Month: September 2019

Penn State Trustee Resigns Amid Jerry Sandusky Fallout

The fallout of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case continues. The latest casualty is Steve Garban, a longtime and influential member of Penn State’s Board of TrusteesGarban resigned, bowing to pressure by some of his fellow trustees who were angry at him for failing to alert them about the Jerry Sandusky criminal investigation in April 2011.The trustees have become increasingly alarmed this week that the NCAA will hand down an extreme punishment, possibly the death penalty for its football program for its “loss of institutional control” during the Jerry Sandusky years.Several trustees flatly argued in private sessions this week that Garban’s resignation was needed to show the public the board was serious about “moving forward.”In a letter to board chairwoman Karen Peetz, Garban wrote: “It is clear to me that my presence on the board has become a distraction and an impediment to your efforts to move forward.”“These past months have been some of the most painful of my life,” Garban wrote. “After absorbing the findings of the Freeh Report last week, the Board of Trustees accepted responsibility for the failures of governance that took place on our watch. Following the release of the report, you also asked each member of the board to evaluate our individual paths forward.”Garban is the first Penn State trustee to quit since the release of the Freeh report, which was highly critical of the trustees’ handling of the Sandusky matter and the firing of coach Joe Paterno.The Board of Trustees hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to conduct the investigation, which interviewed 430 people and reviewed more than 3.5 million documents over eight months. The 267-page Freeh report was released July 12.Only one thing is certain: the fallout is not over. More administrators – and the school at large – will go down. read more


September 30, 2019 0

More of This Should Be Done Stephen A Smith

Smith then said the fair will be held on Sept. 20, where his ESPN show “First Take” will broadcast live. And there will be over 25 HBCUs in attendance as well. “When they brought it to my attention, I realized, OK, there’s an opportunity to bring attention to HBCUs, it’s an opportunity to help folks from disenfranchised communities. … We’re also going to have a college fair.” Stephen A. Smith recently dropped by New York radio station Hot 97, where he talked about being the ambassador of HBCU Week, which began Sept. 15 and ends Sept. 21. It’ll also take place at various locations throughout Wilmington, Delaware. The ESPN host also explained it was an idea he immediately took to because he went to Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, an HBCU, and grew up in the inner-city community of Hollis in Queens, New York. Plus, any high school student who shows up to the fair with their grades and SAT or ACT scores in hand could get a scholarship from an HBCU right on the spot and be enrolled. There will also be a battle of the bands held during the week. “So they started something [called] HBCU Week, where you have a fair, colleges getting involved, and they were looking for someone to really, really bring attention to it and pump it up,” he explained. Smith said HBCU Week began three years ago, and it was started by Earl Cooper and Ashley Christopher, who work in the office of Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. Smith learned about the week when he was being honored in Delaware a few months ago. Stephen A. Smith talked about being the ambassador of HBCU week. (Photo: Monica Schipper / WireImage via Getty Images) “This is unequivocally awesome @stephenasmith,” someone wrote Wednesday on Twitter about Smith’s involvement. “I truly hope that there are students that take advantage of this opportunity! More of this should be done within the communities to encourage students to attend college!” “Congratulations, Stephen A, for being the Ambassador for HBC,” wrote someone else. “Great to see, that you are using your platform, to educate young people and to promote HBC. Here’s how I became an ambassador for @hbcuweek. Only a few days away from being there! Thanks @Hot97 for having me… pic.twitter.com/GCe4T05Siy— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 18, 2019 read more


September 30, 2019 0

How Two GradeSchoolers Set Off A Tennis Revolution

But Bartkowicz’s backhand was ahead of her time. When she was just 12, a photo of her swinging with two hands at the Southern Girls Tennis Tournament appeared in the Louisville Courier-Journal. The caption began with the all-caps “TWO HANDS!” and called the shot a “baseball backhand.” When she won the 1965 U.S. Open girls title, The New York Times commended her “tremendous marksmanship” with that shot. By the time she closed out her junior career without a loss at the 1967 U.S. Open, the Philadelphia Inquirer called her “the foremost exponent of the two-handed backhand in women’s competition.”Evert is nearly six years younger than Bartkowicz and was unknown when Bartkowicz’s baseball backhand became famous. But Evert soon surpassed her older rival. She played her first Grand Slam at the 1971 U.S. Open — just two months after Bartkowicz played her last major at Wimbledon — and made the semifinals at age 16. In 1974, Evert won her first two Grand Slam titles, and the first two on record by a woman who hits a two-handed backhand. (A few notable men used two-handed backhands in the 1930s and 1940s, but the shot had mostly fallen back out of favor among men, too, when Bartkowicz and Evert were starting out.) By the time Evert won her last major, in 1986, her signature shot was tightening its grip in the sport, thanks also to its use by men’s champions Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg. And two years after Evert’s retirement, Monica Seles won three of four majors while using two hands on both backhands and forehands.By 2014, when The Economist tracked the decline of one-handed backhands in the pro game, just one woman with a one-handed backhand had won a major since 2008: Francesca Schiavone, at the 2010 French Open. In the latest installment in our documentary podcast series Ahead Of Their Time, we look at Bartkowicz and Evert, the innovators who brought the two-handed backhand to women’s tennis in a major way. Evert’s story is well-known: She rode her backhand, accuracy and focus to 18 Grand Slam singles titles. Bartkowicz’s is more obscure: After an extraordinary juniors career, she never reached a Grand Slam semifinal as a pro and played her last Slam soon after turning 22. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed When Peaches Bartkowicz and Chris Evert put their left hands above their right hands to grip their tennis racquets, they were girls in grade school unknowingly defying tennis orthodoxy to hit backhands the way that felt most comfortable. Today, more than half a century later, a little girl who hit backhands without using both hands would be the one defying tennis orthodoxy. One-handed backhands have almost completely disappeared from women’s tennis. And that’s thanks in part to the success that Bartkowicz and Evert had with their two-handed backhands. Embed Code Evonne Goolagong (left) and Peaches Bartkowicz at Wimbledon in 1970. Daily Express/Getty Images By Carl Bialik The two-handed backhand’s dominance has continued: Its users have won 35 of the last 36 women’s major titles. Every woman in the top 10 and 48 of the top 50 use it. It’s also become the dominant backhand in men’s tennis, though with accomplished one-handed holdouts such as Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem. (Tennis-nerd note: Every player occasionally hits backhands with one hand, especially in defensive positions, either to slice the ball or when forced to take a hand off the racquet to reach the ball. What we’re talking about are how players hit the backhand when they have time to get to the ball and drive it offensively.)Bartkowicz and Evert hit their backhands with two hands because they felt just one didn’t give them enough strength. The two-hander took over pro tennis for similar reasons. Using their off hand on backhands lets players hit with additional power, which gives the ball more speed and spin, especially in concert with the latest racquet and string technology. The one-hander’s advantages — better feel for the ball, more equipped for wide reaches and low bounces, smoother transition to one-handed backhand volleys at net — count less in a game played rarely on low-bouncing, volley-friendly grass and usually contested behind the baseline.The two-handed backhand is especially valuable when returning serves, as the extra support helps to absorb and redirect powerful, high-bouncing shots. Tennis analyst Jeff Sackmann has shown that in men’s pro tennis, players with two-handed backhands get the return in play more often, and win the point more often when they do. Data collected through Sackmann’s crowdsourced Match Charting Project for the women’s game shows the same general trends: Players with two-handed backhands have more success returning serves than do players with one-handed backhands. It’s hard to reach firm conclusions because there are simply so few women hitting one-handed backhands.The dearth of top women using one-handed backhands may be the most compelling data point demonstrating the two-handed backhand’s dominance: If it weren’t the best option, more women would be hitting backhands with one hand. Tennis, like all sports, has its share of domineering coaches, but it is also primarily an individual and individualistic sport. Players command their own games and choose the shots and tactics that will win the most. That makes tennis a sport that breeds innovation, whether it’s among pros at a Slam or among two young girls who chose the backhand that best suited them. And if the one-handed backhand ever makes a comeback in women’s tennis, it might begin with a girl defying orthodoxy and taking one hand off the racquet.Emma Morgenstern contributed research.This is part of our new podcast series “Ahead Of Their Time,” profiling players and managers in various sports who were underappreciated in their era. read more


