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Seven Early News -

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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. This morning - northern WA Cyclone Laurence batters after crossing the Pilbara coast. deliver mail in time for Christmas. Strike busters called in to help for the families of fallen soldiers. breaks with tradition And Prince Harry

Early News with Angela Cox. VOICEOVER: This is Seven Good morning. Tropical Cyclone Laurence WA's East Pilbara coast, has hammered its way across between Port Hedland and Broome. damaging remote buildings have spent the night hunkering down Residents in the State's north as the massive storm moves inland. Several communities have been warned and gale-force winds. to prepare for widespread flooding which is about as strong as it gets. It is a Category 5 storm, Wind gusts up to 285km/h, of 100 to 200mm. ah, very heavy rain of the order as it moves further inland. Laurence will continue to weaken a Christmas carols night in Sydney Violence has erupted at was assaulted. where a police officer between teenagers Several fights broke out Christmas Carols in the Park during last night's in the city's inner-west. at Five Dock hit an officer in the face Police say an 18-year-old man and arrested. before he was shot with a stun gun Officers then flooded the park, as they moved crowds on. breaking up several more scuffles

in February on assault charges. The 18-year-old man will face court Doctors and nurses in Queensland some of their wages are being asked to hand back after being mistakenly overpaid. a faulty payroll system News Limited reports more than $27 million has overpaid workers over the past five years. clawed back $22 million Queensland Health says it's already

and is working to get the rest. it will spend $40 million The department also says on a new payroll system next year. is expected to push for a referendum And Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to overhaul health funding. Mr Abbott's plans include local health and hospital boards giving federal funding to rather than State Governments. within his own party But he's expected to face resistance particularly in New South Wales. to weakening State powers, has threatened Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of public hospitals a complete take-over on his reform plans. if the States fail to agree Casual workers have been called in of today's postal strike. to help lessen the impact Staff walked off the job at midnight for better pay and conditions. as part of their escalating campaign is likely to be stuck in limbo Christmas mail posted yesterday it'll do it its best. but Australia Post says

of business into our mail network to We're moving people from other parts

make sure we can get presents and cards through. Australia Post has accused the union of acting in bad faith. A man and woman are on the run in South Australia after a daring crime spree through Adelaide. It started yesterday afternoon in the city centre when a woman was car-jacked. The couple then assaulted a police officer, stole his gun and held up two banks. Frightening for the public, frightening for the police, um, certainly very criminal and I would describe it as very dangerous. Police later raided a house at Woodville West in Adelaide's north but couldn't find any trace of the offenders. The Melbourne man accused of killing his three young sons has spent his first night out of jail in more than two years. Robert Farquharson was yesterday granted bail ahead of a new trial next year. The 40-year-old was jailed for life over the drowning deaths of his three boys on Father's Day 2005. Prosecutors say he deliberately drove his car into a dam. Farquharson's conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal, with a judge ruling he didn't receive a fair trial. First, the Eurostar train service ground to a halt. Now Eurostar's car shuttle across the English Channel has also been suspended. It's left travellers angry and demanding answers. Many passengers spent the night at St Pancras,

hoping the Eurostar service would resume. But with the new day came more bad news. Not only were there no trains, the car service had been closed because the terminal in Folkstone had reached saturation point. It is disturbing because I have been waiting here since Saturday morning. Every day I am here hoping that the train will be available, but no trains. Up until now we have been told - well, two days now, "No, you can't reschedule at the moment "because the trains might run." Train services have been suspended while Eurostar engineers hurriedly test the modification to the locomotives designed to protect the electrics which have failed in the bad weather. Meanwhile, only a handful of the 55,000 stranded passengers were able to make alternative travel arrangements. You've got a train broken down in a tunnel, how hard can it be? It's not going anywhere. You know you are not going to meet one coming the other way. To send in a locomotive and pull it out. That seemed to take an inordinate amount of time. In Paris, it's a similar scene. Families hoping to get home for Christmas but not knowing how or if they will. Prince Harry has broken with royal protocol to hug a group of Army mothers who've lost eight sons between them in the Afghanistan war. It was at a special ceremony in London to honour Britain's armed forces. It was a night for heroes - a time to pay tribute to the courage and sacrifice of our service men and women and their families. Among the celebrities, two royals and serving officers, Princes William and Harry, delighted to show their respect. You can really feel the pain and the sort of dedication that the guys give. You know, the word 'sacrifice' is used an awful lot and it's a real understatement, really, to say it's sacrifice 'cause it's so much more than that. As the princes helped give awards for bravery, Harry broke with royal protocol to hug a group of mothers who had lost eight sons between them on a single day in Afghanistan. They were given a special recognition honour for setting up a charity to help other grieving families. A Prince he may be, but as he comforted each mother who'd lost a child, he was just a son, who lost his mum at 12. It is going to be a very, very hard Christmas for them, especially if it's their first Christmas this year when they've lost a son or daughter or anything like that. So I think, as I'm sure they'll know, everyone's thoughts, especially mine and William's, will be going out to those who've lost loved ones. and celebration of the event, Despite the glamour and celebration of the evening, the rising death toll was never far from people's minds. Over the weekend, the 103rd soldier to die in Afghanistan this year was named as Corporal Simon Hornby.

