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Live. Victoria's Police

Commissioner says there are

signs the Marysville fire was

deliberately lit and the number

of dead in the historic town is

expected to pass 100. And

overnight fire weather warning

is downgraded and authority

writes say good prog yes has

been made to contain fires

threatening Melbourne's water

catchment, Forensic experts

warn some of the dead may never

be identified.

Good morning t is Thursday

the 12th of February. I am

Virginia Trioli. I am Joe

O'Brien. The top story on ABC

News Breakfast this morning,

the Victorian Police

Commissioner Christine Nixon

says there are signs that one

of the most devastating weekend

fires was deliberately lit. It

is thought up to 100 people may

have been killed in the

Marysville fire. The total

number of dead still stands at

181 but police say that figure

could now pass 300. An overnight fire weather warning

has now been lifted but will

are still two major fires

burning near Yea and Bunyip

Ridge and firefightering are

trying to ensure the Bunyip

fire doesn't join up with the

Maroondah-Yarra complex over

fear they could threaten

Victoria's water catchments.

In a moment we will have an

update from Karl Hoerr at Yea

but first here is what

Christine Nixon said on

'Lateline' last night. As we

have gone to Marysville to

investigate we along with fire

experts have become suspicious

about how the fire actually came into Marysville. The

direction it came from, the

pace it came with. All of

those things are a part of the

way we investigate a fire and

working with fire authorities

like the CFA. Part of what we

watched on that day was just

some fires that some of the

fire authorities said can't

have occurred in the way they D

so along with obviously what

was the main fire front we

found fire in other locations.

So part of the concerns about

Marysville is it was just

unexplained and exactly how

that fire got started. So

that's part of the process for

us. Now that was Victoria's chief Police Commissioner

Christine Nixon speaking to

'Lateline''s Leigh Sales. Karl

Hoerr joins us from the tent

city of Yea. Good morning,

first of all take us through if

you can a quick update on some

of the fires we have been

mentioning in and in particular

the potential for the two fires

to join together and then

Melbourne's water

catchments. That's right. That

was the concern and it is still is the concern there is the

potential to merge. However

speaking to the CFA this

morning, they seemed much more

positive about preventing that

from happening. That's because

of the much calmer winds that

have prevailed overnight and it

would appear into this morning.

I know just being here at Yea

over the last couple of days,

on Monday and certainly Tuesday

- rather, but it was certainly

cooler and it definitely on

Wednesday morning it was very

cool. And with those gusty

southerly winds. This morning

arriving here the first thins I

noticed was - thing I noticed

was it was a little less cool

but the winds were certainly

not as gusty. It is pretty

calm here. That will assist

firefighters, it has certainly

overnight particularry with

establishing the containment

lines and they are hopeful they

can prevent the fires merging

and threatening the catchment

as they did fear. When it

comes to the Yea-Murrundini

fire complex clearly the

warning around that has been

slightly downgraded but it it

is still something of a threat? Yes, that's right. And there

are alerts still in place. The

threat level isn't as high as

it was. And I think you can -

there is a general feel of that

around these towns, that the -

that their fears aren't as high

as they were. Here at Yea of

course the tent city, the relief effort continues. Some people have returned to their

homes. Others are still

staying here. This centre of

course continues to operate.

It is going to continue to

provide facilities and services

while ever they are needed.

But, of course, there are some

very tired people here. And

they will be looking forward to

at least finding some sort of

medium term accommodation at

least if they have lost their

houses. Any particular

activity or actions are taking

place there today? As you mentioned police allowed some family members back into

Flowerdale yesterday. Is there

any word some other areas might

be opened up soon? Not that we

have heard from from police. I

did speak to police this

morning and they were not aware

of any particular areas that

they planned to open up. But

there were a number of people,

as you mentioned, allowed into Flowerdale yesterday and of

course that would have been a

very difficult experience for

them to see the devastation

that brought on that area. And

I guess the indisim Native Dog

Creeker of the - indisimnate,

nature of the fire there. We

believe a lot of people have

moved back to those sort of

communities and are operating

on generators and that sort of

things while others are staying

away. Still a very emotional

time for the people concerned

and it really - it is not going

to get any easier I guess but

the support for them is

certainly here, as it has been

right from the star. Good to

talk to you. Around $45

million so far has been raised

for the bushfire appeal. Which

is at remarkable figure. The

Australian Red Cross has set up

19 relief centres around the

State to help the thousands of

people left homeless by these

weekend's fires. For

information for you - the State Government Victoria bushfire appeal hotline is - it

that's been run by the Red

Cross. Also donate on line at


In fact the Red Cross would

prefer you use that on-line

service, just so we don't tie

up the phone lines. Pi it

As ever we welcome your

response, observations,

comments you would like to make

about the stories we are

covering today. Do send emails

to -

in other news this morning, a

unity government has been

formed in Zimbabwe. Morgan

Tsvangirai is the country's new

PM, and will have to work alongside President Robert

Mugabe. Mr Tvangirai has called

for an end to human right as

buss and political violence - abuses and political violence.

He says fixing the economy will

be his top priority. Senators

are expected to vote on

government's $42 billion stimulus package tonight. It

comes as a new poll rates Labor almost neck-and-neck with the Coalition as economic managers.

