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Ten Early News -

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Good morning. Welcome to Ten's

Early News. A New Zealand High

Court judge appointed to hear

Harbhajan Singh's match ban appeal.

A Victorian policeman to face court

on more than a dozen rape and drugs

charges. And peace talks - George

Bush makes his first visit to

weather: Israel as US President. On to the

To finance and a 1st cheb of the

markets now. Good morning -- first

check of the markets now? Good

morning. US stocks are trading

lower as recession fears wiped out

earlier by bargain buyers.

And when I come back, more mortgage

pain for home buyers. We'll have

that bad news next. Thank you.

After days of off-field drama,

India's cricket team will finally

get back on to the field today. New Zealand High Court judge has get back on to the field today. A

been appointed to hear the appeal against Harbhajan Singh's 3-match

ban for racial abuse. Justice John

Hansen will preside over the

spinner's hearing which is expected

to take place within a week. Singh

was banned for allegedly calling Andrew Symonds a monkey during Andrew

Andrew Symonds a monkey during the

second Test at the SCG. India says

the tour may still be cancelled if

Singh isn't cleared of the judge.

The Indian captain -- charge. The

Indian captain will not comment. REPORTER: Do you think he should

stay captain of Australia's team? I

like to answer questions on Indian

cricket. It's emerged Ponting's

parents have received a series of

abusive phone calls, slamming their

son's conduct during the series.

Two pral police officers have flown

to Vanuatu to investigate the

gruesome murder of Australian woman

there. Lyndall Jacques was found

dead at her home on the outskirts of the capital Port Vila three days

ago. It's understood she was seen

lying in a pool of blood with lying in a pool of blood with her

throat cut. Her house had been

robbed. Police believe three or

four men were involved in the

attack on the former teacher who

lived there since 1986. A Victorian policeman will face charges on 20,

including rape. Huy Quach has been

suspended from duty. Charneled over

a spring of alleged -- charged over

a string of alleged crimes, he is

taken in to court. The 33-year-old

is facing four counts of rape is facing four counts of rape and

another 10 charges, involving ecstasy, cocaine. Including

trafficking cocaine to a minor. The

Melbourne Magistrates Court heard

the senior constable, stationed at

suburban Box Hill, had been the

subject of a 6-month investigation

by the Ethical Standards Department.

Police needing extra time to get their

their case together with telephone

intercepts to be transscribed.

Quach was remanded in custody to

face a bail application this

morning. NSW MP Phil Koperberg

could reportedly be charged over

allegations he bashed his wife and

step-daughter two decades ago. News Limited papers claim police

investigating the case have passed

on information to the Director of

Public Prosecutions. It's believed

police are seeking legal advice on

whether charges can be laid against

him. However Fairfax newspapers say

the former State Environment

Minister is likely to be cleared of

the allegations. A fire at a

substation in Sydney's south-west

overnight has cut power to as many 10,000 homes and businesses. Firefighters battled to contain the blaze.

blaze. Integral Energy says crews

are at the site and power should be

restored some time this morning.

The days of the plastic bag could be

be numbered under a plan being

considered by the Government. Labor

is reportedly looking in to either

slapping a levy on every plastic

bag or banning them completely.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett

will look to phase them out by the

end of this year. Australians still

use about four billion plastic bags

each year. President Bush's

week-long visit to the Middle East

has begun. His main focus will be

negotiations between Israel and

Palestine to try to broker a peace

deal to leave as a legacy before he departments the White House.

President Bush has high hopes that

a Middle East peace deal or at the

very least a concrete plan for one

will become reality before he

leaves office. We see a new

opportunity for peace here in the

holy land and for freedom across

the region. Arriving in Israel this

morning, Mr Bush met one on one

with Israeli President Perez and

met with Ehud Olmert. The two faced

the press. The three leaders will

also discuss how to handle Iran.

Israeli leaders are growing more

uncomfortable with the situation there.

there. Part of the battle for peace

lies in winning over the people.

Hundreds took to the streets,

including supporters of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. They

don't have an official role in the

peace process but without their

support, it's unlikely there will

be peace. Three people have been

killed in a 50-car pile-up in

Florida. Aerial footage shows the

mangled wreckage of charred

vehicles and cars pinned underneath

trucks. Extremely low visibility is

being blamed due to a mix of being blamed due to a mix of heavy

fog and thick smoke from nearby

brush fires. Rescueers had to walk

along the closed highway, peering

in to every vehicle in search of

injured motorists. In Japan,

keepers at a Japanese monkey

sanctuary have found a novel way to

keep the animals warm by simply

using an electric heater. Lemurs

sit together in front of the heater

to keep warm. Originally the heater

was moved in to the enclosure for

the staff, but now the lemurs line

up in their favourite position,

outstretched. sitting upright with their arms

At last, action on the cricket

field with Indian wicket keeper

Mahendra Dhoni to lead the visitors

in to battle today against an ACT

XI as Anil Kumble takes a rest. Kumble

Kumble attempted to hose down the

furore surrounding the dramatic

second Test against the Australians

which was played at the SCG. It was

just a temporary setback. We need

to move on and the game is bigger

than individuals. But the Indian

skipper also revealed he pleaded

with Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting

to settle a racial abuse claim with

Harbhajan Singh without a formal

complaint, warning it could have

massive ramifications. Another verbal

verbal blast from Lleyton Hewitt

have another surprise loss.

