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‘They were thinking about themselves’

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 12 April 2015 | 23.08

Four sisters taken from their Australian mother and forced to live with their Italian father. An exclusive 60 Minutes interview, Sunday 8.30pm on Nine.

At peace ... The girls have a new life back in Italy. Picture: 60 Minutes Source: Supplied

AFTER being caught in the middle of one of the most bitter and public parental disputes in living memory, the Italian sisters have told their side of the story.

Three years after worldwide hysteria engulfed their family, the Vincenti sisters have broken their silence about the father they love, their happy lives in Italy and what they describe as the selfishness their parents showed during the ordeal.

Happy ... Claire and Emily say their parents were thinking about themselves. Picture: 60 Minutes Source: Supplied

Claire, Emily, Christine and Lily Vincenti were taken from their home in Italy by their Australian mother in 2010 and thrust into an ugly and public battle.

Their mother Laura Garrett, now aged 35, had Australian passports made for the girls after telling authorities they were fleeing their father, Tomasso Vincenti.

But her story came undone and the girls were returned to their father in 2012 after a hysterical and tearful goodbye that was broadcast to the world.

Speaking to Tara Brown on 60 Minutes, the two eldest sisters said the ugly ordeal was behind them.

"I think they were thinking more about themselves than us, you know, because we were put at the centre of this whole situation, and … I don't know, they were a little bit selfish," Claire Vincenti said.

"Because you know, we went through all of this — I mean, they did as well, but it was most hard for us than them, 'cause, you know, they're the adults."

The girls want to set the record straight about the emotion that surrounded their departure from Australia. They were never scared to return to their father in Italy, despite what they may have said at the time.

"If I think about it now, maybe I've said stuff that … I exaggerated a little bit, and that was just because I was liking my life in Australia and that was just because I didn't want to leave," Claire said.

Settled in Italy ... The girls are leading a normal life in Italy. Picture: 60 Minutes Source: Supplied

The girls didn't know their father had been told they were on holiday in Australia.

They said it was hard to settle back into life in Italy after having been moved to the Sunshine Coast only a few years earlier. But they are happy to be reunited with their father and building a relationship with him.

The girls describe a calm and happy life in the Tuscan hills with their father. They are finishing school, dating boyfriends and still keeping in touch with their mother, who they haven't seen since they left Australia in October 2012.

"Probably we're going to see her this summer, she's coming to visit us," Emily said, adding that she felt very happy about the reunion.

The sisters said they were hopeful of a future that included both parents.

"I'm happy with my life. You know, Australia's very far away, but I would like to you know, do both, them both, go visit Mum and her family and stay a little bit here with Dad," Claire said.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Shark tears off teenager’s limbs

Fatal attack ... Elio Canestri was surfing in an area prohibited for swimming when a shark attacked and killed him. Picture: Facebook/Elio Canestri Source: Supplied

A 13-YEAR-OLD boy was attacked and killed by a shark Sunday off the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, authorities said, the seventh such deadly attack since 2011.

The shark tore off the boy's limbs and part of his stomach as he was surfing early Sunday morning in an off-limits section of sea off the west coast of the island.

Elio Canestri was attacked while surfing with seven others, the Mirror reports. He was around 15 metres offshore.

'One of our best' ... promising young surfer, Elio Canestri, in action. Picture: Facebook/Elio Canestri Source: Supplied

A spokesman for the rescue services told the Mirror: "A boat was launched very quickly, and the victim was dragged out of the sea, but he died from his wounds.

"Those who witnessed the attack, including other children, are being treated for trauma."

It was the 16th shark attack on the island since 2011 and the seventh loss of life.

Reunion island authorities are said to be scrambling to find solutions to protect swimmers.

In July 2012, a surfer died after a shark ripped off his leg and, in July 2013, a teenage girl was bitten in half as she swam metres from shore. In February a 20-year-old female swimmer was bitten by a shark before dying in hospital from a cardiac arrest.

Died from his wounds ... a shark tore off Elio Canestri's limbs and part of his stomach. Picture: Facebook/Elio Canestri Source: Supplied

La Reunion local Jeremy Flores, who won the Billabong Pipeline Masters in Hawaii in 2010, paid tribute to Canestri on his Instagram account: "ANOTHER shark attack in Reunion island this morning. 13 years old Elio was one of our best up and coming surfer. Words can't describe how sad and angry i am. So young !!! Heart breaking News. RIP :("

Authorities immediately put in place a "post-attack procedure" in a bid to capture the shark.

Specialised boats were deployed for "targeted fishing in the immediate area around the attack," the local authorities said in a statement.

In February, island authorities extended until February 2016 a law prohibiting swimming and other water-based activities such as surfing and windsurfing except in special areas.

This measure has resulted in a dramatic decline in tourism on the island lying to the east of Madagascar.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Is this the ugliest Real Housewives fight ever?

Real Housewives of Melbourne, episode 8 recap: Gina and Jackie's incredible bogan slanging match Source: Foxtel

LAST week's episode of The Real Housewives of Melbourne ended on a sour note: Gina and Pettifleur were sniping at each other during dinner on their holiday in the Philippines, with Gina warning the newer girl on the block to "back off".