September 29, 2019 0

Does Yachting Make You Worse At Football

Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Jan. 10, 2017), we take a look at the Clemson Tigers’ stunning fourth-quarter defeat of Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game. Next, we explore whether a Miami frolic on a boat is to blame for Odell Beckham Jr.’s poor playoff performance and the Giants’ 38-13 loss to the Packers on Sunday. Finally, we chat with Neil Greenberg, who writes for the Washington Post’s Fancy Stats blog, about winning streaks in the NHL this season — and what it might mean for the playoffs down the road. Plus, a significant digit that’s in part about Hot Takedown’s own Kate Fagan.Links to what we discussed:ESPN’s Edward Aschoff recapped the CFP championship game, which had a particularly wild fourth quarter.Neil Paine wrote about how Clemson made history defeating Alabama.The Washington Post’s Cindy Boren reported on Beckham and his yacht trip last week.Beckham is likely not going to have a fun offseason, writes The Ringer’s Kevin Clark.Last weekend was one of the worst wild-card weekends in NFL history.Last week, the New York Times recapped the game that ended the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 16-game winning streak, just one win shy of tying the NHL record.Do winning streaks in the NHL help us to predict anything about the playoffs? ESPN Stats & Information’s Mike Wilson explores.Significant Digit: 53, the number of consecutive free throws that Lexie Brown, a guard for the Duke women’s basketball team, has hit in a row. This is a new ACC record, and more than our very own Kate Fagan had when she set the Big 12 record. read more


September 29, 2019 0

Madden Challenge Can You Win The Super Bowl With This Dude At

Jumping29 Kick Power20 CATEGORYRATING Consistency0 Catch in Traffic14 Awareness10 Agility23 Juke Move28 Overall12 Catching29 Spin Move24 Ball Carrier Vision8 Injury99 Release7 Good luck out there. Keep us posted on how it goes. ‘Win with Walt’ Madden challenge detailsThe goal: Win the Super Bowl in Madden 2016 with Walt Hickey as your starting quarterback.How to participate:Make a custom player on a team of your choice with the Madden ratings below.In the event we haven’t listed a rating — I wasn’t evaluated for several defensive categories — just enter the overall rating of 12 in that field.Make this person your quarterback, on whatever team you’d like.Release all other quarterbacks on the team and play through a season of football, make it through the playoffs and then win the Super Bowl on an All-Pro or higher difficulty setting.Don’t egregiously cheat. That means don’t tinker with player ratings and don’t spend the whole season just running the ball. Mitigate my weaknesses and take advantage of my strengths (such as they are).UPDATE (Sept. 9, 8:30 a.m.): A few people have written in to ask for more details in creating their Walt avatar. Here’s some more guidance:Height, Weight, Age: 6’2”, 210 lbs., 25College: William & MaryInjury: If you are dropping all your other quarterbacks, you are allowed to give Walt a 99 injury rating. We’ve updated the spreadsheet below. You may also want to create a number of Walts for your roster in order to bring one in if your first Walt still gets injured.Run/pass ratio: In the spirit of fairness, we advise that you try to pass the ball at least 40 percent of the time.The entry: Email podcasts@fivethirtyeight.com with any details of your journey, strategy, photos, screenshots or videos.The prize: The first person to do this gets a shout-out on Hot Takedown and a signed glossy of Walt Hickey in full pads mailed directly to your house, if you’re willing to give us your home address.The ratings: Stiff Arm9 Ever wonder how a normal person would fare in the NFL? Last February, we found out when we teamed up with the folks at EA Sports to turn a normal, lazy, non-athletic lout into a Madden NFL avatar. That lout happened to be me.I attended a private, faux combine and was thrust into a series of simulations to figure out just how bad walk-ons like me would be in the NFL. While I ran around a football field in Florida, the Madden ratings team was measuring my football skills — things like throw accuracy, speed, trucking and kick power.When the EA Sports people used me as a quarterback, the Giants went an average of 2.9 wins per simulated season. Now it’s your turn. Our sports podcast Hot Takedown is launching a crowdsourced challenge to find out if someone has stick skills so profound that they can use a weak, slow and inaccurate average-Joe QB to win it all. Watch us discuss the project here or listen to the latest episode of Hot Takedown; full details about the challenge are below. Strength14 Trucking9 Route Running8 Elusiveness10 Throw Ball Away traitYes Play Action5 Tuck and Run traitSometimes Stamina69 Force Pass traitConservative Toughness40 Deep Accuracy3 Speed33 Carrying15 Acceleration35 Throw on Run15 Sense Pressure traitParanoid Tight Spiral traitNo Kick Accuracy10 Short Accuracy20 Throw Power17 Mid Accuracy13 Spectacular Catch22 read more


