Month: September 2019

Serena Williams Rolls In Second Round of Wimbledon

Serena Williams looks strong and confident, and it showed in her dominating performance today in the second round at Wimbledon. With ease, she backhanded Melinda Czink, 6-1, 6-4.The four-time champion Williams won 27 of 28 points on her first serve, including 10 aces, and never faced a break point. Czink twice whiffed on returns.“I love my serve,” Williams said, “and I love feeling good when I serve.”The sixth-seeded Williams could meet No. 1-seed Maria Sharapova in the final next week.  Sharapova overcame troubles with her serve to dismiss Tsvetana Pironkova, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (3), 6-0.While Sharapova battled an erratic serve, with eight aces and 10 double-faults. She saved five set points in the first set and led the second set 3-1 when play was halted Tuesday because of darkness. She lost the first two games when the match resumed, and double-faulted on her first three service points in the tiebreaker.“It felt like two matches in a way,” Sharapova said. “Today I wanted to start off really well because I knew I was up a break. Didn’t go according to plan. Really served sloppy.” read more

Can Tuukka Rask Sustain His MVPCaliber Postseason

If you listen to Boston sports talk radio, you might be convinced that Tuukka Rask is among the worst goaltenders in NHL history, especially when it comes to playoff performance. Never mind the fact that Rask is tied for the third-best career regular-season save percentage1The NHL started recording the stat in 1955-56. in league history; never mind the fact that Rask is tied for the fifth-best playoff save percentage in league history. Rask was at the helm of an epic collapse in his first postseason — as a rookie — and a certain cadre of loudmouths have never shut up about it.2In the 2009-10 playoffs, with Rask between the pipes, the Bruins surrendered a 3-0 series lead — and a 3-0 lead in Game 7 on home ice — to the Philadelphia Flyers en route to one of the worst playoff collapses in NHL history.Fortunately for the Bruins, Tuukka — with two Us and two Ks — is actually very good at keeping pucks out of the net. That’s been especially true in these playoffs: Through the conference finals round, Rask ranks first in save percentage, first in goals against average and second in quality start percentage.3To earn a quality start, a goalie must post a league-average save percentage or better; if a goalie faces 20 or fewer shots in a game, he can earn a quality start with a save percentage of .885. In fact, his quality start percentage is better than all but two of those recorded by Stanley Cup-winning teams. Rask is also one of just three goaltenders to reach the Stanley Cup Final since the 2007-08 season without having recorded a Really Bad Start (RBS)4Really Bad Starts was developed by Hockey Abstract’s Robert Vollman and indicates that a goalie saved less than 85 percent of shots faced in a given game. When a goalie records a Really Bad Start, his team has just a 10 percent chance of winning. during that season’s playoffs.By any measure, Rask is delivering one of the greatest all-time playoff goaltending performances, far outpacing his opposing goalie in this final, St. Louis Blues rookie Jordan Binnington. We’ve written (here and here and here and here) about the importance of quality goaltending in the NHL playoffs — if a team wants to win the Stanley Cup, it helps to have that season’s hot playoff goaltender because save percentage accounts for a higher proportion of a team’s success than any other factor. It’s fair to say the Bruins have that goaltender in Rask.Indeed, Rask has been so exceptional this postseason that among teams that have made it to the Stanley Cup Final in the history of the NHL, only two have gotten better playoff performances from their goaltenders in terms of save percentage than Rask’s .942: Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who posted a .946 save percentage in 2003 with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and Jonathan Quick, who posted a .946 save percentage in 2012 with the Los Angeles Kings.Unfortunately for the Ducks, Giguere’s brilliance transformed into mediocrity in the final. After posting a save percentage of .960 in the first three rounds, he saved just .910 of the shots he faced in the finals against the New Jersey Devils. Not awful, and still good enough to be named playoff MVP, but not good enough to lift the Cup. Quick’s story had a happier ending. He entered the final — also against the Devils — with a save percentage of .946, and he posted a rate of .947 in the final. Quick, who was consistent wire to wire, won the Conn Smythe Trophy, and the Kings lifted the first Cup in franchise history.Though disappointing for Ducks fans, Giguere’s regression wasn’t an anomaly: For qualified Stanley Cup Final goalies since 1995 who had at least a .930 save percentage in the playoffs before the finals, their save percentage dropped by an average of 24 points in the final itself, from an average of .940 to .916. It’s hard to tell exactly why save percentages fall off a cliff in the Stanley Cup Final — a cocktail of fatigue and better competition surely plays a role — but even the hottest goalies are bound to regress. Who regresses less sharply — Rask or Binnington — might determine which team lifts the Cup.The postseason heroics of Giguere and Quick indicate that Rask is probably primed to receive some sort of silverware in June. If things go the way they did for Giguere, it’s hard to imagine Rask getting the credit he deserves. But if the Bruins prevail and Rask gets a Quick-like ending, even the Boston sports media will have to acknowledge his accomplishments.Neil Paine contributed research. read more

