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Tonight - death of a

daredevil - Steve Irwin killed

in bizarre circumstances. Today

the world has lost a great

wildlife iek yofn, a passiononate conservationist

and one of the proudest dads on

the planet. Jake Kovco's family

says truth is the other

casualty. John Howard backs a

public float for Medicare

Private. And bowing out - game,

set and match for Andre

Agassi. The last 21 years, I

have found you and I will take

you and the memory of you with

me for the rest of my life.

Good evening. Juanita

Phillips with ABC News. He had

what could fairly be described as one of the most dangerous

jobs in the world. And he

flirted with death so often

that to many he seemed

invincible. But today, the

remarkable life and career of

the man known as 'The Crocodile

Hunter' came to an end. Steve

Irwin was killed not by a

crocodile, but by a Stingray

while filming off far North

Queensland. Tonight, tributes

are flowing for the man known

not just as a passion onnate

environmentalist, but for an

entertainer who introduced

'crikey' to the world. Steve

Irwin was filming a wildlife

documentary when wounded by the

poisonous barb of a Stingray.

The injury was enough to send

him into cardiac arrest and his

friends and crew were unable to

revive him. I believe the

patient was unconscious and had

been administered CPR by the

boat crew for some period of

time. His body was taken to

the Cairns morgue and his family was flying north

tonight. Steve Irwin was

married to Terri, with two

children, Bindi and Bob. Today

his manager and close friend,

John Stainton, paid tribute to

the unique showman. Today the

world has lost a great wildlife

icon, a passiononate

conservationist and one of the

proudest dads on the planet. He

died doing what he loved doing

best. He left the world in a

happy and peaceful state of

mind. He would have said crocs

rule. Steve Irwin was known as

the croc hunter who established

a wildlife park and zoo from

his father's reptile park in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

in the 1990s. That grew into a multimillion-dollar television

franchise which travelled

around the world. Have a go at

this whopper! And he was

roundly praised for his work in

preserving the reptiles. I've

known him since he was 9 or 10

years of age. His father

brought him up to the farm when

we looked at crocodiles. He was

irrepressible. He was a one-off

character. A character for

Australians and lots of people

around the world. But the

popular television star also

courted controversy, coming

under fire for a stunt

involving one of his children.

Bob Irwin was a baby when his

father took him into a

crocodile enclosure and dangled

him in front of a crocodile. He

was criticised and forced to

apologise to millions of

fans. I would be a bad parent

if I didn't teach my kids what

was in the backyard. Today, the

fans were coming to terms with

the death of one of Australia's

most colourful characters. I

think it's a tragedy. I think

he's a great Australian. He's

done a lot of good for the

environment. He cares. Such a

fantastic zoo and his life is

so amazing. I can't believe

it's ended so tragically. We

whether he came here a asked one of the staff as to

lot. It's been a great day. We

hope it carries on. He was 44.

Jake Kovco's family has

accused the military of a massive cover-up over his

death. Private Kovco died in

Iraq in April from a gunshot

wound to the head. Today his

family told the enquiry into

his death that the Australian

Defence Force had destroyed

evidence to protect its own

officers and they accused the

two soldiers who were with Jake

Kovco when he died of not

telling the truth. In a

blistering statement to the

Board of Inquiry, investigating

Private Kovco's death and the

mix-up with his body, his brother Ben spoke.

