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Live. This morning - mystery

surrounds the story of an

Australian man who went missing

in Sri Lanka but has now been found safe. It's happening again, 120

asylum seekers refusing to get

off a ship in Indonesia saying they want to come to Australia.

Syrian troops fire into

Lebanon and Turkey chasing

rebels, the death toll mounts, the planned ceasefire seems unlikely. And there's no

business like snow business. An

early start to winter across theal - Alps. Good morning,

you're watching ABC News 24,

I'm Joe O'Brien. Taking a quick

look at the weather first in

the capital cities around the

nation this morning:

An Australian man believed to

have been have been abducted in Sri Lanka

has been found.. The family has been found.. The family of

42-year-old Kumar Gunaratnam

from Sydney said he was Abduked

by secret police in Colombo

over the weekend. His wife in

Sydney yesterday made an Sydney yesterday

emotional plea for his release

fearing he could be killed.

Champa Somaratna said her

husband had been because he'd gone to Sri Lanka husband had been kidnapped

to set up a new left-wing

political party. In a statement released the Department of Foreign Affairs said Mr

Gunaratnam's safety had been

confirmed but didn't say much

more than that. The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia

says Mr Gunaratnam will be

deported as soon as possible. He's rejected claims that Mr

Gunaratnam was abducted. He

says the dual Australian Sri

Lankan citizen walkeded into a

police station in Colombo

overnight. Now that DFAT

more detail about this, the statement, I will mention a bit

DFAT statement says it would be inappropriate to discuss

further detail s of the matter

at this time and we also heard

from Kumar Gunaratnam's wife yesterday, she spoke on ABC

News 24. We've approached her

this morning, she's not saying

anything at this stage. So

we'll keep across that story

through the day and see if we

can get any more detail on that. Now another asylum seeker

stand off is playing out at the

port of Merak in Indonesia. 120

Afghan and Iraqi asylum seekers

were rescued from their sinking

boat on the weekend. They were boat on the weekend. They

on their way to Australia. Indonesian correspondent Brown Indonesian correspondent Matt Brown reports. The asylum

seekers were rescued by a

hours passing tanker in the early

hours of Sunday morning. Armed

the ship in an Indonesian officials sped to


and docked Australian-supplied patrol boat

and docked at the port of Merak

in Western Java. The Afghans now on board say they're

grateful for the rescue but

they also refuse to go ashore. they also refuse to go

They say they made it into international waters when their

engine failed and while they've

been blown back into Indonesian

waters by the time they had waters by the time they had a signal, they called Australian

search and rescue for help. But

most of all they say they don't

want to wait for years in Indonesia while their refugee

claims are assessed. Indonesian officials say claims are assessed. However,

Indonesian officials say the

Afghans were rescued in the

straits between Java and

Sumatra and Merak was the

closest port. But this is now

turning into a difficult stand

off. Some of the men on board

have started a hunger strike

and while the UN refugee agency

has sent staff to the port the Indonesian Government won't Indonesian Government won't let

them see the asylum seekers

until the Afghans agree to go

ashore. And the Prime Minister

Julia Gillard says the

Government is not in a to detain a boat carrying Government is not in a position

Chinese asylum seekers picked

up in Australian waters on

their way to New Zealand. The

10 Chinese nationals were brought to Darwin on Thursday

after their boat started

running out of supplies. They say they want to seek asylum in

face mandatory detention. The New Zealand where they won't

asylum seekers have been issued with temporary visas that will

allow them to restock and

continue on their way. A spokeswoman

spokeswoman for New Zealand's acting Prime Minister Bill

English says his Government is

concerned for their safety

should they attempt

be a very hazardous voyage. But should they attempt what would

Ms Gillard says Ms Gillard says Australia has

no grounds to hold them. There's heightened tension along Syria's borders as doubts intensify about

international peace plan that's intensify about an

due to come into effect today.

