USA Draws The Group Of Death In 2015 Womens World Cup

The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Draw that concluded Saturday was the first ever to feature 24 teams; previous World Cups had only 16. Eight countries will make their debut, possibly paving the way for new talent to make a splash, and four champions will return stronger and more experienced. Here’s how the draw shook out, followed by our initial reactions to each group:Group A: Canada, China, Netherlands, New ZealandGroup A has the second-highest combined FIFA points score, 7522, and is likely to be exceptionally difficult to advance from. It’s led by host nation Canada (currently ranked eighth), and even the lowest-ranked team in the group, New Zealand, has an aggressive style of play that’s proved to be tough for Brazil and other strong squads. The young, technical Chinese team features standout forward Yang Li (nicknamed “Young Sun Wen,” after China’s all-time leading scorer), and the 15th-ranked Netherlands is making its World Cup debut after beating the higher-ranked Italy to qualify.Group B: Germany, Norway, Thailand, Ivory Coast Second-ranked Germany leads Group B. The Germans, having won back-to-back World Cups in 2003 and 2007, are regimented and unaccustomed to losing, as well as notorious for playing their best soccer at the World Cup. Norway clinched a World Cup title in 1995 but has yet to do it again. The Norweigans’ style of play is very direct (meaning they don’t focus on possession), but look for Olympique Lyon standout Ada Hegerberg to hold the ball up top. The Europeans should cruise through to the next stage — Thailand and Ivory Coast are relatively inexperienced and making their first World Cup appearances.Group C: Japan, Switzerland, Ecuador, CameroonSimilar to Group B, Group C features two top-ranked teams and two much weaker opponents — Cameroon and Ecuador — with Ecuador barely qualifying by beating Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 last week. The 2011 champions, Japan, are currently ranked third and play a highly technical style of soccer; the crafty midfielder Aya Miyama allows Japan to connect beautifully between the back and front lines. Switzerland is an exciting addition to the World Cup — the newcomers can compete against the strongest European teams. Swiss Ramona Bachmann has been likened to Marta and is nominated for the 2014 player of the year in Sweden’s Damallsvenskan, one of the top women’s leagues in the world.Group D: USA, Australia, Sweden, NigeriaThis group is being called the Group of Death — it has the highest total of combined FIFA points, 7786, and includes three teams in the top 10 FIFA rankings. The No. 1-ranked U.S. will again face Sweden in group play; the Swedes defeated the Americans 2-1 in the 2011 World Cup, and this time Sweden will be led by former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage. Australia is an athletic team that could give the U.S. and Sweden tough games, especially with explosive forward Lisa De Vanna leading the offense. And Nigeria should not be overlooked. Its young, talented team includes Asisat Oshoala, the winner of the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Adidas Golden Ball.Group E: Brazil, South Korea, Spain, Costa RicaSixth-ranked Brazil hasn’t looked as strong as it once did, losing 2-0 to France last month in a friendly, but it’s the strongest team in the rather weak Group E. First-timers Spain are led by forward Vero Boquete, a 2014 FIFA women’s player of the year nominee, and could match up well against Brazil — both teams are creative and patient. And South Korea is technical and organized, which could cause problems for the often disorganized Brazilians. But don’t count out Costa Rica, which placed second in the CONCACAF qualifiers (but was handedly defeated by the U.S. in the final). Some of its players, including Shirley Cruz Traña (who plays for the French club Paris Saint-Germain), have moments of brilliance.Group F: France, England, Mexico, ColombiaFoes France and England will face off in Group F, the third-strongest group based on combined FIFA points. France is a not-so-dark horse for 2015; it’s technical, physical and fast, and its players alternate between direct and possession-style play almost seamlessly. Élodie Thomis, Louisa Nécib and Eugénie Le Sommer are some of the top women’s players in the world. Meanwhile, the seventh-ranked England will be looking for retribution — France knocked out England in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinals. CONCACAF and CONMEBOL teams Mexico and Colombia will be hoping for a point against England and France, but lately Mexico has looked unfit and disorganized from the team that beat the U.S. in 2010. read more

We Just Saw The Most Lopsided Playoff Openers In Modern NBA History

16199312.03320116.1 200512.85.1+7.7198810.07.3+2.7 SEASONAVERAGE MARGIN OF VICTORYSEASONAVERAGE MARGIN OF VICTORY The NBA playoffs are all about tough, grueling battles between evenly matched teams.Well, the late rounds of the NBA playoffs are, at least. The opening round doesn’t usually offer much in the way of drama, and this year was shaping up to offer a particularly lopsided set of first-round matchups — particularly in the Western Conference:Sure enough, the weekend rolled around and six of the eight Game 1s finished with double-digit scoring margins, with five decided by 20 or more points and three of those decided by 30 or more. The average point differential of this season’s opening playoff games was 20.5, the highest of any season since the NBA expanded to its current playoff format in 1984. Includes opening-round Game 1s starting in 1984SOURCE: BASKETBALL-REFERENCE.COM YEARACTUALEXPECTEDDIFFERENCEYEARACTUALEXPECTEDDIFFERENCE 5199916.322199410.4 The NBA playoffs with the most lopsided opening games 7200915.62420029.8 Again, though, this wasn’t entirely unexpected. Our Elo power ratings (which estimate each team’s strength at any given moment) called for last weekend’s Game 1s to end with an average margin of 8.1 points per game — which would rank fifth-highest since 1984 — before the ball was ever tipped off. Most lopsided NBA playoff openers, relative to expectations 2199519.619200810.9 4199716.421201510.6 1201620.518201211.3 199716.48.2+8.220109.15.3+3.8 200610.95.7+5.220116.18.2-2.0 10200414.82720078.5 201211.35.9+5.419897.57.6-0.1 201620.58.1+12.4200810.96.3+4.6 14199812.93119897.5 6201316.023198810.0 9198514.92620018.8 AVERAGE MARGIN OF VICTORYAVERAGE MARGIN OF VICTORY 3198616.520200610.9 11199614.82820038.1 Source: BAsketball-reference.com 13198714.53020147.5 200414.87.6+7.219847.85.9+1.8 8199115.02520109.1 199115.06.9+8.1199312.08.4+3.6 17199011.8 198616.58.6+7.920029.86.8+3.0 15200512.83220006.6 199519.67.0+12.6199410.45.7+4.7 199812.98.1+4.8 201316.07.7+8.3199011.87.6+4.1 198514.97.4+7.520038.15.7+2.4 199214.57.8+6.720006.66.40.3 12199214.52919847.8 198714.57.3+7.220147.55.5+2.0 200915.67.6+8.120018.85.2+3.5 199614.88.1+6.720078.57.4+1.1 199916.36.7+9.6201510.66.4+4.2 If we adjust for this, 2016’s blowouts look a little less impressive. In the opening games of the 1995 playoffs, for instance, the victors won by an average of 19.6 against an expected margin of only 7.0 points per game, for a difference of 12.6 PPG — a more lopsided set of Game 1s, relative to expectations, than this year’s, though just barely.But even if this weekend wasn’t No. 1 relative to expectations, its games signaled that we could be in for some pretty unbalanced playoff basketball in the early going. As ugly as things could get, however, keep this in mind: If the favorites prevail, especially in the West, the reward for an unexciting first round could be one of the most competitive, talent-rich second rounds in NBA history.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

