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(generated from captions) Before we go, a brief recap of our top story tonight - two of the big Blue Mountains bushfires have flared up again, as firefighters brace for worsening conditions - they are worried the Lithgow blaze could link up with the Mount Victoria fire to create a huge firefront. And that's the latest from the Canberra newsroom. For more ACT news you can follow us online or on Twitter. I'm Virginia Haussegger. I'll be back with a news update in about one hour. Until then, goodnight.

Captions by CSI Australia

Good evening. The bushfires raging across New South Wales have led to the declaration of a state of emergency. The fires are the worst to hit the State in decades and the threat of the they pose is unparalleled according to the Rural Fire Service. More than 60 fires are still burning, and two emergency warnings are in place. At Springwood, one of the communities in the Blue Mountains where 200 homes have already been destroyed, and around Lithgow, further to the west. With temperatures heading toward the mid 30s tomorrow, authorities fear that two of the biggest fires will join up, to form what they're calling a mega fire stretching hundreds of clls. Reporter Matt Peacock has been on the fire front and filed this report.

The fires may yet get worse.Thursday was unbelievable. 100 kilometres an hour winds, it was almost like the air was on fire and boiling towards you.

A fireman's helmet camera captured the action. At Mount Victoria the Woodford crew had to take cover before battling to save houses.Frightening, the fire moved so quickly. At times we weren't able to keep with it, try to keep in front to try to save property and life as well.We lost a couple of houses. And it's hard when you're a firefighter and you're right there at a house, and you lose the house that's in front of you.

Down the mountains near Springwood it was the same, a firestorm burst onto Buena VISTA ROAD WITH TERRIBLE SPEED.THERE WAS NO WARNING. THERE WAS NO TIME TO PREPARE.The residents saw smoke and the next thing they saw was their house alight.

20-year-old Stephen Hunt was all alone without a vehicle when the fire descended on Winmalee.There was so much noise from the wind and everything coming at the house. Sounds like a steam train.

Last known call I had with him was encouraging to stay from the furthest part from the fire which was pretty much the bathroom, thinking that would be the safest place in the house.

We were trying to keep in touch as best we could, but ...Must've been hard ...It is a awful. It's awful. You never want something between you and your child when something's wrong.Last time I heard from my son, it's fire in the flont and fire in the back and then there was nothing. So you think the worst.There was was next to no visibility most of the time. Only one of the times I went out the front with goggles and a towel and all that to be able to breathe and see and stuff, the wind blew the smoke in the right way that I could see that I could go so I just went. I didn't come back for everything. I just went. And lucky sgu?Well, yeah, the room I was going to stay in isn't a room any more.

This is what's left of the bathroom. The whole house has been destroyed. Steve's father Glen and mother Sue were both at work. Sue was only 13 minutes away. She didn't make it back in time.Before when there's been fires, we've had time there's been - we've been aware that it's coming and had estimates of when it would arrive, so you can prepare, you can work out what you're doing, you're packed and ready to go. Or to stay, whatever you've decided to do. But this time it was just so fast. It was hours before Steve's parents knew he was safe.That was the worst part and really, nothing since, it doesn't matter. We could've lost more than you can even imagine. So you know, rest of it is just stuff. It doesn't matter.What really struck me was you've lost everything but there's just nothing left. It's just things that are made of metal have evaporated or melted. Everything else is ash.

It's a isso a similar story along rest of their road, the worst hit in the fires.You look at the statistics. There's 200 gone in the area and 40 in the streemt. It's nice to live in a famous street, yay.It was as bad as it can possibly get. It can't get any worse. For nearly 20 years, Phil Koperberg ran the State ace Rural Fire Service. As a long-time resident of the Blue Mountains, he's now coordinating its recovery effort. Which under a state of emergency declared this week may involve mass evacuations.

We are facing a dire week in the Blue Mountains. This may necessitate pre-emptive evacuations to safeguard life above all. Fire crews continue to battle fires along the Grose Valley.

