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Seven Morning News -

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(generated from captions) fighting fires across four States This morning - exhausted crews

now banking on a weather change. the worst in 100 years. John Howard declares the drought bitten repeatedly by a death adder. And a man critically ill after being

This program is captioned live. Morning News with Mike Amor. VOICE-OVER: This is Seven's

Good morning. by searing temperatures Bushfires sparked and fanned by strong winds are burning in four States. the forecast for cooler conditions On Kangaroo Island, crews hope containment lines. will help them establish

remain out of control. Hobart's fires

lit. They may have been deliberately out of control in Victoria Five blazes remain in the NSW Hunter Valley and fires are burning

and on the outskirts of Sydney. and hundreds of bushfires - Record temperatures, high winds a grim preview of the summer ahead. of control in four States. Blazes burning out parts of South Australia. More than 20 fires have devastated The biggest were on Kangaroo Island have been destroyed. where more than 1,500 hectares

should help ease the threat. Welcome cooler temperatures today

believes Tasmania's Rural Fire Service east was deliberately lit. a blaze that swept through Hobart's as dozens of homes were threatened. Residents ran to safety in amongst the houses It's still very much at the moment, and that's our priority under control. in the NSW Hunter Valley. Fires also kept crews busy in the south-east continues today. The extreme fire danger

Crews battled more than 250 fires

in 100 years. on Victoria's hottest October day Most are now out or under control Gippsland in the State's south-east. but severe blazes remain at this one We're confident we can get through to us but it's just a warning, I guess,

that this summer is going to be long on our people. and it's going to be hard

Aaron Wakeley, Seven News. fuel those bushfire emergencies, And as the hot and dry conditions there's further proof this morning they're causing our farmers. of the devastation has confirmed Prime Minister John Howard the worst in 100 years that the drought is now

will do all it can and he's promising his Government who've been worst hit. to help farmers is bleak - The future for our farmers

hot dry winds, little to no rain. crippling our farm communities. The PM says the drought's The worst in a century. Rural land prices are tumbling. may not even make it. This year's wheat crops could be just around the corner. And now a rural recession in terms of farm production, We could be looking at a recession going backwards. that is, farm production

John Howard won't go that far to the nation's farmers. but says it's a hammer blow I would expect this drought on the Australian psyche. to leave a very big impression

have also prompted warnings The dire conditions of a jump in suicide rates to make ends meet. as farmers struggle that they are not alone. I just want farmers to know

there's little relief in sight. Forecasters warn fires so early - The drought, the fact that we've got

this is October, it's just mad. 33 degrees in Canberra yesterday, could wipe billions of dollars The worsening farm conditions from the national economy and the Government multimillion-dollar rescue package is working on another for the bush.

they will get it. If they need more assistance, for cheese paring, This is not a time reluctant. it's not a time for being

Seven News. In Canberra, Gemma Haines,

a very frightening situation. It's certainly Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran. For more, I'm joined by Federal Good morning to you.

just how bad it is? Can you put it into perspective

It couldn't be any worse with no

rainfall during winter and now a

up against. failed spring. We know what sdwe are

up against. This is coming on the

back of several years of drought. We

know we are facing a long hot summer

know we are facing a long hot summer

and with water storage depleted it

and with water storage depleted it

will take several years of average

rainfall for us to return to

anything like previous days I am

from the country. People there will from the country. People there

say we can't make it rain

we didn't do say we can't make it rain and that

we didn't do enough to stop this

from happening. Of course we are

supporting farmers, we have for

supporting farmers, we have for

several years. We are spending $

$1 billion. We will stand shoulder several years. We are spending over

to shoulder. They have been building

up and trying to improve their water storages. up and trying to improve their water

storages. Now that the rest of the

community knows that hope is lost,

several farmers have been dealing

with this for years Farmers in Wagga with this for years Farmers in Wagga

Wagga have sold their sheep. Will we

see more of that? Yes, they have to

unload their cattle and sheep.

