South-east Asia’s most-wanted
terrorist, Noordin Mohammed Top, has warned Australians to expect more attacks
unless John Howard withdraws troops from Iraq
and Afghanistan,
reports The Australian.
In a video message, a balaclava-clad man identified as Top repeatedly stabs his
index finger in the air, says the paper, as he threatens to attack the US,
Britain, Australia and Italy, countries he says are “enemies of Islam.”

Beneath a photo of Donald Rumsfeld looking snappy in his
squash gear, the paper also reports that the US Secretary of Defence has declared
that the US-Australia alliance is stronger and closer than ever – despite
Australia spending less on defence than the minimum required of Washington’s
NATO allies – and that George W Bush has “directed” an extensive upgrade of
Australia’s access to US intelligence.

And the American engineer accused of selling US military
secrets sought $3 million in funding from Australian Defence officials to
develop top-secret infra-red suppression technology to protect RAAF aircraft,
says The Australian.
The Indian-born American’s expertise in sensitive infra-red suppression
technologies is at the heart of the espionage case brought against him by US
authorities last month.

The Sydney Morning Herald
also leads with the terror threat
story, under the headline, “Finger of hate points at Australia.” A
menacing picture of a balaclava-clad militant, thought to be Jemaah
Islamiah’s Noordin Top, is taken from a video found by Indonesian
police, in
which the warning is issued. But the big news is the confirmed execution of Australian man Nguyen
Tuong Van, who will be hanged in Singapore on Friday 2 December for drug
smuggling charges, and the SMH tells how his mother, Kim Nguyen, received the
news in the post, alone, while Australian Prime Minister John Howard was still
pleading for clemency from Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong at the APEC summit in
Pusan.

And Westmead Hospital could place a cap on the age of women
offered IVF
treatment after an audit showed that the chances for women over 43
having a baby was less than 1%. The director of the Westmead Fertility Centre,
Howard Smith, said the new policy was more humane than allowing women to
continue with treatment that would “almost inevitably fail.”

“Nation’s pride,” says the Daily Telegraph‘s front page, with a full-page photograph of the
thousands of ecstatic soccer fans who turned up
at yesterday’s hastily arranged reception for Australian World Cup qualifiers, the
Socceroos.

At The Age, the news of Nguyen Tuong Van’s execution
dominates, with a picture of a dejected-looking John Howard under the headline
“execution date furore.” The paper reports that “diplomatic tensions have
escalated dramatically over the case,” after the Singaporean Prime Minister
yesterday failed to tell Mr Howard that a letter announcing the execution date
had already been sent to Nguyen’s mother in Melbourne.

And aside from duplicating Mark Forbes’SMH report on the
Indonesian terror threat video, it’s soccer on the front page, with the story: “Finally, Australian soccer
gets its respect.” A year after the death of Australian soccer’s greatest
ambassador, Johnny Warren, 83,000 people crowded Sydney’s
streets to celebrate the Socceroos’ win against Uruguay.

And it’s more soccer at the Herald Sun, which reports on the
soccer fever sweeping the country as the celebrations continue after the
Socceroos’ “heart-stopping triumph” against Uruguay.
Fans are apparently already chasing tickets for the 2006 tournament, and booking
their tickets to Germany,
while thousands of people turned out in Sydney’s
Domain to cheer on their soccer heroes.

“You, John Howard, have led Australia
into darkness,” says a headline in The
Advertiser

– quoting from the chilling video message alleged to be from south-east Asia’s
most-wanted terrorist Noordin Mohammed Top. And the front page carries a photo
of local hero, Socceroo John Aloisi,
who has revealed to the paper that he was always going to stick with a plan in
the penalty shootout even though Uruguay goalie Fabian Carini had been warned
which way to dive.

The Courier-Mail
leads with a photo of Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Shwarzer who, like Aloisi, has
revealed
how he stayed calm during the frenetic penalty shooutout that decided Wednesday
night’s elimination match against Uruguay.
While the paper’s lead story reports that a multi-million-dollar project involving genetically modified food has
been scrapped by the CSIRO after an altered pea produced lung inflammation in
mice.

The parlous outlook for next year’s ACT Budget appears to
have worsened, reports the Canberra Times,
with a leaked government submission to Cabinet, apparently written by Treasurer
Ted Quinlan, revealing there is little money to fund new projects or election
promises, and more Public Service jobs might be shed.

From Tassie comes the news that the state’s methadone
program is full – and has been closed to new patients, despite warnings the
decision will lead to increased crime, deaths by overdose and the spread of
disease, reports The Mercury. The program currently treats 609 Tasmanians, with
13 on the waiting list, but only those who are pregnant, HIV positive or
Hepatitis B carriers will be admitted to the program for the foreseeable
future.

Western Power last night struck an eleventh-hour pay deal
with the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union union to avoid extended
blackouts – but walked straight into another row with the Australian Services
Union, which could affect power supplies from Monday, reports The West
Australian
. The CEPU won pay rises of 21 to 31%
over three years, ending a bitter six-month pay dispute. But the ASU are now
planning industrial action from Monday over their demands for a 25.5%
pay increase over three years.

And the Northern Territory News leads with the decidedly grim news that a Darwin
woman was brutally bashed to death yesterday after an all-night party. Police
discovered the 24-year-old woman’s battered and limp body in the bedroom of a
house after the owner raised the alarm just before 8am
yesterday. Her 24-year-old boyfriend was arrested at the house where they had
been staying for several days.