Baby AnimalsBaby Animals and Screaming Jets are joining forces on a national tour this winter that includes Newcastle.
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Fans can look forward to a four on the floor night of rock and a set list including rock classics like Better, One Word, Helping Hand, Painless, Shivers, Early WarningandRush You.

Newcastle’s own the Screaming Jets have nine albums, seven top 40 radio hits and countless live shows under their respective belts.

Frontman Dave Gleeson’s frantic and frenzied command of the stage leads a revitalised band of Paul Woseen on bass and main backing vocals, Scott Kingman (Divinyls and James Reyne) and Jimi “The Human” Hocking (blues and rock guy extraordinaire) on guitar and backed up by the thumping beats of Mickl Sayers on drums.

“We first shared a shared a stage with the Baby Animals about 25 years ago. We’ve all done a lot of miles since then,” Dave Gleeson said.

“There’s always been a lot of mutual respect and musical admiration between the two bands. We’re all pumped to be part of what’s going to be a huge event in live music.”

This time in 1992, Baby Animals were celebrating their first number onealbum as their debut self-titled release reached top spot on the ARIA Albums Chart. Fast forward 25 years and the band are riding high on the back of full houses for their recent One Wordanniversary tour. Suze DeMarchi’s reputation as a fierce and inspiring frontwoman remains undiminished, her rapport with songwriting partner and guitarist, the legendary Dave Leslie, as dynamic as ever.

Baby Animals emerged on the Australian music scene in 1991 and delivered four massive hits off their debut album. They also picked up three ARIA Awards in 1992, for Album Of The Year, Breakthrough Artist Of The Year – Album and Breakthrough Artist of The Year – single for Early Warning. Their self-titled album was also named in the 100 Best Australian albums. Their second album ‘Shaved And Dangerous” reached number two and their 2013 album, This Is Not The Endreached top 20.

Catch Baby Animals and The Screaming Jets in Newcastle at NEX on Friday, June 30. Tickets are on sale Wednesday, March 22.

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A deal has been finalised which will keep television’s biggest cash cow, the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, on air for at least two more seasons.
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The show’s 10th season kicked off last year and will conclude this coming May.

The new deal will put an 11th and 12th season into production and on television schedules in the US and around the world through to 2019.

It is unclear whether the two additional seasons would be the series’ last; some US media outlets are suggesting the 12th season would be planned as the show’s conclusion.

The deal was stitched up between the studio Warner Bros, which produces the series, and the US broadcaster, CBS, which airs it.

The two additional seasons are also a huge windfall for Australia’s Nine Network, which owns the local rights to first-run episodes of the series.

In a re-tooled deal in 2015, Nine retained first run rights but surrendered repeat rights to the show’s earlier episodes to Seven.

The series, which is a major commercial hit for CBS, is currently in the process of finalising a sequence of complex talent deals with the show’s cast.

The five leads – actors Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg – all took pay cuts to around US$900,000 ($1.2 million) per episode – in order to finalise the larger suite of deals.

The pay cuts helped to underwrite pay increases for the show’s other two key cast, actors Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch.

Bialik and Rauch joined the show in its third season but are only paid US$175,000 ($226,000) per episode; the current negotiation is expected to net them something closer to the half-million mark.

As part of the trade-off, Parsons, Galecki and Helberg also signed longer-term production deals with Warner Bros.

In real commercial terms, the space in which the fine print of the deal is being worked out is tight.

While it’s absurd to suggest that a show like The Big Bang Theory is not a money-spinner, its age, and increasing costs, both eat deeply into its revenue.

Million-dollar-range salaries, such as those commanded by actors in the final seasons of shows such as Friends, effectively soak up any profit potential in first-run episodes of television shows.

For The Big Bang Theory, where the actors are also entitled to share in the show’s profit, their own high salaries effectively undermine the network’s ability to deliver a profit on the show.

CBS is also planning to launch a spin-off series, Young Sheldon, which will be narrated by Parsons and will explore his character’s childhood, later this year.

