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Seven Early News -

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VOICEOVER: You're different - living differently in different
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This program is captioned live. This morning - two Australian
shock jocks in hot water after a prank phone call,
pretending to be the Queen.

Tributes flow for the Murdoch family
matriarch who has passed away
at her Melbourne home.

And firefighters lash out
at the fire bugs putting lives at risk this summer.

VOICEOVER: This is Seven Early News
with Natalie Barr.

Good morning. Two Australian radio hosts
have been forced to apologise after making a prank phone call pretending to be the Queen
and Prince Charles to the London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge
is being treated. Seven News reporter Angela Cox
is in London. Angela, how far did this hoax go?

Good morning, Nat, it's really quite incredible that they actually managed to get through. I think they were as surprised as anybody. They didn't get to speak to Catherine but they did speak with her personal nurse. That nurse gave them confidence information about her condition. You really have to hear it. Take a

(IMITATES THE QUEEN) Hello. I'm just after my granddaughter
Kate. I want to see how
her little tummy bug is going? NURSE: She's sleeping at the moment. She has had an uneventful night
and sleep is good for her. As we speak, she's been given some
fluids to rehydrate her because she was quite dehydrated
when she came in but she's stable at the moment. Oh, OK, well, I'll just feed
my little corgis then. So when is a good time
to come and visit her? Because I'm the queen and I need a
lift down there. Um, Prince Charles! Charles! Mummy, is everything OK there? When can you take me
to the hospital, Charles? When will it be alright to come down
and see her? Maybe in the morning, if that's OK? I would suggest that anytime
after 9:00 would be suitable because the doctor will be in,
in the morning. , This is obviously a huge embarrassment for the hospital. The hospital's boss has said that they deeply regret the incident. They have called the prank foolish and deplorable. They take the matter of patient confidence extremely seer ysly. The radio station has treated out an apology saying, out an apology saying

They said the segment was done with the best of intentions and they wish Kate and her family all the best. But it's unlikely that Prince William will see the funny side of this. We know that he is fiercely protective of Kate's privacy. OK, thank you very much for the update, Angela.

Meanwhile, the first of the royals
has spoken publicly about Kate's pregnancy. Prince Edward says
the family is excited and working to support the duchess. We're thrilled with the news,

but also deep, deep sympathy
with Catherine because we know somebody who
suffered the exactly the same and we wouldn't wish that
on anybody at all. He added there's still a long way
to go before a royal delivery. Dame Elisabeth Murdoch has died at
home in Melbourne at the age of 103. She passed away peacefully last
night, surrounded by her loved ones. She leaves behind a legacy
of generosity. In a statement, her son, Rupert
Murdoch, paid tribute to his mother,

and made the country
a more hopeful place. Dame Elisabeth
was a passionate supporter of child health and welfare,
the arts and gardening.

A man's been charged
with two counts of murder following the discovery
of a woman's body near Port Augusta
in South Australia. The 19-year-old is accused of murdering Quorn childcare worker
Jasinta-Leigh Fullerton whose badly bashed body
was found by a horse rider early yesterday morning. The man has also been charged with the murder
of a 16-year-old Port Pirie girl, who was reported missing
by her parents on Tuesday night. He'll face court in Port Augusta
today. Firefighters are battling bushfires
across three states. Queensland has been the worst hit with more than 50 fires being fanned
by scorching temperatures.

Near Boonah in Queensland's
south-east, smoke billowed as a huge bushfire
tore through trees. Flames, metres high
fanned by strong westerlies. Crews battling to protect homes
deep in the scrub. At Loganlea, south of Brisbane, a grassfire jumped
the Gold Coast rail line and threatened
a major electricity substation. Firefighters say this blaze at
Burpengary was started by arsonists. A number of the fires across
the state will be investigated There are some suspicious activities
on some of these fires right across the state,
unfortunately. Near Bundaberg,
homes came under threat. Residents were asked to evacuate,
some refused to leave. You didn't realise it was so close
till it was here. And in Townsville, flames came within metres of homes
at Mt Louisa - the city's biggest urban fire
in two years. Firefighters in New South Wales
were also kept busy - this blaze,
on Sydney's upper North Shore burnt out 10 hectares
before it was brought under control. Gusty winds posed an added threat, driving embers
dangerously close to powerlines. Firefighters will investigate whether this, too,
was deliberately lit. And in Western Australia, authorities feared Bremer Bay
on the state's south coast would be destroyed. It remains on alert but the fire
threat had eased by last night. Locals who fled their homes are
hopeful they can return today.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd
is causing more headaches for his Labor enemies. The popular MP says there's something 'sick'
within the Labor Party that needs to be healed. It follows similar criticism from
NSW Labor Senator John Faulkner who says factions must play
a lesser role. The so-called faceless men
were instrumental in ousting Mr Rudd from the top job
in 2010 and replacing him
with Julia Gillard. Treasurer Wayne Swan
has told off the banks for failing to pass on the full
Reserve Bank interest rate cut. The NAB, Commonwealth and Westpac
all dropped rates yesterday but have only passed on part
of the cut to customers. That's prompting accusations
they're being greedy. ANZ mortgage holders will have
to wait until next Friday to see what spare cash they've got
for Christmas. The bank will review its rates then,
independently of the Reserve Bank. South Australian police have been
accused of using excessive force during an arrest in Adelaide after Seven News filmed an officer repeatedly beating two men
with a baton. The incident will be investigated
by the Police Complaints Authority.

