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Comedians should be free to decide what jokes to tell, says Monty Python legend Michael Palin

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comedians should be free to decide what jokes to tell says monty python legend michael palin

Sir Michael Palin has warned of the dangers of telling comedians which jokes they are allowed to make and of PC culture stifling humour.

The Monty Python star, 77, said: ‘If something is funny and makes people laugh, then I’m afraid that just happens. 

‘Any attempt by authority to say, “No, you’ve got to make sure that we’re portrayed in a serious manner” is a dangerous thing.

Sir Michael Palin (pictured) has warned of the dangers of telling comedians which jokes they are allowed to make and of PC culture stifling humour

Sir Michael Palin (pictured) has warned of the dangers of telling comedians which jokes they are allowed to make and of PC culture stifling humour

Sir Michael Palin (pictured) has warned of the dangers of telling comedians which jokes they are allowed to make and of PC culture stifling humour

‘Everybody, myself included, should be up for being laughed at or joked with.

‘Comedy is very important, especially in times of crisis. One needs jokes, one needs laughter. But you shouldn’t stifle it by decree.’ 

However Sir Michael added he objects if comedians try to get ‘laughs from bullying and belittling people’.

His comments came ahead of his new BBC series Travels Of A Lifetime starting next Sunday in which he looks back at some of his globe-trotting adventures. 

The star, who was knighted last year, said that ‘the laughter that Python created was from general silliness. And looking at human behaviour and saying that, ‘we’re all idiots’.’

Sir Michael said he was relieved that none of the ‘fear’ he felt when he made his first foray into travel presenting was obvious to viewers.

The Monty Python star, 77, added he objects if comedians try to get 'laughs from bullying and belittling people' (pictured, Michael Palin in Monty Python's Life of Brian)

The Monty Python star, 77, added he objects if comedians try to get 'laughs from bullying and belittling people' (pictured, Michael Palin in Monty Python's Life of Brian)

 The Monty Python star, 77, added he objects if comedians try to get ‘laughs from bullying and belittling people’ (pictured, Michael Palin in Monty Python’s Life of Brian)

He was worried, at the time, about whether the show ‘would work, would it be a complete disaster and who was going to watch it?,’ he admitted.

‘Inside, I was full of anxiety and misgivings and worries… about whether I’d be up to it and all that. But looking at them I managed to sort of suppress those, mostly, on camera.

‘I was pleased about that. I looked as though I was enjoying myself when in fact it was difficult!’

Michael Palin, Travels Of A Lifetime begins at 8pm on October 4 on BBC Two. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Coronavirus antibodies that can ‘neutralize’ the virus can last at least five months

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coronavirus antibodies that can neutralize the virus can last at least five months

Coronavirus immunity can last up to five months – and maybe even longer – in the majority of survivors, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that those who had mild-to-moderate illness, about 90 percent of people, had a robust and stable immune response against COVID-19. 

What’s more, most of these patients had antibodies that were able to neutralize, or kill, the virus, known as SARS-CoV-2.

The team, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, says the findings show it is very likely decrease the odds of reinfection – and if it occurs – severely weakens the disease.. 

It comes on the heels of a study from the UK that found a more than 26 percent decline in COVID-19 antibodies over the course of three months.  

About 70% of coronavirus survivors had high levels of antibodies, 22% had moderate levels and 8% had low levels (above)

About 70% of coronavirus survivors had high levels of antibodies, 22% had moderate levels and 8% had low levels (above)

About 70% of coronavirus survivors had high levels of antibodies, 22% had moderate levels and 8% had low levels (above)

All of the blood serum in the high groups had neutralizing activity against the virus's spike protein as did 90% in the moderate group and 50% in the low group (above)

All of the blood serum in the high groups had neutralizing activity against the virus's spike protein as did 90% in the moderate group and 50% in the low group (above)

All of the blood serum in the high groups had neutralizing activity against the virus’s spike protein as did 90% in the moderate group and 50% in the low group (above)

Patients had stable response after three months with only modest declines after five months (above)

Patients had stable response after three months with only modest declines after five months (above)

Patients had stable response after three months with only modest declines after five months (above)

‘While some reports have come out saying antibodies to this virus go away quickly, we have found just the opposite,’ said senior author Dr Florian Krammer, a professor of vaccinology at the Icahn School of Medicine.

