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Tonight - The State's food shock failed winter crops. as farmers start digging up multimillion-dollar bills Councils facing to save homes from climate change. the bomb squad Sydney firefighters call in fearing a massive explosion. by our first spring storm. And the city lashed with Chris Bath. VOICEOVER: This is Seven News with Chris Bath. VOICEOVER: This is Seven News Good evening. to brace Sydney families have been warned

'food shock' - for what's being called in supermarket bills an unprecedented jump as a result of drought.

Struggling farmers say is a catastrophe their third crop failure in a row it's on red alert. and the Federal Government admits that our great wheat-growing nation It seems impossible

by a grain shortage. could be gripped the epicentre of a 7-year drought, But here in West Wyalong, and their last shred of hope. farmers are ripping up crops to have to go through it again It's heart-wrenching and maybe line up again next year. they thought had broken. Clouds mock the drought all over the country. Crops are failing they'll harvest 3 million tonnes New South Wales farmers doubt to meet the State's demand. how catastrophic this is. And I think that highlights

enough to feed our own people. At the moment, we can't even produce to keep sheep alive. His failed crop is being used That's right. of sheep we just put on here, You know, this'll keep the mob but after that... keep 'em goin' for a few weeks, Some see no way out. knows of many Country Senator Bill Heffernan who've taken their own lives. and you can't go to sleep. You go to bed at night don't wanna go to town. ending it all. A lot of farmers feel like This year could be, as they say, the camel's back. the straw that broke as your next loaf of bread. This was supposed to end up to another level The drought has moved around the world. and it's affecting grain supply

have raised prices 5% US giants like Sara Lee to pay for ingredients. would not be unreasonable. Australian bakers say a 20% rise of a world food crisis There are predictions in coming decades. Not just bread, but meat, fruit, vegetables.

not only for our farmers, This is a crisis

for our feed lotters. as a food shock in the supermarkets. It will eventually turn up We are on red alert. coming down. We know there is trouble We know it's uncharted territory. for Australia's drought The global warming that some blame to our coastline is also threatening severe damage sooner than most people feared. are facing massive bills Councils on the Central Coast threatened properties to either buy back or defend them from the sea. On the Central Coast is being washed away. the great Australian dream properties are at serious risk Councils say hundreds of beachside of being swallowed by the sea. Very dangerous, and of course, conservatively. that's why council has to act

We're putting lives at risk. to protect vulnerable properties. Drastic action is being taken Gosford is spending $12 million at Wamberal. to build a revetment wall underneath the sand It's a wall that goes

when you have a storm event. and protects the home

to buy back properties. Council says it's too expensive So far, only two homes have been purchased at Forresters Beach.

If the same erosion pattern occurs in the last 50 years that has occurred those homes will be in the sea. from building extensions. Some residents have been banned Hundreds of Central Coast residents from redeveloping their properties. are already prevented Local councils say the same tough restrictions. more homes could soon face that you can't build upon it. It means a pergola up, for example, a pool - In some instances, you can't put

God forbid, even a barbecue. Resident John McCabe fears to sell. the measures will make it difficult

It is very uneasy. for future plans. For myself here, we were looking All that's up in the air. to assess climate change But experts say councils that fail

liable for damages. could find themselves Future owners of property of their property will be looking at the loss of value so there may be future litigation. and looking for someone to blame, The Police Bomb Squad was called to a house fire

in Sydney's west this morning. Guildford caught alight around 6.30, A shed at the back of a home in and an oxygen tank. fuelled by two gas cylinders Firefighters feared they'd explode and enforced a 200m exclusion zone. to check on the cylinders. A Bomb Squad robot was set up The area was given the all clear the emergency began. almost six hours after is being investigated. The cause of the fire a nationwide alert Police have issued

was targeted after Australia's biggest florist in an elaborate credit card scam. Chris Reason joins us with details.