Australia's top tennis player

blaming bad luck and poor umpiring

for his second round loss for his second round loss to

countryman Chris Guccione at the

Sydney International. After losing in straight sets to fellow Aussie Chris Guccione, Lleyton Hewitt says luck wasn't on his side, and the former world number one added neither were the officials. I feel like the cricketers, I think. What's going on with all the refs these days? They're useless. Mate, there's no way the ball could bounce that way if you've got under it. Hewitt's temper was tested more than once in the first-ever tournament match between the pair, his skill also lacking as he struggled to find a way around the 2-metre tall world number 125. That was when he could get a racquet on the left-hander's booming serve - 23 aces for Guccione, five in a row early in the first set. Yet Hewitt insists he played the better game. The first set I had three break points, the second set I had one. It could have easily have been a four and four out there.

The Sydney Kings are still The Sydney Kings are still enjoying

the view from the top of the NBL

ladder, racking up their 7th

straight win. Led by Jason Smith

and Mark Worthington, the Kings

opened up a 15-point lead by

half-time. The Hawks fought back, half-time. The Hawks fought back,

closing it to within three points.

Sadly for the Hawks, that was as

close as they got. Isaiah Victor

guiding the Kings home. Another

check of finance. The Commonwealth

Bank is the latest to raise those

mortgage rates? Not that anyone

wants to hear it but more bad news

for home owners. Australia's

biggest mortgage lender has

increased its variable mortgage

rate to 8.67%. That follows rate

hikes by ANZ and NAB. It's been

revealed Australia's top four banks

have a $1 billion direct exposure

to the US sub-prime mortgage market

despite assurances they were immune

to the credit crisis. to the credit crisis. There's increasing speculation the increasing speculation the Reserve

Bank will lift the official cash

rate next month. Following strong

retail figures out yesterday,

November sales rose much more than

expected to 0.8%. The $20 billion expected to 0.8%. The $20 billion

spending spree in the lead-up to

Christmas has sparked concerns about inflation, economists warning

the RBA could be forced to take

action to slow the economy. A

weather check now:

Let's take a look at the headlines.

NSW MP Phil Koperberg is reportedly

facing charges for allegedly

bashing his wife 20 years ago. The

Australian Energy Regulator will

take tough action on suppliers who

don't manage their network to

prevent outages. Hilary Clinton has

made a surprise comeback with a

narrow victory in the New Hampshire

primary. That story in the 'Sydney Morning Herald'. Firefighters on

high alert with Victoria set for a

scorcher. Details on that and more

when we return.

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Dulux Once exterior low sheen, $84. Ryobi hammer drill, $128.90. Shade sail, $19.98. If you happen to find a cheaper price on a stocked item, We can keep you cool for any budget. SONG: # Bunnings Warehouse. # Lowest prices are just the beginning.

Welcome back. Back in court - a Melbourne police officer facing

multiple rape and drug charges.

Heat wave - Victoria braces for

extreme temperatures with

firefighters on high alert. It's

game on - Indian cricketers take to

the field in Canberra as a judge is appointed

appointed to hear their appeal. But

first some finance now. Thank you.

As recession fears on Wall Street

mount, some economists in the US

are calling SOS, saying the Fed

Reserve must act now to cut

interest rates before its scheduled

meeting at the end of January.

Whether I come back, Virgin Blue's

profit forecast nosedives. Thank

you. A Victorian police officer

facing multirape and drugs charges

will reappear in court this morning.

Senior constable Huy Quach is

accused of raping three women and

trafficking cocaine to a minor,

among other charges. The 33-year-old faced court yesterday

but police needed more time to

transcribe phone intercepts before

a bail hearing. Huy Quach has been

stood down from his position at Box

Hill police station. The Rudd

Government will reportedly dump

plans for compulsory Australian

history classes in Years 9 and 10.

Labor will also scrap a controversial history syllabus

introduced by former PM John Howard,

which has been slammed as barely teachable. While history will remain

remain a compulsory subject, the

Government says it wants to work

with the States rather than impose

those compulsory conditions.

Investigations are continuing in to

to the brutal murder of an

Australian woman in Vanuatu. The

body of Lyndall Jacques was found

by a gardener on Monday, lying

naked in a pool of blood. Her house

had been burgled. The had been burgled. The 69-year-old

former teacher had lived in the

capital Port Vila since 1986.