Whats The Best Way To Build a Major League Baseball Team

“Moneyball” told the story of a plucky Oakland A’s team that exploited market inefficiencies, overcame the loss of several excellent players and went on to have one of the best seven-year runs in franchise history. Today’s A’s have won two straight AL West titles and are in the hunt for a third. They also have fewer elite homegrown players than their predecessors did a decade ago — even the most hardcore baseball fans would have a tough time naming a single A’s superstar. Given their lack of top talent, and the extremely subtle methods they’ve used to build a winner, you could argue that today’s A’s are even more “Moneyball” than their forebears were.The A’s lack of reliance on star players, combined with their recent success, has engendered numerous articles singing their praises and extolling the virtue of a team that uses balance, depth and versatility (and not star power) to win games. Hell, even the defending champion Boston Red Sox — a big-revenue ballclub with a $155 million Opening Day payroll — embraced the power of roster balance and depth to win it all.It’s easy to praise that kind of balanced approach as shrewd. It’s equally easy to denigrate teams that spend a boatload of money on a few famous veterans, leaving the rest of the team fighting for the last few dollars left. But is one tack really more effective than the other? If you want to build a winning baseball team, which strategy works best — a balanced roster, or one made up of stars and scrubs?To answer this question, we used a favorite tool of economists: the Gini coefficient. Typically, the Gini coefficient measures income distribution among a large group of people. We can apply the same principle to roster construction, by using wins above replacement. The Gini coefficient runs on a scale of 0 to 1, with the most unequal distribution coming closer to 1, and more balanced distribution shading closer to 0. A stars-and-scrubs roster would have more WAR variance among players and thus a higher Gini score. A balanced roster would have players bunched closer together by WAR, and thus a lower Gini score.The baseball statistics site FanGraphs’ version of WAR is calibrated to reflect year-end win totals. So if you have two teams generating 50 wins at the end of the season, one with a stars-and-scrubs roster, the other with a balanced squad, the team that will perform better is … neither. After 162 games, wins are wins, regardless of how you acquire them.The best way to solve this problem is to use monthly WAR data, which the good folks of FanGraphs were able to provide. We looked at WAR and WAR distribution for the month of April each year from 1974 through 2013.1Only one season, strike-shortened 1995, wasn’t included in the results. We ran month-by-month Gini data for every team going back those 40 years, tracking WAR inequality for the month, then comparing that result to WAR totals for the rest of the season, to see which of the two roster construction methods yielded more wins.The result? Having a larger Gini coefficient (as you’d see in a stars-and-scrubs roster) is ever so slightly associated with better outcomes over the rest of the season. However, the effect wasn’t large enough to be statistically significant, so this analysis says a team should probably just be indifferent about which approach it uses to build a roster.Of course, this merely tells us about future outcomes for teams that have certain WAR distributions in April. Trying a different route, we split up the monthly data into half-seasons, to see whether this finding (that Gini doesn’t matter after controlling for WAR) holds for a different timeframe. We computed each team’s WAR Gini number for each half-season — June and before, and July and after. Once again, we found that the Gini number was nowhere near statistically significant.Taking one last stab at the problem, we broke seasons up into even and odd months, just in case there was something about a pre- and post-July sample of games that might skew the results. At last, we found a Gini coefficient that was pretty close to being statistically significant. But here’s the thing: The effect was still very small for the purposes of measuring real-life wins and losses. For every one standard deviation of change in the Gini number, you get 0.37 wins per 162 games2In order to account for teams playing different numbers of games in different chunks of the season, the regression was run on WAR per game numbers. We multiplied the regression coefficient by 162 to arrive at the per-162 game rate. — about the same effect as replacing the crappy last guy on your bench with a slightly less crappy 25th man.Looking at the numbers as a whole, we arrive at this conclusion: Build a balanced roster or a stars-and-scrubs roster. Either way, which players are good, and how good they are individually, doesn’t make any difference after we control for how good the team is in the aggregate. The moral of the story is to find players who generate as much value as possible, in whatever combination, period.But if the way teams get their wins doesn’t matter much when looking at the forest, there might still be some lessons we can learn by zooming in on a few trees. Specifically, the most and least balanced teams in our data set.The most imbalanced team during our 40-year stretch was the 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks. And man, did they suck. The D-Backs won just 51 games that year, and lost 111. Only one team in the past 40 years lost more games: the 2003 Detroit Tigers, who went 43-119.3The 2013 Astros likewise posted a 51-111 record, matching those lousy ’04 Diamondbacks. The Astros have been roundly criticized for tanking — not for losing on purpose per se, but for running out an anachronistically tiny $26 million payroll last year, and being content to pocket No. 1 draft picks. They’ll pick first again in this year’s draft, and are the favorites to do so next year, too. Those Diamondbacks employed Randy Johnson, who in 2004 reeled off the seventh-best season by any starting pitcher in the past 40 years, racking up 9.5 wins above replacement.4Tying with 2000 Randy Johnson and 1995 Randy Johnson. In fact, the Big Unit posted five of the nine best seasons by any pitcher in that four-decade span, with Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez claiming two top seasons each. Randy Johnson was really, really freaking good. Only one other player on that D-Backs team, fellow starting pitcher Brandon Webb, produced more than two wins above replacement that year; a two-win player is a league average player, which means only two members of the ’04 Diamondbacks even managed to be better than average.Turns out that D-Backs club wasn’t unique when it comes to an extreme stars-and-scrubs roster and lousy results. The 16 teams with the biggest WAR distribution in our study all finished below .500. Combined, they averaged fewer than 64 wins per season. You can win quite a few games with LeBron James and a bunch of crummy players, because the best basketball players deliver far more value than the best baseball players.5There are many reasons for this, but it boils down having only five basketball players on the court at the same time, and the best players not needing to wait their turn in the same way that an elite hitter has to wait for eight other guys to bat before he can stride to the plate. One superstar and 24 Oompa Loompas gets you nowhere in baseball.The most balanced team in our study was the 1976 Pittsburgh Pirates. The Buccos won 92 games that year, led by strong contributions from multiple quality players. The team’s top five starting pitchers all delivered above-average seasons, with Bruce Kison, Jerry Reuss, Doc Medich, John Candelaria and Jim Rooker all producing two or more wins above replacement. Six of the eight position players with the most plate appearances — Richie Zisk, Al Oliver, Dave Parker, Frank Taveras, Bill Robinson and Manny Sanguillén — produced above-average seasons.Here again we find that at the extremes, roster composition does seem to matter. The eight most balanced teams in our sample all finished at .500 or better, averaging 94 wins a season.Really, it comes down to this: There are advantages and disadvantages to both roster-building approaches. Assembling a deep and balanced group of players insulates you against one injury torpedoing your entire team. But there are still legitimate reasons to pay the best players $25 million a year or more; an elite baseball player might not be worth 20-plus wins the way the top NBA superstars are, but tacking seven, eight or more wins onto your team’s ledger can make a big difference.Even the scrubs element of the stars-and-scrubs approach can be a blessing in disguise. If a severely imbalanced team gets to the trade deadline and is in contention, it’s much easier to acquire a decent player who’ll be an upgrade over its terrible existing option than it is to do the same for a balanced team that already has decent players at every position.We might get a few more test cases on both ends of the spectrum this year. The deep and balanced A’s are tied for first place in the AL West. On the other hand, the New York Yankees project as one of the most extreme examples of a stars-and-scrubs roster. They employ multiple high-value players like Masahiro Tanaka, Hiroki Kuroda, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, but also a highly questionable infield that includes Mark Teixeira with a bum wrist; aging, injury-prone second baseman Brian Roberts; a third-base combination of Yangervis Solarte and Kelly Johnson that’s off to a hot start but figures to regress dramatically; plus Derek Jeter, the Hall of Fame shortstop now on his last legs. So far, that approach has worked, with the Yankees leading the AL East, and the possibility of trades to upgrade weak positions looms in June and July.6Acquiring quality second baseman Aaron Hill from the last-place Diamondbacks makes so much sense, it’s criminal. And that’s before we even touch the close relationship that exists between Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and Arizona GM Kevin Towers.A poor team like the A’s might have no choice but to pursue that balanced method, since they lack the big revenue stream that would allow them to pay multiple veteran superstars. Doubly so without the army of homegrown stars like Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Jason Giambi, Eric Chavez and Miguel Tejada who led the way for the “Moneyball” A’s. Meanwhile, the Yankees might never be able to resist the siren song of a $100 million (or $275 million) player. If the two approaches deliver similar results, that could be an equalizer for low-budget teams trying to keep up with their richer rivals. read more

