Month: September 2019

ARod Suspension Over Eligible to Return to Yankees

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Alex Rodriguez, banned for a year over performance-enhancing drugs, completed his suspension with the end of the World Series, won by San Francisco in seven games over Kansas City, and is eligible to return to the Major Leagues.Rodriguez missed the entire 2014 season after being suspended following MLB’s investigation into the Biogenesis case. Rodriguez has not spoken with the media, and his public appearances have been limited to random football and baseball games.Rodriguez, 39, has no formal plans yet to speak with the media, his spokesman said Thursday morning.The New York Yankees and Rodriguez both appear as if they are trying to be conciliatory after the rancor of his suspension. Rodriguez has three years and $61 million remaining on his contract. As part of the deal negotiated after the 2007 season, Rodriguez can earn an additional $6 million by hitting just six more home runs and tying Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list with 660.Manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman have both said they are unsure what to expect from Rodriguez on the field. Rodriguez may have a chance to retain his starting third base spot, but that will rest largely on what the Yankees do this offseason and if Rodriguez is fit enough.Rodriguez has played in only 44 games over the past two years and has had surgery on both of his hips. Girardi has talked with Rodriguez about trying to play first base as a backup. Rodriguez would also DH if he is on the team.Despite the bad blood from the lengthy and heated appeals process, the Yankees have given no indications they will release Rodriguez. If they did so, they would owe him his entire salary. Yankees officials have said that if Rodriguez can still play, they will take him back for 2015. read more

The Thunder Are At The Kids Table This Christmas

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K. Garnett2003-0489.033.219.06.816.2 The NBA Christmas Day games are one of the league’s most visible showcases. Rivalries are deepened, as with the Clippers-Warriors matchups in 2013 and 2014, or rejoined, as with the centerpiece of this year’s slate, a finals rematch between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the last seven years, the Oklahoma City Thunder have enjoyed prime placement on the Christmas marquee, playing against some of the best teams in the league. But this season, after former MVP Kevin Durant left town over the summer, the Thunder’s star power has diminished enough to warrant a matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves, currently 9-19 and one of the worst teams in the league.We can use FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings to see just how far the Wolves fall below the Thunder’s standards. Here are Oklahoma City’s Christmas Day opponents beginning in 2010: C. Paul2008-0987.832.47.915.715.9 12/25/2015ThunderBulls16501524 L. James2011-1291.238.111.18.815.5 12/25/2013KnicksThunder17131451 DATEHOME TEAMAWAY TEAMTHUNDER ELOOPPONENT ELO L. Bird1986-8798.633.611.09.215.0 G. Hill1996-9784.530.913.010.516.2 K. Love2013-1497.335.517.06.015.4 L. James2015-1693.336.110.89.815.6 G. McGinnis1974-75105.133.716.17.115.7 L. Bird1987-8897.937.611.67.715.0 R. Westbrook2014-1595.741.110.612.517.6 O. Robertson1961-62124.926.710.89.914.2 12/25/2014SpursThunder15591671 D. Robinson1993-9490.139.214.16.315.2 D. Cousins2014-1595.435.518.75.215.1 L. James2009-1091.440.09.811.516.5 You might notice that in 2013 the Thunder got stuck playing the New York Knicks, TV’s worst recurring Christmas Day special. Except 2013 was the rare occasion when the Knicks looked like a legitimate NBA team coming into the season. Their preseason Elo rating was 1579, 128 points higher than their rating on Christmas Day, or the difference between a top-10 team and a bottom-5 one. So the Thunder weren’t supposed to have a dog of a game, they just ended up with one because the Knicks fell off the wagon.That wasn’t the case for this season’s Timberwolves. Minnesota came into the season with a rating of 1434, and has since fallen to 1426. The idea with the Wolves was that they have one of the brightest talents in the league, Karl-Anthony Towns, and a roster packed with young, exciting players liable to throw a 30-foot alley-oop or dunk on your head. They were supposed to be among the baby-faced upstarts in the league this season, and they might yet be if they ever figure out how to hold onto a lead.This is a flavor of game the league likes to book. Last Christmas saw a similar matchup between the Miami Heat, two years removed from LeBron James’ leaving in free agency to return to Cleveland, and the New Orleans Pelicans, home to Anthony Davis. The matchmaking logic made sense enough: Pair off a franchise familiar to fans with a few stars left over from deep playoff runs against an up-and-coming face-of-the-league-type star.Things didn’t work out so well then, either. The Heat came into the game looking like dark-horse contenders in the east, with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside playing at high levels. But the Pelicans were beset by injuries early in the season, and Davis never took the leap forward many expected. New Orleans came into the game at 9-20, and while it took the game into overtime, it was hardly the glamour matchup the league had hoped for.Last year’s Pelicans-Heat and this year’s Wolves-Thunder aren’t quite parallel, though, because the year before — the Heat’s first without LeBron — saw Miami host James and his Cavs, beating them 101-91. Durant’s Warriors make a fine partner for the Cavs, but a Christmas Day reunion with Russell Westbrook would have been something to see.Westbrook is averaging 31.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 10.8 assists with a 41.9 usage percentage and a 54.1 true shooting percentage. But as if the phrase “averaging a triple-double through Christmas Day” isn’t impressive enough, the triple-doubles he’s racking up are far removed from the basic 10-10-10 variety. If we adjust for pace of play (which has slowed from the breakneck days of Oscar and Magic), he’s having the finest triple-double-type season we’ve ever seen.Below is a versatility index1We’re using John Hollinger’s old formulation, which is the geometric mean of points, rebounds and assists, to capture players who have high averages in all three stats. (Simply adding the three stats up and taking an average would over-weight scoring, since point totals tend to be higher than assists and rebounds.) for the players with the highest point-rebound-assist per-possession averages in NBA history: 12/25/2012HeatThunder16991661 K. Garnett2002-0391.929.617.37.815.9 R. Westbrook2016-1798.043.714.715.021.3 J. Harden2016-1797.737.110.715.718.4 PLAYERSEASONPACEPOINTSREBOUNDSASSISTSVERSATILITY INDEX L. James2008-0988.740.810.910.416.7 G. Antetokounmpo2016-1796.132.713.08.315.2 L. James2012-1390.737.511.210.116.2 (Amazingly, the top two seasons by this measure are happening right now. The No. 2 spot belongs to Rockets star and former Thunder sixth man James Harden, who is averaging a per-100-possessions triple-double of his own for new coach Mike D’Antoni, in a role I like to think of as “overgrown Steve Nash does his best Corey Maggette impersonation.” Giannis Antetokounmpo, who turned 22 this month, comes in 27th.)This won’t be the first time Westbrook will be playing Christmas Day without Durant. In 2014, Oklahoma City drew the defending-champion San Antonio Spurs (also without Kawhi Leonard) as its opponent, and won 114-106, with Westbrook pouring in 34 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals. It was a brilliant game, the type of which we’ve become accustomed to from Westbrook the last few seasons. The difference this season is that if he repeats that line on Sunday, or even if he racks up his 14th triple-double of the season, it will be away from the biggest stage of the day.Check out our latest NBA predictions. K. Malone1996-9790.040.014.46.515.5 M. Johnson1990-9194.126.69.617.216.4 L. James2010-1190.936.410.29.615.3 L. James2007-0890.239.610.49.515.8 R. Westbrook2013-1495.435.79.411.415.6 M. Johnson1986-87101.631.18.215.915.9 Versatility Index is the geometric mean of points, rebounds and assists (per 100 possessions). Data is through Dec. 23, 2016.Source: Basketball-Reference.com M. Johnson1989-9096.330.08.915.416.0 M. Johnson1988-89100.128.710.116.416.8 K. Garnett2004-0589.131.419.18.016.9 L. Bird1984-85101.634.312.67.915.1 R. Westbrook2015-1696.733.911.315.118.0 12/25/2011ThunderMagic16201583 The best pace-adjusted triple-double seasons W. Chamberlain1963-64115.133.320.24.614.6 STATS PER 100 POSSESSIONS 12/25/2010ThunderNuggets15701595 12/25/2016ThunderTimberwolves15961426 M. Jordan1988-8997.040.09.99.915.8 read more

