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Live. Tonight an athlete

killed just hours before the

Olympics Opening Ceremony.

He had the dream to

participate in the Olympic

Games. He trained hard and he

had this fatal accident. I

have no words to say what we

feel. Once in a decade heavy

rains swamp Sydney. Another

problem with the Government's

insulation program. And for

Europe the tiger threatens

the big cat's survival. Good

Jeremy Fernandez with ABC evening. Good evening.

News - The Vancouver Winter

Olympics have officially

opened but the celebrations

have been marred by the

tragic death of a young

Georgian athlete on the luge

track. The 21-year-old

smashed into a metal girder

at more than 140 km/h. His death devastating the

Olympics family. Nodar

Kumaritashvili had been down

the track five times already.

On his sixth and final run he

flew off at high-speed over

the outside wall slamming

into a metal girder. He was

airlifted out immediately but

died in hospital from massive

injuries. There will be an investigation and it is not

clear if the event will be

affected. The Games president

was clearly devastated.

Sorry it is a bit difficult

to remain composed. This is a

very sad day. Other athletes

had already raised concerns about the speed of the track

considered one of the fastest

in the world. The accident

came just hours before the

Opening Ceremony where there

was both celebration and

mourning. The Georgian's team-mates wore black armbands so did the

Australians who entered to

big cheer from the crowd.

But the biggest roar was for

the Canadians who hosted the

Games twice before and missed

out on gold both times. This

Olympics they are determined

to own the podium. I declare

open the Games of Vancouver.

There was a minute's silence

and the flags flew at half

mast and then an unplanned

hydraulic Hick up to the

lighting of the 'Cauldron'.

Only three of the four

pillars rose on cue leaving

an embarrassing pause. There

should have been four prongs,

one has malfunctioned. Finally the

Olympics flame was lit. It

will light these Olympics for

the next two weeks but it

will not be able to erase the

shadow that has marked the

first hours of the Games.

Sydney has had one of its

biggest downpours of the last

consecutive weekend there 10 years. For the second

have been more than 1000

calls to merge services and

forecasters say more heavy

fall are predicted for

tonight and tomorrow and could trigger flooding in

parts of the state that were

inundate add month ago. Is

lucky no-one was injured but

it may not be a good omen for

the Sydney Swans. When the

ceiling collapsed at the club

in Kings Cross it triggered

the sprinkler system next

door. It was an early toned

the night for patrons. It is

another call for a crazy

night inside any. The

heaviest falls were in the

city's north. Hornsby and

Longreach received 90

millimetres, Mona Vale 80

millimetres. There were

severe storms in the Blue

Mountains A truck driver died

when his tanker left the

highway and rolled down an

embankment into a creek.

Prior to the accident there

was a heavy downpour of

rain. Today emergency crews were stretched dealing with

fallen trees and broken

roofs. Crew are starting to

get a bit tired. U is a constant thing at the moment

it seems to be different

areas are being hit, northern

Sydney and parts of eastern

Sydney last week. It just

happened to be our turn this week and hopefully nobody

gets a turn next week! Some

are cleaning up for the

second weekend in a row.

Going through the outside of

the house thousand of litres

of water, over 2 separate

weekend. The water is

running in my place inside so

Iran round the front to close

the door. It was not until

this afternoon power was

restored in the CDB. A

flooded power station blacked

out hundreds of businesses as

well as traffic lights. The

city received 50 millimetres

in an hour. That only happens

once every 5 to 10 years. But

is not over yet. More

torrential rain has been for

cast for tonight and tomorrow

and a severe weather warning

with possible flash floods

has been issued for upper

Western and lower Western

parts of the state including

Broken Hill. We have a very

humid air mass lying across

New South Wales and that air

mass is - has the potential

to Bray lot of rain. There is

a flood watch for the

north-west, central west and

south-east parts of the state

before the storms hit in yesterday's soaring

temperatures a 19-year-old

man went missing inside any's

George's River. Today his

body was recovered. A woman is in a serious condition

after being attacked by a

North Queensland. The shark in the Whitsundays in

60-year-old was snorkeling

off dent island when she was attacked birth the shark

about 1 o'clock. The rescue helicopter through the Airlie

Beach woman from Hamilton

Island to the Mackay Base

Hospital. She was one of five

in the water. She was bitten

and the upper leg and lost

several litres of blood. She

has undergone surgery. He is

believed to be the first

shark attack in the redone

for the last 20 years. The

Environment Minister is under

renewed attack over his

handling of the Government's insulation scheme. There are fresh claims that Peter

Garrett was warned that

important insulation batts

used by some contractors

contained toxic chemicals.

