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Live. Tonight - two people

dead, others injured, as

Toowoomba feels the full fury

of the floods. America's soul-searching, did vitriolic

political debate contribute to

the Arizona killings? England

too strong for the Prime

Minister's XI. And one

separated by war, a man and a

evening. Craig Allen with ABC dog together again. Good

News. The flood crisis in

Queensland is showing no signs

of improving as one town begins

the clean-up, so another braces for inundation. The the flooding is staggering,

stretching from Rockhampton in

the snort inland to St George

and Dirranbandi and south to

the NSW border and beyond. The

mass population areas of

and Gold Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast

and Gold Coast are all now

affected. And late this

afternoon the focus shifted

dramatically to Toowoomba, where flash flooding swept

through the city, it left two people dead, many others injured and emergency services

stretched to the limit. Paul

Lockyer is there. Of all the images from crisis in Queensland, the

scenes from central Toowoomba

today were among the most

dramatic. Torrential rain

sparked a flash flood.

Vehicles were picked up and

swept along like match sticks,

suddenly all over the

people were fighting for their

lives as floodwaters turned

strychs into raging canals.

Some people were left clinging

to light poles, others sought

sanctuary on top of cars and

emergency service workers

couldn't keep up with the calls

for help. All the drama was

captured on police radio. We

have two persons trapped. They

will require a pick-up by

helicopter ASAP. They're on

the roof and the structure is

collapsing. Roads were cut

around Toowoomba. This is just

one community that has borne

the brunt of wild weather that

has consumed all of south-east

Queensland. And there's no

good news for the people of

this region. With the forecast

suggesting that heavy rain will continue for at least another

24 hours. When the water

receded in Toowoomba, the

aftermath was like something from

from a Hollywood action movie.

Cars were left stacked on top

of each other like fallen

dominos. The flash flood may

have been short but it will

take weeks to clean up. Gympie

is also awash after the Mary

River burst its banks and

spilled into the town.

Residents and business owners

have been preparing for the have been preparing for the 20

metre onslaught for days, but

some properties can't be saved

after rain boosted the flood

last night. The CBD is one of

the most damaged areas in

Gympie. The waters have risen quickly. businesses were untouched. Now

owners are salvaging all they

can. More business owners on

the main street have been sandbagging and anxiously

watching the water level.

Residents in some low-lying

homes have been preparing to evacuate. Phyllis and Frederick Pooley

more than 40 years of wild

weather in their house. 12

years ago the water peaked at

almost 22 metres. This is

where the water rose the last

time. They're hoping it doesn't

happen again. When it gets

that high, that's the next step

to do, to advertise the river front and go from there.

Increase the value

warnings, people Tenfold. And despite all the

warnings, people are still

risking their lives. Gympie

has been completely isolated.

The Bruce Highway is blocked to

the north and south and there's

metres of water over it here

cutting the

only way people can get into

town is by hopping aboard the

Silver Bullet. The historical

train usually reserved for tourists

tourists has seen some of the

worst floods in Gympie. It's

opened its doors to deliver

workers to and from the CBD and

has one of the best views of

the floodwaters. Those waters

won't be receding for some time

yet. Queensland's big wet is

intensifying in the State's

south-east, with authorities

warning residents in Brisbane

and the Gold and Sunshine Coast

to brace for flooding in the

next few days. Overnight, up

to 300mm of rain fell at Maleny

in the Sunshine Coast

Hinterland. At nearby Sippy

Downs, two men and a woman had

to be rescued from their car

flooding on a dirt road. They

tried to get in to get the rest

of the family out and got stuck. Police are again

pleading with motorists no the

to drive through flooded

causeways. At Buderim, an elderly man tried to drive elderly

through metre-high water and

his car stalled. A tractor had

to tow him to safety. The

Weather Bureau says more heavy

rain is to come, which could cause more landsliding and

flooding. Obviously all the

rain we've had, we're looking at the Brisbane River. The

Bligh Government says the

damage bill for Queensland's

road network alone could end up

being twice as much as 1974

floods, Queensland's worst

natural disaster. To other news

now, Japan has accused anti-whaling activists of

in throwing grenades at its fleet

in the Southern Ocean. Japanese research group which

organises the hunt has released

footage showing Sea Shepherd

activists throwing a smoke bomb

and other projectiles on to the

whaling ship Yushin Maru Two.

