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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. Tonight - Lebanon's battered civilians growing desperation from its bombardments in the south. as Israel decides to widen a wage rise for the low-paid. The Prime Minister supporting And the tarnished Tour - now the winner fails a drug test.

Juanita Phillips with ABC News. Good evening. its military campaign in Lebanon, Israel is intensifying

in battle. undaunted by its growing losses

has approved more call-ups, The Israeli Cabinet more air attacks across its northern border. and continuing incursions The Lebanese Government, meanwhile, may have been killed in the conflict says as many as 600 civilians although the official figure is 382. reports from Tyre, Middle East correspondent Matt Brown of an escalating civilian toll. where aid groups are warning As Israel tries to crush Hezbollah, on civilians in the south it is also inflicting a heavy toll to help them. and hampering humanitarian efforts have been killed so far More than 430 Lebanese people have been civilians. and the overwhelming majority organisation says The Human Rights Watch in air strikes, most have been killed mainly on their homes. But it also says in the war. Israel is using cluster bombs of cluster bombs after this war, The consequences of the use have not exploded, because many of them and will be wounded in the future. curious children will pick them up More than 350 casualties central hospital at Tyre. have been taken to the At least 30 have died here they were all civilians. and the head doctor says between 3 months till 11. We have many, many children

We have many of them. due to bitter experience, The local Red Cross workers say, of being hit by Israeli bombs. they are scared and the Red Cross "Targeting civilians this medic says. "is against international law," "It's inhumane." were killed After four UN military observers in an Israeli bombardment,

increasingly concerned UN aid workers have also grown about their own safety. shipments and aid workers like me We want to make sure that to where they are heading. will arrive safely medical supplies and food aid A shipment of emergency has made it through to Tyre, of distributing the aid but the dangerous task is now up to the local authorities. a steady stream of bombs The Israeli military's been sending around Tyre into the suburbs and towns all the more difficult and that's made it to those most in need. to get humanitarian aid Matt Brown, ABC News, Tyre. has asked his Israeli counterpart The Prime Minister, John Howard, to do everything possible in southern Lebanon. to ensure the safety of Australians today to thank him for his support. Ehud Olmert telephoned Mr Howard mounting criticism abroad, Although he's facing is receiving strong backing at home the Israeli Prime Minister against Hezbollah. to continue the offensive And as Jane Hutcheon reports, by the family it's a view shared

killed in the fighting. of the Israeli-Australian A shell-shocked family grieves. was 26 Corporal Asaf Namer from Bondi and days away from leaving the army.

He volunteered to go to Lebanon, trying to oust Hezbollah joining ground forces this week of Bint Jbeil. from its southern stronghold The battle still rages. The army paid tribute, to defend Israel. acknowledging he'd left Australia even we lose some of these soldiers. Unfortunately, from time to time, to his family our condolences. I want to send from here, overseas, Corporal Namer's aunt said both Australia and Israel. her nephew loved Like the majority of Israelis, he died for a just cause. she believes Who wants war? to take the army out of Lebanon now? Do you want the Israeli Government that's what I want. No. I want them to kill them, I want it to end, it's going to end, and that's it. but I want to know that But there's no end in sight. Close to the front line, to the army patriotic Israelis bring food yesterday's heavy casualties. to boost morale after They know more bad days could come. Israel's Cabinet has approved of reservists. another emergency call-up for an end to this mission, And while it set no deadline ground forces in Lebanon. it rejected calls to expand every Lebanese village The military says it will destroy where rockets have been fired from, while the Defence Minister insists will come that the end of the crisis across the border. with a Hezbollah-free zone Northern Israel. Jane Hutcheon, ABC News, A brief update now scenes from the conflict. on one of the more distressing Three days ago, of a distraught woman we showed the story from her two children who was separated from Tyre. during a chaotic evacuation are with their father, We now know the children who was also left behind in Lebanon. Their mother is in Denmark with her family by telephone. and she's been in contact to leave the country, They're still trying but there've been delays were in the mother's luggage, because their passports which went to Denmark. To other news, John Howard has revealed new Fair Pay Commission he will ask his government's lowest-paid workers. to grant a wage rise to Australia's it should be $30 a week, The ACTU says there is a case for a pay rise, but although the Government says it hasn't named an amount. that never ends. Welcome to the road show campaigned in Sydney and Melbourne. Already this week, John Howard's Now, he's in Perth... CAMERA SHUTTERS CLICK he's off to Queensland. ..and next week, have you worked here? (Laughs) How long

