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UN talks about more talks on North Korea

Reporter: Kim Landers

PETER CAVE: An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council has failed to agree on how to respond
to North Korea's rocket launch at the weekend.

North Korea says the Taepodong-2 launch vehicle successfully placed a satellite into orbit, but the
United States says it was a failure and that all sections of the rocket plunged into the sea.

The US maintains the whole exercise was designed to test the country's long range missile

With Japan, the US is pushing for a new UN Security Council resolution, but China is urging

The only thing the UN Security Council members could agree on was to continue consultations.

North America correspondent Kim Landers reports.

KIM LANDERS: After three hours of talking, there was no agreement and no action.

UN Security Council members couldn't decide what to say about North Korea's rocket launch.

The emergency meeting called at the request of Japan broke up with the Security Council president,
Mexico's Ambassador Claude Heller, saying just this.

CLAUDE HELLER: Members of the Security Council agreed to continue consultations on the appropriate
reaction by the Council in accordance with its responsibilities, given the urgency of the matter.

KIM LANDERS: So the 15 members of the UN Security Council will continue consultations over the next
hours and possibly even days.

North Korea insists it launched a satellite.

The United States says Pyongyang was testing ballistic missile technology which could carry a
nuclear device.

And even though the US military says the rocket's payload and all of its booster stages ended up in
the ocean - it was enough for President Barack Obama to use a speech in Prague to lash out at North

BARACK OBAMA: This provocation underscores the need for action - not just this afternoon at the UN
Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons.

Rules must be binding, violations must be punished, words must mean something. The world must stand
together to prevent the spread of these weapons.

Now's the time for a strong international response.

(sound of cheering)

KIM LANDERS: But once again strong rhetoric from countries including the US hasn't been backed by
firm resolve from the international community.

The US says North Korea's rocket launch violates a 2006 UN Security Council resolution which
prohibits Pyongyang from conducting ballistic missile related activities.

The US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice isn't giving up hope of Security Council action.

SUSAN RICE: The United States' view is that the most appropriate response to an action of this
gravity would be a Security Council resolution.

KIM LANDERS: Japan's UN envoy says, Tokyo too, is seeking a Security Council resolution and a
"clear, firm and unified" response.

But China's Ambassador Zhang Yesui says the world should refrain from taking action that might lead
to increased tension.

ZHANG YESUI: Well I think we are now in a very sensitive moment. Our position is that all countries
concerned should show restraint and refrain from taking actions that might lead to increased

We are committed to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and also in
north-eastern Asia. And also for the process of six-party talks.

Regarding the reaction from the Security Council, our position is that it has to be cautious and

KIM LANDERS: Just hours after North Korea launched its rocket, US President Barack Obama was
promising to lead the world into a nuclear-free future. Touting an ambitious plan to stop the
global spread of nuclear weapons.

Wendy Sherman was the North Korean policy co-ordinator in the Clinton administration and she had a
rare meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

WENDY SHERMAN: I think that Kim Jong Il has actually helped President Obama today because he has
given a perfect example of why the President's remarks are so important. That we really have to
stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

At the same time I think he was either going to do it during the NATO meeting yesterday. The West
military alliance or today during the President's speech about nuclear non-proliferation.

In either case I think Kim Jong Il has helped President Obama make a very serious and important
point for the world's peace and security.

KIM LANDERS: Yet even Barack Obama has admitted that a world without nuclear weapons may not happen
in his lifetime.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.

North's allies defy push for sanctions with call for patience

Reporter: Stephen McDonell

PETER CAVE: The push in the UN Security Council against North Korea was effectively neutered by
both China and Russia.

As has happened in the past, North Korea has managed to divide the world.

I'm joined now on the line by China correspondent Stephen McDonell in Beijing.

Stephen before the launch China joins the chorus against the rocket launch - has it changed its
tune now, do you think?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Well China has a really strange relationship with North Korea. There are
obviously these historic links like Chinese soldiers who fought and died on the North Korean side
of the Korean War, and it sort of sees North Korea like a little brother or something like that.

I mean in the real politic of the world South Korea is probably much more important than China now
in terms of the economy, than North Korea is.

But even within the Communist Party in China there are all sorts of reasons why China can't go in
too hard on North Korea. So when North Korea says, 'oh we're doing nothing but putting a satellite
up into space', and it goes ahead even though they warned in terms oh - don't de-stabilise the
region, don't do it.

Once it happened, I suppose China feels it's got no choice but to say 'alright look let's all just
all calm down now and really not do anything'.

PETER CAVE: Nevertheless China remains the only country with anything like a real line of
communication with the government in Pyongyang.

Do you think they'll be complaining to North Korea in private?

STEPHEN McDONELL: Well, China if it really wanted to could probably bring down the Government in
North Korea because it supplies vital aid to North Korea, and really props the whole economy up.

Now if the Chinese Ambassador was to turn up to the Government today in Pyongyang and say look if
this happens again, we're going to pull all aid to your country. Well it would have to listen, I

Now some people say that China is actually playing a bit of... some sort of strange double game here.
And that on the one hand they might be saying certain things in public and in private - you know,
you never actually know what they're actually saying.

