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Live. The whistleblower breaks his silence - Julian Assange

calls on the United States to

end its war on WikiLeaks. As

WikiLeaks stands under threat

so does the freedom of expression and the health of

all our societies. Three New Zealand soldiers

killed by a roadside bomb in

Afghanistan. The Prime Minister to

announce more money for

independent schools under a new

funding model. Brave Moto GP champion Casey Stoner just

misses the podium behind a triumphant Dani Pedrosa. He is

closing up on Jorge Lorenzo in

the can championship battle.

Good morning. It is Monday 20

August, I'm Michael Rowland And

I'm Karina Carvalho. The top

story is that he has labelled

it a war on whistle belowers.

Julian Assange peaked his first

public appearance since taking

refuge in Ecuador's embassy in

London two months ago. He

called on the United States to

end its witch-hunt on

WikiLeaks. He also said the US should release Bradley Manning,

who is accused of leaking

classified documents to WikiLeaks. Here is Philip Williams.

His supporters gathered

outside the embassy but chants

and banners remain they regard

as a persecuted hero. The media

too awaited the balcony

appearance and finally Julian

Assange took the short walk to

the legal limit of his

sanctuary. I am here today

because I can't be there with

you today. Waiting a few metres away were lines of British

police with orders to arrest

the man who was praising a long

list of Latin American

countries, especially Ecuador,

who supported him and

condemning those Governments

which haven't. To the people of

the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia

who have supported me in

Governments have not... strength even when their

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

To those wiser heads in

Government who are still

fighting for justice, your day

will come. And he made a direct

appeal to the US President

urging him to return his

country to the values it was

founded on. I ask President

Obama to do the right thing.

The United States must renounce

its witch-hunt against

WikiLeaks. The United States

must dissolve its FBI investigation. The United

States must vow that it will

not seek to prosecute our staff

or our supporters. From the

global to the person Al, the embattled Australian had a

message to those closest to

him. To my family and to my

children, who have been denied

their father, forgive me, we

will be reunited soon. It is

hard to see how with the grower

Latin American outrage over

Britain's role in the dispute,

there is no sign of compromise.

Despite Julian Assange's

appeals to various Governments

around the world a British

Government is unmoved. If he

steps outside here he will be

arrested and extradited arrested and extradited to

Sweden. We will have more

coverage of Julian Assange's

speech later in the program

including an interview with his

mother Christine Assange. Also

making news this morning a

roadside bomb has killed three

New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan. They were on

patrol in the north-east of bam

yam province when their convoy

was hit by the blast. The

Taliban has already blamed responsibility. Two other New

Zealand soldiers were killed in

a gunfire in the same area

earlier this month and 10 Nato

soldiers have been killed in

Afghanistan in less than two

weeks. The Prime Minister will

today outline her plans for a

new funding model for school

students. It is part of the

Government's response to the

Gonski Review into school

expected to announce an funding. Julia Gillard is

increase in funding to all

independent schools, a full

response to the Gonski Report

is still weeks

away. Firefighters in Brisbane

are worked throughout the night

to bring a Bushfire in the city's north-west under

control. It start as a

controlled burn near an army

base at Enoggera but jumped

containment lines yesterday

afternoon. Back-burning saved

several homes that were being

Africa's President has declared threatened by the blaze. South

anatural week of mourning for

striking miners killed in

violent clashes. At least 34

people died when police opened people died when police

fire at the platinum mine

north-west of Johannesburg last

week. More than 78 others were

injured. The mine's owner has warned workers they will be

sacked if they don't return to

work. The search is continuing

for the wreck an of a plane

carrying a Philippines minister

that crashed into the sea on

the weekend. The Interior

Minister and two pilots were

thought to have been killed in

the crash. The minister's aide

has been thought to escape. The

expected to announce an Prime Minister today is

increase in funding to all

independent schools. Our political correspondent Melissa Clarke joins us from parliament. Good morning to you. The Prime Minister moving

very quickly to neutral ice

this as a political issue. She

is suggesting that is one of difficulties is. The Opposition is where one of the big State Government cash. And this involve a lot of federal and Government announces it will clear that whatever the in. It is also becoming very the Government is heading certainty about what direction that there is some kind of that policy out there not so urging the Government to put the opposition and the Greens seeing in the meantime is both be released and what we're entirely sure when it will now quite vague. We are not the full policy plan. So that's full Government response and will be released publicly, the Gillard has used as to when it weeks is the phrase Julia is going to be a number of winter break. Now it seems it sitting of parliament after the Review any response to the Gonski saying under any new reforms or Federal Government has been schools. For some time the hit list against independent leadership and that is a war or it had under Mark Latham's won't have the same approach as clear that the Labor Party certainly wants to make it

the reasons why the Government

has delayed announcing its policy detail because it needs

to figure out where the funding

is. What Gonski recommended was

that there be an extra $5

billion a year spent on school

education and that money come from both state and Federal Governments increasing their

contributions. We know over the

recent stoush of recent stoush of NDIS trial sites that the State

Governments don't this they

have money to stump up. The

Federal Government has a small

enough surplus it is committed

to. It is looking in the order

of $7 billion for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. So to find another couple of

billion on top of that for more

funding so that every school

and every independent school

gets fund aing inscprees an

enormous task at this time. So winch the Government does hand winch the Government does hand

down the policy details it will

be krg to see whether or not

all of that funding comes in

from the start or whether it is

perhaps great waited over a

greater time period to give the Government more time to goat

the budget back into a stronger

surplus position to pay for a

big reform like this. We will

see you later on.

