Mike Trout And Bryce Harper Are Baseballs Best Young PositionPlayer Duo Ever

Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, by consensus the most talented young position players in baseball, are facing off this week for the first time in their burgeoning careers. (Trout’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim got the best of Harper’s Washington Nationals on Monday night, 4-2.)Few youngsters arrived in the majors with as much buildup as Harper, who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 16. Luckily for the Nationals, he’s mostly been as good as advertised (and he’s still just 21 years old, a fact that’s often forgotten because he’s been so good). Meanwhile, all Trout did in his first full pair of major-league seasons was turn in two of the 150 or so best position-player seasons in the past 113 years of baseball, making two strong MVP bids in the process.So, yeah, these guys have been really good, really early in their careers.With all the (deserved) hype surrounding Trout and Harper, I was wondering how the duo compares to other concurrent 22-or-under pairs of position players in the history of baseball. To answer that question, I looked at the most productive two non-pitchers age 22 or below in a given season, based on the combined number of wins above replacement they’d generated in the previous two seasons. (We can’t compare Trout/Harper through age 22 because we don’t know what they’ll do in 2014.)By that standard, Trout and Harper are the most productive young duo in baseball history. Here were the seasons featuring the best pairs of budding superstars ever (taking only the best score for duplicate pairs):The majority of those 28.2 combined WAR belong to Trout, author of the aforementioned pair of historically dominant campaigns. Let’s be honest, though: Given Trout’s otherworldly production at such a young age, we could pair him with just about anybody and he’d still be near the top of this list (Trout by himself would rank fifth). But Harper’s numbers to date hardly make him a coattail-rider. As far as No. 2s go, Harper’s 8.6 WAR ranks below only Mel Ott and Eddie Mathews as the third-best second fiddle in the history of promising under-22 duos.If we’re looking to give extra weight to No. 2s, ensuring that both players in a pair have great stats (to safeguard against a situation such as what happened in 1918, when Rogers Hornsby had 97 percent of the WAR in his “duo” with Ross Youngs), perhaps a better way to rank these kinds of pairings is not to sum up all of the WAR generated by a pair, but rather to take the harmonic mean of the two individuals’ WAR totals. If we do that, the following list emerges:By either list, though, Trout-Harper is the best young duo in baseball history. So, savor their matchup this week — you may never again see a pair of position players so good face off at such a young age. read more

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How FiveThirtyEight Is Forecasting The 2016 NCAA Tournament

CaliforniaSouth4187186.54.00.7 IndianaEast5193887.45.81.1 BaylorWest5183785.56.01.0 DaytonMidwest7178882.41.60.1 Florida Gulf CoastEast16154471.4<0.1<0.1 North CarolinaEast1207593.943.615.0 VirginiaMidwest1205292.530.49.8 Note, however, that Elo is still just one of six computer rankings that we use for the men’s tournament. The other five are ESPN’s BPI, Jeff Sagarin’s “predictor” ratings, Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, Joel Sokol’s LRMC ratings, and Sonny Moore’s computer power ratings. In addition, we use two human-generated rating systems: the selection committee’s 68-team “S-Curve”, and a composite of preseason ratings from coaches and media polls. The eight systems — six computer-generated and two human-generated — are weighted equally in coming up with a team’s overall rating.We’ve calculated Elo ratings for men’s teams only. For women’s ratings, we rely on the same composite of ratings systems that we used last year. You can find more about the methodology for our women’s forecasts here.As has been the case previously, our ratings are also adjusted for travel distance and (for men’s teams only) player injuries. Our injury adjustment has been slightly improved to account for the higher or lower caliber of replacement players on different teams: Stony Brook, for example, won’t be able to replace a star player as easily as Kentucky can.As a final reminder, these forecasts are probabilistic — something especially important to consider in the men’s tournament this year when there’s about as much parity among teams as we’ve ever seen. In some sense, every team but the UConn women should be thought of as underdogs to win the tournament this year.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s 2016 March Madness Predictions. Michigan StateMidwest2207891.833.98.9 VillanovaSouth2204591.322.46.4 Weber StateEast15162373.3<0.1<0.1 North Carolina-AshevilleSouth15155374.2<0.1<0.1 ConnecticutSouth9187285.32.10.3 Middle TennesseeMidwest15163875.0<0.1<0.1 SouthernWest16139268.0<0.1<0.1 DukeWest4191087.312.11.7 XavierEast2197387.79.91.8 IowaSouth7190485.93.20.6 Arkansas-Little RockMidwest12173478.90.2<0.1 Stephen F. AustinEast14182481.00.4<0.1 KentuckyEast4201490.715.94.4 OregonWest1203388.022.62.6 KansasSouth1209794.545.1%19.1% TexasWest6178884.75.90.9 UtahMidwest3188786.65.30.8 Miami (FL)South3193387.14.91.0 Holy CrossWest16142066.9<0.1<0.1 Texas A&MWest3191586.812.42.4 VanderbiltSouth11184685.62.40.5 MarylandSouth5187687.46.31.3 Fresno StateMidwest14170876.6<0.1<0.1 West VirginiaEast3195689.316.23.4 2016 NCAA Tournament team ratings Wichita StateSouth11189386.62.70.7 Stony BrookEast13166377.10.1<0.1 CincinnatiWest9179483.73.20.3 WisconsinEast7189684.82.90.4 OklahomaWest2197290.032.06.8 HawaiiSouth13173778.0<0.1<0.1 PittsburghEast10178782.31.20.1 Saint Joseph’sWest8181481.61.10.1 ColoradoSouth8175681.50.4<0.1 Northern IowaWest11175180.20.8<0.1 Welcome to FiveThirtyEight’s forecasts of the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments. We’ve been issuing probabilistic March Madness forecasts in some form since 2011, when FiveThirtyEight was just a couple of us writing for The New York Times. While the basics of the system remain the same, we unveil a couple of new wrinkles each year.Last season, we issued forecasts of the women’s tournament for the first time. Our big change for this year is that we won’t just be updating our forecasts at the end of each game — but also in real time. If a No. 2 seed is losing to a No. 15 seed, you’ll be able to see how that could affect the rest of the bracket, even before the game is over.Live win probabilitiesOur interactive graphic will include a dashboard that shows the score and time remaining in every game as it’s played, as well as the chance that each team will win that game. These probabilities are derived using logistic regression analysis, which lets us plug the current state of a game into a model to produce the probability that either team wins the game. Specifically, we used play-by-play data from the past five seasons of Division I NCAA basketball to fit a model that incorporates:Time remaining in the gameScore differencePre-game win probabilitiesWhich team has possession, with a special adjustment if the team is shooting free throws.These in-game win probabilities won’t account for everything. If a key player has fouled out of a game, for example, his or her team’s win probability is probably a bit lower than we’ve listed. There are also a few places where the model experiences momentary uncertainty: In the handful of seconds between the moment when a player is fouled and the free throws that follow, we use the team’s average free-throw percentage. Still, these probabilities ought to do a reasonably good job of showing which games are competitive and which are in the bag.We built a separate in-game probability model for the women’s tournament that works in exactly the same way but uses historical women’s data. Thus, we’ll be updating our forecasts live for both the men’s and women’s tournament.Excitement indexOur March Madness “excitement index” (loosely based on Brian Burke’s NFL work) is a measure of how much each team’s chances of winning changed over the course of the game and is a good reference for picking the best games to flip to.The calculation is simple: It’s the average change in win probability per basket scored, weighted by the amount of time remaining in the game. This means that a late-game basket has more influence on a game’s rating than a basket near the beginning of the game. We give additional weight to changes in win probability in overtime. Ratings range from 0 to 10, except in extreme cases where they can exceed 10.The index isn’t perfect — this year’s play-in game between Holy Cross and Southern was good, but perhaps not deserving of its 9.4 rating. But even if it doesn’t quite capture the difference between a closely contested slog and a Dunk City run to the Sweet 16, it does a nice job of quantifying how tight a game was and how many big shots were hit.Elo ratingsOtherwise, the methodology for our men’s forecasts is also largely the same as last year. But we’ve developed our own computer rating system — Elo — which we include along with the five computer rankings and two human rankings we used previously.If you’ve followed FiveThirtyEight, you’ll know that we’re big fans of Elo ratings, which we’ve introduced for the NBA, the NFL and other sports. We’ve now applied them for men’s college basketball teams dating back to the 1950s, using game data from ESPN, Sports-Reference.com and other sources.Our methodology for calculating these Elo ratings is highly similar to the one we use for NBA. They rely on relatively simple information — specifically, the final score, home-court advantage, and the location of each game. (College basketball teams perform significantly worse when they travel a long distance to play a game.) They also account for a team’s conference — at the beginning of each season, a team’s Elo rating is regressed toward the mean of other schools in its conference — and whether the game was an NCAA Tournament game. We’ve found that historically, there are actually fewer upsets in the NCAA Tournament than you’d expect from the difference in teams’ Elo ratings, perhaps because the games are played under better and fairer conditions in the tournament than in the regular season. Our Elo ratings account for this and also weight tournament games slightly higher than regular season ones.Elo ratings for the 68 teams to qualify for the men’s tournament follow below. North Carolina-WilmingtonWest13172277.70.2<0.1 YaleWest12179280.21.0<0.1 Cal State BakersfieldWest15163575.00.1<0.1 GonzagaMidwest11191686.03.20.5 TEAMREGIONSEEDELOCOMPOSITEFINAL 4CHAMPS Southern CaliforniaEast8173381.40.2<0.1 IonaMidwest13175978.20.1<0.1 Texas TechMidwest8177781.30.4<0.1 TempleSouth10173078.50.2<0.1 ArizonaSouth6195389.06.01.8 Oregon StateWest7174077.60.2<0.1 Seton HallMidwest6191484.51.80.2 Virginia CommonwealthWest10179883.12.20.2 Fairleigh DickinsonEast16141766.7<0.1<0.1 ChattanoogaEast12161076.6<0.1<0.1 South Dakota StateSouth12173578.60.2<0.1 ButlerMidwest9181584.22.50.3 MichiganEast11176879.60.3<0.1 BuffaloSouth14161375.7<0.1<0.1 PurdueMidwest5193888.713.02.7 Iowa StateMidwest4186786.56.41.0 Austin PeaySouth16147768.8<0.1<0.1 RATINGSPROBABILITY OF… HamptonMidwest16148868.6<0.1<0.1 SyracuseMidwest10177282.71.30.1 ProvidenceEast9182482.50.80.1 TulsaEast11169079.90.2<0.1 Notre DameEast6183284.42.60.3 Green BayWest14166776.20.1<0.1 UPDATE (6:30 p.m. March 18): We’ve updated this post to add information about the excitement index. read more