So, you know, you would like to be a fly on the wall to see what the Chinese Ambassador has to say
to the North Korean Government today.

PETER CAVE: So where does all this leave the six-party talks on dismantling North Korea's nuclear

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Well of course the six-party talks; China sees these as its baby. The six-party
talk's process really kicked off again because of China's diplomatic initiative.

Now this is China's sort of way of saying to the world - look our attitude in terms of solving
these big problems on the world stage - it can work. We bought North Korea back to the negotiating

Now if there are sanctions against North Korea, China's worried that they're going to run out
altogether, and it will leave China with egg on its face as well.

Mind you at a certain point it's a bit dangerous for China because China needs something to come
out of this process eventually. Or it's going to seem like China's third way on world diplomatic,
sort of, problem solving just doesn't work.

So it's quite crucial for the six-party talks.

PETER CAVE: It's also left Japan looking fairly powerless hasn't it?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Yes well Japan and North Korea have both been talking up the need for some sort
of action on this... and so now we've got this dynamic where China, Japan and South Korea are, you
know, are sort of facing-off with one another, in terms of what to do with North Korea.

Because these three countries are really inter-locked in terms of their economies; and, you know,
much more than North Korea which is out there on its own in this region.

So the pressure continues in north Asia care of North Korea, and some people say that really this
is a kind of bizarre way of North Korea getting world attention anyway, and that all this is going
to be some sort of a bargaining chip down the road so that they can extract something more out of
the six-party talks, or get some more aid out of Japan, or South Korea - or China for that matter.

PETER CAVE: Stephen McDonell live on the line from Beijing.

North Korean missile launch a reminder, says analyst

Reporter: Tanya Nolan

PETER CAVE: Dr Brendan Taylor is an expert strategic and defence studies at the Australian National
University in Canberra. I spoke to him earlier today.

Doctor Taylor what is in it for the North Koreans?

Why do they push ahead?

BRENDAN TAYLOR: I think Peter there's probably three factors at play.

I think the first of those is to try and get the attention of the Obama administration early on in
its first term.

The Obama administration is of course pre-occupied with the global financial crisis, and in the
Middle East. They're trying to get attention early in the first term I think, is important.

I think it's very hard to know what's going on inside North Korea. It's often referred to as the
blackest hole of black holes, by the US intelligence community; but perhaps another factor that
could be Kim Jong Il the North Korean leader trying to re-assert himself. There were some concerns
surrounding his health last year that could be a part of it.

But also trying to advance North Korea's own missile program base with the possibility of selling
missiles to other countries; but also in terms of defending itself against the perceived threat
which the United States and its allies pose to the North Koreans.

PETER CAVE: Might it be connected in some way with buying more time for its nuclear program?

BRENDAN TAYLOR: I think that could definitely be a factor. It's something which the North Koreans
have traditionally tended to do in the past; particularly during the six-party talks process; a
process involving the US and China, the two Koreas; Japan and Russia.

It's during that time in terms of trying to take attention away from the nuclear issue we have seen
reference made to the missile issue, and that's perhaps one of the reasons also why the North
Koreans have launched the missile at this time, and what they have to get out of it.

PETER CAVE: Why is North Korea so immune to pressure from just about the whole world?

BRENDAN TAYLOR: I think one of the major reasons is - it's just lack of interaction with the
outside world. There are a few countries that have close economic and trading relations with North

China's one of the few countries which does have close trading and economic relations with the
North Koreans, but they've been reluctant to put as much pressure on the North Koreans, as the US
and other countries would like it to.

PETER CAVE: Kim Jong Il himself he's portrayed as a buffoon. As you've said he was portrayed over
the last 12 months as being gravely ill, in fact on his last legs.

Is he a more formidable man then the West gives him credit for?

BRENDAN TAYLOR: I think so; I think he's a very, very shrewd negotiator. And I think even in the
lead up to the latest rocket launch - we've seen just how shrewd a negotiator he is.

So I think that the fact that particularly during the time that the G20 summit was occurring that
the fact that North Korea was able to compete for news headlines during that time was really a
testament to what a shrewd and wily operator Kim Jong Il really is.

I think that the fact that North Koreans gave so much warning that the launch was going to take
place was a way of prolonging the international attention which was given to them. And I think if
you look at the pattern of negotiating behaviour, over the past one-and-a-half decades you can see
that there is a pattern there and it's not simply the actions of a mad man or an irrational actor.

PETER CAVE: Is it a case similar to the case we saw with Iraq before the invasion when Suddam
Hussein was threatening that he had all sorts of weapons and abilities that he didn't have?

BRENDAN TAYLOR: I think that in the North Korean case it's slightly different. I think the North
Korean armed forces are a much more formidable proposition then the Iraqi armed forces were.

The North Koreans have a million man army; they have quite considerable missile capability.

