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Tonight - Burma accepts

Tonight - Burma accepts

America's help as the

staggering death toll

soars. This is not a matter of

politics, this is a matter of a

humanitarian crisis. A shooting

and dramatic arrest at Star

City Casino. The big player

pushing the price of petrol

higher. And, a cancer cocktail

day. - all it takes is two drinks a

day. Good evening, Juanita

Phillips with ABC News. In the

past hour or so, there's been

something of a breakthrough in the humanitarian crisis

gripping Burma. The country's

military rulers have agreed to

open their borders to American

aid. It's a rare glimmer of

hope for those struggling to

survive after the weekend

cyclone. According to a US

diplomat, more than 100,000

people may have been killed.

And it could go higher. In

And it could go higher. In one

region alone, the toll stands

at 80,000. South-East Asian

correspondent, Karen Percy.

Desperately needed aid is being

delivered to some parts of the

country, but with the death

toll rising and an unknown

number of people homeless, the

situation is becoming acute,

particularly in the far-flung areas in the Irrawaddy Delta which bore the brunt of the cyclone. Clearly

cyclone. Clearly not enough aid

reaching people. It was five

days after the cyclone and I

expected significant numbers of people have not been reached

with any kind of assistance at

all. Most people are having to

get by on their own. It's

becoming clear that the Burmese

military has limited capabilities. The process is

slow and arduous for the aid

agencies which are on the ground because of core roads

As well, the transport options and collapsed infrastructure.

As well, the transport options

are limited and there's a

chronic lack of fuel. With the

road fairly bare the queues for

petrol are two, three

kilometres long as people line

up to get the bare couple of

gallons they're allowed. So

it's pretty chaotic and this is

not the belly of the beast.

The epicentre by any means. For all the

all the logistical challenges,

the biggest problem seems to be

the junta itself. It has

finally agreed to allow the UN's crisis specialists into

the country. They will appear

tonight. But other agencies

might not be so lucky. This

remains a country where

approval is required from very

senior levels in the regime for

anyone to go into those areas.

anyone to go into those areas.

That is the major

impediment. The military

leaders are also insisting the

work on the ground be carried

out by Burmese nationals, not

foreigners. The government's

only thinking about staying in

power. To them, it's an unexpected event. They want to

make it a small hiccup. They

want to preserve the status

quo. The US is ready to help

with several warships on

standby in the region. The

supplies on ships have humanitarian

supplies on board and most

importantly, the helicopters

required to get the aid where

it's needed. As international

frustration mounts, the people

are becoming more desperate.

This woman says it's only her

and her baby who are left. "I

don't know where the others

have gone," she says. Given

the lack of assistance from the government, there's precious

little comfort for her and so

many others.

many others. And Karen Percy

joins us now from Bangkok.

Karen, the latest news is that

the generals have finally

relented on accepting US

confirmed from the United aid. Indeed. We've had it

States' embassy here that at

least one military plane with

aid will be allowed to fly into

Burma. Now we don't know when

that will happen, we don't know

where that plane will come

from. We really don't know

much in the way of details at

this stage. But it is a significant development. It

has come about through the

assistance of Thailand, which

is a very, very close ally of

Burma which has been assisting

the United States, which is far

from a close ally of Burma. In

fact, it's amazing that it's

come about given the harsh

criticism that the United

States has levelled at the

junta. But this is

significant, too, because the

US has the resources and the

capability to be able to effect

very effective aid assistance

here. So hopefully this is

just the very beginning of

perhaps wider US assistance.

But we do need to put some

caution out there. Because

let's not forget while United

Nations' crisis people have

been allowed in and will go in tonight, they were promised

some four days ago that they

would be allowed in. So we

need to be sure that the generals are going to follow

through on their promise

here. On the death toll, we're

hearing some shocking figures

of more than 100,000 dead.

What's the latest information

you've got? That certainly

would seem to be perhaps even

conservative, if it is right,

as some are saying that there

are 80,000 in one township

alone. It is acute, it's

critical. We are hearing still

that a lot of people have not

been reached. That means we

don't know the full picture

yet. We still may not know for

a couple of days. But it is

rather alarming if that is the case and when you see the

pictures that are coming out

you can well imagine that this

is going to be a truly horrific

number of people dead. We're

already talking about a million

people in need of assistance.