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Bolt Has No Regrets After Shocking ThirdPlace Finish at

LONDON (AP) — One final time, Usain Bolt peered down the last 50 meters of his lane and saw sprinter upon sprinter running footsteps ahead of him.One final time, the World’s Fastest Man furiously pumped the arms and legs on his gangly 6-foot-5 frame, desperately trying to reel in all those would-be winners as the finish line fast approached.This time, the afterburners kicked in but not hard enough. Not one, but two overlooked and underappreciated Americans — Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman — withstood what was once Bolt’s undeniable late charge.This time, Bolt finished third in the 100-meter dash at world championships. That’s right: A bronze-medal finish Saturday night in the going-away party for one of the planet’s most entertaining icons and track and field’s lone shining star.“No regrets,” Bolt insisted, long after a result that stunned a pumped-up crowd into near silence. “It was always going to end, no matter what happened — win, lose or draw. It doesn’t change anything in my career.”Gatlin, who actually trailed Bolt at the halfway point, heard boos cascade loudly across the stadium when his winning time, 9.92 seconds, popped up on the scoreboard. The 35-year-old, who has served two doping bans and been widely cast as a villain to Bolt’s hero, went sprawling to the ground with a huge smile. Later, he bowed down to the man he finally defeated.“I wanted to pay homage to him,” Gatlin said. “This night is still a magical night for track and field and Usain Bolt. I’m just happy to be one of his biggest competitors.”Coleman, a 21-year-old in the first major race of his life, was in shock, too: “To beat someone I looked up to when I was growing up. I was just happy to be on the line with him,” he conceded.Bolt, who finished third in a time of 9.95, accepted with class both the result and the fact that, at 30, he probably is picking the perfect time to retire.“I did it for the fans,” he said after collecting a bronze to go with his three world golds at 100 meters. “They wanted me to go for one more season. I came out and did the best I could.”In the past, the scene after a Bolt race was really just an after-party masquerading as ceremony, filled with Bob Marley tunes, Jamaican flags and dancing. On Saturday, it felt surreal to anyone who’s been at one of these Bolt victories before.With house music playing softly throughout the stadium where Bolt won the middle three of his nine Olympic finals, Gatlin and Coleman passed through the exit tunnel while the former champion took a 10-minute trip around the track, then detoured into the stands for selfies with the Jamaican fans who came across the ocean to see him one last time.A few minutes after that, he stepped onto the track, kneeled down and kissed the finish line that he crossed in Lane 4.Then, he gave the fans what they’ve come to expect: The famous “To The World” pose, which used to be the cherry on top of a raucous, fun-filled night. But where in the past the stadium would have still been brimming, this time, it was about one-eighth full and emptying quickly.Bolt still has the 4×100 relay next weekend. He was asked if he wished he could run what is widely considered his best race — the 200, one of three events (100 and 4×100 are the others) where he holds the world record.“It probably would’ve been even worse,” Bolt said. “I’m not in shape to run 200 meters right now.”Should we have seen this coming? Maybe so.Bolt raced very lightly this year, and his best time coming into the meet was the same 9.95 seconds he ran in his finale.His first heat, on Friday night, was ugly. Though he won, he lumbered out of the start and later complained about the feel of the starting blocks.In the semifinals, he actually lost by .01 to Coleman — a rare defeat in any sort of race, but one that could still be chalked up to it being a tune-up, with the real race more than two hours away.But in the back of his mind, reality was setting in: “After the semifinal, I knew if I didn’t get my start, I was going to be in trouble,” he said. “I knew it. And when I left the blocks, I was like ‘Aaaah.’”He was the second-slowest starter in the eight-man field. Nothing new there, though his less-than-ideal racing shape, to say nothing of the fitness of the guys he was chasing, turned the usual comeback into something nobody’s seen before on this big a stage.Through most of the race, it looked as if Bolt would be trying to reel in Coleman, the NCAA champion who was in Lane 5 and got out faster than anyone in the field.While that chase was unfolding, Gatlin, out in Lane 8, was coming from behind.Two years ago at the world championships, Gatlin had Bolt all but beaten in the 100 finals, but he leaned too early before the line and let the champion pass him for a .01-second victory.This time, it was Gatlin doing the passing, and now he is a world champion in addition to a trivia question: Who was the last sprinter to win Olympic gold in the 100 before Bolt? It was Gatlin in 2004.“You guys call it losses, losses, losses,” Gatlin said. “I’ll call it lessons, lessons, lessons.”The new champion spent much of his post-race news conference insisting he’d learned to tune out the booing that has followed him the past few years and explaining that he’s not that bad a guy.“I know you have to have the black hat and the white hat, but guys, c’mon,” he said.Bolt, meanwhile, was insistent that neither Gatlin’s win nor his own loss were disasters for track. He called the evening and the crowd “beautiful” — even if that medal he earned might not seem as pretty as the rest.“It doesn’t change anything,” Bolt said. “I lost the race to a great competitor. I came out here and did my best. I’ve done all I can do for my sport and for myself.” read more

