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New Student Writing: Sketch Comedy

first_imgby Jack FarchyHumphrey’s Unpleasantness is a sketch show that, we’re told, “explores the line between comedy and tragedy.” Director Richard Jones claims to be “interested in what the audience is prepared to laugh at, and at what point they will stop laughing.” Sounds exciting. Are we going to be pushed to the edges of our comfort zone? Will our taboos be explored and probed? Will we find ourselves in hysterical laughter one moment, only to be shocked, moved and ashamed of our laughter the next?No, we won’t. Whatever it may say on the tin, this show isn’t doing anything experimental, quirky, or, frankly, interesting. The material is about as mainstream and unoriginal as you could hope for. Stereotypes abound: public school teachers are secretly gay, bankers are wankers, old people are deaf, etcetera, etcetera. Worse still, these stereotypes are not invoked in order to be later undermined, but just because, well, stereotypes are funny, aren’t they? Isn’t it a great laugh that old people are deaf?It’s a shame that their material is so bad, because everything else about this show is fine. The performances from Joe Markham, Joe Parham, and a cameo from Ross Young are confident and engaging. In particular, I was fascinated by Joe Markham’s range and quality of facial expressions. His tongue flits coyly around his lips as the randy, absentminded presenter of the TV programme, ‘Tiny Tales for Tiny Tots’; as a masturbating bank manager, his face undergoes all sorts of interesting contortions; and he neatly captures the chewing motion and slack mouth of an old lady wearing false teeth.In the end, though, there is little more to say about this than that it’s a comedy show that isn’t funny. It is playing in the late slot at the BT, so hopefully its audience will have had a few drinks by the time they arrive – if so, they might enjoy it more than I did. If, by some misfortune, you are coerced into going sober, just keep on focusing on the wonders of Joe Markham’s face.last_img read more

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A.C. Electric Service Outages April 8-12

first_imgAtlantic City Electric crews are pictured working on the lines at 5th Street and Asbury Avenue as part of the service upgrades. Atlantic City Electric will improve reliability in Ocean City by installing special equipment to reduce the number of customers affected by power outages.Reclosers will be installed for areas serving every 500 customers or fewer, so when an outage occurs outside of a substation area, fewer homes and businesses will be impacted. Instead of having a couple of thousand customers without power because of a pole accident, for instance, 500 or fewer customers will be affected until repairs are made.Installation of these reclosers will require service interruptions this winter as crews replace existing poles, transformers and wire. Contractors will notify customers before these outages occur. The work also will require road closings and detours around the blocks where work is taking place.For the week of April 8 to 12, the tentative schedule (weather permitting) of service interruptions will be as follows:Monday-Tuesday: 55th Street off West AvenueTuesday-Wednesday: 54th Street back alleyWednesday-Thursday: 51st Street off West AvenueThursday-Friday: On West between 50th and 51st streetslast_img read more

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Press release: Government welcomes Homes England’s new 5 year strategic plan

first_imgCommunities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP welcomed Homes England Strategic Plan published today (30 October 2018) describing the vision as pivotal to helping deliver the homes that communities need.Since their launch in January, Homes England has a remit to adopt a more commercial approach to acquiring, preparing, managing and developing land in areas of high demand.Their strategic plan sets out how they will use these powers together with their expertise and significant government investment to drive forward key programmes and play a major role in making the housing market work for everyone.Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said: This government is committed to delivering 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s and help more people get on the housing ladder. Homes England is at the heart of these plans. I welcome their comprehensive vision that sets out how through their powers and expertise they will maximise government investment to deliver the homes communities need. Read the Homes England 5-year Strategic Plan press release If your enquiry is related to COVID-19 please check our guidance page first before you contact us – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-government.If you still need to contact us please use the contact form above to get in touch, because of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you send it by post it will not receive a reply within normal timescale. 2 Marsham StreetLondonSW1P 4DF Social media – MHCLG Contact form https://forms.communit… Please use this number if you are a journalist wishing to speak to Press Office 0303 444 1209center_img Office address and general enquiries View the complete Homes England Strategic Plan Email [email protected] General enquiries: please use this number if you are a member of the public 030 3444 0000 Media enquiries Twitter – https://twitter.com/mhclgFlickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/mhclgLinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/company/mhclglast_img read more

