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Live. Defiant. North Korea

expels the UN's nuclear

inspectors. Thailand issues an

arrest warrant against its

former Prime Minister. Another

BJP candidate arrested in India

for inciting hatred. And four

more vessels seized off the

coast of Somalia. Good morning,

Matt Conway with ABC News for

Australia Network. North Korea

has ordered international

atomic energy agency inspectors

to leave the country. It's also

withdrawing from the 6-party

talks on nuclear disarmament of

the country in response to a UN resolution. In turn, it United

States has called on Pyongyang

to cease any provocative

action. North Korea is furious

at the UN's condemnation of its

recent rocket launch. It's

ordered inter national a tomic

energy inspectors to leave the

country snant. It also plans to

resume making bomb grade plutonium.

TRANSLATION: We will take

measures to restore to their

original State the nuclear

facilities which had been

disabled under the agreement of

the 6-party talks and put their

operation back on a normal

track. The communist nation

has also vowed to never take

part in what it calls the

useless disarmament talks.

North Korea has announced a

threat to withdraw from the

6-party talks and restore its

nuclear program, it is a

serious step in the wrong

direction. The concern now is

North Korea could start

producing plutonium for weapons

within three months. We appeal

to heed the unanimous voice of

the international community. China and Russia

are urging North Korea to

reconsider its decision.

TRANSLATION: Despite the

inevitable emotion from

different sides in such a

situation, we hope the process

of 6-party talks will be

resumed in the very near

future. We are viewing this as

an unnecessary response to the

legitimate statement put out of

concern by the Security

Council. Analysts say the

action from North Korea appears

to be an attempt to test the

Obama administration and to

force it to make fresh

concessions. A court in

Thailand has issued an arrest

warrant for former Prime

Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and

12 of his supporters over the

recent violence in the capital

Bangkok. Thai police have also

charged three people in

connection with the

demonstrations. After days of

unrest, anti-Government

protesters finally ended their

siege of the Prime Minister's office. Force had been

threatened but in the end they

went willingly and peacefully

after their leaders decided no

more could be gained from this

campaign. What has happened to

Thailand in these last couple

of day s? Do you regret some of

the action s? I think Thailand

is not the democracy now. Is

this a defeat, sir? Are you

surrendering? No. I still

fight for democracy. They first

moved into this area three

weeks ago as part of a call

Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in from convicted former Prime

what he called a people's revolution against the

Government which replaced his

allies in December. Protesters

could see no way out after the

military had surrounded the

Government House area

overnight, vowing to move them on. The Prime Minister, Abhisit

Vejjajiva, told the nation it

wasn't a victory for either

side but it was good for

Thailand that peace had

returned. But already we're

seeing small break-away groups

unwilling to stand down.

Penkair pen, a Minister in the

Thaksin administration, also

disagrees with ending the

protest. He was present on

stage this week when Mr Thaksin

called in to urge his

supporters to continue. If you

take it as an incident then

you're misled. The point is the

people are doing things they have never thought they

would do in their lifetime and

this country would be seeing

some more new things because

it's entering a new era. It

sacountry in need for

remaking. Most people though were relieved to be going home

after a tense few days. The

mood lifted immediately and

many started to celebrate the

Thai new year with the

traditional throwing of water.

Just days before voting in India's national elections

begins, the ruling Congress

party and main Opposition BJP

party are under fire. Another

BJP candidate has been arrested

for allegedly inciting hate in

an election speech and the party's lashed out at Prime

Minister Manmohan Singh,

describing him as a car-taker

leader. The battle for India's

voters between the gruelling

Congress party - ruling

Congress party and Opposition

BJP is getting personal. Prime

Minister Manmohan Singh is at

best a glorified care taker of

the Prime Minister's post. The

Congress party, including

rising star Rahul Gandhi, have

defended the Prime Minister and

praised his leadership after

the attacks in Mumbai in

November last year. Both

parties are using India's role

in the region, its relationship

with Pakistan and the issue of

Kashmir in their campaigns. TRANSLATION: People were

calling for war with Pakistan,

to restart shelling in the Kashmir valley but our Prime

Minister didn't come under

pressure as he knew these

bullets would only harm his own

people. For the Hindu

nationalist BJP, campaigning

along religious lines has put

another candidate on the wrong

size side of the law. Two weeks

after Varun Gandhi was charge

would allegedly making a

anti-Muslim speech, candidate

Ashok Sahu has been arrested in

similar circumstances. Voting

in the election begins

Thursday. Some 700 million

Indians are eligible to vote in

what will be a 5-stage process.