We're still at dinner as this week's episode opens, but tensions seem to have momentarily cooled.

Instead, Pettifleur's delivering her usual Amway-meets-Scientology sermon about the benefits of Switching the Bitch to a table of women whose expressions range from polite endurance to flat-out boredom.

"I've enriched my bitch to be so happy and so content in my life that I don't allow anything nasty or horrible to bother me, like Gina's constant comments," she says.

"There's some comments that she makes about my accent … and my colour …"

WELL. This is a bombshell. Sure, we've seen Gina crack a couple of (rather innocuous) jokes about Pettifleur's accent, but has she really been denigrating the colour of her skin? Is Gina a flat-out racist?

Gamble doesn't take the accusation well.

"As president of the Gina Liano fan club I DEMAND AN APOLOGY!" Source: Foxtel

"She has not, you LIAR! You LIAR, she NEVER mocked your colour!"

Turns out that, after a man spoke to Pettifleur when they arrived at Manila airport, Gina remarked that he might have assumed her to be a local. To Pettifleur, such a comment is "somewhere between ignorant and racist," while Gina asks, "Why is that an insult?"

Now it's Jackie's time to #shineshineshine. She jumps in to allege that, when she, Gina and Janet were appearing on a recent talk show, Gina asked her cast mates how they could "throw the two new girls under the bus."

Jackie then claims that Gina called Gamble's partner Rick a "lunatic" for not remembering her the second time he met her.

Frankly, this seems entirely reasonable to us — if you meet someone who resembles the love child of Maria Venuti and Mufasa from The Lion King once and you don't remember them, you are probably in need of an MRI.

These allegations don't fly with Gina, who quickly tells Jackie to "f*ck off."

"You f*ck off, cos you're full of it! You get f*cked," Jackie says, delivering an offensive arm gesture with a theatrical flourish. "You are so full of sh*t and I can't stand it!"

And with that, the other ladies quietly and intently hid their steak knives under the table. Source: Foxtel

Shaking with anger, Jackie then challenges Gina to that old Today Tonight staple, a lie-detector test.

"You don't need a lie-detector test, I WAS THERE!" Janet screams, but no one seems to be listening.

From there, things get even uglier — this is an honest to god transcript of the conversation between these two rich, powerful adult women:

Gina: "I'm never talking to you again!"

Jackie: "I'm never talking to YOU again!"

Gina: "F*CK. OFF."

Jackie: "YOU f*ck off!"

Gina: "You're an idiot."
Jackie: "YOU'RE an idiot!"

Why mourn the slow death of Australian scripted drama when reality TV delivers such rich, textured dialogue?

Hankering for some camera time, Janet then starts overreacting bizarrely to Gina's every jibe about Jackie.

"She is NOT delusional, that's a terrible thing to say! She's NOT mad, don't say that! Stop that! She is NOT possessed, how dare you! Stop that!"

It's all delivered with her best 'why are mummy and daddy fighting' face:

"Hello, Kids Helpline? I'm a 58-year-old Toorak Property Developer and I'm really upset" Source: Foxtel

The slanging match continues, with Jackie telling Gina she's "the biggest lying sack of sh*t" she's ever met in her life.

Lydia sums up the mood of the other women at the table: "Shut up, everybody … seriously."

Jackie then drops another big allegation: that GINA was the first to know all about Gamble's Sexy Sexual Sex Rumours, and thus pitted Gamble against Janet just for fun.

Are you keeping up with all this? There will be a test.

Print these Jackie Gillies reaction shots out and keep them on hand to use during family disagreements Source: Foxtel

Jackie closes her argument with this classy little jab at Gina:

"When's the last time you had a shaaaaag? [LIVING for her delivery of the word 'shag', just FYI] That's what you need, a root. A bloody good root."

Don't we all, babes.

The next day, as the restaurant no doubt re-evaluates its policy on group bookings and offers gift vouchers to nearby diners, Lydia sits Gamble down at the hotel bar to give her a warning about Gina.

"I think it's gorgeous that you two have become so close. There's a lot of layers to her though, and you haven't seen them yet. She can be stubborn. She does put people down if she doesn't want to know them."

She encourages Gamble to trust what Jackie says — the woman's a psychic, after all.

"Well, we all have our own thing — I mean, I'm a devout Darwinist," is Gamble's non-sequitur of a response. Lydia's face says suggests doesn't quite follow:

Darwinism, Lydia: it's the process of natural selection in which the stupid eventually die out — actually never mind. Source: Foxtel

After delivering her warning to Gamble, Lydia meets her housekeeper Joanna's Filipino parents, and given her emotional reaction upon seeing them, one has to wonder if they aren't actually her parents too.

"Obviously Joanna speaks so highly of me, and her parents were emotional because they know how much I look after their daughter and how caring I am," she tells us. Humble, too.

"Just like we rehearsed, Dario: speak slowly, remain calm, and hopefully she'll give us back our daughter." Source: Foxtel

Joanna's parents thank the rich white lady for meeting with them, for bringing them gifts, and for employing their daughter.

Lydia's response is super-creepy:

"She's MY daughter," she tells Joanna's Actual Real Mother. "In Australia, she's MY daughter. She's family, because she knows so much about my life."

