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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. Tonight - by the Cole inquiry. senior ministers targeted the west waits for its turn. Bigger than Tracey - on Sydney's streets. Another fatal shooting from the Barrier Reef. And some surprising good news

Juanita Phillips with ABC News. Good evening. in regional Victoria, And we welcome viewers because of a satellite problem. who are joing us tonight turning up the heat The AWB kickback inquiry is tonight on the Howard Government. two ministers, Commissioner Cole has asked Alexander Downer and Mark Vaile, to provide statements detailing payments to Saddam Hussein. what they knew of AWB's Jim Middleton says Political correspondent will now be cross-examined it's also likely the two ministers by the inquiry. to wrap up for the night The Cole inquiry was just about

his bombshell. when barrister John Agius dropped

Alexander Downer and Mark Vaile The Commission had asked for statements AWB's kickbacks to Saddam Hussein. about their knowledge of have many questions to answer Labor says the two ministers about the $300 million scandal. as it began - Parliament ended the week with Labor in hot pursuit trying to get on the front foot. and the Government unlike other governments, This Government, Mr Speaker,

to the bottom of this matter. has not been afraid to get shot back the Opposition, "Oh yes it has," assertion from last month. highlighting this prime ministerial

He's got my file. I have given him my documents. Why then, Labor wanted to know, subpoena John Howard himself did the kickback inquiry

that very same day, seeking more material? That is a normal procedure. and you know it. There is absolutely no inconsistency on this prime ministerial insight. Labor also seized It stands to reason Downer or Howard were told by AWB that if Cole finds that that it was paying kickbacks and we did nothing it would be game over. it is game over. Well, Prime Minister, up to its neck in a cover-up, And when you have a government well and truly over. Mr Speaker, it is game Mr Howard denied narrow terms of reference he'd deliberately framed for the kickback inquiry to save his own skin. was paying bribes to Saddam Hussein If I had been told by AWB that it and I did nothing about it, Mr Speaker. it would be game over, to seek statements The Commissioner Cole's decision and Mark Vaile means from both Alexander Downer rather than game over, it's now game on,

will also be required to appear because it's likely both ministers as witnesses to give evidence. Just this morning, looking ahead the Foreign Minister was to the inquiry's report.

will be very, very interesting I think you'll find its conclusions humble pie eaten somewhere. and there is certainly going to be humble pie eaten somewhere. and there is certainly going to be it's the Government or Labor The question is whether of the findings. which doesn't like the flavour Jim Middleton, ABC News, Canberra. on cyclone alert again tonight Northern Australia is facing danger. and this time it's the West Coast as strong as Larry Cyclone Glenda isn't in its path, and there are far fewer people no chances. but authorities are taking are on red alert Communities on the Pilbara coast for flooding rains and winds of up to 250km/h. the WA coast within hours. Tropical Cyclone Glenda will cross of Karratha Residents of the mining town for its arrival. have spent the day preparing WIND BLOWS

red alert for most of the day Towns in the region are on evacuated from their homes. and hundreds of residents have been to hundreds of locals A school is now home the blast outside. and tourists escaping the tummy is a bit, A bit nervous - we'll be right, yes. but we will get there, three nights We we're only going to stay it now could be three weeks. but it of course waiting for the storm to pass. They've spent the day nervously at the moment The cyclone is in full swing here to sort of stay put here. and we're trying to encourage people expected to cross the Pilbara Coast The Category 4 cyclone is between Karratha and Onslow early this evening Perth time, to exceed 250km/h. with wind gusts tipped we've ever seen for a long time, This is one of the biggest ones in terms of the capacity for damage, physical size of it, in terms of the actual of the season so far. it's certainly the biggest one

than Cyclone Tracey Glenda is more powerful which destroyed Darwin in 1974, devastated Innisfail. but slightly weaker than Larry which of this system is quite phenomenal. The destructive power at high tide, The cyclone is expected to hit of up to 10 metres which could create a storm surge leaving low-lying areas flooded. David Harrison, ABC News. overnight A double shooting in Sydney ramp up patrols has prompted a police pledge to

in the city's west. firearm incidents this year Most of the State's 22 have been in the same area. were targeted. Last night Granville and Guildford Just last week, in nearby Greenacre and Auburn. there were three drive-by shootings in February, And in one weekend alone homes in the Western Suburbs. shots were fired into three separate Bassam Chami It was a middleweight boxer