It is the first time that's happened since Newspoll began

the surveys in 1990. Labor's

standing of 39% is unchanged,

but the opposition has dropped

3 points to 40%. Even more rain

is on the way for North

Queensland, while Ingham's

still cleaning up after the

last floods. Inland the town

of Longreach is on alert, with

reports that the Thompson River

may be about to break its

banks. The Governor-General

Quentin Bryce will head north

to visit flood ravaged area

today after touring the

bushfire hit communities in

Victoria. In Afghanistan,

Taliban militants have killed

at least 20 people in three

simultaneous attacks on

government buildings in Kabul.

More than 50 other people were

injured and in the southern

province of Helmand Afghan

police say 8 security guards

were killed in two roadside

bomb attacks. The US President

Barack Obama is urging congress

to stop arguing over the

details of his $800 billion

stimulus package, so that he

can sign it into law.

Negotiations are continuing

between congressional leaders

and White House officials to

reconcile differences between the House of Representatives

and the Senate versus of the

bill. A final deal could be

struck within hours. The

results are in and the two main

contenders in Israel's federal

election are both claiming

victory. The centrist Kadima

Party Tzipi Livni won most of

the votes but she has little

chance of forming a Coalition

government. And while Benjamin

Netanyahu's Likud Party can get

the support, analysts fear a

right wing Coalition would be

dysfunctional. Middle East correspondent Matt Brown

reports. Israelis are used to

choosing their governments

amidst conflict and

uncertainty. And this time they

have produced a real cliff hanger.

Just a couple of weeks ago

supporters of the centrist

Kadima Party feared a right

wing walk over. But on polling

day they came out on top.

TRANSLATION: It is a wonderful

day for the state of Israel.

The people of Israel chose

Kadima and we will complete

this mission by creating a

unity government under our

leadership. Kadima's leader

Tzipi Livni leaned heavily on

her untarnish ed reputation and

determination to keep

negotiating with the

Palestinians. But she might

not get a chance because Israeli governments are always

made up of a Coalition of

parties and in this poll the

broader right wing made the

greatest gains. The leader of

the Likud Party, Benjamin

Netanyahu was hoping he would

be number one. . A big day. We

will have a good victory.

Despite coming second he may

yet get the chance to implement

his promise to put the brakes

on negotiations with the

Palestinians. His party

effectively doubled its vote.

And he could form a winning

block with other right wingers.

TRANSLATION: The people of

Israel have spoken loud and

clear. This man also made

significant gains. His

campaign focussed on

confrontation with Israel's

Arab population and their

political leaders. But in some

ways the clearest sign of the

public mood is in the fate of

the labour party which once had

a near monopoly on power. While its leader could still

end up in a Coalition government that won't disguise

the heavy losses his party has

suffered. The final result will

be settled by a brutal round of

back room deals. Whoever

Israel's President believes can

forge a Coalition and keep it together will now be asked to

form a government. And in that

sense the struggle to control

Israel's parliament, the

Kinisit, has only just begun.

Returning to Australian

politics now as Senators prepare to vote on the Rudd

Government's $42 stimulus

package. For more Ben Worsley

join us from Canberra. Good

morning, it is crunch time for

this package. And it seems

Steve Fielding might be

wavering? Well, I get the

feel ing he might be the

biggest obstacle of the not so

magnificent 7 that the

government has to convince to

get this massive package

through the Senate. Yesterday

we obviously saw rather emotional scenes from Steve

Fielding. He is obviously

feeling the pressure of the

moment. And also to be fair,

he has had some personal

involvement with the Victorian

bushfires. He has family in

the Kinglake area. So he is

under a lot of strain. But the

negotiations behind closed

doors between Wayne Swan and

the Greens, Wayne Swan and Nick

Xenophon and Wayne Swan and

Steve Fielding don't seem to

have got anywhere. Those three

parties, if you like, have all

rejected what the government is

offering them as a way of a

sweet ener. So in some

respects on the last day of

vote it it is back to the

drawing board. The vote is due by midnight tonight. So

something's got to give. No

amendments have been put to the

Senate just yet. If they are,

that means - and they are

passed that means the House of

Reps has to sit again the next

day. So we are looking at

perhaps an extended

parliamentary week regardless.

The negotiations continue

today. Who knows at this stage

where things are going to head

Joe. So we know what the three

different groups in the Senate

want, are there any indications

from the government at all that

they are prepared to move on

those proposed changes? Well

it seems the big ticket items

in all of the requests have

been rejected. Nick Xenophon

wanted a fast-tracking of

massive funding to the Murray

Darling Basin. He says that's

an appropriate economic

stimulus. That seems to have

been rejected. Steve Fielding

wanted a $4 billion job

creation plan. That's been

rejected. Government sources

are quoted in the Fairfax

papers saying it was so

simplistic it was almost in

comprehensible. The Greens

seem the most likely to support

the package. They wanted a

vote of the greening up of

areas, specially the housing

construction side of things.

They also wanted more support

for the un employ ed. Both old

and new. That seems to have

been rejected as well. So the

government is playing

brinkmanship to some extent and

it it is a very expensive game

of brinkmanship. Whether they

back down today, whether Kevin

Rudd enters negotiations behind

closed doors today, all that

remains to be seen. Because

you would have to think the

government wants something to

get through in the next couple

of days. So there would have

to be some sort of back down

wouldn't there? To get the

cash payments, which to some

extent is the most contentious

aspect of this, and that's what

the opposition most

particularly rejects about it,

to get those rolling by March

11, which is what they want to

do, they being the government,

they need to get this through

this week. That's the real

deadline. It it is a self imposed deadline to some

extent, but that is where the

crunch comes. So yeah, your

guess is as good as mine, as

Steve Fielding might say, as to

who is going to give way.

