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Zimbabwe – Inside A Failed State

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on Zimbabwe – Inside A Failed State)

Ginny Stein reports from Zimbabwe, a ruined nation where inflation is spiralling out of control at well over 10,000%.


Armed with her spy camera to avoid arrest, Stein hitch hikes across the border from South Africa to find supermarkets virtually empty, with almost nothing edible on the shelves. Cities are without power and there's virtually no transport.

Many businesses stay open to avoid the government taking over their business, but others have given up.

However it's not just the lack of food, and the relentless queuing for what little exists that is causing distress for Zimbabweans battling to survive.

“Everything has become bigger than life. You can't get transport there is no transport. And for those who are working it is just a matter of charity. There is virtually nothing here”, says a resident.

The one thriving industry in the once rich African country is the funeral business. Zimbabwe currently has the world's lowest life expectancy; 37 years for men and 34 for women.

The Robert Mugabe led government is in denial about the scope of the crisis facing the country. The Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa tells Ginny that there's plenty of food in the shops – but her pictures tell a vastly different story.

The government blames drought for the nation's food shortage but for years now it's been seizing productive white-owned farms and giving them to blacks with little or no large scale farming experience.


Zimbabwe, once one of the most prosperous nations in Africa, now holder of a new record, the highest inflation rate in the world, officially an almost unimaginable 10,000%, in reality, much higher! The economy is crippled and everyday life is hell for Zimbabweans. But the world has seen precious little of this daily battle for survival as the notorious Robert Mugabe has muzzled all media coverage. But not Datelines own Ginny Stein. At considerable personal risk, it has to be said, Ginny got in, armed with a secret camera.

REPORTER: Ginny Stein

REPORTER: I've got the visa. Do I have to go over there and get it stamped or anything, before we go out?

I'm at the border about to cross from South Africa into Zimbabwe. I'm filming secretly because the government of President Robert Mugabe doesn't want the world to know about his country's economic collapse.

REPORTER: OK, so I've got the visa, I've got this form, is there anything left?

To be caught filming or working as a journalist is to risk jail. Anyone seen helping me faces an even lengthier jail term, so I'm posing as a member of a church group until I know it's safe enough to say otherwise.

CUSTOMS: What are you carrying my sister?

REPORTER: I'm carrying my personal stuff, and some food and water.


REPORTER: Water. Yeah, drinking water.

My first stop is to meet a black-market fuel supplier. This is how those with connections or hard currency get around when even the government struggles to buy fuel. These cars are lined up outside a petrol station.

CHARLES MPOFU, BULAWAYO CITY COUNCILLOR: It's very bad, that's the only garage. Look at the size of the city, look at the moving around, not all of them getting fuel from this garage.

I'm being taken on a tour of Bulawayo, the largest city in the country's south-west, by city councillor Charles Mpofu. He says his city suffers from more than just fuel shortages. Whole areas have been without water for months. These people have been queuing for hours at a bore hole to pump some water.

CHARLES MPOFU: Some come early in the morning, around 4:00 or 5:00am and then some come just to prepare the children to go to school.

The supermarkets I visit throughout Zimbabwe's south-west all have one thing in common, virtually nothing for sale. Some shops are open, many no longer bother.

REPORTER: What have you got today?

SHOPKEEPER: Ah, today there is nothing.

REPORTER: He's just saying nothing, nothing has come in today.

SHOPKEEPER: Nothing, nothing, there is only these rolls, these bread rolls.

These bread rolls are amongst the few baked today. So few, they never even make it to the shelves inside the store.

REPORTER: When was the last time you had bread?

SHOPKEEPER: I think a month ago.

CHARLES MPOFU: And this is one of our busiest shops, providing services to the community that come. So this was the hope of getting everything you wanted. But now you can't. There is no washing soap, no bathing soap.

REPORTER: When was the last time you could buy milk?

SHOPKEEPER: Two months back.

REPORTER: Two months ago? When was the last time you could get meat in a supermarket?

CHARLES MPOFU: It was also over two months now. It is a dream to get beef anywhere, it is a dream to get fish anywhere. And it is a dream to get chicken anywhere.

These women have come in search of anything, but they hold out little hope.

WOMAN: Each and everything what comes, there is a queue. With a baby they push you. You don't get anything. At the end of the day and if there is someone who helps, they say “come here with your baby”.

CHARLES MPOFU: What makes it like that with the queues? There is scarcity of everything. The little milk that comes, everyone runs for it.

WOMAN: Whatever comes, queue. Whatever comes, queue.

The few things I am able to buy here, some water, vegetables and a plastic bucket to cart water cost more than a million Zimbabwean dollars, which is roughly what a junior shop assistant earns in a month.

REPORTER: Three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, a million. Sorry, I don't have.

The average wage for a security guard in Zimbabwe today is about $2 million a month. For a teacher, it's about $2.5 million. But to give you an idea of what that will buy you in Zimbabwe today, it's roughly equal to a simple fast food meal of chicken and chips for a family of four. Malnutrition and contaminated water is taking its toll on people's health.

DOCTOR THANDAZANI: I can say for the past two months about 50% of the patients who are coming in some cases up to 75% of the patients coming in have got diarrhoea and vomiting.

Doctor Thandazani, not his real name, runs a private clinic. But even if you can afford to see him, there's only so much doctors can do without medical supplies.

DOCTOR THANDAZANI: The main thing which has happened is that, as any tradesman or professional, a doctor needs to have his tools in place, like I need to have all the fluids I want, the drugs I want, the gloves whenever I want them, injections, syringes, but these are lacking and sometimes a patient comes who needs emergency care and I just look at them and I feel hopeless because I don't have the tools to use.

At this council clinic people can afford to seek help as consultation fees have been kept low, but there's no money to buy drugs. This is where the clinic's few drug supplies are kept.

NURSE: As I told you, we haven't got much, what we haven't got is the larger list.

The day after I left Zimbabwe, I arranged to meet the country's ambassador to South Africa. As it turns out Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo happened to be visiting Zimbabwe at the same time as me, but it seems like we were in different countries.

SIMON KHAYA MOYO, ZIMBABWE AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH AFRICA: I was last there last weekend and I could see really a lot of activity in terms of manufacturers.

REPORTER: I was also there last week.


REPORTER: And there's nothing in the shops.

SIMON KHAYA MOYO: Depends where you were last week.

REPORTER: I was pretty much all over the southern region, I was in Gwanda, I was in Bulawayo, I was in Beitbridge. The shops are pretty much empty.

SIMON KHAYA MOYO: Maybe this is what you wanted to see but I saw a different story.

REPORTER: I want to major shopping centres everywhere and they were shut.

