Newly discovered director dissolves into sparkling sea

Jean Epstein.LAUNCHING his career in Paris in the 1920s, Jean Epstein approached the new art of cinema from a position of rare intellectual freedom. Few filmmakers have worked so fruitfully in the zone where fictional narrative meets the avant-garde, and few have shown such wholehearted enthusiasm for using the camera to transform our vision of the world.
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It has taken a while for English-language film culture to discover Epstein. A retrospective at this year's Melbourne International Film Festival gives an indication of what we have been missing.

Epstein is a ''flashy'' filmmaker, in a literal sense. He is attracted to elemental forms of movement - whatever sparkles, flows, or drifts like smoke. He loves reflections, veils, superimpositions, close-ups, blurred focus, and anything involving rivers or the sea.

His favourite device is the slow dissolve, especially when dissolving between the rippling surface of water and the face of a character in thought.

Often developing his visual ideas through conventional melodramatic stories, Epstein rarely delves into psychology as commonly understood.

Instead, he invites us to relish the faces, bodies and gestures of his performers: one sequence of The Beauty from Nivernais (1923) is devoted to a small boy doing a giddy dance, with little relevance to the plot.

There's a playfully eerie side to Epstein's work, linked to a use of slow motion that puts human activity and the inanimate on equal footing.

In his 1928 adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of The House of Usher, candle flames and curtains acquire wills of their own, while hands and faces move as clouds.

Covering a fraction of Epstein's output, the retrospective concentrates on his 1920s silent films. Still, the new documentary Jean Epstein, Young Oceans Of Cinema covers his later, quasi-ethnographic shorts and features.

In the 1947 short Le tempestaire the obvious camera tricks have mostly gone: what remains is a spare yet intricate game with a handful of elements of image and sound. The rhythmic flashing of a lighthouse lamp is set against the whistle of the wind, the roar of the waves, and a plaintive melody sung by a fisherman's bride-to-be as she awaits her lover's return to land.

Asked why he so often depicted the sea, Epstein said it was out of a fear that ''obliges us to do what we are afraid to do''. That might be a clue to the true nature of this mysterious filmmaker, whose works seem lucid almost to the point of abstraction, yet deeply personal in their mingled ecstasy and fright.

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Regulator takes tougher stance with telcos

The communications regulator is warning of "more investigations [and] more court cases" against telcos that breach new customer service rules starting in four weeks.
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The new rules will stop telcos using the word "cap" and force them to offer clear pricing information, usage alerts and better complaint handling services. It also set up Communications Compliance - an industry funded body that will monitor breaches.

General manager of content, consumer and citizen at the Australian Communications and Media Authority, Jennifer McNeill, said it will have little patience for telcos that flaunt the new Telecommunications Consumer Protection code.

The ACMA previously used a gentle 'engage and educate' method to help telcos comply, but this attitude would be replaced with a tougher stance, she said.

"You will see more investigations, more directions and more court cases," she told a room full of telco industry representatives at a briefing.

"We expect immediate compliance with the obligations that have been substantially carried over from the old code."

Ms McNeill said the ACMA would no longer tolerate "good natured incompetence" as an excuse for breaches and would also ask telcos to substantiate any unbelievable service offers. Staff had been shifted around within the ACMA to bulk up its ability to enforce compliance, she added.

When the code starts on September 1, it will be the first time all Australian telcos are bound by a customer service code enforceable through fines of up to $250,000. The old code was voluntary and impossible to enforce.

The industry body that drafted the code, Communications Alliance, is conducting briefings and training sessions around the country to help companies prepare for the changes.

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Nufarm to settle class action for $43.5 million

A group of Nufarm shareholders, super funds and banks, who launched two class actions over the company’s alleged failure to disclose company weaknesses three years ago, are expected to share $43.5 million as part of a proposed settlement.
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In a statement released this morning, the law firms Maurice Blackburn and Slater & Gordon said an in-principle settlement had been reached with the agricultural supplies company after a mediation which was held yesterday.

The deal is subject to certain conditions, which at this stage have not been disclosed publicly. The deal must secure the approval of the Federal Court.

The class actions claimants accused Nufarm of failing the tell the stock exchange how worsening conditions in the market for herbicide glyphosate had affected its business and therefore its profitability and debt position.

Nufarm had denied the allegations.

The company’s chaiman, Donald McGauchie, said the board had considered the likely risks and potential costs of pursuing a defence at trial as well as the distraction it might cause to management.