There is 24 hours, 12 hours -

how long to go? 20 hours to go

to the vote potentially. Good

to see you have got a clock

there in the studio. I don't

know who's time it is on.

Anyway, half a day to go and we

will definitely be talking

about it tomorrow morning.

Hopefully we will have a

clearer picture of what on

earth is going to go on, Just

finally Ben, against this

background we have a news poll

out today suggesting the

Coalition is falling back in

terms of the community's view

of its ability as an economic

manager. Yeah, to some extent that's understandable. The

government is the government.

It is in control of the

economic levers. And those

levers are more and more

involving handing out truck

loads of cash. So they are

winning support. It should be

said that of the nine areas

asked about in this Newspoll,

the economy and national

security are still the only two

areas that the Coalition ranks

in the public's view as a

better manager, if that may bes

any sense. - makes any sense.

But the economic credentials

have slipped three points in

this last poll. The most

important poll on Monday which

shows Malcolm Turnbull's

disapproval rating rising 7

points. And Labor

strengthening its position in the two party vote and

preferred vote. Now to the

front pages of the major

newspapers around the country - and according to 'The

Australian' today privacy and

data security restrictions come

beened - combined with inter

state quaubl - quaubling over

funding destroyed attempts for

a national warning system. New

figures suggest increasing job

insecurity and fall ing

consumer confidence. Forensic police working in Marysville have compared the town to the

inside of hell. The 'Herald

Sun' shows images of some of

the youngest victims of

Victoria's bushfire disaster.

Including 8-month-old Alexis Davey. The 'Sydney Morning

Herald' says parents are facing

the hard task of telling their

children about the deaths of

classmates and family friends.

The 'Canberra Times' says Victorian Premier John Brumby

is considering introducing new

planning laws to fire proof

homes along with other measures

such as a state-wide disaster warning system. The 'Daily

Telegraph' reports police are

closing in on arsonists as

commissioner Christine Nixon warns many of those killed in the infernos may never be

identified. The Adelaide

'Advertiser' shows Peter

Thornleycroft dousing ember s

on the roof of the National

Park Hotel in Kinglake. 12

children are reported to have

been inside. The North News

says the death toll for the

bushfires could reach 300 The

'West Australian' says forensic

police continue the task of

looking for fire victims in

Marysville. The America

mercury reports this lady

survived the fires which swept

past their Reedy Creek home. The 'Courier Mail' says

few houses were left unscathed

in Marysville with authorities

only now beginning to uncover

the full tragedy that the town

may hide. One of the papers

today for the first time pulls

out some old photographs of

Marysville as it looked before

the fires. It is a shock

because the enduring image now

of the word Marysville,

wherever you hear it will be of

devastation, but it was a

beautiful town. The '7:30

Report' had shots of that as

well. Showing how green it

was. Police Commissioner

Christine Nixon says there are

signs the Marysville fire may

have been the result of an

arson attack. 15 people are

already confirmed dead in

Marysville but the final number

is expected to be as high as

100. An overnight fire weather

warning has been downgraded for

Victoria overnight but the CFA

says people near the Yea and

Bunyip fire s should be on high

alert. There are concerns the

Bunyip fire could link-up with

the Maroondah-Yarra complex, The number of dead

stands at 181 with concerns the

final toll could rise above

300. As a royal commission

prepares to investigate

Victoria's worst ever bushfire,

John Brumby says an early

warning system would not have

prevented the scale of the

devastation. I've

To finance news now and the

deputy head of the body charged

with the task of monitoring

Britain's financial sector has

resigned. James Crosby left

Services Authority after being his job at the Financial

accused of ignoring risk

warnings at failed banks HBOS

and sacking a whistleblower who

warned of the impending crisis.

They warn inflation will slow

to 0.5% at the end of 2010 and

interest rates could be cut to

0 in March. In a bid to

relieve its heavy debt the

world's second largest miner

Rio Tinto has planned an asset

sale to Chinese state-owned

Chinalco worth almost $30

billion. And despite its debt

Rio was expected to announce a

profit close to $15 billion

when it announces its annual

results today. Which is not

too bad in these financial

times. And I notice Alan Kohler was suggesting last

night the spike in the

Australian stock market

yesterday was in large part due to what's happening with Rio

Tinto at the moment. We will

take it where we can get it.

To the markets now, a short

time ago the Dow was trading 8

points down - the NASDAQ is

also trading slightly lower.

Now returning to Victoria's

bushfires, and for an update

the Country Fire Authority

state duty officer Richard

o-Byrne joins us now on the

phone. Thank you for joining

us. Thank you. I am sorry,

can you hear us? Yes, I can.

