David Ortiz has become Major League Baseball’s all-time designated hitter.In a game against the Seattle Mariners Wednesday night, Big Papi smashed a double to left-center field, which earned the 37-year-old Boston Red Sox slugger’s 1,689th hit as a designated hitter. The hit helped Ortiz surpass Harold Baines as the all-time leader among DHs.“It’s good to be mentioned with some of the greatest hitters that ever played the game,” Ortiz said. “I used to love to watch Edgar. He was a wonderful hitter. Wonderful hitters and when I first came up watching those guys. Now for your name to get mentioned next to theirs, it’s a wonderful thing.”
Antonio Smith’s appeal of the three-week suspension handed down by the NFL was denied Friday. According to a source, the Houston Texans defensive end will miss Week 1 of the regular season and lose roughly $400,000 of his salary.Smith was suspended last week after ripping Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito’s helmet off and swinging it at his head during Houston’s second preseason game.“In general, I feel disappointed, disappointed in myself that I was able to let him get to me in the way that he did that frustrated me, when knowing that that’s his whole game, that’s what he bases his skill level off of, and I let him take me down a road that led me into that path,” Smith told KRIV-TV in Houston.“Initially, I was full of frustration,” Smith said. “I swung the helmet, but I didn’t swing the helmet to hit Richie Incognito. If I was going to swing the helmet to hit Richie Incognito, it wouldn’t have been hard. He’s right there close. You can see how low the helmet was and how tight I brought it to my body.”Smith will continue to practice with the team while on suspension—which officially ends Tuesday, Sept. 10.
Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Dec. 20, 2016), we debate whether we’ve reached peak bowl season in college football — and discuss ways to reform the system. Next, following the benching of Houston Texans QB Brock Osweiler this weekend, we take a look at his stats and ponder whether he would have been better off with the Denver Broncos. Finally, ’tis the season: with an assist from Neil Paine and IMDb, we try to apply Elo ratings to Christmas movies. Plus, a significant digit on how a celebration ruined the Celebration Bowl for North Carolina Central.Links to what we discussed:Heading into the start of bowl season, Neil Paine attempted to grade the many, many, many college football matchups.Back in April, Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee argued that there is no such thing as too many bowl games.ESPN’s Stats & Information took a look at the numbers that led to the sidelining of Brock Osweiler this weekend.Before Osweiler and Trevor Siemian faced off against each other this October, ESPN took stock of the pros and cons of each quarterback.If you’d like some more Christmas movie suggestions, this IMDB keyword search will give you some ideas.Significant Digit: 15, the number of yards lost on an excessive celebration penalty that was enforced at the Celebration Bowl — and that decided the game. With a couple minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, NC Central scored a 39-yard touchdown against Grambling State. The receiver who scored removed his helmet in celebration, resulting in a penalty that moved the extra point attempt back. NC Central missed the extra point and wound up losing, 10-9. Embed Code FiveThirtyEight More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed
When the pingpong balls came to a rest after Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery, it was the end of an era for the league. Starting next season, the lottery’s distribution of odds based on team records will change — the first tweak to the system in 25 years. The jackpot-winning Phoenix Suns came out on top in this season’s historic tankfest, but from this moment on, the already-long odds of burning a franchise to the ground and building it back up will only get longer.At least, that’s the effect the league is hoping the new lottery rules will have. How much of a difference will the changes to the lottery system really make, though? And will it be enough to discourage teams from tanking?To work out some of the new math facing NBA teams, let’s turn to our draft-value chart, which measures the expected value over replacement player (VORP) that teams can expect out of a given draft pick in his first five pro seasons. (We’ll convert our chart from last summer to wins over replacement1Multiplying VORP by 2.7. to better position the differences in a real-world context.) The new lottery will definitely change teams’ incentives in the right direction. It makes having a bottom-five record less valuable and improves the fortunes of teams in the rest of the lottery (particularly the Nos. 8 and 9 picks, which gain the most value under the new system). But it’s worth wondering if a change of about two-thirds of a win per season will really be enough to make a big dent in teams’ willingness to tank.In fairness, the effect appears larger when you consider the outsize potential of top picks to become stars. Using WORP as a guide, there was about a 34 percent chance of landing an All Star-level player2Defined as a player who produced at least 30 WORP in his first five NBA seasons. if a team had the worst record going into the 2018 lottery; those odds will fall to 27 percent under next year’s system. Seven percentage points doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but the NBA is so star-driven that any reduction in the probability of getting a franchise-altering player hurts. With the ability to get those kinds of players also increasing for teams who finish with, say, the league’s eighth-worst record, it should eventually help the anti-tanking effort by funneling more big stars to teams who don’t completely throw their seasons away.So congratulations, Phoenix: You’re the last team who’ll take advantage of the old odds to help grab a potential star. The league’s changes might not be extreme enough to fully discourage teams from engaging in Sixers-style tear downs, but they’re a start. And after the race to the bottom that played out down the stretch of the 2017-18 season, such changes are more than welcome.Check out our latest NBA predictions. As I wrote last year:Early in the draft, the curve is steep. The average No. 2 pick is worth only about 80 percent as many VORP in his first five seasons as the average No. 1, and players only get less valuable from there.This is part of why teams spend so much time and energy gunning for the worst record — and (until next year) the highest odds of picking No. 1. The chances of getting an impact player from the top pick are much better than at any other slot in the draft. But they’re not perfect; there’s a lot of luck involved in picking the player who’ll have the best career. Add in the extra randomness of getting the lottery balls to bounce your way, and the difference between the expected value of having the NBA’s worst record under the old system and next year’s new one is just 3.4 total wins over the first five years of a player’s career.
