World Cup Crib Notes Day 9

Friday’s France-Switzerland tilt represents a battle for first place in Group E, as both teams are tied with three points after winning their first matches. But though the winner will be in the driver’s seat for advancement, the stakes aren’t especially high for the loser either.Italy vs. Costa Rica: 12 p.m. EDTFrance vs. Switzerland: 3 p.m. EDTEcuador vs. Honduras: 6 p.m. EDTIn briefIN DEPTHAs things stand, France has a 91.8 percent chance of getting into the knockout stage of the tournament, and the Swiss check in at 80.9 percent. Ecuador and Honduras — who make up the rest of Group E and also face off Friday — lag far behind, at 20.3 and 7.1 percent, respectively.Honduras has a bleak outlook, mainly because they are the second-worst team in the World Cup field, according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI). But Ecuador, according to SPI, is essentially Switzerland’s equal; the only difference in its advancement probabilities stems from Switzerland’s thrilling added-time victory over Ecuador on Sunday. For Ecuador, it was the one that got away; without that win, the model projects Ecuador to amass only 2.8 points within the group — they’re likely to beat Honduras but will be clear underdogs against France.Meanwhile, if Switzerland loses to France on Friday, the Swiss would still project to finish second in the group, because the meek Honduran squad is their only remaining hurdle. In fact, if the Swiss lose to France, Ecuador beats Honduras, and Switzerland only earns a draw against Honduras (an unlikely outcome), the Swiss would still be expected to advance over Ecuador by a slim margin — unless Ecuador beats France (or draws and posts a better goal differential than Switzerland). In other words, there are a lot of ways the Swiss can get out of Group E that don’t depend on them picking up points against France.The situation playing out in Group D, where Italy will face Costa Rica at noon Friday, is superficially similar. Like France and Switzerland, Costa Rica and Italy won their first matches of the tournament. Neither team’s odds of advancement are quite as high as its counterparts in Group E, though, mainly because there are no weak sides like Honduras to pick up easy points against. Costa Rica is the worst SPI team in the group, and it ranks 25th in the world.Whoever loses will have a fighting chance against Uruguay to qualify for the knockout round in the group’s second position. But that’s nowhere near as favorable a spot as the France-Switzerland loser will be sitting in after the day’s action ends.YesterdayLuis Suarez and Wayne Rooney prompted many questions before Thursday’s Group D showdown between Uruguay and England. Would Suarez, who missed Uruguay’s loss to Costa Rica in its World Cup opener because of knee surgery, be match-fit for 90 minutes in a must-win game? Could Rooney, whose performance against Italy brought his place in England’s lineup into question, break his career World Cup scoring drought?Those questions were answered in Sao Paulo.Suarez hadn’t played since May 11, but there was no evidence of rust. Of his four shots, two were on target — both goals. The latter goal, breaking a tie in the 85th minute, virtually ensured England’s second-consecutive loss in the tournament’s group stage, something England hadn’t experienced since 1950.Uruguay beat a European team at the World Cup for the first time in 16 matches since 1970, but don’t blame Rooney. He got off four shots, including two on goal and another that hit the post. Rooney found his World Cup breakthrough with a 75th-minute equalizer. The goal took him 10 World Cup matches — 758 minutes of play.England’s 78.1 pass completion percentage ranked in the bottom 35 percent of all teams in this World Cup, but it was easily the best in this game. Uruguay posted the worst completion percentage by a winning team in a World Cup win since at least the 1966 tournament (the start of ESPN Stats & Info’s data set). Uruguay’s 59.2 pass completion percentage against England was the only team performance in a game below 65 percent at this tournament.Other attacking and possession statistics favored England, including second-half touches in the attacking third (89 to Uruguay’s 57). The biggest stats, however, belonged to Suarez: two shots on target, two goals, 2-1 to Uruguay. — ESPN Stats & Info GroupOFF THE PITCHAs neighbors, France and Switzerland have a lot more in common than a World Cup match. Given their proximity, it makes sense that there would be population overlap. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development data from 2009 shows that Switzerland has provided over twice the amount of nationals living in France than the other way around; there were 90,551 Swiss nationals living in France and 42,862 French nationals living in Switzerland. But given the population of each country, the French living in Switzerland make up five times the share of Swiss who made the opposite trek.There is one caveat to that data: Things have gotten icy between the two countries since it was compiled. In December 2012, France’s president, François Hollande, announced that wealthy French residents of Switzerland would have to pay French taxes and Swiss taxes, which one Swiss politician called a “declaration of war.” It’s unclear how this spat has affected migration between the countries, but it’s safe to say that the two nations are no longer as chummy as they once were. — Hayley MunguiaFURTHER READINGWe’re Telling England There’s a Chance!Defending World Cup Champions Keep Flaming OutCORRECTION (June 20, 10:05 a.m.): A previous version of the chart in this article showed the incorrect proportion of France’s projected 53 percent win. read more

