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Tonight - a massive earthquake rocks northern Japan, triggering a devastating tsunami.

Tsunami swamps eastern Japan

Tsunami swamps eastern Japan

Broadcast: 11/03/2011

Reporter: Peter Lloyd

Japan has been been inundated by a Tsunami generated by an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter
scale, the largest ever recorded in the country.


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: The earthquake which hit just a few hours ago was one of the strongest ever
recorded in Japan and struck off the north coast of the country.

Measuring over eight in magnitude, the earthquake generated a massive tsunami that inundated large
parts of Japan's pacific coast.

The official death toll currently stands at 26 but is expected to climb.

Four nuclear power stations were shut down as a result of the quake and millions of buildings in
Tokyo lost power.

A tsunami alert has been issued for the entire pacific basin and includes Russia, Taiwan, Malaysia,
Hawaii, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and as far away as Mexico.

The Bureau of Meteorology says there's no tsunami threat to Australia.

We begin our coverage tonight with this report from Peter Lloyd.

NNK REPORTER: This is what it looked like when the earthquake struck.

(Vision of newsroom shaking)

PETER LLOYD, REPORTER: This was the scene inside a Japanese TV newsroom in Sendai at 2:45 local

NNK REPORTER: We're hearing some of the emergency broadcast that's going on in the background.

(Lights go out in newsroom)

PETER LLOYD: The quake rocked buildings and set off fires. This was the scene in the capital,

(Vision of office shaking)

VOXPOP 1: I thought I was going to die, it was enormous.

VOXPOP 2: I was at the station. I've never felt such a huge quake.

PETER LLOYD: Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan and members of Parliament were meeting during the
quake, a bewildered Kan stayed seated as the building swayed.

The quake was soon followed by a tsunami.

NNK REPORTER: You're seeing live footage of a tsunami engulfing the port area of Kamaitachi in
Iwate prefecture. We've been reporting earlier on that the meteorological agency has issued a
warning for a tsunami up to six metres deep, six metres high. This is what's happening right as we
speak, a large tsunami engulfing the port of Kamaitachi in Iwate Prefecture.

PETER LLOYD: And worse was to come.

NNK REPORTER: Live coverage of a river in Miyagi Prefecture tsunami obviously hitting, water going
upwards towards the river.

PETER LLOYD: This is the coastal farmland of Sendai. Population of one million people. A wall of
water inundated the area carrying moving fires and debris, taking all before it.

NNK REPORTER: It looks like the tsunami has engulfed several cities in Miyagi Prefecture. Live
footage of Miyagi as the tsunami has struck the area. One of the worst earthquakes ever in Japanese
history. It's a seven on a Japanese seismic scale of zero to seven. That is the same sized
earthquake as the one that hit the Great Hanshin area back in 1995.

PETER LLOYD: Vehicles tried outrunning the deluge but the water was moving too fast.

NNK REPORTER: We do not know in regards to the exact amount of damage at this time but we are soon
to get a report from Japan's meteorological agency, they're setting up to find out the extent of
the damage.

All transportation systems in Tokyo as well as northern Japan have been stopped.

PETER LLOYD: This is another north -eastern port city, Kamaishi. Trucks and boats went belly up.
There's no way of knowing how many people were trapped inside these vehicles.

A huge wall of water engulfed an airport and fires have broken out at refineries and factories.

NNK REPORTER: Once again that inferno going pretty much out of control in Shiba Prefecture,
Ichihara city fire fighters obviously not being able to contain that large blaze in an oil

PETER LLOYD: A short time ago the Japanese prime minister addressed the nation.

NAOTO KAN, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER: We have created an office to deal with the disaster and look to
maintain the safety of everyone and will look to reduce the amount of damage to as small as

PETER LLOYD: Japan is only beginning to count the cost of one of the biggest earthquakes in
recorded history.

Peter Lloyd, Lateline.

Mealey: High buildings were swaying violently

Mealey: High buildings were swaying violently

Broadcast: 11/03/2011

Reporter: Ali Moore

Former ABC reporter Rachel Mealey joins Lateline live by phone from Tokyo, where four million homes
lost power.


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: We're joined on the phone now in Tokyo by Rachel Mealy, a former ABC reporter
who now lives in Tokyo.

Rachel Mealey, I understand that just in the last few seconds and in the last few minutes you've
just experienced another aftershock?