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JUMPING SHIP: Otto and Michael Dal Zotto are looking into other options to access the interest for their winery, after the NBN’s Sky Muster satellite service kept dropping out.
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The NBN was supposed to be the 21st century technology set to change accessibility to the internet, but North East residents and businesses have been left with disappointment.

Single mum Toni Brezac lives on a rural Wangandary property with two children and, after she was told the old copper lines would be shut down in 18 months, decided to switch to the NBN.

Then the phone and internet connection was worse than she had before, frequently dropping out.

“I do feel we’ve been mislead a bit,” MsBrezac said.

“I’m very concerned we won’t have copper wire anymore –severe weather seems to affect the NBN.”

A tight budget meant the woman had chosen what she thought was the more reliableNBN landline and internetover a mobile phone, and was left in the lurch when she needed to call someone to help with a flat tyre.

“I panicked and I had to walk half a kilometre up the road to the neighbours to use their phone,” she said.

“It really hits home that we are isolated,it’s not easy.”

Wangandary mother Toni Brezac

Ms Brezac tried for weeks to get her internet company to address the problem, but only had success when she spoke to Indi MP Cathy McGowan’s office to learn her rights and threatened to change service providers without paying any costs because the NBN was faulty.

Her persistence worked–she now has a decent enough internet connection to actual watch a movie.

“Suddenly, after three to four weeks of sheer hell, it can be fixed,” Ms Brezac said.

LATEST TECHNOLOGY: The NBN fibre.

Dal Zotto Wines has reached the point where it is looking for an alternative to the NBN because the connection is so poor at its King Valley site.

WinemakerMichael Dal Zotto said the business used a cloud-based server, which could not be accessed at times because the NBN’s Sky Muster satellite service regularly dropped out during business hours.

“We’ll be working on it one minute, then it’ll be dropping out,” he said. “It’s a bit frustrating –we’ve got growing businesses here, we want what everyone else has.”

The King Valley’s mobilereception was not much better on busy tourist weekends.

“Don’t bother sending a text, don’t bother trying to post anything to social media to promote the event,” Mr Dal Zotto said.

He said the winery would look into switching to a wireless broadband plan instead of the NBN because it would be faster and better value for money.

NBNhead of business, products and servicesBen Salmon said this weekthe NBN rolloutwas rampingup.

“We are seeing Australian businesses, regardless of location and size, maximise their productivity and improve their work-life balance,” he said.

INVESTIGATION: Indi MP Cathy McGowan wants NBN answers.

A federal parliamentary inquiry into theNational Broadband Network is hoped to be the answer to a rollout“fraught with problems”.

Ms McGowan, a member of thejoint standing committee looking into the issue, has called on Indi residentsto have their say on their experiences during theNBN’s introduction to their homes or businesses.

“Rural and regional Australians are not being served well by the NBN rollout,” she said.

“The process has been fraught with problems in Indi.

“I receive more calls to the office about NBN and telecommunications than any other issue.”

Ms McGowansaid the inquiry was a chance for community input and she woulduse the information from submissions to inform further action on the NBN rollout.

To make a submission,[email protected]论坛with the subject line“submission to the NBN rollout inquiry”or visit the inquiry page.

The Border Mail

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The Riley Park drain (left) and another drain – which is fitted with a meshed grille – elsewhere in Unanderra, at Derribong Drive. Photo on the right taken on Monday, after last week’s heavy rain.Wollongong City Council says it will wait for a report from the coroner before considering any changes to its stormwater and drainage systems following the death of 11-year-old Ryan Teasdale.
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The Lindsay Park Public School student died last Thursday night after being swept down a drain at Riley Park, around the corner from his house, while he was playing with other childrenin the gushing water on his boogie board.

His body was found on Friday morning about 500 metres from the drain opening at the downhill end of the Unanderra park.

The tragedy has prompted many Illawarra residents to question why the stormwater opening was not covered by a grate or some other covering.

