Home » 2019 » September

Kentucky Lands Top Recruits Harrison Twins

Identical twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison, considered the top high school backcourt in the nation, committed to Kentucky, assuring the Wildcats’ prominence for years to come.From Richmond, Texas, the brothers chose Kentucky over Maryland and SMU.“We liked coach (John) Calipari’s fire to win and we want to win a national chmpionship,” Andrew said.Added Aaron: “Also, Coach Calipari did not guarantee anything and we liked that.”They are the highest-rated basketball twins ever to come out of high school. Andrew, 6-foot-5, is the top point guard and No. 2 overall prospect in the ESPN 100, while Aaron is the No. 4 overall player and top-rated shooting guard in the country.The pair immediately boosts Kentucky’s recruiting class from unranked in the top 25 to No. 1 overall over Florida in ESPN’s 2013 class rankings.“I am very happy that Andrew and Aaron made their own decision,” their father, Aaron Harrison Sr., told ESPN. “They weighed all the facts and made their decision and it never changed.”Throughout the recruiting process, Calipari also was upfront with the twins and their family.“Coach Calipari told us, ‘We want you to come to Kentucky, but it is not going to be easy,’ ” Aaron Sr. said.Academics were important in their decision, according to their mother.“I liked the wall with the GPA of the players on it,” Marian Harrison said. “The GPA of the players that went to the NBA was great, and they are continuing to work toward getting their degrees.”Calipari made a great impression on the entire family and now is being rewarded with two immediate impact players for 2013.The twins’ announcement comes after a summer of intense recruiting. Each head coach who made the twins’ final three was omnipresent during July. Most of the time, the programs would dispatch their entire coaching staffs (three per school) to sit front and center to watch the twins.Andrew averaged 12 points, six assists and 4.9 rebounds per game for last year’s Texas Class 5A runner-up. Aaron averaged 18 points, four rebounds and two assists. Both are capable of big scoring numbers.In this case, Kentucky scored big. read more

Continue reading »

LeBron Heat Handle Celtics to Begin Title Defense

LeBron James and the Miami Heat opened defense of their championship with perhaps the best test the Eastern Conference has to offer, and the Boston Celtics just did not have enough. Rather, the Heat resembled the Heat of last year, only with a few more weapons, making them even more tough to beat.The Celtics, revamped themselves, battled long and hard, but they could not prevent Miami’s 120-107 victory. On a night when they received their championship rings, the Heat looked like champs, holding off Boston’s effort, a contentious tone to the game and even Kevin Garnett’s refusal to shake former Celtic Ray Allen’s hand.Wade scored 29 points, James had 26 points and 10 rebounds while missing much of the second half because of cramps in both legs, and the reigning NBA champion prevailed.“It was good to cap this night off with a win,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It was an emotional time for all of us in our organization.”There were actual fireworks before the game to close the ceremony where the Heat got their championship rings and raised their title banner. There also were plenty of figurative fireworks late, first with Boston almost digging out of a 19-point hole and, after the outcome was decided, Rajon Rondo flagrantly fouling Wade by wrapping his arms around his neck on a drive in the final seconds.“It was a punk play by (Rondo),” Wade said. “The league will take care of it. He clotheslined me, with two hands.”Meanwhile, Garnett would not extend a hand to Allen, who bolted from Boston to the enemy Heat as a free agent. As Allen entered the game for the first time, he trotted toward the Boston bench, exchanging a handshake, embrace and a few words with Rivers, who hasn’t hidden his displeasure about his former shooting guard’s decision to sign with Miami. When Allen tried to engage Garnett, the mutual pleasantries ended. Allen tapped Garnett on the shoulder as he sat on the Boston bench; Garnett didn’t even flinch, staring straight ahead, refusing to acknowledge the gesture in any way.“I was just trying to focus as much as I could. I am such an intense person,” Garnett said. “It was a blank. Obviously he’s on the other side. It’s time to play the game, man.”Allen didn’t seem flustered. His first shot in a Miami uniform was — what else? — a corner 3-pointer, which swished.“He was by himself in the corner,” Rivers said. “You’d think we’d know better.”In the end, though, the first Celtics-Heat matchup of this season was like the final one of last season — with Miami winning.Allen scored 19 points — needing only seven field goal attempts — in his first game with Miami and Chris Bosh threw in 19 points and 10 rebounds for Miami.Paul Pierce scored 23 points and Rondo finished with 20 points and 13 assists for the Celtics, who lost to the Heat in last season’s Eastern Conference finals. read more

Continue reading »

The Case For Kawhi Leonard MVP

Defensive Real Plus-Minus+0.971st Russell Westbrook has his triple-doubles, James Harden is probably the quintessential modern NBA player and LeBron James is having a typically MVP-worthy season. But among this year’s top candidates for the Maurice Podoloff Trophy,1Yes, that’s what the NBA calls the hunk of hardware it gives the most valuable player. Podoloff was the first NBA president, serving from 1949 to 1963, and he oversaw some the league’s crucial early developments, including the 1954 adoption of the shot clock at the urging of Syracuse Nationals owner Danny Biasone. only San Antonio Spurs swingman Kawhi Leonard can say he’s good at everything there is to do on the basketball court.Last season, I wrote about how rare it was to find an NBA player — particularly one so good at shooting the basketball — whose other all-around skills were as well-developed as Leonard’s. Since then, all Leonard has done is mature into a breakout superstar, setting new career highs in scoring, usage rate, assist rate and a bunch of other (mostly offensive) categories. But, astonishingly enough, Leonard has held onto the distinction of being the league’s most complete player, despite his big uptick in scoring.Leonard is universally regarded as one of the league’s top perimeter stoppers, thanks to his combination of size (he’s 6-foot-7), athleticism, basketball IQ and massive hands. He has ranked among the top handful of pick-and-roll defenders in the game each of the past two seasons, and ballhandlers rarely try to size him up on isolations anymore. Overall, Leonard perennially qualifies as one of the NBA’s best at suppressing opposing shooting percentages and lowering opponents’ offensive efficiency while on the court. (There’s also a good case to be made that plus/minus is underrating Leonard’s defensive impact this season, since — like a great cornerback in football — opponents aren’t even giving him a chance to affect the game anymore.)This is the second entry in our series making the case for five NBA MVP candidates. We’ve also made the case for James Harden and the case for Lebron James. Still to come: Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook. Also, check out our NBA predictions.But Leonard also supplements his great D with a deadeye shooting stroke, strong rebounding skills,2Relative to comparable players over the term of Leonard’s entire career. reliable ballhandling and, now, elite scoring. Starting from 11.9 points per game in 2012-13 (his first season as a full-time starter), Leonard has grown by leaps and bounds on offense, to the point that he’s now pouring in 25.7 a night — a stunning metamorphosis from a mere role player in the Spurs’ offense to head honcho. After this latest development to his game, it’s damn near impossible to find a player in the league today who does a wider variety of things at a higher level than Leonard does.With the help of Basketball-Reference.com, I pulled eight major rate statistics for this season that encompass the range of skills an NBA player can possess — true shooting percentage, usage rate, assist rate, turnover rate, offensive and defensive rebounding percentages, steal percentage and block percentage. I got a ninth — defensive Real Plus-Minus — from ESPN.3All nine statistics are current as of April 8. Among players who’ve logged at least 1,500 minutes this season, Leonard is the only one who ranks among the top half of the league in all nine statistical categories: Blocks1.8%73rd Steals2.7%96th Turnovers9.0%82nd DefenseValuePercentile Offensive rebounds3.8%59th Usage31.2%96th OFFENSEVALUEPERCENTILE True shooting61.1%90th Assists19.1%71st Percentile ranking in each category is among NBA players with 1,500 or more minutes in the 2016-17 season. Through April 8.Sources: Basketball-Reference.com, ESPN Kawhi Leonard was better than average at everything this season Defensive rebounds15.8%62nd All of Leonard’s MVP competitors, by contrast, have at least one statistical hole in their respective games. James turns the ball over too much; Stephen Curry doesn’t rebound; Westbrook and Harden play below-average defense, both by block rate and overall defensive RPM.So, statistically speaking, Leonard is the most well-rounded of all the 2016-17 MVP candidates. Just as important — among teams with an MVP-caliber player, the Spurs may be the one whose chances of winning a championship most benefit from its superstar.For all Westbrook’s singular, superhuman fury this season, the Thunder won’t crack 50 wins. And the odds of a team of that caliber winning a championship are next to nonexistent, according to a regression I ran between regular-season team win shares and championships since the NBA expanded its playoffs to 16 teams in 1984. Ditto James, whose 51-win Cavs would be one of the least successful regular-season champions if they were to defend the title. Even Harden’s Rockets, with 54 wins, are in the zone where a title is relatively unlikely. (Only an 8 percent chance, by the same regression.) At the other end of the spectrum, the Warriors — with their 66 wins — would have a good chance of winning the championship even if they had to replace Curry or Durant with an average player. (Sub out either of those stars’ win shares — 12.5 for Curry and 11.7 for Durant — with an average number, and the Warriors’ odds of capturing the title stay strong, north of 20 percent.)But for the 61-win Spurs, Leonard’s production is in a sweet spot, making the difference between a healthy shot at a ring and none at all. Without Leonard’s 13.6 win shares — third-most in the league — San Antonio’s chances of winning it all drop from solid (19 percent) to remote (3 percent). In other words, because Leonard led the Spurs to an elite record without the benefit of another superstar teammate, his production might have had the highest leverage of any MVP candidate’s.Other players had better individual numbers than Leonard did, but nobody had a better all-around season. And the Spurs’ championship outlook would be dismal without him. For our purposes, each of those distinctions is enough for Leonard to meet a very reasonable definition of what makes a player “most valuable” to his team. read more

