Monthly Archives: February 2019

  • Female detectives have problems too


    Female detectives can have drinking problems, affairs and a partner waiting at home to save them, so why should men get all the good roles?

    That was the reasoning behind British actresses Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay pitching the UKTV series Scott & Bailey.


    The pair believed it was time to start exploring the personal and professional lives of female detectives and that’s what they’ve done in a riveting and gritty police drama.

    Jones plays detective constable Rachel Bailey and the other lead role is held by Lesley Sharp who plays detective constable Janet Scott.

    Lindsay is Alison Bailey, the sister of Rachel, who is married with children and is constantly concerned about the welfare of their brother who is in jail for armed robbery.

    The series has been a hit in the UK with some seven million viewers tuning in per episode and the second season of Scott & Bailey starts on Foxtel’s UKTV on February 15.

    Jones says the series has lived up to her and Lindsay’s expectations although the pair has taken a secondary role when it comes to writing the series.

    “I felt we needed three dimensional characters, professional women who had some male traits because a lot of the parts are great for men,” Jones told AAP from Manchester where the series is filmed.

    “The great (TV) detectives have drink issues, they have affairs, they’re dark and forbodden there’s usually a wife in their home life who puts them together.

    “I felt it would be interesting to have young professionals women who had all those traits and had a life on the outside as well.

    “That’s why when we did this we had to see them at home and see how, working in a male and dark environment, what that is like to take it home.”

    There were only six episodes in the first season, which launched with more than nine million viewers in the UK in 2011, although that has since been bumped up to eight episodes a season.

    Jones said the smaller number of episodes allows the writers to evenly balance the story arc between home and work life.

    She said if they took a conventional Hollywood approach and made more than a dozen per season, the series would not have a big impact or delve as deeply into their personal lives.

    “Ours is a mix of professional and home life and it’s good to get short snippets and then come back to it a year later when we have moved on a little bit,” Jones said.

    “I don’t know how 13 episodes or more would sustain a home life and a professional life because you had have to do a story of the week and then an arc of a big murder.”

    Jones said even if she wanted to be heavily involved in the production and writing for the series she just wouldn’t have the time.

    She’s rehearsing for a play in the UK, having just come off filming two different TV series, and she heads back into production for the fourth season of Scott & Bailey in April.

    “There isn’t much time to get too involved in that,” Jones said,]

    “At the end of each season we get asked what we think, if we want to do another season and where the characters are going.

    “Amelia (Bullmore) who plays Gill Murray in the series is now writing and they know the characters well, so it’s exciting to go back after seven months and see what they’ve come up with.”

    * Scott & Bailey (season two) starts on Saturday, February 15 at 8.30pm on UKTV.

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  • US to unveil $300mn in Afghan aid


    The United States will unveil $US300 million ($A336 million) in new aid initiatives for Afghanistan as the war economy winds down and global troops withdraw.


    The programmes will be announced on Monday and are being rolled out by the US Agency for International Development.

    The first tranche of some $US77 million ($A86 million) aims to enhance trade and fiscal sustainability to support Afghanistan’s accession to the World Trade Organization later this year.

    “Peer-reviewed articles suggest that if countries like Afghanistan make the regulatory reforms required to achieve WTO accession, they will typically see a net jump in GDP of 20 per cent within the first five years,” a State Department official told AFP.

    The programme will help support trade deals with Central Asian republics and India, and aid the government to boost its revenues through implementing such things as value added tax.

    A second, $US92 million ($A103 million) five-year programme will help develop a more skilled workforce, partnering American universities with 10 Afghan universities. This went into force on January 1.

    The third initiative worth some $US120 million ($A134 million) will support Afghanistan’s agriculture sector, focusing especially on areas such as wheat and livestock, improving job opportunities and food security.

    “Among other things, this programme is expected to eventually benefit 400,000 farmers from access to better technology and marketing and produce a 20 per cent increase in yields for wheat and target crops,” the official said.

    News of the programmes come as Congress has conditioned further aid assistance to Afghanistan on the signing of a bilateral security deal to guarantee the presence of US troops after all combat forces pull out this year.

