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New details an pictures of

the asylum boat tragedy off

Australia's coast. A growing

western boycott of an

anti-racism conference.

Thailand extends emergency rule

for another week. And surprise

support. Nelson Mandela's

appearance at an election rally.

O'Connor with ABC News for Good morning. Beverley

Australia Network . Australia

and Indonesia have agreed to

intensify cooperation to tackle

the influx of asylum seekers

reaching both countries. The

first moving images of the

explosion on a boat which

killed five asylum seekers near Australia's north coast have

been released. And the ABC's

been told that fuel was spread

on the deck of the boat as the

men aboard tried to n sure they

were not turned back to

Indonesia. Chris Uhlmann

reports. The first pictures of

the refugees' boat in flames.

But the government's staying

silent on the cause. I'm not

going to pre-judge what a

police investigation is going

to conclude. I don't know what

happened, you don't know what

happened and speculation is not

appropriate. But the

government knows a lot about

what caused the boat explosion

in the early hours of Thursday

morning. Informed sources have

told the ABC that fuel was

spread on its deck in a

threatened act of sabotage to

try and force the navy to let

the men land in Australia and

not turn them back to

Indonesia. The explosion that

killed five and injured 31 is

believed to have been an

accident. That's what the West Australian Premier said three

days ago. I would think a great

deal is known about what

happened and I would hope that

the Federal Government does

make a more detailed statement

to the Australian people. The

time has come for Mr Rudd to

tell the Australian people the

truth. Part of the government's nervousness might

be explained by the quality of

the information it's getting. At least one of the

passengers on the vessel spoke

good English so we were able to

use that person as an

interpreter to make it clear to

them that they would be moved

to Christmas Island. At no time

were the asylum seekers told

that they were going to be

taken to Christmas Island. Not

knowing where they would be

taken for the 22 hours they

were held might explain the

asylum seekers' anxiety, but

border protection says it

believes they understood they'd

be processed in Australia. The

ABC also understands the

government has received advice

from the Australian Federal

Police and other agencies

warning that people smugglers

are organised criminals who

would note any softening of

immigration laws and that would

lead to more arrivals. The Immigration Minister says he

hasn't seen the advice. This

isn't an agency in my

portfolio, so I wouldn't

receive it. You didn't, but do

you know of any such advice? No. Now, that's not believable. The government's

position is unbelievable on

many fronts. Labor's made it

clear it doesn't want to repeat the mistakes of the children overboard affair but it might

be writing a new handbook on

what not to do in a crisis.

Australia and Canada have

joined the United States and

several European nations in

boycotting a United Nations

conference against racism. The

meeting is due to open in

Geneva later today and will

assess progress that's been

made in the nine years since the first world conference

against racism in 2001. Western

nations fear this follow-up

conference could become a

platform to attack Israel. Iranian President Mahmoud

Ahmadinejad looks like being a

lonely man in Geneva. He's due

to address the anti-racism

conference later today, but his

audience is shrinking rapidly

with Israel and the US refusing

to go. The US President says

he's not happy with the draft

declaration for Geneva, which

specifically criticises

Israel. If you're incorporating

a previous conference that we

weren't involved with, that

raised a whole set of

objectionable provisions, then

we couldn't participate or

wouldn't be worth it for us to

participate, because we

couldn't get past that - that

particular issue. Israel's

praised the decisions of many

other Western nations to follow

suit. So we are very pleased

that the decent countries of

this world, like the United

States and many European

countries and Australia and

Canada, are not participating,

and this is the right message.

It's nine years since the

Durban anti-racism conference

became bogged down over the

Middle East and slavery issues,

leading to a walk-out by Israel

and the US. This meeting also

appears likely to end in

acrimony. The loss of western

support is a blow for the

UN. We deeply regret these decisions. There was basically

very broad agreement among

States only last Friday that

the text that's been sent to

the conference for approval was

an acceptable text. So we're

very surprised and rather

shocked by these withdrawals.