Police believe as many as four men

were involved in her murder. Two

AFP officers have flown to Vanuatu

to help with the investigation.

Victoria is preparing for Victoria is preparing for extreme

fire danger with temperatures set

to soar in to the 40s today. A

total fire ban's in place across

much of the State as the mercury

moves towards an expected top of 41

degrees. Very hot. Low humidity.

Strong winds and a wind change

which is classic fire weather

Victoria. I would think our worst

day so far this season. And there

will be little relief tomorrow. A

high of 40 degrees is again

forecast for Melbourne. A member forecast for Melbourne. A member of

Sydney's surf gang the Bra Boys has

been granted bail after allegedly been granted bail after allegedly

bashing a man at a Gold Coast party.

He's accused of king-hitting a

party goer at Mick Fanning's world

title celebrations. Arriving from

Sydney handcuffed and escorted by

police, The Bra Boy on his way to

court. The professional surfer

allegedly bash adman at Mick

Fanning's world title celebrations.

Police alledge the 22-year-old king

hit Nicholas Selby. The 22-year-old

victim needed surgery and a metal

plate inserted to secure his jaw.

The fact he says he only became

aware of the seriousness of the

injuries to this poor fellow only

yesterday morning. The magistrate

granted the surfer bail on granted the surfer bail on the condition he lives with condition he lives with his mum in Sydney until the next court

appearance. He'll be allowed to appearance. He'll be allowed to fly

to America to secure surfing

contracts. He'll reappear in court next

next month. Rescue workers have

found the body of a woman drowned

in the floods in northern NSW. It's

believed the victim's car was believed the victim's car was

washed away by surging waters on

Saturday at Main Arm but conditions

prevented a search until now. And the body of a the body of a 14-year-old boy has

been recovered. The teenager

drowned while crossing a swollen

river add Dubbo in Central West NSW.

There's been a gas leak scare in

Sydney's west overnight. Residents

forced to leave their homes for

several hours as fire crews

repaired a ruptured gas main at

West Guildford. Streets were closed

as authorities secured the area. It's since been given the all clear and residents have been allowed

back in to their homes. Sydney's Villawood detention centre has been

branded the worst in Australia. A

new report from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission

recommends the centre be closed

immediately. It slammed conditions

at Villawood, describing its high

security area as run down,

prison-like and bleak. Villawood

has more detainees that any other

centre in Australia. Hilary

Clinton's presidential campaign is

back on track after her narrow

victory in the New Hampshire

primary with that crucial vote

behind them, candts on both sides

of the fence are now looking ahead

to the next battleground. Record

voter turn out has New Hampshire

talking today. I think it was

wonderful and it's great people wonderful and it's great people are

that excited. We should be about

our future President. New our future President. New Hampshire

9 times out of 10 selects the

President of the US. Let's give

America the kind of comeback that

New Hampshire has just given me.

Democrat Hilary Clinton is calling

her victory a turn around. I had

this incredible moment of

connection with the voters of New

Hampshire. And they saw it and they

heard it and they gave me this

incredible victory last night.

Clinton is already home in Clinton is already home in New strat Clinton is already home in New York,

strat jzing with advisors for the

long road ahead. I am still fired

up and ready to go. Barack Obama speaks

speaks in New Jersey today before

heading to South Carolina. What we

saw was the same thing that

happened in Iowa, record turn out,

people engaged. I think they're

hungry for a different kind of

politics. Turns out the female vote was

was crucial for Clinton here in was crucial for Clinton here in New

Hampshire. Fewer young voters supported Obama and many

independents went to John McCain.

At least seven people have been

killed in a gas blast in an

apartment block in Russia. The

explosion destroyed 12 flats and

brought down an entire section of

the 3-storey building. Fire crews

struggled for hours to pull people

from the wreckage as thick smoke

billowed from the site. Authorities

fear as many as 10 people could

still be trapped beneath the rubble.

The drama continues following the

second Test at the SCG with reports

today the parents of Australian

captain Ricky Ponting have been

subjected to abusive phone calls. Meantime, his Indian counterpart

says he offered Ponting peace talks

not involving the ICC during the

game but was knocked back. Two days behind schedule but better late than never, the Indian team finally in Canberra, preparing for tomorrow's 3-day game against the ACT. I think it's important to move on. Cricket is larger than individuals, and I respect that. The furore over Harbhajan Singh's racism suspension just won't go away, Kumble revealing he tried to sort out the matter with Ricky Ponting during the second Test, but the Australian captain told him the 'monkey' allegation had already been reported. Having played cricket for this long, such an allegation would definitely spiral into what it has now, and I anticipated that. Kumble maintains the remark was never made to Andrew Symonds, and clarifying his post-match statement that only one side had played in the spirit of the game. It was only meant for the Sydney game. I mean, I have never said that. I have respected Australian cricket. I've played against Australia all these years. I have great respect and regard for all the players who played for Australia. Australian players say that respect is mutual. From our point of view the relationship between the two teams was fantastic. The fall-out from the Sydney Test goes on He's alleged to have called an Indian player a 'bastard'. We'll obviously be helping Brad in his absolute defence.