The Way Everybody Measures NFL Schedule Strength Its Wrong

After Thursday night’s two-hour special on the NFL Network, we now know exactly what every NFL team’s schedule looks like for the upcoming season. But what we don’t know is how hard any of those schedules will be.Every year when the schedules are released, NFL analysts ritually compare the strength of the 32 teams’ slates. And every year, they do it the one way we know doesn’t work.This year is no exception: Analysts are adding up last year’s wins and losses for each team’s 2018 opponents. That approach might make sense if we had no data about how NFL teams perform from year to year — but we have an awful lot, and it says that NFL win-loss records are significantly influenced by luck and are a terrible predictor of themselves.Twelve years ago, Doug Drinen of Sports-Reference.com saw the annual crop of strength-of-schedule articles spring up and decided to test their merit. He compared NFL team records from the prior year (Year N) with the year before that (Year N-1) and their opponents’ win percentage from Year N-1, and he repeated the process all the way back to 1990.Drinen found that prior-year wins by a team’s opponents are “essentially irrelevant” to following-year success — and while how well the other team plays absolutely matters when toe meets leather, “these strength-of-schedule estimates that are being thrown around right now seem to have no role at all in determining teams’ (upcoming year) records.”In a league where about half the teams that make the playoffs in any given year miss them the following season (a whopping eight 2016 playoff teams missed the cut in 2017), assuming every team’s record will remain the same never really made any sense.But there is a stat that does correlate with upcoming-season wins: Pythagorean wins, based on points scored and points allowed rather than win-loss record. Developed for baseball by Bill James and modified for other sports by current Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, this equation is where Pro-Football-Reference.com’s “expected wins” number comes from. In a 2007 blog post, Drinen found that this stat significantly correlates with next-season wins.If we compare actual wins to expected wins for 2017, we see which teams are most likely to improve in 2018 and which are most likely to regress. Seattle0.52350.50912-7 Indianapolis0.484220.47825-3 TeamWinsExpected WinsDIFF Tennessee97.4-1.6 Philadelphia0.492190.49618+1 Kansas City0.492190.51010+9 Houston45.7+1.7 N.Y. Jets0.477250.45829-4 As we wrote before the season, going 0-16 takes not just terrible talent but also terrible luck — and the 0-16 Cleveland Browns’ 3.3 expected wins point toward a rebound in 2018.On the other side of the ledger, the Buffalo Bills have the biggest negative gap between the number of games they won and the number of games they’d be expected to win. This isn’t a shock: We also wrote about how the 2017 Bills squad was actually bad.Here’s how the 32 teams’ 2018 opponent slates stack up in terms of actual 2017 win percentage and expected 2017 win percentage, sorted by the difference between the two: Cincinnati0.473290.48922+7 Carolina119-2.0 Pittsburgh1310.5-2.5 New Orleans0.53520.5261+1 Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com Tampa Bay56.8+1.8 Arizona86.1-1.9 Tampa Bay0.53140.5186-2 2018 may not be as hard (or as easy) as it seemsEach team’s 2018 schedule by the 2017 win percentage of their opponents, original and adjusted by expected wins Atlanta0.509130.49816-3 Miami0.500150.47726-11 Washington0.504140.49320-6 Dallas0.500150.5252+13 Though 23 of the 32 teams had a difference of less than 1.5 games between expected wins and actual wins, those small differences add up quickly when using the NFL’s division-based schedules. For example, the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Browns and Ravens twice each. Baltimore joined Cleveland among the five biggest underperformers last season, and the two teams’ combined difference in expected wins adds 9.4 wins to the total for the Steelers’ opponents. It’s no wonder, then, that Pittsburgh had the biggest increase between actual and expected 2018 opponent win percentage, jumping from a 25th-ranked 0.477 to the eighth-strongest, at 0.512.All four of 2017’s 13-win squads — New England, Philadelphia, Minnesota and Pittsburgh — had expected-win values below 12 according to the Pythagorean method. This gives a boost to the schedules of the non-Minnesota NFC North teams, which are slated to play the AFC East: The hard end of their schedules (Minnesota twice, New England) projects as a little less intimidating, and they also draw overachievers like Buffalo and Miami.Straight opponent win percentage gives the Packers the hardest projected 2018 schedule, and the Detroit Lions are tied for second-hardest. But using expected wins, they drop to seventh and 15th, respectively.The team that supplants the Packers with the toughest road is the New Orleans Saints. Their degree of difficulty fell slightly with the change from actual win-loss record to expected wins, but it’s still high enough to capture the top spot.There’s no model that can account for player age, coaching changes, free agency, the draft or player injuries before they happen. Many teams will defy what 2017’s expected-win value suggests about their 2018 outlook. But history tells us that expected-win values do correlate with what’s going to happen this autumn — and raw win-loss numbers don’t.CORRECTION (April 20, 2018, 3:17 p.m.): An earlier version of a chart in this article incorrectly identified the Arizona Cardinals as the St. Louis Cardinals. Denver0.477250.49816+9 Tennessee0.465310.48623+8 Houston0.453320.45231+1 Detroit0.53520.49915-13 Biggest Droppers Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com TeamWinsExpected WinsDIFF N.Y. Giants0.52080.5119-1 Buffalo0.496180.50014+4 Carolina0.512120.5205+7 Chicago0.52080.49320-12 Minnesota0.52080.49618-10 Cleveland03.3+3.3 originalAdjusted Revisiting the 2017 NFL seasonThe teams that had the biggest discrepancies between their actual win totals and their expected win totals based on points scored and allowed Green Bay0.53910.5137-6 Jacksonville0.477250.45032-7 Arizona0.52080.5243+5 L.A. Rams0.52350.51010-5 teamOpp. Win %Difficulty RankOpp. Win %Difficulty RankDiff Biggest Climbers Baltimore0.488210.47527-6 L.A. Chargers0.480240.46828-4 New England0.484220.45630-8 Jacksonville1011.8+1.8 Buffalo96.4-2.6 San Francisco0.500150.50113+2 Cleveland0.52350.5214+1 Baltimore910.4+1.4 Oakland0.473290.48424+5 Pittsburgh0.477250.5128+17 read more

LeBron Cant Do It All Alone

J.R. Smith54.061.6+7.552.544.4-8.0 The Cavaliers aren’t making their shotsHow well Cleveland players shoot off of passes from LeBron James based on quantified shot quality (qSQ), actual effective field goal percentage and quantified shooter impact (qSI), 2016-17 and 2017-18 2016-172017-18 SHOOTERQSQACT. EFGQSIQSQACT. EFGQSI Every Cavalier but Korver is struggling to shoot off the catch from James. They’re struggling in general, shooting just 48.8 percent eFG1Last season that was 57.9 percent eFG. on all catch-and-shoot plays as a team, but the James drive-and-kick engine sputtering out undermines the team’s best go-to move. The good news is that the results aren’t necessarily going to stay this bad. Love is performing only slightly above his expected rate, and Smith is shooting far below his. Both are proven shooters and could easily rebound going forward.But even if those two recover, the team has to be concerned with Jae Crowder, another piece of the Irving trade. The offseason rotation shuffle has caused the bulk of Frye’s shots (as well as Kyrie Irving’s) from last year to be redistributed to Crowder, who has been awful and is less likely to rebound, considering he’s a career 34.5 percent 3-point shooter. The team is also working other players who aren’t 3-point shooters, like Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose, into the rotation, which was always going to be painful.The point here isn’t that the Cleveland offense is broken — Tuesday’s win launched it from seventh in offensive efficiency to second, and the Cavs can find points when they need them. The problem is, if Cleveland is going to rely on flipping a switch on defense once the playoffs roll around, which it certainly appeared to do a season ago, the offense can’t be merely good: It has to be phenomenal. Maybe Thomas’s return will change how this all works, but for now we’re seeing evidence that LeBron at his best may no longer be enough to float his team to the top of the conference.Check out our latest NBA predictions. It’s been the better part of a decade since the early weeks of November could signal crisis for a LeBron James team. His Cleveland Cavaliers have been a mess at 5-6, 10th in the East, including a loss Sunday to the now 2-9 Atlanta Hawks, but it’s hard to drum up much genuine concern given the team’s history of getting its act together just in time for the postseason. It’s especially tough to make any proclamations until guard Isaiah Thomas, who was acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade, returns from a hip injury, and we find out how much he’ll be able to contribute.A 124-119 win Tuesday over the Milwaukee Bucks — playing without newly acquired Eric Bledsoe — stanched the bleeding, for now. But issues remain, some predictable and some less so, and the early season has left some clues about what the team will need from Thomas and the rest of the roster in order to get back on track.The Cavs aren’t rebounding (16th overall rebound rate, 14th on the defensive glass), aren’t defending (dead last in defensive efficiency), and aren’t doing much moving whatsoever (23rd in both average movement speed and average distance traveled). Which is to say, they have all the outward appearances of a team mailing it in during November knowing full well it can turn on the jets when it needs them. So maybe it will all fall into place come spring? But there’s one complicating factor for the Cavs-aren’t-trying explanation: LeBron has been as good as he’s ever been these first 11 games — and the surrounding cast has been unable to capitalize.James has been remarkable this season, even by his standards. He’s shooting 65.7 percent on 2-pointers, including 80 percent within 3 feet of the rim. That’s enough to give him a career-best true shooting percentage of 67.3 percent even though he’s drawing fouls at a career-worst rate. And not only is James scoring efficiently himself, but he’s assisting on 45.8 percent of his teammates’ field goals when he’s on the floor, another career high.Over the past three seasons, James has improved his teammates’ shots at a tremendous rate by leveraging his practically unstoppable drive-and-kick game into high-value opportunities for himself and others. According to data from Second Spectrum, the average shot off of a LeBron pass from 2014-15 to 2016-17 would have been converted at a rate of 55.9 effective field goal percent by an average player. The Cavs had a 60 percent eFG on those shots, meaning they turned good shots into great ones.Based on shot location and distance, defender location and other variables, we would expect the average player to shoot 55.5 percent eFG on James’s passes this year — functionally the same as the last three seasons. But the team is converting them at a rate of just 56.6 percent eFG.It’s not hard to pin down what is happening. A season ago, the shooters James passed to the most were Kevin Love, Channing Frye, Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith and late-season addition Kyle Korver. Each took those passes and added value to them — Korver was the standout with a 69 percent eFG when LeBron passed to him, but Love, Smith and Frye all had big positive effects. This season, that hasn’t really been the case: “Quantified shot quality” is determined by how likely an average player would be to make a shot given the shot location, shot distance, defender distance and other variables. “Quantified shooter impact” is the quantified shot quality subtracted from the actual eFG.Source: Second Spectrum Channing Frye56.666.4+9.862.750.0-12.7 Jae Crowder— Kevin Love54.359.3+5.056.058.2+2.2 Kyle Korver51.569.0+17.551.979.4+27.5 53.648.4-5.1 read more

