Day: July 1, 2018

The biggest match of my life: Gallen

“The biggest game in history” … Blues captain Paul Gallen.NSW captain Paul Gallen has described tomorrow night’s State of Origin series decider as the biggest match of his 12-year NRL career.
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”I have played in some big games – obviously finals and the World Cup for Australia and Origin deciders – before, but this is up there as the biggest game at the moment,” Gallen said. ”Hopefully there are some bigger ones to come but this week is a big week for me.”

For the record, the Cronulla skipper has represented Australia 22 times and will play his 14th match for the Blues in Origin III. Having made his Origin debut in 2006, Gallen is yet to play in a winning series but the 30-year-old Blues lock is confident that will change tomorrow night at Suncorp Stadium.

”We have prepared really well physically for this game, now we have just got to get our heads right on Wednesday night and go out there and execute whatever game plan we come up with. If we do that we will be hard to beat,” Gallen said.

Despite Queensland having dominated the series for the past six years, each game just keeps getting bigger and Origin III is expected to be the most-watched league match ever.

The 2011 decider, which was also Darren Lockyer’s last appearance for the Maroons, set an Origin ratings record but that was bettered when almost four million viewers tuned in to the opening game of this year’s series – and Gallen predicted tomorrow night’s match will be bigger still.

”I think every year Origin gets bigger no matter who is retiring, no matter what the occasion,” Gallen said. ”That is the great thing about Origin. Every year it gets bigger and better, and more people are watching and more people are involved, so I would dare to say it is probably going to be the biggest game in history.”

After injuring his knee in the Sharks’ round nine loss to South Sydney on May 7, there were fears Gallen would miss this year’s Origin campaign – but he will go into the decider fully fit for the first time in the series.

While he has not been adversely effected by the injury, Gallen did little training with the team in the lead-up to Origin I and then aggravated the problem in the 18-10 loss to Queensland at Etihad Stadium.

He suffered a further knock to his knee midway through the first half of Origin II but said he had now fully recovered.

”Since last Monday I haven’t missed a training session and I have been running four to five kilometres a session so hopefully the worst of it is behind me,” Gallen said. ”By the time I play this Origin game it will be three or four weeks of recovery and rehab so I am hoping that I will be 100 per cent.”

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Swans won’t underestimate resurgent Lions, says Longmire

Coach John Longmire says his team won’t underestimate Brisbane.SYDNEY would have pencilled in this Saturday night’s match against Brisbane as an easy, percentage-boosting win a month ago, but now they can’t be so sure the four points are in the bag.
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Having been tipped to finish in the bottom four, the Lions battled through the early part of the season but hit their straps last month, breaking West Coast’s unbeaten streak, thrashing the Western Bulldogs on their home ground and then crushing Melbourne on Sunday.

Now Michael Voss’s team is no longer fighting to avoid the wooden spoon but is eyeing off a spot in the eight. Their 6-7 record has the Lions just one win from eighth-placed North Melbourne and they arrive at the SCG brimming with confidence despite having lost their past four matches against the Swans.

Sydney coach John Longmire says his team won’t be underestimating Brisbane, insisting they have nothing but respect for the Queenslanders’ unlikely turnaround.

”We’ve come off [wins over] Essendon and Geelong – two quality teams – and GWS are in their first year but we don’t underestimate anyone. It’s not something we want to have in the psyche of any of our players,” Longmire said yesterday.

”You need to prepare so professionally and there would have been a number of our blokes who would have seen Brisbane play on the weekend and would have been really impressed with what they saw.

”They’re a strong-at-the-ball team but they’ve also had 100 more uncontested possessions than Melbourne. They run really hard, they’ve really improved. Our blokes would know that, they would have seen that, and they’ll see it again this week in the meetings.”

Longmire described Brisbane’s form as being ”as solid as anyone’s in the competition over the last month” and said little could be read into Sydney’s recent dominance over their northern rivals. ”Not really, because they’ve changed their team fairly dramatically, as have we,” he said.