Syria's neighbours are furious Syria's neighbours are

about cross-border about cross-border shootings

that have left a cameraman dead in Lebanon and others in Turkey. Foreign affairs in Lebanon and others injured

editor Peter Cave reports. A

mortally wounded Syrian refugee

on a makeshift stretcher is

carried to hospital in the

Turkish town of Kili sirkz

Kilis. He died after Syrian

forces fired across the border into this refugee camp. The

rebels had attacked a Syrian

border post killing at least security officers and customs border post killing at least 6

officials according to rebel

sources. The rebel fighters and

sought retribution. They civilians fled as Syrian forces

sought sanctuary in the camp

but pursuing Syrians fired across the frontier.

TRANSLATION: We relied on

Turkey and came here but we're

not safe here either. If we'd

known we would have stayed with

Bashar al-Assad and died in our country. It would have been


TRANSLATION: So far we have

received 5 or 6 patients. received 5 or 6 patients. They keep coming. I don't have an

exact number. One of the

Turkish officials in the camp was also wounded. On was also wounded. On Syria's

border with Lebanon a cameraman

with a local television station

opened fire on died after Syrian soldiers

car. Reporter Hussein survived. opened fire on their crew

His camera operator, Ali Shab

a,n did not.

TRANSLATION: We were all on the

Lebanese side of the border and

we greeted the soldiers on the

Syrian side but after that we heard gunfire but we went heard gunfire but we went back

but the shooting continued heavily. As heavy fighting

continues, the future of the

ceasefire remains very much in doubt with the Syrian side

demanding a written agreement

from the rebels that they will

stop fighting first, a demand the United States has the United States has rejected. At least some rebel groups are

promising to honour the

ceasefire but refusing to deal directly with the Syrian

regime. Now sticking with

Syria for a moment, the United

States Government has condemned

those cross-border attacks that

were mentioned in that story there. We strongly condemn any

attack by the Syrian regime on

refugees in bordering countries and we're absolutely outraged

by today's report. We join the Turkish Government in calling

for the Syrian regime to

immediately ceasefire and these incidents are just another indication that the Assad

regime does not seem at all

willing to meet the commitments

that it made to Kofi Annan, not

only has the violence not

abated, it has been worse in

recent days. And former diplomat Anthony diplomat Anthony Billingsley says Bashar al-Assad's regime is not feeling is not feeling the

international pressure. I think

the regime actually feels that

it's winning and this is why

it's going for broke here. I

think that there's two issues.

One is that if they stop their

attacks on rebel groups and

withdraw their troops then

there will be all sorts there will be all sorts of demonstrations and activity

which will expose the regime

which the regime can't tolerate

but also I think the regime is fairly comfortable in its position over the country. Anthony Billingsley

there and we'll be talking to a

Syrian activist within the next

hour or so. The Prime Minister has

has again defended the Government's plan to return the

budget to surplus next

financial year. The Treasurer

has already signalled some government programs will have

to be scrapped. Julia Gillard

says achieving the promised

surplus is in the country's

best interests. We want to make

sure that the Reserve Bank has

the room to move should it

choose to do so. If you go

around the country and talk to businesses it's in the interests of interests of Australian

businesses to be supporting a budget surplus because Australian businesses, many of

them doing it tough because of

the strong Australian dollar,

have said to me that have said to me that they would like to see an interest rate cut. So that's one reason cut. So that's one reason for

returning the budget to

surplus, Fran. Prime Minister

let me interrupt there just to

talk about the interest rates

but the Reserve Bank signalled last week it's looking at a rate cut anyway. rate cut anyway. There's

already scope with low

inflation, low

unemployment. Fran, the Reserve

Bank did that against a

backdrop of understanding the Government's determination to

return the budget to surplus.

So you shouldn't be trying to

give the impression to people

that somehow what the

Government does doesn't matter.

The Reserve Bank understands

what the Government's fiscal

strategy is. We've been crystal

clear about it. Our determination to return the

budget to surplus in 2012-13

and we will do so. We'll do so

because that means that fiscal

policy is in the right zone to

take the pressure off monetary policy, to give the Reserve

Bank room to move should it

determine to do so. It will

also lock in confidence for the

future. We live in uncertain

economic times globally. A

great way of sending a signal

of confidence about our economy

to the world is returning the

budget to surplus and we will.

