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Broods: New Zealand’s next pop export

Broods are Caleb and Georgia Nott, aged 21 and 19, from Nelson in New Zealand

Broods only started writing music together last year, but the brother-sister duo are being tipped as New Zealand’s next big musical exports. They speak to the BBC about talent contests, Grammy awards and growing up in public.

“Try not to ramble. Do not use the word journey. Never say it.”

Caleb Nott is breaking the first rule of media training: You don’t talk about media training.

“We’ve had the training, but we didn’t listen,” he says. “We just say whatever.”

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Our mum’s kept a scrapbook ever since we started playing music”

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Caleb Nott

His sister Georgia tries to steer the conversation back on track.

“Media training is cool,” she says. “It gets you thinking.

“But we still suck.”

The candour is disarming, but it disguises the fact that the Notts – aka indie-pop newcomers Broods – are old hands at meeting the press.

They gave their first interview when Georgia was just 14, after an early incarnation of their band entered a talent show at a shopping centre in their hometown of Nelson, New Zealand.

“We always wanted to work together as musicians and it felt like the right time,” says Georgia

“Mum made us do it!” laughs Georgia. “She entered us without even telling us!”

Playing a cover of KT Tunstall’s Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, the siblings scooped first prize – $500 (£250) cash and a $1,000 (£500) voucher from the mall.

More importantly, their confidence got a turbo boost.

“I knew that I loved singing, but I didn’t realise that other people loved my singing,” says Georgia. “I was like, ‘OK, maybe I should get going.’”

A brief stint in indie band The Peasants followed, but the duo decided to go it alone after finding the seven-piece stifling.

“A really big problem we found in bigger groups [is the] competitiveness,” says Caleb.

“Everyone is competing to add something, whether it’s absolute crap or not. In this project, if you’ve got nothing, it’s all good. Whoever’s got the mojo that day, you just back them up.”

The siblings found their mojo pretty quickly – mining a rich seam of understated, melancholy electro-pop which, in turn, prompted the band’s pun-tastic name.

“Broods refers to the fact that we’re siblings, and that out music is very much inspired by us brooding,” says Georgia.

“The first time we performed as Broods I had no idea what I was doing,” says Caleb. “I played almost every song completely wrong.”

The moniker seems obvious in retrospect, but the band went through “so many bad ones” before settling on it, Caleb says.

“One of them was ‘Why July?’ because Georgia and I and our other two sisters are all born in July.”

“We even thought it’d be funny to call the EP Dirty October,” he grimaces, picturing his parents doing things children should never picture their parents doing.

Thankfully, sense prevailed and the band’s debut EP was given the sensible (if somewhat predictable) title Broods EP.

One of the last songs they completed was Bridges, a lonely piano ballad that plunges into a swirling synth chorus, as Georgia sings: “We’re burning all the bridges now, ‘Cause it was sink or swim, and I went down, down, down.”

Little goes a long way

The band sneaked it onto Soundcloud late last year and watched, astonished, as the play count span so fast it blurred.

“It was pretty crazy because we literally put it up one day and it was being talked about on blogs the next,” says Georgia. “We were like, ‘Damn, we’d better finish the EP!’”

Luckily, the band were working with someone who had witnessed this sort of instant acclaim before: Joel Little, the guiding hand behind New Zealand’s other hot pop export, Lorde.

The 31-year-old, a former singer in pop punk band Goodnight Nurse, steered Broods towards a darker aesthetic, working on their demos at the same time as he produced Lorde’s Grammy-winning debut, Pure Heroine.

“He’s been a huge part of the band. As big a part as we are,” says Caleb.

“Not just as a musician, but as a mentor,” adds Georgia, not for the first time finishing her sibling’s sentence.

“He’s an older brother who’s been through it all. He’s one of the main people we go to for advice, not just about the songs we write but the things we go through as musicians.”

Broods affectionately call the producer their “musical father”, and keep his ego in check following a double Grammy win, for Lorde’s Royals, earlier this year.

“He’d like to be a badass but he can’t,” says Georgia, noting that Little will try to settle disagreements in the studio by casually saying, “Eh, do any of you guys know I won a Grammy?”

