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Ten Early News -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) This program is captioned live.

Good morning. I'm Ron wilsp. And Good morning. I'm Ron wilsp. And

I'm Frank Coletta. Welcome to Ten's

Early News. Today - Got their names

put on the radio, and... nothing.

Just nothing....

The Victorian death toll continues

emergency workers search through to rise - more bodies found as

the rubble of destroyed towns.

I lost two kids, mate. You know?

You know, nothing will bring them back.

Survivors tell their stories -

heartache and tears as entire

communities mourn their losses.

We prepared, I guess, for a high

tide, a king tide , even, but what

ran over the state was more like a

tsunami. Victoria's Premier calls a

royal commission and admits the

bushfire stay-or-go policy may need to be changed.

The bushfires continue to dominate

the news this morning. Victoria

Police say the bushfires death toll

has now risen to 186:

Making it one of the deadliest

fires not just in Australia, but in

the world. Hundreds of firefighters

are battling to save homes from 23

fires. There are still communities

threatened north-east of Melbourne.

Victorian Premier John Brumby has

announced a royal commission after claims fire strategies may have

failed some people. Police say

they're closing in on arsonists believed responsible for the Gippsland blazes, which caused Gippsland

Gippsland blazes, which caused the

wave of death and destruction across north-eastern Victoria.

There are still some very dangerous

fires in the region today -

south-east of Beechworth, a blaze

has already burned more than 30,000

hectares and, remains a threat.

Residents around Gondowring and

last night. Running Creek were put on notice

A fire is also burning at A fire is also burning at tulangy.

Joining me now from the Ten News

room is our reporter kits kets kits.

Bring us up to date. The scope of

this bushfire crisis really is only

just coming to light. Yesterday,

police uncovered 26 bodies in a

town not seen since Saturday's

fires. So that really is a fires. So that really is a sad

indication that perhaps the body

count has only just begun.

The grizzly finds at at least six

homes. Many others died in their

cars as they made futile attempt to

outrun the inferno. Relief among

those who surdived. Dennis and Joy

hood hid in their dam. All our

clothes up to our neck, dipping in. clothes up to our neck, dipping

The heat was that intense on top,

you would dip your head. But you

were freezing underneath. Up the

mountain, Kinglake residents have

shared their harrowing

Ross's two daughters couldn't

escape the fire's path. I lost two

kids, mate. You know? Nothing will

bring them back. When Greg's

wandening home burnt to the ground,

he lost three generations of family

history. My grandfather built this

house. They lived in it, my parents

lived in it. We were all raised

here. I've been in the area since I

was a young baby. Yeah, and we come

back to this. 27 relief centres

have been set up for those made

refugees in their own state. This

school in Alexandra home to

hundreds of victims from hundreds of victims from Marysville,

Buckton and Narbathong. Learning

about those killed bringing grief

beyond words. We know them all -

their friends and neighbours,

mothers and fathers. It's

incredible. As the death toll

climbs, there's mounting anger the climbs, there's mounting anger the

fires may not have been an act of

nature. We're not sure how many

fires have been deliberately lit.

We believe there have been some, at

this stage in Gippsland. The Chief

Commissioner has - entire towns

have been declared crime Joans. The

Brumby Government will launch a

royal commission into the tragedy

and review the stay and defend your

home, or leave early policy. It didn't matter how good people's

fire plans were - when the winds changed, particularly around

Kinglake, when it came back up the hill, there was nothing that

anybody could have done. Touring

ground zero, Prime Minister Rudd is

confident communities will rebuild

time. from the ashes. It will take a long

time. We intend to be there for the duration.

So, Ron, of course that rebuilding

process, as the Prime Minister said,

will take a very, very long time.

Hur miney, what's ahead for people

in the fire-affected areas today?

Well, today, hundreds of army

troops will arrive in some of the

worst-affected areas. They will help with emergency accommodation help with emergency accommodation

and supplies. But of course, there

are still fires burning, and

residents in those threatened areas

are being told to brace for the

worst. Thanks, Hermione. Hermione Kitson there in our Melbourne news room.

Now for the latest on the bushfires

- I'll joined on the phone by Nina

Cullen. Nina is the duty officer

Sustainability and Environment. with the Victorian Department of

Nina, we've got about two dozen

fires still burning around Victoria.

Which ones are causing most concern at

at the moment am? That is correct.

There still are a number of growing

fires. The fire in the Healesville

area - a couple ofires there are

causing a reasonable amount of

concern. We have a Healesville fire

and a fire in the Mount Ridile area.

The message we'd like to provide to

residents is the follow - those in

the vicinity ofcon xn dowd Road,

Anderson Road, Gibbs Road, jewel

yet Ave. and Donald Street may be

affected by ember attack. There's but

but a lot of controversy over the

stay-or-go policy. Are people of Healesville

Healesville being told to leave? At

this point, it is up to people this point, it is up to people to

decide. If they have a

well-preprired plan, that is what they

they should. Do if they wish to

leave, they should leave well

before it becomes under serious

threat. Thanks, Nina. Nina Cullen

from the department of from the department

sustainability and environment.

