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Combat troops coming home

ELEANOR HALL: We begin today in the national capital with the announcement by the Federal
Government that Australian troops in Iraq are coming home.

Combat troops and those training Iraqi soldiers are to be withdrawn and the Australian flag at Camp
Terendak in Tallil has already been lowered with the command handed over to the United States.

Some forces will remain to perform roles such as guarding the Australian Embassy in Baghdad and
protecting Iraq's offshore oil assets.

But the decision to end the role fulfils an election promise made by the Labor Party. The Defence
Minster has been holding a press conference in Canberra spelling out the details of the withdrawal.

Chief political correspondent Lyndal Curtis has been listening to that and she joins us now.

ELEANOR HALL: So Lyndal, this decision hasn't come as a surprise, what has Joel Fitzgibbon had to
say about it today?

LYNDAL CURTIS: As you said, no surprise at all. It's, as you said, part of their fulfilment of an
election promise by Kevin Rudd. Joel Fitzgibbon stood next to the Chief of the Defence Force Angus
Houston to, as he said, heap praise on the men and women of the Defence Forces, to thank them for
their commitment, dedication, courage and sacrifices. But also to stress that there is still some
risk in the period where the troops are being brought out.

The troops have ben overseeing security in the provinces of Al Muthanna and Dhi Qar, they protected
Japanese forces in the region and trained Iraqi troops. They are all expected to be out by 28 June,
when there'll be a welcome home parade in Brisbane, and the Minister has made it clear that it is
time to bring the forces home.

JOEL FITZGIBBON: This is not some sort of populist move by the Government. We have enormous
concurrency issues. Our troops are overstretched, with commitments in East Timor, Afghanistan and
Iraq, roughly half of our infantry and cavalry is somehow tied to those deployments.

This is an unsustainable position, our troops in Southern Iraq have been in overwatch role now for
20 months. During that period, the Iraqis security forces have not felt a need to call on their
assistance. We cannot not, given our concurrency issues, continue to have so many troops tied up in
that situation.

Today, I can also confirm that a welcome home parade will be held in Brisbane on 28 June. So, we
look forward to that occasion. I understand the Prime Minister will be attending, now that's always
subject to confirmation, but he is certainly keen to be involved in that welcome home parade.

Today, we also pause to remind ourselves that the extraction period is a dangerous time for our
troops. And on 28 June, we look forward to welcoming them home, a safe return home and, of course,
I can say today that we are proud of them and that all Australians should be proud of them.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon in Canberra a short time ago.

Now, Lyndal, all troops out by the end of this month. The Opposition sent forces into Iraq in 2003
and held firm against growing public opposition to the war. What has the Coalition's reaction to
the Government announcement today been?

LYNDAL CURTIS: There wasn't a lot of surprise either in the Coalition ranks about the timing of the
move. But the Opposition leader, the man who was the Coalition's last defence minister in
government, Brendan Nelson, says Labor should have left the troops in to train Iraqi soldiers.

BRENDAN NELSON: As it's transpired, the conditions are such that the battle group certainly can now
be brought home, but from our perspective, we would have liked to have seen a continuing presence
of trainers to further increase the rate at which we are training the Iraqis to look after their
own security.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The message from the Opposition last night was that the move was a distraction from
the Government's woes over petrol. Interestingly, Brendan Nelson didn't raise that point when he
was interviewed on AM this morning, but other Coalition MPs were certainly happy to give it a whirl
on their way in Parliament, where frontbencher Peter Dutton and backbencher Don Randall were
calling the Government's motives into question this morning.

PETER DUTTON: I don't think Mr Rudd should twist this into a political diversion for himself. Mr
Rudd is a clever and tricky politician, he will use anything at his disposal to distract from the
fact that he hasn't brought petrol prices down.

DON RANDALL: We went over there to not only make Iraq a safer and more secure place, but to work
with the Iraqis to rebuild the nation and we're doing that in training, we've been training their
troops and their security forces. And unfortunately, we're going to be cutting and running early.

We don't need to, it's just Mr Rudd, part of his spin and his following through with it. I think a
lot of people in Australia will be disappointed that we're going before we've finished the job.

ELEANOR HALL: And Lyndal, did the Defence Minister respond to the Opposition calls to keep training
the troops there?

LYNDAL CURTIS: There are some who believe that part of the reason the training troops aren't being
left there is because of the risk to them. And the Minister has alluded to that risk, saying that
if the troops stayed to train, they would need some protection.

JOEL FITZGIBBON: This is one of the complexities introduced by John Howard into this equation. John
Howard said if he was still prime minister, our troops would be remaining in Iraq but they would be
transiting to some sort of training role. The fact is, that if you're going to do training
in-country, you do need force protection, you do need to protect those providing the training.

And of course the force protection is provided by combat troops. John Howard can't do it, have it
both ways, we won't be doing any in-country training because we made a clear commitment to the
electorate that we'd be bringing our combat troops home.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's the Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon announcing that Australia will be
withdrawing its troops from Iraq before the end of this month.

