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(generated from captions) Craig, you've got halfway through autumn and for cool weather when you're

a showy flow orn a sunny day, pelagonium or geranium all the way. Before we go a recap of our top stories and way. Before we go a brief

Kevin Rudd has upped care funding package by $1.3 Kevin Rudd has upped his health

billion in a final attempt to get the and Territories. The money's to get the backing of the states

be spent Corrections Minister says elective surgery. The ACT

locked up in their cells for up trouble. A rooftop protest at the Alexander centre at the Alexander McConnying yesterday. Simon Corbell denies they've been locked up for up to 20 hours at a time. That's ABC News. Stay with us next and you can find the '7.30 Report' coming up

latest headlines 24 hours a at ABC online. Thanks for This Program is Captioned


Welcome to the program, I'm

Tracy Bowden filling in for

Kerry O'Brien, who's on

States. The Federal assignment in the United

Government's motto in recent

weeks could well be, if at

first you don't succeed, try,

try again. The Home Insulation

Program ran into major

problems, so a new minister was

appointed. Public disquiet

emerged about the nation's rapidly-burgeoning population,

so a Population Ministerery was

announced. Today it was

Education Minister Julia

Gillard appointing a $14

million task force to police

alleged rorts in the School Building Program, and the Prime

Minister continues to sweeten

the deal for States holding out

on his new health plan. Could

it be an election is in the air? Political Editor, Chris Uhlmann.

OK, are we all set team? We're

here to deliver. It's a

beautiful town. Nice to see

you again. Welcome to the era of the endless election

campaign. I'm so happy to meet

you. Glad to meet you. For a

week, the Prime Minister's been

trooping through marginal seats

in Queensland handing out

money. The Government intends

to invest half a billion dollars. And the Opposition

Leader has rebadged his annual

charity bike ride as a listening tour through Victoria

and NSW. Are you going to take

us in for a chat? There are

signs the date of the real

campaign is being pondered,

with the Government trying to

tidy up troublesome loose

ends. Like every school community, I want to get real

value from every dollar

spent. The Government aside

just over $16 billion of its

Building Program and it's stimulus package for the School

repeatedly rejected allegations

that there is significant

overcharging and rorting. But

today, it announced it'll spend

$14 million establishing a task

force to ensure taxpayers are

getting value for money. The

task force will receive,

investigate and respond to complaints regarding the full

operation of BER, including

individual school projects. It

certainly hasn't been value for

money. I think if we've got $8

billion worth of value for $16

billion worth of spending we'd

be lucky. It's the fourth

problem the Government has

tried to sweep under the mat in

the last two months. In

February Greg Combet was

drafted from defence to fix the

botched $2.5 billion ceiling

insulation program, that's

linked with 120 house fires and

perhaps as many as 240,000

dodgy insulation jobs. It's a

big difficult job and as of

this afternoon, I'll just have

to roll my sleeves up and get

stuck into it. Then another

trouble shooter Tony Burke was

appointed Population Minister

to quell growing public

disquiet about the booming

population. There'll be a very

high degree of consultation in

the coming months as we work

through an area of policy which

has always affected Australia

but we've never had actually

had a strategy to develop

previously. On Friday, after

months of claiming it's

softening of laws on asylum

seekers hadn't been a factor in

the spike of unauthorised boat arvls the Government

essentially conceded the point

suspending visa applications

from Sri Lanka from three

months and Afghans for six

months. The changes send a

strong message to asylum

seekers that they can't

guarantee a visa outcome and a

message to those seeking to

employ asylum seekers they may

found themselves returned to

the country of origin. Now the

Government's sandbagging

against attacks on its School

Building Program. Many schools

are happy with their lot, but

trouble is emerging everywhere.

Tony Abbott found some at the

foot of the Snowy Mountains.

