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ABC Midday Report -

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(generated from captions) Today, higher education shakeup, the Government considers an overhaul of universities. This Program is Captioned Live.

Massive haul - police seize 270kgs of drugs hidden in a rise shipment. The siege of a Nairobi shopping mall ends with at least 67 dead. As they come to the line, the comeback is complete.And Team USA's record winning streak sets up a thrilling finale on Auckland Harbour tomorrow.

The Coalition Government's flagging a shakeup of the university sector. Labor abolished caps on admissions to give more students access to higher education. The new Minister says he has no plans to reintroduce caps, but does have concerns about the system. have concerns about the system.
We need to review the demand-driven system of university places, because there is some evidence in the previous - and the previous Government had a similar view, that quality is suffering to achieve quantity. We believe everyone who aspires to go to university should have that opportunity, and we will certainly reinforce our credentials as the party of further education in this country.The Government's planning to abolish the compulsory student services and amenities fee. It's worth about $270 a year. Universities are bracing for a shakeup in the sector as we heard and the Education Minister says he'll review the system of uncapped student places and the abolition of compulsory student fees. Joining me now is Dr Caroline Perkins, the executive director of the regional universities network. What can you tell us, what impact would any cap on student places have on regional universities in particular?Well, it would have a particular effect on regional universities, the participation in higher education in regional Australia, that is anywhere outside a capital city, is about half that in the capitals. So the uncapped system has enabled universities to put on new courses, particularly in professions where graduates are needed, such in allied health, engineering, any rethruks of the caps will limit our ability to grow places and to increase the participation in higher education in regional Australia. That's bad for regional Australia, for the nation and regional development, because there won't be enough skilled people in the regions, potentially, to fuel and diversify industry.But the suggestion from the Government is that allowing more people into university could in fact be affecting quality. What do you make of that?Well, I really don't know what the basis of the Minister's comments are. I mean, the quality of our university system should be judged by the quality of the graduates, not on how students are prepared for university, when they come in. Our universities pride themselves on helping students who are from low families, to assist them to actually successfully complete their degrees. So unless you try and address the problem of students in parts of Australia who haven't been adequately prepared for higher education, help them to successfully complete their university degrees, you'll never make any impact on lifting participation in higher education in parts of Australia. I should also note the quality of professional courses, such as engineering degrees, allied health degrees, etc, is actually certified by professional organisations. So there is a very strong standard in place in terms of how graduates - students are trained and the quality of graduates.What about compulsory student contributions, if that is scrapped, how would that affect things like regional services and sports facilities?We are very concerned this will seriously affect the services we can provide for students on regional campuses. A couple of issues - one is that quite often our campuses aren't located close to the town centre, so students really have no alternative to services such as sporting facilities, health and counselling services, food outlets, etc, apart from those provided by the universities themselves. The point should also be made too that quite often regional communities rely on the university for sporting facilities. So potentially this will not only hurt students, it will hurt regional communities Moore broadly.- Moore broadly.

Kenya has declared three days of mourning after the deadly siege in Nairobi finally came to an end. 67 people were killed in the four-day assault by Islamist gunmen on an up-market shopping centre. The death toll is expected to climb as authorities begin sifting through the rubble for more victims. From Nairobi, here is the ABC's Martin Cuddihy. After a long and bloody stand-off, victory has been claimed. Five terrorists were killed with gunfire. 11 suspects are in custody in connection with the attack. Uhuru Kenyatta made the announcement 80 hours after the attack began. These cowards will meet justice, as will their accomplices and patrons, wherever they are.The assault to free the hostages was made with help from international advice ers. 11 Kenyan soldiers were taken to hospital... three of those men later died. Part of the building collapsed and there are more bodies in the rubble. Panic reigned when Al Westage Shopping
Shabab militants attacked the Westage Shopping Mall during the lunchtime rush on Saturday. The terrorists used assault rifles and grenades. Scores of people were killed. Their families have now started claiming the dead. they are burying loved ones and lamenting the loss. I have seen my father be the first man to die, I have never seen a dead man. I have seen my father. .Three days of national mourning has been declared, and with the conclusion of this deadly and brazen attack, shock is starting to subside with outrage taking its place. Already, some Kenyan politicians are calling for revenge.

