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ABC News (Sydney) -

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Live.

Tonight, mounting concern

over child deaths in Gaza. We

must push for a cease-fire.

Humanitarian cease-fire, a

ceasefire for children. A

bushfire emergency in the

State's Southern

Highlands. Access is extremely

difficult for firefighters on

the ground, and, therefore,

safety is a big factor. A rocky

road ahead for Australia's

carmakers, and Australia piles

on the runs and now backs its

bowlers.

Good evening, Deborah Rice

with ABC News. The ground war

in Gaza is spreading with

Israeli troops moving to the

southern part of the territory

in their campaign to crush the Hamas militant group.

Palestinian medics say the

death toll is over 540, nearly

100 children. That's added new

urgency for the calls for

cease-fire. Middle East

correspondent Matt Brown is on

the Gaza-Israel border, his

report includes distressing

images. The Jewish state sent

its soldiers into Gaza on what

it says a rightous mission.

Israel says most of the more

than 500 dead Palestinians are

militants. In war, especially

in Gaza, the innocent suffer

too. Amidst the militants and

mortars this is a land of

children. More than half of the

population is under 18. Palestinian medics say at

least 12 children were killed

in the last day of fighting.

For the past two years, they've

grown up under Israeli blockade, bombing and air

strikes also becoming part of

their lives. When the navy

shells us, I run out not

knowing what to do with the

children, Ali Murad says.,

"Should I count them, hold

them, how do I protect

them". The injury or death of a

child is something truly awful.

We know this is a reality of a

war. We are trying to keep

civilian casualties to a

minimum. We have to understand

Hamas brought the war not only

on the Israeli people, but the

Palestinian people as well. The

patron of the unchildren's fund

Queen Ranya of Jordan, also a

Palestinian, called for a halt

to the violence. The children

of Gaza, dead and barely

living, mothers, fathers are

not acceptable collateral

damage. French President

Nicolas Sarkozy met Israeli

leaders to push for a

cease-fire, and a delegation

from the European Union came to

Israel to seek the same thing,

a cease-fire is some way off.

Israel tried to stop the

rockets fired before using

bombardment, artillery and the occasional incursion. This time

it's looking for a longer

lasting solution. In seeking

that solution the Israeli Army

suffered its worst losses since

the conflict began, albeit in a

friendly fire incident. Three

soldiers killed, 20 others

wounded when a shell from an

Israeli tank went astray. NSW

has its first bushfire emergency of the yearway fire

burning out of control in the

southern Highlands, coming on a

day of high temperatures across

the state, and the hottest day

of the summer in Sydney's west.

Firefighters battle to contain

the blaze in the Moreton National Park, 7 kilometres south-east of

Bundanoon. Firefighters thought

they'd contained this fire

burning south of Bundanoon, but

late this afternoon it got away

from them. Under some

increasing wind conditions,

hot-dry conditions, that fire

has broken the attempted

containment lines and has

crossed into the creek

system. The Rural Fire Service

was forced to declare a

bushfire emergency. Access is extremely difficult for

firefighters on the ground,

and, therefore, safety is a big

factor in our strategy

there. The fire has now burnt

out about 350 hectares, but

it's not threatening private

property at this stage. Seven

aircraft, 20 firefighters have

been working to contain the

blaze. Conditions over the next

24 hours are expected to remain

hot and dry, which will make

their job harder. It's been one

of the State's hottest days

this summer. Late this

afternoon the mercury hit 42 at

Penrith. Some weren't phased,

most were in consensus. It's

hot, certainly is hot. It's

hot. Hot. Hot. It's very hot.

Very hot. The local pool had

900 people in the water by

midday. There's twice as many

here as what there was

yesterday for the same time.

Down the road some found

extreme ways to get wet. For

us the warmer it gets the

better it is. After a couple

of cool summers, the last two ,

we are looking forward to a

hotted summer this year. There

could be more of this to come.

With similar temperatures

expected tomorrow. The hot

weather is being cited as one

reason for a child and bloody

brawl in Sydney said's

south-west overnight. Alcohol

was also to blame say police,

for the fighting that saw two

men shot and four others

stabbed at a public housing

estate. One man has been

arrested. A simmering

neighbourhood feud exploded.

They'll be out in force in case

of reprisal attacks. A busy

night for Campbell Town police,

officers disperse what remains

of a violent crowd numbering

around 100. Paramedics ferry

seven to hospital, one shot in

the back, another in the

buttocks, all in a stable

condition. At Rosemount this

morning locals spoke of a

neighbourhood feud that

exploded into violence. Another

one here. Like it was bleeding everywhere. As soon as you take

his hands off to show us, it

was blood. The fighting isn't

Locals fear it will gang related say the police.

continue It's the beginning.

