Billy “The Croc” Argyros Wins 2013 APPT Melbourne Main Event

Source: PokerNews

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The latest Asia Pacific Poker Tour champion has been crowned at the Crown Poker Room in Melbourne, Australia. After five tough days of action, Aussie poker veteran Billy “The Croc” Argyros claimed victory of the 2013 APPT Melbourne Main Event.

Argyros is one of the original inductees in the Australian Poker Hall of Fame and has a poker resume which includes tracked results in each of the last four decades. Now, in 2013, Argyros has taken down one of the most prestigious titles in the country and his second largest career score.

“I haven’t won a tournament since Cleopatra was skiing down the Nile!” quipped Argyros after he took down the title and $134,500 following a three-handed deal.

2013 APPT Melbourne – Final Table Results
Place Player Prize
1 Billy Argyros $134,500*
2 Bowdy Tolhopf $166,000*
3 David Yan $133,000*
4 Ashley Mason $58,400
5 Robert Damelian $45,900
6 Joe Cabret $37,550
7 Phi Luu $29,200
8 Ravi Maravar $22,920
9 Jazz Mathers $16,650
*Denotes three-handed deal

When the APPT Melbourne Main Event final table began at midday local time, everyone was expecting it to be a very long day in the Crown Poker Room. Then, within the first hour, four players had been eliminated.

The first player to find the rail was short stack Jazz Mathers. Starting the day with around five big blinds, Mathers was happy to look down at early in the action and get all his chips in. Mathers had to come up against Ravi Maravar’s and would unfortunately hit the rail when the dealer rolled out a board.

Despite picking up extra chips when he eliminated Mathers, Maravar would be the next player to exit. Maraver first lost most of his chips when he ran his into David Yan’s , then lost the rest of them all in preflop holding against Ashley Mason’s .

Just moments after Maravar hit the rail, Phi Luu joined him. With blinds at 15,000/30,000, Luu’s final hand saw him move all in for 295,000 from under the gun holding the . Billy Argyros looked down at in the big blind and made the call. No help came for Luu and it was all over in seventh place.

Six-handed play would become five-handed very quickly as 2013 Aussie Millions runner-up Joe Cabret couldn’t turn his Day 3 “chip and a chair” story into a victory. Cabret’s final hand was a flip that he couldn’t win as his was out drawn by David Yan’s .

At this point Robert Demalian was still in contention and looking good to find another big result after making a deep run in this year’s WSOP Main Event. However, Demalian was ousted in fifth place when he was all in preflop holding the and couldn’t stay ahead of Bowdy Tolhopf’s .

Mason started the day as the chip leader, but seemed to be card dead and could never really get anything going. Eventually Mason found himself all in preflop holding the against Billy Argyros’ . The board ran out and Mason was sent out in fourth place, adding $58,400 to the $49,350 he received for winning a $1,650 Six-Max side event last week.

Just a short while later, Argyros, Yan and Tolhopf agreed ICM (independent chip model) deal. The players left $29,500 aside for the eventual champion, and because Tolhopf was a big chip leader, he locked up $156,000, while Yan received $133,000 and Argyros claimed $115,000.

The players were fairly deep stacked at the time of the deal and so it wasn’t too surprising that it would take around four hours to reach heads-up play. In the end, third place went to Yan after he took an unfortunate beat. Yan’s was all in preflop against Tolhopf’s , and he couldn’t stay ahead as a board was spread on the felt.

Argyros started the heads-up battle with a slight chip lead over Tolhopf. With $29,500 on the line, the two players decided to do another chop, with Argyros taking home $14,500, Tolhopf claiming $10,000, and $5,000 left aside for the champion.

The eventual final hand of the 2013 APPT Melbourne Main Event saw Tolhopf all in preflop holding the against the of Argyros. The final five cards spread on the felt for this tournament were , and with that Tolhopf was sent home in second place, while Argyros was the champion!

Argyros is now the second Australian Poker Hall of Fame member to win APPT Melbourne after Leo Boxell claimed victory in the 2011 APPT Melbourne Main Event.

Ο Μάνος για τον Μάρκο Βαμβακάρης

Ο Μάρκος Βαμβακάρης

Ο Μάρκος Βαμβακάρης

Ο Μάνος Ελευθερίου εξηγεί τι τον οδήγησε να καταγράψει στο βιβλίο του «Μαύρα Μάτια» τα εφιαλτικά παιδικά χρόνια του Μάρκου Βαμβακάρη στη Σύρα – κοινό γενέθλιο τόπο και των δυο τους.
«Με τον Βαμβακάρη ασχολήθηκα από την επομένη του θανάτου του» λέει ο Μάνος Ελευθερίου.

