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Seven Nightly News -

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(generated from captions) tonight.

This program is captioned live. Tonight - dozens of homes destroyed in the state's most destructive
bushfire in a decade. But telescopes in an
$80 million observatory are saved. Will the fires have an impact
on Sydney supermarket prices? A family's agonising wait as a teenager fights for life
following a gatecrasher attack. And plenty of red carpet glamour as Hugh Jackman shines
at the Golden Globes. How will we celebrate? I'm Australian, come on!

VOICEOVER: This is Seven News
with Mark Ferguson.

Good evening. New South Wales has suffered its worst bushfire property losses
in a decade with at least 33 homes destroyed near Coonabarabran
in the state's north-west, 1 of 125 blazes now burning. Tonight, Seven News
has full coverage of the devastation and Sydney's looming fire danger. First to the inferno that firefighters are describing
as a perfect storm Hugh Whitfeld is at Coonabarabran
for Seven News. Hugh, what made this blaze
so destructive?

Mark, lightning sparked the bushfire but strong winds made it ferocious, then those winds changed direction at the worst possible time
for firefighters. The flames consumed at least 33 homes, 50 sheds
and 40,000 hectares near the Warrumbungle National Park.

Home after home. This blackened landscape looks like the devastation
caused by a nuclear bomb but this was a firestorm
raging through the bush, west of Coonabarabran. Nothing stood a chance. Paul Wilson got out with his dogs
just in time. Smoke and embers
and everything closed in the road. It was very hard to see. Had to drive
with your headlights on. The most destructive fire
in this state in a decade was whipped up
late yesterday afternoon. In its path,
homes for dozens of families. The bushfire boys knocked
on the door and said, "Out." And that's exactly what we did -
jumped in the cars and took off. Jason Lawrence and his wife
had just bought a 33-room motel. It's been wiped out. We heard the roar of the fire
coming a couple of kays away. The roar of the fire
was unbelievable. Also in the fire's path - the $80 million
Siding Springs Observatory - Australia's most important
eye in the sky, once nestled in green mountains
is now ringed by a sea of black. As the fire swept through, its webcams
caught the moment of impact as the evening sky
quickly disappeared. And fire licked at telescopes. One thermometer
topped out at 100 degrees, officially off the charts. Everyone got out, including firies. It was just too intense. The fire put out
such a heat signature that it could be seen
on weather radars. It's like it created
its own weather system. It went over quite a few
of the telescopes and kept going. Scientific equipment
appears to have been saved. But outbuildings at the observatory
have also been destroyed. Across the district, 33 homes, more than 50 sheds
and thousands of livestock gone. The speed in which it developed
and moved was absolutely frightening and I had genuine fear
for people's lives. Stock wandering in the paddocks.
They'd been burnt too much. I'm a farmer
and I can't believe what we saw. The fire has burnt through
40,000 hectares of land and it's still going. Moving fast today through the hills
and flaring up on the roadside. 100 volunteers aren't enough, farmers are protecting
what they can. The heat through here
must have been so intense. It looks like a moonscape. Everything through here
has been turned to ash and this power pole
is being held by a wafer. The road between Coonabarabran
and Baradine is closed. People have been evacuated
to both towns. Baradine could be without power
for days with hundreds of power poles
needing replacing. That town was doorknocked today
and residents warned to be on alert. The Bunyans know they could be
spending days away from home. We're safe. We're being
well looked after in town. Firies are doing their job.
Our animals are safe. Life's too important. You can always replace a building,
you can't replace a life. The danger is far from over. The road to the destroyed properties
is closed, families still can't return
to their homes. Other people have been through it. You learn from their experiences and you think,
"That may happen to me one day." It has. It's the Australian bush.
You just have to live that way.

Tonight, the blaze is still burning
north of Coonabarabran. For the latest, we're joined by
RFS deputy commissioner Rob Rogers. Rob, are any more homes
in danger tonight?

