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Live. Tonight - no deal but more

talks to try to end the border protection stalemate. Christmas

spirits shaken by another series of earthquakes in

Christchurch. Police draw their

guns but bush fugitive Malcolm

Naden eludes them again. And a Big Bash League blast proves

Shaun Marsh is fit for the

Boxing Day Test. Good evening Craig Allen with ABC News. Top level

level talks between the Government and the Opposition

have failed to achieve any

breakthrough in the asylum

seeker deadlock. But, as

Christmas approaches, there's a

glimmer of hope. Both sides

talks on how to tackle people

smuggling. Andrew Greene. With just two days before Christmas,

the Opposition leader was

trying to embrace a charitable

spirit. Malaysia will be open in a couple of weeks. Serving up festive cheer in up festive cheer in Melbourne.

Abbott on A resounding no too from Mr

Abbott on the Government's

latest asylum compromise. The

Opposition rejecting outright a Labor proposal to reopen Nauru's processing centre as

well as revooig its Malaysia

people swap. I think the time

for Malaysia has well and truly

passed. If you have Nauru you passed. If you have Nauru

just don't need Malaysia. Nevertheless the Opposition and Government came

together in Sydney for a first

round of negotiations. The

Coalition demanded Kevin Rudd's

attendance as PM he closed Nauru and ended temporary protection

to stop Labor lurching to the

right this afternoon? Are you going to save the day. Four

years ago the Labor Government weakened the border protection

policies that the Coalition had

in place. After more than two

hours of confidential talks

both sides emerged agreeing only to hold talks. Agreement was not only to hold more

reached but we haven't shut the

door on further discussion. They were long discussions. They haven't

reached a conclusion. The

Government has some more work

to do. Tomorrow marks one week since the asylum seeker boat

tragedy off Java. Both sides of

this bitter dispute say they're

determined to stop more lives

being lost at sea. As the year

draws to an end, they're no

closer to reaching an


The spirit of the people of

Christchurch is being tested

yet again after the city was

rocked by another series of

earthquakes this afternoon. first 5.8 magnitude quake

struck at around 2 o'clock.

When the second hit 80 minutes

later residents were ready to

duck for cover.

A third quake hit around 5

o'clock measured 5.0. There were no reports of injury or collapsed buildings

but the quakes have unnerved people and will hurt businesses

on the last trading days before

Christmas. I am over them. Who

needs this two days before

Christmas? It is going to be really difficult with staff,

again. coaxing them back into the mall

again. It is not going to be

easy. Hard time for a lot lot

of people. The quake has triggered land slides raising

clouds of dust. Parts of the

city have been again hit by

liquefaction with the tremors

bringing water to the surface and flooding houses. The

weather bureau has upgraded its

coast to an official warning. cyclone advice along the

People are rushing to prepare

themselves as the system's path

became a little clearer late

this afternoon. A cyclone

could be less than a day away. low Forecasters expect a tropical

low will continue to gather

intensity and track south-east towards the Territory coast. We

have added a warning which

means we gales within 24 hours

from Cape Don to Milingimbi. We

could have a cyclone develop

within 24 hours. Residents on

Croker Island north-east of

Darwin thought they might be in

the clear but are now sitting

and waiting. We have finalised

everything as of yesterday and

we're just readvised the

community of the change in the

direction and basically

everyone is just waiting and

watching. In Darwin, emergency

supplies are running thin.

Baked beans have walked off the

shelf, torchers are nearly

solid out and staff can't stock the bottled the bottled water fast

enough. I have been through

other cyclone warnings and I

have to admit I haven't seen it this

this bare. Supermarkets say

they're doing their best to

replenish supplies. We get

deliveries every day and we're

getting one this afternoon and

we will receive one

We're not open on Christmas Day

so we won't get one. Residents in storm surge zones are

nervous about the rising water

levels. Every year it is like

"Is it going to come? " When it

is dark and at night you don't

know where the water is at and

it got us by surprise last

year. Almost 1,000 asylum

seekers and crew members are currently being held at Darwin's three detention facilities. The Immigration

Department says it has cyclone

shelters at the ready and plans

in place to ensure their safety. The emergency service

says disaster committee

meetings will be held in each

of the communities affected by the cyclone warning. One

close to the coast where it is thing

now we will have a lot of rain and wind. Something

Territorians are accustomed to

in the wet season. NSW most

wanted fugitive has outwitted

police again. Officers with

drawn guns got close enough

Malcolm Naden to identify him

but somehow he escaped. Naden's

been on the run for almost

seven years. He's wanted for

murder and sexual assault and

shooting a police officer.

