Month: September 2019

US Open Serena Williams After Slow Start Advances to

US Open Serena Williams After Slow Start Advances to

Serena Williams‘ ambition to win three straight U.S. Open championships looked to be coming apart at the start of her quarterfinal match against Italy’s Flavia Pennetta on Wednesday.Williams lost the first three game of the match. But she did not lose her confidence. In fact, she somehow found some optimism in the shaky play.“I don’t feel like I was doing too much wrong,” the five-time champion at the U.S. Open said. “So I said, ‘If she keeps it up, she absolutely deserves the win.’ And I just tried to do a little better.”Well, she did much better. Williams won the next six games to take the set and go on to a relatively pedestrian 6-3, 6-2 conquest to advance to the semis to face 17th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova.Getting to this point was a treat for the best player in the world: She had not reached the semifinals in a major this year. She lost in the fourth round at the Australian Open, the second at the French Open, and the third at Wimbledon. The last time she didn’t reach at least one Grand Slam title match in a season was 2006, when she entered only two of the sport’s top tournaments.“Well, honestly, I’ve had a tough year in the majors and I’ve (lost to) some great players that weren’t in the top 10,” Williams said. “So you can never underestimate anyone.”Williams is bidding to become the first woman with three consecutive U.S. Open titles since Chris Evert won four in a row from 1975-78. The 32-year-old American also is trying to pull even with Evert and Martina Navratilova at 18 Grand Slam singles trophies. read more

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The Warriors Are Especially Hard To Handle After A Loss

The Warriors Are Especially Hard To Handle After A Loss

The Golden State Warriors didn’t lose very often this year, but when they did, the Dubs tended to bounce back with a vengeance. Following the 15 losses for which we know the next game’s outcome1So, not counting the Warriors’ loss in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. (including the playoffs), Golden State went 14-1, which was not only the NBA’s best record coming off a defeat, but also 24 points of winning percentage better than a statistical power-rating such as our Elo method would predict. (That was also tops in the NBA.) As terrifying as the Warriors are in general, they’re ever so much scarier still after a loss. That’s the version of Golden State the Cavaliers will tangle with Thursday night in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. As usual, LeBron James will have his work cut out for him.The good news for Cleveland: The game will be played at Quicken Loans Arena. Putting aside everything else, that means the Cavs should probably be favored to force Game 7. The bad news: Golden State’s not-so-secret weapon, Draymond Green, is coming back from his suspension.And less obvious on Cleveland’s bad-news front — but perhaps equally important — is how much the Cavs relied on an uncharacteristically amazing Kyrie Irving performance in Game 5. According to Game Score (John Hollinger’s rough estimate of a player’s performance in a given outing), Irving’s 33.2 mark easily represented his best game of the 2015-16 season, and was more than double his usual per-game output.In his career, whenever Irving has notched a Game Score of at least 25 — the benchmark of a very good outing — his output dipped to a Game Score of 18.9 in the very next game on average. And Irving’s Game 5 performance wasn’t just very good — it was transcendent. In fact, it was so far outside his usual production that he isn’t likely to approach it again: VIDEO: LeBron’s Game 5 performance was historically greatOur sports podcast Hot Takedown talks about the Cavs’ comeback chances. Irving is, by nature, on the streaky side as far as NBA players go — the standard deviation of his Game Scores was 19th largest among 126 qualified players this season.2We’re defining those as players who played at least 50 games and averaged a Game Score of at least 8.0 per game. (Stephen Curry, believe it or not, is the most “streaky” player, in terms of standard deviation in his Game Score — though his variance runs from “extremely great” to “closer to league average.” On the other end, Jonas Valanciunas and DeAndre Jordan ranked as the most “consistent” players among those performing at league-average or better.) So although Irving is capable of putting up huge numbers, as in Game 5, it also takes something fluky, like a hot night of unsustainable shooting, to pull it off.Speaking of which, Irving’s Game 5 featured the second-best “shot-making” performance of the entire playoffs,3Minimum 20 field goal attempts. with Kyrie hitting for an effective field goal percentage (eFG%) 34.1 points higher than we’d expect based on the location and defensive pressure applied to his shots. During the regular season, Irving outshot expectations by only 1.9 points of eFG%, and shot-making tends to regress heavily to the mean from game to game.To stave off elimination, the Cavs might need Irving to buck those odds. That 33.2 Game Score represented the best performance by a LeBron teammate all season; Irving also owns five more of the top 10, and 12 more of the top 25. LeBron chronically seems in need of strong supporting performances from his teammates, and if Irving doesn’t supply that again, it’s not clear who will — particularly with Kevin Love limited (to say the least) after suffering a concussion earlier in the finals.In other words, a not-insignificant portion of the Cavs’ Game 6 hopes are resting on a repeat performance from a streaky player. When it comes to Cleveland sports, crazier things have happened. Perhaps this time, the Cavs will come out ahead in the exchange. read more

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The Big Questions We Have About NBA Contenders After The AllStar Break

The Big Questions We Have About NBA Contenders After The AllStar Break

The weeks coming out of the All-Star break typically tell us a lot about the teams we still have lingering questions about. This season, some of those — like the Cleveland Cavaliers — saw so much change so recently that we won’t be able to answer those questions anytime soon. But for everyone else, we’ve seen enough games to know what to look out for over the remaining quarter (or so) of the regular season. Here’s a quick survey of the contenders as they come out of the All-Star break.Toronto RaptorsIt’s time to start talking ourselves into the Raptors, and this season that means talking ourselves into DeMar DeRozan. The standard palette of advanced statistics doesn’t do much to show how this year’s vintage of DeRozan differs from previous ones. His true shooting is about the same as it has been for a few seasons; his usage rate is the same as it’s ever been; his assists are up, but not dramatically so; and even his celebrated improvement from downtown has him shooting the 3-pointer about a percentage point worse than he did two seasons ago, albeit on twice as many attempts. Drill a little deeper, and his points created on drives and the pick-and-roll are steady compared to last season as well, according to Second Spectrum.But if you watch a few Raptors games, the difference slaps you in the head. Yes, he’s working with a bit more space now that he’s shooting more threes and hitting them at a baseline respectable rate. But it’s how DeRozan is handling the added defensive pressure, recognizing the double-team quickly and passing to shooters, that sets this season apart from his others. He is creating 100 points per 100 chances when he drives and kicks to a shooter, according to Second Spectrum. Last season that was 87 points per 100 chances. How different you imagine the Raptors’ chances are this season compared to the past more or less depends on how much you believe DeRozan’s game has grown. It’s a case where improvements picked up by the eye test are borne out by some of the more granular stats, but not in the aggregate. Sometimes that’s a signal to keep an eye out for big overall changes despite relatively few changes to the components; other times, it’s just noise.Minnesota TimberwolvesJimmy Butler played zero minutes in Sunday’s All-Star game, and he didn’t practice on Saturday. NBC Sports Chicago’s Vincent Goodwill reported that a person close to Butler said, “He’s OK, just tired.” This was meant to be encouraging, signaling that Butler isn’t injured. But for one of Tom Thibodeau’s players, it may be something more worrying.Butler is logging 37.3 minutes per game this season, and has averaged 39 minutes since missing four games to injury at the end of January. He covers the league’s third-most miles per game, and does so while creating the sixth-highest “load” — Second Spectrum’s adjusted metric for describing the physical stress of accelerating and decelerating. Butler’s usage and efficiency have held steady since December, when he began to take a larger role and play more to his previous All-NBA form. But if fatigue is enough of a concern to make the Wolves’ star sit out an exhibition game, then, as the season winds down, Butler’s fatigue should be as big a concern to the Timberwolves as the team’s leaden defense. A lot of things go into a solid NBA defense, but effort and energy are high up on the list. And if the Wolves’ best wing defender is low on either, it doesn’t bode well for the team fixing what isn’t working, or maintaining what is.Boston CelticsAfter a great start to the season, the Celtics are reeling. The team has lost nine of its last 15 games and is second in the East, two games back of Toronto. It’s the defense that’s sinking them. With Marcus Smart and Shane Larkin out the past few weeks, Boston’s D has looked downright average. The team’s defensive rating is 107.7 over those last 15 games and 108.7 in the 11 without Smart. Before that 15-game stretch, it had been 102.7. The Celtics still lead the league in defensive efficiency for the season, but the defense without Smart would tie it with the Lakers for 14th. An average defense won’t be enough for Boston, which is also average on the offensive end and has not improved since Smart went down.Houston RocketsEarly on in the season, as the Rockets were adapting to playing with Chris Paul and James Harden — two All-NBA-level guards — in the backcourt, it was popular to observe that the team was better when one was on the court and the other sat. The team was good with both, but exceptional with just one. It would eventually pay off to have one such configuration on the court at all times, the thinking went, even if the main lineup wasn’t as potent. But that’s no longer really the case.When Harden and Paul share the floor, the Rockets score 123.6 points per 100 possessions and give up 110.7, according to NBA WOWY. That difference of 12.9 points per 100 possessions splits the difference between the Harden-only lineups (+8.7 points per 100 possessions) and the Paul-only ones (+16.5). Just as important as how the lineups fall in relationship to each other is how they compare with the rest of the league. The Paul/Harden lineup would be the best in the league and is about in line with the Warriors’ lineups that feature Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant (+12.2). The Rockets may improve further down the stretch, but they’ve already established their star lineup as as asset all on its own, not simply a means to individually successful lineups for Harden and Paul.San Antonio SpursThe Spurs’ season has been held hostage to Kawhi Leonard’s mysterious, lingering quad ailment. On Wednesday, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said he would be surprised if Leonard returns this season. Leonard has played in a total of nine games this season, the last in mid-January. Still, the Spurs sit in third place in the West and stand a good chance of winning 50 games for the 19th consecutive season. But for that to happen, the team will need to settle in under 21-year-old point guard Dejounte Murray.Murray took over for Tony Parker as starter in late January, and the Spurs have lost seven of 12 games since the change. This is a problem because seven teams are within five games of the Spurs, including the 10th-seed Utah Jazz, who have been on fire since the return of Rudy Gobert. But while the Spurs have dropped some games, Murray has improved rapidly. Before breaking into the starting lineup, Murray was creating just 78 points per 100 chances as a pick-and-roll ballhandler, according to data from Second Spectrum. That’s one of the worst figures in the league for a player tasked with doing it with any frequency. Since taking over, Murray has created 102 points per 100 chances. It’s not as though Murray is suddenly attacking his man like Russell Westbrook does, but he’s moving the ball through the Spurs’ system well and manipulating defenders into positions to help teammates. If that form continues, the Spurs should be able to right the ship — or make it as right as it can be without Leonard.Golden State WarriorsOut to lunch. Back in June. Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

