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Seven Morning News -

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(generated from captions) This morning - of the Egypt bus crash victims The bodies brought home to family and friends. faced with losing their homes, Record numbers of families will get worse. and a warning the mortgage squeeze

to the practice courts, And the Scud sent back at the Australian Open. knocked out in round one with Chris Bath. This is Seven's Morning News Good morning. The bodies of the six Australians bus crash in Egypt killed in last week's have been returned home. have also arrived back in Australia, The first survivors and became firm friends revealing the group pulled together in the face of tragedy. Grieving families and friends sobbed as, one by one,

five hearses passed slowly by. as, one by one, formed a guard of honour Victoria Police and their family members for colleagues

killed in the Egypt bus tragedy. It's really hard for us all of the process. but it's an important part was brought back to Brisbane The sixth Australian killed to return home. along with the first survivors had ever been overseas. It was the first time Paul Harris It was just mayhem - or anything like that. there was no screaming or yelling of smashing glass, It was just this almighty noise

and crunching and banging. what caused the crash Although it's not yet known

He said he will always carry

thoughts of those touched by the

tragedy. I want things on that bus

to remind me what happened because

I don't want to forget the people

that were injured or the people

that were killed. what caused the crash Although it's not yet known Mr Harris has his theory. the driver momentarily nodded off. You've got to assume, I guess, that dream holiday after the accident Some survivors decided to end their

but many others have stayed on. I asked them to send me their photos where they got to. because we'd love to see for a boat full of asylum seekers Australian authorities are searching that's missing in the Torres Strait. on board a boat

more than 40 men, women and children It's believed last week fled the Indonesian province of Papua in a 25-metre vessel. for Cape York Peninsula. The group were heading around the nation A record number of families are losing their homes

their mortgage commitments. because they can't meet in that State alone, Alarming figures in NSW show, face having their houses repossessed. 4,000 people a year

That's about 11 a day. Professor Julian Disney of the National Housing Summit. is the chairman He joins me now. Good morning, Julian. facing these pressures? Why are home owners

It has been building for quite a

long time. There was a feeding

frenzy really which drove up house

prices to a high level. Some people

overextended themselves, spent too

much on the mortgage that they

weren't going to be able to service

and prices are flat ening out and

they are left highly indebtd and

without the increasing value of

their house Why do you suppose so

many people overextended

themselves? There is a belief that

the house prices will rise and the

young people realise that it

doesn't always happen with house

prices. There has been excessive

promotion of easy loans by

financial institutions under very

strong competition and in fact it

has got a little worse in the last

year or two and a lot of people

have been influenced by financial

institutions to overextend

themselves Given that so many

people are facing this situation

that there will be a lot of

repossessions to arise? Yes, it

will get worse. One cannot know

when it will happen because petrol

prices or something can trigger it.

We have the highest level of

household debt in the world. We

have been living beyond our means

for a long time. That would be a

less of a worry if the interest

rates were at a high level and

expect them to drop to give relief.

We can't look for relief from

continuing value increases because

I don't think there is much

significance of increase in house

prices in the next five to 10 years

generally across Australia. That is

good news for those who were not

able to get in during the feeding

frenzy or decided not to. We need

price moderation of housing. It got

out of control. It will be a

painful adjustment What about the

rental market? During the last 10

years or so the rent didn't go up

as like house prices because

landlords were making so much in

the way of capital gains, the value

of the houses they were renting out

they weren't worry about getting big

rental. Now they realise they will

not get those capital gains. They

have gone up very substantially in

the last year or so and the vacancy

rates are dropping which means there

is pressure in the markets. Low

income renters, the situation is

getting significantly worse and that

will become even more pronounced On

that bleak note we will have to

time this morning. leave it there. Thanks for your

is under way in Western Australia Another day of political manoeuvring in the top job. over who will replace Geoff Gallop has indicated he is a contender Attorney-General Jim McGinty but is urging the party into a bloodbath. not to turn the leadership transition are well under way. The manoeuvrings of leadership Jim McGinty, King-maker and possibly king, reporters were there to bump into made sure when he arrived for work. for leader? REPORTER: Would you be a candidate from my colleagues. I - it depends on the response

I would very happily Michelle Roberts or Alan Carpenter throw my weight behind either they'd make the best premier. if the consensus is Alan Carpenter The most voter-friendly candidate

is still flying back from London, cutting short a family holiday. for savvy media skills, He scores high honed as a Channel 7 reporter. to increased calls And can only lead into the business dealings for a royal commission and its agencies. of the government Seven Nightly News. Alan Carpenter, has put some colleagues offside But the Energy Minister

who complain about his testy nature. If he can get enough support, within days without even a vote. Mr Carpenter could be named premier

a bloodless change of guard, is it? So this is going to be this will be a very genteel exercise I sincerely hope that with people honestly sitting down and analysing who would do the job the best. The alternative is a factional brawl between the Left's Jim McGinty and the Right's Michelle Roberts. But she's not putting her hand up yet. That will be something that'll be determined. It's not something that I want to comment on today, I really don't think it's appropriate. Geoff Gallop loses a $264,000-a-year job, but he won't be short of money. While he works to regain his health