“We are pleased to put this behind us and have the company fully focused on continuing to improve the operating performance of the business,” Mr McGauchie said.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Nufarm said the proposed settlement, which covers investors who bought shares between September 2009 to August 2010, encompasses claims made by the plaintiffs, accrued interest, the sums that will be paid to litigation funders for each of the class actions plus legal costs.

The class actions had been rolled into a single case and were due to be heard next year before Justice John Middleton in the Federal Court.

Maurice Blackburn lawyer Jason Geisker said the proposed settlement “represents a very positive and expeditious outcome for shareholders”.

Slater & Gordon’s Ben Phi said participants in the case included retail and institutional funds, individual shareholders and banks. Clients would be told about the deal in the next few weeks.

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Relay gold medal winner Campbell out of women’s 100m freestyle

Relay gold medal winner Cate Campbell has been struck down with a gastro illness which has forced her out of Wednesday's 100m freestyle heats.
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Campbell, who was ranked to qualify for the final of the blue riband event, has been quarantined from her the rest of the team for the past two days, and Australian head coach Leigh Nugent said on Wednesday morning no other member of the team had been affected.

He said he and the team's medical staff were hopeful Campbell can be ready to swim the heats of the 50m freestyle on Friday morning along with her sister Bronte.

"We're withdrawing Cate from the 100m free today, and the plan is for her to recover and get her up for the 50m," Nugent said. "We have to do everything we can to give her the opportunity to get through the various stages (heat, semi and final) of the 50m.

"She's back at the village now, resting and has been with the doctors now for the last couple of days. We'll see how she recovers from day to day and how she improves.

"She became sick overnight on Monday and was vomiting a bit, had diarrhoea and bad stomach cramps. She was isolated and the doctors have done all they can, including putting her on a drip to replace some fluid. Now she's just resting up and trying to get ready."

Nugent said the decision was made last night to withdraw from the 100m heats when it was clear Campbell, a Beijing bronze medallist as a 16-year-old, was "pretty debilitated."

"It's a pity she couldn't prove herself individually in that event, but in the end you have to cut your losses and try and regain something out of these situations. We know she is a great racer and she was positioned pretty well for this 50m and I believe she hadn't got to her peak coming to this event and the way she had been swimming we felt she would get there. Right now we have to preserve her and hopefully we can bring her out and she can do her thing.

"The doctors believe she can recover in time for the 50m. They can't perform miracles, but they are doing everything they can."

Australia's deputy chef de mission Kitty Chiller said Campbell was isolated from the team in the athletes' village immediately after problems arose.

"She's been ill for around just over a day. She improved slightly yesterday, went downhill a bit last night. She did visit the Polyclinic yesterday because the swimming team doctors were at the pool.

"It's a gastro. She has been moved into a room on her own, and with her own bathroom as well and she will continue to be monitored today, but unfortunately she has had to pull out of the 100 freestyle so Mel Schlanger will be our only swimmer in those heats this morning," Chiller said.

"We're just hoping that Cate can come good, and everything's looking like she will be back to full strength for the 50 freestyle in a couple of days. She's just rehydrating, resting up and getting her strength back.

"She's having no contact at all with any other team members or officials, just with our medical staff."

— with Samantha Lane

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Kazakhs have the last laugh

Making their mark ... Kazakhstan is escaping from the shadow of Borat.KAZAKHSTAN came to London wanting to be taken seriously. They probably knew they would not get through this Games without a mention of mankini but what they did not anticipate was the commentary to be so brazen and offensive. While the Kazakhs are flying on the medal tally – winning three gold medals in the first four days of competition – they are less happy about their treatment on the streets of London.
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Their deputy chef de mission Aslan Amanov  said members of the team and delegation had been recipients of abuse outside Olympic Park, stemming from Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2006 film, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which parodied their country.

‘‘In the village there is absolutely no problem,’’ Amanov  said. ‘‘The sports world knows Kazakhstan, our good side. It is when we go outside it is very disappointing. When you walk around the city sometimes they shout things at you which are not OK. Some were drunk and they were shouting all sorts of words.

‘‘We tried not to pay attention to it but it’s still ... how can I say it, it’s your country. Of course nobody takes it seriously but there are some thing that you cannot tolerate, things about your mother and sister. No matter how democratic you are you will never tolerate the words that Borat was saying about us.’’

