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ABC Midday Report -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) On local share market the

All Ords is 34 points higher

after two hours of trade. The

Nikkei is also higher.

More finance later. Residents

in Victoria have begun putting

their fire plans in place as

they prepare for the biggest threat since Black Saturday. In

a first for the State, a Code

Red catastrophic day has been

declared in the Wimmera in

Victoria's north west where the

temperature is set to climb to

44 degrees. Citizen s have been

told to keep away . Much of the

state is facing extreme fire

danger and the police are

urging the public to help them

spot potential firebugs. We

will be out there again today

because it is an extreme

weather event. So we will be

looking. I'm not going to talk

exactly how we do that. Again

the key message to the public

is if you see anything

suspicious take note of it and

let us know as quickly as

possible. A total fire ban is

in place for the entire State.

Kevin Love from the Department of Sustainability and

Environment says while

conditions are not as bad as

Black Saturday, the situation

remains very serious. Code Red

is a new category that's been

brought in this year. It's a

national system and it's also

obviously based on the

experiences of last year. What

we are saying in a Code Red

situation if you're in a

high-risk bushfire area, then

the prospects of staying and

defending a house are very

limited. And our advice is the

safest option is to leave the

area for the day. Can you

explain to me just how that is

different from last year in

terms of advising residents

whether they should stay or

go? The experience of last year

showed that the people that

decided to stay in those

circumstances who thought that

they could defend properties

found that the fire conditions

were absolutely overwhelming in

the conditions that we had on

Black Saturday. Now, as I said,

today and tomorrow are not

going to be of that magnitude,

but they've certainly got to

the point where the bureau has

declared Code Red for the

Wimmera today and so our advice

in a Code Red situation is if

you're in a high risk area, the

safest option is to leave and

leave early. The Wimmera was

of course affected by the fires

in February last year. What

precautions have you taken to

make sure that this doesn't

happen again? The Wimmera had a

grassfire around Horsham on

that day, and that was

contained very successfully by

the CFA and DSE working

together on that day. There are

few houses lost but the fire

fight was quite successful.

That team has once again

prepared for today, they have

been put in place this morning.

The incident management team is

in place and they are ready in

case we get a similar incident today. What's the weather

forecast? Is there any relief

in sight? The weather forecast

is that things will get worse

this afternoon. It's in the mid

to high 30s now at Horsham.

That temperature will increase

over the afternoon and the fire

danger ratings will increase

significantly. We expect a cool

change to come through the

south west of the State later

this evening, but it won't

across Victoria until the later

part of the afternoon tomorrow.

So that's why for the north

east ability the northern

country, there is a strong

potential that the conditions

will be Code Red tomorrow in

those areas. Kevin Love in

Melbourne, thanks for joining

us. Thanks, Nicole. As the

south-east swell trs, total

fire pans are in place across much of southern New South Wales and Tasmania. South

Australians are also preparing

for extreme heat and hot winds,

creating the worst bushfire

conditions there in five years. Catastrophic fire warnings have

been declared in 10 of the 15

fire ban districts, including

the heavily populated Adelaide

Hills. Many residents there

have already left their homes

to find a safer place. Adelaide

is facing its fifth straight

day above 35 with a forecast

top of 42 degrees. Five years

ago, five people lost their

lives in devastating bushfires

on the Eyre Peninsula. Hundreds

of mourners have attended the

funeral of Nitin Garg, stabbed

to death in Melbourne a week

ago. It was a cry of disbelief

and unbearable loss. Nitin

Garg's mother is still unable

to accept the murder of her son

in Melbourne more than a week

ago. The family wants justice.

The 21-year-old 's body was

returned to his home town in

the northern state of Punjab.

His relatives never imagined he

would come home like this. His

mother says "He was as

intelligent as four sons. And

his loss is irreplaceable."

Local community leaders are

demanding an end to the

violence against Indians in Australia. The State minister

for jail says it's the

responsibility of the Australian Government to

protect Indian students.

Hundreds of mourners gathered

at the cremation ground. Many

people in this region are

worried about their own children living in Sydney and

Melbourne. The State of Punjab

has been hit hard, families

from that is right part of

northern India have sent

thousands of sons and daughters

to study in Australia. Now

they've lost one of their own.

