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Mr Rudd goes to Washington -

Barack Obama praises the US-Australia alliance hosting Kevin Rudd for the first time

at the White House. Iran former President Mohammad

Khatami tells a Canberra

gathering that the time is

right for the US and Iran to

kick-start relations, but only

on an equal footing, Israel's

Labor Party to join Benjamin

Netanyahu in a Coalition government, as Israelis clash

with police in a violent march

through a Palestinian town.

Indian Premier League next And South Africa to host the

month after the multi-million

dollar tournament is relocated

over security concerns.

Good morning, it is

Wednesday, the 2 5th of March.

I am Joe O'Brien. I am

Virginia Trioli. The top story

on ABC News Breakfast - US

President Barack Obama says he

and Kevin Rudd see eye to eye

on the best way to deal with

the global economic crisis.

President Obama was speaking

after hosting the PM at the

White House, for their first

face-to-face meeting. Both

leaders trumpeted the

importance of the US-Australia

alliance, and said they are

hoping for a more effective

Coalition troop strategy in

Afghanistan. Never forget that

many of those responsible were

trained and given support in

Afghanistan. And so our mission

remains. To ensure that that country doesn't become a safe

haven for terrorists in the

future. As the President

indicated we spent a huge slice

of our time discussing what is

a global recession. A global

economic crisis coming out of a

global financial crisis. And

the global recession requires a

global solution add that's why

so much of our discussion today

focussed on common actions we

need to take together at the up

coming G-20 summit in London.

And in the run-up to the G-20

I feel there is a great meeting

of the minds, between PM Rudd

and myself in terms of how we

should approach it. The

importance of doing what's

necessary to support the global

demand and job and any job

development and economic

growth. The importance of a

financial regulatory mechanism

that prevents the kind of

system ic risks that have done

so much damage over the last

several months. Barack Obama

speaking there. Just after

meeting for just under two

hours with the Australian PM,

Kevin Rudd. And political editor Chris Uhlmann has been

travelling with the PM and

Chris Uhlmann good morning, joins us now from Washington.

thank you for joining us, so

the meeting went as planned? Does two hours sound about

right for a meeting with an

Australian PM? It went about

don't know what happens with 20 minutes overtime. Now I

President Obama, but that's

pretty standard for PM Rudd.

In fact going only 20 minutes

overtime in one of his meetings

will be considered doing pretty

well and I had had visions - we

were standing outside the oval

he was going through s.6 K of

his 7-point plan. His plans

are very well worked out and enormously detailed. What were

the key things that the two men

would have talked through? As

you just heard, of course

Afghanistan, and there had been

some speculation for a while in

Canberra that on this trip President Obama would ask Kevin

Rudd for a greater commitment

of troops to Afghanistan. He

will be well aware he has asked

for more effort from his NATO

allies and Australia has said

unless there is more effort

from those allies, particularly

the Europeans they will not put

any more troops. But our military has been planning for

a request. There is a strategy review under way at the moment

and I don't think now any

request will come until after

that but there are plans for

more Australians to go in. It

might not be a great many more

and they might be focussed on

training. Of course as is the

case when ever world leader

meets now days they talked about the global financial

crisis at some length. Timothy

Geithner, as has been well

reported here in Australia was full of praise for what Kevin

Rudd has been attemptsing to do

in Australia in relation to the

global financial crisis. Does

that strike the press pack

travelling with Kevin Rudd as

him simply being plight? -

polite? I don't think so.

Every time the PM comes here he

gets that sort of praise. He

does have a lot of contacts in

Washington. Last time we were

here at year ago at the bookings institute he got that kind of recognition and a lot

of people said then as he

travelled the world he was

cometh the hour, cometh the

man. He was a Mandarin

speaking western at the time

who we saw the rise of China. He got told by Timothy Geithner

last night he was A-plus on the

issues of the financial crisis

and perhaps people should have

paid more attention to him. He

then spoke at great length

himself at that same venue, the

Wall Street journal venue,

where there was that meeting

last night. And his - he got

President today and the great praise again from the

President said he looked

forward to working with PM Rudd

for many years to come. He has

got some other meet s slate

the. What's immediately on the

agenda now Chris? Well he went

straight to the department of State where he met with Hillary

Clinton and I am told - I

didn't go to that meeting -

that Hillary Clinton was very

strong on the US-Australia

alliance. Much stronger in

fact than the President. She apparently said that the United

stronger friend than Australia States has no better or

in good times and in bad. But

really this was the centrepiece

of the day. This meeting with

Barack Obama. The two had

never met face-to-face before.

He the had spoken several times

on the telephone and I know

Kevin Rudd is very keen to

build a strong working

relationship with the

President. Just flim flam

questions for you, we know the

gifts exchanged between the UK PM Gordon Brown and Barack

Obama caused a little bit of a

flurry. UK people weren't very

pleased that Gordon Brown

received a box set of American

films, DVD, do you know what

Australia is getting from

Barack Obama? I have

absolutely no idea I am sorry.

I have fallen down on that

front. I will endeavour to

find out before the next time I

speak to you. I was overcome

by being in the oval office and

forgot to check the gift,

perhaps they were somewhere on

the lounge. That's right.