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ExNFL Player Released from Team Over Gun Charge Says

Former NFL linebacker Khaseem Greene/WikipediaELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — A former NFL linebacker says in a lawsuit that police and prosecutors in New Jersey knew a shooter had lied about getting a weapon from the player but charged him anyway.A gun charge against Khaseem Greene was dropped in July after an audio recording surfaced of the other man telling detectives he lied about Greene’s involvement in a shooting outside a nightclub in Elizabeth in December 2016.The Kansas City Chiefs released Greene the day charges against him were reported.The other man’s admission came the day he told detectives Greene was involved. But it wasn’t included in a criminal complaint that alleged Greene was seen on camera handing him a gun.The suit, filed Tuesday, names the Elizabeth Police Department, and the Union County Prosecutors Office. Messages seeking comment left with the agencies weren’t immediately returned. read more

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Passionate sports fans shed tears

Sports are often marginalized into just-a-game diatribes or wins-versus-losses arguments. But sports are so much more than that. They can spawn any sort of emotion imaginable. One day they might elicit 1,000-watt smiles. Other days they generate self-induced purgatory. Here’s a timeline of some sentiments I’ve experienced because of sports in my hometown of Cincinnati, just in the past year. Last season, the Bengals underwent a season of incredible triumph and indescribable tragedy. When defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer came home Oct. 9, 2009, he found his wife dead. Vikki Zimmer had died of natural causes. Just three days later, Zimmer watched from the sidelines as his defense held Baltimore scoreless for three-and-a-half quarters and the Bengals pulled out a narrow victory against the Ravens. If your eyes didn’t well up when the players handed Zimmer the ball in the locker room after the game or when he told the team, “She’s up there now in heaven smiling at you,” you might want to check your pulse. Not too long after that, wide receiver Chad Ochocinco made me cry on two separate occasions. How did perhaps the most outlandish and self-serving wide receiver in the game today kick-start my tear ducts? On Dec. 16, 2009, word began rolling into Cincinnati that Chad’s teammate and good friend Chris Henry had fallen out of a moving pickup truck driven by his fiancée. Henry died the next day. Reporters interviewed Ochocinco at his locker shortly after the news of Henry’s death reached the team. He talked about how Henry, one of the prime violators of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, had done a 180 with his life. How he had turned the corner. How he was focused on his family. Then with tears slowly consuming his eyes, Ochocinco questioned the “man upstairs” about why he had to take Henry. As a man with uncertain faith because of deaths in my own family, Ochocinco struck a chord with me. As I sat and watched Ochocinco talk about his friend, our two faces soon became one as I, too, mourned Henry. Tears streamed down my face like raindrops running down a windowsill. A few days later, the Bengals visited San Diego. In the second quarter, Ochocinco beat Charger cornerback Antonio Cromartie on a double move for a long touchdown reception. It was a streak down the sideline that Bengals fans saw from Henry on occasion. When he reached the end zone, Ochocinco gingerly dropped to one knee and gazed at the sky. He got up and walked back to the sideline, the “king of end-zone celebrations,” dethroned by the aching in his soul. When the cameras zoomed in on his face, Ochocinco’s expression was clear. So was mine. I sat in front of my television and, like Ochocinco, I wept for Chris Henry, a man I’d never met before in my life. When I attended the Bengals’ playoff game last season, I could feel the (cue sports-writing clichés) electricity in the city walking to Paul Brown Stadium. When “Welcome to the Jungle” blared through the stadium speakers as the team sprinted out through the tunnel, goose bumps covered my body. I felt as if I was in a sports twilight zone, immersed in a crowd of buoyant pandemonium. The great thing about growing up in Cincinnati is that we not only have the Bengals, but we also have the Cincinnati Reds. This summer a Cuban missile landed in my fair city. Aroldis Chapman, the 22-year-old with the 100-plus fastball and $30-million arm, made his long-awaited Cincinnati Reds debut Aug. 31. I was as giddy as kid on Christmas morning. I wasn’t even in the ballpark, yet I could close my eyes and hear the roar of the masses as the long-legged phenom strode to the mound. Nervous anticipation filled my body as he warmed up, like I was in a hospital waiting room awaiting the birth of my first child. Then he came, he saw and he conquered. Milwaukee Brewers hitters were helpless against him. He made professional hitters look ordinary, like little leaguers flailing at their first curveball. If they blinked, they would miss his 103-mph fastball entirely, only hearing the hiss of the ball crossing the corner of the plate and into the catcher’s mitt. I sat on my couch and was flabbergasted. It wasn’t a “wow” moment. It wasn’t even a “holy s—” moment. It was a leap-off-the-couch, jump-around-like-a-5-year-old, call-your-buddy-and-yell, “Did you see that slider start on the outside corner of the strike zone and almost hit the batter in the foot?” type of moment. That’s what sports can deliver. In less than a year. To one city. read more

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Undefeated in Big Ten Buckeyes take win in overtime

Ninety minutes wasn’t enough time to for either team to find the back of the net, but it was Paige Maxwell’s overtime goal in the 96th minute that gave the Ohio State women’s soccer team (8-2-1, 2-0-0) a win over rival Penn State (3-7-1, 1-1-0). “Any win you pick up at home is fantastic,” coach Lori Walker said. “Penn State gave us quite a few problems and we pushed through. Our soccer was definitely quality enough to result in a win.” The game-winning goal is Maxwell’s second in as many games, after scoring the difference-maker in last week’s win over Michigan. This week’s goal came after Maxwell intercepted an errant pass from Penn State goalkeeper Krissy Tribbett and then dribbled in and floated a kick over the diving goalie. “My first thought right after the goalie passed it to me was ‘Holy moly, I’m all by myself,” Maxwell said. “It’s my job to just score like a forward is supposed to do.” Maxwell appeared to have an opportunity to score in regulation, but her shot attempt sailed over the goal and out of bounds. “I kind of lost my concentration,” Maxwell said. “I did a whoopsie-doo right over the goalie and right over the goal, too.” Walker said that she was happy to see Maxwell make amends for her previous missed opportunity. “She felt a bit of responsibility ‘cause there was one in the first half that she felt she should have buried,” Walker said. “Good for her to get that back and kind of get the monkey off her back.” As the Buckeyes’ offense struggled to put the ball in the net throughout regulation, it was their tenacious defense that helped carry the scoreless game into overtime, as they limited the Nittany Lions to just two shots on goal, with goalkeeper Rachel Middleman making both saves. “Our defense is pretty much unstoppable and they’re just working so hard,” Maxwell said. “This is our year, we really just want to shine, and we’re putting everything we can toward it.” The Buckeyes will now look forward to a two-game road trip this weekend for a pair of Big Ten games against Iowa and Northwestern, before returning home for a three-game home stand. read more

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Ohio State mens basketball ready to pursue coach Thad Mattas sixth Big

