Bolting for Barnardos

All money raised by The Beach Bolt will go to Barnardos to support families and communities in need. Photo: Lighttruth/flickr/CC
All money raised by The Beach Bolt will go to Barnardos to support families and communities in need. Photo: Lighttruth/flickr/CC

BY SEREIMA TAROGI
@sereima49

Barnardos Australia has announced a new addition to Sydney’s running event calendar: The Barnardos Beach Bolt.

Billed as a high-energy community event, The Barnardos Beach Bolt will take place on Coogee Beach starting at Grant Reserve on the southern end of Coogee and finishing up on the north end at Dunningham Reserve.

Coogee Beach, the venue for June's Barnardos Beach Bolt - the only run on grass, pavement, stairs and sand. Photo: Robyn Jay/flickr/CC
Coogee Beach, the venue for June’s Barnardos Beach Bolt – the only run on grass, pavement, stairs and sand. Photo: Robyn Jay/flickr/CC

The new one mile race is the latest in an already long list of running events on the city’s calendar with 25 events scheduled between now and the end of the year. But it can claim to be the only race in Sydney to cover running on grass, pavement, stairs and sand. All proceeds go directly to Barnardos.

In a statement on the event press release Barnardos Australia Marketing Director Manisha Amin said, “No child deserves to live in suffering. Children in Australia suffer every day and die at alarming rates. All money raised by The Beach Bolt event will assist the charity and its work supporting families and communities in need.”

The event will cater for all members of the community with races for all ages and fitness levels. Runners are also encouraged to ask family and friends to sponsor them in order to raise funds for the kids’ charity.

The Barnardos Beach Bolt starts at 9am on Sunday June 14, 2015.

To register go to www.beachbolt.com.au

Podcast: Totally truthful Uber Facts

Wearing pants can be deadly. These guys ride the subway sans pants, just to be on the safe side. Photo: Improv_everywhere/Wikimedia Commons
Wearing pants can be deadly. These guys ride the subway sans pants, just to be on the safe side. Photo: Improv_everywhere/Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that wearing pants can be deadly? It’s got to be true – it’s a Uber Fact. Tune in to listen to Stephen Grbevskii (@King_Grbevski) and Mitchell Coombs (@MitchellC96_) for this and other a-may-zing facts. Podcast produced by Michael Golding (@MrGolding21).
 

 

Podcast: Retail horror stories

Kill me now: working with customers in retail and hospitality can be a nightmare. Photo: Bob Bekian/flickr
Kill me now: working with customers in retail and hospitality can be a nightmare. Photo: Bob Bekian/flickr

Diploma students Michael Golding (@MrGolding21), Jessica Scully (@Jedikaa), Sereima Tarogi (@sereima49) and Justin Pineda (@King_Justizzle) discuss the nightmarish scenarios encountered by anyone who’s ever worked in the retail or hospitality industries.

You can tune in for more podcast episodes at Michael’s Soundcloud.

 

Why Netflix won’t stop piracy

More TV than ever before. Photo: Reflexer/flickr; www.flickr.com/photos/reflexer/6437295863/
More TV than ever before. Photo: Reflexer/flickr; www.flickr.com/photos/reflexer/6437295863/

BY NINA COOKE
@nina_rivers

After the launch of Netflix in Australia this week the online streaming debate is once again in the public eye. Despite the increasing number of online subscription services, people are watching entertainment illegally more than ever. With so many TV shows and movies on offer, why are we still refusing to sign up for subscriptions?

The answer: they still simply aren’t good enough.

According to a recent survey I conducted on Facebook (very legitimate data source to be sure), more than 80 per cent of people who watch TV online do so illegally. Everyone surveyed watched more than 50 per cent of their content online, the majority citing it as their main, or only, medium. It’s no wonder companies like Foxtel and the Nine Network are investing in online platforms.

Availability and convenience were the main reasons people watched online. Respondents said they found it frustrating when shows air in the US months before arriving on Aussie shores. In such a digital age there really is no reason we shouldn’t be getting new releases at the same time as everyone else. Television networks are wasting their money bidding for top US shows when the majority of people will have watched them online months before they are broadcast on TV.

Cost is another big factor in streaming TV. Individual subscription services are reasonably priced (Netflix starts at $8.99 per month and Presto at $10), however to watch all the big ticket shows you’d have to subscribe to every service and then some, as they all have noticeable gaps in their libraries. The hit HBO series Game of Thrones hasn’t been picked up by any of them yet, and remains exclusive to Foxtel. Sign up for a few subscription services and the monthly cost racks up pretty quickly.

