Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
As It Happened -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) Good evening, I'm Anton Enus. World News Australia at 9.30. Coming up in SBS been freed Mohamed Haneef has tonight in detention, after more than three weeks his working visa restored. amid hints that he may have release The Gold Coast doctor's of the terrorism case against him. follows the collapse Victoria is reeling of the shock resignations as a result and his Deputy John Thwaites. of Premier Steve Bracks to leave politics Mr Bracks says his decision family reasons. was partly because of I love the job. I love what we've achieved. I leave with a clear conscience any more than I have given knowing that I could not have given Premier of this State. over the last 8 years as who can tell when your number's up. And the feline detective of the day' news at 9.30. That and the rest See you then. Fidel Castro and 500,000 Cubans which ended colonialism. took part in the African wars

began in the 1960s This little-known story in the Congo. when Che Guevara fought His mission failed helping African revolutions. but Cuba continued in Guinea-Bissau Amilcar Cabral's rebellion to the last colonial empire. dealt a serious blow But it was the scale military involvement in Angola of Fidel Castro's of the continent. that would change the face in Portugal In 1974, the Carnation Revolution brought down the dictatorship. to be granted independence Guinea-Bissau was the first colony and Mozambique quickly followed.

Angola was the empire's gem of the colonial wealth had come. from where most was not going to be simple. Ending colonial rule there had since the early 60s Agostinho Neto of the MPLA with the Eastern bloc. firmly allied his movement Like Lumumba and Amilcar, quickly won Cuban military support. his struggle against colonialism had been more complex from the start. The Angolan liberation struggle had Other than Neto's MPLA, anti-colonial movements. Angola had two other rival was based in the north of the country Holden Roberto's FNLA from the US and received arms and training mainly via Mobutu in Zaire. was based in the south Jonas Savimbi's UNITA and they too got American support through apartheid South Africa. which was mainly channelled West and East. The world was divided. they were not welcome by America. Those who were supported by USSR, Therefore, vice versa. to get arms, weapons, But the Angolans, to get political support, to get diplomatic support, they must join to one side.

among the Angolans. This brought a division accusing each other We were passing all the time, keeping our fight internal, and then losing time against the colonialism. not to fight Independence was within reach, agree to sit around the same table if only the three movements could of their country. and decide the destiny After months of mediation efforts, to the Portuguese town of Alvor the three delegations flew to negotiate terms of independence. everyone was afraid. To go to Alvor, what the Portuguese will do? What will... will kill someone. Maybe will arrest someone, the leaders they don't want to eat, And when we arrived there, to touch anything to eat. You are the first to eat. They say no, you are the young boys. dying, I know that it's poison. When I will see one of the boys and distrust also among ourselves. Distrust was toward the Portuguese We went, all of us, to Penina Hotel. that occurred in Penina The first problem the Portuguese put us. was the way for the conference. The ground floor was the place the second floor was FNLA, The first floor was UNITA, the last floor was Portuguese. the third floor was MPLA, We didn't like this structure. a plotting, plotting, plotting. People just think that there is We think that during the night, with the Portuguese government. maybe MPLA was negotiating So many news were circulating. sleeping, ah, they are negotiating. Rumours - hey, my friends, you are this is very bad atmosphere. You know, that their local opponent, the MPLA, The FNLA and UNITA feared by the new leftist Portuguese regime. would be favoured that the Marxist captains But it soon became obvious the bloody chapter of colonial wars. simply wanted to end the negotiating table For a week, they sat around to independence. hammering out Angola's transition going to be independent?" We said first of all, "When are we was proposed by Agostinho Neto. And the date of November 11th was the Armistice Day He said that the 11th of November on that day. and we should be independent the three liberation movements Let's be frank - for independence. participated for the struggle There is unanimity. There was not agreement. But who will be the first president? vaguely outlined the transition, The Alvor agreement did not provide a solid basis but the shaky deal of mutual hatred. to overcome the years

to revive the fighting. It needed no more than a spark heads of state before elections. The three leaders wanted to be for November 11th. They did not want to wait Each one brought its own army.