The allegations made public

today coincided with the

funeral of a young labourer

one of four to die installing

insulation in as many months.

Mitchell Sweeney was 22 years

old. He died last week,

electrocuted while installing

insulation on a house near Cairns. His mother blames the

Government for her son's

death and today there were

more claims the Government's multi billion dollar program

could be putting the health

of Australians at risk.

Several Australian insulation

manufacturers wrote to Peter Garrett's department in

November warping that many imported insulation batts

were substandard. One of

their concerns was that the

cheap imports had

unacceptable high levels of

chemicals which accord doing

the Government's web site

Korea lease toxic fumes if

heated. There is a lot of

imported product coming in by

people wanting to make a

quick buck. The legitimate

manufactures are under pressure. But Peter Garrett

says he is still waiting for

proof about the claims. They

have not brought forward any

examples to me or the

defendantment and I encourage

them to do that. We do not

think it is our

responsibility. In normal

circumstances if you see a

crime you report it to a

authorities and you expect

them to act. Peter Garrett

has been under fire because

of his trouble-plagued

insulation program all week.

Every day Mr Rudd protects

this incompetent minister

list own Prime Ministership

is called more into question. But Peter Garrett

says he will not resign and

says he is not to blame for

Mitchell Sweeney's death.

Guilt absolutely not. A

desire to make sure that

people do the right thing

under this program absolutely

yes. The insulation

manufacturers want the scheme

to be slowed down and the

Government to put tougher compliance measures in place.

The US military says Nato

forces and Afghan troops have

begun the biggest offensive

since the Taliban was

overthrow in 2001. Thousand

of US Marines and Afghan Army

soldiers have begun an attack

on Marjah the biggest strict

controlled by insurgents and

a home for opium poppies. It

is the first operation where Afghan troops have played a

key role. We will fight together, see it through

together, Afghans with

allies, soldiers with

civilians, Government with

its people. The offensive is

the first test for the Obama

administration's decision to

send an extra 30,000 sus

troops in a bid to gain the

upper hand. Haiti has begun a

day of morning after the earthquake which killed

230,000. The biggest service

was near the ruined

Presidential Palace where a

huge crowd gathered amid the

tents a shelters by those

made homeless. The time the

quake struck 4.50pm was

marked not with silence but

with exuberance. The Haitian

president made his first

major speech since the

disaster. He praised the

courage and the strength of

the quake survivors. Many of

the early problems with plagued the aid operation

have been overcome but some

areas are not getting enough

help and many survivors have

had to fend for themselves.

It is New Year's Eve for

Chinese people and all over

the world they will Usher in

the Year of the Tiger with

food, fun and plenty of

fireworks. But some conservationists are worried

the coming year could be a

bad one for the tiger. They

fear there could be an

increased of use of tiger

body partsintra- divisional

Chinese medicine a practice

that is now illegal but

continues on the black market

so a new campaign has been

launched to try to protect

the tigers instead. Tonight

Chinese people will say out

with the Year of the Ox in

with the Year of the Tiger

but during this year that

bears the tiger's name there

will be hardly any of them

left in the wild here. In the

north-east there may be only

15 or 20. The main region for

their demise is habitat

destruction. TRANSLATION: A

tiger needs a big territory.