Lleyton Hewitt has taken a swipe at

the standard of umpiring at the

Sydney International. The former

world number 1 going down to lowly ranked fellow Aussie Chris Guccione

in the second round. According to

Hewitt, it's a result the umpires

got wrong. I feel like cricketers,

I think. What's going on with there

the refs these days? They're

useless. Guccione moves in to the

quarterfinals where he'll meet quarterfinals where he'll meet

Tomas Berdych. 2-time defending

champion Andy Roddick has brushed

aside Ivan Ljubicic.

2006 Australian Open finalist

Marcac Baghdatis had a far tougher

victory. Meantime, the tournament

has lost another big name has lost another big name with

Nalbandian forced out after

suffering a back injury. Virgin

Blue's profits expected to take a

hit? UBS has slashed the airline's

profit forecast by 22%. Saying

earnings will be affected by

increase dd mestic capacity and

start-up costs for Virgin's start-up costs for Virgin's long

haul and New Zealand operations.

The net income dropped to $210

million in 2008-2009 compared with

an estimated $218 million for this financial

financial year. The airline's

shares have been valued at $2.20,

down 60 cents. Gold and copper are having

having their strongest start to

the year since 1988y. The price of gold

gold reaching a record $1,000

Australian, an ounce, Australian, an ounce, and

economists believe it could remain

at that level until August. The raw materials sectser booming with

funds turning it away from the

turmoil in credit markets. New

Crest up $1.90.

Now for a look at the weather:

Three killed in a 50-car pile-up in

Florida. That's next. We'll have

the CommSec finance report when we return.

Making headlines this morning -

decision time, a New Zealand High

Court judge appointed to hear

Harbhajan Singh's match ban appeal.

A Victorian policeman to face court

on more than a dozen rape and drugs

charges. And peace talks - George

Bush makes his first visit to Israel as US President.

Another check of the markets now.

They're all pessimists this morning.

Early gains on Wall Street have all

but vanished.

We'll cross live to CommSec very

shortly for a market update. shortly for a market update. After

days of off-field drama, India's

cricket team will finally get back

on to the pitch today. It comes as

a New Zealand High Court judge is appointed to hear the appeal

against Harbhajan Singh's match ban

for racial abuse. John Hansen for racial abuse. John Hansen will

preside over the spinner's hearing which

which is expected to take place

within a week. Singh was banned for

allegedly calling Andrew Symonds a

monkey during the second Test at

the SCG. India says the tour may

still be cancelled if Singh isn't

cleared of the charge. The Indian captain has meantime refused to

comment on criticism of Ricky Ponting.

Ponting.

REPORTER: Can you do you think he

should stay as captain of

Australia's team? That's not my

prerogative. I like to answer

questions on Indian cricket. It's

now emerged Ponting's parents have

received a series of abusive phone

calls slamming their son's conduct

during the series. Two Federal

police officers have flown to

Vanuatu to investigate the gruesome

murder of an Australian woman there.

Lyndall Jacques was found dead at

her home on the outskirts of the capital, Port Vila, three days ago. It's understood the 69-year-old was

found lying in a pool of blood with

her throat cut. Her house had been

robbed. Police believe three or

four men were involved in the

attack on the former teacher who'd

lived there since 1986. A Victorian

policeman will face court again

this morning on 20 charges

including rape. Senior constable

Huy Quach has been suspended from

duty. Charged over a string of

alleged crimes dating back to 2004,

senior constable Quach sits between his colleagues as he's taken in to court. The 33-year-old is facing four counts of rape and another 10 by the Ethical Standards Department. Police needing extra time to get

their case together. Senior constable Quach was remanded in custody to face a bail application this morning. A 12-year-old boy is in hospital after being mauled by a dog in Darwin. The boy was attacked while visiting a friend late

yesterday. He suffered bite wounds

to his arms. The dog is believed to

be an American pitbull terrier. NSW

MP Phil Koperberg could reportedly

be charged over allegations he

bashed his wife and step-daughter

two decades ago. Papers claim police investigating the claims

police have passed on information

to the Director of Public Prosecutions. It's believed police are

are seeking legal advice on whether charges

charges can be laid against him.

However, Fairfax newspapers say

he's likely to be cleared of the

allegations. There's been a gas

leak scare in Sydney's west overnight. Residents forced to

leave their homes for several hours

as fire crews repaired a ruptured

gas main at West Guildford. Streets

were closed as authorities secured

the area but it's since been given

the all clear and residents have been

been allowed back in to their been allowed back in to their homes.

