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National Nine News -

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(generated from captions) into the final day's play. We look This program is captioned live. bank robber is tackled The moment a hostage-taking by shoppers in Sydney's west. the youngsters A little girl catches up with who saved her from drowning. position for Sydney's News Years Eve. The massive fire works display in And joining the party - Australia. the Hilton sisters arrive in

Here to relax. Good evening. Also tonight -

out just one run shy of a century... disappointment for Ricky Ponting - Gone! at a Test series defeat. Australia stares of bravery But first, a remarkable display all of it caught on camera. by a group of Sydney shoppers, They took on a bank robber a female bank teller hostage who was holding at Plumpton near Mount Druitt. and Denham, Denham Hitchcock is at the scene not to be messed with. Plumpton sounds like a community

I am standing outside what is

probably the safest Bank in Sydney

right now. We all know that

shopping headsails time can raise

the blood pressure and this morning

on. shoppers had someone to take it out

Get back, get back. from the bank to the car park, Walking backwards

holding a hostage by the throat, of a bank robbery. these are the final moments it's not a gun he's holding As bystanders close in, they notice it's the thief who's on the run. but a torch, and suddenly,

Get him, get him.

he's crash-tackled to the concrete Less than 100 metres and and held down by a large mob. He deserves nothing but hell.

It started just before 11:00am, by a 20-year-old man terrified staff confronted under his jumper. holding what looked to be a gun all you could see was his eyes He was wearing all black, but it was a torch. and he looked like he had a gun Grabbing one of the tellers, stuffing cash into a shopping bag. he moved behind the counter, floor, get on the floor" He was just screaming "Get on the to all of us. calling police and relatives. Other staff ran into a saferoom, there to say the bank's been robbed. From my daughter 'cause she works he backs onto the road, With the bag full, using his mobile camera. where one man starts filming, I saw a man in a black hoodie All of sudden, and he was screaming and saying and then he came out of the bank I'll kill the girl - back off." "Back off or else the thief tries to make a getaway, With the crowd getting closer,

still holding the hostage.

control of a passing vehicle There he made an effort to take which thankfully was unsuccessful. and they approached the man A couple of big men came and he backed off with the girl. the 20-year-old was pinned down Seconds later, by more than a dozen angry locals.

face down then jumped on his back. We tackled him to the ground, were handed not only one offender By the time the police arrived, they but also one bag of cash. They're pretty tough out here - the wrong bank? do you think he just picked pick softer targets in Sydney. Well, I think they could probably for their money Out here these people work hard take it. and they don't like to see people What a moron. Yes, he's a moron. robber now? So, Denham, where is the would-be

on. He is being held at the police

station and police have just

finished interviewing him. They

expect to lay a string of charges.

We will know more tomorrow. charged with dangerous driving A 15-year-old boy has been in Blacktown overnight. after police pursued a stolen car the car, carrying five teenagers, The chase came to an end when with an elderly couple inside. crashed into a vehicle in the hospital. Mum and dad ended up and mum's shoulder is shot. Dad has bashed his knee up also been charged The 15-year-old driver has with driving while unlicensed. released without charge. Three other teens were able to thank A very grateful father was today the life of his little girl. a young brother and sister who saved in a backyard swimming pool She was lying unconscious latest drowning, and would have become the State's quick thinking. if not for the pair's

reunited with the two children Little Eve Beeby at the bottom of the pool. who first spotted her my little girl back. These two gave me her grandparents' Boxing Day party The 2.5-year-old was at without her floaties and sank. when she went into the pool it was really scary. It was really freaking me out, she was carried out unconscious and her 7-year-old brother Liam. by 8-year-old Rachel then performed CPR. Eve's father and family friends purple and just completely lifeless. Got her out and she was blue, then her colour started returning Within a few minutes, later flown to Westmead Hospital. and she began breathing - The Royal Life Saving Society say

important resuscitation skills are this incident shows just how

one in four people don't know CPR. but sadly, for the ambulance to turn up - It's too long to wait having the skills and drills is really important and to do it straight away that's what you want to be doing. and it saves a life, really their 'miracle girl' Eve's family now calls her

might have been different but the ending of Liam and Rachel. without the swift action should be very proud of yourselves. Two little heroes for sure, you You did good.

