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Seven Early News -

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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. This morning - thousands
converge on North Queensland for Australia's first total
solar eclipse in a decade. The cosmic spectacle
begins in just over an hour. Closing in - over the murder
of horseracing identity Les Samba. Detectives are also investigating
race-fixing allegations. And one of the world's most powerful
women touches down in Perth. Hillary Clinton meets with
Julia Gillard for defence talks.

VOICEOVER: This is Seven Early News
with Natalie Barr. Tens of thousands of people
have converged on North Queensland for Australia's first full
solar eclipse in a decade. The cosmic spectacle has attracted
crowds from across the globe and begins in just over an hour. Seven News reporter Michelle Tapper
joins me now from Cairns. Good morning, Michelle. What's the weather looking like
there this morning? Good morning, Nat. Well, it is a little bit rainy, a little bit cloudy but it is intermittent so we are hoping the sun will come out here shortly in Queensland. But it hasn't stopped the party from already starting. We have got a bunch of British backpackers and they are dressed as the moon. They have got their eclipse glasses on, which of course, the experts are recommending so you don't get permanent eye damage. Nat, I don't think they have gone to bed and there are a lot of people like that lined up along the foreshore, it is one big party here in the Cairns esplanade this morning.Do you think how dark it will get?Well, apparently the whole sky is supposed to get dark. The eclipse glasses are black. You have to have them on while the eclipse is happening. It starts and finishes for two hours. But there is an elusive moment in the middle called totality, it is when everything goes dark and becomes black. Day will become night, I am told the birds will stop singing and the animals will start acting differently and I think these guys will act differently too.You have got your finger on the pulse, thank you, Michelle Tapper.

And you can watch the eclipse live in a special extended edition
of 'Sunrise' this morning. Coverage begins in half an hour. We'll bring you live pictures from
Cairns, Port Douglas and Palm Cove. A former union employee
has come forward claiming he deposited $5,000 into Julia
Gillard's personal bank account at the request of her
former boyfriend, Bruce Wilson. The claims are detailed
in a confidential diary obtained by 'The Australian'
newspaper. Whistleblower Wayne Hem says he told the boss of the Australian
Workers Union about the payments in 1996. The Prime Minister has repeatedly
denied any wrongdoing over the creation
of a union slush fund while Mr Wilson worked for union. Melbourne police
are believed to be closing in on the killer
of racing identity Les Samba. News Limited reports detectives
are investigating a gangland figure with links to shady
racing identities in Victoria. It's understood the task force
investigating the Samba murder is running a parallel investigation
into alleged race fixing. Les Samba was shot dead
in an execution-style killing, He was the father-in-law
of top jockey Danny Nikolic. The Prime Minister
is shrugging off concerns that a royal commission
into child sex abuse is so broad, it could run for years.

Australia's highest Catholic,
Cardinal George Pell, has promised to co-operate, but says the allegations
have been exaggerated. The Catholic Church stands accused

of covering up child abuse but yesterday,
Australia's most senior Catholic claimed the church is the victim. I don't think we should be
scapegoated. Because there's a press campaign
focused largely on us, that does not mean that we are,
largely, the principal culprits. Despite this, Cardinal George Pell
has welcomed the royal commission and promised the church
will co-operate. We acknowledge...with shame
the extent of the problem and I want to assure you
that we have been serious in attempting to eradicate it
and deal with it. But not everyone is convinced. Chrissie and Anthony Foster
have two daughters who were raped by their
parish priest in primary school. One later committed suicide,
the other turned to alcohol. George Pell famously said
he won't believe any of this, it's all gossip
until proven in court. Just an incredible attitude. The royal commission will reach
beyond the Catholic Church, covering all
religious organisations,

state care providers, schools
and not-for-profit groups. Brian Crowley was molested at a
St Vincent's boys home in the '60s. He says both sides of government
need to work together to make sure
the commission succeeds. (TEARFULLY) I don't want
my grandchildren going through
what I'm going through. I want them to be able to sleep
at night. The Prime Minister warns the
commission will take several years. Well, as long as it takes
to do it right. And the Sydney detective
who helped spark the inquiry has issued this warning
to the abusers... There's not going to be any
dark alley that you can sneak up that we're not going to find you. We've got nothing we want to hide.

