Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
ABC News (Sydney) -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) This program is not subtitled This Program is Captioned

Live. Tonight - learning the hard

way - shutting the gate on

childcare centres. Zimbabwe on

its knees, a human disaster

unfolds. When hell really did

freeze over - tales of an icy

ordeal. There was just water

and big chunks of ice flying in

through the windows into the

cabin. Building collapse - the

industry falls into a hole. We

have had in the last few months

thousands of workers that have

been retrenched. Good evening,

Juanita Phillips with ABC News.

Parents are being -- -- have

the future of ABC Learning, been pleading for answers on

today they got some. The news

wasn't good. Australia's

largest childcare operator will

close 55 centres across the

nation, 4,000 children will be

affected. They'll be given

places at other centres, but

some staff will lose their

jobs. The future of 200 other

ABC centres is in doubt, forcing the Federal Government

to throw the company yet

another financial lifeline. ABC

Learning's receiver calls it positive. Today's announcement

is better than any of us could

have hoped for when we started

this receivership some five

weeks ago. 55 centres across

Australia will be closed next

year, 4,000 children will be

offered places in nearby

centres I'm pretty upset.

Coming in to have a chat now

about what's going to

happen. 100 jobs are expected

to go. We are keen to ensure

that jobs are protected and all

entitlements are protected. The

Federal Government has been

forced to provide a further 34

million to keep another 241

unviable centres open. This

will give parents of children

at those centres a further time

period, further security, they

will know that their centres

will continue to operate until

31 March next year. In ordinary

circumstances, they would be

shut. There are 20,000 children

to consider. The Rudd

Government believes that a

number of those centres may

well be viable under a

different business model. The

Government needs to use this

opportunity to restore the

balance, make sure there's

diverse ownership. Parents will

have to wait. The giant of Australian childcare has been

humbled. A third of ABC

Learning Centres are now out of

the company's control. How and

why it's come to this - at

least for the receiver and

manager, is a question for

another day. ABC Learning has

been left with 720 centres

caring for about 91,000

children, and no owner. We have

received a considerable amount

of interest from a number of parties. Founder Eddie Groves,

who went from milkman to

millionaire before leaving his

kl as it fell apart declined to

declined to comment -- company as it fell apart

today. Shocking images emerged

of Zimbabwe's humanitarian

crisis as Robert Mugabe scoffs

at demands for him to step

down. Living conditions are desperate. Chronic food

shortages and a cholera

epidemic. A video has been

released showing the extent of

suffering. Andrew Geoghegan

reports. The images in his

story are disturbing. Zimbabwe

is suffering a slow and

agonising death. These secretly

videoed images show a nation in

the grip of hunger and disease.

Food is so hard to come by,

that people try to find scraps

in the rubbish. In the capital

Harare raw sewage is

overflowing in the streets, but

it doesn't stop the children

collecting contaminated water.

It's little wonder that cholera

is rampant. Officially 14,000

people are infected with

cholera. Around 600 have died

from the disease. However, aid

groups estimate the death toll

is higher.

This health worker doesn't

want to be identified for fear of retribution.

Many of those who fall ill

cannot find treatment. The

hospitals that are still open

have no medicine

Foreign aid is now pouring

into Zimbabwe, in an effort to

alleviate the crisis, providing

some hope to a population

struggling for survival. They

spent 14 hours trapped on a

small sheet of ice in the

Arctic, frozen with fear. Australian pilot Oliver Edwards

Neil and his flying partner

thought they would die when

their plane crashed in Canada's

far north. The temperature 20 below, search planes missing

them and the ice could have

given away at any moment.

Rescuers found them with mild

cases of frostbite and big smiles. Back on solid ground

and on the way to a warm

hospital bed after ditching in

one of the coldest places on

earth. We had the door open

actually when we touched on

knack, but the pressure of the

water and ice slammed it

back. Oliver Edwards Neil, and

Troels Hanson were flying

across the top of the world

from Ohio to Sweden when both

engines of their SES na failed

over Canada's Hudson

Strait. There was water and big

chunks of ice flying in through

the windows and in to the

cabin. The two clamoured on to

an icefloe, where they paced

for hours to avoid freezing to

death in the sub zero temperatures, spotter planes flew overhead-butted couldn't

spot them in the darkness. It

was a very lovely feeling to

see the plane go down, your only transportation out of

there. Dressed in bright

orange, the men were spotted at

down the next day by a crew of

a fishing trawler that went

300km out of its way to rescue

them. That dedication and

commitment to finding us is the

reason we are here today. I owe

the captain and the crew on our

life, we owe them our lives,

thank you for keeping at us.