OSU men’s basketball coach Thad Matta speaks to the team before practice Friday at the Schottenstein Center. OSU is set to begin its season Saturday against Morgan State. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorThe Ohio State men’s basketball team welcomes Morgan State to the Schottenstein Center Saturday as it begins the pursuit of yet another deep NCAA Tournament run.OSU coach Thad Matta welcomes back eight players from last season’s team that lost to Wichita State, 70-66, in the Elite Eight. Notable returners are senior guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr., junior forwards LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson and junior guard Shannon Scott. With that many players holding extensive game experience, Scott said “the sky’s the limit” for OSU this season.“I believe the sky’s the limit for us really,” Scott said. “We believe we can be a national champion, a Big Ten champion but we know we have other things we have to work on. We can’t come in on days and not play our best. We gotta be ready with our ‘A’ game or we’re going to lose.”Thompson agreed with Scott, adding that the team is looking to build off the success from last year.“We have a veteran basketball team, a team that’s been here, a team that knows how to win and a team that’s won,” Thompson said. “We’re just excited to get after it against real opponents now in the games that count and really look to build on what we started last year.”Matta said the team is much farther ahead than it usually is at this point in the season — especially on defense.“I think that we got our core principles down sooner maybe than we have in the past,” Matta said Friday. “I think it’s allowed us to be hopefully a little more defensively. I want us to be as aggressive as we possibly can.”The Buckeyes finished 27th in the nation in scoring defense last year, only giving up 59.4 points per game. That comes from a cohesiveness on the defensive side of the ball, Matta said, which starts on the perimeter.“I think we’ve got four of what I consider the best defenders in the country with Aaron (Craft), Shannon (Scott), Lenzelle (Smith) and Sam Thompson,” Matta said. “Those guys, you see them taking more chances, being just a little bit more aggressive. Which I love to see.”Matta said the starting lineup “could change periodically” this season.“So much of it is just the role definition of what we need guys to do and what they’re capable of doing,” Matta said. “I think we’ve got great depth.”Regardless of who starts, the goal always remains the same.“Nobody in that locker room cares about who gets called out for starting lineups,” Thompson said. “At the end of the day we all want to win, and we all want to do what’s best for the program. Whoever gets called to start the game, gets called to start the game.”Morgan State returns a lot of veteran players from a team that went 17-15 last season, and 10-6 in the MEAC. The Bears have four seniors and two juniors, all who played significant time last season.“They have a lot of size and go rebound the ball well,” Thompson said. “We know that they’re a good basketball team coming in, and we have our work cut out for us.”It’s not a secret that the team is ready to get the season started in pursuit of Matta’s sixth Big Ten title in what will be his 10th season at the helm.“I like the energy, I like the fire we’ve had,” Matta said. “We’ve been competing and we’ll continue to compete … but all the work they’ve done up to this point, now it’s time to go and go against somebody for real.”Tip off against the Bears is scheduled for noon Saturday at the Schottenstein Center. read more

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Ohio State womens volleyball takes 2 in Cincinnati

Sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe (10) and junior outside hitter Katie Mitchell (17) go for a block during a match against FGCU on Sept. 5 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-1.Credit: Emily YarcuskoThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team took two of three matches at the Millennium Hotel Invitational to improve to 6-3 on the season.OSU first beat Syracuse University (5-4) on Friday, before losing to Ohio University (6-3) and then bounced back to defeat Xavier University (6-3) in its final tournament game.In the third game of the invitational against host Xavier, the Buckeyes had to fight their way to victory as they defeated Musketeers in five sets (17-25, 25-21, 25-19, 24-26, 15-11).Sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe led all players in kills with 18. Senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger contributed 16 kills and junior outside hitter Katie Mitchell had 12. Sophomore libero Valeria León led all players with 20 digs and freshman outside hitter Luisa Schirmer added 10 of her own.In their second match of the weekend and first on Saturday, against coach Geoff Carlston’s former team, the Buckeyes lost to the Bobcats in four sets (26-28, 22-25, 26-24, 21-25).Sekinger led the Buckeyes in total kills with 16 and added two digs. Sandbothe had 14 kills with five digs and four blocks, while Mitchell added 11 kills, two digs and a block. León and Schirmer each had 18 digs, while senior setter Taylor Sherwin added 40 assists.In their first game of the invitational against Syracuse, the Buckeyes were tested, but came out winners in a five-set victory against the Orange (25-22, 20-25, 25-13, 23-25, 15-8).Five Buckeyes recorded double-digit kills as Sandbothe led all players with 20. Junior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell followed with 16 kills, five digs and two blocks. Sekinger had 13 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Kylie Randall had 12 and Schirmer had 11. León led all players in digs with 23, while Sherwin had 18 and Schirmer had 17.Sandbothe and Sekinger were both named to the Millennium Hotel Invitational all-tournament team. Sandbothe has been named to all-tournament team in each of the three tournaments the Buckeyes have competed in this season.The Buckeyes are scheduled to head to Oxford, Ohio, next weekend as they are set to compete in the Miami University Invitational. OSU is scheduled to play the University of Alabama at Birmingham (3-7) on Friday at 4 p.m., followed by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (4-7) on Saturday at 10 a.m. and Miami (Ohio) (5-4) at 7 p.m.The Buckeyes are set to open Big Ten play on Sept. 24 at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. The match is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. read more

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Ohio State volleyball takes down Michigan Michigan State

OSU senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger (12) enters the court to take on Michigan State on Oct. 24 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-2. Credit: Taylor Cameron / Lantern photographerAfter defeating Michigan and Michigan State over the weekend, members of the No. 20 Ohio State women’s volleyball team had a brighter outlook than earlier in the season.“We’re starting to believe in ourselves,” senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger said. “We are stepping on the court believing we can take any team and hang with any team.”Against the Wolverines (10-10, 5-5) on Saturday, the Buckeyes (16-6, 7-3) completed a clean sweep (25-21, 25-21, 25-19), a first against a Big Ten opponent at home this season.The Buckeyes were led in kills by Sekinger and freshman outside hitter Luisa Schirmer who each had 12. Senior setter Taylor Sherwin led all players with 37 assists and added nine digs. Sophomore libero Valeria León led the team in digs with 11.Wolverine freshman defensive specialist Caroline Knop led all players in kills with 13 and junior defensive specialist Lindsey Lerg led all players in digs with 13. Senior setter Lexi Dannemiller, a native of West Chester, Ohio, led the Wolverines in assists with 35.OSU junior middle blocker Andrea Kacsits got her first start of the season since she injured a finger on her right hand before the first match of the season against Oregon. She had two kills, a dig and a service ace.With the win against the Wolverines, the Buckeyes topped their six Big Ten wins from a season ago and have their best record after 10 conference games since the 2005-06 season when the Buckeyes also started Big Ten play at 7-3 through 10 conference games.Against the Spartans (12-9, 5-5) on Friday, the Buckeyes were challenged as they played in their eighth five-set match of the season, but prevailed to stay undefeated at home (25-20, 14-25, 25-20, 14-25, 15-6).Junior Elizabeth Campbell led all players in kills with 16 and added 11 digs, followed by Schirmer who had 14 kills. León led all players in digs with 23 and Sherwin led all players in assists with 40.Spartan freshman setter and Big Ten Freshman of the Week Rachel Minarick almost had a triple-double as she provided the Spartans with 34 assists, 10 digs and nine kills. Senior libero Kori Moster, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, led her team in digs with 22.The Buckeyes’ win against Michigan State is their first since Oct. 20, 2012, when they defeated the Spartans, 3-1, in East Lansing, Mich.Coach Geoff Carlston said he was glad he saw the number of error’s go down against the Wolverines, as the Buckeyes had 33 attacking error’s against the Spartans, causing them to have a .077 attacking percentage for the game.“We took the win (against Michigan State) and we ran,” Carlston said. “They’re very different teams and very different situations…we played a lot better. We played a lot cleaner (against Michigan) than we did last night.”The Buckeyes’ next opponent is No. 7 Penn State (20-3, 8-2), whom they’re scheduled to play twice this week.The Buckeyes are scheduled to play the Nittany Lions in State College, Pa., on Tuesday at 7 p.m., before returning to St. John Arena on Friday for another 7 p.m. match start. read more