A Victorian police officer
has been charged with historic child sex offences,
dating back to the 1980s. The officer is accused of sexually
assaulting a 10-year-old girl. He's been suspended with pay. It's the latest in a string
of child abuse arrests. A Sydney Catholic schoolteacher charged with sexually abusing
students in the 1980s, will face court again today. 59-year-old Brother Martin Harmata is accused of molesting two boys
aged 12 and 13 at the Patrician Brothers' College
in Blacktown. Julia Gillard will meet
with Hillary Clinton today for high-level defence talks
at the AUSMIN meeting in Perth. Last night the PM sat down for coffee
with the US Secretary of State before official talks began. Furthering military cooperation
between the two nations will be high on the agenda today. Defence Minister Stephen Smith
has rubbished any suggestions have come to express concerns
about Australian defence spending. Two former New South Wales premiers
have told a corruption inquiry they were kept in the dark
about deals done between former
resources minister Ian MacDonald and Labor powerbroker Eddy Obeid. It's alleged Mr MacDonald
opened up mining opportunities that earned the Obeid family
profits of $100 million. Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees say
it happened behind their backs. Mr Iemma also told the hearing he was pressured into retirement
by Labor heavyweights. Two Adelaide teenagers who murdered
an 87-year-old grandmother have been sentenced
to at least 20 years prison. Their parents left court yesterday
in silence. The killers were just 16 and 17 when they broke into Anne Redman's
house and slashed her throat. because a lot of people felt that
their house was a prison afterwards, especially the elderly people. The pair will be nearly 40
before they're eligible for parole. Two men have been charged over a dangerous police chase
on the Gold Coast. The pair, both in their early 20s, are accused of robbing a bottle shop
before escaping in a stolen car. Police laid road spikes to catch
them, but the driver slipped past. He crashed a short time later. One of the occupants
has produced a screwdriver to one of the Dog Squad officers. The dog was deployed on him
and he sustained a minor injury. Both men will face court today. Australians will have
some extra protection from the summer sun this year with the arrival of 50+ sunscreen.

It will provide superior protection from UVA rays which causes skin cancer but they warn it is not a shield of armour.It has to be used with hat and shades.Australia has the worst record of melanoma and skin cancer in the world.

Major Australian retailers will hold
a one-day super sale next week in a bid to kick-start
Christmas spending. The sale will see businesses that have previously complained
about online shopping slash prices on their websites by up to 90%. We're hoping that it's going to be a
boon for Australian local retailers whether they're bricks and mortar
or whether they're online. The idea has been hugely It all kicks of next Tuesday at 7pm. Now for your first look
at Wednesday's weather. A possible late shower
in Brisbane. Drizzle at times
in Sydney. A possible shower
in Hobart. Coming up on 'Sunrise' at 6am - full coverage on Austrlia's
first total eclipse in a decade. an update on a koala rescued
from bushfires in South Australia. And a dramatic rescue in Italy as floodwaters inundate homes
and bridges.

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(WHISTLES)

(WHISTLES) VOICEOVER: In a serious crash, wearing a seatbelt nearly doubles
your chances of surviving. So, however short the journey, however long you've been driving...
(WHISTLES) ..however well you know the road, don't forget to clip, every trip.

Wildlife rescuers
still have grave concerns for a koala found clinging
to a burnt tree in South Australia's bushfire. 3-year-old Marley is being cared for
in Adelaide after suffering serious burns. Carers are waiting to find out if she'll be able to climb trees
again to feed herself. At the Australian marine
and wildlife rescue centre near Adelaide, there's an urgent battle
to save a koala who won the hearts
of Seven News viewers last night. He's not looking too well, really. We now know he is a she,
named Marley by her rescuers. She's three years old and was a mum. She's actually got an enlarged teat
that's producing milk and she didn't come in with a joey. So, unfortunately,
her baby has perished in the fires. Marley is on strong painkillers while wildlife rescuers
treat severe burns to all four paws. Although her condition is improving, it will be a few more days before it's known whether Marley
can climb trees again to feed. And we'll know at that point
whether we can keep treating her or whether we need
to put her to sleep. It's estimated around 100 koalas
lived in a colony where Marley was found. So far,
she's the only known survivor. If there are any more,
time is fast running out. They must have medical treatment, they will otherwise die
a very slow and painful death as a consequence of infection
and dehydration. If Marley does pull through, it'll be months before she can
be released back into the wild. There's been a dramatic rescue as floodwaters continue to rise
in central Italy. A man has been winched to safety
in Tuscany after climbing onto his roof
to escape the rising waters. The bad weather has already
claimed four lives - three people died when their car
was swept off a bridge. It follows heavy rain
and high tides in Venice which left almost 80%
of the city underwater. A known anti-royalist
has faced a New Zealand court over a plot to throw
a bucket of horse manure on Prince Charles and Camilla.

Sam Bacanov was arrested
outside a venue where the royal couple
were due to appear on Monday. He says he doesn't regret
his actions. I was not successful
but there's always next time. Bacanov has agreed
under his bail conditions to stay at least 500 metres away
from the royal couple. Customs officials in Thailand have
seized a truck full of deadly cobras at a security checkpoint. Up to 600 reptiles were seized
in the haul. They were being smuggled
from Malaysia. Authorities say the snakes are often
smuggled through Thailand on the way to China or Vietnam, where they're used
in traditional medicine and food. Your first finance this Early News -
Wall Street is trading higher today.