Expectations run high at Ohio State. Just ask Jim Tressel. The Ohio State football coach, under unprecedented scrutiny after another big-game letdown, is feeling the heat for the first time during his nine-year tenure in Columbus.“You felt like it’s been a nine-year honeymoon?” Tressel asked a reporter. “You must not have liked your honeymoon.”The Buckeyes have lost their past six games against opponents ranked among the nation’s top five. If the Buckeyes are to match the lofty expectations set forth by years of tradition, then the days of being the big boys’ punching bag must end.A key to anything in life is adjusting to external forces, or, in football, one’s opponent. Coaches make changes in personnel and scheme at halftime. These modifications may or may not work. When they don’t pan out for a period of three years — Ohio State last knocked off a top-five adversary in 2006 — more grand-scale fine-tuning must take place.The unrest in Buckeye nation comes from the lack of adjustments from Tressel and his staff. Football is undergoing a temporary face lift, especially on the college level. All sports endure periods of varied gameplay, from the recent home run era in baseball to the early days of basketball when centers dominated the ball.Now, the name of the game in college football is speed and athleticism. Spread offenses, popping up around the nation like unwelcome groundhogs, are forcing defenses to get smaller and quicker. Athletic, versatile quarterbacks are the latest fad.OSU has its multi-faceted signal caller in Terrelle Pryor, the No. 1 high school recruit in 2008. But instead of making adjustments to accommodate the 6-foot-6, 235-pound quarterback, Tressel has squeezed the rare breed into his vanilla, run-based offense. The results haven’t pleased many; Pryor has seldom demonstrated the ability to excel in the Bucks’ offensive system, one Tressel refuses to alter. Rich Rodriguez instituted the spread offense last year at Michigan with players unsuited for the new scheme. A 3-9 record ensued. Now, with athletes at his disposal recruited specifically for the spread approach, the Wolverines are off to a 3-0 start.Recently, Tressel has targeted more players blessed with unparalleled speed to match the likes of Florida, USC or Texas. However, it’s the Buckeyes same old plan of attack that has prevented the program from reaching new heights.The Gators stymied the heavily-favored Buckeyes in ’07 with their athletic defense, limiting Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith to four completions for 35 yards. OSU couldn’t contain LSU’s plethora of speedy receivers the following year. The Trojan defense held OSU to fewer than 275 yards in each USC victory. And the Longhorns’ spread passing attack broke the hearts of Buckeye backers everywhere, as Colt McCoy threw for 414 yards.To catch up to the rest of the college football world, Tressel and Co. must implement changes on both sides of the ball. They must design an approach that suits the strengths of the athletes they have collected. Pryor is probably best equipped for a spread attack, which would give him space to operate with both his developing throwing arm and his nimble feet. He needs the instruction to focus on scoring touchdowns, not controlling field position.If Ohio State is to be recognized among the nation’s college football titans, the Buckeyes must prove they can beat bona fide competition. That signature victory has eluded the program for several years now. Tresselball needs a change to keep up with the rest of the best.
Senior Andrea Walker has seen it all in her four years playing basketball at Ohio State, but this season has been her most productive yet.Walker has already matched or surpassed her highest career output in rebounds, points and assists with six games still remaining, but her stat line won’t be compared with the best players in the nation.Walker has played backup to two of the best centers in OSU history while on the team: Jessica Davenport and junior Jantel Lavender.“I don’t really care about minutes. As long as our team is winning, I’m happy here,” Walker said. “I think that I’ve gotten better playing against the best centers.”Walker’s 6-foot-5-inch frame allows her to dominate smaller players while on the floor, but it also helps her to push Lavender to the brink in practice to help her get better. Sometimes, it can become a little more than just a practice.“I think there have been days where me and [Walker] get really physical. We get mad at each other sometimes,” Lavender said. “I think we make each other better everyday … because we always play each other hard.”Walker also has to play the role of senior, one of only four on the team, to help get OSU through the tough times of the season, like the past couple weeks.She does so not only with her words, but also her play, as she recorded 28 minutes and 15 points, her highest totals of the season, in OSU’s 67-62 loss to Indiana on Jan. 31.Walker has really been part of the rise of OSU women’s basketball. Since her freshman year, OSU has had 100 wins and 19 losses and has made the NCAA Tournament each year. Her freshman and sophomore years, OSU was ousted in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but in her junior year they advanced to the Sweet 16.Although she doesn’t make headlines, her team feels that people don’t understand how good she really is.“I think people don’t give her enough praise and attention. I think she’s long and can block shots,” Lavender said. “People don’t give her enough attention as far as recognizing her abilities to defend the post and alter people’s shots. She can score in the post just as well as anybody.”Walker has had better averages in almost every statistical category since starting Big Ten play, one of only a few players on the team to do so.The Buckeyes will need her production to continue as they enter a tough stretch in their schedule over the next five games when they face Purdue, Wisconsin and Michigan State. OSU lost to Purdue once already and didn’t put away Wisconsin or Michigan State until late in the game when they last played.
