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ABC Midday Report -

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Live.

Between some rocks and a hard

place - last-minute wheeling

and dealing on the mining

tax. Whatever happens, we will be opposing this tax. A second

day of violence marks the countdown to elections Egypt. Nothing changed. Rise of countdown to elections in

the machines - new ways to beat

mobility problems. We want the mobility problems. We

person to work in collaboration

with the robot. And give us our

bread but forget about those

daily deliveries. Hello and

welcome to ABC News across

Australia. I'm Ros Childs. On

the local share market, worries about European and dragging on stocks:

More finance later in More finance later in the

bulletin. First to Canberra. As

well as the current mining tax negotiations, the Prime

Minister has had a rising

soldier death toll in

Afghanistan to deal with in

recent weeks. Julia Gillard

promised a yearly statement on how the conflict in Afghanistan

is going, and she is on her

feet now in Federal Parliament

with this year's report card. We must stand firmly by our ally the United States. Mr

Speaker, yes, we are paying a

high price for progress in

Afghanistan, but progress is

being made. Our national interests in Afghanistan have

not changed in 12 months. Our

mission has not changed. The

timetable for transition to

Afghan-led security by the end

of 2014 has not changed either.

We will complete our mission of

training and transition. Mr

Parliament Speaker, I believe that our

Parliament and our people want to know more about the daily

work of our troops and our civilians in Afghanistan.

Australians should have a

practical and realistic picture

of what our people in

Afghanistan are doing on the

ground. The moving and now

sadly familiar images ceremonies overseas and

funerals at home are a very

real part of the story of the

war. But they are not the whole

story. We owe is to our troops

and to our nation to understand

the whole. Defence has the whole. Defence has around 1,550 personnel deployed in

Afghanistan at any one time.

Over two-thirds of them serve in Oruzgan.

Australians currently there

arrived at the end of June and

will be deployed until around

March next year. With

rotations, nearly 4,500 Australian Defence Australian Defence Force personnel will spend time in

Afghanistan this year. Many

will be there on their second

and third deployments. Some

there have been to Afghanistan

many times. Combined Team

Oruzgan is principally an Australian-US partnership, about you it also includes some contributions from Singapore

and Slovakia. Many of our soldiers in the team are part

of the mentoring taskforce. taskforce trains and mentors the

the Afghan National Army's 4th

Brigade to make it ready to take over lead responsibility

for security in Oruzgan. The

taskforce and the brigade train

and fight together, working

hard to build the brigade into an effective security

removing improvised explosive

devices where they are found,

searching out where insur jets hide ex-ploughives, improvised explosive device explosive device come pen nents

and weapons. They have been

involved in hundreds of incidents involving direct

fire, hundreds of firefight

this year. To support this

operation, they maintain

forward or patrol bases across

the province. In some cases as

far as 75km from our main base in Tarin Kowt, and they join operations outside the

province, too, cutting the

so-called rat runs, the routes which provide support and

supply to insurgents in

Oruzgan. And that's where we will leave Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her statement to the House on training and

transition in Afghanistan.

Federal Parliament is sitting

for the last week of the year

and the Government is determined Julia Gillard's year

of delivery ends with passage

of its mining tax. Last-minute

negotiations have begun to lock

in the four votes needed to get

the resource rent tax through the House of the resource rent tax through the House of Representatives, but Tony Abbott wants more

before Parliament rises. He is demanding everyone returns next

week to debate the state of the

Federal Budget. Here's

political reporter Andrew Greene. Parliament's final

sitting week for 2011 has

begun. Honourable members, the Speaker! And already some are

suggesting it shouldn't end so

soon Look, the Parliament

should not rise for the year

without a mini Budget. But the

idea of isn't always popular. REPORTER: Parliament, should REPORTER: Parliament, should it

sit for an extra week To? Next week For what purpose. The Opposition has written to the