who was killed last night, in his 20s. along with another man in a suburban street in Granville - They were shot during an argument and the other in hospital. one dying at the scene had a concealed gun, One of the dead men but it hadn't been fired. was getting married on Sunday. The poor guy of witnesses Caught up in the confusion was one-time terror suspect Mamdouh Habib, who was cleared of involvement. They just wanted him to write a statement of what he has seen because they reckon the incident happened in front of his car. Witnesses reported a dark-coloured BMW driving away immediately after the shooting and police are investigating whether it was the same car seen when shots were fired into a house in Guildford a few hours later. No-one was hurt there. And today's focus remained on the double fatality at Granville. Although the motive for the shootings is unclear, neighbours this morning said that trouble had been brewing for some time. Especially the last couple of months

it's been obvious that something was going to happen. Did you hear shots? Yes, I heard five. Bang, bang, at 11:30 at night, that's what happened. Task Force Gain, set up to fight Middle Eastern crime, is assisting the investigation. And top-ranking police met today to review the strategy. We are concerned about the instance public discharge of firearms offences. particuarly over the last couple of months, we certainly have been monitoring the environment and we certainly are at a point where we believe

we need to make bigger and better efforts than we have. The Opposition called for greater police resources. When will you admit Labor's softly, sof policing has failed?

And that's why he gets so hysterical and that's why he exaggerates so much, because he just can't stand the fact the Government is taking action. The area has seen retaliatory attacks in the past. Police today said there was nothing to be gained by people taking the law into their own hands. Deborah Rice, ABC News, Sydney. The Prime Minister has moved to repair relations with Indonesia after the decision to grant temporary visas to 42 Papuan asylum seekers. John Howard admits the incident has put a strain on bilateral ties but he's called on Indonesians to respect Australia's judicial process. Yesterday, there was confusion

when an Indonesian military spokesman said a memorial service on Nias this weekend for the nine victims of last year's Sea King crash hadn't been cleared. The service is proceeding. There are some issues in life which are beyond politics. Today, a confronting cartoon in Indonesia portrays the Foreign Minister and Prime Minister as two amorous dingos astride Papua. If I got offended about cartoons - golly! Heavens above! John Howard was at pains to remind everyone Australia's never disputed Indonesian sovereignty over the province. A sovereignty which Australia fully respects and fully supports.

And he compared Indonesia's anger over the decision to grant temporary protection visas to 42 Papuans to the Schapelle Corby case. I asked the Australian community, no matter what their feelings were, to respect the Indonesian justice system. I'm asking the people of Indonesia to understand and respect our processes. The Opposition says the misunderstanding is John Howard's own fault, that after the Tampa Indonesians were convinced Australia wanted to keep refugees out. What the Indonesians did not understand

is that the Prime Minister didn't mean it. Visits by delegations have been postponed, a forum on reconstruction in Aceh is on hold, Indonesia's ambassador has yet to return after being recalled in protest

and Canberra and Jakarta have yet to agree on dates for a trip to Indonesia by John Howard, due in the next few weeks.

I would like to pay a visit to Indonesia sometime in the next little while and when a date's been arranged I'll let you all know. Officials hope it all soon blows over, but Government agencies are on a heightened state of alert in case another boatload of Papuans tries the same journey. Craig McMurtrie, ABC News, Canberra. The Commonwealth Ombudsman has raised concerns about a mentally ill man who's been held in Immigration detention for over six years. Known only as 'Mr X', he says he's from Bangladesh, though that country refuses to recognise his citizenship.

The 33-year-old has diabetes

and a psychiatric report suggests his life would be in danger if he's returned. The ALP says he should be allowed to stay. Let the man stay and be properly treated. We owe him that. The Immigration Minister is expected to make a decision on the case soon. The Federal Government has begun driving its new industrial relations agenda through its own workforce.

Labor claims new agreements being offered to public servants would slash their pay by up to $1,700. And as debate on the changes continues, one opposition senator is warning that workers in private industry may be prepared to strike back through sabotage. Labor Senator George Campbell senses a tide of frustration. I think workers will find subtle ways of evening up the score with the employers. Harking back to tactics of the 1950s and '60s, he's talking about industrial sabotage. Little things, like, you know, screws being left out. With a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, Senator George Campbell is accepting workplace sabotage. I wouldn't encourage that.

