Tracy Spiridakos and David Lyons walk the press line at the panel for their hit NBC series

‘Revolution’ & ‘Grimm’ Casts Attend Comic-Con Panels!

'Revolution' & 'Grimm' Casts Attend Comic-Con Panels!

Tracy Spiridakos and David Lyons walk the press line at the panel for their hit NBC series Revolution held during 2013 Comic-Con on Saturday (July 20) in San Diego, Calif.

The actors were joined by their co-stars Giancarlo Esposito, Billy Burke, and JD Pardo at the event.

David Giuntoli and Bitsie Tulloch were in attendance to represent the cast of Grimm that same day, along with their co-stars Bree Turner, Claire Coffee, Sasha Roiz, Silas Weir Mitchell, Russell Hornsby, and Reggie Lee.

FYI: Bitsie is wearing Bionda Castana shoes. David Giuntoli is wearing Levi’s jeans. Bree is carrying an RK New York spiked handbag.

Tracy Spiridakos was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she lived until the age of four. At that time her parents took her and her two brothers to a small village of Skala in Greece, which is just south of Sparta. Later Spiridakos returned to Winnipeg and spent her spare time and summer holidays working at her parents’ restaurant. As one to always be the entertainer among her family, it was only a matter of time before Tracy took the leap of faith and moved to Vancouver to begin her career as an actress.

It wasn’t long before Tracy booked her first role after setting out on this journey. She has appeared in numerous television productions such as “Supernatural,” “Hellcats,” “Psych,” “Being Human” and her own series, “Majority Rule,” where she played the town’s mayor, as well as a number of television movies including “RAGZ.” She also landed a role in the feature film “Caesar: Rise of the Apes,” and a lead role in the upcoming feature “The New Girl.” When she isn’t working, Spiridakos enjoys reading, snowboarding, kickboxing or just hanging out with her dog Jersey and her family and friends.

A SINGLE male Queensland fruit fly has been found in a trap in Whangarei

Source: news.com.au

Aussie pest found in New Zealand

The fly, which poses a potential threat to New Zealand’s horticultural industry, was collected from a surveillance trap on Tuesday and the Ministry for Primary Industries is investigating the find.

MPI deputy director general compliance and response Andrew Coleman says field teams are setting additional traps to see if there are other fruit flies in the area.

“It is vital to find out if the insect is a solitary find or if there is a wider population in Whangarei,” he said.

“This insect is an unwanted and notifiable organism that could have serious consequences for New Zealand’s horticultural industry. It can damage a wide range of fruit and vegetables.”

MPI is working closely with international partners and the horticultural industry to minimise the risk to New Zealand growers and exporters.

A controlled area will be in place, restricting the movement of fruit and vegetables out of the area.

The most likely way fruit flies arrive in New Zealand is in fresh fruit and vegetables.

Queensland fruit fly has been found on three previous occasions: in Whangarei in 1995 and in Auckland in 1996 and 2012.

Northern Territory on measles alert

Source: News.com.au

TERRITORIANS are being urged to be on alert for measles symptoms after an infected person visited two doctors’ surgeries, three shopping centres and a childcare centre in Darwin and Palmerston.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) says a person became unwell several days after returning to Australia from holidaying in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The CDC says between January 13 and 19 the infected patient visited two different general practice surgeries and a massage therapist in Casuarina, a chiropractor and the Royal Darwin Hospital Emergency Department.

The patient also visited a child care centre in the Palmerston area and Casuarina Village, Casuarina Shopping Square and Oasis Shopping Village in Palmerston.

The centre is in the process of contacting people who visited those areas, but says it’s important to contact a doctor if you experience measles symptoms including high fever, cough, running nose or sore eyes.

“People not immune to measles who attended these services during the same period or a few hours after would be at risk of contracting the disease,” the CDC said in a statement.

The CDC has urged Territorians to get the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine if they haven’t already.

Measles is a very contagious viral illness that is spread between people through coughing and sneezing.

Up to one third of people infected with measles will experience complications, including ear infections, diarrhoea, pneumonia or even encephalitis and may require hospitalisation.

Complications are more common in young children and elderly people.

The best hotels in Australia revealed by Tripadvisor

Wolgan Valley Resort in the Central West of NSW. Picture: Supplied

Wolgan Valley Resort in the Central West of NSW. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

THEY are the hotels with the “wow” factor that we can claim as our very own.

The nation’s top 25 hotels have been revealed in the 12th annual TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, which also rated the world’s best in a separate category.

Wolgan Valley Resort in the Blue Mountains, NSW, topped the list for the second year. A haven for celebrities such as Delta Goodrem and cricketer Michael Clarke, it was described as a “beautiful, elegant stay … breathtaking”.

