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Tonight - bushfire emergency in Sydney's west, high winds fan the flames as the season arrives early. Julie Bishop revokes a plum diplomatic job for a former Labor State Premier. I was appointed democratically by a government through executive council and the new government has a different view and I guess that'll pursue that. Russia surprises the world with a possible solution to the Syria stalemate, and Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic to win the US Open final. Good evening, and welcome to ABC News, I'm Virginia Haussegger. A beneficialfire emergency is unfolding in Sydney's west tonight. Four fires are burning out of control after a day of extreme weather conditions. Drsh bushfires. Seven firefighters have been injured. The most serious fire fronts are in the areas of Marsden Park, Windsor, Castlereagh and Winmalee. 800 firefighters have been deployed to battle the flames. High winds and hot temperatures, it was the perfect storm firefighters had feared. Residents in Winmalee had little warning of what was about to hit them. Came through really quick, man. One minute it was green and the next minute it was all gone. Andrew Hardy lost his house in the '94 fires. This time, he's been lucky. Lost a couple of sheds, a tractor, some gear, some saws and a woodshed. I've got to go cut again next year. It's a bit hard. Even firefighters were caught by surprise. A fire truck was unable to get out in time. Several firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation. There's some damage to the back of the truck, a bit of damage to some of the panelling and so forth, but overall yeah, not in too bad a shape. At Marsden Park, a frantic dash for water. These poor bloke is trying to fight his house on his own and about 20,000 people drove straight past him. Emergency Services went from house to house telling people to leave. Residents didn't need to be told twice. In Penrith, children from two primary schools were evacuated. Nerves had been on edge from early this morning, and with good reason. We have seen temperatures in the early 30s, but it's this strong wind really causing firefighters some issues. By lunchtime the mercury had reached 31. In Castlereagh, the battle was on to save 50 homes. Hoping to get through, get some paperwork, try and get some photos. The pets are already out, so is my mother and my daughter. They're in Richmond, so they're stuck at that end of town and we're up at this end. Just hoping to get through soon. Have you lived in the area a long time? Yeah, about 20 years. Last year we went through the floods and lost quite a bit of property and now the fires and we just hope it's not as bad. We have volunteer and paid firefighters out there working hard and I commend them for their efforts. This was the price firefighters feared we'd have to pay for the warmest winter on record and little rain to speak of since the middle of June. Some rain is expected in the coming days, but this could be just a taste of what's to come, with a tough fire season predicted. Lucy McNally reporting from Winmalee. The fires have many people worried that a very severe bushfire season is ahead. September fires are unusual, but not unprecedented as Michael Troy reports. They're known as the spring westerlies, strong dry winds from the outback that have arrived on the East Coast pretty much on schedule. The problem is the winds have combined with an unseasonal 30 degree day after the driest and hottest winter on record. As a result, it's no surprise the bushfire season has started three weeks early. The westerlies have caused problems in September before, with several smaller fires in the last few years. But the time for the most severe fires is between December and March. The Bureau of Meteorology's outlook for the rest of spring is looking promising with above average rainfall. Although the warmer than average temperatures may continue. The NSW Rural Fire Service predicts the summer will not be as severe as last year, but remains serious particularly along the east and West Coasts as well as inland. The strong winds fanning today's fires around Sydney should die down this evening, but will pick up again tomorrow. It could be seen as an early reminder to prepare properties for the worst as the hotter months approach. Labor's bruising loss in Saturday's election has packed an extra punch for one of its elder statesman. The incoming government has stripped former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks of his Consul-General job in New York just months before he was ready to relocate to the United States. Here's Mark Simkin. The Coalition always said it would immediately axe the tax. It's moved as quickly to axe is Bracks. The post was given in May. The former Labor Premier officially started last month quitting his Australian job and getting briefings from foreign affairs officials. He still hadn't moved to New York, though. That's why the Coalition terminated his commission so quickly. I'm not going to get into that. I was available and appointed democratically by a government through executive council and the new government has a different view and I guess they'll pursue that. It's a petty and vindictive act on the part of the incoming government as its first official decision to remove Steve Bracks from the position of Consul-General. Caucus will meet on Friday