tell us what it is that they think you need. Just

another thing, if more support

is going to be coming, do you

have a time frame? We review

continuously and as soon as we get any recommendations we certainly deal with urgently. We don't let them

delay. Okay. If we got delay. Okay. If we got a

recommendation from CDF into our National Security Committee our National Security

that you need something, we'd deal with that immediately. The Prime Minister has repeatedly

said that it is the view of the chief of the Defence Force,

Angus Houston, his view first

and foremost takes into in considering these matters and foremost takes into account

and the Government said as

recently as Friday that they

haven't received any such

Angus requests for more troops.

Gillard to Afghanistan and he

had some words of encouragement

for the troops there. Here

what he he had to say. It's all been done with a minimum of

fuss. Along the way we have lost a number of lost a number of very valued

soldiers and through it all you

people have been totally

professional. You've worked

together as a wonderful and you have achieved all together as a wonderful team

and you have achieved all of your objectives. I am very,

very proud of you and I

want to add my thanks to all of

you for a job incredibly well

done. Suzanne, what's next on Julia Gillard's itinerary? A

stop over in your Ric to meet

the president of FIFA, soccer's

governing body. She'll hope to

boost Australia's chances of

winning the 2022 World Cup bid.

Then on to Brussels where

she'll be meeting Asian and

European leaders and while in

Brussels, she'll also meet the Secretary General of Afghanistan will again on the agenda Tony Abbott's also overseas

overseas this week. I

understand he's likely to get a hero's reception at the tory party conference. He's that almost brought down a

first term Labor government.

this Tony Abbott is in Birmingham

this weekend to attend the UK's Conservative Party conference.

While there, he'll meet the

Prime Minister, David Cameron,

and Julia Gillard will have to

wait a little while before she

gets to meet him. They're

expected to have a chat at the G20

G20 meeting in South Korea in a few weeks time. Susan McDonald

Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra. The Department of

Foreign Affairs and Trade is

advising travellers to monitor advice on reports that the US Government advice on its website following

will issue a travel alert to Americans in Europe. The US Government is to issue the

warning in response to been described as credible warning in response to what's

terrorist threats. Security

are plans to mount attacks in agencies have suggested there

European cities similar those in Mumbai in November European cities similar to

2008. Tourists are to be

warned to stay away crowded places. The opening ceremony of the New Dehli

Commonwealth Games kicks off in

a few hours marking the start

to the most trouble plagued sporting event in

history. 7,000 performers will take part in the featherstivity

joined by athletes from more

than 70 countries. The nearly

100,000 heavily armed police

and soldiers are guarding new

Delty ly and the venues are in

lockdown. The most

recognisable face was doing the rounds earlier today. Prince

Charles met the Indian president at the presidential

palace. Two members of the

Norfolk Island lawn bowls broke freed from the secured

zone in Delhi. With the opening

ceremony upon us it looking

more and more they're going to

pull this off. Disglmplths Ric

con so. I spoke to my husband for the first time yesterday

because he didn't want us because he didn't want us to come over and he says there's

still media reports this is going wrong. fine, the security is brilliant and we're not worried about

going out anywhere. This is our first day out of the

village. Excellent. Everybody is marvellous. We were going to stay in the village

after we'd finished after we'd finished competing, which is the end of next which is the end of next week, because when we left home they

were saying the security this,

that, you could get bombed or shot. We've been out all day

having a wonderful time, taking

photographs of the photographs of the locals,

they've been taking our

photographs, talking to us,

smiling at us. It is relaxed as if we were in

Sydney. Peter rugby league

grand final is only half an hour

hour away and legions of fans

are buzzing with excitement. The clash between the Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra Dragons is the first

all Sydney final in five years

and if the Dragons win it will

be their first premiership in

more than three decades.

Claire Aird is at Kogarah, the

Dragons home ground. She joins

me now. Give us an insight

into the atmosphere out there. It must is. You can probably hear just

behind me the crowd is

absolutely going off. I thought for a while there that mother nature might smile on us

and give us a clear sky for the grand

grand final. I'm afraid that

hasn't happened. The rain hasn't dampened this crowd tea

spirits though. Perhaps in

numbers there aren't as many as there might have been

otherwise, but I tell you, they're not less excited. Are

you expecting a close game? You've watched this season

closely. What are we likely closely. What are we likely to see

rugby league season today? I

think it will be absolutely

close. I think the critics are divided upon what will win this one. Dragons fans in particular particular are absolutely hungry for a win, not since 1979 have they actually taken a

premiership. Craig Young was the captain of that premiership winning side. His son winning side. His son is

actually playing today. He's

not the only one with royal

Dragons premiership blood

running through his veins. Stephen Morris

today. All season the Dragons

have had absolutely wonderful defence. It's probably got

them where they are today.