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James Holzhauer Broke Jeopardy But Is Broken So Bad

James Holzhauer Broke Jeopardy But Is Broken So Bad

Holzhauer rewrote swaths of the show’s record books. But his biggest contribution may be to “Jeopardy!” strategy. Holzhauer exploited the game’s Daily Doubles to their fullest, hunting them down and betting big on them. Over his 32 wins (and one loss), Holzhauer — a professional sports bettor from Vegas — not only got significantly richer but likely changed how the venerable game show will be played. Holzhauer was such an effective and alien force that opponents began to mimic his style out of desperation, like growling at a hungry lion in hopes of scaring it away. They hopped wildly around the game’s board whenever they could, picking big-dollar clues early, searching madly for the Daily Doubles and betting big when they found them — just the sort of unalloyed aggression that had quickly become Holzhauer’s trademark and the fuel for his success.“Many of my opponents played like I do, but I’m not sure they would have done so without provocation,” Holzhauer said. “You don’t want to inadvertently make your opponents play a better strategy. In a sense, I may have helped bring about my own downfall.” Note: This article discusses the results of the June 3, 2019, episode of “Jeopardy!”James Holzhauer claims not to remember many particulars of how he lost on “Jeopardy!” for the first time, other than that he blanked on a clue about the city of Albany and his opponent quickly took control of the board, landing a game-changing Daily Double. Before long, it was all over. Monday’s episode marked the end of Holzhauer’s two-month reign as one of the winningest, and certainly the most radical, champions in the decades-long history of the trivia game show “Jeopardy!”Holzhauer finished Monday’s game in second place with $24,799 behind Emma Boettcher’s $46,801. But during his 32-win run, he averaged about $77,000 per game — an average nearly identical to the record for the single richest game ever played before he took the podium in early April. In the process, he laid claim to the entirety of the top 10 highest-scoring games of all time, including one single half-hour haul of $131,127. It was a historic run driven by immaculate trivia knowledge, disciplined strategy and calculated aggression.But other records will forever remain just out of reach. Holzhauer’s streak ended with total winnings of $2,462,216 — less than $60,000 shy of Ken Jennings’s record $2,520,700 which was amassed over a nearly incomprehensible 74 straight wins in 2004. Holzhauer will sit second on the all-time money list until the arrival of some other great champion. (Or he might sit there forever, which seems more likely.)1These records are for the show’s “regular season” play, ignoring its occasional special tournaments.“I played every day exactly according to my game plan, so I have no regrets,” Holzhauer told FiveThirtyEight a few days before the fateful episode aired. The insoles seem to have worked. Holzhauer has earned a spot in the pantheon of the “Jeopardy!” greats, and he gives himself prominent placement there. “I think there is a nebulous top three of Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and me,” he said. “Ken’s 74-game streak remains the most impressive achievement in the show’s history.”Rutter is no slouch, either — he has won more money than any other “Jeopardy!” contestant, and he’s a man who has never lost to a human. Rutter’s initial winning streak was ended by the show’s rules at the time, which limited a defending champion to five appearances. But between those appearances and the show’s Tournament of Champions, Ultimate Tournament of Champions and Million Dollar Masters, Rutter won $4,688,436. (Here’s a free idea for the “Jeopardy!” producers: Holzhauer vs. Jennings vs. Rutter in the Ultimate Tournament of Ultimate Champions.)A couple of days after we first emailed, however, Holzhauer followed up to amend his initial assessment. “Amidst all the people comparing me to Ken and Brad, I totally forgot about the two greatest Jeopardy champions of all time: Cindy Stowell, who won six games while dying of cancer, and Eddie Timanus, who’s … blind and was an undefeated five-time champ in his initial run. It’s impossible for me to compare myself to them, so perhaps they should be in their own category.”Holzhauer’s plan for now is a return to normalcy. “The 19-year-old version of James would be thrilled by the opportunities” that the winning streak has brought his way, “but married parent James is hoping to keep his home life settled.”The game that made him famous, however, has been left unsettled. Lots of esteemed competitive pursuits have been “broken” lately. Baseball. Basketball. Even the spelling bee just last week. An innovative strategy or an outlier talent can deeply alter the games we’ve played for decades. In the process, the cadence or tenor of the game might be rendered unrecognizable for someone who hadn’t seen it in a few years. These innovative strategies are often driven by mathematical analysis, data and statistical rigor — things that a sports bettor from Vegas must embrace in order to eat. I asked Holzhauer if “Jeopardy!” now belonged in this category of sabermetrically altered pursuits.“I can see the parallels, for sure,” he said. “At its heart, all these shifts are just attempts to increase your chances of winning. Why would anyone not want to maximize their chances?”Plenty of outlets have written that, thanks to Holzhauer, “Jeopardy!” is now broken. But there’s art in that. While the game may look a bit different than it did before, it may also be closer to perfection — to an ideal expression of trivia game-show strategy. Broken is beautiful. From ABC News: Life as a longtime “Jeopardy!” champion is a strange one, chronologically speaking. Holzhauer has been watching the world wonder when his streak will end, all the while knowing exactly when it would happen. On its taping dates, the show records five episodes back-to-back, with just a change of clothes in between. The episodes don’t air until much later. If he could alter time, maybe buy a time machine with that $2,462,216, would he have approached the game any differently?“The only things I would do differently from the start of my run: never wear a sport coat, which interfered a little with my buzzer form, and use gel insoles in my dress shoes,” Holzhauer said.“Both were fixed by the second taping day.” read more

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Should Colin Kaepernick Be On A NFL Roster

Colin Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL for a few years, but now that many starting quarterbacks are unable to play this season, some fans are wondering whether teams should look at Kaepernick as a possible replacement.Is Kaepernick still good enough to play in the NFL? In the video above, Neil Paine takes a look at how Kaepernick might perform if he came back to the league today.Check out our latest NFL predictions.