RACHEL MEALEY: That's right Ali, just as I was waiting to talk to you there's been another just
slight aftershock. I've lost the ability to measure them now with my own senses.

There have been 25 aftershocks since the main quake this afternoon just before three o'clock local
time here in Tokyo and some of those aftershocks have measured as high as 6.5 on the Richter scale,
a lot of them about 6.1 or 5.9. On any other day in Tokyo we'd all be talking about that being a
major tremor but of course after what we experienced this afternoon it's an aftershock.

ALI MOORE: So where were you when the main quake struck?

RACHEL MEALEY: I was driving my car through the suburb of Shibuya, one of the main centres of

I was on one of the main thoroughfares coming along in my car and I was driving along besides one
of those suspended freeways in Tokyo and I became very concerned that I had to get myself away from
that, what they're called Shutos.

It looks a bit like a bridge on pylons and I just could see the pictures from Kobe of many years
coming back to me that the roads had collapsed there and I wanted to get the car as far away from
that as I could.

The high-rise buildings that line that street were swaying very violently and although no windows
were breaking the glass on the windows was almost at that point where it was cracking.

I was near a construction site where there were two cranes there and the cranes were swaying so
violently that at one point I thought that they were going to crash into each other.

As I was there on the road it seemed that the habit of drivers here is to stop your car, stay in
the car and put the hazard lights on so immediately all the roads just became gridlocked like a car
park and out of these high-rises many, many thousands of office workers just came tumbling out onto
the street with hardhats on and earthquake vests, you know, that obviously were close at hand.

ALI MOORE: Rachel, any sense of panic?

RACHEL MEALEY: Not from what I saw because I, I felt as though what I was looking at on the street
was a very orderly evacuation of buildings.

My husband works in the, more in the business district of Japan where the buildings were much
higher and he said that people in his office were very panicked because of course the higher the
building the greater the sway to sort of survive the shaking of the ground.

And he said that he was physically moved and felt as though he was going to be bashed against the
window in his office. So he was very concerned as were most people in his office but once people
reached down to the ground I think a sense of orderliness and you know and I guess relief of being
out of the building came over a lot of people. That was just from what I saw.

ALI MOORE: Of course you're talking about the impact that you felt and you're hundreds of
kilometres away from the epicentre, can you give us some sense of the scale of the devastation?

RACHEL MEALEY: Well, reports of casualties and missing persons are obviously still mounting and
there are many feared buried in rubble of collapsed buildings but that has actually nothing to do
with the damage that's been caused by this tsunami.

So the tsunami has swept across farmlands and taken homes and crops and vehicles in its path. At
this stage there's just no way of rescue authorities even, even coming up with a figure of how many
people have been killed or injured or affected by the damage at this stage.

The government of Japan has already sent 900 rescue workers into the stricken regions to, to help
out there but it's a chilly night here in Tokyo. In the north-east of the country it would be even
colder so I imagine that with all that's happened this afternoon there would be a lot of people
displaced and you know, really feeling it tonight.

ALI MOORE: And major damage to critical infrastructure?

RACHEL MEALEY: Well, the prime minister has addressed the nation on something that's very close to
people's minds and that is the nuclear power plants here in Japan.

And he said that the four nuclear power plants in the effected regions did as they should have done
and they safely shut down. So there haven't been any radiation leaks.

In Tokyo alone there are 14 blazes underway and at least two of those are at oil refineries so very
major problems just to put out those fires alone.

In Tokyo, four million homes have lost power and at this stage the city is still in gridlock
because of course all of those commuters that spilled out of all those office blocks need to get
home and at the moment down the major streets in Tokyo there are people just walking home and of
course communication has been down.

Ever since the earthquake happened I haven't received a single call on my mobile phone, the only
thing that happens is a little bit of intermittent coverage and someone can get a text message
through or with smart phones these days we're able to send emails from our mobile phones but really
it doesn't have the strength to make a call.

And from what I saw of all of those people spilling out onto the streets in Shibuya this afternoon
each person had a mobile phone in their hand, taking a photo, taking video footage or trying to
call their loved ones and so just the huge demand on the communication system has meant that it has
been a very slow process to get a call out to find loved ones and as we've seen in a lot of major
world events of recent times, Facebook has filled that void.