Thanks. Let's take a look at

the front pages. The Prime

Minister is expected to respond Minister is expected to respond

to the Gonski Review, that leads the 'Australian' which is

tipping a windfall for independent schools. The

'Courier-Mail' the Queensland

Government warns it may not

support Australia's most anticipated education reforms

after that modelling showed hundreds of schools in

Queensland would potentially be

worse off. The 'Canberra Times'

says the ACT Government will

become the first in Australia

to stop investing in companies

which make cigarettes, cluster bombs

bombs or landmines but child labour and sweatshops will

still be okay. A fall in

Chinese steel production with

hit our big miners, that is in

the 'Financial Review'. The

'Herald Sun' reveals more than

100 Victorians on the dole

haven't done a day's work in

more than 20 years. The 'Daily

Telegraph' finds more than half

after small witnesses are

feeling the effects of the

Carbon Tax and could go under if if it remains. Struggling

businesses are calling for the

fax to be scrapped. Victoria's disaffected African youth are

five times more likely to

commit crimes than the wider

community in the 'Age'. Labor's

left will demand answers about

the Prime Minister's asylum

seeker backflip during party

room meetings this week. That is in the 'West Australian'. Some Tasmanian

children first try children first try gambling

before they reach the age of

10. That story is in 'the

Mercury'. The NT News kicks off

territory election week with

new figures showing a swing to

the opposition but a lack of

support where they need it

most. Julian Assange has head

his balcony moment overnight.

He used it to make a-wide

ranging speech criticising what

he said was the Obama's administrations administrations crackdown administrations crackdown on

WikiLeaks calling for the

release of whistleblower

Bradley Manning. Interestingly

enough making no mention at all

about the serious sexual

assault allegations levelled

against him by Swedish

prosecutors. He did, of course,

address the United States. He

thanked all of his supporters and said that the only reason

that Britain didn't - the view

enna conventions didn't enna conventions didn't

contravene them was because of

the support and that the world

was watching. He thanked

Ecuador for its support and we

have seen those pictures out of

Ecuador, huge number of

supporters taking to the

streets there. This is what Mr Assange said on the

whistleblower front. I asked

President Obama to do the right

thing. The United States thing. The United States must

renounce its witch-hunt against

wicksy leeks. The United States

must dissolve its FBI investigation. The United

States must vow that it will

not seek to prosecute our staff

or our supporters. The United

States must pledge before the

world that it will not pursue

journalists for shining a light

on the secret crimes of the

powerful. Let's have a little

chat about Ecuador, the country Julian

Julian Assange wants to seek

asylum in, a country that has a

pretty poor record on free

press. It has been criticised

by human rights groups like

human rights Watch. I have just

fwreeted a story put up by the

committee to protect journalists which journalists which is a primer

about the crackdown by that

country's President Rafael

Correa on journalists who dare

criticise him. We have had a

number of radio stations closed

there recently and a number of journalists being sent to jail

on the crime of defaming the

President in Ecuador, which has

a lot of human rights groups

very off side. Not only that,

there is legislation that has

been passed to target critics

in the media. What this in the media. What this story

talks about is the changing of

the language of the legislation

and it's all - it's quite

murky, ambiguous language is

used. It is ahead of the

country's elections which are

due next year. So there is one

provision that states that the

media must abstain from

promoting directly or

indirectly the campaigns of political candidates during the

90 days leading up to the 90 days leading up to the

election. We will speak shortly

from a representative from the international press institute

on that. Over the you, what do

you think firstly about the

supreme irony about this

WikiLeaks founder wanting to WikiLeaks founder wanting to go

to a place like Ecuador, what

do you think of his speech and where should this tense

diplomatic stand off here.

There do you see the usual addresses.

Let's tick a look at the weather around the country now:

These are the top stories on

afternoon BC News Breakfast. Julian Assange has called on the United States President Barack Obama to end what he calls a witch-hunt against

WikiLeaks. The WikiLeaks

founder has made his first

public statement in two months public statement in two months

from a balcony at Ecuador's

embassy in London. Three New

Zealand soldiers have been

killed by a roadside bomb in

Afghanistan. They were part of

a convoy in patrol in the

north-east bam yam province.

Two other New Zealand soldiers

were killed in a gun battle there earlier this month. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is

expected to announce more money

for private schools in a speech

later today. She will be

outlining the Government's new

funding model for school

students as part of the Gonski

reforms.

Commercial and rec re-Yeaion

le fishermen have rallied in

Brisbane to protest against the

Federal Government's plans to

double the number of marine

reserves in Australia. They say

it will wipe out the fishing

industry and increase the

country's reliance on imports.

Australian fish and chips,

that is what the protesters say

will become just a memory if the Federal Government

increases Australia's marine

reserves from 27 to 60. It will

lead to the death of the

seafood industry and a loss of

up to 36,000 jobs. The bright

green bits on this map indicate

the proposed fishing bans. What

will happen to the charter

boats that take us out there?

What's going to happen to them?