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9 seniors to lead Ohio State womens lacrosse into the 2016 season

With its home opener on Feb. 13 approaching, the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team is looking to enter the 2016 season with the strong leadership and influence from nine seniors guiding the way.Alexis Venechanos, the sixth-year coach of the Buckeyes, said she looks to use this leadership for optimal success in the upcoming season.“This senior class was my first full recruiting class, and they are bringing their leadership out in so many different ways,” Venechanos said. “We’ve been giving our seniors control of the practices, where they’re in charge of working on our energy and giving feedback to our players, giving them a voice on the field.”Senior attackman Olivia DiCarlantonio said the senior class is a special one because each player is proud to be a Buckeye.“As a grade, we try to live up to the girls older than us, so we make a lot of decisions based on what we were taught as underclassmen,” DiCarlantonio said. “Our grade wants to build a legacy of Buckeyes to come, so we felt that if we prepared the younger girls and helped them realize what an honor it is to being playing for Ohio State, then we will be a successful team.”Senior defender Katie Keefe said the senior class has skills that, when brought together, help the team as a whole.“The feelings of just coming and getting the job done are out the window,” Keefe said. “They’re replaced with the idea that there is no next year for us, so we give it our all and go out with a bang.”The Buckeyes enjoyed a degree of success in 2015, going 13-8, including a trip to the Big Ten tournament championship. Their trip to the NCAA tournament was not a long one, however, as a 13-11 loss to Notre Dame sent the Scarlet and Gray home looking forward to the next year.The next year is now upon them, and, despite graduating several playmakers, DiCarlantonio said the team has an improved amount of talent and depth, giving it high aspirations to make a longer run than its brief taste of tournament play a season ago.“As a team, the goal is to always go all the way,” she said. “(Venechanos) has us focusing on positive energy and really being locked into the moment and that’s allowing everyone to improve individually and as a team.”OSU women’s lacrosse members celebrate a win over Maryland on May 1. Credit: Courtesy of Ben SolomanKeefe said now that a good amount of the team’s starters have graduated, it has given other players the challenge of filling those spots.“It’s our job to show the rest of the lacrosse community that the Buckeyes can still be a powerful team and end with another successful season,” Keefe said. “This idea reminds us that we all have a common goal we will work for as a team, and the only way to get there is to keep our energy high and our attitudes tough.”Venechanos said the team is looking forward to finishing up the preseason and getting on the field against an opponent.“We think we’re in the best lacrosse conference in the country,” Venechanos said. “We have Northwestern and Maryland, the two dynasties of women’s lacrosse, in our backyard, so if we do well in the Big Ten Conference, we will continue to make a name for ourselves nationally.”OSU is set to kick off its 2016 season on Feb. 13 with its home opener against Detroit. Faceoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. OSU then-junior attacker Rainey Hodgson (6) during a game against Maryland on May 1. Credit: Courtesy of Ben Soloman Correction 1/27: An earlier version of this story said the women’s lacrosse team’s home opener is set to be played at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, when in fact it is to be played at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. read more

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Enemy of the state Ohio State hosts Cincinnati in NCAA Tournament matchup

The women’s volleyball team is ready for its biggest match this season.  After finishing fourth in the Big Ten, the women’s volleyball team earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes will face Cincinnati, No. 2 in the Big East, in the first round. The Buckeyes have made immense improvements since last season, when they finished 10th in the conference with an overall record of 12-20.The success of the Buckeyes, who were not expected to make it to the NCAA Tournament this season, has surprised many.“We put a lot of work in the offseason and we were ready to prove people wrong,” middle blocker Kristen Dozier said.  Dozier and the rest of the team understand there is never a guarantee of going to the NCAA Tournament. She was a contributor on the 2006 team that reached the field of 64 tournament.  “As a freshman I think I took it for granted and I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do this year,” Dozier said. “Now I really just want to make a statement in the tournament.”    Although the Buckeyes fell short of the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 this week, they received 39 votes, their most this season.Coach Geoff Carlston acknowledged that the tournament has higher stakes than the regular season, but the team is treating it like every other match.  “The goal is the same as we have had all year, to stay in the moment and have no regrets,” Carlston said. The Buckeyes are thriving off of 3-0 sweeps against Michigan and Michigan State and hope to carry the momentum into the tournament.“[Competing in] the Big Ten prepares you for everything, every match this year was a complete battle,” Carlston said.  Cincinnati is expected to play aggressively with big serves and swings.  “We will not be taking them lightly in any way, shape or form,” Carlston said. “There just aren’t any weak teams at this stage in the season.”  Carlston said the Buckeyes want to make the most out of the NCAA Tournament opportunity for their three seniors, Kristen Dozier, Ashley Hughes and Chelsea Noble.“We stress upon them to enjoy the experience, to play to the best of their ability, to not waste the gift,” Carlston said. “Emotions are always high but our goal is for them to not take the opportunity for granted.”Along with the team receiving the at-large bid, several Buckeyes earned individual accolades this week.Dozier received an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection.  She has a team-high 83 assist blocks and is second in points and kills.  Junior Katie Dull was a unanimous choice for the All-Big Ten team. She leads the team in both points and kills and ranks third in the conference in both categories.The Buckeyes hold an all-time record of 23-15 in 16 NCAA Tournament appearances.  Ohio State will host the first and second round matches at St. John Arena on Friday and Saturday.The Buckeyes will play Cincinnati Friday at 8 p.m., following the California-Lipscomb match.First round winners will play Saturday at 7 p.m. for the regional semifinals, held Dec. 11 in Gainesville. read more

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Big Twelve Conference expansion could have implications for Ohio State

Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee voiced his support for the Big Ten conference’s investigation into the benefits of adding a 12th team in a meeting with Lantern editors earlier this month.“I’ve made very clear that I am supportive of asking the question [of how the Big Ten would benefit from adding a team],” he said.The Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors, of which Gee is a member, decided at a meeting in early December that “the timing is right for the conference to once again conduct a thorough evaluation of options for conference structure and expansion,” according to a statement issued by the Big Ten.The process is expected to take 12 to 18 months, and no action on expansion is expected in the near future, according to the statement. The conference has considered expansion several times since the addition of formerly independent Penn State in 1990, but Gee said he senses that the talks are more serious this time. “As athletic directors, we discuss it every single year. This year … we felt like the timing was right to begin to look at all the issues to see what the real pros and cons are,” OSU athletic director Gene Smith said in a December press conference.Scheduling questionsIf the Big Ten decides to add a 12th team, it raises a bevy of new questions, regardless of which school joins. At this point in the process, nobody has the answers. The Big Ten nimbly solved the problem of naming the conference when it expanded to 11 teams by subtly hiding the numeral “11” inside the conference’s logo, but the math becomes more difficult when it comes to scheduling opponents.“The dominant issue will be the fact that there is an inelegance in having 11 teams,” Gee said. “We can’t quite play each other quite like we want to.”A 12-team structure would lend itself to a format with two divisions of six teams each, similar to the structure of the Southeastern Conference and Big 12. Both of those conferences hold a championship game between the division winners as the last game of the regular season. True OSU football fans can already imagine the problem that this would create: What would happen to the OSU-Michigan game, traditionally the last game of the regular season for both teams?Along with Penn State, Michigan is assigned to a game with OSU every year, while the other eight schools follow a rotation to fill the six remaining conference games on the schedule. Each Big Ten school follows this format, with its own pair of designated opponents.“I don’t know why that would change,” said Shelly Poe, OSU’s director of athletic communications for football. Poe said that discussions about scheduling rivalry games would likely occur later in the expansion process.Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman said that there were no updates to announce since the December meeting of the Council of Presidents/Chancellors.Notre Dame unlikely to joinBased in part on geography and academic quality, Missouri, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Syracuse have been the subject of media speculation as candidates for inclusion in the Big Ten. The biggest name, though, is Notre Dame, which is currently a member of the Big East conference for basketball, but is independent in football.Notre Dame is a “very fine institution,” Gee said, but is not among the 62 members of the Association of American Universities, to which all 11 current Big Ten schools, as well as the other rumored candidates for inclusion, belong. “We want to play in an academic consortium in which we have like kinds of institutions,” Gee said. “That will be very important to us.”Lack of membership in the AAU would not necessarily preclude an invitation to the Big Ten, Gee said. “I would not say that it’s absolute, but we certainly want to have like-minded institutions,” he said. “For example, there could be some institutions that are really elegant undergraduate institutions that don’t meet the criteria of the AAU, [which is] made up of these massive research institutions.”Notre Dame placed 20th in the most recent edition of U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings, higher than all Big Ten schools except Northwestern.For its part, Notre Dame has stated that it does not plan on joining the Big Ten. The school’s athletic director, Jack Swarbrick, told the Chicago Tribune in December that “our strong preference is to remain the way we are.” “It’s not on the radar,” said John Heisler, a Notre Dame spokesman, in an interview with The Lantern. “When the subject was discussed, our athletic director … made it clear that the independence of our football program has been a long-standing tradition and continues to be important to us.”TV contracts figure prominentlyCollege football is tradition-heavy, but it’s also big business. Notre Dame and NBC have a contract to televise Notre Dame football through 2015. The New York Times placed the contract’s value at $15 million per year, while The Chicago Tribune reported a value of $9 million per year.By comparison, the Big Ten has contracts with multiple broadcasting companies to help fund a variety of televised varsity sports. The Big Ten Network and an agreement with Fox that runs through 2027 (with an option for five more years) could pay each school an average of $10.18 million per year if it reaches its financial projections, according to the Sports Business Journal. The network “is obviously on a very successful trajectory,” Smith said in the press conference. The conference also pulls in an average of $100 million per year from its 10-year deal with ESPN (which runs through 2016) and another $2 million per year from its 10-year deal with CBS. Combined, these deals will pay each Big Ten school about $927,000 per year over the life of the contract, according to the Sports Business Journal.Last year, OSU also signed a media rights deal with IMG College and RadiOhio worth almost $128 million over 10 years. Given the numbers involved, television contracts will undoubtedly be a major factor in determining the possibility of any Big Ten expansion.“As you look at the college landscape across the country, and look at television contracts that are coming up within the next five to eight years, this is probably the right time for us to see if there’s any value to try and add a team or teams,” Smith said.Even if a 12th team added to the conference’s television value, the conference currently shares its television revenue among its member schools. Adding another team would also mean a thinner slice of the proverbial pie for each school.“That is an issue for us; do we divide it 12 ways or 14 ways?” Gee said. “What do we do?”As for Notre Dame, the school’s decision to remain independent “has a lot more to do with our priorities than it does with business issues,” Swarbrick told The Chicago Tribune.Representatives for Missouri and Pittsburgh, the other schools subject to the most frequent speculation, did not return calls seeking comment. read more

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Who will lead the Senators constituents

The end of spring football is supposed to be a time of clarity and optimism for a football powerhouse like Ohio State. However, following off-the-field transgressions by five players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the Buckeye football program is in a state of disarray. The five players and coach Jim Tressel are suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season. But five games could be good news for the Buckeyes. The NCAA released a notice of allegations to OSU on April 21 and will decide the university’s fate after an Aug. 12 hearing. Tressel’s failure to report his players’ violations could leave The Vest unemployed and the OSU football program scrambling to find a new coach. In a press conference March 8, OSU President E. Gordon Gee said he never considered firing Tressel, adding that he hoped Tressel “doesn’t dismiss me,” a joking comment he told The Lantern he later regretted. In the March 8 press conference, Tressel admitted he will take in stride whatever happens. “The most pathetic thing is a leader looking for self-pity,” Tressel said, quoting former President George W. Bush. “So, at no point in this time … am I looking for anything other than doing what needs to be done.” The Lantern took a look at possible replacements if one of the program’s most successful coaches is forced to resign, retires or is fired. Luke Fickell, OSU interim head coach, co-defensive coordinator Fickell is in the best position to take over the job from Tressel if NCAA sanctions force The Senator out of OSU. Fickell was named interim coach for the first five games of the 2011 season, and has been in Tressel’s system for nine years, serving as special teams coordinator, defensive line coach, linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator. Fickell played for the Buckeyes from 1992–96 as a nose guard, finishing with 212 career tackles and six career sacks. He was also on the 1996 team that won the Rose Bowl against Arizona State. Fickell is a Columbus man. He went to DeSales High School, and won a state championship in wrestling. His familiarity with Tressel’s system would give the Buckeyes an advantage when it comes to a coaching change. In a March 30 press conference to announce the Buckeyes’ interim coach, Fickell said it was still Tressel’s team but that he was honored to be named to the position in his boss’s absence. “We coach by committee. It never has been, never will be about one person in particular,” he said. “This is still coach Tressel’s team.” Urban Meyer, former Florida coach When rumors surfaced that Meyer and his family bought a house in Upper Arlington at the end of March, the pundits proclaimed him the next OSU coach. His spread offense would be a far cry from “Tressel-ball,” but his success is undeniable. Meyer had two three-loss seasons in his first head-coaching position at Bowling Green from 2001–02, an undefeated season in 2004 as coach of Utah and two national championships at Florida in his six seasons at the helm. Meyer has said he would come back to coaching for just three teams: Michigan, Notre Dame and OSU. With the hiring of new coaches at Michigan and Notre Dame, OSU seems like the most accessible position. Meyer’s desire to coach at OSU stems from his Ohio roots. He was born in Toledo, Ohio, played defensive back at Cincinnati from 1983–86 and was at OSU in 1986 and 1987 as a tight ends and wide receivers coach. Meyer also earned his master’s degree in sports administration at OSU. Health conditions forced Meyer out of his position at Florida, and he now works at ESPN as a commentator and analyst. However, Meyer’s daughter, Nicole, has said her father will not be the next Buckeyes coach. “Stop txting me abt my dad. HE IS NOT repeat NOT, GOING TO OHIO STATE. thanks.” she tweeted April 26 from her Twitter account, @Nicki_07. Bo Pelini, Nebraska coach Pelini, like Meyer, is an Ohio man. He was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and attended OSU, playing free safety under coached Earle Bruce and John Cooper. Pelini was co-captain of the Buckeyes his senior season and graduated from the university with a degree in business marketing. Pelini spent eight years as an assistant coach on three NFL teams, and has since become the coach at Nebraska, the Big Ten’s newest member. Nebraska has seen an upturn since Pelini’s hiring in 2008, with two appearances in the Big 12 Championship and two bowl wins in his three seasons. Pelini’s name was linked to the Miami (Fla.) opening in December before the Hurricanes hired former Temple coach Al Golden. However, Pelini recently signed a five-year contract with Nebraska, making him the third-highest-paid coach in the Big Ten, behind Tressel and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz. The contract appears to have locked in Pelini to the Nebraska job, but he could be a candidate to return to his alma mater. The connection between Pelini and OSU gives the Buckeyes and option to pursue him if the job becomes available, but Nebraska would not comment on the possibility. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State coach Dantonio left the Buckeyes in 2004 to pursue a head-coaching position at Cincinnati. He was defensive coordinator at OSU from 2001–03, which included the the 2002 national championship against a heavily favored Miami Hurricanes squad. Dantonio and his defensive staff were able to shut down the Hurricanes offense, which included current NFL players Andre Johnson, Kellen Winslow and Willis McGahee, and notable college quarterback Ken Dorsey. Dantonio was defensive coordinator at Youngstown State for four years before reuniting with his former boss at OSU. Like Fickell, Dantonio has a good read on what makes Tressel’s teams so successful, and the transition would be easy for the players. Dantonio led Michigan State to an 11-2 record last season, despite a heart attack following the Spartans’ game against Notre Dame. The Spartans shared the Big Ten Championship, but finished the season with a 49-7 loss to Alabama in the Capital One Bowl. Nick Saban, Alabama coach In Saban’s career as a football coach, his longest tenure in one position is four years, which will be eclipsed next season at Alabama. Saban also has ties to the Buckeyes. Ten years after he played defensive back at Kent State, Saban was the defensive backs coach at OSU for one season. A head-coaching position at OSU would be Saban’s second in the Big Ten, as he coached Michigan State from 1995–99, which included an upset win against the No. 1 Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium during the 1998 season. However, Saban has been involved in potential NCAA sanctions, as he and his coaching staff were accused of oversigning players at Alabama. The controversy is something the Buckeyes would want to avoid following their most recent sanctions. Athletic department spokesmen from Nebraska, Michigan State and Alabama declined to comment. Ohio State spokeswoman Shelly Poe and ESPN media did not immediately return attempts for comments. read more