It is now the Kazakhs, not just their tormentors, doing the laughing. The central Asian republic was placed sixth on the medal tally a quarter way through the Games. That put them ahead of heavyweights Russia, Great Britain, Germany and Australia, who beat Kazakhstan 7-4 in men’s water polo on Tuesday but ended the day, in the overall count, two golds behind them in 12th with six medals.

The latest national hero is weightlifter Maiya Maneza, whose 245kg total in the women’s 63kg category  elevated her to the top of the dais on Tuesday. ‘‘I have waited my whole life for this,’’ she said.  ‘‘This is for all the people who cheered for me.’’

There is a lot of that happening in Kazakhstan at the moment. On the first day of the Games,  veteran cyclist Alexander Vinokourov was an unexpected winner of the road race. At the weekend, they doubled their haul of gold in extraordinary scenes when the teenager Zulfiya Chinshanlo  broke the clean and jerk and total world record in weightlifting’s 53kg division.

A second weightlifting gold means the team has  already achieved the stated goal of three gold medals in London, set out by its top sports official, Talgat Yermegiyayev.

Given their previous success in boxing and wrestling there could be more to come. ‘‘This is not the end of the story yet,’’ Amanov said.

It is a wonderful tale for the former Soviet state, an ethnically diverse, resource-rich slab of land about the size of western Europe that hugs  Russia and China. And it has not arrived by accident.

Cohen’s hit movie made the country an easy target although, reportedly, their tourist trade grew despite descriptions like this from travel guide Lonely Planet: ‘‘If you’re not a fan of endless semi-arid steppe and decaying industrial cities, Kazakhstan may seem bleak, but those who enjoy remoteness, wide open spaces, lunar landscapes, long hypnotic train rides and horse sausage will definitely be in their element. If it sometimes looks like the landscape has suffered from hundreds of nuclear explosions, well, parts of it have – ever since Russian rocket scientists started using Kazakhstan as a sandpit in the late 1940s.’’

Despite the jokes, long-serving President Nursultan Nazarbayev has set about earning the country international recognition through sport. ‘‘He has poured all his energy into this and that’s why we are getting the results,’’ Amanov  said.

Kazakh authorities were done no favours in overturning perceptions by an incident in Kuwait in March when organisers of a shooting championship mistakenly downloaded Cohen’s comedy version of the Kazakh national anthem instead of the real tune and it was played as the gold medal-winning team stood on the podium. It led Yermegiyayev, the chairman of the Kazakh Sport and Physical Education Agency, to issue instructions to the London delegation to ensure the proper national anthem was played.

If that seems like a trivial matter, the country’s increased commitment to featuring prominently in international sport is not. While the doping scandal that dogged the Kazazh-owned professional cycling team Astana between 2007 and 2010 was a blow, they won the hosting rights to the 2011 Asian Winter Games. They were held in the cities of Almaty and Astana, and coincided with hundreds of billions of tenge, the national currency, being spent on building and upgrading venues, and other sporting infrastructure.

In London, Kazakh athletes have an extra incentive to put their nation in lights. It was announced in the lead-up to the Games that gold medallists would receive a $US250,000 ($238,000) bonus, while silver medallists would pick up $US125,000 and bronze medallists $US75,000.

There is also cash for any who finish sixth or better in their events. Coaches, too, were  given a significant pay rise, and  earn between $US500 to $US2000 a month.

Additionally, there was major investment in the athletes’ preparation in an effort to make Kazakhstan’s fifth Olympic campaign since emerging from the behind the iron curtain their most successful. A government fund reportedly allocated 1 billion tenge ($6.35 million) to pay for  ‘‘additional sports equipment and biomedical support’’ and its athletes’  pre-Olympics training. It appears to be paying off.

‘‘Now we are showing the world we can do something good,’’ Amanov said.

Who’s laughing now?

Kazakhstan is the land of Borat and gold medals. Once a part of the USSR, the nation wasn’t often part of general discussion until Sacha Baron Cohen put it on the map. But so far in London the Kazakhs are enjoying a great time of things on the sporting field. Cyclist Alexandre Vinokourov  and weightlifters  Maiya Maneza and Zulfiya Chinshanlo have made great the glorious nation from which they hail. What next? Maybe Cohen  appearing in a mockumentary about Australia’s sporting woes.

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Raw prawn theft accusation costs Coles $52,900

Coles Supermarkets has been ordered to pay $52,900 in damages to a customer wrongly accused of stealing raw prawns from its Lane Cove store.
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Philip Clarke, 49, an artist, sued Coles for defamation, assault, intimidation, harassment and wrongful imprisonment after he was aggressively confronted by the store manager in front of dozens of other customers.