of the capital. Each faction tried to gain control on the night of November 11th Whoever held Luanda by the outside world would be officially recognised of Angola. as the legitimate government

As the fighting intensified, to fan the flames. the superpowers stepped in in the far corner of Africa. This was no longer a civil war

a full-blown superpower confrontation The crisis quickly turned into than the battlefield. where Angola was no more broke out after Vietnam. This struggle in Africa highly sensitive at the time The United States was from the field in Vietnam to the fact that it had been driven namely Moscow, and that our opponents, would take advantage of this period or the perception of American weakness, to secure geopolitical gains elsewhere. If the MPLA achieved power, with its strong connections to the Cubans and to the Russians, you would see the first serious physical penetration of the East bloc into African affairs. And we regarded that as a strategic threat. We provided arms and financing to hire mercenaries, provide trainers, provide weaponry to Roberto's armed elements. And through Mobutu, the equipment and funding was put before the FNLA. Not only the Americans were keen to contain the possible Soviet influence in the region. To the south of Angola, apartheid South Africa was eyeing developments with concern. Communism, as far as South Africa was concerned, was a real threat. A threat in the sense of dictating. Taking over the whole of the country. We couldn't have that situation here in South Africa, that they could come through and instigate and plant the ideology of Marxism here in southern Africa. That meant we're the next target. We're the cherry on the cake. The South African Defence Force decided to move into Angola. There, they immediately found natural allies in the local movements that had been chased out of Luanda by Neto's leftist MPLA. That phase was the phase of guns and money. You don't have guns and money, you don't have power. You can have dreams, but you have no guns, no money, no politics. Choosing a new book isn't easy - there's thousands of the brutes. And that's where this '2007 Books Alive Great Read Guide' comes in. It lists 50 of the best titles, so finding the one you want is too easy. (Gasps, chuckles)

It's also the only way to get a free copy of my new book, 'The Ballad of Les Darcy' - just buy any title listed in the guide. Free in this month's 'Australian Women's Weekly' or at leading booksellers. I got really angry and I just gave her a slap. You know, stuff happens. But she knows, I mean, she deserved it. I kept going, you know. The next minute, she says I forced her. But it was too late. What was I supposed to do? Yeah, I know this bloke, Never in front of people. But she won't do anything. You know, I can't say anything, can I? It's only shoving and stuff. It's not like I'm one of those blokes who beats up on a woman. Well, she came back to my place and she knew what we were there for. And then, like, halfway through, she says no. But I kept going and... You can get help and support by talking with an experienced counsellor on this confidential helpline - 1800 200 526.

The scheduled date for independence was approaching fast. With US logistical support, the FNLA troops accompanied by soldiers from Mobutu's regular army advanced from the north. UNITA soldiers, along with the South African army, moved up from the south. The MPLA, despite receiving consignments of Soviet weapons, suddenly found itself at a disadvantage.

This was not to be another covert operation like those Cuba had conducted in Africa throughout the 1960s. Fidel had decided to engage overtly in Angola. Cuba's elite special forces were dispatched

along with 35,000 foot soldiers to help Neto's men. Operation Carlotta guaranteed that Cuba would play a major role on the Angolan battlefield. My assumptions then were that... the involvement of the Cubans was Russian driven. It took me years later to reach a different conclusion that the Cubans played to bring the Russians in, in support. That news reached Washington in the summer of 75 and I remember it was greeted with considerable concerns. This is the first time foreign military forces had been introduced under the continent of Africa since the colonial period back at the turn of the century - first time! We felt at that point that it was necessary to face this Cuban issue head on, square on. Cuba is a red flag in the United States because anything that Cuba does, we hate. So when they sent troops to Angola, we had no choice but to say this is the end of detente even though the Soviets really were not responsible. To see Cubans operating anywhere outside of Cuba was something that we considered a defeat for the United States. All the pieces were in place for a final showdown. It was only a week to November 11th

and all the warring parties were converging on Luanda.