They will lose their

living. Substantial areas are

being closed down and substantial areas will be lost

to the seafood industry and the

fishing industry. In June the

Federal Government announced it

was increasing marine reserves

to 3.1 million square

kilometres. If you look at

where the demonstration was

held today the nearest area

where you're not allowed to

troop a line and fish is more

than 400 kilometres away. The minister says a fisheries

adjustment assistance package

will support those

affected. There is no other way

of describing aspects of this

campaign other than lies. Let's

face it, you don't shut down an

industry when you're only

impacting on one to two% of

it. It is about Tony Burke and Julia

Julia Gillard doing anything

they can to hold onto power and

doing a deal with the extreme Greens. Greens gone mad. The

protesters say they have

collected 8,500 signatures on a

petition and that's just in Queensland. We're already

importing over 70% of our seafood and these changes will

mean we will have to import more. The minister expects the

marine reserves to be finalised

this year. Australian paediatricians are calling or

the State Governments to fill a

funding void and help children

who experience persistent

pain. They say the issue has been ignored for far too long

and it is leaving thousands of

children suffering in silence.

Luke Jackson is 15 years old

and suffers from persistent

pain after a cricket injury two

months ago. It just all locked

up, all of a sudden I was

sitting down and couldn't get

up. I had this tremendous

shooting pain up my left

side. He is receiving treatment

at one of just a handful of

private centres across

Queensland. Nice and

easy. According to the latest

figures from the United States

up to one in five children

suffers from persistent pain.

Doctors believe the same

figures apply in Australia. If

it is missed and not looked

after they often miss school,

they become socially

isolated. Persistent pain is

ongoing and can be from inflammation, nerve con

presentation or arthritis. It is categorised differently from

acute pain which is caused by

injuries like broken bones or

from surgery. It lasts for a

lot longer than you would

expokt, say weeks, months,

years. These paediatricians say

thousands of children can't

access specialised help through

the public system. This

professor has been lobbying for

better relief services for

decades after founding the pain

clinic at the royal Brisbane

and women's hospital. I think

it is a deficit that we've it is a deficit that we've got

to correct and we've got to

keep on agitating until we do

get it corrected. Queensland

Health says the Royal Children's Hospital treats

about 200 patients a year for

acute pain only. In the

meantime, this newly formed

group of paediatricians is

offering free, ongoing help for

children who are most in need.

children who are most in need.

In Syria the conflict between

rebel forces and those loyal to President Bashar al-Assad has

resulted in the Government

loosening its grip on the

Kurdish region in the north-east of the

country. After decades of repression the Kurds are now

getting a taste of freedom and

one activist has felt safe

enough to visit his homeland

after 17 years in exile. Orla

Guerin joined him on his journey from northern Iraq into Syria.

The long road home. For this

man a bitter sweet return to

his birth place, confronted by

all he has lost.When he fled

Syria fearing arrest for his

writings in Kurdish, he was

still a young man. My family

is expecting to see a

24-year-old, he say, but now

I'm 42. With the sunsetting, we

used smuggler's routes to cross

the border, avoiding Iraqi

troops. The Syrians left last

month.Next morning at last he was home.

Inside time to work out who's

who among nieces and nephews he

has never met.There is new life

here, a new generation, but

there are spaces that can never

be filled. TRANSLATION: When I

came in, it was very painful

not to see

not to see my mother" no one

can take her place. His mother,

a brother and a sister all died

while he was gone and his

people are still waiting for

autonomy. TRANSLATION: After 17

years I would have hoped to

come back to victory in our

struggle and not to have any struggle and not to have any

sign of the Ba'athist regime on

my passport. But his home town

of Derek is now under Kurdish

control allowing him to make a

harrowing first visit to his

mother's grave.TRANSLATION: Why

didn't you wait for me, why wasn't I here?

wasn't I here? But he believes

the Assad Government will soon

fall and his nieces and nephews

won't have to suffer as he did.

That was the BBC's Orla Guerin

with that report. Let's take a

look at the markets.

It is a very good morn day morning welcome to Paul

Kennedy.What's going Kennedy.What's going on,

including that thrills and spills inclined Moto GP? Did

you see Casey Stoner take a

spill on the weekend. It was a

shocker. Only a couple of hours

ago he was back on the bike and

he was riding for a podium

place towards the end of the

race but was just passed in

third spot. Dani Pedrosa won,

so it is a big victory or the him, that is in Indianapolis.

Jorge Lorenzo finished second

and

and Italy's Devizioso was

third. We will look at Casey

Stoner crossing the line in

fourth position. His wife and

daughter were catching on just

happy to see Dani get across

the line there despite racing

with multiple chip fractures

and four torn ligaments in his

right ankle from that crash

earlier in the weekend. Amazing he

he has the Will to get back on

the bike. Let's take a look at

the Tour of Spain which is

going on, the big cycling event

and the German rider came home

to win the sprint finish. You

can see how close it is between

Australia's Allan Davis from

GreenEDGE and Britain's Ben

Swift. Then the cameraman

realises neither of them were

going to get it and the German

going to get it and the German won the sprint. GreenEDGE still

striving to get another major

tour win. Now let's go to the

AFL and take a look at what

happened. The late game with

Hawthorn versus the Gold Coast.