However, the council saidgrates, in some cases, could increase the risk of blockages and flooding and were not used on all types of drains.

“The size of the culvert [drain tunnel], likelihood of blockage, consequences of culvert blocking and causing flooding elsewhere and the depth of flood waters at the location are all considered when deciding if culverts have grates placed over them,” the council said, when asked why Riley Park’s drain did not have a cover.

Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery joined search crews at Riley Park, Unanderra, on Friday morning. Picture: Adam McLean.

A council spokeswoman said small drains frequently blocked, with grates increasing the likelihood of flooding for surrounding homes.

Asked if the council would consider changing its policies on drain coverings, or whether it would review its stormwater systems the council said it would “await the coroner’s report and co-operate fully with those enquiries”.

The council collected nearly $1.8 million from ratepayers to fund stormwater management in 2016/17, and budgeted to spend $4.45 million onstormwater and floodplain assets in the same year.

Meantime, the communities of Lindsay Park Public School and Figtree High School –where Ryan’s older brotherJasonTeasdale attends– have pulled together to support their grievingstudents.

“Lindsay Park Public School and the Department of Education are deeply saddened by the death of one of its students,” the school said in a statement.

“Our thoughts are with the young boy’s family and friends at such a difficult time.”

“The schools will continue to support the family and will make decisions around additional support in conjunction with their school community and the young boy’s family.”

Counselling has been provided to students and staff at both schoolsand will be available for as long as necessary.

The schools have also sent home letters to parents detailing ways they can help children to understand and cope with grief.

Illawarra Mercury

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With education and the environment already under fire, US president Donald Trump has now put an American icon – Sesame Street’s Big Bird – in his cross-hairs.
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But in aiming his budgetary double barrel at this particular 249cm tall bright yellow canary, Mr Trump the big-game hunter may be about to bite off more than he can chew.

The president’s proposed 2018 budget, which was released late last week, drew a red line through funding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the non-profit engine which drives America’s public broadcasting.

Though much slimmer in real terms than either the ABC or the BBC, America’s PBS is the home of a number of notable and iconic programs, not least of which is Sesame Street.

The cuts – worth about $US485 million ($630 million) – would also affect the National Public Radio (NPR) service.

Astonishingly, the argument used by the White House to justify the cuts was whether it was fair to “ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit” to fund PBS?

Using the same logic, it might well be worth asking whether it’s fair to ask anyone to pay for the president’s many golfing weekends at Mar-a-Lago?

Or the gargantuan security bill required to keep Mrs Trump in New York rather than Washington DC?

“We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said.

So it looks like golf is on the list too. And Mrs Trump. But early childhood education? That’s a government handout too far.

Mercifully, Sesame Street is not wholly funded by PBS; in 2015 an agreement was struck with HBO which puts cable money into the series in exchange for giving HBO a nine month exclusive window on the show.

So rather than killing Big Bird immediately, it merely relegates him and other cultural icons like Grover, Kermit, Cookie Monster and Prairie Dawn to the endangered species list.

But key figures in America’s public broadcasting sector have already indicated that a half-billion dollar haircut would seriously devastate its ability to deliver content – free of charge – to its audience.

Though their last official communique was publicly documented and did not end on a particularly friendly note, Mr Trump would do well to ask Australia’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull for advice.

Back in 2014, when Mr Turnbull was communications minister, proposed cuts to Australia’s ABC put a target on the rosy pink behind of the children’s television golden goose Peppa Pig.

Facing cuts to his budget, the then managing director of the ABC, Mark Scott, issued a dire warning that the national broadcaster could not confirm Peppa’s long-term future.

The resulting feather-ruffling in the nation’s living rooms confirmed that while politicians might be able to fiddle while pensions burn, if you threaten kid’s TV you’re asking for seriously trouble.

“Contrary to media rumours, Peppa’s is one snout we are happy to have in the ABC trough,” Mr Turnbull said, calming the flames.

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