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Seven Nightly News (Wkend) -

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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. Tonight - the bushfire crisis flares again

Good evening. The state's bushfire crisis
is far from over tonight with two emergencies unfolding
west of Sydney. A massive blaze near Lithgow
flared earlier today, where several properties
came under threat. These are live pictures
from over Springwood in the Blue Mountains, where an emergency warning
has been put in place with a fire at Springwood
raging out of control. There are currently still 87
fires burning across the state, 14 of those are not contained and conditions are expected
to deteriorate tomorrow. The damage toll from our worst
bushfire crisis in a decade is also becoming clearer, with 193 properties confirmed lost
in the Blue Mountains alone. Once again 7 News
has comprehensive coverage tonight, live from the major fire zones. Ashlea Brown begins
with the emergency near Lithgow. Homes at Bell under ember attack. Exhausted firefighters
back into battle. The blaze has suddenly
roared into life. This is the fire front. It's moving towards a cafe
and four houses that stretch down
Bells Line Of Road. Fire crews are now trying
to save those homes. Mark O'Carrigan
is not only fighting the fire. He's fighting to save his own house
and tourist lodge. The 30km fire front
is literally on his doorstep. Everything I built -
I bloody hand built the whole lot. He also installed
a sprinkler system. I'm just gonna make sure
it bloody works. It does,
and the house is secured - for now. The RFS has set up a command centre with locals eager to report
their own updates to police. It's roaring up both sides
of the scenic. From a distance it looked like
an atomic bomb had gone off. Closer up, you can see the fire pumping out
the thick, billowing smoke. It choked valleys, flanked by homes
and worried residents. Now, the news the fire
might have been started by the Defence Department. It will investigate if there's
a link between these fires on Thursday, and a training exercise
involving explosions at the nearby
Marangaroo military training base. They were blowing up explosives
near tinder-dry bushland just hours before a total fire ban. The Department says its thoughts are with those
who have lost property - little comfort for residents left to pick through the wreckage
of their lives. Ashlea Brown joins me now
from the fire zone at Dargan, just to the east of Lithgow, Ashlea. Firefighters there are in for
a very tough night?

They are in deep. Dozens of firefighters are in the valley behind me try to contain fires that are threatening homes directly along the road and you can hear their helicopter behind me that is battling this fire from the air. A number of residents have left and they taking shelter in at cafe just a couple of metres away from where we are here at the site. We're just hoping that the preparations that they have done and that the firefighters will be tonight will be enough to save their homes. Now to the emergency
in the lower Blue Mountains and Jodie Speers is at Springwood. Jodie, crews are taking no chances, moving some of the most vulnerable
to safety. Mark, earlier this afternoon
the decision was made to move patients from
the Springwood Hospital to safer ground at Nepean.

A fleet of ambulances arrived, transporting a total
of 24 patients. They're expected to stay
at Nepean Hospital until Wednesday. The Springwood bushfire
flared again today. And although the hospital
is not under direct threat, fire chiefs say the blaze near here is one of their
main concerns.