Given that the wind is coming up from the south-east it has pushed the fire towards the north-west. There is a whole lot of other properties so we will alert those properties to the danger. The fire is not as ferocious as it was yesterday but if threat is far from over and we need to keep communicating with the communities and keep them safe. This fire is not going to be put out quickly given its size. We have literally days and days of work before we can even consider containing the fire. How devastating are these losses
compared with previous bushfires? even consider containing the fire.
Someone loses their home and their memories and it is devastating. The

memories and it is devastating. The
photos of the sheer ferocity of this fire, we were watching it on thermal detection equipment and the energy that radiated from the fire, for, does why are heading towards Coonabarabran, and the wind shift that scented and off, obviously that studied heeding Coonabarabran but it put it on to other homes. It has been a really difficult fire and it continues to be ended will continue to be four days to come. There are new files popping up all the time. The annual Highway is now closed. There are plenty of fires from the lightning storm on Saturday. -- Newell Highway.

One of those now under control
is near Yass. Farmers are relieved but are now facing the huge task
of rebuilding. Mia Greves is there. Mia, how are locals coping? Mark, many of the farmers here
around Yass are facing tough times. They didn't lose their homes but they lost their livelihoods
in the fire that swept through this area
last Tuesday and Wednesday. We spent the day with third generation merino farmer
Bill Kaveney who's lost 95%
of his family property. His story is a typical one. He lost 250 sheep

and of the 2,500 remaining, there's little feed left
and no shelter. Added to that, kilometres of fencing
have been destroyed. Bill wasn't insured and the fences alone will cost
several hundred thousand dollars to replace. But in typical country fashion,
everyone's chipping in.

Tough. We have got a lot of work. Very hard. But we will get through it. You know, one way or another we will get through it. The blaze destroyed
14,000 hectares of land. That's about five times the size
of the Sydney CBD. And the danger isn't over yet. While we were with Bill,
a spot fire developed. Luckily, it was quickly put out. Conditions here are still warm
and extremely windy, Mark.

Here in Sydney, the fire danger
will return later in the week when it's again
going to be scorching hot.

Sally Bowrey is at Penrith
this evening. Sal, we're heading back
into the 40s. Hot northerly winds will kick in
towards the end of the week but it looks like once again
the sea breeze will save the coast.

In Sydney's west, the mercury
is tipped to hit 38 on Thursday, 42 again this Friday before a cool change sweeps in
for Saturday. The good news is the heat dome that's been sitting
across the red centre is showing signs of breaking up, which means an end to the
record-breaking summer scorcher is near. Today is the first day
since the new year started where we haven't seen the mercury
reach 47 degrees anywhere in Australia. I'll be back at 6:55
with Sydney's forecast, Mark.

A father and son have faced court accused of torching
their secret bush drug labs, sparking a major bushfire
near Camden. The pair allegedly manufactured
$60 million worth of the drug ice in an operation
spanning several years.

Police swoop on a shack... ..deep in the
Blue Mountains National Park. But they're too late - the property is empty. And the crime scene - destroyed. The people that we allege
were involved in this obviously got spooked and
took matters into their own hands. Police spent two weeks planning
the raid, hiding in the trees. But a bushfire ruined the sting. Detectives think they were spotted. We'll be alleging that led
to the lighting of the fire with the intention
to destroy the labs and obviously camouflage any
involvement they had in those labs. Father and son Peter and Jim Martin
faced court today, charged over a drug operation
worth millions of dollars. They were formally refused bail
and will face court again next week. It's not the only arson case. Three teenagers appeared in
Campbelltown Children's Court today, one accused of lighting fires
in Airds, the others at Macquarie Fields. All of the boys
were remanded in custody. Magistrate Carney said considering the seriousness
of the arson offences, she was mindful
of protecting the community. All three will remain in custody
until their next appearance.

Farmers have been hit hard
by the state's fire crisis and they warn shoppers
are likely to pay the price. The cost of buying some groceries
is tipped to rise following a summer
of extreme heat and bushfires.

Scones with jam and cream
are not at risk. There you go, buddy.

is well timed with farmers hit by heat and fire. There will be an impact on consumers but right now,
the impact is on producers. They are doing it tough. Food retailers say
prices are holding steady but supply is the key.

With the combination of bushfires,
weather and potential road closures, we are extra careful, we are
significantly focused on supply. Leafy vegetables are suffering
in the unrelenting heat and could cost more. Tomatoes and grapes too
and other soft high-sugar products. If it's a case of availability,

there's supply of the product
not on the shelf, An estimated 20,000 head of stock
have been lost in the fires. Feed is also under pressure but the meat industry doesn't expect
consumer prices to be hit. It is hotter and drier and the fire conditions
are a great concern but those conditions
we've dealt with before. Dairy Farmers too are positive
as long as temperatures moderate. Clearly, cows, like humans,
are not so keen on the hot weather. Growers say the heat may boost
the supply of some vegetables prices may fall. Shoppers might have to put up
with a few imperfections. It might have a slight blemish on it
but it will still eat well.

