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Tonight - some dig in, others pack it in as floodwaters threaten regional NSW. Still

devastating, but not

tragic disastrous. It's going to be

around here, especially before

around here, especially before

Christmas. A lot of a different

kind in Victoria, as locust

swarms across the State. Violent video games in the

Government's sites with calls

for an adults only

classification. And at the

double - Kevin Pietersen piles

on the agony for Australia. Good evening, Craig

Good evening, Craig Allen with

ABC News. The next 12 hours or

so will be critical for residents

residents across country NSW.

Swollen rivers have already

isolated some townships and

threatened to inundate others. With the Murrumbidgee River

expected to peak in the early

It's hours Wagga Wagga is at risk.

It's a similar story in Coonamble in the State's north-west where the

Castlereagh River will also

peak tonight. Those living in

low lying areas have been told

to get out. These shires have

already been declared natural disaster zones, and more could

follow. We begin our coverage

tonight with reporter Rebecca

Barrett who's in Wagga. It was

last drinks at Wagga Wagga's

oldest pubs this morning.

There are $5 bets on how high winner takes the floodwaters will go - the

winner takes all. I think it

will be just over 10 metres and

still devastating, but not disastrous. Wayne King was 16

in 1974 when the waters hit

come 10.7 metres. In '74, the water

come up rapidly overnight and

actually trapped a lot of

people. There was a lot of

people got caught by surprise

Everyone including in '74. Not this time.

Everyone including the pub is

prepared. All working towards

a midday deadline when road

access to north Wagga was cut.

How many more have you got to

go? This is all we're going to do. The

Defence Force was brought in to

make sure everyone was on their

way out, the streets were

virtually empty well before 12

o'clock. Only a handful of

north Wagga residents have refused to comply with the evacuation

confident in the event of them

getting themselves into

difficulties in the next few

days we'll be able to cope with

an emergency evacuation if

necessary. Most, though, were happy to go, but concerned

about what they'd come back

to. It's going to be tragic for

a lot of families around here, especially before Christmas. It could have been much worse for

this farmer not far from Wagga

who had to be rescued after

becoming stranded while trying

to move stock. At the

evacuation registration centre,

no-one knew what to expect. It kinds of feels like moving, but

leaving half the ship behind.

We might not get it usually only goes up to our

verandahs. Wagga Wagga is all

but ready for its third flood emergency this year. Now it's

emergency this year. Now it's

a waiting game - when will the

waters come and how high will

they go? After eight years of

drought, now there's too much water. Blow after water. Blow after blow after

blow. And this one could last

for at least a month. Our

reporter Naomi woodland is in

Wagga Wagga and gave this

update a short time ago. The

update a short time ago. The

river is expected to reach 9.6

metres at 3 o'clock in the

morning and peak at about 10

metres at 8 o'clock tomorrow

morning. Clearly that's not

quite as high as the last great

flood in Wagga Wagga which was

in 1974, but obviously still

high enough to cause serious

concerns. Three areas have

been evacuated, north and east

Wagga and

650 residents in all are caught

up in that evacuation order.

The SES says all but a handful

have complied and it can help

those who haven't obeyed that

order, but obviously it would

prefer everyone to leave those

areas. How is the evacuation

working? Are people leaving in an orderly fashion? Yes. The smoothly evacuation's gone quite

smoothly and even to the point

of people swimming in the river behind me this afternoon.

Obviously people aren't too

concerned just yet. The SES is confident the sandbagging

that's been happening over the

past couple of days and the

levees will be able to hold back the water tomorrow

morning, the peak of the river

tomorrow morning. What's

causing more concern is that

there's a forecast for quite a

lot of rain later in the week

on Wednesday and Thursday and

the SES says even if levees are

able to hold tomorrow,

able to hold tomorrow, another

deluge of about 80m ls, which

is one of

put those precaution s under

threat later in the week. At Coonamble, around 250 residents

have been told to evacuate as

floodwaters continue to rise in

their hands. More rain fell

overnight leading the

overnight leading the SES to

reissue the evacuation order.

There's not a problem with the

levee, but at 5.5, as I said

tomorrow morning, constant

level of water on the levee could cause some problems. In

Dubbo, it appears the worst has

passed with the Macquarie River

peaking this morning. Water

continues to be released from

Burrendong Dam, but it's not

expected to push the river any

higher than it already is.