Facebook has been used by a lot of people in Tokyo to let their loved ones know where they are
because of course without mobile phone coverage in, to take its place there's often been a little
bit of wireless coverage or internet access in some places so a lot of posts on Facebook have said,
"we are here, I've got the kids, I've got your kids, everyone's fine," you know it's that kind of
communication that is still happening hours after the quake. So it's obviously just going to
continue that way I think.

ALI MOORE: Rachel Mealey in Tokyo, many thanks for talking to us.


Robert: Trapped train passengers 'very calm'

Robert: Trapped train passengers 'very calm'

Broadcast: 11/03/2011

Reporter: Ali Moore

Opposition MP Stuart Robert was trapped on a bullet train 700km from the epicentre when the nuclear
reactor powering the line shut down.


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: Joining us by phone is Stuart Robert, a Federal Coalition MP who's in Japan
as part of an Australian delegation to a political exchange program. He was on a bullet train on
the outskirts of Tokyo when the earthquake struck.

Stuart Robert, thanks for talking to us. How long have you stuck on this train and where are you

STUART ROBERT, FEDERAL MP: Well we're still on the train inching our way towards Tokyo. We've been
on the train for seven, maybe eight hours now.

ALI MOORE: Are they keeping you informed? Are they telling you what's happening?

STUART ROBERT: As much as they can, which is very, very little. We spent four or five hours
stationary there in the middle, unable to get on or after and of course the train ran out of food
and water before they moved to a new station. And all they could say was they're checking the rail.
No bullet trains are moving. No electric trains in Tokyo are moving. Millions and millions of
people are stuck. And they'll provide further update as they come along. And now we're inching our
way towards Tokyo.

ALI MOORE: Did you feel the earthquake even though you were on a bullet train and, obviously, they
travel at great speed?

STUART ROBERT: Well we were a long way away. We were coming out of Osaka so we would have been 700
kilometres away from the epicentre, perhaps more and we certainly felt a shake of the train but
more importantly, as that happened the nuclear power stations shut down, which power the grid, and
the train came to a stop.

That's probably when most people realised something was wrong. And of course the aftershocks, which
gave the train quite a wobble, confirmed what was going on.

ALI MOORE: It is a long time to be stuck on a train. Were people very calm? Was everyone just happy
to be in the situation and be safe?

STUART ROBERT: It's an amazing microcosm. You've got 3,000 people on a bullet train. Frantic
activity on the phones but very dignified, very stoic. People who didn't have a phone, someone lent
them one. There were younger people sharing information with older people and showing them videos,
what was happening, on their iPads or laptops.

And there was a great sense of order and calm right the way through the process, even now as we're
going towards Tokyo and people are still unsure when they get to, from the bullet train to the next
station to their home, there's still a great sense of calm on board the train.

ALI MOORE: Well Stuart Robert as you say you're heading towards Tokyo. Do you have any idea what's
going to happen when you get there or whether you're going to make it the whole way?

STUART ROBERT: Well no, no idea at all. We've been inching our way for seven and a half hours now.
We get the impression the train will get to Tokyo. The embassy has indicated they're doing their
best to provide some billets. So I may be using the ambassador's couch and I hope it is comfy.
Hotel rooms are all full.

ALI MOORE: Indeed I have no doubt it will be. Stuart Robert, many thanks for joining us.

STUART ROBERT: No problems.

Courtis: More devastation for the Japanese economy

Courtis: More devastation for the Japanese economy

Broadcast: 11/03/2011

Reporter: Ali Moore

Ken Courtis is a senior investment banker and former vice-president of Goldman Sachs, and a
long-time resident of Tokyo.


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: Ken Courtis is a senior investment banker and former vice-president of
Goldman Sachs. He's a long-time resident of Tokyo and we had planned to talk to him this evening
about the global economy as he's just arrived in Paris after a trip through the troubled Middle
East but we'll begin with the devastation in Japan.

Ken Courtis, welcome to Lateline.


ALI MOORE: Well as we said, you're based in Japan. It's a country that for many years you've both
lived in and you've analysed. What news are you hearing out of Tokyo?

KEN COURTIS: This is still a terrifying, massive crisis that's hit Japan. It's unmeasured yet the
damage that's happened, now this tsunami is rolling out across the Pacific, it is going to hit
Australia, Indonesia and going to the east to California and Hawaii. This is something that's going
to shake the Japanese and their confidence to the core. The Japanese are already wobbly in their
confidence because of the great economic and political troubles they've had in the last 10 or 20

ALI MOORE: Well I should just say there that of course a tsunami warning, I know you're in Paris,
you're a very long way away, but at least it has been withdrawn at least in terms of Australia,
there is no threat to Australia at the moment.