‘[M]ore than 90 percent of people who were mildly or moderately ill produce an antibody response strong enough to neutralize the virus, and the response is maintained for many months.’

For the study, published in the journal Science, the team looked at data from more than 30,000 individuals screened at The Mount Sinai Health System between March 2020 and October 2020.

The antibody test used was the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), which looks for antibodies that attach to the spike protein the virus uses to enter and infect human cells.

It is also capable of measuring the titer, or level, of antibodies an individual has. 

Antibody test results using distinct dilutions set at 1:80, 1:160, 1:320, 1:960 or 1:2800, with each score indicating the number of times the scientist can dilute a patient’s blood and still be able to detect the presence of antibodies. 

Titers of 1:80 and 1:160 were categorized as low; 1:320 as moderate; and 1:960 or  1:2880 as high.

Of the 30,000-plus patients, about 7.1 percent of patients had low levels, 22.5 percent had moderate levels and 70.4 percent had high levels.

This means more than 90 percent of coronavirus survivors had moderate-to-high levels of anti-spike antibodies.   

Additionally, about 50 percent of blood serum in the low range had neutralizing activity as did 90 percent in the moderate range and all did in the high range. 

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35007904 8893655 image a 46 1603989506424

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35007892 8893655 image a 47 1603989526105

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35007898 8893655 image a 48 1603989528982

Next, the team recalled 121 plasma donors who had a variety of levels to repeat antibody test three months after recovering and again at five months. 

Results showed slight drops after each tests, but a moderate level was retained by most people five months later 

In an interesting findings, there was an increase in levels among those who originally tested as have low or moderate antibody levels.

It may explain the findings of the British study, with 6.6 precent of those having antibody responses to the virus in June and 4.4 percent in September – because those with mild cases have responses that take a longer time to mount.

‘The serum antibody titer we measured in individuals initially were likely produced by plasmablasts, cells that act as first responders to an invading virus and come together to produce initial bouts of antibodies whose strength soon wanes,’ said first author Dr Ania Wajnberg, Director of Clinical Antibody Testing at The Mount Sinai Hospital. 

‘The sustained antibody levels that we subsequently observed are likely produced by long-lived plasma cells in the bone marrow. 

‘This is similar to what we see in other viruses and likely means they are here to stay. We will continue to follow this group over time to see if these levels remain stable as we suspect and hope they will.’   

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35008062 0 image a 49 1603989566640

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Surveillance footage shows Calgary cop slamming a handcuffed black woman face-first to the floor

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surveillance footage shows calgary cop slamming a handcuffed black woman face first to the floor

Shocking surveillance footage has shown a Calgary cop slamming a handcuffed black woman face-first to the floor and breaking her nose in what a fellow officer has described as the ‘worst use of force he has seen in 30 years’. 

Calgary Police Constable Alex Dunn was charged with assault causing bodily harm over the violent incident that took place during the arrest of Dalia Kafi back in December 2017 in Calgary, in the western Canadian province of Alberta. 

Dunn is currently standing trial for the alleged assault but has not been fired from the force and is currently working in an administrative role. 

Video played at his trial Monday shows the police officer flipping Kafi to the ground in a ‘judo-style throw’ causing her face to bounce off the concrete and leaving her lying in a pool of blood.   