They are referring to

evidence that the room was

cleaned before civilian police

arrived, that Private Kovco's

body was washed and many items

in the room were moved,

including the pistol that

killed him. They say it's

devastating the military

negligence. handled it scene with

The Kovco family has

particularly taken aim at the

two soldiers in the room when

the shot was fired and the

soldier on patrol with Private

Kovco that day. They say it's absolutely insulting that the

evidence of those soldiers was

put to the enquiry as the full

and honest truth. They don't

believe that the two soldiers

in the tiny room saw nothing

and point out that soldier 14,

the one on patrol, isn't

cooperating with the NSW


Earlier in the day, defence

leadership was asked why the

board was protecting the

identity of some soldiers

before the enquiry, including

14. I would like to get some

legal advice before I come back

to you on that. The minister

cited security concerns. That

the soldiers involved in this

are currently serving in the

security detachment in

Baghdad. After it was pointed

out that the minister wasn't

worried about identifying

soldiers on his visit to the

war zone last week, two new

reasons were give en

- Privacy. And men

morale. Anything that

undermines and e-Rhodes morale,

e-Rhodes security in an operational zone. Many

restrictions for the media on

this public enquiry, far exceed

those on regular civilian court

cases, even extremely sensitive

ones. Brendan Nelson also

announced today that he is

sending another 38 soldiers and

four more troop carriers to join the Australian battle

group in Iraq. The minister

says they are needed because

the task for Australian troops

in southern Iraq has changed

and they are now being asked to

cover a much wider area in

support of local forces. What

was required specifically to

protect the Japanese engineers

isn't exactly the same force

composition and size required

for the operational battle

group. The Chief of Defence,

Air Chief Marshal, Angus

Houston, says it's fine-tuning

to strengthen force protection

and mobility. And in Iraq, authorities claim to have dealt

a severe blow to al-Qaeda with

the arrest of the deputy

leader. Hamed al-Saeedi was

picked up several days ago with

11 other senior al-Qaeda

members. He's blamed for

organisationising the bombing

of a Shia shrine in Samarra in

February, which ignited

violence between she unites and Sunnis. John Howard has come

out in support of a public float for Medicare Private.

Large investors are circling

the nation's biggest health

insurer, but the PM says it

would be good for the public to

be able to buy shares. Medicare

Private will be next to go now

that the T3 float is on the

slipway. Mum and dad investors

may have seen the value of

their Telstra shares sliced in

half, but Nick Minchin is

playing that down. If they

haven't sold, they haven't lost money. Medicare Private may

have 3 million members and

one-third of the market, but

the fin minister denies the

fact that it's worth up to $2

billion is the reason for the

sale. We're not selling this

for the money. We think it will

be good for the industry. If

they float, Medicare Private

health premiums will rise. It's

as simple as that. Senator

Minchin says he's prepared to offer members special

inventives in the float, even

denying arguments that the

policy holders own much of the

assets, not the Government. Any

entitlement we might consider

for customers would be in their

capacity as customers and not

as purported owners of the

business. I think the idea of

the Australian public being

able to buy shares in a privatised Medicare Private

would be a good thing.

Parliament's return is also

the opportunity for stepping up

lobbying on stem cell research,

another issue dividing the

Government. More than 50

coalition backbenchers attended

a meeting organised by

opponents who fear

liberalisation must lead to

human cloning. My view is that

it's the slippery slope. Meks

week, advocates will have their

own meeting with their own

experts. Unlike today,

non-government politicians have

been invited as have journalists. Everything leaks,

might as well here the real

story. He died trapped and

alone, unable to escape, a

63-year-old quadriplegic was

killed this morning when fire

broke out in his Sydney home.

Murder squad detectives say

there are signs that the blaze

was deliberately lit. Steven

Chin never stood a chance. The

fire ripped through his housing

commission home and spread next

door. His neighbour, was lucky

to get out alive. I'm gracious

that I'm still alive and I

haven't been burnt. I just am

very deeply sorry my neighbour

didn't make it. The 63-year-old

quadriplegic was found dead in

his bed. I couldn't reach him.

Everything had taken ablaze so

quick, so fast. She says she

woke up to crackling sounds

around 6am. Her front window

shattered and the smoke alarm

went off. A policewoman on her

way to work helped her to

safety. Detectives say the fire

looks deliberately lit and have

ruled out suicide. We found

accelerant at the scene and

they are in locations this make

it highly suspicious. Neighbours say it's

a tragic end to a hard life. Mr

Chin didn't feel safe in his

own home. Last year he was

broken into, the thief climbed

over him while he was in bed

unable to move and took what

few possessions he had. His

neighbour said he completely

relied on careers. I couldn't

imagine who would want to do

that to him. He is a

defenceless man. Locals say Mr

Chin migrated from Malaysia and

has little family in Australia.

A coronial inquest has heard

that a 40-year-old man who died

from kidney failure was let

down by three Sydney hospitals.