This is the last part of the three-part series on concussions. Today’s story is about Second Impact Syndrome. Football is a sport of brain-rattling collisions, and concussions have become common at every level of competition. But an uncommon condition associated with the aftermath of such injuries is often fatal for the youngest players. Second Impact Syndrome occurs while the brain is recovering from an injury and suffers another blow. Because the brain is vulnerable after an initial injury, a relatively weak force can cause irreparable damage. If the brain’s ability to regulate blood flow is obstructed, a patient can die in as little as three minutes, according to sportsmd.com. In 2008, Jaquan Waller, 16, was killed after playing in a high school football game in Greenville, N.C. A medical examiner attributed his death to Second Impact Syndrome. The condition is more common among teenagers and children because their brains have not fully developed. “It doesn’t happen to everyone that’s still symptomatic, but it does happen,” said Richard Rodenberg, a physician at Ohio State and Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine. “And when it does happen, 50 percent of those kids statistically are at risk for death, and 100 percent of them will have a disability or suffer from permanent brain damage.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.6 million to 3.2 million concussions occur every year in sports and other recreational activities. Second Impact Syndrome results when athletes sustain head injuries and one of three things happen: They don’t know they’ve been injured, they refuse to leave the game or they return to competition too soon. The syndrome occurs when “a second head injury is sustained, either that day or in the few days shortly thereafter,” said Kelsey Logan, medical director of the OSU Sports Concussion Program. “Some athletes have died.” Concussions can have serious consequences, especially for football players. The New York Times reported that since 1997, at least 50 youth football players, high-school aged or younger, from 20 states have died or sustained serious head injuries on the field. Although it’s hard to determine which athletes are in greatest danger of Second Impact Syndrome, dodging the disorder is not difficult. “It’s really unknown who’s at risk for this and what the factors are that lead to death in those cases,” Logan said. “Fortunately, it’s also something that’s totally preventable if we can recognize the symptoms of concussions.” Logan said concussion symptoms include chronic headaches, attention problems, short-term memory difficulties, sleeping problems and fatigue. Although Second Impact Syndrome can be avoided, there are instances when the concussed athletes’ symptoms go unnoticed, or athletes aren’t correctly treated. OSU athletics director Gene Smith said players are not always honest about their injuries. The tough part is “getting the players to admit it,” Smith said. They say, “‘I’m a player. No disrespect, I didn’t come here to get a philosophy degree. I came here to go pro.’ That’s the mentality we get when they get to us.” OSU club football team quarterback Bryan Thompson, who estimates he has suffered seven or eight concussions since he started playing football in the fourth grade, said he has played through a concussion. “Once in high school during a game, I had an obvious concussion. I even walked toward the wrong sideline. As the trainer evaluated me, I sort of snapped out of my dementia. It was a close game, so I said, ‘I’m fine,’ and went back in,” Thompson said. “After the game, I went to the doctor and it ended up being one of the two major concussions I’ve had.” Thompson, who had never heard of Second Impact Syndrome, said peer pressure can factor into playing though head injuries. Playing with a concussion “was a heat-of-the-moment thing, and of course I wanted to stay in the game,” Thompson said. “But at the same time, a lot of people don’t look at concussions as serious injuries. They give it a negative spin and say, ‘Well, I know a ton of people that have played with concussions before, so why aren’t you playing?’ Then you feel more obligated to play.” Doctors say that mentality is dangerous. “That’s the scary aspect,” Rodenberg said, “when (athletes) hide their symptoms.”
For football-starved Ohio State fans, Saturday finally came. Wrapped in an intoxicating frenzy, Urban Meyer’s debut as the Buckeyes’ football coach finally came. And it didn’t disappoint. After routing Miami (Ohio) 56-10, the program’s first triumph since a shaky 34-20 win against Indiana on Nov. 5 finally came. On an oppressively sultry afternoon in Ohio Stadium, eight months of anticipation – eight months of wondering what the “Urban Era” had in store – finally came. Who would have thought, then, that there could have been an entire quarter’s worth of anxiety-ridden restlessness as the first quarter of Saturday’s game seemed like a continuation of OSU’s historically bad 6-7 season last year. Down 3-0 after being outgained 172-48 by the RedHawks in the first quarter, a wave of uneasiness left a once-euphoric crowd of 105,039 subdued as Miami’s senior quarterback Zac Dysert and junior wide receiver Nick Harwell gashed the Buckeyes’ defense with big play and after big play. Suffice to say, Meyer wasn’t particularly pleased. “Well, not fortunately or unfortunately – whatever it is – that darned first quarter, I was embarrassed with the way we were playing,” he said. “We worked so hard and we didn’t play very well, in all phases. Defense let a couple of passes go that we shouldn’t have.” Meyer’s vaunted spread offense, which was was supposed to allow sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller room to thrive, amassed five yards on 1-of-7 passing. Through it all, though, Meyer said Miller kept his poise. It was one of the things he wanted to see out of the sophomore on Saturday, he said. “I think one of the things about Braxton Miller that I really had to see, and I did see today, is that the objective with Braxton is to make him from an athlete playing quarterback to a quarterback that manages,” Meyer said. “And a quarterback position is a unique position in all sports, where he’s got to manage so much. He’s got to manage basically the entire offense,” he said. “He’s got to stay positive – his leadership. He has to be a leader.” Football is “not a game of anger,” Miller said. “Go out there, have fun, enjoy the time with your teammates and make sure you’re doing all the right things positive ways; if you’re doing anything in the negative way there’s nothing that’s going to get done at that point,” he said. And at the outset of the second quarter, that leadership seemed to finally manifest itself on the field. Finally, the Buckeyes sunk into a rhythm with their up-tempo style of play and burst out for a four play, 83-yard drive that ended in