To other news - as the flood

clean-up begins in North Queensland

today, the weather bureau is

warning of more heavy rain later in

the week. Floodwaters eased across the region overnight, but towns

still remain cut off. Food is still

being dropped into the town of

Ingham, while in Giru, roads have

reopened for the first time in more

than a week. Oh, they're used to it

here. The locals don't have here. The locals don't have any

problem with it. They stock up. The

bureau is forecasting the heavy

rain to return in coming days.

Treasury officials have rejected

claims using vouchers would stop

people from saving their $950 stimulus payments. At the Senate

inquiry into the $42 billion

package, the Treasury secretary

says there's no way to force people

to spend the extra money. Then

surely what the household would do

is take the voucher, spend all the money,

money, and then save another money, and then save another $950

part of their income. The Senate

inquiry will table its report later

today, with a final vote on the

package due by midnight on Thursday.

Sydney's ATM thieves have Sydney's ATM thieves have struck again, blowing up another machine

early this morning. Four men pumped

gas into the St George ATM at

Ramsgate just after midnight. Ramsgate just after midnight. The explosion shattered glass explosion shattered glass nearby

and scattered debris across the

carpark. The gang fled in a silver

Audi and a black BMW with an

unknown amount of cash.

The pilot who safely landed his jet

in New York's Hudson River last

month has been given the keys to

the city. New York mayor Michael

Bloomberg called Chesley

Sullenberger and his crew "real

American heroes" as he presented

them with the symbolic keys. I'm

overwhelmed and gratified by this

huge outpering of support, from everyone,

everyone, but particularly those in

New York. It follows a busy few

days of media interviews for the

pilot they're calling Captain Cool.

He's explained how he saved the

lives of 155 people on board.

In sport this morning - all proceeds

proceeds from ticket sales to Game

IV of the Chappell-Hadlee series

will be donated to the bushfire

appeal, with the Australian team

also set to contribute their match also set to contribute their match fees. Promoting a campaign to

provide disabled children with

bicycles, former Australian

wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist

believes Brad Haddin should retain

his place that top of the batting order. I'd love to see it. He's

good enough. And I think that it

adds flexibility in the middle

order there. New Zealand's Cullen

Brendan McCullum is in doubt with a

shoulder injury stkpwhrae. the Socceroos have sent messages of

support to those affected by the

bushfire crisis. They arrived in

Yokohama. All our thoughts go out

to the people affected by bushfires to the people affected by the

bushfires in South Australia and

Victoria. A big thankyou to the

people that are helping - firefighters, volunteers, Ambulance

Services. Adelaide United's Eugene

Galekovic has been rushed into the

squad to replace injured back-up squad to replace injured back-up

keeper Adam Federici.

Time for a look at finance now with

Frank Coletta. Frank, I'm just

starting to wince as I go past

service stations again. Are those

prices going up? It's not just you,

Ron - they are. If you've noticed

you're paying more to fill up the

car again lately, you're right - despite the oil price hovering

around the $40-a-barrel mark for a

few days now. The national average few days now. The national average

has jumped 2.7 cents in the last

week, 16 cents in a month. Prices

have risen for four consecutive weeks

weeks but are expected to weeks but are expected to settle

around this level, we're boll being

told, the spike being blamed on the

Australian dollar. The average Australian dollar. The average

household is forking out $166 a

month on prelt, up $22 in January,

but down $62 a month from the

head-spinning highs set in July of

last year. Rio Tinto chairman-elect Jim

Jim Ling has resigned from the board three weeks after his

appointment, but before he even

start work as the company taefpts start work as the company taefpts

to pay down $56 billion in debt. He

made the decision, which was a

shock, as the world's third-biggest

miner edged ever closer to miner edged ever closer to a dealual Chinalco. Incumbent Paul

Skinner, who announced his

retirement in October, will remain

in the role until the middle of the

year.

The number of newspaper and

Internet job ads has fallen for the

nipblgt month in a row, down by

6.3% in January. CommSec says the

sharp downturn is likely it persist

over the first half of the year,

rising to about 6% by the end of the year. Meanwhile, a business survey

survey says 24% of firms expect to

shed staff in June.

Wall Street appears to be in a

holding pattern, with the G7

meeting just a few days away.

All the latest from the Victorian

bushfires when Ten's Early News returns. There's no place like the NSW Snowy Mountains for a refreshing getaway this autumn. Unwind amid pristine scenery. Be inspired by alpine experiences. Or enjoy one of the many upcoming festivals and events. The Snowy Mountains are always in season and now you can: Find out more at:

This program is captioned live.

Today - more bodies found in

fire-ravaged Victorian towns - the

death toll is now tipped to go over 200.