And I think the one lesson out of the Iraq experience that Kim Jong Il has learned is that states
which do possess nuclear capabilities tend not to be invaded as frequently as states which don't.
And I think he would've looked at what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq and then taken a lesson
from that. And I think it's a lesson that the Iranians have also taken as well.

PETER CAVE: The Americans say this missile launch was a dud, yet you say he has extremely good
missile capabilities; exactly what are they at this stage?

BRENDAN TAYLOR: I think in terms of the longer range missile capabilities they are still very
rudimentary - for say a missile with the capability to hit the United States or to hit Australia,
for example, are very rudimentary.

And I think that if indeed the tests are not a failure and indeed it does appear as though it was a
failure with the second stage of the three states rocket, apparently failing, then I think we can
definitely see that North Korea continues to have limitations in terms of its ability to fire
missiles over a longer range.

But it's short range missiles - and it's medium range missiles with the capability to hit, say
South Korea or Japan are much more numerous, and also have been proven before, through previous

PETER CAVE: Dr Brendan Taylor from the ANU.

Economists split on central bank rates decision

Reporter: Peter Ryan

PETER CAVE: Tomorrow's meeting of the Reserve Bank board has economists divided on whether official
interest rates will be cut again or left on hold.

Even the economists who are betting on a reduction admit it will be a close call as the central
bank weighs up its recent dramatic cuts with a sinking world economy.

Some of those calling for a rate cut think it should be a hefty one to ensure that banks pass at
least some of the reduction on to borrowers.

Here's our business editor Peter Ryan.

PETER RYAN: Economists have rarely been so divided about the central bank's thinking.

In a poll of 21 soothsayers conducted by the Reuters newsagency, 13 think the Reserve Bank will
keep the cash rate on hold for the second consecutive month at 3.25 per cent.

The rest expect an easing of between a quarter and half a percentage point.

The Macquarie Group's interest rates strategist Rory Robertson is in the latter group - but even he
thinks it will be toss-up.

RORY ROBERTSON: I think it's an extremely close call and as outsiders we're just guessing, but I
think the Reserve Bank is going to cut by half a percentage point tomorrow.

PETER RYAN: Rory Robertson says the Reserve Bank could be about to reverse its advocated strategy
of staying on the sidelines given the wide acknowledgment, though still technically unofficial,
that Australian is in recession.

RORY ROBERTSON: The main things that's happened since then is that the economic downturn the
Reserve Bank forecast in February has morphed into a recession that the Reserve Bank didn't

So this issue would be is the Reserve Bank going to respond to the significant downside surprise in
the economy since it began its pause.

PETER RYAN: And you believe that will be 50 basis points?

RORY ROBERTSON: Well I'm guessing. I think you know it's either nothing done, a quarter point or a
half a point. And I think a half a point cut is the most likely scenario.

PETER RYAN: The chief economist at St George Bank Besa Deda is also in the rate cut camp - but only
just, tipping a less dramatic reduction.

BESA DEDA: Well I think it will be a very close call tomorrow; but we wouldn't be ruling out a rate
cut. So, we're pricing in a rate cut of 25 basis points tomorrow.

PETER RYAN: Besa Deda admits that with the cash rate now at a 45-year low, the Reserve Bank could
just as easily hold fire this time around, given optimistic economic signs.

BESA DEDA: They may want to give it a little bit more time to assess what the impact of the
stimulus to date has had on the economy. So therefore have a little bit more time to examine the

And the second one is that the RBA will need to weigh the trends in the economy against those ones
in the financial markets.

PETER RYAN: Some economists believe the Reserve Bank is also weighing up the attitude and
willingness of banks to pass on future rate cuts to borrowers.

JP Morgan economists Helen Kevans believes if the RBA cuts deeper tomorrow, it will be to ensure
borrowers receive at least some relief.

HELEN KEVANS: We think that the RBA will lean towards a 50 basis point cut. One reason is though
that locally the RBA will be looking to get more bang for its buck.

And by that I mean that by delivering a 50 basis point cut we're more likely to see the local banks
pass on some of those rate cuts. And we might see a fall in borrowing costs as well.

PETER RYAN: Do you think that if there is a cut of just 25 basis points that some banks might hold
some, or all of that back?

HELEN KEVANS: We have heard a lot of rumours that banks will be passing on no future cuts to the
official cash rate. But we do think if a 50 basis point cut is delivered then we may see some past
through of that.

If a 25 basis point is delivered I would suspect that the banks probably won't tend to cut rates at

PETER RYAN: Some economists predicting no movement tomorrow are strident in their views.

In addition to forecasting a pause, Westpac believes the Reserve Bank will continue to assess local
and global indicators until August, which could see the start of a new cutting cycle where rates
could fall to a low of two per cent.

PETER CAVE: Our business editor Peter Ryan.

Job ads slump as stimulus payments start to flow

Reporter: Alexandra Kirk

PETER CAVE: As millions of Australians start receiving their stimulus payment this week, the
Federal Government and Opposition are locked in a war of words, on how best to stem those job

The Government's latest effort is a $650-million jobs compact.