It seemed that the new nation would be strangled at birth. The final clash took place at Kifangondo, only 30 miles from the capital. The MPLA won the decisive battle at Kifangondo and on the night of November 11th, 1975, 400 years of Portuguese colonialism ended. Agostinho Neto was recognised as Angola's first president. The fighting did not stop with the declaration of independence. The United States did not recognise Neto's presidency and was more adamant than ever to dislodge his Soviet-backed government. But the American Congress

feared that they would get entangled in another Vietnam, so they decided to prohibit all US clandestine support to Angola. Once the US supplies dried up, the MPLA managed to contain its local rivals. The South African army also withdrew from Angola but it continued to arm and train Jonas Savimbi's UNITA rebels. Agostinho Neto had won the first round of the battle for independence. So, he invited Fidel Castro to celebrate the victory his army had helped win. It was a moment of glory for Cuba. Since the 1960s, Fidel had supported no less than 17 African revolutions, but none of his ventures had been as successful as this. African leaders competed to express their personal gratitude. For three weeks, Fidel toured the continent where he was treated as a hero of African independence. Cuba's internationalist policy had finally borne fruit. In the late 1970s, Angola no longer made international headlines. But Agostinho Neto had not yet managed to end the civil war. Jonas Savimbi's forces continued the guerrilla attacks from the south of the country. So Neto requested that a Cuban contingent

remain in Angola to help the national army. In 1979, Neto died before seeing his country attain true and stable independence. It was his disciple, the young Marxist ideologue of the MPLA, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who would now have to confront the coming battles. I said no, but he wouldn't stop. It's not like I'm one of those blokes who beats up on a woman. VOICEOVER: If you have a problem because you've experienced or been responsible for assault or violence, you can call this helpline for help and support. Call 1800 200 526 To violence against women, Australia says no. Express Courier International has courier pick-up, online tracking All at competitive rates. To cut your courier costs, with unbelievable deals like a Ryobi 18V cordless drill, $129. Stanley 10-piece screwdriver set, $29.95. Mitre 10. All the help you need. Less than a year after Neto's death Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States. His vision of the Cold War was to alter the course of events in southern Africa. Reagan wanted the Cubans out of Angola and US policy in southern Africa had to concentrate on achieving this objective. The American plan was to propose to the African leaders something they desperately wanted, and in return link that offer

to the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola. I was inspired more than anything else with a conversation with Julius Nyerere, then president of Tanzania. He said "Mr Crocker, "the southern African process must begin in Namibia. "That's where you must focus "That's where you must start your efforts. Namibia is the key."

He didn't really want to hear a lot about Cubans in Angola. He recognised ultimately that we were serious about that agenda but he said, begin in Namibia. Since 1975, South African troops had conducted the war in Angola from Namibian territory. But when South Africa pulled out of Angola, its troops remained in Namibia.

SWAPO, Namibia's liberation movement, regarded the apartheid government as colonisers and demanded their immediate withdrawal. Their case won support in 1978 at the UN when Resolution 435 unanimously demanded that South Africa evacuate its troops from Namibia and grant it full independence. But South Africa refused to withdraw and SWAPO, in turn, decided to intensify its armed struggle from its military bases in neighbouring Angola. The apartheid regime felt besieged but were reluctant to conduct another full-scale invasion of Angola. The alternative was obvious. Jonas Savimbi and his UNITA rebel army, which South Africans had continued to arm, needed the proper means to eliminate the border threat and ultimately rid them of the incumbent Marxist regime in Angola. We had to sell Savimbi.

