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Embattled Defence Minister

Joel Fitzgibbon lays a wreath

at America's national semry

ahead of Australia's first

formal discussions with the

Obama administration. Barnaby

Joyce defies burn mull and

leads a division - Malcolm

Turnbull and leads a division

in Coalition ranks over the

government as planned $43

billion broadband network. The

Italian PM toured the

earthquake devastated region of

Abruzzo and agrees to accept

foreign aid as the death toll

from Monday's quake nears 2 70.

And the Central Coast Mariners

go down to Japanese side

Kawasaki in the Asian Champions

League by a whopping 5-nil.

Good morning t is Thursday,

the 9th of April, I am Virginia

Trioli. I am penalty. At

least - Paul Kennedy. At least

260 people are now known to

earthquake in the Abruzzo have died in the Italy

region. The country is in

mourning as the first earthquake victims are laid to

rest. Rescuers continue to

recover bodies from the rubble

and as the BBC's Orla Guerin

reports another 17,000 are

homeless. We took to the air

today to follow the trail of destruction left by the

earthquake. Below us pockets

of total devastation. This was

student housing in the town of

L'Aquila. Among the bodies

recovered here, a young couple

who died side-by-side. And

here - the village of Ona,

where it is believes 40 lost

their lives. Many of them

children. It took just 30

seconds to do all this. Homes,

businesses, and historic

landmarks devoured and everyone

here knows it could happen

again. From this vantage point

you really get a sense of the

scale of the destruction. It

stretches across 26 towns and

vilyanls. And - villages and

rebuilding could take years.

In places entire blocks have

been reduced to rubble. And

down at ground level there is

still a great deal of fear,

because after-shocks are

continuing. Below us a new

feature on the landscape. The

blue tented camps set up to

house 20,000 people. After

seeing things for himself,

Italy's PM, Silvio Berlusconi,

compared living like this to a

spot of camping. TRANSLATION:

They have everything they need.

They have medical attention.

They have hot meals. There's

shelter at night. It is like a

weekend of camping. A-among

the residents we found a

different view. Marella shares

this tent with 13 members of

her family. This is where she

sleeps, four to a bed. At night temperatures can drop to

freezing. There are no showers

and her children are

traumatised. TRANSLATION: I

think Mr Berlusconi should come

here. And try living here for

himself. Some are now going

home. Briefly, to recover

whatever they can. Bundling up

their lives possessions, not

sure if or when they will be

back. But amidst the suffering

and the loss an extraordinary

rescue last night. A

20-year-old student. Elanora

Cassaline cared away, alive and

conscious after 42 hours in the

rubble. 10 men have been

arrested in Britain after a

security blunder by the

country's most senior counter

terrorism police officer. He was carrying a secret document

as he arrived at a briefing at 10 Downing Street and he was

photographed by the media.

Police raided premises in

Manchester, Liverpool and

smaller centres in the

north-west of England, we will

bring you more on this soon.

Divisions on Coalition rankses

appear to be widening this

morning over the broadband

plan. Barnaby Joyce says his

government to ensure people in party may work with the

regional areas get the best

deal and two senior Liberals in

state politics, Troy Buswell

ranks over Malcolm Turnbull and Will Hodgman will break

over the issue. The next major

indicator of the state of the

Australian economy comes later

this morning with the release

of the latest unemployment

figure, analysts are tipping

the jobless rate will rise to

5.5%. If that's the case it would mean 25,000 people lost

their jobs in March. And as we

have been hearing Italian PM

Silvio Berlusconi has toured

the earthquake shattered city

of L'Aquila overnight. He has

dismissed criticism of the handling of the disaster but

has agreed to now accept

foreign aid. 267 people are

known to have died. The number

of homeless stands at 17,000.

Good Friday has been declared a

national day of mourning.

American crew members have

taken their hijacked shipped

off the coast of Somalia. The

ship which was carrying UN food

aid was seized by at least four

armed men. It is believed when

the pirates were tackled by the

members of the 20-strong crew

they toop took the skipper

hostage in a lifeboat. Steven

Smith and Joel Fitzgibbon have

arrived in Washington

overnight. Ahead with formal

discussions with the Obama

administration. Both with meet

with the US Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton and defence

secretary Robert Gates this

evening, Australia's engagement with Afghanistan will be at the

top of the agenda at the annual

Ausmin meeting. For now we are

joined by Washington

correspondent Michael Rowland.

This will be the meeting where

we are finally asked the

send more troops to question - could you please

Afghanistan? I don't think so.

I think when the request comes,

and it is coming, Steven Smith

said before leaving Australia

he fully expected the US to tap

Australia for more, be it

combat troops or military

trainers in the not too distant

future. When it comes it will

be a direct request from Barack

Obama to Kevin Rudd but I think

there is going to be a lot of

sounding out at this meeting.

The Robert Gates is certainly

going to brief Steven Smith and

Joel Fitzgibbon on the new US

strategy in Afghanistan.