While much of it is yet to be fleshed out, there are more dark clouds on the economic horizon.

The latest ANZ Bank jobs survey shows another steep decline employment ads... and that's prompted the
bank to revise up its unemployment forecast -- to more than eight per cent next year.

From Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Tax Office is preparing to send out the latest $900 economic stimulus payment.

More than seven million Australians will receive the money from Wednesday, part of the Government's
plan to soften the blow of the global recession and job losses.

WAYNE SWAN: The tax bonus will play a very important and vital role.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Treasurer Wayne Swan says the savage contractions in employment in overseas
economies, for example in the retail sector, are not being seen in Australia because of the direct
stimulus payments.

WAYNE SWAN: Well what we're doing with the tax bonus is filling a gap between now and when the
direct investment really flows into schools and housing, and energy efficiency.

You see it takes a bit of time to organise that direct investment. That is beginning to flow
through. And that will flow through the rest of this year and into next year.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And while not predicting what the Reserve Bank may do on interest rates tomorrow,
the Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner says there's still some room to move.

LINDSAY TANNER: But they have already come down 400 basis points, so that's a very substantial drop
and we've now got a very large amount of stimulus flowing into the Australian economy through the
reduction in interest rates and the Government's fiscal packages.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The jobs picture will become clearer with the release later this week of new
unemployment figures. The latest indicator, today's ANZ Bank survey, shows jobs ads fell 8.5 per
cent last month, down nearly 45 per cent from a year ago.

That's prompted ANZ to increase its unemployment forecasts, to more than 8 per cent next year. It
predicts the jobless rate will jump to 5.5 per cent on Thursday, a four-and-a-half-year high.

The Government's forecast of 7 per cent by mid next year is expected to be revised up again in next
month's Budget. That's why Kevin Rudd announced yesterday a temporary $650 million local jobs fund.

Most of the money had already been promised in the Senate deal struck to get the second stimulus
package through.

It will help local councils build new community infrastructure: such as playgrounds, bike paths and
restoring heritage buildings.

And there'll be start-up money for innovative social enterprises for the not-for-profit sector.

The Government's under added pressure because its revamp of the privatised Job Network could cost
up to 3,000 jobs.

Jobs Australia represents many providers who missed out on contracts in the new employment tender.

Chief executive David Thomson is meeting the Minister Brendan O'Connor this afternoon.

DAVID THOMSON: In addition to anymore information we can get about some of the quirkier and
stranger results in the tender and why they occurred. Particularly in relation to high-performing
organisations that haven't been successful.

We want to talk in some detail with the Minister about how some of those organisations can play a
role in the delivery of some of the initiatives announced by the Prime Minister yesterday.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: So what more could they do, do you think, in order to qualify for some of the
temporary local jobs fund?

DAVID THOMSON: Some of those organisations in fact, the great majority, have a lot of experience in
undertaking that kind of work. A lot of them were around at the time of the last recession, and
were doing this type of work.

What they need to get down to is how they can quickly become involved, and quickly start delivering
what the Government needs to be delivered.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: What more can they do?

DAVID THOMSON: I think identifying some of the opportunities there are to create work and work
experience training opportunities for people.

There's a lot of these organisations, for example, that have been delivering work for the dole over
the life of the former government up until now that have the necessary supervisors that have all
the administrative infrastructure and other things that are needed to actually get these things

And one thing's very clear if the measures announced by the Prime Minister yesterday are to be as
effective as they need to be, they need to be put in place on the ground as fast as possible.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Federal Cabinet meets tomorrow to nut out what's shaping up to be a very tough

The Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner says the Government's looking at deficits of close to $100
billion over the next three years. And the Budget's likely to see it blow out further.

The Opposition's threatening to block Budget measures it considers reckless spending. Reckless is
the buzz word on both sides of politics.

WAYNE SWAN: Oh look the Opposition is just being completely reckless and irresponsible. You know I
think they'd rather see the country fail then see the Rudd Government succeed.

Fancy even raising the prospect of doing something like blocking budget measures.

PETER CAVE: The Treasurer Wayne Swan.

Bikie chief surrenders to police

Reporter: Michael Edwards

PETER CAVE: A man allegedly at the centre of Sydney's bikie gang feud has today surrendered himself
to the police.

They've wanted to question the Comanchero motorcycle club president Mick Hawi for days now
following the fatal brawl at Sydney Airport late last month.

Five other Comanchero members have been arrested over the fight which resulted in the death of a
Hells Angels associate, Anthony Zervas.

Anthony Zervas's brother Peter - was shot last week.

Last Thursday police searched Mick Hawi's house said they believed he was in hiding.

But the bikie gang leader's lawyers say that isn't true that their client has always been ready to
co-operate with the police.

Michael Edwards has this report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Sydney's media were alerted to Mick Hawi's surrender to police via a statement
from his lawyer, Lesly Randle.

