US presidential debates live on SBS

The US presidential, and vice presidential, candidates will face-off in a series of debates over several weeks in the lead up to the presidential election which will be broadcast live on SBS television and online.

南宁桑拿

The world's most powerful nation votes for a new president on November 4th, and all eyes will be on the candidates during the four debates.

IN-DEPTH: America Decides

LIVE BLOG: Watch our live stream & live blog NOW

World News Australia will broadcast all presidential debates and the vice presidential debate, commercial-free.

The debates (screened live in the eastern states) will be concluded with local analysis by expert Australian commentators.

In addition, all four debates will be streamed live on www.sbs.com.au

Here's the schedule:

Saturday September 27

America Decides: The First Presidential Debate

10:55am – 12:30pm (LIVE EST only)

Barack Obama v. John McCain on domestic policy.

Friday October 3

America Decides: The Vice-Presidential Debate

10:55am – 12:30pm (LIVE EST only)

Joseph Biden v. Sarah Palin on domestic and foreign policy.

Wednesday October 8

America Decides: The Second Presidential Debate

11:55am – 1.30pm (LIVE EST only)

Barack Obama v. John McCain in a “town meeting” format.

Thursday October 16

America Decides: The Third Presidential Debate

11:55am – 1.30pm (LIVE EST only)

Barack Obama v. John McCain on foreign policy.

On Election Day, World News Australia will begin its special coverage from 3.30pm, using live CNN feeds, reports from Walkley award-winning senior correspondent Brian Thomson and others on the ground, complimented by analysis from experts in the studio.

Wednesday November 5

America Decides: The Presidential Election Result

3.30pm – 6.30pm approx (LIVE in all centres)

Full up-to-the-minute coverage plus live blogs on World News Australia Online

Out of Africa

REPORTER: Thom Cookes

Tenerife, in the Canary Islands.

南宁桑拿

The beaches here have long been a playground for Western tourists seeking a winter escape. Los Cristianos, the island’s southern port. British tourists in particular have made this resort town their own. But a different kind of visitor has begun to arrive in Los Cristianos.

Thousands of illegal migrants are flooding in from Africa to look for work. An armada of these tiny open boats is braving the 6-day ocean crossing from West Africa. Sometimes over 100 people are crammed into each one. On just this one day, four separate boats have turned up, and the foreign tourists here are clearly stunned.

TOURIST: We saw them tow them in. We saw them tow them in.

REPORTER: Were you a bit surprised to see them turn up during your holiday?

TOURIST: Yes, we were. Yes. We really don’t understand it all. It shouldn’t be done, though, should it, really?

REPORTER: Have you seen the size of the boat that they arrived in?

TOURIST: Yeah, we saw that. Yes, we have, yes. How many were there? Do you know?

REPORTER: About 80, apparently.

TOURIST: 80?! In the one boat? We were on our balcony when we saw them come in. Yes, yes. We looked through the binoculars.

REPORTER: Why do you think they’ve come?

TOURIST: They must think it is better here than it is where they’ve come from, I suppose.

These men have risked their lives to reach the Canary Islands because this is Spanish territory, the southernmost border of the European Union. The illegal migration route to Europe, via Morocco and the Mediterranean, is now heavily patrolled. But as one route is shut down, another opens up, and the 1,400km voyage from Senegal to the Canaries is now the favoured way to go.

A Red Crescent official in West Africa has estimated that up to 40% of these boats don’t make it, sinking without trace in the Atlantic swells.

After the illegal migrants are towed in to the harbour by the Spanish Coast Guard, they’re treated by the Red Cross. Their boats are then emptied and eventually broken up, as local residents look on.

LOCAL RESIDENT, (Translation): It takes courage to make an 11-day journey with 80 people in a boat like this. They must be desperate. Yes. They must. You need courage. Lots of it. Imagine this on the open ocean. A journey in this… Poor people.

So far this year, over 25,000 illegal immigrants have arrived here, five times the total number for last year, and the local authorities have been stretched to breaking point. Salvador Mendez is the harbour master at Los Cristianos.

SALVADOR MENDEZ, HARBOUR MASTER (Translation): The total number of immigrants who landed this morning is 300. A major search operation has been put in place as there are indications that several more boats could be approaching.

The Coast Guard and Red Cross are under great pressure, but the compassion they show the new arrivals is obvious. Many of these West African men are suffering from exposure and dehydration. And to the untrained eye, it appears that Thierry, a French-speaking Red Cross worker, is just horsing around with them, gaining their trust, but he’s very cleverly picking out those who need further medical help. Those under 18 have their birth dates marked on a piece of tape around their arms. They’re eventually separated from the other men. Under Spanish law, they are now wards of the state, and they can’t be sent back home against their will. Oswaldo Lemus is the head of the Red Cross emergency response team.

OSWALDO LEMUS, RED CROSS (Translation): So far today we’ve had 293 arrivals. 18 of them are probably minors and 2 are women. Several have needed attention from the Red Cross doctors and nurses for dehydration, sunburn and serious wounds.

While I am in the Canary Islands, I’m not allowed to talk to the new arrivals, or hear what they’ve been through but Oswaldo has helped to unload close to 200 of these boats, and knows exactly how they’re feeling.

OSWALDO LEMUS (Translation): They’ve spent several days on the high seas in cold temperatures, rough seas, darkness and silence, and when they land they get the feeling that they’ve made it, that it’s over. It’s very stressful.

Under Spain’s liberal immigration laws, the longest these men can be held is 40 days. If their nationality is established inside that time, they can be deported home. If not – and most migrants make sure they have no identification with them – they are then released into the community, usually on the Spanish mainland. After medical checks, these arrivals are bussed to the local police station to be officially interviewed. According to Salvador Mendez, it’s clear why they are risking their lives.

SALVADOR MENDEZ (Translation): It’s obvious why they’re coming. The gap in the standard of living between the African countries and the Canaries and Europe is so great, there’s so much difference, that people don’t hesitate to look for a way out and search for a better place.

It’s the next morning, and Red Cross workers have been tipped off that more boats are due.

REPORTER: When did you find out?

OSWALDO LEMUS (Translation): 5:00 in the morning.

But this time, the illegal migrant boat sank before it could be towed in, and they’ve been rescued by the Coast Guard.

SALVADOR MENDEZ (Translation): Last night at approximately 3am, the Punta Salinas coastal patrol boat rescued a group of 97 immigrants. Their boat was in really bad condition. Soon after the immigrants were hauled aboard, the boat, which had been leaking, sank completely.

According to Salvador, the current rate of arrivals is not sustainable.

SALVADOR MENDEZ (Translation): The people from the Canaries are all seriously worried. The Canary Islands are a very small territory and being a small territory, it’s not easy to absorb thousands, waves of immigrants landing here. And people are really worried about the future. We don’t know when it will stop. 25,000 have landed so far. How many more will come? 50,000? 100,000? 500,000?

While it’s easy to see the illegal migrants arriving, it’s far harder to see where they end up afterwards. This is the closest I could get with a camera to the police station in Los Cristianos. The cells are overflowing, and these large tents have been set up in the grounds outside. There are over 1,500 men crammed in here, and the police union has complained about overcrowding and health risks.

After three days, illegal migrants are moved to detention camps that have been set up right across the Canaries. This one, high up on the neighbouring island of La Gomera, is in a disused restaurant, far from public view. And as the centres fill up, there’s increasing pressure on Spain to toughen up its immigration laws.

Jose Miguel Ruano is the Security and Justice advisor to the Canary Islands regional government.

