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ABC Midday Report -

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(generated from captions) consumer spending fears. The Dow was dragged down by 77 US cents. And the dollar's firmed just below the bulletin. And I'll be back with more later in

Barnaby Joyce Nationals senator the Telstra sale, has signalled that he'll vote for possible for the bush. saying he's achieved the best deal the National Farmers Federation The Queenslander says support from on the sale has helped push him over the line. against the sale, Labor has made a last-ditch plea as it emerged

and Investments Commission that the Australian Securities by the Prime Minister. is investigating comments made

the broadest of hints Barnaby Joyce has given

to the Telstra sale. he's ready to vote yes the very best deal possible By nine o'clock tonight,

is nothing. and the alternative to that firmed up his position, As the Nationals senator has revealed the corporate watchdog, ASIC, in its investigation the Prime Minister is included about Telstra executives. for this comment he made last week

I think it is the obligation of

senior executives of Telstra to

up the Government's interests not senior executives of Telstra to talk

talk them down. All matters to do

with them we are looking at. We

can't comment any further. I refer

from that that the answer given by

the Prime Minister is a matter that

is before you? Any matter mentioned

publicly in respect of this we will

consider including this matter.

The opposition says many questions

about the state of the company are

still unanswered. The first thing

they're going to find out if and

when this vote goes through is some

of the truth about what's going to

go on in job losses. Labor claims

the Telstra document reveals a plan

to slash more than 10,000 jobs.

want that information made public to slash more than 10,000 jobs. They

before a vote on the sale. Conclean

Telstra, tell us what you're

planning. Come clean Prime Minister

tell us what Telstra have told you

and we will then be able to make an

informed judgment when we vote

this week. The rumour going around informed judgment when we vote later

that there is this letter that

apparently the Government has, I've

asked a number of people including

having verification from Telstra

itself that that letter doesn't

exist. Tempers were short in the

Senate this morning with Labor

accusing the Government of cutting

the Telstra debate short and brow

beating Senator Joyce into

supporting the sale. We have had a

Senator dragged from room to room,

taken into meetings and pressurised.

Senator Joyce says without his

efforts rural and regional

Australia would have got nothing.

We are few in numbers but we manage Australia would have got nothing.

to extract a deal and I sit here

with my colleagues today proud of

what we've achieved. The Government

is hoping to get the legislation

through the Senate some time tonight. tonight. through the Senate some time UN leaders summit With the trouble-plagued

about to begin in New York, annual aid spending to $4 billion Australia has pledged to boost by 2010.

made the announcement Prime Minister John Howard

at the UN headquarters,

in the Asia-Pacific region - saying it'll be spent but it comes with conditions. to be a key goal of the summit Poverty reduction was supposed

of last-minute talks, and in the blur

promise Australia's $4 billion dollar

offered a rare moment of clarity. This goal, if achieved, of Australia's overseas aid will represent a doubling

from current levels. But there are conditions - governance and reducing corruption, the new money will be tied to good in the Asia-Pacific region it'll be spent Cabinet review. and will be subject to Australians are very generous, they're very heartfelt and to poverty and distress in their response to disaster money that is wasted. but they resent, quite legitimately, for aid spending. It's still short of new UN targets by the Prime Minister. We welcome this announcement to congratulate him for doing this. I'd even go so far as can still do better over time. However, we also say that Australia within the United Nations, Aid groups concede corruption oil-for-food scandal in Iraq, like the damaging to get more out of this gathering. have hurt their attempts at UN headquarters, George Bush has arrived his ambassador has been blamed Kofi Annan's ambitious reform plan. for helping to pick apart

The American met for of settling on

the steps of the court house that

the final text h would be arrived

Atta the last minute. a watered-down agreement The Secretary-General has to show world leaders, where he started on UN reform. but it's a long way from

but I think it is a success, It has been difficult we've got a good document. It is not everything we wanted. Even he acknowledges disarmament and non-proliferation that failure to win agreement on is a disgrace. by Australia. The negotiations were led is slower than glacial. The pace of movement Kevin Rudd, who's also in New York, Minister's really been trying. questions whether the Prime I would say to the Prime Minister a positive and constructive approach that it's important he adopts towards UN reform, hoping the UN fades away. rather than sitting on the sidelines

will join a dinner Tonight John Howard hosted by Mexico's Vicente Fox. because it's a pro-UN reform group, It's small in this summit. that's already disappointed Craig McMurtrie, ABC News, New York. Andrew Peacock Former federal Liberal Party leader to face a drink-driving charge. has appeared in a Sydney court flanked by waiting media. He arrived at court this morning