No City Needs A Championship As Badly As Philadelphia

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Seattle-0.12-0.92-1.16+0.00-2.20 New York City+1.75-2.45+3.69+0.20+3.20 The roots of the Fairmount Park-sized chip on Philly fans’ collective shoulders go back decades — the infamous Santa snowball incident happened in 1968, less than three years into the Super Bowl’s existence. But they have seemed to grow deeper as the years went on without a championship in the sport Philadelphia embraces the most. The Eagles, which have been around since 1933, are one of 13 NFL franchises that have never won a Super Bowl, and nobody has won more total ballgames among the Super Bowl oh-fers.2The Eagles did win three NFL championships before the Super Bowl existed, most recently in 1960. But any fan who was following the team back then is now at least into their mid-60s, if not much older. It is, to say the least, a distant memory from another era.Making matters worse, the Eagles’ rivals in the NFC East — the hated Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Washington Redskins — have won a combined 12 championships in the Super Bowl era. Six times a year, Eagles fans are forced to contrast themselves against fan bases whose historical résumés have been weaponized for the taunting.There’s a cultural component to the frustration as well. “Football represents Philadelphia’s ideal view of itself: a tough, blue-collar sport,” Longman said. Both he and Glen Macnow, a longtime host at the local sports-talk radio station WIP, agreed that the Eagles are the one team in the city whose rabid support stretches across demographic and societal lines. Indeed, over the past five years, the Eagles have dominated the search-traffic battle against the city’s other pro teams to a greater degree than the national average.3Granted, the Sixers went on their infamous tanking expedition during this span.“It’s a football town,” Macnow said. “The Eagles bring together everybody in the city.” If so, that also puts the team squarely at the emotional epicenter of Philadelphia angst.The city’s general lack of sports success over the years hasn’t helped matters. Philly teams went more than 25 years without a title, between the 1982-83 76ers’ NBA crown and the Phillies’ World Series victory in 2008. And it hasn’t been for lack of trying. In the 34 years starting in 1984 — the year after the Sixers won their title — through 2017, no other city in pro sports has underachieved more on the championship front, based on the number of actual titles won and the number we’d expect from how many teams they had in each sport.4Including only the “Big Four” North American pro sports of football, basketball, baseball and hockey. (Sorry as always to all you ardent MLS fans out there.) The tug of war between Philadelphia’s view of itself as a combative underdog and the greater prestige to which it sometimes aspires will be on full display Sunday night, when the Eagles take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Between the city’s sports heartbreaks and hooliganism, its perpetual inferiority complex and recent civic resurgence, this Super Bowl could be a turning point for Philly or another way for its fans to double down on their notoriety.“You can’t deny that there is coarse [fan] behavior,” New York Times reporter Jeré Longman told me in a phone interview. Longman would know — he wrote a book about the neuroses of the city’s fans the last time the Eagles made the Super Bowl, back in 2005. But he also made a case that Philly deserves a better image. “It’s the founding city of the United States; it has these great institutions,” Longman said. “And now it has a vibrant art and music scene, great food, lots of young professionals living downtown.” In Longman’s view, Philadelphia too often sells itself short of what it could be (and already is) when its fans live down to their boorish reputation.“The city’s slogan actually used to be, ‘Philadelphia: Not as bad as Philadelphians say it is,’” he said. “Maybe this Super Bowl will be a chance for people in Philadelphia to realize what a great city they have.”1As someone who lived in Philly for about five years, I agree about the city’s greatness — which makes the juxtaposition between its friendly day-to-day interactions and sometimes psychotic sports fandom even more jarring. Championships vs. Expected Pittsburgh+0.88+0.00-1.16+3.73+3.45 Boston+4.38+1.78+1.84-0.27+7.73 Chicago-0.12+4.78-0.31+1.73+6.08 The sports fans of Philadelphia are known for their unique brand of bottle-throwing, Santa Claus-attacking, expletive-laced rowdiness. But is this reputation deserved? Are they actually any different from other fiery fan bases in, say, Buffalo or Oakland? I asked my colleague Rob Arthur to look at citywide crime rates, and he couldn’t find any significant uptick on game days. Then again, multiple Eagles fans are alleged to have punched horses (!?!) during these playoffs alone: Phoenix-0.98-1.22+0.33-0.68-2.55 Top 10NFLNBAMLBNHLTotal Edmonton+0.00+0.00+0.00+3.73+3.73 Los Angeles-0.88+5.60-0.59+0.73+4.86 San Antonio+0.00+3.78+0.00+0.00+3.78 Philadelphia-0.62-1.22-0.16-1.27-3.27 Minneapolis-1.12-0.97+0.84-1.00-2.25 Detroit-1.12+1.78-0.16+2.73+3.23 Bottom 10NFLNBAMLBNHLTotal Milwaukee+0.00-1.22-1.16+0.00-2.38 This assigns Boston and Philadelphia a “half-championship” for the 2017 NFL season, since Super Bowl LII’s winner isn’t known yet.Expected championships are calculated by assigning each team in a league equal odds of winning the title in a given season and then adding up those title chances over time.Source: Sports-Reference sites San Diego-1.09-0.04-1.16+0.00-2.29 Which sports cities have overachieved the most (and least)?Actual vs. expected championships in the big 4 North American sports for cities, 1984-2017 Washington, D.C.+0.88-1.22-0.43-1.27-2.05 Buffalo-1.12+0.00+0.00-1.27-2.39 Cleveland-1.02-0.22-1.16+0.00-2.40 Miami-1.12+1.99+1.19-0.80+1.26 Championships vs. Expected San Francisco+2.88+0.00+1.84+0.00+4.72 Atlanta-1.12-1.22-0.16-0.37-2.87 (And that’s after assigning Philly and Boston a “half-championship” each for the upcoming Super Bowl, assuming that each team has roughly 50-50 odds. If we didn’t do that, Philadelphia teams would be running a collective 3.7 championships below expectation since 1983.)Here’s another way this data helps illustrate why Philadelphia fans are so emotionally overwrought when it comes to sports: In terms of expected titles — which measures the sheer number of cracks a city has had at championship glory — Philly trails only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago (and it’s tied with Boston and Detroit). Justifiably, it thinks of itself as belonging among that group of towns. But collectively, those five cities have won 57.5 championships — 25.1 more than expected — since 1983, with each exceeding their expectation by at least 3.2 titles. Philly, meanwhile, is running 3.3 titles below expectations. Add in the fact that Philadelphia ranks only 25th in championships won since 1983 despite being a top-eight U.S. metro area by both population and economic might, and it makes sense why Philly fandom is often a powder keg waiting to explode.“It’s like a permanent wedgie,” Macnow said of Philadelphia’s sports inferiority complex. “You look up the East Coast at New York and see their championships and at Boston’s smug fans — we call them ‘Massholes.’ There’s an element of envy there as well.”That’s one reason the Patriots might be the ultimate opponent for the Eagles as they try to end their Super Bowl drought. Since 1983, Boston teams have won 7.7 more titles than expected — in exactly the same number of chances as Philly had. The cities are similar in many ways, from population to their shared importance in the early history of the country, a common insular attitude and their parallel rivalries with the behemoth situated between them — New York City. It isn’t difficult to envision an alternate universe in which the fates of Boston and Philadelphia sports had switched places several decades ago.Everyone agrees that an Eagles win on Sunday would set off something approaching total pandemonium in the Philadelphia. “It would be by far the largest sports celebration ever,” Longman told me. “There aren’t enough cans of Crisco in the world to keep people from climbing every [street] pole in Philadelphia.” Longman thought the potential crowds would dwarf the Phillies’ championship parade in 2008 and be more akin to when the pope visited the city in 2015.Whether the long-awaited Super Bowl victory would mark the beginning of a change in fans’ behavior, however, is another question, given that so much of Philly fandom — for good and bad — is wrapped up in the feelings of being overlooked and misunderstood.“It would require a change in a mindset that has prevailed for many generations,” Longman said. “It’d be fascinating to see if Philly is comfortable with being the overdog instead of the underdog.”Although it would only begin to make a slight dent in the city’s championship shortfall of the past three and a half decades, winning Sunday would be a good start. read more

