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Mexico facing isolation as emergency rooms fill up

Reporter: Michael Vincent

PETER CAVE: The Mexican Government moves to shut down public venues to contain the spread of swine
flu and other governments and international travel companies are taking measures to contain any

In the most drastic action to date, Cuba and Argentina have stopped direct flights to Mexico and
other governments recommend against travelling there.

Emergency room doctors in Mexico City say they're seeing more people with flu symptoms, but fewer
are actually being diagnosed with the virus.

And Mexican officials are beginning to count the cost - half a billion US dollars in the capital

Michael Vincent reports.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Cuba and Argentina have no cases of swine flu but their governments are not
prepared to take the risk.

They'll be stopping flights from Mexico for at least 48 hours.

The United States, Canada and the European Union have advised against non-essential travel to

The Australian Government is asking tourists to reconsider their need to travel there.

Some travel companies are taking matters into their own hands - Canadian tour operator Transat AT
is postponing flights to Mexico and US-based Carnival Cruise Lines has said it will no longer visit
Mexican ports.

In Mexico City, the officials say about 60 per cent of the capital's hotels have reported
cancellations due to the epidemic.

The city's Chamber of Trade, Services and Tourism is beginning to count the cost of the 10-day
shutdown of public venues.

(Arturo Medicuti speaking)

"We don't know how long it will go on," says the Chamber president Arturo Medicuti but he says by
next week they calculate the total money lost will be almost $US540-billion.

That figure was determined before the Government ordered all restaurants and cafes shut.

The Mayor of Mexico City went public again today adding more venues to their list.

(Marcelo Ebrard speaking)

Marcelo Ebrard says that gyms, sports clubs, swimming pools and billiard halls are also suspended
from activity as part of the strategy.

Office workers who can't take time off are still turning up for work but residents like Maru
Rodriguez say the actions of authorities are unprecedented.

MARU RODRIGUEZ (translated): Yes we are frightened. We've never seen a contingency of this
magnitude before - not just the capital, but the country.

One clear example is the famous annual carnival of Feria San Marcos - not even the Revolution
stopped that from taking place and now that's been suspended. Economically, we're going to be badly

MICHAEL VINCENT: Public venues above ground may be shut, and public bus drivers have been issued
gloves and masks but Mexico City's metro still continues to operate transporting hundreds of
thousands of people around the metropolis.

The El Universal newspaper reports that not only are passengers crowding together on platforms, but
not all are using face masks - while others have resorted to rubber gloves or even serviettes to
cover their mouths.

Dr Antonio Pedroza Franco is an emergency room doctor at the largest Red Cross hospital in Mexico

ANTONIO PEDROZA FRANCO: Now I think a good idea would be to close the metro but it is one of the
essential public transport that we have in the city; so it is probably something that is never
going to happen; close it down.

MICHAEL VINCENT: It is too big, it is too important to the city to be able to shut it down?


MICHAEL VINCENT: Dr Pedroza Franco and his colleagues have been receiving more and more patients
each day - they are isolating them from other emergency room patients before referring those
suspected of having swine flu to the nearby government hospital for an official diagnosis.

But he says the numbers of those diagnosed with the virus appears to be going down.

ANTONIO PEDROZA FRANCO: Right now, there is a lot less cases getting diagnosed because it is
actually stopping spreading the disease. But we also know that there can be an outbreak, I don't
know, maybe one or two weeks.

MICHAEL VINCENT: It really could come back that quickly?


MICHAEL VINCENT: So this may not be over for quite some time.

ANTONIO PEDROZA FRANCO: Yeah, I think this is going to be going on probably for about a month.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Residents who can afford to leave Mexico City are happy to wait out the current
crisis in other towns.

JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ: We kind of felt like everything is a bit up in the air at the moment.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Jose Luis Fernandez is a joint Australian-Mexican citizen who has taken time out
from his freelance work to go live in an isolated town south of the capital.

JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ: My personal biggest worry is having to use public transport. Normally I would
have to use public transport. So that is the main reason why we have come out of Mexico City.

MICHAEL VINCENT: And even those more closely affected by the crisis, like publishing executive
Adriana Beltran, say they will return to work.

She left Mexico City with her children yesterday and later found out that a 38-year-old salesman
from her company had died from the virus. Cleaners are now sanitising her offices, but despite her
initial anxiety she's philosophical about the situation.

ADRIANA BELTRAN: What I think is like people and countries need to do what they think is the best
for their citizens. Other people what they think what is the best for them and I am quite sure
things are going to pass and things are going to get better.

PETER CAVE: Publishing executive Adriana Beltran ending that report from Michael Vincent.

Queensland authorities search for seven amid swine flu fears

Reporter: Nicole Butler

PETER CAVE: Influenza experts are warning that it's inevitable that swine flu will reach Australia
- but they can't predict the scale of the outbreak.

A conference on the illness is being held in France today - but most doctors say it's far too early
to tell whether there will be a global pandemic.

Meanwhile in Queensland, authorities are searching for seven people who've been exposed to the
porcine virus.

They're spread throughout the state - after being on board a flight with a New Zealand school group
that's tested positive.