Anything to say, Mr Peacock? today? Do you feel like a bit of a goose a 0.08 breathalizer reading Police allege Mr Peacock registered into a light pole after crashing his Mercedes Benz at 1:30am on August 21. Police say he told them red wine and one vodka and ice, he had consumed two glasses of over five hours. when court resumes this afternoon. He's expected to enter a plea

has, for the first time, US President George W. Bush taken ultimate responsibility to Hurricane Katrina. for the inadequate response serious problems He said the disaster had exposed in the nation's response capability, at all levels of government. And to the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right,

I take responsibility. I want to know what went right and what went wrong. Mr Bush said the United States's ability to handle a terrorist attack was also now in doubt. In the stricken South itself, the official death toll from the Hurricane has now reached 660. But there is some good news for New Orleans.

The airport has reopened, the toxic floodwater is expected to be gone by early October and some residents may be allowed back as early as next week. In the skies above us a non-stop shuttle of helicopters still dropping sandbags to plug the city's broken levees. HELICOPTER ROTORS WHIRR Here at the London Avenue Canal water had started gushing back over a breach the Army thought they had already repaired.

The answer - more helicopters, more sandbags. Where that water has receded the largest clear up in the history of the city is now under way. This is how the Big Easy used to look in better times before the hurricane. The home of jazz, the home of the famous mardi gras carnival,

streets thronged with revellers. Now, of course, the people have gone and all you hear is the sound of silence. And yet, very slowly, this dead city is coming back to life. New Orleans airport reopened today, the first commercial flight since Hurricane Katrina. A small number of business managers allowed back in

to check on their property, ventures like this restaurant - one of the most famous in the region. We're ready. We're ready. We want the water to get clear as soon as possible and we understand that we're not asking for the impossible but to get our businesses running again is essential to us and we want to do that. And tonight, the mayor here said

that people will be able to return permanently

to some parts of New Orleans as early as next week depending on environmental tests. Don't write this city off. In Iraq US and Iraqi forces have been continuing their push

to assert control ahead of next month's referendum on the constitution and Saddam Hussein's trial. Officials say 200 insurgents were killed in three days of fighting in the far northern region of Tal Afar.

Seven Iraqi soldiers and three civilians also died. And in the insurgent stronghold of Haditha, 200 kilometres north-west of Baghdad, coalition aircraft were used in an attack which destroyed several homes and cars. The US says four militants were killed. In Baghdad itself, a severe water shortage is adding to the city's problems. Administrators are blaming crumbling infrastructure

and insurgent attacks on water pipelines for the problem. But the Iraqi capital's long-suffering residents say it has more to do with official corruption and incompetence. After weeks without clean water, relief has finally arrived for the people of Bawiya in Baghdad's east. Like the other residents of this slum, Umm Salem will have to wait hours for her drum to be filled. "We don't have water or electricity. "We have nothing at all. "All of the residents of this area are poor," she says. While water is scarce, pools of rancid sewage are everywhere.

Above ground this reeking filth is an inconvenience, but below the surface, the sewage is beginning to infect Baghdad's precious water supplies.

"We have been without water for a month

"and if it comes, it is very dirty "because the pipes are broken "and the water has mixed with sewage," he says. But just delivering clean water is fraught with danger. Every day tanker driver Hussain Radhi risks attack on the roads of the capital. Insurgents have repeatedly attacked water pipelines and treatment plants, disrupting supplies for weeks. But for the frustrated residents of Baghdad, there are also others to blame.

"There is corruption inside the ministry. "They are stealing reconstruction money "and that is affecting the work on the water projects," he says. The man in charge of fighting corruption inside the Baghdad municipality says he's investigating the allegations of official corruption. But with temperatures nudging 50 degrees Centigrade that's of little comfort to Baghdad's poor.

In the land of two rivers, clean water is by no means a guaranteed commodity. Mark Willacy, ABC News. A man who tried to sell letters written by cricketer Glenn McGrath's mother, has been cleared of suggestions of extortion. Police say the former family friend had approached McGrath's manager several weeks ago, seeking to sell the letters. The letters then appeared on eBay, with an asking price of $15,000.