LESLY RANDLE: In accordance with arrangements that were made with the authorities last week, Mr
Hawi presented himself this morning and he was placed under arrest.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Today's arrest of the 28-year-old Comanchero president comes after an
investigation by New South Wales Police into a fatal fight at Sydney Airport last month.

Hells Angels associate Anthony Zervas died of injuries he received in the fight.

It's alleged members of the Comanchero motorcycle gang squared off against members of the Hells

Five other Comanchero members have been arrested over the brawl.

Lesly Randle says she doesn't yet know the details of the case against Mr Hawi.

LESLY RANDLE: No I haven't been informed as to what the case is. I'm led to believe it's a similar
case against Mr Hawi, as it is against the other persons which I represent.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: That's the affray relating to the brawl at Sydney Airport.

LESLY RANDLE: Yes that's right.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Bikie-gang related violence has put Sydney on edge in recent weeks.

The city has been wracked by bombings, drive-by shootings and last week Anthony Zervas's brother -
Hells Angels member - Peter - was repeatedly shot.

There's been speculation gangs have been amassing arsenals and that there's even been a price put
on the life of Mick Hawi.

It was believed Mick Hawi had been hiding from police. But Lesly Randle says this isn't the case.

LESLY RANDLE: At no stage has there been any breakdown in communication between Mr Hawi's legal
representatives and the authorities. And in fact Mr Corn (phonetic) was in hospital Wednesday,
Thursday and Friday last week which made him unavailable to attend the police station and/or appeal
Mr Hawi's behalf at court.

That was the only cause of the delay in Mr Hawi attending on police which he did today.

And in fact during that entire period of time the authorities were always informed as to our
position and that Mr Hawi continued to be willing to present himself to police.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: So he wasn't hiding in any way?


MICHAEL EDWARDS: The New South Wales Police say today's arrest sends a clear message that the force
is committed to combating violence by outlaw motor cycle gangs and their associates.

The arrest comes as the New South Wales Government has implemented harsh new laws designed to
combat bikie gangs.

It's been reported police have stepped up security around the state's Premier Nathan Rees because
of the crackdown.

There's also speculation one of Sydney's major bikie gangs could soon face the wrath of these laws
by being designated as a criminal organisation.

PETER CAVE: Michael Edwards with that report.

Ice bridge collapse sparks fresh climate change concerns

Reporter: Michael Vincent

PETER CAVE: Researchers say that another major ice shelf in Antarctica has shattered and is in
danger of breaking away.

Over the weekend the ice bridge linking the Wilkins Ice Shelf and two islands snapped.

Scientists and environmental campaigners say it's another example of the rapid rate of climate
change and the Obama administration agrees.

But the environmental campaigners say that despite the shared concerns, new developments are having
little impact at major climate change negotiations underway in Europe.

Michael Vincent reports.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Scientists have been watching the Wilkins Ice Shelf slowly shrink or retreat since
the late 1990s.

Now using satellites they've been able to watch in the last 72 hours the collapse of an ice bridge
linking the shelf to an island.

Neal Young is a glaciologist from the Australian Antarctic Division.

NEAL YOUNG: On the weekend that thread, that long band of ice going back from an island to the rest
of the ice shelf started to break up, and if you look at the radar images, what you see is a
shattered area of ice. And it looks like that supporting thread is now gone.

MICHAEL VINCENT: But Neal Young says this particular event won't have an immediate effect on sea

NEAL YOUNG: The ice shelf is floating on the ocean so if people are talking about, or thinking
about sea level - and see level rise. No effect on that because it's already there on the ocean.
Whether it's in solid form or liquid form, it doesn't change sea level.

What it will do is open up the front of the ice shelf, or what will become the front of the ice
shelf to further break-up.

MICHAEL VINCENT: But he says Antarctic glaciers could now melt into the Southern Ocean and raise
sea levels.

NEAL YOUNG: Removal of the ice shelves appears to take away something that held back the glaciers
that fit into them. They have been observed to speed up in some cases by several fold, even as much
as seven times.

Around the greater Antarctica area with the very big glaciers we don't expect that sort of
multiplied factor in increase in speed if the ice shelves were removed.

But we certainly expect an increase in speed and that will definitely have an impact on sea level.
And this is one of the big unknowns that was underlined in the Inter-Governmental Panel On Climate
Change report.

That there's no way we can produce reliable projections into the future, what the contribution of
the ice sheet might be on sea level, because there is no way yet that we know how to create
reliable projections of their behaviour.

These are a lot of the things we need to learn to be able to do that.

MICHAEL VINCENT: This week Washington DC will play host to an historic joint session of the
Antarctic Treaty Consultative Committee Meeting and the Arctic Council.

Already the Obama administration has acknowledged that what is taking place in Antarctica is the
consequence of climate change.

Scientists and environmentalists will be listening closely to the comments of US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton when she speaks to the meeting later today.

Dr Gilly Llewellyn is the program leader for oceans at WWF-Australia.

GILLY LLEWELLYN: Ironically, literally as those ministers are meeting we're witnessing the collapse
of ice shelves before our eyes driven by climate change impact.

