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This Program is Captioned Live by CSI AustraliaToday - at least 20 people dead after gunmen storm a hotel used by UN staff in the capital of Burkina Faso. Also ahead - a new report finds Save the Children staff on Nauru were unfairly deported.Documents reveal Clive Palmer's nickel refinery made a large donation to the Palmer United party just weeks before sacking hundreds of workers. And in the cricket, Australia takes a 2-0 series lead against India. Hello, you're watching ABC News, I'm Johanna Nicholson. Let's take a quick look at tomorrow's weather: Security forces in Burkina Faso have begun an assault to reclaim a hotel in the capital after it was occupied by armed militants overnight. At least 20 people were killed and others were taken hostage when Islamist gunmen stormed the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou on Friday.The hotel is used mainly by UN staff and Westerners. The militant group Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack.9 welfare workers deported from Nauru are demanding an apology from the Government following another official report finding there was no basis for their removal from the island. The Save the Children workers were abruptly sent home in 2014 after raising asylum seekers' concerns about sexual harassment from guards. Then immigration minister Scott Morrison suggested the group had orchestrated a campaign to undermine the Government's offshore detention policy. But a newly released internal Immigration Department report says they should be offered compensation after finding no evidence they acted outside their duties at the Nauru detention centre.Now for more on this I'm joined by Save the Children chief executive. What's your reaction to the findings of the report, did you expect this?We did , we welcome the report but we're not surprised. These were simply very professional staff doing their job in extraordinarily difficult circumstances and the way that they were treated and the way that save the Children's name was dragged through the mud is completely unacceptable.What would you like to see happen now?Certainly the staff involved and Save the Children deserve an apology and I think compensation is absolutely appropriate. But of course the bigger issue here is the way that offshore detention are being run by the contractors currently on Manus and Nauru. We want to see independent and transparent oversight of our offshore processing to make sure that the harm that's being done there is minimised. And in the long term we've got to come up with a solution that is more humane, more compassionate.What would that compensation be for? What sort of costs were incurred by these aid workers and by Save the Children as a result of these workers being ordered off Nauru?The impact of being deported from a country on these professional aid workers has been huge, to their mental well being. They obviously lost wages and income and they've had to engage legal support to help them work through these issues. For Save the Children similarly, we've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending our name and the staff's reputation in the face of what is clearly baseless allegations.Do these deportation orders remain in place for those workers and what sort of presence does Save the Children have on Nauru now?So those orders do remain in place. So those staff members cannot return to Nauru. That said, Save the Children is no longer operating on Nauru. The welfare and education services that we were previously providing are now being provided by Transfield or formerly known as Transfield, the for profit contractor.Do you think there needs to be more protections in place for whistleblowers, particularly in matters of asylum seekers?Absolutely. What we've seen and what this report once again demonstrates is that we have a culture of secrecy, particularly around offshore detention, and that is not an environment where people's best interests get looked after. And it's not an environment where taxpayers know what's being done in their name and with billions of taxpayer dollars.Do you think that as a result of the report that we'll see changes in the Government?Well, we certainly should see changes. Malcolm Turnbull's leading a new government with new ideas and I think one of the running sores that we have is the way that Australia is currently conducting offshore processing. We also know that the average length of time that a refugee is being held is increasing and that only exacerbates the mental harm that physical problems that refugees face.Yes, of course, as you mentioned, we saw this week that the time asylum seekers spend in Australian detention centres is at a record high, an average of almost 450 days. Why is this?Well, the processing simply is not being done fast enough. But of course, there's no need for mandatory detention in the first place. In our view, about 90 days is more than sufficient to run the security and health checks that are appropriate in the circumstances. Beyond that, it should be open processing, ideally here in Australia or actually in the region and that would be a better solution than what we have with Manus and Nauru where we genuinely engaged with our neighbours, Indonesia and Malaysia, for a sustainable regional solution.So if 90 days is an adequate amount of time why are we seeing up to 450 days? Is it a staffing issue? What's the reason?No, this is purely political, in my view. Successive governments have created a culture of fear around asylum seekers that has led to these harsh policies that actually have no basis in evidence or facts. 