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Live. This has now been awarded to the ABC inperp to the ABC inperp tuty. Germany

and France share ties to save the euro.

Hello L welcome to ABC News

across Australia, I'm Ros Childs. There's caution on the

local share market as Europe

looks at way at tacking its

debt crisis:

The Reserve Bank As for

economists, they're divide economists, they're divide ed

will make a move. Let's see

what Philip Lasker thinks, will

they move or not? I don't feel particularly confident about

there's slightly more reasons

for them to move but it's going

to hinge on what will happen in

thinks will happen in Europe Europe, what the Reserve Bank

and the impact on our economy.

Because so far there has been

surprise to some extent of the

effect that Europe is having confidence levels here that's effect that Europe is having on

why they cut back in November but there's been a slight

improvement since then in the

sense that European s will get some idea of how their actions

will be globally and the market

confidence seems to be on the

rise. Things seem to rise. Things seem to be a

of whether they actually little better. It's a question

deliver. We won't know that

until well after today's board

meeting. Also people are

expecting another cut so it may

dampen confidence if we don't

get that cut. On the other hand if there's some trauma next

year or in the next few months

the Reserve Bank may want to

keep as much of that interest

rate ammunition as it can and

0.25% today is not really going

to mean much in that context. And inflation here

certainly isn't a barrier to a

move? The latest numbers on

inflation a private survey suggests

suggests inflation pressures

are easing and that does give

the Reserve Bank more room to the Reserve Bank more

move and they can talk about

inflation without panicking

anybody and saying oh, we're

cutting rates because Europe's

in a mess, they can say we're

cutting rates because inflation

is weaker. But why is inflation

weaker and that suggests there's weakness in the economy, there's weakness in

the global economy which is

weakening inflation here. And

the dollar's back above parity,

will that make a difference,

briefly? The dollar does give

the Reserve Bank more room to

move because it has a dampening

effect on factors of the

economy that are doing it tough so yes, it gives the Reserve

Bank more scope to cut

rates. Thank you. Now to the

Philippines are consular

officials are trying to get

more information about an

Australian man kidnapped in the

country's south. 53-year-old

Warren Rodwell was reportedly

seized by several armed men who

fled on speedboats. The

incident happened on the island

of Mindanao where there is a history of foreigners being

abducted for ransom mostly by

militant Islam ck groups and so

far there's been no claim of

responsibility. The Government

has decided to scrap the tender

process for the $223 Australia Network in favour of process for the $223 million

awarding it permanent ly to awarding it permanent ly to the

ABC. Sky News is furious at the

decision and is demanding

compensation for the money it

spent putting together a bid

for the service. Greg Jennett has more

has more from Canberra. This decision

decision has certainly come quickly, only a month ago the Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced that the

tender process was being

scrapped, that investigations

were being launched into leaks

and that in the meantime until

about August next year the ABC

could continue to hold and run

the contract to provide the contract to provide this service, then cabinet met last night and an announcement came

out of that very soon after. Now in that announcement

Senator Conroy says it's now

clear and in the national interest that we make a decision about the future of decision about the

the service rather allowing uncertainty to the service rather than

continue and he says the

Government has determined that

Australia's international

broadcasting service should be

delivered by the national broadcaster. Well that's

precisely the position that the

ABC's managing director Mark

Scott had put all along and he sounded like a relieved man when reflecting on the decision

this morning. We don't

outsource our embassies, we

don't outsource our defence

forces, we shouldn't outsource

our public diplomacy so we made

that argument and we made that

argument under the previous

was made to put it to tender. government as well. A decision

As we've seen that's been a

long and difficult process but now it's been resolved. So

Greg, what's Sky News saying

about the whole process? It is outraged. It feels all along

that it had emerged as the

number one pick in two previous versions of the tender

versions of the tender process

and it has indicated that it

may be seeking some

compensation because of this. The Opposition isn't

criticising the result but is definitely unhappy with the

process. Malcolm Turnbull, the

communications spokesman, has

led the charge, backed up led the charge, backed up this

morning by fellow front bencher Greg Hunt who indicated that

some form of inquiry may be

needed. I think unfortunately

the process has been a sham. I

hope that there has been no

political pay back for perceive ed political positions in some

of the news limited newspapers and obviously we'll and obviously we'll have to

look at the process. I think

there ought to be a inquiry at the very least into there ought to be a Senate

the process. What's been Kevin

Rudd's involvement in this? Well, very minimal

involvement, Ros, in the final

stages of this saga. In fact Mr

Rudd was overseas and abanti-

sent from the all important

cabinet meeting last night that

made the decision. Previously

the process had been hauled

away from him and largely

delivered to Senator Conroy to have carriage of through have carriage of through the final process so nothing heard