he'll have the financial help of a sizeable superannuation payout. Some are speculating it could be well over $2 million. Alexander Downer has been dragged into the Wheat Board's oil-for-food scandal, after the AWB chief executive revealed he had discussed the deals with the Foreign Minister. Andrew Lindberg has told the inquiry

he met Mr Downer at the time the Wheat Board was accused of deliberately inflating grain prices to Iraq. The Cole Inquiry is examining if wheat bosses knowingly paid nearly $300 million in illegal kickbacks

to Saddam Hussein's regime. A Senate inquiry into the abortion drug RU486 has received nearly 4,000 submissions.

The committee is investigating whether approval for the controversial drug should rest with the Health Minister or the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Nearly one-quarter of submissions want the drug which allows women to terminate an unwanted pregnancy to be made available in Australia. MPs will hold a conscience vote on the issue in the coming months. Rich countries are being asked to dig deep to help fund the global fight against bird flu. An international conference is under way in Beijing searching for ways to stop the spread of the virus. 79 people have died from the H5N1 strain since 2003. Five-year-old Mohammed Ozcan fights for his life in a hospital bed. His family pray for his survival from bird flu. Over the weekend, his sister became the fourth person in Turkey to die from the virus. What other threat could fill a room with 100 governments

with just a week's notice, meeting here to raise more than $1 billion to fight bird flu. Among them, Britain's Bird Flu Minister promising money and help.

The British Government will be pledging ?20 million in financial assistance but also giving technical expertise and that's an area where the UK is one of the leaders in that field. The United Nation says the money is needed to stamp out bird flu with vaccination and mass culling

and to spot future outbreaks soon enough to contain them, but this is the challenge - in millions of squalid farms people still live cheek by jowl with their livestock. It's how bird flu was first passed to humans and where it could soon mutate into a virus humans can give to each other with catastrophic consequences. If bird flu becomes killer human flu, it's most likely to happen somewhere like this. Scientists say crowded, unhygienic conditions in farms across Asia are the perfect breeding ground for a new virus.

For bird flu to be contained, it has to be made worthwhile for poor farmers to report it and risk losing their livelihood. The virus is most widespread in poor developing countries where corruption could syphon off much of the money the UN raises. Strong winds have forced NASA to postpone the launch of its first-ever mission to Pluto.

New Horizons waited on the launch pad for more than two hours before NASA re-scheduled its take off for early tomorrow morning. The unmanned craft will spend 10 years in space conducting a study of Pluto and its moon. Pluto represents the opportunity for us to investigate the last planet that we haven't flown by and characterised with robotic spacecraft. It will be the fastest man-made object sent into space and will travel 5 billion kilometres on its voyage. Next in Seven Morning News, the old drug providing new hope for cancer sufferers. on the road trip of a lifetime. And the Aussie couple on the road trip of a lifetime.

A memorial service is under way in Canberra this morning

to mark the third anniversary of the city's devastating firestorm. Today's rain is a stark contrast to the fires and strong winds that swept through the nation's capital three years ago. Four people died and nearly 500 homes were lost in the fires, which were sparked by lightning strikes in the nearby Namadgi and Brindabella national parks. A memorial service is about to get under way

to mark the 29th anniversary of Australia's worst train disaster. 83 people were killed and 200 injured when the express train from Mount Victoria went off the tracks and crashed into the Bold St Bridge. 83 roses will be thrown from the bridge to remember the victims and honour those who helped in the rescue operation. Australians suffering from a deadly blood cancer are being given a fresh chance at life. From next month, they'll be given access to Thalidomide. While it still poses the risks that made it so controversial, the drug has been proven to dramatically improve survival rates among patients.

It was Australia's medical tragedy in the '50s and '60s. Used to treat morning sickness in pregnant women, thalidomide was later found

to leave unborn babies with shocking deformities. Despite its insidious heritage, it's back on the market. It does have a horrible history that can't be repeated but it has found a niche which is saving people's lives. Australia is the first country using thalidomide in the treatment of patients suffering multiple myeloma. This blood cancer strikes 2,000 people each year. Pat Lynas is a victim, given three years to live nearly five years ago. She had chemotherapy before doctors tried thalidomide. It buys you time and it buys you quality of life - because I'm not in pain, I'm not bedridden or anything.

All new patients taking thalidomide will be strictly monitored. Pregnancies are forbidden - two forms of contraception required by those who are fertile.

