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Australia needs to grow up

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 08 Juni 2014 | 23.08

Teach the children well ... Dr Harry Cooper has a message for the young about caring for animals. Source: Supplied

IT was a Crosby, Stills and Nash song which gave Australian TV's favourite vet Dr Harry Cooper his career inspiration.

After more than 35 years on the small screen, sharing his passion for the care and conservation of animals, the Channel 7 star remains committed to the musical mantra: "Teach the children well."

Honoured with an OAM for his service to veterinary science and animal welfare, the author and TV presenter said he was "absolutely delighted and surprised" to be recognised on the Queens list.

Whether appearing on Seven's Logie-winning series Better Homes And Gardens, or campaigning for causes like Free The Bears, Dr Cooper said he's "made it my aim to reach out to children and to teach them a love and a respect and a sense of responsibility not only for their domestic animals, but also the wildlife which is rapidly disappearing off the planet."

While accepting of the accolade "from my country", the self-avowed Republican

believes Australia needs to look forward to a future independent of the monarchy.

"This is something where you have to look back at your past and I look at Britain as being like our foundation. Then I look at the situation today and we're a different country all together. I think we should be a Republic, quite honestly and not as we are, beholden to the Queen. I've got nothing against the Queen, lovely lady and all that sort of stuff but I think we need to grow up. It's time to make our own way in the world."

After missing the presentation of his Centenary medal most recently, Dr Cooper is determined to accept this honour.

"I'm actually looking forward to the presentation ceremony, because the last time, when I was awarded a Centenary medal, I just couldn't go to the service. I really ached for that, that I couldn't go, so nothing will stop me from going to this one ... it should be something special."


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Two die in toilet looking for phone

Tragedy ... A man and his mother both died after suffocating while trying to fish a phone out of an open pit toilet. Source: Supplied

A MAN and his mother have suffocated after trying to fish a mobile phone out of an open pit toilet and falling in.

The South China Morning Post reports that an unnamed woman in Xinxiang City, China, dropped her phone, worth about $300, into the open pit toilet.

Her husband tried to find it but was overcome by the stench, lost consciousness and fell in. His mother then dove in after her son but she also fainted.

Neighbours were called for help after the owner of the phone then tried to save her husband and mother-in-law but also lost consciousness.

A total of six people had to be pulled out of the toilet. The man and his mother both had pulses when they were rescued but died as they waited more than an hour for medical assistance to arrive.

"Two lives have gone in five minutes and my cousin's wife is still in coma, leaving a partially-paralysed old man and a one-year-old son at home." the husband's uncle said, according to Shanghaist. "What are we supposed to do?"


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30 Rock star ‘cried for help’

A US truck driver has been charged in connection to a car crash that left Tracy Morgan critically injured

Serious condition... Morgan hosting last year's Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. Picture: Ethan Miller Source: Getty Images

TRACY Morgan reportedly screamed for help following a crash that killed a close friend and left the actor and comedian hospitalised in a critical condition. Two others were seriously injured in the smash.

"I climbed around and heard Tracy screaming for help," Tyrone Gale, the driver of the limo bus Morgan was in at the time of the six-vehicle crash on the New Jersey Turnpike, told ABC News. "I climbed up on the body of the limo bus… but I couldn't reach them."

The accident happened after a tractor-trailer rammed into Morgan's chauffeured limousine bus, which was carrying seven people.

Kevin Roper, the driver of the tractor-trailer, has been charged death by auto in the Saturday crash that killed comedian James McNair, described as a mentor to the former Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock cast member.

Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Georgia, also faces four counts of assault by auto. He was released on $50,000 bail after turning himself into Middlesex County Police.

Morgan, 45, was in critical condition and his family arrived to be with him. Morgan was "receiving excellent care," his spokesman Lewis Kay said.

Morgan and the group were travelling home from a stand-up comedy show in Delaware, officials said. About 1am, near Cranbury Township, the tractor-trailer driver apparently failed to slow for traffic ahead and swerved at the last minute to avoid a crash, state police Sgt. 1st Class Greg Williams said.

Aftermath... The limousine bus carrying Tracy Morgan and six other people lies on its side. Source: AP

Instead, the big rig smashed into the back of the Mercedes limo bus, prompting a chain-reaction crash with a second tractor-trailer, an SUV and two cars.

McNair, 62, of Peekskill, New York, who performed as Jimmy Mack, died when the limo overturned on the turnpike, Williams said. Morgan and Jeffrey Millea, 36, of Shelton, Connecticut, were flown from the accident scene to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, where they were in critical condition, hospital spokesman Peter Haigney said.