NBA Finals Preview LeBron vs Curry vs Everybody Else

In the NBA, superstars command so much attention — and affect their teams’ fortunes so deeply relative to other sports — that it’s difficult to resist advertising a playoff series as Star A versus Star B, with teammates and coaches taking lesser billing. Sure enough, this year’s finals bout between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers is already being touted as a struggle between Stephen Curry and LeBron James.That’s usually not a terrible prism through which to view things. Since 1985, the star — defined as the best player available to a team for the series in question, according to wins above replacement (WAR) during the regular season — with the better individual numbers1As measured by leveraged points above replacement. in the playoff series itself has carried his team to victory about two-thirds of the time.In other words, as go the stars, very often so go their teams. But even if James outplays Curry, this series could land in the other third — with a Warriors win — because Golden State has such an edge in the supporting cast department.To judge the delicate balance between star power and sidekick strength, I used’s playoff data going back to 1985, looking at how much of any given series’s outcome can be explained by the quality2According to a multiyear Statistical Plus/Minus talent projection. of a team’s leading man and that of his supporting cast. According to relative importance, the difference in talent suiting up alongside each star in a series is roughly 2.2 times as important to the series result3Including the margin of games by which the series was won or lost. as the talent disparity between the stars themselves.How well does that mean James will need to play to offset the difference between his Cavs teammates and Curry’s Warriors? If each team followed the distribution of minutes used to generate our Real Plus-Minus series projection (see table above), James would need to put up numbers in the 99th percentile of all single-series star performances for Cleveland’s win probability to overcome the quality of Curry’s teammates and break even against Golden State.It’s a tall task, although one James is certainly capable of. Since 1985, he owns four of the 10 best star turns in a playoff series, all of which would be enough to help the Cavs topple the Warriors. (And that doesn’t even factor in the possibility that Curry could be held below his usual numbers, in which case a brilliant series from James would be even less necessary.) But it may well take an individual effort of that magnitude from James for Cleveland to snap its long pro sports title drought. read more

Pryor 20 Top recruit expected to choose college Thursday OSU near top

The Buckeyes might have a new quarterback to someday fill the shoes of Terrelle Pryor. And yes, this quarterback is even being compared to the Ohio State starter.Braxton Miller, the top recruit in the nation according to, has OSU on his radar as one of his top schools. The junior out of Huber Heights, Ohio, has been making waves in the recruiting world since his freshman year. The 6-foot-2-inch quarterback has received offers from USC, Alabama, Cincinnati, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Florida, so the Buckeyes will have to hold their breath as they wait out his decision.A press conference has been set for Thursday at noon for him to announce his decision, according to Jay Minton, Miller’s coach at Wayne High School.Miller wouldn’t be the first of his family to become a Buckeye. Cousin Dee Miller played wide receiver for OSU back in the 90s and also spent a short period of time in the NFL. According to Kevin Noon of, it would be a big surprise if Miller doesn’t choose the Scarlet and Gray.“I really would be shocked if he didn’t end up committing to Ohio State,” Noon said. “The Buckeyes have not made it a secret that he is their top recruit at quarterback and have not offered another player at the position to this point. People may want to talk about other schools in on him, but barring some sort of major falling out, he will be a Buckeye before it is all said and done.”Although Miller has made major strides during his high school career, his senior year still might determine the type of player he will become.“Players mature so much from their junior year of high school to their senior year of high school,” Noon said. “Until we get a chance to see a little bit more of Miller in action we really can’t paint him into a corner.”Many scouts are comparing Miller’s game to that of Terrelle Pryor, which Noon considers an unfair assessment.“It is very hard to compare the two and almost unfair to either athlete,” said Noon. “There is no way to say that Miller is anywhere near the type of scrambling athlete that Pryor is or was. Miller is definitely not going to be mistaken as a true drop back passer, but his style of dual-threat is different than what Pryor has brought to the table.”Bringing Miller to OSU could help coach Jim Tressel to entice top wide receivers to commit based on his status as one of the top quarterbacks.Miller has said OSU is his top school, but regardless of where he goes, he will still be one of the top players to watch come fall 2011. read more