Nor would the Government's chief inspector of workplace laws. Nicholas Wilson will lead a team of 200 investigators

probing complaints about workers and bosses alike. Including taking compliance or litigation action. Debate over the new laws has moved from private sector sackings right into the Government's own backyard with claims it's using the package to slash its wages bill. A union-negotiated agreement

covering 105 workers in the Australian Valuation Office expires tomorrow. They're being offered a collective agreement without their union or an individual AWA. According to Labor's figures, a junior executive's base pay would fall from $98,000 to $80,000. A $17,000 reduction in annual salary. Isn't this the real reason why the Government is denying its own employees real choice?

I don't make any apology for supporting what is a very sound, a very sound industrial relations policy indeed. He says only two people at the valuer's office have been offered AWAs, with the potential to earn an extra $3,000 a year. Greg Jennett, ABC News, Canberra.

Senior federal ministers are leading a push for a national 'smartcard' for all Australian citizens. The smartcard would be used to claim health and welfare benefits and would also carry some personal health information. So that if, for arguments sake, you turn up unconscious in an emergency department or are picked up unconscious by an ambulance, the health professionals will be able to access the smartcard through a special machine. So we're happy to take at look at anybody who's got a proposal for this, but if it's going to cost us billions of dollars, I don't think it's worth the candle.

It would eventually replace Medicare cards and dozens of other Government cards. The Prime Minister says the idea has merit, but the debate still has some way to go. An investigation is under way in Iraq - into the killing of an Australian resident at a security checkpoint. university professor, Kays Juma, It's understood 72-year-old by a private security guard was shot dead

as ordered. when his car didn't stop in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, Professor Kays Juma stayed here, for a couple of months each year. in his native Iraq The rest of the time, he lived with his Australian wife, Barbara. was killed On the weekend, the 72-year-old in Baghdad. at a security checkpoint the embassy in Baghdad And I've instructed to approach the Iraqi police fully investigate this case. and make sure that the Iraqi police politically motivated violence It wasn't the usual that claimed Professor Juma's life. at the checkpoint He reportedly failed to stop shot and killed him. and a private security guard We are still checking out those facts - I mean, they're the facts as have been presented to us, but we can't confirm those.

The security guard worked for this Dubai-based company, which has an office in Sydney. The Unity Resources group issued a statement, saying it: An Australian-based friend spoke to Professor Juma's wife in Iraq yesterday. She sounded really angry. cannot be justified - She said, "The killing "this violence has to stop. "It cannot be justified." his car was sprayed with bullets, When she described the way from the front, from the back. Professor Juma for 35 years Dr al-Jassim has known never contemplated leaving Iraq, and says his friend even amidst the current turmoil. he never wanted to leave. He belonged there - to Iraq is dire. The security situation for visitors registered with the embassy there, 78 Australians are currently but there are many more that voluntary notification, who haven't provided to ensure they stay safe. making it difficult for authorities Leigh Sales, ABC News. The United Nations has increased pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, giving the country 30 days to abandon uranium enrichment.

It's the first time the UN has directly urged Tehran to halt its nuclear ambitions. The 15-member Security Council unanimously approved the statement, but did not specify what would happen if Iran refused to obey. Iranian officials remain defiant, is for peaceful purposes. saying their nuclear program against its leader Thailand's been hit by more protests Thaksin Shinawatra. in the streets of Bangkok Tens of thousands rallied

to stand down calling for the Prime Minister before Sunday's general election. its large majority, His party is expected to retain by opposition parties but a threatened boycott could make the result invalid. the death penalty An Afghani who faced to Christianity for converting from Islam has arrived in Italy. asylum to Abdul Rahman The Italian Government granted intervened to stop his execution. after the Afghani President had demanded Hard-liners in Afghanistan that he be forced to stay in the country. After years of public debate and protest, the Government has finally announced the site for a new hospital for Sydney's Northern Beaches.