Coming up on 'Sunrise' at 6am - live pictures as Australia waits for
its first total eclipse in a decade. But next on Seven Early News - another star signing on the horizon
for Sydney FC. And Australia ordered
to maintain their aggression after drawing the first test
against South Africa.

(WHISTLES)

(WHISTLES) VOICEOVER: In a crash, wearing your seatbelt reduces
your risk of serious injury. So, however short the journey, however long you've been driving...
(WHISTLES) ..however well you know the road, don't forget to clip, every trip.

The stories we're following
on the Early News - thousands of people are converging
on North Queensland for Australia's first total solar
eclipse in a decade. There's less than an hour to go
before it begins. on the man they believe
killed racing identity Les Samba. Detectives are investigating
a gangland figure over the murder as well as race-fixing allegations. And one of the world's most powerful
women - Hillary Clinton - has touched down in Perth
for defence talks. Now it's over to Mark Beretta
with all the day's sport. Thanks, Nat. Good morning. Australian cricket captain
Michael Clarke has urged his side to maintain
the aggression they showed on the final day of the first test
against South Africa at the Gabba. The Aussies head to Adelaide
full of confidence despite drawing the opening test
against the Proteas. Australia's bowlers
hatched their victory plans but needed the batsmen
to accelerate. The skipper surpassed Bradman
and Alastair Cook as the Gabba's highest test scorer. COMMENTATOR: Stand-and-deliver stuff
from Michael Clarke! It wasn't without punishment, while Hussey survived lbw
and run-out chances. Misses! That'll do, Hussey. 100 off 128 balls but the 37-year-old departed
on his next delivery with Australia's lead 77. Another triple ton
beckoned for Clarke. And again.
There's 250 for Michael Clarke. But Wade's blitz helped him settle
on a 115-run advantage before declaring
an hour before lunch. The ex-captain then let rip
before Pattinson ripped in. Oh, yes, that'll do it.
(CROWD ROARS) He should've had a second
before the break - another case of
overstepping the mark, costly. Oh, no, no, no. The frustrated speedster took
it out on the tourists' leader with Quiney backing him up. It's taken! What a beauty! Smith gone for 23, South Africa 2/55 but clearly not daunted
by Nathan Lyon on a day five wicket, belting him for 18 from one over. Amla's luck ran out on 38. Catch! Good catch! Clarke caught Kallis
one short of 50. The rank underdogs pre-match, taking a psychological edge
over the world's top ranked team. A lot of positives came out
of this test for us. Unfortunately, we didn't get a win. Um, but we can certainly use
the momentum, I guess, that we take from this game.

The NRL has confirmed they plan to use Sonny Bill Williams
in next year's marketing campaign. With the ink barely dry
on a one-year deal at the Roosters, the NRL says they'll use
Sonny Bill's star power to get the best value out
of his return to the game. The World Cup-winning All Black
isn't as excited about the move, revealing he was reluctant
to walk away from rugby and commit to a handshake deal with
Roosters chairman Nick Politis. I guess it's a case of looking
at it glass half full instead of half empty

but when I come here like everywhere
I'll give it 100%. Williams still plans to box
before the start of the NRL season. Sydney FC may add
to their star line-up with Avram Grant interested in
taking over from coach Ian Crook. Representatives of the former
Chelsea and West Ham boss following Crook's shock resignation
on Sunday morning. Grant replaced Jose Mourinho
at Chelsea in 2007 leading the side
to the Champions League final.

That's all we've got time for now, back with more sport in Sunrise shortly.Thanks, Beretts. Next

VOICEOVER: We all know that:

The future of this state
depends on it. Our kids are counting on it. But the O'Farrell Government is ripping the guts out of
TAFE colleges and public schools. And ripping off our kids with it. And more cuts to come for sure. When these kids can't get a job, are we gonna say, "We knew what
would happen, but did nothing"? No. No! We're going to take a stand.
(SCHOOL BELL RINGS) Get online and tell O'Farrell
to reverse the education cuts.

It's the television event
of the year. Coldplay is coming to Australia and you'll only see them perform
live on Sunrise. Tomorrow.

Huge day ahead!

Now for a closer look
at how the weather's shaping up around the country. A trough over New South Wales
will move north, bringing isolated showers
and thunderstorms in the north-eastern corner
of the state. And we'll see a broad area
of high pressure across the southern states, bringing
fine and mild to warm weather with some patchy high cloud
at times. Around the capitals -

And that's Seven Early News
for this Wednesday. I'm Natalie Barr.
Stand-by now for 'Sunrise'. Supertext captions by
Red Bee Media - www.redbeemedia.com.au