For Ohio State mens basketball Illinois a chance to right your wrongs

Despite a midseason stretch that figured to knock the No. 14 Ohio State men’s basketball team out of the race for the Big Ten crown, the Buckeyes find themselves in a familiar position: on the cusp of their fourth-straight regular season championship. After a four-game winning streak, highlighted by wins against No. 2 Indiana and then-No. 4 ranked Michigan State, OSU (22-7, 12-5 Big Ten) is set to take on Illinois in its regular season finale Sunday at the Schottenstein Center. For the Buckeyes, it might be also be a chance at revenge after the Illini (21-10, 8-9 Big Ten) dominated the Buckeyes, 74-55, on Jan. 5 in Champaign, Ill. “The benefit of playing a team twice is you get to play smarter basketball,” said senior forward Evan Ravenel at a Friday press conference. “You get an opportunity to right your wrongs.” That opportunity comes three weeks after what might’ve been OSU’s lowest point-a 22-point loss against then-No. 20 Wisconsin in Madison, Wis. Despite the setback, OSU coach Thad Matta left his lineup and rotation virtually unchanged. “I think the biggest thing is we didn’t handle that situation well,” Matta said, reflecting on the Wisconsin loss. “We couldn’t stop the ball from rolling.” OSU, though, finds itself with a chance at yet another league title. The game also serves as Senior Day for the Buckeyes’ lone senior, Ravenel. “It’s going to be a bittersweet feeling. I really enjoyed my time here,” Ravenel said. “My time here at Ohio State has been wonderful.” A win Sunday could put the Buckeyes in position to be crowned Big Ten regular season co-champions. Indiana hits the road to take on No. 7 Michigan Sunday and if the Wolverines and Buckeyes win, it would result in a four-way tie for first place in the conference. Ravenel says the team isn’t letting the game in Ann Arbor, Mich., detract from his attention on Illinois, though. “I’m not focused on what everybody else does. I’m just focused on what we do at 12:30 (Sunday’s tipoff),” Ravenel said. Win or lose, the result could carry over positive or negative momentum into the Big Ten tournament, which starts Thursday. As such, Matta said consistent play is the key for a team competing for not just the league’s tournament championship, but also a potential national title. “Slip ups cost you,” Matta said. “The last couple of years we’ve had a bad half of basketball that cost us our season.” OSU is set to take on the Fighting Illini Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. read more

Football Fourstar 2018 inside linebacker prospect KVaughan Pope commits to Ohio State

Ohio State gained its 17th member of its 2018 recruiting class when four-star inside linebacker K’Vaughan Pope committed to the Buckeyes Friday evening. Dinwiddie, Virginia, native is the 168th-ranked player nationally in the class, according to 247Sports composite rankings, and ranks seventh in the country at the position.The Buckeyes received Pope’s pledge over other top programs such as Florida, Clemson and Alabama.The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Pope is the No. 4 ranked player in his state. He joins fellow inside linebacker and Virginian Teradja Mitchell in Ohio State’s 2018 class, which is the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation.

Jeremy Clarkson offers some important life advice to ALevel students

first_imgThe gap between the very top-performing girls and boys at A-level has also narrowed for the first time in five years, PA reports.Michael Turner, the director general of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), said: “Overall, outcomes are relatively unchanged.“However, the shift in entry patterns and the introduction of new specifications in reformed subjects could lead to a greater volatility in year-on-year results in some schools and colleges than is experienced in a typical year.”Here are 26 of the funniest tweets about A-Level results day. A record number of A-level students have achieved a university place, up 3 per cent on last year, Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said.Cook, head of the body which manages university admissions, said 424,000 students will be offered their first or second choice of degree course.She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “It’s 424,000 placed – the highest ever on A-level results day. It’s up 3% on last year.“It does mean that young people now are something like 4% more likely to be going to university because, although the population was down a bit this year we’ve actually seen a rise in the numbers, so that’s really good news.” If your A level results aren’t joyous take comfort from the fact that you’re not Jeremy Clarkson.— David Whitehouse (@d_whitehouse) August 14, 2014 Me and Jeremy Clarkson have something I common and it’s not being in St tropez 😂😂— alexandria (@_alexgordon) August 13, 2015 As 300,000 students find out their A-Level results, Jeremy Clarkson has offered them some encouraging advice.The former Top Gear host, who drives around luxury cars for a living and is reportedly the highest paid TV host in Britain, tweeted his message this morning. He has posted similar messages before Meanwhile, with the first series of Top Gear receiving a mixed reception, causing Chris Evans to step as its lead presenter, many are looking forward to seeing how its rival show fares on Amazon Prime.It’s called The Grand Tour and will be presented by former Top Gear hosts Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. If your A level results are disappointing, don’t worry. I got a C and two Us, and I’m currently on a superyacht in the Med.— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) August 18, 2016 He told those disappointed by the results ‘not to worry’, revealing that his own C grade and two Us didn’t stop him becoming a success. “If your A level results aren’t joyous take comfort from the fact I got a C and two Us. And I have a Mercedes Benz.” – Jeremy Clarkson— ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ (@DIGITALTAQ) August 14, 2014 @patrushkaz it was a villa in St Tropez last year. Do pay attention— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) August 18, 2016 He added: Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Teenage boy forced by barrister to join in cult beating of friends

first_imgThe report, written by Canon Mark Ruston, a close friend of the Most Rev Justin Welby, said that the teenage boy, identified only as “S”, was “brought into sharing the ‘ministry’ in the summer of 1980”.He wrote in the 1982 report: “There was considerable persuasion for anyone who held back. It had almost become a cult, with a powerful group dynamic. “S, wanting to ‘be the best for God’, beat as hard as he could. “Immediately after the beating, the man lay on the bed, while [Mr Smyth] and/or S would kneel and pray, linking arms with him and kissing him on the shoulder and back.“[Mr Smyth] and S saw this as a ‘ministry’ from God. But the ‘ministry’ of discipline in this sense was secret, self-appointed and never approved by other Christian leaders.”  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Smyth as a younger man Smyth as a younger man Smyth is being investigated by police A barrister accused of subjecting teenage boys to savage sadomasochistic beatings forced one of his victims to join in with the attacks, it has emerged.John Smyth QC, a friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury, is being investigated by police over claims that he beat 22 teenagers in his garden shed in the late Seventies.A report by the Iwerne Trust, the charity that ran the Christian camps at which Mr Smyth met many of the victims, documents how he persuaded one of the boys to assist with the attacks.center_img The psychological impact on the teenage boys only came to light when one, then a 21-year-old Cambridge student, attempted suicide after being summoned to receive a “special beating”.Mr Ruston wrote that while some of the victims “seem amazingly resilient … the rehabilitation of S … is a cause of concern”.Mr Ruston’s report says the young men were “conned” by the barrister into taking part in the naked beatings. A number of victims are understood to have come forward and talked to Hampshire Police. The force has passed the investigation on to their specialist child sexual exploitation unit. There were claims yesterday that “S” would be reported to the police, although the boys he beat are said to regard him as a victim of Mr Smyth, rather than an accomplice.Mr Smyth moved to Zimbabwe after the allegations came to light, where he also faces abuse allegations. He now lives in South Africa. Smyth is being investigated by police The pastor at the barrister’s Cape Town church, where he is said to still offer guidance to young men, on Sunday called on him to return to Britain to answer the allegations.In a statement read to the congregation at the Church-on-Main, in the Wynberg district of the city, pastor Andrew Thomson also called on Mr Smyth to “admit – if necessary – to any accusation that holds substance”.A statement from Mr Smyth’s son, P J, also a pastor, was read out. In it, he said: “These are horrific allegations, and if proven true, it is right that my father faces justice.”last_img read more

