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

Russia advances into Georgia

Russia advances into Georgia

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:10:00

Reporter: David Mark

ELEANOR HALL: The Russian invasion of Georgia appears to be escalating well beyond the borders of
the original flash point, South Ossetia. News agencies are reporting that Russian troops have
invaded several towns inside Georgia and have moved closer to the capital, Tbilisi.

But while the fighting intensifies, so does the propaganda war with both sides seeking to take the
high moral ground. David Mark prepared this report.

(Sound of street traffic)

DAVID MARK: Georgia is well and truly shrouded in the fog of war with claims and counter claims of
a Russian advance deep into Georgian territory. International media organisations are reporting
that Russia has invaded well beyond the original flash point of South Ossetia.

Russia has confirmed that it has advanced beyond the borders of Abkhazia in the East and launched
an operation in the Georgian town of Senaki. Although it says it has withdrawn other reports
suggest Russia has also taken control of the towns of Kurga, and Zugdidi and military bases in the
West of Georgia

There are more reports of Georgian casualties in the town of Gori and of bombing in the capital
Tbilisi. This woman spoke to reporters from the South Ossetian town of Tskinvali.

RESIDENT (translated): I'm here with my disabled girl, only two of us in this building. My husband
died, not in this war but in the previous one. This is what they turned our small beautiful city in
to. But that's nothing; you don't even know what's going on.

In Zenori they burned 50 people alive, a tank went over an old lady with two children. I don't know
what to say, if only God would help us and Russia we count on you.

DAVID MARK: The conflict began five days ago when Georgia sent forces into the pro-Russian province
of South Ossetia, that declared itself independent from Georgia in the early 90's. Moscow
immediately retaliated and while there have been deaths on both sides, it's civilians who are the
main casualties.

Russia claims 2,000 people have died in South Ossetia since fighting began. For now though,
Russia's President, Dmitry Medvedev, is talking only of peace.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV (translated): We have completed the most significant part of the operation,
compelling the Georgian side to peace in South Ossetia. Tskinvali is under the full control of the
reinforced Russian peace keeping contingent. We, I, mean the Russian peace keepers will take all
necessary measures to defend the lives of Russian citizens.

DAVID MARK: But Georgia's pro-west President, Mikheil Saakashvili, is presenting a different story.
He says Russia has sent 20,000 troops and 500 tanks into Georgia. After dodging a Russian bombing
run in the town of Gori half-way between South Ossetia and the Georgian capital, President
Saakashvili, was still speaking defiantly.

MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI: And there can be no plans of surrender of any responsible Government. We will
protect every household in Georgia as much we can and we'll, you know, lots of people certainly
have been showing that and of course there are people who have already died for that and there are
people willing to die for that in the future.

DAVID MARK: But in the face of an overwhelming military presence, with Georgian troops pull back to
the capital and reports of Russian troops taking control throughout the country, the Georgian
President is making a desperate plea to the World.

Russia's goal, he says, is to overthrow his country.

MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI: And the result and the end game of this operation of Russian troop is to
commit ethnic cleansing and annihilation of ethnic Georgian population in entire Abkhazia. I want
to appeal to the world present consciousness, can one in the eyes of today's world say openly and
cynically those lies?

And can one still hesitate and say oh you know maybe we should think who's at fault and who is
doing what and who started and who responded? It is so clear what's happened. We are in the process
of invasion, occupation and annihilation of an independent democratic country.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, ending David Mark's report.

Russia rejects UN draft on Georgia truce

Russia rejects UN draft on Georgia truce

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:14:00

Reporter: Kim Landers

ELEANOR HALL: The Russian ambassador to the United Nations has rejected a draft resolution which
calls for an immediate ceasefire between Russia and Georgia. The United States is calling Russia's
military action in the former Soviet Republic "brutal" and "unacceptable" and the UN Security
Council has held another emergency session about the conflict.

But the meeting has broken up without any agreement. As Washington Correspondent Kim Landers
reports.

KIM LANDERS: For the fifth time in as many days the UN Security Council has held an emergency
session about the fighting between Russia and Georgia. But the diplomatic scrambling to resolve the
crisis doesn't seem to be working.

After the closed door meeting, Russia's Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has declared that
Russia will reject a proposed Western draft resolution which is based on a three point French peace
plan. It calls for an immediate truce and the mutual withdrawal of forces from the conflict zone.

VITALY CHURKIN: For us the situation is not as simple as our American colleagues or our Georgian
colleagues would like us or others to see.

KIM LANDERS: While the US has branded Russia's military action "disproportionate" Vitaly Churkin
points out that Georgian military activity is continuing too.

VITALY CHURKIN: We've had various forms of military activity, shelling in the vicinity of Tskinvali
and South Ossetia. We see continual general mobilisation of the Georgian forces. We see
reinforcements being prepared for the area and we see the same kind of concern in the area adjacent
to Abkhazia.

KIM LANDERS: Georgia's UN representative Irakli Alasania isn't mincing words.

IRAKLI ALASANIA: Today Russia changed the history back towards the cold war when the military power
is going to is trying to subdue and crush young democracy by overwhelming power. The full invasion,
military invasion of Georgia is going on.

