"Orchids of Angkor Wat" Exhibit Opens at Singapore's Cloud Forest

date_range 21-May-2024
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With its newest display, "Orchids of Angkor Wat," the Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay allows guests to discover the enchantment of Angkor Wat. Running through September 8, 2024, this amazing show will showcase a vast array of native Cambodian orchids and their hybrids, skillfully set against the backdrop of an immaculately constructed facsimile of the famous Angkor Wat temple.In addition to showcasing orchids' natural beauty, the display strives to honor the cultural and historical value of Angkor Wat, one of the world's most famous architectural wonders. The show connects historical grandeur and natural beauty by including themes of biodiversity and Cambodian heritage.As they stroll through exhibits that combine botany and art, visitors to the Orchid Haven within the Cloud Forest will feel as though they have been transported to the center of Cambodia. Each arrangement is intended to evoke the calm, ethereal atmosphere of Angkor Wat. The authenticity of the scene is further enhanced by the intricate sculptures of Cambodian fauna.A unique performance of Cambodian culture is included in the display, further enhancing the cultural immersion. Through traditional music and dance, this performance aims to enhance the visitor experience and provide a greater understanding and appreciation of Cambodian culture.In addition to showcasing the richness and beauty of orchids, the "Orchids of Angkor Wat" display also promotes conservation efforts to protect these amazing plants, many of which are indigenous to the area surrounding Angkor Wat. Visitors can learn about the ecological significance of orchids and the conservation initiatives underway through educational materials and guided tours.In addition, orchid care, cultivation, and significance will be discussed by horticulturists and Southeast Asian flora specialists, providing visitors with a deeper understanding of these plants than just their aesthetic value.The exhibition is anticipated to attract tourists from all over the world, history buffs, and orchid enthusiasts, making it a major cultural event on Singapore's calendar. Offering a distinctive educational and cultural experience in one of Singapore's most popular sites, it promises to be an enthralling encounter for people of all ages.

Phnom Penh To Host First International Choir Contest

date_range 21-May-2024
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Phnom Penh, May 21, 2024 --Phnom Penh is set to host its first international Choir Competition, organised by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and partners, including INTERKULTUR and All Dreams Cambodia.Scheduled for May 30-June 1, the contest aims to not only foster cultural ties with other countries but also attract more tourists to the capital as well as other tourist sites in Cambodia.According to an advisor to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts H.E. Sam Sam Ang, seven groups of about 250 people from ASEAN countries, including Cambodia, will join the competition.Independent judges from Cambodia, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Thailand have been identified for the event.Ms. Laurence Labadens, a representative of All Dreams Cambodia which is a partner of the ministry in organising the contest, shared that it will contribute to promoting Cambodia's culture and arts.Another important purpose of the friendship choir competition is to promote environmental conservation and sustainability, she added.The contest will also feature friendship concerts at public spaces in Phnom Penh, such as Wat Phnom, shopping malls, and beyond.If it is well supported, a bigger contest of this kind will be organised again in 2026.