Continue reading »

So … Are The Buffalo Bills Actually Good

CHI59CHI63CHI 31, WSH 15+0.7– Comparing Josh Allen’s Bills to other 3-0 Buffalo startsQuarterback and team Elo ratings for Buffalo Bills teams that started a season 3-0, 1985-2019 BUF74BUF69BUF 21, CIN 17-5.0– LAC66LAC56HOU 27, LAC 20+9.6– Sources: Pro-Football-Reference, NFL Next Gen Stats 1991Jim Kelly263326621081701✓ QB Elo ratings are the number of Elo points a team would gain or lose if the main quarterback was replaced by a league-average starter from that season.Source: ESPN, Pro-Football-Reference.com Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 3Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 3 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game TEN67TEN61JAX 20, TEN 7+5.7– TB69TB64NYG 32, TB 31+5.2– OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION YearPassesActualvs. ExpectedInterception%Poor Throw% 2008Trent Edwards536711-211535✓ So Allen may be getting better with his arm while remaining a threat with his legs. And as a team, Buffalo ranks ninth in total expected points added (EPA) per game so far this season, including 10th in special teams EPA, eighth in defensive EPA and sixth in defense against the pass specifically. ProFootballFocus grades safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer both as among the top 10 in the league at the position this season, two of 10 total Bills defenders who rank among the top 50 at their respective positions per PFF (and four who rank among the top 25). Last year’s Bills had one of the best EPA defenses in football as well, but they were undone by poor passing offense and special teams; if this year’s team has improved in those regards, Buffalo could have surprising staying power.Of course, the Bills have also played one of the easiest schedules in the NFL so far. The Jets, Giants and Bengals collectively had an average pregame Elo rating of 1415 going into their contests against Buffalo; only the Cowboys, whose opponents have averaged a pregame rating of 1392, have played a softer group of creampuffs this season. And now, here come the Patriots — the second-highest-ranked team in our Elo ratings. New England’s current rating of 1686 is the 13th-highest the Pats have ever had coming into a game against the Bills in the history of the rivalry. (If you can call it that — New England has won five straight and 33 of the past 37 meetings dating back to 2000.) The Pats’ defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown since last year’s AFC title game, and some folks are already talking about the possibility of another undefeated season in Foxboro.So let’s be honest: A lot of signs point to the Bills’ magical season-opening run coming to a screeching halt against New England this week. (Our model gives the Pats a 65 percent chance of winning, despite being on the road, and that’s conservative compared with the probability implied by the Vegas line.) But we also give Buffalo a 70 percent chance to make the playoffs — and for a franchise with only one playoff game under its belt since 1999, that’s as good an excuse for a raucous parking-lot celebration as anything else.Looking Ahead: Week 4Best matchup: No. 4 Dallas (-1) at No. 14 New Orleans, 8:20 p.m. ET SundayMatchup quality: 85th percentile2In terms of the harmonic mean of both teams’ QB-adjusted Elo ratings, relative to that figure for all regular-season NFL games this year.Matchup evenness: 89th percentileAs we wrote about in an earlier edition of the column, Dak Prescott of the Cowboys has been one of 2019’s breakout quarterbacks: According to our Elo QB value metric, only Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has been better on a per-game basis than Prescott this season. Now he’ll take Dallas and its 3-0 record into New Orleans to face Teddy Bridgewater and the Saints in our top game of the week. All things considered, Bridgewater was fine in his first game as Drew Brees’s stand-in, grading 73 Elo points better than average against the Seahawks last week — though he still ranks 25th among current starters in our QB rankings. New Orleans will probably rely heavily on Alvin Kamara again after the running back racked up 161 scrimmage yards versus Seattle, but our model gives the Cowboys a slight edge (53 percent chance of winning) on the road.See also: Minnesota at Chicago (80th/70th); Philadelphia at Green Bay (85th/62nd).Biggest playoff implications: No. 11 Minnesota at No. 7 Chicago (-2.5), 4:25 p.m. ET SundayPotential shift in playoff odds: 29.4 total percentage pointsThe NFC North has turned into a surprisingly strong division, with every team featuring an above-.500 record at the moment. That’s a good recipe for crucial early-season divisional matchups, and no Week 4 game is more important than Sunday’s showdown between the Vikings and the Bears. Minnesota rebounded from a tough loss to the Packers with a convincing win over the Raiders last week; Chicago finally got a good game out of Mitchell Trubisky en route to a Monday night romp over Washington. The winner of Bears-Vikings will see its playoff odds rise to over 50 percent, but the loser will drop into the 20-to-25 percent range. We give Chicago a 59 percent chance of coming out on top.See also: Cleveland at Baltimore (26.3); Philadelphia at Green Bay (25.3).Best QB duel: No. 1 Patrick Mahomes (KC) vs. No. 13 Matthew Stafford (DET)See also: No. 3 Tom Brady (NE) vs. No. 12 Josh Allen (BUF); No. 7 Carson Wentz (PHI) vs. No. 8 Aaron Rodgers (GB)FiveThirtyEight vs. the ReadersAs a weekly tradition here at FiveThirtyEight, we look at how our Elo model did against everybody who made picks in our forecasting game. (If you entered, you can find yourself on our leaderboard here. I am currently in 984th place!) These are the games in which Elo made its best — and worst — predictions against the field last week: ARI65%ARI55%CAR 38, ARI 20+9.8– MIN74MIN72MIN 34, OAK 14-3.2– YearStarterGm 1Gm 2Gm 3Qb Elo RatingTeam Elo w/ QBWon Gm 4? 1988Jim Kelly+8-48-36+61498✓ SF79SF72SF 24, PIT 20-5.8– 201910364.10.92.95.8 201832052.8%-7.7%3.8%24.4% PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.ResultREADERS’ NET PTS For just the third time since 1992, the Buffalo Bills have started a season 3-0, after they beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday in Orchard Park. The team is currently thriving under second-year quarterback Josh Allen, who has led game-winning drives in two of the Bills’ three games this season. Don’t look now, but the Bills are tied for the 11th-highest Super Bowl probability in the league, according to the FiveThirtyEight model.Circle the wagons, Buffalo!But naturally, the Bills are staring at a potential reality check this week, in the form of the also-undefeated New England Patriots. So, in this week’s column, we must ask: Are Allen and the Bills actually good? And will it even matter against the Pats? Let’s dive into the early numbers.Allen has built on a polarizing rookie season with his play so far in 2019. On the one hand, Allen has won games with a combination of timely passing (he leads all quarterbacks this season in yards compiled during the final five minutes of one-score games) and impressive running (only Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson has more rushing yards among QBs). On the