Survivors tell their stories -

heartache and grief as entire

communities mourn their losses.

Calling a royal commission -

Victoria's Premier admits Victoria's Premier admits the

stay-or-go policy may have cost

lives, and may need to be changed.

If you're just joining us, here's

the latest - Victoria Police say

the bushfire death toll has now

risen to 166. Making it one of the

deadliest fires not just deadliest fires not just in Australia, but in the world.

Hundreds of firefighters are

battling to save homes from 23

fires - three still threatening

communities north-east of Melbourne.

Victorian Premier John Brumby has

announced a royal commission after claims fire strategies may have

failed for some people. And police

say they're closing in on say they're closing in on arsonists

believed responsible for the

Gippsland blazes, which have caused a wave of death and destruction across Victoria. South-east of Beechworth, a blaze

has already burn out more than

30,000 hectares, and remains a

threat. Residents around Gondowring

and Running Creek were last night

put on notice to get out. A new

fire threatens homes in and around

Shelley. Streets on the outskirts

of Healesville were under heavy

ember attack late last night. A fire is burning towards tulangy,

north of Healesville.

The sharp rise in the death toll

was caused by dramatic increases in

the number of bodies found in the

small towns of Strathewen and St

Andrews on Melbourne's north-easten

fringe - a stark reminder that this

crisis is far from over. Now, the

stories of the survivors are

starting to emerge - and are horrifying.

Used to be a bush paradise, but now,

Strathewen is nothing more than a

ghost town. Blue police tape marks

grisly finds at at least six homes.

Many others died in their car as

they made futile attempts to outrun

the inferno. Relief among those who

survived - Dennis and Joy hid in

their dam. Just stood in the dam,

all our clothes up to our neck, and

just dipping in - the heat was that

intense on top, you would dip your

head. But you were freezing

underneath. Up the mountain, Kinglake residents have shared

their harrowing tales. Ross's two daughters couldn't escape the

fire's path. I lost two kids, mate.

You know? You know... nothing will

bring them back. When Greg's home

burnt to the ground, he lost three

generations of family history. My

grandfather built this house. They

lived in it, my parents lived in it.

We were all raised here. I've been in

in the area since I was a young

baby. Yeah. And we come back to

this. 27 relief centres have been

set up for those made refugees in

their own state. This school in Alexandra

Alexandra home to hundreds of

victims from Marysville, Buckston

and Narbathong. Learning about

those killed grief beyond words.

Everybody that you hear's died - we know

know them all. It's incredible. As

the death toll climbs, there's

mounting anger the fires may not

have been an act of nature. We're

not sure how many fires have been

deliberately lit. We believe there

have been some, at this stage in

Gippsland. The Chief Commissioner

has vowed to hunt the arsonists

down. Forensic experts search for

clues . The Brumby Government will

launch a royal commission into the

tragedy and review the stay and

defend your home or leave early

policy. It didn't matter how good

people's fire plans were. When the

wing changed, particularly around

Kinglake, when it came back up the

hill, there is nothing that anybody

could have done. It wouldn't have

mattered if you had a thousand

tankers there. Touring depround

zero, Prime Minister Rudd is confident communities will rebuild

from the ashes. It will take a long

time. We intend to be there for the duration. Ten reporter Cameron Smith is in

the blackened region of

Yackandandah. He's talking with us

live right now. Cameron, another

sleepless night for residents in

that area. How are they coping?

Look, Ron, there is some relief

this morning, after surviving

another day and night of threats. Residents

Residents feared the worst just

after 6:00 last night, when wind

picked up and blew some ash into

the town. For some people, it was

all too much after seeing the

destruction in towns like

Marysville and Kinglake - and they

chose to evacuate. Others stayed to

protect their homes. We spoke to

some of them. This is what they had

to say. It's really hard to know

what to do. And I understand why

everyone got stuck where they did -

'cause you just don't know what the

best thing to do is. We're going to

go 15 minutes that way and see how

it goes. We'll keep going if it

gets bad. We feel fairly , ahhh...

optimistic. I wouldn't say

'confident', but optimistic that

things will pan out OK and we'll be

able to look after the place. You

were out with the fire crews last

night. What are they encountering

out there? We've been out to the

affect yairdias. The firefighters

have been out on the field for up

to 12 hours - some haven't eaten.

The job they're doing really is a

difficult task. In some areas,

there were about seven or eight

trucks that were protecting a

transmission station. Skpts the the

main source of electricity for all

of northern Victoria. They're on

stand-by waiting just in case

something happens there. There's

also a big fire burning in a pine

plantation near Myrtleford. If for the people of Yackandandah, the people of Yackandandah, it

seems the main threat has now

passed. What's the general plan

today? Look, with the calmer conditions,

conditions, fire crews are aiming

to head back up into the area.

