Paul Tagliabue Intends To Oversee Saints Bounty Hearing

Paul Tagliabue denied a motion to recuse himself as the arbitrator for the appeals hearing of the players involved and suspended in the New Orleans Saints the bounty program as defined by current commissioner Roger Goodell, according to league sources.Tagliabue, the former NFL commissioner, informed the players’ attorneys of his decision, saying that he will move forward with establishing a date for the hearing and also formalizing the process on which the appeal will be heard. Sources said discussions of the process itself will consume “a fair amount of time” without a specific time frame yet.The hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20, a league source told ESPN.In deciding to hear the case, Tagliabue dismissed the argument of partiality players had made in their motion, citing that he is not only the former commissioner but also is a member of the law firm that represents Goodell in legal matters before a New Orleans federal court.The players have asked the court to recuse Tagliabue as the appeals arbitrator but there has been no ruling on that motion.As the two sides discuss the forthcoming appeals process, the players remain adamant that Taglaibue makes available witnesses such as former Saints assistants Gregg Williams and Mike Cerullo, who provided declarations the NFL used as evidence to discipline the players.The process could continue throughout November, which would allow Saints linebacker Jonathan Vliman and and defensive end Will Smith to continue playing until Tagliabue renders a decision or the court intervenes on their behalf.Vilma played in his first game of the season Monday night against Philadelphia and provided a defensive spark in the Saints’ 28-13 victory over the Eagles. He had been battling injuries after being reinstated last month. read more

LeBron James Loses So Much Weight That Hes Now

NBA star LeBron James said he spent 67 consecutive days eating no carbohydrates or sweets and only meat, fish, vegetables and fruits, helping him drop so much weight that he plans to gain pounds prior to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ training camp.James did not reveal exactly how much weight he lost, but it is more than 10 pounds. He said he began the dietary change to test his “mental fortitude.”James told Sports Illustrated: “I had no sugars, no dairy, I had no carbs. All I ate was meat, fish, veggies and fruit. That’s it. For 67 straight days.”He told the Oregonian newspaper out of Portland that he had “lost a ton of weight” — so much weight that he’s now trying to put back on a few pounds.James posted the photo above on Instagram, causing speculation that he was on a Paleo diet. He also posted photos of salads to show his new eating habits. One image included an arugula salad with chicken, strawberries, mango, cashews and olive oil/lemon vinaigrette dressing.Losing weight could add to James’ quickness and durability as he embarks on his second run with the Cavaliers. read more

As Judge Reinstates Ezekiel Elliotts Suspension Fans Still Confused

“Zeke should’ve just took the 6 games”And let the NFL label you a woman beater with no fight, shut up lmao— yes (@iAmTerrace) October 31, 2017 I guess Roger knows something we don’t know but hey, Giants kicker ADMITS to beating his wife & gets 1 game. Zeke is found innocent & gets 6— 214 (@_WeDemBoyz_) October 31, 2017 Zeke’s legal team should take this to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. Twice cleared by police depts! Kia Roberts said accuser not credible— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) October 31, 2017 The woman told Zeke that nobody would believe him cause she’s a white woman and that’s the only truth she told. And history backs it up— Chelly wise 🎈 (@ChelsIsRight) October 31, 2017 Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates his touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskinsin Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge cleared the way Monday night for the NFL to enforce a six-game suspension of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott over domestic violence allegations. While some fans are still trying to figure out why the running back is facing suspension when he was cleared of criminal charges.U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla denied the request for a preliminary injunction from players’ union attorneys working for Elliott. Failla put the ruling on hold for 24 hours to give Elliott’s legal team time to appeal, a likely move.It’s the second time a federal ruling has overturned a reprieve that kept Elliott on the field. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court threw out a Texas court’s injunction and ordered the dismissal of Elliott’s lawsuit there.The NFL briefly enforced Commissioner Roger Goodell’s suspension before a judge sitting in for Failla in the Southern District of New York issued a temporary restraining order that blocked the punishment for the second time.If the suspension holds this time, Elliott will be out starting Sunday at home against Kansas City. He will be eligible to return for the final three games, starting Dec. 17 at Oakland. The Cowboys (4-3), defending NFC East champions, are in second place in the division.Elliott attended the roughly two-hour hearing in New York on Monday, a day after rushing for 150 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-19 win at Washington. Last year’s NFL rushing leader left court without speaking to reporters.One of Elliott’s lawyers and an NFL spokesman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment after the ruling.The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended in August after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time.Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, decided not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, citing conflicting evidence. Elliott denied the allegations under oath during his NFL appeal.The suspension’s announcement led to weeks of court filings, with NFL Players Association lawyers contending league investigators withheld key evidence from Goodell and that the appeal hearing was unfair because arbitrator Harold Henderson refused to call Goodell and Thompson as witnesses.Unlike three federal judges before her, Failla rejected most of those claims and backed the NFL’s contention that it followed the collective bargaining agreement in suspending Elliott, and that those procedures were supported by federal labor law.“Having negotiated with the NFLPA over the terms of a particular CBA, the NFL has an interest in obtaining the benefit of its bargain — an interest that might well be eroded if courts such as this one were permitted to micromanage the disciplinary decisions of the commissioner,” Failla wrote.The judge also said some of the reasons for Elliott’s claim that he would suffer irreparable harm with a suspension were speculative.“And any individual honors Elliott might attain absent suspension depend on countless variables — such as the Cowboys’ overall offensive performance, his opponents’ defensive performance, and Elliott’s health — that together render this alleged harm far too speculative to justify injunctive relief,” Failla wrote.Failla based some of her rulings on the NFL’s successful appeal in the same jurisdiction in the Deflategate case that ended with New England quarterback Tom Brady serving a four-game suspension. Brady delayed the punishment more than a year by winning a district court ruling.NFLPA lawyer Jeffrey Kessler argued before Failla that the hearing was “fundamentally unfair” because it downplayed the conclusion by an internal investigator that Thompson wasn’t credible in her account.Failla disagreed, writing that testimony from the NFL appeal hearing made it clear that Goodell was aware of the investigator’s views.She also backed the NFL’s interest in timely penalties under its personal conduct policy, which three years ago was changed to stiffen penalties in domestic cases.Elliott is third in the NFL in rushing with 690 yards in seven games. He’s tied for the league lead with six rushing touchdowns.CRIMINAL COURT couldn’t gather enough evidence to prosecute Zeke. But the NFL could. Shit is a joke.— Money Mitch (@TrillestAC) October 31, 2017 read more

Is Gordon Hayward Good Enough To Get The Celtics Past The Cavs

After missing out on some of the other big names that moved this offseason, the Boston Celtics snagged Gordon Hayward, signing him as a free agent this week. In the video above, Neil Paine discusses how Hayward may help the Celtics and whether this latest addition will be enough to help Boston beat the Cleveland Cavaliers.Read more: Gordon Hayward Is Exactly What The Celtics Needed

