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ABC News (Sydney) -

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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. Tonight - on the Telstra sale, Barnaby Joyce takes the party line of public service job cuts, the Premier promises thousands with a rising cancer count, doubts that hospitals will cope unfit for the Fourth Test. and Glen McGrath declared Good evening. with ABC News. Felicity Davey of selling Telstra John Howard's decade-long dream is now all but assured. the belated decision The Prime Minister today applauded by key Queensland National Senator Barnaby Joyce to fall into line Government's remaining share and back the sale of the in Telstra. Senator Joyce The Opposition's accused of betraying the bush while the National Farmers Federation says it cannot support his decision. kept John Howard hanging on, Barnaby Joyce may have but he's decided not to hang up. It's an excellent deal. was on the table before we started. People have to acknowledge what And that, he insists, was nothing. to lobby the Queensland Nationals Mark Vaile's dash to Brisbane as well as a chat last night

Bruce Scott with State party president to change his mind. convinced Senator Joyce But, he says, he still needs to be certain will force Telstra that the legislation to take its responsibilities in the bush for basic telephone services more seriously, lip-service to its obligations. arguing the company is only paying in that legislation Obviously, there's not enough teeth

to take it seriously. for Telstra, for one, would mean hefty fines That, he says, to take Telstra's licence away. and the right Senator Joyce will be satisfied, The PM's sure but he's not giving any guarantees. a day at a time, will you? Look, let's just take it I welcome it. He's made a statement - will meet his concerns. I'm sure that the legislation with the PM, Despite their own discussions is far from satsified the National Farmers Federation Senator Joyce has jumped the gun. and fears a very clear message Our constituents are giving us are not up to scratch in the bush. that rural telecommunications

or his change of position - today. We couldn't support his position -

Senator Joyce has been conned. The Opposition thinks the Nationals these days When you brainwash

all you need is a light rinse. Telstra's pleased. I think it's a significant boost in Australia for broadband connectivity and for Telstra in general. Barnaby Joyce acknowledges simply don't want Telstra sold, that many National Party voters but he says the overwhelming view organisation of the Queensland party FOR the $3 billion deal. was that he should vote If it's a choice between the deal and Telstra,

we'll take the deal. if he had held out And, says Senator Joyce, another vote the Government would have found through the Senate. to get the Telstra sale Jim Middleton, ABC News, Canberra. the Defence Department Public servants within

have been disciplined of intelligence over the deliberate cutting-off in East Timor six years ago. to Australian troops serving which lasted for 26 hours, The shut-down,

Lieutenant Colonel Lance Collins, was first revealed by some intelligence assessments who had challenged

in East Timor in 1999. while serving with the Army those responsible should be sacked. The Opposition says What we want to make sure is sent to Afghanistan that our troops that have been won't similarly be at risk turned off. of having their intelligence link

of Intelligence says The Inspector General material in East Timor those relying on the classified should have been told of the decision to sever the link. to promise job cuts It was the Premier's turn today to the State's public service.

4,000 positions could go - Morris Iemma revealed as many as yesterday by the Opposition. well short of the 29,000 promised in outback NSW The Premier began his day his own job. fielding questions about Premier of NSW? How long would you like to be

on the people of NSW. Ha ha ha, well that depends How long they want me. Morris Iemma is less comfortable

jobs he's planning to cut. talking about the public service determined and calm, approach A stable, but nevertheless and duplication and waste to reduce inefficiency

where we find it. 1,000 jobs are to go from health. across the board, And if the formula is applied another 3,000 may go elsewhere, and in media management. particularly in procurement Also going, not to enforce redundancies. the Carr Government's commitment

It's a last resort. That's enraged the union movement. Certainly I'm going to tale that up with the Premier tomorrow. employees from the public payroll The Opposition wants to axe 29,000 to fund tax cuts.

We're in deficit. and he's tinkering at the edges. We're in crisis in NSW

is going to be a vote-winner. John Brogden believes his policy Today, only candidate he presented the Liberal Party's to be held next month. in the three by-elections will contest Macquarie Fields Whistleblowing nurse Nola Fraser in Sydney's south-west.

There are real issues here and this is not about celebrity. I find that a little bit offensive. of the one-time health minister, The Government holds the seat

with a huge majority. Craig Knowles,

he's not afraid of health And the Premier says as an election issue.

