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Live.

Another day of dangerous

temperatures in the country's

south-east as two fire fronts

converge in Victoria's

Gippsland region. The heat

burns out part of the power

grid in Melbourne and Adelaide,

leaving homes and businesses in

the dark. Thousands of French workers strike over pay fears

in a show of union support

that's paralysed Paris's

public transport system. At

the Australian Open Roger

Federer out-aces American Andy

Roddick to go through to his 18th grand slam final.

Good morning, it is Friday,

the 30th of January. I am

Virginia Trioli. I am Joe

O'Brien. The top story on ABC

News Breakfast, as the country's south-east preparing

for another sweltering day with

total fire bans residents are

under threat in Victoria's

Gippsland region. Two major

fires are bearing down on the

towns of Yinnar and Darlimurla

near the mining centre of

Morwell in the Latrobe Valley.

Dozens of homes are threatened

and the country fire authority

says overnight 60 vehicles and

240 firefighters have been

battling to control the blaze.

Earlier two men were questioned

over the fire which is appear

to have been deliberately lit.

They were released without

charge. Anna Larkin join us

from the incident control

centre joins us now. Are the

fires under control in No, they

are not. Overnight we have

been issuing threat messages to

both the Darlimurla area and

the Billara area. It has been

amazing overnight how much

extra fire activity there has

been, simply because it has

been so hot. And we are not

nearly close to containing

them. We are quite concerned

about today because of the very

high temperatures and predicted

wind change. When you say there

was surprising level of fire

activity overnight. What

exactly happened. Can you

describe that for us? Normally

as the night falls the

temperature falls and humidity

rises and everything settles

down, but last night it kept

going with quite erratic

spotting and ember attack and

shifts in the wind in the

hills, there, so despite the

respite we are used to

overnight we had ongoing

activity and we had to keep

crews on asset protect right

throughout the night. Very

difficult I imagine to fight

fires during the night. Very

difficult. We have got crews

that know the area quite well

but it is still really hard for

them because even though they

can see the fire they can't see

where they are going and what

they are doing that easily.

This has also meant it has been

hard for us to get information

out from the fireground about

what's been happening. How

many homes do you believe might

be under threat from this fire

front? We are estimating about

50 are in areas which could be

under threat. Either by embers

or by direct fire. So it is

because it's the edge of the

towns it is not large numbers.

It is mainly the lifestyle

properties, which are on five

or 10 acres and there is house

and sheds and grassland. That

sort of property is being

affected. But no properties

lost so far? No confirmed

properties lost. We are

getting rumours down here, and

that's one of the problems - we

hear rumours of lost property

and we check these out very carefully and we haven't had

anything confirmed. What about

livestock? Is that threatened

at all? We haven't heard.

There is not large numbers of

livestock down here, it is more

plantation is the main industry

and you might get hobby farm

animals. So small groups of

cattle or sheep. And we hope

the people are looking after

those as part of their property

fire plan. But we have had no

report s losses at this stage.

Strong northerlies expected

today. What does that do to

the fire front? This is really

concerning us because it is

stronger northerlies with another extreme temperature.

Over 40 degrees for the third

day in a row, that's really hot

for Victoria. And so that's

part of the problem that we are

going to have, the strong

northerlies driving the fire

but another complication we

are expecting a south-westerly

change sometimes in the later

afternoon and in Victoria this

makes things unstable and we

are not really sure where the

fire might head after that. So

it is a day where residents

really need to be vigilant and

keeping an eye out around their

own property about what's

happening. And with that wind

change then, what's the

strategy? How many appliances

do you have in place to try to

deal with that? We have put on

probably about 250 crew and

appliances again today. We

have to request them the day

before. We will also be

requesting aircraft to help

with the fire, and because it

is daylight we can include

dozers to help make fire lines.

So we requested a lot of

equipment but we have

protection rather than trying concentrating today on asset

to put out the fire as such.

The main thing is we reduce the

losses. Because we know on a

day of this extreme fire danger

we couldn't put out the fire

anyway. Anna Larkin thanks so

much for joining us, all the

best to you and your

crews. Thank you and thanks for

your interest. To other news

now and starting with more on

those sweltering temperatures,

40-plus degree temperatures are

expected for a third

consecutive day in SA and

Victoria today. Power

blackouts sparked by high temperatures have continued in

Melbourne overnight. The city's

also bracing for more transit chaos, although able public

transport will be free in

response to commuter anger over

constant cancellations. Health

officials are urging the

expected 30,000 people on their

way to Adelaide's Big Day Out

to stay well hydrated in the

heat. A Melbourne man has

been remanded in custody after

allegedly throwing his

4-year-old daughter off the

Westgate Bridge. The Melbourne

Magistrates Court was told the

man, who cannot be identified,

was suffering from acute

psychiatric distress and was

suicidal. The 35-year-old

Hawthorn man was charged with

murder, and is due back in

court in May. A new report

into the state of the country's

health services shows that

Queensland has the worst record

for botched operations, and

medication errors. The

findings come as part of the

Productivity Commission report

released today. It found that

preventable and potentially

deadly mistakes more than

doubled across the country in

2006 and 2007. While New South

Wales faired the best. A

quarter of the errors were made

in Queensland. Hundreds of

thousands of protester s have

been marching through French

cities overnight as part of a

general strike over the government's handling of the

financial crisis. It was

called by France's 8 main trade

unions demanding pay rises and

better job protection. Among

those striking are teachers, bankers, hospital staff and rail and air transport workers.

