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ABC Midday Report -

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No, go zone - Barack Obama

delays his Australian

visit. The best course of

business was to reschedule

Indonesia and Australia for

June. Federal Labor anxiously

watching two State polls

tomorrow. Dollar dazzler, it's

the best of times for touring Britain. It's very cheap for us. And, the radio

us. And, the radio collection

that's causing a real buzz.

Hello and welcome to

Australia's News at Midday, I'm This program is not subtitled

Ros Childs. The local

sharemarket is flatlining. The

All Ords is 6 points higher

after two hours of trade. The

Nikkei and the Dow are ahead

and the dollar's at US 92

cents. More finance later in

postponed the bulletin. Barack Obama has

postponed his trip to Australia

as he faces the defining moment

of his young presidency. He

says he'll reschedule the visit

for June, but first he needs to

win the year-long battle to

overhaul America's health

system. North America

correspondent, Lisa

the President of the United Millar. Ladies and gentlemen,

States. The warning signs had

been growing. I don't know if

you guys have been hearing, but

there's been a big debate going

on here. So big

on here. So big the battle over

health care has put a stop to

Barack Obama's travel plans. We

greatly regret the delay in the

trip, but attempt have told the

leaders this is an important

priority for the President and

will reschedule that trip for

June. The trip to Guam,

Indonesia and Australia had

already been delayed three days

and stripped back. He was

spending just 24 hours in

spending just 24 hours in

Canberra. We had a speech to

the Australian Parliament that

you don't want to call on

Sunday and say "Hey, is there a

way we can move this back a

day?" Kevin Rudd got the news

in an early morning phone call

from the President. We had a conversation on the phone this

morning. He'd like to have a

more relaxed visit than the

24-hour whip in, whip out that the last one had come down

mean to. A more relaxed trip will

mean the first lady and the couple's daughters are more

likely to come, as well. The

political pundits don't think

there's any risk the President

has caused offence. A

successful trip in June will

make the critics forget about

what they said in March. Health

care is so important for the

President, because if he can't

get this through Congress he'll

fine it difficult to win

support for the rest of

support for the rest of his

agenda. Overseas trips will

have to wait until he finds

success back home. Here, the

Federal Government is

disappointed, but the Prime

Minister is holding out hope

that when the US President does

come he'll stay for longer and

bring the family. Kevin Rudd

spoke to Barack Obama this

morning. He says the White

House wants a more relaxed

visit in June, and in the

to mirror the meantime, local politics is set

to mirror the President's

agenda in America with a

ferocious battle over health

care. Canberra was in

desperate preparation for the

presidential visit. But now

the troops will have a few more

months to rehearse. Well, I'm

going to be very happy any time

the President chooses to visit.

As I said the other day, I'm

pretty relaxed about all that. Kevin Rudd hopes

that. Kevin Rudd hopes that

delaying until June will allow

a longer stay with the first

family in tow. We had a good

chat. He's sad and sorry he

won't be here in Australia in

the coming week or so, but he's looking forward to a more

relaxed visit a little later on

in the year. And there's

nothing but sympathy for the

cause from Canberra, where

there's a similar health care

obsession. There's a lot that

he could have learnt here from

he could have learnt here from

our Medicare system and we look

forward to a visit whenever it

happens. We understand these

domestic considerations. We're

naturally disappointed, but

we're fully understanding. Answer the

question! Don't stare at your

notes, listen. Australia's

domestic contest is hurtling

towards an earlier than

expected showdown. Next

National Press Tuesday's health debate at the

National Press Club. Oh Tony,

Tony, Tony. The Opposition

Leader's getting plenty of practice. Julia, please, there

were enough lies from your guys

in the Parliament yesterday.

You're better than Kevin Rudd.

$1 billion out of health Tony . Stop channelling Kevin Rudd.

