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This program is captioned live.

Tonight - devastating Yasi - the

cyclone came, destroyed and left.

Homes and crops flattened as the

storm crossed land. Some relief,

though. It appears no-one was

killed. In fact, there were new

arrivals as the cyclone battered

the State. Also tonight - a funeral

instead of a wedding for a young

Australian soldier killed in

Afghanistan. And the politics of a

drug scandal - the Education

Minister's lesson in family torment.

ANNOUNCER: This is a special

broadcast of Nine News with Peter

Overton, live in the cyclone zone.

Good evening. She was a big, angry

monster, and she gave North

Queensland a mighty slap. But

thankfully, the eye of Cyclone Yasi

was blind, because her fury missed

the biggest population centres. She

came at midnight, smashing into

Mission Beach and bringing havoc to

Tully, Silkwood, Innisfail and

Cardwell. Also, glancing blows as

far as Cairns and Mackay. She will

reach Mount Isa later this evenile. Mark?

Peter, it doesn't seem like there

is a patch of Tully that has been

left untouched by Yasi. Behind me,

a tupkl scene here - a home, -- a

tipkl scene here - a home, its roof

torn out -- typical scene. Trees

have been stripped of all leaves

and vegetation. Some have been

wrenched from the ground.

Everywhere you look, there is

corrugated iron. Tonight, Full

tkwri is on its knees. There is --

tonight, Tully is on its knees.

There is no power. For the town of

Tully, it was a catastrophe.

Yasi took aim and cut it to pieces.

the Shell-shocked locals staggered into

Nine News flew over the area this

morning. Flooded by the storm surge

and carved up by the winds.

It's amazing having a toilet still

standing, isn't it? One house lost

its roof and the entire top floor.

But it's Tully that is been king-

hit. Pounded once, then a pause as

the eye passed over, and then

pummelled again. The sound was terrifying.

Yeah, windows went. I don't want to go through nowhere one.

This is the town's senior citizens'

centre, or what's left of it. In

the hours before the cyclone struck,

it was being used as an evacuation

centre. But organisers suddenly

became aware the structure would

not fight the winds. They moved to

another location. Look what's left

of it now. On the wall, the clock,

marking the exact time the cyclone struck.

The town has no power, lines are

down everywhere. Shops are closed.

Pretty rugged. Yeah. That's all you

two-party often. can really say. You don't see this

Somehow, in awful this, broken --

See this too often.

No-one has been killed.

I thought I was gonna diefplt I was absolutely terrified.

The citizens of these towns took

the warnings seriously and acted

accordingly. And acted with great

courage. It's the reason so many of

them are safe and alive and well.

Help is dribbling in slowly. The

storm surge cut roads, falling by

midday, allowing a 4-wheel drive

convoy to reach the town. Does

Tully get back from this?

Absolutely. We're tough.

Further south, scenes of more

devastation. Cardwell, it also

borthe brunt of Yasi. Boats were

ripped from their moorings. A

triangled meft of masts and -- a

tanged -- a triangled mess of masts and motors.

There's not many left standing here.

Yeah. The damage bill is gonna be big.

Caravans flipped upside down by the

force. An evacuation was in place

last night. Around 120 residents

decided to wait it out. Today, the

SES went door to door to make sure

everyone was safe.

We're lucky to be still alive, I

think. That was deadly.

Debris lies on the roads. Houses

left open to the elements. Around 60

Thank goodness. Mark, thank you.

Well, 50km north of Tully, the town

of Innisfail has seen it all before.

Five years ago, it took a direct

hit from Cyclone Larry. Last night,

Sarah Harris was in the thick of it.

This is Innisfail's main street. As

you can see, it's a ghost town. No-

one wants to be ouz outside when

this storm hits. Already, Cyclone

Yasi is leaving its mark. You can

see a sign has been completely

ripped off a building. Palm trees

are being blown sideways. This is

just the start of it. Locals

bunkered down anywhere they could.