6 Reasons Why Beer Is Good in Summer

date_range 06-May-2024
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One of the most consumed alcoholic beverages worldwide is beer. After water and tea, it is the oldest and the third most popular beverage. Grain cereals are fermented and then brewed to create beer. Beer can also occasionally be made from oats, rice, maize, and wheat, however it is typically made with malted barley.Beer has a much lower alcohol concentration than whiskies, rums, and vodkas. The alcohol content of modern beer ranges from 4% to 6% by volume. Nonetheless, a lot of beer manufacturers could produce their beverages with an ABV higher than 40%.After working hard for several hours in the sun outside, nothing is more soothing than a nice, cool drink. Unexpectedly, a lot of people prefer to have beer cans or bottles nearby rather than water when working hard in the summertime. Even while excessive beer consumption can result in a beer belly, you can still enjoy the beverage without running the risk of gaining too much weight. These are a few advantages that drinking beer in the summertime can provide.1. Reduce StressIt can be challenging to perform physical labor under the sun. Excessive weariness and energy loss might result from your body experiencing too much stress. Numerous studies have shown that having two glasses of beer can effectively lower tension or anxiety related to work. But you have to be careful not to get alcohol dependant because that would be more detrimental than beneficial.2. Quench Your ThirstYou will become thirsty extremely quickly if you perform physical labor in the sun. Water will just make you feel less thirsty. But drinking cold beer instead of just plain water will help you both rehydrate and feel more energised. Your ability to perform your physical work outside will improve as a result.3. Beer Is the Perfect Drink to Have With FriendsIf you routinely meet your circle of friends every weekend, having a beer can make such social events more fun. Catch up on those lost moments in life and go back to your school or college days with your buddies over a couple bottles of chilled beer.4. Beer Can Protect Your HeartRecent research indicates that individuals who consume modest amounts of beer have a lower risk of heart attacks than those who do not drink any at all. Furthermore, beer helps shield you from heart attacks and other heart-related conditions. Research indicates that consuming alcohol in moderation can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.5. Lower Cholesterol LevelsBeer has soluble fiber, which lowers LDL, or bad cholesterol. Consuming soluble fiber not only lowers your LDL cholesterol but also helps your body maintain a healthy blood sugar level. On the other hand, excessive alcohol use interferes with your body's natural capacity to absorb vitamins and minerals. Your body is unable to efficiently burn the stored fat as a result.6. Enhances Cognitive AbilitiesRecent research indicates that middle-aged adults who drink alcohol have better overall bodily function. It demonstrates that moderate alcohol consumption can enhance cognitive performance, even though it does not advocate excessive alcohol usage.


date_range 09-Apr-2024
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Are you having a hard time falling asleep? We will introduce you to 5 effective sleep management methods to help you get a good night's sleep.1. Go to bed regularly: Sleeping on time is a good habit for sleeping. Most people gather late at night on the weekends. However, it would be best if you tried to get extra sleep for one or two hours to keep your immune system healthy. Adhering to this habit regularly can help you maintain good sleep habits.2. Do not use phones or electronic devices while sleeping: Recent studies have shown that using electronic devices before going to bed is stealing our sleep and reducing the quality of our sleep. But a survey by the Sleep Foundation found that about 89% of adults and 75% of children have at least one electronic device in their bedroom.3. Turn off the lights: The first requirement for a good night's sleep is the perfect atmosphere in the bedroom. Darkness makes it easy for you to fall asleep, therefore you should turn off the lights in the room.4. Meditation: meditation is an anti-stress technique for many years. Lately, meditation is no longer a religious image! Meditation is considered to be a popular anti-stress and anti-insomnia method.5. Listen to music: Listening to music at a slow rate of 60 to 80 beats per minute will effectively get you to sleep quickly and satisfactorily. Not only that, but it can also help reduce stress levels as well.

What kind of plastics are safe to reuse?