The key thing is to make sure

that people listening to the debate and

debate and who really care

about the future of their local

hospitals and enough beds,

enough doctors, enough nurses

that my plans are clear in

people's minds as to what I

propose to do, but so are

his. The debate carries risks

for both sides. It gives Tony

Abbott the platform to attack

the Prime Minister with all the

vigour he showed in Parliament,

but on policy, the Opposition

Leader is vulnerable. He's yet

to fully reveal

to fully reveal his own health

plans. So what are the

implications of President

Obama's decision to stay at

home next week? Particularly

for US relations with

Indonesia. Professor Geoffrey

Studies Centre at the Garrett the head of the US

University of Sydney says the

news shouldn't be taken as a

negative. I certainly hope it's

don't think not perceived that way. I

don't think it's a snub at all.

President Obama has this

enormous domestic agenda,

health care is his number one

issue for 2010 along with jobs,

so he wants to be the first

Pacific president. He tried as

hard as he could to make this

trip. He'll re-make the trip.

It's not a snub at all, it's

enormous domestic constraints just a recognition of the

he's

he's under at some point. Now

there have been protests

involving a couple of thousand

people in Indonesia against his

visit, are his opponents going

to be able to take advantage of

this delay? I don't know,

they'll certainly try to do that, but I think what the

President wanted to do in

Indonesia was to say that the

US should have closer relations

with the world's largest Muslim majority country that

majority country that has also had a successful peaceful

transition to democracy and is

emerging as a vibrant

market-based economy. That's

an enormously positive story.

Indonesia is probably the most important country that

Americans know least about.

Obama is committed to changing

that. When he does come to Australia, what will President

Obama want to get out of his

trip here? I think at the

moment certainly the agenda would

would likely be more economic

and trade-based than political

military. The Australia-US

political military alliance is

rock solid. The countries are

on the same page with respect

to Afghanistan. They have the

same kind of commitments to

nuclear non-proliferation.

What President Obama wants to

say is that he wants to revive

trade to the US-Australia free

trade deal he would say has

been a real success and it

might be a platform

might be a platform for bigger

Asia-Pacific regional free

trade with a new aknock anymore

the trans-Pacific partnership

being an increasing part of the

story, I would expect. Voters

in two States go to the polls

tomorrow opening what will be a

year-long election marathon

around the nation. We'll go to

Tasmania shortly, but first to

South Australia. Six months ago, Mike

ago, Mike Fries's Labor

Government looked like cruising

into a third term in office,

but a new Opposition Leader and

questions dogging the Premier's

personal life have put the

result on a knife edge. As the

campaign winds towards polling

day, Mike Fries has been

winding through Adelaide's

suburbs in a bus emblazoned

with his message. For Labor

it's been about one word -

jobs. Today, I'm announcing our commitment

commitment to create a further

100,000 jobs. My obsession is

getting jobs for this

State. The nation's longest

serving Premier boasts the

lowest unemployment rate of all

States, but the 2-term Labor leader has been struggling to

get the public to listen. The

most recent Newspoll shows a

50-50 fight with the Liberals and Mr Rann's personal popularity has taken a

beating. Everybody that I know has made

has made mistakes in their

personal life as well as in

their professional life, and

I've made mistakes as

well. Some put Mr Rann's slide

down to Michelle Chantelois,

the former parliamentary

waitress has appeared several

times on the campaign trail

repeating claims of an affair

with the Premier. At the end of

the day, what I've achieved is

the fact that Mike Fries I've exposed that Mike Fries has

been deceitful and exposed the lice

lice he's created. Mr Rann

denies having sex with Ms

Chantelois, describing their

one-time friendship as flirty.

The Liberals' campaign has

hinged on their own buzzword -

trust. This election will come

down to who south Australians

can trust. The woman delivering

that message is Isobel Redmond.

Nine months into the job as

Opposition Leader, she's west

known for volunteering to undergo the shock

undergo the shock of a Taser to

prove its effectiveness. The

fact that I, in fact, went

through that Taser experience

should be evidence of the fact

that when I say something I

mean it. She may be buoyed by the polls but Isobel Redmond

faces an July hill battle to

deliver Mike Rann the shock of his political life. The Liberals need to pick up an

extra 10 seats in the 47-seat

Parliament in order to govern

in their own right. A more likely scenario is

likely scenario is a hung

Parliament, with Independents

holding the power to decide

South Australia's next Premier.