Events like this pay tribute to him and all the other heroes who've made the ultimate sacrifice. Former conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna will celebrate their third birthday at home today,

five weeks after groundbreaking surgery to separate them. The girls were released from hospital yesterday and continue to make amazing progress. Trishna will have a Dora the Explorer-themed cake, while Krishna's will be decorated with her favourite band, the Wiggles. Yeah, three is a milestone. You know what, lads? I don't think any of us could have said we would make it to this age. The girls will now only return to hospital as outpatients. Now for your first look at Tuesday's weather: Brisbane, a shower or two. Showers and storms in Sydney. Melbourne will be fine. A mostly sunny day in Canberra. Hobart, fine. A hot day in Adelaide. Showers and storms in Darwin. Perth will be sunny. Coming up at 6am - 'Sunrise' broadcasts live from Sydney Wildlife World. But next on Seven Early News - Brittany Murphy's family speaks about her final days. And mass evacuation as a Philippines volcano threatens to erupt. Welcome back. You're watching Seven's Early News.

Brittany Murphy's family has told Los Angeles officials the actress was ill with flu-like symptoms in the days before she died. The 32-year-old was found collapsed in the bathroom of her LA home. Investigators say the cause of death appears to be natural but they've collected prescription drugs from the house. We come out, we look at everything, any prescription meds that we do take, we will have to analyse everything and go from there. It'll take some time before the official cause of death is known. Severe weather is still hitting much of Europe,

causing chaos for Christmas travellers. In Germany, a heavy blizzard caused flights to be cancelled, stranding hundreds of passengers. And much of the US east coast is shovelling snow after the weekend's white-out. At least seven deaths are being blamed on the snowy roads. Eerie rumblings from the Philippines' most active volcano

are getting louder as officials warn an eruption could be imminent. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated just in case, leaving behind deserted villages. The alert warning has been raised to Level 4, one below the maximum. Alert Level 4, the possibility of hazardous eruption is high and this can occur within days. The army is enforcing an 8km danger zone around the volcano. There's no doubting the money-making potential surrounding Mother Mary MacKillop's impending sainthood. Take the case of a large metal cross which is claimed to have adorned her grave in Sydney. It's hot property in Adelaide. It's been packed away for years but not anymore. It is claimed this large metal cross

once perched atop Mary MacKillop's headstone in a Sydney cemetery - that was, until her remains were transferred to a mausoleum elsewhere in Sydney. The cross was sold to an Adelaide art dealer in 1967 for less than $20. Now it could be worth a fortune. If Sir Donald Bradman's baggy green cap bring $250,000 that doesn't come anywhere near the importance of this piece. Jim Elder says he will sell the cross but insists it must go to a good home, a responsible home - preferably the Catholic Church. Somewhere that it can be accessed by Christians The Mary MacKillop Centre in Kensington is also expecting blessed times - arranging pilgrimages to all her known haunts. If the interest is there we'll multiply them. There's talk of a pilgrim rail trip to Penola. Meanwhile, there are local MacKillop landmarks to explore and already, plenty of knick-knacks. I think our order is very, very cautious in not getting merchandise which is going to be glitzy or tacky.

Your first finance this Early News: Coming up on 'Sunrise' at 6am - the new pill that promises to make you look younger. But next on Seven Early News, Chris Gayle fires a parting shot at Ricky Ponting. And leading Sydney-Hobart contender, 'Etihad Stadium',

finally gets its new mast. The stories we're following on the Early News - Tropical Cyclone Laurence has hammered its way across WA's East Pilbara coast, damaging remote buildings between Port Hedland and Broome. Residents in the State's north have spent the night hunkering down as the massive storm moves inland. Violence has erupted at a Christmas carols night in Sydney where a police officer was assaulted. Several fights broke out between teenagers during last night's event in the park at Five Dock in the city's inner-west. Casual workers have been called in to help lessen the impact of today's postal strike. Staff walked off the job at midnight as part of their escalating campaign for better pay and conditions. To sport now and Philip Hughes will join his Australian team-mates in Melbourne today after being called into the squad as cover for injured skipper Ricky Ponting. Hughes's first-innings century against Victoria over the weekend was enough to earn the opener a recall for the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan. Ponting is expected to recover from his elbow injury

but Hughes is just happy to be back in Test reckoning.

