How The Golden State Warriors Are Breaking The NBA

The first time I saw my boss, Nate Silver, give a talk was at the 2014 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston. As usual, he was going on about numbers and statistics, but what stuck with me longest wasn’t quantitative. Pointing to the practice of relegation in European soccer leagues, he said European sports tend to be more capitalist by nature, while their American counterparts tend to be more socialist.“It’s kind of ironic,” Silver said. “American sports are socialist.”That may be true, but Stephen Curry is a pure basketball capitalist.Nate’s framework was right: With provisions like “salary caps,” “revenue sharing” and drafts that generally allot the best new talent to the worst teams, American leagues intentionally promote parity while suppressing the natural tendency for some clubs to dominate others. But Curry and his teammates are unapologetically destroying Adam Silver’s Bolshevist basketball state. The Golden State Warriors are 15-0. If they win Tuesday against the lowly Los Angeles Lakers, they will break the record for the hottest start in NBA history; no NBA team has won its first 16 games.How are they doing this?Well, the Warriors have by far the most efficient offense in the NBA, logging a massive 112 points per 100 possessions. They shoot well above league averages from every spot on the floor, especially in the areas beyond the arc. That’s pretty good, right? But while their offense deserves a lot of attention, don’t sleep on their defense, which ranks fifth in the NBA by giving up just 97 points per 100. Everyone already knows that Curry is a savant beyond the arc; the most noteworthy improvement in his repertoire is his ability to get buckets in the paint. As a young player, Curry struggled in that area. Just three seasons ago, he was one of the league’s least-effective close-range scorers. Out of 168 players with at least 200 shots inside of 8 feet that season, Curry ranked a dismal 151st in field goal percentage. But those days are gone, and the new Curry is suddenly one of the league’s best volume scorers in the paint. So far this year, 27 players have made at least 50 field goals within 8 feet of the rim, but only two of those guys — Hassan Whiteside and DeAndre Jordan (both giants) — are converting those close-range shots as frequently as Curry, who has made a ridiculous 68 percent of his 83 tries inside of 8 feet this season.Curry is an emblem for his team at large. He’s a young, perimeter-oriented genius who is reforming how we think about dominance in the NBA and making the rest of the league look feckless while doing so. He’s already a champion, but, just like his team, he is still getting better. Curry and the Warriors are just getting started, and what a golden start it’s already been.CORRECTION (Nov. 24, 12:55 p.m.): A chart in an earlier version of this article incorrectly labeled the Warriors’ defensive proficiency for some shots. A color on the chart suggested the Warriors were at about the average league level in limiting opponents’ scoring from the left elbow and right baseline 3-pointer, but the data showed opponents are shooting above average from those zones.Read more: NBA Player Career Projections It’s as if at some point in the past few years, the Warriors solved contemporary basketball, at least perimeter basketball. They know that 3-pointers are the best way to rack up points on offense, so they developed talent and tactics to master that. But they have also employed defensive principles to prevent their opponents from doing so on the other end.As of today, they are the only team averaging at least 12 threes per game on offense; they are also the only team giving up fewer than six threes per game on defense. Remember when a team won games by controlling the paint? These Warriors win by controlling the edges of the scoring area. By scoring 37.5 points per game beyond the arc while allowing opponents just 17.7 from out there, Golden State isn’t just tweaking how we value court real estate, its best players are forcing us to rethink how we value personnel as well.It used to be that the most valuable guys in the NBA were interior giants who dominated the paint. Now the most valuable player in the NBA is a point guard with the sweetest stroke in the league.Curry leads the league in scoring, and if he wins a scoring title this season, he will be the most perimeter-oriented player to ever do so. As I wrote last season, he’s transforming the way we see point guards and 3-point shooters in the NBA. That may seem like hyperbole, but it’s not; between Curry’s volume, his efficiency and his quickness, it’s easy to argue that he is the best 3-point shooter the NBA has ever seen.So far this season, Curry has made 74 threes — the most in the NBA. Damian Lillard ranks second, with 45. To say that Curry is an outlier would be an insult to the word outlier. So far this season, 84 percent of NBA threes have come off assists. But for Curry, that number is just 62 percent, and his ability to get his own deadly looks beyond the arc is arguably his signature weapon as a scorer. For context, only one of Klay Thompson’s 33 threes has been unassisted this season. read more