A Calgary cop is on trial for slamming a handcuffed black woman face-first to the floor and breaking her nose in what a fellow officer has described as the 'worst use of force he has seen in 30 years'. Pictured the footage of the incident above

A Calgary cop is on trial for slamming a handcuffed black woman face-first to the floor and breaking her nose in what a fellow officer has described as the 'worst use of force he has seen in 30 years'. Pictured the footage of the incident above

A Calgary cop is on trial for slamming a handcuffed black woman face-first to the floor and breaking her nose in what a fellow officer has described as the ‘worst use of force he has seen in 30 years’. Pictured the footage of the incident above

The shocking footage of the incident was shown to the court this week and provincial court Judge Michelle Christopher agreed to release it to members of the media.

It shows the officer approaching Kafi, 26 at the time, who is stood in handcuffs with her back against the wall inside a police arrest processing facility. 

Dunn reaches up to Kafi’s head and tries to pull off the headscarf she is wearing. 

Kafi tries to lean away from him but Dunn yanks it off her head. 

The cop then forcefully hurls her to the ground face first in one swift motion with her face visibly bouncing off the ground.

Dunn has a hold of Kafi’s wrists that are handcuffed behind her back and her arms are held in the air as she lies still on the ground for a moment. 

Kafi is seen stirring slightly while Dunn continues to hold her arms and look down at her on the ground for several seconds making no motion to check her injuries.

Another male officer then walks over about 15 seconds later and Dunn steps away.

The officer helps Dafi to her knees and blood spatters can be seen along the floor from the alleged victim’s face.  

Another two male officers emerge in the frame and one is seen putting on medical gloves.  

There is no audio in the footage. 

Calgary police Constable Alex Dunn was charged with assault causing bodily harm during the arrest of Dalia Kafi in December 2017 in Calgary. The shocking footage of the incident was shown to the court this week at Dunn's trial

Calgary police Constable Alex Dunn was charged with assault causing bodily harm during the arrest of Dalia Kafi in December 2017 in Calgary. The shocking footage of the incident was shown to the court this week at Dunn's trial

Calgary police Constable Alex Dunn was charged with assault causing bodily harm during the arrest of Dalia Kafi in December 2017 in Calgary. The shocking footage of the incident was shown to the court this week at Dunn’s trial

Dunn approaches Kafi, 26 at the time, who is stood in handcuffs with her back against the wall inside the police arrest processing facility

Dunn approaches Kafi, 26 at the time, who is stood in handcuffs with her back against the wall inside the police arrest processing facility

Dunn reaches up to Kafi's head and tries to pull off the headscarf she is wearing

Dunn reaches up to Kafi's head and tries to pull off the headscarf she is wearing

It shows the officer approaching Kafi, 26 at the time, who is stood in handcuffs with her back against the wall inside the police arrest processing facility. Dunn reaches up to Kafi’s head and tries to pull off the headscarf she is wearing

The cop then forcefully hurls her to the ground face first in one swift motion with her face visibly bouncing off the ground

The cop then forcefully hurls her to the ground face first in one swift motion with her face visibly bouncing off the ground

The cop then forcefully hurls her to the ground face first in one swift motion with her face visibly bouncing off the ground

A fellow officer told the court it was a 'judo-style throw' and said he heard the alleged victim's facial bones crack on the ground

A fellow officer told the court it was a 'judo-style throw' and said he heard the alleged victim's facial bones crack on the ground

A fellow officer told the court it was a ‘judo-style throw’ and said he heard the alleged victim’s facial bones crack on the ground

Dunn has a hold of Kafi's wrists that are handcuffed behind her back and her arms are held in the air as she lies still on the ground for a moment in a pool of blood

Dunn has a hold of Kafi's wrists that are handcuffed behind her back and her arms are held in the air as she lies still on the ground for a moment in a pool of blood

Dunn has a hold of Kafi’s wrists that are handcuffed behind her back and her arms are held in the air as she lies still on the ground for a moment in a pool of blood

Kafi was taken to hospital where she needed stitches in her lip and underwent surgery for a broken nose.