A fourth passenger, comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr., was also in critical condition, while a fifth passenger, comic Harris Stanton, was treated and released, Haigney said. Two others in the limo were unhurt, including the driver.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was working with state police to look at any issues in the crash related to commercial trucking and limousine safety.

Walmart President Bill Simon said in a statement a Walmart truck was involved and that the company "will take full responsibility" if authorities determine its truck caused the accident.

"We're praying for the family and friends of the passenger who lost his life in the terrible accident" the statement said.

Blamed... The Wal-Mart truck believed to have caused the accident. Source: AP

Morgan's limo was owned by Atlantic Transportation Services, which said it had one employee behind the wheel and a second in the front passenger seat.

"Although the investigation is still pending, we concur with the preliminary reports that the accident was caused by another vehicle travelling behind the Atlantic limo bus," the Rehoboth Beach, Delaware-based company said.

Morgan performed comedy stand-up Friday night at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. His scheduled appearance at the Fillmore Charlotte in North Carolina on Saturday was cancelled.

Fuqua had tweeted that he was opening for Morgan on Friday. On his Instagram page, Fuqua included a collage of photos from the Delaware show.

Star role... Tracy Morgan with co-stars on 30 Rock Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey. Source: News Corp Australia

"This is what it looks like from the stage to see a standing ovation from 1500 people," Fuqua wrote at around midnight Friday. "Then we travelled back to NYC in style in a luxury Mercedes Sprinter. Road life is a good life!"

McNair was a close friend and mentor to Morgan, Morgan's ex-wife, Sabina Morgan, told the New York Daily News. "He was one of the first comedians that took Tracy under his wing," she said. "They were very close."

Royale Watkins, a Los Angeles-based comedian who said he had performed in New York clubs with Morgan and McNair, described McNair as having a big personality.

Critical condition... Morgan is in hospital with his family by his side. Picture: Robyn Beck Source: AFP

"There may be guys like Tracy who get the fame and notoriety, but you have people like Jimmy Mack who have kind of energised and fuelled cats like Tracy and kept them going on the road," Watkins said.

Morgan, a New York City native, joined SNL in 1996 and left to star in The Tracy Morgan Show in 2003. That show lasted just one season. In 2006, Morgan found a long-running role on NBC's hit show 30 Rock, which was created by SNL co-star Tina Fey. He received an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor for 30 Rock in 2009.


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Baden-Clay murder trial set to begin

Chief Justice of QLD, The Honourable Paul de Jersey, gives a tour of the then-new Supreme court, in 2012.

Allison Baden-Clay's body was found at Anstead. west of Brisbane, several days after her disappearance. Source: News Limited

THE murder trial of accused wife killer Gerard Baden-Clay is scheduled to begin in Brisbane ­tomorrow.

The 43-year-old is accused of murdering his wife Allison, 41, in April 2012.

CAUTION: Graphic images, evidence

SELECTION: Three questions for jurors

Allison Baden-Clay's body was found on a creek bank at Anstead west of Brisbane on April 30, 2012.

The discovery was made 10 days after Baden-Clay reported his wife missing from their home in the western suburb of Brookfield. The former real estate agent was arrested and charged with murder in June 2012.

He has pleaded not guilty.

As many as 72 witnesses could be called to give ­evidence during the trial, which is expected to run for up to four weeks in the Supreme Court in Brisbane.

Potential jurors will be polled during selection.


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Steph on how it was sink or swim

In a personal message to her fans, Aussie gold medalist Stephanie Rice has announced her retirement from competitive swimming. Courtesy itsStephRice/YouTube

OLYMPIC champion Stephanie Rice has opened up about the difficulties of transitioning to "normal life" after her success.

In the wake of separate and complex difficulties being faced by Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett and Geoff Huegill, Rice said "it's been really sad to see a lot of the others, the boys in particular, going through a rough time."

SO LONG STEPH: Rice announces retirement

The 25-year-old admitted she had "struggled" at times since winning three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, until announcing her retirement from the pool earlier this year.

"It was all a really big challenge," Rice said, becoming emotional during her interview. "Everything happened at one time and I definitely struggled. It hasn't all been 'easy breezy' and I've just been smiling every day. There have been some really tough times."

Rice, who has been signed to a major deal with Russell Athletic to promote their platinum performance range and is planning her own line of children's swimwear, said she was focusing on her own goals.

Stephanie Rice is contemplating life after swimming.

She said finding an identity for herself beyond "Olympic champion" had been hard.

"I'd never really allowed myself to focus on anything other than swimming. That was the only thing I would put my energy into," she said.