What Have The Knicks Done

In response, FiveThirtyEight’s biggest NBA fans gathered to process the reported trade.chris.herring (Chris Herring, senior sportswriter): I covered the Knicks for five years. Not their worst five, necessarily. But saw their worst season in franchise history. You’re naturally going to see them do things that make you scream, “Why?!” But this is a new level, even for me.This Porzingis trade, if they don’t land a max-level star or two, is just befuddling.tchow (Tony Chow, video producer/angry Knicks fan): I think I’m going to be a Brooklyn Nets fan now. Why the hell would you do this?natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): Do we know what draft pick compensation they got, if any? Because that seems pretty important. (These details, which weren’t clear during the time of the chat, emerged shortly after we finished the conversation. New York will receive two future first-round picks in the trade.)chris.herring: Not the exact terms, no. Though it seems really likely that the Mavs are going to give up something on that front.natesilver: I guess I’d say this: The process by which the Knicks got to this point is crazy. The outcome, I think, might not be as bad as it seems at first glance. But it really depends on the pick(s).chris.herring: More than anything, this was about allowing the Knicks to send over their bloated contracts so that they could clear salary cap space. Especially Tim Hardaway Jr., whose deal would’ve made it tough for them to add a second star next to Porzingis this summer.neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): Yeah, if there is a silver lining (Is there a silver lining?), they just freed up a massive amount of cap space. tchow: My god that is … depressing.natesilver: I guess their bigs have been OK? Noah Vonleh and Luke Kornet and Mitchell Robinson?neil: Ooof, you were not kidding about Knox’s numbers, Nate.natesilver: Yeah, Neil, and it’s not just some advanced stats thing. He’s shooting just 37 percent. Just 4.2 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.3 blocks per game. For a guy who’s pretty athletic, that’s kind of sad.neil: Maybe he’s on the Enes Kanter diet.natesilver: Knox has a nice-looking 3-point stroke, and I guess you can say he’d get the numbers up if they weren’t tanking. That’s what’s a little hard to figure out on a team like the Knicks where they basically don’t have any incentive to work in their shot selection or to play defense.tchow: If this is just going to become a shitting on Knox chat, I think it’s time to end it.natesilver: I’m happy to also shit on other Knicks.tchow: Just for fun, to end this chat, should we all say who we think won this trade?chris.herring: Assuming the Knicks don’t land two absolute studs in FA, the Mavs.natesilver: It’s clearly a good trade for Dallas. Where it ends up on the spectrum from “terrible” to “OK” for the Knicks depends on the draft picks and, yeah, the free agent situation.chris.herring: Agreed, Nate. You just paired two of the best 25-and-under players in the league together. It could turn out to be a home run for both sides. I just don’t have that level of faith that everything will go right for New York.natesilver: There is a downside risk with Porzingis, too, which is that he’s never really healthy again. But you do have a year to evaluate him before making a commitment. So the fact that he’s not looking to sign a long-term extension right away is both a bug and a feature.chris.herring: I guess.neil: And given the lengths we’ve seen teams go to just to have a chance to get a franchise-altering star, it seems worth it.chris.herring: I’d be OK with that gamble if it means giving up DSJ and a pick. Dallas has always been willing to roll the dice on acquiring a star.tchow: You know who won? NBA Twitter won cause this is going to provide so much content for the next few days/until Anthony Davis gets traded.chris.herring: They even traded Tyson Chandler the summer after he was the linchpin to their title because they thought it’d allow them a chance at a star. They wanted to clear space.neil: The NBA needs to push its trade deadline further from the Super Bowl.Wait your turn, NBA! You’ll have the limelight next week.chris.herring: NOPE. In fact, I hope Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sign today, too.micah (Micah Cohen, managing editor): My two cents: I lost because I’m waiting for Nate to file a piece about independent presidential campaigns and the Porzingis trade has, I’m sure, delayed it.Check out our latest NBA predictions. tchow: Welcome to New York, Kevin Durant!!chris.herring: Only spent seven or eight years there, but this is where my New York cynicism comes into play. The Knicks haven’t had a very good history when it comes to FAs.natesilver: They also got a buy-low guy in Dennis Smith Jr., although it seems like they have about 14 other buy-low point guards on the roster right now.tchow: But in losing Porzingis, doesn’t that make the Knicks a less attractive destination to come play? If you were a max player, why would you look at this team and say, “I want to go to there”?natesilver: Well, yeah, that’s the catch.tchow: I guess maybe two max players could buddy up and that nullifies what I just said.natesilver: A team of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and … uuuhhhh, who’s the third-best player on that team? Smith Jr., I guess?tchow: I don’t know what I’m saying anymore. This is INSANE!!! I’m still in shock.chris.herring: If nothing else, I guess this all just surprises me because it speaks to one of two things. Either 1) You have that much confidence that a superstar is coming …tchow: Well you’re forgetting Zion, Nate.chris.herring: Or 2) Things had gotten so bad/toxic with Porzingis that you didn’t see how you could make it work with him anymore. They really had no obligation to give into this right now, even if he was unhappy.neil: Right, he was only a restricted free agent after the season.tchow: Well, Chris, if things have gotten that bad with Porzingis, you would think they were secretly shopping him around earlier. Is this really the best deal they could get? I find that hard to believe.natesilver: It is worth keeping in mind that Porzingis has a serious injury that other guys have struggled to recover from, that he hadn’t reached superstar status yet, and that he was about to get expensive. The upside is so high, though, that you’d think a team, maybe a cap-constrained team, might have given up a little more.chris.herring: Yep. I’m not blown away by the fact that they dealt him. It’s what they dealt him for.natesilver: Getting technical, but his cap hold is only like $12 million this summer, so that was a big benefit too.chris.herring: There are two or three different reasons to potentially deal him. I just don’t know that any of them were worth dealing him for that return.natesilver: natesilver: I’m just saying that if you clear the decks for two max free agents but you have a guy like Siakam making just $2.5 million a year, that gives you a lot more to work with.chris.herring: Notice how smart we perceive those particular franchises to be. I saw someone say, “The smart franchises are circling the dumb one.” Almost like the Knicks were the prey here.tchow: Right?? I keep thinking there must be other, better trades.chris.herring: For sure. At least with Siakam, you have a good, athletic two-way player to build around.tchow: This is all just us talking, right? There were