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(generated from captions) A man from Canberra becomes

the first firefighter to die in the Victorian bushfires. The

No. Rises to 200. A Coalition

reshuffle fails to stop rumours

as the speculation of Peter Malcolm Turnbull's leadership of party instability under

Costello's future continues.

More rain expected in New South

Wales with warnings of

flash-flooding in Sydney. While

the Bellingen remains cut-off.

The Socceroos say they'll

raise money for bushfire

victims ahead of their next

World Cup qualifier in Sydney. This Program Is Captioned

Live.

Good morning. It's Wednesday

18th February. The top story on

ABC News breakfast - a 58-year-old Canberra firefighter has been killed

while helping Victorian crews

with the bushfire relief

effort. The man died when a

large tree fell on him near the fire ravaged town of

Marysville. He is the first

firefighter to die as a result

of the Victorian bushfires

which have so far claimed at

least 200 lives. Around the

state, large fires continue to

burn, including one in Wilson's

promontory which has been

fanned by strong winds

overnight. Kevin Monk is a

spokesman from the Victorian

Department of Sustain act and Environment. He Jones us

now. Can you fill us in on what

this Canberra firefighter happened in this incident where

died? Yes, unfortunately the

ACT firefighter died while

working to protect Melbourne's

water catchment areas, with

other crews, and the police are

investigate ing so we're unable

to release any more details. That

would be a police matter. We do

send our condolences out to his

family and to the other

firefighters from ACT. It's a

real kick in the guts to the

firefighters to lose one of

their own, especially after the

significant loss of life around

the other communities. It's

just what we didn't need. In a

press release or some sort of

statement I saw he was standing

at the back of a truck

connecting a hose when a tree

fell. You're able to clarify

that? No, as I said, the police

are investigate ing that at the

present time. more information

will be released as that

report's

concluded. Firefighters are

always very aware of the

dangers of falling trees after

bushfires. What are the

protocols in these kind of

situations in terms of

firefighters looking out for

that sort of thing happening,

and working in dangerous

areas? Ah, yeah, the DSE and

other agencies have some of the

highest OH&S guidelines around.

We're very aware, especially in

fires of falling limbs and

falling trees. And with the

drought as well. So you take a

lot of care looking around and

trying to identified which

trees, which limbs have the

potential to fall, but it

happened so quickly the not

always readily identifiable. In

light of what's happened

overnight, will there be any

rethink in terms of the

strategies today? Look, yes.

The message of safety around

trees will go out to all

firefighters. Our firefighter

safety has always been No. 1.

We will reinforce that and to

some crews and some fire areas

are making an extra special

effort to monitor trees in the

areas after the accident. The

service was so lucky or well

managed up to now in terms of

not having any firefighters

killed. Yes. Again, a lot of

work goes into ensure ing

firefighter safety this is just

one of those unfortunate

accidents that occasionally

happen on the fire line.

There's probably 3,000

firefighters work ing, there's

probably about 2,000km of fire

edge on all these fires. So

it's a huge area with a lot of

resources. There were some

pretty dramatic shots overnight

of the Wilson's promontory fire

flaring up overnight. What's

happening with that? That fire

is very much a wind driven

fire. It started on the eastern

coast and has been burning for

the last few days across the

northern part of Wilson's Prom

national Park. There is an

air-crane stationed down at

Wilson's Prom to assist

firefighters with bringing that

fire under control. We've had an infra-red line scan

overnight to detect where the

fire edge is. There's still an

alert message out for the

community of Yanike, although

though there is no direct

threat to that comient yet. -

community yet. Strategies will

be developed during the day.

The park is closed to the

public and so is the road into

Wilson's Prom Peter Costelloo's fuelling rumours of party

instability under Malcolm

Turnbull's leadership. Liberal

frontbencher Christopher Pyne

has rejected suggestions he was

offered Julie Bishop's old job

before the job went to Joe

Hockey. He says it's rumour

mongering and insists the party

is united bibehind Malcolm

Turnbull. New South Wales

emergency services say they're

still waiting for the rain

which is flooding the State's north coast to move south.

Bellingen remains cut off by

flood waters but roads into the

town could reopen this morning

as waters recede. Sydney siders

are being warned about possible flash-flooding, the State

Emergency services say there

haven't been any problems yet.

The Foreigh Minister Stephen

Smith met with Pakistan's

leadership overnight on the

prun prun to the country.

Stephen Smith held separate

meetings in Islamabad with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza

Gilani and Asif Ali Zardari.

His visit came as at least five

preem people were killed and 16

injured by a bomb in the

northern city of Peshawar. The

United Nations says the number

of civilian casualties in

Afghanistan jumped by 40%

in2008, to a record level of

more than 2,100. Militants were

blamed for more than 50% of

civilian deaths, foreign and

Afghan forces were responsible

for more than 800. NATO says

the number of civilians killed

by international forces was

237. A British lawyer has been

sentenced to more than 4 years

in prison for accepting a

$600,000 bribe from Italian

Prime Minister Silvio

Berlusconi in 1997. An thrael

Italian court heard that David

Mills accept the money in

return for giving false

testimony in two corruption

trials involving Mr Berlusconi.