With Swans Shane Mumford and Adam Goodes only just starting to get match time after significant injuries, Longmire is confident the pair will hit top stride soon.

”They’re getting better. I think that both players now are coming back into a bit of form. Looking at Shane’s game [against GWS] on the tape, I think he played better than what I thought he did after the game and he’s certainly getting better with each game.” he said. ”I thought Goodesy, to kick a couple of goals [did well], and the longer the game went the better he felt. I expect both of those blokes to be building on their form and fitness.”

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Blackmarket organ trade spreads among Europe’s poor

Ervin Balo, left, who tried to sell a kidney to support his family while unemployed, with his wife, Elvira, and one of his children, in Kikinda, Serbia. Pavle Mircov, who has advertised a kidney for sale online after losing his job, in Kovin, Serbia.
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BELGRADE, Serbia: Pavle Mircov and his partner, Daniella, nervously scan their email inbox every 15 minutes, desperate for economic salvation: a buyer willing to pay nearly $US40,000 for one of their kidneys.

The couple, the parents of two teenagers, put their organs up for sale on a local online classified site six months ago after Mircov, 50, lost his job at a meat factory. He has not been able to find any work, he said, so he has grown desperate. When his father recently died, Mircov could not afford a tombstone. The telephone service has been cut off. One meal a day of bread and salami is the family’s only extravagance.

“When you need to put food on the table, selling a kidney doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice,” Mircov said.

Facing grinding poverty, some Europeans are seeking to sell their kidneys, lungs, bone marrow or corneas, experts say. This phenomenon is relatively new in Serbia, a nation that has been battered by war and is grappling with the financial crisis that has swept the continent. The spread of illegal organ sales into Europe, where they are gaining momentum, has been abetted by the internet, a global shortage of organs for transplants and, in some cases, unscrupulous traffickers ready to exploit the economic misery.

In Spain, Italy, Greece and Russia, advertisements by people peddling organs – as well as hair, sperm and breast milk – have turned up on the internet, with asking prices for lungs as high as $US250,000. In late May, the Israeli police detained 10 members of an international crime ring suspected of organ trafficking in Europe, European Union law enforcement officials said. The officials said the suspects had targeted impoverished people in Moldova, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

“Organ trafficking is a growth industry,” said Jonathan Ratel, a European Union special prosecutor who is leading a case against seven people accused of luring poor victims from Turkey and former communist countries to Kosovo to sell their kidneys with false promises of payments of up to $US20,000. “Organised criminal groups are preying upon the vulnerable on both sides of the supply chain: people suffering from chronic poverty, and desperate and wealthy patients who will do anything to survive.”

The main supply countries have traditionally been China, India, Brazil and the Philippines. But experts say Europeans are increasingly vulnerable.

An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 kidneys are illegally sold globally each year, according to Organs Watch, a human rights group in California, that tracks the illegal organ trade. The World Health Organisation estimates that only 10 per cent of global needs for organ transplantation are being met.

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, the director of Organs Watch and a professor of medical anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, said the attempt by poor Europeans to sell their organs was reminiscent of the period after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when chronic joblessness created a new breed of willing sellers.

Trade in organs in Serbia is illegal and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. But that is not deterring the people of Doljevac, a poor municipality of 19,000 people in southern Serbia, where the government refused an attempt by residents to register a local agency to sell their organs and blood abroad for profit.

Violeta Cavac, a homemaker advocating for the network, said that the unemployment rate in Doljevac was 50 per cent and that more than 3000 people had wanted to participate. Deprived of a legal channel to sell their organs, she said, residents are now trying to sell body parts in neighbouring Bulgaria or in Kosovo.

“I will sell my kidney, my liver, or do anything necessary to survive,” she said.

Hunched over his computer in Kovin, about 50 kilometres from Belgrade, Mircov showed a reporter his kidney-for-sale advertisement, which included his blood type and phone number.

