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There's strong argument for the banks given the bumper profits they are enjoying at the moment. If one wanted to take competitive advantage and absorb that levy the argument is that particular bank would do pretty well out of this contest for funds.One to watch and we will do, of course, during the course of the day. Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden has thanked the Russian Government for granting him temporary asylum. He's left the airport for an undisclosed place in Russia.The White House says they're disappointed.This grainy image the only proof Edward Snowden has left 5 weeblings in limbo behind him. It could be the last anyone sees of the whistleblower for some time. TRANSLATION: As concerns for his place of resident dense he will choose it himself. He can live in a hotel or apartment as he is one ocht most wanted people in earth, he will be making sure his place of residence in absolutely safe.Edward Snowden has been granted a Russia. His father thinks he might extend the stay.I believe this from my heart that Russia is the safest place for my son and the fact is if he choose to pend the rest of his choose to life there I'm comfortable with that.For human rights groups it's a bizarre outcome. TRANSLATION: Definitely the situation is curious and the irony is that a man requested asylum at a country that is not at the top of the list of countries that obey human rights laws.The WikiLeaks has released a statement on behalf of the former intelligence contractor in which he thanks Russia and says the move shows the law is winning.We are extremely disappointeded that the Russian Government would take this step despite our clear and lawful requests in public and in private to have Mr Snowden expelled to the US to face the charges against him.The White House says the development means a planned US Russian summit is now up in the air.Our political correspondent Melissa Clarke joins us from Parliament House. We now know the timing of this much anticipate ed financial statement?That's right, the Treasurer Chris Bowen and Finance Minister Penny Wong will be releasing their economic update at 1pm Australian eastern standard time. They will be doing that here at Parliament House in Canberra. Now this is their update to take into account two things really. One, policy announced since Kevin
spendings that have been announced since Kevin Rudd became PM, in particular the Papua New Guinea asylum seeker solution which has a really large cost attach ed to it but also to take account of falling tax receipts with revenues down from what they had anticipated to be back in the May budget. So this is seen as one of the final boxes that the Government needed to tick before Kevin Governor-General.
Rudd would head down to the Governor-General. So afterwards there will be much attention focused on Yarralumla to see if Kevin Rudd heads there on the weekend. But before we get to that point we'll be seeing what the Government is proposing in terms of savings and spending initiatives for this forthcoming election.And the Treasurer Chris Bowen was out and about defending this bank levy earlier today because it's attracting a lot of criticism?Certainly depositors are concerned that this will be passed straight on to them and that it is an extra impost on them. The Federal Government is pointing to the fact that the prudential regulation authority, the Reserve Bank and the IMF have encouraged this move to have an insurance premium to support the guarantee on deposits that's already in place but they may be finding it a hard sell when you're talking about a preelection period and depositors concerned when they're not getting much on their deposits in returns from interest rates as t stands at the moment. There's been much criticism of the fact that it might well be counted towards the Budget bottom line even though it's money that can't be spent it would only be for bailing out a bank if we were to get to a situation where one were to collapse and Chris Bowen this morning was making it clearly that the Government was isolating this money that would be raised from the pool of general revenue.It will go into a special fund which will be put aside, it will be run by either the future fund or another like organisation and they will put the money aside. It will be quarantined from the rest of the Budget and just put aside in case there's ever a need with a bank getting into trouble in Australia. A bank, a building society or credit union.We were talking to finance expert earlier James Kirby and he was of the view that the Opposition had or insurance, planning a similar kind or planning a similar kind of levy
or insurance, as he puts it, in any or insurance, as he puts any regard but today they were out calling it something
different.It's out calling it something different.It's been
