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6PM With George Negus -

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Good evening. Not such a good

evening. Far too often it seems

we've been forced to report on the

human toll for not one but a series human toll for not one but a series

of natural disasters. Tonight -

it's the deadly earthquakesen

Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier

today. We're not able to tell you

how many are dead. No-one knows for

sure. We hear it could be days or

longer before the exact toll is

known. The task ahead for

Christchurch is daunting in the

extreme. What's left of office

blocks will have to be picked apart

in search of possible survivors.

Buildings upon buildings. Ones you

never would have expected to fall

down. People with injuries coming

in. You see them coming in with

blood. Large numbers of those

casualties are being treated.

Emergency teams are stretched to

breaking point. An entire nation is

in shock. Well, where to begin? As

you'd expect, authorities here in

Australia are doing whatever they Australia are doing whatever they

can to help the New Zealanders can to help the New Zealanders

tonight. Hands across the Tasman,

as it were. We know what it's like

from bitter recent experience.

Since the latter half of last year,

both sides of the Tasman have

experienced the pain of disasters

far too often. First, Hamish

MacDonald has been watching this

unfold. Watching in disbelief, they

dealt with an earthquake in

September. Nothing prepared them

for this. It's a live earthquake.

The floor is trembling. The rocks

are falling down. This is just

outside of Christchurch. This

giants rock has fallen on the RSA

building. -- giant rock has fallen

on the RSA building. It's crushed

the building there. And the cars.

It's terrifying. The sirens and

alarms became a chorus of chaos.

The Christchurch Cathedral, once a

city landmark, now surrounded by

fall in on me. victims. Two or three people just

If this building comes down, you've

got no chance. Could you all go

back there, please? This was to be

no ordinary lunch break. Office

workers made frantic calls to

family. I am OK. A local journalist

-- Local journalists on the scene

almost immediately were

experiencing this just as much as

they were reporting it. The

communication breakdown is really

hard. You can't get through to your

family to let them know you're OK.

This quake was more shallow than

the September shock. Much closer to

the centre of the city. That's

meant the impact is greater. The

tremor came at 12:51 local time. A

magnitude of 6.3. Depth - five

kilometres. 13:04 came the next

movement. They kept rolling. 4.6,

4.5 and 5.9 and others throughout

the afternoon. Bodies are still

being pulled from buildings. There

will no doubt be more. It's unknown

how many are still trapped inside

the Pine Gould building. It is hard

to imagine how this woman felt

waiting, hoping to be rescued. Just

keep away from the edge. From above,

it's clear Christchurch will take

years to rebuild. It's a scene of

utter devastation. If we have

everything on our side with the

last earthquake in the middle of

the night that weren't around -

it's been the polar opposite this

time. The earthquake struck at

12:50. There's been a lot of people

about. People at work and shopping.

Kids at school. That's had a very

significant impact. It's a very,

very dark day. This remains an

active rescue operation. We don't

yet know how many people have been

affected. Across the way,en this

building, people trapped and are

trying to get them out. This has

been a day of almost endless bad

news. Tomorrow may well reveal the

worst of it. You would never have

got out. A day they're not going to

forget for quite some time. Some of

us have been through a few things

in our time but the shock of

feeling the earth itself rocking

under your feet must be something

again. Certainly something people

who have gone through an earthquake

will never forget. Laura Campbell

was in the crbs BD when the quake

hit. She es-- CBD when the quake

hit. She escaped unharmed. Thank

you for talking to us under the

circumstances. Could you tell us

where you were and what you were

doing when the quake hit? Yeah. I

work in a coffee shop in the CBD. I

was at work making coffee. And we

realised the quake was quite big

and ended up racing to the door

frame as buildings crumbled around

us. You saw close up how bad it

was? Yeah. Because I was in the CBD,

a lot of the buildings there have

been weakened. A lot of masonry was

falling down and windows exploding.

Everything like that. As we were

evacuated, we walked past buildings

that were collapsed. I imagine your

reaction might have been "Oh, no.

