Month: September 2019

Robert Griffin III Does It All In Exemplary Fashion

The Washington Redskins knew they had drafted a versatile football performer when they selected Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 overall pick this spring.They envisioned the former Heisman Trophy winner as their franchise quarterback, making plays with both his powerful right arm and nimble feet in lifting the once-proud organization from the NFL scrapheap.But Griffin’s talents are clearly vast, as evidenced by the slew of numerous television commercials he did this summer or even the virtuoso singing performance he delivered during the annual rookie talent show in training camp.But RGIII showcased yet another, previously unknown skill on Wednesday night after taking to the field at FedEx Field prior to the Redskins’ preseason finale against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Washington’s starting quarterback sat out the game as a precaution to injury, but was happy to do his part prior to its start by warming up his team’s receivers.Once he was done, Griffin walked over to the 10-yard line where long-snapper Nick Sundberg, holder Sav Rocca and newly-acquired kicker Billy Cundiff were warming up.Griffin stepped in and attempted a 20-yard field goal, splitting the uprights like somebody who’d been doing it his entire life.He then grinned before raising his arms in triumph and jogging off the field to the cheers of the fans seated nearby.Cundiff, the recently acquired former Pro Bowler who became persona non-grata in Baltimore last season after missing a chip shot that could have helped send the Ravens to the Super Bowl, may want to start looking over his shoulder.Griffin is no stranger to setting goals and accomplishing them in stunning fashion. He was an excellent student in high school who served as his class president while graduating seventh academically. He needed just three years to graduate from Baylor with a political science degree and a 3.67 GPA, including two appearances on the Dean’s List.In addition to starring in football for the Bears, RGIII was also a standout track star who earned All-American honors in that sport as well after placing third in the 400-meter dash at the 2008 NCAA meet and participating in the Olympic Trials.Nothing, it seems, is beyond his reach. read more

NBA Fines Anthony Davis 50K Over Public Trade Demand

NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Davis’ agent let everyone know he wants out of New Orleans, and now it will cost his client $50,000.The NBA fined the Pelicans star because of his agent’s comments that Davis won’t sign an extension and wants to be traded.New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, left, gets fouled by Los Angeles Clippers’ Tyrone Wallace during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Pelicans won 121-117. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)The league office said in a written statement released Tuesday evening that Davis violated a collectively-bargained rule prohibiting players or their representatives from making public trade demands.The NBA said the fine is for statements that were made by Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, on Monday in an intentional effort to undermine the contractual relationship between Davis and the Pelicans.Davis is under contract with New Orleans through the end of the 2019-20 season.He was drafted by the Pelicans with the first overall pick in 2012 after winning an NCAA national championship with Kentucky and has been named an All-Star the previous five seasons.However, the Pelicans have made the playoffs in only two of his six full NBA seasons and won only won playoff series, sweeping Portland in the first round last season before falling in five games to champion Golden State in the second round.Davis has averaged 29.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per game this season, but has missed the past four games with a sprained left index finger while the Pelicans have fallen to 22-28 heading into Tuesday night’s game at Houston.Had Davis been committed to remaining in New Orleans, he would be eligible this summer for a five-year, roughly $240 million extension with the Pelicans that would have kicked in beginning with the 2020-21 season.In previous years, Davis had professed his affection for New Orleans. But Davis has also said that his NBA salary is secondary to winning — a clear sign to Pelicans management that they could not take re-signing him for granted if they failed to take concrete and successful steps to surround him with a cast of players who would make New Orleans a contender.When healthy, the Pelicans have looked formidable in short spurts, but injuries have exposed their lack of depth and cohesion as they’ve slipped near the bottom of the Western Conference through the first half of this season.The Pelicans have acknowledged Davis’ preference to be traded and appear inclined to honor it rather than lose him for nothing. But a statement from the franchise made it clear that the Pelicans’ brass are prepared to be patient while awaiting a deal done on their terms and timeline.The implication is that a trade may not come before the Feb. 7 deadline to make a deal this season, and more likely could come after the season, when 2019 draft slots are known and when the Boston Celtics are eligible to enter the fray.Boston, which has a stockpile of draft picks and promising young players as trade bait, is not eligible to trade for Davis under NBA rules until July 1, unless the Celtics also trade away Kyrie Irving. Irving is a factor because of what’s known as the Rose Rule, which says NBA teams cannot trade for more than one player who has signed an extension. Irving currently is playing under an extension signed with Cleveland that has an option year after this season, meaning it could be renegotiated in a way that also allows Boston to bid for Davis. read more

Podcast Unstoppable Greinke The Greatest Basketball Season Ever And Baseball Brain Data

If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (July 21, 2015), we discuss how Zack Greinke is achieving his scoreless-inning streak, look into whether dominance in women’s basketball is not the same as in the men’s game and welcome SB Nation’s Zach Schonbrun to talk about the impact neuroscience may have on baseball scouting. Plus, our Significant Digit of the week: more people are going to women’s soccer games after the U.S. women won the World Cup.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above.Below are some links to what we discuss on this week’s show:Zack Greinke chases the records of Dodgers legends Orel Hershiser and Don Drysdale.Fangraphs’ three keys to Greinke’s streak.Is Elena Delle Donne having the best basketball season in history?Zach Schonbrun on mixing neuroscience and baseball.Significant Digit: 34 percent increase in attendance in National Women’s Soccer League games post-World Cup. Hot Takedown Video Excerpt: Brain Data And Baseball More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS read more