This man left his home for the

belleding. safety of a concrete office

We have to sit in the corner and

wait. Hope that nothing comes

through the windows.

Hundreds of others chose to wait it

out in evacuation centres. Everyone

wanted to watch. By midnight, the

category-5 storm was bearing down

on Innisfail. The wind felt and

sounded like a freight train.

hours. Roaring over us, for six terrifying

You can actually here -- hear the

wind screaming through the windows.

It shook the walls and rattled the

windows. Being smack-bang in the

scary. middle of it all was genuinely

Just roars over the top of you.

It's quite incredible to actually

live through it. This is what

Innisfail woke up to this morning -

widespread destruction. Entire

livelihoods interoid - 85% of

Australia's -- livelihoods

destroyed. 85% of Australia's

bananaas are grown here. Now

two. they're gofpblt this house, torn in

Just a big ripping sound.

Scott lost part of his roof. But he

says he feels blessed that this

time around his town was spared the

worst. Sarah, what is it like to

live through a category-5 cyclone?

Oh, Pete, imagine a jumbo jet

roaring over the top of you. That's

what this storm really felt and

sounded like. The wind was so

fierce, we could actually start to

feel our ears pop, and it made us

quite sick to the stomach. Between

us, me and the crew, we've covered

quite a few natural disasters in

our time. Never before have we felt

this nervous on a story.

Good on you, Sarah. Thank you for

that. Well, the storm was so

massive, its destructive force

stretched to Townsville. Alison,

what was it like overnight for you?

Well, Peter, it was just as

frightening for us down here in

Townsville. That wind, the roar of

it, was just overwhelming. When the

darkness set in, it made it quite a

scary experience. Look, Townsville

has fared fairly well in terms of

building damage, but the city has

many problems on its hands.

Hundreds of trees were knocked over.

There was a storm surge last night,

and the high tide that flooded

streets. Power was cut to the

city's main water treatment plant

last night, which means it's going

to be a very rough night, as the

Mayor talked about earlier this afternoon.

Unless we conserve water in

Townsville, there is a reasonable

likelihood, that the city $run out

of water tonight. --

Could run out of water tonight.

They're working very hard to try

and restore power to that treatment

plant. People are being told to use

water for drinking only. The army

is trying to get water to Magnetic

Island any way they can. There is

some good news - the fact is the

airport My may reopen tomorrow.

That would be a great chance for

this city to start getting back on its feet.

Thank you. Well, amongst the

destruction and the fear last night,

there was a little miracle. In the

chaos of the evacuation centre at

Cairns, a child was born. The baby

has her mother's eye, but her

father's punctuality. The parents

expected a relaxed home birth today.

Instead, it was a hasty delivery on

the floor of an evacuation centre

at a Cairns school. With the city's

hospitals closed, the mother

refused to be flown to a hospital.

It was all over in three hours.

Very, very smoothly. She has a very

high pain threshold, or she's a

very strong woman. No pain relief

here for her. So a very natural

birth in the most unnatural of circumstances.

English midwife Carole Weekes

offered to help, her holiday

suspended when Cyclone Yasi closed

a Cairns resort. The parents never

anticipated the birth of their

little girl could help so many

people put their fears aside.

I suggested we call the baby Yasi.

She threw a cup at me.

The place of birth will always be

the gym floor.

A story that I'm sure will give

everyone's spirits a big lift. Well,

I will have more from here in the

cyclone zone soon. But now let's go

back to our Sydney studios.

Thank you very much. Good evening.

Well, still reeling from the arrest

of her husband for buying ecstasy,

Verity Firth has admitted it was

the worst night of her life. She

fronted the media, and was asked if

she had ever used drugs. Six days

after her husband was caught

allegedly buying ecstasy from a

dealer, she faced up to his mistake.

I am disappointed but I also love

my husband. I want to make sure

he's OK. My priority at the moment

is to deal with these matters in

private, with my family.

The Education Minister says there

is a wider message in her family's pain.