Irrigators, whether

Irrigators, whether it is in fruit

or vegetables or rice, are going

or vegetables or rice, are going to

find higher cost pressures so the

find higher cost pressures so the

consumer is going to pay across the

board higher prices, sadly We have

seen pictures of dry cracked earth

in the paddocks. How do we get

in the paddocks. How do we get in the paddocks. How do we

through this? With a great deal of difficulty. The rural communities

that depend on them, this is a

for the Australian community to be that depend on them, this is a call

generous in this time of for the Australian community to be

generous in this time of

unprecedented crisis Thank you Seven reporter Peter Morris around rural Victoria this week has been travelling on the drought. for a series of reports He joins me now from Echuca. by what you've seen? Peter, have you been surprised

biteling in and to speak to the Just to see how this drought is

biteling in and to speak to the

farmers themselves and what they are

farmers themselves and what they are faced with until

faced with until you sit down and

talk with them. Many of them are

staring down the barrel of losing

their properties. One farmer I to their properties. One farmer I spoke

to was a fourth generation farmhand.

He grew up on the land and so did

thiz parents and grandparents. He is

selling off his heritage. Their

whole identities being off-loaded.

It is something that is really

It is something that is really of

concern to the rural community

concern to the rural community and the individuals themselves. They are

just not coping.

just not coping. We heard talk of a

recession. This has been happening

here since 2,000. A lot of these

farm families haven't been dealing

with it and they are back pedalling

We hear reports of the suicide We hear reports of the suicide and

how are they dealing with the crops dying?

dying? You got families coming apart dying? You got families coming apart

because there are no redeeming

feature. The small rural

communities, and coming from the rural

rural communities, they band

together, they stick together when

things are tough. As you mentioned,

there is one farmer who said it is a

reality that suicide will

reality that suicide will go up reality that suicide will go up and

one of his friends took his own

life. That is an awful thing to say

but that is where we are at. They

are are relying on their local

xhaounlts. These people are going

xhaounlts. These people are going to need a lot of support. One former

said we just need help and we need

it now. A

it now. A simple message from the

rural community here in Victoria We

certainly feel for those

communities. Thank you. And the hot, dry conditions have created a new threat - snakes. A Sydney man is in a stable condition after he was bitten by a death adder last night five times. The 50-year-old had a heart attack and was airlifted to hospital

after being attacked at Wisemans Ferry north-west of the city.

He'd thought the snake was a lizard and picked it up.

The death adder is the world's ninth deadliest snake. Next in Seven News - the business and finance report. And how's this for one soldier's close call.

US President George W. Bush spoke to John Howard overnight to discuss the North Korean nuclear crisis. Mr Bush phoned the PM to thank him for taking a strong stand against the rogue state.

They also talked about the UN push for stronger economic and diplomatic sanctions. The President is quietly optimistic that a strong resolution with the support of the major powers in the Security Council will be passed.

The vote for tougher sanctions could be held as early as tomorrow. New York's governor has called for an overhaul of the city's flight rules

after yesterday's light plane crash in Manhattan. Professional baseballer Cory Lidle and his passenger were killed when their plane smashed into a high-rise building. Governor George Pataki wants private planes banned from flying unchartered over the city. The Amish school in which five girls were shot dead earlier this month has been torn down. Workers moved in before dawn to demolish the schoolhouse.

The Amish hope it will help bring closure to their peaceful community. In London, Prince Charles has unveiled a memorial to mark four years since the Bali bombings. It features 202 doves carved into the marble - one for every person killed in the attack. The names of the 28 Britons who lost their lives are also inscribed. 88 Australians were among those who died in the nightclub blasts.

Actor Mel Gibson has spoken openly for the first time about his drunken anti-Semitic tirade. He said that being "globally humiliated" was a blessing that forced him to seek help for his alcohol addiction. July 28th.

Yes, a day to remember.