The brothers of a teenager who was speared in the head
with a metal pole have told of their agonising wait
to find out whether he'll survive. 17-year-old Liam Knight
was one of two people attacked by gatecrashers
at a weekend party in Forrestville.

Time moves so slowly
for Shane, Todd and Kyle Knight. Their little brother is in a coma and only brain scans will reveal whether Liam can survive the
metal bar that pierced his skull. Until then, they just wait. Terrible. Agonising. Every time I look at him... It's not him right now.
It's not Liam. It's not Liam to be involved
in anything like this either.

I don't think
I've ever seen Liam angry. He's probably one of
the most placid kids you could meet. Nothing phases him. Police believe the pole
that speared Liam had been thrown into a crowd by the gatecrashers trying to storm
his mate's 18th birthday. 17-year-old Liam
was just incredibly unlucky. If there's anyone out there that hasn't been approached
or spoken to from the police, we'd encourage them to come forward. Police say another teenager
was beaten up by the gatecrashers as he walked home from the party. I have no idea what goes through
people's heads at all. There's no real excuse for it. The Knights had already
been through enough trauma before Liam was attacked
Friday night. The boys' father, Trevor, is fighting an aggressive form
of cancer. The family had been bracing
for his death. He's not coping well at all. He's been sitting at his bed
just staring, just rubbing his arm the whole time. Robert Ovadia
is at the Sydney Police Centre. Rob, do police know who
they're after? Yes, Mark, officers have spoken
with the suspect's parents Police say he's a juvenile and
want the boy to turn himself in - and two girls have given statements
to police, saying they invited him
to the party. Police say he's a juvenile and
want the boy to turn himself in - if anything, that would look
more favourable for him in court.

Hugh Jackman's Oscar hopes
have been boosted after winning a Golden Globe
for his role in 'Les Miserables'. Mike Amor is in LA. Mike, it wasn't such a good day
for three other Aussie nominees. No, Mark.

Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman
and her husband, Keith Urban all missed out in the first
major Hollywood awards of the year. But Hugh Jackman
was a popular choice as Best Actor
in a Musical or Comedy. Daniel Day-Lewis
remains his biggest Oscar rival after he won the drama category.

There were red-hot arrivals
on the red carpet. Black and beaded gowns
were the styles of choice. But the unusually chilly weather had some stars calling it
the "Cold-en Globes". It's cold out, huh? Strapless dresses that had many
shimmering and shivering. For the first time,
they needed heaters on the carpet. It's freezing out here! Others opted
for a more covered approach. Australians had scored
five nominations, led by Hugh Jackman and Naomi Watts. I know I'm not going to win
and I'm good with that and I just want to have fun. These Golden Globes
are extra special for Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban. Husband and wife nominees.
Nicole has two nominations. They spoke about the phone call they
shared when they were nominated. "Wow!"
It was a crazy elated phone call. But both went home empty-handed. Adele stole Keith Urban's thunder
for best original song. Oh, my God! Oh, my God!

Naomi Watts was also beaten
by Jessica Chastain for 'Zero Dark Thirty'. Daniel Day-Lewis won
Best Actor in a Drama for 'Lincoln'. But Hugh Jackman was favourite
to win his first Golden Globe for the musical 'Les Miserables'. Hugh Jackman, my friend,
you were brilliant in this role. And the Hollywood Foreign Press
agreed. Hugh Jackman, 'Les Miserable'. The Aussie star admitted his wife,
Deborra-Lee Furness, had to talk him out of
quitting the role. Baby, I'm going to say it
in front of the entire world, thank you for always being right,
baby. (LAUGHS) I love you. The film also won
for Best Comedy or Musical.

Ben Affleck
made up for his Oscar snub by winning Best Director
and Best Drama for 'Argo'. But it was a night of girl power
with two female hosts. Everybody's getting a little loose
now that we're all losers. And an unexpected admission
from Jodie Foster as she was honoured
for her 47-year career. The crowd was in tears as she
paid tribute to her dying mother and then confirmed she's gay. I already did my coming out
about a thousand years ago back in the stone age. It was a brave move
and one which was applauded. Goodnight.
We're going home with Jodie Foster.