interesting different.It's interesting to watch the Coalition's initial reaction to this because they have been Coalition's initial reaction critical of it and of the Federal Government's approach saying it's another tax from Labor, comparing it to other tax increases or new taxes that we've seen over the last few years, in particular carbon tax and mining tax. However, the Coalition hasn't gone as far as to say they wouldn't do it or they wouldn't support it so certainly they're not ruling out the option of adopting a similar measure. Now, we have had other political parties in the past suggest this idea. So we could end up in a situation where there is parliamentary support for this process. The Shadow Assistant Treasurer Mathias Cormann was onz our program earlier this morning and is giving a good kample example of how they're walking both sides of the street with some level of criticism but reserving their own position on this issue.Over the last 6 years we've had a Government that has been wasteful and has come up with one new tax after the other. They're always casting around for more cash. This is just a continuation of what Kevin Rudd did first up as PM but we will always, instead of just giving a running commentary on speculation, we will make a judgment once we see the whole package, the whole announcement and of course we've gone through a proper process in assessing all of that.Yes , this is going to continue as well. Any more indications of what that statement's going to contain?There's a bit of speculation and concern in some sectors who fear they may well be the target when it comes to finding more savings, in particular in the foreign affairs sector there is concern that the target to increase Australia's foreign aid budget to 0.5% of GDP may well be deferred for another year because that would save in the order of billions of dollars so they're concerned that might happen again. Certainly the public sector is concerned that efficiency dividends may well be applied given that's been a favoured revenue saving measure by the Federal Government in the past. What we do know is that there will be more significant saving measures beyond what we've already heard about the tobacco excise increase, for example, because the Government is committing to keeping this target of having the Budget back in surplus by 2016-17. The objective of having it back in balance by 15-16 financial year now seems out of the question. But the Treasurer Chris Bowen has been pretty emphatic that they will be keeping in Budget in surplus in 2016-17.Thanks, Mel. We're getting news that a second group of asylum seekers has been transferred to Mannus under the Federal been transferred to under the Federal Government's
so-called PNG solution. A jet now taking 39 Iranian men to Manus Island this morning.Let's go back to Russia's decision to grant asylum to Edward Snowden. I spoke to Charles Kupchan and he thinks America's option for retaliation are limited.I this I that the US has a somewhat tough position. Why? Because it doesn't want to do things to punish Russia that in the end hurt American interests. So one option as you just said, is for Obama to say no, I'm not going to come to Moscow for a bilateral discussion before the G20 summit in St Petersberg but then there are other issues like Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, energy, arms control, where the US and Russia have important interests at stake. So I think Obama's going to have to be careful here. He clearly wants to express his disapproval but not to go so far as to actually jeopardise the interests that are at stake in the relationship.And the problem is, of course, for the US now that Edward Snowden has got There's nothing
this 12-month temporary asylum. There's nothing to stop him leaking further US secrets.The Russians have said to him we'll let you stay here as long as you stop leaking and damaging the US and as far as we know he's been taken away to a confidential location where he may have no contact with the press. So maybe the Russians hold him in a dark place. In that sense, you know, the damage may already be behind us but his presence in Russia, and it could go on for more than a year, does create a cloud over US/Russian relations and as I said, it's hard to figure out what Putin is doing here because there aren't clear Russian interests at stake. I think he's playing to a domestic audience, tired of American lecturing about freedom and democracy and saying here, the US should clean up its own act.Charles Kupchan speaking to us from Washington earlier. The man who held 3 women captive for a decade has been sent to jail for life without parole. Ariel Castro has apologise ed in court for his crimes but he says he's not a monster, just sick.One of his victims Michelle Knight told the court she had spent 11 years in hell and now Castro's hell was just beginning. But Castro insisted he is a victim too.I at not a monster, I am just sick. I have an addiction just like an alcoholic has an addiction. Alcohols cannot control addiction, that's why I couldn't control my addiction. There are addictions and There are addictions addictions, of course, Ben Knight says Castro's appearance was very hard to watch.Look, this was really uncomfortable viewing. Of course, being in the US, you can watch the whole thing taking place live on television and what you saw was Ariel Castro, a man, if not in denial, then certainly telling some lies, even as he was being sentenced by the judge. He apologiseded to the victims but it was pretty clear he was sorry only for himself. He, of course, pleaded guilty to more than 900 counts including murder, rape and kidnapping. But even in court today he was walking back from those. He was denying them. He was telling the judge, look, really, I never killed anybody, I never killed and unborn baby, I never raped anybody. Anything that took place was consensual. This was a happy home, it was a harmonious home. All of these things were coming out during the sentencing phase. It was remarkable to watch and the judge, of course, wasn't having any but he said, "Mr Castro, you are not a victim, you were a victim yiezer." And he sentenced him to life without parole plus 1,000 years