an acrobatic, one-handed touchdown snag from sophomore wide receiver Devin Smith. “I don’t know if Devin has been saving that, but I’ve not seen him do that. Now that I know he can, I expect – he’s actually been playing pretty good for us,” Meyer said. “But that was a wild moment. And that was a moment that ignited the stadium. The stadium got quiet,” Meyer said. “Our sideline got quiet and we were waiting for a play to happen and he went out and made a play. That’s football.” Redshirt sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby said the catch was “fantastic.” “If you go back to the replay, I actually ran on the field,” he said. “So I’m not sure if that’s a penalty or anything, but I actually run on the field and gave him a high-five.” With momentum and the lead in their hands, OSU’s offense exploded for 35 unanswered points while its defense found ways to entirely suffocate the RedHawk’s run game and slow their aerial assault down. Near the end of the third quarter, Meyer said he was finally able to find a time for mental snapshots and soak in the magnitude of his first game calling the shots in Columbus. “The day overall, it was a great day. ‘Hang on Sloopy’ kicked it off in the fourth quarter. And I stared at that for a while, watched it. Told a couple of people that I’ve never seen that before. Checked that out,” Meyer said. “Just for years and years I’ve always remembered the change in the third and fourth quarter, what happens in that stadium,” Meyer said. But such a moment for reflection, Meyer said, was limited. Until the game clock struck zero, at least. In the footsteps of the tradition that former Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel started in 2001, Meyer locked arms with his players in the south end zone and sang “Carmen Ohio” with the rest of the team and the tens of thousands of fans still remaining in the stadium. “You look like you were really enjoying the alma mater. And I’m just wondering if that was the one point when you finally got to a point where you could enjoy being the Ohio State coach and just being in the stadium and the whole thing,” one reporter asked at Meyer’s postgame press conference. The 48-year-old sidestepped the essence of the question. “I’ve been enjoying being Ohio State coach for about seven months now,” Meyer responded. Meyer, though, said he didn’t want to deflate that moment. “I’m with a bunch of guys I care about. Love our players. Two guys next to me – and (Garrett) Goebel’s to my left, and I love that guy,” he said regarding the Buckeyes’ senior captain and nose tackle. “There’s a lot of guys on this team I have a lot of respect. And saying the alma mater, I’m a graduate, and the fight song, that was a special moment. And we got to sing the fight song in the locker room as well.” Despite being anxious for the game, Meyer said he got about six hours of sleep the night before. “I like this team. I like these guys,” he said. “When you like that, you sleep pretty good.”
Junior forward LaQuinton Ross (10) attempts a layup during a game against Nebraska March 14 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. OSU won, 71-67.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorINDIANAPOLIS — Sometimes the littlest spark can start the biggest fires.For the Ohio State men’s basketball team in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals against Nebraska, that spark came in the form of a technical foul called on junior forward LaQuinton Ross.With the Buckeyes trailing by 12 — after the Cornhuskers went on an 11-2 run out of halftime — Ross was called for an offensive foul. In frustration, OSU’s leading scorer shoved an opposing player and was charged with a technical.“It was a lot of extra stuff going on after the play was over, so I think that got to me a little bit,” Ross said after the game. “So that was the reason for the technical foul, a little frustration. But after that I was just trying to win the game.”Despite Nebraska scoring six straight points after the foul, taking an 18-point lead in the process, the Buckeyes would storm back on the shoulders of Ross and sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle.OSU outscored Nebraska 41-25 after Ross was hit with the technical, and held on for a 71-67 victory.Junior forward Sam Thompson — who tallied seven points in the win — said the technical brought an end to Nebraska’s tough play, and turned the game around.“We thought they were playing a little bit too physically,” Thompson said after the game. “They got some shots at us after the whistle was blown, we didn’t like how they were dancing on the bench, just the whole vibe we didn’t like that. (LaQuinton’s) technical brought it to an end, we were able to rally around that.”This wasn’t the first time this season Ross’ been given a technical foul for shoving a player, having gotten one against Northwestern that led to his ejection and then another against Indiana.“Unfortunately that’s a little familiar,” Craft said after the game against Nebraska. “He’s done that a couple times this year. I just think after the whistle, they catch the second guy. He threw an elbow and hit him in the face after the play … and they’re going to catch LaQuinton.”But Craft said, unlike in previous incidents, this foul served as a motivator for OSU.“It was kind of like an NBA game. (A) player or coach gets fired up and you get ejected and you start rallying around him,” Craft said. “I don’t condone that because that got us down 16 at one point. They made the free throws and got a bucket. We don’t want that to happen, but if it works out, it works out.”After picking up a technical caused by emotion — much like the one Ross picked up — coaches often elect to bench the player to give them some time to calm down.But OSU coach Thad Matta elected for the opposite, leaving Ross on the floor and giving his leading scorer a chance to bring his team back from the brink of elimination.Ross went on to score 16 of his career-high 26 points after the technical foul, including the 3-pointer that started the run.“That play was over,” Ross said of the technical foul. “I wasn’t thinking about that play again. I looked up at the score and how bad we were down and we just had to get some motivation and get back in the game.”Ross added that the comeback was partially because of OSU refusing to lose control.“We stayed together through the whole thing,” Ross said. “There was never any panic during the whole situation. If you watch some of our games earlier in the year, we (were) down less points than that, I think we were down 18 here. A couple games, like Minnesota, we (were) probably down five and we panicked. But that game right there we (were) able to not panic and got through it.”Next up Ross and the Buckeyes will look to push themselves past top-seeded Michigan Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Tipoff is set for 1:40 p.m.
