George Clooney top-earning actor in 2018

Hollywood star George Clooney has topped Forbes’ list of highest paid stars in 2018.George Clooney has been named Hollywood’s highest-paid actor after collecting $US239 million ($A326 million) over the past 12 months.

Clooney, 57, has returned to the the top 10 of the annual Forbes list.

He fended off former WWE wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who was in second for a consecutive year.

Two-time Academy Award winner Clooney’s film and television production company Smokehouse produced heist comedy Ocean’s 8 which was released in June.

The spin-off of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s blockbusters featured an all-female cast including Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway.

The film was released in June and has grossed almost $US300 million worldwide.

Clooney has also appeared in adverts for coffee brand Nespresso.

Johnson’s earnings rose to $US119 million following his appearances in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle and monster movie Rampage, which has made more than $US400 million at the global box office.

Jackie Chan remains the highest-paid actor outside the US in fifth, his earnings having fallen to $US45 million from $US49 million .

Other international stars in the top 10 include Bollywood star Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan.

Avengers actors Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans all made the list.

There was also a return to the list for Will Smith, who was sixth. He netted $US42 million to claim sixth spot.

It comes after Scarlett Johansson knocked La La Land star Emma Stone off the top of Forbes’ list of highest-paid actresses after taking in $US40.5 million.

Johansson finished ahead of Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston.

DCE backs Cartwright as next Manly coach

Manly Eagles assistant coach John Cartwright could takeover from the outgoing Trent Barrett.Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans is backing John Cartwright to step up and succeed Trent Barrett if the disgruntled coach parts ways with the club, as expected, at the end of the NRL season.

Manly chairman Scott Penn will meet with Barrett in the coming days but their relationship appears untenable after months of in-house bickering at the Sea Eagles.

Cherry-Evans is all but resigned to losing his trusted coach and says, if Barrett walks as he has threatened to, he hopes his assistants are given first crack at the job.

“I’m not sure if anyone internally is going to put in their application but, if that was the case, I’m certainly really happy with the people we have there right now,” Cherry-Evans said on Fox Sports’ League Life program.

“John Cartwright’s an assistant and we’ve got a good up and coming young coach in Chad Randall so, look, if those guys were to get the big opportunity, I’d certainly back it.

“But I’m not naive enough to not think that the club is probably going to go and do some homework on it – but hopefully they look internally first.”

Manly’s next coach will be Cherry-Evans’ fourth at the club since debuting in 2011 under Des Hasler, then playing for Geoff Toovey before Barrett’s appointment in 2016.

The incumbent Queensland State of Origin halfback believes he has flourished most under Barrett and admits, if he goes, it will be an emotional last two games under the former Test player.

But the skipper says he is “so lucky” to have signed a lucrative deal until the end of 2023 and, regardless who is coaching, he hopes to end his career as a one-club man.

“It doesn’t change what I’m paid to do, which is play footy,” Cherry-Evans said.

“I obviously have a really strong affection for what ‘Baz’ has been able to do and help my footy career.

“And, look, if he’s not there next year, I’m going to have to find ways with the new coaching staff to improve, and the new playing group.

“It’s not all doom and gloom. Just the biggest disappointment is the impact he’s had on the playing group in such a short period of time.

“It’s going to be sad to see him go if that comes locked in in the next couple of days, or couple of weeks.”

Despite the expected upheaval, Cherry-Evans believes Manly’s problems are “easily fixed”.

“We’ve got a great playing group that’s really committed to getting better,” he said.

“Coaches change all the time and it’s probably more common (at Manly) than other clubs.

“That’s not ideal but, as for the politics around why Trent wants to leave, that’s for him and the management.”

Review: Dylan makes us think twice, because he’s still alright

CLASS: There were no theatrics or showmanship, but Bob Dylan delivered a night to remember.

WHEN expectations are exceedingly low, it could be argued that anything beyond the bare minimum is a positive.

But thereturn of Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour to the Newcastle Entertainment Centre after 15 years on Wednesday night was much more. It was an actual success.