To be in the squad for the Boxing Day Test, it is the one as a kid you

always love to watch and be involved

in that one and now to be in the

squad is just great. Peter Siddle is back in the squad after recovering from a hamstring strain. West Indies skipper Chris Gayle has fired a parting shot at his Aussie counterpart, Ricky Ponting, saying he has a major weakness against short-pitched bowling. Kemar Roach dismissed Ponting three times in the recent series against the Windies and forced him to retire hurt in the third Test with an elbow injury. Pakistan's pace attack is certain to put Gayle's theory into action if Ponting is ruled fit for the Boxing Day Test. Grant Wharington's supermaxi, 'Etihad Stadium', is a step closer to a start in the Sydney-Hobart yacht race after finally taking possession of new mast. The million-dollar 44m mast arrived from the south of France late last night but the supermaxi is still racing the clock to be ready by Boxing Day.

Absolutely, it's round the clock from the minute we get there. A

little bit nervous losing time at

the moment but we got the team on

standby at the yard ready to put it together. The veteran skipper is putting a positive spin on his pre-race dramas. It'll just make the victory all that much sweeter. All going well, 'Etihad Stadium' will be back on the water by Christmas Eve. Former Sharks captain Paul Gallen reportedly wants out of the struggling NRL club immediately. News Limited reports Gallen is furious with the club's hard-line stance on his repeated on- and off-field indiscretions and has begun secret negotiations with Manly and the Wests Tigers. The backrower was fined $10,000 last week for urinating in public and was stripped of the club captaincy for a racial slur earlier this year. Newcastle NRL players are expected to sign off on a new agreement today, giving the club permission to conduct holiday drug testing. The new plan gives the club the ability to target players they suspect may be involved in drug-related activity. The playing group hopes the decision to submit to year-round testing

will end talk of a drug culture at the Knights

following Danny Wicks's arrest on eight counts of drug possession and supply. Newly appointed Essendon captain Jobe Watson admits being dumped by then-coach Kevin Sheedy in 2007 was the making of him as a player. Thousands of fans turned up at Windy Hill yesterday eager to welcome the Bombers' 38th captain. Watson was voted skipper by the club's leadership group last Tuesday with Matthew Welsh his deputy. It's a surreal sort of feeling, I guess.

It's not something that you aim to do when you're playing or when you're young, so just a really humbling experience. The 25-year-old's father, Tim, captained the Bombers between 1989 and 1991. Next on Seven Early News, a closer look at Tuesday's forecast ahead of 'Sunrise' live from Sydney Wildlife World. Need a tip when you're stuck in an awkward situation? KFC's Crowd Pleaser. and plenty of tasty sides. Time now to check what's coming up on 'Sunrise'

with Mel and Beretts. Morning, Ange. This morning, 'Sunrise' is starting a world tour. We're broadcasting live from Sydney Wildlife World and, boy, do we have a big show ahead, starting with a 700kg croc. His name is Rex and he's our co-host for the show. Also, are crocodiles the last living dinosaurs? Dr Karl will join us as we look back at our Jurassic past. In other news, we'll see how separated twins Krishna and Trishna are celebrating their first birthday apart. And could you be getting ripped off by your phone company? We'll find out why some telcos are being described as scrooges this Christmas. Plus, we'll also see what the national postal strike means for mail deliveries. The new pill that promises to help you look younger. And Nuala goes on set with the stars of 'Sherlock Holmes'. Catch you shortly for 'Sunrise'. Now for a closer look at how the weather's shaping up around the country for this Tuesday: A broad region of low pressure will see warm to hot northerly winds across much of the continent. Unsettled weather will bring showers and storms to Queensland and eastern New South Wales. Tropical Cyclone Laurence will continue to move inland and will bring very heavy rain and storms. Around the capitals: Brisbane, a shower and storms.

They will ease tomorrow. Storms around in Sydney for Christmas Day. Melbourne will be fine. A mostly sunny day in Canberra.

Hobart, fine. A hot day in Adelaide. Showers and storms in Darwin. Perth will be sunny. And that's Seven Early News for this Tuesday. I'm Angela Cox. Standby now for 'Sunrise'.