no reports that Toronto was even looking to offer Siakam. Right? Right?chris.herring: I honestly don’t know whether Smith will be a starter two or three years from now. There’s some faith because of how young he is, but he hasn’t shown consistency yet. And the Knicks haven’t been great with developing two-way talent at the guard spot lately.natesilver: I wanna know about the draft pick(s) too. Dallas still owns its own pick if it’s 1-5 this year — otherwise it goes to Atlanta — and they’re probably still going to end up in the lottery.neil: I think we are being very NYC-centric here and focusing on the Knicks’ angle. But for the Mavs, their new Doncic-Porzingis combo seems like it could eventually be very scary.natesilver: NYC IS BASKETBALL MECCA, NEIL! SUCH A MECCA THAT THE ONLY GOOD PLAYER ON THE KNICKS IN THE PAST 10 YEARS GETS TRADED FOR CAP SPACEneil: No, it’s not (“The Decline Of New York City As An NBA Talent Generator”).tchow: No, Neil’s right. Forget the Knicks. I already have. Porzingis and Luka together is going to be amazing!! No way Dirk retires now.chris.herring: Dallas is gonna be fun.natesilver: Yeah, how did they do that? Turn the No. 5 pick and — Dennis Smith Jr.? — into Luka and Porzingis?chris.herring: The Knicks were spending all this time trying to find a running mate for KP, and now Porzingis has Doncic.tchow: So right now, we have them projected to be way out of the playoffs. When is Porzingis supposed to return? I’m getting ahead of myselfchris.herring: They’re relevant now. Even if they unloaded a hefty part of their rotation here to get Porzingis. But this was a great move for them.natesilver: It was a little bit ambiguous. Dallas is tanking, obviously, so maybe they just play him for like six games to show he still had something left (as an inducement to free agents, etc.) and then find some excuse to shut him down.chris.herring: Yeah. Porzingis probably wasn’t going to play for NYK this year. Maybe he gets into a few games for Dallas, but I doubt it.natesilver: Yeah, they might as well tank too. Maybe not an outright tank, but they do keep their own pick if it’s 1-5.chris.herring: If you’re the Mavs, this makes sense. You’ve still got Harrison Barnes under contract making a lot of money. Hardaway is under contract a couple more years.tchow: “Makes sense” is such an understatement here.natesilver: Don’t the Mavs have space for a max free agent too?chris.herring: I don’t think so? Not with all the money they just took on. natesilver: Oh shit!!!!!tchow: Look at that. That’s a “we’re going to be teammates” handshake.natesilver: THE FIX WAS IN.chris.herring: I soooo hope the Knicks — who could’ve drafted Smith but instead took Frank Ntilikina — weren’t enamored by his good game to where they said, “You know what? That sounds good to us.”tchow: Chris, that is EXACTLY what happened.chris.herring: What it all comes down to for the Knicks is free agency: If you land two guys who are truly worth it, it’s hard to look back at this and be angry.tchow: And there is my silver lining.chris.herring: But for the time being, it is just astounding.natesilver: The Knicks also haven’t drafted very well. Kevin Knox is regarded as a future rotation piece, if not a star, and I sorta get why because he looks like a good player, but his numbers are unbelievably terrible.chris.herring: Also: My favorite stat ever, from my Knick beat days: The Knicks haven’t re-signed one of their draft picks on a multiyear deal since Charlie Ward, who they took in 1994. Trading Porzingis keeps that alive.natesilver: Wow. BASKETBALL MECCA.tchow: That is insane.chris.herring: So them wanting to build it through free agency is fitting.natesilver: I think I have to go to their next home game just to see what a shitshow it is.tchow: FiveThirtyEight field trip, Nate?natesilver: I’m down, dude. At least tickets will be cheap.tchow: Hey, at least we still have Allonzo Trier. And Enes Kanter is back. Things are looking up for the Knicks.chris.herring: Not that it has any bearing on how this summer pans out. But I think their last four deals for $90 million or more were, in this order: Melo, Amar’e Stoudemire, Stephon Marbury and Allan Houston.natesilver: I mean, just look at this shit: FIGHT!!natesilver: No those don’t contradict. Sign the qualifying offer for one year. Then become a full-fledged free agent in summer 2020.tchow: Oh damn … you’re right. OK … back to crying.chris.herring: During the time I spent on the Knicks beat, I got used to watching them attach useful players to ones whose contracts were albatrosses. They traded Tyson Chandler (useful) to unload Raymond Felton (albatross). And Iman Shumpert (useful) to unload JR Smith (albatross).natesilver: Were Hardaway and Lee that untradeable? They aren’t terrible players, and their contracts aren’t that bad.chris.herring: Neither is a bad player. Maybe overpaid (I’ve definitely argued that with Hardaway).natesilver: In some sense, everyone in the deal is a distressed asset.chris.herring: If anything, Hardaway is just pricey because of what you want to accomplish this summer.tchow: Watch Dennis Smith Jr. come out of this as the best player in the trade.natesilver: It’s not nothing.chris.herring: But Porzingis should not be the sweetener in any deal like this! He’s the lone All-Star changing hands here.neil: Smith Jr. certainly got a lot of hype as a rookie last year.tchow: KP 👏 IS 👏 A 👏 UNICORNchris.herring: I’ll put it this way: Smith and his folks floated that he potentially wanted out of Dallas a week or two ago. That came and went, likely because no one felt like he was worth all that much. He’s explosive. He’s young enough to gamble something on. But he’s not even a clear starter in everyone’s eyes.natesilver: So what else could they have gotten? What do we think the market price for Porzingis would be? Would Toronto have given up Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, for instance, and taken on either Hardaway or Lee but not both?chris.herring: It was only 20 minutes or so before the trade reports came that this tweet went out. This trade was their free agency, in a way. Dallas very quietly just hit us with a Nash/Dirk redux. Except Luka can score better than Nash, and Porzingis can defend.natesilver: It looks like they should have cap space in 2020-21, though, when the Barnes/Powell contracts all come off the books.chris.herring: Two or three years from now, they’ll have cap money again, and you imagine players would want to team up with a duo like that.tchow: (if Porzingis signs)chris.herring: Porzingis will be 25 in two years. Luka will be 22. Also, can we talk about the fact that the Mavs were at the Garden last night? And Mark Cuban was there. I imagine this topic came up.natesilver: Ahhh didn’t think about that. But, yeah, it seems pretty weird to think this deal was just conjured up out of thin air.tchow: They knew. They fucking knew.chris.herring: Dennis Smith Jr. logged a triple-double.natesilver: Haha.tchow: New York Knicks executives in recent years have said they would rebuild cautiously and avoid trading their first-round picks. That approach paid off — sweet-shooting big man Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks’ first-round pick in 2015, quickly ascended into a star, giving the team hope that it could finally build something sustainable with just another solid move or two. All the organization needed to do was avoid somehow taking a step backward.And then Thursday happened. tchow: read more

