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Wednesday, October 14

The Principal continues to thrill.FREE TO AIR

The Principal, SBS, 8.30pm

We really are making television equal to anything in the world. The thriller aspect of The Principal moves up a gear tonight, and the tension is superb. So is the character development. The murder would have been half as interesting if we hadn’t already been so invested in Tarek (the remarkable Rahel Romahn) and now, as suspicion falls first this way then that, we not only want to find out whodunit, but we’re hoping it’s not one of the many figures we’ve grown attached to. (If it turns out to be the deputy principal, on the other hand, that would be just fine.) Every detail is attended to here: the score is terrific, the framing is beautiful and the dialogue expertly captures the milieu in which it all takes place, including flashes of mordant wit. It’s the complete package.

Madam Secretary, Ten, 8.40pm

One of the most intriguing aspects of the opening episode  of season two of Madam Secretary is the light in which is cast. Either showrunner Barbara Hall doesn’t have as good a grasp of Pacific politics as she does of the local scene, or she’s being mischievous. Whatever the case, it’s hard to resist a little cultural-cringy thrill atour mention. Elsewhere, things leap back into gear at a cracking pace and, if some of the plot turns stretch credibility, the great charm and conviction Tea Leoni brings to the central role easily papers over any cracks. Although the churlish part of me wishes the writers hadn’t given her husband, Henry (Tim Daly), his own, obtrusive storyline, it could add considerable interest as the season progresses.

The Ex-PM, ABC, 9.05pm

Shaun Micallef’s special magic is his ability to deliver excoriating satire without being unkind. It’s a rare gift he shares with the inimitable John Clarke who, in a double-whammy of bone-dry fun, co-stars with Micallef in this new comedy. As thetitle suggests, Micallef stars as Andrew Dugdale, until recently the leader of our beautiful country and now at a loose end. Distraction arrives in the form of a ghostwriter, Ellen (Lucy Honigman), there to help him complete his memoir. Everything we love about Micallef is here in spades: silliness, slapstick and broad comedy, but also quick repartee and a perfect barrage of clever observations. If you don’t already love Micallef, this is unlikely to convert you, but for his legion of fans, it’s a treat.Melinda Houston


The Company You Keep, (2012) SBS, 9.35pm 

In England, the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party has given the press impetus to seek out from the past headline-grabbing quotes by Corbyn and his associates, such as praising IRA insurrection and violence, calling the collapse of Soviet communism “the end of humanity” and describing the death of Osama bin Laden as “a tragedy”. Of course, it is not just intemperate or Trotskyite opinions that can come back and haunt those with a political agenda; it can be anti-social acts and crimes. In Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep, for example, Jim Grant (Redford) is an Albany attorney, doing good works for the less fortunate, but with a secret: he is a former member of the Weather Underground, and wanted for a bank robbery and murder. He has been hiding under an assumed identity for decades. And when a young journalist (Shia LaBeouf) and his FBI girlfriend (Anna Kendrick) get the scent, the challenge for Jim is whether to sell out his former associates to help protect himself. The film works as well as it does because Redford is a star, an actor we have regularly seen as a moral force exposing the evils of the Nixon years in All the President’s Men and a secret FBI cabal in  Three Days of the Condor. We don’t want to believe his Jim Grant was responsible for anyone’s death, that his political acts were ever  less than pure. It makes for uncomfortable and tense  viewing. Where the film doesn’t work as well as perhaps it could is when it puts the interests of the thriller genre above the moral conundrums the plot offers up. Do we believe that people who have done and said horrible things in the past can change and become better people, or are those major errors good reason never to trust them again? We want to believe in Jim Grant, but should we?

The Seventh Victim, (1943) ABC, 1.55am (Thursday) 

One of the lesser-known but still major Val Lewton-produced RKO movies (see Bedlam, Tuesday) is The Seventh Victim, directed by Mark Robson. Mary Gibson (Kim Hunter) goes to New York to look for her missing sister, Jacqueline (Jean Brooks). Aided by Jacqueline’s husband (Hugh Beaumont), Mary discovers that her sister belonged to a satanic cult, but is on the run. Regarded as a precursor to Rosemary’s Baby but avoiding explicit shock effects and gore, this is a transcendent journey to the dark side of human endeavour. Scott Murray 

‘Cocks not glocks’: University of Texas students to protest gun laws with dildos

Student Jessica Jin created the Facebook event for the “Campus Dildo Carry”, which has more than 2000 attendees. Photo: Facebook”Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?” In the US, it’s probably a gun – but at the University of Texas in Austin, students who don’t like weapons are planning a protest that is truly below-the-belt.

From August next year, a new law will allow Texas students to carry concealed handguns in classrooms, dormitories and other college buildings, as long as they hold the appropriate gun licence. The measure, known as the “campus carry law”, was passed earlier this year.

By contrast, students who bring sex toys onto campus run the risk of being reprimanded for obscenity under the Texas Penal Code and the university’s rules.

