Ricky Martin set to shake The Voice

Keith Urban (second from left) with Joel Madden, Delta Goodrem and Seal, his fellow coaches from the first season of The Voice.Australia, are you ready to shake your bon-bon?

Ricky Martin, the Latin pop superstar who will replace home-town boy Keith Urban in Nine’s ratings juggernaut The Voice, arrives this weekend.

Production on the second series of The Voice is expected to get under way next week.

Martin will join the show’s returning coaches, Joel Madden, Seal and Delta Goodrem, on the set of the show next week and take ownership one of the show’s four trademark red chairs.

Martin’s arrival is also expected to cause an avalanche of media attention ahead of the highly-anticipated second season of the show which rewrote the rules of the TV ratings war in 2012.

Martin will relocate to Australia for the duration of The Voice shoot, along with his partner, economist Carlos Gonzalez Abella, and his twin sons, Matteo and Valentino.

The boys have a particular connection to Australia: their surrogate mother Liza Santolini is Australian.

“It’s going to be a very beautiful first six months of the year,” he told the Today show last year.

Martin comes to The Voice straight from Broadway, where he has been playing Che in the musical Evita. Martin had set January 26 – Australia Day – as his final show.

But the producers of the show have been unable to recast several key roles, including Martin’s, and January 26 subsequently became the final show for the whole production. It closed last weekend.

Martin has a busy year ahead of him: in addition to The Voice he also has a television series in development with the US studio NBC/Universal and will soon publish his second book, a children’s book. (The first was his autobiography, Me, which was published in 2010.)

The first series of The Voice only ran for 10 weeks in Australia but the series became a titanic success for the Nine Network, drawing between 2.1 and 2.7 million viewers weekly for most of its 16-week run.

Only on three occasions did it dip below the 2 million mark, and even then only by a fraction.

The final program was watched by 2.7 million viewers, with 3.2 million people tuned in for the winner’s announcement.

Nine will attempt to gently stretch the format in its second series, adding an additional 10 hours of content and running the series over about three months instead of just over two.

Last year the series lost one of its most loved coaches, Keith Urban, to American Idol for a rumoured $US4 million paycheck.

Urban joined Idol veteran Randy Jackson and newcomers Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey in a format which, arguably, gives him less space to express his excellent understanding of music artistry.

The intensity and duration of the search for a replacement coach on The Voice illustrated the extent to which popular talent formats worldwide have soaked up the pool of A-list international recording artists, to fill coach and judge panels that increasingly require “superstar” firepower.

Martin won the coveted role, beating out a number of high-profile musicians for the gig, including Grammy-nominated English singer-songwriter James Blunt and the Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter Jason Mraz.

American singer-songwriter Lenny Kravitz and Matchbox Twenty’s songwriter and lead singer, Rob Thomas, were also in contention.

Nine is expected to launch The Voice after Easter.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Shift those feet and skip to the beat

Skipping to the beat … Erika Heynatz in Legally Blonde.Fitness freaks can be fickle, flitting easily from pumping to boxing, and between Zumba and Pilates.

But now there’s a push to rejuvenate one of the most low-maintenance sports on the block: skipping. It’s slipped off the radar for many – but jumping rope is back as a fitness regime that packs a punch.

Many of us will remember skipping as a kid and probably took part in the Jump Rope for Heart at school, a campaign that celebrates its 30th anniversary next week.

Since Jump Rope for Heart started in 1983, more than 8 million Australians have taken part, raising $60 million to help the Heart Foundation.

”I love it when people say they remember doing Jump Rope for Heart at school,” Lyn Roberts, the national chief executive of the Heart Foundation, said. “Whether it was in the ’80s or last month; whether you could double-dutch or stuck to the single hop, we’re incredibly grateful to all of our amazing skippers and everyone who sponsored them.”