You'll here more about it.

Today forensic officers

examined this home, where some

of the violence allegedly

happened. The cul-de-sac is now

calm, but residents are far

from relaxed. It's freaky to

live here. Hopefully the

Department of housing will see

what we have to put up with and do something quick smart for

me. Police are preparing for

the possibility of further

public violence We'll put

significant numbers on the

ground to ensure that doesn't

occur. As residents absorb last

night's events, community

leaders talk about how it may

be prevent in the future. Some

housing estates in the

south-west have been broken up

and dispersed. There's a view

it should be accelerated. The

State Government should move

quickly to improve the Housing

Commission areas for the

general public. The State

Government will consider the

idea. In the meantime it's

vowing to evict violent public

housing tenants. Sales are

down, and likely to get worse,

but Australia's new car dealers

are accent uting the positive.

Figures today reveal a fall in

car sales last year, even so

the industry says it's an

outstanding result. The road

ahead is more threatening,

reflecting the sagging business

confidence across the

economy. For Toyota's top man

in Australia 2009 looks

ominous. It's going to be very

tough. It's a global

prediction. In Japan the

company extended a forced

shutdown of its plants. From

Tokyo to Detroit all carmakers

are failing to impose with

their 2008 figures. Here new

car sales started the year

well, but then drove off a

cliff. Clearly there's been

some impact. That's stemmed

from the global financial

crisis. I think the market has

held up pretty well. In

December sales dropped another

11%, but thanks to the strong

first half of the year, the

annual fall was limited to 3.6%

and the milestone was

achieved. 1,012,164 new

vehicles. It's an outstanding

result. But another result

reveals the underlying lack of

confidence across the economy.

Small and large businesses have

the shakes. Businesses view of

their current business

conditions, current trading

conditions, they are actually

at their lowest level since the

survey began in 1998. For

carmakers, there's little

confidence for 2009. Maybe

declining of market of about

10-12% is expected. Something

in the order of 12-13% fall on

what's been achieved this

year. As confidence evaporates

in the marketplace, so, to too,

it will take a hit in

Government, each prediction

confirming the view that job

losses will follow. The No.1

priority for the Government

must be to protect and secure

and maintain Australian jobs in

2009. It's become a statement

of the obvious. The US

President-elect Barack Obama is

getting down to business in Washington, meeting with

members of Congress about his

nearly $800 billion

prescription for the ailing

economy. On his first full day

back in the capital since the

election he settled his election he settled his

daughters into their new school

and met with Democratic leaders

to prepare for one of the most

difficult inheritances faced by

an incoming President. The

future first family is settling

into a new city. After his

daughters were dropped at their

new school Barack Obama took

himself to Capitol Hill. A year

and a half ago he walked the

corridors without attention,

times have changed. The President-elect met with

congressional leaders, pushing

for a massive economic stimulus

plan. The economy is badly

damaged, it is very sick. We

have to take whatever steps are

required to make sure that it

stabilises. The car industry

shows no sign of stabilising,

Chrysler's sales cut in half in

December. Ford and General Motors suffered drops of more

than 30%. Barack Obama wants to

pump as much as 1 trillion into

the economy, including hundreds

of billions in tax cuts.

Republicans don't want to rush

the legislation, but the

Democrat says it can't

wait. It's clear that we have

to act and we have to act now.

To address this crisis,

breaking the momentum of the

recession, or the next few

years could be dramatically

worse. Barack Obama won't take

office for two weeks. In the

meantime the incumbent is

issuing high-level thank yous,

next week George W. Bush will

prevent John Howard and Tony

Blair with the Medal of Freedom, the United States

highest form of honour. The former Prime Minister sent

troops to Iraq, the reward are

reward for their support. He's

honouring the leaders to

promote democracy, human rights

and peace abroad. The former

Australian Prime Minister will

join in a collectic group of

medals and resipiants including

Pope John Paul. And Doris

day. The Australian Defence

Force will spend $3 billion

over the next decade on recruitment. The department

says economic uncertainy saw

the number of applicants jump

by 20% in the past three

months, coinciding with an

aggressive and expensive Prime

tame advertising campaign, the

ADF needs to recruit and retain

6,000 people to meet a target

of 57,000. The Defence

Minister Joel Fitzgibbons is

hoping the credit crunch will

maked armed forces an

attractive employment

alternative. We need the best

people so standards are not

lowered. We need to find better

ways to compete with the

private sector. A White Paper

in March will include a review

of recruitment methods. Two

baker ris have been fined

$40,000 for the worst poison

outbreaks. 136 were taken to

hospital after eating pork and

chicken rolls from this bakery

in 2007. The bakery is under

new ownership, but the previous

owners Long and Linda Fou were

fined $42,000 for using raw

eggs in mayonnaise. The

Government is very, very

appalled at this instance, and

will work towards cracking down

on any of the shonky operators

around the city and, indeed,

the state. The former owners

had been warned about the use

of mayonnaise two years before

the outbreak. Conservationists

preparing for a protest

campaign big are than the one

that stopped the Franklin Dam.