Parents angered as Jojo Bows banned in schools across the country

first_imgParents across the country have vented their annoyance on social media after schools banned the latest tween craze: ‘Jojo Bows’.The oversized hair bows cost about £12 each in some stores, and mothers have vented their annoyance after splashing out on the accessories, only for them to be banned shortly afterwards.The popular accessories came to prominence after being worn by social media star JoJo Siwa, a 13-year-old dancer and singer from Nebraska in the US. That #babycino tasted good #jojobows— Emma-Jane (@ej100) March 5, 2017 Another mother commented that they had been banned at her daughter’s school “because of the ‘that’s not a real jojo bow’ and the competitiveness of them. E.g. How many and which colours and do you have the limited edition ones!”Some have spoken out about the ban, saying schools should be tackling bigger issues.One woman commented on Twitter: “How about we deal with kids being bullied in school and committing suicide rather than banning #jojobows!” I just don’t get these JoJo Bows – I think they’re the ugliest most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen?!? Obvs Carys wants one though 😔…— Jenny dargavel (@jennydargavel) March 5, 2017 @leonardhudsonuk #jojobows shouldn’t be banned. It doesn’t stop kids from learning. It also makes them look tidy. No harm being done at all— Shez (@SheridanAlcock) March 4, 2017 And another commented: “They shouldn’t be banned. It doesn’t stop kids from learning. It also makes them look tidy. No harm being done at all.”One mother wrote on Mumsnet: “Who here didn’t wear something daft when they were a kid. It’s harmless, I personally think they look ridiculous but it’s not my head.”According to Department of Education guidelines, schools are within their rights to ban the bows. “I’ve always just worn bows” JoJo told CBBC’s Newsround.”They just got bigger and better and sparklier – and then I became ‘JoJo with the bow bow’ and it became a thing.”However, schools throughout the country have banned the hair bows, because they do not comply with some school uniform codes and are ‘distracting’. One Mumsnet user revealed they were banned in her daughter’s school because they caused bullying.She wrote: “Yes, they fuelled a type of bullying so the head teacher banned them outright.  Fortunately my daughter thought they looked ridiculous so was never drawn into that particularly hideous fad.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Another said: “Seriously? Schools are banning JoJo bows? Better that they concentrate on teaching, stopping drug use/smoking in schools & better sex ed.” Just seen an article about UK schools banning #JoJoBows (huge bow hair clip basically)…seriously? It’s made of ribbon not razor blades— Georgina (@geeegardner) March 3, 2017last_img read more

David Davis tells Edinburgh Fringe audience Im a terrible leadership candidate

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. alex salmond He also described the Brexit Secretary as the “acceptable face of the Brexiteers and certainly the one who knows what he’s talking about”. Alex Salmond surprised an independence-supporting audience at his first Edinburgh Fringe show by introducing his “good pal” David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, as his first mystery guest.Mr Davis joked repeatedly during their chat that the former First Minister was out to “ruin” his career.In response to Mr Salmond’s suggestion that he was the bookies’ favourite to become the next Prime Minister, he insisted, referring to his defeat to David Cameron in the 2005 race for the top job, that he was a “very bad leadership campaigner”.He also joked during the show on Sunday – Alex Salmond…Unleashed – that he was in the “most dangerous place” if people were making him the favourite ahead of candidates including Jacob-Rees Mogg and Boris Johnson.Mr Salmond, who has sold out his two-week run at the Assembly Rooms after losing his Gordon seat in the General Election, introduced Mr Davis as “the next prime minister of the United Kingdom, perhaps the last prime minister of the United Kingdom”.He told the audience, which appeared to warm to the Brexit Secretary, that they had worked together to try and impeach Tony Blair over Iraq, but Mr Davis had to remove his name from the motion when he was appointed to Cabinet.center_img Mr Davis revealed that Theresa May asked, when she appointed him, if he wanted to be called Secretary of State for Leaving the European Union, or Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.He said: “I’m afraid I was a victim of my own sense of humour and said it’s got to be Exiting – then it can be Department X.” Commenting on the Prime Minister’s reaction, he replied. “Not a thing.”Asked if he was saying “the Prime Minister doesn’t have a sense of humour”, he joked: “I told you what this would do to my career.”Mr Salmond ended the show by raising pounds1,000 for charity from a member of the audience who paid to have lunch with the pair in Edinburgh. Alex Salmond…Unleashed is due to run for over two weeksCredit:PAlast_img read more