Savimbi was fighting a war, and he was fighting the Soviet Union plus the Cubans, and we had to sell him as a product. He had to go to the White House. He had to meet the President of the United States. Then that would have elevated him amongst his own people, and we needed him to be in that position. We used the Christian religion... to extent, to portray Savimbi and what he was doing here in Angola, to salvage all the damage done by the MPLA towards the Church. We made videos of Dr Savimbi and we showed it in America and that video changed the attitude towards Savimbi and because of that we got him through. He was a charismatic personality with a good speaking voice,

with a tremendous amount of self-confidence. He was a kind of physical leader. Some people would say warlord. But he could also sit across the table and engage in an extremely impressive, erudite conversation in six different languages. personality This was a very accomplished with cross-cultural communication and his very facility made him effective internationally. recognition he sought Savimbi got the international and became Reagan's new best friend. liberation movement to date. UNITA became the most sophisticated But Savimbi wanted more. what can I do for you today?" Reagan said "My friend, And Savimbi said "President, to ask for money. for military uniforms or boots, "I did not come here to ask "or even medicines." "But what do you want, my friend? Then Reagan said You don't want money, nothing. "Say what do you want! to help you?" "What on earth can I give you And Savimbi said "Mr President, for the Stingers." "this time I came here to ask you Casey stood up and said When he said Stingers, this is a restricted weapon. "Mr President, do not have it." "Even our friends in Saudi Arabia like this, Then Reagan stays for a few seconds

and looked at Casey and said Give him Stingers." Give him the Stingers." Like that. "The man wants Stingers. Savimbi's military power, While the CIA was busy strengthening at the State Department Chester Crocker's team their peace process were struggling to sell out of Angola that aimed to get Cuban troops from Namibia. in return for South African departure or do they wait for the Cubans? Do the South Africans go first the kind of discussions we had You can imagine of characters. with this interesting cast

consider implementing Resolution 435 The South Africans said "We may have gone home." "once all the Cubans to Foreign Minister Pik Botha, "Thank you very much" we said "but that won't sell." the Angolans said By the same token have gone home, "Of course once the South Africans that's not an issue, "we don't need Cubans, have to negotiate it? "so why do you it will just happen." "It stands to reason "Try selling that in Pretoria!" So we said to the Angolans and very little had been achieved. Six years of shuttle diplomacy Time was running out was coming to an end. and Reagan's second term as president to negotiate, The warring parties wanted its position but each needed to fortify at the negotiating table. before sitting asked the Soviets for help The MPLA forces once and for all. to crush Savimbi's stronghold coming through hard and clear. You had the Soviet doctrine you attack, you attack, You don't stop, you attack, you do the same thing. but you couldn't care less. You got a hiding every day That's what happened. You come, you come. they threw in 21st Battalion. I mean, first of all

Then they threw in 59 Battalion. It got a hiding. Then they threw in 47 Battalion. Then they withdrew. and their Soviet advisers The Angolan troops were routed at the Lomba River. a litter of burnt-out vehicles The Soviets left behind and discarded equipment. in this battle alone. Over 2000 Angolans died part of the army was encircled. To make matters worse, watch their allies being crushed. The Cubans could not stand by and they had to listen to the Soviets They felt I guess that until the Lomba River fiasco when it came to military advice, coming forward and saying and the initiative of Fidel Castro in African wars. We do." "Soviets don't know how to fight to send additional Cuban troops As in 1975, the decision was not discussed with Moscow. In November of 1987, were more tense than ever. the Russian-Cuban relations to power The rise of Mikhail Gorbachev regarding the Third World. had visibly changed Soviet priorities apparent to us It became more and more

between the Cubans and the Russians. that there were serious problems coming to agreement. They feared Gorbachev and Reagan's The Russians for their part - because they couldn't afford it - began to to Cuba. cut back on the level of subsidy reason to be beholden to them. Thus giving the Cubans even less And Angola in this context to the Cubans, became even more important as an embarrassment even as the Russians came to see it with the United States. and an obstacle to better relations that the Cubans made the decision It was at that point they had in Angola. to basically double the forces

how many Cubans there are Basically, if you wanted to find out from satellites. you start counting baseball diamonds And we could look down... a baseball field Cuban army regulations required for every certain number of troops. a new one, So when they build a baseball field, an addition of troops. you knew there was you knew some had left. When they closed a baseball field

were flown in Massive Cuban reinforcements to rescue the trapped MPLA forces.

