Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts.These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
RN World Today -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Chinese terror claims questioned

Chinese terror claims questioned

The World Today - Friday, 11 April , 2008 12:12:00

Reporter: Emily Bourke

ASHLEY HALL: There are concerns about the veracity of claims by China that members of the country's
Islamic minority population have been planning terrorist activities for the lead-up to and during
the Beijing Olympics.

Police in China say they've foiled a terrorist plot to kidnap foreigners and bomb buildings, and
they say members of the minority ethnic Uyghurs of East Turkistan are behind the plot.

But long time observers of China, and members of the Uyghur Congress say the claims are designed to
distract world attention away from the issue of Tibet.

Emily Bourke reports.

EMILY BOURKE: Chinese authorities say the terrorist plot involved two groups who planned to bomb
hotels, government buildings and military bases in Beijing and Shanghai, in the lead-up to and
during the Olympics in August.

Police say they've arrested 45 Muslim separatists and seized weapons including explosives and
bomb-making equipment, as well as documents on how to start a "holy war".

A spokesman for the Ministry of Public Security, Wu Heping, announced details of the arrests at a
media briefing in Beijing.

WU HEPING (translated): It has been clarified that from November 2007, this organisation has
secretly planned to kidnap foreign journalists, tourists and athletes during the Olympic Games,
with the objective of getting international attention and thus despoil the Beijing Olympic Games.

EMILY BOURKE: But long time observers of China have serious doubts about the claims made by
Beijing.

Dr Paul Monk from the Austhink Consulting told Lateline it's hard to verify such claims.

PAUL MONK: The difficulty you've got when a regime conducts repressive policies and propaganda, and
refuses to allow open inquiries into almost anything, is that you can't altogether take seriously
whatever it claims.

And certainly most of us would have to be sceptical of claims by the Chinese Government because
we're so accustomed to it engaging in egregious spin.

EMILY BOURKE: One of the groups Beijing has pointed the finger at, is the Muslim Uygur group, a
Turkish-speaking ethnic group based in East Turkistan.

Professor Geremie Barme from the School of Pacific and Asian Studies at ANU (Australian National
University) doubts the group in question could be behind such a plot.

GEREMIE BARME: You might indeed have a major terrorist issue involving people in Xinjiang, I don't
know.

I know that I don't know if I believe anything myself, and they have named one of the terrorist
organisations they've named is this sort of tin pot group that's known for not ever being able to
organise anything, and that they're now a part of this massive plot against the Olympics, is to...
I've already heard from journalist friends in Beijing, they regard it as being some what risible.

EMILY BOURKE: Kuranda Seyit from the Australian branch of the World Uyghur Congress says the
allegations by Beijing aren't new.

KURANDA SEYIT: Well, it's false allegations based on an organisation which virtually, well, really
doesn't exist. And what they've done is they used it as a pretext to, you know, justify their harsh
treatment of the Uyghur people, particularly putting them in prison, stopping them from having any
type of meetings.

EMILY BOURKE: Are the Uyghur people involved in any kind of militant activity?

KURANDA SEYIT: No, well this is the thing - the Uyghur people have for ... and the World Uyghur
Congress has reiterated this on many occasions, that this is a peaceful struggle for
self-determination. The people are very easygoing, nominal Muslims.

They don't take their religion too seriously, there aren't any movements in the area, so it's just
a little bit surprising that you would ... you can actually talk about radical Muslims in the area
because they don't, quite frankly, exist.

EMILY BOURKE: So why do you think attention has been drawn to them now?

KURANDA SEYIT: We've already had information that China will be clamping down. For example, this
year ... well, last year they passed a law that all Uyghur citizens would have their passports
revoked and would have their passports confiscated, so they were actually ordered to hand in their
passports.

And no Uyghur people are allowed to travel anywhere outside of their region that they live in or
overseas. The other thing is that they have made many allegations that there are Islamic
fundamentalists everywhere and that there is an impending attack, but this is just basically, I
call it a red herring to divert attention from other issues, particularly the Tibetan problem.

I'm pretty sure that the Chinese authorities were not expecting the type of activity that has
occurred in Tibet, and now the whole world is looking at China and I think that that has really
prompted them to make more efforts to divert attentions towards the Muslim Uyghur people, which are
much more easy and vulnerable to attack because of their Islamic identity.

It makes it much more palatable to the Western media. This is an obvious ploy to further their
intentions to crack down on the Uyghur people.

ASHLEY HALL: Kuranda Seyit from the Australian branch of the World Uyghur Congress, speaking with
Emily Bourke.