MICHAEL VINCENT: What is it about this latest event that concerns you the most?

GILLY LLEWELLYN: Look the numbers are frightening, the last survey we were seeing 28 of 36 glaciers
appear to be retreating in South Georgia.

Of the 244 marine glaciers that drain the ice sheet in associated islands of the Antarctic
Peninsula; 212 of them, so that's almost 90 per cent of them have shown overall retreat since 1955.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Also underway this week - international negotiations in the German city of Bonn to
discuss the next steps in confronting climate change.

Head of campaigns for Greenpeace Australia Pacific Steve Campbell says political discussions just
aren't keeping up with events, like those in Antarctica.

STEVE CAMPBELL: The negotiations in Bonn are going far too slowly. It's clear that the science is
going much faster than the politics of the climate negotiations.

There are some targets, CO2 emission reduction targets on the table, but they are nowhere near at
the level that needs to be seen.

PETER CAVE: The head of campaigns for Greenpeace Australia Pacific Steve Campbell.

Zimbabwe draws up 100-day renewal plan

Reporter: Barbara Miller

PETER CAVE: Just weeks after it was sworn in, Zimbabwe's power-sharing government has come up with
an ambitious plan to stabilise the country and to restore ties with the West.

At a three-day retreat in Victoria Falls, ministers from Zanu-PF and the MDC drew up a 100-day
renewal program.

The plan would see the restoration of human rights and the easing of restrictions on the
international media.

Barbara Miller reports:

BARBARA MILLER: In the luxury and seclusion of the Victoria Falls resort, Zimbabwe's power-sharing
government came up with a five-point plan to turn the country around: Restore human rights; address
security concerns; stabilise the economy; build infrastructure and re-engage the international

The Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa from President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party elaborated on
this last point:

PATRICK CHINAMASA: We've committed ourselves to normalising relations between Zimbabwe and those
countries with disengaged primarily the EU, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the white
Commonwealth countries.

So a co-team of ministers has been set up to do the re-engagement.

BARBARA MILLER: The ministers also agreed to lift restrictions on foreign media and begin
consultations on a new constitution.

The plan is being seen as an important statement of intent, aimed above all at Western donors, many
of whom remain unconvinced that anything has really changed in Zimbabwe.

Australia went out somewhat on a limb last month by announcing that in addition to humanitarian
aid, it would provide $10-million in assistance to the new government.

The 100-day plan may be ambitious, it may be purely practical, but the level of agreement required
between the former foes to even come up with it has pleasantly surprised many observers.

Geoffrey Hawker is the head of politics and International Relations at Macquarie University:

GEOFFERY HAWKER: I know many of us, including myself six to eight weeks ago were saying, oh in a
couple of months we'll know whether it's still hanging together or it has fallen apart, and
probably most of us thought it would've fallen apart.

And there's an awful lot of territory to go, but cautiously one is a bit optimistic at this stage.

BARBARA MILLER: They've set themselves 100 days to achieve these goals, that surely is extremely

GEOFFERY HAWKER: Well it is and there are some difficult obstacles in the road. I mean the Western
donors have made it clear that they want to see, for example, the central bank chief Gideon Gono,
go. And I'm not confident that's going to happen - and there's a question of what happens to Mugabe

But, if they are hanging together three months from now; if they are for example letting foreign
journalists in, and South Africa is continuing to cooperate, then that will be further definite
steps down the road.

BARBARA MILLER: It's early days yet, but there are some signs that at least those close to Robert
Mugabe may be for turning:

GEOFFERY HAWKER: I mean a lot of the hard-liners have always worried about what happens to them.

Now I do think there's a get home free card for them.

You can't be confident about this, but at least some of them are going to think - well if we hang
in hard-line and we crash this attempted reconciliation between the political forces, we're risking
a lot. This way maybe we shift, we're part of the transition.

Where that leaves Mugabe himself and the real hard-liners and the security forces, that is another
question and we don't know the answer to that at this stage, at all.

BARBARA MILLER: While the political fortunes are rising of President Mugabe's former opponent
Morgan Tsvangirai, things could not be worse at a personal level.

The Prime Minister's grandson drowned in a backyard pool at the weekend.

The young boy had been back in Zimbabwe with his parents attending the funeral of Morgan
Tsvangirai's wife Susan, who died last month in a car crash.

PETER CAVE: Barbara Miller reporting.

Afghanistan President says new Sharia law is under review

Reporter: Karen Barlow

PETER CAVE: The Afghan President Hamid Karzai has attempted to allay international fears that the
rights of the country's women are being dragged back to where they were under the Taliban.

The President last week signed a law which says that a woman has to have sex with her husband once
every four days and can't leave home without him.

Women's groups say it sets a frightening precedent, and the new law has been condemned by the US
President Barack Obama, the United Nations and NATO.

Hamid Karzai is reviewing the law but says its wording may have been misinterpreted outside

Karen Barlow reports.

KAREN BARLOW: The law only applies to Afghanistan's Shiite Muslims which make up about 10 to 15
percent of the population.

