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ABC Midday Report -

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Live. Geoff Thompson lashess

out at the mead

Craig Thomson lashes out at

the media and the level of

scrutiny he's facing. Enough

is enough. How many inquiries

do we need to lock at this. Is

this about trying to push

mines in Central Queensland someone to the brink? Coal

fall silent in a long-running

pay dispute. We're not going

to go into a situation where

their are ing to us comp

compromise on things we already

have. One Greek Australian digs

in in Athens. This is Ground

Zero, this is where it all

happens. Molotov s, tear

gas. And a punch-up, a disputed

try and some Maroon magic.

Origin 1 sticks to the stretch

in Melbourne. Queensland have

won it, 18-10. Hello and

welcome to ABC News across

Australia. I'm Ros Childs.

Caution is the mood on the local share market. European

leaders are meeting on Greece

so investors are waiting to see

how that shakes out. In the

meantime, the All Ordinaries is

up 2 points, more gains in Japan, Dow Jones ended down

last night and the Aussie

dollar at 98 US cents. More

finance later in the bulletin.

Three days after his hour-long

explanation to parliament,

Craig Thomson has emerged again

to make a public plea for peace

and privacy. Independent MP has

made a surprise appearance

before media in Canberra,

declaring he's been pushed to

the brink and demanding an end

to the cascading number of

inquiries into his conduct.

While he refused to answer

questions, Mr Thomson decried

media coverage of his story as

journalism at its worst. His

appearances only served to fuel

the intensity of the pressure

building around him. He spoke

for an hour on Monday, today

Craig Thomson emerged with a

much shorter message. Back

off. Enough is enough, really.

How many inquiries do we

actually need to be looking at

this? What would be really

good would be for the

opposition to get on and give

me the sort of work they need

to do. His media, his main

target a commercial network

which he says paid a prostitute

for information about him.

This defies credibility you're

going to spend $60,000 to buy

an interview from a prostitute

about a story. This is

journalism at its worst. He

says nine formal investigations

should be enough. Is this

about trying to push someone to

the brink? But the

Opposition's not likely to let

the matter drop. We're now at

the point where it's the Prime

Minister's judgment and

integrity that is being called

into question. Julia Gillard

won't say whether she believes

Craig Thomson. So far no Labor

MP has publicly said they do.

This is not a question of what

any individual might think. It

really isn't for me to sit in

the parliament and judge other

members of parliament. The Opposition's made up its mind

and says evidence is mounting

that the Member for Dobell

misled the parliament. The Australian Electoral Commission

hasn't helped his case, moving

to clarify its findings on Mr Thomson's electoral spending.

I am at pains to suggest we did

not examine any question of

whether the payments were

authorised or not. Craig

Thomson told parliament the AEC

report which found HSU

contributions were properly disclosed destroyed the

credibility of the damning Fair

Work Australia report. The

Electoral Commission rejects

any link. Nor does the AEC report carry any implications

for the veracity or otherwise

of the findings of the Fair

Work Australia report. I think

we might be able to put that

down as another mislead of the

parliament by Mr Thomson. Mr

Whether Thomson has or hasn't

misled the parliament is before

the powerful Privileges

Committee. It met in private

last night but yet again

there's controversy with claims

details of the meeting have

been leaked. The committee's

now questioning finger over the

leak. There's

A grubby debate with no end

in sight. 3,000 miners have

downed tools at six coal mines

in Central Queensland.

Negotiations between mining

unions and BMA, an alliance

between BHP and Mitsubishi are

at a stalemate. Last week more

than 80% of the workforce

rejected the company's latest

offer in a long-running

enterprise bargaining dispute.

Reporter Marleena Whop is

online from Blackwater in the

Bowen basin. How long will

miners be on strike? They plan

on striking for a whole week

and this is the second

week-long strike across all BMA

mines this year and also the fourth major type of industrial

action. Previously there have been rolling stoppages. The

three mining unions involved in

the talks with BMA are getting increasingly frustrated. They

say that the talks are going

nowhere. The CFMEU's Steve

Smythe believes BMA is not

acting in good faith. BHP

haven't accepted twice now that

agreement's been voted down.

