Timeline

Strong showing in pennants matches

Nola Marino Ladies Championship Fours: Winners Kerry Scott, Kath Cluning, Vicki Daniel and Glenice Kaurin.Bowls
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PENNANTS results, Tuesday February 25.

Ladies’ first division won against Brunswick away 5-1.

Men’s first division won against Eaton Blue at home 3-1.

Men’s second division lost to Boyanup away 0-4.

Men’s thirrd division won against Binningup Green 3-1.

Pine Hauliers Mixed Meat Pack, Wednesday February 26.

There were 28 players. Winners Grahame Old and Jim Aris 4 +22, second Ray Colgan and George Saggers 4 +21, third Phil Fettes and Ian Bridges 4 +9. Target reached by Harley Johnston.

Corporate Bowls, Wednesday, February 26. First Blue Heelers with +19, second Stumpy Strikers with +18. Spider winner, Jillian Forrest

Nola Marino Ladies Championship Fours, played Thursday, February 27.

Winners: Kerry Scott, Kath Cluning, Vicki Daniel and Glenice Kaurin.

Twilight bowls, sponsored by Sports First, Friday, February 28.

There were 13 players. First Lyn Mitchell, Peter Kaurin, Kath Cluning with 4 +7. Second Graeme Carter and George Saggers with 4 +3, third Vicki Daniel and Rick Daniel with 2 +7.

McCafe Summer Scroungers, Sunday, March 2.

There were 20 players. Winner G Carter, second W Mitchell, third B Lowe. Highest scores Graeme Carter and Kevin Ginbey, with 34, Lowest score and the chocolate bar won by Jim Aris.

The next scroungers game on this Sunday.

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Chinese leader vows to fight pollution and maintain growth

Beijing: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has  pledged to achieve a perilously difficult juggling act: push through reforms that will restructure the nation’s economy, curb its mounting environmental woes and address corruption – all while keeping its economic growth targetsteady at 7.5 per cent.
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In his first government work report delivered as premier to the National People’s Congress, Mr Li said development remained “key to solving all our country’s problems”, despite also acknowledging that “inefficient and blind” growth in parts of the economy had contributed to “deep-seated problems”.

“We are at a critical juncture where our path upward is particularly steep,” Mr Li told the annual meeting of China’s largely rubber-stamp parliament at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, adding that global economic conditions remained uncertain.

“Deep-seated problems are surfacing. Painful structural adjustments need to be made”.

Mr Li also announced China’s 2.3 million-strong People’s Liberation Army would receive a 12.2 per cent budget increase on last year to 808 billion yuan ($147 billion), extending a nearly unbroken run of double-digit hikes in China’s defence budget for the past two decades at a time when regional tensions are high over territorial disputes in the East and South China seas.

“We will comprehensively enhance the revolutionary nature of the Chinese armed forces, further modernise them and upgrade their performance, and continue to raise their deterrence and combat capabilities in the information age,” he said.

Beijing has been locked in a war of rhetoric with Tokyo, and has accused Shinzo Abe’s government of taking a revisionist approach to Japan’s wartime history. China last month declared two memorial days commemorating the Rape of Nanking and the anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.

In a thinly-veiled swipe at Japan on Wednesday, Mr Li said in his speech that China would “safeguard the victory of World War II . . .  and not allow anyone to reverse the course of history”.

China has been a key engine of the global economy after more than a decade of breakneck growth, but there is growing consensus that the unsustainably cavalier growth model has caused severe imbalances and debt problems that can only be addressed through a significant overhaul of the world’s second-largest economy.

Those reforms were included in an ambitious array proposed by the central government after the Third Plenum in November, which Mr Li said remained the “top priority”  this year.

The list included reforms keenly watched by financial markets, including interest rate and currency exchange liberalisation, but Mr Li reserved especially strong wording for addressing one of China’s most pressing social issues – its environment.

“Smog is affecting larger parts of China and environmental pollution has become a major problem, which is nature’s red-light warning against the model of inefficient and blind development,” he said.

“We will declare war against pollution and fight it with the same determination we battled poverty.”

China’s economic rebalancing comes at a time when President Xi Jinping has sought to consolidate power and win back the hearts and minds of ordinary Chinese through an eye-catching anti-corruption campaign.

“The social credibility system needs to be improved,” Mr Li said. “Some government employees are prone to corruption and some still do not perform their duties with integrity and diligence.”

The nearly 3000 delegates to the congress observed a minute’s silence for the victims of the Kunming railway station mass stabbing on March 1, in which 29 lives were lost.

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Sea Cliff bridge closes for Youi commercial

Sea Cliff bridge was closed for parts of Wednesday as a television commercial was filmed on the now iconic stretch of road.
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A spokesman for Roads and Maritime Services confirmed insurance company Youi was shooting a new commercial on the bridge.

Some delays were caused by the filming, with the Live Traffic NSW website warning motorists of ‘‘intermittent closures of lanes in both directions’’ on Wednesday.

A Wollongong City Council spokesman said approval had also been given to shoot scenes on Cliff Road in Wollongong, but road delays caused by construction may have deterred filming in that area.

Picture: WOLLONGONG TOURISM

It is far from the first time Sea Cliff Bridge has been tapped as a stunning backdrop by film makers.