Minister wants reassurances on athletes' safety in China

Minister wants reassurances on athletes' safety in China

The World Today - Friday, 11 April , 2008 12:13:00

Reporter: Ashley Hall

ASHLEY HALL: The Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the Federal Government is taking
seriously reports that Chinese police have foiled a plot by terrorists to kidnap athletes, tourists
and journalists at the Beijing Olympics.

And the Federal Minister for Sports Kate Ellis says she'l be asking for reassurances from Chinese
authorities about security arrangements for the Australian team. In her other capacity, Kate Ellis
is the Minister for Youth, and this weekend she'll be hosting a youth forum in the lead up to the
2020 Summit next week.

Kate Ellis, you'll be the most senior Government member to greet the Olympic torch when it arrives
in Canberra on the 24th of April. Opposition leader, Brendan Nelson, thinks the IOC (International
Olympic Committee) will have cancelled the relay by then, do you agree with him?

KATE ELLIS: Oh look, obviously, it's a decision for the IOC and we'll be kept briefed on where that
is.

At the moment, the torch is due here in a couple of weeks, and my focus is really on trying to make
sure that we are shining the spotlight on our athletes, and on their preparations for the Olympics,
and putting some of the attention back onto the positives of the Olympic Games, and role models it
can create for the rest of our community.

ASHLEY HALL: But you can't avoid the pictures that we've seen of the torch relay in other cities.
Already it's being reported that the relay won't go past the Chinese embassy, and there are reports
the Chinese ambassador may not be running because of safety fears. We can't escape these issues,
can we?

KATE ELLIS: Well, I'm not suggesting that we should try and avoid the fact there has been a large
amount of controversy around the torch relay. My point is that whether or not the relay makes it to
Australia is an issue for the IOC, and we'll be acting under the advice that it is, until we hear
otherwise.

ASHLEY HALL: It was supposed to be a massive public relations bonanza, both for China and the
Olympics, but it's so far been far from that. Was it a mistake to plan such an ambitious event?

KATE ELLIS: Well, I think that the torch relay has become an important part of the Olympic
movement. We've also seen that wherever the Olympics has been held throughout the world that there
has been a significant spotlight on that country, and not just on the way that they put on the
Games, but on their history, on a whole lot of activities taking place within that country, and
that's one of the positives that we've been arguing of the Olympic Games being able to provide the
opportunity to have a microscopic look at what's going on in that particular region, in this case,
China.

ASHLEY HALL: Away from the relay then for a moment. Chinese authorities say that they've foiled a
Muslim separatist terrorist plot to kidnap athletes, tourists, journalists, at the Beijing
Olympics. How concerned are you about this?

KATE ELLIS: Well obviously we've seen those media reports, and the Australian authorities, as well
as the AOC (Australian Olympic Committee), are in close contact with the Chinese authorities to
make sure that adequate security arrangements are in place for our athletes.

ASHLEY HALL: The swimmer Libby Trickett describes it as a "competitor's worst nightmare", and the
Acting PM, Julia Gillard, says she is concerned about the security of athletes.

Will you be boosting the security for Australian athletes?

KATE ELLIS: The Chinese authorities have primary responsibility for the security arrangements at
the Games themselves, but we'll certainly be making sure that Australian authorities are working
very closely with them, to make sure that our athlete security is maintained at all times.

ASHLEY HALL: A number of China watchers and terrorism experts have raised concerns about these
claims of terrorist plots, they say they could well be spin doctoring, if you like, to distract
from the troubles around the torch relay or to justify a crackdown on protesters in various parts
of China.

How seriously are you taking these reports?

KATE ELLIS: Obviously, the Australian authorities take seriously these reports and are working very
closely with Chinese authorities to make sure security arrangements are in place.

ASHLEY HALL: But you believe that the reports of these plots are accurate?

KATE ELLIS: Well I know that our authorities are taking seriously the conversations that need to be
had with the authorities back in China, making sure that we have the best information flow coming
through, and making sure that we then have arrangements in place to deal with that.

ASHLEY HALL: Onto your other role then as Minister for Youth, you get to host the youth version of
the 2020 Summit this weekend. You've got a hundred of the best and brightest young people for the
event.

By any definition, though, these people are likely to be high achievers. How much attention are you
paying to the views of the mainstream body of young people?

KATE ELLIS: Well look, we think that it's very important that one, during National Youth Week, but
also, all year around, that we take the views of young Australians very seriously, that we give
them a strong voice and then that government listens and responds to that voice.

And particularly, when we're talking about Australia in 2020, what sort of country we're going to
be and what our responses are to the challenges of the time, we think it's crucial that we involve
young Australians who by 2020 will be the parents of Australia, they will be the business leaders,
they will be the community spokespeople. So we think it's important to get them on board now.

The 100 delegates that we've got are starting to arrive in Canberra now for the weekend summit are
a really broad and diverse group. They come from all sorts of different backgrounds.