After a brief respite

yesterday, Canberra got another soaking last night. Several homes

rain lashed the ACT. The storm

also brought down trees on both

sides of the city. In

Belconnen, a tree speared the

roof of this home in Cook.

There was also damage to this

house in Griffith. About 120 residents called for assistance

overnight. Emergency crews

have now answered more than 500

calls since Thursday evening.

The worst fears of Victorian

farmers have been realised with

swarms of locusts now crossing

the State. Some swarms are 25

kilometres long. They're

currently in the north and are fast heading south. The Department of Primary Industries says Victoria faces

its worst locust plague in 75 years. The ABC's Stephanie

March reports from Donald, one

of the worst affected areas.

It's a farmer's worst nightmare. In the 47 years lease lived here Darren Cummings has never seen

anything like this. It looked

like a haze, a cloud of dust up

to about... it could have been

10-12 metres high. The

unwelcome visitors began

arriving late on Friday didn't take long for them to

have an effect. Yesterday in here there was probably 30-35

metres of regrowth up so high

and just in the one day and overnight it's

overnight it's just completely

gone. Unlike Mr Cummings, many farmers have not yet harvested

their crops and they face the

prospect of losing their best

yield in a decade or more. Once

they can fly and they're flying

locusts it becomes a crop protection issue rather than

whether they're controlling the

locusts and that becomes a

business choice the farmer must

make. The owners of this farm

had been spraying recently

Friday. Now all that work's

been undone. These swarms have

probably laid more eggs which means more spraying in the

weeks to come. Elsewhere, high

density swarms have been

spotted near Echuca. Low to medium swarms Murchison, Ouyen, Rochester, Kerang, Marungi Charlton &

Seymour. It's not just farmers

being affected. Sporting clubs are having

are having to cancel events

because of the swarms. They're

moving on from this part of the

State and could soon be causing

problems further south. Australia is

Australia is the latest country

to send help to Israel which is

battling the worst forest fires

in its history. Prime Minister

Julia Gillard has announced

that a team with expertise in directing firefighting aircraft

will be deployed to Israel

within the next 24 hours. The

Australian Defence Force is

also assisting with logistics. The Palestinian Authority has also offered assistance in fighting fighting the fire

northern city of Haifa. It's

now been burning for four days.

41 people have been killed so

far and thousands have been

evacuated. The Government's

come under heavy criticism for

being caught unprepared with

being caught unprepared with the country lacking appropriate

equipment. But the Prime

Minister says the scale of the disaster disaster is unprecedented. These are mega

fires, they are huge, gigantic

forest fires and they require a

different technology. They require international cooperation. The government

says it will establish a fleet

of firefighter aircraft. The

first US diplomatic cable to

mention Australia in any great detail has been published

detail has been published by

WikiLeaks. It details a

conversation between the US

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Kevin Rudd when he was Prime Minister. According

to the document, Mr Rudd

advised that countries should

be prepared to use force if

China can't be integrated into

the international community. The Federal Government knew it

was coming and finally one out

was coming and finally one out

of the hundreds of WikiLeaks documents to be made public so

far has revealed a detailed

diplomatic conversation

involving Australia. It took

place in March last year place in March last year in Washington between the US Secretary of State Hillary

Clinton and Kevin Rudd when he

was Prime Minister. The cable

from the US State Department

reveals Secretary Clinton had

concerns about China's growing economic

economic power. She asked,

"How do you deal toughly with

your banker?" According to the

document Mr Rudd said he was a

brutal realist on China and he

argued for integrating China effectively into the

international community.