Still to come tonight
in Seven News - a father shot after answering a
knock at his door in western Sydney. Also, will Sydney get
vigilante-style security guards to protect cabbies? And how Australia
will clean up cycling following
the Lance Armstrong drug scandal.

You're watching a one-hour edition
of Seven News. All the day's sport, including
action from the Australian Open, is coming up soon.

But first, a father of two
has had emergency surgery after being shot in the
stomach and chest in Western Sydney. He was fired at inside his house
at Homebush last night when he answered a knock
at the front door. Detectives believe
the attack was targeted. Neighbours say they're shocked. Four gunshots last night,
about 10:30 or 11:00 - somewhere between then. The victim's pregnant wife and
two daughters also live in the home. The gunman fled in a white vehicle.

Transport bosses have slammed a plan to introduce
vigilante-style security guards to protect Sydney taxidrivers. The so-called tiger taxis
are already operating in Melbourne and their owners
want to expand interstate.

Protection cameras can't provide. A roving private security force Jeez, they've given you a good one
on the ear. It's hoped Tiger Team patrol cars
in Melbourne and now their operator
wants the guards in Sydney. We see it
as a service we just can't stop. It's too great for the drivers,
it's great for the community. We'll keep it going. Potential peace of mind
for our 4,500 cabbies, including Saiful Islam. He led calls
for improved driver security after he was bashed for $200
in Campbelltown. I tried to stand up and they
knocked me again and kicked me.

I tried to stand up and they
knocked me again and kicked me. Transport for New South Wales says it won't condone
any vigilante behaviour. There's better measures
to improve security - new camera systems, prepaid fares,
your secure taxi ranks and improved driver training. But from today, there's one safety measure
cabbies claim won't help them, the compulsory wearing of seatbelts. They say the new law makes it harder for drivers
to escape their attackers. If we get attacked,
every second counts. Concerns impossible
for the Government to ignore outside parliament today. (HORNS HONK) But the laws will stay and also protect
front-seat passengers from cabbies
thrown by a side impact.

As disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong
prepares to break his silence over his doping scandal, a new report has been released
into Cycling Australia. It's recommended major changes to try to restore public confidence
in the sport and weed out drug cheats. Stuart O'Grady doesn't believe
the wheels have fallen off cycling but admits
the Lance Armstrong doping scandal has seriously damaged the sport. Of course
it's had a massive influence. It's been pretty devastating. The champion road racer
has welcomed a new report into the sport's governing body,
Cycling Australia. It's made 16 recommendations
to regain public confidence after two top officials
quit in disgrace last year. Former coach Matt White
admitted to doping when he was Armstrong's team-mate. Ex-vice president Stephen Hodge
also confessed to using drugs during his career. What I want to see is a sport that
has its integrity fully restored. The review calls for:

The report itself
is a step in the right direction. The challenge
is for Cycling Australia to actually implement it. The Australian Olympic Committee
believes not just cycling but all sports will benefit
from the review. In particular, its call to give
our anti-doping authority more power to pursue those
who witness drug cheating. There's speculation Armstrong
will admit to cheating when he finally breaks his silence
over the doping scandal this week. Knowing Lance, I doubt it
but, yeah, we'll see.

Still to come tonight in this one-hour edition
of Seven News and Today Tonight - we'll return live to Coonabarabran, a community devastated by
one of the worst bushfires in years. Also, inside the best workplaces
in Australia - what makes them a cut above. And the latest internet hit - how a patient pooch
helped teach a dog new tricks. That's next.

(HEAVY MUSIC) All the pulling power you want...

..then a bit more.

The technology and space
you need...

..then a bit more.

All the toughness
of the competition...

..then a bit more. The 147-kilowatt Mazda BT-50. Because more is more.

A court has been told desperate screams
came from a Sydney apartment the morning a woman fell 15 storeys
to her death. Lisa Harnum's fiance
is facing a committal hearing, accused of murdering her.

This home video shows the moment Simon Gittany proposed
to his girlfriend. They look like a couple
blissfully in love

but less than two months later,
Lisa Cecilia Harnum was dead after plunging 15 storeys
from the couple's luxury apartment overlooking Hyde Park. Simon was accused
of pushing her off. He posted this series of home videos
on YouTube a year after being charged
with murder. And that's how we play golf. (LAUGHS) Thank you for watching. Today,
Gittany's committal hearing was told a woman's screams were heard
coming from their apartment the morning Ms Harnum died.