Sure, the 77-year-old singer-songwriter lacks the panache and showmanship of’60s contemporaries like Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones, who are still actively touring the globe, but frankly he never possessed that.

Read more: Why Bob Dylan is the voice of a generation

Instead,Mr Zimmerman has always relied on the power of the song. This is a manafter all who has rewriten various chapters of the GreatAmerican Songbook, as he straddled across folk, rock, country, gospel, blues and jazz in a career spanning almost 60 years.

Reviews of Dylan’s other Australian shows were fairly positive, so Novocastrianfans had cause to approach the show with cautious optimism.

Many fans have been alienatedover the years by Dylan’s constant reworkingof his material and the increasing vocal limitations of the septuagenarian.

It wasn’t a promising start. Things Have Changed, the Academy Award-winning song from the 2000 film Wonder Boys, was a jumbled mess and Dylancroaked like an old Datsun’s ignition.

Read more: One more time, Bob. One more time

Yet by the final chorus Dylan and band had found their groove. And bythe second songIt Ain’t Me, Babe, Dylan even afforded the crowd a slight wave as he stoodat his piano.

As expected that was the only real crowd interaction. Not a word was spoken. Some might regard that as rudeness, but Dylan has never pandered to conventions of showmanship and stage manners.

Dylan has also always refused to celebrate nostalgia.

The 20-song, 100-minute set traversed his entire catalogue from ’60s classics like Blowin’ In The Wind andDon’t Think Twice, It’s All Right toDuquesne Whistle and Early Roman Kings off his 2012 album Tempest.

Some songs received greater reinventions than others. While many fans find it annoying, it does force the audience to actually listen intently, rather than use the show as a mere karaoke soundtrack.

Tangled Up In Blue was almost unrecognisable as a lounge jazz piece, that ended in a joyous stomp.

Highway 61 Revisited became roadhouse blues that allowed Dylan’s talented guitaristsStu Kimball (rhythm) and Charlie Sexton (lead) to break off the leash.

It seemed to only embolden Dylan as he stood at his piano. For a moment as he sneered, “Oh, Howard just pointed with his gun/And said, “That way, down Highway 61,” you could almost see him again as thatgroundbreaking ’60s icon.

Desolation Row was bloated and boring, but Blowin’ In The Wind soared when given a country transformation complete with violin.

Overall, Dylan’s voice was stronger than the 2014 Australian tour and it lacked the gruffness that has plagued his vocal over the past decade.

Comment: Some things never change for Bob Dylan

Yet the slowerMake You Feel My Love and Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright did expose its limitations. That didn’t stop the latter receiving the largest applause of the night.

Understandably Dylan sounds most comfortable in handling his more recent blues and jazz- inspired material.

Duquesne Whistle carried genuine swing and Thunder On The Mountain off the underrated2006 album,Modern Times, was the highlight of the evening from a band perspective.

Almost as if offering an olive branch to complete the show, Dylan’srendition of Ballad Of A Thin Manstuck close to the original. He then even offered an awkward and frail-lookingbow with his band to end the performance.

Was Dylan flawless? Certainly not. But given his age and career-long refusal to conform to expectations, it was the best Dylan show anyone is going to experience these days.

SetlistThings Have ChangedIt Ain’t Me, BabeHighway 61 RevisitedSimple Twist of FateDuquesne WhistleWhen I Paint My MasterpieceHonest With MeTryin’ to Get to HeavenMake You Feel My LovePay in BloodTangled Up in BlueEarly Roman KingsDesolation RowLove SickDon’t Think Twice, It’s All RightThunder on the MountainSoon After MidnightGotta Serve SomebodyEncore:Blowin’ in the WindBallad of a Thin Man

Each month brothers Michael and Ethan find a special gift in the mail

STORYTIME: Brothers Ethan and Michael have fast found a love for reading and sharing tales with each other after being accepted into Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in Ballarat. Picture: Luka KauzlaricTWO Little Monkeysis Michael’s favourite story. It makes him laugh.

