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  • Stylishly Gallic, The Returned is an utter mystery

    Ana Girardot in The Returned.People who are dead but who turn out to be not dead are quite the fashion nowadays. I blame Lost, but then I blame Lost for a lot of things.
    Nanjing Night Net

    It is all part of what the French might call La Television de la Spooque. I could just call it spooky TV, but it sounds better in French, like most things, including The Returned (SBS2, 9.20pm), a stylishly Gallic exercise in eeriness in which the deceased of a small town have started showing up and wondering what the hell is going on - in company with much of the viewing audience I suspect.

    One assumes that by the end of the series we will have a clue, but it's only episode three and The Returned has no intention of rushing to give up its secrets, not when there's so much eeriness to get through.

    Being French, The Returned is quite different from the American and British fare we are used to and not just because of the subtitles. The rhythms and pace are different - it unfolds at a languid pace and plays its cards close to the chest; action playing second fiddle to mood.

    This, combined with the little mountain town setting is somewhat reminiscent of the unsettling New Zealand series Top of the Lake, though here the villagers are definitely dealing with something supernatural.

    But amid the reanimated corpses, the mysterious cockroaches and a creepy little kid, their problems are deeply human. Camille and her family struggle to find a way to live normal lives. Julie is besieged by the terrors of memory. Simon has been arrested, but as a living ghost nobody - including himself - knows what to do with him. And we continue to wonder about Pierre's story. Through the oppressive atmosphere of chilling mystery cut themes of grief, trauma, identity and loss.

    What's happening is hard to say, but it's happening to actual people.

    Far from the world of realistic eeriness is the garishly surreal American Dad (7MATE, 9pm), the second-best and most satirical in Seth MacFarlane's triumvirate of absurdist adult cartoons.

    Steve tries to prove his manhood by joining Stan on the annual CIA hunting trip - or as it turns out, ''glunting'' trip: a glam version of hunting where animals are brought down from a mobile command centre using missiles and the hunters dine on eclairs and Thai food. Meanwhile, alien Roger and talking fish Klaus set out on a quest to achieve five zeroes on Roger's odometer. Inevitably it ends in a human-animal war and severe hyper-obesity.

    Typically demented, taking enormous pleasure in its own ridiculousness in pursuit of laughs, it's a reliable comedy to kick back to.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • PNG staff to keep security jobs at Manus Island detention centre

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison minister for Immigration and Border Protection arrive for question. Photo: Andrew MearesFederal politics: full coverageMorrison knew he was wrong on brawl death
    Nanjing Night Net

    The new operator of Manus Island detention centre will continue to use local security staff even though they are implicated in last week's deadly clashes with asylum seekers.

    Transfield Services, which has been awarded a $1.2 billion contract to run the Manus Island and Nauru immigration centres, confirmed it would hire local security staff, as required by the deal between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

    Witnesses to last week's violence, which left 23-year-old Iranian man Reza Barati dead, say local security guards employed by contractor G4S were involved. G4S has admitted the possibility, saying it would ''take the strongest disciplinary action against any employee found to have been involved in any wrongdoing''.

    G4S's contract ends on Friday. The management of the centre will be handed over to Transfield, which has also run the Nauru centre for the past year. The new, $1.2 billion contract to run both facilities for the next 20 months appears to have been given to Transfield without a tender offer even though the value of the work has increased dramatically from the previous cost of running the facilities.

    A week after the bloody clashes, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison faced pressure in Parliament over the alleged riot and the incorrect information he provided on it early last week.

    He told the ABC: ''There are still a lot of questions to be answered - I have a lot of questions that I want to be answered … the Australian people, and people in Papua New Guinea want answers, and that's what the reviews are about.''

    The matter is set to dominate debate again in Canberra on Tuesday with the head of the government's border protection regime, Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell, set to appear before a Senate Estimates hearing.

    Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said she would quiz government officials over the level of training and skills the locally recruited security staff had been given.

    ''All of the eyewitness accounts say G4S has their hands all over what happened,'' she said.

    ''This is precisely the type of thing an inquiry needs to look at.''

    G4S is being paid $244 million to run Manus Island centre since October 2012. Transfield is earning $302 million for managing the Nauru site for the past year.

