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Tonight - after an agonising

wait, the news no-one wanted to

hear. I'm unlikely to see my

workmates again. I'm unlikely

to see them walk out of that

mine. To the brink and back.

North and South Korea's worst

confrontation in 50 years.

Community spirit celebrated with Australian of the Year

awards. And Michael Clarke back in business as Australia talks

tough on the eve of the

handle these conditions very, Ashes. History suggests that we

very well. Opposition teams

struggle a little bit.

Good evening. Welcome to ABC

news. I'm Virginia Haussegger.

There are no survivors. What everyone feared became today, when a second massive

explosion tore through the New

Zealand mine where 29 men went

missing. Police say there's no

chance of finding anyone alive.

The news prompted anguished scenes as distraught relatives scenes

with grief. New Zealand's Prime wept, shouted and collapsed

Minister says it's a national tragedy. The local mayor

described it as the region's

darkest hour. Authorities

believe a lethal build-up of

gases ignited the entire mine

five days after the initial

blast. Dominique Schwartz is at

the scene. It was the worst

news the relatives of the missing miners could've

heard. At 2.37 today, there was another massive explosion underground. And based on explosion, no-one survived. And underground. And based on that

we are now going into recovery

mode. Despite the warnings that

aekd is explosion was always

possible, the reality came as a

total shock We thought they

were going in for a rescue mobilisation.

mobilisation. Then we to hush up. Then they told us a

second explosion took place.

That's when people started

yelling abuse saying "You had

your window of opportunity five

days ago. Why didn't you take

it?" Lawrie Drew says he can't

accept that his 21-year-old Zen is never coming

my son back. I'm still do. I'm trying to be logical but it's hard. Pike River Coal Chief

Executive Peter Whittall was at

the mine this afternoon and saw

the explosion on closed circuit television. This probably takes

us point where I'm unlikely to

see my workmates again. I'm

unlikely to see them walk out

of that mine. Among those 29

workmates are two

Queenslanders. 25-year-old

Joshua Ufer and 49-year-old

William Joynson. To those families,

want you to have our families, we especially say we

want you to have our condolence

s. The nation is grieving with

you at this difficult time.

New Zealand stands shoulder to

shoulder with you. Though we

cannot possibly feel this pain

hearts and our thoughts. The as you do, we have you in our

New Zealand Prime Minister says

there will be a Royal

Commission of inquiry into the

mine disaster. But right now,

the company says the priority is

is trying to get into the mine

and bring out any remains. I

still want 'em back and their

families want them back and we

will be doing everything we can

to make that happen. For the

families and friends of the

miners there's still no

closure. I shouldn't have to

bury my son. It should be the

other way round. Sorry guys. Just a

incomprehensible pain. Just a terrible,

US President Barack Obama

has been shocked into action by

north and South Korea in half a

century. A US aircraft carrier

has been ordered to the Korean

Peninsula, less than a day

after the North launched dozens

of artillery shells on a South

Korean island. The Americans

are also applying pressure on China to rein in

its reclusive ally. Meanwhile,

the south is deploying more

artillery to its border island,

while Pyongyang is threatening

more attacks. Now more from ABC

correspondent Stephen McDonnell

in Seoul. The quiet life of

Yeonpyeong island was shattered

by dozens of artillery shells.

North Korea fired volley after

bore the volley and civilian communities

bore the brunt of the attack. I

was lying down watching

television. And I heard the

bang, bang. I thought that I

will die when I stepped out of

island to escape the shelling,

leaving burning homes behind. South Korea responded with its

own artillery attack on the

north. Fighter jets were

scrambled. South Korea's alert level is just short of full-scale war. With more artillery being rushed to Yeonpyeong. North Korean

television blamed the south, saying they were fired on

first. In the midst of the

crisis, North Korea's leader

Kim Jong Il was shown visiting

a fish farm. But from around

the globe, it was his

government being blamed.

Australia described the attack

as deeply troubling. The

government calls on North Korea

to abide by international norms

of behaviour and to cease its

hostile acts. In hostile acts. In the White

House, Seoul's most important

ally was deciding what to do

next. South Korea is our ally. It has been since the Korean

War, and we strongly affirm our

commitment to defend South

Korea as part of that

alliance. The heart of Seoul

is one hour's drive from the

North Korean border. During the

Korean War, this city fell to

northern forces in the first

three days. So it's not

surprising that at times like surprising that

this, the South Korean capital

feels a little on edge. Protesters in the city's

central business district tried to

to burn North Korean flags.

