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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. Tonight - a father charged with murder off Melbourne's tallest bridge. after throwing his daughter Doctors threaten to walk out that won't pay millions in bills. on a State hospital A sticky situation to ban chewing gum. with pressure on a Sydney council for one Sydney kindy class And double trouble for the very first time. as school begins with Ian Ross. VOICEOVER: This is Seven News Good evening. A Melbourne father of cruelty, is accused an appalling act off the city's West Gate Bridge throwing his 4-year-old daughter and into the water below. to help the little girl Rescuers rushed but she died later in hospital. with murder. Her father's been charged beneath the Australian flag On a sparkling morning of Melbourne's biggest bridge, at the peak drivers watched stopped traffic. as a white 4-wheel drive taken this young girl He's got out of the car,

over the side of the bridge. and dropped her a 4-year-old. 58m down, 17 storeys - Her name was Darcy. to frantic calls to 000. Water Police responded They pulled her from the water. for 50 minutes, Paramedics worked on the little girl as she was rushed to hospital. still trying to resuscitate her better cases that paramedics go to. It's certainly not one of the Darcy died this afternoon. She had massive internal injuries. her father, Arthur Freeman Police say and driven off had simply returned to his car with his two sons in the back - and Benjamin, 7. 2-year-old Jack when I heard about it. You know, I just shuddered you just shudder, I think every Victorian... "How can this happen?" you just think,

after about 90 minutes. Freeman's car was found in the city He was arrested nearby. Police say he was distressed but many others are as well. but you haven't. You think you've seen it all, obviously, for family members Particularly distressing, who saw what occurred, but for the witnesses a number of those people are upset who have young children themselves. and I've got a number of police here

has been charged with murder. Arthur Freeman are being counselled. Darcy's mother and brothers has heard disturbing details A Sydney court of a 13-year-old schoolgirl about the gang rape in the city's south-west. is outside the District Court Reporter Lee Jeloscek at the Downing Centre. Lee, who was involved? Ian, there were as many six boys involved, all aged under 16, some wearing school uniforms and they have all pleaded guilty in July 2007. to indecently assaulting the girl Four boys faced court today. The judge heard to meet a boy at a Yagoona park the 13-year-old girl agreed a few days earlier. after meeting him At the park, into a toilet block he and his friends forced her where she was repeatedly assaulted. like she was enjoying it. One even told her to smile at two other locations She was also attacked

over several hours

on a mobile phone camera. and was even filmed next month for sentencing. The boys will be back in court Ian. at Griffith Base Hospital Medical staff in the State's south-west over a patient's death. will be investigated who'd been in a fight A 24-year-old man, was discharged from hospital despite having a brain injury.

both released the man. Griffith and a second hospital He later died at home. Commission is investigating. The Health Care Complaints

whether to quit Dubbo Hospital. Doctors will decide this Saturday They're sick of unpaid bills

proper care for patients. leaving them unable to provide the debts are slowly being re-paid. But health bureaucrats say fruit and vegetable distribution Steve Miller has been in

for 18 years like Dubbo Base Hospital. but he's never had a customer regarding your account. I'm calling from Country Fruit his secretary has to ring, Almost every day demanding bills be paid.

Like many businesses,

cutting off hospital supplies. they've considered you might just have to, you know. I tell you what, You can't afford to supply. to afford basics - The hospital is struggling rubber gloves for surgery, morphine for patients. The doctors are threatening to walk. We're down to skeleton staff now. one or two more docs, We can't afford to lose shut down Dubbo Hospital. otherwise you might as well she's ashamed. The Area Health Service boss admits

who have been very patient with us. And thank you to small businesses

and its area health service All up, this hospital to businesses in the region. owe $23 million But it's not an isolated case - this is a Statewide epidemic. owes a staggering $117 million. In total, New South Wales Health behind $26 million, That includes Sydney West, owes $22 million, North Sydney-Central Coast $4.5 million. Westmead Children's Hospital, blaming and shaming anybody. It's not about necessarily people and systems into account. It's about holding

cap in hand to Canberra The Premier's even gone to ask for a $2.5 billion lifeline. Everything's on the table. Back in Dubbo, their own lifeline - locals are organising a raffle. for the hospital? Excuse us, you wanna buy a ticket Parts of southern Australia record temperatures have sweltered through for a second day. Sara Groen is at Milsons Point. set to hit Sydney? Sara, is this extreme weather

