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Shrek (2001)

I found "Shrek" to be a quite charmless movie - in many ways the antithesis of everything a good animated fairy tale should be.

The whole film had a smugness and self-consciousness that made me feel rather uneasy. Eddie Murphy as the voice of the ass was, well, just an ass. The choices of contemporary music didn't gel, as far as I was concerned. The animation was OK, although I am from the Old School and like seeing black borders on all my cartoon characters...

Boof playing pretend Australian captain

The ICC are holding their annual meeting of all the Test captains at Lord's on Monday. Eight of the ten Test captains will be there. The West Indies will be unrepresented, with Carl Hooper apparently unavailable.

More interesting is the fact that the Australian Test captain won't be there. Steve Waugh isn't making the trip, and so Australia will be represented at the meeting by none other than Darren Lehmann!

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Terror on Independence Day

It's Independence Day... the anniversary of a nation's birth as a sovereign state, free from its colonial rulers. People celebrate across the land. Suddenly, in the middle of a busy market area, a bomb explodes. Some 35 people die, as many again are reported injured. Three other bombs explode around the country - thankfully no one is killed by those.

It's Independence Day... July 5, 2002... in Algeria. The fortieth anniversary of Algeria's independence from France. The violence is believed to be part of a continuing campaign by militant forces, possibly the Armed Islamic Group.

Made for TV, not for people

Made-for-television cricket. We've seen a lot of it in the past five years dished out in the name of "globalising" the sport. Televised but meaningless one-day matches dished up for an insatiable market from the "emerging" regions of world cricket. Singapore, Toronto, Kuala Lumpur, Kathmandu, and even a park in northern Los Angeles have all played host to an array of TV-oriented "spectaculars". Add to that list the name of Melbourne.

When it's ok to be controversial

Case Study A:
Adam Gilchrist speaks at a football club members luncheon.. asked whether he thinks Muttiah Muralitharan throws the ball, replies that Murali's action "is probably not quite within [the rules]".

Official Reaction:
The Australian Cricket Board charges Gilchrist with bringing the game into disrepute and issue a statement saying that they do not support his opinions.

Outcome:
Gilchrist receives an official reprimand after three days of intense media attention.

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Former WI captain appointed to male board committee

Former West Indian captain Ann Browne-John broke new ground this week when she was appointed to the Cricket Committee of the West Indies Cricket Board. She is the first woman appointed to a major role in the men's governing body in the Caribbean.

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England Test player Joan Wilkinson dies aged 83

Joan Wilkinson, who played thirteen Tests for England between 1949 and 1958, has died. Her funeral was held at Foulridge, Lancashire, on Tuesday April 23, the town where she passed away at home at the age of 83.

A right-handed batter and occasional spin bowler, Wilkinson was chosen for England's tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1948-49, where she played all Tests except the opening game of the Australian leg. She was in the team which hosted Australia in the 1951 season, and was England vice-captain when New Zealand toured in 1954.

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Ireland's season in men's league about to start

The Irish national women's team makes its debut in men's club competition on Saturday April 27. The women will be playing nine matches in the Leinster Men's Intermediate A League - effectively a fifth-grade club competition - and will take on the Clontarf fourth XI at Castle Avenue, Dublin in the opening game.

Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)

Maybe not the definitive story of the Stolen Generation, but if it heightens awareness of this sorry episode in Australia's history then it will have served a purpose.

For those who possess a broad understanding of events, this movie - based on fact - will not provide any profound enlightenment, though Rabbit-Proof Fence does provide a good illustration of the institutionalised removal of aboriginal children from their families, supposedly (in the eyes of a succession of Australian national and state governments) for their own benefit. The story, of two aboriginal girls escape from their new "home", following the path of the lengthy rabbit fence across the outback to return to their natural family, is a powerful one.

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