As you say there, Japan's confidence has been wobbly. We know that it's been trying very hard to
recover from its worst post-war recession. You've got big government debt, you've got a real
problem with deflation. Economically what is this earthquake going to do, could the Japanese

KEN COURTIS: I think it is just more damage and devastation. Japan hasn't been able to really get
out of the crisis that started now 20 years ago. We talk about a loss of a decade. It's going to be
a loss of a quarter of a century. The politics are in a shambles again, the government is about to
fall, Japan has just not been able to come to grips with the issues that it faces.

These issues, the economic issues, have been made more complex because of the very quickly ageing
of the country and in fact the contraction of its population, the vast amount of debt, that's
something like five times GDP if you can include the government sector and private sectors, so
Japan now has debt, deflation, bad demographics and then the devastating damage of this earthquake.
And I think all of this comes together to create an even more problematic outcome for the country.

ALI MOORE: We heard earlier that there are a number of oil refineries that are on fire. I
understand that's already had an impact on the oil price and ironically, given what's going on in
the Middle East it's gone in the other direction to what you might have expected.

KEN COURTIS: Well it is, with these refineries not being knocked out it means Japan's going to be
taking in a little bit less oil over the next weeks or months until this is all repaired. And so
that's going to release oil for other people in the world to buy but I don't think we should become
too giddy about this because at the same time we see that lots of other economies are growing
quickly and just increasing demand for oil. So I think pressure on oil prices is here to stay.

ALI MOORE: Let's look at that and look at in the context of the Middle East. As I said, you've just
returned from the region. We've had uprising in Tunisia and Egypt, there's a virtual civil war now
in Libya, we've had protests in Yemen and in Bahrain and also now we've seen protesters fired upon
in Saudi Arabia.

How significant are the economic implications of these massive, extraordinary events in the region?

KEN COURTIS: Let's just take Libya for example.

It's the world's 12th largest oil producer. Over the next two years, China's growth will mean that
China will import, two years from now, increased amount of oil equal to the total Libyan production
before this crisis. So even a mid-sized producer gets knocked off line, as is happening today in
Libya, has a real impact on prices, but of course the real question in the Middle East, the big
issue for oil, is if something of this nature starts to take place in Saudi. Then I think we enter
into a whole different universe of problems.

ALI MOORE: Indeed. Am I right in saying that at the moment Saudi has increased production of oil to
pick up the slack to take over where Libya has left off?

KEN COURTIS: That's right. Saudi still has some excess capacity perhaps to increase production by
another 2.5 to 3 million barrels a day.

But if anything should happen in Saudi, and we've had over the last few days some rumbles in the
north-eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia and that's where the Shiites, a minority religious group in
Saudi, that's where they are concentrated.

They're unhappy very much like people are, the Shiites are unhappy in Bahrain. See, that area of
the country is starting to slip into turmoil and chaos as we've seen elsewhere in the Middle East,
then I think we enter into a really, really complex scenario. Oil prices would go up. That would be
like a vast tax on the world economy and that would drive I think this fragile recovery into a tail

ALI MOORE: And what you're seeing or what you heard when you were travelling through region, it
does seem though that the Saudi royal family is prepared to do anything it can to not only I
suppose prop itself up but also support its neighbours. It's throwing billions and billions of
dollars at its people and its neighbours.

KEN COURTIS: Well, the Saudis have a lot of money, so they can give people a lot of goodies but
much of this uprising, this turmoil we're having in the Middle East, is about economics but a lot
is about politics.

People want to participate in decisions. They don't want other people controlling their lives in
every detail like has been the case in the past. So money alone isn't going to solve these issues.
And in these countries like Saudi Arabia where you have a complex leadership structure, a
dysfunctional family, in effect, that runs the country, it's very difficult for them to be
proactive and take the type of big decisions that might be required to address the demands on the

ALI MOORE: So what is your reading of what's likely to happen in Bahrain and in Saudi Arabia? Do
you think regime change is on the cards?

KEN COURTIS: Well, I think both of those countries will do everything to avoid regime change.
They'll make compromises, they'll try to hold any uprising down very aggressively. I think what's
going on today in Libya has led people who want to see change to be a little bit more realistic
about what could happen if things go in the wrong direction.