“Must sell kidney. Blood group A,” the ad said. “My financial situation is very difficult. I lost my job, and I need money for school for my two children.”

After six months of advertising, Mircov said, his days are punctuated by hope and disappointment. He said a man from Mannheim, Germany, had offered to fly him to Germany and cover the transplant costs. But when Mircov tried to follow up, he said, the man disappeared.

A woman from Macedonia offered $US24,000 for a kidney from his partner, Daniella, but that was $US12,000 below her asking price. She noted that she has blood type O, which can bring a $US12,000 premium on the organ market because the blood is safe for most recipients.

Mircov said he had no fear about an eventual operation or legal strictures forbidding organ sales. “It’s my body, and I should be able to do what I want with it,” he said.

Government officials insisted that Serbia was not so poor as to reduce people to selling their body parts, while police officials said not a single case of organ trafficking in Serbia had been prosecuted in the past 10 years. Experts who study illegal organ sales said prosecutions were rare because transplants usually took place in third countries, making them difficult to track.

Djoko Maksic, a leading nephrologist who runs the transplant program at the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade, expressed disbelief that illegal organ selling was taking place in Serbia, saying every potential donor was scrutinised and vetted by a hospital committee consisting of doctors, ethicists and lawyers.

But Milovan, 52, a former factory worker from a rural village in southern Serbia, said he “gave” his kidney to a wealthy local politician who, in return, put him on his company payroll and offered to buy him medication. The kidney was extracted at a public hospital in Belgrade, he said, with both men using forged donor cards indicating they were brothers.

Debt-ridden, Milovan, who declined to give his last name for fear of being ostracised by his neighbors, lamented that the recipient had recently cut him off, and his family said he had spent his money so quickly that he was reduced to selling eggs at a local market.

The New York Times

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Lion swallows small critters

Creature comfort … LWB’s Howard Cearns and Nic Trimboli are optimistic.It’s no secret mainstream beer consumption is heading south at the same time as craft- and premium-beer segments continue to grow. Little surprise, then, that Lion recently pounced on a bunch of brands including Guinness, Stella Artois, Little Creatures and White Rabbit.
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The Japanese-owned Lion is Australia’s second-largest brewer, producing mainstream beer brands such as Tooheys, XXXX, Swan and the craft offshoot James Squire. The rights to brew Guinness and Stella Artois locally have been held by rival Foster’s for decades, and their transfer to the Lion stable takes on added significance with the takeover bid for Little World Beverages, which produces Little Creatures, White Rabbit and Pipsqueak Cider.

Lion’s premium-craft portfolio suddenly got a whole lot fatter.

Lion already owns about 36 per cent of LWB and the buyout will give them control of breweries in Fremantle and Healesville, plus a healthy slice of the craft-beer market. Another Little Creatures brewery is under construction in Geelong and is due to start production in about April next year, which may have been the tipping point for Lion’s bid, as they have no Victorian brewing facilities.

”Lion chose the timing and for shareholders it was a good offer and a good process,” a director of LWB, Howard Cearns, says.

”Who knows what is the right time [to sell] but weighing it all up it didn’t feel wrong.

”I believe Lion has a commitment to preserve the product standards, if not even build upon the consistency. [They recognise] that the people and culture that exists are very important to the company’s success.

”No doubt it’s [a] changing of the guard but [there are] plenty of great people to make sure the story continues.”

LWB also has three hospitality venues, in Fremantle, Healesville and Melbourne. It will be interesting to watch their progress under the new regime – major Australian breweries have shown little enthusiasm to run pubs and bars in recent times.

Cearns says he and fellow Little Creatures founder, Nic Trimboli, have ”no regrets” about accepting Lion’s offer but ”certainly some tinges of sadness to be letting go. Also a sense of satisfaction among founders [about] what we created and contributed to the growth of craft in this country.”