They're going to work on

containment lines. The warning is still there for residents of

Yackandandah and other areas around

here to remain on alert with ember

attacks still possible. The nature

of fire is it can change very

quickly. That's what we've got to

go to be aware of.

To other news now - a Brisbane

court has heard US doctor Jayant Patel Patel lied to Australian

authorities about his medical

qualifications. Patel is facing charges over the deaths of three

patients at Bundaberg Hospital. Clutching his wife's hand and

surrounded by the media, a silent

Jayant Patel made his way to Jayant Patel made his way to court.

How are you feeling? Members of the

patient support group tkphrad to

see this day come. Huge relief.

Inside, Patel sat with his legal

team as the prosecution began to

examine his past. The court heard

paPatel was almost unemployable in

the United States and lied to

Australian authorities about his

qualifications. The court was told

he was forced to resign from his

position in Oregon because of

meldical negligence, and his

licence cancelled in New York.

Patel is facing 14 charges, clooincluding three of manslaughter

and eight of fraud from his time as

acting director of surgery at

Bundaberg Hospital between 2003 and

2005. It's alleged he took the

lives of Gary Kemps, James Phillips,

and muven Morris. The hearing was

adjourned till Wednesday. Mervyn Mervyn Morris.

The Federal Treasury hae rejected claim

claim using vouchers would stop

people saving their $950 stimulus

cash bonuses. The trorsherary

secretary said there was no way to force

force people to spend the

intramoney. Then surely, what the

household would do is take the

voucher, spend all the money, then

save another $950 part of their

income. The Senate inquiry will

table its report later today, with

the final vote on the package due

by midnight on Thursday.

Sports news - the AFL is the latest

sporting organisation to rally

behind the Victorian bushfire

victims, announcing all proceeds

from Friday night's Essendon-

Bulldogs match will go to the

bushfire appeal. A $50,000 donation

from Richmond. You see the amount

of lives that it's affected, and

you can't just sit down. We're in a

position where we can have an impact.

impact. 100 avid Tigers fans have

each paid $500 to be part of the

2009 team photo.

Guus Hiddink is firming as one of

the favourites to replace sacked

Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. In the English Premier League. The

Blues dumped their coach after the

weekend's goalless draw with weekend's goalless draw with Hull

City, which saw them fall seven

points behind leaders Manchester

United. Hiddink is currently

working as Russian manager. He

became a household name here in

Australia after coaching the

Socceroos to the 2006 World Cup finals.

Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones

has stood down as director of rugby

at English club Saracens just one

year into a 3-year deal. He will be

replaced by former South Africa

centre Brendan Venter from July 1.

He told the club's website he was

cutting his stay short for personal

reasons. He acted as an advisor

throughout South Africa's

successful 2007 World Cup campaign,

and coached Australia through to

the final of the 2003 World Cup in Sydney. Wall Street rallied early.

Investors put aseed their worries

about the delay of the US

Government's new bailout plan. That

confidence has quickly waned. Here

with the details is Juliana Roadley

from CommSec. The market was up,

but late on, it's obvious that

investors are still nervous. Yes,

they're not going to get the A-OK

or the neigh to the stimulus

packages until tomorrow, Frank.

Investors happy early on with Investors happy early on with the

announcement from Barclays in the

UK - their profit only down 14% in

the last year, boosting the banking

stocks. But of late, we've seen the

retailers and the energy stocks

coming off the boil - the Dow at

the moment down 49 points, the

Nasdaq down by 7. Locally? We were

up boy 38 points yesterday. We'll

open foor 40 points higher this

morning. The oil price and base

metals helping the miners and

working in our favour. The gold

price down $20. Today, we'll be

receiving National Australia Bank

business survey, and also cocklier

and JB Hi-Fi with their half-year

result. Thank you, Juliana Roadley.

In other business news briefly:

Firefighters and flood-relief

workers all breathing a sigh of relief today - moderate conditions around around the country.

More on the Victorian fires when

Ten's Early News returns.

This program is captioned live.

Today - Got their names put on Today - Got their names put on the

radio... and... nothing... just nothing...

The Victorian death toll has gone

up again overnight - more bodies up again overnight - more bodies found as emergency workers search

through the rubbleed of destroyed towns.

I lost two kids, mate.

Nothing will bring them back.

Devastated survivors tell of their

losses, as whole communities come

to terms with the destruction.

We prepared, I guess, for a high

tide, a king tide, even. But what

ran over the straight was more like

a tsunami. Victoria's Premier

admits the stay-or-go policy needs

to be reviewed, and calls a royal commission. The bushfires continue to dominate

the news this morning. Victoria

Police say the bushfire death toll

has now risen to 166. Hundreds of

firefighters are battling to save

home. Three fires are home. Three fires are still threatening communities north-east

of Melbourne. Victorian Premier

John Brumby has announced a

John Brumby has announced a royal commission after claims commission after claims fire

strataeplgz may have failed for

some people. -- strategies. And

police say they're closing in on the arsonists believe responsible

for the Gippsland blazes, which

caused the wave of death and destruction across north-eastern Victoria.