“He’d love to be one of those [arrogant] people like Kanye West,” adds Georgia, “but he’s too nice.”

“The Grammy’s very heavy, but it look less impressive than I thought it was going to be,” Caleb adds.

“I thought there’d be hardcore detailing on there but no, it looks like something you’d get from the trophy store.”

Lorde and her co-writer/producer Joel Little accepted their “unimpressive” Grammy in January

On the strength of their first EP, Broods signed to Polydor Records in Europe and Capitol Records in the US, and have been piecing together their debut album – Evergreen – amid a whirlwind of interviews, concerts and video shoots.

But rather than being stressed out by the schedule, they say it streamlines their songwriting.

“Because we’re so busy and so tight on time, we have to just smash out the stuff that inspires us and let go of anything that doesn’t,” says Georgia.

“But I think that’s better – if you have a song that isn’t working, just flush it down the toilet.”

One song that escaped the lavatorial graveyard was Never Gonna Change, a melodramatic break-up ballad, in which Georgia accuses her lover of “pushing down on my shoulders and emptying my lungs”.

“I remember when I wrote those lyrics,” the singer says. “I was at work, on a computer and I’d just broken up with my boyfriend and I was so gutted… I felt like all the air had come out of me. So I wrote those lyrics and kept going on it, even when I was supposed to be working.”

Caleb picks up the story: “And then they got back together and have been together for over a year.

“It was a very short break-up, but we got a good song out of it. In the future, I’ll be like, ‘Jake, can you please break up with her just briefly next week? We need a song.’”

The band’s debut single reached the top 10 in their native New Zealand

It’s not the only song to be fuelled by anxiety and separation. The band’s latest single, Mother and Father, was triggered by 19-year-old Georgia moving out of her childhood home.

“I don’t want to wake up lonely,” she sings over a strident synth beat, “I don’t want to just be fine”.

“The first time our mother heard it, she cried,” Georgia says.

“We were playing with Ellie Goulding, and the last show was in Christchurch in New Zealand. It was the first time our parents had seen us play live and I dedicated that song to them. Mum was like ‘Waaaaaa!’”

But Pauline Nott has no regrets about pushing her offspring into the limelight.

“Our mum’s kept a scrapbook ever since we started playing music,” says Caleb. “There’s newspaper cuttings and everything.”

“Oh, the photos,” cringes Georgia. “Why?”

Her face momentarily flushes red – but the embarrassment explains why they’ve ignored the media training – when your baby steps are catalogued online, you can’t deny your past.

“When we first started out we were so, so scared about what we should be saying,” Georgia admits. “Are we supposed to be like this? Are we supposed to be like that?

“Then we came to the realisation that people don’t want the ‘fake us’. They just want to see who we are, so we don’t have to try that hard.

“Random facts, that’s all we talk about. And that’s how we’ve got around the nerves.”

Mother and Father is available now. Broods’ debut album is due later this year.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28480784#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Australia’s head coach suspended

The head coach of Australian athletics has been suspended for publicly criticising his team’s

Olympic 100 metres hurdles champion

Sally Pearson.

Eric Hollingsworth accused Pearson of setting a bad example by not appearing at the team camp last week.

His comments came 24 hours before Pearson begins the defence of her Commonwealth title.

“We condemn in the strongest terms his disparaging comments,” said Australia Athletics president David Grace.

According to reports, Hollingsworth and Pearson had a falling-out after the

world indoor championships

in Poland in March, when the hurdler won silver, and have not talked since.

In the statement which prompted his suspension, Hollingsworth said: “Sally is the team captain and there’s a reasonable expectation she’d be in the camp ahead of something as major as the Commonwealth Games. Her no-show sets a bad example to the entire national team.”

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/commonwealth-games/28576844

Australia approves $15.5bn coal mine

Critics fear the mine project will have an indirect impact on the Great Barrier Reef

Australia has approved a $15.5bn (£9bn) coal project, despite concern over its potential environmental impact.

The Carmichael project in Queensland would include one of the world’s biggest coal mines and a new railway.

It would be overseen by the Indian mining company Adani, which has already won approval to build a new coal port terminal at Abbott Point in Queensland.

