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Gigi Edgley back in her element

Being an Australian actor in Hollywood can have its drawbacks.


That’s why Gigi Edgley puts on her best LA accent when she fronts directors and producers at auditions.

Edgley is back on the beat for Hollywood’s pilot season now she has finished hosting the reality series Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.

The series follows 10 aspiring creature creators who have to make and create mechanical characters and whimsical beasts in a bid to join the famed puppet and muppet workshop. There’s also $100,000 prize money.

Edgley was called up to host the series by Brian Henson, the chairman of the Jim Henson Company and son of the late Jim Henson who created The Muppets.

Brian Henson was co-creator of the sci-fi series Farscape, which Edgley appeared in for four seasons, and called her manager in January, inviting her to host the show.

Teaming up again with Henson has reignited Edgley’s love affair with the US and was the catalyst for her trying out for pilot season, when the TV networks cast for new shows.

Edgley says she keeps pre-audition banter to a minimum and always converses, in or out of character, with an LA accent.

“I feel positive and excited by the show (Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge) and I thought I’d really like to give Hollywood another whirl,” Edgley told AAP from Hollywood.

“I go in speaking like an American and with a seamless accent.

“That’s because there are rumours around town that if you go in as an Australian they won’t be able to focus on the scene because they’ll be listening to your accent and trying to pick flaws in it.

“I make very little talk in the intro other than questions about the character or the script.”

Edgley says life is tough for actors in Hollywood during pilot season and it’s not unusual to turn up to an audition and find a dozen or more hopefuls competing for the same role.

But the competitiveness hasn’t taken the edge off her enthusiasm.

“You just have to go in and be as prepared as you can be and enjoy the journey and sooner or later the right role will fall into your lap.”

Edgley recently returned to the US after she finished filming the biopic Carlotta for the Nine Network.

She will return to Australia in April for two pop culture conventions to chat with fans of Farscape.

“I was only going to be in it for one episode and I stuck around for five years and I love the autograph signings,” Edgley says.

“It’s a chance to meet people who are passionate about what I am passionate about.”

* Supanova Pop Culture Expo is being held at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on April 5 & 6 and at the Melbourne Showground on April 12 and 13.

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Syd FC don’t know real pressure: Petkovic

The pressure mounting on Sydney FC is “too easy” says Serbian recruit Nikola Petkovic, who feels maybe the current crisis is exactly what the under-siege club needs to galvanise them.


Having spent most of his career playing in the unforgiving European leagues – including Serbia, Germany, Turkey and Russia – fan revolts and bad press are “nothing special” for the defender.

Fans at Allianz Stadium on Saturday unfurled banners calling for coach Frank Farina’s head and that of chairman Scott Barlow and chief executive Tony Pignata.

Dozens of supporters also vocally protested wanting Farina gone as the club slumped to its seventh loss in 10 matches against Adelaide and a record third straight defeat at home.

But Petkovic says having played in front of some very volatile crowds in Europe and during his time at Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade, what he witnessed on Saturday paled in comparison.

“To be honest for me this is nothing special,” he said.

“I come from a country where you have one draw and you’re in trouble with the fans but there it’s different, they attack the players not the coaching staff and the board.”

And it’s the players who Petkovic believes should take responsibility for the team’s situation with the honest 27-year-old saying maybe the heat should be turned up.

“Here is too easy,” he said.

“Everyone says this is pressure, but this is not pressure.

“I think maybe if we have more pressure we will feel the problem.

“The players just need to switch on and think about our job on the field because no one can play for us – not the board or the president or Farina.”

Petkovic said players being banished from first-team training was common practice in Europe and while he had never been in the situation himself he hoped Farina’s decision to send Nick Carle and Matt Thompson home from training on Monday would put others on notice.

“For them it’s not easy but maybe it’s a good reaction for the team. Maybe everyone start to think `what is this now? Maybe I’ll be in the same situation?’,” he said.

“Maybe some players will switch on after this.”

Both Carle and Thompson had been accused of being a “negative influence” on the team but Petkovic denies this saying: “Negative is when we lose every week and when we don’t fight.”

The Sky Blues could climb back into the top six with victory over Perth on Saturday and Petkovic says this tumultuous week could be just what the team needs to spark them into action.

“This is the biggest motivation for us I think,” he said.

“We have the supporters, the newspaper, everything is against us and if this is not motivation then we are not the right players for this team.

“We have to deal with this and we have to keep going to prove ourselves on Saturday night.”

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Morocco asked to end child exploitation

The death of a 14-year-old housemaid abused by her employer has sparked a public outcry in Morocco, giving ammunition to those demanding an end to the exploitation of child workers in the kingdom.


The girl, known as Fatima, died last March after suffering third-degree burns to her hands and face.

Her female employer was jailed for 20 years in January after being convicted of her death.

The trial became a symbol of the ordeal that some of the tens of thousands of child domestic workers have to endure in the north African nation, rights groups say.

Morocco’s labour laws prohibit the employment of anyone under the age of 15 and require the authorisation of a guardian for anyone under 18.