There are still a number of dangerous fires burning in the

region today - south-east of Beechworth, a blaze has already

burned out more than 30,000

hectares and remains a threat.

Residents around gun wring and

Running Creek were last night put

on notice to get out. A new fire threatens home in and around

Shelley. Streets on the outskirts of Healesville were under heavy

ember attack late last night. And a

fire is also burning towards

tulangy, north of Healesville. All

All the go to our newsroom in

Victoria now. Our reporter Hermione

Kitson in Melbourne. What's the

latest on the fire situation this

morning? Ron, the scope of this

bushfire crisis is really only just being realised. Yesterday, police uncovered

uncovered 26 bodies in a town that

was examined for the first time

since Saturday's fires. So that's

some kind of sad indication that

perhaps the body count is far from over.

It used to be a bush paradise, but now Strathewen is nothing more than

a ghost town. Blue police tape

marks grisly finds at at least six

homes - many others died in their

cars as they made futile attempts

to outrun the inferno. Relief among

those who survived - Dennis and

Joy hid in their dam. Just stood Joy hid in their dam. Just stood in

the dam, all our clothes up to our

neck, andgist dipping in - the heat

was that intense on top, you would

dip your head. But you were

freezing underneath. Up the

mountain, Kinglake residents have shared their harrowing tales. Ross's two daughters couldn't escape

escape the fire's path. I lost two

kids, mate. You know? Nothing will

bring them back. When Greg's home burnt

burnt to the ground, he lost three generations

generations of family history. My

grandfather built this house - they

lived in it, my parents lived in it.

We were all raised here. I've been

in the area since I was a young

baby. Um, yeah. And we come back to

this. 27 relief centres have been

set up for those made refugees in

their own state. This school in

Alexandra home to hundreds of

victims from Marysville, Buckston

and Narbathong. Learning about

those killed bringing grief beyond

words. Everybody that you hear's died,

died, we know them. All we know

their friends, neighbours, their

mothers and fathers. mothers and fathers. It's incredible. As the death toll

climbs, there's mounting anger the

fires may not have been an act of

nature. We're not sure how many

fires have been deliberately lit.

We do believe there have been some, We do believe there have been some,

and at this stage in Gippsland. The

chief commissioners has vowed to

hunt the arsonists down. Entire

towns have been declared crime

zones as forensic experts search

for clues. The Brumby Government for clues. The Brumby Government

will launch a royal commission into

the tragedy and review the "stay

and defend our yom, or leave early"

policy. It didn't matter how good

people's defence was. When it people's defence was. When it came

up the hill, particularly around

Kinglake, nothing anybody could

have done. Prime Minister Rudd is confident communities will rebuild

from the ashes. It will take a long

time. We intend to be there for the duration.

So Ron, that massive rebuilding

process has really only just begun.

Hermione, looking at the weather

forecast, it appears we're going to

get another day of relief from

those extreme conditions again

today. So what's in store for the people in the affected regions

today? Well, today there'll be

hundreds of army troops deployed to the worst-affected areas. They'll

be helping out with emergency

accommodation and supplies. Some of

the devastated towns really have

transform under to tent cities as people take refuge and decide what

their next step is going to be. Of

course, there are many fires still

burning - 26 across the state. 6

major ones. Those in the threatened

areas are being told to brace areas are being told to brace for the worst - to prepare themselves in any way they can.

Now for the latest on the bushfires, I'm

I'm joined on the phone by I'm joined on the phone by Nina

Cullen, the duty officer with the Cullen, the duty officer with the Victorian department of

sustainability and environment. We've got about two dozen fires

still burning around Victoria.

Which ones are causing you most concern

concern at the moment? That is

correct. There are still a number

of growing fire. The fire in the Healesville Healesville area - a couple of

fires there are causing a

reasonable amount of concern. We

have a Healesville fire and a fire

in the Mount Ridi, le area. The

message we'd like to provide to

residents: Those in the vicinity of

Dowd Road, Romeo Road,andcern Road,

Gibbs Road, jewel yet Ave. and Donald Street may be affect by ember attack. There's been a lot of criticism of the stay-or-go policy

of the Government in regard to of the Government in regard to the

fires. Are the people of

Healesville being told to leavish

or is it up to them at this stage?

At this point, it is for

individuals to decide. If people

want to stay and defend their

properties, if they've got a

well-prepared plan, then that is

what they should do. If they wish

to leave, then they should leave

well before it becomes under

serious threat. Thanks, Nina.

Other news - as the flood clean-up

begins in North Queensland today,

the weather bureau is warning of

more heavy rain later in the week.

Floodwaters eased across the region

overnight, but towns still remain

cut off. Food is still being drop

under to Ingham, while in Giru,

roads have reopened for the roads have reopened for the first

time in more than a week. They're

used to it here. The locals don't

have any problem. They stock up.