A female tiger with a family

has her fixed territory of 40

500 sq/km. Widespread

logging has led to the

forests disappearing where

thousands of tigers once roamed. Chinese authorities

have tried to help wild

tigers by making it illegal

the hunt the deers and boar

they eat but there are few

prosecutions. For the tiger

conservation the law is quite

enough. The problem is the

law enforcement is very

weak. Animal welfare groups,

scientists and Government

officials are stepping up

public education and also

research work on wild tigers

but there are major

challenges. For generations

tiger body parts have been

usedintra- divisional

medicine. This was outlawed

in 1993 but superstition in

the tiger's special year

could see an increase in

black market demand. Tigers

have played a major role in

China's culture and history.

Conservationists want this

Year of the Tiger to help

protect the animal rather

than endanger it. The goal is

to see many more animals in

the wild by the next tiger

year in just over a decade

rather than them disappearing

altogether. With an election

looming the British Prime

Minister Gordon Brown is

trying to shed his stern

image by taking part in an

unusually revealing interview

on a TV chat show. He spoke

about the frustration he felt

while waiting for Tony

Blair's long reign to end and

opened up about his personal

life speaking emotionally about the at the end of the

day his baby daughter. This

is the more familiar face of

Gordon Brown, serious, policy-focused, dour and

sometimes a little cranky.

Any complaints are death with

in the usual manner! But

perhaps for the upcoming

election in mind the British

Prime Minister agreed to a

chat show appearance where

questions about the personal

and the political might show

a more appealing personality. Starting with his marriage

and proposal to his wife

Sarah. Are you standing

face-to-face holding hand?

Yes. What were the words?

You want to know don't you? I

do! The words were "I want

to get married soon and we

should get married soon... please!". Gordon

please!". Gordon Brown admit

there had been a deal with

Tony Blair about sharing the

Prime Ministership and that

Tony Blair would go first. At

times he conceded the

relationship was fraught but

the most powerful moment came

not discussing politics but

the tragic loss of his first

child Jennifer who died just

10 days old in 2002. We had

a weekend where we just knew

she was not going to survive.

She was baptised and we

were with her and I held her

as she, um, as she died and

it was - you know, Sarah and

I just - we found it very difficult because you know it

was our first child and she

was such a beautiful

baby. The Browns have since

had two boys, Fraser and

John. The State Government

has brushed off a new report

on Sydney's long terms public

transport needs saying it has

its own blueprint for the

city. An 8-month-long inquiry

headed by the transport

expert Ron Christie with the backing ever Fairfax

Newspaper has recommended

making the North-West Rail

Link a top priority and

either scrapping or

postponing the CDB Metro. Ron

Christie's transport strategy

would cost $80 billion and be

funded with higher fares and

taxes on fuel and parking.

The do-nothing approach we

have had in the last 10 years

will simply not work and the

level of congestion,

pollution and emissions that

are now taking place will

seem to be quite mild in a

few years time when we look

back. We are a very vibrant

democracy. People have good

ideas all the time about

transport systems and that is

fair and reasonable there is

nothing wrong with that. He

says the Government has its

own integrated plan for the

city and the Premier will

release it by the end of the

month. Deaf and blind Australians are calling for

equal access to the country's

cinema screens. They say the

expansion of captioning and

audio description into movie

theatres is happening too

slowly. They staged a

nation-wide protest today.

They are unhappy that major

cinema chains have asked for

an exemption on antidiscrim

nation legislation while they

upgrade their theatres. Deaf

and blind Australians turned

out with a simple message.

100% access to cinemas and

kantions. Protest group Action on Cinema Access says

fewer than 1% of movies

screened in Australia have

captions or audio

descriptions. 16-year-old

Miranda Riordan loves horror

films but finds it difficult

to understand what is

happening without captions.

I always feel left out when

my friend talk about the

movies because I have no idea

what is going on. Reason you

want to enjoy a movie with

his 7-year-old daughter. I

want to be involved so we can

share what is going on and

what is being said so I miss

a lot. I would like to see

a LOTE more audio description. Sure reply when

they make a movie they should

be able to put the audio

description on it. Today's

demonstrations come after the

major cinema chains asked for

exemption from the Disability Discrimination Act for 2 and

a half years while they

extend captioning and audio description services. In a

joint submission to the Human Rights Commission Hoyts, Village, Greater Union and

Readings said they proposed

to - increase the number of

screens in cinemas opted by

the applicants capable of delivering captions to 35

over the next 2 and a half

years and provide audio description capability in all

35 screens including a retro

fit of the current 12 cinemas

offering captioning.