for the lowest paid, Today, the PM endorsed a wage rise being sought by the unions. but certainly not the $30 a week If the minimum wage is too high, it will have a negative effect on the employment prospects of the unemployed. The ACTU argues its first bid to the Fair Pay Commission

amounts to an annual rise of 4%. Bang on what the inflation rate currently is and we're therefore seeking no more than the maintenance of people's real wages against rising prices and interest rates. There's no case for an excessive increase and the ACTU proposal is an excessive increase. Kim Beazley, who was unveiling more details of Labor's child care policy, put the Fair Pay Commission on notice.

This is a massive test of the Fair Pay Commission - whether or not they're dinkum. Federal parliament resumes in just over a week, with MPs on both sides of politics eager to find out

whether John Howard plans to contest a fifth election on the trot. The PM has summoned his backbench to a special joint Party meeting the day before parliament sits, but he's keeping his cards close to his chest. This meeting is in no way related to issues of leadership, and issues of leadership except to the extent that people may wish to raise them. Whether he's one of the people who may wish to raise the question, the PM would not say. Jim Middleton, ABC News, Canberra. The United States has given fresh assurances that Australian terror suspect David Hicks will face some sort of court by the end of the year.

Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock received a phone briefing from his US counterpart this morning. The briefing has helped Mr Ruddock fend off demands for action on the Hicks case from the State attorneys-general. Philip Ruddock was confronted by State attorneys-general, united in their frustration over David Hicks's ongoing detention. Anticipating the showdown, Mr Ruddock phoned his US counterpart, Alberto Gonzales, at 7 o'clock this morning for a last-minute briefing. We keep in regular touch. He has a program to progress the matter and he's put that to me. The US told Mr Ruddock its Congress would legislate for the creation of a new court or tribunal for prisoners of war, perhaps as early as November. There's no doubt that the pressure of having this matter on the agenda has forced Mr Ruddock to act.

The most important thing is that we were able to bring our concerns to the Federal Attorney-General's attention. Although Mr Ruddock points out the states have no say in how David Hicks is brought to justice he says he'll keep them informed. The legal discussion on censorship of so-called hate books did not end so amicably.

Mr Ruddock's pitch to change classification laws wasn't roundly accepted, particularly his explanation

of a hypothetical book about suicide jackets. It ought not be beyond the wit of people to understand it. His officers will further research proposed censorship changes and the states, in turn, will consider book classification again at their next meeting. Paul Kennedy, ABC News, Melbourne. The inquiry into the death of Private Jake Kovco was told today that he'd been reprimanded twice for misusing his pistol during his deployment in Iraq. In a statement tendered to the inquiry, a lance corporal said that he'd pulled up Private Kovco

for flashing the muzzle of his pistol at another soldier. The lance corporal was also aware that Jake Kovco had been cautioned for mishandling his weapon on another occasion. Private Kovco died after a shot to the head from his own pistol in his Baghdad barracks in April.

The Dianne Brimble inquest has heard evidence

from a second person of interest in the case. The man said that he was present when explicit photos were taken. Sydney real estate agent Ryan Kuchel says he was woken up when Mark Wilhelm returned to his cabin with Mrs Brimble. Mr Kuchel said he overheard the pair talking about the drug fantasy, before having sex. He told the inquest he took fantasy for the first time that morning, but he didn't know the drug had been involved in Mrs Brimble's death. Mr Kuchel said he didn't tell police about Mr Wilhelm's alleged involvement because he was worried it might have pushed his friend over the edge. Convicted gang rapist, Bilal Skaf, will spend an additional 10 years in jail after being re-sentenced for a sexual assault. Today, he was handed another prison term for the rape of a teenage girl in south-western Sydney six years ago. His brother, Mohammed Skaf, was found guilty of being an accessory. The brothers' original convictions for the crime had been overturned on appeal. Bilal Skaf was already serving a 28-year sentence for a series of gang rapes in 2000. He is now facing a maximum term of 38 years. People living with the pain of chronic rheumatoid arthritis have been given a glimmer of hope. Researchers have discovered that one of the drugs used to treat the disease can actually, over time, make it go away. There are a couple of catches, though - patients need to start taking the drug early and it's very expensive. Leslie Falkiner-Rose has been treated