JOSE MIGUEL RUANO, SECURITY AND JUSTICE ADVISOR (Translation): At the moment, we in the autonomous government of the Canary Islands believe this legislation is lenient and that certain points should be rectified. The immigrant detention period should be extended to allow repatriation when there are arrivals en masse.

But according to Salvador Mendez, it’s the conditions back in Senegal that are behind the current wave of illegal migration.

SALVADOR MENDEZ (Translation): For the last two years, Senegal has been in a serious economic crisis. They used to have a strong, reasonably well-managed fishing industry, but prices have dropped drastically and the whole fishing sector along the coast of Senegal was thrown into serious crisis.

These are the beaches at Dakar, the capital of Senegal. In the Canaries, the Spanish police wouldn’t let me talk to the illegal immigrants I’d filmed arriving, so I’ve come here to find out for myself why, and how people are making the trip. Much of the illegal traffic is run by local fishermen. And even though it’s against the law, it’s not hard to find someone to explain how it works. Pape, a boat-owner and fisherman, is happy to oblige.

PAPE, FISHERMAN (Translation): I can take people who want to leave. I give them my phone number, they give me theirs. You understand? If we get a number of “¦the number of people the boat can take, for instance, 100 people. Do you understand? We agree to meet somewhere, get on the boat and go. It’s simple.

Departures from Senegal have become so frequent that it’s become a hub for migrants right across West and Central Africa. Many have never even seen the ocean before, and don’t understand the risks.

PAPE (Translation): But those who come from the bush… Many lost their lives at sea. On the whole, the people who died were people who…who took a boat for the first time.

Along with Claire Soares, who’s translating for me, I meet Alkally Saar. His house is just behind the beach. He made the trip to the Canaries and was deported back here just last week.

ALKALLY SAAR (Translation): I’ve missed my big chance. I’m ashamed to face my family. I can’t even tell you how bad I feel. I feel shame. In front of my family, my father. My father is an old man. My mother is a very brave woman, very courageous. They sold everything to help the family. That’s why I wanted to go to Spain.

CLAIRE SOARES, TRANSLATOR (Translation): So your mother sold all her things? What did she sell?

ALKALLY SAAR (Translation): Jewels. All that stuff. What I had, what my father had. We sold everything. I paid 400,000.

CLAIRE SOARES, (Translation): Why did your parents agree to do that? Do they expect you to be the breadwinner?

ALKALLY SAAR (Translation): Here in Senegal, young people have no future. For people or young people? That’s why. There’s no future. There’s no work for the young. That’s why.

All along the coast of Senegal, the impact of migration has been massive. Whether illegal migrants survive the trip or not, their loss is felt by those left behind. Seyou N’Diaye, a local fisherman, is concerned for the future of his community.

SEYOU N’DIAYE (Translation): Immigration affects the village in a major way. We’ve lost many of our children. We’ve lost more than 200 in our village. Our brothers too, even our sisters. We’ve lost a few sisters. It’s because life in the village is very hard. Life in Senegal is very hard because there’s no work.

Seyou’s own brother left for the Canary Islands but died on the voyage.

SEYOU N’DIAYE (Translation): He left six months ago in a boat and he died on that boat. He died on that boat. He died at sea.

CLAIRE SOARES, TRANSLATOR (Translation): How did you find out?

SEYOU N’DIAYE (Translation): Others who left with him called us to tell us.

CLAIRE SOARES, TRANSLATOR (Translation):

How did you find out?

SEYOU N’DIAYE (Translation): Others who left with him called us to tell us.

CLAIRE SOARES, TRANSLATOR (Translation): What did the other passengers do with your brother, did they throw his body overboard?

SEYOU N’DIAYE (Translation): They threw him overboard. When you die, they throw you overboard and they sail on.

The high death rate from the voyage to Spain has become part of popular culture in Senegal. This mural is in downtown Dakar, just next to the university. It means ‘Barcelona or the afterlife’. Bemba Toure, who painted the mural, explains his work.

BEMBA TOURE, PAINTER (Translation): Over there is Barcelona. That’s where people want to go to find a better life. This is what they use to get there. These boats. See? Tekki means “to succeed”. But there’s a question mark. The question mark indicates people are asking themselves, “Once they reach Barcelona will they succeed or not?” Barsakh is the afterlife. Here you have those who didn’t succeed. They didn’t make it. You can see their bodies. This guy here is drowning and so is this one.

Awadi is one of the most popular hip-hop musicians and record producers in Senegal. His latest single is all about the plague of illegal migration.

AWADI, MUSICIAN (Translation): That’s why I decided to flee, That’s why I break myself in dugout I swear it I can’t stay here one more second. It is better to die than to live in such conditions, in this hell…

We come to south Senegal because there was a big crisis, all these kids running away from the country in little boats. It is really dangerous.

REPORTER: Why are they going? Why are they leaving Senegal?

AWADI: They are leaving Senegal because they are disappointed. There were a lot of promises but none of them were fulfilled.

REPORTER: Promises about what?

AWADI: Promises about job, about, you know, about better conditions, about employment, you know, better living conditions, basically.

Almost everyone we spoke to in these coastal villages near Dakar had a story about missing boats, drownings and deaths from dehydration. But it doesn’t seem to stop the demand for places on the boats.

ALPHA DIENG (Translation): Two boats left from here. We were told they carried 120 people. 120 people from whom there’s still no news.

CLAIRE SOARES, TRANSLATOR (Translation): And yet the boats continue to leave?

ALPHA DIENG (Translation): Yes, the boats continue to leave. Boats are leaving for Mauritania. Boats are preparing to leave at this very moment. For us, it’s really… It’s really very sad.

LAURENT DE BOECK, INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION FOR MIGRATION: The people leaving know they may die, they know people who have died, they know people who didn’t succeed who saw people dying. coming back to the village saying so When you talk to the mothers they know they may have their son die, but they still do it. It might be considered as irrational action, and it’s quite difficult to dissuade people. The only way is not to talk about only the negative aspects, but to come with positive approaches and promoting legal migration, and saying – migrating, you can but don’t do it that way because there you will die.

These women have formed an association to raise funds by making and selling couscous. The husband or son of each one has died through illegal migration, and so they’ve all lost their main source of family income. Yayi Diouf, who formed the association, told us how she’d heard about the death of her son

YAYI DIOUF (Translation): They’d left in two boats. When they reached the high seas, people in the other boat saw my son’s boat taking water. They said, “We’re near the Canary Islands, wait here. Once we get to the Canaries, we’ll send for help.” But there was a storm, his boat sank and everybody drowned.

We asked Yayi how many people were in her association.

YAYI DIOUF (Translation): 375 members.

CLAIRE SOARES (Translation): 375? And everyone has lost someone?

YAYI DIOUF (Translation): Yes, everyone.

CLAIRE SOARES (Translation): And you’re all from this village?

YAYI DIOUF (Translation): Yes.

This village used to survive on the income from fishing, and it was the men who went to sea. Now that so many young men have been lost, the future of the entire community is under threat. The incentive of incomes in Europe 10-50 times those available here is impossible to ignore. Those trying to manage the problem in Africa fear it could get dramatically worse.

LAURENT DE BOECK: If the word spreads in Western Africa, or even Central Africa, that actually they can all go to Spain via the Canary Islands or whatever, you may empty Africa easily, and that’s dangerous. You have also to think about emptying a country of its youth, which should be the future of the country.

ALKALLY SARR(Translation): I will try again. For as long as I live, I will try again. For my family’s sake, not for me. I don’t matter.