Jodie Noyce, Nine News. All students are equal, than others but some seem more equal of private school students going by the number consideration during the HSC. who were able to get special the rate was five times higher Figures out today show than at public schools. have denied it's a rort. But education authorities Reddam House, Masada College - Scots College, St Catherine's, top-notch private schools of HSC rorting allegations. among dozens at the centre of wealthy private schools There are a large number out of the special provisions. that have done exceptionally well of students at some private schools Statistics show up to 30% were given what's known as 'special provisions' in the Higher School Certificate exams. The average at public schools is just over 6%. The minister and the board are allowing the perception of rorting to continue. But the Board of Studies denies students at exclusive schools are being given an unfair advantage and maintains dispensation is given only to students with special needs.

We don't really take the school where the students come from into account at all. But the board can't explain why claims from private schools have jumped so high while there's only been a marginal increase at public schools. We are simply looking at the needs of individual students. Some private schools have access to professionals who are writing certificates and who are providing evidence that simply doesn't stack up. I think it's only fair if the students need it.

I don't think anyone should get an advantage over anybody else. I think everyone should have an equal opportunity to do their HSC. Simon Bouda, Nine News. There's a big hole in the small community of Bilpin on the Blue Mountains tonight. Parents had spent all year fund-raising for a new cubby house at the local playground, but now their kids' favourite new toy has been stolen. This is all that's left of the Bilpin kids' cubby house. A few bricks and a pile of dirt. The community saved all year to buy the cubby for playgroup. But on the weekend, just days before Christmas, someone stole it. It's just really devastating that we've gone from all these fun outdoor activities to having them taken. So it's not good. The kids themselves can't quite work it out. I don't really think I know why they took it.

I think maybe they didn't have any money, that's why they took it. For the little ones, it was more a castle than a cubby. Oh, they loved the cubby. They'd look out the windows and call out "Hello" to each other through the windows. Oh, they loved the cubby, it's a real shame. The parents have even hand-painted this sign on the main road, hoping someone might know the thief. I don't know. I really don't know who would do that. Some low-life.

The children here in Bilpin still have some equipment to play on. but it's just not the same. They want their cubby. What games did you play in the cubby house? Umm, we played tip, we played hide-and -seek. We played mums and daddies and all types of games. And even though it's gone now, the community hopes to save for another one. We did a car boot sale last year and that's where we raised most of the money.

And if we have to, we'll do that again. Chris Urquhart, Nine News. On Thursday/Wedensday night, Sydney will farewell 2008 and welcome the New Year with our traditional, massive fireworks display. Mark Burrows is down by the Harbour and Mark, the organisers are promising some big surprises this year. Yes, Mark, firework director Fortunato Foti says there's no such thing as too many fireworks and this year the show on the Harbour and Bridge will

be 30% bigger than ever before.

And here's something new - organisers want to create a rain shower of fireworks. They assure us it will be perfectly safe and most of all spectacular. Not a job for the fainthearted, a pyro technician attaches a fuse to one of the thousands of shells that will explode over Sydney Wednesday night.

Barges and barges of them. An armada of explosives that will create a thunder and lightning show before the midnight finale on the Bridge. You're able to do patterns, such as stars, hearts, spirals, colour changing and it's a science as well as an art. The show will cost more than $5 million to put on. But given there'll be 1.5 million watching harbourside that works out to less than $4 a head.

Pretty good value. No-one will be disappointed. There'll be 11,000 shells firing into the sky. And 10,000 shooting comets. We're going to rain fireworks on everyone.

Across the harbour - very safely. So Foti Fireworks is promising a show that is bigger and better.

But just how much bigger?

Well, last year they used 3,000 kg of fireworks - this year, it will be a staggering 5,000 kg. And for the first time, the Bridge will feature horizontal fireworks running along the bridge deck. And the team is proud of another creation - sun pods.

Bright yellow fireworks representing the sun. People want that sort of escape and I think this year it is more important than any other year than we've seen in the past. And party girl Paris Hilton arrived in Melbourne today as part of her New Year's trip with her sister, Nicky. We will know more tomorrow. At nine

o'clock families will get a glimpse

of what will be revealed at midnight. Just here to relax.