Prime Minister Berlusconi has

received immunitiy in the

case. Returning to Australian

politician ticks - politic -

the Christopher Pyne has denied

suggestions that Malcolm

Turnbull is merely a seat

warmer for the former Treasurer

Peter Costello. Since the

election, the day after and

consist emsince that time Peter

Costello's made it clear he

doesn't harbour any ambitions

to be leader of the party and

he's made it clear as recently

as yesterday and even again

today that he doesn't seek to

come back on to the front

bench. That he seeks to be the

Member for Higgins. At this

time? That's fine with - At

this time, that's the

qualifying phrase? I don't

think he has qualified it. I

don't think he has said "At

this time". He's said he

doesn't wish to come back on to

the front bench or seek the

leadership position. Ben, a lot

of this is the continuation of

internal opposition politics

and as well as being internal

it might be flead Endless as

well. The issue really is a

lack of clear air, as the

politicians say. The past 3

days. - if it has shown

anything it's shown what the

problem is when you have Peter

Costello on your backbench.

That there never will be clear

air completely, as Malcolm Farr

rights in the telegraph rr

today, even when he says

nothing it makes headlines. It

doesn't take much to reignite

the spec laig. The Higgins

pre-selection, which is Peter

Costello's reasonably safe seat

in Melbourne is up in April.

The speculation will reach

fever pitch about then. We saw

Joe Hockey yesterday, the man

who became Shadow Treasurer

punching a way as well as he

could, trying to get his

message across, which was about the $42 billion stimulus

package which he says is

fatally flawed. That was on the

day the RBA released its latest

minutes which suggested that

stimulus package might teak

time to come into effect.

Ordinaryly that might have been

the story of the day. But he

had to fend off questions left,

right and centre about Peter

Costello. That's essentially

what all this is about. He used

a metaphor to describe his

position - guess which sport he

decided to... Refer to,

Virginia in you won't be surprised. I should think that might have been AFL

football? No, you would be

wrong there. Oh, dear me.

Deliberately so, I suspect. He

said when you're offered a

baggy green you don't care who

else has been offered before it

you wear it with pride. I would

rather play cricket for

Australia than abthe Shadow

Treasurer. But there you go.

Joe Hockey is happy to do the

job. Peter Costello kindly has

offered all his support in

doing that job. The story

that's running off the back of

all this speculation in 'The

Australian' today by Denis

Shanahan is an interesting one

as well. And plays into all the probables plaguing the

opposition. That is the

suggestion that Malcolm

Turnbull is attempting to

remake the party in his own

image? The theme of the article

very much seems to be paint ing

Malcolm Turnbull as

aristocratic and talking about

him taking over the party as if

it was a corporate takeover.

There are no surprises on two

fronts here - that Malcolm

Turnbull wants to re-cast the

party in his own image, it is a

new era, he is the boss. There

are no surprises that people

are getting upset as a result

of that. The suggestions are

he's after those previous

Howard loit loyalists, the

party director, Brian lock

nain, the Federal President,

Alan Stockdale the former

Kennett Treasurer, and the

Senate leadership team Nick

Minchin and Eric Abetz. It's

all a bit in-house and

esoteric, if p you like, but it

does paint a picture of

instability. Then, of course,

we had the battle for

Bradfield, what a good time for

a pre-selection stoush for a

blue ribbon seat being left

open by Brendan Nelson's

imminent departure. Yes, take

us through some of those early

names that are being speculated

as possible replacements. There

is only one declared candidate

at the moment, whose name

probably isn't a house hold

name, Paul Blanch, a

lawyer/businessman from the

region. Janet all Brecht sen,

the fair-minded columnist from

'The Australian'. Arthur synod

inos, former Howard staffer,

Kerry Chikarovski who has

apparently declared she is not

interested. Nick Farr-Jones, he

is rumoured to be interested or

have people interested in

courting him for that

position. After years of

droughts farmers are now

dealing with flooding rains. In

the gulf country a number of

towns have been cut off for

more than sciks weeks and are

running low on supplies. In New

South Wales large areas of the

north and west of the State are

under water. More rain could be

on the way. the lush dairy

paddocks have become giant

puddles a round Bellingen with

small pockets of dry lad. In

the town, the Bellingen river

rose so high the only bridge to

the outside world

disappeared. Floods are a fact

of life in our part of the

world, but this particular one

did, the river rose

extraordinarily fast during the

night, there was enormous

amounts of rain in the upper

river catch ams. Some areas

reported 250mm overnight. That

left thousands stranded. The

water here was a metre deep and

it was just gush ing down into

the paddock. Last night and

yesterday it continually

poured. All day. All night.

Come' believe it. In the

smaller towns upstream it could

be a long wait. Be some days, I

imagine, before they will be

able to leave, A number of

businessprise left under water,

the community is appealing to

the government for disaster

funding to help with the bill

for the region's damaged roads.

Some were enjoying the unusual

weather. Exciting. this is a

very small town and we don't

get a lot of unusual

phenomenon. And it really was

exciting. It's alright. Day

off work. Further to the north

and west in Bourke, authorities

are tallying up the damage

bill, after 3 quarters of

town's annual rainfall came

down in 15 hours on the

weekend. This in a town that

recently saw an exodus of a

fifth of its population because

of the drought.. obviously

there is quite a bit of work as

the water goes down to identify

how much damage has been done.

The heavy rains are working

their way down the coast, and

to the south, the Hunter Valley

is now on alert. Our many focus

is making sure that all

volunteers have been briefed,

all the units in the region, 18 have been put on

standby. Thousands of

kilometres away in Queensland

the towns of Normanton and

Karumba have been cut off for 6

weeks and may have to tough it out for another month.

Emergency services are

ensuring people get the basics

like food and medicine, but

industries are struggling.