Calgary police Staff Sgt. Gordon Macdonald testified his colleague’s actions were the ‘worst use of force’ he had seen in his 30-year career and said he could hear the black woman’s bones crack as her face struck the ground. 

‘There’s only one type of sound when somebody’s bone hits the floor and that’s what I heard,’ he said from the witness box, according to CBC.  

‘I advised [Dunn] that it was the worst use of force that I had seen,’ said Macdonald. 

Macdonald, who was the commanding officer at the arresting unit, said Kafi was ‘flinching back’ from Dunn when he hurled her face-first in a ‘judo-style throw’, answering ‘no’ when asked if Kafi had acted in a way that would have justified the use of force. 

He said the black woman was complaining about her arrest but was in no way threatening or aggressive toward any of the officers. 

He said he feared the worst for Kafi after seeing and hearing the assault and called paramedics. 

Macdonald said it was standard practice for the arresting officer to accompany arrestees to the hospital but he made the decision it was not appropriate for Dunn to remain in the 26-year-old’s presence.  

Other officers arrive and Kafi is taken to hospital where she had stitches in her lip and surgery for her broken nose. Dunn is currently standing trial for the alleged assault but has not been fired from the force and is currently working in an administrative role

Other officers arrive and Kafi is taken to hospital where she had stitches in her lip and surgery for her broken nose. Dunn is currently standing trial for the alleged assault but has not been fired from the force and is currently working in an administrative role

Other officers arrive and Kafi is taken to hospital where she had stitches in her lip and surgery for her broken nose. Dunn is currently standing trial for the alleged assault but has not been fired from the force and is currently working in an administrative role

The alleged assault took place in December 2017 when Dunn arrested Kafi over allegedly breaching a court-ordered curfew. 

Kafi said she had been to a friend’s house braiding hair on the night of December 12 when she realized she was out past her curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m..

She told the court a friend was driving her home when they were pulled over for turning on a yellow light.

Kafi said she gave cops her sister’s name at first because she was violating her curfew. 

She then admitted her real name to Dun and was arrested, handcuffed and taken to the arrest processing unit.  

She said she was told to stand against a wall to have her photo taken when the incident took place. 

Judge Michelle Christopher agreed to release the shocking footage

Judge Michelle Christopher agreed to release the shocking footage

Judge Michelle Christopher agreed to release the shocking footage 

The black woman told the court she passed out for a moment after striking her head off the ground, coming round to realize her face was covered in blood. 

Kafi’s mom let out a guttural noise and left the courtroom after she saw the disturbing footage of the alleged assault on her daughter Monday, CBC reported.

Dunn was charged with assault after concerns were raised by colleagues and an internal investigation was launched. 

The cop was suspended with pay for a year while awaiting trial but, after delays due to COVID-19, he has been allowed to return to work in ‘non-operational functions,’ Calgary police said. 

The force’s internal disciplinary process, which will be completed after the trial, will also determine if Dunn’s use of force was reasonable and what disciplinary action, such as dismissal, should be taken.   

‘To ensure the court process is not unfairly influenced, we are limited in regard to completing our internal disciplinary process until the court process is finished,’ police said in a statement.

‘In general terms, police officers are trained to de-escalate conflict and to use the least amount of force necessary to safely resolve a situation. 

‘We expect them to follow the law, our policies and our training.’   

The case comes one month after a judge ruled that several Calgary cops laughed at and mocked a black man who was bitten by a police dog.  

Judge Heather Lamoureux ruled in September that Latef Reakwon Tag El Din, 24, had his charter rights of life, liberty, and security of person violated by several Calgary police officers when they mocked him as he begged to be taken to hospital for his injuries. 

