Tiger Woods Takes the Lead at British Open

Tiger Woods, moves to the top of the British Open championship, but it’s still a long way from over. On Friday, the world No.1, made two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine and sank a 10-foot putt on the final green to finish on two under par along with Lee Westwood of England and Swede Henrik Stenson.On Saturday, Woods was able to focus his concentration, to par the next six holes and set up a birdie on the last, which he celebrated with a trademark fist pump.“Towards the middle part of my round I lost the pace and was blowing it past the hole,” Woods told reporters. “But finally got it fixed at the end.”Play can and will change quickly, so stay informed with the live coverage in the video above. read more

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We Calculated Advanced Stats For The Congressional Baseball Game

The 2020 field is good at baseballDemocratic presidential candidates’ statistics in the Congressional Baseball Game, 2009-2018 Tim Ryan8.500.560.6364/00.27 Jay Inslee3.545.545.5450/00.08 A fierce political free-for-all will be waged on Wednesday night — but it has nothing to do with the Democratic presidential debate.Under the lights at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Republican and Democratic members of Congress will don their uniforms and take the field to play in the annual Congressional Baseball Game. The event may be for a good cause, but it’s also a serious athletic contest: Bones have been broken in past games, and pitches have been clocked as high as 80 miles per hour. This year, Republican congressmen got up at 6 a.m. two to three times a week to train for the game under the tutelage of former pros including Darrell Evans. (It was at such a practice two years ago that a gunman opened fire on the Republican team, injuring then-Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three others.)The Republicans may be practicing extra hard this year in an effort to catch up to the dominance of the Democratic team, which has won nine of the past 10 matchups. That’s thanks largely to the fact that Democrats have the seven players with the most wins above replacement over that span.Wait, what?That’s right — the sabermetric revolution has reached the halls of Congress. Using the game’s official box scores, I’ve calculated advanced stats for all members of Congress to play in the game since 2009.1WAR, and all statistics in that spreadsheet, are calculated based on the formulas in the FanGraphs library. The linear weights used to calculate Weighted On-Base Average are those originally developed by Tom Tango. Unfortunately, the data is insufficient to calculate certain metrics, with the main consequence being that my version of WAR is incomplete — there is no defensive component, nor does it factor in baserunning outside of stolen bases (i.e., Ultimate Base Running and Weighted Grounded into Double Play Runs). That includes on-base plus slugging, adjusted earned run average, batting average on balls in play … and, yes, WAR, the sabermetric statistic of choice for totaling up a player’s value on all sides of the ball. And while most players haven’t played enough to accrue a significant number of WAR, some players’ talent does shine through. Rep. Cedric Richmond is such a talent. The Democrat from Louisiana has amassed 2.5 WAR in just eight games. That would work out to 50 WAR in a 162-game season; in other words, Richmond is like Mike Trout combined with Max Scherzer — if Scherzer pitched every single game. Richmond was the starting pitcher for the Dems in all eight games he’s played, finishing seven of them2Congressional Baseball Games last seven innings instead of the usual nine. and striking out 25.4 percent of batters. He has a 2.20 ERA and a 35 ERA-minus (i.e., his ERA is 65 percent better than league average). But he is also the best hitter in the game, with a .652/.758/1.087 slash line and the game’s only home run in the past 10 years.Democrats also claim most of the game’s next-best players, although several of them will not be on the active roster for this year’s game. Former Rep. Joe Baca (0.4 WAR in 14 innings pitched and seven plate appearances) was ousted from Congress by fellow Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod in 2012 after his California district was redrawn in 2011; former Rep. Tim Bishop (.500/.684/.583) lost his seat on Long Island to Republican Lee Zeldin in 2014.The Democrats’ best active players, other than Richmond, are probably Reps. Pete Aguilar and Jimmy Panetta of California. They are far behind Richmond in WAR (0.2 and 0.1, respectively), but they’ve also had a fraction of his plate appearances. Their OPS marks of 1.470 and 1.5503Small-sample-size caveats apply, although I will say that it doesn’t take very many at-bats for players’ true skills to be exposed in this league. suggest that they are in his league talent-wise.Rep. Linda Sánchez, who owns a .944 OPS, is both one of the Democrats’ best players and one of only two women on the 2019 roster.4The other is Nanette Diaz Barragán. A handful of women have played in the Congressional Baseball Game since 1993, when Reps. Maria Cantwell, Blanche Lambert and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen together broke the game’s gender barrier, but the Congressional Women’s Softball Game is more popular with female legislators. Last week, the press team defeated the congressional team in the 11th iteration of the CWSG.5Unfortunately, we don’t have statistics for the CWSG.The best Republican baseball player has been Texas Rep. Kevin Brady. The 64-year-old is the game’s grizzled veteran, having played since 1997, his first year in Congress. In the past 10 contests, he has put up a .996 OPS and 0.2 WAR. An honorable mention goes to North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker, the GOP’s starting pitcher in the past four games. He has just a 6.46 ERA, but that’s actually about average (104 ERA-minus) in the high-scoring run environment of the Congressional Baseball Game.But because my stats are only for past games, they obviously don’t measure rookie talent. And Republicans think they can level the playing field a bit this year with freshman Rep. Anthony Gonzalez — that’s the same Anthony Gonzalez who played five years for the Indianapolis Colts. However, Democrats will trot out a secret weapon of their own: freshman Rep. Colin Allred, who played four years for the Tennessee Titans and was a star baseball player in high school.Gonzalez and Allred will be far from the only former pros to play in the Congressional Baseball Game. The game was founded in 1909 by former Republican Rep. John Tener, who pitched in the majors from 1888 to 1890. In 1986, Republicans thought they scored a coup when now-Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning was elected to Congress, but he gave up seven runs in two innings in the next year’s game; his nonathlete catcher couldn’t glove his curveball, and the 55-year-old’s fastball lacked its prior zip. Former Rep. Steve Largent, the football Hall of Famer, was far more effective for the GOP; he went 5-1 with a 2.44 ERA in six starts from 1995 to 2001.Some big political names have played in the game as well. Before the 2017 shooting, Scalise, one of the highest-ranking members to ever play the game, had reached base in three of his four career plate appearances and stolen two bases; he returned to the game briefly last year, throwing a runner out from second base on the first play of the game and being mobbed by his teammates. In 2015, Sen. Rand Paul became the first active presidential candidate ever to play in the game; he’s got a .615 OPS for his career. (Rand plays in the game as a tribute to his father, Ron, who in 1979 hit one of the only over-the-fence home runs in Congressional Baseball Game history.) Even former Rep. Anthony Weiner took one at-bat back in 2009; as he did at politics, he struck out.Finally, it turns out there’s a ton of baseball talent in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary field. Jay Inslee, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan and Eric Swalwell all played during their congressional careers — and most of them played well. Eric Swalwell5.250.250.2509/00.08 Beto O’Rourke1.000.000.0000/0-0.03 *WAR does not include baserunning other than stolen bases.Source: Congressional Baseball Game box scores PlayerGAVGOBPSLGSB/CSOffensive WAR* In fact, the presidential bids of Ryan and Swalwell have been big blows to the Democratic baseball team. Both are still in Congress, and Ryan’s bat and Swalwell’s speed have been big assets to Democrats in the past several games. But with the first Democratic primary debates scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in Miami, they are both apparently skipping the bout this year. read more

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What If An Evil Commissioner Turned Hank Aarons Homers Into Singles