We were at St Columba's High School when this fire bleared are -- plays up to die. They managed to back them at the last minute. It was frightening to see the main blaze come up and meet the back burning and that is when the fire seemed to fizzle out so the school seems to be safe but this is still a volatile situation. Close to 200 properties have been confirmed last just from this place alone and the weather is expected to worsen tomorrow. Two major fires to the north
of Sydney continue to burn. Chris Maher is at Catherine Hill Bay
where several homes were lost. Chris, there's been no rest
for firefighters there. Mark, throughout the day, crews have been backburning
around the Heatherbrae fire near Raymond Terrace and the Ruttleys Road blaze that destroyed homes
at Catherine Hill Bay, it's a miracle
so much of the town survived. Today video surfaced showing the huge flames
that confronted firefighters. It was the moment
when this fire crew knew they were in trouble. Get out, get out, get out now,
move it. Flames were enveloping
the Pacific Highway, south of Newcastle. Warnervale, you need to move back. It was time to move,
they had no choice. Go, go, go. Copy that, flames still
in excess of 20 metres, over. To be honest,
the training kicks in and we just basically need
to protect ourselves and our crew. On days like that,
we simply can't save everything. Fires will burn and burn
so aggressively we dropped the issue
of looking to contain and we default to the business
of saving life and protecting what we can. Today at Lake Munmorah, this was controlled back burning, but any flame or smoke here
has residents anxious. Nerves are frayed. Very on edge about this, yeah.
So it's not very good. It's coming our way. Because fire has come so close
to so many homes. Kept away by the efforts
of fire crews. Home owners can't believe it. I rung back and told them
how lucky we were and by geez, we are lucky. Today the Premier saw from above the hellish challenge
firefighters would of had below. It's just extraordinary when you
see from the air, the way the fingers of the fire
approached this small hamlet and you come here and see how little
damage there's been done. Everywhere residents are grateful
for their efforts. it's well known pub re-opened
after locals fled, fearing the hotel was lost. This shows the advancing fire and this was the wall of flame
when they escaped to the beach. Everyone loves the historic
Catho Pub, and to hear on reports
it had been damaged, then it was gone, our hearts were in our throats. This was the great save - fire roaring through bush
accelerated by the slope and then stopped in its tracks
on the edge of Catherine Hill Bay. and one woman confronted
the Premier. My issue is that National Parks
and Wildlife is not looking
after their property, consequently I'm getting damaged. But for the majority here, the mood is one
of overwhelming thanks. I'm joined by Rob Rogers from
Rural Fire Service headquarters. Rob, It's been another very busy
day for firefighters, what are your main areas of concern
tonight and tomorrow?

We still have, obviously, a number of fires and there are substantial sized fires that we are concerned about. The real concern is that all the fires are that you mentioned, and the worsening weather tomorrow but we are talking now that it is going to be worse on probably Monday and Tuesday and into next week and we are really not going to be seen any respite until after Wednesday so there are a long few days of warm weather and Castile wins and we are seriously now starting to contemplate the amount of fire that we have in the Blue Mountains and what that might to. You mentioned that the fire will continue till Wednesday. How are firefighters holding up? As fatigue set and? It does but I have to say that firefighters are determined lot. We will send them home and they will argue to stay but they do understand and we do have fatigue management roles. We have 200 firefighters supporting us from interstate. We will be rotating crews and indeed between the Rural Fire Service headquarters, we are considering what other resources we will need to bring into the area are over the next coming days and when we are talking about this type of planning, we have three very active fires in the Blue Mountains under very bad conditions and the emergency is by far not over and the worst may yet be to come. Two young girls have been accused
of deliberately lighting fires - in Sydney's west yesterday. Members of the public
reported the pair, after allegedly seeing them
attempt to start a fire in Bonnyrigg Reserve. The 12 and 13 year olds
ran from the area as firefighters extinguished
a small grass fire. The girls were arrested nearby
and questioned by police They've been released
while police review security vision. The weather conditions have played,
and will continue to play, a major part in this emergency. Sally Bowery join me now, Sal, what can firefighters expect
in coming days? Mark, things are heating up again. It's going to be serious
but not as critical as Thursday. Temperatures will soar,
particularly in the west of Sydney, near where the fires are burning. This time around there'll be
more moisture in the air and the winds won't be as strong. Extreme winds are one
of the main factors behind catastrophic fire conditions. But the cool change is further away
than originally hoped, it won't arrive until Tuesday. Spring is a variable time of year, but this week has been
on the extreme end of things. What's happened is
we've seen a mass of hot air build over central Australia,
under cloud-free skies. Once the wet season kicks in
that heat will start to ease, but there's really no sign of significant change
in the weather pattern for the rest of the month. Sydney's on track to post one
if its hottest October's on record. Tomorrow the west will soar to 36. Monday, hitting a top of 38. I'll have more details on
when the showers will arrive a little later on, Mark. As fire crews ready themselves
for another tough day ahead, they're being helped by
an army of volunteers keeping them supplied
with food and drink. Townships in the Blue Mountains
are pulling together to fight a common enemy. Community spirit in
the Blue Mountains is in overdrive. At a fire station, at Winmalee, a small army of support staff
works around the clock, as worn out firefighters
come in for a break. Oh, they've been exhausted. When they come in,
they are tired and when they see the hot food
and cold drinks, they really jump at it. Firefighters have been
on the fire front since Thursday. And finally,
some relief has arrived. It's good to see these chaps
from Victoria come up and I believe there's some
from South Australia as well. Even in the toughest of situations,
people are rising to the challenge. It's just brought everyone together,
it's unbelievable really. Adversity does it. Almost 200 homes have been destroyed
in the lower Blue Mountains. But these towns
are showing amazing strength. Today, people arrived in droves
at the Salvos in Springwood, even those who've been directly
affected by these fires. I would like people to help me
if I was in trouble. It's a good area to live in,
great people. It's just incredible to see how fast this small community
is pulling together. In just over a day, the Salvos have been inundated
with donations and offers to help. If we could just give them
a new shirt or something to wear then that would make it
a little bit easier. It's more practical stuff I think
that we're needing at the moment. Dash here is safe and sound, but unfortunately,
his family lost everything. He's being cared for by the RSPCA's
Katoomba shelter which has thrown open it's doors
for pets in need. Out inspectors are out clearing
the field, trying to find everyone's lost pets and hopefully bring
some peace of mind. While the girls at Nirvana Hair
are asking bushfire victims to please come in, they'll wash and blow-dry hair free
and offer a shoulder to cry on. Maybe they want to open up
and talk, whatever, we're here, we're here. It's not to feed our egos,
just to make them feel better. The people here know that charity
really does start at home. It's a very strong,
beautiful community.