with a rheumatoid arthritis drug called Infliximab. Under its influence, pain and swelling in more than 30 points in her body has been cut by a third. I'm even back snow skiing, which I thought I would never do again. New studies have shown in some cases, the drug can actually put patients into remission. It's made an enormous difference. People go back to being pretty much as if the arthritis had never developed. The drugs switch off a molecule called TNF, which is found in large amounts in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Doctors say the earlier patients can be treated,

the more likely it is the drugs will alter the disease, even if patients take them for a relatively short time of a year. We can't reverse the damage that's been done, so the earlier you get on top of it before there's a chance for much damage to have occurred, the better off the patients are.

But a year's supply of the medication costs up to $30,000. In Australia, the drugs are only subsidised when a patient's disease becomes advanced and where other drugs have failed. One of the brains behind the drugs is British scientist Professor Ravinder Maini, who is currently in Australia.

It is an advance, but it's by no means the end of the story. We are still on the path of discovering new treatments. The main side effect of the treatment is an increased risk of infection. Sophie Scott, ABC News. The State Government's shake-up of disability services is making waves among the very people it's meant to be helping. While families have welcomed a huge boost in spending, they're not happy that some existing programs will close because they now have to go through a tender process. The impact on the family will be devastating. Um, I think he's quite aware of the fact that we need a 5-day service. But the minister's standing by the new tendering process, although he admits there are teething problems. Change is essential, change will happen

but we're going to make sure that nobody is the victim of change, that all families who are supporting somebody with a disability have a proper basis to go forward. Mr Della Bosca has promised to listen to concerns and make any adjustments by the end of next month. Tonight's top story - Israel is to step up its bombardment of southern Lebanon as aid agencies warn of a growing civilian death toll. And still to come - the drug test shock from the Tour de France. North Korea has rejected new appeals to rejoin international talks on its weapons program. Its decision was relayed by North Korea's Foreign Minister at the ASEAN regional forum in Kuala Lumpur. The forum is one of the few international gatherings that the reclusive state attends. But it's threatening to withdraw

After being criticised over its missile program. The regional gathering is famous for the often humorous musical performances by foreign ministers during an informal dinner. But this year, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice felt levity was inappropriate. BRAHMS SONATA She opted for a piano recital of a Brahms sonata. It's a corporate example

of thinking globally and acting locally. One Australian company has changed its operations to become 'climate neutral'. By conserving energy and buying carbon credits to offset its use of fossil fuels, the engineering firm has cut its pollution impact on the planet to zero.

It may look like your average working office, but at this firm, virtually every part of its operation is green. In effect it's become 'climate neutral'. We've got a timer on the water boiler, a timer on the coffee machine - high energy items which don't have to work when we sleep. Every day, in hundreds of small ways, energy savings are made.

Flow restrictions on taps have cut water use from 18 litres a minute to less than 2. 10 tonnes of paper is recycled every year. The office is split into zones and lights can be controlled through one switch. If you just look at our energy bills, we're saving about $2,500 a year for this small office. That translates to a cut in carbon dioxide emissions of 23,000 kilograms a year - the equivalent of taking eight cars off the road. A decision which doesn't break the bank, it's very easy and, therefore, why not? While staff still use couriers, car and air travel, those emissions are added up and the impact is offset by investments in renewable energy companies providing wind and solar power. The way we can offset that environmental impact is by funding and buying credits for energy sources which are generated without environmental impact. Given the financial and environmental savings achieved by this engineering firm, it's hoped many more will see the light and follow suit. Sarah Clarke, ABC News. To finance now and it seems sharemarket floats are as popular as ever, even though investors may be losing their nerve and the markets themselves are extremely volatile. Here's Philip Lasker. Oh, it must be Friday - the share market went down. It's no more scientific than that. The All Ordinaries Index has not had two rises in a row for three weeks, but the volatility hasn't prevented a rash of company floats this year. 67 companies came to the market - seven more than for the same period last year. 58 were small companies, mostly resource, but two out of three are now trading below their issue price. It's an indication that the appetite for risk is decreasing, and investors are no longer willing

