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Rivers of discontent - parish pump politics force a Murray-Darling rethink. For generations now the Murray-Darling Basin to be governed as though rivers would

respect State boundaries. That ends today. Horse trading

begins on a new Kiwi

government, while Labour's

leader faces the high jump.

'Tis the season to be ruthless

- unwanted and unneeded gifts

at Christmas. And another while

of pop. So famous we only have stone for Australia's princess

to say her first name - Kylie.

Australia, I love you and I

thank you very much.

Hello and welcome to ABC News

across Australia. I'm Ros

Childs. On the local share

market, bargain hunters are out

picking up stocks that have

taken a battering lately and

that includes the banks: More finance later in the

bulletin. The figures are

lower, but the passions are

not. Eastern Australia has

embarked on another debate over how much water needs to be

aside for the health of the

Murray-Darling River system. A draft report from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority

has floated a target lower than its last attempt which

triggered fury in regional

communities but as Greg Jennett

reports, even with these more

modest targets, the Authority's

work is set to stir outrage again. Saving up again. Saving up to 4,000

gigalitres once brought this

much grief. We can't put it out

because we've got no water.

They take it, hey!. So the Murray-Darling Basin Authority

has had a rethink Today we

start the next step toward a

new way of managing the

Basin. They're much smaller

steps this time. Instead of the

old 3-4,000 gigalitre target,

it's going for 2,750 and a thousand of that is already

being achieved. The process will

and a full figure may not be

needed if better water systems

become vabling. Numbers could

go up or down, but like I

continue to say to people, this

is more than just a number or

volume of water, it's what you

do with the water. Some of the water will be found through savings with better pipes,

channels and water efficiency, some from irrigation buybacks

and inevitably an economic

Basin relike on squeeze on communities in the

agriculture. Our plan hard

wires the requirement

show and that gives them a certainty that they can

participate and join in and

have a real say. The water

volumes have been calculated to

flush and revitalise the River

Murray all the way to its

end. The numbers released today

would have the mouth of the

Murray open 89% of the

time. Politics is as important

as the science in managing this

process. That's why 20 weeks

have been set aside for

consultation, to try to bridge

environmental interests on the the gulf of

one side and water users on the

other. It has its work cut

out. This is game on. This is

the start of the process, and what we've seen today doesn't

give us enough confidence that

we're going to flush salt from the river that it will flow

properly and that it can live.

And when they talk about

phasing it in, that's like

phasing in amputation for many

towns. If you take away the

base, the substance of their economic

base, the town will

fold. Beware of extreme history is side of this debate. But if

history is anything to go by, expect plenty

expect plenty of them. Of course, South Australia is the

river system's end user. Adelaide University ecologist

David pay tonne has been monitoring the nationally

recognised cue rong lagoons. He says pressure upstream has

forced the Authority to produce

a weaker blueprint in order to

protect irrigators. Let's give

plan is dog the best it can credit where credit

under the circumstances. Will

it actually deliver a healthy

environment in the future? I

doubt it. One way of judging

that is the frequency of flows

that will go to the Murray River. We know even in low-flow

years the river closed - it did

in 2002. We will have one year

in 10 when there is no flow to

the south. That to me

suggesting we are trade

environmental assets like the

Coorong to enable assets to continue

proposed water cuts are 2750

gigalitres to achieve what the Murray-Darling Basin Authority

calls balance in the system.

Stewart Ellis is the of the National Irrigators

Council and he joins me now

from Canberra. Do you accept

that view from David pay tonne that pressure from upstream

states has forced the Authority

to produce a weaker blueprint

in order to protect

irrigators? No, they certainly

haven't prd dused a weaker

blueprint to do that. The draft something in the vicinity of athat's

just slightly over 4,000

returned to the environment and megalitres of water being

that will have a serious detrimental effect to the food

producing communities along the river system. Irrigators aren't

unhappen - are unhappy and the

environmentalists are unhappy,

the balance right Amazingly, so maybe the Authority has got

15,000 megalitres of water in

the last 12 months has flown into South Australia. If the

salinity level in Lake

Alexandra is still above 5,000 bc, you have to question the management down there. You