What Kyrie Irvings Injury Could Mean For The Cavs Chances

Maybe God really does hate Cleveland. The Cleveland Cavaliers led for much of Game 1 of the finals against the Golden State Warriors and had a better than 70 percent shot at winning it when LeBron James put the Cavs up by four with 5:08 left to play. They lost anyway, and they lost their point guard, Kyrie Irving, in the process. Irving, who played brilliantly in Game 1, is now out for the season after fracturing his knee cap in overtime.Cleveland entered the series as the underdog — its chances of winning were 25 percent according to our Elo ratings, and 24 percent according to a more advanced system based on Real-Plus Minus.The Game 1 loss reduced the Cavs’ chances to 17 percent, according to Elo. But Elo is just accounting for the result of the game and not Irving’s injury. How much further might the injury hurt their chances?There’s actually quite a bit of argument about just how good Irving is, with various statistical systems rating him as everything from a superstar to a merely slightly-above-average player. Rather than seeking to resolve that debate now, I’ll instead take a choose-your-own adventure approach.Suppose, for instance, that you think losing Irving will hurt Cleveland by a net of 3 points per game, considering both his offensive and defensive contributions and his potential replacements. Three basketball points is equivalent to 84 Elo ratings points.1Historically 28 Elo points equals 1 point in the point spread. So 84 = 3. So we can re-run the Elo forecasts with Cleveland’s rating 84 points lower than it was originally. That would reduce Cleveland’s chances of winning the series to just 7 percent, according to Elo.Or, if Irving’s absence hurts the Cavs by 5 points per game, their chances are just 3 percent. You can see the full rundown in the table to the left.Seven percent is not nothing: amazing and unlikely things happen in sports, especially when a team has LeBron James on the roster. Still, if Cleveland can somehow win without Irving and after losing the first game, the championship could be up there in the curse-breaking pantheon with the Boston Red Sox overcoming a 3-0 A.L. Championship Series deficit against the New York Yankees in 2004. read more