From Brisbane, Nicole Butler reports.

NICOLE BUTLER: Just days after news of swine flu hit the headlines in Australia; Queensland
authorities are desperately trying to contact seven people who've been exposed to the deadly

They were all on board a flight from the Americas with a New Zealand school group that has since
tested positive for the illness.

Queensland's chief health officer Jeanette Young says authorities know who the seven people are but
they are still trying to contact them.

JEANETTE YOUNG: Those seven patients that were on that flight with those children and teachers who
now have been confirmed as having the swine influenza are being followed up here as we speak in

We will contact them by phone. We will then find out the best way to go and visit them, to get them
to an emergency department or get them to their GP because as you know, Queensland is an enormous
state and these people could be anywhere.

NICOLE BUTLER: In fact, Dr Young says she knows the seven potential patients are spread throughout
the length and breadth of Queensland.

JEANETTE YOUNG: If they have any symptoms at all we will swab them and we will start them on
Tamiflu. Tamiflu is very important in this whole process and we are very fortunate that we have
large supplies of Tamiflu available.

NICOLE BUTLER: There have been reports of pharmacists on Queensland's Gold Coast running out of
Tamiflu but Dr Young says there's no need for that to happen.

She says Australia as a whole is well-stocked with the drug.

JEANETTE YOUNG: There is no doubt about that in this country. So anyone who has symptoms, that we
think could be possibly due to swine flu, we will be starting them on Tamiflu.

For a couple of reasons; one, it is very important that that person has it because it reduces
complications and although we are getting confused information out of Mexico and the United States,
it is very clear that the people who are dying from this, are dying from complications.

So if we can prevent those complications, we are doing the best thing for that person.

NICOLE BUTLER: Queensland's chief health officer says Tamiflu also stops the amount of virus a
patient excretes.

JEANETTE YOUNG: So that means they are less infective to other people. So that is what New Zealand
is currently doing with those people who have been confirmed. They are stopping those people from
spreading that infection onto other people.

NICOLE BUTLER: Dr Young says the World Health Organization and the Commonwealth will decide if
Australian authorities need to treat planes that come from New Zealand any differently now.

JEANETTE YOUNG: We are immediately ready to respond to when they make those decisions; but the
virus is not circulating in New Zealand at this point. It is being brought into the country through
someone who has contracted the disease overseas.

There has not been any human-to-human transmission in New Zealand; so that is different to Mexico,
to Canada and to the United States which is where we are very concerned about people coming from
those nations who might then have flu.

NICOLE BUTLER: This morning health authorities assessed three people who arrived at the Brisbane
airport from Los Angeles. But they were deemed not to have swine flu.

Queensland has the highest number of suspected cases in Australia so far.

JEANETTE YOUNG: We now have 27 cases that we are still investigating and those tests will continue
today; so at the end of today, we will know about those 27 but more will have come in.

NICOLE BUTLER: Even since The World Today spoke to Dr Young, that number has risen. There are now
31 suspected cases in Queensland. In Victoria, Commonwealth health officials say there is 19 cases
being investigated, but state officials say there are none.

In South Australia there are 14 suspected cases. New South Wales has 10 and the ACT has six.

Eight people could be infected in Western Australia, two in Tasmania and one person in the Northern

PETER CAVE: Queensland's chief health officer, Dr Jeanette Young ending that report. In fact it was
Nicole Butler ending that report. Before her Queensland's chief health officer, Dr Jeanette Young.

Japan tightens screening of visitors from Americas

Reporter: Mark Willacy

PETER CAVE: South Korean health officials believe they've identified the region's first case of
swine flu.

Meanwhile in neighbouring Japan the global spread of the virus has set off a near panic. The
country has now imposed tough new restrictions on Mexicans who want to enter Japan, and is
screening every plane-load of arrivals from North America.

It's also booked hundreds of hotel rooms near the country's main international airport, in case it
needs to quarantine suspected flu sufferers.

North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy reports from Tokyo.

(Sound of children in classroom)

MARK WILLACY: In this primary school in Tokyo, a class of restless 10-year-olds watches as their
teacher draws a picture of a pig on the blackboard.

Then with an artistic flourish he sketches an arrow linking the pig with the image of a child. The
message is clear - swine flu is a threat to all.

(Sound of teacher speaking Japanese)

"I'll now show you what to do to avoid this flu," instructs the teacher.

So far, Japan has avoided swine flu but many here believe it's just a matter of time before the
virus arrives.

At Narita International Airport near Tokyo, quarantine officials wearing masks and gowns are
boarding every plane landing from North America - about 30 flights a day.

Passengers have their temperatures checked by thermograph scanners and then have to fill in health
questionnaires and provide contact phone numbers.

(A woman speaking Japanese)

"They gave us masks to wear" says this passenger. "We were stuck inside the plane for over an hour.
Children were bored and crying," she says.

(A man speaking Japanese)

"I felt it was way over the top" says this man. "If it was a flight from Mexico then fair enough"
he says.

(A woman speaking Japanese)

"When we arrived quarantine officials boarded our plane, then I realised how serious the situation
is," says this woman.

