Monthly Archives: August 2019

‘Brangelina’ marry in secret in France

Hollywood power couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have finally tied the knot after nine years together at a secret wedding in the south of France.


Described as a “family affair” with their six children, the A-list Oscar winners were married by a US judge on Saturday in a small chapel at Chateau Miraval, in the picturesque village of Correns, a spokeswoman for the couple said.

George Clooney was among the celebrity friends to congratulate them. “I’m really happy for Brad and Angie and their whole family,” said the 53-year-old veteran bachelor, who announced his own engagement in April.

Jolie was walked down the aisle by her eldest sons Maddox and Pax. Daughters Zahara and Vivienne threw petals, while the couple’s other two children, Shiloh and Knox, were the ring bearers.

“It was very much a family affair,” the spokeswoman said in a statement on Thursday.

Pitt, 50, and Jolie, 39, obtained a marriage licence in California from a local US judge who travelled to France to conduct the wedding, which was described as a “non-denominational civil ceremony”.

Pitt was photographed on Thursday wearing a gold band on his left ring finger during an event in Britain to promote his new World War II film Fury, in which he plays a battle-hardened army sergeant.

He and Jolie fell in love on the set of 2005 action film Mr & Mrs Smith – spawning the media phenomenon of “Brangelina” that has dominated celebrity journalism and the tabloids ever since.

Earlier this year, Jolie told People Magazine that she and Pitt were “not really in a rush” to get married, adding: “We’re just waiting for it to be the right time with the kids, with work, when it feels right.”

Jolie – the daughter of Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight – will be hoping to make it third time lucky: she was previously married to actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton.

The actress revealed last year that she had had a double mastectomy to reduce her high risk of breast cancer, garnering widespread support and praise.

Pitt was previously married to Friends star Jennifer Aniston – a Hollywood super-pairing that fizzled out about the same time as Pitt met Jolie.

The supercouple are now working on By the Sea, their first on-screen appearance together since Mr & Mrs Smith. The movie is to be filmed in Malta.

Their children are Maddox, 13; Pax, 11; Zahara, 9; Shiloh, 8; and six-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne. Maddox, Pax and Zahara are adopted.

Pop culture expert Robert Thompson said the couple were just cementing their role as a Hollywood super couple. “It should be called Brand-gelina,” he said, adding: “They are in a category of their own.”

Jolie once delighted gossip columnists by declarations of bisexuality and quirky behaviour such as wearing a vial of Thornton’s blood around her neck during their 2000-03 marriage.

The red carpet darling is now however better known for her humanitarian work than for her tabloid-ready comments.

Jolie long served as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

In 2012, she was promoted to special envoy and has visited refugees around the world, from Syria to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

More recently, she has been a vocal advocate for victims of sexual violence in war zones, co-hosting a global summit on conflict rape in June in London.

Of her life with Pitt and their children, Jolie told People in May: “We’ve been through so much, we’ve gotten a lot closer, which I think naturally happens with raising a family together.

“You have this person you live with who really knows you, and you know them so well. You’re not lovers or boyfriend and girlfriend as much as you are a family,” she added.

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Judiciary could decide Souths dilemma

The NRL match review committee could solve what South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has termed a “very good” dilemma ahead of their crunch final round clash with arch rivals the Sydney Roosters.


Captain John Sutton is set to return from a knee injury for the round 26 match with the premiers on Thursday, leaving Maguire with a headache over his halves pairing following Adam Reynolds’ and Luke Keary’s match winning efforts in the 21-14 win over Canterbury.

But with Reynolds facing a dangerous throw charge, emanating from a second half tackle on Moses Mbye, the choice could be made for Maguire.

Issac Luke faces scrutiny too after also being placed on report early in the match for lashing out at Bulldogs hooker Michael Ennis in the play the ball.

Maguire described Sutton as “touch and go” to take the field against the world champions.

“He has been training well,” he said.

“It was a significant injury. It’s mending really well.”

When asked about his halves dilemma, Maguire said: “it’s a very good one (to have)”.

Stand-in skipper Greg Inglis (hip) and Sam Burgess (hip/knee) both battled through injuries to complete the win over the Dogs, which lifted Souths to the competition lead, but are expected to be fit to meet the Roosters.

But Burgess said he was unlikely to train fully in the lead-up.

“It’s not a matter of not being fit, it is a matter of managing things,” Burgess said.

“I’m feeling busted up, but a lot of players are like that this time of year and I’m not looking for any sympathy.

“The knee, the knee cap is the biggest problem at the moment, it is not loose and it is not fractured it is just a bit sore.

“We’ve got a big game against the Roosters and I’ll just be concentrating on getting it right for that.”

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Vic mum jailed for torture with daughter

A Melbourne woman who teamed up with her daughter and others to torture a man, which included carving “dog” into his forehead and hacking him with a meat cleaver, has been jailed.


Lorraine Howard, 44, was one of a group of drug addicts who brutally tortured the man, wrongly believing he had stolen cash and jewellery from her Cranbourne home.

Victorian County Court Judge Christopher Ryan described the man’s attackers as vigilantes operating in the “milieu of the drug world”.

He said while Howard did not strike a blow against the man, she was present and complicit in the torture session, which left the man with a permanent brain injury.

The man was bound, beaten, slashed and stabbed with knives, spat on, hacked at with a cleaver and set alight by the group, which included Howard, her partner and her 20-year-old daughter.

As the group interrogated the man about a burglary he did not commit, they also threatened to slice his genitals and carved the word “dog” into his forehead.

Howard later told police that during the assault, her partner had kicked the man’s head “like he was kicking a football”.