Many pundits are expecting a

hung parliament although

India's elections are

notoriously hard to predict.

The key issues would appear to

be the economy and security but

in the end mathematics could be

the deciding factor. Analysts are predicting the ruling

Congress party and its main

rival, the BJP, may fare badly.

That could leave the smaller

caste-based groups and the

communists holding the balance

of power. You will have to

keep not just one Coalition

partner happy but maybe or 10

or 15, which is not easy. The

election is being spread over

four weeks in an effort to

maintain security and reduce

the chances of voter intimidation. For the

underprivileged at the bottom

of India's complex caste

structure, they are not

convinced. When we get to the

booth we're nat allowed to vote

and we're forced to leave. The

terrorist siege in Mumbai was

the culmination of a year of

attacks on India's leading sit az and national security is on

the mind of many voters. Political observers believe the

country's next leaders face a

tough task on the way forward.

I believe there will be a

concern if there is going to be

no sort of consensus on what

the medium-term strategy should be ando on. But at the same

time, I think we have gone

through this kind of crisis

before. The election result

will be known on May 16.

There's tight security in

Mumbai for the first court

appearance of the sole

surviving gunman from last

November's terrorist attacks.

The Pakistani national Ajmal

Kasab is alleged to have taken

part in the siege that killed

more than 170 people. India's Foreign Minister says the

21-year-old's mother will fly

from Pakistan to see her son.

The trial begins days after

Islamabad announced arrested a

5th suspect who allegedly

master minded and funded the

attacks. Piracy off the coast

of Somalia shows no sign of

easing. Four more vessels have

been seized including a

Lebanese cargo freighter and

Greek ship with 22 Filipino

crew. Hostages are being held

from all vessels. Heading home,

the US crew of the 'Maersk

Alabama' after a navy operation

freed their captain. The action

left three pirates dead but

that hasn't stopped others

hijacking two more ships. Too

many pirates. Two Greek ships

and two Filipino crews on

board. In just the past week,

up to 60 hostages have been

taken in pirate attacks while

other ships have been fired on.

The international maritime

bureau says it's time for

definitive action. What France

and the US done is exactly the

right thing for a flag State to

do and if all flag states were

to take that kind of robust

action against the pirates we

would not have the problems of

Somali piracy to the extent

that we have today. Somalia's

Prime Minister says he needs

international help to fight

piracy but he's balked at the

idea of foreign soldiers

pursuing attackers on Somali

soil. If the internationals

allocate at least 5% of the

amount of money that now goes

to guards from the seaside y

think piracy could be prevented. While the focus

this week has been on the

'Maersk Alabama' had ejacing,

more than 200 other sailors are

being held hostage off the

Somali coast. It wife of one Filipino kidnapped last

November says she feels her

husband's been forgotten.

TRANSLATION: Because they're a

rich country they focus on the

story and monitor every single

detail until the hostages are

released but tend to forget

what is happening to us. Mrs

Boretta says dramatic res cues

like that staged for the

'Maersk Alabama''s captain

could jeopardise the lives of

other hostages. A glimmerer of

hope is being offered by US

President Barack Obama about

the ailing economy. But

President Obama warns that the

recession-hit nation is by no

means out of the woods just yet. Barack Obama is getting

close to the symbolic 100-day

mark since gaining officech his

long speech at Georgetown

university is his most

comprehensive analysis yet of

the global financial crisis and

the moves by his administration

to guide the United States

through the economic mire. The

President struck a note of

cautious optimism. There's no

doubt that times are still

tough. By no means are we out

of the woods just yet but from

where we stand, for the very

first time we're beginning to

see glimmers of hope. This

comments come just a day after the US Federal Reserve chief

also suggested that America's

sharp economic decline may be

levelling out. The President's

speech is seen as a rebleal to

his crete - a rebut tool his critics who regard the stimulus

package and moves to stabilise

America's banking and financial

systems as reckless and

naive. 2009 will continue to

be a difficult year for

America's economy but obviously most difficult for those who

have lost their jobs. The

severity of this recession will

cause more job loss, more

foreclosures and more pain

before it ends. President Obama

called for investment in areas

such as renewable energy, a

skilled workforce and a more

affordable health care system.