(Yoichi Masuzoe speaking)

"We are looking back 10 days through the passenger roster" says Japan's Health Minister Yoichi
Masuzoe. "We'll then track these people down and do follow-up health checks" he says.

As well as boarding planes and doing follow-up screening, Japanese health authorities have booked
500 hotel rooms near Narita airport in case they have to quarantine suspected swine flu sufferers
just arrived in the country.

And there's expected to be fewer Mexicans arriving in Japan after the Government in Tokyo ordered a
tightening of visa measures.

Now, Mexicans can no longer visit Japan visa-free. If they want to come they have to get a medical
certificate first, then mail it and a visa application to one of Japan's consulates in Mexico.

Apparently, they want applications mailed so that no Japanese consulate staff will be exposed to
the virus.

On Japanese subways, on its streets, and in its shops, it's usual to see people wearing face masks.

Here, the masks are worn by people who are feeling a little off to stop the spread of their lurgy,
and they're also used to prevent infection.

But in this nation of hygiene-obsessed people, stocks of the ubiquitous face mask are in perilously
short supply.

(A woman speaking Japanese)

"I came straight to the store when I heard the news," says this woman, "because supplies of masks
are apparently running low."

(A woman speaking Japanese)

"I want to buy more masks to protect against the swine flu," says another shopper.

For many Japanese, a holiday wallowing in tequila and tacos is now a distant dream. Travel agencies
have cancelled all trips to Mexico.

And Japanese companies with branches in Mexico have recalled their workers.

Even a music festival to celebrate the 400th anniversary of relations between Japan and Mexico has
been called off. After all, it's hard to sing and sip champagne through a face mask.

This is Mark Willacy in Tokyo for The World Today.

Federal Government to tackle domestic violence

Reporter: Michael Turtle

PETER CAVE: The Federal Government has launched a new $42-million plan to tackle violence against
women and children.

It comes after an investigation into the scale of the problem found that a third of Australian
women will be assaulted during their lifetime.

The Prime Minister has announced the Government will set up a new 24-hour hotline and crisis

But the biggest focus is on prevention - and the aim is to teach boys from a young age that
violence is completely unacceptable.

Youth affairs reporter, Michael Turtle, explains.

MICHAEL TURTLE: It was at a school in Canberra's suburbs that the Prime Minister chose to launch
the Federal Government's new anti-violence campaign.

KEVIN RUDD: Hi guys, how are you.

RAY: Morning, good thank you.

KEVIN RUDD: Roy, is it?

RAY: Ray.

MICHAEL TURTLE: The message Kevin Rudd was trying to send was clear - that the attitudes men have
towards women are formed in these young, developing years and it's then that those attitudes can be
moulded correctly.

KEVIN RUDD: To you, the young people of this school and surrounding schools, where are you? Put
your hands up. Hi guys.

Um, you are a big part of the script today.

MICHAEL TURTLE: The Government's plan is based on a new major report by the National Council to
Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.

It's found one in three women will be physically assaulted in their lifetime, and one in five
sexually assaulted. And it's found financially, violence against women will cost the Australian
economy $13.6-billion this year.

The council has made 20 priority recommendations, and the Government will implement 18 of them.

KEVIN RUDD: There are many causes of violence against women, but there is one main cause and that
is the attitude of men towards women.

MICHAEL TURTLE: There's $12.5-million for a new national telephone and online crisis service. It'll
run 24-hours a day and be able to refer people to other services if needed.

But the focus is on primary prevention - particularly for young males. Nine million dollars will go
towards improving programs for school age children.

The programs aim to show young men how to treat women and they'll be available not just to those
still in school.

KEVIN RUDD: It is critical that all people, particularly young people develop the skills to
maintain respectful relationships. Respectful relationships programs will be implemented mostly in
mainstream school settings and will reach up to 8,000 young people over a period of five years.

Programs will also be implemented in non-school settings and will target vulnerable young people
including those with intellectual disability, young people who have left school and young people
living in remote communities.

MICHAEL TURTLE: The National Rugby League has also partnered with the respectful relationships
program, and will train former players to help with educating younger club members.

And the Government will commit $17-million for a public information campaign - also aimed mainly at
young men. It will use social marketing tools to try to change the attitudes of the current

KEVIN RUDD: The whole point here is that people can look to role models to inspire them to live
their life free of violence.

We have to make sure that the mistakes of the past are not, are not repeated in the future.

MICHAEL TURTLE: But while the Prime Minister is heralding the new plan, it has been slammed by the
former sex discrimination commissioner and former executive director of the Office of the Status of
Women, Pru Goward.

She says it won't work, because it wasn't developed in consultation with the states and territories
and doesn't provide enough on-the-ground resources.

PRU GOWARD: When you introduce a national call centre and it has been talked about many times
before and always rejected, all you do is have woman waiting in Kununurra and Cairns and Hobart for
help that relies on knowledge of local services that aren't there.

And you also increase demand for local services that again, aren't there.

MICHAEL TURTLE: The Prime Minister does say he is going to take these matters to COAG (Council of
Australian Governments) though and discuss it there. Isn't that exactly what you are asking for?