The library at Berridale Public

School was meant to cost

$285,000. It came in at

$900,000, and in one of the

chilliest parts of the State,

the windows can't be closed

because the chimney isn't

flued. We want to see that

there are payments gone out to

actual expenses, because

there's no way on earth that

that is worth $1 million. No,

no. And that audit, of course,

wouldn't even be about value

for money, it would simply be

about process, that's the

problem with NSW audits. Well,

we keep hearing about audits.

We keep hearing that this is

under investigation. Why can't

we see anything? When pressed,

the minister will only cite one

example of where she believes a

complaint has been

substantiated. How much rorting

has there been? Well, obviously we have seen some examples that

have caused concerns, like the

example of the Hastings Public

School. This is a cynical

election year fix designed to

get them out of a spot of

bother, because the number of

examples and the sheer

magnitude of the waste in the

school hall rip-off program has

become too embarrassing for the Government. There might be one

other thing concentrating the

minister's mind. The

Auditor-General has been

investigating the program and

the report's due out next

month. The auditor allows 28

days for the subject of its

report to respond before

publication and it's given a copy to the Education

Department, so it's likely that

Julia Gillard has seen it, but

the auditor won't say and the minister says the law won't

allow her to tell. I've been

told that you've had it for

three weeks? Well, you need to

speak to the Auditor-General

about questions related to the

audit report. The Deputy PM has

another fight on her hands.

The teachers' union has voted

to boycott national testing

because it doesn't want school performance being compared on

the My School website. This is

clearly in the minister's court. We have said that there

is a national moratorium, the

national tests will not proceed

unless the Government

introduces measures in order to

stop the damage caused to

students and schools caused by

league tables to stop the

misuse of data. But Julia

Gillard isn't patterning. I've

certainly got a very different

view from the executive of the Australian Education Union. I

believe they've made the wrong decision today. They should

not be boycotting the national tests. The Prime Minister's

trying to turn the premiers

into fans of his health plan by

pumping millions more into it.

Today, another $740 million was

offered to lift the number of

aged care places and this

evening in what we're told is

the Commonwealth's final offer,

another $650 million was put on

the table to fund an extra

90,000 elective surgery

procedures, but every dollar

hangs on the Premiers signing

up to the whole package. You

can't just get a blank cheque

on the basis of a system which

currently does not work and

which wastes taxpayers' money.

The fact that we've had bits

and pieces dribbling out day by

day every day a new

announcement, every day more

spending, none of it funded of

course. They say that money

can't buy love, but it has been

known to turn the heads of

Premiers. That said, Victoria

still seems unimpressed and one

of its key concerns is the

Commonwealth's grab for 30% of the Goods and Services Tax.

That might be a deal breaker.

We'll know soon enough whether

it's all brinkmanship. The

Prime Minister and the Premiers

gather in a week to thrash it

all out. Thailand is set to

usher in its traditional new

year but celebrations are being

marred by bloodshed, with the country in the grip of its

worst political unrest in

almost two decades. Weekend clashes between anti-government

Red Shirt demonstrators and the

military left 21 people dead

and more than 800 injured.

Despite the killings, the

demonstrators are vowing to

push on with their bid to

overthrow the government. Late

today I spoke to ABC correspondent Mark Willacy

who's been watching events

unfold in Bangkok.

Mark Willacy, what is the mood

on the streets there today

after the violence over the

weekend? Well, there's a bigger

sense of calm here after the

weekend's events. Obviously 21

dead and 800 injured, that was an amazing weekend that shocked

many Thais, but there is a

sense of more calm, a little sense of more calm, a little

bit more restraint here. The army's obviously pulled back to

their barracks and the Red

Shirts are still in their

potions in the old quarter of

Bangkok and in the commercial

district just very close by to

him. So it is calm, but again,

the government is saying look the troops may have pulled

back, but they're just pulling

back to regroup, to refresh and

they may, or could maybe launch

another assault later in the

week possibly. So that issue

of force is still there. The anti-government demonstrators

have accused the soldiers of

firing live rounds, is there

proof of that? We have heard

today directly from the Red

Shirts. They have had

observers with the autopsy

teams. Now these observers

have said that at least 11 of

the bodies of the Red Shirt

demonstrators who were killed

did show signs that they were

hit by high velocity bullets.