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Buckeyes monitoring reps as The Grind heats up in spring practice

The OSU football team returned to the practice field on March 10 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, less than 2 months after the Buckeyes beat Oregon in the 1st-ever College Football Playoff National Championship. Credit: Tim Moody / Sports editorAfter putting the pedal to the metal to complete “The Chase,” the Ohio State football team moved straight into “The Grind.”But as the Buckeyes completed practice Tuesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center — just their third since winning the National Championship — coach Urban Meyer said it might be time to pump the breaks. Meyer said OSU is monitoring the reps of certain players, leading to less cohesiveness on the practice field.“That’s why sometimes it looks really bad, and today it was not a pleasant one,” Meyer said Tuesday. “We’re not gonna blame players or coaches yet. That’s coming, though, if you don’t get better.”The Buckeyes played 15 games — winning all but one — in 2014-15, marking the first time a collegiate team had played more than 14 times in a season. But game reps aside, OSU is monitoring “competitive reps” players get in practice, Meyer said.The fourth-year OSU coach said senior offensive lineman Taylor Decker has had more than 2,000 live reps in his career, and named off redshirt-junior offensive lineman Pat Elflein, redshirt-senior tight end Nick Vannett, senior linebacker Joshua Perry, redshirt-junior safety Tyvis Powell and junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa as other high-rep players.While Meyer didn’t name any of those players among the injured Buckeyes, OSU has learned that at least four players would no longer be able to play football because of past injuries since the beginning of 2015. With linebackers Devan Bogard and Trey Johnson, safety Ron Tanner and cornerback Armani Reeves done for good, the Buckeyes are being careful with other injured players in practice.Redshirt-senior quarterback Braxton Miller has been pulled back in practice, Meyer said, but only for precautionary reasons.Meyer added that the trainers are being very cautious with junior running back Ezekiel Elliott, who has a bone graft in his wrist. Along with Miller and Elliott, Meyer said senior offensive lineman Jacoby Boren and junior H-back Dontre Wilson are both still working back from injuries.“Jacoby’s had several things, but I don’t see any Band-Aids on him any more, so he’s getting close,” Meyer said. “Dontre has a broken foot, pin’s out; I saw him running in the water the other day.”But among the players being held back, Meyer said he’s been surprised to see the progress of yet another injured quarterback — redshirt-sophomore J.T. Barrett.“J.T. is doing good, he’s doing more,” Meyer said. “I thought he would be much more limited but he’s getting every mini field and 7-on-7 rep.”As more experienced players are given a bit of a break and younger players earn more reps, Meyer said he wasn’t pleased with Tuesday’s showing. With that in mind, the Buckeyes have some time to prepare before taking the field against Virginia Tech on Sept. 7 in Blacksburg, Va.“It wasn’t a great day,” Meyer said. “But it’s spring practice.” read more

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Womens Soccer Ohio State defeats Michigan State 10 with Brizon goal

Ohio State senior goalkeeper Devon Kerr (1) prepares to take a goal kick in the second half of the game against Florida Gulf Coast University on Sept. 7. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorAfter losing to Michigan on Friday night, Ohio State (7-5-1, 4-2-1 Big Ten) survived in East Lansing, prevailing 1-0 over Michigan State (5-6-3, 0-5-2 Big Ten). After a scoreless first half, sophomore forward Miranda Brizon notched the game-winner for the Buckeyes in the 51st minute of the match from 10 yards, marking her second goal so far this season. The Buckeyes won their seventh game of the season when scoring first. Ohio State has a record of 32-1-1 when scoring first since the beginning of the 2016 season. Senior goalkeeper Devon Kerr recorded her sixth shutout of the season, making two saves for the Buckeyes on Sunday. The shutout against Michigan State was the 16th of her career. Ohio State held an advantage with 10 shots, eight shots on goal and three corner kicks over Michigan State, meanwhile, the Spartans held a 7-2 edge over the Buckeyes in saves.The Buckeyes will look to continue their momentum as they head back home to take on the Rutgers Friday at 7:30 p.m. read more

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Football Ryan Day moves forward from Urban Meyer era with similar mindset

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer answers questions from the media as head-coach-in-waiting Ryan Day listens during the press conference at the Fawcett Center on Dec. 4. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorUrban Meyer knew when he had decided to retire after the season. It was not as he walked out of Ohio Stadium after the Ohio State head coach had defeated his rival, Michigan, for the seventh time. It was not as he walked off the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis after Ohio State secured its second-consecutive Big Ten title. Retirement had crossed his mind during both those times. He even thought he wanted to coach longer. But that was not the deciding factor for Tuesday’s announcement.  It was recruiting. It was when high school athletes, looking ahead to the early signing period, which lasts from Dec. 19-21, started to ask about Meyer’s longevity. And he did not want to lie to them. “To be honest, I didn’t want to mislead recruits,” Meyer said. “[Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith] and I both felt — not felt, we knew — and that’s what made it now, the decision now.” Even in the time of transition, Meyer’s focus was on the longevity of the program. Maybe not the longevity of his role within the program after the Rose Bowl, but giving Day the opportunity to begin to build his team, to make sure the success continues when Meyer coaches his last play. Meyer said Day is being placed in a unique position. He said when the head coach changes at a major university like Ohio State, he said “you usually have to implode the whole thing.”In the position he is currently in, taking a step up from a coordinator role and into a head coaching role he held for the first three games of the season, Day will focus on continuing to build the program from the ground up, Meyer said. Earning three wins to begin the season — against Oregon State, Rutgers and TCU — Day auditioned for the Ohio State head coaching job, taking a job he had never held in any level of football. And after learning the ropes of what it means to be a head coach at the collegiate level, Day said he is confident in himself and what he can provide for the program. “Walking in those shoes during the beginning of the year, during that time, took a step away from just working with the offense and the X’s and O’s and then took a wider step back and looked at the leadership role of what it means to be the head coach at Ohio State,” Day said. “[To] have walked in those shoes and had a chance to experience that. And so I’m excited and confident about it.” But to be a head coach at a program like Ohio State, Meyer said, is a different animal. He said the expectation coming in when he took the job in 2012 was remarkably high and remarkably complex, something Meyer did not believe at first, but later reiterated the same message to Day. “The expectation — like I told Ryan Day — here at Ohio State is win every game, win every game, graduate,” Meyer said. “With Gene Smith, have them over a 3.0 [GPA]. Every player stay out of trouble and every player be a high draft pick. And as I usually follow up with it, ‘Go get it, tiger.’”This is something Day had to embrace the minute after he left the press conference. Meyer said the new head coach would be on the road recruiting in four states on Wednesday, talking to players prior to the start of the early signing day period as the head coach of Ohio State while Meyer visits recruits on campus because he said he was very close with the class. Day said the transition for him in terms of recruiting as a head coach does not change because many of the relationships for this class have already been built. But he said the response to his promotion has been positive and strong. Meyer said Day has a genuine love and cares for his players, knowing the ins and outs of his personal life, his family and what his long-term aspirations are. “Once those players know that you have that genuine love and care for them they’ll move mountains for you,” Meyer said. “And I saw that with Ryan Day.” Despite having a bit of a different personality than Meyer, Day said he and the current head coach share many common values, morals and beliefs, but that it might be shown in a different style, something that will be sorted out in the weeks heading into the Rose Bowl — Meyer’s final game — and the weeks after. “Most of what Coach has built here is going to stay,” Day said. “And as we go along, there’s going to be some changes in terms of the way we do certain things. But our beliefs are strong.” Smith believes in Day. He believes in the transition process promoting an offensive coordinator, despite not having long-term coaching experience, brings. For Smith, three games were enough. He saw a future head coach. But Day still has so much more to prove.“Now, if he wasn’t talented I wouldn’t have him here if he couldn’t X and O, let’s be clear,” Smith said. “He’s gotta win ball games. He knows that. Gotta win ball games.” And that starts Wednesday as Day travels to four states, beginning to build, to mold his version, the 25th version of the Ohio State football program. read more