It would appear, certainly at this juncture, that no criminal offence has been committed. It's understood that Mcgrath's mother wrote the letters to the man 10 years ago. It's not clear what was in them. Mcgrath is on his way home from England, after the Ashes loss. The tumult and the shouting are still ringing in the ears of Londoners,

celebrating England's Ashes Test victory.

After a tension-packed series, it was to be expected that cricket fans and team members alike would be hoping that winning feeling would never end. The capital opened its heart to a group of cricketers most would barely have recognised two months ago. CROWD CHANTS

Trafalgar Square is revered and reserved for historic occasions and only a unique sporting victory can unite the country in this way.

The side that brought Ashes home has a self-belief usually seen in their opposition. I think we believed at the beginning of the summer that we could win. And we won 1-0 down and I think the strength of the team

is the character shown when the challenge was set upon them. And the players had clearly imbibed the spirit of victory.

I've not been to bed yet. Behind these glasses there's a thousand stories. Just like the Rugby World Cup victory, of a country this has captured the imagination and they've done it by defeating the country they love to beat. The open-top bus that brought them through the streets to Trafalgar Square is an honour usually reserved for football teams, this time both the men's and the women's cricket teams

celebrated victory over a country seen as unbeatable for so long. At the end of day you play cricket to be the best at what you do.

And to play Australia - they're the best team in the world. To beat Australia - nobody's won the Ashes for 20 years. There's some great names not won the Ashes in English cricket. There's 12 blokes on this bus who can say they won the Ashes

and at the end of the day, that means everything to me. Only a victory like this

could see sportsmen in such a state welcomed so warmly by the Prime Minister. The last act of the day - a ceremonial return of the Ashes urn to its home at Lord's. Rafael Epstein, ABC News, London. As Telstra is finding out to its cost, fixed-line phones are increasingly the old-fashioned way of keeping in touch.

94% of Australians now have mobile phones

and are getting more savvy in the way they pay for them according to a study conducted for Australia's mobile phone carriers. 70% of the growth in mobile phone subscribers is now pre-pay, rather than sign up to a plan. The great and the good of the global mobile phone industry have gathered in Sydney for their annual conference. Reporter Andrew Robertson is with them.

So Andrew, more and more people are going for pre-paid phones. Is that an example of how subscribers are dictating the direction of the industry?

Well, Ros, what prepaid allows

people to do is to control the cost

of their phones. It's cheaper than

the plan and allows more people to

afford a mobile phone. In 18 years

the mobile industry has come from

nothing to as you say, nearly every

Australian owning a mobile phone.

Australian owning a mobile phone. As you also noted we've heard a lot in

recent days about Telstra's falling

revenues from fixed line calls. The

bad news for Telstra out of this

conference is that falling fixed

line revenues are a global

phenomenon as the move towards

mobiles accelerates. One of the key

note speakers has been Yoshiharu

Tamura from NEC in Japan. Japan is

the country which leads the world

the country which leads the world in third generation mobile technology.

He is with me now. Australia is

still rolling out its 3 G system

what can we expect when it is fully

rolled out? 3 G is the name of the

technology. The Japanese people

technology. The Japanese people are more familiar with the service and

if you go to Japan and if

more familiar with the service and if you go to Japan and if you will

see many people looking at their

mobile phones - what are they doing?

Are they checking e-mails and they

are checking some Internet site and

they are playing games. For example

the e-mail is more sophisticated

than SMS. You can send your picture,

some video clip to

than SMS. You can send your picture, some video clip to your grand

some video clip to your grand mother or grandfather, by checking Mo

mobile Internet site you can check

the baseball team result of last

night or even you have some video

clip from the stadium. So just like

you have some footy, you know live

video streaming from the stadium.

video streaming from the stadium. Also some game, a game buoy boy or

something like that. But with your

hand set and the game contents can

be downloaded over the air and you

can play just like you play with

can play just like you play with the game boy, play station and also, on

top of these mobile

game boy, play station and also, on top of these mobile Internet-type

service 3 G can offer you video

service 3 G can offer you video

call. Is it just young people using

this technology? Video call is used

for example by senior people to

for example by senior people to just say hello to your grandchild or

something like that. There used to

be a video phone, a fixed line but

it is more convenient to have a

video phone in this mobile phone.