Kristaps Porzingis Is A Freak — And Potentially A Superstar

8Tobias Harris33Tracy McGrady 9Yi Jianlian34Serge Ibaka 22Tyson Chandler47Shaquille O’Neal 4Kevin Love29Derrick Williams 16Michael Beasley41Jared Sullinger 3Derrick Favors28Al Jefferson 15Kwame Brown40Marvin Williams 5Anthony Randolph30Tim Thomas The New York Knicks’ future once looked very dismal indeed. It looked that way for a very long time, for a great many reasons — but that was before the arrival of the Great Latvian Hope. Kristaps Porzingis, the 7-foot-3 rookie whose selection was resoundingly booed at this summer’s draft, has instead very quickly become the most popular athlete at Madison Square Garden1Sorry, Carmelo Anthony and Henrik Lundqvist. after barely more than a month on the job.Porzingis detonated onto the NBA landscape with a series of putback dunks in his first handful of games; more importantly for Knicks fans, he’s since maintained a level of play that’s ranged between solid and spectacular. On the season, Porzingis is averaging 17.9 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per 36 minutes and draining threes at a rate that would make fellow Giant Baltic Person Arvydas Sabonis proud.2Porzingis has made the typically painful adjustment to NBA 3-point range rapidly, raising his percentage to 35.4 after early season struggles. No player in NBA history, in fact, has possessed quite this combination of youth, height, quickness and outside shooting skills. Porzingis’s play has been so strong and so dazzling that he’s that rare rookie on whom airy basketball aesthetes and turgid statistical fundamentalists can agree: This kid is the real deal.The Porzingis projectionSo what does his future hold? We have a (probabilistic) basketball-shaped crystal ball called CARMELO,3No relation to Carmelo Anthony, although we took some inspiration from him. our NBA projection system. Before the season began, we ran CARMELO projections for more than 500 players; this included rookie projections for players such as Karl-Anthony Towns, the No. 1 overall pick and Porzingis’s opponent Wednesday night, based on their college statistics. But we didn’t run one for Porzingis or other international draft picks who didn’t play NCAA ball. Let’s fix that!Below, you’ll see a CARMELO projection for Porzingis based on his first 25 NBA games. It makes one heroic assumption: extrapolating out that 25-game performance to a full 82-game season. In other words, it assumes not only that what Knicks fans have seen from Porzingis so far is about what they’ll get from the rest of the year, but also that he’ll stay healthy. The diversity of Porzingis’s scoring portfolio is also an encouraging sign for his development. Although he converts his shots at just average rates from virtually every spot he shoots from, the fact that he can do that as a 20-year-old 7-foot-plusser is remarkable. While the league is full of bigs who can shoot the ball, it’s rare for a rookie to enter the league as such a competent shooter. Shooting was the Achilles heel of young bigs like Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin, who have since developed range out to the 3-point line.The good news extends to the defensive side of the ball as well; Porzingis is already an effective rim protector. Considering that many were worried that he was “soft” entering the league, these numbers, perhaps more than his offensive ones, should put the doubters to bed. He blocks multiple shots per game, opponents shoot just 47 percent near the basket when he is present, and he is a big part of why the Knicks are among the most efficient rim-protecting teams in the NBA right now. The Knicks!Then again: The Knicks! A franchise whose glory days are more than 40 years behind it, and which has squandered more than a few good opportunities in the past. What could go wrong this time around?A strictly limited run?The one looming issue could be Porzingis’s durability. Among his top 50 comparables, about 20 percent7Excluding very recent comparables who haven’t had time to complete six full seasons. played fewer than 1,000 minutes (or were out of the league entirely) by their sixth NBA season. Usually, this is a sign of a serious injury. Furthermore, among his comparables, there was an inverse correlation between height and durability: The tallest players on Porzingis’s list were more injury-prone.That’s a potential problem because Porzingis isn’t just tall but gigantic: one of only 25 players ever to play in the NBA at 7-foot-3 or taller. That produces some cool factoids — among players 7-foot-3 or taller, Porzingis has already drained the fourth-most 3-pointers in league history (behind Sabonis, Manute Bol and Zydrunas Ilgauskas) — along with some worrying trends. For instance: no player 7-foot-3 or taller has ever made it to his 1,000th NBA game. (Mark Eaton, with 875 career games, came closest.)Is there really such a thing as being too tall for the NBA, as Phil Jackson asserted when he drafted Porzingis? Well … maybe. The chart below tracks the height distribution of NBA players since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, weighted by minutes played, and compares it against a normal distribution. 7Spencer Hawes32Rashard Lewis 19Anthony Davis44Thaddeus Young 2Joe Smith27Cliff Robinson 1Brook Lopez26Ryan Anderson 18Shareef Abdur-Rahim43Chris Webber If those assumptions hold, the Knicks have a hell of a prospect on their hands. The NBA is a tough league for rookies, so merely staying in a team’s rotation at age 20 is often a sign of a bright future. So far, however, Porzingis has not just been a rotation player but an above-average one4According to the blend of Box Plus/Minus and Real Plus-Minus that we use as part of CARMELO — usually a sign of superstar potential. In fact, Porzingis’s long-term upside score, based on his wins above replacement projection from 2016-17 through 2021-22, is 36.3. That’s very good; at the start of this season, it would have made Porzingis the 17th-most-valuable franchise player in the league, in the same vicinity as Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Wall and Jimmy Butler.But Porzingis’s projection also involves tremendous uncertainty. In 2018-19, for example, his 90th percentile projection5According to CARMELO, Porzingis has a 10 percent chance of achieving a WAR at or above his 90th percentile projection. is 13.3 WAR, good enough to put him on the fringes of the MVP discussion. Meanwhile, his 10th percentile projection is just 0.0 WAR (exactly replacement level), or roughly the same range as Quincy Acy. The error bars around CARMELO’s forecasts for young players are often wide, but these are especially so.OK, but is he Dirk?What gives? Part of it is the problem we alluded to before. CARMELO works by identifying comparable players, and Porzingis is a hard guy for which to find historical precedents. Only one player, Brook Lopez, achieves a similarity score of 50 or higher with Porzingis6A score of 50 is the point at which we consider a player to be “extremely similar.” — and if we’re being frank, the Lopez-Porzingis connection doesn’t have the “eye test” appeal that CARMELO comparisons often do.But faced with unusual players like Porzingis, CARMELO has to make some sacrifices. In the case of Lopez, it ignores the fact that Lopez almost never shoots from behind the arc (although he does have a decent midrange game). In the case of Kevin Love, Porzingis’s No. 4 comparable, it finds another big man with a good outside shot and strong rebounding numbers — but ignores that Love is shaped much differently than Porzingis, 5 inches shorter but quite a bit bulkier, especially in his youth. And since CARMELO relies on metrics that utilize box score stats, it can be difficult to translate calling-card traits like “quick feet in defensive transition” to on-the-stat-sheet comps, which in turn means the model may promote the formal similarity of Porzingis’s defensive numbers to those of Shawn Kemp, when he’s closer to Andrei Kirilenko stylistically.You can get a fuller sense for the range of possibilities when sorting through Porzingis’s top 50 CARMELO comparables, a list that includes everyone from Shaquille O’Neal to Darko Milicic. There’s also a cameo appearance from Porzingis’s idol, Dirk Nowitzki, who checks in at No. 17. Why doesn’t he rank higher? Because, as Nowitzki correctly points out, Porzingis has been considerably better so far at age 20 than Nowitzki was at the same age. CARMELO “thinks” the Porzingis-Nowitzki comparison is unflattering — to Porzingis.The 50 NBA players most comparable to Porzingis RANKPLAYERRANKPLAYER 14Lamar Odom39Antoine Walker 11Rudy Gay36Darius Miles But Porzingis’s offensive approach does bear some resemblance to today’s Dirk Nowitzki. Porzingis is frequently compared to Jahlil Okafor and Towns, and that’s unsurprising considering that they play the same position and were all drafted so high. However, Porzingis is the only one in that trio who, like Nowitzki, has 21st-century range. In fact, his basic spatial shooting distribution closely mirrors that of the NBA itself as about a quarter of his shots come from downtown, a third come in the midrange and the rest come near the basket. 13DeMarcus Cousins38Andrei Kirilenko 6Amar’e Stoudemire31Jonas Valanciunas 10Shawn Kemp35Zaza Pachulia 24Luol Deng49Nene 21Kevin Garnett46Eddy Curry 17Dirk Nowitzki42Harrison Barnes 12Elton Brand37Greg Monroe 25Enes Kanter50Al-Farouq Aminu 20Josh Smith45Paul George 23Chris Bosh48Darko Milicic There are some interesting discrepancies: the most conspicuous is that there are far fewer players listed at exactly 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5 than you’d expect from a normal distribution. That could reflect the fact that such players are “tweeners” — too small to play forward, but not necessarily fleet or agile enough to play guard — or that their heights are exaggerated upward to avoid the tweener label. Charles Barkley, officially listed at 6-foot-6, was probably more like 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5 instead, for example.There is also a comparative absence of players listed at 7-foot-1 or taller. Based on the normal distribution, you’d expect about 6 percent of NBA minutes to be played by these supergiant players; instead, about 3 percent of them have been. There are lots of plausible explanations for this — for instance, there may be diminishing returns to height beyond about 7 feet, and some very tall players may actually round their heights down instead of up. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the most durable players in league history, was listed at 7-foot-2, and opponents swore up and down that even that number was missing an inch or two. Still, looking at the broader trends, perhaps there is some reason to be concerned about players carrying such large frames.But having “some reason to be concerned” is unavoidable in neurotic New York — and a heck of a lot better than the state of absolute despair that preceded it. And the upside is having a player who, like Anthony Davis, has a chance to redefine his position. Porzingis! is the most exciting show to hit the Knicks since Linsanity.Read more:CARMELO NBA Player Projections2015-16 NBA Predictions read more

