Cyprus ratifies Lisbon treaty

first_imgHowever, the treaty cannot be enacted without the support of all member states. Ireland has already voted against the treaty, creating a challenge that the EU’s leaders intend to address again when they meet in October. The difficulties facing the treaty have been compounded in recent days by the refusal of the German and Polish presidents to sign the treaty immediately despite the backing given it by their respective parliaments. In Germany’s case, the reason is a legal challenge. Poland’s President Lech Kaczyński has delayed putting pen to paper until, as he said in an interview on 2 July, “it will no longer be a problem and it will no longer be a problem when we know that all [EU] countries will ratify the treaty”. Seven other EU countries whose parliaments have backed the treaty have yet to complete the formal ratification process. The Cypriot parliament approved the Treaty of Lisbon late on 3 July in a vote that was relatively close by standards set elsewhere in the EU. The vote was carried by 31 votes to 18, with one member of parliament abstaining. The principal opposition coming from the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL), the island’s largest party and the senior partner in the governing coalition.Cyprus is the twentieth of the EU’s 27 states to have approved the treaty, which is intended to make it easier to manage the EU and adjusts the balance of power between its institutions. last_img read more

Military credit unions cast watchful eye on DoD Lending Rule

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Marc RapportCredit unions and the military have a long shared history, and financial institutions based on bases are paying particular attention to proposed new rules some worry could limit how they extend credit to credit-challenged service members.Now in the comment phase, here’s how the changes are described in the September announcement from the Department of Defense “The new proposed actions are designed to apply the protections of the Military Lending Act to all forms of payday loans, vehicle title loans, refund anticipation loans, deposit advance loans, installment loans, unsecured open-end lines of credit, and credit cards.”The NCUA says the changes go beyond that agency’s own rules and could shut down some alternative lending programs that credit unions currently offer service members. Military-focused credit unions generally say they’re in a wait-and-see mode on the new rules, and several told their products wouldn’t run afoul of the new rules anyway.However, many are working with the trades and the DoD to offer input and limit the potential fallout from the rules, which could take effect sometime next year. A leader in that effort says credit unions on and around military installations already do the right thing, especially in protecting members against predatory lenders. “We feel the rules in place today have been effective,” says Arty Arteaga, president/CEO of the Defense Credit Union Council. continue reading »last_img read more