So what if you just want to pay for a particular show rather than subscribe to a whole library? Pay per program services such as iTunes are notoriously costly, with prices in Australia often being double that of the US site for exactly the same content. In this scenario, shipping costs and taxes can’t be blamed. It’s blatant overpricing. Australian subscription service Quickflicks charges an additional amount for “premium content” on top of the $10 monthly fee. Season 1 of Game of Thrones will set you back $29. At that price, why not just buy the DVD box set at JB Hi-Fi and share it with all of your friends?

Foxtel has tried to adapt to the online marketplace with its new streaming service Presto, anticipating the moment when their customers realize that $100 a month for unfiltered cable channels isn’t such a good deal after all.

In some cases, shows would never have reached our screens had it not been for illegal means. The majority of foreign films and TV shows aren’t bought by the networks or subscription services and probably never will be because they simply don’t appeal to a big enough audience. The bulk of anime (Japanese animation) is only obtainable through back channels, meaning that even if you were willing to pay exorbitant prices, there simply isn’t that option.

For people that prefer a clear conscience, even if you try to watch something legally on a TV network’s website where the content has been uploaded with full permission, the content will be blocked to IP addresses outside the host country. This is not only a problem for Aussies wanting to watch TV on US and UK channels. It also stops Aussies watching TV on their own local networks while travelling overseas. I lived in China for three months and the only way for me to watch my favourite ABC programs was illegally.

The government struggles to understand why so much online entertainment is watched illegally but it is plain for the rest of us to see. A limited number of shows with a hefty price tag that arrive months after they are first broadcast overseas does not a tempting offer make. So come on broadcasting moguls, pick up your game and start offering a reasonable deal.

My suggestion? A cheap, pay per episode service with instant access to every network. I know licencing laws written years before online TV even became a thing are getting in the way. But while you squabble about copyright, millions of dollars of potential revenue is going down the drain – or down the HDMI cable – as people seek better alternatives.

Bon appetit! Two dishes from Senegal

Traditional Senegalese dish thieboudienne. Photo: Dormeroom1 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Traditional Senegalese dish thieboudienne. Photo: Dormeroom1 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
BY BINTOU MAYA

A former French colony, Senegal has been strongly influenced by French and North African cultures. Most people in big cities such as Dakar start the morning with a fresh French baguette, picked up every day from a bakery, which you can find on every corner.

Interview: Jebediah’s Kevin Mitchell

BY AARON STREATFEILD
@slazanom

For any band in Australia, a 20-year career is quite an achievement. Withstanding artistic differences, non-paying gigs and arduous journeys between venues it is easy to see why bands throw in the towel long before spending a couple of decades together.

jebediah
“Play music with your best friends for the love of it, and don’t break up.” Photo: Facebook.

Jebediah is one of the few bands from the 90s to reach such a milestone. They have survived the arid landscape that is both the Australian music industry and the country’s geography and lived to tell the tale, with a trail of achievements to prove it.

The band’s latest tour will feature the release of a handpicked compilation from Jebediah’s back catalogue. Some songs have been a part of their live performance for a number of years. Even after evolving as a song writer and musician, Kevin Mitchell – aka Bob Evans, the bands front-man and rhythm guitarist – says he still enjoys playing the older songs, in fact even more than ever. “I appreciate things more than I ever used to. It comes with age!”

Surely after so long recording and touring relationships sour and musical chemistry dissipates, and things just aren’t what they used to be? Kevin says otherwise. “Things haven’t changed much at all.” The intermittent touring schedule is a key factor. “These days we don’t tour as often as we did in the 90s.”

Kevin says his time in the band helped him develop as a musician. “It’s given me the confidence to follow my instincts. It’s worked, so I think I know what will work.”

The secret to a long-lasting music relationship is friendship, he says. “Play music with your best friends for the love of it, and don’t break up. Helps to sell a few records [too].”

Dust off your chain wallet, bleach those tips and go get yourself a dose of teenage nostalgia. Jebediah’s 20th Anniversary Tour kicks off in June, visiting Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.

Vin Diesel’s tribute to best friend Paul Walker

BY AMJAD IBRAHIM
@Charles_Cain77

Vin Diesel has named his fourth child Pauline in honour of Paul Walker, his late best friend and co-star in the Fast & Furious films.

Today journalist Natalie Morales was first to reveal the news during a helicopter ride.

Holding back tears, Diesel said, “I’m telling you, it’s because I love you, Natalie. I know that you are a good soul, and I know that this is in good hands … I named her Pauline.”

He said the name deonstrated the love he had for the “two souls, both in the one body”.

“There’s no other person that I was thinking about as I was cutting this umbilical cord,” he said. “I just thought, I knew he was there. I thought it was a way to keep his memory a part of my family, a part of my world.”