to support highly speculative resource companies. And speaking of speculation, Queensland copper explorer Cudeco has given regulators and investors a fair amount of heartburn. The share price jumped from $0.50 to $7 in a month before plunging to around $2.50 as the company haggled with the Stock Exchange about the extent of a copper find. In a quarterly report today chairman Wayne McCrae said the directors are genuinely excited about the potential of the discovery, and the company believes its position will be vindicated. Oh, and by the way, Mr McCrae just made more than $1 million trading in his company's options. Share investors might not have been so lucky. But those looking for a quick profit from this year's second biggest float, the earthmoving equipment hire group Emeco, would have been disappointed. It closed below today's float price of $1.90. The slump in investment units hit property development company Australand's profits. But Mayne finished strongly after saying it would beat its earnings forecasts by 8%. And on currency markets, the Australian dollar remains above the 76 US-cent mark. It's worth US$0.762. And that's finance. Asia's newest airport faces a big test tomorrow - its first commercial flight. The new Bangkok Airport is supposed to handle up to 100 million passengers a year. The Thai Government says it's ready, but the airlines that will use it aren't so sure. It's the final call for Bangkok's old airport, Don Muang. It's taken over from Singapore as South-East Asia's busiest airport, but there's no longer room to move in the world's fastest-growing aviation market. The projection for 2015 is something like 100 million passengers which will put Bangkok among the three, four largest airports in the world. This is the new airport. It's four times bigger than the old one and when it's finally finished, it will boast 360 check-in counters, 120 gates and among the toughest security in the world.

And Thailand's Prime Minister is confident everything will be up and running on time. It's normal in transferring airport from the old one to the new one

there will be some kind of inconvenience. Royal Air Force reserves have been road-testing the baggage handling system and airlines say this might not be enough to iron out some critical problems in its design. It's very complex. It is very long conveyor belts, so, of course, it's a challenge to get it to work. This new airport is built on land known as a cobra swamp. It was renamed Golden Land by the King in anticipation of the good fortune such a massive airport will bring the Thai economy. But even before it's open, airlines say it's not big enough to cope with passenger numbers. Bangkok's new space-age airport has already cost close to $6 billion and many airlines remain unconvinced it's up to the task. Philippa McDonald, ABC News, Bangkok. The taint of illegal drug use

has again struck cycling's Tour de France, with potentially dire consequences. This year's winner, American Floyd Landis, could be the first ever to be stripped of the yellow jersey after he tested positive to high levels of testosterone. Here's Peter Wilkins. It's yet another Tour crisis. After eliminating several riders before this year's race over doping offences,

its latest pin-up has returned excessive levels of testosterone. TRANSLATION: People who try and cheat are facing tough times. Landis tested positive after recovering from a disastrous 16th stage to easily win the next, making up over seven minutes in time lost time. I would like to be assumed innocent until proven guilty. Very deceived, I guess, is a pretty good way to put it. You know, you feel as though you're part of something special, and we are in the Tour de France. you're congratulating him one day And then, you know, this kind of news out. and then you find It's not good for anybody. or save him. The B sample could condemn Landis can rise naturally Testosterone levels by many legal substances, or be distorted including alcohol. in the short term. But that might not help He's gonna be the sacrificial lamb, hard to recover from. I think that's gonna be to prove his innocence, But do I think he's gonna be able in the eyes of the law? eventually, Absolutely. There was a controversial finish Asian Cup semifinal, to last night's women's it had scored a late equaliser with North Korea believing against China. was ruled to be offside. A North Korean player at full-time That sparked wild scenes by North Korea's goalkeeper. when a referee was kicked Bottles thrown onto the field by players. were sent back into the crowd have been banned Three North Koreans third place play-off against Japan. from playing in Sunday's is considering stronger ties Netball New Zealand with its fiercest rival. improving its domestic league A report commissioned to look at

