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ABC Midday Report -

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Live.

Teachers give the government

a lesson on school testing. If

the government won't protect

students we will. Battlefield

Bangkok. Tensions high after

the worst violence in two

decades. Two minutes' silence.

Poland mourns its devastating loss. And Phil Mickelson wins

at Augusta. Tiger finishes

fourth.

Welcome to Australia's News

at Midday. I'm Tracey Kirkland.

The local share market's following Wall Street's lead

from the weekend. The All Ords

is back up over the 5,000 mark

after two hours of trade.

More finance later in the

bulletin.

The Prime Minister's pulling

out yet more money in a final

attempt to convince the

premiers to agree to his new

health and hospital plan. So

far, Kevin Rudd's earmarked

more than $2 billion in extra

health spending since unveiling

his hospital takeover plan in

early March. With just a week

to go until the COAG meeting

that will decide the fate of

his plan, this morning Kevin

Rudd's promised another $730

million for aged care. Details

from political correspondent

Greg Jennett. Talk is cheap.

But it rarely works like that

with the premiers. This is not

a done deal. Kevin Rudd is on

a seven-day countdown to his

COAG health summit and is

emptying his locker to get the

deal done. Half a billion to

pick up the pace in emergency

care one day; a whopping

package for aged care the next. An investment of some

5,000 more beds and with for the first time the announcement

of the Commonwealth's intention

to take full funding and policy

responsibility for all aged

care services. The $700

million package will boost aged

care places and doctor services

in aged care homes. It's the

sort of responsibility one

premier had demanded, as

recently as three days ago. We

situations where people have have in our hospital system

been assessed for aged care,

but they remain in a hospital

bed because there is no aged

care bed for them to go to. Mr

Rudd's promising to complete a

shake-up of primary care, with

full funding responsibility for

local GP networks. Together

with local hospital networks,

local primary health care

networks will improve patient

care and quality of health and

hospital services. But as with

everything on the table, the

States would only get these

packages if they agree to the

Prime Minister's broader

takeover plan. With the further

details we've set out in the

past two days we are presenting

an even better deal to every

State and Territory Government

and for all Australians. The

opposition says the late rush

of promises doesn't allow the

States time to weigh it up. It's certainly starting to

sound like an pad hock plan.

The Prime Minister has now

pledged around $2 billion to

sweeten the deal but none of it

has been enough so far to sway

the key critics in Victoria,

New South Wales and Western

through regional New South Australia. He's travelling

Wales this week to drive home

the plan, on the way to COAG here on Monday.

The national Teachers Union

is meeting to decide whether to

boycott the nap ran literacy

and num --

the NAPLAN literacy and

numeracy tests. The union is

protesting against the MySchool

web site. If leaders agree to a

boycott, teachers will not

supervise the NAPLAN tests

which are scheduled for May. As

teachers, we take our ethical and professional responsibility

very seriously. If the

government won't act to protect

students, we will. The Federal

Education Minister Julia

Gillard has suggested mums and

dads could supervise the tests

if the teachers won't. The

union says that would only

drive a wedge between parents

and teachers. And it's an

that's angered parents and

citizens' groups. Joining me

now is Di Giblin from the New

South Wales P&C Association. Di

Giblin, what's wrong with parents supervising the NAPLAN

tests if the teachers

won't? This is a totally

inappropriate action for parents. The responsibility

with supervising the tests and

implementing the tests clearly

lies with government and the

education jurs Dicks across the

State, and this is not a role

for parents. Our role is to be

supporting education and not

implementing it. So does it

all stop with you? Are you

prepared to be the wreckers of

Julia Gillard's back-up

plan? Look, what we need to see

is the government and the

Teachers Union as well as us as

parents and the principals

talking together on the table

and resolving the issues that

concern each and every one of

us in regards to the printing

of the results. As an

organisation, we absolutely

support the NAPLAN testing and

we want to see them go ahead

and we believe that governments

and unions need to be talking,

not creating this havoc. The

results of these tests form the

basis for the MySchool web

site. What do you think of the

site? The site has a long way

to go. And our major concern is

the inappropriate use of the

data on that web site and the

misuse of how some of the

children are ranked and

labelled in regards to that.

conversation about the What we want to see is more

development of that site. As parents, we clearly want to see

an open and transparent

Education Department and an

open and transparent government

but we need to do far more

talking and far more work to

make the site appropriate for

the needs of parents. The

government says the site's had

about 2 million hits already.