Analysts say it could undermine

efforts to get international

agreement on sensitive issues like slavery and minority


The Thai Prime Minister

Abhisit Vejjajiva haeks tended

the state of emergency --

has extended the states of

emergency in Bangkok after meeting senior security

officials. In his weekly

televised address Mr Abhisit

promised to bring to justice

those behind an assassination

People's Alliance for attempt on the leader of the

Democracy. Mr Abhisit has urged

the man's supporters not to use

the attack as an excuse to

return to the streets. The shooting followed clashes

between government soldiers and

the red-shirted supporters of ousted leader Thaksin

Shinawatra. The Thai government

says it will continue to dispatched security forces to vulnerable areas of the country

amid rumours of another

assassination plot. While

Thailand's political protests

have died down for the time

being, tourism operators are

counting the cost of the

crisis. There are predictions that political instability

could cost the country more

than $6 billion in lost revenue

from tourists scared off by the

unrest. ABC correspondent Geoff Thompson reports.

This is the Thailand

travellers know and love. A

place where foreigners can

share the culture and the fun

in a land of smiles. This is

Thailand's uglyier face, which

has lately been seen snarling

on televisions around the

world. Last week, Australians

were among the tourists caught

between these co-existing

realities. The same day we're

all here having a great time,

just partying, only a few

blocks away there's buses

burning, bombs exploding,

people rioting with clubs and

sticks and that. So yeah, it's

definitely a weird experience

for sure. Thailand's now

proven unpredictability has

some worried its tourism

industry will never regain its

status as one of the nation's

biggest earners. E expect now

our booking has been cancelled

about 40%. Up on this hill

sits the luxury Pattaya Hotel,

which was easily overrun by the

protesters which shut down an

ASEAN summit. Now, down below,

this man's beach chairs are

mostly empty. TRANSLATION: We

used to have a lot of people

coming here to rent a chair.

But now it is really hard to

find guests. And it's happening

to almost everyone. It's

estimated the rolling crises

could cost at least $6 billion,

and more than 200,000 Thai job.

With an ageing monarch and no long-term solution to Thailand's bitter divide in

sight, the prospect of more

instability in this country is

not really a question of if,

but when.

The former South African President Nelson Mandela has made a surprise public

appearance at a pre-election

rally in South Africa. Mr

Mandela received a hero's

welcome from the crowd of tens

of thousands who were gathered

to support the African National

Congress Party. He turned out

to support the past NC's controversial presidential candidate Jacob Zuma just two

days out from the country's


Jacob Zuma. The man expected to become South Africa's next


There to support him was

former president Nelson

Mandela. Who took the ANC seat

of power 15 years

ago. Comrades, we've achieved a

lot over the last 15 years.

There is still much more to be

done. But the ruling party is

facing its toughest challenge

yet. Its support base is

faltering, and there are

concerns about Jacob Zuma, who

remains tainted with

allegations of corruption. The

prospect of a Zuma presidency

worries one of the country's

most respected figures. It may

be, of course, that he will

find power disciplining him and

making him a little less, shall

we say, volatile. But a

majority of South Africans

remain loyal to the ANC. Now,

for this country to be free,

for whatever time in the

future, it needs the ANC! This

country, no matter what

majority the ANC receives, can

in safe hands, and nothing will

ever go wrong. Polling

suggests the ANC will win this

election in a landslide, but

with a reduced majority. The

party of Nelson Mandela still

has a firm grip on power. You're watching ABC News for

Australia Network. Coming up -

Fijian expats rally to restore

democracy in their homeland.

And - Red Bull racks up its

maiden Grand Prix victory with

a one-two podium finish in


Afghanistan gan President

Hamid Karzai says the US should

not attempt to negotiate with

Taliban insurgents without

approval from his government.

Mr Karzai's warning came as the

commander of US and NATO forces

in Afghanistan apologised for

military mistakes that may have

caused civilian deaths. For the

second time in thee days, Hamid

Karzai has demanded an

explanation from Washington

after allegations of civilian

deaths related to US military

activities. We take every care

that we can and we're

constantly reviewing our

procedures to try to min pies

the risk of - --

minimise the risk of civilian

casualties during our operations. But we could make

mistakes from time to time

based on bad information or

procedure, and I apologise for

those mistakes and we

constantly try to avoid those

mistakes. The issue is a strained one with the Afghan

government demanding more

consultation on the movements

of the US-led international forces, including dealing with

the threat of the Taliban

insurgency, as elections

loom. In my mind, the Taliban

and other enemies of

Afghanistan will attack the

people and try to influence

those elections, we are

committed to free, fair, creditable elections in

August. It's a similar story

in neighbouring Pakistan.

Islamabad has strongly

criticised US military

activities, including unmanned

drones used to strike militant

targets which have hit

civilians. The strikes have prompted retaliatory suicide

bomb attacks by the Taliban.