KIM LANDERS: US President George W. Bush is also intensifying his public criticism of Russia's
Government but without mentioning the Russian President or Prime Minister by name.

GEORGE W. BUSH: I am deeply concerned that Russian troops have moved beyond the zone of conflict,
attacked the Georgian town of Gori and are threatening the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. There's
evidence that Russian forces may soon begin bombing the civilian airport in the capital city. These
reports are accurate. These Russian actions would represent a dramatic and brutal escalation of the
conflict in Georgia.

KIM LANDERS: President Bush has also accused Russia of trying to overthrow the Government in
Georgia. But after today's UN Security Council meeting, the US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, says
he's been assured by the Russians that that is not the case.

ZALMAY KHALILZAD: The United States is not looking for hostile relations between Russia and the
United States. That's not our goal. We want this conflict to be resolved, ceasefire to go into
affect as quickly as possible.

KIM LANDERS: But the US is also leaving no doubt that it thinks that the longer this conflict goes
on, the more damage it'll do to Russia's international reputation. President Bush says Russia's
military operations are "unacceptable in the 21st century" and he says Moscow's standing in the
world has been "substantially damaged".

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.

Families separated by fighting

Families seperated by fighting

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:18:00

Reporter: David Mark

ELEANOR HALL: Nino Gordeladze is a Georgian woman who's been living in Australia for six years. Her
family is still in Georgia, but she told our reporter, David Mark, that her parents have been
separated since Russia began bombing the country on the weekend.

NINO GORDELADZE: My mother and my grandmother's are in Tbilisi, the capital. My father, my sister
and my brother in-law are in the mountains, no far from Batumi which is the port city at the Black
Sea.

DAVID MARK: And why is it that your family have been separated?

NINO GORDELADZE: Half of my family was at the Black Sea resort which is very common in summer for
the Georgian's to go to. And they, basically the attack started very unexpectedly and they were
unable to get back to the capital because of the insecurity on the roads.

DAVID MARK: How recently have you spoken to your mother in Tbilisi and your father on the Black
Sea?

NINO GORDELADZE: I spoke to them yesterday, to each one of them and both of them are painting quite
a gloomy picture. My mum, who's in the capital, she's been saying that the city has been bombed as
well - the capital city.

DAVID MARK: Is she saying where the bombing has taken place because there are mixed reports about
whether Tbilisi has in fact been bombed and whether it's been bombed in the centre or on the
outskirts.

NINO GORDELADZE: The outskirts had been bombed previously on the first couple of days of the
conflict, however, the actual city, the centre of the city was bombed yesterday. However I must
confirm that it was not the residential area that was hit there. There was some kind of logistics
base or something or other, but it's not too far from the residential area.

DAVID MARK: What is your mother saying about the basics of life, food, water, electricity? Is
everything still okay in Tbilisi now?

NINO GORDELADZE: No, food scarcity has started. People have been buying all the products and the
supply is very scarce now. They've been actually collecting water because there's shortages in
water are also expected as well as electricity. Given the bombings, the telecommunications have
been damaged and even within the country it's very difficult for them to contact each other.

On the other hand my dad and my sister are the other side of the country and they also have been
reporting bombings of the villages around Batumi. Yesterday as well. And that's one of the reasons
they had to flee the populated areas and they are actually hiding in the mountains at the moment.

DAVID MARK: Our reporter in Tbilisi has said that there's a lot of anger that's being directed at
the Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. Is that something your parents have expressed to you?

NINO GORDELADZE: No not at all. I think it's just propaganda that is started by the Russian's to
cause chaos within the country and the division within the country so they can try to impose a
candidate for Presidency that would be pro-Russian and would help them to control the country.

DAVID MARK: So your parents are still supporting the President?

NINO GORDELADZE: Yes, it's not just my parents, but that's the overall feel that they get around
them and all over the country. The war has actually pulled people together and even though they
realise Russia is a superpower, as in 150 million people versus four million in Georgia, they still
are strong in their spirit and they're ready to fight the enemies invading their country until the
last drop.

And even when I mention, would they flee the country? They refused to even think about it because
they see it as a betrayal of it.

DAVID MARK: From the information that you've garnered from your family, from their thoughts and the
thoughts of the people that they've spoken to, are they of the belief that Russia is trying to
overthrow Georgia.

NINO GORDELADZE: Yes, definitely.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Nino Gordeladze, a Georgian Australian woman who lives in Brisbane, was
speaking to David Mark.

Australia upgrades travel warning to Georgia

Australia upgrades travel warning to Georgia

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:22:00

Reporter: Samantha Hawley

ELEANOR HALL: And a short time ago, The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade upgraded
its travel advice for Georgia. A senior spokesman with the Department, Andrew Todd, has been
telling Canberra reporter, Samantha Hawley, about the change.

ANDREW TODD: Yesterday the department reissued the travel advice for Georgia and the overall level
has increased and we're now advising Australian's not to travel to Georgia where serious fighting
continues.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Okay, so do we know how many Australian's are actually in Georgia at the moment?

