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National Nine News -

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(generated from captions) filled by recent heavy rain. Two children drown in a farm dam

for that dam to be full. It's been the curse of this family Energy unions gearing up

with the State Government for a confrontation Energy unions gearing up for a confrontation over plans to privatise electricity. back on the menu Sydney's harbour fish

following a clean bill of health. Go for it. every angler to do this summer - That's what I encourage go for it. for 67,000 HSC students. And the moment of truth This program is captioned live. Good evening. in south-west Queensland, Two children have drowned on their parents' property. their bodies discovered in a dam were aged 7 and 8. The brother and sister They disappeared late yesterday throughout the night. and a frantic search continued a heartbreaking scene - At the family homestead, relatives sobbed and held each other to deal with the unbearable. as they tried It was at this dam were confronted by the tragedy. that police divers and 8-year-old sister Isabel drowned. 7-year-old Hamish Bailey on the farm late yesterday afternoon They'd been with their Mother

when they suddenly went missing. had wandered into the dam We can only assume that the children after the mother lost sight of them. a massive search team last night, Rescue crews mounted were hampered by a thick fog. but their efforts they found the two bodies. This morning, A tragedy any time of the year, but at this time of the year, for the family. probably that much worse is well known in the area. The fourth-generation farming family as vibrant and lively. The children described this community apart. It just will absolutely tear to exactly how the children drowned. Attention has now turned Both were strong swimmers.

learnt to swim from an early age. Strong swimmers, yes, and had

In a twist of fate, had been praying for rain since 1996. farmers in the area

and hasn't stopped. The downpour began a few weeks ago for that dam to be full. It's been the curse of this family Jessica Rich, National Nine News. been killed Two young men of a rock band have in the crash of their tour van near Coffs Harbour. on the Pacific Highway, was heading to Sydney The group, The Red Shore,

early this morning the lead singer, A 22-year-old, believed to be and rolled before hitting a tree. when the vehicle went off the road

died in hospital. while the 27-year-old driver was killed instantly,

Six others are in a stable condition. MUSIC BY THE RED SHORE at Sydney University tonight The Red Shore was scheduled to play a 'Christmas Carnage' tour. in a gig promoted as part of for a major showdown Unions are shaping up with the NSW Labor Government the State's electricity industry. over its plans to sell off They have compared the issue WorkChoices legislation, to the Howard Government's has no mandate for privatisation. saying Premier Morris Iemma as a boots-and-all brawl It's shaping between the Government and the union

the fight is getting ugly. and already We will fight, we will fight. privatisation plans The unions have likened Mr Iemma's unpopular WorkChoices law, to the Howard Government's of over 1,000 voters claiming a survey has found 85% oppose the sell-off. nasty at some point, yes. I think it's going to get quite

any industrial action, While ruling out launched today, the unions' campaign, can register their opposition includes a website where the public and send a message to the Premier. That if you move ahead on this, take action against you. the public are going to through Treasurer Costa, hit back, But the Government, accusing unions of hypocrisy after they voiced concerns

sold to Chinese interests. at reports the power assets could be about foreign ownership Running One Nation-like campaigns

is extraordinary, when unions themselves a third of their assets globally. are investing almost

In a minor compromise to the unions, when the sell-off can be debated, the next ALP conference,

by a month to March next year. has been brought forward indication Though the Government's given every it'll push ahead regardless. We're not going to be rushed slowed down. and we're not going to be Brad Schmitt, National Nine News. most senior police officers The careers of two of the State's hang in the balance tonight against them after misconduct findings by the Police Integrity Commission. Paul Jacob was criticised Homicide Squad's Detective Inspector a police colleague for failing to properly investigating woman Janine Vaughan. and his links with missing Bathurst prosecution. It does not recommend does recommend However, a separate report against Superintendent Adam Purcell. a misconduct charge be considered

a rugby league player He has been accused of tipping off in a sexual assault case. who was a witness has launched legal action The corporate watchdog ASIC and officers of wheat exporter AWB. against six former directors into illegal kickbacks The civil action follows the inquiry paid to Iraq's Saddam Hussein. in Brisbane Another former employee of the ABC with breast cancer. has been diagnosed who worked at the Toowong studio Judy Kennedy is the 15th person to suffer the disease. that we can, to her, We're providing all support diagnosed with breast cancer. and to the other women who have been is not known The cause of the cancer cluster but the building has been abandoned. heading towards the Southern Ocean If the Japanese whaling ships were in any doubt, very clear today the Federal Government made it they are not welcome. for an intensive diplomatic effort Government ministers spelt out plans

evidence for possible legal action. and a monitoring operation to gather In a few days, from its dock south of Perth the 'Oceanic Viking' will steam on the Japanese whale kill to keep a close watch in the Southern Ocean. It will make a confronting sight, even with the machine guns stored below.