But critics have voiced concern over local water use and possible indirect impact on the Great Barrier Reef.

The decision to approve the Carmichael project, which will dig up and transport about 60m tonnes of coal a year for export, mostly to India, was announced on Monday.

Adani is yet to make a final commitment to the project, which would be biggest coal mine ever proposed for Australia.

Environmental impacts

Situated in the Galilee Basin in the central Queensland region, the Carmichael project would include open cut and underground mines.

Coal would be taken from the new mines by rail to Abbott Point coal port north of Bowen.

There are concerns that the mine, which will require some 12 billion litres of water every year, would drain groundwater supplies in the Galilee Basin.

But Australia’s Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the approval had been tied to 36 “strict” conditions focused on conserving groundwater.

Separately, environmentalists are also concerned about extensions to the deepwater port at Abbott Point, where Adani already has approval to build a coal export terminal.

In January, Australian authorities approved the dumping of dredged sediment in the Great Barrier Reef marine park as part of an Abbott Point coal port extension project.

The extension will see Abbott Point become one of the world’s biggest coal ports.

The decision was made by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority even though some scientists had urged it not to back the project, saying the sediment could smother or poison coral.

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Australia brings asylum group ashore

Scott Morrison says those who can be returned will be sent back to India

A group of 157 asylum seekers held at sea will be brought to the Australian mainland to be detained, Australia’s immigration minister says.

The group have been held at sea by customs officials for almost a month.

Rights groups had voiced serious concerns about their treatment.

The case came to light earlier this month as Australia detained a separate boat of Sri Lankan asylum seekers, screened their asylum claims at sea and returned them to Sri Lanka.

Human rights activists filed a legal challenge aimed at preventing similar handling of this second group of people.

Lawyers say the group, which departed from India, includes Sri Lankan Tamils.

Rights groups say Tamils can still face intimidation and violence in Sri Lanka, five years after the end of the civil war, which pitted the majority Sinhalese Sri Lankan military against Tamil separatists.

Under international treaties, Australia cannot return people to places where they might face persecution. UN refugee body UNHCR has also expressed concern about the fairness of on-water screening of asylum claims.

Earlier this month, Australia returned a boat of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka

‘Will not settle’

Australian officials have not revealed where the group were being held.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday that – following talks with Indian officials – they would be brought to Australia.

Consular officials from the Indian High Commission would be given access to determine identities and “arrange where possible the return of any persons to India”.

India would also consider taking non-nationals who were Indian residents, he said.

It was not clear what might happen to those who did not fall into this category, nor was the extent to which asylum claims would be assessed addressed.

But Mr Morrison said no members of the group would be allowed to settle in Australia.

He declined to comment on where the group would be detained but local reports say they are being transferred to the Curtin detention centre via the Cocos Islands.

‘Prolong suffering’

The move is an apparent set-back for the government, which enforces tough policies aimed at ending the arrival of asylum boats.

Australia detains all those who arrive by boat. In recent months detainees have been processed offshore, in camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Those found to be refugees will be settled in PNG and Nauru, not Australia.

Reports have also emerged in recent months of Australia towing boats back to Indonesia, the most common embarkation point.

The government says the aim is to save lives by preventing people getting on dangerous boats. But refugee advocates and the UN have voiced increasing concern about the policies, with severe criticism of conditions in Australia’s detention camps.

Responding to Mr Morrison’s announcement, Amnesty International said the development showed that “stranding a boatload of people in the middle of the sea, in an effort to ‘stop the boats’, has achieved nothing”.

“All it has done is prolong and exacerbate the suffering of more than 150 asylum seekers and their families,” said Graeme McGregor, the group’s refugee campaign co-ordinator.

All asylum seekers must have the opportunity to undergo a “full, fair and rigorous” assessment for refugee status, he said.

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Dutch and Australians in MH17 talks

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Investigators have found large pieces of the plane in woods, a week after the crash

The Netherlands and Australia are seeking access to the MH17 crash site in Ukraine, as more planes with victims’ bodies landed in Eindhoven.

Foreign ministers from both countries attended a ceremony marking the departures in the city of Kharkiv.