The Buckeyes line up prior to taking the field for warmups before the Ohio State-Nebraska game on Oct. 14. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor
Vandals who removed warning signs from a nature reserve have been blasted by a coroner who heard that two teenagers drowned there just two days later.Stella Kambi, 17, ran into the water fully clothed at a former gravel pit to help her 14-year-old cousin Bonheur Musungay who was struggling.But the teenager vanished underneath the water with Bonheur as he held on to her tightly during his struggle, an inquest was told.Their bodies were later recovered in 12ft of water by police divers following the tragedy on August 12 last year at a nature reserve at Whitlingham Broad in Norfolk.Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake at Norfolk Coroner’s Court in Norwich criticised the “mindless” vandals who removed warning signs two days before the pair drowned. The former gravel pit is patrolled by police who often warn teenagers about the dangers of entering the water.The two-day jury inquest heard how management at the site had been attempting to tackle the problem since taking over the site in 2011.Kevin Hart, head of nature reserves at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, said signage was placed to warn people not so swim.He said: “We found permanent signs we would put up would disappear. We have always had the view we didn’t want people accessing the water.”Three signs warning against swimming, erected on 21 July 2015, had been vandalised and removed after just two weeks. The nature reserve at Whitlingham Broad in NorfolkCredit:SWNS.com Stella had entered the water fully clothed to rescue Bonheur after he suddenly disappeared under the surface just ten metres from the water’s edge.In a witness statement read to the court Bonheur’s aunt, Mary Sumaili, explained that she was with a group of Congolese family and friends, mostly children, when the tragedy unfolded at the popular swimming spot for youngsters.Ms Sumaili said Stella told her on the day of the incident that she often went swimming there and she later learned that Stella had helped rescue someone from the exact spot a year before.She said: “The sun was shinning and every one was happy, the children were playing in the water but were not going far out in the lake.”I stood on the stones right by the water’s edge just putting my feet in the water, I was watching the children playing.”Ms Sumaili, who cannot swim, said she saw her nephew who she said “can swim a little” get into distress without any warning.She added: “Suddenly he seemed to be going up and down in the water, he did this two or three times.”The court heard that at this point, around 4.50pm, Stella jumped into the lake and swam to Bonheur to save him.Ms Sumaili said “Bonheur grabbed onto Stella very hard”, adding that he was strong boy.”They both suddenly disappeared, I waited and kept looking but they didn’t come up again, I could not see any sign of them.”The jury were told that Stella’s sister Claudine tried to go in after her sibling and Bonheur but was not able to find them.Youngsters from the group ran to get help from members of the public who were nearby, three men were alerted to the danger and ran to help.Investigations found the youngsters’ deaths were a result of “tragic errors in judgement” as a jury returned verdicts of accidental death.Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, said in conclusion: “One thing that has struck me during the course of this inquest is it is beyond belief people will remove warning signs.”As a result there were periods of time when there were no signs in place, so people like Mr Aketo [Stella’s father] thought the area was safe.”I would like to thank all those involved in attempting to rescue Stella and Bonheur, particularly members of the public who entered the water, at risk to themselves.”After hearing about mindless vandalism of people who remove signs it is good to know there are such people around.”No report will be made to prevent further deaths as “action has been taken”, she added.Verdict: Accidental death One thing that has struck me during the course of this inquest is it is beyond belief people will remove warning signsCoroner Jacqueline Lake 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 court marital appeal court has been asked to quash Alexander Blackman’s murder conviction and then either order a retrial or downgrade his conviction to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.The appeal was heard from February 7 to 9 by Lord Thomas (Lord Chief Justice), Sir Brian Leveson (President of the Queen’s Bench Division), Lady Justice Hallett (Vice President of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division), Mr Justice Openshaw and Mr Justice Sweeney.There are three possible scenarios for this morning:1. The appeal is dismissedThe worst case scenario for Blackman’s supporters would see his bid fail and him remain serving his life sentence for murder.He was told he would serve a minimum of eight years and would not be eligible for release until 2021 at the earliest. 2. The court could quash his murder conviction and order a retrialThis would mean a long wait of months or perhaps as long as a year before Blackman was tried again. In this case his legal team may apply for bail while he awaits trail 3. ManslaughterIf his conviction is replaced with manslaughter, he will still not go home on Wednesday. A date will need to be set for another sentencing hearing in the next week or so.Only when Blackman knows his new sentence for manslaughter will he know if he is to be immediately released because of time already served.He has already spent three and a half years in prison. The case will be heard by five judges at the Court Martial Appeal CourtCredit:Eddie Mulholland 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.
Katherine Owen was a 9-year-old Girl Guide when she met Princess Diana on her first tour at Caernarfon Castle, but she says she will always remember the encounter. 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.