Τι σας ώθησε να ασχοληθείτε με τη ζωή του Μάρκου στη Σύρα, από τη στιγμή της γέννησής του, το 1905, έως τα 15 του, που έφυγε από το νησί;
Με τον Βαμβακάρη ασχολήθηκα από την επομένη του θανάτου του, μαζεύοντας όσα γράφτηκαν στις εφημερίδες. Λίγο μετά διάβασα την «Αυτοβιογραφία» του. Εκεί μιλάει για τον γενέθλιο τόπο του, τη Σύρα, που είναι και δικός μου. Έτσι σιγά-σιγά άρχισα να μαζεύω υλικό γι’ αυτά τα πρώτα χρόνια του, και εννοώ για την περιρρέουσα ατμόσφαιρα του νησιού και ιδιαιτέρως της Ερμούπολης. Πολλά απ’ αυτά τα κείμενα πέρασαν στο μεταξύ σε άλλα βιβλία μου για την πατρίδα μου. Την κατάλληλη στιγμή απομονώθηκαν κάμποσα και δέσανε με τη ζωή του Μάρκου, ο οποίος τα ζούσε τότε αυτά τα γεγονότα.

Δίνετε μεγάλη έμφαση στην περιρρέουσα ατμόσφαιρα της τότε συριανής κοινωνίας.
Η ατμόσφαιρα ήταν η ίδια που ανέπνεε ο Βαμβακάρης. Και τα περισσότερα πρόσωπα πρέπει να τα γνώριζε τουλάχιστον εξ όψεως. Ο τόπος ήταν μικρός.

Πρόκειται για ένα βιβλίο-ποταμό, 410 σελίδων. Μοιάζει καρπός πολλών ετών έρευνας και εργασίας…
Ουσιαστικά πρόκειται για μια συλλογή κειμένων και πληροφοριών που κράτησε σαράντα χρόνια (σ.σ.: ανάμεσά τους, περιγραφές εφημερίδων για χορούς, αστυνομικές διατάξεις, δικαστικά έγγραφα, σπάνιες φωτογραφίες και ντοκουμέντα, όπως η ληξιαρχική πράξη γέννησης του Μ.Β. κλπ). Ό,τι έγραψα εγώ και ανέπτυξα βασίζεται πάνω σε όσα είπε για τη Σύρα ο Μάρκος στην «Αυτοβιογραφία» του.
Από τρυφερή ηλικία γνώρισε όχι μόνο την παιδική εργασία (ως βαφέας σε κλωστήριο* και ως εφημεριδοπώλης**), αλλά και τη φυλακή, όπου ακολούθησε τη μητέρα του, για 15 μέρες, όταν εκείνη συνελήφθη για λαθρεμπορία τσιγαροχάρτων.***
Η τυραννική παιδική εργασία δεν ήταν αποκλειστικότητα των βιομηχάνων της Σύρας: όπου υπήρχε λιμάνι και βιομηχανία (ας πούμε Βόλος και Πάτρα) τα ίδια γίνονταν. Όσο για τη μεταφορά λαθραίων από τη μητέρα του, ήταν ανάγκη της φτώχειας που έδερνε την εργατική τάξη. «Άρτος και κρόμμυον» ήταν το φαγητό τους.****

Πόσο αυτά τα 15 πρώτα χρόνια της ζωής του πότισαν την ψυχή του Μάρκου και αργότερα έγιναν μουσική, στίχος, τραγούδι;
Δεν μπόρεσα να εντοπίσω στους στίχους του τα εφιαλτικά παιδικά του χρόνια. Ίσως τα έκρυψε στη μουσική του και, φυσικά, είναι αδύνατο να τα βρει κανείς.

Στα αποσπάσματα από την «Αυτοβιογραφία» του, που παραθέτετε στο βιβλίο, διαπιστώνετε μια «έξοχη λαλιά», μια «εξαίσια δημοτική γλώσσα»…
Είναι η «λαϊκή λαλιά» που μ’ αρέσει ιδιαίτερα. Κανένα στολίδι, κανένα επίθετο. Μάθημα για τους πεζογράφους και τους ποιητές. Δυστυχώς, και σ’ αυτό, δεν στάθηκα καλός μαθητής παρ’ όλο το θαυμασμό και την αγάπη μου.

Τι είναι, τελικά, για τον Μάνο Ελευθερίου ο Μάρκος Βαμβακάρης;

Είναι αυτό που χάρισε στον τόπο μας, χωρίς να το επιδιώξει και, κυρίως, χωρίς να το ξέρει. Βέβαια, γνώριζε την αξία του, στο τέλος πια, αλλά τα δώρα του ήταν δοσμένα πολλά χρόνια πριν.