Above the wreckage left from the devastation four days ago, today, the fight is also from the air. With a fleet of helicopters scooping water from nearby dams and reservoirs to drop on the fires. I will respond units to that location. 8 ks from the Great Western Highway. At the Mount Victoria operational centre divisional commander Greg Ferlani is coordinating the firefighting effort.We're doing a delay tactic to give us some time. We're making sure that the fire is not going into an area we don't want it to go into. The firefighters are hoping the forecast winds and temperatures for tomorrow and later this week don't eventuate.

Either way they know they and the residents of the Blue Mountains are in for a long hot summer.The fuel loadings and the dryness and the - there's a lot more houses as well. The next few days, you take a deep breath. And you get your task. And you do what you can. And you have crews that I'm in charge of and my first responsibility is to make sure each and every one of them comes home pay live and healthy and safe. That's my limit. So I go to that limit.

Matt Peacock with that report. Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill joins us now from Blackheath in the upper Blue Mountains, where a community meeting is about to get under way. Mayor Green Hill you have only been mayor for five weeks, but you've survived plenty of fire emergencies in your region. Welcome total program.Thanks so much.Is it this the first frightening threat you can remember encountering?It is. Far and away the most frightening fire I've ever encountered in the billion, many, many, many years I have lived here. What are your chief concerns this evening.My major concern this is evening is for Wednesday. Conditions will be truly appalling on Wednesday. I'm mayor after community that's lost 210 houses with another 1309 severely damaged. We have 210 families without homes, we have a relief effort under way while we're still dealing with an emergency. And my greatest concern tonight is to make sure we protect those families that live in this region. There have been evacuation warnings before, but none so widespread. You have a state of emergency declared. How is that changing the way residents on the ground are feeling?I think it's focusing residents very much on the instructions that the Rural Fire Service is issuing. It's it's focussing them on their fire evacuation plans. I think it send as really strong message that we are in the middle of an absolute disaster. When you talk about all those homes lost, it's almost like you're talking about a disaster that was but we're actually in a disaster that is. And residents need to be really focused. I think these declarations are focusing them on the fact they have to listen to what they're being told, follow their instructions, homes can be replace the, lives can't, it sounds like a cliche, but it's not. How are you modz ratesing your message to people in those hears?There are big fires in the Mount Victoria, Mount York areas and off Springwood there's also fire in the Grose Valley. My message to residents is to stay ate lert and listen to their instructions but I have another message. In the face of all of this, in the face of so many families losing so many homes, it's easy to lose faith. People have to have faith. We can get through this. This is a wonderful community. A remarkably close-knit community. And we will get through this. This will end and we can rebuild.Is there any sense of resentment about the extreme measures that the State Government has announced by putting - calling in state of emergency. OomptI'm sensing no resentment but I'm senseing a very strong sense of community among the people of the Blue Mountains. People have a strong sense of purpose and even those who have lost their holes and I every been with them, their second thought is for others and for their safety moving forward. It's not resentment, it's a strong sense of burps that we can survive this. Do you have any residents that are just leaving the area entirely for the week?Um ... oh look, I'm sure that some people will make those decisions, and that's a matter for them. People have their own bushfire survival plans. What I'm not hearing, though, is people saying that they will leave the Blue Mountains forever. Even residents who've lost so much are saying to me, this is our home, we love this community, we love living in a World Heritage National Park and we're going to stay. Mayor Green hill, it's very good of you to give us your time tonight. We're thinking of your residents colleagues tonight and in the days to come. Thanks for joining us.Thanks so much.Behind the fire fronts, a secondary battle Sunday way A political dispute about the links between climate change, extreme weather and bushfires. Deputy Greens Leader Adam Bandt start ed it with a Tweet claiming that the Abbott Government's climate policies will woo lead to more bushfires in future. Accusations flew that he was politicising the natural disaster. Scientists told 7.30 the science is in - the link between global warming and bushfires has been established and it's time for action. Tracey Bowden reports. Fire storms in October. Scorchingly hot, dry, windy days and warnings of more to come. This is climate change in action?

It's like putting the weather on steroids. It's drives the greater extremes. It's not just warmer weather, it's wilder weather.It's October, and we're having a tragic bushfire and meanwhile, Tony Abbott and his ministers have been out every day this week, saying that they're going to take Australia backwards when it comes to combatting global warming.