Another intriguing piece of the LWB buyout involves the 20 per cent share they hold in Byron Bay craft brewer Stone & Wood. The latter’s head brewer and co-owner, Brad Rogers, says the Lion bid had come ”out of the blue” and he is unclear how the big brewery’s part-ownership will affect Stone & Wood.

The changes also added significance to the pair of limited-edition brews that arrived on my desk from Little Creatures and the Lion-owned Malt Shovel Brewery. In line with recent Little Creatures Single Batch brews, Day of the Long Shadow is a complex, high-alcohol ale – something with higher production costs seen more as a marketing tool than profit-maker. It’s just the sort of thing an accountant sitting in a big brewery head office might decide isn’t worth the investment.

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It’s what’s inside that counts

Tasting of a lifetime … Shavaughn Wells and Richard Mattner of Saltram.Something was missing at the recent Saltram museum tasting. Here was a rare opportunity to taste Saltram Mamre Brook reds from the current vintage to the first one from 1963, and Stonyfell Metala from now to the first from 1959. Yet only one member of the younger generation of wine writers was present. Everyone else was grey-haired – or no-haired. And it’s not that younger guests weren’t invited. My regret was the chance to taste history and learn about the evolution of Australian wine was not shared by the up-and-coming generation.
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There were 96 bottles lined up, 50 of them Mamre Brook, 46 Metala. These are hardly high-end wines. Indeed, they’re inexpensive. It goes without saying they’re not fashionable. Hot-climate South Australian red wines from big companies (Saltram is part of Treasury Wine Estates, formerly Foster’s) are a bit on the nose these days. But these are both excellent red wines, much improved of late, very affordable and distributed widely. Metala is about $19-$23 and Mamre Brook $29-$33. These are wines for the people.

Metala 1970 and Mamre Brook ’71 are two of the first wines I ever bought to cellar, in the late ’70s. Both were made by Peter Lehmann and his team, who walked out of Saltram in 1979 when new owner Seagram began to change things. Consequently, the wines of the 1980s are disappointing, partly because Seagram was not quality-oriented and was, temporarily, in a region and a business it knew nothing about. Even in great years such as 1986, ’90 and ’91, they managed to make below-par wines. Both in Mamre Brook and Metala, the alcohols are low – due to harvesting too early – and the acids high, most likely due to over-acidification. The wines are same-ish and bland. It’s a reminder of how picking the grapes too early can result in loss of terroir, just as in more recent times winemakers have been accused of picking their grapes too late.

It’s likely other factors were at work, too: lesser-quality grapes and vineyards overwatered to gain higher yields. But this cannot be the case at Metala, which has always been a single-vineyard wine. Mamre Brook is Barossa; Metala is Langhorne Creek – grown by the Adams family and their forebears the Formbys, who have owned and farmed this iconic vineyard since they first planted it in 1881. Today’s manager, Guy Adams, took over the job in 1981. Metala was vinified at the vineyard until 1952, then at Stonyfell’s Adelaide winery and then at Saltram’s Barossa winery, to the present day.

The wines of the early 1970s were impressive from both labels: none of the wines we tasted was ”over the hill” and there were no significant technical flaws. Metala, for instance, was outstanding from 1959 to ’63 inclusive, and the more successful seasons of the ’70s were also excellent, including ’71 and ’72. But there were few exciting wines until the ’90s, except for standouts such as ’80, ’84 and ’86.

With Mamre Brook, the early wines (1963 to ’78) were a pleasant surprise: really excellent, mellow and complex. But there wasn’t much to excite between 1980 and 2001 except the ’84 blend and ’96 cabernet. This is an indictment of the winemaking.

Until 1995, the wine had always been a cabernet shiraz blend, but in 1996 then-winemaker Nigel Dolan decided to split the crop and make two separate wines. Quality improved during the latter part of Dolan’s term and has continued to rise. Shavaughn Wells joined Dolan in 2004 and Dolan left in 2007. Certainly, Wells’s recent vintages, produced with assistant winemaker Richard Mattner, are outstanding; none better than the current release 2010. The only recent vintage to rival 2010 is 2006, when both wines were rippers – especially the shiraz.