 

* «Έφτασε και το 1912. Τότε επήραν τον πατέρα μου στρατιώτη [ο Βαμβακάρης 7 χρόνων, που σημαίνει ότι σταμάτησε το σχολείο]. Με παίρνει εμένα η μάνα και πάμε να πιάσουμε δουλειά σ’ ένα κλωστήριο, του Δεληγιάννη [το σωστό: Κ. Δηλιγιάννης & Χ. Μουχτόπουλος]. Άρχισε η δουλειά μου στο βαφείο του κλωστηρίου κι εγώ έκανα πακέτα τα νήματα. Η μάνα μου έπαιρνε τρεισήμισι δραχμές την ημέρα κι εγώ τρεισήμισι δραχμές τη βδομάδα».
(Κεφάλαιο «Η μητέρα στο κλωστήριο», σελ. 172).

** «Μαζί με μένα ήταν περίπου τριάντα παιδιά ακόμη, που όλα πουλούσαν σαν κι εμένα εφημερίδες…  Τα περισσότερα παιδιά ήταν αμφιβόλου διαγωγής. Εγώ δεν έδινα καμιά σημασία στα όσα έλεγε η μητέρα μου, διότι άρχισε να με τραβά η ζωή αυτή, που όπως απεδείχθη αργότερα ήμουν προορισμένος γι’ αυτήν. Άρχισα να γνωρίζω από κοντά τη ζωή του αλήτη, τον υπόκοσμο, την ατιμία, τη χαρτοπαιξία και όλα τα κακά της μοίρας. Γνώρισα από κοντά όλα τα παρακλάδια του υποκόσμου, άρχισε να ποτίζει κι εμένα το μικρόβιο της αλήτικης ζωής».
(Κεφάλαιο «Ανήλικοι θαμώνες καφενείων, χαρτοπαίκτες και επαιτεία», σελ. 303).

*** «Τότες οργίαζε το λαθρεμπόριο. Ο θείος μου, ο μπακάλης, έκανε κι αυτός λαθρεμπόριο ζάχαρης και τσιγαρόχαρτου. Ο πατέρας μου βοηθούσε τον κουνιάδο του, μα και η μητέρα μου βοηθούσε. Εζωνότανε σαν μπλάστρι τη ζάχαρη και το τσιγαρόχαρτο και το κουβαλούσε στην αγορά, στον Πέτσα τον μπακάλη. Από τις πολλές φορές ένας υπενωματάρχης, ο Κιράνης, την έπιασε. Μας κουβαλήσανε τότες στο κρατητήριο… Δεχτήκαμε και πήγαμε και φυλακή κι εμείς τα μωρά μαζί με τη μάνα μας, δεκαπέντε μέρες».
(Κεφάλαιο «Αποκλεισμός, λαθρεμπόριο και αποκρύψεις τροφίμων», σελ. 237).

**** «Τότε, το 1912, πριν τελειώσω την τετάρτη τάξη, πήραν τον πατέρα μου στρατιώτη και άφησα το σχολειό για να πάω με τη μάνα [μου] στη δουλειά». Ήταν τότε επτά χρόνων. «Έστω κι ένα δίφραγκο την εβδομάδα ήτανε μεγάλη δουλειά. Είχε το ψωμί τότες 35 λεπτά η οκά. Έδινες 65, 70 λεπτά κι έπαιρνες ένα διπλό ψωμί, διπλό, δυο οκάδες. Ήταν φτηνά ψωμιά, στρογγυλά, κουλούρες, φραντζόλες, άσπρο ψωμί χάσικο, φτηνό ψωμί, καλό ψωμί. Όταν αρχίνησε και γινότανε πιο ακριβή η ζωή, τότες αρχίσανε και βγάλανε το μαύρο το ψωμί…».
(Κεφάλαιο «Το ψωμί ψωμάκι», σελ. 227).

#Οι παραπομπές με αστερίσκους, που προηγούνται, είναι αποσπάσματα από την «Αυτοβιογραφία» του Μάρκου Βαμβακάρη, που παρατίθενται στο «Μαύρα Μάτια- Ο Μάρκος Βαμβακάρης και η συριανή κοινωνία στα χρόνια 1905-1920», εκδόσεις Μεταίχμιο.