Assessing Andrew Wiggins 30 Games In

Last week, my colleague Neil Paine wrote about the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins, who is probably the favorite to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year but who has so far been among the least efficient players in the league according to a variety of advanced statistics. The article triggered a lot of objections on Twitter and in the comments section. Many readers thought it was ridiculous to assess any player, especially a 19-year-old rookie, after just a couple dozen NBA games. Others were skeptical of the array of advanced statistics that Neil cited.So let’s look at Wiggins’s case through the lens of traditional statistics instead. And let’s measure him directly against his peers. Wiggins played in his 30th NBA game on Tuesday night; we can compare his performance so far against other 19-year-old rookies through their first 30 games. I ran a search on Basketball-Reference.com for players who:Were age 19 or younger in their rookie season (based on their age as of Feb. 1 of their rookie year);And who averaged at least 24 minutes per game (i.e. played at least half their teams’ minutes) during their first 30 NBA games.Since 1985-86 there have been only 15 such players (counting Wiggins). The list puts Wiggins in pretty good company. It includes a number of superstars and All-Stars, among them LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Tony Parker and Chris Bosh. There are only one or two total busts, most notably Dajuan Wagner. The rest of the list includes players, such as Luol Deng, who turned into good NBA regulars, and others like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist about whom it’s too early to make an assessment.But in other respects the data is less favorable for Wiggins. When comparing his first 30 games against the first 30 games of those other players, he’s been among the least effective. In the chart below, I’ve listed each player’s statistics per 36 minutes played in the 10 categories that are most commonly used in rotisserie basketball leagues: points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, turnovers, personal fouls, 3-pointers made, field goal percentage and free-throw percentage. (For personal fouls and turnovers, fewer is better.) Then, again in the fashion of a rotisserie basketball league, I’ve ranked the players from No. 1 to 15 in each category and added up the rankings to produce an overall score.As a reminder, these stats reflect each player’s performance through the first 30 games of his rookie season only. On this basis, Wiggins ranks about average in points scored, steals, 3-pointers made, turnovers and fouls committed. He’s been somewhat below average in rebounds and blocks — two categories where his athleticism has not yet translated into good numbers. He’s also been a below-average shooter, and his assist rate — 1.6 assists per 36 minutes — has been poor.By the fantasy basketball scoring method, Wiggins ranks 13th out of the 15 players. It’s tough to be a rookie in the NBA, but some of the rookies who came before Wiggins showed more early on. James ranks ahead of him in nine of 10 categories; Durant and Davis rank ahead of him in eight. Even Luol Deng, a player with whom Wiggins is sometimes compared, ranks ahead of him in eight of 10.On the other hand, some rookies who weren’t much better than Wiggins in their first 30 games turned out to have nice NBA careers. Parker and Bosh, in particular, weren’t very productive early on. Overall, a player’s performance through his first 30 games does seem to tell us something — you’d rather take the players from the top half of the rotisserie-style rankings than those from the bottom. But it’s a fairly noisy list.So Wiggins might have lost some value based on his performance so far this year, but he hasn’t crashed. (This conclusion is pretty similar to Neil’s.)What about those advanced stats showing Wiggins to be awful (instead of just mediocre)? They’re probably not the thing for him to worry about right now. Most of those stats will punish players who shoot relatively often but relatively poorly, as Wiggins has so far. But the 5-25 Timberwolves don’t have a lot of better options, and Wiggins has shown some development this year, like shooting well from 3-point range. (And keep in mind that James shot just .417 through his first 30 games.) The bigger concerns are Wiggins’s low rates of rebounds, assists and blocks, deficits that show up in advanced and traditional statistics alike. read more

Ohio State womens soccer set to open Big Ten play

Then-junior midfielder Ellyn Gruber (5) dribbles the ball during a game against Eastern Michigan on Aug. 25, 2013. OSU won, 2-1, in overtime.Credit: Lantern file photoFresh off a pair of victories, the Ohio State women’s soccer team is preparing for its first conference games of the season.The Buckeyes are 3-3-0 on the year after picking up wins at home against Dayton and George Mason last weekend. Freshman forward Sammy Edwards was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for completing a hat trick in the game against Dayton on Friday.After OSU opened its season by playing against three ranked opponents, coach Lori Walker said the toughness of the Buckeyes’ non-conference schedule will aid them as they look to compete in the Big Ten.“You’re playing at game pace right from the get-go and we had to really focus on our defending and the quality of our defending against some pretty high-level opponents, so we have no delusions of grandeur about how hard the game is supposed to be played,” Walker said. “I think there are other teams in our conference that don’t play as hard a schedule and then they get into Big Ten play and it’s a shock at how hard the game is supposed to be played.”The team is set to begin conference play against Indiana on Friday and Purdue on Sunday. The Hoosiers are 4-2-0 while the Boilermakers are 4-1-1 so far the season. Senior midfielder Ellyn Gruber said there is more added pressure to playing within the conference.“(The) Big Ten is (where) every, every game matters. Obviously every non-conference game matters too, but in the Big Ten you only get so many and you have to finish in the top eight in order to make the tournament,” Gruber said. “So you know that every game matters and it’s really competitive and every team you play you know is going to be good.”Senior forward Kayla Varner said the young team has become more comfortable playing together than they were at the start of the season.“It’s starting to come together a little bit more,” Varner said. “We have freshmen stepping up, we have sophomores stepping up and that’s helping out the upperclassmen a lot. I think we’ve improved in just kind of stepping into our roles a little bit more and trying to find out what makes everyone more comfortable playing together.”Walker said she wants to see the team maintain its offensive tempo and provide consistent play as it looks toward playing in the conference.“You’re always trying to get your attack running on all cylinders as quick as you can as you hit conference play,” Walker said. “What we want to see is that the speed of our attack doesn’t fall off based on who is on the field, that we have a consistency to that as well.”The Buckeyes are scheduled to start Big Ten play on the road against the Hoosiers on Friday at 7 p.m. in Bloomington, Ind., and against the Boilermakers on Sunday at 3 p.m. in West Lafayette, Ind. The game on Sunday is set to be televised live on the Big Ten Network. read more

Football Ohio State defense looks forward because it cant afford to look

Senior safety Damon Webb (7) takes down a Sooner during the Ohio State- Oklahoma game on Sep. 9. Credit Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State’s 31-16 loss to Oklahoma (2-0) in its home opener left the Buckeyes (1-1, 1-0) wondering where to go.Neither the offense nor the defense appeared in sync at any point throughout the game, and the result was a crushing defeat in front of 109,088 fans.Coach Urban Meyer said Monday the team was still reeling from its loss, but the team still has not fully moved on from the loss.“I met with our players about this, because I experienced it ourselves as coaches and myself, you go from devastated to crushed to pissed and then you’ve got to move forward as a leader and get going,” Meyer said. “So we’re somewhere between two and three right now, the pissed and the moving forward.”So how does a team move forward after such a devastating loss? Defensive coordinator and safeties coach Greg Schiano said it’s not easy.“Look, you come out and you fight and you work because that’s what you do,” Schiano said. “But you won’t get rid of that one for a while. You’ve got to press through it and fight. It sits in your gut.”The players and coaches all seem to agree that the first step in moving past the loss is by shifting all focus from went wrong in the Oklahoma game to what has to go right in the Army game. The Buckeyes will face a team that is nearly the complete opposite of their prior opponent. Oklahoma currently ranks third in passing offense in the FBS, averaging 441 passing yards per game over its first two games of the season. Army, on the other hand, has averaged 417.5 rush yards per game, second in the FBS. The Black Knights also rank 129th out of 129 teams totalling just 17 passing yards in their two games played. Ohio State, on the other hand, ranks last in the country in passing yards allowed (403 per game) and 13th-best in rushing yards allowed (60.5 per game)“It’s such a different animal moving forward that we’ll deal more with regular football corrections a week from now on Sunday when we get done with the Army game, then we’ll get back to playing regular football,” Schiano said. “It’s not like anything else we see all year.”The team knows the differences in the opponent it plays this weekend, and so any reviews of Ohio State’s performance against Oklahoma in the tapes is going to have to wait until after the matchup against Army.Redshirt senior linebacker Chris Worley said the team has begun to look over some of the bigger plays in the Oklahoma game, but that the team has attempted its best to turn its full attention to the task ahead of it.“Dealing with a team like Army that runs this type of offense, we can’t spend the whole week watching [tape of the Oklahoma game] because then we will never get what we need to see for this week,” Worley said. “That’s some great film for us to watch. We have to go out here and watch this Army film because if we don’t, it’s going to be bad.” read more

