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Seven Nightly News -

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(generated from captions) for private health insurance Families set to pay more Tonight -

for big increases. as funds again push fan a grassfire in Canberra. Homes destroyed as hot winds

A refugee family tragedy - after arriving in Australia. their baby son dead just hours

as we welcome 2006. And Sydney's big heart set to shine This program is LIVE captioned. This is Seven News with Chris Bath. Good evening. looks set to rise sharply The cost of private health insurance to approve fee hikes of up to 7%. with funds asking the government If they get the nod, fees have increased it'll be the fifth year in a row the inflation rate. at more than double the post-Christmas credit crunch Already suffering a little further family budgets are set to be squeezed with the nation's health funds in premiums. pushing for a new increase that ultimately will be made The rise

but it will also be sufficient. will be both necessary than it ought to be. That is, it won't be any higher around 8% Insurance premiums have increased in each of the past three years multimillion-dollar profits, and despite 2006, it seems, will be no different. a bit of a stretch of the faith It's probably

to continue to pay it out. to absorb those sorts of costs. It's extremely difficult Health funds say an increase in claims are to blame. advances in medical technology and Your cardiothoracic area we've had some 19% increase that we've paid there. in the benefits Part and parcel of that in the use of defibrillators has been a 385% increase

at a rate greater than inflation, But with premiums increasing the system needs reform. consumer groups say could do a better job I think the health insurance funds

in trying to contain medical costs through better negotiating doctors and drug companies. with the hospitals, wasn't available for comment today, Health Minister Tony Abbott but a spokeswoman said scrutinise the health funds' request. the Federal Government will heavily that's not good enough. The Opposition says should work out - The Minister for Health of the private health insurance is he a servant of hardworking families? or a servant Two homes have been destroyed by a grassfire that swept through this afternoon. an upmarket Canberra suburb The blaze started in Yarralumla, of the Old Canberra Brickworks. near the site 20 fire units were called in, Helicopters and more than to protect their properties. as neighbours rushed We were very worried. a nervous breakdown. My wife was having two extensively damaged Two houses were destroyed, but others were saved. windy weather forecast, With more hot, to prepare. firefighters are urging residents Former boxing champion Jeff Fenech tomorrow over an alleged theft. will face court in Queensland were interviewed by detectives Fenech and another man on the Gold Coast today. They've been ordered to attend court of three watches over the alleged theft from a jewellery shop at Broadbeach. on the Gold Coast. Fenech's believed to be holidaying is investigating the death of a child The Immigration Department after he arrived in Sydney. just hours

his refugee family was left alone, The two-year-old boy died after unable to get help. fled war-torn Burundi, in Africa, The Ntiranyi Bagira family

arriving two months ago. They wanted a new life. two-year-old Richard was dead. But 18 hours later,

the family to this Fairfield flat. An immigration caseworker brought "If there's any problem, call 000." He said can speak English. But no-one in the family or even a stove. They'd never used a phone before, TRANSLATOR: They told him stove which are not allowed to open, that there are some parts of the so he was scared. The department knew a potentially deadly blood disease. that Richard suffered father ran screaming into the street. When he started convulsing, his Help arrived, too late. of resettling the family says The company in charge medical help was offered. did anybody wish to see a doctor The caseworker asked the father "We are just tired." and the father said The family says that's not true. to lose a child It's a double tragedy last they had come to a safe place. when they actually thought that at blames the Federal Government The Opposition to a private company. for handing responsibility for shareholders, If the focus isn't on the profits

is on delivery of the service, but the focus where you do what needs to be done. 10-month-old Khunzimana with the same sickle cell anaemia has since been diagnosed that killed his brother. that even this one, TRANSLATOR: He's concerned now in the same way. the situation may happen

off Brisbane, Emergency crews have braved wild seas during a storm. after two boats were swamped during a storm.

after his dinghy capsized, One man drowned managed to save five other people, but rescuers including two young boys. for Moreton Bay overnight There was no storm forecast

these men just weren't ready. so, when one hit, Was it pretty wild out there? REPORTER: It was a little bit. I don't want to talk right now. He was too upset. had gone for a fishing trip, Three mates two came back. and it went straight down - A wave hit the boat 30 seconds. Were you all together at the time? Only Terry and myself came up, mate. They swam for three hours, was probably dead, knowing their 60-year-old friend not knowing if they would survive.