District Court Judge Leonard Levy found Mr Clarke had been defamed because some of the shoppers may have recognised him from the neighbourhood and the accusation that he had been caught stealing may have been spread along the "grapevine".

In September 2009, Mr Clarke ordered about 500 grams of raw prawns from the delicatessen counter. After filling his trolley with more items, he returned to the counter, put the prawns on the top of it and asked for the package to be topped up to 1 kilogram.

Soon after, the store manager, Shant Tatosian, along with some other staff members, confronted Mr Clarke and accused him of eating some of the prawns so he did not have to pay for them.

A heated exchange followed in which Mr Tatosian claimed Mr Clarke had eaten some prawns, dropping the shells on the floor and secreting the wrapper in the freezer section.

About 30 shoppers witnessed the confrontation, which Mr Clarke said left him feeling hurt, upset, humiliated and shocked.

But during the trial, Mr Tatosian admitted he didn't actually see Mr Clarke eat or hide the prawns in his jacket, rather he assumed he had, and publicly made the allegations without giving Mr Clarke a chance to explain.

Judge Levy awarded Mr Clarke $40,000 in compensatory damages and $10,000 aggravated compensatory damages because of the prolonged and repeated nature of the embarrassing and humiliating accusations he was subjected to for at least 10 minutes. Mr Clarke was also awarded interest and costs. Judge Levy dismissed the other causes of action.

Judge Levy said Coles' defence of qualified privilege failed because the other customers had no interest in hearing of the accusations, which could have been made discreetly

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Public companies’ public enemies

Apparently it's becoming nearly unbearably inconvenient to be a public company.
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The spotlight's on management. They're required to disclose things, some of which they really may not want to be exposed. Hey, shareholders might even revolt and - gasp - vote against management and directors, vote against policies, vote against pay.

Some might even demand more disclosure on topics that they find material.

Oh, the humanity. How horrifying that issuing stock to the public might actually include being required to acknowledge the public who bought those shares.

These days, public companies' managements might not necessarily enjoy some of the public shamings going on. They might even feel like they have public enemies.

Public displays

Reuters' Felix Salmon recently penned a thought-provoking piece on "why going public sucks".

One of the more interesting things Salmon highlighted was a quote by Marc Andreessen, known for his founding of legendary browser company and 1990s IPO Netscape:

"Basically, it was pretty easy to be a public company in the '90s. Then the dot-com crash hits, then Enron and all of a sudden the politicians and corporate regulators started to take a closer look, placing more scrutiny on the management and boards of our public companies. Throw in a greater awareness and interest in shares, via various privatisations and demutualisations and our growing superannuation balances, and public companies moved from the business section to the front pages."

There's plenty of irony in a man talking about "bizarre governance things" when he's currently serving on the board of directors at Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), one of the best-known duds in the annals of current corporate governance.

Of course, many corporate managements and directors fight tooth and nail against "bizarre governance things" of all types since they give shareholders power and voice.

Facebook's (Nasdaq: FB) recent debacle of an IPO was shareholder-unfriendly right out of the gate; its dual-class stock structure gave young CEO Mark Zuckerberg the majority vote, rendering shareholder votes pretty toothless.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) recently moved to enact a triple-class stock structure.

Just "bizarre" enough to work

Salmon's piece switches emphasis away from governance and to the idea that the very notion of being public means opening the company up to public scrutiny.

He's right to bring up the point that the public market demands and even requires constant information so that it can give "a second-by-second verdict on what it thinks of your performance."

Salmon also points out that upon going public, "people stop thinking of them as companies, and start thinking about them as stocks."

The aforementioned thoughts give us things to think about as investors. Salmon's description of the short-term, speculative, trading mentality is absolutely legitimate.

The way many investors view stocks is the antithesis of taking an ownership interest in an actual company (and my use of the word "interest" has double meaning - we should most certainly be interested in what our companies actually do).

Many investors have gotten so far away from the idea of any long-term ownership sentiment that of course corporate managements have started to automatically view shareholders as unimportant and shareholder-friendly policies as simply "bizarre."

I have a funny feeling that business interests and managements have rejected calls for better policies as long as publicly held corporations have existed. And as long as investors didn't care what went on beyond the share price, I'm sure any kind of change has always seemed weird or even dangerous.