The US Draws An Easy Group At The 2019 World Cup France

DScotland45.250.1 CItaly58.368.2 ANorway66.879.7 Group avg.—78.6 Japan98.389.3 Brazil96.089.7 Australia95.390.2 BSpain74.380.3 Canada91.289.5 Netherlands89.488.7 Group avg.—78.9 South Africa23.758.2 groupteamMAKE ROUND OF 16SPI Rating It was fitting that Didier Deschamps drew the first lottery ball for the 2019 Women’s World Cup, which placed France in Group A. He’s lifted the FIFA World Cup trophy for France on two occasions, as team captain in 1998 and as team manager of France’s men’s team in 2018. But what first felt poetic felt anything but by the time the rest of Group A had been fleshed out: He couldn’t have known it ahead of time, but Deschamps had doomed his beloved French to the dreaded group of death.Joining the French in Group A are Norway and South Korea — each ranked in the FIFA top 15 — and Nigeria, three-time defending champion of the Africa Women Cup of Nations. According to our Soccer Power Index (SPI), the French are the second best team in the world at the moment,1FIFA has them ranked third. ranked behind tournament favorites the United States.Host nations have never failed to advance to the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup, and the French roster, led by creative midfielder Eugenie Le Sommer, will be full of class. The French will almost certainly make it out of the group stage and challenge for the hardware next summer. Our projections give them a 94.9 percent chance of advancing past the group stage, which is the second lowest number of any top team in a group. (Only Canada at 91.2 percent is lower.) Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg’s absence from the Norwegian team will make it less a threat to France’s chances of finishing at the top of the group — but playing in the group of death will ensure France’s path isn’t an easy one. Chile22.343.8 Germany95.292.6 China78.283.2 Sweden93.283.1 Group avg.—69.3 South Korea72.181.9 Group avg.—75.3 Cameroon24.957.7 Group avg.—65.1 United States99.896.4 The hardest (and easiest) groups in the Women’s World CupEach team’s chance of advancing to the Round of 16 and each group’s average Soccer Power Index* rating FThailand38.053.8 Nigeria37.767.7 Jamaica22.053.3 France94.9%93.4 England98.787.9 * FiveThirtyEight’s measure of team strength on a scale of 0-100. Argentina14.732.9 Despite underperforming at the youth level, the U.S. still boasts the best senior-level women’s soccer team on the planet.2Both our SPI and FIFA put the Americans in the top spot. The Americans have won the most World Cups (three), and they’ve played in the past two finals, but they’ve never repeated as champions.3Only Germany has done so — it won the championship in 2003 and 2007. That could change this year, as they’ve been drawn into Group F with Sweden, Thailand and Chile. According to our SPI, it’s the second-easiest of the six groups. At 99.8 percent, the Americans have the highest chance of advancing to the Round of 16 of any of the 24 teams in the tournament.The Swedes are always strong at the World Cup — they’ve finished in third place twice and were runners-up in 2003 — but the same cannot be said for the other two teams: Thailand didn’t advance out of the group stage in its first World Cup appearance at Canada 2015, and Chile is making its first ever World Cup appearance. If U.S. stars like captain Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe bring their goal-scoring boots to France next summer, fledgling teams like Thailand and Chile will be in a world of trouble.The weakest group in terms of average SPI is Group D, which contains England, Japan, Scotland and Argentina. England and Japan are two of the best teams in the tournament,4According to both our SPI and FIFA’s rankings. but Scotland and Argentina5Unlike their male counterparts, the Argentina women’s team is without a Lionel Messi. are two of the weakest. SPI has them ranked as the third-worst and worst teams in the tournament, respectively.That said, Group D still promises to be interesting: England will get the chance to avenge its semifinal loss to Japan at Canada 2015, and Scotland will get the chance to spoil the plans of its neighbors to the south. If the feelings of the England squad reflect those of its star winger Karen Carney, they won’t be looking forward to playing their rivals.“I wouldn’t want them,” Carney told BBC Radio 5. “It’s good to have the rivalry, but you want to win the group. They’d have a lot of fans coming over, and the rivalry can be a leveler.”The Scots better hope that’s true — the last time they played England in a major tournament, they lost 6-0. But even if they do get shellacked again, Scottish women will be able to say something Scottish men haven’t been able to say for two decades: They played at the World Cup. ENew Zealand69.779.5 Group avg.—80.7 read more

Brazil deserves to host Olympics more than US

Last Friday the International Olympic Committee was in a very tough position — four countries from across the globe were vying for the chance to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The voters were in a crux, ultimately handed with the decision of whether to give this honor of hosting the Olympics to the same typical economic power or to take a chance with a spectacular, albeit unproven city. That city was Rio de Janeiro and it really didn’t matter who was up against it in the voting.It just so happened that Tokyo, Madrid, and our beloved Chicago were the three other cities seeking the same spot. One could argue that Madrid couldn’t happen because London, a European city, was already hosting the 2012 Olympics. Similarly, Tokyo was a long shot not only because the city already got its chance to host the games (1964) but also because the recent Olympic spectacle that occurred right next to it in Beijing.Dismissing Chicago as the host city is a more difficult task. First of all, the United States hosted the Olympic summer events four times in the past 100 years. Also, it just wasn’t the right time for the United States to hold an international event of this caliber. Hosting the Olympics in Chicago was so filled with qualms that even the powerful triumvirate of Oprah, Barack, and Michelle couldn’t help out in the end.Rio, though, deserved to win and the decision to choose them as the host was the right one.On a small scale, it was about how Brazil really deserved to host an Olympic event. Try as they might (and they already tried four times to host it), it just seemed like the international community harshly dismissed Brazil time and time again. The advancements and triumphs the country of Brazil had in the past few decades more than show just how ready it was for this.And of course on a much bigger scale, one must bring up the point that in the more than one hundred years of the modern Olympics’ games, South America has hosted them exactly zero times. This crucial decision not only marks an acceptance of this continent and brings it into the international fold, but also gives much needed hope to Africa, the other continent that has yet to host.Rio was the right host. It just couldn’t be denied much longer and it truly deserved hosting, even if that means it would trample over our city. Everyone has known that in their heart, perhaps for years, and the IOC ended up doing the right thing. Finally. read more