    More than 50,000 combat troops from the US-led NATO force are due to leave by the end of 2014.

    But Washington is proposing that around 10,000 US soldiers are deployed from 2015 to train and assist Afghan security forces in their battle against Taliban militants.

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived Sunday in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit and urged President Hamid Karzai to sign the long-delayed security pact with the United States.

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  • Amaretto adds Italian touch to Valentine’s


    It’s given the world the Screaming Orgasm and is a liqueur steeped in legend and romance.


    Whatever it’s mixed with, Amaretto adds an Italian accent to any recipe through its combination of apricot pits, herbs, alcohol and burnt sugar.

    The amber liqueur’s origins can be traced to the northern Lombardy town of Saronno. The original Amaretto Disaronno (pronounced Dee-saronno not Diss-aronno) dates back to 1525 with the name meaning “from Saronno” and Amaretto a diminutive of amaro which translates as “a little bitter”.

    In true Italian style the creation of Amaretto is a love story.

    The legend goes that a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned by the Saronno church to paint a fresco of the Madonna of the Miracles. To portray Madonna, the artist Bernardino Luini chose a beautiful young innkeeper with whom he fell passionately in love. As a mark of her affection the woman presented him with a gift of apricot kernels in brandy, and Amaretto was born.

    The innkeeper’s closely guarded recipe was passed down over generations and during the early 20th century, Domenico Reina rediscovered the recipe and opened a store in the heart of Saronno. Reina’s store is widely credited as where Disaronno Originale was first sold commercially.

    Disaronno is also famous for its distinctive Murano-designed square flask which was first introduced in 1942.

    Primarily an after-dinner drink, Amaretto can be used for desserts such as tiramisu and even added to enhance the flavour of chicken and meat dishes.

    Whatever your choice, Amaretto’s aroma and flavour oozes European mystique and is a pleasurable Valentine’s Day tipple.


    Here are two cocktails for Valentine sweethearts keen to practice their mixology skills.

    The ‘three Rs’ cocktail uses Spain’s Freixenet Cordon Rosado with Amaretto to tantalise the tastebuds:


    25ml Amaretto, three fresh strawberries, Freixenet Cordon Rosado.

    Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Muddle the strawberries and pour the puree in the shaker. Add the Amaretto and shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass and top with Freixenet Cordon Rosado. Garnish with an edible rose petal.

    For those looking for something more indulgent with a sweet finish, try the retro Screaming Orgasm.


    38ml Vodka

    38ml Kahlua

    38ml Amaretto

    38ml Baileys Irish cream liqueur

    38ml Double cream

    38ml milk

    Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into glass filled with crushed ice. Tip: use a high quality vodka as cheap vodka can cause the Bailey’s to curdle.

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  • New Zealand drop pair over late-night drinking antics


    New Zealand coach Mike Hesson told reporters in Auckland on Monday that team officials had lost confidence in the pair and they would not be considered for the Wellington match, although Bracewell was already ruled out with a broken foot.


    “We need to make sure that all our players prepare themselves accordingly for test cricket, and at the moment we don’t have confidence that that’s the case,” Hesson said of the visit to an Auckland bar until the early hours of Thursday.

    “Both Jesse and Doug did not prepare themselves well for the test match and we’re certainly very disappointed about that.

    “We’re dealing with grown men. If a player was to have a beer with their meal before a game, we don’t have an issue with that at all.

    “But there’s a big difference between that and what occurred the night before the test match.”

    New Zealand won the first match of the two-test series by 40 runs late on the fourth day on Sunday and Hesson was annoyed that Ryder and Bracewell’s behaviour was still detracting from that performance.

    “The fact that we’ve won a test match yesterday and the fact the first few questions are based around off-field incidents is clearly an extreme disappointment for the team,” Hesson said.

    “It takes away from a superb effort over the last four days.”

    Batsman Ryder and bowling all-rounder Bracewell had not been in the starting team for the clash at Eden Park but had been expected to be ready to play last Thursday.

    Bracewell was on standby in case one of the bowlers got injured in the final warm-ups while Ryder had to be ready to come into the team for Ross Taylor, whose wife is expected to give birth to their second child this week.


