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Voice contestant’s fairytale begins

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 18 Mei 2014 | 23.08

Just days after getting married Simonsz won his way through The Voice blind auditions.

EVEN before the offer of will.i.am's trailer, Julian Simonsz and his new bride Nelu have a honeymoon tale that will be hard to beat in family folklore.

Just days after marrying in the first of two spectacular ceremonies, Simonsz won his way through The Voice blind auditions and onto his musical idol's team.

The superstar coach was caught up in the Disney-style fairytale, comparing Simonsz's gorgeous wife to Aladdin "princess" Jasmin, after she rushed the stage and leapt into her dazed husband's arms.

When the coaches heard about the lovebirds' recent wedding — just three days before Simonsz blind audition, and two days before they were due to fly out to Sri Lanka for another family ceremony — the Black Eyed Peas frontman stepped in to offer them his trailer.

Loved up ... Julian Simonsz and his new bride Nelu tied the knot just days before he wowed the judges at The Voice blind auditions.

Pure joy ... Nelu rushed onto the stage to hug husband Julian Simonsz after his stunning performance. Source: Channel 9

The Melbourne couple, both 28, had been dating seven years before deciding to wed — only to have their bid day plans threatened to clash with Simonsz shot at reality TV stardom.

"For a while we were very uncertain about the exact timing of the blind auditions but we just had to concentrate on the wedding. When they told us it would fall exactly in between both weddings, we thought this is meant to be."

From the heart ... Voice contestant Julian Simonsz serenades his bride Nelu on their wedding day. Source: Supplied

The "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to perform on The Voice was made even more special for Simonsz, who dabbles in musical production, to work alongside will.i.am.

"He's on a completely different planet to everyone else. It's the reason why I wanted to be on Will's team. He's such a big inspiration to me, not only as an artist but as an individual."

But sharing the TV break with his bride made the moment even more magical, Simonsz said.

"It was really nice to have my wife stand right up there with me, helping me with everything she possibly can to make everything work. It's the best possible support anyone could ask for."

In other blind audition success stories, NRL WAG Maybelle Galuvao joined Team Kylie; schoolteacher Josh McDonald chose Team Ricky; Sydney teen Mia Morrissey turned Ricky Martin's chair; while Perth singer Blake Leggett joined Team Joel.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

New drugs ’cure’ lung cancer

Terrible toll... An X-ray shows tumours in a lung cancer patient. Source: News Limited

DOCTORS are hailing a breakthrough in cancer treatment after new drugs have been found to clear tumours in cases of advanced lung cancer.

One of the most deadly cancers, lung cancer has a low survival rate since it has often spread to other organs by the time it's discovered, meaning that within a few months sufferers are usually dead.

But drugs trialed in the US have shown extraordinary results clearing tumours in people in advanced stages of the disease.

According to Mail Online , a quarter of 129 US patients with advanced lung cancer have survived at least two years after being treated with nivolumab.

Nivolumab is one of a new generation of cancer drugs known as anti-PD1s and anti-PDL1s.

In most cases tumours cloak themselves in a way that the body's immune system is tricked into thinking that they pose no threat.

Mail Online reported that the anti-PD1s and anti-PDL1s work by helping the body's immune system recognise the tumour as an enemy.

They have also been used to successfully treat skin cancer.

"You would expect patients in that group to survive a few months, if you're lucky. So to get 24 per cent living two years is extraordinary," Dr Mick Peake of Glenfield Hospital in Leicester told the paper.

Dr Peake said he saw one man whose lung cancer had spread to his liver, brain, bones and adrenal glands. Yet after a course of treatment with the new drugs there was no more evidence of the disease, he said.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

The great Chinese social media hypocrisy

The city of Hangzhou in China is promoting itself on Facebook, but its own citizens can't access the banned social media network. Source: Supplied

CHINA'S Communist authorities ban their own people from accessing major global social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more.

But when it comes to self-promotion they are increasingly keen users themselves.

The official news agency Xinhua, the Communist Party's official mouthpiece the People's Daily, and state broadcaster CCTV all have Twitter accounts, as do a host of city and provincial authorities.

When the city of Hangzhou, renowned for its lakes and canals, looked to raise its international profile it turned to Facebook, the world's most-popular social network.

China's internet users, who now number 618 million, have been blocked from using it since 2009.