There was plenty of thanks from

the father of Oliver Edwards

Neil, who heard the news of his

son's rescue at home on the

Gold Coast. It was a shock when

it happened. It was just a

miracle that he was able to

come through the way he did. Oliver Edwards Neil

acknowledges he's a very lucky

man. Some frostbite and some

aches and pains. So got away

real lucky. The 25-year-old

says his days of flying a small

plane over the Atlantic in the

middle of winter are well and

truly over. Mining giant Rio

Tinto is wielding the axe tonight announcing massive job

cuts. It plans to shed 14,000

workers worldwide to reduce its

capital spending and shave off

a quarter of its massive $40

overshadowed good economic news billion debt. The sackings

on the housing and retail

front. More from political

correspondent Greg Jennett. One

shopper is leading by

example. These are RM Williams.

That's what I wear. Kevin Rudd

is applying his own retail

therapy, injecting $300 into

Darwin's economy before his

dash to Bali. It's a show of

confidence the Reserve Bank

Governor would applaud. Not so

much a financial crisis, it is

a crisis of affidavits on the

part of households and

businesses.... He may have

spoken too some, the latest

measure of consumer sentiment

detects a 7.5% lift in

confidence. These figures show

that Australians are beinging

the economy. Housing finance is

re sillient, but the backing

and number of new loans rose in

October. There's reason why

confidence night rebound,

households are saving around

$80 on fuel bills since July,

interest rate cuts are saving

$600 on the average mortgage,

and that's without bigger first

home owners grants and this

week's cash payments to welfare

recipients. We do have

reasonable grounds for quiet

confidence in the future. There

are reasons to think things

could get worse. The governor

has been struck by China's slow down, which is continuing to

take its toll. Mining giant Rio

Tinto announced it's slashing

14,000 jobs worldwide. A grim

statistic for even the most

optimistic commodity

exporter. The world hasn't

stopped, they are going to need

all those commodities,

resources. They also need

money. The global downturn is hurting Government finances

throughout the region, and

Australia is now answering

calls for help The Prime

Minister has come good on

Indonesia's request for a

stand-by loan. The scope of our

proposed participation is in

the vicinity of $1 billion. He

says it's the act of a

neighbour and friend. Well,

housing finance figures may be

up, but the State's

construction union says the

building industry has fallen

into a giant hole and it will

get worse in the lead-up to

Christmas. The union says

thousands of workers have lost

their jobs, and there's been a

jump in the number of companies

going bankrupt. Adam Zorzit was

laid off by construction giant

Multiplex in September. Since

then the only building work he

has touched has been around his

house. They sacked a bunch of

blokes before me, and a loft us

knew it was coming. Construction, Forestry, Mining

and Energy Union says it's been

inundated with calls from

members who have been sacked.

We have had thousands of

workers in the last few months

that have been retrenched and

with little job prospects

before the end of the

year. Adam Zorzit is struggling

to make ends meet on a lower

paid job. Thank god we have

family around us to help us

out. It's one thing where we

are blessed. The union tracked

a sharp increase in the number

of building companies going

into liquidation. In October,

November, December an increase

of 60, 70, 80 companies every

month. That's the tip of the

iceberg, we believe, in a meltdown occurring with

building companies. In the

first 10 days of December a

further 99 companies have gone

to the wall. The union fears

there'll be another surge in

the number of companies going

into liquidation in the lead-up

to Christmas as builders

struggle to find the cash to

pay workers holiday pay. The downturn is leaving giant holes

in the ground. The company

behind this shopping centre

development in western Sydney

went into receivership two

months ago. It's difficult for

the local community in that

they have one half of their

shopping centre demogished.

There's issues of public safety

and general amenity. Eyes will

be on the latest upt figures

due out tomorrow. --

unemployment figures due out tomorrow. Sydney's ferries look

set for a shake-up, the

Government calling for expressions of interest.

Private operators are asked

whether they can run the fleet

more efficiently than the

Government. The Transport

Minister denies it's being sold

off. I don't think anyone could

interpret the announcement to

be privatisation of Sydney

Ferries, it's about going

through an expression of

interest. The Opposition says the Government should stop

delaying a decision on

privatisation. This is an organisation with massive

problems and for the State

Government to say they'll wait

a year before taking action is

simply unacceptable. The

Government says no decision

will be made until the end of

next year. Sydney's Circular

Quay has the infamous 'Toaster'

building, now it's set to be

the site of another structure,

this one dubbed the 'Rubik's

Cube', this is an artists

impression of the $50 million wing of the Museum of

Contemporary Art, the building

blending educational facilities

with galleries, there'll be a

new level above the old

building with a sculptured

terrace overlooking the harbour. I'm confident we'll

get public opinion, not

everyone will like it, there'll

be a great range of opinions,

so there should be, we are a

contemporary institution we

should be generating debate.