Exploring Fener and Balat – the old Greek and Jewish quarters of Istanbul

The haunted streets of Istanbul

The haunted streets of Istanbul

The tour began at Çibali, where we followed the sea wall in a northerly direction along the western side of the Golden Horn. Here, in another age, stood the proud Greek Fanariot mansions – squat, medieval domiciles with pediments, domed ceilings and stairs to upper levels. They were for a period the pleasure palaces of patrician and mercantile Greek families that thrived under Ottoman rule. Now neglected and fallen into disrepair, they are surrounded by traffic on one side and the Horn on the other. Once, they had been closer to the water, but the shoreline receded in direct proportion to the street levels rising, so that these intriguing buildings appear to be stranded on traffic islands and sinking into the ground. Interestingly, the dwellings are built of alternate layers of brick and stone to withstand earthquakes.

My friend Alex and I risked our lives on a busy road to visit the church of Hagios Nikolaos. The press of a button set in forbidding masonry summoned an Orthodox woman from Antioch. She has been the caretaker for fifteen years and has, she told us, three children. She looked under the weather; nevertheless, she gave us access to a rare gem.

From a covered inner courtyard she opened a heavy door to reveal a modestly sized church with a marble iconostasis. The feeble light, struggling through high dirty windows, revealed icons of saints and the Virgin. They were almost entirely obscured by soot and a cloud of incense that hung in the air. An Epitaphio covered in wilted flowers reminded us that Greek Easter had been celebrated a week earlier. Here and there burnished colour drew the eye up to the domed ceiling hung with three chandeliers.

Spying the icon of Hagios Dimitrios in a dark corner brought on unexpected surge of nostalgia. Without thinking, I asked if I may light a candle. The woman rushed off and returned with oil and a wick so that I could light the oil lamp that hangs before my namesake. It was rather disconcerting taking part in a ceremony I hadn’t performed since childhood.

On the opposite side of the courtyard is a phenomenon: the only standing Fanariot mansion visitors can safely enter without incurring personal injury. Ascending the stairs to the second storey and wandering in the early baroque Ottoman room was heartbreaking. Here were small niches built into the wall and enclosed with elegant doors, a safe; kitchen, bedrooms, all dank and dark and filled with masonry and cobwebs. Like much of what’s left from this time, it is empty and displays a siege mentality. Certainly it is forgotten and largely unknown to the world rushing by outside.

Following the remnants of the sea wall brought us to Fener. Fresh cheese borek and tea were served by a good-natured though none-too-bright boy at a local cafe.

From there we headed up the steep street to the Fener Greek Orthodox College. Established in 1454, it’s a massive red-brick edifice that dominates the neighbourhood with the arrogance of a citadel. Looming over the houses now occupied by Anatolian peasants and Kurds, the college is the emblem of a once thriving Greek community. Now it schools a mere fifty-seven students, most of whom are from Antioch and speak mainly Turkish.

The upper storey has a sprung floor to withstand earthquakes. At the end of a long corridor is an assembly hall with murals containing examples of continued Greek presence in Asia Minor for millennia, not that those who surround the school know or care. The place has an other-wordly air, as though it’s mired in an irrelevant past. What will become of the building when the school eventually closes, as it surely must, is anyone’s guess.
On the way out we met three young Israelis searching for their roots. Nearby Balat housed a substantial Jewish population, their synagogues and bathhouses still dot the area. Listening to the young men, it seemed to me that Istanbul is the place where people come to find themselves in a shattered past. Even their words sounded haunted.

My friend Alex is scathing about the current occupants of Fener and Balat.

They have no education, no respect, no understanding and no knowledge of the area’s significance. Shoddy, slap-dash renovations abound. They stick a Koranic verse above the door and think they’ve exorcised the Christian presence. Simple folk with no understanding squat in the ruins of the Theodosian wall and in the crumbling remnants of once-grand mansions. Cats wander everywhere. Washing hangs between houses. Giant elms reach over high walls that guard disused churches.

It’s picturesque but melancholy. You feel as if every footstep is in remembrance of times past; as if life here had once been very different to what it is now. Not drained and diminished but sophisticated, cosmopolitan, lived according to forgotten daily rhythms and rituals.
The point hit home when we visited another Fanariot mansion. This one stood in a seedy park by the water; it was comparatively well-preserved. I objected when Alex pushed open a make-do gate and ushered me into a courtyard occupied by a man in religious garb.
“Why?” Alex snapped. “You have more right to be here than they do.”

Indeed, the old man had no idea why we should be interested in his remarkable hovel. His bent back, the kind, vapid smile and the hands that fiddled with worry beads brought on pity. He reminded me of my father. After a quick inspection of the graceful arched colonnade and the balcony above it, I thanked the man and guided Alex out.

