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Raids across Asia to bust

Raids across Asia to bust a

people smuggling racket to Australia. These are individuals, Australians, that

have been very involved in

organising people to make their

way to Indonesia or to Malaysia

or to Thailand to get to

Australia. Panic at 30,000 feet

when a US pilot goes berserk. Started banging on the door, kicking on the door, kicking on the door,

trying to get inside the

cockpit. Before that he

actually started yelling, "It's

going to blow up!" Will it stick? Syria's President

accepts a UN-backed plan to end

deals on the net - a lifeline the fighting. And cheap voucher

for business or a gamble that

doesn't pay off. I believe it

costs us a lot of money. We

will never do it again. Hello

and welcome to ABC News across

Australia. I'm Ros Childs. On

the local share market, banks

and miners are helping to give

stocks a lift:

More finance later in the bulletin. Australia's extreme north-west frontier is being

eyed as a future launch base

for United States spy planes.

The Pentagon is interested in

the tiny Cocos Islands to host

drones and other US air force assets. The Federal

assets. The Federal Government

says it is an option, but not

one for the immediate one for the immediate future. Political reporter Narda

Gilmore joins me now from

Canberra. Narda, these reports

have come out of Washington.

What more is the Government

saying about them? Well, the

Government is certainly not

to ruling it out but it's trying

to make it clear that it's not

something it expects to happen

on the Cocos Islands any time soon. This is all in the

to Australia last year when he context of Barack Obama's visit

struck that agreement with Julia Gillard to forge greater

military ties between the two

countries. Now, Stephen Smith

has been at pains to point out today that that agreement

focused on three main

priorities. Those were firstly

rotating US marines through Darwin. Secondly, increasing

military traffic in northern

Australia, and thirdly giving

American access to the HMAS

sterling base in Perth. Now,

Stephen Smith says those are the priorities, they are what's being discussed at the being discussed at the moment,

but having said that, the Cocos

Islands would be a very important strategic position

for the US and in the US and

out of Washington we're hearing

that it's being flagged as possible expansion point or that it's being flagged as a

even in a replacement for its

Diego garsia air base. Stephen Smith has acknowledged that Smith has acknowledged that he

flagged the use of the Cocos

Islands last year, but he says Islands last year, but he

since then there have been no more developments.

discussions with my There have been no

counterparts whether that's Bob

Gates or Leon Panetta about any

of the detail of that. It is a

long-term pros Perth and should

be treated as such. But even as

a distant option, would an a distant option, would

arrangement like this upset Australia's neighbours in the

region? Well, that's something region? Well, that's

Stephen Smith rejects. He says

Australia has been completely transparent with our transparent with our neighbours

on its dealings with the US

when it comes to military

briefings with our neighbours cooperation, and even has given

in the region to keep them up

to date on the progress. Having

said that, those briefings

don't include any mention of the Cocos Islands or plans that

may be afoot there. What the US

is looking at doing, or what we're understanding is the plan

is that they will use this as

abair base to launch manned surveillance aircraft, as well

as unmanned drones which is

something the US is leaning

more towards these days .

Stephen Smith says for that to even happen on the Cocos

Islands, there would need to be

a lot of work done there. He admits that the cost of that work which would be expensive, has work which would be very expensive, has been discussed

but he says at this stage there

what are no plans for that. Here's

what he had to say.

The first thing you need to

do is substantially upgrade infrastructure of the airport.

Now, my memory of the costing

of that was somewhere between

$75-100 million, but no-one is

proposing or suggesting that should occur in the first proposing or suggesting that

instance or in the near future. Defence Min Smith future. Defence Min Stephen Smith there. Police believe

they've cracked a racket

smuggling people into Australia ayia Asia. Six people have been arrested

arrested during raids in Sydney, Melbourne and Sydney, Melbourne and Thailand

that turned up allegedly that turned up allegedly force

forged passports. South East

Daniel has the details. The Asia correspondent stow we

Australian Federal Police have

been investigating this people smug ling ring for 8 been investigating this alleged

months and have now months and have now executed raids in conjunction with international authorities in