Bucks to boast army of backs

The Ohio State Buckeyes are used to having quality running backs, just not having several of them at one time. Throughout Jim Tressel’s tenure at OSU, the Buckeyes have usually had a top ball carrier in the backfield, but little depth beyond that. “As far as numbers, we went a few years with really shaky numbers in 2001, ‘02, ‘03, ‘04,” Tressel said about his lack of depth at tailback. “In ‘05 we were OK.” This season, however, depth should not be a problem for the Bucks, as they will have an army of quality running backs to carry the football. Although it looks like OSU should be set at the position, Tressel was quick to point out that running back is the one position where you can never have enough options. “I hesitate to ever talk about depth at tailback because it takes two sprained ankles and a bruised thigh and a broken hand and you end up being empty again,” Tressel said. “But we’ve got a chance there.” At the top of the depth chart, OSU returns both players who shared the starting role in 2009. “Boom” and “Zoom” is how they are most often known. Daniel Herron and Brandon Saine were the players who led OSU to the Rose Bowl when the Buckeye offense became primarily run-oriented late in the season. Herron can get the tough yards, while Saine is a home-run threat whenever he touches the football. Together, they are a two-headed monster that opposing defenses have struggled to contain, Tressel said. “I do think we have some real solid guys in ‘Boom’ and ‘Zoom,’” Tressel said. “Those guys are really good.” Saine took strides last season when Herron went down with an ankle injury and the two combined to be an effective duo in sharing the role of starter. This spring, however, it has been Saine who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. “I want to be out there,” Saine said. “You see the competition, all the yelling and everybody getting into it. I’m just over here standing and I can’t do anything, saying, ‘Please don’t run into me.’” Behind the tag team, the Buckeyes have a plethora of quality young players who will be looking to make an impact. Last year, Jordan Hall found himself thrust into the lineup early in his career. This season, he should continue to improve as one of OSU’s best young talents. “Jordan, he’s a great back,” Saine said. “He might look small if he walks by you, but he’s one of the strongest of the group. He might have the strongest bench out of all of us. He’s able to hide behind the linemen and he’s real shifty.” Herron cited Hall’s vision as the one thing he thought set him apart from the rest of the running backs. In addition to Hall, Jaamal Berry and Carlos Hyde are two other young backs who could be in the mix to get carries. “Jordan and Jaamal have been good,” Tressel said. “I’ve been very impressed with Carlos Hyde, the way he moved in the winter drills, and he looked very fluid out here for 230-some pounds.” Behind those five options, the Buckeyes also have Jermil Martin and incoming freshman Roderick Smith, who could figure into OSU’s future plans. The fact that all of OSU’s options bring something unique to the position is a good thing. The stable of running backs OSU now possesses can help take pressure off quarterbackTerrelle Pryor and the running backs will be a big part of the Buckeyes’ attempt to win the national title.“It’s safe to say we have a lot of options,” running backs coach Dick Tressel said. “I would go one step further and say lots of good options, so that’s even better.” read more

Commentary Sophomore kicker proving to be surefooted force

After hitting 12 straight field goals, sophomore Drew Basil is quickly becoming the sure-footed kicker Ohio State is looking for. To begin the year, Basil was struggling to find his groove, missing two attempts in the Buckeyes’ first two games. Since then, the right-foot from Chillicothe, Ohio, has not missed an attempt. In the first game of the season against Akron, Basil had two opportunities to convert the first field goal of the season. He missed an unofficial 45-yard attempt because of an offside penalty against the Zips. After resetting five yards closer, he missed the 40-yard attempt. In the second game against Toledo, Basil missed a 47-yard attempt. Through two games, Basil had failed to convert. Since then, he’s been perfect. Hitting 12 field goals in a row, Basil is the kind of reliable option OSU has been used to thoughout the years. In the past ten years, OSU has not had a problem making just about every field goal it attempts, thanks to Aaron Pettrey, Devin Barclay and Mike Nugent. Basil has converted on all 26 extra point attempts on the season. Including the 12 field goals, he has accumulated 62 points on the season. Despite his recent success, Basil apparently had not shown the OSU coaching staff everything they needed to see in order to trust him fully. On Oct. 8 against Nebraska, OSU was leading Nebraska by seven points when they had the ball in Nebraska territory. OSU had the ball for a second-and-13 at the Nebraska 32 yard line. From that point, a 49-yard field goal try was an option. After two incomplete passes, the Buckeyes opted to punt instead of trying the field goal. Basil’s long field goal on the year was from 47 yards against Colorado. Talking with Basil during media day, Basil said he was very consistent from 52 yards. However, the coaching staff has not given him an opportunity all year longer than 47 yards. Head coach Luke Fickell said after the game at Nebraska that a field goal try from 49 yards was “a little out of our range.” Basil has now converted on 12 straight, and each of them have been splitting the uprights and have had distance to spare. Basil, only a sophomore, will be that reliable special teams force the Buckeyes are used to. read more

Still sliding Ohio State mens ice hockey struggles against Ferris State

Coming into its weekend series against Ferris State, the Ohio State men’s ice hockey team was struggling, and after two games against the No. 13-ranked Bulldogs, not much changed. The No. 5-ranked Buckeyes’ three-game losing streak ended Saturday night when OSU tied Ferris State 3-3. Their winless streak, however, increased to six games following a 4-3 loss Friday night and the tie Saturday. OSU came into the weekend struggling on both ends of the ice. The Buckeyes gave up eight goals in two games to Michigan on Jan. 13 and Jan. 15, and only managed to score once against the Wolverines during those games. The Buckeyes’ offensive woes were somewhat corrected, scoring six goals in two games against the Bulldogs. The defense, however, continued to struggle, giving up seven goals total Friday and Saturday night. “We have to do some things well in front of our goaltenders,” said OSU coach Mark Osiecki of the defensive effort in Friday’s 4-3 loss. “We did not help on three of their four goals. It made it tough for (junior goalie Brady Hjelle).” Due to the poor play of the defense, OSU fell behind early in both games. Trailing for most of the game is something the Buckeyes are getting accustomed to, as OSU has now gone 10 games without holding a first-period lead. OSU senior defenseman and co-captain, Sean Duddy, placed the blame of the slow starts on himself and fellow senior co-captain, forward Cory Schneider. “It starts at the top,” Duddy said of the early deficits. “Me and (Schneider) have to do a better job of getting guys going. We have to figure it out. We’ll talk and we will figure it out, I’m sure of that.” Ferris State got things started at the 7:02 mark in the first period on Saturday night. Senior defenseman Derek Graham tapped in the puck from the far post after receiving the puck from freshman defenseman Simon Denis. OSU answered with a tally from freshman forward Tanner Fritz. The freshman got the puck after Buckeye freshman forward Darik Angeli knocked it toward the net following a faceoff in Ferris State’s zone that was won by OSU senior forward Danny Dries. The Bulldogs took the lead again early in the third period following a scoreless middle stanza in which senior OSU goalie Cal Heeter made 12 saves. Ferris State junior forward Kyle Bonis scored from the slot on a 2-on-1 break at 1:10 into the final period after Graham found him. Dries tied the game with a shorthanded goal at the 10:10 mark. Dries received the puck just outside the Bulldogs’ blue line and he ripped a shot once he entered Ferris State’s zone that flew into the back of the net. Less than three minutes later, the Bulldogs took the lead once again, tapping in a loose puck just outside the crease at 13:09 in the third. OSU had another answer in them, as freshman forward Max McCormick backhanded a shot in to tie the game, 3-3, with 3:22 remaining in the game. The game went into overtime, in which neither team scored. In the shootout, both teams’ shots were stopped in the first round, but the Bulldogs scored in the second and third rounds to get the extra point after OSU’s shot was stopped in the second round. Dries said even though the Buckeyes only gained one point Saturday night, he saw signs of improvement. “We scored with five minutes left to get to overtime, so that was good,” he said. “We’re taking baby steps at this point. We’re back to square one now and we have to try and get things going again.” In Friday night’s 4-3 loss, the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead after one period, and led 4-0 midway through the second period. The Buckeyes rallied with goals from Fritz, sophomore forward Chris Crane and Angeli, but the rally fell short as OSU wasn’t able to tie the game during a five-minute power play late in the third period. OSU fell to 14-7-4, 10-6-4-1 in the CCHA and holds a one-point lead in the conference. Ferris State improved to 15-8-3, 9-6-2-1 in the conference and are four points back from OSU in fifth place in the CCHA. The Buckeyes will take the ice again with a two-game series against No. 19 Lake Superior State (13-11-4, 8-9-3-3) starting at 7:05 p.m. Friday in Michigan. read more