date_range 09-Apr-2024
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An Article by Yahoo Health has informed about the reuse of food containers made of different plastic materials. Risks of Bacterial Infections and Chemical Leaks have been put on DiscussionJuly 6, 2015, Greta StyleIn an article published on June 29, 2015, by Yahoo Health correspondent and freelance author Laura Tedesco, she reports on the safety of reusing plastic containers. According to Roll Haldon, director of the Center for Environmental Security at the University of Arizona Biogas Institute, bacterial contamination is the biggest risk of reusing plastic containers. Especially if the container is intended for one-time use, it may not be designed for easy cleaning. Harold suggested, for example, that leftover food should be transferred to glass containers. Related to Chemical Leakage Plastic Container with Processing Code·  No. 2 (High-Density Polyethylene HDPE)·  No. 4 (Low-Density Polyethylene LDPE) or·  No. 5 (Polypropylene PP PP) is the safest for reuse.Plastic Engineering at Massachusetts Lowell University, USA, stated that these materials usually do not contain plastic that can leak into food when the container is heated in a microwave, washed in a dishwasher, or left in the sun for a long time.Plastic container with numerical processing codeNo. 1 (Poly Lily Potential Tet PETE)No. 3 (Polyvinyl Chlorine APP V)No. 6 (Polyester APPS)No. 7 (other plastics such as polycarbonate, PC OTHER) are more chemically sensitive and less suitable for reuse.Schmitt explains that PVC and Computers contain phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7), respectively, which are worrisome because of their disruptive properties to the endocrine system. Some PETE containers contain antiviral substances that have been linked to diarrhea, muscle and joint pain, anemia, and heart problems. PS is made from montmorillonite which is a human carcinogen. Generally, when reusing food packaging, containers should be used for foods that contain acids, sugars, fats, and alcohols similar to the original foods contained in them.

USAID Announces New Environment Project to Preserve and Protect Biodiversity and Natural Resources in Cambodia

date_range 22-Dec-2023
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Phnom Penh, December 05, 2023 --The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Cambodia has announced the award of a new, five-year, US$24 million environment project supporting efforts that preserve biodiversity, protect critical ecosystems, and enhance community livelihoods in Cambodia.According to a USAID’s press release dated Dec. 4, this new project, USAID Conserve, will expand USAID’s support to communities living in and around protected areas in the provinces of Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Stung Treng, and Kratie, while also undertaking new initiatives for communities living around Tonle Sap Lake and along the coastal areas of Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk.USAID Conserve will build upon USAID’s efforts to provide direct funding to community-based organisations through an US$8 million grant facility, which will provide at least 250 direct grants to Cambodian organisations. USAID will expand its long history of supporting successful forest carbon financing projects through support for the Kingdom’s efforts to develop blue carbon projects in Cambodia’s flooded forests and coastal areas. USAID Conserve will also develop social and behaviour change communications campaigns at the national, provincial, district, and commune levels focused on combating the illegal trade in wildlife.“USAID Conserve reflects our commitment to localisation of our development assistance,” stated USAID Mission Director Kerry Pelzman. “Through this activity, we will support community-driven efforts to develop local employment based on the sustainable use of natural resources and leverage private capital to invest in long-term solutions to the climate crisis. Under this approach, USAID Conserve will provide support to the commitment of the Royal Government of Cambodia to achieve carbon neutral status by 2050.”USAID Conserve will be led by Tetra Tech ARD and implemented by a consortium of partners, including the Wildlife Conservation Society and Conservation International.

Best Time to Make Fermented and Dried Fish Starts

date_range 20-Dec-2023
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Phnom Penh, December 20, 2023 --The Fisheries Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has encouraged interested Cambodians to start making Cambodia’s traditional fermented fish (locally called Prahok, Pa-ok), fish sauce, and dried fish.The notification was made following the observation of increasing fishes in Tonle Sap River, especially in Phnom Penh and Kandal province from Dec. 19-25, 2023.As more catch is available, the price of the fish will be more reasonable for Cambodians to make this staple food reserve.The fisheries administration also called on concerned authorities at all levels to help ease people’s effort to make the fermented and dried fish.

Another Dead Case of Avian Influenza Recorded

date_range 10-Oct-2023
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Home National News International News Business News Sports News Photo Stories Opinion Documentary Border Issue NovelsAnother Dead Case of Avian Influenza Recorded Share to ៖​ AKP Phnom Penh, October 09, 2023 --Another dead case of H5N1 avian influenza has been found on a two-year old girl living in Chmar Lot village, South Snong commune, Kamchay Mear district, Prey Veng province, according to an announcement of the Ministry of Health released tonight.The little girl was confirmed positive for H5N1 on Oct. 9 by the National Institute of Public Health, the source pointed out.This is the 3rd case of H5N1 this year, and the 59th person to be infected with the virus in Cambodia since 2005, of them 40 lost their lives, it added.The Ministry of Health’s Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) at the national and sub-national levels have been working to investigate the causes of transmission on both animals and humans and implement control measures as well as distribute Tamiflu to those who came in close contacts.H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza (or “bird flu”). Human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person.`