This led to clashes with

police, who are wanting to

maintain calm. But people maintain calm. But people here are definitely becoming


So why now? North Korea's

belligerence was the analysts

asking what's behind last night

eight attack and its timing?

Jayne Margetts reports. In the

secretive Communist country of

North Korea, it's almost

impossible to know what's really going on. With an army

of more than a million

soldiers, missiles and a

nuclear weapons program, any

globe on tenterhooks. Don't increase in tension has the

hype the threat. But treat seriously. The attack as as a sign of instability in the seriously. The attack as seen

North Korean leadership. Kim

Jong Il's health is

deteriorating and his youngest

son is still not established as a successor. All this against

the backdrop of an unruly

military force. I think it's

pretty clear that the military

has not bought on to Kim Jong-Un. That sentiment

appears to have prompted a

strong message. That the military dynasty is continuing,

don't expect any change. We're

strong, powerful invincible and we will prevail. There have been clashes between North and

South Korea for years but in recent months the tension has

increased. North Korea has

warned South Korea that this is

a disputed area. But arguably,

this isn't the worst of it. In

March, a South Korean warship

sank, killing 46 sank, killing 46 sailors. North

Korea denied responsibility but an international panel including Australian experts disagreed. Last week, North

Korea gave a show and tell of

its new uranium enrichment

facility. My My jaw just

dropped. I was stunned to see

what looked like hundreds and hundreds of centrifuges.

Experts warn the likelihood of

escalation is high. It's a

situation the US and North

Korea's only friend China are

closely monitoring.

A man accused of helping to

find a murder victim in the

Belanglo State Forest sobbed loudly during a court appearance

appearance today. 17-year-old David Auchterlonie was

of Canberra on Sunday. A

teenager is accused of murder

by striking him on the head with an axe. He was refused bail. A young man has died.

It's hard on everybody. The

prosecution says the man helped

the murderer hide the body in

the defence. The defence argues

the man acted in fear of his life and under duress and is

traumatised by what he has

seen. The court heard the man tipped off police and led them

to the body. A Canberra man who

had sex with underage boys will

spend at least six years behind bars. The judge told Aaron

James Holliday he'd deceived

his victims in a sinister way. The families of the victims say the

the abuse has had lasting

effects on their children.

Families of the three victims packed for the sentence. It's closure

for our boys. They're really

brave. But no-one can take any

satisfaction out of this

horrible situation. I mean,

it's a nightmare for everyone.

24-year-old Holliday pleaded guilty to eight counts of engaging in sexual intercourse

with a minor, committing an act

of inden see in front of a

child and possessing child

pornography. Some of the abuse

took place at Mt Majura as he

abused two of the boys Holliday

told them they were part of a

program that aim to catch the police catch paedophiles. Justice Richard Refshauge

sentenced Holliday to jail with a non-parole period.

While three of the victims

were in Canberra, the victims

of the child pornography seized

by police are many.

Police found a total of

13,000 child porn images on Holliday's computers. Thousands

and thousands of images where

people have been abused. How

ridiculous is that and we just

sit by as a society and let it

go on. Justice accepted Holliday had been

abused as a child at boarding

school. But he said hol

Holliday deceived his victims

in a sinister way and the effect of his assaults would be

long lasting. The earliest date

for Holliday's release is April


With one day left before Parliament rises the Prime Minister has clinched Minister has clinched a deal

that cleers the way for the National Broadband Network.