Ian, the western suburbs are expecting temperatures of 35 degrees

every day for the next week. But that's nothing Melbourne and Adelaide are enduring. compared to the heatwave The southern States were hoping sunset would bring relief. It didn't. Adelaide had its hottest night ever. 33.9 degrees was the overnight low. Wrong. (LAUGHS) Way too hot. And I had to go to work this morning, no sleep. In Melbourne, it was 30 degrees at 4:22 in the morning. The daytime heat buckled rail tracks. We've been here for like two hours and stuff.

Melbourne's electricity network can't cope. Thousands of homes are blacked out. 9 hours, 10 hours it's been like this. There's no air conditioning and food's going to waste. I went shopping two days ago and now I'm going to have to throw all this stuff out. Neighbours are helping each other out. And she got electricity next door and she give me big extensions to the house to keep the fridge going. In Adelaide, temperatures have stayed above 34 degrees since midnight. Melbourne's scorcher hit 44 degrees at 3:00 this afternoon. Their beaches are no match for Sydney's world famous stretches of sand so finding ways to cool off is harder. I'm normally in the gym, but it's too hot in the gym

so i thought I'd come for a little walk along the beach. It's too much for tourists from Canada. I miss the winter. I wish I was back home in the snow, yeah.

And I'll be back later in the bulletin with Sydney's 7-day forecast, Ian.

The forecast for tax cuts is looking uncertain with warnings of more economic pain for Australia.

The International Monetary Fund predicts global growth will come to a grinding halt this year

and it's advising the Rudd Government to act quickly. The IMF rejects tax cuts because tax cuts don't necessarily bring the immediate stimulus that is required. And there's a new dire outlook for unemployment with predictions another 50 million people will lose their jobs worldwide. Former unions boss John Robertson will become a State Government minister despite never having contested an election. His Labor colleagues voted today to give the upper house MP one of two ministerial vacancies. The second position went to the Member for Monaro, Steve Whan. Their portfolios will be announced tomorrow. REPORTER: Mr Robertson, do you have any desire to be premier one day? I'm happy to serve and I'm honoured to be given the opportunity to serve in this Government. Is that a yes or a no? That's my answer. Mr Robertson was instrumental in the downfall of former premier Morris Iemma. Singapore's done it. Now Sydney's being urged to do the same, bursting the chewing gum bubble. A residents group in Liverpool is calling on the council to clean up its act by imposing a ban. It's fun, it's colourful and the kids love it. Liverpool streets and footpaths are littered with it. Chewing gum is pretty much like graffiti, it's a visual pollution. Tossed away and ground into the footpath left there to annoy others. Mainly on hot days when it's so hot that it becomes sticky again. The Liverpool Action Group says the sale of chewing gum should be banned

to keep the streets clean. It wants $220 fines introduced - the same penalty as discarding a cigarette butt. We want Council to say "Excuse me, we're going to clean up Liverpool "and this is part of the job". Chewing gum's already prohibited in Singapore. You could go to jail if you're caught selling it there. Residents here like the idea.

I think so 'cause I'm one of those people who always steps in it and it's pretty annoying. But the Mayor thinks a ban wouldn't work. Liverpool council admits Liverpool Council admits chewing gum litter is a problem but says a ban would be too difficult to enforce. Over the top, When you see there's chewing gum everywhere, what - are you going to ban it around the world? I don't know, it's just silly. Ah, that's taking things a little too far, you know. These guys wouldn't be impressed either. It was an emotional time at schools across Sydney today as 60,000 kindergarten students arrived for their first day. They enjoyed some playtime but they also had to tackle their first school test. On their first day of school, the kindy kids were nervous, just like their parents. A bit relieved, very anxious and I don't know what to do with myself! (LAUGHS)