But the city's "Modern Marco Polo" competition — akin to Australia's "best job in the world" contests — involves no fewer than six Facebook apps.

The 'Modern Marco Polo' promotion by Hangzhou Tourism Commission. Source: Facebook

The winner, to be announced Tuesday, will receive 40,000 euros ($55,000) and a two-week trip to Hangzhou, in exchange for promoting the city on Facebook and Twitter for a year.

Michael Cavanaugh, a consultant for British-based PR Agency One, which has been promoting the contest, told AFP increasing official use of such sites was "inevitable". But he declined to say how the winner was expected to post to them from within China.


China's Communist authorities maintain a tight grip on expression — both on- and offline — fearful of any dissent that could spiral into a challenge to one-party rule.

Some Chinese internet users and businesses use VPNs, or virtual private networks, to bypass the vast censorship apparatus known as the Great Firewall, and state-run media often use foreign bureaus to accomplish the same goal.

Hangzhou itself used a digital agency in Hong Kong, where Facebook is not blocked, to administer its contest — an increasing trend by cities and provinces within China's borders.

The social media giant is actively seeking business in the country.

"We want to help tourism agencies in China tell the rest of the world about the fabulous things in China that are really not that well-understood," Vaughan Smith, Facebook's vice president of corporate development, told a Beijing audience last month.

A tea ceremony conducted at Mrs Pang's Tea House in Hangzhou, China. Source: Supplied

Facebook is reportedly in talks to open a sales office in the Chinese capital, and in recent weeks the company has quietly posted Beijing-based job openings on its website, including one for a client solutions manager to "focus on planning, implementing, and optimising advertising campaign spending for the world's top-tier advertisers".

Its executives are making increasingly frequent appearances at high-profile events in China, and the company's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg drew international headlines last September when she met the head of China's State Council Information Office, which oversees propaganda efforts.

Google also seeks advertisers in China and has three offices on the mainland, but pulled out its servers in 2010 in a row about censorship.

Twitter, which is a prominent advocate for free speech online, has shown few signs of interest in setting up in China, although the company's CEO Dick Costolo met Shanghai government officials during his first China visit in March.

Facebook representatives declined interview requests about the company's China business.

Facebook is said to be opening an office in China. Source: AFP

Duncan Clark, chairman of Beijing-based tech consultancy BDA, said Chinese local authorities had huge budgets and their tourism advertisements were probably lucrative for the multi-billion-dollar firm.

However, Facebook was unlikely to see them as a way of gaining access to Chinese users, Clark said.

"There's kind of a commonsense, logical middle ground where Facebook and China will agree to trade with each other," he told AFP. "This is business sense. I wouldn't expect that to change."


Other promotions include the "Rebirth of the Terracotta Warrior" Facebook contest launched last month by Shaanxi province, home to the tomb of China's first emperor Qin Shihuang.

A "Chengdu Pambassador" campaign gave contestants a chance to become a "guest panda keeper" at the south-western city's giant panda base through a series of Facebook activities.

But critics of Chinese censorship say such schemes give Beijing a soft-power boost through sleight-of-hand.

Google's headquarters in Beijing in 2010 before cooperation between the internet giant and the Chinese government collapsed. Source: AFP

A co-founder of anti-censorship website GreatFire.org who uses the pseudonym Charlie Smith told AFP: "I think the average Western netizen doesn't put two and two together and realise actually, these websites are blocked in China.

"That helps China, for sure, because it gives this impression that Facebook is actually open and free for the people who don't know that it isn't," he added.

The double standards have not escaped the notice of Chinese web users. The Shaanxi provincial government announced the opening of its tourist board's Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts in a posting on Weibo — a Chinese version of Twitter — in February.

Several users angrily responded that they were unable to open the links, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

"We're not advocating that domestic tourists visit these pages," a provincial government representative told the paper, drawing even greater fury.

"This way of thinking is discriminatory against Chinese people," wrote one online commentator. "It shows a lack of understanding of the basic rules of tourism promotion. It's very stupid and quite laughable."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Jay-Z, Beyonce stun fans with vid

TMZ has found CCTV footage of Beyonce's sister, Solange, attacking Jay Z in a lift after the 2014 Met Ball in New York.

THEY'VE had the week from hell but Jay-Z and Beyonce appear more determined than ever to cement their reputations as the king and queen of hip-hop.