other hand, he ranks just 26th out of 35 qualified QBs in passer rating, with below-average rates of completions, yards, touchdowns and interceptions per attempt. In that regard — winning despite across-the-board mediocre passing numbers — Allen is well on his way to joining a bizarre group that includes Jake Plummer, Trent Dilfer, Kordell Stewart and Mark Sanchez.Our own quarterback ratings basically split the difference between the good and the bad. With an Elo QB rating of 161, Allen isn’t great, but he’s not terrible either. In fact, he’s almost precisely average — just 4 rating points below the typical NFL starter — and by Buffalo standards, that’s not too shabby. The last time the Bills’ starter had an Elo rating that good relative to average, it was Tyrod Taylor in the middle of the 2017 season. (That happened to be the only year this century that Buffalo made the playoffs.) Compared with QBs from earlier 3-0 Bills starts, Allen is no Jim Kelly or even Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he is better than Trent Edwards was back in early 2008: QB Elo vs. Avg, First 3 GmsBefore Game 4 2011Ryan Fitzpatrick170176105311510 2019Josh Allen193221-41520— Home teams are in bold.The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. Those 2008 Bills would beat the Rams in Week 4 to run their record to 4-0 … before closing the year on a 3-9 skid to finish out of the playoffs. The 2011 Bills also fizzled after a promising first two months — which included a rare win over New England — losing seven straight and eight of their final nine games to waste a 5-2 start. So Buffalo has been tantalized by fast starts before, only to fall flat later on. But all the Kelly-led Bills on the list above went to the AFC championship game, and two of them went to the Super Bowl.Fine — Allen and Kelly, his Hall of Fame predecessor, still have little in common aside from the charging bison on their helmets. But Allen has at least shown some hints of improvement as a passer so far in his second pro season. Despite his still-mediocre overall numbers, Allen has been more accurate this year, cutting his rate of “poor throws” (according to Pro-Football-Reference.com) from a league-worst 24 percent in 2018 to just 6 percent — which ranks fourth-best this year. Some of that can be attributed to a dose of shorter throws,1Allen’s average air yards per pass has dipped from 10.5 to 8.2 this season, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group. but the NFL’s Next Gen Stats estimate that Allen is completing passes at a rate 0.9 percentage points higher than expected this season, even after adjusting for the depth of the pass and other particulars, while he checked in at 7.7 percentage points below expected last season (second-worst in the league). NE91NE95NE 30, NYJ 14-0.2– DAL91DAL95DAL 31, MIA 6-0.3– GB74GB76GB 27, DEN 16-0.9– KC69KC68KC 33, BAL 28-2.7– SEA70SEA72NO 33, SEA 27-4.3– 1992Jim Kelly-3201150501681✓ IND54ATL52IND 27, ATL 24-8.2– Completion% PHI70PHI69DET 27, PHI 24-0.5– Allen has gotten more accurateRates of good and bad passing actions (per attempt) for Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen by season, 2018-19 LAR61LAR66LAR 20, CLE 13+1.1– Week 3 was a victorious one for the readers! The average FiveThirtyEight picker beat our Elo model by 1 point this time around, giving the field its first win of the season. While Elo shrewdly took the Colts over the Falcons and had its faith in the 49ers and Bills rewarded, the readers picked up big points shading the Cardinals, Chargers, Titans and Bucs, all of whom eventually lost. Interestingly, the readers and the computer agreed on the favorite in all but one game last week (that Colts-Falcons game), but the human prognosticators won with smart probabilistic thinking. Nice job, all!Among individual readers, congrats to Bruce C, who led all (identified) readers in Week 3 with 170.9 points, and to Matt Melchior, whose total of 407.0 points leads the full-season contest. Thanks to everyone who played — and if you haven’t, be sure to get in on the action! You can make picks now and try your luck against Elo, even if you missed Week 3.Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more

Continue reading »

The Gators Bite Back

On Friday, I noted that the Florida Gators had seen a decline in their chances of winning the NCAA men’s basketball tournament despite beating Albany in their opening game. What hurt the Gators’ prospects? They defeated No. 16 Albany by an underwhelming 12 points, and they drew a tough Round of 32 matchup against Pittsburgh and a looming regional final matchup against either Kansas or Syracuse.But the Gators had a terrific weekend. They thrashed Pittsburgh by 16 points. And they were helped by upsets in the other half of the South region, with No. 3 Syracuse and No. 2 Kansas both losing to opponents with double-digit seeds.The Gators’ game against UCLA on Thursday is no gimme — they have a 72 percent chance of winning it, according to our model.  But conditional upon winning that game, they have an 83 percent chance of winning the regional final against either No. 10 Stanford or No. 11 Dayton and advancing to the Final Four.All in all, the Gators benefited more than any other team from the opening week of the tournament. Their chances of winning the national title are 18.4 percent, up from 14.5 percent before the tournament began. read more

Continue reading »

NBA Playoffs Preview The Cavs Down Two Players Are Still Favored Against

Kevin Love’s dislocated shoulder leaves the Cleveland Cavaliers with just two of their “Big Three” for the rest of the playoffs. But the remaining “Big Two” — LeBron James and Kyrie Irving — are probably enough to outlast the Chicago Bulls. FiveThirtyEight’s forecast, which is based on Real Plus-Minus, gives the Cavs a 70 percent likelihood of moving on. The Cavs will also be without J.R. Smith — who was suspended for the first two games of this series after throwing an ill-advised elbow against the Boston Celtics.1These projections assume he plays 20 minutes per game, down from 32 minutes per game this year.The Cavaliers’ offense is spectacular; it ranked third, behind only the Clippers and Warriors, in points per 100 possessions. It is built on shooting a ton of threes — the second-most in the league, as a percentage of total shots — and highly efficient attacking drives to the hoop from James and Irving. The Cavs also excel at offensive rebounding, especially Tristan Thompson, who will play big minutes now that Love is out. Admittedly, it’s still not clear exactly how Cleveland will adjust its rotation. The Bulls are tough and will put up a fight, but the Cavs’ offensive firepower, led by James, will most likely be too much to handle.The Bulls, by contrast, win on defense. Chicago held opponents to the second-lowest shooting percentage in the league. The defense carried them through an inconsistent year from Derrick Rose, who was sidelined with sporadic injuries. Rose, however, showed flashes of brilliance in the first round. And Jimmy Butler is the Bulls’ real star — with a +3.7 Real Plus-Minus rating, he’s the second-best player in this series behind James. Rose and Butler will have to have a transcendent series against a short-handed Cleveland team for the Bulls to have a chance. read more

