Archive for July, 2019

Two Days, One Night is an intimate weekend with Cotillard

By admin | 杭州桑拿

Marion Cotillard in Two Days One Night. Photo: Christine PlenusTwo Days One Night.
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TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (M) ★★★½ Palace Electric

If you like your cinema au natural, the latest offering from multi-award-winning Belgian duo Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne is a subtle treat – an investigation of human values played out over 48 hours as a wife and mother tries to save her job and find her self-confidence.

The Dardenne brothers – who have won the Palme d’Or twice (for Rosetta and The Child) – have established themselves as a force of social realism, their subject matter typically Belgian working-class characters struggling in industrial towns with their situation and/or their personality. Their distinctive style of cinema is dominated by long takes, the use of steadicam or handheld cinematography, jump-cut editing, and no music. All of this puts the pressure on performance, and you can’t get much better than Marion Cotillard playing Sandra, told on Friday afternoon that her colleagues have voted she become redundant so they can have a bonus.

Suffering from anxiety and depression, Sandra collapses with the news until her long-suffering husband Manu (Fabrizio Rongione) convinces her she should visit all 16 co-workers over the weekend with the aim of overturning the decision at a special vote to be held on Monday. Pumped with antidepressants, she starts the difficult task, only to find that many of those who voted for the bonus need the money as desperately as she needs her job. But on her door-knocking journey, she also finds much humanity – some responding to her cry for help with surprising compassion.

The film won the top prize at this year’s Sydney Film Festival and there is no doubting the powerful simplicity of its central idea and the magnificently nuanced performance from Cotillard. Racked with self-doubt, Sandra finds herself cast as beggar, encroaching on people’s private lives at the weekend. It’s not pity she wants, but some kind of fundamental acceptance from the people she works with – most of whom have their own problems, and all of whom are powerless to push back against the emotionally cruel position the business owners have put them in.

Yet for all its quiet power, there’s repetitiveness about Sandra’s journey that makes this a far less engaging story than their best previous work The Kid with a Bike and The Son. The film seems frequently trapped by its own naturalistic methodology, the Dardenne brothers (who wrote, directed and produced the film) working hard to make every point of view valid, with a consequential diminishing of dramatic power. But like its famous social-realist antecedent Bicycle Thieves, it’s an actor’s piece, the gifted Cotillard in frame from start to finish, with the real drama reflected in her every gesture.

Port Stephens councillor Ken Jordan doesn’t vote on Buildev matters due to friendship with Darren Williams

By admin | 杭州桑拿

Buildev co-founder Darren Williams.A PORT Stephens councillor who was the best man at the wedding of Buildev co-founder Darren Williams says he no longer votes on matters relating to the Newcastle development company because of the long-standing friendship.
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Cr Ken Jordan said he had known Mr Williams ‘‘since our early days in Raymond Terrace Catholic Youth Group’’.

‘‘I fill out a form and leave the room,’’ Cr Jordan said.

‘‘Previously, I had voted on things because there was no gain – it was purely a friendship.’’

Cr Jordan said the decision to steer clear of Buildev matters stemmed from the advice of council staff about what constituted a significant non-pecuniary interest, and the tightening of rules.

But it also follows a code of conduct complaint in 2011 that the friendship was not properly disclosed before council consideration of reports on Buildev’s Medowie supermarket development application.

Allegations raised included that Cr Jordan had ‘‘referred a number of times to being flown to Melbourne on Mr Williams’ corporate jet’’.

An independent investigation report noted ‘‘Cr Jordan has stated that he has never flown to Melbourne on Mr Williams’ jet and does not know if he has a jet or not’’.

‘‘I am aware [Mr Williams] has some business association with an organisation generally known as ‘Buildev’,’’ Cr Jordan was quoted in the report.

The investigator found Cr Jordan should have declared a significant non-pecuniary interest rather than a non-significant interest that he disclosed.

Mr Williams was a target of the recent Independent Commission Against Corruption’s inquiry into secret political donations, with evidence tendered that Buildev’s helicopter was used to fly Labor backbencher Joe Tripodi to a meeting with the company.

