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Tonight - Spanish tragedy,

150 holiday-makers killed. A

major bank to pass on any

interest rate cut. This decision throws down the challenge to all the other

banks. Rhythm kink, Usain Bolt double-header. I don't know how

to explain it, I'm happy. Paul

Keating finally throws the

switch to Vaudeville.

Good evening Juanita Phillips

with ABC News. Most of them

were on holidays, jetting out

from Madrid for some fun in the

sun. They barely got off the

ground. More than 150 people

died when their Spanair flight

crashed on take-off, just 19

people survived. It was

Europe's worst air disaster in

more than 20 years, investigators say engine

failure is the likely

cause. Thick plumes of smoke

billowed above the wreckage of

Spanair Flight 5222 a grim line

of vehicles rushing to the

scheme as 300 firefighters,

paramedics, police officers,

tried to rescue survivors.

TRANSLATION: At the stage it's

a confusing picture. A plane

seems to have a problem and has

fallen to the ground. There

are many injured. Helicopters

were called in to dump water on

the burning fuselage. Packed

with holiday-makers the Spanair

flight was bound for Los in the

Canary Islands. It -- for Las

Palmas in the Canary Islands.

It came down from take-off,

swerving off the runway,

bursting into flames, crashing

into a field. The black-scorched earth evidence

of the blaze. The plane carried

166 passengers, and six crew

members, more than 150 people

died, while 20 survived the

impact of the crash. Many

suffering from severe burns.

The plane had earlier attempted

to take off, but returned to

the terminal with technical

problems, an hour later it made

a second take-off attempt. In

Las Palmas distraught relatives

were left waiting for news. We

are extremely sorry, and our

thought are with the families,

we'll do everything we can to

support them. The McDonnell

Douglas is one of the older

planes in service, it's slowly

being phased out. Last year a

MD-82 crashed in Thailand, 90

dying. Investigators searched

for clues into the cause of

this crash three days of

national mourning have been

declared in Spain. One of

Australia's biggest banks has

caved in to weeks of pressure

and promised to hand on any

caught in the official interest

rate. The Reserve Bank has been

hinting it may be about to

deliver mortgage relief.

Today's announcement by the NAB

puts the weight on other banks

to tollo. A man with a

cutthroat razor can be

persuasive. A basher turned

around and said, "Do you think

there's a chance we'll get a

rate cut". The Reserve Bank

looks set to cut the cash rate,

it and the Government are worried the commercial banks

wouldn't pass it on. One says

it will. NAB will be pleased to

announce a cut in interest

rates along the lines of the

Reserve Bank if they were to do

so in September. That's a good start I wish the other banks

would follow, I expect the

other banks to follow. To the

others are being coy. The

Commonwealth says it will pass

on as much as we can, the ANZ

will move if lower short term

funding costs can be sustained.

Westpac says it would love to,

but will have to look at all

the financial factors, and St George will look at the

environment at the time. The National says the environment

is good. Over the last 2-3

weeks there's been a

substantial fall in the price

of money. There is a caveat.

The National says it will pass

on a quarter of a percent cut

but the reserve could go

higher. On the offchance they

do 50 basis points we'll see how the market reacts and the

money market. A partial vingtry

for the Government on one Head

-- victory for the Government.