A representative from the

Australian High Commission laid

a wreath and offered condolences. Australian

authorities are working very

hard to find the culprits who

did this and once they are

caught they will be punished

with the full force of the

law. Nitin Garg's frail

grandfather was carried forward

to touch the coffin and say goodbye. The family wants

Australians and Indians to

exist in harmony. They should live all together with the

love, like brothers, like

sisters and like everybody.

Like a family. Nitin Garg's promising young life was turned

to his ashes. His loved ones

hope no other Indian family is

forced to endure such a brutal

loss.

The family of Nitin Garg is

offering a US $10,000 reward

for information that leads to

the arrest of his killer no. Murder weapon has been found

but detectives say they're

making progress on the case.

Victoria's police Chief

Commissioner says despite

criticism of the force in

India, police are respected by

Melbourne's Indian community.

Indians are safer in this

country than they their their

own country. If we look at the

data, they are safer here than

they are in India. They're the

facts. What we're seeing is

really an hysterical and

uninformed outcry from some

portions of the Indian media,

and I expect we'll have to live

with that. The Chief

Commissioner says the offer of

a reward could complicate the investigation. The Federal

Government has rejected

suggestions that its hand Ling

of the whaling controversy is

damaging its relationship with

Japan. Japanese officials have

criticised the Acting Prime

Minister Julia Gillard for

statements she made after last

week's collision in the

Southern Ocean. They've told

Australian diplomats it wasn't appropriate for Ms Gillard to

call on both the Japanese and

the Sea Shepherd activists to

show restraint. But the government isn't backing

down. I don't think it is going

to impact upon our

relationship. And I think that

all Julia was doing was the

same as all of us have been

doing, the Prime Minister,

myself, the Foreign Minister,

in strongly advocating

Australia's position. Both New

Zealand and Australia are

investigating the incident. The

Togo football team has been

ordered home after three of its

members were killed in a gun

attack in Angola three days

ago. Another wounded player has

been flown to South Africa for treatment. The team was

travelling by bus into Angola

when it was attacked by local

rebels. Overshadowing events in

Angola, pictures of the injured

Togo goalkeeper. He was flown

to South Africa with gunshot

wounds to his back. Doctors say

he's now stable, following

emergency surgery. His

condition, though, still a cause for concern. Meanwhile

the Togo team have been ordered

to leave Angola, still reeling

from Friday's shooting, which

saw three of their colleagues

killed, their own government

has demanded their come home. We're not going to take part

in these dramatic

circumstances. Our players are

in a state of shock and we

don't think the security which

should've been placed around

them is giving the necessary

guarantees. These were the

moments after the team bus was

attacked by a separatist group

armed with machine Gunns. The

team captain is clearly

stunned. Yet it's emerged at

one point the team had chosen

to stay to play their games and

to honour their colleagues have

who'd been killed but they

appear to have come under

pressure to leave. Security in

Kabinda still in doubt. The

authorities decided that we are

to pack and return and so we

will pack and return. But those

who are being left behind, for

those who are dead, those who

fell, will they be hap nee that

we return? As the Togo squad

prepares to go home, the Opening Ceremony will be marked

with a minute's silence for the

dead. An African football

tournament remembered for all

wrong reasons. Heavy snow fall continues to

cause havoc across wide parts

of Europe. In Germany blizzard

conditions brought traffic to a

standstill. Over 150 people

were trapped on the A 20

highway until they were rescued

by snow ploughs. In Poland, the

railway system was hit, trains cancelled, and passengers had

to be rescued when one became

stuck in the snow. While in

south-east France, it was an

airport that was frozen.

Norway's experiencing its

coldest weather for two decade

s with the mercury plunging to

minus 42 degrees. But Norway

being Norway, life goes on, we

very little disruption. Britain

was also expected to be hit by

snow fall, but had a reprieve overnight but that hasn't meant an end to the weather problems

or the deaths as the grim

British winter continues. It

may not look like it, but by

recent standards, the UK has

had a lucky escape this

weekend. The 20 centimetres of

snow predicted has largely

failed to fall and the weather

warnings have been downgraded.

But Britain is still a

treacherous place to be. 27

deaths have now been blamed on

the big freeze. A man died

today after falling through ice

on the river Tees in Newcastle.

It's thought he may have been

trying to save his dogs. Leave

the main roads at your peril.

These were the conditions in

the Derbyshire Peak District.

As we drove towards Buxton the

road became impassable.