How did that day start? Much like any other day, went to work, saw a bunch of people. Had a screening, met with a friend of mine,

he screened his film for me. And then what? Of course, I guess I must have been a little over-wrought. That's what happens - too much pressure, too much work. You do things that go against good judgment. That's it.

A few drinks later and I was in the back of a police car wailing and so on.

"The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world". Are those anti-Semitic words?

Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Sounds horrible and I'm ashamed of that, that came out of my mouth, I'm not that, that's not who I am The risk of everything - life, limb, family... ..is not enough to keep you from it.

That's the hell of it. As if dodging bullets wasn't enough of an adrenaline rush for some soldiers - now they're taking on jet planes. This amateur video shows a British serviceman with his back to the camera and the jet flying at high speed just metres above.

I can think of other ways of getting a thrill. To business and finance news now. joining us is Warren Hogan from ANZ. Good morning, Warren. There was a big move in the US overnight. how has that impacted on the local market?

The Australian market really

followed suit. A very good rally

here. The ASX is

here. The ASX is up just under 50

points. That is a move of almost 1%

on the day. Broad base gains with on the day. Broad base gains with

resource stocks and banks leading

the way. 173 members are up. So

everyone is participating in this

rally There were strong job figures

out yesterday. What does that tell

us about the Australian economy? The

numbers were

numbers were very healthy. We had

strong growth and that is telling us

that the businesses are confident in that the businesses are confident in

the outlook and willing to put

the outlook and willing to put on new staff and that is a very

positive sign for the economy. For

interest rates, it probably tell positive sign for the economy. For

interest rates, it probably tells us

that the banks will have to raise it

and we are expect

and we are expecting one more

and we are expecting one more move.

The Australian dollar is up. How

high can it go? It is benefiting

from strong commodity prices Anamato

from strong commodity prices Anamato expectation that the Reserve Bank

will raise rates.

will raise rates. It is trading

comfortably at 75 cents and we feel

76 cents in the short-term.

Plenty of sport coming up in Seven News as our reporters take us through the latest on the AFL trades. And tips for this weekend's spring racing.

Now anyone can get broadband Internet. That's because Optus have plans from just $19.95 a month when combined with either an Optus home phone or eligible mobile. Plus, it's simple to get started,

because for a limited time, you'll also enjoy $0 installation. That means you'll receive a free modem and $0 connection, which is a saving of up to $148. So don't miss out on a great deal like this. Call Optus now on 1800 555 558. SONG: # Yeah. # The brokering continues in the AFL with the deadline for trade week this afternoon.

Seven sport reporter Dylan Howard is Melbourne. Good morning, Dylan. What can you tell us about a late bid from St Kilda to lure troubled Eagle Michael Gardiner?

Michael Gardiner flew to Melbourne overnight and held talks with Ross

Lyon. Lyon making no secret of his

desire to recruit a

desire to recruit a ruckman. His

future at the West Coast Eagles is

over and this is a likely pros

over and this is a likely pros spekt

for him to resurrect his career.

Those talks this morning said to

have gone well. The Saints have to

decide if they want to strike a and they decide if they want to strike a deal

and they have until 2pm to strike a

deal. Will spider

deal. Will spider Everitt find deal. Will spider Everitt find his

way to Sydney? Unlikely. Sydney has

offered a second round draft pick.

Hawthorn has flatly refused

Hawthorn has flatly refused that

from the Sydney Swans. Everitt

from the Sydney Swans. Everitt is

said to be upset by this. He will

end up in the pre-season draft where

his future is more clouded. The

majority of clubs have

majority of clubs have picks before

the Sydney Swans and they could

snare him before the Swans do.

Sydney will have to up their

anti-but that is unlikely What about

Chris Tarrant? Fremantle have

offered a three-year deal in excess

of $

of $300,000. The negotiates continue

of $300,000. The negotiates continue after West Coast rule t all but

ruled themselves out of the deal.