Remember, less than a century ago, investors weren't even necessarily given very reliable information since there were no clear rules about disclosure. I'll bet business leaders back then thought it was the end of the world. Obviously, it wasn't, and any true long-term investor appreciates the information disclosed in ASX announcements.

Foolish take-away

When companies desire access to the capital provided in the public market, their managements should realise what they must sacrifice for that option instead of complaining that shareholders want "bizarre" things that help protect their own interests.

Our companies are facing something of a moment of truth in the 'two-strikes' vote that shareholders have on executive pay – and it seems like boards are listening.

Meanwhile, we investors need to work on acting more like long-term shareholders than gamblers.

It would be nice if we could all make this deal. When it comes to the long-term health of our companies, shareholders, and all parties involved, public companies no longer viewing everyone else as public enemies might be just "bizarre" enough to work.

Are you looking for attractive dividend stock ideas? BusinessDay readers can click here to request a new free report entitled Secure Your Future with 3 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks.

Alyce Lomax is aMotley Fool in writer. You can follow The Motley Fool on Twitter. The Motley Fool's purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691).

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The best Facebook friend of all

Results |Medal table |Schedule
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Haitian triple jumper Samyr Laine is determined to give something back to his ravaged homeland and hopes that his old room mate at Harvard - Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg - can offer him the boost he needs.

Laine is just one of five Haitian athletes at the London Olympics representing the Caribbean nation, devastated two and a half years ago by an earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people and left one million homeless.

Three of Haiti's five very basic running tracks are housing the displaced. Millions live on less than two dollars a day.

Laine's parents moved to the United States in the 1970's, but Haiti is still clearly tugging at his heartstrings.

"I have to give. That is a necessity for me," the 28-year-old lawyer told Reuters as he prepared for his London challenge.

He is planning to set up a Jump For Haiti Foundation which would try, through training camps and clinics, to build a new generation of home-grown athletes to compete at future Olympics.

Competing with the world's best is a struggle for Haiti.

"The total budget for the Olympics is $400,000. In the United States it is $170 million," Laine said. "You have to be self-motivated. It does not have the resources and the bureaucracy hinders the athletes."

Talking of Haiti's five-strong team for London, he said: "We are really here on our own and got here on our own. It is very emotional. We are a tight group, we are very close."


For his foundation, Laine hopes his friends will help out.

At Harvard he shared a room with Zuckerberg, the billionaire founder of Facebook. Laine was the 14th person to sign up to the social media site.

"I will talk to him and I will talk to all of my friends," Laine said. "I am not going to ask him for any more than my other friends. But I hope his heart will move him. Having him behind the foundation would be a great, great help," he said.

Laine's family suffered agonies of uncertainty when the earthquake struck, not knowing what had happened to relatives.

"It took a full week to find out if everyone was safe," he said. "It felt like the longest week of my life. All you heard on CNN was about death tolls. You held your breath the whole time."

The family called on an aunt working for the Canadian government to help track down their loved ones.

"It was nerve-wracking. We had no contact with my grandparents. Their house was destroyed," he said.

But for now it is time to concentrate on the triple jump -- and Laine is very upbeat.

"I am 100 percent healthy. I am a viable medal hopeful," he said, after a promising pre-Olympic warm up at London's Crystal Palace. "My performances are peaking at the right time."

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Japan seeking revenge: Paul Watson

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson has accused Japan of hunting him down in revenge for his attacks on its whaling operations, in his first comments since he jumped bail and fled Germany.
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The militant environmentalist who is in hiding, says he felt betrayed by Germany, where he was under house arrest for 70 days, because it had negotiated with Japan to extradite him to Tokyo.

"I am very disappointed with the German government. For me it is obvious that the German government conspired with Japan and Costa Rica to detain me so that I could be handed over to the Japanese," he said on Tuesday in a message to his supporters.

Mr Watson, who for years has harassed Japan's annual whale hunt off Antarctica, was arrested in Germany in May for extradition to Costa Rica on charges stemming from a high-seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002.

He was detained for a week before being released on bail. He was ordered to appear before police twice a day. But the 61-year-old skipped bail on July 22.

Mr Watson said Costa Rica and Germany had been "pawns in the Japanese quest to silence Sea Shepherd", which has for close to a decade clashed with harpoon ships in the Southern Ocean.

"This was never really about Costa Rica. It has been about Japan all along," he said.