PRU GOWARD: Well, isn't that great. You announce the package, you decide what you are going to do
and then you go to the states for a tick-off. I can tell you because we did that 11 years ago -
that doesn't work either.

MICHAEL TURTLE: Anti-domestic violence groups say the Federal Government has made a step in the
right direction.

But they agree with Pru Goward that real change can only occur, if the state and territory
governments get on board.

Isabel McCrea is the executive director of the White Ribbon Foundation.

ISABEL MCCREA: There won't be any substitute for everyone working together now over the next year
to bring in the full implementation of the plan across all those different jurisdictions. It is
simply too complicated a problem that requires quite sophisticated solutions.

MICHAEL TURTLE: Whether the states and territories get on board is yet to be seen. The issue will
be taken to COAG and the Prime Minister has called on all governments to support the

PETER CAVE: Michael Turtle with that report.

ANZ takes a hit over profit result

Reporter: Peter Ryan

PETER CAVE: Australia's fourth biggest bank, the ANZ, has received a share market hammering this
morning after delivering a worse than expected profit result.

The ANZ's first half cash profit has been almost halved to $954-million, after a major blowout in
bad debt provisions.

The bank has also slashed its dividend while warning that tough economic times will continue well
into 2010.

Here's our business editor Peter Ryan.

PETER RYAN: More than a year ago, the ANZ's chief executive Mike Smith spoke openly about a
"financial services bloodbath".

Since that dire prediction, he's overseen a surge in bad and doubtful debts, deeper exposure to the
global financial meltdown and a steady decline in the all important bottom line.

Today it got a whole lot worse with first half cash profit down 43 per cent to $954-million.

Even so, Mike Smith knows other banking chiefs in the US and Europe would love to have his problem.

MIKE SMITH: Given the global economic environment and the problems facing the financial system
around the world, that is a very credible result.

It demonstrates ANZ's strength and the fact that the Australian banks are still making reasonable
money and is one of the reasons our economy is better placed than most in relation to other OECD

PETER RYAN: This time last year, the ANZ's half-year cash profit stood at $1.6-billion. But that's
been eaten away by bad and doubtful debts which have doubled in the six months to almost
$1.5-billion - a blowout on earlier expectations.

Mike Smith says while debts are being reined in, the ANZ is getting back to banking basics.

MIKE SMITH: We have been realistic and pragmatic on two fronts. One, facing up to the legacy issues
in the business which were more significant than originally anticipated and two, preparing the
balance sheet for the global recession and the weakening credit environment that came with it.

PETER RYAN: Mr Smith also became the latest to concede that Australia is in recession.

MIKE SMITH: The financial crisis and economic slowdown in Australia and in New Zealand is playing
out as we expected for over a year now. The bloodbath in financial services globally is now
beginning to abate with some continuing positive signs that the system is at last beginning to

PETER RYAN: But Mike Smith says Australia is yet to see the worst of the downturn, with recent good
news from the Reserve Bank perhaps hiding the real problems in corporate Australia.

MIKE SMITH: My rationale for this is that it is because of low interest rates which have not
strained corporate cash flows, as was the case in the early '90s; and therefore we are not getting
the early warning signs of cash flow strain that we saw in the last cycle.

You therefore have companies that move from investment grade to basket case overnight.

PETER RYAN: But Mike Smith says it's clear that many Australians don't understand the new and
uncertain environment and now that after a boom time era, it comes down to one brutal reality;
survival of the fittest.

MIKE SMITH: After 15 years of good times, there has got to be an element of poor quality. There has
to be. In 15 years badly-run businesses can make money; right now they can't. And we are beginning
to see that normalisation happen, whereas good companies will still make good money and will still
do well, poor companies will, as I say, hit the wall.

PETER CAVE: The chief executive of the ANZ Bank, Mike Smith, ending that report from our business
editor, Peter Ryan.

Republic debate back on the agenda

Reporter: Emma Griffiths

PETER CAVE: Monarchists and republicans have been at it again - arguing about the future of
Australia at a Senate inquiry.

And just as the referendum on a republic was obscured by debate about the process ten years ago -
so too have been this committee's deliberations.

This time the debate has even featured comparisons with Hitler's Germany.

Emma Griffiths reports from Canberra.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The Senate committee began its hearings with the views of a man who's well
acquainted with the powers of the constitution.

In 1975 Sir David Smith was the official secretary to then Governor-General Sir John Kerr - when
the Whitlam government was dismissed.

It was he who stood on the steps of old Parliament House and read the proclamation to dissolve

Today, Sir David Smith argued the case against this new move towards a constitutional change.

DAVID SMITH: The Australian people should not be asked to reject their constitution until an
alternative is also on offer.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The inquiry has been called together to look at a bill put forward by the Greens
Senator Bob Brown. It would put in a place a plebiscite on whether Australia should become a

But the committee quickly became entangled in the relevance of various words, terminology and

- as was evident during this encounter between Senator Brown and Sir David.

DAVID SMITH: I'm not talking about legislation. I am talking about the constitution, Senator.

BOB BROWN: We are talking about legislation here, Mr Smith. This is a bill before the Parliament.