The UN in Sri Lanka says one

of its convoys has evacuated

hundreds of civilians wounded

in fighting between troops and

Tamil Tiger rebels. The convoy

which includes 50 critically

injured children crossed the

frontline out of the battle

zone during a brief pause in

fighting. Aid agencies say

hundreds of civilians have been

killed in the fighting and a

quarter of a million more are

trapped. The government has

denied that. The UN Solicitor

General Ban Ki-Moon has

launched the humanitarian

appeal for the people of Gaza. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland he called

on governments to put politics

aside in an effort to help

those injured and displaced by

the recent conflict. Europe

correspondent Emma Alberici

reports from Davos. Ban Ki-Moon

said he went to Gaza as the

general secretary of the UN but

empathised with the people he

met there as just another

father of young children. The

population were already

vulnerable because of so many

months of civilian restricted

surprise. That is why the

humanitarian fresh appeal for

Gaza, that we are announcing

today, is to timely and so

important. He said he had

given the Palestinians his word

and promised those who lost

their families he would hem

them. He called on the

international community to help

him keep his word by raising

$930 million to supply life

saving aid. He said politics

should not interfere in efforts

to rebuild Gaza. I will

welcome any steps to secure

necessary humanitarian fundings

for those people who are in

desperate need. For more now

on the heat that's pounding the

country's south. Emma Rebellato joins us from

Adelaide. Emma good morning.

Tell us about the power

shortages over there you are experiencing at the moment.

Well hundreds of homes are

still without power as we

speak. But yesterday for the

first time in eight years ETSA,

our retailer electricity

distributor was forced to cut

power supplies to thousands of

homes. We had more than 40

suburbs affected all up

yesterday. 95,000 homes and

businesses. Most of the time

it was because of the heat, but

then ETSA was forced to switch

off the power, some load

shedding for about an hour or

so to many suburbs particularly

just north of Adelaide. This

was because there was a problem

with the interconnector between Victoria and Tasmania. So

there was a fear that the grid

would overload. That did

appease the problem. But

unfortunately the heat is still

causing big problems for

blackouts. You are expecting

of course big heatwaves today

and those high temperatures

continuing. I understand

people are being told to switch

off any power that they think

they don't need? That's right.

Anything they can do to help

ease the load on the grid is

the advice. So the advice

early in the week from the

government was to draw all the

blinds and curtains, to use a

fan instead of the airconditioner. They are still

saying use the airconditioner,

keep cool as much as you can

but for anything else you are

not using switch off at the

power point to ease the

situation, It is Adelaide's

turn for the Big Day Out and

about 30,000 people expected.

They can't possibly survive

outdoors exposed in all that

heat can they? Who knows, I

think a lot of them will give

it their best go.

Unfortunately the Big Day Out

generally is very hot in

Adelaide. We have had a pretty

good run of very high temperatures for the Big Day

Out music festival. This year

they say people are generally

well prepared. They tend to

hydrate fairly well. The

advice from St Johns, don't

drink alcohol because that will

change your body temperature

and you won't cope quite as

well in the heat. Lots of sun

screen and hats and keep in the

shade as much as they can.

Organisers have changed a few

things this year. They have

added more mist tents where

fans can run under, get a bit

of water on them and cool off a

bit before going back out into

the other areas, every single

stage except for the main stage

will be under cover in a

circuit us tent or air

conditioned hall. But with all

those people it will be very

hot indeed. There are four

times the amount of free

drinking Infantries for patron

- fountains for patrons too. What is the fire situation in

SA at the moment? We have

total fire bans yet again.

This is the third day in a row.

Fire bans across every district

in SA. Fortunately we have

come through it fairly

unscathed. We have had a few

bushfires a couple of days ago

we had some started by

lightning strikes, we had

thousands across the state.

But so far it is looking not

too bad. The Country Fire

Service is still extremely worried with these winds and

with the extreme heat and dry

conditions that if a fire does

start that it will be fanned

quite quickly. Emma Rebellato

thanks so much for joining us

today. Thank you. For those

of you in south eastern parts

of Australia affected by the

heat we would like to hear how

you have been affected. You

can send emails to -

Now to the front pages of

the major newspapers around the

country, many papers are

leading with the same story

this morning - The 'Age' leads

with the death of that

4-year-old girl after she was

thrown from the Westgate Bridge

yesterday. The 'Herald Sun'