Umm, if knowing absolutely everything there is to know about someone is enough to make them family, then why isn't Victoria Beckham my mum yet?

Lydia presents the couple with a picture frame, in which she instructs them to "put a beautiful photo of Joanna and I."

"Oh …. OK," says Joanna's mum.

Lydia then meets Joanna's adorable young nephew — and immediately starts instructing HIM to call her 'Mama'. SOMEBODY TAKE THE CHILD FROM LYDIA PLEASE.

Later in the day, Pettifleur and Gamble return to the hotel bar for an afternoon cocktail. As Pettifleur announces that her personal style is about "understated sophistication," the camera pans out to reveal that she's wearing the sort of ensemble Baz Luhrmann might dub 'a little too showy':

It takes a brave woman to team a foot-long fly with flesh-coloured body panelling. Source: Foxtel

"I saw Pettifleur and I nearly fell over. She looked like she could be fired out of a cannon!" says Gamble, wide-eyed.

The two sit down and, after eight episodes of sniping, attempt to make a fresh start with one another. Pettifleur explains that she hasn't felt very supported by Gamble, who she views as "a little puppy dog being protected by the big guard dog, Gina."

Quite rightly, Gamble says she hasn't offered much support because she doesn't have a lot of patience with terribly condescending, passive-aggressive statements like that.

Pettifleur then asks why Gamble refers to her as 'Nouveau Riche Barbie', which implies she's a cashed-up bogan with more money than sense.

"Why would you say that I spend my money frivolously?" she asks, looking for all the world like she covered her head in glue and did a forward-roll through a Goldmark jewellers.

"I do NOT waste money on crap. I'll have you know I made this headdress myself after opening a box of wine and YouTubing old episodes of Art Attack" Source: Foxtel

Pettifleur tells Gamble that she's coined a nickname for HER: 'Carnival Clown Barbie'.

"I'm not going to tell you what it means. I'm sure you'll find out sooner or later. Anyways, tell me about your gorgeous gown — how did you buy it? Do you get an allowance?"

Oh. No. She DIDN'T.

"Don't speak to me like that. I'm going. How f*cking rude," says Gamble, and with that, she's off.

"OK, walk away," Pettifleur smirks, looking for all the world like she won the argument.

Who do YOU think won the stoush, dear reader? The woman who refused to answer derogatory personal questions and removed herself from the situation, or the woman who is now sat drinking alone in a bar dressed as Tonya Harding circa 1987?

"I got her good, isn't that right — oh, there's no-one here." Source: Foxtel

No sooner has Gamble swanned out of the bar do the others rock up to greet Pettifleur, who acts all sweet n' innocent.

"Give me smacks everybody! I asked Gamble if she's got an allowance. Maybe it was naughty of me … I cant say anything because I'll get into trouble!"

Lydia is clearly having NONE OF IT.

"STOP IT. You're not a child," she snarls.

Gamble returns to the bar (to be honest, it may have been less of a 'walkout' than a 'toilet break') and she and Pettifleur agree to a truce — of sorts. Basically, they agree to stand at opposite ends of the group. Whatever works, ladies.

Pettifleur then regales the group with her plans to buy a brand new Bentley for her birthday … *cough* Nouveau Riche Barbie *cough*

Lydia's in the mood for a bit of stirring: "Who's buying it, Pettifleur? Who's buying it?"

"Well, whatever comes my way from [partner] Frank on my birthday, then so be it," is Pettifleur's coy response.

"Really? That's a huge … ALLOWANCE," says Lydia. YAAAS GURL.

Lydia, seen here checking her reflection in Pettifleur's cranial jewels Source: Foxtel

After such an exhausting holiday telling each other to go and get f*cked, the girls end their trip with a visit to a relaxing health spa. While the others dress down in flowing, voluminous holiday-wear, Gina sticks to her uniform: tight-fitting sparkly frock, handheld clutch. Well done Gina.

Neck rubs, foot massages, maybe even a light off-camera colonic — it all looks like heaven. Something tells us, though, that Gina's not really the 'massage' type:

Perhaps the long-term exposure to super-hold hair spray has had an effect on her neck joints? Source: Foxtel

At dinner after their spa day, Gina does seem to be in more of a relaxed mood. Keen-eyed RHOM watchers will notice she barely EVER drinks, instead preferring to keep control of her behaviour while those around her turn into drunken babbling messes. But tonight, she's having a cheeky wine — a "peeno gridgey-o," as she calls it.

As dinner wears on, Gamble finally asks Pettifleur to explain the nickname 'Carnival Clown Barbie.'

Clearly very proud of herself, Pettifleur explains that Gamble reminds her of those carnival games in which you have to put balls in the mouth of a dead-eyed, vacant clown while its head rotates from side to side.

"Oh, is that all? Oh well darling, there have been a few balls in my mouth."

With that, she smiles, shrugs, and takes a hearty sip of her wine.

Gamble Breaux, you are doing Real Housewives right. Source: Foxtel


Next week: Pettifleur's love of ridiculous headwear reaches new heights — and is Gamble really embroiled in a nude photo scandal?

The Real Housewives of Melbourne screens 8:30pm Sundays on Foxtel's Arena Channel.