Coalition of the Willing shrinks again

ELEANOR HALL: The US-led invasion of Iraq caused deep rifts within the international community,
many of which are still being patched over.

France, China and Russia were opposed to the war. But the US President was determined to push
ahead, and set about recruiting countries, including Australia, to his Coalition of the Willing.

But questions persist about just how willing many of these coalition members were, and what sort of
a contribution they actually made.

Barbara Miller has our report.

BARBARA MILLER: It was March 2003. And the war in Iraq was just a few days old.

France, China and Russia were the most vocal in their opposition to action having been taken
without the passing of another United Nations resolution.

President George W. Bush was keen to show that his chosen course of action did have widespread
support.

GEORGE W. BUSH: Word from Secretary Powell who briefed us on the ever-growing Coalition of the
Willing, nations who support our deep desire of peace and freedom. Over 40 nations now support our
efforts, we're grateful for their determination, we appreciate their vision and we welcome their
support.

BARBARA MILLER: A few days later again and a White House press release from 27 March, 2003, lists
49 countries, which the White House says have publicly committed to supporting the coalition.

The statement continues.

EXCERPT FROM WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT: The population of coalition countries is approximately 1.23
billion people. Every major race, religion, ethnicity in the world is represented. The coalition
includes nations from every continent on the globe.

BARBARA MILLER: In reality, though, just a few countries were on the frontline.

RON HUISKEN: The coalition that actually invaded Iraq, in fact, consisted of three countries. The
Americans, the British and ourselves.

BARBARA MILLER: Ron Huisken is a Senior Fellow in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the
Australian National University.

RON HUISKEN: The only other country at the time that was politically fully on side, if you work in
a declared way, with the invasion, was probably the Poles, and even then, the Polish Government was
taking that position contrary to sort of public opinion. It's pretty much the case both in the UK
and in Australia as well.

BARBARA MILLER: These other countries listed then, they were simply voicing support, were they?

RON HUISKEN: Well, it's a complex business. The United States is a very powerful and very
influential country. They did need, for their own reasons obviously, to demonstrate the path that
they had chosen to take viz-a-vis Iraq was something that allies and friends endorsed.

But when you pick it apart and you look at those 49 countries mentioned in the White House press
release, the overwhelming majority would be quite token to deployments of a handful of people, or
even one or two occasionally in some obscure role somewhere. Those who carried any kind of combat
mission, that is, who took responsibility for some however small piece of real estate in Iraq, was
always very small, certainly less than 10.

BARBARA MILLER: The gap between countries' contributions in Iraq, led to much mocking of the
coalition concept.

A columnist with salon.com, referring to US offers of aid to countries who supported the war, wrote
about 'The Coalition of the Billing'.

The film-maker Michael Moore dubbed it 'The Coalition of the Coerced, Bribed and Intimidated'. And
John Pilger described it as an Anglo-American force.

Now, many countries, like Australia, are gradually pulling out of Iraq, or scaling back their
involvement.

In its latest Iraq Status Report, issued last week, the US State Department lists 24 countries as
currently supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom by contributing personnel. That list includes Tonga,
Mongolia and El Salvador.

But Ron Huisken says it would be wrong to dismiss many countries' participation in Iraq as a mere
gesture.

RON HUISKEN: Any government that commits troops to a place which is so arbitrarily violent as Iraq,
you know, governments have lost their nets(phonetic), lost lives, you can't trivialise that. But in
terms of sort of meaningful combat power of what the military or some people like to call the
"heavy lifting", yes, it's always been a very narrow band of countries that have prepared to take
that on.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Ron Huisken, from the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the ANU, ending
the report by Barbara Miller.

Cash from coal

ELEANOR HALL: To Queensland now where the coal industry is accusing the Queensland Government of
cashing in on the resources sector by imposing a super-tax on coal in its budget tomorrow.

The increase in royalties will deliver almost $600-million to Government coffers next financial
year and Premier Anna Bligh says this will see coal companies doing their bit for Queenslanders.

But the industry says it's already highly taxed and is warning that under the new tax regime,
planned mines won't go ahead.

In Brisbane, Donna Field reports.

DONNA FIELD: This financial year royalties from the sale of Queensland coal are expected to deliver
$1-billion to the State Government.

The industry predicts that next financial year that figure could tip $3-billion. But the Government
wants more.

ANNA BLIGH: In the year 2000, coking coal was achieving a world price of around $40 a tonne. This
year, contracts are being signed for $300 a tonne. It some 14 years since coal royalties were last
adjusted in Queensland. Given that we are seeing an extraordinary lift in value, and that this is
driving a big demand, particularly in Central Queensland for services and for infrastructure, it is
our view that Queenslanders deserve a fair share of this value uplift.

DONNA FIELD: Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announcing the new tax regime for coal companies.

At the moment, royalties are set at seven per cent. From next financial year coal sold at more than
$100 a tonne will be subject to a 10 per cent tax.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser says the royalties were originally set in the 1970s to allow the industry
to develop, but he says the time's past for discounts and the industry has to pay its fair share.