No tears from the Brookes twins, just big hugs for Mum and Dad. Then inside for some drawing. Beautiful. It was hungry work. And me and Emily are twins. Me and Emily are the same age as them. Meet the Thorley girls - Plumpton Primary's second set of kindergarten twins. Emily is very excited

and she, every day this week, has been saying "Can I go to school now?" She's ready to get in there and get amongst it all. Aleisha Miller wasn't so sure until her big sister came to keep her company. They're among 87,000 children starting kindergarten in New South Wales this week. There'll be some singing, there'll be some stories, there'll be some playing of games and there'll actually be a lot of toilet walks too. It's not all colouring-in and playtime though - the kindergarten kids here at Plumpton Primary

also face an hour-long assessment on their first morning at school. It's part of a State-wide program to measure childrens' development. What number comes after 3? 4. It isn't a test, it's an assessment and we try to make it as fun as possible. If only school stayed this fun. Still to come - the man disciplined for waving to Barack Obama. Also, a new spike in Sydney petrol prices. And are these the world's dumbest escapees? We'll tell you their story next.

Huh? (CHILDREN LAUGH) get 20%-40% off women's, men's and kids underwear. Excludes sleepwear. Hmm. With offers like these, everyone will want some. Hungry for real value? Take a look at Hungry Jack's new Stunner Choices. Try a Chicken Wrap Stunner Deal, with fries, coke and a sundae. from just $4.95

Sydney drivers are being warned of higher petrol prices over the next couple of weeks. Today, this service station at Kensington was selling unleaded for just under $1.29 a litre. It was a few cents cheaper elsewhere. Experts have blamed the jump on increased demand and refinery issues in Asia. Prices should ease by mid-February. The family of the train driver caught up in the 1970 plot to kill the Queen has confirmed the story.

Bob Walkington was at the controls of the royal train travelling from Sydney to Orange when it crashed into a log. He was later forced to sign the Official Secrets Act but quietly told some details to close family members. He never emphasised his part in it at all. He treated it quite casually. He just did a job as far as he was concerned. Bob was given an Imperial medal for his efforts. The inauguration of Barack Obama as US President triggered a wave of emotions across America but one man's actions has cost him his job. John Coleman waved at President Obama during the parade, breaking official marching band rules. What would you do if Barack Obama waved at you? Well, during the Inauguration Parade, the drum major of Cleveland firefighters pipe band nodded and waved back. I made eye contact

and that's when I acknowledged the President of the United States. Some suggested John Coleman even winked at the new Commander-in-Chief.

Everybody kept telling me "You winked at the President, you winked at the President." But if you play the tape slowly, it shows me giving the nod and as I gave the nod, both of my eyes are closing. It outraged his fellow band members who claimed even looking at the President was a breach of protocol. Coleman was suspended for six months. Uh, six months is pretty harsh, I think. Luckily, the same protocols didn't apply for Australian journalists.

Hello, Barack Obama! Rahni Sadler's job is safe but Coleman has since quit the band. Uh, just the hurt, you know, of not being there anymore. But says he'd wave again, even if it meant waving goodbye to his job. Barack Obama has told Americans to toughen up after his daughters' school was closed by bad weather. Washington was covered in ice after an overnight storm. The same blizzard knocked out power to a million homes and caused traffic chaos across several states. But the President couldn't believe schools were closed. My children's school was cancelled today because of what, some ice? (LAUGHTER)

He says students would still be playing outside in his home town of Chicago. Two escapees have been recaptured after the handcuffed pair couldn't get around a power pole. They'd made a run for it from a New Zealand court and were disoriented after being squirted with pepper spray. With their wrists locked together, they tried to go either side of the pole, the comical attempt at freedom all caught on a security camera. Only one of them pleaded guilty. The panda breeding sanctuary devastated by last year's China earthquake is celebrating.

13 cubs born after the research centre was destroyed are doing well. Their parents were literally clinging to survival following the quake last May. But it's hoped this new generation will help revive the dwindling number of pandas in the wild, which is now fewer than 2,000.