Construction of the Tasmanian

pulp mill has been given the

green light, although a licence

to run it is two years away and

may not run at all. Timber

giant Gunns says if it gets

finance it will take a gamble

and build the mill right

away. Today a protest that

organisers say is a preview of

what is to come in Northern

Tasmania. It's rotten

Government policy, you know ,

rotten Government behaviour

landing us again in the streets. Green Senator Christine Milne saw off one

pulp mill, and said people will

stand in front of bulldozers to

stop this one. You'll see

grandmothers, residents, the

whole of main stream out there

saying, "We don't want this polluting industry in our

valley". Yesterday Gunns got Federal approval to build the

mill. A licence to run it rests

on a study of what effect the mill's effluent has on Bass

Strait. I can say clearly no

mill will operate unless it

meets the conditions set by the

Commonwealth. Gunns isn't

waiting for the green light,

the company saying it will

build the mill as soon as it

raises the money, $2.2 billion. Gunns can start the

construction, and it's such a

big construction project, it's

obviously going to take a number of years to

complete. The timber giant

quickly relayed those comments

to the stock market. As it

hunts for finance, Gunns low

share price and high assets

might attract the wrong kind of

attention. Are they right for a

takeover? On the theory, on

paper, people will certainly be

looking at them, yes. Others

fear Gunns will sell the pulp

mill off the plan to Asia. Do

the polluting part of the

process in Tasmania, and ship

the pulp to Japan, China,

Korea. In its fifth year the

saga looks set to run for two

years at least. Tonight's top

story, there are renewed calls

for a Gaza cease-fire as the

death toll among children

rises. Still to come the

campaign in PPNG to stop an

unhealthy tradition. There's a

crack in Waterford Wedgwood,

the Irish china and glassware

maker, whose brands include

historic names like Royal

Doulton is calling in

administrators after banks

pulled out of a financing deal.

The 250-year-old company is

poised to become the next

victim of the global financial

crisis. It was supposed to be a

year of celebration as

Waterford Wedgwood marks 250

years since it first began manufacturing china and

glassware. Instead it's a year

of economieseration, the

company has debts of $860

million Australian, and is in

the hands of an administrator

after a buyout deal with an American firm

collapsed. Shocked, but the

news isn't expected, my members

have been aware that the

company had major problems over

many years. For decades the

company enjoyed... Wedgwood was

a successful china manufacturer

in the world. 20 years ago it

merged with Waterford Crystal,

and the company owns Royal

Doulton. Many homes in the

United Kingdom own one or more

of the company's pieces. It's

the one that's known around the company, Wedgwoods, if this

goes down, I mean, what is left

in the industry. Very little.

It's devastated the area. It's

a great shame. Wedgwood is us,

we'll never get it back. The

company's headquarters are in

Ireland, and it employs 9,000

people around the world at

subsidiaries that include

Australia. The receiver

believes it may be possible to

sell the business as a going

concern, which would be good

for everyone. There is a

certain question mark when the

receiver comes in, that's why

we were trying to avoid this

day. It's very much up to the receiver. Waterford Wedgwood

joins the growing list of famous British brand names

falling victim to the grim

economic downturn. Woolworths

this week shuts 800 United

Kingdom stores with the loss of

27,000 jobs. In finance, Australian shares finished

higher for the first time in

the new year. A pick-up in the

market was long overdue as

investors searched for value,

here is Philip Lasker. The

Australian equity market is

marching to its own tune at the

moment. Finishing higher when

Wall Street and Asian markets

were weighed down by those

persistent economic concerns.

Today's explains is that the

rising oil price helped energy

stocks, but for the most parts

investors were attracted to the

high yielding shares like banks

and Telstra. Hardly surprising

when you see this list. The

Australian markets dividend

yield is the highest among

major markets and one of the

highest in Asia. Unfortunately

the bad news is never far away.