Business reacted to the carbon

reduction system and doesn't

likeway it sees, saying cut

downmany businesses. I don't

believe for one moment that the

Government wants to see the

businesses damaged to the point

that they leave Australia. The

council wants a low target or a

low carbon price until there's

a worldwide system. We cannot cure this problem ourselves, we

are a miniscule part. A problem

that looms large for the

Government. Pacific leaders

take a hardline against Fiji's

military ruler. Meeting in

Niue, the forum delivered an

ultimatum to Frank Bainimarama,

if he doesn't hold elections by

March the forum is threatening

to suspend Fiji. I think the

feeling across Pacific Island

leaders at present is they've

had it up to here with this

guy, I mean this guy has been

given 18 months since coup date

to now to honour a

commitment. The Pacific Forum

is considering a special

meeting at the end of the year

to keep pressure on the Fijian

leader. The sale of the State's

power assets jumped a hurdle

with the Auditor General

lending his support to the sell

multibillion privatise igs off. The future of the

rests with the opposition who

refuses to reveal how it will

vote. It prompted the Premier

to challenge Barry O'Farrell to

show ticker. Barry O'Farrell

had a glancing look at the

report for the cameras, when it

comes to a respond the opposition is playing hard to

get. We'll have made a decision

by the time we have to

vote. It's a bit like if a

family wants to sell the family

home and use the money to buy

an expensive overseas holiday

or a winebago or something like

that. The Auditor General largely signed off on the

Government's proposal, he has

advised finetuning, such as

setting a reserve price and

says that any uncertainty about

the sale should be removed as

soon as possible. Any sale

certainty is better sooner

rather than later. The report

was one of the terms laid out

by Coalition leaders this year

when Barry O'Farrell made this commitment. If these conditions

are met it has our

support. Morris Iemma says now

the conditions have been met. It's time for the Opposition

Leader to speak up. He has to

show the ticker to make the decisions for the people of

NSW, it's time that he comes

clean. The suspense is killing

business leaders and the

unions. Very a sought advice,

they've received it, we know

it's in their genetic make-up.

Barry O'Farrell needs to step

up, stop sticking his head in

reports, impact statements and

go to the electorate and listen

to the people of NSW. The

opposition may not declare its

intentions until the sale goes

to a vote in Parliament. That

won't happen until the end of

September. The Premier left the

way open to call an early

session of Parliament and deal

with the matter in the next

couple of weeks. Qantas is

still flying high despite a

spate of mishaps and turbulent

oil prices the airline

announcing a record $970

million profit for the year. It

denied putting the bottom line

before safety or the interests

of passengers. Qantas can't

seem to take a trick at the

moment the Flying Kangaroo's

record profit announcement

coming on the same day as the

Madrid airline disaster, Qantas

is sensitive about its own

recent safety record. Some

people may be concerned that we

have taken our eye off the ball. Geoff Dixon should have

been trumpeting the airlines

bottom line but images like

this means safety was a

dominant issue for him and his

successor. The reputation of

the company is No.1 for Geoff

and me. The airline revealed

the jumbo damaged in Asia will

be in the air in nof. Qantas

achieved a -- in November.

Squant as achieved a profit of

$970 million where others are struggling, lifting fares,

slashing costs to do it. Geoff

Dixon denied suggestions that

shareholders are ahead of

customers and staff. We put

prices where we believe we need

to because of the increasing

cost of oil. That's not an

unreasonable thing in any business anywhere in the

world. It was a year in

quarters, the final quarter was

more difficult. What that means

is they are seeing softening

this terms of demand in leisure markets, and the business

market in Australia appears to

be holding up. Despite the

price of oil dramatically

falling in recent weeks Qantas

says there's no chance ticket

prices will come down in the

near future. Well, up until now

it seemed that Michael Phelps

was the king of these Olympics,

but like a bolt from the blue another extraordinary athlete

has come along and snatched the

crown. Jamaican spranter Usain

Bolt did last night what many

thought was impossible powering

to Victoria in the 200m and

into the history books,

breaking Michael Johnson 12

year record, becoming the first

man since Carl Lewis to take gold in the sprint double. Lisa

Millar is in Beijing. He's the

showman of these games with the

talent to match. After Le

writing the record books Usain

Bolt wanted to have fun. It

wasn't a question of if he'd

win, but how much. He raced

after Michael Johnson's world

record untouched sips 199 of.

