END OF THE ROAD FOR HIGHWAY HOUSE
The Chinese house that became an internet sensation after it was left standing in the middle of a new highway has finally been demolished.
Pictures of the five-storey home went viral after the elderly owners refused to leave their house even though a massive motorway was being built around it.
But authorities in Beijing announced at the weekend that duck farmer that Luo Baogen, 67, and his 65-year-old wife have agreed to a 260,000 yuan ($40,000) compensation package to vacate the premises.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Luo had just finished building his house at a cost of 600,000 yuan ($90,000) before the government approached him with an offer of 220,000 yuan to move out.HOLY AUCTION BIDS, THERE GOES THE BATMOBILE
The Batmobile used in the 1960s Batman TV series featuring Adam West is to go up for auction in the new year.
The car is likely to sell for millions when it goes under the hammer on January 13, said Craig Jackson, chief executive of the Barrett Jackson auction firm.
Unlike most TV shows cars, of which multiple versions are created for different shots and promotional use, the Batmobile is a true original. It started life as a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car until famed car customiser George Barris was tasked with creating the Batmobile in 1966. After its conversion, Barris leased the car to the TV studio for filming. He has been the sole owner of the Batmobile ever since.
LILO'S "TERRIBLE" MOVIE COMEBACK
The first reviews of Lindsay Lohan's leading lady turn in Liz And Dick are not pretty. Lohan, who stars as Elizabeth Taylor in the made-for-TV biopic about the Oscar-winner's epic love affair with fellow actor Richard Burton "is a fascinating (if terrible) Elizabeth Taylor", according to People. The same review says Lohan, as an older Taylor, "looks more like Joan Collins stapled in half”.
"It's so terrible, you'll need to ice your face when it's over to ease the pain of wincing for two hours," David Wiegand wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle.
"Lohan is not at all convincing as Taylor, but in her defense it is difficult to imagine why anyone actually thought she would be," said the Los Angeles Times. "Unfortunately Lohan and co-star Grant Bowler have about as much sexual chemistry as Kermit and Miss Piggy and none of that couple's tenderness."Liz And Dick is the former child star's first on-screen role since Robert Rodgriguez's Machete in 2010. There is no word as yet whether there is a Herbie 2 in the works.
111 PEOPLE DIE IN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE
A fire in a clothing factory outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh has killed more than 100 people. The blaze, which started on Saturday night, took hours for firefighters to contain. "Scores of workers were taken to hospitals for treatment of burns and smoke inhalation," reports The New York Times.
The director of the fire brigade, Major Mahbub, has told Agence France-Presse that most of the victims were women. The majority of the country's three million garment workers are female. Police are investigating the cause of the fire.
Bangladesh is the world's second-largest exporter of clothing after China. According to the Clean Clothes Campaign, an anti-sweatshop advocacy group from The Netherlands, more than 500 workers have died in factory fires since 2006. Many factories have too few fire exits and "widely flout safety measures", according to The New York Times.
APPEAL IN BABY TEGAN CASE
Keli Lane, the Sydney woman jailed last year for the 1996 murder of her infant daughter, Tegan, will appeal against her conviction after a judge cast doubt on her guilt.
Lawyers acting for Lane – who once aspired to be an Olympic water polo player and who’d kept a number of pregnancies, including Tegan’s, secret from her family – hope to lodge the appeal this week.
The move follows comments by recently retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Whealy, who presided over Lane's trial, about doubts he had over the jury's verdict. Justice Whealy said the case would be difficult to prove because Tegan’s body was never found and "it did not make sense to me for a mother to do that".
"We concur with the judge's comment," said Lane’s solicitor Ben Archbold.
Lane maintains she gave Tegan to her natural father, who she says named either Andrew Morris or Andrew Norris, soon after the girl was born.NOVEMBER 19
From the marie claire features department
ABORTION OUTRAGE IN IRELAND
Thousands of people have marched in rallies throughout the Republic of Ireland calling for changes to the country’s abortion laws following the controversial death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar.Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant with her first child when she died at a Galway hospital last month.