Separately the EU has formally announced that it is strengthening sanctions against Russia.

It says that “15 further persons and 18 entities” have been subjected to an asset freeze and a visa ban.

A statement says that those targeted are “responsible for action against Ukraine’s territorial integrity”.

“This brings the number of persons currently under EU sanctions in connection with the situation in Ukraine to 87 while the number of entities will rise to 20,” the statement issued on behalf of the Council for the European Union said.

The statement also said that the Council had decided to introduce measures which pave the way for “imposing asset freezes and visa bans on persons and entities that actively support or are benefiting from Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine”.

‘Bring home everybody’

The Dutch and Australian Foreign Ministers, Frans Timmermans and Julie Bishop are negotiating with Ukrainian officials in Kiev to send police to the crash site which is controlled by pro-Russia rebels amid continuing fighting.

One of two transport aircraft which flew another 74 coffins from Kharkiv in government-controlled eastern Ukraine arrives in Eindhoven in the Netherlands on Friday

The Australian and Dutch foreign ministers are in Ukraine to discuss securing access to the crash site

Rebels have been accused of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines plane.

All 298 people on board the flight died in the crash on 17 July, including 193 Dutch citizens, 43 Malaysians and 27 Australians.

About 200 bodies were recovered and transported to Kharkiv, which is outside rebel territory.

The first coffins carrying victims of the crash arrived by plane in the Netherlands on Wednesday for forensic identification.

A second batch arrived on Thursday and two more aircraft – reported by Dutch media to be carrying 75 bodies – arrived in Eindhoven on Friday afternoon.



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Tom Burridge reports on more bodies being flown to the Netherlands

Australian leader Tony Abbott on Friday said an additional 100 police would be deployed to Europe, joining 90 officers in London awaiting permission to enter and secure the crash site.

He described it as “a humanitarian mission with a clear and simple objective to bring them home”.

Dutch investigators have faced difficulties gaining access to the rebel-controlled crash site in eastern Ukraine, amid continuing fighting there.

With remains still being found one week on, experts warn it could be months before all victims are identified.



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The BBC’s Fergal Keane at the crash site on Thursday morning: “When we arrived, there were no guards”

The US says it believes that rebels shot down flight MH17 with a Russian-provided SA-11 Buk surface-to-air missile, probably by mistake. Russia has frequently denied sending any rocket launchers into Ukraine.

Leading rebels in eastern Ukraine have given conflicting accounts of whether they had control of a Buk launcher at the time the plane was downed.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine erupted in April and is believed to have claimed more than 1,000 lives.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28478941#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Australian Rogers takes stage 16 win

Australian Michael Rogers took victory in stage 16 of the Tour de France – the longest of this year’s race.

The 34-year-old Tinkoff-Saxo rider made his break on the descent with three kilometres remaining on the Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon route.

It was his first stage victory on the Tour and followed his two stage wins at the Giro d’Italia earlier this year.

Thomas Voeckler of Europcar took second place, while Vasil Kiriyienka of Team Sky finished third.

Vincenzo Nibali, the yellow jersey holder, and Alejandro Valverde, who is second overall, crossed the line together about nine minutes down on the leaders and retain the top two spots in the general classification.

Rogers said: “I know I’ve changed upstairs, I’m more hungry and opportunities seem clearer to me now. I’m not scared of the outcome now. Previously I was scared to try something new because I was scared of failure.

“I tried so hard to win a stage of the Tour before but this year, I’ve changed mentally. When it rains it pours doesn’t it?

“I knew once I got to the bottom of the last climb, the race had began for me. I tried a few times to drop them on the climb but I couldn’t so I knew I had to pick them off on the descent. I said to myself – ‘I have been in this position to many times and not won. I’m not going to do it again.’”

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/28422039

Australia teenager behind Iraq blast

The suicide attack happened near a mosque in Baghdad on Thursday

Australia says a man who killed himself and several other people in a suicide attack in Iraq last week was an 18-year-old from Melbourne.

The attack took place in a market near a Baghdad mosque on Thursday.

The man detonated explosives in a suicide vest, killing at least three other people and injuring dozens more.