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Flying with swans conservationist joins migrating birds on dangerous 4700 mile journey

first_imgSacha Dench believes it will take 70 days to make the 4,700 mile journey back to Britain  Bewick swans travel south to spend the winter in Europe  Bewick swans travel south to spend the winter in Europe  Sacha Dench believes it will take 70 days to make the 4,700 mile journey back to Britain  In the past 20 years, Berwick swan numbers have nearly halved with just 20,000 remaining in the wild but experts are unsure what is causing the population crash.Miss Dench, who works at the Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Gloucestershire,  said friends and family thought she was ‘bonkers’ when she initially told them of her plans, which are fraught with danger.“There is a reason that the swans leave Russia during this time,” said Miss Dench, a former free diving champion. “The weather conditions can get pretty bad. It’s going to get very cold, maybe as low as -20C. And it can get very misty, so when we get to areas where there are power lines and low visibility there is a real danger I won’t see them. Sacha Dench will be making the journey using a paramotor - a type of powered paraglider  A Bewick swan comes into land at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust 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. Fuel caches have been dropped along the route, which passes through 11 countries, to keep the paramotor in the air and she has scoped out hunters huts to camp out in.  But she will still need to travel with nearly 90lbs of weight strapped to her back, for periods of up to three hours at a time.center_img “My family initially thought I was bonkers and that I couldn’t pull it off but I think they have now realised how passionate I am about this, and think I can do it.“Although I am essentially going to be hanging from a piece of fabric for 70 days, so I can see why people might think it’s ridiculous.” The expedition  is backed by Sir David Attenborough who said it was ‘marvellously imaginative and adventurous.’In 1990 Christian Moullec, a French ornithologist, became the first person to successfully complete the migration route with a group of birds from Sweden to Germany followed by 30 geese. He has since spent years training geese to follow migratory routes that avoid hunters.Miss Dench is hoping to set off from Russia on September 6. The first 600 miles of the journey takes her across the Russian tundra, a desolate expanse with no roads, inhabited by polar bears, bears and wolves. To make matters worse Bewicks have been landing at the Wetlands Trust with shotgun pellets buried in their skin.“I am hoping that subsistence hunters who would shoot the swans will realise that I am a human. I am hoping they won’t see me as much of a threat.” she said.“I’m really banking on the fact that once the local communities find out what we are up to and why we are doing it they will be behind us. We have talked to some of the reindeer hunters who sometimes shoot the swans and they didn’t know that the numbers were declining.”Although a support helicopter will be on hand to film the mission, Miss Dench will be largely relying on the good will of local reindeer hunters to help her find food and shelter. She has spent the last year making contact with the nomadic tribes – the Nenets – who inhabit the tundra so they are not alarmed when she flies into view and they have agreed to keep her up to date with their location. She is also paramotoring with Russian Alexander Bogdanov who has been enlisted to help her communicate with the remote communities, although she has been learning the language herself.Despite all the planning, Miss Dench is still worried that she might lose track of the birds, or that they will stop for lengthy periods. Seven swans have been tagged so she can catch up.“The swans fly can fly through the night, which is something that I can’t do, so that’s a worry, and they could decide to land for weeks and weeks to refuel,” she added. Sacha Dench will be making the journey using a paramotor – a type of powered paraglider  Studying the lives of swans might seem like a gentle pursuit involving pleasant afternoons by the river, as the birds glide serenely across the water.But one conservationist is risking being shot, electrocuted and attacked by bears and wolves during a treacherous 4,700 mile journey to follow the migration route of the Bewick Swan.Sacha Dench, 41, a distant relative of Dame Judi Dench, is due to embark on the 10 week mission at the beginning of September. As soon as the swans make a move, Miss Dench will also start her journey.Strapped to a paramotor – a powered paraglider – Ms Dench  is planning to follow the birds as they travel south from their summer breeding grounds in the Russian arctic into Europe for the winter. Numbers of Bewick swans have nearly halved in the past 20 years and nobody knows why Credit:Gettylast_img read more

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British ambassador to Saudi Arabia completes Hajj pilgrimage after converting to Islam

first_imgMr Collis took up the post in Riyadh in early 2015 after a long career across the Middle East. He was the ambassador to Syria from 2007 until 2012 and angered the Assad regime after he criticised the government’s crackdown on peaceful protesters.He left Damascus in February 2012 when the British government suspended diplomatic ties with Syria.Mr Collis also served as ambassador to Iraq from 2012 until 2014 and before was the UK enjoy to Doha. He is a graduate of Christ’s College, Cambridge and has five children.  أول سفير بريطاني للمملكة يؤدي فريضة الحج بعد اسلامه:سيمون كوليز مع زوجته السيدة هدي في مكة. الحمدلله pic.twitter.com/Gk3323d3ce— فوزية البكر (@fawziah1) September 12, 2016 Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia has been inundated with congratulations from across the Islamic world after it emerged that he converted to Islam and carried out the first Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca ever performed by a senior UK diplomat. The conversion of Simon Collis, the UK envoy to Riyadh, became public after pictures posted on Twitter showed him and his wife Huda wearing the traditional white garments of Muslim pilgrims in front of the British consulate in Mecca. The 60-year-old diplomat, who speaks fluent Arabic, confirmed the news in response to messages on Twitter.“God bless you. In brief: I converted to Islam after 30 years of living in Muslim societies and before marrying Huda,” he wrote. @HMASimonCollis @fawziah1 Masha’AllahNow you are like a newborn with no sins. May Allah bless you & accept youRemember us in your prayers— Gihan (@Gihanovich) September 14, 2016 The pictures of him and his wife were first posted by Fawziah Al-Bakr, a Saudi women’s rights activist. “The first British ambassador in Saudi Arabia is performing the Hajj with his wife Mrs Huda after he converted to Islam. Thanks be to God,” she wrote.He is believed to be the first British ambassador to carry out the Hajj pilgrimage although other ambassadors are thought to have converted to Islam in the past.  The news led to a wave of online congratulations from Saudi Arabia and across the Islamic world, with many Muslims saluting Mr Collis as “Haji Simon” using the title reserved for those who make the pilgrimage to Mecca.Mr Collis converted in 2011 shortly before marrying his wife, who is Syrian. While his conversion was known to some fellow diplomats it was not public knowledge in Riyadh.The Foreign Office declined to comment, saying Mr Collis’s religion was a personal matter. While Mr Collis acknowledged many of the congratulatory messages coming in on Twitter, he declined interviews about his faith.  Mr and Mrs Collis were among 1.8 million Muslim pilgrims from across the world to make the Hajj this year, according to the Saudi government. Islamic scripture calls for all able-bodied Muslims to make the journey to Mecca at least once in their lives. Mecca, the Saudi city where the Prophet Mohammed is said to have received the first revelations of the Koran, is the holiest site for Muslims and believers pray towards it every day. British ambassador to Saudi Arabia embraces Islam.. MASHA ALLAH Congrats Sir @HMASimonCollis & Family !!! https://t.co/JEv4HPTqgZ— Muhammad Aamir Raza (@BeingHuman_Aami) September 15, 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.last_img read more