Memorable maybe for Clarkson's

three quarter time spray. The

hawks eventually beat the lowly

Gold Coast by 64 points. Lotses

of people talking this morning

about Lance Franklin, when will

he come back because he pulled

out of the match a couple of hours

hours before. The Swans are on

top of the ladder and beat the

Bulldogs by 82 points and West

Coast beat Port by 48 points.

In the rugby leek Manly beat

the Knights 42 to 20.

From the kick-off at

Brookvale Ovale the Knights were on the back foot.

Newcastle kick it out on the

full. Minutes in the sea Eagles were in front and

were in front and never looked

back. Manly scored at nearly a

point a minute in the first

half. It has been Tony Williams

at his best. Tony Williams and

Brett Stewart both had two

tries by the break. The injury

curse hit the home side and

they were left with no players

on the bench. It sparked a

brief Knights resurgence.But a

Manly try in the dying minutes

sealed a convincing 22-point

win for the reigning premiers.

Thins were a little slippery

early for the Eels, the Titans

playing for their season

weren't so wasteful. Gold Coast

led through the match and were

never seriously challenge. The

Titans like many other sides,

remain an outside chance at a

finals berth. Neither the

Panthers or the Warriors will

figure in the finals series.

The Panthers got their act

together and overcame a

10-point deficit to snatch

victory. Penrith have come from behind. Pink Panthers getting

it done there. Although it may

have been hard for you to watch

your Bulldogs get smashed yesterday I can raise you that,

I had the worst Saturday night

sitting and watching the

Wallabies getting beaten soundly again and Collingwood

getting touched up by a resir dent North Melbourne. They

played well the Kangaroos. The

Kangaroos are a really good

team. The Kangaroos and the

Swans apart from my own

lifelong allegiance to

barracking for the Magpies, the

Kangaroos and the Swans are my

two favourite teams this year.

They play a really good style

of football. There we see the

match yesterday. The Doggies

did win the first quarter and

they came out strong and had

their strongest team on the

paddock for a while but the

Sydney Swans showed what a

dominant side they are. They

have a really good balanced

team. There is West Coast, that

was a dubious goal, may have

nicked the post. Nothing tube use about the victory interest

the Eagles. It was a weekend of

upsets in the AFL. Sometimes it

happens just before finals and

then you find out later that

teams are in hard training

blocks and all the rest of it.

I don't think there was any

real excuse for Collingwood

particularly. They will have a

big match against West Coast

next weekend. As for the

Wallabies we will talk about

them more later on. Adam fry

error is going to come in.

David Pocock has an appointment

for a scan this morning which may reveal he will miss the rest of the rugby

championship. It is not looking

good. Not good news for the

Wallabies. I am really getting

sick to death of marvelling at

how good the All Blacks

are. Aren't we all? They are so

clinical and brutal. They

are. They are fantastic but I

wish maybe the Wallabies could

sneak one through. We are at

Eden Park this week. How many

times have the Wallabies won

there in recent memory. It is

not good. Adam fryer is coming

up in the next hour.

It is cold here but pretty

warm in France. It certain he

is. If you have had enough of

the cold and rainy wealth we

are having holiday maker answer

residents have spent the weekend cooling down in

fountains in France. It is very unusual this late in the season. The temperature in

central France and the highest

recorded was 42.3 degrees. A

drop in the temperature is

forecast for 2 start of the

week. Let's come back home and

it was a very gold weekend in

the south-east but the late

went try blast was great went try blast was great for

the ski resort. Falls Creek

scored 68 send metres in one

night. The system behind the

cold weather is now close to

New Zealand. It is back to

cold mournerses and a fewment

warmer days ahead in the

south-east. There is a burst of

wet with weather towards the

west. A stronger cold front west. A stronger cold front and

associated low pressure system

will approach the south-west

and there is the potential for

severe weather tomorrow. This

will be followed by showers on

Wednesday and Thursday as that

frontal system makes its way

along the south coast. In

Queensland today frosty

throughout the southern interior.

This program is not subtitled

You're watching ABC News

Breakfast. Still to come - the

Vice-Chancellor of Latrobe

university professor John Dewar

will be here to review the

day's newspapers. Are you happy

with your work Life balance and

we will find out if social

media is contributing to longer

working hours. We will speak to

Julian Assange's mother

Christine for her view of the controversial surrounding her son.

First here is the

news. Leading the news this

morning is Julian Assange has

called on the United States to

end its witch hunt against

WikiLeaks. The WikiLeaks

founder has made his first

public statement since taking

refuge no Ecuador's embassy two

months ago. He has called for

the release of Bradley Manning

who is accused of leaking classified documents to

WikiLeak. The Taliban is claiming responsibility for a

roadside bomb that killed three

New Zealand soldiers in

Afghanistan. They were on

patrol in the north-east of bam

yam province when their convoy

was hit by the blast. The Prime Minister is

expected to announce more money

for private schools. Julia

Gillard will outline the

Government's plans for a new funding model for school students in a speech later

today. It is all part of the Government's response to the

Gonski review into school funding. Firefighters in

Brisbane have worked throughout

the night to bring a bushfire

in the city's north-west under

control. It started as a

controlled burn near an army

base at Enoggera but jumped

containment lines yesterday

earn. Back-burning saved several homes that were

several homes that were being

threatened by that blaze.

