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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. Tonight - the PM's dream into reality. Barnaby Joyce makes consumer confidence. Under the pump, fuel prices rock the buck does stop with him George Bush says to the Ashes beat. and what a bender - England parties Felicity Davey with ABC News. Good evening.

Coalition for more than a decade - It's been a key policy of the front and centre at four elections. And now it's a political reality -

of Telstra is through the Senate. the legislation to sell the rest has just delivered the majority Nationals' Senator Barnaby Joyce the Government needed, in the upper house. after a rancorous day Jim Middleton. Political correspondent, Telstra is taking its toll. Barnaby Joyce to hospital. Last night, headaches drove the all clear? REPORTER: Did the doctors give you JOYCE: No, I'm apparently dead. But jokes aside. Of course I'm feeling the strain.

Also feeling the strain Commission chief Jeff Lucy is Securities and Investments last night who told a parliamentary committee was under investigation. this prime ministerial direction of senior executives of Telstra I think it is the obligation not talk them down. to talk up the companies interests, Today the ASIC chief said investigated after all. the statement was not being to Mr Lucy, Peter Costello admits speaking but denies leaning on him. to Mr Lucy To impute an improper motive which is not warranted. is an imputation against Mr Lucy Labor's accusing the Government the wavering Senator Joyce of brow-beating and rushing the Telstra sale legislation. into supporting dragged from room to room, We have had a senator who has been and pressurised. has been taken into meetings in the Senate Rancour was the name of the game to cut short the Telstra debate. as the Government used its numbers day and display This is the most shameful, shameful I have seen. senators were silenced In the process, non-government while Senator Joyce got to speak

on the speakers' list. even though he hadn't been proud of what we've achieved. I sit hear today with colleagues of his Queensland constituents Barnaby Joyce admitted that most to the Telstra sale, are still opposed with the privatisation plans, but he says he's now "pretty happy" about job cuts and brushed off questions would be available for the bush. and just how much money And so, a short while ago, the sale cleared the Senate - the legislation authorising had harboured realising an ambition John Howard for more than a decade. Jim Middleton, ABC News, Canberra. of petrol It seems the soaring price on consumer confidence. is putting a drag Figures out today show at a 2.5-year low the Consumer Sentiment Index is being blamed. and the pinch at the pump Are these the new one-armed bandits, might have been spent elsewhere? taking extra consumer dollars which took a big 13% hit this month Westpac's consumer confidence index to search far for answers. and the bank doesn't need It's clearly been driven in petrol prices - by the extraordinary jump since the last survey. up nearly 15% Westpac also asked 1,400 consumers higher petrol prices - how they'd pay for 46% said they'd cut savings,

they would cut spending, slightly less said and 6% didn't know. 10% intended to borrow also partly to blame The higher petrol prices are for recent weaker retail sales. The latest figures I've read is coming out of the pocket now. about $50 extra a month means that something has to give. Out of the pocket its calls The federal Opposition is continuing into any oil company profiteering. for an ACCC inquiry But Treasurer Peter Costello says and Consumer Commission the Australian Competition already has the authority to act. any action by the ACCC in Australia But, Mr Speaker, unfortunately the world oil price. is not going to reduce against rising fuel prices In the UK, plans for protests blockades of five years ago, like the Wildcat refinery are putting motorists on edge. REPORTER: Are you panic buying? Yes, a bit. oil price relief European leaders called for and for OPEC to increase production.

Phillip Lasker, ABC News. terrorist attack, Baghdad has seen another horrific in the capital. 114 people killed by a car bombing in the blast. More than 150 others were wounded by a suicide bomber, The explosion was triggered early this morning - who drove into a crowd with the promise of work. luring labourers to his minibus Witnesses told police were men waiting for jobs most of the victims on nearby construction sites. in the mainly Shi'ite district, The blast, single bomb attack since the war. is the second deadliest In Jakarta, sentenced to death a second Islamic militant has been bombing. over last year's Australian Embassy helping to build the bomb Ahmad Hasan was found guilty of which killed 12 Indonesians, the attack. and also of helping to plot a death sentence Yesterday the same court handed down to the militant known as Rois. the field coordinator He was described as bombing. behind last September's suicide to try the Bali Nine, As Indonesian authorities prepare smuggling case a key suspect in the heroin remains a free woman in Thailand. the heroin to the Australians Thai police believe she delivered before their arrest Indonesia applies but say they can't act until for her extradition. Peter Lloyd reports from Bangkok. South-East Asia correspondent Found in Bangkok - is the suspect Cherry Likit Banakorn who escaped the Bali police dragnet. This is the Kuta Beach Hotel where the Thai woman is believed