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Mother whose baby daughter drowned after she left her unattended in a

first_imgShe left shortly after midday and received a text from Gregory at about the time she was seen in a panic out of her home at 2pm, the jury heard.Mr Saxby said Gregory had a “clear track record of careless and negligent parenting” and said she had ignored advice on how to bathe her child.Mr Saxby added that “to forgot your baby was in the bath over a period of five or 10 minutes clearly showed gross negligence”.He also slammed Gregory’s decision to not give evidence and said it left the case “crying out for an explanation of what happened”.A victim impact statement from Theresa Andrews, Robyn’s grandmother, said the baby “lit up the room” and was “the brightest button”.Describing “every day as torture”, the statement added: “We feel no pain, just numbness which will never go away. There are no words to describe how we feel. She was let down in the worst possible way by the person she should be able to rely on.”A Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: “The case is currently subject to a serious case review, which will be published in due course. We cannot comment further at this stage.” The family of a baby who was left to drown in the bath stormed out of court after her mother was jailed for just three years.Jasmine Gregory was convicted of manslaughter after the court heard she drank two bottles of cider and did the washing up downstairs while her daughter, Robyn Andrews-English, was left in an adult bath in August 2014.The 24-year-old had forgotten she had left her daughter in the bath and even went outside the house to ask passers-by if they knew where she was, the jurors heard. She was handed a three-year sentence at Oxford Crown Court by a judge who labelled her actions as “wholly wrong and atrocious”.  Judge Ian Pringle said it would never be known how long the young baby was left for. “It was an adult bath with no support and no special seat for her,” he said. “You then left her for how long we will never know. You left that young little girl in an adult bath unattended and she drowned.”He added: “I don’t underestimate the loss that you feel and the loss you’re always going to feel and I don’t underestimate the loss of so many others. “What you did on August 7, 2014, was so wholly wrong and atrocious that I would be failing in my duty if I did not pass a custodial sentence. No sentence I pass will compensate for the loss of that little girl.”Oliver Saxby QC, prosecuting, said Carla Didcock, an Outreach support worker, told Gregory not to leave her children unsupervised while she they took a bath during a home visit. But one of the investigators involved in the trial said after the trial that the baby’s in-laws were very upset with the leniency of the sentence, which could see Gregory freed in 18 months.Jurors had been told that Gregory left Robyn in the bathtub despite social workers asking her not to leave her child alone hours earlier.The mother-of-two was said to have become distracted after drinking the alcohol and started doing the washing-up, forgetting her baby was upstairs in the bath alone, an expert psychiatrist told the court. She had previously left the baby in a pram for eight hours while she drank in a public house.Gregory ran out of her home in Grove, near Wantage, Oxfordshire and asked passers-by where her baby was before she was found holding Robyn’s lifeless body, it was said. She had repeatedly shouted she had left her daughter for “less than 10 minutes” but after the tragic events Gregory said she was “so busy” and only went downstairs briefly. She was let down in the worst possible way by the person she should be able to rely onVictim impact statement from Theresa Andrews, Robyn’s grandmother It was an adult bath with no support and no special seat for herJudge Ian Pringle 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

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Clans given Edinburgh Castle welcome 272 years after siege attempt

first_imgHarry and James St. Clair with Daisy MacNab as a gathering of clansmen and clanswomen has been welcomed to the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle It is believed to be the only time that clans have been openly welcomed to one of Scotland’s oldest fortresses.During the Tattoo’s August extravaganza, the military showcase will champion the theme Splash of Tartan, a series of events that will encourage people living in Scotland and those with a link to it to explore their ancestral connections with the country.In the opening ceremony each evening, clan chiefs will lead their clan folk on to the Esplanade to the awaiting Tattoo crowd.Brigadier David Allfrey, chief executive and producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “Edinburgh Castle has been at the centre of so many extraordinary events over the years and it is tremendous that we will see another story playing out this summer. Harry and James St. Clair with Daisy MacNab as a gathering of clansmen and clanswomen has been welcomed to the Great Hall at Edinburgh CastleCredit: Tony Marsh/PA A gathering of clansmen and clanswomen has been welcomed to the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle for the first time in centuries.The last time the clans marched to the castle was when they came to Edinburgh to lay siege to it during the Jacobite uprisings in 1745.The gathering on Monday was organised by The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which is celebrating its own ties with the Scottish diaspora of clans this year. Sir Malcolm MacGregor, Daisy MacNab, Paul Macdonald, Brigadier David Allfrey (Tattoo), James St. Clair, Allen Henderson, Major General Mike Riddell-Webster and Gill RoberstonCredit:PA/ Tony Marsh “I wonder what the forebears of the clan chiefs and the leaders of the families would be thinking if they could witness so many of their descendants being entertained in the Great Hall?”As well as looking to our history and heritage, I hope the Tattoo’s ‘Splash of Tartan’ will serve to stimulate anyone with a little Scottish blood in their veins to visit and enjoy our hospitality and everything that is remarkable about modern Scotland.” In September 1745 more than 900 Highland clansmen marched to the city of Edinburgh to lay siege to the castle.Although they managed to capture Edinburgh and Holyrood, they were never successful in capturing the castle as General Guest, governor at the time, would not surrender the castle to Bonnie Prince Charlie and his men.Sir Malcolm MacGregor, convener of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, said they were looking forward to the summer events.He said: “For the participating clans, it will be a dream come true to march onto the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, a location that has, over the centuries, been central to the clan story.”Tartan will be to the fore with the clans kitted out in the ‘Garb of Old Gaul’.”The great cloth, that has been worn by the clans and Scottish regiments since the Jacobite period of the 1700s, will be on full display and worn with great pride.”The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo returns to the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle between August 4 and 26.Culture minister Fiona Hyslop said: “The clans are an integral part of our rich heritage, their histories shaping Scotland.”The clans generate significant interest from the international diaspora and I welcome their involvement in this year’s Tattoo.” Sir Malcolm MacGregor, Daisy MacNab, Paul Macdonald, Brigadier David Allfrey (Tattoo), James St. Clair, Allen Henderson, Major General Mike Riddell-Webster and Gill Roberston 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