Continue reading »

Playing The Game OSU Michigan prep for battle

Malcolm JenkinsOverall: 16-8      Last week: 3-0Prediction: Ohio State 21, Michigan 10Comment: OSU’s defense is playing great and the offense won’t have to feel any pressure to have quick scores. They just have to maintain the drives and not turn the ball over. Look for the “D” to have a big game. I’m calling this the 6th in a row.Favorite memories: Beating them at home when we were No. 1 and they were No. 2 in ’06, that was an epic game. And last year when I slammed Michigan’s wide receiver Greg Mathews in the beginning of the game.Jenkins played cornerback for OSU from 2005–08.Marcus FreemanOverall: 13-11     Last week: 1-2Prediction: Ohio State 28, Michigan 10Comment: This is the greatest rivalry in all sports. No matter what the records are, it will be a fight until the end. Favorite memory: Celebrating in Ohio stadium with OSU students after the win in ’06.Freeman played linebacker for OSU from 2004–08.Zack MeiselOverall: 12-12    Last week: 2-1Prediction: Ohio State 34, Michigan 17Comment: Rabid Wolverine fans get over-excited about a first quarter lead, then reality sets in quickly once the typically slow-starting Buckeyes get rolling against a porous Michigan defense.Meisel is the sports editor for The Lantern. Whether undefeated or winless, it’s still Ohio State-Michigan.In 2006, OSU and Michigan clashed in Columbus undefeated as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation.Any sensible observer could have explained the magnitude of the stakes.On Saturday, the Buckeyes will meet Michigan at The Big House, with a Big Ten title and trip to the Rose Bowl already wrapped up.Still, as OSU coach Jim Tressel warned, anyone involved in the unparalleled rivalry can find grounds for motivation.“There’s a reality in life that if you take anything for granted, you’re probably not thinking right,” Tressel said. “We talk about a lot of things that we shouldn’t take for granted. Maybe some things that aren’t even that real to us, but when you talk about the Ohio State-Michigan game, that’s very real. So I’d like to think our guys don’t take anything for granted, although I’m sure we all do take things for granted, but this wouldn’t be one of them.”The Buckeyes are currently riding their longest winning streak in the series’ 112-year history, having won each of the last five meetings.A sixth straight mashing of Michigan might spark comparisons to the Wolverines’ domination at the start of the series, when Michigan won 12 of the first 14 contests, tying the other two.Since taking the reins at Ohio State, Tressel has coached the Buckeyes to victory over their rivals to the north in seven of eight meetings.“I’ve known before I was even part of the series of the significance of the game and the excitement of the game,” Tressel said. “It’s part of you if you like football and you’re from Ohio State or you’re from Michigan, or if you’re in the Big Ten. You just grow up knowing that we’re fortunate to be a part of this game. It’s extraordinary.”While OSU will feed off the motivation to stomp on a struggling Michigan program, the Wolverines will rely upon desperation.Michigan must beat Ohio State to secure bowl eligibility. Otherwise, Rich Rodriguez’s squad will start the offseason early for the second consecutive season.“The nice thing of the Ohio State-Michigan game is it’s always let it all hang out because this is it,” Tressel said. “I mean, this is what it’s all about. And I think if you look specifically at Michigan, they could be at eight or nine wins right now with the ball bouncing this way different or a call being made this way different. I mean, that’s the fine line in college football.”So, despite the disparity in records, statistics and performance, it is all thrown out the window when the two programs go head-to-head, Tressel said.“It’s Ohio State-Michigan,” he said. “I’m sure you could talk to some people who have participated in this game as a player or a coach and they could tell you that probably in the forefront of their mind of their memories of their time here, more so is the Ohio State-Michigan things that flow through their head than it is which bowl did you go to and where were you ranked and this and that, so what’s at stake is Ohio State-Michigan.”The nature of the rivalry brings out the best in both sides, which represents the best in college football.It didn’t take much time for Rodriguez, closing out his second year at the helm at Michigan, to take notice of the passion and enthusiasm that encompasses the rivalry.“I don’t think it takes long to understand the rivalry when you’re a coach at Michigan or Ohio State,” he said. “You don’t even have to coach here or play here to understand the intensity of it if you watch college football.”Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, Ohio State will play in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.The undetermined future to Michigan’s season rides on the 106th meeting in the OSU-Michigan rivalry, and Tressel hopes his team is playing its best football to thwart a Wolverine attempt at evening its record.“What we’ve got to focus on is feeling like at the end of this game we’ve played the best we’re capable of playing,” he said. “It’s game 12. We’re as healthy as we are, and got all these experiences and learned all these lessons, and did we play the best we were capable of playing? Making the assumption Michigan will do that, because most people do that in the Ohio State-Michigan game, so all those other outside things, whether they’re outside things in their world or outside things in our world, this week there’s only one thing.” Justin ZwickOverall: 16-8     Last week: 3-0Prediction: Ohio State 31, Michigan 10Comment: Defense plays another great game while the offense continues to grind it out but sprinkles in a few big plays against Michigan’s weak secondary. Bucks roll!Zwick played quarterback for OSU from 2002–06. WEEKLY FOOTBALL PICKSSaturday’s Game: No. 10 Ohio State @ MichiganQuinn PitcockOverall: 18-6     Last week: 2-1Prediction: Ohio State 45, Michigan 13Comment: This game will be a true test of our focus before the Rose bowl.Favorite memory: Pregame speech my senior year and the fans rushing the field aftervictory are my favorite OSU vs. M*chigan memories.Pitcock played defensive tackle for OSU from 2002–06. read more

Continue reading »

