The Thorn Birds Author, Dies at 77!

Australian author Colleen McCullough, whose best-selling novel The Thorn Birds became a hit TV series, has died at the age of 77.

The best-selling writer died in hospital on Norfolk Island on Thursday afternoon, publisher HarperCollins Australia confirmed.

McCullough had suffered poor health in recent years, losing her sight and suffering crippling arthritis.

However, she continued her writing through dictation.

Shona Martyn, of Harper Collins Australia, paid tribute to McCullough, citing her as “one of the first Australian writers to succeed on the world stage”.

“Ever quick-witted and direct, we looked forward to her visits from Norfolk Island and the arrival of each new manuscript, delivered in hard copy, in custom-made maroon manuscript boxes inscribed with her name,” said Martyn.

“The world is a less colourful place without Col.”

Australian broadcaster Richard Glover tweeted: “RIP Colleen McCullough. I can’t think of anyone who took such a miserable childhood and turned [it] into a life of such luminous achievement.”

Author Tara Moss tweeted: “So sad to hear of the passing of Colleen McCullough. She was fierce, funny and so supportive of other writers. Irreplaceable. RIP Colleen.”

McCullough wrote 25 novels throughout her career.

She penned her first book, Tim, while living in America. It was later made into a 1979 film starring Mel Gibson.

Her second novel, 1977’s The Thorn Birds, became an international bestseller.

A story of forbidden love between a young woman and a priest in the Australian outback, the paperback rights sold for a then-record $1.9 million (£1.25m).

It was turned into a popular television mini-series in 1983, starring Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward.

Her last book, Bittersweet, was published in 2013.

McCullough was born in Wellington, New South Wales and spent most of her early life in Sydney.

Before turning to writing, she studied medicine both in Australia and overseas, establishing the neurophysiology department at the Royal North Shore hospital in Sydney.

She went on to spend 10 years as a researcher at Yale medical school in the US.

The author leaves behind husband Ric Robinson.

“Colleen McCullough’s contribution to Australian writing – and to readers around the world – has been immense,” said Martyn.

“We will miss her dearly.”

Sri Lanka Wins 7th ODI by 34 Runs Against New Zealand!

Batting first Sri Lanka scored 287 runs for the loss of 5 wickets in their allotted 50 overs, even though a total well over 300 had seemed a possibility for much of the innings.

However, Sri Lanka was able to bowl out New Zealand for 253 runs in 45.2 overs.

Corey Andersan was the highest wicket taker for New Zealand picking up 3 wickets for the side, while Kane Williamson was New Zealand’s top-scorer with an 83-ball 54.

Nuwan Kulasekara, Shaminda Eranga, and Dhusmantha Chameera picked 3 wickets each, for Sri Lanka, and Kumar Sangakkara who mounted his 21st ODI hundred on Tillakaratne Dilshan’s foundation, was adjudged the player of the match.

Kane Williamson was adjudged the player of the series. New Zealand won the 7-match series 4-2, and one match was abandoned due to bad weather.

Sri Lanka to Restructure Economy: Interim Budget 2015…

Sri Lanka Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake said that the economy in the island is a sad state and could be restructured though proper mechanism.

He said this presenting the interim budget 2015 to the parliament.
“The main aim of the Government is to revitalise this economy,” Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance said.

“The stock exchange became a laughing stock during the previous administration,”
“The economy is in a sad state, the good news is it can be resurrected.” He said.

He said the hedging deal of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation had cost 120 million US dollars to the Government.

He added, if the previous administration continued with their economic policies for several more years Sri Lanka would have been classified as a failed state.

Karunanayake said the total debt of the country is over 8800 billion rupees in the end 2015 and per capita debt at 42, 7220 rupees.

Happy Birthday Phil Collins!

Grammy Award-winning musician who gained fame as the lead singer and drummer of the progressive rock band Genesis and who has sold over 100 million albums.

At age five, he began playing the drums while watching television and listening to the radio.

He released more top forty hits on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the 1980s than any of his contemporaries, and won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance for his single “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now).”

He married Andrea Collins on September 27, 1975 and, after their divorce, he married Jill Tavelman on August 4, 1984. He married Orianne Cevey on July 24, 1999. He has three sons named Matthew, Nicholas and Simon and two daughters named Lily and Joely.

He appeared as an extra in the music video for “A Hard Day’s Night,” which featured Paul McCartney and the other members of the Beatles.

Cumberbatch Controversy is Ridiculous, says David Oyelowo!

David Oyelowo has defended fellow British actor and friend, Benedict Cumberbatch, for using the term “coloured” during an interview.
Cumberbatch has apologised and said he was “devastated to have caused offence” after using the word on a US TV show to describe black actors.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Selma star Oyelowo told Newsbeat.
“When you look at what he was actually saying it’s clear that he’s a huge supporter of black performers.”
David Oyelowo was speaking at the UK premiere of Selma, in which he stars as 1960s civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cumberbatch mentioned David Oyelowo and Chiwetel Ejiofor as part of a wider discussion with US talk show host Tavis Smiley about diversity in the film industry.
“To attack him for a term, as opposed to what he was actually saying, I think is very disingenuous and is indicative of the age we live in where people are looking for sound bites as opposed to substance.”
The actor also said he had spoken to Cumberbatch about the controversy that flared up online over the past few days.
“I reached out to him in support and said I think it’s ridiculous,” he said.
When asked if he felt Hollywood and the film industry had an issue with diversity, Oyelowo replied with a resounding “absolutely”.
“You can see that in the fact every time a film of this size and stature comes up.
“We’re talking about diversity again and that’s because there isn’t enough of it.”
He cited his recent role in Interstellar as one that wasn’t specified as a black character and noted “to get to the point whereby myself and Ryan Gosling are going up for the same role is going to be great”.
“That’s not to say that that doesn’t happen, it just doesn’t happen often.”
Oyelowo suggested there needed to be more diversity among people with the power to finance and get films made.
“Excellence is the best weapon against prejudice. I intend to be part of the solution and not the problem.
“You’ve just got to keep on banging out good performances.”
Benedict Cumberbatch has been nominated for the best actor Oscar for his role in The Imitation Game, and while David Oyelowo missed out on an acting nomination for Selma, the film is in the running for best picture at next month’s ceremony.
So does David think the negative publicity Benedict has been getting will harm Cumberbatch’s career?
“Absolutely not,” said Oyelowo.
“I think it’s just part of the silly news cycle that we all feed off and it will go away like chip paper as it does.
“He’s a brilliant actor, he gives a brilliant performance in Imitation Game and, like I say, it’s just a diversion from what we should be talking about, which is that astounding performance.”