The Mem Fox book arrived in the mail andMichael, who is almost four, likes to read itwith his younger brother Ethan.

Each month a new book arrives.

Michael and Ethan’s mother Karen Hackett said reading was a great bonding experience for her boys, who love listening and learning words while fuelling their imaginations.

They boys are part of the global Imagination Library, created by country singing legend Dolly Parton to provide all children, from birth until they begin school, access to high-quality children’s books –regardless of their income.

Singing superstar Dolly Parton.

Michael was on the waiting list three years before he was accepted into the Ballarat program, which is run by United Way Ballarat and The Ballarat Foundation but reliant on donations.

Ms Hackett said her family was so grateful for the joy it was providing. She could already see the difference the book program was making.

“It really surprises me what they do know already,” Ms Hackett said.

“Ethan (13 months old) picks out the ones he likes already. There are even words you might not use in day-to-day language that pop up and you can have a talk about what it means.”

The books have a different theme each month. Ms Hackett said Michael’s book last month, Kerri Hashmi’sYou and Me Murrawee, helped give the family an insight into Aboriginal culture and her boys loved the artwork.

Books sent are age appropriate and aim to improve children’s literacy levels before they start school.

More than 350 children have graduated from the Ballarat program with about 260 children receiving books monthly. Almost 300 children are on the waiting list across Ballarat.

United Way Ballarat is calling for more sponsors this Book Week with a donation of$15amonth able to match a book with a young reader.

To learn more about the program, as a sponsor or to join, hit here.

Ballarat Courier

US general supports less Korea outposts

US general Vincent Brooks supports a plan to reduce the number of outposts on the Korean border.The top commander of US troops in South Korea says he supports moves to withdraw some outposts along the fortified border with North Korea, despite the risks.

South Korea’s defence ministry has said it plans to reduce guard posts and equipment along the demilitarised zone (DMZ) on its border with North Korea as part of efforts to reduce tension and build trust with its northern neighbour.

“I have some concerns about what that means militarily for the ability to defend along the Military Demarcation Line,” US General Vincent Brooks told reporters on Wednesday.

But he said that the risk is “a reasonable degree” and the move represents a good opportunity to reduce tensions.

About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the Korean War, which ended in 1953 in an armistice that left the North Korea technically still at war with South Korea and the US-led United Nations command.

Besides serving as the commander of those troops, Brooks also commands UN forces, and in the case of war, would take command of South Korean troops as well.

Brooks said that his troops are finding “other ways” to maintain readiness in the absence of major military drills, which were cancelled or delayed by US President Donald Trump as part of a deal with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.

“I received no order to become unready,” he said. “Nobody told me to stand down.”

When Trump announced the plan after his summit with Kim in Singapore in June, a spokeswoman for US military forces in Korea said at the time they had not received any direction to cease joint military drills.

When asked if he had advance warning of Trump’s June announcement, Brooks said as a commander in the field he had no expectation that he would be briefed on the president’s plans.

“Orders come in many different ways,” he said. “So for a military commander it’s not a matter of debate, it’s a matter of implementation.”

Germany pledges up $A536m in drought aid

German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner.The German government will launch a special aid program worth up to 340 million euros ($A536 million) to help farmers after this summer’s drought massively damaged harvests.

Agriculture minister Julia Kloeckner said she had agreed special federal government drought aid of between 150 million and 170 million euros with German finance minister Olaf Scholz.

Along with additional aid from German regional state governments, farms should receive a total of about 340 million euros in aid, Kloeckner said in a statement.

The association of German farmers DBV has called for around one billion euros in special aid to help farmers after huge crop losses this summer.

German crops wilted under the highest summer temperatures since 1881 and prolonged dryness. EU wheat prices hit five-year highs in August on concern about supplies.

Germany’s 2018 grains harvest is likely to fall by about 22 per cent this year after the heatwave and drought, the DBV said on Wednesday.

Dairy farmers were especially suffering from reduced crops of feed grains, straw and hay, the DBV said. Dairy farmers were being forced to reduce their herds because of high feed costs, sending more cattle to slaughter.