ANDREW TODD: At this stage we're aware of 15 Australian's known to be in Georgia and so far, all
but two of those Australian's have been contacted by our consular officials in Ankara and have been
offered consular assistance.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Assistance to leave the country? Or are most of those people remaining there?

ANDREW TODD: They can certainly to our advice is they should consider leaving as soon as possible
if they have a safe means of doing so and while borders remain open. But if they are unable to
leave or choose not to leave we are advising them to stay indoors in a safe location and monitor
local media for details about safety and security concerns.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Have any Australian's been injured during the fighting?

ANDREW TODD: We're not aware of any Australian's at all harmed by... in the conflict at the moment
and we are very keen to stay in contact with all Australia's registered with us and if there are
any family or friends who know of Australian's in Georgia at the moment we really do encourage them
to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade either online or on phone so we can
keep in contact with them all.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's Andrew Todd from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade speaking to
Samantha Hawley in Canberra.

US climate economist warns of ETS limitations

US climate economist warns of ETS limitations

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:26:00

Reporter: Eleanor Hall

ELEANOR HALL: As the Federal Government works to get its emissions trading scheme through the
Parliament in time for its preferred start date of 2011, a US environmental economist is warning
that trading schemes alone have major limitations as a solution to climate change.

Professor Michael Hanemann is the Director of the Climate Change Centre at Berkely University and
has been advising Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on how to reach that state's ambitions
emissions reduction targets.

He was recently asked by the Governor to assess the economic impact of climate change on the state
and he delivered his Scenarios Project to the Government in March this year. Professor Hanemann is
in Australia to talk to Government officials, business groups and academics and he joined me in The
World Today studio this morning.

Professor Hanemann, you were asked by California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to evaluate the
potential economic impact of climate change on California and you delivered that report earlier
this year. What did you find?

MICHAEL HANEMANN: Well we found that California faces serious threats to its water supply, to its
agriculture, to its energy system and also, health threat from increased ozone.

ELEANOR HALL: It was called the Scenarios Project and you projected into the future. Were you
shocked at what you found?

MICHAEL HANEMANN: Yes and no. the changes in some cases are large. For water supply for example, we
rely on the snow pack in the mountains to provide a third of all storage and by the end of the
century if no action is taken we lose 80 to 90 per cent of the snow pack. So that's in turn about
28 per cent of our water supply. That's a huge change.

We also face the prospect of severe crop losses from drought and extreme heat events. And even with
energy supply, we're vulnerable to big spikes in energy demand in the afternoons for air
conditioning so there really are significant costs to California if we don't take action.

ELEANOR HALL: And the cost to business of taking action?

MICHAEL HANEMANN: That's, we're still looking at that, but the bottom line was that it wouldn't
cost the Californian economy at the end of the day too reduce our emissions and that's, for several
reasons that are unique to California.

We don't have much coal, we have hydro and a major component of programs to reduce emissions will
be to increase energy efficiency. Increasing energy efficiency actually lowers costs and puts money
in people's pockets.

ELEANOR HALL: Is that one of the reasons why the Californian Government has been ahead of the pack
in the US on responding to climate change?

MICHAEL HANEMANN: Not really. The real reason California has been ahead of the pack is that it's
part of a tradition going back 30 or 40 years of activism to control air pollution in California
and to promote energy efficiency in California.

ELEANOR HALL: And then last month the California Government announced plans for an emissions
trading scheme that's linked to several other US states and some parts of Canada. Is that the right
approach?

MICHAEL HANEMANN: Yes it is. But it's important to emphasise that emissions trading is only one
part of a number of approaches that are being used. Much of the reduction will come from regulatory
programs aimed at requiring increased energy efficiency, aimed at changing agricultural and some
land use practises.

ELEANOR HALL: So coming to Australia, the relatively new Federal Government has moved to address
climate change and its focus is an emissions trading scheme. Do you have some concerns about that?

MICHAEL HANEMANN: Yes, in the sense that I think emissions trading is essential but by itself it is
not a panacea. Emission trading worked brilliantly for air pollution, for SO2 emissions but
greenhouse gases really are a much tougher problem and require more profound changes, really
behaviour changes, the introduction, the development of new technologies and that wasn't the case
with air pollution with SO2.

And so, I give you one example, California passed a law requiring electric utilities when they sign
new contracts, long-term contracts for power. The law says they can only contract with power plants
that have low emissions. They can't contract with, for example, conventional coal power plants.

ELEANOR HALL: So you will be talking to Government officials while you're here. What advice will
you have for them?

MICHAEL HANEMANN: Well I would advise them to think about the California approach, that is, think
broadly. With emission trading as part of the tools, but see this as a much broader challenge to
change behaviour, to introduce new technologies.

ELEANOR HALL: Australia's emissions are about the same as California's, is there an argument in
both cases that it doesn't really matter what happens here because our emissions are so small
compared to say China's?

MICHAEL HANEMANN: Obviously, I've heard that argument. I don't buy it myself and California sets an
example and influences behaviour elsewhere and in Australia. And with the Rudd administration also
is highly visible.