Thans very much for that. One final

point on Telstra. We've heard a lot

about Telstra's apparent reluctance

to let competitors have access to

the infrastructure. Hutchison said

it is building its network in conjn

ukion with Telstra and it

it is building its network in conjn ukion with Telstra and it could bnt

happier with what it has received.

Soaring petrol prices are bad enough, but service stations in the UK are running dry, thanks to the threat of blockades over the rising cost of fuel. Despite assurances there'll be enough petrol to go around, there's been panic buying, even at up to $2.36 a litre. Across the country motorists had differing experiences as they waited to fill up. In Manchester, queues were reported at some supermarkets. In Cardiff,

there was a build-up of vehicles, too, on some forecourts. This garage in Dunfermline was running on empty. While, in Bristol, it looked more like business as usual. Fuel companies say there's no cause for concern. Our refineries, the nine refineries in the UK are running absolutely flat out. Our terminals are full and providing we get no blockades, which we don't anticipate, then fuel deliveries and supplies will be absolutely as normal.

The Chancellor has been under pressure to cut fuel duty amongst the highest in Europe. But he said the real problems were in the world oil markets. The first action we must take is to tackle the cause of this problem, ensuring concerted global action is taken to bring down world oil prices and to stabilise all markets for the long term.

And it's these scenes which the Government wants to avoid - the fuel protests from five years ago. One senior police officer said there was no reason to believe there would be disruption this time, but plans had been made to help keep supplies on the road. The impact of surging fuel costs hasn't been lost on car-makers either. Among the hundreds of models on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show is a new crop of smaller, more fuel efficent cars.

Small cars are accounting for a growing percentage of sales in Europe, as people turn to vehicles that go further for less. One the eve of show, the makers of Germany's famous Marques were criticised by the country's environment minister who's urged them to produce more economical models with lower emissions. The Indonesian Government's answer to runaway petrol prices is a cash subsidy to poor people.

It's planning to make payments of US $30 to almost a quarter of the population or about 15.5 million families, later this month. Here, the approach is more do-it-yourself, using smaller, more economical transport... ..or sharing a car. It's been touted as the new greener way to use a car - share it with others. The car share car replaces between five and eight private cars.

It also means no more parking problems or filling up the tank, car insurance or maintenance costs, all of which are taken care of by the companies running car shares. It's the convenience of not having to spend time dealing, worrying about a car during the week when you don't need it.

And also the other benefit is there's other cars actually in the fleet, so we can use an inner-city car like Gabby or a station wagon or a ute. Members pay a monthly fee as well as an hourly rate when they use the car and a bit extra to cover petrol.

If I spend only $200-$250 a month I'm probably saving money. Proponents of car sharing say it's about more than saving money. The benefits of car sharing are less cars on the road, and better cities for inhabitants and less injury and less pollution.

The rising price of petrol is also prompting many drivers to think more about alternatives like LPG. Converting the average car to LPG costs less than $2,500, a cost that can be recouped by lower fuel bills in less than a year. Any motorist who is travelling 20,000km per year or more

should really consider LPG. The future of car sharing lies in high rise inner-city-style apartment blocks where parking is at a premium.

Buy an apartment and with it get access to a car. Anita Savage, ABC News. And the price of petrol is weighing heavily on consumer sentiment at the moment. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute index of consumer sentiment

fell by 13% in September, almost matching the percentage rise in fuel costs last month. The housing industry rebounded in the June quarter, according to the latest Bureau of Statistics figures. Housing commencements for the June quarter show a 5.5% overall rise. Houses built by the private sector

were the strongest of the categories - up more than 7.5%, with new flats and units rising by just over 2%. And for another look at the markets we're joined again by Simon Palan. And Simon, company profit reporting season ended for another year last night, but not without a last-minute rush.

unction with Telstra and it could

bnt happier with what it has received.

The Australian Stock Exchange was

swa ╝yellowmped last night as

╝yellowmped last night as companies raced to report their profit result.

Most of them did make the 8:30pm

deadline, nine companies didn't.