SIMON KHAYA MOYO: I'm saying so, I also saying so I saw a different story.

REPORTER: Where did you see it?

SIMON KHAYA MOYO: Everywhere I went in Zimbabwe.

REPORTER: What shops?

SIMON KHAYA MOYO: All shops, I'm a minister in government for 10 years, I was a minister of government for 10 years. I'm an ambassador of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mauritius and Lesotho.

This is rush hour in Bulawayo, a factory siren is calling people to work. Many here have been walking since before dawn. This is the only way for most people to get to work.

REPORTER: How far is it for you to get from your house to work every day and how long does it take you?

'TONY': Definitely around seven to eight kilometres, and I have to walk for 1.5 hours if I am fast.

I meet a man who we'll call 'Tony' on his way to work.

'TONY': But if I am walking slowly so I won't be tired it can take me two hours. If I took a transport alone, it will consume something like $5 to $6 million. As I'm talking, as I talk now, it has been increased to $150,000 per trip which makes it totally absurd. You cannot face reality when you earn less than $2 million yet the transport alone is $6 million.

Tony takes me to his office to show me on paper just how much people earn each month. I decide to chance telling him I'm a journalist. He takes a bigger risk in agreeing to speak to me on camera, saying he wants the world to know what's happening inside his country.

'TONY': There is no water, no mealie-meal, nothing, just nothing. Children are going to school but they're not learning because teachers are just sitting, they cannot teach from empty stomach. Children are just hungry, everyone is hungry. We are totally angry but definitely there is nothing we can do beyond this. Our government is a monster. We cannot get meat anymore, there is no meat in this country.

Tony invites me home to meet his family but the children aren't all his. With almost a quarter of the population having left the country in search of work, and a high death toll due to HIV/AIDS, almost everyone in Zimbabwe is raising someone else's children.

TONY: This young baby needs all types of good stuffs like milk and almost everything but she's getting nothing. We feed this child with this vegetable, we are using it, which is incredible.

Tony once considered himself middle-class, but his family has been thrown back in time. There's no longer any running water or electricity. These city dwellers are living a rural life. Water is gathered in buckets, and cooking is done outside. What were once little things have become major burdens according to Tony's wife.

WIFE, (Translation): We're struggling to survive. Most things are unavailable. There's no money. If we can find any maize meal, it's poor quality. Sometimes we can't get any, nor any meat or vegetables. And transport people have to walk to work. That's all there is.

REPORTER: You were there last week?


REPORTER: What you saw, were you embarrassed?

SIMON KHAYA MOYO: I was not embarrassed. I'm very happy because we're really moving in the right direction.

REPORTER: How did you get around when you were there?


REPORTER: How did you get around? What form of transport?

SIMON KHAYA MOYO: What do you mean? What form of transport? I have a car.

REPORTER: You went by car. How difficult was it for you to get petrol?

SIMON KHAYA MOYO: I didn't have difficulties.

REPORTER: Did you see everyone walking to work?


REPORTER: Did you see everyone walking to work?

SIMON KHAYA MOYO: Of course, the difficulties of transport, as I say if you are slapped with sanctions and your fuel does not come as it's supposed to be, naturally there will be problems but the government has done all measures possible, including even trains are now carrying people, buses are carrying people but certainly the difficulties are there, the challenges are there but those who are responsible for the difficulties know themselves very well.

Ground maize or mealie-meal is the dietary staple in Zimbabwe. At this school, like many across the country, children are fed porridge made from mealie-meal. For a lot of the children here this may be all they get to eat today. The school principal agreed to speak to me and to let me film, but did not want to be identified.

PRINCIPAL: Children are coming to school hungry, some dirty, because soap is so scarce and the water situation is unstable because water is sometimes cut off so children are sometimes forced to come to school without having a bath.

At this school, an international charity supplies the mealie-meal, but it still has to be cooked and with electricity almost non-existent they have to rely on firewood.

PRINCIPAL: We have problems, most of the time we have problems when the firewood runs out because the non-governmental organizations that is providing the porridge is not in a position to constantly provide us with the firewood and when it does run out the money that we use to purchase firewood for the school is so high that at sometimes we find it is very difficult to operate.

The government blames drought for the nation's inability to feed itself. But for years now it's been seizing white-owned farms and giving them to blacks with little farming experience or equipment. Today rumours have spread that new supplies of mealie-meal have arrived, and a queue appears from nowhere. Inside the store the manager is nervous.

REPORTER: Excuse me, Sir. I'm just checking about the mealie-meal. When are you going to start selling it?

STORE MANAGER: I'm sure within 10 or 15 minutes.

Customers are not allowed inside this store to buy, only staff are given that privilege. There's never enough, and there's always fear that hunger may lead to violence.

REPORTER: You're buying? Are you buying it for yourself?

WOMAN: Yes, for my family. At least I can get 10kg, which is for a week or so, and then we start queuing again.

When the gate opens, there's a new scramble to take up positions. And this desperation is only likely to worsen, with aid agencies warning food shortages are set to escalate in coming months due to poor harvests.

GORDON MOYO, POLITICAL ANALYST: The economy is totally collapsed in my view.

REPORTER: So it's not, it's not facing it, it has happened?

GORDON MOYO: It has happened. Only that people continue to say, “it is going to happen, it is going to happen.” But the truth of the matter is that it has happened because we cannot sustain anything, families are going for the all day, two days, three days without food, without water, without electricity, and the government can't supply anything.

Gordon Moyo works for a private think tank based in Bulawayo. He says there is only one reason people are able to survive, they rely on money remitted from people who've left the country.

GORDON MOYO: Over 5 million Zimbabweans are living outside of Zimbabwe, in South Africa, Botswana, United States and Australia and these are the people who are at least maintaining families at the household level. Otherwise, from within the country, there is nothing to lean on.

In 2005, the government launched an attack on market traders, and tens of thousands of people were left homeless when their homes were bulldozed. Now manufacturers and retailers believe they're the new enemy of the state. Sam Ncube is a businessman trying to make sense of the government's latest policies. He has outlets selling tyres in two cities but says he has no stock. He agrees to speak to me in his store, but I have to hide my camera when he gets nervous about being seen. We continue crouched low out of view.

SAM NCUBE: What we are seeing at the back here, they are customer tyres which have come for puncture repairs otherwise for new tyres, we have got just those two, few new tyres, big ones. I mean, otherwise we don't have the stocks.

In July, the government forced businesses to cut their prices in half. Widespread looting resulted. More than 10,000 retailers have been arrested and jailed for failing to comply with the new price controls. Now the government is proposing to nationalise 51% of foreign or white-owned businesses. Sam Ncube chooses his words carefully in daring to call for change.