ANDREW FRASER: When you've got a resources boom on, one of the issues that you confront is a need
to spend more on infrastructure, to spend more on services, to spend more to accommodate the growth
that's occurring.

One of the things that you will see in Tuesday's budget, in tomorrow budget, is a record spend on
infrastructure to support the coal industry and the resources boom. And this is about recognising
the contribution they should make towards that.

DONNA FIELD: The coal industry says the announcement is a bolt out of the blue. It says the
resources sector is already contributing enormously to the economy with one in eight jobs in
Queensland reliant on coal.

Michael Roche is chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council.

MICHAEL ROCHE: Clearly, the State Government's budget position is so dire that they had to put a
special super-tax on to raise another $600-million. So, we're talking about a contribution from the
coal industry to the budget tomorrow in Queensland of about $3-billion, we estimate.

DONNA FIELD: The State Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg says the coal industry is being
punished for the Government's mismanagement of the economy.

LAWRENCE SPRINGBORG: We're getting billions of dollars in royalties now - that's having a positive
flow on to the property market where the Government then gets billions of dollars in stamp duty, it
has a positive flow on to employment and the Government then gets billions of dollars in payroll
tax. The same with land tax and you just can't keep punishing the same people over and over again
for being successful.

DONNA FIELD: Michael Roche says the move is short-sighted and may back-fire with mining companies
thinking hard before pushing forward with new mines.

MICHAEL ROCHE: The signal it's sending to investors is that Queensland is a place where when the
budget gets into trouble, you can't rely on stability in taxation. So that's a bad news story for
the longer-term outlook for the sector.

DONNA FIELD: Short-term, will it mean that coal companies will look at business doing elsewhere or
not open some of these predicted mines that we've got on track to open in Queensland?

MICHAEL ROCHE: I think it's more the case of whether or not the planned mines go ahead. People
think that a $100 a tonne sounds a lot, but I can tell you there are many mines whose cost
structures are around that level because of the increase in wages, in infrastructure cost.
Everything that makes a mine operate is way more expensive, and so pitching a super royalty at the
level of $100 a tonne is totally unrealistic.

DONNA FIELD: But Treasurer Andrew Fraser isn't worried the increase in royalties will diminish the
coal industry.

ANDREW FRASER: Queensland has a unique abundance of coal and it's not an industry that can be
transferred to another state, it's not the case that they can take the coal to another state, the
coal is here in the ground.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Queensland's Treasurer Andrew Fraser, ending that report by Donna Field.

Nightclub lock-out plan hits a snag

ELEANOR HALL: In Melbourne, a state government plan to curb late night street violence has been
undermined even before it has begun.

From tomorrow the Government will impose a 2am lock-out on night clubbers. But almost 70 clubs have
already won a court bid to be exempted from the three-month trial.

The Victorian Government is pushing ahead regardless of the set back - but many locals asking
whether the lock-out will work.

And the debate has been inflamed by a newspaper photograph of a brawl outside a Melbourne strip
club.

In Melbourne, Jane Cowan reports.

JANE COWAN: Welcome to 4am in Melbourne's night club precinct. The photo on the front of today's
Herald Sun shows a burly bouncer in full flight, kicking a patron who's cowering on the ground.

It's the kind of scene Andrew Ranger from the protest group Melbourne Locked Out says you'll see
more of if a plan to lock patrons out after two o'clock goes head.

ANDRWE RANGER: Well at 2:01, there's going to be a lot of angry people in the streets that didn't
get into the nightclub, and what are they going to do? They are going to pick on bouncers.

JANE COWAN: Andrew Ranger says it's important to protect Melbourne's club culture.

ANDRWE RANGER: Well we don't have a Harbour Bridge, we don't have a Bondi Beach, we don't have all
these things that other cities take for granted. We have a culture that is a night life culture in
Melbourne, that people thrive on, that people come to Melbourne to see.

JANE COWAN: The manager of the club where the fight broke out condemns the bouncer's conduct.

But John Trimble, from Bar 20, points out the patrons involved in this incident had actually been
refused entry to the club because they were drunk.

He says the problems are on the streets, not inside venues and therefore locking out is not the
answer.

JOHN TRIMBLE: I mean it's okay when I was growing up, but by two o'clock, you're gone to home in
bed, nowadays they're not going out till midnight. I mean that's just society today.

JANE COWAN: The lock-out is attracting strident criticism among those who frequent clubs.

On Friday night, several thousand people crammed the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne.

As many as 70 venues have gone to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and been
temporarily exempted from the requirement to turn away patrons after two o'clock.

Even the father of a boy who died after a fight outside a city nightclub a year ago, can't see this
plan working.

BILL MCCORMACK: If you lock them out, you're still going to have 50, 100 to 1000 people roaming the
streets who are drunk. Who can't get home.

JANE COWAN: Bill McCormack told ABC Radio you virtually can't walk up King Street in Melbourne's
strip club precinct, without getting hit.