Skipping is still relevant now, Dr Roberts said. ”One in four Australian children are overweight and 80 per cent are not active enough. Jump rope is something that’s fun and kids can do it on their own or as a class,” she said.

Adults could also learn a thing or two from the schoolyard game. Shannon Bell, a personal trainer at Balmain Fitness, said skipping was great for increasing children’s

co-ordination and ideal for increasing the fitness of adults.

”It really gets your heart rate up,” he said. ”Increasing your cardiovascular fitness is great for your heart. It’s also good for toning your calves, legs and shoulders.

”And because you’re jumping up and down on the spot, you’re putting load through your bones, which is good for bone density and that is especially important for women.”

It’s also convenient, he said. ”You can do it anywhere, it’s really cheap, it’s quiet, it’s weather-proof and you can do it on the spot.

”New mums who want to exercise while their baby sleeps can’t leave the house for a walk but they can skip. People who travel for work can have a skipping rope in their suitcase which doesn’t take up much room.”

It can help to shift unwanted kilos, he said. ”Skipping is really efficient for calorie burning,” Bell said.

”If you’re a good smooth skipper, it’s burning the same amount of calories as running 10 kilometres an hour.”

But there is a downside. ”The main negative is the pounding on your joints. But that’s only relevant for people with knee, hip and ankle problems in the first place. This can be lessened with a good technique.”

And good technique means:Using just the balls of your feet (so your heels never touch the ground);Keeping your arms glued to your sides;Moving from the wrists and elbows rather than the shoulders;Looking straight ahead with your chest up;Taking one jump every revolution – no double jumps.

And wear a good pair of running shoes. ”It helps with cushioning the impact but also if you hit yourself on the toes with the skipping rope it can really hurt,” Bell said.

Singer and actor Erika Heynatz is starring in Legally Blonde: The Musical, as fitness queen Brooke Wyndham. She performs a number called Whipped into Shape, a high-intensity skipping routine. She estimates she is skipping 30 minutes every day.

”I’ve seen a real transformation in my body,” she said.

”Forget slogging it at the gym, short bursts of high-intensity training is where it’s at.

”Skipping for a minute at high intensity elevates your heart rate very quickly and strips the fat off you. It’s the best fat blaster on the planet. And it’s dirt cheap.

”It does hark back to childhood days. I did Jump Rope for Heart when I was in primary school.

”So I got the props girl at work to make a long rope so we can do double dutch and it’s heaps of fun. It’s never a chore.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Desire discrepancy

How to wake up a sex life that has gone to sleep … Mismatched libidos.My blog, ‘Mismatched Libidos’, published at the end of last year, received such an enormous response, I have decided to write a follow-up. The subject set off some interesting discussions.

Some of the comments included:

“As someone that is in a sexless relationship I can tell you the communication part is very hard. People take discussions on this subject very personal [sic] and both people rarely consider the impact of the situation on the other”.

“I was going to send this article to my wife but know it would inspire resentment, which revolves around the ‘pressure’ I place upon her. We are a classic example of the limerence issue, unable to discuss it because we end up fighting. I have given up pursuing sex as I am sick of rejection by the woman I love and lust after”.

“I would like a follow up article that will give couples some methods to address mismatched libidos. I need more guidance provided then just to be told ‘consult a sex therapist’. I am not asking for an article to replace a sex therapist but would like to receive more information and education of ways that might be explored”.

There were also comments from some very disillusioned men, who feel trapped and cheated. They feel they can’t leave the relationship as they have children and do not want to lose them, so they hang in there unhappily.

“Marriage is a social construct that only caters for the needs and wants of women. Sex is used as a tool to achieve the required result. Once married a man has few choices. Go without sex, cheat or leave. Regardless the man is either left unhappy, broke or both”.

“Women really seem to be the only winners in a marriage, especially when they deny sex to their husbands.”

“I look forward to when my kids are a bit older so I can leave and live my life in dignity”.