As we rested in a cafe, I reflected that no Greek can visit Istanbul without feelings of intense primal loss and longing. There is a deep connection to the place. You can’t help thinking of what might have been had things worked out differently. The regret, the conflicting feelings, are so powerful, they make you catch your breath. For a minute you think that if one or two variables were to change, Greek voices might still ring in the streets instead of Turkish ones. Greeks might come down the hill on the way to church. And then you hear the muezzin’s call to prayer, first from one minaret and then a multitude, and all illusions melt. This is modern Istanbul. Not Constantinople.

* Dmetri Kakmi is a writer and editor. His book Mother Land was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. He will be speaking about the book on September 17 at 10.00 am at the Collingwood Library, 11 Station St Abbotsford.

November is the month Australia will see Greek singing legend Glykeria tour again

Glykeria is coming to town

November is the month Australia will see Greek singing legend Glykeria tour again with Cretan musician Mihalis Tzouganakis

Glykeria is coming to town

The icon herself, Glykeria.

November is the month Australia will see Greek singing legend Glykeria tour again. The songstress will be back to perform to Australian audiences, with tour dates to be announced but a Melbourne show locked in for 30 November. This time the icon will be touring with Cretan musician Mihalis Tzouganakis.

Glykeria was born into a musical family in Serres. She started her career in Athens in 1974, playing in the tavern Leto in Plaka. In the ’80s, she released her first solo album, ‘Ta Smyrneika’, featuring traditional songs from Asia Minor which caused a stir in the industry, showcasing Glykeria’s unique voice to the nation.

During the following years, Glykeria performed at well-known clubs and bouzoukia, gaining momentum and many fans, and collaborating with other well-known singers, including the legendary George Dalaras.

Glykeria will perform with Mihalis Tzouganakis at Melbourne Pavilion on 30 November. Tickets start at $99 and for bookings contact Theo on 0433 318 318 or Chrissa 0413 131 888.

Greece 70th in world happiness index

Sources: ekathimerini, UN

Greece ranked a little above the middle in the 70th position among 156 countries in the United Nations’ first-ever World Happiness Report

Greece ranked a little above the middle in the 70th position among 156 countries in the United Nations’ first-ever World Happiness Report, drafted by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and published this week.

Greece also came second behind Egypt in the dramatic decline of their happiness index from pre-crisis levels, according to the report, which compared the period of 2005-2007 with that of 2010-2012. Crisis-hit European peers in Spain came sixth in deteriorating happiness, the Italians came eighth and the Portuguese ranked in 12th place.

Ranking happiness on a scale of 0-10, the survey of 156 nations measured factors such as wealth, political freedom, strong social networks and an absence of corruption. On an individual level, good mental and physical health, someone to rely on, job security and stable families are also crucial factors that are taken into account for measuring well-being and happiness.

The world happiness average, according to the UN report, is 5.1 points, with Greece scoring a slightly higher 5.4 points at the 70th spot.

The least happy people in the world are found in poor Sub-Saharan African countries such as Togo, Benin, Central African Republic and Sierra Leone, while the happiest people are in northern Europe, and especially in Denmark, Norway, Finland and The Netherlands, where the average life evaluation score came to 7.6 on the 0-to-10 scale. This year’s report finds that Canada is in sixth place and Australia in 10th place. The US is ranked at 17th, UK at 22nd while France was at 25th and Germany 26th.

Greece’s neighbours Cyprus and Albania have happier people than Greece, ranking in the 34th and 62nd spots respectively, though Turks are more unhappy than Greeks at 77th place.

Slimy Australian animal the blobfish named world’s ugliest

Source: News

The Blobfish lives off the coast of Australia. Picture: Supplied

The Blobfish lives off the coast of Australia. Picture: Supplied

THE blobfish, a denizen of the Pacific, including Australia, that looks like a bald, grumpy old man, has been named the world’s ugliest animal, organisers of the offbeat competition say.

More than 3000 people contributed to an online poll aimed at raising awareness of unsightly species that play an important role in the ecological web.

The blobfish, a squidgy pink creature capable of enduring otherwise crushing pressures at great depth, is becoming a casualty of deep-sea trawling.

It was a clear winner, snatching 795 votes, said Coralie Young of the British Science Association, which announced the results at an annual festival in Newcastle, north-eastern England.

Runner-up was the kakapo, a rare flightless owl-like parrot that lives in New Zealand, and third was the axolotl, a Mexican amphibian also called the ‘walking fish’.

Other candidates were the proboscis monkey, which has red genitalia, a big nose and a pot belly, and the Titicaca water frog, which also goes under the less-than-scientific moniker of ‘scrotum frog’.