September 28, 2019 0

Mens soccer shoots at capturing another Big Ten win versus Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights face a similar issue to the Buckeyes: scoring. “The key to success last year was that we were able to play the same group of guys for 13, 14 games in a row with no injury problems whereas this year we have been riddled with injury problems,” Bluem said. “We shot ourselves in the foot. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what was going on but some we had some individual mistakes that lead straight to their goals,” said Danny Jensen, Ohio State senior forward. “We had four critical mistakes in the first half and they didn’t have any.” Buckeyes goalkeeper Parker Siegfried, a redshirt freshman out of Granville, Ohio, has made 16 saves while allowing 10 goals, good for a .615 save percentage. “We have to win from now on,” said sophomore midfielder Abdi Mohamed. “Next game is pretty crucial. Right now we are 1-1 in the Big Ten and we are looking to be 2-1.” Against Northwestern, OSU lost one of their captains, senior defender Tyler Kidwell, after going down with an apparent knee injury when making contact with a Wildcat.  Kidwell did not play against Penn State, but coach Bluem said he is hoping he will be able to return to action against Rutgers. Siegfried was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday after his first collegiate shutout vs. Northwestern. At 1-5, it is going to be an uphill battle for the team to get back to where they would like to be. However, the players are locked in and ready to fight back to the high level they feel they are capable of. Sunday’s game will feature a matchup of two goalies on the opposite ends of the age spectrum. Ohio State then-sophomore Marcus McCrary (19) dribbles the ball through a group of Michigan players during a game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Nov. 4, 2015. Credit: Lantern File PhotoOutplaying them in the box score, down big on the scoreboard. That was the story for the Ohio State men’s soccer team last Tuesday against Penn State. Despite having the advantage in shots at 12-7 and the advantage in corner kicks at 8-1, the team would glance up at the scoreboard at the final buzzer that read 4-2 Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes will look to regroup on Sunday at 2 p.m. as they take on Rutgers at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The upcoming stretch will be very important for Ohio State, as four of their next five games will be played at home. “It’s time for this group of players to put wins together and start climbing back toward .500 and building confidence,” OSU coach John Bluem said. “We need to settle in on our best lineup and hopefully keep everybody healthy enough to play.” Health has been a big issue for the Buckeyes this season.   Rutgers comes into the game with a record of 0-5. Through their first five games, Rutgers has scored only one goal, the equalizer against Maryland coming from junior forward Dante Perez. That record is deceiving, however, as Rutgers has faced some stiff competition thus far. Three of its five games have come against ranked opponents, receiving losses against No. 7 Creighton, No. 20 Denver, and No. 4 Maryland, whom they took to double overtime before losing 2-1. Rutgers goalkeeper David Greczek, a senior out of Fairfield, New Jersey, has made 26 saves on the season while allowing 14 goals. Greczek has a career .744 save percentage. read more


September 28, 2019 0

Ohio State mens volleyball unable to build off first set win falls

Redshirt-junior setter Peter Heinen (8) sets the ball to redshirt-freshman middle blocker Driss Guessous (4) during a match against Ball State Feb. 26 at St. John Arena. OSU lost, 3-1.Credit: Kathleen Martini / Oller reporterA five-game homestand ended on a sour note for the Ohio State Buckeyes.After sweeping a pair of matches against Grand Canyon over the weekend, OSU could not keep the momentum going, losing to No. 14 Ball State 3-1 (20-25, 26-24, 25-20, 26-24) Wednesday at St. John Arena.The loss puts the Buckeyes back at .500 for the season at 7-7, with a 4-3 record in the Men’s Intercollegiate Volleyball Association conference.OSU started strong, taking the match early with a score of 25-20 in the first set.“We started off strong and looked good and promising from there, I don’t know if we get complacent but we definitely allowed them some life and let them get back into the match,” junior outside hitter Michael Henchy said.Coach Pete Hanson said the team is going to take a look at its game as a whole as it prepares for its next match, next Wednesday at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne.“We have to keep working on all phases of the game, we don’t have one phase that is consistent in what we need to have happen. We will continue to work on our offense and defense, I think we need some overall improvements, we have been working hard, we just need to stay at it and get better,” Hanson said.The Buckeye offense came off strong in the beginning, but started lacking when the Cardinals turned it up defensively, Hanson said.“Early on, it was our offense that was on,” he said. “Ball State is a team that blocks well and our offense started to get pretty predictable which prevented us from gaining those points.”Three Buckeyes led the team with double digit kills. Freshman outside hitter Miles Johnson had tallied a career-high 16, while redshirt-freshman middle blocker Driss Guessous and Henchy contributed 12 kills each.Johnson said the team needs to work on its unity.“We need to have a stronger team, instead of strong individuals. Tonight, there was too many holes in our core group of guys,” Johnson said.Match time between the Buckeyes and IPFW is set for 7 p.m. read more


September 28, 2019 0

Ohio State searching for 1st win against top15 team under Urban Meyer

Coach Urban Meyer huddles with members of the Ohio State football team prior to a game against Illinois on Nov. 1 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 55-14.Credit: Ben Jackson / For The LanternIn Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer’s three seasons in Columbus, the team has achieved 31 victories — not one of which came against a team ranked inside the top 15.If OSU (7-1, 4-0) wants to achieve that first “signature” victory, its best — and possibly only — shot this year is set to come on Saturday in East Lansing, Mich., when it takes on No. 7 Michigan State (7-1, 4-0).“I think (the players) know that already … this is a game to get the respect that Ohio State deserves and has had in the past,” Meyer said Monday. “You have to go compete and win this game and it’s going to be a task. But that’s real.”The Spartans are currently the only top-25 team sitting on OSU’s schedule.Senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett said he understands the importance of grabbing that signature victory when it comes to regaining national respect and improving OSU’s postseason résumé.“I think people for the past three years have said that we have just beaten up on teams (that) aren’t good or whatever they say, and that when it comes down to it, we can’t win a big game,” Bennett said Monday.“I just think that’s the hype around Ohio State, is that we don’t win big games, but it’s important to win this game because they’re a great opponent, and if you want postseason dreams, you’ve got to keep winning.”OSU had a chance to shake that stigma last season against the then-No. 10 Spartans in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game. However, the Buckeyes were unable to hold onto a fourth-quarter lead, as MSU took them down to win the Big Ten title, 34-24.The Buckeyes then had a second chance to topple a top-15 team in the Orange Bowl, when they took on then-No. 12 Clemson. Again, however, the Buckeyes let a fourth quarter lead slip away as they fell, 40-35.“I think we’re lacking one (a signature win) a little bit, and that win (against Michigan State) would mean a lot,” junior linebacker Joshua Perry said Monday. “It would be great for our goal. Since I’ve been here, we haven’t won a Big Ten Championship and I know that we’d like to do that, so to be able to go up there and win would obviously do a lot for that.”The highest-ranked team that OSU has defeated with Meyer at the helm was then-No. 16 Northwestern last season. The best ranking a team that OSU defeated has ranked at the end of the season under Meyer was No. 24 after the Buckeyes beat then-No.20 Michigan two seasons ago and the Wolverines fell for spots in the poll to end the season.However, tight ends and fullbacks coach Tim Hinton said he does not believe that OSU will be intimidated by the tough opponent.“The thing is, when you come to Ohio State University, is there any reason you don’t want to play in these kind of games?” Hinton asked. “You sign up for this. And this is what it’s all about. National TV, prime time and all that kind of stuff and getting an opportunity to play a great opponent and a Big Ten opponent and all those things are exactly why you signed up to come to Ohio State.”Bennett said that being the underdog against a top-10 team is something that his teammates aren’t shying away from.“I think we like it,” Bennett said. “This team is interesting to me because for the first time since I’ve been here, except for maybe my sophomore year, guys have really relished being looked at as overrated, or whatever it is. We’re here to prove something, we’re here to show that we’re a complete team, and it doesn’t really matter where people rank us.”Perry agreed that being the lower-ranked team on the road could actually end up helping with the team’s focus and intensity.“It feels good to be an underdog sometimes, because then a lot of people are looking at you and trying to see what you can do in that scenario,” Perry said. “A lot of the training we do here, you’re in a scenario where you either go or you don’t, so this is going to be a good one for us.”Bennett said the team’s motivating factor in beating its top-10 opponent is not shaking the national perception of the team, but rather winning each game as it comes.“It’s not about making sure everybody loves us in the country or respects us in the country, it’s about winning games and making sure that we have a chance to go where we want to go in the postseason,” Bennett said. “This game is just important for that because it’s the next game, and we have to win because they’re a good opponent.”OSU’s game against Michigan State is scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. Saturday. read more