Freshman pitcher blowing away batters breaking OSU records

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When Melanie Nichols steps onto the mound at Buckeye Field, she says she feels at home. But batters facing the 5-foot-10-inch freshman might not feel welcome, because Nichols has 128 strikeouts.Nichols currently holds a 21-2 record for the Ohio State softball team. The old record for a rookie was 16 wins, as Nichols surpassed former All-American OSU pitcher Kim Reeder and Netherland Olympian Kristi DeVries.“At first, I actually didn’t know what the record was until after I beat it,” Nichols said. “Maybe that helped. But I try not to focus on that because I can be a lot better than I am.”Nichols came to OSU battling an improper recovery from surgery on a torn meniscus in her left knee.“It was in the middle of my high school season, so the day I got cleared I went and played a doubleheader, which was not the smartest thing to do. Definitely not,” Nichols said.After a short while at OSU, her knee was “good to go,” she said. But when the Scarlet and Gray headed down to Florida for a tournament at the beginning of the season, Nichols faced another injury.“My back started to really hurt and all I thought was that I had a really bad pinched nerve,” Nichols said. “But my rib was out of my place.”Shortly after Nichols’ rib was popped back in, she blamed her clumsy demeanor for the reason she was wearing a boot on her ankle a few weeks back.“What’s really funny is that I never get hurt, but once I got knee surgery it’s been bam, bam, bam,” she said.Although Nichols said she expected to be a regular freshman and never expected to be doing the things she’s doing now, assistant coach Erica Beach thought otherwise.“A lot of people look past their freshman year and don’t expect great things, but I expected her to make an immediate impact like she has,” Beach said.And Nichols has done just that.Currently on a 10-game winning streak, the freshman pitcher has a 1.86 ERA with more than 160 innings pitched.Nichols had a win against the Michigan Wolverines, who were ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time.“On the mound, she’s mentally tough. She brings confidence to the pitching circle,” Beach said. “And off the field, she’s a really great chemistry player. People like to be around her.”That mental toughness and confidence have definitely worked for Nichols, who has thrown 15 complete games.“She focuses on being great in the game. She practices like she plays,” Beach said.Although Nichols has said she has much to improve on, it’s not only this year that she’s expected to make an impact. Coach Linda Kalafatis said she knows Nichols will be a contributor all four years.“We knew that Mel had the chance to be maybe one of the best pitchers here. She’s got the potential depending on how hard she wants to work for it,” Kalafatis said. “In the same respect, did I think we’d get to the point where she’s 21-2? No, I guess I never thought of it in those kind of numbers. But you know, winners get records but teams win games.” read more

Buckeyes advance to Sweet 16 following win against Georgia Tech

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It started out physical, but the bumped and bruised Buckeyes prevailed against Georgia Tech on Monday night, despite tying their season-high in turnovers. The No. 4 seed Ohio State women’s basketball team (24-9) will advance to the Sweet 16 in Dayton, Ohio, after topping the fifth-seeded Yellow Jackets, 67-60, in a hard-fought win in front of St. John Arena’s vivacious crowd. OSU now has won 11 straight games. “It was more of a boxing match — two fighters feeling each other out,” OSU coach Jim Foster said. “Then you get into a rhythm.” Foster’s team found that rhythm midway through the second half, when OSU was able to beat Georgia Tech’s press defense while holding the team scoreless for nearly five minutes. During that span, the Buckeyes’ lead grew from four points to 13. After that run, the Yellow Jackets (24-11) predictably stopped pressing, allowing OSU to slow down the game. “We was getting layups,” guard Samantha Prahalis said. “I would have pulled it off, too.” But en route to its win, the team turned the ball over 21 times. Making up for it was Jantel Lavender’s 21 points on 71.4 percent shooting, and 11 rebounds. Her double-figure scoring performance was her 135th, setting the NCAA all-time record. “Jantel, to me, is the best post player in the country,” Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. “She’s also one of the top three players in the country overall.” The Yellow Jackets were unable to make OSU pay for its struggles maintaining possession, as they scored just 16 points off turnovers. But Joseph chalked her team’s loss up to the inability to make shots, especially those around the basket. Her team outshot the Buckeyes by a staggering 72-42, but only shot 38.9 percent from the field despite garnering the turnovers. The Yellow Jackets also shot only 2-of-17 from 3-point range. “We’ve never played a game and got two free throws,” Joseph said. “That’s not the difference in the game. The difference in the game is you have to make layups.” Behind Lavender, the Buckeyes shot 59.5 percent from the field and got double-digit points from Prahalis, guard Tayler Hill and center Ashley Adams. Brittany Johnson added 9 points, with her three 3-pointers being the team’s only ones. “We have a lot of people that can score the ball on the floor, and sometimes we have a tendency to guard ourselves,” Foster said. The first half was very physical, with the referees letting a lot of contact go uncalled. The tipping point came when Lavender and Georgia Tech’s Chelsea Regins got tangled up underneath the basket after Johnson nailed a 3-pointer. Offsetting technical fouls were called on the play. After that, the game was called much tighter. Prahalis played an unaccustomed role of peacemaker in the situation, pulling Lavender away from the officials after vehemently arguing the call. Even after his team earned the technical, Foster said he was pleased with the way his players handled the situation. “(It was) a sign of growth, a sign of maturity,” he said. “I like the fact that Jantel needed to be calmed down, and I like the fact that Sammy calmed her down.” Yellow Jacket Tyaunna Marshall led her team to a 30-29 first-half lead by scoring 10 points on 50 percent shooting, including a go-ahead jumper as time expired. But she scored just two points in the second to finish with 12. Guard Metra Walthour led the team in scoring with 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting. Adams led the Buckeyes in scoring in the first half with 10 points, going 4-of-7 from the floor while Lavender scored just four. “Sammy did a great job getting the ball up the floor quickly, which I don’t think we did great in the first half,” Lavender said. “In the second half, we had about 25 seconds to run offense, so that really made the difference for us.” Prahalis was frustrated early by the Yellow Jackets’ physical defense against her, as they forced Hill to handle the ball more than usual. After taking a hard foul at midcourt in the first half, blood was drawn from the same spot on her leg as Saturday and she required another bandage. But that didn’t stop her from having an effective night, scoring 16 on an efficient 5-of-7 shooting while dishing out a game-high eight assists. Her team is 15-2 this season when she registers more than seven assists. Monday’s contest was the first ever meeting between OSU and the Yellow Jackets. The win means the Buckeyes will have advanced to the Sweet 16 in two of the last three seasons and are now 8-2 against ranked teams this year. On Saturday, OSU will take on No. 1 seed Tennessee — a school Lavender said she visited before signing with the Buckeyes, and whose roster she is very familiar with. Foster, a former coach of Vanderbilt from 1991–00, said he’s plenty aware of the type of teams heralded coach Pat Summitt puts together after spending that time in the SEC. He mentioned that perhaps it would be easier playing the customary powerhouse in his team’s home state. “We’re not playing in Knoxville. We’re not playing in Nashville,” he said. “We’re playing in Dayton, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity.” read more

