Great Sejm

The Great Sejm known as the Four-Year Sejm was a Sejm of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, held in Warsaw between 1788 and 1792. Its principal aim became to restore sovereignty to, reform, the Commonwealth politically and economically; the Sejm's great achievement was the adoption of the Constitution of 3 May 1791 described as Europe's first modern written national constitution, the world's second, after the United States Constitution. The Polish Constitution was designed to redress long-standing political defects of the federative Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and its system of Golden Liberties; the Constitution introduced political equality between townspeople and nobility and placed the peasants under the protection of the government, thus mitigating the worst abuses of serfdom. The Constitution abolished pernicious parliamentary institutions such as the liberum veto, which at one time had placed a sejm at the mercy of any deputy who might choose, or be bribed by an interest or foreign power, to undo all the legislation, passed by that sejm.

The May 3rd Constitution sought to supplant the existing anarchy fostered by some of the country's reactionary magnates, with a more egalitarian and democratic constitutional monarchy. The reforms instituted by the Great Sejm and the Constitution of May 3, 1791, were undone by the Targowica Confederation and the intervention of the Russian Empire at the invitation of the Targowica Confederates; the reforms of the Great Sejm responded to the perilous situation of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, only a century earlier a major European power and indeed the largest state on the continent. By the 18th century the Commonwealth's state machinery became dysfunctional. Many historians hold that a major cause of the Commonwealth's downfall was the peculiar parliamentary institution of the liberum veto, which since 1652 had in principle permitted any Sejm deputy to nullify all the legislation, adopted by that Sejm. By the early 18th century, the magnates of Poland and Lithuania controlled the state – or rather, they managed to ensure that no reforms would be carried out that might weaken their privileged status.

The matters were not helped by the inefficient monarchs elected to the Commonwealth throne around the start of the 18th century, nor by neighboring countries, which were content with the deteriorated state of the Commonwealth's affairs and abhorred the thought of a resurgent and democratic power on their borders. The Enlightenment European cultural movement had gained great influence in certain Commonwealth circles during the reign of its last king, Stanisław August Poniatowski, which coincided with the Enlightenment in Poland. In 1772, the First Partition of Poland, the earliest of the three successive 18th-century partitions of Commonwealth territory that removed Poland from the map of Europe, shocked the inhabitants of the Commonwealth, made it clear to progressive minds that the Commonwealth must either reform or perish. In the last three decades preceding the Great Sejm, there was a rising interest among progressive thinkers in constitutional reform. Before the First Partition, a Polish noble, Michał Wielhorski, an envoy of the Bar Confederation, had been sent to ask the French philosophes Gabriel Bonnot de Mably and Jean-Jacques Rousseau to offer suggestions on a new constitution for a new Poland.

Mably had submitted his recommendations in 1770–1771. Notable works advocating the need to reform and presenting specific solutions were published in the Commonwealth itself by Polish-Lithuanian thinkers such as: Stanisław Konarski, founder of the Collegium Nobilium. Seen as crucial to giving the upcoming reforms their moral and political support were Ignacy Krasicki's satires of the Great Sejm era. A major opportunity for reform seemed to present itself during the sejm of 1788–92, which opened on October 6, 1788 with 181 deputies, from 1790 – in the words of the May 3 Constitution's preamble – met "in dual number", when 171 newly elected Sejm deputies joined the earlier-established Sejm. On its second day the Sejm transformed itself into a confederated sejm to make it immune to the threat of the liberum veto. Russian tsarina Catherine the Great had issued the approval for the sejm confederation a while ago, at a point she was considering that the successful conclusion of this Sejm may be necessary if Russia would need Polish aid in the fight against the Ottoman Empire.

Stanisław Małachowski, a statesman respected both by most factions, was elected as the Marshal of the Sejm. Many supporters of the reforms were gathered in the Patriotic Party; this group received support from all strata of Polish-Lithuanian society, from societal and political elites, including some aristocratic magnates, through Piarist and Enlightened Catholics, to the radical left. The Party's conservative, or right, led by progressive magnates such as Ignacy Potocki, his brother St

Landsbanki Freezing Order 2008

The Landsbanki Freezing Order 2008 is an Order of HM Treasury to freeze the assets of Icelandic bank Landsbanki in the United Kingdom made under the Anti-terrorism and Security Act 2001, by virtue of the fact that the Treasury reasonably believed that "action to the detriment of the United Kingdom's economy has been or is to be taken by a person or persons." As required by the enabling Act, the Order was approved by both Houses of Parliament on 28 October 2008, 20 days after the Order had come into force. The Order was made; the bank offered online accounts under the trade name Icesave: some 300,000 depositors in the UK had deposits worth about £4 billion when the bank collapsed. In a memorandum to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, the Treasury stated that "the primary concern was to prohibit the flow of funds held or controlled by Landsbanki's UK branch out of the UK and back to Iceland." The same document mentioned other reasons for making the order, namely that "the emergency legislation passed in Iceland on 7th October 2008 meant that UK creditors' rights could be prejudiced compared with other creditors" and that "the Icelandic action was to have a significant unsettling effect on consumer confidence at a time of unprecedented disturbance of the financial sector."