The court was told that Wayne

Brown's death could have been

prevented by earlier dialysis

treatment. Now his family wants

answers. According to Kim

McCall, the hospital system

failed her brother. You name

it, it happened. Every single

person that touched Wayne did

something wrong. Wayne Brown

was diagnosed with 98% renal

failure in 2003. His condition was profound and

life-threatening. But the court

heard he was discharged from

Penrith Hospital because of a

lack of dialysis equipment. He

had to wait 16 weeks before

receiving treatment at Concord

Hospital. Today the Professor

who reviewed his case told the


A day after dialysis, Mr

Brown collapsed alt home and was rushed to Blacktown

Hospital. He had to be moved

back to Concord for treatment,

but died in an ambulance on the

way there. Why should we lose

our only son because they

didn't have a dialysis machine

going at Blacktown? The court

heard that mistakes were made

even after hardware Brown's

death. His family were sent an autopsy report for another

Wayne Brown, leading them to

think they buried the wrong

man. Wayne had no reason to

die. He should still be alive.

It's pretty sad, isn't it,

really? The court was told that

Mr Brown died because of a

combination of factors in a

scenario where everything that

could go wrong, did go wrong.

It used to be that saying you

were big-boned was a polite way

of saying you were overweight,

but now it seems that for some

people at least, it has merit.

Scientists have discovered a

gene that causes about 1 in 100

people to overeat. And being

tall and big-boned is one of

the siebs. In the fight against obesity, scientists say for

some, no amount of will-power

will help them eat less. That's

because they have a genetic

mutation meaning their appetite is constantly switched

on. Often people will gain

weight from the first few years

of life and will be hungry.

They will know they have a

strong appetite. Dr Sadaf

Farooqi from the University of

Cambridge says patients with

the gene are tall, big-boned an

have high insulin levels. They

believe 1 or 2 in every 100 severely overweight people are

affected. It's not purely

will-power. There is a strong biological component. Drug

companies are working on

medications that might switch

the gene off, allowing people

to feel satisfied with smaller

portions of food. Other experts

argue genes alone are unlikely

to cause obesity. In a small

proportion, but a significant

proportion of obesity, the

genetic affect alone is the

major cause. For a lot of us,

it is yes we have

pre-dispossessing genes, but

something in our environment,

our lifestyle, brings that

out. It's a little bit

dangerous to allow people to

use genetics as a way of

excusing overeating and lack of

exercise. I think one has to be

careful. But the discovery

might explain why some people

find it difficult to lose

weight, no matter how hard they

try. Tonight's top story -

crocodile hunter Steve Irwin

has died in a freak

mishap. Tennis says goodbye to

a legend.

A major Sydney construction

project is again under the

spotlight over the use of

foreign labour to temporarily

fill skilled job vacancies. The

site was closed because of

safety concerns, particularly

the workers' lack of English.