However, the Roosters are an absolutely fantastic side, so two different teams,

but it should be a fantastic

match. Looking at some of the fans behind you, Claire, they

all look far too young to

really appreciate that

history. Look, Nick, none of

the players were even born when

they were playing today when the Dragons last won their

premiership in premiership in 1979. Any injury concerns going into the concerns going into the match? Probably the major injury concern has been Dragons's prop, Michael day on. However,

he's had a groin injury. he's had a groin injury. He'll

probably need surgery on that

in the is off season. He'll

run on the field today with the

Dragons. Not really any major

injuries on either side. We'll leave leave it there for now. leave it there for now. Claire

Aird at Kogarah Oval in Sydney.

We'll have the rest of the day's sport later in the

bulletin as well. The Ecuadorean president has

decided to rewrite the austerity

last week's bloody police last week's bloody police rie rot. President Rafael Correa

has backed off the idea of dissolving Congress and ruling

by decree which would have

meant a call for new elections.

Life has returned to Life has returned to normal in

the Ecuadorean capital but the

President has promised to

round-up and punish the

renegade police who staged the

shortlived rebellion. Hundreds

of thousands of people have

taken to the streets in France

to protest over government

plans to raise the retirement

age. For the third time in a front demonstrators

to put up the benefits age from

60 to 62. The pension reform

bill has been passed by

France's Lower House. The government insists people must

work longer

living longer. It says without reforms France will not be able

to tackle the country's budget

deficit. To the Middle East

now and the Palestinian

leadership says there'll be no

further peace talks with Israel

as long as it continues et settlement construction in the occupied territories. occupied territories. The decision by the

liberation organisation has strengthened Mahmud strengthened Mahmud Abbas who

has threatened to walk out of

US-backed talks re launched

over a month ago after a resumption of the building in the West Bank. he won't make a final decision

on the talks until he on the talks until he meets

Arab foreign ministers in Libya

on Friday. First New York, now Moscow. Plans to build a Moscow. Plans to build a 'in

Russia's largest city have sparked an angry backlash, despite a constitution that

guarantees freedom of religion. Here's Moscow correspondent

Norman Hermant. It would be

apartment blocks of Moscow with

lower Manhattan, but in at lower Manhattan, but in at

least one respect they are the same.

same. Plans to build a mosque

here on the city's outskirts

are also meeting fierce resistance. Many residents

don't hesitate to share their

opinion of Muslims. They get together in huge crowds, sing their

their songs, bow and that is

out of place for us. They're

involved in plenty of theft

here and a mosque is definitely out of place. Yelena Denezhkina

long to an ultra nationalist

party that says there are many

too many mosques and

Muslims. TRANSLATION: If you walk in the streets of Moscow

we can see practically every second person is of eastern

appearance. He does not look

like a must co-person. like a must co-person. These are

people. Supporters say building

a mosque here will help relieve a severe shortage in the

Russian capital. Moscow has

anywhere from 1.5 to 2 anywhere from 1.5 to 2 million

Muslims. They have access just four public mosques. They

are jammed. Worshippers fill

every spot, including the stairs during Friday prayers and that's just inside. Outside, prayers spill Outside, prayers spill on to

the pavement. On the pavement. On Islamic holidays crowds number in tens of thousands. Community

leaders know what they are up

against with many Moscow people

associates Muslims with

terrorist attacks and illegal

immigration. Mostly they say we don't want these immigrants but

we say what do we do with 2 million Muslims living million Muslims living in

Moscow? Building more mosques

is one answer, but for many

people of Moscow it is not a popular one. Norman Hermant,

ABC News Moscow. The former

leader of a Nigerian rebel

group has been arrested over a

bomb ago tack on Friday. A

dozen people were skilled and

scores injured when two car

bombs went off in the bombs went off in the country's capital. Police Henry Okah at his home in Johannesburg. He's widely

known as a gunrunner. known as a gunrunner. The group is calling for a greater

share of oil revenues for the

region. Germany's region. Germany's about to

formally close one of the most

traumatic chapters in its history. Almost a history. Almost a century

after the guns fell silent, the Germans will finally finish

paying off war paying off war reparations

inpossessed by the allies in

1919. It writes off a crippling debt that was price for the world ward war and the second. The initial sum agreed was 226 billion Reichsmarks or the Reichsmarks or the equivalent