Last week I wrote about Hank Aaron, who recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of his record-breaking 715th home run. I concluded that Aaron would still have been a great player — and would very likely have made the Baseball Hall of Fame — even if all of his home runs had been counted as singles instead.Or at least — that’s almost what I wrote. What I actually wrote left a lot of room for interpretation (emphasis added from original):What if Aaron had never hit a home run? What if those 755 round-trippers had fallen for base hits instead? (If we’re trying to isolate the effect of his power, that seems like the fairer way to do it, instead of turning them into popups or something.) Would he still be a Hall of Famer?If all of his homers had been singles, Aaron would still have his 3,771 hits.The ambiguity is over the means by which we’re turning Aaron’s home runs into singles. When writing the original post, I’d imagined that this was accomplished by some sort of accounting trick. After Aaron retired, some Evil Commissioner decreed that all of Aaron’s homers would be counted as singles in baseball’s record book (like how the NCAA sometimes retroactively forfeits a team’s wins after it’s determined to have used an ineligible player); but it wouldn’t have changed what happened on the field.But what if the change had occurred on the field instead? So as not to violate any laws of physics, we can imagine it happened by means of a ground rule. Before Aaron made his major league debut, our Evil Commissioner decreed that any ball hit over the fence in fair territory by Henry Louis Aaron would be counted as a single rather than a home run. This rule applied to Hank Aaron and only to Hank Aaron. Everybody knew about the rule, including Hank Aaron, the pitchers who faced Hank Aaron, and the teams who employed Hank Aaron, and they were free to adjust their strategies accordingly.1A couple of complications: First, is Aaron allowed to hit inside-the-park home runs? Sure, let’s let him; he hit only one during the course of his career anyway.Next, what happens to the baserunners when Aaron hits a ground-rule single? Do they advance only one base? This would make Hank Aaron’s ground-rule singles less valuable than regular singles, since baserunners sometimes advance from first to third or score from second on a base hit. So let’s imagine that our Evil Commissioner decrees that a set of Strat-O-Matic dice shall be thrown by the umpires when Hank Aaron hits a ground-rule single. The baserunners will then be allowed to take an extra base in accordance with league-wide averages for runner advancement.This thought experiment is starting to get a bit complicated. Still, it gets to the point that the economists Scott Sumner and Tyler Cowen have made, which is that changing the ground rules for Aaron would have changed the way he and the pitchers who faced him approached the game. It thereby might have affected the rest of Aaron’s batting line and not just his home runs. There are several such effects to consider.Aaron would have drawn fewer walksThe number of walks drawn by a hitter is partly a function of his plate discipline and partly a matter of how much the pitcher fears him. The reason to risk walking a hitter, as Cowen notes, should be largely a function of his extra-base power. There’s not much reason to pitch around a singles hitter and give him a free pass to first base when most of the time the best he’s going to do is get to first base anyway by means of a base hit.This is clearest in the case of intentional walks.2Or at least it should be obvious in theory; whether it’s quite so obvious to pitchers and managers is another question. I was surprised to discover that singles hitters like Ichiro Suzuki and Wade Boggs each led their league in intentional walks multiple times during the course of their careers. Some of these intentional walks may have been prudent if first base was open and there were runners in scoring position. But I’d guess that many of them were not very smart. Still, the aggregate trend is suggestive of rational behavior. In the 2013 season, the correlation between a hitter’s rate of intentional walks drawn and his isolated power was .44. The correlation between intentional walks and his rate of singles per at-bat was essentially zero (.03).Aaron’s unintentional walks would probably also have declined if he weren’t allowed to hit home runs. According to data compiled by Fangraphs, the percentage of pitches thrown in the strike zone to major league hitters varies between about 40 percent and 55 percent. The hitters on the low end of the range are power hitters (Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Vladimir Guerrero, Pablo Sandoval); those at the top end are singles hitters (David Eckstein, Jason Kendall, Chone Figgins, Juan Pierre). A homerless Hank Aaron would have seen considerably more strikes.Aaron would have hit for a higher batting averageSeeing more pitches in the strike zone would have made it easier for Aaron to make contact. From 2009 to 2013, the league batting average for at-bats that concluded on a pitch thrown within the strike zone was .291; for pitches outside the strike zone, it was just .175.3Players were also 3.6 times more likely to hit home runs on at-bats that concluded on pitches thrown in the strike zone, although that doesn’t help Homerless Hank. (This research was provided to me by Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Info.)A quick calculation from these figures shows that if Aaron finished an additional 10 percent of his at-bats on pitches thrown inside the strike zone, he’d boost his career batting average by 12 points (from .305 to .317). However, that’s a crude estimate. We’d also have to consider how Aaron and the pitchers and defenses who faced him would have changed their whole approach to the at-bat.There’s reason to think that Aaron would have adapted to these conditions more readily than his opponents. He was a smart and versatile hitter; Sports Illustrated’s 1958 scouting report described how Aaron was very difficult to defend because he could hit to all fields and leg out infield hits (emphasis added from original):Man who excites the experts is Henry Aaron, of the loose, free swing. Called “best wrist hitter in baseball,” he’s actually an arm hitter, lashing pitch with masterful coordination of forearms, biceps, wrists and bat. Slumped through June but has had best record in league since then. No set way to fix defenses against him, since he hits to all fields, bunts beautifully, is fast enough to beat out infield hits. He’s also a good, if lackadaisical, outfielder, with a fine arm. The team’s big man.Furthermore, we have some experimental evidence on cases in which Aaron had an incentive to hit for contact. He performed very well in these situations.Singles increase in value relative to home runs when there are runners in scoring position. For his career, Aaron hit .322 with runners in scoring position.4Aaron accomplished this by means of hitting more singles; 20.4 percent of his at-bats with runners in scoring position concluded with singles, compared to 17.6 percent with the bases empty. His rate of extra-base hits was largely unchanged. Note that there is not a strong systematic tendency for players to hit for a higher average with runners in scoring position. In 2013, major leaguers hit .255 as a group with runners in scoring position, compared to .253 for all at-bats.Singles become more valuable still when there are runners in scoring position and the score is tied late in the game. In these cases, either a single or a homer will usually score the go-ahead run and win the game, so the hitter should be hitting for contact and the pitcher should be trying to prevent contact. I looked for at-bats on Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index when Aaron hit with runners in scoring position in the seventh inning or later of a tied game. It’s a small sample — just 139 at-bats. But Aaron hit .331 in these situations for his career.Another natural experiment comes from cases in which home runs aren’t necessarily less valuable, but are harder to hit. Of the ballparks Aaron played at regularly during his career, the one least conducive to home runs was almost certainly Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, where the left field and right field power alleys were 392 and 395 feet away from home plate, respectively. From 1954 (Aaron’s debut season) until the Pittsburgh Pirates’ last full season in Forbes Field in 1969, the Pirates hit 65 percent more home runs in road games than at Forbes Field. They also hit for a slightly higher batting average in Forbes Field than on the road, although the difference was modest (.267 versus .259).How about Hank Aaron? He adapted wonderfully to Forbes Field, hitting .338 for his career in 639 at-bats there. That’s a little bit better even than Pirates great Roberto Clemente (.329), whose game was tailor-made for Forbes Field.Aaron might have seen less playing timeThe no-homers ground rule might have made teams more reluctant to employ Aaron, especially toward the end of his career. After breaking the home run record as a member of the Atlanta Braves, Aaron played two farewell seasons as a designated hitter for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1975 and 1976. He hit just .234 and .229 during those seasons. The Brewers were terrible back then, but they might not have had much patience for Aaron if he didn’t compensate for his poor batting averages with occasional home runs.It’s also plausible that the start of Aaron’s major league career would have been delayed, but this case is more debatable. Aaron’s potential as a singles hitter would have been evident quite early. He began his professional career as a 17-year-old in the Negro Leagues, where he hit .366 in recorded at-bats as a member of the Indianapolis Clowns. Purchased by the Braves for $10,000, he then hit .336 and .362 in minor league seasons in 1952 and 1953.5Furthermore, the Braves had an opening for Aaron since they had traded the veteran outfielder Sid Gordon at the end of the 1953 season. Press accounts from the time do not seem to mention Aaron’s emergence as a motivating factor for the Braves to trade Gordon, though it may have played into their thinking.Aaron might have stolen more basesIn the comments on my original post, some readers noted that if Aaron had hit more singles, he’d have had more opportunity to steal bases. This is true — although I also have Homerless Hank drawing fewer walks and perhaps getting less playing time than the real Aaron, which would counteract his increased rate of singles.It’s probably the case, though, that Aaron could have stolen more bases if he’d wanted to. He was reasonably fast early in his career, as the Sports Illustrated scouting report mentions. But the stolen base was not in vogue in the 1950s and Aaron rarely attempted to steal. Steals became a much more popular strategy in the 1960s, however, and Aaron proved to be a proficient base-stealer. He stole 240 bases during his career and was successful on 77 percent of his steal attempts, leading the National League in stolen base percentage in 1966 and 1968. His high rate of success suggests that Aaron may have left a few opportunities on the table. Perhaps if he had been cast as a singles hitter, his teams would have expected him to be more active on the bases. He presumably also would have hit first or second in the batting order rather than third or fourth, which means he’d reach base more often with second base open.Aaron might have hit doubles and triples at a higher rateIf Aaron had only been credited with singles on balls that cleared the fence, he would have had reason to swing for the gaps more often in an effort to hit doubles and triples.In general, however, it’s not all that easy for players to try to hit doubles. The league leaders in doubles change quite a lot from year to year and the lists mostly comprise good overall hitters who play in stadiums like Fenway Park that are conductive to doubles. Still, none of those hitters faces incentives where doubles are actually more valuable than balls hit over the fence. As the scouting reports and batting splits makes clear, Aaron could hit to all fields and was smart about adapting his approach to the situation. I imagine that he’d find a way to hit a few more doubles and triples.Summing upThe real Hank Aaron hit for a .305/.374/.555 “slash line” (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage). If all his home runs had been changed to singles after the fact, his line would have been .305/.374/.371 instead. But this doesn’t account for the changes Aaron and the pitchers might have made as they adapted to the ground rule.It’s just a guess, of course — but I imagine that Aaron would have hit somewhere in the .320s as a result of seeing more strikes and changing his approach to make more contact. His slugging average would have gone up accordingly, perhaps also boosted by a few extra doubles and triples. However, he would have drawn fewer walks, which could offset any gains in his on-base percentage. I envision his slash line as being something like .325/.375/.405, which is reasonably similar to Rod Carew’s.I don’t think Homerless Hank would have been in any jeopardy of failing to notch 3,000 hits. He may even have reached 4,000. The real Hank Aaron had 3,771 hits, and I have Homerless Hank hitting for a higher batting average. I also have him drawing fewer walks, which means more opportunities to put the ball in play. In fact, a .325/.375/.405 batting line would translate to roughly 4,150 hits given the number of plate appearances Aaron had. That would put him in striking distance of Ty Cobb, who had 4,189 hits. (Pete Rose surpassed Cobb’s record in 1985 and finished with 4,256 hits.)I also imagine that Homerless Hank wouldn’t have been very productive in the last couple of seasons of his career; his batting average over his final three seasons was .244. Teams don’t normally have much interest in singles hitters who hit .244. Still, they sometimes find spots for players who are pursuing career landmarks; Rose was somewhere between marginally productive and counterproductive after the age of 40, and yet he got (and gave himself as player-manager) another 2,469 plate appearances. If the Braves or the Brewers had been so generous to Aaron, it’s possible the Home Run King would have ended up as baseball’s Hit King instead. read more