President Bush's week-long visit to

the Middle East has begun. His main

focus will be negotiations between

Israel and Palestine to try to

broker a peace deal to leave as a

legacy before he departs the White

House. President Bush has high

hopes that a Middle East peace deal

or at the very least a concrete

plan for one will become reality

before he leaves office. We

before he leaves office. We see a

new opportunity for peace here in

the holy land and for freedom

across the region. Arriving in

Israel this morning for his first

presidential visit, Mr Bush met one

on one with the Israeli President

and then he met with the Israeli PM.

The two faced the press, emphasising the deep connections between

between the US and Israel. The

three leaders will also discuss how to handle

to handle Iran. Israeli leaders are

growing more uncomfortable with the

situation there. Part of the battle for

for peace lies in winning over the

people. Hundreds took to the

streets, including supporters of the

the militant group, Hamas, which rules

rules the Gaza Strip. They don't

have an official role in the peace

process but without their support

it's unlikely there will be peace.

it's unlikely there will be peace.

Princess Diana's former bodyguard

has claimed spies bugged her phones

and recorded her private

conversations. Ken Wharfe said

British intelligence officers

leaked phone calls between Diana

and her alleged lover to the media

and claimed telephone calls between

the Princess and other the Princess and other members of

the royal family were routinely

bugged. Three people have been

killed in a 50-car

killed in a 50-car pile-up on a

Florida highway. Aerial footage

shows the mangled wreckage of

charred vehicles and cars pinned

underneath trucks. Extremely low

visibility is being blamed due to visibility is being blamed due to a

mix of heavy fog and thick smoke.

Rescuers had to walk along the

closed highway, peering in to every

vehicle in search of injured motorists.

At last, action on the cricket

field, with Indian wicket keeper

Mahendra Dhoni to lead the visitors

in to battle today against an ACT

XI as skipper Anil Kumble takes a

rest. Kumble attempted to hose down

the furore surrounding the dramatic

second Test which was played

against the Australians at the SCG.

It was just a temporary setback, I

think. We need to move on and like

think. We need to move on and like

I mentioned the game is bigger than

individuals. The Indian skipper

revealing he pleaded with the

Aussie skipper to settle a racial

abuse claim against Harbhajan Singh

without a formal complaint, warning

it could have massive ramifications.

Another verbal blast from Lleyton

Hewitt after another surprise loss.

Australia's top tennis player blaming bad luck and poor umpiring

for his second round loss to countryman Chris

countryman Chris Guccione at the

Sydney International. After losing in straight sets to fellow Aussie Chris Guccione, Lleyton Hewitt says luck wasn't on his side, and the former world number one added neither were the officials. I feel like the cricketers, I think. What's going on with all the refs these days? They're useless.

Mate, there's no way the ball could bounce that way if you've got under it. Hewitt's temper was tested more than once

in the first-ever tournament match between the pair, his skill also lacking as he struggled to find a way around the 2-metre tall world number 125. That was when he could get a racquet on the left-hander's booming serve - 23 aces for Guccione, five in a row early in the first set. Yet Hewitt insists he played the better game. The first set I had three break points,

the second set I had one. a four and four out there. It could have easily have been

The Sydney Kings are still? Joying

the view from the top of the NBL

ladder, racking up their 7th

straight win over the Wollongong

Hawks. Led by Jason Smith and Mark

Worthington, the Kings opened up a

15-point lead by half-time. The

15-point lead by half-time. The

Hawks fought back, closing to

within three points midway through the last term. But

that was as close as they got,

Isaiah Victor guiding the Kings home.

There's increasing speculation this morning the Reserve Bank will be

forced to lift interest rates next

month, following strong retail

sales figures. With more Craig

James from CommSec joins us now.

Good morning. There certainly was a boom

boom in sales in the lead-up to Christmas? November had Christmas? November had everything.

A rate hike, higher petrol prices

and a Federal election but we still

managed to spend. In fapbgt,

managed to spend. In fapbgt, annual

growth of retail sales is now growth of retail sales is now the

highest in 3.5 years. It's feared

an interest rate rise is around the

corner but with the big banks

lifting their own rates, will the

RBA need to act? We believe it's

wise for people to factor in

another interest rate hike of a

quarter of 1%. We saw with retail sales figures the economy is on

fire. The Reserve Bank is very

concerned about inflation. And now the latest

the latest employment figures show

demand for Labor remains strong?

This is good news. There's now just

three unemployed people for every

vacant job. Back thin last recession there was something recession there was something like

30 people vying for every vacant

spot, so the labour market is super

tight. That puts upward pressure on

wages. Thanks so much for the update. Thank you.

Checking the weather for you.

Taking a look at today's newspaper

headlines. More on Ricky Ponting's

defence of the Australian cricket team. The Commonwealth Bank

team. The Commonwealth Bank joins

the ANZ and National Australia Bank by

by raising its interest rates in

the 'Sydney Morning Herald''s

Business Day. Education experts are refusing refusing to acknowledge evidence

that teaching phonics improves

children's reading skills. A gas

blast rips through an apartment

block in Russia. The details when

Ten's Early News returns.