mentioned a figure of 4,000 a

few moments ago. There have

irrigators been big concessions to

irrigators in this readvised plan. The original draft late

last year demanded cuts up to

4,000 gigalitres. That's now

down to 2750 gigalitres and

about a thousand of that has already been the actual amount that is

buried in the baseline - there is over 2 million megalitres

close on another million already recovered. To recover

megalitres, I is physically possible to megalitres, I don't believe it

deliver that water without

flooding the likes Shepparton,

chew ka and wag go on the

Murrimbidgee system to get the

water to the end of the river

system. The draft was readvised

mainly in response to South Wales who burnt the

paper. Do you expect a similar passionate reaction this time around? No, I don't think we

will see quite that reaction,

but people will take a little

while to perhaps digest what is

in this draft plan and what it

actually means for them as

irrigators and their communities, but what we are

sick of as regional communities

is just being treated with

contempt. We had the disastrous release of the guide some 12

months ago and to me it seems

the draft that's come out now

is just a slightly watered down version of

lower figure just dressed up

slightly differently. But slightly differently. But do

you accept that cuts have to be

made in order to preserve the

health of the basin and its

rivers and what cuts would you

find acceptable? Well, this is

about achieving outcomes. Here we are four years down the

track of water reform and we still don't have an environmental watering plan

that identifies what the assets

are, what amount of water we

need to look after them. All

they've done here is plucked a

figure out of the air I it's not high enough for the environmentalists, too high for

the draft says is for the

states to go away and develop

those water-sharing plans and justify

justify how key with possibly

use that amount of water. Stewart Ellis, thank you Thanks, Ros. Thousands of

people in the northern western

New South Wales towns of Wee

Waa, Moree and Gunnedah remain isolated by floodwaters. Swollen Mehi River forced the

evacuation of the more than 60

people in and around Moree last

night, but the river peaked lower lower than expected at 10.1m

and the river waters have begun

to slowly recede We don't

expect furg evacuation s at this stage, however, those

floodwaters can remain for 8 to 10 days. Authorities are

confident the worst of the

flooding has past. A lone

protester has been charged

after scaling a Brisbane bridge

causing peak-hour chaos. 391-year-old from the Gold Coast climbed the Story Bridge

this morning and stay thrd for

several hours. He eventually walked down walked down and was arrested. It's believed he was protested

against a family dispute Family

law courts in this State are a

disgrace. In May, a man climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge

calling for policy changes to

the way child custody is handled. Tensions remain high

in Pakistan over the deaths of

24 soldiers and a bungled

cross-border raid by NATO

forces. The victims have been

laid to rest after a ceremony

attended by the chief of the

Army where they were farewelled with full military honours. The

deaths have triggered outrage

in city as cross the country

where effigies and the American

flag have been burnt. NATO has

begun an inquiry and begun an inquiry and has

apologised for what it's dubbed

a tragic, un intended incident,

sentiments echo ed by the

United States.

Some reports suggest NATO forces were responding to cross-border fire. cross-border fire. New Zealand's victorious Prime

Minister is meeting his Cabinet

today to piece together his new government. Victorious, but

still in need of the numbers.

John Key seeks to meet with old allies and friends to form a government. We'll have a

confidence and supply agreement

with them which means we work

with them, they vote with us,

means we can put our Budget and

I need that to say to the

Governor-General I've got a

majority. At 1 o'clock John Key's meeting with United

Future leader Peter Dunne, John

Banks and multiparty co-leader

Peter Sharples. Talks with the

Greens are also on the cards.

While John Key might be a Prime

Minister on standby, Labour

leader Phil Goff is tipped to

stand down after his party's

worst defeat ever As leader of

the Labour Party we had a

result that wasn't as good as I

would have liked and I will take responsibility for

that. The Labour leader is

making an announcement on his future tomorrow.

is planning to stay on as MP

for Mount Ross kill, but some results are still in doubt,

including chz Central, a dead

heat on the heat on the night. Special

votes are being counted to find

the winner. Our target is to

release the official results on

Saturday 10th December. Either

way, John Key looks set to return

return to power. The exact composition

composition of his government

should be determined soon.

With the Christmas shopping

season getting into full swing

, consumers are being warned to

think carefully about the

presents they're buying. An independent survey has found that 20% of people have

received a gift over the last

year that they are less-than-enthusiastic about.

Some simply throw the present

out, others pass it on.