"We have confronted the Japanese whalers for eight seasons and we have humiliated them at sea and more importantly we have frustrated their illegal profiteering from the killing of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

"This is not about justice; it is about revenge."

Mr Watson, a white-haired Canadian national known as "Captain" to supporters, refused to reveal his location and said that if he was extradited to Japan he would "never be released".

"I am presently in a place on this planet where I feel comfortable, a safe place far away from the scheming nations who have turned a blind eye to the exploitation of our oceans," he wrote.

But he indicated that he would continue to harass Japanese harpoonists.

"I can serve my clients better at sea than in a Japanese prison cell and I intend to do just that," he wrote, saying that Sea Shepherd would sail on its ninth campaign against Japanese whalers in December.

Australia is the launch site for Sea Shepherd boats each year as they chase the Japanese whalers.


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When is an affair, not an affair?

Cheating is not always easy to define - though it is always centred upon a breakdown of trust, say experts. Infidelity, cheating, adultery, threesome, love triangle.
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We've seen the steamy clinch, we've watched the fall-out.

Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were both in committed relationships - one has a long-term boyfriend, the other is married - when they had a so-called "momentary indiscretion."

Some say the affair was many months in the making, others that the assignations involved "no sex of any kind" - at least according to Stewart's friend and former producer, Giovanni Agnelli.

That there was a relationship beyond the platonic is a given - or at least so public apologies suggest. But there are clearly differing views as to the extent of the affair.

Which begs the question: what counts as cheating?

We posed the question to friends and family - and who knew there were so many shades of infidelity... a kiss, sex, emotional cheating, sexting, sex with the same sex, plain old animal attraction. With such a minefield out there, no wonder so many of us have had to face the reality at some stage or other: how do you define infidelity in your relationship?

Well, as much as many may have attempted to argue otherwise, it's a pretty straightforward delineation, says Fairfax's RSVP resident relationship expert and psychologist, John Aiken.

There are no degrees of infidelity, he says. "All infidelity is bad on relationships. It's breach of trust, which sees you engage in behaviour that is secretive, dishonest, sexually charged and hurts your partner.

"It might be an emotional affair - sexualised texts, coffee dates, talking down about your partner, being flirtatious, having pet names and fantasising about them. Or a physical affair - kissing, touching, having sex. Any way you look at it - it's not going to help your partner's level of trust in you."

Alarm bells! Did Aiken include fantasising in that list? Guilty, guilty, guilty. But while we all let our imaginations run riot, the relationship expert is keen to point out that to qualify as cheating, fantasising must be in combination with those other, let's say, symptoms.

Whether it's the case of a friend's brother-in-law who emailed naked photos of himself to another woman, or an acquaintance who found that his girlfriend was 'emotionally cheating' by sharing intimacies with an ex-boyfriend, the core motive is the same: they are manifestations of the moment that someone chooses to withhold an element of themselves from their primary partner - and, by doing so, to step over a boundary.

There is no reason to treat kissing differently to sex, Aiken says, as these are things that you only do with your partner. "It's intimate and personal. Doing this with someone else is cheating."

Not all couples will agree with his diagnosis of relationship disaster. Everybody knows the boundaries of their own relationships and what works for some will be beyond the pale for others.

Bill Hewlett, a counsellor with Relationships Australia, is sanguine when it comes to the scale of cheatdom. "It depends to a large extent on the rules in each relaltionship. You need to negotiate your own understanding of what's infidelity and what's not."

He says that the early exploratory stages of coupling will largely determine boundaries - and that much of the conversation about the positioning of a line will be a result of trial and error.

"A kiss is just a kiss" is the line one married couple in their 30s, very close friends, take. Alcohol, great company and being away from each other has seen that couple forced into some very frank admissions - but the strong marriage has not faltered. The relationship is worth more than diverted and momentary affection, they say.

But while definitions of infidelity may be black and white within a relationhip - "It's the same breakdown of trust and the same recovery process to rebuild" - how a couple deals with the pain can vary vastly, says Aiken.

"Some will want to talk it out, some will want to punish their partner, while others will look to avoid the event and try to downplay the hurt and pain. There are those that are prepared to do whatever it takes to repair the damage, while others don't see the big deal in all of it."

To move forwards from there, a "safe and useful conversation", says Hewlett, is the first step - and that often needs third party help.

"It's hard to survive a knock. Both partners will have to go through a stage of renegotiating. You have to re-establish trust and that won't happen quickly."