of 39 billion dollars. $100

million will be paid to France and Belgium the final

instalment. A day on, and the partying is still going strong

for Collingwood fans. The

Magpies claimed the 2010 AFL premiership flag with the final

margin 56 points over St

Thousands of fans turned out today for both St Kilda and Collingwood's family functions. Collingwood fans say they've waited 20 years for the moment and they'll be

celebrating their team's win

for weeks. Some say having to replay the match this week after the draw after the draw makes the

victory even more special. It

was a game that rarely reached the heights of last week's

first encounter, but that won't

worry the Magpie faithful. Tim

Callanan looks back on the grand final

Stoner is starting from third

spot in the Japanese Motto GP

which is about to get underway.

Casey Stoner was beaten to the front row by Italian front row by Italian duo Andrea Divisioso and Valentino Rossi. Honda's Divizioso will... Jorge

Lorenzo will start third. The Australian women's basketball team has rebounded from its

shock quarterfinal loss at the world championships to beat

Russia by five points in the Czech

play France for fifth place.

In the NBL, reigning champions

the Perth Wildcats have

continued their winning form

taking out the taking out the pre-season competition in Darwin. The

wildcat s won by 20 points.

Wildcat centre mat Hugh night

was name the most valuable

player. Wigan beat their great rival St Helens rival St Helens by 22 points to

10 at Old Trafford. Joe Wilson

has the match report. We don't

seem to have that item but we

will try to come back to that.

As we know the Commonwealth

Games gets underway in

hours but don't expect many

world records in the pool. It

has nothing to do with has nothing to do with the facility which is said to be

spectacular. This will be the first major first major international

competition since fast suit

technology was banned.

Jennifer Browning has this report. The suits are

the world records remain. Last

year, 43 world records were smashed at the world swimming

championships in Rome. One

thing that the suits probably did was open up people's minds

how fast you can go. Those

barriers. It broke them down. Everybody is worried about

these world records. They will

be broken. I can be broken. I can guarantee

that. World records five, 10 years ago now are relatively

develop the prototype for the fast suit but believes the

playing field has been levelled

with its removal. The problem became one where the started to dominate and it is

not about technology dominating, it is about the

athletes dominating who wins

the medals. The problem was the suits went too far and the

suits were determining who was

winning and that was the

mistake. I think, therefore,

it's gone back to athlete

performance. I think that is

an improvement. Australia's

elite athletes have an edge

with access to one of the best

technology pools in the world

at the Australian Institute of

Sport. Trying to test all

aspects of swimming we look at

starts, we look at turns, relay

changeovers and we also look at

free swimming. That's the hardest, though, because we can't measure a lot of things

in free swimming that we

normally would. The starts and

turns we're getting good at and we're starting to establish we're starting to establish the

important factors. The pool is

in it as well. Capturing the

moment, when you see something

really good, or something that

needs to be corrected, you can capture it, show the give instant feedback. I think when you're looking at swimming races, it is won on very small

percentages or small amounts percentages or small amounts of time and we're looking to

improvements not only in the overall time but in the

segments of the race and I

think starts and turns, for

example, in a race that example, in a race that Tom does, like the accounts to about 28 per cent

of the actual total time. If

you are neglectful on that, you

don't win. It's helped me

especially my 400. Got 7 turns

in the 400 and each turn's got to get right and I've improved

on my turns. How have you seen your progression change since coming to the AIS? Big, big improvement.

improvement. This is the best option for me, the best option for me, the best place

to come, and I've improved over 10 seconds in the over the last 18 months. The

results speak for themselves.

I've always been swimming I've always been swimming this

way that suited the suits and now I've had to change everything and change my whole

technique and it's taken a long

time, but I feel like we're

getting on top of things now

and starting to see some good

results. That first one results. That first one I think the depth was a lot better than the second one . In terms of

that, having a facility like this at the AIS has obviously

helped you out a lot making those changes? Definitely.

Having all the video footage

and being able to look back on

it and just... It comes down to the smallest of things you need to change and having

all those video cameras around and being able to watch play back as soon as back as soon as you've

finished, say a 50-metre

effort, you can go back, have a

look and look at the result and

just see how you're swimming.

It makes such a difference. How did that feel? That felt right. Are

that? Yes. The return? Yes.

