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Tonight - the symbolic end of Australia's longest war, the nation's political leaders unite to honour those who have served. Family connection, a fatal nation's shooting in Sydney linked to security
one of Australia's highest security prisoners .A Chinese focus for Australian Business'
tourism.And later on 'The Business' the billions keep on rolling in as the ANZ posts another record profit. Live across Australia, you're watching ABC News 24. Hello, I'm Juanita Phillips. The PM has declared that Australia's longest war is over. Tony Abbott made a surprise visit to Afghanistan as the 12-year military mission draws to a close. He paid tribute to all troops who have served on rotation to the base in Uruzgan province. Now the final 1,500 will withdraw before Christmas.Defence Brissenden
correspondent Michael Brissenden reports from Tarin Australia's longest
Kowt.After 12 years, Australia's longest ever war came to a symbolic end with surprise flying visit by the PM Tony Abbott.Australia's longest war is ending. Not with victory, not with defeat, but with, we hope, an Afghanistan that is better for our presence here.By Christmas, mote of Australia's 1,500 strong will be home. But the PM says the withdrawal is still bitter sweet.Sweet, because our soldiers have given a magnificent account of themselves. Bitter, because Afghanistan remains a dangerous place despite all that has been themselves. done.Security will soon be entirely in the hands of the Afghans and today, they acknowledged Australia's important contribution.Your troops are the best and whatever they have been doing here in the past few years, they have always put the Afghan people first.In a sign of the bipartisan political support this war has always had, the Opposition Leader was also invited to pay tribute to the contribution and sacrifices of Australian forces.I don't know Afghanistan but
how you go in uniting Afghanistan but you have Tony Abbott and I together saying thank
supporting you. I don't think saying thank you is enough but it is the words we can find.The base itself will be gifted to the Afghan National Army and the Australian troops will also leave behind a proud legacy of nation building in a poorest and
province that is one of the poorest and most disadvantaged in Afghanistan.Whatever happens, the building a civil society are there. You can't uneducate the children this
that have been educated.But cost. More
this war has come at great cost. More than $7.5 billion, 260 seriously injured and 40 killed in action.It is estimated that between 10 and 20% of the soldiers will also post-traumatic stress
return home with some sort of disorder.Ashley Judd is Afghanistan
one.I was called upon in an
Afghanistan to shoot and kill an individual extremely close range. I would see that image in the rear vision mirror of my car or at the other end of the bar at the pub.In the last few mission
years, even the training mission has become uneasy and dangerous with the increasing threat of so-called green on blue insider attacks. The latest was just last weekend.The end of this mission is complicated, as Tony Abbott said there is no victory. Afghanistan is still racked by violence and corruption and many Australians have mixed feelings about how long we have been here.As they leave, these troops can rightly proud of the fact they have given this country and its people a Measured in years, Afghanistan is Australia's longest military commitment, longest measured in dollars it is the most expensive. But achieve its objectives? Political correspondent Greg Jennett takes a look at the legacy.It ends as a without victory. But in the view of successive governments, Afghanistan was not a war without success. Bin killed, al-Qaeda severely disrupted, bombs and bullets have achieved that much. And there are measurable successes in civil society too. Massive foreign injections for aid and reconstruction have brought a five fold lift in GDP, life expectancy is up three years in live
a decade, 85% of Afghanis now live in districts with some form of basic health care. And perhaps the biggest enrolled
breakthrough, in education, enrolled student numbers have leapt from one million to almost eight. credit there, funding and building around 200 schools. 26 of them for girls only.The risk is that these achievements will all be swept aside as international forces leave and a violent, notoriously corrupt and heavily armed country returns to type. The costs - they have been enormous. Australian Government spending on the military operation topped $7.5 billion. There are well over 3,000 claims for veterans affairs And a growing bill for mental health care.Here, it is the heaviest price of all. The faces of the fallen in 12 years names this
of fighting. These are the 40 names this war has bequeathed to the national A defence summit in troops
has heard the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan is expected to drive an expanding Australia.