All Together Now the BBC talent show promising fortune but no fame

first_img‘The 100’ panel is captained by former Spice Girl Geri HornerCredit:Matt Squire/EndemolShine All Together Now The most popular singer of the night goes through to a grand final, where the prize is £50,000.Previous BBC attempts to ape The X Factor by producing a singing superstar have failed, most recently with the corporation’s version of The Voice.Now it is changing tack and going up against ITV’s version of The Voice, with the two shows overlapping in the schedules.Rob Beckett, the show’s host, said: “I think it’s nice to have something with no big promise of a career at the end. Just win a couple of quid, have a laugh.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The BBC is launching a Saturday night talent show with a difference: no judging panel, no unkind comments and no promise to turn the winner into a star.All Together Now begins on BBC One this weekend in competition with ITV’s The Voice.Rather than perform before a panel of stony-faced judges, hopefuls sing to a crowd of 100 people drawn from all corners of the music industry, including choir directors, West End performers, a medieval banquet singer and a singing dentist.Members of ‘The 100’, captained by former Spice Girl Geri Horner (née Halliwell), stand up and sing along if they like the performance, and stay seated if they don’t.center_img The Sundaes on All Together Now The Sundaes are among the performers competing for the £50,000 prizeCredit:Matt Squire/EndemolShine Horner said the show treats contestants “with care and dignity”, and there are no X Factor-style sob stories.“This show is so unique and in its own lane,” she said. “There’s so much anxiety and bad news that when I turn on the television I just want it to be nice.“This show is about feeling good. We don’t want to take anyone down. We can all get a little bit cynical and we’ve seen different talent shows but it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s kind but it’s honest.”Kate Phillips, controller of entertainment commissioning at the BBC, hailed the show as “a bit of a change from the usual panel of three or four judges”.While the format differs from The X Factor, some of the contestants may look familiar. Michael Rice, who introduces himself as a busker from Hartlepool, previously appeared on the Simon Cowell show.:: All Together Now is on BBC One this Saturday at 7.15pmlast_img read more

How a team of sophisticated forgers at an Essex country house fooled

first_imgIndeed, so slick was the work of the forgers that they would often produce a copy of a document from an original stolen from the Nazis and returned before their absence was even noticed. But the British operation to create documents for its agents and allies in occupied Europe was in fact a highly sophisticated affair, run along the lines of a modern same day delivery service. Yet little has been known about the work of this secretive operation…center_img From The Great Escape to Secret Army the task of forging documents for runaway PoWs and resistance fighters is portrayed in many a wartime drama as a slow and painstaking one, employing the few ad-hoc materials available in the most difficult of circumstances.last_img

University students are turning to private tutors to get through their degree

first_imgUniversity students are increasingly turning to private tutors to get through their degrees with one in five seeking extra help, a survey has found. The pressure to graduate with an upper second or first class degree has led to undergraduates relying on tutors to boost their grades, according to Mylene Curtis, the managing director of Fleet Tutors.She said another reason for the growing popularity of private tuition is that many students arrive at university without the necessary skills to complete their degree.  “A lot of students arrive at university and for whatever reasons they don’t have the writing skills that are required for university level work,” Ms Curtis said. “That is quite common, they are struggling to organise their thoughts at a university level.”Of the students who sought extra help during their degree, two-thirds hired a one-on-one tutor, while one in five said they have clubbed together with peers to pay for a group tutor, according to a poll of 3,500 undergraduates.The survey, carried out by the student discount voucher site UNiDAYS, found that almost half (46 per cent) of students who hired extra tuition had it paid for by their parents. 16 per cent said they paid for it out of their savings, and 13 per cent used their student loan. Of the students who sought extra help during their degree, two-thirds hired a one-on-one tutor, according to a poll of 3,500 students  “There are more and more young people going to university now and that means that the value of a degree in terms of the market place has gone down,” Ms Curtis said.   “Perhaps previously a second class honours was sufficient for a good job but now you have to get an upper second class degree or even a first.”  Over the past five years, Fleet Tutors, a London-based private tuition company, has seen more than a threefold increase in the proportion of university students who use its services.  “It is a more recent phenomenon, we have seen a real growth in it,” she added.Fleet Tutors, which was set up 40 years ago, originally provided tuition for school pupils, but branched out into university students around a decade ago.  Students are often left disappointed with the limited contact time their course offers, she said, adding: “University lecture sizes are larger, they are not getting the small group attention they need.”  The Profs, another tuition company specialising in university-level and professional tuition, charges £65-an-hour with a £50 placement fee for undergraduate tuition.Alex Gallagher, chief marketing officer at UNiDAYS, said: “Anyone who’s been to university in the past few years – or indeed the parents of those students – know that the student stereotype of leisurely days, minimal work and plenty of nights out is a thing of the past. “Students are serious about their study: the cost of their tuition means they have to be, and according to this research they’re feeling pressured to achieve good grades in a very competitive graduate job market.” Of the students who sought extra help during their degree, two-thirds hired a one-on-one tutor, according to a poll of 3,500 students  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Freddie Starr dies aged 76 Tributes paid as comedian found dead in

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The story claimed Starr placed the small creature between two slices of bread and ate it at a friend’s home after returning from a performance in Manchester.But in his 2001 autobiography Unwrapped, Starr said the incident never took place.During the 1990s, he starred in several TV shows including Freddie Starr (1993-94), The Freddie Starr Show (1996-98) and An Audience with Freddie Starr in 1996.He took part in the 2011 series of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here but dropped out due to ill health.A meal of fermented egg and a camel toe forced comic Starr to leave after he suffered an allergic reaction and had to be taken to hospital.Medics advised Starr to drop out of the competition in case his illness flared up again. I’ve just heard that Freddie Starr has died.He was the funniest man I have ever seen.I’m so sad we have lost one of our greatest comedy talents. RIP Freddie. 💔— Bobby Davro (@BobbyDavro1) May 9, 2019 Freddie Starr, the comedian who rose to fame in the 1970s, has reportedly died at the age of 76.Starr was found dead at his home in Spain, The Sun said, while a post on Facebook and Twitter pages claiming to belong to Starr appeared to confirm the news.A post said: “This is Freddie’s manager. Just to confirm Freddie has passed away. R.i.p to our greatest comedian of all time.”Starr’s fellow comic Jim Davidson was among those paying tribute.He tweeted: “Just heard the news. Freddie Starr was the greatest.”Actor Bobby Davro said on Twitter that Starr was “one of our greatest comedy talents”. He wrote: “I’ve just heard that Freddie Starr has died. He was the funniest man I have ever seen. I’m so sad we have lost one of our greatest comedy talents. RIP Freddie.”TV presenter Amanda Holden said she hoped Starr was “remembered with a smile”.Writing on Twitter, she said: “Sad to hear of Freddie Starr passing today. His style may have fallen out of comedy fashion & favour-but it’s important to recognise his once huge popularity& fame.”Britain’s Got Talent host Holden, 48, said Starr’s parodies were “outrageous and edgy” adding she hopes he is “remembered with a smile”. Merseyside-born Starr was the lead singer of the Merseybeat group the Midniters during the 1960s and rose to national prominence in the early 1970s after appearing on Opportunity Knocks.He was known by fans for his eccentric and often unpredictable behaviour.In 1986, he was famously at the centre of one of the best known newspaper headlines when The Sun splashed with: “Freddie Starr ate my hamster.” Freddie Starr’s pet-eating antics led to The Sun’s most famous headline— The Sun (@TheSun) May 9, 2019 read more