They've obviously got another

agenda which isn't in the best

interests of the members or

their families or State or

national economies. What are

the main points of dispute

between the sides? There are

18 in total, some of them

involved rosters in a way that

the company imposes rosters on

workers. Unions also want a

guarantee from BMA that safety

officers will remain union

members and there are also

calls for equal pay and

conditions for contract workers

so even after the 18 months of

talks between the parties there

are still those 18 sticking

points. B, MA in a statement

says it's willing to go back to

the negotiating table despite

the industrial action but

neither party is really showing

any signs of changing their

tune and there appears to be no

end in sight to this

long-running feud, Ros. Marlena, thank you. Eurozone leaders have been

holding further crisis talks

about Greece a head of their

summit in Brussels. Members

were warned to prepare for its

were warned to prepare for its possible departure. Even as

Europe's leaders were arriving

in Brussels, Greece was casting

its shadow over the meeting.

Financial markets were

tumbling, rattled by reports

that Eurozone officials had

advised member-States to

prepare contingency plans just

in case Greece left the Euro.

The new French President,

Francois Hollande, came by

train, shunning the normal

Government plane. He is

changing the debate in Europe,

forcing attention on growth

rather than on austerity. But

with the Euro almost hitting a

2-year low, there was no

escaping the crisis in Greece.

TRANSLATION: We must send

Greece a signal. France wants Greece to stay in the Eurozone

but the Greeks have to fulfil the commitments they have

made. The handshakes disguised

wider tensions over how to

manage the crisis. The French

want Euro bonds where stronger

countries stand behind the

debts of others. Germany is

strongly opposed. Our

discussions should be focused

and frank but with a strong

will to compromise. Greece is

face ling the unpredictability

of another election in three

weeks time. A former Prime Minister said today the country

had no choice than the stick to

the painful austerity program

or face a damaging exit from

the Euro. There was another

cause for concern here. The

Spanish Prime Minister warned

that Spain couldn't continue

much longer being forced to pay

such high borrowing costs. The

fact is that this is the 18th

summit in two years with no

major decisions expected here.

Those talks in Brussels have

wound up for the night with evidence of divisions over the

French proposal for Euro bonds

to help stimulate growth in

Europe. We'll have more on the

continuing Euro crisis a little

later in the program. The

jailing of the doctor who was

crucial in tracking down Osama

bin Laden has created fresh

tensions between Pakistan and

the United States. Shakil

Afridi helped the CIA confirm

the Al Qaeda leader was hiding

out in a compound in the

military stronghold of

Abbottobad. He did it by

getting samples of Osama bin

Laden's family members through

a fake polio drive. He has been

sentenced to 33 years behind

bars for treason. This action

is unconscionable. This man is

really an international hero.

They should be erecting statues

to him. Washington is

demanding Dr Afridi's release.

Election observers are

reporting a big turn-out in

Egypt's first presidential poll since Hosni Mubarak was forced

from power by a popular

uprising. Human rights groups

and election authorities say

there have been irregularities

including delays in opening Pom

ing booths and unauthorised

campaigning but the vote has

been largely free of violence.

Middle East correspondent Anne

Barker reports from Cairo. It's

a day most Egyptians would have thought unimaginable 18 months

ago. For the first time in

history, they're lining up to

elect a President of their

choice. It is a great step for

Egypt to go forward for democracy. Even as the polls

opened the queues at some

booths stretched down the

street. 53 million

Egyptianerise eligible to vote

and men, women, young and old,

are determined to have their

say. Whoever I choose has to

be a democrat. That's number

one, a democrat. Electoral

observers say turn-out has

exceeded expectation although

there have been some voting

irregularities. He's

collecting the IDs which is -

he's not allowed to do

this. There are 12 candidates

running although none is likely

to win a majority this week.

This man is a favour but as a

former Foreign Minister under

Hosni Mubarak, many votess say

he is tainted. Secular voters

and Christians fair the

consequences of an Islamist President and most candidates

have only limited appeal for

the revolutionaries who led

last year's protest movement.

As you can see, this is a very

different Tahrir Square from 16

months ago when the uprising

began. Today the protesters are all gone because most

Egyptianerise at the polling

booths and depending on the

results from this week's

election, most will be hoping

they don't have to come back

here again.

India sees Australia as a

high-tech Powerhouse and it

wants a slice of the action.

The biggest trade delegation

ever to visit Australia from

India is in Sydney for a technology and business

conference. More than 30,000

people are expected to go

through the doors and it's

hoped many will do deals to

take our IT ecter to the

subcontinent and beyond.