9 - 90 days is more than sufficient and that should be an easy policy change implemented immediately.Thanks very much for speaking with us today.You're very welcome.New documents reveal Clive Palmer's troubled company Queensland Nickel made a very large donation to the Palmer United Party just a fortnight before it was announced it was sacking 237 workers. Earlier I spoke to our reporter Josh Bavas for the details.Documents uploaded to the Queensland electorate commission just this week show that Queensland Nickel in fact donated nearly $290,000 to the Palmer United Party just two weeks ago. It was donated on 31 December and then the Electoral Commission was notified, it's put it up on its website under a special events section, special registries, in fact. It was just signed off by the director of Queensland Nickel 4 days ago. So that's just a few days before the sacking of 237 workers at the site.So Josh, take us back, what led to the sacking of these 237 workers?Well, coming up to the end of last year, Clive Palmer was asking for the Queensland Government to act as a guarantor for a $35 million loan that he said he needed to help the struggling company in the wake of falling nickel prices and the general mining sector downturn. The Queensland Government refused that because they couldn't see his paperwork , they asked to see the books of Queensland Nickel and he refused to give that over. He said that jobs were in jeopardy. But also late last year it was revealed that Queensland Nickel, in fact, funnelled off $5.9 million to the Palmer United Party that was given as political donations just a few months prior. The year before that, some $15.2 million went from Queensland Nickel to the Palmer United Party Azdone - as donations. So the Queensland Government has stood by its stand not to help bail out the refinery. It's resulted in some job losses, hundreds of job losses just yesterday and those workers are still waiting to find out if they will be receiving those entitlements that they're owed.So what's next for these workers? Is it possible that any of them could potentially launch action against losing their job?I'm not sure if they will be launching action at this stage but I do know that the Queensland Government has sent special teams to help these hundreds of workers to find new jobs. The Townsville mayor said that it's worth millions of dollars to the Townsville economy because it employs so many people. Just these 237 people is worth a few million dollars to the economy which is already struggling. Last year the unemployment rate in Townsville hit 10%, one of the highest in the State. It's come down to about 5.5 to 6% now. But that whole North Queensland region, Townsville, Mackay, and those areas to the west are really struggling in this mining downturn and these 237 job losses aren't helping and then to find out that hundreds of thousands of dollars were donated to the Palmer United Party just 2 weeks ago will be salt in the wounds for some of these workers.Josh Bavas speaking with me a little earlier. The Federal Opposition has called on the Government to come clean for its plans on tax on superannuation. The Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen made the comments while speaking to the media in Sydney a short time ago.The Labor Party has led this debate. We announced our superannuation tax policy last April. Scott Morrison led the charge on behalf of the Government as then social security minister. He huffed and he puffed and he said it was an attack on superannuation. And now we know that as Treasurer he's contemplating increasing tax on superannuation. Again, Mr Morrison should come clean with his plans. I'm happy to debate superannuation tax with Mr Mor season. We have a plan on the table. I'm happy to debate it with him any time, anywhere. But to do that he will need to announce his plans. He is the Government's hypocrite in chief. Having railed against superannuation tax changes and now progressing superannuation tax changes. We have a very carefully designed detailed plan on superannuation on the table. We announced it, Bill Shorten and I, at a press conference last April. It's been there for all to see. Scott Morrison railed against it and now he's contemplating changes to superannuation tax. Well, there's changes to superannuation tax which Mr Morrison could adopt and could implement and that's by accepting and adopting Labor's policy and plans with our approval and support.Police are continuing their search in Victoria's north-east today for a missing mother of 2. 49-year-old Karen Chetcuti was last seen at the Whorouly Hotel on Tuesday night. A search of her home found her handbag and purse but her burnt out car was discovered more than 20 kilometres away at murder - Myrtleford. Police say her disappearance is out of character.Baby formula has been in high demand in China after deaths in 2007. Woolworths is being sued by customer s who say they've had their baby formulas cancelled because of their Asian surnames. Lawyer Kingsley Liu says his clients are being turned away despite adhering to the strict conditions.We can only go and see her side of the story. As for Woolworths' so-called evidence or their side of it we don't have much information there so we will be really enlightened by that and perhaps that's a way to get a solution for this issue. There are 2 clients who are considering to take that step and then there are 2 more that came in this morning and they gave - have given me instructions to go ahead to take it further. They're not getting answers and they're met with a wall or a vacuum of almost silence and they felt degraded and they felt that they in some way might have been targeted or kept in a certain way. That's a conclusion that they may reach and also the public and I think it needs to be sorted out. What they need is really answers and as I said, that's the best way forward. They have a right to go to a group like the Human Rights Commission and make an application which would create an investigation. And if there's legitimate reasons to take it further, the Human Rights Commission will go and try and work out a solution to the