There were also some surprise additions to the list, including Xanadu Holiday Resort at Main Beach, Gold Coast, which took out the second spot, and Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort, in third place.

They even beat the notoriously extravagant Qualia resort in Hamilton Island, which was voted the world’s best hotel by Conde Nast Traveler last year.

Qaulia was ranked seventh in the TripAdvisor list, while Xanadu was praised for its “perfect location, amenities and service” and Coconut Resort was described as a “haven for families”.

In total, 7123 properties worldwide won TripAdvisor awards in 2014, and Australia featured 118 award winners.

 

The best hotels in Australia revealed

A room at the Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa in NSW. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The top 10 best Australian hotels:

1. Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort, Blue Mountains, NSW

2. Xanadu Holiday Resort, Main Beach, QLD

3. Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort, Cairns, QLD

 

Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort. Picture: Supplied

Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

4. Summit Apartments, Airlie Beach, QLD

5. Grange Resort, Hervey Bay, QLD

6. Ashmore Palms Holiday Village, Ashmore, QLD

7. Qualia Resort, Hamilton Island, QLD

8. Paradise Links Resort, Port Douglas, QLD

 

Paradise Links Resort. picture: Supplied

Paradise Links Resort. picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

9. Oaks on William, Melbourne, VIC

10. Park Hyatt, Sydney, NSW

Top 10 hotels in the world:

1. Grand Hotel Kronenhof, Pontresina, Switzerland

 

Grand Hotel Kronenhof. Picture: Supplied

Grand Hotel Kronenhof. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

2. The Upper House, Hong Kong, China

3. Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, Lankanfushi, Maldives

4. Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

5. The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India

6. Casa Gangotena, Quito, Ecuador

7. Lindos Blu, Lindos, Greece

8. The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Punta de Mita, Mexico

9. The Oberoi, Mumbai, Mumbai, India

10. Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto, Toronto, Canada

 

Trump International Hotel. Picture: Supplied

Trump International Hotel. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Indonesia gears up its military as senior politician labels Australia the country’s ‘greatest threat’

Source: news.com.au

A SENIOR Indonesian politician has labelled Australia as Indonesia’s “greatest threat” as the country speeds up a push to ramp up its military firepower.

It comes at a time of growing turmoil in Australia’s relationship with Indonesia after revelations last week Australian Navy vessels breached Indonesia’s territorial waters while enforcing the Coalition’s asylum seeker policy.

According to The Jakarta Post , Indonesia is greatly expanding its Marine Corps.

The nation is reportedly awaiting the delivery of 30 F-16 fighters, a dozen Apache attack helicopters and 103 Leopard battle tanks from the US and Germany, and is purchasing a dozen Russian submarines armed with cruise missiles.

The country has warned it will deploy navy vessels to patrol its coast after the Australian incursion last week. The nation’s Air Force has also programmed four radars to monitor the country’s southern border.

“The greatest threat will obviously be from Australia,” the Post quoted Susaningtyas Handayani Kertopati, a member of Indonesia’s influential House defence, intelligence and foreign affairs committee as saying.

Indonesian soldiers, left, and navy special force members line up during a security parade last year. Picture: AP

Indonesian soldiers, left, and navy special force members line up during a security parade last year. Picture: AP Source: AFP

She said the military should strengthen its “outward-looking” approach due to signs of escalating threats. The Post also quoted an anonymous official who said a clash at sea could be “imminent”.

“Now that we have three frigates on the border, a clash could be imminent as our Navy will prevent the towing back,” the official said.

One expert told news.com.au the military upgrade was a response to fears about Australia, which is “front and centre” in the country’s mind at the moment, as well as concerns about other neighbours and growing powers such as India and China.

An Australian Navy vessel sailing alongside a wooden boat carrying up to 180 asylum seekers on the waters off Christmas Islan...

An Australian Navy vessel sailing alongside a wooden boat carrying up to 180 asylum seekers on the waters off Christmas Island, Australia, in 2012. Picture: EPA Source: AFP

Professor Damien Kingsbury from Deakin University said: “Indonesia has always been pensive about its territorial integrity and Australia has played a role in that in the past.”

“There’s a sensitivity about that. If Indonesia did that to Australia we’d be very upset, if not more so,” he said.

The Australian Government apologised to Indonesia after Navy vessels “inadvertently” breached Indonesia’s territory “on several occasions” in recent weeks.

Australia’s relationship with Indonesia has hit rocky waters recently, particularly because of the government’s ‘turn back the boats’ policy and allegations from US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden that Australia spied on the country’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and his wife, Ani in 2009.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife Ani were targeted by Australian intelligence agencies in 2009. Pic...

