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National Nine News 3PM -

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This program is captioned live. Hello and Welcome to Nine News Now. Across three states, people are right now dealing with extreme temperatures. We've got breaking news from Victoria, where homes are threatened by a huge bushfire burning out of control at Aberfeldy.

Also - a fat tax on fizzy drinks. Why health groups are pushing for it, but are you prepared to pay extra?

Plus - the breastfeeding mum who got told to cover up or get out of her local pool.

They are young and beautiful and confident, we meet the girls desperate to become the next supermodel. First to Victoria where the mercury has already risen above 40 degrees in many parts of the state's north-west. We will go live now. Bring us up to speed. But concerning fire has broken out at Aberfeldy near the national park. That is 120 kilometres east of Melbourne. It's popular with cambers and a police are asking people to get out. They are closing roads and they say 88 years has been burnt out and it's difficult to fight the fire. They are using an aerial assault to protect houses and residents are asked to be vigilant. The heat wave there would have contributed to this by a? Yes, it is a scorcher here in the mid- 30s here. We expect to get to do T9. In mildew or it will get to 41. Nil

Nobody would be as hot as the tennis players that Rogge Labor a Reno. -- Rod Laver Arena. To SA where authorities are on high alert as residents swelter through another day of scorching heat. There is an extreme fire danger Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and the Mount Lofty Ranges. It's reached 44 degrees in many parts of the State. Adelaide is expecting 42. The heat is also making things tough for firefighters battling NSW's worst bushfires in a decade. Today, Prime Minister Julia Gillard toured some of the worst-hit areas in the north-west of the State. Reporter Lizzie Pearl filed this report from Coonabarabran. Julia Gillard began the morning here at by headquarters in Coonabarabran. She received a briefing from authorities this morning and met with some fire crews from across the State he came to fight this fire. Also those men and women behind the scenes to make sure the firefighters are looked after as they fight this huge fire. I had the opportunity to see the way this community pulls together to meet the people working so hard on behalf of the community from weary firefighters who are still out there to pay 5-year-old girl who has handed out ice blocks to firefighters are affording relief and to everybody he ran his community who has pulled together with great spirit, thank you for what you are doing and continuing to do with the fire situation. Julia Gillard visited deciding springs Observatory which is an iconic building for the town. The damage is unclear because it's too dangerous to go in. 150 firefighters are working on the fire. The wind has turned to the north and it is feared they will turn north-westerly which will again threaten more properties. The number of homes lost in this disaster has risen to 49 and its feed the number will rise as they go into remote areas. A holiday for a young couple in Sydney has ended in tragedy after a 21-year-old woman fell to her death from a hotel balcony, south of the city. Nine's Sylvia Jeffreys has the details. Police are trying to piece together the final moments leading up to the tragedy but they say at 11:30pm last night the woman fell 25 metres from the balcony on the 10th floor at this beachside suburb. She was taken to hospital but the injuries were too severe and she died. Cheers from the south coast of NSW on holidays staying with her boyfriend. They had been out last night drinking and there may have been an argument between them in the room last night and the woman has been -- the man has been questioned but later released after telling them he was inside while she was on the balcony and did not see her fall.He is extremely distressed. At this stage he is dealing with this with support from the family. The man was spoken to as well as other people in the hotel in the vicinity and more people are due to the fatigue and the lateness of the hour that will be interviewed today. We are gathering information.After speaking with witnesses police say there are no signs of any power play and they have interviewed some guests and staff at this hotel and the statements will be handed over to the coroner. The woman's family is at the town supporting the boyfriend who is said to be traumatised by this. We're learning more details about that shocking helicopter crash in central London. It clipped a crane at the top of a skyscraper before smashing onto the street below. Two people are dead and several more have been injured. It's absolutely extraordinary there were more -- not more deaths. The pilot and one pedestrian and a few people injured maybe 12 but they were treated on site. The police said it was miraculous it was not worse. It was rush hour here. Its Westminster near the Houses of Parliament. We are right in the heart of London. It was peak hour and it was extraordinary. The helicopter was flying from the south to pick up a business man in the north of London. There was low cloud and he asked to divert to Annie by. And a clipped the crane which you can see on the side of that building and part of that crane and the helicopter came crashing down. Part of that hit the road and exploded into flames with aviation fuel. For those on board and for those on the ground, it must have been shocking. These are some of the eyewitnesses.It was black, the helicopter, it hit the top of the building and the crane and nosedived down and it was the surreal. It was plunging.Rotors and the debris exploding with the helicopter going around spinning like cut willing.An investigation is under way and there was low visibility to a few hundred metres and there is low cloud, mist and fog but the question is, all of these cranes are supposed to have a light beacon to warn that low- flying aircraft and the question is, was his working? They will be an investigation and many local residents report that they said previously that it had not been working and they are unconfirmed reports. We have no comments. Now to a story that's sure to fire-up the debate about breastfeeding in public. This is Liana Webster who was at her local swimming pool, breastfeeding her baby, when staff told her to cover up or get out. The mum from Bribie Island, north of Brisbane, says she felt embarrassed and ashamed. We'll cross live to our reporter there for more on this controversy.