Christopher Zinn is from

'Choice' the consumer group

which did the study We found in

the survey about a fifth put it

in storage or threw they lose interest very

quickly. Maybe because it isn't

a very good present or it doesn't suit them. Maybe

because it's more cheap than

cheerful. There is a fair level

of ingratitude out there or

people who are getting presents

that don't work for them. How many

many people are asked to

exchange a gift for something

that they do want or even take something back and keep the

cash? Again, the survey shows a

number of people, particularly

older people who will go back

to get an exchange, and that is

a good sign going to the right stores and they're ex-changing something

because they prefer another

colour or whatever, but there

are even thoughs who manage to

get instead of an exchange a

refund and then use the cash

for their own purposes, so I

know it's the thought that

counts, but people love the

flexibility of something that

they can buy for themselves. So

is the message from this that it's better to ask somebody

what they want rather than take

the Rhys snk I think the

message we would like to put

out there is to buy smart this

silly season and it

because people don't put much

thought or much research into

gifts, usually because they're

in a complete rush or because somebody has hard everything

and it's hard to know what and it's hard to know what to

get, that they do end up buying

something with novelty for

Christmas or soap or calendar,

so a bit of thought, bit of

time will save you money and

people might end up with gifts

they might want for a

change. What about vouchers,

Christopher, is that a happy

cards offer great flexibility,

but at 'Choice' we've had great complaints from people who had gift cards that gift cards that expired. Figures from America suggest a fifth of these are never redeemed. People put them at

the bottom of the drawer and

never spend them in time. If

you give a gift card, do remind

people to actually use it

because it's surprising how

many fail. And re-gifting? Yes,

the survey found 24% of people

There is no doubt it's not

completely socially accept to pass

pass on your gifts. You need to

be discreet F it saves

that's a good thing, but if you

playing parcel with some cheap

rubbish, perhaps that's not

such a good thing to re-gift. Christopher Zinn,

thank you Thank you. Ros. Media speculation

speculation today that Qantas will dump plans to start a new

airline in Asia is rust that, according to the airline. says talks are still continuing

with Singapore and Malaysia,

while the airline won't comment

on claim it is will opt for an alliance with Malaysia Airlines. Dairy farmers Airlines. Dairy farmers are in

for a tough 12 months with an

oversupply of milk pouring

object the global market. The National Australia bank's

monthly agribusiness wrap says Australian and New Zealand's

production have increased which

will help to depress

prices. And is tht sign

economists have been waiting for? stampeding back to the malls in

the US for the annual

Thanksgiving Day weekend sales.

Despite the global gloom, tills

rang up a new record, more than

$52 billion, a 16% boost on

last year. Let's take a check

of the markets with Juliette

Saly at CommSec Due for a

rebound and great to see the

market clawing back some ground

after the 7-week low on Friday.

Up by about 1.7% on the All

Ordinaries index in the wake of

European markets snapping a

losing streak on Wednesday. The financial sector is up 2.7%.

All the big four are looking

really good today. Qantas

results are out. How did they

do? Qantas has indicated its

first-half profit will come in

at $140-190 million but it has

updated the market on how much

the industrial disputes and the

cost of fuel has hit its bottom

line and that's been a hit to

about $650 million. The fact

that this first-half guidance

looks strong has impressed

investors. Qantas up more than 5% at 5% at $1.53. Warning from Rio

Tinto? Yes, basically said that its

its customers are becoming increasingly cautious in the

face of global economic

uncertainty, but at the same

time Rio Tinto says there is a lot of opportunities at the

moment that may never come

through again because of the

downturn around it says it's

very much aggressively on the prowl for acquisitions so

investors have welcomed this as

well. Continuity toipt up 2%. Sundance Resources trading

lower. Why? Sundance has failed

to secure a letter of confidence in the wake of its $1.65 billion takeover $1.65 billion takeover offer

for a company. Sundance shares

down about 8% to 39.25 cents. Juliette cents. Juliette Saly, thank

you Thanks, Ros. Onto the week

ahead and Wall Street, and

Europe's debt crisis is sure to be the focus again: The ABC awards at Australia's top

journalism ceremony in

Brisbane. The 'Four Corners'

team of Sarah Ferguson, Michael

Doyle and Anne Worthington won

the gold Walkley for their report on report on live cattle exports to Indonesia This was 'Four Corners''s 50th year, so this

is very special for us. This

award doesn't just go to this

story, this award goes to

everyone of the extraordinary

people working at 'Four

Corners'. Mark Willacy took the

Walkley for the best radio news and current affairs story for

his reporting of the aftermath

of the Japan's tsunami. The

by his peers and was awarded

for his journalic leadership.