Stock losses may run to 100,000

and some graziers may have lost

up to 2 years' profits. Further

up the river people shifted

20,000 head out of the flood

waters and up on to higher

ground but then a lot of that

has gone under water In Karumba

businesses complain get the

goods they need to keep the

local economy going. They're

warning job losses are on the

way. If only a bit of that rain

would fall further south! The

top stories - a 58-year-old

Canberra firefighter has been

celled while helping Victorian

crews with the bushfire relief effort. He is the first

firefighter to be killed in the

bushfires is which have claimed

200 lives. Peter's political

tensions are causing more head

aches for the Coalition.

Liberal frontbencher

Christopher Pyne has rejected

reports the former Treasurer

was offered Julie Bishop's old

job. He says the party is united behind Malcolm Turnbull.

New South Wales emergency

services say they're still

waiting for the rain which is

flooding the State's north

coast to move south. The town

of Bellingen remains cut off by

flood waters, while Sydney

siders are being warned about

possible flash-flooding with

heavy rainfalls expected this

morning. Returning to the UK -

a British lawyer has been

sentenced to more than 4 years' jail for accepting a $600,000

bribe from the Italian Prime

Minister Silvio Berlusconi. For

more, Europe correspondent

Philip Williams joins us from

London. Good morning. Can you

fill us in on when this all

began? Yes. It's a very strange

story, it goes back to 97, '98.

The tax lawyer, the estranged

husband of a British Minister

in the Brown government, David

Mills, was allegedly given

?400,000, that's a million

dollars, by the current Prime

Minister, Italian Prime

Minister berl berl Silvio

Berlusconi to cover up details

of tax companies that Silvio

Berlusconi allegedly kept.

That's been denied by the

Italian Prime Minister, but

we're now in this very odd

situation where the Italian

courts have convicted him of

receiving the bribe, the person

that is allegedly given the

bribe is the Prime Minister of

Italy. An untouchable.

Untouchable, because last year

he had passed through the

Italian Parliament legislation

that gave him and four others

senior people in the

government, emunity from

prosecution while they're in

office. And even if he stays in

office long enough and then

once he has left office is open

to prosecution by the time he's

gone through an appeal process

there will be the statute of

limitations and he won't face

prosecution at all. That's the

speculation, at least. It's a

very odd case. Are there any

reports as to how Berlusconi

and this David Mills met up in

the first place? He was a tack

lawyer - tax lawyer, supposedly

involved in helping people,

particular ply well heeled

people, minimise their tax.

That's the alleged Association

from the beginning. Mr Mills is

now saying he got the money

from a shipping company, having

allegedly first admitted that

he got it from Silvio Berlusconi. Silvio Berlusconi

is no stranger to the courts.

He has been in and out of

courts over a long career. He

has been convicted several

times but always won on appeal.

He is the Mr Teflon of the

court system and of the

political system at this

stage. Sleply

Silvio. Absolutely. Slippery

Silvio. Absolutely. You might

wonder has this demted his

popularity? The Italians are

very aware of this court case

and in elections in sard inia a

couple of days ago, his

candidates did extremely well.

If people were in a mind to

punish him they certainly

didn't express it at the ballot

box. Just fill us in on the

British political connection.

Presumably fleet Street's

having a ball with this

story. Yes, except that he is

the estranged husband so they

are still technically married

but not together but Tessa

Jowel, the Olympics Minister

was formerly the culture Minister in the British

government, has - is standing

by her former man. She says

that she's always believed him

to be innocent and that she

supports him in his appeal. He

is appealing. That will

probably mean given the statute

of limitations and the time the

Italian court system takes to

process the appeal, that the

statute of limitations will

kick in and that he will

probably not see a day in jail

either. Thanks very much for

filling us in on that detailed

story. Oh, dear, the stuff

around Silvio Berlusconi never

ends. The publishing industry

in Italy has got a lot out of

this, there ared inless -

endless books written about

this man. But still as popular

as ever. Yep. Both of

Australia's major airlines are tightening their belts again

because of the global downturn.

Virgin Blue has flagged it will

cut domestic capacity by 8%.

The move will make 400

positions redun Dan and see

five planes grounded. While

Qantas is cutting back services

in April to Beijing and

Shanghai, direct flights from

Australia to Mumbai in India

will also be scrapped. To the

US now - troubled car makers

General morts and Chrysler are

racing to finalise the details

of survival plans due to be

submitted to the White House

today. A US official says GM

will get another $4 billion

while Chrysler will get 3

billion, this in order to keep

them both afloat. Shares in GM

have dropped by more than 10%

overnight. Looking at the

markets - $4 billion while Chrysler will get 3 billion, this in order to keep them both afloat. Shares in GM have dropped by more than 10% overnight. Looking at the markets -

Very shortly, Vanessa

O'Hanlon will be here with a

look at the national

weather. Also ahead, a review of some of today's newspapers.

This morning we'll be joined by

the associate editor of 'The

Australian' newspaper Cameron

Stuart. Now with sport here is

Paul Kennedy. The Socceroos best overseas players have been

so moved by whach watching the

bushfires on television they

will hold a charity dinner

ahead of Cup qualifier against

Uzbekistan. Tim Cahill who

dedicated his goal to those

suffering says his-times have

been deeply moved by the

tragedy. He has told a British

newspaper the team wants to

raise funds to help families

rebuild their houses and for

kids to have grass in their

back yards again so they can

play. Teams yeated Adelaide

United coach Vidmar - has

planned to make private

training sessions between now

and the weekend's preliminary

final against Queensland has

been overturned. He wanted to

keep the cameras out. The

Football fraig has told the

club it must allow some access.