The document said Kevin Rudd

noted Chinese leaders were paranoid

paranoid about Taiwan and their reactions on Taiwan were subrational and deeply

emotional. On the war in

Afghanistan, the cable says the

pair talked about the need for

Pakistan to focus on its border

with Afghanistan, and Mr Rudd

indicated Australia was willing and able to help, and able to help, especially in

special operations and kourg

areas. The Government has

issued a statement in response

to the leaks, saying it has

to the leaks, saying it has no intention of providing

commentary on the content of US classified documents. The

Government has set up a task

force to investigate the leaks. Queensland police are

investigating two separate

shootings on the Gold Coast

last night. A 42-year-old man

is seriously ill in hospital

after being shot in the chest at Surfers

at Surfers Paradise. The Gold

Coast man was walking with his

family along the esplanade when

two shots were fired just before 9 o'clock. His teenage

children witnessed and

shooting. The police haven't

ruled out the possibility the

bullet was fired from a nearby

building. We're unable to say

from what direction the shot

was fired at this point, but inquiries are continuing. Police are also

investigating a

incident an hour earlier when a

man shot at a car on the

motorway. A bullet was fired

into a passenger window. The

23-year-old woman suffered cuts

from broken glass. A Sydney

Harbour cruise ended in chaos

last night when a party last night when a party boat

slammed into a wharf. Around 45 people

45 people were board the

'Katika'. Eight people were

taken to hospital. An

investigation is under way, but

mechanical problems are blame.

It was a Christmas It was a Christmas celebration

that ended with an unexpected hangover. As this party boat

returned from a night on the harbour, it ran into and then crashed into a wharf

at Pyrmont Bay. We were

standing on the edge of the wharf and suddenly realised

it's not trying to turn back

in, it's coming straight at

in, it's coming straight at

us. 19 people were treated for

injuries ranging from abrasions

to broken arms and

were taken to hospital,

including one man who suffered

spinal and neck injuries. There

was woman screaming "Please

call an ambulance" so I ran

inside and called 000 and other

people were crying "Call the

police". The boat's skipper

took a breath test, but was

found to be sober. Mechanical problems are being

problems are being blamed for

the disappointment. The

skipper's told me that the gear

got stuck in forward and he's

hit the wharf with 45

passengers on board. A NSW maritime investigation is maritime investigation is now

under way. It's understood it

will look into claims there was an altercation between passengers and the skipper as

he tried to steer the boat safety. It looked like there

was some kind of massive brawl

going on. If that's the case we'd

we'd consider that to be so

serious we'd want to refer that

to the court and let the court

deal with it. For now, it seems

the fun boat's festive fun

season is over. Melbourne,

Sydney and Brisbane outdone the traditional

economic powerhouses of London

and New York in a new report examining recovery from the

global financial crisis. The

three cities get high marks for

employment and income growth

employment and income growth

since the downturn. Turkey's

largest city Istanbul came out on top, but businesses and

consumers alike say they're not

convinced the economy has come

good. Melbourne, Sydney and

Brisbane are ranked in the top half of the list of 150 cities studied by

studied by the US leading think

tank the Brookings Institution. The best

Institution. The best

performing cities, so I think the relationship with other

specific economies has kept the Australian metropolitan areas

above average

performers. Melbourne rated

14th, Sydney 45th and Brisbane

64th in the survey. Businesses

in those cities and others

across Australia are pinning

hopes on a busy Christmas, but early signs early signs aren't promising. We're not seeing

armies of shoppers coming in for pre-Christmas

for pre-Christmas sales. Our

members are telling us they're

not getting the boost to

Christmas sales they usually do. That could be because there's no Federal Government stimulus package

stimulus package to help the

seasonal splurge. Even if big

retailers aren't sure how

they'll fare. And how much that

was worth and how much of that

cash was actually spent in retail may have been

understated. We've certainly found

found that's what we've been up against. At this second-hand

market, shoppers acknowledged that the economy is still

fragile. I think everyone is out for a bargain, when money

is short. We've been stable as

an economy and I think it will

get better. I've bought so

much, I've run out of

money. One factor dampening the

spirit is interest rates. A new National Retailers

Association survey indicates

one-third of Australians say

the last rate rise will curtail

their spending. Meanwhile, the

ACT's business community is

calling for another summer

festival in the Territory to

boost visitor numbers during

the traditionally quiet time in

the capital. With the capital. With the

politicians gone early and most

Canberrans heading out of town

for the holiday season, many

hotels are facing low occupancy

hotels are facing low occupancy

rates. Last summer the

National Gallery's Masterpieces

exhibition kept the tourism

industry ticking off. While Summernats brings there's a call for something

else. It's a wasted commercial

opportunity. The hotels are

there, they're open, they're employmenty. We've got the

employmenty. We've got the opportunity to use that

existing infrastructure to add

to our economy without having to build anything else. A

spokesman for the Tourism

Minister says there are a range of events planned this summer, including

including the National Multicultural Festival and New Year's Eve celebrations and the

National Gallery is looking at

hosting a summer blockbuster in

years to come. In Russia, two

people were killed and dozens injured when a passenger plane

was forced to make an emergency

landing after all three engines

failed. More than 160 people

were on board when the plane

came down in Moscow. It overshot the runway and broke

into several pieces. The crew

reported engine trouble shortly

after the flight took off to

the southern Republic of Dagestan.

