AWB is back on The Oz‘s
front page – in a report specially prepared by spy agencies for the Cole inquiry,
it’s been revealed that Australian spy agencies have known
for eight years that trucking company Alia was part-owned by Saddam Hussein’s
regime and breached UN sanctions. Is this the whiff of a smoking gun? asks Caroline
Overington
. Not according to the folks at DFAT, she says, who are still pleading a “sad kind of
ignorance” and in the process have reduced the “once proud public service to a
bunch of hapless bureaucrats”.

And it’s a “race to discover disease’s source”, leads this morning’s SMH, after a fifth person was struck down with legionnaires’ disease
which appears to be coming from somewhere around the Chatswood shopping
area. And Condoleezza Rice finally touched down in Sydney yesterday for
her meeting with Australian and Japanese officials on how to treat the new-look China.
She addressed a group of 300 students, while around 40 protesters
jostled with police out the front of the venue and five people were
arrested.

Day One in the Commonwealth Games
pool has seen the Scots emerge as unlikely heroes, upstaging the Aussies with their “smash-and-grab
in the pool”, reports The Age. And in more upsets, Australia’s only gold medal on
the opening night at the pool came from teenage “underdog” Stephanie Rice. And the opposition isn’t holding back over
the latest AWB revelations, with Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesman Kevin
Rudd branding Prime Minister John Howard a liar.

But the swimming Scots are nowhere near the Herald Sun‘s
front page. Instead, the headlines
read “Aussies start Games with Golden Glow” and “Golden Trio”. Commonwealth Games news pushes AWB off the
front page, but inside the paper, reports that the latest evidence
is “the most damaging to the Government since it established the commission to
investigate whether any laws were broken by AWB”.

Put down those mobiles. The
Advertiser
reports that South Australian motorists will be fined nearly $200 and
lose demerit points for simply switching a mobile phone on or off while driving,
in a planned revamp of road rules.

“Blue-card p*rn arrest”, is the
lead headline that blights the Courier-Mail‘s front page, the paper
reporting a former Queensland
teacher has been accused of being a gatekeeper for a global child-porn ring,
granting paedophiles access to live internet shows of toddlers being s*xually
abused.

The Lennon Labor Government is
poised to retain its majority rule at tomorrow’s state election,
according to the cliffhanger results of the latest MercuryTasPoll voter survey that leads
the paper’s news.

And The West reports that the state’s
Employment Protection Minister John Bowler has no confidence in the Federal
Government’s temporary work visas program for skilled migrants – apparently it
will lead to fewer jobs for locals while migrants will be exploited.

Oh no. Millions of Westpac customers will be gouged
– yes gouged – an estimated $350 million as the bank raises account
keeping fees and lowers interest payments. And Merrill Lynch has
slapped a “buy” recommendation on the bank’s shares.

The Northern Territory News this morning reports that a few tourists and Territorians were confused and frightened by some fake rubber snakes planted in and around the CBD. Oh the jocularity.

Peter Fray

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