It's at Frenchs Forest and the existing hospitals at Mona Vale and Manly will stay. The new hospital will provide high-level acute care and maternity services. including emergency, intensive care of the site, The Government owns most about 15 properties around it. but still needs to buy of disposing of the Mona Vale sites The Government has no intention

or the Manly site. complementary facilities, those hospitals will become The minister says

to maintain emergency departments but there's no commitment at either site. have been utterly shafted The people of Pittwater by this promise today Beaches have been shafted. and the people of the Northern is not expected to be ready The $300 million hospital until 2010 at the earliest. the entire township of Braidwood The State Government has listed on the State Heritage register. The decision has put an end to a bitter dispute about the historic town's future. But in the nearby community of Bungendore the Government is facing another difficult decision. Over the past three years, residents have argued fiercely about Braidwood's future. This morning, around 100 people came to find out how the Government would resolve the dispute. to list Braidwood. The Government has decided and rural vistas are now protected, The town's unique Georgian layout for future development. but there are provisions Both sides of the argument - the Council, the Government - have done very well

which has basis in good sense. to come up with something will pay for a tourism consultant As a sweetner, the Government for the town, and kick in some extra funding

the heritage listing are worried. but residents opposed to They say the town will stagnate or young people. if it can't attract new businesses on tourism. I don't think we can rely totally a stronger infrastructure This town needs than just one economy. been welcomed The funding announcement's of Palerang Shire Council. by the Mayor He says he's hoping to use some of the money for vital town improvements. We have to start thinking about the main street and getting it looking a bit more spic. And while the deep divisions in Braidwood may now start to heal, the nearby community of Bungendore its own development issues. is facing to build 63 wind turbines A proposal's been put forward of Lake George. along the south-eastern edge

in this town, That lake has an important place and to have it spoiled and blighted for everyone to see by windtowers along the ridgeline is obscene. it's a vexed issue, The State Government agrees on wind farm proposals. but has refused to put a moratorium Adele Hodge, ABC News. Tonight's top story again -

and Mark Vaile have been asked senior ministers Alexander Downer to the Cole inquiry. to give statements And still to come -

on the Davis Cup. Lleyton Hewitt's thoughts There's some good news on the Great Barrier Reef. A new survey shows the coral has weathered the scorching summer better than expected. Scientists were worried that the record temperatures might bleach huge areas of the inner reef, but the damage was far less than expected. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and a team of marine scientists

of the Great Barrier Reef, embarked on an extensive survey

mainly under water, spending two weeks, and its effects. scrutinising coral bleaching that we had some bleaching I was surprised about the fact in the coastal regions, in the Keppel Islands but it wasn't as bad as we'd seen some weeks ago. more than 60% may have been damaged Scientists had feared as the worst episode in 2002. making it as severe But this survey has shown of the Keppel Islands that coral north has escaped bleaching is affected. and less than 1% in the outer reef

about 1,000 square kilometres The estimated region was probably of the reef having experienced moderate to severe bleaching. of the Great Barrier Reef, But given the size quite a minimal impact. that actually was However, taking core samples from the coral indicated that bleaching is becoming a more common event as sea temperatures rise. Environmental groups warn if the ocean reaches half a degree warmer, at its thermal threshold. the coral will be are going to be more severe events The long-term projections say there going into the future on a more regular basis

the resilience of the reef, and, by 2050, unless we build with a pretty denuded ecosystem. we could be faced killed off some coral Prolonged bleaching has already in the southern part of the reef. around the Keppel Islands, that area will recover. Scientists say it's unlikely Sarah Clarke, ABC News. To finance now, and the local share market rose strongly today led by resource stocks and Telstra. Here's Alan Kohler. Yes, you heard right. Telstra - it went up...a lot. $0.11, or 3%, to $3.74. It seems to be entirely because the stockbroker with the longest sell recommendation, Morgan Stanley, has upgraded to a hold after 18 months of recommending a sell. That was taken as a signal buy, and the share price rose 3% as pent-up demand was unleashed. BHP Billiton once again led all the resource stocks higher, ANZ Bank went up, but Qantas shares fell more than 1%. Back to Telstra - shareholders will only get out the cheap champagne tonight, though.

The share price is still down 25% since Sol Trujillo took over last year. I imagine shareholders will pay close attention to the executive salary section of the annual report this year. And Commonwealth Bank shares rose $0.10 after the new managing director, Ralph Norris, unveiled his strategy blueprint for the bank. Boiling it all down, it seems he's going to try customer service. Might just work. Last night, shares on Wall Street rose strongly as investors there focused on the strong economy rather than the concerns about interest rates. It might be worth reminding ourselves of the fundamental reason share prices around the world are going up - firstly, real world economic growth is nearly 4% and has been accelerating for four years, and, secondly, world inflation is low and stable. Interest rates are rising everywhere but Australia, it's true. But that's because growth everywhere is so strong, not because there is any sign of inflation.

Central bank's are taking out insurance.