September 28, 2019 0

Marc Loving set for return as Buckeyes take on Spartans in East

After sitting out 3 games with an undisclosed suspension, sophomore forward Marc Loving is set to make his return against Michigan State on Feb. 13.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern photographerThe Ohio State men’s basketball team has won five of its past six games, with the one setback coming in the first game of Marc Loving’s three-game suspension.Coach Thad Matta confirmed Friday the sophomore forward will make his return to the court against Michigan State on Saturday, with the Buckeyes looking to make it three wins in a row.Matta said Loving “definitely” makes OSU a better team, but added the Buckeyes have improved overall in the time he missed.“I like the strides that everybody on this team has made in his (Loving’s) absence,” Matta said.Loving’s suspension was announced just before the Buckeyes took on Purdue on Feb. 4 in West Lafayette, Ind. That game ended in a 60-58 OSU loss, then Loving missed out on the Buckeyes’ next road trip as well.But that time around OSU came out on top with a 19-point shellacking of Rutgers on the road Feb. 8 before trouncing Penn State, 75-55, at home on Feb. 11. Matta stressed the improvement over those three games, and said he’s not sure exactly how Loving will slot into the lineup against the Spartans.“Now where does he come back and fit in?” Matta said. “Hopefully like he did in the Maryland game.”The Buckeyes took on Maryland the game before Loving’s suspension, and the Toledo native made the most of 31 minutes off the bench, going 5-for-5 from 3-point land and tying his career high with 19 points.Against Purdue, the Buckeyes didn’t have Loving’s production as the player behind him — freshman forward Keita Bates-Diop — didn’t attempt a shot. But against Rutgers, Bates-Diop scored a career-high 14 points, and added seven more against the Nittany Lions.Bates-Diop said he took his chance with Loving out of the lineup, but added having him back in the lineup will give OSU a boost.“I saw it (Loving’s suspension) as an opportunity to step up and play well, and I did,” Bates-Diop said Friday. “Having Marc back, it just makes us a better team, it makes us a deeper team.”Senior center Amir Williams said Loving’s return will be “huge” for OSU because of his ability to bring multiple new dimensions to the offense.“(Loving’s) a guy that can stretch the floor,” Williams said Friday. “He can create his own shot by driving to the basket, he can also post up. He just provides different ways of scoring the basketball, so it’s definitely gonna be huge having him back this game.”With Loving’s added dimension out of the equation, the loss to Purdue marked the first time the Buckeyes were held to less than 60 points since a loss to Louisville back on Dec. 2.Matta said the Boilermakers’ defensive scheme is similar to what he expects from Michigan State, with the difference being that the Spartans will have to deal with Loving in addition to the scoring prowess of freshman guard D’Angelo Russell.“They (Michigan State) are a very active gap-oriented type team,” Matta said. “The principles that their defense is based on is very sound, just in terms of keeping guys in front of you, being physical on the cuts, stuff like that.”In addition to tough defense, Williams said the Buckeyes will be playing in one of the most hostile environments the Big Ten has to offer.“It ranks definitely in the top in the Big Ten, that student section can get pretty loud,” he said of Michigan State’s Breslin Student Events Center. “When they score the first basket the arena goes crazy, they start popping things and throwing things in the air.“It’s gonna be tough, we just gotta keep finding ways to continue to play through it.”While Loving will be back to boost the Buckeyes in East Lansing, Mich., Matta said he’s not sure if redshirt-senior forward Anthony Lee will be able to play after he missed the Penn State game with an injury.With Loving in the lineup, and Lee’s status in question, the Buckeyes are set to take on the Spartans at noon. read more


September 28, 2019 0

Opinion Preseason prestige a potentially dangerous burden for Ohio State football

OSU coach Urban Meyer stands during the 4th annual Student Appreciation Day on April 11 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorComing into the year, it was hard to argue that the Ohio State football team — the one returning almost all of its playmakers and coming off a dominant run in the first-ever College Football Playoff — was not the top college squad for the 2015 season.After the Associated Press Top 25 poll was released on Sunday, however, it is nearly impossible to make a case for any other team heading in.The Buckeyes received all 61 possible first-place votes to secure the title of the first team ever to be selected No. 1 unanimously in the preseason poll — and that’s still without a No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart.It is an achievement for OSU and a testament to the talent coach Urban Meyer — now entering his fourth season with the Scarlet and Gray — and the rest of the staff has assembled and developed.Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, preseason championships don’t typically get pennants hung in the stadium.That’s not to say they won’t make it two-for-two in CFP championships. In fact, it would take a very strong case to convince me that they won’t repeat, barring major injuries or unforeseen circumstances — though that didn’t stop them last year.But, if recent history is any indication, there is nothing resembling a sure championship anymore.Sure, the Chicago Bulls and New York Yankees of the 1990s were sure coming into the year that they would take home the title, and did so with little trouble.But more recently, the 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats were hyped as one of the best college basketball teams ever. They lived up to the hype with an undefeated regular season, but after narrowly escaping Notre Dame in the Elite Eight, lost to Wisconsin in the Final Four.The 2007 New England Patriots were a similar tale, making a mockery out of their regular season en route to the first 16-0 season, but eventually lost to a seemingly far inferior New York Giants team in the Super Bowl.The 2002 Miami Hurricanes were one of the most impressive batches of future NFL talent ever put together on a college team and were coming off a national title in the previous season. Well, about all OSU fans know how their season ended.Those three examples are teams that did get the job done throughout the regular season only to fall flat at the end. It’s not even including teams such as the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers or 2011 Philadelphia Eagles who not only didn’t win a championship, but just barely even made the playoffs.Sky-high expectations can be used as a confidence boost or rallying point, but too many times they can also be used to topple a team from the top.At the 2015 Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, Meyer mentioned the difficulties of getting his 2007 Florida Gators team — one coming off a national championship the year before — to maintain that same level of grit and intensity from the year prior. That team, despite possessing a lot of the same talent from the championship team and the Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Tim Tebow, only went 9-4.Whether it is a massive target on a team’s back, a loss of drive and determination or simply the pressure of living up to the expectations thrust upon you, it is usually easier for a team vastly considered to be the best to fail to get it done. And for the Buckeyes, this is an unprecedented amount of expectations, with every voter the AP has expecting them to be the best.It’s a tall mountain to climb to reach the peak, and sometimes when you start so high up it can be even more difficult to get the momentum to keep climbing.Both repeating as champions and living up to incredible projections are things that can trip up any team. Managing to keep the team upright is something that — having come up flat the year after a championship team before — Meyer doesn’t just monitor, but actively deals with all season long. read more