The whalers say at least two

flash bangs or concussion grenades were thrown, Shepherd says it only used harmless stink bombs. We

couldn't have thrown flash

bangs on the ship, we don't

have them. It's prohibited, we couldn't bring them into

Australia if we wanted to.

They don't have evidence of us

didn't do it. The Prime doing that because we simply

Minister has called for calm.

These are dangerous waters and people need to conduct

themselves responsibly in any

protest activity and all

vessels, all vessels, need to conduct themselves responsibly. Sea Shepherd says

so far no whales have been

Arizona killed this season. Police in

arrested over yesterday's mass shooting with multiple

offences, including the

attempted assassination of

Giffords. Congresswoman Gabrielle

Giffords. The incident has

prompted soul-searching about

the vitriolic nature of public

debate in the US recently and,

as Jane Cowan reports, some are

calling the shooting an on the American way of

life. It's a crime that has struck at the heart of a

democracy. An attack on one

who serves is an attack on all who serve. Started

shooting The damage inflicted when 22-year-old university

dropout Jared Loughner opened

fire on a political gathering

in Tucson, Arizona, is still

sinking in. I vacillate between extreme sadness and

sorrow and shock and extreme anger. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is still amazingly

alive, and responding to commands a day after a bullet

pierced her brain. This is about as good as it gets. More

details are emerged about the

shooter. He'd been knocked

back by the military and bought

a 9mm hand gun a few months

ago. His internet postings

rail incoherently against the

Government. The ubiquitous

nature of the internet means

that not only threats but hate

speech and other insightful

speech is much more speech is much more readily available. On a campaign

website the former Republican

vice presidential candidate

Sarah Palin targeted Democrats,

including Gabrielle Giffords,

with gun sites and urged voters

to reload, language and imagery

that worried the Congresswoman at the

at the time. The thing is the way she has it depicted has

the cross hairs of a gun site

over our district. over our district. When people

do that, they have to realise there's consequences to that action. The Congresswoman's

office was vandalised at the

height of the heated debate

over health care reform. It's

been a much been a much angrier confrontation al environment. We have to acknowledge there's

mentally unstable people in

this country. Who knows what

motivates them to do what they do. Trying to make sense of the

senseless. At least 70 people have

have been killed in a plane

crash in Iran. The IranAir

Boeing 727 ran into bad weather

in the north-west of the

country and crashed in west uz bankan province. It was

carrying more than 100 passengers and crew and most

were killed or injured. The

death toll is expected

as rescue efforts are ham ber

perked by fog and snow. State

television said the plane was

on a flight from Tehran to the ancient city of Orumiyeh. About 50,000 people have marched

through the streets of Karachi

to protest against possible

changes to Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

laws. The demonstrators expressed their anger over

proposals by human rights

campaigners to scrap the death penalty for the crime of

blasphemy. Some carried

banners supporting the police commando, Mumtaz Qadri, who shot dead the Punjab governor

Salman Taseer, last week. The

Governor had called for Governor had called for the

pardon onning of a Christian

woman sentenced to death for

blasphemy. The whole country,

all the inhabitants and the people

people of Pakistan, are on the

back of Qadri, because he has done what the people wanted to do regarding the person like

Salman Taseer. The Pakistani

Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza

Gilani, has denied that his

Government is planning to change the laws. Police

investigating yesterday's fire

tragedy in Melbourne say

was a domestic dispute at the

house earlier in the day. Four

badly burnt bodies were later

found inside, including those

of a mother and her two

children. But as James Bennett

reports, police are tight-lipped about how they

died or what kazed the

fire. Today arson squad

investigators returned to the

Southern Road property to

gather more evidence about the

fire and the four deaths.

