Month: September 2019

The Fly Ball Revolution Is Hurting As Many Batters As Its Helped

Among players who increased their fly-ball rate, it was almost exactly a toss-up as to whether their wOBA would get better or worse.149.3 percent increased their wOBA, while 50.7 percent saw it decline. Similarly, players who decreased their fly-ball rate had about a 50/50 split of improving and worsening wOBAs. Overall, the correlation between a batter’s changing fly ball rate and his subsequent change in production is nonexistent. That same lack of correlation holds if you use the more advanced metrics (such as launch angle) tracked by MLB’s StatCast system.Although there are some fly-ball success stories, plenty of hitters have swung up only to see their wOBA dive down. For every Yonder Alonso there is a 2016 Kiké Hernandez, who spiked his fly-ball rate by 11.7 percentage points, only to watch his wOBA drop by 89 points. Or maybe you’d prefer Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward, the owner of a dreadful wOBA 21 percent worse than the league average in 2016. The Cubs are at the vanguard of the fly-ball revolution, reportedly championing the phrase “there’s no slug on the ground.” Heyward seems to have listened, because he increased his fly-ball rate by almost 10 percentage points after joining the Cubs. But in contrast with the success stories of players such as Alonso and Martinez, the change has had a disastrous effect on Heyward.So adopting an uppercut swing won’t necessarily make a player great. But it will probably make them hit more home runs. (When players up their rate of fly balls, the consequence is usually more dingers.)2In my data, there was no inverse relationship between the change in rate of fly balls and the rate at which those fly balls went over the fence. The increasing rate of fly balls leaguewide seems to explain some of the explosion in home runs from 2015 to 2016 (although that still leaves the mid-year 2015 increase in home runs a mystery, even setting aside the speculation around — and puzzling evidence for and against — ball juicing).3In total, the league hit 701 more home runs in 2016 than in 2015. A simple regression of the number of home runs versus the fly-ball rate for each player would predict about 400 additional home runs in 2016.Home runs are great! But the problem is that fly balls also come with other, less desirable consequences. For example, players who hit more fly balls into the outfield also hit more pop-ups on the infield, which are about as valuable as striking out. Given his aforementioned criticism of fly balls, maybe it’s no coincidence that Joey Votto is also one of baseball’s best at avoiding infield pop-ups — he probably knows the two are related.Moreover, the conscious effort to adapt an unnatural swing plane could harm a player’s natural hitting motion. Heyward had been a productive hitter earlier in his career with similar fly-ball rates as last season, but his swing mechanics were notably confused a year ago, which resulted in an obvious weak spot against low pitches.In an interview with CSN Chicago, Cubs hitting coach John Mallee described the work he was doing to improve Heyward for the 2017 season. “He’s trying to mirror the swing that he had then…. It’s not actually making a change; it’s just getting him to who he was,” Mallee said. Bucking the revolution, Heyward has hit significantly fewer fly balls this season, and his production has improved, as well (although he’s still underperforming expectations).Stories such as Heyward’s show that the fly-ball revolution is not for every hitter. Notably, many of the players who have transformed the most by adopting uppercut swings were underperforming before. Alonso was a below-average hitter last season; Donaldson was a former high draft pick who struggled for years to come into his own. Tinkering with their swing planes might have been the secret to unlocking their full potential. But for players with established mechanics like Heyward, adopting a new philosophy is a riskier proposition. All told, it’s tough to predict whether more fly balls are the missing ingredient for a hitter, or just a harmful distraction. From J.D. Martinez to Josh Donaldson, hitters throughout the big leagues have been honing a new approach at the plate, hunting for big flies and eschewing worm burners. It’s a change rooted in the latest metrics, which say balls hit in the air tend to be more valuable than grounders — particularly since the home run surge of 2015 started turning a higher percentage of fly balls into home runs than ever. So, over the last two years, batters have adjusted their swings accordingly, sending ever more balls skyward.The resulting trend toward fly balls has significantly improved a handful of hitters, helping them achieve far better results than when they slapped more grounders. Some observers have even suggested it could be contributing to the surge in home runs. But a closer look at the data shows that, while there is a sweeping transformation underway, it seems to be hurting as many players as it is helping.A batter can hit more fly balls by changing the angle of his swing. Instead of the slight downward plane recommended by many instructors, more of today’s batters are adopting uppercut swings that drive the ball into the air. And across the league, the effect is palpable.Over the past three seasons, the ratio of ground balls to fly balls in MLB has dropped from 1.34 grounders per fly in 2015 to 1.25 this year. For individual players, the changes are even more significant. FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan documented a historic number of players who have dropped their ground-ball percentage by 5 percent or more since 2015.Some of those players have benefited greatly from these swing changes. Oakland Athletics first baseman Yonder Alonso nearly halved the number of grounders he’s hitting so far this year, and he also boasts a personal-best 178 weighted Runs Created plus, one of the best marks in the league. There are similar anecdotes for Martinez, Donaldson, Nationals All-Star second baseman Daniel Murphy and others.So there is definitely a fly-ball revolution underway in baseball. But that revolution is not without its discontents. Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto recently disparaged the trend towards fly-ball hitting in an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer. “I see it with a lot of guys. Everyone tells the good stories, but there’s a lot of s—ty stories of guys who are wasting their time trying things,” Votto said, as quoted in the Enquirer.Votto is right; being a more productive hitter really isn’t as simple as “elevate to celebrate.” Over the last three years, just as many hitters have suffered by increasing their fly-ball rate as have benefited. Here’s a chart showing each hitter’s change in fly-ball rate from the previous year, in comparison with his change in weighted On-Base Average (wOBA). read more