But human rights groups say it sets back the entire country.

The law states that a woman must ask a male relative to leave the house and must have sex with her
husband every four days.

Alexandra Gilbert is working in the capital Kabul for the group Rights & Democracy; she says the
laws are part of political play.

ALEXANDRA GILBERT: It's very scary because it is somehow legalising some customary practices that
have been taking place in the centre region of Afghanistan.

You know the Shiite community basically in central and northern Afghanistan, so they did it for
sure, like a political strategy for the upcoming election on August 20th.

KAREN BARLOW: Observers say the law appeared to pass in relative secret and its wording has not
been widely publicised.

News of its passing came late last week and the US President Barack Obama immediately condemned it
as abhorrent.

The Italian Government is considering removing troops from Afghanistan in protest and the Canadian
Government is pressuring Afghanistan to drop the laws.

The Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs is Lawrence Cannon.

LAWRENCE CANNON: Of course this is extremely alarming. And it's troublesome for a lot of the

I did have discussions yesterday with two of our allies on this specific issue.

So we are calling, I am calling for President Karzai in the very close, first opportunity to be
able to come forward and give the explanations regarding this presumed piece of legislation.

KAREN BARLOW: The UN's agency for women UNIFEM says laws appear to legalise marital rape.

Susan Harris Rimmer is a researcher the ANU and is on the Australian board of UNIFEM.

SUSAN HARRIS: It always seems that the rights of women can be traded in an election when Karzai,
for example, he has to try and mitigate or come to terms somehow with some of the more religious
factions of the Afghan Parliament.

KAREN BARLOW: Where does this law place women in Afghanistan?

SUSAN HARRIS: Well right back where they started under the Taliban really. I think that's the
problem, is that so many of the troops and governments - Western governments - who have troops in
Afghanistan relied upon rhetoric about the rights of woman as one of the justifications for being
in Afghanistan.

That's one of the reasons why this was a more legitimate conflict, for example than Iraq, because
obviously the way that the Taliban treated not just women - lots of groups of society.

KAREN BARLOW: Stung by Western criticism, the Afghan President Hamid Karzai, called a news
conference to allay fears.

HAMID KARZAI: We understand the concerns of our allies in the international community, those
concerns may be out an inappropriate or not so good translation of the law or a misinterpretation
of this.

What I saw today does not deflect that.

KAREN BARLOW: Hamid Karzai says the Minister of Justice is reviewing the law; and anything of
concern will be changed in consultation with religious clerics and sent back to Parliament.

But Afghan MP Fazia Kove is not convinced.

FAZIA KOVE: I will doubt at this stage we could bring any changes because the political arena in
Afghanistan, the political environment is very fragile, and it gives little chance for such a, you
know, universal values to be applied.

PETER CAVE: Afghanistan MP Fazia Kove ending that report from Karen Barlow.

East Timorese families lament lack of justice

Reporter: Margie Smithurst

PETER CAVE: This month, ten years ago, East Timor was wrenched apart by violence on its path to

Today marks the tenth anniversary of one of the worst massacres of 1999, at a church in the small
town of Liquica, where it's estimated up to 100 people were killed by pro-Indonesian militia, with
the support of Indonesian forces.

There were three significant massacres in East Timor April of 1999.

A special Indonesian criminal tribunal was set up to bring Indonesians who'd committed crimes to
justice - but all those convicted were eventually acquitted.

The victims' families are outraged by the fact that so few people have ever been brought to justice
over the 1999 crimes.

Margie Smithurst reports.

MARGIE SMITHURST: Christina Carrascalao was 20 years old when East Timor erupted into murderous
violence, perpetrated by raging bands of pro-Indonesian militia groups.

She says it was terrifying and people were in constant fear of their lives.

CHRISTINA CARRASCALAO: You just have to learn to cope with the fear, to cope with the pressure - to
cope with the terror that was going on.

You know a lot of killings were happening, a lot of houses being burned. People were being

MARGIE SMITHURST: The militia had the arms and support of the Indonesian military and were trying
to force East Timorese to vote to become an autonomous part of Indonesia.

Ten years ago today, the terror reached its peak in the small seaside town of Liquica.

About 2000 pro-independence supporters were sheltering at the Catholic church in the town when they
were attacked by machete wielding militia.

Estimates of the death toll vary, the official police report from the time says only five people
died in the attack.

But eyewitness accounts reckon between 30 and 100 people were killed that day.

Only one person - a militia member - is serving jail time in East Timor for the crimes.

Now 30, Christina Carrascalao has spent the last decade helping the victims and says ten years on
they still feel helpless - as they simply want justice.

CHRISTINA CARRASCALAO: They feel like their loved ones that were killed have not been honoured with
justice. They only ask for that, they're not asking for compensation - they're not asking for

MARGIE SMITHURST: But Christina Carrascalao's story doesn't end there.

11 days after the Liquica church massacre, refugees fleeing that violence were sheltering at her
father's house in Dili.

She and her father had just driven out to the airport, leaving their brother behind.