GOOD MORNING LOCAL WOOL PRODUCERS CELEBRATE A PROMISING START

TO THE YEAR IN SALES - THAT STORY COMING UP SOON

THE A-C-T OFFICE OF REGULATORY SERVICES HAS ISSUED A SECOND PUBLIC WARNING AGAINST A LOCAL

FENCE BUILDER. WAYNE KELLY, WHO TRADES AS PREMIER FENCING, WAS WARNED TWO YEARS AGO AFTER FAILING TO FINISH PAID PROJECTS, OR

FIX FAULTY WORK. THE OFFICE HAS JUST ANNOUNCED A SECOND WARNING, AFTER CONTINUED COMPLAINTS.. ATTOURNEY GENERAL SIMON CORBELL'S URGING US TO AVOID ANY DEALS WITH MR KELLY OR HIS COMPANY. A TWENTY-TWO YEAR OLD BELCONNEN MAN WILL RETURN TO COURT LATER THIS MONTH, CHARGED WITH ALLEGEDLY

SEXUALLY HARRASSING NINE WOMEN. DEJAN NIKOLOVSKI FACED COURT YESTERDAY, ACCUSED OF SENDING GRAPHIC TEXT AND VIDEO MESSAGES TO THE WOMEN

AGED BETWEEN NINETEEN AND THIRTY. INVESTIGATORS ALSO LAID MORE CHARGES, TAKING HIS TALLY TO TWENTY COUNTS OF INDECENCY AND USING A CARRIAGE SERVICE TO MENACE AND HARRASS. THE ACCUSED DIDN'T APPLY FOR BAIL. MEANWHILE, THE A-C-T SUPREME COURT'S BEING URGED TO CHANGE PROTOCOLS FOR THE WRITING OF COURT JUDGEMENTS. THE A-C-T LAW SOCIETY SAYS EXISTING JUDGMENTS, WHICH

SOCIETY SAYS EXISTING JUDGMENTS, WHICH INCLUDE PERSONAL AND SENSITIVE INFORMATION, CAN OPEN THOSE INVOLVED UP TO IDENTITY FRAUD. THEY WANT THE A-C-T TO FOLLOW A RECENT CHANGE OF WRITING PROTOCOLS IN THE NEW SOUTH WALES SUPREME COURT WOOL PRODUCERS IN THE MONARO REGION ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO A PROMISING START TO THE YEAR, WITH WOOL PRICES CONTINUING TO SOAR. LOCAL PRODUCERS EXPECT PRICES TO STAY AT AROUND 10 DOLLARS A KILO DURING THIS WEEK SALES, AFTER HITTING

DOUBLE FIGURES JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS. THE INDUSTRY'S CELEBRATING THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS, AFTER STRUGGLING THROUGH YEARS OF DROUGHT . AND IN SPORT, CANBERRA CAPITALS COACH CARRIE GRAF IS LOOKING FORWARD TO A BIG GAME IN TOMORROW NIGHT'S W-N-B-L GRAND FINAL REPLAY AGAINST SYDNEY. THE CAPS HAVE LOST THEIR LAST TWO ENCOUNTERS WITH THE FLAME THIS SEASON, AND NEED THE WIN TO ENTRENCH THEMSELVES IN THE TOP FOUR.

GRAF SAYS THE BATTLE BETWEEN TULLY BEVILAQUA AND SYDNEY'S AUSSIE PLAYERS NATALIE PORTER AND ALICIA POTO, WILL BE ONE OF THE GAMES HIGHLIGHTS. TAKING A LOOK AT HOW THE DAY IS SHAPING UP WEATHERWISE NOW ACROSS THE REGION .. A DEVELOPING TROUGH OVER NEW SOUTH WALES IS EXPECTED TO BRING SOME UNSETTLED WEATHER TO THE REGION TODAY AND TOMORROW, MAINLY TO THE RANGES

ACROSS THE NATION HOT AND DRY IN ADELAIDE TODAY A TOP OF 41 DEGREES .. CANBERRA GETTING UP TO 33 AND CLOUDY

.. 27 IN SYDNEY SUNNY IN ORANGE TODYA A TOP OF 29 .. WARMER AND 34 IN DUBBO .. FINE IN WOLLONGONG HEADING FOR 26 .. HOT AND CLOUDY IN WAGGA MORNING CLOUD BUT FINE IN BOWRAL .. PARTLY CLOUDY IN GOULBURN .. A SUNNY 28 IN BATEMANS BAY FINE AND 31 IN COOMA AND MUDGEE .. MOSTLY SUNNY IN NOWRA

LOOKING AHEAD - AND SINE TOMORROW BUT CLOUD

INCREASING .. // STAYING A WARM 34 DEGREES INTO THE WEEKEND WITH POSSIBLE SHOWERS OR STORMS .. // AND

OR STORMS .. // AND FINE ON SUNDAY, A TOP OF 32 AND SINE TOMORROW BUT CLOUD INCREASING .. // STAYING A

Top stories this morning. A Melbourne police officer facic

multiple rape and drugs charge -- facing multiple rape and

facing multiple rape and drugs

charges. Victoria braces for extreme temperatures with

firefighters on high alert. And

game on - Indian cricketers take to

the field in Canberra as a New the field in Canberra as a New

Zealand judge is appointed to hear

their appeal. It's been a busy

morning. Stocks on Wall Street saw

some early gains but they've been

all but wiped out by an afternoon session with a serious

session with a serious dose of

recession woes.