They got up to Peel Island, who were camping on the beach saw some people and they contacted us. by a passing ferry Their mate's body was found by a passing ferry

from where their runabout sank. two nautical miles the wind especially. It was a horrific night for boaties, Pushed many boats up onto the beach at Peel Island, that type of thing. Boats breaking away everywhere. The Winchester family was caught in it, miles from shore after their dinghy conked out. You were a brave boy, were you? You helped dad out with your little brother? That's the way. Good on you, mate. Father, Troy, spent two hours bailing out water. The Seven chopper was there when he was able to pass his sons Ronan and Jesse to the police. Because I knew they were safe. 100% safe then, so, yeah. Ronan approved. He did well. And police agree, but... We're going to be having a talk about what they were actually doing out there at that stage. The State Government is considering increasing security for bus drivers following a violent attack in Sydney's inner-west. Police say up to eight people, one armed with a steel bar, robbed and bashed a driver at Ashfield. We'll do all we can to improve driver protection on our State Transit buses. They provide an essential public service.

What happened last night was absolutely intolerable. Police are viewing video from bus security cameras, trying to identify the attackers. Just three days after his father's death,

James Packer is facing his first big business challenge. It's the likely counterstrike by the Seven and Ten networks in the battle for the AFL television rights. The day after taking command of one The day after taking command of one of Australia's richest companies, James Packer headed to the beach, back to his Bondi apartment, perhaps to reflect on his new responsibilities. And his first major battle is already looming. Channel 7 and Channel 10

are preparing to trump Nine's $780 million bid for the AFL broadcasting rights. I think that Seven and Ten will come back with a really big offer. What I do know is that football, AFL football, is going to be the winner out of this. Kerry Packer masterminded Nine's five-year bid in his dying days. But his rival, Seven boss, Kerry Stokes, has what's called first and last rights. That means if Seven and Ten can raise Nine's bid, they're back in the game. If Kerry Stokes can get the football back in 2007, he's a huge chance to knock off Channel 9 for No.1. But the cost each year is massive. The economies aren't good. Because advertising is about $80 million or so income and right at the moment the price of it is looking like over $150 million. Executives at Seven and Ten won't talk publicly about the deal but they have had a series of meetings this week and have until 6 January to put their offer on the table. The new AFL contract begins in 2007. Organisers of Sydney's New Year's Eve celebration are busy fine-tuning preparations for Saturday night's big show. This year, the fireworks display will get some backing from one of the wild men of rock-'n'-roll. Sydney's heart, being tested last night on the bridge, but it's already been on show as the city raised money for tsunami victims. This is the way that Sydney would like to think of itself - as a city of great heart, not one where people are fighting on beaches. In the final seconds before midnight, he says don't look up - look to each other. Turn to each other and wish each other a happy New Year. Sixties' rock legend Jimi Hendrix will help, with his Auld Lang Syne... this year's music steers away from any national anthem controversy. There's a bit of Silverchair in there,

there's also some Prokofiev, some Barry White. And three tonnes of fireworks. This is the biggest. It's a 16-inch diameter brocade shell with green flowers. The show stopper - and there are six of them - along with fireworks that look like waterfalls. It's the ninth year the Foti family have been doing the New Year's Eve fireworks and they say the greatest challenge is making it bigger and better than the last.

Obviously we don't get a dress rehearsal, so we can't see what it's going to look like. Helping the afternoon wait will be an event every hour - skywriting, fly-bys. At 7pm the bells of 11 cathedrals and churches will ring out. (bell tolls) You can pre-buy special return tickets for New Year's Eve buses and trains to get you to the heart. The crew of Wild Oats has capped off a wild night of celebrations by taking out provisional handicap honours in the Sydney-Hobart. More of the smaller yachts crossed the finish line today, joining the crews of the super-maxis already partying. After spending millions of dollars on a world-class boat, Bob Oatley could afford to splash a bit more cash on his record-breaking crew. (all cheer) While Wild Oats was living it up, the crew of Alfa Romeo were licking their wounds at Customs House down the road. Skandia's sailors celebrated after actually finishing the race this year, but it wasn't easy.

It blew 40 knots on the nose all the way from Tasman Island to the finish. So we got absolutely flogged. AAPT limped into dock after AAPT limped into dock after breaking its boom, worth $80,000. The thing that we're learning about these big boats is you've really got to have the systems right. You've got to have a lot of respect for what can go wrong, and it goes wrong in a hurry. Konica Minolta finished fourth. Every sailor had a story. The boat was wobbling under our feet. You could feel the deck warping. It's as good as Hobart gets. I feel like an astronaut on a rocket ship.