Perhaps on the sideboard. Good

to talk to you. In other news

this morning the form of

President of Iran, Mohammad

Khatami has accuse Pakistan of

not doing enough to improve

stability in the regime. The

former moderate leader in

Canberra last night welcomed

moves to restart formal talks

between the US and Iran. But

Dr Khatami warned they will

only succeed if approached on

an equal footing. The Israeli

Labor leader Ehud Barack says

his party will join forces with

Benjamin Netanyahu giving him

the partry manuality needed to

form - parliamentary majority

needed to form government. He

made the announcement at the

Labor Party conference says the

Coalition deal was struck

earlier in the day. He said

Israel will now be ruled by a

Coalition with Mr Benjamin

Netanyahu ruled as PM.

Malcolm Turnbull continues to

trail Peter Costello in opinion

poll s. 46% of people surveyed

think the Treasurer will have a

better chance of winning the

next election than the

Opposition Leader. Mur

Turnbull's approval rating

dropped 3% lower than the last

poll. The head of Australian

crime commission says outlaw

bikie gangs represent a real and present threat to

Australian security. He says

bikie ganged have graduated to

serious organised crime infill

tralted the infiltrated the

security and maritime industries.

And the Indian Premier League

cricket tournament will be staged in South Africa next

month. The tournament was moved

because India couldn't

guarantee security for the IPL

matches because police and

troops would be busy with the

country's general election on

at the same time. A total of 59

matches will be played. It starts next month.

Return ing to Israel where

police have clashed with a

group of right wing Israelis

after they staged a violent

protest march through a Palestinian town. ABC correspondent Phillip Williams

was there and filed this

report. There were just 100

right wing extremists, nearly

3,000 police, and an Arab

Israeli town that wanted none

of them. It was designed to

provoke and it succeeded. We

are part of Israel. It belongs

to Israel and if you will fight

with us we will do the same

thing. The closer the Jewish

marchers got to town the

greater the tension. Despite

the large police contingent

they could not contain the

seething anger against the

presence of a radical group

that accuses Arab Israelis of

disloyality. This is exactly what

everyone had had feared.

Violence has erupted, stun

grenades have been used. Tear

gas, trying to disburse the

crowd. The place has gone

crazy. Amongst the chaos of

cars, houses and people the

pitched battles continues up

and down the streets. As rocks

rained down on police, at time

they were forced to huddle in

defensive groups. Other times

taking the offensive and

forcing the crowds to retreat.

There were injuries on both sides, nothing life-threatening, but that was

just luck. Unfortunately the

locals here have decided that

they will turn it into a riot,

stones and blocks have been

thrown on police officers here.

Unfortunately we have had to

immediately react. That

reaction caused deep anger

amongst the crowd, who accused

the police of attacking Arab

Israelis while protecting

Jewish sphrem ist -

extremists. The problem we are

living in racist. They

behaviour with us as enemy, not

as sit Zens, it is against our

existence, you think we have to

compromise with them about our

existence here. Unbelievable.

Long after the ultra national

lifts left the running battles

continued with the more right

wing government of Benjamin

Netanyahu due to take office,

and a recent war in Gaza, the

old hatreds run as deep as


The French government has

announced it will compensate

victims of the country's past nuclear tests in French

Polynesia and Algeria. The decision marks a change of

heart from the government. It

has long refused to officially

recognise any link between poor

health and the testing of

nuclear bomb s Natalie

MacGregor reports. It has

taken year, but finally there

is a long-awaited about-face

from France. The government

has earmarked $13.6 million US

for initial compensation payments for victims of its

nuclear tests. Carried out in

Algeria in the early 1960s and

French Polynesia from 1966 to

1996. The Defence Minister

says it is a fair solution

which will ensure France is at

peace with itself.

TRANSLATION: We will avoid

long and costly trials. And at

least there will be a right to

have equal compensation for all

the victims who are ill from

nuclear testing. Until now,

France has refused to

officially recognise any link between nuclear testing and

health complaints from military

and civilian staff involved in

those tests. The complaints

included many cases of

leukaemia and other cancers.

The change of heart has been

bulked by those - welcomed by

those who have long campaigned

for such acknowledgment. TRANSLATION: One of the important things is they will

acknowledge the cause of the

disease. Something we have

been asking Forrest a long

time. He himself was one of

the victims. I'm a victim

because I was there for the

first two overground nuclear

explosions. The first one was

four times the size of hir

shimma. The Industrial Court

in French Polynesia has now set

a hearing date for former

employees at the Pacific

nuclear testing site at Muroa

Atol. Now to the front pages

of the major newspapers around

the country. We will start

with 'The Australian' today and it says Wall Street fund

managers to be encouraged to

buy $1 trillion worth of toxic

assets crippling the financial

system. The 'Financial Review'

reports the sharp rally on global share markets yesterday

raised hopes to an end to the

16-month-old bear market. The

'Herald Sun' has the story of

social activist Les Twentyman's

recovery from a

life-threatening coma. The 'Sydney Morning Herald' reports

the NSW Premier said the state

is in danger of losing its AAA

credit rating this year. The

'Daily Telegraph' says police

have confirmed the two victims

of a shooting in Canberra

yesterday had bikie links. But

they don't believe it was

connected to the Sydney

incident the other day. The

'Canberra Times' reports a man

was apprehended by police

minutes after the Canberra shooting and was being

questioned by police last

night. The head of a top crime

fighting agency has warned

outlaw bikie gangs represent a

real and present threat to

Australia. The Western

Australian saw - says tough

new laws against bikie ganging

could be introduced to WA. The

South Australian government has

promised senior sit Zens free

public transport on public

holidays and weekends as part

of the election campaign. The

'Courier Mail' says a former

acting Attorney-General for the

Pacific island nation of Tuvalu

will become Queensland's first

law officer and the paper also

has a photo of former rugby

league player Shane Webke who

pulled copies of his soon to be

released autobiography which

criticises the Brisbane

Bronchos. And a mother feared

a crocodile would take her

daughter after it chased her

dog at a popular Darwin beach.