Barack Obama has recently

dispatched more than 20,000

additional US troops to the

country and also he wants to

increase the focus on going

after al-Qaeda and Taliban

safety havens in the tribunal

areas of Pakistan. An issue

that Kevin Rudd and Steven

Smith have been very concerned

about for some time now. The

other issues of course North

Korea and Barack Obama's desire

to enter into a big nuclear

non-proliferation treaty in

alliance with a number of other

countries and given our

situation in Asia, the North

Korea situation for us is top

priority too. It is deep

concern to the Obama

administration as well and that

is going to be one of the issues front and centre when

the ministers from the two

country s get around a table

tomorrow. Expect to see the Australian ministers not only

express concern about North

Korea's missile launch, of this

last week, but also to express

very vigorous support for

president Obama's move for

nuclear disarmament around the

record and very strong - world

and very strong support for the

US to sign the comprehensive

nuclear test ban treaty. He is hope ing to do that some time

this year, he is suspected to

face some opposition within the

US Senate but the Australian Government is full throttle

behind these attempts by the

world superpower to rid the

globe of nuclear weapons. Joel

Fitzgibbon the defence mintion

we are describing this morning

as embattled. That's an accurate description of him.

The story that dogs him in

Australia has not gone away.

Clearly it is going to follow

him to Washington as well?

This is the story about his relationship with Chinese woman

Helen Liu and the Fairfax

papers are this morning reporting a bank account that

Ms Liu used to pay donations to

Joel Fitzgibbon in his 1998

re-election campaign was at the

time funded by the Chinese

government. So this will

increase the concerns about

Joel Fitzgibbon's political

future. His first trip here

today was to the Arlington

national cemetery. It is

always a bad look for a minister skirting with

political death to go anywhere

near a cemetery. This trip was

arranged well in advance of

this ministerial meeting. Joel Fitzgibbon laid a wreath at the

tomb of the unknown soldier.

He got the full porch and ser -

Pomp and military treatment.

There was a band that played

the US and Australian national

anthems but expect him to face

renewed questions over the next

couple of hours. It will not

effect our troop numbers in

Afghanistan and dealing with

North Korea but perception wise

it will overshadow this trip

and it will detract from the

meeting. All the headlines

about him digging his own

political grave. They will be

un avoidable. Returning to

other federal politics now and

the government's broadband plan

is causing friction within the

Coalition this morning. For

more Ben Worsley joins us from Canberra, good morning. Good

morning, nice to see you

finally got a proper job.

Thanks. Barnaby Joyce, it

couldn't be he is causing the

Coalition more headaches? He

has also got a proper job. He

is the leader of the NBLs -

nationals in the Senate and for

all intensive purpose he is

sounding like the man of

reason. He says he inspect -

doesn't like the government's

broadband plan but says the

Coalition will be more sensible

in trying to alter it and

improve it rather than to block

it. He sounds at odds again

with his Coalition leadership.

Malcolm Turnbull, while

reserves the Coalition's final

decision on opposing or

supporting the broadband plan,

would look pretty silly back away from his vehement

opposition of it. So you would

expect him to stick to his

guns, so again there does seem

to be friction within the

Coalition. Added to Barnaby

Joyce's comments, Troy Buswell,

the Western Australian

Treasurer, a Liberal, is

supportive of the broadband

plan. So is Will Hodgman, the

Tasmanian Liberal leader. So

that isn't great news nor - for Malcolm Turnbull who continues

to try to herd the cats within

his own party. It mustn't be

forgotten the temptation is

always to focus on a split

divided Coalition. It is the

government that is in charge

and it should be pointed out

the government yesterday

conceded there is no real business plan for this

broadband idea. The cost may

well blow-out to a massive

amount of money. They did

break an election promise and

they did completely stuff up

the tender process. So while

we are all very tempted to keep

an eye on a divided Coalition

the main game is how the

government is handling this

massive infrastructure project.

And the other big story seems

to be today that another ALP

figure has been dragged kicking

and screaming into the row over

credit cards and who used what

when. Can you give background

to this? This is very, very

messy. We will start with

Craig Thomson. He is a former

health services union official.

He won the NSW central coast

seat of Dobell in the last

election by quite a small

margin. He is seen as a Labor

rising star and he is head of the House of Representatives

economics committee, which is a reasonably prestigious post for someone new to parliament. It

has been alleged that while he

was at the HSU a union credit

card in his name was used to,

A, bank roll some of his

election attempts, his election

campaign, withdrawal $100,000

worth of money over five years,

and used at certain escort

agencies. He is vehemently

denying those accusations as

false. They are been

investigated by the industrial

registrar as we speak. The opposition wants him to stand away from his parliamentary position in the meantime.

Which he is not. Another

another HSU official has been

dragged into this. Geoff

Jackson is an Victorian

official in the same union. It

is now been alleged, leaked by

one of his factional enemies

his credit card has also been

used at the same escort agency.

It is an allegation in the Australian newspaper. Last

night police were called to a union meeting in Melbourne,

because it descended into a

brawl. A security guard apparently received minor

injuries. The police say "it

was a highly emotive meeting

with lots of verbal abuse".

You can imagine how much fun

John Howard would have had, had

he still been PM when a story

like this broke. Unions, it

seems, to be behaving rather badly in that case anyway.

Just finally, is it likely to

be damaging for the Labor

Party? Or is it just another

one of these nasty factional

fights? Hard to tell. I mean,

it is - it does damage the

reputation - I mean mud does

stick in these cases obviously.

So for Craig Thomson is is an unfortunate look as much as he

is denying the allegations.