A total of 88,000 people visited the website where the polling took place, reflecting wide interest in the issue, Young said. “It’s a lighthearted way to make people think about conservation.”

The blobfish’s reward is to be enshrined as the official mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, a loose association of stand-up comedians who humorously champion endangered but visually unappealing species.

“The Ugly Animal Preservation Society is dedicated to raising the profile of some of Mother Nature’s more aesthetically challenged children,” it says on its website.

“The panda gets too much attention.”

 

The Aye Aye is a lemur native to Madagascar. Picture: AP

The Aye Aye is a lemur native to Madagascar. Picture: AP

 

Pig Nosed Turle. Picture: Nerdcoregirl, Flickr

Pig Nosed Turle. Picture: Nerdcoregirl, Flickr

Ethiopian man claims he is 160 years old and can recall the Italian invasion of his country in 1895

Source: TheDailyTelegraph

Is this the world's oldest man at 160?

Ethiopian farmer Dhaqabo Ebba claims to be a staggering 160 years old, which would make him the world’s oldest living man.

MANY people won’t be aware of Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1895, but one man doesn’t just know about the battle – he claims to have lived through it.

Retired farmer Dhaqabo Ebba, from Ethiopia, says he is a staggering 160 years old, which would make him the world’s oldest living man.

He claims to have clear memories of Italy’s invasion of his country in the 19th century – however, there is no birth certificate to prove his age.

 

oldest woman

Japan’s 114-year-old Misao Okawa poses with the Guinness World Records certificate of the world’s oldest woman. Picture: AP

In a statement to Oromiya TV, he provided so much detail on the history of his local area that reporter Mohammed Ademo became convinced that Mr Ebba must be at least 160 years old.

This would make him 46 years older than the oldest ever recorded man.

‘When Italy invaded Ethiopia I had two wives, and my son was old enough to herd cattle’, said Mr Ebba.

He then recounted his eight-day horseback rides to Addis Ababa as a child – a journey that takes only a few hours today.

 

IF Mr Ebba's claims are true he will knock off the previous titleholder Jeanne Calment, 122. Picture: AFP

IF Mr Ebba’s claims are true he will knock off the previous titleholder Jeanne Calment, 122. Picture: AFP

As Mr Ebba grew up in an oral society, there is no paper trail and no living witnesses to verify his age.

However, if his claim can be medically confirmed, he would oust 115-year-old Misao Okawa, who is currently recognised by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person.

He would also overtake French woman Jeanne Calment as the oldest person to have ever lived.

Ms Calment died in 1997 at the age of 122.

The last man confirmed to have lived in the 19th century was Jiroemon Kimura, who was born in Japan on April 19, 1897.

Jiroemon Kimura smiling as he celebrates his 116th birthday, he died in June this year. Picture: AFP

Jiroemon Kimura smiling as he celebrates his 116th birthday, he died in June this year. Picture: AFP

 

He died in June this year at the age of 116 – making him the longest-living man in history.

Mr Kimura, who lived in Kyotango, Japan, left behind seven children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great-grandchildren.

According to 2011 government data, Japan has more than 50,000 centenarians, reinforcing its reputation for longevity.

Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten to contest Labor leadership

Source: News

Bill Shorten throws his hat in the ring for the ALP leadership, but not without paying tribute to his possible rival, Anthony Albanese.

Anthony Albanese was staying tight-lipped on the leadership issue.

Anthony Albanese was staying tight-lipped on the leadership issue.

LABOR MPs have all arrived for the first meeting of the Labor caucus since last Saturday’s election defeat and appointed Chirs Bowen as acting leader.

Kevin Rudd addressed caucus and said he bears “no malice” towards anyone who speaks out against him.

The former prime minister addressed the meeting for 10 minutes after nominations were formerly open.

Mr Albanese spoke after Mr Rudd and attacked the Murdoch media.

MPs now face the task of electing a new Labor leader.

Bill Shorten announced yesterday he would be a candidate and it is understood Anthony Albanese will nominate too.

Mr Albanese entered the caucus room alone.

Mr Shorten entered with fellow Victorian Richard Marles.

In a funny turn of events Labor Senator Kate Lundy walked into the wrong room for caucus.

Coalition party room and caucus meetings were held at the same time but the rooms switch over when government changes hands.

“Lol! I just walked into Govt party room,” she tweeted.

Nominations in caucus for for the leadership opened shortly after the meeting begun.

Kevin Rudd addressed the meeting before nominations opened.

He said he had “no malice” to those attacking him.

