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(generated from captions) , This is its bit where we say good by for a whole year and thank you for your support. It's great to have you on this journey this year. We have had a great year. Thank you. Thank you partner. It has been fun. You too, partner. Good on you, take it easy. See you next year.

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This program is captioned live. notorious serial killer Peter Dupas
has his latest appeal dismissed.

Two children in court
over a bushfire that came close to homes
in Sydney's south-west.

And Happy Doomsday - why some think today
is the end of the world.

VOICEOVER: This is Seven
Morning News with Talitha Cummins. Good morning. One of Australia's
most notorious killers has had his latest appeal dismissed
by a Victorian Court. Peter Dupas was appealing
against his conviction for the murder of Melbourne woman
Mersina Halvagis. Brendan Roberts was in court. Brendan, Mersina's family
must be very relieved?

They certainly are, for now at least. Peter Dupas, one of Victoria's mote know tore Tuesday and December piesed serial killers showed no emotion via video link. His latest conviction for murdering Mersina Halvagis was dismissed. Dupas is currently serving a life sentence and also concurrent life sentences for the murders of two other women. The family of Mersina hall var gas spoke outside court a short time ago. Here is her brother bill I am so relieved, her and my family. We have been through so much. Finally Mersina can lay to rest and we can get on with our lives and remember her and move on and cherish the moments we had with her. Brendan, does this now exhaust all legal options for Dupas? Not quite, Taligha he can still seek leave to appeal this decision in the High Court. He has 28 days to do so. If he is successful, it could be several months before this case is even heard. But the hall var gas family are remaining optimistic that today was the final step in their quest for justice former seen a. Thank you, Brendan.

Two boys are appearing
in a Sydney court today, charged with lighting a bushfire
in Sydney's south-west. Robert Ovadia is outside
Campbelltown Children's Court. Good morning, Rob. The two boys facing the charges
are very young?

Yeah, extremely young. One is 14, the other is 11. The 11-year-old had his court appearance. He looks like he is nine but has fairly decent krill nam history there. We were told that he was charged with a break and enter. This 11-year-old and 14-year-old as well as a number of friends were in the bush around Airds, not far from here, they are accused of lighting a fire. That fire unfortunately I became quite dangerous because the wind shifted towards homes. Homes were threatened and the flames came within metres of some. If the fire brigades had not arrived in time, that could have been a dire situation. We spoke to the residents who were speaking about the smoke. A father and son had to be taken to hospital. They spoke of their terror as the flames approached their homes. Yeah, I remember carrying - walking one dog and carrying the other one and getting out to the street. Couldn't see in front of me and just calling out " calling out "Jody" and just dropping to the ground. This is an ominous sign with summer school holidays getting under way in some states today? We seem to have a problem with rob

The Federal Government
is under fire today for blaming its decision
not to deliver a budget surplus on falling tax revenue. But the Opposition claims it's actually the government's
excessive spending that has forced it
to break another promise. Wayne Swan says
he'd prefer a budget deficit over a jobs deficit. As a Labor government, our first priority
is always jobs and growth. The Treasurer claims that
priority would have been affected by the spending cuts needed to return the budget to surplus
this financial year. With tax revenue down
by $3.9 billion, to abandon his long-standing
commitment to a surplus. This government's got a history of
getting the big economic calls right and I believe we got
this economic call right as well. It's a broken promise the Opposition
will remind the public of every day
in the lead-up to the election. It is never a good thing for a government
to break fundamental promises. And it's not buying
the government's line. It's not that revenue is too low,
it's that spending is too high. But will the Coalition
deliver a surplus? We're not gonna make promises
that we cannot keep. After sticking by
its surplus promise for so long, this is an embarrassing decision
for the government. But the Treasurer says
he's more concerned about the economic impact
of the move rather than the political backlash. He's a former National, state secretary of the Labor Party. He doesn't care about politics? Give me a break. The move has received
the backing of economists, including Chris Richardson. Right decision,
sensible thing to do. But more importantly,
it has now to convince the voters.

