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Congress votes to claw

back AIG bonuses through

taxes. Life with no prospect

of appeal for Josef Fritzl.

Russia hails a window of

opportunity in US relations.

I will spectacular scenes

after an under sea quake in

Beverley O'Connor with ABC the Pacific. Good morning.

News for Australia Network -

US congressmen have responded

the a wave of public anger

over the lavish bonuses paid

to AIG executives. The lower

house has voted resoundingly

in favour of imposing a 90%

tax rate on the bonuses. The

bill is now being held up in

the Senate after a Republican

called for a more detailed

review. The proposal the tax

almost all of the AIG bonuses

required only a two-thirds

majority. It got that

easily. On this vote the yes

- the rules are

suspended. The bill still

need to go through the Senate

and any differences between

the two houses need to be

signed off but as it stand

90% of AIG bonuses will be

paid back in Federal taxes.

The tax will also apply to

any other company receiving

more than $5 billion in

Government bailout money.

After the latest report from the International Monetary

Fund the list of companies

seeking bailout money may be

about to grow. In its most

International Monetary Fund downbeat forecast yet the

says the world economy will

shrink by between had of a%

and a full 1% this year. It

is predicting jab fan will

lead the decline falling 5.8%. The International

Monetary Fund warn the slow

down will be even more severe

less the US Government does

more to fix the country's

banks. Even the US is not

doing enough the fight the

crisis and Europe is doing a

bit less than half as much as

the US. Despite criticism

European leaders incest they

are doing enough to dig their

way out ever recession.

Tremendous meeting in

Brussels to finetune their

coordinated position ahead of

the and G20 talks What our

citizens feed are not words,

they feed action. EU leaders

say they want the boost

lending the the International

Monetary Fund so it can play

a greater role in tackling

the financial crisis. The

jury has reached its verdict

in the case of Josef Fritzl

the Austrian man who fathered

7 children by his daughter

after keeping her as his

prisoner for 24 years. Josef

Fritzl pleaded guilty the all

charges and he has been

sentenced the life in prison

with no right of appeal. The

73-year-old will serve his

time in a secure psychiatric

'The Cellar Master' will now unit. The man some called

spend the rest of his life in

a cell. I did not expect

anything else other than a

life sentence. TRANSLATION:

He should be executed

immediately, a criminal like

him should not be allowed to

live. After a four-day trial

the verdict came quickly for

Josef Fritzl. TRANSLATION:

I'm happy the verdict has been delivered swiftly t

court case came to an end in

an organised manner and the appropriate sentence has been

given He was found guilty of

all charges related the the imprisonment of his

daughter TRANSLATION: He is

going to be sent to a

facility for mentally ill

offenders and the very is

final and enforceable. The

8-member jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict on

the charge of murder by

neglect of a baby on who died

soon after bird. Josef Fritzl

was found guilty of the

incest, rape, enslavement and

coercion. He lock his

daughter Elisabeth in a

cellar for 24 years

repeatedly raping her and fathering 7 children with

her TRANSLATION: The verdict

was a logical consequence of

his confession considering

3000 cases of rape and 24

years of imprisonment in a

murder this is the only basement plus one case of

verdict that could be

imposed. The judge sentenced

the 73-year-old to life in

prison with sentence the be

served in a secure psychiatric institution.

Josef Fritzl twice told the

court he had accepted the

verdict which means the

sentence came into effect

immediately. TRANSLATION: My

punishment without any client has accepted this

assistance from my side.

Apparently he himself feels

this punishment to be just. Earlier Josef Fritzl

again told the court he was

sorry but said he was unable

to change anything.

Prosecutors insisted the

remorse was nothing more than

sham. The verdict and

sentence is an important step

for Elisabeth and her family

who are now trying to build a

new life in a secret

location. The Russian Government says it is hopeful

of ending a rift with the US

over the European missile

are being seen as a defence system. The comments

significant sign of an improving relationship

between the Kremlin and the Obama administration. Just at

day after Russia announced a

boos to its military and

nuclear might there was a

softening of the

rhetoric. TRANSLATION: We

hope that with the new

administration in power in

Washington positive dynamicless dominate our

bilateral relations with the

US. The results of first

contact with the Obama administration are

encouraging. It would be an over statement the say our

interests coincide entire hi

but there is enough to work on. Russian President Dmitry

Medvedev has outlined a

large-scale rearment of Russia's military the

increase combat readiness. He

said it was a response to

local and international

threats which was widely

interpreted as a warning to

NATO countries. Relation was

the West have been severely

strainside in recent months

over plans by the US for

missile defence sites in

Eastern Europe. But the

Kremlin says it is encouraged

by the apparent willingness

of the new president to work

on improving ties between the

two super powers.