DAVID SMITH: Do you have an objection to using my title. Should I call you Bob or Mr Brown?

BOB BROWN: You are welcome to.


BOB BROWN: Very much so.

DAVID SMITH: A little courtesy wouldn't go too far.

BOB BROWN: Well ...

DAVID SMITH: I'm sorry. I interrupted your question. I apologise.

BOB BROWN: You did, Mr Smith.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The Republican Party of Australia has a problem with words, too.

It doesn't like the term plebiscite - and wants it to be called an indicative referendum instead.

The national head, Peter Consandine:

PETER CONSANDINE: Yes, I would be for a republic at any cost because like everybody else around the
table, I'm not getting any younger and I am now here with a walking stick today because I am a war
wounded delegate.

CORY BERNARDI: Okay. I will accept that and yet you are still opposed to this bill?

PETER CONSANDINE: I am suggesting that it could be better worded in terms of the process.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The process itself is too vague for the Australian Monarchist's League.

Its national chairman Phillip Benwell told the committee the outcome of a plebiscite would be
legally uncertain and even dangerous.

PHILIP BENWELL: A plebiscite can have very serious implications to the stability of our
constitutional arrangements as did occur in Germany with the 1934 plebiscite.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Those words prompted a follow-up from the Labor Senator Doug Cameron.

DOUG CAMERON: Can you just explain to me the linkage between the 1934 German plebiscite and what
has been proposed here?

PHILIP BENWELL: Well, I, I, threw that in Senator as an indication of how dangerous plebiscites can
be. The 1934 plebiscite, of course, massaged the German people into accepting Adolph Hitler as

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The next witness for the republic noted the need for more education and

The head of the Australian Republican Movement, Major-General Michael Keating, said the nation is
crying out for strong political leadership.

MICHAEL KEATING: We seem content for leaders to be vaguely supportive of the concept of a
republican Australia, to comment on the so-called inevitability of us becoming a republic and yet
to find a myriad of excuses for inaction.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: But despite a call from the Prime Minister's 2020 summit to push for a republic,
the Federal Government has put the issue on the shelf to look at another day and without Kevin
Rudd's support, this committee's work may well go up on that shelf, too.

PETER CAVE: Emma Griffiths reporting from Canberra.

Researchers find gene clues in autism

Reporter: Rachael Brown

PETER CAVE: Scientists in the United States have identified a gene variant that's common in
autistic children.

Until now, doctors have been at a loss to explain autism, although it's clear that it can often run
in families, suggesting a genetic cause.

The science journal Nature is reporting the first robust evidence of the role a particular genetic
variation in the disease.

The research is expected to make the screening of high-risk children, possible within a year.

Rachael Brown reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: About one in every 150 children is born with autism, ranging from mild symptoms like
Asperger's Syndrome, to a profound inability to communicate and mental retardation.

Scientists have been working on a gene known as CDH10, which is most active in brain regions
supporting language, speech and interpreting of social behaviour.

Researcher, Hakon Hakonarson from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, says a common gene
variation was found in 65 per cent of the autistic children studied

HAKON HAKONARSON: The risk conferred by this gene is relatively modest; it's somewhere between 20
and 30 per cent increased risk but because the variance is so common, it still accounts for
considerable proportion of autism.

So if you were to ask the question, if I could remove this variant from the genome and just make it
disappear, how much autism would go away with that? And that is approximately 12 to 15 per cent of
autism. So it is highly significant.

RACHAEL BROWN: And I understand that healthy individuals also have this variation but that doesn't
necessarily mean they have the disease. What else is needed to trigger it?

HAKON HAKONARSON: It is highly likely that you need some environmental trigger factor, at least in
some cases of autism but the genetic evidence is so overwhelmingly much stronger than the
environment. Because if you look at monozygotic twins, approximately 85 to 90 per cent of them, if
one has autism, the other twin will have autism.

RACHAEL BROWN: In a second study, the research team identified two major gene pathways within the
nervous system that contribute to autism susceptibility.

Dr Hakonarson says the work challenges the current view of the genetic architecture of the

HAKON HAKONARSON: The landscape in autism prior to this publication now, was really that autism was
felt to be contributed to by rare variants that inflicted only a very small number of families and
that you have multiple rare variants that would constitute the genetics behind autism.

But this is the for the first time that a common variant is found.

RACHAEL BROWN: Co-researcher Gerard Schellenberg, from the University of Pennsylvania School of
Medicine, says the research is the first step in understanding the molecular biology of autism.

GERARD SCHELLENBERG: So when you think about then we get to the point of having actual
pharmaceutical treatments for autism, we need to know the proteins and the targets and so this work
really gives us, we think, a major jump in terms of knowing what targets we need to look at.

RACHAEL BROWN: A universal screening program is not possible, as 60 per cent of people who don't
have autism also carry the gene variant.

However, Cheryl Dissanayake from the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University
says the findings could be used for screening in high risk samples.

CHERYL DISSANAYAKE: And particularly we are talking about infant siblings of children who already
have an autism spectre disorder. We consider those siblings as being high risk. And if in fact,
they are identified, you could really decide to go straight into early intervention with that baby,
encouraging normal brain growth.