Now when we were at the scene

we obviously saw dozens of

casings which appeared to be

live rounds casings. Now the

protesters said it was clear

that the Thai authorities had

ordered the soldiers in and

that the soldiers then opened

fire randomly, indiscriminately

into the crowd using live

rounds. The government has

said yes live rounds were used

but they were used to fire over

the heads of the demonstrators,

but then they did admit yes live rounds could have also

been used in self-defence under

strict rules of engagement.

Now, the demonstrators are

saying look they have

documentary evidence they've

posted on the Internet video

and photographs showing that

live rounds were striking

protesters and some of it was

quite gruesome, including one

young Red Shirts demonstrator

unarmed being hit in the head

with a high velocity bullet.

So that is quite a serious

allegation. The Thais are

denying it, but it would appear

that maybe high velocity

bullets were used and the Thai

Government said "Well, maybe

that's because the Red Shirts

were also possessing assault

weapons". They mentioned

AK-47s, although there's been

no proof yet to support that

claim. The Red Shirts have said

they won't negotiate, they want the Prime Minister out. What

is the prospect of a compromise

without more violence? Well,

the Red Shirts have said today

that the time for negotiation

is over basically. They've

also made their point very

clear by parading the bodies of

two of their Red Shirt comrades

who fell, who were killed on

the weekend through the city of

Bangkok in the back of a

pick-up truck. So they're

obviously saying to the crowd,

look this is what happens to

you when you go out and

demonstrate with this

government. Now the government

is saying it will not

capitulate to the demands to

dissolve Parliament and call immediate elections, although

we have seen media reports

today suggesting maybe there's the possibility that the

government could dissolve

Parliament in about six months'

time and call elections.

That's a step forward from

their previous offer to

dissolve Parliament in nine months. But at this stage

we've just got an uneasy truce.

You've got the protesters still

encamped in their areas and the

government, well it's thinking

about what to do next and

obviously they'd prefer to

compromise, but confrontation

could still be on the

cards. Mark, this week marks

the Thai new year, three days of celebrations, what difference might that

make? Yes, it's Songkran, which

is basically the Thai new year.

From tomorrow, there's three to

four days of festivities, it's

a national holiday. People

generally go back to home towns

and villages to celebrate with

family and friends. Now we're

hearing that some of the Red

Shirt demonstrators have left

for home, mainly in the north

of Thailand where they're from,

but the Red Shirt organisers are saying yes a few people

have left, but they're going to

be back after the Thai new year

festivities are over. There is

a group that maybe these

festivities could difficult

fuse the situation with people

enjoying the festivitys and

relaxing but it's clear the Red

Shirts aren't going

everywhere. What about safety

and tourism? Countries are

warning citizens about going to Thailand, that's obviously going to have some sort of

impact? A major impact. It's

now 43 countries we understand

that have issued travel

warnings for their citizens

travelling to Thailand. The

Australian Government is urging

its citizens if they come here

to exercise a high degree of

caution, basically saying look

these demonstrations can erupt

at any time and they can quickly turn very violent

indeed and we've heard that the

Chinese today have cancelled

100 charter planes carrying

15,000 tourists into Thailand.

So that's going to hit

Thailand's very lucrative

tourism industry indeed and

again, the stock market today

after holding up for a few

weeks has plunged by 5%, so

we're really starting to see

the crisis hit Thailand economically. Mark Willacy, thanks very much for speaking

to us. Thank you. How much

would you be prepared to pay to

guarantee your child access to

an as yet unproven but

potentially life-saving cure

for disease? It's a question

now facing every new parent as

they decide whether to harvest

their baby's umbilical cord

blood at birth. Cord blood

donated by strangers is already

widely used in bone marrow

transplants but some scientists

believe it could have much

broader applications as a

ready-made cure for a baby's

own future illness. In case researchers are right, some

mums and dads are paying

thousands of dollars to

privately store their baby's

flood. It's now big business,

but is it a sound investment?