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Medics cannot be expected to foresee fatal symptoms court rules

first_imgIn July 2012, Vincent was sent home from school complaining of feeling unwell. He died barely six hours later.Rose, a mother-of-three Rose from east London, has not worked since March 2013 and remains under an interim suspension order by the General Optical Council (GOC), due to expire in June 2018.The GOC said it was aware of the Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn her conviction and was “giving the matter due consideration.” Vincent’s parents, Joanne and Ian Barker, said they were “devastated” by the ruling and had been failed by the legal system.””We remain in no doubt that if Honey Rose had not breached her duty of care to our son, he would still be with us today,” they said.“This case now opens the gates for medical practitioners to operate outside of the standard at which they are required to perform, without full accountability or responsibility to uphold their duty of care.”The court heard that retinal images taken of the back of Vincent’s eyes in February 2012 wereremarkably different from those taken in 2011 and showed significant congestion of the veins and swelling of the optic nerve.However, Rose claimed she was shown the wrong images during the appointment. She also claimed she had not properly examined the back of Vincent’s eyes because he had shown an aversion to the bright light, a suggestion disputed by his mother. “Were the answer otherwise, this would fundamentally undermine the established legal test of foreseeability in gross negligence manslaughter which requires proof of a ‘serious and obvious risk of death’ at the time of breach,” he continued.He said the implications for medical and other professions would be “serious” as they would be guilty of gross negligence manslaughter for failing to carry out routine eye, blood and other tests, which in fact would have revealed fatal conditions. Vincent Barker died about five months after the eye testCredit:Alban Donohoe/Albanpix.com Medics who fail to carry out routine tests cannot be expected to foresee a risk of death, the Court of Appeal has ruled, after an optometrist who failed to spot a schoolboy’s fatal condition had her manslaughter conviction overturned.Honey Rose, 35, did not notice that seven-year-old Vincent Barker had swollen optic discs – a symptom of fluid on the brain – when she examined him at a branch of Boots in Ipswich.He died five months later and she was subsequently found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter, given a two-year suspended prison term and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service. 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 Vincent Barker Honey Rose arriving for her trial at Ipswich Crown CourtCredit:Alban Donohoe/Albanpix.com Honey Rose arriving for her trial at Ipswich Crown Court But her conviction was quashed on appeal after judges ruled that while there had been a “serious breach of duty,” it did not constitute the crime of gross negligence manslaughter.Sir Brian Leveson, sitting alongside two other judges, ruled that Rose could not possibly have known that Vincent was suffering from a long-standing, chronic problem when she conducted a routine eye test.He said it was therefore inappropriate take into account what she would have known but for her breach of duty, which was the failure to properly to examine the back of Vincent’s eyes.last_img read more

Start reading Medics cannot be expected to foresee fatal symptoms court rules

National Trust accused of hiding abuse history of one of its stately

Pupils and nuns on the steps of Croome Court in the 1950s  It is promoted by the National Trust as one of its great houses, a triumph of restoration and the former home of aristocrats. But now lawyers acting for victims of child sexual abuse are asking the Trust to come clean about the dark history of Croome Court from when it was run as a boarding school by the Catholic Church.Visitors to the stately home in Worcestershire are told that the house, once lived in by the Earl of Coventry, has a varied history including the grounds being designed by Capability Brown. Although the Trust’s website says Croome Court was once used as a school, the descriptions are light-hearted, including that: “When the nuns weren’t looking, some of the boys used the dumb waiter as a lift to the ground floor with contraband biscuits.”It also goes on to recall that: “In 1962, during the school’s tenure, a section of the M5 motorway was constructed, slicing through the Croome estate. Four of the boys tried to escape from Croome on bicycles on the M5 and were brought back by the police.”However, according to lawyers at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the truth of this incident is deeply disturbing. The boys were trying to escape the beatings they endured from the nuns and the sexual assaults they received from teachers and priests at the school for boys with special needs, which was run by the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Birmingham for 30 years. Now the lawyers are calling on the Trust to inform visitors of this dark period in Croome Court’s history.  Pupils and nuns on the steps of Croome Court in the 1950s  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. On Thursday, during the final day of evidence into the Birmingham archdiocese, QC Caoilfhionn Gallagher spoke of Croome Court’s “ugly history” and criticised the Trust’s depiction of “a very glowing background”. Ms Gallagher then asked that the inquiry, headed by Professor Alexis Jay, recommends that the National Trust together with the Archdiocese of Birmingham should work with survivors to acknowledge what happened at Croome Court.Among those whose story of abuse at Croome Court was told to the inquiry was victim D2 who was regularly beaten, including by one religious sister known as “the karate nun” because of the way she would kick children in the dining room. D2’s solicitor, John Wakefield, said: “The description of Croome Court’s schooldays on the Trust’s website really grates with my client. Its history is undoubtedly known to the National Trust, as what was endured by those pupils is now a matter of public record. They are ignoring it.”“While the National Trust is not responsible for the abuse, this gives the impression they are complicit with the archdiocese in covering it up because they think it will cause reputational damage. Protecting reputations has been a common theme at the inquiry.”After centuries of aristrocratic owners, Croome Court, then vacant, was sold in 1948 by the Croome Estate Trustees to the Archdiocese of Birmingham. It became a boarding school for 140 boys aged 7-11, eventually closing in 1979.Some of the survivors of the Croome Court abuse took decades to speak out about what they experiences and one attempted suicide, the inquiry heard. According to John Wakefield, D2 wrote to the then Archbishop of Birmingham, Vincent Nichols – now the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster who gave evidence to the inquiry on Thursday – in 2005 asking for an apology but received no reply. His psychologist wrote to the Archdiocese of Birmingham in 2015, again asking for an apology but also received no reply.Last night the National Trust which has received Heritage Lottery Fund grants to create an oral history of Croome Court said: “We already (and have for many years) worked with ex-pupils at Croome and will continue to do so in the future.  We are unaware of any recommendation.”The National Trust has not played any part in this hearing as it deals with matters prior to our involvement with Croome”.When asked if it would change the material about the school on its website, the Trust’s spokeswoman said she did not know. read more

Start reading National Trust accused of hiding abuse history of one of its stately

Police officers who carry a taser are more likely to be attacked

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. Police officers who carry a taser are more likely to be attacked than those without one because of a psychological theory known as the “weapons effect”, a study has found.Researchers at the University of Cambridge found City of London officers armed with the electroshock weapons were not only 50 per cent more likely to use force in the line of duty, but they were also twice as likely to be on the receiving end of attacks as unarmed colleagues.Between June 2016 and June 2017, researchers allocated a taser-carrying officer to 400 frontline shifts and compared the number of assaultsCriminologists from Cambridge said the findings suggested tasers can trigger the “weapons effect”: a psychological phenomenon in which sight of a weapon increases aggressive behaviour.  The weapons effect was first shown by psychologist Leonard Berkowitz in 1967, in a laboratory experiment involving the administering of electric shocks in the presence of a rifle.Dr Barak Ariel, from the Cambridge Institute of Criminology, said: “For many, a weapon is a deterrence. However, some individuals interpret the sight of a weapon as an aggressive cue – a threat that creates a hostile environment.”Six physical assaults against police were recorded during shifts with taser-carrying officers, compared to just three on unarmed shifts.Dr Ariel said: “We found that officers are more likely to be assaulted when carrying electroshock weaponry and more likely to apply force.”The City of London Police rarely discharged Tasers during the study. Yet the very presence of the weapon led to increased hostility between the police and public.”The presence of Tasers appears to provoke a pattern where suspects become more aggressive toward officers, who in turn respond more forcefully.”Study co-author Chief Superintendent David Lawes, from the City of London Police, said: “The use of Tasers have been a proportionate and sensible introduction to policing against a backdrop of unsophisticated terror attacks and an increase in violent crime across London.”A number of other forces are interested in replicating the study to add to the evidence base and see whether the experiment produces the same results outside of London.”Across our force, we will continue to use evidence to define how we target problems, which tactics we should use and how we can ensure policing is efficient and safer for both the general public and our officers.” read more

Start reading Police officers who carry a taser are more likely to be attacked

Target vulnerable for donations Churchs new fundraising chief says

Jonathan de Bernhardt Wood, who has been tasked with reviving the financial fortunes of the Church, also described a banker’s standing order as “God’s special gift” because donors often forget to cancel them. The Church of England’s new fundraising chief has a history of urging charities to make money from people’s “forgetfulness” and by targeting “vulnerable” elderly women, the Telegraph can reveal. Last night a Christian charity said Mr Bernhardt Wood’s language was “worrying”, and said the Church of England must “act with caution” when… The former headteacher has been hired to attract thousands more worshippers to donate to the Church every month through a direct debit Parish Giving Scheme.

Start reading Target vulnerable for donations Churchs new fundraising chief says