One of the incoming Presidents

of the ALP nationally is also

connected to the HSU and he is

linked closely to Craig

Thomson. So it is not a good

look for him either. But you

know, at this stage it does

look like union shenanigans,

albeit a rather expensive and

distasteful shenanigans, it is

a bit too early to say whether

it will claim a political scalp

at this stage. Leave it there.

Thanks for your time Ben. Talk

to you later. Let's look at

the front pages of the major

newspapers. 'The Australian'

reports a big jump in consumer

confidence is raising hopes

Australia will avoid the worst

of the global down turn. As we

have been hearing from Ben

Worsley gun union officials

believe credit cards will used

to spent at least $104,000 on

federal MP's Craig Thomson

political campaign reports the

'Sydney Morning Herald'. The

huvrn says North Melbourne stars Adam Simpson and Daniel

Pratt have been revealed as the

ringleaders hend a chicken -

behind a chicken sex video.

That outraged fans and the AFL.

Australian and AFL leaders

will meet in Melbourne today to

discuss the possibility of

staging games at the

redeveloped Adelaide oval says

the Adelaide 'Advertiser'.

The 'Daily Telegraph' says

worshipsers have been ordered

to remove Bibles, crucifixes

and other religious symbols to

avoid offending other religions

in a hospital chapel. The

'Canberra Times' The 'West Australian' says an Indonesian

boat carrying 45 asylum seekers

snuck through Australia's

multi-billion dollar border

protection and apparentlily

casually docked at Christmas

Island. Traders in Hobart's CBD

have told a save our city

meeting they were regularly

subjected to abuse, threats and

violence. Says the 'Mercury'. The 'Courier Mail' says

funding could be stripped from

Australian aged care homes in a

radical aged care overhaul been

considered by the government.

Nt The Northern Territory News

reports on a government plan to

establish a 50km croc free zone

by capturing or killing every saltwater crocodile around

Darwin. Every single one? All

crocs. And the 'Financial

Review' promises to reveal

Rudd's big Easter surprise.

And there he is wearing fish nets and looking really

charming. If you would like to

send your feed back on any news

stories today -

Let's look at the top stories

now on ABC News Breakfast - embattled Defence Minister Joel

Fitzgibbon is laying a wreath

at America's national cemetery

ahead of Australia's first formal discussions with the

Obama administration. Mr Fitzgibbon and Foreign Affairs

Minister Steven Smith are due

to meet with US secretary of

State Hillary Clinton tonight

for the annual Ausmin talks.

Barnaby Joyce defies Malcolm

Turnbull and leads a division

in Coalition ranks over the

government's planned $43

billion broadband network. The

national Senate leader says his

party would work with the

government to ensure people in

regional areas get the best

deal possible. Italian PM

Silvio Berlusconi visits the

earthquake devastated city of

L'Aquila. And finally agrees

to accept foreign aid. 267

people have now been confirmed


British officers policing

the London G-20 summit could

face criminal charges over the

death of a man caught up in

those protests. 47-year-old

Ian Tomlinson was pushed to the

ground by a police officer and

died shortly after. He hadn't

been protesting the summit, a

second post-mortem has now been

ordered and an independent

inquiry has already begun as

the BBC's Daniel Sandford

reports. This is Ian Tomlinson

caught up in last week's G-20

demo s a newspaper seller

trying to get home from work.

But then comes the moment

caught on camera that turned

this investigation on its head.

A police officer in a riot

helmet pushing him forcefully

to the ground. You don't see

which part of his body hits the

ground hardest but he is age to

remonstrate with officers

afterwards. in slow motion you

can see he has his hands in his

pockets and that the Metropolitan Police service

officer strikes him on the leg

with his baton and then shoves

him in the back. That's not

correct policing. You know.

There was no need for that. It

will be different if he was

facing the police officer, then

- but he wasn't. He had his

hand in his pocket. You can

see how he pushed him to the

floor. It was unnecessary.

This metropolitan police

officer is the centre of the

inquiry, not least because he

used his baton but city of

London officers were also there

and that's the force that's

been doing the investigating.

So now it has been taken back

in house by the independent

police complaints commission.

The commission is to

independently investigate the

alleged assault by police on Ian Tomlinson, shortly before

his death. The investigation

will also look into whether that contact may have

contributed to his death.

People are rightly concerned

about this tragic death and

footage of the incident is

clearly disuring. Ian

Tomlinson was walking home at 7 o'clock that evening, when his

way was blocked by the

demonstration. 15 minutes

later as he tried to work his

way around, he was turn itted

back by police. - at 7:20 he

was pushed over. Currently the

crucial moment in this

investigation. He managed to

get up, but five minutes later

he collapsed and was dead on

arrival at hospital. This is

the doorway where Ian Tomlinson

collapsed from a heart attack

and subsequently died. The big

question now is to what extent

his encounter with the police

just a few minutes earlier

caused that heart attack. It

certainly is possible. People

who have underlying heart

disease, if they suffer any

kind of emotional trauma, even

without physical injury, that

can provoke a heart attack.