Government's pushing for an

adults only classification for

video games. The current MA

rating means 15-year-olds can play games considered too

violent or sexual for teenagers

in other countries. The new

category has broad support from

parents, but the government

still has to get the States and

Territories to agree. Games like Left for Dead and Call of

Duty are now in the

Government's sights. And many

adult gamers want them

targeted, too. I don't let my

kids watch the same music I watch, I don't want watch, I don't want them playing the same games. More

than a dozen video gamed deemed

inappropriate for kids in other

countries are available to

15-year-olds in Australia under

the MA plus rating. Kids are

seeing something maybe a

seeing something maybe a bit

edgy, realistic violence or

sexual or other adult

themes. Nearly 80% of parents surveyed

be an adults only category and

the Federal Government wants action. If you're concerned about children and teenagers

and the impression some games

have upon them, you'll support

this proposition. This is

really about giving parents and kids more information about what entertainment is suitable

for them. Some still need convincing, though. The

convincing, though. The idea

lifting the ban on this really extreme stuff and introducing a

new interactive violent media I think really does fly in the face of

face of where mums and dads are

on the issue of media violence. The Government says the new category will restrict

material, not liberalise it, but all States and Territories attorneys-general need to

agree. There's been opposition from South Australia in the past, but past, but there's a

past, but there's a new

minister there, as well as in

Victoria, which could present

an opportunity for both the

Government and adult games. The

games have come in their true

form. Currently some games are

modified to try to remove some

of that content so it can

squeeze in,

lenient on that. The Federal

Government's got five days to

rally support. The

attorneys-general are meeting

on Friday. Rain has come to

the aid of a Australia at the Adelaide Oval. Day three belonged to Kevin

Pietersen, who belted an

unbeaten doubles century to

push the lead past 300. England headed into day three

ready to pile on the pain and

Kevin Pietersen played the

chief tormentor. Joining

Alastair Cook with 100, Ryan

Harris was the main hope with

the ball. In one over he first

unsettled Pietersen, then

finally got rid of Cook.

COMMENTATOR: Inside edge, yes!

It's been partnership worth 175. The

dismissal did little to slow

the run rate,

the run rate, with Paul

Collingwood joining in the run

fest, but most of the party

tricks were coming from

Pietersen. He smashed his way

to 150, taking the least past

200 at lunch. Ricky Ponting turned to Shane turned to Shane Watson after

the break and it paid immediate

dividends when he snared

Collingwood. It's close. It was

a batsman's paradise and Ian Bell

Bell had little trouble with

the attack, but it was still

the attack, but it was still the Pietersen show. A full

toss. Second Test double century. Australia was

powerless to stop him. The

players were feeling the heat,

behind by more than 300 with a

session to go. That is big,

he's planted and front foot and

nailed it. The side nailed it. The side needed divine intervention and the

heavens delivered with the players not returning after

players not returning after

tea. With more showers

predicted for the final days, Australia has some hope

of drawing the Test and keeping

the series locked at nil-all.

Geoff Ogilvy has won his first

Australian Open by a 4-stroke

margin at the Lakes this afternoon. afternoon. Ogilvy wasn't

challenged as he fired a 3/69

to finish clear of Matt

to finish clear of Matt Jones

and Alistair Presnell. It was

little wonder Geoff Ogilvy was

a relaxed man at the first tee.