    The $1.2 billion contract represents a considerable increase in the cost of offshore processing, partly because of the swelling numbers on Manus Island and Nauru as the backlog of asylum seekers is transferred off Christmas Island.

    A Transfield spokesman said the costs were higher on Manus Island due to ''security costs'', more expensive travel costs and bigger taxes than Nauru.

    The firm is required to hire locals on Manus Island and Nauru to ensure benefits to their economies.

    Former Attorney-General's Department chief Robert Cornall is leading a government inquiry into the violence, in which 62 people were also injured, including eight who had to be evacuated for treatment.

    An independent contractor who went into the detention centre last week said many detainees were still lining up at the clinic to receive bandages for their wounds - mainly on their heads and hands.

    ''I was quite stunned at the poor level of security at the camp,'' he said. ''I could have climbed the fence, it was a very rickety structure.''

    Also on Monday, the ABC reported that a former Sri Lankan military officer had been heading the detention centre on Manus Island, even though it houses an estimated 30 Tamils who are seeking asylum from persecution in Sri Lanka.

    Dinesh Perera's LinkedIn profile described him as ''acting centre manager''. But a G4S spokesman said Mr Perera was ''operations manager'' and an Australian citizen who had worked for G4S for years.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Report slams TV alcohol ads

    Federal politics: full coveragePM stands firm on Nash quit callChoice lifts veil on snack food star ratings
    Nanjing Night Net

    Current rules on alcohol advertising are failing to protect children and must be tightened, according to the government agency charged with preventing disease.

    In a draft report released on Monday, the Australian National Preventive Health Agency recommended the removal of an exemption that allows alcohol to be advertised on free-to-air TV during children's viewing hours on weekends and public holidays as part of live sporting broadcasts.

    A 2007 study showed more than half of alcohol advertisements were shown as part of such broadcasts.

    Citing evidence that teenagers were exposed to almost the same level of alcohol advertising as adults aged between 18 and 24, the agency found the current co-regulatory and self-regulatory arrangements were ''failing to sufficiently protect children and adolescents, and in some cases are facilitating their exposure to alcohol advertising''.

    ''On television, this exposure is largely as a result of the exemption in the [Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice] for broadcast of live sporting events on weekends and public holidays,'' it said.

    It recommended governments legislate for a ''new regulatory regime'' if the industry did not adequately respond to community concerns by 2016.

    The agency also recommended alcohol advertising on pay TV and in cinemas be prohibited before 8.30pm.

    Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said the existing regulator regime was ''badly flawed'' because it was ''voluntary, limited in scope, poorly enforced and without meaningful penalties for breaches''.

    ''The sheer volume of alcohol marketing that is reaching our children is extraordinary, showing that industry self-regulation is failing. We need tough, legislated measures,'' he said.

    Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia spokesman Stephen Riden said the agency's recommendations were based on a false contention that advertising was causing more children to drink.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Magwatch: Kardashians on the catwalk, royal baby girl to be called Diana

    This week NW comes in a sealed plastic bag. This is because it is paired with Woman's Day as a bonus ''2 Magazines For Just $6.95!''
    Nanjing Night Net

    But visible through the plastic is NW's cover featuring Kim Kardashian, a photograph of her bottom and the headline: ''Kim's Body Breakdown: 'My Butt's Out of Control'''.

    Magwatch has not opened the bag. We fear that, once released, Kardashian's rear - shown in tight camel-coloured slacks - will burst forth, running wild and causing untold havoc.

    Dear publishers of NW and Woman's Day, you say the bag contains two gossip journals at one bonus low price but we discern your protection of readers: with KK's arse restrained, they may sleep safely.

    Famous reports that Khloe Kardashian recently wore a faux fur coat with ''F**k Yo Fur'' painted in red on the back.

    Marvellously, her Twitter account was flooded with followers lambasting the killing of ''fauxs'' in the name of fashion and warmth.

    ''How do people not know that FAUX means Fake?!?'' she said. ''Come on people!''

    WHO reports that Kendall Jenner, Kardashian sister, walked the catwalk for Marc Jacobs in New York recently.

    ''The hair and make-up today, it's incredible,'' she said. ''I've never had my eyebrows bleached.''

    Nor has she, perhaps, worn a see-through sweater that ''bared her nipples'' for couture appreciators - all in the name of fashion.