Anthony Weiner Gave Us Ten Minutes At The DNC To Talk Hockey

The Democratic National Convention hosted a who’s-who of prominent Democratic figures. Thursday I met with former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who represented New York’s 9th congressional district from 1999 through 2011 and recently ran for mayor of New York. Weiner is a lifelong hockey fan and currently plays goalie for a recreational league team, so we talked about the state of hockey analytics, the Subban-Weber trade, and what he’s been watching this offseason.Walt Hickey: How long have you been a hockey fan?Anthony Weiner: My first good memories of being a hockey fan [were when] I started following the Islanders when they came into the league. It was probably like the mid-1970s I was old enough to get into sports. I’m not like a lot of your readers. I’m not someone who can tell you the 1984 Pittsburgh Penguins lineup, but, yeah.WH: What do you make of the offseason so far?AW: The Las Vegas expansion is interesting to me. I want to see if that’s going to work. I always assumed growing up that the reason you don’t expand to Las Vegas was the influence of gambling, but now that gaming is so pervasive everywhere, they’re like football; they want to get a piece of the action. I have emotional connection to teams like the Nordiques [a defunct Quebec professional team], and so it’s kind of interesting watching that. I’m obviously interested in seeing what the Islanders do.WH: You think they make the playoffs next year?AW: Oh, they’ll make the playoffs. In fairness, it was the Saturday before the season began last year where they got [Nick] Leddy and [Johnny] Boychuk, they’ve done some things late that have been pretty dramatic, so maybe they’ll do something late here. The trades that they made — not the literal trades, but the trading that they’ve done when we lost [Kyle] Okposo and [Frans] Nielsen, we lost in those trades, so I imagine they’re going to do something more. But they’ll make the playoffs. Even though that East is tough, the Rangers are much worse too.WH: What do you make of the deplorable state of advanced hockey analytics compared to other professional sports?AW: I’m one of the few people that thinks CORSI analytics, that stuff, is actually interesting to me. I think it’s additional information. In the summers we play four on four with no icing, and so my goals against average goes up in the summer maybe 10 percent. One player on the ice that’s 10 percent better than his opposite number can wreck havoc.Things that talk about possession and how many net shots are being shot as a way of understanding what’s going on, it’s helpful. I mean it’s not a substitute for watching the games. But they give you something more. These things also give you something to argue about and talk about, which is half the fun. Like when people argue about salaries, it’s not their money, but still it doesn’t make it any less of something you want to argue about and how it affects the cap, and is Bobby Bonilla still on the Mets’ payroll, stuff like that. These analytics do give us something else to argue about. Hockey by definition is harder to reduce to zeros and ones and put into a big spreadsheet than other sports are.WH: Do you think Sidney Crosby could be the greatest ever?AW: I just don’t think you can compare across eras. You look at the old film of hockey when I was growing up watching in the ’70s and ’80s. And you got these tiny goalies who had this bad equipment, so they never developed certain moves that the goalies today do all the time. There’s a reason why goalies didn’t do a slide from post to post then. They didn’t have the pads that have the protection and landing gear that allow them to do it. If Glenn Resch had that stuff? I think it’s really hard to do.The other thing is you develop tools to analyze stuff as you grow up. No one was more dominant from moment to moment as a pure goal scorer than Mike Bossy was. But it was a different kind of weird era. Wayne Gretzky was a great player that never got checked. Crosby, he’s playing in a league at a time when you’re going to get checked. So I don’t know how you do it is my way of not answering that question.WH: Who do you think the best goalie in the league is right now?AW: There’s different kind of styles. [Carey] Price, I think, if he comes back and he’s healthy, is just a great tactical goalie, almost flawless. He competes on every shot.By the way, I wrote about this for Business Insider. I wrote a column for them. The Kings were playing the Rangers in the Stanley Cup, and I was living a block away from the Garden, and I was like, “I’ll cover the Stanley Cup for you. You don’t have to pay me a dime.” Plus, I was going to the West Coast for one of the games, so I figured I’d get press credentials or something. I’d go to the games. No dice! So I’m stuck writing these effing columns.So I did this one column about how [Henrik] Lundqvist and [Jonathan] Quick were the most highly evolved goalies of their different styles — Lundqvist being the positional blocking goalie, Quick being the low-to-the-ice reacting goalie. A lot of folks think Quick is overrated, and he had a rough playoffs; I still think physically he’s amazing. To be that low to the ice and that powerful from side to side, that’s superhuman the stuff he does. But Lundqvist, his ability to play so deep in the crease and be so large, and have his angles so perfectly that he never seems to be out of position, you’ve got to give it to him.You basically only get beaten in the modern NHL on deflections and screens, and one goalie, Quick, is as fast at responding and seeing through a screen as anyone else, and the other goalie has just found ways to be positionally really deep so that extra split second he’s in a position that stops. In the evolution of goalies, those are the two highest evolved goalies I’ve seen.WH: What did you make of the continued reluctance to extend the Zadroga Act1The James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act was a signature achievement for Weiner in Congress, but last year a campaign to extend the benefits to 9/11 first responders was met with substantial resistance from some members of Congress. from some parts of Congress?AW: To some degree it’s a reflection of what’s gone wrong in the days since I went to Washington in the ’80s as a staffer, got elected in 1998, and to when I left, in that there was a merit argument that you can make on things that transcended. Not always. Sometimes there were philosophical problems. But now there’s not. If it’s a Democratic thing, the Republicans don’t want to do it by and large, and if it’s a Republican thing, the Democrats don’t want to do it by and large. Much more the former than the latter in my view. And there’s no better example in the modern times than the Zadroga Act. No one can make a merit argument against it. It was basically, “We don’t want to do it because we don’t want to give you guys any new government program without respect to how good it is or whether it’s been vetted or whatever.” WH: Wrapping it up, who’s your sleeper pick to win the cup this year?AW: I still think the Predators are due to break through.WH: Because of the trade? [Montreal traded P.K. Subban to the Predators in exchange for Shea Weber in June.]AW: They won that trade.WH: They won it?AW: No doubt about it. [Subban]’s basically two years younger, much more of an impact kind of a guy. It was basically they were getting rid of his attitude problem or whatever the hell they had. So the Predators have always been — I always get burned on the Predators. I picked them to go far. They had a weird year this year. Their goaltending was off the first quarter, third of the year. I think Pekka Rinne is one of my favorite goalies. I think he’s amazing. But I don’t know. The East is super strong. The East is very strong. read more

The Scoring For The Decathlon And Heptathlon Favors Running Over Throwing

How do you think the decathlon and heptathlon are scored?Take a moment. OK, do you have your answer? It’s probably wrong. It also probably makes at least as much sense as — and possibly a good deal more than — the method used by modern track and field.Decathlon, which at the Olympics is a men’s event, is composed of 10 events: the 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 meters, 110-meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and 1,500 meters. Heptathlon, a women’s event at the Olympics, has seven events: the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meters, long jump, javelin throw and 800 meters.To tally these diverse events, which are measured in seconds, meters and centimeters, into a single overall score, the metrics for each event are fed into a series of equations. However, any scoring system for a multidiscipline competition will by definition have value judgments baked into it. In the case of the decathlon and heptathlon, that has resulted in decades of undervaluing throwing while overvaluing short-distance running, which in turn has resulted in top decathletes and heptathletes all converging around a certain kind of skill set and physique. It doesn’t have to be that way.As it stands, each event’s equation has three unique constants — AA, BB and CC 1Here are tables showing those constants for each event in the decathlon and heptathlon. (Opens PDF.)— to go along with individual performance, PP. For running events, in which competitors are aiming for lower times, this equation is: A⋅(B–P)CA⋅(B–P)C, where PP is measured in seconds. For field events, in which competitors are aiming for greater distances or heights, the formula is flipped in the middle: A⋅(P–B)CA⋅(P–B)C, where PP is measured in meters for throwing events and centimeters for jumping and pole vault.BB is effectively a baseline threshold at which an athlete begins scoring positive points. For performances worse than that threshold, an athlete receives zero points. 2Strictly adhering to the formulas, athletes who don’t meet the threshold technically score a set of complex numbers with an imaginary component.The AA, BB and CC constants vary by event and by gender. All events have a CC parameter (the exponent) between 1 and 2, making the scoring system progressive. In track and field, that means that as an athlete performs better, he or she is rewarded increasingly generously. A progressive system thus especially rewards standout performances rather than a consistently good performance across events.For example, the 100 meters formula for points is 25.4347⋅(18–time)1.8125.4347⋅(18–time)1.81. A 0.75-second improvement from 11.50 to 10.75 would yield 165 additional points. However, another 0.75-second improvement from 10.75 to 10.00 seconds would yield 179 additional points.This scoring philosophy wasn’t always in place. Early systems in the late 19th century merely ranked competitors in each event and summed those ranks. The first points-based system based on magnitude of results rather than relative rank came from the U.S. in 1884, but continued to award points on a linear scale — making a one-second improvement on a slow time as valuable as the same gain on a world record. Next came a Finnish table introduced in 1931 and formally adopted by the International Association of Athletics Federations in 1934, which acknowledged that performance is increasingly difficult to improve at higher levels because of natural limits of the body, and further improvements at those extremes should be rewarded more.The first IAAF international women’s tables arrived in 1954, for which officials used principles of physics to devise the formulas. Unfortunately, the science was bunk, because it falsely assumed that velocity, rather than kinetic energy — which is proportional to the square of velocity — was the output of human work. This velocity-based system heavily discounted throwing events, which awarded points at a decreasing rate with higher performance. Points effectively stalled out after throwing a certain distance. Those calculations were soon adopted for men and remained in practice until 1984, when mounting pressure about the system’s lack of incentive to further improve throwing performance beyond a certain point pushed through reform.3In addition, a new high jump form and better technology in vaulting poles threw off many of the table’s underlying premises.The 1984 tables used the principle that the world record performances of each event at the time should have roughly equal scores but haven’t been updated since. Because world records for different events progress at different rates, today these targets for WR performances significantly differ between events. For example, Jürgen Schult’s 1986 discus throw of 74.08 meters would today score the most decathlon points, at 1,384, while Usain Bolt’s 100-meter world record of 9.58 seconds would notch “just” 1,203 points. For women, Natalya Lisovskaya’s 22.63 shot put world record in 1987 would tally the most heptathlon points, at 1,379, while Jarmila Kratochvílová’s 1983 WR in the 800 meters still anchors the lowest WR points, at 1,224.The 1984 change also made all parameters progressive, and targets of 8,500 and 6,500 were set for top overall scores for the men and women respectively.4At the 1984 Olympics, still contested under the old scoring system, the U.K.’s Daley Thompson missed breaking the decathlon world record by a single point. After the IAAF’s formal adoption of the new rules, though, his score increased enough to retroactively break the world record, breaking his tie with West German Jürgen Hingsen, a tie Thompson had also retroactively earned after an IAAF investigation revealed Thompson had been mistimed in the 110-meter hurdles as one one-hundredth of a second slower than his actual time.After decades of tumultuous modification in decathlon and heptathlon scoring, the tables set in 1984 are still in place. However, standout performances still earn more in certain events than they do in others: The system has a clear bias toward short-distance running events. This is in large part due to these running events having C (exponent) parameters all north of 1.8, significantly higher than throwing ones, which are between 1.0 and 1.1. It’s no surprise, then, that those who excel at decathlon/heptathlon specialize in sprinting, and their performances in those events closely mirror those of the specialists competing in the same individual events detached from the decathlon.The average top 10 decathlete/heptathlete generalist in running events performs at something around 90 percent of the average medal-winning specialists. However, in throwing events, the generalists’ distances are only roughly 70 percent of the average medal-winning specialists’.One might assume from these charts that top decathlete/heptathletes are uniformly tall, lean speed machines rather than brawny powerhouses that can hurl an object far distances, but the data suggests otherwise.The correlation between BMI (body mass index) and overall points for men and women is indeed negative, but only -0.060 and -0.109, respectively.Anecdotal evidence also doesn’t align with the notion that there’s a tradeoff between throwing strength and skill in other events: The winner of the competition has often been the best shot-putter in the field. But athletes are well aware of the minutiae and incentives of the scoring system before competing and train their bodies in such a way as to maximize points according to that system long before they hit the track. Thus, it’s likely that some stronger, heavier athletes simply decided before the competition either to slim down or not to compete.There are strong positive correlations between better performance in each of the short-distance running events and long jump5The correlations between the long jump and running events are technically negative, but running events aim for lower numbers– as in times — so in this sense, I’m calling them “positive.” (all of which heavily rely on flat-out sprinting speed). There’s also positive correlation between the shot put and discus throw (though the other throwing event, javelin, has little correlation with those two). All other events have only small correlations between them.Comparing which events correlate best to overall points, the men are highly correlated with long jump (0.74), while shot put, pole vault, discus throw and 1,500 meters each have correlations less than 0.50. For women, long jump (0.72) also correlates best with overall points, while javelin throw only correlates at 0.30. These findings corroborate research that shows that in the heptathlon, performance in speed events is overwhelmingly the biggest determinant in predicting overall success, dwarfing the importance of the strength and endurance events.After 30-plus years of scoring table peace, is there still room for reform?We don’t lack for options. John Barrow, a professor of mathematical sciences in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge, has proposed a physics-based system akin to the flawed 1954 model, but this time getting the science correct by using proportions based on kinetic energy. Another method, proposed by Wim Westera, a professor of digital media at the Open University of the Netherlands with a background in physics and math, attempts to construct a points model based on the frequency of performances. Also, researchers at Saarland University and the University of Kaiserslautern suggest a system based on standard deviations.Perhaps another way to tweak the system would be to award outlier performances even more generously. Such a system might diversify competitor body types by creating different “paths” one could take to decathlon/heptathlon glory. As of now, most competitors earn roughly 700-1,000 points per event across the board. But a highly progressive system would create larger disparities in where an athlete derives his or her points. Faster athletes would focus on the running cluster of events and rack up the majority of their points there, while stronger athletes could aim to take the throwing path to gold.Of course, none of these alternative scoring systems tackle the largest factor determining scores: the events themselves. The fact that the sprinting events and long jump so well correlate with each other puts a large premium on athletes who can reach top speeds.Another way of adjusting for this imbalance is possibly removing a speed-based event from the decathlon to make the enneathlon. Or adding another strength-focused event (e.g., hammer throw) to form the hendecathlon. Women could go down to the hexathlon or up to the octathlon. These charts unambiguously show where an athlete gets the best point return on performance, short-distance running, and it’s clear they’re investing their training accordingly. read more