Still ahead in Seven News - we'll cross back to Lithgow region for an update on the bushfire crisis
unfolding there. Also a building demolition goes
horribly wrong, and the Duchess of Cambridge tackles
volleyball - in heels. That's next.

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Returning now to the fire emergency
unfolding near Lithgow tonight. Ashlea Brown is there, Ashlea, what's the latest?

From their air and from the ground firefighters are desperately trying to bring this blaze under control. A number of houses are under ember attack and presidents have decided to leave their homes. Some are staying to protect their homes and properties but others have said it is just too dangerous and firefighters know just how dangerous it is. That fire is also experiencing unpredictable wind. That is why the fire flared up today and with this terrain and the valleys that experience these kinds of Windsor, it is not a situation that can be brought under control easily. The firefighters know they are in for a long night and they have an enormous task ahead of them. In other news, Prime Minister Abbott claims
his Government is winning the fight to stop asylum seeker boats, seizing on a drop in arrivals. But refugee advocates are far
from impressed rallying outside the Immigration
Minister's office in Sydney. Around 150 refugee advocates march through the heart
of Cronulla in Sydney's south. Say it loud, say it clear! (ALL:CHANT)
Refugees are welcome here! Locals weren't entirely welcoming
of them. When are you leaving? Go back with them! But their message was
for the local MP. (ALL:CHANT)
Scott Morrison has got to go. They gathered outside
the Immigration Minister's office, demanding more information
about a violent incident at the Manus Island
detention centre. Transparency and full information
is absolutely required. Yesterday, Mr Morrison
initially claimed Australian staff were evacuated
to a Navy Ship for safety. But his office later issued
a statement saying the information was wrong. What we need to be seeing is full
disclosure from the Government about exactly what happened. Reports suggest there was a clash between Papua New Guinean
army officers and guards outside the facility, and that asylum seekers
were not involved. There was no sign
of Mr Morrison here today, nor did he have anything to add
to yesterday's comments about the Manus Island incident. He's says that's a matter
for PNG authorities. The Prime Minister did want
to talk about asylum seekers at the South Australian
Liberal conference, claiming boat arrivals
have slowed significantly since the Coalition
won the election. They are stopping
and they will be stopped. (APPLAUSE)