SAM NCUBE: Unfortunately in Zimbabwe, there are certain words which are taboo, and they are things which are undiscussable, and I'm saying I think now, as a people, we have to allow ourselves to discuss the undiscussables, because we have to have a paradigm shift. We have to change ways of doing things. We have to think and say why are we in this predicament, and address, because if we don't do that we'll be fooling ourselves.

But it appears there's no turning back. Having ruined the economy, the government now says it wants to hand back what's left to black Zimbabweans. The bill to take over foreign and white-owned businesses is already before the parliament.

SIMON KHAYA MOYO: The economy must be in the hands of the Zimbabweans and that's exactly what we are implementing. It may not take two days, it may not take three days, but by the end of the day, I can tell you, Zimbabwe would be one example of the country where the economy's reverted to the hands of its indigenous people, and that is very, very correct and it applies to every country.

PAUL SIWELA, INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE: The farming community as you can see this is farming area. Most of these people they used to keep dairy cows, goats, sheep and things like that and do some farming. Nothing is taking place at the moment.

Paul Siwela stood as an independent presidential candidate in the last election. He's since been labelled an enemy of the state and charged with treason. He's taking me to his home just outside Bulawayo city where it should be safer to speak but even here, police have him under surveillance.

REPORTER: They're coming?

PAUL SIWELA: Yes, there they are.

We retreat indoors. He does not believe elections scheduled for March next year will be free and fair, or that Robert Mugabe will willingly hand over power.

PAUL SIWELA: What you are asking me is simply like saying Saddam Hussein would willingly hand over power to a democratically elected government. There was no way he was going to do that. Neither would the Taliban they've been pleased to see democracy in Afghanistan.

REPORTER: Why contest the election then?

PAUL SIWELA: Yes, why contest the election? It's a very difficult question. Because if you don't go to the elections in one way or the other, people will be saying, “Look, you have no support.” So this is why you're not going to those elections.

To speak out in Zimbabwe is to invite attack. Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube has been one of the most fearless and vocal critics of the state.

BISHOP PIUS NCUBE, CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP: Unless we care for the poor as a country, we will have failed in our duty to fellow human beings.

Earlier this year, Ncube called for foreign intervention to oust a president who he later called both a bully and a murderer. But he's now he's stepped down, a victim of what's widely believed to be a dirty tricks campaign orchestrated by the state. Just weeks after his attack on Mugabe the state media gleefully published these photos, alleging they are of Bishop Ncube and a number of woman taken in the bedroom of his home.

REPORTER: They showed a video tape on television unusual for here?

FATHER NIGEL JOHNSON, SPOKESMAN FOR BISHOP PIUS NCUBE: It's never happened before. I mean, they don't show people, whoever they are, in bed together on primetime news, even in Zimbabwe you don't. For the majority of the people, though, who are not Catholics, that was not a very big deal, whether it was true or false. The fact was that it was one of their leading people, a champion of theirs, who was being, well, mistreated, tricked, treated very badly.

For now, the one remaining industry in Zimbabwe that appears to be booming is the funeral business. The city's gravediggers can't keep up with demand according to Bulawayo city councillor Charles Mpofu.

CHARLES MPOFU: The requirement of people to be buried a day to move along with the requirement of meeting that demand, we have completely failed and that at the same time one of the reasons we don't have adequate staff.

Zimbabwe is presided over by an octogenarian leader, but it has the world's lowest life expectancy, 37 years for a man, 34 for a woman. This is the children's section of the cemetery. This gravedigger started early this morning. He works slowly because he's hungry. He doesn't earn enough to buy sufficient food for himself, or his family.

REPORTER: How many graves do you do a day?


REPORTER: Two a day?

GRAVEDIGGER: Yes. And I've never ate anything from morning.

GRAVEDIGGER: You've had no breakfast?

GRAVEDIGGER: No mealie-meal, no money. Very difficult.

With little water, electricity, food or fuel and no relief in sight, Zimbabweans can only pray that they survive the death of their economy.

The Very Thin Blue Line

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁桑拿 - (Comments Off on The Very Thin Blue Line)

REPORTER: Thom Cookes

A heavily fortified training camp in the Jordanian desert, near the border with Iraq.


As night falls, the guards are waiting for the latest batch of recruits to be bussed in. These men have signed up for one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. For the next eight weeks, they’ll be trained to become Iraqi policemen. Even here, just over the border in Jordan, they’re still targets for assassination, and their convoy of busses is escorted by heavily armed Jordanian troops.

SECURITY OFFICER, (Translation): I know you’re tired so I won’t talk for long. But we have with us Internal Security. They have instructions for you. Following these instructions will help the trainers and you will apply them at all times.

The cadets receive temporary ID cards and they sign a legal waiver that acknowledges they understand the risks of what they are doing.

SECURITY OFFICER 2, (Translation): As for prohibited things, sharp implements are banned. All types of drugs are prohibited. Cameras and cellular phones with cameras are totally banned.

After they have been fingerprinted, the recruits are body-searched and their bags are pulled apart. They are then led into the barracks for their first night in the camp and they receive an emotional welcome from the cadets already here.

CADETS, (Translation): Where are you from?

RECRUIT, (Translation): Ramadi!

JORDANIAN OFFICER, (Translation): Guys, stay with me here! Inside, stay in the line. You will be handed your sleeping gear. This chaos outside is your old colleagues. Don’t get out of the line. Stay in line.

GARY BULLARD, DIRECTOR, POLICE TRAINING CENTRE: I can’t think of many police in the world that have to face RPGs on a daily basis or incoming mortar rounds on a daily basis. They’re heroes in my mind, I mean, there’s no question. I mean, I respect each and every one of them. There isn’t many countries that I can think of where a police officer would be willing, as willing, to go into the environment that they are going into.

JOOST HILTERMANN, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: These are the poor who are desperate for work, and willing, even, to stand in long recruitment lines at the threat of being bombed – as has happened on numerous occasions – simply because not to do so would mean having no bread on the table for their families, and so they are quite desperate.

This remote desert camp is one of the largest police training colleges in the world. At any one time there are 3,000 Iraqi cadets living and training here, and by the end of this year, around 44,000 will have passed through the gates. The camp was built with US money three years ago as part of the Iraqi reconstruction effort. Now police officers from 18 different countries are here to provide the training.

JIM HAMMOND, DEP DIR, POLICE TRAINING CENTRE: If you ask me if I’d put this up against a Western-style academy, no, it couldn’t hold a cotton to it. But we are proud of what we turn out. We’ve seen the survival rate go up, we’ve built pride into these cadets. We realise that what we are generating here is not top cops in the sense that we realise we are in a transition phase. What we are trying to do now is build into the Iraqi police force the seeds of a first-rate police force that will evolve over the next few years.