military presence in northern Australia. It could also create an economic Darwin.Northern Australia has been identified as an area of growing military strategic importance by both the with hundreds
Australian and US Governments with hundreds of marines rotating through Darwin. The withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan is likely to further boost activity in the region.The increased defence activity in the Top End of but
Australia, not only in Darwin but also at Tindall. It will involve all elements of the Australian Defence
Force.Increasing the activity and an existing defence presence in the NT which is just under 10% of the AGF located up here.The Darwin defence industry summit heard as the defence as shifts to the Asia Pacific region, so too will defence region, spending on a range of high-tech equipment. This means a possible economic boom for northern Australia.Interstate and overseas defence companies are looking to move north.One Sydney company is already planning to move part of its it
operations to Darwin to ensure it can capitalise on future concerns
opportunities.But there are concerns an influx of global competitors could push local companies out of lucrative defence contracts.It is a very high cost structures we have in Australia. That is a problem and that is something that will will
have to be resolved or else we will miss out.The battle for defence contracts is set to heat up. The cousin of one of Australia's most notorious prisoners has been executed in a shoot-out? Sydney. man was seriously injured. Both victims are alleged members of the Brothers 4 Life crime gang which has been under close police scrutiny.Just after heard
midnight, rapid gun fire was heard coming from this housing complex at Revesby in Sydney's south-west. 25-year-old Mahmoud
south-west. Hamzy died at the scene.We are satisfied that there was more than one weapon used in the shooting. We are also satisfied that there were at least three people involved.He is the cousin of maximum security prison Bassam Hamzy who recently had his jail sentence extended for directing criminal activity from prison on a mobile phone.A 24-year-old man suffered gunshot wounds to the leg and stomach.The incident happened in a garage metres away from family

Following the shootings, the same
man who police say lives in the same home as the victims left the scene.A few fireworks.Pretty serious fireworks.What does the numberplate mean? New Year's Eve came early.His cousin has been murdered and he feels it is a light matter, insensitive.Authorities were also unimpressed at this numberplate - an acronym for Middle Eastern Organised Crime.Police say although the gang call themselves Brothers 4 Life, they act more like brothers for a day. Members often fight amongst themselves which makes tracking down the killers more complicated.Nick Kaldis described the Brothers 4 attack
Life group as cowards who only attack and extort in numbers.I have to say, probably not very good at what they do.There have been 13 drive-by shooting fatalities in NSW over the last year, but police say streets have been quiet in recent months. That might be about to change if reprisals follow Mahmoud Hamzy's murder. A Victorian coroner has recommended an urgent review of the methadone treatment program blaming a lack of care for up to 60 overdose deaths in the last two years. Among them a after
16-year-old girl who overdosed for
after taking drugs prescribed for someone else. 16-year-old Helen died from a methadone overdose in this Bendigo house three years ago. The was in
intellectually disabled girl was in state care but wasn't on the methadone program. Her market.Her
lethal dose came from the black market.Her grandmother acknowledges she was a difficult child but believe the system failed her.Wouldn't you think the ones who were taking care of her would have to answer to it? The coroner found the regulation of the drug itself used to treat heroin addiction was lacking. She described it as shamefully inadequate, restrictions on Dajka away doses and prescriptions given for addicts to self-administer. Those entering the program would usually be allowed them after a month. It meant they black
were easily diverted to the black market, sold or traded for sex. She found diverted fatal
methadone responsible for 21 fatal overdoses in the last two years and likely at fault in another 42.One of the reasons it is not known whether those black market
deaths can be attributed to black market or diverted methadone is because of what the coroner described as a complete lack information.Reports prepared for this inquest indicate many
authorities don't even know how many people are given take away doses of methadone, their dosages are. The only way or
they have of tracking whether or not the treatment is effective comes from self-reporting by patients themselves.Addiction experts say the program is effective, but acknowledge more resources are needed especially in the country.We do need to have the responsibility spread across a greater number of doctors, a pharmacists.A