ASHLEY HALL: Some of the delegates have said it's a bit like being invited to Christmas dinner only
to find out that you're sitting at the kiddies table. Why have the views of young people been
relegated to a second-tier summit?

KATE ELLIS: Well, I don't accept the premise of the question at all that young Australians have as
much opportunity to apply for the 2020 summit next weekend, and what we've in fact done is made
sure that 10 of the attendees of this weekend's youth summit will then go on to the 2020 summit the
following weekend. But we've put in place some mechanisms to make sure that their views are
definitely considered.

ASHLEY HALL: Kate Ellis, thanks for talking to The World Today.

KATE ELLIS: Thank you for having me.

Xstrata faces legal action over lead poisoning

Xstrata faces legal action over lead poisoning

The World Today - Friday, 11 April , 2008 12:16:00

Reporter: Annie Guest

ASHLEY HALL: It's the case of the six-year-old girl and the mining giant.

A Queensland metal mine could face a lawsuit over lead poisoning. Xstrata's Mount Isa mines is
Australia's biggest emitter of several heavy metals, and recent testing has shown one tenth of
local children have high levels of lead in their blood. Health officials are soon to report on the
issue.

A legal case is being prepared on behalf of a young girl, and lawyers warn more could follow.
Xstrata has released a statement saying it takes lead management seriously, and has been reducing
emissions since 2000.

Annie Guest reports from Brisbane.

ANNIE GUEST: Bonnie Hare is very worried about her six-year-old daughter, Stella.

BONNIE HARE: She's got aluminium, tin, silver, nickel, titanium, magnesium, copper. Her lead levels
are now higher than they originally were. Mercury.

ANNIE GUEST: Stella Hare and her mother live in Mount Isa, a western Queensland city that sits
directly adjacent to lead, zinc, copper and silver mining operations. Stella Hare has had to go to
two different schools over the last two years.

BONNIE HARE: Some of the problems that she has at the moment are very much a behavioural problem
and a learning problem at school.

ANNIE GUEST: Bonnie Hare says her six-year-old daughter also has ear and throat infections. She's
allegedly one of 11 per cent of Mount Isa children who have high blood lead levels.

Queensland Health has been testing 400 children aged one to four-years-old, and will soon release a
report.

Bonnie Hare is in no doubt Stella is affected by pollution from Xstrata's mines.

BONNIE HARE: I've spoken to my toxicologist in Sydney and he's informed me that it's not her fault
really, it's because of the chemicals in her body, and that he believes that they are affecting her
in a great way.

ANNIE GUEST: The single mother plans to leave Mount Isa so Stella can have treatment in Sydney, but
she wants compensation.

The National Pollutant Registry records Xstrata's Mount Isa Mines as Australia's highest emitter of
several substances, including lead, arsenic, copper and zinc.

Lawyer Damien Scattini from Slater and Gordon is preparing a case against the company on behalf of
Stella Hare.

DAMIEN SCATTINI: I'm pretty convinced by the toxicology report that she has got this toxic cocktail
of chemicals in her blood from somewhere, and it would seem to me that it would be likely be from
the mines.

ANNIE GUEST: Xstrata has declined requests for an interview. In a written statement, it says it's
not aware of the legal case. It says Xstrata takes the issue of lead management in the community
very seriously.

The company says it has substantially improved its environmental performance including reducing
emissions since 2000. It also says the National Pollutant Registry's emissions data is taken on
site, and does not relate to exposure in the community.

The legal case being prepared by Slater and Gordon could already be facing a hiccup according to
Damien Scattini.

DAMIEN SCATTINI: The State Government in its wisdom, the same Government that exempted Mount Isa
mines and presumably Xstrata from much of the Environmental Protection Act has dictated that we
have to go through certain pre-court procedures. We'll do that.

ANNIE GUEST: A Brisbane barrister specialising in environmental law, Dr Chris McGrath, explains the
deal.

CHRIS MCGRATH: The Mount Isa Mines Limited Agreement Act in 1985 - so it was the last few years of
Joh Bjelke-Petersen's government - and that gave them some exemptions from the state's
environmental laws.

ANNIE GUEST: What exemptions were they given?

CHRIS MCGRATH: Well, there was for instance one, a variation in terms of air quality standards, and
it particularly dealt with things like sulphur dioxide emissions, so the things that cause acid
rain.

ANNIE GUEST: Dr McGrath says it's not unusual and is not likely to greatly affect the case. He says
it would be brought under a similar area of law to some high profile Australian cases.

CHRIS MCGRATH: The two that spring to mind aren't necessarily mining companies, the two major areas
that most people would be familiar with is the litigation against tobacco companies, as well as the
asbestos litigation in the last decade.

ANNIE GUEST: And how likely is it that a case like this could succeed?