As the inferno raged deputy Greens Leader Adam Bandt sparked a political firestorm . He took to social media, pointing to an article in which he said Tony Abbott's plan means more bushfires for Australia.Given that Parliament's about to resume shortly and global warm something on the agenda for debate, we should be talking about how we as politicians can do everything we can to protect the Australian way of life. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has been reluctant to discuss any link between climate change and the current bushfires.There are 2,000-odd firefighters in the field as we speak. There have been over 200 homes lost and of course a terrible tragedy on the Central Coast. No-one should be politicising these bushfires and I would say that respectfully to the gentleman in question. I actually don't think it should be political that we have to get on with the job of cutting our pollution that's driving climate extremes.

The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change warned of exactly the kind of conditions which struck last week. More extreme heat in Australia and more bushfires.We have had before, but I think the difference this time is that we've just gone through a winter that is unprecedentedly warm. Climate scientist Andy Pitman says the science is becoming clearer.It's not about the day or date before the bush fi,. It's about the three or four month of win tr that were enormously warm in part due to global warming leading to an environment particularly conducive to fire. Does that mean this is a sign of things to come?If we continue to emit 9 or 9.5 billion tonnes of CO2 as a species into the atmosphere each year, it is inevitable that temperature extremes will continue to rise and mean temperatures will continue to rise. We should be asking our Parliament and all parliamentarians toe have strong laws in place to cut pollution.The Abbott Government has wielded the axe again, scrapping the Climate Commission.Despite the science there have been cutbacks at national and State levels in resources to research and
prepare for the impact of climate change.

We're worried about cuts to State bureaucracies in New South Wales. But also in Queensland and Victoria. By the way, we are seeing less investment in the science that's helping us understand the potential impacts of climate change and what we've got to do to reduce the risk to people and the environment. So that's the wrong way. We should be investing more.I think there's a real problem at State and national levels of both political per sayses, we've been walking backwards into it century of climate change. Pretending mostly that we're not going to see much in the way of warming. CEO of the Climate Institute John Connor says Australia needs to start planning for the impact of global warming.Unfortunately, I think we've been caught up in this toxic political battle and haven't stepped back and looked at the big picture. Climate risks are real, they are growing. We need to better prepare for them. We need plans at national and State levels to actually look at the real scenarios of two degrees warming, the potential and quite real scenarios of 4 degrees warming. We need to build that into our planning, approval, resourcing stages across-the-board.These type of fires, very extensive lines of fire for 100 or so krms in the Blue Mountains, they turn up about every 10 or 20 years, right back since 1912, I think records started. After studying bushfire management for half a century, David Packham is not convinced about the impact of climate change. He believes the problem is not in the atmosphere but on the ground and is calling for a much more vigorous approach to fuel reduction.It's got to be increased about 10 times F 10 times is a bit too much to swallow, we will improve things from about a five times increase to what we've got now. Not all scientists agree.We saw in the last few days fires spotting kilometres, many kilometres ahead of the fire front. And you cannot clear the bush to 10 kilometres from any house in Australia. And in fact, the emergency services and bushfire organisations have been extremely pro-active in doing hazard reduction. And climate scientist Andy Pitman points to another problem.The winter is getting warmer. They've been very dry. It's a limited student for them to actually do that hazard reduction work. While the long-term picture for Australia is one of even more extreme conditions, the immediate concern is this bushfire season. With predictions of many more battles ahead in the coming months.We're going to see more of these extreme fire weather danger days in future, and the task ahead is to reduce the risk of those through better preparation, but also by participating in the global solution and having a credible plan.