Iran's new moderate President Hassan Rouhani has used his first speech to the UN General Assembly to declare that nuclear weapons have no place in his country's Arsenal. The Iranian leader's comments come hours of the US President Barrack Obama expressed cautious optimism. From New Iran's
York, Jane Cowan reports. Iran's friendly overtours aren't convincing everyone. 220 people were executed in Iran since his inauguration. I think the fact that he is coming to speak at the UN with a moderate label is absolutely absurd. Before the President of the US touch this is man and gets the blood of Americans on his hands, we have got to demand an awful lot of him.With his country suffering under crippling economic sanctions, Hassan Rouhani says he's ready to talk about Iran's nuclear program. Iran TRANSLATION: Is prepared to engage immediately in result-oriented talks to build mutual confidence and remove neutral uncertainties with full transparency.But a hoped-for face to face encounter with the US President, Barrack Obama, are never materialised. American officials say the Iranians declined their offer. We should be able to achieve a resolution that respects the rights of the Iranian people confidence
while giving the world peaceful.
confidence that the program is peaceful. But to succeed, conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable.While declaring nuclear weapons will never be Rouhani
part of Iran's future, Hassan Rouhani is insisting on the right to enrich uranium and many observers remain sceptical. There is no chance the regime is going to give up its quest for chemical weapons.Whether or not the nuclear diplomacy can succeed is the question that won't be answered this week. But, America and Iran have at least begun to thaw a relationship that's been frozen for more than three decades.

Adam Lockyer from the US study centre says the significance of the diplomatic moves shouldn't be significant.
underestimated. It's quite significant. So for 434 years there has been virtually no diplomatic relationship between Iran and the US. It now seems as though there is room to move forward, and perhaps move closer together on some of these issues that have been at the heart of the conflict.One program.
of those issues is its nuclear program. Iran insists it is peaceful. Can it convince the world that is in fact the case?If it's actions follow up with words. We are seeing conciliatory language on both sides. The US will now be looking for action. Things that the US can see that are actually moving forward on making their nuclear program more transparent, and a peaceful force.What do we know about the new Iranian President. S he a force for real change?He came to power on the platform of moderation, both internationally and domestically, and a real sign of that will be trying to get these sanctions that have been imposed on Iran for a number of years, relax ed. I think that he sees the Iranian nuclear program as being a bargaining chip that he can trade for relaxation in ankss.He's been described as moderate, what does that actually mean?That he doesn't use language that his predecessors have used, but we are yet to see really what is going to follow up in terms of action. And the Iran Presidency only has certain powers, the religious council is still the major political force in Iran. So it's really an open question about how much action we are going to see backed up by these words.Iran would clearly like to see sanctions lifted. What's the motivation on both sides to re-establish the relationship?On the wund hand - one hand, on the US side, they want to see a disarmed Iran. So an Iran that isn't capable of nuclear weapons. Now, it's Obama's preference diplomatic
that that's going to be through diplomatic means. Though he has been - on Iran's side, there needs to be this relaxation of sanctions, so that the new President can show his con city u encies that there is improvement.Adam Lockyer, thanks for joining us.

The Foreign Minister's brushed off reports that Indonesia directly warned her not to implement parts of the Coalition's border protection plan. Julie Bishop held talks with her Indonesian counterpart in New York, an Indonesian newsagency reported Marty Natalegawa saying he conveyed the message loud and clear, his country won't accept a policy that violates its sovereignty. We had a very productive discussion. We talked about the issue generally, specifically, but I'm not going into the details of what essentially are operational issues. But we had a very cordial meeting, I can assure you.Julie Bishop says the Tony
discussion will continue when later this month.
Tony Abbott travels to Jakarta later this month. A powerful earth quake has hit a remote area of south-west Pakistan The
killing at least 46 people. The 7.8 quake was felt as far away as the Indian capital, New Delhi. Many of the regions mostly mud brick houses have collapsed. The quake also shifted the seabed and created a small island in the Arabian sea.

The Reserve Bank has warned the banks not to relax lending standards in the current low Central Bank
interest rate environment. The Central Bank also highlighted property investments in self-managed super funds as an area of concern. For more, we are joined now by business editor Peter Ryan. Peter, why is the RBA so concerned about lending standards?Well, Nicole, you have to keep in mind that at the moment the cash rate is at 2.5%, the lowest level in more than 50 years. On the one hand it's a great opportunity for people to get in and get mortgages at super low rates, but at the moment consumers remain very cautious and they are not borrowing from banks, and the Reserve Bank is concerned that banks might start lowering attract more customers.
their lending standards to attract more customers. So the Reserve Bank has warned that they don't want to see banks loosening learned stands by making ill considered moves into new markets or products. they
So the Reserve Bank is saying they are not seeing any signs that standards are being lowered at the moment, but they are putting out the warning that banks should be really vigilant about maintaining those quite tight lending standards.But just how real are those concerns about a property bubble?Well, there has been a lot of talk about a last
property bubble recently, but last week a very senior Reserve Bank official said that concerns about a bubble were "excessively over the top". So when the Reserve Bank says that they are not seeing any signs of that being a problem, you have to weigh that up with what other people, such as real estate agents, the high-profile property developer John McGrath said a few weeks ago that he is seeing signs of a bubble, especially in the inner Sydney property market. So while the Reserve Bank doesn't believe there is a problem, you are seeing the prudential regulator APRA and the International Monetary Fund warning that authorities need to be vigilant about ensuring the lending the Reserve
standards remain tight.What's the Reserve Bank saying about the health of Australia's banks overall?The Reserve Bank seems to be pretty comfortable with how the financial system is running at the moment. No signs of stress at all, it's in a relatively strong position. Also balance sheets in both households and businesses are performing pretty well and at the moment there is no sign of sectors.
trouble in either of those sectors. Certainly there is no suggestion of any risk of a financial shock, but they are remaining vigilant.