CHRIS MCGRATH: It always becomes a very difficult question of fact. Xstrata presumably has a lot of
health reports over many years, plus all the things they acquired from MIM, so the people that are
suing Xstrata will want to get their hands on those documents.

ASHLEY HALL: Barrister, Dr Chris McGrath, ending that report from Annie Guest in Brisbane.

Lift Capital placed into adminstration

Lift Capital placed into adminstration

The World Today - Friday, 11 April , 2008 12:18:00

Reporter: Peter Ryan

ASHLEY HALL: Another finance company in the risky margin lending business has collapsed under the
weight of the year's sharemarket downturn. The Sydney-based Lift Capital was placed into
administration this morning, leaving 1,600 clients worried about their money.

The firm deals in shares and managed funds, and followed a model similar to the stockbroker, Opes
Prime, which collapsed a fortnight ago.

Here's our business editor, Peter Ryan.

PETER RYAN: Rumours about Lift Capital's collapse began circulating late yesterday. And by this
morning, the firm's switchboard was in meltdown.

TELEPHONE ANSWERING MACHINE: Thank you for calling Lift Capital. Sorry we can't take your call at
this time, but please your name, phone number and message after the tone, and we will return your
call as soon as possible. Thank you.

Sorry, the memory is full. Thank you for your call. Goodbye.

(Engaged tone)

PETER RYAN: Not surprisingly, Lift Capital's 1,600 clients are keen to get some answers on the
state of their investments. That challenge is now in the hands of the insolvency firm McGrathNicol.

As administrators, they'll be scouring Lift's computer hard drives, books and archives over the
weekend to determine the extent of any losses.

But in a written statement Tony McGrath, who's perhaps best remembered as the liquidator of the
failed insurance group, HIH, is cautiously confident.

TONY MCGRATH (voiceover): It's too early to speculate on the ultimate return to creditors and
investors. However, it appears that the underlying value in the shares is good, and it's expected
that a reasonable return will be achieved.

The immediate focus will be to work closely with management and other external parties to ensure
that the value in the business is preserved.

PETER RYAN: While there's no known relationship, Lift Capital follows the stock-lending model of
the Melbourne firm, Opes Prime, which collapsed a fortnight ago.

And while there's no suggestion that the alleged irregularities being investigated at Opes Prime
are reflected with Lift Capital, the pressures of a falling sharemarket will be disturbingly
similar for some investors.

IAN RAMSAY: At this stage of course, it looks as though this particular company, Lift Capital, did
allow its clients to invest in a broad range of companies, but not as broad as Opes Prime.

PETER RYAN: Professor Ian Ramsay of the Centre for Corporate Law at Melbourne University has been
watching the fallout from the Opes Prime failure. He says the model where clients pledge securities
and property to buy shares will be ringing alarm bell for both investigators and clients.

IAN RAMSAY: Clients generally at the moment would be very concerned to be looking at the terms of
their agreement with their stockbroker, with their margin lender or their margin provider, if you
like, to ascertain the precise terms of the agreement because at the heart of the Opes Prime
litigation at the moment that's unfolding is this critical issue of the clients signing over the
legal title to their shares to Opes Prime, and those clients arguing that they actually were
misled.

PETER RYAN: In the case of Opes Prime, the first in line creditor was the ANZ Bank, and they've
rapidly sold the majority of stock invested in the firm.

Lift Capital's chief creditor is the investment bank Merrill Lynch, and they're now determine how
to exit their position. But Professor Ian Ramsay believes Merrill Lynch has a responsibility to
calm an edgy and uncertain market.

IAN RAMSAY: In a situation where if you like, there's been speculation about the financial
viability of a particular firm, then I think it is appropriate that those associated with the firm,
I'm talking about its senior executives, and also I think I'm talking about those who are
substantial investors or providers of capital, do quickly reassure the market.

And the reason I say that is that the market of course is to some degree unsettled as a result of
not just the Opes Prime collapse but generally, of course, about problems with the so-called credit
crunch here in Australia, but more particularly, of course, as we're seeing in a number of other
countries, so I think investors generally are seeking reassurance, and it's appropriate that that
reassurance be forthcoming.

PETER RYAN: Back at Lift Capital, investor calls remain unanswered and signage has been removed
from its foyer, although a special hotline and website updates have been promised.

The administrators have scheduled a creditors meeting for the 22nd of April, and they'll be working
right up to the deadline to determine how much, if anything, Lift's worried clients will retrieve
from their investments.

ASHLEY HALL: Business editor, Peter Ryan.

Bush hands Iraq decisions to successor

Bush hands Iraq decisions to successor

The World Today - Friday, 11 April , 2008 12:20:00

Reporter: Kim Landers

ASHLEY HALL: An American military force that's nearly as large as at any point in the Iraq War will
remain in that country for the rest of George W. Bush's presidency.