So I'm not expecting at this moment great regime change in that Saudi Arabia gets shaken to the
roots but I think in today's world, just like this earthquake in Tokyo came out of blue, I don't
think we can take anything for granted.

ALI MOORE: Well against that backdrop, what's your expectations for the price of oil in the short
term? I note the British Energy Secretary, Chris Hume, says the threat of the oil shock like the
1970s is not out the question. Would you consider that too dire a prediction?

KEN COURTIS: Oil I think in the next few days will probably stay at these levels, but if these
difficulties continue in the context where we have strong demand from countries like, new demand
from countries like India and China, I think the trend in oil prices is higher.

Of course if they go too high, if we get up to $140, $150 again that's going to then undermine this
tentative lift in the world economy and then that would drive prices down very dramatically again.
So I think what everyone should be expecting and prepared for is lots of volatility in oil prices
and another natural resource prices and markets as we move ahead.

ALI MOORE: Do you think oil is already another noose around the neck of countries like the US and
indeed also like Europe which is also continuing to struggle under those massive sovereign debts?

KEN COURTIS: Europe really has a very complex situation. If you take the throw countries, Ireland,
Greece and Portugal, they have a question of solvency, that is, they cannot generate enough growth
to pay back the debt that they have.

They're going to do a write-off at some point and let's say that write-off is 30 per cent. That's a
very big write off for the banks in Germany and the UK to absorb. In fact they today don't have the
capital to absorb that. So that's issue number one.

Issue number two and perhaps more bigger, is if this debt issue that's now hobbling increasingly
parts of Europe spills into Spain and Spain becomes a question of solvency, given that Spain has
such an enormous amount of debt directly carried by the French and German banks, if Spain would
have to be bailed out, that would undermine the very finances of France and Germany themselves and
it would put the whole of Europe into a tailspin.

So right now, the line they're trying to defend is the line between Portugal, Greece and Ireland on
one side where any realist will tell you that this game is coming to an end play, and they're
trying to hold it there to try to make sure that this debt tsunami doesn't now start smashing into
Spain and if that happens, then all bets are off.

ALI MOORE: And of course, all of this uncertainty is coming at the same time as all of the
uncertainty about the Middle East and the future for oil and indeed gold?

KEN COURTIS: In this type of context, people go for security so they'll buy gold, other natural
resources, and, you know, it is never easy. We're at a point today where all of this is coming
together in the context where the developed economies, America, Japan and Europe, are already in
deep trouble and this is going to accelerate still further the shift of global growth to China and
other countries in Asia.

And so these difficulties are accentuating the shift as global centre of power, of economic power,
of financial and industrial power but if I look it from the Australian perspective, this plays very
much into Australia's hands in a sense, because Australia's future is very much tied up today with
China, India, with the rest of Asia and that's a part of the world that's going to be growing and
needs everything that Australia produces.

ALI MOORE: And if you look at the other part of the world, the US, if we do get a sustained higher
oil price, will that increase the risk of a double dip recession in the US?

KEN COURTIS: I think very much it does. I think if we were to see oil at $125, $130 and were to
hold at those levels for some months gas prices would zoom up in the United States, the consumer
would then be forced back on the defensive and this rebound policy, engineered rebound we have in
the US economy would quickly reverse, come down and given the US banks and the European banks still
have so much debt that they haven't resolved, bad debt, that they're carrying on their books, they
would again find themselves in trouble.

So we are here at a moment of great risk and it's going to take great political and economic
leadership and a little bit of luck to bring us through.

ALI MOORE: Is the one region, I mean you speak very optimistically about Asia, is that the one
region where you don't see the uncertainty and the instability and the risk that obviously there is
in the US, there is in Europe, is Asia the one region where it is a safer bet?

KEN COURTIS: Asia has interestingly very strong fundamentals with the exception of Japan. These
countries have low debt, they have the right demographics that mean lots of young people in the
labour markets, they have high savings rates, they invest a lot, they invest a great deal in
education, they're building infrastructure and they actually have governments that can make tough

And so what's really happening as I see it, is the Western economies and Japan, they're losing a
decade as they rebuild from the crisis of 2007-2008. It's going to take a decade before they
completely rebuild. And I think Asia gains a decade through this period. So over these 10 years in
a sense there's a 20 year shift in what's going on in the world economy towards Asia.