TRANSLATION: We cannot but

welcome the statements this

the US may review their plans

for a defence sieve them

should Iran abandon their

of opportunity is operations. It seems a window

appearing. A former view

echoed by a former US

Secretary of State visiting

Moscow I was encouraged when

I saw Barack Obama say it is

time the set the reset button

between the US and Russia

then Foreign Minister Lavrille supported this idea

and Mrs Clinton was here so

those of White House support

the idea of close US-Russia

relations are encouraged. The

US and Russia expect to begin

talks soon on replacing a

treaty on nuclear weapon

reduction which is due to

expire in December. A

powerful earthquake has

struck off the Tongan island

prompting size moll gist tots

issue a tsunami warning

Norton on the. A 7.9

magnitude quake stuck after

6.15 local time south-east of

the Tongan capital

Nuku'alofa. The tsunami alert

has been withdrawn but the

region is experiencing other

unusual seismic activity. Spectacular

evidence of the activity

under Tonga where a volcano

continues to erupt. When it

pressed forward it was amazing. The Col yum. Steam

and ash first appeared on

Monday morning after a series

of sharp tremors was felt in

the capital Nuku'alofa. That

was followed this morning by

a major quake measuring 7.95

struck 200 kilometres south

east of volcano. The Pacific

tsunami warning centre issued

a warning for island

including Tonga, Samoa and

Fiji but there remains an

alert and concerns about

potential threats to aircraft

and ship fringe the volcano's

ash plume You do not want to

be in the plume as it damages engines. The under-sea

volcano was part of a cluster

of 36 and sits in the Pacific

ring of fire an arc ever earthquake and volcanic

zones. I will so far the gas

and steam is blowing a way

from Tonga but it is expected

wind will send ash towards

Fiji A team of Government

scientists has surveyed the

area and is expected to make

further recommendations.

Coming up, Thailand's Prime

Minister faces a censure

motion. South Africa takes

the honours on day one of the

Cape Town Test against

Australia. Another

Australian soldier has been

killed in Afghanistan the

second this week and the 10th

since the invasion in 2001.

He died while tying to

diffuse and improvised bomb

discovered during a routine clearance. The soldier's

family has been informed but

because the operation is

ongoing his name will not be

released. He was a specialist

in his chosen field, an

explosives ordinance disposal

technician. The chief of the Defence Force says the

soldier was killed trying to

diffuse and improvised

explosive device or IED This

soldier was high think

skilled and very courageous.

He was an expert in counter

ing IEDs and he lost his life

tying to make the environment

safe for his mates and local

Afghans. Most Australian

soldiers are posted in the

south as part of what is

known at Operation Slipper.

Many are there on active

patrol providing security and

clearing explosives. However,

some are training local

soldiers to take over future

regional forces or are

involved in reconstruction

work. It is true that the

longer we are in Afghanistan

the more difficult it will be

to maintain the support of it

Australian people for that

campaign. That is why I have

been arguing so strongly in

NATO forums and in other

forums for better progress

and a better plan to produce

that better progress. News of

the death came as the body of Corporal Matthew Hopkins was

being flown home by Air Force

Hercules. The 21-year-old

Brisbane father was also

killed in the country's south

in Oruzgan province during a

firefight earlier this week.

A television news crew made

up of three Americans and one

Chinese citizen has been

detained along the North

Korea-China border. North

Korea guards arrested the fur

on a filming trip. Their detention comes while North Korea's premiere is on a

week-long visit the China.

Reports of the arrest come

from South Korea media

usually a reliable force for

goings on in North Korea but

the South Korea Government is

not being forthcoming about

what it knows. TRANSLATION:

Regarding the report there is nothing we have confirmed and

we do not think it is something we should

confirm. The journalists were reportedly filming into North

Korea if somewhere near its

border with China though they

were said to be on the

Chinese side North Korea

border guards have been known

to cross the border and

snatch those who get too

close. The arrested journalist are

Chinese-American Laura Ling,

video editor Una Leah Korean

American and a Chinese

producer of ethnic decent and

Mitch close may also have

been detained. I will tension

are high with North Korea

threatening missile tests. I

will North Korea's leader Kim

Jong-il is on a friendly

visit to Beijing as pressure

builds on China's leaders to

lean more heavily on their ally but there was little sign of that during the

hour-long talks between the

Chinese premiere and Mr Kim.