Hopefully it will shed light

on what's happened here

overnight. The victims haven't

been identified. Neighbours

say a woman lived at the house with her two young children.

Children are roughly 10 years

old and the one girl and the

one boy. Investigating police

described the scene inside the

house as extremely confronting.

Certainly it's had an horrific

scene in there, even hardened

investigators find it difficult

to walk in there. Again, it's

a sight that certainly no-one

should have to witness at any

time. The arson squad says most

of the damage is in the

at the rear of the house.

Neighbours say a distressed man

was pleading for help as the

fire started. There was a guy

on the nature strip and said,

"Help, help", I don't want my

daughter to die". The incident has shaken people in the

suburb. I've been here for 13

years and we've never had

anything like that

happen. Police have confirmed

they're investigating an

earlier domestic dispute at the

property. There was some sort

of domestic prior to the fire. The circumstances surrounding

that domestic situation have

yet to be established. Police

hope to know what started the fire with the results of arson testing tomorrow, but

post-mortem examinations to

determine whether it was the

blaze or something else which

caused the four deaths is

likely to take longer because

of the badly burnt nature of

the four bodies. Investigators

are still calling for any

witnesses to come forward, but don't expect to lay any

charges. In finance, the official sales figures confirm

retailers were doing it tough

in the lead-up to Christmas as the Reserve Bank put up

interest rates. But department

stores fared a little better

than other outlets, triggering some investor support on the share market. Here's Phillip

Lasker. We're keeping an eye

on those retail numbers. If

they're too strong, the

interest rate set the Reserve

Bank get upset, and too weak

the retailers get upset. Today's official numbers will than retailers because higher interest rates may have helped

keep sales to a soft 0.3%

increase in November. Retail

sales are up only 1.3% over 12

months. That's one interest

rate pressure out of the way. Here's another one, the construction industry index has

been below 50 for seven months.

That means the sector was shrinking for most of last

year, and that's not great for

the supply of housing. So what

did people buy in the lead-up

to Christmas last year? Sporting equipment, toys,

entertainment, furniture and

shoes, not books, newspapers or

clothing. It could be the

online shopping phenomenon

because these numbers don't

include overseas online shopping. People may be buying more books and clothes

overseas. It's difficult to

know for sure. We're buying

less beer, though, but it's

always about online commerce.

Citigroup has conducted some

valuable social research. It's

found out falling beer

consumption has coincided with

Australia's decline as a

cricketing powerhouse. We must be drowning our sorrows in

French champagne, which is getting

getting cheaper by the day. The Australian dollar is

trading close to a record high

against the Euro because of persistent concerns about European debt. The share

market scraped over the line in

late trading, helped by the

retailers and transport stocks

like Qantas. The energy sector

also saw some buying. also saw some buying. And

that's finance. The ACT

Government says the planned

sale of three sites to the

supermarket chain Aldi could

mean lower prices for Canberra

shoppers. If the deal goes

ahead, stores will be built on

shopping carparks at Kaleen,

Wanniassa and Chisholm. The

Government wants to boost supermarket curbing the biggest players.

Aldi does have

Aldi does have a very

significant impact on the price

with co-located major mainline

supermarkets, but all of the

research shows that they don't

impact particularly on the convenience store, the IGA. The

Government has taken very much

a pick win ires approach. a pick win ires approach. It's excluded operators like IGAs from bidding for sites. Aldi

says it's considering the

proposed sale, but there's

plenty of work to do before the

doors open on any new

stores. The organisers of

Canberra's street car festival say they'll consider increasing

the number of alcohol-free

areas next year. They say

they're also looking for more ways to curb anti-social

behaviour. It may be more

signage around the event, that

if you're experiencing trouble,

talk to a guard. It may be

having a look at the way the

guards are dressed or

positioned and that sort of thing to make sure they're there and obvious. seemed to be very well-run

inside. We did have some

reports of incidents that did

occur inside, but no complaints

have been made to police to

date in relation to any

assaults. More than 84,000

people attended Summernats over the last four days. Global

political tensions are being

felt Down Under. Jewish groups

say they're outraged by one

council in Sydney's inner west

taking a stand against Israel.