Julia Gillard has won the backing of key Senate crossbenchers to split Telstra. It's the government's breakthrough so far on the

broadband network which could

now cost around $8 billion less

than first thought. Two

elections, two Prime Ministers,

and exactly three years after

winning power, Labor's achieved

a broadband breakthrough. Now,

this is a reform literally 30

years in the making. It's also

a broadband backdown. Of course it's a compromise. It came after the Prime Minister's intervention. After repeatedly

refusing to reveal the business

case, the government handed

over a 36 page summary. Most of

the key details are missing but

it does reveal a digital

discount , cutting a $43

billion project to 35

billion. I think it's a

close-run thing, but to quote

the bard, all's well that ends

well. With the sport of

Senators Xenophon and Fielding

the government has the numbers to break up Telstra,

prerequisite for the NBN

roll-out Major micro-economic

reform is not easy. This is the

day, this is the Parliament,

this is the time to deliver that structural reform. Nick

Xenophon won other key concessions too including a

parliamentary committee to

scrutinise the roll-out. The

Productivity Commission will be

involved but it's not enough

for the opposition In the light

of that backdown, why won't she

agree to ask the Productivity

Commission to advise on the

fundamental question which is

whether the $43 billion NBN is

the most cost effective way of delivering affordable broadband to all Australians.

Breakthrough, backdown,

whatever you call it, it came

just in time. One day before

the end of the parliamentary

year. The Bill was never

expected to be such a battle.

But at the outcome gives a government that's accused of underdelivering something

significant to crow about. I

don't think I have much more

than to add than to wish my

good friends on the pop sit

side a merry Christmas. If

you're shopping on-line for

Christmas, you'd better make

the most of it, because the cheaper prices may not last.

The government says it's happy

to discuss applying GST to more

imported goods. Retailers say

that would help them compete

against overseas web sites but consumer groups are fighting

the proposal. Australian

retailers are having a tough time getting into the Christmas spirit. They're being trampled

in the rush to buy goods from

offshore web sites as local

consumers take advantage of the strong Australian dollar. I

think it's been a very

difficult 12 or 18 months for

the retail community and this kind

kind of blip in terms of people

taking their business overseas

is a real worry for

us. Retailers are asking the

Federal Government for help.

And Canberra says one possible

solution is applying a GST imported goods worth less than

$1,000. Currently they're

exempt from the 10% tax. There

is a debate emerging from the

retailers in Australia to feel

the $1,000 threshold is too

high. We'll have to work something out and see if it's feasible. I think for many of

the people who are in, for

example, the fashion industry, there's certainly a feeling

that, yes, this would make a difference. Internet shopping

is estimated to be worth $12

billion a year. That's about 4%

of total retail sales. And

while any lowering of the GST

tax threshold would be good

news for local retailers,

consumer groups are

sceptical. We don't think

there's any need to change.

Really the issue that the

retailers are facing is one retailers are facing is one of

technology, not tax. On-line competition will grow and they

need to adapt and change. And

Christopher Zinn says the tax

would seem an overreaction if

the Australian dollar begins to

fall in value. There are also

concerns that collecting the tax

tax would be difficult and

costly. Former Treasurer Peter

Costello famously sparked a

baby boom with his lure of cash

bonuses but it seems the boom

is over. And now birth rates

are on the way back down. As

Craig Allen reports new

research has also confirmed new mothers

mothers are getting

was the phrase, if not the face

that launched a thousand pregnancies. One for your husband and one for your wife and one for the

country. (Laughter) It wasn't

national pride or Peter Costello's baby bonus that

persuaded third time mum

Natasha Hyder. Just got too

clucky I suppose, don't know.

Don't know if it's a hormonal

thing or just we'll go one

more. But one thing's for sure,

the recent spike in the birth

rate appears to have come and gone. Yes, it looks that way there has been quite a rise

over the last decade in many just a bit of a correction.

New figures from the Institute

of Health and Welfare say that

in 2008, the age of new mums

ranged from 15 to 58. But as a group they're getting

older. Waiting to find the

right partner. And also earlier

on I just wasn't interested in

making the lifestyle change, I

suppose. That was more selfish

reason. But there you go. But with advancing age comes

increasing risk. The majority

of pregnancies will be fine but

there is a greater risk at a

population level of adverse outcomes. But against recent

trends the rate of caesarean

deliveries seems to have

plateaued. I would like to see

the rate falling. Almost a

third of births are by

caesarean section. We need to

reduce that rate And the

report highlights other serious health challenges like low

birth weights for babies born

it to the fact that half of all

Indigenous women continued to

smoke during their pregnancies. Still to come, Prince

William and his bride-to-be

name the date. The long awaited report into the nation's worst

offshore oil spill has pointed

the finger at the well's

operator and a Northern Territory Territory Government department. The report made

more than 100 recommendations

and found the disaster could've

and should have been avoided.