I think the circumstances of the

last couple of days have really

showed that drugs can have an

enormous toll on families.

And in this case, her political

family. Her husband, Matthew

Chesher, was chief of staff to the

Rhodes Minister until the scandal

became public on Saturday. He will

plead guilty to the charge.

Friday night was probably the worst

night of my life.

She confirmed her husband chose to

delay his court appearance until

after the election, just to help her.

He said that he was so ashamed and

so embarrassed that he was trying

to spare me further embarrassment and shame.

Will it cost you the seat?

I have absolutely no idea.

Did you ever think he had a drug

problem before he was arrested?

He has admitted to a terrible mistake.

Have you ever in your life, taken ecstasy?

I want to make it very clear that I have done have one

have done nothing wrong. I have

nothing to apologise about.

Can Verity Firth recover from this?

I mean, we're 50 days out from the State election?

Well, probably not. She's pleading

with voters to judge her on her performance.

We will wait and see. In the news

ahead - another young Australian

soldier killed in Afghanistan. Also

- renewed violence on the streets

of Cairo. And the cat nursing a It's Franklins' Big Bonus February. All shoppers save, but Loyalty members pay even less with savings like OMO 2x Concentrate varieties, 5kg: Kleenex Cottonelle toilet roll varieties, 12-pack: If you're not a member, join for free today and immediately get the same savings as Loyalty members. Don't miss Big Bonus February at Franklins. Ooh. Do you want a Chokito? Nah, I'll just have a little bite of yours.

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This program is captioned live.

Another brave young Australian

soldier has died in Afghanistan,

another fiancee is preparing for a

funeral instead of a wedding.

Corporal Richard Atkinson was

killed by a roadside bomb, while

one of his comrades was injured and

is tonight in hospital. Young and

smiling on his first tour of Afghanistan. Corporal Richard

Edward Atkinson was just 22 years

old when a roadside bomb took his

life last night.

Corporal Richard Edward Atkinson

was a very brave and a very young man.

Our soldiers know the dangers very

face. Corporal Richard Atkinson was

on foot patrol when the bomb

exploded. Another soldier was

seriously hurt.

I extend our deepest sympathy to

his family, his friends and


Engaged to sweetheart Dannielle,

the couple wanted to start a family

this year. His parents issued a

statement: "Rich was the funny man.

We will be missed by all." His

mates are now preparing to send his body home.

They will be devastated. However,

the more senior ones amongst them

will be saying, "Come on, we have

to actually redouble our efforts now."

There's already 21 names here at

the War Memorial. Soon thereby one

more. It's unlikely to be the last.

The Egyptian revolt has got a whole

lot worse, with supporters of the

President Hosni Mubarak attacking

the protesters. At least three

people were killed, more than 600

injured during battled with rocks,

sticks and petrol bombs. An

explosion in the heart of Egypt's

capital. Prop and anti-government

supporters locked in a street

battle. They charged into Tahrir

Square, on horses and camels,

cracking whips. One rider was

pulled from his saddle and beaten

on the ground. This is chaos, right

in the middle of central Cairo.

Just look at the all the rocks

being thrown. The military can't do

a thing right now. There were no

police. The military stood and

watched while the bloodied and

wounded were carried away. The

battle worsened as darkness fell. A

sustained volley of gunfire echoed

through the night. In Germany,

jubilation for Australians who

escaped Cairo on the Federal

Government Qantas airlift.

I am so happy. So happy to be out

of Cairo. The flight was half-empty.

The fighting arpbl stopped 200

other Australians from reaching the

airport. -- arm stopped 200 other

Australians -- and some happier

news to end the break. A litter of

puppies has had an unlikely saviour.

A cat nursed the pups for a night

until another surrogate mother

could be found. Who would have

thought? Well, Tim's with sport

next. And just when Michael Clarke

hits his form, he's out of the team?

He's being rested. He's among a few

big names having a rest before the

World Cup. He was booed just a few

days ago! Also - the big fish hits

the pool with some new and some old teammates.