Wen Jiabo declined a photo opportunity with the North

Korea leader leaving that to

the President of the national People's Congress. China says

it is pushing for the

resumption of six-party talk

boss North Korea's nuclear

ambitions but has not called

on North Korea either to stop

its missile testing or

release the detained American

journalists. Islamic

militants in the Philippines

have agreed the free one of

three Red Cross hostages they

seized in January. The

decision comes after clashes

with advancing troops on the

remote island of Jolo Meek.

Abu Sayyaf rebels say they

could free one of the Red

Cross hostages they are

holding if Philippine troops

pursuing them on the island

of Jolo pull back. The

Philippine head of the Red

Cross Richard Gordon is in

talks to secure a withdrawal.

I will so far no such orders

have been given. The Islamic

militants told the Red Cross

the three captives from

Switzerland, Italy and the

Philippines were alive but

exhausted after two days of

gun battles between their

kidnappers and military.

Tremendous very, very tired

and they are very sleepy.

After all they were going running all over the

place. Later in a live radio

interview the rebel leader threatened to behead one of

the hostages if troops did

not pull back. It is not

clear which of the Red Cross

workers will be freed. It is

expected to be the one most

in need of medical attention.

Previous reports have said

62-year-old Italian has a

heart condition. The timing

of any hand over has to be

arranged. The Red Cross says

as soon as one hostage is

released a former Muslim

separatist leader will act as

a negotiator to get the other

two out. Thailand's main Opposition Party has begun

the debate a censure motion

against the PM and several of

his ministers. Opposition MPs

are hoping to force the

Government out of office

after just three months. I

will they are accusing it of

corruption and of undermining

the Democratic system. The

Opposition party is

questioning the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva

about concealing an $11

million payment the his

Democrat party in 205. The

payments was from plastics

and cement firms which had

link the the Democrats at the

time. Opposition MPs

presented documents to the part which she that 27 separate cheques were written

and cashed over a three-month

period. The party has close

links to convicted former

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was force from

office in a military coup in

2006. The censure debate will centre on the Democrat

party's close link was the yellow-shirted people's

alliance for democracy

movement which shut down

Bangkok's airports last year.

It is also targeting five

other ministers including the

Foreign Minister who joined

the protest before he was a

minister. The vote is

expected to last 2 days but

the vote on Saturday is

unlike I had the pass because

the number. The Prime the Opposition does not have

Minister says he is

unconcerned about the debate.

Australia's Foreign

Minister is urging China to

help the world through the economic crisis. Stephen

Smith visit China next week

for high-level talks. He told

Australia Network's Newshour

he will ask China the stay

engage would the

international community.

Both economically and

generally when want China to

be a responsible stake

holder, the play its part not

just in our regional community but in the international community

playing its part economically

and socially. Doing that in a

responsible way as a country

of a billion people who is

emerging as a super power

feeds to do and that to us is

also China's aspiration and

its intention. Australia's

Foreign Minister Stephen

Smith. There has been a real

breakthrough in the campaign

to stop petrol sniffing in

remote Australian Aboriginal

community A Senate inquiry

has found testified practice has declined significantly

since the introduction of

safer fuels. Its success is

so I'm frommesive the

Government may soon make the

fuel compulsory in Central

Australia. Dawn to Capitol

Hill Aboriginal leaders from

the nation's centre came to

share their story of success. The community members who have come the

share with us today thank you

very much. Less than three

years ago petrol-sniffing was

the scourge of Central

Australia. 500 mainly young

Aboriginals were in its grip

Uncontrollable. Always

begging for money to go boy a

Jerry can. They fought for

and won subsidies to

encourage roadhouses to stock

the less damaging Opal fuel

and it works A inquiry has

found in the central Northern

Territory the number of users

has fallen in one year from

244 to around 85. In South

Australia's Apy Land almost

180 three years ago, possibly

as low as zero today. Since

the Opal came in I'm very

happy I can sleep now. The progress has convinced

community leaders they can

eradicate sniffing completely

if regular fuel is replaced

by Opal by all fuel station

goes across the centre We should start to take strong

action against roadhouses who

will not get on board and I

think we need the start the

look at the rest of the

Territory. The Senate

committee has recommended

giving retailers in the area

six months to voluntarily

stock the fuel. After that it

want legislation making Opal

compulsory with the

Commonwealth not being able

to do it, it says the states

and the Northern Territory

should. A spokesman for the

minister says the Government

is sympathetic to the idea.