BBC accused of insulting Jews for employing Corbyn cheerleader on Rise of

The BBC was accused of being “downright insulting” to Jews by selecting a Corbynista who endorsed anti-Israel graffiti in the Warsaw ghetto as an expert in a documentary on the Nazis. Leading figures in British Jewry lined up to condemn the choice of Ash Sarkar to participate in BBC2’s flagship, three-part series Rise of the Nazis. Sir Simon Schama, the historian and broadcaster, said  it was “really appalling” that Ms Sarkar appears in the documentary. Marie van der Zyl, Board of Deputies’ President, said: “We would ask the BBC to explain why someone who defended the desecration of a memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising has been invited to speak on a programme about the rise of the Nazis. …

Crane seaman charged with assaulting female neighbours

A seaman of Crane, West Coast Demerara (WCD) was before the Wales Magistrate’s Court earlier today charged with assaulting his female neighbours.41-year-old, Azad Mohamed of Crane Housing Scheme denied the allegation when he stood before Magistrate Rochelle Liverpool.The charge against him alleged that he on December 18, 2017, at Crane, assaulted Babita Vishnu and Sabita Apiah to cause them actual bodily harm.One of the Virtual Complainants (VC), reportedly unable to walk properly, limped into the courtroom as a result of an injury sustained from the alleged attack.Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Campbell made an application for bail to be substantial, citing that the accused has no fixed place of abode and works in Suriname.Magistrate Liverpool granted the accused $30,000 bail on each charge and ordered that he lodge his passport at the Vreed-en-Hoop Police Station.He was also ordered to stay at least 30 feet away from the VC’s until the completion of the matter.Mohamed will make his next court appearance on January 25, 2018. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGold Miner charged for allegedly choking womanNovember 13, 2014In “Crime”‘Gaza Kim’ ordered to pay $15,000 compensation for assaulting child…says he was “joking around”January 20, 2016In “Crime”Brazilian charged for allegedly stabbing man during drunken brawlMay 4, 2015In “Crime” read more

2nd GDF Lance Corporal implicated in illegality busted in the space

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGDF rank, wife busted with unlicensed gun, ammo & marijuanaAugust 7, 2015In “Crime”GDF rank dies in accident outside nightclubDecember 10, 2017In “Crime”High Court gives green-light for further detention of suspects in Sussex Street murdersApril 5, 2016In “Crime” A 24-year-old Joint Services rank and a 27-year-old taxi driver both of Stanleytown, Berbice, were stopped by a rank on patrol duty yesterday after they were caught illegally overtaking several vehicles on the Strathspey Public Road, East Coast Demerara (ECD).The drugs were found hidden inside a gas stove in the trunk of the carThe black Fielder-Wagon they were travelling in was escorted to the Vigilance Police Station where it was searched and three parcels of compressed cannabis, hidden inside a gas stove that was in the trunk, were unearthed.The Lance Corporal, along with the driver, have admitted to being the owners of the large quantity of cannabis found.The duo are currently in police custody and are expected to appear in court shortly.Meanwhile, this drug bust involving a Lance Corporal from the Guyana Defence Force comes days after another Lance Corporal and another man were arrested following an alleged robbery and shooting incident in Albouystown, Georgetown which resulted in one man being injured.The injured male has been identified as Imole Fox ,44, a wildlife exporter of Regent and King Streets, Georgetown.According to information received, the incident occurred at around 13:30hrs on Thursday last at Victoria Street, Albouystown and the two men in custody were apprehended at Cooper Street, Albouystown.Preliminary investigations revealed that the two suspects, in the company of another male, allegedly robbed Fox of a haversack containing a bunch of keys, a cellular phone and some medications for animals.Fox reportedly fought back, which resulted in one of the suspects whipping out a handgun and discharging several rounds at the 44-year-old man.The victim reportedly managed to flee the scene, leaving a trail of blood behind. He received a gunshot wound to the lower right leg while a bullet also grazed his head.The wildlife exporter was treated at a city hospital and subsequently discharged.Investigators have retrieved a live round as well as a spent shell (both of different calibre) from the scene which has been processed. read more