-- 1996. There was no-showing

off this time, he crossed the

line taking 0.2 of a second off

Johnson's mark. He's the first

man to win the 100m and 200m double since Carl Lewis in

1984. We improve every day

faster and faster, we will

continue. Jamaica's time is

now. We are wondering what they

are feeding the Jamaicans, they

are superior, they did a

terrific job. Another

Australian Medal hope was

knocked out when Craig Mottram

didn't get past the heat of the

5,000m. That's the sport the

brutality, and unfortunately

it's not meant to be. And it

came down to Steve Hooker's

last attempt to secure a place

in the pole vault final. Ukraine's Lyudmila

Blonska is the latest athlete

to fail tough drug tests, a

positive result has put her

heptathlon silver medal in

jeopardy. The gatest challenge

the athletes are facing is the

weather. First it was the smog,

then the searing temperatures,

now it's the rain. Several

events have had to be

postponed, playing havoc with

the Olympic schedule. With a

few days remaining it didn't

deter the crowds. Australia has

continued its successful

sailing regatta with Darren

Bundock and Glen Ashby

collecting a medal in the

tornado class. To win the goad

Australia needed to finish two

places ahead of Spain, in

testing conditions, a poor

start proved costly, and Darren

Bundock, and Glen Ashby

couldn't narrow the gap. Great

Britain won from Canada,

Spain's fourth placing sealed

the gold. Australia trailled

the Spaniards across the

line. Two gold. And a silver

for the Aussies. The tornado class made its farewell appearance at the

Olympics. Softball hasn't been

included for the next Olympics,

this was a compelling pitch for its reinstatement for future

games. Australia and Japan

slugged it out for five extra

innings before Japan moved into

the gold medal play-off against

the United

States. Entertainment plus,

bring it back for 2016. I know

there's a lot of support for

softball, and so we will

certainly be including it in

the high performance

planning. Kerry Wyborn home run

at the top of the 7th keeping

Australia notice

context. Playing their second

game of the day the Australians

showed signs of fatigue and had

to be content with the bronze.

The first up loss to Croatia

proved costly for Australia's

men's basketball team leading

to a shoot-out with gold medal

favourites the United States,

only one result was likely.

Patrick Mills scored #20rks the

Boomers played well in the

first half before the Americans

won 116-85. Kobe Bryant hitting

a game high 25 points, it's not

all doom and gloom for the

Boomers. I think we have a

bright future for the worlds

and the next Olympics coming

up, we have a nice base. USA

play Argentina in the

semifinals. Australia's Ky

Hurst was among the leading

groups for long periods of the

men's open water swim.

Britain's David Davies two time

world champion Thomas Lurz

looked likely to fight out the

finish, but were overpowered by

leukaemia Dutchman Maarten van

der Weie, jden the appear --

Weijden. It's been a golden

Games for China's athletes,

it's the performance of their

authorities that is questioned.

This time it's over the harsh

treatment of two Beijing

grandmothers, their offence to

embarass the Chinese Government

by asking permission to

demonstrate in one of the

so-called Olympic protest

parks. As China correspondent

Stephen McDonell reports, it

cost them dearly. These two

rabble rowsers are a threat to

public security. That's the

view of the Chinese authorities

who sentenced them to a year's

re-education through labour for

trying to protest during the

Olympic Games.

TRANSLATION: They are afraid

the two of us will go and demonstrate. That's why they gave us this one year

sentence. To make way for a new

Beijing housing development,

the women were forced out of

their old homes. When

79-year-old Wu Dianyuan and her

neighbour 77-year-old Wang

Xiuying heard about official

Olympic protest venues they

applied to demonstrate about

their relocation. Wu's second

Li Xue Hui couldn't believe it

when the 70-year-old

grandmothers were not only

denied permission but given a

re-education sentence to be

served at home detention.

TRANSLATION: From when they

were young they lived offer

there, of course they want to

go back, they go back there in

their dreams. The police ring

while we are visiting and warn

that they are making it worse

by talking to us. Outside a

security camera watches their

movements. If they'd been allowed to demonstrate they

would have come to this or one

of two other specially

designated protest parks, but

there's been not one protest at

the so-called protest parks

despite dozens of applications leading human rights groups to

say the idea is a sham to give

the impression of tolerance

during the Olympic Games. Security officials refused

their request for an interview.

These women must rrp to police

regularly and -- report to

police regularly and can't

leave their Beijing suburb

without prnls, if they cause

trouble permission, if they

cause trouble they'll be sent

to a labour camp. A Sydney vet working in south-east

Queensland died from the Hendra

virus. Ben Cuneen caught the

disease last month from horses

at the Redlands Veterinary

Clinic in Brisbane's east. The

33-year-old vet had been in

intensive care for more than

four weeks. He's been in and

around our place for a long

time, it's a devastating

tragedy to have something like

this happen. A vet nurse from

the clinic, who had the virus

was released from Hospital

Tuesday. Dr Cune, this is the

third to die from the Hendra

virus since discovered in

1994. The fate of an abandoned

baby whale in Sydney's

Pittwater has been decided. Authorities say they have no

option but to put it down.