The smaller boats started arriving overnight. They copped a battering in Bass Strait. But the race for handicap honours is fast slipping away - Wild Oats is now a certainty to put that trophy in the cabinet also, adding to her line honours and race record. Ahead in Seven News - A machete attack at a western Sydney hotel. Also, confusion, as a study reveals exposure to the sun can prevent cancer.

And a bungling baggage handlers trigger a mid-air emergency. Two Sydney hotel patrons have been slashed with machetes, trying to stop an armed robbery. Police say up to five men wearing balaclavas and ordered bar staff to open a safe. entered a hotel at Minto overnight Drinkers tried to stop the robbery, and a baseball bat. fighting with pool cues armed with machetes They've seen these people upon themselves and they have taken it to protect those in the bar area the offenders. and they have attacked hospital treatment for deep cuts. Two of the patrons needed can reduce the risk of cancer A new study showing vitamin D in the medical community. has created a dilemma of the vitamin, Sunlight is a rich source of the disease. but also a leading cause and... ADVERTISEMENT: Stay out of the sun Slip! Slop! Slap! We've always been told it's the best way to prevent skin cancer.

Now it appears the vitamin D produced by exposure to sunshine can prevent other forms of the disease. Researchers from the University of California have found people who get more vitamin D are at less risk of colon, ovarian and breast cancer. But the skin-cancer warnings still apply - sunbaking can be deadly. Most people get enough vitamin D just doing their day-to-day activities outdoors walking to the bus stop or the shop 10 to 15 minutes plenty of vitamin D. will give most people of vitamin D, Sunlight is the most important source but it's not the only one. yoghurt, cheese, You can get it from fortified milk, also liver and eggs. fatty fish like salmon and tuna, So that's the good news. The bad news is

is Nanna's favourite cure-all - that the best source of vitamin D cod-liver oil. And it doesn't taste so good. in capsule form. Happily, it's now available But they're not essential - are vitamin-D-deficient, anyway. very few Australians People who are housebound - who don't get enough sunlight - so they're people people with very dark skin, mothers and the elderly. babies of vitamin-D-deficient is fuelling wildfires Severe drought in America's south that have claimed five lives and destroyed more than 100 homes. Walls of flame are racing through Oklahoma, and in Texas they've wiped out entire neighbourhoods.

It's the worst outbreak of wildfires in Texas for more than a decade. I'm seeing flames. Hot, dry winds drove flames across thousands of hectares of drought-stricken countryside. Dozens of homes have been destroyed and Fort Worth. on the outskirts of Dallas You need to go. to leave their homes, Hundreds were forced but others stayed to fight the blaze.

but saw the flames. I live about three miles from here, The firemen were outnumbered. Came down here. Firefighters were left overwhelmed,

burning across the state. unable to control the 70 fires And it's a similar story in Oklahoma, in a matter of minutes. where flames destroyed 200 hectares They have just lost everything. Hundreds of families what the flames didn't take. have been left to salvage and a wave of strong winds expected, But with no rain forecast the worst is far from over. firefighters fear has launched the first challenge A British company on Global Positioning Systems. to America's monopoly On board the rocket is the GIOVE-A spacecraft which will conduct tests for a series of new satellite navigation systems. They're expected to be up and running by 2010. The UK is very active in space but doesn't often get very good press. This is an opportunity for the UK to be proud of what it can achieve.

30 satellites will eventually be operating to help people on the ground determine exactly where they are. An American airport baggage handler accidentally damaging a plane has admitted forced to make an emergency landing. that was later not to tell anyone about a slip-up He decided for passengers. that led to the serious mid-air scare on Alaska Airlines flight 536 Passengers of California. were gearing up for the sunshine a loud bang shattered their spirits. But 20 minutes into their journey, Very scary, not a fun thing. The oxygen masks burst from the roof went into an emergency descent. and the plane

There was fear in everybody's eyes Utter panic.