We cannot rebuild this economy

on the same pile of sand. We

must build our house upon a

rock. We must lay a new

foundation for growth and

prosperity. Meanwhile, a leaked

report from the US department of Homeland Security suggests

that America's economic worries

and the election of the

nation's first black President

are attracting new recruits to

the ranks of home-grown right

wing extremists. And as the

rest of the world grapples with

the economic crisis, one tiny

nation is facing difficult

decisions because it's doing

too well. Vanuatu is fighting

to retain both its least

developed country stating and

lucrative import tariffs. In

the blue South Pacific sits an

archipelago which has been

doing well economically.

Tourists flock here, growth has

been strong, but Vanuatu is

being forced to make some hard

choices because it's been doing

a little too well. They are

coming in and talking to us and

trying to force us to sign. Vanuatu's Government

recently won a battle to retain

its least developed country

status. Without that label, aid

money could dry up. It will

come a time where we can no

longer argue the case because

we ran out of facts and

supporting evidence to suggest

that we should remain. To make

matters more complicated, the

world trade organisation is

knocking at the door, suggesting Vanuatu become a

full member of the international marketplace. Many

fear a loss of import tariff

revenue which could amount to a

20% budget cut in a country

which, until now, has existed

in protectionist isolation.

There are benefits of being

part of the WTO - having a seat

at the table, being part of the

group, having a forum to

challenge some of the bigger

trading partners when disputes

come up. It's all about adjustment, very difficult

adjustment for developing

countries all around the world

like Vanuatu. To embrace free

trade they'd have to completely

redraft their taxation system.

For such a small and poor

population with a tiny

Government bure oc that's no

easy task. Life isn't so simple. At the end of the day

when the wealthy foreigners

pull away from this island chain, it's the people of

Vanuatu and their leaders who

are left to ponder this tidal

shift. Pakistan's President

Asif Ali Zardari has signed a

petition placing the Swat

Valley officially under Islamic

law. The move has been seen as

a victory for Islamic militants

who have waged a violent

campaign in the north-western

district for nearly two years. Political pressure and stress

of a different kind has forced

Pakistan's hand. The whole

nation is united in its support

of the Swat regulation and

wants the President to approve

it so we are committed and the

whole nation will stand with

it. Thank you. Asif Ali Zardari

signed a regulation aimed alt

easing tension with the Taliban

who want to place the Swat

Valley under Islamic law.

There is no doubt that this is

an emerging trend. The problem

is in the region of the

Government, how they want to

deal with it. India is just

days away from general

elections and says it is

concerned by the decision and

fears the Taliban could be free

to attack at polling stations.

Pakistan says its neighbour has

nothing to worry about. The

Prime Minister for India had

publicly stated that Pakistan

and Taliban might enter the

election and might act so

keeping his statement, we value

that statement and that's why

we requested Indian authority

just two days back, that please supply us that

intelligence. India's elections

begin on Thursday. There are

conflicting reports over the

latest NATO air strike in

Afghanistan. Villagers in the

Wata Pur district of eastern

Afghanistan claim the strike

killed six civilians. NATO

insist s it was four to eight

militants who died. Officials

are investigating claims of

civilian deaths but NATO forces

say they acted on intelligence

indicating the hostile

intention of the enemy to

attack. The US Government is

concerned about the wellbeing

of an American journalist

accused of espionage in Iran. The White House is working to

secure the release of Roxana

Saberi, who has gone on trial

behind closed doors. A 31-year-old dual

American-Iranian citizen, she

was arrested in late January

apparently for working without

press credentials but now has

been charge would spying for

the US. The case is being heard

before Iran's revolutionary

court which handles national

security matters. A verdict is

not expected for at least

another two weeks. Australia Network's Pacific correspondent

was asked to leave Fiji and

says he was apprehensive but

never felt physically

threatened when detained by

authorities. Sean Dorney was

deport afred the military

regime took issue with his

reporting of events in the

country. The unprecedented

restrictions on media freedom

in Fiji coincide with reports

that other institutions are

also under military control.

Booted out but certainly not silenced. ABC news

correspondent Sean Dorney is

back on home soil after being

forced out of Fiji by the

military regime. The

censorship at the moment is just absolutely extraordinary.