And the shift in focus on financial markets away from interest rates

led to a bounce by the Australian dollar to around US$0.71. Around 500 people have protested in Sydney against the Federal Government's decision to abolish the staff-elected ABC board position. Staff and ABC supporters condemned the move by Communications Minister Helen Coonan to ditch the position. Her announcement came as elections were already underway for a new staff-elected director. But now, the position will cease to exist when Ramona Koval's term ends in two months. I'm elected by the staff, all the other board members have been hand-picked by the Government, except the managing director, who's been hand-picked by the board - so, in my opinion, I'm the only director independent of the Government. Legislation to restructure the board has been referred to a senate committee, which is due to report back in May. Australia's leading tennis player says he's happy to be back in the fold for next week's Davis Cup clash with Belarus. Lleyton Hewitt says it felt weird missing the tie against Switzerland. Here's Peter Wilkins. Lleyton Hewitt hasn't won a tournament for more than a year, but that's merely a hiccup. I'm coming into some really good form. An ankle injury took a long time to shake and his return to Davis Cup tennis after missing the last tie is a welcome one. It was really weird missing the last one. As for his frosty relationship with departing Australian Open supremo Paul McNamee to the men's and women's golf opens, Hewitt made light of the move, I hope he can play golf. And would there be fewer dramas without his sparring partner? It was never dramatic. I always stay calm. Hewitt is backing Chris Guccione for the second singles birth. While Grand Prix fever escalates in Melbourne, it'll be a double celebration for 3-time champion Sir Jack Brabham who turns 80 on Sunday. up on the podium, actually. I'd like to see Mark Webber

birthday present. That would be a good But Brabham has joined the doubters in his current machine. about Webber's chances

to get him up there really. He really hasn't got the car There are better cars out there.

the best car, unfortunately, He's not actually driving he's done very well so far. but for the car he's got of spin bowling in this country. He could be the future has been chosen 21-year-old off-spinner Dan Cullen to replace paceman Mick Lewis

for next month's tour of Bangladesh. in the Australian one-day squad

in the 14-man squad That's the only change from the South African tour. Australia is awesome. I worked hard and to represent has boosted confidence from within The princely form of the Socceroos approaching the World Cup. who play in the Premier League We've got a lot of good players and all over the world who are firing at the minute. Sponsors are bursting forth, to fill Guus Hiddink's shoes coaches are queuing up

including Harry Kewell. and the best are peaking, Harry to see him come out on top TIM CAHILL: I'm really pleased for because this was all he needed - and to show what he's made of. just to be fully fit Beyond the World Cup, has eyes for the A-League. Socceroo and Everton star Tim Cahill and I can play for Sydney. Hopefully, one day we can come back not necessarily Tim Cahill - I think we'll see - Socceroos back in Australia but I think we'll see eight or nine in the next couple of years. pre-World Cup match in Australia Tickets for the Socceroos final against Greece go on sale next week. with Mike Bailey. The weather now - Thanks, Juanita. Good evening. more widespread Rain and thunderstorms have become over eastern New South Wales water storage figures for Sydney. but too late to help this week's are at 41.3% of capacity. Overall dam levels is holding 40.7% The biggest dam, Warragamba, for the week. and both figures are down by 0.4% has been in NSW. Our radar shows most of the rain eastern Victoria should clear But any showers and storms over tonight. as the system moved east today. Lightning strikes were widespread build-up in Sydney Temperatures ahead of the cloud went from 19 to 29 degrees, a top that's 4 above average. southerly. Warm enough ahead of a weak

Top of 30 in Sydney's West. Storms in Mugee. No immediate rain promised. gusty weekend. Trough moving through making for Main centres will be damp tomorrow.

Uladallah. Strong wind warning south of waters. Gale warning for Victoria coastal tomorrow in Sydney. Showers and thunderstorms will break Thanks, Mike. top stories - Now a quick look at tonight's in the Iraq kickbacks inquiry a new development with the Foreign Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister asked to give statements about what they knew. Cyclone Glenda has just crossed the West Australian coast. Forecasters say it could be bigger than Cyclone Tracy. And police are stepping up patrols in western Sydney

after a double shooting overnight. And that's ABC News for this Thursday. I'm Juanita Phillips. during the evening I'll be back with updates at about 10:30. and 'Lateline' is along total eclipse of the sun - We'll leave you with today's visible from Brazil, across Africa to the Mediterranean. Goodnight. International Pty Ltd Captioning and Subtitling Closed Captions produced by