Rather than painting his latest

escape a bungle police are

claiming a success of sorts.

A strike force has been

hunting Malcolm Naden near

Nowendoc in the State's north

since he allegedly shot a

policeman two weeks ago. On

Wednesday, he turned up about

50km away from their search site. When the owner of a remote weekender reported a

break and enter, two local

police responded. They were

confronted by a male on the premises. They drew

the house. While the officers

called for backup, the man fled

from the house into heavy bushland. Fingerprinting has

confirmed it was Naden. It was disappointing and the police

are disappointed we were close

and didn't catch him. The

police have defended their

response saying other break-ins had turned out not to be the

fugitive and a strike force

couldn't be sent to every

suspected crime. They're

claiming a win, because they

have been able to update

Naden's photo image and have

recovered a third gun, believed

to be the one used to shoot the

police officer. The search team

also have a big advantage over

Naden. They are warm at night

and get to go to a bed and they're well fed. That is not

what I can say about Malcolm Naden. He's out there in the

bush, it is cold. The search

was going to be scaled back

over Christmas, now it is all

hands on deck. In a move which could effect large areas

of the Canberra region, the NSW Government has proposed laws for wind farms. Turbines

will only be approved if

residents within 2km give their

consent. The Government says

the new rules would be the

toughest in the world. These

wind farms got the green light.

That approval will be much harder for any new turbines

within 2km of a house. All affected landowners must

agree. If a prop ponent of a

wind farm doesn't get the

approval of all owners within

2km, then that prop ponent will

be able to appeal to the local

joint regional planning panel

and to try and receive an

approval to proceed with the development application on process. Earlier this year,

Victoria placed a blanket ban

on new wind farms within 2km of

a residents. Brad Hazard says

NSW is taking a more mixed

approach. Wind farm opponents

say the 2km buffer small. The evidence we have,

the data we have collected and

communities around NSW have

collected, that the Government hasn't collected, is

demonstrating to us that 2km

will not be enough to protect

people from the potential

health effects. The NSW Government currently has 17

wind farm applications, 13 of

these will come under the new

guidelines. The Opposition says

the draft guidelines will kill

off the industry. The O'Farrell

Government, will they impose a

2km setback on coal seam gas or

coal mining? Not on your life.

This is about their relentless hostility to clean energy. Renewable energy

companies say there is now some certainty for businesses. We certainly welcome the increase

focus on community consultation. This is something that the wind industry is taking very seriously. Public

consultation on the draft plan is open until the middle of March. A wave of bombings

have ripped through Baghdad

have triggered fears that Iraq

could descend into chaos.

Dozens of people died in the coordinated explosions that

appeared to target areas that

are home to the majority are home to the majority Shiite population. There hasn't been

an attack like this in Iraq for

many months. At the height of

morning rush hour, 14 bombs

exploded across Baghdad, almost simultaneously. Four were car

bombs, one of them a suicide

bombing. In the deadliest

attack, more than 20 people

died when a bomb destroyed a

key government office. Other

blasts destroyed houses for

miles around. TRANSLATION: My

baby was sleeping in her bed.

Shards of glass fell on our

heads. Her father held her and

carried her out. She is in the

next room now. She is scared. Other don't we have security and

stability? The timing of the

attacks is significant, coming

just days after the last US

forces pulled out of the

country for good and in a week

when sectarian tensions between

Shiite and Sunni Muslim groups

have risen sharply. On Monday, Iraq's Shiite-led government

ordered the arrest of the Sunni vice President Tariq

al-Hashemi. It has opened up a

new rift in Iraq's fragile

Coalition that took months last

year to form and now many

Iraqis are angry they're's the

innocent victims of a political war. TRANSLATION: Those who run the country should sit and

resolve the political problems

but the blasts won't solve

anything. So far no group has

claimed responsibility for the bombings but analysts say only

al-Qaeda or its Sunni offshoots

in Iraq are capable or to carry out such attacks. And

with rising religious tensions

and the departure of US troops,

many fear it is inevitable

there will be another cycle of

sectarian violence. The Pentagon has found that a

series of mistakes led to

month's air strikes that killed

24 Pakistani troops near the

Afghan border. US officials

aren't prepared to take all the

blame. They say gaps in

information on both sides

caused the tragedy which has plunged relations between the

two nations to a new low. Craig McMurtrie

Craig McMurtrie reports.