Furious 7 was screened for the first time around the time Pauline was born. Diesel said it was the hardest movie he ever had to make, because of the weight he had on his shoulders after Walker’s death in a car accident. The final instalment in the Fast & Furious franchise opens on April 3.

Tunisia PM fires police

 
BY RAFAEL SANCHEZ-BAYO

Tunis: The Tunisian Prime Minister fired six police commanders on Monday, including the head of tourist security, after a militant attack on the national museum last week due to negligent security failures.

The attack was considered the worst in more than a decade since the revolt that overthrew autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

Gunmen killed 20 foreign tourists, including Spanish, Italian and Polish tourists as they got off buses outside the Bardo Museum.

Two gunmen were shot and 20 people were arrested by authorities who were believed to have been involved in the attack.

Islamic state militants claimed that their allies were responsible for the attack, however an al-Qaeda affiliated group known as Okba Ibn Nafaa has also claimed responsibility for the assault.

Tunisia has been lucky to have been spared terrorist activities after the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 which led to a new constitution.

Reclaiming Australia

Banner used by Reclaim Australia to promote their rally on April 4.
Banner used by Reclaim Australia to promote their rally on April 4.

BY AARON STREATFEILD
@slazanom

Two Sydney youths have organised a rally to show the Reclaim Australia group that they do not represent the opinions of Australians at large.

Reclaim Australia rally advertisement.  Andrew and Alex are the organisers behind anti-racism rally Stop Islamophobia. The rally, scheduled for April 4, is designed to counter a national protest convened for the same day by Reclaim Australia, a group largely based on a page on social media site Facebook.

Alarmed by what they saw as xenophobic and anti-Islamic dialogue within Reclaim Australia, Andrew and Alex devised Stop Islamophobia to support people targeted by Reclaim Australia.

Reclaim Australia outlines its goals on its official website. The eight point manifesto includes the banning of Halal certification, the burqa or any of its variants, and the teachings of Islam in schools. By staging a counter-rally Andrew and Alex say they aim to provide visible opposition to the ideals highlighted in the Reclaim Australia protest, a protest which they feel specifically targets the Islamic community.

“We were stunned by some of the racist and xenophobic comments on the page, as well as outright threats to anyone disagreeing with their ideology,” Andrew explained. “I’ve personally received threats of violence on my personal page.”

Andrew believes the ideologies on which Reclaim Australia is based are false. ‘There is no link between halal certification and terrorism funding,” he says. “In Australia we have strict laws relating to this.”

He says one of the common ideas within the group, that there is no such thing as a “moderate” Muslim, is based on fallacy. “Islamic terrorist groups represent a very small percentage of the total Islamic population.

“Ostracising an entire community is what drives people to extremism in the first place.”

But why do supporters of the Reclaim Australia rallies believe Islam is a threat to Australia’s cultural identity? And why have so many people put their support behind such an ideal? Alex and Andrew feel media is partly to blame.

“These sorts of fringe groups have existed for a long time,” Andrew says. “I think their increase in popularity can be attributed to the media’s fixation on recent events, such as the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the Lindt Cafe siege.

“The media focuses on these incidents, meanwhile ignoring other stories that don’t fit the Islamaphobic profile, such as the Christian militia in Central Africa.”

The counter-rally organisers are liaising with police and other local authorities in the lead-up to the rally in April. Andrew is worried that threatening messages he’s received could spill over into physical violence on the day of the rally, and says the police expressed concern that the rally could “devolve into a riot”. Alex says he fears for the safety of bystanders. “I am more worried about Muslims walking by during the Reclaim Rally and being subject to abuse and possible conflict,” he says.  The counter-rally will now take place near St James church in Macquarie St, a safe distance from the rival rally in Martin Place.

Counter-rally Facebook Group banner.Andrew says he and his fellow organisers will attend a Sydney Council meeting next week to challenge the approval of Reclaim Australia’s rally application, because the march might breach racial or religious vilification laws.

If one of the fundamental human rights is the freedom of assembly, does Reclaim Australia have the right to peacefully protest their views? “They do have the right to protest!” Andrew insists. “However, we also have the freedom to peacefully assemble in response.”

Organisers of the Reclaim Australia rally were approached for interview, but declined to comment.

 

The bilingual advantage

A second language can give kids a head start that lasts for life. Photo of an IGS student via the IGS Facebook page.
A second language can give kids a head start that lasts for life. Photo of an IGS student via the IGS Facebook page.

BY FRANCESCA MUSCATELLO @HipsterCat_Says

Finding the right path for your child can be a decision that many parents find daunting when choosing a school. Would your child thrive more in a language focused school than in a sports orientated one? This is the problem that many parents face when choosing an appropriate school for their children.