Gaddafi loyalists are being blamed for two car bombs that

killed at least two people in

the Libyan capital triply. At

least four others were injured

in the blast. One bomb exploded

near the Interior Ministry and

the other was close to the

military academy. Let's return

to the top story this morning,

the speech given by Julian Assange overnight on the balcony of the Ecuadorian

embassy in London. Less's look

at some of the speech now. As

WikiLeaks stands under threat

so does the freedom of

expression and the health of

all our societies. We must use

this moment to articulate the

choice that is before the

Government of the United States

of America. Will it return to

and reaffirm the revolutionary

values it was founded on. Or

will it lurch off the precipice

graging us all into a dangerous

and oppressive world in which

journalists fall silent under

the fear of prosecution and

citizens must whisper in the dark? I say it must turn back.

I ask President Obama to do the

right thing. The United States

must renounce its witch-hunt

against WikiLeak s. The United

States must dissolve its FBI

investigation. The United States must vow that it will

not seek to prosecute our staff

or our supporters. The United

States must pledge before the

world that it will not pursue

journalists for shining a light

on the secret crimes of the

powerful. There must be no more

foolish talk about prosecuting

any media organisation, be it WikiLeaks or the 'New York Times'.

The US administration's war

on whistleblowers must end. To

the army private who remains in

a military prison in forte

levelion worth Kansas, who was

found by the United Nations to

have endured months of tortuous

detention in Virginia and who is

is yet, after two years in

prison, to see a trial, he must

be released. On Wednesday

Bradley Manning spent his 815th

day of detention without trial.

The legal maximum is 120 days.

On Thursday my friend Nab Rajab

President of the Bahrain human

rights centre was Sentenced to

three years in prison for a

tweet. On Friday a Russian band

was Sentenced to two years in

jail for a political

performance. There is unity in the oppression, there must be

absolute unity and

determination in the

response. Julian Assange there.

You Ecuador has granted Julian Assange political asylum as he

faces extradition to Sweden but

how does the Government there

treat its own

journalists? Anthony mills is

the deputy director of the international press institute

and joins us now from Vienna in

Austria. Why is Ecuador's press

freedom record amongst the

worst in Latin America? Well, a

few months ago the

international press institute

conducted a press freedom

mission to Ecuador which I was

involved in. I travelled there

and we found a situation that

was as described by other press

freedom observers, which in

which the independent media,

the critical media finds itself

under rhetorical attack from

the authorities and from the

President in particular, finds

itself on the other side of itself on the other side of a very virulent political battle and independent reporters who

have found themselves on the

receiving end of high profile

criminal defamation cases that

have resulted in exorbitant

fines and prison Sentences.

Although the journalists were subsequently pardoned the

message sent was very, very

clear, if you engage in

critical journalism you risk

going to prison for several

years and you risk being

slapped with a very, very hefty

fine. We noticed in the capital

anti-private media graffiti

wherever we went. Defamation is

a criminal of fence there, that

you can be - offence there,

that you can be gaoled for. We

saw that happen last year with

three executives and a former

Col um nis gaoled for

defamation? That is correct. It

is a criminal offence there. It

remains on the books as a

criminal offence and in Ecuador

as in many other countries

around the world where criminal

defamation remains on the books

we appear to be seeing it used

as a means of intimidating

critical journalists and of

seeking to silence them because

the power of criminal

defamation is such that when

used in the wrong way, when

used to target independent journalists and critical

journalists it can serve as

really quite a deterrent, even

if journalists are subsequently

pardoned or don't actually end

up in prison in the first

instance, many journalists who

are considering writing

something critical or pursuing investigative journalism may

think twice about following in

the footsteps of those who have

be the target of criminal

defamation in the past. Radio

is the most-widely available

medium in Ecuador, why were 11

local radio stations shut down

recently? We have seen a trend

in Ecuador where the Government

appears to be on a quest to

target those radio stations,

those media outlets that are

not towing the line when it

comes to the political views of

the Government. There is a real

political stand-off in Ecuador

between the Government on the

one hand and private media on

the other, that are controlled

by powerful interests arrayed

against the Government and so

these radio stations and indeed

other television stations, have

found themselves caught up in

that political battle and being

targeted by the authorities

because some of the private television stations in the

country were backed by banks

and there was a banking crisis a number a number of years ago the

stations have effectively been

held as a form of collateral in

some instances and are being admin Straited by the

Government. That, as - admin Straited by the Government but

that has implications for the

independence of the television

stations and any media outlet

that is very vocal in its

criticism of the Government

finds itself targeted. There

have also been changes to

legislation ahead of next

year's presidential elections? That's right. There

have been some changes to the

legislation with respect to the

coverage of elections and we

see that as part of the overall pattern that is designed to

limit to spectrum of critical

reporting in the run-up to that election the people election the people we spoke to

on the ground in Ecuador expressed the concern that

things were actually going to

get worse and not better.