Mark. Wh-whoa. Think for a second, Mark. You're punching above your weight as it is. Put the leftovers down.

Grab your keys and go and get our lady friend the new $treetwi$e lunch from KFC. The Double Crunch Burger has two Crispy Strips with that pepper mayo she loves, chips and a drink for just $5.95. Get smart. Get $treetwi$e. So good!

Fresh off his match-winning

performance, Michael Clarke is

being rested for the final one-

dayer with England on Sunday. After

last night's win, Watson and Smith

will also be missing, as Australia

manages its stars ahead of the

World Cup. A fresh face flew to

Perth with the Australian team today. Michael Clarke and Shane

Watson were missing. It's been an

endless summer of cricket and they

need a break.

The World Cup coming up. That's the goal.

Clarke was the king of the SCG last

night. Without his 82 runs,

Australia couldn't have beaten

England. And then a standing

ovation, for a man who was booed

just a few days ago.

It was about getting some runs,

some confidence. I still feel... I

don't think I'm at my best but I

think I'm getting there.

But what was he doing differently

last night as opposed to the past

few months?

Absolutely zero. I have not changed

my game, my training. I feel like I

have worked by backside off this whole summer.

Cameron White will captain this

weekend. And veteran Jason takes

over spinning duties. He's only

ever played two matches for his

country, the last in December 2008.

This call-up has relit the fire.

I never gave up hope. I hoped to

have the opportunity in the future.

It's come along now. I'm excited.

He's been secretly training for a

few months, but today Ian Thorpe

joined other Australian swimmers

and Olympic hopefuls in the pool

for the first time as he readjusts

to life as a full-time athlete again.

I didn't female all that didn't to

yesterday. Except I knew I would

have everyone here this morning,

watching. So, you know, I had to

make sure I was working my turns a

little bit better this morning.

Geoff Huegill and Eamon Sullivan

were also there. Here's Jaynie.

Thank you very much. Well, we are expecting some more

Coming up on WIN News... Storm

damage across the ACT. More strike

action expected at ADFA.And singing sensation Jessica Mauboy mentos

aboriginal youths. Join me for all the details next.

Mark. Wh-whoa. Think for a second, Mark. You're punching above your weight as it is. Put the leftovers down. Grab your keys and go and get our lady friend the new $treetwi$e lunch from KFC. The Double Crunch Burger with that pepper mayo she loves, chips and a drink for just $5.95. Get smart. Get $treetwi$e. So good!

Possible showers tonight, Sydney,

but our hottest day in 12 months.

37 degrees for the city suburbs.

Category-1 Cyclone Yasi is now

heading towards Mount Isa and

Longreach, with wind gusts above

90km/h. For New South Wales, severe

storms through the inland. The main

concern is for heavy rain.

Before then, Peter, more hot and

muggy days and nights to come.

Thank you, Jaynie. I want to go

back to Mark Burrows now, in Tully.

Yasi sure made a mess of that beautiful town?

It sure did. A mess that's even

messier because of all this rain.

You don't have to go far to find

the litter of Yasi. Iron here,

trees everywhere and broken woins

and split timber -- broken windows.

We're seeing helicopters arrive now.

At this stage, Tully will need an

awful lot of help. Peter.

Good on you, Mark. Thank you. That

is Nine News for this Thursday.

From all of us here in North

Queensland, I'm Peter Overton. Goodnight.

Supertext Captions by Red Bee Media Australia.

Tonight ... Storm clouds roll in -

causing damage across the ACT. More

ADFA strike action looming - as

lecturers fight for employment

security. And: meeting Jessica

Mauboy - the youths singing with Mauboy - the youths singing with th

star. Good evening, I' m Danielle

Post. As far north Queensland was

hit by Tropical Cyclone Yasi - the

ACT was also battered by storms, although not as severe. Emergency

crews responded to more than 150

calls for help. The North was the

worst hit. Dark clouds rolled in

from the North. Dumping rain across

the Capital.Trees whipped by strong