Football The final drive that lifted Ohio State over Michigan and Curtis

OSU junior H-back Curtis Samuel (4) scores the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime of the Buckeyes’ 30-27 win over Michigan on Nov. 26. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes took down the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines on Saturday in an unprecedented finish that is often only present in dreams.Junior H-back Curtis Samuel took a handoff and ran to the left sideline where redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber and redshirt senior center Pat Elflein paved the way for the game-winning touchdown in OSU’s 30-27 double-overtime victory. In Weber’s first game in the rivalry and Elflein’s fifth, the two created one of the most memorable plays in the history of the rivalry.“It’s ‘29 lead’ is the call, and Curtis scored,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said.After that moment, Meyer coiled over and was on the ground. He was helped up by members of the staff and, well, he really doesn’t know who.“I don’t know,” he said. “Curtis scored going to the left.”When asked what happened immediately after the game, it was like Meyer was stuck in a loop where he could only remember the play that saved his season.“Yeah, Curtis scored,” he said.For years to come, Meyer won’t be the only one to remember that play. All 110,045 people in attendance — an Ohio Stadium record — will remember that play, either in reminiscing or in self-pity. Samuel became a player cemented in college football history as well as the ongoing tradition of the Scarlet and Gray against the Maize and Blue on the last week in November.But it almost didn’t happen.OSU salvaged a disastrous offensive day by riding its two biggest playmakers in overtime. OSU began the first overtime with the ball and it took just an 18-yard gain from Samuel on the first play and a 7-yard gain from redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett on the next to put OSU in front for the first time since the second quarter.When OSU got the ball in the second overtime, the Buckeyes were trailing by a field goal. Again, only Barrett and Samuel would touch the ball.Barrett was sacked for 4 yards on 2nd-and-5 from the Michigan 20, OSU had a critical 3rd-and-9 in front of them. OSU kicker Tyler Durbin had missed two field goals already in the game, so confidence certainly wasn’t at an all-time high for the kicking game.Barrett threw a swing pass to Samuel, who was trapped in the backfield and was going to be tackled for a loss. A couple dozen moves later, Samuel zigged and zagged from the right side of the field to the left for an 8-yard gain to set up a 4th-and-1 from the Michigan 16.“I couldn’t even tell you how it happened,” Samuel said. “I got to go back and look at that one. I knew I had to make a play for my team and that just happened.”Samuel put the Buckeyes well inside the range of Durbin, but Meyer had confidence in his offense even when down by three with the game on the line. Now, Meyer is known for his gutsy play calling, but the decision to go for it on 4th-and-1 when all OSU needed was a field goal was worthy of a concussion protocol to make sure Meyer was mentally in check to make the call. For him, it came down to an old adage.“If you can’t get that far, you’re not a championship team,” Meyer said.Barrett barely reached the line to gain and the call stood after a replay review that Meyer said made his heart stop. Without Samuel running rampant across the field, the chance for a win would’ve never happened. On the next play, Samuel finished his improbable overtime with the game-winning score and Columbus was sent into a frenzy.Dubbed as the team’s No. 1 playmaker from the beginning of the season, Samuel didn’t put up astronomical stats, but showed up when the game mattered.“In crunch time and you need someone to make a play and your number is called and you make it, that’s a playmaker,” Elflein said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s throwing, blocking or running the ball, when it’s crunch time and you need someone to step up, that’s a playmaker.”As soon as Samuel broke the goal line, Elflein and redshirt junior guard Billy Price were the first to hug him and were soon joined by the team.“First off I got to say, I want to thank God. I gotta thank God,” Samuel said. “My team, we fought. It was a hard game … Without them, that wouldn’t have happened.”Well, it did happen, and neither Samuel nor anyone else will soon forget the first overtime game in the history of the rivalry. read more

Commentary Offensive improvement stunted by Braxton Millers injury

Despite popular belief in Columbus and throughout the state of Ohio, the Ohio State offense isn’t dead. But it may not be alive either. After a Michigan State game in which the Buckeyes mustered a lowly 178 yards and seven points, the OSU offense came to Nebraska with a game plan and actually moved the ball. Coach Luke Fickell and offensive coordinator Jim Bollman abandoned the onslaught of predictable running plays and slow-developing passing plays and did something that, quite frankly, they should have done a long time ago. They played to the personnel’s strengths. It all started with the way Braxton Miller was utilized. Miller’s biggest weakness is his inability to read defenses. Too many times in previous weeks, Miller took the snap under center and was forced to try and navigate a collapsing pocket, read the defense, and find a receiver down the field. This week, OSU had Miller in shotgun and pistol formations where Miller could better see the field before the snap and get a better feel for what the defense was going to do. Miller was able to make quicker, simpler reads and actually complete passes. They also utilized Miller’s speed by rolling the quarterback outside the pocket and giving him the option to run and pass. There were three times in the first half alone when Miller pulled the ball down, and converted a critical third down. Mike Adams’ return from a five-game suspension gave the Buckeyes a huge lift on the offensive line. Adams joined Andrew Norwell on the left side and the line and was able to push the Nebraska defense off the ball. The coaches utilized the newfound strength and ran it off the left side for much of night. But in the third quarter, Miller went down with an apparent right ankle injury. Nebraska scored twice, cut OSU’s lead to seven, and Joe Bauserman entered the game.  The stagnant offense was back. Bauserman was holding onto the ball, throwing it away, and the running game disappeared. The OSU coaches had a plan for an offense with Miller at the helm and Bauserman wasn’t a part of it. Nebraska defense took advantage of the inept offensive play and went on to win a game that has to be a heartbreaker for the Buckeyes. Bauserman has proven the offense can’t be effective if he’s playing quarterback. All Buckeye fans can do at this point is hope Miller heals fast because the future of this offense is entirely dependent on the health of his right ankle. read more