It re-opened today. These

Chinese workers were kept away

from the media today as

questions remain over their

wages, conditions and workplace

safety. A worker was about to use hydrochloric acid to splash

down a pillar without wearing safety equipment because he

wasn't able to read the

label. Up to 50 workers were

brought to western Sydney to

build a new manufacturing plant

for ABC Tissues. The site has

now been closed down for a

fortnight over 27 safety infringements. Most had to do

with lack of English and just

one in interpreter to cover 40

workers. John Howard wants it

one way when it comes to

dealing with the English

language, but when he has to

implement it with practical measures and accept

responsibility himself, we find

scandals like this

occurring. In the past two

weeks in a bid to recommence

work on the $60 million

construction site, three

interpreters have been

employed, and signs have been

put up in both Chinese and

English. Is the site open for

business now? Yes, it is. ABC

Tissues owner, Henry Ngai, says

his company is not connected with the construction of the

building. In Parliament, the PM

was standing by the visa

programme. Do I still support

the scheme? Yes, so do the eight state and Territory Labour leaders. They all

support it and they are up to

their armpits in using it. Late

today, the Immigration

Minister, Amanda Vanstone, said

she was reviewing whether the

Chinese labour hire company

involved in this case could

continue to access the vicea

scheme. After a day of trilarl security talks in Dili,

Australia has called for a more robust United Nations military

presence in East Timor. The

Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, met his Indonesian

counterpart and the East

Timorese President. He told

reporters that a 350-strong UN

force won't be enough to back

up the new international

contingent of 1,600

police. We're obviously

continue to be concerned about

the security situation, the

outbreaks of violent incidents,

though the advice I have is

that the situation is somewhat

better than it has been. Mr

Downer also says Australia

can't be blamed for last week's

security lapse which saw 57

prisoners break out of jail. UN

authorities have publicly

appealed to the rebel leader

who escaped to turn himself

in. One of Australia's

best-known children's authors

has died from heart failure in

Brisbane. Born in SA, Teeley

was best known for his book,

Storm Boy. He wrote plays and

children's stories during his

years as a school teacher. He

died at a Brisbane hospital

this morning. He is survived by

his wife, two daughters and

seven grandchildren. He was 85.

A surprise comeback by the

building industry has increased

the likelihood of another interest rate rise before

Christmas. A big jump in the

number of new apartments has

resulted in the biggest monthly

jump in building approvals for

more than a year. Economics

correspondent, Phillip Lasker

reports. In the midst of rising interest rates in May

and August, people still wanted

to build. We've been seeing a

recovery coming through in

building approvals for a few

months now, albeit from

relatively low levels. Building

approvals jumped 8.5% in July,

well above the average forecast

of less than 1%. Free standing

homes rose nearly 5%, while apartments surged more than

15%. Trends are now rising in

every state except WA which is

flat. There is a bit of a

recovery under way, but nothing

to get carried away with.

Enough to keep another rate

hike on the agenda as the Reserve Bank governor, Sadaf

Farooqi, prepares for

tomorrow's board meeting, his

last before retirement this

month. Most analysts think the

bank will wait. I suspect they

will step back and watch

numbers in the next few months.

The strength of the data we've seen recently suggests the May

hikes had little

impact. Although the recent run of data has been strong, it

will be a few months before the

economy feels the full affect

of this year's two rate

increases. But a private sector

reading on inflation, partly

boosted by rising rents,

suggests a nagging problem. It

showed inflation rose 0 f 6% in

August and 3.8% through the

year. Above the target range of the Reserve Bank. Company

profits rose 3.3% in the June

quarter this year. To the rest

of the finance now and the

Australian dollar surged above

77 US cents today on the

increased odds of another rate

rise. Here's Alan Kohler. The

last time the Australian dollar

was above 77 US cents was in May, just after the first interest rate hike this

year. After which it subsided

to below 73. In the month leading up to the second rate

hike at the start of August,

the dollar surged 5% to 76.

Since when it traded tightly

around that level. Today's

surprisingly strong building

approvals data for July raised

the odds of another rate hike F

not tomorrow, then maybe

September or October. The dollar responded accordingly.

The other thing that had

spectators thinking about a

rate hike was company profits,

up 3.3% in the June quarter.

This graph shows company

profits as a percentage of GDP.

they are above the levels of

2000 overall, but it's all

about mining. Excluding mining

companies, just manufacturing

and services businesses, it's

falling. A consequence of

strong profits and steady share

market prices is share market

valuations are at 15-year lows,

despite three years of rising

prices. This is a graph of the

price earnings ratio, the key

valuation tool for shares. The

average price of all companies

in the all ordinaries index is

now 13.3 times the average

profit, which is the cheapest

they've been since August 1991.

As long as profits stay up, of

course. Share prices were

strong today.

And that's finance. 26

weeks, scores of matches and

that was just the entree. The National Rugby League

competition has reached the

business end of the season with

the top eight teams battling it

out for the right to be called

Premiers. The rivals came

face-to-face today. Parramatta's Nathan

Cayless wasn't meant to play

again this season after

fracturing his eye socket three

weeks ago. The specialists has

assured me that the percentages

are minimal, the chances are

minimal of me doing any damage

to it. The Eels face the

daunting prospect of playing the Storm in Melbourne on

Sunday. Manly's inspirational

captain, Ben Kennedy, will be

back from injury against the

knights on Friday night. He

will be up against good mate

Andrew Johns who returns after

serving a 2-game suspension for

abusing a touch judge when the

teams last met. 25,000 Novacastrians screaming and

nugget mouthing off, I think

it's going to be as

usual. Johns will be kept away

from the match officials are

the half-back sharing the cap tansy role with Steve

Simpson. If any questions will

be asked of the referee, Steve

Simpson will be going up. In

the AFL with four interstate

teams filling the top four, the

game's heartland in Melbourne

is coming to terms with the

fact the city won't host match

matches in weeks two or three

in the finals. If you finish in

the top four, you had the right

to host finals. Those are the

rules. West Coast Eagles fans

are so eager to see their side

dent Sydney's defence, they

brought the ticketing system to

a standstill this afternoon.