The other part of that is, we the US, Australia, OECD countries have been polluting, have been
emitting greenhouse gases for a long time and for the rest of the world, for China, for India, for
any developing country, for us to say "you know, we can't do anything, you're going to be a bigger
polluter than us", is just not going to cut it. There is a moral argument for us to act first, to
get our house in order and in that context, every bit counts.

The last thing I'd say on that is there's a sense in California that this is going to be the start
of major business opportunities. The new technologies are going to emerge as a result of this and
the feeling is that we should get in on the ground floor, so the notion of doing nothing and
waiting for other people to act, I think doesn't make sense morally, it doesn't make sense
politically and I think it doesn't make sense economically.

ELEANOR HALL: Professor Hanemann, thanks very much for joining us.

MICHAEL HANEMANN: It's my pleasure, thank you.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's Professor Michael Hanemann from Berkely University in California. He's an
advisor to the Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and he'll be speaking at the University
of New South Wales' Centre for Energy Research and Policy Analysis later today.

Farmers Federation angry over anti-GM website

Farmers Federation angry over anti-GM website

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:30:00

Reporter: Simon Lauder

ELEANOR HALL: To Victoria now where the battle over genetically modified crops is getting personal.
The Victorian Farmer's Federation is furious that an anti-GM group has published the names and
locations of farmers who are growing genetically modified canola.

The GeneEthics Network says state governments have failed to keep people fully informed and people
have the right to know. But the Farmer's Federation says it's an invasion of privacy which could
result in court action.

Simon Lauder has our report.

SIMON LAUDER: Earlier this year the Victorian and New South Wales Governments ended a ban on the
farming of canola, which has been engineered to survive the herbicide glyphosate. The GeneEthics
Network has long campaigned against GM canola, saying it spreads too easily to contaminate other
crops.

The director of GeneEthics, Bob Phelps.

BOB PHELPS: Well GeneEthics website is now carrying on its front page a map of the locations of the
farms that are growing genetically manipulated canola in Victoria and will shortly be also
publishing a map of those in New South Wales.

SIMON LAUDER: Why are you doing that?

BOB PHELPS: Well it stands in for what Government should have done and that is, they should publish
a register of the locations of GM crop sites, in order that people like bee keepers, grain
harvesters and the organic industry can protect themselves against contamination from these GM
canola crops.

SIMON LAUDER: The GeneEthics website uses news reports and other sources to name several farmers
who have planted GM canola and several others who have said they plan to. The Victorian Farmers
Federation says it's an invasion of privacy which could lead to legal action against the GeneEthics
network.

The Federation's President, Simon Ramsay, says the information is not in the public interest.

SIMON RAMSAY: I don't believe so. Certainly farmers have the right to choose whether or not they
want to use that biotechnology. There's nothing to indicated there's any trade issues in relation
use of GM or any food safety issues in relation to using GM foods. We use GM foods in a variety of
food stuffs now that can be brought by consumers at a retail level.

I don't believe it's fair on those producers to have their names publicly put out there on the
website by GeneEthics. It's purely a move by them to place pressure on those farmers, to try and
incriminate them and to discriminate against them in relation to publicly putting those sites on a
public website.

SIMON LAUDER: So you believe it amounts to bullying?

SIMON RAMSAY: Absolutely, in fact I think GeneEthics is an oxymoron given the unethical behaviour
by Bob Phelps and the organisation itself and certainly if there's any legal action that these
farmers want to take we'll be happy to support them.

SIMON LAUDER: So the insults are flying, regardless of whether lawsuits and canola-seed are as
well. Bob Phelps.

BOB PHELPS: Far from bullying farmers I think that the bullies are the VFF and these growers who
against the overwhelming majority of their other farmers, other rural industries and shoppers as
well. Even in the face of our objections they're going ahead whether we like it or not.

SIMON LAUDER: The Victorian Farmers Federation also says the naming of the farmers is an invasion
of privacy. Are you confident that the GeneEthics network will avoid any law suits here?

BOB PHELPS: Absolutely confident. If any of these growers had any objections whatever to being
named then they wouldn't have given their names to the journalist who interviewed them in the first
place. So if these people objected to the information about them being in the public domain that
was the time to object. Not now that we have simply gathered it together and republished it.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the Director of the GeneEthics Network, Bob Phelps, ending that report by
Simon Lauder.

Zimbabwe leadership talks at crucial stage

Zimbabwe leadership talks at crucial stage

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:34:00

Reporter: Sara Everingham

ELEANOR HALL: Power sharing talks between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai are due to resume in Harare today. The leaders have been discussing a way out of
the political crisis in the country which erupted into violence over the disputed elections earlier
this year.

It's been reported that President Mugabe appears confident of reaching a deal but that there are
disagreements over just how much power he will have to relinquish.

Sara Everingham reports.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The talks were due to finish on Sunday night but they continued yesterday and by
late last night there was still no sign of a deal. At the end of discussions yesterday the leader
of the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change Morgan Tsvangirai wouldn't comment on any
progress.

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: Negotiations will resume tomorrow and we'll advise on the position as we make
progress.

SARA EVERINGHAM: South African President Thabo Mbeki is mediating the talks which are aimed at
reaching a power sharing deal after this year's disputed elections. It's been reported that
President Robert Mugabe is upbeat about the talks. He says there have been some little hurdles but
that the sticking points can be overcome.