2008–2012 Icelandic financial crisis Icesave dispute

The Crippled Masters

The Crippled Masters is a 1979 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Joe Law. The film stars handicapped martial artists Jackie Conn and Frankie Shum as two men—one without arms and another with withered legs—who develop kung fu abilities and seek revenge upon the teacher who made them disabled; the arms of Lee Ho are chopped off by the white-faced henchman known as White, while another man named Tang supervises. It is declared that Lee Ho has betrayed his master, Lin Chang Cao, the boss of the Pluahchi organization, thus his punishment is justified. Tang is praised for his loyalty. After getting his arms cut off and thrown out of the dojo, Lee Ho walks into town to try to get some food, he left for dead with the local coffin maker. The henchmen Black and White show up and start beating up the coffin maker and Lee Ho. Lee Ho escapes and runs for his life into the wilderness, he begins to work as hired help. It is here. Tang is punished by Lin Chang Cao for "knowing too much". Instead of having his arms chopped off, Tang has acid poured on his legs.

Tang is cast away into the wilderness to die. As he stumbles over rocks by the river, Tang meets up with Lee Ho, determined to get his revenge. Lee Ho begins to beat him. Before he can finish him off, a mysterious Old Man appears and announces that he will start training the two men so that they can get revenge on Lin Chang Cao. At the Old Man's secret training grounds, both Lee Ho and Tang learn kung fu that complements their disabilities. Lin Chang Cao instructs his henchman to go attack some jewelry thieves. Cao's right-hand man, ventures with Black and White into the wilderness to take stolen jewelry away from the thieves. On their way back to the Lin Chang Cao's headquarters, they meet up with Lee Tang. Lee Ho and Tang kill Black and White, but let Pow escape back to report what happened to Lin Chang Cao. In town, Pow gets into a fight with a man named Ho in front of a whore house. Lin Chang Cao instructs Pow to hire Ho to kill Lee Tang. After Ho proves his kung fu ability to Lin Chang Cao, he is hired to be a guard at the main headquarters.

The Old Man instructs Lee Ho and Tang to sneak back into Lin Chang Cao's headquarters and steal back the Eight Jade Horses. Many years ago, the Old Man found this ancient treasure only to have it stolen away by Lin Chang Cao. Under the cover of darkness, the three infiltrate Lin Chang Cao's compound and steal the box containing the horses, but they are followed by Ho. After a big fight scene, Ho tells Lee Ho and Tang that he is a provincial government agent sent to find the missing Eight Jade Horses, he tells them that the horses are special because they depict special kung fu techniques. Ho tries to fight Lin Chang Cao but is unable to defeat him. Lee Ho and Tang break into Lin Chang Cao's headquarters to rescue Ho; as they escape, they are again followed by henchmen. In anticipation of the final showdown, Lee Ho and Tang study the moves from the Eight Jade Horses. Lin Chang Cao beats up the Old Man. Lee Ho and Tang defeat Lin Chang Cao, ending his reign of terror. Jackie Conn as Lee Ho Frankie Shum as Tang Chen Mu Chuan as Lin Chang Cao The film stars Jackie Conn and Frankie Shum, two genuinely handicapped martial artists, as the film's disabled protagonists.

Conn, a sufferer of thalidomide syndrome, portrays the armless Lee Ho. Nick Hartel of DVD Talk called the film "equal parts exploitation, high camp, crowd-pleasing action". Though criticizing its "paper-thin plot", he concluded that The Crippled Masters "is not high-art, nor a great martial arts film in the technical sense when compared to a Shaw Brothers film or Bruce Lee classic, but it's still entertaining and doesn't take itself too seriously." In 2015, Jim Vorel of Paste included the film on a list of the 100 best martial arts movies, wrote that "it's a genuinely disturbing flick to watch at times, but there's some legit physical talent on display". The Crippled Masters on IMDb Crippled Masters at HKMDB