College Football Playoff Preview Clemsons OneMan Offense vs The Balanced Sooners

Johnny ManzielTexas A&M20137593286.7 392005USC95.878.717.1 402014Oregon91.369.921.4 432006BYU90.064.525.5 352010Stanford91.976.415.5 Johnny ManzielTexas A&M20121,41045%91.3 Denard RobinsonMichigan20121,2665382.7 Cam NewtonAuburn20101,4733790.0 202005Penn State74.083.49.4 Matt JonesArkansas20046223081.7 Tim TebowFlorida20078953486.5 Dak PrescottMississippi St.20138293486.5 422015Alabama70.892.922.1 162012Oregon88.381.76.6 RANKSEASONTEAMOFFENSEDEFENSEGAP 82014Alabama84.982.52.4 282009TCU70.282.612.4 Greg Ward Jr.Houston20151,0343381.1 Chase ClementRice20086933778.8 Collin KleinKansas St.20129203783.1 QUARTERBACKTEAMSEASONRUSH YARDSSHARE OF TEAM RUSHINGQBR Denard RobinsonMichigan20101,7025579.9 322015Ohio State67.080.613.6 262008Texas89.077.611.4 362008Oklahoma95.379.216.1 Terrance BroadwayLA-Lafayette20127693175.0 42010Boise State87.886.90.9 92008USC89.486.62.8 Watson’s excellence under a heavy all-around workload puts him in rare company. He is one of 14 quarterbacks over the past 11 seasons (shown in the table below) to post a season QBR of 75 or higher while also rushing for at least 30 percent of his team’s total yards on the ground. The only quarterbacks to post better QBR numbers while running as much: Manziel (twice), Pat White and Newton. And Watson is a sophomore, meaning that — like Manziel — he could end up on this list again. 122008Florida91.486.45.0 Cody FajardoNevada20121,1213278.2 Pat WhiteWest Virginia20071,3353583.3 132007Kansas74.179.25.1 342011Alabama80.494.514.1 62007West Virginia78.577.60.9 222011Oklahoma State88.178.49.7 22015Oklahoma83.383.00.3 Tyler MurphyBoston College20141,1843680.2 Dak PrescottMississippi St.20155413281.3 112011Boise State82.477.54.9 412009Texas67.489.121.7 Deshaun WatsonClemson20158873186.6 32006USC79.079.60.6 152009Florida80.186.05.9 52012Alabama90.391.20.9 172010Ohio State80.087.07.0 EFFICIENCY 242013Baylor87.977.810.1 272014TCU75.888.012.2 312009Alabama77.389.912.6 382012Texas A&M91.374.616.7 Balance of elite college football teams, 2005-15 182005Texas92.085.07.0 192010Alabama87.779.18.6 252005Ohio State73.383.710.4 212012FSU74.383.89.5 Oklahoma: The balanced Sooners are favoritesOklahoma is our model’s favorite to win the College Football Playoff, with a 41 percent chance at the national championship. If the Sooners do take home the trophy, it will likely be due to a stellar effort on both offense and defense. This isn’t exactly a novel conceit — every team needs both units to play well to succeed at the highest levels — but it’s particularly true for Oklahoma, one of the most balanced teams in recent college football history.Overall, Oklahoma is very good, rating well in all the fashionable advanced metrics. The Sooners sit at No. 1 in ESPN’s Football Power Index, which FiveThirtyEight’s college football model uses for game predictions. Oklahoma is also the top team according to Football Perspective’s Simple Rating System. And according to our Elo ratings, the Sooners are the fifth-best squad.That’s all remarkable, in the usual ways a championship-level team is remarkable; what’s less common, though, is Oklahoma’s balance. The Sooners are the only team in the country to rate in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. On offense, quarterback Baker Mayfield leads a sharp passing attack, with heavy utilization of All-American receiver Sterling Shepard. Buttressing that efficiency through the air is an impressive running back duo of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, who have combined for more than 2,000 yards this year. The Sooner defense, led by standout linebacker Eric Striker, can crimp offenses in several ways — it’s in the top 10 among all FBS teams in both sacks and interceptions.One way to look at team balance historically is to define it as the absolute gap between a team’s offensive and defensive efficiency ratings. Going back to the 2005 season among teams in the top four in overall efficiency, these Sooners are the second-most-balanced team of the decade. Only the 2013 Alabama squad had a smaller gap between its offense and defense. 332011LSU76.690.213.6 302014Ohio State87.574.912.6 Source: ESPN, TRUMEDIA Is Deshaun Watson the new Johnny Manziel? 292007USC71.183.512.4 Source: ESPN 72006Ohio State83.382.11.2 When Oklahoma faces Clemson on New Year’s Eve, its defense will have to confront a passing and rushing attack orchestrated by a quarterback with myriad skills — ranging from a dangerous deep passing ability to sharp scrambling instincts. Deshaun Watson is the rare QB who excels at being a one-man offense. 372013Oregon87.771.316.4 Clemson: Deshaun Watson is a one-man offenseUndefeated, No. 1-ranked Clemson enters the College Football Playoff with two major advantages: a top-notch defense and a star quarterback. The Tigers’ offensive attack is led by Deshaun Watson, a Heisman finalist and electric dual-threat quarterback in the vein of Johnny Manziel and Cam Newton. And like Manziel and Newton, Watson has carried his team into the national spotlight seemingly by himself.According to ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating (QBR), Watson is the third-highest-rated quarterback in the nation. (By adjusting for opponent strength, QBR aims to be a comprehensive measure of QB performance.) The only QBs to rate higher than Watson are Brandon Allen, of five-loss Arkansas, and Baylor’s Seth Russell, who suffered a season-ending injury after seven excellent games. Watson’s raw stats are also impressive: He has accumulated more than 3,500 yards and 30 passing touchdowns through the air, along with another 887 yards (5.4 yards per carry) and 11 rushing touchdowns on the ground.Overall, Watson is responsible for 66 percent of Clemon’s total offensive yards (passing and rushing combined). Considering how efficiently he has played (shown by QBR) and how much of the offensive burden he has shouldered, Watson’s season is quite the outlier. 232006LSU85.075.19.9 102013FSU93.589.24.3 12013Alabama85.785.90.2 142015Clemson81.387.15.8 Pat WhiteWest Virginia20061,2193190.5 Clemson and Oklahoma square off on New Year’s Eve in a matchup that pits the nation’s only remaining undefeated team (the Tigers) against the favorite according to FiveThirtyEight’s college football model (the Sooners). Both teams have a strong defense, but on offense they’re a contrast. Clemson has a one-man scoring machine in dual-threat quarterback Deshaun Watson. Oklahoma, on the other hand, is evenly balanced between a nifty passing attack and two strong running backs. In fact, the Sooners are one of the more balanced teams in recent college football history. 442007Florida93.149.843.3 Of course, offense and defense aren’t all there is to football. And on special teams, the Sooners aren’t quite so intimidating or balanced. Frankly, they’re bad. Oklahoma is ranked No. 93 of 128 FBS teams.At least broadly, it looks like Oklahoma is on to something here. The correlation between overall efficiency and the gap between offense and defense among all teams is strong and negative,1Specifically, it’s -0.195. meaning the less balanced a team is, the worse it performs. This isn’t an effect of talent imbalance among worse schools, either: Among the top 25 teams in overall efficiency in each season since 2005, the more efficient teams have been slightly more balanced as well, though the relationship is weaker here.If Oklahoma wins out and reconfirms FiveThirtyEight’s soothsaying abilities, it will likely go down as one of the least one-dimensional teams that college football has seen in quite some time. Perhaps this style doesn’t produce the same thrilling, back-and-forth games the best imbalanced squads play, like that ridiculous 2007 Gators season (Tim Tebow’s first as a full-time starter), but its effectiveness isn’t in doubt.Read more: Alabama’s Dominant Run Attack vs. A Lucky Michigan State Team read more