Ohio State mens lacrosses Logan Schuss named ECAC Offensive Player of the

Ohio State senior attacker Logan Schuss was named the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference’s (ECAC) Offensive Player of the Week Tuesday. “It’s a nice honor, it goes to show all the hard work that’s being put into the offense,” Schuss said. “Guys are working hard to get me the ball and I’ve just got to do my job putting it in the net.” The senior captain scored a career-high 10 points in the season opener against Detroit, tallying seven goals and three assists, and followed it up with three points in the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic against Jacksonville on Sunday. “It wasn’t my best performance,” Schuss said Tuesday about the Jacksonville game. “I think I rushed a couple of shots, they were doing some different things on defense against me matching up. I think I’m going to work on a new game plan going into next week and see if we can get the offense clicking.” Schuss, who was named the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year last season, was drafted No. 11 overall in the Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft by the Ohio Machine in the offseason. Fellow captain and senior midfielder Dominique Alexander and senior midfielder Kevin Mack were also drafted by the Ohio Machine. Schuss looks to continue his hot streak against Marquette on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. read more

Meyers Real Life Wednesdays look to prepare Ohio State football players for

Lantern file photoOne of Urban Meyer’s primary tasks as Ohio State football coach is to get his football players focused and prepared to win games, and potentially a national championship, during the 2013 college football season.All of those players, however, will eventually move on from being student-athletes at OSU. While some of those players may continue in OSU’s long line of sending players to the National Football League, most will have to quickly adjust to life after football.Recognizing this, Meyer instituted a program for his players called “Real Life Wednesdays,” something he brought to OSU after instituting it prior to his final season at the University of Florida, according to OSU athletic spokesman Jerry Emig. During spring semester, speakers were brought in to talk to the team each week about a variety of issues that players will have to deal with in their lives after college football.Many of the speakers brought in for the program were people who once sat in the same seats as the audience they were speaking to. Numerous former OSU football players were invited back to speak to the team, including Dee Miller (1994-98), Ryan Miller (1993-96) and Chris Spielman (1984-87).Dee Miller and Ryan Miller both had to transition quickly away from their NFL dreams. Dee Miller was a sixth-round selection by the Green Bay Packers in the 1999 NFL draft, but never played in an NFL game. Ryan Miller was invited to training camp by the New York Jets after not being drafted, but he did not make the team’s roster.Dee Miller, who works as a State Farm agent in Hilliard, Ohio, said he was “ecstatic” when Meyer called him and asked him to speak to the team.“When reality hits you, when the football career is over with, it’s what have you done to prepare for life after football,” Dee Miller said in an interview with The Lantern. “I came back and was able to show guys, you know what, you can still have a pretty good life if you don’t make it in the NFL. I think that was important for them to see that, and they can relate to former players because I was them.”Ryan Miller said he wanted to be a part of the program because of the valuable lessons he learned from former OSU football players, specifically Jim Lachey, during his own years with the Buckeyes.“I can remember being in that same situation … and I thought it was unbelievably helpful and valuable,” Ryan Miller told The Lantern. “When (Meyer) asked me and talked to me about ‘Real Life Wednesdays,’ I just thought it was such a great idea that I wanted to be a part of it, and hopefully be a part of this for years to come.”Dee Miller said he told the players that while their status as OSU football players will help them find career opportunities, they cannot rely on that status for post-football success.“Ohio State will get you to the door, will get you to the interview, but once you get in the interview, it’s basically, how can you impact my company?” Dee Miller said. “I think it helps, but I think you also have to be prepared in what you think you’re about to get into so that Ohio State is able to help you.”Ryan Miller, who is a founding partner of M2Marketing and co-founder of the 2nd & Seven foundation (along with OSU assistant coaches Luke Fickell and Mike Vrabel), said he thinks OSU football players have an “advantage” other college students may not have because of resources like “Real Life Wednesdays.”“They would have seen a lot of different things that they may had to have waited until they graduate to hear, so I think it’s an advantage without a doubt,” Ryan Miller said. “Having the opportunity is one thing. It’s what you do with that opportunity that really makes all the difference in the world. My hope is that it could for a majority of the kids, and they take some of these ‘Real Life Wednesdays’ to heart.”Spielman, an ESPN broadcaster who was a two-time All-American at OSU, was able to continue his NFL career for 10 seasons. He said he focused on family and responsibility when he spoke to the team.“I was trying to use my life experience to try to just show them the importance of taking responsibility,” Spielman said in an interview with The Lantern. “Football can teach you about being part of a team and being responsible to your team, but obviously a family is a much stronger, bigger team than a football team will ever be, especially if you’re a husband and a father.”Spielman’s wife, Stefanie Spielman, passed away in 2009 following a battle with breast cancer. Chris Spielman is a father to four children.Former OSU football players were not the only speakers the Buckeyes had access to this spring. Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell, Limited Brands chairman/CEO and former OSU Board of Trustees president Les Wexner and Clark Kellogg, a former OSU basketball player who is currently the Indiana Pacers’ vice president of player relations and a college basketball broadcaster for CBS, were among the other professionals who spoke to the team.Harry Trombitas, a retired FBI special agent who is now a lecturer for OSU’s sociology department, was another speaker in the program. He said that like other students who are uncertain about their career paths, he encouraged the football team to “keep an open mind” if they are trying to figure out what career to pursue after football.“They’re moving into the world of adulthood where they really have to start preparing for the rest of their lives,” Trombitas said. “It’s OK to have fun and do things in college like a regular college student would, but you really have to be careful of the choices that you make, and understand you’re setting the stage for what you’re going to do the rest of your life.”Chris Spielman said there were not many programs specifically in place to teach life lessons during his time as an OSU football player.“Life lessons were conveyed through my watching of my parents and watching people around me,” Chris Spielman said.Dee Miller said that while OSU provided resources that student-athletes could take advantage of to prepare for life after football, there was not as much structure to providing those resources when he played for the Buckeyes.“Back then, the focus on academics and life after football was not like it is today,” Dee Miller said.Meyer and the OSU football program also brought a new opportunity to the players this year. Senior staff and human resource representatives from 57 businesses and organizations came to Ohio Stadium on Thursday for a student-athlete job fair, which was organized by the OSU football program.The entire OSU football team and “as many as 50 to 75” student-athletes from other OSU sports teams attended the job fair, Emig said.Nike, ESPN and IMG were among the organizations present, while NFL senior vice president of player engagement Troy Vincent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich were also available at the job fair, according to a press release. Kasich also spoke to the football team prior to the job fair.Ryan Stamper, Ohio State football’s coordinator of player development, said in a press release that every player on the team “had to have a new resume” for the job fair.“Every player learned about resumes and key components of them, and then our staff, support services staff and academic advisors helped each one update their existing resume or create a new one,” Stamper said. “And every one of our players, including freshmen, had to have a list going into the job fair of four business areas or interests that they would like to speak with reps about and learn about.”Redshirt senior left tackle Jack Mewhort said in the press release that the Buckeyes spent months preparing for the job fair.“The speakers we’ve heard and the people we’ve spoken to (at the job fair) have given us real insight into the opportunities and careers we can strive for,” Mewhort said. read more