Many of the cadets turn up here with only a plastic shopping bag, some have turned up with just the clothes they are wearing. After their first night, they receive uniforms and military haircuts. Then, it’s out on to the firing range.

REPORTER: They’re doing OK?

TRAINER: For the first time they’ve ever shot a hand gun, yes.

TRAINER, (Translation): Is that good?

TRAINER 2(Translation): No. Hopefully, you’ll improve in the afternoon. Just don’t let it out of your sight. You should concentrate on aiming. Next time, be gentle with the trigger. You’re like that. Take it easy. Steady grip.

MIKE, INSTRUCTOR: Say, out of a class of 125, we may have some with a background in military police, prior to coming here – in Iraq – and they’re pretty decent, but you get maybe one out of five. And the rest of them are pretty scared of the hand gun, and a lot of them, it’s the first time they’ve ever shot, believe it or not – even coming from Iraq – so we’ve got to get them over the fear first.

MARIAM, (Translation): Is it the first time you’ve used a weapon?

RECRUIT, (Translation): Yes.

MARIAM, (Translation): How do you feel?

RECRUIT, (Translation): I was afraid of weapons at first but I did well in shooting training and now I’ve been selected as a sniper, a sniper for Falluja.

MARIAM, (Translation): Where are you located in Iraq?

RECRUIT, (Translation): Falluja. The Falluja area, in Anbar.

REPORTER: Are they both from Fallujah?

MARIAM: No. This one’s from Baghdad, this one’s from Fallujah.

MARIAM, (Translation): Do you feel you’ll be ready in two months?

RECRUIT, (Translation): Yes, God willing,

But the cadets’ optimism flies in the face of some truly appalling statistics regarding their survival rate. Many of these men will be killed on the job.

MIKE: Well, from the quotes that everybody talks about, one class every six months is eliminated by..

REPORTER: An entire class is about how many people?

MIKE: 1,500 people.

The training program has been running for three years but in recent months it’s been refocused on simply keeping the graduates alive.

JIM HAMMOND: When we began this, of course, we fully expected to lose 10% during the first few classes. Never did get quite that high, but, as you well know, there were a number being killed when they got back in almost group bombings. We’ve found that the death rate has dropped significantly. We’re each month getting more and more behind the curve. We’ve got a great survival rate now. We actually, several months ago, went to more practical application training with the theory that if we could teach them enough survival techniques for the first 90 days, they would get over the learning curve, and be able to protect themselves more. That’s exactly what’s happened.

REPORTER: Is that first 90 days, is that the most dangerous time for these guys?

JIM HAMMOND: It is. It’s the most critical. Just like for a young military recruit. The first few battles he’s engaged in, he becomes seasoned very quick, and the same thing happens with police.

The cadets are given phone cards that allow them to ring their families every few days. For some, this is the first time they’ve left home, let alone Iraq, and it’s hard to believe that they haven’t lied about their age.

Several cadets asked not to be filmed because, as far as their parents were concerned, they were looking for work in southern Iraq and not training for the most dangerous job in the country.

MARIAM (Translation): It’s your first time out of Iraq?

RECRUIT, (Translation): Yes, the first time.

MARIAM (Translation): And how is the experience?

RECRUIT, (Translation): It’s fine, good.

MARIAM, (Translation): Did you enjoy it here?

RECRUIT, (Translation): Yes I did, very much.

MARIAM (Translation): How long have you been here?

RECRUIT, (Translation): Two months and one week.

MARIAM (Translation): When do you go back?

RECRUIT, (Translation): Tomorrow, God willing.

MARIAM (Translation): Is it the first time away from your family?

RECRUIT, (Translation): Yes, the first time. It’s hard.

This group of cadets is learning a basic survival skill in Iraq – how to search a car without blowing yourself up.

MIKE: If you see any wires or a lever on the door, just press the door back. Don’t let the driver open the door if you see a wire. If you open the door, you’re dead. It’s that simple.

An inquiry last year by the US Government, which provides the bulk of the funding here, found serious flaws in the police training program. According to the report from the departments of State and Defence:

REPORT: “..there is little consensus on how to train Iraqi police. One exception is the universal agreement that the eight weeks devoted to the basic course is insufficient time to produce a capable policeman.”

The report also found that:

REPORT: “..too many recruits are marginally literate. Some show up for training with criminal records or physical handicaps. And some recruits, allegedly, are infiltrating insurgents.”

REPORTER: Does that worry you at all?

GARY BULLARD: I think the vetting process is a strong process. Do we have some people that possibly sympathise with some of the, you know, insurgents? Absolutely. I’m sure that occurs. And it is our goal to show them a better way.

This message was apparently yet to be received by these three new cadets who had just arrived from Ramadi. The US occupation force is spending hundreds of millions to train them as police, but as far as they’re concerned, the insurgents are fighting a legitimate battle.

RAMADI CADET (Translation): Any country in the world when it’s occupied by another country, has the right to defend its land and honour. This is a known thing across humanity. As humans, created by God, it’s the right to defend oneself. And we all feel the same. And resistance is legitimate all over the world. They originally came to Iraq promising us democracy, freedom and what have you… and to establish a state and so on, then they themselves say that it is occupation. It started as liberation, then turned into occupation. It’s contradictory. Maybe they’ve come for their own interests, I don’t know.

The motives of the cadets training here are also complicated. While some of the Sunni recruits may use this training to aid the insurgency, some Shia recruits end up as part of sectarian death squads. The Iraqi Interior Ministry, which controls the police force, is widely perceived to be stacked with Shia Muslim officials. It’s been accused of operating the death squads that target Sunni Iraqis.

JOOST HILTERMANN: Yeah, it seems that a dirty war has been taking place, whereby after nightfall, during curfew hours, police units – or these units that are dressed up as police and are driving police cars with all the markings and whatnot – are going around raiding Sunni Arab neighbourhoods, rounding people up – men, you know, of fighting age – and detaining them and a number of those end up as corpses, you know, in ditches. And so we have a serious problem here with what look like real death squads.

But at least, according to the director of the police training sector, it’s not yet been caught up in sectarian politics.

GARY BULLARD: They are here because It’s not that they are Shias, it’s not that they are Sunni or Kurds, they are here because they are Iraqis and really focussed on the fact that they are the ones who are going to make a difference if they really, truly want to have a safe and stable democratic Iraq. And they are Iraqis and Iraqis first, and that’s the trick.

After eight weeks, the cadets have completed their training and it’s time to return to Iraq.

GARY BULLARD: To all of you, the newest graduates of the Jordan International Police Training Centre, I congratulate you on a job well done.