The Museum is asking the

Federal Government to make up a

$20 million shortfall so the

building can open by March

2011. Australia has been told

to dramatically improve the

quality of science and maths

students or put its future at

risk. Pupils here are falling

behind knows in other developed

countries, and nations like

Kazakhstan are doing better. At

this high school science class

students are working on a basic

chemical reaction. What we'll

do is a simple experiment where

we are looking at swapping

partners with our

chemicals. The reaction to the latest international test

results in science and maths

has not been so good. Students

in year 4 and 8 are tested

every four years. This time the

youngest students results are

stable, oldest students are

slipping. At year 8 students in

mathematics and science perform

at lower levels than they were

a decade ago. Australian

students in year 8 are behind

countries like Japan,

Singapore, the US, England and

Russia. In one category Korea

has six times as many students

reaching the advanced benchmark. It's important in

the future Australia has well qualified mathematicians and

scientists ensuring that we are

competitive in a global sense

in an economic sense. The

experts say if Australia wants

to improve scores it needs to

do what other countries have

done, reform the curriculum and

teacher development We are

certainly determined to bring a

quality new national curriculum

and we've been working hard on

that. The national curriculum

we believe needs to be

supported by a strong program of teacher professional

learning to back it up. It may

be the winning formula, more

than half of year 4 science

teachers say they don't feel

well qualified to teach the

subject. As political corruption

scandals go, it's a big one.

The Governor of the State of Illinois has been arrested for

trying to sell Barack Obama's

Viccant senate seat, he has the

power to appoint a successor,

allegedly he wanted money up

front. Agents tapped the

governor's phone, and hid bugs

in the office. Experienced

investigators were shocked by

what they heard. Governor Rod

Blagojevich took us to a new

low, he's been arrested in the

middle of a political

corruption crime spree. If it isn't the most corrupt state in

the United States it's a

helluva competitor. The

governor tried to shake down

the 'Chicago Tribune',

threatening to withhold money from the parent company unless

they sacked reporters who

criticised him:

In other conversations he

allegedly tried to auction off

Barack Obama's empty senate

seat to the highest bidder:

Just hours before being arrested, Rod Blagojevich

denied wrongdoing. If anybody

wants to tape my conversations,

go ahead, feel free to do it. Prosecutors insist there's

nothing to link Barack Obama

with the attempts to sell the

seat. In fact, the wir caps quote Rod Blagojevich cursing

the Obama team saying, "They

are not willing to give me

anything but

appreciation. " The President-elect new nothing

about the corruption. I'm

saddened and sobered by the

news coming out of the US

attorneys office. It's a

reminder that Obama got his

start in Chicago's cutthroat

political scene. Rod

Blagojevich's predecessor had

his own bribery scandal and is

now in jail. Greece is

paralysed because of a general

strike called over the

Government's economic policies,

after four days of violent

street protests union action

could trigger further unrest.

Thousands turned out for the

funeral of the schoolboy whose

death sparked the riots. The

Government hoped for calm.

Instead they got more of this.

Hundreds of young Greeks

attacking police protecting the Parliament. It was not the only

target. After a night of chaos

this was just some of the

damage. Here a shoe shop in

other places banks, hotels,

police stations. I'm very

unhappy for the people this day

is absolutely disaster for

them. What started as a protest

against the killing of a

15-year-old boy by police has

in places spiraled out of control.

TRANSLATION: I say sure the

President that no leniency will

be tolerated in holding people accountable, no-one has the

right to use this tragic

incident as an alibi for

actions of raw violence. Even

if the Government declares a

state of emergency, it still

faces a battle clearing the

streets of protesters now in

their fourth day of clashes.

And as they were throwing rocks thousands of mourners threw

flowers on the coffin of

15-year-old Alexandros

Grigoropoulos, who was hit by a

police bullet. A nationwide

strike could many more are

drawn into the streets. Initial

sympathy for the demonstrators

may be waning after damages for

the past few days. The Government resists calls for it

to resign, there's no obvious

circuit breaker to end the

cycle of violence. Indonesia

agreed to extradite a people

smuggler to face court in

Australia. At formal talks in

Bali the Prime Minister and

Indonesia's President scuffed

the recent rise in boat

arrivals. Susilo Bambang

Yudhoyono agreed to hand over

an Iranian man wanted for

running a large people

smuggling operation.