US police have new evidence in the case against one
of the Oklahoma teenagers, accused of killing Australian
baseballer, Chris Lane. It's alleged 16-year-old
James Edwards used a USB cable connected
to a prosecutor's computer, to charge his mobile phone
during a courthouse visit, just 30 minutes after the shooting. In doing so, he inadvertently
uploaded photos from his phone to the computer. Edwards is one of two teenagers
charged with murder after Chris Lane was randomly
gunned down while jogging. Still in the US - a demolition job has ended
in near disaster. A building being destroyed in Ohio started to lean
before collapsing on top of a man, operating an excavator. The man stayed inside the cage
of his excavator until the dust settled and then amazingly walked away,
uninjured. The Duchess of Cambridge has proven
she's in great shape after the birth of Prince George playing volleyball in front
of the world's media. Kate's very public appearance
without her husband and son was at a workshop
for a sports charity. On her first solo engagement
since becoming a mum, the Duchess of Cambridge
revealed an enviable post baby body. A glimpse of bare midriff
showed no hint she'd given birth less than three months ago. But Kate raised eyebrows
with her choice of footwear - playing volleyball in her trademark
cork wedge heels. It's not the first time she's
played sport in impractical shoes. in the early stages of pregnancy. Our special guest.
Sorry, to interrupt. Kate was attending a charity day to support some of Britain's
most promising athletes. To have her as our patron
is just amazing. Earlier this week he hosted
his first knighting ceremony in what's considered
a significant step towards becoming a full-time royal. for the christening
of baby George at the Chapel Royal
at St James Palace. It's expected to be a small,
low-key affair compared to previous royal events. It is going to be private,
essentially. There will be photographs
released later but they're not at the moment
even put up a barrier for the TV crews. There's speculation
William and Kate will again break with tradition
and pick old friends, rather than Royals,
to be godparents. The Palace says the godparents won't be revealed
until the christening. Still to come in Seven News - An update on the bushfire emergency
engulfing the Blue Mountains. And expert advice
for young families, trying to break into
the property market.

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Updating you now on the state's
unfolding bushfire crisis. An emergency warning is in place
for a blaze threatening homes on several fronts, near Lithgow. An alert has also been reissued
for the fire burning at Springwood, in the lower Blue Mountains. More than 1,500 firefighters
and 80 aircraft are still battling 68 fires
across the state. 20 are uncontained. In the lower Blue Mountains, authorities have had to move some of the most vulnerable
to safety. 24 patients from
the Springwood Hospital were transported
to Nepean Hospital as the Springwood blaze
flared again. The Blue Mountains fire burns
a fierce path to the edge
of St Columba's High School. Sparking an emergency warning on a day which was meant to provide
some relief. But it didn't claim the school,
its grounds and its pets, saved with the help
of a last-minute back burn. The blaze has destroyed
at least 193 properties and damaged 109. At nearby Yellow Rock,
residents returned home to sift through what's left
of their belongings. A 16th birthday watch,
pieces of a guitar. Michael Cini has spent every night
renovating for a year, Mia's had a teddy
since she was a baby and it's hard to explain
she won't get that back. The jewellery, the photos and, you know,
it was the one day I went out without my wedding ring on. Some of the gutted properties
belonged to RFS volunteers. These are people who were out
on trucks on Thursday trying to save other
people's property, then they find out
theirs are gone. Even the lucky ones, whose homes still stand
amongst the rubble are worried about what's to come. They're preparing
for worse weather tomorrow. While opening their doors
to neighbours in need. In other news, the Royal Commission
into sexual abuse