So, on the first day of class next August, thousands of students will arm themselves with plastic penises to demonstrate their displeasure with the new laws.

“We are strapping gigantic swinging dildos to our backpacks in protest of campus carry,” wrote student Jessica Jin, who created the Facebook event “Campus DILDO Carry”.

“Just about as effective at protecting us from sociopathic shooters, but much safer for recreational play.”

On Monday the proposed protest spread rapidly around the internet, with more than 2000 people vowing to attend. The spirit of the event was succinctly captured in the hashtag #CocksNotGlocks, which became the subject of much discussion on Twitter.

It comes after another horrific fortnight in the US for gun violence; on Friday, one student was killed and another man was wounded in a shooting at Texas Southern University in Houston. The same day, a first year student at Northern Arizona University shot four people near a dormitory, killing one.

That followed the murder of nine people at a community college in Oregon on October 1, a massacre that once again prompted an outpouring of national grief led by President Barack Obama. It was his 15th response to a mass shooting since taking office in 2009, CNN reported.

The campus carry law in Texas will allow students to carry concealed handguns inside buildings, including in the classroom. The final version of the law allowed private colleges to opt out and gave universities the right to declare certain zones as “gun-free”.

Republican parliamentarians who proposed the bill said it was necessary for people’s protection, the Texas Tribune reported in May.

“Time has come for us to protect the men and women of Texas who are carrying concealed on our campuses,” said Allen Fletcher, a member of the state’s House of Representatives.

Brian Birdwell, a Republican state senator, said it was a matter of constitutional rights. “I am duty-bound to protect Second Amendment rights parallel to private property rights,” he said.

The University of Texas at Austin was the site of one of the worst campus shootings in US history. In 1966, former US Marine Charles Joseph Whitman killed 14 people and wounded 30 others while shooting from a tower on the campus. He also murdered his wife and mother earlier in the day.

Last week, a professor at the same university announced he would withdraw from the college due to the looming campus carry law, and instead spend a semester teaching at the University of Sydney.

In a letter to the university’s president, economics professor emeritus Daniel S. Hamermesh said he felt the law would endanger his safety on campus.

“With a huge group of students, my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law,” he wrote. “Out of self-protection I have chosen to spend part of next Fall [autumn] at the University of Sydney, where, among other things, this risk seems lower.”

Data from the Pew Research Centre shows that over the past 15 years, a growing number of Americans believe it is more important to “protect the right of Americans to own guns” than to “control gun ownership”.

At the turn of the century, 66 per cent thought it was more important to control ownership. That has fallen to 50 per cent, while the number of Americans advocating the importance of gun rights rose to 47 per cent from 29 per cent.

The vast majority (about 80 per cent) of both Republican- and Democrat-aligned voters favour expanded background checks to prevent people with a mental illness or other red flags from obtaining guns. the texas legislature was absolutely not prepared for this kind of opposition to campus carry #cocksnotglockspic.twitter杭州龙凤论坛m/0TOvdEV28v— adam hamze (@adamhamz) October 10, 2015Finally a cause that we, the pacifist kinksters, can rally around! #CocksNotGlocks— Dorian Steele (@dorian_steele) October 11, 2015

I’m glad my terrorist son, Abdul Hakim, is ‘burning in hell’: mother Sally Evans

A still of My Son the Jihadi … Thomas Evans as a young boy in High Wycombe, Britain. He changed his name to Abdul Hakim when he became radicalised in his twenties. Photo: YouTube Thomas Evans, 25, died fighting for the terrorist group al-Shabaab during a gun battle with Kenyan troops in June. Photo: My Son the Jihadi

The mother of a British man who converted to Islam and died fighting for the terrorist group al-Shabaab has said he is “burning in hell” for his crimes.

Thomas Evans, 25, was killed during a gun battle with Kenyan troops in June. The former Manchester United fan from High Wycombe, became radicalised in Britain and changed his name to Abdul Hakim before travelling to east Africa in 2011.

A Channel 4 documentary, My Son the Jihadi, found witnesses who claim a man fitting Evans’ description led attacks on Kenyan villages, singling out Christians and cutting their throats.

His mother, Sally Evans, said she would forever miss the boy she brought up but that she was glad the man he became was dead and “burning in hell”. She learnt he had been killed after a picture of his body was circulated on social media.

“Imagine discovering the death of your child on Twitter and being both devastated and relieved,” Mrs Evans said.

“Devastated because the child you brought into this world was killed after being brainwashed into pursuing a murderous cause, but relieved because the death of your child meant he could no longer harm innocent people.”

Mrs Evans, 57, a former teaching assistant, remembers her son as a little boy full of “cute mischief” who made mud pies in the back garden and won a WH Smith drawing competition aged 10 with a Harry Potter illustration.

He spoke of wanting to become an electrical engineer with the Royal Marines so he could serve his country.

She believes he became radicalised after splitting from his girlfriend and forming a friendship with a group of Muslim men at his gym. He changed his name, grew a beard and lost his engineering apprenticeship after repeatedly expressing extremist views at work.