Lori Walker still humble after 200 wins

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Women’s soccer coach Lori Walker, who is in her 18th season with the Buckeyes, picked up her 200th OSU win Sept. 12 against Indiana. Walker is winningest coach in program history.Credit: Courtesy of OSU athleticsIn her 18th season with the Ohio State women’s soccer team, coach Lori Walker joked that her hip hurts. Through 366 games with the Buckeyes, she’s stood for nearly 23 days, a price she’s had to pay for 200 wins.“It’s humbling,” Walker said. “When you hit a milestone like that, you stop and you reflect and you think about all the people who have helped you along the way.”Following the Buckeyes 2-1 overtime win against Indiana last Friday, Walker reached the 200-win plateau and continued her ascendance as OSU’s winningest coach in program history.Former Buckeye assistant coach Greg Miller discussed Walker’s humility as one of many reasons for her success.Miller, who became the University of Pittsburgh women’s soccer coach in 2012, said hiring coaches with different backgrounds and ideas has been a staple in Walker’s regime.“Over the years (Walker’s) done a great job of surrounding herself with people that offset some of the things that maybe she’s not so strong in,” Miller said. “She’s always been very smart about that.”Walker hasn’t shown too many weaknesses en route to a 200-135-31 record with the Buckeyes. Through the past 17 years, she has guided OSU to nine NCAA tournament appearances, having clinched a postseason berth in each of the past five seasons.Despite her years of experience, she still frequents coaching seminars where she works to stay up-to-date with the game’s latest trends and technologies.Requiring her team to wear heart-rate monitors is Walker’s latest scheme. The technology allows the coaching staff to gauge players’ work rates and recovery times, assistant coach Nick Flohre said.Walker also works to see the game from different viewpoints, a process that began when she was a 24-year-old coach at the University of Kansas.“I recognized if I wanted to stay in this profession and be a lifer then I really had to study the game,” she said.When studying the game became dull, Walker said she turned to work as a television analyst for Olympic and FIFA Women’s World Cup matches to rekindle her interest.“I got to a point where I was a little bored and stagnant in my coaching,” Walker said. “Broadcast was a wonderful way for me to study the game at a different level.”But while she works to incorporate new methods to her coaching, she has remained grounded in one of her core coaching principles.“She doesn’t sugarcoat anything,” junior goalkeeper Jillian McVicker said. “She wants everyone to be the best they can possibly be, so she demands a lot out of us and keeps the standard really high.”Walker’s connection with her players might be best explained through a story Miller recounted from his time with the Buckeyes.In a team meeting during the 2010 season, Walker confided to her team that they were going to the College Cup. Walker’s players countered her claim with a dumbfounded response, only to be surprised when their coach’s assertion proved correct.The College Cup, which is the equivalent of the NCAA tournament in basketball also includes 64 teams.Walker’s confidence in her program has not waned since then, and according to her players, neither has her expectation of success.Justification for the high standards expected from OSU can be found in Walker’s many accomplishments. She was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2010 and has helped OSU to three Big Ten championships.Given Walker’s success, there’s no room for uncertainty on her teams.“We don’t have time for doubt in college sports,” Walker said. “(Players) only get 3 1/2 (years) to be excellent and (coaches) have to try to get them there as fast as we can.”Before coaching, Walker made the most of her time at the University of North Carolina as a goalkeeper on four national championship teams.Immediately following her playing career, Walker began developing her relentless approach to coaching.Walker spent two years as the first women’s soccer coach at the University of Kansas and three seasons as an assistant under former U.S. Women’s National Team coach April Heinrichs at the University of Maryland.“That was a critical time to my development,” Walker said of her time with the Terrapins. “(Heinrichs) was a great mentor for me.”Both stops presented different challenges. With the Jayhawks, Walker was a young coach in a brand new program. Prior to that, at Maryland, Walker was responsible for coaching a 21-year-old goalkeeper, as a 21-year-old assistant coach.As she ages, Walker said she now must work harder to keep personal relationships with her players. The key is listening, she said.Walker is the first to respond to players with personal issues, Flohre said.“Off the field, she truly cares about us as people and our development as women,” McVicker said. “She genuinely cares about us.”Walker’s love for the job doesn’t seem to be slowing. While reflecting on her milestone, she digressed to ponder the idea of her 300th win.That mark may be down the road, but if that day comes, Walker will probably still be on her feet for it.Correction: Sept. 18, 2014An earlier version of this article stated Jillian McVicker said Lori Walker is the first to respond to personal issues, when in fact, Nick Flohre said that. read more

Ohio State mens soccer beats rival Michigan in 1st round of Big

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Michigan senior midfielder Tyler Anderson (23) dribbles as OSU senior midfielder Yianni Sarris (6) pursues during a Nov. 9 match at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU won, 1-0. Credit: Kelly Roderick / For The LanternFor the second time in five days, the Ohio State men’s soccer team bested its rival, this time to keep its season alive.OSU (9-6-4, 5-3-0) returned home to defeat Michigan (6-9-3, 3-3-2) in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten tournament, 1-0, on Sunday.The victory came less than a week after the Buckeyes beat Michigan, 2-1, in Ann Arbor, Mich., to close the regular season.“I think we were just all really focused and really hungry to defend our home turf, and beat Michigan again twice in five days, obviously that was a really difficult task, but we embraced it and we ran with that,” redshirt-senior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov added.For the second consecutive game against the Wolverines, it was sophomore forward Danny Jensen who opened the scoring in the first half. The sophomore directed a header in front of the box off a high feed from senior midfielder Max Moller and deposited it into the corner of the net.“We knew exactly what they had, on the counter that they know exactly what we had,” Jensen said.The goal was Jensen’s fifth of the year, including his fourth in OSU’s last five games. However, Jensen said he is not the one responsible for the recent success.“My teammates are putting me in the right positions,” he said. “I’m not really doing too much. I just have to be in the right positions by moving a few yards, and they’re putting the ball on my head, on my foot.”Michigan appeared to tie the game with a header that got past Ivanov late in the first half, but the equalizer was waved off because of an offsides call.As a result, the first half came to a close with the Buckeyes holding a 1-0 lead. Michigan led in shots at the half, however, 5-3.But OSU turned that trend around to begin the latter half. In the first 30 minutes of the second half, the Buckeyes only allowed Michigan to get two shots off as they played a defensive, conservative style.“It was crucial that we kept focus and maintained our lead, and I think everyone just did really well to stay on the same page,” Ivanov said.Despite Michigan’s desperate search for the equalizer, the Buckeyes’ defense held strong, controlling possession for much of the second half and holding Michigan to only one shot on goal.“It was a great shutout today more than anything,” OSU coach John Bluem said. “We talked about at halftime, if we defended well, then we’ve already got the game won. If you don’t let them score, we won the game already, and I think that mindset helped.”It was the second-consecutive chippy game between the rivals. After 20 fouls were whistled in Wednesday’s contest, 37 were assessed Sunday – including two yellow cards in the final minute.“It’s an important game, they’re fighting for their season, we’re fighting for their season. It’s a rivalry, too,” Ivanov said about the number of fouls. “It’s always tough playing against Michigan, it’s pretty physical and demanding on the body.” Ivanov’s shutout was his seventh of the season and 15th of his collegiate career.Shortly after the game, Indiana defeated Northwestern in a penalty kick shootout to advance to the semifinals to meet the Buckeyes. OSU fell to Indiana on Oct. 12, 2-1.In College Park, Md., No. 1-seeded Maryland defeated Rutgers, 2-0, to earn the right to host the semifinals and championship as the highest remaining seed.Of the three other teams remaining in the tournament, OSU is 1-2-0 this season, allowing a combined five goals.However, Jensen said it would not be easy for future opponents to score many goals against the late-season iteration of the OSU defense.“Any team that is going to have to beat us, they’re going to have to score some great goals or we’re going to have to get unlucky, because we’re playing really well right now,” he said.OSU is set to travel to College Park, Md., to take on sixth-seeded Indiana in the semifinals Friday. That game is scheduled to kick off at 3:40 p.m. read more