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Army comes under fire for holding makeup sessions to recruit women soldiers

first_imgHowever, critics have described the “Military Makeup” initiative as a “huge gender stereotyping blunder” which betrays the Army’s out-of-date approach to women in the military.Adrian Trett, a Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, wrote on Twitter: “Awful gender stereotyping by Army advert.”Baroness Burt, the Liberal Democrat equalities spokesman, added: “If the Army thinks that some green make-up is the way to recruit women, they are very seriously out of touch with modern women.“This kind of patronising gender stereotyping will do nothing to enhance the image of the army – to men or women.”Lawyers who deal with cases of gender discrimination in the military, say the initiative is an example of discrimination right at the start of the recruitment process and gives the impression women are unlikely to be treated equally, either on the frontline orin the barracks.Ahmed Al-Nahhas, a partner in the military team at London-based legal firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, said: “There is a great deal of concern about sexual culture and harassment in the military. Service men and women are protected against discrimination by law and the Ministry of Defense has detailed guidance about the rights of service personnel in the workplace.“This is yet another example of the law and regulations being disregarded. Even where such behavior might be unintentionally offensive, or at worst patronising, it can create a harmful atmosphere and encourage the wrong attitudes. Our service men and women are equally deserving of respect and their rights should be protected.” The Army described the initiative as “light-hearted”, but apologised for any offence it might have caused. A spokesman said: “We’re proud that the Times placed us in its top 50 Employers for Women this year because we’re firmly committed to promoting equality. We regret any offence caused by this light-hearted appeal for visitors at a make-up fair to trial military camouflage.”  The row comes just days after the Football Association was criticised after it suggested girl players should be given pink whistles and colourful bibs which “smell nice” and that music should be played during matches to increase female participation in football.The document, hosted on the Sussex FA website, suggests coaches should “incorporate a Twitter break” and “should allow girls time to check their phones within a session”.The FA guidance also states that girls should be offered incentives such as pocket mirrors, cinema vouchers and pink knitted gloves.Girls at one school in Durham have written to Martin Glenn, the FA chief executive, saying: “We aren’t brainless Barbie dolls, we don’t all like the same colour pink.” 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 British Army has long pronounced itself in favour of greater diversity by encouraging more women and ethnic minority recruits to join its ranks.But it now faces criticism after trying to attract more women by staging “Military Makeup” sessions.The official Army recruitment channel has been deploying targeted advertising on social media to encourage more women to attend its events, with the promise of “girly” make-up practice.An army recruitment Facebook page targeted women in Scotland, encouraging them to attend its stand at the Girls’ Day Out fashion and beauty show, at Glasgow’s Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.A notice on its Army Jobs thread stated: “Ladies, have you been to our ‘Military Makeup’ stand at SECC #Glasgow yet? We’re here all weekend, so come and try out some Cam cream and take some selfies with Our Girls. Make sure you pop along to see us and ask your #ArmyJobs questions and to take some #selfies with the team. #ABetterYou #ItsanArmyGirlThing.”The 154 Scottish Regiment RLC then posted several photographs of women soldiers, including some applying camouflage make up.It stated: “The @GirlsDayOutShow has an all female recruiting @ArmyScotlandteam. Come and chat to our team. We want to know the girls behind the make up! We are searching for real beauty #SheWhoDaresWins.”The posts were taken down after attracting criticism on social media.Those behind the initiative say it was intended to broaden the appeal of the Army to young women who might not otherwise consider joining by promoting the recruitment message in an innovative way. Army tweet Social media message promoting the British Army women's recruitment campaign Social media message promoting the British Army women’s recruitment campaignlast_img read more

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ExBritish soldiers criticise PSNI decision not to probe IRA attacks on them

first_imgIn response Mr Harmson, who served for two years in the province as a private in the 1980s, accused the PSNI of “doing absolutely nothing to investigate the serious crimes committed against us”.Mr Harmson, who later joined the RUC and then the PSNI added: “As a former PSNI detective I would say that justice should be equal and all innocent victims of the conflict deserve closure.”It would appear that we veterans who gave so much are being brushed under the carpet of history by those who attempt to re-write the bloody legacy of the Troubles.”Meanwhile, PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has warned the Northern Ireland Policing Board that the current mechanisms to manage legacy matters are “inadequate”.His warnings have come amid allegations that investigations into killings during The Troubles were unduly focused on those committed by the Army.The DUP has claimed that up to 90% of the PSNI legacy investigation branch’s caseload is focused on killings by the Army.The PM, secretary of state and other unionist and Conservative politicians have also claimed there is an imbalance.But PSNI figures show investigations into killings by the Army account for about 30% of its legacy workload.The PSNI’s Legacy Investigations Branch (LIB), which was formed in 2014, are currently investigating 1118 killings.Mr Hamilton told the Policing Board there are 238 deaths attributed to the Army during the Troubles.”Each of the 238 deaths are now within the caseload of LIB. The cases are sequenced alongside over 700 other cases. The military related cases have not been placed ahead of other cases in a special category,” he said.LIB has 70 staff and an annual budget of £4.2 million.”The current mechanisms to manage legacy matters are inadequate. We have neither the funding nor the people to manage the huge scale of legacy deaths, legacy inquests and legacy litigation that we are now facing,” warned Mr Hamilton. 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. Former soldiers have criticised a decision by police in Northern Ireland not to investigate IRA attacks on them during The Troubles.Scores of ex-British soldiers had asked the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to launch probes into terror attacks against them when they served in the region during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.However, more than a year after they lodged their complaints the PSNI has now informed the veterans it does not have the necessary resources to re-investigate all Troubles-related crimes.Ex-soldier Mike Harmson, a member of the Veterans Party lobby group, claimed that the decision “only highlights the terrible injustice that we veterans have been subjected to by both the PSNI and local government”. In a letter to the veterans the PSNI said that from 1969 to 1989 there were over 35,000 shootings, 15,000 bombings and more than 3,200 deaths reported to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).The letter continued: “The PSNI has recently assessed both its capacity and its obligation to review or re-investigate non-fatal crimes that occurred during The Troubles.”Whilst every indictable offence remains open until all perpetrators have been brought to justice, there’s no binding legal obligation upon the PSNI to proactively re-examine all the crimes that occurred during this period.”If we were to do so, it would require such a significant use of our resources that our ability to protect the people of Northern Ireland today would be drastically undermined.”The letter continued: “The PSNI does not have the necessary resources to review or investigate any non-fatal Troubles-related crimes, committed against any persons, including soldiers, police officers, the broader public, or members of paramilitary organisations, where there is no binding legal obligation to do so.” Show more A photographer captures a scene of soldiers infront of a buiding in May of 1981 in Northern Ireland A photographer captures a scene of soldiers infront of a buiding in May of 1981 in Northern IrelandCredit:Joe McNally/Getty Imageslast_img read more