Four Strikes And Youre Out

The strike zone shrinks by as much as 20 percentage points in the top and bottom. With two strikes, borderline pitches — those that are ordinarily 50/50 calls — become 30/70 calls (30 percent strikes, 70 percent balls) for the average umpire. And with two strikes, the most biased umpire calls balls on borderline pitches almost every time. On close calls, umpires act as if they would rather give the batter another chance than call a third strike.In both maps, the biases are greatest where the boundaries of the official strike zone are least apparent. What matters most is the vertical location of the pitch. Standing behind the plate, the umpire can easily tell whether a pitch is too far inside or outside. But it’s harder to know where the pitch is relative to the batter’s knees and chest. We would expect this uncertainty to breed inconsistency. But it also seems to induce the greatest bias. The highest peaks and the deepest parts of the moat are at the top and bottom of the strike zone.Finally, we see that the strike zone shrinks again when the previous pitch in the at-bat was a called strike.Change in the Probability of a Called Strike When the Previous Pitch Was a Called Strike The official strike zone is the red rectangle beneath the heat map. The color and height of the heat map measure the change in the probability of a called strike when the count has three balls versus when there are two or fewer balls. The deep blue signifies no change — these are the pitches that are so obviously a ball or strike that not even a three-ball count changes them. In the center of the official strike zone, obvious strikes are still strikes; on the periphery, obvious balls are still balls. But on the edge of the official strike zone — in the band of uncertainty — a ring of mountains rises from the plane. The strike zone expands in three-ball counts, particularly at the top and bottom of the zone’s vertical axis. Borderline pitches, which are normally called strikes 50 percent of the time, are called strikes about 60 percent of the time with three balls in the count. Umpires act as if they would rather keep an at-bat going on a borderline pitch than issue a walk.In two-strike counts, we see the inverse effect. For close pitches, a strike is now less likely to be called, which makes our heat map look like a moat.Change in the Probability of a Called Strike With Two Strikes The plane at the bottom of the figure is the plane that rises from the front of home plate — the same one on which the official strike zone is occasionally rendered in television replays. The thick red lines on the axes denote the strike zone. The red on the horizontal axis is the width of home plate; the red on the vertical axis is the normalized distance between the batter’s chest and the bottom of his knees.3MLB’s Pitch f/x system provides measurements of the top and bottom of each batter’s strike zone, which we used to normalize the height of the strike zone for each batter. If you were a home-plate umpire, you’d be looking down through the plane, over the catcher’s head and towards the pitcher.The 3D heat map rising from the plane measures the probability of a called strike at each location on the plane. Home-plate umpires are good at calling the obvious. Pitches that travel right down the center of the official strike zone — through the red at the top of the heat map — are called strikes more than 99 percent of the time. Pitches that cross the plane well outside the official strike zone — where the heat map is its deepest blue — are called strikes less than 1 percent of the time.Umpires are inconsistent at the edges of the official strike zone, where the heat map turns green. Here, pitches that cross the plane in the same location are sometimes called strikes and sometimes called balls. This band of uncertainty is wide: about six to eight inches separate pitches that are called strikes 90 percent of the time and pitches that are called balls 90 percent of the time.There’s a difference between an umpire being inconsistent and an umpire being biased. Inconsistency usually takes place within that band of uncertainty, when the umpire makes different calls on pitches at the same location. But he is biased when those differences correlate with factors other than pitch location, like the count. Where umpires are inconsistent, they also happen to be biased. To see this, consider two versions of the figure above: one for when the count has three balls, and one for when the count has fewer than three balls. These heat maps should be the same. Whether there are three balls in the count shouldn’t matter. All that should matter is the location of the pitch.When we look at the difference between these two heat maps, we should see no difference — a flat plane. But we don’t. We see an expansion of the strike zone in three-ball counts.Change in the Probability of a Called Strike With Three Balls Here, the shrinkage is more uniform — about the same on the sides as on the top and bottom. The blue tips of the moat are about 15 percentage points deep: 50/50 calls become 35/65 calls when the last pitch in the at-bat was a called strike. Umpires appear reluctant not only to end the at-bat but also to call two strikes in a row. (Interestingly, there is no change in the probability of a called strike when the last pitch was called a ball.)These mistakes are frequent — pitchers tend to pitch to the borders of the official strike zone. And they are consequential — they happen in the most pivotal calls. When a 50/50 call becomes a 60/40 call, as it does with three balls, umpires are mistakenly calling strikes on 10 percent of borderline pitches. When a 50/50 call becomes a 30/70 call, as it does with two strikes, umpires are mistakenly calling balls on 20 percent of borderline pitches.Major League Baseball has embraced technologies that are meant to make calls on the field more consistent. The league has long used pitch-tracking technology to encourage home-plate umpires to behave more like machines, evidently without complete success. This past offseason, the MLB extended replay review to cover essentially all umpire decisions — except ball and strike calls. Now as before, no justice will be served when a pitcher throws a strike and the umpire drops the ball.This article is adapted from “What Does it Take to Call a Strike? Three Biases in Umpire Decision Making,” which the author wrote with David P. Daniels. Consider a forgotten game in April 2010 between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox were up a run with two outs in the eighth. Their set-up man, Matt Thornton, was on the mound, protecting a lead with a runner on first and the right-handed Jhonny Peralta at bat. Ahead in the count with one ball and two strikes, Thornton froze Peralta with a slider on the outside half of the plate, a couple inches below the belt. For a pitch like that, the umpire, Bruce Dreckman, would normally call a strike — 80 percent of the time, the data shows. But in two-strike counts like Peralta’s, he calls a strike less than half the time.Sure enough, that night Dreckman called a ball. Two pitches later, Peralta lashed a double to right, scoring the runner and tying the game. Neither team scored again until the 11th, when Cleveland scored twice to win the game. Had Peralta struck out to end the top of the eighth, Chicago almost certainly would have won.1When the home team carries a one-run lead into the bottom of the eighth, it wins 89 percent of the time.This one call illustrates a statistical regularity: Umpires are biased. About once a game, an at-bat ends in something other than a strikeout even when a third strike should have been called. Umpires want to make the right call, but they also don’t want to make the wrong call at the wrong time. Ironically, this prompts them to make bad calls more often.That’s according to research I did with David P. Daniels showing that the strike zone changes when the stakes are highest. We looked at more than 1 million pitches, almost all ball and strike calls from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 regular seasons, and found that the strike zone expands in three-ball counts and shrinks in two-strike counts.2Baseball observers have previously documented how the strike zone changes with the count. Other researchers have shown that the count changes how likely umpires are to call a strike outside of the official strike zone or a ball within it. It also shrinks again when the preceding pitch in the at-bat was a called strike. To put it another way, on close calls, umpires are unlikely to call a fourth ball, a third strike, or a second strike in a row. Umpires call balls and strikes as if they don’t want to be noticed.The umpire’s job is simple: Call a strike when the pitch crosses the official strike zone; call a ball when it doesn’t. When the right call is obvious, umpires make it almost every time. One way to see this is to look at the probability of a called strike by pitch location.Probability of a Called Strike read more

NFL Week 16 Playoff Implications When Things Start To Shake Out

The game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers will have a bigger impact on the Dolphins’ playoff chances than Miami’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. The Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens playoff chances actually improve with a Steelers victory over the Chiefs; this despite the fact that they are battling the Steelers for the division title. With 143 percent of playoff “swing” at stake, the Chiefs-Steelers game figures to be one of the most important matchups this week.At the top of the AFC, the picture is relatively certain. The New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos are virtual locks for the top two seeds and byes in the first round. The Indianapolis Colts’ fate as a third or fourth seed was effectively sealed in Week 11 with their loss to the Patriots. In the NFC, there are still five teams in contention for both the top seed and the bye week. As we mentioned above, a victory would guarantee the Cardinals the top seed. But a loss would drop their top-seed probability to just 7 percent — a swing of 93 percent.CORRECTION (Dec. 18, 9:23 a.m.): The initial version of the “Which Teams To Root For In Week 16” graphic included three instances where a game in one conference (e.g. a matchup between two NFC teams) affected the playoff odds of a team in the opposite conference. These effects are not statistically meaningful and have been removed.CORRECTION (Dec. 20, 2:13 p.m.): Because of a programming error, this analysis miscalculated the outcomes of “head-to-head sweep” tiebreakers involving multiple teams. This miscalculation had a large effect on the race for the top two NFC seeds and a smaller effect on the AFC wild card race. The interactives, tables and text have been updated. The Arizona Cardinals continue to get no respect. Despite an NFC best 11-3 record, Las Vegas has them as eight-point underdogs, at home, against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Similarly, our rankings, which are derived from point spreads, have the Cardinals pegged as just the 19th best team in the NFL. Their “generic points favored”1Generic points favored is what you would expect a team to be favored by against a league average opponent on a neutral field. is essentially zero.The Cardinals are, quite literally, average.Of course, this is largely a reflection of the Cardinals’ starting quarterback situation. Because of injuries to Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton, Arizona will start Ryan Lindley against the Seahawks defense. If Lindley and the Cardinals pull off the upset, power rankings, point spreads and “respect” become meaningless, at least when it comes to playoff positioning. A win for Arizona would not only clinch the NFC West title, it would also guarantee it the top seed in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.A loss keeps the Green Bay Packers in contention for the top seed. Their opponent this week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are in no hurry to win: As you can see in the table above, we’re simulating each team’s chances of getting the top pick in the NFL draft. The Buccaneers are in the lead.With their decisive Monday night victory over the Chicago Bears, the New Orleans Saints re-established themselves as the front-runner in the NFC South. They host the Atlanta Falcons this week in a game that is truly a must-win for Atlanta. A loss would eliminate the Falcons from the playoff race. Although not quite a must-win for New Orleans, the Saints’ chances of winning the division and making the playoffs would drop to 11 percent with a loss to the Falcons. The Carolina Panthers can also afford to lose this week, but a loss to the Cleveland Browns would drop their playoff chances to just 3 percent.As it stands, the probability that the NFC South winner finishes with a losing record is slightly better than 50 percent. And there is about a 1 percent chance that Carolina will win the division with a 6-9-1 record. As if that wasn’t unfair enough, the NFC South winner may also find themselves with a favorable draw in the first round of the playoffs. If Arizona loses this week, they will most likely finish as the fifth seed and face the fourth-seed NFC South winner in the wild card round. The third seed plays the sixth seed in the first round, and that sixth seed would probably be a much tougher opponent than the fifth seed. In the event of an Arizona loss, the most likely sixth-seed teams would be the Detroit Lions, Packers or Dallas Cowboys, all of whom place higher in our rankings than the Cardinals.While all four divisional races are undecided in the NFC, in the AFC, only the North remains up in the air. But with three teams still vying for the AFC North title, and an additional five teams in the wild card race, things are far from settled in the conference. The Miami Dolphins are clinging to a 0.2 percent playoff probability going into Week 16 and will need a lot of help to make it to the postseason. The best case scenario for every team is included in the graphic below, which also includes “top pick” chances for the teams lousy enough to have a shot. read more