A spokesman said: “The council piloted this scheme because inconsiderate school run driving had become a safety risk to children and a nuisance to residents.”The primaries involved have since reported less congestion, a safer road for children to walk to school in and more punctuality, and over time the council has needed to issue fewer fines.” A council has raked in up to almost £400,000 in motoring fines in just six months by targeting parents on the school run.The crackdown was the work of Croydon Borough Council, who closed off roads to those dropping children to and from three primary schools in the capital. Officials claimed it was to manage congestion, but during the six-month scheme up to £380,120 worth of fines were handed out to parents. The pilot project saw parents banned from driving through roads outside Heavers Farm Primary, St Chad’s and Woodcote Primary School in south east London.A total of 2,924 penalty notice charges – at £130 each – were issued between October 2 last year and March 2 by Croydon Borough Council. A Freedom of Information request showed that the council made a minimum of £190,060 and a maximum of £380,120 in motoring fines.During the six month trial the roads were only closed to school-run parents and the council used automatic number plate recognition to ensure locals could use the roads.Parents were given the chance to pay a discounted fine of £65 if they paid within 14 days.Croydon Borough Council confirmed that as parents became used to the restrictions fewer fines were handed out. St Chad’s Primary School in south LondonCredit: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. Woodcote Primary in Coulsdon, south London, received the most fines with 1,392, Heavers Farm received 823 and St Chad’s 709.The spokesman added: “Any surplus money from parking fines in Croydon is spent on funding the Freedom Pass, a travel scheme for the over-60s in London, and drivers who pay their fine within a fortnight are charged £65 instead of £130.”The council’s traffic management advisory committee will decide later this year whether to make the schemes permanent.” Heavers Farm Primary School in south LondonCredit:Google Maps
The news, reported by the Mail on Sunday, comes amid heightened political tensions between the UK and Russia after Moscow’s GRU military intelligence agency was blamed for the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.Last month, the new head of the British Army, General Mark Carleton-Smith, warned Russia posed a far greater threat to national security than Islamic terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and Isil. 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 barracks in Hermitage, Berkshire Modelled on the Chindits, a specialist unit which fought in Burma during the Second World War, the 77th Brigade was set up in 2015 comprising soldiers with propaganda, political activism and social media skills.At the time, the Army said the regular and reserve unit was being created “to draw together a host of existing and developing capabilities essential to meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare”, adding: “It recognises that the actions of others in a modern battlefield can be affected in ways that are not necessarily violent.” A Russian journalist was monitored for “suspicious behaviour” close to a British military base, the Ministry of Defence has said.Timur Siraziev was seen repeatedly passing the 77th Brigade’s barracks in Hermitage, Berkshire, according to reports.The journalist said he had been recorded by the base’s security cameras and had been seen filming close to the perimeter fence.Mr Siraziev is listed on the Russian Embassy website as bureau chief for television station Channel One.A senior Army source said: “Timur Siraziev’s suspicious behaviour was monitored by the base’s security systems throughout.”Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We take the security of our bases and personnel incredibly seriously.”If a member of the public sees anyone acting suspiciously in or around a military base it should be reported to the police as a matter of urgency.”
But the report also identified worrying problems in the way defendants were being prevented from challenging forensic evidence put before the courts.Cuts in legal aid budgets means that suspects are not always able to afford to appoint experts to check forensic evidence is of the highest standard, risking miscarriages of justice.The committee accused the Home Office and Ministry of justice of “abdicating responsibility” and showing no leadership over the problems.And the report criticised the Government over an “embarrassing” delay in giving the Forensic Science Regulator statutory powers that were promised in 2012.Lord Patel said: “Our forensic science provision has now reached breaking point and a complete overhaul is needed.”He added: “Unless these failings are recognised and changes made, public trust in forensic science evidence will continue to be lost and confidence in the justice system will be threatened. Crimes may go unsolved and the number of miscarriages of justice may increase.” As a result criminals including rapists and even killers, could be escaping justice due to flawed investigations and prosecutions.Recent figures also suggested that two thirds of reported burglary investigations were now closed by the police without a suspect being identified, with a “lack of forensic opportunities” often being cited as the reason.Lord Patel said problems with the forensic science industry was “driving down the ability for police forces to investigate offences such as burglary” while also making it harder to detect other crimes. Lord Patel has warned that urgent reform is needed Serious crimes are going unsolved and innocent people are being wrongly convicted due to a “crisis” in the forensic science industry in England and Wales, a damning report has found.Lords on the Science and Technology Committee have warned that “justice will be in jeopardy” unless there is a radical overhaul in the quality and delivery of the service.Forensic evidence, which can include everything from fingerprints to complex DNA profiles, constitutes a major part of modern criminal investigations and can be crucial to the success of a prosecution.But seven years after the Forensic Science Service was privatised amid concerns over efficiency, the system has been described as being in complete crisis, with a lack of funding and an absence of leadership contributing to the problems.In 2008 national spending on the forensic science service totalled £120 million, but last year that had fallen to just £50 million.Lord Patel, the chair of the committee, said the issues Peers had identified meant it was “hard to have complete confidence that every criminal investigation was pursued with the correct degree of scrutiny”. Forensic science features in a wide range of offencesCredit:PA 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.