have been caught out. Chris, hundreds of customers this evening Chris, police have confirmed for us break into the confidential database that somehow someone has managed to Roses Only. of the retail flower giant the personal credit card details They've accessed of several hundred customers to use that information and then gone on across South East Asia. to finance luxury goods purchases Fraud Squad has confirmed The New South Wales Police to investigate it's launched a strike force is behind the sting. with claims an Asian crime syndicate A spokesman for Roses Only says of their online security they've now financed a major upgrade to beat any crime gangs. they're not convinced But Chris, interestingly, they say of computer hackers the breach was the work an inside job. suggesting it could be Chris. The judge in the Bruce Burrell murder trial has told the jury he'll accept a majority verdict. Burrell is accused of killing Dorothy Davis, a 74-year-old widow who disappeared from her Sydney home 12 years ago. The jury has been deliberating since last week. Today the judge told them he'll accept an 11-1 majority verdict. The jury will reconvene on Monday. Sydney man Gordon Wood has pleaded not guilty to the 1995 murder of his girlfriend, model Caroline Byrne. The former chauffeur of stockbroker Rene Rivkin won't face trial until next July. He's accused of killing the 24-year-old by throwing her from The Gap at Watsons Bay. Wood's trial is expected to take six months. The State Government is considering a new underground train line which could cut travel time across Sydney by a third. The Metro line would stretch 15 kilometres from West Ryde to the eastern suburbs. Victoria Road is one of Sydney's traffic bottlenecks, so senior transport officials today unveiled a blueprint to run a new metro line under it.

Its single-deck trains would run quicker than heavy rail. Under the proposal, the line would stretch from Malabar through Randwick, Paddington, Balmain to West Ryde. Also under consideration is a privately-owned high-speed rail link from Penrith and Parramatta to the city. We are doing planning and feasibility work on what they might look like, where they might go. All of the major cities, the global cities of the world, are now talking in terms of metro lines. But the plan puts in doubt the planned CBD link designed to duplicate the Harbour Bridge line. The Opposition says it would be just the latest rail proposal the Government has dumped. There have never been any shortage of plans to improve this city's rail system. What we've lacked for 12 years, though, is a government that's determined to deliver those plans.

But Hong Kong Rail consultants have advised RailCorp repeatedly that the $4.5 billion CBD line is a waste of money. They said if just 10% of that was spent on upgrading maintenance, train trips across the Harbour Bridge would quadruple. The Premier says no firm plans have been made. Nothing's been scrapped, there's been no firm plan as far as metros. John Howard has moved to bury a week of damaging leadership turmoil, unveiling plans to train 500 extra nurses a year.

But Labor says it's a back-to-the-future approach, reviving a training model abandoned 20 years ago. At a road opening in rural Victoria... I don't think that'll take two. ..left waiting for the driver's seat again. Digging in for a tough election campaign ahead. This is going to take a long time building this road. The Prime Minister was building a road out of the past week's leadership turmoil and onto a policy path.

Look, I haven't come here to talk about me, I've come here to talk about nurses. And talk up a $170-million plan to train an extra 500 nurses in hospitals rather than universities. The people who want to train to become enrolled nurses will go straight into on-the-job practical training. But the Nurses Union opposes a return to the old hospital-based training scheme. A measly little plan that will have no real impact on a very significant nursing shortage.

And Labor says it will do little to address the shortfall of 19,000 nurses

identified before the last election. This is a pre-election patch-up to try and make it look as if Mr Howard and Mr Costello are doing something about a nursing crisis. But the Government is talking about policy and not itself - at least, until the next wave of opinion polling, due next week. Parts of Sydney were lashed by fast-developing storms this afternoon. The southern suburbs were worst affected with heavy, dark clouds dumping hail and torrential rain around Sutherland and Campbelltown. These pictures of hail falling at Sutherland were sent to us by Seven News viewer Graham Croucher.