According to the Pakistani

military, this is the aftermath

of the deadly air strike on the Afghan/Pakistan border, one

that brought a furious reaction

from Pakistan, 24 funerals, widespread protests and the ceiling of the off NATO supply lines. The Pentagon investigation blames inaccurate maps and inadequate

coordination by US and

Pakistani officers. We express

their deepest regret. We

further express severe condolences to the Pakistani

people and the government and

most importantly to the

families of the Pakistani

soldiers who were killed or wounded. The chief investigator

says US and Afghan forces came

under heavy machine gun fire

and acted in self-defence. They believed there were no

Pakistani forces in the area,

an air strike was ordered. The

Pentagon investigation had says

there was no intention to

target Pakistani forces. It

also reveals a lethal lack of trust between the two countries, including a failure

to swap precise air strike

coordinates and bunker locations. We cannot operate

effectively on the border or in

other parts of our relationship without fundamental trust still lacking

between us. Outrage Pakistanis

accused US forces of

deliberately targeting the

border posts. A spokesman says

the Pakistan army doesn't agree

with the findings. Islamabad has demanded a formal

apology. I think there's a

shared responsibility in this

incident and we have said, very clearly, we accept

responsibility for the mistakes

that we made. The Americans

insist Pakistani soldiers fired

first and gaps in information

on both sides contributed to

what is now being described here as a tragic result. here as a tragic result. The

pretrial hearing of a US army

ilg tell Jens analyst accused

of creating the biggest

security leak in American

history has wrapped up after a

week. In closing arguments,

lawyers Forman Manning called

for most of the charges against

him to be dropped. The defence says the US overreacted to the alleged leak

of top secret documents to web

site Wikileaks. A traitor or a troubled whistleblower? In closing

closing arguments at the fort Meade military base, the defence made an em passioned

plea for all but 23 of the charges levelled at Bradley

Manning to be dropped. The

defence said the military had failed the 24-year-old,

repeatedly missing signs he was emotionally unstable at the

time of the leaks and now

piling on charges in an effort

to strong-arm him into a guilty

plea. Defence lawyer David Coombes accused US officials right

right up to the secretary of

sit Hillary Clinton of having a

chick yell little response to

the leaks, saying the sky

hadn't fallen in and the leaks

had done no real damage.

Military prosecutors counted

with a video of an al-Qaeda operative operative talking about the Wikileaks disclosures and

urging followers to mind the

Internet to learn about the US

and perhaps the most damning

evidence has come from the

hacker who turned Bradley

Manning in. He said private Manning talked about Manning talked about his dealings with someone he

described as a crazy white head

Aussie. There is also Aussie. There is also an incriminating digital trail

including chat logs showing that Julien Assange and Bradley

Manning were in contact. The US Government has a grand jury investigating whether there is enough enough evidence to pursue

Julien Assange and Wikileaks

for espionage. Some analysts

say the Manning case could well

be the prelude to a bigger

fight. A decision on whether he

has to front a Full Court

martial will not be made until

the new year. Even if the

military pursues three charges

only, they alone carry a

potential sentence of 30 years

behind bars. Since the death of Kim Jong-il, the North

Korean propaganda machine has

boon working overtime showing the nation's outpouring of

grief. It is not all from one

side. Free North Korea radio

transmits from the south to the

North broadcasting a different

point of view. The giant

North Korean flag just across

the heavily guarded border with

the south has been lowered since the death of Kim Jong-il.

Even in sparsely populated parts of North Korea it is

difficult to escape the funeral

rights of the country's former

leader. Yet the propaganda is

also drifting back across the

frontier from the south in frontier from the south in the form of radio waves. Free

North Korea radio gives news

and analysis for North Koreans from from an anti-Kim Jong-il perspective. Broadcasters are

defectors from the north so the

news of the dear leader's death

was not going to lead to tears

at this stage. TRANSLATION: We

were very surprised. We have

wished for this for so long. We

saw him as a dictator responsible for people starving to death. to death. Suddenly we heard the

news he died and we felt like

cheering at the possibility of

reunification . This man used

to teach ideology in the north.

