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ABC Midday Report -

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(generated from captions) P Hello, I'm Ros Childs. Welcome to this National Edition of ABC News.

This Program is Captioned Live.

Former NSW Labor Ministers found to be corrupt. ICAC recommends criminal charges against Ian MacDonald and Eddie Obeid.

Anyone who is responsible for corruption, or illegal behaviour should face the full force of the law. Bradley Manning found guilty of espionage, but not the more serious charge of aiding the enemy.

Irregular blood sample - a St Kilda player faces a two-year ban.

And from villain to hero, could Dave Warner hit Australia to victory in the third Test?

The biggest corruption hearing in NSW's history has recommended criminal charges against two Ministers of the former State Labor Government. Ian MacDonald and Eddie Obeid are accused of syphoning off millions of dollars in a lucrative mining tender. ICAC handed down its findings thorngs this morning. Here is court reporter Jamelle Wells. What could the charges against Ian MacDonald and Eddie involve?Commissioner I'm referred Ian MacDonald, Eddie Obeid and Obeid's son Moses to the DPP and they could be charged with things such as fraud or misleading the ICAC, or misconduct in public office. Now, significantly, Ros, they have also - some of the information from the inquiry is also going to be referred to the tax office, to the securities and investments commission, and to the NSW Crime Commission. They can't actually lay any charges, but the Commissioner can refer this matter on, which he has, and there are a range of charges those men could face.This is all over a mine deal?That's right. It's over the Mt Penny mine licence that was issued by Ian MacDonald when he was the mining Minister in 2008. Now, the ICAC allege that he leaked some sort of inside information and colluded with Eddie Obeid to put Eddie Obeid and his family in a position to make millions of dollars from this mine deal, and the allegation was that it was corruption, not seen since the days of the Rum Corps. Commissioner David Ip found they were corrupt and that this matter should be taken further.This inquiry was just one of three that ICAC has been looking at?That's right, Ros. There were in fact four inquiries and the Commissioner today handed down findings into another two. Now, he's found that Ian MacDonald acted corruptly in receiving some sort of incentive in the form of services of an escort call Tiffany to arrange business meetings for businessman Ron Medich. Another Minister, a former Minister, Eric Roozendaal, however, has been cleared of corruption allegations and they were that he received a $10,000 discount on a new car as a bribe, but he's been cleared of any wrongdoing in that.This inquiry has lasted six months and it's not been that memorable just for the allegations involved?No, that's right. A list of high profile witnesses, thousands of people in the public gallery, large and extensive legal teams and the Commissioner is yet to hand down his findings into one more inquiry - that's expected in the next couple of weeks. That, once again, involves Ian MacDonald and the former union Boss John Maitland.

The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he was disgusted by evidence from the ICAC hearings and insists corruption won't be tolerated. I welcome this report. Anyone who is responsible for illegal or corrupt behaviour should face the full force of the law. further, I would say it was for no idle reason that I took a virtually unprecedented step of directing Federal intervention in the NSW branch of the Labor Party. This set of reform s are anchored in one core principle - zero tolerance for corruption. Kevin Rudd's reaction there. So what effect will the ICAC findings have on Federal Labor in the lead-up to the election? I'm joined by 7:30 report political editor Chris Uhlmann. What damage could have could this ICAC result do to Labor's fortunes?A sign the PM was aware of how much damage was already done, as he just said, he launched. The. A once in 40 year intervention into the NSW Labor Party by the Federal Labor Party. It is worth remembering how much damage has been done. But you have to wonder whether or not any more damage has been done by today. I would wonder whether or not that was actually the case. I think that the market essentially the electoral market has priced into the fact that this has all taken place. There are no new revelations today. If there had been, I guess more damage might be done to the party. Certainly a lot has been done. The shakiest ground that the Labor Party stands on is in NSW. The PM is doing everything he can to distance himself from the damage done in NSW.Are those changes Kevin Rudd has announced to NSW Labor likely to make any real difference or are they just cosmetic? At first blush they look like they are actually fairly minor. It was a 30-day suspension of the administrative committee, while they looked into what was going on. There was a zero tolerance, as you said, for corruption - not allowing property developers to be involved in the party. But there has been an investigation under way. More changes may well be afoot and we might hear more about that if the Labor Party does believe that there is more damage to be done here. Essentially, what Kevin Rudd's trying to do with NSW is to run against the Labor Party itself and hope that his brand is stronger than the Labor Party's brand there and he would certainly hope it would be, because that has been bad for a long time now.