The winner of Saturday night's

clash in Perth gets a week off

to contemplate a home final and

be one victory from conscef

grand final appearances. It

was more gushing meadows than

Flushing Meadows. The home of American tennis has bid

farewell to one of its

favourite sons, Andre Agassi.

The 36-year-old American

officially required after

losing his third-round match to

unsung German, Benjamin

Becker. As Andre Agassi slumped into his Arthur Ashe Stadium

chair for the last time, the

emotions took over. You have

pulled for me on the court and

also in life. I found

inspiration. You have willed me

to succeed sometimes even in my

lowest moments. The winner of

four Australian and two US

Opens and one each at Wimbledon

and Roland Garros had earnt the

right to reflect on 20

memorable years. You have given

me your shoulders to stand on

to reach for my dreams, dreams I couldn't have reached without

you. Over the last 21 years, I

have found you and I will take

you and the memory of you with

me for the rest of my life. Thank you.

After collecting 60 singles

titles and winning more than

850 career matches, there was

some irony in his career coming

to an end against a German

named Becker. 14 times Andre

Agassi played Boris for ten

wins. This Becker crunched him

out of Flushing Meadows for a

final time. UMPIRE: Game, set, match. COMMENTATOR: A sad

moment for Andre Agassi. The

15th seed, Lleyton Hewitt,

advanced to a 4th-round match

by attacking the 20th seeded

Serb. He won in straight

sets. Hewitt would be relieved

the tumultuous events

surrounding Agassi's farewell

hadn't stushed his plans. And

time to check the weather with

Mike Bailey: Good evening.

Sydney missed the rain that

came with a change at the

weekend, but the anch falls are

in contrast with the national

picture. The average across all

stations was officially 6.87mm,

the lowest on record with parts

of NSW posting record lows.

temperatures were one above the


The change of the weekend is

moving rapidly into the Tasman,

although cloud associated with

a trough likely to produce an

isolated shower or two into

tomorrow. Another change coming

through from the south-west

will move into that region of

NSW by late in the day and rain

is to follow. It will be become

widespread through the state on

Wednesday, and there are signs

of a surface low developing off

the coast by Thursday. Tomorrow

- showers in Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide and mainly fine in

the other capital cities. NSW -

isolated showers at first, but

they will clear quickly. It

will be a generally fine day

with temperatures cool

overnight, but higher tomorrow

than they were today. By late

tomorrow, cloud building in the

south and a few showers

developing about the far

south-west and across the

south-west slopes and the


And before we go, another

look at the stories making news

tonight - environmentalist and entertainer, Steve Irwin, has

died in a freak underwater

accident off Queensland. He was

struck in the chest by a

Stingray barb. Jake Kovco's

family claims there has been a

cover-up over the Private's

death. His brother has

condemned what he called the

destruction of evidence and

testimony from three soldiers

in the case. And the PM has

added his support to plans to

float Medicare Private on the

stock market. And that is ABC

News for this Monday. I'm

Juanita Phillips. I'll be back

with updates during the evening

and Lateline is along at 10:35,

followed by Lateline Business.

Goodnight. Captions provided by Captioning and Subtitling


These spitting cob ras are

highly venomous. As luck would

have it every now and again I

do get bitten. I haven't been

killed. It's that sense of

morbidity people have. The dare

devil who ran out of luck F

legacy of Steve Irwin. This guy

was without a doubt the best-known Australian in

America. I was so close to

being blind, but now I can

really, really see. Patients

call it a miracle. And, the

wonder drug restoring sight to

sore eyes. This is the

penicillin of the eyeball. At