Roundabout Theatre Company has announced four new plays to premiere off-Broadway in its 2017-18 season. Among the titles are world premieres by Joshua Harmon, whose play Significant Other (which played at Roundabout’s off-Broadway space in 2015) will open on Broadway this spring, and Lindsey Ferrentino, the playwright of Ugly Lies the Bone (another work to premiere with the company).The season kicks off on September 28 with the New York premiere of Anna Ziegler’s The Last Match. The play follows two tennis greats going head-to-head at the U.S. Open: an all-American favorite and the hot-shot newcomer who’s hesitant to compete against his idol. The production, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, will open officially on October 24 and run through December 24.Next comes Ferrentino’s Amy and the Orphans, running from February 1, 2018 through April 22. Scott Ellis will direct the play, which follows two siblings who reunite with their sister living with Down Syndrome after the death of their father. Opening night is set for March 1.Harmon’s Skintight, beginning May 24, reunites Harmon with Bad Jews director Daniel Aukin. The new play centers around Jodi, who turns to her famous fashion designer dad after her ex-husband becomes engaged to a much younger woman. To her surprise, he now lives with 20-year-old Trey—who, though not necessarily gay, is likely a gay porn star (at least, according to Jodi’s son). The production will open on June 21 and run through August 26.Roundabout’s Underground season will begin with Jiréh Breon Holder’s Too Heavy For Your Pocket. The play, set in Nashville in 1961, follows a 20-year-old who gives up his college scholarship to join the Freedom Riders. A director and dates—as well as a second Roundabout Underground title, will be announced at a later date.The Last Match, Amy and the Orphans and Skintight will play the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, while Too Heavy For Your Pocket will play the black box space below. Joshua Harmon(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser) View Comments
Less than 25. That’s how many red wolves are left in the wild. They are possibly the most endangered species on the planet, and they live only in an area of eastern North Carolina.The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which manages all federally endangered species, will make a decision soon about the future of red wolves. A small but vocal number of hunters and landowners want the red wolf recovery program ended. The pro-hunting leadership of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is also lobbying to remove the last red wolves from the wild.But the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians want red wolves protected. In the past year, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has received over 55,000 comments in support of the red wolf recovery program—and only 10 against it.We’ve saved red wolves once before. After nearly being hunted to extinction in the twentieth century, a few pairs of red wolves bred in captivity were released in eastern North Carolina in 1987. Red wolves flourished for nearly three decades in the wild, and their population swelled to over 200. The red wolf recovery program was heralded as one of the most successful reintroductions of an endangered species into the wild.Then, in the last few years, a small group of hunters and landowners took aim at the red wolves. The recovery program has been suspended, and their numbers have quickly plummeted.Can we save the red wolves again? Only if we make more noise than the politically influential folks targeting the wolves. We stand to lose more than an endangered species. An irreplaceable wildness will also vanish. The woods and wilds will be eerily and tragically silent without the red wolf’s howl.