Check back here right after each episode screens for our full recap.

In the meantime, check in with recapper Nick Bond on Twitter (@bondnickbond) to ponder the age-old question: "When did you last have a good shaaaaaaaag?"

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Dogs eat owner’s dead body

Horrific ... Noelle Baynham was partially eaten by her dogs after she died. Picture: Facebook Source: Supplied

A WOMAN who died alone in her home was eaten by her dogs as her body lay undiscovered for days, an inquest has heard.

Noelle Baynham was found by a close friend who let himself in when she didn't answer the door.

The 61-year-old's body had been partially devoured by her pet Jack Russell and Staffordshire Bull Terrier who had no other food in the house.

Scratch marks over the former jeweller's body revealed the hungry pooches tried to wake her before mauling her body.

It is believed Baynham collapsed and died following a drug overdose, but the exact cause of death couldn't be determined because the dogs mangled her vital organs.

A Jack Russell terrier. (generic picture). Picture: Thinkstock Source: News Limited

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier (generic picture). Picture: Thinkstock Source: Supplied

An inquest in the UK heard that friend Grant Donovan let himself into Baynham's Winnall Hampshire home on January 17.

He said he found his friend's body on the landing. She was wearing a dressing gown.

"This was the most horrifying thing I have ever seen," he told the inquest, according to The Southern Daily Echo. "I could not look at her long, so I just came away and called 999."

Pathologist Dr Amanda Jeffery told the inquest Baynham, an alcoholic who suffered from bipolar disorder, had probably died "a few days" before she was found.

She said Baynham likely died from a variety of drugs found in her system — possibly from an overdose or build-up of drugs in her system.

Senior central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short ruled Baynham may have had a stroke.

Her dogs were put down at the advice of police officers.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

10 most terrifying roads ever

Trolstigen road is one of the dangerous trips. Source: Getty Images

IF YOU just can't feel satisfied without navigating hairpin turns, dizzying elevations, and gravel surfaces with no guardrails to protect you, we've got you covered with this bucket list of freaky routes.

Some of these are highly travelled destination roads, some get very little traffic, and others are obscure to most drivers. But if you can patiently and carefully handle them in the proper vehicle, you'll be rewarded with some tasty visual treats, plus access to unique mountain-climbing and cycling adventures.

We'd tell you to buckle up, but we're not sure how much even doing that will help you here (of course, do it though!):

Road of Death (North Yungas), Bolivia

Death Road in Bolivia. Picture: AHLN Source: Flickr

There's nothing ironic about the name of this 61 kilometre journey that goes from over 4570 metres in La Paz to 1188m in Coroico — it is the black widow of roads. Its claim to fame is being named the world's most dangerous road by the Inter-American Development Bank, and it's estimated that 200 to 300 people travelling on it die each year.

It's not hard to see why the road is so dangerous: It's barely the width of one vehicle, with no guardrail to protect you from falls of up to 609m. Rain can make the road muddy and slippery, and rain or fog can reduce a driver to feeling blindfolded.

Still, there's a siren song here that attracts thousands of people, from danger-loving tourists to hardcore cyclists. The view of the Amazonian rainforest is astounding, and standing right over the sheer drops here will bring out the lemming in many of us. Tour groups that serve the road include Barracuda Biking and Gravity Bolivia.

Lippincott Mine Road, Death Valley National Park, California

This little-used 11km route in and out of the park near the famous Racetrack Playa really puts the "Death" in Death Valley. It's a faster route to the park than others, but you might be clenching your jaw the whole way, trying not to fall hundreds of feet to oblivion, and it's not for the casual driver or the casual car. This is four-wheel-drive territory only.

My friend Doug did the honour of driving us out of Death Valley via Lippincott at the end of our camping trip last fall, and by the time we had slowly descended the almost 600m drop, I felt like the park had chewed us up and spat us out into Saline Valley.

What could kill you here? Let us count the ways. There are no guardrails, and there is the constant threat of a steep fall if you're not careful — at times, there's just a foot or two of gravelly space to navigate. You'll be driving around or over some large rocks that could break your vehicle, and if that doesn't do it, the park's intense heat could if you're making the climb into Death Valley during the hotter months. There's no towing service, no water source, no road signs and no cell reception. Other than that, this drive is like Christmas.

Still, competent drivers in the right vehicle can make this trip safely. Make sure you stop along the way to capture some gorgeous views of the valley below. Also, if you enter the park this way, you're just three miles from the Racetrack and its otherworldly beauty. Just play some Metallica at full blast, as we did in this video clip, to give you the adrenaline rush you need to survive.

Dalton Highway, Alaska

The frozen Dalton Highway. Source: AFP

While the Road to Hana is seductively warm and dangerous, this frosty, gravelly, pothole-laden route is as seductive as a White Walker in Game of Thrones. The Dalton Highway was opened for one thing: transporting oil. And it covers 666km of desolate, icy terrain.

This is the route of Ice Road Truckers fame, and you'll have to excuse the truckers for thinking you're crazy if you want to drive this highway for fun. Let's put aside the freezing cold and often miserable road conditions, with 18-wheelers pounding your vehicle with ice. On a single 386km stretch, there are no service stations, restaurants or basic services — the longest such stretch in North America. There are three — count 'em, three — service stations the entire way. And don't count on cell service at all.