Two young Cambodians graduate from the YSEALI program in the United States and are committed to social development

date_range 27-Sep-2023
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According to the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Lian Sokleap and Bonnat Zo Isidana have successfully completed five weeks of study at the University of Montana and the East-West Center of Hawaii through the YSEALI Academic Fellowship in the fall of 2023.Lean Sokleap, a short-term YSEALI candidate, said that as a member of the YSEALI Fellow, he enjoyed interacting with US experts and other participants from Southeast Asia to learn and share experiences and challenges on environmental issues and find practical solutions. In addition, he learned about American society and culture through community work, study tours, and American housing."These experiences have given me a broader perspective and motivated me to work hard for the benefit of my community." This is what Mr. Sokleap said.Ms. Bonnat Zo Isidana successfully completed a five-week study at East-West Center University.As a member of the YSEALI Fellow, which studies environmental issues, she has gained a deeper understanding of environmental issues in the United States and Southeast Asia through lectures, field trips, and study meetings with specialists in book writing and policy-making while studying and living at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and the University of California Berkeley."These experiences allow me to look at these issues from a variety of perspectives and to reflect on leadership-related activities that need to be present in different environments and contexts," said Zhou Yi. ”

Sixth Dolphin Calf Recorded This Year

date_range 25-Aug-2023
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Phnom Penh, August 23, 2023 --A newborn dolphin has been found at Vattanak commune, Sambo district, Kratie province, said the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) in a news release yesterday.The dolphin is estimated to be only two weeks old, said MAFF, stressing that this is the sixth dolphin calf recorded between January and August 2023.The newborn dolphin was spotted swimming along with seven adult dolphins by a tourist boat driver on Aug. 21, at around 10:30 am, who then reported it to competent authorities.Last year, six dolphin calves have been registered, the same number as in 2021.The Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) are fully protected under Cambodia’s Fisheries Law. The population is ranked as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, the highest international threat ranking for endangered species.The Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins are a living natural treasure of Cambodia with about 90 individuals currently living along the Mekong River in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces.

Malaysian Embassy vows not to exempt Uncle Roger for insulting Cambodian food as 'waste'

date_range 18-Aug-2023
visibility 53

Phnom Penh: The Malaysian Embassy in Cambodia has issued a statement stating that it does not condone any words or actions that offend or offend others, as those actions are not Malaysian views. This is the response of the Embassy to the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, which issued a statement to Mr. NIGEL NG (Uncle Roger) to apologize to the Cambodian people because the Malaysian used bad words comparing Khmer and Lao food saying it is bad food to Thai food.According to the statement, the Malaysian Embassy emphasized that Cambodia and Malaysia have maintained good cooperation in both international and regional forums, which is a very important link in upholding ASEAN principles. The embassy added that this is the essence of its commitment to maintaining harmonious relations with its foreign counterparts. Therefore, the Embassy considers Nigel Ng's actions to be a hindrance and a breach of trust and friendship between Cambodia and Malaysia, as well as the people of both countries.Please be informed that on July 30, 2023, Uncle Roger, the famous producer of Youtube content, posted a video clip using insulting words to taste Khmer food while Cambodia is trying to bring Khmer food to the world. Also, the Malaysian also said to despise Lao food.