Andrew Chan to have met alleged ringleader of heroin. and handed over a suitcase Likit Banakorn escaped from Bali, her whereabouts a mystery until early June when she tried to leave Thailand again through the southern border crossing with Malaysia. Her name was on an immigration watch list. We searched her belongings, we found no drugs. By law, we cannot detain her. But Likit Banakorn did admit being in Bali in April and was paid for sex by the man police have called the 'godfather' of the heroin operation. She did admit that she met Mr Chan at the nightclub and Mr Chan is one of her maybe temporary boyfriends, something like that. In Bangkok, Likit Banakorn is a sex worker, plying her trade in so-called 'short-time' hotels, where prostitutes take clients for sexual encounters. Immigration records show that as well as going to Bali twice in the past 12 months, Cherry Likit Banakorn also passed through this border crossing

on her way to the cocaine capital of the world - Colombia in South America. Now for a woman who is so well travelled, she had very little apparent means. A police check of her bank account revealed a recurring balance of no more than $1,000. Cherry Likit Banakorn may know much about the events leading to the arrest of the nine Australians but unless Indonesia seeks her extradition, her possibly vital testimony about a wider drug trafficking syndicate will go unheard. Peter Lloyd, ABC News, Bangkok. On the eve of the world leaders summit, the UN Secretary-General has agreed, reluctantly,

to a watered-down plan for reforming the UN. The Prime Minister John Howard is among the 150 leaders who've gathered in New York to discuss the future of the United Nations. Political editor Craig McMurtrie is travelling with the PM. Outside UN headquarters, the streets were unceremoniously cleared. With time up,

it was almost the same in the corridors of the building. Tired diplomats managed to salvage a watered-down deal, but even Kofi Annan couldn't hide his disappointment. I would have wanted more, all of us would have wanted more. Plans to overhaul UN management have been diluted, there's agreement in principle on a new human rights council - but no detail, and nothing at all on disarmament or non-proliferation - where Australia was the lead negotiator. We're very disappointed at the progress to date, very disappointed. George Bush arrived just as his ambassador was being blamed for helping to take apart Kofi Annan's reform plan. They represent steps forward, but this is not the alpha and omega,

and we never thought it would be. The broadest area of agreement was on aid, Australia announcing it's own $4 billion aid-spending target by 2010. This goal, if achieved, will represent a doubling of Australia's overseas aid from current levels. But there are conditions - the new money will be tied to good governance it'll be spent in the Asia-Pacific region, will be subject to cabinet review and is still short of new UN targets. Australians are very generous, they're very heartfelt in their response to disaster

and to poverty and distress but they resent, quite legitimately, money that is wasted. SIRENS WAIL New Yorkers have seen UN gatherings before, but nothing like this. 4,000 police are providing security, blocks around the UN are being closed and the traffic disruption is spreading across the city as leaders rush to their receptions. John Howard finished his day at a dinner hosted by Mexico's Vicente Fox, a gathering of leaders who wanted much more out of the summit - and must be wondering what to do next. Craig McMurtrie, ABC News, New York. Before heading to New York, President Bush was in Washington, taking the blame for the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina. Two weeks after the disaster struck, he accepted full responsibility for his government's failings. Here's ABC correspondent, Jane Hutcheon. After weeks of defending his federal emergency team, under attack for moving too slowly after the hurricane, President George W. Bush finally took responsibility. Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability

at all levels of government. And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility. Fire Department! Meanwhile, after yesterday's gruesome recovery of 34 bodies from a nursing home, firemen were taking no chances with the possibility of survivors. What we're doing now is

we're doing actual home-to-home search for any possible victims that could be left there, especially the elderly. Owners of the nursing home where the bodies were found gave themselves up to police and were instantly charged with negligent homicide. There are however, signs of progress.

