When a violent crime explodes into your own little world, how would you react

CommentGET out of the car. Get out of the f–king car.The words cracking through the winter night failed toregister at first.
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I found myself swivelling around to look at a black sports car idling only10 metres away and saw two men next to each other with the driver’s door wide open.

It has got me beat, but for some reasonmyinitial thought was that they were arguing about who should be driving.

Maybe I have been in too many of those conversations in the past.

But this was at the intersection of Bull and Union streets at Cooks Hill, a busy area of inner-city Newcastle, even if it was about 6.45pm on a Tuesday night.

What could they possibly be blueing about, I thought?

Then the older guy yelled: “I’ve been carjacked”.

And it hit me –just like it did to the woman attempting to open her unit door only metres away, so much so she dropped her water bottle and let out an audible gasp.

And just like it did to the fireman who open the front door to the adjacent Newcastle fire station to see what was happening.

Holy crap, this is fair dinkum.

By this stage, a bloke was behind the wheel as the older fellow walked behind the car in an apparent daze.

The seconds went slower and the apparent carjacker, armed with a knife which appeareda lot like what John Rambo used to use, started yelling profanities at himself: “what the f—k, what the f—k”.

The imbecile couldn’t re-start the car. The engine had stopped when he reefed the door open and the keys were useless to him –this was one of those fancy sports cars with button ignitions.

Realising he was going nowhere fast, and possibly sensing more and more eyes on him, the imbecile jumped back out of the car, blurted out one final profanity, and galloped from the scene wearing the street thug’s choice of disguise, a black hoodie, over his head and face.

It all happened in 10 seconds, no one was hurt, possibly except for the older guy who appeareda bit shaken.

Being an ex-Victorian copper would probably help him with the adrenaline rush – a rush so intense I have rarely felt before.

As a crime reporter for 20-oddyears, I have heard people speak of this rush, ofhow time slowed, and how instincts kicked in.

I know what they mean now.Although I was a bit upset withmy instincts.

I had always hoped –as have many I presume who have thought about it –that I would be thathero, the man full of bravado who could chase down the knife-wielding grub and crash-tackle him in an effort Trevor “The Axe” Gillmeister would be proud of.

But I hardly moved. I walked briskly towards the car when I realised he was attempting to get away, almost trying to get in front of it. But when he ran, I watched.

To be fair, I was never gifted with those fast-twitch fibres that those athletic commentators seem to talk about.

But maybe I could have tried.

We got onto thepolice were there in significant numbers within a minute.

And big kudos to them. Their calmness was impressive and almost contagious. And considering none of us had much for them to go on –a black hoodie and a bloody big knife –they hunted around for him.

They didn’t have much luck, but they are very hopeful about getting some evidence from the car andthe imbecile is behind bars shortly.

In the meantime, it’shard not to think that it could have so easily been so much worse.

State of Origin 2016, Game II: It’s onphotos

State of Origin II, 2016: How you saw it The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images
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The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

The scenes from Suncorp Stadium during Game II of the 2016 State of Origin series. Pic: Getty Images

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Testing times ahead for South Newcastle Lions in Newcastle Rugby League

WRAPPED UP: South Newcastle fullback Jared Edwards. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.Within the space of four weeksSouth Newcastle hosttitle holders Lakes followed by split matches against jointcompetition leaders Wests.
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For many these three encounterswould be an unwanted challenge, especially over a month mid-season, but the fourth-placed Lions are simply taking it in their stride despite having won just two of their last five outings.

“We need to lift another gear against Lakes this weekend and then we have Wests, Central and Wests again,” Souths captain-coach Todd Hurrell said.“Thingis though,we just have to take every week as it comes. You can look at the next month, or in blocks, but if you look too far ahead you miss this game, which is right in front of you.”

The Lions upcoming fixture is against the Seagulls at Townson Oval as part of a Newcastle Rugby League top-four double header on Sunday with Macquarie tackling Wests at Peacock Field on the same afternoon. Just two competition points separate the quartet of premiership contenders, which could swing around completelydepending on round 10 results. Lakes and Wests (12) are narrowly ahead of Macquarie (11) with Souths (10) less than a win behind.