plus fines and cost costs but not allowed to have any contact with his victims including the daughter that was born to one of his victims in that home.Ben Knight. Now Zimbabwe's Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed the presidential election as a huge farce. President Robert Mugabe is claiming victory amid claims of serious vote rigging.Election observers say up to a million people were prevented from casting a vote. Morgan Tsvangirai says Mr Mugabe's party has intimidated voters and rigged conclusion is this has been a huge farce. conclusion is this has been huge farce. The credibility of this election has been marred by administrative and illegal violations which have affected the legitimacy of its outcome. The election does not meet guidelines. It is a sham election that does not reflect the will of the people.At least 40 people are believed to have died in a rocket attack on an arms depot in the Syrian city of Homs. The attack happened in a neighbourhood mainly occupied by members of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect.The huge explosion was felt across the city, unverified amateur video posted online shows a massive fireball blasting hundreds of metres into the air.Back home police are investigating another shooting in Sydney's west. They were called to a house at Eagle Vale just after midnight after reports of gunfire.Several bullet holes were found in the exterior of the house but there were no reports of injury. Place say it appears to be a targeted shooting.The the top stories - bank customers are likely to bear the cost of the kus plan to impose a levy on profits.Fugitive intelligence worker Edward Snowden has thanked Russia for granting him temporary asylum. The White House is disappointed over the decision.And the man who held 3 women captive in his Ohio home for a decade will spend the rest of his life in jail. Ariel Castro has been sentenced to life without parole for kidnapping, imprisoning and raping the women.Very few people get a glimpse of life inside the Vatican but one person who has is the former deputy prime minister Tim Fisher. He was Australia's first ambassador to the Holy Sea. He spent 3 years in the position.He's now written a book about his experiences called Holy Sea, Unholy Me. And he joined us earlier to have a chat about the book.It was a great privilege to represent the Australian Government and the Australian people to the nation's city State Government of the Holy Sea itself a member of the UN.It was unusual times. You met unusual people. You had to learn a whole lot more about dinner table etiquette.Amanda Vanstone helped me in that regard. Interesting diplomatic resource.Amanda's dog caused a few issue there's.It bit the Pakistani ambassador.It did indeed.Theats in the book. The Amanda's last word was Gus is likely to sue me. It's a book which does get serious about the role of the Vatican over the years, over recent years and even with an application for visas for Baghdad Christian bomb victims, which is the Pope called me in to bring some people through the front door into Australia, and Canberra ticked off on those. So there was plenty of action.Now, the you had over
book details a very busy life you had over there. A lot of people would hear we've got our ambassador to the Holy Sea and ask the question why do we need one? You make the point not only do we vital cog in the only do we need one but it's a vital cog in the diplomatic
machinery.All vital cog in the machinery.All of that and
American countries vital cog in the diplomatic
machinery.All American countries are there
and they say Australia, you're not and they say not serious about relations, about the United not serious about diplomat Nations Security Council unless you have a Rome resident ambassador to the Holy Sea. Very big futuristic project for this the science community and food security and a raft of other issues were all front and centre. So there's a working role as well as the networking role feeding information back and predicting that Pope Benedict would resign.You did predict that, didn't you?That's in the book, damn it, he resigned one year earlier than I wanted him to.Your faith was challenged in the way the Church wasn't responding to the sexual abuse victims, are you heartened by what you're seeing in the Church now?Pope Benedict was let down by others down the ladder and I'm heartened to see what's now happening. Speaking as a citizen post ambassador I can speak freely, it must be dealt with once and for all and the good people in Rome are clearly of that view and are doing their very best. There's one or two others that sat on their hands at critical junctures, not good enough.The former ambassador to the Holy Sea Tim Fisher on the couch earlier. One leading Australian economist is warning the Government not to cut spending too much to get the Budget back in surplus in 2016-17. Saul Eslake says being too dog Matic about the target could hurt the economy. If the economy is weaker than it was thought to be in May whacking it with increased taxes or cuts in government spending now may make the economy even weaker, jobs. So while the target is do some damage to growth and there and they should jobs. So while the target there and they should be committed there and committed towards returning the Budget to surplus in the fullness of time, as public servants would say, I think they should do that with due regard to the condition of the economy.Saul e Eslake. Let's look at how markets fared overnight and it was a record day on Wall Street:

Let's go to sport now. It's a very good morning to Paul.Good morning, let's take a look at the cricket score. 3/303. We can take a look at highlights in a moment.

Let's look at all the action including Usman Khawaja's controversial out that was not out but out.

COMMENTATOR: That's the way through cover, that's his 50. Edged, straight to Cook, gone. Bresnan's the man for England.

England were confident.He wants to review it. Looks like he missed it to me.

I can't believe that, there's no noise, there's no hot spot.
The no noise, there's no review that. I just can't The batsman's not going to review believe that. It's just review that. I just believe that. It's just a
staggering decision believe that. It's just staggering decision to show
that believe that. It's just a
staggering that the technology has shown clearly there was enough evidence to overturn a mistake.

That's a big appeal. What That's a big appeal. does he think? Yes! LBW, what's he going to do, review this. Concentration was disturbed. It looks absolutely plum to me. That shot brings up the 50 for Michael Clarke, well played. Came in just before lunch after the unfortunate incident with Khawaja.There it is, Steve Smith was quickly off his mark to make sure a single was had. A century for Michael Clarke.Cap - captain's innings. Well apleesh - appreciated by Australia. He needed that, they needed it.A wonderful play to score a century. He approves, Allan Border and some real icons on the ground. 100 from 169 deliveries.So there you go, if you want to enjoy your weekend don't watch any more cricket and you will think Australia's on top all weekend. James Magnusonen one the world championship freestyle in Barcelona overnight to turn around the ill-feeling he had in the Olympics where he won his rivals there. Had silver. He turned the his rivals there. Had a terrific last 20 metres and edged terrific last edged out the Americans.The Australian Cameron McEvoy finished 4th in that event and he's still a teenager so one to look forward to there as well. The team of Alicia Coutts, Kylie Palmer, Britany Elmslie and Barrett won silver in the free style. Let's hear from James Magnussen.It's tighter than I would have liked but it's been a really emotional last 12 months for me after the Olympics and you know, there was a lot of controversy back in Australia so it was a really emotional swim for me tonight and I think it shows that I've Ma chured a lot over the last year and I think I can put the Olympics behind me now and look forward.And good on him.That's it for me. I'm off for a couple of weeks now so I'll see you when I get back. I'm going on a book tour. I'm calling it from Frankston to Fiji and back.Lots of readers in Fiji.They'd love to read about the Storm.Enjoy your rest and tour.See you just before finals.Now we should mention as well that Paul Higgins is wrapping up his stint with us. Not only has it been an epic and stirling effort on Breakfast but Paul's been doubling up every night presenting the 7:00 news weather in Melbourne.He's just a media tart.We doff the hat pall.Media tart rkts charming, thanks, Bev and Michael. It looks like being cooler for day 2 of the Ashes in Manchester. Across the channel in Paris they're hoping for some relief as well. Beautiful looking though. They've just had their third hottest July on record and August has got off to a sweltering start sending tourists into a frenzied search for the SPF 30 and any source of cool water, even if it's a fountain.Back home, of course, we have also had a very mild July in the south-east with record-breaking average temperatures. That's all about to change though as this cold front sweeps through today bringing a blast of colder air. There will be a follow up cold front later on Saturday. But should be mostly fine across the north and west because we have this high pressure ridge sitting over you. Band of rain in Victoria is steadily moving east wards. Thunderstorms over southern and mountain regions up to 9 m so far in the south-west.

Have yourself a great weekend, Michael and Bev.Thank you very much and nothing of a tart, just an absolute joy to have him around. Well don't forget the financial statement the Treasurer Chris Bowen and Finance Minister Penny Wong are bringing all those details at 1 today.Have a fantastic weekend. This program is not captioned.

Live.

Good morning. Welcome to biz 'Today' for Australia Network. I'm Simon Palan. Coming up - data support. Wall Street closes at another record boosted by upbeat economic numbers. Deposit hit. Savers likely to take some of the pain from the Australian Government's planned bank levy. And mixed messages. Economists are questioning China's growth outlook after conflicting readings on manufacturing. Those stories coming up shortly but first let's a quick look at the markets:

The European Central Bank has