NZ@9am 12/1/11 – Most popular stories online on Wednesday

By PETER FOWLER

The flood of “biblical proportions”  bearing down on Brisbane in Australia dominates online media coverage in New Zealand, with a 4 year old boy confirmed as the 11th victim after he fell from a rescue boat  as his family fled the torrent.  
The Google News New Zealand lead headline is nzherald.co.nz story by weather analyst Philip Duncan headlined "Worst yet to come for Queensland."  He says back on January 1 authorities said Queensland was facing a flood of "biblical proportions". Now, almost two weeks later, and it's hard to fathom that the "worst is yet to come" as unprecedented flooding hits the drought ravaged region. It carries a stuff.co.nz story saying a father-of-three, lost at sea for a second night after diving alone, has prompted fresh calls for the "stupid" practice to end. And another top story from nzherald.co.nz says the Department of Labour is unlikely to push for lap-belts or restraints on quad bikes, despite a coroner calling for them to become compulsory.  The most popular story is from the Daily Mail in the UK and says a boy, 4, is the 11th person killed in Queensland floods after falling from a rescue boat as his family tried to flee.
The nzherald.co.nz lead headline online says "Queensland: Fury of the flood."  The web site says bystanders watched in horror as a woman only centimetres from her rescuer lost her grip on a power pole and disappeared under a torrent of dirty water during flash floods in Queensland.

It says Toowoomba boy Jordan Rice, 13, has been remembered as a hero after he let his younger brother be rescued first, seconds before he and his mother Donna were swept to their deaths in the CBD. It says a New Zealander living in Brisbane described the city as total chaos yesterday as people were evacuated and others rushed home ahead of expected flooding. The most popular story says Gisborne firefighters have been called out to deal with cats in trees and other animals in difficult spots but a guinea pig inside a computer printer was a first.
The Stuff.co.nz top headline says "Brisbane flood to be worst in 118 years."  The web site says in the most popular story at least 100,000 homes and businesses could be without power from this morning and thousands of people face evacuation as Queensland's flood disaster hits Brisbane.  In other top news it says the search for a paua diver missing at Titahi Bay in Porirua resumed at first light today. And it says the families of the 29 Pike River workers are "not interested" in the millions of dollars donated to relief funds while their loved ones remain in the mine, a spokesman says.
The One News lead headline says "Brisbane braces for floods."  The web site says in the most popular story authorities urged thousands of residents to leave the outskirts of Australia's third-largest city, Brisbane, as others sandbagged homes and stockpiled food in anticipation of rising floodwaters and more heavy rain. The web site says the families of the 29 men killed in the Pike River coal mine are more interested in recovering their loved ones' bodies than the millions of dollars donated to relief funds, a spokesman says.  And it says the All Blacks are among the finalists for team of the year in the Laureus World Sports Awards.
The 3 News top story online has the headline "Floods: Next days crucial for Brisbane."  The web site says Greg Kowald was driving through the centre of Toowoomba when a terrifying, tsunami-like wall of water roared through the streets of the northeast Australian city. In other top news it says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange vowed Tuesday to step up his site's release of secret documents while he fights extradition to Sweden, as his lawyers argued that sending him to Stockholm could land him in Guantanamo Bay or even on US death row. And it says the search for a paua diver missing at Titahi Bay in Porirua resumed at first light today.  The most popular story says flash floods swept through an Australian city Monday, killing at least two people, trapping others in cars and leaving some clinging to trees as relentless rains brought more misery to a region battling its worst flooding in decades.
The Radio New Zealand lead headline online says "Full flood alert in Brisbane and Ipswich."  The web site says Brisbane and Ipswich are on full flood alert with two major rivers expected to hit record levels.  In other news it says Prime Minister Julia Gillard has pledged to provide Queensland with whatever support it needs from the Australian Defence Force to cope with the floods in the south-east of the state. ANd it says many New Zealanders are among those bracing for the worst in Brisbane and other parts of Queensland.
The Newstalk ZB lead headline says "Queensland floods hit Brisbane."  The web site says flooding in Queensland is only going to get worse as rivers levels continue to rise and power is cut to the state's capital Brisbane.  In other top stories it says Queensland Premier Anna Bligh is urging people to take heed of evacuation notices in Brisbane and flood waters rise. And it says the search for missing Dunedin businessman Colin Smithies will continue today after he didn't return from diving in Titahi Bay. 
NZ@9am can be found at www.hbtoday.co.nz each business day around 9am.

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