reports the father of the girl

is in police custody. 'Daily

Telegraph' says the police

allege that the little girl was

in a car with her father and

two brothers. They are aged 6

and 2. When the car stopped on

the top of the bridge. The

Adelaide 'Advertiser' reports

doctors and paramedics fought

to save the girl but she died

about four hours after she was

pulled from the river by water

police. The Brisbane 'Courier

Mail' has the photo that many

papers are using this morning -

and that's of the 35-year-old

father being taken into police

custody. To world news now. And 'The Australian' is

reporting fears of a trade war

have been sparked after Barack

Obama included measures to

protect the US steel industry

in his $19 billion stimulus

package. A spokesman for PM

Rudd said Australia expected

the US to be mindful of its international trade

obligations. The 'Financial

Review' says the rights of

shareholders of failed

companies to claim

compensation, this on an equal

footing with other creditors,

has been upheld by the Federal

Government's corporate law

adviser. The snerd reports on

the troubled NSW public

hospital system and says a

federal takeover is one option

being looked at by the Federal Government. The Northern

Territory News reports on the

mystery of what appears to be

an aircraft sit s on the ground

in the middle of the Simpson

Desert. . Jon Stanhope has

urged PM Rudd to fast-track

infrastructure projects to

Canberra to contribute to the

stabilisation of the state's

economy. The 'West Australian'

says there is pressure on the

State Government to lift

tariffs on power companies in

order to recover the true cost

of producing power. This means

household electricity bills in

WA could more than double over

the next three years The

'Mercury' reports the developer

selected to construct a new

ferry terminal and 60 suite

hotel complex on the Hobart

waterfront a a-announced

yesterday it was abandoning the

proposal. The top stories

today on ABC News Breakfast -

fire crews as residents have

continued to fight two fires

threatening homes in eastern

Victoria through the night.

More than 800 hectares have

been burnt by the two fires so

far. And the blazes are

continuing to spread. There

will be no relief from hot

weather for Victorians and South Australians today, with

more temperatures in the 40s on

the way. Both states have

endured another hot night and

the heat will intensify.

Melbourne is expecting a top of

43 degrees and Adelaide 42.

Huge crowds have taken to the

streets in France to protest

over the handling of the

economic crisis. Causing

disruption to rail and air

services. The head of France's

biggest union says 1 million

workers rallied to demand

action to protect jobs and

wages.

Now returning to the

productivity report into the

state of the nation's

hospitals. For more Charlotte

Glennie join us from Sydney. Charlotte good morning. What's

in the report? I notice one of

the factses in there was that

preventable and potentially deadly mistakes more than

doubled in the country across

2006 and 2007. It seems like

there was some fairly startling

figures in there. There are

some startling figures. The

report came out yesterday. The government's Productivity

Commission report. It said

there were 187 potentially

fatal or fatal errors that were

made in hospitals across the

country. This is a national

report. And of those 187

errors, a quarter of them were

made in Queensland. So this is

something that makes quite

disturbing reading. Errors

range from anything from a

patient being discharged from

hospital too early, and

suffering as a result. Or a

botched operation. Or anything

along those lines. Now NSW,

where I am, surprisingly faired

relatively well. Second to

Queensland was SA. Where there

were nearly as many error s.

Victoria 45 errors. But SA 36.

NSW 32. The best place was

Tasmania with just 1 error in

2006-07. And can you just go

into a bit more detail about

what kind of errors we are

talking about here? Well, for

example sometimes they were

problems in childbirth, where

or situation where a patient

was given the wrong medication

andfully there by suffer ed as

a result of that or in the

worst cases died as a result of

that. Or sometimes surgical

instruments left inside people

after operations and even

sometimes often being - the

wrong parts of a person's body

being operated on. For example

if you were going in for an

operation on your right knee,

the left knee operated on. We

keep on hearing problems about

the NSW health system. So it

is a little surprising it faired among the best of the

states in relation to this.

But there is another

development in relation to the

funding for public health in

NSW today? Well, as you will

remember yesterday it was re -

revealed that NSW owed $117

million in unpaid bills. NSW

hospitals. And that is

something that has been of

concern to everybody in this

state, including the state's Health Minister, John

Dellabosca who is reported to

have said overnight he was

going to put through an urgent

$1.8 million to try to solve

some of the problems. Now that

will go, we understand,

directly towards paying unpaid

clinicians in the west of the

state. Who haven't been paid

sometimes for weeks, even

months, they say. And it is just a drop in the bucket

though with that many unpaid

bills. Charlotte Glennie in

Sydney, thanks very much for

that. Apart from the dreadful

errors takes place the huge

worry is the loss of faith and

trust in the system that occurs

when you hear figures like

that, I just find that extraordinary. It says they

have doubled. The number of

incidents has actually doubled

in the past couple of

years. Which seem to indicate

that record keeping, simple documentation seems to be a

problem too. And maybe the

amount of reporting of these

incidents increases as the

public becomes more aware.

Yes. We will go to finance

news now and straight to the

figures, a short time ago the

Dow was trading more than 180 points down.

In a few minutes Vanessa

O'Hanlon will be hear with a

look at the national weather. Generally speaking it is hot.

And also ahead we will have a

review of some of today's

newspapers and this morning we

will be joined by Mike Smith,

the former editor of the 'Age'

newspaper. With sport here is

Paul Kennedy. Roger Federer

plays some of his best tennis

last night to beat Andy Roddick and move into the Australian

Open final. Roddick actually

lifted his game to a new level

in the second and third sets

but when Federer needed to come

back with something special.

He D 14 could be a special

number for Roger Federer. The

Swiss master is now just one

win away from equalling Pete

Sampras's grand slam record.

I could be maybe become the

greatest of all time of that

era. But maybe never of all

time. I am very well aware of

that but still I think it is an

incredible opportunity for me

to do well. Federer continues

to have Andy Roddick as

measure. In their past 18 meet

s the 7th seed has won just

twice. Too good. Roddick

has worked extra hard to bridge

the gap. But the American needs to spend more time

playing tennis like this

- That's the stuff. And less

time arguing with the match

ofishes. - officials.