What is global remuneration? Why is it important for MNEs?

date_range 28-Jul-2023
visibility 13

Any form of compensation provided to workers who work abroad is referred to as global remuneration. It covers their pay and any other perks provided by the employer. Benefits could include things like a place to reside, a corporate vehicle, healthcare, or even language instruction. Basically, everything that would be worth money is provided to an employee as a perk or payment for their labor.Global compensation is crucial since it helps to: ·        Retain staff: It is crucial for the firm to ensure that they deserve what they receive based on their performance so that they will work longer for the company. If you lack insight into how to provide your employees, they will not stay longer with your company.·        Enhance organizational performance: Employees will work harder if MNE pay a strong package of salary, which will improve the company's overall job performance.·        Can encourage international assignees to carry out international assignments for the company: For instance, several large corporations still need to employ their headquarters' workforce to complete a task in a different nation. If they employ locals, they merely adhere to the norms and context of the area. However, it is difficult to offer fair remuneration when corporations move employees from their headquarters to work in other nations. To motivate them to go, you must give them something truly special. Give them a fair pay package so they will be motivated to go.

Tips How To Be a Good Student

date_range 28-Jul-2023
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Ever wonder how to get great scores on your test every semester? Here are three tips on how to study well.1. Set goalsGoals, both short and long-term, are a great way to measure your success. If you don’t have goals in sight, you have nothing to achieve or strive for in your courses.2. Develop note-taking skillsListening and taking notes actively during class not only ensures the recording of accurate information, but also reinforces the information through recording the information as you take it in.3. Study partnersWorking with other students is a terrific method to study if you pick individuals who will keep you on track. Rather than your existing pals, try to locate new pupils in your class. It might broaden your social circle and make you more likely to concentrate on your schoolwork.

Brands are moving from fast to ‘forever fashion’ – but are new clothes ever sustainable?

date_range 08-Feb-2022
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fashion has a new trend for spring. Well, of course it does – that’s how fashion works. Except this time round, the trend isn’t crimson or corduroy, or Peter Pan collars or platform shoes. The hot look for spring 2022 is the “forever wardrobe”. The key pieces of the season are clothes that come with the promise that they will never go out of style: think crisp white shirts and well-cut blazers; classic knitwear and timeless little black dresses. Throwaway fashion is so last season. This spring, chic comes with a lifetime guarantee.The irony is that the forever wardrobe never went away, it just went out of style. The fast fashion industry, which exploded in the last 30 years, turbocharged the trend cycle, abandoning the principles of enduring elegance in favour of a rollercoaster of plot twists (woah, jumpsuits!), comebacks (Crocs) and about-turns (black is back, again) designed to keep an audience hooked. Bored of your jeans? Why not try leather trousers! Throw out your neutrals, it’s the season for neon!

‘My son cowers when a shopkeeper says hello’ – are the toddlers of Covid all right?

date_range 08-Feb-2022
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Until the spring of 2020, Rebecca Handford’s then two-year-old daughter Eadie was happily spending three days a week being looked after by her grandparents, enjoying trips out, and going to cafes.But then came the first lockdown, and her world closed in overnight. The family, who live in a small village on the border between Cheshire and Derbyshire, felt lucky to have a garden for Eadie to play in – although, as Handford ruefully puts it, while she was trying to work from home “Mr Tumble did a lot of the heavy lifting”.Eadie is an only child, and her language came on in leaps and bounds due to spending so much time with her parents. But Handford worries that she missed out on learning to socialise. “If there’s a little gang of toddlers running around, she very much doesn’t want to take part. Even if we go to the park, if there’s another child on the slide she will go and play somewhere else until it’s free.”

How we met: ‘I wanted to discover the world. He said: I’ll go with you!’

date_range 08-Feb-2022
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It wasn’t the first time the two men had seen each other. Sebastien, who had been working in financial services in London since 2006, had spotted Stefan on a night out two years earlier. “I was so shy and just coming out at the time, so I didn’t speak to him,” he says. “I remembered him instantly, though, and told the friend I was with that he was ‘the man of my life’.” Sebastien still felt too shy to approach Stefan, so he was delighted when his friend passed on the phone number. “My cheeks flushed and I was so excited,” he says. “I sent him a text the next day. It took me ages to write because I didn’t want to mess it up.”