Her security had to push back a few eager fans who were desperate for an autograph. The Hiltons will leave for Sydney tomorrow

where they will reportedly receive $100,000

to appear at a New Year's Eve party at the Trademark Hotel in Kings Cross. After the battle come the bubbles. The champagne flowing for the winning crews in the Sydney to Hobart including Bob Steel's yacht 'Quest' which has taken out handicap honours. Most of the fleet is still out at sea, but the frontrunners have wasted no time getting serious about their celebrations. After two days of hard work and no sleep these sailors were ready for a quiet drink. Ahhhh. 'Wild Oats' skipper Mark Richards called it an early night. His crew, though, was keen to party. Yeah, you sort of bash yourself up a little, but it's always nice to have a social outing. This was a chance to reflect. Everyone talks about what happened out there on everyone else's boat because you're in your own little world out there. And for others to unwind. We won the whole thing, I don't believe it! Fast forward a few hours - and those sore heads were back at the harbour. Jade Mackay is a rare sight. At 23, she's the youngest female to take part in the physically demanding race. I think giving the girls a chance on these big boats is really fantastic. She can't wait to sail it again. That's something she has in common with Syd Fischer, who, at 81, is the oldest competitor. This his 40th Sydney to Hobart. It gets harder because my balance isn't as good as it was. The bones squeak a bit more. And today, celebrations for Bob Steel and his crew on 'Quest' taking out handicap honours. Two-thirds of the fleet is still at sea most of those are the smaller yachts. It's getting tough, conditions are now quite treacherous.

Even so it's expected most will be in by January 1. In Hobart, Allison Langdon, Nine News. In the news ahead - fears Israeli airstrikes will lead to an all out ground assault on Palestinian territory. And the bouncing baby boy who tips the scales at over six kilos.

A new report has confirmed what most business operators have long suspected - that NSW companies are hit with higher taxes

than their interstate counterparts. The report, by the institute of public affairs, found mid-sized businesses pay, on average, 14% more in tax than they would if they were based in Western Australia.

Taxation is crippling our business and that is the engine room of any economy.

The report found

the higher taxes are driving companies to other states or stopping them from expanding. Israel is continuing a major air assault Tree surgeons believe they can save the Australian War Memorial's Lone Pine which was badly damaged by storms at the weekend. They examined the historic tree this morning

and say a bit of strategic lopping should do the trick. We are going to do our darndest to make sure it's around for a while yet. The tree grew from a pine cone sent home by a soldier fighting at Gallipoli. A new report has confirmed what most Israel is continuing a major air assault on the Palestinian territory of Gaza,

seemingly intent on destroying the Hamas militants who run the region. But Gaza is just 40km long and home to 1.5 million people, meaning many civilians are being caught up in this military onslaught. One by one, Israel is picking off its targets. Hamas's main security compound and prison, the TV station, police headquarters and even a Mosque Israel claims is being used as a terrorist base. Over two days, Israel has launched more than 300 airstrikes on Gaza as part of it's iron fist plan to force Hamas back into a ceasefire. Israeli defence forces will deepen and broaden the operation, the defence minister said, as much as is necessary. That could mean a ground invasion. Israel holds out little hope of negotiating a peace with Hamas, which controls the tiny slice of Palestinian coastal territory.

As long as Hamas controls Gaza there is no hope for peace and no hope for the creation of a Palestinian state. Palestinian militants still fired more than 50 rockets into Israel today

while their spokesmen call for help from other nations. "What would happen if 60 Israeli jets bombed Cairo and not Gaza?" screamed this Hamas representative. In Israel, air raid sirens had people running to the shelters all day even though the Hamas rockets haven't been hitting the main cities or towns. Robert Penfold, Nine News. A car bombing has been recorded by security cameras in Afghanistan. The dark vehicle entering a security zone where the driver set off his bomb. The explosion killed 16 people, including 14 children. The fanatic was apparently trying to reach a conference of tribal chiefs but he apparently panicked at the road block. And an American woman has had a baby boy who weighs 6.4kg. Baby Richard had to be delivered by caesarean but everyone is fine. The record birthweight for a surviving baby is 10.2kg. But next, Ken with sport - and Ponting's fighting 99, inspires Australian tail-end resistance. But will it be enough to stop South Africa from achieving their first-ever series win here. While Matthew Hayden's Test career hangs by a thread, after another failure. And a player sent off for slapping his own captain.