The Carolina Panthers Fought The Stats — And Won

It may be a distant memory now, in the wake of a 17-1 record and an NFC championship, but at midseason the Carolina Panthers were a litmus test for the depth of a football fan’s sabermetric beliefs. Sure, the Panthers were undefeated, and they looked like a solid team. But there was nothing about their underlying numbers that made them seem like a steamroller hellbent for the Bay Area come early February. If anything, their impressive record seemed liable to regress toward the mean as the season went on.Instead of backsliding toward their “fundamentals,” like many fast-starting teams have over the years, the Panthers did something remarkable: They actually improved their core metrics to match their record, and kept right on winning. Since midseason, Carolina truly has played like the best team in football, culminating in some of the most impressive early blowout wins in playoff history.How rare was Carolina’s victory over the fundamentals? Since 1978 (the advent of the 16-game schedule), a shade under half of all NFL teams have improved their schedule-adjusted1Using our Elo ratings to measure the difficulty of each opponent at the time of the game. Pythagorean winning percentage between the first and second halves of the schedule. Of those teams, a little more than half again saw the improvement move in the direction of the team’s midseason winning percentage. In other words, their actual record was better than their Pythagorean percentage at mid-year, and their Pythagorean percentage over the rest of the season improved toward their record. According to rest-of-season Pythagorean percentage, the 2015 Panthers finished as the 11th-best team of that group, which also includes the 1985 Bears, 1984 49ers and 2014 Seahawks — pretty heady company.But what makes the Panthers’ improvement even more special is the degree to which their actual and Pythagorean records differed halfway through the season. At midyear, they were 8-0 but had the point differential of a 5.3-win team — the second-biggest disagreement of any team in our sample.2The 2005 Packers were 1-8 with the point differential of a 4.3-win team midway through the season. When a team’s actual and Pythagorean records disagree that much, the Pythagorean number is right more often than not,3Specifically, among the upper quartile of “disagreements,” Pythagorean record is the better predictor of rest-of-season form 52 percent of the time after properly regressing first-half winning percentage and Pythagorean percentage to the mean for predictive purposes. though to be fair it’s close to a coin flip. But in Carolina’s case, their winning percentage was right on the money — only five other teams since 1978 saw their second-half Pythagorean improvement predicted more accurately by their first-half winning percentage. And all of those other cases featured teams floating around .500 with subpar point differentials — Carolina is the only team in modern history to post a stellar first-half record with solid fundamentals, then turn into a Pythagorean behemoth down the stretch.Without a doubt, it was offensive improvement that drove Carolina’s overall uptick in performance, and practically all of that change has come in the passing game. According to expected points, the Panthers’ special teams only marginally improved in the second half, and their defense, while great, stayed pretty much the same all season.Back in November, when I infamously described the unbeaten Panthers as the worst team ever to start 11-0, I also wrote that Cam Newton was having a “decent, but not great” season, and that “quarterback play probably isn’t the main driving force behind the Panthers’ success.” That may have been true at the time, but it surely isn’t the case now. Since midseason, Newton has been the second-most valuable QB in football according to combined passing and rushing value over average,4Trailing only Seattle’s Russell Wilson. and his rate statistics have undergone a particularly remarkable metamorphosis.At midseason, Newton’s numbers looked much the same as in years past: His rates of completions, interceptions and sacks were subpar, and his yards and touchdowns per attempt were only average. He had one of the league’s highest rates of off-target throws5Pass attempts judged by ESPN’s Stats and Information group to have fallen incomplete only because Newton missed his intended target, whether because of an overthrow or underthrow., with the only mitigating factor being that he also ranked among the game’s most frequent deep passers. (Deep passes are more valuable but harder to complete; Newton was inaccurate even if we adjust for this.) The majority of his value added was with his legs, as the game’s most prolific running QB. It was pretty much the same Cam we’ve seen the last few years.But to say Newton has improved his passing since then is like saying he only slightly enjoys dancing in everyone’s mug. Since Week 10, he suddenly ranks among the league’s most accurate passers, with a drastically reduced rate of off-target throws. He hasn’t cut back on the deep tosses, either — his air yards per attempt have dipped only marginally in the second half of the season. He’s slinging the ball for significantly more yards and touchdowns per attempt, and he’s hardly ever giving it away; his TD-INT ratio is 21-1 over his last 8 games.The changes to Newton’s game have come with a few tradeoffs: His sack rate is up and his rushing output slightly down since his midseason transformation began. But his value added per game has increased by a factor of nearly six over the season’s back stretch. That gives him the sixth-biggest second-half improvement of any Super Bowl starting QB since 1978. Few QBs in history have gone into a Super Bowl on a better roll than Newton is on right now.Now, quarterback play is unquestionably the main driving force behind the Panthers’ success. The only remaining question is whether Newton can keep up his newfound passing production against one of the toughest defenses he’s ever faced. Given the remarkable way he and the Panthers overcame the odds and molded their fundamentals into those of a championship squad, I wouldn’t bet against them finishing the job on Sunday.Check out our live coverage of Super Bowl 50. A Super Bowl statistics special from our sports podcast Hot Takedown. Listen above, or subscribe on iTunes. read more

Five Questions to ask about Ohio State – Arkansas

1. Will the suspended players start in the Sugar Bowl or have their playing time limited in any way? It’s doubtful anyone will know the answer to this question until minutes before kickoff. There are arguments for and against the players even participating in the game. However, if Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey and Mike Adams even miss a few possessions, that could give the Razorbacks a lead they may never relinquish. If coach Jim Tressel decides to bench the suspended players for any amount of time, it would be beneficial for the Buckeyes to go on defense in the beginning of the game to try to set the tone against the high-scoring Arkansas offense. 2. Can Pryor put up Cam Newton-like numbers against the Arkansas defense? Back in mid-October, Auburn and Arkansas put on an offensive exhibition for the ages. The two schools combined for 108 points, 1,036 yards and 55 first downs. Auburn quarterback and Heisman winner Newton accounted for a total 329 total yards and four touchdowns. Ohio State would be in very good position to win the game if Pryor approached Newton’s staggering numbers. And although Pryor and Newton play the game differently, despite their similar size and stature, Tressel plans on paying close attention to the Auburn game in his preparation for Arkansas. “We’ll study that one for sure because we always love to steal ideas from anybody,” Tressel said. “And most especially when you think you have similar capabilities.” 3. How will Arkansas try to crack the nation’s No. 2-ranked defense? The obvious and most probable answer is that the Razorbacks will rely on the arm of quarterback Ryan Mallett, who has passed for more than 3,500 yards and 30 touchdowns in consecutive seasons. The 6-foot-6 Michigan transfer also spreads the ball around — six of his teammates have 27 or more catches — but tends to favor D.J. Williams, who has 49 receptions this season. Williams, who won the John Mackey Award, which is given to the nation’s top tight end, presents a unique problem for the OSU defense: It hasn’t faced a tight end of Williams’ caliber all season long. A case could be made that the Razorbacks and their No. 3 passing offense haven’t seen a defense like the Buckeyes, who are not only atop the Big Ten in many defensive statistics but are also No. 5 nationally in third-down conversion percentage and No. 9 in red-zone defense, two critical defensive statistics. 4. Which team will win the special teams struggle? Deciphering the differences between the team’s two kickers is akin to distinguishing between identical twins. Devin Barclay and Arkansas’ Zach Hocker each have three misses on the year, and both have made all of their extra points. Thus, field position could come down to kick- and punt-return coverage. The OSU special teams, which hit rock bottom after allowing the opening kickoff to be taken for a touchdown at Wisconsin, has steadily improved over the last half of the season as the team has gotten players back from injury. Glancing over the statistics, each team appears to have an edge in the return game. OSU is No. 3 in the country in kick returns, as the tandem of Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry has averaged nearly 27 yards per return. Meanwhile, Arkansas averages a little more than 17 yards on punt returns, good for fourth in the country. 5. Is this the year OSU snaps its bowl game losing streak against the SEC? A lot has to go right for the Scarlet and Gray to snap its 0-9 bowl game record against the SEC. But the main area OSU needs to focus on is something it’s done well in all season: forcing turnovers on defense and limiting them on offense. OSU is plus-14 in turnover margin, good for third in the country. Arkansas is plus two. It’s a cliché football adage, but whoever wins the turnover battle will win the Sugar Bowl. read more