Vidmar was reportedly annoyed

the Adelaide 'Adelaide

Advertiser' revealed his

starting # 1 1 before the

final. Guus Hiddink - thousands

watched his first training

session yefr nieg. The former

Socceroo coach now Russia's

manager is being paid ?2.5

million to coach on a temporary

basis. England has taken

control of a third Test against

the West Indies, they've lost

five wickets for 230 runs this morning thaising England's

first innings total of 566. The

home team is still more than

130 shy of avoiding the follow-on. Collingwood captain

Nick Maxwell will miss at least

the first game of the home and

away season after being found

guilty of rough conduct by the

AFL tribunal. The Magpies had

challenged the charge, but last

night the tribunal suspended

max well for four games for a

shirt front on West Coast

Eagles Patrick McGinnity.

Maxwell could mess up to 3

games of the home answer a -

home and asay season. Fair

call, I think by the way.

With the Mark Viduka

With the Aurelio Vidmar

issue, it's not surprise ing

his stoush with the media

continue. At that press

conference he was suggesting

that one of thes was part of

the problem. Yep. Little bit

more revealed there.

Apparently. This is according

to that paper, Vidmar was very

angry that they revealed which

starting 11 he was going to use thisn that first leg of the

semifinal against Melbourne

Victory. So... They'd know fe

was angry at them. So they

released a press release

yesterday saying no more media

at our two remaining training

sessions before the weekend.

Then 3 hours later there is

another media release saying

sorry, that's not the case, we

are allowing

access. Interesting times in

Adelaide. That was the head

body saying that Is he losing

the spore of the higher-ups in

the league? I don't... Know. He

is yet to find out whether he's

going to be fined or sanctioned

for his outburst on the

weekend. He has a lot of

credits, you would think,

because he led them so well in

that Asians Champions League.

Who knows, inf we win the

prelim, qualify if the next

Asian Champions League el he

have some more credits there

but if they get bundled out and

he reacts similarly

well... That's a good excuse

really. It would seem the wins

and losses have much more

riding on them because it's

almost a test of his

temperament. We'll fine out

whether the players really want

to play for him on the

weekend. Best answer will be a good performance on the

field. Brekbrook can be watched -

ABC News Breakfast can be

watched live from any where in

the world. If you visit our web

site. Here is Vanessa O'Hanlon

with the weather and more information on that flooding in

New South Wales. Good morning, Joe. Flooding in Bourke is the

result of more than two-thirds

of the average annual rainfall.

Port Macquarie has had its

wettest moment in over 20 years

years. We still have thick cloud sitting over eerp New

South Wales n moist easterlies

it is causing rain on the south

and north coast. Cloud over

Western Australia is dumping more heavy showers and storms

over the Pilbara, cloud over

South-East Queensland is also

causing showers. In the east we

have a couple of lows causing a

few - motion of that rain

that's on the coast of

South-East Queensland along

with north and south-east New

South Wales. Inland trough will

trigger a few storms in western

New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, a trough in the west

will cause storms over inland

Western Australia. In

Queensland a few showers and

thunderstorms over most of the

south-east and the south-east

tropics, rain and storms over

northern Cape York. New South

Wales rain - heavy falls are

possible in the north and on

the south coast. Fine for the

west. Showers for the rest of

the State. Smoke hey haze in

Victoria, showers are expected

throughout the afternoon in the

east. Tasmania - cloudy, isolated showers about the

east. ek tending to remaining

inland areas later on in the

day. In South Australia, it is

a total fire ban for the

western agricultural districts.

Smoke haze floating from the

Victorian fires. Western

Australia, light showers from

Albany to Esperance. Fine and

sunny in Perth, east to

south-easterly winds. North -

storms in the Kimberley, heavy

storms from Pilbara spreading

to Gascoyne, heavy showers and

storms for the northern Top

End. tomorrow .

See new half an hour. tomorrow

See new half an hour. A 58-year-old Canberra firefighter has been killed while helping Victorian rues

with the bushfire effort. A

large tree fell on the plan Man

near Marysville. He is the

first firefighter to die as a

result of the Victorian

bushfires which have so far

claimed at least 200 lives. A

short while ago I spoke to

Kev.Mopg from the Victorian Department of Sustainability

and the Environment. We do send

our condolences out to his

family and to the other

firefighters from ACT. It's a

real cek in the guts to the

firefighters to lose one of

their own, especially after the

significant loss of life around

the other communities. It's

just what we didn't need. In a

press release or some sort of

statement I saw that he was

standing at the back of a truck

connecting a hose when a feel

fell. You're able it clarify

that? No, as I said, the police

are investigatesing that at the

present time. More nafgs will

be released as that rrp's concluded. Firefighters are

always very aware of the

dangers of falling trees after

bushfires. What are the protocols in these kind of

situations in terms of

firefighters looking out for

that sort of thing happening

and working in dangerous

areas? DSE and the other

agencies have some of the

highest OH&S guidelines around,

we're very aware, especially in

fires of falling limbs and

falling trees. And with the

drought as well. So we take a

lot of care looking a round and

trying to identify which trees,

which limbs have the potential

to fall, but it happens so

quickly that it's not always

readily identifiable. Kev.Monk

speaking there earlier on the

program. There is a lot still

to talk about in relation to

the bushfires and the long and

difficult recovery process

continues. If you'd like to

send your observations,

comments or questions to ABC

News Breakfast you can use the

email address.