ALI MOORE: Ken Courtis, many thanks for joining us from Paris with your thoughts tonight.

Gillard returns to toxic home environment

Gillard returns to toxic home environment

Broadcast: 11/03/2011

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

Julia Gillard is returning home to sagging poll numbers, toxic debate about the carbon tax and
accusations of a rift between her and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: For today our other main stories.

Julia Gillard has wrapped up her visit of mainland America and will tomorrow head home via Hawaii
where she'll drop in for a visit with the chief of the US navy in the Pacific.

She'll return to sagging poll numbers and increasingly toxic debate over the carbon tax and
indications of a rift between her and former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

Our political correspondent reports from Canberra.

TOM IGGULDEN: Kevin Rudd's been pushing the idea of a no-fly zone over Libya. The Prime Minister's
agreed with him but also with her American hosts in saying that all options should be looked at.
The Opposition is calling that a split.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: I think the Government should speak with one voice on this and I
think the problem is that no one quite knows at the moment who speaks for the Government on foreign
policy matters. Is it the Prime Minister or is it the Foreign Minister?

JULIE BISHOP, OPPOSITION FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESWOMAN: There's clearly a deep personal rift between
Prime Minister Gillard and Foreign Minister Rudd, but now it's widened into the foreign policy

TOM IGGULDEN: Julie Bishop says the Prime Minister isn't talking to her Foreign Minister.

REPORTER: Have you spoken to Kevin Rudd about the Government's policy on Libya over the last 24
hours and what did you glean?

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: No, I haven't personally. Our offices have been continuously been in
contact and we've been in contact through the department. We are in different parts of the world
and different time zones.

TOM IGGULDEN: She denies there's a rift. NATO today continued to rule out a no-fly zone for now.

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: Ministers agreed that further planning will be

TOM IGGULDEN: On Tunisian television, Kevin Rudd continued to make a case for outside world to step
in to protect Libya's protesters.

KEVIN RUDD, FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER: And that's why the international community now rallies
together to protect the Libyan civilian population to the greatest extent that we can.

We in Australia and the democracies of beyond Europe, the democracies of Asia and the Pacific also
seek to provide practical support for this protection offered to the Libyan people.

TOM IGGULDEN: If there is a split between the current and the former prime minister, it pales by
comparison with senior Liberal Senator Nick Minchin who again today openly contradicted his party's
view on climate change and he took a shot at the Government's independent climate change expert,
Ross Garnaut.

NICK MINCHIN, LIBERAL SENATOR: He's a very good economist. From my perspective he knows nothing
about the climate and is not a climate scientist.

TOM IGGULDEN: And he questioned his independence.

NICK MINCHIN: He's obviously paid to look at the science from one perspective. He's on the
government payroll.

TOM IGGULDEN: Senator Minchin is leaving Parliament when his term is up in the middle of the year,
describing himself already as semi-retired.

Tom Iggulden, Lateline.

Indonesia rejects corruption allegations against SBY

Indonesia rejects corruption allegations against SBY

Broadcast: 11/03/2011

Reporter: Matt Brown

US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have revealed corruption allegations against Indonesian
president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: The Indonesian government has rejected corruption allegations made against
president Yudhoyono in US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

The claims have caused friction between Indonesia and the United States.

Indonesia correspondent Matt Brown reports from Jakarta.

MATT BROWN, REPORTER: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won a landslide election victory in 2009. His
rallying cry, anti corruption.

Since then, his popularity has been falling. Now US diplomatic cables released to Fairfax
Newspapers by WikiLeaks reveal claims of abuse of power and political corruption. The president's
wife is accused of establishing companies to profit from the family's political connections. The
allegations drew a swift rebuke and strident denial from Indonesia's foreign minister.

MARTY NATALEGAW, INDONESIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Baseless, without foundation, without truth whatever.

MATT BROWN: Indonesia called in the US ambassador to lodge a protest and demand an explanation for
the embarrassing report.

SCOTT MARCIEL, US AMBASSADOR: We express our deepest regrets to president Yudhoyono and to the
Indonesian people.

MATT BROWN: Every day the Indonesian media is full of reports about rampant corruption and
occasionally criticism that the president's failed to live up to his promise to fight it, so these
allegations will cause a major controversy.

But president Yudhoyono's government says despite the claims in the US cables it's done its best to
clean up this notoriously corrupt country.