Womens volleyball Ohio State looking for a comeback after loss to Hoosiers

Members of OSU women’s volleyball team celebrate after a point during a match against Nebraska on Oct. 14 at St. John Arena. Credit: Jenna Leinasars | Assistant News DirectorThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team is trying to rebound following a 3-1 upset at the hands of the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday and a loss to Wisconsin at home prior to that.The Buckeyes will have two opportunities for redemption when they host back-to-back home matches this weekend at St. John Arena. OSU clashes with Rutgers on Friday and No. 10 Penn State on Saturday. The loss to the Hoosiers put OSU outside of the American Volleyball Coaches’ Association poll for the first time this season. Upcoming opponent Rutgers holds a 4-23 record and has yet to win a Big Ten match this season, while the Penn State Nittany Lions have maintained their powerhouse presence in the conference and stand at 18-7 overall. Penn State also swept the Buckeyes 3-0 the last time the two teams met on Oct. 19 in University Park, Pennsylvania.Senior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe said the team’s loss to Indiana was just the nature of the beast that is the Big Ten conference. “They played really good defense against us, and I don’t think we were able to respond,” she said. “It’s just part of being in the Big Ten. You can’t underestimate anyone, and everyone has something to offer.” OSU coach Geoff Carlston said the Buckeyes have been in a rut for the past couple of matches. Prior to Indiana, OSU took a tough loss to Wisconsin at St. John Arena by a margin of just 11 total points. “The last couple matches, we’ve struggled finding rhythm. We make two or three good plays and then we’ll miss a serve at a crucial time or we just won’t make a play,” Carlston said. “We need to be able to string those runs together.”Putting the past aside, the Buckeyes – from the newcomers to the veterans – are choosing to stay optimistic heading into weekend play. “I really believe we can do it. We’re ready,” said freshman outside hitter Bia Franklin. “We’re going to practice hard this week, and it would be really nice to (get) that revenge (on Penn State).” Sandbothe is looked at as one of OSU’s senior leaders, and the team turns to her in times of trouble. Her strategy relies on keeping everyone calm and collected in the huddle. “It’s just taking a deep breath and refocusing, letting everyone know that we’re all on the same page,” she said. “The middle is a really great time for us to reset.” Sandbothe isn’t just leading by her words. Her play is speaking volumes about her and the team that surrounds her. During the Buckeyes’ last match with Wisconsin, she locked down the OSU record for most career blocks in history with 518 rejections. Sandbothe said the record has only added fuel to her competitive fire. “Now I want to slaughter it. Now I’m going to make sure that it’s not going to be broken for a lot longer,” she said. “It (breaking a record) gives you a greater appreciation for what this program means and the fact that there are people who put the jersey on before you and there’s going to be people who put it on after you.” Sandbothe is confident that OSU can put on a strong performance this weekend. She said back-to-back Friday and Saturday matches are good for the team’s pace. There is also the advantage of playing on home court. Carlston is looking a little farther than the weekend with the NCAA tournament coming up in December. All members of the Buckeyes’ teams have mentioned throughout the season their anticipation to be in the Final Four, which will be played in Columbus at Nationwide Arena. Carlston feels that 12 out of the 15 teams in the Big Ten have the ability to make it into the NCAA tournament, and this is the time for his team to make a statement that OSU should be one of them.“For us, taking care of our business this weekend at home is important,” he said. The Buckeyes will first take on the Scarlet Knights on Friday at 7 p.m. followed by the Nittany Lions at 7 p.m. on Saturday, both at St. John Arena. read more

Gene Smith named athletic director of the year

Ohio State athletic director and vice president Gene Smith was named 2010 Sports Business Journal Athletic Director of the Year.Over the past year, Ohio State has enjoyed much on-field success, including a victory in the Rose Bowl over Oregon in January.Off the field, the Buckeyes recently celebrated the accomplishments of 503 scholar-athletes, who achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Smith beat out other athletic directors from the University of North Carolina, Boise State University, UCLA and the University of Alabama. Other winners on the night included Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as Sports Executive of the Year, Super Bowl XLIV as Sports Event of the Year, CBS Sports as Best in Sports Television, and the Seattle Sounders of the MLS as the Professional Sports Team of the Year. Smith was named athletic director in 2005 and was a finalist for the AD of the Year Award in 2008. The event was held in New York City on Thursday night. The awards are presented annually by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily and judged performance from Jan. 1, 2009, to Feb. 28, 2010. read more

Ohio State mens tennis looks to avenge conference loss in NCAA Tournament

For the first time in seven years, the Ohio State men’s tennis team lost the Big Ten tournament title. But players said they’re using their championship-match loss to Illinois as motivation heading into the NCAA Championship. The No. 3-ranked Buckeyes will serve as host to the first and second rounds of the Division I NCAA Championships Saturday and Sunday. Sophomore Blaz Rola said the Illinois loss was tough to take, but he hopes he can use his disappointment to help the team become NCAA Championships. “After the finals it hurt us, we put a lot of effort and work into it in the last two weeks,” Rola said. “Just trying to stay focused and in shape because we are going to play hopefully in Georgia.” The Buckeyes were selected as the overall No. 5 seed in the field of 64 and will welcome Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and East Tennessee State to Columbus this weekend. Coach Ty Tucker said every team is going to be tough to beat. “The mindset is to get the doubles point and come out in the first sets of singles and try to establish a lead,” he said. Senior Chase Buchanan will compete doubles with Rola as the No. 1 seed. The duo is one of 32 doubles teams competing for the national championship title. “We play all the time together and try to help each other continue to grow,” Buchanan said. “We have a great relationship and we play together everyday.” Tucker said both players have been great team leaders and captains. “The good thing about it is they won two nationals in the fall and consistently got better over the last six months,” Tucker said. “To see our two top guys get together, play as a team together has been great.” Rola said hosting the tournament early on would give his team an advantage. “To have that home-court advantage heading into the NCAAs … and with the crowd support, it gives some confidence going into the Sweet 16, it’s really good,” Rola said. Buchanan said even though this is a very exciting time in his career, he is in no race to finish. “I also want to savor these last few weeks and try to enjoy it as much as possible, because there is really nothing like college tennis,” he said. “It’s so much fun and I hope to enjoy it.” OSU will play in the first round on Saturday against East Tennessee State at 1 p.m. read more

Womens Hockey No 5 Ohio State drops pair of games in weekend

Ohio State redshirt junior goalie Kassidy Sauve (32) goes for a save in the first period of the game against Minnesota on Jan. 19. Ohio State won 3-2. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe No. 5 Ohio State women’s hockey team (17-6-4, 10-3-4 WCHA) was swept in both matchups to Minnesota Duluth (11-13-2, 7-10-2 WCHA) on Friday and Saturday to end its five-game win streak.Game 1Ohio State dropped the series opener 4-1 Friday despite outshooting Minnesota Duluth 39-28 in the game. Just four minutes in the first period, Minnesota Duluth redshirt senior forward Katerina Mrazova scored the first goal of the game, and the only goal of the period.Ohio State responded by evening the game at one goal apiece when freshman forward Tatum Skaggs found the back of the net five minutes into the second period. Junior defender Lauren Boyle and freshman forward Emma Maltais were credited with assists.Minnesota Duluth sophomore defender Jalyn Elmes scored the go-ahead goal to take a 2-1 lead 8:55 into the second period..The Bulldogs were not finished in the second period. Sophomore forward Sydney Brodt and freshman forward Naomi Rogge scored two goals in the period to pull away 4-1, a score which held for the remainder of the game.Ohio State attempted 14 shots in the third period, but none found the back of the net, dropping the first game 4-1. Game 2Ohio State held Minnesota Duluth scoreless through the first two periods of the series finale, but a pair of third period goals pushed the Bulldogs in front for a 2-1 win against the Buckeyes Saturday. The Buckeyes could not find the back of the net in the first period, despite taking 19 shots. But 11 minutes into the second period, Skaggs gave Ohio State a 1-0 lead with her second goal of the series and the first goal of the game.After being shut out through the first two periods, Minnesota Duluth struck early in the third period, scoring a goal from freshman forward Anna Klein 3:52 into the period.Klein followed her goal up with a second score late in the third period to give Minnesota Duluth a 2-1. The Bulldogs held on for the win, rebounding from Ohio State’s October sweep of Minnesota Duluth. read more