In Tasmania, there's the real

prospect of a hung Parliament,

and the end of 12 years of

Labor rule. After five weeks

of campaigning, The Greens are

the likely big winners and

could play a key role in the

next government. There's just

a day left for David Bartlett to

to convince Tasmanians he

should be Premier. Good on ya

mate, don't forget to vote tomorrow. Support for Labor has

been sliding for a year. The

latest Newspoll shows a hung

Parliament is the most likely

outcome after tomorrow's

poll. I am pleased with the

performance of my team, the

candidates on the ground have

been outstanding. The Premier

made health care the

centrepiece of his campaign,

unveiling a $600 million

unveiling a $600 million plan

to rebuild Hobart's public

hospital. But the promised

hospital would need Federal

Government money. Where we

began our campaign was on

health and hospitals, and where

we will end it is on health and

hospitals. The Liberals have

tried to woo teachers and

families, promising to roll

back Labor's controversial

changes to senior secondary

education and make primary

schooling free. The party needs to win an

needs to win an extra six seats

in the 25-member House of

Assembly to secure majority

government. Talking to those

thousands of Labor supporters

who've become so disenchanted

with their party that they can

now look to us as an

alternative, as the choice on

Saturday. The Greens are also

appealing to disaffected Labor

voters. Forestries being

largely sidelined as an issue

as the party looks for the

middle grown. Our campaign's

middle grown. Our campaign's

been based on the fact we've

been listening to Tasmanians

and responding to their

concerns on areas like cost of living, health, education. Polling shows The

Greens could pick up at least

one seat, giving them a casting

vote in the new Parliament. So

with both State elections too

close to call, let's go to ABC election analyst Antony Green in Hobart. We'll

in Hobart. We'll start with

Tasmania, since that's where

you are. Is a hung Parliament

there inevitable? Well, yes if

the polls are right. I don't think it's even too close to

call, it's pretty clear that

there will be a Parliament with

no clear majority. One of the

major parties will be left forming minority government and

trying to deal with the Greens

on the cross-benches. I think

it's entirely a matter of who

gets more seats Labor or Liberal at this

Liberal at this stage still

with the possibility of the

Parliament ending up 10

Liberal, 10 Labor, 5

Greens. What about South

Australia? A big swing would be

needed to dislodge Labor there,

but the Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond has made enormous strides since she took

over the reins of power there,

the Opposition power last

year? Well, nine months ago you

would not have expected that

the Liberals would get even

close at this

close at this election. They'd

been through several leadership

changes, the last one forced

which put Isobel Redmond in the

job. She's proved quite popular with the electorate.

There's been positive opinion

polls and perhaps Mike Rann has

outworn his welcome. He's been

Premier for eight years, Labor

leader for 16 years. Everyone

in South Australia knows who

Mike Rann is and has an

opinion. Those opinions have

declined in recent months. The allegations against him of a

personal nature at the end of

last year haven't helped. The

Government's one advantage is

the size of the swing that the

Opposition need to defeat the

Government. It's hard to see

all those sitting Labor members

in marginal seats being

defeated at once which makes it

hard for the Liberals to end up

with more seats than Labor. A

hung Parliament's a possibility

the Government back with a

small majority. We'll wait and

small majority. We'll wait and see. The Canberra will be

watching closely? Both

elections are overwhelming

fought on local issues, so to that extent, they shouldn't

take too much away from it.

However, there will be the

atmospherics will be copied

through to Canberra. People

will be viewing this as some

sort of indicator for the next federal election. It will complicate the Government's attempts to try to

attempts to try to negotiate a

health agreement with the

States if we're left with two

minority governments or if the

Liberals win one of the States.

It's not got a direct impact

but will change the mood of

Canberra politics and perhaps

it will give the Liberals more

hope for the federal election

this year. Antony Green, thank

you. It's one of the most

It's one of the most popular

places for Australian tourists,

and it's getting a lot cheaper.