Oak and alcohol emerge as historical concerns, and while the oak situation has been addressed, alcohol hasn’t. The alcohols started creeping up in the late ’90s and since 2002 Mamre Brook and Metala have been between 14.5 per cent and 15 per cent alcohol almost every vintage. A few have touched 15.5 per cent. The wines don’t taste unbalanced, but I wonder if they are going too far? When we consider the earliest wines were substantially lower, you’d have to conclude it did them no harm. In the ’80s, the wines for which there are records (by no means all) were between 12 per cent and 13 per cent alcohol, but no one would turn the clock back to this period, as the wines were very ordinary. There’s no doubt their richness, charm and character is better today, but maybe the makers could shave a per cent off.

The other startling feature of the older wines, both Metala and Mamre Brook, was that they were aged for 2½ years to three years in large 500-gallon vats – 2250-litre casks. It’s become accepted wisdom that small oak barrels, some new, are necessary to make great red wine. But the older vintages had no small or new oak, and are still wonderful. Perhaps they weren’t so ”pretty” or aromatic as young wines, but is that enough reason to hit them with a lot of oak?

Wells doesn’t think so, because she’s gone back to large vats for at least part of the maturation – with some difficulty. These barrels are not easy to come by today. But she is gradually building up a cellar of them, and is very pleased with the results. Certainly, the recent vintages don’t show overt oakiness.

Don’t expect to find these wines in smart restaurants and groovy wine bars. Look for them in supermarkets and unfashionable bottle shops everywhere.

[email protected]南京夜网TASTINGSMcLEISH TAKES GOLD IN LONDON

Hunter Valley boutique vineyard McLeish Estate has scooped a field of international contenders, winning the trophy for the best semillon at the International Wine Challenge in London. The wine was their 2007 vintage, made by one of the region’s star semillon makers, Andrew Thomas. Owners Robert and Maryanne McLeish flew to London to accept the award at the Taste of Gold ceremony at Lord’s Cricket Ground on June 20. The family’s 11 hectares of vineyards were established at Pokolbin in 1985 and second-generation family member Jessica is involved today. The same wine won the trophy for the best open vintage semillon at the 2012 Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show. It will be served to 800 guests at the awards presentation banquet in September.MAC BACKS THE VAT

Saltram is not the only winery buying large maturation vats. The trend is quite wide. Yarra Valley winemaker Mac Forbes approached the doyen of Austrian coopers, Franz Stockinger. “He insisted on sitting down with me and tasting and talking before he would sell me a barrel,” Forbes says. “He opened a couple of dozen bottles with me. I think he wanted to gauge my commitment and see whether I’d thought it through properly. He sold me one 1200-litre cask.” Forbes fermented riesling in it this year, and hopes to buy more. “It completely changes the texture,” he says. Certainly, a high-acid 2012 riesling tasted much better balanced out of the cask than it did from stainless steel.CARPINETO UNCORKS CHIANTI

Italian wines with DOCG – the Italian appellation control system – must by law be sealed with a cork. Hence, it’s not possible for a winemaker to seal a Chianti with a screw cap. Carpineto, a large Tuscan producer, has decided to have a joke on the authorities, in true Italian style. It has released a red wine called Spolverino, Italian for feather duster – as in “today’s rooster is tomorrow’s feather duster”. The label depicts a black rooster (the symbol of Chianti) sweeping up corks with a feather duster. It is screw-cap sealed and its name is Carpineto 2010 Spolverino Toscano IGT (pictured). At $18, it’s $2 cheaper than the same maker’s 2010 Chianti Classico, but tastes similar. Its leathery, smoky, animal aromas may challenge purists, while the taste is typical savoury Tuscan sangiovese in style. Carpineto wines are exclusive to Woolworths stores.WAHBY TAKES TOP JOB

George Wahby is the new chairman of Wine Australia Corporation. He replaces Jim Dominguez. Wahby was formerly the chief executive of McWilliam’s Wines until he resigned last year. He is also a past director and vice-president of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia.