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Tyquan Lewis and Raekwon McMillan looking for Nagurski Trophy honors

Then redshirt sophomore defensive end Tyquan Lewis (59) drags down Maryland redshirt junior quarterback Perry Hills on Oct. 10. OSU won 49-28.Credit: Lantern file photoThe presence of junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis and junior outside linebacker Raekwon McMillan was felt last season throughout the Big Ten. Both men are expected to have big years for the Scarlet and Gray, while also looking to secure Nagurski Award honors.The Nagurski Award, presented by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club, is given to the top defensive player in all of college football. An OSU player has only taken the hardware once since it’s creation in 1993: former St. Louis Rams and current New Orleans Saints linebacker James Laurinaitis.Lewis has yet to be the No. 1 defensive end on the Buckeyes’ squad, spending most of his time in the shadow of former standout Joey Bosa and losing snaps to then-freshman Sam Hubbard last season. However, Lewis has spent most of the spring as the primary defensive end on the line, looking to improve off an impressive performance last year.Totaling eight sacks and 54 tackles in his 2015 campaign, Lewis had surgery in January to repair a torn shoulder labrum. He has been making progress throughout the offseason, and is expected to be ready to go once the season kicks off.Then-freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan (5) tackles Michigan then-sophomore running back De’Veon Smith (4) during a Nov. 29 game at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-28. Credit: Lantern File PhotoMcMillan has been a key contributor to the Buckeyes since starting as a freshman in 2014. Totaling 54 tackles in the national championship season for OSU, he saw playing time in all 15 games that year. Last year, after the departure of Curtis Grant in 2014, McMillan became the primary linebacker for the Scarlet and Gray, and it showed. The former five-star high school recruit led the team in tackles, and showed improved technique and speed. Both men are also on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, a similar award given to the nation’s top defender as voted by the Maxwell Football Club.McMillan and Lewis are joined by other OSU players looking to bring home awards this season. Senior center Pat Elflein is on both the Rimington and Outland Trophy watch lists for best offensive lineman of the year, and redshirt junior quarterback JT Barrett is on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, given to the best player in college football.OSU is set to begin the 2016 campaign on Sept. 3 against Bowling Green at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for noon. read more

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Ohio State football seniors have plenty to play for in 2012

The Ohio State football team can’t play in a bowl game next year, but don’t tell the seniors on the team they have nothing to play for in their final season. Twenty-two senior Buckeyes will play their final game in Ohio Stadium next year and said they want to go out on a high note. After posting a 6-7 record in 2011, several seniors said they are looking for improvement and better results this season. Senior tight end Jake Stoneburner said the seniors have to make the most of their final campaign at OSU and are motivated by underachieving last fall. “We have to play to the best of our ability because we seniors only have eight games left in the ‘Shoe and then that’s it,” Stoneburner said. “We had a disappointing season last year, so we want to come out and prove we’re a better team and that last year was a fluke.” Going to a BCS or other high-profile bowl is out of the question in 2012 due to an NCAA-imposed bowl ban, so some players said the focus shifts to winning games. Senior punter Ben Buchanan said the bowl ban hasn’t changed his level of excitement for the upcoming season. “I know the bowl ban is probably on the back of everyone’s mind, but we seniors just want to go out and win 12 games, beat Michigan and all those great things that any Ohio State team would look for,” Buchanan said. “I know a lot of guys have personal goals, but our goal overall as a team is to pick up Ws.” The bowl ban, along with a reduction in scholarships, come as the consequences to an NCAA investigation that found that six players had received improper benefits in the form of tattoos in exchange for memorabilia. Of the six, former running back Daniel “Boom” Herron, former wide receiver DeVier Posey and former offensive tackle Mike Adams all moved on to the NFL this April. Former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who often found himself at the center of the scrutiny following the scandal, departed the university prior to the 2011 season to pursue a career in the NFL. Linebacker Jordan Whiting also received a one-game suspension and has since transferred to Louisville. Former coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign in May of 2011 after it became clear that he had known about the violations and failed to report them, thereby knowingly playing ineligible players during the 2010 season. With the hiring of coach Urban Meyer, the seniors will play for their third coach in three seasons after 2011 head coach Luke Fickell was moved to defensive coordinator and linebackers coach this season. Etienne Sabino, senior linebacker, said he also appreciates Meyer’s honesty when analyzing and criticizing the players. “It puts you in an uncomfortable position, but I think it’s good because he sees how you perform under pressure. It shows how you can react,” Sabino said. “I’ve learned there is no gray area. They’re going to tell you what they think of you.” The seniors will start their final year with OSU at home against Miami (Ohio) Sept. 1. read more

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Stakes remain high for Ohio State mens basketballs latest meeting with Kansas