to fill an even more important position, the Labor leadership. There still isn't a declared candidate. The right's Bill Shorten and the left's Anthony Albanese are weighing options and doing numbers, but the process is complicated by the new leadership rules. Labor's rank and file will also get a significant say and Labor sources believe Albo as he's known will command enough votes to win assuming he stands and you can't assume that just yet. As for the last Labor leader, some senior figures in the party are demanding Kevin Rudd quit politics altogether. The ABC has been told that's very unlikely. Mr Rudd doesn't want to cause a by-election Labor would almost certainly lose. Mark Simkin reporting there. Tony Abbott's Chief of Staff has escaped punishment for drink-driving in Canberra earlier this year. Peta Credlin said she made a mistake when she chose to drive home after drinking following Mr Abbott's Budget reply speech in May. 42-year-old Peta Credlin pleaded guilty to a low-level drink-driving charge. In a letter of support incoming Attorney-General Senator George Brandis told the court that Peta Credlin is highly respected in politics and of exemplary character. I haven't made any excuses. I've fronted the court like everybody else. I did the wrong thing, I made a mistake and I asked for the matter to be dealt with in the usual way, which it has been done today. Now that the matter's resolved, you'll understand I've got no further comment to make. Magistrate Maria Doogan recorded no conviction and did not suspend Credlin's licence, but fined her $69 in court costs. Her lawyer told the court the intense media coverage was probably punishment enough. US President Barack Obama has opened the door to a possible breakthrough in the Syrian crisis. In a surprise move Bashar al-Assad's main ally Russia has urged the Syrian President to hand over his chemical weapons to the international community to be destroyed. If it succeeds, it may overt not only a military strike, but also a political disaster for Barack Obama. North America correspondent Ben Knight reports. Outside the White House, Syrian American protesters urge one of their presidents not to attack the other one. Bashar al-Assad, a person who loves families, he loves children. I worry about my family and my people back home, everybody. The march to a military crisis in Syria seemed unstoppable, even as Barack Obama faced a humiliating defeat in Congress. But suddenly a Russian plan to avoid a US strike by having Syria hand over its chemical weapons for destruction has the ear of the president. This represents a potentially positive development and my preference consistently has been a diplomatic resolution to this problem. It's been a remarkable turn of events that began in London with a throw-away answer to a question about how Bashar al-Assad might avoid a US military strike. Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons in the international community in the next week, turn it over, all of it. Within hours, Russia's Foreign Minister had jumped on the idea. Then Syria's Foreign Minister said he welcomed the suggestion. It's likely many Americans will too, even those who weren't marching. 80% of Americans believe that the Syrian regime was behind a chemical attack on Syrian civilians, but less than 40% believe the United States could conduct a military strike. The Senate has put its vote on hold, but Barack Obama isn't ruling out going ahead with military action if the Russian proposal fails and is not worried about Bashar al-Assad's warnings of retaliation. Syria doesn't have significant capabilities to retaliate against us. Iran does, but Iran is not going to risk a war with the United States over this. Back from the brink, for now. In the Middle East, there's a glimmer of hope that also a goodwill of scepticism that Syria would be willing to give up its chemical weapons. Matt Brown is in Beirut. The Middle East will be as divided over this proposal as it is over Syria itself. The likes of Saudi Arabia and Turkey while welcoming the idea of getting rid of Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons, dean down just want him gone and they know an American strike would help that along. Neighbours like Iraq and Lebanon will be pleased at the prospect of a strike esculating into a war will be diverted. Israel will be pleased too, but deeply sceptical and concerned about the lesson this holds for more powerful enemies like Iran. The US-based group Human Rights Watch is the latest to say the evidence points to the Syrian military's use of chemical weapons last month and is Bashar al-Assad going to be pun yushed for that? In the middle of a civil war, will it really be possible to come up with a system to be sure he's given up all weapons and they've been destroyed? Given he faces a more powerful enemy in Israel and he built these weapons in defiance of international enormous and in secret, is he really going to agree to a system that is enforceable, where others are allowed to step in if he's deemed to be holding out? In New Delhi four men could face the death penalty after being found guilty of the gang rape and murder of a student last year. The case sparked outrage around the world and widespread protests across India. Michael Edwards reports. As you can see from this huge scrum of journalists, there's intense media interest in this case. Inside the court which is a