Good morning. Richard take us

through first of all the

potential for those two fires,

the Bunyip Ridge fire and

Maroondah-Yarra complex to join

us and to threaten the water catchments, how serious a state

is that in? Look, it is a

threat that we are taking very

seriously. In the immediate

sense we have got southerlies

at the moment so the activity

is actually on the northern

front of the Yea Murrundini

fires and that's where the

focus of our activity is right

now. With the high moving

through Bass Strait, winds will

change and by Wednesday or

Thursday next week we are

expecting higher temperature,

hot northerlies and at that

point the threat of the two

fires joining up would be quite

a significant one. What we are

trying to do in the meantime is

to work really hard on the

fires, and on containment. So

that we prevent that actually

happening. But it is a very

real threat and something that

may impact on catchments and

certainly on communities in

between both those fires. What

are the communities in between?

Can you mention those for us

please? Yes, it is the Yarra

valley essentially. So

Healesville, Warialic,

Warburton up the Yarra dam. I

understand you have made some

good work overnight in putting

in the containment line, so you

have basically got a few days,

a bit of a window of time to

try to contain the fire before

the weather gets bad for you

again? That's correct. And a

lot of activity on containment

lines. Although we are talking

long-term threat on the south,

will is a lot of work going on

ob on the north and

communities around Mouldsworth,

Alexandra, up towards Eldon

those ones have to remain on

alert at the present stage and

a lot of work happening there

with containment lines going in

as we speak. When we are

talking about the water

catchment areas you mean the

upper Yarra dam, others as

well? It mainly the upper

Yarra dam and Maroondah-Yarra

reservoir, yeah. The fires are

in those catchments. Not

impacting on water supply at

the moment but that's obviously

a major concern. The

Yea-Murrindindi fire complex,

what's the status of that? We have had continuing fire

activity there. There is - the

winds have been moderate but

they have certainly kicked the

fire along on the northern

front. And just south of

Alexandra. And around Molesworth there is particular

activity going on there. There

is some spotting activity out

of the fire front there. On to

private property and obviously

crews are remeansing vigilant

to try to knock those on the

head before they get going.

Thanks for joining us today.

No problems, thank you. In a

few minutes Vanessa O'Hanlon

will be here way look at the

national weather. Also ahead

we will have a review of some of the newspapers and this

morning we will be joined by

Gay Alcorn who is the ed tor

of the the 'Age'. Here is Paul

Kennedy with sport. The Socceroos are a step closer to

the World Cup finals in South

Africa after a nil all draw in

Japan last night. The result

might not seem great but to

take one qualification point

away from such a dangerous game

is significant. It leaves the

Aussies on top of pool A with

four games to go. Australian

supporters were vastly oun out

numbered in a pack ed Yokohama

stadium. The crowd united to

pay respect to the victims of

the Victorian bushfire s. This

fees scenes don't stir your -

if these scenes don't stir your blood. Nothing will.

Australia's limited

preparation time became

obvious. Japan's attacks were

proving tough to defend before

Scott Chipperfield's effort to

impose himself on the match

only succeeded in drawing the

wratsz of the referee. The Socceroos physical approach to

the match was winning them no

favours as the home side wasted

yet another valuable chance.

Not one of his best.

Australia was still sluggish

after the break and had them to

thank for keeping the scores

level. Endo had another golden

opportunity to put Japan ahead.

Before Australia missed a

valuable chance of its own.

Kay Kay has got - Tim Cahill

has got in ahead. The feet

just got a bit tangled up there

for Tim Cahill. Australia

managed to regroup and survive

one more attack before the

final whistle signaled a

nil-all draw. Deflected. With

three of its remaining four

qualifiers to be played at home

Australia will now fancy itself

a real chance to qualify for

South Africa in 2010.

To gauge just how important

the draw is you only have to

ask coach Pim Verbeek whether

he is happy? Yes. I think it

was excellent today. So if you

see all the preparations were

more or less no preparation, I

think guessively e -

defensively we did very well.

We couldn't hold the ball,

specially the last 15 to 20

minute, we lost it too easily.

That's why we came under

pressure. Did Japan play as

you expect them too? Exactly.

They are fast and good with the

ball. Shunsukee Nakamura an

outstanding player. They had

one real chance and that was

the header. For the rest it

looks dangerous but they were

not very dangerous. Lucas

Neill and Craig Moore were dangerous tonight? What about

chip chip. He didn't - Scott chip chip. He didn't - Scott Chipperfield. He didn't train

with the team at all. They all

did a great job and the

experience of Lucas with Craig

in the back and don't forget

Grella is very important for

our team. Uzbekistan hosted

Bahrain. It too looks likely

to be nil all until the

visitors struck in the 94th

minutes. Here is Raman. Goes - Yes.

- Yes. Abdul Raman has stumped

Mestaroff. It was a tracer

bullet. That went straight

through Nestaroff. Brute force.

Nice shot. In other sport Nice shot. In other sport boxer Anthony Mundine beat

Shannon Taylor as expected in

woollen gong last night.

Taylor hasn't fought for a few

years but he lasted the 12

rounds. Mundine outlasted the

bout, it leaves his middle

weight quest in good shape.