Earlier today, Albanese was coy on the leadership question, avoiding media questions when he arrived at Canberra airport.

“That’s a matter for the caucus rather than you with due respect,” he said.

READ: BILL SHORTEN PUTS HIS HAND UP TO LEAD

GOING: MIRABELLA’S COLLEAGUES EXPRESS SYMPATHY

Asked if he would nominate for the position of leader the former Deputy Prime Minister said: “That’s a matter for the caucus, I respect my caucus colleagues.”

“One of the things we need to do as a Labor Party is actually run our internals,” he said.

“There’s a reason for that word – it’s called internal.”

Asked on Bill Shorten his potential opponent, Mr Albanese simply said: “it’s a matter for the party”.

Chris Bowen will be Labor’s acting leader for a month if there is a leadership ballot between Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese.

The former treasurer assumes the post because he is the next most senior Labor MP in the House of Representatives.

Arriving in Canberra Mr Shorten said he was “determined to make Labor as competitive as possible”.

Asked specifically on Mr Albanese he avoided questions on the matter.

“It’s nice to be back in Canberra,” Mr Shorten said.

Both men will front a meeting of the Labor caucus today where MPs will vote on who they think should be leader.

Tanya Plibersek said she was also waiting till the caucus meeting to see who nominated before publicly backing a candidate.

“We’ll see today who nominates,” Ms Plibersek said as she arrived at Canberra airport.

“We’ll have a decision today or we’ll have a month of democracy.”

Asked about comments yesterday that Bill Shorten made indicating she could be his deputy Ms Plibersek said: “Well normally you have a leader and a deputy from different states and different factions”.

“I am very grateful that we have two such fine people (Albanese and Shorten) to choose from,” she said.

“I would be very happy for both to nominate, I would be very happy to have a democratic process but beyond that we just have to wait and see what happens. There is no hurry with any of these things.”

 

Tanya Plibersek voting on election day.

Tanya Plibersek voting on election day.

Bill Shorten yesterday announced his intention to run and said he would be the best person to return Labor to an election winning position.

Labor MP Richard Marles said he would be backing Mr Shorten in any ballot today.

But he said Mr Albanese would also be an “outstanding leader” if elected.

Brisbane MP Shayne Neumann said his vote would also be going to Mr Shorten because of his achievements on the NDIS and other programs.

Labor national secretary George Wright also landed in Canberra ahead of the caucus meeting.

“I think we’ve got some good candidates and we’ll leave it with the caucus to decide,” Mr Wright said.

Penny Wong said that she would reserve her position until caucus met.

“I look forward to discussing the matter with my caucus colleagues,” she said.

Jenny Macklin and Mark Dreyfus remained coy on their positions.

Betfair is favouring Anthony Albanese to be the next Labor leader.

Bill Shorten was favourite at $1.61 this morning, but is now the $2.30 outsider in the market.

“Bill Shorten was all the rage as late as this morning, but after being as short as $1.32, he’s now a big outsider to lead Labor,” said the agency’s spokesperson, Daniel Bevan.

Meanwhile Barnaby Joyce has been voted Deputy Leader of the National Party in his first party room meeting since being elected to the House of Representatives.

The freshly elected Member for New England will be deputy to Nationals leader Warren Truss, who has had his position confirmed.

Liberal MPs have also confirmed Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop as their leader and deputy leader.

Mr Abbott is expected to finalise his front bench within days before being officially sworn in as Prime Minister next week.

Real or fake? Mysterious ghost pictures investigated

child

Cemetery ghost baby: Visiting the grave of her daughter in a cemetery in Queensland in 1947 a woman named Mrs Andrews took this picture of what she thought was a bare grave. She was shocked to see, when she got the film developed that there seemed to be the figure of a child sitting on the grave. Mrs Andrews didn’t recognise the child and her own daughter died at the age of 17, much older than the apparent age of this infant. A paranormal investigator in the late 1990s, Tony Healy, visited the site and discovered the graves of two baby girls. –Burden’s judgment: FAKE. Picture: Supplied

FRIDAY the 13th means black cats, bad luck, superstitions and … ghosts.

On this auspicious day we thought we’d bring you some of the best-known ghost images of all time.

car

Back Seat Ghost: Mr and Mrs Chinnery were visiting the grave of Mabel Chimmery’s mother one day in 1959. Mabel, before walking back to the car, took an impromptu photo of her husband who was sitting alone in the car. Or so he thought. Upon getting the film developed Mabel realised there was another figure in the car, sitting in the back seat, which happened to look a lot like her late mother! — Burden’s judgment: TOO CLOSE TO CALL. Picture: Supplied

These are some of the most famous ghost pictures of all time. In a time before Photoshop and digital manipulation these are the pictures that had experts stumped.