Regardless of the political

stand-off that is clearly happening in Ecuador, the international press institute

and other press freedom

observers have stated we're not

a political organisation, we

are not coming down on one or

other side politically here but

caught up in this political

battle is the fate of

independent critical reporting

and that is a very serious

matter indeed. No matter what

the interests may be behind man

you of these private outlets

and the leading critical

private media outlets in the

country if they are being targeted consistently with

virulent rhetoric and graffiti

on walls across the capital and

defamation suits and prison

sentences and stew pen douse

fines even if the journalists are subsequently pardoned or

have been pardoned in the past,

all of that creates a climate

that is intimidating to put it

mildly. We will take a look at

some pictures from a meeting of

members from the Organization

of American States. They voted

to meet again in Washington DC

on Friday to discuss the

impasse between the United

Kingdom and Ecuador over Julian

Assange. I wanted to ask you

whether you see it as ironic

then that Julian Assange would

want to go to a country like

Ecuador when he constantly

talks about press freedom and

the United States needing to end its witch-hunt end its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks? There is, I think, a

degree of irony there

certainly. There was a degree

of iron y to be perfectly frakt

when we heard that Julian

Assange - frank when we heard

that Julian Assange was going

to have this interview program

on Russia today as well. That

is not to say that the media

spectrum is not the richer for media

media outlets like Russia Today

or that indeed the media in

Ecuador does not have some

degree of manoeuvre but I think

it is ironic to see Mr Assange

go first to Russia Today for

that interview program and we

know that Russia Today has -

well, is a Government-funded broadcaster and that Russia

has, of course, press freedom

issues of its own there are

very serious that it is

grappling with and then now we

see Julian Assange turning to

Ecuador to safe guard, in his

view, his rights, his wellbeing

and as a platform from which to

speak about press freedom, freedom of expression and so

on. There are many observers

who would agree there is a

degree of irony in his having

chosen those two platforms and

most notably now the Ecuador

platform. We thank you for your

time this morning. Do you agree

with Anthony Mills that there

is a supreme irony in Julian

Assange seeking asylum in a

place like weak door and what

do you think of his speech generally. Do you believe that

he is being persecuted or do

you believe that he should face those sexual assault

allegations in Sweden? Send emails to the usual address:

To Syria now where there have

been fierce street battles

taking place along the road to

the airport in Aleppo. Government forces have been

keeping up an aerial

bombardment of. The area around

that city. The Assad Government

admitted for the first time the

airport there has been coming

under threat. We have a report

from al-Jazeera. Groif (GUNFIRE)

The freercy ririan army say

this is a crucial battle.

(GUNFIRE)

. Fighting has been going on

around Aleppo for weeks but

they claim now they are getting

close to the city's airport and

just a few hundred metres from

the perimeter fence. They say

they are making gains because

they received fresh supplies of

ammunition in recent days

allowing them to push further

forward.15 kilometres from the

city centre the airport is a

key strategic target. Normally

used by civilian airliners it

has become a base poor the

fighter jets and helicopter gunships being used to bombard

opposition strongholds.Earlier

this week the town of Azzaz in

Aleppo province was hit and

more than 40 people were

reported killed when their

hopes were reduced to rubble.

Elsewhere in Syria battles

have been continuing, these

pictures filmed by activists

appear to show the aftermath of

fresh clashes in the capital

Damascus. With his country in

crisis and large parts of it no

longer under his control, President Bashar al-Assad made

a rare public appearance, his

first for nearly two months.

He attended Eid prayers at a

mosque. This is supposed to be

a time of celebration after a

month of Ramadan fasts but it

has been marred this year by

the ongoing battles and some went 2008 interest the mosques

to the streets, the latest in a

protest in a rebellion that has

now been going on for a year-and-a-half. These are the

top stories we're covering this morning. Julian Assange is

calling on United States President Barack President Barack Obama to end

what he calls a witch-hunt

against WikiLeaks. The WikiLeaks founder made his

first public statement in two

months from a balcony at

Ecuador's embassy in London. Three New Zealand soldiers have

been killed by a roadside bomb

in Afghanistan. They were part

of a convoy in patrol in the

north east of Ban Ki-moon yam

province. Two other New Zealand

soldiers were killed in a gun battle thererer this

month. Julia Gillard is

expected to announce more money

for private schools in a speech she will deliver later today.

She will outline the

Government's new funding model

for school students. It is all

part of the con ski reforms.-

sgon ski reforms. With Gonski

reforms We are joined by the

Vice-Chancellor of Latrobe

university professor John

Dewar. I will start with the

story in the 'Age' following up tn interview that Paul Kelly

did with the Prime Minister

Julia Gillard yesterday

morning. This is a story that

began life on Saturday morning

in the Australian. Quite a lot of oxygen yesterday morning with the interview that the

Prime Minister did with Paul Kelly but now there is signs that it is running out of steam

and it shows how rapid the media cycle is these days that

a story can grow, live and

nearly die by Monday morning.