A Mercury report in 2011 found 42 film and television shoots had taken place since the bridge opened in 2005, and many more have been staged since.

Holden, Subaru and Ferrari have filmed ads, while Bollywood movie We Are Family, feature film Short Beach, and hit TV show Top Gear have all featured the bridge in their productions.

Filming finished on Wednesday so no further road delays are expected.

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Crown hooked with last fish of tournament  (7/3/14)

HANDFUL: Stephen Hannan wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 90-centimetre snapper hooked off Newcastle recently with fishing buddy and former Herald journalist Andrew ‘‘Fridge’’ Waugh, who was back in Australia on holidays from Canada. Call into Tackle Power Sandgate, at 53 Maitland Road, Sandgate, to collect your prize, mate. Don’t forget to bring a copy of the fishing page for verification. To enter Fish of the Week, email [email protected]南京夜网.au, or comment on the fishing blog at theherald南京夜网.auSYDNEY Game Fishing Club Team 2 have claimed provisional honours in the coveted team tag and release division in what is being hailed as one of the closest NSW Game Fishing Association Interclubs in memory.
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After the second weekend of competition at Nelson Bay last weekend, the city slickers narrowly saluted with 170,509 points, ahead of Broken Bay GFC Team 1 (168,913 points) – or basically one tuna.

‘‘The last fish hooked won them the tournament,’’ NSWGFA president Gary Chenoweth said.

‘‘They hooked up in the silence period [10minutes before the official end of competition]. Dropped the first one and then tagged a second. Guys were hanging off the radio as it went down to the wire.’’

The capture competition was close too, with only 69points, or about three kilograms, separating winners Broken Bay from the Central Zone Composite team.

‘‘The comment’s been made that it was the closest and well fished Interclub for a long time,’’ Gary said.

‘‘There wasn’t a lot of fish there but it brought out the skill of the anglers.

‘‘When the striped marlins aren’t sitting on bait schools they have to change their tactics.’’

Newcastle and Port Stephens GFC president Peter Simpson said the conditions this year required anglers to apply a little more expertise to their fishing.

‘‘It’s just the way it goes with the currents and the water temps,’’ he said.

‘‘You needed to have a plan B if plan A didn’t work out.

‘‘But all in all it was a very exciting event.’’

Approximately 70 fish were tagged on the second weekend, including a pending NSW women’s record for a blue marlin (184.7kilograms) on 24-kilogram class line to Sydney GFC angler Alex Nuttal, fishing on Tantrum, Gary said.

‘‘There was a large number of blues about this year, rather than striped and black.’’

The standout story was Central Coast angler Scott Thorington fishing on Freedom.

‘‘He’s fished the tournament since 1983, and he’s one of Australia’s finest marlin tag and release fishos and he’s finally taken out champion boat,’’ Gary said.

‘‘We’re very proud of him down here.’’

Lake Macquarie angler Shaun Thornton, fishing on Bundy, had a good tournament, weighing the heaviest shark (359kilogram tiger) and taking out the male capture crown with 20359 points and also the highest point scoring capture angler with 24,791.58 points.

Newcastle GFC angler Bailey Blanche, fishing on Tycon, tagged and released the most sharks (two) and also took out the most tag and release points by a small fry.

Lake Macquarie GFC’s Brodie Smith, fishing on Finjutsu, won most tag and release points male angler, and junior/small fry angler.

Newcastle and Port Stephens GFC’s Amy McAndrew took the lady tag and release crown.

Lake boat Hammerhead tagged and released the most number of sharks.

Newcastle and Port Stephens GFC boat Gunrunner won champion boat tag and release in the 15-kilogram line class division.

For a full rundown on provisional results, go to nswgfa南京夜网.au.

The next game fishing tournament on the calendar is the Broken Bay Invitational on March 15 and 16.

‘‘After that we’ll start planning next year’s Blue Water Expo,’’ Gary said.

‘‘Wests Diggers at Nelson Bay have got on board and we’re going to make it more of a boat show thing in the first week of Interclub next year,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ll have all the latest boats and gear on display, with lectures and demos,’’ he said.

‘‘It was good this year but next year we’re going to make it more of a full-on boat show to complement the fishing.’’

And just a footnote apology for mixing up Simmo and Gary in last week’s report. Peter is, of course, president of the Newcastle and Port Stephens GFC based at Nelson Bay.

Gary is the president of the NSW Game Fishing Association, which runs Interclub each year out of Nelson Bay.

The lines of communication got tangled in all the excitement.

Classic entries open

DON’T forget to get your entries in for the Twin Rivers Classic, which will be held up at Raymond Terrace on March 28 to 30.

The popular tournament, hosted by the Junction Inn Fishing Club and now in its ninth year, has great prizes on offer, fantastic social activities over the weekend and a share of the proceeds goes to Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Rego forms are available from H&D Mitre 10 at Heatherbrae, Tacklepower Sandgate or pop into the Junction Inn Bottleshop/Hotel – for a rego form, I mean.

Dolphin fish biting

THERE are plenty of dolphin fish about at the moment off Newcastle, according to Trevor Notley, from Sandy Bottom Boat Charters.

‘‘I got a couple just out the front on the Dumping Ground this week,’’ Trevor said.