It's hard to imagine though how Zimbabwe's political foes can come to an arrangement. It's
understood new obstacles have emerged in the discussions mainly around how much power Robert Mugabe
and his ruling Zanu-PF party will have to relinquish in the deal.

It was back in July that President Robert Mugabe and the opposition's Morgan Tsvangirai signed a
deal to begin the power sharing negotiations. It's reported that yesterday bouquets of flowers and
chairs were delivered to the same hotel where that deal was signed in preparation for a ceremony.

But the flowers might be a premature gesture. Yesterday President Robert Mugabe was cheered as he
spoke to hundreds of people at a rally for Hero's Day, honouring those who died in Zimbabwe's war
of liberation. He used the occasion to blame the west for undermining Zimbabwe's progress.

ROBERT MUGABE: It is regrettable that our detractors continue to impose more sanctions on us. These
sanctions effectively undermine the rapprochement which should otherwise be cemented through the
inter-party dialogue.

SARA EVERINGHAM: He also fired a warning to the MDC that the country is not for sale, in the past
Robert Mugabe has described Morgan Tsvangirai as a "stooge" of western governments. Zimbabwe expert
Dr Tanya Lyons from Flinders University is one observer who doesn't believe the two rivals can
reach a deal.

TANYA LYONS: There two parties at opposite ends of the scale are, they loathe each other, the
leaders loathe each other, the supporters loathe each other. The people behind Zanu PF, Mugabe's
ruling party, the military are not going to allow a you know any democracy to go forward that has
the Movement for Democratic Change and Morgan Tsvangirai, as a significant leader in the country.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Still some see the negotiations as the best chance to end not only Zimbabwe's
political crisis but also its economic one. Dr Tanya Lyons says whoever it is that forms government
they'll have a job on their hands.

TANYA LYONS: If Mugabe goes back and continues to rein the country the way he has then the
international community, the African Union, the Southern African development community really needs
to put pressure on him to fix things up in his country because the people are absolutely suffering
and they're suffering so much that they're not going to rise up and get out on the streets and have
a revolution against the way the system is working because they're simply too exhausted and too
down trodden.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Zimbabwe analyst Dr Tanya Lyons from Flinders University ending Sara
Everingham's report.

Falun Gong prisoners targeted for organs: report

Falun Gong prisoners targeted for organs: report

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:38:00

Reporter: Jennifer Macey

ELEANOR HALL: China's human rights record is again under scrutiny, this time at an International
Transplantation Congress in Sydney. A Canadian human rights lawyer says he has new evidence of
forced organ removals from prisoners and Falun Gong practitioners in China.

David Matas says Chinese hospitals perform 10,000 organ transplant operations each year and that
many of the recipients are foreigners. As Jennifer Macey reports, he's now calling on the
Australian Government to do more to stop the practice.

JENNIFER MACEY: China performs an estimated 10,000 organ transplant operations each year more than
any other country in the world except for the United States. But China has no formalised system of
organ donations and human rights groups say the short waiting times and availability of organs in
China raises serious questions about their source.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch first reported 10 years ago that the majority of these
organs come from prisoners. Now Canadian Human Rights Lawyer David Matas says among the prison
population, it's now members of Falun Gong who are being increasingly targeted.

DAVID MATAS: China's source of organs for transplants is almost entirely from prisoners according
to the Deputy Minister of Health it's 95 per cent, according to other statistics it's 96 per cent.
So it's almost entirely forced organ harvesting. And there's two sources - it's prisoners sentenced
to death and Falun Gong practitioners.

JENNIFER MACEY: Mr Matas says hospitals and prisons have arrangements to split the profits made
through organ transplant operations, often to foreign patients. He says the prisoners are killed
after their organs are removed.

DAVID MATAS: Basically they wait until there's an order from the hospital, they will blood test the
person, and then they inject the person with potassium, and then they put them into a van and the
actual organ extraction is in the van, where the prisoner is killed through the organ extraction
and then the body is cremated.

JENNIFER MACEY: Last year David Mr Matas and Canadian former secretary of state David Kilgour
released a report investigating allegations of organ harvesting of Falun Gong members in China. Mr
Matas concedes it's difficult to find proof of this practise as China won't release official
statistics on executions or organ transplants

But he says he has new audio tapes of Chinese doctors admitting they have Falun Gong organs for
sale.

DAVID MATAS: We had callers calling in to China pretending to be relatives of patients who needed
organs and asking the hospital that they were calling for organs of Falun Gong practitioners on the
basis that Falun Gong's an exercise regime that practitioners are healthy and their organs are
healthy. And we got admissions on tape throughout China and we've got the transcripts in our report
and we've got phone records and we got the tapes from pick up to hang down.

JENNIFER MACEY: Dr Yuan Hong worked as a heart surgeon for ten years at a medical university
hospital in north eastern China. He says it was an open secret at his hospital that prisoners
organs were used in transplant operations for patients who had travelled from Japan.