You don't think I could have

hit that ball? Federer wrapped

up the first set 6-2. Roddick

would make it more of a contest

in the second and third set.

Great shot from Roddick. But

the smile didn't last for long.

Federer seemed to anticipate

the American's every move. He

will play either Rafael Nadal

or Fernando Verdasco in his

18th grand slam final. Playing

Rafa is more exciting I guess

because of the history we have,

you know play ing in some grand

slam finals. The women's final

will be played tomorrow night.

As if the title wasn't enough

motivation, the winner out of

Serena Williams and Dinara

Safina will be crowned world

number one. Since I was

growing up it was my dream to

be one day number one. And to

play against Serena to fight

for the sport number one in the

world is going to be

unbelievable. My goal isn't to

be number one, my goal is to

obviously now win one more

match here. Safina will have

tomorrow off, while Serena

teams up with her sister Venus

in today's doubles finishes. -

doubles final.

Roddick seemed a little angry

throughout the match. He had

done so much work to improve

his physical and emotional

condition over summer, I guess

he was disappointed his best

still wasn't good enough

against the Swiss champion.

Let's not kid ourselves, down

two sets against him you are

scraping trying to survive. I

hit the ball pretty well. If

you look at the stats for the

match both of us had pretty

good stats. He just came up

with shots when he needed to.

That's what he does. The thing

about Roger is you can know

where to go and you can execute

and still come out on the bad

end of it sometimes. So that's

where it differs. And from a

lot of people. Rafa has been

playing great here as well. So

- it is tough to pick much

between them. If Roger serves

the way he did tonight it is going to be real tough for

anybody to beat him. As we

heard from Ryan Vanhalle n

Serena Williams and Dinara

Safina will contest the women's

final tomorrow. Williams

outclassed Dementieva in two

sets and Safina beat Vera

Zvonareva. Whoever wib - wins

this final will be world number

one. Safina says becoming the

top player will be a dream come

true. Williams wants to win

her fourth Australian Open. It

will be her 10th major title.

Cricket Australia has fined

Andrew Symonds $4,000 for making derogatory comments

about Brendan McCullum at a

radio interview. His behaviour

is also on the agenda at next

week's board meeting. While

Andrew Symonds was facing the

disciplinary hearing for

attacking Brendan McCullum the

New Zealander was attacking the

Prime Ministers XI. While the

comments were light hearted I

acknowledge they were careless

and as such I accept the fine

today. It is not his first

off-field discretion but

Cricket Australia has refused

to say whether Symonds is on

his last warning. Right now is

not the time to be making

judgments on that. We need to

get a better understanding from

the people that are working

closely with Andrew. But I

certainly see this as being a

setback. His Australian team-mates remain supportive.

We hope that he continues to

do the counselling work he

needs to do and he can come

through the other side a better

person. Fast bowler Stuart

Clark is definite ly out of the

tour of South Africa. His

injured elbow pulled up sore

after the weekend's grade game

in Sydney and Australian

selectors say Clark won't be considered in their discussions

next week. The swelling keeping reoccurring every time I bowl. Which I did on Wednesday. They are a little

bit concerned. Australia will

be looking to salvage some

pride in tomorrow's final match

of the summer against the

Proteas. Nathan Bracken and

Michael Clarke come in for

Shaun Tait and Cameron White.

Further tinkering for the one

could involve New Zealand's day matches against New Zealand

George Bailey after McCullum's

century set the Black Caps a

target of 272. Bailey and

retired test batsman Justin

Langer saw them home with 13

bowls to spare. That one dayer

in Perth starts this afternoon.

Was it un characteristic of

Roddick to get hot under the

collar like that? He doesn't

usually dispute calls? Maybe,

he has got a bit of a hot

temper - sometimes. He can

fragment a bit under that pressure. It was noted last

night as part of the commentary

during that game that he

continued his argument with the

umpire as he went to - for the

break. And fool ishly the

umpire engaged him as well, it

was back and forth. Something

that was now history, totally

useless engaging in that sort

of activity. It is good to

watch when they argue with the

umpire. I love good

sportsmanship but the days of

John McEnroe were good for a

little built of entertainment.

I think Federer likes playing

Roddick because Roddick hits

the ball so far and Federer

some how just enjoys that extra

pace. He creates some

fantastic shots off Roddick and

as we heard there, 18 matches

they have played. Federer has

won 16. So it is just a

match-up thing. Like you get

with some football teams. Some

play better against others. The

faster it comes as him the

faster he can shoot it back.

Yes. But the other sort of

weird stat from last night was Federer served twice as many

aces as Roddick and Roddick

make's point that if Federer

serves that way in the final it

will be really hard to beat.

Jim courier was quoting ing

Andre Aggasi last night and

saying Roddick just has to

forget it. If Federer can

engage in a rally of more than

three hits his line was,

Roddick may as well hit the

ball, try to hit the ball up to

the stands as much as try to

beat Federer on a rally.