Ohio State basketball eases to 11point win against Marquette

Marquette men’s basketball players huddle during a game on Nov. 18 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 74-63. Credit: Muyao Shen / Lantern photographerFreshman guard D’Angelo Russell (0) plays defense during a game against Marquette on Nov. 18 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 74-63.Credit: Muyao Shen / Lantern photographerThe No. 20 Ohio State men’s basketball team overcame early mistakes to top Marquette for the second time in as many seasons.The Buckeyes (2-0) won, 74-63, to give the Golden Eagles (1-1) their first loss of the season on Tuesday night at the Schottenstein Center. Senior guard Shannon Scott finished the game with 14 assists, tied for the second most in a single game in program history.Scott credited the players beside him on the court for his big assist numbers. “I just have so many weapons around me, it makes the game a lot easier,” Scott said after the game.Scott proceeded to name off all nine of the other OSU players who took part in the game, and said “everybody played great.”OSU coach Thad Matta said he was happy with Scott’s play, especially because he pushed the ball.“We want him to be aggressive,” Matta said after the game. “I think he made great reads in transition and found guys.”Former Buckeye Aaron Craft currently holds the record of 15, set in 2011 in a NCAA Tournament game against George Mason.OSU shot 65.3 percent from the field in the game, helped by a 70.4 percent mark in the second half. The hot shooting allowed the Buckeyes to make up for the Golden Eagles scoring 13 points off of 18 total turnovers from the home team.Matta acknowledged his team’s strong shooting, but added that the Buckeyes need to cut down on mistakes going forward.“As I told the guys, we shoot the heck out of the basketball,” he said. “But it’s obviously some of the turnovers.”Despite committing 13 turnovers in the first half, the Buckeyes held on to a seven-point lead at the break before opening up a 16-point lead with less than 10 minutes to play in the game.After scoring just three points on two shots in the first half, sophomore forward Marc Loving scored seven of OSU’s first 11 points to start the second period. But the sophomore picked up his fourth foul with 7:51 to play, forcing him to the bench.When Loving sat down, the Buckeyes had extended their lead to 16, partially because of 11 assists from Scott. OSU also cut down on mistakes in the second half, turning the ball over just three times through 13 minutes.By the four-minute mark, the Buckeyes had extended their lead to 20 behind two layups from senior center Amir Williams, an alley-oop dunk from senior forward Sam Thompson and a 3-pointer by freshman forward Keita Bates-Diop.Scott said OSU came into the season with the intention of going hard whenever it gets the ball.“We played so hard on defense the last couple years that we kind of forgot about offense,” he said. “This year we know, when we get the ball we’re gonna attack every time.”Marquette closed out the half on a 12-3 run, but OSU held on for its 11-point win.Matta said his team could have turned up the pressure more in the first half, but mistakes held the Buckeyes back.“I felt like in the first half we had our chances to open it up, and just some careless sloppy play (prevented that),” he said.Redshirt-freshman guard Kam Williams led the way in the first half with nine points in nine minutes on the court as he connected on his first three attempts from 3-point range. As a team, the Buckeyes made their first four 3-point shots, helping to make up for some of their early turnovers.Kam Williams attributed his shooting touch to the work he puts in between games.“When I get in the gym, I just make sure I take game shots,” he said after the game. “Because if I take my game shots in practice, when it’s time for (the) game, it’s easy. Everything slows down and I’m used to taking game shots. Elevation, release, it all felt natural.”OSU led by as many as 12 in the opening 20 minutes, but the Golden Eagles finished the half on a 7-2 run.Kam Williams led the team with 15 points, while Amir Williams had 12 and Thompson and Loving each finished with 10 points. Thompson led the Buckeyes with six rebounds while freshman guard D’Angelo Russell was second to Scott with four assists.All 10 OSU players scored at least two points, with everyone other than redshirt-senior forward Anthony Lee scoring at least three.“I think this year everybody knows that when they touch the ball, it’s gonna be their shot and they’ve gotta make the shot,” Scott said. “Just the simple fact that everybody came in and contributed in some aspect of the game is a great feeling and I think everybody has a better understanding this year for what their role is.”Marquette junior forward Steve Taylor Jr. led all players with 20 points, while redshirt-senior guard Matt Carlino finished with 10 points.The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to the court on Sunday to take on Sacred Heart at the Schottenstein Center. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. read more

Wrestling Five Buckeyes move on in NCAA championships three others compete in

Ohio State redshirt junior wrestler Bo Jordan moved on in the championships bracket at the NCAA championships. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsST. LOUIS — After the first day of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, Ohio State sits in second place with 26 points, trailing only Penn State at 30.5. Five Buckeyes remain alive in the championship bracket, while three others will look to contribute from the consolation bracket.The Buckeyes are looking to capture their second NCAA title in three years after winning it all at the 2015 tournament.Seven Buckeyes secured wins in the first round, and six of those came with bonus points, headlined by junior heavyweight Kyle Snyder’s 12-takedown technical fall.OSU was also aided by major decisions from redshirt junior Nathan Tomasello at 133 pounds, redshirt sophomore Micah Jordan at 149 pounds, redshirt junior Bo Jordan at 174 pounds, sophomore Myles Martin at 184 pounds and redshirt freshman Kollin Moore at 197 pounds in the first round.Freshman 141-pounder Luke Pletcher also won in the first round — 8-5 over Michigan’s Sal Profaci — but was taken down by Rutgers’ Anthony Ashnault in the second round.Martin got close to a technical fall in the first leg with his 23-10 win over Bucknell’s Garrett Hoffman, but suffered a loss to Illinois’ Emery Parker in the second round. Martin won a national championship at 174 pounds in 2016, but will not have the chance to repeat after the loss.The other five Buckeyes – Tomasello, Micah Jordan, Bo Jordan, Moore and Snyder – won their second round matchup and advanced to the quarterfinals, which will take place Friday morning.Oklahoma State, who sent 10 wrestlers to the tourney, advanced nine of those wrestlers, and Penn State advanced eight. OSU is sandwiched between those two schools on the leaderboard after Day 1.Three Buckeyes have previously won a national championship — Tomasello won in 2015 and placed third in 2016, Snyder won in 2016 and Martin won as a true freshman in 2016.After winning the Big Ten tournament on March 5, and with impressive wrestling throughout the roster, the Buckeyes are aiming to move up the leaderboards.Redshirt freshman Jose Rodriguez won his first consolation bracket matchup with a fall in the first period at 125 pounds. Redshirt sophomore and 165-pounder Cody Burcher lost his first matchup in both the championship and consolation brackets, and was eliminated from competition.Friday Morning Schedule:Championship BracketNo. 1 Nathan Tomasello (OSU) vs. No. 8 Zane Richards (ILL)No. 4 Micah Jordan (OSU) vs. No. 5 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa)No. 3 Bo Jordan (OSU) vs. No. 11 Alex Meyer (Iowa)No. 3 Kollin Moore (OSU) vs. No. 6 Preston Weigel (OKST)No. 1 Kyle Snyder (OSU) vs. No. 8 Michael Kroells (MINN)Consolation BracketJose Rodriguez vs. No. 5 Tim Lambert (NEB)No. 12 Luke Pletcher vs. Christopher Carton (Iowa) read more

The new £5 note can play vinyl records

first_imgA spokesperson for the Bank of England declined to comment over the images of shrunken banknotes appearing on social media, but did note that the bank has said the new plastic currency is durable – not indestructible. pic.twitter.com/47OFoAioay— Jme (@JmeBBK) October 3, 2016 pic.twitter.com/AQS3rmEMci— Jme (@JmeBBK) October 3, 2016 Overcooked!!! pic.twitter.com/ez6uSNwLg3— Jme (@JmeBBK) October 3, 2016 Some others, including rapper Jme, have been trying to destroy the notes.   The new £5 note went into circulation last month, and the Bank of England said they would cleaner, safer and stronger than paper notes, lasting around five years longer.People have been putting the claims to the test and trying to destroy the new note.Social media is full of pictures of notes that have been inadvertently shrunk – including this one from comedian Ryan Swain:center_img pic.twitter.com/jGW1JHt6SS— Jme (@JmeBBK) October 3, 2016 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. Despite the popularity of the picture, some are suspicious that the picture could have been faked.YouTube user jamesb72 has also uploaded a video in which he heats up two £5 notes in the oven.The first one shrivels up in seconds – but when he tries it again, with a baking tray on top to prevent it from shriveling, it doesn’t appear to shrink at all: The new £5 note is hard to destroy because it is made of polymer.Because of its strong plastic structure, people have found another surprising use for it.A video of  Michael Ridge, from Norwich, has shown he was able to play ABBA’s Money, Money, Money on his record player using the new five pound note as a needle.All that is needed to use the five pound note as a needle is a contact microphone and an amplifier.last_img read more