“I declare this year’s period of dryness to be a weather event with a national impact,” Kloeckner said.

If the existence of farms is threatened, they will qualify for special aid, Kloeckner said. It was believed that the existence of about 10,000 farms was under threat, or about one in every 25 in Germany.

In neighbouring Denmark, the drought combined with low pork prices, is expected to trigger losses in the country’s agricultural sector not seen since the 2008 financial crisis.

The losses could reach almost eight billion Danish crowns $US1.23 billion ($A1.68 billion) this year, according to research institute SEGES, part of the Danish Agriculture & Food Council lobby group.

On its own, the impact of the drought is seen at around six billion crowns, it added.

At the beginning of the year, SEGES forecast a small profit for the sector.

“There is no doubt the drought has impacted so many farmers, that there will be more bankruptcies,” SEGES economist Klaus Kaiser told Reuters.

Denmark’s harvest of wheat, barley and rye could fall by about 40 per cent from previous years, the lobby group has previously forecast.

Liberals try to force Turnbull challenge

Health Minister Greg Hunt says he hasn’t seen a letter calling for another party room meeting.A small group of Liberal MPs want Malcolm Turnbull to call a party room meeting to face a leadership showdown with Peter Dutton on Thursday.

They circulated a letter on Wednesday night calling for the meeting, which would then lead to a spill of the leadership.

“I understand there’s a petition. I understand that a couple of hours ago there were nine signatures on it,” Liberal MP Jane Prentice told reporters on Wednesday night.

It was unclear how many MPs had actually seen and signed the letter and if any cabinet ministers were willing to shift their support from Mr Turnbull.

At least 43 signatures are required to bring on the meeting, which will be the second in a week after Mr Turnbull defeated Mr Dutton by 48 votes to 35 in a ballot on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Liberal whip Nola Marino told AAP reports of a meeting happening on Wednesday night were “completely untrue”.

It’s understood those pushing for the meeting want it to be held on Thursday morning.

Mr Dutton earlier on Wednesday confirmed he was still pursuing a challenge against Mr Turnbull, who chose not to accept the resignations of several ministers who voted against him.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister James McGrath, who was a key supporter of Mr Turnbull when he brought down Tony Abbott in 2015, resigned from his position on Wednesday night because he could not support his leader.

“Our people feel forgotten, ignored and spoken down to,” Senator McGrath said in his resignation letter.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan denied reports he had shifted support from Mr Turnbull.

“I’ve not resigned and I will not vote against a sitting prime minister,” he said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt, who was tipped to run as Mr Dutton’s deputy in Tuesday’s spill, said he was not aware of the letter.

“No I haven’t seen anything, I haven’t signed anything,” he told reporters in Parliament House on Wednesday night.

“The prime minister has my support, it has not changed.”

Liberal MP Luke Howarth said he hadn’t seen a petition, while another MP Warren Entsch said it was time to leave the leadership alone.

“We had a vote the other day, lets just move on,” he told reporters.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said the debacle had gone on long enough.

“Whoever is the prime minister should visit the governor-general and just call an election and put them out of their misery,” Mr Albanese told Sky News.

Welfare energy payment won’t be cut

New pensioners have been assured they’ll continue to receive payments to help pay power bills.New pensioners will continue to get up to $7 a week to help pay power bills, with the federal government ditching plans to axe an energy supplement paid to welfare recipients.

Various coalition ministers in recent years have tried and failed to scrap the payment – which was originally offered as compensation for the defunct carbon tax – for incoming welfare recipients.

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Wednesday the government would no longer seek the change, which has been stalled in the upper house.

“With the issue of energy prices being so prominent, we will not move to repeal the energy supplement,” he told reporters.

The government was hammered by Labor for trying to scrap the supplement during recent by-elections in the Queensland seat of Longman and Tasmanian seat of Braddon, both of which feature high levels of welfare dependency.

