News from throughout the world.
Julia Gillard's time as Australian Prime Minister might be coming to an end, with a powerful union boss refusing to support her.
ACTU secretary Dave Oliver won't say whether or not trade unions continue to back Ms Gillard's leadership,of federal Labor.
Their backing for the PM is seen as her strongest asset against supporters of Kevin Rudd.
This has added to predictions that Julia Gillard will be down the road by the end of next week.
Australian correspondent Steve Price says the issue of the prime minister's leadership, wasn't mentioned at the last Caucus meeting.
He says Parliament will only be sitting for the rest of this week and next week, before it breaks before the election in September, which means if they're going to try to remove her, it will have to have to happen before next Thursday.
Steve Price says there is a memorial service on Tuesday for Hazel Hawke, the wife of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, so there will be no Caucus meeting.
- RBG NEWS/Newstalk ZB
G8 leaders are calling for a peace conference to be held in Geneva, on the Syrian conflict as soon as possible.
At the end of the summit in Northern Ireland, the leaders also called for an agreement on a Syrian transitional government, saying the military and security services must be restored in a future set-up.
The G8, including President Bashar al-Assad's key ally Russia, says it's deeply concerned by the growing threat from terrorism and extremism, in Syria.
The world powers have called on the Syrian regime and the opposition to destroy and expel from Syria, all organisations and individuals affiliated to Al-Qaeda and terrorism.
G8 leaders have also agreed to crack down on tax evaders and avoiders. The world's leading industrialised nations have promised concrete steps to target not only illegal tax evasion, but also tax avoidance by multinational companies.
British Prime Minister David Cameron says it will result in less of a burden on other taxpayers. He says if people want a low tax economy, which he believes is fundamental to growth, you have to collect the taxes that are owed.
David Cameron says it's only fair for companies and for people, who play by the rules.
- RBG NEWS/Newstalk ZB
US officials have confirmed peace talks with the Taliban, for the first time since the start of the war in Afghanistan.
United States envoys will meet with Taliban representatives within days, after the Afghan militants opened an office in Qatar, to oversee peace negotiations.
The news comes as the Coalition announces it was handing over complete security control of the country, to the Afghan army and police.
Sky News reporter David Bowden says at the ceremony to complete the handover, Afghan president Hamid Karza,i has announced he's sending a team to talk to the Taliban. He says news that the Taliban is opening an office in Qatar, and that early visitors would include US negotiators, has made the world sit up and take notice.
US-led NATO forces are still fighting Taliban guerillas on the Afghan battlefield.
But two statements have come from the militant group, saying it opposes the use of Afghan soil to threaten other countries and also that it supports a peace process.
Sky News US correspondent Amanda Walker says there'll be conditions on the US talks. She says the primary thing is that the Taliban breaks ties with Al Qaeda, the violence stops and it supports the Afghan constitution by protecting women's rights and the minorities.
US officials say the developments represent an important first step towards reconciliation - a process that, after 30 years of armed conflict in Afghanistan, will promises to be complex, long and messy.
- RBG NEWS/Newstalk ZB
Nigella Lawson's husband has been chastened by police after photos were published of him clutching his wife's neck.
The celebrity chef and her husband, former advertising mogul Charles Saatchi, were seen having an argument at a restaurant, when Mr Saatchi took hold of her neck. The 70-year-old later tried to explain it was just a playful tiff, and that his wife's tears were simply because she hated arguing and not because she was hurt. No formal complaints have been laid, but police have cautioned Charles Saatchi over the issue after he voluntarily presentd himself at a police station.
Nigella Lawson's spokesperson confirmed the chef isn't currently at the family home.
- Newstalk ZB
Escalating tension in Syria will be top of the agenda when world leaders meet at the G8 summit in Ireland.
US president, Barack Obama, has already backed direct military support to forces opposing the Assad regime.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, supports the lifting of an EU arms embargo, but has not decided whether to follow the US and provide arms to Syrian rebels.
He is not convinced all the rebel forces are fighting for the right cause.
"There are elements of the Syrian opposition that are deeply unsavoury, that are very dangerous, very extremist and I want nothing to do with them. I would like them driven out of Syria. They are linked to Al Qaeda."
Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin – Syria’s key ally - and David Cameron, met in Downing Street a few hours ago.
The meeting concluded with both saying the 'human catastrophe’ in Syria is common ground between them and progress can be made.
Mr Putin has defended Russia's arms supply to Syria's legitimate government, saying no laws are being broken.
However both leaders agree the upcoming summit is "one of the most appropriate means of resolving the Syrian issue."
The 39th Summit of the Group of Eight is being held in Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, Monday and Tuesday (GMT).
Mr Putin and Mr Cameron will be meeting privately with President Obama, Monday evening.
- Newstalkzb/RBG News
Tens of thousands of celebrators have taken to the streets of Tehran, toting pictures of Iran’s new president and chanting pro-reform slogans as news of his victory spread.
Jubilant supporters are pinning their hopes on an easing of Western sanctions as 64-year-old Hassan Rouhani hails his presidential election win as a victory over extremism.
Rouhani won 50 per cent of the vote, ahead of his nearest rival who got just 16 per cent.
New Zealand’s ambassador to Tehran, Brian Sanders, says the Iranian public have made their views quite clear.
“They want to see change; they want to get away from the status quo. They have had enough of what's been going on in the country for some time.”
Major powers have lost little time in offering to engage with the moderate cleric and former nuclear negotiator, who has promised a more constructive approach to talks.
Brian Sanders says Rouhani has talked positively about dealing with the nuclear issue and improving relations with the West - including the United States.
"These are all things we want to hear," he said.