The couple have surprised fans by releasing a big-budget fake movie trailer for their On The Run Tour, which kicks off next month.

99 PROBLEMS: Beyonce's sister Solange attacks Jay-Z in elevator

And in true style — proving they really don't do anything by halves — the clip features more Hollywood stars than a cinematic blockbuster.

Bonnie and Clyde ... Jay-Z swigs from a hip flask as Beyonce takes charge behind the wheel.

In less than four minutes, Jay-Z and Queen Bey squeeze in cameos from a wealth of stars including Sean Penn, Blake Lively, Don Cheadle and Jake Gyllenhaal.

On the run ... Jay and Bey get all gangsta in the clip, which purports to be for the film "Run". Source: YouTube

The clip claims to be for the film "Run", but has a release date of "coming never".

Jay-Z and Beyonce reprise their "Bonnie and Clyde" alter egos for the promo, which sees them hitting the road as they flee from the law.

In one scene, a bootylicious Beyonce strips to sexy underwear in a seedy motel room as her husband looks on.

Red light ... Beyonce dons suspenders in this sexy scene from the couple's tour trailer. Source: YouTube

In another, Jay-Z swigs from a hip flask as Beyonce gets behind the wheel of their convertible.

The couple are no doubt keen to move on after last week's drama involving footage of Jay-Z being attacked in an elevator by Beyonce's sister was leaked by a hotel worker at New York's Standard Hotel.

The footage, which has no audio, shows Solange Knowles lashing out wildy and kicking the hip-hop legend with her stiletto heels.

It's still not clear what sparked the row, which took place at an after-party for the New York Met Ball.

On The Run, the couple's stadium tour of the US, kicks off in Miami on June 25.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Kids locked in dark room, parents claim

Parents are pursuing separate court actions against Marnebek School. Source: News Limited

AUTISTIC children have been repeatedly locked in a darkened room for up to 20 minutes for misbehaving at a special school, staff and parents claim.

Seven parents have come forward with the allegations and two are pursuing separate court actions against Marnebek School in Cranbourne East over restraint, seclusion and other issues.

Staff have told the Herald Sun that terrified children would put up a fight when being led into the "time out" room, while other disciplinary tactics have included teachers sitting on unruly students.

Among other allegations reported to the Education ­Department are staff leading children around on wrist straps, physically restraining students who won't sit still and locking children in an ­outdoor courtyard alone as punishment.

Cranbourne mother Rebecca Cobb, 37, said she found her tearstained autistic son, then nine, lying on the floor of the bare room with a bloodied nose.

"He was extremely upset, he had been crying and he looked petrified,'' said Mrs Cobb, who is taking legal action through the Australian Human Rights Commission.

In letters seen by the Herald Sun, parents raised their concerns with the Education Department in January about the incidents between 2010-12, and called for an investigation.

The school and the department have denied the parents' ­allegations, saying children were always supervised and never locked away.

The Education Department said that it was satisfied with the school's "current practices'', and that staff always put student safety first.

Disability advocate Julie Phillips, who is representing the parents, accused the ­Government and school of a cover-up.

Another parent, Chris Scandolera, who has made a complaint to the AHRC over the treatment of his autistic son, said he saw multiple other children put in the "time out'' room and being led around on harnesses.

A Narre Warren mother, who can't be identified, is suing the Government in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on the grounds of discrimination against her non-verbal autistic son in 2011-12.

In a statement, principal Karen Dauncey said the school was "very caring'' and staff were highly trained in dealing with students with a range of disabilities.

"We have never had caged areas, and we do not punish children by isolating them,'' she said.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Posh coffee drinkers, remain calm

Consumers may soon be paying more for high-end coffee due to a nasty fungus which targets arabica beans. Katie Loveday and Jennifer Cox (pictured here for their coffee-drinking abilities as opposed to their poshness and/or penchant for high-blends) at Zarraffas Coffee in Helensvale. Source: News Limited

THE US government is stepping up efforts to help Central American farmers fight a devastating coffee disease - and hold down the price of your morning cup.

At issue is a fungus called coffee rust that has caused more than $1 billion in damage across the Latin American region. The fungus is especially deadly to Arabica coffee, the bean that makes up most high-end, specialty coffees.

Already, it is affecting the price of some of those coffees in the United States.