Mens Volleyball Backtoback NCAA champ Ohio State prepares to face backtoback runnerup

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Then-junior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen serves the ball in the 2017 NCAA tournament. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Station ManagerThe No. 1 Ohio State men’s volleyball team will face a familiar foe on Saturday: No. 7 BYU. The Buckeyes (1-0) beat the Cougars (1-1) in back-to-back national championship games, which means St. John Arena could have a tournament-like feel at 7 p.m. Saturday when the two teams take the court.The Buckeyes also will welcome Stanford (0-3) to Columbus for a 7 p.m. contest Friday.In addition to being national championship runner-ups, the Cougars have a powerful offense led by three seniors — outside attacker Brenden Sander, middle blocker Price Jarman and setter Leo Durkin — who were named to the preseason All-American team.Sophomore outside hitter Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga (28 kills, .333 hitting percentage in first match of season) and freshman opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez (35 kills, .288 hitting percentage in first match of season) also will pose a challenge for the Buckeyes. Redshirt junior middle blocker Blake Leeson believes his team’s match against BYU will be a necessary early test. “Right now, in the season, we aren’t as ready as we will be by the end of the year,” he said. “We still have a lot of kinks to work out at different positions… I’m looking forward to this weekend to see where we match up against some of the top teams in the country.”Ohio State senior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen, the Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year in both 2016 and 2017, jump-started his final collegiate season with the most votes for the preseason All-American team. He said he is excited to play against BYU in a nonchampionship setting for the first time.“They’re more of a physical team, where we’re more a technical team,” Szerszen said. “We still have to improve in a lot of technical components of our game … They might be more ready than us right now, but we’ll just see how it goes, give it our best, and play hard.”With two players named preseason All-Americans, Stanford also might be a source of stiff competition for the Buckeyes on Friday night. First-team All-American libero Evan Enriques and second-team All-American middle blocker Kevin Rakestraw might prove a difficult pair for the Buckeyes to deal with if Enriques is able to funnel Buckeye serves and attacks to Stanford’s setter for in-system attacks down the middle by Rakestraw. Stanford began the season ranked No. 10, but dropped out of the rankings after three losses to begin the year.“As we’ve watched some film and prepared our scout report, it looks like they had a couple of freshmen playing on the floor … At this stage of the season, it’s a learning process,” Ohio State head coach Pete Hanson said.Stanford and BYU aren’t the only teams with young players. After graduating four starters after the 2017 season, Szerszen, Leeson and senior outside hitter Maxime Hervoir are a few of the leading figures on an otherwise young Ohio State team. read more

Christian nurse sacked for offering to pray with patients was just showing

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first_imgShe said Mrs Kuteh’s “spirituality blurred the professional boundary” between herself and patients.”Following reasonable management requests formed a pivotal aspect of Mrs Kuteh’s contract of employment with the Trust,” she added.Mrs Kuteh said she was “serious” about her Christian faith but did not impose it on patients.She said she would sometimes be prompted to initiate religious discussion with patients by questions on the pre-op questionnaire.She told the hearing: “I don’t want it to look like it was a habit. I would not always initiate it, only when I’m prompted in the questionnaire.”Mrs Kuteh said she would have liked to have had supervised practice and a weekly review instead of being sacked. Another patient said being subjected to such religious “fervour” by Mrs Kuteh was “bizarre”, and he compared the experience with a “Monty Python skit”.One other patient felt Mrs Kuteh spent more time talking about religion than completing a pre-operative questionnaire, according to statements submitted at an employment tribunal held in Ashford, Kent.Mrs Kuteh, a nursing sister with 15 years of experience, was sacked last August after several months’ suspension and referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council for disqualification proceedings.She appealed but the panel agreed that the decision to dismiss Mrs Kuteh was “entirely appropriate”.The hospital denied that she had been sacked because of because of her faith. Instead Victoria Leivers-Carruth, who chaired the hospital trust’s appeal hearing, said the panel believed Mrs Kuteh was using her one-to-one time with patients to “impose her religious beliefs” on them. She said in a statement: “We did not believe that Mrs Kuteh was being disciplined because she was a Christian.”It was apparent to us that Mrs Kuteh was disciplined because she had engaged in conversations about religion that were unwanted by patients and contrary to her line manager’s instructions.”At a hearing on Thursday her lawyer Pavel Stroilov said that she had simply been doing her job by showing compassion to people who were suffering. He said: “A nurse without compassion would be unworthy of the name. On top of performing her immediate duties, a good nurse would try and find kind words to say to her patient.”Sarah Collins, general manager for medicine at Darent Valley Hospital, said she had been given warnings about her behaviour but had “persisted with questioning patients on religious grounds”.  A Christian nurse who was fired for offering to pray with patients before surgery was simply showing “compassion”, a tribunal heard.Sarah Kuteh lost her job last year after patients complained that she talked more about religion than their procedures and told them that if they prayed to God they were more likely to survive. Mrs Kuteh was dismissed for gross misconduct from Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent. Eight patients who were “extremely vulnerable” and facing surgery had submitted complaints about her behaviour.Now her case has been brought to an employment tribunal after she claimed she was unfairly dismissed. One cancer patient facing bowel surgery complained after mother-of-three Mrs Kuteh told him if he prayed to God he would have a better chance of survival. She said: “I love nursing, I love what I do and I love talking to patients.”What I wanted the trust to have done was to give me the opportunity to show a change.”Tribunal judge Martin Kurrein reserved judgment. I love nursing, I love what I do and I love talking to patients. What I wanted the trust to have done was to give me the opportunity to show a change.Sarah Kuteh A view of Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent A view of Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, KentCredit: Gareth Fuller/PA 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

France backs Boris Johnson over calls for senior Syrian and Russian figures

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first_imgFrench Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault Mr Johnson insisted after the summit that the option of sanctions remained on the table and said there would be an investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.“After that, if of course we can find people, whether they are Syrians or whether they are Russians associated with the Syrian military operation, it is in my view wholly appropriate that they should face economic sanctions or sanctions of some other kind,” he said. A communiqué issued by the G7 made no mention of sanctions but included a significant new agreement that Bashar al-Assad cannot stay on as Syrian president.However Mr Ayault has now signalled his support in a joint article in Le Monde and the Guardian, which says: “We are confident in this process [gathering evidence] and fully support it. There will be no impunity.”In the wake of the summit earlier this week a Government source told The Telegraph that the failure to secure an agreement on sanctions – which came on top of Mr Johnson cancelling a trip to Moscow – had been a “total let down”. France has backed Boris Johnson’s calls for senior Syrian figures and potentially Russian military commanders to face sanctions if they are implicated by an independent investigation into last week’s chemical weapon attack.Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French foreign minister, said in a joint article with Mr Johnson that France is prepared to pursue any individuals who were complicit in the atrocity in Syria.It comes after Mr Johnson faced embarrassment last week after without securing backing for his plans for sanctions after Italy, France and Germany publicly rebuffed him, saying Mr Putin must not be “pushed into a corner”. 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.center_img French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc AyraultCredit:THIERRY CHARLIER/AFP/Getty Image But a spokesman for Mr Johnson said such a view was “completely short-sighted and wrong” because Russian and Syrian military figures would still face sanctions with the G7’s blessing if an independent investigation proves Assad was to blame for last week’s chemical attack and Mr Putin carried on backing him. There will be no impunityJean-Marc Ayrault, the French foreign ministerlast_img read more

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Future of revenge porn will see spurned exes create 3D sex avatars