After the graduation ceremony, reality sinks in. The cadets realise that this could be the last time that they see each other.

MARIAM (Translation): Why is everyone crying, so upset?

CADET, (Translation): Because you’re leaving? It’s because we’re parting company.

CADET 2, (Translation): We’re all friends, we’ve been here over two months. Parting company is difficult. We’re all fellow countrymen.

MARIAM (Translation): Are you happy to go back to Baghdad?

CADET 2, (Translation): Happy to return but not to part company.

MARIAM, (Translation): Will you be able to see each other in Iraq?

CADET 2, (Translation): God willing, we’ll call each other. If things stabilise, we’ll meet up in different provinces but not as things are now with all the terrorists there.

MARIAM (Translation): Your mission is very big. Do you feel you’ve received enough training?

CADET 2, (Translation): Yes, we’ve received enough training. And we thank all the officers who were training here.

MARIAM (Translation): Do you have fears about the big task ahead of you?

CADET 2, (Translation): Of course. The risks we face in Iraq as police officers are full-on, not like the risks to police in other countries.

MARIAM (Translation): What do you think might happen now?

CADET 2, (Translation): What can happen? If there is no government in our country, the bombings, murders and looting will continue until Iraq is totally finished. But with our efforts we can rebuild our country and make it stand on its feet like before. God willing.

As they leave, the cadets’ bags and bodies are searched one final time and they are handed a graduation certificate pause

CADET: Baghdad! Goodbye!

Just one week after I filmed these cadets, a suicide bomber struck outside the police station at Fallujah. This is where many of the newly graduated police were headed. At least 30 policemen were wounded and 15 were killed in the attack. According to local police, it was aimed at discouraging Sunni Iraqis from joining the force.

RAMADI CADET (Translation): We enlisted knowing it could entail being killed, but we have to sacrifice ourselves. We have to sacrifice ourselves so my family or Abu Muhammad’s or Hamid’s can survive. It’s so our children can have a better life than the one we are living with its pain and tragedy every hour, minute and second.


EDITOR: Nick O’Brien

PRODUCER: Amos Cohen

EP: Mike Carey

Canada to call snap election: opposition

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Canadian opposition leader Stephane Dion claims the government is set to call a snap election after he and the PM failed to agree on an agenda for the upcoming session of parliament.


“I am convinced that he wants to have an election,” the Liberal leader said after a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at his official residence.

“Yes, there will be an election,” he said, citing a “gulf of differences between us and this very Conservative government”.

Mr Harper's chief spokesman Kory Teneycke said the prime minister could decide in as little as two or three days whether to hold a general election, or not, also citing irreconcilable differences between the parties.

“He'll have to deliberate over the next few days and make a decision in due course,” Mr Teneycke said.

Mr Harper, who has headed a minority government since January 2006, has insisted in recent weeks that elections were inevitable to break a deadlock with opposition parties on several issues.

Minority government

However, he faces criticism that doing so would break his own timetable for the next elections in October 2009 – a date he set into law, but which allows for leeway in the case of minority governments.

In a bid to find common ground and avoid going to the polls, Mr Harper has met since Friday with the leaders of Canada's three opposition parties, including Mr Dion, who leads the biggest faction.

But none of the opposition leaders gave any indications they would support the government going forward. To survive, the government needs the support of at least one of the three other parties.

Opposition leaders said Mr Harper was determined to set off elections, regardless of the outcome of talks with them, and accused him of concocting a “fake” deadlock for political gain.

They pointed to 40 bills passed by the government during its nearly two years in office.

Factional battles

“In the past it was proved that depending on the issues, a party or another could be in agreement with the government,” and prop up Mr Harper's minority government, Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe said.

Now, “instead of making efforts to try of finding solutions in the best interests of the population, he wants an election in the best interests of his party,” he said.

“I think his plan is made. He wants an election, period.”

To wrap up elections before Canada hosts a summit of French-speaking countries in mid-October, a writ would have to be dropped by September 7.

Comments by officials point to an election being fought on the economy, taxes, leadership, arts and culture funding, food safety, and the environment.

UN urges Bush over climate

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The UN's top climate change official has urged George W Bush to keep efforts to curb global warming within a UN framework, as the US president prepared to host a meeting of the world's top carbon polluters.


"It is important that the United States is bringing together the group of major emitters to talk about the kind of reductions they can commit to," said Yvo de Boer, head of the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

"But what is even more important is the US indication that ultimately their intention is to bring this back to the UN process," he said.

Mr Bush has invited 15 nations and the European Union — together accounting for 80 percent of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere — to a conference in Washington next month. De Boer will lead a delegation from the UN.

US surprise plan feared

When the US president announced the meeting and unveiled a surprise plan in June for tackling global warming through technology, many European nations and environmental groups expressed concern that the US initiative would conflict with the existing UN process.

Thirty-six industrial nations which ratified the UN-brokered Kyoto Protocol have pledged to reduce their global warming emissions to five percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

The treaty also created a carbon trading market, and allows rich nations to offset their carbon reduction commitments by funding initiatives in developing countries.

Mr Bush has rejected the treaty because it does not include major developing economies such as India and China, which has probably already surpassed the United States as the world's top carbon polluter.

The United States is also concerned that emissions' caps could be a drag on economic growth.

De Boer said he did not see the Bush initiative as an obstacle to a critical UN meeting in Bali in December to lay the road map for a global agreement to replace the Kyoto accord, which expires in 2012.

But he insisted that it must be folded within the UN framework.

"Many of the developing countries that will be most affected by the consequences of climate change will not be at the meeting" in Washington, he pointed out.

Political and public pressure in the United States and from abroad, he suggested, have helped soften the climate change stance of the Bush administration which, until quite recently, downplayed the severity of the problem.

He pointed to pending legislation in the US Congress, municipal carbon reduction initiatives, and cap-and-trade plans being put in place at the state level.

UN scientists have predicted that rising sea levels, extreme weather, floods and drought will have a more devastating impact on regions in Africa, Asia and Latin America that are least able to cope.

Jorge Sampaio Interview

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JANA WENDT: Mr President, welcome to `Dateline`? The most critical issue, it seems, facing Europe today is this issue of immigration and perhaps illegal immigration.


How has that issue played out in your own country?