Construction company Leighton's

reporting a 60% drop in

first-half profits, writing

down the value of listed

investments. It's expecting

full-year profit to be down

21%. On the other hand Babcock

& Brown surged 50% on

speculation its posse of

bankers agreed on a survival

plan involving asset sales. One

thing is certain, short-selling

ban hasn't helped Babcocks, the

red line representing the ASX

200, the blue an index of all

the stocks protected from short

selling. The blue suggesting

that since September when the

ban was introduced, the group

has outperformed the index. But

it's hard to see how a stock

like Macquarie Group, the green

line, has been helped. The

economic news remains

discouraging with the PSI, an

index of the services sector

rising in December, but it

still is well below 50, which

means contraction. Likewise for

in new orders. Oil price climbs

on commodity markets and the

Australian dollar. It's

consolidated. That's

finance. There's the chance of

a close finish in the third

Test after Ricky Ponting set

South Africa an enticing target

to chase on the last day.

Australia's top order built a big lead. big lead.

A declaration after tea gave

the Proteas an outside chance

of victory, and a series

cleansweep. South Africa needs

376 to win. With a handy lead

already in place to start Day

4, and a crusty badly cracking

SCG pitch a key part of the

equigs, Australia was well

placed to build -- equation,

Australia was well placed to

build towards safety. Matthew

Hayden and Simon Katich took

off where they finished Day 3,

attack a reasonable form of

survival on the waring

wicket. Matthew Hayden having a

go. The big 37-year-old

Queenslander particularly

ferocious, but the innings a

came I don't barely worthy of

his last on a Test on home

soil. When he played on for

39. Bowled him. The Sydney

crowd farewelled him in rousing

face, thanking him for an

outstanding career. Ricky

Ponting went within a whisker

of a king pair, the fortunate

four from his first ball

followed by a flurry of

Hayden-like aggression. Hayden

had the coach's ear, Ponting

plundered, he and Simon Katich

burying thoughts of a top-order

collapse, both falling before

tea, Ponting cramped in a shot

on 53. Simon Katich leg before

to a disinterested Dale Steyn.

Quick runs listed the lead

beyond 350, no team has scored

more than 288 to win a Sydney

Test. Australia's declaration

still came as a surprise when

Michael Clarke was caught by

Amla for 41. 375 behind South

Africa elevated Morne Morkel as Smith's replace: Doug

Bollinger lined him up as his

first Test wicket. That is

bound to be out. But Amla, and Neil McKenzie made it to

stumps. Australia will need to

take its chances, field well,

and use the pitch effectively

to ensure victory. He's about

to defend his Australian Open

title, but Novak Djokovic has a

lot of work to do after

crashing out in the first round

of the Brisbane International.

Last night the women's top seed

Ana Ivanovic safely advanced,

and teenager Bernard Tomic did

enough to excite Australian

tennis fans, despite losing his

first ATP tour match against

top 20 player Fernando

Verdasco, this afternoon

organisers dealt a below when

Novak Djokovic upstaged by

Ernests Gulbis. Novak Djokovic

was the tournament drawcard,

organisers must have been

nervous when he dropped the

first set in 44 minutes. The

world number 3 arrived in

Australia Saturday, and at

times it showed. He pays the

price in his broken first game

in the second set. At 4-4 in

the second. Ernests Gulbis

gaining a break, before serving

out the match. With no plans to

play at Kooyong or Sydney,

Novak Djokovic could head to

the Australian Open without

playing a match. The women's

top seed through to the second

round, Ana Ivanovic forced to

work hard against Czech

teenager Petra Kvitova. The

world number 5 needed more than

a hour to win a tight first

set, before racing away with

the second. I put a lot of work

in the off-season. I'm feeling

fit on the court. And to have

victory is great. After

dominating the world's best

juniors, Bernard Tomic is now

carrying the hopes of

Australia's success starved

tennis fans. If the weight of

expectation is a burden, it

didn't show as the 16-year-old

pushed Spain's Davis Cup hero

Fernando Verdasco throughout

the first set. I think I'm

with these guys now, it's going

to be a matter in the next two

years, with my development and

body strength. Fernando

Verdasco overpowered his

younger rival. Bernard Tomic

leaving an impression. I don't

think I played like this at 16.