4 former Ohio State football players set for Super Bowl XLVII

Four former Ohio State football players will be playing in Super Bowl XLVII Sunday, and they all happen to be playing for San Francisco. The 49ers, which are set to square off against the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, will feature some familiar names from Buckeye Nation: former OSU offensive lineman Alex Boone, wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., linebacker Larry Grant and safety Donte Whitner. Alex Boone (2005-2008) Boone, who went undrafted in the 2009 NFL draft but got picked up for the 2010 season, has been with the 49ers his entire career. The Lakewood, Ohio, native started all four of his years in Columbus and played in the 2007 and 2008 BCS National Championships. As a 49er, he was a pro bowl alternate last season. Tedd Ginn Jr. (2004-06) Arguably, Ginn Jr. was one of the most exciting Buckeyes to watch in the Jim Tressel era. A Cleveland, Ohio, native, Ginn also returned kickoffs and punts for touchdowns. He even returned the opening kickoff in the 2007 BCS National Championship against Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators. Ginn was the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft by the Miami Dolphins and was traded to the 49ers for a fifth round draft pick in 2010. Larry Grant (2006-07) Grant, who originally attended City College of San Francisco, transferred to OSU in 2006 before becoming a full-time starter in 2007. Grant, who like Boone appeared in back-to-back national championship games for OSU, was drafted in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the 49ers before being traded to the St. Louis Rams. In 2011, Grant re-signed with the 49ers and has been with them ever since. Donte Whitner (2003-05) Whitner, another Clevelander, has played every level of football on the same team as Ted Ginn Jr., including stints at Glenville High School and OSU. As a Buckeye, Whitner was first-team All-Big Ten in 2005 and was drafted eighth overall in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. After playing four seasons in Buffalo, he signed a three-year contract with 49ers. Whitner was named to the Pro Bowl last season. read more

Ohio State football playing for Christian Bryant Saturday

Senior safety Christian Bryant (2) is helped by the OSU medical staff during a game against Wisconsin Sept. 28 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 31-24.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorOne week after taking down a top-25 conference foe at Ohio Stadium, the Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0) are set to face another ranked Big Ten opponent, this time on the road against No. 16 Northwestern (4-0).For a second consecutive weekend, the Buckeyes’ game will be televised in prime time on ABC’s Saturday Night Football, and ESPN’s College GameDay will be on site for the game in Evanston, Ill.OSU coach Urban Meyer tipped his hat to Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald when he spoke to the media after practice Wednesday. He said the Wildcat faithful has every reason to be excited for the matchup.“They should have hype, they’re undefeated and (have) got a very good team,” Meyer said. “It’s a big game for them, but I’ve got news: It’s a big game for us too.”OSU’s next test comes on the heels of losing starting senior safety Christian Bryant with a broken ankle in the team’s 31-24 victory against Wisconsin.Redshirt-senior safety C.J. Barnett said the pain of losing his teammate to injury was greater than the thrill of victory.“It was tough, honestly, I didn’t even enjoy the win. I mean, that’s the worst news, not being able to play with him,” Barnett said. “A lot of the guys from the team went to the hospital and visited him.”Meyer said redshirt-senior safety Corey “Pitt” Brown is expected to step up during Bryant’s absence.Barnett said there would be no setback in the play of the secondary because Brown is a “veteran that’s had game-time experience.”On the offensive side of the ball, junior quarterback Braxton Miller is expected to make his second straight start after missing almost three full games with a sprained left MCL.Meyer said his signal caller is “full-speed, ready to go.”Miller said he’s physically where he needs to be for Saturday, but that the previous game was hard on his body after not playing for several weeks.“After the game, I was really sore,” Miller said. “But, I just feel comfortable where I’m at.”Miller also said he hopes his time off the field didn’t cost him a shot at winning the Heisman Trophy. He said he believes he still has a chance to earn college football’s most prestigious award because, in his opinion, it’s all about how candidates play in the biggest games.Saturday’s prime-time showdown is a great stage for his team to get a big win for the injured Bryant, said junior linebacker Curtis Grant.“We love to stick together and go out on the road. I think that’s one of the best things about football, when you can go into someone else’s stadium and create havoc,” Grant said. “All we can do is go out and win this game for him.”OSU is scheduled to take on Northwestern at 8 p.m. Saturday at Ryan Field. read more

Ohio States Noah Spence set to return against Kent State

Then-sophomore defensive lineman Noah Spence (8) tackles Penn State then-freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg during a game at Ohio Stadium on Oct. 26. OSU won, 63-14.Credit: Lantern file photoThe Ohio State football program will likely head into its third game of the season with one of the team’s most dynamic defensive players back in the lineup.Junior defensive lineman Noah Spence is set to return to game action after missing the Buckeyes’ last three games because of a suspension handed out in January.Spence was originally suspended a full year by the NCAA for testing positive for ecstasy before his family appealed the suspension and it was reduced to three games. A second appeal was unsuccessful.Spence served his three-game suspension by sitting out the 2014 Orange Bowl and the first two games of the 2014 season against Navy and Virginia Tech.OSU coach Urban Meyer said he is excited for Spence to be back out on the field.“First of all, he is an exceptional player. I know myself and his family (are) anxious to see him play,” Meyer said during a Big Ten teleconference. “He has handled (his suspension) — he went down to the scout team and performed for the last two weeks. (He is) very selfless and we are anxious to get him going.”Neither Spence, nor the usual amount of OSU players, were made available for comment Monday following the Buckeyes’ loss to Virginia Tech. Just one player of the expected three spoke to the media after Meyer’s weekly press conference.Co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash said though he hadn’t coached Spence until the spring, he is eager to see what the junior can do.“Noah is a very talented player. Fits well in our scheme. Has a tremendous ability to get after the quarterback and I think it is going to help us a lot,” Ash said Monday.Because he was suspended, Spence spent most of his time during fall camp with the scout team. Ash said, however, Spence has still been involved with the first-team defense.“He has been in all of the defensive line meetings, so all through the course of training camp, he has worked a lot of scout team stuff going against our offense,” Ash said. “He has been out there practicing our stuff quite a bit.”Ash added that during the short time he coached Spence, he has seen the lineman take steps to become a better player throughout camp.“We saw a lot of strides in the spring from him. From the time we started to the time we ended spring practice, he really made a lot of improvement,” Ash said. “He has made improvement throughout training camp so far also and (we) are excited to see him get out there on game day.”Defensive line coach Larry Johnson said during OSU’s fall media day that he expects to play multiple linemen to keep players fresh.The addition of Spence into the lineup should help do that.“My goal is to have a group of nine to 10 guys we can shuffle in and out in no particular order,” Johnson said Aug. 10. “We have the talent to be able to do that. We just have to coach it up.”The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on the Kent State Golden Flashes on Saturday at noon at Ohio Stadium. read more