If you would like to send your feedback -

The top stories on ABC News

Breakfast this morning - the US President, Barack Obama,

welcomes the PM to the White

House saying he and Kevin Rudd

are seeing eye to eye on the

best way to deal with the

global financial crisis. Both

leader s also say they are

hoping for a more effective

Coalition troops strategy in

Afghanistan. The former President of Iran, Mohammad

Khatami, says the time is right

for the US and Iran to begin a

dialogue but only on an

footing. Speaking in Canberra

last night he also accused

Pakistan of not doing enough to

bring stable toy to South Asia

and the Middle East. The

Israeli Labor leader Ehud

Barack says his party will join

forces with Benjamin Netanyahu

giving him the parliamentary

majority he needs to form

government. Ehud Barack made

the announcement at a Labor Party conference, Israel will

now be ruled by a Likud-lead

Coalition with Mr Netanyahu as


The nation's iron ore producers have been warned to

brace for a dramatic drop in

iron ore prices. The global

forecasting conference in Perth

has been told prices may halve

in the next two years, cutting

revenues not just for miners

but also the Western Australian

State Government. Report er

Andrew O'Connor is in our Perth

news room. Another grim

forecast but it would have come

as no surprise? I think you

are right Joe. This was the

news that no-one wanted to hear

but everyone was expecting

after years of record prices

and record demand during the

peak years of the resources

boom. I think iron ore prices

were always expected to take a

tumble. Probably forecasting

is one of the few growth industries during the global economic downturn at the

moment. But what is

interesting about these

predictions is they come from

people who should know. Heap

is a commodities analyst with

city investment, he told the conference yesterday his

prediction is iron ore prices

will drop by 30% next year, 20%

the year after giving us the

halving of iron ore prices over

a two year period and Sam Walsh

from Rio Tinto says he too is expecting a significant

downward adjustment. So mining

community also be hardest hit

presumably? Yes, in fact I guess this is obviously going

to take a big slice of revenue

out of big miners like BHP and

Rio Tinto. BHP seem pretty

well placed because of its low

debt levels, Rio Tinto less so

but the people hardest hit I

suspect are the small miners,

company s like Andrew Forrest's

FMG. They are the ones that

will have trouble. Sam Walsh

was telling the conference some

of the small miners, some of

them are relatively high cost

and relatively low quality

producer also find it hard to

carry on. This is going to cut

the money flowing through to

the State Government? That's

right, mining revenue s are a

very rich source of cash for

the State Government here in WA

and this price drop alone would

shave about $230 million out of

the State budget. By itself

that doesn't seem like a lot of

money but this is a state that

is desperately trying to hang

on to its AAA credit rating,

particularly after the other

boom state Queensland lost its

credit rating. It has lost

revenue by property stamp duty,

now the property boom has

ended. This will place

additional pressure on them to cut spending if they will hang

on to that AAA credit rating.

Lights - let's look at finance

news now and US Federal Reserve

chairman Ben Bernanke says he

wanted to take legal action to

stop executives paying bonuses.

The revelation comes as nine of

the 10 AIG executives who

received large bonuses said they would return their

payouts. I asked if the AIG payments be stopped but was

informed that they were

mandated by contracts agreed to

before the government's

intervention. I then asked

that suit be filed to prevent

the payments. Legal staff counselled against this action

on the grounds Connecticut law

provides for substantial

punitive damages if the suit

would fail. Legal action could

have the perverse effect of

doubling or tripling the

financial benefits to the AIG

employees. AIG highlights very

broad failures of our financial

system. Our regulatory system

was not equipped to prevent the

build-up of dangerous levels of

risk. Compensation practice awarded short-term profits over

long-term financial stability, overwhelming the checks and

balances in the system. We

came into this crisis as a

country - and this say tragic

thing. We came into this cries

without the - crisis without

the authority and the tools

necessary to contain the damage

to the American economy, posed

by the very severe pressures

working through the financial

system. Now I share the anger

and frustration of the American

people, not just about the

compensation practice at AIG

and other parts of the system

but our financial system

permitted a scale of risk takes

that has caused grave damage to

the lives of so many Americans. Treasury Secretary Timothy

Geithner there speaking to

congress. To the UK now where

British PM Gordon Brown says he

is confident the world leaders

will do whatever it takes to

create growth and jobs to

revive the global economy. Mr

Brown met executives from

Africa, Asia, European and US

banks ahead of next week's G-20

summit. The summit will try to

help pull the world out of its

worst economic slump since the

1930s. We have seen in the

last few months it is not only the severity of the financial

crisis but the willingness of the authorities in different

countries to come together to

look at what can be done

collectively to deal with this

set of problems that we face.

Let's take a look at the

markets now. Stocks are trading lower after yesterday's

highs -

The S&P 500 is also down by

half a per cent. In Europe the

FTSE dropped by more than 1%.