BILL MCCORMACK: A lot of the young ones, they catch the train into town with their slab of beer
whatever on the train. There's no stop in doing that because there's no guards on the train. They
are all getting drunk on the train and coming into town, or they are go into a park somewhere, and
then they hit the city, and then they're trapped there until the trains start running at about 5.30
in the morning.

JANE COWAN: But the Victorian Premier John Brumby says the Government won't back down from the
lock-out.

JOHN BRUMBY: We're not resiling from our position, our stance one iota. We think that the decisions
we've announced are the right decisions.

JANE COWAN: Tony Robinson is the Minister overseeing the night club industry.

TONY ROBINSON: There is a behavioural problem on the streets of Melbourne late at night in and
around entertainment, late night entertainment venues. I think blind Freddy, could tell you that.

JANE COWAN: Won't a lock-out just relegate more people to the streets because they can't get back
in to clubs?

TONY ROBINSON: No, no, no, quite the contrary. We believe what will happen here through the trial
is that people will simply adjust their behaviour through the course of an evening and they'll make
choices earlier on in the evening as to which nightclub they want to be in before two o'clock. We
think in all things considered, that is not a huge change for people to make.

JANE COWAN: The Minister doesn't accept a lock-out will just shift the problem to a later stage of
the night.

TONY ROBINSON: We don't believe so. Lock-outs have been introduced into regional centres in
Victoria, with some success, so we believe the success of those measures gives us confidence that
it will work well in Melbourne.

JANE COWAN: How can this work if some clubs are exempted in the end though, especially when it's
the venues in the strip club precinct where arguably a lot of the violence is most likely to
happen?

TONY ROBINSON: Well I wouldn't go so far as to say that anyone's gained an exemption. All that has
happened at VCAT to date is that a number of clubs which have claimed, they wish to seek an
exemption, have been given some temporary arrangements until such time as VCAT can hear those
claims more fully.

Now we will be arguing with the director at VCAT today, that those claims ought to be heard fully
as soon as possible. I don't believe that some of the estimations that have been made about certain
clubs being able to skirt around the trial lock-out will come to pass.

JANE COWAN: The lock-out is supposed to be trialled for three months starting tomorrow night.

The director of liquor licensing Susan Maclellan has told Fairfax Radio it can still work even if
some clubs resist.

SUSAN MACLELLAN: I am disappointed that they chose this action, but that is their right. However, I
would hope that they would reconsider the matter, withdraw their review applications and
participate.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Victoria's director of liquor licensing Susan Maclellan ending that report by
Jane Cowan in Melbourne.

Cancer Council calls for Govt to review HRT policy

ELEANOR HALL: The New South Wales Cancer Council is today calling on the Federal Government to
review its policies on hormone replacement therapy.

The council cites the findings of a study by the Cancer Council which links a drop in the incidence
of breast cancer to a decline in the use of the hormone therapy HRT.

But while the council says the study should prompt a review, other experts say the findings merely
confirm what we already knew.

Sara Everingham has our report.

SARA EVERINGHAM: In 2001, a United States study revealed a small increase in the breast cancer risk
for some women on hormone replacement therapy. It prompted thousands of women to stop the
treatment.

New research by the New South Wales Cancer Council has looked into what effects that had on a local
level. They've found the decline in the use of HRT coincided with a drop in the incidence of breast
cancer.

Dr Karen Canfell is the lead author of the research:

KAREN CANFELL: So we found that between 2001 and 2003, there was a 40 per cent drop in HRT
prescribing in Australia, and at the same time there was seven per cent drop in breast cancer rates
in women over 50 years of age.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Dr Canfell says the study supports other international studies.

KAREN CANFELL: We feel the study is important for Australian women because it shows for the first
time an impact on the population level, that women can actually reduce their risk of breast cancer
just by keeping their use of HRT to a minimum and just making sure they use it for the shortest
possible time.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The impact of the local study could be immediate in consultation rooms around the
country.

Dr Brian Morton is the president of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Medical
Association.

BRIAN MORTON: The obvious answer is that there's been a massive reduction in prescribing HRT and I
think this will keep the impetus there and remove any doubt that doctors will continue to prescribe
less.

SARA EVERINGHAM: They'll continue to prescribe less, you think?

BRIAN MORTON: Yes, I think doctors will prescribe less HRT and probably be more overt in
counselling women not to continue.

SARA EVERINGHAM: At the moment, the Therapeutic Goods Administration recommends hormone replacement
therapy be used in the short-term for the management of the symptoms of menopause.

But according to the Cancer Council New South Wales, figures from 2004 and 2005 show 11 per cent of
women over the age of 45 were on HRT for greater than five years.

The council's CEO is Andrew Penman:

ANDREW PENMAN: I mean, the TGA in Australia has been in line with the US and UK counterparts in
calling for HRT to be limited to use and for regular of use of indication and used to be
undertaken. The question is whether you might want to be more firm in imposing a two-year deadline
on treatment and putting conditions on any decision to continue use.

SARA EVERINGHAM: But Dr Helen Zorbas from the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre says it's
not time for change. She says the study confirms what was already known.