Still, there are enticements to taking your chances here. You can say you've crossed into the Arctic Circle, which the highway does. And if you visit at the right time, you can slowly pull over and watch the northern lights.

A guide is highly recommended here unless you know your survival skills, as you'll need to pack provisions, including fuel. And be on the lookout for freeway closures, such as the one that happened just after flooding from the Sagavanirktok River.

Trollstigen Mountain Road, Norway

One of the turns on the Trollstigen pass, Norway. Source: Getty Images

As dangerous roads go, this is among the most visited in the world, and for good reason: It overlooks a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Geirangerfjord on the west coast of Norway. I'd like to say that I gave death a noogie as I raced this road's 11 hairpin turns and 9 per cent incline in an Alfa Romeo, but in fact, I slowly weaved through it on a large tour bus. Next time, I swear.

Dangerous conditions here include the incline, narrow driving space, and the poor traction and visibility that come with rain and fog. But oh man, those views: There are ideal photography opportunities where you can pull over and capture the fjords and lush valleys below, and waterfalls so close you can touch them.

Note: The road closes in October and opens in May.

Road to Hana, Maui, Hawaii

It's a stunning trip, but be cautious. Source: Getty Images

Paradise is worth the risk, which is why the 67km of Highway 360 to Hana in eastern Maui are such a tourist favourite. You'll have to navigate through and around 600 hairpin turns, 54 one-lane bridges, steep cliff drops, falling rocks, and even some confusing mile markers that reset. Plus it rains often, so there's that.

But the rewards for your risk are considerable: You probably won't have time for them all, in fact. The road itself is full of pull-over-right-now photography opportunities, but venture deeper and you'll find such rare beauties as Wai'anapanapa State Park's black sand beach, Twin Falls, Wailua Falls, and the laid-back charm of Paia Town.

Drive slow and you'll be fine here — you'd better, in fact, because police strictly enforce the 25-mph speed limit.

Fairy Meadows Road, Pakistan

Is climbing the world's ninth-highest mountain not challenging enough for you? Fine. Just try driving to the base of it. If you want to climb Nanga Parbat, you'll have to ascend six death-defying miles to Fairy Meadows. The gravel road is completely unmaintained, there are no guardrails to protect you, and it gets so narrow that near the end you'll have to cover the last section by walking or biking.

The road is prone to avalanches and heavy snowfall, and it closes in the winter.

Skippers Canyon Road, Queenstown, New Zealand

Welcome to a road so dangerous, your rental car insurance won't be honoured if you drive on it. Only one other road in New Zealand has that honour.

Yet you will be tempted to drive this one-lane, twisting terror with steep drops because it abounds with natural beauty and photo ops, including the Shotover River directly below you. Skippers Canyon Road is cut into the side of a mountain and extends 26km in New Zealand's South Island, 40km from Queenstown. It's considered one of the country's most scenic routes. The miners who built the road in the late 1800s didn't think much about luxury, though — it's unpaved and very narrow. Should you encounter a car driving the other way, one of you will have to back up gingerly until you can find enough room to pass. Good luck figuring out which of you that will be.

For an adventure trip, you can hire a tour bus to do the driving for you, such as a jet boating tour with Skippers Canyon Jet.

Skipper Canyon. Picture: Russellstreet Source: Flickr

Los Caracoles Pass, Chile

If you impressed yourself by driving down the curves of Lombard Street in San Francisco, this is just like that, only 1000 times more challenging. Called the "Snails Pass" by locals, this serpentine mountain pass in the Andes connects Santiago, Chile, to Mendoza, Argentina. It reaches 3200m in elevation, and this being the Andes, it's known for getting heavy snowfall: About 15,000 travellers were stranded for 10 hours on the Argentine side in 2013, when the road had to be closed because of snow and cold.

When you reach the summit of this road, you'll pass through the Cristo Redentor tunnel, and the heaviest, steepest switchbacks are on the Chilean side. You may need tire chains and plenty of patience to make it through here, but if you take your time, you should be able to avoid an accident.

Karakorum "Friendship" Highway, China and Pakistan

A bridge in the Karakorum area. Source: Getty Images

For some real altitude, take your chances with this 1287km drive. At 4693m, it's the highest paved international road in the world. And you can get a sense of how dangerous it is just by knowing that about 1000 workers died building this freeway before it opened in 1979.

The road's nickname stems from the collaboration between China and Pakistan in building it, but it can be unfriendly in practice, with little driving room, sheer drops, no pavement on the Pakistani side and flash floods.

However, Karakorum is an adventure lover's delight. Comprising part of the old Silk Road trade route, it offers views of soaring mountain peaks such as the K2 (second-highest mountain in the world), massive glaciers such as the Baltoro, and sprawling rivers such as the Indus.

\Bayburt Of Yolu-D915, Turkey

This road is arguably more dangerous than any other on this list. The D915 connects the Turkish cities of Bayburt and Of, near the Black Sea, and it spans 106km. It has many of the same hazards of the Death Road in Bolivia: It's only a lane wide in some sections and unpaved, with elevation exceeding 1980m and no guardrails protecting you from certain death. The often-poor weather adds to the danger.