They there now be a second post-mortem examination while

investigators try to identify

the officer involved and look

at allegations that Ian Tomlinson had already been

assaulted by police. His wife

says that his four daughters

just want to know what


To finance news now and

Australia's jobless rate is

expected to rise again as the government prepares to release

new figures today. Australian

National University economist

Andrew Lee told 'Lateline' it

would be up likely employment will grow again in the

short-term. It will be very

surprising to see it drop on

the other side as fast as it

has gone up. The standard line

with unemployment is it goes up

and left and comes down the

stairs. That's a real problem

for us because of the human

cost of slow unemployment coming back down. You are talking about people who are

out of jobs for years and

years. School levers who are

not able to find work. So we need to think about clever

policies to put in place. And

perhaps more educational

investment to try and

accelerate the movement of unemployment back down after

its peaked. Economic fallout we have probably got a

little way to go. I think some

of this fall out will be a

lagged response. Let's take

the unemployment side for example. We know unemployment

is a lagging economic indicator but it is a very

policy-sensitive one. So as unemployment continues to rise

in Australia I think there will

be seen an imperative to

provide further monetary policy

support, and that means further

interest rate cuts in the next

couple of months. That was

Richard gibs from Macquarie's

speaking on Australia Network's

news hour last night. There

are renewed fears the home

owner scheme could create a subprime mortgage crisis here.

It could see many young

borrowers defaulting on their

loans. Australia might be

flirting with recession but the

latest housing finance figures

are at an 11 month high. It is

good news on the surface,

however underneath alarm bell s

are ringing for some. Think we

are potentially building a disaster here that these first

home buyers rushing into a

market, the banks lending them

money that perhaps they might

want to think twice about.

There is going to be

consequences down the track.

Those loans have been made

against the background of an

economy that's rapidly slowing.

Our forecast is unemployment

is going to at least 9%

sometime during 2010.

Unfortunately the demographic

of the people losing their job,

pretty closely matches the

demographic of first home

buyers. The lower experienced,

lower skills, these are

probably the people most

inclined to lose their jobs

over the next two years. The

release of the housing finance

figures for February coincided

with the 9th annual survey of

the mortgage industry conducted

by JP Morgan and Fujitsu

consulting, they believe the

first home owners grants are

creating a bubble that will

eventually burst. We did

modelling over the 25,000 first

home buyers last year. Around

45,000 of them actually used

the first home buyer grant.

Our modelling will suggest

around 40,000 of them could

actually be in severe stress

within the next year or so. Because of unemployment and

because of interest rates.

Which will rise anding be a huge problem for those stretching themselves to get

into houses at the current low

interest rates. It all

suggests the recovery of the

Australian economy might take

longer than many are hoping. I

think it distorts the down turn

and I think it probably

cushions the blow to the

economy near term because we

are artificially in-flighting

part of the economy. But -

in-flighting part of the

economy - in-flighting part of

the economy but it makes the up

the economy but it makes the up

swing much more subdued. The

big banks who underwrite the

vast majority of first home

loans are aware of the risks

and are talking steps to

protect themselves by refusing

to accept government grants as

a deposit. They are saying

you need a relevant savings

history over a sustained period

above and beyond any one-off

gifts or first home owners

grant contributions. Not

withstanding that caution the

big four are lentding at least

90% of the value of first homes

which Scot Manning believes

poses a threat. Everyone is

focusing on the up coming

reporting season through the

end of this month. The more

interesting point will look at that

that underlying level of

deterioration through the end

of this year and beyond. With

so much uncertainty continuing

on the housing industry Fujitsu

predicts house prices will keep

falling for the next 12 to 18

months despite activity create

ed by the first home owners

scheme. All stocks are trading


The Dow is up by more than

0.5%. The

Now in a few minutes Vanessa

O'Hanlon will be here with a

look at the national weather

for the Easter weekend. Also

ahead, we will have a review of

the morning's newspapers. This morning we

morning we will be joined by

the deputy editor of the 'Age'

Andrew Rule but here is Luke Waters. The Central Coast Mariners have suffer aid

humiliate ing overnice loss in

the Asian Champions League.

The 5-nil defeat at the hands

of Kawasaki is the worst in the

club's four year history. It

is well done. Tesse. The

North Korean who can't stop

scoring at the moment. Worked

on set piece. They can get on

the wrong side. It comes off

the back post. A player there

on the back post. It is Shane

Uke. It is Tamagochi. It is

Mori. Squares it up. Deflected. Goal.

Kawasaki three. The

mariners-nil. Kawasaki may be

just too good. They have been

at the moment. Look at the

space here. Nakamora. Who

finish s. Too easy for Kawasaki. Wonderful movement.

Clinical finish. It goes from

bad to worse for central coast.

bad to worse for central coast.

Turned it over. Make it is

five. Kawasaki in 7th heaven.

And central coast have been

ripped to shreds again. Still

on the world game and Liverpool

took an early lead in the much

an - anticipated game against

Chelsea. The visitors rallied

and a few minutes ago took a

3-1 lead. Cleverly. It is

Tollis. Inside six minutes.

Right place, right time.

It's a sea of red. There it

is. The away goal for Chelsea.

It has come from Ivanovic.

Ivanovic gets it and then he

gets in front and he beats

Rena. Great effort. Great

effort by the full-back coming

forward. The surfing now and

all the favourites have made it

through to round two in the

women's section of the Bells

Easter Surf Classic. Organise

ers decided to press on despite

flatter than expected

conditions. Disappointing

swell and on shore winds kept

waves to under a metre. It was

a good day for the Australian

Stephanie Gilmore. Lane

Beachley and Chelsea Hedge se,

made it through to day two.

Two faces are looking

threatening. Stephanie Gilmore

and Lane are still alive in the

competition and this is what

they had to say. It feels good

to get a good start. The waves

were pretty hard out there this

morning and you had to work to

get some form of points out of

each wave. So a little tiring.