Although it is uncertain who he

will fight next. What is with the lone

the lone ranger scarf across

the face? I don't know. There

was a lot of questions to be

unanswered from last night. We

will show you more highlights

and the speeches afterwards

were interesting as well. So

really significant result for

the Socceroos. Their next game

will be against Uzbekistan at

the start of April. And the

Bahrain beating Uzbekistan is

interesting. I think because

Uzbekistan are on one point. They are virtually They are virtually no chance of

qualifying you would think. So

maybe they turn up to Sydney

next month or at the start of

April and good chance for

Australia to get through points

there. Is it fair enough to

say that with that game against

Japan Australia was lucky to

escape? It seems like Japan

had most of the attack? Yeah,

although Pim Verbeek makes the

call there that they really

only had one real chance. Although Schwarzer made a nice

save and there was that one at

the end. Which was unlucky to

not score, but they would have

been lucky to score if that

makes sense as well. So the

general call there was the Japanese didn't take advantage

of their speed and their skill

which they dominated the game

but they didn't have that

finishing class. Which in

soccer is a big thing isn't it?

It is good news for the

Aussies. Naeb ABC News

Breakfast can be watched live

on the web from anywhere in the

world. Just visit the website

and you can stream us live.

More information on what can

be expected in Victoria today.

Down in Gippsland south to

south-easterly winds averaging

15-25km. They are up to 30km during the afternoon. The easterlies are expected to

bring the warmer temperatures by the weekend. On to the

satellite, and more rain and

storms are expected over the

tropics and also over

Queensland. With cloud in

moist unstable air and cloud is

giving light patchy rain over

eastern Victoria and NSW.

Mainly over the ranges and

coast. Patchy cloud offer the

interior will trigger a few

storms. Cool winds are easing

in the south east and showers

to the NSW and Queensland coast

and ranges. High dry

north-easterlies over in WA.

And in Queensland there will be

more heavy falls over the

north-east tropics and from the

gulf country down to the north

and cap recornea. In NSW we

can expect scattered showers

along the coast and adjacent

ranges. Fine for the rest of

the state with south to

south-east wind s.

I will see you in half an hour.

The top story on ABC News

Breakfast this morning, there

are concerns that two fire

fronts, the Yea and

Maroondah-Yarra complexes could

join and threaten Victoria's

water catchments. The state's

Police Commissioner also says

the devastating fire at

Marysville may have been

deliberately lit. To keep you

up-to-date here is a quick

round up of the developments.

The Victorian Premier John

Brumby says an early warning

system could not have prevented

the weekend's fires. The Yea-Murrindindi is heading

north. And has burntd out

around 108,000 hectares,

communities around Narbethong

are being told to be on alert

for ember attack. US

authorities will fly land

rehabilitation experts to

Victoria to help manage the

recovery effort. And the

number of dead still stands at

181. But the figure could rise

to 300. Now a group of

forensic specialists from

around Australia is being

assemble s for the painfully slow task of trying to identify

the dead. The Victorian

coroner Jennifer Coate has

asked for patience in the face

of the overwhelming complexity

of the operation. So our very

first focus is on our role in

identifying the victims of the

fire. The first forensic

challenge and medical challenge

is to assist with identify ing

the victims of the bushfire.

And then the problem with that

is that the various elements

that go to help identify people

are lost as the effects of fire

progresses. The medical and

scientific challenge is

unprecedented, as every other

aspect of this awful tragedy is

unprecedented in Australia.

That's a temporary mortuary

that's been construct ed

according to international

standards and protocols that

matches for example the

facility that was erected in

the wake of the London

bombings. So that has always

been part of our planning.

Sadly for a tragedy such as we

are facing at this moment.

Jennifer Coate the Victorian

State Coroner speaking there.

Now, you can send us

information, if you have had

had anything to do with the

fires or want anything to say

about the stories we are

covering today. You can send emails to -

In other news this morning,

Senators are expected to vote

on the government's $42 billion

stimulus package tonight, it

comes as a new poll rates Labor almost neck-and-neck with the

Coalition as economic managers.

It is the first time that's

happened since Newspoll began

their surveys in 1990. Labor's

standing of 39% is unchanged

but the opposition has dropped

3 points to 40%. Even more

rain is on the way for North

Queensland while Ingham is

still cleaning up after the

last floods. The town of

Longreach is on alert with

reports the Thompson River is

about to break its bank, the Governor-General will visit

flood ravaged areas today.

Taliban militants have killed

at least 20 people in three simultaneous talks on

government buildings in Kabul

in Afghanistan. More than 50

people were injured and in the

southern province of Helmand

police say 8 security guards

were killed in two roadside

bomb attacks much the results

are in and the two main

contenders in Israel's federal

elections are both claiming

victory. The centrist Kadima

Party Tzipi Livni won most of

the votes but she has little

chance of forming a Coalition

government and while Benjamin

Netanyahu's party can get the

support, analysts fear the

government will be

dysfunctional. 8 people are

dead after a tornado ripped

through the town of Lone Grove

in the US state of Oklahoma.

The tornado was one of three

reported in the area and

thousands of homes are still

without power. Morgan

Tsvangirai has been sworn in as

Zimbabwe's PM vowing to repair

country's ruined economy and

put an end to political

violence. He was swosh sworn

in as part of a unity

government as a deal was struck

with his long time rival Robert

Mugabe. Parthena Stavropoulous

reports. It was a deal reached

in September last year but the

mistrust and continued

squabbling between the two

rivals meant delays in its

implementation. But the day of

unity has finally come.

Administering the oath of

office his long time political

rival President Mugabe. I,

Robert Gabriel Mugabe President

of Zimbabwe. Call upon you,

Morgan Tsvangirai to take the

oaths as prescribed by law.