Mens Basketball Ohio State mounts secondhalf comeback to beat Michigan 7162

Ohio State redshirt senior forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) looks to drive in the first half in the game against Michigan. Ohio State won the game 71-62. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorFor the first time all season, Ohio State (7-3, 2-0 Big Ten) came back from a daunting double-digit second-half deficit, defeating Michigan (7-3, 1-1 Big Ten) 71-62 at the Schottenstein Center on Monday.Ohio State lost to both Butler and Clemson after miserable second halfs that ruined first-half leads, but outscored the Wolverines 41-19 in the second half after falling behind 43-30 at the end of the first half to come away with the win. The Buckeyes finished the game on a 15-2 run. Michigan went 5-for-29 in the second half, including just 1-for-12 from beyond the arc.The Buckeyes trailed by as much as 43-23, but carried a 7-0 run at the end of the first half into a 17-3 run to open the second half, then took the lead with 12:29 left in the game.Junior forward Jae’Sean Tate capped off the first-half run with a thundering, one-handed slam over Michigan forward Moritz Wagner to send the 12,546 fans in the Schott to their feet for the first time the entire game. Tate finished with 14 points and four rebounds in the game.“It was pretty loud in there. I haven’t really heard the Schott that loud. [Tate’s] dunk set it off,” redshirt senior guard Kam Williams said. “Head coach Chris Holtmann said cutting into the lead and making it just a 13-point game going into halftime helped Ohio State gain some momentum when it needed it most, and proved to be important in sparking the team’s second-half comeback.“It’s just so much more manageable than when you’re saying 20 up there,” Holtmann said. We actually had a chance to cut it to 11. I had used my timeout and didn’t want to use it again. We didn’t get a great shot late, but that was very important to just get a little bit of momentum in that last minute-and-a-half.”Bates-Diop was fouled on his way up with 12:29 remaining in the second half and tied the game with his first free throw, then dropped in the second one to give Ohio State its first lead of the game at 47-46. Bates-Diop ended the game with 18 points and nine rebounds. Michigan later retook a 57-56 lead with 5:48 left on a free throw by Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and extended it to two points with the second make. The game was tied again on a baseline jumper from Williams at 60-60 with 3:38 left in the game. Guard C.J. Jackson made the first free-throw try with 2:59 remaining to give Ohio State a 61-60 lead. The Buckeyes pulled away to a 67-60 advantage with four more free throws by Jackson and two from Bates-Diop.It was clear early that the Michigan offense was able to spread the Ohio State defense out with passes from baseline to baseline and screens to shake pursuing defenders, opening up lanes for easy points in the paint and finding chances for its guards to shoot from beyond the arc. By halftime, Michigan had run up a 43-30 lead and led in both 3-pointers (7-5) and points in the paint (20-10). With 14:18 left in the first half, the Buckeye defense switched to a 2-3 zone, but found little success against the Michigan offense that continued to exploit the zone. The Wolverines went on a 22-11 run to push their lead out to 36-17.Holtmann said coming out of the half, his team had a determination to be totally different than it played in the first half when things were not going right for his team.“Defensively, we had to change some things at half time because you watch a ton of tape and you put a scouting report together and you think it’s going to work like it worked against Wisconsin, and your guys execute,” Holtmann said. “When they come out and they attack it in a way that really exposes us, so we had to make some changes, so that I think combined with just our guys’ effort was critical.”Wagner led Michigan players with 14 points and nine rebounds. Guards Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson were tied for the second-most points with 11 points each.Bates-Diop said between the 83-59 road win against Wisconsin and the second-half comeback against Michigan, the Buckeyes are starting to get an idea of what the ceiling could be if they continue their success. “If we play like we did in the second half all game, the game’s really not even that close and Michigan’s a good team,” Bates-Diop said. “It’s hard to win in Wisconsin no matter what year it is. So if we carry these things as the rest of non-conference and into the regular season Big Ten, I think sky’s the limit for us. We can be really good.”Ohio State stays home for a matchup at noon Saturday against William and Mary. read more

Breakfast like a king as Fortnum Mason publishes recipe for Edward VIIIs

first_imgAnything to avoid that gloomy continental breakfastTom Parker Bowles, of Edward VIII Among the chapters in one on scotch eggs, said to have been invented in the Piccadilly shop after customers in the 18th century developed the habit of popping in en route to the country by coach and demanding a portable snack.Dr Andrea Tanner, Fortnum and Mason archivist, said the idea had been inspired by the current chief executive, who “couldn’t understand why we hadn’t done a cookery book before”.“We have never actually exposed out recipes to the public before,” she said. “But people kept asking us for recipes for things like scones and the ultimate scotch eggs.“So we delved into the archive to see the sorts of things we cooked in the past.“We then talked about famous customers and giving everyone the Fortnums experience. It was huge fun.” She added: “People might be surprised to learn we supplied every British Everest expedition.“Or the Charles Dickens used to very sweetly almost advertise us in his journalism before he loved our hampers so much.Dr Tanner added she had had some initial misgivings about giving away their secret recipes to all and sundry, but had concluded it would be a “travesty” not to be generous enough to share their greatest hits.Writing of the royal kippers, Parker Bowles states: “After Edward VIII had abdicated and was waiting, in exile, to marry Mrs Simpson at Chateau de Conde, he still craved a taste of home.“So he had Fortnum’s send down its Craster kippers (from Northumberland, with a strong oak smoke) every morning by plane.“Anything to avoid that gloomy continental breakfast.”Fortnum & Mason: The Cookbook by Tom Parker Bowles is published by 4th Estate, costs £30, and is out now. Charles Dickens: Fortnum & Mason fan Traditional Craster Kippers being cured in a smoke house. Anyone who wishes to breakfast like a king, as the saying goes, may be in luck. They can now, at the very least, breakfast like a former king in exile.Fortnum and Mason are to release their top secret recipes for the first time in more than 300 years, including instructions to make the smoked kipper breakfast shipped to Edward VIII as he waited to marry Wallis Simpson.According to archivists, the meal was flown down every morning from Fortnum and Mason in London to the French chateau where the abdicated king waited for his bride-to-be.He is said to have enjoyed it so much he would do anything to “avoid that gloomy continental breakfast” and enjoy Craster kippers freshly smoked – relatively – from Northumberland. Traditional Craster Kippers being cured in a smoke house. Tom Parker Bowles, the chef Among the dishes includes picnic fare enjoyed by Charles Dickens, a steak tartare served to Terence Stamp’s table, and recipes for scotch eggs: invented by Fortum itself.It will also include their most-requested dishes from Welsh Rarebit and scones, to Knickerbocker Glories and the traditional Marmalade Tea Bread.Tom Parker Bowles, the chef, said he had wanted to get involved to show the store was a “national icon” and “British institution” which had “fed the appetites of kings and queens, maharajahs and tsars, emperors, dukes and divas alike”. Tom Parker Bowles, the chef Charles Dickens: Fortnum & Mason fan 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 recipe is one of dozens to be released by the store for the first time in its history, the product of years of research delving into their own archives.While many of the recipes are as original as historians could muster, others have been developed by chef Tom Parker Bowles.And even the kipper recipe will make one key concession to the modern age: swapping lashings of butter to fry them in for “a little olive oil”.last_img read more