James Ashby has confirmed that he will be appealing against
the judgement that threw out his case against
Federal Speaker Peter Slipper. His lawyers today said they'd be lodging papers
for an appeal in mid-January and his case for sexual harassment
would be lodged with Fair Work Australia. Contrary to some public perceptions, James Ashby's sexual harassment
case against Mr Slipper has not been heard in court and no judicial finding
has been made as to whether James was sexually
harassed by Mr Slipper. Last week, a Federal Court judge
dismissed Mr Ashby's case as an abuse of process

and said it amounted to a
political attack against Mr Slipper. A Brisbane man will appear in court
next month, charged over the shocking
road-rage attack that was caught on camera. The 21-year-old has been charged
with one count of wilful damage Victim Ken Olsen
recorded the violent incident on a camera mounted
to his car dashboard. The man involved says
the video is fake. He will appear in the Beenleigh
Magistrates Court next month.

Sydney woman Keli Lane convicted of murdering
her baby daughter Tegan is appealing her conviction today. Lane was sentenced to 18 years jail for the murder of her baby
who's body has never been found. Jodie Speers has the details.

This is one of the highest profile and most unusual criminal cases in Sydney's recent history. Keli Lane was sentenced to 18 years in gaol last year for the murder of her baby, who disappeared shortly after she was born in September of 1996. She would be 16 years old if she was still alive. Now, no body has ever been found but an injury was convinced that Kelly was guilty. She had several secret pregnancies, two of them ending in abortion and two of them ending in adoption. Kelly's lawyers are expected to arrive here at the Supreme Court shortly to lodge the appeal papers. They claim her trial was unfairly entrepreneurial dised from the start, due to some statements made by the prosecutes and shortly after with drawn by the prosecutes. They also argue that the jury should have been instructed that manslaughter and infant side were available to them. The judge said he was unconvinced by Kelly's guilt, so the lawyers are hopeful that Kelly will walk free after this

Almost one week
since the Newtown school massacre, America's National Rifle Association is planning to enter the debate
on gun control later today. It's planning to hold
a news conference in Washington even as victims of the shooting
are still being buried.

A precious angel. That's how Carolina Previdi's
parents described their daughter. Catherine Hubbard
was an animal lover with a constant smile on her face. The 6-year-olds
were among the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre laid to rest today. As the community grieves, two of the emergency workers who were among the first
on the scene of the shooting have spoken about the tragedy. When we respond,
we are responding to our friends and when they grieve,
we grieve the same. We're all in this together. Everybody feels it. Everybody's heart is ripped out. You don't even need to see it,
you feel it. A makeshift memorial in the town
continues to grow. Vincent Minutolo and his mum
came to pay their respects. She carried a stuffed toy. He carried a concealed weapon. There's too many lunatics out there
these days and to be honest,
I carry mostly everywhere I go. In Washington, President Obama's task force
on gun violence got to work - his vice-president meeting with
law enforcement representatives. Even if we can only save one life,
we have to take action. The strongest opposition will come
from the National Rife Association which is expected to hold
a press conference tomorrow. It certainly will be
an uphill battle. You never underestimate the power
of the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby but I think we're at
a different moment in time now. Tomorrow marks a week
since the massacre. There will be a national moment
of silence at 9:30 in the morning, about the time Adam Lanza
began his killing spree.

Now don't get too alarmed, but there are some who believe
the world will end today. One interpretation
of the ancient Mayan calendar predicts our time on Earth
will be up later tonight with believers around the world making preparations
for Judgement Day.