Because once he gets his teeth

into it, you can tell he is

loving it. He is just setting

it up for the shot that will

finally be the winner. Which

is why Roddick looked so

disappointed and frus

frustrated laugh night. I

reckon he was at the top of his

game last night Roddick and he

just couldn't beat him. ABC

News Breakfast can be watched

the world. live from the web anywhere in

Here is Vanessa O'Hanlon with

a look at the weather. And

with all these fire bans

around, what can and can't

people do? There is lots of

things we can and can't do.

The total fire bans are

declared on days when the daker

of fires occurring is high.

When fire would spread rapidly

and be difficult to control.

No camp fires, you must have

permission to operate a BBQ or

spit at outdoor functions, you

can not lightfiers in the open

air. You can only drive a

vehicle in vegetation if it is

fitted with an efficient silent

device. No welding, charring,

extracting honey, and heating

bitumen. So total fire bans

are exists today for Victoria

and SA for the whole of the

state. As we go to the

satellite now. There is still

a bit of cloud producing more

storms around this area of WA

inland and the eastern parts.

Cloud and an active monsoon

continues to cause storms over

the tropics but the skies will

remain relatively clear on the

south-east with hot weather on

the way. A trough allowance

weak sea breezes to affect the

coast and a trough will cause

further showers and storms

over inland WA and Tasmania.

This will be heavy stou er -

showers and storms.

I will see you in half an

hour.

the top story on ABC News

Breakfast this morning - as the

country's south-east prepares

for another sweltering day with

total fire bans residents are

under threat in Victoria's

Gippsland region. Two mainly

fires are bearing down on the

towns of Yinnar and Darlimurla,

near the mining centre of

Morwell in the Latrobe Valley.

Dozens of homes are being

threatened and the country fire

authority says overnight 60

vehicles and 240 fvr

firefighters have been battling

to control the blaze. Earlier

I spoke to Anna Larkin who is

the incident information

officer at the Traralgon Incident Control Centre. We seem to have a problem with

that, so we will try to bring

that interview to you in just a

moment. I think we have a

little item for you now on the

Oscar nominated film 'Slumdog Millionaire' instead while we

try to find you that footage of

Anna Larkin speaking to us

earlier. That movie has

sparked protests in India. It

has been screening for a week

in the subcontinent to rave

reviews but not everyone is

Indian correspondent Michael agreeing with the critics,

Coggan reports.

'Slumdog Millionaire' is a

rags to riches tale that has

won rave reviews from critics

around the world. The Dannii

Boyle directed film set in the

slums of Mumbai has been

nominate ed for 10 Academy

Awards but the use of the word

'slum dog' has spark ed rage of

some well dwellers in India.

TRANSLATION: In the film

'Slumdog Millionaire' they have

referred to the slum dwellers

as dogs. These people say they

will continue to protest until

the word 'slum dog' is removed

from the title. TRANSLATION:

They have called us dogs in the

film. We are not dogs, we are

also human s just like

everybody else. Despite the criticism 'Slumdog Millionaire'

is recording strong box office

results in its first week of

screens in big city senmas in

India. But the audiences here

have mixed views on the movie.

It was night but not really -

I be don't think it will win an

Oscar. They are showing a very

bad picture of India. They

have only shown the slums and

everything. There is more

about India. It was a nice

movie. They showed me what

India is all about. It is a

very good movie to watch.

Talks about the real India.

One of the best movies I have

ever seen. But the ill-feeling

towards the film is effect

expect - expected to be

eclipsed by celebrations if the

compose er of the music for the

movie becomes the first Indian

to win an Oscar.

To other news this morning,

extreme weather continues are

expected for a third

consecutive day in SA and

Victoria today. Power

blackouts spiked by high

temperatures have continued in

Melbourne overnight. The city

is also bracing for more

transit chaos, although all

public transport will be free

in response to commuters anger

over constant cancellations,

health officials are expecting

the expected the 30,000 people

attending the Big Day Out to be

well hydrated. A Melbourne man

has been remanded in custody

after allegedly throwing his 4-year-old daughter off the

Westgate Bridge. The Melbourne

Magistrates Court was told the

man who, can't be identified,

was suffering from acute

psychiatric distress, and was

suicidal. The 35-year-old

Hawthorn man was charged with

murder. And will next appear

in court in May. The UN has

launched an appeal for more

than $900 million for the

people of Gaza. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

told the World Economic Forum

it needs are massive.

Hundreds of thousands of

protesters have been marching

through French cities overnight

as part of a general strike

over the government's dealing

with the financial crisis. The

demonstrations were called by

France's eight main trade

unions demanding pay rises and

better job protection. Among

those striking are teachers,

bankers, hospital stair -

staff and rail and air workers.

The UN in Sri Lanka says a

convoy has rescued hundreds of

civilians, the convoy crossed

the battle zone during a brief

pause in fighting, aid agencies

hundreds of civilians have been

killed in the fighting and a

quarter of a million more are

trapped. A claim the

government has denied. Western

Australians could be hit with a

big ig crease in electricity reports if the government

accepts the recommendations of

a new report. Household

electricity bills could almost double over the next three

years. Lana Taranto joins us

now from the Perth news room.

Why the big hike? The Office

of Energy has released a report

recommending that 52% increase

in household electricity bills

over the next financial year.