Well never call the police Shoplifting seagull terrorises Greggs bakery

first_imgUk councils planning to cure a seagull problem on UK beaches….. Bird Bouncers, Steven Seagull pic.twitter.com/yUeo4Q2Iv7— Gab.ai (@no1confused) February 7, 2017 seagull  Aggressive seagulls have caused chaos in British seaside towns, with one MP warning of ‘seagull wars’ ahead of breeding season.Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan for Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland has also warned of vigilante seagull hunters wandering the streets of her constituency. “We are plagued with the seagull problem, to the point that last summer someone took it upon themselves to institute their own cull …” she said. “Which means there are people wandering the streets of Berwick with firearms who really shouldn’t be doing so.” Last year, a student captured the moment she was photobombed by a gull that stole her ice cream.While a bald man has revealed how he was attacked by a giant eagle owl ‘who mistook his head for an egg’. A seagull watches as people eat takeaway food on the seafront at St IvesCredit:Getty  seagull  Ashleigh Walton, 24, said of the seagull’s reign of terror : “Steven has no fear. We have to keep a constant eye out for him.“He must be our most loyal regular – he’s here all day, every day.” A shoplifting seagull with a liking for baked treats has been terrorising a Greggs bakery in Scotland, but staff have vowed they will “never call the police on him”.The brazen bird, who has been dubbed Steven Seagull, swoops down on the Arbroath bakery up to ten times a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Steven even appeared unperturbed after being caught on camera nonchalantly walking out of the Greggs store with a packet of stolen salt and vinegar crisps.“We’ll never call police on him,” Lyndsay Cowan, 26, told the Scottish Sun of the seagull named after American actor Steven Seagal.“He loves crisps but he’ll take what he can – he flew off with a pack of six rolls. We try to stop him but he’s usually too quick.” A seagull passes a view of the Houses of Parliament in LondonCredit:Reuters  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

Ripoff fees that charge ill pensioners for moving in relatives to their

first_imgIn a mystery shopping exercise last year an undercover representative from the Commission was wrongly told by several developers that there were no hidden charges on the properties. The Law Commission said that some fees were a “practical way of making retirement flats affordable” but this lack of transparency was a problem and certain types of fees, including ones charged when a carer or family member moved in, should be banned. Law Commissioner Stephen Lewis said: “In the worst cases, a few unscrupulous landlords are getting away with very high hidden fees buried deep in the small print of a long and complicated lease. “We’d urge the government to crack down on rogue landlords by regulating the sector and making sure that before consumers sign on the dotted line, they have already been told exactly what’s being provided for their money.”A Government spokesman said:  “It’s vital that the fees older people pay for retirement properties are fair, reasonable and easily understandable.“We welcome the Law Commission’s wide-ranging review and we will consider the report’s recommendations closely. Rip-off fees that charge vulnerable pensioners hundreds of pounds for moving a carer into their retirement home should be axed, the Law Commission has said. The body which recommends law changes to the Government said that in some cases pensioners were being charged thousands of pounds a year because landlords charge repeated fees when the occupants of a property change. It said fees charged when a resident is forced to move in a family member or carer because they are no longer able to cope alone should be banned.  “Event fees” are also charged when the older person moves into a care home and sublets the property to someone else, or when the property is sold. They are charged in some form by developers on most of the 160,000 retirement homes in the UK. The Commission said that in many cases pensioners are unaware of the fees when they sign contracts to buy the leasehold flats and are shocked to be faced with a bill for thousands of pounds.The fees are normally around one or two per cent of the property’s value. On a flat worth £300,000 this could mean charges of up to £6,000. If a flat is sublet, or different people move in and out, fees can be charged several times over.But experts criticised the report for failing to recommend a total ban on controversial “exit fees” which are charged when a property is sold and lead to developers siphoning off a proportion of the sale price. 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. Sebastian O’Kelly, of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, which campaigns against unfair leasehold, said the recommendations were “a great disappointment”. He said he was concerned that the failure to recommend a ban on exit fees might lead some developers who had already scrapped them, such as housebuilder McCarthy & Stone, moving to re-introduce them. Just two per cent of Britain’s housing stock is retirement homes, which is much lower than the proportion in other developed countries. In Australia and New Zealand the proportion is 13 per cent. “I don’t think this report is going to contribute in any way to more confidence in this market and the British are going to continue to stay away from it,” he said. But Adam Hillier, of charity Elderly Accommodation Counsel, said the problem was more to do with providers hiding the fees from buyers.He said: “It’s about transparency – the housing providers weren’t making it clear to the buyers, so they only found out at the last minute when they’d already made the decision to move.” A few unscrupulous landlords are getting away with very high hidden feeslast_img read more

Trainee barristers docked points for short skirts coloured socks and kinky boots

first_imgDana Denis-Smith, the founder of the First 100 Years project, which highlights women’s achievements in law, said the BPP guidance showed how “prescriptive” the legal profession is.  I think it’s meant to be almost more restrictive to drum home the point that justice is important, you’ve got to take it seriously. The law school was founded in 1992 and alongside barrister training also trains solicitors for top firms including Allen & Overy, Herbert Smith Freehills and Clifford Chance. A spokesman said the list was “indicative guidance only to the sort of dress and behaviour which could adversely affect the advocate in court, and could, therefore, be penalized in a BPP assessment”. He added: “Our students dress conservatively and smartly for their advocacy classes and indeed for the assessment, and this is good preparation for practice. “It is exceptionally rare that any student is ever penalized in an assessment for any of the infringements listed. “The list has not been revised for a long time, and will be reconsidered before the next publication. “I felt equally bad about the men – I was thinking ‘wow you really are over the top’,” she added. “I think it’s meant to be almost more restrictive to drum home the point that justice is important, you’ve got to take it seriously.”  Female trainee barristers have been told they will lose points in their exams if their skirts are too short. Guidance given to students taking the bar professional training course at BPP University sets out a schedule of point deductions for infringements including “too much shirt undone”, “short skirts (women)” and “colourful socks (men)”. The list of “offences of professional conduct” itemises the point penalties for students if they are not properly dressed during their advocacy assessment, a mock court situation which tests their knowledge of legal process and courtroom terms and behaviour. Colourful socks lose a male advocate a point, while wearing a skirt above the knee would cost a female trainee two points, the list, which is given to students as part of a manual on advocacy, says. The most costly infringement is for a female trainee whose bra is showing, which would result in the loss of three points, as would wearing boots with a short skirt. This outfit choice is “an inappropriate combination for court”,  the guidance, leaked to the blog Legal Cheek, adds. The university is not the only one to warn students they could be penalised for their dress. The University of the West of England’s guidance says trainee barristers could lose two points for “unkempt hair” and five points for wearing trainers.  “I still know women barristers who wouldn’t dare to go to court without wearing a skirt, even though we’ve had about 30 years of women being allowed to wear trousers. “This whole courtroom environment remains quite old-fashioned,” she said. “Women in solicitors’ firms, 30 years ago, were being sent home for wearing trousers. Court came much later. “To be a judge you are coming through a whole career, [you’re] towards the end of your career, and people of a certain age have certain expectations of what professional dress looks like.”In one City law firm, she said, she knew of guidelines in the past for women dictating the colour of their tights, limiting them to thin beige styles and forbidding them from wearing thick opaque tights. “I don’t think it’s just the legal profession, I think it’s an issue around the professions. What is the image of being ‘professional’? “That needs to be redefined, but nobody is redefining it at the moment.”But, she added, the restrictions for men were equally limiting.  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