On the plus side, he has seen couples whose relationships have been rejuvenated by an affair. The trick, he says, is to "talk about feelings, not behaviour."

Either way, when it comes to shades of flings - and there is a vast range of sexually-charged pantones out there - you need to set some rules at the start of a committed union.

"What's important is that you must have a conversation about infidelity and your position on this before it occurs so you know where you both stand," says Aiken.

Hard as that particular dialogue may be, he says it is crucial because of the ramifications infidelity can have. "For many, this is a deal-breaker and it needs to be out on the table early on in your relationship."

Where this leaves Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders - and their betrayed partners - is not pretty, sadly.

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Drug in workout drinks to be illegal

A number of popular workout supplements will become illegal from next week, following a decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
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DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine) - ound in popular pre-workout drinks like Jack3d - was recently banned in Canada and New Zealand after reports of adverse health effects.

The drinks, which are usually bought as powder and mixed with water, are said to heighten energy and alertness.

The TGA was initially considering classing the stimulant in the same category with drugs such as heroin. But today's decision puts it in a slightly different banned substances category. While it has been identified as a public health risk, it will not incur the serious criminal penalties of hard illicit drugs.

The decision follows public consultation and advice from an advisory committee. Of the six public submissions received, one supported the proposed ban, noting DMAA is addictive, while the other five argued it is safe, effective and has no negative health effects.

"If up to me you couldn't ban DMAA quick enough. Tomorrow is too late," the supporting submission said.

The TGA's decision was based on "reports of adverse events including high blood pressure, psychiatric disorders, cerebral haemorrhage and stroke". It also found there are no approved therapeutic uses for the stimulant, it presents a high risk of abuse and little is known about its long-term effects.

DMAA was found in ''party pills'' in New Zealand, leading to its ban in April.

The chair of toxicology at the Australasian Society for Pharmacology and Toxicology, Ian Musgrave, thinks the increasing recreational use was the tipping point for the TGA.

"They probably felt the harms from its use as a party drug outweighed any benefits in its use as a supplement in bodybuilding and weight loss," he said.

He was "baffled" last month when he learnt it was being considered in a similar category to drugs such as heroin, cocaine and crystal methamphetamine and thinks this is a more appropriate classification.

"It's more harmful than not," he said "But it's not so harmful it's like heroine."

Food Standards Australia New Zealand advised anyone who has consumed products containing DMAA and is concerned about health risks to consult their doctor.

The decision will be implemented from August 8. It is then up to state and territory governments to implement any changes to legislation.

The NSW Health Department said the ban would automatically be implemented across the state. DMAA will be listed as a Schedule 7 "highly dangerous substance" on the NSW Poisons List. The maximum penalty is a $1000 fine for each instance of supply.

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

By admin, ago

How we fantasise about sex

We all fantasise about sex, but men tend to indulge in "exploratory" and "negative" imaginings of sex more than women.We've all heard it before: Our brains are our most powerful sexual organs.
Nanjing Night Net

But what goes on inside those well-used organs is largely down to gender.

According to new research, while both men and women will have "intimate and romantic" fantasies about their partners, they go about their lusty imaginings in very different ways.

While men tend to fantasise about "exploratory" sex, women migrate towards "pleasant" encounters, say a team of scientists from the University of Granada.

But many respondents, regardless of gender, had fantasised about "negative" sexual experiences, too. The new study of Spanish 18 to 73 year olds has lifted the lid on our wildest sexual dreams, with a vast 80 per cent of respondents admitting to fantasising about "unpleasant" scenarios.

Almost 100 per cent of the 2,250 respondents said they had imagined "pleasant" encounters.

Exploratory encounters - more frequently indulged in by men - include group sex, swinging parties, promiscuity and orgies.

And definitions of "unpleasant" and "pleasant" shifted. For men, the most common "unpleasant" fantasy was a homosexual encounter, for women one of the most common was "being forced to have sex."

Women fantasised about being submissive on average just once in a lifetime, but men had negative sexual fantasies "sometimes" or "once a year."

The respondents, who had all been in heterosexual relationships for at least six months, confirmed the long-held belief that men think about sex more than women.

More research is needed into attitudes towards the encounters, but it's no secret that, as the researchers put it, sexual fantasy "favors some aspects as sexual desire and arousal".

In fact, as Dr. Logan Levkoff told the Huffington Post: "We are supposed to have an active fantasy life. Sexual fantasies do not make us sluts. Nor do they suggest that we have trouble in our current relationship. Fantasies make us healthy sexual beings."