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Free-to-air TV: Wednesday, July 4

Joe Hildebrand is out to prove Australians are not all Drunk, Dumb and Racist.Dumb, Drunk and Racist, ABC2, 9.30pm
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HAVING cast himself as a cynical, slightly nutty tour guide, Sydney tabloid journalist Joe Hildebrand continues his induction of four bemused Indian visitors to the uglier side of the land down under with a trip to the Australian city apparently most feared in India – Melbourne. Joining police officers on city night patrol, they observe the foreign phenomenon of public drunkenness, leaving education adviser Radhika astonished at so many people ”tottering about”. The exercise takes a more serious turn when train-bashing victim Sourabh Sharma rides the same line on which he was brutalised. While Hildebrand’s agenda is to demonstrate that Australia is no more dangerous than anywhere else, and that Indians who have been attacked were in the wrong place at the wrong time and not the targets of racism, his program gives the issue a good airing and allows strong Indian voices to be heard.

Mrs Brown’s Boys, Channel Seven, 9pm

CRASS Irish matriarch Agnes Brown (Brendan O’Carroll) is all a-lather over the impending nuptials of her son, Dermot (Paddy Houlihan). Dispensing unwanted advice here and interfering there, she’s every daughter-in-law’s worst nightmare, as she demonstrates by the end of the second of this double episode, in a hysterical dinner scene with her son’s snooty future mother-in-law. Presented as a bit of bawdy theatre filmed before a visible live studio audience, with boom-boom gags, this is at first glance confounding television. But once the senses adjust to the old-fashioned format, it’s clear that, for all the dick and fart jokes, this is a brilliantly executed farce layered with social context and warmth.

Myf Warhurst’s Nice, ABC1, 8pm

CAPITALISING on her renowned niceness and her generation’s obsession with all things kitsch, the Spicks and Specks panellist continues her wander down memory lane, this week with a print of obscure artist S. Pearson’s surrealist monstrosity Wings of Love tucked under her arm. Visiting aficionados of 1980s pop art, including Steve Vizard, Aboriginal artist and collector of ”Aboriginalia” Tony Albert, and one of Australia’s greatest proliferators of the genre, Ken Done, Warhurst dissects the defining images of her childhood.

House, Channel Ten, 9.30pm

DESPITE the fact that we know that, by episode’s end, the genius doctor will have arched one eyebrow, popped another pharmaceutical and solved the latest insolvable illness, the medical mysteries are no less satisfying. Tonight, a marriage counsellor presents with embarrassing symptoms, the treatment of which may threaten his own marriage.

Offspring, Channel Ten, 8.30pm

FROM its arresting opening image of the newest Proudman, premature Alfie, lying in his humidicrib, to the palpable envy and heartbreak etched across babyless Billie’s face as she learns of her sister’s possible surprise pregnancy, this is a powerfully emotional episode all about that most personal and yet divisive of issues: procreation. No fewer than four baby dilemmas are woven into the storyline, the women’s very different approaches and coping mechanisms contrasted with the male characters’ fairly uniform reaction of stunned compliance. The casting of veteran comic Garry McDonald as neurotic Nina’s equally neurotic biological father continues to prove a brilliant move – the casting of musician and novice actor Clare Bowditch as Mick’s bandmate, not so much.