Football 3 Ohio State players to watch on offense in the Spring

Ohio State freshman offensive lineman Josh Myers prepares for practice at fall camp on Aug. 5. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor.The Ohio State football team will head into the 2018 season without many familiar names. There will be no J.T. Barrett at quarterback. No Billy Price at center. No Marcus Baugh at tight end. Instead, there will be somewhat of a young team with only a handful of returning starters.Though the wide receiving corps and running back duo remain largely the same, there will be other young players competing for playing time during the spring game that will be worth watching. Here are a couple of players to keep track of in Saturday’s Spring Game.Jaylen HarrisOhio State began the 2017 season with six starting wide receivers: Johnnie Dixon, Terry McLaurin, Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor, K.J. Hill and Parris Campbell. All will return in 2018.Every wideout brings something different to the table, but none seem to be the top target a passing team needs. Mack has at times looked the part, but he still has more left to prove.Second-year Jaylen Harris, however, could be the missing top target Ohio State needs. Though he caught just two passes for 27 yards last season, Harris offers the Buckeyes a massive target at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds with the speed to be an impact wideout. The former four-star recruit ranked as the 177th-best prospect, 28th-best wide receiver and fourth-best player in the state of Ohio in the 2017 class.He will likely face an uphill battle trying to force playing time in a large group of returning veterans. However, he could get a chance to see ample playing time in the Spring Game with Hill sidelined and the other veterans potentially receiving more rest early. Harris still has plenty to prove, but he could be the top wideout for the Buckeyes if given the playing time.Josh MyersOhio State head coach Urban Meyer has expressed concern in the past with how the battle for center is going with no one between the trio of Brady Taylor, Josh Myers and Matt Burrell yet stepping up in practice to fill the void left by Price.While it appears Taylor remains the favorite to win the starting job, Myers has the skills needed to take on such a role. He was a four-star recruit in the 2017 class and the top prospect in Ohio. Known best as a powerful run blocker, the 6-foot-6, 306-pound lineman just needs to prove that he can handle taking on larger defensive tackles and can effectively snap the ball to whichever quarterback is under center.Myers will likely be slotted as one of the two starters at center during the Spring Game, and it will be interesting to see whether the interior lineman can handle Ohio State’s defensive tackles. The Spring Game won’t be a deciding factor in the decision for Meyer, but it could lend a glimpse to others into how well he is faring at the position.Luke FarrellThe tight end position has historically been one relied upon by Ohio State, but the usage of the role has declined in the past several years. Baugh never was able to produce consistently and there wasn’t anyone to edge him out.While Ohio State added the second-best tight-end recruit in the 2018 recruiting class in Jeremy Ruckert, head coach Urban Meyer said Wednesday that Luke Farrell might be in front of both the four-star tight end and last year’s backup, Rashod Berry.“Luke Farrell has kind of advanced in front of the other guys,” Meyer said on Wednesday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference. “But we’re still trying to finalize that.”Farrell had only two catches for 19 yards in 2017, but was once considered the seventh-best tight end prospect in the 2016 recruiting class. The 6-foot-6, 244-pound tight end was unable to force his way into playing time in 2017. But the redshirt sophomore has a lot to offer Ohio State if he can make himself a reliable receiver.He has never been viewed as an obvious starter at Ohio State. If he starts to show more speed in the Spring Game with the hands needed to be a full-time player at the position, Farrell could go a long way in solidifying his spot as the starting tight end. read more

Football Tyreke Smith wants to continue sophomore Ohio State defensive line trend

Ohio State freshman defensive end Tyreke Smith (11) moves in to tackle a Rutgers player during the second half of the game on Sept. 8. Ohio State won 52-3. Credit: Amal Saeed | Assistant Photo EditorJunior defensive end Chase Young described the Ohio State defensive line as a train. He said when players leave, like Dre’Mont Jones or Nick Bosa, there is always a great pass rusher in the class to continue the production. Some of the younger guys handle that expectation in different ways. Incoming freshman defensive end Noah Potter embraced it, asking for No. 97, the same jersey number worn by the two Bosa brothers. Freshman Zach Harrison was a little more low-key about it, taking whatever jersey number he was given, No. 33. With No. 11 on his back, Tyreke Smith was in the position this past season. He said he felt part of the Ohio State defensive line from the moment he stepped onto campus, but that this year, his sophomore season, feels different. This year, he feels like a key piece of the defensive line. That’s why Young is talking up Smith as the next big thing. “Every great defensive end had that sophomore year, Tyreke Smith can have that year,” Young said. “I would say watch out for Tyreke Smith.” This is the expectation that Smith has for himself, saying he has to “fill the gap” left by Bosa and Jones next season. But that has been an expectation Smith has had from Day One, an expectation heightened by the presence of defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Smith said he wants to achieve greatness with Ohio State, to be the best defensive lineman he could be. Johnson has the same confidence for the sophomore, and that is what Smith likes about his position coach. “I think, every day, I’m getting better out here training with him,” Smith said. “When I am doing good, that’s not enough for him. I like that about him. He is pushing me to a limit. He thinks I can be elite.”For Smith, he knows this is the year to do it. After recording seven tackles for loss and five sacks in his freshman season, Bosa broke through in 2017, leading the team with 16 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. Young did the same thing in his sophomore season, accumulating 14.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks this past season. Smith, in limited playing time, has yet to record a tackle for loss or a sack, coming into 2019 with nine tackles to his name. But Young sees the same type of player he was training for his sophomore season that Smith is now. “Last year, this spring, I was a dog: hungry. That’s just how Tyreke is,” Young said. “I told him that’s what I expect. I expect for, after me, after Nick, then after me, it’s you.” It’s the next-man-up mentality Johnson has made into the mantra of Ohio State, and it’s something Smith has really latched onto. He said Johnson has the ability to turn an average player into a great one. This is the place Johnson thinks Smith is in: a young player who is beginning to come along. “Tyreke has always been quick. He’s always been in great shape, and now it’s just learning to play football,” Johnson said. “Last year was big learning experience, I can tell you that. Now, we see the player he’s possible of being. Tyreke has a great future ahead of him.” Young said Smith has been showing this in practice, and that his personal expectations are sky high, saying he expects a Smith sack on every play, and if not, he’s going to “be in his grill about it.” Smith does not seem to need the extra motivation. “I feel like this year, this year is the year I have to show out and show the country what I’m made of,” Smith said. Because the train needs to continue to move. Young is already looking past his time at Ohio State, and who will become the next leader. Young sees that in Smith. “He don’t have no choice but to rise up,” Young said. “If he keeps going as hard as he can and gives great effort, he has no choice but to rise.” read more

Armistice Day Prince Harry lays wreath to remember the nations war dead

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. England and Scotland footballers are expected to risk breaking Fifa rules forbidding “political statements” when they wear poppy armbands at their World Cup qualifying match at Wembley later. People gathered at war memorials and in schools, offices and other public places across the UK to pause for two minutes to commemorate the moment the guns fell silent for peace at the end of World War One, on 11 November 1918.Prince Harry read Rupert Brooke’s poem The Soldier, written at the beginning of the war, as part of the service at the National Memorial Arboretum. Prince Harry attending a Service of Remembrance at the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in StaffordshireCredit:Chris Radburn/PA Wire 11:44AMHarry reads war poem 10:31AMFans urged to respect Armistice Day Prince Harry attending a Service of Remembrance at the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire After paying his respects, he read aloud a poem, The Soldier, by the First World War poet Rupert Brooke.Harry served for 10 years in the Army, and was twice deployed to Afghanistan. Prince Harry, 32, attended a Remembrance Service at the Armed Forces Memorial alongside veterans and representatives of the Army, Royal Navy, and RAF. Football fans have been asked to respect Armistice Day events as thousands descend on the capital for the England v Scotland World Cup qualifier.About 14,000 Tartan Army supporters are expected to flock to London for the sell-out game at the 90,000-capacity Wembley stadium which kicks off at 7.45pm on Friday.A Met Police spokesman said: “We are aware that in the past Scottish supporters have congregated in Trafalgar Square.”Given the match falls on November 11, we have also been liaising with the Royal British Legion, who will be hosting their ‘Silence in the Square’ event in Trafalgar Square to mark Armistice Day.”Scotland Yard said it would use the football unit Twitter account (@MPSFootballUnit) to liaise with fans through the day.Virgin trains advised supporters to book ahead and arrive early, with hundreds of additional seats added on services between Glasgow and London.Trains from Edinburgh and Glasgow are expected to be at their busiest on Friday morning, as will return services on Saturday from Euston and King’s Cross stations.Superintendent Alex Carson, who is co-ordinating the British Transport Police (BTP) operation, said: “We want fans to enjoy themselves and for everyone to have a safe and peaceful journey, but we will have a highly visible policing presence to ensure any anti-social behaviour or crime is swiftly nipped in the bud.” Prince Harry led the nation in remembrance on Friday as he laid a wreath at the National Memorial Arboretum.It followed a two-minute silence observed across the UK for Armistice Day.Silence fell at 11am to remember servicemen and women killed in battle.last_img read more