Plus another 26% increase in

the following year. The

argument is that we need to

bring household electricity

prices in line with the cost of

actually supplying power to WA. Now the present government is

actually blaming the previous

Labor government for

subsidising electricity bills

over the past decade. Saying

that they have kept prices

artificially low in WA, partly

due to the split of western

Power and Peter kolier, the

Energy Minister say ifs we

don't increase the tariffs and

they don't reflect the cost of

actually supplying power to WA, that the government could

actually be faced with a debt

of billions of dollars if do

have to subsidise the power.

The opposition is saying the

government should try to

increase the tariffs gradually,

say by about 10% per year over

the next 6 to 10 years in order

to I suppose introduce it in a

gentle way rather than one

massive increase. It will

still have an impact on

community and small business.

Absolutely. It will take the

average household bill around

$900 per annum to something

like $2,000 over the next three

year, so it will be a massive

increase. Small business has

also been recommended they

actually have a bit of an

increase as well. It is around

29% increase for small business

for the next financial year

with a further 26% the

financial year after that.

Given the current financial crisis and obviously there has

been job losses in WA due to

various situations it will hit

people hard. People trying to

cut back on expenses. Social

groups have raised fairly lie

concerns saying this could be

quite devastated for WA. $900

is the average annual bill for

household there's now is it?

Yes, that's correct. That's

been the average household bill

according to the Office of

Energy and the government.

Still seems fairly steep. Is

there any comparison with other

States that you are aware of or

not? I am not aware of any comparison unfortunately at

this stage. But obviously it

is a fairly large bill. If it

is going to double over the

next three years, the state

opposition is saying "you

should try to increase it by

10% so it is not a massive

impact". But it will be

interesting to see what

happens. Because the Energy

Minister has to make a decision

before the May Budget. So we

will know what the future is

fairly soon. Lana Taranto over

in Perth. Thanks very much for

that. Thank you. For more on

those fires burning out of

control in eastern Victoria

earlier I spoke to Anna Larkin, information officer at the Traralgon Incident Control

Centre. Overnight we have

still been issuing threat

messages to both the Darlimurla

area and the Bilara area, it

has been amazing overnight how

much extra fire activity it has

been, simply because it has

been so hot. And we are not nearly close to containing

them. So we are quite

concerned about today because

of the very high temperatures

in the projected wind chak. So

when - change. When you say

there was surprising level of

fire activity overnight. What

exactly happened? Can you

describe that for us? Normally

as the night falls the

temperature falls and the

humidity rises and everything

settles down. What happened

last night was it kept going

with quite erratic spotting and

ember attacks and shifts in the

wind around the hills there.

So instead of the respite we

are used to overnight, we had

ongoing activity and we had to

keep crews on asset protection

right throughout the night.

Very difficult I imagine to

fight fires during the night.

Very difficult. We have got

crews that know the area quite

well. But it is still really

hard for them because even

though they can see the fire

they can't see where they are

going and what they are doing

that easily. This has also

meant it has been hard for us

to get information out from the

fireground about what's been

happening. So how many homes

do you believe might be under

threat from this fire front?

We are estimating about 50 are

in areas which could be under

threat. Either by embers or by

direct fire. So it is because

it is the edge of the towns it

is not large numbers, it is

mainly the lifestyle

properties, which are on five

or 10 acres. And there is

house and heads and grassland.

That sort of property is being

affected. But no properties

lost so far? No confirmed

properties lost. We are

getting rumours down here, and

that's one of the problems. We

hear rumours of lost property

and we check these out very

carefully and we haven't had

any confirmed. Lark Larkin

speaking - Anna Larkin speaking

to Virginia early on this

morning. Thailand has granted

the UN limited access to 66

asylum seekers from Burma who

say they were abused by Thai officials. But Bangkok has stopped short of allowing the

UN to see all of the Rohinga

refugees. The UNHCR has asked

the Thai government to

investigate the treatment of

refugees and says the inquiry

must en fast and transparent.

We need to work together to

find not only a solution to the

current crisis but also a

solution to that bigger problem

faced by the Rohinguar as a

group. Thailand is facing ak

ussations of mistreating

thousands of migrant s,

hundreds of whom were rescued

last night by Indonesia and

Thailand. They claim to have

been towed back out to sea.

Hundreds died. Thailand denies

that but say an internal

inquiry is under way. Rest

assured we are under

investigation. Another 78

Rohinga migrants were detained

by the Thai Navy on Monday

after their boat was found

adrift or Thailand's

south-western coast. 66 of the

group were convicted on

Wednesday of illegally entering

the country. They are expected

to be deported back to Burma

where they claim to have been

persecuted. The UNHCR says it

is a growing problem which must

be addressed. It has been

granted access to the 66

Rohinga's facing deportation

but not all of the refugees in

Thailand. A dog collar and

part of a mono plane have been

discovered deep beneath the

Antarctic ice. Australian

expeditioners are searching for

the remains of Sir Douglas

Mawson's wingless aeroplane.

While they haven't yet struck

gold they still have plenty to

show from two weeks of digging.

They dug deep but couldn't

find what they were looking

for. I like to think we now

found two more places where we

don't need to look again, Using

an ice penetrating radar

Antarctic expeditioners thought

they had pinpointed the spot

where Mawson's Vickers

Monoplane is buried. They

excavated down to sea level

through layers of hard ice.