The front moved in so quickly it caught many people by surprise. Storm cells also formed in the north west, around Hornsby, bringing winds of up to 80km/h. Sara will have further details later in the weather report. Ahead in Seven News - The US President announces an Iraq troop withdrawal. Also, a huge school of fish lures sharks to our coast. And why millions of Italians have gone off their pasta. So busted! Franklins has price busted 1.25-litre Coca-Cola soft drink varieties. and other Price Busters, Look for this only at Franklins. SONG: # Zoom, zoom, zoom! # Still time to get great value. Upgrade to the Mazda6 sports range with free rego, third-party insurance and 4th-year warranty from only $28,990. Or upgrade to a stylish Mazda3, now also with free rego, third-party insurance and 4th-year warranty. So see your Mazda dealer and upgrade to great value. Our warmest spring day yet has brought the first shark sighting off our coast. This one - possibly a whaler - was spotted in shallow water just metres from the shore at Tuggerah Beach. It had its sights firmly set on a large school of baitfish which had been swept in on the current. nobody was swimming nearby. Fortunately,

its troop numbers in Iraq Australia won't be reducing the start of a US withdrawal. despite George W. Bush confirming 6,000 soldiers will be home by Christmas,

but critics fear may be stuck in an endless war. the bulk of American forces Good evening. It's only some who are coming home. to Iraq in January The extra ones the President sent for what was termed the Surge. and Iraq is safer now. He said they made a difference of success we're seeing in Iraq, seeing troops come home. we can begin 5,700 will be home by Christmas. by July next year. At least another 21,500 But more than 130,000 will stay. If we were to be driven out of Iraq would be emboldened. extremists of all strains

and new sanctuaries. Al-Qaeda could gain new recruits Iran would benefit from the chaos in its efforts and would be encouraged to gain nuclear weapons. and most are against the war. Americans have heard that before The President's political opponents to end it. just wanted to hear about a plan

military presence in Iraq An endless and unlimited is not an option. Australia has 1,500 troops in Iraq. says they can't be cut. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer proportional numbers then, of course If we were to withdraw exposed and vulnerable who remain. we would leave our troops more

not much has changed. For Australia and America, Goodnight, and God bless America. An Australian teenager accused an elderly American man of trying to smother dropped. has had an attempted murder charge A California judge accepted state at the time of the attack. Joshua Drougas was in a psychotic more than seven months in jail Joshua Drougas has already spent to kill this man. charged with attempting Ted Mastos. pneumonia in a convalescent centre The 91-year-old was recovering from

when he woke gasping for air. that something was on my face I was aware and, when I woke, it was a pillow pushed the pillow away, screamed The World War II veteran standing over him. and saw 19-year-old Drougas Had his finger on his lips for don't say anything. which is the universal sign ..tell the whole truth. sent to Mr Mastos' room by God. Police said Drougas claimed he was to put him out of his misery. He told me he went to kill Mr Mastos Joshua Drougas' family claimed from Melbourne four years ago, the teenager, who moved to America

who was unaware what he was doing. was a paranoid schizophrenic of the police interview, After viewing a video the attempted murder charge. the judge agreed, dismissing will remain in custody The young Australian on burglary and assault charges.

agrees that he should now go free. But even his elderly victim A French newspaper claims

by an overdose of sleeping pills. Madeleine McCann was killed The report says a lethal amount in DNA tested by Portuguese police. of sedative has been found Other media outlets claim Kate McCann's diary, investigators are examining 4-year-old Maddie where she wrote about being hysterical and exhausting.