Police officer who fostered child sex abuse victim went on to abuse

first_imgA police officer who fostered a 14-year-old girl after she was rescued from child sex abuse went on to abuse her himself, a court heard.Social workers placed the teenager in the care of the serving Metropolitan Police officer and his wife and moved her 300 miles to live with the couple.But she ended up having an illicit sexual relationship with her foster father during which they twice stayed at a hotel together. Body builder and former gym instructor Andrew TimblinCredit: Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd Body builder and former gym instructor Andrew Timblin She is a very young woman with her life before her. It’s to be hoped she will be able to transcend the impact and make her proper place in the world and move onJudge Jeffery Lewis The teenager was left with ex-bodybuilder Timblin despite his hardman reputation and the youngster’s tearful pleas to her mother not to leave her alone with him.The girl who was seen to suffer panic attacks when she knew she was about to be left with Timblin was raped by him when he offered to watch a film with her.He assaulted her again on a subsequent occasion in similar circumstances. Police were called in when she told her older brother about the rapes and pleaded to come home and he alerted their father.When officers located the girl she initially denied she had been raped but when she was separated from her mother, she revealed her torment.In July 2014 she was placed in foster care with the policeman and his wife but she was removed from the placement the following December when the officer himself went to police and admitted he was having an affair with her.Detectives initially took no criminal action as the girl claimed nothing had happened between them but the truth emerged in January 2015 when she was reported missing from her grandmother’s home.It emerged she and the officer had stayed in hotel in Stockport before going back to his flat in Essex. He later pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child and child abduction. The policeman who is in 30s was jailed for seven years at a separate hearing. Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester was told the girl had lived a stable family environment in Lancashire with her father and two siblings after being removed from the care of her mother in 2004 over her junkie lifestyle.The mother – who cannot be named for legal reasons – lost touch with her daughter but in 2014 she contacted her over Facebook and falsely claimed the girl’s father wasn’t her real dad.She then encouraged the youngster to come and live with her by portraying her father in a “bad light.” The girl was so curious about her mother she left home – only to end up sleeping rough with her in a churchyard for two nights.The mother then confiscated her daughter’s spare clothing and sold them before leaving her alone with a series of older men whilst she went to get drugs.The girl would regularly go missing and police called to find her, located her in a hotel room with a man aged 33 and also at the home of a hoodlum convicted of involvement in drugs and guns.Despite her chaotic lifestyle she went back to her mother and was eventually introduced by her mother to burly Timblin who was known as “the Bear” in his hometown of Stockport and who has a tattoo of the words ‘Sex Machine’ inked across his stomach. Police arrested the officer when the teenager was found hiding in a stairwell near his flat after she was removed from his care. Indecent pictures of them were found on her mobile phone.Prosecutors say the girl now 16, is so emotionally damaged she regularly self harms, has post traumatic stress disorder and has repeatedly attempted to kill herself.The girl had been left at the mercy of various “inappropriate men” by her manipulative and drug addicted mother before being rescued.Details of the scandal emerged as former gym instructor Andrew Timblin, 60, was jailed for 21 years after he was found guilty of raping the victim and another teenage girl, aged 17 in unrelated attacks.Two other men were acquitted of sex charges whilst the girl’s 40-year old mother – who has five other children – was given a nine month sentence suspended for a year for child cruelty. Henry Blackshaw, prosecuting, said the girl had “been removed from the stable home life given for 10 years by her father” by a mother who was a “homeless drug addict with a chaotic lifestyle who could never have offered a child a safe and secure home.”He added: “She lured her daughter to leave her father’s home and join her in her chaotic lifestyle, variously sleeping rough or dossing with her associates. She used the fact she had care of her daughter for sympathy in order to gain access to the homes of others to stay.”As a result of the mother’s neglect, the girl was sexually assaulted and raped. It was well known that Timblin was an unsuitable person to have care of her and the girl’s mother was apparently aware of that, as it is she who told her daughter.”Despite this she left the girl in his sole care constantly whilst she went out, she believes to use drugs. The daughter begged her mother not to leave her with Timblin and begged to be allowed to accompany her mother – but her pleas were ignored.”An associate noticed the girl was extremely distressed and vomiting – he likened this to a panic attack. “The mother lied and manipulated her daughter, use her daughter to obtain bed and board and left her with inappropriate males despite the distress shown by her.”Mr Blackshaw said the mother had also encouraged her daughter to run away when she was placed in care and that caused her to be sent to the foster home in Essex.Timblin denied wronging but was convicted of rape, indecent assault, unlawful wounding and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He will be on the sex offenders register for an ‘indefinite period’.Judge Jeffery Lewis said the girl had been affected “significantly” and told Timblin: “You betrayed the innocence of her childhood for your sexual gratification.”She was abused by you at a significantly younger age at a time of transitions from child hood to womanhood and all the emotional and physical changes that involves.”She will be in the very early stages of dealing with the aftermath of your conduct towards her.”She is a very young woman with her life before her. It’s to be hoped she will be able to transcend the impact and make her proper place in the world and move on.” 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

Jeweller 74 murdered for a safe code by gang who tried to

A 74-year-old jewellery shop owner was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by a gang of suspected thieves who dumped him in a country lane after beating a safe code out of him, a court heard.Jurors were told Ramniklal Jogiya was bundled into a van while walking home and repeatedly tortured until he gave up information that would give his kidnappers access to a safe containing gold at his shop. After doing so, one member of the gang is accused of entering the shop in Belgrave Road, Leicester, on January 24 disguised in a burka but was unable to open the safe due to a 12-hour time-lock. Meanwhile, Mr Jogiya had been dumped near a gate to a muddy field near Stoughton in Leicestershire where he was left to die. His body was found at about 10am the following day by a retired couple driving past the scene.Claiming the robbery must have been planned over several weeks, if not months, Mr House alleged that Thomas Jervis, Callan Reeve, Charles Mcauley and Javon Roach are all guilty of murder on the grounds of joint enterprise. “The reason he was kidnapped and tortured was because those who were responsible, these four defendants and probably one other, needed information from him to enable them to enter his jewellery shop, turn off the number-coded burglar alarm, access the number-coded safe and steal the valuable gold jewellery within. Birmingham Crown CourtCredit:Google Maps 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. Birmingham Crown Court “To get that information those involved all knew they would have to force it out of him if they were to have any chance of success.”Mr Jogiya was therefore beaten until he divulged the information they required.”Once they had that information he was dumped, probably still alive but seriously injured, miles from help, thus allowing the group to access the shop, with the keys they had taken from him.”In this case, the prosecution say all four defendants had the same intention when they set out on this criminal enterprise.”All four knew that to get that information from him it was all but inevitable that pain caused by physical violence would have to be inflicted upon him to force him to divulge what they needed.”All four knew that really serious harm may be necessary. All four were, so to speak, in it together.”Jervis, 24, of Enderby Road, Whetstone, Leicestershire; Mcauley, 20, of Gooding Avenue, Braunstone, Leicester, and 20-year-old Reeve, of Aylmer Road, Leicester, have all admitted kidnap and robbery but deny murder and manslaughter.Roach, 30, of Norwich Road, Leicester, denies charges of murder, manslaughter, robbery and kidnapping.The trial continues. He died as a direct result of his significant injuries, coated in mud and lying in the gateway of a field beside a quiet country road.James House QC Mr Jogiya was grabbed from the street by at least two men, bundled into the back of a stolen Ford Transit van which was being driven by a third male, Mr House told the court.”He was then badly beaten, in effect he was tortured for information,’ the prosecutor said.  “His head was beaten, causing a bleed on the brain and traumatic brain injury.”The court heard that Mr Jogiya was handled with such force that one of his biceps was ripped away from the bone, six of his ribs on the left side were broken, and he had multiple injuries to his hands and fingers.The court heard he had also suffered 21 distinctive circular injuries to the torso and shoulder area, suggestive of something being used to inflict repeated pain.During his opening speech to the jury panel, Mr House said Mr Jogiya was abandoned, probably still alive, in an isolated location – with his mobile phone having been thrown away by his kidnappers.Mr House added: “He died as a direct result of his significant injuries, coated in mud and lying in the gateway of a field beside a quiet country road. Opening the case against the four men who deny Mr Jogiya’s murder, prosecutor James House QC told Birmingham Crown Court that the gang member in the burka tried to rob the safe after the “sophisticated” kidnapping. read more