On their way home, her brother phoned to say militia had surrounded the house, and feared leader
Eurico Guterres was holding a gun to her brother's head and asking where she and her father were.

It was the last time she spoke to her brother.

CHRISTINA CARRASCALAO: Eurico asked my brother 'so your dad is not here, so where is chris?' Chris
is out with my dad. And then 10 - 15 minutes afterwards, we just heard gunshots.

And my father and others wereone block away from the house, and that was the moment where I knew
that um... that was it.

That that was the end of everybody that was there at the house.

MARGIE SMITHURST: According to the International Centre for Transitional Justice, Guterres was one
of 18 people - including a number of senior Indonesian military officers who were indicted to stand
trial before an ad hoc Human Rights Court in relation to crimes in East Timor during 1999.

Only six people were convicted and all were eventually acquitted.

Fernanda Borges is a Member of Parliament in East Timor and heads the Committee on Justice and the
Rule of Law.

She says the East Timorese Government hasn't done enough to demand the perpetrators of the crimes
be brought to justice, and says the Government is more interested in reconciliation between East
Timor and Indonesia.

Fernanda Borges believes the international community must set up a war crimes tribunal to handle
the crimes of 1999.

FERNANADA BORGES: Unless they do this the country is still verging on instability because Eurico
Guterres, the perpetrator of these violent crimes is living across the border from East Timor, in
West Timor, and he is running for governor.

What if he gets elected and he is able to use his powers to destabilise East Timor again, and use
that type of force on the people.

PETER CAVE: East Timorese Member of Parliament Fernanda Borges. Our reporter there was Margie

Financial crisis - a laughing matter

Reporter: Rachael Brown

PETER CAVE: Escapism has long been a medicine for harsh economic reality, and it seems that
Australians may be turning to laughter to escape the current economic malaise.

The 23rd annual comedy festival in Melbourne has already racked up more than a million dollars in
ticket sales.

From Melbourne, Rachael Brown reports.

RACHEL BROWN: This is the festival's currency. Melbourne comic Justin Hamilton says there's no
richer sound.

JUSTIN HAMILTON: It's really addictive, you get that first laugh. There's absolutely nothing like

RACHEL BROWN: I think Russel Cain described it as coke for the ego.

JUSTIN HAMILTON: (laughs) Yeah what a great quote! I think that's completely right.

RACHEL BROWN: There'll be 330 acts up almost 10 per cent on last year.

Since then there's been the changing of the political guard in America, so Hamilton says his
colleagues might have to dig deeper for fodder.

JUSTIN HAMILTON: Kind of adapt their humour to still be anti-authority while deep down still having
a man crush on new President.

RACHEL BROWN: Comedian, Charlie Pickering.

CHARLIE PICKERING: The comedians that like to do topical or political material have a unique
challenger this year.

RACHEL BROWN: People like Wil Anderson who loved sticking the boot into Amanda Vanstone. Those
characters just aren't around anymore.

CHARLIE PICKERING: No, she did her best to get back on the radar by having a dog attack at
Pakistani dignitary. Which is quite an amazing effort for a diplomat.

RACHEL BROWN: Bushisms may wane this festival, but Wil Anderson hopes George Dubya has given
hecklers some creative inspiration.

WIL ANDERSON: Ah look I would like to see some more sheer throwing (phonetic). I thought it was
very sad that guy... he was one of those great moments where sometimes you don't need to go to a
comedy festival to see comedy.

RACHEL BROWN: This year's acts range from traditional stand up, to musicals - to an op-shop tour,
to a former cocaine smuggling lawyer - turned author - turned comic.

Festival director Susan Provan says the material is steered less by its writer, than the times.

SUSAN PROVAN: I actually think its changes in technology that have the biggest impact on the
changing natures of performance. The integration of audio-visual and computers, thing that you see
in every second show now.

RACHEL BROWN: Are you worried about a potential drop in patronage given the global financial
crisis, job losses, bushfires?

SUSAN PROVAN: We've already sold well in excess of a million dollars worth of tickets, and that's
before we've opened. So I'd say we're very on track to match last year's nine million odd dollars
of ticket sales.

I think people always need a laugh, in hard times people always turn to bread and circuses.

RACHEL BROWN: Wil Anderson says it's the perfect excuse for a laugh.

WIL ANDERSON: Entertainment in many ways can be resilient through these times.

RACHEL BROWN: So the same philosophy of ladies' lipstick during the recession?

WIL ANDERSON: Ah yeah exactly. (Laughs) I would like to think of my show as the ladies' lipstick of

RACHEL BROWN: Charlie Pickering, you'll provide the circus?

CHARLIE PICKERING: Yeah that's exactly right. You can bring bread to my show.

Let's not forget there's a set of stimulus hand outs that are about to happen. I mean there's
nothing better to spend you stimulus money then on local comedy.

(Sound of dog barking)

CHARLIE PICKERING: That's the dog barking by the way, it's not me.

PETER CAVE: Barking mad. Comic Charlie Pickering, part of the rabble entertaining Rachael Brown