But feels good. I have surfed

a little bit with Nicky and she

is really mature for 14. It is

always obviously in the back of

my mind somewhere that I have

got to step it up and really

work hard to win. So it was a

good heat to start off the

event. And hopefully I will

just continue on. Lane is back

and she is probably more hungry

than anyone to show everyone,

even though she is retired she

is still surfing better than

ever. She got decent waves in

her heat. There has been a lot of hype about the juniors over

the year, I have surfed about

four generations of the new

guard but I think the new girls

this year, specially Sally,

Bruna Page are deserving of the

hype. And it was great to see

the young girls give it to the

older more experienced ones.

But I am sure everybody will be

looking forward to a bit of pay

back down there. 7 time world

champ Lane Beachley there. She

is semi-retired believe it or

not. Another great story was

Chelsea Hedges another former

champion from the Gold Coast. And she has actually taken a

year off. She has had a baby

and come back. She won

yesterday. Mixing with elite surfers pretty good effort.

You see that often with female

athletes, once they do have

kids, they tend to come back

stronger. Yes t is actually -

there has been research done

into that, biologically it is

of great significance to them

and actually helps them

physically. So it is fabulous

that she has done that. We are

going to be chatting with that

young 14-year-old surfer on the

program later on. It should be

terrific to get her story. It will be an interesting

interview. It is to get her

insight who has been her

childhood hero. Stephanie

Gilmore. We have to assume it

is Layne don't we? True. I think today the conditions

aren't expected to be much chop

again. And they may even have

a couple of lay days over the

next couple of days but later

in the show we will know

exactly how things are shaping

up. Thanks for that. ABC News

Breakfast can be watched live

on the web from anywhere. Just visit -

Now Vanessa O'Hanlon joins us

for the weather. And it is lots of rain up there in Queensland? That's right. It

looks like it will be a wet

Easter. Heavy rains will

develop today over the north

tropical coast. Tomorrow and Saturday they will extend into

the south. Some minor falls

are expected over the

south-west. A large high

continues its journey over the

southern Tasman Sea. That is

maintaining the ridge across

the north-east and weakening

that inland trough. The trough

with south-westerly winds will

push shower and storms over

Queensland and go into the

territory. We also have a

second trough over in the west.

That will bring a weak cool

change to the south west. The cloud through western Queensland and the Northern

Territory will trigger a few

storms. Low cloud over eastern

Queensland will give a few

coastal showers and the jet

stream over WA, NSW and

southern WA won't cause any


For NSW a little bit foggy

about the ranges and coasts

this morning with isolated showers north of Sydney. Chance of afternoon storms in

the far west. Victoria early

morning cloud and fog in the southern areas. It will clear

to a fine and mostly sunny day.

Sunny conditions up north as

well. Tasmania - light patchy

drizzle developing over the

west and northern parts of the

state. Otherwise a cool to

mild day with cloudy periods.

In SA, starting the the day

off with early morning fog and frost patches over the agricultural region. Early

morning light showers over the

lower south-east coast. WA -

there is isolated drizzle over

the south and south-east

coastal parts, Perth will

experience its 7th consecutive

day of over 28. Fine for the

north of WA. For Victoria

river and western Alice Springs

it will be fine. Rest of the

Territory can expect isolated

showers and storms. Now, for

the all-important start to the

Easter break. And it is

looking Brit prity good. Shun

will be shining in - sun will

be shining in Sydney.

Melbourne and Adelaide. See you in half an hour.

You are watching ABC News

Breakfast. At least 260 people

are now known to have died in

the Italy earthquake in the

Abruzzo region. Italian PM

Silvio Berlusconi has toured

the disaster zone and shrugged

off criticism of his handling of the disaster. Good Friday

has been declared a day of

national mourning across Italy. As Orla Guerin reports from the

BBC, tens of thousands of

homeless people are facing many

more days in the open air. We

took to the air today to follow

the trail of destruction left

by the earthquake. Below us,

pockets of total devastation.

This was student housing in

the town of L'Aquila. Among

the bodies recovered here, a

young couple who died

side-by-side. And here - the

village of Ona, where it is

believe ed 40 lost their lives.

Many of them children. It took

just 30 seconds to do all this.

Homes, businesses, and

historic landmarks devoured.

And everyone here knows it

could happen again. From this

vantage point you really get a

sense of the scale of the

destruction. It stretches

across 26 towns and villages.

And rebuilding could take

years. In places entire blocks have been reduced to rubble.

And down at ground level there

is still a great deal of fear,

because after shocks are

continuing. Below us a new

feature on the landscape. The

blue tented camps set up to

house 20,000 people. After

seeing things for himself,

Italy's PM Silvio Berlusconi compared living like this to a

spot of camping. Trance


everything they need. They

have medical attention. They

have hot meals. There is

shelter at night. It's like a

weekend of camping. Among the residents we found a different

view. Marella shares this tent

with 13 members of her family.