It's a very popular site? It's

popular because parents want

the information. What we need

to make sure is that the

information is presented in the

context that is appropriate for

our kids. Each one of our kids

sits the NAPLAN test. It's a

diagnostic test that becomes

very valuable in developing the

teaching and learning plan for

our children but what we want

to make sure is that that is

the correct use of the data,

not ranking and labelling

children on one snapshot in one

day. We need to put it in

context of how the children are

learning and what the children

are doing and how they're

progressing, and as parents we

need to see a web site that

gives us the full context of

the school and the full context

that sounds those results. Di

Giblin, thank you. No worries,

thank you, Tracey.

Rescue workers have

recovered the body of a man in

an underground mine in the West Australian goldfields. The

45-year-old was driving a truck

when it plunged 18m down a

shaft at the Perseverance Mine

at Lenster. BHP Billiton says an investigation into the

deaths is under way. Last July, the West Australian Government ordered an investigation into

the safety of the mine after

three workers were trapped

underground in two separate

incidents. The WA Mines

Minister is meeting BHP

Billiton today to discuss the

incident. The Thai government

has ordered the army back to

barracks after weekend clashes

with opposition Red Shirt protesters which left 20 people

dead and more than 800 injured.

Despite the show of force, the

military failed to break the

demonstrators' will or clear

their stronghold. The Red

Shirts say soldiers used live

rounds, an allegation the

government has denied. It was

the moment patience gave way to

power of the moving in to try

to clear the Red Shirts from

Bangkok's old quarter, troops

fired tear gas and rubber

bullets. Protesters say they

also shot live rounds into the

crowd, wounding and killing indiscriminately. The

government denies that soldiers

used live bullets. Except to

fire over the heads of

demonstrators. There's no

injury cause from a live

bullet, from the officers. The

clashes left soldiers,

civilians and a Japanese TV

cameraman dead and hundreds

injured. Having held their

ground against the army, the

Red Shirts are vowing not to

surrender. This was the worst

violence in Bangkok in nearly

20 years and these street

battles have clearly shown that the Red Shirts are not going to

be shifted by force and there

are now calls for the King to

intervene to prevent further

bloodshed. The government

should get out. There's no need

to stay. The protesters are

maintaining their call for the

government to immediately dissolve Parliament. The

government is refusing to

buckle. But it has called a

temporary truce out on the

streets. First we are asking

the officers to return to their

bases, to refresh, to recount

and to be ready for the next

operations if it's necessary.

With compromise unlikely,

there's a fear that more

confrontation is inevitable.

Salvage crews are preparing

to refloat a stricken coal ship

off central Queensland before

bad weather hits the region. A

low is expected to develop

tomorrow, whipping up strong

winds. The Chinese coal carrier

'Shen Neng I' ran aground on

the Great Barrier Reef on

Easter Saturday. Maritime Safety Queensland hopes

tonight's high tide will

provide a chance to refloat the

ship before the weather gets

rough. The body of Polish

President Lech Kazynski has

arrived at the presidential

palace in central Warsaw. The

motorcade was greeted by tens

of thousands of mourners who

lined the streets of the

capital to pay their respects.

The President and many members

of the country's political

elite died in a plane crash in

Russia on Saturday. A report

now from Smolensk. No-one

could've imagined two days ago

this is how Poland's President

will return from Russia. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin along

with Poland's ambassador to

Russia paid their respects

before Lech Kazynski's coffin

was flown back to Warsaw. The

Polish President and 96 others

died Saturday in an aeroplane

crash in Smolensk in western

Russia that's stunned both countries. Russia's Prime

Minister had earlier confirmed

he'd personally direct the

investigation into the

crash. We need together to do

everything possible to find out

the reasons for this tragedy in

the shortest possible time.

That's the first task. The

Polish President's body was

flown out of the same airfield

that his aeroplane was trying

to land at. It slammed into the

ground just seconds from the

runway. Large parts of the jet

are intact. That and the fact

that the black box flight

recorders have been found

should givethors some answers. --

giveth ors some answers. Along

with the President and his

wife, leading members of

Poland's political and military elite were killed. They were

all part of a delegation to

commemorate the 70th

anniversary of the massacre

near Smolensk, where 22,000

Polish officers were killed by

Soviet troops. The government

has announced there will be a

national week of mourning. The

country is still numb from the

scale of the loss. The

President left Poland to mark a

great tragedy for his country.

Now, the crash that took his

life is another one. Potato growers say sharp

price cuts could ruin what's

promising to be the best crop

in years. Cheaper imports are

blamed and farmers around

Ballarat are feeling the pinch.