fast track court that has been set up especially for this case, the four men have been found guilty of rape and murder of the 23-year-old woman last December. The facts of the case are brutal. The woman and her male friend were taken aboard the bus where they were set upon by five men and one teenager. The four adults are libel for the death penalty and we'll know in the next couple of days whether or not they receive this. The case prompted the Indian Government to bring in a whole range of new laws stiffening the penalties for sexual assault. The outrage about the case has burnt strongly since 16 December when the initial assault took place. There have been protests and riots across the country with people fed up with the poor treatment of women and demanding that police and the government do something about the situation. A bus crash in Guatemala has claimed at least 44 lives. The bus plunged into a 200 metre deep canyon after the driver lost control on a bend. Officials said conditions at the time of the crash were dry and mostly sunny, but there were 90 people on the bus which had a capacity of 54. Rescue workers used a zip line over a river to recover bodies. Politicians said they would investigate the need for tighter bus safety regulations. The NSW Government is stepping up its fight against synthetic drugs. It's the first State in the country to ban the manufacture, supply or possession of synthetic drugs. The legislation is designed to stop manufacturers getting around current laws by tweaking the chemical ingredients of the drug. Brigid Glanville reports. When Henry Kwan took his own life after taking a synthetic drug, the State and Federal Governments placed in an interim ban and ordered them off retailer's shelves. Today, new laws will make the ban permanent. The days of these products being marketed as legal highs are over. These products are dangerous. It's now illegal to manufacture, supply or possess these drugs. 45 new products are on the list including NBOMe and Kronic. They are designed to mimic the effects of more mainstream illicit drugs. The level of toxicity within these drugs we've concluded is seriously harmful and we know the number of psychotic events that have happened not just in community, but in workplace was in the on the increase. An expert panel will decide what other drugs go on the list. Dependent on the amount of drug seized there's a penalty, it could be from 2 years up to life imprisonment. The legislation now means manufacturers can no longer tweak the chemical make-up of drugs to get around the law. Police will rely on intelligence methods and community feedback to enlist new products. Australia's consumer watchdog has warned Apple and Google that it may take action over gaming apps that claim to be free, actually end up costing a lot of money. It's joined dozens of agencies around the world in a campaign that mislead children into making unauthorised purchases. The de Kretser children love playing games on tablets and mum Simone often downloads free gaming apps for them. She's found out the hard way free isn't always what it seems. To be honest over the last 18 months, 2 years we've probably spent a couple of thousand dollars. I thought the game was free, but I didn't realise that once they were playing that game that they could actually purchase gems and tokens and what have you and actually start to rack up some money. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is on the offensive, joining an international sweep of these apps aiming to educate children in the process. Complaints were coming into consumer agencies around the world. They're marketed as free, but once you purchase them and start playing them you find you need to make inapp purchases to progress to the next level of the game. Tablets are a common learning tool in classrooms, so the ACCC is keen to involve schools and parents to help them learn what's free and what isn't. Say if there's an advertisement pop up and it's not actually the screen where it changes to the app store, it says buy, and you accidentally tap it it could waste your mother's money. But we also won't hesitate if we don't get progress in taking action against misleading claims. The ABC contacted Apple and was directed to its website. It says you can enable restrictions on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to restrict access to purchases. says the latest android operating system can restrict inapp purchases. The black dog institute has launched the world's first Internet suicide prevention program. Healthy thinking is an interactive website aimed at teaching people how to manage suicidal thoughts. It introduces people to the techniques that psychologists use to help people manage their thoughts when they feel they're at risk of suicide. It's intended to tap into the minds of a growing number of people seeking Mental Health Services on-line, and it's been welcomed by suicide survivors . It's really hard to say to somebody "I want to kill myself" , so saying it in an anonymous way will help. Suicide is one of the country's biggest killers with more than 2,000 Australians taking their own lives each year. In finance, the postelection share rally continued as the market delivered another day of solid gains. The positive sentiment wasn't restricted to investors, as business gloom showed signs of lifting. Here's finance correspondent Phillip Lasker.