The judge slammed the cops for carrying out a ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ and causing the black man to ‘suffer needlessly.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Jihadists celebrate Nice terror attack as ISIS and al-Qaeda call for more violence

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jihadists celebrate nice terror attack as isis and al qaeda call for more violence

Online jihadists celebrated the latest terror attack on France today after three people were murdered by a knifeman in Nice on a day which also saw a gunman killed in Avignon and a guard attacked at a French consulate in Saudi Arabia

The latest in a long line of violent attacks in France was ‘already being celebrated massively across jihadi communities’ by late Thursday, according to the SITE Intelligence monitoring group. 

SITE director Rita Katz said it was ‘hard to recall social media celebration this massive for terrorism’ with jihadists taking to Twitter and Facebook to welcome the latest grisly murders. 

No group has yet claimed responsibility for today’s violence, but it comes amid high tensions between France and the Muslim world after a teacher was beheaded for showing Prophet Mohammed cartoons to his class two weeks ago. 

An armed French police officer secures a street near the entrance of the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice where three people were murdered in a terror attack today

An armed French police officer secures a street near the entrance of the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice where three people were murdered in a terror attack today

An armed French police officer secures a street near the entrance of the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice where three people were murdered in a terror attack today 

Katz said that jihadists were celebrating the attackers ‘freedom of action’ after three violent episodes in the space of a few hours. 

‘These new attacks comes amid a massive and enduring wave of jihadi media condemning France and its cartoonists,’ she said. 

A report by SITE said that jihadists were ‘overjoyed’ by the news from Nice, Avignon and Saudi Arabia today.  

Extremists linked to both ISIS and al-Qaeda have seized on the beheading of Samuel Paty earlier this month to incite more attacks against France. 

Katz said that the ‘prospect of co-ordination’ between the various attackers seemed ‘increasingly plausible’, although not confirmed. 

The Nice attack began around 9am at the Notre Dame basilica where a knifeman killed a male church warden, an elderly female parishioner and a second woman, wounded several others, and was then shot and arrested by police.  

Both ISIS and Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks, which were the beginning of a wave of terrorism across France. 

Anger at France has not been confined to extremists, with many in the Islamic world staging protests and calling for boycotts over Charlie Hebdo’s controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. 

Macron has vowed to defend freedom of expression and the right to insult religion, but leaders of Muslim countries have warned his stance could lead to violence. 

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been among those to feud with France, reacting angrily to an offensive cartoon of him on the front of Charlie Hebdo.

‘I don’t need to say anything to those scoundrels who insult my beloved prophet on such a scale,’ Erdogan said on Wednesday, calling it a ‘disgusting attack’.

Emergency services work at the back of an ambulance in Nice today after a knifeman killed three people and injured several others before being shot and arrested

Emergency services work at the back of an ambulance in Nice today after a knifeman killed three people and injured several others before being shot and arrested

Emergency services work at the back of an ambulance in Nice today after a knifeman killed three people and injured several others before being shot and arrested 

Erdogan’s top press aide today sought to fend off suggestions that Turkey’s strident rhetoric had encouraged violence. 

‘We will continue to confront any politician who insults our religion and values,’ Fahrettin Altun said, condemning the attacks in Nice. 

‘We feel we owe no apology to anyone for expressing our strong opposition to racism and xenophobia. We categorically deny any effort to associate us with any kind of violence.’

Abdallah Zekri, director general of the French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM), also condemned the attack in Nice today. 

‘I can only denounce as strongly as possible this act of cowardice against the innocent,’ he said. 

Zekri called on French Muslims to cancel festivities to mark Mohammed’s birthday, which end on Thursday, ‘in solidarity with the victims and their loved ones.’

There was also condemnation of today’s attack from abroad, with UK prime minister Boris Johnson saying he was ‘appalled’ by news of a ‘barbaric attack’. 

‘Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and the UK stands steadfastly with France against terror and intolerance,’ the PM said. 

Angela Merkel’s spokesman said the German chancellor was ‘deeply shocked about the gruesome murders in a church in Nice’. 

Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte condemned a ‘vile attack’ but vowed it ‘will not shake the common front defending the values of freedom and peace.’  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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