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Prince Charles presented with a king during card game in Florence

first_imgCarlo Petrini (R), president of the gastronomic movement Slow Food presents some local fareCredit:AFP It was a royal flush – with an Italian twist.Prince Charles sat down to a card game in a social centre in the heart of Florence on Monday, as he and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, continued their European tour.“I’ve got a lot to learn,” he said as he surveyed the hand he was dealt, looking as though he would quite happily have settled in for the afternoon with the five elderly men sitting around the table. One of the card players, a sprightly 83-year-old with white hair, offered to show him some card tricks.The Prince of Wales jokingly looked up the pensioner’s sleeve to see if there were any cards hidden there.“Ah yes, very clever,” he said after the man pulled off a deft sleight of hand which ended with him presenting the heir to the throne with a King. “Years of misspent youth, I see.”The Casa San Paolino shelter, which is run by Caritas, a Catholic charity, is home to around 80 people, including single women with young children, immigrants and the elderly.The royal couple also visited a world-class art restoration institution which is renowned for its skill in repairing and restoring centuries-old stone statues, paintings, tapestries and bronzes. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence In the workshops of the Opificio Pietre Dure, they watched experts repair ancient Roman mosaics.“It’s like a terrifying jigsaw puzzle,” the Prince of Wales said. “Marvelous, you have great talent.”The technicians use traditional techniques that have not changed for centuries, including hand-driven bow saws which can cut through stone. The royals also visited an organic food market where the Prince entered into friendly rivalry with an Italian farmer over the quality of their respective products.Charles makes a cold pork cut called “coppa” from the pigs he rears – as does Mario De Santis from his herd.The Prince accepted a taste challenge from Mr De Santis, who insisted: “We are very good at making “coppa” because we have very good meat – so I think I will beat the Prince.” The heir to the throne was introduced to a range of local produce by campaigner Carlo Petrini, who started the Slow Food movement in the 1980s to defend regional food. Prince Charles was due to accept the Renaissance Man of the Year award on Monday night at a dinner in a Renaissance palazzo hosted by Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence.The award, which recognises achievements in the fields of philanthropy and the arts, is presented by the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, which stages art exhibitions and cultural events in the Tuscan city.The royal couple’s nine-day tour began in Romania last week.On Tuesday they will meet the Pope at the Vatican, before ending their trip in Austria.center_img Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Palazzo Pitti in FlorenceCredit:Maurizio Degl’ Innocenti In the courtyard of the institute, Charles and Camilla were photographed in front of a bronze statue of St George – a replica of a marble original by Donatello. Carlo Petrini (R), president of the gastronomic movement Slow Food presents some local fare Years of misspent youth, I seePrince Charles to a Florentine card shark Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Homeowners could be gambling their house in home raffles authorities warn

first_imgDunstan Low and Natasha Dobosz outside the raffled homeCredit:Charlotte Graham/Guzelian Dunstan Low and Natasha Dobosz outside the raffled home Paypal, the online payments company, recently stopped people from buying house raffle tickets because the schemes present “unusual challenges”.“We have seen an increase in the number of people setting up house prize draws in recent years, as homeowners seek new ways of disposing of their property in a challenging housing market.“They are difficult to carry out successfully and carry considerable risks, such as the possibility that the property is not accurately described; or that the draw is not conducted fairly; or that entries are made from countries where such prize draws are unlawful.Sarah Gardner, the commission’s executive director, said: “Sometimes what might seem like a competition could be a lottery in law, and that may mean you are operating an illegal lottery. Our advice to people thinking of doing this is to ensure they are compliant with the law and seek legal advice if in any doubt.”For Lucian Cook, head of residential research at the property consultancy Savills, the prospect of these raffles becoming commonplace remains unlikely.“We would consider these so-called raffles to be the last option. I think people will continue to rely on the normal routes to market, a well-established process that works.” British gambling authorities have become so concerned by the rise in popularity of house raffles that they have issued a warning to prevent people facing a year in jail.The has Gambling Commission highlighted how those  who flout strict betting rules to try to raise hundreds of thousand of pounds by offering their home as a prize could face 51 weeks in jail and a fine of up to £5,000.Because lotteries, tombolas and raffles are based entirely on luck they can only be held to raise money for charity. The recent spate of so-called “house raffles” are only legal if they require an element of skill, often with a multiple choice question, and a way to enter for free. Even then, the complexities surrounding tax, stamp duty and legal disputes mean lawyers are drawing up complicated terms and conditions. “It’s basically like crowdfunding,” he  said. “If you don’t raise the target, you revert to a cash prize. So many people have got in touch to say that the top end of the market is stagnant and this technique is a way to get round a difficult housing market.”He is just one of a number of entrepreneurs hoping to set up an online company to help people market their home for a draw and avoid the legal pitfall.James Oakes, director at Zeal Investments which specialises in online lottery businesses, said he is considering ploughing money into a “real estate raffles” company.“We’ve been approached by a number of people looking to develop this. Some see it as a way to disrupt the real estate market. Business start ups work when they solve a problem. There’s certainly a problem where so many people can’t get on the housing ladder.“Psychologically a home – rather than a cash prize – offers a tangible dream. People can see themselves living a lifestyle.“To work, the house needs to be attractive to generate excitement, and that’s why it applies to the higher end homes. If it’s done right you can get some very impressive results.” After Dunstan Low successfully raffled his £845,000 Lancashire mansion last week, he has been inundated with requests to help market a castle, an entire terrace of houses, luxury apartments and even a private island.Mr Low, 37, sold 500,000 raffle tickets costing £2 each and received 12,000 free entries. Each entrant had to identify the architectural period the home was built, the element of skill required. Once he had raised his £1 million target he put the winning entries into a raffle. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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National Trust faces member rebellion over backing of Stonehenge tunnel

first_imgTraffic on the A303 passing Stonehenge on Salisbury PlainCredit:Chris Ison/PA It has argued that the tunnel presents “a once in-a- generation opportunity to to provide a setting worthy of some of the nation’s most important ancient monuments.”But more than 50 members warn in a motion to be debated at next month’s AGM,  that the expanded road would draw significantly more traffic onto the site, “blight currently tranquil areas with noise and light pollution” and “intrude” on the sacred setting. Signatories include Tom Holland, the historian and radio presenter, who accused the National Trust of ignoring the impact of the tunnel on the broader Stonehenge landscape. , and Kate Fielden, vice-chairwoman of the British Archaeological Trust and a member of the anti-tunnel campaign group, the Stonehenge Alliance.Ms Fielden told the Telegraph: “As members of the National Trust our hope is to somehow persuade the Trust to change its mind.”We think the Trust should be going for the very best for a World Heritage Site, sticking to its basic principles and seeking a better solution.”She said there was an argument for leaving the road alone as there may be far fewer vehicles in 40 years time, noting too the cost of the project and that the heavy traffic was intermittent and tended to be confined to weekends and peak holiday times. Traffic passes along the busy A303 that runs besides the ancient neolithic monument of StonehengeCredit:Matt Cardy/ Getty Images Europe 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 road tunnel has been condemned by Unesco, the agency that oversees world heritage sites, which has urged the government to build a bypass instead and questionned the position of the National Trust.The row over Stonehenge is the latest in a series of controversies to hit the 122 year-old guardian of the nation’s heritage.It has faced claims of profiteering after hundreds of tenants were told they faced ground rent increases of up to 10,000 per cent. It was also forced into an embarrassing U-turn after banning volunteers at one of its stately homes from meeting the public if they refused to wear rainbow badges celebrating gay history.The Trust’s forthcoming AGM is already set to be one of the stormiest for some time after 50 members of the trust endorsed a motion to ban trail hunting on its land, threatening division between its urban and rural membership.center_img The current £1.4 billion plan, expected to be rubber stamped by Highways England within the next few weeks, involves transforming the road into a dual carriageway, with a 1.8mile tunnel dug through the 3.4mile-wide Stonehenge World Heritage Site.Both the National Trust, which owns land around the site, and English Heritage, which manages the monument, have cautiously backed the proposal, arguing that the current situation cannot continue, as the existing A303 “blights” the site and impacts more than 50 monuments. It believes the tunnel, if well-located and designed, will provide environmental benefits, enable wildlife to flourish and the monuments to be protected. Traffic passes along the busy A303 that runs besides the ancient neolithic monument of Stonehenge The National Trust is “compromising its reputation” with its support for a controversial tunnel cutting through the sacred Stonehenge site on a “brutal scale”, members have warned.The embattled charity is accused of giving its blessing to a plan that will “inject enormous amounts of concrete into the most significant prehistoric landscape if not in Britain, in the whole of Europe”.It is facing a rebellion from members, who are demanding that it rethink its position on the proposal to upgrade the clogged A303 and have accused it of prioritising Government criteria such as value-for-money and deliverability, which have no relevance to the Trust or its aims.Debate over plans to reassign the notoriously busy route that links London with the South West have rumbled on for more than two decades, hampered by opposition from the environmental and archeological lobbies and the astronomical cost. Traffic on the A303 passing Stonehenge on Salisbury Plainlast_img read more