Reporter/Camera:

THOM COOKES

Editors:

DAVID POTTS

WAYNE LOVE

Producer:

MARTIN BUTLER

EP:

MIKE CAREY

PNG – Wild Boards

REPORTER: Mark Davis

Lido village, Vanimo, north coast PNG.

南宁桑拿

School is out and the kids are heading for their favourite break. They are members of one of the world’s most unique surf clubs, with unquestionably some of the most unique boards. The only place on earth to surf with boards that have come straight out of the jungle.

REPORTER: Where did you get this fellow?

BOY, (Translation): I got it from the bush, the big bush.

REPORTER: Yeah? You cut him? Yourself or your brother or what?

BOY: Myself.

REPORTER: Yourself? You made all this one?

BOY: Yes.

Stephen Tekwei, a PNG surf champ and head of the Sunset Surf Club, is boss of this brood.

REPORTER: They look pretty comfortable. You’ve got some champs in there, you think?

STEPHEN TEKWEI: Yeah, I think so. Maybe in a few years time these young kids will be champions.

REPORTER: PNG champions?

STEPHEN TEKWEI:Yes.

It is no surprise to Stephen that surfing comes naturally to these kids. He believes that this village is where surfing began, on the sides of broken canoes.

STEPHEN TEKWEI: I can tell you that surfing was here hundreds of years ago. When old canoes, dugout canoes, when they break up, these old people get these half of the canoes and then they start using them as bodyboards and they start surfing.

They surfed their planks but never stood up until an intrepid Australian surfer discovered this break in the 1990s.

STEPHEN TEKWEI: He brought his surfboard out and he introduced this to the young boys. And so the boys started learning. There were a few boys tried it out first, and then the other ones, and then there were plenty of boys, even girls are here too.

Standing up was a pretty cool idea but with just one board to share, the kids soon tired of watching from the beach.

STEPHEN TEKWEI: We don’t have enough boards, surfboards to supply to the kids. As a result, you see them on the beach all the time. They don’t have a chance so they start cutting up the trees to make surfboards for themselves.

With only two fibreglass boards to the club’s name, which are kept for competitions, Stephen treks into the jungle in search of another board. The hunt is on for the right tree, known locally as a tapa. Its bark used traditionally to make a type of clothing.

REPORTER: Is this it?

STEPHEN TEKWEI: This is the tree.

REPORTER: Yeah?

STEPHEN TEKWEI: Our old people used to cut the skin to make a type of cloth for sing-sings and traditional art rituals.

It is the right type of tree but not good enough for the perfect board.

STEPHEN TEKWEI: This one is young. The big one – the bigger the tree, the thinner it is.

There is the one.

REPORTER: This is the one? Hey – look at that.

STEPHEN TEKWEI: This, this is the one. This is the one, this is the right one that I described. This is the one that the boys, the kids, cut out and they use as a surfboard.

REPORTER: Fantastic.

STEPHEN TEKWEI: They make a surfboard out of this one.

The kids invented this, you know. Somehow some of the kids went into the jungle and they said, “This could do a good surfboard,” so they cut it out and they tried it. They got it, surfed out, and they tried it and it worked. And here we are – we have got a factory of natural surfboard.

REPORTER: No resin.

STEPHEN TEKWEI: It’s all natural. No resin, no fibreglass, no foam, no whatever. It’s straight out from the jungle.

Eskelly is the rising star of the Vanimo surf scene. He has recently upgraded to a glass board to compete in the national championships, but he cut his teeth on bush boards like this one.

ESKELLY, (Translation): I saw the boys surfing. I like that and want to surf with that type of board too. So I cut it in the bush. My cousin brother shaped it. Then I took it to surf. I didn’t have money to buy one so I surfed on this board.

REPORTER: And now you’re a champion, hey?

ESKELLY, (Translation): Yeah.

REPORTER: Vanimo champion?

ESKELLY, (Translation): Yeah, I think Vanimo champion.

REPORTER: You are the best? Yeah. What about Stephen? You are better than Stephen?

ESKELLY, (Translation): Yeah, I am better than him.

REPORTER: You are better than Stephen? Yeah. OK. I like the curve.

STEPHEN TEKWEI: There is the curve there, there is the board I was talking about.

BOYS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You see, it is almost a Malibu. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

REPORTER: Do you like it, Eskelly? What do you think? Let’s go surfing.

STEPHEN TEKWEI: We’ll turn it around and we’ll get the bottom skin out and then we’ll start shaping it properly.

It has been really quite amazing watching this board emerge in just a few hours with some pretty simple tools, mostly bush knives. But perhaps I should not be surprised – these boys’ fathers and their grandfathers and for hundreds of years before them were renowned as some of the best boat-builders along this coast.

Steven Lina is one of the last canoe builders in the village. Fibreglass boats have dented his market but his canoes are still in demand, exported to clan members all along the coast.

STEVEN LINA: Canoe, it’s a part of our life here. It’s like people from the inland, they need dogs to hunt, and get food, well, we coastal people, we need canoe to go out fishing. People here, we love sea and we use all this. You see these kids, they play in the sea all the time and it’s part of their life, I think.

REPORTER: So whether it’s canoes or surfboards?

STEVEN LINA: So canoe or surfboard, it’s part of the life here in the village. Yeah, it’s good, looking good.

REPORTER: What do you think of the work? Are they doing a good job?

STEVEN LINA: Well, they’re doing a good job, pretty good. It is not yet finished but I think it’s going to turn out to be OK.

REPORTER:

It’s much harder to make a canoe, you reckon?

STEVEN LINA: This is simple. Canoe, making a canoe you have to master certain arts – how to dig and how to shape it, and that is it. It needs qualified, skilled people to do it.

REPORTER: But these boys are pretty good, they are doing good shaping. Well, that’s, It’s alright? So-so? Just alright?

STEVEN LINA: Yeah.

The surfboard from Lido village is nearing completion, not finished until the traditional village markings are applied – a centuries old trademark for paddles and canoes. Something old, something new.

STEPHEN TEKWEI: This is a traditional design for the village. This is a lizard head and these two markings here represent the nostrils of the lizard. This one represents the eye, and these are the ears of the lizard. And this is the tail.

REPORTER: I think it looks fantastic. What you think? You are the maker.

STEPHEN TEKWEI: I think it is nice. I like it because it has to do Its nose is good. It’s really thin and it has a fin. And it also represents the old era and the new.

REPORTER: Can I surf him?

STEPHEN TEKWEI: Not at this moment because it is still new and it is still wet and heavy.

REPORTER: Too heavy to surf, huh?

STEPHEN TEKWEI: Yeah.

REPORTER: Well, that’s a shame because I think people would have really liked to have seen me surf this one today.

STEPHEN TEKWEI: Well, I would like to surf too, but I’m sorry, it’s still heavy and you can’t surf today.

Another week for the sap to completely dry out the board and the Sunset Surf Club will welcome its latest edition.

Feature Report: Wild Boards

Reporter/Camera

MARK DAVIS

Editor

ROWAN TUCKER-EVANS

Subtitling

KIRK HUFFMAN

Thank you to Air Nuiguini for carrying the surf boards

Maher Arar: The Verdict

REPORTER: Bronwyn Adcock

Canadian Maher Arar is an innocent man, yet based on unfounded suspicions, he was sent for 10 months of hell in a Syrian prison, where he was tortured

MAHER ARAR: Let me tell you something that happened during the interrogation, I urinated myself twice during the interrogation.

南宁桑拿

I don’t know what that shows but my nerves, like I can’t control myself.

It’s so scary when you hear people being tortured it is so scary when you are beaten. And I would just say anything, anything they want, just to stop the torture.