HELEN ZORBAS: Women who take HRT are at increase risk of breast cancer while they taking the
hormone replacement therapy, and this risk falls soon after women stop taking hormone replacement
therapy. This study actually gives us more data to confirm that relationship.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Do you think there's any need for the Federal Government to reconsider its
policies on HRT?

HELEN ZORBAS: I think the recommendations that are currently out there in relation to HRT use are
still valid. There's been no new studies that would indicate that those recommendations need to be
reviewed or changed in my opinion.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Dr Zorbas agrees with the Cancer Council that the decision to stop HRT should be
up to the individual. And that goes even for women who've been using HRT for longer than the
recommended time.

HELEN ZORBAS: It's difficult for us to make a decision about that when some women really suffer
terribly in their quality of life, is really very poor because of the symptoms of the menopause,
and again, I think it's important say that for women who are on it in the long-term, it would only
be after everything else has failed. They've tried other options, and they're really very cognisant
of the risks that their use is giving to them.

ELEANOR HALL: Dr Helen Zorbas is from the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre, and she was
speaking to Sara Everingham.

Mugabe in Rome for UN food summit

ELEANOR HALL: Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has left the country for a trip to Europe for the
first time since he lost the first round of presidential elections in March.

Mr Mugabe is visiting Rome to attend a United Nations food summit. But the trip coincides with more
violence in Zimbabwe in the lead up to the presidential run-off vote later this month.

And as Jennifer Macey reports yesterday, police arrested a top Opposition leader for publishing an
article critical of the Mugabe regime.

JENNIFER MACEY: The last time Robert Mugabe attended a meeting of the UN's Food and Agricultural
Organisation in 2005, his visit caused outrage.

In a speech Mugabe, railed against US President George W. Bush and the former British Prime
Minister Tony Blair, calling them international terrorists and comparing them to Adolf Hitler.

ROBERT MUGABE: In the same way as Hitler and Mussolini formed that unholy alliance, and formed an
alliance to attack an innocent country.

JENNIFER MACEY: He also told western nations not to foist food on Zimbabwe.

But the country which used to be a net exporter of grains is now having to import food from other
African countries such as Malawi and Zambia.

Ahead of the latest FAO meeting in Rome, Robert Mugabe told supporters said his government has
bought 600,000 tonnes of maize to ease food shortages.

(Crowd cheers and claps)

JENNIFER MACEY: It's Mugabe's first trip to Europe since the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change won a majority of the vote in parliamentary elections in March.

He's fighting to hang onto power and faces a run-off presidential vote later this month against the
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

At a rally last week, Mugabe accused Tsvangirai of being a puppet of the West and for inciting
post-election violence.

ROBERT MUGABE: They should stop immediately this barbaric campaigning of theirs of causing arson,
burning people's homes, and destroying their lives.

JENNIFER MACEY: But opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has rejected the accusations.

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: There will be no tolerance or amnesty for those who continue to injure, rape and
murder our citizens. We consider these acts as criminal acts, not political acts.

JENNIFER MACEY: The European Union and the United States blame Mugabe for encouraging the
post-election violence and for targeting Opposition supporters.

Police have now banned Morgan Tsvangirai from holding rallies at Victoria Falls in north-west
Zimbabwe.

And a senior Opposition politician Arthur Mutambara has been arrested after writing a newspaper
article critical of Mugabe's regime.

His lawyer Harrison Nkomo says Mutambara has been charged with publishing falsehoods and he doesn't
expect his client to appear in court before Tuesday.

HARRISON NKOMO: There's nothing that I can do in terms of the law because the laws of Zimbabwe, as
it entails in this jurisdiction, is that police are allowed to detain suspects 48 hours before
they're taken to court.

JENNIFER MACEY: While unrest continues in Zimbabwe, Mugabe is likely to face fierce criticism in
Europe.

The economy is in shambles, inflation is running at 165,000 per cent and millions of people have
fled to neighbouring countries to escape poverty, as Morgan Tsvangirai pointed out on the weekend.

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: The state of our nation is actually beyond embarrassment, it is tragic. The
world's highest inflation, 80 per cent unemployment, education that has plummeted from the best in
Africa to one of the worst, and a healthcare system that has dire shortages of doctors, nurses,
medicines, beds, and blankets. The state of our nation today is a state of despair.

JENNIFER MACEY: And the Opposition leader has also lashed out at South Africa's President Thabo
Mbeki.

In a letter, Tsvangarai says Mbeki's no longer fit to act as a mediator in Zimbabwe's political
crisis if he continues to side with Robert Mugabe.

ELEANOR HALL: Jennifer Macey reporting.

US beef imports ignite Sth Korean protests

ELEANOR HALL: Mass protests have erupted in South Korea over a government decision to resume
imports of beef from the United States.

The US beef had been banned for more than four years because of concerns about mad cow disease. The
new government agreed to resume the US imports as part of a deal to finalise a free trade agreement
with the United States.

But the protests against the agreement are a major test for the new president, as North Asia
correspondent Shane McLeod reports.

(Sounds of protesters)

SHANE MCLEOD: For days, protesters have been blocking streets in central Seoul, making known their
views about the South Korean Government's decision to resume imports of beef from the United
States.