Our top story - US

congressmen have responded to

public anger over the lavish

AIG executive bonuses by

voting for a 90% tax on the

payouts. Let's check

financial markets. The thus

as from a Federal Reserve

decision to pump a trillion

dollars into the financial

system faded overnight in the

US. In London the FTSE was a

touch higher.

In sports news and to

cricket, South Africa is well

on top after one of the -

after day one sorry of the third Test against Australia

in Cape Town. After winning

thes to and batting

Australia collapsed from 1/58

to 209 all out. By the close

the home side was no wicket

for 57 in reply as they hope

to avoid a 3-nil whitewash in

the series. The Australian

Openers Katich and Hughes

made a solid start before

Hughes departed lbw to

Harris. He has given out!.

Hughes is happy to go, no

referal from the Australians.

I will He was quickly

followed by Ricky Ponting out

for 0 as Morkel claimed his

first Test wicket. Katich and

Hussey steadied theship.

Hussey passing 3000 runs in

Test cricket but he was

removed by Dale Stayne quickly followed by Michael

Clark for another duck.

Bowled him out. Clark has a

beauty! What a spell this is

fromDale Stayne. Haddon

departed 6 runs later another

victim for Harris Surely

what about it? It is down the

leg side? No. McDonald and

Johnson were building a

useful partnership. Lusty hit fringe Johnson pushed the

Aussie total past 200 before

he went for one slog too

much. Takes it well!

Debutant Bryce McGuane

followed him three balls

later and the Aussies were

all out A behind of shape and Australia have been

bowled out on the first

day. When it was McGuane's

turn to bowl Prince took a

liking to him. The South

Africans will be looking to

build a big lead on day two.

Play has started on day three

of the first Test between New

Zealand and India in

Hamilton. The Indians resumed

on 4/278 one run behind the

home side's first innings

total. They have gone past

that now without losing any

more wickets. India are 4/213

with Tenerife 91 out, he is

heading towards his 42nd Test

century. Let's see if the

weather will hold for them.

Here is the forecast for

Friday. Showers will fall

along the Queensland coast

along the Queensland coast as

a low develops offshore in

the Coral Sea. Showers for

Brisbane, late thunder for

Sydney, a belt of high

pressure keeps the south

mostly clear although Hobart

will have morning drizzle. Afternoon showers for Perth

and there is the chance of

thunder further north in

Broom. Cool wind will ease

across New Zealand but fine

in most parts. Sunny in

Wellington, storms from

Nuku'alofa then right up to


A mixed bag across

South-East Asia.

Finally, the Ba sn, garra

The unveiling of a major

new work showcasing the best

of the old and the new from

angarra company. The company

kicked off its birthday celebrations doing what it

does best. Showcasing its

talents on the dance floor.

There is a real grounding of story and connection from

where the dancers come from

but it is celebrating a way

that pushes beyond people's

expectation of what

Aboriginal dance

is. Supporters like

is. Supporters like actor

Deborah Mailman says the

company helped shape the

identity of many Aboriginal

artists including her own. I

think it there with so much

envy. The company grew out of

an indigenous dance school but its graduates struggled

to find work. When they fund

their feet there was no

stopping them A highlight

being an audience in the

billions as part of the

opening and closing

ceremonies for the Sydney

Olympics. Just weeks after

the terrorists attacks in

September 11 in 2001 they

joined the mourning in New

York with a smoking ceremony.

Over the years they have

tackled tough issues. Its

artistic director Steven Page incorporating hard realities

like death in custody,

substance abuse and Stolen

Generations into the

Generations into the

choreography. Since 1989 Banbridge has brought its

It is gearing up for more.

This year they will tour

central Europe for the first

time with their production of

True Stories It has been

quite exciting and rejuvenating because you

start to think about the

evolution of where you

started and where you come

from and how times have

from and how times have changed. Bangarra means

"Making fire" and Steven

Prague has done just that, a

show called fire that will

incorporate the hottest moves

of the last 2 decades. You

have been watching ABC News

for Australia Network. Let's check our top stories - the

US con degrees votes to claw

back millions of dollars in

bonus from AIG executives

through the tax system. Josef

Fritzl starts a life sentence

after a jury find him guilty

of rape, murder and

enslavement. Russia is

hopeful of ending a rift with

the US over the European missile defence system. That

is the bulletin. You can

always keep up to date with

news and current affairs if

the region at our web site.

I'm Beverley O'Connor, thank

you for your company. See you

up soon.

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