from Mr Rudd on his reaction to

the decision but no the decision but no involvement

in terms of his presence at the

all-important cabinet meeting

last night. There was a

cabinet submission circulated

which Minister Rudd, like all

cabinet ministers received. Can

I just make the simple point

about cabinet processes. Many

ministers need to be away from a

a cabinet meeting for a variety

of reasons. The usual process

is they ensure that their views are represented within the cabinet room by the minister

acting on their behalf and that

happened in this case. I'm not

intending to go to cabinet

discussions but the absolute

usual protocols that an acting minister conveys the view of the ministers that is necessarily absent happened in

this case. Prime Minister Julia

Gillard there and before that political correspondent political correspondent Greg Jennett. The WikiLeaks founder

Julian Assange has had a minor

win in his fight against

extradition. He's been granted

permission to ask Britain's

High Court, the jurisdiction of

last resource to review the

case but still has no right of a hearing. In the decision the

Supreme Court found the matter

to be of general public

importance. I think that is a

correct decision and I am

thankful. The long struggle for

justice, for me and others

continues. Thank you. The

Australian is wanted in Sweden

for alleged schedule offences.

He's denied any wrong doing and

says the charges are politically motivated politically motivated because

of his activities with

WikiLeaks. Fortune s of Vladimir Putin have suffered a

further blow in the wake of his

party's weak performance in the

weekend parliamentary weekend parliamentary election. In the biggest protest in the Russian capital for nearly 20 years years the Prime Minister was

the target of a rare show the target of a rare show of dissent. "Russia without Putin" was the chant. The crowd's

calling on him to quit over

allegations the poll was fixed.

Riot police struggled to clear

the streets. Hundreds of protestors

protestors were arrested. International donors have

pledged to continue supporting

Afghanistan after foreign forces leave. More than 1,000

delegates have gathered in the

German city of Bonn to discuss

the future for the troubled nation but the Pakistani

Government boycotted the

gathering. Afghanistan correspondent Sally correspondent Sally Sara reports from Kabul. They

gathered in Bonn 10

gathered in Bonn 10 years after the first conference on

Afghanistan was held here. The

Afghan President urged foreign

donors not to walk away from

his country. The Afghan people

do not wish to remain a burden

on the generosity of the

international community for a single day longer than absolutely necessary. The

message from the conference was

clear - Afghanistan will need billions of dollars in assistance for at least another

10 years. That means even 10 years. That means even when the troops leave the money will continue to flow. The United

Kingdom will play its part over

the coming years. The end of a

combat role for British forces

in Afghanistan by 2015 will not

mark the end of our support to Afghanistan. More than Afghanistan. More than 90% of

the Afghan Government's budget

comes from foreign aid. It's

expected to cost at least expected to cost at least $7

billion a year just to maintain

basic services. But the biggest

challenge remains security. Pakistan and the Taliban were

not among the delegates at the

gathering. Every neighbour has

a stake in the future a stake in the future of Afghanistan. Every neighbour

loses if the country loses if the country again becomes a source of terrorism

and instability. The US is

trying to repair its already

fractured relationship with Pakistan. The Pakistani

Government boycotted this

gathering in protest against a

NATO air strike which killed 24

of its soldiers just over a

week ago but Pakistan will week ago but Pakistan will be crucial to any long-term

settlement in Afghanistan.

Afghan officials know that the

insurgency will only be

defeated if there's cooperation

on both sides of the

border. Time is running out border. Time is running out for Afghanistan to improve

security, governance and

development before foreign troops pull out. WA's Supreme Court has declared declared invalid State Government's move to

compulsorily acquire land in

the Kimberley. The notice of

intention to acquire theary

area did not contain a

description of the land. That

means the agreements struck are

now invalid. The ruling support

puts the future of Browse gas

project in doubt. Late winter

and spring rains have Australia

set for a bumper wheat export.