what was going on. because we didn't know back at Seattle Airport... The plane landed safely Well, catastrophe averted. APPLAUSE ..where the cause was soon found. near the plane's cargo door A half-metre hole had forced the aircraft to lose pressure. Airline officials at first feared the plane had been sabotaged. But a guilty conscience got the better of an airline baggage handler. He admitted bumping the plane with a baggage belt but didn't think any damage was done. A little scary, no doubt about it, but I have to get where I'm going, so I have no choice. Passengers and crew were a little shaken but not hurt. Passengers and crew with Matthew White. Time for sport now has been accepted. And Craig Gower's apology at an emergency board meeting. The Panthers will decide his penalty More shortly. Also tonight, in a Test. Andrew Symonds finally hits top-gear COMMENTATOR: Symonds, whoa! snows under the Premier League. And Britain's big freeze Stocktake Sale right now Zoom into Target's Grandeur bath towels for 50% off plain dyed and kids' summer clothing. underwear, and schoolwear. Excludes women's and men's Australia's way at the MCG, The second Test is rapidly turning

turning the corner on his career but it was Andrew Symonds that will satisfy the selectors most.

with 137, While Matthew Hayden top-scored Symonds saved his spot with a thundering 72, backed up by more wickets. Chasing 366 to win, South Africa is struggling to hold on at 6/99. South Africa struggled from the start. COMMENTATOR: Nice shot. Brings up 50 for Hayden. No Ntini because of a knee injury, while Andre Nel climbed off the canvas with a bleeding nose to get birthday boy Brad Hodge. Andre Nel loves it, and so, too, does the umpire. as Kellis held on. Captain Graeme Smith then struck It's a good catch. Step up, Andrew Symonds. It's a bit of a message that, my natural game." "I'm going to play So, too, was Matthew Hayden. A lovely way to bring up 100. were set over the fence. But Symonds' sights Oh, that's big! Wickets yesterday, runs today. There he goes again. Whoa! A fifth to bring up his 50. That's brilliant. What a 50! Hayden's hit one too! Hayden went "whack" once too often. On 137, That's got him. Symonds went the same way. Ricky Ponting to declare seven down, But his 72 off just 54 balls allowed and set South Africa 366 to win. had A.B. de Villiers stumped, But they didn't have much, as Warne sent the skipper on his way. before McGrath

It's been taken! And the wickets kept coming. Shane Warne, you are a beauty. But this was Andrew Symonds' day... "I am back." ..just ask Jacques Rudolph. Oh, he's bowled him! South Africa six down when Ponting pounced, although a worried Warne feared he'd been given not-out. He's left. Don't worry. Australia on target to go one-up. Rugby League legend Wayne Pearce from Penrith captain, Craig Gower. has accepted an apology The Panthers star is accused Pearce's teenage daughter of drunkenly groping last week. following a charity golf tournament Club boss Mick Leary to the Panthers' Chairman. today handed a report into the claims will be held An emergency board meeting

against Gower. to discuss what action may be taken he won't take the matter any further. Pearce says Dutch coaching at the World Cup The Socceroos will have double with former star John Neeskens Guus Hiddink. appointed to assist his countryman one of the few Aussies to see action Harry Kewell was in the Premier League overnight, in the Merseyside derby. as Liverpool smacked Everton 3-1 goal by Cisse! COMMENTATOR: What a magnificent The Reds were on fire,

but freezing conditions elsewhere forced four games to be postponed. Not the time of year for the underground heating to fail. Underground heating - that's luxury to the good folk of Maldon. They're a weird mob at Maldon but there's a good reason why they are wearing this kind of gear, because after the annual mud run, they'll never be able to wear it again. the aptly named river, Blackwater, The idea is to run across without getting stuck in the mud. But that's easier said than done.

She did it the hard way and I'm not

talking about the dress It will be

a hoot in the English winter . after the break, I'll have Sydney's weather but first finance. day for the local market. And it was another record-breaking PBL shares managed to recover some of yesterday's losses, up 13 cents.

Tomorrow on Sunrise - we'll tell you where to party on New Year's Eve. Plus, an encore performance from the hunky Rob Thomas. See you at 6.00. Here's the weather. A southerly change brought welcome relief from yesterday's heat but plenty of sunshine boosted temperatures above 30 degrees today. Around the country tomorrow - Another fine and mostly sunny day is forecast tomorrow. And looking ahead - fine and hot weather is forecast for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. And that's Seven News to now. I'm Chris Bath. Thanks for your company. Goodnight. Hello, and welcome to Today Tonight. I'm Anna Coren.

He is 95 years old and about to be kicked out of his home.

Where will he go? A classic case of profits before people. That story shortly. Also, the best consumer watchdog reports of the year. Plus, a young mum convicted of hurting her child tells her story. And has our wild dog, the dingo, outworn its welcome? But first, there's an old saying that a society is judged by the way it looks after its old and less fortunate.