But there was no sign of the

air tractor which was last seen

30 years ago. Sure it is

there. I don't think - with

something like that it is just

going to melt its way to the

dead rock. As a consolation

prize the team did find the

rusty remains of one of the hand mate seats from the plane.

When you have a look some of

the photographs of the fuselage

and you see this third seat,

and you just look at all the

parts and there was no doubt

that was the object itself. It

will be conserved along with

hundreds of other artefacts

which are now being treated as

a new on-site laboratory. For

the first time conserve tors

could stabilise many of

Mawson's belongings, from glass

containers to a dog collar.

. It is really nice because the original smells come back, when

they are put back into a warm

environment and the dog collar

definitely smelt very doggie.

Work to defrost and repair the

97-year-old hut s has also

continued. It is doing it

tough but if we can keep up to

the wind and ice degraration

there is no reason it can't

Mawson Hut Foundation is plans last for as long as it has.

to return to Cape Denison next

season. This time they will

take a metal detector as the

search for the plane

continues. I love that penguins

waddling up. You can almost

hear them saying "what are you

doing? ". You are watching ABC

News Breakfast. The top stories this morning - fire

crews and residents have

finished to fight two - have continued to fight two firefighters threatening homes

in eastern Victoria overnight.

More than 800 hectares have

been burnt by the two fires so

far and the blazes are

continuing to spread. There

will be no relief from the hot

South Australians today with weather from Victorians and

more temperatures in the 40s on the way. Melbourne is

expecting a top of 43 and

Adelaide 42. Huge crowds have

taken to the streets in France

to protest over the handling of

the economic crisis causing

disruption to rail and air

services. The head of France's

biggest union, says 1 million

workers rallied to demand

action to protect jobs and

wages.

For a look at the national

papers today we are joined by

Mike Smith the former editor of

the 'Age' newspaper. Good

morning. Good morning Virginia

and Joe. There is an

unavoidably sad story to talk

about this morning. There is.

It is a very discretioning

story and - distressing story

and it dominates the front

pages around the country and it

is also on the News Ltd

websites across the country.

It is the most viewed story

around the country. It is the

first time I can remember

seeing that happen where both

the newspapers and the website

hits on the same story. That

shows the sort of power and

distress and emotion involved

in this story. The only

website that has a more popular

story is in Sydney in the

'Daily Telegraph', where it is

Ian Thorpe's sexuality. In

Sydney they are more interested

in Ian Thorpe's sexuality on

the website than they are in

the bridge story or any other

story. This is - Ian Thorpe's

sexuality. Whether he is gay

or not, has swamped cyberspace

in the last 24 hours since

there were photos of his male

friend on holidays in Brazil.

And it has got to such an

extent that Ian Thorpe had to

issue a statement yesterday

saying "I am not gay, we are

good friends". I am not gay,

again. A story that just won't

go away. If we go back to how

the pairs are covering that

first - papers are covering

that first incident you are

talking about. It seems the

one photo is the photo that has

appeared on the front pages of

all the papers as well. They

focussed on that particular

image. That image is the image

of the alleged perpetrator. We

are not going to name that

person it is the alleged perpetrator, there are all

sorts of issues to go before

the courts which we can't

prejudge. But it is a photo of

the alleged perpetrator. And

that is the photo that the newspaper editors have

obviously decided there was

most hunger for among the

readers. It has been slashed

across the - splashed across

the front paper pages of all

this papers, mostly with his

name. It happened in peak hour

traffic and one of the most

well frequented areas of

Melbourne which is the top of

the Westgate Bridge. There are

a remarkable number of

witnesses to the incident and

their commentary and

observations form a part of the

newspaper coverage. Which is

highly unusual. Their

observations are there front

and centre. The sensitive

legal issue here is a matter of

identity. If identity is an

issue before the courts, it is

a problem with what some of the

newspapers have done. Some of

may not be much doubt about the unreasonable risk. That there risk. They would say, not an the newspapers have taken a

identity. But it is a risk.

Because it has to be

demonstrated in the courts.

When I saw the coverage of

this on the television

stations, the news last night,

my immediate feeling was when

people are in these situations,

these domestic situations and

something terrible like this

happens, should we be focusing

on it as much as we do? I

think it is unavoidable.

think it is unavoidable. I

think one of the really most

powerful elements of the

definition of news is whether a

story triggers emotion. And

you think about the emotions

triggered by this kind of

story. A 4-year-old girl,

first day at school, family

distress. Awful, awful

dramatic circumstances. Very

public. It is hard to think of

any other recent story that has

triggered so much human

triggered so much human

emotion. That's why there is

so much public interest and so

much displayed by the newspapers. The 'Herald Sun'

really knows how to hit these

kind of stories. Five pages of

it. In today's paper. And they

take it a step further and

editor allise. They say they

are asking questions of the

government. In relation to?

In relation to why doesn't the

Westgate Bridge have barriers

to prevent people falling or

being thrown or be jumping off

the bridge. Because the Sydney

harbour bridge has barriers but

it is a pedestrian bridge. The

Westgate is not a pedestrian

bridge is it? That's true but

as 'Herald Sun' has pointed out

there have been coroners who

have said in the past, as far

back as 1984, that perhaps

barriers would be a good idea.