Not again." You get used to the

aftershocks and stuff but that one

came on and we knew it was really

big. Only somebody from

Christchurch can say they get used

to it. But did you know anybody who

has been badly affected? Have you

lost anyone? I hate to put it that

way? Not that I know of yet. People

are still trying to contact. Cell

phones are quite patchy and things

like that. Facebook and Twitter has

been helpful, obviously. A lot of

our customers worked in buildings

that collapsed. We pray and hope

every single one of them made it

out alright. Thank you very much

for your time. We'll let you get

back to your husband and family.

Our thoughts are with you. Nut a

problem. We appreciate it. Joining

me now is Hugh Riminton, who

actually grew up in Christchurch.

He's got far more than a

professional interest in yet

another quake in his home town.

Hugh, heartbreaking for anybody

looking at that but for someone

like yourself with a personal

connection, probably even more so?

Well, certainly. These are streets

I know very well. Buildings I know

very well. To see the Cathedral

just utterly in ruins is very, very

sad, quite apart from the human

tragedy. My parents were there, my

mother was at a cinema. She got out.

It took us a couple of hours to

find my father. But they're all

well. My parents have a neighbour,

who came across from Australia 10

years ago, she and her husband were

on a backpacking trip. Moved over

there. They can't cope anymore with

this. Their house is damaged.

They're not sleeping in it tonight.

She says they're going to leave New

Zealand. They're going back to

Bankstown. Very sad but can't cope

with that. Enough's enough? Yeah.

For them. Hugh, you've been in

Canberra today. What's the Australian Government actually come

up with in practical terms to

assist the New Zealanders at this

points in time? New Zealand sent a

specialist team for the Queensland

floods. Australia is sending

everything they can. There's a team

of 40 specialist search and rescue

people. They're on their way now. A

further team of 70, including dogs,

will be going in the next few hours.

Another team drawn from Queensland

and South Australia will follow

soon. About a million Australians

go to Christchurch every year. The

PM'suts -- PM's thoughts were with

the Australians who might be there.

Everitably there will be

Australians in Christ -- Inevitably

there will be Australians in

Christchurch. We have no reports at

this stage of Australian fatalities.

Mr Speaker, the bonds of love

stretch tight and close across the

Tasman. Our thoughts and prayers

are with the people of New Zealand.

Thanks for that. Good to hear your

family's well and safe. Thanks

again. Thank you. What's caused

this latest earthquake in New

Zealand? A land not unfamiliar with

that natural phenomenon? Why so

soon after the major quake in

September last year? Seismologists

are now examining the data.

Professor Kevin McCue is a senior

seismologist and he joined me a

short time ago. A pretty obvious

question to start. Why

Christchurch? Why that part of New

Zealand? Why is it so vulnerable to

quakes of this kind? The short

answer is that it isn't

particularly vulnerable. They've

just had bad luck. Is that right?

Is it a matter of luck or should we

know about these things? I roleise

you guys are under the pump but are

they predictable? Should we have

known about this one, for instance?

We've all worried about Wellington

because Wellington is on the plate boundary, between the Australian

and the Pacific plates.

Christchurch is about 100

kilometres away from the alpine

fault which marks that boundary in

the South Island. Nobody really

expected a direct hit from a

magnitude 7 earthquake last

September and having a very large

aftershock right under the city is

a bit of a shock. Is it unusual we

would get this quake today so soon

after the one in September? It's

less than six months? Is that part

of the earthquake behaviour we

can't predict? Well, this is

probably more predictable than many

others. It's an aftershock, in my

book. An earthquake that's directly

related to the September 4

earthquake. So we knew the

aftershocks are still continuing.

This is the aftershock we didn't

have immediately after the have immediately after the main

shock. How bad is an earthquake

with a magnitude of 6.3? It's Les

than the September one but the --

less than the September one but the

effect seems to be greater on this

one? If you happen to be close to

one of the faults, you're in

trouble. It happens the 7.1 was

about 30 kilometres away, the

nearest part of the fault. Whereas

this one is basically right under

the city. With a fault length of

about 10 kilometres. It puts it

from zero, right under the city,

out to 10 kilometres. Seismicly,

what lessons can -- seismic ly,

what lessons can we learn from

this? What precautions are they not

taking to prevent this? Ffrpbts you

lock at the city and the big

buildings, all the big buildings

are virtually undamaged. The major

damage is to unreinforced masonry

structures. There's a bit of a

problem with strengthening and

upgrading those old buildings. A

lot of people don't want to do it.