September 28, 2019 0

Duchess of fashion diplomacy dazzles in emotional politicallycharged ceremony

first_imgDuchess of Cambridge, leaves at the conclusion of a ceremony at Government House in Victoria, British Columbia, CanadaCredit:Chris Wattie/REUTERS Chiefs from the Heiltsuk First Nations community in Bella Bella, Victoria Chiefs from the Heiltsuk First Nations community in Bella Bella, VictoriaCredit:Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire Duchess of Cambridge, leaves at the conclusion of a ceremony at Government House in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada Before the reception, they joined around 25 people, including First Nations representatives, in the drawing room for a special ceremony designed to heal the wounds of conflict between indigenous people and the government.Assisted by two Indian chiefs, the Duke carefully added a ring of reconciliation to the Black Rod, a ceremonial staff of British Columbia’s Legislature modelled on the one used in Parliament in London.Created in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it was previously adorned with three rings, representing the province, Canada, and the link to the UK.  Grand Chief Edward John spoke of what he called the “cultural genocide” of First Nations but paid tribute to the role of the Crown in healing divisions. He told the Duke: “Today we honour you. You honour us by bringing your young family to this great country.”The Duke and Duchess have met First Nations representatives on their tour but have avoided publicly discussing some social problems, including the high level of suicides among indigenous people. They attended a reception for political and civic leaders from across British Columbia at Government House in Victoria, described by a local newspaper as an “emotional, historic and politically charged ceremony”.At least one First Nations leader had refused to attend, calling it a “charade” in the face of the reality faced by his communities.The ceremony saw the Duke and Duchess mingle with 200 guests in the ballroom of the grand house, the monarch’s official residence in the province of British Columbia. center_img The Duchess has, however, raised it in private. Kluane Adamek, a young member of the Kluane First Nation, met her at a reception on Sunday and disclosed they had spoken about the serious issues.”Some of the questions they had, in particular the Duchess , were in relation to suicide, and why is that [happening] in our Northern communities,” Adamek told CBC.”So we actually got to have a conversation about that, and talking about the importance of identity and culture and young people knowing who they are and where they come from.”Last night, all eyes were on the Duchess at the event, with photographs of her being broadcast across the world.She wore a gown by Preen, the brand set up by husband and wife Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi which counts Samantha Cameron among their customers.  Kensington Palace officials declined to comment on the controversy.In a speech at the start of the ceremony,  Steven Point, a former lieutenant governor of British Columbia and a member of the Stolo Nation, hailed the Black Rod as a symbol of reconciliation. “Today we begin again,” he said. The Duke added a fourth ring, engraved with eagle feathers and a canoe, to symbolise First Nations in the province.Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, leader of 115 First Nation tribes in British Columbia known as the Union of BC Chiefs, said he was boycotting the ceremony because it was a charade.”With the deepening poverty of our communities, remembering the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls and the ongoing negligence of indigenous child welfare policies across this country, in good conscience, I cannot participate in the Black Rod Ceremony,” Grand Chief Phillip said in a statement. The Duchess of Cambridge dazzled in a glamorous ball gown last night as she helped navigate one of the most controversial political issues in modern-day Canada.The Duchess wore a red gown and symbolic maple leaf brooch, borrowed from the Queen, in honour of her Canadian hosts.She and her husband, the Duke, attended a historic reconciliation ceremony, which saw them praised for helping to heal divisions between the indigenous First Nations communities, government and crown. 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


September 25, 2019 0

National Sperm Bank stops recruiting donors after just two years

first_imgThe Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority estimate that 2,000 children are born every year in the UK using donated eggs, sperm or embryos and there are around licensed UK clinics performing sperm donor insemination. The number of couples needing sperm donations is growing every year  The number of couples needing sperm donations is growing every year  Britain’s first national sperm bank has given up recruiting donors just two years since it launched after struggling to fund its work.Despite national advertising campaigns, the bank has managed to find just seven suitable donors which has left it struggling to pay the bills.The National Sperm Bank (NSB) was a joint project run by the National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT) and the Birmingham Women’s Fertility Centre and launched in October 2014 with a £77,000 grant from the Department of Health.It was hoped the service would plug the gap in the shortage of donors and prevent couples being forced to look for sperm from overseas.The bank hoped to be self-sufficient within a year but because the full donor process takes up to 18 months they were unable to generate enough income to keep going.Although they only managed to recruit seven viable donors, experts said it was the business model that proved their ultimate downfall.“It’s not just about getting men through the doors,” said Prof Allan Pacey, a spokesman for the British Fertility Society.“For every 100 men who enquire about being a donor, only 4 or 5 are ultimately accepted.“Therefore, you could view what they have done given the resources as a huge success. But the business model was not correct as it can take 12 to 18 months before the samples are released and the revenue starts flowing in.”center_img But the majority of clinics are based in London and the south-east of England and treatment can be expensive. The cost of donor sperm from the UK’s largest sperm bank, the London Sperm Bank, is currently £950. In contrast the National Sperm bank was proposing to charge £300 per insemination.Charles Lister, chair of the NGDT, said: “One of the lessons learned from running the NSB is that the level of ongoing investment required for successful donor recruitment is beyond the resources of a small charity like the NGDT.”The bank has also suffered because since 2005 the children of donors have a right to learn the identity of their fathers when they turn 18. The numbers of men willing to donate sperm has fallen dramatically since their anonymity was removed.Mr Lister said the NSB had demonstrated that with targeted information “more men are willing to become donors and give the precious gift of life”.The current donations from the NSB will be released shortly by Birmingham Women’s Fertility Centre to clinics across the UK. The centre has its own sperm bank, which will continue recruiting donors.In a statement, the Department of Health said: “We gave a one-off start-up grant to help set up the National Sperm Bank, and while the number of donations have not been sufficient to support it continuing to seek new donors, this will have no impact on people being able to access safe egg and sperm donation services.” 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


September 25, 2019 0

Exclusive Churches warned of deceptive cult linked to South Korea infiltrating congregations