They'll be halted from trading

They'll be halted from trading until they deliver. So clothing retailer

Just Group did get in in time, how

did it do? It increased by 40% to

43 million. But Just Group's

43 million. But Just Group's women's fashion business was the big winner

and today the retail shares are

and today the retail shares are also locking good up more than 7% to $2. locking good up more than 7% to $2.29.

Tabcorp shares are higher today why

is that? They are won approval

is that? They are won approval from the Queensland Government for a

dollar dlr 1 billion life style

presinct in Townsville. The site

will include land around Jupiters

casino. The Government approval

casino. The Government approval sent Tabcorp's shares almost 1% higher

Tabcorp's shares almost 1% higher to $17.04. The broader market is going

quite well so far? There is some

real confident on the local market

at the moment. Today's rise comes

despite a fall on Wall Street

overnight. Today the All Ords index

is up 10 points to 4465 and the ASX

is higher. Copper prices have

fallen, Rio Tinto has lost more

fallen, Rio Tinto has lost more than 0.5% to $51.48. BHP Billiton is

0.5% to $51.48. BHP Billiton is also lower today due to higher oil

prices. BHP Billiton shares are

trading at $20.42. Et let's check

now of the domestic markets ther

now of the domestic markets ther big movers: Thanks, Simon. To Wall Street which was weaker overnight. The Dow fell on disappointing company earnings and fears about weakening consumer spending.

The Nasdaq also lost ground. The FTSE gave up recent gains on concerns about the German car sector. In Japan the Nikkei dropped on the concerns about US consumer confidence. Hong Kong is lower and the New Zealand market has put on modest gains. In currencies -

In commodities -

Political leaders are among more than 300 people arrested in democracy protests in Nepal. The Himalayan nation's largest political parties organised the rally and headed to Kathmandu's city centre despite a ban on gatherings there. They've been holding daily rallies since last week to protest King Gyanendra's seizure of power earlier this year.

CROWD CHANTS Hundreds were taken away to detention centres. The monarch said he seized power to end government corruption and a communist insurgency. They were shot down over wartime Germany more than 60 years ago. Now four Australian aviators have been buried with full military honours, relatives of three of the men travelling half-way across the world for a final farewell in the Hanover War Cemetery. From Hanover, the ABC's Kirsten Aiken reports. They had been missing in action for 60 years, but had never been forgotten. Four airmen who were presumed dead after their Lancaster bomber was shot down during a night raid on the German town of Giessen. Despite the passing years,

those left behind still longed for the chance to say goodbye.

Mum had been told, 60 years ago, as much as they knew at that particular point in time, but it had always remained a mystery, in effect. The mystery of what happened to Reverend Hendersen's brother, Flight Sergeant Joslyn Hendersen,

and three of his fellow crew members was finally solved last year.

A landowner led historians to the scene of the plane wreck, after telling them he'd come upon it when he was 12, just days after the bomber had crashed. A German forensic team undertook a painstaking search of the wreckage to identify three sets of remains. The unidentified remains of the fourth airman, who was found and buried soon after the crash,

who was found and buried soon after the crash, could then be accepted as Flight Sergeant Richard Hawthorn.

It's satisfaction and pleasure that we found missing persons and that the relatives of the missing airmen knows now where they lie. BUGLE PLAYS

That comfort is something the Defence Force says it owes the loved ones of men who made the ultimate sacrifice. Where we can find those missing airmen, soldiers, sailors and identify them, then, yes, we will continue to provide full military honours. BUGLE PLAYS AGAIN The sentiment is warmly appreciated by the families of the Lancaster crew who say they're relieved to know their loved ones now rest in peace. Kirsten Aiken, ABC News, Hanover. The weather now. The satellite photo shows high cloud crossing eastern Australia ahead of a weak upper trough. There's also a cloud band clipping WA

and cloud forming over NT. On the synoptic chart a broad trough stretches from NT down to Victoria.

There's a weak cold front crossing the south-east and a stronger front approaching SA. Showers over most of Tasmania and southern Victoria. Falls over southern WA

and there'll be some patchy rain over NT. The forecasts now - Clearing showers in Perth. Showers in Darwin, Canberra and Melbourne too.

Brisbane and Adelaide cloudy. Hobart and Sydney mostly sunny. And a final check of the midday markets - That's the news for now. There'll be more at 7 o'clock. I'm Ros Childs. Have a good afternoon. Captions by Captioning and Subtitling International.