Maher Arar was sent to Syria by United States Government officials who believed he had information about terrorist suspects. Arar’s lawyers believe the US sent him for the purpose of interrogation under torture.

BILL GOODMAN, LAWYER, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: They wanted to torture him, but they didn’t quite have the wherewithal, the guts, lets say. To do what they really intended to do, was torture this man, so they franchised the torture. They knew the Syrians wouldn’t blink at torturing someone, and the purpose was supposedly, to get information from him, about his connections with Al Quida, which by the way are totally non existent.

Maher Arar, is not the only case of what’s known as extraordinary rendition, a secretive US policy of out-sourcing torture to countries like Syria and Egypt, that’s proving embarrassing and controversial for the US government. Arar was the first to sue the government over this practice, but last week, in a clear victory for the Bush Administration, his case was thrown out of court.

BILL GOODMAN: I think some of our clients are terrified of coming back to the United States.

Bill Goodman says this gives a green light for the government to continue with extraordinary rendition.

BILL GOODMAN: If they can get away with doing it to Maher Arar, they are going to get away with doing it to whoever they chose to do it to, whether he be a non-citizen or a citizen, in my humble opinion, or she. And that person who is sent to Syria today can be sent to the Sudan or Somalia tomorrow or who knows where the next day.

As we reported eighteen months ago, Maher Arar’s terrifying journey began in the summer of 2002 when he was detained while in transit at JFK airport in New York. He was held here in a Brooklyn detention centre for two weeks, with little access to a lawyer.

He was accused of being a member of Al- Quida and told he was to be deported”¦ not to Canada but to Syria, the country of his birth.

MAHER ARAR: I told them, I said ‘Listen your going to send me to a country that you know has no law, as they do not follow the law, and if you send me there I am going to be tortured.” So I raised the torture issue many times.

Despite his pleas and with no legal extradition process, Arar was put on board a Gulfstream jet. It is now known that these planes have been widely used in America’s rendition program, taking detainees everywhere from eastern Europe to the Middle East.

Once in Syria, Maher Arar’s worst fears were realised.

MAHER ARAR: They would basically put me back in the interrogation room and they would beat me again like three or four times with the cable. And now they started beating me on my shoulder, on my back, on my hips mostly. They would ask questions again, sometimes they would beat first and ask second.

Arar said in Syria he was asked identical questions to those asked when he was detained in the US, leading him to believe that his Syrian interrogators were acting on behalf of the United States.

MAHER ARAR: And I asked the colonel actually, I said ‘you know I don’t have anything to do with these allegations the Americans have against me, why don’t you release me?’ He said ‘You are going home very soon.’

Now whether I should believe them or not because they lied to me all the time right, but I could tell in their eyes that they had no interest in me.

Syrian officials have since confirmed that they only took Arar because the Americans requested it.

Maher Arar was released home to Canada after 10 months, time spent in a coffin-sized cell, in solitary confinement. He has never been charged with anything.

Dateline caught up with Maher Arar again this week, after he had received the news about the court’s decision.

MAHER ARAR: When a human being is wronged, the first place he would expect to go is the justice system, and in my case that is what I exactly did. I filed the law suit 2 years ago, I wanted to hold the people accountable, and all of a sudden the judge is saying ‘good luck.” That is what is scary about this.

In his court case against the US government, Arar asked for compensation and a statement that what happened to him was unlawful. Last week the case was dismissed, largely because of national security and foreign policy considerations.

The judge said that he couldn’t declare that what happened to Arar was illegal because it could threaten the security of America.

VOICE OVER: A judge who declares on his or her own Article 111 authority, that the policy of extraordinary rendition is under all circumstances unconstitutional, must acknowledge that such a ruling can have the most serious of consequences to our foreign relations or national security or both.

The judge said that such decisions are for the government, not the judiciary.

VOICE OVER: The task of balancing individual rights against national-security concerns is one the courts should not undertake without the guidance or the authority of the coordinate branches, in whom the Constitution imposes responsibility for our foreign affairs and national security. Those branches have the responsibility to determine whether judicial oversight is appropriate.

Arar’s lawyers are shocked by the Judgement. Bill Goodman says judicial oversight of government is an essential part of democracy.

BILL GOODMAN: This is a principal that goes all the way back to the Magna Carta, to at least 1215, to the 13th century and probably well beyond. But if the courts cannot get involved and cannot demand answers from the executive branch and cannot tell the executive branch that it cannot abuse its power, then nobody can. And we are setting ourselves up for an executive branch which will, which is prepared to, will likely and undoubtedly in my opinion, will abuse it’s power.

Bill Goodman agrees it’s important to consider national security but not at any cost.

BILL GOODMAN: I think they have to be taken into consideration in determining whether or not, what the government has done is reasonable. But I do not think they are a trump card that can be played and as a result no court can get involved in deciding whether or not some ones rights have been violated. That would be a violation of the most basic and fundamental democratic principles of the American Constitution.

This is clearly not the view if the judge though, who went as far as saying that the Judiciary does not have the right to hold the government to account over policies like rendition.. even if the law is broken.

VOICE OVER: Judges should not in the absence of explicit direction by Congress, hold officials who carry out such policies liable for damages even if such conduct violates our treaty obligations or customary international law.

The Arar judgement is clearly written in the context of America being in the middle of a so called War on Terror. It frequently cites the importance of national security. Arar’s lawyers say this has led to the Judge to act in fear.

BILL GOODMAN: Fear of terror, fear there will be another terrorist attack and if there is that these opinions, that the judges will be blamed, because they let the terrorists get away with it, because they tied the hands of government in fighting the war on terror, which of course just isn’t, this is demanding of the government that it do what the constitution compels it to.

For Maher Arar, whose only connection with terrorists is that he was mistaken for one, it is a devastating blow.

MAHER ARAR: You have to understand the context in which all this happened, I was a successful engineer before, I was living a normal life, I had everything I wanted. And all of a sudden I am put out of a job, I still have scars, mostly psychological scars, and I still have nightmares, I am still with suffering from psychological affects and financially it is a very, very bad situation.

And that is what is disappointing about all this, not only it’s giving the Bush administration the green light to continue their evil practice but also it is very destructive for me on a personal level.

Fish out of water: skull clue to evolution

A 370-million-year-old skull and shoulder bone from a walking fish have shed light on when and how our distant ancestors slithered from the sea to begin a new life on dry land.

南宁桑拿

The fossilised remains belong to a beast which had the head of a tetrapod – among the first animals more adapted to land than water – and a body and fins resembling its fish-like predecessor, Panderichthys.

A study, published in the British journal Nature, says the creature, known as Ventastega curonica, had an ample jaw and razor-like teeth, suggesting a ferocious predator the size of an adult crocodile.

The creature – fragments of which were uncovered at a site in western Latvia – also had primitive flippers, allowing it to explore shallow marshes for prey.

Other fossil specimens of this strange species exist, but none is as complete or intact, according to the study.

'Missing link'

Per Ahlberg, of Uppsala University in Sweden, led the team of palaeontologists which made the Latvian discovery. The group say the area was once part of a swampy semi-tropical continent straddling the equator.

The fossil suggests early amphibious animals of the Late Devonian period did not evolve in a simple linear fashion, as once thought, but diversified along differing branches.

“It is tempting to interpret Ventastega as a straightforward evolutionary intermediate,” the Swedish-led authors say. “However, this simple picture should be approached with a degree of caution.”

The discovery comes two years after the unveiling in 2006 of a previously unknown species – dubbed Tiktaalik roseae – also described as a “missing link” between its ocean-dwelling precedessors and full-fledged tetrapods.