on the couple's two other children British welfare officers checked

overnight. A Portuguese judge is deciding whether there's enough evidence to lay charges. Help is beginning to arrive in Indonesia following yesterday's earthquake and left hundreds homeless. which killed 10 people is assessing the damage A United Nations team off the island of Sumatra. caused by the 8.4 magnitude tremor aftershocks are causing panic. World Vision Australia says And still a confused situation. and are starting to say Our people are there assessing it

shelter, medical supplies. we're going to bring in water, to provide assistance Australia is the first nation with a $50,000 government donation. forks Millions of Italians have downed

for a day and given up their national dish of pasta. in a protest against the rising cost has pushed up prices by almost 30% A worldwide wheat shortage to household food bills. adding more than $1,000 It is obviously too much. but it is quite similar to this. I can't say this is theft

took part in the spaghetti strike. It's estimated half the population menus to calm Italian nerves. Free cups of coffee were on cafe

for Mark Skaife, Ben Damon. No calming coffee needed he's a chance to race this weekend. Despite emergency surgery, to prove it. And we've got the pictures Show you those shortly. Also tonight. against the Eels. The Dogs refuse to take the bait They've got a great forward pack. scandal rocks Formula One. And a record fine as a spying that we deserve to be penalised. I do not accept The Australian Government protecting your family online. is serious about Internet safety advice For practical plus a free filter, visit: They are two of league's fiercest rivals

are showing plenty of mutual respect but the Bulldogs and Eels knockout semi-final. before tomorrow night's

Pre-match banter remains polite, build-up providing an unusually friendly to one of the matches of the season. of semi-final tension - There are some signs the Bulldogs barred media this morning. from entering their Belmore carpark They were offered chances to bait the Eels, but ignored them. They've got a great forward pack and we've got the potential to go alright as well. critics' claims The Bulldogs haven't missed their bark. their bite no longer matches will make Parramatta fans nervous. Their quiet brooding

in attitude at training, This week there has been a ramp-up

in intensity. Eels sensation Krisnan Inu, Nothing seems to bother a finals rookie. I don't know, I think it's just real laid back and real relaxed about things. to become a Mormon missionary - Inu won't quit the NRL was too good to give up. a career as a rugby league star

I am pretty excited -

into the finals, awesome feeling. first NRL season and getting The Warriors will be feeling good in Townsville. That's Ruben Wiki's kava bowl. The Kiwis, and some Queenslanders, can't believe the fuss about the heat. I don't care where we're playing the game, if it was Istanbul. This time last year I was watching it. Carl Webb didn't train with the Cowboys. They'll leave a decision on his fitness until match day. He's not going to run until tomorrow or Sunday but we're preparing like he's not there. Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock has revealed pain from the past is driving Australia towards World Cup glory. The team has arrived in Cardiff and went straight to Millennium Stadium where they'll play Wales tomorrow night. Australia's defeat in the 2003 World Cup final is providing constant motivation. There are a lot of guys in this squad who were involved with our World Cup campaign in 2003 and I think that's been a significant driving force behind the team's desire. Fullback Chris Latham has been battling a virus, but insists he'll be OK for the match. Holden's Mark Skaife still has a remote chance of taking his place on the grid at this weekend's Sandown 500. this afternoon, Skaife was able to visit the circuit

just a day after having his appendix removed. A decision will be made tomorrow on whether he can compete in the gruelling event. If he's ruled out, Tony Longhurst will partner Glenn Seton while Todd Kelly will drive with Nathan Pretty. Top Formula One team McLaren has been kicked out of this year's constructors championship and fined $119 million for spying on arch rivals Ferrari. But motor sport legends are now asking why McLaren's drivers have escaped punishment.

REPORTER: Lewis, are you worried about today? If Lewis Hamilton does win this year's Formula One championship

there will always be doubts over whether he did it with Ferrari's help. One thing is taking points away from the world championship's constructors. The next hand is not taking points away from both the drivers who are currently leading the World Championship. Hamilton and his McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso walked free despite race officials backing Ferrari's claims that their arch rivals stole a dossier of technical secrets.

McLaren admit they had the file but never used it. I do not accept that we deserve to be penalised or our reputation damaged in this way. McLaren has been kicked out of the constructors championship and fined $119 million, but the drivers escaped punishment in return for providing evidence to the hearing. With four races remaining, Hamilton leads the driver's championship by three points from Alonso. McLaren's engine partners Mercedes are outraged by the verdict and are considering an appeal.