He sat on a 5-stroke lead, but the

the 33-year-old former US Open

champion didn't have everything

his own way. He had to

scramble early and was wayward

enough to encourage those few

opponents with a chance of

challenging. Greg Chalmers's short game was consistent,

Alistair Presnell was in good

touch... That was a sensational shot for Alistair

crisp iron shots. He rolled in

the birdie puts to close the

gap. And Ogilvy's playing partner Matt Jones gave the

leader something to think

about. Andrew Dodt was never in contention but produced the

shot of the day - a hole in one

at the 15th. A hole in one! The

main pressure on Ogilvy was of

his own making, but he again showed off his recovery

credentials. Jones did move to

within 3 shots, but when he

threatened to get any closer,

Ogilvy matched him. Four times

in the round they went birdie

for birdie. Press knell

for birdie. Press knell chased

second place firing his third

five under par 67 in four days.

But Ogilvy's tenth professional

tournament win and just his

second on Australian soil was

never in doubt. I've been

pretty close to this one before, so

before, so to come up here with a little bit cover-up on the

last few holes is nice. One of

the goals we all have a kid is to win this

to win this tournament. Ogilvy's 3 under

par 69 was the worst round of

the event, but it was enough to get his name on the Stonehaven

Cup. France leads Serbia two

rubbers to one in the Davis Cup

final after staging a fightback

in the doubles overnight. Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki won the first two

sets, but the pairing of Michael Lodra and veteran

Arnaud Clement dug deep to take the next

the next three sets 6-4, 7-5,

6-4. the match lasted four and

a half hours. Australia has

capped off a dominant

performance at the

international cycling World Cup in Melbourne with four gold medals.

medals. Leading the charge was Anna Meares who claimed

Anna Meares who claimed three wins during the night she won the women's

keirin and the 500m time trial

adding to her earlier sprint

title. In the time trial she snatched victory in the race's

dying metres. That one hurt. I

didn't know I was down to be

quite honest. I was just

trying to give it everything

that I had and it's the only thing

thing you can do in a time trial. Another highlight was

trial. Another highlight was

Australia's win in the men's pursuit. The home team crossed

the line first ahead of Russia

despite losing one of its four

riders during the race.

Australia claimed six medals to

finish some of the medal tally.

Ford's James Courtney has been

crowned the 2010 V 8 Supercar champion.

champion. Jennifer Browning reports. waiting, James Courtney only

needed to finish in the top 22

to claim this year's V8 Supercar Championship series.

He did that, clinching the

title. COMMENTATOR: Well

COMMENTATOR: Well done James Courtney. It was a weekend of

thrills and spills at the Sydney 500.

Sydney 500. Championship contenders contenders Courtney, Jaime Whincup and Mark Winterbottom

crashed out in yesterday's

rates. Only Courtney finished

with points extending his lead

to 113. After starting the

race from 12th on the grid the

30-year-old's day got worse

before it got better. Problems


in the pits saw him shuffled to

the back of the pack. The

streets of Olympic Park

delivered plenty of drama as

speeds topped 250km/h. Whincup

tried his best to steal the championship, but in the end it

didn't matter where he finished as Courtney danced his way into

history. It's been an amazing

racing. All my crew, I can't thank them enough.

thank them enough. That's

fantastic to repay them with the championship. Holden's Lee Holdsworth completed his year

on a high, taking out pole and

winning today's race, but

no-one was taking anything away

from Courtney. Canberra's

weather and as we saw earlier

we've had more storms dumping

up to 30 millimetres in the

airport rain gauge between 5:30

and 8 last night, but no rain

and 8 last night, but no rain to speak of today as yet.

Patchy cloud on the radar

cells, a few storm cells away with a warm day combining with the

with the moisture from that


Trough slowly drifting east

off the coast and it's sparking

a few late showers and storms around

around NSW. Just when that

system finally passes, a second

trough will move through from

the west, so we'll see more

scattered rain to the region

from Wednesday onwards.

Sunny start with showers to

finish for much of the region


Wagga Wagga and Coonamble are

the focus tonight of the flood

emergency gripping regional

NSW. An anxious wait for residents

peak overnight. 11 shires have been declared natural disaster

zones. Victoria is battling

swarms of locusts that are

criss-crossing the State. The Department of Primary Industries

Industries says it's the worst

plague of the insects to hit

the State in 75 years. That's

the news for now. You can find

the latest headline s 24 hours

a day at ABC News 24 and online

and follow us on Twitter.

Thanks for your company.


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