There's some pampering of a different kind going on in Sydney. The city's pooches were special guests last night at the opening of a new doggie day spa and hotel. Some were a little camera shy on the green carpet but they loved the special canapes. We're really not aiming to do something incredibly opulent

and over the top. We're aiming to do something

that's just genuinely great for the dogs. Goats are apparently welcome too, although this one seems a little confused. Time for sport with Alex Cullen and it's not getting any better for the Aussie cricket team. Definitely not, Ian. Stuart Clark's been ruled out of the South Africa tour - that's next. Plus, the latest punishment for cricket's bad boy Andrew Symonds. And one win to go for Serena's 10th Grand Slam title. If I could play like Roger, there's no way I could lose! (LAUGHS) Because we're able to buy in bulk, to keep the prices low. Lockwood padlock - just $9.94. 3-piece bistro setting - $48.85. Aluminium roof vent - $49. Barbecue tool set - $12.96. 8m tape measure - only $9.49. They come in knowing that it's gonna happen and that's why they've come to Bunnings from somewhere else. SONG: # Bunnings Warehouse! #

It's America versus Russia in the Australian Open women's final with Serena Williams taking on Dinara Safina on Saturday. Safina, who knocked out Jelena Dokic had a straight-sets victory over Vera Zvonareva, while Williams beat Elena Dementieva, setting up a shot at her 10th Grand Slam title. The roof may have been shut but Williams did her best to put the heat on her opponent. COMMENTATOR: Oh! Dementieva was frustrated and tried her best to hit back. Take that! But when it counted, Williams was too good. And Serena has given herself a chance to win her 10th Grand Slam title.

Safina and Zvonarava are both looking for their first. Early in their semi, Safina had the edge. What an angle! She was also more composed. Zvonarava, furious when a point wasn't replayed.

And her mood wouldn't have improved as she lost the match.

Last night Fernando Verdasco booked his place in the semifinal after upsetting last year's finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Wow! That is awesome tennis! It was just as good from world number 1 Rafael Nadal.

He steam-rolled Frenchman Gilles Simon but all the attention seems to be on how he looks, not how he plays. A woman comes to me and says, "Listen, Rafa is playing tonight. "Please ask him, because I miss it, "to show me the muscles one more time."

(WOMEN IN CROWD CHEER)

Andrew Symonds has apologised for abusing Kiwi wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum after today's slap on the wrist by Cricket Australia. Despite calls for the controversial all-rounder to be sacked, Symonds was fined just $4,000 for his radio outburst. Dressed in a suit and tie, Andrew Symonds prepared to face the music over his radio rant. He pleaded guilty to breaching Cricket Australia's code of conduct. He is the subject, he is the lump of s---, sorry, the lump of cow dirt that people are thinking of. I mean, McCullum is a capable - he's a very capable cricketer. The comments were intended to be light-hearted. I acknowledge that they were careless and, as such, I accept the fine. $4,000 was not the maximum possible punishment.

I want to reinforce that I remain committed to Cricket Australia and Queensland cricket and look forward to putting this matter behind me so I can focus on my cricket. Thank you. He'll play a Sheffield Shield match tomorrow to try proving he's fit to tour South Africa. But Stuart Clark, Man of the Series there last time has been ruled out. His elbow injury flared up after rushing back from surgery too soon.

Trying to get myself in contention to be selected, the only way to do it was to play grade cricket last week. It's a big setback for him and it's a big setback for the team, especially with the Test series he had in South Africa last time. Socceroos skipper Craig Moore has praised his young side following last night's 0-0 draw with Indonesia. The all A-League side was greeted by 90,000 fans in Jakarta. Australia dominated their first Asian Cup qualifier

but couldn't find the back of the net. Not a lot of time to prepare at all so I think it was a fantastic achievement and the boys showed a lot tonight. scored his 100th English goal Tim Cahill

in a 1-1 draw with Arsenal late with an ankle injury. but the Socceroos star limped off want to keep David Beckham - And here's why AC Milan that's his second goal in two games.

repairing the club's tarnished image The new breed of Bulldogs say to form in the NRL this season. is just as important as a return and several new faces, With new coach Kevin Moore including Brett Kimmorley, of controversy are all over. the Dogs say their years a game of Twenty20 cricket today. Team harmony was tested with Family-oriented club a lot about you, and the way they care

that you feel quite spoilt about coming to training. is that you're excited he's recovered from back surgery Fullback Luke Patten proved with the best ball of the morning.