Protestors say those

proposals are not nearly

enough. I miss out because 8

to 10 million miss out. The

four cinema chains were unavailable for comment. Australian batsman Michael

Hussey says Australia

probably had enough runs on

the board to beat the Windies inside any last night before

rain stopped play. After the

home side was bowled out for

just 225 the West Indies were

# 6. The West Indies were set

a target of 151 off 24 overs

before the heavens opened

after one ball. West Indian

skipper Chris Gayle says the

one in Sydney could have been

the one that got away. The reduced 24 overs we would

have had a better chance to

win that game. But the game

had gone the full distance

Michael Hussey believed

Australia would have won. We

would have bowled well, it would have been a huge challenge for the Windies to

score the 225 to win. The to

teams meet in the fourth

one-day international at the

Gabba tomorrow. Victoria's

closing in on the first

innings points in the rain-affected Sheffield

Shield clash with New South

Wales at the MCG The Blues

added 10 runs to their score

finishing with 225. Victoria

was 4/213 at stumps. Damien

Wright took 4 wickets.

Victoria made a shaky start

in response. They lost opener

Lloyd Mash for 6 in the

signatures over but a

half-century from McDonald

put the home side on track in

reach for a first-innings

lead. The ACT Brumbies have

kicked off their Super 14

season with a 9-point win

over Western Force. The

Brumbies scored three tries

to nil. The Brumbies were

without star signings Rocky

Elsom and Matt Giteau but

that did not cause trouble as

Ben Alexander opened their attack. COMMENTATOR: There

is the first try for the

Brumbies. Valentine in for to

try. As the Brumbies

continued to build momentum Stever Moore added another for the

visitors. COMMENTATOR: Away

we go again. Veteran Stirling

Mortlock's conversion created

history making him the first

player to score 1000 Super

Rugby point. A lack of

discipline cost to become

business as James O'Connor

kicked the Force back into

the game with four

consecutive penalty goals.

Both teams lacked direction

in the second-half. The Force

pow lacked through injury. A

Brumbies mistake gave

O'Connor a chance to edge in front. COMMENTATOR: That is

the angle, that is the

distance. That is the result.

No! With 10 minutes

remaining Edmondsbury bumped

off O'Connor to seal the

first win of the season for

the Brumbies. COMMENTATOR:

That might be enough for the

Brumbies. Frustrating but

we have 4 point I'm happy. It

is so important for the group

to win a game of footy. We

dogged it out big time, we

were in that contest for a

long time and we did not

throw a lot at them. The

Brumbies new travel the South

Africa while the Force head

the New Zealand the face the

Hurricanes. The Rugby League

trial has got under way last

night with wins the Manly and

the Wests Tigers. Manly took

on Cronulla at slippery Shark

Park where there was some

ill-feeling between the

teams. Josh Perry and Kade

Snowden had disagreement

which left Perry needing

treatment and earned a stint

in the sin bin. Jamie Lyon

had a hand in two tries. In

Mackay Wests Tigers beat

North Queensland 28-4.

Australian soccer's A-League

has the final round showdown

it had hoped for. The

competition's two biggest

clubs the Melbourne Victory

and Sydney FC meet tomorrow

in a clash that will decide

the minor premiership. It

will be a Valentine's Day

meeting without the romance.

The Victory travelled to

Sydney knowing the premiership is on Sydney knowing the premiership is o

the line. The rivalry is

massive and we look forward

to the occasion. I think when

it is a high-pressure tense game maybe things might

happen. Things usually happen when Kevin must skat is

involved. He has made the

trip but will not play due to

suspension P but in Nick

Merger the Victory has a

physical. Experienced

players are unavailable but

they have still good players

and a good squad and smart

coach as well. Sydney has

never finished the regular

season on top of the ladder.