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first_imgThe growth of virtual reality pornography could allow spurned exes to create sex avatars of former lovers and carry out depraved and violent acts with them, experts have warned.Researchers at Newcastle University have been studying the rise of VR porn, which will allow users to step into the heart of the action using headsets such as Oculus Rift, or Playstation VR.But they warned that the headsets allowed people to experience extreme, degrading or even abusive imagery in an alarmingly ‘real’ way, and could challenge laws of consent. The team said that the together with the availability of 3D imaging tools and the rise in DIY porn,  models based on real people could become the future form of revenge porn.They have called on manufactures to set guidelines on what can be viewed through their technology. The researchers warned that being able to create a ‘perfect scenario’ could damage relationships in the real world Credit: Radius Images / Alamy Stock Photo Facebook’s Oculus Rift headset  Research lead and PhD student Matthew Wood, said: “Revenge porn is already illegal but there are many get arounds, and once digital content is out there, there is very little you can do.”At this early stage we’re looking to raise awareness that this could be a possibility for the future.”Virtual reality is only just starting to emerge, with the launch of several headsets by the likes of Facebook, Playstation and Google at the end of 2016. To find out what the future of virtual reality pornography might be, the researchers asked 45 participants to create their perfect 3D fantasy as well as a second scenario in which volunteers were invited to delve deeper into taboo areas.They found that the stories often went beyond what would be acceptable in real life with sometimes violent imagery, featuring men performing degrading sexual acts on women or forcing themselves upon them.Mr Wood added: “We found that for most people the potential of a VR porn experience opened the doors to an apparently ‘perfect’ sexual experience – a scenario which in the real world no-one could live up to. “For others it meant pushing the boundaries, often with highly explicit and violent imagery, and we know from current research into pornography that exposure to this content has the potential to become addictive and more extreme over time.” Facebook's Oculus Rift headset center_img Woman Comforting Man Sitting on Edge of Bed  The team also warned that the rise of 3D porn could damage relationships and increase sexism and the exploitation of women. “One of our findings suggested VR pornography could be something more like cheating on a partner because of the increasing ‘reality’ of the VR experience,” added Mr Wood.Dr Madeline Balaam, co-author of the research, said: “As a society we are always looking for new and novel experiences but the porn industry brings with it an added risk because of its sexist stance and exploitation of women.“We are already obsessed with body image and the digital industry is no different, creating the perfect virtual woman from Lara Croft to sex-robots. VR porn has the potential to escalate this.“Our research highlighted not only a drive for perfection, but also a crossover between reality and fantasy. Some of our findings highlighted the potential for creating 3D models of real life people, raising questions over what consent means in VR experiences.”If a user created a VR version of their real life girlfriend, for example, would they do things to her that they knew she would refuse in the real world?”The team presented their research at the CHI 2017 conference. 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

Farmers forced to cull Exmoor ponies due to paperwork delays

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first_imgThe number of breeding mares is now estimated to be between 100 and 300.The ponies run free for most of the year, but every herd belongs to the farm that owns the grazing rights on that land. In autumn, the herds are rounded up, and the foals inspected and branded with a herd number and its own individual number.David Wallace, from the Exmoor Pony Society, said most herd owners do not face paperwork delays. Wild ponies of Exmoor National Park Credit:Southern Lightscapes-Australia 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. “They cost us a lot of money, but for romantic reasons we want them because generations before us have done it, we want our children to do it. Once it has gone it won’t come back. Exmoor ponies graze in the grounds of Knepp Castle “We continue to look at improving procedures. We continue as a society to ask breeders to breed responsibly,” he said.“We ask for the best DNA sampling to be taken at the time the foals are inspected so we can turn the passports around.“There are many passports which are turned round within weeks of the foals being inspected.”center_img Exmoor ponies graze in the grounds of Knepp CastleCredit:Christopher Pledger Exmoor ponies are being culled by farmers because of delays in obtaining “passports” that prove their pedigree.The animals are listed as endangered by the Rare Breed Survival Trust and require the paperwork from the Exmoor Pony Society in order to be sold.But breeders, who largely keep them simply to ensure their survival, have claimed that they are having to wait months for the documents to be issued due to bureaucratic red tape and cannot afford to keep the ponies for that long.One said the pony’s value “lies in its registration” but claimed that delays of months or even years meant that it was too expensive to keep them.Marie and Nigel Floyd, who own a farm on Exmoor and have a quota to keep 70 of the ponies, said this year they had 12 additional new foals born but were struggling to sell them, admitting they had had to cull them before.”It is devastating because these ponies belong to the moor and we want to keep them here,” Mrs Floyd said. Wild ponies of Exmoor National Park  “Exmoor without Exmoor ponies would be awful.”Mr Floyd, whose family have bred Exmoor ponies in Devon for decades, told Sky News that culling was “the last resort.”He added: “We are not allowed to sell the ponies without a passport on them at the time. You can take the pony, but you also have to take the passport as well. They go together.”Exmoor ponies have roamed the moor since the Ice Age and unlike other native breeds, such as the Dartmoor or New Forest, there has been no cross-breeding so it remains a genuine ancient species.During the Second World War they were used for target practice by troops training on the moor and their numbers dwindled to almost nothing.last_img read more

Trio plead not guilty following Telegraphs Football for Sale investigation

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Three men have pleaded not guilty to bribery offences, following The Daily Telegraph’s ‘Football for Sale’ investigation.Tommy Wright, 52, of Dark Lane, Barnsley, the former Barnsley Football Club assistant manager, is charged with two counts of accepting a bribe. Giuseppe Pagliara, 62, of East Drive, Bury, and Dax Price, 47, of Susans Lane, Sittingbourne, both face two charges of paying and facilitating a bribe.The three pleaded not guilty to all charges at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday.  All were granted unconditional bail. They will next appear at Southwark Crown Court on 22nd October.Wright was sacked after allegedly accepting a £5,000 cash ‘bribe’ in a meeting with undercover reporters posing as representatives of a fictitious Far East company.The charges follow an investigation by the Telegraph which was published in September 2016. Detectives from the City of London Economic Crime Directorate launched an inquiry in November 2016 after concluding their review of material gathered by this newspaper.The three men were interviewed between December 2016 and April 2017. All have previously denied any wrongdoing. 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. read more

Shrouds of the Somme gives families of soldiers with no known graves

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A vast new display to mark the end of the First World War will give families of soldiers killed at the Battle of the Somme with no known grave the chance to take home the ‘bodies’ of their loved ones.As part of the events marking the centenary of the end the conflict, a field in the Queen Elizabeth Park in east London has been transformed with the installation of 72,396 shrouded calico figures to represent the men of the British and Commonwealth forces who were killed during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, but whose bodies were never recovered.The Shrouds of Somme, which opens on Thursday and will run until 18 November, is the brainchild of artist Rob Heard, 53, and is supported by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission and military charity SAAFA.Mr Heard, who has worked 12 hour days for five years creating the 12-inch shrouded figures, told The Telegraph he started the project to try and “put stories to the names” of the Somme dead.He said: “We see the vast numbers of the dead and read the names on the memorials, but I wanted to try and make sense of the scale of these huge number. Each one represents an individual, and that’s why each shroud is different. “The medium of fabric means they are all different and represent individuals. They are all made to a name of a man who died on the Somme whose body was never recovered.” Volunteers from the Royal Anglian Regiment spent three days laying out the figures, should-to-shoulder in formation across the 4,000 sm site in the shadow of the London Stadium.After the display ends next Sunday, the shrouds will go on sale for £35 each in aid of veterans charities, but Mr Heard has called on families who lost loved ones in the battle to come forward and claim their family member. “We hope the families who loved ancestors at the Somme come forward and purchase their shrouds,” he said.“What’s extraordinary is that I have met some of these families, and the grief is still so real. They still have a a huge amount in their pride for their ancestors and want to honour them.” The family of Sidney Nicholson (right) have already purchased ‘his shroud’ from the organisers of the display. He was killed during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 but his body was never recovered Shrouds of the Somme at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park The family of Sidney Nicholson (right) have already purchased 'his shroud' from the organisers of the display. He was killed during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 but his body was never recovered Sally Nicholson, 34 from Northampton. whose great-great grandfather was Sidney’s brother and signed up alongside him, told the Daily Telegraph: “Sidney was killed by a German sniper as he was about to lead his men over the top. We are not really a military family, but we’ve always made an effort to remember him. My cousin has already purchased his shroud and it finally feels like he’s coming home to us” On such family is that of Sidney Nicholson, a lance corporal in the King’s Royal Rifles who was killed towards the end of the Battle of the Somme on 7 October 1916. His body was never recovered, but his family have now been able to purchase his shroud to “bring him home”. 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. Shrouds of the Somme at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic ParkCredit:Geoff Pugh  Small shrouded figures, representing soldiers who died and were never recovered from the Somme battlefields, have been laid out by volunteers and members of Royal Anglian Regiment Small shrouded figures, representing soldiers who died and were never recovered from the Somme battlefields, have been laid out by volunteers and members of Royal Anglian RegimentCredit:Kirsty O’Connor /PA She added: “His name is engraved on the Thiepval memorial in France, but has no known grave. So this is the first time he has set on on English soil in 102 years.”Mr Heard decided to embark on the project in 2013 after a car crash when he saw the impact of conflict on veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. He only completed the last of the more than 70,000 shrouds five days ago.The Somerset artist, said: “I had a book with all the names of those soldiers with no known grave and I started by looking up each name as I start its shroud. But that way madness lies. I couldn’t take that level of intensity, thinking about each soldier as I created their shroud. In the end I had to do it the other way around and cross of the names afterward.” read more