Paedophile aged 101 faces being the oldest person ever jailed in Britain

first_imgA 101-year-old paedophile faces being the oldest person ever to be jailed in Britain after he was found guilty of a string of historic child sex offences.Ralph Clarke – who was born in March 1915 – showed no reaction as the jury delivered the 21 guilty verdicts on Friday.The pensioner, who was in his late 20s when he served in the RAF during World War Two, sat back in his chair and leaned on his white walking stick as he listened. Retired lorry driver Ralph Clarke, aged 101, arriving at Birmingham Crown CourtCredit: Joe Giddens/PA Retired lorry driver Ralph Clarke, aged 101, arriving at Birmingham Crown Court 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. He (the boy victim) was also abused in the garage workshop. He vividly remembers that the defendant would take his teeth out beforehandMiranda Moore QC His three victims wept as the verdicts were delivered and hugged each other in court after they were completed.Clarke, of Erdington, Birmingham, admitted nine sex offences against a boy, who he abused between the ages of nine and 14, halfway through his two-week trial.A jury of six men and six women took just under eight hours to return unanimous guilty verdicts on 21 sexual offences against two young girls.He was cleared of one charge of indecency with a child.Judge Richard Bond said he would sentence Clarke on Monday morning after he had heard victim impact statements and submissions on the guidelines.Clarke, who walks with the aid of a white stick, was given special permission to sit outside the dock at the back of the court during the trial. The retired lorry driver listened to proceedings through his hearing aid and had an intermediary sitting next to him for support.Judge Bond told the jury he was “speaking slowly” for the benefit of the OAP and had reduced sitting hours of between 9.30am and 1.30pm to allow Clarke to go home.The court heard Clarke indecently assaulted the three victims in his lorry cab and his “man cave” shed between 1974 and 1983.Prosecutor Miranda Moore QC told the jury he also abused the children, who are siblings, in the bath and in a bed.He bribed the young girls with sweets and money and would even take his false teeth out before committing sex acts on the boy.Clarke was arrested after his two female victims walked into a police station in August last year to make a complaint against the centenarian.Miss Moore told the jury they were “tipped over the edge” when he turned 100 in March 2015 and “everybody was saying what a good life he had led”.The court heard Clarke abused one of the girls from the age of seven and would force both female victims to perform sex acts on him.Miss Moore said: “(The victim) said it was a daily event. The defendant was very handy, he could mend things.”He had one of those workshops, probably today it would be called a man shed or man cave. All three victims talk about being in a garden shed or a workshop.”(The victim) remembers sitting on the bench, she remembers that the abuse happening in the shed was in the summer. When he did these things he was a young and strong man and they were children.”Clarke was found guilty of 12 charges of indecent assault and nine counts of indecency with a child relating the two young girls. The boy victim…vividly remembers that the defendant would take his teeth out beforehand He also denied five charges of indecent assault, two counts of indecency with a child and two charges of attempting to commit buggery.But he changed his pleas to guilty to all nine counts, which all refer to the male victim.Miss Moore told the jury: “He (the boy victim) was also abused in the garage workshop. He vividly remembers that the defendant would take his teeth out beforehand.”Giving evidence, Clarke told the jury the offences against the boy were “something that happened”.But he claimed there wasn’t enough room in his makeshift workshop for anything to have happened between him and the two girls.Clarke said: “What room was in there, I needed. I had always got a pile of kids around the garage because I used to repair all the bikes for them. They’d come from all over.”All the children used to know me as Nobby.”last_img read more

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron on Syria strikes Evil happens when good

first_imgMr Trump said he was responding to the attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed at least 72 people, including 20 children, which he said was launched by the regime.Speaking from Florida, Mr Trump announced his strike in an emotional message to the public in which he evoked images of children dying.”Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many,” he said.”Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.”It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons.” U.S Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter in the Mediterranean Sea overnightCredit:REUTERS U.S Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter in the Mediterranean Sea overnight USS Porter, the guided-missile destroyer, launches strikes from the Mediterranean Sea However, the action was angrily condemned by Russia – Assad’s principal international backer – as an “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law”.President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in statement carried by Russian news agencies that the US had acted under a “far-fetched pretext”.The Syrian military said at least six people were killed and several others injured in the strike on the base at Sharyat, in central Syria, from where Tuesday’s chemical strike was believed to have been launched.The surprise barrage of 59 cruise missiles in the early hours of Friday, UK time, was the first direct US attack on the Syrian government. USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile  Britain led international support for the attack, describing it as a “limited and appropriate” response to the actions of President Bashar Assad’s forces.But Mr Farron said the UK Government should call an emergency meeting of Nato ” rather than just putting out a bland statement”. He said: “The attack by American forces was a proportionate response to the barbarous attack by the Syrian government on its own people.”The British government rather than just putting out a bland statement welcoming this should now follow it up and call an emergency meeting of the Nato alliance to see what else can be done, be that more surgical strikes or no fly zones.”Evil happens when good people do nothing, we cannot sit by while a dictator gasses his own people. We cannot stand by, we must act.”Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the Government had been in “close contact” with the US administration in the run-up to the strike. Tim Farron USS Porter, the guided-missile destroyer, launches strikes from the Mediterranean SeaCredit:Barcroft Mediacenter_img US Tomahawk missiles, launched from two warships in the Mediterranean Sea, targeted airstrips, hangars, control towers and ammunition areas at the base.Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said it succeeded in “reducing the Syrian government’s ability to deliver chemical weapons” by severely damaging or destroying aircraft, according to initial indications, he added.He also said Russian forces were alerted ahead of the strike to minimise casualties at the airfield.The action marked a dramatic U-turn by Mr Trump, who had previously indicated the US could seek to work with the Assad regime to end the Syrian conflict.In 2013, when President Barack Obama was contemplating military strikes, he warned “many very bad things will happen” if he went ahead. Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, has backed the US missile strikes on a Syria air base and said the UK should be prepared to become involved militarily as well.Describing how “evil happens when good people do nothing”, he warned that “we cannot stand by, we must act”.US President Donald Trump early on Friday unleashed a barrage of cruise missiles in retaliation for the Syrian regime’s “barbaric” use of chemical weapons against its own people.He said the strike was in the “vital national security interest”, adding that the US must “prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons”. Tim Farron said ‘we cannot stand by, we must act’ A No 10 spokeswoman said: “The UK Government fully supports the US action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks.” USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile Credit:ROBERT S. PRICE/AFP/Getty Show more 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

Wandsworth prisons Xray scanner not used for legal reasons

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. One of Britain’s largest prisons stopped using an X-ray body scanner for “legal reasons” even though similar devices are in place at other jails, according to a report.Inspectors questioned why the technology had been taken out of action at HMP Wandsworth after proving effective in identifying contraband.HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) found illicit substances, particularly cannabis and new psychoactive substances, remained “too accessible” at the establishment in south-west London.Existing technology was not being used effectively, the assessment found.”For example, the X-ray scanner in reception was no longer used and the CCTV cameras in visits were not monitored as a result, we were told, of a lack of staff,” it said.The X-ray scanner had been used previously and was an effective way of identifying contraband, HMIP said.Inspectors were also told that inmates preferred the scan, which was more dignified than strip-searching.”However, the scanner had fallen into disuse; we were told this was for legal reasons but we remained unclear about the reasons, given that similar scanners were in use in other establishments,” the report said. Last month the inspectorate highlighted encouraging early results from the use of body-scanning technology at another jail, HMP Belmarsh, saying it had led to the discovery of mobile phones, drugs and weapons which would not have been detected during a strip search.A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “Wandsworth took a very cautious approach to new enhanced EU regulations on body scanners.”Their use continued as normal across other prisons with scanners and we have now advised Wandsworth how to use the scanners effectively and in line with the EU regulations.”The report on HMP Wandsworth, based on inspection visits in February and March, said that in the previous six months searches recovered 277 mobile phones, 65 weapons and 153 drug packages.In other findings, the watchdog said Wandsworth remained the most overcrowded prison in England and Wales, with most of the 1,428 men being held at the time sharing a cell built for one.Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said: “In essence, there were too many prisoners, many with drug-related or mental health issues, and with not enough to do.”Calling for “cultural change”, he noted that not all staff carried anti-ligature knives despite six self-inflicted deaths since the jail was last inspected in 2015, and described the response to cell call bells as “totally inadequate”.Overall, Mr Clarke said it was “quite clear that there was a very real determination on the part of many dedicated staff at Wandsworth to make positive progress at this well-known and important prison”.Michael Spurr, chief executive of Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service, said Wandsworth had been provided with extra staff and resources, its capacity had been reduced to ease pressure and the prison was strengthening its approach to preventing self-harm and suicide.Prisons minister Rory Stewart acknowledged it was a “disappointing” report.He said the Government was putting an extra £16 million into improving facilities at 11 prisons, including Wandsworth. read more