It's an economic imperative and

that's why we're driven to do

it. The Prime Minister talking there to

there to Fran Kelly on ABC's Radio National early this

morning. For more we're joined

by political reporter Nick Dole

in Canberra. Nick, the Prime

Minister is determined to relay

to the Australian people that there

there is a strong link between

producing a surplus and trying

to get interest rates down? That's right, and it's something that we've heard from the Prime Minister more and

more over the last week. more over the last week. It's clearly a strategy she seems to

be adopting. The Government's basically working on the

assumption that if the

assumption that if the budget

cuts are severe enough, enough

heat will be taken out of the

economy and the Reserve

economy and the Reserve Bank

will act. But it seems like

she's doing this perhaps to

combat some perceptions and some arguments from economists

that achieving a budget surplus

at all costs by introducing

really tough budget cuts might do the economy some damage. Now

of course to achieve a surplus

there has to be extreme cuts

where potentially getting up to

a def deficit of $0 billion - $40 billion. Yesterday Alzheimer's Australia was

calling for $500 million to be

applied to rectify some of the

huge problems across that

system and the requests keep on

coming. In regard to that one

the Prime Minister was specifically asked whether she

would be providing support for

aged care. She said it's still

a huge priority but she's not

willing to be drawn on any

details of the budget. OK, now the HSU implotion

continues? Yes, that's right

and we saw it come to and we saw it come to a head

again yesterday. 10 out of 14

members of the HSU executive

have asked Michael Williamson,

the national president, to

resign. They say if he doesn't

resign they will try to force his resignation and they say

that's for the good of the

union. Now Michael Williamson

has been stood aside on full

pay awaiting the outcome of an

investigation into alleged

mismanagement of union funds.

But Kathy Jackson, who's the national secretary, national secretary, was left

out of that meeting. She wasn't

one of the 10 of the 14 one of the 10 of the 14 and

she's very upset by the fact

that she's been excluded. She

now is calling for the entire

executive of the union to stand

aside and for elections to aside and for elections to be

called but Chris boun Brown,

who's the acting who's the acting national president, said that argument

doesn't make much sense. Kathy Jackson's call for the whole

executive to resign is just a

smoke screen. That would lead

the union without leadership

and we wouldn't be able and we wouldn't be able to

address the issues we need to

address urgently. Michael Williamson remains in his role

suspended on full pay. It's

unclear what he's going to do.

He hasn't made his intentions clear. clear. These allegations have been hanging around for several

months and he's remained in the role so far. There's an

investigation, of course, from

Fair Work Australia that could

take up to 6 weeks inle -

until we see some results from that. But Ian Temby QC is

looking into ms management of

the unition. A union in a mess, thanks very much. Thanks,

Joe. Brisbane police have now

charged 7 teenagers charged 7 teenagers over

dramatic high speed car chases

through Brisbane and Ipswich yesterday afternoon. The

drivers evaded police for 2

hours after allegedly stealing

vehicles from a property at West Lake. The youngest of the teenager, a 13-year-old boy,

has been charged with 14

offences including 6 counts of

burglary. 4 of the teens are

due to appear in court today.

Police will use Police will use ground

penetrating radar as they

search for skeletal remains

that may be buried under a house in the western Sydney suburb of merrilands.

Detectives believe 24-year-old

sar sr sar who went missing 7

years ago was murdered. Media

reports say he may have reports say he may have been

shot after a drugs dispute.

They say the house police are

searching was once owned by a

Middle Eastern crime identity.

The snow season has arrived

early in the south-east of the country. Snow fell in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania overnight

as temperatures plummeted to

minus 5 degrees in some of minus 5 degrees in some of the higher regions. The Bureau of

Meteorology says about 5 cm of snow has fallen in the Snowy Mountains region of NSW, down

to as far as 900 metres. It was

cold further south too. The

official start of the official start of the ski season is still 9 weeks away

but the blustery weather sent

snow to Falls Creek in

Victoria. And snow in Tasmania

fell to around 600 metres.