Despite some improvements, the national planning commission says, however, there are still more than 90,000 children under 15 working in Morocco.

And Human Rights Watch said in January that girls as young as eight continued to work in private homes for up to 12 hours per day, and for as little as $US11 ($A12.22) per month.

The country has no laws protecting domestic workers – both children and adults – but parliament has tabled a bill aimed at regulating their working conditions.

The proposed law would give domestic workers contracts and a minimum wage of around $US100 ($A111) a month – half the national figure – as well as one day’s holiday per week and an annual leave allowance.

Employers who flaunt these terms could face financial penalties of up to 5000 dirhams ($A666.50).

Finalised in June, the bill “has been endorsed by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, the (state) National Council of Human Rights and we are totally open to all propositions” from parliament, Labour Minister Abdesslam Seddiki said.

But the legislation has its critics too, and rights groups and opposition politicians have demanded the bill be expanded to offer better working conditions.

Human Rights Watch last November urged Moroccan lawmakers to revise the bill, saying it had “a unique opportunity to put an end to the exploitation of domestic workers by bringing the draft law in line with standards set by the International Labour Organisation.”

“Morocco can become the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to ratify the domestic workers’ treaty,” HRW’s Tamara Alrifai said in a letter to Seddiki.

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SA govt approves $1.5 billion wind farm

The South Australian government has given the go-ahead for a $1.


5 billion wind farm to be built on the Yorke Peninsula.

The 197-turbine Ceres Project will be located between Ardrossan and Minlaton, Planning Minister John Rau said on Thursday.

The development has been approved subject to conditions relating to its construction and operation and infrastructure such as transformers, transmission lines and cabling.

The development will connect to the Adelaide electricity grid via an under-sea transmission cable from Port Julia to St Kilda.

“It is estimated that the Ceres wind farm would be able to power the equivalent of 225,000 South Australian homes a year,” Mr Rau said.

“This will avoid the creation of up to 2.5 million tonnes of carbon pollution each year, or the equivalent of a 278,000 hectare tree plantation.”

It is expected to generate 500 direct jobs during construction, as well as 50 full time jobs over the 25 year operational life of the development.

Mr Rau said the company has also proposed a community benefit fund of $200,000 per annum over the 25 year period.

Clean Energy Council chief executive David Green congratulated the state government and Senvion Australia for winning approval for the wind farm.

It would provide enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of 225,000 homes a year, he said.

“It will also be the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere when completed in 2016 – a title currently held by AGL’s Macarthur Wind Farm in western Victoria,” Mr Green said.

“The Renewable Energy Target is due to be reviewed this year and, if left alone to do its job, will continue to provide an incentive for clean energy projects such as Ceres that provide hundreds of direct and flow-on jobs for the local economy.”

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China’s Jade Rabbit rover lives again

China’s troubled Jade Rabbit lunar rover has survived a bitterly cold 14-day lunar night, prompting hopes it can be repaired after a malfunction last month.


The problem was a setback for Beijing’s ambitious military-run space programme, which includes plans for a permanent orbiting station by 2020 and eventually sending a human to the moon.

“The rover stands a chance of being saved as it is still alive,” Pei Zhaoyu, spokesman for China’s lunar probe programme told the official news agency Xinhua.

An earlier report by the semi-official China News Service said an attempt to restore the vehicle to full functionality on Monday had been unsuccessful.

The rover, named Yutu or Jade Rabbit after the pet of Chang’e, the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology, experienced a “mechanical control abnormality” as the lunar night fell on January 25, provoking an outpouring of sympathy from Chinese Internet users.

But Pei said on Thursday: “Yutu has come back to life!”, adding that the rover “went into sleep under an abnormal status”.

Scientists had been concerned it might not be able to survive the extremely low temperatures of the lunar night, when it was supposed to remain dormant, but it was now receiving signals normally, Xinhua cited him as saying.

But experts were still working to establish the causes of its mechanical control abnormality, the agency reported, without giving details.

Australia-based independent space expert Morris Jones said that the problem involved a solar panel on the rover failing to close.

“This allowed heat to escape from the rover in the cold lunar night. The cold has probably damaged some parts of the rover permanently, but it seems that some parts are still working,” he said.

Beijing sees the space programme as a symbol of China’s rising global stature and technological advancement, as well as the Communist Party’s success in reversing the fortunes of the once-impoverished nation.

The Jade Rabbit was deployed on the moon’s surface on December 15, several hours after the Chang’e-3 probe landed.

The landing – the third such soft-landing in history, and the first of its kind since the Soviet Union’s mission nearly four decades ago – was a huge source of pride in China, where millions across the country charted the rover’s accomplishments.

An unverified Weibo user “Jade Rabbit Lunar Rover”, which has posted first-person accounts in the voice of the probe, on Thursday made its first update since January.

“Hi, anybody there?” it said, prompting thousands of comments within minutes.

Xinhua has said the account is “believed to belong to space enthusiasts who have been following Yutu’s journey to the moon”.