This is where she sleeps, four

to a bed. At night

temperatures can drop to

freezing. There are no showers

and her children are

traumatised. TRANSLATION: I

think Mr Berlusconi should come

here. And try living here for

himself. Some are now going

home. Briefly, to recover

whatever they can. Bundling up

their life's possessions. Not

sure if or when they will be

back. But amidst the suffering

and the loss an extraordinary

rescue last night. A

20-year-old student, Elanora

Cassalini carried away alive

and conscious after 42 hours

beneath the rubble. In other news this morning, Britain's

most senior counter terrorism

police officer is at the centre

of a security blunder. Bob

quick was photographed carrying

a secret document as he arrived

for a briefing at 10 Downing

Street earlier this week. That

forced police to stage a series

of raids in the north-west of

England and they have arrested

10 people. Embattled Defence

Minister Joel Fitzgibbon and Foreign Affairs Minister Steven

Smith are in Washington for

Australia's first formal

discussions with the Obama administration. Joel

Fitzgibbon and Steven Smith are

due to meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

tonight for the annual Ausmin

talks. Divisions in Coalition

ranks appear to be enning this

morning over the government's

$43 billion broadband plan. The National

The National Senate leader

Barnaby Joyce says his party

may work with the government to

ensure people in regional areas

get the best deal possible and

two senior Liberals in state

politic, Western Australian

Treasurer Troy Buswell and

Tasman leader Will Hodgman have

also broken ranks with Malcolm

Turnbull over the issue. American crew members have retaken their hijacked ship off

the coast of Somalia. But

their captain is still being

held by pirates. The 'Maersk Alabama', which

Alabama', which is carrying UN

food aid, was seized by at

least four armed men. It is

believed when the pirates were

tackled by members of the 20-strong crew they took the

skipper hostage in a lifeboat.

And up to 100,000

demonstrators have taken to the

streets of Thailand's captain

Bangkok. Their supporters of

the ousted PM Thaksin

Shinawatra. They are demanding

the immediate resignation of

the current PM along with

members of the Thai privy

council who they claim forced

Mr Chin Shinawatra from office.

The Thai government says the

ASEAN summit will go ahead

tomorrow in Pattaya despite the protests. The Federal

Government is under pressure to

explain how a boat of suspected

asylum seekerers was able to

sail to Christmas Island

undetected. It docked there

without being spotted by

border protection ships and

aircraft. Andrew O'Connor

joins us from the ABC's Perth

news room. Gorge. Good

morning. What What can you

tell us about this ship? We

understand it was a wooden

boat. Small wooden fishing

boat flying an Indonesian flag

and carrying 38 people. A mix

of men, women and children.

The locals spotted it as it

tied up to a jetty at a place

called flying fish Cove. The

people on board why able to get

off the boat. Undetected.

Walk around the jetty for some

part-time - time. Perhaps an

hour. Before they were met

with customs authority. There

was a Custom boat in the area.

But they were planning to land

another group of asylum seekers

so it didn't see this wooden

fishing boat sail into

Christmas Island. Just how

this boat managed to slip past

isn't clear yet. Nor how it

slip ed past the surveillance

system. Will is - there are concerns that this is the third

boat in many as many weeks.

Two off WA and one was detected

in the Torres Strait. That makes three. There are

concerns this is a new wave of

asylum seekers I guess? Yes,

we have had five I think since

the start of the year. So I think it's probably quite

embarrassing for the government

at this point. Only a week ago Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus

was trup petting the

intercession of that boat off Ashmore Island how the

surveillance system was working

effectively, both land, sea and

air. The minister wasn't

available for comment

yesterday. He has been in the

Solomon Islands but a spokes

woman was offering a slightly

different interpretation of the latest arrival says the

government's priority is to

prevent these boat reaching the

mainland and that is what

happened on this occasion. But

they are left with a political

problem. They were under a lot

of pressure last year from the Federal opposition over what is

portray ed at that time as a

surge. 148 in 2007, somewhere

around 170, 180 last year and

225 arrivals in the first few months of this year. Even

though those numbers are

miniscule by international

stand arts I think they are

left with a practical and

political problem. Particular

ly if they keep coming in and

landing on the jetty. I read

in the morning they were

walking around on that jetty to

be spotted by a couple of

bemused residents there. The

locals were out for a swim.

One bloke tolds yesterday he

normally has a swim around 5:30

and basically the authorities

on the island were trying to

coral these people together and

head them off to the detention

centre in full view of the

locals. How the governments

will respond to this they will

process these individuals, they

usually try to gather

intelligence, they will try to

make sense how this little boat

was able to slip past the

surveillance and review existing arrangements and

decide what, if anything needs

to change. Thanks very much

for that. Andrew O'Connor in

the ABC's news room. The sun

is up in Sydney and hundreds of

people are starting a mass yoga

session on Bondi Beach. I wish

I was there. As well as the

mass calming effect the event

will raise money for the surf

life saving movement. For more

Charlotte Glennie joins us. I

am here but I am not doing the

yoga. Come on, show me your

tree pose. Do the tree. No.

Look I was a - I am ashamed to

admit I realised when I watched

all these people gathering this

morning I don't think I have

ever woken up at 6 o'clock in

the morning to do yoga. But a

lot of people are different to

that. And it's a great start

for them, for this long Easter

weekend. They are here,

hundreds of them, practising

poses. The sun came up just a

short time ago. I am joined by

Rebecca Atenboruogh and she is

the organiser of this event.

What's it all about? This has

begun a community class. It's

a free class we put on for the

community. We want to

encourage people to get out.