So I guess when the full

picture comes out, we're all

going to be in for a shock,

because they're still talking that it's going to be something

like the Asian tsunami of

2004. Karen Percy in Bangkok,

thank you. According to

police, he arrived in a taxi,

asked it to wait, then went

inside the Star City Casino and

shot a woman in the stomach.

The alleged gunman was later

arrested in a crowded Sydney

street carrying several

firearms and a false beard.

The drama took place just a few

blocks away from where the

Prime Minister but attending a

function. Panic on the

streets... Move. As an armed

gunman was hiding in an inner

city building in Pyrmont. He's

in my boyfriend's building at

the moment. How do you know? He

called me. The alarm was raised

at 2 o'clock when police were

called to the Star City Casino.

A woman in the gymnasium on the

fifth floor was shot twice in

the abdomen. We heard two shot

noises and then obviously it

was one of the ladies in the

gym got shot. She was rushed to

hospital in a serious condition

while staff fled. Yeah, they

were screaming. Just a few

blocks away, a function

involving the Prime Minister

was delayed. Up the road less

than 100m from the casino,

police surrounded this

building. They suspected but

not confirmed that the gunman

was inside. This was one of the

most dangerous situations I've

run across in my career. Oh

look. Then the man aged in his

20s was captured as he tried to

leave the scene. He was pinned

to the ground and disarmed.

Police say he knew the woman he

shot and had arrived at the

casino in a taxi which he'd

asked to wait for him. Inside

his bag was ammunition and

three semi-automatic pistols.

The arrest has sent shockwaves

through offices here. It's

believed the suspect attempted

to get into a number of

buildings before he was

captured in the one behind me.

Inside his bag was a number of

disguises. At the time of his

arrest he appeared to be

wearing false facial hair. The

man is expected to be charged

later tonight. One of Kevin

Rudd's police body guards has

man-handled a journalist as the

Prime Minister was on his way

to open a new media centre.

John Lions a senior journalist

for the 'Australian' newspaper

was trying to ask why a

response to a Freedom of Information application had

been heavily censored. The

media occupies such a rich and

important role, arteries of our

democracy and I think great

agents, therefore, of potential

change in our nation, all made

possible if we ensure that the

freedom within which the media

operates is continued to be safeguarded. The Prime

Minister's office said the

police detail was on high alert

because of the shooting at the

nearby Star City Casino. An

act of road rage has damaged

one cyclist's Olympic hopes and

brought back haunting memories

for another. The driver

deliberately ran into a group

of riders in Sydney, leaving

many of them sprawled in the

traffic. They might be all

smiles now, but no-one was

laughing this morning when

their group of 50 cyclists was

involved in a hit and run. What

possesses somebody to do that?

Deliberately attack 50 people,

possibly kill people? Kate

Nichols is no stranger to

cycling accidents. She was

injured in the German road

racing crash in 2005 that

killed her team-mate, Amy

gillet. Today was meant to be

the start of her comeback to

racing. It was not good timing

for me. Along with her father,

former Olympian Kevin Nichols

and Commonwealth Games gold

medallist Ben Kersten the trio

was part of a bunch which rides

together several times a week.

A car swerved in front of them

and stopped. It was just a do

anyonos effect. Everyone ran

completely into the back of him

and went over the top of each

other and into the middle of

the road. There were trucks

screeching and turning. I

asked what the hell was going

on. He gave some sort of

smart-alec response out the

window. As off-duty police came

to help the cyclists, other

motorists hurled abuse. Yeah, I

was disgusted. There was

people lying there with blood

coming out of them and it's

obvious carnage. Ben Kersten is

now worried about his

preparations for the Beijing

Games. Kate Nichols says her

comeback is again on hold. A

victim of the former Aboriginal

Affairs Minister Milton

Orkopoulos has condemned and

Labor Party for protecting the

disgraced MP. Speaking at

today's sentencing hearing, Ben

Blackburn broke down before

calling for an investigation

into who knew what. Ben

Blackburn says he wasn't just let down by Milton

Orkopoulos. I feel that Milton

was protected to an extent

politically by the Australian

Labor Party, and, um, those

involved should hang their head

in shame. Ben Blackburn was

just 16 when he was taken to

the national Labor Party

conference by Orkopoulos,

propositioned and indecently assaulted. I don't think it's been fully investigated and perhaps it should be. This is