The final confrontation and South African armies between the Cuban, Angolan of Cuito Cuanavale. took place around the tiny village You see this type of air traffic... "What the hell is going on?" You've gotta think, you've gotta say They started hitting us. headquarters were, We knew where their operation and the artillery we knew where the anti-aircraft were and we opened fire. MACHINE GUN AND ARTILLERY FIRE The whole effort was conducted by telephone from Havana. by Fidel Castro, He was the commanding officer. I wouldn't know. How you can do a thing like that, I mean, it's impossible. because we didn't know him. It gave us a problem from our side We didn't know his way of thinking, what type of personality he was. you've gotta know in war. Because that's the thing side as well as you know yourself. You gotta know the chap on the other and his weaker points. You must know his strong points Otherwise you're not. That's how you're successful. costing an estimated 25,000 lives. The battle raged on, without managing to stop the war. All sides claimed victory lasted six months The combat at Cuito Cuanavale since World War II. and became Africa's largest battle

Stalemate on the battlefield was exactly what Chester Crocker needed to revive the peace talks. The only way out was a negotiated solution between governments,

and that, by definition, excluded Jonas Savimbi.

But before Crocker knew it, the Cubans came up with a surprise. I was in the National Security Council and I got a call from Peggy Dulany, the daughter of Rockefeller. She said "I'm here in Cuba on some sort of meeting of NGOs "and Castro called me in and gave me a message."

The basic message was "This diplomacy is missing a critical ingredient." "Yes..." That critical ingredient is direct, physical Cuban participation. If there were to be Cuban participation, this diplomacy would be more realistic and it would have better prospects for success. And the Americans continued refusal to talk directly to the Cubans, and to include them in the negotiating process... was an obstacle. It would be difficult to imagine a more direct hint. So this led to a major dilemma.

Do you sit at the same table as the Cubans? Chester Crocker, of course, wanted to but he knew that sitting at the same table as the Cubans was politically very dangerous inside the United States. So he went to see George Schultz who very courageously said "I authorise you to meet with the Cubans "but you must talk only about Angola and Namibia. "If they bring up the US trade embargo or anything like that "refuse to talk about it." The meeting took place at the Presidential Palace in Luanda. The Cubans had finally earned their place at centre stage.

We knew they were next door because we'd been briefed. And at a certain moment we said "Okay, let's try. "Let's see if we can make this work. "Invite your Cuban friends to join this process. "They don't have to sit in the next room with earphones. "They can actually be here at the table."

So, in came the Cubans

and they were just as pleased and as proud as you can imagine. They were smiles from ear to ear. They were delighted.

The air became heavy for some of the non-smokers in the room. Risquet, a very jolly fellow, with very sort of rotund presence, very outspoken, and most of his interventions took a minimum 20 minutes. Feels like we just don't have any rights anymore - I've heard they can force you to give up your holidays. Holidays are really important, and no-one can make you give them up. So, we know where that's going. That's right. That's the law. And the Workplace Ombudsman will enforce it. BUSY OFFICE SOUNDS If you need help or advice, just call us on the Workplace Infoline.

At last, the South Africans, Angolans, Cubans and Americans sat to discuss concrete steps to end the war. But the fighting at Cuito Cuanavale continued and every minor victory or loss altered the givens at the negotiating table. The next meeting, held in Cairo, would make or break the peace process. When ministers get around a big table in a major capital like Cairo they really can't help themselves, they just can't resist microphones. And they just go from bad to worse and Risquet managed to say things about Cuba's heroic contributions to African stability and development... and Cuba's intention to see to it that peace would come when there was an end of apartheid, and an end of this, an end of colonial rule in Namibia... It was a meeting almost of emotional hatred.