Thanks to a comatose economy

over the last few months,

Britain is surprisingly

affordable. It now costs less

than $2 to buy a pound, but

with Australian exports

struggling, the low pound also

has a downside, as Europe

correspondent Philip Williams

reports from London. It's one

of the world's great tourist

destinations, but thanks to a

destinations, but thanks to a

struggling UK economy, the

invincible pound is a shadow of

its old self and that's good

news for Australian tourists

like Julie Johnson and Ryan

Magee on holidays from Perth,

where the strength of the

Australian dollar is reflected

in an unexpected

opportunity. It is a lot

cheaper actually, yeah. As

Julie said go out for lunch and

dinner it's pretty much on par

with what we'd pay in Australia at the

at the moment. It's not just

Australian tourists benefiting

from the pound, everything from

a bus tour to a spin on the

London Eye is making Britain a

far more attractive

destination. When we planned

coming over here we were

worried about $2 to the pound

was quite high, it's much more

easy to come and visit, make it

enjoyable. I changed 56 euros

and got ?50, it's very cheap for us. To

for us. To give you some idea

of the changing value of the

Australian dollar, I bought

this beautiful little souvenir

for ?3, that's $5, but a few

years ago, this would have set

you back $9. But a low pound

isn't all good news.

Australian companies exporting

to the UK are losing their

competitive edge. The wine

industry are prime example and

for ex-pats wanting to sell up their British house and

their British house and go

home, there's a triple

penalty. But the price of it's

fallen 30%, the money they've

saved up here in the UK is

worth much less than they thought it was going to be when

they go back to Australia

because of the unfavourable

exchange rate on the trade

they're doing and then when

they get back to Australia they find that house prices have been booming while they're

away. While it's helping boost

tourism to Britain, experts

tourism to Britain, experts are

confounded as a corresponding

lift in imports hasn't

materialised and that could

mean further downward pressure

on the pound and a cheaper ride

for the tourists. Christmas is

coming early this year for

lovers of art deco Bakelite

Radios. A big collection of

the classic models is due to go

under the hammer this weekend

prompting what one expert is

calling a feeding frenzy.

calling a feeding frenzy. The

highlight is a rare example of

old radio design, a Sparton

Nocturne which is expected to

go for $60,000. Giles Moon is

head of collectables at the

auction house Leonard Joel in

Melbourne. He says the

invention of new materials in

the '30s meant loungeroom

radios suddenly became a lot

more interesting than just a

wooden box. With the radios

that we see in the sale are

made of different types

made of different types of

plastics. Interestingly the

Americans developed this new

plastic in the '30s which could

be coloured. It's called

catalyn and there are examples

in the sale. There's a

particularly good orange and

butterscotch version. They

were able to make incredible

marbleised colours and use very

unusual colour combinations and

very desirable and the

estimates for those range between

between 500 up to $10,000 for

each one. Now the main drawcard

for the auction is the Sparton

Nocturne. That's expected to

go for a huge $60,000, why is

this item so valuable? It's an

exceptional piece, it really

is. It's a very imposing large

green... sorry blue glass

mirrored radio, stands about a

metre 20 high and

metre 20 high and designed by an important American

industrial designer in the

'30s. It's American and he's

very cleverly built the radio

into the back, and, therefore,

it doesn't mess around or get

in the way of any of the streamlined lines on the front

of it. So it's very modern

looking, very much ahead of its

time and for that reason it's

very desirable.

very desirable. It's very rare

and worth 40 to $60,000. What

are the other

highlights? There's an iconic

piece in the sale which has

caused a lot of interest, very

few of them again exist, it's a

very famous radio made by AWA.