involving Australia. has proposed two options premier local competitions to merge One suggestion is for the two into a new trans-Tasman league. Consideration will also be given from each competition to the top two teams meeting in a play-off series in Australasia. to decide the best side isn't laughing yet, The Australian men's hockey team the Champions Trophy. but it's back on track to defend embarrassed Argentina. A 6-0 win for the Kookaburras Three goals in each half from penalty corners. included a Luke Doerner hat-trick last pool game against Germany A draw in tomorrow night's to advance to the final. may be enough for Australia the second round lead And Karrie Webb shares and Mexican Lorena Ochoa with American teenager Michelle Wie at the women's Masters in France. to move to 9 under. Webb shot a 4-under-par 68 have surfaced Trans-Tasman rivalries the Bledisloe Cup showdown, on the eve of Australia 'arrogant' with the All Blacks labelling for complaining about the new haka. New Zealand's coach says when it has its own problems, Australia shouldn't criticise others like the Wendell Sailor drug ban. the hornet's nest yesterday Wallaby coach John Connolly stirred by attacking the All Blacks

their "murderous-looking" new haka. and what he called Clearly annoyed, gladly accepted the opportunity rival coach Graham Henry to hit back at Connolly today

in someone else's backyard. for poking his nose is questionable sometimes. Particularly when their backyard But we don't have the arrogance what they are doing wrong. to get in there and tell them Henry says the new haka - earlier this month - performed at the Christchurch Test New Zealand culture reflects a changing and doesn't encourage violence. for the Test match on Saturday, I think it's a smokescreen quite frankly, and not about role models at all. in the Wallaby camp There are some fears an already fiery All Blacks team. that Connolly's tactic could incite as it is, so... The boys are pretty fired up

You'd have to ask each individual. Who knows? George Gregan But Wallaby skipper

his team's cause. doesn't feel it will hurt

extra motivation I don't think there's any pretty motivated. because both teams are

we just want to play I know what we're like - so they'll be pretty much the same. the scrummaging blowtorch The All Blacks say they'll apply

to rookie prop Rodney Blake, who's playing just his third Test. and it's good that he's nervous, He's nervous by playing the All Blacks. but he's also excited could be decided in Brisbane, The Bledisloe and Tri-Nations cups with Australia needing to win of restocking the trophy cabinet. to keep alive its hopes Ian Eckersley, ABC News. And finally tonight, and they came to knit. they came in force More than 1,100 people Sydney studios today took over the ABC's for people in need. to create woollen wraps brightest personalities Some of the broadcaster's the annual Knit-In. were on hand to supervise knitting circle over a decade ago What started as a local has grown each year. Organisers say biggest community events. it's now one of Australia's and a few friends. Well, it was just me and now we've got thousands. I had about 10 friends, 20 friends, and we have a Knit-In. Some young people have a love-in, more than 2,000 wraps. The knitters produced by aid agencies They'll be distributed Kazakhstan, Romania and Mongolia. to countries including Pakistan, here today. We'll no need for winter woollies Quite a warm day for July, Mike? for tomorrow, Juanita. And another one ahead Good evening. from the North Coast overnight, Showers are expected to clear has developed but some light patchy rain ahead of a cooler change. in the far south-west But, yes, today was mild. from 10 to 20 degrees, Sydney's temperatures going a top that's 2 above average. Thanks, Mike. across the state. Temperatures were generally mild Not much to report on rainfall. the north-west of the state. It was mostly concentrated in Brisbane was the wettest today. Still some cloud in northern NSW.

the state across the weekends. A cooler change will spread through Snowys tonight. Snow on the high peaks of the trough will move in About next Thursday, a surface bringing more rain.

north of the state. Showers expected to clear from the Early fog expected in the morning. Thanks, Mike.

Now before we go, at tonight's top stories. another quick look of air strikes Israel has launched a new wave on southern Lebanon tonight, and it's called up more troops in its battle against Hezbollah. The Federal Government is asking for a wage rise for Australia's lowest-paid workers, but it won't confirm if it's the $30 a week that unions want. And Tour de France cycling champion Floyd Landis says he's not a cheat after he tested positive for higher-than-normal levels of testosterone. And that's ABC News for this Friday. I'm Juanita Phillips. Stateline with Paul Lockyer is up next, and Lateline's along just after 10:30. Enjoy the rest of your evening and have a great weekend. Closed Captions produced by Captioning and Subtitling International Pty Ltd

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