‘‘Lots of them about, as well as flathead.

‘‘Otherwise it’s been pretty steady, nothing spectacular but I’ve been getting lots of fish.’’

Weekend away: Seahaven Noosa Resort, Noosa

Seahaven Noosa Resort is in the heart of a new end of Noosa. Photo: Simon HoltTHE SETTING
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Hipsters are gravitating to the northern end of Hastings St, sipping cocktails from coconut shells, spilling onto the street in groups, and making themselves seen checking into refurbished beachfront hotels. It’s a small part of Noosa which not long ago threatened to host walls of ugly graffiti. Rather, it is reinvigorated, flying a flag for trendy 30-somethings and their eclectic group of friends.

THE SPACE

There are three heated pools here, one with a spa. Beyond that, there’s easy access to a boardwalk stretching the length of popular Noosa Beach. On the lawn, it’s not uncommon to see wave boards of varying types and sizes; and beach towels, plenty of beach towels. On the other side, there’s the Hastings St shopping strip; and cafes, plenty of cafes.

THE KIT

A previously tired Seahaven Beach Resort recently underwent a $16 million facelift, closing down for a complete reconstruction. After reopening in late-2013, it drew a new family clientele. The hallway of a one-bedroom unit has frosted glass, a feature which continues to the sliding doors to both bedroom and bathroom. Plentiful cupboards would indicate an expectation of longer stays, as would the fully-equipped kitchen. Modern brown décor is complemented with bright artwork on the walls. There’s a plush lounge for three or four people, kitchen island bench with stools and an outdoor dining setting for six which sits on the balcony overlooking ocean views.

COMFORT FACTOR

When on holidays, the key word is convenience. And with enough space to spread out, whether it be in the deep bath, on the king bed, the outdoor day bed, or in front of the flat screen television, Seahaven has most comforts of home. Modern kitchen appliances also come with the refurb. Any beachfront hotel in Noosa will be close to shops, bars and cafes. And then there’s the luxury of one of Australia’s best-known beaches.

FOOD

While Seahaven itself doesn’t have a restaurant of its own, one of the key reasons for the resurgence of this end of Hastings St has been the opening of Miss Moneypenny’s, a hip restaurant and bar with full meals, plentiful platters, tapas and a long list of cocktails designed by the restaurant’s resident bar staff. Anyone familiar with Goldfish in Sydney and the Hunter Valley will be aware of the concept. “We know how to party,” says their advertising, and so too do its guests. Try an antipasto board to share, or a pizza. And mix it with an Istanbul old iced tea which comes in an old-fashioned teapot. It’s gin and quince liqueur shaken with elderflower cordial, lemon juice and lightly pressed cucumber topped with Turkish apple tea. Sound unusual? Damn straight.

WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR

If the glitz of Noosa’s brand name clothing stores, bars and restaurants, or the nearby beach weren’t enough to pry guests away from the hotel room, pull on the walking boots and discover a bit of national park. To the north, there’s the spit which backs on to the Noosa River on one side, and surf on the other. To the south is the national park which has a choice of walks, either through the forest or along the cliffs of the waterfront.

THE VERDICT

Seahaven Noosa Resort might have just spent $16 million, but most guests will see it as money well spent. It is well-placed in the heart of Noosa, bears sleek décor and design, and has added touches of modern apartment-style living such as bench and cupboard space. And it’s spacious enough for families, couples or groups of friends.

HOW TO GET THERE

Drive into the heart of Noosa and north along Hastings Street. If you hit the beach carpark, you’ve gone too far. Noosa is about 90 minutes from Brisbane by car.

ESSENTIALS

Seahaven has a variety of room sizes, with studio rooms found as low as $175 per night, through to the more expensive two-bedroom suites at around the $500 mark. There’s also a penthouse. Phone 1800 072 013, see seahavennoosa南京夜网.au.The writer was a guest of Seahaven Noosa Resort.View other great Queensland escapes.

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Hamster Decides: Chris Kenny wins first defamation skirmish in Supreme Court

A News Ltd columnist who was depicted having sex with a dog in the ABC’s political satire program The Hamster Decides has won a preliminary skirmish in his ongoing defamation battle with the broadcaster, with a judge finding the segment was capable of conveying “defamatory imputations”.
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But the judge also found that the segment did not convey the suggestion that the columnist was a “pervert who had sex with dogs”.

Chris Kenny from the Australian newspaper is suing the ABC, The Hamster Decides presenter Andrew Hansen, and the show’s production company, Giant Dwarf, over a segment which appeared on September 11 last year that dealt with media coverage of the federal election.

During the segment, described at length by Justice Robert Beech-Jones in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday, an image was broadcast of a man strangling and having sex with a dog. A picture of Mr Kenny’s face was then photoshopped onto the man’s body. Shortly after this the image was shown again, accompanied by the caption “Chris Dog F—er Kenny” (the word was spelt out in full).

The image was shown in the context of comments by presenter Andrew Hansen about Mr Kenny’s calls for a reduction in funding for the ABC in his columns and television appearances.

In a statement of claim filed with the court, Mr Kenny says the segment carried three defamatory imputations: that he was a pervert who had sex with dogs, that he was a “low, contemptible and disgusting person”, and that his attacks on the ABC were “so disgusting that he deserved to be portrayed as a person who had sex with dogs”.