Potential threat of violence in Ohio State cafeteria moves past the window

An investigation by the Ohio State University Police Division into a potential shooting threat on campus is pending. Police believe the initial threat to be over with, but have not yet identified the perpetrator of the crime. “Ohio State University Police have been investigating postings to fantasy, role-player game sites which referenced a potential public safety threat of a shooting at OSU,” said OSU Police Chief Paul Denton. “We continue to investigate and are taking this seriously.” University Police released a public safety notice via email and text message to faculty, staff and students between 11:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. Wednesday, warning the university community of the threat, which Denton said was “specific to a cafeteria at the Ohio State University and today.” “We felt it important to notify the university community to heighten awareness and to stress the importance of ‘if you see something, say something,’ and report suspicious activities or individuals to the appropriate authorities,” Denton said. The public safety notice stated that anyone with information concerning the threat should contact University Police or Columbus Police. “I want to encourage anyone who knows anything about this situation to notify University Police immediately for further information,” said Jay Kasey, OSU senior vice president for Administration and Planning. Denton said police will continue to monitor the situation until they are certain the threat is over. “We have expert police and security presence on or around campus dining facilities,” Denton said. “Although we have moved past the window of concern, we will continue to have additional resources and presence for as long as necessary. The safety of our campus is our top priority.” Kasey said the person responsible for the threat has not yet been determined. “The matter will not be considered complete or closed until we’ve identified the individual or individuals who are responsible for this incident,” Kasey said. Denton said police will continue to have a presence at campus dining facilities throughout the evening. When asked whether the security presence will continue into tomorrow, OSU Director of Public Safety Vernon Baisden said they are handling the situation “one day at a time.” University Police sent another notice at approximately 4 p.m. Wednesday to inform the university community that it has moved past the window of concern but will maintain “security presence and heightened awareness for as long as necessary.” The increased police and security presence applies to areas on or around campus dining facilities, including at the Wexner Medical Center. Officers at OSU’s regional campuses were also informed of the threat and took necessary precautions, according to the afternoon notice. read more

Mens Hockey Ohio State depth led by Dakota Joshua finding success filling

Ohio State forwards Dakota Joshua and John Wiitala fight for a loose puck during the first period of Ohio State’s victory over Denver in the NCAA Tournament. Credit: Nick Hudak | Lantern photographerWhen senior forward Matthew Weis fell to injury just before the Big Ten tournament championship against Notre Dame, it was a devastating blow to the Ohio State men’s hockey team. The loss was felt not just on, but off the ice.Weis was a key cog for the Buckeyes this season, putting up 37 points in 37 games. His leadership isn’t gone — he has still traveled with the team — but his absence has forced other players to step up in key situations, while serving as a rallying cry for a team with big aspirations.“It was a tough bounce to lose Matt. He’s one of the leaders on our team. He’s still right there with us and we are doing it for him almost, essentially,” junior forward Dakota Joshua said. “It’s just next man up on this team and obviously, I got the call and it feels good.”Joshua has moved up in the lineup, assuming more responsibility with both crucial faceoffs and goal scoring, and has flourished as a physical presence for a Buckeye team lacking size.   In games where puck possession has been decided along the boards, it doesn’t hurt to have a 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame get involved and pry pucks loose. But Joshua said he’s more than just a big body. “I’d like to think that I can play any time of game and any style. Given a tight game, it really doesn’t make a difference,” Joshua said. “You know they are all going to be tight at this point, and at the end of the year. I like playing in tight games, for sure.”Joshua has elevated his game to fill the void left by Weis, and many of the other Buckeyes have done the same. Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik has preached all year about a next-man-up mentality, and time after time, the depth of his team has risen to the occasion. “The game of hockey, you are going to have injuries. [It’s] next man up and we’re going to continue to think that way,” Rohlik said. “We’re excited, we’re pretty humbled, but at the same time, we look forward to the new challenge.”Ohio State hasn’t just got by in the NCAA tournament. It’s proved that it belongs, shutting down a red-hot Princeton offense, while also beating last years’ national champion Denver by a resounding score of 5-1. In a tournament where many penciled the Buckeyes to fall in the Midwest region, Joshua said the underdog mentality fueled the team to prove the experts wrong.“It helps us almost feed into our game, having a chip on our shoulder, I’d love to see your guys’ brackets and who you guys picked,” Joshua said. “Not a lot of people had us coming out of this side [of the bracket] so, it just feeds into our game and helps us play better for sure, but hopefully people know who we are now.” read more

Attempted murder arrest after Lancashire Pc slashed with knife in routine vehicle

first_imgA policeman has been attacked with a knife after stopping a driver in a routine vehicle check.The officer was slashed across his face and abdomen with the blade as he pulled over the Peugeot van in Lancashire.He suffered serious injuries and was flown to hospital following the attack in Cleveleys, near Blackpool, on Wednesday morning.A 39-year-old man from Blackpool was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and taken into custody.Lancashire Police said the Pc was carrying out a routine stop check on the vehicle in Westmorland Avenue at about 10am. Shortly after pulling over the van, the officer was attacked before he was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital.The force said the officer’s family are aware and his injuries are not life-threatening.A police spokesman said the officer’s attacker fled the scene. The arrest was made a short time later in the Poulton area.After the attack, the chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales said “more must be done” to protect officers.Steve White posted on Twitter that officers from Lancashire Police had recently “raised the issue of their safety and protection” with him.”Thoughts and prayers are with the officer and their family,” he added. Thoughts&prayers w the officer&their family Visited @LancsPolice lst week&officers raised issue of their safety&protection More must be done https://t.co/a8ycBpJOPg— Steve White (@PFEW_Chair) 2 November 2016center_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.last_img read more