Animal activists are angry

saying not enough was done to

save the calf and there are

claims it may be illegal to

destroy the whale. The young

whale's condition is so bad

authorities say they are left

with no choice. Our primary aim

is to make sure the animal is

not stressed or suffering more than it absolutely has

to. After a visit this

afternoon from a Sea World vet

comes the announcement the baby

humpback will be put down. We

think our appropriate response

is to get the best advice from Australia's leading vets and scientists. They are saying,

"Look, you are reaching the end

of the ride". There are

concerns euthanasia may be

illegal under Australia's

maritime laws. Any killing of a

whale within Australian waters

about would be subject to international attention given

the strong position Australia

has taken on the protection and

conservation of chaels. This

afternoon a whale whisperer

tried to offer un conventional

relief. He wants to get out in

the ocean. Tempers were running

high with activists accusing

officials of inaction. You guys

have been dabbling this crap

for three days, mate the

Rangers are talking

crap Enthusiasts offered

solution on how to feed the

humpback. Authorities wouldn't

let them try for fear of a

fatal aledger irk reaction. Not

enough is done, it's a

disgrace. Authorities will use

an overdose of anaesthetic. The west doesn't know whether the

Russians are coming or going.

The Kremlin says undered

cease-fire it's allowed to keep

troops in part of neighbouring

Georgia, while it's keen to

show some troops pulling out

others are seen moving in.

Scott Bevan was taken on a tour

of Georgian provinces under

Russian control. To the Russian

forces the pulling back of this

unit from the heart of Georgia

was not only a military

exercise but a media event.

Journalists had been bussed in from Southern Russia through

South Ossetia to a clearing by

the main road to the Georgian

capital of Tbilisi, 55km away.

There we watched 60 young men

dash to the armoured vehicles

and with a bang drive off. In

the nearby town of Gori, which

is still hemmed in by Russian

roadblocks there was a scramble

for bread. For the residents

who are slowly returning to

their isolated town, food is

not the only thing hard to come

by. So is information about the

Russian forces intentions ,

"To achieve piece they say

they'll withdraw". It's been

agreed to that they go, they've

stayed so far. The Russian

military spokesman defended the

time taken saying a lot of

logistics have to be dealt with

before a withdrawal happens.

TRANSLATION: You have to take

into consideration how busy the

road is, there's a lot of

traffic coming from the Russian

side with humanitarian aid,

building materials for

civilians. Some of which can be

seen distributed in the battle

scarred South Ossetia capital

Tskhinvali, there's a stream of

military traffic coming across

the border from Russia to South

Ossetia, they are planning to

set up checkpoints on Georgian

soil in a buffer sewn along the

South Ossetian border. For all

the show of withdrawing troops

some Russian soldiers are

staying put in Georgia for the

foreseeable future.

And US relations with Russia

are under more pressure over

plans to build a missile

defence base in pole and. US

Secretary of State and her

Polish counterpart signed the

deal yesterday. Washington says

it will be a deterrent to rogue

states like Iran, but Russia

says the aim is to weaken Moscow. Missile defence, of

course, is aimed at no-one. It

is in our defence that we do

this. But I am very pleased

that we have been able to achieve this

accomplishment. The US has

signed a similar agreement with

the Czech Republic, wanting the

missile defence sites to be up

and running within four

years. More than 400 people

will be sacked at Broken Hill's

major lead and zinc mine. The

company Perilya says low metal

prices mean it has to slash the

work force by more than half.

All 440 workers that lose their jobs will get full

entitlements. Perilya will slash zinc production in half

and wait for a rebounding

commodities before getting back

to full operation. As a result

of the downsizing we'll reduce

the work force from 760 to 320

individuals. But it sets the

operation up to be - remain

viable and sustainable going

forward. In Hobart 160 Cadbury

workers will lose their job,

the company planning to spend

$50 million upgrading their plant to make block chocolate

only. On to finance, concerns

about the banks dragged the

local share market 1% lower.

Here is Alan Kohler. There are

two reasons investors were down

on the banks, first NAB's

commitment to cut its mortgage

bank by the same as the Reserve

Bank next month pleasing

borrowers, not the shareholders, cutting their

price 2%. The others follow.

The other is the turmoil at Babcock & Brown, this group as

a whole, including satellite

funds has total dat of $50

billion, never -- debt of $50

billion never before has a

group with this much debt got

into trouble. Loans are with

the overseas banks, Australia

is well represented. Babcock &

Brown tried to turn around

market sentiment removing

chairman and chief executive

sacking 400 staff and

confessing to a loss, it didn't

work, shares falling 35%, down

90%, here is a graph of the

share prices of Babcock &

Brown, and the firm it emulated

Macquarie Bank. They are not

too flash, down 35%, that's how much Babcock & Brown fell

today. Other results included

Wesfarmers, including Coles.