A spokesman for Stonewall said that since the LGBT charity was founded 30 years ago, there has been massive progress and acceptance for LGBT people. “Shifting social attitudes no doubt have an impact on different generations, making it more likely people feel able to identify as lesbian, gay or bi.”However he added: “While it’s great to see an increase in the number of people identifying as lesbian, gay or bi since 2015, it’s important to remember many LGBT people still aren’t able to be open about their sexual orientation with friends, family and colleagues. We know that only half of lesbian, gay and bi people (46 per cent) feel able to be open about their sexual orientation to everyone in their family, and nearly one in five LGB people (18 per cent) aren’t open about their identity with anyone at work. “Our work won’t be finished until every lesbian, gay, bi and trans person is accepted without exception.”Steve Wardlaw, chairman and co-founder of Emerald Life, the UK’s first insurer dedicated to diversity, added: “These are very interesting statistics – there has been a spike in people self-declaring as bisexual, but also double the number coming out as gay or lesbian. In the UK over the last few years we have definitely seen a more welcoming environment generally, despite a worrying increase in specific homophobic crime. “These 18-24 year olds feel less pressure either to hide who they are, or to declare themselves totally one way or totally the other. Bisexual people – and those who are gender-fluid – often get pressured from both sides to be ‘one or the other’, which is unfair and frankly biphobic. For everyone, sexuality is a journey and it can take people different amounts of time to be comfortable with who they are. It is only good news that we aren’t forcing these young adults into boxes at the earliest opportunity, and empowering them to be true to themselves.”Mr Wardlaw added that the “ increased visibility of LGBT+ celebrities and personalities has made a huge difference”.From someone like Clare Balding, or Lord Browne (ex BP CEO), to the loveable-and-flamboyant, Craig Revel-Horwood, on Strictly Come Dancing, the LGBT community comes in as many different forms as the heterosexual community. This visibility and variety has both smashed stereotypes, and allowed many more LGBT young adults to see people that they themselves can relate to, helping them to come out. “ Young people are far more likely to consider themselves as bisexual than gay, new data reveals. The research, published by YouGov, found that 18 to 24 year olds are half as likely to identify as gay or lesbian and eight times more likely to identify as bisexual than they were in 2015. More than 2,000 young people were asked to choose what best described their sexuality in 2015 and just one in fifty (2%) said they were bisexual. However the latest data, representing 2019, found that this figure had jumped to one in six (16%), representing an eight-fold increase. However, the number of older people who considered themselves as bisexual in 2019 was much lower. For 25-34 year olds the figure was 8%, for 35-44 year olds it was 2%, for those aged 45-54 it was 3% and for the over 55s it was 2%.LGBT+ charities have hailed the statistics as showing the “tremendous progress” regarding acceptance of LGBT people in British society and added that the growing number of celebrities coming out had helped with visibility. Yet they warned that hate crime as well as the fact that half of gay people don’t feel able to open up were still barriers towards total acceptance of the community. 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 youth stole screwdrivers from Poundland, one of which he used to carry out the attackCredit:Iain Buist / ncjMedia Ltd “It is captured on CCTV footage.”The defendant took exception to that, took hold of the deceased and a struggle ensued.”Mr Duncan managed to push the teenager off, at which point the youth stabbed him once in the heart.He managed to walk a short distance away before he collapsed to the floor.CCTV camera tracked the youth’s movements through the city centre and the murder weapon was found later.At the previous bail hearing, Newcastle Crown Court heard he had 17 convictions for 31 offences between 2017 and 2019, including an incident where he grabbed a knife during a family argument and an occasion where the threatened a driver with a blade after he was challenged about drinking alcohol on the bus.At the time of the murder, the boy was on bail for affray.Following the case, Detective Chief Inspector Jane Fairlamb said: “This was a shocking incident in which a much-loved family man was murdered in an unprovoked attack after a chance encounter.”I want to make it crystal clear it can never be acceptable for anyone to carry a weapon on our streets – as this case highlights the consequences can be truly devastating.”I would urge anyone who thinks otherwise to think again. “He was a devoted father, husband, son, brother, uncle and friend and loved by all who knew him. His death will leave such a huge hole in our lives and he’ll be deeply missed by us all.”Words can’t quite describe what life will be like without him.”He had so much of his life left to live and he’ll be in our hearts and thoughts every day.” 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. A 17-year-old has admitted murdering a much-loved lawyer who was stabbed with a screwdriver as he walked through a busy shopping centre on his way home from work.Devoted father Peter Duncan, 52, suffered a fatal chest wound as he walked into Eldon Square shopping mall in Newcastle, close to a Greggs outlet, on August 18.The youth, who cannot be named by the media due to his age, appeared via a videolink from HMP Wetherby to admit murder, as well as stealing screwdrivers from Poundland and possessing an offensive weapon.Northumbria Police last month said the murder was unprovoked and described it as a “chance encounter”, and they quickly arrested a group of teenagers in the hours after the attack.The day after the murder, Mr Duncan’s family said: “Peter was a kind and caring man who was always first to help others. The murderer wore headphones for the case which was linked to Leeds Crown Court where the judge and prosecution barrister were sitting, and to Newcastle Crown Court where his defence barrister was present.He will be sentenced in December after psychiatric and psychological reports are prepared.Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told him: “The appropriate form and length of your sentence will be decided at the start of December when the necessary reports have been prepared and served on the prosecution and defence.”At a previous hearing, it was said that 52-year-old Mr Duncan was “simply in the wrong place at the wrong time” when he crossed paths with the teenager who has a history of violence and carrying knives.Mr Duncan worked as a lawyer for a multi-national maritime firm and lived in the Benton area of the city.At a previous bail hearing for the youth, prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw said Mr Duncan and his killer came into contact with each other by chance at the entrance to the shopping centre, when they were walking in opposite directions.The teenager had stolen the screwdrivers and was looking for another youth with whom he had previously argued about cigarettes.Mr Wardlaw said: “The deceased raised his arm to let the defendant get past. “Not only could you destroy someone else’s life and those of their loved ones – but also think of the impact on your life and that of your family and friends.”I can assure you if you are caught with a weapon you will be dealt with robustly and put before the courts.”