TRANSLATION: Prime Minister

Rudd and I agreed to intensify

cooperation to deal with people

smuggling by implementation of

the treaty. Kevin Rudd says

people smuggling is a challenge for governments that won't go

away. On to finance now, and

the local market rallied today

after that rise in consumer

confidence. Here is Alan Kohler

with the details. I suppose it

depends how you look at it. The

consumer sentiment index from

Westpac and the Melbourne

Institute jumped 7.5% compared

with last month, but it's 18%

below this time last year.

There were unsurprising details

- they asked people what they

think is the best place for

your money, now it's banks, not

shares. A surprising one - is

it time to buy a major

household item, that was up 28%

in a month. Here is a graph of

the main consumer sentiment

index. The monthly volatility

is confirmed in the context of

a fall. We need a few more

months to determine whether

it's turned around. There may

be a terms of trade collapse

around the corner, that is the

ratio of export and import

prices, it's a main factor supporting the economy thanks

to rising commodity prices, as

the graph shows commodity

prices fell, leaving the terms

of trade behind. Last night

commodities fell, oil down 3%

to $42.50. Copper down 3.6%,

and the CRB index 1.7%.

Resources rose strongly in a

delayed reaction perhaps to the

Obama spending plans. Rio

jumped 12% announcing a

dramatic plan to cut staff and

reduce debt. BHP Biliton 6%,

and Santos 8%. Westpac came on

8.5% lower after its share

placement yesterday. Wall

Street share prices fell last

night. In Asia they rose, in

Hong Kong and Taiwan

especially. The Australia

dollar above 66 US cent trading

at 65.9.

The ABC announced a site for

its new Brisbane headquarters.

The broadcasting centre will be

built at Southbank across the

river from the CBD, sitting

between the Performing Arts

Centre, and Griffith Universityies Conservatorium of

Music. We are thrilled at this

outcome. We think it's the best

possible solution, the weight

was absolutely -- wait was

worthwhile to get this site in

this place and time. It's a

great outcome for Southbank, bringing another cultural

institution here. The Brisbane

City Council has criticised the

plans saying the area should be

preserved as public open space.

The ABC moved out of the

Toowong Studios in 2006 because

of a breast cancer cluster. The

National broadcaster is

operating out of seven separate

locations across Brisbane. Construction should be completed by late

2011. Economic times may be tough, but the Federal

Government has managed to find

$46 million to fund Australia's

bid to host the 2018 World Cup. The Sports Minister says the

potential benefits outweigh the

costs. Here is Peter Wilkins. It was hard to keep

the smiles in check. The

Football Federation and the

Federal Government hand in hand

aiming to get a grip on one of

world sport icons, the hosting

of the World Cup Soccer. This

is not about football. It's

about Australia. When it came

to questions about the global

financial crisis, there was a

well structureded defence. This

is an investment In terms of

jobs, in terms of

infrastructure and tourism. Not

only that, Germany's experience

was too good to ignore. We know

there are over 2 million

international visitors, we know

there were 85,000 jobs

created. Part of the $46

million funding will be spent

to upgrade facilities, the

Government is adamant soccer's

gold rush won't disadvantage

other sports. This has not come

at the expense of other sports

across Australia.

The FFA chairman won't Count

nans Australia's bid being

relegated by European

interests. I think we have the

sympathies of exists of FIFA

and the football world. The

venues for 2018 and 2022 will

be announced in three years

time. On the eve of a hit out

in Australia South Africa is

drawing on the hurtful

experience of a heavy defeat

last time. We love the

Australian tour as a leadership

group. We try to play it

down. Almost contradicting that

the Proteas will simulate Test

match conditions for the 50

over match. Some of the faces

changed but the predictions the

same I back our boys any day.

My prediction is 3-0. Visitors

have often seen red, pink will

be the predominant hue during

the Sydney test as part of the

Jane McGrath Foundation drive

for breast cancer awareness. The Australian open was

considered the fifth major, not

any more. Adam Scott pulled

out of this week's event at

Royal Sydney due to knee injuy,

he admitted he'd play if it was

a major. Probably, yes, I'd

hobble around and get it done, but I think it will set me

back, so I won't be able to

start 2009. If, as predicted

wind and rain are factors at

Royal Sydney this week, low

scoring will be difficult. It

will be tough to get more than

a couple under par, it will be

good golf. Melbourne Storm's

future is in safe hands. Captain Cameron Smith resisted

going back to Queensland to

join the Gold Coast and will

stay with Melbourne until the

end of 2012. I probably could

have made more money elsewhere.