JORGE SAMPAIO, PRESIDENT OF PORTUGAL: Well, it`s not the issue, but it`s one of the issues. Now, I think we`re approaching the moment in which we need a European policy on the matter and not just a national one. For example, Portugal has had many, many thousands of immigrants from Eastern Europe, this is totally new. We had immigrants from Africa, from the former colonies for the last 20 years, but suddenly this shift occurred and thousands of immigrants from Eastern Europe have appeared. They are necessary because unfortunately demography is not playing what it should be playing in the majority part of the European countries. You saw Mr Blair, the Prime Minister of Britain and Mr Aznar, the President of the Union at the moment, with a joint statement that a future council will try to have a global policy on immigration. So this means that, for the first time, everyone is being aware that you cannot deal with this country after country. But you have to deal with it globally. What it is producing – and I will end in a minute – what it is producing is anxiety in some of the national citizens of all the countries concerned because you think jobs will disappear. From them, there`s a lot of uncertainty in the air and this has produced some disaffection from the traditional voting patterns, if I make myself understood.

JANA WENDT: Let me ask you this – you raise the issue of Mr Aznar and Mr Blair getting together. One of the things they`ve proposed is punitive measures against nations that allow people to pass across their borders illegal and enter EU countries. Would Portugal be in support of those kinds of measures?

JORGE SAMPAIO: It is difficult to say. I would not substitute my Government in relation to that. That`s new, so I don`t know if that would be admitted by the whole European Summit.

JANA WENDT: What`s your Geiger counter reading on such a proposal?

JORGE SAMPAIO: I don`t think you always have to negotiate the contingents of immigrants really because we have responsibility. We need them for their capacity and their work, but we have a responsibility to have inclusive societies with pluralistic approaches, good integration and democratic functions. We do want to fight in a way illegal immigrants because there`s strings attached to this, and that means criminality of the organisations that export them, Mafias of all kinds, and this has to be fought like any other source of criminality. This has nothing to do with political refugees. That`s another issue altogether because we`re open to that, as we always have been.

JANA WENDT: Do you think the fact that we`ve seen the election of right and centre-right governments, as in your own country, is a signpost to the failure of the left to deal with people`s concerns and fears about this?

JORGE SAMPAIO: It`s more complicated I`m afraid. It has to do with the globalisation to a certain extent, to the fact that the small shops are… and for example, to the fact that why do you see voters who were always extreme left suddenly voting right because they are concerned with their future? There`s a new issue of security. It`s not just the street security or the criminal direct security. It`s security at large about jobs, about health, about social security, about education. There`s a separation, a growing separation between the citizen at large and the political system. And I think that this shows the sort of disaffection with the political system as it has worked.

JANA WENDT: Let me travel all the way to our region now and to ask you about East Timor. You`ve watched Portugal`s form a colony, become an independent state – how confident are you that it will develop as a democracy?

JORGE SAMPAIO: Well, I`m optimistic. Although I`m realistic about the challenges which are great, so I continuously say from the UN to the protagonists in East Timor that the support from the international community has to continue, although obviously in different forms. The Australian-Portuguese commitment to this support is absolutely necessary. By the way, let me say that I would not be here as the first head of state from Portugal to visit Australia ever, had it not been for the new openness in our relations after the 1999 initial cooperation about East Timor. And so I think we have to continue.

JANA WENDT: As a senior Australian defence analyst, Professor Paul Dipp, has suggested that Portugal`s renewed help in East Timor might not help East Timor in its most crucial relationship – that is the one it has with Indonesia. What do you say?

JORGE SAMPAIO: I am totally against that vision really because we have reopened relations with Indonesia with our hands totally open and our hearts. We had very old relations with Indonesia, which were interrupted in 1974-75. We have reopened them now. Visits of Indonesian Ministers, a very active embassy in Jakarta, our Prime Minister has been there. The new Prime Minister will necessarily be there in the future. I have invited the Indonesian President to be in Portugal. Portuguese people at large have nothing against Indonesia. On the contrary, the new diplomats were received like if they were around for the last few years. On the contrary, I see that the capacity we have to talk to the East Timorese and in fact align with them in the need for a stable relation with Indonesia is understood by the Indonesians.

JANA WENDT: And how much longer is Portugal prepared to commit to East Timor?

JORGE SAMPAIO: That depends on the decisions of the East Timorese. And we don`t have any special strategic or economic interest. If I want to put it on a very blunt and rather unfair economic basis, it`s cost us a great deal. We do that for emotional and moral and all sorts of reasons that have to do with the past relationship. We will continue to help as a normal state-to-state foreign aid affair.

JANA WENDT: I suppose what I`m asking is are you prepared for a long haul commitment to this tiny state?

JORGE SAMPAIO: I think so. It depends obviously how the budget will go. But as far as the political intentions are concerned, they are at full swing, like we do in Angola, Mozambique. I think that is a very good showcase of cooperation when between your country and my country. To put it very clearly, the Australians have understood that what our reasons are and we are not competing with Australians on any ground whatsoever, and I do hope that you understand that you are not competing with us, we are not competing with you. We have a task. It`s a mutual task that history brought together at the same time. And this is to help now a new state to go slow pace, of course, the rhythm of the slow pace but nevertheless consolidating a new state. That`s what we really want.

JANA WENDT: Mr President, I thank you very much for your time.

Zimbabwean exiles vow to return

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Zimbabwean exiles in South Africa are becoming increasingly frustrated by the impasse in their country, and are threatening to take the law into their own hands.


Last week, Brian Thomson brought you the story of Patson Murimoga, an activist for the opposition MDC party, who fled Zimbabwe after being attacked with an axe and faces certain death if he returns to his homeland.

VIDEO: Brian Thomson's tracks down Patson Murimoga

On the move, yet again. Just when things seemed like they couldn't get any worse for Patson Murimoga, they have. The caretaker in the block of flats in which he's been staying has objected to the fact that so many exiled activists are living there, and he has to move out.

PATSON MURIMOGA, ZIMBABWEAN EXILE: I have got food, I have got blankets, I have got my clothes, but I don't have a place for myself to stay.

Patson cuts a sad figure on the streets of Pretoria. He is still deeply traumatised by the attack he endured.

When we met him last week, he had just one day left on his visa. He told us that the people who assaulted him would kill him if he returned to Zimbabwe, so we helped him to extend his stay, but it was only a temporary reprieve.

PATSON MURIMOGA: Sometimes I end up thinking it would be better for myself to commit suicide because I can't live. The situation is bad.

Patson carries baby clothes given to him by a South African who felt sorry for him, but he has no way of getting them to his wife. Because of his injuries, he can't even work illegally. He is beginning to run out of hope.

PATSON MURIMOGA: Whom can I tell my problem? I can't tell even my father. I can't tell even my brother. There is no-one who can help me here in South Africa.

It seems like almost every Zimbabwean exile here has a sad story to tell. Three million have fled to South Africa over the past 10 years, many narrowly escaping with their lives.

The young activists who'd taken Patson in lost friends and family in the run-up to the election.