Danielle Parry reports. Baby

Jake Perrozzi is only six days

old, but he's already on the

cutting edge of medical

science. Blood was extracted

from his umbilical cord in the

hope it could one day be used to safeguard him from

disease. I asked my

obstetrician and he said if he

was having a baby, he would do it, so that was good enough for

me. A technician at Perth's

Glengarry Private Hospital

removed Jake Perrozzi's rich

cord blood in the moments after

his birth. The hope is that

the young, versatile stem cells in his blood could eventually

be used to repair parts of his

body damaged by anything from

cystic fibrosis to a heart

attack, with no risk of

rejection. Immune cells in his

blood could also offer a

breakthrough in managing

diseases such as diabetes. The

Perrozzis are using their baby

bonus to pay for their son's

sample to be frozen and stored

in a private lab, while

scientists work on unlocking

its medical potential. I guess

I saw it as a bit of an

insurance policy, the research

is still going and there's no

end to it, so we might be able

to save our baby's life one

day. Growing numbers of

parents are now paying to have

their child's cord blood locked

away in commercial labs for

their exclusive use. It's

already big business, with

companies competing for a share

of the booming baby economy.

The service doesn't come cheap,

storage costs between $3,000

and $6,000 for 18 years. I see

it as an investment. It's not

like BHP, it's not a guaranteed return investment. It's

slightly more speculative, but

equally the returns are much

greater if it turns out to be a

valuable investment . But the

concept of a private banking

industry has sparked concern

among some in the medical

community, who say the science

is yet to be fully tested. I

think it should be made clear

to parents that if they are

intending to bank their child's

cord blood that the chances

that the parents will actually,

or that the child will actually

use that blood is very low. A

child's own cord blood may not

be suitable for treating him or

her for some diseases such as

leukaemia. That's because

doctors think the blood could

already be imprinted with the

disease and could reintroduce

it into the body. The private

companies are researching a

range of other uses, but

they're experimental at this

stage. There are no proven

therapies of growing stem cells

for yourself other than for

bone marrow transplantation

purposes. It may be that

science will advance, but at

the moment those are

dreams. Biocell is one of the

handful of private companies

licenced for cord blood storage

in Australia. It's about to

start a clinical trial on Type

1 Diabetes. We can't prove that

cord blood will have uses, but

we think the science behind it

is pretty strong. The catch-22

is you can't prove these other applications of cord blood

until people have stored it and

often the diseases we want to

treat won't appear for years afterwards. So that's starting to happen around the world.

There are cases in the United

States where cord that has been

put in a private storage as

opposed to a public storage has

been used, but to my

understanding, almost all, if

not all of those are for very

experimental therapies for

which we have no clear data

that they'd do any good. In

line with its advertising code,

the Therapeutic Goods

Administration recently

required Biocell to make

changes to its website, amid

concerns about the claims being

made. We've actually recently

reviewed all our literature and

websites to make absolutely

clear that we're talking about

future uses on the whole. I

hope we do it honestly, we

don't try and - we're not

trying to sell snake

oil. Another consideration is

what happens to the samples if

a private lab goes bankrupt, as

has happened in the United

States. The Therapeutic Goods Administration here says it

doesn't regulate for that

contingency and it's a matter for the customer and the

company. All I can say at the

moment is that our own

company's just had a major

reinvestment. We're establishing our own new

facility laboratories and so

forth and as part of that

process, we're working on a

financial guarantee to ensure

that these samples will be

cared for, for the full 18

years. I can't speak for

others, but it is an

issue. West Australian mother

Barbara Ayling has had first-hand experience of the

medical fraternity's mixed

feelings towards cord blood

collection. She has cerebral

palsy, one of the conditions

scientists hope could one day

be treated using stem cells.