Says the website Dangerousroads.org, "Words can't describe the road and pictures don't do it justice … the steep part is simply terrible. Curvy roads descending down the cliffs, often so narrow that you cannot turn the first time."

There are 29 hairpins turns, and things get gnarly in Çaykara, where the road climbs from 521m to 619, in just 5km, with 13 hairpin turns.

This article originally appeared on Yahoo Travel and was republished via the NYPost.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

‘He was a f***ing a**hole’ to do that

Scenes from the cult movie 'Roar'. Source: Supplied

Ravening jungle beasts assemble in flocks to invade an otherwise quiet home where they chase humans up and down stairways and from one room to another

ALMOST everybody knows that director Alfred Hitchcock had live birds thrown at terrified actor Tippi Hedren so they would attack her for real in The Birds.

Few are aware, though, that Hedren and her family (including daughter Melanie Griffith) chose to work for years with more than 150 untrained lions, tigers, cougars and elephants for the most dangerous movie in history — which is finally making its US theatrical debut on Friday, some 35 years after it was completed.

Roar was the mad brainstorm of Hedren's then-husband Noel Marshall, the executive producer of The Exorcist as well as The Harrad Experiment, which starred Hedren and (Griffith's future husband) Don Johnson.

Scenes from the cult movie 'Roar'. Source: Supplied

"Dad was a f — king a — hole to do that to his family," says John Marshall, who as a teenager agreed to star with his father, younger brother, stepmother and stepsister in a bizarre project that dragged on for 11 years and caused dozens of brutal injuries to them and the crew.

"It seemed like a really cool idea at the beginning, but it was dangerous," he notes.

Marshall says the family spent years preparing for the film by living with the big cats at a ranch 40 miles north of LA where animal rights activist Hedren now runs a preserve.

The problems began when production commenced at the ranch in 1976 on the film, which opens with a conservationist's family arriving at his home in Africa — he's away on business — only to discover it's filled with ferocious lions and tigers.

"You're fine with lions and tigers as long as you don't show any fear," Marshall recalls. "The problem is that the plot required us to show fear. These animals who had learned to respect us were totally confused when we started acting terrified."

There were more than 70 bloody attacks on the stars and crew. As Hedren recounts in a 1988 memoir, when John Marshall tripped on a rock and landed face down in high grass, a lion he was walking with jumped on him, "his big mouth closing over the back of John's head."

Marshall recalls: "I looked up and there was blood on his teeth. It took six guys to pull him off me and I got 56 stitches. I had to work with that lion on and off for five years because we kept running out of money."

Following a clash between two lions, Melanie Griffith quit the production — Hedren quotes her as saying, "Mother, I don't want to come out of this with half a face."

Griffith later returned, only to be mauled by a cat so severely she required dozens of stitches and plastic surgery.

"It's amazing no one was killed," Hedren once said of the film, which left her with a broken leg after she was bucked off the back of an elephant.

Soon after production finally wrapped, she split with Noel, who reportedly took years to recover from injuries and complications, including gangrene. (He died in 2010.)

The animals were also spooked by the film's frightened crew, who frequently quit en masse as casualties mounted. Director of photography Jan de Bont (who later directed "Speed") had his scalp ripped off by a lion and required 120 stitches.

Marshall says Roar was never theatrically distributed in the United States because of suits brought by creditors.

Scenes from the cult movie 'Roar'. Source: Supplied

With less than $2 million in worldwide ticket sales versus a budget that swelled to $17 million, it's considered one of the most disastrous indie productions in Hollywood history.

Owned for the last five years by Marshall's daughter Stephanie, Roar will make its Blu-ray debut this summer following a run in around 40 theatres.

Neither Hedren nor Griffith are promoting the film, and Marshall doesn't blame them.

"Tippi and Melanie kind of want to forget about the whole thing," says Marshall, who is still in touch with them. "I still get nightmares when I watch 'Roar,' so I don't see it too often."

That said, Marshall doesn't regret the experience. "It was amazing to live through that," he says. "I should have died many times. But I kind of want to do it again."

*This article first appeared in the New York Post.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Gang-raped sex slave pregnant

As ISIS forces clash with militants in Damascus, Long War Journal editor Bill Roggio explains what will be required to defeat the jihadi insurgency around the globe. Photo: Aamaq News

Horrific ... a man carries a Yazidi woman released by Islamic State group militants in Kirkuk. Picture: AP Source: AP

A NINE-YEAR-OLD sex slave is pregnant after being gang-raped by 10 Islamic State militants in Iraq, an aid worker said.

"The abuse she has suffered left her mentally and physically traumatised," Canadian-based aid worker Yousif Daoud, who recently returned from the region, told The Toronto Star.

"This girl is so young she could die if she delivers a baby. Even caesarean section is dangerous."

Devastated ... a woman from Iraq's Yazidi minority cries after arriving in the village of al-Humeira near Kirkuk. Picture: AFP/Marwan Ibrahim Source: AFP

The girl, a member of the persecuted Yazidi Christian minority, has been flown out of Iraq by a Kurdish aid agency and is receiving treatment in Germany.