I think he have great talent,

and I think he can be a good

player. It was good fun, I played well and showed what I

had. Bernard Tomic is hoping he

showed enough to get a wild

card into the Australian

Open. Australia faces a

must-win match against the

Slovak Republic at the Hopman

Cup tonight after losing its

tie against Germany yesterday. Casey Dellacqua, and Lleyton

Hewitt couldn't make the most of Lleyton Hewitt's comeback

win over Nicolas Kiefer. The

Australian combination taking

the first set of the mixed

doubles before Nicolas Kiefer

and partner Sabine Lisicki

claimed the second. The Germans

winning the tie taking the tie

break 10-5. What an absorbing

struggle. Australia has another

tough task tonight against the

in-form Slovak Republic,

winning all three matches

against top seeds Stephen

Yates, Dominik Hrbaty sealing

the tie with a win over world

number 10 James Blake. Ranked

240 places lower than the American, Dominik Hrbaty won

the singles rubber in a

third-set tie-break. Dominika

Cibulkova had brushed aside

Meghann Shaughnessy before the

Slovaks took out the dead

runner in straight runner in straight sets.

For centuries millionsful

people have been chewing the

spicy fruit of the betel palm

enjoying a mild stimulant

effect. Betel consumers spit

out the pulp. Authorities are

moving to ban the practice.

Steve Marshall reports. It's an

acquired taste. Betel palm tree seeds chewed with mustards and

lime. The end result a rush but

it's the red saliva spitle the

Port Moresby governor finds

hard to stomach. Enough is

enough, it won't continue

forever. After warnings and

thousands of dollars spent on

antibetel nut campaigns a fed

up governor is trying to ban

selling and chewing betel nut

in public places. The governor

says chewing betel nut is not

only a dirty habit, but poses a

health risk to the community

like TB, one of PNG's biggest

killers. We don't care that

people are contracting TB

because of spitting, they just

want us to give them a free

reign to go what they like in

the city. It won't happen

forever. The governor may have

bitten off more that he can chew, he

chew, he appears on a one-man

mission against an army of the

betel nut sellers and users,

it's one of the biggest growing

crops and provides thousands of

informal jobs. I am not happy

about this complaint. It's not

just the risk of contracting

tuberculosis that the governor

is worried b the World Health

Organisation found 20% of betel

nut users in this part of the

world suffer oral diseases like

mouth cancer, a tax on the

health system PNG can do

without. To the weather -

Graham, there's another hot and

polluted day ahead. Shaping up

that way. Air quality in Sydney

forced to exceed the national

health standards tomorrowment

the cool change isn't due to

late evening or early tomorrow

morning. After 3pm it hit 41 at

Penrith, the hottest day in 20

years. It will be an

uncomfortable night. A shallow

southerly producing light

cloud, haze, sea fog around

down, humidity high. --

If you thought Pen rids was

hot. Ivanhoe, Pooncarie, wk,

and Singleton hit 40. The

afternoon sea breeze keep ing

it cooler. It's been too hot

and dry, and no rainfall

recorded. The capital cities

dry. Hobart and Sydney the only

two that didn't reach 30

degrees. It's hard to see but

there's a band of cloud

approaching the south-east.

It's a cool change seeing It's a cool change seeing

increasing cloud developing

over the State tomorrow. Moisture moving south from

Queensland and the front will reactivate the trough with

showers and storms through part

thes of the state over the next

couple of days much rainfall

totals don't look promising,

forecast models suggesting

falls will be less than 5mm.

Showers and cooler conditions

across the south-east. Perth

having its hottest start to a

year since 2000. It will be

hot thought the state. Dry in

the north-east and the

south-west corners, with

increasing cloud, isolated

showers and thunderstorms

elsewhere. We expect a gusty

south-westerly change on the

South Coast and southern

inland. We have a total fire

band for the lower Central

Western plains, Riverina and

south-western fire districts.

Morning cloud with sunny mostly

in Sydney. Late shower or

thunderstorm possible.

The cool change will see

temperatures dropping, not a

great deal of rain fall. Beyond

Saturday models varying a fair

bit. End of weekend is bit. End of weekend is uncertain.

A reminder of the top stories

- Israeli troops move further

into southern Gaza as

Palestinian medics say around 100 children have been killed

in the conflict. The State has

its first bushfire emergency of

the year, a fire burning out of control in the Southern

Highlands. That's the news,

I'll be back with updates

during the evening. The '7.30

Report' is next, goodnight. Closed Captions By CSI Most of her right lung had

been eaten away. Tonight on the

'7.30 Report', a new generation

of superbugs. You can see that

there's basically the germs not

killed adequately. Can medical

science meet the challenge of

drug-resistant infections. Not

only does standard antibiotic

bounce off it, it's able to

make people sicker. Speedway,

Australia's home-grown sport.

It's fun racing around a track

with no gears and brakes, the

only thing that stops you is

the concrete wall. Three

generations of champions. I

get a lot of satisfaction

seeing me son race, I suppose

me father was the same. This Program is Captioned

Live.

Welcome to the program, I'm

Scott Bevan. Also we'll have

the latest on the humanitarian

crisis in Gaza, that's