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Pay TV: Wednesday, July 4

Teen Wolf, Fox8, 7.35pm
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THERE is no basketball in this Teen Wolf, just lacrosse. And an awful lot of psycho dads. But there is about to be one fewer of those. New-kid-in-school Isaac (Daniel Sharman) runs off into the night after his father physically abuses him. Psycho dad gives chase, but meets a bloody, squelchy end at the fangs of a monstrous creature strong enough to rip the door off his car. Is Isaac yet another teenage werewolf? It looks that way, but he is also a suspect in his father’s murder, which means the police are going to lock him up – over the full moon. It is up to teenage werewolf Scott (Tyler Posey), older wolf Derek (7th Heaven’s Tyler Hoechlin) and teenage non-wolf Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) to try to spring him before he goes full lycan in his cell. The problem is that the Argent clan of werewolf hunters is also after him. Meanwhile, Lydia (Holland Roden) is back in school after her hospital freakout and naked walkabout in the woods, but it is unclear whether she will become a werewolf. Teen Wolf is decent B-grade fun that seems to have the good sense not to take itself too seriously.

Freddie Flintoff versus the World, Nat Geo Adventure, 9.30pm

Cricket legend Andrew Flintoff and his former England teammate Darren Gough head to Mexico to try their hand at paintball paragliding.

Justified, FX, 8.30pm

Humpbacks: Inside the Pod, Nat Geo Wild, 8.30pm

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Pay TV: Thursday, July 5

60 Minute Makeover, LifeStyle Home, 4.30pm
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I MUCH prefer these shows, where the folks getting the renovations done do not have to pay for them. If the TV stations and production companies are going to be making a dollar out of the stories, it seems only fair that they should stump up the cash, right? Tonight’s beneficiary is Cherry, who lives in Hounslow, near Heathrow Airport. She does not know a thing about it because her daughter has set it up to help cheer mum after a death in the family. Interior designer Derek Taylor turns up, takes a look at the bare, bland, 1930s terrace house and decides to go for an art deco theme – except for the room overlooking the back garden, which will have a New England beach-house vibe. A small army of tradies and labourers turns up and refurbishes the place within the titular 60 minutes (not including prep time). It is a substantial job, too, including new furniture, carpet, wallpaper and built-in wardrobes. Cherry, when she gets home, is naturally chuffed. It is a bit of feel-good fun that might give you a few ideas for your own place.

Fatal Encounters, Discovery, 10.30pm

A CHILLING doco in which Kentucky woman Sarah Brady recounts how another woman befriended her towards the end of her pregnancy in an attempt to kill her and steal her unborn baby.

Gok’s Teens: The Naked Truth, LifeStyle You, 8.30pm

Gok Wan helps troubled teenagers realise that life gets better.

Cheetah – Price of Speed, Animal Planet, 8.30pm

Doco about a young family of cheetahs on the harsh, exposed plains of the southern Serengeti.

Falling Skies, Fox8, 8.35pm

Beach Boys, MTV Classic, 10pm

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Free-to-air TV: Thursday, July 5

The team from Before the Game: Mick Molloy, Lehmo, Dave Hughes, Samantha Lane and Andrew Maher.Before the Game, Channel Ten, 8.30pm
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MOVING from Saturday to Thursday was always going to be a risk for the much-loved footy chat show Before the Game. It now finds itself going head-to-head with Nine’s dinosaur Footy Show, which for the next few weeks can thank Hamish and Andy’s Euro Gap Year – like Before the Game, a show pitched at a comedy-loving younger demographic – for an extra leg-up. Based on its first week in its new slot, however, the move hasn’t damaged the panel show, which lifted its viewership by 20,000. It’s the same mix of informed yet breezy discussion, which can often be funny and serious in the same breath, interviews, mash-ups and comedy, which is good news for the show’s modest but devoted audience.