Try activities in the local

area, meet new people and

celebrate what it means to be

part of our community. We have got hundreds of people down

here today taking part in a

free yoga class. It is for

everyone, people long time

devoties to yoga, and people

who have never tried it before

in their life. It is a great opportunity to try something

new and meet new people. Why

have you held it here? It is

such a significant place, such

a beautiful area and what's

better than getting up so early

in the morning and watching the

unsunrise over the ocean, so

bright and early and we have

been blessed with fantastic

weather today. It has been

great. And you are raising

money in this event? For

Australian lifesaver, we are

fund-raising for them. We are

collecting from passers by and

taking donations from people

take part in the free community

class today. What are the

benefits of yoga in general?

Overall health benefit, not

only just practising with other

people, who can very much be a

part of your community and

engage with other people can

very much increase happiness

and well-being, but the

benefits for relaxing the body

and really sort of building

strength in your body. Good.

That's all about why hundreds

of people have come down here

this morning to Bondi Beach to

join this big yoga session.

Get into it. It will be good

for you! Yog a's relaxing but

to do it on Bondi Beach

probably is cheating I think.

You think so? Looks

absolutely gorgeous there.

During the break we will do a

few downward-facing dogs here I

think. You wouldn't think we

were stretching as we were

sitting here. We do, in our private moments we get to roll

it back a little bit. You are

watching ABC News Breakfast.

Let's take a look at the top

stories now - 267 people have

now been confirmed dead from

the Italy earth quake. Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has

visited the city of L'Aquila

overnight and he has finally agreed to accept foreign aid.

Barnaby Joyce defies Malcolm

Turnbull and leads a division in Coalition ranks over the

government's planned $43

billion broadband network.

The national Senate leader

says his party should work with

the government to ensure people

in regional areas get the best

deal possible. And Foreign

Minister Steven Smith and the embattled Defence Minister Joel

Fitzgibbon have arrived in

Washington overnight ahead of Australia's first formal

discussions with the Obama

administration. Both men will

meet with the US Secretary of

State Hillary Clinton and

defence secretary Robert Gates this evening.

They were hoping for half a million people to come out on

to the streets but the

organisers behind protests in

Bangkok yesterday remained

determined to continue their

campaign to oust the current

Thai government. More than

100,000 protesters did join the

protest, answering the call of

former convicted PM Thaksin

Shinawatra. Karen Percy

reports. They heeded the call

from all across the country.

Thousands headed to back cock

to continue - Bangkok to continue their campaign to

force the government out.

The united front for democracy against dictate

ership has been holding regular

rallies, every since the change

of government in December. Its

members have been camped out at

Government House for the past

two weeks. They feel leak they

haven't been treated fairly and

wi are hoping by showing up in

force we can demonstrate they

are a group of people who disagree with how this

government was formed

illegally. Thousands of

protesters broke away from the

main group to rally outside the

home of Jenral Prem Tisanoloda.

The protesters accuse him and

another privy counselor,

general Julenonor orchestrating

the 2006 military coup which

depozed their leader Thaksin

Shinawatra. This I have been

masting minding the -

masterminding the interference

and we thought that role wasn't

in the constitution so we

thought what he did was

unconstitutional. Mr

Shinawatra now lives in exile

but there is little doubt he is

the man driving this campaign.

He is a very good man. He is

ever - very good everything.

He can do everything. He can

make everything. He can call

everything here. But he has been

been convicted of corruption.

No. Thaksin is one of us.

He is not the leader but he is

politic with us. OK and then

the people would like to hear

what he say. That's why he

come. I believe that he does

one of our democracy. He is

another one wise. Mr Thaksin

has made regular video link-ups

with his supporters and is

expected to press them to

continue their campaign. We

think of him as a part of a

Democrat ic figure who has been

demonised by this government

and the court and the patron

system close to the palace in

order to take down the

Democratic system. The

protesters say they will

continue to pressure the

government until it steps down.

government until it steps down.

These are the people who

voted for the government which

was in December. They say the

kingdom's elite have

effectively stacked the

judicial and political systems

against the will of the

manuality of the people. Per -

majority of the people. In my

opinion democracy doesn't mean

only election. It is also mean

good governance,

good governance, transparent

politics and so on. And Mr

Thaksin, all right, what he

talk about and what the - he

should not do. But he misuse

his power at the time. The

protesters took their

grievances right

grievances right up to the

current PM Abhisit Vejajiva.

Attacking his motorcade which

was returning from a cabinet

meeting. That meeting was

being held in Pattaya, the

resort town south of Bangkok

where Thailand is set to host

the east Asia summit of

regional leader, including the

Australian PM Kevin Rudd.

China has expressed some

concerns about the protest but

Mr Abasit says summit will go

ahead. For a look at the

newspaper papers today we have

joined by Andrew Rule, the

deputy editor of the 'Age'.

'The Sunday Age'? No, 'The

Age'. Sometimes I help on 'The

Sunday Age'. What have they

done? Some of them have printed editions that last for

days and days and days, how

does that work? Very good

question. It is what they call

- and one without notice.

That's what they call a bumper

edition. Or a cost-saving

measure? I don't know about

that. I think there is lots of

fresh stuff in each edition. I

know there is a lot of hair

being pull out in order to

supply the material to fill the

bumper editions, everyone will

be very happy at Easter.