Sydney, Melbourne, Indonesia,

Malaysia and Thailand. The

raids in Miss. Malaysia and

Indonesia didn't yield any

arrests, but police in Sydney

and Melbourne arrested four people. They allege people. They allege that those

the facilitation and planning people have been involved in

of travel for numerous people to travel to Australia. Hopefully it will Hopefully it will make sure

that a few people who are

involved in this enterprise or thinking about getting involved

in this sort of work in

Australia stop it before they even begin. Thai police say

they've arrested two people

after they conducted a raid on

a house in Bangkok. They say

that when they raided the house, they found a number of

passports and they allege that

those passports had had been

altered. They also allege that

they found equipment in the

house that could be used to

people make false documents. Those

people have been people have been charged. Thai

police allege what's been

happening is that these sorts

of passports are being made of passports are being made in Bangkok for people of Middle Eastern original who are

already waiting in Malaysia and

Indonesia and who need travel documents to travel to Australia. They believe that

numerous people may have

already used these false

passports, and they passports, and they believe they've they have received them

by cure yeah, course

by cure yeah, course remember

or simply by normal post. The

new Queensland Government will totally dominate the Parliament

with an expected 77 members out

of 89 seats. Premier Campbell

Newman is warning his team not

to get carried away with the

big win. Well f the minister

has done something, done

something wrong, made a dud decision, misled the community, hasn't exercised their duties with diligence, absolutely. A

much smaller meeting of much smaller meeting of the

Labor Caucus is also being held today.

today. The 8 MPs will elect the

former Transport Minister

Annastacia Palaszczuk as

Opposition Leader. The Newman

ministry will be announced on

Friday. It was a nightmare at

30,000 feet. The pilot of a US domestic flights starts

screaming, "There's a bomb on board!" and it was board!" and it was only his

quick-thinking co-pilot and the

actions of passengers that got

the plane safely it a nearby

airport. North America

correspondent Jane Cowan

reports. An unsettling sight on

board any plane, especially in

the United States.

In midair, travellers tackle not an unruly passenger, not an unruly passenger, but

the plane's captain, the plane's captain, reportedly

raving about al-Qaeda and a bomb. Started banging on the

door, kicking on the door,

trying to get inside the

cockpit. Before that he

actually started yelling, "It's going to blow up!" A going to blow up!" A former corrections officer corrections officer from New

York now a hero He started to

curse at me and told me, "You

better pray. Iraq and Iran," I

said, "You know what, I'm said, "You know what, I'm going

to show you what Iraq and Iran

is," and I took him on a choke

hold. I wasn't letting go of

this guy until we landed the plane. The co-pilot tricked plane. The co-pilot tricked the captain before he locked him out The one that should have

all the credit was the co-pilot that was

that was there. He changed the

code on the door. He didn't code on the door. He didn't let him back in. On the ground, an

ambulance and police were

waiting, but a statement from

JetBlue portrayed none of JetBlue portrayed none of the drama, only saying the plane diverted for a medical

emergency. bsh There been a

sceptical response to sceptical response to Syria's acceptance of a UN acceptance of a UN proposal to

stop the bloodshed there. The

plan involves a keys fire and guaranteed access of aid for

those in need. The United

States has expressed doubt

about whether Damascus will deliver after past

failures. The question is whether President Assad on

Syrian TV in the ruins of Homs

is playing for time or is playing for time or whether

he is serious about finding a

way out of the violence. That would mean concessions to the

armed opposition his men drove out of these streets, opponents the President condemned as terrorists, dreketeded by

foreign conspirators. Up to now

the Assad regime has shown more enthusiasm for victory than for

negotiation. He congratulated

the soldiers. "Some of the

residents are coming back, and

it's thank thanks to you and

your Sam fiess," he says. The soldier responds, "Mr

President, we're here to defend

the country to the last drop of

our blood." Kofi Annan, peace

envoy for the UN and the Arab

League was in Beijing. He now

has the support of China as well as Russia, Syria's two

diplomatic protesters for his

peace plan We will need to see

how we move ahead and implement this agreement that they have accepted. In London, the

Foreign Secretary was with his

Bosnian counterpart. Avoiding a repeat of the bloodshed 20

years ago in the Balkans years ago in the Balkans is concentrating minds at concentrating minds at the

Foreign Office. This is a

regime that has been involved

in the murdering of many

thousands of people, the

torture and abuse of many

others, and so we have to see its actions in that light, but

of course we want them to

respond, genuinely,

positively. For a while, the fighting in Syria spilled over

into Lebanon, a warning of

into Lebanon, a warning of the nightmare that could follow if the peace plan doesn't work,

which is a real possibility.