The Montarra well explosion off Australia's north-west coast

last year sent millions of litres of oil into the Timor

Sea and took 74 days to bring under control. Mr Ferguson says

the incident could've been

avoided. The scathing report

tabled in Parliament has put

the blame on the rig's Thai

owned operator PTTEP

Australasia, and the Northern Territory department

resources. The problem goes to the

the heart of a failure by

industry to adhere to its

regulatory requirements, and from from the Northern Territory

designated authority to perform

the perform the duties for

which it has

responsibility. But the Northern Territory Resources

Minister has defended department against claims it has a tick and flick

mentality. The reason we had the blow-out was the failure of

the company. In a written

statement PTTEP says it acknowledges the deficiencies

identified in the report and is implementing a 9 point action

plan to ensure a similar

incident is never repeated. Mr Ferguson says the Montarra

spill presents a compelling

case for a single offshore regulator. The Greens are

concerned the company has been

allowed to operate since the

incident and is calling for new

laws. To make sure that a

company that is in this operate in or waters for

another up to 18 months or

longer until a commission of

inquiry of this nature produces

its findings. Mr Ferguson wants

to review PTTEP's operating

licence, which could dash the

operator's hopes of restarting

the Montarra project by mid

next year.

Melbourne Airport is the

first in Australia to trial advanced explosive detection

technology. X-ray machines will

scan battled liquid alcohol and

large containers of hair

products at domestic terminals

for the next two weeks. If the

trial is successful, travellers

may once again be allowed to

take items on board that are

currently prohibited. The

detectors will be trialled at

Sydney Airport next week.

Familiar faces have taken out

honours at the ACT Australian

of the Year awards. Professor

Ian Chubb has been recognised

for his

tertiary education. Credited

with making the Australian

National University one of the world's top educational institutions. It's an immense

privilege. I think to be part of a sector that changes

people's lives. And we do directly through people we

educate and we do it less

directly but importantly

through the research we do that

helps with the way people

helps with the way people live

their lives. Alan Jessop is

well known to many Canberrans.

He was collected for charity in

Civic for 22 years. I have

never won anything before in my

life. So it's a change to win

something. Despite suffering

two heart attacks and prostate

cancer the 80-year-old showing

no signs of slowing down,

raising money for the Salvation

Army three days a week. Marie

Coleman was named ACT Australian of the Year for his contribution to the women's

movement and David Bresnik took out the ACT young Australian of

the Year award for his youth support volunteer work. To

finance now. And the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula caused

Peninsula caused a sharp

sell-off on global markets

overnight. But the mood improved on Asian improved on Asian markets today

and Australia closed almost


In Australia, it was a

better story, though. The All

Ordinaries only lost a few points in the end having

dropped 1% on the opening. And

the billionaires who've been

piling into the Ten Network

lost a few million today as the

stock fell nearly 5% so

suddenly it's a investment. Telstra went up

1.5%. Woolworths regained 1%.

Rio Tinto suffered the biggest

fall among the miners, down

1.25%. On currency markets the

euro has continued to tumble,

so that the Aussie is above 73 euro cents tonight for the

first time in two months. Against the US dollar, though,

it's back below 98. Although Irish debt and now Korean

belligerence have been the big

stories of the past week,

before that and overlaying it

has been QEII that is, quantitative easing No. 2,

otherwise known as money

printing by the US Central Bank

to kick-start the US economy.

Now this graph shows the US dollar trade-weighted index. As

soon as Fed Chairman Ben

Bernanke hinted at QEII in late

August the US dollar started

falling and the Aussie went

above parity because more

supply of US dollars equals lower price. When it is a

actually announced this the dollar starting rise again.

Sell on the rumour, buy on the

fact. The reverse has been

occurring in the share market

this is the All Ordinaries index and it started rallying

in late August on the

suggestion of QEII and it's

been falling ever since it was

actually announced. So buy on

the rumour, sell on the fact.