Mr Risquet, he started by launching a vicious attack on us. always been imperialists, Vicious. Saying "You've "racists, capitalists," you know, wherever you went etc, etc." "causing trouble Pik Botha and Magnus Malan At that point and it was very dramatic. just went after the Cubans, a test of manhood. It was basically

the atmosphere is a way to put it. Lot of testosterone in

just looking for a cigar. I'm not making any statement, (All laugh) for total breakdown. It seemed the talks were headed But later that night, opened a new window of opportunity. an unexpected turn of events in the Cairo hotel, We went for a drink in this pub including Mr Risquet. and there were some Cubans and I said to him We had a drink together

that we could both be winners?" "Has it ever occurred to you and he said "What do you mean?" And he chuckled in his drink "Look, to put it in simple terms, I said to him we will both be losers. "if we carry on with this war, "If you withdraw your troops

given Namibia its independence, "on the basis of having could claim that he won. "your leader Fidel Castro of a greater nature, "You claim a victory of Namibia you have achieved. "namely the freedom of the people of South Africa, "And I'll say to the white voters in Angola. "I got rid of the Cuban troops That makes us both winners." "And our war is also ended. a total dramatic change And suddenly I could see in his whole attitude. After the Cairo meeting was implemented. a ceasefire at Cuito Cuanavale to clinch the final deal. But it wasn't easy show its goodwill Having South Africa prisoner Nelson Mandela by at least releasing the legendary became a sticking point. was descending on us. The whole world as a prime evil. Apartheid was viewed in southern Africa The only way to relieve the tension end the war in Angola. was to come to an agreement, By forcing the South Africans FREEMAN: for the Cuban withdrawal, to trade the independence of Namibia justified everything to Castro - that in the end that he could think of himself of Namibian independence as having been the father who ended colonialism in Africa. and the end... the man of responsibility in its behaviour Cuba, in fact, demonstrated a level and maturity in its judgement recognised by the United States that, arguably, should have been deserving some response. as an important gesture in the United States But the politics of this of relations with Cuba - - that is, the politics are poisonous in the extreme. which acted responsibly So in the end, Cuba, for doing so, and should have been acknowledged got no such acknowledgement. On December 22nd 1988, almost one month to the day of Ronald Reagan's presidency, before the end in New York. peace accords were signed documents The parties simultaneously signed granting Namibia's independence of Cuban troops from Angola. and ensuring the withdrawal The withdrawal of 450,000 Cubans over 30 months, was scheduled to take place military presence in Angola. ending 13 years of Cuban A month short of the deadline, left the African soil. the last Cuban soldier of Cuba's military support With him ended the epic for African revolutions.

The total number of Cuban casualties

best-kept secrets. remains one of the island's But military historians agree died in Angola. that at least 10,000 Cubans from colonialism had been won The battle to liberate Africa

in the name of real independence but the war conducted is still being fought. Patrice Lumumba, Revolutionaries like Che Guevara, Amilcar Cabral and Agostinho Neto all over the continent. are today icons in African shanty towns Their words still echo if Africans are to change their lot. as inspiration to follow independence may be different today, The means to achieve true but this objective has never changed. Captions (c) SBS Australia 2007 My kid's about to start work his employer from ripping him off. and there's nothing to stop an important issue for parents. I understand that this is

agreements for kids under 18 The fact is all workplace or guardian, must be signed off by a parent

that's the law. will enforce it. And the Workplace Ombudsman If you need help or advice, just call us This program is captioned live. of Public Prosecutions The Commonwealth Director after dropping terror charges admits mistakes were made Mohammed Haneef. against Gold Coast doctor An anxious wait in Seoul

to kill more South Korean hostages. as Taliban militants threaten Steve Bracks And out-going Victorian Premier has anointed Treasurer John Brumby for the State's top job. as his choice with SBS World News Australia. Good evening. Anton Enus an undisclosed residence Mohammed Haneef is at home detention tonight in Brisbane under from a Queensland jail. after being released Director of Public Prosecutions Earlier, the Commonwealth of supporting a terror organisation. dropped charges against him until the Immigration Minister Dr Haneef will be detained which has been cancelled. gets new legal advice on his visa, Meanwhile Dr Haneef's wife that the truth has come out. says she's extremely pleased

was taken in a blue van Tonight, Dr Mohammed Haneef to home detention where he will remain receives new legal advice until the Immigration Minister on his visa. Brisbane resident He's at an undisclosed apartment has expired. as the lease on his Gold Coast Dr Haneef's wife said In Bangalore, has come out. she was pleased that the truth visa for my husband We're just waiting to get a bridging because I don't him to get deported.