The ABC had sought to have all three alleged imputations struck out, claiming that the ordinary, reasonable viewer was incapable of drawing the conclusions that Mr Kenny alleged.

A central feature of the broadcaster’s argument was that The Hamster Decides was a comedy show and that the reasonable viewer could not possibly have taken anything the segment said or depicted seriously.

Justice Beech-Jones upheld this argument in relation to the first alleged imputation, stating that “the reasonable viewer could not possibly consider that such a lightweight show as this would be the forum for exposing bestiality”.

However, he found that the other two imputations were capable of being made out, albeit with minor amendments to their wording.

In relation to the second imputation, Justice Beech-Jones described the image in question as “a massive exercise in ridicule which is vastly out of proportion”.

“It’s an image that’s likely to stay in the mind of the ordinary reasonable viewer long after the program has finished, whether it’s funny or not,” he said.

The decision paves the way for the matter to proceed to a full hearing before a four-person jury, which will decide whether the segment was defamatory or not.

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300: Rise of an Empire: Piece of the action

Review: 300 sequel all cartoonish sex, goreMovie session timesFull movies coverage
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The Persian ship – all black with a predatory hawk on the prow – tips around on a gimbal on a dry stage; water will be added later, in post-production. To that end, everything that is not part of the ship is covered in lurid green screen.

Sullivan Stapleton, meanwhile, is recalling working against the green screen with a hangover.

”Thank God we have to stay in shape on this movie,” he says, straight-faced. ”Because the colour does get to you after a while.”

If you wanted to find a textbook example of the laconic Australian larrikin, Stapleton would be your man. Right now, however, he’s playing Themistocles, the Athenian commander at the centre of 300: Rise of an Empire.

We are in Bulgaria, where a vast crew and some 200 sandal-wearing extras are facing day 50 of a 74-day shoot. The time is 480BC. Rise of an Empire follows in the wake of 300, Zack Snyder’s spectacular adaptation of comic-book supremo Frank Miller’s retelling of the story of the 300 heroic Spartans who held off the invading Persian hordes.

Everyone is at pains to stress that this is not a sequel as much as a parallel story; while the Spartans were fighting the emperor Xerxes’ slave troops at Thermopylae, the Athenians were fighting them at sea.

You might remember Stapleton as Craig, one of the scary Cody brothers in Animal Kingdom; more recently he has been playing the lead in US television action series Strike Back, which is filmed largely in East Africa. He grins when asked what it was about Themistocles that resonated with him. ”What resonated is that he’s the lead in a big Hollywood film,” he says. ”I come from Australia; it’s a very small industry.”

He didn’t see a script until after he signed up; security on Hollywood’s big brands is tight. Now he faces long days wearing a leather codpiece – ”It’s half a tub of Vaseline every fight day!” says New Zealand actor Callan Mulvey, who plays an Athenian spy – but it’s all good.

”You chuck that leather costume on, stand on top of a ship that’s moving and become little boys, really,” says Stapleton. ”Well, I do. You just imagine we’re all going to die and there is an armada of Persians out there, pull out your sword and scream.”

This sounds familiar to anyone who saw the first 300, most of which seemed to consist of Spartans roaring. ”Yes, that’s why I signed up,” Stapleton agrees. ”I thought the same thing, but I found out I do a lot of talking.”

His opposite number is Artemisia, a fearsome virago in charge of the Persian navy played by Eva Green in a leather dress with spines down the back; the director Noam Murro says the look he wants is ”like the Dolce & Gabbana of its day”. For much of today, Green is on her ship’s deck moving two short swords through the arabesques of a fight move. ”Scissors, helmet, cut!” she mutters as she hits the move’s various marks, while Murro yells at her for seemingly hours to do it faster, emphasise ”helmet” more, put in another beat. All this for a shot lasting a few seconds.

Murro, who earned his spurs making commercials, is both bullish and ebullient; more than one actor describes him as ”a kid in a candy store”.

”I think they all hate me,” he says jovially after the film has wrapped for the day. ”You tell them what to do, they slip you a finger and somewhere in the middle, you get a performance.”

The atmosphere does seem to be at least as combative as any of the sword-play. Stapleton describes his relationship with Murro as ”colourful”, but sees this as a good thing. ”I’ve gotta say sometimes the bastard has been very right when we’ve gone against each other. I sit there saying, ‘This is stupid, it’s not going to work’, and we watch it and it’s great. I quite enjoy that.”

Since wrapping 300, Stapleton has been filming a new series of Strike Back in Thailand, where he has injured himself – in his own time. as the press releases are at pains to stress. All I can think when I hear this is: there goes a lot of training down the drain.

The core cast in Bulgaria had been working out with a trainer for months, hitting and crashing through one wall of exhaustion after another. They were manically fit. They were also tired of eating nothing but measured portions of chicken and broccoli.

”Our way of bonding,” says Stapleton, ”would be to go out and eat something that isn’t in a bag”. At that point, he made the great game of 300 sound quite serious.

300: Rise of an Empire is now screening.