In 2011 he went to Egypt, telling his mother he was going to study Arabic, but the following year he phoned to say he was in Somalia and had joined al-Shabaab.

On Christmas Eve 2012, he announced he had married a girl of 13 or 14. In subsequent calls, Evans praised the terrorist attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, and told his mother he was preparing for “martyrdom”.

He was killed four months ago during a raid on a Kenyan military base.

The documentary is to appear on October 22.

Telegraph, London

Rugby World Cup 2015: Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien punches French lock Pascal Pape in the stomach

In hot water: Ireland’s Sean O’Brien looks for options against France. Photo: Alastair Grant Ireland’s Sean O’Brien punches French lock Pascal Pape. Photo: Screengrab

Off the ball: Sean O’Brien punches Pascal Pape. Photo: Screen grab: ITV

Punch: Sean O’Brien lashes out. Photo: Screen grab: ITV

Click here for full coverage of the 2015 Rugby World CupThe lowdown: Rugby World Cup 2015

Ireland’s 24-9 World Cup win over France has been marred by a punch from flanker Sean O’Brien on Pascal Pape in the first minute of the match and might see him miss their quarter-final against Argentina.

O’Brien lost his cool and took objection to Pape holding onto his jersey. It prompted the Irishman to land a powerful punch into the Frenchman’s stomach which knocked him to the ground.

Medical staff attended to Pape, who appeared in real discomfort after the hit.

The incident will likely catch the attention of match officials and might result in O’Brien missing his side’s important clash with Argentina.

Pape is no stranger to controversy when it comes to playing Ireland. He was banned for 10 weeks earlier this year for kneeing Jamie Heaslip in the back and fracturing his vertebrae during a Six Nations game.

O’Brien’s availability for the next game is not the only concern for Ireland as Jonathan Sexton and Paul O’Connell were both injured during the win over France at Millennium Stadium.  Sean O’Brien could be in trouble for this https://t杭州龙凤论坛/hZzjQ4taBq— Rugby Banter Page (@RugbyBanterPag3) October 11, 2015

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said post-game he could not afford to lose his flanker and man of the match.

“I certainly hope not,” Schmidt said when asked if he thought O’Brien should miss a game. “He was being held at the time and he swung. I don’t think he’s looking directly at the player. But it’s not for me to determine. I also think that it’s not a closed fist. I’d be hopeful but it’s not a decision for me. Hopefully it’s not a decision that impacts on us considering the dressing room at the moment with the amount of injuries we have we can ill afford to lose another player, particularly a player of Sean’s experience and standing in the group.”

I have devised a drink called the Sean O’Brien. Sangria and Guinness. A dirty Irish punch which will make your guts feel terrible. #FRAvIRE — Dai Lama (@WelshDalaiLama) October 11, 2015

Derryn Hinch forms the anti-paedophile Justice Party and announces bid to become a Senator

Media personality Derryn Hinch has confirmed he will run for the Senate.Exclusive: Hinch’s bid to become a federal Senator

Derryn Hinch has formed his own political party, the Justice Party, and the broadcaster has confirmed he will stand for election to the Senate.

When Fairfax Media revealed his secret political ambitions last week, the so-called Human Headline said he was “seriously considering” a tilt for Parliament.

But four days later, Mr Hinch has a Justice Party website in place and has published a YouTube launch video and media releases.

The veteran broadcaster and journalist, convicted three times and jailed twice for contempt of court and breaching suppression orders, said the Justice Party would fight for victims of the judicial system.

Mr Hinch, who will try to win a federal Senate seat from Victoria, said the party would stand candidates in all states and territories.

“We will fight for a national public register of convicted sex offenders … but we’re not just a one-issue party,” he said.

“The Justice Party will stand for equality and justice for all. We believe our courts should show the same compassion and understanding for victims that they seem to show for the criminals.

“We’ll campaign for parole reform and bail reform. The Lindt cafe siege should never have happened. Jill Meagher’s killer should not have been walking the streets. We believe our courts should treat domestic violence as a crime and there must be equal rights, including same-sex marriage and equal pay for women and animal justice.”

Mr Hinch said the ‘jail to justice walk’, which culminated in him presenting a petition of 130,000 signatures to Victorian Parliament calling for a national public register of convicted paedophiles, was key to the formation of the Justice Party.

Mr Hinch is a longtime advocate for unmasking sexual predators in the community and has gone to jail for defying the courts over the issue.In 2011, he was sentenced to five months’ home detention after defying a court order to name two serial child sex offenders at a Name Them and Shame Them rally in 2008. He spent 12 days in jail in 1987 for naming a paedophile priest.

The unrivalled legal protection of Parliamentary privilege would allow a future senator Hinch to pursue a campaign to bring sex offenders to public attention.

The broadcaster, 71, who was given 12 months to live by doctors in 2010 before a life-saving liver transplant, would be seeking a six-year term in the Senate by which time he would be at least 78.

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