They don't want to spend the money

and don't want it -- to do it up to

the codes. There's no problem about

why, why it fails when they get a

direct hit. It's a complex issue

and the devastation today has been

pretty dreadful. But thank you for

explaining that to us. Thank you.

Thank you, George. Earthquake

watcher Professor Kevin McCue.

Christchurch has a population of

350,000 and about 8,000 of them are

Australians. We've seen a little of

what it looks like now from the air,

particularly how small pockets, in

fact, inner city appear to have

suffered the most. Here is how

reporters described what they saw

in the first helicopter flights

over, how can we put it - their

fractured and shaken city. This is

the terrible thing that we will all

be doing. Watching these pictures.

Seeing the remnants of buildings

that we know from Christchurch's

landscape, iconic buildings, that

are completely destroyed. People

were thinking the city was just

getting back on its feet. This is

really set us back considerably.

This is the Cathedral, the iconic

Christ clufrp Cathedral. --

Christchurch Cathedral. It's so

iconic as having ripped the heart

out of Christchurch. And this

disaster will rip the heart out of

Christchurch once again and for a

long time to come. Now we're seeing

pictures of the Forsyth Bar

building. People are waiting to be

rescued on the roof. The staircase

collapsed and they had no way of

getting down. The pictures woe have

are coming in now, I believe, are

of The Press building. We had

correspondence from a woumen whose

sister and colleagues were trapped

under their desks. This is the Pine

Gould building. We know there are

people still trapped there. It's

surprising people survived that

when you see the pictures. They

were probably quite lucky, if they

went under their desks or the way

they fell. It's a scene of

devastation. Extraordinary.

Probably just when they were

beginning to think life was

returning to normal after the last

one. Our thoughts are with the

people of Canterbury. They're

certainly doing it tough. We'll be right back. SONG: # Go, go, go, go, go. #

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As we've just been seeing shocking

earth tremors in New Zealand today.

Tremors of a very different kind

overseas are still rocking Libya in

North Africa. The regime of Colonel

Gaddafi gad that was founed on more

than 40 years of fear seems to be

crumbling. The country's second

city appears to have fallen to anti-Gaddafi protese fallen to

anti-Gaddafi protesters. The world

looks on, wringing its hands but

not really doing a lot. Regime

change, if and when that happens,

will come at great human cost.

Already hundreds of Libyans have

been killed in the violence, with

reports that Gaddafi has ordered military aircraft to

military aircraft to bomb his own people.

With that, the iningmatic colonel

put paid to the rumours circulating

the world. He's still in the

country and still in control,

according to him, despite the chaos

and indications to the contrary.

The protests in his country of over

five million have spread further

and wider with Gaddafi's ruthl and wider with Gaddafi's ruthless

forces used in the crackdown. The forces used in the crackdown. The

violence, the brutality has got to

stop. It's stop. It's completely unacceptable.

I've argued this before, with a

slightly harder edge and a slightly

clearer agenda on what Libya clearer agenda on what Libya needs

to do to be a reliable country in

the future. Dollar are reports of

foreign mercenaries being used

against the Libyan people. Support

for Gaddafi from his own military

is said to be crumbling. The pilots is said to be crumbling. The pilots

of these fightser jets who landed

in Malta say they defected after

they were ordered to bomb their own

people. Protesters appear to be in

control of much of Benghazi,

Libya's second-largest city, where

government buildings were set

alight. Pro-democracy demonstrators

are also in Al-Bayda. In the

capital, Tripoli, where protests

have only come in recent days, more

than 100 people are reported killed

as protesters attacked police

stations and took over two of

Libya's state-run satellite news

channels. Meanwhile in Washington

and at the UN in New York, Libyan

diplomats have turned on Gaddafi.