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Piece of the action

The Persian ship – all black with a predatory hawk on the prow – tips around on a gimbal on a dry stage; water will be added later, in post-production. To that end, everything that is not part of the ship is covered in lurid green screen.
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Sullivan Stapleton, meanwhile, is recalling working against the green screen with a hangover. “Thank God we have to stay in shape on this movie,” he says, straight-faced. “Because the colour does get to you after a while.” If you wanted to find a textbook example of the laconic Australian larrikin, Stapleton would be your man.

Right now, however, he’s playing Themistocles, the Athenian commander at the centre of 300: Rise of an Empire. We are in Bulgaria, where a vast crew and some 200 sandal-wearing extras are facing day 50 of a 74-day shoot. The time is 480BC. Rise of an Empire follows in the wake of 300, Zack Snyder’s spectacular adaptation of comic-book supremo Frank Miller’s retelling of the story of the 300 heroic Spartans who held off the invading Persian hordes. Everyone is at pains to stress that this is not a sequel as much as a parallel story – while the Spartans were fighting the emperor Xerxes’ slave troops at Thermopylae, the Athenians were fighting them at sea.

You may remember Stapleton as Craig, one of the scary Cody brothers in Animal Kingdom; more recently he has been playing the lead in US television action series Strike Back, which is filmed largely in East Africa. He grins when asked what it was about Themistocles that resonated with him. “What resonated is that he’s the lead in a big Hollywood film,” he says. “I come from Australia; it’s a very small industry.”

He didn’t even see a script until after he signed up; security on Hollywood’s big brands is tight. Now he faces very long days wearing a leather codpiece – “It’s half a tub of Vaseline every fight day!” says New Zealand actor Callan Mulvey, who plays an Athenian spy – but it’s all good. “You chuck that leather costume on, stand on top of a ship that’s moving and become little boys, really,” says Stapleton. “Well, I do. You just imagine we’re all going to die and there is an armada of Persians out there, pull out your sword and scream.”

This sounds familiar to anyone who saw the first 300, most of which seemed to consist of Spartans roaring. “Yes, that’s why I signed up,” Stapleton agrees. “I thought the same thing, but I found out I do a lot of talking.”

His opposite number is Artemisia, a fearsome virago in charge of the Persian navy played by Eva Green in a leather dress with spines down the back; the director Noam Murro says the look he wants is “like the Dolce & Gabbana of its day”. For much of today, Green is on her ship’s deck moving two short swords through the arabesques of a fight move. “Scissors, helmet, cut!” she mutters as she hits the move’s various marks, while Murro yells at her for seemingly hours to do it faster, emphasise “helmet” more, put in another beat. All this for a shot lasting a few seconds.

Murro, who earned his spurs making commercials, is both bullish and ebullient; more than one actor describes him as “a kid in a candy store”.

“I think they all hate me,” he says jovially after the film has wrapped for the day. “You tell them what to do, they slip you a finger and somewhere in the middle, you get a performance.”

The atmosphere does seem to be at least as combative as any of the sword-play. Stapleton describes his relationship with Murro as “colourful”, but sees this as a good thing. “I’ve gotta say sometimes the bastard has been very right when we’ve gone against each other. I sit there saying, ‘This is stupid, it’s not going to work’, and we watch it and it’s great. I quite enjoy that.”

Since wrapping 300, Stapleton has been filming a new series of Strike Back in Thailand, where he has injured himself – in his own time. as the press releases are at pains to stress. All I can think when I hear this is: there goes a lot of training down the drain. The core cast in Bulgaria had been working out with a trainer for months, hitting and crashing through one wall of exhaustion after another. They were manically fit. They were also tired of eating nothing but measured portions of chicken and broccoli.

“Our way of bonding,” says Stapleton, “would be to go out and eat something that isn’t in a bag”. At that point, he made the great game of 300 sound quite serious.

300: Rise of an Empire

Genre Violent action.

Buzz If you liked the original, expect more of the same – swords, sandals, sex and pecs

Stars Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Mark Killeen, Lena Headey

Director Noam Murro

Released Out now, rated MA15+

Aussie beef exports

Our leading men are the go-to guys for muscle.

RUSSELL CROWE

Crowe was invited to Hollywood by Sharon Stone for her western The Quick and the Dead (1995) and hasn’t looked back; we see him next as the star of Noah, Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic. Although he has worked across genres, his he-man roles – including an undercover cop in LA Confidential, Maximus in Gladiator and a sea captain in Master and Commander – have defined him.

SAM WORTHINGTON

A former brickie from Western Australia, he went to the US after winning the AFI award as best actor in Cate Shortland’s very un-beefy Somersault (2004). Now he’s famous as the incarnation of Avatar as well as Greek hero Perseus in the Titans franchise. Three Avatar sequels are in the pipeline. After he was injured while makingWrath of the Titans, he said: ”I don’t like talking about that. I’ve got mates who play rugby and they think I’m a pussy actor.”

HUGH JACKMAN

He sings, he dances, he howls and grows fur. His friend Russell Crowe recommended the Sydney-born all-rounder to director Bryan Singer for X-Men; he has now played Wolverine (pictured) in seven films while managing to retain a reputation for unflappable niceness. Stage successes include his Tony-winning The Boy From Oz.