Fourth generation potato farmer

Norm Suckling should be

rejoicing. He's on track for

his best crop in a decade, but

as far as prices go, it may as

well be another year of

drought. The biggest problem we

have is imports coming in from

overseas and cost pressures

squeezing us and even though

we've got better crops we're

probably going to make less

money. Last year, Victoria's

only major potato processor,

McCain Foods paid growers $35

less per tonne and McCain has

done it again. It's offering

$45 less for next year's

processed spuds in Victoria,

South Australia and

Tasmania. To put it very, very simply, it's going to put

growers out of production. The

company told growers cheaper

imports continue to threaten

its market share. I wonder

whether the country can survive

on all imported food because at

night and up that way in the finish. --

might end up that way. Dominic Prendergast heads the local

growers group and has accused

McCain of negotiating

unfairly. They more or less

inferred that the first State

to sign up would get preferential treatment. It's

certainly not an ethical way you would approach negotiations

in my opinion. Reducing tonnage

by 10% throughout Australia and we're assuming that will be

some sort of tonnage bonus to

the district or growers that

take up this offer. McCain is

declining to comment until

negotiations are finalised. And

that's not likely to be until

October.

From spuds to walnuts and

Tasmania's harvest is well

under way, and this year's crop

is the best ever. After a

couple of tough years, the

southern nuts are gaining

international recognition for

their quality. Last year

drought ravaged Tasmania's walnut crop but great growing

conditions this season have

produced a bumper harvest. Orders are pouring in from

around the world. The demand

for our product is high. The cool climate growing gives a

softer shell, so it's easy to

crack. Our colour we produces a

lot of extra light kernel in

high demand through Europe and

Middle East. Good rain has

doubled production and improved

the quality of the nuts. Over

the last three to four years

it's been very hard with the

drought. We've had increased

frost pressure, which has

knocked out some of our earlier varieties. Wind machines have

been set up to eliminate the

frost threat, with the industry

now worth about $4 million to

the State. We've doubled the

tonne age this year and we'll continue to grow that over the

next couple of years. Tasmanian

walnuts will soon make their

way to Spain, Italy, China and

Turkey. We've been year for a

few years now. It's been a hard

slog to get to this point.

Every year from now we should

start to increase. With the

global demand increasing, they

expect no problems finding new

markets. The walnut harvest

will continue million mid-May.

Europe has moved to calm

market fears about Greece. EU

Finance Ministers have held a rare weekend telephone conference giving final

approval to a multibillion

dollar rescue package. It could

end up being the biggest

international financial

bail-out ever attempted. It's

meant to be a show of

confidence in Greece, and to

boost the euro. The 15 Finance

Ministers emphasised Athens had

not yet asked for the financial

aid. The $40 billion low

interest three-year loan is

there for when it does. It will

be topped up with about another

$13 billion by the IMF. The

EU's partner in efforts to save

Greece. The package bends the

EU rules against national

bail-outs. This time, we are

laying down the details of the

mechanism, of the mechanism to

be launched if a Greek request

is presented to the commission

and to Central Bank. This is a

step of clarification the

markets are waiting for. The

ministers also said Greece's

economic austerity program is

having an effect as protests

continue. Athens has a debt of

$400 billion, almost double

Greece's annual economic

output. Market skepticism over

its ability to meet this year's

repayments of $730 billion have

seen investors dump Greek

stocks and bonds. Prior to the

announcement, Fitch ratings

agency had downgraded the country to the lowest

investment grade. The market

reaction over the next few days will influence how Greece might

raise the extra cash it needs

despite the bail-out.

Other stories making news in

business. The Reserve Bank says

current interest rate settings

are not far from what policy

makers consider average.

Assistant RBA governor Guy

Debelle has told a Senate

inquiry the Central Bank is not

trying to depress demand by

raising rates; it's trying to

ensure growth is at a

sustainable pace. The first home-grown red diamond to be offered for auction in

Australia goes under the hammer

in Sydney tonight. Sotheby's

thinks the purplish red Argyle

diamond ring could smash an Australian jewellery record

with a price tag as high as $1

million. With property prices

on the rise here, there is some

relief across the ditch. House

prices are falling in New

Zealand, down just over 2% last

month. Analysts blame the

prospect of high interest rates

and expected changes to

property investment rules.

Let's take a check of the

markets. Here's Sue Lannin.

What's been the reaction to the

Greek bail-out plan? That move

by the Eurozone has really

heartened investors. They've

also been cheered on by an

increase in metal prices.