Sydney may have turned its

back on it, but Hobart wants to

offer Sydney's monorail a new

home. The city's Deputy Lord

Mayor Ron Christie says it

would be an ideal travel option

for both commuters and for

tourists Well, as they say, one

city's trash is another city's

treasure, so if Premier Barry

is going to dismantle the

monorail, all I'm saying,

"Barry, why don't you bequeet

it or why don't you make it it or why don't you make it a post-bicentennial gift from the people of Sydney to the people

of Hobart." This is how of Hobart." This is how we

imagine the monorail could look

around the Marketses, but

what's your idea of how it could look in Hobart? Our only transport around Hobart at transport around Hobart at the

moment is buses. We do need

another connection. We need

then connect it to Salamanca

and back around through the

city to the university and also

to our newly or soon to to our newly or soon to be

renovated hospital and renovated hospital and making

that loop, so it will serve a

great purpose. I'm sure great purpose. I'm sure you

know why Sydney decided that

enough was enough with the

monorail. People didn't like

it, it was intrusive, it went

past people's windows, and past people's windows, and was noisy, and it was certainly quicker and cheaper to get quicker and cheaper to get a different form of transport.

Would that be any different in

Hobart? No, it did look ugly in Sydney. I like the idea that it

is environmentally friendly,

runs on election tribling, is very quiet when you're inside

it. I'm not looking at 5.5m in

the air. We're looking at our engineers are looking at possibly lowering it, bringing

the height of it down and

putting it in the appropriate

areas. I'm more concerned about

those carriages. I think they

could be very useful to us. So

it costs the New South Wales

Government nearly $20 million

to put the monorail in place.

What are you going to What are you going to bid for

it? Nothing. I want them to

give it to us. I mean, they're

going to dismantle it. What are they going to do with it. We

can use it, Barry. Please, as I

said, give it to us as a post-bicentennial gift. Good

luck with that We'll use it. Don't waste it. Ron Christie,

thank you Thank you very much. Online vouchers, they are the

latest promotional gimmick for

many businesses. Australians

buy a million vouchers buy a million vouchers from group buying and daily deal sites every month, but

sites every month, but figures out today show complaints about

cheap Internet deals have

soared and they're not just

from customers, but from

companies who say they're companies who say they're not happy with the way their vouchers were marketed. Tony

jumped online to boost his

bottom line, but the result was just the opposite. What he

thought was a three-month deal

ran for a year, costing ran for a year, costing his business around business around $20,000. I

think it was my mistake too, as

well. I could have gone through

the contract. It cost us a the contract. It cost us a lot

of money. Put it this way, of money. Put it this way, will

never do it again. In the year

to January, there were nearly

4,000 complaint as cross the

country about group buying country about group buying and daily deals websites. Firstly

not receiving the goods, in

some instance s long delay s, in other cases people not being

able to redeem the vouchers once they've been received and

not being able to got a refund. Some small businesses are

are ill equipped to handle demand from online bargain

hunters Group buying works for some

some businesses but not for

others. Not a one size fits

all. But for some, business is

booming frlt We truly have been

growing by 100% a year every

year for the last 5 years.

Revenues last financial year

were $120 million and were $120 million and looks like it will double like it will double this year. And it's not just

big-ticket items grabbing

attention. A $2 deal from attention. A $2 deal from a fast food chain sold out We

sold 675,000 vouchers. It was

the second biggest ever daily

deal sale around the world. Websites like these are exploding and cost-conscious consumers

consumers are tipped to spend

$650 million this year

alone People can't afford to

ignore it. It will be ignore it. It will be there and the great thing is the winner

at the end of the day is the

consumer. Some shops are

putting on extra staff and a

separate phone to deal with the

deluge, because when it comes to boosting business, you

should be careful what you wish

for. A huge cloud of highly

flammable gas has formed flammable gas has formed around

an offshore oil platform off

Scotland. The oil company Total

says it could take up to six

months to stop the gas leak on its rig in the North Sea. Europe correspondent Philip Williams reports. For the third

day, the Elgin platform stood

abandoned, powered down to

reduce the risk of an explosion. No-one is sure how

to stop the leak and it could be months before it's

stopped. I would say the relief

well is a minimum of six

months, but we're freeing up rigs that we have working rigs that we have working for

us in other areas so they can

be made available if that is the option that's progressed. Oil workers from a

nearby rig run by Shell are

also being taken to the

mainland as a precaution. There

is an exclusion zone affecting

ships and planes after reports

of a gas cloud forming around the

the rig which is more than

200km off the coastal city of

Aberdeen. In small quantities,

it smells horrible. In large

quantities it is very toxic,

very poisonous. Harmful to humans, also harmful to the environment. And the risk is not just above water. not just above water. Escaping gas could also be damaging the

marine environment. Memories

are still strong of the Pipe

per alpha disaster when 167 workers were killed back in 1988. At least this time everyone is clear of the