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Feeling election stress? Stop hitting ‘refresh’

first_imgLook away, America. For your own good, look away. Everything will still be there when you come back. Even once the vote counting’s done, there’ll be the recounting, and the tag-along lawsuits.So take a walk, take a breath, take a break from the election drama unspooling at a pace better suited to a garden slug than an advanced nation’s sophisticated vote-counting system. So, psychologists say, maybe you should get off the smartphone, get back to work, and get some perspective. Though weighty issues like climate change, the economy, and the COVID pandemic also are on the table, the science of “affective forecasting” assures us that we’re lousy judges of our own future emotions on such matters.“One of the things that happens with uncertainty is we often don’t think realistically about the outcome, and we tend to think catastrophically. So, you’re already thinking that if your candidate loses it’s going to be awful, it’s going to be unbearable, it’ll be disastrous,” said psychologist Shelley Carson, a lecturer at the Harvard Extension School and associate of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Psychology Department. “We overestimate how this event — or any event — is going to affect our happiness in the future.”Carson said she normally views the U.S. as a pretty stable nation, one whose national character readily absorbs the ups and downs that make history. But she and Jacqueline Sperling, instructor in psychology in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry, said that these times are not normal and, if anxiety were measured as a disease, the election worries would compound and aggravate the existing concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lost jobs.,The year “2020 has been filled with many things, and uncertainty has been a major one,” said Sperling, who is also director of training and research at McLean Hospital’s Anxiety Mastery Program. “To have ongoing uncertainty with this election on top of all the uncertainty we’ve already had this year, I can imagine that being particularly trying. People are eager for results, some certainty, some knowledge of what’s going to happen.”Sperling said worries about the unknown trigger the body’s autonomic nervous system, which controls our fight-or-flight response and recruits internal resources such as the stress hormone cortisol. Under normal circumstances, this heightened response lasts only until the uncertainty is resolved, and the body returns to normal. During prolonged periods of uncertainty, however, the stress can wear us down.Sperling and Carson suggested a variety of steps to shut off that stress response, even temporarily. The first, they said, is to recognize its unique effects on the body. Stress can manifest as physical or behavioral changes such as loss of appetite, or heightened appetite, loss of energy, skin breakouts, and muscle tension. People can become angry or irritable, be more critical of others, holler, and pick fights. They also can become emotionally numb, grind their teeth, be overly self-critical, and indecisive to boot.What’s important, Carson said, is to recognize one’s own stress signs — she tends to unconsciously pick at her nails, a tic her husband often sees first — and takes steps to relieve them. Sperling said it’s important to acknowledge and validate rather than dismiss your feelings.“These are unprecedented times where there is a lot more at stake now,” Sperling said. “That may make this election feel bigger than they may have felt in the past. … There are so many big decisions that people may feel there’s a lot that’s important to them that’s at stake.”Sperling suggested counteracting uncertainty by carving out times in our day for activities that are personally meaningful and that we control, whether it’s going for a walk, having a cup of coffee without interruption, or connecting with people who are supportive of us.Carson said going for a walk not only breaks one’s focus on national events, it provides an exercise boost. She suggested deep breathing for two minutes, which has been shown to calm the autonomic nervous system. We can also try meditation or listing things for which we feel grateful, because anxiety and gratitude are incompatible, she said. McLean program blends spirituality with counseling, once an unthinkable pairing Related Books outline how to deal with the ‘almost’ effect that people experience when tending toward illness “The thing to do is step back from it. You have to quit hitting ‘refresh,’ ” Carson said. “You can distract yourself. … Go do something different. If you can put the phone down, that’s wonderful.”Carson also suggested “reframing” the situation from something potentially threatening into something good, or even exciting. For instance, she said, rather than worrying that “we may lose,” think about the historical significance of the election and the thrill of watching history unfold, regardless of how it turns out.“It’s kind of thrilling and exciting not knowing [who won],” Carson said. “We truly are privileged to be watching this play out before our eyes. And some day we’re going to look back on this and be able to tell our children about this moment in history.” When depression and anxiety loom Chan School’s Koenen discusses rising mental health concerns in the coronavirus era Psychology’s new openness to religion Feeling more anxious and stressed? You’re not alonelast_img read more