a message to the Premier and

the Opposition and to every

political person no matter what persuasion everywhere. We will

not stand for this being

covered up. Another of

Orkopoulos's victims who didn't

want to be identified was also

in court. The former MP raped

him and got him hooked on

heroin. In a statement read to

the court by his mother, the

then 16-year-old said:

wooi as the victim impact

statements were read, Milton

Orkopoulos sat impassively in

the dock. His only reaction

came when one of his victims -

Ben Blackburn - walked past him

and said, "Burn in hell you

grub" , Orkopoulos looked back

and smirked. Orkopoulos will be

sentenced later this month.

Coles Express has been named

and shamed as the market leader

in petrol price rises. The

ACCC says even with a

supermarket discount docket,

customers aren't necessarily

getting value for money.

Here's the brand the

competition regulator says is

the petrol price villain. Coles

Express has been a predominant

price hiker. The ACCC claims

Coles Express is the first to

put up prices, with a number of

their outlets 10-12 cents above

the average price without a

discount voucher. Even with

your discount you're not

getting good value. The news

intensified the pain for

hard-pressed driver. Arm and an

leg. Sometimes 10 cent

variation. I can't understand

where that comes from. Nor can

the ACCC which says that should

end in December when the

FuelWatch scheme forces oil

companies to declare and fix

prices a day in advance. My

advice to Coles is to look very

closely at what they're up to

and look very closely what the

Petrol Commissioner has had to

say to them. If Coles were

fair dinkum they would have

announced today they will

guarantee they'll be the lowest

priced petrol stations wherever

they are. It's always good when

they're given a bit of a kick.

Perhaps they take notice. In a

statement, Coles said it offered competitive prices

seven days a week and they were

adjusted in response to

competition. It accused the

ACCC of conducting a:

Crude prices around the world

are still going up, but most

analysts don't expect them to

go much high although there's

one forecast of US $200 a

barrel within two years. With

respect to oil prices you

should never say never. Drivers

can't control global forces,

but can buy their petrol on the

cheapest day, which is... Mmm,

yes. Try Wednesday more than,

but don't tell anyone - it may

not last. Australia 's High

Commissioner in Fiji has had

his life threatened. Two death

threats were last night dropped

off by taxi. Fiji police

questioned the taxi driver. He

was released without charge.

The high commission says the

threats appear to be

politically motivated. They

were critical of Australia's

sanctions and travel bans on Fiji's military-backed

government. If for some reason

this threat is an effort to

intimidate the Australian

Government about its policy on

Fiji or an attempt to intimidate our High

Commissioner it won't have any

effect whatsoever. Security

around the high commission in

Suva has been stepped up, but

it's still open for business.

Her hometown newspaper says

she's toast, so is it finally

over for Hillary Clinton? The

Democrat candidate is facing

fresh calls to withdraw after

yesterday's loss to Barak Obama

in North Carolina, but she's

vowed to stay on, lending her cash-strapped campaign millions

more dollars. I'm staying in

this race until there's a

nominee and I obviously am

going to work as hard as I can

to become that nominee. Democrat strategists

commit uncommitted

superdelegates to start lining

up behind Barak Obama to avoid

an even longer divisive brawl.

Now to a story that might make

you think twice about having

that second glass of wine. New

researcher shows an alarming

link between alcohol consumption and particular

types of cancer. The

international study found even

two drinks a day can significantly increase the

risk. Moderate drinking may be

good for your heart, but new

research reveals it can

increase your risk of

cancerment We can't say there's

a safe level of alcohol

consumption. Our message is moderation if at

moderation if at all. The NSW

Cancer Institute reviewed

hundred of studies into the

link between alcohol and

cancer. They found:

many women are not aware that

every alcoholic drink increases

their chance of developing

breast cancer by up to

12%. People should look at how

much they're actually consuming

at a time and try to monitor

it, try to count it and how much is happening during the

week. The reason alcohol might

cause cancer is because of the

way it's metabolised in the

body. It can increase the risk

of breast cancer because of the

effect on east again. If you

are a -- oestrogen. If you are

a binge drinker, you are

significantly heightening risk

for these type of cancers. Meanwhile, screening

for one of the most common

forms of cancer received a

major boost today. Health

Minister Nicola Roxon announced

bowel cancer screening for

people aged 50 and over. We

might be able to save up to

2,000 patients a year when we fully implement proper bowel

screening processes. The test

kits will be sent to people

aged 50, 55 and 65.