“The top four play each other this week but it’s no different because it’s a tight competition,” Hurrell said. “You can’t look into your crystal ball and know what Wests are going to be like in three weeks time, or even us for that matter. It’s just got to be one week at a time. No one has really managed to show that consistency week-in and week-out yet. There have been glimpses but that will be the key.”

The Lions escaped unscathed from last week’s 28-12 victory against Kurri Kurri and are hoping their four Newcastle representative players back up from theNSW Country Championships final a day earlier.This includes in-touchfive-eighth William Heta, who has just returned from a knee injury and isamong the frontrunners for both player of the year and top point scorer.

Souths winger Marcus Boyle, described by Hurrell as “raw, quick and a good finisher”, will look to continue his form which leads the competition try scoring list on seven alongside Lakes opponentMatthew Craig.

In Sunday’s other game Wests welcome the return of former NRL backBrad Tighe from a hamstring injury but coach Steve Storrie remains unsure what position he will play. Rosellas winger Willis Alatini is unavailable for the clash with Macquarie.

Meanwhile, scans oninjured Central Newcastle forwardMatt Baker were inconclusive but doctors still suspect a fracture from Sunday’s head high tackle according to Butcher Boys captain-coach Rowan Kelly.

The retiring mentor saidBaker, who also suffered concussion from the incident, will definitely missSaturday’s encounter away against Cessnock.

Also on Saturday, in the final match of the round, Maitland host Kurri at Coronation Oval. The ground is located at Telarah and is the traditional home of the West Maitland Red Dogs. The alternative venueis being used by the Pickers with Maitland Sportsground out of action for the rest of the season becausemulti-million dollar 12-month redevelopments have commenced.

Mobile broadband fraud: 5G ‘perhaps terminally poor’, analysts say

5G will likely on ever serve a ‘supporting role’, analyst says.A respected UK-based investment advisory has thrown cold water on the promise of 5G mobile technology, finding that it is coming up short of the hype it is generating.
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The technology promises gigabit mobile broadband capacity, but New Street research on Tuesday night warned Australian telco operators, investors and regional broadcasting authorities to ignore the breathless excitement coming from vendors and their lobbyists.

The technology has generated excitement because it has the potential to unlock vast tracts of higher frequency spectrum bands for commercial use bringing down license costs for carrier and thereby increasing mobile broadband capacity.

It also has the potential to do something engineers once thought impossible — give a mobile phone its own dedicated beam of spectrum capacity making dizzying speeds faster than 1Gbps a potential reality regardless of how many others are nearby at the same time. It would only be a factor of the spectrum capacity dedicated to the tower equipment.

However, at an event hosted by Australia’s communications regulator, ACMA, in Sydney last night New Street senior analyst Andrew Entwistle laid down a long list of 5G technical limits threatening its economic viability.

He said that 5G wasn’t a genuine generational step change in mobile technology as 2G, 3G and 4G had been. Furthermore, he said 5G was only likely to share the stage with them in a supporting role, even if it were to meet the most realistic expectations of radio spectrum boffins.

Perhaps 5G’s greatest obstacle of all was that, if it succeeded, New Street expected it to kill off the traditional cellular model bringing a world of pain to carriers that have remained safely insulated from the need to cooperate with rivals.

The problem, Mr Entwistle said, was not the technical strides that wireless engineers were making ­­— even though 5G commercial services were still at least five years away. Rather, he said, it was 5G’s endemic economic resistance to fitting into current carrier business models.

“This was put very nicely just a couple of weeks ago at a conference we ran in the US. A wireless engineer said that he visualises the 4G (spectrum bands) as farmland that we know how to farm, we know how to use productively, we’ve been there for a while and its possible to make a good living with that.