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COVID-19 unmasked

first_imgGetting control of COVID-19 will take more than widespread vaccination; it will also require better understanding of why the disease causes no apparent symptoms in some people but leads to rapid multi-organ failure and death in others, as well as better insight into what treatments work best and for which patients.To meet this unprecedented challenge, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), in collaboration with investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the University of Cyprus, have created a mathematical model based on biology that incorporates information about the known infectious machinery of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and about the potential mechanisms of action of various treatments that have been tested in patients with COVID-19. The model and its important clinical applications are described in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).“Our model predicts that antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs that were first employed to treat COVID-19 might have limited efficacy, depending on the stage of the disease progression,” said corresponding author Rakesh K. Jain from the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories in the Department of Radiation Oncology at MGH and Harvard Medical School (HMS).Jain and colleagues found that in all patients, the viral load (the level of SARS-CoV-2 particles in the bloodstream) increases during early lung infection, but then may go in different directions starting after Day 5, depending on levels of key immune guardian cells, called T cells. T cells are the first responders of the immune system that effectively coordinate other aspects of immunity. The T cell response is known as adaptive immunity because it is flexible and responds to immediate threats.In patients younger than 35 who have healthy immune systems, a sustained recruitment of T cells occurs, accompanied by a reduction in viral load and inflammation and a decrease in nonspecific immune cells (so-called “innate” immunity). All of these processes lead to lower risk for blood clot formation and to restoring oxygen levels in lung tissues, and these patients tend to recover.In contrast, people who have higher levels of inflammation at the time of infection — such as those with diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure — or whose immune systems are tilted toward more active innate immune responses but less effective adaptive immune responses tend to have poor outcomes. The investigators also sought to answer the question of why men tend have more severe COVID-19 compared with women, and found that although the adaptive immune response is not as vigorous in women as in men, women have lower levels of a protein called TMPRSS2 that allows SARS-CoV-2 to enter and infect normal cells. Based on their findings, Jain and colleagues propose that optimal treatment for older patients — who are likely to already have inflammation and impaired immune responses compared with younger patients — should include the clot-preventing drug heparin and/or the use of an immune response–modifying drug (checkpoint inhibitor) in early stages of the disease, and the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone at later stages.In patients with pre-existing conditions such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure or immune system abnormalities, treatment might also include drugs specifically targeted against inflammation-promoting substances (cytokines, such as interleukin-6) in the body, as well as drugs that can inhibit the renin-angiotensin system (the body’s main blood pressure control mechanism), thereby preventing activation of abnormal blood pressure and resistance to blood flow that can occur in response to viral infections.This work shows how tools originally developed for cancer research can be useful for understanding COVID-19: The model was first created to analyze involvement of the renin angiotensin system in the development of fibrous tissues in tumors, but was modified to include SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19-specific mechanisms. The team is further developing the model and plans to use it to examine the dynamics of the immune system in response to different types of COVID-19 vaccines as well as cancer-specific comorbidities that might require special considerations for treatment.Co-corresponding authors are Lance L. Munn, MGH, and Triantafyllos Stylianopoulos, University of Cyprus. Other authors are Chrysovalantis Voutouri, U. Cyprus; Mohammad Reza Nikmaneshi, Sharif University of Technology, Iran; C. Corey Hardin, Melin J. Khandekar and Sayon Dutta, all from MGH; and Ankit B. Patel and Ashish Verma from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Jain’s research is supported by an Investigator Award and grants from the National Foundation for Cancer Research, Jane’s Trust Foundation, American Medical Research Foundation and Harvard Ludwig Cancer Center. Munn’s research is supported by a National Institutes of Health grant. Stylianopoulos’s research is supported by the European Research Council and Cyprus Research and Innovation Foundation. Patel is supported by an American Society of Nephrology Joseph A. Carlucci Research Fellowship. Experts say smooth rollout possible although highly complex U.S. failed to control pandemic, but vaccination provides ‘chance to get next phase right’ The vaccine technology could be used in vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and beyond ‘A terrific first start’center_img Chan School’s Barry Bloom puts vaccine news into context Related Putting a crown on OMNIVAXlast_img read more