UKs top diplomat caught up in blunder after calling the Sikh Golden

Jeremy Corbyn speaks during an interview in London, April 20,2018 The Queen had visited the site in 1997, 13 years after a deadly and extremely controversial  assault by the Indian army took place, which was aimed at expelling armed separatists who wanted a separate Sikh homeland.Jeremy Corbyn has vowed that if he were to become Prime Minister he would launch a probe to investigate Britain’s role during the raid in the party’s next manifesto. The scale of the UK’s involvement in the assault, which reportedly left thousands dead, is currently under intense scrutiny, making the blunder even more awkward for Sir Simon.Addressing a Sikhs for Labour meeting in Watford, Mr Corbyn remarked: “You can be very sure that, whenever the election comes, it will be in the next manifesto … it’s a commitment that’s going to be there and we will honour that commitment.”Sir Simon has been on a visit to the Northern Indian city of Chandigarh, where he has been meeting students and politicians.Dr Jasjit Singh, a researcher at Leeds University, questioned if the diplomat had been thinking of the Golden Mosque in Rochdale, which is an actual place of Muslim worship.Video: Boris Johnson criticised for talking about alcohol in Sikh temple The Golden Temple, constructed in the 16th century, is so sacred to Sikhs because it is considered to be the main site of pilgrimage for the faith.The mosque tweet has therefore enraged many on social media, particularly British Sikhs.Bhai Amrik Singh, chairman of the Sikh Federation, said: “This was a major gaffe by a top civil servant and totally unacceptable.He added: “In our view, a public apology and admitting the mistake is not enough. What we need is a commitment from the UK Government and senior civil servants to root out such ignorance and discrimination or we will continue to face hate, abuse and threats of violence.” Britain’s chief diplomat has apologised after mistaking one of the most sacred sites in Sikhism as a mosque.Sir Simon McDonald, the permanent under-secretary at the Foreign Office, admitted that he made a blunder on Monday when referring to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, as the “Golden Mosque”.The distinction between mosques being the place of Muslim worship and temples or gurdwaras used by Sikhs was not initially made clear.The gaffe took place on Twitter where Sir Simon claimed that a photograph of the Queen at the “Golden Mosque” had been given to a colleague.Realising his mistake, he admitted that he should have said “the Golden Temple or, better, Sri Harmandir Sahib” instead. Jeremy Corbyn speaks during an interview in London, April 20,2018Credit:Anadolu Agency I was wrong: I am sorry. I should of course have said the Golden Temple or, better, Sri Harmandir Sahib. https://t.co/4rJ4mwOdCJ— Sir Simon McDonald (@SMcDonaldFCO) April 24, 2018 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

Mothers play critical role in steering children away from extremism says head

“The education of women in the Muslim world is vital to a peaceful, harmonious and cohesive society,” he said. It is the first time that Alex Younger, who is chief of the secret intelligence service, has spoken about the importance of women in the global fight against terrorism. “They play a critical role in society by teaching future generations to choose a more positive path by rejecting extremism and radicalisation.” Mothers are vital in stopping radicalisation, the head of MI6 has, said as he praised their “critical role” in steering children away from extremism. Mr Younger – who is known as “C” in intelligence circles –  has warned in the past that terrorist groups such as the so-called…

Psychic pig Mystic Marcus predicts World Cup semifinal lineup

The unscripted drama of a World Cup just wouldn’t be complete without the sideshow of a psychic animal making bold predictions about the outcome, and this year, a mystic micro pig from Britain has stepped into the spotlight.   Mystic Marcus, a micro pig from a farm in Heage, Derbyshire, has ignored the favourites for the competition now under way in Russia, and plucked for Argentina, Belgium, Nigeria and Uruguay to make the final four.The micro pig, sporting a wizard’s hat and cape, made the prediction by eating four apples with the colourful flags of each of his selected countries attached to a wooden cocktail stick.Marcus has earned a reputation for making correct predictions, according to the BBC, having previously prophesied the result of the 2014 World Cup, the Wimbledon tennis men’s finals, the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s shock US election victory in 2016.The piggy prophet’s owner Juliette Stevens, who breeds micro pigs for a living on her 22-acre family-run farm, said there has been huge interest in the animal’s World Cup predictions. The pig predicted Argentina, Uruguay, Nigeria and Belgium to progress to the semi-finals “I’m now inundated with messages from around the world from people asking me to arrange for Marcus to predict all sorts of things,” she explained. “Lottery numbers, election results, sports results, horse races. Very funny.” The pig predicted Argentina, Uruguay, Nigeria and Belgium to progress to the semi-finalsCredit:Michael Scott/Mercury Press  Achilles Oracle cat Achilles predicted Russia’s opening game World Cup victoryCredit:Getty  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. Aside from making predictions, Ms Stevens previously said Marcus has a “lovely chilled out personality” and has “produced some lovely piglets”.She added: “I love micro pigs because they are so intelligent and so cute and sweet. In my view they are by far the most amazing pets you could wish to own.” This year, a Russian cat named Achilles correctly predicted the winner of the competition’s first game between the host nation and Saudi Arabia. The feline’s reputation soared last summer when he correctly predicted results correctly in the Confederations Cup. However, her pet’s predictions haven’t always been accurate, with Marcus wrongly backing Derby County to beat Hull City in the Championship play-off semi-final in 2016, a match the Rams lost 3-0.His prediction for this year’s tournament will also ultimately prove to be incorrect, with his four teams picked unable to all reach the semi-final due to clashes in the quarter-finals, if they all make it that farMarcus joins a long list of animals with reputed psychic powers, including Paul the “octopus oracle”, who correctly predicted the results of 12 matches at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. read more

Inside the spy hiring centre where Britains brightest minds are challenged to

Today’s equivalent of the Bletchley Park operatives is just as likely to be a teenager with the taste and aptitude for hacking into a bank or government department’s supposedly secure computer system. In the Oscar winning 2014 film The Imitation Game Keira Knightley’s character demonstrated her aptitude for code breaking by completing a fiendishly difficult crosswords puzzle. Which explains why Britain is now using the 21st century equivalent of the crossword puzzle test to protect the nation against the hidden threat of widespread cyber attacks. The Government’s secret communications centre HMGCC is backing a series of hacking competitions designed to spot the recruits needed to strengthen the…