New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell has declared a 30-day state of emergency to deal with the fires. He join med a short time ago from the New South Wales Parliament. Premier O'Farrell, welcome 207.30.Good evening. You 've declared a state of emergency which confers quite extraordinary powers on police and emergency services. How realistic is it, do you think that will you have to forcibly expel people from their homes, switch off electricity and bulldoze buildings?I certainly hope we don't get to that we've planned for the worst but we hope for the best, but we do know that in these situations at times there are people who resist the requests of emergency authorities to leave. That not only puts their lives at risk, it also puts at risk the lives of the emergency personnel, but also other citizens that those personnel might've been moving on toe. So you do need to have these as draconian as they appear to ensure that people do obey the law at these times. What do you make of the fact that I think now four children have been arrested in connection with these fires?I'm appalled. I'm appalled that - look, we know I suppose in a sense that kids have always played with matches but I'm appalled to think that some of the major blazes that almost took out hundreds of additional homes were started by children. In one instance over the weekend, we had the community do what we asked them to do which is to report to authorities suspicious activity and another two children were picked up thankfully that fire put out, but these other two blazes really do depress you. In your opinion, does climate change make these sorts of disastrous events more likely?Well, clearly, I think that's the science. The practical thing for a premier though, is how do you translate the science into practical action? So I understand that if you are planning new developments, if you're planning greenfields sites you can ensure whether for flood damage or for fire damage you build in a certain way. How you quite retro fit that to a community like the Blue Mountains easily without cost, without telling people to move out of the area, I think is the hard part. Dr Peter Smith who was formerly the head of your government's climate change science group says that your government has drastically cut resources to that unit within the public service. How can the public feel confident that you're addressing appropriate resource in preparation for the future?We simply have a different approach and that approach is that rather than have the expertise and the science in-house, we try to make use of our fine universities, our fine research institutes to do that work for us. This is a State that has many non-government organisations that have done superb research in this space. And that's what we're commissioning, that's what we're buying the expertise in, but that office still exists. It just is that we believe that we can get better science using the universities and research centres that we could have in-house.Are you directly funding that research?We are. We are directly funding research particularly at the present time into Marine Parks but also into other parts that affect the climate change issue.You say it's impossible to retro fit an area like the Blue Mountains to prepare for future threats , but there's a lot of very frightened people in the Blue Mountains tonight, and it's understandable that they'd be pretty frightened about their future as well. What can you offer to them?What we can offer is that in the past two years, we've increased the amount of hazard reduction, 257 times. We came to office determined to put an end to a policy that seemed to say you couldn't go into certain areas. There's more that can be done. It's called hazard reduction not hazard eradication. You can never eliminate the threat completely but what you can do is ensure that you have well-funded emergency services who are able to respond, that you allow them, with local communities, through bushfire management committees to, determine what hazard reductions occur in quantity, in priority and when and that you also ensure that you educate the public about what to do in emergencies like this. Are you happy with the Federal Government's disaster recovery payment? There's been some dissatisfaction about the fact that it doesn't cover people who have lost power or been trapped in their houses for 24 or 48 hours?What I get is that with any sort of assistance that's put on the the table you have to live within your means, you have to target that assistance to the people who are most in need, so yes I understand and I've heard first hand from people concerns about the changes that have been made but undoubtedly bits about directing maximum assistance to those most in need.Are those permanent changes, do people who have been kept away from their houses or trapped in their houses or lost power, can they not hope for any assistance in future?You have to ask the Federal Government about that. But what I'm aware of is the package that was unlocked on Saturday morning by the Prime Minister and I to people across the existing fire grounds in New South Wales. I welcome that assistance, because we need to help people get back on their feet. It's not only about assistance for families, it's about concessional loans for small businesses and primary producers, but also about providing financial assistance to councils to get some of the infrastructure that's been damaged back up and running. Just finally - you're the premier of a State? Which roughly 2,000 firefighters are presently in harm's way. Presumably you're not getting an awful amount of sleep. Do you get a little less when you know that one of them is the Prime Minister?I did ask the Rural Fire Service Commissioner the other day whether the Prime Minister had got through the night safely. Look, I think Tony Abbott leads by example. This is no political gimmick as some have claimed. This is is a long-term commitment to serves his community. He's done it very quietly. I remember him coming to my electorate in 1994, in those fires, and the first I knew he was there was when I went down to this the firies afterwards. Suddenly this bloke with a very distinctive voice came out of the crowd and said g'day Barry. That's happening in communities not just with the Rural Fire Service but with community fire units in streets on bushfire interface areas around New South Wales.Bochl, thanks for your time tonight .Thank you. Firefighters are bracing themselves for worsening conditions over the next 48 hours. For the latest news, our reporter Matt Peacock joins us from the headquarters of the Rural Fire Service. Thanks for being with us, Matt. Can you tell us where the RFS will be concentrating its efforts tonight?There are 60 fires around the State. And 20 of them are uncontrolled but the real one to worry about, where there's an emergency still declared, is the so-called Bilpin fire, the one that runs along the northern side of the Grose Valley, and that one is still raging, and there are communities at Mount Tomah and mount Wilson, Mounts Irvine will people have been told to look after themselves, that they will be isolated for a few days most likely. And other fires, for example, in the Southern Highlands and also at Springwood, where we had the really bad flare-up last Thursday did flare up again today, but they've now been contained A built of spotting and they're sort of watch and take care level. There were some concerns that the fire burning between Lithgow and Bilpin could at some point merge with the blaze near Mount Victoria. What happens if those two fires come together?Well, the fear is that it starts a long fire that rages down the Grose Valley. Once that starts then it's possible, particularly with the weather that they're expecting that it could flare up into any one of those mountain communities. And for that reason, they will be back-burning tonight and probably tomorrow, depending on the conditions and whether the wind stays down like it was today. Fairly aggressive back-burning along that escarpment country below Blackheath, Katoomba and the southern side of the valley. Everyone's watching the weather very closely. Tell us what the prognosis is for the next couple of days and what consequences it might have.Well, it is going to get hotter. The wind up in the mountains today wasn't too bad, actually. It was particularly good overnight. But they're expecting that to worsen, especially by Wednesday. They're expecting a north-westerly wind that could flare up a bit like the sort of winds that we saw there last week. And of course, the firemen up there, firefighters up there were telling me that what was confusing about it and quite alarming was that the wind blew from all different directions. It was north either one minute, north west the next, and ferocious, at some points gusting up to 100 kilometres an hour. So that's the big fear, that everybody's hoping won't happen. They must be getting incredibly tired on the ground there. How are they managing this mammoth effort?Well, last night, for example, there's something like 2,000 firefighters from all over the country pretty much up there. Last night, it was fairly well managed. People were going hem. They're being very careful about rationing their energy, because in a sense they're containing this fire. They're going to be like I say aggressively back-burning and trying to protect the mountain communities over the next fight and day. But they are conserving their resources one suspects for any sort of real explosion of fire that could come with the bad weather. Talking about conserving and managing energy, I know it's been an incredibly long day for you. Thanks for being with us this evening at the end of the program.Thank you. And that is the program for tonight. We'll be back at the same time tomorrow, but for now, goodnight.