PETER CAVE: Cheryl Dissanayake from the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe
University, ending that report from Rachael Brown.

Australia boosts military commitment to Afghanistan

Reporter: Lyndal Curtis

PETER CAVE: The Prime Minister has announced the long-awaited increase in Australian forces in

But he's also tied the increased commitment to an exit strategy based on building the ability of
Afghanis to look after themselves.

Our chief political correspondent, Lyndal Curtis joins us now.

Lyndal, exactly what has Mr Rudd announced?

LYNDAL CURTIS: Well, Mr Rudd has announced about an extra 300 soldiers will go to Afghanistan. Some
of that is for the short term; 120 troops will go for eight months only to provide short-term
security for the Afghani election due in August and force protection in the immediate aftermath.

There will also be a small team of civilian monitors to oversee the technical aspects but in longer
term considerations, there is an extra 100 troops for mentoring and training teams. The aim is to
deliver a fourth brigade for the Afghan National Army. There will be a further 70 troops for
logistic support and force protection for those troops.

An extra 40 for engineering and construction, to upgrade the Tarin Kowt airfield and the camp and
they will also increase the number of officers who work alongside officers in the US or coalition
headquarters, to 70.

There will be no additional combat units. Those units, the longer term effort is mainly aimed are
reconstruction and also at training.

PETER CAVE: Well, that longer term commitment, as you mentioned, is heavily weighted towards
training, as it was in Iraq. Why does that plan play such an important role?

LYNDAL CURTIS: Because that plan really is at the heart of the exit strategy the Prime Minister has
announced today.

He says Australia's mission in Afghanistan is to deny sanctuary to terrorists who have threatened
and killed Australian citizens and also because Australia has responsibilities under the ANZUS (The
Australia, New Zealand, United States Security) Treaty that was invoked at the time of the
September 11 attacks.

Mr Rudd says that Australia's mission in Afghanistan is to, is to deny Afghanistan as a base for
terrorists, as I said. To stabilise the state, the military and policing commitment of the state
and Australia's case make that contribution in the Uruzgan province and train the military and
police forces to a state where the responsibilities for security can be handed over.

Mr Rudd says it is that third element of the mission that forms the basis of the exit strategy.

KEVIN RUDD: We cannot ignore this cold, hard strategic fact - less security in Afghanistan means
less security for Australians.

Handing Afghanistan back to terrorist control will increase the threat to all Australians. This
commitment that we have announced today is not a blank cheque but it focussed on training the
Afghans to manage their own security thereby allowing Australia to being our military combat
operations to a close.

The successful training of the ANA over time is our exit strategy for Australia's combat units in
Uruzgan province.

PETER CAVE: The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd there.

Well, ten Australians have already been killed in the mission in Afghanistan. Has the Prime
Minister said why he believes that the commitment with the increased number of troops is needed?

LYNDAL RUDD: Well, the Prime Minister says he agrees with the United States President, Barack
Obama, that the allied forces, that the coalition forces are not prevailing and if the mission
there does fail, then they will see a return to the intensity of terrorist activity that you saw
prior to 2001,2002.

This matter of increasing troops has been discussed for quite some time. We know this request has
been coming for a while. Mr Rudd talked about it with President Obama when he was in Washington.

It was talked about again when he talked to Hilary Clinton, the US Secretary of State when she was
in Washington and again when Australia's Foreign Minister and defence ministers went over to
Washington. But President Obama did call Mr Rudd and asked for the increase last week and it was
discussed and finalised at Cabinet yesterday.

Mr Rudd is very strongly of the view that the mission in Afghanistan does have importance for
Australia because he says many of the Australians who have been killed in terrorist attacks, have
been the subject of attacks committed by people who have trained in Afghanistan or in Pakistan; but
he says Mr Rudd knows, he knows of the dangers the solders will face.

KEVIN RUDD: As I make these further commitments today, I am acutely conscious of the fact that I am
placing more Australians in harm's way and I fear that more Australians will lose their lives in
the fight that lies ahead.

I am also conscious of the price already paid by Australian service personnel in Afghanistan. I am
conscious of the terrible toll on families and loved ones of the ten Australian personnel who have
died and of the many who have been wounded. I am also conscious of the impact on our wider
Australian community.

But Australia will not bow to the threat of terrorism in Afghanistan and we will continue to stand
by our American ally in confronting this threat; because failure to do so would only compound the
terrorist threat to Australian, American and other nationals at home and abroad.

PETER CAVE: The Prime Minister, Mr Rudd. Lyndal Curtis was our reporter in Canberra.

Beijing drug cheats still being caught

Reporter: Simon Santow

PETER CAVE: The boast last year that the Beijing Olympics was one of the cleanest games in decades
is looking a little hollow this lunchtime.

New testing on samples taken during the competition last August has uncovered a further six alleged
drug cheats.

And it's being reported that amongst the cheats there is a track and field athlete who won gold as
well as a silver medallist from the cycling arena.

The International Olympic Committee has hailed the results as proof that it's getting harder to
hide from ever improving drug detection technology.