But, it was not just the men who were hurting. Some other comments by women included:

“I have been married four years and we are both in our early thirties so you would think that we would have a great sex life but unfortunately that is not the case. My husband has an almost total lack of sex drive, I have spoken to him which seems to cause even more stress on his already stressful job. I have tried to be understanding and supportive, suggested he see a doctor about his health or a sex therapist but he is not interested. We both would like kids but it takes two to tango”.

“Libido is just an excuse. Many things get in the way of sex but people in relationship need to make an effort. Sometimes I don’t particular[ly] feel like it but I know it is important in a loving relationship so I make an effort and when I start I usually really enjoy it”.

“I spent nearly ten years of my life with little to no libido, but days after quitting hormonal birth control, I was like a horny teenager again”.

One of the most common sexual problems in relationships, there have been several books and articles written about ‘desire discrepancy’. Dr Rosie King’s Good Loving Great Sex is a book that is still very relevant and a must-read for couples who wish to have and maintain a good sexual relationship.

Dr King believes that many couples experience disputes and ongoing unhappiness because of unresolved issues in their sex lives. The majority of these couples are experiencing mismatched libidos and need practical information and common-sense strategies. When a couple acquires the skills and are willing to work together, a solution can be found.

To stop the pursuer-distancer cycle, it is important that you develop empathy for your partner’s situation. Whether you are the pursuer or the distancer, it is important to stop blaming each other; both of you are missing out on a good sex life. Goodwill between partners is critical. When you forgive each other for past hurts and misunderstandings, you can start to improve your situation, but you have to change your attitudes and behaviours and work together to re-establish intimacy.

The pursuer should make the effort to back off and try to improve the relationship by being understanding and caring. This, in turn, helps to re-establish better emotional connections and rebuild trust and closeness.

The distancer should try to be more physically loving and affectionate. Show your partner that you are willing to make changes, which may encourage him or her to do the same. It is important to learn how to negotiate sex in a way that shows your partner that you care about his or her sexual needs.

It is not possible to give a one-size-fits-all answer to the comments. Every couple has different issues, but if there is still love, respect and especially goodwill in a relationship, it is worthwhile giving it another chance. Too often, clients come to see me when it is already too late to heal the hurt and disappointments that have accumulated over so many years. The best likelihood of repairing a relationship is early intervention.

In Bettina Arndt’s The Bedroom Diaries, she quoted American sex therapist Michele Weiner Davis, who suggested women “just do it!” Desire is a decision, she said, you can’t wait for it to come, you have to make it happen.

Weiner Davis said there is no point worrying about the reasons you are not interested in sex. She believes that knowing won’t boost your desire, but doing something about it will. Indeed, she says, you may end up enjoying it in the end.

Many women feel anger at Arndt  – and Weiner Davis – for seemingly taking sides with men. However, when a couple decides to marry or commit to a life together, there is a general understanding that they will work, entertain, cook, clean the house, look after the kids and have sex. All these activities need planning and take time. Maybe it is time to change our thinking about what is more important, as sex often seems to be last of the priorities.

You won’t leave your partner without food or stop cleaning the house, why is it so difficult to schedule in some time for sex?

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Conchie consumers pay down debt

Caution rules … spending on discretionary items is down.Consumers are cutting back on debt and increasing their use of debit cards as they become more cautious about spending and borrowing, a survey has found.

Expectations for household debt were at 18 per cent for the March quarter, a fall from 22 and 26 per cent for the last two quarters, the Dun & Bradstreet’s Consumer Credit Expectations Survey, released today, found.

The national Newspoll survey of about 1200 people this month is reflected in recent economic data, which has seen Australians adopt a “balance sheet repair” mentality of paying off debt, increasing savings and paring down on discretionary spending.

“Overall, we’ve witnessed a sizeable shift in the spending behaviour of the Australian consumer. There is a greater degree of consideration being applied to each spending decision and a greater focus on spending within our means,” Dun & Bradstreet’s chief executive Gareth Jones said in a statement.

