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ABC Asia Pacific News -

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Live. Thailand's Prime Minister

vows to crack down on

protesters. A US captain held

by Somali pirates rescued

unharmed. NATO trucks again set

ablaze in Pakistan. The Pope's

message of hope to Christians around the world.

Good morning. Charles Slade

with ABC News for Australia

Network. The Thai Prime

Minister warns he will get

tough on protesters under

emergency powers as military

vehicles and soldiers spread

out across Bangkok. The PM's

tough talk came as a grenade

attack was launched at

Bangkok's Constitutional Court

early Monday. A gunman fired

the grenade which injured one

policeman and caused minor

damage to the court building.

It's an all too familiar sight in Thailand. Military vehicles

and soldiers on the streets of

Bangkok. It followed a move

by the Prime Minister, Abhisit

Vejjajiva, to declare a state

of emergency in Bangkok and

five neighbouring provinces. I

always insist that if the

demonstrators ask for

acceptable demands they can

have them and the government is

ready to listen and respond.

But the demonstrators have no

right to break the rule of law especially if that action

affects other people's rights.

So I ask you to stop this

action. If you don't, the

government has to use its power

under the state of emergency.

But the protesters from the

United Front for Democracy

Against Dictatorship are in no

mood to stop. They're angry

that one of their senior

members has been arrested while

leaders from the protest group

which shut down Bangkok's airports last year still

haven't faced criminal charges.

Even as he left the Interior

Ministry after addressing the

nation, Mr Abhisit's motorcade

was attacked for the second

time in a week. Later he told

the protesters that he would

take tougher action if they

didn't obey the law. But that

just drew more people back to

the protest site at Government

House. At least 20,000 of them.

The threats by Mr Abhisit have

done little to deter these

protesters, who've taken over

intersections like this all

over Bangkok. Their leader in exile Thaksin Shinawatra the convicted former Prime Minister

has thanked them for their

efforts and told them not to

back down. Now he says is the

golden time for a people's

revolution. Mr Abhisit has been

saying he would uphold the law

but so far the police and the army have done little to back

him up. And so coup rumours are

Thai capital. once again circulateing in the

Despite the chaos at the East

Asia Summit venue the event was

not a total write-off. The

leaders of China, Japan and

South Korea managed to hold a meeting to discuss their response to North Korea's

rocket tests last week. They

agreed on the need to send a

powerful message to Pyongyang.

Soon after UN Security Council

ambassadors reach a compromise

on a statement criticising the

rocket tests. The draft that

has been shared clearly and unequivocally condemns the

launch of April 5. The statement calls for a

tightening of sanctions and

demands that North Korea

refrain from carrying out

further tests. The Security

Council is expected to vote on

the resolution within the next

few days. Sri Lanka says it

will hold a two-day ceasefire

to allow thousands of civilians

to escape fighting between

government forces and the Tamil

Tiger insurgents in the north

of the island. More than 50,000

civilians have escaped the

conflict zone since January,

but about another 100,000 are

still in the area. Hostilities

will be suspended today and

tomorrow to coincide with local

new year celebrations. There's

been no immediate response from

the rebels. United Nations

chief Ban Ki Moon has welcomed

the pause in hostilities,

issuing a statement that it's a

useful first step towards a

peaceful and orderly end to the fighting. It's estimated there

are 100,000 civilians trapped

in a government-declared

no-fire zone, which is the last

remaining area held by the

rebels. The UN says more aid

will be sent to the civilians.

The world body says civilians

who want to get out of the

conflict zone shouldn't be

hindered. Sri Lanka's President

has again called on the

liberation tigers of Tamil o.

Lam to surrender, saying it's

time for them to acknowledge

its military defeat. With heavy

civilian casualties feared,

demonstrations have been held

across Europe and Scandinavia.

Hundreds of Australia's Tamil

community spent Sunday night

of the Prime Minister and the outside the Sydney residences

Governor-General as part of a Governor-General as part of a

campaign for a more permanent

solution.

The US navy has es cued a US

cargo ship captain held hostage

by Somali pirates for five

days. Three pirates died in the

operation after authority to

kill was granted by the US

President. The crew of

'Maersk-Alabama' celebrated as

news broke of their captain's

freedom. They were all praised

for the navy's efforts. They

got on this ship. They operated

with exactly smooth, precise

precision. I thought they were

a SWAT team. I thought they

were navy seals. They were just sailors. And they were

fantastic! The crusade they

owe their lives to their

captain as the first image of a

freed Richard Phillips was

released. And the captain never

gave this crew up! Not

once! Not once. He was the

good shepherd. He willingly

exchanged his life for the

lives of his flock, his crew.