His family accepted the

award. ABC News online has won the best online report category

and Tony Jones was recognised

with a Walkley for his broadcast interviews and

WikiLeaks website was honoured

for the most outstanding

contribution to journalism. 25

years in one career is a rare

milestone these days especially

in the pop business. Kylie

Minogue has been inducted into

the ARIA Hall of Fame for her

achievements which 1 albums in each of the last

four decades. Prime Minister

Julia Gillard says Kylie

Minogue is the face of Australia for hundreds Australia for hundreds of millions of people. Amazement that it started and that it started and I'm still here, gratitude, humility,

wonder and pride Also honoured

for 20 years of entertaining

children around the world were

the Wiggles. Sydney band Boy

and Bear scored five gongs, including best album and best

group, and Goyte had a big night winning Single of the

Year, best pop release and male artist. It's been a

bittersweet time Forrest depths in Western Australia's south-west as they went hole to

see if anything had survived

last week's bushfire. While

some have told some have told stories of how

they had successfully fought

off the flames, others were left to sift through the ashes. As the fire engulfed

houses around him, James

Howieson fought off the fire

with a hose and makeshift fire gear All you gear All you hear are the

noises indescribable, something

I will never forget. The roar

of the wind, roofs just

collapsing, gas bottles

exploding. He says he never contemplated leaving and even

kept his scuba gear by the pool

just in case he would be forced

to seek refuge. But when the

flames started licking the

eaves of his roof, he thought

the battle was over I was about

to give up. Have a look at it.

Have a look. It was on us. You

couldn't fight it with a house. I went suddenly I heard the chopper come over and, bang, nailed

it. The water bomber saved his

Gnarabup property but others

weren't so lucky. 40 homes have

been destroyed

queued as the roads were opened

to see what if anything was

left. With the fire now

contained and residents finally

allowed to return home, anger is mounting towards the doipt

environment and Conservation

and its prescribed burn that

went so wrong. Look what they've just Was the prescribed burn worth

it? Of course not. Jeff head

Strom is a key kayaker and says

there is no way the department should have persisted should have persisted with a burn-off in last week's

catastrophic conditions And I

knew and most people knew that

there was howling hot

northerlies coming in on the

Wednesday, and on the Monday

they're dropping. So you would

have to be sceptical. The

Premier has promised a full investigation, but with summer just

just day as way, locals here

want answers now. Little by little, international pressure

is taking a toll on Syria. In the latest development the Arab

League has improsed - has imposed sweeping sanctions on the country. Unprecedented

decision includes a ban on

travel for foirs and an embarg

go on transactions with the country's Central Bank. Cairo's

credentials as the centre of

the Arab world have been

challenged in recent years by claim that their capital, not

this one s the beating heart of

Arabism. So there is a hard

political irony in the unprecedented

unprecedented decision taken by

the Arab League here in Cairo

to isolate Syria, one of its

founder members. When the

league got together around a

table, it used to produce platitudes. Now it's followed desigh sieve action against

Libya in the spring in what

could be become a milestone in

the decline and fall Assad regime. Tahrir Square is

where the Arab League has its

headquarters. The square is so

volatile now that the bidding

can't be used. The meeting was

held elsewhere. The big changes

in the Middle East this year

are a major reason why the Arab

League is taking action. Arab

leaders have to worry much more

now about what their own people

are thinking. It is harder for

them to ignore the killing of

civilians by the leader of a major Arab country. Pictures continue to

on the web. This is said to be

the funeral of a man killed by

regime troops in . As they

chant, "we're not backing

down," the procession was

attacked. Someone shouts that the ray jooms forces are

firing. - that the regime

forces are firing. This looks

like a civil war in the making.

GUNFIRE. Syria denies it sets

out to kill civilians and says the sanctions are the sanctions are part of a Western conspiracy. This last

week has been dark and

tumultuous here in Egypt and

across the region. Change

continues, and there is no easy way

way ahead. Let's have a quick

look at other stories making

news around the world - a train

carrying nuclear waste is

continuing its slow journey

from France to Germany where it

will go into storage. Police

moved protesters from several

point as long the line after tracks were damaged. Rescue teams have been searching for

survivors vf of a bsh bsh after

a busy bridge collapsed in

central Indonesia, sending a bus, cars and motorcycles

plunging into the river below.