By accepting his war commander's recommendation to halt US troop withdrawals in the middle of the
year, the President is leaving any significant policy changes to his successor.

Washington correspondent, Kim Landers, reports.

KIM LANDERS: With only nine months left in the White House, George W. Bush is still making the case
for a war that will be fought under another commander-in-chief.

And he's ordered an indefinite halt in US troop withdrawals from Iraq after July, embracing the
recommendation of his war commander, General David Petraeus.

But while General Petraeus refuses to say whether troop levels can fall if conditions improve in
Iraq, Defence Secretary Robert Gates has made it clear he expects that to happen.

ROBERT GATES: A brief pause for consolidation and evaluation following a return to pre-surge troop
levels will allow us to analyse the process and its effects in a comprehensive way. I do not
anticipate this period of review to be an extended one, and I would emphasise that the hope,
depending on conditions on the ground, is to reduce our presence further this Fall.

KIM LANDERS: Robert Gates and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, have
been appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill.

Veteran Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy has pressed Admiral Mullen about the length of the US
commitment in Iraq.

TED KENNEDY: Because it looks like what we are saying is that we are holding American servicemen
and women hostage to the willingness of Iraqi politicians to make the political accommodations that
are necessary in order to reach some kind of resolution there.

MIKE MULLEN: I don't see this as a wide open commitment and an unending commitment.

KIM LANDERS: Facing warnings from his top military commanders that the war is putting a heavy
strain on US forces, the President is cutting tours of duty for the army from 15 to 12 months, but
it only applies to troops being sent to Iraq after August.

That's infuriated some veterans groups. Bobby Muller served in Vietnam where he was shot and
paralysed. He is now the head of Veterans for America.

BOBBY MULLER: The army is effectively out of troops. End of conversation. The President made a
totally bogus statement this morning, it is effectively meaningless. You got half of the front line
units in the army already deployed on 15 month deployments.

KIM LANDERS: Jon Soltz is an Iraq War veteran who's now the chairman of VoteVets.Org.

JON SOLTZ: It is a political dog and pony show, this President does not ... if you deploy soldiers in
August of 2008, he will not be around in August of 2009 to guarantee that they come home for 12
months.

KIM LANDERS: Military commanders have been worried about the stress of long and frequent
deployments.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates says he's closely watching the issue.

ROBERT GATES: I do not think we've crossed that red line, clearly the force is under strain, their
families in particular are under strain.

KIM LANDERES: Meanwhile, Admiral Mullen says while Iraq is the US military's most pressing
priority, it's not the only one.

MIKE MULLEN: With the bulk of our ground forces deployed to Iraq, we've been unable to prepare for
or deploy for other contingencies in other places, and we cannot now meet extra force requirements
in places like Afghanistan.

KIM LANDERS: It's just another sign that the pace and scope of US troop withdrawals from Iraq are
difficult balancing acts for the American military and the Bush administration.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.

Blair broke international law on Saudi inquiry: court

Blair broke international law on Saudi inquiry: court

The World Today - Friday, 11 April , 2008 12:22:00

Reporter: Rafael Epstein

ASHLEY HALL: Britain's highest court has attacked its own government for cancelling an inquiry into
a massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The court says moves by the former Prime Minister Tony Blair
to end the inquiry breached international regulations and defied British law.

In handing down the decision, one of the judges said the government had given into blatant threats
that Saudi cooperation in the fight against terrorism would end, unless the probe into corruption
was halted. The probe into Britain's biggest-ever export deal involved allegations of a
multi-million dollar slush fund.

Europe correspondent, Rafael Epstein, reports.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: For more than a decade, senior members of the Saudi royal family have been accused
of asking for massive bribes to keep the tap open on the Al Yamamah arms deal. It began in the
1980s under Margaret Thatcher and it's still the biggest single British deal to sell anything to
anyone.

$100-billion worth of jet fighters and other arms have been paid for with up to 600,000 barrels of
oil flowing each day directly from the Saudis to Britain.

Over a year ago, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair cancelled the inquiry into the deal by
the Serious Fraud Office. Mr Blair said if the inquiry went any further, the Saudis would block the
flow of vital intelligence information to London, and Britain would miss out on the next lucrative
arms deal. But the High Court disagreed, they said the Government and the Serious Fraud Office
buckled when instead they should have resisted Saudi pressure. As one of the judges wrote in his
judgment:

HIGH COURT JUDGE (voiceover): It is difficult to identify any integrity in the role of the courts
to uphold the rule of law if the courts are to abdicate in response to a threat from a foreign
power.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Court documents show the government's overriding concern was a commercial one. So,
this judgment embarrasses them and shows Britain's senior judges will robustly scrutinise any
government declarations about national security.