YUAN HONG (translated): I start to notice these issues because one of the nurse wearing the army
dress and then I also find an anaesthetist also wear the same clothes. So I ask him "why do you
have to wear these clothes?" and then he told me, "we have to go to the place where people do
executions, so we needed to transplant a kidney there."

JENNIFER MACEY: So you knew of Japanese people who were coming to your hospital for organ
transplants?

YUAN HONG (translated): Because foreigner came to our hospital to be treated. It's a hot topic, so
everybody knows.

JENNIFER MACEY: Jennifer Zeng is a member of Falun Gong who was offered asylum in Australia several
years ago. In China she spent a year in a labour camp near Beijing. She says at the camp her blood
was taken for tests and she underwent several health checks.

JENNIFER MACEY: Only Falun Gong practitioners were tested and get this physical check up. A lot of
Falun Gong practitioners thought that Falun Gong got some special treatment, because they saw a
physical check up after you were there for long years, it's good for your health.

So they ask the police, 'how about we pay for the physical check' and the police clearly said no,
it's only for Falun Gong. So other prisoners even protested against it, they say, they are not
treated fairly because they obviously didn't know the purpose.

JENNIFER MACEY: Human rights lawyer David Matas says there's a lot more the Australian Government
could do to help stamp out the practice.

DAVID MATAS: The Government's could introduce extra-territorial legislation so that transplant
tourism can become a crime, the way now child sex tourism is a crime,.

ELEANOR HALL: Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas ending that report by Jennifer Macey.

St George talks up credit quality

St George talks up credit quality

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:42:00

Reporter: Peter Ryan

ELEANOR HALL: Australia's fifth biggest bank says it's no longer exposed to the risky investments
in the United States that are threatening the stability of the global financial system. In an
update to investors, St George Bank has confirmed that its credit quality is good and that it's on
track to deliver a record full year profit.

But despite that, the bank's chief executive is refusing to give any guarantees on interest rates
relief for its customers, if the Reserve Banks cuts official rates in the coming months.

This report from Business editor Peter Ryan.

PETER RYAN: Back in May, St George Bank shocked investors with an earnings downgrade as a result of
it's exposure to the widening global credit crisis. Now, as he prepares to unveil the bank's full
year earnings, St George chief executive Paul Fegan is counting on no more surprises.

PAUL FEGAN: There is no new bad news around single name shocks and our asset quality across the
group remains very strong. Our 90 day home loan arrears in fact are better than the position they
were in this time last year.

PETER RYAN: St George is now on track to deliver earnings growth of eight to 10 per cent this year
with a billion dollar cash profit. Revenue is up nine per cent, deposits are on the rise and
despite the downturn, home loans have risen by 10 per cent. But after widened risk exposures from
bigger competitors such as the NAB and ANZ, Paul Fegan was able to deliver a clean slate in some
shaky banking times.

PAUL FEGAN: We have no exposure to the US sub-prime market, indeed no exposure to the domestic
sub-prime market and no exposures to CEO's, CLO's or CDS's or in fact hedge funds.

PETER RYAN: So have financial markets seen the worst of the credit crisis? Not by a long shot
according to Paul Fegan.

PAUL FEGAN: Lots of volatility, I think we'll still continue to see that, there are a lot of things
still to work their way through the system, particularly in North America and in Europe. And in
terms of equity markets, I think volatility is here to stay, at least in the short-term.

PETER RYAN: Yesterday's confirmation from the Reserve Bank of a rapidly slowing local economy has
put the prospect is interest rate cuts firmly on the agenda, perhaps as early as next month. Paul
Fegan says borrowers are hurting, and the pressure for rates relief is growing from some
influential quarters.

PAUL FEGAN: We're acutely aware of the sensitivities both at a household level frankly and the
pressure that it's built on households around the cost of debt and also, the political
sensitivities around this as well.

PETER RYAN: So should banks slash their rates in line with official reductions from the Reserve
Bank? Paul Fegan like most other banking chiefs is dealing with the higher cost of sourcing money
and also keeping shareholders happy. So today, he was hedging his bets.

PAUL FEGAN: Our track record has been both on the way up and on the way down through many cycles,
it's moved quite quickly, the big decision that everyone wants to know is the extent to which, how
much of any rate decrease would be passed on and more particularly the timing. And it's really best
not to speculate on that and we'll deal with that when and if that decision's made.

PETER RYAN: So no guarantees as yet?

PAUL FEGAN: No guarantees. I'm not in the business of guarantees.

PETER RYAN: But one deal looking more certain for St George shareholders is the proposed
$18-billion merger with Westpac. Paul Fegan says it's on track for regulatory approval, despite the
tremors on global credit markets.

PAUL FEGAN: We're very pleased with the progress of how this is moving along. The timetable that
we've previously talked about, both at the announcement of the merger implementation agreement and
subsequent briefings continue to move. In terms of material the ACCC statement of issues released
on July 23 and we're expecting final decisions to be around August the 20th.

PETER RYAN: If the merger goes through, it will create a new hierarchy in the world of banking,
with the combined Westpac St George mega bank replacing the Commonwealth as Australia's biggest
bank by market value.

ELEANOR HALL: Business editor Peter Ryan.