Oil is 5 $ - -

Now in a few minutes Vanessa

O'Hanlon will be here with a look at the national weather.

Also ahead we will have a

review of some of today's newspapers, this morning we will be joined by Cameron

Stewart the associate editor of

'The Australian'. With sport

here is Paul. Good morning,

the Indian Premier League is

heading to South Africa. The

Twenty20 competition won last

year by Shane Warne's Rajastan

Royals will start on April 17.

It was relocated because it

clashed with Indian general

elections, and home minister

can not provide security for

both. England was overlooked

as the other potential host

nation. Let's hear from the boss of South African cricket

now and the IPL explains its

decision to head to Africa.

Organisers can be assured that

they have the full support of

the South Africa's structures,

and the entire nation and the

public to stage a successful

tournament. This event will

further strengthen our ties

with India, which has always

been very close with South

Africa. The overwhelming

reason that we chose South

Africa is primarily the weather

conditions. The weather

conditions in South Africa in

the month of April, and May,

are more favourable than they

would have been in the UK for

hosting the matches, because

both countries have excellent

facilities, both countries have

great heritage past of cricket

and both countries have been

extremely supportive of us to

host the matches out there, but

I think weather played a very,

very important part in our

decision. Lance Armstrong says

he may still return for the

Giro D'Italia in six weeks. He

is back in Texas now after

breaking his collarbone in a

race in Spain. The 7-time Tour

de France cham is still hoping

to win his 8th. His task keeps

getting harder. Over night his

Astana team-mates, Levi

Lieipheimer and Alberto

Contador finished first and second in the Castilla and Leon

time trial. Both will be among the favourites in France in

July. The Melbourne Grand Prix is almost upon us and

there is a favourite team

among the local crowd it is

Ferrari. The team's major

players spoke overnight and

conceded this season will be

one of the toughest ever.

This year we know that the

season will be very tough. We

respect our competitor for what

we have seen in the first test,

the situation is very, very close.

Mainly Friday to try to

improve the set-up, to try the

tyres. To have a very good

indication about the car's

set-up for the qualifying for

the race. Sometimes it is

quite difficult to rape from - to leap from Thursday to Friday, from Saturday to

Sunday. From Thursday to

Friday you didn't drive the

car, so you don't know how it

is going to be, so you are

always a little bit exciting to

start to drive the car and have

the idea, if the weekend will

be very good, it will be medium

or it will be bad. Former

surfing world champion CJ

Hobgood has posted the highest

heat score so far in the Cold

Water Classic on Tasmania 's

west coast. But conditions

easing, organisers of the world

qualifying event moved day two

of competition from reef to a

sand bottom break. Providing

clean 2m waves, yesterday's

standout Tasmanian Dustin

Hollick couldn't find any high

scoring waves and was e

eliminated. Today everyone

will be watching the rising star Jordy Smith as he starts

his competition. I was

slightly disappointed with the

conditions there but still looked like pretty good waives

to me. That second last one

was from the day before? I

don't think so. That was from

yesterday. I love the story

about the former rugby league

international Brisbane Bronchos

Shane Webke his book being

pulled. He has not made much

of an explanation but it was

just about to be leased. This

is the second volume of a

tellual. He said "there is

nothing sorted in the book, nor

was I pressured at anyone at

the Bronchos. It is quite a

boring book in fact. I don't

want to say any more at this

stage". When you are halfway

down a hole, digging. I wonder

if that's part of the forward

for the book. Pretty boring

but thanks for your 30 bucks. What's going on there?

I am not sure, it seems he was slightly critical of the rugby

league culture for one thing

and he has been outspoken about player miss behaviour and all

the things everyone has been

talking about for a few weeks

now. So yeah I am not sure why

he thinks it will be bad form

to go out and say all the same

stuff again in print. Someone

else thinks it will be bad form

rather than him I reckon, I

think so, yeah. I will do a bit

of research on that. I will

also get a picture up of the

front cover of that book,

because I think it's fantastic.

Wait for it later. I won't try

to describe it. But I think it

is terrific. Just some more

motorsport news - there was a

couple of cars went up to Kinglake yesterday, of course

the scene of the bushfires.

And some people there just signs autographs and we have

seen a lot of sporting teams go

up there and Try and sort of

spread a bit of goodwill.

Goodwill of a different kind.

Burning rubber on the roads and

doing some circle work as they

call it I think with utes, I am

not sure with F 1s. Doing the

circle work very close to

police there. They must know

what they are doing. I think

the locals got a little bit out

of it. That was nice. Thanks

a lot Paul. ABC News Breakfast

with can be watched live on the

web from anywhere -

Here is Vanessa O'Hanlon with

the weather. We have another

cyclone sitting out in the

Coral Sea, it was a low and continues to drift south east

away from Queensland. There

are warnings for New Caledonia

and nearby low lying islands,

with tropical cyclone Jasper

well out into the sea. It is

all the way out there, it will

cause a few light showers over the east coast of Queensland.

That is combined with a high

over the Tasman Sea. Now

northerlies for NSW ahead of a trough, will spread patchy

light rain over the south-east.

As the widespread cloud in a

trough moves further south-east

so will the rain and thunder

with SA and Victoria receiving

most of it. Thunderstorm cloud

in the same trough is forming

up over the Kimberley, and that

will cause a few thunderstorms

as well. In Queensland,

showers and thunderstorms over

far northern Cape York peb

pence pence in - peninsula.