Before giving birth earlier

this year, Barbara Ayling

decided she wanted her

daughter's cord blood privately

banked. In 18 years' time, we

won't know what they might be

able to do and as long as you

can store it, you have that

option. Two GPs at the

practice Barbara went to agreed

to take the cord blood and they

received training packages on

how to do it. But when Barbara

Ayling went into labour on a

weekend, a different doctor was

on duty at her regional

hospital and he refused to

carry out the procedure. The

Ayling s say they would have

hired a private technician had

they known, but they've missed

their chance. It's a choice I

have the right to make. Apart

from anything else, I'm

spending a phenomenal amount of

money to do this. I've made a

very informed decision, and I

would have liked that to be

more respected. Doctors don't

have a Christal ball, they

don't know what's down the

track in a month, a year, ten

years. It might be the very

thing that could ameliorate

cerebral palsy. The doctor

involved has declined to speak

to the 7.30 Report, but the Royal College of Obstetricians

says some of its members don't

want the added responsibility

in the delivery room and are

worried about their legal

liability. I think that's a

valid concern. For instance,

if the blood was infected or

the doctor didn't get enough,

then the parents experienced an

acute need for that blood for

whatever reason, then yeah, I'm

sure there would be some

concerns about the way that it

was collected. All people who

collect on behalf of our

company are fully covered by

our insurance. I think it's

arguable that the liability's

much greater if you refuse

point blank to collect the cord blood blood. Baby Jake

Perrozzi's parents are glad

they were able to have their

son's cord blood stored. They

hope they'll never have to

access it, but they're relieved

it's there just in case. Hate

to need it one day and not have

done it. We'd rather be safe

than sorry. Yeah. Danielle

Parry with that report. The

quest for love has taken many

forms over the years, from the professional matchmaker to the

lonely hearts column, but now

it's entered the computer age.

More and more Australians are

looking for, and finding love

online. A scheme once viewed

as only for the desperate is

becoming a socially acceptable, multimillion dollar business.

For us, the wedding day was

perfect. We hired a hotel in

the city, had the penthouse for

three days. We had 40 people

come up and celebrate with us.

The bride looked gorgeous. She

did look gorgeous. It was

fantastic, for us it was

perfect. It was just what we

wanted. Jeremy Tyson and Linda

Rankins got married last

November, 18 months after their

first encounter. So when

people ask how you met, what do

you tell them? Online. We

actually go "Like online, where

else?" I think amongst our

friends we've probably got

three or four marriages,

there's got to be three or four

different kids, as well, and people living together and

moving in, so yeah". That all

met online? All met

online. Online dating was once

seen as a last-ditch enterprise

for the desperate, but not

anymore. Finding love at the

click of a mouse has become

popular, and profitable. The

online dating industry has gone

from effectively zero about

10-15 years ago to about $90

million last year and we expect

it to go to about $100 million

in 2009-10 and this is just

purely from organic growth. Industry analyst Edward

Butler says not only are more

and more people searching for

their soulmate via cyberspace,

but the participants are of all

ages. It used to be the domain

of younger people primarily,

but as the stigma's moved away

from online dating and

interaction, older people are

definitely moving on. There is

certainly a large market for

widow, widowers, divorcees.

There's Christian online

dating sites, veggian, gouts,

ones, any kind of interest you

can think of. Australia's

largest online dating site RSVP

boasts 1.6 million members.

Its revenues are expected to

exceed $20 million this year.