The scientists say their Latvia find falls into the morphological gap between Tiktaalik and the first of the tetrapods, Acanthostega.

Interview: Richard Holbrooke

JANA WENDT: Ambassador Holbrooke, when you look back now, not only at your time as UN Ambassador but your key involvement in crises like Bosnia and Kosovo, do you feel “mission accomplished”, or more work left undone?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FORMER US AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: I think there`s always work to be done in international relations – Problems don`t get solved without new problems arising.

南宁桑拿

but I think that in the areas you`ve mentioned – Bosnia, Kosovo, the United Nations, a few others – the situation today is better than it was five years ago, and so we can say, “Well, we helped out.”

JANA WENDT: In the case of Bosnia and Kosovo, the US went in there for the sake of certain principles. Do you think, in the case of Bosnia firstly, which was effectively partitioned, that those principles won out in the end?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: When was it partitioned?

JANA WENDT: Well, it`s a de facto partition, isn`t it?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: You can get in a car in Zagreb today, drive through the Serb part of Bosnia, drive to Sarajevo, keep going and drive all the way to Kosovo, and keep going and drive all the way to Greece, and no-one will ever stop you. Do you call that partition?

JANA WENDT: But the continuing enmity between those ethic groups is as good as an unofficial partition, isn`t it?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: No. I think you have enmity among ethnic groups, which is a code word for racial groups, in many countries – including, regrettably, ours and perhaps there`s some racial problems that still exist in Australia.

The issues in Bosnia are real, but let`s not confuse racial tension, which is one of the underlying facts of the world today, and one of the most pernicious – let`s not confuse that with a war based on false ethnic divisions. I stress `false`, because there never really was any significant difference between Croats, Muslims and Serbs. You can`t tell the difference between them when you walk down the street. They spoke the same language – still do. They intermarried in large numbers; it was a secular society; it was exploited by demagogues.

JANA WENDT: And yet the issues of justice remaining hanging over from that war are dramatic, aren`t they – where the tribunal is talking about 16 more years, perhaps, to hear all the cases involved?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: Truth and reconciliation – to use the phase from South Africa – is a vital part of binding up the wounds of war in any society. We need to promote the search for justice.

When a few days ago, Madam Plavsic, the former president of the Serb part of Bosnia, voluntarily surrendered to The Hague – a woman who knows the secrets and was a henchperson of Karadzic, the worst war criminal in Europe, and Milosevic, another indicted war criminal hiding now in Belgrade; hiding in full sight, I might add – when Madam Plavsic voluntarily went to The Hague, that was another breakthrough.

But you`re absolutely right about truth in reconciliation, but I don`t agree with you about partition. There are still separatists abroad in the land, and I`m sure that`s what you`re referring to – people who would like to tear the country apart. But day by day, month by month, election by election, they`re losing ground.

All three of the men who I negotiated with five years ago are gone and a post-Dayton generation is coming to the fore and they`re coming back together. It`s slow, Jana – it`s slower than it ought to be. I`m very unhappy with the some of the implementation, but the country is not partitioned.

JANA WENDT: Do you accept that the failure to make the issue of Kosovo an issue at Dayton led to the taking up of arms by the Kosovars?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: No, absolutely not. Let me make two points – one about Dayton and secondly, what happened at Kosovo. First of all, the parties came to Dayton to settle the war in Bosnia, a war in which 300,000 people died and 2.5 million were made homeless. The actual numbers in Kosovo are like, maybe 3%-4% of that. So the numbers were not comparable.

The real major war that was blowing Europe up was in Bosnia, not in Kosovo. The leaders, Tudjman, Izetbegovic and Milosevic, who went to Dayton went only to settle this. However, I did continually raise Kosovo with Milosevic, and he wouldn`t talk about it, and Izetbegovic and Tudjman said, “We don`t want to talk about it.”

Now, what happened was the war was caused by Milosevic`s refusal to have a peaceful dialogue with Dr Rugova, the peaceful, non-violent leader of the Albanian-Kosovar movement. And when Rugova couldn`t produce a deal for a peaceful, Martin Luther King, Ghandi-type approach, a group of people modelling themselves after the IRA and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, PLO, decided to use violence to provoke international tension. And they call themselves the KLA, the Kosovo Liberation Army, and they succeeded spectacularly. And in less than a year, an organisation that no-one in the world had heard of beforehand had seized world opinion and created a crisis.

Milosevic made every mistake in the book. His brutality in cracking down on the Albanians galvanised people, polarised people, and pulled everyone into this conflict.

JANA WENDT: When you deliver an ultimatum to a man like Milosevic how do you…

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: (Laughs) I don`t know anyone else like Milosevic. There`s no-one else like him.

JANA WENDT: How do you, in that situation – how do you gauge how to use the enormous power that is vested in you?

RICHARD HOLBREOOKE: Milosevic and I had about a half-dozen real ultimatum showdowns over the negotiations from 1995-1999. And in all but the last one, he backed down and we got what we wanted. Sometimes we had to bomb to do it. We bombed in 1995 and bombed them to the peace table and bombed them to Dayton and got a peace agreement which still holds five years later for Bosnia.

In October of `98, we had the bombers on the runways and Britain and the US ready to go, and he backed down and gave us what we wanted. And 130,000 people came out of the hills just before winter and came back down to their homes and their lives were saved. They would have frozen to death.

But in March of 1999, when I delivered the final ultimatum, he had made up his mind to take the hit – that is, to take the air strikes. And that was a whole different meeting. I think he misjudged us. He thought we weren`t going to hit him as hard as we did. It was a mistake.

JANA WENDT: Presumably he misjudged you because of what was seen as procrastination in Washington because…

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: No. You know why I think he misjudged us, Jana? I`ve thought a lot about this. Because there was such a contrast between his behaviour in October of `98, when he gave us what we wanted and he was really sweating it, and March of `99 when he said very calmly, “Go ahead and bomb us.”

My theory – I can`t prove it, but my theory is that somebody had leaked to him from NATO the secret bombing plans. And the initial bombing plans were for a very weak slap on the wrists – not a serious, sustained bombing campaign. And I don`t think he realised how hard NATO was going to hit him.

JANA WENDT: But plainly speaking, is it true that Kosovar villages were emptied out of their inhabitants because of the story of an intern and the President?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: No. I think that`s a stretch. I`m not going to pretend that political factors don`t affect the context of decision-making, but let`s be very clear on this. When Secretary Albright, Secretary Cohen and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger went to the Hill two days before my October `98 trip to Kosovo and Belgrade, two days beforehand, the Republicans said absolutely clearly, “Under no circumstances can Holbrooke negotiate for American or NATO ground troops in Kosovo.”

JANA WENDT: Did you feel your hands were tied by that?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: Not tied, but kind of loosely bound. I had a huge threat – B52s on the runway. But what I was seeking in return for not bombing was not sufficient, and I said so at the time. But those were my instructions, and that was not because of Monica Lewinsky – although I won`t try to pretend it wasn`t part of the mood. but it would have been the same thing with or without Lewinsky, because it was driven by the leadership of the Congress at that point.

JANA WENDT: Let me take you back to that point again – this enormous power that was vested in you as an individual to negotiate with this man, Milosevic. How do you gauge how to play that power that you have?

RISCHARD HOLBROOKE: I didn`t think of it as power – I thought of it as a responsibility. It`s kind of scary to go in there and you`re talking to a genuinely bad man who started four wars, lost them all, who has wrecked south central Europe, who seems to have no conscience at all, and it`s not a lot of fun. It`s like mountain-climbing without a rope, without anyone belaying you. If you fall, you`re going to go all the way down.