And of course the impact that

it has on the community is that

we either have been through or

we know so many people who have

gone through difficult family

law situations. That I think

is the key identifying factor

as well. There will be many

people reading that going "I

felt pushed to the limit as

well. Either I do or don't understand that emotion".

Everybody has a personal

experience or knows someone who has had a personal experience

of family law. It can be very

distressing and can do strange

things to people. Moving on tr

that story - from that story

which you say dominates the

news today. You are looking at

a really intriguing story about

the 'Financial Review' about shareholders winning the right

to payouts. Everyone is

pricking up their ears about

this one today. You have to go to the 'Financial Review' to

get a front page not dominated

by that bridge story and the

story dominated by the 'Financial Review' is very

significant. The Federal

Government's corporate

regulation committee has said shareholders do have rights to

claim their money back when

companies go broke. And that's

going to be very disturbing to

banks and to other creditors,

banks may be less willing to

lend money to companies if they

know their right to the loot if

the company goes broke may be in competition with

shareholders. Because it has

always seemed a little unfair,

when a company goes bust the

banks will get their money, but

everyone else has to - go and

see what they can pick up in

bits and pieces. They are

called secured creditors and

they are the ones that put

receivers and administrators in

because secured creditors get

first option on what's left.

If anything. So shareholders

are regards now as secured

creditors and where do they

come in the queue? That will

probably have to be decided in

the courts and that's another

aspect of this. The lawyers

won't give up on this. And the

banks have the most expensive

lawyers around. So yeah, it

will be a legal bunfight but

really interest anything the

current circumstances because

companies are going broke.

Australia has an extremely high

level of share ownership and in

some of the financial company

crashes around the world in the

last few months it is the shareholders that have lost

most. They have lost more -

even more than people have had

superannuation tied up in these

fails banks, people who had

shared in them have lost everything, You wait and see.

That will be picked up as well

as every other story. The

cartoon has caught your eye

this morning. The 'Herald Sun'

in Melbourne continues their campaign against the Transport

Minister, Lyn Coske, with that beleaguered train system.

Again they are calling for her

head today. They have run

several unflatering photographs

of her over the last few weeks

and today the cartoon by Mike

knight is a classic. It shows

the hottest place in Melbourne and that is Lyn

and that is Lyn Coske's seat.

Sitting in a customer booth on

the railways station. How can

you stop tracks buckling it

when it gets too hot? You can't but a Transport Minister

in charge of this mess is in a

no win situation. The mistake

she made was in the way she

responded initially. By trying

to shift blame and duck blame.

Had she put her hand up earlier

Had she put her hand up earlier

and said "yeah. The buck stops

here. We have got to do

something about this quickly".

She may not be in the sort of

trouble she is now. She tried

to turn her back on it, that's

why they have gone after her,

the 'Herald Sun' knows an issue

that is politically sensitive.

Public transport is a bread and

butter issue that can change governments.

governments. It is a hot

button issue. It certainly is

and they know how to play T

always good to see you, thank

you so much. A reminder now

you can watch all of ABC News

Breakfast streams ed live everymorning.

Now here is Paul Kennedy with

a look at sport. Good morning,

Roger Federer could equal the

world record for grand slam

mens title this is weekend. He

beat Andy Roddick last night. Roddick was brave but

outclassed. Federer will play

a Spaniard in the final.

Rafael Nadal or Fernando

Verdasco. Who play tonight.

The Swiss champion will be

hoping they can take each other

to five sets at least. Serena

Williams and Dinara Safina will

contest the women's final

tomorrow. Safina beat fellow

Russian Vera Zvonareva and Williams outclassed Elena

Williams outclassed Elena Dementieva. Doing the same

thing Federer did, winning the

big points, whoever gets the

final will be crowned world

number one. Safina to say to

become the top ranked player

will be a dream come true.

Williams is indifferent to the

ranking, she simply wants her

fourth Australian Open title. Symonds's future as an

Australian cricketer looks

shaky. He was fined yesterday

about making tasteless comments

about McCullum kl. Symonds

says it was a joke but if

people don't find it funny he

was sorry. His position will

be discussed at a board meeting

next week. Also the way he is

getting through his constabling

- counselling and rehabilitation is under

discussion too. He has been

through a couple of different

counsellors which I find

remarkable too. Phil Jaunces

is the sports psychologist who

worked with the Australian

cricket team for a long time

but I don't see his name

anymore. Andrew Symondses to

be getting advise somewhere

else. I think on form and his

age and what he can offer the

team he is probably on shaky

ground anyway. If he can't

make runs when he goes back to

club cricket in Brisbane he is

in trouble. Vannessa, hot

nights again in Melbourne and

Adelaide? It has been very

hot. The lowest point we

received in both states only

happened just recently, like

within the 6 o'clock mark. It

was 25.7 in Melbourne and a

little bit over the 30 mark in

Adelaide. Right now 26 degrees

in Melbourne and about 31 in Adelaide. Let's go to the

satellite. Where cloud is

producing a lot of cloud around

there. Producing storms and

showers over the top of WA and

also down below WA around the

eastern and inland bits. Around

the south-east the skies will

be relatively clear again today

with hot northerly wind, a

total fire band for Victoria

and Adelaide. To Queensland now -