The Customs boarding party and the 'Oceanic Viking' will not be armed. Customs officers will use specialised telephoto lenses to record the fleet harpooning up to 1,000 whales, including endangered fin whales. The tape would then be used in a court to try to prove this is not scientific research.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett had this pointed message for the Japanese Government. If you read Australian lips, you'll say that slaughtering whales is not scientific. It's cruel, it's barbaric and it's unnecessary.

Heading out of Auckland Harbour to join the hunt, the Greenpeace ship 'Esperanza'. The Foreign Affairs Minister is warning them not to get in the way of the harpoons. The capacity for rescue is low. But Greenpeace is not backing off. What we are planning to do is use the pumps that we have on the back of our inflatables to create water in front of the boats so that they'll have difficulty finding the whales and, once they found them, they'll have difficulty trying to shoot them. The Government is ramping up the diplomatic pressure as well, with a formal protest to Tokyo in coming days. At the International Whaling Commission, the Government wants to try to close the loophole that allows so-called scientific whaling. Mark Burrows, National Nine News. Leatherjackets and flatheads caught in Sydney Harbour are back on the menu after being given a near-perfect health check.

New dioxin tests have shown that eating the popular fish is not as dangerous as scientists had first warned. On the harbour today some anglers were catching a bag full. Are they good to eat? Good. And some were catching bait. Oh, it's too small. Two years ago, the Government warned harbour fish had been poisoned by cancer causing dioxins, the result of decades of industrial activity. Since then, several thousand more fish have been tested and today we learned flathead and leatherjackets are nowhere near as toxic as first thought. These are very popular species and you'll be able to eat far more of them than you could in the past.

The health advice had been to eat no more than a few mouthfuls a month. Now we can safely have two dozen helpings of leatherjacket and a dozen servings of flathead. Go for it. That's what I encourage every angler to do this summer - go for it. It's still not healthy to eat any fish caught west of the Harbour Bridge, though some do. There's nothing wrong with the fish. You know they are fine. A ban on commercial fishing remains. But the National Parks Association today suggested

that even recreational fishing should be banned so that parts of the harbour can be set aside as marine sanctuaries. Scientists say it's home to more than 500 fish species. We could have areas within the harbour which are protected from all fishing. No, don't. Don't stop. Dale Paget, National Nine News. 2007 will go down as a vintage year. When it comes to the HSC,

67,000 students received their results today and more of them finished with high-level grades than any group since 2001. The Tambassi quads hit the computer very early this morning. Oh, my God, three band fives. Congratulations. And I was one of a band five for IT. All four had sat for the exams together, and three of them quickly found good news on the Board of Studies website. And then James's phone went off. I got Band 6 and a Band 5 and I could have got two Band 6s. The results might differ, but the early morning scene was much the same all over the State. Oh, what did you get? Oh my god, I got 97 for Economics.

Oh my god, Sarah!

Overall, most of the kids did well - 68% with marks of 70 and higher, and more students than ever before getting into the high achiever bands. Oh my god, I went so good in Maths. This is the 40th year of the HSC and the standards of the NSW HSC are world-class and so students today can be proud of their achievements. There's still one more nervous night to go - tomorrow, students will find out whether they've done well enough to get into the universities, and the courses, that they want. But with tens of thousands of job vacancies out there, business leaders are urging school leavers to consider the alternatives. Just because you're bright and you've achieved well doesn't mean you have to go to university to get where you want to go. Peter Harvey, National Nine News. In the news ahead - British singer Amy Winehouse possibly heading to jail. A dramatic rescue as a ship breaks up near the Arctic. And home at last - the Aussie digger brought back from Vietnam.

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Five teenagers have been remanded in custody over a string of violent robberies in the Bankstown area. They were arrested in raids on seven homes early this morning. They are accused of stealing money, phones and iPods in more than 20 robberies over the past 6 weeks.

They robbed whoever was available to them, just opportunistic - people walking home from work, going to work, walking through shopping centres. The ages of the accused range from just 14 to 18. The Swedish-born Sydney socialite Charlotte Lindstrom an undercover policeman

has pleaded guilty to soliciting to kill a witness in her boyfriend's drug trial.