Dissecting Week Two of the NFL Playoffs

Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings  Tony Romo finally dismissed all of his critics after he won his first playoff game against the Cowboys’ division rival Philadelphia Eagles. But can Romo continue his recent success against his childhood idol Brett Favre?The Cowboys are actually the only team remaining in the playoffs that has no players on injury reserve. Wade Phillips’ squad has never played so well under his tenure and his defense has been hitting on all cylinders. The Vikings didn’t persuade Brett Favre to get off his tractor to simply guide the team to the playoffs. The front office believed that with their elite defense and All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson, Favre was the missing piece to their hopes of a Super Bowl title.But the question revolving around Favre is, which quarterback will show up on Saturday? The gunslinging, reckless quarterback that haunted the Packers in his recent playoff games and in his stint with the New York Jets, or the game manager that he has been in most of his Viking games? Even though the Cowboys are riding into this contest with an overwhelming amount of confidence and momentum, the Vikings’ dominant defensive line should be able to hold Romo in check as Favre directs his new team into the NFC Championship game. Pick: Minnesota Vikings Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints New Orleans will host a meeting this weekend that has the potential to break playoff offensive records. Arizona’s offense looked nearly unstoppable in its overtime victory against the Green Bay Packers. The 38-year-old rejuvenated quarterback Kurt Warner looks poised to possibly make another playoff run to the Super Bowl as his team is playing its best football at the end of the season, just like last year. The Saints averaged 31.9 points and more than 400 yards of total offense per game this season, led by their All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees. New Orleans’ offense is so lethal because of the its array of wide receivers and three solid running backs. Playing in the Superdome in front of the Saints’ faithful should be a vital factor in Sunday’s contest. The Cardinals might be coming off of a record offensive showing in Arizona last weekend, but the Saints will counter-balance with a rested and superior offense of their own. Pick: New Orleans Saints Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore RavensThe Indianapolis Colts could have finished the regular season undefeated, but coach Jim Caldwell wanted to rest his starters for the playoffs. Now after finishing the season at 14-2, the Colts feel that most critics have jumped off their bandwagon as Super Bowl favorites. Coming off of his NFL-record fourth MVP season, Peyton Manning will look to guide the Colts to their second championship in four years. Manning possesses an ample amount of offensive weapons, including his No. 1 receiver Reggie Wayne and tight end Dallas Clark.      The Ravens ran the ball effectively in wild card weekend to decisively dismantle the New England Patriots at Foxboro. Their defense that tormented Tom Brady last Sunday will look to try to confuse the Colts’ signal-caller. Even though the Ravens held an early, overbearing lead against the Patriots last week, quarterback Joe Flacco looked completely flat on the field. Indianapolis is under a great amount of pressure to win this playoff game after the decision to rest its marquee players and halt their near record-breaking momentum. While rust tends to tie in with extensive rest, the Colts should able to overcome this detriment and capitalize on their experience to win in Indianapolis.  Pick: Indianapolis Colts New York Jets vs. San Diego ChargersThe Chargers are riding an 11-game winning streak and look to potentially have a strong run in the playoffs. Quarterback Phillip Rivers, known as one of the toughest and most competitive players in the NFL, has blossomed into one of the marquee quarterbacks in the league. San Diego’s roster is stockpiled with playoff veterans such as LaDainian Tomlinson, who might have his last opportunity to reach a Super Bowl with the Chargers this year. Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez played a nearly perfect game at Cincinnati last weekend and hasn’t turned the ball over in his past three contests. Cornerback Darrelle Revis blanketed star wide receiver Chad Ochocinco at Cincinnati; so don’t expect Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson to do anything special this Sunday. The Jets have had an impressive roller coaster-ride of a season as they weathered the slumps of their rookie quarterback. But the Chargers simply have too much talent and veteran experience to slip in their first playoff contest. Pick: San Diego Chargers read more

Continue reading »

Opinion The Michigan Daily reporters should not be punished for doing their

Michigan coach Brady Hoke. Michigan student newspaper The Michigan Daily recently broke a story about former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons violating the Student Sexual Misconduct policy. Credit: Kaily Cunningham / Multimedia editorAs a journalist, it is your duty to report the news. The real news. Not a fabricated story, not leaving important details out, but the honest to God news.That is all the writers at The Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan’s independent student newspaper, were doing, and now they are being punished for it.Sports writer Matt Slovin and staff reporter Adam Rubenfire broke the story on former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons being separated from the university for violating the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.This in turn saw the paper’s reporters not invited by the school to a press conference Monday where coach Brady Hoke discussed the violations, according to Slovin and Detroit News writer Tony Paul.In a day and age where people will go out of their way to defend the free speech rights of just about anyone that speaks, seeing the school turn away their own paper because they were doing their jobs is outrageous.What would have happened if The Associated Press had broken the report, or ESPN? Would the school have been as keen to block their reporters from attending the press conference?The report from the paper is well written, well reported and factually correct. There have been no corrections issued for this story, they didn’t flat out lie — these journalists were just doing what they had been trained to do.According to the paper’s website, they are financially independent from the school, but that didn’t stop Michigan from making a statement about the content that was being run.As an editor for The Lantern, a rival Big Ten paper, I have immeasurable respect for these journalists. This story had to be reported on whether it made Michigan happy or not.In the end, I’m not sure what the program gained by blocking these reporters from entering. With the speed that news is reported in today’s world, it was guaranteed this story would get out. Michigan comes out as the bad guy and The Michigan Daily ends up having more power than it did before.The school failed in what it did and should be questioned for the decision. But more importantly we should celebrate the newspaper. Not for doing something extraordinary, but for simply doing their job: reporting the news. read more

Continue reading »

Football Ohio State defensive end Jalyn Holmes exits the game with apparent

Senior defensive end Jalyn Holmes (11) waits in between plays during the 2017 season opener vs. Indiana. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorLINCOLN, Nebraska — Ohio State senior defensive end Jalyn Holmes was forced to leave with an apparent injury with 6:11 remaining in the third quarter of the Buckeyes’ game against Nebraska Saturday night. At the time, Ohio State led 49-7.Holmes was able to walk off the field and into the locker room with his arms draped over members of the training staff. Holmes has been listed as a co-starter at defensive end all season, and has also helped fill in at defensive tackle following the injury to redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones that caused Jones to miss the Rutgers and Maryland games. read more

Continue reading »

Newlywed saved from cancer after grandmothers doctor she bumps into on honeymoon

first_imgShe said: “I’m so grateful to that doctor for telling me what she did because she could have saved my life.”She wasn’t even working, she was just doing her shopping. No one else had ever pointed the lump out before and I didn’t think it was anything to worry about.”Without the push to get it checked out, it could have been a completely different story.”Mrs McCulloch and her then fiancé Matt, 27, who runs a groundworks company, decided to get married abroad after booking a family holiday to Cyprus in May 2015.But just days after tying the knot, Mrs McCulloch was out shopping with her grandmother Wendy, who lives on the island, when they bumped into the doctor.”She is my nan’s doctor so she was introducing us,” said Mrs McCulloch. “Almost immediately, she asked what the lump on my neck was and whether I’d had it checked.”I had only recently had my second child and had put around a stone in weight on, so I just put it down to changes in my body.”I didn’t really know how to take what she was saying as it was quite personal and out of the blue but she was quite insistent that when I got back to the UK I needed to go and see someone.” Danielle McCulloch was immediately referred to a specialist for tests after seeing her GP in Peterbrough After arriving home to Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, Mrs McCulloch went to see her GP. She was immediately referred to a specialist for tests and a biopsy, but nothing showed up.Mrs McCulloch said: “I wasn’t worried at all because I really didn’t think there was anything in it.”When the biopsy came back clear, I thought it was all just a fuss about nothing, but the doctors asked to remove the lump just to be safe.”They carried out a pretty straightforward operation to take the mass off my left thyroid, and it was only later that they revealed it was in fact cancerous.” A newlywed’s life was saved from cancer by her grandmother’s medic she bumped into while shopping on her honeymoon.Danielle McCulloch was holidaying in Cyprus just days after getting married when the medic spotted a lump on her neck after they met by chance in a supermarket.She advised the 26-year-old that it looked suspicious and told her she should get it checked out as soon as she returned to the UK.Mrs McCulloch was later diagnosed with stage three thyroid cancer just weeks later by doctors, who told her that without treatment it could have killed her. Doctors at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge found Mrs McCulloch was suffering from thyroid cancer.After having already removed Mrs McCulloch left thryoid, where the 4cm lump was growing, medics then carried out a second operation to remove the right side.She was then treated with a radioactive iodine to ensure any cancerous cells were destroyed.Mrs McCulloch, a cleaner, has been left with a scar on her neck from the treatment and will have take medication for the rest of her life.center_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. She wasn’t even working, she was just doing her shopping. No one else had ever pointed the lump out beforeDanielle McCulloch Danielle McCulloch was immediately referred to a specialist for tests after seeing her GP in PeterbroughCredit:James Linsell-Clark/SWNSlast_img read more