"We are concerned because we know coffee rust is already causing massive amounts of devastation," said Raj Shad, head of the US Agency for International Development.

On Monday, he was expected to announce a $5 million partnership with Texas A&M University's World Coffee Research center to try to eliminate the fungus.

But the government isn't doing this just to protect our $4 specialty coffees, as much as Americans love them. The chief concern is about the economic security of these small farms abroad. If farmers lose their jobs, it increases hunger and poverty in the region and contributes to violence and drug trafficking.

Washington estimates that production could be down anywhere from 15 per cent to 40 per cent in coming years, and that those losses could mean as many as 500,000 people could lose their jobs. Though some countries have brought the fungus under control, many of the poorer coffee-producing countries in Latin America don't see the rust problem getting better anytime soon.

Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica have all been hard hit.

Much of the blander, mass-produced coffee in the US comes from Asia and other regions. Most of the richer, more expensive coffees are from small, high altitude farms in Central America. Because the farms are smaller, farmers there often don't have enough money to buy the fungicides needed or lack the training to plant in ways that could avoid contamination.

The rust, called roya in Spanish, is a fungus that is highly contagious due to airborne fungal spores. It affects different varieties, but the Arabica beans are especially susceptible. Rainy weather worsens the problem.

"We don't see an end in sight anytime soon," said Leonardo Lombardini of Texas A&M's World Coffee Research.

So far, major US coffee companies have been able to find enough supply to avoid price increases. But some smaller outfits already have seen higher prices, said Ric Rhinehart of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Rhinehart said the worst-case scenario is that consumers eventually will pay "extraordinarily high prices for those coffees, if you can find them at all."

He said some very specialised varieties from a single origin - Guatemalan antigua coffees, for example - have been much harder to source. If the problem continues, he says, some small coffee companies either will raise prices or use blends that are easier to find, decreasing the quality of the coffee.

Larger companies such as Starbucks and Keurig Green Mountain Inc. have multiple suppliers across the region and say they have so far been able to source enough coffee.

"It's a little bit too soon to tell what the impact will be on supply and long term quality over time," said Lindsey Bolger, who heads up coffee sourcing for Keurig Green Mountain.

Still, the companies are trying to ensure that their future supply isn't affected, so they are working closely with growers on better practices that will help them avoid contamination.

"Supporting the farmer's ability to access information, technology and resources allows them to adapt to these uncertainties and ensures the longevity of our industry's supply chain," said Craig Russell, Starbucks Global Coffee executive vice president. Starbucks even bought a Costa Rican farm for research purposes.

USAID intends to work with Texas A&M to step up research on rust-resistant coffee varieties and help Latin America better monitor and respond to the fungus. The US already collaborates with some of the coffee companies and other international organizations to finance replanting of different varieties of trees.

The effort is part of the Obama administration's Feed the Future program, which aims to rid the world of extreme poverty through agricultural development and improved nutrition.

While the effort has helped hungry children around the globe, "we're at risk of backtracking because of coffee rust," Shah says.


Follow Mary Clare Jalonick on Twitter



World Coffee Research

Specialty Coffee Association of America

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Teacher broke into girl’s phone

Trojan Horse ... A teacher allegedly stole a girl's phone to prove she was dating a classmate. Source: Supplied

THE mother of a girl whose phone was stolen by teachers at her school in an effort to prove she was having a "forbidden" relationship with a male classmate has taken the matter to police.

Park View School in Birmingham, which the 16-year-old girl attends, is already being investigated regarding allegations of a takeover plot by Muslim radicals called "Operation Trojan Horse".

The Telegraph reports that the girl had her phone confiscated by a teacher who then took it to a phone store to get the passcode broken and the contents unlocked.

Images of the girl and boy together, along with text messages between the pair, were used to suspend the girl from school, weeks before her final exams. The boy was also suspended but not for as long.

Park View School claims to be secular but there have been reports that students were made to fast before final exams to get them in a "spiritual frame of mind" and that boys and girls are forced to sit apart from each other.

The Telegraph says students are expected to participate in a "Ramadan competition", which begins at the end of June.

Reportedly, the winner of a religious quiz on "the lives of the two great prophets", will be given a "small treat to enjoy after you open your fast".

Teachers at Park View told The Telegraph that the girl's mother had taken the matter to police. Under UK law it is illegal to intercept someone's private text messages.