It's Australian and it's the

green empire state. The colour

of it in particular makes it very desirable because there's probably less than 20 known in

Australia and it's one that all the

the radio collectors really

want. The estimate is quite

conservative. We have 8 to

$12,000 on it, but there's a

feeling that it could go for a

lot more. One of the experts

has described this auction

coming up on Sunday as causing

something of a feeding frenzy

among buyers. What are you

expecting? Will it just be Australian buyers taking part? We are expecting a very large crowd in the room. There's a

There's a lot of interest from

Australian buyers. It's very

rare to have a collection of

this calibre. This is probably

the best ever radio sale to be

held in Australia, we're

expecting a lot of overseas

interest as well, and we're

offering overseas bidders the

chance to bid online live via

the Internet which is going to

cause a lot of interest and

cause a lot of interest and

we're also taking telephone

bids, because a lot of the

radios are American also,

there's going to be a lot of

interest from American

buyers. Best of luck. Giles

Moon, thank you. Thank you very

much. Now to a case of guess

the lead singer. The latest

commercial by the American

insurer GEICO contains the

mother of all cameos. It starts with

starts with some employees

singing to customers in a music

video. Before long they're

joined by an ageing rocker with

a gravelly solo. That face and

voice is none other than the

owner of the company, the third

richest man in the world, Warren Buffet himself.

Warren Buffet himself. Time

for a check of the markets.

Here's Alicia Barry. A flat

start to trade? Yes. Despite a

late rally on Wall Street, the

local market is only managing

slight gains. Mixed economic

data out of the US and a fallen commodity prices may have

something to do with that. At

lunchtime in the east, the

ASX200 is just 5 points higher.

Looking at the

Looking at the miners, shares

in BHP Billiton are trading

slightly higher ahead of a

trial of four of its employees

in China, major rival Rio Tinto

has slipped. But a rise in

gold prices overnight provided

a boost for Lihir Gold. What's

Telstra been saying about the

National Broadband Network? In

a statement to the ASX, the company has signalled an NBN

deal is a way off. It says there's a

there's a significant gap

between Telstra and NBN on what

each party considers to be

acceptable. Telstra is up

after the Senate debate about

splitting the company up was

delayed for at least two

months. There's been another

development on the bid for

Arrow Energy, what's

happened? Yes, there's

speculation the Coal Seam Gas

operator may receive a higher

offer from Shell and

PetroChina. The company is

PetroChina. The company is

entered a trading halt before

the market opened. Arrow

Energy last traded at $5.29 and

Amcor is facing a potential damages claim from customers

over price fixing that could

cost the company $697 million.

Amcor has disputed the facts of

the case and its shares are

gaining today. A check now of

the domestic markets other big

movers in the ASX top 100.

Wall Street notched up an

eighth straight gain with fresh investor concerns about

Greece's debt problems offset

by a more positive unemployment

and consumer price figures.

A 22-year-old Perth man is in

court today charged with

escaping from legal custody.

Colin Bradley Little was

arrested on Wednesday after a

police chase lasting several

hours during which it's alleged

he violently car jacked three

vehicles. He escaped police

custody early yesterday only to

be re-arrested later in the

Perth suburb of Swanbourne.

Little is also facing 20

carjacking charges. The British car industry has

received a big boost with the

launch of two new cars to be

made in the UK. More than $2

billion is being invested there

in making the world's first

mass-produced electric car from

Nissan and the first

high-production road car

wearing the McLaren badge.

Europe correspondent, Emma

Alberici. They're two of the

biggest names in Grand Prix

racing. 2008 and 2009

champions Lewis Hamilton and

Jenson Button. The McLaren

team-mates are test driving the

MP4-12C, a sports car that brings Formula One technology

to the roads. I got on the

phone to Ron straight

afterwards and said "So when

can I get the delivery?" He's

not come back to me yet. At

$500,000 each, the company says

its Supercar will be the most

affordable in its class. We

intend that the success of

McLaren Automotive will

contribute to innovation and

manufacturing in the UK economy. On the same day that

this car was unveiled, Nissan

announced plans to invest $800

million at another UK factory

which will build the world's

first mass-produced

battery-powered electric car.