I, Morgan Richard Tvangirai

do swear that I will be

faithful and bear true

allegiance to Zimbabwe and

observe the laws of Zimbabwe.

To help me God.

While some sceptics question

whether the partnership will

work, there is no doubt the

swearing sim bombises a -

symbolises a new era for

Zimbabweans looking for a

brighter future. Ahead of the

swearing in Mr Tvangirai, along

with his wife and children

attended a church service.

Earlier he defended his

decision to finally enter

government with Mugabe's Zanu

PF after years of trying to

force them with power. Rest

assured that we have made this

decision, and we made it

without not being forced out of

our own volition. Let history

be the judge of this decision.

Zimbabweans and outsiders are hopeful the new unity government will help the country's crippling economic

crisis and eroding humanitarian

situation. A cholera epidemic

there has claimed thousands of

lives. The latest report from

the Red Cross shows the

outbreak continues to worsen

with 69,000 cases reported and

it says there are no signs of

the situation abating.

More than 1,000 homes have

been destroyed and police now

say as many as 300 people may

have been killed. Forensic

experts have begun trying to

identify the bodies scattered

through what's left of the

state's small towns and

communities. But it could be

months before many funerals are

held. Rafael Epstein spent day

in Kinglake where people are

trying to deal with grief will

they rebuild their lives. And

the lounge room. And this was

my bedroom. Marcia melson is

struggling. Just minutes

before the flames ripped

through her street she drove

out with her 83-year-old

mother, and her aunt. As they

left, more than a dozen homes

were destroyed. I think just

seeing how lucky my Mum and my

aupty and - aunty and I were to

be able to leave and be safe.

But I am really still need to

know about some of my friends. They haven't confirmed yesterday. And the other

people in the street? So far

there has been 10 confirmed.

That they are not here. She

spent the last few days trying

to find out who lived and who

died. She is not sure this is

somewhere she can stay. Not

sure she can handle driving

home here every day. I would

drive up and still think - how

lucky I was to - I was really

contented here and I loved

Kinglake. And I was just

starting to get to know some

people and I had - because I

live on my own my neighbours

were really beautiful. They

looked out for me. Many of the

cars that were abandoned on the

road or that people died in

have now beep pulled off the -

been pulled off the road. People have much better

movement in and out of Kinglake

so they can come and check on

their homes, but there is

something that's only just

beginning that will take a very

long time. The gruesome task

for police of trying to

determine how and when people

died in their homes, their cars

and trying to fly the fire.

This one's going to end up in

small bags. It is badly burnt.

Police have to move carefully,

with more than 1,000 sheds and

homes that need to be checked,

each location needs a dedicated

team. And they know it is

delicate work. There is a

whole host of information that

we would like to collect from

every scene. Virtually

anything that will help us

identify the person. They

treat every with dignity and

respect. The deceased are

always treated that way. You

are treated like it is

something you might know.

Because you might have knowna

person. This process will take

a long time. People know the

lack of funerals will create a

space and that space could fill

with frustration. Naturally we

will start to feel anger. That

we can't move on and grieve.

We want to reach out to the

people that have lost their

loved ones and funerals are the

way to do that. Fanned they

are - and if they are delayed

and delayed, we will feel it,

absolutely, Kaye Simpson and

Greg Rogers just got out. They

sped out of a gate and turned

left. If they turned right

they are sure they would be

dead. Pure arse, mate, pure

arse. The police have often

orelied on the people - have

often relied on the people who

live here to tell them where

the bodies are. Anthony

McDonald said he had to check

if he could find where his

neighbours bodies were. One

good thing about the way they

went - it must have been so

desperately frightening, but

they were lying next to one

another with their dog. And

that made me feel heart fned

they went together. His

neighbours were people he had

BBQs with and he had seen every

day. They also had a passion,

they had been raising money to

build a local mark. Now

Anthony wants that park to be a

memorial to the people who died

simply because they lived in

Kinglake. I would like it to

be a place of happiness and

reflection and to see little

kids running around in the play

where people can reflect. equipment and just somewhere

People talk about the ferocity

and intensity of the fire. The

wind made the fire roar up

here, and it forced this entire

bush over. And for some reason

it has frozen it in time. And

those leaves pushed horizontal

haven't burnt. But they give

you some idea of what people

were facing. People here are

still hungry for the food they

can't make themselves. They

can eat at one of the many free

BBQs and the local supermarket

is giving it away. We were

all just trapped in a fire ball

and we just didn't know what

was going on. David Nacheske doesn't live in Kinglake but he

has worked here for six years,

like everyone else he knows one

of the dead. One of his staff

was killed. He says he worked

as quickly as he could to start

helping in any way he could.

They were so grateful. It is

fantastic that - because I

would come to help them out.

They just needed help there and

then. And a lot of them lost

everything and even one of my

staff members. The rebuilding

is slowly beginning. That was

are watching ABC News Rafael Epstein reporting. You

Breakfast. The top stories -

the Victorian Police

Commissioner Christine Nixon

says there are signs the

Marysville fire may have been

the result of an arse on

attack. 16 people are already

confirmed dead in Marysville

but the final number is

expected to be as high as 100.

An overnight fire weather

warning has been drown graded

for Victoria but authorities

say people near the Yea and

Bunyip fire should remain on

high alert. The Bunyip fire

could merge with the Maroondah-Yarra threatening

Victoria's water catchment.