The harvest is likely to

increase by 8%. According to a

report today from the

Government's farm forecaster

ABARES. With more ABARES. With more rain forecast it's also an anxious time for

farmers who haven't got their

crop in. Amy Bainbridge reports

from Gunnedah on the Liverpool

Plains in northern NSW. Well

it's a very busy few days here

on the Liverpool Plains.

Farmers are frantically working

against time before more rain

comes later this week. Already

they will have two weeks of

delays due to rain and it's

seriously affecting the quality

of their crop. As you can see

around me, normally if this is

a good season this wheat crop

would be a lovely golden colour

but unfortunately this year due

to the rain it's seriously

affected the quality and now

farmers say they're going to

get up to 40% to 60% less for their crop because of this

downgrade in quality. It's

certainly for many now a lost

opportunity. After a decade of

drought it's turning into a

field of misery for quite a few people across the wheat belt of

NSW. Certainly some areas, some

regions have got the regions have got the majority

of their crop off but in this

region the Liverpool Plains and many of the more central

regions of NSW it couldn't have come at a worse time and that's

two years in a row. So

very difficult for those wheat

growers concerned . And as you

can see behind me it is a very

busy scene here on the

Liverpool Plains and most farmers will continue

harvesting until about 11:00 at

night in a bid to get as much

of their crop off before that rain comes. Global uncertainty

has not just hit financial

markets it's rattling Australia's

Australia's tourist trade. The

high Australian dollar has some potential overseas visitors

thinking twice about a trip

down under. So the Australian

Government is launching yet another marketing campaign.

It's just announced some new

ideas to get tourism flowing. Martin Ferguson, the ideas to get tourism dollars

the plan. It's about promotion Minister for Tourism, explains

of Australia from a quality

perfective the Tqal tick. It's

a new journey. The industry has

signed up to abacknowledgment

to lift its quality. Will this

to really work, are people going

to base a decision on whether

to spend all the money to come

here based on a tick of

approval on a website? This is about the industry accepting we have to meet quality standards.

Other countries have done it

such as New Zealand to their

benefit and we've got a great

opportunity in Asia. We've opportunity in Asia. We've got good growth out of places such

as China, Malaysia and

Indonesia and there's the

opportunity to get similar

growth out of India. So you're

conset traiting on the Asian

market, will the numbers you

can attract from Asia be enough

to make up in fall off from

visitors from the US and Europe

which are considerable? Year on

year we've got growth. Numbers

are up, spend's up, overseas nights are up because growth

out of China is over 26%. Good

growth out of Malaysia, good

growth out of Indonesia. Our

absolute focus is on Asia. This

is the Asian century. Tourism

is no different to selling is no different to selling iron

ore or coal or LNG. It's where

the market is you chase it.

We've had representatives from

the tourism industry on the

program several times saying

the whole industry's on the

floor at the moment and nothing

has worked. Oprah hasn't worked, big marketing campaigns

haven't worked, you must be

desperately hoping that this

will do something to get people

here? I don't accept that here? I don't accept that the

tourism industry is on its knees. The international

figures show that we're holding

our own, we're actually getting

growth which in a very, very

tough economic situation

internationally is tremendous achievement by the industry. I

might say our problem comesiccally is that the Australian economy

Australian economy is doing so well more and more Australians

are actually going overseas. Our job is to actually

encourage Australians to have a

holiday back here and I must

say the tourism quality tick

also says to the Australian consumer that you should have a look at the high quality

products in terms of having a

holiday that actually exists in

Australia. Our natural beauty,

and start searching around our good quality food and wine

paying a bit of attention to and start searching around and

your mates at home who need a

bit of support to stay in

employment at moment. Minister, thank employment at the

you. Thank you. If Martin

Ferguson succeeds in getting

more tourists from here from

Asia some may end up in Darwin

and in the capital the belief

seems to be build it and they

will come. Darwin's Sky City

casino is marking the halfway

point of a new $40 million development aimed at tourists

from the region. It's a

construction site now but come

July this will be a luxurious

tropical resort. Sky City tropical resort. Sky City is spending $40 million building a accommodation at Mindil Beach