Captions by CSI Australia

# Theme music

Hello. I'm Norman Swan
from Radio National's Health Report.

What you're about to see

is a breathtaking example
of how medicine can be transformed

by the determination
of ordinary people.

Four years ago, Stephen and Sally
Damiani's baby son, Massimo,

was struck down
by a mysterious disease.

There seemingly impossible quest
for answers has led to a discovery

that's astonished
the international medical community.

And it has implications for us all.

Several people have gone and said
this is like Lorenzo's Oil part two

and to be compared
in the same breath,

I mean, it's just
incredibly humbling,

because that was never my intention.

I just wanted to diagnose my son.

I don't understand. Like, I don't know how
this can happen to someone.

My baby's suffering
and I can't do anything,

because I don't even know
what's causing his suffering.

So we'll get this going. Cool.
I'll just get the projector on. I definitely thought that
Stephen was on a wild goose chase.

I thought he was
going to send himself mad,

if he wasn't mad already,

because I just thought
there's nothing out there.

This is basically
the presentation for LA,

which is called Mission Massimo.

I had never heard of this
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I'll introduce myself,

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and the journey we've been part of
for the past four years.

Go through and introduce Massimo.

Massimo, beautiful little boy at
11 months, started to lose skills.

Just out of the blue.

He lost the ability to stand
and crawl and talk.

I think this is actually
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We're actually changing the way
doctors treat their patient,

and I think that's
truly astounding, really.

This was the biggest problem
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and the biggest problem
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And I think I just fell back
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Mo, this just came FedEX from the US.