We got another opinion poll today, it's caused business confidence. The National Australia Bank polled business during the election and the confidence index surged to a 2-year high. Loud applause for the Coalition or the prospect of majority government. The reality is that the sector is still under pressure and job prospects aren't great. If you break it down the miners were ecstatic as you might expect. Construction and manufacturing picked up slightly, but retailers were not the happiest bunch. Let's see what happens during the first Coalition Christmas in seven years. Plenty of joy for share investors. The markets little more than 20 points from a post-GFC high. Also helping sentiment are improving conditions in China, receding tensions over Syria and you can throw in Japan's successful bid to host the Olympics. It was another good day for the banks. Rural services company Elders cutting around 150 jobs as it repositions itself as a pure agribusiness. It also announced an extension of its loan facilities as it unveiled a $39 million loss. Gold and oil in New York reflected an easing in tensions over Syria. The Australian dollar continues to head north at a 6-week high. The pick-up in business confidence might have been a factor, but this is the main reason - the strongest growth in China's industrial production in 17 months. Also encouraging for Australia is the pick-up in electricity production, because that gives the production numbers a little more integrity and suggests steel manufacturing is gathering pace. There was also a good rise in Chinese retail sales, and that's finance.

An Australian soldier blinded by roadside bomb blast in Iraq is trekking from Sydney to Canberra to raise awareness of the need to support returned servicemen and women. Private Liam Haven lost 98% of his sight when he was hit by shrapnel in the blast. My dad has this joke about what happened to me. All he says that I did was didn't duck, and it's just humbling for people to walk up to me and call me a hero just for copping a bit shrapnel in the face. He'll be accompanied by his guide dog and a team from the support network Soldeir On for the 350 kilometre journey. Former Prime Minister John Howard was among those farewelling Private Liam Haven who'll arrival at the Australian War Memorial on 23 September. Two of the Raiders' rising stars are being investigated by the club after allegations they were seen drinking heavily before a match in Auckland. There are reports Josh Papalii and Anthony Milford were seen at several night spots in the city 48 hours before the team's 16-50 loss to the Warriors late last month, a clear breach of the team's alcohol policy. It's alleged Papalii was seen vomiting in the corridor of the team's hotel the same night. The club says it's aware of the allegations and will take the appropriate action once it's been looked into. Racing NSW has warned off Sydney's biggest punter Eddie Hayson from all racecourses under its control for six months. It comes after Mr Hayson refused to reveal the names of two people who urged him not to back Gai Waterhouse's mare More Joyous in a race earlier this year. Ms Waterhouse failed to tell stewards the horse was on antibiotics and punters lost more than $10 million on the race. A warning off means he can't set track on any racecourse or bet with licenced bookmakers. Mr Hayson says he'll appeal the decision. Rafael Nadal is the US Open champion after beating world No.1 Novak Djokovic in a thrilling final in New York this morning. Nadal took four sets to claim his second US Open title after missing the title last year because of a knee injury. Australia's Rod Laver tossed the coin to mark the 37th meeting between two legends of the modern era and Rafael Nadal struck the first blow. Rafa was reading the play and dishing it out. But there's a reason why this match-up is so revered in tennis. Novak Djokovic turned a desperate save into a stylish winner within space of a stride. COMMENTATOR: Perfectly played by Djokovic. The fightback was on and the second went the way of the No.1 seed. Beckham wooed the cameras, or those on centre court wowed them.