Archbishop faces questions over Amazon and zerohours hypocrisy as Church refuses to

The Rev Peter Ould, a priest from Canterbury, said: “The Church of England has used its shareholdings to apply public pressure already, for example helping to bring shareholder motions to the Rio Tinto AGM.”It would be nice to have more transparency about how they are working with companies like Amazon, but sometimes private influence can be more effective than public grandstanding.”It was also revealed on Friday that several Church of England cathedrals have advertised zero-hours contract roles, which the Archbishop has also condemned. Conservative MP Ben Bradley called his stance “hypocritical”. Last month Bath Abbey issued an advert for a tower tour guide on one of the contracts. The Rev Pete Hobson, a priest who represents faith workers at the Unite union, said he believed the Archbishop was acting deliberately to draw attention to the issue within his own church. The Archbishop of Canterbury faces questions within the church over Amazon and zero-hours “hypocrisy”, as it refused to reveal its full portfolio. On Friday the Church of England declined to provide any detail on the Church Commissioners’ investments beyond the top 20 holdings published in its most recent annual report. Disclosed investments, which make up 6.7 per cent of the Church’s total investable assets, include Amazon, Alphabet, which is Google’s parent company, and HSBC, which have all been embroiled in scandals over tax avoidance. Earlier this week the Archbishop of Canterbury named Amazon in a speech to the Trades Union Congress as among companies which “get away with paying almost nothing in tax” and “leached off the taxpayer”. The Church said it would retain the investments because “it is more effective to be in the room with these companies seeking change as an active shareholder than speaking from the side-lines”. Amazon has defended its tax policy, saying: “We pay all taxes required in the UK and every country where we operate.“Amazon has created more than 25,000 good jobs with good pay and benefits across Britain and we are proud of the work they do on behalf of customers every day.” The Church declined to provide detail of the action it was taking to implement change within the companies, or of any plans it had to do so. Clergy and bishops suggested that more information should be forthcoming, with Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, bishop of Ripon, Tweeting: “I think it would be good to hear how this challenge is making an impact”.  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. “There may well be people who have been made to feel uncomfortable by it – nothing wrong with that,” he told the Daily Telegraph. read more

Faux leather promoted by ethical designers like Stella McCartney is polluting the

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. In response to the problem of micropollution, campaigners have asked consumers to buy better-quality clothing for long-term use, rather than taking part in the “fast fashion” trend.Friends of the Earth plastic campaigner, Emma Priestland said: “It’s been estimated that clothes washing causes 1,600 tonnes of plastic micropollution to be washed into UK rivers and oceans every year.“With so many people realising the harm that both leather and plastic can have on our planet, maybe the leather-look has finally had its day?“And of course we can all help by choosing good quality clothing that we wear for years – not just months.”A Stella McCartney spokesperson said: “While we use polyurethane and polyester as an alternative to leather in our products at Stella McCartney, research to date shows that the primary issues for concern to the ocean is from microfiber shedding which cause pollution (including ocean waste).  But microfibre shedding mostly occurs during the machine washing of garments – none of the Stella McCartney faux leather products are machine washable so avoids this issue which can happen during the care of the product.”Faux leathers are not perfect but they are lower impact to produce, can be recycled and cruelly free. We are working on new alternatives that we think are the best way forward, things like Bolt Thread’s MYLO material which is natural, biodegradable and low impact.  We also use ECONYL® a regenerated (recycled) nylon that is made from fishing nets as well as factory waste considered to be the most sustainable option for recycled nylon.” While many who buy faux leather often think of themselves as ethical buyers, the material could be polluting the oceans and killing fish, according to a BBC expert.Patrick Grant, creative director of Saville Row tailors Norton & Sons, said ‘ethical’ designers like Stella McCartney who promote the use of plastic alternatives to leather are causing micro-plastics to enter our water systems.The Great British Sewing Bee host said the designer is helping make man-made fibres fashionable, which could cause pollution.”Eighteen years ago, she  had been telling people to switch from leather to polyurethane and now the fish have it inside them,” he told the Daily Mail.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Grant, who studied materials science at the University of Leeds, suggested: “Maybe we should eat less meat, but we do eat meat, so we might as well use the hides of the cows we eat rather than kill our fish.” Lets be clear, plastic itself should not be vilified, it is a wonderful material that performs lots of vital functions (viz medicine, food, engineering). Its the way we consume it and dispose of it that is the problem. We’ve got to end rampant disposable consumerism.— Patrick Grant (@paddygrant) October 5, 2018 Although the designer uses high-end materials, he worries that she has made these fibres fashionable for cheaper brands to use. He explained: “Stella McCartney’s business is her business and almost certainly Stella is using the very best alternatives, but the problem is that all the people that have seen what she’s doing have copied her and polyurethane has taken off as an alternative to leather. But it is bad s***: the way it’s made and the way it doesn’t biodegrade.” read more

British woodland changing as landowners shun traditional trees for exotic varieties to

British woodland is changing with landowners shunning traditional trees for exotic varieties to future-proof forests against climate change, pests and disease, research has found. Landowners were also now choosing fast growing native trees such as wild cherry as well as less common British varieties such as Field Maple, Hornbeam and Lime alongside ‘familiar’ non natives such as Sweet Chestnuts and Black Walnut. A report by The Royal Forestry Society (BFS) has found that half its members were not planting more species than they were five years ago, and were picking varieties like Eucalyptus and Redwoods, which are more common in Australia and the US. Britain’s failing ash and oak woodlands, which…–– ADVERTISEMENT –– Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Women are put off smear tests because they worry it will reveal

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. Women could be put off smear tests because they fear the results will imply promiscuity, according to new research. Polling of more than 2,000 women found that around four in ten thought that being diagnosed with the human papilloma virus (HPV) – which can cause cervical cancer – was a cause of shame.Around eight in ten women will become infected with HPV at some point over their lifetimes, but only those with specific high-risk types of the virus will go on to develop cancer.The survey by charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer trust found that four in ten women would be worried about what people thought of them if their smear test results detected HPV.And they were equally fearful that the result meant their partner had been unfaithful – although the virus can lie dormant for decades.The findings, presented at Cancer Research UK’s early diagnosis conference in Birmingham, comes as the NHS in England prepares to replace standard cervical cancer screening, which looks for abnormal cells, with HPV screening, later this year.Studies suggest the number who develop cancer could be cut by a fifth, because the tests detect abnormalities far earlier, when they are easier to treat. Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “We must address the level of misunderstanding that exists around HPV. Most people will get the virus in their lifetime so it is worrying to see such high levels of fear or shame associated with it. Research suggests the number of cases each year will fall from 2,500 to 2,000 a year, under the plans.The new poll found seven in 10 women would be scared to hear they had HPV and two thirds would worry it meant they had cancer.Many women who responded did not understand the link between HPV and cancer. One in three did not know it can cause cervical cancer and almost all of them did not know it can cause throat or mouth cancer. Researchers found that only 15 per cent of those questioned realised HPV was commonplace.Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of early diagnosis, said: “It’s really concerning that there’s so much misunderstanding about HPV. It’s a very common virus and most of the time, it will sit dormant and not cause a problem.“Testing for the virus is a better way to identify people who may have changes in their cervix, which, if left untreated, could develop into cervical cancer. So HPV screening is an excellent way to prevent cervical cancer from developing in the first place.“Every woman has the choice whether to go for screening but busting the myths and removing the stigmas surrounding HPV is vital to ensure people feel more confident to book and turn up for their cervical screening appointment.” read more