Simon Santow, ABC News. landing in Sydney this morning, Qantas says there was no emergency

out of an engine on a Boeing 737. despite reports of flames pouring

of flight 501 from Brisbane The airline says the pilot

to Sydney Airport. felt unusual vibrations on approach as a standard precaution, Qantas says which may have caused some sparks, the jet's left engine was shut down but insists there was no fire. But residents living under the flight path say otherwise. I heard this thunderous sound. It sounded like an engine cutting out. and I looked up and saw a Qantas jet with it's left engine on fire - I could see the orange flames spurting out of the left engine. The airline says engineers are investigating the incident. The survivor of a fatal shark attack off an Adelaide beach has told how he watched his friend try to fight off the shark before it snatched him away. Amid calls for a cull,

the family of marine biologist Jarrod Stebhens says he wouldn't have wanted to see the shark killed. The Adelaide University researchers were diving for cuttlefish eggs on an artificial reef when the shark attacked. I was nudged out of the side and I looked around and just a big white mass and...Jarrod fought it off initially and grabbed his leg and then it came back again and just took him deeper. Two of their colleagues watched in horror from the boat. I saw a tail fin come out of the water

and...a split second after we went, "What is it? Oh, my god." And then a split second after a diver came up and they yelled, 'Help!' The pair managed to pull the survivor to safety.

Pretty lucky. I'm lucky these guys got to me so quickly. But there was no sign of Jarrod Stebhens. He'd made almost 200 dives, pursuing his passion for marine life. Jarrod was doing exactly what he wanted to do when this happened, he loved the sea, loved anything to do with water, boats. The beaches remained open today but chartered dives in the area were cancelled. A massive police search was called off late this afternoon. I can advise that there have been no sharks sighted out there today and I can advise

that no further equipment or debris involved in this incident has been located. It's the second fatal attack off Adelaide's metropolitan coastline in eight months, prompting calls for a cull. But Jarrod Stebhen's family says he'd want the shark to live. He's a marine biologist.

He wouldn't want anything killed like that. The SA Government says the shark won't be hunted unless it comes closer to shore. Rebecca Morse, ABC News, Adelaide. A former West Australian police officer arrested on child sex offences in Thailand could also face related charges in Australia. Christopher Ronald White was arrested at his Bangkok home on Tuesday after a 16-year-old girl told Thai authorities she'd been held captive and abused by the 46-year-old man for three years. The former senior constable is being held at a police station in the northern city of Chiang Mai. Meanwhile, Australian authorities have seized child pornography which had allegedly been sent from Thailand after raids on three Perth properties.

That indicates that we've had an all-round law enforcement approach to this both in Thailand and Australia, demonstrating yet again the very close relationship we have in the region in the fight against child sex tourism. Christopher Ronald White is yet to be charged. The number of people with cancer is expected to jump by a third in the next 10 years, not because the nation is less healthy, but merely because the population is ageing. Medical authorities now fear that as the baby-boomers enter the danger age for cancer, Australian hospitals won't be able to cope. While patients diagnosed with cancer in Australia have some of the best survival rates in the world, a new report shows the number of new cases is on the rise. Because we have got an ageing population, more people are moving into the age groups, the older age groups, like the over 70's, where cancer predominates. A study from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows the number of people diagnosed with cancer is expected to jump by one-third in 10 years - from 88,000 to 115,000. Overall the largest increases will be prostate cancer in men, and breast cancer in women. The number of young women continuing to smoke has health authorities worried. They predict the number of new lung cancer cases in women will increase by almost 40% in 10 years. The report authors say advances in treatment mean that more than 250,000 Australians are now living with cancer.

In 10 years, that figure will exceed 350,000.