Everyone lend as hand to try to

clear the road. At last the

plough can get through. The

army was drafted in help those

unable to get out to the shops themselves. I can't cook much

because I haven't got the

strength, you see. So of

course, without these chaps, I

wouldn't have anything too

much. In response to pleas from desperate councils,

thousands of tonnes of

emergency gritting salt have

now been made available.

Supplies from this depot in

Cheshire which were destined

for Germany have now been

diverted to distribution

centres across the

country. We've had fairly exceptional circumstances and

what we're trying to do is to

redivert some of our salt from

alternative uses into deicing

use that will help the

situation. But more snow was forecast and

forecast and with temperatures

remain ing, icy conditions will cause problems for several days to come.

There's been a jump in the

number of jobs advertised in

newspapers and on the Internet.

Newspaper job ads rose 11.6%

last month, while Internet job ads increased by

ads increased by 5.6%. It's the

strongest monthly growth in job

ads for more than 18 months.

Western Australia and the ACT

have tied as Australia's best

performing economies. The

CommSec study ranked the States and Territories against eight

key indicators. WA's top

ranking came from investment in

the mining sector. While in the

ACT, there's been solid growth

in house an construction. New

South Wales has come in last

again, lagging behind the

Northern Territory.

Joining me now to discuss

the findings is the report's

author Craig James from

CommSec. The nation's biggest

economy continues to drag the

chain. Is there any relief in

snith There is certainly relief

in sight. Look at today's job ads. New South Waless witho was

one of the best performing

States along with Northern

Territory. If we do see a

revival in terms of the job

market, that should provide

more momentum for our economy.

But the fundamental problem is

we're still not building enough

units and apartments to house

the growing population and

fundamentally that's where the

government needs to focus, to

be able to get more developers,

more investors interested in

the market. At the other end

of the pack, WA is doing quite

well on the back of mining, but

the ACT is a bit of a surprise.

What's driving growth

there? Certainly is somewhat of

a surprise but I suppose it's

the fact that the ACT Government as well as the

Federal Government hasn't been

axing and burning their staff

numbers, holding onto staff.

That's kept unemployment close

to the lowest in the nation alongside Northern Territory.

But it's also the strength that

we're seeing in the housing

market of the ACT. Of course,

if you do get more if you do get more dwellings

being createed that creates

momentum right wait through the

economy, for builders, for

tradesmen, for the retail

sector, lifts overall economic

growth. That's why it's at the

top of the ranking. Western

Australia and Queensland are of

course the main beneficiaries

of strong resources. Is that

set to continue? Certainly we

believe so. China's economy is

going gang busters. The same

with the rest of the Asian

economies. They're picking up

quite nicely after the US

financial crisis of last year.

Significant demand for

resources. Reinvig race of some

of the mining projects which

were shelved last year. And we

should see some pretty strong

growth. Across the mining State, Western Australia and

Queensland, but also to some

extent Northern Territory. So

we know that States dependent

on mining some of the big

winners but what's the outlook

for 2010? I think Victoria has

the potential to move up the

leaderboard. It's seeing

strength basically right the

way across-the-board. It hasn't

got the resource sector to rely

on, but in terms of the own

internal dynamics about low

unemployment, certainly that is

very encouraging. New South

Wales should see some degree of

improvement over 2010, with the

end of the global financial

crisis. And overall, I think

some of the best performing

economies, such as the ACT and

Tasmania, may go back to their

traditional area round about

the middle of the pack. They've

benefitted from the fact that the global financial crisis

hasn't hit them as hard as some

of the bigger States. And finally, what's happening on

the markets today? Certainly in terms of the share market

today, very, very strong

performance. Our market, the

All Ordinaries up in the order

of 30 points. The area of

strength at the moment is

mining and it's not just the

major miners, it's the minor

miners which are also driving

growth today. But if there's

any area of weakness it's the

fact that the retailers are

giving back some of the gains

of last week. It's also the

fact that some of the companies

which are dependent on global

economic activity are weakening

because of the high Australian

dollar. That's companies such

as Ansell and Billabong which

are down the order 1%. The

Aussie dollar, superstrong,

around 93 US cents. Craig

James, thank you. Stocks on

Wall Street made modest gains on Friday.

Some of the other stories

making news in business. Four

Rio Tinto executives being held

in China will find out today

whether their case will move to

the courts or face an extended

investigation. Australian Stern

Hu and the other three Rio

employees are being held on

charges of industrial espionage

and bribery. Chinese media say

if the investigation is

extended again, at least one of

the four would face more

serious charges, and

potentially more than 10 years

in jail. And China says it's overtaken Germany as the

world's leading exporter.