JANA WENDT: Let me bring you back to our part of the world. Obviously, you have a very keen interest in Indonesia. Talk today about the probable disintegration of Indonesia is very common. What you think about the situation?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: In my nightmares, I see Indonesia becoming a South-East Asian Yugoslavia, torn apart by ethic divisions that are accentuated by demagogues who turn minor differences into major ones. Let`s face it, Indonesia is far more ethnically diverse than Yugoslavia was, and it has far more capacity for bloody explosions, as we saw in 1965-66 and again more recently. So I really worry about it.

I respect President Wahid a great deal – Gus Dur, I know him. I think it was a fantastic thing to bring democracy to Indonesia and to finally let East Timor go. But the seeds of disintegration have not been conquered. The forces of backwardness and darkness, epitomised by General Wiranto and some of his colleagues, remain around.

The fact that those refugee camps in West Timor are still filled with people too afraid to go home over a year later. I visited those camps, as I suspect you have. They are just awful, awful camps, and it`s a grotesque thing that the world community has to pay for those people to live in those camps instead of allowing them to go home. So Indonesia is one to watch. Ambon, Aceh, and West Irian Jaya, all are areas of genuine concern.

Medvedev elected Russian president

Dmitry Medvedev has been elected to succeed Vladimir Putin as president of Russia, according to near complete results announced by the central election commission.

南宁桑拿

Commission chief Vladimir Churov said the results based on a count of 99.4 percent of the vote showed that Medevedev had won 70.23 percent.

“He is the obvious leader,” Mr Churov said.

Medvedev was trailed by Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov with 17.76 percent, followed by populist nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky with 9.37 percent and relative unknown Andrei Bogdanov with 1.29 percent, Mr Churov said.

The fraction of ballots that remained to be counted were mainly from votes cast abroad, in Asia and the Americas, Mr Churov said.

Despite widespread reports of election violations, Mr Churov said the vote had proceeded without incident.

“We have not noted any fraud or alteration of vote results,” he said.

Turnout among the country's 108.95 million voters was 69.61 percent, he added.

Turnout was particularly high in the North Caucasus region, Mr Churov said, with 91.2 percent in Chechnya, 92.03 percent in neighbouring Ingushetia and 90 percent in Dagestan.

Democratic potential 'unfulfilled'

Russia's “democratic potential” was unfulfilled in the presidential election won by Vladimir Putin's successor Dmitry Medvedev, the head of the sole Western observer mission said Monday.

“The results of the presidential election are a reflection of the will of an electorate whose democratic potential was unfortunately not tapped,” said Andreas Gross, from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

It's not cricket

REPORTER: Nick Lazaredes

TIFFANY CHERRY, PRESENTER,“THE NATION”: Our next guest is a former fast bowler and Sheffield Shield Captain for NSW.

南宁桑拿

As a cricket commentator he has worked for ABC Radio, Fox Sports and of course channel nine. Earlier this week it was announced that he will be taking over possibly one of the most difficult jobs in sport, coach of Pakistan's cricket team, please welcome Geoff Henry Lawson.

Geoff Lawson was one of Australia's most accomplished bowlers but when he was confirmed as Pakistan's new cricket coach, some in the media poked fun at his appointment.

MICK MALLOY, PRESENTER, “THE NATION”: What the hell are you thinking? Is this a dare? You know how this job became available don’t you?

With rumours swirling around the sudden death of the previous coach Bob Woolmer, this was world cricket's most talked about job vacancy.

MICK MALLOY, “THE NATION”: Would it have been different for you if it had been found to be murder as oppose to natural causes?

GEOFF LAWSON, COACH, PAKISTANI CRICKET TEAM: Yes.

Bob Woolmer died in Jamaica in March this year, just one day after Pakistan was knocked out in the first round of the cricket World Cup. There were remarkable scenes when the team was told of Woolmer's death as Jamaican Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, consoled the distraught players.

TALAT ALI, PAKISTANI CRICKET TEAM MANAGER: We have lost a great guy in Bob. As time heals and time goes on, we will, you know, come out of this difficult time. As I said, in Jamaica, it was a very, very difficult time.

In Lahore, Dateline was allowed to film the first post World Cup training camp for the Pakistani national team. When Woolmer died the media placed the entire team under a cloud of suspicious. After Pakistan's shocking performance in the World Cup there was intense speculation that the coach and some of the team might have been involved in match fixing. It's a charge that's plagued Pakistani cricket for years.

TALAT ALI: We were not arrested, we were not detained. We were – we in fact wanted to help the police and the police were very co-operative with us. They wanted to interview some of the players and we said fine but we will do it after the game against Zimbabwe and they said “Fine”.

GEOFF LAWSON: You’ve got a good seam, you set everything up, you got everything right, put your hands here.

These fortunate students from Sydney's Scott's College know that Geoff Lawson is one of Australia's most talented professional coaches. Lawson clearly loves nurturing talent but he knows that when it comes to his new job in Pakistan, protecting his players from rumour and innuendo will be just as important.

GEOFF LAWSON: One of the problems the team will have is to ignore the extraneous external upsetting, inaccurate opinions and get on with playing the game. But avoiding those sort of factors will be key to the players doing the best they can. People can say what they like in the press, but it is how the players get on with their job, that's the important thing.

But why do allegations of corruption and match-fixing continue to plague the Pakistani team?

HANSI CRONJE, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN CAPTAIN, PRESS CONFERENCE: They phoned me and urged me to go ahead with fixing the match.

Back in 2000 when South African Captain Hansi Cronje broke down and admitted to corrupt dealings with bookies, perceptions of the gentleman's game changed for ever. The fact that South Africa's coach throughout Cronje's crooked period was none other than Bob Woolmer has led to no end of unsubstantiated speculation in Pakistan.

SARFRAZ NAWAZ, FORMER PAKISTANI CRICKETER: I personally feel that Bob Woolmer knew each and everything, even he knew the name of the bookies, he knew the name of where the match was fixed and which match was fixed.

Sarfraz Nawaz is one of Pakistan's most successful test cricketers, having played under Imran Khan and against Geoff Lawson. He believes cricket in Pakistan has long been corrupted by a massive illegal gambling racket. Dateline was allowed to film this bookies assistant taking illegal bets on local and international matches. Gamblers don't just bet on the game's outcome but on the batting line up, the number of overs a bowler will bowl and some time even the condition of the pitch. Certainly in the past, there has been strong evidence of players and bookies conspiring to fix the odds.

SARFRAZ NAWAZ: So this gambling mafia they act like that, you know, they have their own people on each and every ground from producing pitches, to umpiring, to players…They are all involved.

JUSTICE MALIK MUHHAMED QAYYUM: What I discovered was that one, there were players involved in match fixing and there is great evidence to the effect that match fixing is going on.

Seven years ago Justice Malik Muhhamed Qayyum was asked to investigate corruption in Pakistani cricket.

JUSTICE MALIK MUHHAMED QAYYUM: There are all sorts of people involved in this. Apart from the players there are bookmakers, there are other dangerous people who are at the back of it and there are very few, therefore, who are willing to give any evidence, or, I had to virtually force some people to tell the truth.

Although his inquiry's powers were limited, Justice Qayyum fined 8 players, either because of their contact with bookies, or in the case of former captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, their unwillingness to cooperate with the investigation. In his report Qqyyum found sufficient evidence to convict Salim Malik of match fixing and recommended that a life ban be imposed on Malik, then the team captain. According to Justice Qayyum, it was clear there were high level attempts to sabotage his inquiry.