In NSW a fine day for the

north. In Victoria the low

pressure trough will move to

the west later on today.

Isolated showers for most areas

and afternoon storms in the

south. For Tasmania apart from

the south the rest of the state

can expect isolated showers and

patchy light rain. Mostly

cloudy with cool to mild

conditions. And in SA, from

Oodnadatta to Adelaide isolated

showers over north-east

Flinders and pastral districts

there should be isolated thunderstorms, WA isolated

showers mainly along the coast

east of Margaret river and

moving towards the east of Bremmer Bay throughout the

afternoon and up to the north

west afternoon showers and

thunderstorms with the cloud

over the Kimberley and

interior. Afternoon gusty

storms over the northern Top

End but very hot in the centre.

Tomorrow another burst of heat

for Perth -

I will see you in half an hour.

The top story on ABC News

Breakfast - the US President

Barack Obama has been hosting Kevin Rudd at the White House

in the first face-to-face

meeting between the two leaders. Barack Obama said he

and the PM agreed on a common

approach to tackling the global

financial crisis ahead of next

week's G-20 summit in London.

We are already hard at work

in putting forward a detailed

proposal, we will work in

consultation with members of

congress. That will be just

one phase of a broader regulatory framework that we

are going to have to put in

place to prevent these kinds of

crisis from happening again and

as PM Rudd and I already discussed it will be important

even as individual countries

take action s to prevent these

kinds of crisis, that our

regulations spur a race to the

top as opposed to the race to

the bottom. I think the

actions taken by the US administration and the

statement yesterday by Treasury

Secretary Geithner on impaired

asset management is an

important step in the overall

road to global economic

recovery. And actions of that

type, in Europe, and elsewhere,

are also necessary parts of long-term global economic

recovery. I look forward to

working with the President in

London on the concrete actions

that we need to agree on there.

Stimulating our economies,

working on the future of the

IMF, and working also on what

we do to better regulate the global financial system in the

future. Australian PM Kevin

Rudd there with Barack Obama.

And for analysis on that

meeting and the state of the alliance, political scientist

with the brookings institute

Thomas E Mann joins us from Washington. Thank you so much

for joining us. Happy to be

with you. Kevin Rudd's just

spent up almost 2 hours in the

oval office with Barack Obama.

And they would have had a great

deal to talk about of course.

Yes, indeed. The agenda was

full. The meeting was quite

lengthy and I thought the

public press briefing

afterwards revealed the respect

that each has for the other and

the extent to which the two

leaders seem to be quite sympatigo on the global

economic catastrophe as well as

of a less explicit Afghanistan.

We will get to Afghanistan in

a moment. But that sense of

Sympatico - that's a good way

of putting it, that doesn't

seem to be put on. That seems

to be a genuine accord between

the two men? It really is. It

begins with the fact that both

are very intelligent.

Knowledgeable, and articulate

and they have already had

conversations before this

face-to-face meeting. And

therefore they have quite a bit

to build on. Now, it is good for Kevin Rudd's political standing of course to get

anything he can from the US

President and to be seen to be

in accord with him. But what

if anything does Barack Obama

need from Kevin Rudd? Listen,

I think having the engagement

in support of an articulate

member of the broader alliance,

and... is very useful. I think

President Obama also sees Rudd

as a real ally in the up coming

G-20 meetings, and in the

broader effort to get Europe to

act as decisively with regard

to both the stimulus and the

necessary regulation of the

financial global financial

community. It is very helpful.

So it is both sim botically

important but - symbolically

important but sub substantively

important. Rudd is an important partner for Obama in

the US going into the these

meetings. Do you think Barack

Obama will share Kevin Rudd's

view that China needs to be

given much more of a voice,

much greater standing within

the IMF? I actually think

Kevin Rudd's ultimate influence

with the US may most

importantly be with respect to

China. The PM knows the country

very well. Has shared some of

his thoughts about China with

Obama already. And in

certainly I suspect that he

will be - I expect he will be

influential on the issue of

bringing China very much in, in

a more substantial way, to the

structure of the IMF. You mean

to say that Barack Obama might

be looking for someone who

knows China, who is a Liberal leading Democrat type such as

himself from the west who he

bes he can trust. He is

looking for that kind of wise

council as it were? I think

that's right. It will serve

him well. And we already know from secretary Hillary

Clinton's initial trip abroad,

being to Asia with an important

meeting in China, that China

will be an important focus of

this administration. And I

think President Obama looks

naturally and comfortably to

Kevin Rudd for counsel on

matters pertaining to China.

Do you believe Australia will

be asked for more troops in

Afghanistan by the US?

You know, Obama was very

careful to say that the

strategic review of Afghan

policy is not yet completed.

In fact there is a good chance

that by Friday the results of

that will be made public and

our policies made clear.

Certainly Obama and the US want

Australia to continue to play a

role in Afghanistan. Whether

that shifts into more explicit

training role, I don't know.

Because both countries

understand the need to build-up

Afghan security forces, and I

could imagine some kind of an

agreement being reach ed along

those lines. The PM just

finally, has described this

trip as starting a new and

important chapter in the

Australian US alliance. Apart

from the political stripes of

the leader, which is clearly

very different to the last

chapter, what is so different

about this time do you think?