greater number of pharmacists.A Government spokesman says it will examine the findings and respond in due course. Wild winds and hail have NSW
lashed Sydney and parts of the NSW coast leaving several people injured. A tree fell on two cars at Lansvale in Sydney's south-west. Two people in one car escaped unharmed an elderly man and woman were trapped in the other vehicle for half an hour. They were taken to hospital in a stable condition. At Engadine in the city's south, a tree and power poles fell on three people. Their injuries are minor. Port Macquarie was hit hard by hail. The SES received hundreds of calls for help from across the State.It is an ordeal other pilot has survived, ditching an ultralight aircraft into Bass Strait. Two NSW men have lived to tell the tale after their dramatic crash off Tasmania's north coast.It was the
meant to be the first leg of the ultimate flying holiday up Australia's east coast.Been waiting months for the perfect day and weather and everything was going to be on track.Shortly after take-off from Bridport in north-east those plans came crashing down.Perfect conditions and then we went through engine failure.The friends had three terrifying minutes before they hit Bass Strait.We had to make radio calls to the right people and get
let them know where yes we were and get the life rafts out and doors open so we could exit the plane. We took off our when
seatbelts so we weren't trapped when it hit.As the plane exploded, the men escaped clinging to inflatable mattresses that probably saved their lives.If it was that cold in the water, we went into a frenzy and our bodies were shaking.I was bleeding and pretty cut up and so I was water,
needing to get out of the water, the shark infested waters. I was freaking about that too.After two hours, police boat reached the scene and the men were flown to hospital with hypothermia.No-one's ever survived an ultralight plane crash into Bass Strait, we're grateful.The journey home to Newcastle on a commercial flight is bitter sweet.I am scared about going over water but we have to do it to get home.Upset I lost me plane. It wasn't insured. Financially it has drained us bad.Their trip ended abruptly but the men already talking about their next attempt. Tourism leaders gathered in marketing and strategy and the talk was mostly about China. While official figures revealed the low dollar and cheap flights are attracting record numbers of overseas visitors, the industry sees the greatest potential in China. It is a a
familiar message, but aimed at we
a different audience.Sometimes we have to get lost to find go walk
ourselves. Sometimes we have to go walk about.Last year around flocked to
700,000 Chinese tourists splashing
flocked to Australian shores, splashing more than $4 billion across the economy. But within six years, it billion.It is
will be closer to $20 billion.It is not just numbers, it is also value. The Chinese consumer is the spending we get. They spend on average over $7,000 each.The trick for the sector is to direct more of that down under recruited
and for that Tourism Australia recruited the advice of someone pulse.The
with their finger on China's pulse.The timing of Australia and
to start promoting the country and culture and lifestyle has speaking
never been better. You're speaking to people who want to be spoken to.Over the past few years the rise of the equally aspiring middle class have seen the appetite experiences
luxury holidays, products and not naturally flashy people as a nation but the sudden boom of whole luxury was overwhelming.For many Australian businesses that to
requires a rethink. According to Angelica and Tourism preconceptions of
Australia, the old preconceptions of what Chinese tourists want need to go out casinos,
the window. Less China town and casinos, more fine dining, golf, wineries and the things that
that money can't buy, like environment.China
clean air and the natural environment.China has become market than people
a much more sophisticated think.Tourism Australia will spend a record $200 million on advertising again this year, much of it in China.I feel that it will go on for a long time. In the grand scheme of things it is only the starting point. Every day there are new people waking up to this whole new world.It is a romantic notion, only with a billion dollar payoff. with unin
Autoimmune diseases effect with unin 20 Australians but known about
there is no cure and little is known about why they happen. Now Flinders University and Flinders Medical Centre are embarking on a project to create a comprehensive database.Michelle Smale and her daughter Caitlin know what it is like to live with an autoimmune disease.I could hardly keep awake, fatigue was just really debilitating.She suffers from scleroderma, one the
of 80 autoimmune diseases where the body's immune system attacks its own cells. Medication can ease the symptoms but there are no cures.We feel like we have no hope because we are managed with medication, the best that the doctors can but there is no money to research. Is there hope for a cure? The number of autoimmune diseases has doubled in the past three decades.In my 30 years of practising in autoimmunity, we have got 30 or 40 new autoimmune diseases.The study is hoping to look at them indepth by creating a blood Centre patients