In other news - Peter

Costello's political intentions

are causing more head aches for

the opposition, fuelling

rumours of party instability

under Malcolm Turnbull's

leadership. Liberal

frontbencher Christopher Pyne

has rejected claims that the

former Treasurer was offered

Julie Bishop's old job before

the role when to Joe Hockey. He

says it's just rumour mongering

and insists the party is united

behind the Opposition leader

Malcolm Turnbull following Monday's cabinet reshuffle.

Flooding rains over northern

New South Wales are expected to

move south today, Bellingen

remains cut off by flood waters but roads Roads into the up to

could reopen as waters recede.

Sydney-siders have been warned

about possible flash flooding,

the State Emergency service

says there haven't been any probables yet. Foreigh Minister

Stephen Smith met Pakistan's

leadership overnight on the

second day of his 3-day vit to

the country. He held separate

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza meetings in Islamabad with

Gilani and Asif Ali Zardari.

His visit came as at least five

people were killed and 16

injured by a bomb in the

northern city of Peshawar. The

United Nations says the number

of civilian casualties in

Afghanistan jumped by 40% in

2008, to a record level of more

than 2,100. Militants were

blamed for more than 50% of

civilian deaths while foreign

aid - and Afghan forces were

responsible for more than 800.

NATO says the number of civilians killed by

international forces was 237. A

British lawyer has been has

been sentenced to more than 4

years in prison for accepting a

$600,000 bribe from Italian

Prime Minister Silvio

Berlusconi in 1997. An Italian

court heard that David Mills

accept the money in return no

giving false testimony in two

corruption trials involving Mr

Berlusconi Sconi, the Prime

Minister has received immunity

in the case. The new US Secretary of State Hillary

Clinton has hit the ground

running during her first

overseas mission as the Obama

administration's chief

diplomat. In Japan, Mrs Clinton

discussed North Korea, the global financial crisis and

climate change with her

counterpart in Tokyo. What

better way to start your first

overseas mission as

Washington's chief diplomat

than with a blessing and a cup

of tea. Hillary Clinton is the

first US Secretary of State in

half a century to head to Asia

on her maid.trip. At a morning

ritual at a shinto shrine in

Tokyo she was quick to' shiure

the United States' closest ally

that it wasn't slipping beneath

the shadow of a more assertive

China. The US-Japanese alliance

is vitally important to both of

our countries, to the Asia

Pacific a region an to the

world. It's foundation has been

and always will be a commitment

to our shared security and

prosperity. But we also know

that we have to work together

to address the global financial

crisis which is affecting all

of us.le The Japanese still

haven't forgotten how the

Secretary of State's husband,

the then President Bill

Clinton, snubbed them by flying

straight over Tokyo on his way

to visit China. So Hillary

Clinton's words have soothed

some diplomatic egos.

Translation.. the fact that

you have chosen our country

shows that you and your country

place importance on the

US-Japan alliance and relations with Japan. We welcome and

highly appreciate that. The

Japanese would also appreciate

some US help dealing with the

region's most recalcitrant

regime. Before there can be any

breakthrough with North Korea,

Japan says Pyongyang must first

return Japanese citizens

abducted by communist agents.

Across the sea of Japan, the

Her mit Kingdom continues to

bask in the Kim Jong-il.

Instead of candles, the

hardline communityist state is

vowing to celebrate by firing

up a long range ballistic

missile. The possible miss eel

- missile launch that North

Korea is talking about would be

very unhelpful. It's not just

nuclear proliferation but total economic meltdown confronting

these two old allies, the

Japanese economy is contracting

harder and faster than at any

time sin the oil shocks of the

19730s. - 1970s. So the

Government is banking heavily

on the Obama administration's

stimulus package pulling this

economy back on track. Translation: And this is

the And this is the man charged

with formulating Japan's

response to the global

financial crisis appearing at a

press conference over the

weekend. Finance Minister

Shoichi Nakagawa stumbled,

slurred and nearly slept his

way through reporter's

questions at an economic

meeting in Rome. The renowned

hard drinking blamed cold

anticipate flu medication, not

a series of toasts, for his embarrassing performance. In

Minister has now decided to the sober light of day the

resign. Translation: I would

like to express my apologies to

the people for the big fuss I

caused, to the Prime Minister

as well as the people of Japan.

While one politician bows out,

another is on the up. Hillary

Clinton leaves Japan in the

morning for Indonesia, before

heading to South Korea and

China. Returning to the

flooding in New South Wales.

Rachael Mealey joins us from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. How

are you holding up? It is

raining very lefly here in

Sydney. I'm not sure whether

you can see how heavy the

rainfall is. Sydney's

experienced almost an inch on

the old scale overnight. That's

about 20 and a bitmm. 21mm so

far as fall no-one Sydney

overnight. That has meant that

some parts of the city are on a

warning for flsh floodings.

That means some storm water

drains might not be up to the

task, so water might come over the roads in some areas. That

rain is expected to ease as the

day and the morning progresses.