CHRIS HEMSWORTH

Cast from seemingly nowhere – actually, from Home and Away – as a very mighty Thor in 2011, Hemsworth has also picked up another franchise as the titular hunter in Snow White and the Huntsman. In between he has played two tough-guy roles for top director Ron Howard: formula one driver James Hunt in Rush and a 19th-century whaler in the forthcoming Heart of the Sea. Not to be outdone, Chris’ younger brother Liam stars in theHunger Games franchise. The Hemsworths grew up on Philip Island: perhaps it’s something in the surf.

JOEL EDGERTON

Like Sullivan Stapleton, he got noticed in Animal Kingdom, was cast as a ripped martial arts fighter in Warrior, then as a marine in Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-scooping Zero Dark Thirty; he was also threatening as wife-beating Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Now, he has followed the sandal-wearing trail in Ridley Scott’s epic Exodus. Film also runs in his family: brother Nash is an actor and stuntman. STEPHANIE BUNBURY

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First-class experience

Not all she seems: Julianne Moore plays a chatty plane passenger with a secret in Non-Stop. Photo: SuppliedJulianne Moore has been nominated for four Academy Awards – Boogie Nights (1997), The End of the Affair (2000), Far from Heaven (2002) and The Hours (2002) – so it surprised star Liam Neeson when she jumped on board his new suspense thriller, Non-Stop, in a supporting role.
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”I was given a shortlist of actresses and Julianne’s name was at the top and I said, ‘We’re never going to get her’, because in the script her part was written quite blandly,” the 61-year-old Irish actor says. ”I thought she wouldn’t go for it, but then we got her and she just lifted the whole thing because she’s such a great actress.”

The talented redhead he is talking about, who takes off her thick winter coat in a New York hotel suite to reveal a pretty floral dress and black pumps completely unsuitable for the snow outside, is making no apologies for her choice in wardrobe or film.

”I will tell you that Liam Neeson had a lot to do with it, because I adore him and I was excited to work with him again,” says an enthusiastic Moore, who worked with Neeson on the 2009 drama Chloe.

”I also love the movie because it reminds me of the movies I grew up with, like Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure, and some of the Agatha Christie films, where you meet a group of people, they go into a controlled situation and you don’t know who they are going to be or how it’s going to turn out.”

In Non-Stop, Neeson plays an air marshal trapped on an international flight with a killer on board who is using text messages to threaten to kill someone every 20 minutes until he gets $US150 million deposited into an offshore account. Things get complicated when Neeson’s superiors on the ground claim the account belongs to him and he realises he is being set up.

Moore plays a chatty passenger who sits next to him and may not be all she seems. ”One of the reasons they asked me to do it was they wanted me to bring her some life,” she says. ”What I liked about her was that she’s someone who never stops talking, but she doesn’t reveal anything. So she’s friendly and engaged and alive and interested and not actually trying to present a mystery, but it’s just that she doesn’t give anything up.”

Another attraction for the 53-year-old, who has been married for 10 years to director Bart Freundlich, with whom she has two children, Caleb, 16, and Liv, 11, was shooting close to home.

”It was amazing because they built the plane on a set in New York, so every day you just went to work and sat in your seat on the plane and got very comfortable.

”The poor crew was crammed in the back trying to shoot in such a confined space, but I’m an indoor girl, not an outdoor girl, so I liked all of us being in this small space for the whole shoot.”

Moore’s career has been eclectic. She won a Daytime Emmy in 1988 for her role as a pair of identical half sisters on the soap As The World Turns but outgrew the confines of daytime TV with credits such as Robert Altman’s Short Cuts (1993) and Steven Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), before earning her first Oscar nomination as a drug-addicted porn star in Boogie Nights (1997).

It is hard to find rhyme or reason when looking at Moore’s credits. In two years, she has starred in the romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid Love, the indie The Kids Are All Right, the horror film Carrie and her Golden Globe and Emmy-winning turn as vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in the TV movie Game Change.

”Every decision is slightly different,” she says. ”Often it’s predicated by the script that I love, sometimes a director will approach me about something, or sometimes it’s the producer or the star. I like to change genres because I think it’s fun. If I have been doing a bunch of serious movies, I like doing comedy and it’s fun to do a thriller like this one.”

She is not the least bit defensive when asked if her choices should better reflect her Oscar-nominated status.

”I try not to think about perception,” she says, ”because if you are always looking over your shoulder and worrying about what somebody is thinking about you, then you are not living your life.”

Non-Stop

Genre Suspense thriller.

Buzz Hailed as Taken on a plane, this should continue Liam Neeson’s successful run as an action star.

Stars Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra.

Released Out now, rated M.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Mariners must plug holesfor Victory clash

The Central Coast Mariners will have to rely on a second-string defensive unit to help muffle Melbourne Victory’s dynamic attack at AAMI Park on Friday.
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Eddy Bosnar, Storm Roux and Josh Rose are all unlikely starters for the Mariners, meaning coach Phil Moss will have to dig deep into his reserves.

Bosnar picked up a groin injury in the 2-1 victory over Sydney FC last week and is likely to be rested, while Rose split his brow open in the same match after a sickening head clash.

The club is contemplating whether Rose, 32, should use a face mask to protect his head but the more the likely scenario is that he will be overlooked for Matt Sim, who has proved a solid replacement since signing in January.