Thank you, Chris. the American soldier responsible for the biggest leak of classified material in US history has been acquitted of aiding the enemy. Bradley Manning has been found guilty of espionage, theft and computer fraud in a verdict that could still see him spend decades behind bars. From Fort Meade Military Base, North America correspondent Jane Cowan reports. After a two-month trial, a small but dedicated band of supporters were there for Bradley Manning's judgment day. If anything, Bradley Manning has helped people, inside and outside the US, and he aided the people, not the enemy. We believe that Bradley Manning isn't guilty of anything and that he's heroic for demanding accountability.The 25-year-old showed no emotion as the military judge convicted him of almost all 22 charges, including multiple counts of espionage. But Colonel Denise Lind acquitted Private Manning of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy which carried a maximum penalty of life behind bars with no prospect of parole. The former intelligence analyst admitted leaking 700,000 Diplomatic cables and war logs, including this video of a helicopter crew gunning down civilian s in Iraq. He said he did it only to spark a debate on US foreign policy. Commentators called the acquittal on the aiding the enemy charge a stunning rebuke to military prosecutors, who argued causing classified information to be published on the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks was akin to aiding al-Qa'ida because the terrorist group could access the internet. The combined sentence on the other charges could still keep Bradley Manning in gaol for the rest of his life, sending a chilling message to potential future when I when Is. It is an example of national security extremism. It is a short-sighted judgment that cannot be tolerated and it must be reversed. The sentencing phase begins tomorrow.

Michael Mori is a former US military lawyer who defended the Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks. He joins me from Melbourne. Thanks for being with us. What's your reaction to this verdict?I'm not surprised he was acquitted of the aiding the enemy, just looking at it from the outside it did seem like the prosecutors were going a little over board on that. I think it shows that the Court Martial system worked and he was acquitted of those charges.Julia Assange says it wasn't a fair trial. You used to be a military judge. Do you think it was a fair trial?I think it was an absolutely fair trial. Of Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to ten of the charges, so he accepted his own guilt and unfortunately it is not a high criminal standard, he wasn't supposed to remove the information, and he did, and that's an order violation. The espionage, again, is if you are transmitting that information to someone who is not authorised to have it. You are violating that. It sparked the interesting debate on whistleblowering in the military and is there any obligation or protection. In the military, I don't think it gets him off Scott free.These charges of which he has been fount guilty carry a maximum penalty of some 136 years, I think. Is he likely to get that? I don't believe so. In the military there is no money mim sentence so he is facing no gaol time at all to the maximum. I think we'll see in the proceedings over the next few days both sides will be arguing on what the maximum amount should be. But I believe he'll get a sentence far less than that. I would be surprised if he got - I'd be shocked. I hate to make predictions, but if he got anything over 20 years - I think it's going to depend on the evidence. The prosecution will put on its evidence. Is there any real impact related to the crimes? The Defence will have a wide latitude to put evidence on, about who Bradley Manning is and what his intentions were. The judge will deliberate and come back with a sentence that I think probably will be interesting to see.Is there a possibility that Bradley Manning may cooperate to get a lighter sentence, that could go badly for Julia Assange?If the speculation is - the speculation is that the US Government is after Julia Assange and wants to use Bradley Manning. If he gets a high sentence, he probably would have more incentive to cooperate with the US Government and any investigation against Julian Assange to get a reduced sentence. After he is sentenced, he'll get a clemency review, if he gets over a year in gaol, he'll get an automatic appeal to the army court which then could appeal, which is all civilian judges and then ultimately potentially the US Supreme Court.What legal precedent does this case set for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and of the future?It's totally different than Snowden, because manning was in the military and there are different rules that control him. I think that's why you saw the issue of him pleading guilty to the orders violation. There are certain procedures. If you have a problem in the military, how you raise it up. I think interestingly this case really shows how easy it is for people to get access to classified information and distribute large amounts in this electronic day and age. It would be almost impossible for someone to get a thousand hard - you know, papers out of a controlled environment, but now with the memory stick, it's much easier.Michael Mori, thank you.