Libby Squire Sister of butcher held over missing student reveals he comforted

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She said: “I don’t… Speaking to the Telegraph, his sister Paulina Szymanska, said he had spoken to Miss Squire on the night, but insisted he had nothing to do with her disappearance. Married father of two Paweł Rełowicz was arrested on Wednesday night, at his rented home in Hull, just half a mile from where Miss Squire disappeared. A butcher arrested on suspicion of abducting missing student Libby Squire stopped to help her when he spotted her crying at the side of the road, his sister has told The Telegraph. The 24-year-old, a Polish national who works as a butcher in Malton, North Yorkshire, allegedly offered to give her a lift home when he spotted her in a distressed state just after midnight. 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. read more

Yellow vest protesters storm Attorney Generals office after day of chaos in

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Police were called at 1.45pm to reports of protestors inside the Attorney General’s office, The Sanctuary, SW1, Officers are on scene and dealing. No arrests at this point. Update to follow.— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) March 19, 2019 Mr Goddard, 29, is accused of harassing MP Anna Soubry outside parliament between December 18 last year and January 8.He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. But the hearing had to be suspended when some of his supporters began heckling and entered the dock to join him.The case resumed briefly so that Mr Goddard could be informed of his bail conditions, but the hearing descended into farce again as the defendant left the dock to address the judge. Chudasama, from Hayes, pleaded guilty last year to three counts of causing death by dangerous driving. He was jailed for 13 years, a sentence later cut to 10-and-a-half years at the Court of Appeal.Tracy Blackwell, mother of Josh McGuinness, is very active in the “yellow vests” and was understood to have been at the demonstration inside the Attorney General’s offices. Members of the public gallery again shouted “shame on you” as the hearing came to an abrupt conclusion. Mr Goddard will face a two day trial beginning on July 19.Mr Goddard, wearing a white T-shirt featuring a British flag, a logo for “The Directory Guys”, a motif of three children’s faces, and the words “our boys”, had earlier used his mobile phone in the dock as he waited for the case to begin.He briefly left the courtroom before the hearing started to talk with his solicitor after a member of the public shouted legal advice from the packed public gallery, where several of his supporters were sat on the floor.Mr Goddard asked “Why?” when told to stand for the charges to be read and gave his nationality as English, but refused to give his address due to the “vultures” in court. A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) said: “The safety and security of all court users is our priority and we’re deeply concerned to hear of intimidating behaviour at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this morning.”We apologise to all those affected and are urgently investigating what happened. This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.”Drunk driver who killed three accused of being ‘Isil terrorist’The protest inside the Attorney General’s office related to the deaths of three teenagers who were killed when a motorist ploughed into them in Hayes, West London, last year.Josh McGuinness, George Wilkinson, both 16, and Harry Rice, 17, were killed instantly when Jaynesh Chudasama, a car hire worker, hit them after clipping a kerb.The tragic case has become a cause celebre among far right activists who claim the Asian motorist, who reached a speed of 71mph, was an Islamist terrorist whose massacre was covered up by police.The authorities insist it was not terrorism because no group claimed responsibility and Chudasama is an Indian Hindu. And, while the consumption of alcohol is forbidden in the Islamic faith, Chudasama was two-and-a-half times the legal drink drive limit at the time of the crash. Addressing judge Kenneth Grant from the dock, Mr Goddard said: “It’s not illegal to heckle an MP. All of this is wrong.”Mr Grant rose and temporarily adjourned the case 15 minutes into the hearing  after several members of the public gallery began shouting about Brexit, made derogatory comments about Anna Soubry, and chanted “Shame on you”.Ms Soubry, a prominent supporter of a second EU referendum, was taunted during a television interview and then followed by a group of men as she returned to Parliament.The incident led to increased police patrols around Westminster and a debate over whether the protests near Parliament had crossed a line.’Urgent investigation’ launched into farcical hearingThe courts service has launched an “urgent investigation” after a hearing involving self-styled “yellow vest” protester James Goddard descended into farce, with supporters disrupting the hearing and sitting in the dock amid allegations of intimidating journalists.The judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court was forced to temporarily call a halt to the plea hearing after Goddard’s supporters in the public gallery began calling Remain-supporting MP Anna Soubry – an alleged victim in the Goddard case – a Nazi. The hearing resumed to inform Goddard of his bail conditions, but became chaotic again soon after as the defendant left the dock complaining to the judge that he could not get a fair trial.One female journalist, who asked not to be named, said she complained to the courts service and to the police after she was “intimidated” by supporters as she attempted to cover the case.She said Goddard identified her as a journalist who had covered the yellow vests protests, with court officials being told by his supporters not to let her into the hearing.The reporter said she was called “vile” and “scum of the earth”, and has been told by her editor that she will not cover any further cases involving Goddard due to concerns for her safety. He is expected to rely on a defence of “fair comment”. Earlier, a court hearing for self styled yellow vest protester James Goddard had to be suspended after descending into chaos at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. James Goddard was greeted by supporters at courtCredit:Ben Cawthra/LNP Yellow vest protesters storm Attorney General's office after day of chaos in court for James Goddard hearing Judge Kenneth Grant temporarily adjourned the case at Westminster Magistrates’ Court 15 minutes into the hearing after several people in the public gallery began shouting about Brexit, made derogatory comments about Ms Soubry, and chanted: “Shame on you.”Supporters chanted “Soubry is a Nazi,” commented on the perceived severity of his bail conditions by telling the judge that Goddard “is not a terrorist, you know”, and said a police officer briefly present in court would be “better off fighting knife crime”. Yellow vest protesters storm Attorney General’s office after day of chaos in court for James Goddard hearingCredit:Nick Ansell/PA Yellow vest protester James Goddard appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court for a chaotic hearing  Yellow vest demonstrators  stormed the Attorney General’s office in the latest stunt in a day of chaos in Westminster following protester James Goddard’s court appearance for allegedly abusing Anna Soubry MP. Live video posted on Facebook showed a group of protesters in yellow vests, stood on the stairwell singing “we want a new Attorney General”.They then knocked on an office door within the building, shouting: “Hello, the little people are here.”The video then showed police climbing the stairs to meet the demonstrators, who at that point sat down on the stairwell.The group sang “justice for the three” and “shame on you” as officers surrounded them and the fire alarm continued to ring out.Their chants relate to three teenage boys who were killed by a drink-driver in Hayes. The group believe this was an act of terrorism, which was covered up by the Government. But Jaynesh Chudasama was jailed for 13 years last year over the incident, and there is no evidence to suggest that he was an extremist.  Security guards for Westminster Abbey have also moved in and told protesters: “Time to make a move now please.” Protesters refused to move and continued to chant. Police were eventually called, but no arrests were made. James Goddard was greeted by supporters at court Yellow vest protester James Goddard appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a chaotic hearing  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. read more