Prime Minister demanding she do Treasury modelling for the

carbon tax and draw up a mini

budget to outline how

compensation measures will be

funded If the model something

wrong, the compensation is

wrong and the people are being

ripped off. That's why we need

a mini budget and the Parliament should

up to its failures through a

mini budget. I don't know

where this talk of a mini

budget comes from. What we will

see is our mid-year review. Government negotiations see is our mid-year budget

are continuing over the mining

tax. Labor is quietly confident

of convincing the Independents

and the Greens to get the

legislation through the Lower

House and in the - and end the

year on a win. I've made it

won't clear to the Government that we

won't be supporting a further

erosion of that tax. What I'm

doing is Independents and the minor conversation with the

parties, as you do, and we'll

continue to do that. However,

one government backbencher is

suggesting it's a done

deal Look, I understand that

there definitely has been an

agreement made. But Deb O'Neill

says she doesn't know the

details. Australia is not the only country looking at hitting

up big resource companies for

money. China has introduced a

resource tax on big oil and gas

companies. The Chinese Government says the billions of

dollars raised from the new environmental damage and will will go towards fixing

help set up sustainable

industries in poor remote regions where resource

companies are often based.

China correspondent Stephen McDonnell reports. Remote part

s of western China are a rich

source of raw materials, but

those who live and work there

remain quite poor. These areas

are also heavily polluted now,

and the Chinese Government says

big companies must pay for

their damage. So China has introduced a national

tax which hits the oil and gas industries the hardest.

TRANSLATION: The impact on

companies is huge. The tax is

mandatory and they will have to pay it even though they're not

happy. The tax for oil and gas

companies is initially set at between 5

between 5 and 10% of bulk

sales. It's said funds will go

to the local governments where

the resources are extracted to

be used for environmental repair and to establish

sustainable industries. It will cost

dollars, but even more in the future.

TRANSLATION: We're considering

gradually raising the resource

tax level. First tax level. First we establish the mechanism, keep the level

low to minimise its initial

impact, then increase it step

by step. Yet China won't hit

its big oil companies too hard

as they're hugely profitable

and owned by the government.

Many of China's state-owned

resource companies are based

along this street in Beijing.

The size and grandeur of their

the great wealth that these

companies have amassed, but none of them would be

interviewed for this story. The

government has told them it pay the tax and they'll just have

to cop it. Other resource

companies know they're next in

line with coking coal already

partially hit by this resource

tax. Nurses taking industrial

action in Victoria will this

afternoon decide their next

move. They've been defying

orders by Fair Work Australia

to suspend their bans. meeting this afternoon will

decide their next strategy. If

they vote to strike, they could

face heavy penalties and move

the State Government - a move

the State Government insist it

is wants to is wants to avoid. The Fair

Work Ombudsman is an

independent office and he has

looked at enforcement, as I

understand it, and flagged some

actions that he could take in a

series of letters to the union yesterday and

yesterday and an extraordinary

series of letters that went backwards and forwards. Notwithstanding that, I would hope he doesn't need to do any

of those actions. The bans have closed hundreds of beds and

forced the cancellation of elective surgery. Victoria's

regional rail service has apologised to passengers who

were stranded after their train ran out of fuel early this

morning. More than 40

passengers on their way from

Melbourne to Bendigo were

delayed for three hours in the

Central Victorian town of

Kyneton. It's the third time

this year a V/Line train has

run out of fuel and the company

is blaming inadequate fuel

gauges which can only be

checked while trains are stationary. So, it's pretty

embarrassing when we do run out

of fuel, because unlike a car, you can't see how much fuel

you've got left. This is

something that quite something that quite simply shouldn't happen. V/Line has

sourced new fuel warning lights

from Germany and hopes to have

the problem fixed about I the

middle of next year. Two California police officers who

used pepper spray on protesters

are paying the price for their

actions. A dozen students were

targeted at close range during

a pro tft at the University of

ka California. The action was

taken after they

obey campus police to leave.

University officials initially

supported the officers, arguing

they were surrounded, but have

now ordered an investigation. I

personally feel really very bad

about what happened to students

and the whole incident. The police concerned have been

placed on leave, about you will

be fully paid. There have been

more violent clash Cairo where

police and the army have moved

to evict thousands of people

from the city's Tahrir Square.