In the 1990s the British National Audit Office investigated the deal but never released its
conclusions. It's the only report of theirs ever to be withheld. The Serious Fraud Office began an
inquiry nearly five years ago, but in 2006 as they were about to gain access to Swiss bank accounts
deemed crucial to their investigation, the Saudis made a threat. If the inquiry continued they'd
pull out of a $22-billion contract to buy 72 Eurofighter warplanes. The judges say giving in to
such a threat was the wrong thing to do.

HIGH COURT JUDGE 2 (voiceover): Stopping the investigation avoided uncomfortable consequences, both
commercial and diplomatic. We fear for the reputation of the administration of justice if it can be
perverted by a threat. No one, whether within this country or outside, is entitled to interfere
with the course of our justice.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: For more than 20 years, British ministers have claimed they didn't know about any
secret commissions, and such payments were only outlawed here in 2001. There are untested claims
that bank documents show dodgy payments of $75-million every three months for more than a decade.
The money is alleged to have gone to Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to
Washington. He is now the head of the Saudi National Security Council and is a close friend of US
President George W. Bush.

Both major parties here usually try not to comment on this ongoing issue. But there was
condemnation from Nick Clegg, leader of the third major party, the Liberal Democrats.

NICK CLEGG: Well, I think we need to form a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding this
extraordinary decision. The cooling off of the SFO investigation makes us look like a banana
republic. There are allegations that the Saudi Government threatened the British Government to
overrule the normal course of law. And to simply say well, for pragmatic reasons we should brush
the rule of law under the carpet, I think sets an appalling precedent which will do untold damage
to our reputation in the world and frankly, our self-respect as a nation in terms of upholding the
law.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: The arms company involved, BAE, is the world's third largest defence contractor and
the largest in Europe. It says it has not broken the law.

It's not clear if the ruling means the British inquiry will be restarted. But inquiries will
continue elsewhere. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) is
investigating whether its anti-bribery convention has been breached and the US Department of
Justice has also recently begun looking into the deal, the deal that began in the 1980s when a
pro-Israel Congress was wary of arming the Saudi kingdom.

In London, this is Rafael Epstein for The World Today.

Fashion Week drops child model

Fashion Week drops child model

The World Today - Friday, 11 April , 2008 12:24:00

Reporter: Karen Barlow

ASHLEY HALL: After a storm of criticism, Australian Fashion Week has this morning dropped a child
model from its programme. The catwalk appearance of 14-year-old Polish model, Monika Jagaciak, was
slammed by psychologists, magazine editors and the Australian Fashion Council.

The magazine Vogue Australia cancelled a feature with the girl, and the fashionistas renewed a call
for a ban on models under 16 years.

But the international event - which officially gets underway later this month - has done a major
turnaround, and is today instituting a ban on models under 16.

Karen Barlow reports.

(Sound of applause and music)

KAREN BARLOW: Australian Fashion Week is the high point of the local style calender.

(Sound of crowd murmur)

But people are today talking about Fashion Week for reasons other than clothes. 14-year-old Polish
rising star Monika Jagaciak was booked to appear on the Sydney catwalk, her tender age causing
trouble.

It even prompted this reaction from the New South Wales Community Services Minister, Kevin Green,
who today referred the matter to the Children's Guardian.

KEVIN GREEN: We need to ensure that the activities that this young lady is involved in are
appropriate for her age level.

KAREN BARLOW: Monika Jagaciak's age became apparent to Vogue Australia two days ago.

The editor-in-chief of Vogue, Kirstie Clements, made the immediate decision to pull the teenager
from their Fashion Week coverage.

KIRSTIE CLEMENTS: We had been told that this rising star was coming to Australia and we had been
working off head shots and some publicity shots that she had done, and I just figured she was that
average age of a model and it was only ... so we said, "Yes, she's great, we'll use her for a couple
of shoots", and then it was only I think two nights ago that I found out, it was relayed to me that
she was 14, so I just ... I pulled the plug on it.

KAREN BARLOW: It is hard to tell when young girls are dressed up with great clothes and make-up?

KIRSTIE CLEMENTS: It is, that's the problem, and I mean, you know, models are young so it is very
hard to tell, you can sort of see them in the flesh if they walk in with nothing on, but if you're
working from head sheets, you really do need to know a birth date yeah, and 14 is young in the
extreme.

KAREN BARLOW: Australian Fashion Week initially stood by their girl, insisting she had parental
support and would have been chaperoned on the Sydney visit.

But in a statement a short time ago, its founder Simon Locke said he was revising Fashion Week's
industry policy in light of industry and community concern. Effective immediately, both male and
female models participating in Fashion Week will need to be at least 16 years of age, and must be
represented by a model agency.