Although an autopsy said the cause of death was septicaemia, Halappanavar had originally been admitted with severe back pain and later told she was having a miscarriage.
Her husband, Praveen, said she’d accepted she was losing her baby and asked for a medical termination several times, but doctors refused because there was a foetal heartbeat. He claimed hospital staff told them that Ireland was “a Catholic country”.
“Shame that this happened in my country,” Emer McNally, who is 33 and six months pregnant, said at a rally in Dublin. “It’s scary to think that medical treatment was denied.”Police are assisting the coroner in an investigation into Halappanavar’s death.
CUBA ELECTS TRANSGENDER WOMAN TO PUBLIC OFFICE
Adela Hernandez, 48, has become Cuba’s first transgender person to be elected to public office in the province of Villa Clara. Though still legally a man, Hernandez has hailed the election as a milestone in a country that once persecuted people perceived as being different. “As time evolves, homophobic people – although they will always exist – are the minority,” Hernandez told AP.
Disowned by her family and imprisoned for two years during the 1980s for “dangerousness”, Hernandez, a nurse and hospital technician, won support from her local community as a member of her neighbourhood watch committee.
“My neighbours know me as Adela, the nurse,” said Hernandez. Hernandez’s position makes her eligible for to be selected as an MP next year.
From the marie claire features department
COUNTING THE COST OF SANDY
Almost a week after Hurricane Sandy roared ashore in the north-eastern United States, millions of people who’d been in its path are still coming to grips with the scale of the destruction and trying to cope with the slow pace of recovery.
The so-called superstorm killed at least 110 people in the US after first claiming some 67 lives in the Caribbean. In the hardest hit areas in New Jersey and New York, entire neighbourhoods were destroyed by winds and a storm surge so large it flooded parts of downtown Manhattan and the New York City subway. On Saturday, more than 2.2 million people were still without power across 15 states and more than 10,000 were in emergency shelters.The total damage bill is estimated to be in excess of $50 billion, making Sandy the second costliest Atlantic hurricane ever behind Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005.
NOT SO GREAT BEING KATE
Kate Moss has spoken of the hardships of being the world’s most famous model, declaring that, “I don’t want to be myself, ever.”
In an interview with Vanity Fair, the 38-year-old Londoner reveals how, at 16, she had to be coerced into stripping half naked for the Calvin Klein shoot that launched her career and how she had a nervous breakdown 12 months later. Moss, who has dated a string of famous men, including Johnny Depp and Pete Doherty, says maintaining her waif-like look has meant she’s had to go hungry.Discussing another personal low, Moss told how she finally felt happy during her brief, but intense romance with Depp. “There’s nobody that’s ever really been able to take care of me. Johnny did for a bit. I believed what he said,” she said. And that’s what I missed when I left. I really lost that gauge of somebody I could trust. Nightmare. Years and years of crying. Oh, the tears!”
OSBOURNE’S AGONISING DECISION
Sharon Osbourne, the British reality star and wife of rock legend Ozzie Osbourne, has revealed how she underwent a double mastectomy as a precaution against developing cancer.The 60 year old successfully fought colon cancer 10 years ago and made the decision to have the most recent surgery after learning that she carries a gene that increases the risk of developing breast cancer.
After being told she had the gene, “I thought, ‘The odds are not in my favour,’” said Osbourne. “For me, it wasn’t a big decision. It was a no-brainer.”OCTOBER 29
From the marie claire sub-editing department
US BATTENS DOWN AGAINST "FRANKENSTORM"
America's east coast is preparing for further onslaught from Hurricane Sandy, which has already killed 65 people in the Caribbean.