Health groups have declared war on sugar-filled soft drinks, which are a magnet for Australians of all ages. Nine's Gabriella Rogers joins us. Talk us through this campaign. The Cats accounts court and diabetes with a heart foundation are campaigning against these drinks. They have released a TV commercial which was adapted from the US giving people a clear message about the amount of sugar in soft drinks.

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A lot of sugar there. The campaign is not just about that TV ad? The groups called for a tax on sugared drinks and I spoke to the Beveridge Council today and they said this is over the top of and the tax is discriminatory.One in three drinks sold here as low amounts of sugar and since 2002, sales of sugar soft drinks have dropped 10% replaced by a low sugar options.About 47% of children consume these drinks daily. Health experts hope this campaign may make a difference. It is very interesting. The topic has really got us talking on Facebook.

We'll be reading some of your responses later in the show. We'll head overseas now where gun enthusiasts in the US are today furious at President Barack Obama. That's because he's pledging $500 million of new funding to crack down on gun control. When the President made the announcement he was joined by four children who wrote letters.There is a very smart letters from these smart young people. Julia says, I am not scared for my safety I am scared of others.The children are writing letters to the President. We do not want to die.The proposal if past would banned weapons and magazine clips and require background checks for every gun sold. Even those for private individuals. He called on supporters to pressure Congress. What is more important? Doing what it takes to get the A grade from the gun lobby to fund a campaign or giving the parents' peace of mind when they dropped the child off to school.For the announcement the Rifle Association took a crack at the President. They said he is a hypocrite.Why is he so sceptical? His children are protected by armed guards.The White House says that was cowardly. The gun lobby did not back down.This will be a battle. We will be there and we will fight. The White House will launch a campaign to promote the plan and these children will be front and centre. What made you decide to write the letter?I was overwhelmed about the incident and I knew I could do something and I knew the President could.Plenty of kids who grew up in the 80s would remember the TV character Mr Drummond. He was the widower dad in the comedy 'Diff'rent Strokes' who had a teenage daughter and adopted two African American boys. Actor Conrad Bain, who played the character, has died at his home in California. He'd been preparing to celebrate his 90th birthday, next month.

Still ahead - they're calling them 'magic pants'. We look at new workout gear that claims to burn the calories for you.

Also ahead - an incredible story about how two knitting retirees are changing prisoners lives.

The search for new models.

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The search is on for the next model superstar of Australia. Hundreds of hopefuls strutted their stuff today, for their chance to star in the David Jones autumn-winter season launch. With just 10 seconds to impress the judges it's no wonder some of these models are feeling pressure. Very nervous. Over 300 young and to all men and women turned up to strut their stuff. This is a casting call. 40 will make the cut. They will start in the season launch. These fashion designers need to find the right talent.We spend so much time creating close and we want the best possible person to showcase them. It is a big job.David Jones has helped turn models like Miranda Kerr into a superstars. They are looking for the next one.He truly exciting because with an event like this it's really important for this platform and the new talent coming through the industry and it gives them the experience and confidence to look further afield to the international palate form.This bill hopes to follow in the footsteps.She has a great epic and she's put in all of these different avenues to model and she is the face of David James and known to so many people. It's great.It's not just about high heels. The men hope to make it also. Cope with all the right reasons. The worry you will trip over?Always, always worry about tripping. It has come close in my Speedos. It would not have been a pretty sight.It also attracts future stars from around the globe like this man from London. Australian girls and a stunning. I may have to stay for a bit longer. It helps to be taught and Dean and gorgeous but the organisers say it's more than just good looks that will get you through. They are looking for something extra.The X Factor is the thing that makes them stand out. It's having the ease and the personality and confidence and that really helps to sell the cloaks and the audience can engage with Saddam.That is something they hope will make her head and shoulders above the rest. What will make you stand out?I don't know. Probably my pizzazz.She does have pizzazz. That was a great story. Let's face it, we're always searching for a quick fix when it comes to looking good. And where better to look than the US where right now a new fitness trend is helping women shed the kilos with minimum effort. It does sound good. It's a trend winning over the fitness fashion-forward - work-out wear that makes you look and feel hot, pants that camouflage your cellulite and suck in that tummy, as hidden mesh panels trim hips, tummy and thighs.Women live in their work-out clothes. They do. And so you might as well look good in them.This is a little bit of, like, a tummy-tamer that's hidden in the garment but it's really comfortable. Now, there's even a line of clothing that promises to help you burn more calories. It's called the Zaggora HotPant.We found that wearing HotPants versus a normal, control garment helps you burn 11% more calories while you're exercising, but, importantly, in the hour after exercising, will help you burn 13% more calories. Zaggora has its true believers and a celebrity following. The work-out wear is now selling like hotcakes, in part, thanks to real women posting real reviews on the Facebook page, which now has over 300,000 fans.Our biggest market is mums, and mums are great because once Mum's behind an idea, they tell all of their friends.We decided to get some real-time reviews from the LaGuardia High School track team.OK, you ready? "Yeah!