I think there's the nature

of the relationship spans many

more issues. I think it's

clear that Rudd wants, and

welcomes, the re-emergence of

US in a position of global

economic leadership. As well

as a commitment to engage on

climate change. Very important.

Rudd spoke several times about

America's back in this role and

that role. And that's what

Obama has in mind. So I see

this as - as much more

ambitious. The last set of

relationships between Mr Howard

and Mr Bush was perhaps overly

personal and rooted almost

entirely in 9/11 and the war in

Iraq. I expect this

relationship to be a bit less

personal. more kind of mutual

respect and more wide-ranging

in its emphasis. Great to have

you on the program. Thank you

for joining us. Remember

you can all always make a

comment about the stories we are covering today and the

interviews we are conducting. Send email to -

In other news this morning,

the former President of Iran,

Mohammad Khatami has accused

Pakistan of not doing enough to

improve stability and security

in the region. Speaking in

Canberra last night, the former

moderate leader also welcomed

moves to restart formal talks

between the US and Iran. But

Dr Khatami warns they would

only succeed if approached on

an equal footing. The Israeli

Labor leader Ehud Barack says

his party will join forces with Benjamin Netanyahu giving him

the parliamentary majority he

needs to form government. Ehud Barack says the deal was

reached at a meeting with lick ud leader Benjamin Netanyahu

earlier in the day. It means

Israel will now be ruled by a

Likud lead Coalition with Mr

Nen nen as PM. The - Mr

Netanyahu as PM. The head of

the Australian Crime Commission

has warned outlaw bikie gangs

threat to Australian security. represent a real and present

John Lawler says bikie gangs

have graduated to serious

organised crime, having

infiltrated security and

maritime industries. Meanwhile

a 21-year-old man has been

charged over the shooting

deaths of two men in Canberra

yesterday. Police say the

shootings were not gang reled but it is understood the

victims were associated with

the Rebels motorcycle gang.

Jailed former judge Marcus

Einfeld is being investigated

over another traffic offence,

this time for not wearing a

seat belt while travelling to

court. Police are inspecting

footage from the ABC's 'Four

Corners' program. The 7

70-year-old was jailed for two

years last week for lying about

a speeding ticket. The sirens

of air-raid bells and church

bells in Serbia have marked the

10th anniversary of the bombing

campaign to free Kosovo. NATO

bombed Serbia for 10 weeks in

an effort to push them out of

Kosovo. It was NATO's largest military operation launched without UN Security Council

backs. Pakistan's Chief

Justice Iftikhar Chaudry has

returned to his office in

Islamabad to a hero's welcome.

former President Pervez The sacking of Mr Chaudry by

Musharaf caused months of

political turmoil and Gloria Kalache reports.

The Chief Justice's car was

swamped by well wir wishers

and showered with rose petals

as he left his house to pick up

where he left in 2001.

TRANSLATION: I feel our dreams

have come true and the dark

clouds of injustice that have

enveloped this country for the

last 60 years have evaporated.

It brought to an end of days

of protests lead by Opposition Leader Nawaz Sharif. Asif Ali

Zardari had been reluctant to

reverse his sack, despite

promising he would when

elected. Lawyers says it's a

victory for the people.

TRANSLATION: The power of the

people has compelled the

present rulers to realise the

true Chief Justice of this

country is Chief Justice

Iftikhar Chaudry. The often

outspoken Chief Justice says it

will be the responsibility of

judges to rid the system of

corruption. And the families

of those with missing loved

ones who believe they are being

oheld secretly by security

agencies say the reinstate ment

of Iftikhar Chaudry gives them

hope. For the last two years

we were denied justice and

recovery of missing people. No

hearings of missing

people, Political leaders are

now calling for reconciliation

between the opposition an

government to allow the country

to focus on issues of militancy

and terrorism. Sweeping new

changes have been announced to Australia's freedom of

information laws. Applications

for information under the Act

will now be free of charge and

a new independent office of information commissioner will

be set up to help process them.

Charlotte Glennie reports. A

significant day for free speech

began with an admission

sometimes editors go too far in

pursuit of a scoop at the

expense of the facts. The media

does make mistakes and as some

of our newspapers did last

week. There will be mistakes

in the future too. The head of

Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd was

referring to controversial

photos splashed across the Sunday telegraph in the lead-up

to last weekend's Queensland

election. The paper claimed

they were of independent candidate Pauline Hanson but the photos were a hoax.

Journalists are fallible like

everyone else. John Hartigan

was strum eblingts in bringing

Australia's media companies

together in the interests of

The Federal Government told the public's right to know.

them freedom of information

laws are in for an overhaul.

These reforms will change the

law, but they will also

demonstrate the government's

commitment to culture change.

A shift from the culture of

secrecy we saw under the last

government to one of openness

and transparency. The special

minister of state's promising

more disclosure. He is

proposing a new office of

information commissioner.

Abolishing applications fees

for all freedom of information

Act requests, and transforming

the so-called public interest

test, where public servants

have been able to block FOI

requests on the basis that that embarrassed the government or

cause unnecessary debate or

confusion. Importantly,

cabinet documents will now be

instead of the current 30. made public after 20 years

So sorry Sir, but certain

government agencies are except

from the aebility - Act,

including the quavrdge

Commonwealth Bank. Qantas.

Exempt. TAA. Exempt.