REPORTER: Did you kill your fiancee,
Mr Gittany? Prosecutors showed the court CCTV from inside
Simon Gittany's apartment, which they say shows him dragging
Ms Harnum back into the unit with one hand over her mouth. Just over a minute later, he's seen rushing out the door
after she had plunged to her death. the case depends largely
on the evidence of one witness who reported seeing
something that looked like luggage being thrown from the building. He'll give evidence tomorrow.

Productivity is a word commonly used
in Australian workplaces as companies explore new ways to get
more value out of their employees. Some businesses are
getting great results by making the workplace fun. Today Tonight's James Thomas
has more.

There is lots of great reasons
why people work at Google. Like access to the Google masseur. And a library with actual books, a novel idea for a workforce who have probably never
flicked the page on a real book, thanks to the internet world
they've created

Everyone has a laptop. So that allows them
to move away from desks, be unchained from their desks
if they like, and kind of use a lot
of the different spaces as well. Spaces like this, or this, or this. Whatever tickles your fancy
when you work for Google.

I think it is about providing
a flexible workplace. Johnny Luu says employees are
lavished with perks and privileges, such as the freedom to work
where you like, when you like. So, you know, people are in charge
of their own work schedule and when people are in charge
of their own work schedule and you can dictate the terms
which they work under, that's when you have
the happiest employees and the best work
comes from that. And as for breakfast,
lunch and dinner, well, that's catered for too. And it's free. What about lazy people
that take advantage of that? You know,
too much time on the massage bed, too much time in the cafeteria. Look, Google is an enthusiastic
self-motivated people who are passionate about their work. He sounds like a preacher
from a cult Google is one of the most successful
companies on the planet. Stefan the hairdresser
gave some of his workers cars to thank them for their services and Kennards Hire
shared a $3 million dollar bonus among its staff. Thanks a trillion. At 1pm on Fridays, the workers at
this company up tools and head home. We surveyed our team members
around three or four years ago and asked them, "What will
make you happier at work?"

And they all said
more time away from it. but what's surprising is Kellogg's
granted that request with a 4.5 day week. And Michelle Bakar says it has
improved the bottom line. We have a barbecue
every three months to celebrate our quarterly results in the park next door. We have free breakfast. Well, hang on, don't get to proud
on the breakfast thing, Michelle. Well, hang on, don't get too proud
on the breakfast thing, Michelle. It's not that generous for you guys. There's more cereal here
than you can poke a stick at. So you haven't just hammed this up
for us today? No, this is genuinely
the way that it is.

Seriously? No wonder Rob Khoury
from E-Web Marketing loves his job. What's not to like? The table tennis, the trampoline,
a game of pool, the relaxed clothing. It's driving me to envy... ..but they've got something
for that too. (SCREAMING)

Yep, this funky office
even has a scream room. But I've got to ask. If they are all so happy here,
why do they need this. (SCREAMING)

Is there a trade off, though? Are you less productive because if people are playing
ping pong, you are not working? Yeah, it is actually the opposite. We are more productive. If you have a normal
9:00-to-5:00 job and you just go out there
and try and work full on all day, Of course,
they have that covered too. A sleeping room for precious
to recharge his batteries. I don't know how many heads
have been on that pillow case. I hope they all wash their hair.

If employees are happy,
they're going to produce more so it just makes sense to try
and keep your employees happy. Australians work
very much longer hours than people
in other parts of the world. Psychologist Grant Brecht says while some Australian workplaces
have cottoned on, many still adhere
to a sweatshop mentality. When we start to work longer
than probably 45 hours a week, our productivity starts to drop off
dramatically.

Which might explain why
most companies do provide coffee and in Google's case,
copious amounts of sugar to keep the workforce's
energy levels up. So, part of the philosophy behind
these warm and fuzzy workplaces is to sort of remove barriers between senior management levels
and the workers, the proletariat. Which is why we have the CEO of GPT,
Michael here, in amongst the punters, so to speak.