“This attitude towards spending, especially on discretionary items, can have a negative knock-on effect for Australian businesses. … The upside to this ongoing mood of consumer conservatism is that we may see an improvement in the levels of personal debt and delinquency, which should help those households experiencing financial stress.”

The survey found that the number of people with debit cards were at their highest point in more than three years, at 77 per cent, while slightly less than half were concerned about their financial situation, down from 59 per cent in the September quarter.

Fifty-five per cent of those surveyed said they did not expected to have difficulty meeting their financial demands in the next three months, up from 48 per cent in the September quarter.

Economist Stephen Koukoulas, who advises Dun & Bradstreet, said consumers’ moves to pay down their debt would make them more secure in the medium term if there was a slowdown in the Australian economy.

“If there is no slowdown in the next year or two the current financial circumstances of consumers suggests they will be well placed to underpin ongoing strong growth in consumption and other spending,” Mr Koukoulas said.

Commonwealth Bank credit card data for the holiday period, which was released in mid-January, found that consumer spending rose only modestly from the year before.

The average credit card balance had fallen by a record 2.3 per cent over the year to November, according to Reserve Bank data released around the same time.

At the same time, economists said the national household savings rate was near 10 per cent, the highest in three decades.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Macquarie Equities agrees to compliance review

Macquarie Equities Ltd has given the corporate regulator an enforceable undertaking after ASIC found serious compliance failures in Macquarie Group’s retail stock division.

Macquarie Equities agreed to a review of its Macquarie Private Wealth business, including its licence risk and operating model and systems and its legal and regulatory obligations, the corporate regulator said this afternoon.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission was concerned that the responsibility for compliance sat within the Macquarie Private Wealth business and Macquarie Equities has taken steps to integrate compliance within and reporting to the Macquarie Group-wide compliance function.

‘‘Our surveillance found Macquarie Private Wealth fell significantly short of this mark, so ASIC took action,’’ ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft said. ‘‘This is a major EU (enforceable undertaking) affecting one of the wealth industry’s biggest players, which we believe will rectify some serious compliance deficiencies.’’

It requires Macquarie Equities to develop and implement, with the oversight of an independent expert, a plan to rectify any licence risk management and compliance deficiencies.

Specifically, ASIC had found that Macquarie Equities had failed to address recurring compliance deficiencies that involved a significant number of its advisers.

These included instances of client files not containing statements of advice, advisers failing to demonstrate reasonable basis for advice provided to the client, poor client records and lack of detail contained in advice documents and  failing to provide sufficient evidence that clients were sophisticated investors, ASIC said.

Macquarie Equities is a subsidiary of Macquarie Group and carries on a financial product advice business in Australia under the name Macquarie Private Wealth.


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Federal Court approves Nine debt scheme

Nine Entertainment has been saved from collapse with a Federal Court judge giving the final tick of approval to a $3.4 billion recapitalisation scheme.

If the lenders had not agreed to the restructure, Nine would have collapsed next week when billions of dollars of debt falls due.

Under the scheme, senior lenders will instead get 95.5 per cent of the equity in Nine, and share $573 million in cash payments. The cash will come from $700 million in new debt that will be raised by Nine after the restructure is completed.

The Goldman Sachs-led mezzanine debt holders, who are owed $1 billion, will end up with 3.75 per cent of Nine and a $22.5 million cash payment. The present owners, CVC Asia Pacific, will end up with 0.75 per cent of the media group and $4.5 million in cash, having lost almost $2 billion on its original investment.

The rest of the cash from the debt raising will stay with Nine as working capital.

Under Nine’s new constitution, the board will “use commercially reasonable efforts to effect a listing within 18 months” of the scheme being implemented but it is not obliged to pursue a listing.

Nine will effectively be controlled by two American hedge funds, Apollo Global Management and Oaktree Capital, which will own 37.4 per cent of Nine’s equity under the deal.