And that's finance. In cricket,

it's been confirmed that Australia's vice-captain

Michael Clarke will play in the

first Ashes Test tomorrow in

Brisbane but there has been one

high profile casual te in the

Australian team. Fast bowler Doug Bollinger has been dropped

in favour of fellow faceman

Peter Siddle. The odd man out

in the Australian team was

positioned appropriately at the

back of the group and Doug

Bollinger can consider himself

unlucky to be dumped, his Test figures are significantly better than Peter Siddle who's

taking his place. Lack of

bowling the last few weeks has

probably been as much to do

with it as anything. This

attack when it was together had good Africa. So Bollinger took his

frustration out on Michael

Clarke. ((Bleep) But the

vice-captain will play in

tomorrow's first Test. Felt OK in the nets again

today. England made quite the

arrival at the Gabba today.

After a team meeting various

members of the squad took a

moment to have a look at the pitch. Tomorrow's toss could be

crucial. I mean, I don't know

how the wicket will play to be

honest with you. The England

captain only had to ask master

curator Kevin Mitchell. Uniformly good grass

cover. Bounce and pace should

be uniform. 10 of the 11 Australians playing tomorrow

were in the side that last the

ooh at the Oval last year. It's

about that empty feeling we had

in our stomachs are walking off

the Oval again for two

successive Ashes tours. We want

to make sure we don't have that

feeling again. I don't

underestimate Australia. They're at

They're at the Gabba, their

favourite home. I think whoever comes away from the

a lead and goes 1-0 up, they

will be quite hard to chase in

Australia. So much fuss about

such a little trophy. Brumbies captain Steven

Hoiles says his recovery from

back surgery is on track and he

expects to be ready to play in

Game 1 of the new super-15 season. Hoiles underwent

surgery at the end of the club

rugby season. He has been back

training with the squad for two

weeks but will remain on light duties until Christmas. I will

definitely be doing some

running in the next few weeks

and then hopefully into

Christmas a bit more. I won't

be at full speed until probably

after Christmas. He will do

hopefully some running

pre-Christmas and some sort of skills-based sessions January,

and hopefully on track to be

ready for Round 1 in February.

The squad will travel to the

south coast next week for a

pre-season camp. Prince William

and Kate Middleton have set a date Buckingham Palace has announced

the couple will tie the knot on

Friday, April 29. The venue

will be Westminster Abbey where

the Queen was married and where

Princess Diana's funeral

service was held. I think it's

very important we maintain

another tradition in the UK.

Royal family will pay for the wedding with taxpayers footing

the bill for security. Now here he is

he is with all our weather news, Mark Carmody. Thanks,

Virginia. Good evening. I'm

running out of fresh superlatives to describe this

beautiful weather we've been

having and it will continue for

a while yet. Today, fine, dry and

and sunny.

The cloud band crossing South

Australia and western Victoria

will bring that change to of showers and perhaps a

thunderstorm. That cloud is

associated with a trough that

is slowly moving eastwards, but

a high in the Tasman is stubbornly refusing to budge

and is blocking its advance

here. We'll see increasing

cloud and possible rain on

Saturday. In the State capitals


Down the coast last weekend

the Grevilleas were stunning of

the just look at this one! As

a white ribbon day ambassador,

I know you will be at that

breakfast tomorrow. Thank you.

You're a good man. Before we

go, a brief recap of our top stories tonight. There are no survivors at New Zealand's Pike River Mine following a second

massive blast. The Prime

Minister John Key says the lost

of 29 lives is a national

tragedy. And China is coming

under intense diplomatic

pressure to rein in North Korea

as a tense military stand-off continues in the Korean

Peninsula. And that's ABC News.

Stay with us now for Report. You can keep up with

the latest news at ABC Online

and ABC News 24. Enjoy your

evening, goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI This Program is Captioned

Live. Welcome to the program, I'm

Tracy Bowden. It's the devastating news

devastating news that family

and friends of the 29 trapped

miners had feared. Five days

after an explosion ripped

through the Pike River mine on

New Zealand's South Island,

today another more powerful blast led authorities to

conclude that there would be survivors. The ABC's Conor

Duffy has been in the town of

Greymouth all week and he joins

me live now. Conor Duffy, this

is the news everyone was

dreading. That's right. I wish

there was better news tonight,

but tonight I'm in a town and indeed

indeed a nation in mourning.

As you mentioned for the last

five days, the families have

had an agonising time clinging

to every snippet of information