bank of cases. Flinders Medical Centre patients who test positive to an autoimmune disease will be asked for their permission to donate blood to go on a database.It will assist in understanding what autoimmunity is and what are auto
the targets and what are the auto antibodies involved in causing the disease.While some organisations already collect data on specific autoimmune diseases, researchers here hope Australia
to share their database both in Australia and internationally.I have a long life ahead of me that I would like to be around for so it would be nice to know that there could potentially be a cure and that I would won't die young.The national Autoimmune has
Resource and Research Centre has welcomed the project and says it is one step towards greater awareness of autoimmunity. The Adelaide artistic director David Sefton says he is taking plenty of risks in his program for 2014. A screen icon, a renowned dance company and a six hour company Shakespeare performance are
amongst the today.From the opening night, David Sefton wants the city to rock.

1980s party band will join with soul singer Charles Bradley in a free concert. Italian Isabella Roselino will her show and Denis O'Hare features.We have our fair share of major names and big international theatre companies. I feel like the star value is definitely in there.A dance company from Israel returns for the first time since 1996 and while the tigerlilies are also back. Legendary American composer John will bring 40 of his New York collaborators to Adelaide. From the Netherlands, a marathon six-hour trill olg based on Shakespeare.The audiences are adventurous and they want risky and more interesting work. The quality is still there.He puts local company Windmill in the quality category and has put three of its shows targeted at teens in the program.I feel like we have a huge local and national treasure.Surprised and thrilled. Just to have David been
reputation and he has always been a big supporter of company.The indigenous black arm band will close the festival. The festival poster is inspired by ancient fossils discovered in the Flinders Ranges. The 17-day starts on February Now to sport with Amanda Shalala. All eyes are on Michael Clarke? Sweating on his fitness. Australia's cricket captain has given the best indication yet he will be fit for the start of the Ashes in Brisbane in three weeks. of
Clarke has trained on the eve of the Sheffield Shield and he has bitten back at criticism from former skipper Ricky Ponting.It is a welcome sight for Australian fans, Michael Clarke padded up with a bat in hand.Amid speculation about his playing future, Clarke's protecting his own back when it comes to any perceived friction skipper Ricky
between himself and former skipper Ricky Ponting.He has for the
my number and we have spoken for the last 15 years. I don't think anything will change.His bigger concern has been his back, the most talked about in Australian sport, he knows he can't stay wrapped up in cotton wool in the lead-up to the am confident
Ashes.If I get through today I am confident I will perform at my best.Clarke has suffered his back condition throughout he
his career but he is confident he can manage it through the summer.Right now I feel fit and healthy and I have been fortunate with help from others to get me to where I am today.If he comes through training unscathed he will lead the Blues against Tasmania all
tomorrow. He hopes to play in all three Shield matches ahead of the first Ashes Test next month in Brisbane.That is the perfect preparation.We don't know. We are confident that he will be fit for the Test series.The selection boss says the Test squad for Brisbane is all but settled. Dave Warner's one-day form has been noted.We were thrilled to bits with his last four innings where he scored rewell.Other hopefuls will have the last two one-dayers in India, the first two weeks of Shield games and tour matches against England to stake their claims. Queensland batsman Usman Khawaja has been given the chance to audition for an Ashes berth after being named in the Australia A side to face England. Moses Henriques will captain the team. Khawaja, Alex Doolan, Callum Ferguson and Shaun Marsh are among the batsmen aiming to impress.England are its chances of retaining the urn as it repairs for its first tour match in Perth.We have had a nice break after the Ashes series. We are looking forward to the challenge. It is exciting. Hopefully everyone
exciting. gets in good form and it will star Akuila
be a great series.Newcastle star Akuila Uate has showcased his best for Fiji in its opening match at the Rugby League World Cup. Former kangaroo Petero Civoniceva Fiji out as it overcame Ireland 32-14. The match boiled over at times with the Fijians employing physical tax ticks to pressure their opponents. There was plenty of Fijian flair on display.