Greens say uranium a big WA election issue

Greens say uranium a big WA election issue

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:46:00

Reporter: David Weber

ELEANOR HALL: The Greens Party in Western Australia is threatening to direct its preferences to the
Liberal party in order to pressure Labor to toughen its stance on uranium mining. The Carpenter
Government has allowed exploration of uranium in Western Australia but not mining.

And while the Liberals are hardly likely to be more sympathetic to the Green's demands for a ban,
the election is looking closer than expected and that is putting the Greens in a strong bargaining
position.

In Perth, David Weber reports.

DAVID WEBER: The Opposition hasn't detailed its election policy on uranium mining, but the Liberal
Leader's position is known. Colin Barnett supports it and last week, he repeated his belief that
the world was going to look to nuclear power to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

WA Greens MLC Giz Watson says her party wants uranium mining banned altogether.

GIZ WATSON: I think this election is going to be close than anybody thought, even a week ago. And
if there is a Barnett Government we know Barnett is a full supporter of uranium mining and we would
see an explosion in uranium mines here in the state.

DAVID WEBER: Doesn't it stand to reason then that there's no way that you'd be preferencing the
Liberals above Labor because the Liberals are supportive of uranium mining.

GIZ WATSON: Look, our preferences are still being negotiated and those decisions are yet to be
made. We are using this opportunity to put the maximum pressure on the Labor Party.

DAVID WEBER: Is it possible that it will be a seat by seat issue and not a blanket preference deal?

GIZ WATSON: That's always a possibility and this is a very short sharp election and the
negotiations are intense in regards to preferences. So it's entirely possible that we could go that
way or we could do an across the state arrangement. It's still not decided.

DAVID WEBER: The Head of Politics and International Studies at Murdoch University, Ian Cook says
analysts are revising their predictions in the wake of the Northern Territory election result.
Doctor Cook says the Carpenter Government should expect a backlash.

IAN COOK: I think it was fair enough for people to expect you know, a return to power of the
Northern Territory Government but, you know, I think they once again failed to factor in you know
going to an earlier election, not really having a strong issue to force that election and you know,
people reacting to that a bit.

DAVID WEBER: And it's a similar situation here really isn't it? I mean the Premier has said the
reason he called the election was to end speculation about when the election would be held.

IAN COOK: Exactly, I think this is even more of a non issue than the attempt to get a gas plant in
Darwin. You know, going to an electorate saying 'we're going to have an election because you keep
thinking we're going to have one' isn't a very powerful argument, it's not a really strong reason.
I think people are going to get quite cynical about why they're voting.

DAVID WEBER: Do you think that Labor might be in for a shock on September the 6th?

IAN COOK: I do. I think that they're really in a situation where public perceptions of a level of
arrogance, they've got you know the Burke and Grill affairs, they've got a series of less than
effective performances as part of their record. So then it's not as if they've got such a powerful
record that they can simply turn around and say 'oh, look at it'.

Economically of course, in Western Australia, things are going quite well to very well. So they've
got a strong economy, they don't have an incredibly strong record, so I think for those sorts of
reasons I think they should be not expecting to get back in very easily. I mean I think they will
win, but I think it will be a lot closer than they would have assumed when they first called that
election.

ELEANOR HALL: That's senior lecturer at Murdoch University, Ian Cook. He was speaking to David
Weber.

More gold for Australian swimmers

More gold for Australian swimmers

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:48:00

Reporter: Matt Brown

ELEANOR HALL: It's been another exciting morning at the Water Cube in Beijing. Our Olympics
reporter Matt Brown is at the Water Cube in Beijing and he joins us there now.

So Matt Brown, Leisel Jones the 100 metre breaststroke hot favourite, how did she go?

MATT BROWN: Well your timing's impeccable again today because she's just won the gold medal in the
women's 100 metre breaststroke in a very, very impressive swim. In fact, just looking at the time,
she's actually won by more than a second and a half which over 100 metres just shows how dominant
she is. She was more than a body length in front.

Unfortunately for Australia Tarnee White faded to finish sixth, but it's great news for Leisel
Jones who of course struggled so much in Athens under the weight of expectation. This is her first
individual gold medal at an Olympic Games. She already had two silvers and a bronze. So it's a
fantastic story and she just continued her domination of that stroke.

ELEANOR HALL: And what about the Australian surprise at the games, Hayden Stoeckel, the fastest
qualifier in 100 metres backstroke. How did he manage the pressure?

MATT BROWN: Yeah well he swam a little bit slower than yesterday but still managed to pick up a
medal which is great news. Aaron Peirsol, the world record holder actually shattered his own world
record so that's what it took to win it, that's what it takes to win an Olympic final these days.

Hayden Stoeckel finished in a dead heat for third and it was more or less a blanket finish over the
rest of the field. But that's a great result for a swimmer who we hadn't heard much of before the
semi-finals yesterday where he took a second off his best time to go in as the fastest qualifier.
He's a great story Hayden Stoeckel and a bronze medal, I'm sure he'll be happy with it.

ELEANOR HALL: What did he look like as he finished there?