in a bid to attract high-end

tourists to the Top End. It will provide Darwin with a

level of luxury and appointment

that really we haven't been

able to have in Darwin. The facility's quite old, this will be new,

be new, state-of-the-art. There

there will 332 rooms and 2

super villas. When finished the

lagoon will be the largest in

the southern hem fear. It's the

size of 8.5 tennis courts. The

casino is hoping the luxury

international high rollers. The resort will attract

Asian tourism market is booming

and with Darwin's proximity to Asia Sky City Asia Sky City says the

opportunity is too good to pass

up. There's more billion up. There's more billion nairs

an millionaries coming out of

China every day and they want

high-end product and high-end product and this positions us to be able to attract that product. The company says lit be a challenge

attracting high-end clientele

without direct flights between China and Darwin. China and Darwin. The Northern Territory Government is

spending more than $300,000 on

a major tourism campaign and

two special charter flights

will run between Darwin and Hong Kong in January to test

the water. We're not going to get the top of the Chinese

market. They will go to New

York and Paris and Rome but are going hard after the middle York and Paris and Rome but we

market in China. The resort is

due to open in July next year.

The leaders of France and

Germany hope to introduce tough

rules for the euro at a crucial summit later this week. Nicolas

Sarkozy and Angela Merkel want Sarkozy and Angela Merkel

a new treaty forcing debt-laden

European governments to tighten

their belts. They're their belts. They're proposing

penalties for those failing to keep their deficits under

control. For months quooef been

told a solution is just at hand

by dire wampbings from world leaders have so far come to very little but perhaps this very little but perhaps this is

different. German chancellor

Angela Merkel welcomed to Paris by the President Nicolas

Sarkozy. They agreed a new

European Union treaty was

needed enforcing strict

financial discipline on all

nations, limits on debt, penalties for those who strayed.

TRANSLATION: Structural changes

mean that we mean that we need reforms of

the treaty so that we have a

binding mechanism regarding binding mechanism

debt control with its content to to Europe.

TRANSLATION: Our preference

would be to have a treaty

signed by 27 countries so

no-one would feel left out of

the Franco German

undertaking. But he said if the

wider EU won't sign up then at

least the Eurozone countries

should support it. But not

everyone believes handing Brussels even more powers Brussels even more powers is

the right way to go. Being the right way to go. Being in

the euro, respecting some

discipline, doesn't mean discipline, doesn't mean that

we lose any control on our own

economic policy. We need to

keep that. If at this week's EU

summit the decision to push for

treaty change is accepted treaty change is accepted that

will mean a ref ren dumb - referendum in some countries. We've legislated countries. We've legislated now

so it's impossible for a

British Government to pass

power from Britain to Brussels without asking the British

people in a referendum first. A

referendum takes time, so approval in 27 parliaments. referendum takes time, so too

Time the euro simply may Time the euro simply may not

have. Let's go to some of the

other stories making news in

business. A new report has found renewable energy sources

now provide Australia with

nearly 10% of its power and

that figure is on track to

double by 2020. The report

produced by the Clean Energy Council says more than a million Australians now live in homes powered by solar panels

and heavy rains have boosted

output from hydro electric plants. The fruit and vegetable

markets are said to

massively oversupplied in the markets are said to be

eastern States. The NSW chamber of fruit and vegetable industry

says the good season has

produced a glut of produced a glut of vegetables

and fruit, in particular mangos

and stone fruit. And the national broadband network says

it will keep wholesale prices

fixed for the next 5 years and

then only increase them by less

than inflation after that. On

to the share market now and one

of the big drivers today is a threat by Standard & Poors to

downgrade en masse the credit

ratings of most European

country. That will be

unprecedented and make it that

bit harder for Europe to get on

top of its debt crisis. Locally though attention is now turning

to the interest rate decision

due in just a few minute's

time. Will the Reserve time. Will the Reserve Bank

announce a Christmas rate cut? Retailers Retailers are closely watching

that and they've been mixed

today. David Jones is putting

on about

Move on the Wall Street,

traders welcome the latest move

by Germany and France to rein

in the

It's the latest bizarre twist

in the Republican nomination

race. Donald Trump has race. Donald Trump has inserted

himself back into the contest.