's is retiring from the AFL. Tagdh

Kennelly is heading back home. He is

retiring from the 'Sydney' Swans.

And tennis tonight, up against Andy Roddick. Roger Federer Checking finance now had a third straight day of gains. and the share market's led the way up. Resource and oil stocks

The ASX 200 closed up 31 points. Nexus Energy jumped 6% following claims that

the Australian oil explorer. Shell is about to buy Back to Sara at Milsons Point a popular spot to cool off, Sara? and it looks like you've found at the pool, Ian It's been a busy afternoon

in the 30s. with temperatures still lingering next in Seven News. I'll have all the details

Sydney was bathed in sunshine today for a cooling dip. making it the perfect afternoon

peaked just over an hour ago Temperatures in the west on a toasty 33 degrees. and Penrith is still sitting It was a different story as usual for the city and coast, thanks to a gusty seabreeze that kicked in around lunchtime. in the west Temperatures this morning shot up quickly until close to 5:00. but they didn't peak

From the satellite - across northern Australia you can see showers and storms over the south-east. for the extreme heat down south will stay put tomorrow. along the east coast, It's being fed by a ridge from the interior. pumping in hot northerly winds could be facing Adelaide in history its hottest week

of 42 with a maximum tipped for tomorrow. in Melbourne, 43. Even hotter Canberra, 37. for Brisbane, 30. A few showers Sydney's waters will become choppy could wake to some morning fog Western suburbs for a fine and sunny day. but that'll burn off similar to today. Temperatures will be

Our catchments have had just 5mm of rain since last Thursday, dipping 0.5% to 60.8%. That's a 0.5% change on last week. The weather is on action reply The weather is on action replay for the remainder of the outlook.

Staying dry and sunny in the east with tops nudging 30 degrees and 35 in the west.

Sydney is heading for its driest

January since Teague 1003. - 2003. Thanks for your company. I'm Ian Ross. Goodnight.

Hello. I'm Matt White. Welcome to Today Tonight. Coming up - more on the heatwave here.

at Melbourne Park. It really has been an extreme day Also, paying by postcode - as dumping grounds by supermarkets, how some areas are being used more than the wealthy. charging the poorer

out of your life. And getting the most that'll help you live longer. The report

for our Prime Minister. First, why talk doesn't come cheap

of time "spreading the word" Kevin Rudd has not only spent a lot of Australia around the world - he's also spent a lot of money. of last year, In the first six months a $600,000 travel bill. the PM racked up So, what are we getting out of it?

should the PM simply stay at home? And in these tough times, Jackie Quist reports. # I'm leaving on a jet plane... # SONG: justify his incessant travel Ultimately, Kevin Rudd's got to

are actually getting from it. and explain exactly what taxpayers a butler with him on these trips Last year, we learnt that he took

so there's the butler are travelling with him. and who knows how many others has never had such a workout. The prime ministerial jet Since November '07, has flown Kevin Rudd the new-ish aircraft to 32 international destinations. and into the future Australia in the past and today and good neighbour to Indonesia. will be a good friend for the 21st century. Our region will be THE region Opponents aren't convinced in Mr Rudd's passport. there's still a free page left Between January and June last year, traversing the globe - he spent $600,000 10 Australians for a year that's enough to employ on the average wage. not the entourage. That was his bill, This is a prime minister than any other prime minister, ever who travelled more in their first term. isn't impressed. Liberal Senator Michael Ronaldson very difficult economic situation. We are in a very, he's got to try and solve this He's got to stay at home, and these jaunts around the world - are sick and tired of it. I think people A week after taking office, and Indonesia. Mr Rudd was in East Timor A short time later, the United Arab Emirates Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In February last year, to East Timor he made a flying return visit before a 2-day trip

and the Solomon Islands - to Papua New Guinea