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Compulsory calorie counts in restaurants and milelong runs for primary pupils as

Current rules mean junk food cannot be marketed during programmes specifically made for children, but there are no restrictions on placing such advertisements during the most popular family viewing, such as the X-Factor.The plans to restrict advertising of unhealthy foods to children will cover online platforms, amid concern that junk food adverts on Google, YouTube and social networks are not properly regulated.Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive of the Advertising Association, welcomed the proposed introduction of the Daily Mile, but added: “International experience and independent research has shown advertising bans have little impact on the wider societal issues that drive obesity, which is caused by the interaction of many complex factors and requires a multi-faceted solution.” Research shows one in five meals are consumed outside the home, with today’s children spending at least twice as much time eating out as those who grew up in the 1970s.Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England (PHE), said: “Having a takeaway or eating out is no longer a treat, it’s a regular part of everyday life, yet too often menus are information free zones.”  Restaurants, cafes and takeaway outlets will be forced to display calorie counts under new Government plans which aim to halve levels of childhood obesity within 12 years.The new measures will also including asking every primary school to introduce schemes to boost children’s activity, such as the Daily Mile, an initiative which sees pupils run for 15 minutes a day, on top of regular PE lessons.Children could also be banned from buying sugary energy drinks – which can contain as much caffeine as a cup of coffee – under the plans.A quarter of children aged six to nine are now consuming energy drinks. Ministers said “dangerous overconsumption” combined with inactive lifestyles was having “a catastrophic effect on our children’s health,” which could cut lives short.The new plans will see a consultation on the introduction of “clear, consistent calorie labelling” on menus in restaurants, cafés and takeaways. “Simply consulting about the nations biggest public health crisis is not going to save lives.”Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England said: “This series of measures will undoubtedly help shift the balance towards a healthier environment.” The updated plan also promotes a new national ambition for every primary school to adopt a daily ‘active mile’ initiative, such as the Daily Mile, a scheme which a number of schools have adopted across the UK, since it was dreamt up by a headteacher in a Scottish primary school in 2012.The measures will also see £620,000 funding for projects which encourage children to walk to school, and £1 million to support cycling training. Simply consulting about the nations biggest public health crisis is not going to save livesAction on Sugar The new target – to halve the number of children classed as obese by 2030 – was welcomed by health officials, who said the measures were bold enough to reverse Britain’s epidemic.It’s estimated that around 1.4 million children aged between 2 and 15 are currently considered obese in England. Therefore, meeting this ambitious target would mean approximately 700,000 fewer obese children.The plans, which will be subject to consultation, follow a childhood obesity strategy in 2016 which was heavily criticised by campaigners after being significantly watered down. Officials said the removal of unhealthy foods from buy-one-get-one-free deals was also an attempt to mitigate “pester power”.It follows warnings that obesity has become “the new smoking” in terms of the health risks being posed to the population.Almost a tenth of the health service budget is now taken up treating diabetes, with the majority of cases fuelled by excess weight.The consultation on banning advertisements for unhealthy food before the 9pm watershed follows research which found that watching one extra junk food advertisement a week means children eat an additional 18,000 calories a year. The plans will also see a ban on advertising of unhealthy foods on television before the 9pm watershed, and the removal of such goods from checkouts and two-for-one deals. Milk-based drinks such as milkshakes and lattes could be covered by the Government’s sugar tax, if manufacturers do not do enough to cut their sugar content, the plans say.Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Parents want what is best for their children, but keeping them healthy and active can be difficult.“It is near impossible to shield children from exposure to unhealthy foods. Parents are asking for help – we know that over three quarters of parents find offers for sugary sweets and snacks at checkouts annoying. It’s our job to give power to parents to make healthier choices, and to make their life easier in doing so,” he said. Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said the measures have the potential to “turn the tables on the Type 2 diabetes time bomb we currently sit upon” and urged the Government to make the plans a reality.But Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Action on Sugar and Action on Salt, said it did not go far enough. “It clearly lacks firm commitment and only promises consultations by the end of the year,” he said.”What’s missing is a fully joined up action based campaign which includes: uniform traffic light labels on out of home food rather than just calorie labelling, mandatory reformulation on sugar and calories, a tax on confectionery or unhealthy food with the opportunity to reformulate and only healthy products (not high in fat, salt and sugar) should be marketed across all platforms, including TV, digital and print marketing. Under the plans, supermarkets will be told to get rid of “guilt lanes” that see weary parents pestered by children to buy chocolate and sweets while queuing for the checkout. 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

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British Airways Reports of delays and cancellations at Heathrow as airline reports

The delays yesterday came after an earlier fire alert at Heathrow’s air traffic control tower briefly forced flight to be diverted to other airports. It “impacted operation of the airfield for a short while” on Wednesday afternoon, according to the airport.Last May’s IT failure, which also came at the start of a busy holiday period, sparked intense criticism of the company and its management, as well as frustration over the lack of information handed out to customers by BA staff.It was blamed by the company on an electrical technician employed by an outside supplier for shutting down an “uninterruptible power supply” located in the plant room of the firm’s London data centre. British Airways said in a statement: “As with a number of airlines we are experiencing some disruption at Heathrow a result of an issue with a supplier IT system. “We are working with our supplier to resolve the matter and are sorry for the disruption to our customers’ travel plans.” British Airways passengers reported long delays and cancellations on Wednesday night after the airline reported an issue with its computer systems.Passengers said that planes operated by the airline were not taking off from Heathrow, amid reports on social media of delayed  aircraft across Europe.British Airways customers arriving at Heathrow Terminal Five were reportedly told that a computer system failure had halted all British Airways flights.They were reportedly advised to book overnight accommodation or seek alternative travel arrangements. There were also reports that the airline online-check in service had failed.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––“We are experiencing disruption to our flights as a result of an issue with some of our IT systems,” British Airways tweeted earlier last nightIt added: “We are working hard to urgently resolve the matter and are sorry for the disruption to some customers’ travel plans. A spokesperson for Heathrow, said: “We are aware that British Airways is currently experiencing an issue which is impacting their ability to provide boarding passes to some passengers. We will be working with the airline to support their efforts to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”The IT system failure comes just over a year after a computer meltdown saw the airline forced to cancel 726 flights over three days, leaving 75,000 passengers stranded and costing the company around £100m 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

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Revealed The new calorie limits on every common food to reduce obesity

The plans, drawn up by Public Health England (PHE), suggest a limit of 544 calories for any convenience meal – far below many of those sold today. Draft proposals seen by The Telegraph set out detailed caps for ready meals, sandwiches and even portions of vegetables served across the country. The efforts are part of a Government childhood obesity strategy which promises to cut… Calorie limits will be imposed on thousands of foods sold in supermarkets and restaurants in a bid to combat obesity. Sandwiches and main meal salads would be capped at 550 calories, with a limit of 951 calories for restaurant main courses, and varying limits for other specific foods depending on where they are consumed. read more

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Bald eagles deployed to defend beachgoers from scary seagull attacks