It's critical that no baby is born again with the defects that were associated with thalidomide ingestion during pregnancy. He said, "Look, it's perfectly safe "as long as you're not going to get pregnant." No chance of that! There's no chance of that! Despite its success, doctors refuse to call thalidomide a cure. In many cases it buys patients at least an extra 12 months, 10% will get much longer. Australian manufacturers have won a landmark legal battle to reclaim the Ugg boot. American giant Deckers bought the registered trademark in 1995

and successfully stopped Australian companies using the name but a group of small Australian companies joined forces to win it back successfully arguing, the Ugg boots have been an Aussie institution for decades. To business and finance news now

and joining us is Bill Evans from Westpac. Good morning, Bill. As we mentioned earlier, many families are struggling to cope with their mortgages. Do you think that will have any impact on the RBA's interest rate considerations?

The RBA has to look across the

national numbers but what we have

been seeing those sorts of factors

are the key reasons why we have

seen the big fall and the growth in

consumer spending. Retail sales

growth at a zero pace. They are factors that will influence the

final decision but they have to

look at the international numbers

The leading index was just released.

What is that saying? The growth

rate is up 4.4%. That is

indicating a better year but 2.5%

this year is not spectacular. We

are thinking around 3% next year.

That say comfortable growth rate

that will keep the employment

market humming around but keep

pressure off interest rates How is

our marking reacting to the US

stocks? We are in the middle of the

earning season. The banks have

indicated disappointing earnings

numbers and saw some disappointment

for Intel. The fall in Wall Street

is due to that. Most of that fall

is due to falls bank stocks and

consumer stocks. Behind all of that

we have seen a three-month high in

the oil price. The oil producers

are doing well but that fact A Melbourne couple have set off on the road trip of a lifetime. John and Helen Taylor are attempting to beat the round-the-world record for fuel efficiency using just 50 tanks of petrol. Their trip is expected to take 70 days and cross 25 countries. And off they go - husband-and-wife team John and Helen Taylor, setting off on their latest record-breaking attempt. The challenge - to drive around the world in 70 days and on less than on 50 tanks of fuel. Their journey takes them across Europe,

passing through 14 countries arriving in Greece. in Pakistan, They will pick up the route in Pakistan,

travelling across Asia on their way to Singapore. The car will then be carried across the Indian Ocean before the team continued their route before the team continued their route through Australia and New Zealand. From there, it's all the way across the USA before returning to Europe through Portugal and back up to London - a route totalling 18,000 miles. The couple are testing a new super-efficient fuel. They hope their trip will raise global awareness of fuel efficiency. We apologise for the temporary loss of captions. Normal service will resume as soon as possible.

Sport's up next in Seven Morning News, including a strong performance by Sri Lanka in the one-day series.

And the winners and the losers from day two of the Australian Open.

Mark Philippoussis has fallen at the first hurdle in the Australian Open losing to Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean.

Martina Hingis had no such problems in the women's, with victory over Vera Zvonareva. But for the Scud, 36 unforced errors proved his undoing, going down in straight sets. Mark Philippoussis had made it past the first round at every Australian Open he has contested since 1995 But last night, 25th seed Sebastien Grosjean made sure that record wasn't going to continue. JIM COURIER: Such power. Philippoussis was outclassed from the outset, and made 36 unforced errors in the match, compared to just three by the Frenchmen.

The Scud not even able to rely on his traditional strength to gain the upper hand, managing only three aces for the entire match. LINESPERSON: Out! UMPIRE: Game, set, match, Grosjean. Meantime, women's world No.1 Martina Hingis has made a dream return to Melbourne Park with a straight-sets victory over Vera Zvonareva. TRACEY AUSTIN: Look at that pick-up. Talk about great hands. The 6-1, 6-2 victory came in just 65 minutes and sets up a match against Finland's Emma Laine in the next round. There are no Australians in singles action today but it's still a big day. Sri Lanka has jumped to second in the VB one-day series

after a 94-run victory over South Africa at the Gabba. After batting first, Sri Lanka scored 6/282, thanks to a handy 88 from keeper Kumar Sangakkara. South Africa never looked in the hunt and also conceded the bonus point. Sangakkara tore apart the Proteas attack early on

before spinner Malinga Bandara and Muttiah Muralitharan took five wickets between them to have the South Africans all out for just 188. Indian openers Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid have fallen just three runs short of a new world record

in the first Test against Pakistan. Resuming on 0/403, the pair needed just 11 runs to break the opening partnership record, but fell just short. Sehwag was caught behind for 254 just before bad light and rain stopped play. Former NRL star Ben MacDougall has been named in the 32-man Scotland Rugby Union squad for next month's Six Nations.

The former Rugby League winger signed with the SRU in 2004, and has impressed playing club Rugby. The side's first match is against France. The weather from around the country next in Seven Morning News. And the people of Prague chose their favourite housemate.

Let's take a look at the weather now. A 205kg teenager named Richard has won the Czech Republic's latest reality TV series.

Prague Zoo's only male gorilla won a basket of watermelons after being voted the most popular primate in the Big Brother-type show. Richard has become somewhat of a celebrity across the country.

His daily life has been broadcast on television, radio and the Internet. That's Seven's Morning News to now.

I'm Chris Bath. Have a great day. Captioned by Seven Network Email - captions@seven.com.au