Cr Steve Tucker also declared a non-significant non-pecuniary interest in relation to the same supermarket application, also because of a friendship with Mr Williams.

However, he said it was not a close friendship and the investigator endorsed his declaration.

Cr Jordan did not vote in 2013 on the awarding of a sandmining lease to Buildev Group company, Castle Quarry Products.

Cr Tucker said he had voted to support the company receiving the lease but did so because of the millions of dollars more that the company would pay to council compared with other tenderers.

He said he believed ratepayers had nothing to lose should Castle Quarry Products fall into any financial difficulties because the council would retain ownership of intellectual property.

Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie said he had no interest to declare before the 2013 council vote on the sandmining lease after his family-owned sand supply company withdrew from the tender.

The Division of Local Government agreed in July 2013, finding that there was no breach of the Local Government Act, after a complaint was referred to it.

Genetic testing: couples ensuring they have healthy babies

By admin | 杭州桑拿

More couples are using a technique called Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis to ensure they have a healthy babyMore couples are using a sophisticated scientific test to ensure they have a healthy baby, according to research released by the Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database on Thursday.
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The number of assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles involving the technique called Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) almost doubled between 2011 and 2012.

Under the procedure, cells are removed from an embryo before implantation and tested for genetic or chromosomal conditions such as Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis or hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

According to the report produced by the University of NSW, the number of cycles involving PGD increased by 94 per cent from 1182 in 2011 to 2294 in 2012.

The report found an overall increase in ART with the number of  treatment cycles increasing by almost 6 per cent in Australia between 2011 and 2012.

Almost 33,000 Australian women underwent about 64,000 reproductive treatment cycles.

The average age of a woman undergoing ART with her own eggs was 35, but just over one-quarter of patients were aged 40 or older.

For women aged under 30, the live delivery rate was 26 per cent but for those aged over 44 the rate dropped to 0.9 per cent for a cycle using a fresh embryo and 4.6 per cent for a cycle using a thawed embryo.

There were 12,304 babies born following ART treatment Australian clinics in 2012, with more than three-quarters of them full-term singletons of average birthweight.

The proportion of multiple births following ART decreased slightly to 6.5 per cent in 2012 but is still more than four times higher than the Australian average from all conceptions.

IVF Australia consultant and professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at UNSW Michael Chapman said the low rate of multiple births showed Australia was a world leader in safe IVF with specialists favouring single embryo transfers.

About one in 10 couples are infertile with the report finding male infertility was a factor in 22 per cent of ART procedures and female infertility the cause in 28 per cent of cases.

Western Sydney Wanderers to welcome three key signings for next month’s FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco

By admin | 杭州桑拿

The Western Sydney Wanderers’ chances of lining up against Real Madrid in next month’s FIFA Club World Cup have been bolstered by the inclusion of three players who were ineligible for the Asian Champions League.
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The Wanderers were unable to use Dutch international Romeo Castelen, Socceroo Nikita Rukavytsya or Nigerian Seyi Adeleke during the ACL campaign because of the Asian Football Confederation’s eligibility restrictions.

However, the trio will bolster coach Tony Popovic’s squad for the Club World Cup in Morocco next month, which begins against Mexican heavyweights Cruz Azul on December 13.

The Wanderers relied on their defence to be crowned kings of Asia with a 1-0 aggregate win against Al Hilal in the final over two legs, but the introduction of Castelen and Rukavytsya adds another dimension to their attack.

Rukavytsya, who played against Real Madrid in a friendly in 2011 for Hertha BSC, said he was excited about the opportunity of playing against the world’s best and a potential showdown against the Spanish giants in the semi-final if they can topple Cruz Azul.

“It’s great for the club to be part of this,” Rukavytsya said.

“It’s obviously one of the best tournaments for a club to be involved in. I’ve played against Real Madrid before when I was at Hertha BSC three years ago. I think we lost 3-1 or 4-1 at our home ground in Berlin.

“They are obviously one of the best teams in the world with superstar players. I don’t know much about Cruz Azul. They have to be very good if they won their league.”