Prince William tells Bake Off runnerup Andrew You should have won Ill

first_img Show more Rolls-Royce engineer and #GBBO finalist Andrew Smyth has made a cake for Prince William pic.twitter.com/k51WqD9bHn— Gordon Rayner (@gordonrayner) November 30, 2016 He told the Duke it had taken him six hours to assemble – then later admitted he had been up until 4am putting the finishing touches to it.The Duke was so impressed that he said he would “have a word with Mary Berry” to ask why Mr Smyth had only been a runner-up.Mr Smyth said: “In a way it was more nerve-racking than the Bake Off final. Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry are important customers but they don’t come any bigger than the Royal family.”The 25-year-old, a performance technologist at Rolls-Royce, made the cake from chocolate madeira filled with vanilla buttercream and morello cherry jam, with fan blades made from gingerbread.Mr Smyth asked the Prince: “Is it true you’re a fan of the show?”He replied: “I have seen one or two episodes, but I haven’t seen your series.”The Duke added: “Everyone here has benefited from your wonderful baking, I’m sure.”Mr Smyth said: “Yes, there are a lot more demands in the office now to bring in cakes than there used to be – I can’t get away with the Victoria sponge any more either. People are expecting three-tier towers and things.”“You’re a marked man now!” said the Duke.Asked how he found time to do his baking, Mr Smyth told the Duke he was only working four days a week, giving him extra time for baking and pursuing other projects.As he showed the Duke his cake, the Duke said: “I was wondering if this was actually a cake…”Shown the rotating gingerbread blades, he said: “Ah, you should have won! What’s going on – that’s amazing. I’m going to have a word with Mary. You should have won.“The problem is when you make something as good as this you don’t want to eat it!” Mr Smyth had made a smaller version of the cake for the Duke to take home with him. He said the main cake would be shared by some of the Rolls-Royce staff.The Duke also met apprentices on the shop floor and one of them, Megan Dennison, 21, presented him with Rolls-Royce branded polo shirts, a blue one with George embroidered on it and a white one with Charlotte on it.He was also given a souvenir of a polished fan blade from a Gnome engine, used in Sea King helicopters that the Duke flew when he was an RAF Search and Rescue pilot. Big boys toys… pic.twitter.com/y7yZNkI8J4— Gordon Rayner (@gordonrayner) November 30, 2016 As a pilot, William is loving his trip to Rolls-Royce #royal pic.twitter.com/7GYpGiyLxe— Gordon Rayner (@gordonrayner) November 30, 2016 This year’s Bake Off was won by Candice Brown, who unsuccessfully applied for the show twice before landing a place in the tent and going on to win.The 31-year-old, who beat Mr Smyth and Jane Beedle, to win this year’s hit final, put her job as a teacher on hold to pursue a career in baking. Great British Bake Off finalist Andrew Smyth combined his two greatest passions with brilliant effect as he presented the Duke of Cambridge with a cake in the shape of a jet engine.Mr Smyth, an engineer at Rolls-Royce aero engines in Derby, met the Duke as he toured the factory on Wednesday.To the Duke’s delight, Mr Smyth had used his ingenuity to make the cake’s gingerbread fan blades spin just like the real thing. Earlier, he had been shown around the production line that makes the latest Trent XWB airline engine by Colin Smith, group president of Rolls-Royce.Mr Smith said: “He was particularly interested in the technology side, in how we continually improve the engines and the noise benefits and the fuel burn benefits that that gives.” Prince William is in Derby today. Guess where he’s going? pic.twitter.com/bJbjSTMK5K— Gordon Rayner (@gordonrayner) November 30, 2016 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

Descendants of sexobsessed leader of Victorian cult that scandalised society lose claim

first_imgAs “heavenly bridegroom”, detractors claimed he had enjoyed a harem of dozens of “soul brides” eager for his favour. His declaration as Godhead, claiming he was the ” essential being of God”, caused riotous scenes in London, with Smyth-Piggott having to be removed from the capital under armed guard.Smyth-Piggot has since been described as “if not a sexual maniac, at least a man obsessed with sex in his daily life”.Despite his claim to immortality, Smyth-Piggot – who was known to his followers simply as “Beloved” – died in 1927 and the cult faded into obscurity and folded in 1956. But left behind was about £1 million from the sale of the cult’s last place of worship – the Church of the Arc of the Covenant, in Clapton, East London.His great-granddaughter spearheaded a legal bid by his six granddaughters to come into the money they saw as rightfully theirs. But now Judge Andrew Simmonds QC has sent them away empty handed, ruling that the money must go to charity.He said it was not his role to pass moral judgment on the Agapemonites, adding that his decision that the cult was a charity “reflects the long tradition of religious tolerance in this country”.The Charity Commission will now distribute the money among other good causes which, in their view, most closely resemble the Agapemonites.The Agapemonite movement was founded by Prince, a defrocked clergyman, who set up a base in the quiet Somerset village of Spaxton, using money gleaned by urging his followers – mostly wealthy, unmarried women – to hand over all their worldly goods to build “The Abode of Love”. If not a sexual maniac, at least a man obsessed with sex in his daily lifeHow John Hugh Smyth-Piggot was once described The Arc of the Covenant church, in Upper Clapton Sordid claims about a free-love Victorian cult have been analysed by a High Court judge as he ruled that the granddaughters of the sect’s former leader will not see any of the £1million they claimed as their birthright.The “very middle class” Agapemonite messianic movement scandalised 19th and early 20th century society after being established in 1846.Named after the Greek word meaning “Abode of Love”, it was described as the prototype of modern-day cults, complete with sex scandals, accusations of brainwashing, dramatic rescues of members by their families, moral outrage from respectable society and condemnation in the popular press.John Hugh Smyth-Piggot, a “sex-obsessed” former Church of England clergyman, declared himself the “new messiah” of the sect in 1902 following the death of its founder, Henry Prince. The Arc of the Covenant church, in Upper ClaptonCredit:Richard Gittins /Champion Rachel Phillips outside London's High Courtcenter_img The result was a collection of houses and cottages with its own chapel surrounded by a 12ft wall and guarded by dogs. The cult later expanded and founded other centres, including the Church of the Arc of the Covenant, complete with stained glass windows depicting the submission of womankind to man.It was there that Smyth-Piggot declared himself to be the “second coming of Christ” in September 1902, before a 6,000 strong crowd. Contemporary reports detail how, while his followers abased themselves, many of the crowd reacted so angrily to his claim that he was run out of town under police escort and afterwards retreated to the sect’s Somerset base.The church was sold in 2010 and uncertainty over the destination of the £1m proceeds prompted the trustees to seek the High Court’s guidance.The money was passed into the hands of trustees, according to the directions of an 1892 trust deed, which stated the funds should be held and distributed by them in order to “promote Agapemonite objectives in such manner as they see fit”. However, when it was drawn up no one envisaged a time when the sect and its members would have long died. Rachel Phillips outside London’s High CourtCredit:Richard Gittins/Champion As Smyth-Piggott was the last survivor of the original trustees, the claimants said the money from the church sale should go to them.Rachel Phillips, the great-granddaughter of Smyth-Piggott, also of Dunkeswell, Devon, appeared before the judge in London. But she was philosophical outside court, saying: “What will be will be.”Judge Simmonds ruled that Agapemonites who contributed to the church-building fund intended to endow the movement and never contemplated that individuals would benefit from their generosity.The decision leaves the Charity Commission with the task of deciding which good causes most closely mirror the objectives of the Agapemonites. The granddaughters’ legal costs will be paid out of the trust fund. 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

23 genius signs from the StandUpToTrump protests

first_img Here’s how cartoonists reacted to Trump’s controversial travel ban.  10. SIGN GAME HELLA STRONG #StandUpToTrump pic.twitter.com/kuj4IfihCi— N. (@ItsJustNorah) January 30, 2017 #StandUpToTrump pic.twitter.com/GSjN0KBuiN— Momentum (@PeoplesMomentum) January 30, 2017 18. Trump  Demonstrators in Glasgow Credit:PA 19. ‘Duck off’ – Cardiff Credit:Barcroft  Thousands of activists marched in cities across the UK against Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban and they brought some rather genius protest signs along with them.Protesters gathered outside Downing Street in London, while similar protests also took place in cities including Edinburgh, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham. 3. Trump protests  21. muslim travel ban  StandUpToTrump: Trump UK protest marches funny signs  4. 12. Trump protests uk  13. Manchester Credit:Barcroft  London Credit:Reuters  CardiffCredit:Barcroft  trump portests london  Alternate reality  Glasgow Credit:PA 8. 5. Cardiff Credit:Barcroft  9. Trump protests  London  London Credit:Reuters  trump  Hard to disagree with this sign spotted near Downing Street tonight. #StandUpToTrump pic.twitter.com/gDEGnywKcn— Greenpeace UK (@GreenpeaceUK) January 30, 2017 11.center_img Demonstration against Trump in Cardiff Credit:Barcroft  20. 16. 6. Cardiff Credit:Barcroft  Outside Downing Street Credit:Barcroft  Best sign #wasteman #StandUpToTrump pic.twitter.com/TBeFbqMz6l— Fay Schopen (@fayschopen) January 30, 2017 Fave sign so far. WE SHALL OVERCOMB. #Wales #Cardiff #MuslimBan #StandUpToTrump pic.twitter.com/R2kVPTCN2W— I Loves The ‘Diff (@ILovesTheDiff) January 30, 2017 Alternative reality Credit:Barcroft  14. LondonCredit:Barcroft  15. trump demo  London Credit:AFP / Getty  23.  Cardiff  “Dump Trump”, “Never again”, “Dogs against Trump” and “Trump can bugger off” were just some of the slogans on display at the march.#StandUpToTrump has also been one of the most popular hashtags on Twitter after more than 1.5 million people signed a petition calling for Trump’s state visit to the UK to be scrapped. 17. Just some of the best signs I’ve seen on twitter from #StandUpToTrump pic.twitter.com/ZzU9uMLJCA— Savannah. (@savybc) January 30, 2017 Dear Queen … Credit:Getty  7. trump protests uk  2. My sign for tonight’s demo #MuslimBanprotest #StandUpToTrump pic.twitter.com/yCtutxdByy— Natasha Bright (@tashbright) January 30, 2017 Ed Miliband (jokingly) channels his inner-Donald Trump when predicting a crowd size for #StandUpToTrump protest in London… pic.twitter.com/zgAsQswB8g— Richard Wheeler (@richard_kaputt) January 30, 2017 23 genius signs from the #StandUpToTrump protest marches1. Trump is a bludclart / wasteman#StandUpToTrump #MuslimBanprotest pic.twitter.com/G1lUCrwtnj— Coco Khan (@cocobyname) January 30, 2017 LondonCredit:Barcroft  London Trump protests  22. Trump protests  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