New Orleans airport opened for commercial traffic for the first time in 16 days. And the water level continues to fall as the pumps work overtime. This area close to where the main levee broke shows the scale of the disaster - houses and cars tossed around like toys. Yet officials are confident that by early October the entire city will be dry. Jane Hutcheon, ABC News, New Orleans. More than 60 years after they were shot down over wartime Germany, four Australian airmen have finally buried with full military honours. Relatives travelled across the world to take part in the moving ceremony and lay to rest six decades of uncertainty on the fate of the missing servicemen. From Hanover, the ABC's Kirsten Aiken reports. They had been missing in action for 60 years, but had never been forgotten. Four airmen who were presumed dead

after their Lancaster bomber was shot down during a night raid on the German town of Giessen. Despite the passing years, those left behind still longed for the chance to say goodbye. Mum had been told, 60 years ago, as much as they knew at that particular point in time, but it had always remained a mystery, in effect. The mystery of what happened to Reverend Hendersen's brother, Flight Sergeant Joslyn Hendersen, and three of his fellow crew members was finally solved last year. A landowner led historians to the scene of the plane wreck, after telling them he'd come upon it when he was 12, just days after the bomber had crashed. A German forensic team undertook a painstaking search of the wreckage to identify three sets of remains.

The unidentified remains of the fourth airman, who was found and buried soon after the crash, could then be accepted as Flight Sergeant Richard Hawthorn.

It's satisfaction and pleasure that we found missing persons and that the relatives of the missing airmen knows now where they lie. BUGLE PLAYS That comfort is something the Defence Force says it owes the loved ones of men who made the ultimate sacrifice. Where we can find those missing airmen, soldiers, sailors and identify them, then, yes, we will continue to provide full military honours. BUGLE PLAYS AGAIN The sentiment is warmly appreciated by the families of the Lancaster crew who say they're relieved to know their loved ones now rest in peace. Kirsten Aiken, ABC News, Hanover. Tired and emotional they may be, but that hasn't stopped England's cricketers leading from the front as celebrations to mark their Ashes victory went into overdrive. Tens of thousands of ecstatic supporters packed central London to cheer their heroes after what many said was the sweetest victory of all. The capital opened its heart to a group of cricketers most would barely have recognised two months ago. CROWD CHANTS Trafalgar Square is revered and reserved for historic occasions and only a unique sporting victory can unite the country in this way. The side that brought Ashes home has a self-belief usually seen in their opposition.

I think we believed at the beginning of the summer that we could win. And we won 1-0 down and I think the strength of the team is the character shown when the challenge was set upon them. And the players had clearly imbibed the spirit of victory. I've not been to bed yet.

Behind these glasses there's a thousand stories.

this has captured the imagination of a country and they've done it by defeating the country they love to beat. The open-top bus that brought them through the streets to Trafalgar Square

is an honour usually reserved for football teams,

this time both the men's and the women's cricket teams celebrated victory over a country seen as unbeatable for so long. At the end of day you play cricket to be the best at what you do. And to play Australia - they're the best team in the world. To beat Australia - nobody's won the Ashes for 20 years. There's some great names not won the Ashes in English cricket. There's 12 blokes on this bus who can say they won the Ashes

and at the end of the day, that means everything to me. Only a victory like this could see sportsmen in such a state welcomed so warmly by the Prime Minister. The last act of the day - a ceremonial return of the Ashes urn to its home at Lord's. Rafael Epstein, ABC News, London. Now, a reminder of tonight's top story. The Senate set to rubber-stamp the full sale of Telstra. And still to come, can Labor keep Marrickville in Saturday's by-election? Police have recovered the body of a Sydney man missing at Thredbo since the weekend. Police divers found the body of 27-year-old Adrian Arregin this afternoon in the Thredbo River at the base of Crackenback Ridge. He'd been missing since the early hours of Sunday morning when he was seen leaving a hotel in Thredbo Village.

Police believe Mr Arregin fell into the river while walking back to his accommodation. Four men are being questioned over the alleged gang rape of a young teenage girl in Sydney's west.