Marrickville council has joined

a global boycott of Israel over

its occupation of the

Palestinian territories. It's

the first and so far only

Australian council to do so.

Simon Palin reports. One small

Sydney council is taking a big

and brave step into middle eastern politics. Our

community has asked us to get

involved in this issue and we have. The Greens and Labor dominated Marrickville council has passed a resolution to boycott all boycott all goods made in

Israel. The ban applies also

to any exchanges with Israeli

Government or any Israeli

institutions. What we're looking for is some real change

on the ground within pal Stein.

We want the Palestinian people

to be able to live free of fear of human

of human rights violations. We

want them to live free of the

fear of new settlements within their country. The Marrickville

Council says it's representing the feelings of its

multi-cultural community. It's

nothing to do with Israelis,

it's just to send a message to the Government, that's it.

This is the way to help, or to

push Israel to not do what it's doing, I think that's fair. But not everyone supports it.

Sounds like they're

overstepping their mark. It's something for foreign policy to

be decided. They need to worry about here, not what's about here, not what's happened

over there. Jewish groups are

outraged. It is very clear

when one looks at the wording of

of the resolution that it is

superficial, that it takes no account of account of the complexities of

the ground of the humanitarian realities on the ground. Marrickville's anti ooy

-Israel boycott is part of an international campaign,

supported by the NSW Greens,

but the United Nations and

Australian federal and state

Governments are refusing to

support it. Details on the

implementation of boycott in Marrickville

Marrickville are still being decided. decided. It's expected to be

in place by the middle of the year. Recent freshwater inflows

into the environmentally

sensitive Coorong near the

Murray mouth have triggered the

return of some fish and flora. However, recent monitoring

suggests some organisms are

struggling to cope with the sudden change. Monitoring of

the fragile wetland this month

shows the plants and organisms that many fish feed on have

begun to return, but the same

can't be said of the

short-legged migratory birds the Coorong is known for because

because water levels are too

high. We are a foot or so off

the shoreline and it's 8

centimetres deep. None of

those birds could forage

anywhere near this

region. Ecologist David patin

has been monitoring the Coorong

for a decade. His team has

counted just 5,000 migratory

weigheders this trip, compared

with up to 40,000 in previous

years. Professor Patin blames

the State Government for mismanaging the return of water

to the system, saying a more

gradual flow was needed.

Interventions that Governments

can make in SA are very

limited. It's largely what

nature dishes up to you. Today

experts say some areas of the Coorong are salty as the sea. Professor

Patin says it would take only

about a year for the system to

recover. If a pipeline was

installed to pump the salty water out of the Coorong's

south lagoon. Without it, he

says, it could take 10 years.

What we've found is that

that's a very, very expensive proposition and you have to

weigh up whether it's value for

money to do that. But Professor

Patin insists it's better value

than buying water to flush the

system out. $30 million to do

something to protect a wetland

of international importance I

think is relatively trivial

compared to what the cost is

for just a gigalitre of water. One bird enjoying the

deep water is the Australian

pelican. The Government says

almost 3,000 were recorded

breeding in November, almost

50% more than in 2009. England

Minister's XI by 7 wick yvts in

a rain-interrupted match at

Manuka oval. Tim Paine

captained the side, opening

batting and scoring 50. An

unbeaten century from Ian Bell guided the English to victory

against some of the best generation Australian players.