The 23-year-old has agreed to give evidence against Steven Spaliviero. She'll be sentenced on Friday. A Coroner has recommended a $100,000 reward

to help find the killers of a man gunned down at his Sydney home. His widow has pleaded for public help but police fear those responsible have fled overseas. It has been almost two years since her husband was murdered and still Amineh Shaban doesn't know why. 33-year-old Masoud Faroughi answered the door of their Kellyville home and was confronted by two men. They asked for directions, then in front of his six-year-old son, they shot Faroughi in the head and stomach. Please, please, if you have any information in this case,

please come forward and let the police to know about it. Mr Faroughi's son helped detectives create this computer image of one of the killers. They have identified possible suspects, but it's feared they have fled interstate or overseas.

Today the coroner declared it a murder by persons unknown and he recommended authorities post a $100,000 reward. There are still lines of inquiries that can be pursued and there are persons of interest that need to be looked at. There is no doubt the killing was a professional hit. Ballistics tests show the killers carved a cross into the tips of their home-made bullets, effectively creating hollow point rounds, designed to shatter on impact. Detectives say the part-time cabbie had been secretly dating women he had met on the Internet. The murder has now been passed to the police cold case unit. And I hope they find the person responsible... ..but please come forward and let us know. Shaun Fewings, National Nine News. A desperate situation near the Arctic as a Russian freighter was breaking up on rocks and the 12 crew gathered on top of the vessel's bridge.

A Norwegian helicopter-rescue team was able to hoist all of them to safety. The ship's engines had failed during a storm.

Anyone falling into the icy water would have been killed within minutes. Shifting power in South Africa - where President Thabo Mbeki has lost his leadership of the ruling ANC in a party ballot. Comrade Jacob Zuma, 2,329. CROWD ROARS Jacob Zuma is now the frontrunner to gain the country's presidency in the 2009 elections. Mr Mbeki retains the presidency until then, despite today's party defeat. British singer Amy Winehouse now has legal trouble as she continues to self-destruct with her drink and drug addictions. The 24-year-old has been arrested over a plot to bribe a publican, allegedly offering him more than $400,000 to drop an assault case against her husband. The husband is already in custody, charged over the conspiracy.

Winehouse has been released but is now at risk of a similar charge. A digger killed in action during the Vietnam War has finally returned home. Lance Corporal John Gillespie was in a helicopter shot down 36 years ago. The return of his remains a great relief to his grieving family. He left home almost 40 years ago. Today Lance Corporal Gillespie's sister, widow and daughter watched as he finally came back. We've made it, we have done this, we've got him home. We've brought him home, babe. MAN: Hear hear. It's taken years of dogged efforts by veterans group Operation Aussies Home to find and return their fallen comrade, with military honours. As one soldier to another, I say to Lance Corporal John Gillespie, "Welcome home, mate." The medical assistant volunteered for a rescue mission in April 1971 when his helicopter was shot down, a crash Roy Zegers managed to survive. At the drop of a hat, would go out on any mission, regardless of whether it was daytime, night time, dangerous - he was there. He left behind a young wife and 2-year-old girl for whom today is about more than a? memory, but something very tangible. I've never been able to touch my father.

He's always been able to touch me when I was a baby, but I can actually touch him now, because he's home. PTC So now there are just three Australian servicemen still listed as missing in Vietnam. The search for them continues, but it's been likened to finding a needle in a haystack. As to whether it's even worth the effort We're just so happy that he's home on home soil

and that we can say hello and have a beer with him. Brett McLeod, National Nine News.

Ken with sport is next - and Ricky Ponting wants to send a message to India? By thrashing New Zealand tomorrow.

Ponting also hints at playing Brad Hogg in the first Test. And, in the Sydney to Hobart, a woman literally at the top of her sport. Yeah, uh, not that well. Right. Well, there's always tennis. I found a new top. It's not pink, is it? No. No, it's not. PHONE RINGS Sorry. We got caught up... Can you pick me up some cream on the way home? Cream? Sure. Honey, where are you? WOMAN: Simply recharge $30 each month with Telstra's Pre-Paid Freedom offer and stay closer. Yeah, we're going to bed soon. Alright. Night-night. OK. Love you. 'Bye. Love you. 'Bye. Did I put it on? You put it on.

OFF! is a new-generation insect repellent. Doesn't feel like I've got anything on. It's non-greasy, pleasant and smells great. You've got it on. OFF! - feels great on, keeps bugs off. Michael Clarke will open the batting alongside Matthew Hayden in tomorrow's Chappell-Hadlee decider against New Zealand in Hobart. With Adam Gilchrist rested, replacement wicketkeeper Brad Haddin will bat at six and Australian captain Ricky Ponting wants a big win

to unsettle the Indians ahead of our upcoming Test series.