Tarrant is said to want to leave

Collingwood and that would cause a

three-way deal which would see Dan three-way deal which would see Dan

Pollock end up at Richmond Any other

deals go down today? Dean

deals go down today? Dean Solomon

from the Essendon football

from the Essendon football club is

all but set for a new home. They

will trying to get Solomon across will trying to get Solomon across

from the west. Don't expect to see

from the west. Don't expect to see

the - his future is set for the

pre-season draft Dylan Howard in

Melbourne, thank you. Australian halfback Johnathan Thurston says he won't be intimidated by the Kiwis in tomorrow's Tri-Nations rugby league clash in Auckland.

Thurston was given the number seven jersey

ahead of the Dragons' Ben Hornby and says it's a dream come true. You always dream of playing for Australia and it's reality now and I do want to make the number seven jersey my own. Australia is the slight favourite for the clash. The first big day of the Spring Racing Carnival takes to the track with the Caulfield Guineas. is at Caulfield. Seven sport reporter Michael Felgate

Good morning, Michael. It could be a big day for trainer David Hayes.

Good morning. As you mentioned it

could be a very big day for David.

He has no less than 18 runners and

we are lucky enough to be joined we are lucky enough to be joined by

David. The $

David. The $1 million

David. The $1 million Caulfield Guineas. Would you

Guineas. Would you say Churchill Guineas. Would you say Churchill

Downs is your number one pick He is

the form horse. A very high

the form horse. A very high quality

colt, very good in the colt, very good in the big colt, very good in the big pressure

races. There has been a massive

plunge in the stable, was that plunge in the stable, was that

stable inspired? The owners love it and there is a

and there is a prediction that it

and there is a prediction that it

will be a high tempo race

will be a high tempo race and he is

a strong finisher. They are often

won by 2,000 metre horses And

Anamato I like her but she will need

luck and and Muzadaher, I am not

keen on his chances A short-priced

favourite, court command? He

deserves to be favourite but there

are a few queries. And Bart Cummings

looking for his fifth win I seen him

looking for his fifth win I seen him and he does revel in this track.

and he does revel in this track. 18

runners on a massive day. All our

viewers are trying to get a winner for viewers are trying to get a winner

for tomorrow. Can you tip us I like

Growl. I think his odds will come

Growl. I think his odds will come down Mike, I hope you

down Mike, I hope you got all those

tips. Desperate punter is exactly right.

And to keep up to date

with all the latest news from the Spring Racing Carnival

as well as the latest fashion tips and photos, you can now go to our new racing website at yahoo7.com.au/giddyup Australia's netballers have beaten the Kiwis in New Zealand

for the first time since 2001. They won the first game in their test series by four goals overnight edging out the world champions 51-47.

Susan Pratley was again the star for the Aussies with 27 goals. Stay with me here on the Morning News - I'll have the important weekend weather details after this break.

WOMAN: Morning, dear. Ooh, that looks good. MAN: Yeah, they're the new Choc Malt Corn Flakes. You like them, Troy? (Baby gurgles) BOY: I can't believe you just said that, Troy. New Kellogg's Choc Malt Corn Flakes. It's a surprising change from the original.

Let's check the weekend weather forecast.

A cool change should move across SA and Victoria soon.

Unfortunately, it's likely to be too dry to produce any rain, but it will drop temperatures. A high in the Tasman will push hot winds over NSW. Around the country - fine in Brisbane. Hot in Sydney and 35 degrees. Fine and warm also in Melbourne, 27. Cooling down in Hobart and 22. 27 and partly cloudy in Adelaide.

Showers clearing in Perth. Over the weekend - possible showers in Brisbane. Continuing fine in Sydney. Thunderstorms in Melbourne. A late shower on Saturday and rain on Sunday in Adelaide. Sunny in Perth but humid on Sunday. Possible showers in Darwin. And that's Seven's Morning News to now. We'll keep you up to date throughout the day

and in our bulletins at 4:30 and 6:00. I'm Mike Amor. Thanks for your company. Have a great day. Supertext captions by the Australian Caption Centre. www.auscap.com.au