Daoud said the girl was found in "very bad shape".

"She was sexually abused by no fewer than 10 men. Most of them were frontline fighters or suicide bombers who are given girls as a reward," he said.

Freed ... a Yazidi woman released by IS militants after being held captive for eight months. Picture: AP Photo Source: AP

Released ... Iraq's Yazidi women at a medical centre after being released by IS militants. Picture: AFP/Safin Hamed Source: AFP

ISIS released more than 200 Yazidis on Wednesday, mostly women and children, after holding them captive for eight months.

Daoud said ISIS released the abused women and girls "to shame the whole community". He said the victims faced the humiliation of lost chastity.

The news comes as IS militants are holding hostage at least 50 civilians, almost half of them women, seized in a raid on a village in central Syria.

They were kidnapped from the village of Mabujeh in Hama province on March 31, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Freed captives ... Yazidis released by Islamic State group militants sit by Kurdish soldiers in Kirkuk. Picture: AP Source: AP

News of the kidnappings had been kept quiet because of ongoing negotiations for their release, but the talks have since faltered, said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Ten of those taken, including six women, are Ismailis, a minority sect that is an offshoot of Shiite Islam. The remaining 40 are Sunni Muslims, including at least 15 women.

Medical care ... a Yazidi released by Islamic State group militants is carried on a stretcher as he and other people of the religious minority arrive in Kirkuk. Picture: AP Source: AP

Heartbroken ... a Yazidi woman released by Islamic State group militants cries for her other family members still held by the militants. Picture: AP Source: AP

"There are fears that the women are being taken as slaves," Abdel Rahman told AFP.

He said the Ismailis were kidnapped because IS considers them "infidels," and that the Sunnis — although from the same sect as IS fighters — were taken because IS viewed them as "loyal to the Ismailis".

Mabujeh, east of the provincial capital Hama, has a population of Sunnis, Ismailis and Alawites, another offshoot of Shiite Islam that is the sect of President Bashar al-Assad and his clan.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

‘I went from broke to millionaire’

Traveller Will Hatton had bundles of cash in Venezuela. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

"YOU will be robbed, there's no avoiding that. Just don't fight it or they will kill you."

This was the advice that Will Hatton, a 26-year-old traveller who explores some of the world's least-visited countries on an extreme budget, received when he announced he was going to explore Venezuela.

He tells news.com.au what it's really like in a country with more oil than anywhere else in the world — and the second-highest murder rate. As he quickly discovered, it's also a place that can make the average traveller feel rich.

Locals engage in fiery protests on the streets. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

The streets of Merida were alive with activity, an aura of menace hung heavily in the air. A blockade glinted in the afternoon sun, and black smoke from burning tyres spiralled into the sky.

"We must go around," my taxi driver said.

He gunned the ancient car into reverse and fled, anxious to be gone before the police arrived with their gas, batons and rubber bullets.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro collected over 10 million signatures from across Venezuela, which he presented at a rally in Caracas, Thursday, calling on US President Barack Obama to withdraw a decree declaring Venezuela a security threat. Speaking after the rally, which was also attended by Bolivian President Evo Morales, Maduro said he believes in better relations between the empire of the United States and a free and sovereign Latin America, but one that is based on respect and non-interference. Maduro will meet US President Barack Obama at the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama City on Friday, where he plans to present him with the millions of collected signatures.

But civil unrest was everywhere. Gangs of students in red shirts marched towards the city centre, spraying walls with graffiti. Police in urban camouflage stood shoulder to shoulder with the infamous Guardia Nacional (national guard), AKs strapped to their chests. They eyed the protesters suspiciously, ready at any minute to advance upon the hothead who dared aim a firework at their ranks.

My driver swore in Spanish and mounted the kerb. An armoured vehicle of some kind, water cannon at the ready, rolled past us with its siren blazing. We retreated from the noise down side-streets, passing more flimsy barricades as we made our way towards the quieter barrios of the city.

They faced off with the police. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

I was dropped off near a lush park, the obligatory statue of famous military leader Simon Bolivar, sword at the ready, in the centre. A pair of backpackers strolled past, snacking on empanadas and gulping down steaming black coffee. This was apparently the "touristic centre".

I looked for someone to change some money with, and was pointed towards a nearby shop. I entered and spoke in hushed tones with the lady behind the desk who then began to make calls.

Two hours later a man in a dark suit appeared, firmly clutching a grocery bag. He rushed in and closed the door. A rent-a-thug stood nearby with what looked like a metal chair leg in one hand, watching me carefully.

While there are dangers in Merida, there's no doubt it's a picturesque place. Source: Getty Images

The harassed-looking money changer emptied the bag onto the table. Hundreds of coloured bills spilt across the table. I handed over a single hundred dollar bill and began the laborious task of tying up notes with elastic bands, I had well over 1000 notes to count. I had been in Venezuela just 24 hours and already I was a millionaire here.

For a single US dollar ($1.31) I could buy 12 beers, get a bed for the night, take two taxis or eat in a nice restaurant. I could fill up a car at a local gas-station for 2 bolivars, around 1 US cent.