“However, the higher frequency bands are essentially uninhabited desert stretching off into the distance. We don’t know how to grow stuff there … At the moment we don’t have the tools and techniques for bringing that desert into productive use,” Mr Entwistle explained.

At least part of the mystery unsolved is that the high frequency bands are not capable of delivering services over the long distances that lower frequency 3G and 4G bands can. That would increase the amount of investment that carriers would be require to bring their networks up to a level of density capable of accommodating 5G without compromising customer reach.

Possibly worse still, as the “knowns and unknowns” about the technology started to crystallise, he described 5G’s capability for “outdoor-to-indoor service” — which includes anywhere without direct line of sight to a tower such as football stadiums and train stations — as “perhaps terminally poor”. That would mean that carriers would need to invest in a lot of additional customer premise equipment to get across those membranes making sticking with sunk investment in 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi-supported fixed line broadband far more economically attractive.

“We’re not just talking about 5G in the meeting room there. It’s complex environments as well,” Mr Entwistle said.

The technology’s credibility was given one of its strongest boosts in April when Verizon Communications US announced it would deploy a 5G network by 2017 vindicating the wider view that it could act as a super fast successor to current fixed wireless technology and provide an able competitor to fixed line broadband.

However, even here New Street was able to hose down the enthusiasm pointing that Verizon was describing a development path that would initially be 4G and that it had used the 5G terminology without any kind of firm time-frame.

Mr Entwistle said that while it provided a promising alternative the Verizon example highlighted structural resistance to 5G when it came to the balance sheet for wireless-only players.

These companies, he said, were already struggling to compete with rivals operating fixed and wireless infrastructure, particularly when it came to knowing how to absorb backhaul costs associated with short range and Wi-Fi services against revenue from their core mobile services.

The advent of 5G would only increase that disadvantage with the potential for consumers to blow their monthly broadband caps too high.

“At the moment we just about survive mixing paid (mobile) usage and free Wi-Fi usage because we know what we did in the last month and why we’re paying more, because we didn’t turn on the Wi-Fi or whatever. In the 5G era you will have no idea what your phone has been connected to… Inadvertent usage at 1Gbps you can blow your entire bundle in eight seconds,” Mr Entwistle explained.

In the UK Mr Entwistle envisaged a number of forced marriages between fixed infrastructure and wireless-only operators. There, he pointed out, there were enough mating pairs to overcome the challenge.

That was less certain in other markets like the US, he said. Arguably, in Australia, where the federal government has created the NBN to nationalise broadband infrastructure and sell it via single wholesaler the challenge of finding such pairs would be acute.

The same challenges applied to selling what he described as “5G to the rooftop” as an alternative to fixed wireless technology in markets where there was little fixed line broadband competition.

The pain of investing in backhaul to serve 5G nodes would be accentuated by technical challenges — not least the need for customers to be within their line-of-sight and the added cost of sending technicians to install on-premise equipment which would most likely need to be placed on most elevated point on their homes and businesses possible.

“This isn’t a simple technical challenge and certainly involves some sort of engineering visit to install. You don’t want customers going on their own roof to install it from a number of points of view,” Entwistle said.

Rio Olympics: Mayor Eduardo Paes apologises for mugging of Liesl Tesch and Sarah Ross in Rio

Liesl Tesch, from Woy Woy, was riding a bike with a team official when they were confronted by two men. Photo: Rohan ThomsonBrazil should be embarrassed about Rio crime: CommentParalympian Liesl Tesch and official Sarah Ross robbed at gunpoint in RioRio state declares financial emergency, requests funding for Olympics
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Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes has lamented the mugging of Australian Paralympian Liesl Tesch and team official Sarah Ross in the city, issuing an apology at a press conference.

Fronting the media to present an account of the city’s Olympic budget on Tuesday, Mr Paes said the security incident which reverberated around the world was “unacceptable”.

Tesch, a sailing gold medallist, and Ross were robbed at gunpoint while riding their bikes in Rio’s Flamengo on Sunday morning. Tesch described the incident as “absolutely horrific”.