On Friday, Judge Ryan jailed Howard for two years and six months, saying he would have imprisoned her for seven years had she not pleaded guilty and agreed to give evidence against her co-accused.

The group dumped the man at his parents’ house after the March 2012 attack and Judge Ryan said they would be forever traumatised by memories of finding their son drenched in blood.

“They now live a nightmare,” he said.

“He will live the rest of his life reminded of your offending against him, as will his parents.”

Judge Ryan said the man now suffered from depression and a brain injury.

He said Howard’s drug problems stretched back to the age of 12, and were behind her 140 prior court convictions.

Howard must serve a minimum 18 months before she is eligible for parole.

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Qantas at risk of ratings downgrade

Qantas will need to come good on its promise to improve its earnings and lower debt in the next six months if it is to avoid another downgrade to its credit rating.


Ratings agency Moody’s has reaffirmed its Ba1 credit rating for Qantas, which is one step below investment grade, but says the outlook remains negative.

A further downgrade to its credit rating could push up the airline’s borrowing costs.

Qantas on Thursday posted a record $2.8 billion loss but chief executive Alan Joyce expects to return the airline to profitability in the first six months of 2014/15.

If the airline fails to do that, Moody’s senior analyst Matthew Moore says it can expect to see its rating downgraded.

“We will continue to closely monitor the carriers plans to execute on its cost reduction initiatives, improve profitability in its core domestic business and gain traction in returning its mainline international operations to profitability”, he said in a statement.

“We expect to see improvements in earnings and leverage level, and any lack of progress in this area over the next six months would likely lead to a rating downgrade.”

Moody’s downgraded the carrier’s credit rating to junk status in January after the airline flagged a sharp decline in its earnings and a large first half loss.

But Mr Moore said the agency could change the ratings outlook to stable if Qantas was able to restore both its domestic and international businesses to profitability.

Qantas haemorrhaged more than $7 million a day in the past year, largely because of its profit-draining battle with rival Virgin and a poor performing international division.

But the net loss figure was skewed by a $2.6 billion writedown to the value of the airline’s international fleet.

Excluding that and other one-offs, the airline’s underlying pre-tax loss of $646 million was better than expected and saw Qantas shares rally on Thursday.

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The plight of women in Kim Jong-un’s North Korea

Three key ingredients go into being a ‘good woman’ in North Korea.


First, she must be a homemaker, second, a bread-winner but above all, she should not talk back to her master.

In fact, she should respect her lowly status in the presence of men in general.

“You are not allowed to talk back to your husband or father. You need to be subordinate. Quiet and docile all the time.”

That’s the conclusion Professor Seok Hyang Kim drew, after visiting the clandestine Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as part of a South Korean delegation.

Professor Kim works with the Ministry of Unification, an executive department of the South Korean government responsible for working towards the reunification of Korea.

“You are a mere woman. How can you be your master? You have to have a man, right?”

How a woman held such a position was puzzling to those she met in North Korea, Professor Kim, from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, told an audience at The Australian National University.

“North Korean people think, ‘She is a representative, how come? She is just a woman. How can she hold that important a position?'”

They assumed a powerful man was backing her.

When they discovered her father was a retired pastor with little power, they wanted to know who her husband was.

It was beyond belief she wasn’t married, Professor Kim said.

Likewise, the charismatic academic struggled to accept comments by the more than 100 men and women she met in the DPRK.

“They were saying a woman has to be the bread-winner for her own family,” she says.

“So she has to make all the money the family needs. But she cannot be her own master.”

When she questioned why women were not allowed to be in control of their own lives, the answer was always the same.

“You are a mere woman. How can you be your master? You have to have a man, right?”

At the same time, those she interviewed generally didn’t feel discriminated against, although Professor Kim believes some may have rethought their views after their discussions.

In the 1940s, just after Korea was divided into North and South, Chosun Neosung, the only woman’s magazine in Korea, bragged ‘gender equality’ and ‘women’s rights’ were celebrated realities in the North.

The most progressive change in the traditional position of women was the Law on Sex Equality, announced on 30 July, 1946. It ended arranged marriages, polygamy, concubinage, the buying and selling of women, and prostitution.

It also enabled equal rights to inherit property, and to share property in case of divorce.

During the 1980s, Chosun Neosung upheld women only achieved such ‘rights’, because of the compassionate policies of North Korea’s founder and then leader, Kim Il-sung.

Come the 1990s, the concept of women’s rights was replaced with women’s duty and loyalty to the Kim family.

In the noughties, Chosun Neosung ceased to mention ‘women’s rights’ altogether, choosing instead to focus on women’s ‘enthusiastic and selfless work’ as a sign of their loyalty to the Kim family.

Professor Kim suggests the gradual replacement of state socialism with grassroots capitalism since the early 1990s has given rise to the number of women earning a living outside the home.

Many do so through selling goods on the black market, to avoid forfeiting some of their earnings back to the state.

As Professor Kim maintains, women are less likely to get caught out taking part in illegal activities than men.

“If you are a woman, North Korean authorities assume you are powerless, and not important.”

“If you are a man, doing that type of business, in front of the North Korean government, you will be targeted soon,” she says.

“You will be approached at any moment.

“But if you are a woman, North Korean authorities assume you are powerless, and not important.”

Not every woman has a lowly status.

The country upholds two women in particular as ideal role models for its citizens.

They are Kang Ban Sok, the deceased mother of former leader Kim Il Sung; and Kim Jong Suk, his deceased wife.

Their birthdays have been commemorated since the 1960s.

Belinda Cranston is a writer at ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

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