Reports have surfaced that a St Kilda footballer under investigation for returning an irregular test to a banned substance this month. According to Fairfax, the player took the substance unwittingly but could still be facing a significant suspension. Meanwhile, Essendon denied claims by former high performance coach Dean Robinson that Stephen Dank was recruited to run a supplements program described as 'Black Ops'. Robinson quit on the weekend and he since alleged he was present when coach James Hird and the head of football interviewed bank for the sport's scientist position. They put a scenario to Steve and he said to Danny and James, specifically to them, what you are asking me to do is 'Black Ops'.Further claims detailing heard's involvement in the program aired on the ABC. 7:30 reports that the Bombers coach had concerns about programs at at least two clubs and he instructed Dank to help his team match the strength of their rivals. the case of an accused bomb maker has been heard in a Queensland court. He was charged over an explosion at Ipswich in May where a teenage boy's hands were blown apart. He didn't appear in court this morning and his lawyer requested an adjournment of three weeks. Those charges relate to an explosion last Thursday at a house in west Ipswich, police have been at that home for seven days and have set off 18 controlled explosions to clear the property of dangerous material.

There is no reason for people to fear that there is going to be any further devises out there in the public. There is no reason for people to fear that they are going to locate any materials of this within their yards.Dell was remanded in custody to appear in court next month. bad weather has delayed the first transfer of asylum seekers to Manus Island, under the Government's deal with Papua New Guinea. The Immigration Department says the group is still on Christmas Island but will be transferred as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the Opposition's immigration spokesman is back from Narau. Scott Morrison has defended his decision to travel courtesy of Toll Holdings, which supplies tents on the island.

We are not in the middle of any tender process, we are in Opposition, we are not in government, and Toll Holdings were going up there for the ordinary course of business anyway, which was in my disclosure.The Opposition has announced plans to house up to 5,000 asylum seekers in tents on Narau as part of a five-year plan.With more on the plans of both parties to send asylum seekers offshore, here is Tim Fischer, former Deputy PM in John Howard's Government. He argues the best way to stop asylum seeker boats is at source, particularly from Sri Lanka. He was reluctant to pass judgment on the offshore solutions. Of course, there are many solutions required for this massive set of problems, and I am not buying into the macro politics at this end, I am saying both sides would accept also any break through at source. Indeed, for years under John Howard and two years under PMs Rudd and Gillard, there were zero boats from Sri Lanka and that's what we want to see again.So by stopping asylum seeker boats at source, what evidence is there that that approach works, and can you explain exactly what "at source" meansIt means as they leave the beach s of the fishing villages in Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia. The high Commissioner, Peter Wilcok step ed up as strong Diplomats in liaison with the Navy and the Catholic Church to get a set of messages out through the fishing villages that this whole business was illegal, immoral and deadly. People smuggling by boat. For two years, I say again, it resulted in zero boats from Sri Lanka. We need a set of approaches at every level to stem this problem, and at source is by far the best, if you can cut it off right there before the pipeline is opened.So do you not believe that the - either the Opposition's proposal or the Government's so-called PNG solution will reduce the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat?It will all have their impacts. We need to boost the Defence attache network from Dhili, to Jakarta. Why? Because these are practical people. On the ground. They can Lee as I were Navies - liaise with Navies, a Port airports, to stop the outflow from a country like Iran, which has a reasonable economy, and there is no excuse for people seeking to come through the back-door of Australia. If they want to come, they should apply to come through the front door.