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedFather of two drowns in Berbice RiverJune 12, 2016In “Local News”2 killed in separate accidentsDecember 2, 2018In “Crime”Businessman on bail for causing death by dangerous driving chargeDecember 28, 2018In “Court” A 51-year-old electrician is now dead following his attempts to break up a fight between two friends at a bar-b-que in Berbice on Sunday.Dead is Sylvan Stull of Plot “B”, Herstelling, East Bank Demerara.Based on information received, Stull was initially out with a group of friends at a horse racing event in Berbice but subsequently left with them to attend a bar-b-que at No 42 Village, Berbice.However, during this time, two of his colleagues became involved in a heated altercation, and the suspect, identified as a 32-year-old, reportedly drew a weapon.As Stull attempted to calm the situation and pull the two men apart, he was allegedly stabbed once to his neck by the 32-year-old.The 51-year-old was pronounced dead at the Mahaicony Hospital, East Coast Demerara while his attacker is presently in police custody, assisting with investigations.More details to follow in a subsequent report.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedOp-Ed: Politics, Race and SugarJanuary 26, 2018In “Opinion”OPINION: APNU+AFC seems determined to end sugar in GuyanaMarch 11, 2019In “latest news”Gov’t may not be able to sustain GuySuCo subsidy – CoI ChairmanOctober 2, 2015In “Business” Below in an opinion piece by Attorney-at-Law, Member of Parliament and former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall:Any assessment that views the sugar industry through the lens of dollar and cents or profit and loss, would be deeply flawed and highly myopic. Sugar in Guyana is not merely an economic undertaking or venture. It is an institution. It does not merely provide employment, earn foreign exchange or contribute to GDP. It sustains communities comprising of tens of thousands of humans and represents a way of life. The Guyanese economy is neither large nor diversified enough to sustain the loss of sugar.The socio-economic consequences that will flow therefrom will reverberate across every divide and pull every sector with it in its cascading downward avalanche.Recently, in Nairobi, Kenya, President David Granger informed the world that his government is committed to people and not profits. The President fails to see the contradiction in closing down an industry, which directly and indirectly will affect every citizen of his country on the basis, that it is not yielding the desired profits.The PPP, from the inception, requested of the government to do an impact assessment of the intended closure of the industry. We are firmly committed to the view that the cost of closure far outweighs the cost of keeping the industry operational. Indeed, the government did no impact assessment whatsoever or feasibility study of any kind before deciding to close the industry. Its own Commission of Inquiry did not recommend closure. As a result the government is unable to proffer an intelligent reason for the closure of the industry. The consequence is that they have exposed themselves to the widespread view that the decision to close the industry is driven by political and ethnic considerations.It is obvious that one newspaper piece can never accurately encompass the true impact of the closure of this industry. However, at a glance, thousands of families are immediately placed on the bread line without any hope, whatsoever, of alternative employment in the foreseeable future. Severance benefits, if paid at all, will not be paid in the near future. These families have loan payments to make to the commercial banks for their homes. They have debts to pay for furnishings and vehicles acquired by hire purchase. Food has to be placed on the table and in lunch kits for children to attend schools. Electricity and other expenses have to be met. Clothes and healthcare have to be paid for. And the list goes on.Suicides commencedThe indirect consequences would be equally devastating. The impact of the closure of Wales Estate can currently be assessed. The lower West Bank of Demerara communities are currently gripped in a socio-economic paralysis. Over 75% of the economy of Regent 6, revolves around the sugar industry. The remaining 25% would find it impossible to survive in isolation. The private sector recognizes this reality; hence their call on the government to reverse the decision to close the industry. The suicides have already commenced. It will only intensify. Crime will continue to skyrocket. Other social dilemmas will soon emerge and multiply.The government seems oblivious to the fact that the drainage and irrigation system currently administered by GUYSUCO is fundamental to keeping floodwaters off the low coastland. When these estates are closed this vital interlink of drainage canals will collapse. Massive flooding will be the inevitable consequences. The residents and farmers of canals no. 1 and 2 are currently reeling from floodwaters inundating those communities because of the blocked canals that formed part of Wales Estate. This catastrophe will replicate itself in all those areas where estates are being closed. The destruction will be catastrophic. The cost to central government will be phenomenal. Not a cent has been budgeted for the year 2018 to address this impending disaster.Many of these estates provide a system of healthcare for its workers, their families, and others in the locality in which they are situated. This healthcare system will close down. The impact may become a public health tragedy. The community centres and other recreational facilities that provide scarce clean entertainment opportunities for residents in these communities will swiftly disappear. Alcohol and drug abuse will flourish in replacement.Dr Cheddi JaganDr Clive Thomas, the chairman of GUYSUCO, is quoted in the press, as saying that the Skeldon co-generation plant supplies electricity to the national grid for 65 000 families. GPL receives the revenue. Not a cent goes to the sugar industry. This supply of electricity will soon die. Demerara Distilleries Ltd. one of Guyana’s largest manufacturing companies, is currently reviewing the impact that the closure of the sugar industry will have on its capacity to continue to produce rum.The above is by no means exhaustive. However, it provides more than a glimpse of the devastation, which will flow from the closure of the sugar industry. This is nothing short of a human rights tragedy, nay economic genocide. I do not think Guyana’s economy is sufficiently either versatile or robust enough to sustain the social and economic onslaught that the closure of the sugar industry will soon unleash. I am confident that the government will not survive it. Our society is simply too small and our economy too integrated to be insulated from the consequences. Like the financial crisis that hit the world in 2008, the economic and social meltdown will affect every citizen.As for the PPP, we will stand resolutely not only with the sugar workers, but with all other workers who will reel from this disaster. We will use the one hundredth birth anniversary of Dr. Cheddi Jagan as the platform for the struggle and to inspire us to work relentlessly in order to ensure not only the survival these workers and their families but also the eventual reversal of this evil, inconsiderate, and unwarranted decision to close the sugar industry. We recognize that struggle will be long and hard and the sacrifices will be many; but win we must for our cause is just. History and time are on our side.