And she is watching events in her old country closely. TRANSLATION: Some

brain washed North Koreans

could be genuinely crying. His

close supporters maybe are

really-up set but many people

are afraid of others not seeing

them crying enough. Not far

from the station, the North and South soldiers eye each other

over the border. No-one whose

what will become of the north

under the new leader Kim Jong-un. For the young people doing their military service it

will be a busy Christmas

indeed. They're on high alert

for fear of instability across

the demill triesd zone in North

Korea. For soldiers on both

sides of the border maximum

vigilance is the order of the day. There remains hopes for a

thawing of tensions in North

Korea. These long time foes are

preparing in case the relations

go the other way. The go the other way. The ACT Opposition has accused the

Government of misleading voters

in its first election promise.

Last week Labor said it would

open new walk-in clinics in

Tuggeranong and Belconnen but

it has now admitted that the

existing clinic at Canberra

Hospital could be scrapped. The

Chief Minister says it is one

option and no decision has been

made. The two options

essentially are that you keep

the Canberra Hospital one running and

running and you have in Tuggeranong and Belconnen.

The other option is you have

two bigger services operating

in Tuggeranong and Belconnen

and you don't have the one at

the hospital. In my view Katy

Gallagher has been deceptive

with the Canberra people. They

are saying that labor are saying that labor is going

to deliver more than they are. She's been caught out. Ms

Gallagher says the Government

is sticking by its promise to

double the funding and expand

the service. Canberra's legal

profession has welcomed the

appointment of David Mossop,

the new magistrate. He will take up his position in the new

year. He's practiced in

Canberra for 14 years and has

extensive experience in ACT and

Federal courts and tribunals.

He fills the vacancy caused by the Chief Magistrate's John barn's appointment as a Supreme

Court judge. To finance and the

latest news out of the US has delighted markets higher. The Australian dollar was stronger across the

board rising to record levels

against the Euro. Finance

correspondent Phillip

Lasker. It is nice to have

good news before the Christmas

break. It came from the US

where jobless claims fell to a

3.5 year low and consumer

confidence jumped to a

six-month high. Signs of life

in the US economy breed life

into most markets throughout

Asia including Australia were

brokers were bonding with their

families or on the golf course

at 3 o'clock after a Shortened

trading day. The Australian retail index has underperformed

the market, that since May. You might think the US

US is in bad shape but Wall Street's discretionary retail

index, the green line, has

outperformed the market since

August. As the latest numbers

suggest it is because there are

slightly more job opportunities

in the US, consumers have a

lighter debt load as a share of income and it is easier to get

credit if you need it. It is

all positive for retailers and

what's more, the anal sifts

aren't predicting doom and

gloom next year either. The

good news out of the US boosted

major commodity prices. Trader

are predicting big things for

copper. And, as you might

expect, all the factors we have mentioned boosted the

Australian dollar in that

European holiday looks mighty

cheap. The Australian dollar at

record levels against the Euro.

The former President of the

Victorian RSL Bruce Ruxton has

died in a QLD nursing Ruxton had been ill for a

number of weeks and died this

afternoon. He was a

controversial figure during his

23-year term as the President

of the Victorian RSL. He once

infamously called South African

Archbishop Desmond Tutu a witch

doctor. I believe he could be a

witch doctor dressed up in an Archbishops robes. I

believe. Don't push me. I will

push you. He often intervened in social and political issues

beyond the RSL's area of

interest. The Victorian RSL

says it plans to hold a

memorial service in Melbourne. The build-up to the bobbing day Test is

bobbing day Test is gathering momentum with both sides completing full training

sessions today. The top order

batsman Shaun Marsh is

gathering momentum for the

match. He blasted the Perth

Scorchers to Twenty20 victory

last night with 99 unbeaten.

There might be showers forecast for the

Boxing Day Test but for now the

sun is shining on the MCG.

Australia enjoyed the cooler conditions of a morning

training session on a pitch

claimed to be a git giteler

than last year's on which

Australia was rolled for 98 on

day one of the Ashes Test. I

probably hoping for a little

bit better result than that.

This will be a little bit dryer

than it was at the start last

year which will hopefully aid more bounce and carry. Shaun

Marsh cut a relaxed figure at

training, with good reason.