Rukmini Iyer’s recipe for beetroot, feta and rosemary breakfast muffins

date_range 06-Feb-2022
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I love so many things about these muffins: the vibrantly pink batter, and then the perfectly balanced hit of feta alongside the beetroot and rosemary in the final bake.These are as perfect for a lazy Valentine’s Day brunch with friends as they are for breakfast in bed à deux – especially when served with blood orange mimosas on the side. I’ve been known to eat three in one sitting, so double up if you’re having more than four people over.Everything can be found fresh from Ocado, or in its well-stocked baking “aisle”.Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/400F/gas 6. In a large bowl, stir the grated beetroot with the lemon juice, then add the flours, baking powder, sea salt, and chopped rosemary. Mix well.In a separate bowl or large jug, whisk the olive oil, yoghurt, milk and egg together. Stir the liquid very briefly into the beetroot and flour mixture along with half the crumbled feta. Combine just until you can’t see any flour, and no further. The less you mix, the lighter the muffin.Spoon a tablespoon of muffin mixture into each of your 12 lined muffin cups, then scatter over the remaining feta evenly, along with a few rosemary sprigs and a small grind of black pepper.Transfer the muffins to the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes, until well risen and firm to the touch. Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack, but make sure to serve warm. These are best eaten on the day they’re made, but can be kept in the fridge in an airtight box for up to two days and reheated gently in the oven as needed.

Louis Theroux: ‘I’ve always found anxiety in the most unlikely places’

date_range 06-Feb-2022
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I always felt like the second fiddle to my older brother Marcel, who I thought was impossibly brilliant and mature and seemed to be reading more or less from the womb, although I’m two years younger, so I wouldn’t have known that first-hand. I was the sideshow: the funny one, the ridiculous one my grandparents said was “good with my hands”, which at five or six I embraced. It was only as I got older I realised it meant, “might not want to stay in school past 14 or 15”.From childhood I’ve always found anxiety in the most unlikely places. Aged six I remember watching maypole dancers skipping around and braiding these ribbons into beautiful patterns at my south London primary school and even though I was still in the infants and wouldn’t be doing it for years, I thought, “I’m never going to be able to fucking dance around a maypole.” All through my life I’ve tended to experience future events in a negative way. It’s always been a source of looming discomfiture.I always felt like the second fiddle to my older brother Marcel, who I thought was impossibly brilliant and mature and seemed to be reading more or less from the womb, although I’m two years younger, so I wouldn’t have known that first-hand. I was the sideshow: the funny one, the ridiculous one my grandparents said was “good with my hands”, which at five or six I embraced. It was only as I got older I realised it meant, “might not want to stay in school past 14 or 15”.From childhood I’ve always found anxiety in the most unlikely places. Aged six I remember watching maypole dancers skipping around and braiding these ribbons into beautiful patterns at my south London primary school and even though I was still in the infants and wouldn’t be doing it for years, I thought, “I’m never going to be able to fucking dance around a maypole.” All through my life I’ve tended to experience future events in a negative way. It’s always been a source of looming discomfiture.

‘I’ve had some hairy experiences’: actor Adeel Akhtar on racism, role models and feeling hopeful