first_imgNicky and Pippa Gumbel issued the warning A statement from the diocese added: “This group has no connection whatsoever with the Diocese of London and has no authority to promote itself among our churches. “However, a number of concerns have been raised by parishes about the group’s activities and so a call for vigilance has been issued to all churches in the diocese.”The Rev Nicky Gumbel, vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton, issued a stark warning to members of his congregation in an email last month calling Parachristo a “cult which has been recruiting from HTB and other churches”.He added: “We are now in contact with several other churches who have experience of this deceptive and potentially dangerous cult and are aware of others in the UK and around the world.”The Rev John Peters, rector of St Mary’s London, another prominent evangelical Anglican congregation, posted a warning on his church’s website also openly referring to Parachristo as a “cult” whose members attend other churches to make friends to “hang out” with.“After the friendship is established they might invite you to a Bible study in Canary Wharf,” he added. “Over time they begin to advocate beliefs that amount to control and deception.“A number of members of London churches have been pulled into this cult and gradually they are encouraged to cut all ties with friends and family.”Approached repeatedly by The Sunday Telegraph about the allegations, the directors of Parachristo replied through their lawyer with a detailed response to a list of questions.It confirmed that Parachristo shared “the same teaching” as the NHNE church and SCJ. It added: “Parachristo was set up by members of NHNE church to teach God’s revealed word through the Bible to people.”While the group does not “instruct” students to attend other churches to invite people on courses, it says they are “free to attend any church they wish … and invite their friends to a Bible study if they wish”.Asked about people giving up jobs and courses, the statement said: “Our client does not advocate or encourage deception, secrets or lies. This is one of the most common misunderstandings about our client.”Regarding the use of the word “cult” to refer to Parachristo, it said: “The mission of Parachristo is to spread the word of God. “Our client feels incredibly disappointed that HTB, which we must assume has the same ultimate aim, has embarked on what appears to be a coordinated campaign against it by using such an emotive and baseless slur.”The group was also asked at what point the link with SCJ was made clear. It replied that it did not wish to “direct students to … false allegations” about SCJ but that students were informed of the link if they asked.Pressed on two specific cases involving people telling family elaborate lies to cover up their involvement, Parachristo  replied: “Our client’s members’ personal choices are personal to them and our client will not comment upon personal matters regarding members’ private lives.” Nicky and Pippa Gumbel issued the warning Hundreds of British churches, including some of the UK’s largest congregations, have been warned against possible infiltration by a group accused of being a “cult” promoting “control and deception”.The Church of England has issued a formal alert to almost 500 parishes in London about the activities of the group known as Parachristo.The organisation, a registered charity, runs Bible study courses at an anonymous industrial unit under a Botox clinic and a personal training company in London Docklands.But it is understood to be linked to a controversial South Korean group known as Shinchonji (SCJ) – or the “New Heaven and New Earth” church (NHNE) – whose founder Man-Hee Lee is referred to as God’s “advocate”.It is claimed that some of those who become involved gradually withdraw from friends and family and actively lie about their real lives. Some are said to have also given up their jobs or university courses. Many have made trips to Korea and Switzerland.Members of the group, which has links around the world, are alleged to have visited large evangelical congregations in London inviting worshippers to special study groups.One British man is said to have gone to work with the group full time, sleeping in bunks while telling family and friends he was busy pursuing a high-flying career in the City.Among churches openly warning parishioners is Holy Trinity Brompton, one of the UK’s biggest congregations, known as the home of the Alpha Course, the short introduction to Christianity which has been used by at least 15 million people. 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. HTB, as it is commonly known, counts about 4,000 in the pews on a Sunday as well as having “planted” 35 other congregations.It is regarded as effectively the spiritual home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, who was a longstanding member  before his own ministry.Parachristo was formally registered with the Charity Commission this summer as a religious organisation operating “throughout England” for the benefit of “mankind”. Its official aims are stated as advancing Christianity by running Bible classes to “strengthen the commitment of members of the religion” and “enlighten” others.The group lists a business unit near Canary Wharf in east London as its headquarters, while offering a telephone number which does not operate and a website address which has been “suspended”.Those who attend its three-month course are not told initially about links with SCJ but the group strongly denies that this is deceptive.In a message to all clergy in London last month, the Diocese of London’s safeguarding team said there had been complaints about the group, adding “it has been alleged that they have links to a cult”. A number of concerns have been raised by parishes about the group’s activities and so a call for vigilance has been issued to all churches in the dioceseDiocese of London’s safeguarding teamlast_img read more


September 25, 2019 0

Blue Monday 2017 could be bluest ever says expert behind equation

first_imgThe nation is also concerned about a Donald Trump presidency, with national happiness levels slumping to a six year low on his election dayCredit:MIKE SEGAR 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. Dr Arnall said people could cheer themselves up by focussing on things they could change.“The easiest way to be happy is spending more time with people who love you and like you as you are,” he said.“Use Blue Monday as a springboard for change, whether it is to lose weight, stop smoking, embark on a dream or change job. Make the most of your life and live it to the full.” The death of Carrie Fisher at Christmas has made people confront their own mortality, according to Dr Cliff Arnall The nation is also concerned about a Donald Trump presidency, with national happiness levels slumping to a six year low on his election day The happiest day over the full period of the Mappiness study to date was Christmas Day 2010, when happiness peaked at 75.7 per cent, followed by Christmas Day 2011 at 74.2 per cent.The team has now created a new app called me@life, to give people greater insight into what makes them happy or sad, and in particular, why people are unhappy at work.Users will be able to monitor their emotional and behavioural patterns over time while also contributing to research to find out what exactly it is about working that makes people so miserable.  Dr Arnall, 51, from Brecon, Wales, who now runs happiness and confidence sessions for organisations including the Department for Work and Pensions and the NHS, said: “Seasonal depression factors are coming together on Blue Monday – and additional concerns make 2017’s Blue Monday even more depressing than other years. Carrie Fisher in Star Wars  Blue Monday could be most depressing ever because of celebrity deaths, anxiety over Brexit, and fears about a Donald Trump presidency in the US, the expert who coined the phrase has warned.In 2005 Dr Cliff Arnall, formerly of Cardiff University, came up with a light-hearted formula for predicting the gloomiest day of the year based on factors including weather, debts, time since Christmas and motivation. His equation suggested that the third Monday in January – this year on Jan 16 – was when unhappiness peaked as Christmas bills roll in and the post-holiday buzz wears off.But Dr Arnall said that this year could be even more depressing than usual because of Trump and Brexit anxiety, and sadness following the recent deaths of childhood heroes such as George Michael and Carrie Fisher which reminded people of their own mortality. On election day, overall happiness fell to around 55 points, the lowest ever recorded since the app began, and lower than any other Blue Mondays.”We used the Mappiness database to calculate the mean happiness levels of our users every day since August 2010,” said Dr Mackerron.“In almost six and a half years, there has been no day more miserable than Wednesday 9 Nov, the day the US election was called for Donald Trump.” “Credit card bills are a big problem after Christmas, snow, ice and floods are causing worries, and many feel a lack of motivation.“Other extra factors this year are Trump and Brexit causing uncertainty and increasing people’s fears.“The deaths of so many celebrities, many in their 50s and 60s, has also worried people by reminding them of their own mortality.” However The University of Sussex said that national happiness is unlikely to plummet to the level seen on November 9 last year when Trump was elected president of the US.Dr George Mackerron and his team has spent the last six years monitoring Britain’s mood using an app called Mappiness, which asks people to record how they feel on a daily basis, out of 100. So far 65,000 people have made 3.5 million entries.last_img read more