At the same time sports scientists are warning that athletes and their coaches are constantly
searching for new ways of gaining an unfair advantage.

Simon Santow reports.

SIMON SANTOW: In the world of elite sport, the current illegal drug of choice is a blood booster
known as CERA.

And it's CERA, that's been found in the samples of six Beijing Olympians. Samples that were
retested by the International Olympic Committee in the first few months of this year.

Sports scientist and anti-doping researcher Robin Parisotto.

ROBIN PARISOTTO: Blood boosting is the practice of introducing blood into, or new blood into the
body or actually stimulating the body to make new blood on its own.

SIMON SANTOW: And what advantage does that give an athlete?

ROBIN PARISOTTO: Well, essentially, with more blood you can carry more oxygen and with more oxygen
you have suddenly a lot more stamina which is great for endurance events.

SIMON SANTOW: And typically, what sort of sports has blood doping been used in?

ROBIN PARISOTTO: Well, primarily it has been associated with cycling. Pretty well everyone knows
track and field, any endurance events like marathon running, biathlons, triathlons, those sort of

SIMON SANTOW: Robin Parisotto is heartened that even several months after the Beijing Games
finished, cheats are still being uncovered.

ROBIN PARISOTTO: I think it is a fantastic development and it certainly shows a new way of thinking
and a new way of tackling the doping problem.

SIMON SANTOW: Olympic officials now keep samples for eight years to allow for advances in testing
and to warn athletes that cheating will eventually catch up with them.

While the names of those caught this time are yet to be publicly released, media around the world
are reporting they include a cyclist who won silver, and a gold medal winning track and field

All up 5,000 competitors were tested during the games and since the beginning of the year about a
fifth of those frozen samples were re-tested for CERA using technology found to be effective in
weeding out cycling drug cheats in recent months.

MIKE TURTUR: It sickens me and it angers me that these athletes try to worm their way out of being
detected. I am glad to see that these athletes are being found and there are no other compromise
that can be made and these idiots that do cheat, really are the criminals of sport.

SIMON SANTOW: Mike Turtur won a gold medal for Australia in the 1984 Los Angeles Games in the 4,000
metres team pursuit cycling.

These days he's the race director for the cycling race Tour Down Under. He's also the regional
representative on the board of the world cycling body, UCI.

MIKE TURTUR: There will be more cheats detected. There is no question because this is human nature
that we are talking about and fame and fortune does some unique things to people. They lose
perspective of reality and they get consumed with their own thing.

SIMON SANTOW: He says he's still shocked that cyclists who cheat haven't got the message about
doping and testing.

MIKE TURTUR: I can't find the words to describe these idiots. I mean the fact of life is that they
will be caught sooner or later and the storing of samples is a huge advantage in respect to that.
But drug cheats, in my view, are people that have a serious problem.

They are the most selfish people that you can be associated with because they don't care about
anything except themselves.

SIMON SANTOW: Sports scientists such as Robin Parisotto believe that cheating will go on because
the odds are still stacked in favour of the clever cheat.

ROBIN PARISOTTO: Just in the case of blood doping with the detection of six new positive cases with
a new version of EPO called CERA doesn't mean that there is no other drugs out there.

SIMON SANTOW: In the race between the drug detectors and the people prepared to use the drugs, who
is winning at the moment?

ROBIN PARISOTTO: Look, I would have to say that the testers are really gaining some ground on the
cheats, but this needs to be tempered by the fact that just with blood doping agents, there are at
least 80 other agents out there which I am not sure there are tests for at the moment. So there is
always going to be a battle.

PETER CAVE: Anti doping researcher and sports scientist, Robin Parisotto ending that report from
Simon Santow.

Richard Pratt's legacy under scrutiny

Reporter: Simon Lauder

PETER CAVE: In the last years of his life the packaging magnate, Richard Pratt had a hand in taking
the polish off his own legacy - admitting to cartel behaviour and handing back his civic honours
because of it.

The day after his death there are calls for Mr Pratt's civic awards to be restored and the
Victorian Government is offering to put on a memorial service for him.

Others say too little is being made of the damage done by the billionaire's price-fixing and too
much is being made of his philanthropic efforts.

Simon Lauder reports.

SIMON LAUDER: In life, he was known as the 'cardboard king'. Less than 24 hours after his death,
it's clear some people also believe Richard Pratt's position as a highly admired public figure is
also a thin image.

In 2007 Richard Pratt was fined $36-million and branded Australia's worst price-fixer, over the
involvement of his packaging company Visy Industries in a price-fixing cartel with competitor

It was only earlier this week, as the 74-year-old tycoon lay dying of cancer, that prosecutors
decided not to pursue the criminal case against him for allegedly lying to the regulator.

This morning the Premier of Victoria is focussing on the many positive contributions made by Mr
Pratt. John Brumby says he'll offer the Pratt family a memorial service.

JOHN BRUMBY: Richard Pratt was, in every sense of the word I think, an Australian success story.

SIMON LAUDER: For the past couple of weeks a parade of the rich, famous, and influential has
visited Mr Pratt at his Melbourne mansion, paying tribute to him along with unknown and ordinary
Australians who admired and loved Mr Pratt for his generosity and achievements.