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

By admin, ago

Red China? Not quite

CityKat. Chinese women are in no hurry to adopt lipstick.
Nanjing Night Net

Wear red lipstick. If you do, men will want to have sex with you, possibly even propose marriage, and definitely rate you hotter than your pink or brown-lipped girlfriends.

Really? Well someone should, like, tell China.

Yes dear readers, I am back from the PRC. And boy did I learn a few things about love and sex and dating while in the world’s most populous country, including why some young women maintain hairy armpits: they symbolise virginal purity.

But perhaps what I found more striking – especially when compared to my journeys through Japan, Korea, and even Thailand – is just how poorly Western beauty culture has managed to penetrate the place. Life without lipstick is, for example, still overwhelmingly the status quo.

And there’s nothing especially wrong with this from where I’m sitting. How refreshing, I thought, to be a woman and not worry whether your makeup really was making you more attractive - attractive to men, and other women.

Though if the massive shopping ‘mansions’ of consumerist pleasure bedecked in posters of a very red-lipped Emma Watson are anything to go by, it could well be Beijing verges on vanity’s seductive, addictive edge. Seemingly time, not the Great Cultural Wall, is the only barrier before the multi-billion dollar industry and the very lucrative (read: big) Sino market.

And why is this good? Or, more specifically, why should Chinese women learn to love lipstick?

Well, there’s a new psychological study doing the rounds which basically confirms (again) men pay more attention to women who wear it. But not just any shade – it has to be red, bright, bold, flushed-labia memory-inducing red.

Because, according to the literature, “red lips are associated with an indication of oestrogen levels, sexual arousal and health which in turn led to increase the positive perception of the women's faces”. Or, as the authors of the study put it, “makeup increases women's attractiveness”.

Which is, y’know, totally important and stuff for women everywhere, especially women in China.

But pause, I hear you say. Don’t women in China have the odds in their favour? Hasn’t sex-selectivity has helped bred a men-heavy generation presumably desperate for wives? Why would these ladies need the same sort of ‘help’ offered to those poor, hopelessly competitive, single white females in the West?

Well, life for a lovelorn, single sister in the nation’s capital and other major centres is not really that simple.

Witness the rise of “Sheng nu” – China’s so-called ‘unwanted’ or ‘leftover ladies’. The term made the official dictionary while I was there, and I met more than a few definitive types in downtown Beijing. They are educated, financially independent women over the age of 27 who are unmarried, but want to be wed.

Tough love indeed. And clearly the problem runs deep below the surface. Probably even beyond the superficial remedy of any barbarian lip-schmear.

But it got me thinking about what makes women attractive to men, and whether, despite a vast array of profound cultural differences, there are commonalities between Aussie Bridget Joneses and the Chinese Sheng nus. Are educated, financially independent women really so undesirable for example? Do women here struggle with the same (totally offensive) ‘use-by date’ as women in China? And why are men not afflicted with the similar problems (or are they?).

On one hand, it may be a good story about liberation from the marriage ideal, which constrains human relationships to quite a narrow field. For surely while a Sheng nu technically desires marriage, some educated, financially independent women are the ones doing the rejecting – of matrimony specifically, or men in general.

On the other, however, it’s a sad story about gender stereotypes and the pervasive ideal of a submissive bride. Something I accept should exist to counter-balance aggressive Iron Wives, but perhaps not a role I’m interested in playing. And shouldn’t we all be free to decide for ourselves, independent of social expectation?

Of course we should. Of course I like to think I do. But then, I possess a full, feminine palette of lipsticks. And sometimes I wear red, so I can catch me a man and take him in, or under, my bed...

What do you think about make-up and success when it comes to love, sex and dating? Are you a man who is more attracted to painted ladies? Or do you prefer a natural face? Are you a woman who spends $45 on a lippie, because ‘you’re worth it', but can’t help but wonder which shade will make you most sexy?

And do you think women in the dating pool are advantaged by money and education? Or, was Gloria Steinem right: Women have become “the men we wanted to marry”?

**While I’ve got your attention, I’d just like to say a whopping Yippeecayaye to the wonderful blogging that went on in my absence. I hope you enjoyed reading the entries as much as I did. Certainly some excellent discussion ensued. A particular shout-out to our reader-entry winner – Mr Michael Durrand. I doff my cap to you, and your views, sir. 

Cheers all,





[email protected]南京夜网.au

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

By admin, ago