It was the second robbery involving Olympic sailors. In May, two Spanish sailors and a coach were robbed at gunpoint by children while in Rio for training.

“There were five children with two pistols. To me they have taken all the instrumental work that we had at the time. It was a very unpleasant experience,” Lopez-Vazquez said on the Spanish Sailing Federal website at the time.

The Australian Olympic team’s Chef de Mission, Kitty Chiller, said she had written to organisers asking them to deploy some of their 100,000-strong security force severals weeks early to protect athletes in the lead-up to the event.

But Mr Paes denied receiving such a letter. According to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, the security of the city is the responsibility of the state government, not Mr Paes.

“We know the security challenges of Rio. I am certain they will be better during the Games,” he told reporters.

Asked about the litany of bad news out of the city, Mr Paes acknowledged “the city of Rio is a city with problems”. He said that Rio, with its endemic violence, extreme inequality and woeful public services, mustn’t be compared with former Olympic host cities in developed nations.

Instead pre-Olympic Rio should be compared with the city now, he said highlighting improvements in the seaside metropolis’ chronic gridlock. He said much remained to be done, but suggested that the major problem areas – such as security and the failure to make good on Olympic promises to clean up Rio’s human sewage-filled waterways – were those under the state government’s responsibility.

“The Olympics were never a panacea for the city of Rio,” he said.

Last week, Mr Paes declared a state of financial emergency for the city, hoping to trigger further investment from the state and federal governments for the games.

On Tuesday, he insisted that both governments had contributed relatively little of the 7 billion reais ($2.75 billion) budget for infrastructure projects for the games. The city was responsible for the lion’s share of the infrastructure budget.

“People have the impression that the federal government is giving bucketfuls of money” to Rio for the Olympics, he said, adding that was a “lie”.

The city’s finances are in good health, a city statement issued on its official website said: “The city is responsible for 93 per cent of the new Olympic-related infrastructure with the exception of energy supply costs. With the exception of the velodrome, all building works are 100 per cent finalised and have been delivered.

“Unlike London which hosted the Games in 2012, Rio has always demonstrated a commitment to avoid unnecessary expenses. While the English [sic] capital spent about 50 billion reais  just on the stadiums and the organising committee, Rio spent 13.5 billion reais less on the project overall. The London Olympic Stadium alone cost 12 billion reais. Rio spent the equivalent in all the works required at the Olympic Park, Deodoro Sports Complex, golf course and renovation of the Olympic Stadium Engenhao. ​

“In addition, only 20 per cent of the London Games investments came from the private sector, while in Rio that number is 80 per cent.”

Mr Paes, whose Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) is caught in a sprawling corruption probe, had been rumoured to harbour presidential ambitions. But local news reports say his party has ruled out a possible Paes presidential run in 2018 after a series of recent scandals tarnished his image.

with AP, Reuters

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Game of Thrones cast to get huge pay rises for season seven, but characters could still be killed

Queen of dragons and paydays … Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones, will reportedly get $US500,000 per episode during season seven. Photo: Supplied Riding high … Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, along with other actors who play central characters on Game of Thrones, will be getting a hefty pay increase. Photo: HBO
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Peter Dinklage, as Tyrion Lannister, has become one of the highest paid actors on US cable TV. Photo: HBO/Foxtel

Game of Thrones’ Battle of the Bastards recapI am woman hear me roar

It looks like summer is coming for the main cast of Game of Thrones.

They are getting hefty pay rises from next season, though with no guarantee their characters will survive, according to a US report.

Expected to get more than $US500,000 an episode – a spectacular $671,000 – are Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister).

According to Deadline Hollywood, the five actors netted close to $US300,000 ($402,603) an episode heading into the current season six in exchange for giving cable channel HBO an option for a seventh season.

That made them among the highest-paid actors on American cable television.

Now they are are getting substantially more for season seven next year while signing on for a possible eighth season.

But even those salary boosts “does not guarantee that all five characters will survive till the end as the show’s last episodes are yet to be written.”