Resource and energy stocks have

driven the gains. Rio Tinto has

put on nearly 2%, BHP Billiton

is up and Woodside has gained

nearly half a per cent. Westpac

is doing the best of the big

four banks. And the All

Ordinaries is above $5,000

points. That's a rise of nearly

1%, and that's the highest

level since September 2008. The

ASX 200 is up 34 points to 4,98

#. How's the takeover going

for Mac car that are coal? The

news that Swiss mining giant

Xstrata could enter the fray

has boosted Macarthur Coal's

shares. The Queensland coal

miner has delayed a shareholder

vote on its plans to take over

rival Gloucester Coal and today

Macarthur said it had not

received a takeover offer from

Xstrata. Still, its shares have

gone through the roof. They're

up 7.5%. Gloucester is steady.

It still backs the Macarthur

takeover plan. Seven says key

shareholder support Kerry

Stokes's plan to merge his

businesss? Seven says its two

biggest independent

shareholders have backed the

plan by Kerry Stokes to merge

soin with heavy equipment form

Westrac. Mr Stokes has promised

to cancel part of a share

payment to his holding company

if Westrac fails to make

forecasts. Seven shares are up

nearly 4% today. A check nouft

market's other big movers:

Wall Street's optimism will

be tested this week with first

quarter earnings results. The

US market has risen for six straight weeks. Former Origin and rugby

league Test player Alan Langer

has pleaded guilty in a

Brisbane court to

drink-driving. Langer returned

a blood alcohol reading more

than three times the legal

limit when he was pulled over

for a random breath test in Brisbane last month. He has

been suspended as assistant

coach for the Brisbane

Broncos. You can't be more

remorseful than organise

through your solicitor to bring

forward your entering of a plea

of guilty a week before you

have to. Langer was fined

$1,000 and had his licence

suspended for eight months.

President Dmitry Medvedev has

threatened to ban Americans

from adopting Russian children

after a Tennessee mother sent

her adoptive child back to

Moscow. Artyem Savelyev was

renamed Justin Hansen by his

American family last year, but

now he's back in Russia, after

his adoptive mother said he was

violent and mentally unstable. Locals in Shelbyville,

Tennessee, have defended the

family. They're good people.

They're just good people. Linda

Austin is one of very few

people who know the Tennessee

mother at the centre of an

international adoption fiasco. 7-year-old Artyem Savelyev is

back in his native country,

after being sent alone on a

10-hour flight to Moscow.

Russian officials have said it

amounts to child abuse. I

never, ever seen them even

holler at the little boy. So

you know, what they're saying

cannot be true. They would not

hurt a dog. Much less a child.

But there are no records that Artyem Savelyev was going to

school. State officials are

looking into it. Another Hansen

child named Logan is also

apparently not registered. In a

letter that Tori Hansen sent

back to Russia with the child

she claimed he was unstable and

violent but it was the child's

grandmother who ultimately put

him on the plane home. She went

to every expense, every

precaution to make sure the

child got this safely,

correctly, I mean, I don't see

her just throwing him on a

plane and sending him back. She

wouldn't do that. Still the Washington State adoption

agency involved is sending officials here this week to

meet with the local sheriff.

This as hundreds of prospective

adoptive families across the

country hope their adoptions in

Russia aren't at risk.

A quick look at other stories

making news around the world.

The people of Sudan have begun

voting in elections designed to

kick-start a process for a crucial referendum on whether

the south of the country

becomes an independent nation.

But voters have been left with

few choices after President

Omar al-Bashir's main

challengers boycotted the poll

claiming it wasn't fair.

Astronauts have been struggling

with stiff bolts as they try to

install a coolant tank on the

International Space Station. It

was their second spacewalk in

three days to replace the tank

which will be refilled back on

Earth and used as a spare. And

the long-time home of Dallas

Cowboys is no longer. The

football team's old stadium was

levelled by a series of

coordinated explosions. The

club moved to a new billion

dollar headquarters two years

ago.