Continue reading »

Candlelit vigils wearing black and crying how Remainers are spending Article 50

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. Ignore the pointless piece of theatre from May re the Article 50 trigger letter. #Brexit will be stopped.— A C Grayling (@acgrayling) March 28, 2017 Must admit to a sense of mourning today as #Brexit is formally triggered. An awful decision based upon a flawed campaign.— Simon Owen (@CalibreSimon) March 29, 2017 Every time my 9 year old asks a question about Brexit I start crying when I explain. Which isn’t helpful.— The_Grownup (@The_Grownup) March 29, 2017 I’ve just been with James Sheerin from Gosforth who is posting back his British passport on the day Theresa May triggers #Article50 pic.twitter.com/60mLzprMrg— Philippa Goymer (@journopippa) March 29, 2017 Tomorrow when #Article50 is triggered please light a candle and post the pic to show our sadness and sense of loss #candles4EU #NotInOurName pic.twitter.com/LFOIfEMJ8M— LabourAgainstBrexit (@Labour4EU) March 28, 2017 In mourning, this morning #brexit Can only hope that they’re right and I’m wrong 😥😥— sue williamson (@librarychampion) March 29, 2017 Feel like crying as I listen to the news this morning. Article 50: May signs letter that will trigger #Brexit https://t.co/qGKkrRGsVM— Jane Labous (@janelabous) March 29, 2017 Wearing black today and grieving the loss of my European citizenship. So pointlessly self-harming to leave. History will judge those guilty— Tom Shakespeare (@TommyShakes) March 29, 2017 .@exeterlabour members will be mourning #Article50 triggering tomorrow by lighting #candles4EU outside the Guildhall 6pm. Do come along. https://t.co/gzbMaDkjE2— Ben Bradshaw (@BenPBradshaw) March 28, 2017 While many are celebrating today – including Nigel Farage, who intends to spend it in the pub – some people are in mourning.Brexit has split the opinion of the UK, as almost half voted to remain.Some Remainers have decided to move on and hope for the best, while others are staunchly in mourning. Labour members, including the MP for Exeter, are to light candles throughout the day and hold a vigil in mourning of our membership of the EU, proclaiming this decision is not in their name.Ben Bradshaw MP claimed Exeter Labour members will be gathering together in mourning when Article 50 is triggered, tweeting:  “@exeterlabour members will be mourning #Article50 triggering tomorrow by lighting #candles4EU outside the Guildhall 6pm. Do come along.”Others have said they have cried already today and some are even wearing black for the occasion.One man has posted back his passport in response to Brexit.Here is how some Remainers are reacting to Article 50 being triggered:last_img read more

Continue reading »

Son of Invictus Games competitor killed himself after being bullied for being

first_img“He had been rejected a number of times. He had been in a bad place – he had not been able to get out of this mindset.”He said there had been a minor argument at home on the morning of the tragedy. Text messages from Sam’s phone showed that he told his classmates he nearly killed himself on New Year’s Eve. Sam Roach, Tudor Grange Academy School principal, described the pupil as “sweet and bright”, excelling in a variety of subjects. She also said the school was working towards a culture of openness and defended how the school dealt with bullying.Mrs Roach said: “We were unaware what was going on. We have a zero tolerance of bullying, once we are aware of issues.”Children are sanctioned. We have had assemblies. We have a school counsellor, holding sessions at lunchtime and evenings. We did not know what was happening, when children knew. We have a place for children to go to staff and report it.”Worcestershire coroner Geraint Williams recorded a verdict of suicide.He said he was satisfied there was compelling evidence the teenager had intended to kill himself, and offered his condolences to the family. “I just hope these bullies can live with the regret. They’ve torn this family apart.”I don’t think people know the effect it has on the people it leaves behind.”We want to express our thanks to the paramedics, the police for their investigation, the support of the school and his friends.”I was abroad on a Paralympic ski meeting at the time I found out. I got a phone call just after I landed from my daughter, Sophie.”He went out after having a minor argument with his mum. His mum told him to be mindful and be back for one for lunch. Anita rang his mobile and a paramedic answered and said that he had been involved in an accident.”We used to go skiing as a family, because obviously I can’t go skiing by myself so Sam used to come out and guide me. I will miss him dearly.” 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. The 14-year-old son of a former army corporal who competed in last year’s Invictus Games killed himself after being bullied on a school ski trip for being too clever, an inquest has heard. Sam Abel, 14, jumped from the roof of a supermarket on January 8 and was pronounced dead in hospital.Worcestershire Coroners’ Court heard how the intelligent pupil at Tudor Grange Academy School had been relentlessly bullied in the lead up to his death.The coroner was told how cruel schoolmates taunted him on a school skiing trip and also punctured the tyres on his bicycle.His heartbroken parents said they were not sure why he was bullied – but that it could have been because he was successful at school. Dad Mark Abel, 50, who served in the British Army for 14 years, lost his sight five years ago after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and competed in last years Invictus Games as a swimmer. He said: “It could have been because he was successful at school.”Sometimes other pupils are jealous and this can breed bullying.”But we’ll never be entirely sure because he only really spoke to his friends about it. but I know pranks were pulled on him that were particularly cruel. Sam’s mum, Anita, 47, said after the hearing: “Our beautiful boy has gone. Our lives are never going to be the same again. We were such a close family, he was even his dad’s private skiing partner. On a school skiing trip he was bullied so much. He was looking forward to that trip so much.center_img Flags of some of the participating nations are displayed during the opening ceremony for the Invictus GamesCredit:AP Photo/John Raoux “He was meant to be going to see his dad get a gold medal this year. He did so many things, like abseiling and zip-wiring. He went into high-school and was bullied again. He kept telling us he was fine.”From the age of 13 he was product reviewing for companies like Amazon. We found out he was very clever and he was often busy studying. He wanted to be the next Alan Sugar.”He was just amazing, he could make movies and all sorts. Our lives are just never ever going to be the same again.”We are just one of the most unluckiest families. My husband is registered as blind and on the day of Sam’s funeral I was diagnosed with an illness. Luckily, he didn’t know I was ill before he died. He’s in a happy place now. We miss him so much and our lives will never be the same again.”PC Christopher McManus, of West Mercia Police, said officers spoke to Mrs Abel after he son’s death and she told them her son had been bullied.PC McManus said: “He had a number of friends, but no real best friends. Clearly he had suicidal thoughts for some time. Our beautiful boy has gone. Our lives are never going to be the same againSam’s mother Flags of some of the participating nations are displayed during the opening ceremony for the Invictus Gameslast_img read more

Continue reading »