At least two people have been angered by the slow pace of

change since the overthrow of

Egypt's President Mubarak in February. Middle East correspondent Anne Barker reports. Kier row's Tahrir

Square is the battleground for

a whole new uprising, this time

against Egypt's military rulers

who took power from Hosni

Mubarak. Protesters ran for their

their lives as security forces

stormed the square to drive

them out, with tear gas,

batons, even bird shot, but

after initially fleeing,

hundreds returned to the square, determined to their ground. They are re-establishing the old regime

and we don't want the old

regime, we don't want the

generals of Mubarak. We had he have revolution and we are

continuing it. The army moved

in to back up police, at times

resorting to brute force. Only

those in the act of prayer were

spared. Nearly a thousand

people have been wounded in the

past two days. Two-wheel

ambulances rushed them to

makeshift hospitals. We didn't

expect that we would return to

the same place we used to work in

regime or fighting against the

same regime - nothing

changed. The protesters set up camp

camp days ago, demanding Egypt's military Moffatter to hand power to a

democratically elected

government. Egyptians go to the

polls next week in the first round of parliamentary elections since Hosni Mubarak's

ray gem was ousted, about you

it will take at least three

months to elect a new

government and military rulers

will still retain considerable

powers, at least until a new President is could take until 2013.

TRANSLATION: We need civilian

rule. We need a President that

we're all agreed on. We need a constitution before the

elections that will get rid of

the remnants of the previous

regime. With the political

temperature rising in Egypt,

protests like these are bound

to grow. Officials in New York

say they've foiled a new

terrorist plot. They've

arrested a man on suspicion of

plotting to carry out a range

of attacked on the city. He described as a lone wolf

operative who built a bomb

using readily made materials

bought from local retailers. A

short time ago, New York's major outlined some alleged targets. Yesterday afternoon, New York City police

officers arrested a 27-year-old

al-Qaeda sympathiser who was

plotting to bomb police patrol

cars and also postal facilities as

as well as targeted members of

our armed forces returning from longer-life milk. Now

bread-makers are pinning their

profit hopes on bread that will

last a lot longer on

supermarket shelves. The nation's biggest

good is thinking of abandoning

daily bread deliveries to

retailers in the face of tough

competition from supermarkets

which sell loaves for as little

as a dollar. Getting the bread

from the bake tore the shop accounts for more than 40% of

Goodman Fielder's costs, so

it's looking at ways of

extending a loaf's shelf life without compromising quality according to the company's chief executive. David Cummins

is the owner of the independent

Bowan Island Bakery. Bowan Island Bakery. Well,

look, I think there is no doubt

that it's possible to increase shelf life. Look, keeping

quality is definitely an

arguable case. The quality is

about ingredients and purity of

food. So, look, with today's technology and food sort of technology, you can easily add

a lot of different additives

and preservatives into baked

products to get that sort of

shelf life, but, yeah, it's arguable arguable whether the quality

will remain the same or

not. But with distribution

costs so high t does make

costs so high t does make sense for a company like Goodman

Fielder to find a way to bring

some of its overheads down? No

question at all. 43% which was quoted in the paper this

morning, is quite high,

considering if you volume of their production and

the magnitude of their the magnitude of their company,

that would be an enormous cost.

I think if you look at it -

it's always interesting looking at statistics. Three figures

there. I would say - when they say distribution t would have

been everything back of house,

the administration, everything

to do with the business, to get

to that cost, I'm quite

sure. When it comes to the

price that the consumer pays

for a loaf of bread, though,

you have the supermarkets in

some cases charging a dollar

for a loaf. Goodman Fielder wants to with that and I suppose at the

other end, guys like you who

produce the bread that we can

see behind you. How much do you

charge for a loaf on

average? We charge anywhere

from $4.75 to about $7,

depending on the bread. We do

quite a vast range of

breads. Pretty expensive I'm a

firm believer in the adage, you

get what you pay for. get what you pay for. We use

premium organic grains. If we

use preservatives in the bread,

we use money. I we use money. I think the whole

marketing angle of Coles, which

we've seen in the milk sort of

pricing as well, it's clever

because it's basically getting

people in store to buy a dollar

loaf of bread and strangely

enough they will end up buying

a bunch of other things. I

think Goodman Fielder is up

against it in the sense that

there is no way they will be able able to compete to getting

their bread down to a dollar.

So, yeah, they're in a pretty

tight spot. David Cummins, thank you Pleasure. To the

markets with

markets with Simon Palan. Not a great start to the week on the

markets? No, Ros, investors do

have plenty to worry about at

the moment. Firstly the efforts

to trim the US budget deficit

appear to be stalling as a

result of that Wall Street was

lower on Friday and there are

also fears the Eurozone debt

crisis could spread, so not surprisingly surprisingly the All Ords is

lower. To 4224. And the

resources sector is hurting

today, Simon? Yes, z Ros, the

price of both oil and gold fell overnight and that's some of the big miners today.