Homemakers more likely to struggle with mental health study finds

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. “But then we know from other research that people who are out of the labour market for any length of time and want to be employed can have problems with their mental health,” she said. She added that the effect had been stronger in men, suggesting that they were more adversely affected by being out of work.The authors said the findings suggested that the group needed more mental health support than was previously thought. “The research helps identify that homemakers, with more ‘limited connections’ to the labour market, could benefit from the provision and promotion of mental health services, due to the association between psychological distress earlier in the life course and being a homemaker in later life,” the study said. It added that earlier intervention with children who were struggling with their mental health could help reduce the incidence of problems later on. Professor Jenny Head, of UCL, who also worked on the data, said the researchers hoped the study would encourage better assistance for children to help them stay in work as adults. “Interventions at all ages are going to be relevant to helping people stay in work at older ages,” she said. “If you have mental health problems as an adult you also need support to remain in work.” David Sinclair, director of ILC-UK said: “It is clear from this research that some of the drivers for unemployment in our 50s are determined very early in our lives. “We must ensure that mental health strategies focus on supporting people of all ages. Early intervention is key if we are to ensure that people can continue to work into old age.”center_img Stay-at-home mothers and fathers are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, a study by the International Longevity Centre has found.Both men and women who said they were “homemakers” at 55 were more likely to have suffered from psychological problems in both childhood and adulthood than other groups, researchers discovered. The data, published today [TUES] in two studies, shows that having a mental health problem in childhood was associated with a 2.8 times greater likelihood of being a homemaker at age 55. The researchers said that while much research had previously been done into the link between having a mental health problem and being long-term unemployed or sick, it had not previously showed a direct link between staying at home to care for a home or family and suffering from psychological problems. Professor Sarah Vickerstaff, of the University of Kent, who led the research on one of the reports, said that the pattern was likely to be partly down to children with mental health problems being less likely to stay in work as adults, but that being out of work as an adult could compound the problem. “I think there’s the question on whether mental distress in childhood is more likely to lead to someone not being in the labour market and whether that for women especially is reflected in them being homemakers. last_img read more

Knives disguised as lipstick and combs for young women being promoted via

first_imgShe posted two videos on Facebook showing off the knife and opening and closing its brightly coloured blade with the flick of a switch. The pastel-coloured weapon is a flick knife, which is illegal in the UK. One video she posted with the knife is captioned: “Still obsessed with my baby. It’s literally the most fun thing to play with.” Knives that are illegal to import, sell or  be given as a gift include many of the weapons being promoted on Instagram by Alien Outfitters. They include flick knives and disguised knives, such as the lipstick knife, and bladed knuckle dusters.While violent images are banned under Instagram’s terms of use, it is not clear that the promoting of knives themselves breaches those terms. Instagram had by Saturday declined to comment. Alien Outfitters failed to respond to an email request for comment. On its website the company says: “All knives are intended for decorative and ornemental [sic] purposes.”One British woman from Eastbourne boasted about a knife she received from Alien Outfitters on her Facebook and Instagram pages. Michelle Berwick, a mother-of-two, said her husband had purchased the knife, decorated with a mermaid, for her as a Christmas present. The “interesting trinket” bought for Michelle BerwickCredit:Facebook He added: “From the colours, designs, and model names such as mermaid and fanciful rainbow, they are clearly aimed directly at young women. They look like toys. They are not toys. The “interesting trinket” bought for Michelle Berwick He said: “It was never my idea that she should stick it into her handbag and take it out – it was more of an interesting trinket. I bought it from Alien Outfitters in the US and to be honest the import taxes cost more than the knife itself.”Asked if he had concerns that designing knives specifically to appeal to women could lead to a fresh epidemic of knife crime, he said: “I can see there may be fears over that, that some women may take them out and use them. But that is not why I bought it for Michelle. She has always been fascinated with knives and brightly coloured things and I thought the rainbow design would appeal to her.“I bought one for a friend as well and I think they are being freely imported into the country – it’s not illegal or anything.” The knife, fourth from the left, iooks just like a lipstick apart from the blade Instagram is being used to promote illegal knives designed to be attractive to young women, The Telegraph can disclose.The knives – some disguised as lipsticks or combs and highly decorous – are being promoted through the photo-sharing website. The site, which is owned by the social media giant Facebook, is accused of “reprehensible” behaviour by promoting products banned in the UK.An investigation by the Telegraph has uncovered a trail involving a US business specialising in selling knives to women that are then imported to the UK.This newspaper discovered a young British mother who was bought an illegal “flickknife” decorated with a mermaid, for a Christmas present by her husband. The woman even gave the knife a name – calling it “Baby”. The importation of such knives is illegal under the UK’s strict knife crime laws. Instagram is used to promote the knives and link to the company’s website, based in North Carolina.The Ben Kinsella Trust, a campaigning charity set up in memory of Ben Kinsella, a 16-year-old stabbed to death in Islington a decade ago, said it was appalling that Instagram was helping promote the US company Alien Outfitters.”Instagram’s action in hosting this site is reprehensible,” said Patrick Green,  the charity’s chief executive. “They are glamorising these knives as fashion accessories.  This is a forum where young people openly encourage each other to break the law by buying flick knives and concealed knives which are illegal for any age group.” “They are weapons that bring devastation to hundreds of families each year.  The vendor goes to great lengths in the small print to distance themselves from any liability, clearly indicating that they understand the dangers that these knives pose.”Alien Outfitters uses photographs of young women to sell the knives. A flick-knife, described as their “rainbow blade”, is modelled by a woman, and captioned with the hashtags #girlpower and #likeagirl. The knife, fourth from the left, iooks just like a lipstick apart from the bladeCredit:Instagram Knuckle dusters are among the items being sold by Alien Outfitters An Instagram spokesperson said the @alienoutfitters account had been reviewed and a number of posts had been blocked for UK users after the Telegraph brought the content to their attention.”Illegal activity is not allowed on Instagram. Our guidelines clearly state that people must always follow the law when offering to sell or buy goods.”People can report content they think is against our community guidelines using our in-app tools.”Our global team of reviewers check these reports 24 hours a day and move quickly to remove any violating content or accounts,” the spokesperson added. 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. Knuckle dusters are among the items being sold by Alien OutfittersCredit:Instagram A comb knife from the site On the Instagram site used by Alien Outfitters, she posted: “I have the rainbow chain link knife. Her name is Baby. She’s beautiful.”Mrs Berwick refused to discuss the knife when approached by the Telegraph but her husband Dwayne Berwick defended the purchase of what he called an “interesting trinket”. He confirmed he had bought it through Alien Outfitters. A comb knife from the siteCredit:Instagram Michelle Berwick who has bought and then displayed knives on Facebook from US company Alienoutfitters Selling most types of knife to anyone under 18 is illegal in the UK. Depending on the type of knife, possession, importation or ownership can be illegal for adults as well and carry tough penalties. The knives are relatively cheap. One knife, disguised as a comb, is available on the site for £9, while another which looks like a lipstick costs £11.50.The website also promotes bladed knuckle dusters made to look like cats. Each blade is an ear of the cat. The store posted a picture of a woman posing with one, with the caption “kitty keychain puncher”. Women have commented below saying “for self defence” and “I’m getting one!! I dare somebody!!!”The shop’s website says the knives and knuckle dusters it sells are only for ornamental use by over-18s, and buyers must check their local laws before ordering. However, they can be posted anywhere in the world, and the shop asks buyers themselves to verify that they are over 18. It is not clear what further checks are made. Michelle Berwick who has bought and then displayed knives on Facebook from US company Alien OutfittersCredit:Facebooklast_img read more