September 25, 2019 0

The UKs most dramatic landscapes as youve never seen them before

first_img“It helps them to plan in accordance with their skills and experience. And importantly, being able to see routes clearly in this way should help people get inspired to do more in the great outdoors and at the same time keep safe.”The Aerial 3D view is intended to complement standard OS maps – OS Landranger (1:50k) and OS Explorer (1:25) – that have been staple to walkers and hikers for decades. Snowdon, the tallest point in Wales Despite the rise of digital technology, according to OS sales of its paper maps rose from 1.8 million in 2013 to 1.9 million last year, reversing a downward trend. OS claimed customers were finding paper maps more reliable. “People are recognising the vital role which OS paper maps play in supporting digital devices,” said Giles at the time. Snowdon, the tallest point in WalesCredit:Ordnance Survey Hikers will now find it easier than ever to plot walks through the UK countryside, thanks to new 3D mapping software launched by Ordnance Survey (OS).Some of the UK’s most dramatic landscapes are being brought to life on desktops, tablets and smartphones by the programme, which offers aerial views of peaks, glens, lochs and lakes. The White Cliffs of Dover can be viewed on the OS site The immersive tool also allows walkers to plot their routes with a greater understanding of the hazards they will face along the way, such as cliffs and crags. Users are then able to share their plans – or search for those already created from a 950,000-strong database.Can you guess the UK city from its OS map?“The new feature is perfect for anyone thinking of hiking, biking or climbing in Britain,” said Nick Giles, Ordnance Survey’s leisure managing director. The White Cliffs of Dover can be viewed on the OS site The new software allows a variety of perspectives of the country’s hills, countryside and coastline, with users able to zoom and rotate the viewpoint. The images provide surprisingly pleasing views of some of the UK’s landmarks, from Snowdon to Arthur’s Seat.Aerial 3D is currently available in a seven-day free trial, which provides access to 607 other maps by OS. National Parks Pathways are also included. Afterwards access costs £19.99.OS will also launch an accessibility layer to its new maps, allowing wheelchair users and pram-pushing parents to assess the routes they can tackle without hindrance.last_img read more


September 25, 2019 0

Community has amazing response to disgusting antiIslam graffiti on mosque

first_imgPolice are treating this graffiti on a mosque in Thornaby as a hate crime. While we were filming, this local man came along to scrub it off pic.twitter.com/KNwNWEHcSP— Tom Sheldrick (@TomSheldrickITV) June 5, 2017 Individuals who think this OK are not welcome in the Thornaby Community and we have today made that know. #Proudofmytown https://t.co/OpuJNgxNbG— Luke John Frost (@lukejohnfrost) June 5, 2017 Thornaby mosque graffiti  pic.twitter.com/X4a7pjSJWw— Thornaby News (@thornaby_news) June 5, 2017 Angela Gill Angela Gill with husband Ali El Hawary What an excellent response to the awful hate crime against the mosque today #thornabymosque https://t.co/WDTDoQxYhO— Terri (@Tez12g) June 5, 2017 ITV journalist Tom Sheldrick‏ also shared footage of a man helping remove the graffiti, tweeting: “While we were filming, this local man came along to scrub it off.”“Man said he hadn’t been asked or paid to clean it off, didn’t know who’d done graffiti, but it was ‘wrong’ – ‘these people are good people’.” Many other Thornaby residents offered to help remove the graffiti, Lauren Fisher wrote: “I’m happy to help scrub this off if the help is needed.” Thornaby mosque  Ms Gill said two girls then offered to again help paint over the graffiti, adding: “The public reaction outshines the actions of one individual.“Whatever the religion, I would hope that someone would act the same as I did.” A North East community has rallied to remove “disgusting” anti-Islam graffiti spray-painted on the side of a mosque.Appalled residents have reached out to support the Thornaby mosque in Stockton-on-Tees after ‘Muslim cowards’ was sprayed in large letters on the side if their building following the London Bridge terror attack. Anti-Islam graffiti on the side of a mosque in Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees Credit:Supplied: Twitter / Luke Kenning Photos of the graffiti have been shared on social media, one commented: “Disgusted to see this attack at the local mosque. We need to unite as communities. This does the total opposite.” Mother-of-three Angela Gill told the Teeside Gazette she saw a photo of the graffiti on Facebook and immediately headed to the mosque to try and scrub it off.She explained the graffiti “wouldn’t budge” so she decided to paint over the letters, only for a downpour to wash away all of her hard work. Meanwhile, Thornaby Mosque has responded by organising a community open day aimed at tackling misconceptions abut Islam.  Members of the public helped paint over the graffiti Credit:Ian McIntyre / Evening Gazette Cleveland Police are investigating, adding: “This type of activity is completely unacceptable and that we are treating it as a hate crime.”Anyone with information on the person responsible for this incident is asked to contact Cleveland Police via the 101 number. 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


September 25, 2019 0

What caused the Grenfell Tower fire all the theories

first_imgLack of sprinkler systems?Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick – chairman of the all-party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group – said the Government has resisted calls to install sprinkler systems in high-rise blocks in the wake of the Lakanal House tragedy.Mr Fitzpatrick, who was a firefighter for 20 years, told LBC: “We’ve been pressing for fire sprinkler systems in buildings where we think it’s appropriate – certainly over a height level and in places where there is vulnerability, care homes and in schools – and Government has been resisting that for some time.” Fire safety expert Graham Fieldhouse told BBC London the spread of the fire, which witnesses said took only 15 minutes to engulf the building, may have been exacerbated by the wrong materials being used and it had echoes of the 2009 Lakanal House tower block fire in Camberwell that killed six people. “This is very different from normal fires we see within blocks flats because normally we deal with what’s internal,” he said.”But the external spread of fire, which seems to be the case that happened here, is nothing new though because Lakanal was partly an external spread.” After the fire, the group posted: “All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.”The group claimed access to the building was “severely restricted” for emergency services and other vehicles and that residents were advised to stay in their flats in case of fire. Mr Fieldhouse said reports that the Lakanal fire was made worse by cladding being put up on the outside of the building may be the case at Grenfell Tower.Fire, he said, may have got behind the cladding and spread up the side of the building.”The materials that sit behind the claddings should be of non-combustible material. I wonder if someone has taken advice from the experts, someone with qualifications.” Flames and smoke coming from the 24-storey block of flats “It’s shocking that this issue, this situation should come up again so soon after Lakanal,” he added. Cladding on the outside?Grenfell Tower was fitted with zinc rainscreen cladding and glazed curtain walling after a £10 million refurbishment. 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. “He was just beside himself. He was just as surprised at how quickly the fire spread as anybody else.”I could hear him saying that he contacted the emergency services immediately and they reassured him everything would be under control within a short period of time, and obviously it wasn’t.”She said she thought the fire started on the second floor. In a blog post on November 20 the group said: “The Grenfell Action Group believe that the KCTMO narrowly averted a major fire disaster at Grenfell Tower in 2013 when residents experienced a period of terrifying power surges that were subsequently found to have been caused by faulty wiring.” A gas explosion?Residents said refurbishment work had recently been carried out with work on the gas supply to the flats.Nicky Paramasivan, who was in his seventh floor flat with his partner and child, said that after they fled the explosions from the flats included blue flames, suggesting gas. Those missing from the Grenfell Tower blaze A faulty fridge?Witnesses described hearing one distressed resident apparently telling neighbours his faulty fridge caused the blaze.Samira Lamrani, 38, who lives on nearby Hurstway Walk, told the Press Association: “When I arrived on the scene he (the resident) was amongst the people that were standing there. But the MP for Poplar and Limehouse added: “There’s obviously a huge number of questions going to have to be asked about what happened to Latimer Road but it’s very early in the situation.”It’s a bit early to start pointing fingers, I would have thought.” Firefighters wait to start their shift after a massive fire raged in a 27-floor high-rise apartment building in London Those missing from the Grenfell Tower blaze Lack of entries and exits?A blog post from Grenfell Action Group in November said “only a catastrophic event” would expose safety concerns it highlighted.The group said there was only one entry and exit to the tower during improvement works at the block in Latimer Road and it had issues with evacuation procedures. “It’s just horrendous. I’m just hoping there’s not too many dead.”It went right through. There weren’t no stopping it.” Firefighters wait to start their shift after a massive fire raged in a 27-floor high-rise apartment building in LondonCredit:Matt Dunham/AP Sliding windows were replaced with double glazing in the 120 flats to prevent people falling.Plans submitted in 2012 to local authority Kensington and Chelsea described how zinc was “not sufficiently robust” to be fitted to the lower floors. Faulty wiring?The Grenfell Action Group have long claimed that the building is unsafe, and said in November that they believed “only a catastrophic event will expose the problems”.One of the safety issues they highlighted was faulty wiring and said a disaster cause by the problem was narrowly averted four years ago. The cause of the horrific blaze at Grenfell Tower in west London has yet to be established – but several theories have begun to emerge over what may have caused it.On Friday morning, the official death toll stood at 17 – but this is likely to rise as recovery teams continue their search of the tower’s smouldering wreckage.As the names of those missing in the inferno begin to emerge, so too are the questions over how it could have ever happened in the first place.Residents who escaped the towering inferno claimed fire alarms did not sound and they were told to “stay put” in their flats.It has also emerged an action group claimed their warnings of a “catastrophe” fell on “deaf ears” after highlighting safety concerns three years ago.Here are the theories on possible causes and contributing factors in the disaster: Flames and smoke coming from the 24-storey block of flatsCredit:NATALIE OXFORD /AFPlast_img read more