Police say the girl was sexually assaulted in a playground at Blacktown. They say the alleged attack happened at around 2:00 this afternoon. State Labor faces three by-elections this Saturday and it's spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt's bid to win the seat considered the most vulnerable. Marrickville, in Sydney's inner-west, has generally been considered a safe bet for Labor in the past, but not anymore. The social demographic is changing and at the last election the Greens pushed the ALP to preferences. Carmel Tebbutt quit the upper house last month to contest the lower house seat vacated by Andrew Refshauge. This week she found the streets of Marrickville to be just as robust as question time. I just wonder what you represent? You know, property developers? The fear of a traditional anti-government swing

has sent the Labor Party machine into overdrive. While the Greens have produced two newsletters, the letter boxes of Marrickville have been stuffed by a forest of Labor literature. I think it's an opportunity for people to find out what I stand for. A lot of people are sort of overwhelmed and getting angry about it. Sam Byrne is relying on his profile as the deputy mayor of Marrickville to snare extra votes. This Government has failed us. It has failed us on the trains, it has failed us on the environment. Carmel Tebbutt says she has pledged to quit politics if she loses, but doesn't think that will happen. We're in government and we can make a difference. Labor holds a 10% margin over the Greens. But traditional Labor voting communities are leaving the area. Now the Greek community is only about 6% of the population - at one stage it used to be 15%. And like I said, we've got a lot of young executives moving into the area a lot of business people, a lot of artist people coming to the area now. Marrickville should be a safe Labor seat, but the party is only confident of, at best, a narrow victory. The Greens believe that the absence of a Liberal candidate has already put them in striking distance. David Spicer, ABC News, Marrickville. And tomorrow night,

we'll look at another by-election seat - in Sydney's outer west. Macquarie Fields, have been reinstated. two NSW parole officers from their jobs, Just weeks after being stood down

were blamed The officers from Murwillumbah Commissioner and the Government by the Corrective Services for approving the transfer from WA Otto Darcy Searle. of convicted paedophile If they've done nothing wrong, return to their job, then...then they and that's entirely appropriate, tightening and will be tightened. but the procedure does need will work under supervision. The Premier says the officers The Opposition says

they were scapegoats their early reinstatement proves Government's incompetence. to distract from the Andrew Peacock Former federal Liberal leader has been convicted of drink driving and banned from holding a licence for six months. It was a humiliating walk for the one-time prime ministerial aspirant - leaving court with a criminal conviction. I really regret this, I really do.

There's very few things in my life, I've regretted as much. in fact there's nothing else In the early hours of August 21,

of his Mercedes Andrew Peacock was behind the wheel

to this Sydney service station when he missed the driveway and hit the nearby light pole. for a breath test 11 times, Police allege he refused a request a reading of .08. before eventually registering fined him $650 Magistrate Lee Gilmour

and ordered him to pay costs. with someone else behind the wheel. He left the court in a hired car To finance now, heavy falls on Wall Street and the local share market defied overnight today. to surge to a new record high Alan Kohler has the details. quite sharply, US stocks were sold off as you've just been hearing about - for much the same reasons concerns about consumer spending because of petrol prices. A consumer sentiment index in America came out that showed a sharp drop - just as in Australia - and bond prices rose and stocks fell

as investors got an attack of nerves. The Dow Jones closed nearly 1% lower. In Australia, we don't have bonds -

or at least not many - investors buy banks, so when they're worried which they did today, to a new record high. sending the All Ordinaries the safest bank at the moment, Westpac, which is seen as went up the most - 1.5%. of bargain hunting, rising 2 cents, And Telstra attracted a smattering Zinifex fell 2.5%. while among the mining companies,

the differences And perhaps to further reinforce and American markets, between the Australian Northwest, the airline that's based in Detroit, overnight tipped close to bankruptcy of $42 million for some planes, when it missed a payment down 50%. and the shares collapsed - Meanwhile, Down Under, Qantas shares jumped 1.8%. In Asia today, the Korean market jumped more than 1%, while in Japan there was some profit-taking. Apart from consumer sentiment, which you've already seen,