JUSTICE MALIK MUHHAMED QAYYUM: Towards the end of the enquiry I was asked by th then government to enquire into the match between Pakistan and Bangladesh in England which Pakistan lost. When I started the enquiry, about two weeks thereafter, my appointment notification was rescinded by the government. And I was asked not to do it, the reason being that there were very high persons whose names were involved in that.

Justice Qayyum also recommended that bowler, Mushtaq Ahmed should not be given any office of responsibility on the team but at this year's World Cup in the West Indies, Mushtaq Ahmed was Bob Woolmer’s assistant coach. Although Geoff Lawson says he can't really comment on the failure to follow the judge's advice, he believes lessons have been learned.

GEOFF LAWSON: The fact that people were found to have done the wrong thing and fined, that's a good thing for World Cricket, and of course the anti-corruption commission is significantly strengthened since that time so it's become, on the one hand, very much harder to be involved in any sort of issues of that era. I think players have woken up to the fact that the game deserves more than that sort of treatment. So it's a two-fold effect. It's more enforcement but the players have become far more responsible.

Despite Lawson's up beat assessment, the Pakistani team has continued to arouse suspicions in the years since Justice Qayyum's report. And it was the team's dismal performance at this year's World Cup that really started the rumour mill in earnest.

SARFRAZ NAWAZ: First match, Pakistan played against the West Indies and you can see the players playing under par.

Sarfraz Nawaz is convinced he knows how to spot a fixed match.

SARFRAZ NAWAZ: And one could see Inzamam batting so slow and then in bowling if you see, the changes Inzamam-ul-Haq made were pathetic. And even the tail-enders scored 57 runs off the last 5 overs. They wanted to give away runs so they could score runs and the bowlers were not used properly, and one could see, still where they have played under par and the match appears to be fixed and it was, I think, 100% a fixed match.

GEOFF LAWSON: I suppose Sarfraz is entitled to his opinion as everybody else is.

Geoff Lawson sees nothing sinister in Pakistan's poor performance.

GEOFF LAWSON: That's the game, you know. People aren't perfect. If people were crowd, media, commentators, ex-players expect the team to be perfect, they have got very unreal expectations.

In fact Justice Qayyum's shares Sarfraz Nawaz's suspicions that says that proving a match is fixed is extremely difficult.

REPORTER: Did you see the West Indies match?

JUSTICE MALIK MUHHAMED QAYYUM: Yes, I did see and to me it was quite apparent that the Pakistan team was not trying to win. Especially towards the end of the West Indies innings, lots of runs were given away. But it is very, you know, very difficult to find direct evidence. If somebody has to commit a crime or to fix the match or to bribe somebody it won’t be done in the open. And the minimum thing which people do is that there should be no witnesses.

Senator Anwar Baig takes his cricket so seriously, he has decided to protest over what he sees as a lack of accountability in the national cricket board.

SENATOR ANWAR BAIG: It's pathetic. The people of this country are absolutely in a state of shock after this debacle of Pakistan cricket at the World Cup in the West Indies.

Senator Baig says the Pakistan Cricket Board has failed to clean up the problems in the game.

SENATOR ANWAR BAIG: If you go and see Justice Qayyum's report, he has given ways and means to check this match fixing business and to see the assets of these players on an annual basis. But unfortunately the Pakistan Cricket Board has paid no heed to the recommendations given by Justice Qayyum.

In fact in April, the head of the cricket board, Dr Nasim Ashraf and captain Inzamum – ul – Haq were called to appear before a special parliamentary committee and explain the team's miserable performance in the World Cup.

SENATOR ANWAR BAIG: The gentleman Dr Nasim Ashraf, unfortunately he is not a Pakistani national, he is an American national, and he just happens to be a personal friend of Mr Mushareff. It is on that basis he has been appointed, he has no love for Pakistan cricket, he is a doctor by profession, he is a kidney specialist.

Cricket board boss Dr Ashraf turned down Dateline's request for an interview.

IMRAN KHAN, FORMER PAKISTAN CAPTAIN: Here I have plenty of land to build a big house.

Legendary cricketer Imran Khan captained the World Cup team when it won the World Cup for the first and only time in 1992. The so-called Lion of Lahore is now an opposition politician and he also blames Pakistan's cricket woes on the current administration.

IMRAN KHAN: You have a chairman of the cricket board whose own legitimacy is he happens to be a friend or a choice of the President of the country. Now the President of the country might or might not know anything about cricket so he then chooses the head of the cricket board who becomes the chairman and the chairman then becomes a mini dictator.

Khan says that Pakistan's cricketers are accused of match fixing all too often.

IMRAN KHAN: Once there are doubts about, you know, a cricket match or once there are rumours about match fixing, whenever a team loses a match, particularly in Pakistan, we have had this past 10 years, there are rumours about match fixing come out.

Across the road from Lahore's Gaddafi stadium lies the Pakistan cricket academy where loyal fans stand for hours to catch a glimpse of their favourite players. It will soon be home to Geoff Lawson, who says his first task is to get his team to forget the past.

GEOFF LAWSON: We are not going to worry about what the crowd think or what the press think or what the former players think. Unless they have something constructive to say. That will be part of the ongoing process we put in place to make sure the players don't feel those sort of pressures.

On the top floor of the cricket academy lies the trophy room. These are the crown jewels of Pakistani cricket, evidence of past glory untainted by allegations of match fixing. But if Lahore is considered the spiritual home of Pakistani cricket, then the port city of Karachi is the centre of the game's dark side.

This city is the Pakistani hub for several criminal gambling syndicates, part of a network operating across the subcontinent from Bombay to Dubai and despite the fact that in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan gambling is illegal, Pakistani bookmakers have found a devotion to the game combined with a passion for betting provides for a most lucrative trade.

MUHAMMED AYYAZ SALEEM, ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE: This is a record, you can see that it is the record between the match of England versus Ireland.

Muhammad Ayyaz Saleem is an assistant Superintendent of police of Karachi. He wanted to show me the evidence he collected on a raid in a bookies den just after the end of this year's World Cup.

MUHAMMED AYYAZ SALEEM: The money, these are the names of the betters. So these are their clients, the ir names. There is the money involved.

REPORTER: These are all World Cup matches, aren't they?

MUHAMMED AYYAZ SALEEM: These are related to the World Cup matchs.

Saleem has tape recordings of conversations between the bookies and their clients, all part of a ongoing investigation currently before the courts. But the assistant Superintendent says the toughest part of his job is fending off crooked cops in his own department.

MUHAMMED AYYAZ SALEEM: First we have to fight against those persons and the Government who are hand in glove with these people. I fight with those elements in my own department. First we have to do that. After that, concurrently you fight against the gamblers. Actually, you have to fight on two fronts, the first front and the most difficult, most dangerous front is within your own department.

Pakistan's new coach is quick to point out that there is a long association between gambling and cricket.

GEOFF LAWSON: You know, betting in cricket has gone back to the 18th century. The game was going to be banned in England in the 18th century because of gambling, it is nothing new. Now there are processes in place to deal with these things and for every crisis that comes up, there is generally an answer to solving that and the human condition always allows people to be looking for the next best way to make a quid and we can't do anything about that.

ARIF ALI KHAN ABBASI, FORMER HEAD, PAKISTANI CRICKET BOARD: It's an economic forse that can not be controlled by administration measures. Nothing can control an economic force, you can minimize it.

Arif Ali Khan Abbasi is the former boss of Pakistan's cricket board. He ran the game in Pakistan during the 1990s at the height of match fixing allegations against players.