His charity, The Pratt Foundation, donated more than $14-million a year to education, the arts and
the environment. He's also credited with saving the Carlton Football Club from financial ruin.

Mr Pratt's close friend, former Carlton Football Club president John Elliott, was aided personally
by his friend in a legal battle with the National Crime Authority.

JOHN ELLIOTT: I think he is probably the greatest Australia I've met. That is how highly I regard

SIMON LAUDER: But the damage to Richard Pratt's reputation from the price-fixing scandal is
undeniable. Just over a year ago it led Mr Pratt to hand back his Companion of the Order of
Australia. It's Australia's highest civic honour, and one which his friends now want returned.

Melbourne lawyer Mark Leibler, has requested Mr Pratt's medals be posthumously restored. The head
of the Pratt Foundation Sam Lipski says that request was made without consultation with the Pratt
family, but they've welcomed it.

SAM LIPSKI: I think it is entirely appropriate that it should be considered.

SIMON LAUDER: A man who phoned the ABC in Sydney last night wanted to remember one aspect of the
Pratt business history - the failed sale of the Occidental and Regal insurance businesses by
Pratt's Battery Group in 1990.

RADIO CALLER: They basically, it was a round robin - the money with the banks and ended up
destroying Occidental and Regal Life. Everybody was put out of work.

SIMON LAUDER: One time Federal MP and now social commentator Phil Cleary says he doesn't want to
criticise Richard Pratt personally, but he doesn't believe he should be offered a memorial service.

PHIL CLEARY: But I think it is astounding that the Premier of the ptate can only talk about a man
as if the greatest contribution a man can make to life is to have made it rich and to have given
back some of that vast fortune to philanthropy. Well so what - if you've got billions, you can give
it out.

Is John Brumby simply going to ignore the operation of that cartel and what they did to ordinary

SIMON LAUDER: The head of the Pratt Foundation Sam Lipski says he won't respond to the comments.

SIM LIPSKI: I remember when I first began as a trustee with the Pratt Foundation going back 25, 26
years. Richard issued an instruction to the trustees that we should never ask for or even grant
naming rights to anything that people wanted to do to recognise Richard for his philanthropy.

It was only in recent years, when literally we were overwhelmed, that we sort of went along; but
Richard never sought publicity for his philanthropy.

SIMON LAUDER: The Pratt Foundation will live on and continue to donate, but it's clear the
cardboard king will be admired and remembered for more than just that.

The family funeral for Richard Pratt will be held tomorrow.

PETER CAVE: Simon Lauder reporting.

Scientist clone first dog

Reporter: Di Bain

PETER CAVE: The scientists behind the first cloned dog have created a litter of cloned puppies
which glow a bright red colour when held under ultraviolet light.

The embryos of the beagles were altered using fluorescent genetic material from a sea anemone.

The South Korean based research team have called the first born Ruppy, which they say is short for
Ruby Puppy.

They hope research will help them to cure human diseases such as Parkinson's.

Di Bain reports.

DI BAIN: Known for its hyper sense of smell and friendly demeanour, the beagle is now seeing red.

South Korean researchers behind the first cloned dog, Afghan hound Snuppy, are claiming to have
created the first transgenic dog and it glows a bright red colour.

Researchers took skin cells from a beagle, inserted fluorescent genes from a coral-like sea
creature, into them, and then put them into eggs. Those eggs were implanted into the womb of a
surrogate mother.

Then Ruppy, the ruby puppy, was born.

Ruppy's nails and stomach look red to the naked eye but under a UV light Ruppy glows a bright red

The head of the research team Professor Lee Byeong-chun, says it's an achievement that goes beyond
just the glowing novelty. He hopes it will help cure human diseases such as Parkinson's.

LEE BYEONG-CHUN (translated): We have succeeded in cloning dogs with gene transformation by
inserting a special gene in the cell. Even though we inserted a transgenic gene in them if we
insert a human disease related gene in them, we can use them as great model to study diseases.

DI BAIN: The findings of the research have been published in the New Scientist magazine and
Australian transgenic researchers are impressed.

Dr Kathie Raphael from the University of Sydney says transgenic research has been conducted in rats
and mice but this is the first transgenic dog.

KATHIE RAPHAEL: If you are going to use this transgenic technique, you can, any gene that has been
shown to be involved in the disease can be used to modify the dog and study the disease just as it
can in mice and rats.

So in that sense, you can use the dogs, the transgenic dogs to study any disease.

DI BAIN: Is it ethical to do this kind of research?

KATHIE RAPHAEL: I suppose dogs are seen as domestic pets and sort of close to many people's hearts
and in that sense, it is a value judgement as to whether you think it is an ethical thing.

DI BAIN: Is it dangerous? It seems quite unnatural for a dog to glow?

KATHIE RAPHAEL: Don't believe it is dangerous in a sense that, you know, you would have to look at
each dog and see what effect expression of this protein had.

DI BAIN: The scientists are hoping the long life span of dogs and their reproductive cycle, could
make them more relevant to human fertility than mice.

PETER CAVE: Di Bain with that glowing report.