I'm assured that CEO Michael Cameron
is not sitting here for show. He really does think
it is good for the company. For me it is just a way
of getting amongst the team, understanding what's happening and we don't have all the formality
that other companies have. Michael's company have just
refurbished their offices in line with modern expectations. We use a lot less space
and a lot less energy. So they are tangible things
where we've saved money and you can bank those things. Recycled materials,
windows that let in real air and comfortable spaces designed to help workers
feel good about, well, work. We trust our people
which is absolutely critical. We measure the output
as opposed to effort. So it is about efficiency,
not the hours worked. So if someone's able to do
seven days' work in three days, that is fine for me. It's the same at Google. They'll give you lunch,
a bed and a massage. Why, they pretty much make work
feel more like home than home. And if that's the case,
why go home at all? They are cunning, aren't they?

Today Tonight's James Thomas
reporting there. Sometimes it's the most
simple of things that make us smile like an 8-week-old puppy
trying to navigate the stairs. After Daisy climbed up, she quickly
discovered she couldn't get down. The puppy's Canadian owners
filmed the troubling task before their older dog Simon
showed her how it's done. After several attempts
and a little push, Daisy eventually made it down. The home video has had more than
a million hits on YouTube.

and a ferocious bushfire
near Coonabarabran in the state's north-west has destroyed at least 33 homes,
50 sheds and 40,000 hectares near the Warrumbungle National Park. The $80 million
Siding Spring Observatory was saved, though five of its outbuildings
were damaged. Residents were all evacuated from
their homes ahead of the firestorm. And this is the latest
remarkable view of the state's fires as seen from space.

Now back to Hugh Whitfeld
at Coonabarabran. Hugh, how are locals dealing
with the disaster? A tough day for this

A tough day for this community there are no doubt tough days ahead. Joining me is the mayor of the council. When you woke up this morning it you knew it would be bad but did you expect it to be this bad?Not at all. The cloud was horrendous when I read to bed last night and we understood that all hell was letting loose beneath the cloud and that is what we found this morning. It's probably worse than I thought. 33 houses have been destroyed. A lot of dead livestock. We saw parts of kangaroos in the middle of the road. They had just been baked to death. We saw houses destroyed, perhaps a row of them and then two or three that haven't been.It has been a tough tour of months for this community and it will be even tougher now.Years. We have lost an abattoir and a business just recently and now this on top of it but it is a community that fight was a viable and we will make it, no doubt about that. The local mayor and I'll be back later in the bulletin with more. Stosur breaks her drought in a great
start for Australia at the Open. Plus, major changes
to the Aussie one-day side after Sri Lanka levels the series.

And Del Piero delight for Sydney FC.

(CHILDREN CHATTER)

When you're carrying kids, you need eyes
in the back of your head.

And how about eyes
in the side of your head too? (BEEPING) With blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning
and forward obstruction warning, you're not going to miss a thing. I saw that, James.

New-look Mazda CX-9.
The seven-seat sensation. SONG: # Zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom. #

Sam Stosur has broken
her home-court hoodoo with a relieving first round win
at the Australian Open. Young Aussie girls Sacha Jones,
Bojana Bobusic and Ash Barty were all beaten. Matt Ebden has just lost
a five setter to Mikhail Youzhny while Stosur recovered
from a nervous start.

Trying to block out expectation that's wrecked
her previous campaigns, Sam Stosur aced her start then the jitters returned against
world number 83 Kai-Chen Chang. Oh!

The Aussie's serve was broken
four times in the first set. Still, Stosur forced a tie break and the big forehand weapon
returned, clinching the first set.

The whole stadium just exhaled. Her confidence and timing returned,
taking the second set 6-3. Stosur's first win on home soil
in six matches is sheer relief. Nice to get through that first round
finally and from here
hopefully I can loosen up a bit and keep playing better and better. 16 year-old Ash Barty
won her first set before 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova
forced a third set. The fanatics willed on Matt Ebden who took a 2-0 set lead over former world number eight
Mikhail Youzhny. Nice. (CHEERING) After dropping the third set,
Ebden had a match point before the Russian sent it
to a decider. Come on! Game. The big guns were firing. Maria Sharapova beat Olga Puchkova
6-0, 6-0.

Venus Williams dropped only 1 game while Novak Djokovic
cruised past Paul-Henri Mathieu. Bernard Tomic and Roger Federer
had a brief meeting.

The warrior Lleyton Hewitt begins
his 17th Australian Open tonight. Hewitt's fit and confident with three wins from four matches
against Janko Tipsarevic. Seven's Jim Courier
will be calling the action straight after Seven News.