The toll stands at 181 but

there are concerns the toll

could rise above 300. The

state's Premier John Brumby has

said an early warning system

would not have preventing the

scale of the devastation.

For a look at the national

papers today we are joined by

Gay Alcorn the ed 'Sunday Age'. Good morning. Good morning.

How are you? Well thank you.

What do you want to start on

this morning? All bushfire, it

is the only story most people

are thinking about at the

moment. The few elements of

it. The first one is the front

page lead of 'The Australian'

today which says "bungling

science fire warning". It is

part of what we have seen and

have since the bushfires

happened on the weekend. Of

trying to understand what might

have happened here and if this

could have been prevented. Perfectly understandable

reaction. Hasn't been too his

call if - hysterical in my

view, but we do have to look at

could this have been prevented

or minimised a little bit.

about what you mentioned 'The Australian' is talking

before. There was obviously a

discussion going over many years between different levels

of government about this idea

of an early warning system

almost bombard ing people in

the direct line of a fire with

information very quickly.

There does seem, early as

anything a-at this stage, it

does seem what is coming out of

the bushfire area is a lot of

people didn't get very much

warning at all. Was it because

it was so freakish or was there

some kind of breakdown in communication. 'The

Australian' in today's story

starts to dig into that debate

a little bit. There does seem

to have been a delay on it, and

questions who will fund it, how

it will be arranged and most

people seem to be saying, very senior people and experts and

government officials this

should have been in place,

because so many people were

left with such poor information, such poor communication in the few

minutes, hours before - when

they may have been able to

leave, if you know what I mean,

before the worst happened. I

notice that with that story

there is suggestion that

Victoria was pushing the

Federal government to move on

this to introduce the system

quickly. But today John Brumby

is also saying that even if

that system was in place, it

couldn't have prevented the

deaths that happened. Yes.

Over the weekend. It seem,

the Australian story does say,

as you said it was the national

legislation needed to get over

the privacy issues and get the national data bank of phone numbers going. Which was

signed three days before the

bushfires. It has been sign ed

but hasn't been implemented. That's right and it won't be

until next year. This story

says Victoria was pushing for

that and they were pushing for

that quite hard. At this stage

no-one suggests this would have

prevented all these deaths but

it is parliament of the debate

going on, whether it is

clearing of bushfires - fire

management, land management

system. Our the quality of our

buildings. Do they need to be

better. All this is now being

debated in a great deal of

detail. Most people aren't

blaming anyone except arsonists

if they were involved. The Oz

has a bit of a go at greenies

these days, saying with the

environmentalists and their

love of the bush and trying to

reduce the amount of clearing

of our native forests, could

have this have been a part?

There is a bit of disugts

discussion about that in

today's paper and previous days

paper but it is fair enough to

have a very close look at

everything. I notice one of

the stories from Saturday night

is even people listening to and

radio and ABC radio was seen as

a really effective way of

getting the warnings out. And

the CFA was passing through the

warnings very quickly. But

even with those warpings people

in - warnings people in

about what appears to the failure of the 000 emergency service an people simply weren't able to get through and very was correct people to take the calls on pass on the information. Victorians were Kinglake say it just all happened so quickly that even those warnings weren't fast enough. They were not up-to-date enough. Because the situation was moving so quickly too. So quickly. Added to that of course is now the discussion

talked about also. It is in the 'Age' today thaend have gone street by street and had a warned in the most serious way. It is worthwhile reminding of course we had a member of the CFA here on the coach on the Friday trying to get the message out. "This is going to be weekend, weather wise, as bad as Ash Wednesday". So everybody knew. They did but there were systems clearly but didn't work and obviously the royal commission will look at this in a very serious way. But it is beginning I think that debate in a substantial way. That's the political I guess debate or the debate around the systems much of the human story continues to unfold. I know you have been covering as well. The one I have chosen is one on Marysville which you have

look at all the houses, all the

little shops and pass isrys and

B and B s that have gone. It

has touched a lot of people this, particularly in Victoria.

Most people know Marysville. I

have stayed with my husband and

most people go there for a

weekend every year or so. They

know it. So they do know the

little local shops and curo

shops and so on. Have you

looked for the place that you

stayed when you were there?

Yes, I have. What's happened

to it It has been destroyed. Like almost every other

building in town. Every town

has got the own horror story.

Marysville at the moment seems

to be emerging as just one of

the gruesome and most awful -

people won't be able to get

back there for about a month.

It looks as though of a town of

about 500, perhaps one in five

might have perish ed. Just

about the entire town is

obliterated. It seems like a

hell and those stories have

started to emerge. Forensic

teams there still identifying

bodies, bodies still in the

street. And an entire place

obliterated. It does also seem

to be the centre of some

discussion about, if we will

rebuild these towns how will we

do it. Is does remind me of

Darwin ar cyclone Tracy. If we

are going to start again we

have to build towns in such a

big threat. Marysville is

difficult for journalists to

visit there. A lot of it is

closed off. Very frustrating

but it seems to be an awful

thing that's happened in that

town. In the brief time we are

remaining, you wanted to point

out a slightly better story. I

just - I have just been touched

by how deeply this event has touched everyone. I mean my

daughter's school they had a

prayer meeting they lit a

candle there donating blood. At schools they are doing that

in a way I have never seen

before. And this was a story

about Ricky Ponting going there

and cheering people up.