Exports rose 17.7% in December,

which snapped a 13-month

decline in the balance of

trade. It's bonus season on

Wall Street and executives at some of America's biggest banks are about to get a healthy new

year's package. That's despite

last year's pail-out by the

government, and many taxpayers

are outraged. While millions of

Americans struggle to find work

and pay their mortgages Wall

Street banks are preparing to

award bonuses big enough to rival those before the

bail-out. The bonuss this year

were record-busting numbers.

When Obama administration --

one Obama administration

official calls it offensive. The idea as the

financial system heals they

just go back to business as

usual is outrageous. But since

banks such as Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have paid back

the taxpayer money they

borrowed, the administration

has no authority to limit pay.

Six of the country's largest

banks have set aside $112

billion for compensation. And

that number is set to rise when

they announce final earnings

reports in coming weeks. The

banks are defending themselves,

saying the bonuses have strings

attached. Most of it will be

paid in stock which based on

the long-term performance of

these companies that they work

for. And I think it's a good thing. But top investment

bankers are still looking at up

to eight figure bonus

cheques. I think it's

ridiculous. It's definitely an

outrage. It's kind of obscene.

A Goldman Sachs board member

recently explained the huge numbers. We need the people

there to do the job, and if you

don't pay them for their

performance, you'll lose them.

And it's much like professional

athletes. And movie stars.

Baib Ruth once said in response

to a question about why he made

more money than the President

"I had a good year." It was a

government bail-out and other

incentives that made the banks' profits possible.

Police in Hong Kong have

arrested a man after an acid

attack that injured 30 people.

The attack is the layest in a

string of similar incidents

across the city. Paramedics

worked quickly to help the acid

attack victims dousing them in

water. Up to 30 people, among

them several tourists, were

splashed by the acid. You guys

think it will get better.

Bottles containing acidic

liquid were dropped into the

building into the busy Temple Street night market, popular

with tourists. Government

authorities have condemned the

attack. This is an outrageous

and heartbreaking incident.

Police have offered a reward to

people who can help in

arresting the attacker. A man

in his 30s was arrested by

police after he was spotted on

a rooftop of the building next

to the scene of the attack.

More than 100 people have been

injured in similar incidents

since December 2008 but police

would not say if the man is connected to these previous attacks. All the victims have

since been treated in hospital

and released.

A quick look at our stories

making news around the world.

There's been more violence in

Indian administered Kashmir,

where hundreds of protesters have slashed with police. They

were angry at the death of a

teenage boy they claim was

killed by paramilitary forces. The demonstrators threw rocks

at police, and then had to be

dispersed using tear gas. More

than 700 Tamil Tigers have been

reunited with their families.

They'd been held in

rehabilitation camp since the

Sri Lankan civil war ended last

year. 100,000 war refugees are still being still being detained at the

camp. And the member of the

United Arab Emirates ruling

family has not been found

guilty of shooting at and

torturing an Afghani who work

Ford him. The defence said

Sheik Issa, who is half brother

to the President, had been

drugged and didn't know what he

was doing. The failed attempt

to blow up a US plane

to blow up a US plane on

Christmas Day has bon more than

expose weaknesses in security.

Some passengers are finding the

changes hard to get used to. Is

it a come? It looked like an

alien. Is it a man? To me it

looks like a group of four

robots. It's sort of like

superman. The first time young Clark Kent experienced X-ray vision and vision and penetrated the

girls' locker room ... this is

the airport scanning device

now. Oh! That is gross. But now. Oh! That is gross. But he

was pretty much the only one we

talked to who objected and even

he changed his mind ... It's

not has though we're naked.

It's just an X-ray. The thing

is we all go to doctors. I'm

old. Ha ha ha! I don't old. Ha ha ha! I don't care.

Life has finally caught up to

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total

Recall. Get him! Don't move!

The technology has had

reporters doing exposes,

exposing themselves. Apart from

my manly physique can you

actually see the porridge I had

for breakfast. Porridge

for breakfast. Porridge is one thing, but hide those private

parts! I should put a metal

plate in my pants. Do that now

right before I'm screened. A

metal plate in your pants is

nothing compared to a bomb in

your underpants. Suicide

underwear. Crotch bomber. Fruit

of the boom. You know that guy

that got caught with the bomb

in his undercare? Oh wow! I

didn't know that. I just

didn't know that. I just

watched the Disney Channel more

than anything. Maybe he should

watch this old Bud Light commercial Now, X-ray vision

...