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High court orders continued look at Texas death row case

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is telling a lower court to continue to consider a case brought by a Texas death row inmate protesting a policy that means a chaplain can’t accompany him into the death chamber. The justices on Monday ordered Ruben Gutierrez’s case sent back to a federal trial-level court. The justices in June had blocked his execution after Texas changed its policy and barred all spiritual advisers from the death chamber. Gutierrez is on death row for fatally stabbing an 85-year-old woman.last_img

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The Executive Board of KUH held a meeting with the Minister of Tourism

first_imgA meeting between the Minister of Tourism and the Executive Board of KUH was held today in Njivice on the island of Krk.The topic of conversation was the current state of camping in Croatia, laws on tourist and other construction land and maritime property, increase in sojourn tax, Robinson accommodation and further development and course of the tourist year. “The camping segment of tourist accommodation will be the first sector in tourism that will surpass the results of tourist traffic from the pre-war period of Croatian tourism, but with significantly higher revenues than then. In the middle of the 80’s of the last century, Croatian camping realized 17,5 million overnight stays, and this year we expect to exceed that number, ie that this will be a record year for Croatian camping.”, Said the President of the Executive Board of the Croatian Camping Association Tihomir Nikolaš.According to the Strategy for the Development of Croatian Tourism until 2020, the share of camps should remain at approximately the same level, with improved quality and enrichment of the offer. “The Croatian Camping Association is one of the key partners and associations in tourism with which the Ministry of Tourism has been cooperating intensively for many years. Camping is an extremely important accommodation segment for Croatian tourism, not only because of the high share in total tourist traffic, but also because of the fact that guests who visit camps mostly stay in Croatia for more than 10 days. That is why it is extremely important to continue positive cooperation in the form of development strategies and quality improvement, but also in the segment of harmonization of legal provisions.”, Said Minister Cappelli.According to data from the eVisitor system, there are a total of 434 camps in Croatia, of which the largest number are located in Zadar County (159), Istria (63), Split-Dalmatia County (53) and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (51). During 2016, 2,5 million tourist arrivals were realized in the camps, which realized 17,2 million overnight stays, which also represents a share of 19 percent in the total overnight stays during 2016. In the first six months of 2017, 800 tourist arrivals were realized in the camps, which resulted in 4,3 million overnight stays, which compared to the same period last year represents an increase of 26 percent in arrivals and 28 percent in overnight stays. The largest number of overnight stays in camps in 2017 was realized in Istria, followed by Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Zadar and Split-Dalmatia counties.Also, in Croatia in the first six months the number of guests increased by 23 percent compared to the same period last year, and in the first eight days of July the number of guests increased by about eight percent and the number of overnight stays by 15 percent.last_img read more

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Mandate roundup: German fund in €1bn LDI search on IPE Quest