Surveillance photos show Russian intelligence officers plotting Montenegro coup

first_imgThe Russian pair are alleged to have appointed Aleksandar Sindjelic, a veteran anti-Western activist who had in the past boasted to associates of his ties with the Russian defence ministry.After the plot was wound up, Sindjelic turned prosecution witness and his testimony will be a key part of the trial.Surveillance pictures show Shishmakov and Popov together in a park and also Shishmakov talking to Sindjelic.European intelligence agencies are understood to have helped the Montenegrins amass a wealth of evidence for what is the biggest trial the tiny Balkan nation has ever seen.Shishmakov and Popov gave Sindjelic large sums for weapons and equipment and he was also given a lie detector test to check he was not a Western intelligence agent, it is claimed.A lengthy indictment against the plotters alleges the network was given sophisticated encrypted phones set up from Moscow, while at least one money transfer to the conspirators was made from the same street as GRU headquarters in the Russian capital. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, second from right, poses for photos with members of a far-right pro-Russian group of which Nemanja Ristic, first from left, is a member, at the grave of Belgrade's liberators from Nazi occupation in World War II, in Belgrade, Serbia Eduard Shishamkov (1) and Vladimir Popov (2), both GRU military intelligence officers, are accused of orchestrating the plot The photographs are believed to have been taken in a Belgrade park around the time of the foiled coup and are a key part of evidence prosecutors say links the plot to Russian “state bodies”.The Kremlin has strongly denied any involvement and two pro-Russian opposition leaders among the defendants claim the plot is fake and confected to discredit them.However British and US officials believe the conspiracy had high-level backing from Russia and was one of the most audacious examples of the Kremlin’s attempts to undermine European democracies.The plot was only foiled when a conspirator turned himself in days before Serb nationalists disguised as police were to fire on election day protesters outside Parliament, kill Mr Djukanovic and plunge the country into turmoil. These are the covert surveillance photographs said to offer key proof Russian intelligence officers plotted a violent coup that would have ended in the assassination of a European leader.The pictures obtained by European intelligence agencies allegedly show two officers of Russia’s GRU military spy service visiting the Balkans and overseeing the man they hired to orchestrate the bloody overthrow of Montenegro’s government.Eduard Shishmakov and Vladimir Popov are to stand trial next month with 13 others for their part in an election day plot to attack Montenegro’s parliament and kill Milo Djukanovic, the pro-Western leader. Shishmakov and Popov, who are being tried in their absence, are said to have begun plotting several months earlier, traveling to neighbouring Serbia to search for a suitable organiser on the ground. Another of the alleged plotters, Nemanja Ristic (pictured first from left), was photographed in December with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, (second from right)Credit:APcenter_img Dr Igor Sutyagin, a Russian military expert at the Royal United Services Institute, said the GRU was adept at recruiting and organising groups of insurgents and paramilitaries.The military intelligence service has become emboldened after running successful operations in eastern Ukraine, but the exposure of GRU officers in Montenegro would have embarrassed it in Moscow, he said.He said: “It’s embarrassing for everybody. You are not guilty if you fail. You are guilty if you fail and get caught.” Photos obtained from European intelligence sources show Eduard Shishamkov and Vladimir Popov, both GRU military intelligence officers, meeting the Serb nationalist they are accused of hiring to orchestrate the plot. The pictures are set to be key evidence in a politically charged trial of the plotters early next month. Picture shows: 1=Shishmakov 2=Popov You are not guilty if you fail. You are guilty if you fail and get caughtDr Igor Sutyagin Shishmakov had in 2014 been expelled from his post as Russian Deputy Military Attaché in Poland after the Poles caught him spying, according to the charges against him.He travelled to the Balkans on a genuine passport made out under the alias Shirokov, which prosecutors claim could only have been issued with official Russian authority. 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

Continue reading »

More than 370 arrests made at Notting Hill Carnival

Performers in costume take part in the carnivalCredit:DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP Performers in costume take part in the carnival “However Monday night was marred by the news of a non-life-threatening stabbing at around 8.10pm in Ladbroke Grove. Thankfully this was the only incident of this nature throughout the whole weekend.”He added: “I am very pleased with the results of the screening arches and the Section 60 order; 36 offensive weapons were taken off the streets by my officers and 373 arrests were made over the course of the weekend, which we expect could rise. “Although I am happy with how the event ran overall, once again 30 of my colleagues were injured in the line of duty. Any assault on police is unacceptable.” Officers detained 156 people on drugs offences, 69 on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and nine on suspicion of sexual offences.Among the items seized were knives, a metal pole and a taser.Last year some 313 arrests were carried out.Notting Hill Carnival Gold Commander Dave Musker said: “We would like to thank all those who took to the streets to celebrate everything that the carnival stands for, in a kind and considerate manner. Police made more than 370 arrests at Notting Hill Carnival over the bank holiday weekend.Monday night was “marred” by the only stabbing of the event, with a male receiving non-life-threatening injuries at around 8.10pm in Ladbroke Grove.Scotland Yard said 30 officers were injured “in the line of duty”.As of 10.15pm on Monday, the Metropolitan Police said it made 240 arrests on the bank holiday and 133 on Sunday, which included 10 made by the British Transport Police (BTP).A further 12 arrests were carried out by BTP on Monday. Scotland Yard imposed a Section 60 order across the carnival area between 9am and 11.59pm. The order allowed officers to search people if they believed they were carrying offensive weapons or in anticipation of violence.The bank holiday weekend event was policed by the highest number of officers in six years.Almost 7,000, some from the Metropolitan Police’s newly formed Violent Crime Task Force, policed Monday’s event to “combat the threat of violent crime”.After a wave of violent crime in the capital in recent months, Scotland Yard announced knife arches had been placed at “strategic points” along the route to help reassure people about their safety, though officials did not disclose where. On both Sunday and Monday, the carnival fell silent as thousands of people paid tribute to Grenfell Tower victims.At 3pm, revellers marked 72 seconds of silence in memory of the 72 people who died following the fire in June last year.The tower block is within half a mile of the parade route.Police were operating with enhanced stop-and-search powers in a bid to crack down on violence. 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

Continue reading »