Australia is heading towards its first series defeat at home in 16 years. South Africa closing in a historic victory at the MCG. Ricky Ponting made a heart-breaking 99 in Australia's second innings total of 247, Matthew Hayden out for 23. Chasing 183 to win South Africa is 0/30 at stumps on day 4. Playing for his future, Hayden desperately needed to rediscover the form of his past. He had support in the stands. And despite a couple of nervous moments... ..the runs started to flow. COMMENTATOR: Great shot... there's a beauty. Under pressure but still smiling until he reached 23.

Oh no! Hayden's fate is once again in the hands of selectors. A Katich edge ending in the hands of Boucher. Has he edged that? Yes, he has. Using his head didn't pay off for the unlucky Hussey. What's it hit? What's it hit? Given out. Three down and still trailing by 16. Ponting finally struck a blow for the Australians. Oh my gosh! Just watch this. Smashes it in there and hits him on the arm. The skipper setting his sights on a second ton for the match. Whoops, that's four. That is a magnificent shot. While Clarke was living life on the edge. On 29 his luck ran out.

And straight to cover. Symonds lasted just five balls and South Africa was back in command. That's a good catch. Haddin added just 10. The injured Lee knocked over on the last ball before tea. Through it all, Ponting stood firm but on 99 - disaster. Ricky Ponting out for 99. Shock around the ground and in the Aussie rooms, amid the despair, Johnson provided an ounce of hope.

He's laid into that one. Not sure how well he's timed it. Siddle became Steyne's 10th victim for the match. Gone! Bowling despite his dodgy foot, Lee's luck hasn't improved. It's a no ball. Chris Hodgkinson, Nine News. Brett Lee will risk breaking his foot with every delivery, Melbourne Victory's Danny Allsopp will get away with his shoulder barge on Sydney FC coach John Kosmina because of a technicality.

The match review committee can't charge him, because the referee saw the incident on Saturday night and didn't think it worthy of a send-off, Kosmina believes it was deliberate, but has moved on. Whatever happens happens. I don't care any more. You haven't heard anything from Melbourne? I don't care any more. No apology? I don't care any more. Another case of unnecessary physical contact in the English Premier League. Stoke's Ricardo Fuller was given a red card for getting stuck into - wait for it - his own captain.

He slapped Andy Griffin across the face despite team-mates' best efforts to keep them apart. The manager was anything but stoked.

Will that is not a terrific career move. In finance, our market finished the day ahead 39 points - retail stocks like Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi finishing in the black. After the break, Jaynie Seal with all the weather details. Tonight's viewer photo is from Mark Silva, shot this morning at Long Reef. National News. Coming up on WIN News...

An historic tree's long road to recovery after the weekend' s wild weather. And.. A heartless act, thieves

steal money meant for Camp Quality.

Join me for all the details next.

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Now here's Jaynie and tonight you're harbourside? Mark, bit of a chilly one today for city and beach goers. But for New Years Eve - much warmer weather! Storms were a possibility today however we managed to escape them. Most of the action was north of us, Newcastle reporting small hail and lightning, in fact 310 strikes. And some heavy rain of up to 40mm in just a couple of hours.

An extremely muggy night for us last night, then the southerly moved in about 6:00am, With the temperature only making it to 25, the west in the high 20s. The trough, or dotted line, indicates the unstable weather across NSW. Behind it, the new high bringing cooler and dry conditions. Could be a few showers, even a morning storm for the cricket in Melbourne tomorrow. Storms in northern Australia.

And another hot one in Perth. Sydney - just a morning shower. Sunshine by the afternoon. More small waves for surfers. A couple of showers about tonight, lingering tomorrow morning but a hot one in the west - low 30s. 29 for the CBD.

New Years Eve - hot, sunny, 29-32 degrees.

And feeling the heat on New Year's Day as well. It might be calm now but Wednesday night the place will be pumping! Mark, the temperature at midnight right here will be roughly 22/23 degrees. That's the news for this Monday.

I'm Mark Ferguson, goodnight. Supertext captions by Red Bee Media Australia.