This one in Pakistan's north

west killed 27 people, most of

them security forces. The insurgency's growing success

has taken Washington and Kabul

by surprise and given greater

opportunity for Islamic hardliners without ties to the

Taliban to press their own

causes. Thousands gathered at

the weekend in the swat Valerie --

in the Swat Valley where there

has been a return to sharia

law. The government should

announce the implementation of

Islamic law in real form.

International donor nations are

hoping $5 billion pledged last

week to Pakistan will hasten

development and security and in

turn dry up support for


Indian security forces have shot and killed three members

of a Pakistani militants group.

It's not clear if the incident

is linked to the country's

general elections but security

forces have been placed on high

alert during the four weeks of

voting. Indian police say the

militants belonged to

Lashkar-e-Toiba and were killed

in a gun battle. The dead have been identified as two male

mill tants and a female

associate known as Zahida. She

used to help the militants

quite openly so I used to tell

them, let's get the election

over, there are more women as

well and we'll take action

afterward. Police say they

recover AK-47 rifles and ammunition. India's northern

Jammu and Kashmir is a

sensitive region with Pakistani militants crossing the border

where they've been blamed for a

number of terror activities.

Security has been stepped up in

many parts of India for the

world's biggest democratic

elections which are taking

place over four weeks. In the

northern city of Agara, river

patrols are being plan around

the historic Taj

Mahal. TRANSLATION: The level

of water in the river is low

these days, so we are making

news of pickets only to keep

watch on the monument. As soon

as the water level rises in the

river, we'll start using these

boats. Security has been

steadily increased around the

Taj Mahal since November's

Mumbai terror attacks.

In an unusual move, the

Iranian President has

intervened in the case of an

American Iranian journalist who has been jailed for eight years. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has

called on the Jew dish tree to

ensure that Roxana Saberi is

treated fairly. The sentence

will be appealed and the US

President has urged Tehran to

free her. 31-year-old Roxana

Saberi was arrested in January

and charged with spying for the

US. Five days after her trial

began in Iran's revolutionary

court she was sentenced to

eight years' jail. The US

President Barack Obama has

spoken against her

imprisonment, saying he's

confident she's not government

in espionage. She is an Iranian

American who was interested in

the country which her family

came from. And it is

appropriate for her to be

treated as such and to be

released. Iran's President has

also spoken out, saying the

freelance journalist must be

allowed to offer a full defence

at her appeal hearing. He has

told Iranian prosecutors to do

what they can to ensure justice

is done. Ms Saberi's sentence

has added a new strain to

relations between Iran and the

US which wants to end a 30-year

diplomatic stalemate. NATO

forces have foiled an attack by

Somali pirates on a Norwegian

tanker. Seven men had tried the board the tanker 'Front

Ardenne' but fled throwing

their weapons into the sea.

They were hunted down and

briefly detained by a Canadian

warship. The attack came just

hours after pirates seized a

Belgian vessel carrying 10 crew

members. The 1,000-tonne Pompei

was en route to South Africa

when the captain sounded three

alarms, indicate ing the.ship

was under attack. The news

prompted an emergency meeting

in Belgium, where information about the capture was

scarce. No, there is no radio

contact. There is no sat phone contact. Officials say the

pirates have forced the Belgian

ship to head north towards

Somalia, while a Spanish

military ship, a French frigate

moved closer to try to

intercept the 'Pompei'. We're

trying to have a good

information position, and there

are two French ships in the

neighbourhood. There is a

Spanish ship in the

neighbourhood. And we are sure

that this ship now is heading

to the coast of Somalia. The

high-seas drama has again

underscored the dangers off the

coast of Somalia and east

Africa. Despite the best

efforts of an international

flotilla that includes warships

from the United States, Japan

and the European Union. In

recent months Somalia sea gangs

have captured dozens of ships,

taken sailors prisoner and made

off with tens of millions of

dollars in ransom.

South Korea has accepted the

North's offer to hold talks

about a joint industrial

estate, the first faceo face

meeting between officials of

the two countries in more than

12 months. A unification

ministry spokes come says a 10-strong South Korean

delegation will leave for

Kaesong on Tuesday for the

talks. It's not clear precisely

what the North wants to discuss

about the estate which lies

just over the border in the

North. The estate opened in

2005 as a symbol of

reconciliation. But has been

hit by souring inter-Korean

ties since President Lee

Myung-Bak took office in Seoul

in February last year. Analysts

say the North is likely to warn

that all ties will be cut

indefinite ly in Seoul joins a

US initiative to curb trade in

weapons of mass destruction.