They carry with them pictures of those who died.

MAN: He was killed, finally killed, on May 10.

Some of them even have copies of the official paperwork ordering their elimination.

MAN: 'Elimination' means to be killed. That is the term they use.

As they struggle to survive, the activists here in South Africa say they feel completely abandoned.

WISEMAN MAYENGEZA, ZIMBABWEAAN EXILE: There are about 30 civil society organisations here in South Africa which purport to represent the victims of Zimbabwe, and, up to date, even the MDC doesn't pay even a cent here.

But still, they stand by their leader, fiercely supporting his refusal to enter a government of national unity with the people who tried to kill them.

WISEMAN MAYENGEZA: We are going to pursue the struggle regardless of how we are feeling and how we are neglected, we don't mind, but we will go back to fight for a new political regime in Zimbabwe, and let me tell you, Robert Mugabe will not last even for six months. We are going there. We know what we are going to do, we are going to mobilise, and this time, I am sorry, we might be forced to revenge.

Patson may be less animated than some of the other activists, but he does agree with their argument.

PATSON MURIMOGA: After killing us, they say we should have to make a government of national unity. A government of national unity for what?

Since fleeing Zimbabwe, Patson has been unable to contact his wife and he doesn't know if and when he'll see his baby. But, like the rest of the Zimbabwean activists in exile here, he says he has no regrets. In Pretoria, Brian Thomson, World News Australia.

Karadzic vows to defend himself

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Bosnian Serb genocide suspect Radovan Karadzic is to defend himself before the UN war crimes court, his lawyer has said on Wednesday, raising memories of the trial of his late ally, Slobodan Milosevic.


Karadzic, who stands indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity, was arrested in Belgrade on Monday, having evaded capture for more than a decade partly thanks to a fake identity as an alternative health guru.

VIDEO: Sarajevo's reaction to Karadzic arrest

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During the Bosnian war Karadzic was a close ally of then Yugoslav president Milosevic, who was also indicted for war crimes and chose to defend himself before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Milosevic's manipulation of the role was blamed for making his trial one of the longest in international legal history at more than four years. The Serbian strongman died in custody in The Hague in 2006 before a verdict was delivered.

“Karadzic will have a legal team in Serbia that will help him with his defence but he will defend himself” at the ICTY, his lawyer Svetozar Vujacic said.

The lawyer confirmed he would file an appeal against Karadzic's transfer to the UN war crimes court in The Hague on Friday.

Appeal against transfer

“They (the court) will not be able to make a decision before Monday because I will send the appeal on Friday,” said Mr Vujacic, who had already indicated he intends to delay the transfer for as long as possible.

Once filed, a special panel of Serbia's war crimes court will have three days to decide on the application.

Under Serbia's law on cooperation with the ICTY, suspects can appeal their transfer to the UN war crimes tribunal before a special committee approves the move.

The process could take up to nine days, but Serbia's war crimes prosecution has said it expects Karadzic to be sent to the UN court by Monday or Tuesday at the latest.

Meanwhile, up to 250 hardline nationalists gathered in central Belgrade to protest for the second consecutive day against Karadzic's arrest.

Cordoned by the anti-riot police, the protesters – mostly members of the ultra-nationalist right-wing organisation Obraz and supporters of the hardline opposition Serbian Radical party – chanted Karadzic's name and insults addressed to Serbia's pro-European leadership, blaming it for the arrest.

Fake identity

Since his arrest, the public's imagination has been captured by the reports of the fake identity Karadzic forged.

The 63-year-old had made himself virtually unrecognisable in order to eke out a living through the practise under the false name of Dragan Dabic, deceiving naturopaths, health writers, landlords and many more.

He disguised himself under flowing white hair, a thick beard, glasses and a white Panama hat, enabling him to move freely throughout Belgrade and several Serbian towns.

One Serbian daily described the look as that of a “loveable guru”.

Karadzic used public transport, even appeared on television and drank at cafes in downtown Belgrade's main boulevard with his new colleagues.

He was finally nabbed by security forces on a suburban bus in the Serbian capital after an apparent tip-off from a foreign intelligence agency.

Intelligence tip-off

Speaking to AFP, lawyer Mr Vujacic said his client now looked like the Karadzic of old after having his hair and beard trimmed.

“He's looking good. He had a hair cut, he shaved himself, and is in great shape. He now looks just like before,” Mr Vujacic told AFP.

Karadzic faces 11 counts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other atrocities before the UN tribunal.

The charges are mainly related to two of Europe's worst atrocities since World War II, the 44-month siege of Sarajevo which killed more than 10,000 people and the Srebrenica massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995.

In Bosnia's bitter inter-ethnic war, Karadzic is also said to have authorised so-called “ethnic cleansing” in which more than a million non-Serbs were driven from their homes.

Karadzic's daughter Sonja Karadzic-Jovicevic has appealed to the powerful international envoy to Bosnia to return the family's seized travel papers, and to allow them to visit him in a Belgrade prison cell.

After Karadzic's arrest there are only two more fugitives of the UN court at large: former military chief Ratko Mladic, 65, and Goran Hadzic, 49, a former Serb politician wanted for “ethnic cleansing” in Croatia.

Wall St rebounds after record rout

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A powerful rally has helped Wall Street recoup a large portion of the previous day's rout, amid renewed hopes for the passage of a massive financial rescue package.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average leapt 485.21 points (4.68 percent) to close at 10,850.66, in the third-largest single-day point gain a day after the worst one-day point loss for the blue-chip index.

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IN-DEPTH: More on the financial crisis

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The Nasdaq jumped 98.60 points (4.97 percent) to 2,082.33 and the broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 index rallied 58.35 points (5.27 percent) to


“Equity markets jumped at the open and didn't look back. Investors felt confident that lawmakers would pass a bailout bill by midweek,” said Sara Kline at Economy.com.

Market action came after a record plunge of 777 points for the blue-chip Dow index overnight on Monday in the wake of a rejection by the US House of Representatives of a massive $US700-billion plan to aid the troubled banking sector and steady a fragile economy.

Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment officer at Charles Schwab & Co., said part of the gains represent “a simple and natural rebound from the carnage of yesterday after some time to digest the implications of the House voting no on the mortgage rescue bill.”

“It may also reflect that the Asian markets didn't tumble as much as some expected after yesterday's US market plunge,” she added.

Hopes rise for bailout bill

Sonders said the market still held out hopes for passage of some aid plan to help the financial sector recover from the bursting of the housing bubble.

“The Bush administration probably realizes it can't suffer another defeat and they will likely pull out all the stops to get the few additional votes they need, which will most likely come from the Republican side,” she said.