Sydney's rental crisis is

getting worse. New figures

show rents are rising by an

average of more than 10% and

double that in the worst-hit

areas. Lyn and Jeffrey Coleman

have lived in this home in

Sydney's west for the last 11

years. 8 months ago their

weekly rent increased by $40

and next month it's going up

another 40. Being on a pension,

it's unaffordable for us.

We're going to have to move

out. And while Sydney's rental

crisis is biting hard out west it's an issue in the inner

city. The noises of people

finding it harder to make ends

meet are getting louder. Rent

for a 3-bedroom home has risen

20% in the worst hit areas.

The prices are being driven

higher by a lack of rental propertys and increasing

interest rates. Landlords who

borrowed too much money and

paid too much for their houses

are now trying to pass their

higher interest bills onto

tenants. Mr Iemma needs to

address the issue of land tax,

he needs to address the issue

of stamp duty. The rental

market is so competitive,

agents in some inner Sydney

areas are reporting up to 70

interested parties in the one

property and some tenants are

paying 12 months rent in

advance in order to have

applications approve. Do be cautious, if you have to leave

the tenancy, it can be

difficult to get that money

back again. The outlook is

bleak. Experts predict rents

will increase by up to 50% over

the next four years. Onto

finance now, and national unemployment has increased

slightly despite an

unexpectedly big rise in the

number of jobs. The sharemarket

meanwhile rebounded. Here's

Alan Kohler.

Jobs growth is remaining remarkably resilient in the

face of rising interest rates which are clearly causing

consumer sentiment to drop,

along with retail sales.

NSW and Victoria have

switched positions. Last year,

Victoria's employment growth

was running at around 3% and

NSW was half that. This year

the two States have changed

places. NSW employment is

running at 4% and Victoria at

1.5%. The nation as a whole

continues to split the

difference. Jobs growth of 2.3

to 3% and showing no signs of


Investors on Wall Street got

the jitters about the oil

price, which as you've heard

hit a record high last night,

although most other commodities fell, including lead, copper

and wheat. 18th century scientists

thought it was a hoax and it

seems their 21st century

counterparts are still com

founded by the platypus. Its

ability to lay eggs like a

reptile, produce milk like a

cow and create venom like a

snake makes the platypus one of

nature's unique species. It's

these unusual features that

attracted the attention of more

than 100 scientists wanting to

uncover its peculiar genetic

blueprint. What we found, is

that the genome, just like the

animal, is an amazing amalgam of reptilian characteristics

with quite a few unique

platypus characteristics as

well. Not to mention a mix of

mammalian genes and even birds

feature in its genetic sexual

make-up. What we found to our

amazement is the sex

chromosomes of a plait bus are

like the sex chromosomes of a

bird, so they work in a

completely different way. And

it gets more peculiar. The

venom in the spurs of the male

platypus contains proteins

similar to those in a snake.

Scientists believe these help

the baby platypus - born

without an an immune system -

survive against bugs and germs

in the dirty burrows. Eventually that venom could

help humans. We're hoping these proteins might be very useful

for developing antibiotics to

treat human diseases. Scientists agree -

cracking the genetic blueprint

of our most distant mammal

relative has made the platypus

an even greater scientific

enigma. Adelaide United is

just one win away from the quarterfinals of the Asian

Champions League. Unite's

latest victim was beaten 1-nil.

After missing the finals in the

A-League earlier this year,

Adelaide United has been a

revelation in the Asian

Champions League. The home

team was unable to break

through the defence, until a

slick build-up provided an

opportunity for the Brazilian

Diego in the 63rd minute.

COMMENTATOR: What about that? The Brazilian breaks the

deadlock. A win or a draw in

its game against second-placed

Changchun Yatai in China in two

weeks will be enough for

Adelaide to progress to the

next phase. Diego will miss

the game in China after

receiving his second yellow

card of the tournament.

Melbourne Victory which is out

of contention for the

quarterfinals had a 1-all draw

with Korean club, Chunnam

Dragons. In another sign of

soccer's growing mature in

Australia, the Football

Federation has struck its first

deal with the A-League players.