It's the legacy of a people who built the stepped pyramids, thousands of years ago. But it's got some much more modern folk rather some much more modern folk some much more modern worried. After 5, worried. After 5,125 years, the Mayan long court calendar runs out. It probably doesn't mean the apocalypse is nigh but some are preparing, just in case. Everything from dried chilly to powdered milk for any Australia tree answer who fear the worst. In Russia, they are going to party. Tickets for this bash, in this Cold War bunker, 56 metres underground are going for more than 600 pounds. A nice class of red could be just the thing to toast the coming event and in turkey, they have got the perfect bottle and the perfume and the T shirt. If you want some company, there are rumours that this village in France will be the last place standing. in France will be the last place
standing. It's overrun although mostly by journalists. Although the world isn't going to end, NASA have world isn't going to end, NASA produced this video. But just to be on the safe side, they've already put it on-line

Next in Seven News,
the latest finance. Also, the Russian winter
that's so cold, boiling water freezes instantly.

Australia, the only thing
more delicious than this beautiful Coles
Hunter Valley free-range turkey... Grown by me. when they're served with my special golden apricot glaze. Sally, you like gold, don't you? What made you think of that, Curtis? VOICEOVER: For Curtis's tips on
how to carve the turkey, plus more, visit That turkey is amazing.
You're welcome. CURTIS: How's it taste, guys?
(ALLEXCLAIM) Mmm! My recipe.
My turkey. # It's Christmas time... # ALL: Merry Christmas from Coles!

Every one of our 15,000 products
comes with a guarantee - like this pencil, this tablet,
even these sticky notes. Find a cheaper
identical stocked item and we'll beat it by 5%. Well, that's a good idea. If you've got the big ideas,
Officeworks has the lowest prices.

Time to check the financial markets. The ASX 200 opened higher again
this morning.

Nelson Mandela is continuing
to receive treatment in a South African hospital and is said to be responding well. While he's there, his family is carrying on his work
to help change the country. Mandela's grandson
is working to improve the village the 94-year-old calls home.

Africa's earn cape, are bewitching, this is Nelson Mandela's triable land. He grew up here and the contours of this countryside shape the man. The lessons he learned here, he took with him on his remarkable journey but as Mandela strode the world, this region stood still. Now, all that is changing. The village where he was born. As you As you see, it's still a construction site. His grandson is overseeing the development of a cultural centre. He says it will draw tourists from around the world. I think it's something up race around the world.
I think it's something up race will be able to leave for the Next Generation. A new road is being built. The idea came when Mandela returned here to study. He didn't want to leave the city. He asked me - do you know that I'm the elder member of the family. the elder member of the family.? I said " said "Yes, grandad, said "Yes, grandad," I said yes, I know that. It is my wish that you should go and study further. When my grandfather humbles himself to anyone, he will always win his case. He won my heart and I abided instantly. Now he says he finds this work more rewarding than anything else he could do, learning the lessons his grandfather learned in the hills could do, learning the lessons his
grandfather learned in the hills The traditional counsel used to sit and he would listen to the Chiefs, deliberating on issues of national importance. Nelson Mandela used those triable skills of arbitration to help change the world we live in today. The idea of bringing people here to share that knowledge came to Mandela on the day that he was made triable chief. My grandfather's shortest speech and yet the most ee yet the most yet the most emotional spied he said " yet the most emotional spied he said "Now I will go to my resting place a happy person because I've seen and witnessed the restoration of my father's house holtd" father's house holtd". He is old and frail now but still fighting. He may yet see his grandson's vision

The worsening crisis in Syria has triggered a massive
United Nations aid appeal. The UN is seeking $1.5 billion
in donations to help an estimated
4 million people affected by the conflict. A billion dollars is being sought
to help refugees who are fleeing the country at a rate of between
2,000 and 3,000 people daily. The remaining $500 million
is planned to go towards food, shelter
and other basic needs for people still living in Syria.

Siberia is in the middle
of an extreme cold snap with temperatures dropping
as low as -50 degrees in some parts of the country. The air is so cold

that when boiling water
was thrown off this balcony, it froze almost instantly. The mercury is expected to drop
even lower over the weekend. Meteorologists say the cold snap is the longest and coldest
Eastern Europe has endured

Next in Seven News - Aussie paceman Mitchell Starc responds to criticism
from spin king Shane Warne. And more misery for Chris Gayle's
struggling Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League.