The Moelis-advised hedge funds will each appoint two directors to Nine’s board, as well as jointly appointing a fifth director.

Nine’s chief executive, David Gyngell, will take another board seat. The other lenders will appoint another three board members, which are rumoured to include the former treasurer Peter Costello.

The focus will then turn to reviving Nine’s financial performance – including its television business, which clawed back some respectability last year with better ratings at the expense of the Ten Network.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Watto backs Henriques for India

SHANE WATSON has endorsed Moises Henriques to tour India as Australia’s Test all-rounder, saying his NSW teammate was in career-best form.

The Test vice-captain does not have as a say at the selection table but rates Henriques as the “most talented” all-rounder in the country.

Henriques has thrust his name into the Test frame after a stellar season in the Shield which has reaped 385 runs at 77 and 14 wickets at 18.

If Henriques was not the front-runner to grab the all-rounder’s berth in India then he “certainly should be”, Watson said.

“He’s certainly one of the form all-rounders in Australia at the moment, there’s no doubt he’d be able to do a very good job in India,” Watson said.

“There’s a few other guys I’m sure the selectors have got their eyes on but there’s no doubt Moises Henriques is one of the most talented all-rounders going around and there’s no doubt in India as well having one more bowling option will help Michael [Clarke] out.”

Henriques and Glenn Maxwell appear to have the inside running to tour India though Tasmania’s James Faulkner can press his case on the international arena after being called into Australia’s ODI squad for the first two matches against the West Indies.

“There’s some other guys who have been doing really well who are more predominantly bowlers but it’s great to see some younger guys coming through and performing really well,” Watson said.

“I’d like to have another all-rounder in any game because it takes the bowling workload off me once I get into the swing of things.

“The guys just need an opportunity to see how good they can be like I was lucky to have when I was younger.

“The best way to see how good you can be is actually getting consistent opportunities at the highest level to be able to improve.”

Watson continues his comeback from injury on Wednesday when he steps up to state level for in NSW’s one-day game against Western Australia at the SCG.

Watson made returned to competitive cricket on Saturday, making 30 for grade club Sutherland.

“It was good to be able to get through the grade game with no issues,” Watson said.

“It would have been nice to get a few more runs but in the end to get out there and spend some time in the middle was a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s match if the rain goes away.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Canned air for sale in China, as blanket of smog returns

Ready to inhale … Chinese billionaire Chen Guangbiao with his canned fresh air. Choked … The view from Fairfax’s Chinese headquarters at 12.30pm AEST on January 29.

Beijing: A Chinese entrepreneur is selling fresh air in soft drinks cans, similar to bottled drinking water, as north China is once again choking in toxic smog.

The concentration of airborne PM 2.5 particulates — the smallest and most deadly — went off the chart in the early hours of this morning for the second time this month, according to pollution gauge at the American Embassy in Beijing.

The Air Quality Index, designed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, cannot cope with levels beyond 500, which is 20 times the World Health Organisation air quality standard.

The embassy gauge had been hovering in the merely “hazardous” 300-500 range since Friday.

Chen Guangbiao, whose wealth is valued at $740 million according to the Hurun Report, sells his cans of air for five yuan each.

It comes with atmospheric flavours including pristine Tibet, post-industrial Taiwan and revolutionary Yan’an, the Communist Party’s

early base area.

Mr Chen told Fairfax Media he wanted to make a point that China’s air was turning so bad that the idea of bottled fresh air is no longer fanciful.

“If we don’t start caring for the environment then after 20 or 30 years our children and grandchildren might be wearing gas masks and carry oxygen tanks,” said Mr Chen.

Earlier this month the concentration of airborne PM 2.5 particulates in Beijing and other cities reached the highest levels since measurements began, which comparable to those recorded during the infamous ‘London Fog’.