Let's take a check now of the markets. Here is Alicia Barry. Alicia, business groups released a wish list of reforms ahead of the election?That's right. The business council of Australia wants both political parties to take up its blue print for economic growth. The council's calling for a full audit of how tax money is being spent and where it could be better allocated to fund services and infrastructure. It also suggests cutting the company tax rate and a possible rise in the GST. The last review of the tax system was released by Ken Henry in 2010. Changes to the GST weren't in the scope of that review.And a strong session on the market. ?The Australian share market is trading sharply higher with banking stocks in the lead. The All Ords Index is up around 8% as is the ASX 200. If we take a look at those movers, the Commonwealth Bank hit another record high in trade today. It is down from that level at the moment, but still up fairly sharply. The other banks are doing quite well as well. Seek, the job's website, is among the stand-outs, up around 4%. The miners are struggling today and diversified miner Ariam off around 5% at the moment. Across the region, markets are mixed. Japan's Nikkei weighed down by earnings results but markets in Hong Kong on the rise. Overnight, global investors were cautious ahead of policy decisions from Central Banks in the US, Europe and England. The Dow Jones industrial average gave up early gains and ended down just one point. A quick correct of currencies - correct of currencies. The Australian Dollar still falling against the greenback, buying 90.38 US cents because the market is pricing in a 95% chance of a rate cut next week.

Dozens of ousted Egyptian Morsi supporters have marched on military installations defying army warnings. Despite intense efforts by the EU's foreign affairs Catherine Ashton to start negotiations, neither side of the political impasse shows any sign of backing down. ABC correspondent Phillip Williams reports from Cairo.

The Government wants them off the streets and this is their answer. Instead of going home, they are taking the protest directly to the army, in a series of marches, they are doing precisely what the authorities told them not to do. Thousands of people of streaming out of the protest area to confront military intelligence building, a provocative act by the military. These people say they will continue this sort of protest until their President is reinstated. TRANSLATION: We are here for our freedom, for our democracy. Nothing more. We die for democracy, we die for freedom. We are welcome to die for that. We have one idea - looking for democracy. That's it. The Morsi supporters may be emboldened by the presence in Cairo of EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, after her surprise meeting with deposed President Morsi, she urged compromise and restraint on both sides. We have made it clear that there is no place for violence in this and that peaceful demonstrations are important, but also ensuring that that is done in a proper way. We are ready to accept, discuss, go into details of every initiative offered to get a solution to this crisis, but only the ones that stand on constitutional legitimacy ground. Any initiative, that means to sanction or approve the military coup is refused from start.The Muslim Brotherhood says it is willing to negotiate, but only after Mohammed Morsi is restored as President - something the interim Government will never accept. The pro Morsi Coalition says it will continue to confront the army until it stops supporting the interim Government. But it's feared the military's patience will run out. Many here believe this is a brief respite and are certain there is more violence to come.

US sec of State John Kerry urged Palestinians and Israeli s to reach a permanent peace over the next nine months of negotiations. For details about the latest - few details have been revealed, except that both parties untresed secretary Kerry to speak on their behalf to the rest of the world. Michael Vincent reports.

The Americans, Israelis and Palestinians have been here before. This time, they are starting with a blank slate. All of the final status issues, all of the core issues and all other issues are on the table for negotiation.This morning, they met with President Barrack Obama and vice President Joe Biden. Formal talks start soon. They will meet within the next two weeks in either Israel or the balance State of Originian territories - Palestinian starts in order to begin the process of formal negotiation.Beyond that, no more details will be revealed. I will be the only one by agreement authorised to comment publicly on the talks in consultation, obviously, with the parties.Both the Israelis and Palestinians have committed to finding a final, lasting peace deal.

It's time for the Palestinian people to have an independent state of their own.The opportunity has been created for us, for all of us, and we cannot offered to waste it.

Few observers are prepared for these peace talks to succeed but both the Israelis and Palestinians acknowledge that it is John Kerry's relentless enthusiasm that has them back at this point once again.

The Indonesian Government says it won't be drawn into allegations of spying on its leader Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Indonesian Defence Minister says reports that material was collected about the President in 2009 are unconfirmed. Australian media has run stories saying Kevin Rudd benefitted from British intelligence gathered at the G20 Summit summit in London, but the Indonesian Defence Minister says his Government needs to check the facts.