Uate scored a hat-trick sending an ominous warning to Australia, Fiji's next
opponent. Fiji will take on the Kangaroos early Sunday morning. The Boston Red Sox League
have hit the lead in Major League Baseball's World Series after a 3-1 win over St Louis in game five. David Ortiz continued his impeccable series in with an RBI double in the Cardinals
innings. Matt holiday got the Cardinals back into the contest with a home run in the fourth. David Ross re-established Boston's ascendancy. Red Sox
It hops out of play and the Red Sox take the lead. series and
Boston's now 3-2 ahead in the series and can wrap it up at Fenway Park on Thursday.James his rugby
O'Connor will try and resurrect his rugby career at London club
Irish. The English premiership club is expected to unveil O'Connor's signing tonight. The ARU recently terminated his contract after a series of offfield incidents. The 23-year-old has been without a club since the middle of the year and departed for England at the weekend.And Racing Victoria has banned an English strapper from its Werribee complex for breaching the quarantine rules and his stable has decided to send him home.Andrew Jackson was Melbourne Cup
working with the international Melbourne Cup entrant Brown Panther.Jackson jumped the fence to get in and out of the quarantine centre by passing strict protocols which require visitors to change their VRC
clothes and take a shower. The VRC says there wasn't any threat to the horses. Brown Panther is a 20 to 1 chance for the Cup. It is part owned by English soccer star Michael Owen who is visiting Melbourne for

The two day outlook - we are seeing a subtle shift in moment, tending
the synoptic patterns at the moment, tending more to a typical late spring pattern with high pressure systems ridging across the southern states. Troughs through the northern areas triggering showers and thunderstorms. have had severe storms Tuesday through NSW, the trough that triggered those and the upper level disturbance are continuing to move up into Queensland. As that trough moves towards the Central Coast we will see showers and storms developing, they will extend back into the central inland. There is the responsible that some of these storms could become severe. The features most likely - damaging winds and large hail. A bit of shower activity about the northern half of the NT and also through much of the northern inland WA.Further south generally Onshore
clear dry and sunny conditions. Onshore winds about parts of Victoria.

A trough down the west coast moves inland during the moves afternoon in Perth. Hot ahead of that trough. We will start to see some cooler conditions behind it will develop in the afternoon. Thunderstorms are widespread across Darwin. Those thunderstorms will be a feature for Darwin over T will help to keep the temperatures that little bit rain
cooler, due to the cloud and rain activity across the region.The only showers across west
the south most likely about the west coast of Tasmania.

I'm Juanita
That is the news for now. I'm Juanita Phillips. I will be back shortly with an update of the headlines. Then it is time for 'The Business'. You're watching ABC News 24. Captions by CSI Australia

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The top stories from ABC News - the PM has Australia's longest war over. Tony Abbott made a surprise visit to as the 12-year military mission draws to a close. He paid tribute to all troops calling it a war without victory but also without defeat. The final 1,500 Australian troops will withdraw before Christmas. Police have confirmed a man shot dead in Sydney's of
south-west is the cousin of one of the country's highest security prisoners. Mahmoud Hamzy was killed at a house at Revesby. Another man was shot in the stomach and legs and is now in hospital.It is understood Mahmoud Hamzy was linked with the Brothers 4 Life motorcycle gang.Strong winds and hail have lashed Sydney and parts of NSW with emergency crews receiving hundreds of calls for help.The mid-north while
coast received plenty of hail,