The proposal for a pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) is “timely and appropriate”, according to the European Parliament’s lead on the project.In a working document prepared for the parliamentary Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) ahead of it discussing the PEPP on Thursday, Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld said a well-developed third pillar must contribute substantially to improving the adequacy and sustainability of existing pension systems.However, she also said further development, strengthening and reform of first and second pillar pensions must be prioritised.The European Commission proposed a regulation on a PEPP in June. In ‘t Veld is the European Parliament’s rapporteur, and will therefore lead and coordinate ECON’s work on the proposal. The working document reflects her initial views – or, as she told IPE, “the policy options and dilemmas we have to respond to”. Source: Sebastiaan ter Burg Sophie in ‘t Veld, ECON rapporteur on PEPPIn the ECON working document In ‘t Veld described the situation: “There is broad support for the idea of PEPP, but the context is extremely complex and politically sensitive. The differences between [the] 28 member states of the EU are huge and intricate.”“However, the status quo is not an option,” she said. The proposal for a PEPP was timely and appropriate, she added.In ‘t Veld has previously said lawmakers needed to take care not to undermine well-functioning national pension systems where these exist. Sticking pointsThe working document set out In ‘t Veld’s thoughts on some of the main issues and dilemmas arising from the Commission’s proposal and how these might be resolved. The Commission’s proposed regulation foresaw pension funds as one of six PEPP providers, alongside insurers, banks and other entities.However, In ‘t Veld noted that, in some EU countries, institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORPs) had exclusive rights to provide occupational pensions, meaning that the PEPP regulation “should not in any way jeopardise well-developed second-pillar systems”.“That would be defeating the very purpose of PEPP,” she said.IORPs with exclusive rights would have a competitive advantage over other providers, the ECON paper said. However, categorical exclusion of IORPs from providing PEPPs would reduce competition and choice, and exclude institutions that have extensive experience in retirement provision. “PEPP will be as strong as the weakest link in the chain.”Sophie in ‘t Veld, ECON rapporteur on the PEPP proposalAccording to In ‘t Veld, this dilemma could be addressed by redrafting the regulation so that only IORPs with a legal statute that allowed them to engage in commercial activities could be eligible as a PEPP provider. The regulation could also be amended to allow the activities of IORPs implementing mandatory auto-enrolment to be ringfenced from PEPP activities.Policy officials at Dutch pension manager APG have previously questioned how allowing pension funds to be eligible PEPP providers was compatible with the EU’s new IORP Directive, and said it might not be possible for Dutch IORPs to offer PEPPs.Tax treatmentUnanimity on “any kind of tax harmonisation” among EU countries was highly unlikely, but there may be alternative routes, according to In ‘t Veld. For example, a group of member states could advance on the basis of a voluntary multilateral approach, or agree on a separate, “29th regime” approach that would allow for a specific tax treatment of the PEPP.She said that, while the PEPP would have to come with tax incentives on contributions in order for it to be successful, this would bring complexity and the risk of tax avoidance or evasion.It was crucial that this be resolved, possibly via a multilateral tax agreement between participating member states or with EU instruments for information exchange and coordination, said In ‘t Veld.Just 3.7% of Europeans work across country borders, the ECON paper said, and not all were likely to take out a PEPP.The Commission has so far issued a recommendation to encourage member states to apply the necessary tax relief. Capital protectionThe Commission has proposed that PEPP providers offer up to five investment options, including a default option. This, and whether a default option should ensure capital protection, is disputed – some have argued a default option should not be required, and that a capital guarantee would eat into returns and reduce competition.The Commission’s proposed text refers to a default investment operation needing to ensure capital protection but, In ‘t Veld said, it was still unclear if the proposal required a default option with a capital guarantee. She argued for the regulation to specify the risk-mitigation techniques, including the definition of ‘capital protection’ for a default option.Authorisation and supervisionA European authorisation procedure and uniform, high standards of enforcement and supervision throughout the EU were a prerequisite for the PEPP to be a truly European product and a success, according to the ECON working document.“This should be achieved through common standards, and coordination of national supervisors by EIOPA [the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority],” it said. “PEPP will be as strong as the weakest link in the chain.”Although national supervisors would supervise PEPP providers, EIOPA should give authorisation its “stamp of approval … so as to create a brand known and trusted throughout the EU”.The liability of national supervisors and EIOPA in case of problems with a PEPP still needed to be clarified, In ‘t Veld said.The full ECON working document can be found here. Some in the European pension fund industry are unhappy about the PEPP. The German occupational pension fund association, for example, has opposed its introduction, saying the focus should be on expanding workplace pension provision rather than on private pension products. A German corporate pensions executive has criticised the PEPP as “the answer to a question nobody asked”.Many others have welcomed the idea of a PEPP in general, but have been quick to raise questions and doubts about its design and feasibility. Sticking points include tax treatment, whether or not there should be a default option with capital protection, and supervision.