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife Ani were targeted by Australian intelligence agencies in 2009. Picture: AP Source: Supplied

Prof Kingsbury said the Government had handled the spying issue “very poorly”. “We needed to apologise and we needed to do it quickly and we didn’t,” he told news.com.au.

At a media interview at the weekend, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said she works very closely with her Indonesian equivalent, Dr Marty Natalegawa.

“We’re in regular communication, we are working together for the shared purpose of ensuring the people smuggling trade is dismantled but also that the Australia-Indonesia relationship is strengthened.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said at a press conference this afternoon that Tony Abbott’s policies were causing tension with Indonesia.

“Our relationship with Indonesia is important. Clearly Abbott policies are causing real friction with Indonesia.”

‘Eastern’ Values Are Australian Values by Fotis Kapetopoulos

Source: Fotis Kapetopoulos

Australian and Greek troops at Crete during WWII.

Australian and Greek troops at Crete during WWII.

 

The ‘West’ was created through cultural and trade links with the great civilisations of the world. Our modern multiculturalism demands we teach children about them, writes Fotis Kapetopoulos

Kevin Donnelly, who joins Ken Wiltshire in Christopher Pyne’s education review, sees our National Curriculum as “too secular”. He wants Australia’s “Judeo-Christian” heritage to be strongly represented in what students learn, but “Judeo-Christian values” are an ideological rather than historical reality, the term itself appearing around the 1950s. The term also insufficiently recognises Eastern and Hellenic influences in Judaism and Christianity, and doesn’t account for the other great monotheist tradition — Islam.

The “Judeo-Christian values” touted by Donnelly are really a narrow band of very modern Catholic and Protestant ideas. Learning about the values that underscore and predate the modern Christian West would be exciting for school students. It would be worthwhile to teach the cultural links between the west and east from pre-Christian Hellenistic times, through to Eastern Christian Churches of Asia Minor, the Middle East and Ethiopia, to the European Middle Ages and Renaissance and so on.

The four pillars of the first human-centric and rational civilisations, Greece, Israel, China and India, all need serious investigation, especially as China and India reassert their importance on a global level.

I take pride in being part of a Hellenic, or western, tradition extending over 2,500 years, but I am sceptical of Christianity and for that matter most religions and their irrationality. Yet, in a democracy, like our Athenian predecessors, we respect different religions’ cultural, creative, literary, and philosophical traditions.

A great work of art is a very human endeavour, even if the artist believes he or she has had a religious epiphany. As we pay homage to the European and British democratic and rational revolutions of the last 400 years, we should not forget that they revolted as a reaction to Christianity’s strictures on individual freedom, scientific enquiry, free expression and the rise of the secular state.

As part of a delegation I visited the ancient capital of China, Xi-An, where my hosts showed me steles dating back to pre-Christian times. They were written in Hebrew, Greek, Hindi and Mandarin, and demonstrate the links between West and East that predate Christianity and the modern European and British Empires.

Assessments of Hebrew, Greek, and Roman histories, arts, literatures and values requires a far deeper examination of Asia, Asia Minor, the Middle East and Africa. Australian students aware of their nation’s diverse western heritages will engage with the Middle East, Africa and Asia with a sense of intellectual dignity, historical perspective and respect. We can reutilise the established and ancient connections between east and west already found within Australia’s multiculturalism.

Paul Cartledge, the AG Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge University, says the British public school system owes more to Sparta and Athens than to Christianity. The late Thomas McEvilley, the most distinguished historian of Greek and Indian philosophies, has written tomes on the transference and connectivity of ideas between Greek and Indian civilisations over thousands of years — way before any form of Anglo-Saxon identity was born.

It is certainly the case that, as the American teacher and humourist Leo Rosten said, “A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they’re dead.” Pyne, Donnelly and Wiltshire fit the bill: their review will anoint great ideas and people that were once radical.

How will they look at Magna Carta, that attack against royal decree and the beginning of the new West? What of the secular utilitarian philosophers and fathers of British liberalism, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill? How will we examine at the great republican revolution against the British Empire and the birth of the United States of America, the apotheosis of Western values, under the stewardship of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and others considered treacherous radicals by the Imperial British?

Then, of course, there’s the French Revolution and the western values of liberty, equality and fraternity. How will they fit the review’s narrow Christian view of the world? Or Hegel, Marx and Weber, fathers of social democracy and modern socialism in modern Europe?

Will we examine the settlement of British and non-British peoples on Australia? What of Jewish, Greek and Italian sailors on the first fleet? How will the early contributions of Afghans, Indians, Japanese and Chinese immigrants, and Pacific Islanders be assessed?

What of the Eureka Stockade, was it not a revolt premised on western values? Women’s vote and gender equality fit in the western tradition, but how do they fit in the worldview of Christian or other religious patriarchies? Will we revise our historical brutality towards Aborigines? The Aboriginal civil rights movement was centred on western values of rights and freedoms.