Aurelian expresses confidence over Ecuadorian policies

first_imgPatrick Anderson, President & CEO of Aurelian Resources reports that “a very constructive mining forum took place earlier this week in Ecuador. This event confirmed our impression of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum under the new Minister, Galo Chiriboga, which we are finding to be balanced, consistent and pragmatic. In a press interview last week, Chiriboga came out strongly in favour of large-scale mining, provided that it was done in a socially and environmentally responsible way.” On September 18, 2007 Galo Chiriboga led an international forum for presentation and debate of important issues relevant to the future of mining in Ecuador, with participation of mining experts from Canada, Chile and Peru. The meeting was open to all and was attended by some 400 participants, representing government, companies and communities. Keynote presentations were given by: Minister Chiriboga Christian Lapointe, Canadian Ambassador to Ecuador Edgar Pillarjo, President of the Ecuador Small Mining Chamber Dennis Jones, Director of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Alberto Salas, National Mining Society of Chile Paolo Abad, Consultant to the Peruvian government for mining legislation Steve Vaughan, Partner at Heenan Blaikie and a Canadian expert on mining law Dominic Channer, Aurelian Ecuador President commented “The event was very positive and well received. The ministry showed itself to be open to learning from the experiences of other countries. Aurelian and other Canadian companies are committed to working with the Ecuadorian government and people to construct the first large-scale, modern mines in Ecuador’s history, adhering to the highest standards of environmental, social, and cultural responsibility.” Presentations included the contributions made by mining to local and national economies in Canada and Chile, with Salas commenting that mining areas in Chile have the lowest poverty levels and highest average wages in the country. In several speeches the importance of clear and stable legislation was emphasized. Salas said that the establishment of well-defined mining laws in Chile more than 20 years ago, followed by their consistent application has been key to the success of mining in his country. Speeches were also made about the importance of public markets to mining development and transparent disclosure by mining companies, with the example of Canadian investment contribution to the growth of the Chilean mining industry. The issue of different types of royalties and taxes as well as stability agreements was discussed. The importance of Corporate Social Responsibility by companies, careful monitoring by government and proper conflict resolution was presented by Jones, who also provided the example of Tiberon Minerals, a company used by the Vietnamese government as a template for developing the country’s general mining policy.last_img read more

Embedding sustainability for enduring project value

first_imgSusanne Cooper and Nick Fleming* of SKM note that “sustainability is not just a political buzz word used to satisfy the concerns of stakeholders or environmentalists; it is critical to the success and longevity of projects. Sustainability principles are now broadly accepted by project teams as a useful compass to guide planning and design decisions. However, in managing sustainability in large, complex projects, there is a need to go beyond concepts or principles and to apply them pragmatically.“It is essential to apply a structured, systematic process, particularly for programs that involve multiple projects and project teams. Likewise, it is critical to encourage thinking within a sustainability framework and engender this as part of design development.“By rigorously applying sustainability principles to all decisions, it improves the long-term viability of those decisions and reduces the ecological footprint of infrastructure construction and operation, both financially and socially. These principles should not only form the basis for decisions, but can also be used to assess multiple options against detailed sustainability guidelines. In this way, sustainability is integrated into every activity undertaken by the organisation or project team.“When embedded into all facets of a program, sustainability can:be applied throughout design and constructionbecome part of the company culture ; andbe adopted as the strategic direction for all projects.“The real challenge is in the ‘how’ – and in applying sustainability principles across multiple projects at various stages of design. Importantly, embedding sustainability from the beginning of projects is essential in creating enduring value.“Project delivery, engineering and sciences firm Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) has been conducting sustainability workshops with clients to show how including sustainability from the beginning of projects is vital to creating enduring value.“One such workshop has been conducted for the Rio Tinto Iron Ore Cape Lambert Project in the Pilbara, Western Australia. Intended to become a fundamental input to a project, rather than an ‘optional extra’, the workshops involve a cross-section of team members and encourage participants to think about projects in a holistic, integrated way, using sustainability principles.“Addressing environmental, social, community, infrastructure and economic issues, the workshops have shown that incorporating sustainability design can positively impact the project’s design life. The workshops encourage participants to question conventional thinking and allow them to move away from the detail or out of their comfort zone, often with significant outcomes.“Rather than design a program for them, the workshops aim to facilitate a process for participants to come up with ideas and new approaches to sustainable design to apply to the project. Part of the workshop aims to help implement corporate sustainability policies at the project level. Many organisations have corporate policies, objectives and statements of commitment, but implementing them into all activities can be a challenge – particularly if project managers have little experience in working with sustainability frameworks. By showing a commitment by action and delivering on those statements, community trust is gained. This, in turn, helps the approvals process, which is often subject to lengthy delays. By engaging stakeholders in these critical issues – early – projects have a much greater chance of success.“There is a degree of corporate reputation and a social licence to operate management that are important outcomes from adopting a sustainability approach to project design and delivery.“Embedding sustainability into an organisation or project team’s culture requires building awareness of applying sustainability in all activities and confidence in using a toolbox of sustainability approaches. To address this, SKM has developed a sustainability toolbox that provides a structured, systematic process and practical tools for project teams to apply. This has been applied at each level to include strategic questions and assessments that are most relevant to the scoping and conceptual design stage, as well as tools more appropriate for detailed design and construction.“An important part of the toolbox approach has been to develop the team’s capability to apply these tools, sustainability criteria and way of thinking that epitomises a sustainable approach. To build this capability, SKM has designed and delivered a series of interactive sustainability learning modules appropriate for all team members. The modules introduce the concept of sustainability and cover specific tools (life cycle analysis, ecological footprint), and their potential applications.“Long-held assumptions and current practice often strongly influence decisions across all elements of a project – from waste management to energy and costing. Financial estimates and assumptions underpin many decisions, but are rarely scrutinised. This is particularly relevant, given the rapidly changing costs linked to energy greenhouse gas emissions and water, and the longevity of substantial infrastructure which requires robust financial assessments over the life of the asset.“Typically, large projects are commissioned with urgent time frames; the various disciplines brought together quickly for the project become busy and focused. Within this project environment, having a specific role designated to sustainability is important – not to develop specific design solutions isolated from other team members, but to establish an integrated and holistic process and framework that allows all team members to identify opportunities to build sustainability thinking into key decisions.“This is a role that straddles all project tasks, including engineering design, communications, community engagement, on-ground works, site location and planning and operations. The role of a sustainability manager for these kinds of projects is increasingly important for a sustainability strategy to be effectively designed and implemented.*Based in Brisbane, Australia, Susanne Cooper is SKM’s Executive Environmental Planner and review panel member of Sustainability Strategy and Evaluation, Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation and Integrated Natural Resource Management. Dr Nick Fleming is based in Melbourne and has over 15 years’ experience in consulting and research. With a PhD in Sustainable Urban Water Cycle Management, Nicholas is the Technology Manager for SKM’s Water & Environment Business Unit, the Practice Leader for Sustainability, and a Strategy and Sustainability board member.last_img read more