The cables note that president Yudhoyono has slowed the vital process of reform and is unwilling to
push forward with controversial aspects of the US-Indonesia relationship. However, he's an
important American ally in Asia and today the US ambassador was full of praise.

SCOTT MARCIEL: The United States is fortunate to have a very strong partner in president Yudhoyono.

MATT BROWN: Two presidential advisers and a senior intelligence officer were quoted as the main
source of some of the allegations.

Matt Brown, Lateline.

Angry opening to terrorism inquiry

Angry opening to terrorism inquiry

Broadcast: 11/03/2011

Reporter: Lisa Millar

A congressional inquiry into home-grown terrorism in the United States has been compared to the
McCarthy communist witch-hunts of the 1950s.


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: Tears, anger and divisive politics have dominated the first day of
congressional hearings into home-grown terrorism in the US.

The Congressional inquiry has been compared to the McCarthy communist witch-hunts of the 1950s, but
the committee's chairman is unrepentant.

Washington correspondent Lisa Millar reports.

LISA MILLAR, REPORTER: Highly anticipated and intensely controversial, the hearings were always
going to attract a crowd.

VOX POP 1: I want to talk to the media. They're not allowing me back into the room.

SECURITY GUARD: We have to clear the hall.

LISA MILLAR: They cued for hours to get in. On the walls were reminders why they were there.

New York Republican Peter King is the new chairman of the Homeland Security Committee and has been
under fire for singling out Muslims with these hearings. He's previously suggested the majority of
mosques in the US are breeding grounds for radical Islam.

PETER KING, COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: There is nothing radical or un-American in holding these hearings.
Let me make it clear today that I remain convinced that these hearings must go forward and they

SHEILA JACKSON LEE, COMMITTEE MEMBER: I thank you very much Mr Chairman. I'm overwhelmed by this
hearing and the lack of factual basis for it and I don't believe Muslins should be compared to
Nazis and clansmen and others. It is an outrage and you well know you have already said enough,
"there are too many mosques in this country", that is absurd. It is outrageous.

LISA MILLAR: Witnesses included congressmen whose districts cover large Muslim communities.

JOHN DINGELL, DEMOCRAT CONGRESSMAN: For years I ran investigative committees. I kept a picture of
Joe McCarthy hanging on the wall so I would know what it was I did not want to look like, to do or
to be.

LISA MILLAR: John Dingle was not the first to raise the spectre of the 1950s McCarthy hearings. The
attempts by Senator Joseph McCarthy to weed out communists were widely regarded as witch-hunts. One
of two Muslim Americans to now sit in Congress, Keith Ellison, says Muslims are being made into

KEITH ELLISON, DEMOCRAT CONGRESSMAN: Mohammed Salman Haddadi was a fellow American who gave his
live life for other Americans. His life should not be identified as a member of an ethnic group or
religion but as an American who gave everything for his fellow Americans.

LISA MILLAR: The father of a radicalised Muslim convert revealed his frustrations.

MELVIN BLEDSOE, FATHER OF CONVERT: This is a big elephant in the room. Our society continues not to
see it. I must say we are losing American babies. Our children are in danger. This country must
stand up and do something about the problem.

LISA MILLAR: The hearings quickly became a sign of the divisions that remain a decade after the
September 11 attacks.

(Excerpt from My Faith My Voice video)

They say you should fear me. Suspect me. Hate me. But the truth is, I don't want to impose my faith
on you. I don't want to take over this country.

(End of excerpt)

LISA MILLAR: In the lead up to these hearings Muslim groups voiced concerns about the possible

MUHAMMAD SALIM AKHTAR, AMERICAN MUSLIM TASKFORCE: It really pains me because this is not what
America used to be. Unfortunately, it has changed a whole lot.

LISA MILLAR: Opinion polls suggest islamophobia is increasing.

RAFI UDDIN, NORTHERN VIRGINIA MUSLIM CIVIC FORUM: I'll give you one example of a husband and wife
who are travelling abroad and authorities came and arrested them, took them off the aeroplane in
handcuffs, found out later on they were the wrong people. Okay. So these kinds of things did not
happen before 9/11.

LISA MILLAR: Moderate Muslims say they are the ones who can help deal with the threat.

RAFI UDDIN: To harm someone in the name of my religion he will find I'm his worst enemy.