It's been another busy day for people buying and selling homes
in Sydney. 635 properties were due to go
under the hammer. That's 200 more
than on the same weekend last year. Early reports are showing
good auction clearance rates. Last Saturday saw the highest number
of sales so far this year. The upper North Shore,
southern Sydney, and the inner west are proving very popular
at the moment. And Seven's financial expert
Scott Pape has some valuable advice to families trying to break into
the real estate market. This week we learned And one of them is James
from Melbourne's Western Suburbs, who has this question - "My wife and I want to buy
our first home "to avoid renting our life away, "but we've only got
a 5% deposit saved. "Here's my question - "should we keep renting,
take out a guarantor loan, "or do something else?" Look, I'm sorry, James, but you don't have enough money
to buy a home right now. You may find a bank that's willing
to lend you the money, but just because you can,
doesn't mean you should. But hey, you guys are ahead. You've got $15,000 in savings. So here's what I want you
and your wife to do - open up first home saver accounts. James these are the best accounts
to save for your deposit. They currently pay a 21% return, which means you'll both get
$2,000 a year. Free kick from the Government. Based on your income, you'll have a 20% deposit
in about four years. Real estate agents say the golden rule of investing
is location, location, location, And it's not,
it's safety, safety, safety. A new study this week by NAB found that 7 in 10 women are stressed about not having
enough money to retire on. Jenny's one of them - she's a teacher in her 50s, who's looking for some
retirement options. Here's her question - I've been hearing a little bit about this transition to retirement
pension scheme. Can you tell me
a little about where to start? Jenny, you are on the right track,
but don't get fooled by the lingo. I'm going to show you a no-brainer
way to save you tax and boost your Super by $48,000, without you feeling the pinch. Here's how it works - If you earn $100 in the hand,
you'll lose up to $45 in tax. If you put it into super,
you only lose $15 in tax. But people over 55
can top up their pay packet by drawing a pension, even if they're still working. Same work, Same pay,
but you'll get more super. Jenny, based on the figures
you've given me, setting up this strategy could boost
your super by up to $48,000 - and that's without you putting
in an extra dollar. And if you are able to add
an extra $200 a week to your super, in the 10 years before you retire, And if you are able to add
an extra $200 a week to your super, you could boost your nest-egg
by about $110,000. And for those 7 in 10 women
losing sleep over their retirement, what most people forget
about retirement, is that you'll probably get
an aged pension, which at the top rate is worth
$32,500 a year as a couple. And finally this week, Telstra held it's AGM, and announced it was expanding
into Asia. I always get plenty
of questions about the nation's biggest telco, like this one from Jason
in Western Sydney. He writes - "Last year I bought Telstra
in my self-managed super fund "for the dividend income. "Now I've retired,
should I be buying more?" Good question. As you can see, Telstra's share price
has rocketed up 25% in the last 12-months. Jason, I'd buy them, but I wouldn't hold onto them
forever. Here's why. Telstra's major money-spinner
is their fixed-line phone business, which as we know is dying, this year alone
287,000 customers cut the cord. Of course everyone knows that fixed
line phones are stuffed, which is why the Government cut them
an $11 billion cheque to move their customers
onto the NBN. And for the next few years that
money will underpin your dividend, which is why I'd buy them. Just don't forget to hang up
on Telstra after the NBN comes on full steam. I think the long-term outlook
for Telstra is about as exciting
as a Blackberry phone. And if you'd like me
to answer your question next week, all you need to do
is head over to: Sport now with Ryan Phelan and Ryan, owner Lloyd Williams
wins the Caulfield Cup. Mark, and he's a big chance
of sweeping the big races of the Spring Carnival. The grey, Fawkner, lowering
the colours of the Sydney-siders. Hold on tight, plenty of carnage
at the MotoGP at Phillip Island. And, look out. There's a new excitment machine
in the NBL.

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