With the faintest of grins, Ohio State’s Lenzelle Smith Jr. made sure to note that former Kansas big man Thomas Robinson won’t be in Columbus to bully the Buckeyes in the paint Saturday. “That’s a huge relief,” the junior guard said almost gratefully, as if the thought of the hulking 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward evoked memories – perhaps agonizing ones – of what happened the last time the teams met. Largely thanks to his 19 points and eight boards in last year’s Final Four matchup, Robinson, who was selected as the 5th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, helped ensure the anti-climatic end to what would’ve been OSU’s first national championship berth since 2007. Kansas coach Bill Self’s squad rallied from nine down at halftime to best the Buckeyes, 64-62, before falling to Kentucky on the sport’s biggest stage. Word of that might’ve taken some time to reach Smith Jr., though. “I didn’t continue to watch college basketball,” Smith Jr. said of his reaction to the season-ending loss. Almost eight months later – and more than a year ago since the Buckeyes’ first setback against the Jayhawks in a similarly hyped early-season matchup last December in Lawrence, Kansas, No. 7 OSU (8-1) might have another chance at revenge against No. 9 Kansas. Smith Jr., who admitted to have “been waiting for this game since our schedule got released,” stopped short of calling Saturday’s game revenge. “My mindset’s not on revenge,” he said. “We’re two different teams right now.” Smith Jr. likely is right in his assessment of playing the Jayhawks without Robinson and the likes of former guard Tyshawn Taylor, now of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. Kansas (8-1) might not be quite the team it was last year – but maybe neither are the Buckeyes, which find themselves in a similar boat without the inside presence of former forward Jared Sullinger. “We’re trying to do our best with what we still have,” Smith Jr. said. And while the teams – in their personnel and dynamics – are different, the stakes aren’t quite as dissimilar. Similar to both meetings in 2011, Saturday’s showdown finds both clubs toward the top of the Associated Press poll – OSU at No. 7 and Kansas at No 9. In a 30 or 40-game season, hyped games such as these don’t always alter a team’s trajectory, but the outcome could serve as a projection. It did last season, after all. “Obviously you’re going to hopefully learn quite a bit about your basketball team as you get ready to head into January, February, March,” OSU coach Thad Matta said. “My job is to keep thinking big picture and knowing what lies ahead but you use this game as an opportunity.” Even inside the confines of the Schottenstein Center, Matta maintains an “experienced, seasoned” Jayhawks squad pose a threat that will almost certainly challenge an OSU team that’s been largely untested-save for a 73-68 loss against Duke on Nov. 28 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. “I think Kansas right now is playing at a level as high as anybody in college basketball,” Matta said. “They start four seniors. Man, it’s like wow.” Smith Jr. said Saturday might just to come down to which team proves more durable. “I think for both teams this game is going to be a toughness match,” he said. He’s not alone in that theory, either. “Who’s going to be the tougher basketball team?” OSU junior guard Aaron Craft said. “They do a phenomenal job of getting second-chance points, grabbing 50-50 balls, really limiting possessions for us offensively. “We have to find a way to overcome that-if not match that, or be better their intensity and their toughness. Because that’s what Kansas basketball is about.” The features Craft listed seem to be suggestive of a team matching its talent with as much effort. OSU, arguably, has struggled with that coming into their game against the Jayhawks and it might have been best exemplified against a mediocre Big South squad Tuesday, when OSU eked out perhaps its most ugly win of the season, 66-55, against Winthrop. “I guess what we’ve learned is we’re not going to be able to just come out here any given night and think we’re going to play our best basketball, we have to mentally prepare for that leading up to the game,” Smith Jr. said. “It’s part of being a winner and we’ve lacked on some that sometimes.” OSU and Kansas are scheduled to tip their game at 4 p.m. on Saturday. read more

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Football No 10 Ohio State searches for revival opportunity against Nebraska

Ohio State sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins (2) carries the ball downfield in the fourth quarter of the game against Minnesota on Oct. 13. Ohio State won. 30-14. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorOhio State needed a bye week more than pretty much any team in the nation.Following a 49-20 loss to Purdue, which came after disappointing outings against Minnesota and Indiana, the Buckeyes were left with various areas to improve before they had to face another opponent.Now, head coach Urban Meyer wants to move past the defeat and into his team’s next matchup.“We’re in the grind,” Meyer said. “This is all about getting ready for Nebraska, and moving forward.”Senior offensive tackle Isaiah Prince is not exactly forgetting about the loss to the Boilermakers: he is using his anger and taking it into Saturday.“If I lose, it’s a bad day for me. Whether it’s a video game, a rep, I don’t like losing. So yeah, I’m mad,” Prince said.  “I just want to see the Buckeyes play angry and pissed off, and let everybody know we’re still here.” Nebraska comes in with a two-game winning streak against Minnesota and Bethune-Cookman after losing its first six games to start the season.Head coach Scott Frost is in his first season with the Cornhuskers after leading UCF to an undefeated record, including a victory over then-No. 7 Auburn in the Peach Bowl.Frost has brought his offensive coaching ability to Nebraska, with the Cornhuskers ranking in the top 50 in the NCAA in rushing, passing and total offense.Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez has gained momentum as the season progressed, breaking 400 total yards in three of his past five contests. On the season, Martinez is up to 1,656 passing and 408 rushing yards, completing 66.3 percent of his throws for 15 total touchdowns and six interceptions.Meyer said Martinez is an “elite guy” that offers a dual-threat ability, and who has “done a great job” over his past two games.Martinez’s main weapon is redshirt sophomore wide receiver JD Spielman, who has 53 catches for 686 yards and seven touchdowns.Spielman has been compared to Purdue freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore, who caught 12 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns against the Buckeyes two weeks ago. Meyer said Spielman is “very close” to Moore, and a “very talented guy.”Junior safety Jordan Fuller covered Spielman often in Ohio State’s matchup with Nebraska last season in the nickel, and he said he remembers the talent the then-redshirt freshman could bring.“Really talented guy, quick and fast, so we definitely gotta keep our eyes on him,” Fuller said. “He enjoys space, though, so don’t give it to him.”Defensively, Nebraska has struggled in all fronts, but mostly in the passing game. The Cornhuskers allow the 20th-most passing yards with 272.0 per game. This has given teams the opportunity to light up Nebraska’s defense for 33.4 points a game, 29th-worst in the nation.The Cornhuskers had allowed 24 points or more in every game this year prior to their 45-9 win over Bethune-Cookman.PredictionNebraska has some playmakers to work with on the offensive end, and Spielman could find some space in the middle of the field if Ohio State has yet to make any adjustments since the Purdue loss.Martinez could find success in the option game, much like Penn State redshirt senior quarterback Trace McSorley did in his record-breaking performance against the Buckeyes a month ago.But Nebraska ran into Ohio State at the wrong time.After losing to Iowa by 31 last season, the Buckeyes came out a week later and annihilated a then-No. 12 Michigan State team 48-3, scoring 35 unanswered points less than 25 minutes into the game.If Ohio State squeaked out a close victory over the Boilermakers before the bye, maybe Nebraska had a chance. But as it stands, the Cornhuskers are running into a buzzsaw, coming up against a Buckeyes team that is both better on paper and incredibly angry.Even if all of that wasn’t enough, the lackluster pass defense will not do Nebraska any favors against redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins, and only time will tell if sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins and redshirt junior running back Mike Weber will finally break loose on a subpar Cornhusker rush defense.If Ohio State comes out as mad as it did against the Spartans last year, this will get ugly, fast. If not, the Buckeyes are still the much better team, and should be able to handle any scares the Nebraska offense could give.Wyatt Crosher: 52-10 Ohio StateColin Gay: 49-14 Ohio StateEdward Sutelan: 42-21 Ohio StateRachel Bules: 45-10 Ohio State read more

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Primary school league tables 2016 compare your schools performance

first_imgIn separate measures published this year, a school will also be considered to be above the floor standard if pupils achieve sufficient progress scores in all three subjects, namely at least -5 in English reading, -5 in mathematics  and  -7 in English writing.Our unique interactive version of the table allows you to search these results and others by specific school or region and compare schools of your choice against one another. If you want to search by specific school or postcode you can type it into the search box. Alternatively, use the interactive map to search by region. You can then add schools to your comparison list by checking the ‘add to compare’ box or clicking the ‘add to compare’ button.The compare page shows you this headline measure, alongside the percentage of pupils achieving the ‘higher standard’ in reading, writing and maths, and a school’s average scaled score and progress made in each subject. School league tables showing the performance of 11-year-olds at primary schools across the country have been published today by the Department for Education.Pupils are assessed in reading, writing, and maths, with at least 65 per cent of pupils required to meet the expected standard (previously Level 4) in the 3 Rs. Clicking on an individual school’s name brings up more detailed information, including the relevant national and regional averages and the school’s location, contact information and pupil intake.Our other interactive league tables:A-level school league tables: compare your school’s performanceGCSE school league tables: compare your school’s performanceTop 100 secondary schools by A-level resultsTop 100 secondary schools by GCSE resultsNotes: Schools with no data are excluded from the tables for several reasons, including: small numbers of pupils (which risks an individual pupil’s results being identified); investigations into maladministration of tests; no pupils at Key Stage 2 level; or for other reasons beyond the school’s control. 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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Londoners to hold vigil on Monday evening and minutes silence on Tuesday