Changes are welcomed by the

fourth estate. It should make applications quicker and

cheaper and it should provide

jorn lifts and the public

doctor journalists and the

public with a lot more

information than we have

currently been getting.

However John Howard's former

chief staff is unconvince ed.

They want to be getting the

appropriate advice and they

being sprayed refresh your understand if everything is

memory potentially they -

sprayed potentially they will

not get the information they

need. In 2007 two journalists

were convicted of contempt of

court and fined thousands of

dollars for refusing to reveal

their sources for a story.

Last week the Federal

Government unveiled new shield

laws for journalists, giving

judges the discretion whether

or not to prosecute in such

cases. There has been movement

in terms of how journalists do

their job for the purpose of providing information to the public. So Kevin Rudd is

certainly moving on a number of

the promises that he did take

to the last election.

Journalists have been

frustrated for years in their

efforts to get government

records, so they hope today

marks a sea change in gaining

access to information. You are

watching ABC News Breakfast.

The top stories this morning -

US President Barack Obama welcomes the PM to the White

House saying he and Kevin Rudd

are seeing eye to eye on the best way to deal with the global financial crisis. Both

leaders also say they are

hoping for a more effective

Coalition troop strategy in

Afghanistan. The former

President of Iran Mohammad

Khatami says the time is right

for the US in Iran to begin a

dialogue but only on an equal

footing. Speak anything

Canberra last night Dr Khatami

also accused Pakistan of not

doing enough to bring stability

to South Asia and the Middle

East. And Israel's Labor

leader Ehud Barack says they

will join the Likud party in a

Coalition government with

Benjamin Netanyahu as PM. The announcement comes as right wing Israeli clash with police

in the north of the country after staging a violent march through a Palestinian town.

And for a look at the

national papers today we are

joined by Cameron Stewart. The

associate editor of the 'Age'

and winner of the Graeme Perkin

award for journalist of the

year. Thank you very much. 'The Australian' not the 'The

Age'. I am sorry. 'The

Australian''s Cameron Stewart.

My apologies. In all the

newspapers today around the

country in fact, will is two

stories, we did the local story

that is the beaky story and the

international story is the

Washington story. In 'The Age'

on the front page we are

talking about the alarm growing

at the bikie threat and what's

is interesting about today's

coverage is they are quoted

John Lawler the head of the

Australian Crime Commission,

who said that bikies are

graduated from being social

nuisances to being key players

in organised crime. Yesterday

we had the double killing in

Canberra. And of course the

terrible airport tragedy a few

days ago. But the interesting

thing about it I think is the

speculation I guess that this

might end up becoming a new

gang-lands war in a sort of

underbelly fashion if bikies

take a central role in

organised crime. As a

journalist haven't you got the

impression previously bikie

members have played a pretty

prominent role in some

organisation noised crime? It

is not a - organised crime? It

is not a new thing. It is

true. It is interesting they

do play a prominent role but

they haven't had the sort of co-ordinated big picture type

of violence that we have seen.

It has oven been fairly - it

has often been fairly isolated

incidents. I guess what the concern is now and certainly

the tone of the coverage today

is the concern it will go to

the next level. And we will

get, as I say, abunderbelly

type of circuit significance

where you have tit for tat

killings, crossing state

boundaries, too early to say at

the moment but the coverage is certainly pointing in that

direction. We have had discussions before, in particular criticisms of the

AFP over various incidents and

really mucked up incidents that

they have been involved in.

The AFP and their role in

either dealing or not dealing

with well with the incident at

Sydney Airport involving

bikies, they are under the

hammer again aren't they? They

have much are. And I think

Mick Keelty, the AFP chief did

not do himself any favour when

is he came out and said it was an appropriate response. That

there were no real problem, I

think it's a little bit early

to say that. I really do.

There is a lot of investigating

to do and just prima facie, the

situation like that, with 15 or

16 blokes rolling through an airport security, I don't see

how you can come out and say

that's an acceptable security

response when no-one actually

came. So there is a lot to go

in that investigation. The

other story I want to talk

about is of course the by one in Washington. Always

difficult for newspapers to

cover this when they have got a

time zone difference. Terrific

for breakfast television

programs. Perfect for breakfast

television but this is a good

job here in the coverage

because Michelle Gratton is

talking about PM Rudd and his

comments just before he went

into the meeting where he talks

about the fact Australia is

going to have to train more

police and Afghan troops, and

that that is the way that Australia will leave Afghanistan. This is the first

time he has talk ed fairly

clearly about an exit strategy.

That is very important and

interesting too coming after 24

hours a news poll which shows

two-thirds of Australian didn't

support the deployment. And

just before a meeting where we

are expected to be directly

asked to increase our

involvement. Exactly.

Exactly. In fact I think Obama

during his briefing, we haven't

heard it yet - was supposed to

privately brief Rudd on the

outcome of the US examination

of Afghanistan strategy. And

Rudd found himself in quite a

pickle here because he has got

a lecturer that doesn't want

the war, a US President that

desperately wants help with the

war and by doing what he did yesterday in Washington you can

see the machinations going

where he can finally justify at

one point Australia to leave

the war. It is such a murky

situation in Afghanistan. It

must be extremely difficult to

come up with any exit strategy

when it is so unclear what the core of the problem is.

Exactly. And it is going to

be a very subjective decision

when they finally do leave, as

to is Afghanistan security.