That's catering for no paper s

tomorrow? That's right. So

some material will be used

twice and some won't be. It

will be fresh stuff around the

core. Very nicely summed up. What are you leading with

today? You can't go past the

rubber chicken sex scandal can

you really? We haven't spoken

about that yet this morning,

can you bring us up to speed

with this extraordinarily named

scandal? The rubber chicken sex

video scandal. It is really

sportsmen behaving badly. They

keep doing it. They can't help

themselves. Here we have some

very shame-faced north

Melbourne players, but

specifically the two that have

put their hands up, are Daniel

Pratt and former captain Adam

Simpson. They have admitted

their part in making a short

video which stars a rubber

chicken. And a frozen chicken.

We won't go into the details,

but it is very ugly and it is

degrading. Is it? Have you

seen it? No, I wouldn't want

to see it really. I have seen

it described. I have been

trying to load it all all

morning so I can look for it

myself and it seems everyone in

Australia seems to be doing it.

Even the north Melbourne

Football Club say it is

distasteful and they are dusted

by it. They have never been

great arbiter s of taste there.

Sometimes they don't come to

the defence of their player s

sometimes they do. Yesterday

they didn't. Eugene Rocca a

very sound fellow. He has put

his foot down very firmly. The

players concerned are genuinely

ashamed. Adam Simpson says his

wife is devastated. He is a

father of three children and I

am thinking no matter how much

they fine him it won't be be a

big a punishment as the one he

will get at home. He is on the

couch for a number of weeks

isn't he? Yes. I don't want

to leap to the defence that it

will be very unusual for me to

do so, but it does seem to me

that in these times of football

players behaving badly that we

need to actually keep clear

what matters and what doesn't

so much. It bothers me that

players get back in the side

and get reinstated for games

with Manly as we have been discussing with Luke Waters for

example, when they have been

charged with a very serious

assault. And then we jump up

and down about silly videos

made between rubber chickens

and a frozen chook. Which

frankly, as the only woman on

the couch here this morning doesn't bother me as much as

the other one. In the scale of

things that's true. There are

a lot worse crimes and in the

end it reminds me of some ways

of that story many years ago in

the 90s about a scandal about

police having black face and -

they weren't actually members

of the cue Koo Klux Clan.

They weren't gill about the of

being members but it was a bad

joke. Sometimes you are reminded these professional

athletes have a bit of time on

their hands. They play, they

rest. They look after their

diet and at lot of they are

really board. I think you are

right. They are young. I have got children the age of these

people and I realise they are

big kids some of them. You are

looking at the Australian this

morning. 'The Australian', ig

nors the rubber chicken

scandal. But a second Labor

figure has been embroiled in

the union brothel scandal.

This of course is the very

colourful Geoff Jackson. I

would like to point out there

is no connection - I have

checked this. This is an

exclusive. No connection

between Geoff Jackson and Mark

Jackson, the former AFL

footballer. You think by

looking at them there was a

connection but there is none at

all. And Mark Jackson's father

was a leading union man.

George Jackson. Who was a very colourful fellow himself. But

he is no relation whatsoever.

Geoff is colourful. It is

alleged, and it may not be

true, it is alleged by his union enemies his credit card

has been used to pay for escort

or brothel services that may or

may not be true. This follows

the revelation that ALP member

- ALP member of parliament and

- ALP member of parliament and

former health services union

identity Craig Thomson also

allegedly used a union credit

card to pay for brothel

services at the same brothel.

Must be a good place, Is this

one of those classic union

brawls that has blown up? That's gone national which they

do from time to time. Because

when they get nasty they are

beyond compare. Police were calling to the

calling to the meeting that was

held in Melbourne last night.

There were people dragged away

from the microphone. They are

screaming, yelling, there is would suggest probably

standover tactics this, is ugly

stuff. How far they will go

when somebody within that

opposing faction will get

details of that escort agency's

bank accounts? There is

nothing they won't do. They

are very tough people. They

will make stuff up. That's

been the history of these

fights as well. They will

simply just invent stuff. We

must emphasise none of this is

proofn proven. It is dreadful

for the union and eventually it becomes dreadful for the Labor

Party's well and possibly the

Federal Government. And the

'Age' has got an exclusive this

morning? A long-running story.

Broken by Nick member

Broken by Nick member McEncity

and Richard baker. And Phillip

Dooling have combined on this

story for a couple of weeks

now. They broke the story

about Helen Liu, Chinese

national who has seems to have

paid a lot of money towards

trips and things for Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon. It

now appears that a company

now appears that a company associated with Helen Liu and

part-owned by the Chinese

government has tipped $20,000

into Joel Fitzgibbon's

re-election campaign back in

1998. So it would appear these

links are long-standing and

rather substantial. If proven.

Gircht given the Chinese

government has investments in

virtually every Chinese

business there might be

business there might be

overseas, does the paper

consider thises smoking gun as

it were? Think it's another

link in an interesting chain.

They have obviously making the

most of it. But it is - I

don't think we have heard the

last of this. I think there is

a few efforts in certain quarters to take another view

on this story and hose it down.

I think the smoke continues to

sift out from under the door.

We have got a minute

We have got a minute to go.

The final story you have got

there on the earth quake? This

strikes me what's happened in

Italy and of course you have

been discussing this, is now a

bigger story than the bushfires

here. Obviously every bit as

tragic. It is our bushfires

over there in a sense. And I

find it compel ing reading for

that reason. When you compare

that reason. When you com