In doing that, he was able to

stack the cards in his favour

and ultimately resulted in his

safe return. The crew says the pirates had been chasing them

for a week but never took

control of their ship. We never

lost control of this ship. They

never had this ship. They had

the captain but they didn't

have this ship. They never

had it, never! Mr Phillips was

saved when he jumped overboard

while US snipers shot and

killed three of his four

captors. The snipers were given

authority by President Barack

Obama to kill. Mr Phillips was

taken to a US warship for a

medical check-up. A

spokesperson for the captain's family says he has been in

contact with his wife. This is

truly a very happy Easter for

the Phillips family. Andrea and

Richard have spoken. I think

you can all imagine their joy.

And what a happy moment that

was for them. The pirates had

threatened revenge, saying

Americans will regret ever

killing their fellow pirates.

The surviving pirate is in US military custody.

Fiji's media has continued

its stand against censorship

rules brought in under the

country's new political order.

The Fijian Media Council says

it's the act of a police state.

The country's military leader

says he wants to hold talks

with Fiji's neighbours but the Australian Prime Minister Kevin

Rudd has condemned the

Commodore's actions for turning

the country into a military

dictatorship.

A lot of people are praying

in Fiji this Easter weekend.

The country's constitution has

been scrapped, the military is

firmly in control, and elections have been put off for

more than five years. After

being sworn in again yesterday under Fiji's

under Fiji's new legal order,

Commodore Bainimarama addressed

the nation. Emergency

regulations are in force as

endorsed by His Excellency.

Those emergency regulations

include tight censorship of the

media. The fact they're putting

their own personnel into

different radio, press and television stations means that

everything will be censored

there. So this is in my view a

tragic day for Fiji. The new chief censor is Major Neumi

Leweni. He's written to the media saying they must

immediately refrain from

publishing or broadcasting any

news item that is negative in

nature relating to the

abrogation of the constitution

or yesterday's swearing-in of

the government under Fiji's new

legal order. These regulations

are only a cautionary measure.

I'm sure you will all,

including the media, cooperate

with the relevant agencies.

Fiji's Murdoch-owned Sunday

'Times' let its readers know

it's being censored. If media

organisations fail to abide by

Major Leweni's dictates the

emergency regulation provide they can be shut

down. Obviously that's the

final nail in the coffin for

the media and it's unfortunate

what happens in a police or

military state. That's what

we're in at the moment. We

don't have a constitution, we

don't have a democracy.

Commodore Bainimarama claims

what he's doing is best for

Fiji and the Australian

Government and others should

understand. My message to our

development partners and our neighbours is that we wish them

to work with us to take Fiji

forward. Australia condemns

unequivocally this action by

the military ruler of Fiji to

turn this great country, Fiji,

into virtually a military

dictatorship. The military

commander claimed his 2006 coup

was aimed at reforming Fiji to

end the country's coup culture.

But now democracy is further

away than ever.

The Pope has used his Easter

message to call for peace in

the Middle East. His call for a

renewed push for Israeli and

Palestinian peace comes just

weeks before he travels to the

holy land for the first time as

pontiff. Addressing tens of

thousands the Pope also gave

hope, especially to those in

conflict and disaster zones,

including those on the

pontiff's own doorstep. It was

a sombre Easter for the 40,000

Italians sheltering in tents a

week after the country's worst

earthquake in 30 years. In

Rome, the Pope had words of

comfort for those who'd lost everything.

The Pope also addressed

Christians in the Palestinian

territory, calling for

reconciliation and peace.

In the West Bank, people

gathered in Bethlehem, revered

as the birthplace of Christ,

and in Jerusalem hundreds

flocked to the church of the

holy S e, pulchre where

Christians believe Christ was

crucified. An end to conflict,

suffering and loss were also on

the minds of people attending

Easter services in Baghdad

while on other side of the

world the man who's resolved to

end the Iraq war has been observing Easter with his

family. In Australia, victims

of February's bushfires

remembered those who died. Most

of us have been to quite a few

funerals in the last few weeks,

lost loved ones. I think it's a

time of moving on, and the

Easter message is there for all

of us. Easter has been marked

with feasting and celebrations

in India as Catholics ended the

Lent and fast. And in the Philippines there was the

Selabong, the procession to

church in honour of Christ's

mother Mary.