What the law firm is saying

now, Slater and Gordon, where

the Prime Minister worked

before entering politics that

essentially her account of

events is basically true. It is

hard to see now where this

story might go unless there is

some additional fact and piece

of information that will come

from somewhere other than the

law firm. It was a view put

forward very strongly indeed by the Prime Minister in the

interview on Sky yesterday

urging Paul Kelly to come

forward with any allegations he had? Which he was very careful

not to do. It is hard to see

where this goes now. 48 hours

is a very long timing in

politics. Let's move on to the

front page of the Australian

and that's the speech that

Julia Gillard the due to give

later today. I suspect that

that is what the Prime Minister

really wants to talk about

yesterday. The Governments

response to the Gonski review

was expected sometime around

about now but has obviously been delayed. That been delayed. That has created

a bit of a vacuum that the

various states who might feel

that they are up for a bit of

cash in all of this are filling

with their own predictions of

what will happen under the

Gonski formula. I suspect that

the Prime Minister is trying to

just dampen those concerns down

a bit with this speech that she

will be giving today, which has been trailed heavily in this peetion in the

'Australian'. She she's tried

to knew traise it well aware of

the damage caused by Mark

Latham's hit list. For sure. If

no school will be not worse off

we are talking about a serious

money pot not just from the

Federal Government but the

states and territories as

well $6.5 billion is the figure

that has been mentioned. I

suspect that is why the

Government's response has the

been delayed, where will they

get the money. On top of NDIS.

As a university that takes in a

lot of secondary students who

wla do you think of the overall

need for education reform in Australia? I think there is, and the Prime Minister's

indicated that she is interested in tight any funding

reforms to very specific measures that will lift quality

in schools. There is now a lot of debate about how best to do

that, whether the focus should

be on staff-student ratios or

on improves the performance

management of students or

increasing in centres for

teachers to perform in the

classroom. I think the Prime

Minister is trying to signal

that she sees this as part of

that bigger, it is not just

about money, it is about all of

those other aspects of the

education system. Universities play an important part in preparing teachers and there is

a lot of discussion about

pre-service teacher education.

My own view is that

universities do a good job of preparing teachers for the

classroom but we are also

limited by the resources we

have to put into that. It will

be interesting to see whatment

cos out of all this. The

'Financial Review', a story in

the education supplement in

there? This Monday morning is

higher education day. To me this is an interesting story

about the way in which research

quality is measured in Australia. At the moment we

tend to measure the quality of

research by asking other

academics what they think about

it. Whereas there is a lot of

research that goes on that has

practical application and we

tend not to ask the people who

benefit from that research what

they think about the quality of

the research. There is a big

debate going on about whether

we should shift focus away of

academic assessments to more

practical impact-based assessments. Is it a good thing, could you support

something like that Absolutely,

I would. I think universities

do a lot of great work that

makes a real difference in

business, in health, in communities more generally and

I think we'd lose the ability

to catch a lot of that value if

we don't have some way of

measuring this. This is one of

the things the article says was

raised when the manufacturing

task force handed down its

report last week saying that

research funding should be tied

to collaboration with

industry. I think there are -

again this is an area where

there are a lot of reforms on

the horizon and as the university sector is waiting to

hear what the Government thinks

about all of this. We all bang

on about house prices across Australia but the 'Financial

Review' takes a look at another

housing market this morning. I

was taken with this story. I

never thought of China having a

housing market with prices that

go up and down but clearly it

does. It is a very regulated

market but think of the impact

that that market would have on

the sense of - on the Chinese

middle class's sense of how

wealthy they are and the impact

that has on the rest of the

economy, particularly ours It

was an interesting take on one

aspect of the global

economy. Given their burgeoning middle class there is

increasingly the driver of

global consumption. Lots of

foreign firms getting in there

to cater to the swelling

market? Exactly. In my sector,

of course, the capacity of

Chinese parents to pay for to

education of their children

often in Australian universities. You will be watching the Chinese house

prices very closely from now

on. How much have they fallen

and how much have they risen

by? The article is a comparison

with this time last year so it

is saying they are up on last

year but it is such a regulated

market even so that I think it

is a bit difficult to put a

number on. Maybe with a study

tower to Shanghai to see for

yourself. The Premier is taking

a mission to China later this

year. The Victorian Premier,

Ted Baillieu. Correct,

yes. Let's move on to the final

story you want to look at, that

is in the 'Age'. This is about

the renovated Hamer Hall and

comes to an apology to those

who don't live in Melbourne and

haven't had the good fortune to

go to the renovated hall yet.

The review gives Hamer Hall a

pretty good rap for improved a

koousices in the redesigned

hall. What it doesn't mean shun

is that the hall now connects

so much better with the river

and the South Bank area. It is

a magnificent addition or return of a great hall to

Melbourne's cultural life. We

don't have pictures of it but

it is quite a great architectural achievement, I think more or less on the lines

of what they have done around

the Sydney Harbour foreshore

linking the opera house to

other parts of the city. Not as

grand as the Opera House

generally but getting close there It is an iconic building

and it is great to have it

back. Have you been there

yet? I was lucky enough to go

to the opening on the kert and

see KD Lang. The acoustics were as good as they say? Absolutely. Thanks very

much. Let's go from art to sport.

How are you? I'm not saying

you are not an artistic person. Sometimes sport can be

artistic. It can. Like the

gymnastics. AFL sometimes. Yes,

sometimes. Maybe not the Moto

GP but it can be a display of

great courage and Dani Pedrosa

won the Indianapolis Moto GP

this morning. Jorge Lorenzo

finished second. Italy's Andrea

Dovizioso finished in third

spot but he just pipped Casey

Stoner who finished in fourth

after starting in sixth despite

racing with multiple chip

fractures, four torn lightments

in his right ankle. His wife

and daughter happy to see him

get over the finish line after

having an awful crash earlier

in the weekend. Casey Stoner is

okay and unbelievably he got

back and finished that race.