Football The curious case of Demario McCall Ohio States enigmatic playmaker

Ohio State freshman running back Demario McCall (30) runs in a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Rutgers on Sep. 30. Ohio State won 56-0. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorNot many people can slow Demario McCall down.The sophomore H-back has dazzling speed. He averaged six yards on 63 carries and 22.5 yards per catch on six receptions in his first two seasons at Ohio State.But last year, McCall dealt with an obstacle that not only slowed him down, but shut him down, ending his season nearly before it even began. A day after the 2017 spring game, he underwent groin surgery to repair a sports hernia. He never fully recovered and said it continued to bother him “on-and-off.”After serving as running back Mike Weber’s backup as a freshman, many people expected McCall to take a significant offensive role in 2017. H-back Curtis Samuel and wideouts Dontre Wilson and Noah Brown left for the NFL, opening extra touches for playmakers like McCall. His anticipated leap never happened, though.McCall’s health prevented him from taking a major role in Ohio State’s offense. Instead, the Buckeyes relied upon Weber and freshman J.K. Dobbins at running back and Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill at H-back. The team also relied on Campbell and Weber as primary kick returners, and Hill as the primary punt returner.McCall did not touch the ball for the first three weeks of the season, then he caught one pass against UNLV in the fourth week of the season. The next week against Rutgers, McCall racked up a team-high 103 yards on 11 carries, including a 48-yard touchdown, and a 35-yard touchdown catch. Even after his dominance of the Scarlet Knights, head coach Urban Meyer expressed skepticism about McCall’s health.“He’s got more in the tank than what I saw,” Meyer said after Ohio State’s game against Rutgers. “So, you know, in that one where he broke away, usually he’s out. We’re still fighting through that thing. He’s doing a good job trying to fight through it.”McCall had three carries the following game, but never played again the remainder of the season. The Buckeyes opted to use a medical redshirt on McCall instead of hoping he could finally overcome the groin injury, Meyer said.Ohio State redshirt freshman running back Demario McCall (30) waits to return a kick in the third quarter of the Ohio State- UNLV game on Sep. 23. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe health issues were exacerbated by the difficulties McCall was already experiencing as he attempted to transition to H-back from running back, the position he played in high school. McCall said the coaching staff caught him off guard a few weeks into the season when he was told he would move away from running back to become a full-time slot receiver. That shift required a mindset adjustment because, as McCall said, “Once a tailback, always a tailback.”“I still had to work on myself becoming a receiver and not a tailback because I had the mindset of ‘I’m a tailback, but I’m going to help the receivers.’ That’s one thing that I had to change,” McCall said after the Cotton Bowl. “Now that I know that I’m a receiver, I had to put more work into jugs, route-running, top ends, just things like that.”Whether McCall will be able to show off those improvements remains uncertain. The same players as last season — Hill and Campbell — will presumably remain ahead of him on the depth chart entering next season. And given his diminutive 5-foot-9, 195-pound frame and Meyer’s penchant to play receivers who have blocking skills, McCall must overcome inexperience, injury and stature to earn playing time.The Buckeyes struggled to find a consistent top option in the passing game last season. Not many players have a higher top-end speed than Campbell, but he struggled to catch the ball. Hill has great hands, but lacks explosion. On the outside, wideouts Terry McLaurin, Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor and Johnnie Dixon each had standout moments, but no one made consistent plays. McCall might be the missing playmaker if given the opportunity. But regardless of the amount of touches he receives, McCall has only one goal in 2018, and it does not involve carries, catches or returns. “Physically, I want to be 100 percent healthy,” McCall said. “Without being 100 percent healthy, you’re a step behind. And that’s one thing I don’t want to be is a step behind because I was a step behind or two this year. It’s not a good feeling.”The speedy McCall is not used to being a step behind. Against Rutgers on Sept. 30, the only players a step behind wore Scarlet Knight uniforms. He might not have a clear path to playing time, but McCall’s inarguable talent with a regained burst offers Ohio State an intriguing weapon in 2018 it could not unleash last season. read more

Softball No 18 Ohio State opens Big Ten play with threegame series

Megan McMenemy takes an athletic stance in anticipation of a hit during thegame against Wright State on Sep. 24. Credit: Gretchen Rudolph | For The LanternThe No. 18 Ohio State softball team will travel across the border to the Hoosier state to take on Indiana in a three-game series this weekend.The first game on Friday marks the beginning of Big Ten play for Ohio State, something the Buckeyes are feeling good about after an 11-game, nine-day stretch in California.“Obviously we’re coming off a good few weeks of playing and we feel really confident in ourselves right now,” redshirt senior infielder Maddie Marotti said. After playing different teams from around the country, Ohio State will get a chance to play more familiar teams in conference play, beginning with Indiana.“There’s a lot of rivalries between the teams,” head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said. “We know a lot of their players, they know our players … there’s a lot of pride involved in the conference play.”This is especially true for freshman third baseman Taylor Stevens, who is from Hebron, Indiana, and played travel softball with Indiana freshman outfielder Makayla Ferrari for about three years. Even though the two are friends, the rivalry runs deep.“She’s my friend, but I’m going to beat her,” Stevens said.The Buckeyes, who currently have a 19-4 record, will head into the three games against Indiana, a team sitting at 7-21 with some knowledge about their opponent.The Hoosiers have a few players who stand out, and their pitching staff has kept them in games, Kovach Schoenly said.“They strike more people out than innings pitched which is a high-level strikeout pitching staff,” Kovach Schoenly said.Kovach Schoenly said Indiana junior pitcher Tara Trainer will be one to watch for. Though she is 3-11 this season, her 3.80 ERA indicates she has been more the victim of poor run support than poor pitching.“Even though her record isn’t very strong… she strikes a lot of people out, so you have to make sure that when you get good pitches, you’ve got to make contact and drive the ball,” Kovach Schoenly said.Though the pitching staff could give Ohio State trouble, making contact and driving the ball hasn’t been a problem for these Buckeyes with the team already having 29 home runs this season.The Hoosier pitchers might be something to keep an eye out for this weekend, but Kovach Schoenly also had high praise for Ohio State junior pitcher Morgan Ray. Kovach Schoenly said Ray has made major improvements within the last few years and according to Ray, it wasn’t a physical change.“A lot of times people just focus on the physical stuff and that’s what I’ve done my whole career, I think, and so I’m focusing a lot more on the mental stuff,” Ray said.Ray and the rest of the team will try to shut down what Kovach Schoenly described as a fast Indiana team that will run a lot in the three games. So far this season, Indiana has stolen 46 bases in 64 attempts and averages 1.64 steals per game, the 38th-most in the country.The series kicks off in Bloomington, Indiana, with two games on Friday and finishes off with a final game on Sunday. read more