But Vogue's Kirstie Clements says the Monika Jagaciak case is symptomatic of a sick fashion system.

KIRSTIE CLEMENTS: I mean, there is the obvious sexualisation of very young girls that is coming
through in that context, but also the idea that we're ... the reason they are using them so young
is because they actually haven't developed women's bodies yet.

And that is a whole other part of the business that's a problem, is that they want them so thin,
they have to get them prepubescent. That is a big disconnect, I think, to what essentially you are
supposed to be doing, which is selling clothes to women, and yet you are getting them so young that
they haven't even developed a curve.

And what does that mean? They are going to be washed up and on the scrap heap, which actually does
happen as soon as they start to develop breasts and hips. It's ridiculous.

KAREN BARLOW: The bulk of the industry is against the use of models under 16 years.

The publisher and editor of Marie Claire, Jackie Frank, says publishers and companies selling
products should take a stand.

JACKIE FRANK: Yes, sexuality, sex sells, and they need that, and at 14, you just don't have it. And
if you do, I'd very concerned as a parent.

KAREN BARLOW: There are no official age based guidelines for modelling in Australia. What's
stopping that sort of thing from actually becoming a reality?

JACKIE FRANK: Well, I think we as an industry need to get together and actually work these
guidelines into our profession, I mean, it's the same as doing the body mass index weight and
having that as a guideline, so nothing is stopping us. We need to get together as an industry.

ASHLEY HALL: The editor of Marie Claire, Jackie Frank, ending that report from Karen Barlow.

Underworld resurgence in Melbourne

Underworld resurgence in Melbourne

The World Today - Friday, 11 April , 2008 12:26:00

Reporter: Jane Cowan

ASHLEY HALL: A Melbourne investigative journalist alleges the city's notorious underworld criminal
network is up and running again, just months after police claimed to have dismantled it.

Victorian police have arrested a number of people suspected of dealing drugs in the city's
nightclubs. Some are now saying the dealers and the syndicates that back them, might represent the
new players in Melbourne's underworld, moving in to fill the void left by the jailing or murder of
a whole cohort of key gangland figures.

And they say the harsh enforcement of drug laws may be driving young people into the underworld.

Jane Cowan reports.

JANE COWAN: The men, mostly in their thirties, were arrested overnight. One was handcuffed and
spreadeagled in jeans and a white singlet on Toorak Road, not far from South Yarra's nightclub
strip.

The group is suspected of dealing ecstasy, amphetamines and cocaine to party goers in clubs and
pubs.

It's understood drug syndicates are targeting habitual clubbers and offering them large quantities
of drugs in a consignment arrangement, so they don't have to pay for them until they sell them on.

ADAM SHAND: Well I think it's great that they're making arrests, that's wonderful, but the
underlying issue is there is always going to be demand for these drugs, and that young people in
nightclubs since the 50s or the 60s, either with marijuana or heroin or LSD...and now it's pills,
will form relationships with drug dealers in order to get cheap drugs, and they will then take
drugs on consignment, and sell them to their friends: "Having a big night this Saturday night?
Let's get 50 pills".

JANE COWAN: Investigative journalist Adam Shand has written extensively about Melbourne's gangland.

He says, rather than indicating the police are having success in preventing the re-establishment of
the kind of underworld that's made the city famous, the arrests show it's business as usual for
criminals.

ADAM SHAND: The fact is that, you know, Carl Williams and his cohorts, Tony Mokbel and so forth,
have been off the scene for a number of years now, and we've had an extraordinary explosion of
different drugs, not just pills but ice as well and different forms of that, so it's just again
finger in the (inaudible) stuff.

JANE COWAN: You think the underworld will actually just regroup and become as strong as it ever
was?

ADAM SHAND: Well it already has, clearly.

JANE COWAN: Adam Shand says the prohibition of drugs creates this trade, and it's bad news for
young people who take drugs.

ADAM SHAND: It turns otherwise law-abiding young people into drug dealers, and part of the
underworld.

It's time that society had a proper debate about this, so we got the nub of it. You can't blame the
police, they're having to enforce bad laws that aren't reflective of what many people in society
are experiencing.

JANE COWAN: Do you think these clubbers come dealers know who they're really dealing with?

ADAM SHAND: Well all they know is that they're getting their pills, and they know that if it's a
bad pill, they won't buy from that guy again, because their friends won't buy them either.

So at the end of the day, it's quite extraordinary, actually. The quality control is quite
remarkable. How many times do you hear of a person dying of ecstasy? It's actually very rare. You
see far, far more deaths every weekend from alcohol, yet no-one mounts operations to stop that
scourge.