Fringe defender Brent Griffiths is likely to come in for Bosnar, while replacing Roux at right-back is not so easy. Marcel Seip, normally a centre-half, seems the likely option even if he lacks the natural pace to play out wide.

Roux played 67 minutes for New Zealand against Japan in Tokyo on Wednesday night, and was due to arrive back barely 24 hours before Friday’s kickoff.

Melbourne Victory face a similar issue with Kosta Barbarouses, who played the same amount of game time as Roux, and faces the same limited recovery period before Friday night.

The Mariners have finally been able to get their hands on two boom youngsters this week, with Anthony Kalik and Liam Rose completing their time with the Australian Institute of Sport.

Attacking midfielder Kalik is the league’s youngest registered player and considered an enormous prospect, while Rose has impressed as a box-to-box midfielder. Both are not yet eligible for A-League duty but are already training with the senior squad.

The Mariners are fourth, ahead of the Victory on goal difference, yet the two sides remain just four points clear of eighth-placed Newcastle.

Meanwhile, the Western Sydney Wanderers have elevated Golgol Mebrahtu to their senior list for the rest of the season after Tahj Minniecon succumbed to injury.

Mebrahtu, 23, joined the Wanderers for this season’s Asian Champions League campaign after crossing from Melbourne Heart but, like Daniel Mullen and Antony Golec, was not originally eligible for A-League duty.

Minniecon will be sidelined for a minimum of six weeks with a hip injury, and Mebrahtu could make his debut against Sydney FC this Saturday.

“It’s disappointing for him but it’s part and parcel of football. When one door closes, another opens, and it’s a great opportunity for me,” he said. “I hope to take this opportunity with both hands and repay the faith that the coach has shown in me.

“The last month has been really good in terms of getting up to speed with the rest of the squad but I feel like I’m getting there, and hopefully I’ll be in the squad soon.”

Wellington have also added a short-term signing, with 22-year old left-back Shaun Timmins signing for the rest of the season.

The English-born Timmins represented Ireland at junior level and played for Birmingham City and Coventry’s youth sides before seeking a new journey, one that took him to Perth and then Melbourne, where he most recently worked as a labourer.

Elsewhere, Newcastle Jets utility Josh Brillante has been named as the young player of the month for February.

“Obviously I feel more comfortable playing in the midfield, but I’ve been pretty happy with my performances at right-back in the past few weeks, and I’m just happy to be playing and contributing to the team,” he said. “We’ve had a few good results against the top teams in the last few weeks, and hopefully we can string a few more together and make a push for the finals.”

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Cootes Transport could be forced off roads by NSW roads minister

State authorities have laid more than 300 charges against Cootes since a fatal truck crash in Mova Vale last October. Photo: Tim PascoeThe trucking company involved in a fatal crash at Mona Vale in October will be banned from NSW roads within weeks unless it can prove it has turned itself around.
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Roads Minister Duncan Gay on Thursday told NSW Parliament he had lost confidence in Cootes Transport, which has been the biggest fuel distributor in the country.

”Cootes Transport has been a repeat offender and enough is enough,” Mr Gay said.

”Roads and Maritime has given the company every reasonable opportunity to demonstrate it is worthy of operating in NSW but the company has so far failed to do so.

”Consistent with due process the company has 14 days to take action in order to avoid suspension or cancellation of their rights to travel on NSW roads.”

Since the crash in Mona Vale, state authorities have laid more than 300 charges against Cootes, owned by the stockmarket listed McAleese Group.

Trucks owned by the company have repeatedly been found with major defects during inspections, only to be discovered with more defects after they returned to the road.

”To date around 320 trucks have been checked and only 179 have passed without receiving a formal warning or a minor or major defect notice,” Mr Gay said.

”Only yesterday two trucks were inspected and found with major brake defects. These trucks were last inspected on February 24 and 27, just 10 and seven days ago,” he said.

The 14 days provided to Cootes to show cause why it should not be pulled off the road will provide some time for alternative arrangements to be put in place to deliver fuel across Sydney and NSW.

When Cootes’ fleet has been grounded for safety inspections since the October crash, there have been periodic fuel shortages at Sydney petrol stations.

Cootes recently lost its major contract to supply BP petrol stations to rival Linfox.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Underwater Google ‘Street View’ to reveal what lies beneath Sydney Harbour

SMH The Catlin Seaview Survey 360 degree underwater camera system in action off the Sydney coastline. Photo: Supplied
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The team will document the rich sea life in Sydney Harbour and off the coast. Photo: Supplied

An example of the images captured by the underwater camera. Photo: Supplied

It is the ultimate underwater Google Street View.

Divers propelled by underwater scooters have begun filming test footage from the bottom of Sydney Harbour and beyond into the deep waters off Bondi and Manly beaches for an eventual audience of at least one billion people.

Sea horses, kelp forests, the odd bathtub but no concrete boots to date have been captured for an eventual unveiling on Google Maps.

Professor Emma Johnston, from the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, said the underwater survey would provide a scientific baseline to monitor change across the harbour. It also will highlight hotspots for debris and other forms of pollution to galvanise government and public action.