We are trying to improve the quality of service to individual patients at the same time as we are being faced with an increasing load of patient numbers. That's going to provide a real demand on services at both levels and that's I think what we've got to plan for. There was some good news - a drop in cervical cancer thanks to Pap screening programs. Sophie Scott, ABC News. Baghdad has experienced some of the worst fighting in months with insurgents attacking police stations and checkpoints in the west of the city. In coordinated assaults, police were hit with car bombs, rockets and gunfire. At least 17 people have been killed. Meanwhile, US President George W. Bush has continued his campaign to bolster support for the war, saying it will prevent terrorist attacks on US soil, but protesters say the deaths of American soldiers can't be justified. We do not have an absolute link between 9/11, Saddam Hussein and Iraq. It is absolutely false and we can't continue to link these things, it's wrong. Despite the campaign to bring the troops home, the US has announced it will increase troop numbers in Iraq, to secure a referendum on the new constitution in October. The British Government has introduced legislation under which foreigners posing a security threat can be deported or excluded. The expanded criteria, covering what's termed unacceptable behaviour, includes provoking and glorifying terrorism. in particular, this country to stop people coming into who could get young people, in particular, to behave in the kind of appalling way we saw in July. Any foreign national who writes, preaches or runs a website that justifies or encourages terrorist acts could be sent home or barred from entering the UK. Several radical Islam clerics could be among the first to be deported under the new rules, drawn up as a direct response to the July 7 terror attacks in London. Europe is bracing for more destructive floods with melting snow and heavy rain likely to push river levels even higher. Many roads and bridges have been swept away or phone contact. Hardest hit is Romania, where the floods have claimed 25 lives. In Switzerland, hundreds of people had to be rescued after their homes were cut off by floodwaters. Elsewhere, residents had to improvise to travel through submerged city squares. Kerry Packer's media and publishing empire has been bruised in its battle for television supremacy. Publishing and Broadcasting Limited today unveiled an annual profit of $480 million dollars - a fall of 28%. James Packer, accompanied by the most important executives in the PBL group, faced the media, but not the cameras. We've got four divisions, three of which are doing very, very well and one of which has had a tough year and we hope to improve. And that one, the Nine Network, dragged the group down. Annual profit fell 28%, while profit for the second half of the year was a little more than $140 million - down 64% on a year ago. Nine Network's costs blew out and income fell

as it fought off a challenge from the rival Seven Network. We've seen the costs increase, but we haven't seen any evidence that with that cost increase that they've suddenly produced ratings winners. Sam Chisholm, who's returned to Nine, promised to preserve the network's leadership, but could not rule out further pain through job cuts. Sure, we are not here saying that Nine is going as well as we would like it to go.

Are we concerned about Nine? Yes. Are we going to work harder in the future on trying to address those issues? Yes. Are we feeling good about our company? Yes. Nine also took a hit from estimated losses on next year's Commonwealth Games coverage and its movies library as people turn to DVDs. The casino business, which accounts for almost half of PBL's income, fared better.

Income was up almost 42%, but even there, the performance was dented by gamblers winning more than expected. Phillip Lasker, ABC News. The Internet giant, Google, appears set to extend its reach into cyberspace. It's opening up a chat service on the web to rival established sites like Yahoo and MSN, but it will also offer a free phone service that's expected to help drive down traditional call costs. Traditional telecommunications companies have always been able to rely on landline phones for a healthy proportion of their profit. That's increasingly under threat, not only from mobiles, but now the Internet. From a technical point of view that the phone call is sent over the Internet traditional phone lines. as opposed to over

Free phone calls over the Internet are being offered like never before and world search engine Google is the latest to offer talk. The downloadable software enables registered Google users to talk, but only to each other. Calls can be made on most PCs equipped with microphones and speakers. Already companies here are offering voice-over Internet phone calls at half the price of fixed line services. Analysts are anticipating

80% of households could make calls over the Internet within the next eight years, which is bad news for Telstra, which makes a third of its revenue from fixed lines. If you've got a phone that you really need to rely on, you want what they call five-nines of reliability - 99.999% of the time you want that service to be up. Now the Internet is a service that breaks about 1% of the time. The telephone calls that we are making are far too expensive -

that's where Telstra has its fat margins.

Today Telstra was showing off its new wireless broadband offering in Sydney. Ironically Australians' rapidly growing take-up of broadband could be a big driver for free or cheaper phone calls over the Internet. Philippa McDonald, ABC News. To the markets - and resource stocks slumped today, even though the oil price hit a new record high. Here's Alan Kohler. The resources correction that started yesterday with BHP Billiton's profit results accelerated today - BHP Billiton down 3%, Rio Tinto down 4.5%.