The top stories today, an

Australian man who claims to

have been kidnapped by Sri

Lankan secret police has been

found but the Sri Lankan

Government rejects Government rejects the abduction claim. Asylum seekers

rescued in Indonesian Waters at

the weekend are refusing to get

off a tanker in West Java

unless their claims are heard

by Australian officials. by Australian officials. And

there's been further tension on

Syria's borders hours before a

UN ceasefire is due to begin. A

series of series of cross-border

shootings have left a cameraman

dead in Lebanon and others

injured in Turkey. Checking the weather around the capital


Almost a century after the

'Titanic' set off on her 'Titanic' set off on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New

York a memorial cruise is

retracing the route of the

ill-fated liner. The MS Balmoral is first sailing to

Cove in Ireland, 'Titanic's

last call of port before

sinking in the Atlantic in April 1912. This was always

going to be an unusual cruise

and so it is proving to be. As the Balmoral follows 'Titanic's

route all the way to the wreck

site. After the razzmatazz of

yesterday's departure, things

on board have calmed down with passengers swapping 'Titanic' stories and any kind of

trivia. Thank you. Kate had a

camera on board. In her top

deck cabin I met Sally O'Dell

whose rel tifs were on board

'Titanic' a century ago. That's

Jack. Her cousin was just 11

years old at the time. That's

his camera case slung over his

shoulder. He looks very proud. And the school proud. And the school cap. The

O'Dells were only on board for

the first stage of the journey.

Because they got off in Because they got off in Ireland

they, and their photographs,

survived. Like this one taken

as they left 'Titanic' in

Queenstown or Cove as it's now

known. This is my favourite of

all of them because it just

gives a great idea of that size

of that ship, doesn't of that ship, doesn't it? It

does, it looks enormous. But

look how few life boat there's

are. An Irish welcome as the memorial cruise arrived in

gale-force winds tonight. After

a brief stop in Cove, Sally

O'Dell and the other passengers will sail on to the wreck

site. Just as her family photographed 'Titanic' photographed 'Titanic' doing 100 years ago. That report

from the BBC. South Korea says it's detected suspicious

activity at the site used by North Korea to test nuclear devices. Seoul has release devices. Seoul has release add report warning that Pyongyang

could be preparing for another

nuclear test. It comes as North

Korea begins celebrations to

honour the birth of the

country's founder. Thousands of North Koreans gathered for the

unveiling of a new portrait of

the late leader Kim Jong-il. It

kicks off a week of celebrations to mark the 100th birthday of the country's founder Kim Il-sung. Among the

planned events is a rocket

launch which North Korea says

is to put a satellite into

space. South Korea says it's

really a dis - disguised ballistic missile test. TRANSLATION: It's TRANSLATION: It's a provocation that threatens the peace and

staiblingt of the Korean

peninsula and north-east Asia.

We're prepared to protect the

South Korean people. Seoul has

release add report that North

Korea is piling up dirt next to

a tunnel at the site of its

previous nuclear tests in 2006

and 2009. It warns the dirt

could be used to plug the tunnel before the tunnel before the North conducts a nuclear test.

TRANSLATION: We are closely

watching North Korea and the

activity of North Korea's

military with regards to the long-range missile launch and

preparations for a nuclear test

based on the combined

intelligence of the United States and South Korea. The US

warns the launch will further isolate North Korea. North

Korea's launch of a missile would be highly would be highly provocative, it

would pose a threat to regional security and it would be

inconsistent with its recent undertakings to refrain from

any kind of long-range missile launches. Japan has already

deployed land-based mobile

missile interceptors ready to shoot down any parts of the

rocket that veer into its air

space and has 3 anti-missile equipped destroyers on standby.