The prime minister on Tuesday told coalition colleagues the government was reviewing its stance on the so-called “zombie measure”.

The payment means an extra $14.10 per fortnight for single pensioners, $10.60 per fortnight for those with partners and up to $9.50 per fortnight for other single people receiving allowances.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the policy shift will not impact on the budget as it was accounted for in a contingency reserve.

Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie said the backflip was welcome as every dollar those on the lowest incomes get matters.

The payment may have been established to complement the carbon tax but it is still needed now energy prices have risen, she said.

Dr Goldie said she hoped the government continues on the same track by raising other welfare payments.

“It’s an important opportunity for the government to reset its agenda,” she told AAP.

Cigs, wolves and a bog: the story of an epic horse ride

Leading horseman: Adrian Corboy at his Wangaratta horse breaking property with two of his seven children. Picture: KYLIE ESLERA DIET of water and cigaretteshelped Adrian Corboy triumphin the world’s longest horse race in Mongolia.

The Wangaratta horse breaker reflected at home on his success in the Mongol Derby on Wednesday, a week after crossing the finishing line in joint first place with Brit Annabel Neasham.

“I just wanted to get home, I was exhausted, I hadn’t slept for six days and just ridden 1000 kilometresacross the Mongol steppe,” Mr Corboy, 37, said of his reaction to winning.

“It didn’t hit home until a few days later that we had won the Mongol Derby in a time of 6½days with no vet penalties, the first time that had been done.

“I suppose it’s an achievement.”

The glory did not come without hardship, at one point the pair, who representedthe stable of Caulfield Cup-winning trainer Ciaron Maher, were mired on their ponies in metre-deepmud.

“They were stuck to their guts and we couldn’t get out because we would have got stuck,” Mr Corboy said.

“We weren’t even thinking about the race then, we were thinking about survival.”

It was only when a boy, a teen at most, emerged in a storm and helped guide them out they were able to escape the bog.

“He came out of nowhere, I called him our guardian angel,” Mr Corboy said.

We did it: Adrian Corboy and Annabel Neasham celebrate their success in the Mongol Derby after an epic journey.

That came afterthe father-of-seven vomitedup a bowl of mare’s milk and had a wolf “eyeballing” him from 90 centimetres away as he tried to sleep.

Mr Corboy said the secret to his and Ms Neasham’s success was teamwork.

“We had 100 per cent commitment to each other in selecting the horses and the decisions we made and not at one point did we have any doubt in each other’s ability,” he said.

Ms Neasham’s focus was ensuring the horses did not fail vet checks, which involved the mount’s condition and heart rate meeting benchmarks, while Mr Corboy focused on tactics.

He said other each leg they would cover the first 10 kilometres in a canter, before switching to a walk and then a trot before another walk.

The last 1000 metres, the pair would lead in the ponies to allow their heart rates to drop.

To keep riding 150 kilometres a day, Mr Corboy drank five to six litres of water and smokedmore than 40 cigarettes each 24 hours.

“Someone said ‘how appalling an elite athlete would smoke cigarettes’, but to me it was a job,” he said.

Indeed it was only thanks to his old schoolmate Maher breaking his leg that Mr Corboy found himself in Mongolia.

The trainer phoned him from the back of an ambulance while on the way to hospital with his snapped limb to tell him he would replace himin the event.

“I lost 11 kilograms in 16 days, so I was 75 kilograms at the weigh-in and after the finishing line I was 69 kilograms,” Mr Corboy said.

Traditional garb: Adrian Corboy with his Persian horse Clancy at his stables.

A setweight was needed to sit atop the ponies, which were replaced with fresh mounts after each 40-kilometre leg.

Mr Corboy’s wife Kylie, who is eight months pregnant with their eighth child, said he went on a jockey’s diet involvingno red meat, some chicken and salmon and plenty of vegetables.

Tracking the race 10,000 kilometres away onthe internet, Mrs Corboy had faith.

“He saw it as a job and his job was to win for Ciaron Maher and I knew he would get it done,” she said.

Border Mail