German rider John Degenkolb was

the swinger of the finish in

the tour of Spain overnight.

The last major erase on the

calendar for the cyclists. You

can see Allan Davis from Australia finished in second position. He was racing from

Ben Swift from team ry - Team

Sky. All the talk this morning

is about Clarkson's fiery

display at three quarter time and despite wing by over 10

goals the talk is when Lance

Franklin will come back. He

pulled out just before the

match yesterday. The Swans moved to top spot beating the

Bulldogs by 82 points and West

Coast was the other winner of

the day beating Port Adelaide

by 48. Setting up a big match next week against Collingwood

to maybe get the Eagles into fourth spot if they can knock

off the Magpies who are licking their

their wounds from getting

beaten on Saturday night. When

you have had a tough day or a

tough weekend in the football and all of your teams have lost

you need 20 go searching for

something to make you feel

better and I have. England is

about to lose its number 1

ranking in the cricket. Amla

scored another century for

South Africa as they post adz

target of 346 for victory,

which was an unlikely target

anyway. The south after Friday

cans were automobile to nook

other Cook and Strauss. Even if they survive on day five South

Africa will win the series

1-nil and move to the top of

the rankings. Another cricket

story, if I can get my twitter

handle there, I have just

posted a story on the online

side that V.V.S. Laxman has

finally retired. What a loss to

cricket. It is a big loss to

cricket but it makes me feel

safer that he won't terrorise

Australia again. I still have

mental scars from the 2001 test

that he helped swing with

Dravid and stop Steve Waugh's

push to win a series in India.

He is a graceful cricketer who

waited to deliver his best and Australia averaging 49, four

above his normal afternoon. It

is great to see the south

Africans playing well too at

the right time. They are a team

to admire too with Graeme Smith

in charge. Has anything more

come out of the Kevin Pietersen

scandal. It is likely he will

play for England again soon? Maybe less likely. One of

the papers has uncovered what was

was in the actual text that he

sent to the South African

players. Not very complimentary

of Andrew Strauss. As long as

Strauss is captain they will

have a build a big bridge to

get over that. As they

should. Here is the weather.

Cloud is building Cloud is building over Western Australia and South

Australia ahead of a frontal

system. A trough is causing

light rain along parts of Queensland's east coast and

across the rest of the country

there is a high pressure system

that is strengthening. It is

clearing most of the showers

away. A few cold mornings ahead

but slightly warmer during the

day. Weather to watch this week

a front tall system approaching

Western Australia has the

potential to cause severe

weather tomorrow. The rest love

the week's showers will fall

along the south coast and on Wednesday there will be a deepening trough over

Queensland triggering rain

across the state and northern

swout swoiles.

Thanks very much. Coming up in the next hour we will be

speaking to Julian Assange's

mother Christine. She has

praised him for his speech that

he gave last night on the

balcony of the Ecuadorian

embassy. We will find out why

part is being asked to

apologise to an athlete that

fell out with Australian

athletic officials 40 years

ago. Peter Norman won the

silver medal in the 200 metres which was a which was a fantastic

achievement in itself but what

got him into trouble was that

him supporting that famous or

infamous black power salute by

the two African American

athletes on that day use in

Mexico with him. We will speak

to Andrew Lee who is pushing

for an official apology. His

family is excited that is a prospect. We will be back after

this short break.

Julian Assange's message to

the US and the witch-hunt

against WikiLeaks. As WikiLeaks

stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and

the health of all our societies. Three New Zealand soldiers Three New Zealand soldiers

killed by a roadside bomb in

Afghanistan. The Prime Minister

to announce more money for

independent schools under a new

funding model. Brave Moto GP

champion Casey Stoner just

misses the podium behind a

triumphant Dani Pedrosa. He is

closing up on Jorge Lorenzo in the championship battle.

Good morning and welcome to

ABC News Breakfast. It is

Monday 20 August. I'm Michael

Rowland. It is great to have

your company this morning. Is

technology making our working

lives harder? We will find out when we look at a new study

that finds we are spending much

more of our spare time

answering and sending all of

those nuisance emails. You

can't keep an old crooner down. (Sings) #Gonna (Sings) #Gonna sit right down

and write myself a letter #And make believe it came from

you It started with Nat King

Cole when I used to sing at the

hotel Darwin in Darwin in 1956 as a guest artist.

He may be 83 and recovering

in pneumonia but that hasn't

stopped ARIA Award winner

Seaman Dan performing and recording. A conversation recording. A conversation with Terry O'Donnell a little later

in the program. First here is

all the latest news. After two months of silence Julian Assange has sent a message to

the United States. He has

called on the US President,

Barack Obama, to end what he

calls a witch-hunt against

WikiLeaks. The WikiLeaks

founder said the US should

release Bradley Manning who is

accused of leaking choose feed

documents to the documents to the whistleblower

website. A roadside bomb has

killed three New Zealand

soldiers in Afghanistan. They

were on patrol when their

convoy was hit by the blast. The tell ban claimed responsibilitiment two other

New Zealand soldiers were

killed in a gunfight in the

same area earlier this month.

Ten Nato soldiers have been

killed in Afghanistan in less

than two weeks. Prime Minister

Julia Gillard is expected to

announce all independent

schools will get more money.

She will be outlining the

Government's plans for a new

funding model for school

students today as part of the