They're so fast. They're wearing turbo rockets.Feels more thermal. It does. Yeah, it does feel like I'm sweating more, but in a good way. In a good way?OK, why am I so slow?! Wait! They're all so much faster! Wait! Slow down! Whatever helps. You're about to meet two women who came up with an incredibly bizarre way to help prisoners. They're teaching them to knit. That's right, hardened, violent criminals are picking up needles and wool and here's the best bit. They're loving it! These fences with the Towers these men with convictions.I'm in for second degree assault.For these criminals it's no Country Club.I'm in for kidnapping I'm in for murder.You realise there's more here than meets the eye.I am making a small hat for a kid.The soft side appears every Thursday. Two of these unusual visitors to this prison.You wanted to give them knitting needles to these criminals?For a man to pick up the knitting needle and to learn how to knit. They are responding and they have shown themselves to be open and people who want more.These inmates have a hobby reserved for women. Rapid around. They still remember the prisons original response.What would make them want to knit? They just don't know they want to knit.Almost three years later these ladies and the meeting volunteers have taught more than 100 prisoners to need to wild dozens remain on the waiting list. Some of these inmates have skipped meals to make the class.I feel calmer the peace of mind. It definitely does that. Take your way from the prison.They compare this to hanging out at a coffee house. It's like being at Starbucks. Just chilling out. I enjoy this. It gets you away from a penitentiary lifestyle.Many people see this story thinking you should go to when knitting class and it does not fit the idea of surfing a jail sentence.I'm doing something constructive. I could be a lot worse. To be honest. I could be running amok. I choose to come in here to relax.The girls do all the men five minutes of meeting lessons and they can teach anybody. I had one of them put me through their paces.In the front then back around. There you go.Everything they make goes to charity. These are for students at troubled schools.We did a lot of this. This is a way to give back.Will you continue?Possibly when I am bored. They say they have seen the students change for the better. They're getting out and they need to make a transition.What a great idea. Next on Nine News now it's show biz time. We've got video of Liz Hurley losing her cool. We'll tell you what sparked the outburst. It's movie time as Richard Wilkins reviews the new flicks of the week, including 'This is 40'! Dealing with divorce - Jennifer Lopez opens up about how her and kids are coping. This program is not captioned. (DRAMATIC ORCHESTRAL MUSIC PLAYS) (GRUNTS)

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VOICEOVER: The tasty
Chicken 'N' Mayo Burger - only $2 on McDonald's Loose Change Menu.

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To showbiz news and she has dazzled Australians since becoming Shane Warne's partner, but today Liz Hurley's temper was revealed during a run-in with a journalist. The verbal spat happened while the British actress was with her fiance at Perth Airport. How do you feel? It's not the drama Warne needs after a controversial summer as captain of the Melbourne Stars. Not happy. Jennifer Lopez has shown us her very emotional side. She's opened-up about her break-up with husband, Marc Anthony, and her fears for her children. Have a listen. Jennifer Lopez, the superstar of music and movies and now she is opening up in a stunning new interview with people magazine. She recorded a brand new song about the break with her husband, Marc Anthony.It was a very difficult time in her life. She had trouble getting up and going to set, she was so upset. They are returning five and they're starting to ask questions, like, didn't dad used to live here?The biggest disappointment? That she cannot put together the perfect family unit. Luckily, the 43-year-old is getting a lot of support from this man, who at 25-year-old choreographer and live in boyfriend.He talks about how he has been paid up pretty bad. They have a pretty playful relationship.Last summer I visited the couple on tour. We just have our little moments together. Very encouraging.The three-time bride say she is taking things slow. I am making decisions for three. I want to make sure everything is right. I have been hasty in the past. Now it's time for a look at the week's new movies. Nine's Entertainment Editor, Richard Wilkins, tells us about the sequel to the hit comedy Knocked Up. You look like you want to kill me. The stars are Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, husband and wife. The milestone does raise a few questions and possibilities.Do you ever wonder what it is like if you and your wife were separated because of death?Once again Judd Apatow how -- serves up American life with all manner of mayhem thrown in. It is very funny, a lot of filthy language. If you have got a broad mind and you are up for it, This Is 40. 3.5 are stars.