India's calling and the message

is clear, Australia's

fifth-largest trading partner

wants to boost business. We

hope that Australian companies

which have by and large been

very shy of reach out beyond

their own shores would look at

India as a market. Indian

Government and business leaders

are in Sydney as the partner

country for this conference.

There's no reason why our companies can't come here,

create jobs for Australians,

have a mutually beneficial and

symbiotic relationship. The

Indian consulate set up a

match-making service to

fast-track meetings between the

two countries. We have a

fantastic range of IT companies

which are here looking not only

at doing business in Australia

but actually partnering with Australian companies to do

business either in India or in

third countries. India's trade

relationship with Australia is

dominated by energy and

resources. It's hoped 2-way

trade will double in the next

two years to reach $40 billion

with the biggest share coming

from innovation. There is tremendous interest in what's

going on in the areas of

nanotechnology, biotechnology,

pharmaceutical services. India's hungry for technology. In the next two

years ago, 250,000 villages

will be hooked up to broadband

and project like that represent

a huge untapped market for

countries like Australia.

India represents 1.2 billion

people and that's a huge market

for Australian companies to go

and explore and expand the

footprint. Nearly 60 Indian

companies are in talks with

Australian businesses this week

and they're hoping technology

can indeed overcome the tyranny

of distance. Investors in the

United States are asking

questions about Facebook

fairness. Do ordinary people

have any chance of getting an

even break on Wall Street?

Lawsuits are piling up against

Facebook and its bankers,

accusing them of passing on

forecasts of reduced earnings

to only a handful of large

clients while denying that

information to the public so

when the company was floated

last week big investors got out

and many small ones piled in.

Facebook shares have now

plunged 18% in three trading

sessions. Furious Facebook

shareholders are venting their

frustration. The big investors

made out like a bandit the

first day. Theoble ones who

made millions and billions were

the ones who had millions and

billions of shares. Zuckerberg has just pulled another fast

one but on a much bigger

scale. Facebook says it will

defend itself vigorously. Mow

back to the European crisis and

the emergency talks are taking

place in Brussels. It appears

all effort to being made to

keep Greece in the Euro but

European union leaders are also

preparing for the prospect that

Athens may quit the single

currency. James Shugg is senior Westpac economist based in

London and I asked him if

Greece was likely to stay in

the Euro. Yes but it's touch

and go. We recently gave 30%

that Greece would exit the Euro

in a messy development which

would be hugely devastating for

the Greek economy. Hyperinflation would be a

possibility, anarchy in the

streets. It is a scenario would

we like to be evoided particularly because of the

likely contagion into other

parts of Europe if the Euro is

no longer irrevocably joined,

attention would go to countries

like Spain and Italy which also have serious Budget problems.

That is the worst-case scenario

but can Greece exit the Euro in

a more dignified way, a more

controlled fashion? I don't

think so because there's very

little up side for Greece

outside of the Euro apart from

a devalued currency. Once

people know or get an idea

they're going to be taken out

of the Euro they'll run for the

borders with bags of Euro bank

notes before you get new

drachma stamped on them. The

banking system would face,

Greece would become a third

world or even failed State. It

should be anoided at all costs

and I think it will be too.

How can they avoid it, simply

throwing yet more money at the

problem? No, not more money in

the sense of more loans because

that's what they've done up to

now, they've are said to the

Greeks, "Cut back hard so the

economy goes backwards and

we'll lend you more money."

That has been proven not to

work. What has to happen the

European Central Bank needs to

stand ready to buy maybe 2

trillion Euros worth of bonds

in countries like Spain and

Italy to hold their yields down

so that investors have the

confidence that they can lend

money to these Governments

without the risk that yield

will jump sharply in the future

because when an electorate

votes out the Government that

put in place the austerity

measures. What's happened in

prance and Greece will happen

elsewhere in Europe. We need

the ECB to do that and Angela

Merkel and her Germans to

soften their insistence on

austerity. They have to be more

generous in terms of fiscal transfers into other parts of

Europe. James Shugg, thank you.

Let's take a check of the

markets. Here's reporter Simon

Palan. The market is higher

today? It is but not by much.