We want to make sure who give the idea, or spreading the news to us, because I just told him that I was with the President at the time, and the President stay in Buckingham Palace, with the first lady. And you know the Buckingham Palace was sterile, but really wants to deepening, you know, where does it come from, you know, the news.Indonesia says it is liaising with British authorities. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has declared that he will surrender power if he loses today's election. His main opponent is Morgan Tsvangirai, who shared power with the President in an uneasy Coalition since disputed elections four years ago. Mr Mugabe has dismissed allegations that voting will be rigged.

It's still a very divided country. But for once a peaceful campaign as Zimbabwe hurtles towards the polls tomorrow.

President Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for 33 years and at the age of 89, seems still determined to cling to power. But would he accept defeat gracefully? Mr President, if you lose, are you prepared to hand over power to the Victor and stand down?You either win or you lose. if you lose, then you must surrender to those who have won. If you win, those lost must also surrender to you. This is it.

That wasn't the case in 2008. That election saw a violent campaign against the Opposition party, the movement for democratic change and widespread allegations of voter intimidation.

President Mugabe and his party were finally forced into forming a Coalition Government, with his long-term rival Morgan Tsvangirai. But there are growing concerns that however peaceful this election may appear on the outside, there are already rumblings of a heavily manipulated voter's role. Opposition parties received their copies of this roll this afternoon. Will these elections be any different from 2008? PM Morgan Tsvangirai believes not. Don't even doubt the fact that he doesn't want get back to power. Don't believe that. he doesn't believe in the right of the people to choose. He doesn't believe that he can actually be voted out of office.

But there is no doubt that a great deal has changed in four years. An often unhappy power-sharing arrangement has seen the creation of a new constitution and has delivered relative economic stability. but have these changes gone far enough and who gains from them?

Australia has dismissed talk of a five-nil victory for the hosts in the Ashes series ahead of the third Test. Rogers said Australia could still win and thinks the returning batsman David Warner could make all the difference. . Barbara Miller is at Old Trafford.

Could this man be Australia's saviour? Fresh from notching up an impressive 193 for Australia A, David Warner is back with the squad. The batsman apparently unencumbered by the bar-room brawl that saw him sent to South Africa in the first place. Davey brings a lot of energy to the group always. He's just one of those guys. He goes at 100 miles an hour, so, you know, it's fantastic to see him get runs. He's such a destructive player. If he bats for a while he could put real pressure on England.He is still courting controversy. On the minds will be reports of heated sledging in South Africa, but risks may have to be taken if Australia is to prove wrong, predictions of a 5-nil series win for the hosts. It is not something we are focusing on, to be honest. We don't want to look too far ahead. We played well in the first two games and our job is to improve on that.England's Kevin Pietersen is keen to be fit by the opening toss on Thursday. But the calf injury looks to be still troubling him. James Taylor could step up to the crease in his place if the key batsman can't shake it. This is the first Ashes Test to be played and Old Trafford since the pitch was rotated 90 degrees to try and avoid problems with the late afternoon sun. But if the forecasters are correct, it's not the sun, but the rain which could be a factor in this Test. The ground is an unknown quantity for many of the Australian players. Of all the grounds this is probably the most foreign.Tourists can only hope it doesn't bring them to their knees.

Let's take a look at the national weather now. Here is Vanessa O'Hanlon.

An area of rain and thunderstorms off the NSW north coast will bring a few showers North of Newcastle this after. The tail end of a cold front is brushing past the south-west of WA bringing a few coastal showers there. A few showers for Tasmania as well with the approaching cold front. Most of the nation is fine under a large high sitting right over the south-east. Tomorrow, that high will still keep most of the east clear. A few coastal showers for Queensland and northern NSW, and also for northern and western Tasmania, but really not all that much about. Another cold front is going to bring some showers to the south-west of WA. Today, though, a few showers for Perth, but a fine end to July in Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.

That was Paul Higgins. Our next full bulletin is at 5:30. News whenever you want it on abc.net.au/news. I'm Ros Childs, have a great day.

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