Australia's expat Fijian

community is Mobilising to help

restore democracy in their

homeland A self-described

People's Resistance Movement is urging the Australian

Government to crack down on the

military regime. It wants tough

new economic, diplomatic and

sporting sanctions.

Fiji has many traditions.

Last night, in a small hall

tucked away in Sydney's western

suburbs came something new - a

resistance movement. I am

appealing to you all that our

country Fiji is on fire. And it

is our patriotic duty to put

out that fire. 200 people gathered at short notice to

form a movement for the

restoration of democracy. When

the President of Fiji abrogated

the constitution on April 9,

and appointed Commodore Frank

Bainimarama as Prime Minister,

his former right-hand man fled

his homeland. Soldiers in disguise have been hurling

petrol bombs at the homes of

prominent dissidents like me.

Having already spent time in

jail for his opposition to the coup, Colonel Jone

Baledrokadroka is now living in

exile in Australia. The meeting

last night painted a bleak

picture of Fiji. A country with escalating poverty and

intimidation from the

military. There is not a drop

of optimism left to go round,

particularly when journalists

are being hauled to jail almost

on a daily basis. The new

movement called on the Federal Government to toughen its

stance against the regime. Hit

Frank where it actually hurts

most! They want Australia to

strangle the Fijian tourism

industry by stopping Air

Pacific from flying into

Australia or New Zealand, and

sporting contact with Fiji, and

force Fijian soldiers out of UN

peacekeeping missions. We want

the full sanctions. A spokesman for the Foreign Minister says the Federal

Government does not support

blanket trade sanctions or

sporting bans. But is working

to isolate the military regime.

You're watching ABC News for Australia Network. Our top

story in this bulletin -

Australia and Indonesia have

agreed to intensify cooperation

to tackle the influx of asylum seekers reaching both seekers reaching both countries.

Around the region, we'll

take a look at financial

markets now. New Zealand has

opened higher, looking to capitalise on last week's

biggest gains of the year.

Sports news. Jenson Button's

winning start to the Formula

One season has ended, with a

third-place finish in Shanghai.

The rain-affected race belonged

to the Red Bull team, with

Sebastien Vettel triumphing in

his team's maiden Grand Prix

win. His team-mate Mark Webber

took second. Still raping. Very

much the same as when we were

on the grid. You get the

feeling Lewis Hamilton and the

assembled crowd had probably

spotted the adverse weather

conditions themselves. A

rain-soaked Shanghai meant the

first eight laps were spent

trailing the safety car but on

lan 9 the drivers were let

loose and fires works followed

soon after. Lewis Hamilton

struggled to maintain gip but

at least he stayed in the race,

unlike it. Rulli whose personal

space was invaded in

spectacular fashion by the BMW

of Robert Kubica. Kubica was able to continue.

able to continue. Trulli wasn't

so forth Nate. Sebastien Vettel looked comfortable right from

the moment he started on pole

position. His team-mate Mark

Webber grab second when Jenson

Button lost his grip on the

track. Third place maintains

Button's Championship lead. But

today was all about Red Bull.

Vettel's composure in the most challenging conditions secured

his second race win and Red

Bull's first. Next up, Bahrain,

and probably a much less soggy

affair. Let's hope so! Everton

will meet Chelsea in the FA Cup

final after knocking Manchester

United out overnight in a

penalty shoot-out. The Red Devils rested many of their

stars and went in with a lot of

second-string players. After

120 minutes the teams were

still tied at 0-0. Australian

Tim Cahill missed his spot kick

but so did other United

players. Eventually Everton won

the shoot-out 4-2. Now a check

of the regional weather.

You've been watching ABC

News for Australia Network.

Let's check again our top

stories. Mystery remains over

the cause of last week's asylum

seeker tragedy off Australia's

coast. After an assassination

attempt on one of the protest

leaders, Thailand extends

emergency rule for another

week. And Nelson Mandela's

surprise appearance at a

Johannesburg election rally to

support the ANC's presidential

candidate. That's the bulletin for now. For more news and

current affairs you can go to

our web site. I'm Bev O'Connor.

We'll leave you with cyclists

in Manila encouraging the use

of alternative transport as

they celebrate Earth Day. See

you soon.

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