The bureau is forecasting the heavy

rain will return in coming days.

Treasury officials have rejected

claims using vouchers would stop

people from saving their $950

stimulus payments. At the Senate

inquiry into the $42 billion

package, the Treasury secretary

says there's no way to force people

to spend the extra money. Then

surely, what the household would do

is take the voucher, spend all the

money, and then save another $950

part of their income. The Senate

inquiry will table its report later

today, with a final vote on the

package due by midnight on Thursday. All proceeds from ticket sales All proceeds from ticket sales to

Game IV of the Game IV of the Chappell-Hadlee series will be donated to the

bushfire appeal, with the

Australian team also set to

contribute their match fees. Promoting Promoting a campaign to provide

disabled children with bicycles,

former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist believes Brad Haddin

should retain his place at the top

of the batting order. I'd love to

see it. He's good enough. And it adds flexibility in the order. adds flexibility in the middle

order. New Zealand's Brendon

McCullum is in doubt with a shoulder injury. The Socceroos have sent messages of

support to those affected by the

bushfire crisis. Some of the key

players ahead in Yokohama ahead of

their vital World Cup qualifier

against Japan tomorrow. All our

thoughts and wishes go out to all

the people affected by the bushfires in South Australia and

Victoria. A big thankyou to all the

people that are helping

firefighters, volunteers Ambulance

Services. Adelaide United's Eugene

Galekovic has been rushed into the

squad to replace injured back-up keeper Adam keeper Adam Federici.

Now for a look atfants - Frank

Coletta, what's going on with

petrol prices, Frank?! Wish I had

the answer, Ron. I can tell you

this much. Despite the oil price hovering around the $40-a-barrel

mark for a few days, the national

average has gone up 2.7 cents a

litre the past week, up 16 cents a

litre in a month. Prices have now

risen for four consecutive weeks

but are expected - thankfully - to

settle around this level. Be nice

if it dropped. The spike being

blamed on the Australian dollar.

The average household is forking

out $166 a month on petrol, up $22

in January. It is down $62 a month

from the head-spinning highs set in

July of last year.

Rio Tinto chairman-elect Jim Leng

has resigned from the board three

weeks after his appointment but

before he even start work as before he even start work as the

company attempts to pay down $56

billion in debt. He made the shock

decision as the world's

third-biggest miner edged ever

closer to a deal with Chinese

aluminium giant Chinalco. Incumbent

Paul Skinner will remain in the

role until at least the middle of

the year.

Nissan has become the latest victim

of the global economic downturn,

announcing 20,000 jobs will be

slashed. Japan's third-largest auto-maker will cut its workforce

by 8.5%. It comes as the company

expects it first full-year loss in

nine years - almost $3 billion nine years - almost $3 billion US

dollars. Nissan has been battered

by the slumps in sales enNorth America.

Wall Street's early gains are gone:

Late on the Victorian bushfires when Ten's Early News returns. GOOD MORNING, I'M FIONA NELSON... WITH YOUR LOCAL NEWS ... FIRST, THE NEW SOUTH WALES PREMIER, IS BRINGING HIS CABINET TO QUEANBEYAN TODAY, FOR THE FIRST COMMUNITY MEETING, OF TWO THOUSAND AND NINE. NATHAN REES, AND HIS CABINET WILL MEET WITH LOCALS, TO DISCUSS ISSUES WHICH ARE OF CONCERN TO THE REGION. MEMBER FOR MONARO, STEVE WHAN, WILL BE AT TOMORROW'S MEETING, AS A MEMBER OF THE CABINET, AFTER BEING ELECTED TO THE ROLE, AT LAST WEEK'S CAUCUS MEETING. A-C-T POLICE, ARE LOOKING FOR A MAN, WHO ROBBED THE CANBERRA CITY GATEWAY HOTEL, IN LYNEHAM YESTERDAY. THE OFFENDER, THREATENED AN EMPLOYEE AT THE RECEPTION DESK, AT AROUND A QUARTER TO TWO IN THE MORNING, BEFORE FLEEING WITH THE DAYS TAKINGS. ANYONE WITH INFORMATION IS ASKED TO CONTACT POLICE. MEANWHILE, THE GOVERNMENT, IS URGING DRIVERS IN THE TERRITORY, TO TAKE CARE, AFTER A STAGGERING NUMBER OF DRIVERS, WERE CAUGHT OVER THE BLOOD ALCOHOL LIMIT LAST MONTH. CLOSE TO A HUNDRED AND 35 DRIVERS, BLEW OVER POINT - PLATER RECORDING A READING, TEN TIMES THE LEGAL LIMIT. THE CHIEF MINISTER SAYS, WHILE THE NUMBER WAS AN IMPROVEMENT, ON DECEMBER'S RESULT... THE STATISTICS DECEMBER'S RESULT... THE STATISTICS ARE APPALLING. LOOKING TO SPORT, AND QUEANBEYAN'S BRAD HADDIN, MADE A HUNDRED AND NINE, OFF A HUNDRED AND 14 BALLS, TO HELP THE AUSSIE SIDE, WITH ITS VICTORY OVER NEW ZEALAND. HADDIN, WAS NAMED MAN OF THE MATCH, AT THE S-C-G LAST NIGHT... ALTHOUGH HE DID MISS OUT, ON BEING PICKED, FOR THE INDIAN PREMIER LEAGUE COMPETITION. A STRONG HIGH SOUTHWEST OF THE BIGHT WITH A LOW OVER THE TASMAN SEA WILL CONTINUE TO DIRECT AN EASTERLY AIR STREAM OVER THE REGION. LOOKING ACROSS THE NATION TODAY - A SHOWER OR TWO FOR CANBERRA, MELBOURNE AND HOBART - CLOUDY WITH SHOWERS INCREASING IN SYDNEY CHECKING WHAT'S HAPPENING ACROSS SOUTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES - A POSSIBLE STORM FOR DUBBO 35 DEGREES THE EXPECTED TOP - COOLER IN ORANGE 25 SHOWERS FOR BOWRAL WITH 20 DEGREES - 23 FOR GOULBURN - A POSSIBLE SHOWER AND 20 FOR PERISHER A POSSIBLE STORM FOR MUDGEE 31 - SHOWERS FOR NOWRA 21 - A POSSIBLE SHOWER FOR THREDBO 10 LOOKING AHEAD TO THE NEXT FEW DAYS - TOMORROW - THERE'S THE CHANCE OF A SHOWER - 23 THE EXPECTED TOP THURSDAY - THERE'S ALSO THE CHANCE OF A SHOWER AND FRIDAY - SHOULD BE FINE