Are they real or are they fake? Is that really a ghostly spectre appearing beyond the grave or is it just a smudge on the film?

 

Raynham Hall

This portrait of “The Brown Lady” ghost is arguably the most famous and well-regarded ghost photograph ever taken. The ghost is thought to be that of Lady Dorothy Townshend, wife of Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount of Raynham, residents of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England in the early 1700s. This famous photo was taken in September, 1936 by Captain Provand and Indre Shira, two photographers who were assigned to photograph Raynham Hall for Country Life magazine. The figure has been seen many times on the staircase, carrying a lantern, grinning and appearing to have her eyes gouged out. –Burden’s judgment: PROBABLY FAKE. Picture: Supplied

We asked Rick Burden, founder of the Ghost Hunters of Australia website and the Down Under Spirit Team, about whether he thought they were the real deal.

Based on the Gold Coast, Burden’s team of 12 undertake psychic investigations where they can do anything from house “cleanings” (not the kind that involves the mop and bucket), spirit removals, possession removals or a combination of all three. They offer advice and help with anything paranormal-related for those that come in contact with something they can’t quite explain.

 

faint outline

This photograph of the Combermere Abbey library was taken in 1891 by Sybell Corbet. The faint outline of a man can be seen sitting in the chair on the left. It is believed that this is Lord Combermere himself. Interestingly though at the time Sybell Corbet took the above photo, Combermere’s funeral was taking place some four miles away. –Burden’s judgment: FAKE. Picture: Supplied

Just like in the Hollywood classic Ghostbusters Burden and his team will help rid you of your ghost problem as quickly as they can or if not they’ll tell you where your local ghost hunter is. They’ll even take a look at that weird blur in the background of that picture you took that time to see if it’s a ghost. Fielding at least one call or request for help a week Burden’s team will either offer their own help or put you in touch with a similar team closer to you.

 

image

The Watcher: This image, taken in 1959 in Alice Springs, seems to capture what looks like a female figure looking out from behind the scrub wearing a long white gown. Is she holding binoculars? Or is it just a trick of light? Perhaps a double exposure accidentally printed onto one image? –Burden’s judgment: TOO CLOSE TO CALL. Picture: Supplied

The most common problem Burden and his team come across in the field is when people accidentally bring back “entities” when they incorrectly use an ouija board or stage a seance.

How exactly does Burden ‘catch’ a ghost?

 

tall shrouded figure

This photograph was taken in 1963 by Reverend K.F. Lord at Newby Church in North Yorkshire, England. He claims that the room was empty of people when he took the photo. Alarmingly it looks like a tall shrouded figure standing in front of the alter. Supposedly the photo has been scrutinised by photo experts who say the image is not the result of a double exposure. –Burden’s judgment: PROBABLY FAKE Picture: Supplied

Using equipment such as full spectrum cameras, shadow detectors, vibration detectors, sound recorders, laser grid pens and electro magnetic field detectors allow the team to detect and confront an apparition.

When it comes down to it Burden is surprised there aren’t more ghosts captured on camera: “My opinion on this, is that we may not quite yet have the true correct technology to capture the paranormal on a regular basis.

“I believe we have the partial technology, which is why the paranormal can be intermittently captured, but not the full, true technology to do it on a regular basis.”

 

picture

This picture, taken in 2008, was taken by photographer Neil Sandbach, at a farm in England while scouting locations for a couple about to get married. He was shocked to discover what looks like a figure standing in a spot that he was quite sure was empty when he took the picture. The owners of the farm have admitted they’d seen the figure of a child dressed in nightclothes on several occasions around the barn. –Burden’s judgment: POSSIBLE FAKE Picture:

When analysing ghost pictures, however, Burden admits: “It can also be almost impossible to prove to people that a captured image is real.”

But there are ways to cut down the obvious fakes from the rest using digital technology.

“Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways that an image can be altered or tampered with these days, and we tend to get a lot of people that think they are funny by sending us obviously faked images and wasting our time.

“We just focus on helping those that are legitimate, and legitimately need help.”

Need help with a ghostly problem? Check out Burden’s extensive listing of Ghost Hunters in your area.

 

respected furniture dealer

This image taken in the early 1900s of a beautiful antique cabinet was taken by a respected furniture dealer at the time. The photographer was at a loss to explain the transparent hand that appears to rest on top of the bureau. Perhaps a former owner reluctant to let it go? –Burden’s judgment: FAKE. Picture: Supplied