This time as a debate moderator. Newt Gingrich is

also on the rebound surging in

the polls to become the latest front runner and the former speaker has thrown his support

behind a Trump-led debate

travelling to New York for an

audience with the property

developer. Craig McMurtrie

reports. He's back. Some people say the America we know and

love is a thing of the past. I

don't believe that. The first Gingrich television campaign

ad, a surge in the polls, a

lead in Iowa, and a Manhattan

media scrum for an audience

with Donald Trump. Can you with Donald Trump. Can you beat

Obama? It's amazing how well he's doing and how it's really

resonated with so many

people. With the departure of

her main kaun rr over allegations of sexual

impropriety and Mitt Romney's inability to excite the

Republican base, the former

speaker has roared to the front

of the pack without much of an

argue - organisation. We run a very decentralised very decentralised campaign. He

has few endorsements from establishment Republicans who worry about his record and

self-discipline. His rivals

accuse him of earning millions

influence pedalling and have been too much of a Washington

insider. He's been part of

Washington DC for over 30 years. He's as establishment as you get. But Newt Gingrich has

the momentum and all the buzz

for now. I'm not quite that

shallow, I have to think just

because I shook somebody's hand

isn't a reason to vote for

them. In an increasingly

bizarre nomination race he's

even agrod to appear in a debate moderated by Donald Trump. He's a great showman and

businessman. Some of his

Republican rivals aren't nearly

so keen. One says he won't kiss

the reality TV star's ring,

another calls it a circus. Let's have a quick look at

other stories making news

around the world. The

cash-strapped US postal service

says it's moving quickly to

close more than 250 mail processing centres and slow

first class deliveries because

of declining mail volumes. The cut's worth about $3 billion will virtually end the chance

of next day deliveries, a standard in place since 1971.

Back room negotiations are under

under way in South Africa on a

deal to rescue the only deal to rescue the only treaty governing greenhouse gas

reductions and to launch talks

on a broader agreement to

include the world's largest

polluters China and India. The

climate change conference is

now into its second week and delegates from 194 countries

are beginning to feel the

pressure on looming deadlines.

Lithuania's capital is taking action against street beggers

and the people who give them

money with fines of up to $700.

Outraged rights groups say the

ban spells misery for the needy

as winter kicks as winter kicks in. Sam Stosur has been awarded the Australian

tennis John Newcomb medal. tennis John Newcomb medal. She was presented with the award in

Melbourne last night. The

hooick light for 2011 for the

Queenslander was her US Queenslander was her US Open victory in September. There's

certainly been some highs and

lows throughout this year and

throughout my career as there

is with anyone's career. The

time sitting on the kitchen

floor at the house of Wimbledon

after my first round loss and I

have to say Layton, I've cried

a lot more times than twice in my career over matches. It was

the second year in a row in

the second year in a row in which Stosur has been crowned

the best player in Australian

tennis. Layton Hewitt was given

the spirit award in reck -

recognition of his achievements both on and off the both on and off the course. D Congo basin in South Africa

could be a major beneficiary of an international proposal to

pay for protection of forests

as a measure to tackle climate

change. It contains the large

aes tropical rain forest aes tropical rain forest but

the military is facing an

uphill battle to save it. In

the green heart of Africa more

than a million square miles of

rain forest. But will it

survive? Congolese soldiers now

guard one corner of the jungle

but they're battling against

loggers, farmers and a lethal

assortment of militia groups.

We lost over 12 rangers We lost over 12 rangers this year protecting the park. Are

you managing to win this battle? Yes, we have to. There

is no other choice. For now

poverty, the lack of roads and

conflict have kept huge chunks

of the forest out of reach. But

Africa's economy is finally

booming and Congo, like the

pristine Amazon jungle decades

ago, is suddenly at risk. What

we can do is at least we can do is at least identify

the most fragile place, the most biodiverse place that we

should protect and try to run should protect and try to run a well sustainable

development. Like this, a

project to make fuel-efficient

stoves. It could halve the

number of trees cut for charcoal. It's one small part of a giant international plan