That wasn't a big factor in

deciding to stay here. Smith's

signing is a boost for the club

which lost several players,

including representative star

Israel Folau. The latest

drought figures are out. It's

good news for some parts of the

state. The October figures

showing 63% of NSW in drought.

In November that fell back to

55.5%. Most of the south and

west is still in drought,

having missed out again on rain

across the Central West, the

north and north-east. The

overall wheat harvest is

expected to be up 25% this time

around, but there is a cloud on

the horizon, and unfortunately

it's not rain. A new locust

cycle is expected later this

month in the south and Central

West and farmers are told to be

vigilant. Of course, if too

many unreported hatchings occur

and they take wing, we'll have

a situation quite disasterous

particularly by about Spring

next year. New hatchings must

be sprayed on the ground before

they develop wings and form

into swarms. Checking the

weather now, and perhaps not

drought breaking rain but

there'll be heavy falls on

Friday. There will be, state

wide. Rain forecast models pick

falls of 50-plus millimetres

about the central and southern

slopes and ranges and coast,

including Sydney, Newcastle and

Wollongong. It was a bleak

afternoon in Sydney today, tops

of 23 to 26 degrees. They were

recorded before 11am. Drizzle

and showers to continue, no significant falls significant falls expected.

A severe thunderstorm warning

is current for the northern

rivers, mid North Coast and

northern table land. Cricket

ball sized heal reported at

Swan Creek east of Grafton, and

3-4cm hail and 100km/h winds

near Coopers crossing and hail

at Nui rala and Tamworth. A

gusty southerly change

producing a storm of rain.

Today's falls has fallen after

3pm Perth was the wettest

capital with 3mm. Storms active

around Darwin in Alice Springs.

Cloud building over the central

and western parts of the

country as tropical moisture

pours in from the warm waters

north of the mainland. A

developing low in the west is a

trigger for rain developing in

the west of the NSW from late

tomorrow before spreading

throughout on Friday, clearing

off the coast during

Saturday. Over that time most

of the state will receive

10-25mm with lighter falls

about the northern and southern

border districts. Adelaide is

too far south to get the good

rainfall with isolated showers

forecast. Storms expected in

Darwin, the Alice and Brisbane.

An afternoon shower and

thunderstorms about the

north-eastern inland of the

State becoming severe. Isolated

showers on the coast and ranges

with high cloud increasing

across the state and rain

developing in the west during

the afternoon. That will

increase in the far west by the

evening. We are looking at a

mostly cloudy day in Sydney

with isolated light showers and

drizzle patches, most will be

in the morning. Top

temperatures of 21-22. Today's

choppy assess abating ass winds

become lighter south-easterly.

They'll increase significantly

on Friday and Saturday. That's

as a low pressure system

deepens, moving towards

Victoria. Friday will be the

wettest day across the State.

The rain is expected to clear

early in the morning on

Saturday, so we are looking at

a warm day with gusty westerly

winds, and a southerly

component seeing temperatures

staying cooler next staying cooler next week.

Tonight's top stories -

troubled childcare operator ABC

Learning to close 55 centres

across the country, the 4,000

children affected have been promised places in other centres. Zimbabwe's Robert

Mugabe rejected growing calls

for him to step down as the country buckles under food

shortages and a cholera

epidemic. One of the world 's

biggest miners blamed the economic downturn for Rio

Tinto's decision to slash

14,000 jobs world wide. That is

ABC News for Wednesday, I'll be

back with the late edition news

around 10:30. If you want to

catch up with developments overnight. 'ABC News Breakfast'

on ABC2. Goodnight.

Tonight on the '7.30

Report', Australia's last and

most controversial campaign of

World War II. It was a

beautiful sight to see, all the

barges streaming in to the

beach. 63 years on, the

veterans returning to Brunei to

pay homage to their fallen

mates. It's bringing back a lot

of memories, no doubt. Some

good, some not so good. And a

summer of art. 120 French

master Edgar Degas's greatest

works down under for the first

time. He's the most important

19th century artist. That kind

of set the scene for both 19th

century French art, more

generally though modern art. This Program is Captioned