In north west Pakistan,

Taliban militants have

destroyed at least 10 container

trucks carrying supplies went

for Western Forces in

Afghanistan. The pre-dawn

attack has exposed the

vulnerability of the vital

transport link for US and other

foreign troops battling the

Taliban. Armed with rockets and

automated weapons, about 150 militants attacked the terminal

near the city of Peshawar.

Overpowering security guards,

they used petrol bombs to torch

the trucks. Scores of other

vehicles were also damaged.

Three guards were hurt during

the three-hour gun battle, one seriously. TRANSLATION: There

were around 100 men. They burnt

9 or 10 trucks of ours and 2 or

about in the next terminal.

They burnt at least 12 to 15

vehicles in all. Those

militants came from behind the

terminal and went back the same

way after doing their job.

Police arrived at the scene as

the militants began to

retreat. TRANSLATION: The

Taliban were here for three

hours, and police arrived when

it was all over. The transport

terminal lies along a key

supply route used by US and

NATO troops. Militants in Pakistan frequently attack

cargo terminals and other stops

used by vehicles taking

supplies to western troops in land-locked Afghanistan through

the Khyber Pass.

20 years ago this week, a

respected party official died

in Beijing, starting two months

of student-led protests that

would end in June 1989 in the

city's Tiananmen Square. As the

world waits for the

anniversary, memories are fresh

for those who took part in the

protest and suffered from the

violence. 20 years on, this man

is singing from the same hymn

sheet. In this apartment at an

unofficial meeting of an

unofficial Christian church, he

continues in the spirit of the

Tiananmen Square protests. "I

never thought they would really

shoot me with a gun. But they

did. I remember every scene."

On 15 April 1989 the death of a

popular official who'd been

deposed by hardliners sparked a

protesters of civil

disobedience in the heart of

Beijing. Almost three months

later the troops marched in to

break it up. According to the

Chinese Red Cross, there were

2,500 casualties. China says

250 people died with 7,000

wounded. This man was one of

them. Hit by a bullet from a

pass ing military truck, he

ended up losing half a leg,

then he lost his job and his

family. But he's still calling

for justice. "That was a

scene of a massacre. A crime

committed by the Communist

Party. If they don't admit

their fault then I will talk

about this forever." And he

says his own personal battle to

make sure that day of violence

in Tiananmen Square will never be erased from the history books will continue. Aid groups in Southern Africa are appealing for emergency

relief as floods sweep the

region. The hardest hit country

is Namibia, where tens of

thousands have been displaced

and crops have been destroyed

and now disease is spreading.

Andrew Geoghegan reports.

Floodwaters are rising rapidly

in northern Namibia. Entire

villages have been deluged, and many people have been left

stranded. This is the highest

since 1958. Half a million

people in Namibia have been

affected, while populations in

Angola, Botswana and Zambia are

also under threat. Their crop

is under water. The harvest is

going to be disastrous. They

are going to have a poor

harvest this year and will

affect the whole constituency

and the region and the country

at large. Cholera and malaria

have already taken hold and

it's feared those diseases

could spread quickly. Relief

agencies have set up camps for

those displaced but they're

appealing for help. We have

tried to provide some

tarpaulins and there were not

enough. We're also now

providing plastic sheets that

they're using for shade. But

still that is not enough. A lot

of people, they're still living

just under the trees and so

on. The Red Cross has managed

to provide aid to about 35,000

people, although accessing

remote communities has been

difficult. With more rain

forecast, flooding is expected

for the next two months.

Let's go to the business

figures now. In the United

States, the Dow and Nasdaq both

closed last week higher ahead

of the Easter break, while in

London, the FTSE also went into

the holidays in stronger

territory.

Snow A woman has been

rescued from the polar bear

enclosure at the Berlin Zoo

after jumping in and big

attacked by one of the bears.

Hundreds of visitors watched as

several attempts were made to

pull the woman to safety. Zoo

keepers tried to keep the

animals away with long sticks

and meat to distract them as

they kept falling back into the

water, one of the bears grabbed

her. The woman was bitten on

the legs and arms and was later

taken to hospital. The Easter

Bunny may have been a welcome

guest in your home this weekend

but for many landowners in Australia, rabbits certainly

aren't a welcome sight. Rackets

were introduced into the

country 150 years ago and

generations of farmers and scientists have fought to

control their numbers. But the

rabbits are now clawing their

way back. Researchers at the

Department of Primary

Industries and Fisheries

estimate that Stanthorpe was

one of the largest rabbit

infestations in Queensland.

Well known for having the

coolest climate in the state,

Stanthorpe's weather is perfect

for producing apples. However,

conditions are also ideal for

rabbits. But it's not only the

weather that's bringing about

an increase in numbers. Australian scientists now

believe that rabbits are

building up resistance to the

calisi virus. For five or six

years after the virus was here,

there'd be only or two per k.