issue.We're going to bring you up to date on the hostage situation in Burkina Faso. According to a government official, 33 hostages have now been evacuated from a hotel in the country's capital after it was attacked by suspected Islamist militants. He added that the hostages have been taken to hospital but that the operation continues. Now at least 20 people were killed when Islamist gunmen stormed the Splendid Hotel which is popular with foreigners on a Friday night. Let's cross live now to a foreign correspondent with the 'New York Times' and focuses on Al-Qaeda and IS. Thanks for speaking to us. First, could you take us through what happened when these militants occupied this hotel?What we know so far is that Al-Qaeda's branch in North Africa and an allied group, they stormed the hotel roughly at around 8:00 local time as well as a cafe that was nearby and a small restaurant that was on the same street. Once they went in, they took over the hotel and took a large number of hostages, we don't yet know exactly how many people were there. .Forces amassed outside the hotel and just over an hour ago, I believe, they stormed the hotel and the operation is still ongoing as far as we know. They've managed to rescue at least a dozen hostages from our people on the ground.Do you know if there are still hostages left in this hotel?What we're being told is that the operation is ongoing so there could - I don't know exactly to what extent - what exactly that means. Whether there's people holed up or whether the gunfight continues.I believe that Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for this attack?It's Al-Qaeda and another group. They have been working together for some time. They also led the attack on the Radisson Hotel in Mali's capital in November.Describe the area where this attack took place. I believe this hotel is popular with particularly foreigners?I've been told by more than one person that this is now considered one of the best hotels in Burkina Faso. I was there around a year ago and I don't remember hearing of it. It's on the main drag, the largest avenue in town and recently after protests in town some of the other hotels had been damaged and so by default this hotel became one of the best known ones.What sort of presence does Al-Qaeda have if Burkina Faso?This is the first attack they have done, the first major attack, I should say, they have done in Burkina Faso and the only one that they've ever carried out in the capital. There have been attacks on the border with Mali. Mali is a country that has a jihadist problem going back more than a decade ago. But Burkina Faso was largely immune to that particular problem up until now.Tell us about the political environment in Burkina Faso?Burkina Faso was led by a man who was considered one of the strong men of Africa for more than, I think, almost 2 decades leading up until October 2014. In October 2014 there was basically a popular uprising against him and he was forced from power and since then there's within a number of transitional bodies that have tried to lead the country and a lot of uncertainty regarding the role of the military so the country is very much in transition.So this prais now by the French special forces is still ongoing. Do we know how long this will be under way for?We don't.It's anyone's guess, I imagine. Thank you very much for speaking with us and bringing us up to date. Indonesian police say they've identified 4 out of 5 of the Jakarta attackers. They're now searching for an Indonesian man they believe is the top suspect.They have been accused of being caught off-guard. Police in Indonesia are now trying to find out who was involved in Thursday's attacks. They say they have evidence an Indonesian ex-convict named Bahrun Naim may have planned the attack.He gave the order from Syria but he is also chief in Indonesia. He the one basically, you know, prepared this operation.StThis alleged leader of the operation is still on the run. 3 other men were arrested in a suburb of Jakarta, suspected of plotting an attack. Police have not confirmed if they are involved in Thursday's attacks. Analysts say an estimated 120 Indonesians have been trained to commit ISIL-inspired attacks. TRANSLATION: They have training camps, they have been to Syria, to Mindanao, they have been fighting as war lords in the jungle and fighting in difficult circumstances. We Despite warnings, analysts say the authorities were taken by surprise on Thursday in what's been described as an intelligence failure. Stricter antiterrorism laws are being discussed in Parliament and the Government said it would rather focus on what it's called soft approach.Look at US experience in Afghanistan, Iraq and with the hard approach, not solve the problem. Even make the situation has become much worse.Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation with more than 40 million members together with leaders from other religions has called ISIL an enemy of Islam. They're planning a peace rally this weekend to condemn ISIL. TRANSLATION: Terrorists are common enemies, enemies of the Indonesian people, of the Indonesian State, of our religious communities. Terrorism is against humanity, against religion, especially against Islam.Authorities are conducting raids in several parts of the country, hoping soon to announce some significant arrests.Israeli soldiers have shot and killed 2 Palestinians in a clash near the Gaza border. Israeli officials say dozens of Palestinians were rioting in the area and some had tried to illegally enter Israel. An 18-year-old man was shot in the neck and another 26-year-old man was shot in the stomach. 