    New Idea declares ''Kate's Happy News: I'm Having a Girl!'' over a photograph of the Duchess of Cambridge. The duchess' ''oldest friend'' Jessica Hay says Kate ''recently saw a psychic that her mother Carole Middletonsees, who told her they will name their next baby Diana''.

    Hay says: ''Kate went home and told William and he said: 'Actually, that's quite a nice idea,' and now they've definitely put it on the list of girl names they're compiling, which also includes Elizabeth, because they want to pay tribute to William's grandmother.''

    Either everyone in this story is thick (Kate sees a psychic, psychic says ''Diana'', William never considered the name) or - lawks! - it isn't true.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Melbourne Food & Wine Festival: What’s on

    Melbourne Food & Wine Festival kicks off this Friday. Wondering where to begin? Dive in with Epicure's weekly guide of festival events.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Taste Now: Feb 28-March 2, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; $75 per personAmid the thrill and the newness of the NGV's popular Melbourne Now exhibition comes a dinner with a difference, matching dishes from some of Melbourne's best chefs while regarding the artworks that inspired them. A unique and ever-so ''Melbourne'' experience that combines a city's love of cuisine, design, art and philosophy.

    Devil's Water: March 1-8, Campari House, Melbourne; $65 including cocktails, canapes, demonstrations and a take-home kitCampari House is going a little Scandi with a workshop combining two of our northern hemisphere neighbours' greatest loves: fish curing and vodka (aka devil's water). Learn how to marry vodka with a range of subtle seafood while mastering the art of cocktail- making. A take-home cocktail kit will allow exploration of your newest hobby.

    Acqua Panna Global Wine Experience, Noble Rot, Liquid Gold: March 1, Arts Centre, Melbourne; $250It's the name that will send any wine-lover into a frenzy: Chateau Y'quem, the best of sweet wines. Join an experienced group, including Tim Atkin MW, Aline Baly, Sophie Otton and Mark Protheroe, as they pour everything from the aforementioned Y'quem to Ontario's rarest wine made from winter-harvested grapes.

    Sailing, Feasting, Competing: March 2, The Point, Albert Park Lake; $165In the tradition of Venice's San Pellegrino Cooking Cup, five Melbourne chefs will be pitting themselves against the clock to race the lake on sailboats, gathering crayfish, wagyu and caviar to cook up a dish for the spectators.

    Eat Ocean Drink Succulent: March 2, Mamasita, Melbourne; $140 includes eight courses and unlimited drinks; $180 for a premium beverage packageEver wanted to eat at Mamasita without the queue? Now's your chance - book at the usually unbookable Mamasita, then consider what's on offer: an eight-course, street-style smorgasboard of food from the Mexican heartland with wine, beer, sangria, margaritas and tequila to match. Unlimited drinks and unstoppable fun.

    Australian Artisan Cheese Fair: March 2, Northcote Town Hall, Northcote; $30 ($20 ASCA members)Long live the cheesemakers! Celebrate these incredible artisans and learn how moisture, humidity, temperature and living microbes come together to create the rich and varying cheeses we know and love. There will be cheese tastings and lessons on how to choose and store cheese, along with instruction on the best way to use cheese to complement produce and beverages.

    Dinner at the Cinema: March 4, Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford; $75''Dinner and a show'' takes on new meaning at Abbotsford Convent where film and food enthusiasts can eat a two-course seafood meal beneath the stars while watching a water-themed film. The night makes the most of the convent precinct, kicking off with canapes and drinks inside the Industrial School before moving outside for the evening's double bill - a film and a feast, served in fine-dining style.

    Inaugural Port Phillip Mussel Festival: March 8 and 9, South Melbourne Market, noon-11pm; free entryThe humble mussel is, well, muscling in on the South Melbourne Market for a weekend of cooking demonstrations, music and feasting as the humble bivalve takes centre-stage. Pop into Claypots Evening Star, Mexican restaurant Paco Y Lola, the Turkish surrounds of Koy, and Simply Spanish for tastings, while Iain Hewitson (fresh from the opening of the nearby Big Huey's Diner) will be running cooking demonstrations in the market's LG Kitchen. Entry is free and mussels will be available at $5 a bucket. Bring it on!

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.