Those imports have been banned since 2003, the result of a scare over mad cow disease. But a free
trade agreement signed between the two countries last year calls for the market to be reopened, in
amidst in a growing storm of protest, new President Lee Myung-bak has decided to clear the
resumption of imports.

His farm minister confirmed the decision on Thursday.

"We have fixed our beef imports safety conditions, giving full consideration to various factors,"
Agriculture Minister Chung Woon-chun says. "First of all, we will send our investigation team to
the US to check their meat-packing factories and exporting areas. And we'll completely block
importing dangerous parts which could cause mad cow disease by systematic quarantine inspections."

There are two factors that have incensed the protesters. First, that the President announced his
decision while on a visit to the United States, and second, there are few restrictions on the type
of meat that can be imported, in contrast to neighbouring Japan, where there are limits on the type
of cuts and the age of the meat that can be imported.

For nearly a week, tens of thousands of people, some of them parents with their children, have been
gathering in central Seoul, calling for the decision to be withdrawn. Many of the protesters
accused the President of kowtowing to the United States.

The protests mark a definite end to whatever political honeymoon the new president had been
enjoying. Sworn in in April, after the most decisive election win in Korean history, he's also
benefited from his party, securing the majority of the national Parliament.

But now, facing the increasingly insistent protests and claims of a heavy-handed response from
security officials, the President has been criticised by even his own supporters. Last week, he
made an expansive apology, promising to listen to the people. But the Government remains committed
to implementing the US beef decision.

Australia's exporters are likely to suffer as a result. In the absence of the American product,
Australian beef has come to dominate the Korean import market. Korea now ranks as Australia's third
largest beef export destination, and while the protests might hint at consumer concern over food
safety, US beef when it's allowed back in, will benefit from reduced tariffs under the free trade
deal.

And more than anything else, price may be the factor that helps customers to make their decision.

This is Shane McLeod reporting for The World Today.

Democrat process drawing to a close

ELEANOR HALL: To the United States now, and Hillary Clinton is cruising to victory in another
democrat primary, this one in Puerto Rico, but it's unlikely to save her crumbling campaign to be
the first female president of the United States.

While Senator Clinton is hinting that she will be there until the convention in August, there are
more signs today that this year's long drawn out long Democrat nomination process may finally come
to an end this week.

Leading Democrats expect Barack Obama will then make history by becoming the first black
presidential candidate, as Washington correspondent Mark Simkin reports.

MARK SIMKIN: Around 35 million people have voted in Democratic primaries and by most estimates just
a few hundred thousand votes separate the two candidates. In a race this close, every delegate
counts and so Hillary Clinton campaigned hard in Puerto Rico, which doesn't get to vote in the
general election.

The former first lady spent hours in the back of a pick-up truck, driving the streets and waving at
pedestrians as loudspeakers blared her name.

The efforts paid off. Hillary Clinton won more than 60 per cent of the vote. Barack Obama
congratulated his rival.

BARACK OBAMA: First of all, Senator Clinton is an outstanding public servant, she has worked
tirelessly in this campaign, she has been a great senator for the state of New York, and she is
going to be a great asset when we go into November to make sure that we defeat the Republicans.
That I can promise you.

(Crowd cheers)

MARK SIMKIN: The win gives Hillary Clinton some more delegates, bragging rights and possibly a lead
in the national popular vote.

HILLARY CLINTON: More people have voted for us than for any candidate in the history of
presidential primaries.

(Crowd cheers and claps)

So, when the voting concludes on Tuesday, neither Sentaor Obama nor I will have the number of
delegates to be the nominee. I will lead the popular vote, he will maintain a slight lead in the
delegate count.

MARK SIMKIN: In the end though, the nomination will go to the candidate with the most delegates and
Barack Obama has an almost unassailable lead, especially after the Democratic Party voted to give
delegates from Michigan and Florida half votes at the convention.

The two states voted early and were stripped of their delegates but yesterday, the party agreed on
a compromise.

The result is a blow to the Clinton campaign, which is still threatening to take the fight to the
convention in August. Harold Ickes is a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton.

HAROLD ICKES: Michigan, they actually took votes, won by Hillary Clinton, in a primary, and gave
them to Barack Obama. It is stunning, it is just outright hijacking.

MARK SIMKIN: Barack Obama is now tantalisingly close to winning the nomination. He needs only a few
dozen delegates to clinch it and he'll get some of those early in the week when the final two
states vote. That's expected to prompt a flood of previously uncommitted super-delegates to declare
their allegiance.

To clear his way for the general election, Barack Obama resigned from the church where preachers
keep delivering incendiary sermons.

JEREMIAH WRIGHT: No, no, no! Not God bless America, God damn America!

MARK SIMKIN: First there was the Reverend Wright furore, then a white Catholic priest and Obama
supporter mocked Hillary Clinton.

MICHAEL PFLEGER: I'm white, I'm entitled, there's a black man stealing my show!

MARK SIMKIN: Barack Obama's attended the church for 16 years but after the latest unholy row he
decided to quit the congregation.