Investors are running for the exits because it's dawned on them

that if a profit of $8.5 billion from BHP feels a little disappointing, then too much was being expected. It's not quite a rout yet, but BHP and Rio Tinto are both down more than 6% in two days. Woolworths fell heavily today and Lion Nathan shares fell 5% after it scotched rumours of a takeover offer

from the Philippines brewer San Miguel. There were also some disappointments among today's profit results - Publishing and Broadcasting, the Packer-controlled media and casino company, said profit fell 28%, largely because of poor ratings at Channel Nine, and the share price dropped 1.5%. And AGL reported that profit more than doubled, but that wasn't enough - investors ditched the stock and it fell 2%. And insurance company Promina reported a 6% rise in its interim profit, but the share price was dumped 3.5%. So on the whole, the profit reporting season has taken a sharp turn for the worse. The tone on Wall Street was weaker overnight, which also set the tone for trading in Australia today and that was largely due to another big rise in the price of oil - up 2% in both New York last night and in Singapore today. Once again, the price of tapis crude is closing in on $70 a barrel. And in direct contrast to the share market,

the Australian dollar today jumped nearly a full US cent and is now trading at above 76 cents,

thanks to a sharp fall in the US dollar euro exchange rate. And that's finance. There's a fight brewing up and down the Darling Over access to scarce water supplies. Downstream, farmers say they're being cheated of flows from rainfall in the north,

but their upstream neighbours say they're only taking their fair share. It's a rare sight along the Darling River - an endless expanse of that most precious commodity. Good rain in Queensland has made it downstream, much to the delight of local landholders. The rain's been welcome on our country, but it's also been welcome because it's put a flow on the river. Mark Etheridge lives on the river, north of Wilcannia. His only complaint is that, these days, he says a lot of the flow is sucked out upstream. Yeah, about 40% of it goes in the Barwon-Darling alone. It's probably more like 70%-80% on the whole system before it gets to here. In January, floodwaters were expected around Wilcannia. Landholders were on alert, but the water never came. The flood just didn't come through. Apparently they overestimated the amount of rain, or they underestimated the amount of pumping that would be done on the way down. Over the last 18 months,

parts of the Darling River down here near Wilcannia,

have dried up as many as three times and local landholders say these days it's becoming a more common event. 100km south of Menindee, the flow has thinned out and the blame is on irrigators upstream. Irrigators have very strict limits upon their pumping conditions and they will not be exceeding them, or else there are significant penalties that they will be incurring. New lower limits for irrigators are being put in place on the Darling, but landholders are still concerned they won't be enough to save the struggling river. Sarah Clarke, ABC News, on the Darling River. For the second time in three Ashes Tests, Australia will be without spearhead Glenn McGrath. McGrath has failed to prove he'd overcome an elbow injury at a fitness test a short time ago and has been replaced by Michael Kasprowicz. It places further pressure on an attack which includes debutante Shaun Tait. A few minutes ago, England won the toss and has decided to bat. Fine and sunny conditions prevail in Nottingham, though showers are forecast for late in the day. Here's Peter Wilkins. Calamity has superseded expectation with Father Time not smiling on Glenn McGrath. He's succumbed to an elbow injury which has been troubling him since late in the Third Test before flaring up in the Northants game. Bowled a bouncer, felt some sharp pain in his right elbow and got the usual joint sort of symptoms of weakness and dysfunction with it. Michael Kasprowicz has gained a reprieve and will take his place alongside Brett Lee and the baby-faced bully who's ready to change the complexion of the Ashes. I like a challenge and it'll be a heated Test match and a lot of pressure. And the good players perform under pressure so hopefully I can do just that. After being outplayed in the last two Tests, Australian captain, Ricky Ponting,

is backing his young tyro to bring his domestic and net form to the Test match arena. He's got the ability to swing the ball quite a bit at good pace so it's going to be interesting - it's going to be good fun to watch. Reverse swing has plagued Australia. Tait hopes to have a similar impact on English batsmen. Definitely it's a weapon of my game - the reverse swing. A Test Match can be a marathon of five days but both captains are of the same mind - sprint quickly and control proceedings. That's what our whole focus has been leading up to this game to make sure that we get out there we're 100% on the ball from the first ball that's bowled in the Test Match. Justin Langer didn't know what hit him in the nets and the Australians are hoping England have similar concerns against a young man with unfettered aggression and no knowledge of the speed he bowls.

I'm not sure to be honest, it's hard to say. You'd better ask Justin.