The USA swimming organisation

is being accused of not doing

enough to protect young

swimmers from predatory

coaches. It's been revealed in

the last 10 years, 36 coaches

have been banned for sexual

misconduct towards the girls

they were training. No sport

requires more hard work and

practice than swimming. And for

thousands of young teens who

dream of the Olympics, it also requires trust in the right

coach. You just kinda do what

they say. So this swimming

star never questioned why her

coach steered her to a special

locker area. It turns out he

had placed hidden cameras in

the locker rooms of two pools

where he coached and secretly videotaped Brooke and other

girl swimmers in the nude. I

saw my daughter, and I gotta

tell you, it hurt. Indiana

swim coach Brian Henson is now

serving a 33 year prison sentence in a case that we

found is far from unique. In

the last 10 years, some 36 swim

coaches, including Henson, have

been banned by the USA swimming

organisation because of sexual

misconduct, including these

men, a rogues' gallery of swim

coaches who've brought a huge

black eye to the sport. 36 is

not too many, one is too many,

but this is not just a problem

that's isolated to one

sport. But in a series of

lawsuits teen victims and their

families claim USA swims has

failed to do enough to stop men

like this coach, 62-year-old

Andy King. Authorities say King

had or more than a dozen young

teen victims as he moved from

town to town on the west

coast. It was disgusting. At

first I was in shock. I thought

to myself, what is he doing? I

you knew what he was doing was

wrong and I hated it so much, I

wanted to cry. USA swimming

says it's the responsibility of local swim clubs around the

country, not the national

organisation, to make sure

coaches are checked out. But

with growing criticism and

lawsuits, USA swimming says it

may soon institute tougher

safeguards to prevent what it

calls a few rotten apples among

thousands of fine, dedicated

swim coaches. American Phil

Mickelson is the US Masters

golf champion for a third time. Mickelson added to his previous

wins in 2004 and 2006 by

finishing three shots clear of

England's Lee Westwood. Mickelson's fourth major title

game with a final-round 5 under

par 67. Tiger Woods was in a

tie for fourth place, while the

best-placed Australian was Adam

Scott. The battle for victory

was well behind them on the

course, but two Australians

made their mark on the final

day. Nathan Green thrilled the

crowd with his hole in one at

the 16th en route to a 75. And

Adam Scott had an unlikely

eagle 2 at the par 4 7th hole

after his ball had almost

stopped at the top of the

green. And he had another with

his 3 at the 15th. Fred Couples

gave over 50s hope he'd become

the oldest Masters winner,

closing in on the leaders but

his challenge ended in the

water at the 12th. Playing alongside Tiger Woods for a

fourth day, KJ Choi at one

point was the steadyiest man on

the course but having taken the

joint lead, he too fell away.

Anthony Kim flew home posting

the score the others would have

to beat with his final round

65. Tiger Woods was 3 over

through 6. His assault on a

14th mainly title amounted to

little despite some brilliant

shots on his way to 3 under 69,

through 72 holes, he and Choi

remained inseparable. Phil

Mickelson and Lee Westwood were

also tight, until it mattered

most. Three times in the first

eight holes, the final pairing

was locked together. Westwood

3-putted the ninth and once the

39-year-old American hit the

lead, there was no turning

back. He scraped some tee shots

but found his way out of

trouble. A tiddler of a miss

might've ratsled bill you had

he steadied to finish 3 weeks.

The contrast was obvious. The

recent troubles Tiger Woods set

against the victory of Phil

Mickelson, with his wife Amy

who's been battling cancer

there at the final hole. It's

been a difficult year. And to

come out on top in this

tournament is very emotional.

Last year's win er Angel

Cabrera slipped the champion's

third green jacket on him. Mickelson's emotion was oozing

from the cabin.

Where would life be without signs? Signs that tell to us

keep left, don't walk or that

we're going the wrong way. They've become so mundane that

we barely register them any

more. But a group in America is

trying to liven them up with messages that look official,

but are designed to make us

think or at least laugh. More

than 300 signs have been

spotted from New York, Miami to

sand Diego. At first glance

they look official, but closer

inspection reveals messages

both amusing and absurd. Like

this one in a trendy section of

Brooklyn New York, that

proclaims you are not cool. Or

this fat zone sign sprouting up

outside of fast food restaurants. This

doublecrossing sign appears

outside of a major bank. They

are the work of a group of

mysterious urban artists and

pranksters operating under the

name Trusto Corp. No-one knows

who they are. They'd explain themselves to us only via

email. They told us , we hope

to crack a few smiles and

hopefully make a few people

think along the way. To the

weather briefly now. Heavy rain across the north this

afternoon, and also over

Tasmania and southern Victoria.

Some showers in the south west

corner of WA. The forecasts:

A final check of the midday markets around lunchtime in the

east:

That's the news for now. Our

next full bulletin on ABC1 is

at 7pm. I'm Tracey Kirkland.

Have a great afternoon. Closed Captions by CSI

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