Walkabout Blu-ray review

first_imgWhere the performances are concerned, it’s little wonder that Jenny Agutter carved out a rich and successful career. She carries the bulk of the dialogue, though there are long tracts of the film without any at all. Although his character doesn’t speak English, David Gulpilil is impressive as the Aboriginal boy, conveying much of his intent through body language and laughter. Luc Roeg, although very young, is perfectly convincing as the boy. Credit: Second Sight Films There are few humans in the film outside the trio of children. But those who do appear are unsympathetic. There’s a business owner who mistreats the Aboriginals who work for him, and the father we’ve already met. Then there are the hunters who butcher cattle for sport. But what of the girl? It’s impossible to speak of Jenny Agutter’s character arc without giving away the ending, but, suffice it to say, the way in which she romanticises her adventure in the outback, especially given how it ends, is repellent in its dishonesty. Credit: Second Sight Films This limited edition Blu-ray box set is attractively packaged and comes with a whole host of special features, not least a copy of the original novel on which the film is based. The picture is presented in 4K and looks sharper and more vivid than ever before, really bringing to life the stunning Australian land. There is an audio commentary with Luc Roeg and David Thomson, as well as new interviews with Luc Roeg and Jenny Agutter. Danny Boyle fans will enjoy the celebrated director’s evaluation of the cinematic contributions of Nicolas Roeg, and the late director is also represented with some archive footage. This is the full-on collector’s edition. That synopsis makes the film sound charming, safe, perhaps even a utopian view of childhood. In reality, it’s nothing of the sort, and it always leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. There are many moments that are simply horrifying. Not least the reason the children become stranded in the outback in the first place. They are ostensibly taken on a picnic by their father, who appears to have inappropriate lascivious feelings about his daughter. He attempts to kill his children before settling for suicide, effectively killing his kids too by leaving them little chance of survival against the elements. Credit: Second Sight Films Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout is, like all his films, intriguing and compelling, inviting multiple viewings before you even start to get beneath the skin of it and discover what it’s really about. The British director was behind the camera for the psychological drama Don’t Look Now, in which Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland mourned their young daughter in Venice. That too is a layered, complex, nuanced piece that divulges many more of its secrets to careful and attentive viewers. Cast: Jenny Agutter, David Gulpilil, Luc Roeg Director: Nicolas Roeg Writer: Edward Bond Certificate: 12 Duration: 100 mins Released by: Second Sight Films Release date: 31st August 2020 Walkabout was released in 1971, a few years before Don’t Look Now, and it was the first feature film in which Roeg was the sole director. All of his trademarks are very much in evidence: the topography becomes a character in itself, whereas the humans are much more inscrutable. The narrative follows two children – a teenage girl (Jenny Agutter) and her young brother (Luc Roeg – the son of the director) as they become lost in the Australian outback. As city kids, they struggle to survive on their own, lacking the knowledge of what fruits are safe to eat, and how to find water beneath the scorched earth. Luckily, they encounter an Aboriginal boy (David Gulpilil) who is on his coming-of-age Walkabout, and he helps them to survive. Despite the cultural divide, they strike up a friendship, and enjoy an adventure as they cross the desert. Walkabout is uncomfortable viewing for many reasons, not least the difficulty in fathoming what, if any, lessons we should derive from it. Some scenes are harrowing for viewers who will struggle to see animals hunted and killed. But it is also a brilliantly realised film, and its classic status perhaps lies in its moral ambiguity. It is possible to be thoroughly absorbed by a story that retains the power to shock and appal on return viewings. If you like challenging films and ones that make you think about them for days afterwards, Walkabout may be your kind of movie. If you prefer a popcorn blockbuster, this isn’t one for you. The challenge is to watch it again a decade later and see if it’s the same film you remembered. Then there’s the topography I mentioned earlier. There is a bleak beauty to the outback – the orangey land, cracked and dusty beneath an unforgiving sun. It looks magnificent on screen, the desert colours vivid, the endless stretches of perfectly flat land unimaginable to those of us used to living in towns and cities. But Roeg constantly reminds his audience of the savagery of nature. There are bones, bleached by the sun, dust blowing into long-empty eye sockets. Living creatures too, are magnificent in their variety and diversity, but they are dangerous and inimical to life. Even the ants quickly emerge to cover and devour the fruit the girl was eating only moments before. Credit: Second Sight Filmslast_img read more

Governor Offers Mediator to Legislature, Sends State Worker Notices

first_imgWalker said the offer has been extended to legislative leaders although they had not heard back as of 1:30 pm. Matt Peterson said he was called early this morning and has cleared his schedule this week in an effort to help reach an agreement. He added that there is no other choice than to find a way to fund the budget because otherwise it is “a check that bounces.” Gov. Walker: “We hope that this process works and we also hope that this process isn’t necessary because they come to a resolution very quickly.” Notices have begun being mailed to around 10,000 state workers and if the state goes through with the layoffs, Alaska’s unemployment could hit 9%, the worst in the nation.center_img Peterson: “I have a plan as to how I would like to proceed, I’ve cleared my calendar for the rest of this week and I’m prepared, starting this afternoon, to meet with the House leadership and the Senate leadership as the governor has asked me to make myself available to do whatever I can to help the process of helping negotiations between the sides so that we can come up with a final budget that we can move forward with our finances this year. Beyond that I can’t really discuss any specifics.” Fees for the mediation from Peterson would be out of the governor’s budget. FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Governor Bill Walker has called in a mediator to offer services to the legislature as around 10,000 layoff notices are sent out and the budget standoff continues.last_img read more