The match provided selectors

with a chance to see what's on Australian cricket's horizon. Many of the players

have been billed as Australia's

next generation of top-class

cricketers. Look at that for a toss The crowd wasn't

optimistic. We felt the team

may need a prayer sent their

way, we're doing it for them.

Things haven't been too good

lately With Paine facing extra

pressure amidst speculation he

could be Australian Test

captain. Keen to see Tim Paine, who's got a good wrap.

What do you reckon? Good bit

of talent. The young Tasmanian stood

stood tall, scoring 50 in a

75-run opening stand with recent Test debutant Usman

Khawaja. We like the koala,

Khawaja. He's going places, I

reckon. South Australian all-rounder all-rounder Dan Christian

scored 53. Do know, we like

that shot too. Oh, it's a

biggy. Contributions from

Callum Ferguson and Darren Lehmann helped the home side to

254 runs from the rain-affected

innings of 43 overs. As has

been the case all summer, the English were difficult to

remove from the crease. A rain

delay reduced the target to 223

from 35 overs. When play

resumed, an inform Ian Bell

made light work of the chase. That's That's 100 for Ian Bell. The

home side had chances to get

back in the game, but those

hopes crashed to the ground.

England eventually cruising to

victory. As he hits it over

the top there, Bell, and that's

the end of that. Another gloomy day for Australian

but there could be some light

at the end of the tunnel. Most

of Australia's main hopes for

the women's draw in the

Australian Open continued their grand slam preparations today,

with mixed results in lead-up

events around the country. At the Hobart International Jamila

Groth and Alicia Molik

advanced, while Sally Peers and

Olivia Rogowska bowed out. And in

in Sydney, fourth seed Samantha Stosur advanced in straight

sets, but Anastasia Rodionova

was eliminated. Nick Bailey

reports. Keen to move on from her shock early exit at the Brisbane tournament last Samantha Stosur faced a tricky

first-round opponent in world

number 23 Yanina Wickmayer and

the Belgian proved tough to

break down, the first break of

serve not coming until the 11th

game. After claiming the first

set 7-5, Stosur continued to

apply pressure to her

opponent's serve, frustrating

the 21-year-old and wrapping up the second set 6-4.

Compatriot Anastasia Rodionova

didn't have such a pleasant day out, comprehensively outplayed

by 8th seed Li Na from China,

in the men's draw twine US Open

champion Juan Martin del Potro

continued his comeback from serious wrist injury, eliminating 6th seed Feliciano

Lopez in a three-set arm wresel. The Australian

contingent in Hobart had a 50% success rate in first-round

matches. Olivia Rogowska and

Sally Peers bowed out straight sets, while Jamila

Groth and Alicia Molik both

enjoyed straight-forward wins. Two of the favourites for the

women's Open title have touched

down in Melbourne, fresh from

undefeated run in singles play

at Hopman Cup in Perth, Justine

Henin enjoyed her first look at

Rod Laver Arena for 2011, as

did 2003 finalist Venus

Williams, looking to claim her

8th grand slam singles title

and first since 2008. The

Canberra Raiders will sign

former Melbourne and Manly

player Matt Orford for 2011.

The halfback, who won a

premiership with Manly, has

been playing with the Bradford Bulls in the English Super

League for the last two years.

He's decided to return to

Australia to play for the

Raiders this season. The 32-year-old says he by Canberra's strong form last

year. I just know just from watching from last year, coming

back from the UK after I had

surgery and seeing how Canberra

performed, I just know there's plenty of potential, their

forward pack, they've got speed, speed, talent. Orford will play

a mentoring role while Terry

calm pyzy recovers from a knee

injury. It adds to a very

exciting young side, but we

also have experience. That's

important. Orford will begin

training with Canberra this

week. Now some rare good news

from Afghanistan. It's a

classic tail of man's best

friend. Sarbi, an explosives

detection dog, has been re

united with her Australian Army

handler after spending more

than a year lost in the war-torn country. The dog

might one day return to work,

but for now she's just happy to

be back with her don't believe what they say

about man and dog, then you haven't

haven't met Sarbi and sergeant

D. They're back together now

after the Labrador cross spent

14 months lost somewhere in

Afghanistan. I was quite upset

when I lost her. I actually, as soon as I got out of

hospital six days later from

the contact, went straight back

into the area to try to recover her. She's trained to sniff out

hidden explosives and she got

separated during a four-hour fire fight in Uruzgan province.