“A few Democrats could probably be pulled over, too, particularly if a compromise can be drafted.”

Among key financial stocks at the heart of the financial storm, National City Corp. rallied 28 percent to $1.75 after a 63 percent slide on Monday. The regional bank however was placed on credit review for possible downgrade by Moody's Investors Service.

Sovereign Bancorp, another regional banking group, also rebounded from heavy losses, rising 69 percent to $3.95 after it replaced its top executive and said it was well-capitalized with reduced exposure to the battered housing sector.

Among the big financial firms, Bank of America rose 15.7 percent to 35.00 dollars, Citigroup jumped 15.5 percent to 20.51 and Wells Fargo added 12.8 percent to 3753. Morgan Stanley increased 9.6 percent to 23.00 dollars and Goldman Sachs rose 6.05 percent to 128.00.

Many tech shares also bounced back from heavy selling. Apple climbed 7.98 percent to 113.66 dollars.

Bonds retreated after big gains from a flight to safety on Monday. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond increased to 3.827 percent from 3.632 percent Monday and that on the 30-year bond rose to 4.305 percent against 4.199 percent. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.

The US Senate will vote on Wednesday evening on 700 billion dollar Wall Street bailout package, a Democratic aide said.

Jellyfish protein gets Nobel prize

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Osamu Shimomura of Japan and US duo Martin Chalfie and Roger Tsien have won the Nobel Chemistry Prize for a fluorescent protein derived from a jellyfish that has become a vital lab tool.


Green fluorescent protein (GFP) has revolutionised research in medicine and biology, enabling scientists to get a visual fix on how organs function, on the spread of disease and the response of infected cells to treatment, the Nobel jury said.

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Glowing praise

“GFP has functioned in the past decade as a guiding star for biochemists, biologists, medical scientists and other researchers,” it said.

“This protein has become one of the most important tools used in contemporary bioscience.”

The gene to make GFP is inserted into the DNA of lab animals, bacteria or other cells, where it is “switched on” by other genes. The glow becomes apparent under ultraviolet light.

Coming out of the dark

The telltale protein gives researchers an instant way of monitoring processes that were previously invisible.

By tagging nerve cells, scientists can for instance follow the destruction caused by Alzheimer's disease. Tumour progression can be followed by adding GFP to cancer cells. By adding GFP to a growing mouse embryo, they can see how the pancreas generates insulin producing beta cells.

In one spectacular experiment, researchers made a “brainbow,” in which they tagged different nerve cells in the brain of a mouse with a kaleidoscope of colours.

10,000 jellyfish under the microscope

Shimomura, born in 1928 and now a professor emeritus at Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and Boston University, pioneered this tool with a study of the jellyfish Aequorea victoria in the 1960s.

He isolated a few precious grams of luminescent liquid from 10,000 jellyfish, which led to the discovery that its source was GFP, a so-called chromophore — a chemical group that absorbs and emits light.

Japanese achievers winning more Nobels

Shimomoura was the third Japanese citizen to win a Nobel this year, after Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa won the Physics Prize Tuesday along with Japanese-born American Yoichiro Nambu for groundbreaking theoretical work in fundamental particles.

“Honestly, I am surprised to see so many as four Japanese win in one year,” Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso told reporters. “It's really good.”

Chalfie, born in 1947 and a biology professor at Columbia University, followed up on Shimomura's research.

He helped identify the gene that controls GFP and found ways of inserting it into a common lab tool, the millimetre-long roundworm called Caenorhabditis elegans.

Green light for arsenic detection

His idea was that by connecting the gene for GFP with various gene switches, or promoters, he would be able to see where different proteins were produced.

“The green light would act as a beacon for various events.”

Tsien, born in 1952 and a professor at the University of California, completed the final step, developing new variants of GFP that shine more strongly and in different colours, allowing researchers to mark different proteins in different colours to see their interactions.

“Today, GFP is a standard tool for thousands of researchers all over the world,” the Nobel panel said.

“When scientists develop methods to help them see things that were once invisible, research always takes a great leap forward,” it added.

GFP inserted in bacteria has also been adapted to make sensors that glow in the presence of arsenic – a major problem in groundwater in Bangladesh – and TNT.

Wake-up call

Tsien, who was woken up by a call from the Nobel panel just before 3:00 am in California, said he was surprised to have won the prize.

“There have been rumours, but I was a little surprised anyway,” he told Swedish news agency TT.

Bruce Bursten, president of the American Chemical Society, hailed the choice of this year's laureates, saying it “showcases chemistry's critical but often-invisible role in fostering advances in biology and medicine.”

He added: “This is chemistry at its very best, improving people's lives.”

The Nobel medicine and physics prizes were announced earlier this week, while the Literature Prize was due on Thursday and the Peace Prize on Friday.

The Economics Prize would wrap up the awards on October 13. Laureates receive a gold medal, a diploma and 10 million Swedish kronor (1.42 million dollars), which can be split between up to three winners per prize. The formal prize ceremonies will be held in Stockholm and Oslo on December 10.

Government facing defeat over ETS

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The Rudd government is facing defeat in the Senate over its revised emissions trading scheme, with key independent Senators threatening to veto it.


The Australian Greens, coalition, Family First senator Steven Fielding and independent Nick Xenophon have all said they will not support the new ETS.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday revealed plans to delay the scheme by a year – to July 2011 – citing the global economic crisis.

Under the new ETS, Labor has pushed up its emissions reduction target to 25 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 – up from a maximum of 15 per cent – depending on the strength of an international agreement. The bottom end of the target range is still five per cent.

The government needs the support of seven crossbench senators to get it through the upper house.

But Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said his party, which holds five crossbench seats in the Senate, would vote against the ETS if the target was just five per cent.

“We will be opposed to this legislation in the Senate,” Senator Brown told ABC Television.

Rudd \’trying to force early election\’

Senator Brown accused the government of trying to prompt an early election on the issue, by forcing a double dissolution of parliament.

Coalition frontbencher Andrew Robb, who is assisting Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull on an emissions trading design, said the coalition was backing a five per cent reduction target by 2020.

“We believe that we can deliver at least that target and probably better without sacrificing tens of thousands of jobs and with giving business certainty,” Mr Robb told ABC Television.

Mr Robb said a global agreement to reduce carbon emissions by 25 per cent was unlikely.

“The government knows that that\’s nigh on impossible if that\’s going to occur,” he said. “It\’s a hollow promise, it\’s a hollow guarantee.”

Mr Turnbull said the opposition would not support the scheme in its current form, and suggested the government refer the proposals to the Productivity Commission for an inquiry.

The Liberal Party\’s coalition partner the Nationals are opposed to an emissions trading scheme.