BARACK OBAMA: This is not a decision I come to lightly, and frankly it's one that I make with some
sadness. I know that it's the right thing to do for the church and for our family.

MARK SIMKIN: Reverend Wright is could still haunt Barack Obama in the general election. His
inflammatory rants and bizarre conspiracies will almost certainly feature in Republican attack ads.

This is Mark Simkin in Washington for The World Today.

Warne leads team to win first IPL final

ELEANOR HALL: He may have retired from the Australian cricket team but Shane Warne has just
recorded another career milestone, leading the winning team in the first Indian Premier League
Final.

As captain and coach of the Rajasthan Royals, he's widely lauded in India for uniting a team of
experienced international players and promising Indian talent, as Michael Coggan reports from
Mumbai.

(Sounds of fans cheering)

MICHAEL COGGAN: Sixty thousand fans at Mumbai's D.Y. Patil Cricket Stadium cheer a thrilling last
ball victory for the Rajasthan Royals, in the final game of the first Indian Premier League
tournament.

Led by captain and coach Shane Warne, the Royals held on to score eight runs off six balls to beat
the Chennai Super Kings.

SHANE WARNE: It's just one of those things, I think, was meant to be. We've probably had three of
four close finishes off the last ball, second last ball, and I suppose we're the entertainers of
the IPL. You get down, I don't think anyone could have written a script like that to, off the last
ball in the final, was an unbelievable way to finish the game.

MICHAEL COGGAN: The win has turned Warne's star power up to Bollywood status, with the spectators
celebrating a spectacular turn around from the non-event contests seen in the two IPL semi-finals.

Warne says he has no reason to bowl another ball until next year's IPL, but he has no plans to walk
away from cricket.

SHANE WARNE: Look, I'm getting a bit old, I'm 40 next year, I'm a bit too old for these sort of
things, I tell you. But, look I've enjoyed it, and being around so many young guys in trying to
impart my knowledge in 20 years of first-class experience onto these guys, they make me feel young.

MICHAEL COGGAN: The spin bowler turned captain-coach has been widely praised in India for pulling
together a team of experienced international players including Shane Watson, and South African
Graeme Smith, and young Indian recruits.

It's that mix of mentoring and enjoying the love of cricket on the Subcontinent that gives Warne
the confidence that the IPL Twenty/20 format is here to stay.

SHANE WARNE: The passion that people show towards cricket, and getting behind their team, for me,
when you're bowling to a legendary Indian player and you get them out, and the crowd cheers, it's a
different experience.

So I think one of the beautiful things about the IPL is the different cultures that have come
together for each franchise. For us, we've had South Africa, England, Pakistan, India, Australia.

MICHAEL COGGAN: But there is no clear word on what cricketing role Warne will play into the future.

SHANE WARNE: Maybe I'll bring my walking stick next year. (laughs)

ELEANOR HALL: A Shane Warne press conference, after his team won the Indian Premier League final in
Mumbai. That report from Michael Coggan.

Fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent dies

ELEANOR HALL: He was the dominant fashion designer of the 20th Century and from his first show in
the 1950s he revolutionised the way women dressed.

But yesterday, Yves Saint Laurent died in Paris. The 71-year-old had retired from Haute Couture in
2002.

Australian designers though say the designer's influence is still obvious in fashion today, as
Ashley Hall reports.

ASHLEY HALL: Yves Saint Laurent is credited with changing forever what women wear.

He brought trouser suits and tuxedos into a woman's wardrobe. And made classics out of
square-shouldered suits with patch pockets and brass buttons, and wrap-back skirts.

The Yves Saint Laurent style even saw safari suits paired with thigh-high boots. And transparent
blouses that revealed more than ever before.

JAYSON BRUNSDON: He was an icon, he was an incredible iconic designer, I'd say between himself and
Coco Chanel, they really invented the way that the modern woman really dresses.

ASHLEY HALL: Jayson Brunsdon is an Australian designer whose work, it's said, often reflects some
of the cinematic appeal often ascribed to Yves Saint Laurent.

JAYSON BRUNSDON: He really fashioned a whole generation, from the 50s onwards of women who were a
lot more concerned both with their careers and sexually. He mirrored the times with the sexual
revolution of the 60s and 70s and women going to work. He put them into trouser suits, he put them
in ethnic, he put them in retro. His influence is huge, it's still huge.

ASHLEY HALL: What do you think it was that allowed him to read the mood or to anticipate what it
was that women were wanting?

JAYSON BRUNSDON: He surrounded himself with women. Women were his best friends. So he really knew
what they wanted, and they were very young, energetic, vibrant women of a new generation in the 60s
and 70s. Women like Paloma Picasso, Catherine Deneuve and Betty Catroux, women who really lived a
new, modern lifestyle.

ASHLEY HALL: Yves Saint Laurent was born and grew up in Algeria, where his flair for design was
obvious, as he made clothes to fit his younger sister's dolls.

At 17 he went to fashion school in Paris and before long had won a design competition with a sketch
of a cocktail dress.