This program is captioned live.

Today - the death toll rises to 166

and is expected to rise even

further as more bodies are found in

further as more bodies are found in the fire-ravaged Victorian towns. Heartache and grief emerging as entire communities mourn their losses from the fires. The sharp rise in the death toll was caused by a dramatic increase in the number of bodies found in the small towns of Strathewen and

StEd aand ruse. Stories of the

survivors are starting to emerge -

and they are horrifying.

It used to be a bush paradise, but now, Strathewen is nothing more

than a ghost town. Blue police tape

marks grizzly finds at at least six homes - many others died in their

cars as they made futile attempts

to outrun the inferno. Relief to outrun the inferno. Relief among

those who survived - Dennis and

Joy hid in their dam. Just stood in

the dam, all our clothes up to our

neck, and just dipping in - the

heat was that intense on top, you heat was that intense on top,

would dip your head. But you were

freezing underneath. Up the

mountain, Kinglake residents have

shared their harrowing tales. Ross's two daughters couldn't

escape the fire's path. I lost two

kids, mate. You know? Nothing will

bring them back. When Greg's home

burnt to the ground, he lost three

generations of family history. My

grandfather built this house. Um,

they lived in it, my parents lived

in it. We were all raised here.

I've been in the area since I was a

young baby. Yeah. And we come back

to this. 27 relief centres have

been set up for those made refugees

in their own state. This school in

Alexandra home to hundreds of victims from Marysville, Buckston

and Narbathong. Learning about

those killed bringing grief beyond

words. Everybody that you hear's

died, we know them. All they're all

our friends, neighbours, mothers

and fathers of your - it's

incredible. As the death toll

climbs, there's mounting anger the

fires may not have been an act

ovnature. We're not sure how many

fires have been deliberately lit.

We believe there have been, some at

this stage in Gippsland. Entire

towns have been declared crime

zones as forensic experts search

for clues. The Brumby Government

will launch a royal commission into

the tragedy, and review the "and

defend your home, or leave early"

policy. It didn't matter how good

people's fire plans were. When the people's fire plans were. When the

wind changed, particularly around

Kinglake, when it came back up the

hill, there is nothing that anybody

could have done. It wouldn't have

matford you had a thousand tankers

there. Prime Minister Rudd is

confident communities will rebuild

from the ashes. It will take a long

duration. time. We intend to be there for the

Ten reporter Cameron Smith is in

the blackened area of Yackandandah the blackened area of Yackandandah

this morning. He joins us now. We jufbs got the fire crews in the this morning. He joins us now. We

middle of a shift change. What are

they reporting to you as they

they reporting to you as they come

back in from the fire zone? Ron, as

you'll see behind me, the fire

crews very tired - just come back from the fireground from over. from the fireground from over. In.

They've done 12 hours up there, and

they're certainly ready for some

much-needed rest today, ready to go

back out again tonight. Fresh crews

will be going back up there today.

They're happy with what they've

done - they've been able to built

some containment lines, do a lot of

blacking out, and protect parts of

Yackandandah where we are here now. Yackandandah where we are here now.