Nick Sabans Alabama Has Reached A New Stratosphere

Year Range LSU2003201223.92 201232.5Notre DameIndep.28.559.4W Opponent 201539.7ClemsonACC32.566.5W SeasonAlabama EloTeamConf.Elo RatingAlabama Win%Result In the case of overlapping stretches for the same school, only the best 10-year period was used. Championships include split and vacated titles.Source: CFB at Sports-Reference.com Includes both College Football Playoff and Bowl Championship Series title games. Ohio State2008201723.41 It was just another night in the national championship game for Saban and the Tide. Since he took over Alabama’s program in 2007, Saban’s team has played for the national title six times, winning five. That’s an 83 percent success rate in a set of games where, according to our Elo ratings, we’d have expected Alabama to win only 57 percent of the time. It’s not outside the realm of something that could happen with good fortune in addition to unmatched talent2A simple t-test gives a p-value of 0.19. — but it’s getting there. 201734.6GeorgiaSEC34.450.5W SchoolFromToAvg. Elo RatingChampionships Nebraska1992200125.43 College football’s best 10-year dynasties, according to EloBest Elo ratings for a program in a 10-season span, 1988-2017 2009+34.9TexasBig 12+28.863.8%W Florida State1991200027.42 For most of Monday night’s College Football Playoff championship game, a fifth Alabama title in nine years seemed unlikely. Georgia went into the game as the Crimson Tide’s mirror image and spent the first half outplaying Bama at its own game. Alabama trailed by 13 points after two quarters for its second-largest halftime deficit of the entire Nick Saban era.1It trailed by 14 against Oklahoma en route to losing the 2014 Sugar Bowl. Its 10-point deficit through three quarters was its fourth-biggest. (The Tide hadn’t overcome either margin in the past.) Alabama was suddenly relying on a freshman QB (Tua Tagovailoa) who’d barely thrown 50 career passes. According to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, Georgia had an 88.6 percent chance of winning with under four minutes to play.And yet, as (almost) always seems to be the case, Saban’s Alabama squad found a way to win on the game’s greatest stage. With Tagovailoa under center rather than the run-first Jalen Hurts, the Tide threw their way back into the ballgame. It was risky and unconventional, but Saban’s quarterback switch changed the outcome of the game. Even after gifting Georgia new life with Andy Pappanastos’s missed field goal as regulation expired, Alabama bounced back in overtime to send roughly 50,000 Georgia fans home from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a state of agony and disbelief with this walk-off bomb from Tagovailoa to DeVonta Smith: Alabama usually wins on the championship stagePregame Elo ratings and win probabilities for Alabama in national championship game appearances under Nick Saban (2007-2017) Saban, of course, also tied Bear Bryant for the most championships won by a college football coach. It seems like history gets made every time we watch this Crimson Tide team play for the title, whether they win or lose.Although it’s of little consolation right now, Georgia gave Alabama one of the best championship-game fights it’s gotten during the Saban era. It took only two seasons for ex-Tide assistant Kirby Smart to build his Bulldogs up in Alabama’s image — and nearly upset his former team in the process. UGA will doubtless be a rival for Alabama in the seasons to come.But this season belonged to the Tide in the end, like so many recent seasons have. Ironically, this was not always assured — in addition to spending much of the title game itself in doubt, Alabama had to worry about making the playoff in the first place after failing to qualify for the SEC title game. Yet the final result was one of the surest of sure things in sports today — Alabama being the last team standing when the college football season ends. Oklahoma2008201723.50 Such incredible big-game success has been the cornerstone of the greatest dynasty college football has seen in its modern era. Over the decade from 2008 to 2017, Saban’s Alabama teams have posted an average end-of-season rating of +33.0 per year. (Meaning they ended each season 33 points per game better than the typical FBS team, on average.) Go back to the 1988 season — the first year we can calculate Elo — and no other team is especially close to that mark over a 10-year period. What Saban has done towers even over the accomplishments of other great historical coaches such as Bobby Bowden and Tom Osborne: Florida1992200124.81 Alabama20082017+33.05 USC2002201125.72 Tennessee1992200122.91 Texas2000200922.61 201129.4LSUSEC38.928.9W 201642.2ClemsonACC30.775.0L read more