September 25, 2019 0

Clergy can dress down after church votes to let them ditch vestments

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. During a debate on the motion members said they had been concerned that the new freedoms could mean clergy were pressured into “foolishness”. Luke Miller, Archdeacon of London, said: “I had concerns because I felt that there were moments perhaps where themed weddings might have suddenly imposed. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu (left, front) and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (right, front) during a meeting at the Church of England General Synod  Members of the governing body overwhelmingly voted in favour of the change Spotted: Justin Welby was wearing ‘blue trainers’  a synod member saidCredit:Danny Lawson/PA “I heard stories of a priest who was asked to wear a purple stole at a wedding – those of you who don’t do coloured dressing up in church should know that that’s the sort of thing worn at a funeral most of the time – because purple was the colour that the bridesmaids would be wearing.”But clauses which specified that clothing must be “suitable for a minister of the Church of England ministering divine service” had allayed concerns. Another member, Bill Braviner, a Stockton-based vicar, implored clergy to consider the needs of congregants who would prefer to see their priest in robes. “I would just make a plea for clergy who prefer not to robe to be open to robing when it is best for the mission of the church,” he said.  In another vote, the church also decided that people who die by suicide would now be allowed to have a full Christian burial service. center_img Under official rules they had previously been denied the standard funeral set out in the Book of Common Prayer. But a long-awaited plan to change the law has now been given final assent, in a move hailed as “compassionate” by synod members, who backed it almost unanimously with just one member of the laity voting against.  Alan Smith, the bishop of St Albans, said: “The traditional attitude towards the burial of suicides reflected the belief that all suicide was a grave sin. “But public attitudes had changed markedly by the second half of the last century as understandings of mental health had developed.” Clergy will be allowed to opt out using a conscience cause if they choose to do so in cases such as a death by assisted suicide or where a person was avowedly not a Christian, he added. Clergy have been given the go-ahead to ditch their robes and dress down for services following a vote by the church’s General Synod. Priests should be allowed flexibility to wear what they want to make the church more accessible and relevant to the modern world, members said. This means that clergy are now officially allowed to lead services in casual clothing such as jeans and trainers. The changes would help the church by “reflecting the way society has gone in the way of informality”, said Leyland vicar Alistair McHaffie. He also pointed out that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, had led the charge by wearing unorthodox footwear to the York-based synod.Mr McHaffie said: “Years ago the Archbishop of Canterbury would wear sensible black shoes at General Synod – and I’ve noticed this weekend our Archbishop is wearing a pair of blue trainers.” However the Archbishop protested that they were in fact “walking shoes”.  Members of the governing body overwhelmingly voted in favour of the changeCredit:Danny Lawson/PAlast_img read more


September 25, 2019 0

Alarm as modern life sees average sperm count halve since the 1970s

first_imgResearchers said humans could become extinct if sperm counts in Western countries continue to fall at the current rates. Experts said the “shocking” decline should be treated as an “urgent wake up call,” with chemicals, pesticides, stress and obesity among the factors linked to the changes.   Men’s sperm counts have fallen by almost 60 per cent since the 1970s, according to major research which warns that modern life may be fuelling a male fertility crisis. Lower sperm count is linked to higher death rates,… Scientists behind the study, which tracked more than 40,000 men, said the findings should also be seen as a “canary in the coal mine” which could signal damage to health far beyond fertility.last_img read more


September 25, 2019 0

Singer who wowed Britains Got Talent judges at 14 to stand trial

first_imgOlivia Archbold, At Manchester Magistrates’ Court, Archbold was supported by her mother and spoke only to confirm her name, date of birth and enter not guilty pleas to the allegations.She faces two charges, one of being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of a class B drug and being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug of Class B. She was remanded on bail to appear at Manchester Crown Court at a later date. A former private schoolgirl who wowed Britain’s Got Talent judges as a 14-year-old is to stand trial accused of smuggling cannabis into the UK.Singer Olivia Archbold, now 21, appeared in court on Wednesday charged after two separate consignments of herbal cannabis were intercepted from the Netherlands. The court heard they had allegedly been addressed to her Manchester city centre flat.Archbold, who attended an all girls’ private school, made it to the semi finals of the ITV1 talent show in 2010 after she was praised by judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan for her performance of “In the Arms of Angels”.She received a standing ovation with her rendition of the Sarah McLachlan song, but missed a place in the final on the judge’s vote. Olivia Archbold leaving Manchester Magistrates’ Court Credit:Pat Isaacs/Cavendishcenter_img According to her website, she trained in classical dance and performed with the English National Youth Ballet before appearing on stage in various productions.She was just 14 when she impressed the Britain Got Talent Judges in her audition, with Cowell telling her: “You sang so well and you made it your own version. I am so impressed with you Olivia I can’t begin to tell you”. Holden said her performance was “utterly spellbinding”. 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


September 25, 2019 0