Dubbed “Frankenstorm”, forecasters say Hurricane Sandy is a rare “super storm” created by an Arctic jet stream wrapping itself around a tropical storm.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered the evacuation of 375,000 people in low-lying areas and announced the closure of the city's subways, buses and trains.President Barack Obama, who cancelled election campaign events in Virginia, which could bear the brunt of the storm's impact, said: “My main message to everybody involved is that we have to take this [the storm warnings] seriously.”
MEAGHER ACCUSED IN SUICIDE ATTEMPT
Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, who has been charged with the rape and murder of 29-year-old Melbourne woman Jill Meagher, is recovering in hospital after severely injuring himself in jail. According to the Herald Sun, Bayley underwent surgery at Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital after being found bleeding from extensive wounds. Meanwhile, friends of Meagher have attended a 30th birthday celebration in her honour at the Brunswick Green hotel.
WORLD FIRST FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
In what has been dubbed the world's most progressive workplace deal on family violence, as many as 700,000 Australian workers now have access to paid domestic violence leave, with many more poised to get it. In December 2010, Victoria's Surf Coast Shire Council signed an agreement providing victims of domestic violence up to 20 days additional paid leave. Since then, dozens of agreements have been signed across Australia covering about seven per cent of the national workforce, according to the SMH.
“Australia is being applauded internationally,” said anti-family violence campaigner Ludo McFerran. “[Australia is] very much seen as being at the cutting edge of this issue.”OCTOBER 22
ANTI-GAY ACTIVISTS SUE MADONNA FOR $10.5 MILLION
Madonna has been summoned to appear in a court in St Petersburg to face charges of promoting homosexuality. Nine anti-gay activists have sued the American pop princess, claiming she caused “offence” during her concert in August in the Russian city. Now, they want the singer to pay up – to the tune of 333 million roubles ($10.5 million).
Although homosexuality was decriminalised in the wake of the fall of the USSR in the early ’90s, eight major Russian cities have passed a law that bans “public action aimed at propagandising sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, and transgenderism among minors”.
Earlier this month, another anti-gay group alleged that rainbows printed on the sides of milk cartons promoted homosexuality to children, and flouted the anti-gay law. Homophobic violence is reportedly on the increase. Earlier this month, 20 people, wearing black and surgical masks, raided a gay-friendly club in Moscow, breaking furniture and assaulting a dozen patrons.FEMALE JOURNALIST ASSULTED IN TAHRIR SQUARE
Sonia Dridi, a French television journalist, has been groped and attacked by a mob while filming in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. During a protest against the Muslim Brotherhood on Friday in the infamous area of Egypt’s capital, Dridi and her colleague Ashraf Khalil were shooting a live segment when the crowd turned on the journalists.
“Sexual harassment is a 20-year problem here, but now there’s a feeling of impunity and the knowledge that the police won't do anything about it, it breeds this culture of lawlessness," Khalil told The Guardian.
According to the same report, “Numerous incidents of violence and sexual assault against women have been reported over the past 18 months whenever throngs gather in the square.”In 2011, US television reporter Lara Logan was sexually assaulted and beaten in Tahrir Square while covering the ousting of then-President Hosni Mubarak.
WANTED: SOMEONE TO DRAW BATHS, POLISH STUFF
Fancy a career change? How would you feel about taking on a gig that required potentially seeing a member of the British Royal family semi-naked, spending three months of the year in a remote corner of Scotland and having to polish pretty much everything in sight? (All of which would earn you the princely sum of $22,000-a-year.)
The Telegraph reports that the Queen has advertised for a “housekeeping assistant”, aka maid, whose duties will also include a multitude of things including such essentials as drawing baths and “assisting with dressing”.
"Food and accommodation is provided, for which there will be a salary adjustment," the ad also generously sets out.