Hamish & Andy’s Euro Gap Year, Channel Nine, 8pm

SO FAR, we like what we’ve seen of Hamish Blake and Andy Lee’s new comedy, in which the popular duo unleash their good-spirited humour in famous – and, occasionally, unlikely – hot spots of the European vacation circuit. There was an entertaining race through London’s clogged streets, in which the tourists, armed with a Ferrari and a GPS, tried (and failed) to beat a pair of old-school London cabbies; plus an amusing visit to Lapland, where a Viking took the pair reindeer racing and dipping into Arctic waters beneath the ice. While many of their pranks won’t come as a surprise after last year’s similarly styled US travelogue, they’re delivered here with considerably more confidence and a better pace. The narration, delivered by a cockney lad who sounds like the spiritual godchild of a Guy Ritchie film, is a nice touch, but it’s Blake and Lee’s ability to have fun with the otherness of foreigners and their cultures without being patronising, smug or exploitative that is most appealing.

Law & Order: SVU, Channel Ten, 9.30pm

EARLIER editions of the Law & Order franchise at least had some pulpy charms with their ripped-from-the-headlines plots, street-smart banter and glib moral lessons, invariably centring on wealthy, successful but rotten-to-the-core New Yorkers. With its po-faced detectives, clumsy and exposition-heavy dialogue and, frankly, ludicrous storyline, ”Strange Beauty” is an example of how tired what was always the least satisfying spinoff has become. And should we add tasteless? Rollins (Kelli Giddish) leaves a bar where a former colleague makes his feelings for the fetching detective known, only to witness what appears to be the kidnapping of a woman (subtle, this show isn’t). The victim turns out to be a troubled teenager whose disappearance coincides with the appearance of dismembered corpses. That’s the detectives’ entree to the underground world of body modification in which a brotherly pair of upscale Manhattan professionals (natch) are involved.

Island Feast with Peter Kuruvita, SBS One, 8pm

THE late Keith Floyd used to make a mockery of a staple cooking-show cliche by attempting to whip up meals in impossible settings. Sydney-based restaurateur Peter Kuruvita takes Floyd’s feats to a new level when he climbs an active volcano and prepares a meal in the wild. His only utensil seems to be a knife, banana leaves doubling as a preparation bowl and discards of a recent lava deposit as a mortar and pestle. Tonight he’s at Mount Yasur and later in a traditional village in Vanuatu, where in between a couple of cooking demonstrations he helps prepare a feast (suckling pig with vegetables cooked in coals in a pit in the sand) and shares kava with the village men. By his own admission, Kuruvita comes close to over-romanticising the remote islands of Melanesia in this undemanding food and travel series.

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

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Arrest over sunk boat

AUTHORITIES in Indonesia have arrested a man suspected of organising the asylum-seeker boat that sank en route to Australia last month, killing about 90 people.
Nanjing Night Net

A senior officer with the Indonesian National Police said the man was taken into custody on Friday and was expected to be charged with people smuggling.

The officer named the man as Ervan, but it is understood he is also known as Haji Irfan, who is believed to have connections to jailed people-smuggling kingpin Sayed Abbas.

Ervan is suspected of organising the fatal voyage of an asylum-seeker boat that sank on June 21 between Christmas Island and the Sunda Strait in Indonesia. “We arrested him on Friday for his involvement in arranging people smuggling related to the asylum seekers taken to Christmas Island,” the police source said yesterday.

The source said the investigation was continuing, but that the man in custody was believed to be a key member of a people-smuggling syndicate and was suspected of arranging the passage of several asylum-seeker boats to Australia. “At the moment, he’s detained in police headquarters.”

More than 200 people were believed to be aboard the boat when it left Indonesia but rescue authorities have said that an accurate figure may never be known. All 110 survivors are on Christmas Island.

The Gillard government has warned, meanwhile, that co-operation between Australian and Indonesian law enforcement authorities can have only a limited impact on the people-smuggling trade.

On the eve of her talks today with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Darwin, Prime Minister Julia Gillard confirmed she would raise the issue.

“But we can’t ask the President of Indonesia to solve what is an issue for the Australian Parliament, which is getting Australia’s laws in the right shape so that we can have at our disposal offshore processing options,” she told ABC radio.

With MICHELLE GRATTAN

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

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