Let's take a check now of the markets. Alicia, it's been a fairly strong session in trade today?The Australian share Wall
market jumped despite losses on Wall Street overnight. The All Ords Index is up around 0.7 of a per cent as is the ASX 200. Across the region it's a more subdued trading session.

they have
David Jones is hurting a bit, they have had a profit fall?They have indeed. The department store reported a 6% fall in its full-year profit to 95 million dollars. But that figure does take into account charges associated with the Dick Smith transaction that it completed back in August. Shareholders will get a fully franked dividend of 7 cents a share. Earlier this month, rival mire recorded an almost 9% drop in its annual results to $127 million, but today investors actually welcomed David Jones result. Shares jumped around 6%. Mire is following the gains, up around National Australia Bank
2%, not quite as strong. National Australia Bank is the best of the big four banks, Telstra is managing some gains and Fortescue Metals is up sharply, 3.5% higher.

A Brisbane court will today hear from a man who claims the Jayant
former Bundaberg surgeon, Jayant Patel, needlessly removed his bowel despite him being free of cancer. Prosecutors told the court 66-year-old Rodney Vowels is problems as a
now suffering serious health problems as a result of the surgery and reporter Francine Norton is at the court. What happened in court today? Well, today we have heard medical Rodney
evidence about the patient Rodney Vowels. Today we have heard from Dr Pratt, a radiation oncologist, who Vowels
assessed the patient Rodney Vowels about nine months before the operation on him. Dr Pratt said at that time the examinations showed no spread of cancer in Mr Vowels's colon. He discussed with the patient the pros and cons of him undergoing chemotherapy to get rid of any microscopic cancer cells that may have Bishop left behind. But Mr Vowels decided at that time not to undergo chemotherapy, as it turned out Patel nine months later in October 2004 diagnosed Vowels will cancer and decide today rectum.
remove his large colon and rectum. .What happens next?Well, we are expected to hear from the patient, Rodney Vowels, himself. He's expected to take to the witness box some time today and he's expected to give evidence at length about his own medical history, which included a partial coloctomy back in 1999 to treat an aggressive form of colon cancer. He's also expected to go through at length about his dealings with Patel leading up to and including the surgery in 2004, and the health problems that he says he's been left with. Now, it's that surgery in October 2004 that the Crown argues that Patel did not perform competently, and that Patel shouldn't have even done the operation, because at that stage, Mr Vowels did not have cancer. But the Defence argues that Rodney Vowels had a history of colon cancer, he did not have a healthy bowel and that it was reasonable for Patel to make his diagnosis and for his decision to operate him.Fd ral police say they have broken an organised crime syndicate with the discovery of 274kgs of ephedrine. A biosecurity officer at the Port of Melbourne found the drugs hidden in more than 3,000 bags of rise from India. It's Australia's third-largest seizure of the drug, which could be used to make up to 200kgs of crystal meth amphetamine. Police charged two Canadian Nationals and one Australian man with supplying a prohibited drug. Indian authorities also arrested a man they believe sent the ephedrine to Australia. The trials for Khmer Rouge are at risk of collapsing due to a lack of money. Key donors like Australia are asked to help bail out the court yet again. Zoe Daniel reports. Since 2006, the court's been investigating crimes that killed more than 1.7 million people more than three decades ago. Piecing together that horror story is slow work. The Cambodian Government is struggling to find the funds to pay for local staff. If the financial problem continues, it means that we can prolong the term, and we also spending the money. Only one case has so far been completed and four elderly Khmer Rouge leaders being tried in the second case, one has died and another has been dismissed due to demen is that. Australian Bill Smith has worked here for seven years and says it will be a tragedy if the court can't at least complete the trial of the remaining two defendants. It's very, very important that that process goes to completion, and then an appeal process be allowed. To complete case two, and investigations into potential third and fourth cases, will take another two years and cost around $60 million.The UN has secured a loan from donors to pay the national staff what they are owed. But in theory that has to be paid back by the Cambodian Government. And another $1.8 million is needed even to pay them through until the end of December.Mao Eng Chun lost two brothers under the regime and is grateful for what the court has done so far to mend the damage done. TRANSLATION: Before, I felt so much regret. Now at least there is justice, not enough but it's made things better. Australia's Government says it firmly supports the court's work and an extra $3.25 million was granted earlier this year.