To be presented with a baggy green It'll be another long haul for Lleyton Hewitt. The number three seed has received a favourable draw for the early rounds of next week's US Open Tennis. But like this year's Wimbledon Championships, world number one Roger Federer is Hewitt's likely semifinal opponent. 14th seed Alicia Molik comes into the tournament with just two matches under her belt in the past four months because of illness. The Australian women's basketball team has continued its dominance over New Zealand in the opening match of their world championships qualifying series. The Tall Ferns have never beaten the Opals and a run of 12 unanswered points in the second quarter helped set up the 77-51 win. The second game of the 3-match series will be played in Napier on Saturday afternoon. After 16 months without a national competition, australian soccer makes its return this weekend with the first round of matches in the a-league. The stream-lined eight team league is hoping to attract supporters who showed no interest in the old national soccer league. Often described as the "sleeping giant" of Australian sport, soccer is hoping to win over a wary public with its new competition. Glitzy launches and an expensive marketing campaign

have given the A-league a visibility that its predecessor lacked. The promotion has been exceptional. We've never seen anything like it and it's something in the old NSL we were crying out for years, no-one knew the competition existed. But will the product match the promotion? Pre-season games failed to excite small crowds. No amount of razzmatazz around the events to come back. It's what they see on the pitch.

Boasting the biggest name in the league in former Manchester United star Dwight Yorke, Sydney FC will be under pressure to entertain. We try to play very attractive but still I don't want to lose. The eight A-league clubs have no ethnic ties and risk alienating supporters of the former NSL clubs

like South Melbourne. To us, with Greek background, who have followed this league for 50 years following this club, so, to now tell us we're not good enough all of a sudden, it's just crap, really. The last champion of the NSL, Perth Glory believes it won't be a lone shining light in this competition. has changed considerably and instead of being one major club in a very small competition, now all of sudden there's eight major clubs in a very large competition. Large enough to lure back skillful players like Kevin Muscat and Ned Zelic who've travelled the professional football world. The A-league kicks off tomorrow night when Newcastle hosts Adelaide. Duncan Huntsdale, ABC News. Australian filmgoers could soon see a new wave of movies on the screen with a distinctive local flavour. The Australian Film Commission is backing seven indigenous film-makers, who have already won international attention, to help them develop new feature films. Film-maker Beck Cole's short film shot around Coober Pedy has proved to be her springboard into the big league. The Aboriginal ghost story was selected for this year's prestigious Sundance Festival

and has earned the Alice Springs director a place in the Australian Film Commission's Long Black project. I think Indigenous storytelling is unique and there are many many stories and many histories and experiences that you don't see in Australian cinema. I think this group of Indigenous film-makers who are coming through have got stories that they really want to tell to a broad Australian audience and they're exciting stories, and they're stories full of hope. Seven Indigenous film-makers will be funded to develop feature films - working with some of the world's best writers, directors and producers. Among the teachers is Mexican writer Guillermo Arriaga.

He wrote the acclaimed film, '21 Grams' and won the coveted Palme d'Or for screenwriting at Cannes this year for his latest movie, 'The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada'. One of the biggest mistakes is not spending time writing the screenplay. I myself spend like three or four years writing a screenplay with 70 to 80 drafts for each of my screenplays. Now here's a big cheerio... The hope is this new generation of Australian film-makers will create movies to attract dwindling audiences

back to the cinema. Anne Maria Nicholson, ABC News. Time for the weather now - with Mike Bailey. Thanks, Felicity. Good evening. Mostly dry again today and similar conditions expected for tomorrow. The lack of significant rain this week has seen overall dam levels in Sydney dip to 40.9% of capacity - a fall of 0.3%. Warragamba's holding 37.1% - down only 0.1% because of inflows from the Shoalhaven. Clear skies today, with temperatures a couple below average overnight, but 1 above by day for the coastal range of 8 to 20 degrees. * Lee, please do summaries! * Temperatures mild. Cold overnight Not much rainfall to report around australia Winds onshore- may lead to the odd shower Fine and dry generally Fog and frost early Skies mostly clear till later in the day Thanks, Mike.

And that's ABC News for this Thursday night.

I'm Felicity Davey. The '7.30 Report' is next and I'll be back with news updates. For now, goodnight. Captions by Captioning and Subtitling International.