"This was an appalling act of bullying and invasion of privacy," one teacher told the paper.

The school is one of 21 schools in and around Birmingham which is being investigated amid allegations that hard line Muslims have taken control of governing bodies and pushed out secular head teachers.

The Education Department is expected to publish its findings into the so-called "Trojan Horse" schools next month. The Telegraph says Tahir Alam, the chairman of governors at the school, is expected to be replaced.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Five things productive people never do

Hermione Granger just managed to get everything done, didn't she? Source: Supplied

IT IS rare a day goes by without someone telling you how "busy" they are.

With more time pressures in our careers and personal lives, people often feel they're being pulled in opposite directions. But it doesn't have to be this way.

Productivity is one of those traits we all wish we had but are convinced we don't, just because you might be prone to a little procrastination.

But being productive isn't just about having the focus to finish those necessary tasks. It's about organising your life in a way that you, and those around you, get the most out of it.

Life coach and managing director of PR and marketing firm Mango Communications Claire Salvetti considers herself a productive person. As an executive managing a team of employees, her clients' problems and her personal life, Ms Salvetti offers some insight on what productive people never do.

A productive person never tolerates what doesn't need to be tolerated …

"As a productive person, I never tolerate things that need to be tolerated," she said. "What I mean by that is figuring out what things are useful and aren't useful in my life. If you tolerate things, they're distracting you from what is important."

Mango Communications managing director and life coach Claire Salvetti. Source: Supplied

She said that this could be anything such as the chair at work that's bad for your back. Being distracted by the chair takes up space in your mind. Or it could be something bigger such as having a colleague on your team who is not very good or very nice, and they could be replaced with someone better.

A productive person never leaves things unresolved …

Ms Salvetti said: "This could be something like a bad habit, an incomplete project or an unkind remark.

"If you commit to something, complete it. Not only does it let you be present but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment and emotional freedom that you can devote to your quality of life."

But that doesn't mean you should push through on something you know is not going to work. "Productive people fail fast," Ms Salvetti said. "If you thought something was a good idea and it's not, cut your losses as quick as you can."

She said it's also important to resolve things on a personal level. An unkind remark to someone can burden you with a lot of guilt.

Don't let little things distract you from being unproductive. Source: ThinkStock

A productive person never puts "should and could" obligations before what they really want to do ...

"We have so many obligations in our lives and we all sit there and try to do the 'right thing' all the time," Ms Salvetti said. "But you know what you really want to do and everyone needs to be a little more selfish sometimes.

"It's a more productive place if you recognise what's important and prioritise those things. You get a gut feeling about the things you really don't want to do."

But that doesn't mean you should go out and scream "me, me, me" at the top of your lungs. It means kindly decline invitations to things you know you're not really going to make it to or will make you late to something else.

Ms Salvetti said: "I used to say yes to everything because I thought I should but then you end up in a world of pain in your own head."

A productive person never overfills their day …

Know how much you can fit into a day and stick to it.

"Something I've done as part of my life coach training are the daily habits or positive behaviours that keep you focused," Ms Salvetti said. "For me, I wake up and read the news and then listen to ABC radio. It makes me feel good and I always fit it in."

A productive person never confuses busy with productive …

Ms Salvetti said she's banned the word "busy" from work: "Busyness is not productive. If you are too busy, you're not living and being present. You're doing too much.

Being busy is not being productive. Source: ThinkStock

"I've been busy in my life and a lot of them were obligations so I spent some time decluttering my life."

Ms Salvetti said that if there are things you can delegate or outsource, then there are people who can help with that. "I'm not a good gardener and it stresses me out so I'm prepared to pay someone to that for me.

"There are people to do everything these days and I don't think we should be ashamed to bring people in to help. It doesn't make you any less a highly achieving person, it's about recognising where you want to invest your time."

A productive person never loses perspective …

Productive people take time out to reflect. Source: ThinkStock

According to Ms Salvetti, productive people know how to operate at their optimum level.

"It's about knowing who you are. Productive people often have pretty full schedules but you have to give yourself time to reflect so you can think about what you're doing and make changes and tweaks.

"Productive people have perspective. Perspective is everything. You can lose sight of yourself very quickly so time to reflect is important.

"Take a walk around the block. People who take time for lunch, even if it's 10 minutes, are more productive."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More
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