Rio Tinto is down half a

percent and Roc Oil is down

more than 3%, that's to 28

cents, and, Ros, all the big

banks are down today, too. How

are Qantas shares going, given

the looming deadline for

negotiations with unions? Yes,

Qantas shares are holding up

OK. Investors don't seem to be

too industrial issues today. Qantas

is down slightly after being in positive territory earlier in

the day. Finally, rod, we heard

earlier that bread maker Goodman Fielder is considering abandoning daily bread

deliveries to retailers in the

face of tougher competition

from supermarkets and shares in

Goodman Fielder are sluggish

today, off almost 1%, to 53

cents. Let's have a check now

of the domestic market's other

big movers in the ASX top 100:

The market takes a break for

the thanksgiving Day holiday on Friday

Friday our time.

The robots are coming shall

and they could hold the key to

independence for people with disabilities. Sydney's

University of Technology is investing investing $4 million in what

it's calling assistive robotics. It's

robotics. It's called the

exoskeleton and could change

things for people caught by

stroke, spinal damage and motor

neurone disease We want the

person to work in collaboration with the computer. The robot customises moment to strengthen

the arm. The home is this might

reduce the physical workload of physiotherapists and improve

outcomes for patients If can give someone a device that

gives the person the capability

to feed themselves, whereas before they couldn't, that's a

major increase in quality of life. Smart phone technology may vastly improve how

wheelchair users navigate

around their homes and

communities. We want to come up

with new goods and new ideas

that we can put into practice

and in this particular case we

hope we can make a

difference. Chris Sparkes knows

just how tough everyday

activities can be

wheelchair. The former par

limban is on a panel Long

before you give Miach Ces to

education, building, training,

opportunities f I can't get out

of bed into my wheelchair and

have my pressure care cushion

and my shower chair, I can't even start the day. The

disabilities service provider

Gray Staines is also working

closely with the university and

is hopeful robots will one day

improve the lives of its

clients. Whatever we can do to

provide the opportunity people with disabilitiabilities

to have more control over their own lives the better. These

modest looking machines are

thoroughly high-tech, but their

aim is simple - making

easier. The prototypes are a

long way off production, but with the ageing population, assistive robotics could be the

way of the future. Australian

schoolchildren are spending too

much time in front of a screen

and are losing the ability to

carry out basic physical

activities like jumping and

throwing a ball a cording to a

new survey. The University of Sydney research

more than half of primary students and almost three-quarters of high school

students spend more than two

hours sitting in front of a TV

or computer. It also found that

over a quarter of children are

overweight or obese, but the

good news is that that

good news is that that number

hasn't increased since the last

survey in 2004. Dr Louise Hardie is from the University

of Sydney and conducted the

research. Thanks for coming in,

Louise Thank you. Two hours a

day of screen time during non-daylight recommended maximum level of

children. The majority of kids

are school are exceeding that.

Are you surprised? I'm not

surprised in today's world. We

are very much driven by the screens, but I think one of the

key things is that many

parents, as well as children

aren't aware that first off

that there are some health risks associated with spending

too much time in front of the

screen, and that there is

actually that guideline. It's

not well-known out there. And

it seems that as children grow up, more and more of them are

exceeding that guideline of two

hours of screen time. You found

90% of Year 10 boys and 80% of

Year 10 girls

two hours in front of a screen.

As children get older, they

stay up later? Of course, so

they do have more time and boys

are big users of this type of

technology. However, I do feel

that girls as they start to get more into the social networking

are properly going to match the

boys in the time that they're

spending on the screens,

the measure that we have taken

is excludeing educational use

of screens. So it's not for

homework? No, this is pure ri

recreational. One of the things

is that, yes, children are

spending many hours into the

early morning on their screens.

Certain strategies that parents

could use is to actually first

off remove televisions from

children's bedrooms. Our

research has shown that

about 20% of children in

kindergarten have a television

in their bedroom. So that's

5-year-olds. But implementing

some rules about screen some rules about screen time,

that would be a very prudent

measure. As for diet, the

proportion of obese and overweight children has

stabilised but just over 22%,

still a high number? Still way

too high T means that one in

five children are overweight or

obese, but it is really good

news that we actually do have that stabilisation since 2004,

which we do believe is probably

a mix of all of the local

investments that have been made by people to keep it stable,

but obviously we would like

that trajectory to start to go down. Dr Louise Hardie, thank you My you My pleasure, thank you. Spain's Conservative

Opposition party has stormed to

a landslide victory in the

country's general elections.