The smash hit fantasy series based on the books by George R.R. Martin is expected to have fewer episodes in coming series – possibly seven episodes for series seven and just six for series eight.

For those whose characters do survive, the new pay rises mean the main five actors could earn $8.7 million each over these two seasons, which reflects the series’ massive success around the world.

Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have said they are “approaching the finish line” of the series, telling The Hollywood Reporter before the sixth season that they are “writing the final act” and are “looking at somewhere between 70 and 75 hours before the credits roll for the last time.”

But given the series’ ratings and critical success, there will be huge pressure to continue in some form.

While HBO said that it doesn’t discuss contract negotiations, contracts of other cast members outside the big five are reportedly yet to be negotiated.

Hunter Drama brings Dreamworks’ Shrek The Musical Jr to Newcastle

Stars: “We will be giving people what they expect visually, songs like I’m a Believer and a whole swag of new music,” Daniel Stoddart said. “We also get to know a little bit more about the characters than we do in the movie.”THE Newcastle production of Dreamworks’ Shrek The Musical Jrwill offer Hunter audiences the chance tosee the next generation of Broadway stars, according to Hunter Drama artistic directorDanielStoddart.
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The cast of the 70 minute production,based on the Oscar-winning animated film,are all 18 and under and featuresTom Rodgers as Shrek, Charlie O’Connell as Donkey, Rory Pollock as Lord Farquaad and Maisie Owens and Phoebe Bayliss as Princess Fiona.

“The anticipation is huge and the competition has been fierce,” Mr Stoddart said.

“But their ideas and their willingness to learn has been outstanding and really inspiring.”

Lead role: Rory Pollock as Lord Farquaad.

Rehearsals will start in the second week of July ahead of the three-day run from September 29 at The Civic Theatre.

The show follows Hunter Drama’s first large-scale production, the2014 box office hit Disney’s Little Mermaid Jr, which also earned it a Most Outstanding Production award at the USA Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta.

“The actress who played Ariel Bonnie McPeak arrived in New York on Thursday and started rehearsals on Friday for A Chorus Line,” he said.

“So you literally will be seeing people who will be performing on Broadway one day.

“It’s a real industry pathway for kids who are prepared to work really, really hard at it.”

Mr Stoddart said the company was keen following the success of The Little Mermaid to take on another project ofa similar commercial scale and was considering Aladdin.

It spoke with MusicTheatre InternationalAustralasia managing directorStuart Hendricks, who put the companyin touch with Dreamworks.

“We wanted something that had as broad as appeal but that was a little more gender-friendly,” he said.

“We will be giving people what they expect visually, songs like I’m a Believer and a whole swag of new music.

“We also get to know a little bit more about the characters than we do in the movie.

“It’s very funny and not just a kids show –the parents will get a real kick out of it too.”

Mr Stoddart said the companywas itching to return to the stage.

“It’s been like putting on an old pair of shoes that you really love and you’ve just been waiting for the right outfit or occasion to put them back on again,” he said.

“It’s been really exciting and really exhilarating.”

Tickets for the six performances start from $40 and are available from Ticketek.

Jucy Talau faces court charged with bashing teen referee at junior rugby league match

Jucy Talau appeared at Sutherland Local Court on Wednesday to face charges following an alleged incident at a junior rugby league match. Photo: Peter RaeA man who allegedly punched a teenage referee in the face at a junior rugby league match in Sydney’s south on the weekend will apply to be dealt with under the Mental Health Act.
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Jucy Talau, 34, who is reportedly the brother of former NRL star Willie Talau, did not enter a plea when he faced Sutherland Local Court on Wednesday morning charged with one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Talau is accused of punching a 16-year-old referee, who can not be named for legal reasons, during an under-12s match at Anzac Oval in Engadine on Saturday.

It is understood Mr Talau was acting as a qualified junior league trainer for the Gymea Gorillas as they played against the Engadine Dragons. The assault allegedly occurred after the referee ruled that a player needed to be replaced during the match.