Falconer Martin Ballam said: “The way it works is that the gulls see the low level threat and stay at a distance. It allows people to enjoy their food and chips in peace and everyone on the beach is that little bit safer. There have been several incidents of people needing hospital treatment after being left bloodied and bruised by the vicious birds.Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to ‘intentionally injure or kill any gull’ or to ‘damage or destroy an active nest or its contents’.Some tourism resorts have resorted to introducing by-laws making it an offence for people to feed seagulls, with warning signs put up to reinforce the message.Last year, West Dorset council brought in fines of up to £100 for people caught feeding birds in parts of Lyme Regis and West Bay.However, as the problem of seagull attacks persisted, Dorset firm Xtreme Falconry has intervened by offering the services of the two eagles, who each have a 7ft wingspan and weigh 10lbs. Winnie and Kojak have been resting on the arms of two handlers while they patrol the promenade of the Victorian resort Tourism bosses have hired two bald eagles to defend popular coastal beaches amid fears that seagulls are scaring away too many visitors.Lyme Regis Town Council yesterday deployed two of the carnivorous birds in order to combat the longstanding problem of angry seagulls attacking tourists and eating their food on the beach.The eagles – named Winnie and Kojak – have been resting on the arms of two handlers while they patrol the promenade of the Victorian resort to act as a deterrent to any nearby seagulls.The pilot scheme could be extended into the summer in an effort to keep visitor numbers up, as their presence has so far prevented hundreds of gulls swooping down on tourists enjoying the beach.It is believed to be the first time a council has used eagles to stop seagulls from disturbing people, although Exmouth, Sidmouth and Seaton have all deployed falcons in the past.Mark Green, Deputy Clerk of Lyme Regis Town Council, said: “We have had an extensive gull problem for some time now and have tried several means of discouraging them from landing. It’s not just them stealing people’s food – we’ve had reports of them attacking families unprovoked which has been very scary for those involved. Tourism chiefs fear over aggressive seagulls are scaring away visitors  “If the trial is successful I can definitely see them being used again over the summer. It is certainly not inexpensive so we can’t do it every day but maybe during the busiest times.”In recent years, seagulls have blighted popular seaside resorts by attacking people they see as a threat to young chicks. 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. “You’re never going to scare all of the gulls away, that’s just nature, but if we can do our bit to help out then we’re happy. We’re not harming the gulls and this is an ecologically friendly way of dealing with the issue.”Local businesses have welcomed the new initiative as they look towards a busy summer period as scores of holidaymakers flock to the coastal beaches.Kelly Hutchings, who works at Jane’s Cafe on the seafront at Lyme, said: “Some of our customers have mentioned that they’ve noticed the lack of gulls. It’s brilliant to be honest. We get hundreds of gulls down here and there is usually at least one attack a day. I am definitely in support of these eagles being used again.” Tourism chiefs fear over aggressive seagulls are scaring away visitors Credit:Graham Hunt/BNPS Winnie and Kojak have been resting on the arms of two handlers while they patrol the promenade of the Victorian resortCredit:Graham Hunt/BNPS read more

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Court security criticised after upskirting defendant leaves through secret exit to avoid

Court security guards have been accused of giving preferential treatment to criminals after a man who admitted taking an upskirt photo of a woman was allowed to leave the building through a secret exit – avoiding photographers outside.Neil Abbott, 32, darted back inside Westminster Magistrates Court when he emerged from the building and saw members of the press standing outside the main entrance waiting to take his picture.Staff with security firm Mitie told the Press Association special measures were only allowed in rare circumstances, such as when a vulnerable witness was concerned about facing a suspect in court, and that any agreement had to be made beforehand.But it transpired another security guard allowed Abbott to leave the building through a staff-only side door, which he said followed a request from the defendant concerned about “the press outside”.Latest guidance from HM Courts and Tribunal Service says security “should only allow defendants to use a side entrance if you have been specifically advised to, on security grounds, by the police or the judge”.Ian Murray, executive director at the Society of Editors, said it was unacceptable that staff should show favouritism to anyone attending court by providing them with a private exit, especially when they have been found guilty of serious crimes. 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. “We know that excuses will be made and others will see it as trivial. It is not.”Mitie declined to comment when contacted by the Press Association.An HM Courts and Tribunals Service spokesman said: “We are working with our security contractors to conduct an investigation into the incident.” He said: “Far too often it seems court staff are siding with those accused of or are guilty of crimes, enabling them to avoid publicity by using entrances to court buildings that should not be available to the public.”In this case it is even more alarming given the nature of the crime committed, if not ironic, that someone guilty of taking the most appalling photograph is then shielded from having their own photograph taken.”I wonder what his victim thinks.”Sarah Green, co-director of the End Violence Against Women coalition, said: “The prosecution of a man for ‘upskirting’ a stranger in a train station, following station staff action to apprehend the offender, is a welcome sign that this abusive behaviour is being taken seriously.”The victim’s description of her distress and the impact of the crime is no surprise.”But it appears the defendant was allowed to leave the court by a private exit, thus avoiding the media.”This is contrary to the openness of our courts and should be investigated.”If he was allowed to do this due to any sense of pity, or a view that the crime he has committed is trivial or not very harmful, then this is a strong reminder of why women find it so difficult to challenge and come forward about this kind of extremely invasive behaviour. read more

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Farmers welcome documents showing sea eagles do kill healthy lambs

sea eagle Mr McCornick said that while sea eagles had brought tourism benefits to some in the Highlands, farmers and crofters were paying the price.He added: “With numbers expected to grow exponentially over the coming decades, potentially into the thousands when combining adult and juvenile birds, the impact on sheep producers will expand far wider than the current hotspots as they follow available food sources east and south.”A number of measures are being used to try to prevent the eagles taking lambs, including helium balloons, lasers and diversionary feeding.According to research commissioned by RSPB Scotland, sea eagles are worth £5 million to tourism on the Isle of Mull alone. SNH’s “white-tailed eagle action plan” was produced following an agreement between SNH and NFU Scotland in 2014 to work together to find ways of limiting the impacts of the birds on sheep farming. Farmers have welcomed an “admission” by Scotland’s conservation agency that white-tailed sea eagles are killing large numbers of healthy lambs and sheep.The giant raptors, Britain’s biggest bird of prey, have been successfully reintroduced across the country but are controversial with farmers and crofters because of predation on livestock.The population is said to have been growing exponentially since a series of releases of young Scandinavian birds, which began in the 1970s, and could reach nearly 1,000 breeding pairs within 20 years.Scottish Natural Heritage has published a series of documents on the management of the birds, nicknamed “flying barn doors”, which NFU Scotland said recognised the growing impact on sheep on the west coast.According to the documents, one farm monitored by SNH lost an extra 181 lambs between 2012 and 2018.Post-mortem examination of a small sample of lambs killed by the sea eagles found most were fit and healthy when attacked, while conservationists have often claimed the birds usually take dead or weak animals. There are currently thought to be around 130 breeding pairs, with many more juvenile birds as they do not pair up until they are five or six years old.Andrew McCornick, president of the farmers’ union in Scotland, welcomed the publication and called for enhanced efforts to protect livestock as the numbers rise.He added: “For some of our farming and crofting members on the west coast of Scotland, predation by white-tailed eagles of lambs and, in some cases, adult sheep, is an unwelcome threat to their future viability.”For a long time, the impression has been given that only weak or dead lambs are subject to white tailed eagle predation.”Recognition that predation includes healthy sheep and lambs vindicates what many farmers and crofters affected by white tailed eagles have been saying for some considerable time.”It is clear to me that [this] predation could have a serious impact on the sustainability of hefted hill flocks on some farms and crofts.” sea eagle The incident was captured by an amateur photographerCredit:Douglas Currie/Deadline News A sea eagle in the Inner HebridesCredit:Ray Cooperman He said the papers also showed that where there is a lack of alternative prey for the eagles they carry on preying on sheep beyond the lambing period in spring and present a threat to adult sheep throughout the year. 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

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