Mariano Rajoy of the centre

right popular party will be

Spain's next Prime Minister. Meanwhile, the Socialist Party's Jose Luis Rodriguez

Zapatero becoming the fifth

leader to fall victim to the

euro debt crisis. Rachael Brown reports. Critics say

boring. He has promised deeper

spending cuts, yet Spaniards

turned up on a rainy day to

hand Mariano Rajoy a thundering victory.

victory. The 56-year-old

Conservative has seized an

absolute majority. He has

promised to work for all

Spaniards, but says there will be no miracles country's severe economic woes

TRANSLATION: These years have

been tough for Spain and from

now I want this to take place

like it should in a country

that is great and civilised like No cuts on pensions New York

cuts on health care, no cuts on

education - we're going to cut

where it needs to be cut. Spain

has the highest unemployment

rate in the industrialised

world. One in five citizens are jobless, and their economy

threatens to sink further into

the Eurozone debt mire, so

voters wanted to punish the

Socialist Party. obvious. There are a lot more

people out of work, empty apartments due to evictions,

many businesses have closed

down and a lot of foreigners

have returned to their countries because they couldn't

find work. The ousting of Jose

Luis Rodriguez Zapatero follows

those of the Prime Minister's -

of the prime ministers in

Ireland, Portugal, Greece and

Italy. Meanwhile, the Right is

enjoying its biggest victory

since the end of the country's

dictatorship in 1975, but

Mariano Rajoy has a mammoth job

ahead. First he will have to

stabilise Spain's pep lending rates. Patrick Cummins has

taken six wickets to put

Australia in sight of victory

in the second cricket Test

against South Africa. Australia

will start the final day

tonight 168 runs from victory.

Cummins finished with 6/79 to

become the youngest Australian

cricket tore take a five-wicket

haul. The 18-year-old even had

the chance to claim a hat-trick after dismissing Morne Morkel. COMMENTATOR: stuff from Patrick Cummins.

This is sensational. He has got

five now. Absolutely

magnificent stuff from the

teenager! Australia set out

need ing 310 for victory and

Usman Khawaja steadied the

innings with a drawnout

half-century. He posted a 122-run partnership with Ricky

Ponting who was urn beaten on

534 when bad light stopped

play. In tennis, Roger Federer

has opened his campaign at the World Tour finals in London

with a win. The Swiss beat French player Jo Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 in the

And in the English Premier

League, a late goal has given

Liverpool a 2-1 win over

Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Glen Johnson struck the

in the 87th minute. To the

weather now and the satellite

shows cloud stretching through New South

New South Wales along a trough,

extensive cloud over the central interior and north

generated by a series of

troughs and a cloud with a

front over Victoria. A near-Industrial Relations

Commission ri trough over Queensland and New South Wales should continue to generate areas of

thunderstorms. A cold front

pushing into south-east

Australia should bring cool and

showery winds. A large high

should clear much of South Australia. Dry Australia. Dry winds into the

west. Around the capitals:

Let's go back to the Stock

Exchange for a final check of

the markets. Not a great start

to the week as we heard from

Simon a little earlier:

And that's the news for now

on a day when the Prime Minister provided a report card

on training and transition in

Afghanistan. She also said the Government

Government would consider a continued Special Forces

presence in Afghanistan after

2014. That's the deadline for

Australian troops to pull out.

There is continuous news on

ABC News 24 and there is also

news online. Our next full

bulletin on ABC1 is at 7 o'clock this evening. I'm Ros Childs. Thanks for joining us.

Have a great afternoon. See you

tomorrow. Closed Captions by CSI.

He looks in a bad way. Of all the beasts in the world, it had to be you, Big Eric. He's well off the beaten track. Where's he come from? Duncan! Bullets! Bullets? Bullets. YOU'VE got them. If I had, would I be asking you for them? Want me to get some? No, son. I'll wait till the beast comes to me, then put him out of his misery with a few harsh words(!) Go!