was housing starts for the June quarter. There was quite a bounce for both houses and units, are still well down but both categories when looked at over the year. And finally, is almost exactly steady the Australian dollar last night. compared to where it was And that's finance. 2-1 win in the Ashes, While the English celebrate their are trickling home the Australian cricketers to face their critics. fast bowler Dennis Lillee Already, former Australian Ricky Ponting to be axed is calling for captain and replaced by Shane Warne. Here's Peter Wilkins. front-foot attack In the first real on Australia's beaten Ashes team, the head of Ricky Ponting Dennis Lillee calling for in favour of Shane Warne saying: First home to face the music and vice-captain Adam Gilchrist. were Justin Langer I'd be really disappointed public slanging match if this turns into some sort of leading the team. over who should be or shouldn't be captain and will continue to be so. Ricky's been an outstanding He has the whole team's backing. respect for Ricky Ponting. I have absolutely the highest cricket brain. He's got an outstanding in the Ashes post-mortem One point for debate or England's excellence is whether Australia's form was the key factor. I'm sure say A couple of the Australians they've underperformed, as well as we've allowed them to. but I think they've performed There can be so much analysis of it. didn't play our best cricket At the end of the day I'm certain we opposition. but we also come against a tough several points closer, England's Ashes win has drawn it in the world rankings. but still behind Australia But that's little consolation its new-found glory. as England revels in To beat Australia is one thing, for four consecutive games, but to actually outplay them session after session... or an 18-carat gold replica? Is it the real thing, NSW says it's genuine. A car dealer on the north coast of Phar Lap's 1930 Melbourne Cup ending up on his desk in the normal course of business. Traded it in for a motor car. Despite some apparently authentic markings, more than a million dollars and a value of which legend says was melted down if it's the cup the Victoria Racing Club says that it's the missing cup. it's long odds Well, I think one of the reasons authenticated weren't that keen want it why the Victorians the thought is because they didn't like of a NSW car dealer having it!

invitation for authentication, The next step to accept the VRC's or a red face. and for a rich pay day been one for the faint-hearted. A career on the stage has never But the Sydney Theatre Company for the unemployed thespian - has struck a blow it's named an ensemble of actors for the next two years. who have now got guaranteed work They're some of the happiest actors in Australia. In a business that can be tough to crack and even tougher to survive in,

a permanent job is virtually unheard of. But the Sydney Theatre Company has just hired 10 full-time actors - the only full-time ensemble in Australia. I just thought this is a perfect job to be a part of,

much a dream job for an actor to be part of an ensemble is pretty and to be part of the STC - about being part of it all. so, I'm so overjoyed a chance to develop as an actor, Deborah Mailman says it's and larger scale productions. enjoy longer rehearsal times a long-time dream A full-time ensemble has been for director Robyn Nevin, ongoing relationship with audiences. who hopes it'll create a closer favourite chamber music ensemble, You know, the best analogy is your or footy team, cricket team, team at the moment. maybe not the Australian cricket

Peter Carroll, For Helpmann Award-winning actor from the grind of auditions. guaranteed work is a welcome break It's always swings and roundabouts, but I'm very glad to be part of this particular swing, I must say. The ensemble will perform three productions next year.

Oscar McLaren, ABC News. To the weather now, and Mike Bailey, some warmer temperatures on the way? Lifting a little ahead of rain on Friday, Felicity. Good evening - some cloud patches today, but not much rain across the State. There was none in Sydney, where temperatures went from 12 to 21 degrees - 1 above average. with both figures

22 this afternoon at Penrith Only a little rain Not much around the nation either Cloud across NSW Trough active over inland Lead to rain on Friday

tomorrow showers in Melbourne, Hobart Showers in SE corner and in the west Sydney dry and sunny tomorrow Further shower on Saturday Thanks, Mike. Before we go, a recap of tonight's top stories. The Senate has approved the full sale of Telstra, with the Nationals' Barnaby Joyce delivering the Government his crucial vote. Consumer confidence has taken a dive. Economists are pointing the finger at rising petrol prices. And Australia's cricketers have returned home

to face an inquest into what went wrong on the Ashes tour of England. And that's ABC News this Wednesday. I'm Felicity Davey. I'll be back with news updates and 'Lateline' tonight is on at 10:30pm. For now, goodnight.