With a national debt in the

developed world matched only by

Greece and Iceland, it's just

the kind of fuel the UK economy

needs to get going again. I

think the future of the industry revolves around electrical vehicle and

electrically assisted

vehicles. It's a new chapter in

the story of British

manufacturing which was once

dominated by names like Rolls

Royce, Rover and the Mini Minor. If McLaren meets its

stated aim of producing 1,000

of these cars in the first

year, I think that is going to

make it the largest British

manufacturer by a considerable

margin. Today's launch is a

recognition by McLaren that

profits from Formula One racing

are becoming as difficult to

come by as those in British

manufacturing. Being in both

businesses increases the

chances that the company will

still be around for another 50

years. Let's look at other

stories making news around the

world. A US woman said to be

trawling the Internet as 'Jihad

Jane' has denied planning to

kill a Swedish artist who

defended Muslim. Colleen Rose

will face four charges of

conspiring with fighters

overseas and pledging to commit

murder when she goes to trial

in early May. A polish court

has convicted three men over

the theft of the notorious

workwork sign from the

Auschwitz memorial site in

December. The two brothers and

another man were jailed for

between 18 months and 2 years.

And an Argentine artist with a

passion for recycling has been

showing off his house, made

from 6 million empty bottles.

He started work 20 years ago

and hopes it might give the

country's slum dwellers a few

ideas. 24 hours after

ideas. 24 hours after 14-year-old Yolane Kukla

clinched a place in the squad

for the New Delhi Commonwealth

Games, she suffered another setback, disqualification in

another event for which she

would have made the team. She

had broken at the start - the

race was awarded to fellow Queenslander, Emily Seebohm.

In the men's, 31-year-old Geoff

Huegill powered his way into

the Games team with victory in

the 50 metres butterfly.

Huegill has shed more than 40

kilograms to revitalise his

career. A former world record

holder and winner of 14

butterfly national titles

dating back to 1997, Huegill retired from competition six

years ago, but began a comeback

in 2007. It's been said that music is the Shortland of

emotion, but for one musician

it's also been the guarantee to

successful brain surgery.

Along with reducing severe

tremors, the meticulous

procedure has reawakened dreams

of batch. Roger Frish is

undergoing brain surgery while

playing the vio Lyn. Every

note he plays tells the

surgeons whether the electronic

pulses they're sending to his

brain are working to ease his

body's tremors. Roger suffers from essential tremors caused

when a part of the brain that controls movement misfires sending out controls to the

body's muscles, causing them to

move uncontrollably f It really

scared the daylights out of me. Simple tasks become

difficult, but for Roger a

concert master with a

Minneapolis -- orchestra there

was one thing he longed to do

again. I could no longer draw a

straight bow like that, it was

more like that. It was either

the end of my career, or drill

holes in the head. So after

exhausting all other options,

the doctors had Mayo Clinic

looked to deep brain

stimulation. Surgeons implant

a tiny electrode into the

brain, it emits electronic

pulses which counteract the bad

signals the brain is sending to

the body. Which is why Roger

played and violin, letting surgeons pin point the exact

spot to target in his

brain. Just touching the brain

at the right location often

times improved the tremor dramatically. Surgery was still

under way when Roger's tremors

eased and he gained back

control of his hands. It was

truly remarkable, enough that

the entire room just broke out

in applause. Just one month

later, an artist who thought

his tremors would rob him of

the chance to perform again

takes the stage. A look at the

weather now. Cyclone Uluie

remains off the Queensland

coast causing strong winds and

dangerous surf conditions for

the Queensland coast. Thick

cloud over the south-east and

cloud over south-west WA. A

high keeping the east dry while

Direcing warm northerlies into

the south-east. The cyclone is

edging closer to the Queensland

coast and a low is triggering

storms over northern WA.

A final check of the midday

markets around lunchtime in the

east. The All Ords is 7 points higher, stocks in Japan and the

US are up, and the dollar is at

US 91.96 cents. That's the

news for now. Our next full

bulletin on ABC1 is at 7

o'clock this evening. I'm Ros

Childs, thanks for joining us,

have a good afternoon and a

lovely weekend. See you on

Monday. Closed Captions by CSI

THEME MUSIC