Older women enjoy reading racy novels because they are not getting enough

first_imgSpeaking at the Henley Literary Festival, Ms Leith, who also writes cookery books, said: “If [some people] know there is going to be a sex scene in a novel, they won’t buy it because they think it will be toe-curlingly gynaecological.“I often say to people… this novel is racier than this one and let me tell you, most older women go for the racy ones.”When asked why, she suggested, “because they are not getting enough?” before adding: “I think it is because they are grown up and relaxed and confident, so fine about it.”Ms Leith, 76, who will soon get married to her partner, retired clothes designer John Playfair, also spoke about her former husband’s concerns that she included sex scenes in her novels, including liaisons in a potting shed and the back of a taxi. Older women enjoy reading racy novels because they are “not getting enough”, author Prue Leith has suggested.Women who grew up reading Jilly Cooper’s “bonkbusters” are not as easily shocked because they are used to it, she also joked. Women who grew up reading Jilly Cooper’s “bonkbusters” are not as easily shocked because they are used to it 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. Women who grew up reading Jilly Cooper’s “bonkbusters” are not as easily shocked because they are used to itCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley Let me tell you, most older women go for the racy onesPrue Leith “Halfway through me writing [one novel], having not shown him a single page, he suddenly said: ‘There won’t be any sex in it will there?’ she told the audience.“And I said, ‘darling, of course there will be, it is a love story’. He said: ‘Oh you can’t do that, the children will be so embarrassed.’ I said: ‘The children will be 27′.”Ms Leith’s latest book, The Prodigal Daughter, promises a “heart-wrenching” love story as it tells of heroine Angelica, who goes to Paris to learn French cuisine.last_img read more

Queen turns winemaker producing 3000 bottles of fizz from her Windsor Great

first_img16,700 chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier vines were planted in 2011Credit: By opening her own vineyard, Her Majesty followed in the footsteps of her ancestors as Henry II first cultivated grapes in the 12th Century at Windsor Castle.Once picked, the grapes were made into wine at the Ridgeview estate in Ditchling, East Sussex, where chief executive Tamara Roberts praised it as “delicious” and a “superb example”.She added: “As the vineyard matures, the wines will get better and better.”It’s speculated that most buyers snapped up the stock online to keep as an investment, although it is recommended people drink it by 2025.The Duke of Edinburgh is said to have kept a close eye on the development of the vineyard in his role as the head ranger of the Great Park.And the Royals are no strangers to English sparkling wine having enjoyed it on special occasions, with the tipple being served at William and Kate’s wedding in April 2011.Julia Trustram Eve of the English Wine Producers trade body said: “It is fantastic to see another home-grown success.“I have not been fortunate enough to taste any myself, but I have dropped a monumental hint with the maker that I would very much like to do so.”With over a 1000 bottles of Wine to choose from, visit The Windsor Great Park Vineyard's 2016 harvest It underwent fermenting and blending and then spent two years ageing in the cellars. It boasts of offering both “richness and finesse” and having an aroma of “delicate toasted brioche, apricot and citrus notes”.The fizz was bottled at 12 per cent and was available as a three-bottle gift set online for £75 through wine retailer Laithwaite’s, but soon sold out.However, a second batch is expected to be released later this year priced at £35 a bottle, with production expected to soar to 20,000 bottles a year within six or seven years. The Queen has latched onto the English sparkling wine craze by producing 3,000 bottles from vines grown on her estate – and they were soon snapped up.The industry is booming with the tipple becoming so popular that the UK is currently shipping out to 27 countries and boasts annual sales of about £100million.Her Majesty has tapped into that success with her own her vineyard on the Windsor Great Park estate, where 16,700 chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier vines were planted on a seven-acre patch back in 2011.The English Quality Sparkling Wine is made from grapes harvested two years later in October 2013 and was only released three months ago.center_img 16,700 chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier vines were planted in 2011 The Windsor Great Park Vineyard’s 2016 harvestCredit: 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

Waitrose customers dismayed as supermarket curbs free tea and coffee

first_img“From 3 April, we’ll simply be asking myWaitrose members to make a purchase before collecting their cup at the checkout. “We would like to thank you in advance for your understanding. If you have any questions about this, please either speak with a Partner in your local branch, or alternatively full FAQs can be found through the ‘contact us’ link below.”Customers have been unhappy about the change. 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. In an email sent to customers, the supermarket wrote: “Our myWaitrose free tea and coffee offer is one of the ways we thank our customers for shopping with us – and we want all our customers to be able to enjoy a free hot drink when they shop with us in our branches.  Waitrose is to curb its popular free tea and coffee scheme, in a move which has caused upset among customers.After a trial in eight of its stores, all in the South East, the supermarket is implementing the change across all shops.From April 3, Waitrose customers throughout the country will have to make a purchase before collecting their coffee cup at the check-out.  This will be a big story in my local @waitrose: the chain has ended free coffee for customers who don’t buy spend any money— Richard Eden (@richardaeden) March 21, 2017 More developments in the Waitrose free coffee saga @markchristie! Small print says you can’t just go in and buy a single-use carrier bag 😉— Rachel Ingram (@mrsrachelingram) March 21, 2017center_img Martin Lane, managing editor of finance website said:“I’m sure this will have many loyal Waitrose customers up in arms as the famous freebie has become a firm favourite with shoppers. Paying customers can still get free tea and coffee so long as they buy something.This could be a good thing for genuine punters doing their weekly food shop and might stop some people who cheekily nip in for a regular freebie without buying anything. “For genuine customers, nothing really changes – it’s only the freeloaders who will suffer so it’s win win for the Waitrose tribe.”    Finally! Waitrose removes the coffee freeloaders clogging up stores…— James Murphy (@jwmurphy) March 21, 2017 One Twitter user wrote: “How can I enjoy a free tea or coffee while I shop at Waitrose if I have to buy something first? Not happy with this change at all.”Another said: “No more “free” coffee at Waitrose. You have to buy something first. I blame Brexit.”This comes after Waitrose cracked down on free coffee in January 2015, telling customers they had to buy something such as a pastry if they wanted to enjoy a free beverage in their sit-down cafes. The moment @waitrose emails you to inform you that you’ve got to make a purchase in order to qualify for a free tea or coffee…— Ben Robertson ® (@CareersChapBen) March 21, 2017last_img read more