Their so-called Brother leader,

plepbling their support with the

Libyan -- pledging their Libyan -- pledging their support

with the Libyan people. We make the

statement to do something to help

the Libyan people who are facing Problems. Gaddafi was once

considered an enemy of the West. In

recent years, he appeared to soften,

changed his extreme views and

became something of an ally of the

West. Now Gaddafi's Libya is a very

different uglier picture. Many

believe we are, in fact, watching

what could be the final hours for

the longest-serving Arab leader in

the world. By the way, we hear the

Libyan embassy in Canberra

officially broke ranks this

afternoon and joined the growing

list of ex-Gaddafi diplomats in

expressing their support for the

anti-Gaddafi forces back home. Stay

tuned. As is the way with these

things in the Middle East, unrest

inevitably leads to jitters over

oil. In London overnight, the price

of brent crude hit a 2.5-year high.

In the US, crude topped $90. Eddy

joins us now. Libya's not a big

player in global oil terms, so why

is everyone spooked? When it comes

to this region, it doesn't take

very much. The majority of the

world's top 12 oil exporters are in

the Middle East and North Africa.

Saudi Arabia is number one. Iran,

the UAE, Kuwait and Iraq. Libya comes in

comes in at number 12. Most of

Libya's supplies goes to Europe.

Conditions would have meant oil

prices falling right now but at one

stage they shot up by 7% or 8s%.

What it comes down to - fear over

how far all of this could spread.

If you want tolic at specifics,

it's the fact we're seeing oil

companies starting to cut

production in the region, pulling

out staff. And this is something we

haven't seen since the start of

this whole crisis when unrest

started in Tunisia a couple of

months ago. Added to which I guess

it's the fear that will we see

potential supply cuts in oil across

the globe? And in particular in the

European zone given the Suez Canal

goes through that region and

supplies three million barrels of oil on

oil on a daily basis. Petrol prices

have been relatively stable thanks

to a strong Aussie dollar, but for

how long snfrpbgts we wouldn't

anticipate that to change in the

next week. If you see sustained

high oil prices on a global fronts,

we're anticipateing it could add 5

cents a litre to the national

average price in a fortnight's time.

It takes it up to $1.40 a It takes it up to $1.40 a litre.

And you'll see petrol prices well

above $1.50 a litre around

Australia. We won't escape the

impact here. Can't mention that part of the world without

mentioning oil. Still ahead - the

heartbreaking deaths of Zahra Baker

in the US. We -- death of Zahra Baker in

George, at 6:30 we'll have the

latest from the Christchurch quake. Also, Zahra Baker's stepmother charged with the 10-year-old's horrific murder.

And Sydney greets the Queens of the

Harbour. Details tonight - Evening News at 6:30pm.

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By now most of us have heard about

the heartbreaking murder of

Australian Zahra Baker. She was

horrifically killed, dismembered

and buried in North Carolina. Her

stepmother was formally charged

with murder. Her father spoke today

after his wife was indicted. She is

very manipulative. Abusive. To you?

Yes. To me. That's ow Adam Baker

describes his wife, moments after

she had been charged

she had been charged with the

despicable murder of his 10-year-

old girl. According to police Zahra

suffered repeated abuse after she

was allegedly killed and discarded.

A crime her father still says he

knew nothing about. Adp called 911

after finding a ransom note that

later learned it was forged by his

two wife. We know that Zahra was dead

two weeks before that call was made.

If Adam wasn't involved, how did he

go a fortnight without noticing his

daughter wasn't there? I was gone

first thing in the morning. Didn't

get home till late. Was told Zahra

was in bed because she normally

went to bed early. I checked every

night. From what I could tell, she

was in bed. It looked like she was

in bed. Today, investigators said

they believe him, saying his wife

acted alone. Most in the town of

hickory seemed aware the little

Australian was being systematically

beaten. She slapped the young one

on the bad leg, shook it. When she

hit her on the hip, and jerked her

shoulders, I started to say

something to her. But others did.

The Department of Social Services

investigated four separate

complaints that Zahra was being

abused but never found any evidence.

Their last investigation closed in

August, six weeks later, Zahra was

murdered. It's believed Elisa led

police to Zahra's remainsch police

on the case openly wept when they

realised hope was gone. Curious. We

had promised a report tonight about

the upcoming Rugby World Cup in New

Zealand but for all the obvious

reasons, given the events in

Christchurch, we've heldback on

that story and we'll bring it to

you some time down the track. Well

see you tomorrow at 6 o'clock.

Australia. Supertext Captions by Red Bee Media

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