area. We've got everybody off,

everybody is home, everybody is

safe, but if this gays was to

find an ignition source, you

could see Pipe per alpha. It is still too dangerous to approach

the rig. A remote submarine

will be used to help find and plug the leak, but no-one knows

when it will be safe to return

to business as usual. Already

there has been a tangible

financial effect. The stock

price for Total has gone down,

the price of wholesale gas in Britain has gone up, and there

is great uncertainty how this will resolve itself. Commuter

giant Apple is Rover offering

to refund purchases of its new

iPad if people believe they've

been misled about its

combatability with Telstra's 4G

network. The ACCC has launched

action against Apple in the

Federal Court. ACCC said it promoted its iPad being

compatible with the 4G network.

Apple's lawyers told the court

it was never claimed the iPad

could connect, but they argued

it was compatible with it was compatible with other

international networks that by other standards other standards are compatible

with 4G. A check of the markets with Juliette Saly A pretty

flat start to the trading day.

We awe US share markets ease

overnight. We are heading towards the end of the quarer and the month, so and the month, so investors

squaring their positions there,

but following the Reserve

Bank's financial stability review which has given our

financial system a very healthy

check, we are seeing good gains

coming through on the market.

All Ords up by half a percent

at the moment. What are

resources up to? Resources are looking better. Rio Tinto started

started the day flat, but up

another half of 1% at the

moment. A lot of analysts do

appear to like the fact that

Rio is considering selling its

diamond mine. Energy sector is weaker. Total weaker. Total falls

overnight. Juliette, there are

calls of police investigation

after claims of pay TV piracy

by News Corp. Has that by News Corp. Has that affected the share price Yes, there is a

share buyback under way in News

Corp shares in the UA and News

Corp shares are doing really well here,. Austar well here,. Austar low

today? Yes, and Austar has just

come out with a statement to

the market saying it will still

go ahead with the

go ahead with the shareholder

meeting on Friday to vote on

FOXTEL's plan $2 billion takeover of the regional takeover of the regional pay TV

despite the fact the ACCC has delayed its decision on the

deal to a second court hearing. Austar shares down to $1.46 at

the moment. Thank you,

Juliette Thanks, Ros. To that slide

slide on Wall Street on

profit-taking, down, too, on a

drop in consumer confidence:

There are 121 days to go

before the 2012 Olympic Games

kick off in London, and today

the Australian team uniforms

went on show. The went on show. The sports

outfits are claimed to be the

lightest and fastest ever worn

by Australians. Nick Green is

the Australian Olympic team

chef de mission and he joins me

now. Nick Green was it about

this uniform that will make our athletes world-beaters? Ros, it

is a pleasure to be with you.

The uniforms launched today by

adidas are world-class. We are

performance-driven team and we

expect our athletes to be

wearing the best resources and best equipment that they can

and uniform being one of them.

Sod was a great launch. We hope

to have a team of over 400

athletes that will represent

this team in London in 121 days

time. It's important for the

athletes to look at the

uniform, wear them, feel them,

touch them and so they touch them and so they can start preparing with the

knowledge of what they will be

wearing when they race for us

in London. As you say, in London. As you say, adidas

came up with the came up with the technology

that goes into the fabric of

the cloth. Adidas is also behind Britain's uniforms for

these Olympics. So will we really have an advantage over

arguably our biggest rival? Of

course, Great Britain will be a

rival in the host countries, as

are so many other wonderful

Olympic teams when they get to London. Host Olympics always

bring out the best in the bring out the best in the host

country and they are a very

competitive nation. Our ub form

is great, our athletes are

great. The uniform we wear will

help come plement the athletes

on how they have been

preparing, the uniform on competition, and also the

uniform they wear in the village, the casual wear s village, the casual wear s all

part of the parcel of how the

athletes look and feel which is

vitally important when they get

to the Games and to the Games and start competing. Your long-stated aim is that

is that we should have a top-5 finish in the these finish in the these Games. There has been a lack of There has been a lack of big investment in the sport compared to other countries,

specifically Great Britain and

Germany. 121 days to go. How

confident are you that we will

reach that target Top 5, we

want to be in the gold medal

position. Also top 5 in the

overall medals N 2011, we were 4th on the overall gold medal

tally, but we lagged a little

bit in the overall medals. With

35 medals we were about 8th .