Residents last night were on high

alert - some even leaving, choosing

to evacuate rather than taiing to

protect theirs. We speak to some of them. It's really hard to know what protect theirs. We speak to some of

to do. I understand why everyone

got stuck where they did, because

you don't know what the best thing

to do is. We're going to go 15

minutes that way and see how it minutes that way and see how it

goes, and keep going if it gets bad.

We feel fairly , ah - well,

optimisticer let's say. I won't say

confident, but optimistic that

things will pan out OK and we'll be

able to look after the place.

Cameron, it's pretty clear from the

people you're talking to there that

there's a lot of confusion about

what to do next. Is there a plan

for today? Obviously for today? Obviously for

firefighters, they want to make the

most of today's calm conditions.

They're going to build a lot of

They're going to build a lot of

contapement lines, black out, and

do what they can while things are

all right. The threat is probably

looking a lot better than it was

certainly yesterday but the message

from the CFA is for residents to

remain on alert - the nature of

fire is it can change so quickly.

So I guess it's just a matter of

waiting and sort of doing what you

can while things are OK. Cameron Smith reporting to us live from Yackandandah. Yackandandah.

To other news now - a Brisbane

court has heard US doctor Jayant Patel lying to Australian Patel

authorities about his medical

qualifications. Patel is facing

charges over the deaths of three

patients at Bundaberg Hospital. Clutching his wife's hand and

Jayant surrounded by the media, a silent

Jayant Patel made his way to court.

How are you feeling? Members of the How are you feeling? Members of

patient support group glad to see

Patel this day come. Huge relief. Inside,

Patel sat Saturday with his legal

team as the prosecution began to

examine his past. The court heard

Patel was almost unemployable in

Australian authorities about his Australian the United States and lied to

qualifications. The court was told

he was forced to resign from his

position in Oregon because of

medical negligence and his licence

cancelled in New York. Patel is

facing 14 charges, including three

of manslaughter and eight of fraud

from his time as acting director of surgery at Bundaberg Hospital

between 2003 and 2005. It's alleged

he took the lives of Gary Kemps,

James Phillips, and M re, ervyn

till Wednesday. Morris. The hearing was adjourned

The Federal Treasury has reject claims vouchers would stop people

saving their $950 stimulus cash

bonuses. At the Senate inquiry into

Treasury secretary said there was the $42 billion package, the

no way to force people to spend the

extra money. Surely what the

household would do is take the

voucher, spend all the money, then

save another $mine 50 part of their

income. -- $950 part of their

income. A final vote on the package

was due by midnight on Thursday.

The AFL is the latest sporting

organisation to rally behind

Victorian bushfire victims.

Announcing all proceeds from Friday

night's Essendon-Bulldogs NAB Cup

match will go to the Victorian

Government's appeal. Their Richmond

Football Club is also doing part, announcing a $50,000 Football Club is also doing its

donation. You know, you see the

and, amount of lives that it's affected

and, um, you know,io can't just dit

sit down. We're in a position where

we can have an impact. 100 avid

Tigers fans have each paid $500 to

be part of the 2009 team photo.

Guus Hiddink is firming as one of

the favourites to replace sacked

Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari

in the English Premier League. The

Blues dumped their coach after the

weekend's goalless draw with Hull City, which saw them fall City, which saw them fall seven

points behind leaders Manchester United. Hiddink is currently

working as Russian manager. He

became a household name here in

Australia after coaching the

finals. Socceroos to the 2006 World Cup

Wall Street rallied early.

Investors putting aside their

worries about the delay of the US's

bailout plan. The confidence has

waned. Here's Juliana Roadley from

CommSec. The market was up, but investors are obviously still

nervous. That early rally in the

banking sector being wiped away,

Frank. Retailers and energy stocks

have also lost ground. The oil

price now below US$40 a barrel.

It's going to be D-day tomorrow for

the release of the stimulus plan,

and also the second part of the

TARP. At the moment, the Dow down

47 points, the Nasdaq down 10. Job

ads are down. What does that mean?

Here in Australia, yesterday job

ads showing another cline for the

ninth month in a row. It shows that

people aren't willing to hire any

more employees - they're waiting

for the turnaround, which I think

will be a while off. Where are we

headed today? Yesterday, we were up

by 1.1%. Today, we're looking at a

28-point gain at the open, which

has been reduced inlats half has been reduced inlats half had hour. The NAB business survey will

be released. Cochlear and JB be released. Cochlear and JB hi-fi

anding out their half-year result.

That's the day in finance. I've got

a heads-up that we're about to a heads-up that we're about to get

a revised death toll out of

Victoria - we'll have that in a moment.

This breaking news - the Victorian bushfire toll has now reportedly

risen to 173. We'll bring you all

the latest in our next bulletin at

11:00am. That's it for the Early

News. I'm Ron Wilson. See you again

tomorrow morning at 6:00. And I'm

Frank Coletta. I'll see you at 11:00.