Scotland approves controversial gamechanger HIV drug

first_imgThe Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland said funding the drug could save the NHS in Scotland £360,000 in lifetime treatment costs for every person it saved from contracting HIV.NHS England has denied that losing the High Court ruling played a direct role in its decision not to proceed with other expensive treatments last year, such as those for some blood cancer patients.Officials have since said that their funding of the trial was made possible by PrEP manufacturers agreeing to lower their prices. Health officials had previously said that funding the expensive drug could mean children with cystic fibrosis, deaf children in need of hearing implants for hearing loss and amputees needing prosthetics could be denied treatment.The SMC ruling follows a fierce legal battle south of the border last year, where NHS England unsuccessfully argued that it was not responsible for providing the medicine.More than 10,000 gay men in England will now be offered the treatment as part of a trial, however it has not yet been approved for routine preventative use.Campaigners said yesterday the “speed and decisiveness of the Scottish process contrasts starkly” with the situation in the rest of the UK.They estimate that up to 1,900 people in Scotland could benefit from the drug, which as the brand name Truvada and costs around £450 a month.SMC chairman Dr Alan MacDonald said: “Prep, when used together with safer sex, practices may help reduce the spread of HIV, which is an ongoing priority for the Scottish Government.” Scotland has become the first part of the UK to approve a controversial new drug which dramatically cuts the risk of catching HIV.The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) yesterday approved the routine use of PrEP, intended as a preventative treatment principally for gay and bisexual men who have unprotected sex.The drug, which studies suggest can reduce the risk of infection by 90 per cent, has been described as a “game-changer” in the fight against the disease but labelled “promiscuity pills” by critics. Prep, when used together with safer sex, practices may help reduce the spread of HIVDr Alan MacDonald, chairman, Scottish Medicines Consortium 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

Bystander leads 50 teens to safety in aftermath of Manchester Arena bombing

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. It is thought that Ms Robinson named the wrong hotel in her posts. A spokesperson for Holiday Inn said: “There has been reports of a number of unaccompanied children being bought to a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express in the area, however these are incorrect.”Our hotels were working with police throughout the night, but we did not have a group of unaccompanied children at our hotel.” A member of the public has been praised for her actions following reports that she led a number of unaccompanied youngsters to safety in the immediate aftermath of the suicide bombing at Manchester Arena on Monday evening.Paula Robinson, 48, from West Dalton, told the Manchester Evening News she was at Manchester Victoria railway station, close to the arena, when the attack took place.She felt the explosion, then saw a large number of teenage girls running away from the venue.”We ran out. It was literally seconds after the explosion,” she said. “I got the teens to run with me.”She led the group to a nearby hotel, then shared her contact details on social media so the girls’ parents could contact her. That Paula Robinson needs a recognition award of some sort. Absolutely amazing of her to take all those people in last night.— Mickey (@_MickeyPreedy) May 23, 2017 We need to find Paula Robinson and give her the world after all of this is over #Manchester— Cole Fauria (@Cole_Fauria) May 23, 2017center_img Paula Robinson is a hero and angel and everything in between. What an amazing woman providing light in a dark time. #PrayForManchester— Verity 🙃🌍 (@LplVerity) May 23, 2017 On Tuesday morning Ms Robinson said she was no longer with the children, and urged parents and guardians trying to track down children to contact the authorities. The official helpline number is 0161 856 9400.Ms Robinson has been hailed as hero on social media: Postslast_img read more

Bigamist forged letter from his mosque claiming to be a bachelor court

Prosecuting, Paul Cummings, described how his client first met Lorgat on a flight to Madrid when he showed “great interest in the her”. They later spent some time together in Paris before she returned to her native Morocco.They stayed in contact through texts and phone calls before he visited Morocco in 2001, where her parents were inquisitive about the defendant’s background and the father asked him to provide some proof he was not married. 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. Show more In a statement, Miss Benjelloun who is in her 40s said: “In 2001, I met him when I was working for my father’s company and I was travelling and working in Belgium. A bigamist who forged a letter from his mosque in order to marry a devout Muslim has been jailed for not telling her that he already had a wife.Haroon Lorgat, 52, met Nadia Benjelloun on a business trip in 2001 and after a “whirlwind romance”, they wed a year later.Unbeknown to her, the businessman had already been married twice and the divorce to the second woman was only finalised in 2004, by which time they already had a child together. In the months before he married Miss Benjelloun, Lorgat from Blackburn, Lancashire, had provided her parents with a forged letter claiming to be from the Lancashire Council of Mosques – falsely saying he was still a bachelor after they raised doubts over his past. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––In another act of deceit, it emerged he used the divorce papers from his first marriage in the 1980s to convince the registrar that he was legally clear to marry for a third time. To add to her strife, Miss Benjelloun claimed she is currently owed £20,000 which she was given as a health insurance payout having been diagnosed with cancer. Her husband is accused of transferring it to his bank account. The truth only emerged when Moroccan-born teacher Miss Benjelloun broke up with Lorgat when he became violent. She is now battling to get a divorce, and Lorgat was jailed for six months at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday after he admitted bigamy.  Nadia Benjelloun’s graduation photographCredit:Cavendish Press Nadia Benjelloun leaves Preston Crown CourtCredit:Ricky Champagne/Cavendish Press Mr Cummings told the court: “He had a letter from the Lancashire Council of Mosques. The letter said that he was not married and had never been married.”The family of the complainant were provided with this forged document and thought he was legitimate and suitable to be married. As a result they went through a Muslim wedding and then a civil wedding in Accrington in July 2002.”Following the marriage in Accrington, he did apply for divorce from his current wife but that did not happen until the decree absolute in 2004.”The complainant did not know that the defendant was married and remained oblivious to this fact for 10 years.”During this time, she had two children with the defendant in 2003 and 2005. She only discovered the fact of the other marriage when she petitioned for divorce in 2012.” Nadia Benjelloun's graduation photograph “She says on one occasion that she was with her friend in Blackburn and the defendant took a picture of the friend, posted it on Facebook and asked for her identity.”She said that when she found out about his other marriage, she was remorseful, shocked and angry.” But Judge Simon Medland QC told Lorgat: “This is a case with a number of very serious aspects. Firstly, the deception of Ms Benjelloun and her family. It is clear to me that if you had been candid about your marriage, she would not have married you.”In order to maintain that the marriage would happen, you produced a bogus letter saying that you have never been married and gave it to Miss Benjelloun’s family.”As a result, she married you and two children came out of that. The marriage was not a success and impact this has had on your wife is very severe.”She has described a history of manipulative control and if she knew about your previous marriage she would not have married you in the first place.” At a previous hearing solicitor Jonathan Taylor mitigated for Lorgat and said his client had “fallen in love” and “a whirlwind romance” resulted in the Islamic wedding in Morocco.”He accepts that he entered into the civil marriage without bringing to an end the second marriage,” the lawyer added. “He had fallen in love with the lady and didn’t want anything to happen to stop them being together. The only benefit he got from this was to be able to live with the woman who, at the time, he loved.” “He was insistent and persuasive and he visited me at my parents several times when I was living in Marrakech.”I found it weird that he wasn’t married and had no children at his age, but I believed him and so did my parents after he produced the letter from the Lancashire Council of Mosques.”I found out later that he did deceive me and he had been married on two previous occasions and that letter was not true.””I have been looking after the two children and have cancer. The lies and deceit have caused me anxiety, depression and panic attacks. I am unable to move on with my life until the marriage is over and I need a divorce.  He has not agreed to a divorce in the Islamic religion and he continues to prolong these proceedings.” Nadia Benjelloun leaves Preston Crown Court Mr Cummings added: “Following the diagnosis of cancer, she received some money from health insurance and he somehow moved that money into his account.”There was some money that he took and she says that he owes her somewhere in the region of £20,000.”The prosecution makes the submission that she would not have married the defendant in the first place if she knew about his previous marriage and she says that he was violent and controlling. The court heard Lorgat had been convicted of assaulting Miss Benjelloun in 2010 and was given a community order. In mitigation defence counsel Neil Howard, said: “He accepts that he deceived her and her family from the offset in 2002.”He did initially take steps to divorce his second wife in 2001. He had already paid the solicitors but the divorce didn’t go through.”I do not intend on getting into an argument over finances, but he says that he pays the mortgage on their house.”He is a gentleman that has a great deal to lose. He is an industrious man with a business and two children. He owns a business in the furnishing industry with nine members of staff. All of them are aware of the current situation and it has been very stressful for him.”He has done extensive charity work since 2012 and in my submission he is an upstanding citizen.” read more