Elsewhere in the state there

has been some areas that have

been deluged in the past couple

of days. The Bellingen River as

we saw in reports er earlier,

has burst its banks but at this

stage it's not creating too

much of a crisis for the

residents of Bellingen. It's

just split the town in tworks

it's isolated some people on

either side of the river, but

I've spoken to the SES this

morning, they say they haven't

had any particular call-outs

overnight for any businesses

that have come under water or

anything too serious at this

stage. The flood crisis at

least in that part of the State

seems to be easing. Further

south in Victoria it's been a

dismal start to the year. There

has been only 3mm of rain or

something like that in

Melbourne. What's it like in

terms of the year to date in

Sydney? Is I'm not sure about

those figures in Sydney, but in

Bourke, in the central west,

200mm fell Sunday night. That

equates to 3 quarters of the

yearly rainfall there in that

area. That was in the space of

15 hours. Dorothea McKellar has

never been - it's been writ

large as we've all commented in

the past few weeks, but the

droughts and flooding rains of

Bourke are incredibly real for

the people there at the moment

who had to put up with the

years of drought and are now

mopping up after floods. It's

obvious ly a huge rain

depression that's moved across

New South Wales. The coastal

fringe of New South Wales is

experiencing that rainfall this

morning and into today. But it

is expected to ease. Is that

low expected to hang around

coastal New South Wales for a

while yet? It's moving south

today. I don't think it's -

this particular rain depression

is going to - I've just been on

the phone to the Bureau of

Meteorology, they've been

telling me it will move further

south from Sydney. They

complain tell me whether any of

this rain will move on towards

Victoria or if it's going to

move out to sea. That's

obviously just a watching brief

at this stage. It looks like

you're going to have to keep

holding that umbrella with two

hands for the rest of the day.

We'll cross to you later if you

haven't blown away. A very Mary

Poppins there on the harbour

Bridge. Tensions are running

high in Aceh ahead of Parliamentary elections later

this year. They've been 3

politically linked killings in

the past 2 weeks causing

concerns about the stability of

the peace process. Indonesia

correspondent Gavin Fang

reports. (call to prayer)

Friday prayers at Banda Aceh's

grand mosque, even here talk of

politics is never far away.

When Aceh votes for a new

Parliament in April, local

parties will be allowed to run

for the first time. Aceh was

given more autonomy than any

other Indonesian proof inin the

peace deal signed between the

government and the Free Aceh

movement, or GAM, in 2005. As

the election draws close

politically linked violence is

on the rise. Translation.. the

situation's getting worse

because terrorists, we don't

know who, are targeting the

local political parties,

especially Part ai Aceh, a

grenade was thrown into their

office, a car bombed, two

ex-officers killed. After 3

political murders in the past

month, senior leaders in the

province are calling on the Indonesian government to do

more to maintain security. In

spoken to the killings a

spokesman for Aceh's

transitional committee which

represents former GAM fighters

said there were elements in the

province who did not want

peace. In the past, similar

statements have been code for

blaming Indonesia's military.

With tensions rising, Aceh's

Muslim leaders are urging calm.

Translation: All of us need to

take care of that peace we have

now or we're going to have more

innocent victims.? The

political wing of GAM, Part ai

Aceh is expected to win the

election. Among Indonesia's

military there are concerns

Partai Aceh has a separatist

agenda. Aceh's governor, a

former GAM member says

independence is no longer a

goal. We agreed to live within

the state of Indonesia and to

live with... Constitution. That

no problem for us. We are

gentleman people. Indonesia's

President has called on all

parties in Aceh to build trust

and maintain the peace. A new

film about a Lebanese family

life in suburban Australia has

had its Premier in Sydney. 'The

combination' is a film which

explores the lives of Lebanese

youth and their struggle with

racial identity. It's been 7

years in the making, the red

carpet was finally rolled out

for 'The Combination'. Sydney's

Lebanese community were out in

force to see the opening show.

Writer and actor, George

Basha says getting funding for

the film about Lebanese kids

growing up in the suburbs, was

almost impossible. They pretty

much shut the door in our face,

we said we're gonna make this

film with or without your yep.

And here we are 7 years later,

made the film. I'm very happy

what we got. 'The Combination'

is a confronting film about gang violence in Sydney's west.

At the heart of the stoshy is

the issue of race. This is our

country. we grew here. We came

on planes. You came in chains.

Do you think Australians have

learn from the Cronulla riots

or do you think it's too early

to tell?. I don't think they've

learned. I don't think we've

learned, a lot of people think

we have, but I think we

haven't. We still got a long

way to go. Among the cast are

first time actors like

15-year-old RahalHahman who

came to Australia as a Kurdish

refugee. Overwhelming. We

hardly get a chance to do

something like this and just

being a part of it was

amazing. We've got actors in

the film that willr first-time

actors we found off the

streets. So it's real when

people watch it people relate

to it, it doesn't matter what

nationality you are, could be Lebanese, Chinese,

Angelo-Australian. You relate

to this film. Is actor and

director David Field hopes the

film cuts through racial stereotypes and explains the

struggles facing young people

from Sydney's western suburbs.

Be advocates of anti-Muslim,

anti-Arabic, in fact, media

that have been swinging this

way for a long time, has

affected a lot of the youth of

Australia. And I think the -

it's made people angry

unnecessarily and I think it's

caused a confusion. I hope in

the future we condition get to

a place where we can mellow the

whole thing out and everyone

finds their place and feels

happy about it and has sense of

acceptance.

For the first time actor it

is was also a chance to see

something from their own lives

brought to the big screen: Just

the way we live, the western

suburb, how it is. To get an

idea.