Pyne wants to re-energise Anzac Day, once a sombre reflection on the waste of life from a failed Imperial operation. Like John Howard, he wants to re-establish it as the first test of nationalism. Yet in World War II Australians fought for survival, democracy and nation. It was in WWII that Australians were bombed by the militarist regime of Japan in Darwin, and were abandoned in Singapore by the British. The Turks never attacked us.

But royalist conservatives like Pyne are more about kowtowing to the Brits than Australian patriotism. In WWII we did not fight for empire, we fought for Australia against the totalitarian regimes of Japanese in the Pacific and the Nazis in Greece and the Middle East. In Crete the Australian troops, abandoned by their generals, were taken into the Resistance as brothers, and in the minds of Greeks, defenders of universal freedoms and democracy. Our involvements in Afghanistan and Timor Leste can be accommodated as actions in support of liberty, freedom and equality. Possibly even our involvement in Iraq, although that is a polarising subject.

The education review will not be a process of reflection on western values, philosophy and politics, arts and literature, but a reinvention of a very limited right-wing Royalist Australian agenda. Maybe when we have a Chinese Australian Prime Minister with a Buddhist background, secular values, fluent in Mandarin, English and Bahasa, schooled in “Western” and “Asian” values, the issue of educational values will be less charged.

George Michael bans TV interview in which he admits HIV fears

Source: dailymail.co.uk

George Michael has forced the BBC to pull the plug on an interview he gave in which he reveals he is too scared to have an AIDs test.

The star made the admission to Stephen Fry for a new two part documentary shown on BBC2 next month.

In the programme, the former Wham singer is understood to have revealed he had not had a test to see if he is HIV positive for years because he is scared of what result would come back.

Mr Michael, 44, whose former partner Anselmo Feleppa died of an Aids related illness in 1995, is said to have told the BBC the subject was too personal and emotional to be broadcast.

It is understood that Fry and Michael clashed over the singer’s stance over whether to be tested or not during the interview, which was recorded earlier this year.

In June, Fry’s producer, Ross Wilson, revealed: “George says he does not believe in tests .

“He says he finds the wait for results to harrowing and that he hasn’t had a test since at least 2004 due to his fears it might be positive.”

But yesterday the BBC issued a short statement saying: “George Michael isn’t in the documentary, because on reflection, this was too personal a journey for George to revisit”.

There is also speculation that Michael may have been unhappy over the way BBC programming chiefs used his discomfort to promote the programme, which also sees Fry himself take an HIV test, which is provides a negative result.

The singer has talked frankly about the issue and his feelings about the death of former boyfriend Anselmo Feleppa, who died from the disease in 1985.

A spokesman for the star confirmed that he had asked for his contribution to be removed and claimed it had also been too personal a subject for Anselmo’s family to revisit as well.

He said: “On reflection, he felt it was too close and too personal a journey.”

The spokesman added: “It was too personal for Anselmo’s family to revisit.”

The documentary series called Stephen Fry: HIV and Me, which airs in the first week of October, follows on from his acclaimed programme The Secret Life of the Manic depressive, where he revealed his personal struggle with mental illness.

It has already been an eventful year for Michael after he became the first singer to perform at the new Wembley Stadium in June, almost seven years after the last concert at the venue.

But just a day before the gig, he was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and given a driving ban for two years after pleading guilty to driving while unfit.

He said he had been ashamed of risking other people’s lives as he drove his Mercedes erratically in North London in October last year.

Police found the car stopped at traffic lights with Michael slumped at the wheel, drooling and sweating.

Blood tests showed a cocktail of drugs in cluding anti-depressant, sleeping pill, cannabis and the illegal dance club drug GHB.

Michael was previously forced to complete 80 hours of community service in 1998 in the US for “lewd conduct” in an LA park.

Pop star GEORGE MICHAEL has returned to Twitter.com after a year-long absence and vowed to put the troubles of 2013 behind him.

The singer logged off the social networking website last January (13), and went on to endure a nightmare year which reportedly included a two-month stint at a clinic to treat anxiety issues, and a horrific freak accident in which he fell out of a car on a motorway in May (13).

He was subsequently rumoured to be retiring from music before announcing a surprise comeback this month (Jan14).

Michael has now returned to Twitter.com for the first time in 12 months, and asked fans to forgive him for the problems he suffered last year (13).

He writes, “Hello my lovelies!!! A belated happy new year to you all!… Firstly, I can only apologise from the bottom of my heart for worrying you for so long with my silence… Suffice to say that 2013 was a year that I am glad to put behind me and that I hope you can forgive me for… Symphonica the (new) album is ready to go, and I hope it rekindles memories of the nights we spent together over the last few years.”