But he advised caution. “We're going to have to check out what he delivers."
Massey University's Dr Nigel Parsons says it is significant the country's ultraconservative rulers allowed Mr Rouhani to win, after what was widely seen as a rigged victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.
He speculated they would have decided the country's electoral system could not withstand another scandal.
However, he says, Mr Rouhani's influence will be limited because foreign policy is controlled by the Security Council.
Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, agrees. He says it is the Ayatollah (Ali Khamenei), the country's Supreme Leader, who controls Iranian nuclear policy - not the President.
At his weekly Cabinet meeting Netanyahu cautioned world leaders not to be deceived.
"Let us not delude ourselves. The international community...must not be tempted to relax the pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear programme."
"We need to remember that the Iranian ruler, at the outset, disqualified candidates who were not in line with his extreme world view…and we are still speaking about someone who defines the State of Israel as the 'great Zionist Satan."
"Fifteen years ago, the election of another President, also considered a moderate by the West, led to no change in these aggressive policies," said Netanyahu.
"Iran will be judged by its actions."
- Newstalkzb/RBG News
United States officials say the long-lost diary of Alfred Rosenberg, a confidant of Adolf Hitler and one of the most influential insiders in Germany's Nazi regime, has been recovered.
Rosenberg was privy to much of the planning for the Nazi state, the extermination of European Jews, the planning and conduct of World War II, and the occupation of Eastern Europe.
He directed the systematic looting of Jewish-owned art, cultural resources and religious property throughout Europe.
Rosenberg, vehemently anti-Christian, is considered one of the most influential Nazi intellectuals.
Born in Reval, Russia (Estonia today), to an Estonian mother and Baltic German father, in the course of his career he held a number of important German state and Nazi Party posts.
In 1941 Hitler appointed him Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories: his ministry played a key role in the evolution of the “Final Solution.”
Rosenberg had no problem in targeting members of Soviet elites and indigenous Jews for destruction.
The area under his authority was the first to see the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” carried out. By the end of 1941, more than half a million Jews had been annihilated.
Estonia was the first German-occupied region declared to be “free of Jews.”
Since November 1941, trains with Jews deported from the Reich arrived in the “Ostland.” SS and police officers together with Rosenberg's officials made sure that the deportees were either killed immediately on arrival or exploited in forced labour projects that few could survive.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum says the importance of the events in the occupied Soviet Union for the history of the Holocaust can hardly be overestimated.
Rosenberg's diary surfaced after more than a decade of Museum efforts to find it.
The roughly 400 pages of loose-leaf paper cover the years 1936 through 1944, when Rosenberg was responsible for looting valuables in lands occupied by the Nazis and planning Nazi rule of conquered Soviet territories.
The Museum says the discovery of the diary will give scholars new insight into the politics of Nazi leaders.
Rosenberg was captured by Allied troops at the end of the war. He was tried at Nuremberg, found guilty and executed in October 1946.
- Newstalkzb/RBG News
Two adult bodies have been recovered from the fire zone of a monster wildfire that has flared out of control in the United States.
The blaze is growing into the most destructive in Colorado's history, burning more than 360 homes, 15,700 acres and forcing the evacuation of more than 38,000 people from 13,000 homes.
Strong winds, high temperatures and low humidity threaten to send the blaze roaring into surrounding wooded areas containing thousands more homes.
The Denver Post reports El Paso County Sheriff, Terry Makata, said one of the victims indicated by phone he was attempting to leave the area, but two bodies were later discovered together in a garage with the door open, as if they were packing and preparing to flee.
Mandatory evacuation of subdivisions around Colorado Springs - where Christian ministry, Focus on the Family, is situated - has highways clogged with people attempting to leave.
Fire-fighters are focusing on preventing the fire from jumping across Highway 83, which could extend the fire's reach.
The blaze is expected to continue for several days, with temperatures predicted to remain in the high 30s and wind gusts up to 50 km per hour.
Fox News reports the nearby army intstallation at Fort Carson has 130 National Guard troops standing by to assist with patrolling evacuated areas, setting up road blocks and supporting the fire-fighters.
Fort Carson has also sent five helicopters to make water drops.
- Newstalkzb/RBG News
A monster wildfire in America covering 15,700-acres has killed two people and forced another 39,000 to flee their homes.
Authorities have described the blaze, which started on Tuesday in Colorado, as the worst in state history.
It has so far burnt more than 360 homes, with thousands more in its path.
Record temperatures and strong winds are making it difficult for fire fighters who are tackling the blaze.
Associated Press is also reporting a separate wildfire to the south which has forced the evacuation of almost 1,000 inmates at a medium security prison as well as around 150 residents.
Colorado’s Governor, John Hickenlooper, has reportedly authorised $10.15m to help battle the fires.
America has pledged its support for the Syrian Rebels after it confirmed Syrian President Bashar al Assad has used chemical weapons against opposition fighters.
The Obama administration said chemical weapons, including sarin gas, have been used on a small-scale to kill up to 150 people.
A statement by US deputy national security says Assad’s regime has overstepped the mark which now warrents intervention.
“The use of chemical weapons violates international norms and crosses clear red lines that have existed within the international community for decades.”
It said it will provide additional assistance to the Syrian opposition in the form of political or military aid.
However it has not revealed any specifics of what that aid might be.
Although the Assad regime has been suspected of using chemical weapons for a number of months, this is the first time it has been confirmed.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said all options are now on the table.
"That means either we decide not to react or we decide to react including by armed actions targeting the place where the gas is stored," said Fabius.
However, he said trying to reach a peaceful solution remains a priority.
The UN has recently estimated the death toll of the Syrian conflict at almost 93,000 after 27 months of fighting.