It is the last chance for retiring midfielder Steve

Corica. It is a great

opportunity for us that we

can win stuff this year with

Sydney not to waste it

away. A win for Sydney would

put it in the box seating go

into the A-League finals.

The US challenger 'Oracle'

has taken a 1-nil lead in the

best of three America's Cup

series beating 'Alinghi'

comfortably. The Spanish port

is hosting the race and in a

steady breeze of 8 knots

'Alinghi' lead early before

'Oracle' moved ahead. The

yacht has a wing span that

experts believe could have

been the key to the

win. COMMENTATOR: The BMW

'Oracle' has beaten 'Alinghi'

by over 3500 metres. The

Swiss catamaran had been

forced to complete a penalty

turn around the finish line

which blew out the final

margin considerably. Race 2

is scheduled for tomorrow night. Sydney Harbour is

playing host to a Dutch tall

ship retracing the route taken by Charles Darwin in the 1800s. The clipper left

the UK last September on a

10-month voyage stopping at

many of the same ports from

Darwin's five-year expedition

on the 'Beagle'. Darwin's great-great-granddaughter is

on board along with other

scientists and researchers.

The 'Stad Amsterdam' will

berth at Walsh bay on

Wednesday when it sets sail

for Melbourne. They arrive

from England 70ers ago,

German, Austrian, Italian

wartime refugees who were not

allowed the stay in-principle

because they were considered

a security risk. The 'Dunera

Boys' took their name from a

ship that brought them here.

New a new exhibition at the

National Library is looking

back at that journey and the

achievements of the wartime

visitors. They escaped the

concentration camps but lived

behind barbed wire. Brent was

2 and a half when he joined prisoners on the ship bound

for Sydney and Melbourne. I

cannot get upset, thinking

back I was 17 and when you

are boy of 17 everything is

an adventure. The grandson of

juice in Nazi Germany he fled

to England at 17 only to be

intern ed by the British

Government as an enemy alien.

He endured a dangerous 8-week

voyage to the other side of

the world. They did not know

where they were going. They were told they were getting

out of the country. Within

was clever enough with the

aid of a school Atlas and a

homemade device to work it

they must be going to

Australia. The exhibition

celebrates the extraordinary

creativity shown by the men while interned. Members of

the group painted, gave

lectures, held soirees and

compose add symphony. One man

who taught English to others

took thousands of nets on

camp toilet paper recording

his studies. It says so much

about the scarcity of

resources and importance of

those men not wasting the

time they had behind wire. Mr

Brent was taught English in

the camp. I read Agatha

Christie and remembered the

first few novels coy only

follow half the plot, I could

never find out who killed

whom and why and when but by

the time I left the camp I

could read them. Most of the

boys were finally released in

early 1942. Not put off by

their experiences many chose

the stay in Australia. Time

for a look at the weather. Sydney reached a maximum

temperature of 26 degrees today. North-east New South Wales escaped the downpour

that hit the rest of state.

This program is not subtitled

Our top stories - a

Georgian athlete has been

killed just hours before the

Olympics Opening Ceremony.

The 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili

died in a luge accident.

Forecasters say more heavy

falls are predicted for

tonight and tomorrow and

could trigger floods in parts

of the state. The Environment

Minister is under renewed

attack over the handling of

the Government's new

insulation scheme. There are

fresh claims Peter Garrett

was warned the I'm ported

insulation used by some

contractors was toxic. The

news and current affairs

line-up tomorrow morning on

ABC1 - at 9:00 'Insiders'

with Barrie Cassidy. His

guest is Christopher Pyne the

Manager of Opposition Business in the House of

Representatives. At 10:00 on

'Inside Business' Alan Kohler

interviews the C E O of BH

Billiton Marius Kloppers.

Barrie Cassidy returns at

10.30 with 'Offsiders' a look

at the week in sport and at

11 Jim Middleton hosts

'Asia-Pacific Focus'. That is

the news for now. I will be

back for an update in an hour

and for the latest news 24

hours a day don't forget ABC

Radio and ABC News online.

From the team, goodnight.

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