So much cash, not enough hands. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

So with wads of cash stuffed down my trousers and in my bag I left the store and checked into a hotel across the road. Then I went back outside, anxious to find out more about what the hell was going on; the sound of sirens, car alarms and fireworks, eerily similar to gunfire, drifted over the city like a haze.

I was surprised to see many Venezuelans going about what appeared to be their normal business. I entered a cafe, an oasis of calm in a city that appeared to be on the brink of revolution. Here I watched a woman with a ludicrous bum implant flirt with a moustachioed waiter with a healthy paunch. He appeared to be punching above his weight.

Across from me sat a gangly man in a chequered shirt, a pair of spectacles dangling from his face. I approached him and in my rudimentary Spanish attempted to ask him what was going on. He answered in English, a promising start. Roberto was preparing to leave the country and keen to share his insights on why he could no longer stay in his homeland.

He says he had no choice. Ten years ago, his father, a university professor, earned around $2000 a month. Today, due to rampant inflation, he earns just $60 a month for the same job. Many Venezuelans earn even less, at the official exchange rate most people can hope to pocket just $20 a month.

Those who have managed to get hold of actual dollars can live like kings and continue to invest their money in more dollars; in Venezuela, the value of dollars only seems to go up week on week.

Will came here for adventure, something he definitely got. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

"If you have dollars, you can live very well for just $50 a week," he said. "Without dollars, life in Venezuela is too expensive and it's impossible to get basics, even a toilet roll has to be bought on the black market!"

I had come to Venezuela hearing these rumours and had packed accordingly; my bag was stuffed with 12 rolls of toilet paper.

He explained that people are forced to queue for hours to buy essentials like powdered milk, bread and rice. Roberto was tired of queuing, he dreamt of a fully stocked fridge and a brimming medicine cabinet.

"We're importing everything and it's still not enough."

Locals wait in long lines to purchase fuel. Source: Getty Images

Venezuela should be the richest country in all of South America, the country has the largest oil reserves in the world and a full tank of gasoline (around 60 litres) costs just 5 bolivars, about $1. A litre of bottled water on the other hand costs nearly 30 bolivars, over 100 times more than a litre of gasoline.

Roberto says that Venezuela is now importing gasoline, a travesty for a country where oil bubbles freely from the ground.

So what does the future hold for Venezuela?

"Bloodshed, lots of bloodshed."

With plummeting oil prices, rising inflation, increasing shortages and the clamouring voices of a million unheard souls, it's a recipe for disaster.

Roberto cautioned me to be careful, this was no adventure playground, this was a country with one of the highest murder-rates in the world. And he's not the only one — everyone I'd spoken to wanted to know the same thing; after hearing about all the kidnappings, corruption, robberies and murders, why the hell was I here?

Sure, most people wouldn't dream of visiting Venezuela, believing it's not worth the risk. But I hoped against hope that they were wrong, that the dirt-cheap prices and stunning sites would outweigh the risk of danger.

Roraima is a famous -and stunning — mountain in Venezuela. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

One of the main reasons I came here was for Roraima — the highest table top mountain in the world. I dreamt of climbing it.

So I did. And as I stumped up a slippery path hacked into the jungle it seemed more likely I would break my neck than be robbed at gunpoint. Oozing, sucking mud pulled at my ankles as I struggled upwards, my pack, laden with supplies and camping gear.

This was a far-cry from the endless plains of the Gran Sabana. I had spent the first day hiking through dusty valleys, crossing rumbling rivers and generally just being eaten alive by swarms of pori-pori, horrible biting flies the size of a pinhead.

It was a tricky climb. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

For five hours I slipped and hauled myself up the path, passing through banks of cloud and under a tumbling waterfall. Mist engulfed me, and visibility was less than 10 metres.

Finally, I reached the summit. I was at last on top of the tabletop mountain that had inspired Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World. Roraima, a magnet for thrillseekers and adventurers, a grave for the ill-prepared.

Another tabletop mountain called Kukenan, a holy place for the indigenous peoples scattered across the plains, appeared through a window in the dancing mist. I had just a few seconds to appreciate the patchwork quilt of purples, oranges, reds and greens making up the mountain-face before it disappeared, devoured by clouds.

There were seemingly never-ending valleys. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

I spent the next day exploring the tabletop, bathing in a series of freezing pools and admiring valleys filled with crystals, an otherworldly site. Roraima, like Venezuela itself, was not what I had expected. The mountain and the country could both be deadly, but it had taken my breath away.

Seeing crystals everywhere was a sight for sore eyes. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

It definitely has a commanding appearance. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

The warmth and generosity I experienced in this wonderful, frustrating, insane and beautiful country had surpassed my wildest dreams. Everywhere, I had been made to feel welcome, at no point had I felt in any real danger, Venezuelans had gone to great lengths to keep me from harm. I had made staunch friends.

Though it's troubles, Venezuela has some beautiful sights. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

The true Venezuela, like Roraima, is masked. It is impossible to get a full picture, simply snapshots of truth through a fleeting window.

In fact, it rocks. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

Will Hatton writes about travelling on a budget over at The Broke Backpacker.

It was a trip he'll never forget. Picture: Will Hatton Source: Supplied

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More
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