Projected 38 growth in 2017 reliant heavily on gold mining

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The economy has been targeted to achieve growth of 3.8 per cent this year, and it is expected that the mining, quarrying and services sectors will drive this growth.Achieving this growth would put the country on par with projections made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its January World Economic Outlook – that in 2017 and 2018, economic activities are projected to pick up in emerging markets and developing economies.However, the one-sided reliance on growth from  the resource extractive sector had led to what is known as “Dutch disease”. This is where the rest of the economy stagnates – such as four of the traditional “six sisters” in Guyana – rice, sugar, bauxite and timber; the other two being gold and diamond.According to the Monthly Economic Bulletin (MEB) published by the Economic Policy Analysis Unit (EPAU) of the Finance Ministry, Guyana’s economic growth last year was fuelled by strong performances in the gold, diamond and quarrying industries, and this is a pattern that is expected to continue this year.“Growth in the mining and quarrying sectors is expected to be driven by continued growth in the gold industry; as production for both Guyana Gold Fields and Troy Resources is expected to rise, along with expected increased declarations from the small and medium sized miners, due to favourable global prices,” the MEB for January 2017 has outlined.Gold production for January 2017 has been recorded at 44,959 ounces, reflecting a 25.1 per cent increase over the total achieved in January 2016. “This increase continues to be underpinned by strong performance by Guyana Gold Fields Inc. and Troy Resources, along with greater declarations from the small and medium sized miners. This industry is expected to continue to experience positive growth in 2017,” the January MEB outlined.Small and medium-sized miners, as well as the two expatriate companies, experienced similar increased production consistently throughout last year. This saw gold production in December 2016 totalling 91,540 ounces, compared to 70,834 ounces achieved during the same period in 2015. This resulted in total production for last year reaching 712,706 ounces, thus representing an increase of 58 per cent over the previous year.The MEB has also stated that growth in the services sector is expected to be underpinned by strong performances in the construction, electricity and water, transportation and financial industries. One the other hand, the MEB has revealed that bauxite production for January 2017 was 125,835 tonnes, compared to 144,524 tonnes in January last year; and this reduction was mainly due to lower demand.“The Bauxite industry is targeted to grow by almost two per cent in 2017, with growth expected to be underpinned by rising global prices along with stronger demand during the year,” the MEB projected.Decline in bauxite production was also experienced in December 2016, when a reduction of 37,638 tonnes was recorded in comparison to the same period in 2015.Production for 2016 amounted to 1,479,090 tonnes, compared to 1,526,467 tonnes produced the previous year, a reduction of 3.1 per cent. The MEB for December 2016 noted that performance within the bauxite industry was credible in the first quarter of 2016. However, production levels began to fall from the second quarter of the year, and continued into the third and fourth quarters.“(This was) due to plant failure at one of the companies, an issue which was expected to be resolved promptly but (was) prolonged for a greater period. This industry is expected to experience positive growth in 2017,” the December MEB report has stated. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related163,000 ounces of gold declared for first quarterApril 18, 2017In “Business”Central Bank revises Govt’s economic growth projections downwards …says if political uncertainty continues overall economic outlook could be affectedJune 3, 2019In “latest news”Finance Minister reports ‘dismal’ 2.6% real growth rate as economy slumps further in 2016November 29, 2016In “latest news” read more

Technical meeting between Govt ExxonMobil commences tomorrow

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Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGovt engaging Exxon over use of natural gas for power generationSeptember 21, 2017In “Business”Presidential Advisor briefs Cabinet on oil and gas sector development potentialMarch 28, 2017In “latest news”Gov’t moves to update 2016 Power Generation studyMarch 6, 2018In “latest news” The first in a series of continued discussions on commercial and power generation issues will be held when officers of the Government of Guyana and technical members of ExxonMobil meet in Georgetown tomorrow, a release from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure today stated.The technical working group is scheduled to convene on September 19 and September 20, 2017 and will feature technical persons from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Business, Guyana Energy Agency, and the Guyana Power and Light Inc., along with ExxonMobil’s power generation specialists and analysts.  The MPI said the working group will focus on natural gas and the surrounding commercial and economic issues as it relates to offshore transportation for onshore power generation. Compared to Guyana’s current use of liquid fuels for electricity generation, natural gas is cleaner and its use for energy production could reduce the country’s fuel bill, and in turn, reduce the cost of electricity. The MPI said that the working group will continue dialogue on local and international power generation experiences, including domestic infrastructural requirements and considerations for the potential of natural gas into gas-fired power generation. The agenda will also include an overview of commercial power generation structures and approaches to power investment. It is expected that capacity building for local and key technical government officials will be the major output of the two-day session. This is particularly important in light of the recent consultations held by the Ministry of Natural Resources on local content policy and its focus on maximising benefits and value retention from Guyana’s petroleum resources through local content and capacity development, MPI noted. read more

CPL 2018 Providence to host 5 Guyana Amazon Warriors group games

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File photo: Fans of Guyana Amazon Warriors during Match 21 of the 2017 Hero Caribbean Premier League between Guyana Amazon Warriors and St Lucia Stars at Guyana National Stadium on August 22, 2017 in Providence, Guyana. (Photo by Randy Brooks – CPL T20 via Getty Images)The fixtures for the Guyana leg of the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) have now been confirmed, with five group games set to take place in the country, an increase from the four group matches that were played in Guyana in 2017.These matches will be hosted at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, home of the Guyana Amazon Warriors.The first game sees a clash of the Warriors vs the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots led by Chris Gayle on Thursday August 9.They will then take on the St Lucia Stars and Barbados Tridents before they go on their travels to play away matches before returning home for two massive matches against current champions, Trinbago Knight Riders, and last year’s fourth place finishers, Jamaica Tallawahs.According to cplT20.com, this split means that Guyana Amazon Warriors fans can look forward to two home legs this year.Speaking about the increase in matches from last season Hero CPL’s CEO, Damien O’Donohoe said “We are delighted to confirm that there will be five home games for the Amazon Warriors in 2018. The Hero CPL has always had fantastic support from the Guyanese people and the Government. We can’t wait to see sellout crowds once again.”Meanwhile, young and upcoming Guyana and West Indies Player, Keemo Paul, of the Guyana Amazon Warriors said “I can’t wait to get going for the 2018 Hero CPL and I know that the Guyanese cricket loving public will show us great support. Having five home matches at Providence will be a huge boost for us this year as we know home conditions well. A sell-out crowd will only help us as we look to bring the Hero CPL title to Guyana.”Fixture dates:Thurs 9 Aug – Guyana Amazon Warriors v St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, Providence Stadium, 6pmSat 11 Aug – Guyana Amazon Warriors v St Lucia Stars, Providence Stadium, 4pmSun 12 Aug – Guyana Amazon Warriors v Barbados Tridents, Providence Stadium, 6pmSat 8 Sept – Guyana Amazon Warriors v Jamaica Tallawahs, Providence Stadium, 8pmSun 9 Sept – Guyana Amazon Warriors v Trinbago Knight Riders, Providence Stadium, 6pm Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedHERO CPL 2018 VENUES AND TIMES CONFIRMEDJuly 27, 2018In “latest news”Repsol partnering with CPL for 2018 tournamentJuly 18, 2018In “latest news”‘Biggest Party in Sport being watched by more people’ says CEO of Hero CPLJanuary 11, 2018In “Sports” read more