    Until last week’s indiscretion, Ryder had been expected to be included in the starting side at the Basin Reserve for the February 14-18 clash as Taylor can not be replaced once the game started.

    Hesson added that Bracewell’s broken foot had meant he would not have been available for the second test anyway. New Zealand are due to announce the side on Tuesday.

    New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is still investigating how the 23-year-old suffered the injury after he had taken a full part in training last Wednesday.

    The duo have had a chequered past with cricket officials.

    They were both disciplined for going to a bar on the eve of a one-day international in Napier in February 2012 and getting involved in a verbal altercation with a member of the public.

    While both were injured at the time and not expected to play, the team said they had breached strict rules around recovery from injury.

    Ryder went into self-imposed exile after that incident and spent almost two years away from the international game as he attempted to put his life back together off the field.

    He returned to the national side last December for the limited-overs series against West Indies, having served a six-month doping ban and survived an assault that left him in a coma with serious head injuries.

    Hesson said Ryder had not breached team protocols since his return to the national side until last week.

    The incident was still under investigation by NZC and a decision then will be made on whether they face a code of conduct charge.

    (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by John O’Brien)

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  • TV highlights for Tues, Feb 11





    A sitcom featuring three generations of a family will of course draw comparisons to the hit comedy Modern Family, but as with all families, Parenthood is its own unique beast, with an extra dose of drama. It stars Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), Craig T. Nelson (Coach) and Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls) and follows the ups and downs and exploits of the rather large Braverman family. Tonight, Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmin (Joy Bryant) are still struggling with the reality of a baby. Meanwhile, Kristina (Monica Potter) and Adam (Krause) deal with a new dynamic with her campaign, while Joel (Sam Jaeger) and Julia (Erika Christensen) argue.

    2 BROKE GIRLS – NINE, 9.30pm

    When this a-little-bit-naughty sitcom premiered in 2011, many people probably didn’t give it more than a season before it disappeared. Featuring Kat Dennings as street-smart Max and Beth Behrs as rich-girl-fallen-on-hard-times Caroline, the comedy has been called racist and crude, but three seasons later, it’s still kicking on. And, in truth, if you don’t mind a smattering of swear words, innuendo and low-brow jokes, this sprightly show really is a harmlessly fun slice of entertainment. Tonight, Caroline’s romantic tryst with chef Nicholas (Gilles Marini) hits a sour note when she makes an interesting discovery about him.


    If you read the title of this show and thought, “Gee. Now, that’s a great idea” you are definitely in the wrong spot. No, this isn’t a documentary series dedicated to instructing the lazy among us about how they can get away with never paying rent again. Nor is it a tongue-in-cheek look at how many parents are stuck with their adult kids at home much longer than they had planned – but perhaps it should have been. This is another half-baked American sitcom. It stars Sarah Chalke (How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs) as strict mother Polly, who is forced to move back in with her crazy parents (Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett) after her divorce.

    EASY A (2010) – GO!, 9.30pm

    Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Penn Badgley. After a little white lie about losing her virginity gets out, clean-cut high school girl Olive (Emma Stone) sees her life paralleling the fallen Hester Prynne’s in the 19th-century novel The Scarlet Letter – until she decides to use the rumour mill to advance her social and financial standing. Maintaining her chastity throughout the film, Olive rakes in gifts and money for “pretending” to have sex with various nerds at school, who are also keen to improve their reputations. Stone is fantastic in the lead role and comedy gems are provided by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive’s quirky parents. Former teen favourite Amanda Bynes also stars as a religious nut.

    BLOOD DIAMOND (2006) – GEM, 9.30pm (AV15+)

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly. Leonardo DiCaprio went two for two in 2006 with his great performance in The Departed, followed by an equally striking effort in this Edward Zwick stirring action-drama. DiCaprio plays cold-hearted South African diamond smuggler Danny, caught in a crossfire of moral conflict in civil war-stricken Sierra Leone. Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly are part of his quest to possess a priceless stone. Blood Diamond has a lot in common with The Constant Gardener – also structured around the wages of war in Africa – but lacks its subtlety. On the flipside, the action is thunderous and the heroics are genuinely exciting.

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