Can they look after their own

security. It's a very subjective judgment which gives

them some political playground

if you like. Although it

coming very shortly after he made the very clear statement

during the election campaign,

where if there is one big just

war where we should be involved

it is Afghanistan. This is

really what a year-and-a-half

after that. So still, still

hard I think to make his

argument in the international

context. It is, he certainly

is stuck with the idea if we

don't stay in Afghanistan our

boys and girls will be bombed

in Bali and other places.

That's really the link he is

making. The China propaganda

minister has been here in

Australia. A fascinating

story. The Chinese head of

propaganda. The 5th most

powerful person in China. Mr

Chan Chun and he has come to

Australia and you wouldn't know

about it because they didn't

tell anyone. Except the

Chinese media. Which told the

and radio and we had a get on

that as did 'The Australian'.

Made the calls to Chinese media

and got the information from

them. It was quite

extraordinary. He came in, it

is an official visit. And he

dined with the PM in the Lodge and he was there for an

hour-and-a-half. They

discussed just minor issues

like a $16 billion investment

in Chinalco and free trade and

a whole range of crucial

bilateral issues, the

Australian media wasn't told

but the Chinese media was

ushered into the Lodge and it

was a fairly extraordinary

situation. The response from

the PM's office was - we can't

tell the Australian media about

everything Kevin Rudd does.

Exactly so it just went to

CCTV in China and got the whole

story. So this is today's

story. And that is that he met

with and managing director -

ABC managing director Mark

Scott on Monday and what they

did was, because the ABC of

course is interested in trying

to expand the broadcast of its

Australia network into China.

And so he had a chat to Mr

Scott about a whole range of

issues, one of those issue was

Tibet and the coverage of Tibet

and he wasn't criticising the

ABC, for its coverage at all

but he was making a generalised

point which Chinese propaganda

ministers love to do - Always

do. And that is the western

media's coverage of Tibet has

been rather disappointing.

They get frustrated. They

think the western media portray

all Tibetans as noble and China

as cruel connoiser. And with

the Dalai Lama. He made that

point not only to Mark Scott

but alsos in Ltd chiefs, There

seems optimism that the ABC

will win that to broadcast in

China. They are quietly

confident. But Chinese

decision-making is very opaque.

So who knows what is going to

happen, A couple of secs left.

Show us the tattoos that Black

Saturday survives are getting?

The grieving process, I guess

the bushfires plays out in lots

of ways. This is a fascinating

one. Some enterprising

tattooist has 30 different

designs and Kinglake survivor

is being plastered on many

people in Kinglake now. It is

amazing. Male and female and

all sorts of people get those tattoos over time as well.

Good to see you. A reminder

you can watch all of ABC News

Breakfast streamed live every

morning. With sport here is

Paul. The Indian Premier League is heading to South

Africa. The Twenty20

competition won last year from

Warne - Shane Warne's Rajastan

Royals. The home minister

could not provide security for

both the Twenty20 and the

elections. Japan won the world

baseball classic yesterday wins

South Korea 5-3. Japanese

workers crammed to Tokyo's bars

and restaurants to watch the

game live from the US. It was

a point of pride when Japan

came a disappointing fourth at

the Beijing Olympics. Many

skipped work to watch Japan

defend the title they won three

years ago. Back to Kinglake

now and the people there were

treated to some F 1 action.

Yesterday some Formula One cars

did circle work in the street.

One was a demonstrator with

room enough for two people and

Aidtan Buchanan, who lost

several family members in the

fires was treated to a Formula

One ride. The visitors said

they were shocked by the extent

of the fire damage.

That's it for sport. It

looks like the kids of Kinglake

were loving it. Thanks a lot

Paul. Here is Vanessa O'Hanlon

with the weather and there is welcome rain over the

south-east of Australia. There

is. On the radar it is falling

north of about Leigh Creek and moving diagonally over the

south of NSW. And pretty widespread over Victoria.

Adelaide has had 1.4mm. And

Melbourne 1.8. Further up

north and tropical cyclone

Jasper is well out to sea.

With a little help from the

Tasman high off the corner

there it will receive light

shower as long the Queensland

coast. Northerlies for NSW

ahead of a trough that will

spread patchy light rain over

the south-east as the

widespread cloud in a trough moves further south east so

will the rain and thunder with

SA and Victoria receiving most

of it. Thunderstorm cloud in

the same trough is forming up

over the Kimberley. That will

cause some thunderstorms, and

low cloud over southern WA and eastern Queensland should get

the odd light shower. Queensland, showers and

thunderstorms over far northern

Cape York peninsula and

Mornington island. NSW the

trough moves through today isolated showers and

thunderstorms will develop over

the southern half. It will be

fine in the north. Victoria

low pressure trough will move

over the west later on today.

Isolated showers for most

areas, afternoon storms in the

south. Tasmania the state can

expect isolated showers and

patchy light rain. In SA, from

Oodnadatta to Adelaide isolated

showers over north east

Flinders and pastral districts.

There will be isolated

thunderstorms. WA, isolated

showers mainly along the east

coast of Marge writ River

moving towards the east of

Bremmer Bay throughout the

afternoon. In the north-west -

shower s for the Kim and

interior. And hot throughout the centre. Tomorrow -

Thanks Vannessa. Still ahead on ABC News Breakfast, we will

be chatting to the opposition

leader in the Senate Nick