date_range 06-Feb-2022
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Akhtar has made a successful career out of channelling and elevating the circumstances of underrepresented people, and of capturing the grace and power in everyday actions, even when those actions are questionable. When I ask him about being normal, he says plainly, “Well, I am that.” This is partly because of how he looks: the hangdog face, the dark eyes, a twinkly smile. But also because he understands that even in the smallest lives there are things at stake – a truth he holds dear. “There’s something that makes me realise that we need to see the world we’re living in as full and beautiful,” he says. In 2017, he became the first non-white man to win a Lead Actor Bafta, for his role in Murdered By My Father, a TV drama about arranged marriage in which he is by turns tender and maniacal. (He had already been Bafta-nominated for Utopia, the Dennis Kelly drama.) He’s since appeared in a string of A-list films and television series: as a compromised doctor in Sweet Tooth, the Netflix series; as brother to Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick; as a kindly neighbour in Back to Life, the Daisy Haggard comedy. It is likely you recognise him even if you aren’t part of the subset that already considers him a household name. When Haggard first approached him, she assumed he would be too busy to talk. “I ended up writing him a letter,” she told me. “I thought, well, it’s worth a shot.” When he said yes, she was amazed, and she began to jump up and down. On set, Akhtar would “do all these lovely things,” Haggard recalled, “and I’d think, ‘Oh, that’s gorgeous, I definitely didn’t write that.’”

Why it’s the right time to lift plan B restrictions in England

date_range 06-Feb-2022
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The numbers of admissions and deaths peaked below the level expected in even the best-case scenarios. Pressure on hospitals remained very high, but in most cases, the situation was better than feared. The editor of the Lancet, Richard Horton, this week described scientists’ response to Omicron as “a case study in error”. He attributed this to an “over-reliance on mathematical modelling and too little emphasis on the experience of health workers on the frontlines of care”, with insufficient attention paid to the views of South African doctors.“Following the science” in relation to restrictions was always a misnomer, as “the science” was often uncertain, leading to models that inevitably provided a very wide range of scenarios with different levels of restrictions. Many people are now understandably concerned about the potential negative impact of ending plan B restrictions. But again, it is important to look at what’s actually happened to see how effective these restrictions have been – and whether they’ve led to better outcomes.Child Covid infections are rising in England – is low vaccine rate a factor?Read morePlan B restrictions have effectively been in place in Wales and Scotland since July (in England, the government announced the move to plan B on 8 December). A comparison of death rates since 19 July from ONS data shows that England has actually had the lowest death rates. (It is not possible to directly compare case and hospitalisation rates due to differences in how they are measured, but these are both closely linked to death rates.)Many have long assumed that more and earlier restrictions lead to better outcomes than voluntary behaviour changes. This assumption is largely based on evidence from the pre-vaccination era, when the countries that locked down quickly against Covid experienced far fewer deaths and hospitalisations. But over the last few months, the real-world evidence no longer appears to support this assumption: now, the main determinant of hospitalisation and death rates is the level of immunity in a population, through both vaccination and natural infection. This is especially the case among older and higher-risk groups. This is why England – where 98% of over 15s have some immunity to Covid-19 – appears to have fared relatively well since July compared with other European countries, despite having fewer restrictions.AdvertisementBehaviour change and compliance to rules also play a role, of course. There is evidence that household mixing in England rose and fell along with perceptions of risk rather than necessarily because of the rules in place at the time. And we have now seen that it is voluntary behaviour changes over the last few weeks, such as reducing contacts, that has led to the same reduction in admissions and deaths that the models showed would be produced by a return to step 1 of the roadmap.At the other extreme, lockdown sceptics now say that because lockdowns and other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing are no longer needed, they were never needed – even though before the vaccine programme, Covid-19 overwhelmed the NHS and the health service was not able to provide all of its services.Even during this wave, the pressure on the NHS remains very high – particularly due to staff absence – and many of my colleagues on the frontline are physically and mentally exhausted. That is why it’s so important for everyone to continue to follow the public health guidance – including wearing masks – even after mandatory restrictions end.Medical and public health interventions are usually judged by the criteria: do they have a clinically significant benefit? Does that benefit outweigh any harms? And are they the best use of resources – or would spending money on something else produce greater benefits? Of course, during the first wave this evidence was lacking – which is why lockdown measures were justified. Even in the second wave, there was sufficient evidence to show that the benefits of lockdown outweighed the costs – especially with the arrival of vaccines, when lockdowns were not just delaying admissions and deaths but actually preventing them.