A recent Neilsen study found

that in the last 12 months, 15%

of adults who form serious

relationships met online. On

RSVP we're expecting about 40

stories a week of people taking

themselves off the site and

getting into a relationship,

and we're up to about 8,000

marriages now. RSVP was

acquired by Fairfax Media in

2007. Channel Ten owns 40% of

another big online player,

Oasis Active, which offers

advertising-based free

entry. One of the reasons that

Channel Ten and Fairfax were

probably so keen to buy into

these companies was the fact

they have a big database of

personal information. One of

the key online information

trends over the past decade is

the value in a lot of sites

like Facebook or MySpace are

actually the people signed up,

rather than the ability to

market directly to them via

these sites. What would you

have thought of online dating

in the past? I would have just

thought that someone was

desperate and lonely to go

online. I mean, I would have

never thought that that would

be me. Merran Doyle met her

match years ago, but for the PR

consultant and mother of two,

it was suddenly game over. She

found herself in a place she

never expected, or wanted to

be. 40-something and

single. 4-all, well done. My

husband had just left me for a

younger woman and I had been

terribly upset by that and, you

know, spent two months crying

myself to sleep every night. I

just decided to go online, so I

registered at midnight and then

by 9am the next morning I had

13 hits, or kisses as they're

called, so I just suddenly

thought "Yay, I think this is a

good idea". Why is the stigma

going now? Because the way we relate to each other is

changing, and the way we

communicate via text, via

email, all these things are

changing the way we even

understand that we relate to

each other on an every day

level. Australian social psychologist Monica Whitty

travelled to the UK to further

her research into online

dating. She says that while

the end result may be the same,

there are a number of ways in

which online dating is

different to the traditional

form. When we meet offline, it

is gradual self-disclosure and

what happens is there is

breadth and depth to how much

you self-disclose to someone,

but if you're creating an

online profile, it's a static

profile. You see it and you

read it so it's kind of like

this idea that I've got the

story now, and do I want that

person? It's a far cry from the

days when couples met at the

local dance, at work, or

through friends. Monica Whitty

says her research shows that

online dating can turn people

into commodities, and remove

the romance from the dating

game, but Linda Rankins

disagrees. I actually like that

you get a snapshot of this

person. You know what they

look like, you know what their beliefs are. I don't think it

takes the romance out of it at

all, I think it actually cuts a

lot of the uncertainities I

guess. Yeah. For Merran Doyle,

the online dating game has

certainly been a source of some

surprises. It seems people

aren't always honest about

their age, or intentions. One

coffee date I went on, he held

my hands across the table and

he said to me "I think you need

a lover, and I think it should

be me, can I book us a hotel

room right now?" And just as

the dating game in the real

world has its risks and disappointments, so does

looking for love online. The Australian Competition and

Consumer Commission has

reported a 30% increase in the

number of people reporting

online dating scams. There are

always going to be a risk with

this kind of thing because you

aren't interacting directly

with someone to begin with .

The industry has worked very

hard - we removed the stigma of

being online and try to create

a safe environment online, but

the fact is there is still the

potential for fraud. But for

thousands of Australians,

online dating is proving an

effective way to meet new

people and perhaps find the

one. I could be at home a

bitter and twisted soul, but

instead I'm just having a whole

lot of fun dating and meeting a

lot of different fun new people

and trying to find someone to

be my new life partner, who

knows? I've found a beautiful

partner and a beautiful wife,

so I'm very happy with online

dating and happy to tell the

world about online dating. And

that's the program for tonight. We'll be back at the same time

tomorrow, but for now,

goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI This Program Is Captioned live. THEME MUSIC Hello, I'm Lisa Millar, the North American bureau chief for the ABC in Washington.

Tonight's program is about a couple of holidaying teenagers who single-handedly changed the way Americans view Australians - but not in a good way. Aussies robbed a bank It happened when the two young in the ski town of Vail, Colarado. the story went around the world The heist was so hare-brained "Dumb and Dumber". and the two were immediately dubbed is finally back home in Byron Bay One of them, Anthony Prince, in the penitentiary. after serving nearly five years for the first time. Tonight he's speaking When I think about what I've done, when I walked into this bank I never considered and put it in this girl's face - and pulled this gun out towards that? how's she going to react I just never considered that. For some reason And initially it was joke. But it was a joke that never went away. It just kept coming up. We didn't really want to rob a bank. We were just talking about it and thinking about it and joking about how we could actually do it and then before we knew it, it just turned serious, you know. Some of our bank robberies are very typical. And what's not typical is that this is the first case that the Denver division of the FBI has investigated that two Australian teens have robbed a bank. This was just left field, completely left field. I certainly didn't think in my wildest dreams that he could have done this. None of the community did. None of us did. in somebody else's mind. You just don't know what's going on