Witnesses described it
as a sickening attack. Don't move! Baton drawn,
the officer hits one man twice, then strikes the other three times. It was just before 2:30
in Whitmore Square. Onlookers
couldn't believe their eyes. He comes out with his baton, pepper sprayed them,
then flogged them, landed the knee on the back there,
punching him in the head. Cops can't do that, mate.
You know, that's wrong. Visibly distressed, the men had
pepper spray washed from their eyes as more officers arrived
at the scene. Police say they were questioning
the men over alleged drug dealing when they attempted to run off. It's understood they live at
the men's shelter across the road - one is the other's carer. Locals say while they're used to
seeing police in Whitmore Square, they've never seen an arrest
quite like this. The attention that they got
and the way they were treated was absolutely absurd
and disgusting. Were the guys on the groudn?
Were they retaliating? A bit of abuse, a bit of language,
that was about it. That doesn't give them the right
to do that to another human, mate. Within minutes of being taken
to the city watch-house, one of the men was rushed
to hospital with chest pain. (SIRENS WAIL) Both have been charged
with hindering and resisting police. One's also accused
of assaulting an officer and possessing drug paraphernalia. The matter will be referred
to the Police Complaints Authority. It's been revealed
hundreds of Year 12 graduates who scored a tertiary admission rank
of less than 50 are being offered university places
in teaching degrees. More than 500 students
with a rank of less than 50 have been offered a chance
to study teaching at Australian universities. Education experts believe
it will lower teacher standards. The number of students
with marks below 50 being offered places
in all uni courses has doubled in the past four years. Now for your first look
at Thursday's weather. A few showers
for Brisbane. Mostly sunny
in Sydney. Fine in
Canberra. A morning shower
or two for Melbourne. Partly cloudy
in Hobart. A hot day in Adelaide,
mostly sunny. A few showers
for Perth.

And afternoon thunderstorms
for Darwin. Coming up on 'Sunrise' at 6am - Volvo's plans for a crash-proof car. But next on Seven Early News - a tropical crisis in the Philippines
after a deadly typhoon. And risky research - the scientists going
to great lengths for native sharks.

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The Philippine death toll
from Typhoon Bopha has soared to more than 270 people. Hundreds more remain missing and entire villages appear
to have been wiped out in the worst-hit areas. Rescue teams are battling blocked
roads and more torrential rain as they try to reach
the most isolated locations. More than 170,000 people
are taking refuge in emergency accommodation. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
has joined the chorus calling for Syria not to use
its stockpile of chemical weapons. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
has promised not to unleash the arsenal
on his own people but US intelligence
is calling that into question. If in any case these should be used,
there will be huge consequences. US officials say they're ready to
launch military action within days, if needed.

There's been more violence outside
the presidential palace in Cairo. Thousands of supporters of Egyptian
President Mohammed Mursi clashed with opposition activists. The demonstrators had set up camp
to show their anger at a decree granting the President
sweeping new powers. Muslim Brotherhood supporters
have vowed to move ahead
with their own campaign of action as pressure continues to mount
on the embattled regime. Queensland researchers are putting
themselves in harm's way to protect
an endangered species of shark. Divers from Sea World have been
jabbing female grey nurse sharks with trackers to find out where they go
during pregnancy. They could be going to areas that
are under great fishing impact. left in Queensland waters. Vets are still unsure whether a kangaroo shot through
the neck with an arrow will survive. Warren the roo was first spotted in Cardinia Reservoir Park,
north of Melbourne, last Tuesday. It took rescuers a week
to capture him. X-rays show
the arrow has fractured his spine. It's quite amazing that he's
been able to survive that long with that sort of injury. Police are hoping to fingerprint the
arrow to find out who's responsible.

Your first finance this Early News - Wall Street, mostly higher
this morning.

Coming up on 'Sunrise' at 6am - why Lleyton Hewitt
refuses to retire. But next on Seven Early News - Quade Cooper set to stick
with Australian rugby. And Adam Scott set to stick with
his controversial broomstick putter

(CHILDREN LAUGH) (CALM MUSIC)

VOICEOVER: You're different - living differently in different
homes with different stuff. Shouldn't you be with a home
and contents insurance company that gets this? Youi do. We ask you more questions
about your house, where you live and your contents so that we can give you
a tailor-made quote. It's smarter
and could save you lots. Call 13youi. Or go to:

Thank you. That'll be $10, please. OK, here's all of my card details.

$250, please. OK, here's all of my card details.