Half of wouldbe soldiers drop out of recruitment process because it takes

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. Half of would-be soldiers are dropping out of the process because it is taking up to a year to be recruited, a National Audit Office report has found. The British Army has failed to meet recruitment targets as it “underestimated the complexity of what it was trying to achieve” when it outsourced recruiting to the services company Capita, the report says. Capita won the £495m contract for Army recruitment in 2012, but the Army has not recruited the number of soldiers that it requires in any year since the contract began.A report by the National Audit Office (NAO), published on Friday, found there were “significant problems” with the British Army Recruiting Partnering Project.These included an online recruitment system that was planned for launch in July 2013 but launched 52 months late at a cost of £113m – triple the original budget.Capita has consistently missed the Army’s recruitment targets, with the total shortfall ranging from 21 per cent to 45 per cent of the Army’s requirement, the report said.The Commons Defence Committee was told in  October the Army has 77,000 fully trained troops compared with a target of 82,500.The Army and Capita have introduced some “significant changes” in the last year, but none have resulted in enough soldiers being recruited, according to the NAO.The report found that it took up to 321 days for new recruits to go from starting an application to beginning basic training, and that many drop out of the process while waiting A total of 47 per cent of applicants dropped out of the process voluntarily in 2017-18, and both the Army and Capita believe the length of the process is a significant factor in this, the report said.The Army estimates there were 13,000 fewer applications between November 2017 and March 2018 than in the same period the previous year, the report said.The NAO found that neither the Army nor Capita tested changes to the recruitment process before it was introduced and the number of local recruitment centres was cut from 131 to 68 to save costs.It said the project will not achieve its planned savings of £267m for the Ministry of Defence.  Capita’s 10-year contract will end in 2022.Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, said in a recent Commons Defence Committee heading that he would show “no timidity” in cancelling the contract if Capita’s perdirmance didn’t improve. “The army is gradually disappearing before your eyes,” Mark Francois, a member of the committee, told the Secretary of State, “and it’s happening on your watch”.He added: “You have to do something about it.”  Madeleine Moon, another committee member agreed. “We are not doing the best for the people serving this country,” she said. A Capita spokesperson said: “As the NAO report states, both Capita and the Army underestimated the complexity of this project.”Our focus is now on working with the Army to deliver a recruitment process fit for the 21st century.”We have overhauled governance on the contract and are already seeing improvements, with applications at a five-year high and a reduction in the amount of time it takes candidates to join the Army.”We are absolutely committed to getting this partnership right.”General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the Defence Staff, recently said he was confident Capita would hit their annual recruiting figure “before the end of the contract”. However, he declined to say in which of the remaining four years of the contract this target would be reached.  read more

Speeding motorists from European countries escaping prosecution in Britain due to quirk

Hundreds of foreign motorists have been allowed to speed on Britain’s roads with impunity because police cannot trace the drivers of vehicles from abroad, a constabulary has admitted.A loophole in European laws has meant that a total of 400 motorists from mainland Europe have escaped prosecution despite their cars being photographed breaking the legal speed limit by enforcement cameras on the M20 in Kent.Damian Green, the local MP, and the RAC Foundation have condemned the inability to prosecute dangerous foreign drivers claiming it sends the wrong message to motorists visiting the UK.The contraflow on the M20 was imposed for a seven-week period between April and the end of May as part of Brexit contingency plans.Traffic was reduced to two lanes and a 50mph speed imposed on the London-bound carriageway.While more than 900 British drivers were given £100 fines for exceeding the limit, 400 foreign motorists caught by the cameras escaped a fine or prosecution. While police who stop speeding motorists can establish the identity of a foreign driver, tracking down foreign drivers through speed camera footage can exceed the six month time limit for a prosecutionCredit:IAN JONES “Enforcement need not be at the roadside but at the ports. If cameras are used to detect offending then couldn’t the penalty be issued at entry and exit points? The mere threat of it would quickly act as a deterrent.”An EU directive introduced in 2017 was supposed to make it easier for member states to track down motorists who had committed a range of offences, including speeding.The directive compels member states to exchange the identity of the registered keeper or owner of a vehicle – as opposed to the identity of the driver – at the time of the offence.However, the UK runs a driver liability system whereas the directive is based on keeper liability.For police forces, that may make it more difficult obtaining information on drivers if they are from another member state.In the UK, police obtain the name of a registered car owner from the DVLA before writing to them to ask for a declaration of who was driving at the time of the photographed speeding offence. Failure to respond to that ‘Notice of Intended Prosecution’ is in itself an offence.While officers can obtain details of the foreign owner of a vehicle from the DVLA equivalent in most other European countries, they do not have legal powers to force that person to reveal who was driving at the time of an offence. While police could ask officers from the European Liaison Unit for assistance, it would be frowned upon because police in that team usually deal with far more serious crimes. It is also anticipated that pursuing a foreign speeding motorist could take more than six months, the time limit for any prosecution to be brought.Essentially, in the UK the driver of a vehicle is responsible for any crimes committed in any vehicle they drive, no matter who owns it. But most European countries hold the owner of a vehicle directly responsible for any crimes committed in that car, no matter who is driving. So, other European countries are better able to pursue prosecutions for British motorists caught speeding abroad because they DVLA provides the name of the owner of a vehicle. “The reason is that in the UK, whoever was driving the vehicle at the time of an alleged offence, is liable for prosecution. In some, but not all, EU countries, the registered keeper of the vehicle is liable even if they were not driving at the time.“Under EU legislation, dating from 2017, UK police forces can request the registered keeper’s details if they are a foreign national but we cannot establish who was driving the vehicle at the time. This is what we would require under UK legislation to secure a prosecution for a speeding offence.”Mr Green, the Conservative MP for Ashford, said he would write to the chief constable to demand an explanation, adding: “This is unacceptable. Everyone who uses that part of the M20 can tell you how they have been overtaken by foreign lorries who do not obey the speed limit.“The idea that they can do so with impunity sends out the wrong message.”He added that technology and help from foreign police forces should be used to identify commercial vehicles, such as lorries and trucks arriving at ports, and their drivers if it is thought they have been driving dangerously here.Philip Gomm of the RAC Foundation said: “Turning a blind eye to speeding drivers, of whatever nationality, sends out the wrong message about what is acceptable on Kent’s roads. While police who stop speeding motorists can establish the identity of a foreign driver, tracking down foreign drivers through speed camera footage can exceed the six month time limit for a prosecution 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. Inspector Daryl McGrath, of Kent Police’s roads policing unit, said: “The legislation as it stands does not allow UK police forces to prosecute foreign drivers who are suspected of committing a speeding offence in the UK when caught speeding by camera. read more

British Army to engage in social media warfare as new cyber division

Lieutenant General Ivan Jones, the Commander of the Field Army, said the division would operate “above and below the threshold of conventional conflict” to counter malign Russian activity and threats from technologically sophisticated terror groups such as Isil. The… The new formation, titled 6 Division (6 Div), will seek to influence the behaviour of the public and adversaries by specialising in “information warfare”. It is expected to react to social media “attacks” on Britain, and proactively launch similar offensives. The British Army is to engage in social media warfare, its most senior soldier has announced as he launched a new division of the military dedicated to fighting cyber threats.