Father who tried to kill his four children with a hammer before

first_imgAn off-duty police officer, who witnessed the crash, dialled 999 and cared for the injured children until paramedics arrived. He said Scott, who was uninjured, had clambered over the children to get out of the car.The two girls were found on top of each other on the central console of the car,  the 21-month-old boy was found in a footwell and his younger brother in a carry-cot, also in a footwell, the judge heard.She told Scott: “You made no attempt to comfort or assist them or check whether they were injured.”Scott was originally arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.Days later, South Yorkshire Police announced that he had also been charged with attempted murder.Scott originally pleaded not guilty to the charges. But last month, he admitted four counts of attempted murder and one count of dangerous driving.At a previous hearing, prosecutors said Scott had used a hammer to inflict blows on the children in the car before driving deliberately into the front wall of the pub. He purchased a satnav in Colne, Lancashire, and visited a Burger King in Bury, Greater Manchester, before heading to the Huddersfield area and then into South Yorkshire, where the crash occurred on the A629. “This was a gross abuse of a position of trust,” she said.”You were their father on whom they were reliant for love, affection, comfort and on whom they did rely to keep them safe.”You will have to live for the rest of your life knowing that you have damaged, in some cases irrecoverably, the health, both physically and psychologically, of your children.”She heard how Scott had been a loving father to his children and his stepdaughter even after the breakdown of his relationship with his former partner.But in the weeks before the incident, he developed paranoia, put down to a temporary psychosis caused by his long-term recreational cocaine and cannabis use.Simon Keeley QC, prosecuting, said Scott became convinced he was being chased by a gang who meant him and his children harm. Mrs Justice O’Farrell ordered Scott to serve a minimum of 14 years for attempted murder. Michelle Colborne QC, defending, said Scott had “little or no memory” of events in the car and had undergone a psychiatric evaluation.But she said that although he was found to be suffering from a “short-lived psychosis” at the time, this was not enough to amount to a psychiatric defence to attempted murder. Owen Scott leaves Sheffield Magistrates Court in August Credit:Tom Maddick / SWNS.com The Traveller's Inn, Thurgoland, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, after Owen Scott crashed into the building On the day of the crash, he picked up the children, who lived with his ex-partner Sheryl Rogers in the Southampton area, and went on a two-day trip around the country, crashing his grey Dacia Logan into the pub in the early hours of August 23.Mr Keeley said police had only traced part of Scott’s route but he first went to the Isle of Wight before travelling to Liverpool. A father who tried to kill his four young children with a hammer before driving them into a pub wall at 92mph has been jailed for life.Owen Scott had been having a cocaine-induced  psychotic episode and  believed he was “protecting” his children by fleeing the clutches of an “evil gang”.The 29-year-old had driven his three children and step daughter 250 miles from his home in Fawley, Hampshire, to Thurgoland, South Yorkshire last August.He repeatedly struck all four with a hammer before careering into the wall of The Travellers pub, making no attempt to brake.Scott, a scaffolder, was arrested at the scene of the crash last August but claims to have no memory of the incident, Sheffield Crown Court heard.His seven-year-old daughter lost a large section of her skull in the attack, is partially paralysed and will be wheelchair-dependant for the rest of her life. She has undergone 13 operations and remains in hospital six months later.His 21-month-old son still has a hole in his skull which will require further surgery and both he and his nine-month old brother have to wear protective helmets.Scott’s eight-year-old stepdaughter also suffered severe injuries from which she is still recovering. The Traveller’s Inn, Thurgoland, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, after Owen Scott crashed into the buildingCredit:Tom Maddick / SWNS.com The Travellers Inn, on the A629 between Sheffield and Huddersfield Owen Scott leaves Sheffield Magistrates Court in August  The Travellers Inn, on the A629 between Sheffield and HuddersfieldCredit:Dave Higgens/PAlast_img read more

Moon was spat out by giant dust doughnut after planetary collision say

first_imgThe Moon was formed after early Earth collided with a baby planet creating a ‘dust doughnut’ which spat out the the lunar satellite, scientists have suggested.Up until now, experts thought the Moon formed as a result of a glancing blow between the early Earth and a Mars-size body, commonly called Theia.However experts, including Harvard University and the Universities of Bristol and California, now think that the chances of that happening are too slim to be plausible.Instead, they have suggested that although early Earth was involved in a huge collision 4.5 billion years ago, it was so devastating that it vaporized both bodies, creating a seething spinning doughnut-shaped cloud of dust and debris, called a synestia. The Moon is broadly similar to Earth in its chemical composition but slight differences suggest its origin was not the same The new theory suggests that chunks of molten rock were injected into orbit during the impact, creating a seed for the Moon.Synestias only last a few hundred years, before shrinking rapidly, causing rock vapour to condense into liquid, which finally collapses into a molten planet. The Moon which would have grown from ejected rock flung onto it from whirling doughnut, now became trapped in Earth’s orbit.The new model, which was simulated on a computer, also explains why the Moon’s chemical composition is slightly differently the Earth, because although made from the same components, its origin was not exactly the same. “The Moon is chemically almost the same as the Earth, but with some differences,” said Sarah Stewart, professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Davis.”This is the first model that can match the pattern of the Moon’s composition.”Simon Lock, graduate student at Harvard and visiting student at UC Davis who first developed the idea of synestias, added: “Our model starts with a collision that forms a synestia.”The Moon forms inside the vaporized Earth at temperatures of four to six thousand degrees Fahrenheit and pressures of tens of atmospheres.”The research was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets.center_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. The Moon is broadly similar to Earth in its chemical composition but slight differences suggest its origin was not the sameCredit:AFPlast_img read more

Rugby player Paddy Jackson would be the last person in the world

first_imgHarrison spent almost two hours being questioned by his defence barrister Gavan Duffy QC. He dismissed the woman’s message and did not inform Jackson of its content when they met for lunch the following day, the court was told.When asked why, the defendant said: “Because I did not believe it.”I did not want to worry him (Jackson) about something I had absolutely no faith was true.”Harrison, who has a history degree from UCD, has been close friends with the accused for years.He attended Methodist College in Belfast alongside Jackson and met Olding later through rugby.Answering questions about his perception of Jackson in social situations, he said: “He’s exactly the same guy I knew at mini rugby when I was eight or nine as he is now despite all he has been through.”Mr Duffy asked: “Has he been changed by his success?””Not at all,” Harrison said.Judge Smyth also told jurors to wait until all the evidence had been heard before making up their minds. Paddy Jackson arrives at Laganside Magistrates courtCredit:Pacemaker  Paddy Jackson arrives at Laganside Magistrates courtcenter_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. Ulster and Ireland rugby player Paddy Jackson would be the “last person in the world” to rape someone, his friend has told Belfast Crown Court.Rory Harrison, 25, from Manse Road in Belfast is accused of perverting the course of justice and withholding information about the attack alleged to have happened after a night out in June 2016.He was asked about a message hours later in which the complainant stated what happened had not been consensual.Harrison told the court: “My initial reaction was shock that something had happened she was not consenting to.”The more I thought about it, I have known Patrick since I was eight or nine. He is the last person in the world to rape someone.”I didn’t believe it. I thought she had maybe done something and then regretted it.”Jackson, 26, from Oakleigh Park in Belfast and Stuart Olding, 24, from Ardenlee Street in the city deny raping the same woman at a house party in Jackson’s home during the early hours of June 28, 2016.Jackson denies a further charge of sexual assault.The court had taken the unusual step of sitting on a Saturday in a bid to make up time in the high profile case.last_img read more