To knight on Channel Seven Australia's Lleyton Hewitt takes on Janko Tipsarevic from Serbia but later and it is coming in with good form. He won Kooyong last week

Michael Clarke, Dave Warner
and Matthew Wade are back in Australia's one-day side for Friday's third game
against Sri Lanka. Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith
are among five dropped players. Brad Haddin's strained hamstring
didn't trouble him this morning but he's been ruled out. The all-rounder search continues
with Moises Henriques recalled three years
after his last international. With every game and every time
you walk onto a cricket field, it's an opportunity. Mitchell Starc is back despite the revelation
he requires ankle surgery. Every time he bowls,
he bowls in pain, but that's part and parcel
of being a quick bowler. Paceman Kane Richardson was dumped
after a humiliating debut. Selectors deny
they knew about his technical flaw that has been highlighted by
commentators during the Big Bash. He's never been warned before.
He said it's never been raised. Lahiru Thirimanne's unbeaten century helped Sri Lanka level the series
1-1 last night.

Another desperate comeback has lifted Sydney FC off the bottom
of the A-League ladder. Trailling Melbourne Heart 1-0, Brett Emerton equalised
for the Sky Blues before Alessandro Del Piero
conjoured a late winner.

COMMENTATOR: There is the winner
for Sydney FC. It's Ryan Grant. Amazing! We just knew we had to show
a bit of passion and a bit of heart and that's what we did. Sydney's now just one win
outside the top six.

The Seven Network
has expanded its coverage of Australia's elite horseracing. The home
of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Seven will broadcast all major
Group One events of the spring, including the Caulfield Cup
and Cox Plate. The deal also includes
Sydney's Easter Racing Carnival, featuring the Golden Slipper
and AJC Derby. That's all in sport.

Still to come tonight in this one-hour edition
of Seven News and Today Tonight - the latest on the fire
in the state's north-west that's destroyed dozens of homes. Also, police hunt a con man tradie who's ripped off
dozens of customers. And why little Ruby
is a big inspiration as she battles
a life-threatening illness. That's next.

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A tradesman
is on the run from police as they investigate
dozens of complaints. Carlos Martinez
allegedly deceived customers into parting with
tens of thousands of dollars, time and again promising a service
he never delivered and taking off with their cash. Today Tonight's Lynda Kinkade
reports. This could be Australia's
most-wanted tradie. He uses several names - Carlos or Carl Martinez, Mark Kelly,
Charlie Martin and Dario Martinez, but those who've dealt with him
all call him a con man. We feel humiliated and feel like
stupidest people in the world, believing all his lies. Gallino Likhovetsky is gutted,
as is her home. We paid for jacuzzi
and it's never showed up, we paid for sauna in that corner -
never appeared. Those walls haven't been finished. The 60-year-old grandmother has been left with empty promises
and empty pockets. Altogether,
between $30,000-$40,000 we lost. She found him through a website
called ServiceSeeking.com and like many
who have employed this tiler, she fell for his lies.

and his wife had cancer
and he had cancer as well. All the subcontractors
he hired to work at the house were never paid.

He approached me
at the local shop just where I live and just asked if I was interested
in doing some work for him. Electrician James Rickey was hired
by Carlos to rewire two homes. That was in July last year

and he's still waiting to be paid. How much did he pay you,
and how much does he still owe you? He paid me $250 in cash
but still owes me close to $12,000. What would you like to see
happen to him? Well, he's left a lot of people
devastated so I'd like to see
the authorities catch up with him and deal with him
and put him behind bars before someone else
catches up with him. The first invoice was for the storage room
to be converted into an en suite and that was for $6,660 and he wanted a 50% deposit. Tarun, who doesn't want to reveal
his last name, is another victim. He handed over $17,000. After months of delay,

the tradie told him
his father had died and he asked for more cash. $12,500, he asked me. And I said Consumer Affairs Victoria
is investigating 11 cases against Carlos Martinez.

Online forums reveals dozens more
are trying to track him down. Some have lost up to $50,000. For the victims, there's no way of knowing whether
they'll ever get their money back. Carlos Martinez has disappeared. His three mobile numbers
go unanswered and this was his last known address. It was cleared out in December. Despite half a dozen aliases,
he has no registered business. Detectives are also investigating. That report from Today Tonight's
Lynda Kinkade. A young girl
with a life-threatening tumour is desperately seeking medical help
from overseas because doctors here can't operate. But despite her own battle, 4-year-old Ruby Ernest
has embarked on an inspiring mission to help thousands of other children in public hospitals
around Australia.