ARIF ALI KHAN ABBASI: Like I said, it's an economic force. To turn a blind eye is stupid but to minimise it is not stupid. To say that you will eliminate it, is a fairytale. Nobody can.

Abbasi says he knows how to deal with dirty cricketers, preferably behind closed doors.

REPORTER: What you are saying it should have been handled internally?

ARIF ALI KHAN ABBASI: We have done that. I refuse to name the players. One or two players came and suggested to us that they can't keep it to themselves any more but they had been involved.

REPORTER: So you had confessions to you about fixing?

ARIF ALI KHAN ABBASI: One player in particular, that's it. And that he apologised profusely, but I remember informing the people concerned that in the light of this, don't select him, finished. That's the best way to do it.

REPORTER: What would you do if you come across any sort of evidence of fixing or corruption in cricket in Pakistan?

GEOFF LAWSON: Whether I was a coach or a player, whatever I was, or a journalist or commentator, if you hear or see of issues of match fixing, you report them straightaway to the authorities. That is certainly the case and I have a contractual obligation to do that anyway. I would have a moral obligation to deal with that and I wouldn't put up with that sort of thing in any shape or form.

The only world wide body tasked with tackling corruption in cricket is the International Cricket Council, the ICC.

JUSTICE MALIK MUHHAMED QAYYUM: What has ICC done ever since its inception? I think virtually nothing. The least they could have done was to discuss the report with me after I had given my report. Nobody bothered to contact me.

Justice Qayyum says the ICC is weak-willed when it comes to tackling crooked cricketers.

JUSTICE MALIK MUHHAMED QAYYUM: The ICC to say the least, is spineless. So you need a body that has a spine in it, a body willing to go by principle, a body which does not look on the other side when it knows something is happening, and that probably is the only solution worldwide.

Geoff Lawson clearly wants to pass on his great love for cricket and even though some of his friends believe that his new job in Pakistan is a poisoned chalice, Lawson is confident that he will prove them all wrong.

GEOFF LAWSON: A lot of my friends have said to me, well congratulations on your job but you are mad. I am getting sick of it because I am not mad. I am looking forward to it with a great deal of enthusiasm and dealing with the people, not only the players but also the fans and whole interaction. If we do this thing properly, it will be one of the best times of my life. I am looking at it from that point of view. It's a great challenge. I am going to enjoy every minute of it, no matter which way it goes, no matter how people react, I will enjoy every moment of this.

Feature Report: It’s not cricket

Reporter/Camera

NICK LAZAREDES

Editor

DAVID POTTS

ROWAN TUCKER-EVANS

Local support/ researcher

IRSHAD RAO

Original music composed by

VICKI HANSEN

Beginner's guide: US electoral system

Don't know your hanging chad from your electoral college? Check out our step-by-step guide to the US electoral system.

南宁桑拿

So what will happen when the US goes to the polls on Tuesday, November 4th?

To vote or not to vote?

In every American state (except North Dakota), you must register to vote before you can cast a ballot.

But while Americans have the right to vote, it's not compulsory.

As a result only around 50 per cent choose to do so.

What will the vote do?

Technically, American voters don't directly elect their president.

They choose representatives from the Electoral College – or “electors”.

These electors have pledged to support a particular candidate, and thus elect the president.

There are 538 to choose from, and the larger the state – in population terms – the more electors it has (California for example has 55, while Wyoming has 3).

The winner of the election is the candidate who racks up at least 270 Electoral College votes.

In all but two states state (the exceptions being Maine and Nebraska), it's “winner take all” – meaning no matter how slim the majority is, the winner of the popular vote gets all the Electoral College votes in that state.

So it is possible for one candidate to win the popular vote, but for his or her rival to end up with more Electoral College votes – and therefore win the election.

Are some states more important than others?

Recently, states on the east and west coasts (such as New York and California) have voted Democrat, while most others have voted Republican.

But this year some states can be won by either side.

Respectively, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania have 20 or more electoral college votes.

Other key states include Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Is there a third-party candidate?

Third party candidates from the Libertarian Party (Bob Barr), Green Party and Constitution Party will also be in the running at this year's election.

It will also be Independent candidate Ralph Nader's third consecutive shot at the presidency.

In the controversial 2000 vote between George W Bush and Al Gore, national exit polls showed Nader's supporters could have handed Gore the presidency if Nader hadn't been in the running.

However, this year he is not expected to be a major factor.

Strike halts World Cup stadium work

Workers labouring on South Africa’s World Cup stadiums have gone out on strike to

press for higher wages, sparking fears of building delays a year before the event begins.

南宁桑拿

The strike threatens the completion deadlines at five venues for the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadiums and other major projects associated with the event.

“The government must help us, otherwise we are going to delay 2010. We will strike until 2011,” said National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka.

NUM is demanding a 13 per cent wage increase as well as benefits such as paid maternity leave and better safety regulations.

The South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) was offering a 10 per cent increase, and spokesman Joe Campanella said the union demands totalled a wage increase of 65 per cent in rand terms, not 13 per cent.

“The protest will end at the time when SAFCEC agrees to the 13 per cent,” Seshoka said.

Hope for early resolution

Local organising committee chief executive Danny Jordaan said he hoped the strike would be over soon as construction workers were important in ensuring that South Africa was on track to meet deadlines.

“It has always been the position of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa that we respect the right of construction workers on the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadiums to strike if they feel they have legitimate grievances,” Jordaan said.

“We believe that the strike will be resolved as soon as possible and remain confident that the stadiums will be completed on schedule.”

The union said the strike was a success on its first day.

“The NUM is pleased to report that over 95 per cent of the sites were hit by the strike with a 100 per cent attendance in the first day of a rolling national strike action,” said unions negotiator Bhekani Ngcobo.

He warned that the union’s demands could go up starting next week if they are not met by then.

Workers dancing, singing

“If they do not offer us 13 per cent, we may demand 15 per cent next week and 20 per cent the following week. So, this matter is urgent,” said Ngcobo.

Paul Malatjie, 28, a construction worker at the Soccer City Stadium where strikers danced and chanted revolutionary songs, said the employees deserved better pay for their work.

“Look at the wonderful work they have done, but they need to be paid for it. The people that are benefiting are the wealthy, we are wondering where is their money,” he said.

“At the end of the day we are not even going to able to watch one single game.”

The Congress of South African Trade Unions released a statement Tuesday pledging its “total support” to the construction workers.

“Construction workers regularly put their lives on the line doing what is one of the most dangerous jobs. They require high levels of skill and have contributed massively to the development of the country, yet receive next to nothing in return,” it stated.

Transport, tools disagreement

“COSATU, and the construction workers, are as passionate about the 2010 World Cup as anyone, and will do everything possible to ensure its success. But we will not tolerate the stadiums being built by workers who are underpaid or working in dangerous and unhealthy conditions,” it said.

Workers at the Soccer City Stadium in the Soweto township outside Johannesburg also complained of the high cost of transport to the stadium and that companies made them use their own tools rather than providing them.

About 2,000 workers stopped work at midday at Soccer City Stadium while over 1,000 walked out of the construction site of Cape Town’s Green Point stadium.

Shane Choshane, another NUM spokesman, said the average worker earned about 2,500 rand ($A388.85) a month. He said the strike would continue on Thursday.

Work at the Gautrain site, a rail project that will enable passengers to travel between the government’s headquarters in Pretoria and the country’s largest city Johannesburg in just 42

minutes, also stopped.

Transport was one of the problems experienced during the recent Confederations Cup, and while the project is not due to be completed before 2011 it should partially open to provide some relief during the World Cup.