“I think people will be surprised by the beauty and diversity of the harbour,” said Professor Johnston about the joint project with Google Maps and the Catlin Seaview Survey.

“We tend to think of the harbour as a monolithic and flat surface, but people will be blown away by what is happening underneath; the amazing kelp forests, underwater gardens of sea tulips and sponges and fish that they have never seen. The diversity of sea life is greater than any harbour in the world.

“The downside of being a city harbour is that it’s subject to a range of threats from debris and rubbish. In one spot there was two shopping trolleys, a bicycle and bathtub.”

Similar surveys have taken place on the Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos Island and other exotic tropical locations. But this is the first time it has been conducted in the temperate waters off Sydney’s coastline.

Project director Richard Vevers, from Underwater Earth, said the turbidity of the harbour water would probably preclude them from filming further west than Double Bay and no deeper than 10 metres.

Over the next eight months the divers would gather the images for a grand preview launch at the World Parks Congress being held in Sydney this November, he said.

The world’s first tablet-operated underwater camera, the SVII, which incorporates three individual cameras that sit on the underwater scooter, is being used to obtain the footage.

“It’s a completely unique piece of technology,” Mr Vevers said. “On a typical run we’ll take over 1000 panoramas, which are then stitched together to produce this virtual dive experience.”

“There is a lot down there for us to capture, quite a few wrecks, small and large.

“We are very aware the Bull sharks could be interesting this time of year in the harbour too. The scooters do tend to attract sharks because of electrical impulses they give off. They come in and investigate which certainly makes a dive a little more interesting.

“I am hoping the Bull sharks are a little camera shy.”

The project’s launch comes as Google began using its all-seeing backpack contraption called “Trekker” in Sydney last month, which it plans to use to collect imagery of places only accessible by foot to incorporate into Street View.

It also comes as Sydney man Matt McClelland, 40, revealed how he was documenting bushwalks and bushfires with his own 360-degree camera rig called Emu View.

So far McClelland has used EmuView on several hundred kilometres of track and is still adding more.

– With Ben Grubb

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Buy and hold strategy looking dated

Even fans of buy-and-hold say you can trade on volatility. Photo: Richard DrewAustralian fund managers are ditching the traditional buy-hold strategy and instead looking for trading opportunities as a way to deal with the actions of central banks and gyrations in offshore markets.
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Global forecasting group Create Research chief executive Amin Rajan told Fairfax Media in a trip to Sydney this week that local fund managers were changing the way they invest in response to client concerns about global politics, rather than economic fundamentals.

“The old way of adopting buy and hold for seven years is fading,” he said. “There is a greater element of trading coming into play. Buy and hold is still alive and well but there are a lot of other opportunities in the approach.”

Mr Rajan, in conjunction with fund manager Principal Global Investors, has surveyed 713 global financial sector employees and institutions such as superannuation and pension funds, 60 per cent of which were fund managers for the annual 2014 Create report. It will be released in June.

His comments come in a week that started with most global share markets, bonds and emerging market assets fell together amid fears that Russia and the Ukraine were on the brink of war. As the week rolled on and concerns eased, many markets recovered.

The Australian S&P/ASX 200 is up 0.85 per cent this week at 5446 points and the local currency last traded at US89.87¢.

The concept behind the buy-and-hold strategy is that in the long run financial markets will reward investors with a good rate of return despite some volatility. The opposite to this is active or excessive trading, which is less about investment decisions based on company fundamentals and has a high turnover of stocks and a focus on the short term.

Buy-and-hold purist Aberdeen Asset Management’s head of Australian equities Robert Penaloza said while the strategy is far from dead, the approach has changed.

“When we say buy and hold we are not talking about forever, but what we expect to see over the next three to five years

“In today’s world there is certainly a lot more information and faster flow of that information will affect share prices. So yes the market is a lot more volatile but that is not to say you can’t buy and hold a stock, do your homework and take advantage of the volatility,” he said.

Speculation about the pace of the US Federal Reverse’s quantitative-easing program and the outlook for global interest rates has weighed on investor sentiment the past 18 months and shows no signs of abating just yet.

Also affecting confidence has been the slow and gradual improvement in the Australian economy, despite forecasts of higher interest rates from 2015 onwards. The economy faces some challenges that were brought to the surface last month with data showing a rising unemployment rate and disappointing capital expenditure investment.

“I would say investors are cautious at the moment. It would be fair to say that the domestic environment still remains quite challenging, share prices have obviously risen but company earnings haven’t necessarily risen as far. Investors are probably more concerned about the approach they take,” said Mr Penaloza.

Mr Rajan added that stock valuations were being distorted by the actions of central banks adopting record low lending rates and political issues such as rising tensions in emerging markets and the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, driving valuations more so than economics.

He has been in Australia the past week conducting interviews for the report and is hearing that many investors not only want higher returns but regular income and they are increasingly looking for assets with “bond-like features” – such as real assets like property with regular income which have an inflation kicker.

“What I am hearing from fund managers is that investors are getting ultra cautious. This is because they have been buffeted by two very severe bear markets,” he said.

“The other thing they are also saying is that they haven’t given up jumping on a bargain when they see one. And there are quiet a few that are emerging from time-to-time because of big macro factors that are creating quiet a lot of opportunities,” he said.

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