first_imgThere is to be no exposure to non-government related companies unless the exposure can be classified as money market positions.More information about the mandate is available via IPE Quest. Interested parties have until 8 January to apply, and should state performance gross of fees to 31 October 2017.Also on IPE Quest, a large Swiss pension fund is searching for a large cap domestic equities manager for a CHF550m-CHF600m (€471m-€514m) passive mandate.According to search QN-2384 the benchmark is the SPI20. Managers should have at least CHF10bn of assets under management, and CHF5bn for Swiss equities.A track record of five to 10 years is preferred, but three years is the minimum.The asset owner does not want a tracking error of more than 0.2%.The deadline for applications is 15 December.A Scandinavian foundation has put out initial feelers for a global large cap equities mandate via IPE Quest’s Discovery service. It is considering investing $30m (€25.4m) in an active fund, according to DS-2382.The portfolio should be diversified with at least 20-25 stocks from several sectors and regions. The foundation has said it prefers a flat fee.IPE Quest mandate searches from a central and eastern European pension fund close on Friday, while the deadline for a €10m Irish residential property mandate is on 18 December.The IPE news team is unable to answer any further questions about IPE Quest, Discovery, or Innovation tender notices to protect the interests of clients conducting the search. To obtain information directly from IPE Quest , please contact Jayna Vishram on +44 (0) 20 3465 9330 or email [email protected] . ERAFP currency hedging mandateIn France, €28bn public service pension scheme ERAFP has tendered out foreign exchange hedging mandates for around €2bn.The hedging strategy should be passive and, where applicable, dynamic.In a statement, it said the macroeconomic situation in recent years had brought to light the importance of currency risk incurred by investors in their portfolios.“In this context,” it added, “management of foreign exchange hedging for the assets in ERAFP’s consolidated portfolio has three main objectives: first, reduce the overall exposure to foreign exchange risk by decreasing the exposure to foreign currencies; secondly, better coordinate foreign exchange hedging and, lastly, reduce the cost of this hedging.”It wants to select three investment companies: one active manager and two on standby.The selected active contract holder will be tasked with creating and managing a mutual fund for managing the foreign exchange risk of ERAFP’s assets; the notional amount hedged at the start of the mutual fund’s life is expected to be around €2bn.The submission deadline is 19 January. A German pension fund has launched a tender for a €1bn liability-driven investment (LDI) mandate using IPE Quest.According to search QN-2385, the pension fund wants to hedge this portion of its liabilities, of which it has €3bn, against changes in interest rates.It wants the manager to use government bonds – invested as buy-and-maintain assets – and swaps to complete the hedge.It has specified that the portfolio be managed in a risk-controlled manner “in the sense that no active bets on the movements and shape of the interest rate curve or currencies will be taken intentionally”.last_img read more

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Ensco rig arrives at SM 71 platform off Louisiana

first_imgThe Ensco 68 jack-up drilling rig arrived on location near Byron Energy’s SM 71 F platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, November 26.Otto Energy, Byron’s 50-50 partner in the license, said on Thursday that the rig, hired in September, was pre-loaded and jacked up to working height over the SM 71 F platform.Initial work involves driving conductor pipe over the SM 71 F1 well to tie it back to the well bay and protect the discovery well during drilling operations. Once completed, the rig will skid over to the SM 71 F2 well slot and begin to drive a 24” drive pipe before spudding.The SM 72 F2 well has two targets, the B65 and D5 Sand. According to Otto, the B65 Sand has the potential to double the current field size of SM 71.The 2,733 meters measured depth F2 well is estimated to take approximately one month to drill and evaluate from the spud date.Otto added that first production from the SM 71 F platform, installed earlier this month, was expected by late January 2018 after completion of operations on the SM 71 F1 and F2 wells.Managing director of Otto Energy, Matthew Allen, said: “Otto is pleased with progress at SM 71 and the commencement of drilling operations represents the culmination of a significant amount of preparatory work.“The coming month will see the F2 well test the exciting exploration potential in the B65 sand and bring the second development well location into the field. This is an exciting period for Otto’s shareholders with the ST 224 well also nearing the final target.”last_img read more

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Child abuse on rise

first_imgBay of Plenty Times 7 June 2013As Waikato’s child abuse statistics rise Child, Youth and Family says it’s well prepared to respond to the demand.The latest statistics, released in April, show Waikato is on track to top more than 2000 cases of substantiated child abuse for the year ending June 30. The latest findings buck a trend of declining substantiated abuse cases in the Waikato.The number of substantiated abuse cases has been declining since the 2009 financial year when there were 2391 cases. That number has dropped annually with 1683 in the 2012 financial year.The half-yearly report documenting substantiated abuse for July-December last year was 1065, putting the region on track to almost eclipse figures from four years ago.CYF Midlands regional director Greg Versalko isn’t concerned at his organisation’s ability to cope with the increase in abuse cases.“I would be very concerned if I didn’t think we were prepared to respond to that demand. But I feel we are in a good position in that respect.”Mr Versalko said it was always difficult to determine the reasons for a spike in the number of substantiated abuse cases. He said it wasn’t necessarily that child abuse was increasing but that there was more discussion in the media which boosted reported cases. He said when there was increased discussion on child abuse, CYF saw an increase in demand for their services.http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/news/child-abuse-on-rise/1897590/last_img read more

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