The event dominated even state-controlled news outlets, hospitals reported a sharp rise in respiratory-related admissions and political leaders took emergency pollution-reduction measures and vowed to tackle the underlying problems.

Since then the Beijing skyline has remained mostly bleak, with readings consistently visibility dropping as low as 200 metres several times in the past few days.

NASA satellite photos show a thick grey haze has rendered the densely populated plains of North China invisible from outer space.

Mr Chen is known for his charitable and nationalistic publicity stunts, including showering earthquake victims with 100 yuan bills and taking out a full page add in the New York Times that equated Japan’s territorial claim to the Senkaku Islands (known as Diaoyu in China) with Japan claiming Hawaii.

In the past fortnight he has videoed a car driving over him; demolished a Mercedes Benz and given away 5000 bicycles to push the message that people should ride their bikes not drive.

Mr Chen told Fairfax Media he wasn’t fazed by the often-cynical reactions of China’s netizens, who accuse him of using charity stunts to raise the profile of his business.

“People say I am high profile or love to stage a show, but I don’t think those who seek ‘stability’ and a low profile can do much for social progress,” said Mr Chen.

“I am confident about what I do and I dare to put it under sunlight,” he said.

Mr Chen said many of China’s entrepreneurs were “sacrificing their descendants” for the sake of short term profits.

Although the world did not end on December 21, the last day of the Mayan calendar, he said the evidence suggests Doomsday may not be far off.

“I’ve worked in environmental protection industry for a decade … and I bear witness to the fact that pollution is getting worse and worse,” said Mr Chen.

“More disasters are taking place every year,” he said. “2012 did not bring the end of the world but if human beings keep consuming resources, keep polluting the environment, I think Doomsday will arrive.”

As the smog worsens, Chinese customers have begun snapping up air masks at retail shops.

Chris Buckley, proprietor of Torana Clean Air Centre, said there had been a particularly dramatic increase in the flow of local Chinese customers through his stores, rather than just expatriates, reflecting more open coverage in China’s tightly controlled media as well as the severity of the pollution.

“We used to be told in days gone by that ‘it’s mist and fog’ but I think the game is up now,” said Mr Buckley, who sells air purifying machines and pollution masks.

His customers have been placed on long waiting lists as manufacturers have been unable to keep pace with demand.

“We’ve sold sold thousands of masks in the last three weeks but we could have sold twice as many if we could get the stock,” he said.

The Beijing Mayor vowed to take new tough measures to reduce coal consumption, scrap old cars, restrict construction dust and improve energy intensity, according to this morning’s People’s Daily.

with Sanghee Liu

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

No animosity over confrontation at Twenty20 paces

AUSTRALIAN and Sri Lankan players are united in declaring there is no lingering animosity from the heated end to Monday night’s Twenty20 match at the MCG.

Australia required four runs from the last delivery to win but Glenn Maxwell, who hit the first two deliveries he faced to the boundary to give the home team a chance at an unlikely victory, was unable to get a third, playing and missing a full delivery outside off-stump by Thisara Perera. The resulting bye gave Sri Lanka a two-run win to cement its No.1 ranking in the shortest form of the game.

The home team’s target was reduced from 161 from 20 overs to 122 from 15 overs due to a 46-minute rain delay. Australia was unhappy at how tardy Sri Lanka was in bowling its final five overs, from which it needed to score 62 runs. This peaked when a group of Sri Lankan players held an impromptu conference with Perera before the final delivery, prompting a tirade from Maxwell.

Maxwell later tweeted that Sri Lanka’s players had “apologised for going over the top” in their post-match confrontation with he and other Australians, although the batting all-rounder said he too had apologised, rejecting any notion of a dispute with senior Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardene, a teammate of his at Delhi in the Indian Premier League.

“I have a good friendship with Mahela, and it’s gonna stay that way,” Maxwell tweeted.

Sri Lanka Twenty20 captain Angelo Mathews defended the lengthy conference with Perera before the last delivery.