She credited the support of her family and coach for keeping her strong. She said dealing with an ongoing perception of her as a "party girl" that started with post-Beijing Olympics celebrations, had been tough.

"It affected me because I was so young and wasn't aware of the media's opposite side to the glory and the fame. It really made me a bit self-conscious," Rice said.

"I'd worked so hard and not had a normal life at all. That was something I sacrificed for swimming and to see that pay-off was incredible.

Australian Olympian Stephanie Rice has been named as an official ambassador for harness racing in 2014 as she prepares to make a decision on her swimming future.

"(But) after the Olympics to be a 'normal' person and go to a 'normal' bar and be able to dance – that was something I had never experienced before".


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Computer is first to fool humans

Rise of the machines ... A computer program has become the first to pass a Turing test by fooling 33 per cent of humans that it was a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy. Source: Supplied

A "SUPER COMPUTER" has duped humans into thinking it was a 13-year-old boy to become the first machine to pass the "iconic" Turing test, experts say.

Five machines were tested at the Royal Society in central London to see if they could fool people into thinking they were humans during text-based conversations.

The test was devised in 1950 by computer science pioneer and World War II code breaker Alan Turing, who said that if a machine was indistinguishable from a human, then it was "thinking".

No computer had ever previously passed the Turing test, which requires 30 per cent of human interrogators to be duped during a series of five-minute keyboard conversations, organisers from the University of Reading said.

But "Eugene Goostman", a computer program developed to simulate a 13-year-old boy, managed to convince 33 per cent of the judges that it was human, the university said.

Professor Kevin Warwick, from the University of Reading, said: "In the field of artificial intelligence there is no more iconic and controversial milestone than the Turing test.

"It is fitting that such an important landmark has been reached at the Royal Society in London, the home of British science and the scene of many great advances in human understanding over the centuries. This milestone will go down in history as one of the most exciting."

The successful machine was created by Russian-born Vladimir Veselov, who lives in the United States, and Ukrainian Eugene Demchenko who lives in Russia.

Veselov said: "It's a remarkable achievement for us and we hope it boosts interest in artificial intelligence and chatbots."

Prof Warwick said there had been previous claims that the test was passed in similar competitions around the world.

"A true Turing test does not set the questions or topics prior to the conversations," he said.

"We are therefore proud to declare that Alan Turing's test was passed for the first time."

Prof Warwick said having a computer with such artificial intelligence had "implications for society" and would serve as a "wake-up call to cybercrime".

The event on Saturday was poignant as it took place on the 60th anniversary of the death of Turing, who laid the foundations of modern computing.


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Sir Mix-A-Lot raps with Symphony

Mixing it up ... Sir Mix-A-Lot performs his hit Baby Got Back with the Seattle Symphony. Source: Supplied

IT seems like an unlikely collaboration but rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot has teamed up with the Seattle Symphony to perform his iconic hit Baby Got Back.

Sir Mix-A-Lot took to the stage at Benaroya Hall in Seattle on Saturday as part of the Sonic Evolution project, which aims to bridge the gap between classical music and Seattle's pop music scene.

He was backed by Ludovic Morlot and the world- famous orchestra in a composition by Gabriel Prokofiev.

Sir Mix-A-Lot asked females from the audience to come up on stage and help him by dancing to the song.

Shake that healthy butt ... Sir Mix-A-Lot invited female members of the audience to come up on stage and dance as he performed his hit Baby Got Back with the Seattle Symphony. Source: Supplied

Baby Got Back was the second best-selling song of 1992, only eclipsed by Whitney Houston's epic power ballad I Will Always Love You.

It spent five weeks at Number 1 on the US singles charts and earned Sir Mix-A-Lot a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.

1900-MIX-A-LOT ... Some audience members really got into Sir Mix-A-Lot's performance. Source: Supplied


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Inventor road-tests suitcase scooter

Easy rider... Mr Liangcai turns heads on the streets of Changsha City. Picture: ITN/The Telegraph Source: Supplied

TIRED of standing in line for hours as you wait on never-ending queues at airport check-in?

A Chinese inventor has just the thing to take the weight off your feet.

He Liangcai has created a motorised, drivable suitcase.

The farmer-turned-inventor has been road-testing the unusual vehicle on the streets of his hometown of Changsha City.

According to the UK's Telegraph , the three-wheeled suitcase has top speeds of 20km/h and a battery that can be plugged into a wall to recharge. It's even comes with GPS, horn and burglar alarm.

Close control... The scooter has a top speed of 20km/h. Picture: ITN/Telegraph Source: Supplied


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