Government maintains the view

that any launch of a missile

described as a satellite launch

is in violation of UN Security

Council resolutions and we are

currently taking various preparations. North preparations. North Korea

insists the rocket launch is for scientific purposes. Let's check

check the markets now with

Elysse Morgan. We're expecting

- 20 minutes ago we were saying

we were expecting a fall, has

that happened? It certainly has. The All Ords is down

around 0.66%. The ASX 200 is matching that fall, that's down

42 points. The Dow and the S&P

500 wracked up a 4th day 500 wracked up a 4th day of

losses overnight as investors

sold off and that's because of

Friday's disappointing jobs report which raised new

concerns about the US economy's

recovery. The Dow Jones

industrial average closed industrial average closed below

its 50-day moving average for

the first time since December.

The market in London was closed

for the Easter break as was the

Aussie market yesterday and

taking a look at commodities

now and gold rose almost now and gold rose almost 1% overnight in thin holiday

trade. It broke ranks with most

other commodities and equities. That's after the poor That's after the poor US economic news revived

speculation that the Fed

Reserve may move to stimulate

the US economy. The Australian dollar has been dollar has been largely

unchange oefrd the holiday.

Right now it's buying 103 US cents. First to Australian

company news and the Australian

competition wavep bog's approved fox star's take over

of Austar but the competition

an consumer Commission has imposed conditions on imposed conditions on Foxtel's

$2 billion takeover. It means

Foxtel can't buy Internet pay

TV rights for some television

shows and movies for 8 years

because of possible impact on

competition. Foxtel's expected

to take control of Austar in

late May and Austar will be

delisted later this Looking at the US now and as

we heard, overnight losses were

on US markets were the first

opportunity for investors to react to the worse than

expected jobs data. The American Labour Department American Labour Department said

employers added fewer jobs than

expected in March casting doubt

on the pace of the labour

market recovery and reigniting concerns about global

conditions. The last couple conditions. The last couple of

days the reason the market has

kind of moved lower is there's

more concern once again over a slowing global economy slowing global economy starting

out of Asia moving into Europe

and then once again you've got

the whole Spanish, Italian,

Portugal bond issue that raised some concern some concern last week and

certainly on Friday we had the

non-farm payrolls number which

was not nearly as strong as everyone had suggested which

once again indicates kind of a

slow down here in the US so its brought our market right back

down to support. The Labour Department report showed just

120,000 jobs were added last

month, far less than market expectations of over 200,000.

It was the smallest increase

since October. Facebook spent

$1 billion buying a photo

sharing application that's yet

to make a profit. Instagram

allows users to share and alter

photos taken with their mobile

phones on Instagram's own site,

Facebook, Twitter or via text.

More than 30 million people have downloaded the application. Facebook founder

Mark Zuckerberg says it's the

first time and possibly the

last time that Facebook's

bought a company with so many users. Electronic company users. Electronic company Sony

intends cutting about 10,000 jobs worldwide over the next

year as it tries to return to

profit. Japanese news reports

say Sony's decision to slash 6%

of its work force comes as it

struggles with weak TV sales

and swelling losses. Sony hasn't confirmed the reports

but its new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, is holding a press conference

on Thursday. And that's all in business.

Thank you, Elysse. Now here is Paul Kennedy with the is Paul Kennedy with the major sports stories of the sports stories of the day

including the latest on

Australia's cricket Test

against the Windies and it's

not looking brilliant for not looking brilliant for the

Aussies. They hung on to be

5/248. Still in a precarious

position there because if position there because if they lose key wickets on day 4 they

will be scrambling to make this one a draw. They lost their

openers, Darren Sammy took both

wickets there, Warner and Cowan

and then Ricky Ponting was left

shaking his head all the way

back to the change rooms after

a mix up with Shane Watson. Michael Clarke came out and showed some resilience for the

Australians with a Australians with a couple of

big shots. He was given out

here but then recalled after here but then recalled after a video review. Shane Watson lost

his wicket, he was 39 when that happened. And then Australia

was down to 5/215 when Michael

Clarke lost his wicket. Matthew

Wade, the debutante came out,

steadied the ship with Michael

Hussey and now the Aussies are

200 runs behind but they will

need to bat well on day 4.