Authorities in Russia say they'll prosecute Greenpeace activists. The prosecutors could face more than a decade in gaol.

Almost a week since the ship was first raided by Russian coastguards, the vessel has now been towed to a fiord outside the Port of Murmansk in Russia. The immediate fate of the activists now depends on Russian prosecutors. The initial protest last Wednesday was launched with determined speed, intended to catch the security staff and the Russian authorities by surprise. Using a fast boat, launched from the Greenpeace ship 'Arctic Sunrise' the demonstrators were able to send two activists up the side of the oil platform on ropes. the protestors were quickly intercepted by armed coastguard officers and it quickly became evident that the Russians were not tending to be lenient. I suspect you terrorismTerror ismHours after that radio exchange, armed Russian men ab sailed 'Arctic
from helicopters on to the 'Arctic Sunrise', took control of the ship and its multi-national crew. Five days in the custody of the Russian coastguard is unlikely to be the end of the matter for the Greenpeace activists. The here in Moscow, prosecutors are already indicating that they may pursue piracy charges against the group.The spokesman went on to describe the protest as an attempt to seize a drilling platform by storm and said it raised legitimate doubts about their intentions. TRANSLATION: Investigators have already launched a criminal case against participants of this reckless storming. According to article 227 of the Criminal Code, piracy. Investigators plan to question participants and detain the most active amongst them.The ship, he said, was loaded with electronics, whose purpose was not clear. The but Greenpeace has insisted its protest was peaceful and at no time was the intention too seize property in the way that piracy is legally defined. TRANSLATION: I have no sensible explanation, as to why this criminal case has been launched. They are being unlawfully held by the Russian authorities. They have no means of communication with us, with their relatives or with lawyers. They are under armed they
guard which effectively means they have been held unlawfully for five days.Campaigners on the ship are from 18 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, NZ, Russia, and the UK and the US. If prosecuted, each could be facing up to 15 years in prison.The America's Cup is Team
going down to the wire with Team USA coming back to level the series at 8 all against Team NZ. This morning, the Americans won back-to-back races to push the competition to one final day. In the second race of the day, NZ led at the first mark, but some superior tactics from Team USA saw them run Team NZ down, and capture a momentous win. It was all in the time. This time, it just doesn't matter, wivee been telling you guys all along, it doesn't matter how challenged in the race, we got behind, the boys stuck their heads down and out ground the other team. Very, very impressive. Gives us a lot of confidence going into tomorrow.Team NZ has to pick itself up for one final race. If they go down tomorrow, their defeat could go down in sporting folklore. The Brisbane Lions have ajounsed Justin Leppitsch as the club's new coach. He played over 220 games for the club, and has been an assistant coach at Richmond since 2009. Justin Leppitsch replaces former team mate Michael Voss who was sacked last month. The PM is unlike - Premiership is unlikely in the next few years, but the players will give 200%. My goal is to create an enjoyable working environment that creates and expects hard work. If I can get that from my players, they can give everything they've got, throughout the week they are going to come to work motivated to listen and learn. From there obviously the detail takes over. If I don't get those two things, it's very hard to teach the detail if you don't have motivated players.China is in the grip of a panda baby boom. No fewer than 14 of the little cubs have been born at a special breeding base in the south of the country.Tiny and clinging to survival, just being born is a triumph for these pandas. 14 new arrivals in the past three months. China's giant panda breeding centre in Chengdu this year has been the most successful in two decades. They were all conceived artificially. They are notoriously bad at reproducing naturally, one reason the species is threatened with extinction. Another, their habitat is shrinking. In the high mountains of Serb woman, you -

The tourists who come by the million don't see any pandas haven't the last bears have left. All that remains are the souvenirs they snap up instead. 1 and a half thousand pandas survive in the wild, but today, you'll only really see the animals in zoos. Only one panda born in captivity has ever been taken to the wild and reintroduced successfully. So China's breeding program isn't going to repopulate its parks with pandas. What it does do is keep the species alive and earn Nine a lot of - China a lot of money. To hire a pair of grown pandas a zoo pays China around half a million pounds a year. So these new arrivals are extremely valuable. No wonder they are handled with care. Let's take a look at the national weather now. Here is vabl.

- Vanessa O'Hanlon.Very quick weather patterns are moving across the country. They are very popular this week as another frontal system moves over WA, changing the winds in SA and also causing rain over Tasmania. We'll see another frontal system, the low will deepen tomorrow causing rain across Tasmania, Victoria, and up into the southern parts of NSW. And troughs continue to cause very hot and dry weather in Queensland and for parts of NSW today we have a severe fire warning for the western, central interior and also the southern districts of Queensland with Longreach expecting a top of 41 degrees.

We leave you with pictures from the tall ship festival in Hobart. I'm Nicole Chettle. Have a good afternoon.

Captions by CSI Australia