X-ray vision no longer

available no Bud Light. Now

available at airports. Last

year, need to get in shape for

year, need to get in shape for

spring. This year, need to get

in shape for airport screenings. But most don't

mind. No, if it meant that I

might not have my ass blown out

of the sky. Fresh water

crocodiles are being bullied

out of their territory by their

big (e) saltwater rivals.

They're also being killed by

cane toads so the Northern Territory Government is now

considering slashing the number

that can be harvested. They're smaller

smaller and more streamlined

than their saltwater relatives.

And while they've got the eyes

of a killer, they're normally

very timid around humans. Fresh water crocodiles are generally

considered to be harmless. Now the croc itself is facing a

number of threats. While a

full-grown fresh water

crocodile reaches about 3m, the

salt water variety can reach 7m

in length. Since saltwater crocodiles became protected in

crocodiles became protected in the Territory their numbers

have exploded. They're now pushing further and further

upstream, hunting and killing

their fresh water cousins.

Their size also means freshies

aren't as popular when it comes

to skins, bag, belts and boots. The saltwater crocodile

is the el supremo of all crocodile leather. That's the

one that really high-quality

products, that's the species

they want. Freshies, unfortunately, they're smaller,

the scales are bigger, they have bone in the belly, so

unfortunately, they just can't

compete with the salty on the

international market. So the

Northern Territory Government

is considering massively

reducing the amount of fresh

water crocs that can be

harvested from the wild each

year. Eggs will drop from 4,000

to 300. Hatchlings from 6,000

to 1,000 and juveniles from

1,000 to 300. We're looking at

1,000 to 300. We're looking at

making sure that any harvest is

sustainability, and to monitor

those impacts on the species. The cane toad is another reason

the changes are being made.

Researchers say when the toads

enter an area fresh water croc

numbers drop and while they say

freshies aren't going to be

wiped out any time soon, the

toxic toad remains a threat

that needs to be monitored.

Most kids dream of running

away to the circus, but in

Brisbane, the big top has come

to them. One of the world's top circus acts is launching a

world tour, providing ample

inspiration for some would-be

performers. The circus train

has rolled in to Brisbane.

International outfit Le Grand circus opening its world tour at

at Queensland's performing arts

centre. The wheel of death is

the most dangerous act in the

world. 40 feet up, no safety

lines. Acrobats and gymnasts

from around the world have

spent two years refining their

jumps, twirls and ballet moves.

Russian born Igor Zarapov is

a fourth generation circus

performer. His family have been

in the business since the

1800s. For now, it's my life.

I'm enjoying. I'm already past

the point when it's hard for

me. Next door in the concert

hall the next generation is

just starting out. These

children are using the holidays

to build their schools. I know

a few people who are now

professional circus people,

they found that's what they

wanted to do. Parents say it's wanted to do. Parents say it's

better than playing computer

games. I think they're a

natural for it. They like to

trampoline, and you know, like

to run like mad things around

the house. And they like to

jump off the lounge suite so I

thought maybe. But there's

still a few years of practise

ahead before they will be ready for this.

To the weather now. The

satellite photo shows cloud

spreading over parts of South spreading over parts of South Australia, Western Australia

and the Northern Territory.

While thick cloud is persisting

in the tropics. Very hot

northerly winds are affecting

South Australia, Victoria and

parts of New South Wales,

leading to severe fire danger.

A trough in WA is moving east,

bringing storms and a southerly

change. A strong high in the

east is keeping Victoria, New

South Wales and southern

Queensland mostly fine. So

there will be showers and there will be showers and

potentially severe storms

associated with that trough in

the west and thundery showers

continuing in the tropics with the monsoon trough.

A final check of the midday

markets..

Our next full bulletin on

ABC1 is at 7 o'clock this

evening. I'm Nicole Chettle.

Have a great day.

Closed Captions by CSI

This program is not subtitled

SONG: # She was standing # Pale in a pale dress # Your heart tried to run # Yeah it tried to run

# Fearing the worst # And I try to help # But it's too late in the night to pretend

# It's too late It's always too late # Too late and you want her again... # PHONE RINGS MacDonald.