MoD to pay legal costs of any Bloody Sunday soldier charged with

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. Mr Williamson said the arrangements covered any former soldier “subject to investigations by the Police Service of Northern Ireland”, or anyone “who may be required to participate in other legal processes, such as inquests and public inquiries”.It is understood they will be represented by a special team of solicitors and legal experts.  Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is understood to have promised to pay the legal costs of any soldier facing criminal charges over Bloody Sunday.In a letter from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to army veterans, seen by the BBC, assurances were given to the 18 former paratroopers who have been reported to the Public Prosecution Service over the 1972 killings. It says the soldiers are represented “entirely at the Ministry of Defence’s expense”, according to the broadcaster. Signed by Mr Williamson, the letter was sent on Tuesday night and reportedly read: “The MOD letter said soldiers are “represented by independent firms of solicitors, instructed by veterans themselves, in whose sole interest they act.”This has been the case since the individuals were first regarded as suspects by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and will continue – without time limit or cap on expenditure – until all aspects of the investigation and subsequent legal process are complete.”It comes on the eve of a momentous day as veterans, now in their 60s and 70s, will learn on Thursday if they are to be prosecuted over the deaths of unarmed civil rights demonstrators in Londonderry.Thirteen people were shot and killed on the day while a 14th died a few months later with 14 others wounded. read more

Expert dropped from hunting case after kissing prosecution witness

Veteran anti-hunting campaigner and prosecution witness in the caseCredit:Twitter Veteran anti-hunting campaigner and prosecution witness in the case In his ruling Judge Daber told Wellingborough Magistrates Court: “The defence submission rests on the admitted fact that Professor Harris and Judy Gilbert greeted one another warmly with the witness kissing the Professor.“If a relationship exists between a proposed expert and the party calling that expert which a reasonable observer might think is evidence of bias, then he must be excluded on the grounds of public policy. Justice must be seen to be done.”The judge added: “The allegation of bias specific to this particular case is something that in my view the court cannot ignore. A reasonable observer would consider him to be partisan. “However unbiased he may be, this court must exclude Professor Harris’s evidence.”Professor Harris told The Telegraph that Ms Gilbert kissed him before he could stop her and claimed they had not seen each other for nearly two decades.He said: “She walked up to me in court, greeted me, and kissed me before I could stop her. I am not responsible for someone who I have not seen for so long kissing me.”Mr Wills was acquitted of the charge of illegal hunting after using dogs to flush out a fox. He was cleared after the court heard that the plan had been to use a golden eagle to kill the fox once it had been flushed out.Using dogs to flush out wild mammals for a bird of prey to hunt is permitted under the Hunting Act 2004.In delivering his verdict last week Judge Daber stated: “The plan had been agreed by the master and the huntsman the day before. Things didn’t turn out as expected.”Mr Wills is a man with good character. It is true the hounds were not brought under control quickly enough. However there is no offence of reckless hunting. I find Mr Wills not guilty of this charge.”Professor Harris, a former professor of environmental sciences at the University of Bristol, had been employed by the CPS to give evidence on behalf of the prosecution, despite earlier questions being raised over his independence. Professor Harris arriving at an earlier hunting trial, in Peterborough, in AprilCredit:Terry Harris/THA Professor Harris arriving at an earlier hunting trial, in Peterborough, in April In December 2015 a private prosecution brought by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) against six members of the Lamerton Hunt collapsed after Professor Harris failed to inform the court about his friendship with Paul Tilsley, the LACS’s head of investigations, and his other connections to the group.The court heard he had written a book published by the LACS, appeared at its campaign events and had published an academic paper sponsored by the group.Following Mr Wills’ acquittal the Countryside Alliance called on the CPS to abandon its use of Professor Harris as an expert witness.Tim Bonner, the chief executive of the alliance, said: “He cannot be regarded as an independent witness. I will be writing to the Attorney General about the involvement of Prof Harris in charging decisions, and about the CPS’s continued use of Prof Harris as an independent expert in trials involving hunts.”Professor  Harris rejected the Countryside Alliance’s claims, stating: “Tim Bonner represents a campaigning organisation and so has a partisan view, whereas I am an independent academic. For more than half a century, I have known and worked with people who support hunting and those who are anti-hunting. However, I base my opinions on the facts, not the preconceived objectives of others.”A CPS spokesperson said: “We are aware of the judge’s comments and are looking into what happened in this case. The gathering of evidence and identification of witnesses is a matter for police and it is for the court to determine whether an expert’s evidence is admissible.” An expert witness in the trial of a huntsman was banned from giving evidence by a judge after he was spotted kissing a prosecution witness.Professor Stephen Harris, one of Britain’s leading authorities on foxes and a longstanding opponent of hunting, was excluded from the trial of Mick Wills after the incident was reported to  District Judge Tim Daber.Mr Wills, a huntsman with the Grafton Hunt, was subsequently found not guilty of illegally hunting a fox with dogs in Alithorn Woods, Northamptonshire, in September 2017.It is the second time in recent years that Professor Harris’s involvement as an expert witness in a hunting case has raised questions.In the latest case Mr Wills’ defence counsel Stephen Welford claimed that as a result of Professor Harris greeting Judy Gilbert, a veteran anti-hunting campaigner, with a kiss as they arrived at court, he could no longer be regarded as an independent witness, given his apparently close relationship with her. 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

Letter Is the new Demerara Bridge another scandal in the making

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedHouston location being considered for new 3-lane Demerara River bridgeApril 13, 2017In “Business”New River bridge: Patterson issues order to commence acquisition of landsOctober 15, 2017In “Business”Govt officials meet with Houston residents over possible land acquisitionsOctober 11, 2017In “Business” Dear Editor,The Guyanese people, I am sure are ripe with some excitement and welcomes the news of a new Demerara Harbour Bridge. This excitement, however, I am sure is now tempered with the facts that are becoming public and as such a public discussion is current.They are a number of issues that the Minister of Public Infrastructure must come clean on and level with the masses. Now that there is an announcement by the Government that the bridge will be built from Houston to Versailles, some specific questions must be answered.What would be the cost of the acquisition of lands at Houston and at Versailles? Why did the Ministry of Public Infrastructure only announced acquisition of lands at Houston? What about Versailles? Who is the owner(s) of the land at this location?If a decision has been made for Versailles to be the agreed site on the western end, where the bridge will terminate, what is the agreed figure with the owner(s) agreed upon for the acquisition of the lands?With this new structure, what would be the cost of tolls for commuters and for commercial transporters? What would be the percentage increase in tolls? Since, the feasibility study indicated that increase of tolls will be inadequate to finance this project, what would be the level of Government subsidy/financing? We need to know the amount; it cannot be a blind date. Mr. Minister the figures please.To support the construction of this bridge, there will be the need for other infrastructure, approach roads, vehicular overpass and other non-bridge infrastructure that would be priced separate and apart from the cost of the bridge. What would be the total or estimated total of such infrastructures?Since we have not seen copies of the social impact assessment or the environmental impact assessment, could the Minister inform the nation how will this site affect businesses in the vicinity of the proposed site on both north and south on both sides of the river? Since, within a specific distance determined by international standards mooring of vessels are restricted for safety purposes in the vicinity of this bridge, how will this impact the publicly announced on-shore oil and gas facility and investments made by Muneshwar’s Limited at the recently acquired Gafoor’s property, at Houston? Notwithstanding, other existing fishing establishment, fuel terminals and other wharfs that service ocean going vessels?As it relates to traffic flow and congestion, is there a network of roads that was considered and how does the propose Ogle to Diamond by-pass road fit into this scheme?What is the financing model for this bridge? Would it be a Private Public Partnership (PPP) or the Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model? Would the selected contractor be responsible for financing and building the bridge as well as other infrastructure to accommodate usage of the bridge or would it be two separate awards?Why is the Ministry requesting that bidders sign non-disclosure agreements as well as waive their rights to protest the award, if aggrieved? Is it because the Government has already predetermined who will be contracted to build this bridge and the financing model secretly agreed on? Are the few selected bidders only to be window-dressing and to give the impression of a fair and open process? Why is it necessary to waive their rights to protest if aggrieved?What are the experts estimated TOTAL cost of the bridge as well as other infrastructure to facilitate and operationalize the Houston to Versailles Demerara bridge link?Mr. Minister, my fellow Guyanese and I would like to have a bridge not another scandal.Yours sincerely,Bishop Juan Edghill, PPP/C MP read more