Never in Fiji before has it

been this tough even after

ambacka's coup. On the streets

of Suva there's little sign of

last week's tumultuous events

but Sean Dorney says while

there's plenty of order, the

total absence of a legal system

had him fearing for his safety

while in Government custody. I

can't say I was terrified but I

was concerned that if you're

taken to the military barracks

who knows what's going to

happen to you? But the sacked

judges aren't accepting their

dismiss scpl still plan to turn

up for work and the judiciary's

not the only institution that's

crumbling. There are reports

the Fiji Reserve Bank building

has been occupied by soldiers

and its Government's where

abouts are unknown. New Zealand

is calling an act of

vandsalism. We can't stop the Fijian Government from wrecking

their economy if they're hell

bent on doing so. The

Australian Government now

expect Fiji's expulsion from international forums to be a

mere technicality. It is in my

view almost inevitable that

Fiji will be suspended both

from the Pacific island forum

and the Commonwealth itself.

As international patience with

the Frank Bainimarama regime

runs out, trade sanctions are

still considered a step too far

but harsher action against the

regime is being considered. And

you're watching ABC News for

Australia Network. Our top

story - North Korea has

retaliated against UN sanctions

by withdrawing from nuclear

disarmament talks and expelling UN inspectors.

Let's check the financial markets now:

The Australian agricultural

Minister is in China trying to

convince the country's leaders

to allow his country to begin exporting kangaroo meat but the

prime steak is up against food

safety concerns from the

Chinese Government and

entrenched competition from

other exotic meats in Chinese

cuisine. China correspondent

Tom Iggulden reports. The

kangaroo, Australia's most

famous creature. Sporting teams

bear its name, it's the symbol

of the national airline and

even appears on Australia's

coat of arms, there on the

left. There's even an iconic

television show starring one of Australia's favourite furry

friends. Now it could be famous

for something else. The

Australian agriculture Minister

is in Beijing to try and

promote kangaroo as a food. It

is a representative of the industry travelling with me for

part of this trip and they are

very optimistic that they see

China as a future market. In

Australian restaurants,

kangaroo meat has ored gained

about the same acceptance as

dog meat in some parts of Asia

but getting other countries

interested in kangaroo is

tricky. Roos can't be farmed

and the Chinese Government is

concerned about allowing wild

animal meat on to Chinese

plates after a string of food

safety scandals. Then there's

the cute factor. I'm not going

to go through the cuteness or

otherwise of various forms of

cuisine. LAUGHTER There's no

doubt that when you're dealing

with any animal that hasn't

been traditionally part of your

diet it's a new decision. Here

on Beijing's famous Food

Street, just about anything

goes. If the sheep testicle

skewers don't dpraB you, maybe

the deep-fried scorpion will.

Delicious. But even here in

this haven of exotic foods, the

idea of kangaroo meat just

seems, well, wrong.

TRANSLATION: I wouldn't eat

it. I think there are some

food safety issues. It's a wild animal. Even if kangaroo meat

is eventually sold here in

China, it seems it's got a long

way to go before it's as

popular as deep-fried scorpion

or sheeps' testicles. He should

have tried the scorpion, I

think. Now let's see how the

weather is shaping up for this


Finally, nearly 500 couples

have tied the knot at a mass

marriage in India's norn

Punjab. The ceremony was

witnessed by a congregation of

thousands. The mass ceremony

brought together couples from

many different sections of

Indian society. The organisers

taking care of all expenses,

paying for meals for the

parents of each bride and groom

and providing each couple with

household item s to start their

new lives together. Organisers

say they aim to help young men

and women from poor families

who might otherwise struggle to

afford the costs associated

with a wedding.

TRANSLATION: Every couple

decides about their partners.

Their names are registered only

after the recommendation of the

village head and then later the

date of marriage is fixed. A

similar ceremony was staged

last year with some 175 couples

taking their vows but this

year's event was more than

twice as large. They have done

a very good thing by arranging

such mass marriages. They

thought about girls from poor

families. The mass marriage is

set to have been the biggest

function of its kind ever held

in Punjab. You've been watching

ABC News for Australia Network.

Let's check again our top

stories - North Korea ends

cooperation with UN nuclear

inspecters and orders them to

leave the country. Thailand

issues an arrest warrant against its former Prime

Minister as the red-shirted

protesters end their

demonstrations. And stakes

raised as Somali pirates sooz

more ships, taking hostage at

least two dozen crew members.

That's the bulletin. For more

news and current affairs from

the region you can check out

our website. We're going to

leave you with the pup the

whole world is making such a

fuss of. 6-month-old Bo arrives

at his new home, the White

House. See you soon.

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