15 other people were wounded by Israeli fire.The White House says Australia has made substantial contributions to the US-led coalition of countries involved in military efforts against Islamic State mill - militants in Iraq and Syria. The Federal Government this week declined a US request for an expanded military involvement in the Middle East. The White House spokesman, Josh Ernest, said the operation will be among topics discussed by PM Malcolm Turnbull when he meets President Barack Obama in Washington in the coming week. He says the US is deeply aappreciative of what Australia has done.Australia has made substantial contributions when it comes to our counter-ISIL campaign. There are Australian military pilots that have flown with American military pilots in the skies over Iraq and Syria, taking strikes against ISIL and we know that Australia has also made a substantial contribution to the training, advising and assist effort that's under way in Iraq.African-American activists are calling for minorities across the world to boycott the Oscars. For the second year in a row, all 20 lead and supporting actor nominees are white. That's despite some critically acclaimed performances by black and Latin-American actors. Golden Globes host, Ricky Gervais was one of a number of celebrities to voice their disapproval.Now it's time for sport, here's Georgie Tunney. Aussie opener Aaron Finch has backed trialling pink balls in one-day internationals to balance the game. The renewed call comes after the Aussies pulled off back-to-back record run chases with a massive 617 runs in total scored in game 2. The third umpire technology not in use this series, inform batsman Rohit Sharma was given a life on 89 and used it to full advantage. Scoring a century in consecutive matches. In reply, the Aussies got off to a belting start. Openers Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh both notched 50s before something special from Rahane in the field.He catches it. He does catch it. It just gets there. Rahane, I thought he had more to do. That was enough. That is brilliant.What a cricketer he is.Ishant Sharma couldn't pull off the same brilliance as his team-mate with the opening wicket doing litle to halt the momentum. Australia had a 7-wicket win with an over to spare. Australia lead the series 2-0. Pakistan has upset the Kiwis to take out the first international T/20 fixture in the country's 3-match series. AFeiz smashed 61 off 37 balls open the innings and Pakistan never looked back. New Zealand struggled from the start of their innings. Quick fire 50s to Kane Williamson and Colin Munro were the only highlight. The home side crumbled all out for 155 and Pakistan now lead the series 1-0.Still with international cricket, and England bowler James Anderson has lashed out at umpire during the first Test in South Africa. After being forcibly removed from the attack for running on othe wicket. The blow up occurred in the 100th over of the South Africa's innings with the paceman previously warned twice about his follow through. The Proteas were bowled out for 313 and England are 5/238 at stumps.Svetlana Kuznetsova has claimed her maiden Sydney International title thumping young gun Monica Puig 6-0, 6-2 in the final. It's been 8 years since the Russian had appeared in the Sydney decider but the 30-year-old former French and US Open champ needed only 55 minutes to cruise to the crown. She sent a warning to her opponents for next week's Australian Open with the win. On the men's side, Grigor Dimitrov is through to his first final in 14 months after despatch ing Gill Muller in straight sets.Brisbane Roar coach John Aloisi has labelled Melbourne Victory ruthless after the defending champs konding their A-League resurgence, absolutely smashing the tabletoping Roar. Kosta Barbarouses, Benn Khalfallah and Besart Berisha were at their best.Kosta Barbarouses taking a brace in the first half. Berisha's 11th goal of the season in the 52nd minute sealed the 4-0 demolition and keeps Victory in striking distance with a top 2 finish.The difference tonight is that their front 4 were ruthless and we got into areas but we didn't really hurt them because we got into some really good areas. So, you know, we have to improve in that aspect.He's passionate, I'm passionate and I'm passionate about Brisbane Roar, I want to win. I don't like losing.Disgraced former Essendon coach James Hird has criticised the AFL's handling of the supplements saga in his latest newspaper column. Hird said the AFL put spin first and fairness last as they controlled to control the investigation. WADA's appeal was upheld this week to clear 34 past and present Bombers players of taking banned substances while Hird was coach. Hird again apologised to the players for breaking his promises to them but said his trust was also broken. And remember, you can hear from the man himself tomorrow night on News 24 at 7:40 eastern time when Tracy Holmes interviews James Hird.Melbourne United have cruised to their 5th straight win in the NBL. The Taipans were fighting for their season but long-time NBA forward Hakim Warrick continued his recent form for Melbourne with 19 points in just 17 minutes on court. The home side cemented their title credentials 30-point winners 98-68. In Perth, the Wildcats snapped their 3-game losing streak with a 27-point win over the luckless Sydney Kings. Casey Prather top scored for the home side as Sydney had their 8th loss on the road this season. And Toby Price is close to fulfil ing his boyhood dream of winning the Dakar Rally. He has a substantial lead heading into the final stage and is on track to become the first Australian to take out the event. Let's take a look at the satellite. A trough is generating a band of rain over northeastern NSW and southeastern Queensland gradually moving north. Brisk onshore winds on the NSW and south-east Queensland coast are causing showers. Another trough in the west is generating thundery showers, mostly around WA's Pilbara.Looking around the country for tomorrow:

And that is the news for now. I'm Johanna Nicholson. 'Talk About It' is coming up next.

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