Hopes of a European debt

solution triggered a late rally

on Wall Street, giving local

investors some hope. Mining magnate Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest

says the European debt crisis

is a beat-up and says it's more

a storm in a tea cup beaten up

by the media. Today shares in

his company are up half-a per

cent , BHP Billiton is up

almost 1% and the All

Ordinaries index is up 2 points

to 4,121. AGL Energy has been

cleared for some acquisition

activity. What's the story

there? The competition

watchdog the ACCC has given the

go-ahead for AGL Energy to buy

the Loy Yang power plant in

Victoria. Now AGL already owns

more than 32% of Loy Yang and

its shares are in a trading

halt as it seeks to raise $900

million to fund the purchase.

Elsewhere today, Telstra has

been hit by a hacking attack

affecting 35,000 customers in a

statement the telco says the

hacking attack occurred on the

servers of a third party

company that runs Telstra Big

Pond's GameArena and Games Shop websites. Telstra shares are

down 1.5% today, that's to $3.

51. St George Bank is in the

news today, Simon? Yes, Ros,

St George Bank is backing down

on a plan to outsource 200 IT

positions to IBM and the

finance sector union has

applauded the move saying it demonstrates businesses can be

successful in the finance

sector without off shoring

jobs. Shares in Westpac which

owns Saint George are up a

touch to $20.50. Let's have a

check now of the domestic

market's other big movers in

the ASX top 100. Paladin energy

is near the fronts of the pack,

up almost 4%, One Steel is

another front runner. Thank

you, Simon. On to Wall Street

where stocks spent most of the

day in the red before the late

session rally. It wasn't enough

to get the Dow over the line

but the S&P and Nasdaq made small gains.

It's only six years old but

like Facebook it's now part of

everyday life. Twitter has an

estimated 140 million active

users around the world. The

service chams to have changed

the way people communicate and

was cited as an important

factor in last year's Arab

spring uprising that overthrew

several leaders in the Middle

East. Now academics from yield's University of

technology are looking for

tweeters for a new study. Parparparis leading the

research. I'm after anyone who

uses Twitter for day-to-day

life, for personal reasons, not

so much work or study reasons.

They can be any type of user

from those dipping their toe in

thewater for the first time to

prolific users and anywhere in

between. If they sign up what

can they expect? We've got two

interviews and then we also

follow them on Twitter for a

week. It's pretty painless and

hopefully fun as well. What

you hoping to find out? I

guess we're just really wanting

to get a stronger sense of what role or what place does Twitter have in people's information

worlds . This is part of a

bigger study you began when you

were at Oxford university in

Britain last year. What does

that involve and watt have you

found out so far from that?

Still early days yet. Both

studies are running in parallel

and what we're probably finding

quite interestingly is people

use Twitter for a variety of

reasons and one of the big ones

is for connection. People want

to feel connected to others

around them. I remember an

interview I did with a new mum

who had a baby and was up at

the wee hours and feeling

isolated so Twitter was her way

of staying connected and

knowing she wasn't alone. Do

you think Twitter does bring

people together, connect people

just by putting messages out

there or does it keep people in

a way at arm's length because

you're communicating out of

sight and there's no real

personal interaction going on.

A bit of both. It depends upon

the individual and their

community of followers as to

how they want to function

together. I know some of the

people we've been talking to

have met people virtually and

had 100% virtual relationship

but they're also following

other people who are family and

who are friends and they

interact with face to face

outside of the virtual world as

well. I think it kind of is a

bit of both. It's not so

straight forward as a black and

white scenario. Thank you. With

the pressure on the Greek

economy and political life

increasing daily, floirts

wonder many are leaving for a

more certain future in places

like Australia but others are

either unable to leave or have

decided to sit tight until the storm passes. Europe correspondent Philip Williams

met one Greek Australian

determined to stick out despite

running a business at the front

line of the unrest. When Greek

Australian left Australia for

Athens 25 years ago he came in

search of a more relaxed

lifestyle. He set opcafe down the road from the Greek parliament which over the last

couple of years has become riot

central. This is Ground Zero

where it all happens. Molotovs,

tear gas, the police trying to

do their job and the civilians

and the people trying to do

theirs. It's turmoil. It's

chaos. Despite the violence

he's decided to stay put. Like

many Greeks, he blames greedy

corrupt politicians for the

current mess but adds the Greek

people too have to change the

way they work. I find the

Greek people to a point of

always being spoon-fed to think

a certain way and now they've

been told to roll up their

sleeves and work and that's

lard. He knows there are rough

years ahead for Greece and he does have an Australian

passport out, not that he wants

to use it. I'd consider going

home if we had riots that

stayed on for months upon end,

which let me say, it has

crossed my mind, but at the

same time Athens and Greece and

the Greek people have given me

what I've got today. Because of

the Australian work ethic it's

done me well and I'm more than

happy here, as long as you keep

working hard. The dogged

determination to stay may be

tested to the limit, the

election just the first of many

challenges ahead but as he

points out, Greek history is

full of troughs and peaks.