Whether it is Greg Norman

having a celebrity golf match

or AFL having a special

fundraiser, it seems to be a

unifying event that everyone

wants to do something. You can

imagine the looks on the kids

faces when Ricky Ponting showed

up to play cricket. Especially

for the young guy who he bowled

Ricky Ponting out. First ball.

Nice thing. Gay Alcorn good

to see you. Of course you too.

A reminder you can watch of

ABC News Breakfast streamed

leave every morning. Here is

Paul Kennedy with sport. Thanks Joe. Australia took a

point away from its World Cup

qualifier in Japan last night.

The game began with heavy

emotion as the teams paid respect to the Victorian

bushfire victims. Japan

dominating theraf but could not

score, nor could the scroors.

But a - Socceroos but a nil all

draw is add good as a win. Mup

Mundine won a - Anthony Mundine

won a scrappy boxing match

against Shannon Taylor last

night. Taylor's deaf feet

speech was a beauty. He is in

good condition. That was....

Some visible with the hands.

Mundine. The stronger I will

get, the better I will get and

Shannon was a very tough and

worthy opponent tonight. I

tried. He was sleek, he was

strong. I am telling you he

has got to the weight he is a

credit to himself. But guess

what I can go to now? I can go

buy my daughter Natalia a

house, and paint her room 5.

Because Karadonna lost the

house, it has a three storey

house. I am buying her house

and painting her bedroom pink.

Two weeks time. Two weeks to

put his feet up before then.

The Australian cricketers gave

their team - spent their time

at Whittlesea yesterday, as we

have just heard from Gay

Alcorn. They went down there

to help out those people and

just put their arms around a

couple of those people who are

really struggling down there at

the moment and although it made

the victims and relatives and

those people displaced feel a

little bit better. There is no

doubt it made those cricketers

feel a little bit better and

they did their bit. Certainly

did. Thats a lot Paul. Here

is Vanessa O'Hanlon with the weather and some more

information on conditions in

Victoria today with those fires

still burns. Thanks and in

particular in Yea at the moment

the southerly winds are around

27 km/h. With wind gusts of 35

km/h, the temperature's cool

and 13 degrees. On the

satellite more rain and storms

over the tropics and Queensland. We also have cloud

that is only giving light

patchy rain over eastern

Victoria and the NSW coast.

Also patchy cloud over the

interior because of excess trom

tropical moisture will cause

storms there. Will be showers to the NSW and Queensland coast

and ranges. While a trough

will continue to bring rain and

storms over the tropics and hot

dry north-easterlies for WA. A

trough will bring a cooler thundery change to the

south-west. Pi

Vannessa, thanks so

much: Much more coming up on

ABC News Breakfast. Still

ahead we have Jenny Macklin the

Federal minister for families,

housing and community services

to tell us what the Federal

Government has got in story for

people affected by the fires.

That's still ahead on ABC News

Breakfast. Stay with us.

Victoria's Police

Commissioner says there are

signs the Marysville fire was

deliberately lit and the number

of dead in the historic town is

expected to reach 100. And

overnight fire weather warning

is downgraded and authorities

say good progress is being made

to contain fires threatens

Melbourne's water catchments. Senators continue to debate

Kevin Rudd's $42 billion

stimulus plan with the PM hoping they will meet the

deadline and pass the package

tonight. After months of

negotiations a unity government

emerge from Zimbabwe with

Morgan Tsvangirai sworn in by

his long time rival as PM.

Good morning , it is

Thursday the 12th of February.

I am Virginia Trioli. I am Joe

O'Brien. The top story on ABC

News Breakfast this morning,

the Victorian Police

Commissioner Christine Nixon

says there are signs that one

of the most devastating weekend

fires may have been

deliberately lit. It is

thought up to 100 people could

have been killed in the

Marysville fire. The total

number of dead still stands as

181, but police say that figure

could now pass 300. An

overnight fire weather warning

has now been lifted but there

are still two major fires

burning near Yea and Bunyip

Ridge. Now in a moment we will

have an update from Karl Hoerr

at Yea but first here is what

Christine Nixon said on

'Lateline' last night. As we

have gone to Marysville to

investigate we are - along with fire experts become suspicious

about how the fire actually

came into Marysville. The

direction it came from, the

pace it came with. All of

those things are a part of the

way we investigate a fire. And

working with fire authorities

like the CFA. Part of what we

watched on that day was just

some fires that some of the fire authorities said capital

have occurred in the - can't

have occurred in the way they

did. So obviously what was the

main fire front we found fire

in other locations, so part of

the concerns of Marysville is

it was just unexplained how

exactly that fire got started.

That's part of the process for

us. Victoria's chief Police Commissioner Christine Nixon talking to

talking to 'Lateline''s Leigh Sales, Karl Hoerr join us from

the tent city in the township

of Yea. Good morning the sun's

come up through in Yea and the

pressing Issue for the firefighters throw is the

potential for two fires to join

up and maybe even threaten

Melbourne's vastly reduced

water catchments. it is a

concern for firefighters

concern for firefighters and

the key difficulty for them has

been the winds which have been

blowing southerly for some

time. Although today that

concern has eased somewhat. In

Yea the winds are much calmer

and that has assisted firefighters overnight establishing containment lines

etc. In terms of water

catchment, the concern is for

catchment, the concern is for