A SIM card is not a crime! (All chant) Free Haneef now! by the Federal Prosecutor Following a review of the case it was found there was simply not enough evidence against Mohamed Haneef. Brisbane Magistrate's Court was told the charges would be dropped. On my view of this matter, a mistake has been made. Dr Haneef had been charged with recklessly supporting a terror group. The Federal Police Commissioner had no regrets. We have done our job well in this instance. We have done our job professionally. Nor did he see any reason to apologise. I'm not saying he doesn't deserve an apology, but the AFP is not the appropriate organisation to apologise to Dr Haneef

because we've acted within the law and on the advice of the DPP. The DPP didn't apologise either.

It's disappointing for me and I expect high standards. It's upsetting... But he said he may after he'd completed his examination of how this came about. The Federal Police say they will continue their investigations. The investigation is continuing. It will continue until such time as we exhaust all avenues of inquiry about a number of people, including Dr Haneef. It was the aborted attacks of last month in Britain which brought Dr Haneef under scrutiny. When he was granted bail,

Australia's Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, cancelled his visa. That decision remains in force, although under review. So my decision at the moment stands, but consistent with my approach throughout this whole event,

or series of events, I have sought updated advice from time to time from the AFP and in this case I will seek further advice from the Solicitor-General. Speaking from Bali, Prime Minister Howard tried to distance himself from the case while at the same time supporting his Immigration Minister. In relation to his visa status, the Immigration Minister made a decision in relation to that, a decision which I understood and supported but it was a decision that he took. Dr Haneef's lawyer welcomes the DPP's decision, but not the Minister's to put him under home detention. No, it's not a place of his own choice, he's in detention! The Immigration Department are making a decision where he will be. He doesn't have a choice. He hasn't had a choice in this thing since day one. His family just want him back. They're all very happy to hear the decision about the dismissing of charges but then they were eager to know when we are coming back - is it going to be the next flight or what's going to happen. Until now, the case against Mohamed Haneef has provided fertile political ground for the Howard Government to refocus the political agenda on national security ahead of the election. Now that's in jeopardy, as the investigation unravels amid claims of police error and incompetence by Government lawyers. Lauren Petterson, World News Australia. An envoy from Seoul is seeking urgent talks with the Afghan President, in a bid to save 22 South Koreans abducted by the Taliban. Families of the Christian-aid workers have made public pleas

for the relatives' lives to be spared. As the latest Taliban deadline passed tonight, there was no word on the hostages' fate. For the families of the South Korean hostages in Afghanistan it is an agonising wait for any news of their fate after the Taliban's latest deadline for their demands to be met expired a few hours ago. The crisis brought the distraught families together to plead for the lives of their sons and daughters who went to Afghanistan as volunteer aid workers. "In my heart, I'm proud of my daughter for volunteering," says the mother of a hostage. "But I really miss her. She's just a little girl. "Please send her back to me." There's also been an emotional plea for help from one of the female hostages who's spoken to the American CBS network in a phone interview organised by a Taliban commander. "Please help us," she said. "We are all pleading for you to help us get out of here "as soon as possible. "Really, we beg you. "All of us are sick, and in very bad condition." And then, the call was cut off. Taliban militants have already killed a male hostage. As South Korean and Afghan negotiators race against time to save the remaining hostages, the Taliban warned that any more delays in meeting their demands for a prisoner swap, could have even deadlier consequences. In Seoul, a presidential spokesman said tonight the government there is preparing for every possible scenario. "I can't dare to be optimistic," he said. "But I can tell you, we're doing our best at the highest level." South Koreans are holding prayer vigils for the hostages and some are protesting, blaming their country's troop presence in Afghanistan for the hostage crisis. As the Taliban's latest deadline expired,

a nation is praying its hostages, all but for one, can be saved.