Profit less than expected. Down

5%. Qantas had a 44% lift in

profit, the shares going

against the trend. Stocks on

Wall Street closing higher, it

was a rocky session, shares in

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fell

30% each. The rest of the

market was despond dent but

buoyed by the realisation that

the Government would bail them

out. Which would be good.

That's finance. It was the show

Australia had to have. 'Keating

The Musical' is closing this

month after touring the country

for two years, and the pundits

are scratching their heads

about how it became a hit in

the first place.

This souffle didn't rise once

or twice, but 440 times during

two years of performances. While Keating the

politician was sent packing

'Keating The Musical' has been

packed to the rafters. The

musical soap opera co-starring

Bob hawk, a fish-net clat

Alexander Downer, a lovelorn

Cheryl Kernot, and a tracksuit

clad John Howard has been a

surprise hit.

# I've got the tickets on myself #

In the audience last night

the man himself enjoying his

performance for a sixth

time. He's been that many times

he's like an annoying

groupie. Like a dog returning

to its vomit he can't

resist. The boys play I come as

well. It's hardly pergatory out there.

# I want to do you slowly #

The creators of Keating say

it's a hit because the material

is so good. I would have

thought Paul Keating, more than

half of the electorate would

have at some stage considered themselves having sex with this

Prime Minister. That would be

maybe most of the women and a

few of the men. At the end of

the night the real Paul Keating

was asked to flick the switch

to Vaudeville. He may have sex

appeal, but as a dancer, he

makes a good politician. Time

for the weather now, and we are

waiting with some dread for the

cold front to hit. It will bite

hard. It should be over in a

short period of time. That's

the same story for Beijing's

rain. Despite today's rain

pollution levels above the

World Health Organisation goal

of 50. A clear, sunny and humid

day for Friday, a top of 31.

Dry and warm forecast expected over the over the weekend.

It was mild although cloudy

in Sydney, temperatures ranging

from 19-21. That will come it a

halt at 4:00am in the morning

when the southerly change in

cold outbreak arrives in the

city. The change moved into the

south and west of the State

today, but across the north it

was generally dry with a bit of

smoke haze about the North

Coast light showers develop

engine the south-west with thunderstorms at Broken Hill

and Ivanhoe, temperatures

falling to single digits behind

the front. No rain to 9:00. Thunderstorms producing the

only registration to 3pm rain

was heavy at times in

Melbourne. 11mm fell. The

temperature was below 10

degrees from 8am this morning.

It was a chilly one, and those

temperatures staying in single

digits through the day. The

speckled cloud south of NSW is

very cold air. It contains

thunderstorms with hail,

widespread showers and snow to

fairly low levels. The front

moving to the north-east of the

state during the day with a low

developing off the Central

Coast the low strengthening the

winds along the coast during

the afternoon, 10-20mm is

possible along the coastal

fringe between the hunter and

Illawarra. Less than 5mm

inland. Cold and shaury in the

south-eastern cities -- rain

and mild in Brisbane. A strong

wind warning for the northern

coast, cold to cold and gusty

southerly wind change. Showers

in the eastern half,

thunderstorms and small hail

possible, snow about the higher parts of the central ranges,

down to 800m in the southern

ranges. Isolated showers clearing from the inland during

the morning. Cold and cloudy,

chance of showers,

thunderstorms, small hail and

tops of 14. We have a gale

warning for coastal waters

south of broken bay and a

strong wind warning for the

harbour, Botany Bay and Pittwater. Improving Saturday,

clearing showers, sunshine

returning Sunday. Tonight's top

stories investigators are

trying to work out what caused

a Spanish plane to break up in

flames as it took off. 153

people were killed. The Federal Government Treasurer says other

banks should fallow the NAB's

promise to passt pass on future

interest rate cuts. That's ABC

News for Thursday. We'll leave

you with the Utopia exhibition

of Aboriginal art now at the

National Museum after a

successful showing in Japan. Goodnight.

# Our Don Bradman #

Tonight on the '7.30 Report',

the centenary of Sir Don

Bradman's birth. The anonymous

new owner restoring the boyhood home to its original

condition. This house will be

in the hands of someone that

desperately loves cricket.

Welcome to the program. That

story later in the program.

First to the near collapse of

one of Australia's most

prestigious investment banks,

the large Australian investment

conglomerate Babcock & Brown

announced its chairman and

Chief Executive stepped down

following a collapse in the

share price amid growing

investor concerns over its