The difference between 5th and

8th is a couple of medals, and

the investment we've got at the moment is used to supporting

those athletes who are performing very well, but also supporting those supporting those athletes who

are on the cusp of getting onto

the medal die as and we've been targeting

targeting that money very well with the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian

Institute of Sport and we know

that that money is well

invested with our athletes, so

by the time we get to London,

121 days to go, when the Games

start, we know exactly how the athletes have been prepared and

we're confident that they will

meet the target and

expectations that we set for our team. Nick Green, thank

you Thank you, Ros. The Federal and Victorian governments and Victorian governments have

come up with $100 million to

keep the Australian synchrotron running for another 4 running for another 4 years,

the it uses intense light

beams. The facility was beams. The facility was built in Melbourne after lobbying by the previous State

Government and until now its

future hasn't been guaranteed

beyond this year. We've been

aware for a long time that productive discussions are

ongoing and we're pleased to

see they've come to fruition.

We're always concerned because

you never know until you sign

on the dotted line, but we were

always confident depth that the

quality of the work quality of the work was here. The Victorian Government

will contribute $26

million. The biggest political

achievement of the Obama

presidency appears in danger of

being overturned by America's

highest court. On a second day

of oral argument over the

controversial health care plan

which extends health insurance

to millions, the nine Supreme

Court justice as peer just Court justice as peer just as

divided as the rest of America

over whether the

is going too far. North America

correspondent Craig McMurtrie

reports. A cold spring morning,

a second day of oral argument.

CHANTING: We love Obama care! The issue that's divided America

America for years has now split

the nine justices of the US

Supreme Court. Stop Obama

care!. In an an ominous sign of

the President's overhaul of America's health system, Conservatives on the bench immediately appeared sceptical

on the central question: Does the US Government have the

power to require Americans to purchase health insurance or

face a penalty? What is left ?

If the government can do this,

what else can it not do? The US

Solicitor-General appeared nervous as he was peppered by questions, conservative

justices asking why Americans

could not also be compelled to

eat Brock lie, exercise or buy burial insure rans Everybody

will be br ried or cremated at one point. The Chief Justice

wanted to know why couldn't the

Government also require you to

buy mobile phones? Could the Government require you to buy

cell phones because that would

would be needed to facilitate

services. Based on their

questions, it's hard to see a single swing vote from one of

the Conservatives which is

needed for the controversial law to be upheld. While a final ruling is still months away...

the arguments continue, but

those campaigning to overturn

Barack Obama's health care

system are now much more

confident. Australian doctors

say there has been a massive

jump in a virulent new

infection which is difficult to

treat. Microbiologists say the

number of people affected by C

difficult Kyle infections has.

Difficult, C.difficile

infection. An antibiotic resistant strain of Clostridium

difficile has only been in

Australia for a few years, Australia for a few years, but

the number of infected patients

is growing rapidly. What I

think is concerning is that the

rates in Australia have rates in Australia have doubled in the last probably 12 months. C.difficile is

becoming more and more important as an infected agent

that causes people to be very

ill in hospitals, in intensive care with care with severe diarrhoea, dehydration and dehydration and its complications and the

complications and the numbers are increasing. Others are

reporting more severe cases of

the ill nts My concern is that

this very nasty strain will get

established in the Australian hospital system. If it gets

established t will kill a lot of people very quickly. C.difficile quickly. C.difficile is

resistant to antibiotics. It's

often found in elderly patients

who have used antibiotics. who have used antibiotics. It increases the intensity of increases the intensity of gut symptoms. The standard current

medications don't work as well

and the patients become ill

much more rapidly. The bug

isn't killed by normal

cleaners, so cleaning must be

done with bleach and detergent. The area that

concerns me most is that

whereas this has always been a hospital problem, we're now

starting to see cases coming in

from the community. Doctors are

calling for better national surveillance to monitor the

spread of the infection. To the

weather now, and the satellite image shows cloud over eastern Victoria and south-east New

South Wales along a trough,

patchy low cloud elsewhere

along the east coast with moist

onshore winds and cloud over

the tropics in a region of low

pressure. A weak trough over

New South Wales should cause

showers and isolated storms.

Showers will continue along the

Queensland coastline and a cold

front should approach the

south-west later in the day,

bringing an increase in wind

with a few showers. Around with a few showers. Around the

capitals: Let's go back to the Stock

Exchange for a final check of the markets:

And that's the news for now

on a day when there was talk

about the Cocos Islands being

used as a future American base,

and quick-thinking action got

an American passenger plane

safely back on the ground after

the pilot went berserk and had

to be restrained. There is

continuous news on ABC News 24

and also news online. Our next

full bulletin is at 7 o'clock

this evening. I'm Ros Childs.

Thanks for joining us. Have a

great afternoon. See you

tomorrow.

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