MATT BROWN: He looked exhausted to be honest but I guess you would after such a tough race. So
look, he's a very, very laid back character and hopefully he would have taken the final in his
stride. Just watching him before the race he had his MP3 player in his ears right up until the last
moment. He was obviously psyching himself up.

Then he slapped himself around a bit, it was quite a performance on the blocks. But look, just not
quite good enough today but he's a real emerging challenge and hopefully over the next few years
will again have a male backstroker who can be a world force.

ELEANOR HALL: And Matt what happened with US swimmer, Michael Phelps, who was aiming to win the
third of a possible eight gold medals today in the 200 metres freestyle?

MATT BROWN: He couldn't have done it any easier, he broke his own world record again by close to a
second. He was a length and a half ahead the rest of the field over the 200 freestyle and picked up
his third of what could be eight. He won the freestyle relay yesterday, that hugely talked about
event. That was going to be the tough one for him and he's got that in his bag. So it's hard to see
him being beaten. I think that eight gold medals are an absolute reality.

ELEANOR HALL: And what of Bronte Barratt, the final. She got through to the finals, is that the
case?

MATT BROWN: Sorry, I am just struggling to hear you over the top of that. Which swimmer were you
asking about?

ELEANOR HALL: Bronte Barratt.

MATT BROWN: Oh yes Bronte Barratt, yeah she put in a great swim actually and I think qualified
fifth fastest for the final. She had a little bit of a disappointing 400 free but her 200 freestyle
was very impressive and she'll need to swim really, really well to win a medal in that event. But
if she can get close then that would be a good result for Australia.

ELEANOR HALL: Matt Brown at the Water Cube in Beijing, thank you.

MATT BROWN: Thank you

ELEANOR HALL: That's Matt Brown our correspondent at the swimming pool in China.

Humans made giant Tassie mammals extinct: study

Humans made giant Tassie mammals extinct: study

The World Today - Tuesday, 12 August , 2008 12:50:00

Reporter: Donna Field

ELEANOR HALL: New Australian research has put humans back in the frame as the driving force behind
the extinction of giant mammals in Tasmania challenging the long-held theory that climate change
was responsible for their demise.

The scientists say they've discovered fossils from the giant animals in the north-west of the
island that prove the megafauna were still alive when humans crossed a land bridge from the
mainland. They say the logical conclusion is that the giant kangaroos and other prehistoric species
were hunted into extinction.

Donna Field reports.

DONNA FIELD: About 50,000 years ago large marsupials roamed mainland Australia. But 4,000 years
later they were gone.

TIM FLANNERY: But on this mountainous island to the south that we now know as Tasmania, seven
species survived. A giant sloth like creature with a short trunk, something you might want to call
a marsupial hippopotamus and various kinds of kangaroos including some short faced kangaroos that
ate leaves and one thing called a giant wallaby and this is the animal that we dated which had a
very long neck, a rather slender long necked creature that presumably reached up into bushes and
trees to feed.

DONNA FIELD: Professor Tim Flannery, from Macquarie University, has co-authored a new study showing
the megafauna survived longer in Tasmania than on the mainland. Climate change has long been blamed
for the creatures' extinction but Professor Flannery says this latest study puts humans in the
frame.

TIM FLANNERY: We've had a look at Victoria where the megafauna become extinct much earlier and
Tasmania. We have got the same climatic patterns across that region. So you know why is it that the
megafauna in Tasmania survived longer than they do in Victoria? The answer seems to be that people
didn't get there until Bass Strait dried up and a land bridge formed between Victoria and Tasmania
allowing them in.

DONNA FIELD: He says the conclusion is logical. The humans hunted the animals to extinction.

TIM FLANNERY: The new findings from Tasmania strongly support the view that it was human arrival
and most likely hunting that caused the extinction of the megafauna.

DONNA FIELD: And fellow researcher Professor Bert Roberts, from the University of Wollongong, says
it didn't take long for humans to assert their supremacy.

BERT ROBERTS: I think in Tasmania the whole show might have been over in a thousand years or so of
human arrival. It might have been a bit longer on the mainland but I think Tasmania's a really good
case for there being rapid extinction through human hunting and not through climate change at all.

DONNA FIELD: The new study backs Professor Flannery's long-held belief that prehistoric megafauna
in Australian was wiped out by people instead of climate change. Professor Roberts says all the
evidence gathered from fossils in Tasmania and previously on the mainland shows that the giant
creatures survived the weather but not man.

BERT ROBERTS: And what we find here on Tasmania, just like on the mainland is that there are lots
of species, yes they might have suffered through previous glacial inter-glacial cycles but they
always rebounded. It's only when people arrived on the island they didn't rebound from that effect.

DONNA FIELD: The study is being published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences of the USA. It's being heralded as an important part of the emerging global picture about
the timing of extinctions. But Professor Flannery says it won't convince everyone.

TIM FLANNERY: Oh look scientists will dispute anything, we are the world's great sceptics, that's
our job so there will be an ongoing discussion about it. But I think it's one more very compelling
piece of evidence that in fact it was humans rather than climate that caused the extinction of
these amazing creatures.

ELEANOR HALL: Professor Tim Flannery from Macquarie University ending that report by Donna Field.