first_imgThe Union flag is flown at half mast in Downing StreetCredit:PA The UK will observe a minute’s silence on Tuesday, June 6, and flags will remain at half-mast on Whitehall government buildings, Downing Street has announced.The silence will be held at 11am in remembrance of those killed and hurt by the attacks in London on Saturday evening.Londoners can also attend a vigil in Potters Fields Park beside City Hall tomorrow evening from 6pm. The Union flag is flown at half mast in Downing Street Flags across the country have already been flying at half mast after seven people were killed in a van and knife rampage by three terrorists on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market in Southwark. The event was announced on the Mayor of London’s website with the message: “The Mayor invites all Londoners – and everyone visiting our city – to come together in solidarity to remember those who have lost their lives in Saturday’s attack, to express sympathy with their families and loved ones and to show the world that we stand united in the face of those who seek to harm us and our way of life.”We will never let these cowards win and we will never be cowed by terrorism.”Members of the public will be able to lay floral tributes at the flagpoles at City Hall.” The attack comes only two months after Khalid Masood mowed down crowds on Westminster Bridge, killing five people and less than two weeks after Salman Abedi killed 22 when he blew himself up at an Ariana Grande pop concert in Manchester. 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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Facebook and Instagram are killing off our memories

first_imgIn a separate story at the University of Texas, researchers found people are worse at performing simple tasks and remembering information when they have a smartphone within eye shot – suggesting people should leave them in their pockets or handbags. Even when they were turned off and in our line of sight, people still seemed distracted, the scientists found.What’s more, posting pictures on social media can actually alter our perception of how we recall certain events. Cognitive scientist Alixandra Barash, from New York University, has been delving into research about how smartphones change what we notice.Using Christmas as an example, she said if she asked so-called “Instagrammers” to recall their experience of the festive season, they’d actually start visualising what happened from an “outsider’s perspective” – as if they were looking at a photograph rather than the real thing.She said: “When people are in more of a third-person perspective, they’ll have less intense emotions when they relive the experience, whereas if I stay in the first-person perspective, I feel the genuine emotions that I felt during the exchange.” These people in pink raincoats on a boat ride at Niagara Fall may struggle to remember exactly what they saw A week later, they were quizzed on aspects of the visit. A group armed with iPods with cameras, taking pictures as they went, recalled less correct answers about what they had set their eyes upon than a separate group armed with nothing but their memories.The researchers say this proves having a device like a smartphone containing a camera takes us away from the moment. The obsession with taking smartphone photos is causing people to lose their most precious memories, according to new research.Scientists found that people are so distracted by taking pictures, they couldn’t actually remember what they had seen.The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, said using smartphones alters our memories by taking us away from the moment.It’s the latest in a line of research revealing how smartphones and staring at screens impacts on not only our health, but all aspects of our lives.The researchers decided to look at how we increasingly use social media to record and share our experiences in a surprise memory test.They took hundreds of participants on a self-guided tour of a church and encouraged people to take notes of what they saw – including what the building looked like.center_img The science behind it says that when we create memories, neurons in our brains link together sensations such as what something looked or felt like. But when we’re distracted, these are not stored in our brains – instead lasting forever on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Emma Templeton, a Dartmouth College psychological researcher who led the the study, wrote that “participants without media consistently remembered their experience more precisely than participants who used media.” She added: “Together, these findings suggest that using media may prevent people from remembering the very events they are attempting to preserve.”Previously, studies have shown how the constant presence of a mobile phone in our hands has a “brain drain” effect, that reduces people’s intelligence and attention spans. 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. These people in pink raincoats on a boat ride at Niagara Fall may struggle to remember exactly what they sawCredit:Oleksiy Maksymenko/All Canada Photoslast_img read more

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Victorian women wore convertible skirts so they could ride bikes without abuse

first_imgAlice Bygrave, a dressmaker from Brixton, south London, registered patents for a skirt with a dual pulley system sewn into its seams.Other designs from the era include a three-part cycling suit with a concealed system of loops and buttons to elevate the skirt, and a garment known as the Hyde Park Safety Skirt which gathered fabric at intervals by a series of side buttons.Mary and Sarah Pease, sisters from York, patented a skirt that could be quickly converted into a fashionable high-collar cape.Dr Jungnickel’s research is presented in a new book, ‘Bicycles and Bloomers’, released today.“I am delighted to have been able to recreate these inventions and to research these women, and I look forward to sharing this through my book and summer tour,” she said. Victorian women invented “convertible skirts” with secret pulley mechanisms to allow them to cycle freely, a university academic has found.While bicycles were popular among middle and upper-class women in the nineteenth century, restrictive skirts and dresses meant that it could be dangerous to cycle.It was common for long skirts and dresses to catch in bicycle wheels, or catch in pedals.Onlookers often hurled abuse and stones at female cyclists, while conservative social attitudes meant that it was unacceptable to appear in public wearing trousers.Dr Kat Jungnickel, a senior lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, said convertible skirts allowed women to secretly switch between their walking and cycling identities without being harassed. The Bygrave 'Convertible Skirt' was developed in London One skirt, developed in York, converts into a fashionable Victorian capeCredit:Charlotte Barnes The Bygrave ‘Convertible Skirt’ was developed in Londoncenter_img One skirt, developed in York, converts into a fashionable Victorian cape Her research shows the invention of dresses with pulleys, concealed loops and buttons which made travel easier and safer.Women riding bicycles were able to get around more quickly, without being chaperoned in public by a man.As part of her project, Dr Jungnickel recreated some of the designs and tested them with vintage bicycles.“The bicycle in Victorian Britain is often celebrated as a vehicle of women’s liberation,” Dr Jungnickel said.“But less is noted about another vehicle through which women forged new mobile public lives – cycle wear.”Dr Jungnickel’s research is focussed on the cities of London, York, Maidenhead and Bristol, and tells the story of six women who built women’s cycling clothes.“Patented convertible cycle wear is an exciting example of women’s inventive contributions to cycling’s past,” she said.“As these stories reveal, women responded to the social, material and technical challenges to their freedom of movement with vivid creativity. They actively and directly worked with and around barriers that sought to prevent them from cycling and engaging more broadly in public life.” 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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Vice chancellor salary study demolishes their claims that pay rises are based

University of Bath Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis BreakwellCredit:SWNS The most comprehensive study into university vice-chancellors’ pay has demolished their claims that their huge rises are based on performance.Economists have shown that instead it is the vice-chancellor equivalent of “keeping up with the Jones’s’” as the lower-paid race to close the gap with the best-paid university bosses.“A better performance of the VCs is not what causes a higher pay,” say the researchers who analysed the performance of 154 universities’ vice-chancellors over a decade on everything from the quality of their university’s research to increasing student participation.“It is much rather a benchmarking behaviour where those universities with below average pay increase their VC pay quicker than those with average pay.“’Keeping up with the VC Jones’s is what seems to explain the recent inflation of VC pay, rather than their good performance.” 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. No previous study has analysed the relationship between pay and performance as comprehensively, according to the researchers, and the findings are likely to be studied closely by the government and new Office for Students which is seeking to crackdown on vice-chancellors’ soaring pay packets.The economists Dr Adelina Gschwandtner, from Kent University, and Dr Richard McManus, from Canterbury University’s Christchurch business school, used complex economic models to test the vice-chancellors’ claims that their average pay rises of 41% in 10 years were due to improvements in the performance of their universities.The pair say the ratio between vice chancellor and staff pay is increasing with those at some universities earning 12 times more than the average of academic staff and 35 times more than the average workers in the local area. While vice-chancellors pay rose by 41% in a decade, academic staff’s increased by just 3%.However, the researchers found no evidence for a causal link between vice-chancellors’ pay rises and the performance of their universities, based on analysing six criteria including expanding student numbers, the popularity of their institution, their league table positions and research excellence.“There is not a statistically significant link between a change in pay being associated with a change in performance,” they say.“That is, high performing institutions pay higher salaries to their chief executive [vice chancellor] but changes in either pay or performance is not associated with changes in the other.” Dr Gschwandtner said the benchmark that universities used was often the pay of the Russell group of leading research-intensive universities to which others aspired.However, she added: “The relationship between pay and performance needs to be strengthened. We need to have a structure like you have with shareholders in business to hold them to account.“Normally, vice-chancellors’ tenures are relatively short. They stay for five years on average. To improve a university takes years. If they are paying them more based on what others are paid, they should be more frank about it. They should not come out with this good performance argument when it is not the case.” University of Bath Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell The researchers instead turned their attention to the benchmarking theory where, using sophisticated economic and mathematical models, they found that 71% of the variance in vice-chancellors’ pay could be explained by the “keeping up with the Jones’s” thesis.The pay of vice-chancellors in the lower or middle brackets rose by up to 6 points greater than those at the top end – even those who were highest paid continued to enjoy decent increases in their salaries.The researchers cite Bath University and Bath Spa University, which claimed they got value for money as the performance of their vice chancellors was outstanding during a turbulent time in higher education and their universities had flourished under their leadership.Bath University vice chancellor Glynis Breakwell left with a final annual salary of £471,000 after a series of bumper pay rises. Her pay pushed the ratio between the university’s lowest and highest paid to 30:1.Bath Spa University paid its vice-chancellor Christina Slade more than £800,000 in her last year in office, including a £429,000 compensation for loss of office. read more