Mayweather McGregor Whats The Worst That Could Happen

On Saturday night, in the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip, Floyd Mayweather will defeat Conor McGregor. The great old pro will dismantle the MMA vet turned boxing newcomer, securing a 50-0-0 record that will stand alone in boxing’s record books. McGregor will be outpaced, outclassed and, most simply, outboxed. Mayweather will win — every expert says so.Unless, of course, he doesn’t.Odds on this spectacle, even farce, of a fight opened heavily in Mayweather’s favor. In November, he was a -2250 favorite, roughly implying a 96 percent chance of victory. By mid-August, the money line had narrowed to -400, or about an 80 percent chance. The money has continued to pour in for McGregor. Many bettors, it seems, believe in the Irishman’s puncher’s chance.But maybe it’s not even a punch that’ll end it. As one of us has suggested elsewhere, Mayweather’s best chance of losing may be suffering a pulmonary embolism or a brain aneurysm; drowning in his spit bucket or tripping on the way to the ring. Perhaps one of the fighters will do something untoward in the ring. One sportsbook is offering 9-to-1 odds that the fight ends in disqualification. Which makes sense, considering one of the boxers is barely even a boxer — and the chance of an errant kick is so high that it was considered in prefight negotiation.Strange things happen in boxing. This is the sport where a parachutist later called Fan Man crashed into the ropes during a heavyweight championship fight, after all. And if something strange does happen, it won’t stand alone in the history books. It will join the ignominious ranks of …Wolgast vs. RiversJuly 4, 1912Ad Wolgast defeated Joe Rivers via a 13th-round knockout in Los Angeles County. Perhaps the inspiration for “Rocky II,” this grudge match featured both fighters landing simultaneous knockout blows, then crumpling to the canvas. The referee reached the count of 10 and the bout was over, yet for some inexplicable reason he gave the victory to Wolgast on the basis that he had attempted to rise before being counted out. Compounding the confusion, the timekeeper at ringside had only reached a count of four. The referee’s verdict was upheld amid immense backlash, as Rivers’s camp claimed he had been fouled. They famously produced a considerably dented metal foul protector as evidence for their case, which made headlines across the country.Dempsey vs. SharkeyJuly 21, 1927The fight, held at Yankee Stadium, between Jack Dempsey and Jack Sharkey, guaranteed the victor a shot at the greatest title in sports, then worn by world heavyweight champion Gene Tunney. A crowd of over 82,000 was in attendance to watch the former champ, 32-year-old Dempsey, in his second-to-last fight, square off against 7-to-5 favorite Sharkey in the hopes of avenging his previous loss to Tunney. It was clear by the early rounds that all 82,000 fans and press row were watching Dempsey grow old over the night. Sharkey was handily beating his professed idol when, in the seventh round, Dempsey landed a slew of low blows. When Sharkey protested to the referee, Dempsey delivered a vicious left hook to the chin while Sharkey was mid-sentence. Sharkey did not finish his sentence; Dempsey won by knockout. He later fondly remembered the punch as, “one of the last good punches of my life … His chin was sticking out there, unprotected. I couldn’t miss.”Sharkey vs. SchmelingJune 12, 1930With heavyweight champion Tunney having recently retired and vacated his title, promoters scrambled to bring Germany’s Max Schmeling and the New York-born Sharkey in front of a packed Yankee Stadium to fill the void left in Tunney’s wake. Despite winning the first few rounds, Sharkey made a strange decision in the fourth when he abruptly teed off on Schmeling’s groin with a savage blow that dropped the German contender. Bedlam ensued, prompted by Schmeling’s manager storming the ring in protest. The referee disqualified Sharkey and raised the hand of Schmeling. It was the first time the heavyweight championship had been won on a foul. Schmeling became ignominiously known in the American press as the “low-blow champion.”Ali vs. ListonMay 25, 1965Muhammad Ali had been a 7-to-1 underdog when he stole Sonny Liston’s crown in 1964 — a strange match in itself that included Ali being temporarily blinded by a foreign substance allegedly from Liston’s gloves and ended with Liston refusing to come out for the seventh round. In the time between the February 1964 match and the rematch in May of 1965, Ali converted to Islam, changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and his friend Malcolm X was assassinated. It would be an understatement to say that the rematch swirled with controversy. Ahead of the rematch, Liston was considered a 13-to-5 favorite. Midway through the first round of the fight, a looping right hand later dubbed a “phantom punch,” crumpled Liston to the canvas while Ali danced around the ring. The crowd began to roar, “Fix! Fix!” Hall of Fame commentator Don Dunphy didn’t buy that it was a legitimate knockdown, stating, “If that was a punch, I’ll eat it. Here was a guy who was in prison and the guards used to beat him over the head with clubs and couldn’t knock him down.”Duran vs. LeonardNov. 25, 1980Only five months after handing superstar “Sugar” Ray Leonard his first humiliating loss and taking his title in Montreal, Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran returned to meet Leonard at the New Orleans Superdome for one of the most eagerly anticipated rematches in boxing history. Duran had eaten everything in sight after his victory in June and ballooned up almost to the class of a heavyweight before crash dieting and horrifically sweating his way back down to the welterweight limit of 147 pounds. Leonard had counted on this when he pushed to have the rematch as quickly as possible. After being humiliated for eight exhausting rounds, Duran finally gave up and —or so the popular story goes — uttered “no más” to referee Octavio Meyran. Duran followed up the shocking conclusion to the fight by announcing his retirement from the sport. (He’d return to the ring less than a year later.)Bowe vs. GolotaJuly 11, 1996Riddick Bowe was coming off a victory in the third match of his blood-feud trilogy with Evander Holyfield when he squared off against undefeated contender Andrew Golota in Madison Square Garden. Bowe had mostly refused to train for the fight on the basis of his public dismissal of Golota as a “bum.” Golota took control of the fight, but his biggest obstacle to victory became his devotion to excessively fouling Bowe with egregious, swung-shovel-like low blows. After repeated warnings failed to improve Golota’s accuracy, the referee began deducting points. He took three away before offering a final warning that a further low blow would cost Golota the fight. Golota continued to dominate the fight while unleashing perhaps his most sadistic barrage below the belt one final time with 30 seconds left in the seventh round. A massive riot ensued, and police, security and fans clashed in what would be remembered as the “Riot at the Garden.” Five months later, in Atlantic City, Bowe and Golota fought a hotly anticipated rematch. Golota repeated his domination of Bowe and his desire to ruthlessly foul him, leading to a ninth-round disqualification.Lewis vs. McCallFeb. 7, 1997Oliver McCall, for most of his career a distinguished journeyman, was best known as Mike Tyson’s sparring partner before handing heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis his first professional loss in a shocking upset in September 1994. Their rematch more than two years later was arguably the most bizarre heavyweight title fight; by the end of the third round, fans no doubt knew they were witnessing something nobody could have predicted. Before the closing bell to end the round, McCall had dropped his hands and looked despondent. When he came out for the fourth and fifth rounds, McCall spontaneously became a pacifist. Referee Mills Lane noticed McCall’s lips quivering before he began to cry. The fight was stopped in the fifth round.Holyfield vs. TysonJune 28, 1997When the washed-up Evander Holyfield was announced as Mike Tyson’s next opponent after Tyson had secured his second title belt on the way to unification, the opening odds for their November 1996 match made Holyfield a 25-to-1 underdog. The referee stopped the fight in the 11th round after Tyson was sent stumbling into the ropes. A rematch, which drew enormous interest, took place the following year. Holyfield quickly proved to both the world and Tyson that his first victory hadn’t been a fluke. And Tyson’s response became the defining moment of his career. With 39 seconds left in the third round, Tyson’s leaned over and tore a chunk of Holyfield’s ear lobe off with his teeth. Before the round was out, he savagely attacked Holyfield again in the same way and was disqualified. read more