Adeleke signed with the Wanderers in August but the defender was unable to travel to Australia until his visa application was approved following strict immigration quarantine measures relating to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

However, six weeks after signing he finally touched down in Sydney and has been training with the Wanderers since the start of October.

Castelen, who represented Netherlands 10 times between 2004 and 2007, has been waiting patiently for his chance to leave his mark at the Wanderers.

He played in Western Sydney’s opening two losses of the season and was unable to take part in the Champions League, unlike fellow recruit Vitor Saba, who signed with the Wanderers in time to play a part in Asia.

Rukavytsya signed with the Wanderers at the start of last month but is yet to play a game for the club. Rukavytsya, who moved with his family from Ukraine to Australia aged 14, has not played  in the A-League since leaving the Perth Glory in 2009.

The 27-year-old was then picked up by Dutch club FC Twente for $1.2 million, a fee which remains among the highest in A-League history.

He has since played for Belgian side Roeselare, Hertha, Mainz and FSV Frankfurt before signing with the Wanderers last month.

“It was a bit stressful watching the [Asian Champions League] final,” Rukavytsya said.

“It was a difficult and very tough game. It was not easy but the boys done a good job. It’s a great achievement for an Australian club to win the Asian Champions League. It was hard because I want to play in every game but I couldn’t be a part of it. We’re a team, and the boys who didn’t play still feel like winners.”

Coles in ‘fresh’ trouble again over Tasmanian pink lady apple claims

By admin | 杭州桑拿

Fresh trouble: Pink lady apples. Apples Stock photo of apples for Owen Pidgeon column 11 June 2014 Photo: AGfoto
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Coles has again been caught misleading and deceiving customers about the freshness of its grocery staples. First it was the “freshly baked” bread, now it is the “spring” apples.

The Advertising Standards Board said Coles had breached the food code with a television spot aired in August and September featuring celebrity chef Curtis Stone.

In the commercial, Stone spruiks Tasmanian pink lady apples at the special price of $2.80 a kilogram, saying “feed your family better, fresher, with spring fruit and veg from Coles”.

A viewer from Tasmania, incensed by the claim, lodged a complaint to the board soon after.

“This is wrong and not possible, I live in Tassie and my apple tree is dormant,” he said. “These apples would have been in storage for months, they are not fresh. This ad is misleading and my wife would like a personal apology from Curtis (or cash).”

Coles argued that even though the apples in question were harvested in late April, it was not misleading to promote them as “fresh” because of cold storage technology.

“Cold storage facilities place apples in a controlled low temperature and reduced oxygen (no nitrogen is added) environment to preserve their freshness … the apples are not frozen,” the supermarket said in a statement to the board.

“Coles considers apples can remain fresh, even if placed in cold storage. ‘Freshness’ is determined with regard to the quality of the produce, not whether it has been stored or not.”

The supermarket giant also revealed the bulk of its apples sold across Australia were harvested in Tasmania over two months in autumn. It preferred selling “fresh” Australian apples all year round in a bid to support domestic growers.

“Coles’ view that produce can remain “fresh” despite storage is consistent with the Macquarie Dictionary, which defines ‘fresh’ as retaining the original properties unimpaired;  not deteriorated; not canned or frozen; not preserved by pickling, salting, drying, etc,” it said.

But the word “spring”, not “fresh”, led to Coles’ undoing.

The board said overall the word “fresh” in relation to apples was not misleading. But the word “spring” changed the context of the word “fresh” to imply the Tasmanian pink ladies were springtime fruit freshly picked and ready for immediate sale.

“The board considered that the likely interpretation of the advertisement by the average consumer would be that the Tasmanian apples being promoted as fresh this spring would have been freshly picked in recent weeks and not over three months ago,” it said in its guilty ruling.

In response, Coles said it would not air the advertisements again.

“We’re committed to supporting local growers and offering our customers great quality fresh produce throughout the year,” a Coles spokesman said. “We only sell Aussie grown apples in our stores with the bulk of apples coming from Tasmanian growers.”

 

In June, Coles was found guilty of misleading consumers to think its bread was made on the day at the store when, in some cases, the bread was partially baked months earlier in factories afar as Denmark, Germany and Ireland.