The 7750m structure built to reseem bell San Francisco's

Golden Gate Bridge was being

repaired when it failed. And

dozens of asylum seekers have

been rescued from the

Mediterranean sea after a

sailing boat carrying dozens of

people from Pakistan and Afghanistan sank off the

Italian port of

boat was thought to have come

from Greece or Turkey. Up to 20

people are still missing. Australian Formula One

driver Mark Webber has won the

final race of the season in

Brazil. Webber beat team meat

Sebastien Vettel to end a season which their Red Bull

team has dominated. Patrick

Galway reports. . Patrick Galloway reports. World champion Sebastien Vettel

started on pole for the 15th

time this season, but encountered problems on lap 15 We have a gear book

problem. The wheels came off

Timo Glock's race when the

wheels came off. Webber raced

to victory, Red Bull's 12th

race win of the 15 grand prixs

this season - good reason for a

victory dance Whatever you want

to call it, that's how

motorsport goes sometimes. So a

very important win for me and

the team again to finish on a high. Roger Federer was also

out for a season-ending win. He

took on Jo Wilfried Tsonga at the

the World Tour finals

close out the match in the

second, but claimed it overall

6-3, 6-7, 6-3, his sixth title at the event. Couldn't at the event. Couldn't be more

happier. I played great through

the fall now and looking

forward to next year, of

course. An amazing week and an

amazing season to finish

it. The 30-year-old won all

five matches this week and now

ends the year as world No. 2. Soccer fans are mourning the

sudden death of Welsh manager

Gary Speed. He was found hung

at his

northern Wales. Speed surged to

stardom in the early 90s doing

stints with English Premier

League clubs League clubs the likes of

Liverpool and Newcastle. A

number of touching tributes

were made this morning,

including this at Aston Villa's match against Swansea. They are

among the most incisive and

creative thinkers the world has

ever seen and now Australians

have been given a chance to see

some of their original work. The National Library if Canberra

showcases a priceless

collection of man new scripts,

some dating back nearly 1,200

years. Among the items on display, handwritten work by Galileo, Copernicus,

Michelangelo and Sir Isaac Newton. Kathleen Dyett

reports. It's a rare glimpse

into the world's greatest

musical minds You can see how

composers like bay

and Mozart put some of the

sounds that came into their

brains onto paper. The man new

scripts are online from the

Berlin State Library which Berlin State Library which is

celebrating their 350th

anniversary They're in good

hands here so not so difficult

to let them go. This is a rare

opportunity in life to be able

to Waugh into a room to see 100 extraordinary

extraordinary things. The free

exhibition titled 'Handwritten'

spans the world and more than a thousand years. It through a journey of history,

literature, religion, politics.

We have a letter by Napolean

written from the battlefield

practically in 1806. Today the

first visitors filed past

dozens of familiar and revered

names, pondering works penned by those renowned for exploring

the dark corners of knowledge

and the universe. It represents

a lot of human thought and and

endeavour over 10 centuries, and what is extraordinary. The

exhibition will change in

coming weeks as payables are

turned to prevent damage to the priceless documents. The collection is on show until

March next year when it will

return to Berlin. To the

weather now, and the satellite

shows a cloud band across the

south of the country, spots of

thick cloud over the Queensland

gulf country and Top End and

mostly clear skies in the east

under a high. Northerly winds

should become hotter in western as well as Victoria, Tasmania

and South Australia. A trough should cause isolated showers

in the east, mainly on the

ranges and in Tasmania. The

front should bring a gusty colder change to South

Australia and southern WA. And

around the capitals: Let's go back to the Stock Exchange for a final check of

the markets and the miners and

the banks are helping stocks here higher.

That's the news for now.

There is continuous news on ABC

News 24 and there is also news

online. Our next full bulletin

on ABC1 is at 7 o'clock this

evening. I'm Ros Childs. Have a

great afternoon.

Closed Captions by CSI.

Hello! Come here! What's his name? Useless. Aw! Who called him that? What are you gonna tell your mother about me? Nothing. What about us?