In court, a lawyer for Talau consented without making admissions to the police application for an Apprehended Violence Order. This order prevents Talau from contacting, intimidating, harassing or assaulting the teen referee for 12 months.

Talau’s lawyer also indicated that there would be an application for the matter to be dealt with under Section 32 of the Mental Health Act.

A hearing for the application will be held in August, while Talau must enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty by July 12.

Magistrate Julie Huber excused Talau of attending his next court date.

Dressed in a grey hoodie and keeping his face down, Talau did not speak to reporters as he entered and left the court.

The young referee was treated at the field by paramedics and was taken to the Children’s Hospital at Randwick with bruising.

Following the alleged assault, Talau was stood down as a trainer and banned from all league grounds in the Cronulla-Sutherland district.

The Cronulla-Sutherland District Junior Rugby League has introduced new mandatory penalties, effective immediately, for those found to have abused referees.

The “zero tolerance” rules include a six-month ban from official duties for coaches, trainers, managers and spectators for a first offence, a 12-month ban for a second offence and a life ban for a third offence.

Players sent off for showing dissent to a referee will face a six-match ban for a first offence, a six-month ban for a second offence and year long ban for a third offence.

“I believe it’s necessary to protect the integrity of the referees and moving forward I believe it will be good for rugby league in general,” general manager Nathan Waugh said.

World Yoga Day: I hate yoga – but don’t hate me for it

Yoga – not everyone’s cup of tea. Photo: SuppliedI have a confession to make. I hate yoga.
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It’s very un-PC of me, I know. Hating yoga is like hating motherhood.

I don’t doubt it’s good for you. Traditional yoga offers a path to enlightenment that not only trains your body but educates your heart, your soul, your mind.

I’m all for being enlightened and hope I am making progress in that direction from other efforts. But, from childhood, I was always rebellious when anyone insisted I must do a certain thing. And yoga is practically essential, if you believe the lifestyle magazines.

Those who practice yoga long term are so admirably limber, they are almost another species. They look at you with pity when you admit to not taking classes. And I do understand why. I would love to love it. But I can’t. And I’ve tried.

In my travels, I have participated in a few yoga classes. They’re hard to avoid. The yoga pavilion is a feature of most resorts these days. Some of them are set on lakes, or overlooking the ocean, or in the deep rainforest. I want to join the class just to hang out in these beautiful spaces, standing on one leg and being at one with the universe.

These resorts are proud of their yoga studios and many see it as integral to their health and wellness programs. I’ve never been made to do yoga, but I’ve sometimes been made to feel recalcitrant, like a rather thick schoolgirl, when I’ve declined. Especially when I’m travelling with lithe yogamanes.

It’s just that I never feel anything other than dizzy and frustrated when attempting most of those yoga poses. And annoyed with myself, especially whenever the perfect specimen of a teacher, undulating like bread dough, clearly gets irritated by me too. I used to play hooky from school on sports days because I couldn’t stand the gym teacher looking at me like that.

Yoga aficionados will either be disapproving when I admit this or nod in wise empathy and tell me I’ve obviously never joined the right class or had the right teacher. Or I’ve chosen the wrong yoga for me. And perhaps this is true.

There are at least a dozen variants, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Kundalini, Hatha and Bikram being the most popular. I know Bikram is hot, Hatha is gentle and Kundalini involves chanting mantras. I believe there are versions such as Laughter Yoga and Chocolate Yoga using ceremonial cacao (that might work for me.) I know yoga can be vigorous like Pilates, which I quite like because you can lie down on a Reformer for most of it and it’s rarely boring. That’s the thing – I find yoga (and meditation for what it’s worth) boring. Even when I took a meditation class in Sri Lanka with a real monk, I couldn’t sit still.

But I had a kind of epiphany recently. I still don’t like yoga. But I met a teacher who made me think I could actually enjoy it.