Okay. Using this latest Okay. Using this latest tech technology, the team at the AIS hopes to fair hopes to fair the mantle of top nation from the USA. The Pan

Pacific Championships gave us

some indication. The US won 26

gold and we won 6 gold. We're

trailing a bit there, but

hopefully we'll claw hopefully we'll claw that back

as time progresses. 2012 as time progresses. 2012 is

still a little ways off, but really the performances in will actually determine who is going to win the medals in

2012. On average, one Australian dies of heart

disease every 22 minutes. But Sydney doctors have now perfected a procedure to help

some patients recover more quickly from lifesaving

surgery. It avoids open heart surgery and reduces recuperation times. In recuperation times. In fact,

patients are up and about in a matter of hours. She flew to Sydney for a lifesaving

operation. TRANSLATION: I went to hospital in new

Caledonia and then Caledonia and then I went back home and then they asked me to

come back to hospital and said

they would have to send me to Australia and that's why I came here. The 55-year-old had a

major aneurysm in her aortic.

The body's main blood vessel

that supplies blood to organs

in the chest. The wall of her

aortic was at risk of rupturing and unable to treat it. She was

one of the pirs first people to

have a new less invasive type

of operation. The standard

open surgical repair of this kind of aneurysm would involve

opening up the entire chest and opening up the entire chest and

abdomen and the recovery period would be quite considerably

longer. Instead, surgeons at St Vincent's made two small

incisions in her groin and arm.

They inserted a new stent that

took about six weeks to make

and was designed especially for

the patients. It kept the blood floating to kidneys. It really is revolutionary. It changes the

whole way that certainly I

think about the treatment of aneurysms. It meant she was

able to talk, walk and eat

within a few hours after operation. While the recovery

for the patient is easier, it's

still complex work for

surgeons. It can be an all

day effort in some situations.

But for the patients it's

remarkable the next morning they're sitting up. Surgeons

say this is the way of the future for these types of operations and she looking forward to spending

time with her grandchildren.

Bridget Brennan,. After severe

storms last week storms last week forecasters are predicting Queenslanders

are in for a wild and wool Lee summer. Experts are warning residents in the tropics to

start preparing for the wet

season now and be aware of the health risks associated with

big rain. The annual big wet is

part and parcel of life in

tropical North Queensland. This year forecasters are extra punch. The emerging la Indonesian weather pattern

means it will arrive means it will arrive earlier

than the Christmas onset and is

likely to run through to autumn. With the pattern currently entrenched and well

established, our outlooks are certainly favouring a

continuation of above average rainfall over the coming months. Most months. Most Queensland centres broke their September rainfall records, an indication of

what's to come. That's got the medical profession worried. The most obvious this increase in dengue cases. There

have been five recent have been five recent confirmed

cases of dengue fever in Cairns

and one in Townsville. This doctor says tropical regions

have a big job to ensure there

isn't a epidemic. There's a lot

to do, I think, in terms of

re-thinking about how we're going to live in tropical Australia in an era of globalisation of everything,

including infectious

disease. The Weather Bureau

cyclone forecast for the summer will

Let's have a look at the

weather forecast now. weather forecast now. Thick cloud wish ago cloud wish ago cross New South Wales and South-East Queensland

is causing scattered showers.

Cloud across South Australia is in a trough and triggering widespread rainfall. A closer

look at the States, there are isolated showers and

thunderstorms over the western

Cape York Peninsula and Queensland's eastern coastal

districts. It is cloudy in the father south-west. New South

rain and isolated storms in the

ease and north, otherwise it is

mostly sunny in the west. Clouds Clouds developing over Victoria's northern districts with the with the chance of light

rainfall. Early fog in

Gippsland clearing to a mostly

fine day for tomorrow. There are isolated showers about the north of Tasmania, but it will

be clear elsewhere. Looking at

Tasmania, there's patchy rain

over the parts of the western agriculture, north-west pastoral and Central Districts. In the

west, between cape Lou win and

Bremer Bay and the central

interior, it will be fine and

fine in Perth. A strong high

in the Tasman Sea isolated storms across the Top End and

End and the Gulf country. This

will extent over much of will extent over much of the territory early this week.

Looking at the forecast Looking at the forecast for Tuesday, it will remain cloudy across the Capitals with rain

along the east coast,

thunderstorms will continue in

Darwin. Thousands of years

after it was first practised, Druidry is to be officially Britain. The British Charity

Commission has accepted that Druids worship of natural spirits could be seen as

religious activity. Most noted for their celebration of somer Solstice at Stonehenge, followers are not restricted to

one God or creator. Druids

will now be exempt from taxes

on donations and have the same

stays tus at mainstream

religions such as the church of

inland. That's the latest ABC News. Closed Captions by CSI.