NHS must follow the lead of driverless cars and embrace technology –

The NHS must follow the lead of driverless cars and embrace technology – even if it doesn’t work perfectly, the Health Secretary has said.Matt Hancock urged GPs to do more to adopt innovations such as virtual consultations via video, and the use of artificial intelligence.The minister, who became Health Secretary in July, personally uses an app called “GP at Hand” which uses artificial intelligence to assess symptoms and offers smartphone consultations.Last month he criticised NHS attempts to block use of such schemes, saying every patient should be able to benefit from such services.This fuelled a backlash from some GPs who said the service run by private healthcare firm Babylon has not been properly evaluated, with fears its systems could miss serious symptoms. Push Doctor is just one of the smartphone consultation services available Mr Hancock said every patient should be able to benefit from online consultation services Last week she wrote to Mr Hancock, calling on him to clarify his stance after he told the Telegraph that he believed every patient should be offered the chance of video and phone consultations.“I want to see GP at Hand available to all, not based on their postcode,” Mr Hancock had told the Telegraph, later adding that he wanted services run by other firms to be available too.Prof Stokes-Lampard called on the Health Secretary to pause the rollout of such schemes, raising fears that the service could “cherry pick” fitter and younger patients, and force the closure of traditional GP practices as they lose funds.Mr Hancock has urged NHS officials to re-examine the rules, to ensure that patients can be offered a choice of services, without traditional services being compromised.It comes as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned adverts for GP at Hand for failing to make it clear that users must leave their current doctor and need to wait up to a week or more after registering before they can access the service.Posters on the London Underground, a Facebook post, a website and an app for GP at Hand advertised claims such as “See an NHS GP in minutes for free 24/7”, “Sign up in 3 minutes” and “A simple, secure and convenient way to access NHS healthcare”.The ads attracted eight complaints that they did not make it clear that users must leave their current GP or that the service was only available to those who lived or worked in the catchment area of specific surgeries.The complainants, including a GP, said the “See an NHS GP in minutes” claim was also misleading because they understood it took up to three weeks to register before users could access the service.Babylon Healthcare Services, trading as GP at Hand, said the website flagged to visitors several times that users would have to leave their current doctor to sign up to the service, which was available to patients living within 40 minutes travel time of five surgeries across London.It said the “See an NHS GP in minutes” claim was a description of the service, and believed consumers would understand that the registering process took time.The ASA said consumers were likely to regard GP at Hand as a supplement to the service they received from their current doctor, but the ads were not clear that users must change their GP to register.It said none of the ads included information that only those who lived or worked within the catchment area of the five surgeries could sign up.And it said consumers would be led to believe they would be able to quickly sign up and use GP at Hand when in reality they could have to wait several days or even a week or more to register before they could use it for the first time.The ASA ruled that the ads must not appear again in their current form.  A GP at Hand spokesman said some “minor changes” had been made to the ads to make the sign-up process and eligibility criteria “even clearer”. Now Mr Hancock has told a Conservative fringe meeting that the NHS cannot afford to wait before rolling out new technology, suggested that delays could carry greater risks.“People say … we’ve got to make sure it works perfectly for everybody before we roll it out,” he told a meeting with the Royal College of GPs (RCGPs).”No we don’t, we have to roll it out for people who can benefit while making sure it is clinically safe. But clinically safe means up to high safety standards.”Humans could make far more errors than automated systems, he said. “There’s an analogy here with driverless cars. If driverless cars, autonomous cars, can reduce the risk of an accident compared to a human by 90 per cent – but it still hits the headlines when one of those 10 per cent happens – then that’s still an improvement,” the Health Secretary said. But Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP chairman said such innovations needed careful development.Continuing his analogy, she told the fringe: “I’m not having patients crashing. The difficulty with the metaphor is that patients and their lives are too precious to play mobile phone upgrades with.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Continue reading »

Education Secretary backs system to flag university students mental health problems to

Clare Marchant, the chief executive of the universities admissions service has already signalled that she is open to the possibility of adding a section to the Ucas application form, where students opt in to having  certain information about their wellbeing shared with their next of kin.   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. The Education Secretary has backed a system to flag university students’ mental health problems to parents.  Damian Hinds has urged vice-Chancellors to “get better at reaching out to family members” if a student is struggling, adding that this would be a “big step” towards improving pastoral care.His comments come ahead of an event today, hosted by the vice-Chancellor membership organisation Universities UK, aimed at developing advice for universities on consent for disclosure to third parties about students who are in difficulty. James Murray, who is the father of the tenth Bristol University to take his own life, has campaigned for a change to data protection rules prevent further deaths at universities.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––His son Ben, 19, died in May and it was only after his death the family discovered Ben had been falling behind in his studies, missing lectures and had been put in a “withdrawal process” by the university who were considering his “fitness to study”.Universities say that under data protection laws, they are unable to share confidential information about students – who are over the age of 18 so legally regarded as adults – without their express permission.But Mr Murray has called for the rules to be relaxed so parents can be told if students are struggling. Mr Hinds said: “Ensuring that university students, many of whom will be leaving home for the first time, are supported is a key challenge for the department and the higher education sector as a whole.“Our universities are world leading in so many areas and I want them to be the best in the world for support and pastoral care as well.“Ensuring that universities get better at reaching out to family members if a student is struggling with mental health is a big step along the road to delivering that ambition.” read more

Continue reading »

Venezuelas recent claims aim to influence Good Officer process – Govt

The Government of Guyana said that it remains faithful to the Good Officers Process to resolve the long-standing border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela amid new claims being made by Venezuelan authorities.Norwegian diplomat; Dag Halvor NylanderRegional and local media reports indicate that Venezuela’s Energy and Petroleum Commission is contending that Guyana violated the Geneva agreement of 1966 and Article 10 of the Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela with its oil exploration within the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana.In a report in a Venezuelan newspaper, El Nacional, the Commission claims that the area being explored by ExxonMobil and its partners was declared Venezuelan territory under the 1966 Agreement.According to GINA, Minister of State Joseph Harmon in response to questions from the media at today’s post-Cabinet press briefing said that he believes that statements that are made by Venezuelan authorities are meant to influence the process.The Minister added that Guyana remains committed to seeing the resolution of the matter, GINA said.“We are very faithful to our commitment under this arrangement, we would not wish anything to be done to derail that process,” Minister Harmon said.Last month, the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, announced the appointment of a Norwegian diplomat, Dag Halvor Nylander as his personal Representative in the Good Offices Process on the border controversy.The Geneva Agreement of February 17, 1966 saw Guyana and Venezuela referring to the Secretary-General for a decision to settle the controversy that had arisen as the result of the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 about the frontier between Venezuela and what is now Guyana, is null and void.If the dispute is not resolved by the end of the year, the UN Secretary General will choose the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as the next means of settlement. “We’ve always said that there is an agreement and therefore it should be dealt with by the International Court,” Minister Harmon was quoted by GINA as saying. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPresident Granger sees Venezuela’s claims to Guyana’s territory as “expansionist ambition”March 17, 2017In “latest news”THE GUYANA-VENEZUELA BORDER CONTROVERSYJune 11, 2016In “latest news”Fmr Venezuelan Ambassador weighs in on expanding claims to Guyana’s TerritoryJune 13, 2015In “Politics” read more

Continue reading »

Smoking causes one in 10 deaths worldwide study shows

Indonesia is among the countries that have struggled to curb smoking (Getty Images)(BBC) Smoking causes one in 10 deaths worldwide, a new study shows, half of them in just four countries – China, India, the US and Russia.Despite decades of tobacco control policies, population growth has seen an increased number of smokers, it warned.Researchers said mortality could rise further as tobacco companies aggressively targeted new markets, especially in the developing world.The report was published in the medical journal The Lancet.“Despite more than half a century of unequivocal evidence of the harmful effects of tobacco on health, today, one in every four men in the world is a daily smoker,” said senior author Dr Emmanuela Gakidou.“Smoking remains the second largest risk factor for early death and disability, and so to further reduce its impact we must intensify tobacco control to further reduce smoking prevalence and attributable burden.”The Global Burden of Diseases report was based on smoking habits in 195 countries and territories between 1990 and 2015.It found that nearly one billion people smoked daily in 2015 – one in four men and one in 20 women.Higher taxesThat was a reduction from one in three men and one in 12 women who lit up in 1990.However, population growth meant there was an increase in the overall number of smokers, up from 870 million in 1990.And the number of tobacco-related deaths – more than 6.4 million in 2015 – increased by 4.7% over the same period.The study found some countries had succeeded in efforts to help people quit, mostly through a combination of higher taxes, warnings on packages and education programmes.Over the 25-year period, Brazil had seen the percentage of daily smokers drop from 29% to 12% among men and from 19% to 8% among women.But, the report said, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines saw no change from 1990 to 2015.Russia saw smoking among women rise by 4% over the same period and similar trends were emerging in parts of Africa, the authors warned. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMovies hook millions of young people on tobacco – new WHO report says films with smoking scenes should be rated ‘R’February 1, 2016In “Entertainment”Global anti-smoking measures quadruple since 2007 — WHO reportJuly 19, 2017In “Health”Tobacco Control Bill proposes G$20,000 fine for public smoking after first offenceJune 1, 2017In “Health” read more

Continue reading »