'The Combination' begins

screening in Australian cinemas

next week. The top stories this

morning - a 58 Canberra

firefighter has been killed

while helping Victorian crews

with the bushfire relief

effort. He is the first

firefighter to be killed in the

bushfires which have now

claimed 200 lives. Peter

Costello's political intentions

are causing more head aches for

the Opposition, fuelling

rumours of party instability

under Malcolm Turnbull's

leadership. The Liberal frob

frontbencher Christopher Pyne

has rejected suggestions he was

offered Julie Bishop's job. New

South Wales emergency services

say they're still waiting for

the rain to move south. The

town of Bellingen remains cut

off by flood waters, while

Sydney siders are being warned

about possible flash flooding

with heavy falls expected this

morning. For a look at the

national papers we're joined by

the associate editor at 'The

Australian' newspaper. Cameron

Stewart. Good morning. Good

morning. I wan to hand you and

Corey perken a bouquet, the

restruction of the Vic

onbushfires that you wrote for

page 1 of Saturday's

'Australian' was

splendid. Thank you very much.

It was a difficult story to

write. About 5,000 words we had

to write. The

There are some obvious

discrepancies in the timings

between the warnings given and

the time the fires went

through. It's going to be an

enormous job for justice Teague

to get through. They've

appointed a workaholic which is

a really good thing. Exactly. What are you

looking at today? A whole

variety of thing. The new cycle

we've moved into, bits and

pieces types of mode. 'The

Australian' has led with the

Malcolm Turnbull issue and the

fact that he is trying to

remove the sitting President,

Alan Stockdale and the general Turnbull-isation of the Liberal

Party. What I think is

interesting about this - Julie

Bishop yesterday and the whole

shenanigans surrounding the did

they offer the job to Peter

Costello, did they not? But

regardless of whether they did

or didn't, what I find

interesting about this article

this morning and yesterday's

article, is how is this stuff

getting out? And what are the

game that is are being played

in the brown? If he wants to

replace Alan Stockdale, why is

it being done in the media? On

the front pages? When this kind

of stuff starts getting out is

when the instability sets

in. That's right. It's a fairly safe time for Malcolm Turnbull

to make changes if he wants to

make change to the party. His

attempts to resist the bail-out

package were unpopular. With

the bushfires the reality is

that sort of thing helps the

incum Ben as well. He is - the

incumbent as well. The

commentary around that

yesterday has been fascinating,

that a call, according to one report - a call was made from

the Costello camp to the

Turnbull camp to say stop t

stop your briefing of journalists about the fact that

you offered us the position

first. We know the game you're

playing here, which is to make Peter Costello look like the

bad guy, the guy who won't step

up, what's he doing here? If he

won't take on the job.? When

that stuff gets out you put

your head in the hand and you

think "You guys are lost". It

does wedge Costello in an

awkward position. Already you

have the questions what is he

doing on the backbench? If

there is truth if that comment

then that was perfectly the aim

of the Turnbull camp you'd

think. I think it reflect badly

op the standing of the whole

party, rather than any

individuals, just the bickering

undermines the whole game plan. Absolutely. There is no

sense of unionsy or loyalty

there at the moment. Certainly

not to the degree Turnbull

would like. The other story I

wanted to talk about - there is

a few of them - is in 'The Age'

about Virgin Blue potentially

cut ing 400 jobs. Big cutbacks

in the aviation sector. E Yes.

Each sector is getting hit to a

certain degree by the financial

crisis. Apparentlyly in

November the bookings stopped

dead for all the airlines.

Which is an interesting psychological thing for

travellers. They were not game

to commit commit money even to

travel. For the airlines who've

been ramping up their flights,

their schedules for routes for

years now all of a sudden they

have to look at it, pare back.

I think it's going to be a

fairly ugly period. We're not

going to see the discount we've

seen in the past. I think the

airlines are going to be in for

a very tough time. On top of

that you have the air traffic

control crisis at the

moment. Which is threatening to

turn into a strike in the next

mop or so. That's a lack of

staff? Initially lack of staff.

A terrible lack of staff. Very

bad planning on the part of Air

Services Australia, now it's

being par layed into an industrial issue because

they're sty triing to sign up a

new pay deal. The trouble is there are planes flying through

uncontrolled air space. If the

strikes comes on it will cause

eformous chaos. That photo on

the front, of the roo standing

in the ruins of the house, I

think will be a - an image that

can maybe be used to show the

Aussie spirit in - standing up

to what's happened. Absolutely.

Might rival Sam the koala, do

you think? Definitely. I love

these stories of the wildlife

coming out of the fires. It's

funny you say that because on

the front page of the 'Herald

Sun' we have a schizophrenic

front page - if you want to be

sad you read the bottom half.

The bottom half is about

heartless thieves grabbing

bushfire charity cash. It's

interesting, because this

really to me is a similar back

lar reaction to the veg lante

stuff we've seen on the man

charged over things. The

emotion of the fires is so much

that someone knocks off a

thousand bucks of bushfire

donations which is an appalling

thing to do, but the reaction

is very, very ah... Almost

double the crime You talk about the new cycle in relation to

these disasters, and that

appears to me to be part of the

cycle we go through when

something like this happens.