The FFA and Professional

Footballers' Association have

signed a 5-year collective

bargaining agreement. The deal

covers increases in the minimum

wage and improvements to player

welfare, such as injury cover

and personal development. The footballers association hopes

the changes will encourage

local talent to stay in

Australia rather than take up

offers overseas. Over 40% of the A-League players last year

have indicated to us that they

don't intend to transfer

overseas for at least three

years. The king of clay has

been unseated by the former

ruler. Spain's Rafael Nadal

hadn't lost on his favourite surface for more than a year

and was aiming to win the Rome

Masters for the fourth time in

a row. A nasty foot blister

and revitalised country man

combined to send him crashing

out in the second round 7-5,

6-1. The Olympic torch relay

has been an arduous journey,

but even without protesters the

latest leg was one of the most

challenging. The flame's

assent to Mount Everest was

held up for several days

because of bad weather.

Conditions finally cleared

enough for climbers to reach

the almost 9,000 metre summit.

The Melbourne Storm half-back

Cooper Cronk may yet play for

Centenary Rugby League Test Australia in tomorrow night's

against New Zealand. Cronk was called up after Johnathan

Thurston twisted an ankle in

the Kangaroos' final changing

session. The centenary Rugby

League Test 100 years to the

day since Australia first met

New Zealand was to be the

centrepiece, but on Test eve

the players are spruiking to

ensure a lift in public

interest. I'd have to ask a lot

of people to get out

there. Kangaroos' coach Ricky

Stuart says he's removed his

promotional hat. I want to win

and I don't care whether it's

by 2 points or 50. When they

last met the Australians won

58-nil. The International

League Board is promoting this

year's World Cup and writes off

the lack of support for this

Test as a reflection of a

difficult Sydney market. I

suppose there's only so many

dollars to go around. If it

was a stand-alone event I'm

sure it'd sell out. Last night

some of the code's legends were

on hand to present the

Australians with centenary

jerseys. Both sides say it will be an uncompromising

affair. We're very clear about

the actions that are going to be effective for us tomorrow night. That's been our focus

all week. I certainly know

that'll be a highly motivated

bunch of players. Half Cooper

Cronk is ready to join in. I go

out there for cover, prepare

the best I can. A decision on

Johnathan Thurston's

availability could be made as

late as tomorrow afternoon.

Yet again, the Archibald judges

are at odds with the people's

choice and not surprisingly

it's the celebrity painting the

punters preferred. They choose

Heath Ledger by Vince

Fantauzzo, and the 32,000

voters were not alone in

thinking the work was special.

I think this painting was

extra special because Heath and

I really collaborated and we

took the idea seriously. The

official winner was a self-portrait of the Sydney artist Del Kathryn Barton.

Time for the weather now and

let's check dam levels first

with Graham.

The catchments haven't recorded

a drop of rainfall this week.

That's resulted in a fall of

0.2 with the overall storage

drop ing to 65.5% of capacity.

Cloud in association with a

front and a trough develop

through the south-west. Cloud

over Queensland is only high

level and won't bring any

rainfall. The high will hardly

move tomorrow, although winds

along its eastern side will

become a little bit more

southerly over the weekend.

That should see an end of the

spell of the clear sunny days

along the NSW Coast. Until

then, it's a dry forecast for

us. In fact, most of the

nation is looking at a dry forecast tomorrow.

tonight's top story - there

are signs that Burma's rulers

are bowing to pressure to let

more aid into the country as

the death toll continues to mount. And that is ABC News

for this Thursday. The '7.30

Report' is up next, and I'll be

back with updates during the

evening. Goodnight.

Closed Captions by CSI

We've been to America at

least five times skiing. All

on free points, free

flights. Tonight on the 7.30

Report - pie in the sky, do

Frequent Flyers schemes really

deliver? 45% of the consumers

we researched said we can't get

the flight we want. It's a

sort of fool's gold.


Welcome to the program.

Motorists may be thinking twice

about using petrol discount

coupons after Coles, or from

Coles, after revelations that

the company has been leading

petrol price hikes across the country. The Australian

Competition and Consumer

Commission has warned motorists

using Coles petrol coupon s

that higher prices at the

bowser could significantly