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Viscount accused of assaulting teenage girlfriend in row over tongs

The teenager was said to have been hardly dressed and wearing little clothing when she knocked on the kitchen window.The complainant is alleged to have told Lord Ruthven that she was going to call police but was then told to “f— off”.When officers arrived, Lord Ruthven is said to have told them: “I dragged her out of the house. I did not hurt her.”We are in the process of splitting up and she can’t handle it.” 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. Brer Ruthven, 54, is accused of picking up Lola Tyrrell, 19, his partner, and throwing her against a wall His ex-girlfriend will give evidence behind a screen when the trial begins at Hendon magistrates’ court.Lord Ruthven was educated at private £39,000-per year Westminster School and is currently employed by City law firm Clyde & Co as a database developer.He is a musician with the band Melanchodelia and recently opened the Portobello Music Festival.Rory Laide, defending, said: “There have been posts on social media in derogatory terms concerning Mr Ruthven.”He has reported them to the police.”It is understood the couple met in January last year at the Whitechapel Gallery in the east end, hitting it off immediately with shared interests in films, art and fashion.The defendant, of Crosfield House, Mary Place, west London, was bailed on condition he does not contact Ms Tyrrell. Lola Tyrrell, 19 Lola Tyrrell, 19 A middle-aged viscount is charged with assaulting his teenage girlfriend after a row erupted over cooking tongs.Brer Ruthven, 54, is accused of picking up Lola Tyrrell, 19, his partner, and throwing her against a wall in their Notting Hill flat in west London.The Viscount Ruthven of Canberra, heir to the peerage title Baron Ruthven of Gowrie in the county of Perth, allegedly launched the attack after getting protective over a new pair of tongs.He denied one charge of assault during a hearing at Westminster magistrates’ court and is due to stand trial on Oct 4.The couple were at Lord Ruthven’s flat in Notting Hill when it is claimed a row broke out between 9.30pm and 10pm on Aug 5.The argument is alleged to have taken place over a pair of kitchen tongs that Ms Tyrrell wanted to use while cooking dinner because they were new. Brer Ruthven, 54, is accused of picking up Lola Tyrrell, 19, his partner, and throwing her against a wall The 54-year-old Lord Ruthven is said to have started shouting at his partner, accusing her of having a “s—– attitude”, and told her to use a fork.He is accused of picking Ms Tyrrell up with one arm under her body and the other around her and taking her to the door and flinging her into the street. read more

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Teenager stabbed to death had three previous attempts on his life

Jodie Chesney died in a knife attack in east London Yousef Makki died in a knife attack in Greater Manchester Ayub Hassan died in a knife attack in west London His mother, who was being comforted by relatives, was said to have collapsed with shock after learning her son, one of three children, had been murdered.The single mother told relatives: “He’s my lovely boy. I loved my son. I wanted him to live to see his children, my grandchildren.”Three youths, aged 15, 17 and 18 have been arrested on suspicion of murder. Ayub’s death was the fourth fatal stabbing in a week across the country and has led to a major debate between the Government and police about how best to tackle the crisis. 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. Jodie Chesney died in a knife attack in east London Ayub Hassan died in a knife attack in west London Yousef Makki died in a knife attack in Greater Manchester A teenage boy stabbed to death in a west London mews in broad daylight had suffered three previous attempts on his life, it has emerged.Ayub Hassan, 17, had been stabbed in his mid teens, run over and been beaten unconscious in three separate attacks since the age of 12.The former college student from a White City housing estate was found on Thursday lunchtime lying in a pool of blood with a stab wound to his chest in a West Kensington street next to a Waitrose supermarket.Residents in the three-storey £1 million mews houses came out with towels to stem the bleeding before he was taken to St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, where he was later pronounced dead.His friends and relatives insisted he was a “good boy” who harboured dreams of becoming a barrister and was not linked to any gang. “Understandably, this is a very difficult time for students and staff and we are continuing to offer them advice and support.” “He was still conscious but he wasn’t able to speak. He wasn’t completely with it.”She added that trouble had recently flared up in the neighbourhood, adding: “These things are happening all over London. When is it going to stop.” Amina Osman, a community support worker who has known the family for nearly a decade, said Ayub had been attacked three times in the last five years.“Since the age of 12, he had been stabbed once, run over and been beaten unconscious in a park.“The first time he was found unconscious in a park, the second time he was stabbed, and the third time he was run over. This was the fourth attempt on his life. And aged 17 he is now dead.He is a victim. No one knows why these things happened. He was a good kid.“They used to live in Fulham but moved to White City a few years ago. Everyone knows what goes on around there. It is not good.“He was looking forward to becoming a barrister. He was very intelligent and very good with words and liked maths.”A spokeswoman for West London College, said Ayub was a former student.She said: “We are deeply saddened by the untimely death of former student, Ayub Hasan. Rosie Hayes, who lives on Lanfrey Place where Ayub was attacked, told how she ran from home with towels to try to stop the boy’s bleeding.“I ran to get a towel. A wonderful nurses who was walking by took care of the situation. She was so professional and managed all of the first aid.“We did everything we could to help. A neighbour got a pillow for him and tried to keep him warm. Last Friday, 17-year-old Jodie Chesney died after being stabbed in the back in a park in east London.The following day 17-year-old aspiring medic, Yousef Makki, died after being stabbed in the street in Cheshire.On Wednesday 26-year-old David Martinez was stabbed to death at a house in Leyton, east London.The latest figures suggest that of the 100 people murdered in the UK in 2019, 41 had been the result of stabbings.There has also been a sharp rise in the number of police recorded knife crime offences since 2013, across every force area. read more

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Crossbow killer who shot dead pregnant exwife plotted her murder for a