When I come back, why the big banks

are lifting their rates? We'll

check that next. A Victorian police

officer facing multiple rape and

drugs charges will reappear in court this morning. Senior constable

constable Huy Quach is accused of

raping three women and trafficking

cocaine to a minor, among other

charges. The 33-year-old faced

court yesterday but police needed

more time to transcribe phone

intercepts before a bail hearing.

Quach has been stood down from his

position at Box Hill police station.

Victoria is preparing for extreme

fire danger with temperatures set

to soar in to

to soar in to the 40s today. A

total fire ban's in place across

much of the State as the mercury

moves towards an expected top of 41

degrees. Very hot, low humidity,

strong winds and a wind change

which is classic fire weather

Victoria and I think our worst day

so far this season. Sadly, there will be little relief tomorrow, a

high of 40 degrees is again forecast for Melbourne.

Investigations are continuing in to the

to the brutal murder of an

Australian woman in Vanuatu. The

body of Lyndall Jacques was found

bia gardener on Monday, lying naked

in a pool of blood. Her house had

been burgled. The 69-year-old

former teacher had lived in the

capital Port Vila since 1986.

Police believe as many as four men

were involved in her murder. Two AFP

AFP officers have flown to Vanuatu

to help with the investigation. A

to help with the investigation. A member of Sydney surf gang the Bra

Boys has been granted bail after

allegedly bashing a man at a Gold

Coast party. Richard Vaculik is

charged with king-hitting aperty

gore at Mick Fanning's world gore at Mick Fanning's world title

celebrations. Arriving from Sydney

handcuffed and escorted by police,

Richard Vaculik on his way to a

Gold Coast court. Anything you'd

like to to say to the victim? The

professional surfer best known for his role

his role in the hit movie 'Bra

Boys', allegedly bashed a man at a

party. Police alledge the

22-year-old king hit Nicholas Selby,

breaking his jaw in three places.

But Vaculik's lawyer says his

client didn't realise the extent of

the injuries at the time of the

alleged assault. He says he only

became aware of the seriousness of the

the injuries to this poor fellow

only yesterday morning. The

magistrate granted the surfer bail

on the condition he lives with his

mother in Sydney. He'll reappear mother in Sydney. He'll reappear in

court next month. A fire at a

substation in Sydney's south-west

overnight has cut power to as many

as 10,000 homes and businesses. 40 people

people were also forced to

people were also forced to evacuate

the Smithfield area as firefighters

battled to contain the blaze.

Integral Energy says crews are Integral Energy says crews are at

the site and power should be

restored later this morning. Rescue

workers have found the body of a

woman drowned in the floods in

northern NSW. It's believed the

victim's car was washed away victim's car was washed away by

surging waters on Saturday at Main

Arm but conditions prevented a

search until now. And the body

search until now. And the body of a 14-year-old 14-year-old boy has also been

recovered. The teenager drowned

while crossing a swollen river at

Dubbo in central west NSW. Two

Australians kayakers Australians kayakers paddling

across the Tasman are expected to

reach New Zealand on Saturday.

James Castrission and Justin Jones

from Sydney set off on the dangerous dangerous journey nearly two months

ago. It's been an anxious time for their

their the pair and their families.

Despite nearing their destination,

they're not in the clear just yet.

Their support team claims the last

stage of the journey is in fact stage of the journey is in fact the

most dangerous. The days of the

plastic bag could be numbered under

a plan being considered by the

Government. Labor is Government. Labor is reportedly

looking in to either slapping a

levy on every plastic bag or banning them

banning them completely.

Environment Minister Peter gairlt

will -- Garrett will push to ban

plastic bags completely. Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign is

back on track after her narrow

victory in the New Hampshire

primary. With that crucial vote

behind them, candidates on both

sides of the fence are now looking

to the next battleground.

to the next battleground. Record

voter turn out has New Hampshire

talking today. I think it was

wonderful. And I think it's great

that people are that excited. We

should be about our future

President. New Hampshire 9 times

out of 10 selects the President of

the US. It's been that way for 100

years. Let's give America the kind

of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me. Democrat Hilary

Clinton is calling her victory a

Clinton is calling her victory a

turnaround. I had this incredible

moment of connection with the

voters of New Hampshire and they

saw it and they heard it and gave

me this incredible victory last

night. Clinton is already home in

New York. I am still fired up and

ready to go. Barack Obama speaks in

New Jersey today before heading to

Souths Carolina.. What we saw

happen in New Hampshire was the

happen in New Hampshire was the

same thing that happened in Iowa,

record turn out, people engaged. I

think they're hungry for a

different kind of politics. Turns

out the female vote was crucial for

clipbtsen here in New Hampshire.