That'll be $150, please. OK, here's all of my card details. (SNIGGERS) Oh, no! VOICEOVER: Stop giving out your
card numbers all over the Net. (SNIGGERS) No-one sees your financial details
when you check out with PayPal.

The stories we're following
on the Early News - A royal scandal - two Australian
shock jocks in trouble over a prank phone call
pretending to be the queen. The duo called the London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge
is being treated and tricked a nurse, who went
on to reveal sensitive information. Firefighters hit out at fire bug
responsible for deadly blazes. Bushfires are burning
across three states - Queensland has been the worst hit with more than 50 fires being fanned
by scorching temperatures. Dame Elisabeth Murdoch has died at
home in Melbourne at the age of 103. She passed away peacefully last
night, surrounded by her loved ones. Now it's over to Mark Beretta
with all the day's sport. Thanks, Nat. Good morning. Phil Hughes will be given
the first crack at replacing retired legend
Ricky Ponting when the Australian test squad
for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka is named today. Meanwhile, talk of
a Shane Warne comeback has created a stir
around the country despite the Spin King's best efforts
to hose down talk of a return. Whether it was another cleverly
orchestrated publicity stunt or not, it created plenty of talk. I've been going through this
question now the last six years. At the Warne household
in Melbourne, Liz Hurley arrived home
to a cricket frenzy. In a newspaper article, the Spin King said he would
have a rethink about retirement if asked by Michael Clarke
to consider a comeback. Former England captain
Nasser Hussain said it'd be great for the Ashes. Some current players agreed. I've got no doubt. He's a genius so there's no doubt he could go out
there and still perform. He's still doing it in
the Big Bash. And this from the man
who took his world record. Definitely can come back, because he's maybe fit now and he's
playing last two years of Big Bash. But Warne quickly killed it off
via Twitter, saying:

Probably as much chance of me
coming back as Shane Warne coming back,
I reckon. The Big Bash league will use
the break between tests to fire up for the new season. The Scorchers have a new coach
and new captain, hoping to move on
from the boozy South African trip. There's been a lot of people taking
shots at the team and I guess that's warranted.

Quade Cooper's contract stand-off
with the Australian Rugby Union is nearing a resolution. Seven News understands Cooper's management has thrashed out
a new upgraded deal and an announcement could be made
as early as tomorrow. Cooper will remain with
the Queensland Reds next season after his boxing bout in February. Carlton captain Chris Judd's
team-mates are urging the champion midfielder
to give up the captaincy to focus on his own game. Judd has led the Blues
for five years but Brock McLean believes it's time
for other players to step up. Marc Murphy and Andrew Carrazzo
are the leading contenders. Personally, I think it'd be probably
the best thing for Chris to focus on his footy. Meanwhile, the Kangaroos say they haven't spoken to out-going AFL
Operations Manager Adrian Anderson about taking on their vacant chief
executive role.

Parramatta players are questioning whether Israel Folau's
latest code switch will be a flop, like his move to the AFL. The Eels insist
they've already moved on and question whether Folau
will be able to excel playing super rugby
for the Waratahs. I think it was pretty evident the decision he made to go to AFL
wasn't... ..didn't turn out to the best, so I hope this one turns out
better than that. Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart says
the club has plenty of outside backs so missing out on Folau
won't be a problem. The Socceroos are no certainties to qualify for next year's
East Asian Cup after playing out a 1-1 draw
with North Korea in Hong Kong. Archie Thompson put the Aussies
in front in just the fifth minute but they were unable to capitalise
on the dream start. North Korea squared the ledger
in the second half and neither side was able to come up
with a late winner. Adam Scott is likely to have
a controversial broomstick putter in his bag when the Australian Open gets
underway at The Lakes this morning. The world number seven is unfazed by the decision to outlaw
the long putter in 2016 and just consistency
from golf's law-makers. I think it's a very big call
that they've made and only time will tell if its the right call
for the game of golf or not. Live and free coverage of the golf
today from midday on Seven.

, Just check your local guides for times. Golf is back on Seven and that's a good

Next on Seven Early News - a closer look at how
the weather's shaping up

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Todd Russell and Brant Webb
have been released. It's just the same story that
we've been hearing all morning. It came through
and hit them that hard. Everything's broked. Who wants a cuppa? Yeah.

I thought everybody
was watching Sunrise. Celebrating 10 years
of waking up with friends. 'Sunrise' on Seven.

Now for a closer look
at how the weather's shaping up around the country. A broad trough in the west
of the country will weaken today but showers and storms will persist. A high pressure system
will bring fine weather over New South Wales, Victoria
and South Australia.

Around the capitals - a few showers
for Brisbane. Mostly sunny
in Sydney. Fine in
Canberra. A morning shower
or two for Melbourne. Partly cloudy
in Hobart. A hot day in Adelaide,
mostly sunny. A few showers
for Perth. And afternoon thunderstorms
for Darwin. And that's Seven Early News
for this Thursday. I'm Natalie Barr.
Stand-by now for 'Sunrise'. Supertext captions by
Red Bee Media - www.redbeemedia.com.au