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC told the Old Bailey that the couple, who had three children together, divorced in 2014 after their arranged marriage came to an end. She subsequently began a relationship with Mr Muhammad, who moved into the house. 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. An embittered former husband plotted for more than a year before shooting dead his heavily pregnant ex-wife with a crossbow in a “calculated act of revenge”, a court heard yesterday.Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo nurtured a “deeply held desire for a most violent revenge” after his wife Devi left him and went on to marry another man.The 51-year-old amassed a cache of deadly weapons at the bottom of her garden before launching his attack in November last year.His former wife, who had changed her name to Sana Muhammad after re-marrying and converting from Hinduism to Islam, died from devastating internal injuries, the Old Bailey heard.Her unborn baby boy survived after being delivered by Caesarean section. The crossbow bolt is thought to have missed the baby by just a few inches.The jury at Unmathallegadoo’s murder trial was told that he launched his attack after plotting over the course of a year  to kill Mrs Muhammad and her new partner, Imtiaz Muhammad, who she had met when came round to decorate the kitchen of their family home in Ilford, east London. Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo denies murdering  his former wife, Sana Muhammad Credit:Facebook Unmathallegadoo, formerly of Ilford, denies murder and the attempted destruction of the unborn child. Here he shot his former wife as she fled upstairs in terror.Mr Wright said: “Imtiaz saw the defendant, who was at the bottom of the stairs, shoot Devi who was halfway up the stairs. The effect on her was immediate and she fell to the floor.”The court heard that after Unmathallegadoo was restrained and disarmed by two of his older children he told them: “It would have been easier if you guys weren’t here, like I would have done it.”Unmathallegadoo later claimed he had shot his former wife by accident and had intended to kill only Mr Muhammad.But Mr Wright suggested the evidence would show that Mrs Muhammad, 35, was the “principal target”.”This was a quite deliberate and calculated act of revenge on his part intended to cause at the very least the death of Devi and the extinction of the child she carried,” he said, adding that  Unmathallegadoo ‘had every opportunity’ to shoot Mr Muhammad as he pursued him through the house, but “needed to conserve his readily available fire power”.Mr Wright said the timing of his positioning himself in the shed was “no coincidence”, adding: “This attack was designed to take place before Devi gave birth to her child.” The prosecution claimed his plan was to restrain and then kill his ex-wife and Mr Muhammad, along with their unborn child.But jurors heard he was disturbed by Mr Muhammad who had gone to the shed to store a box.Mr Muhammad fled back to the house to raise the alarm, followed by Unmathallegadoo carrying the two crossbows. Sana Muhammad, shot dead with a crossbow in front of her husband and childrenCredit:Facebook Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo denies murdering  his former wife, Sana Muhammad  Unmathallegadoo, a former site manager at Newham General Hospital in east London, had “not reacted well”, said Mr Wright.By November 2017 he allegedly began to store equipment in an electricity stub-station close to his ex-wife’s house as a means of carrying out his warped mission, including two crossbows and numerous bolts.The cache was discovered by chance by a neighbour in March 2018 and removed. However, Unmathallegadoo spent £2,000 buying new equipment, while also carrying out surveillance of the home in Newbury Park, Ilford, in order to establish the comings and goings of family members, the court heard.By the morning of November 12 2018, he had taken up position in a shed at the bottom of his wife’s garden, armed with two crossbows, bolts, a hammer, a knife in a home-made sheath, cable ties and duct tape, awaiting his moment to strike. Sana Muhammad, shot dead with a crossbow in front of her husband and children read more

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Children are growing up in shipping containers due to lack of council

The interior of accommodation in Marston Court on Bordars Walk in Hanwell, west London where converted shipping containers have been re-purposed for use as temporary accommodation.Credit:Stefan Rousseau /PA The interior of accommodation in Marston Court on Bordars Walk in Hanwell, west London where converted shipping containers have been re-purposed for use as temporary accommodation. “It is a scandal that a country as prosperous as ours is leaving tens of thousands of families in temporary accommodation for long periods of time, or to sofa surf.“It is essential that the Government invests properly in a major house-building programme and that it sets itself a formal target to reduce the number of children in temporary accommodation.”The repurposing of shipping containers is a recent development in its use as temporary accommodation. Often they are located on “meanwhile sites” – land that is earmarked for future development but currently not in use.  However the units are typically one or two-bedroom and small in size, meaning that overcrowding can be an issue.They also often become too hot in summer and too cold in winter, and, as with some office block conversions, antisocial behaviour has been a problem, leaving some parents worrying about letting their children play outside, forcing them to stay inside the cramped conditions instead. Children are being raised in shipping containers and office blocks because councils do not have enough accommodation to house them, an official report has found. Almost a quarter-of-a-million children could be without a permanent home in England and are instead living in “unfit” accommodation – including the likes of office blocks, shipping containers and B&Bs.The findings are published today by the Children’s Commissioner in a report which “shines a light” on the “disruptive and frightening impact on their lives”. Anne Longfield OBE, who took up the role in 2015 has dubbed the situation a “scandal” while children’s charities have described such accommodation as “poky, dangerous conditions [which] belong in a Dickensian novel”.The report, entitled ‘Bleak Houses: Tackling the crisis of family homelessness in England’, estimates that there could be more than 210,00 homeless children in England. Of them, 124,000 are officially homeless and living in temporary accommodation, with around 90,000 children living in ‘sofa-surfing’ families. However, the total figure is likely to be higher due to a lack of data on the number of children placed in temporary accommodation by children’s services. The Children’s Commissioner said: “Something has gone very wrong with our housing system when children are growing up in B&Bs, shipping containers and old office blocks. Children have told us of the disruptive and at times frightening impact this can have on their lives.  The report also found that the 23,000 families being housed in temporary accommodation in 2018 were living away from their home council area. Ms Longfield reported that discussions with these children and families revealed how moving away from an area has a “deeply disruptive impact on family life”, with children often moving school, losing touch with their friends and having to pay increased travel costs to stay at the same school. She also expressed concerns about B&Bs being  used a temporary accommodation, and creating “intimidating and potentially unsafe environments” for children.The bathrooms are often shared with other residents and vulnerable adults, including those with mental health or drug abuse problems.Of the 2,420 families known to be living in B&Bs in December 2018, a third had been there for more than six weeks – despite this being unlawful.Furthermore, in 2017, around two in five children in temporary accommodation had been there for at least six months, and around one in 20 – an estimated 6,000 children – had been there for at least a year.Almudena Lara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at NSPCC, said that the data exposes the “awful impact on children when they are forced to live in such unsafe places”.“These descriptions of poky, dangerous conditions belong in a Dickensian novel, but instead they paint a picture of life in the 21st century for many families. 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. “It should act as a wake-up call to the new government that is it failing to deal with the homelessness that is robbing hundreds of thousands of children of a decent childhood.” In response Cllr Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesman, blamed the “severe lack of social rented homes available” for not being able to place more families in good quality, secure homes.He added that homelessness services were facing a £159million funding gap in 2020/21 and urged the government to use the upcoming Spending Round to give councils the tools they need to prevent homelessness and build infrastructure.Cllr Tom Beattie, Vice Chair of the District Councils’ Network, also called on the government “to provide councils with the flexibilities we need to enable us to prevent it happening in the first place”.  A Government spokesman said: “No child should ever be without a roof over their head and we are working to ensure all families have a safe place to stay.“If anyone believes they have been placed in unsuitable accommodation, we urge them to exercise their right to request a review.“We have invested £1.2billion to tackle all types of homelessness, including funding a team of specialist advisors which has, in two years, helped local authorities to reduce the number of families in B&B accommodation for more than six weeks by 28%.”   “Homelessness has terrible consequences on a child’s mental and emotional state, and families should not have to endure such a punishing way of life.” Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, the homelessness charity, added that the report was “a damning indictment of the government’s catastrophic failure to address the housing emergency”. read more

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OZ Minerals reports strong outlook merger benefits identified but volatile operating environment

first_imgKey points from OZ Minerals’ financial results for the six months to 30 June 2008:Merger synergy benefits of A$27.5 million/y identified; more targetedIndustry-competitive operations; cash costs well below current commodity pricesDividend of A$0.05/share (unfranked) declared; DRP maintained at 2.5% discountSound underlying performance in a volatile environmentPro-forma consolidated revenue of A$1 billion and underlying NPAT of A$70.9 million for the half-yearNo share buy-back.“Excluding the effect of one-off items, net profit after tax attributable to members of the company (that is, for the entity that was known as Oxiana before implementation of the merger) was A$72.2 million for the six months to 30 June 2008”, said Andrew Michelmore, Managing Director and CEO of OZ Minerals. “This result does not reflect a consolidation of the former Oxiana and Zinifex”, he continued, “as the implementation of the merger occurred after the period being reported on today.“OZ Minerals’ operational performance has been very sound and, as reported in our recent Quarterly Report, production volumes at all sites has been strong. However, LME prices for copper and zinc (in Australian dollars) have been volatile; in the first half of 2008, copper was 6.2% higher on average than in the previous six months while zinc was 31.7% lower. This outcome, combined with the generally higher operating costs we reported in the Quarterly Report, has been the primary reason that the financial performance we are reporting today is not better,” Michelmore added.“Notwithstanding the negative impact of commodity price movements on our short-term performance,” he continued, “the long-term demand strength that we and many participants in the minerals industry have referred to many times remains intact, and OZ Minerals is exceptionally well-positioned to benefit”.The company has also released the full-year financial results for Zinifex and unaudited pro-forma financial information which is based on the assumption that Oxiana and Zinifex had been merged for the whole of the six-month period to 30 June 2008. The pro-forma data is provided solely for the purpose of providing market participants with a profile of the merged Company and should not be seen to be as a definitive statement of actual performance. Excluding the effect of one-off items and discontinued operations, Zinifex earned net profit after tax for the year ended 30 June 2008 of A$226.7 million.“Mining companies are faced with considerable volatility in both selling and input prices”, said Michelmore. “We can’t control everything, but we one key area we must control is the efficiency of our operations. OZ Minerals has five very efficient operations, which is a wonderful situation to be in, and we will continue to focus on continuous improvement in operational efficiency.”“In the first 50 days since the merger between Oxiana and Zinifex was implemented, we have identified net synergy benefits of A$27.5 million/y,” said Michelmore, “and we are all committed to attaining further benefits”. OZ Minerals has also identified one-off merger implementation costs of A$41.4 million. “Our target is to achieve a pay-back of the one-off costs of the merger within a year”, added Michelmore, “and I am confident we will do that.”last_img read more