“It was a bit nervous. All of the guys got a bit excited. I just wanted to keep it calm and told ‘Thisa’ [Perera] to go for what his instinct said,” he said.

“I thought it was a brilliant over. In a Twenty20, 16 runs in an over is sort of easy for the batting team. I thought he bowled a brilliant last over, considering the fact it was demanding conditions. You couldn’t really hold on to the ball – it was not gripping, it was wet, the outfield was wet – so it was not easy.”

Mathews dismissed the resulting post-match spat with the Australians, including Maxwell and Matthew Wade, as “just a heat-of-the-moment [incident]”.

“Things happen, you exchange a few words. They played hard, we played hard. That’s it. After the game we’re friends,” Mathews said.

Australia captain George Bailey said he was not fully aware of the cause and extent of the spat, given he had been dismissed early in the last over, but agreed there could have been discontent over Sri Lanka’s over-rate.

“I think there might have been. I’m sure the umpires were all over that, if that was the case,” he said.

“I can’t [conclusively explain the cause] because I wasn’t out there, but [I suspect] passion. People care about the game and the way they play. That’s it.

“We get on very well with this [Sri Lankan] side so . . . I think it’s all just heat-of-the-moment stuff. What you’re seeing are individuals are teams that are keen to win.”

While Sri Lanka seemed reluctant to want to resume playing on Monday night – Mathews and Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford were involved in a lengthy discussion with the umpires during the delay – Mathews insisted the team always wanted to finish the match, despite already being ahead on Duckworth-Lewis calculations.

“The outfield was extremely wet. The bowlers were finding it really hard to grip the ball because it was slipping. But we wanted to get out there on the field because we didn’t want to disappoint the crowd that’d turned up in large numbers – especially playing in Melbourne. It’s like playing at home because it’s the second-largest Sri Lankan community after Sri Lanka,” he said.

Bailey said Australia’s expensive finish with the ball – it conceded 80 runs from its last seven overs – was pivotal to Sri Lanka’s victory.

“It certainly hurt us because we’d been very good up until then. They’re contrasting finishes, they way they bowled to us in Sydney and our last four overs. That’s probably the gap between the best team in the world in Twenty20 and the seventh-best, or whatever we are.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Asteroid on way, not too close for comfort

Near miss … an asteroid will break a proximity record when it swings past the earth in February. Image: NASA An asteroid about half the size of a football field will hurtle past Earth on February 15, NASA scientists report.

While there is no chance the flying rock will collide with our planet, it will break the record for the closest fly-by of an asteroid its size.

“Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s we’ve never seen an object this big get so close to Earth,” said Don Yeomans, a planetary scientist with NASA’s Near Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The 50-metre wide asteroid, known as 2012 DA14, will come within 28,000 kilometres of Earth’s surface, closer than the belt of geosynchronous satellites that record weather data and telecommunications.

As the asteroid approaches NASA’s Goldstone radar in the Mojave Desert will track its path, collecting data on its size, spin and shape.

At its closest point it will be bright enough to see with a basic telescope, but the speed it will travel will make it difficult to follow.

“The asteroid will be racing across the sky, moving almost a full degree every minute,” said Dr Yeomans.

Scientists suspect the asteroid is made of stone, rather than metal or ice.

Dr Yeoman said an asteroid the size of 2012 DA14 impacts Earth about once every 1200 years.

“[But it] will definitely not hit Earth,” said Dr Yeoman.

“The orbit of the asteroid is known well enough to rule out an impact,” he said.

A similar-sized asteroid that collided with Earth about 50,000 years ago created the 1.6-kilometre wide Meteor Crater in Arizona.

Earth is surrounded by asteroids of varying sizes, many of which originate from the asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter.

To date, NASA’s Near Earth Object Program has tracked 9562 near-Earth asteroids.

Scientists have tracked the orbit of most large asteroids, those that measure many kilometres in diameter.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.