Racist bullying could be responsible for black students receiving lower grades equalities

Rufaro Chisango, a fellow first year student at the university, posted a minute-long video on Twitter which included male voices chanting “we hate the blacks” and “blacks and whites will never be together” outside her bedroom door. The university was accused of failing to act swiftly when the racist jeers were first reported, but Miss Chisango filmed the incident and it went viral.Separately, the University of Warwick expelled three students in June and banned them from campus after their involvement in an online chat where they made racist jokes. David Isaac, chairman of the EHRC, said: “Racial harassment of any kind is abhorrent, divisive and entirely unacceptable.”There’s no place for it in society and the level that we have seen occurring within universities is particularly concerning, especially when it has a detrimental impact on student attainment and leaves staff feeling ridiculed or undermined.”Everyone must have the opportunity to reach their potential through education. Universities must have systems in place to stop racial harassment being a stumbling block to educational achievement and ensure that victims can obtain redress.”The commission will publish its findings and recommendations by autumn 2019. Rufaro Chisango posted a minute-long video on Twitter of the racial jeers Earlier this year, a first year law student at Nottingham Trent University pleaded guilty to racially or religiously aggravated harassment after racist chants that left a black woman so scared that she moved out of the halls of residence.   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. Racist bullying could be responsible for black students receiving lower grades, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has said as it launches an inquiry into racial harassment at universities.The UK’s equalities body said that despite more students from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds taking up places at university in recent years, they are graduating with worse degrees than their white peers. Black students are also more likely to drop out of university than their classmates.The EHRC said there is a link between “being made to feel unwelcome and attainment” which may contribute to the “lower qualifications achieved by ethnic minority students despite more entering higher education”.It launched the inquiry after both academic staff and students raised concerns about the levels of racial aggression on campus. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––“Universities and representative bodies have raised concerns that racial harassment is affecting both staff and students at British universities, which may impact on staff members’ decision to remain with their employers,” the EHRC said.“Some student representatives have also suggested that universities are brushing incidents under the carpet unless they go viral on social media.” Rufaro Chisango posted a minute-long video on Twitter of the racial jeers read more

Duchess of Sussex planning to give birth on Lindo Wing as staff

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their children at the Lindo Wing, pictured here with Princess Charlotte in 2015Credit:Geoff Pugh The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their children at the Lindo Wing, pictured here with Princess Charlotte in 2015 The first night in Lindo wing costs £5,900 for the normal delivery package and then every additional night is charged at £1,175.Patients can pay extra for a deluxe package, where the rooms are slightly bigger, which costs £6,275 for the first 24 hours and £1,550 for extra nights.In what was billed as a “snub” to Kate, it had been reported that Meghan, 37, planned to give birth on the NHS at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, because it is seven miles closer than the Lindo Wing to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, where the Sussexes are due to move in the New Year. The hospital does have a royal connection – Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, gave birth to her daughter Lady Louise Windsor there in 2003 after undergoing an emergency cesarean section. Her son, James, Viscount Severn was also born there in 2007.It is not as luxurious as the Lindo Wing. The large labour ward does not offer private care for maternity patients although private postnatal rooms are available at £100-a-night, without en suite facilities. There are 14 labour rooms available on the general ward, which saw 5,350 births from April 2016 to April 2017.Alternatively Meghan could opt for one of the four birthing rooms in The Mulberry Birth Centre, which is more of a “homely environment” where the focus is on “birth without medical intervention”. Patients are invited to pick their meals from lavish a la carte menus – including a wine and champagne list – and are offered a celebratory post-labour afternoon tea. William and Kate praised the staff there following the births of Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3 and nine-month-old Prince Louis. William and Harry were also born there. The rooms have mood-changing lights and a birthing pool is available. Active birthing is encouraged, and rooms come with a bed, chair, a bean bag and an exercise ball available to assist labour.In 2014, Sophie opened the new neonatal unit at Frimley Park Hospital and welled up as she thanked staff for helping her through an ectopic pregnancy which resulted in her losing her first child in 2002. The Countess then almost died giving birth to Louise due to blood loss.Another option for Meghan is London’s Portland Hospital for Women and Children where the Duchess of York gave birth to her daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. With celebrity clients including Victoria Beckham, the Portland has gained a reputation for being a hospital for pregnant women who are “too posh to push”. The most basic maternity package there starts at £8,000. Kensington Palace declined to comment. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which is responsible for the Lindo Wing, did not respond to a request for comment. Staff at the Lindo Wing have been advised not to take holiday in the spring, sparking speculation the Duchess of Sussex plans to have their baby there.Contrary to reports the former American actress plans to give birth on the NHS, she may instead follow in the footsteps of the Duchess of Cambridge, who had her three children at the private maternity unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.A source told the Telegraph: “Staff at the Lindo Wing have been asked not to take holiday in April. Everyone thinks it’s got something to do with the royal baby but no one is confirming anything.” Although Kensington Palace has only said the royal baby is due in the spring, six-month pregnant Meghan let slip during an engagement in Birkenhead that the baby is due at the end of April or early May.The £6,000-a-night Lindo wing offers a “five-star” birthing experience with expectant mothers accommodated in spacious private rooms with en-suite bathrooms. 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

34B allocated to Region 10 approved

In 2018, the Government says it will expend $3.4B towards the infrastructure ($322M), education ($2.1B), health ($663M) and regional administration($301M) of Region 10.Today, the Committee of Supply approved the allocation during the consideration of the Current and Capital expenditure of the 2018 national budget.Some of the capital projects that will be undertaken in 2018 include:Construction of new building to house the Regional Democratic Council officesUpgrading of Stanley Road, Wismar Hill Primary Road and othersUpgrading of draining systems and structures at Stanley Road, Dakama Circle and Determa StreetProcurement of a 32-seater school bus to transport pupils of the (now closed) Christenburg Primary School to St Haven’s PrimaryProcurement of two river ambulances to service areas, in and around, Malali, Demerara River and Puruni, Berbice RiverRehabilitation of Upper Demerara Regional HospitalConstruction of health centres at Mabura and Amelia’s Ward Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedNational Assembly approves $3.4B for Region TwoFebruary 17, 2016In “latest news”Contractor for airstrip junction road project a no show – Region 1 ChairmanMarch 17, 2019In “latest news”$7.2B budgetary allocation approved for Region 4; improved disaster risk management planned for 2019December 14, 2018In “latest news” read more