And the best raised the bar again as the match entered the fourth set. Nadal snatched the momentum again and raced to a momentous win. Probably all of my team knows how much it means, the match of today for me. Nadal's humility was on show at the net, his victory proof of a successful comeback and a rivalry now back in focus. Seeker's singer Judith Durham says she's fully recovered from a recent health scare and is preparing to return to the stage. The group was forced to suspend its Golden Jubilee Tour in May when Durham suffered a cerebral haemorrhage. They're reviving the tour and renaming it the Stress-Free Holiday Tour. It's all the fans, bless them instead of asking for their money back, which they rightfully should have, none of them did. They've all been in good faith that the tour was going to happen at some point. Her voice is actually better than it was on the tour, so maybe the rest did you a lot of good. Their first show will be in Perth in early November. Returning now to our top story, homes have been destroyed and firefighters injured as bushfires burn out of control in Sydney's west. Our reporter Simon Palan joins us now from Windsor in the Hawkesbury Valley. Thanks for your time. Now give us the latest update you've got there. Yes, I'm at the Windsor Down housing estate in Sydney's west. This estate has 350 homes in it, but it sits next to a nature reserve and that's where the fire began this afternoon. A number of flames have broken out in this area over the course of the afternoon fanned by a lot of heat and strong winds as well. There's been concern all afternoon that some of the flames in the nature reserve may actually cross over into this housing estate where I am now. So authorities have taken no chances. They've actually blocked off entry to this estate and they've urged everyone within it to get out of the estate as soon as they can. Just good news in the last few minutes, police have actually reopened this estate so people have started to get back in after a day's work they've been waiting for a few ks down the street waiting in cars to get back into their homes. This was one of the hot spots in Sydney, one of four around the city. It's certainly been very windy all day in your area. Are the conditions expected to die down tomorrow, or to ease overnight and be much better tomorrow? We know the temperature is certainly going to drop tomorrow. Yes, the temperature's set to drop. The winds have also eased over the last few hours. So the expectation is for more positive outcome tomorrow. Today two homes were lost as you've reported earlier on in the bulletin and there's been hundreds of firefighters involved in this, so it was a serious flare-up, let's hope it dies down a bit tomorrow. Here in Canberra, we're always nervous about bushfires and thank you very much for your time. Now to our weather, and it was a very pleasant spring day here in the national capital.

Small areas of cloud over parts of south-east WA, Central Australia and NSW. Patchy low cloud over the Queensland East Coast. Coastal South Australia and Victoria due to an onshore moist air stream. Warm dry gusty northerly winds affecting western Queensland, and northern and eastern NSW and a trough bringing a cooler mainly dry change to western and southern NSW. A front bringing colder showery winds to Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

Before we go, a brief recap of our top stories tonight - homes have been destroyed and firefighters injured as four bushfires burn out of control in Sydney's west. The blazes have been exacerbated by a day of extreme weather conditions. 800 firefighters have been deployed to fight the fires. And the incoming Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has revoked a diplomatic posting awarded to former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks. Mr Bracks was just weeks away from taking up the post of Consul-General in New York, but received a call yesterday telling him the job had been withdrawn. That's the latest from the Canberra newsroom. For more ACT news, you can follow us on-line or on Twitter. But stay with us now for 7.30 with Leigh Sales. I'm Virginia Haussegger. Have a good evening, goodnight.

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This Program is Captioned Live..To turn Canberra upside-down.Don't judge me because I'm fat or I've got a lot of dinosaurs that make a lot of money.The social media sites fueling self-harm by teenagers.Sometimes I'd be cutting just so I could have a photo to put up there and I know that that was really common.And the ivory poachers pushing elephants to the edge of extinction.They have to cut it almost to the skull, you know, halfway. This is what kills the elephant. You have to kill it to remove the tusks. But first tonight just days into spring and with memories still fresh of last year's