Fears about his fitness or

form, for that matter, were

laid to rest with a blistering

knock of 99 not out in the Perth Scorchers's eight wicket

win at Docklands. I have done

all the hard work and I am

happy I got out there and it

didn't go against. The crowd of

13,000 fans at last night's

match was nearly bettered by

the turn-out of a joint

autograph session held in the

CBD this afternoon. It was

higher demand. India's vastly

experienced batting line-up enjoyed its first intensive

batting in Melbourne. Most of their players have played here in Australia. They're

experienced so they will be

able to adapt to the conditions quickly. They are all players and we will have to bowl extremely well to get on top of them. In contrast to

Australia's largely fresh-faced

order it is Sachin Tendulkar's

fifth tour and a fourth for

Rahul Dravid and VVS

Laxman. With the countdown on

in earnest to this year's

Sydney to Hobart, some crews

are taking it easy to make sure they're well rested before the

starting gun on Boxing Day.

There is plenty to think about for the crew of the fleet's

newest yacht the 'Midnight Rambler'. It is cosy

the newest edition to the fleet. 'Midnight Rambler' was

built in China and only launched in September. The

skipper always manages to find

a long list of jobs we need to

do no matter how new the boat

is. That is a key is. That is a key to success in

the racing, the preparation and

making sure, no stone is left

unturned. It is one of the most

sophisticated boats in the 2011

fleet. It is made of epoxy

carbon so it weighs 4,800kg. It

is lightweight and the master

carbon, it is lightweight

material but highly strong. Further up the stock

'Wasabi' skipper Bruce McKay is

staying relaxed. One of the

aspects of doing a longer and

har harder race is hopping on

the boat in a good state of mind. With all the serious preparations happening there was time for fun with challenge between no identical

boats competing against each

other in the Sydney to Hobart.

The crews of 'The Goat' and

'Dodo' took time out for the challenge. It has been a

successful preparation in the

past two weeks. This is a good

work out for the crew but in a fun fun environment. It has been good. 'Dodo' crewman David

Chapman is racing his first

Sydney to Hobart. My job is

down the back of the boat, I

will be doing a lot of driving and working with the crew. I

don't think I will have to go

up the mast but I have just

shown I can so I will probably

have to do that at some

stage. A fleet of # 8 is

expected to start the race on

Boxing Day. With a look at

today's weather here's Mark Carmody. Thanks Craig. Good evening.

evening. This Christmas is

finally starting to warm up. 28

today. That is the warmest day

we have had this summer.

Tomorrow it might even be warmer. It this morning and into the early

afternoon with cloud building

up late in the day. Nothing has

fallen so far. Again, the winds were mostly light easterlies

which freshened a little this

afternoon. The day's turned into

into a lovely evening. Cloudy with

with little or no wind and 24.

Fine and clear to the west,

with centres out there getting

to the low 30s.

The water temperature is

warming up nicely. Look at the cloud up in

Darwin. There is a tropical low

and it is intensifying and the

bureau has issued a cyclone

warning. Cloud every the

north-east is generating storms

and patchy rain. The tropical

low off the Top End will bring

heavy rain and strong winds.

The trough off QLD will generate showers and a trough

over inland NSW will weaken

only to be replaced by another

later in the weekend which may

bring showers and cooler temps

to our region. Christmas Eve

in Sydney will be wet, as it

will be in Brisbane.

For Christmas Eve, partly

cloudy, with a 40% chance of

showers mainly during the

afternoon. 13, to a warm 29. It

will be a real slip, slop slap

day tomorrow, especially

between 8.50 and 5.20. For

Christmas Day... Partly cloudy

with a chance of isolated

showers and there could be thunderstorms thunderstorms after midday.

Craig, my little Santa sitting

in his tree says it all, have a

merry Christmas and stay

safe. Thanks Mark. Before we

go, a brief recap of the top

stories. A meeting to end the

political stalemate over border

protection policies has ended

without agreement. There will be

be more talks. The New Zealand

city of Christchurch has rocked by another series of

earthquakes. No reports of serious injury or damage.

That's the news for now. You

can keep up to date 24 hours a

day on ABC news online and ABC

News 24 and you can find us on Twitter. company good night. Closed Captions by CSI. Welcome to 7.30. I'm Chris

Uhlmann. Tonight - an unhappy

retailers. Can they win back

their customers in hard times?

Smile! That's perfect! everything going up except our

wages it's kind of hard to splurge this year. Consumers

have become much more savvy and relatively ruthless.

And - one to go. Sachin

Tendulkar's quest for his 100th international century. He's not

one of the best but the

There every been more

casualties in the struggling

retail sector this big names taking tumbles on the stock market. Despite

unprecedented challenges some

businesses are staging a comeback. Adapting to the