No-one knows how deep and

dangerous this downslide will

be. Other stories making news -

a stuntman has become the first

person to sky dive from more

than 2000 feet and land without

a parachute. Gary Connery used

a special wing suit to guide

him to a runway made of 80,000

cardboard boxes. Swiss

engineers have moved a 6,000-it

ton historic factory 60m to to

avoid demolition. The old

factory was in the way of

expansion of new rail lines.

There have been some

spectacular scenes as the

Olympic torch travels around

Britain ahead of the London

Olympics. This was the scene in

Bristol as it made its way across the historic Brunel

Bridge. Organisers say crowds

along the route are growing

every day. Queensland has a 1-0

lead in rugby league's State of

Origin series after an 8-point

win over NSW. More than 56,000

people turned out for the match

which was played in Melbourne.

In a tightly contested game a

controversial refereeing

decision in the second half

proved the difference. Patrick

Galloway reports. This was the moment Queensland secured game

1 after it cross-field Cooper

Cronk kick. This try would put

the game out of reach for the

Blues, trailing by 8 points

with just over 15 to play but

the video ref was called Owen

to make the decision and the

experts are still debating. As

far as I'm concerned that's a

dropped ball. He doesn't lose

the ball if the boot of Robbie

faira isn't there. Tried to

dislodge the ball and it came

out cleanly out of Greg's hands

and then he regathered and

placed the ball down. On the

field the Blues protested the

ball, off it, coach Ricky

Stuart declined to comment.

Write what Mal and you think.

You have your bits and pieces

of luck that go your way but it

was a fair try. Queensland ran

out to a crowd of over 56,000

people in Melbourne but the

side's quest for seven straight

Origin series wins didn't start

well with the Blues opening the

scoring in the sixth minute. A

try for NSW. NSW' dominance

ended soon after a difference

of opinion between Matter Scott

and Greg Bird escalated to an

all-in brawl. Michael Jennings

made a fist of it but was sin

binned for running in to throw

a punch. It changed the

momentum at that stage. It's

hard enough playing against

these blokes with 13 people.

No less than 13 minutes without

Jennings, Queensland spread the

ball wide to capitalise on

their numerical advantage. A

cut-out ball from Johnathan Thurston set up Boyd's second

and suddenly the match had

swung back in favour of

Queensland. Thurston nailed the

second sideline conversion of

his night to give his side a

12-4 lead. Redemption came for

Jennings through this try in

the second half.But Carney's

first conversion with the last

point Queensland allowed for

the rest of the night. It was

a good, tough, hard game of

footy. Both teams come to play

and we had to work very hard to

get a victory tonight. Game

two will take place in Sydney

in three weeks. Could this be

the way of the future for surf

life saving on Australian

beaches? This remote

controlled flotation device can

reach a swimmer in trouble six

times faster than a life guard

travelling at up to 32 knots.

Known as Emily, it can be

controlled from the beach and

be dropped into an emergency

situation from above. It's

about to be rolled out on beaches across the United

States this northern summer. To

the weather now. The satellite

shows extensive cloud building

over Queensland and NSW due to

a deepening trough. Cloud over

the rest of the southeast near a developing low and mostly

clear skies in the West thanks

to a broad high. The trough

should move off the east coast

taking areas of heavy rain to

eastern NSW and Queensland, a

low pressure system should

drift south and east,

triggering heavy rain in parts

of Victoria and Tasmania. Moist

and cool southwesterlies should

cause isolated showers in SA.

Let's go back to the stock

exchange for a final check of the markets.

That's the news for now on a

day when MP Craig Thomson

criticised the level of media

scrutiny he's facing and coal

miners in Queensland's Bowen

basin stopped work. There's

continuous news on ABC News 24

and news online. Our next full

bulletin on ABC 1 is 7:00 this

evening. I'm Ros Childs. Thanks

for joining us. Have a great afternoon. See you tomorrow.

Good-bye. Closed Captions by CSI

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