Also in cinemas today, the latest from Woody Allen. It was actually made three years ago. It is

made three years ago. It is called You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger. You guessed it, it involves complicated relationships. Naomi Watts plays the daughter of Anthony Hopkins.You cannot predict the future.She is married to Josh Brolin, except he is flirting outrageously with the girl across the street.You inspire me.She has the hots for her boss, and Tony Benn Berisford -- Antonio Banderas. If you are a fan you'll love it. It is far from his best work. Three stars. Let's go back to our breaking news story and an out of control bushfire is threatening homes in eastern Victoria. Nine's Andrew Lund is on his way there and joins us now on the phone. What's the situation?This fire sending up a huge plume of smoke you can see from more than 60 kilometres away. The latest information is that it has burned 250 hectares and is out of control. People in the area are revised to get out now. This PHI is getting out of control. -- fire. We have got some pictures that showed just how close it is getting to buildings. The flames are coming really close. Firefighters have a real battle. We have seen a bit of crowning in the trees. They are not out of danger just yet. This fire is still going.Thank you. Still to come on Nine News Now: The mum who was told to cover up or get out of her local swimming pool because she was breast feeding. Elton John announces the birth of his second son, but is he too old to be a dad? We debate that in the chat room. And hello big bubba! Melbourne Zoo shows off its brand new baby elephant. This program is not captioned. (DRAMATIC ORCHESTRAL MUSIC PLAYS) (GRUNTS)

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VOICEOVER: The tasty
Chicken 'N' Mayo Burger - only $2 on McDonald's Loose Change Menu.

This program is not captioned. A mum who was breast feeding her baby at the side of a pool says she was shocked when staff told her to cover up. Nine's Eva Milic is north of Brisbane where this took place. Tell us more.This happened at Bribie Island 50. One of the staff members told her she could not breast-feed in public. She offered some alternatives, she said she could move to a secluded corner of the centre or go to a change room. This all happened in front of a group of swimmers. She took offence. She questioned the legality of it all. I spoke to her a few moments ago, she said she was embarrassed and humiliated. We spoke with a number of mothers at the swimming pool today. They share the opinion that the staff member was out of line.What have staff at Bribie Island Aquatic Centre had to say? They are not saying anything. It is operated by the council. They have apologised. They say that particular staff member was acting with good intentions and was responding to a complaint from another member of the public. What they are doing, they are promising to educate all employees, in some wrinkles, libraries, or council businesses, to let the staff know. -- swimming pools. More to come. Thank you for those details. It is certainly a controversial one. Melbourne Zoo is getting up a real herd of elephants with the arrival of baby number three today and another on the way. Chris White has all the mini jumbo details. Melbourne Zoo staff announced the birth of a healthy baby male elephant this morning after a 7- hour Labor to first-time mother, Num-Oi. Tipping the scales at 131 kilograms, it was a big effort for the 11-year-old mother. Keepers had noticed changes on Saturday evening after a pregnancy that had lasted 22 months.It is a big boy. It is a strong boy. That is very good. You have a healthy offspring. But you have to deliver. That was a little bit out problem but we managed as a team.The public could get a Colin's as soon as tomorrow as long as the day is not too hot. -- a glimpse.We will have them out in the panic ready for the public to view.The newborn's father was oblivious. The staff used artificial insemination techniques. Let's take a look now at the all- important weather today.

Next up we're in the chat room. A fat tax on fizzy drinks - we have got plenty of feedback from you at home on whether you're prepared to pay extra. Plus, he's old enough to get the pension, but Elton John has announced he's a dad for the second time. We debate how old is too old to become parents. This program is not captioned. Australia, two years ago, Coles brought you no added hormones in all Coles fresh beef. Now we have two more great things
to tell you. One, all Coles delicious fresh
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quality food, we mean it. STAFF: Ta-da!