First of all, working out what

happened, then turning on the

arsonists when or if they're

found. Then if there are fund

raising efforts people who

steal money from that. It's a

cycle. It is a cycle. A bit

predeckable in some ways, Sam

the koala has raised $300,000

apparently. Overseas - if you

look at the overseas

newspapers, the images are

extraordinary. There is more

pictures of Sam than there are

of firefighters. If you you

YouTube it the footage of the

koala being given water by the

CFA volunteer has had hundreds

of thousands of hits Anything

else for us? Yes, a 94-year-old

grandmother on the central

coast of New South Wales, she's

been bitten by a funnel web

spider. You're going to show

the image, aren't you? I want

to show the image. She's a

tough old bird. She was

bitten twice by a funnel web. A

male funnel web - In her

slipper? In her slipper, they

She thought it was a button. I

have a 94-year-old grandmother,

she's fine. She's got the

record of the oldest Australian

to be bitten by a funnel web

and survived. I love what she

says at the end - it would've

been a nice way to go but

someone says I should still be

here. Cameron, close that paper

immediately, please. Good to see you, thanks very

much. Pleasure. You can watch

all of ABC News Breakfast

streamed live every morning.

Now to sport. The Socceroos

best overseas players will hold

a charity dinner for the

bushfires ahead of the World

Cup qualifier against

Uzbekistan. Tim Cahill who

dedicate this had goal for

Everton Monday said his

team-mates had been so moved by

the tragedy they must do

something. He has told a British newspaper they want to raise funds to help families

rebuild their houses and

have... Regrow grass on the

backyard so the kids can play

soccer, I guess. Aurelio Vidmar

has again annoyed the

establishment - he's planned -

his plan to make private

training sessioning between now

and the weekend has been

overturned. The Football

Federation has reportedly told

the club it must allow access

to the media. Collingwood

captain Nick Maxwell will miss

at least the first game of the

home answer away season after

being found guilty of rough conduct by the AFL tribunal.

The Magpies had challenged the

charge, last night the tribunal

suspended Maxwell for four

games for a rough hip and

shoulder - shirt front more

likely - on the Eagles, Patrick

McGinnity. Patrick McGinnity

suffered a broken jaw in the

incident. Patrick McGinnity

could miss 3 games. Papers

saying the the death of a hip

and shoulder. That was a shirt

front. . Now Vanessa with a

look at the weather. In Western

Australia they've had around

250mm a round the Pilbara,

there are flood warnings. None

of this rain is going to hit Victoria or South Australia.

There is thick cloud over

eastern New South Wales causing

rain and storms. A few showers

over southern - South-East Queensland, also that thick

cloud over the Pilbara area is

causing storms that will be

quite heavy. In the east, the

lows will cause some rain on

the coast of South-East

Queensland along with north and

south-east New South Wales,

inland trough will trigger a

few storms in western New South

Wales, Queensland and Victoria,

a trough over in the west will

cause storms over inland

Western Australia. Queensland,

a few showers and thunderstorms

over most of the south-east and

the south-east tropics, rain

and storms over northern Cape

York. New South Wales can

expect rain on the coast and

ranges, heavy falls are

possible in the north and on

the south coast. Fine in the

west, showers elsewhere.

Victoria - areas of smoke haze,

showers in the east expected to

become more frequent throughout

the afternoon. The chance of thunderstorms in the east.

Tasmania, cloudy, ease late

showers about the east. Teping

to remain enland during the

day, otherwise a fine day for

the rest of the state. In South

Australia, it is a total fire

ban for the western

agricultural district. There

will be smoke haze from the Vic

onbushfires areason the lower

south-east region. Western

Australia, light showers for

Albany to Esperance, fine and

sunny in Perth.

Storms in the Kimberley,

heavy storms about the Pilbara, heading to the Gascoyne.

Tomorrow - mostly fine in

Brisbane, hot day for Adelaide.

Lots more coming up. more

information on the death of the

first firefighter in the

Victorian fires. More

information on the floods

affecting both New South Wales

and WA. That's coming up after

this short break.

A man compr Canberra becomes

the first firefighter to die in

the Victorian bushfires. The

number of dead rises to 200.

The Coalition reshuffle fails

to stop rumours of party

instability under Malcolm

Turnbull leadership as the speculation over Peter Costello's future continues.

More rain expected in New

South Wales with warnings of

flash flooding in Sydney, the

town of Bellingen remains cut

off. The Socceroos say they'll

raise money for bushfire

victims ahead of their next

World Cup qualifier in Sydney.

good morning. The top story - a 58-year-old Canberra foof has

been killed while helping

Victorian crews with the

bushfire effort. A large tree

fell on his fire truck near the

fire ravaged town of

mayorsville. He is the first

firefighter to die as a result

of the Victorian bushfires

which have so far claimed at

least 200 lives. Here is

Detective senior Sargent Steve

White explain ing just what

happened At about 6.5 #15pm

last evening - 6.15. A man was

work ing as part of a strike

force team from the ACT,

putting out spot fires. At this

time a free fell and struck the

male causing serious injuries

answer ultimately his death.

Unfortunately the male died at

the scene. Attempts were made

to resuscitate him by a paramedic attached to that

strike force. There are no

other injuries to any other

persons present. Reporter Luke

Waters joins us from the

firefighting staging area in WestBourne, east of Melbourne.

How are firefighters dealing

with this news this morning?.

Good morning, Joe. The combined

firefighting fraternity is

reeling with news of the

58-year-old's tragic death.

What seems to make it worse for

them is that they weathered the

horrendous fire storm of last

Saturday week without seemingly

without any major incidents.

But a seemingly innocuous tree fall has cause this had

tragedy. He was a Canberra man.

After his 3-day Victorian

deployment he was due to return

to Ca