Now we can get them up to 20 in

places. An eradication projects

have local councils, State

Government and land holders

workth together using some old

techniques to rid their

pastures of rabts. For many

years, ripping warrens has been

shown to have a long-lasting

effect. If you destroy it properly you can stop the

rabbits reinvading an area.

Local farmer when kill son had

just how many rabbits were

harbouring under log piles on

his property. We've realised

that nearly every pile has

rabbit runs or small warrens

under them. Rabbits are still

considered the country's most

widespread and destructive pest

animal and it's not only lost

production to local farmers.

Native vegetation and wildlife

are also affected. They're

doing studies on that side of

things. There is more native

grasses on the side of the

fence where there aren't rabbits. No matter what we

throw at rabbitses they still

remain Australia's No. 1 pest

and are responsible for causing

more than $200 million in

damage each year. Next month,

Australians are being urged to

count rabbits in what will be

the country's first rabbit

census.

Also in Australia - an Easter

tradition with a difference.

Hundreds of performers and 16

hours of entertainment a day. The National Folk Festival is

in full swing in the capital

and despite economic woes,

visitor numbers are up. Much

more than its name suggests, at

this festival, anything goes.

From high energy dance to the

more traditional sounds. They

come from around the country

and around the world. First

held in 1967, the National Folk

Festival made Canberra its

permanent pace 17 years ago. It

now boasts more than 200 formal

acts and plenty of extra colour

on the side. We call it a broad

church and I think that's the

best description. The

diversity extends to the dress

code. These are our 18 80s

bustle gowns. The festival has

also become the country's

biggest dance gathering. And

again there's plenty of

variety. Morris dancing is

English, and very popular in

England, despite rumours to the

contrary and very popular in

Australia. It's not just for

spectators. Everyone gets the

chance to discover hidden

talents. The tough economic

times don't seem to have dampened the festival

spirit. Our numbers are up.

We've really reached capacity.

So we don't want it to get that

much bigger! There's obviously

some cash to spare. And it

seems you're never too young to

get in touch with your musical

side. Last year, we gained

almost $100. Something for the young ... and the young at heart.

And more good news. New

research could spell an end to

gluten-free diets for patients

with coeliac disease.

Australian scientists have

developed a vaccine which could mean patients could eat all

kinds of foods without any side

effects. For patients with

coeliac disease like Jane

Davies, the only treatment is

to completely avoid food with

gluten - a substance found in

wheat, rye, barley and oats.

While there are gluten free

foods available it's still a

challenge. When we go out for dinner at a restaurant, I

always have to ring beforehand

and check that they have some

gluten-free options. A couple

of years ago, researchers at

Melbourne's Walter and Eliza Hall Institute discovered which

part of gluten was causing the

toxic reaction in coeliac

patients. Now they've turned

that into a vaccine

treatment. The aim of the

vaccine is to switch off the

abnormal response to gluten

seen in coeliac disease. The

vaccine is designed to

desensitise the patients to

gluten. their bodies can cope with

gluten. They hope the treatment

will restore the ability of the

small intestine to restore

nutrients in the normal way and

that'd mean the end of a gluten

free diet. Having a vaccine that will allow people to

return to a normal

gluten-containing diet will be

a world first and a huge

breakthrough and significantly

enhance the life of people with

coeliac disease. Researchers

will trial the vaccine on 40

patients with coeliac disease.

That will tell them whether the That will tell them whether the

vaccine is safe and if there

are any side effects. If the

trial, everything works out, we

should be able to eat normally

again. And that will just make

our lives so much easier. For

patients like Jane Davies, to

soon enough. have more choice can't come

To sport now. The US Masters

golf has gone into a thrilling three-way play-off after three-way play-off after leader

Kenny Perry bogeyed the last

two holes. He finished tied

with Chad Campbell and Angel

Cabrera at 12 under par.

I have just heard that

Campbell was eliminated on the

first play-off hole and Angel

Cabrera has won the Masters on

the second play-off hole. Well done! Now to the regional

weather forecast for the next

24 hours.

You're watching ABC News for

Australia Network. Before we go, let's take another look at

the headlines. Thailand's Prime

Minister warns he will get

tough on protesters under

emergency powers. And the US

navy frees a captain held for

five days by Somali pirates.

That's all for this bulletin.

For more information on news

and current affairs from the

region, visit our web site. I'm

Charles Slade. Thanks for

watching. Good bye for now. Closed Captions by CSI