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Thanks for your company this afternoon. It's time now to head into the chat room. Today we're talking to Nine's Andrew Lofthouse and Daily Telegraph writer, Sarrah Le Marquand.

Le Marquand. First up, more about this breast feeding story in Queensland where a mother was told to cover up while she was feeding her baby at a swimming pool. I think it's hard to believe in this day and age that this has happened. I am dumbfounded. If it was a young woman in a bikini, were the staff have asked her to cover up? I suspect not. We have this appalling double standard. A woman is forced to feel ashamed of what she's doing. The staff need to be reminded that in this country every woman has the right to breast-feed anywhere and at any time she thinks is appropriate for her baby. Personally, I think women should exercise some common sense, but this woman was within her rights. An overreaction or not?Yes, of course it is an over-reaction. I look forward to a time when we do not have to speak about who and who is not offended. I do not think it makes any difference where mothers are breastfeeding. I suppose where there are facilities made available for this, apparently this mother was told there is summary you can go, people are happy to go and use those. -- somewhere you can go. Outside of that, why it should matter, I do not know.I was in a supermarket over Christmas, this was in Queensland, a lady had a newborn baby, the baby started crying and she started feeding. I looked around to see how many people looked over, a lot of people did. Some, I have to say, felt uncomfortable. It is still not an issue we are all entirely comfortable with. It is an interesting one. Three of Australia's biggest health groups are joining forces to try and have soft drinks banned from being sold in schools in an effort to tackle the obesity crisis. They also want the Federal Government to introduce a tax on the sugary drinks. Do you think it's fair to pay more because of those who drink more?No, I do not. This is a tough one. Particularly when we are suffering these hot, summer conditions. When you think about the amount of sugar that is in some of these, 16 teaspoons. Can you imagine putting that into your cup of tea? No, I do not think a tax on soft drinks is going to be an effective way of lowering consumption. We need to be more aware of the amount of sugar we are consuming. These are not a good source of getting that amount. I agree, I do not think they should be sold in schools. Aside from that, we should be more aware of those dietary considerations.By a great, I think a tax is a really and necessary measure. -- I agree. We all know that a tobacco tax was very effective in reducing smoking rates, but it is not a valid comparison. Smoking kills. One cigarette can be enough to begin a very serious addiction. Soft drinks are not like that. One soft drink is not going to hurt you. We are looking for easy solutions to a very complicated problem. Yes, soft drinks are not good for you, people should be much more aware of the amount of sugar, I think education rather than another tax is a way to go.We've been asking what you at home think - should the Government introduce a tax on soft drinks? Olivia wrote: Tax all this unhealthy rubbish and make nutritious foods cheaper. That would probably help. Jordan Jamieson said: A tax is not going to solve obesity problems, education will. Mishel said: I am so over this nanny government mentality. Moving on, Elton John is now a father of two. He and David Furnish have a second baby boy born via a surrogate mother. He is no spring chicken, he is 65 years-old. This is a question normally closed to women. There is no one-size- fits-all policy. 65? I think it is to offer star I think it is a selfish decision. -- too old. Surrogacy is an amazing gift, but it should be used responsibly. I do not think it is fair to the child. When we were expecting our first son, I told my husband now is the time to stop smoking. There are no guarantees in this life, but being a parent is about being responsible. You have to do what you can to maximise your chances to be around and see your child grow up. Becoming a parent at 65 is not going to guarantee that.He has got far too much time on his hands. Good on him and his partner, David, if they want to have another child. It is going to be very easy for them in their situation. People are leaving it later these days to have children. Can you imagine much of an incidence of this? Shall we retire? No, let's have another baby. I do not think it will be a big problem. Good luck to them.When the child is 10, Elton John will be 75. Will he be in the backyard kicking a football?I do not think so.Do not kick the bucket, to four the football.Thank you. -- kick the. Still to come on Nine News Now: The finance and latest weather, including more on the scorching temperatures across the country. This program is not captioned.

A broad trough over WA and the NT is generating showers and thunderstorms. Hot northerlies are affecting SA and Victoria, increasing fire danger. A high is keeping those states and NSW generally dry, while onshore winds are causing a few showers along the Queensland coast.

And that's Nine News Now for this Thursday. Our next major bulletin is at 4:30pm. I'm Wendy Kingston. Thanks for your company, have a great evening. Supertext captions by Red Bee Media - www.redbeemedia.com.au. This program is not captioned.