Fewer young voters supported Obama

and many independents went to

Republican winner John McCain. At

least eight people have been killed

in a gas blast in an apartment

in a gas blast in an apartment

block in Russia. The explosion

destroyed 12 flats and brought down

an entire section of the 3-storey

building. Fire crews struggled for

hours to pull people from the

wreckage as thick smoke billowed

from the site. Authorities fear as

many as 10 people could still be

trapped beneath the rubble. As

temperatures drop in Japan, keepers

at Japanese monkey sanctuary have

found a rather novel way to keep

found a rather novel way to keep

the animals warm by simply using an

electric heater. The lemurs sit

together in front of the heater to

keep warm during the heater.

Originally the heater was moved in

to their enclosure for the staff

but now the lemurs line up in their

favourite position, setting upright

with their arms outstretched.

The drama continues

The drama continues following the

second cricket Test at the SCG with

reports Ricky Ponting's parents

have been subjected to abusive

phone calls. His Indian counterpart

says he offered Ponting peace talks

not involving the ICC during the

game but was knocked back. Two days behind schedule but better late than never, the Indian team finally in Canberra, preparing for tomorrow's 3-day game against the ACT. I think it's important to move on.

Cricket is larger than individuals, and I respect that. The furore over Harbhajan Singh's racism suspension just won't go away, Kumble revealing he tried to sort out the matter with Ricky Ponting

during the second Test, but the Australian captain told him the 'monkey' allegation had already been reported. such an allegation would definitely spiral into what it has now,

Kumble maintains the remark was never made to Andrew Symonds, and clarifying his post-match statement that only one side had played in the spirit of the game. It was only meant for the Sydney game.

I mean, I have never said that. I have respected Australian cricket. I've played against Australia all these years. I have great respect and regard for all the players who played for Australia.

Australian players say that respect is mutual. From our point of view the relationship between the two teams was fantastic. but I'm trying to rack my brain about anything that's been said, The fall-out from the Sydney Test goes on with Brad Hogg to face a disciplinary hearing on Monday.

He's alleged to have called an Indian player a 'bastard'. in his absolute defence. We'll obviously be helping Brad

Lleyton Hewitt has taken a swipe at

the standard of umpiring at the

Sydney International. The former

world number 1 going down to lowly

ranked fellow Aussie Chris Guccione

in the second round. And according

to Hewitt, it's the result the

umpires got wrong. I feel like cricketers, cricketers, I think. What's going

on with all the refs these days?

They're useless. Guccione moves in

to the quarterfinals today to the quarterfinals today where

he'll play Tomas Berdych. Roddick

has brushed aside Ivan Ljubicic.

The American taking stkpwaefrb

minutes to beat the Croatian in --

57 minutes to beat the Croatian. 2006 Australian

2006 Australian Open 2006 Australian Open finalist

Marcac Baghdatis had a far tougher victory against Nikolay Davydenko.

Meanwhile, the tournament has lost

another big name with Argentina's

David Nalbandian forced out after

suffering a back injury. More finance now. The big banks

been exposed to the US sub-prime

crisis? They will be. It's been

revealed the big four banks have a

$1 billion direct exposure to the

US sub-prime mortgage market.

US sub-prime mortgage market.

That's despite assurances from That's despite assurances from the

banks they were immune to the

credit crunch. The Commonwealth

Bank is the latest to raise its

variable home loan rate in response

to the global turmoil. It's been

increased by 10 points. There's mounting speculation the Reserve

Bank will raise the official cash

rate following stronger than expected pre-Christmas sales. ASIC

has held talks with Centro. The meeting in Sydney

meeting in Sydney follows the

property group's $5 billion credit

crunch meltdown. The corporate regulator is believed to be

interested in Centro's failure to

properly account for more than $1

billion of debt in its June

accounts. Meantime, it's understood

the Commonwealth Bank was the first

Centro lender to pull long-term

debt funding from the group last

month, triggering the company's

debt crisis. That's all the finance

debt crisis. That's all the finance

news from me this morning. Thank

you very much. Now for a look at

the national weather:

A quick recap. A New Zealand High

Court judge appointed to hear

Harbhajan Singh's match ban appeal.

Harbhajan Singh's match ban appeal.

A Victorian policeman to face court

on more than a dozen rape and drugs

charges. And peace talks - George

Bush makes his first visit to

Israel as US President. That's it

for Ten's Early News. Goodbye for

now. Thanks so much for your

company. Have a great day.

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