Must win for the Aussies in the World Must win for the Aussies in the 220

World Cup tonight. Checking finance now

and the share market shook off the credit crunch jitters to close up more than 1%. BHP, Coles and Telstra were among the stocks to make good gains. The big market mover today was Macquarie Bank, up a massive 6% after forecasting a 40% rise in profit. Sara has Sydney's weekend weather after the break live from the home of the Governor-General. Until Wednesday, swing into Target's red-hot sale. For women's T-shirts for just $15 and skirts for just $25. red-hot offers in store! Good evening from Admiralty House post APEC where things are a little quieter

though not for long. After a flurry of international visitors, Admiralty and Kirribilli House will open their doors this Sunday and you're cordially invited. It's a rare chance to take a look around the official residences and the Prime Minister. of the Governor-General

Weather-wise today. it started fine but a line of showers and storms developed rapidly this afternoon before clearing out to sea. The city had a maximum of 28 degrees. Right now, it's 21. Those storms moved in from the west but were strongest in southern suburbs with hail and heavy rain in Sutherland and Campbelltown and winds of up to 80km/h in the north west. Temperatures soared with those fresh to gusty northerlie 27 to 28 degrees in most parts. Liverpool, 29. Katoomba, 20.

The storms were brought on by a cold front that swept across the State today. Showery cloud and storms remain over eastern NSW and there's still a severe weather warning for damaging winds in the Mid North Coast and parts of the Hunter. Tomorrow a high will move in behind that front extending cool southerly winds through Sydney and clearing showers from Victoria and Tasmania. with all the showers and storms contracting well north of Sydney. Dry, sunny, and cool tomorrow with a maximum of 21 degrees in the city. 22 in Richmond, Liverpool, and Campbelltown. Penrith, 23. Terrey Hills, 19. 15 up in the mountains. Daytime temperatures will be a touch warmer on Sunday, 23 degrees. The chance of a shower on Monday but otherwise fine and warm until late next week. Pollen levels staying high. Kirribilli House Open Day is this Sunday from 10 to 4pm. It's going to be a beautiful day so come along and enjoy a picnic lunch on the lawns with stunning views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

A family pass is $

A family pass is $35 and all the

money raised goes to the Australiana

fund. They do a fantastic job, Chris. fund. They do a fantastic job, Chris. They And that's Seven News to now. 'Today Tonight' is next with Anna Coren. I'm Chris Bath, thanks for your company. Hope you can join me for Seven News over the weekend. Goodnight. The stunning face of Fashion Week

BUT, she's only 12. Hello, I'm Anna Coren. Tonight - how young is too young? Our exclusive with Australia's most controversial schoolgirl. Pedantic police - embarrassing and fining dozens for jaywalking then doing exactly the same thing. A car safety shock - and you could be at risk. (Airbag explodes) Our special investigation reveals what happens when they don't deploy. DANCE MUSIC PLAYS Tangos by the thousand, foxtrots by the hundred. 'Dancing with the Stars' - for kids. We've had child models in adult jobs before - teenagers, 15-year-olds. But this girl is 12 and chosen as the face of Gold Coast Fashion Week. She and her family are delighted, others outraged. The full exclusive story from Gavin Alder.

I believe that I can fit into women's clothes, I can model women's clothes, so I should be able to do it. The 12-year-old girl is a girl. She's not a woman yet. Like, they're not fully developed. 12 is 12, and I don't think that we should lose sight of the fact that she's actually not even in her teens yet. There's 12-year-old swimmers and gymnasts travelling the world - Olympics, everything. I don't understand why this is different. Is Maddison a 12-year-old girl or a young woman? I think she can be both. Fresh-faced, freckle-faced now two days before she turns 13 Maddison Gabriel is the face of Gold Coast Fashion Week