to help protect Congo's rain

forests and our climate. forests and our climate. The

plan being debated this week at

the climate conference in South Africa could eventually see

billions of pounds being poured into Congo. But complicated. There is

into Congo. But it's complicated. There is no transparency. There's no

control. We have lack of

governance and if we don't have

it will be like we used to be

in African country. For now the

poorly funded army does what it

can. Congo needs more outside

help but this is a tough place for anyone to operate. The

motivation is there. The big

money may be coming. But the

fight to save the world's

second greatest rain forest is going to be bruising. Thick

smog is causing havoc in China's north. Air quality China's north. Air quality in Beijing has reached hazardous

levels and reduced levels and reduced visibility

to 5 00 metres. The caused grid lock on roads. Hundreds of

fights were cancelled leaving

bustling airports unusually

quiet. Bay - Beijing's air

quality is bad but it's

triggered renewed debate on the

issue. To the satellite. Cloud

across Queensland and NSW with

a broad trough and cloud along the NSW coast in brisk southerlies. A low and should trigger rain and storms southerlies. A low and trough

about northern NSW and southern

and eastern parts of

Queensland, some heavy. Humid

easterlies should bring showers

along the eastern sea board

mainly north of Sydney. Around the capitals:

Let's go back to the stock

exchange for a final check of

the markets:

That's the news for now.

We'll leave you with pictures of celebrations in Bangkok for

the Thai King's 48th birthday bye for now. Closed Captions by CSI interest rates and with me is Peter Ryan. The Reserve Bank

has lowered the cash rate by 25

basis points to 4.25% and that

takes rates to their lowest

point since April 2010. So

today was a finely balanced decision, but I would say that the continuing the continuing uncertainty

coming out of Europe and also

private data yesterday showing

that inflation was at the bottom of bottom of the 2-3% band has made the Reserve Bank made the Reserve Bank more comfortable about interest

rates, so they've cut by 25

basis points to 2.25%. --

4.25%. Just repeating the 4.25%. Just repeating the news

that the official interest rate

has been cut from 4.5% to 4.25%. This is the second

Bank month in a row that the Reserve

Bank has decided to cut

interest rates as our Business Editor Peter Ryan mentioned, economists were evenly split whether or not the Reserve was going to cut interest going to cut interest rates today. We've rate cuts over the past months. Peter Ryan, what's the reasons that the Reserve Bank

is giving? The Reserve Bank have said they saw there was

scope for a modest cut and so

25 basis points is the way.

from the statement is they Some of the reasons coming out

believe the debt crisis in

Europe is starting to hurt Asia, which is very Asia, which is very important

to the Australian economy and that also Chinese

that also Chinese growth, growth in China is slowing and,

of course, that's a very big

concern given that the

on that and, therefore, the

Australian economy is dependent

on that. Certainly over the

last few months we've seen statements from the Reserve

Bank and they have been keeping

a very watchful eye on this

situation in the Eurozone with

that debt crisis and what we've

also seen is a lot of reaction

to that, because inflation had

dipped slightly, had it dipped slightly, had it not?

This is the first interest rate decision

decision since the Treasurer

Wayne Swan had released his updated Budget

updated Budget and downgraded

some economic growth forecasts. It would seem is the Reserve is growing increasingly concerned about that situation in

Europe? That's right. The Europe? That's right. The last

Bank have indicated that few statements from the Reserve

growing storm clouds growing storm clouds over Europe are a big concern, Europe are a big concern, a big concern for central banks right

around the world. No sign around the world. No sign of any progress this week,

although we had that meeting of Eurozone leaders in Brussels this Thursday, but inflation

seen at being around

2.1%, that's good news for the Reserve

more comfortable. Really, the biggest concern not just for Australia, but for the world at the moment, is that situation

decided to in Europe. Now the Reserve has

for the second month in a row,

I'm wondering about the impact

on the Australian dollar? As

this was finely balanced, a 50-50 move, this was finely balanced, a 50-50 move, the Australian

dollar is right now 102.1, not

that much of a dollar's heading there's no

expectation that our interest

rates are going to be going up

any time soon. What any time soon. What about expectation about whether or

not there'll be interest rate cuts come the new year? The Reserve has a Christmas break,

there's no January

meeting? That's right. The

Reserve Bank has a break over

January, although that doesn't

mean if things went really

south in Europe they would not

be able to hold an emergency

meeting and possibly meeting and possibly take mrnl

action, but at this point that

would seem unlikely. A lot of this this hangs on the meeting of Eurozone leaders in Brussels.