That victory scored him an introduction to Christian Dior, who hired him on the spot as a new
assistant. He didn't remain the understudy for long, taking over as chief designer when Mr Dior
died in 1957.

But three years later, he was called up for military service in the Algerian war. His service only
lasted three weeks, but by the time he returned, he'd already been replaced.

So Yves Saint Laurent began his own design house in 1962, with his partner Pierre Berge.

The Australian fashion designer Charlie Brown says she drew on Saint Laurent for inspiration for
her early work.

CHARLIE BROWN: I love the smoking jacket, and I love the see-through blouses and I like the
masculine with the beautiful.

ASHLEY HALL: And do you think his work is still influencing what we're wearing today?

CHARLIE BROWN: He was the one that introduced the trapeze dress, and we just went through a season
of trapeze dresses. So, I think so.

ASHLEY HALL: The Yves Saint Laurent label became synonymous with all the latest trends, including
the concept of ready-to-wear fashion.

Over the years, the label's been attached to everything from perfume to luggage.

But in 2002, Yves Saint Laurent decided he'd had enough. Acknowledging his long-term battle with
drinking and depression, Yves Saint Laurent retired from Haute Couture.

YVES SAINT LAURENT (translated): I have lived for my profession and through my profession. I want
to thank you all for having been faithful to my shows, for having supported, understood and loved
me. I will not forget you.

ASHLEY HALL: At the time, Parisian shoppers wept. Today, designers around the world are joining
them.

ELEANOR HALL: Ashley Hall reporting on the designer Yves Saint Laurent, who died in Paris on the
weekend.

Green sheep kids' theatre production going strong

ELEANOR HALL: It is box office gold, a play that in its fifth Australian season, still sells out in
every theatre it plays in.

And it is a limited target audience, the Australian theatre production, The Green Sheep, is aimed
at children under four years of age. It has now played to more than 38,000 children both here and
around the world.

And as Nance Haxton reports, the theatre phenomenon shows no sign of losing its appeal.

(Sound of chimes)

NANCE HAXTON: The mystery starts the moment you arrive for The Green Sheep.

Instead of sitting in front of a static stage, at the beginning of this show, the audience is
herded through gates into a small farmyard.

ACTORS: Where is the Green Sheep?

NANCE HAXTON: And the puzzle of finding the Green Sheep begins.

This show based on Mem Fox's book of the same name has become such a success, it's sold out two
overseas tours and is about to start another one.

The show will debut in New York in September, before travelling on to Seattle.

It's become an international phenomenon for Adelaide's Windmill Performing Arts Company, the scale
of which even took its founding director Cate Fowler by surprise.

KATE FOWLER: A lot of people said oh children, little babies, won't sit for 35 minutes. But as you
can see today they do, and consequently people have been fascinated in the work. It looks very
simple and very beautiful, but it's quite complex and as you can see the children follow the
journey of the green sheep. But it's just been a thrilling piece to do.

NANCE HAXTON: The success of The Green Sheep is part of a worldwide trend where small children hold
increasing market power.

KPMG partner George Svinos says The Wiggles started the craze, setting the standard for children's
entertainment more than 10 years ago.

GEORGE SVINOS: The Green Sheep is certainly following in the foot steps of what we've witnessed
with, I think, Wiggles and Bananas. And I guess from that perspective, you could expect them to go
a long way.

NANCE HAXTON: How much of pulling power do children themselves have or is it really the parents who
are choosing the products for their children, or are children also having a part to play in this by
demanding certain things?

GEORGE SVINOS: I think it's both contributing to the outcome that you've suggested because
certainly from an outsider's perspective, I would have sat down and said, "Oh, it's all the
parents," you know, how can they, a one, two or three-year-old tell you what they want.

But in reality, if you're had children of your own and you see how a video or taking them to this
sort of show or giving them that sort of toy immediately mesmerises and occupies them, then
certainly they're voting with their actions.

NANCE HAXTON: The Green Sheep is aimed squarely at the under fours, and has tapped into an
international realisation of the power of theatre for the young, as artistic director Rose Myers
explains.

ROSE MYERS: I think it did surprise people, but now people are just so aware with all the new
contemporary brain imaging, just understanding the level of activity and the way people learn, or
children learn at that age. And just how important a role theatre has to play in all of that.

NANCE HAXTON: That's something actor Ninian Donald can vouch for. He says acting for four years
olds has been his biggest challenge yet.

NINIAN DONALD: There's definitely a thing with babies and small children. They're not going to
stand still or sit still. They will be moving around, they will want to touch things, so it's very
tactile. You have to be on crowd control a little, and hopefully the parents are as well.

NANCE HAXTON: At the end of the show, the children are invited to read the book and learn some of
the instruments they've watched being played.

ACTOR: Here is the near sheep, and here is the far sheep!

NANCE HAXTON: And do they find the Green Sheep?

ACTOR: He's sleeping! Good night Green Sheep!

ELEANOR HALL: And don't they love it. Children at the performance of The Green Sheep, ending that
report from Nance Haxton.