Ponting had his head down, focused on beating New Zealand, while his opposite was being a total realist. I think we just realise we are fortunate to have a chance to stay in the series. Crushing New Zealand is Ponting's aim tomorrow because he wants India to know that, come Boxing Day, the gloves are off. He gave the strongest indication yet that Brad Hogg will play in the first Test, scoffing at India's suggestion the spinner held no fears for them. A lot of players have struggled to read Hoggy in one-day cricket and he brought a lot of guys undone. I don't see why there should be any difference in Test cricket. Hogg's selection would mean a choice between Test-incumbent paceman Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait. Returning from injury for the one-dayers, Tait has been terrifyingly fast.

I think Tait deserved his chance after the World Cup, and other games he's played for Australia, to come back into the team. It's a tough game, there's no doubt about that, You've got to make tough calls and tough selections at different points.

Indian dasher Dhoni was confronted with the question, should Australia go with a 4-pronged pace attack? It's up to them, it's their strategy

Any more bouncers? Of greater concern for India, rain is predicted for their only practice game against Victoria,

beginning tomorrow. 82 yachts will set sail in this year's Sydney to Hobart, provided there are no more mishaps before Boxing Day. Racing in her first classic is 24-year-old Robin Hilton, who has one of the most dangerous jobs afloat. Robin's job on 'Hugo Boss II' requires strength and the ability to conquer fear. She is a rigger -

her office is at the top of the mast, more than 30m above sea level, and she has to turn up in all sorts of conditions. Hello, it's me at the top of the mast. It's a bit windy up here but it's pretty fun. The pure nature of the work means it's rare to see a woman doing it. There are only a couple of professional female riggers worldwide

and this will be Robin's first Sydney to Hobart. is avoiding a catastrophe Her chief responsibility the equipment and forget the height. and that means countless checks of without fail before we go sailing I try to do this every day while we're out there because if anything broke and I would have no friends. then the mast would fall down swept across the city centre today. The race build-up were introduced to the public Skippers and crew among the line-honours contenders. and there was plenty of rivalry a lot of money to come over here, I want it very badly. It has cost a lot of effort and a lot of time. for the Hobart race this year We've got some specialised sails so it's pretty exciting. which we have never had before, just the second boat 'Wild Oats XI' is hoping to become to win the race three times.

Clinton Fletcher, National Nine News.

Stephanie Gilmore, Australia's newest world champion, trophy and a smile to match. has returned home with a big shiny this week The 19-year-old sufer created history to claim the world title. when she became the first ever rookie with being a world champ A lot of responsibility comes

and live up to it. and hopefully I can do the job well Gilmore's victory completes an Aussie double, with fellow Queenslander Mick Fanning, the male world champion. After the break - and Majella with the weather details. the CommSec finance report

for Centro shareholders today To finance, and some relief after the supermarket owner said $4 billion of loans. it's confident of refinancing Centro shares are 50% higher today, but are still only a quarter of last week's price.

any more like summer. Certainly not feeling

quite cloudy. Only light falls overnight but still the temperatures quite mild. And that cloud is keeping 24 for the city. 26 degrees further west. of humidity around, We've still got a fair bit a little warmer than that. so that's making it feel That won't change tomorrow. coming across the south. The trough is taking its time It's affecting Adelaide now. inland parts of NSW tomorrow. We'll see some wet weather over Gradually making it to the coast.

by mid-afternoon tomorrow. Showers in the Western Suburbs afternoon or into the evening. Then the Eastern Suburbs by late chance of a storm for Sydney. On Friday there's a pretty good the wet weather Then the trough bringing is going to go through on Saturday morning.

It could be a little later than that. And if that's the case there could be some storms on Saturday afternoon. moving as it is at the moment, If it's right on schedule and keeps But clearing by late afternoon. then morning rain, windy. weather starting to come through There'll be a fair bit of wet there could be some storms. for Melbourne and Hobart tomorrow and Brisbane will stay dry.

In Sydney it will be cloudy. in the afternoon and evening. And showers most likely North to north-easterly winds. temperatures in the mid to high 20s. And they'll help keep the 25 for the city. on Thursday in Parramatta. And it'll get to 28 degrees Staying warm to start the weekend.

going to change the wind direction Then we've got a cold front that's and to start the week. and make it cooler on Sunday for Christmas Eve There is the chance of showers kicking around on Christmas Day. and there could be one or two still for this Wednesday. That's National Nine News

I'm Mark Ferguson, goodnight.