You wouldn't guess from her
bright smile and bubbly personality Ruby Ernest has a life-threatening
chest tumour. She's gorgeous
and she takes it all in her stride. It's a lot to take in
for the 4-year-old and her mum, Jo. This is Ruby's sleeping giant. This is what we call it. The large lymphatic malformation
was discovered last March when Ruby was treated
for bronchitis. Australian doctors can't operate. I've asked, "Could this be fatal?"
and I just get, "Good question." Nobody knows. Nobody. It's precarious at best. My sister made these ones. Ruby calls these "wish birdies". Thousands of the paper cranes
hang in her home, made by family, friends
and the community in the hope doctors can
successfully treat Ruby's condition. The only comfort that I can draw is
that we're not alone. Ruby and Jo are now on a mission
to give something back, launching Ruby's Toy Challenge
on Facebook to collect donated toys
for public hospitals... Wow!

..starting with
the Royal Brisbane and Mater where she's receiving treatment. If there wasn't a positive in this,
I'd just... ..I dunno. This Facebook campaign

I can't say enough about Ruby. She's only four but she wants
to help so many children. New toys and ones in good condition
are needed. Jo hopes everyone gets behind
Ruby's Toy Challenge to ensure her daughter's wish
to make a difference comes true. It can create change,
positive change.

After the break in this
1-hour edition of Seven News - live to the fire zone where dozens
of properties have been destroyed. And Sally will return with details
on a heatwave heading for Sydney. That's next.

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The fire burning near Coonabarabran
in the state's north-west is still not contained tonight. Hugh Whitfeld joins us again. Hugh, how is it looking?

It is still very much a volatile situation. While we had been here, you can see that the fire has picked up again and is heading east. The swirling wind makes it unpredictable. We know that at least 33 homes had been destroyed, 50 Sheds, 40,000 HECS tears of the National Park and thousands of livestock. It will be absolutely devastating for this community. We know that Baradine to the north was door knocked today. At one stage overnight it was travelling at 100 km/h as it passed over the Observatory and destroyed homes. People are waiting to get back to those times tonight. The road has been closed all day. A fire crew got into the observatory this morning but could not get out and had to be winched out. Today has been described as the worst fire in a decade in NSW. It is the most destructive and there is a long road ahead for this community.

Back now
to Rural Fire Headquarters and deputy commissioner Rob Rogers
joins us now. Rob, how is the situation
around the state tonight?

That is still the main fire of concern. There are others around the state still burning but that is our prime concern. As we speak, we are putting out an emergency text message for properties to the north-west of that fire. We are afraid that the south-easterly winds will push it towards more properties so we are advising those people to prepare for far impact and enact their bushfire survival plan. This fire is not out. Back to Sally Bowrey at Penrith and the hot spell
is far from over, Sal.

plan. This fire is not out.
Temperatures are set to soar into the 40s this week.

Overnight a few showers
and storms moved across, bringing a total
of 9mm in the city. However that all cleared to a fine
and mostly sunny day with a top
of 23 degrees. Across the board we picked up
between 5mm and 15mm across Sydney, though some of us
did see a bit more. From the satellite, patchy high cloud is drifting across
western and southern Australia as winds push a bit of cloud along
the south-east coast. Tomorrow a trough will push very hot conditions
over inland New South Wales while widespread showers and storms
are expected over inland Queensland. Around
the country.

Canberra
and Melbourne fine. On the water:

Tonight will be fine
with a low of 19 degrees while tomorrow will remain fine
and become partly cloudy with a top
of 25 degrees. Staying fine tomorrow with a touch
of cloud across the skies as temperatures reach a high of 24
in Manly, Cronulla and Gosford, 26 in Homebush and 28 in Richmond and Penrith. Looking ahead,

expect a warmer day on Wednesday
with hot weather across Thursday.

Friday will be the hottest ahead of a late change that's expected to bring an afternoon or evening shower
or storm.

Unfortunately, the hot weather is not over yet. That's Seven News for this Monday.
I'm Mark Ferguson. Goodnight. Supertext captions
by Red Bee Media -