Her name is Lara Baumann who, with husband Rob Drummond, established Tri Lanka, a new eco resort on tranquil Lake Koggala in Sri Lanka. The focus of the resort is wellness, albeit a very luxurious kind, and Lara often conducts yoga classes in a shala that overlooks a bamboo grove.

I went along with the group to once more try a yoga session, somewhat dreading it, as Lara devised and teaches her own method of yoga, Quantum Yoga, and the cover of her book and DVD features her in bendy poses I thought only Gumby could pull off.

Quantum Yoga is based on ayurvedic principles. A questionnaire helped us establish our dominant dosha, or humour. I was mostly a pitta body type. I suspect that meant “lazy”. But, actually Lara was pitta too, so maybe not.

I couldn’t do one tenth of the poses, even though the class was for novices. But, strangely, it didn’t matter. Lara was inclusive, kind and funny. My stay was too short, or I would have semi-eagerly joined another session.

Please don’t write to me and tell me how great yoga is. I know it is. I know not all yoga teachers are boring, that there’s a way to do it that is intellectually stimulating as well as physically. I know I would be much better off with it. Like I’d be better off eating yoghurt. I don’t like that either.

Lee Tulloch was a guest of Tri Lanka.

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Ghostbusters: Fall Out Boy’s version of theme song dubbed ‘hauntingly bad’

The all-female Ghostbusters … Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones. Photo: Hopper Stone Secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) in Ghostbusters. Photo: Hopper Stone
Shanghai night field

Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon in Ghostbusters.

Fall Out Boy’s Joe Trohman, Pete Wentz, Patrick Stump and Andy Hurley received a wave of negative reviews about their version of Ray Parker Jr’s Ghostbusters theme song.

Ghostbusters trailer brings out misogynistsMovie session timesFull movies coverage

First there was all that online hate for the trailer for the new all-female Ghostbusters.

Now’s spread to the new theme song to the movie from Fall Out Boy. Or rather a reworking of the catchy old theme song by Ray Parker Jr, featuring Missy Elliot.

The Los Angeles Times has called the song not just bad but ‘hauntingly bad’.

“So ghastly is Fall Out Boy’s new theme to Ghostbusters that if, after first listen, you vapourised it, pumped it into a tank, locked it in a safe and buried it under the Empire State Building, Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid) would still flatulently seep to the surface to torture millions.”

In a review headed “Where will Fall Out Boy’s reign of terror end”, Oregon Live described the song as painful as a karate kick.

“Bill Murray and the entire Wu-Tang Clan should stage a 2am burglary to steal every computer involved in its making,” it said. “A congressional sit-in should block anyone but Carly Rae Jepsen from covering it ever again. In a dusty studio warehouse right now, Vigo’s CGI painting eyes are rolling.”

According to Consequences of Sound, the CIA will soon be using the song to torture detainees in Guantanamo.

The comments echo the online hate that came after the release of the first trailer for the movie, which stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, earlier this year.

It became one of the most disliked movie trailers ever to be released on YouTube, sparking a debate not just about whether Ghostbusters should have been rebooted but whether it was right to cast it with, gasp, women.

“Sexist that men were excluded here, only because they were men,” wrote one commenter.

“We hate the ridiculous pandering the feminist movement is getting,” wrote another. “It’d be one thing if they had one, or two women, but all of them are women and it is pushing far too much.”

But that trolling might not have the effect the haters want.

For the Hollywood studio behind Ghostbusters, it’s all just publicity.

Asked how much the online hate would affect the movie, Tom Rothman, the chairman of Hollywood studio Sony Pictures Entertainment’s motion picture group, could hardly contain his excitement.

“It’s the greatest thing that ever happened,” Rothman told The Hollywood Reporter. “Are you kidding me? We’re in the national debate, thank you. Can we please get some more haters to say stupid things?”

And on whether the movie will be successful, Rothman was more guarded. “Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t comment about that. The good news is, you can feel the momentum of the movie.

“We had a thing last week where Bill Murray, who had just seen the movie, came out and said how great it was. You just could feel the cultural excitement.”

Ghostbusters opens in Australia on July 21.