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believes there's no simple solution
to the team's crippling injury toll. Starc's one of the few speedsters
who hasn't broken down this summer. But he insists there's no secret
to his durability.

I am not doing anything too different to everyone else, I am make are sure I do my recoveries and look after

Starc refused to bite back
at claims from Shane Warne that he and fellow left-armer
Mitchell Johnson leak too many runs. , Everyone's entitled to their own opinion but Mitch obviously showed in Perth that he is well on his way back to his best.

The Australian squad
gathers in Melbourne tomorrow to begin preparing for the
Boxing Day test against Sri Lanka. The Adelaide Strikers
have handed Sydney Thunder an eighth straight defeat
in the Big Bash League. The Strikers romped
to a 51-run victory at ANZ Stadium last night. Nathan Reardon smashed 4 sixes
in the space of 7 balls, powering Adelaide
to an impressive 6/177. COMMENTATOR:
Ooh, that's coming up here. We'll catch this, BJ! Tell you what, it wasn't far off. The home side's run chase
was as good as over when Chris Gayle fell to his
West Indian team-mate Kyron Pollard. Former test speedster Shaun Tait bagged three wickets
for the Strikers. Melbourne Demons great David Schwarz
has urged the AFL for alleged tanking in 2009. The club will receive evidence
gathered as part of the AFL's investigation
today. Meanwhile, the Kangaroos have signed
US college basketballer Eric Wallace as an international rookie. I'm very confident in myself. My coach says
there's a long way to go. It's the first step. In Adelaide, the Crows insist they've closed the
book on a tumultuous 2012 season. Coach Brenton Sanderson says he holds no ill will towards
departed forward Kurt Tippett.

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck
is set to match wits with football icon Diego Maradona during next year's
World Cup qualifying campaign. The Argentine legend has reportedly
signed on to coach Iraq who are in the same qualifying group
as the Socceroos. Meanwhile,
the Western Sydney Wanderers insist they won't be intimidated
by A-League high-flyers Adelaide in tonight's clash
at Parramatta Stadium. Only nerves of excitement. There's no nerves of fear. John Kosmina's Reds are sitting
in second on the ladder.

Serena Williams is a certain starter for next week's
Brisbane International despite concerns
over recent toe surgery. Organisers got edgy
when the 14-time Grand Slam winner was forced to withdraw
from an upcoming exhibition match in Thailand. Her manager's told me she's fine. She said,
"You got no reason to panic." She'll be there and she's looking
forward to coming back to Brisbane. The event offers a fresh start
for Australia's Jarmilla Gajdosova who's coming off
a frustrating 12 months.

Outspoken runner John Steffensen could be the next high-profile
athlete to switch to boxing. Steffensen's track career
is at a crossroads after Athletics Australia
officially rejected his claims he'd been racially vilified
and discriminated against. He's now under investigation for
bringing the sport into disrepute and is reportedly
ready to switch sports. It's believed he's already
preparing for a boxing career under the guidance of
triple world champion Jeff Fenech.

Stay with me here
on Seven's Morning News. I'll be back with all the
weather details after this break.

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Checking the weather now. Low pressure troughs stretching through Queensland
and north-east New South Wales are triggering scattered showers
and a few thunderstorms. A high is clearing the remainder of New South Wales, Victoria
and South Australia. Hot easterly winds
are pushing into WA as an area of low pressure
causes storms in the tropics. Around the capitals - the chance of a
thunderstorm in Brisbane. Sydney will be
mostly cloudy. Increasing sunshine
in Canberra. Melbourne is
mostly sunny. Mostly sunny
in Hobart. Adelaide
will be sunny. Perth will also be
mostly sunny. And Darwin can expect
the usual thunderstorms.

And that's Seven News to now. We'll keep you up to date
throughout the day and in our bulletins at 4:30
and tonight at 6:00. See you soon. Supertext captions
by Red Bee Media -