If you’re keen, you’d better get your skates on: applications close October 26.OCTOBER 15
JULIA GILLARD SURPRISES TROOPS IN AFHGANISTAN
Following a particularly torrid week in Canberra, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has visited Australian troops serving in Afghanistan. The PM made the secret trip to the war-torn country after first travelling to Indonesia to pay the nation’s respects to those killed and injured in the 2002 Bali bombings. In Afghanistan, Ms Gillard met with president Hamid Karzai and flew to the Australian base at Tarin Kowt, where she had a barbecue with troops and visited a hospital. “I wanted to say a big thank you to our troops for everything they’re doing in such difficult circumstances,” said Ms Gillard. To date, 38 Australians have died during the conflict.
CROWE’S MARRIAGE WOES
Russell Crowe and Danielle Spencer – considered one of the most enduring couples in Australian show business – have reportedly split. Oscar-winner Crowe and musician Spencer wed at their country property near Coffs Harbour, NSW, in 2003. They first met 22 years ago on the set of the Australian film The Crossing, but parted ways for a time when Crowe moved abroad to further his career. Crowe is presently in the US working on his latest film, Noah, while Spencer is believed to be in Australia with their sons. Neither Crowe nor Spencer has commented publicly.THORPEDO OPENS UP
Australian Olympic legend Ian Thorpe has described how he secretly battled alcohol abuse and suicidal thoughts. The iconic swimmer made the revelations in his new book, This Is Me. “I’ve never spoken openly about the complications of my life; in fact, not even my family is aware that I’ve spent a lot of my life battling what I can only describe as a crippling depression,” wrote Thorpe. “When my black periods grew more frequent, I found that the more I drank, the better I felt – or rather, the less bad I felt, although that only lasted until I woke up the next morning to go to training. My poison was always red wine, at times drunk in quantities that now seem unbelievable.”OCTOBER 8
1. Our Fashion Director Jana Pokorny arrived back in the office today from the Paris and Milan shows and was STILL waxing lyrical about the Valentino show.
"The Valentino show was my new favourite show of the season. I have been watching the evolution of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli’s designs and this year they definitely won me over. There is a modernity mixed with romance, that makes it feel so fresh and new. I absolutely loved it.’’
And to show you all what she is talking about let’s recap.
2. It’s hard to believe it was 10 years ago today that two bombs ripped through the nightclub district of Kuta, Bali, killing 202 people (including 88 Australians), injuring hundreds more and leaving an indelible scar on the Australian psyche.
To commemorate the anniversary, we spoke to survivor Carren Smith who spoke of her life-changing ordeal here.3. Only two more days to go the inaugural ZIP IT for mental health day.
To celebrate World Mental Health Day on October 10, some of Australia’s top mental health organisations, are challenging everyone to Zip It for 24 hours, and be silent for an entire day.
The aim is to get sponsorship for every hour of silence. If you can’t do it yourself you can challenge the office loudmouth to shut up on Wednesday - for a good cause of course. Funds raised go to fou key mental health organisations: Black Dog Institute, headspace, Lifeline and Suicide Prevention Australia.
Check out the details on www.zipit.org.au.OCTOBER 1
The 2012 Emmys
The clock is ticking down to the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Will newbies Homeland and Girls crash the party and take home some gold? Will Mad Men notch up a record fifth gong for Best Drama? The most likely real winner of the day? Fashion, and lots of it. Early red carpet arrivals suggest colour and sea foam beading look set to steal the day.Stay tuned for all the top trends from the 2012 Emmy Awards!
Feminist boot camp Femen, the publicity-loving, Ukrainian-based feminist group that has made headlines in the past year for its penchant for topless protesting, has launched its first "international training camp" in Paris. The activists plan to open similar camps in Kiev and Brazil in the run-up to the 2016 Olympic Games.
"Classical feminism is like an old sick lady that doesn't work anymore," Femen's Inna Shevchenko told The Guardian. "It's stuck in the world of conferences and books. We have the same ideas as the classical feminists; what is different is the form of fight. We fight in a way that will attract young women to the ideology again."
Congratulations to marie claire's Craig Henderson and John Roper, who survived (and dominated!) the Tough Mudder obstacle course yesterday. We salute you and your aching muscles.