LETTER There is need to reevaluate Guyanas social economic political wellbeing

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPresident reflects on 3 years in Office; says more could have been accomplishedDecember 13, 2014In “Politics”Our nation’s future depends on deeper social cohesion, says President Granger in special address to National AssemblyMay 12, 2016In “latest news”President Granger’s address to Parliament today (Full Text)January 14, 2016In “Internet” Dear Editor,Every end of year, many people take stock of their lives and make resolutions to do better in the New Year. What we also need to do is to take stock of the Guyanese nation over the last 50 years and see where we can do better.In this regard, I call for a re-evaluation of Guyana’s social, economic and political well-being over the last 50 years.Instead of just analysing the performance of a People’s National Congress Government vs a People’s Progressive Party Government, we need to evaluate the years in terms of every 10-year period.Our starting point could be the years 2010 to present until we encapsulate all the years since 1966. In this way we will be developing a narrative of our history without casting blame.Objectively analysing your performance can lead you to do better.Yours faithfully,Sean Ori read more

Man charged with 5 counts of armed robbery remanded

A father of two hailing from Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara (ECD) was on Friday brought before the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court and charged with five counts of robbery under arms.Lloyd Saffon, 36, denied the offences read to him by the Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan.He is being charged with carrying out an armed robbery on Merwin Gobin at Caneview Avenue, South Ruimveldt, Georgetown, carting off with the man’s cell phone, cash, laptop and other items worth a total value of $220,000, in addition to robbing Gary Primo of items amounting to $1.9 million.Moreover, Saffon is also charged with robbing Neelan Jacqueline on December 31, 2018, at South Ruimveldt of items valuing $65,000 and Norwel Bowen of items valuing $85,000.Finally, he is being charged with robbing Maxwell Bowen of items valuing $140,000 on December 31, 2017, at South Ruimveldt.Saffon told the Chief Magistrate that he was at home at the time of all the robberies and has surveillance footage present at his home to attest to this.He noted that he explained same to the Police who, he said, refused to even view the footage.The defendant further explained to Magistrate McLennan that the Police are also yet to visit his home to inspect for the stolen items which he supposedly possesses.Police Prosecutor Gordon Mansfield did not present the facts of the case but however objected to bail based on the seriousness and prevalence of the offences.He also revealed that the accused was identified by one of the Virtual Complainants (VCs) in an Identification Parade.As such, Saffon was remanded to prison and is expected to return on February 2, 2018, for statements. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedDuo charged for robbery under arms, forgeryJanuary 19, 2018In “Court”Miner facing 3 counts of robbery under arms remandedJanuary 16, 2018In “Court”Wanted man remanded on armed robbery chargesJanuary 11, 2019In “Court” read more

Dr Cheddi Jagan commemorative stamp finally launched

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCommemorative stamp to be launched in honour of Dr Cheddi JaganFebruary 12, 2018In “latest news”MOTP scraps Dr Jagan’s commemorative stamps in exchange for national symbolsMarch 24, 2018In “latest news”CJRC ‘disappointed’ that Dr Jagan’s Commemorative Stamps not deliveredMarch 21, 2018In “latest news” After much controversy between the government and the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC) today, launched a commemorative stamp in honour of the 100th birth anniversary of former President Dr Cheddi Jagan. The stamp was officially unveiled at the Ministry of the Presidency.Chairman of the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC), Rev. Raphael Massiah unveils the Commemorative Stamp.However, some close relatives of the former President and staff of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre were the only ones present at the event. Not a single senior Government official or minister of Government attended. Senior PPP officials were also noticeably absent.Hydar Ally of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre said he was representing the centre and not the party. He reflected on the life and work of the late president and expressed his gratitude.Postmistress General, Martha Ramos hands over a framed Commemorative Stamp to Director, Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, Hydar Alli. (DPI photos)Ally did explain that the centre was disappointed that the stamp wasn’t launched at the time when Dr Jagan’s 100th birth anniversary was observed.Lieutenant Colonel Francis Abraham, the Office of the President’s Director of Protocol who chaired the event in a small room within the Ministry of the Presidency also reflected on Dr Jagan’s legacy.Public Telecommunications Minister, Cathy Hughes had announced last month that the Guyana Post Office Corporation would be issuing commemorative stamps to celebrate the former President’s 100th birth anniversary, following an arrangement with the Research Centre.However, on the day of Jagan’s birth anniversary, March 21, the Research Centre never received the stamps from the Post Office.President David Granger said Cabinet had taken a decision that commemorative stamps, which are national symbols, must adhere to national criteria.The limited edition stamps will be available at all post offices beginning tomorrow. read more

Joining forces in China Gold Fields and Sino Gold

first_imgSino Gold and Gold Fields have formed a strategic alliance, combining Sino Gold’s proven and recognised operational, development and business capabilities in China with the global technical, financial and human resources expertise of Gold Fields, the world’s fourth largest gold company. As part of this, Gold Fields’ equity in Sino Gold will rise to 17.4%, the largest shareholder in Sino Gold. With a ‘first mover’ advantage, Sino Gold holds a strong competitive position in China. China will be one of the topics we examine in International Mining’s February issue, along with the central African Copperbelt, Toronto and comminution. The new 50:50 jointly owned and funded group to target and explore China for projects meets Gold Fields’ benchmark ‘rule of fives’ criteria: resources of at least 5 Moz of gold and production capacity of approximately 500,000 oz/y of gold. The group will integrate Gold Fields’ existing exploration assets and personnel in China into Sino Gold which, in terms of the strategic alliance, will in future conduct all of Gold Fields’ exploration activity in China.Ian Cockerill, CEO of Gold Fields: “This strategic alliance represents the next logical step in the developing relationship between Gold Fields and Sino Gold, our long standing partner in China. It provides Gold Fields with the ability to strengthen and accelerate its exploration efforts for large, high quality, long life assets in a highly prospective region of the world. China is a key strategic region for Gold Fields and combining our technical, financial and human resources expertise with Sino Gold’s proven commercial and operational track record in China will create a stronger partnership to deliver on our mutual exploration and development objectives.The strategic alliance will explore primarily for porphyry, high-sulphidation epithermal or sediment-hosted disseminated orogenic style gold mineralization. These styles of mineralisation are not currently the focus of Sino Gold’s exploration programme in China. Jake Klein, CEO of Sino Gold: “The exploration focus introduced through this alliance is a significant addition to, and separate from, Sino Gold’s current exploration programme.” A new entity is being formed which will be equally funded by both parties. This is to be a wholly separate entity from Sino Gold’s other business development teams in China. All of China is included, except for Sino Gold’s projects around the Laizhishan Dome area near Jinfeng and White Mountain.The exploration undertaken by the new entity will be managed by Sino Gold. Gold Fields will manage the development and operation of any new projects resulting from the alliance that meet the agreed Gold Fields benchmark criteria. Sino Gold has the right to properties which do not meet the criteria referred to above.As one of the world’s largest unhedged gold producers, Gold Fields has annual gold production of some 4.1 Moz from mines in South Africa, Ghana, Australia and Venezuela, as well as a developing mine at Cerro Corona in Peru. The company has ore reserves of 65 Moz and mineral resources of 179 Moz. www.goldfields.co.za Sino Gold has been active in China since 1996. Its Jianchaling mine produced about 450,000 oz of gold from 1998 to 2006. The company is now developing the Jinfeng mine in Guizhou Province that is expected to commence commercial gold production in the March 2007 quarter. With resources of 4.0 Moz and reserves of 2.9 Moz, Jinfeng will be a major, long-life operation. Sino Gold has demonstrated capability to gain approvals for, and to successfully develop, gold projects in China. www.sinogold.com.aulast_img read more