NAGLA FETOUH, MY FAITH MY VOICE: At the end of the day we're all human, all Americans and we're
just trying to do better for this country and be able to establish it for the future of all of our

LISA MILLAR: And they have a definite view about the man leading these hearings.

IMAM JOHARI ABDUL-MALIK, DAR AL-HIJRAH ISLAMIC CENTRE: I think that Peter King is creating an image
problem for the Muslim community. I don't think we have an image problem by ourselves.

LISA MILLAR: The reality is there have been high-profile attempted and successful attacks by Muslim
extremists. The Times Square bomber, the Fort Hood shooting and the sermons of the American-born
cleric Anwar Al-Maliki have forced attention on the problem. And as the hearing finished today,
Peter King declared it a success and delivered a message to his critics

PETER KING: The hysteria and the madness leading up to this hearing did nobody much good.

LISA MILLAR: The White House tried to ease some of the tension by despatching a senior security
adviser to a Muslim community over the weekend, but the president himself seems to be keeping his
distance from this contentious debate while he focuses his energies elsewhere. He has been reminded
though that he started his first term by promising to improve the relationship with Muslims across
the world.

Returning to our top story, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The Kyoto news people #45s been
swept away from the tsunami. The Australian department of foreign aware and trade is working to
contact the 14 Australian residents in the worst-affected area of Japan. An estimated 11,000
Australians live in Japan live in Japan mostly in Tokyo and owe sar co-. Anyone worried about
friends or family in Japan should attempt to contact them directly before ringing them on the

99pc of Queensland a natural disaster zone

99pc of Queensland a natural disaster zone

Broadcast: 11/03/2011

Reporter: Donna Field

Ninety nine per cent of Queensland is now under natural disaster arrangements after ongoing heavy
rain in the state's north.


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: For northern Australia it is a wet season that's without rival.

New figures show 99 per cent of Queensland is under natural disaster arrangements.

The ongoing deluge is taking a toll on tempers in the state's north where some emergency service
workers say they've been abused by frustrated locals.

Donna Field reports.

DONNA FIELD, REPORTER: Mother Nature has lashed Queensland for months. Just one shire out of 73 has
been spared floods, cyclones or persistent heavy rain.

Ninety nine per cent of the State is now eligible for disaster relief. The Premier says ongoing
flooding and heavy rain in North Queensland shows the summer of sorrow isn't over.

ANNA BLIGH, QUEENSLAND PREMIER: A lot of water lying around and a number of homes have seen water
right through them. This is a very tough time for the people of Cardwell. They are being, it is a
real set-back to the recovery effort.

DONNA FIELD: Communities like Cardwell and Tully are struggling with isolation, dwindling supplies
and homes that provide little shelter after Cyclone Yasi. Tempers are frayed. Some emergency
services crews are refusing to work in the area after being abused by locals.

BILL SHANNON, CASSOWARY COAST COUNCIL MAYOR: They're absolutely gutted by the criticism they're

DONNA FIELD: Since the cyclone, volunteer emergency workers have completed 3,000 jobs in the

SCOTT MAHAFFEY, SES CONTROLLER: I've only been down this way for the last five weeks and the rain
is getting to me. I've been pretty dry and I didn't lose my house, so I really feel for those

DONNA FIELD: Most are grateful for the help.

VOX POP 1: You know the boys have done a good job.

DONNA FIELD: At Mission Beach, work to flood-proof cyclone-damaged homes continues.

VOX POP 2: Morale's a little bit down around the area I'm afraid. But we're a pretty strong little
town. We'll get through all right.

DONNA FIELD: The wet season northerly Queenslanders wish would end is having a big impact on the

DAVID CRISAFULLI, TOWNSVILLE COUNCILLOR: It's frustrating for so many industries, whether it's the
transport industry, construction industry or indeed agriculture.

GREG WHITE, BANANA GROWER: It's pretty bad. We're trying to get out to work and get our crop back
so we can get bananas back so people can eat bananas but it's pretty hard.

DONNA FIELD: It may be a long wait with another low this weekend.

To the rest of the weather no surprises shower a or two tore Brisbane, Sydney or or two tore
Brisbane, Sydney or Canberra, squally showers and storms in Darwin, mainly wine in Melbourne and
Hobart, sunny in Perth and Adelaide. in Perth and Adelaide. That's all from us. If you'd like to
look back look back at tonight's interview with Ken Courtis or review any of Lateline's stories you
can visit the website. You with also see us on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy your night. your night.
Good night.