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Gold bull market to be examined at annual Perth conference next week

first_imgThe future of the world’s most “recession-proof” metal – and that of Australia’s current band of gold miners and explorers – will come under the spotlight during two days of intense industry debate at the 2009 Paydirt Gold Conference in Perth next week. The annual event, at the city’s Sheraton Hotel, is to be opened by Western Australia’s Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Hon. Norman Moore.The Conference comes at a time when gold is attracting increasing interest for its steady showing in the face of the uncertain global financial markets. The yellow metal reached a high of $993/oz in February, and has remained above $900 for most of the past two months. The Paydirt Conference, on April 1st and 2nd, will include presentations by some of Australia’s leading gold explorers, miners and geologists, as well as corporate financiers, market analysts, and minerals industry regulators from Victoria, South Australia and WA.last_img read more

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Canadian mining sector provided C40 billion to GDP in 2008 – Facts

first_imgDespite the impacts of the worldwide recession on the Canadian mining sector – with some 32 operations closed or suspended over a half year period – the industry remains a significant contributor to the economy, providing C$40 billion to the country’s GDP in 2008 and employing 351,000 workers in mineral extraction, smelting, fabrication and manufacturing. This is reported in the Facts and Figures 2009 publication, which shows mining’s contribution to the economy. In conjunction with the release of the report, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has urged governments at the 66th annual Mines Ministers meeting to take action to sustain Canada’s mining industry. While mining is important in remote communities, it also generates prosperity in Canada’s larger cities. It is estimated that 3,140 suppliers provide equipment, consumables and expertise to the industry, including hundreds of manufacturing, engineering, geotechnical, environmental and financial firms.The MAC also says it is an important contributor to government coffers. According to a recent study by ENTRANS Consultants, highlighted in the report, the industry paid a record-high C$11.5 billion in taxes and royalties to F/P/T governments in 2008. While these payments will likely decline in 2009, the MAC says it is now, more than ever, that Federal and Provincial Mines Ministers must work together to ensure long-term stability of this important sector.MAC: “It is critically important that Canada’s natural resource ministers maintain and enhance their dedication to economic development. In this sense, advocacy for infrastructure projects, for improved regulatory efficiency, for more open access to land, for northern development, and for tax incentives to encourage increased investment, among other objectives, remains fundamental to the mandate of natural resource ministers.”“Minerals and metals help build the products and infrastructure essential to modern life. The mineral exploration and mining industry makes a significant annual contribution to the Canadian economy, including through payments to governments, and its output is fundamental to the emergence of clean energy technologies,” said Gordon Peeling, President and CEO of the MAC.Peeling: “The Canadian industry faces competitiveness challenges, both at the raw materials and value-added processing stage. By focusing on the priority areas, Canada’s Mines Ministers can contribute significantly to a stronger Canadian industry.”last_img read more

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Toro Energy anticipates upwards pressure on uranium and ASX uranium stocks anticipate

first_imgThe pending re-start of nuclear reactors in Fukushima-impacted Japan – expected to commence from around April this year – should have a marked upwards pressure on the current global spot price for uranium, according to Australian uranium developer, Toro Energy. Also from the second day in Adelaide today of the Paydirt 2012 Uranium Conference,  A sector wide analysis of 60 ASX-listed stocks with uranium interests says the market shakeout in the uranium and nuclear energy areas in the past 12 months has created significant equities value going forward.Toro Energy’s Managing Director, Greg Hall, said the short-term spot price had been impacted primarily by the temporary uranium inventory overhang resulting from Japan’s “plant shutdown and safety stress checks” approach in the wake of last year’s tsunami incident. “This inventory overhang will start to be eliminated when Japanese reactors commence re-starts – anticipated in April 2012,” Hall said. “The Japanese Government is committed to re-opening plants as only two of its 55 reactors are operating and it is facing increasing country economic and production issues 12 months on from Fukushima as manufacturing and industrial plants cannot source sufficient electricity. This strengthening of the price will then become a welcome inclusion to the very obvious continuous and growing demand for uranium globally.“This demand is expected to grow by a further 100 Mlb plus per annum by 2025 off the 2011 total uranium demand of 170 Mlb – so this industry is far from dead as some pundits would have the market believe. In fact, it is becoming quite the reverse as a few equities analysts are now starting to factor in.”Hall said the uranium demand growth was no better evidenced by the fact the economic powerhouses of China, South Korea, India and Russia together comprised 75% of new reactor construction – a build rate that would underpin fresh mine supply for the next two to three decades at least. “What also has been ignored in the post-Fukushima information trail is that in addition to events in Japan, the supply squeeze has been exacerbated by a number of announced delays in 2011 to major uranium project developments. This has generated a market over-estimation of uranium supply coming through the forward pipeline.“This over-estimation has been to such an extent that some market forecasters are now suggesting the incentive price for medium term uranium projects is at least 50% above the current spot price for uranium,” Hall said.“And all this of course while new global uranium mines are taking longer to bring on-line – mostly due to approval timelines, technical issues, political issues, costs and finance. Not surprisingly, only a few mines around the world will be ready to fill the demand gap from 2014 onwards – Toro’s Wiluna uranium project in Western Australia intends to be one of these.”Toro’s wholly owned Wiluna project, with a 54 Mlb, is anticipated to receive government approval decisions by mid this year. The company has already conducted successful trial mine and full pilot process plant testwork at Wiluna, has process engineering design and feasibility studies underway, is developing project financing options, and is planning construction and commissioning through 2013 with first uranium sales in 2014. Hall told Conference delegates Toro was anticipating a financing of around A$300 million for Wiluna’s development and commissioning of which about one third or $100 million could be debt funding. The remainder will most likely be a combination of joint venture partner and equity market.The potential for Australian uranium stocks to do better will be continuously enhanced in line with forecast growth in global electricity demand and the wider inclusion of nuclear power in countries’ energy mix. Addressing the conference, Martin Place Securities Head of Research, Greg Burns, said the sector suffered in 2011 through concerns over the global economic outlook coupled with the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident – driving down the share price of domestic uranium companies.“However, in our just completed analysis of the 60 ASX-listed uranium plays, their potential needs to be benchmarked against the fact electricity demand will grow by around 67% to 2030, in an environment of public and government expectation to reduce carbon emissions – plus a supply pressure point for uranium,” Burns said. “In our view, the Australian listed uranium sector therefore offers amazing value. The players offer capital appreciation from current depressed levels through current production, future production potential and opportunities in corporate rationalization of strategic uranium deposits.”Burns said that in its analysis, there were some fundamental drivers for backing an upside in Australian listed uranium stocks. “Since 1990, electricity demand has grown 3% per annum with nuclear power producing 14% of global power generation,” he said. “Nuclear power provides more than 21% of electricity on OECD countries, but only 1.8% to date in China so the growth potential there is obvious. Nuclear power generation was 2,630TWh in 2011 from 434 reactors, consuming 73,800 t of U₃O₈. Yet that U₃O₈ usage is set to explode, growing to 97,700 t by 2020 from 500 reactors – a 17% rise – lifting to 158,400 t by 2030 from 820 reactors – a rate that represents an 85% hike on current usage. In addition, the Megatons to Megawatts program which uses ex Russian military uranium supplies, is due to conclude next year and combined with the fact that the Fukushima incident only caused a 2% cut in global capacity, all contribute to an expected strong future demand for freshly mined uranium. Australia can help fill that uranium demand cycle.”last_img read more

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