2017 CSEC results No reason for celebration – Education Minister

…says 11 subjects recorded a decline in performance comparative to 2016Despite Guyana recording a minimal increase at the 2017 Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) examinations, the Education Minister has indicated that she is not satisfied with the country’s performance, especially given alarming results attained in critical subject areas such as Mathematic and English.The Ministry on Tuesday released its annual report on the country’s performance at the CSEC examinations, during which it was revealed that Guyana this year recorded a 0.29 per cent increase in the overall performance.during the release of the 2017 CSEC resultsThis was as Education Minister Nicolette Henry took to the podium at NCERD on Tuesday to present an overview of the country’s accomplishments at CSEC 2017.Henry conveyed to the gathering, “Overall we saw and increase of one per cent and there were 35 subjects that we took this year.”She went on to say, “Guyana achieved 63.68 per cent pass rate with Grades One to Three and that is against 63.39 per cent in 2016. Of these, 12.49 per cent of the entries gained Grade Ones, 22.72 per cent gained Grade Twos and 28.47 per cent gained Grade Threes.”While outlining the performance of the students, Henry indicated that of the 35 subjects pursued this year, there was a 100 per cent pass rated achieved for two subjects while for 10 other subjects areas, 90 per cent of the students managed to secure outstanding performances.An additional 14 subjects have seen improvement in the overall pass rate as well.However, despite of those positive accomplishments, the Education Minister lamented over the fact that four subject areas projected no improvements, while a whopping 11 subjects recorded a decline in performance.Mathematics, English Language (English A) and Literate (English B) were all among the subjects recording worrisome pass rates.Whereas the already troubling pass rate for English A at the 2016 sitting was recorded at 59.3 per cent, this year saw a further decline with only 57.99 per cent of the students gaining Grade Threes and above at this essential subject.With that, Minister Henry posited that despite the improvements in some areas, the results this year do not merit a national celebration.On that note she relayed, “When you recognise that you’re, you know, going downward in terms of performances in several subject areas. I looked at 11 subject areas I will think it will not be consistent with normal behaviour for us to be celebrating that today.”As a result of the unsatisfactory performances, the Education Minister indicated that strategies will be put in place ensure improvement at CSEC in the coming years.“It seems to me there is a lot of work to be done, this is not the worst performance we have seen but Guyana certainly needs to be moving in a different direction when it comes to education,” the newly appointed Education Minister expressed.Moreover, emphasising the need for actions to be taken to better cater for the nation’s youth, Henry reassured those in attendance that, “It seems to be a long road ahead of us. The good thing though is the battle that we believe is quite a winnable battle and we will do all that we can possibly do with resources available to us and the Ministry of Education to ensure that we are on the right path where we can eventually get to the place where all you can see is joy and celebration,” but stressed, “we are not there as yet.”Nevertheless, of 12,684 candidates registered for CSEC this year, a sum of 164 students secured Grade One passes at eight subjects and more at the 2017 examinations. The results also reflect outstanding performances emanating from regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Ten and Georgetown.Of this total, 93 of the top performers hailed from schools across Georgetown, with Queen’s College walking away with the majority, producing 41 of the high flyers. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCSEC, CAPE results to be released tomorrow- HarmonAugust 16, 2018In “latest news”Over 600 students recorded zero passes in 2018 CSEC examsAugust 18, 2018In “latest news”CXC results expected online todayAugust 18, 2017In “latest news” read more

Man dead reputed wife injured in Ruimveldt fire

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedWest Ruimveldt man who shot reputed wife in mouth to be charged soonNovember 3, 2016In “Crime”Mother still critical after chopping incident, attacker takes lifeNovember 28, 2018In “Crime”Police working assiduously to solve murder of West Ruimveldt man- HickenNovember 22, 2016In “Crime” Police are investigating a fire in West Ruimveldt, Georgetown during the wee hours of Monday morning which has left a 56-year-old man dead in his home while his alleged reputed wife was injured.The deceased has been identified as Christopher Bramble of West Ruimveldt.According to Police “A” Division Commander, Marlon Chapman, the injured woman- who has not yet been identified to INews- is presently nursing burn wounds at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.While Chapman disclosed that he has not yet received a full report of the incident, INews was told that the fire occurred as a result of Bramble’s reputed wife allegedly locking him and herself in the home they shared, before setting it alight.Residents in the area were recorded by media operatives describing the woman as “abusive” to Bramble.The house that the duo shared was reportedly completely destroyed.Investigations are ongoing. (Ramona Luthi) read more

Spending power of the people reduced by 18 Opposition Chief Whip

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedTalk about ‘Partnership’ is all fluff – Teixeira tells OppositionApril 8, 2014In “Politics”Jagdeo says Govt hiding from its own BudgetDecember 16, 2016In “latest news”Govt scaring away foreign investors, competing with private sector- TeixeiraDecember 7, 2017In “latest news” File photo: PPP/C Chief Whip in Parliament, Gail Teixeira‘Naked with nothing for the people of Guyana’ is what the 2019 Budget was described by the Chief Whip of the Opposition, Gail Teixeira as she delivered her remarks during the debates before the National Assembly on Thursday.Questioning the benefits of this and the prior three budgets presented by the APNU/AFC coalition Government, Teixeira asked for proof of the “good life”.“By the end when this budget is approved, we reached almost 1 trillion dollars…what would our country benefit from that sum in such a short period of time? Where is the proof of the pudding? Where is the transformations? Where is it that we can say that we are going forward. The ministers have also been hard of ears to what has been said not only by us who have been pointing out problems, but also by the trade unions, businesses, the people are talking and you have been hard of ears to what the people are saying…you have come into this House with this bullyism that nobody counts except you” the Chief Whip reprimanded.According to the Member of Parliament (MP), the people of Guyana are suffering and the Government’s main concern since it took office has been for vengeance against the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C).Teixeira chastised the Government for its vengeful ways which never sought to build national unity among the people of Guyana.The MP noted that the coalition Government has blinded its eyes to the woes of the people in this failing land.“We have heard about this being a good life but I want to ask the Minister on a human level, do you not see what is going on in the streets? Woman selling water for a living, beggars, the biggest industry in your Government is selling dog food…is this the new economy that you are proposing for the people” Teixeira questioned.“Mr Speaker do they not see that our people are suffering? Do you not hear, have you talked to the taxi and minibus drivers, the boats operators who are talking about the lack of business? Have you asked the business people what is happening? You go to barbers, nail technicians, do you not notice that they are earning less? Are you blind, do you not see what is happening to the people? The vendors, you move them…400 people a lot of them are women… ask the miners what is happening with them…report showed that this economy was being boosted by gold that was keeping the country afloat…you went and seize their equipment, the one thing that is holding us up…you admitted it in the budget that gold is now going down…you need to change your policies!” the Chief Whip rebuked.Touching on the health sector, Teixeira stated that the callousness of the coalition Government is causing the death of women daily in our health institutions.She condemned the claims made by Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence of improvements and questioned why in the 21st century, women are dying as a result of maternal complications.“You say everything is improving that we are doing great in health and yet two days people have to spend in the emergency because of the lack of facilities……women are dying from maternal complication…you keep talking about improvements and women are dying because of callousness, lack of drugs and care…what sort of improvements are you really talking about” the MP probed.As it relates to taxation, Teixeira questioned why fuel cost is yet to reduce even though the price of fuel decreased globally.Further, she noted that calculations shows that each Guyanese citizen in 2018 paid $265,000 to the Government per capita in tax.As a result of this, the MP revealed that spending power is expected to reduce by a whopping 18 per cent.“Let’s talk about purchasing power, what drives the economy is people’s ability to spend…they are stimulating the economy so that people have more to spend and so Mr speaker, in 2019 the total spending is expected to reduce by 18 percent…that is $462,000 per household in Guyana. Do you understand when we say that this cannot be the good life? People have to buy children’s supplies…they need to take care of their families…people will now be spending less” Teixeira revealed.The thing about developed states, the Chief Whip stated is that even when a Government changes, institutional memory remains.This she noted was not the case of the coalition Government who squashed projects and fired experienced people attached to the Opposition without thinking of the benefits of those people and projects to Guyana.“You fired keys members in every Ministry…you removed town clerks, REOs, Chairman, middle management and then you have a problems with execution… the Specialty hospital, Amaila Fall project, roads projects, these were programs that were in the making with investor being looked at…if you were not so small minded to allow the projects to proceed then there would have been changes now” Teixeira posited.According to the MP, the recently held Local Government Elections (LGE) where PPP/C had a landslide victory is a landmark year for the party.The Chief Whip noted that Guyanese are in essence telling the Government that their performance is bad.In conclusion, the MP questioned where is the $30B GuySuCo loan reflected in the budget? The $788M part of the $18M US signing bonus from ExxonMobil, where is it? Where is the $18M that was supposed to be in the consolidated fund?“You have lost a golden opportunity to present a better budget…this budget will not improve the lives of our people…this Government is on borrowed time…thanks to this budget, we will get into Government  in 2020” Teixeira  declared. read more