Shrapnel cut her lead and she

ran. Her handler spent ten

days plooking for Sarbi, but

feared she'd been killed. An

American soldier saw her with

an Afghani man. He gave her

commands in English, which she responded to, so he took Sarbi. Sergeant D doesn't

really know where she got to, but wherever she was, she looked after. She was actually

well overweight, so they were

either feeding her very well or

she was getting into food herself. Special operations are

a tough breed of soldier.

Sashy's handler, though, admits

to an emotional reunion. I was

always hopeful. When she was found, I was over the moon. Sarbi is now back in

training. She's a little rusty ...

... but the sergeant doesn't

seem to mind. If she can,

she'll return to work and if

not, she'll come home and spend

the rest of her time with me

living it up in the

backyard. Best friends until

the end. On to the weather

now. It was overcast and muggy

around Canberra today, some

scattered showers, which were

heavy at times. We had a top

of 27 at the airport, 25 in the

Tuggeranong valley. There were showers for much of the

south-east today and

mid-20s in coastal parts and up

to the mid-30s in the west.

Yass had a top of 29 and Cooma

21. The radar shows the

showers which moved over the viewing area through this afternoon. There was drizzle

around in the around in the morning but

heavier - but patchy rainfall this afternoon. Nationally

today, there was more heavy

rain in Brisbane, 27 degrees

there, Sydney had 26, Melbourne

25 and Hobart had a cooler day

with a top of 19. The satellite picture clearly shows

a trough sucking moisture into south-east Queensland, adding

to their flooding woes there.

There's also a tropical low

over the top end. A

low-pressure trough is

approaching the NSW coast from

the west and another trough

over the far north links a

series of low-pressure systems with the potential activity. There'll be showers

and storms right up the east

coast tomorrow, more storms for

Brisbane and a top of around

25, Sydney 26. 25 in Melbourne,

Melbourne, 20 in Hobart, but

sunny periods in the other capitals.

capitals. Rainfall will be quite widespread along the

coast, with deep low-pressure

systems to the east and west of

the mainland. Around the south-east, we're in for

another wet one tomorrow, showers at times right along

the coast, 23 degrees for

Merimbula and bathe man's day.

Wagga and Albury 27. For

Canberra, a 90% chance of rain

and anything up to 15mm in the

gauge tomorrow. A top of 21

degrees. The sun will rise by

6 on the dot, setting at 8.22.

Then we'll see rain on and off

all week with temperatures up to the 28

we go, a brief recap of our top

story. Two people are dead and

several others are missing

after flash flooding in the

south-east Queensland city of

Toowoomba. Torrential rain

this afternoon created raging rivers through the city, with people and cars

swept away. Emergency services

workers were overwhelmed when

the water receded, cars were

left stacked on top of each

other like dominos. That's ABC

News. Stay with us for the

'7.30 Report' next. You can

keep up with the latest news at

ABC Online. Thanks for your

company. Good night. Closed Captions by CSI

Tonight on the 7.30 Report

- the raging floodwaters

leaving a deadly trail in

Queensland. There are a lot of

Australians doing it tough, facing very, very stressful


And - one year on,

rebuilding shattered lives in


How disease and politics are

tearing the nation apart. There

will come a time where the people will be angry, then there will be real violence. This Program Is Captioned


Scott Bevan. Nature's fury

seems to know no end in Queensland where the Queensland where the flood crisis is tonight worsening.

Heavy rain is battering the State's south oost and