Manly has beaten Penrith 30-0

and Daly Cherry-Evans was and Daly Cherry-Evans was the

star of the match. He had hands

in 4 of the 5 tries and shone.

So Manly was able to get that

belated victory after a couple

of losses. Let's take a look at the highlights.

Been on the road for a while

so it was good to come home and

play in front of our home play in front of our home crowd

at Brookvale and thanks to at Brookvale and thanks to all

the members and fans who turned

out to support us and a big

congratulations to the boys who

got the job done tonight. Jason

King there and the Brookvale

crowd was pleased last night.

The Canterbury TacTix crowd was pleased last night with a win

over the NSW Swifts. 54-51 was

the score. This was in

Christchurch and Susan Pratley

there shooting for the Swifts.

They've got a new coach,

Mo'onia Gerrard came back from

injury but was unable to get

her team the win and the 54-51,

that was the final few seconds

before a great celebration.

It's only early in the season

but those wins are gold for the

TacTix. Let's go to English Premier League and there was

lots of worries around who's

going to get that top 4 spot to

progress through to the

Champions League next year and

Chelsea is one of the teams vying

vying for that top 4 spot but

it lost an opportunity and went 1-1 with Fulham. That was 1-1 with Fulham. That was just

a couple of hours ago. And in

the other match it was

Tottenham losing 2-1 to Norwich. Another opportunity lost. Newcastle was probably

the big winner beating Bolton

2-0 to advance its chances to

finishing in the top 4. Let's

look at the goals in the

Norwich match.

It was a sweet strike. Thank

you, Paul Kennedy. Vanessa

O'Hanlon is with us now to take

a look at the look at the weather. It feels like winter

has set in over the south-east

of the country? It certainly

has. It's the coldest weather

we've had since around October

last year. Minus 5 still at

Mount Hotham in Victoria and

there's also been a fair bit of

rain, nearly 10 mm in Melbourne

which has probably copped the

hardest of this weather or the harshest of this weather. There's been around 40 cm of

snow at Mount Baw Baw. If we

take a look at some vision we

can see how Falls Creek was looking yesterday. I feel like

I'm standing right in the

middle of winter right now. It

is very, very cold. Makes me

want a hot chocolate, how about you, Joe? I don't know if we're

going to see the shot of the

woman looking out over the

balcony, just in wonderment and

loving what she's seeing. It is

quite incredible, Joe. We can expect this weather to expect this weather to continue

creeping up along the NSW

coast. Of course it's been very

cold in Sydney and there's been

5 cm of snow within the Snowy Mountains region as well

overnight. I can tell overnight. I can tell you in

Sydney this morning I should have worn my gloves riding have worn my gloves riding in

my on my bike, my fingers nearly froze off. It's a different story on the other

side of the country? We have

this high pressure system

moving through the Bight. It's

quite powerful and pushing that

powerful frontal system away

from Victoria and NSW and over towards New Zealand so they

will cop the cold weather. What

it's also doing is directing

very hot, gusty winds over into

Western Australia and in a

complete contrast, 34 degrees

today in Perth. Just today in Perth. Just seems

unfair, doesn't it? It does.

And those troughs And those troughs producing much rain over the north of

Australia right now? What we

are seeing, this one breaking

up, that's moved over towards

there. This is the one that

caused storms in Sydney on

Sunday night. We saw some very severe weather moving through

north-eastern NSW and up to Longreach in Queensland yesterday afternoon. There yesterday afternoon. There was

about 16 mm for some areas in north-eastern NSW from that

system but with it breaking up

over the next few days we will

see some rain around the

tropical parts of Queensland

and also over the Northern

Territory. Perhaps 50 mm during

the week over the tropics in Queensland. Still pretty warm in Queensland right now? Well it actually has cooled down,

particularly in the southern

and central parts. We're

looking at 27 degrees today in