The Islamic State (Isis) militant group, in an affiliated Twitter feed, said it was behind the attack and named the man as Abu Bakr al-Australi.

Australia’s Attorney-General George Brandis, in a statement, said the news was a “disturbing development”.

“The government deplores the violent actions being undertaken by ISIL (Isis) and other extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, and is deeply concerned about the involvement of Australians in these activities.”

The involvement of Australians posed “a significant domestic security threat to Australia when those involved return home and seek to pursue violence here”.

The man was the second Australian suicide bomber in the Iraq and Syria conflicts, the statement added.

Late last week, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the government was working hard to stop young Australians becoming radicalised.

“We’re doing all we can to prevent people going overseas as foreign fighters,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation quoted her as saying.

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VIDEO: Australia’s love for barefoot bowls

Tanned 20-somethings frolicking barefoot are not the first thing that enter most people’s minds when they hear the words lawn bowls.

The sport is most commonly associated with pristine white uniforms worn by grey-haired players and a conservative code of conduct.

But lawn bowls is undergoing a youthful transformation in Australia, as the country’s 2,000 bowling clubs relax rules on membership and dress code to appeal to a new generation.

Barefoot bowls came into being over a decade ago and the sport’s popularity has been on the rise ever since.

Patrick Henningham is an instructor at Paddington Bowls club in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

He spoke to BBC News about the appeal of barefoot bowls and gave a quick guide to how the game is played.

Video journalist: Katie Beck

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Australia shark ‘chokes on sea lion’

Beachgoers saw the shark thrashing about in shallow waters near Perth

A great white shark that washed up on an Australian beach may have choked on a sea lion, fisheries officials said.

The 4m-long (13ft) shark was filmed thrashing about in shallow waters at Coronation Beach, north of Perth.

The Western Australia Department of Fisheries said in a statement that it found “no visible signs of injury or disease” but discovered “a large Australian sea lion” in its throat.

Scientists said the shark could have been trying to dislodge the blockage.

“This could explain why the shark was exhibiting such unusual behaviour,” principal research scientist Rory McAuley said.

“Such a large object may have damaged the shark’s internal organs or impeded water flow into his gills, contributing to his death.”

“Alternatively, the shark may have accidentally become stranded in his attempts to get rid of the obstruction.”

The carcass of the Australian sea lion, the same species as this one, was lodged in the shark’s throat

Eyewitness Brad Tapper, who had been at the beach at the weekend with his family, told the Western Australian newspaper that the shark returned to shore despite efforts from some beachgoers to tow it out to sea.

“When we spotted it, it was about 50m off shore and we thought it was a diver or something,” he said.

“We went to look at it, it started kicking and thrashing around again so we thought it was time to leave.”

The shark, which officials said had been fitted with an acoustic tag in South Australia this year, was found washed up on the sand on Tuesday.

While great white sharks are protected in Australian waters, a controversial cull has been under way aimed at reducing attacks on humans.

Critics argue that a shark cull is not the answer and will damage the sea’s delicate ecosystem.

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Australia votes to repeal carbon tax

Australia has one of the highest per-capita greenhouse gas emission rates in the world

Australia’s Senate has voted to repeal the carbon tax, a levy on the 300 biggest polluters passed by the Labor Party when they were in power in 2011.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose Liberal-National coalition beat Labor in an election last year, had made the repeal a central aim of his government.

Politicians have been locked in a fierce row about the tax for years.

Labor says it helps to combat climate change, but the Liberals claim it penalises legitimate businesses.

The Australian Senate voted 39 to 32 to repeal the tax, which charges the highest polluters A$23 (£13;$22.60) for every tonne of greenhouse gases they produce.

Protests

Australia is the developed world’s worst polluter per head of population.

The repeal of the bill is a victory for Australian prime minister Tony Abbot

But critics, including Mr Abbott, said that the tax cost jobs and forced energy prices up.

There were widespread protests against the introduction of the tax in Australia.

The repeal of the tax formed a major part of Mr Abbot’s election manifesto.

The leader of Australia’s Green party, Christine Milne, said the vote against the tax was an “appalling day for Australia”.

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