But this is the moral panic in society about drugs, and it's all about criminalising our children,
and we're forcing them into the arms of drug dealers. Next week, it'll be different people, it'll
be different dealers, same drug, same demand, same problem.

ALEX WODAK: It's true, what we're up against is the laws of supply and demand.

JANE COWAN: Dr Alex Wodak is the president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation. He also
directs the Alcohol and Drug Service at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney.

ALEX WODAK: When we enforce very vigorously the prohibition laws, what happens is that the price of
street drugs become inflated, and the market becomes very lucrative, so it attracts new players,
new traffickers, new customers.

JANE COWAN: So rather than handcuffing these young people on the side of the street, what would be
a more helpful response?

ALEX WODAK: We have to recognise that what we're doing has largely failed, and is futile, and what
we need to do is redefine the whole subject as primarily a health and social matter.

JANE COWAN: As well as directing more money into treatment and rehabilitation when people want to
stop using, I guess that's what you're suggesting, are you also talking about some level of
decriminalisation of the actual drug taking?

ALEX WODAK: Well, you can't find two people who agree on the same definition of decriminalisation,
but in principle, I think we have to move from criminal sanctions to civil sanctions and then when
the community is ready for it, I think we have to start questioning whether we need to have
sanctions at all for these private behaviours.

People need help in arresting their addictions, they don't get much help from being arrested.

ASHLEY HALL: Dr Alex Wodak, ending Jane Cowan's report.

Poisonous accomodation for NT intervention workers

Poisonous accomodation for NT intervention workers

The World Today - Friday, 11 April , 2008 12:30:00

Reporter: Anne Barker

ASHLEY HALL: The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says some shipping containers
being used as accommodation for Northern Territory intervention workers, are contaminated with
formaldehyde.

Ms Macklin held a press conference a short time ago to tell the media what she plans to do about a
problem she describes as "serious".

Our reporter Anne Barker was there.

So Anne, tell us why is this so serious?

ANNE BARKER: Well Ashley, it appears that these containers which are being used quite widely around
the Territory to house staff employed under the intervention are contaminated with formaldehyde,
possibly from furniture that has been stored in the containers before they were acquired by the
Federal Government last September.

And it's a dangerous chemical, there are staff already that have reported quite nasty symptoms,
breathing in fairly strong fumes, for example, headaches and so on, and there are fears that
possibly there could be a health risk also to some of the local Indigenous people, even though it
is staff employed by the intervention that have been living in these containers for around six
months.

ASHLEY HALL: What's the extent of the problem? How many containers and workers are involved?

ANNE BARKER: Well, so far 26 people have been identified as being affected by living in these
containers, and they are all staff as far as I'm told. But there are 17 communities at least where
the containers have been used.

There is a big shortage of accommodation in a lot of these communities and it's containers like
these have made the intervention possible on this scale.

But there are also suggestions that there have been locals that have used the containers in one
form or another, for example, there have been containers that have housed prisoners in some
communities, even the children that are undergoing health checks.

I've seen myself that in one community or more that there are containers that are used as the
health clinic, and so certainly, there is a suggestion that they may need to check that some of the
local people haven't been affected as well.

ASHLEY HALL: Who's job is that? Who is responsible for making sure that these are safe?

ANNE BARKER: Well it is ultimately the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin and she was
only told about the problem last night, but it did emerge that they've known about this since late
last year, possible as early as November, and she did talk to the media just a short time ago in
Darwin.

JENNY MACKLIN: These are very serious concerns that we have, and of course my number one priority
is the health and safety of our staff. That's why once I was informed of this matter last night, we
took immediate action to notify our staff and to make sure that alternative arrangements were made
for their accommodation.

Major General Chalmers has spoken with them this morning himself, and alternative housing will be
found where possible in the communities where people are living. Where that's not possible, as
nearby as we can, otherwise we'll have to look for other options.

These are very difficult times for the people concerned, but I just want to reassure them that we
will be having their health and safety as our primary consideration as we go about the future.

ASHLEY HALL: That's the Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin.

Anne Barker, how quickly can alternative accommodation be found?

ANNE BARKER: Well that might be one of the challenges as I said, you know, there is a serious
shortage of accommodation in a lot of Indigenous communities and that's the reason why there aren't
more sort of teachers and doctors and so on.

Certainly, these staff have been told to move out of the containers immediately. Where possible,
they are staying in the same community but in other accommodation, but as the Minister said
herself, it may be that they have to move to another location as close by as possible.

ASHLEY HALL: And just briefly Anne, what sort of health checks or tests are being offered to these
people?

ANNE BARKER: Well, certainly all these people will undergo health checks to see whether there has
been any harm done, that will be certainly on staff and possibly on Indigenous people as well.

ASHLEY HALL: Anne Barker reporting from Darwin, thank you very much.