You cant sit here Ohio State honors POWMIA with an empty seat

A sign reading “YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN” in front of the POW-MIA seat at Ohio Stadium. Credit: @OhioStAthleticsIt’s a seat, but not any seat. Unlike other seats, which are meant to be sat in, no one will sit in it. Not on Saturday when the Ohio State football team opens its 2016 season against Bowling Green at Ohio Stadium. Not any on Saturday, or the week’s other six days. No, no one will ever sit in this seat, because this seat, it’s more than a seat. The seat is in the first row of section 3AA at the stadium. It’s in that section, surrounded by the some 100,000 frenzied other fans wearing Scarlet and Gray and the usual sliver of opposing fans wearing whatever colors of whatever team they support, that members of the ROTC program at Ohio State, donning their branch’s respective uniforms, sit during football games. This seat, unveiled for the first time Thursday, is black. It’s not for Buckeye fans. It’s not for opposing fans. It’s not for any of us. This stirring black seat is a memorial for the 92,000 American soldiers that are unaccounted since World War I, the war that was supposed to end all wars. If looking at the seat from the front, in the upper right-hand corner, it’s marked seat No. 1, for the 92,000. In the middle of the forever-empty seat’s back is the harrowing POW/MIA logo — the silhouette of a man’s head in the foreground, with a guard tower and a barbed-wire fence in the background. The rest of the seats at Ohio Stadium are mostly bleachers. The bottom rung, closest to the green astroturf, are steel gray. The ones beyond that are scarlet. That pattern — rows of gray, rows of scarlet, rows of gray — spiral upward until the stadium stops and the sky begins. Smattered throughout the vast stadium, disrupting that perfect scarlet-and-gray spiral, are scarlet chairs, for the season ticket holders. But on game day, what those seats look like, no one knows; it doesn’t matter. The seats in the stadium, whether it be for the meaningless spring scrimmage, the banal early-season matches versus weaker teams or the wintery late-season contests, are, it seems, always occupied.This POW-MIA seat will remain empty the entire season at Ohio Stadium. Credit: @OhioStAthleticsExcept this black seat will never be occupied. Though it has a backing like the scarlet chairs season-ticket holders sit in, this is quite literally one-of-a-kind. It shall always serve as a reminder that whatever a game’s outcome is, at the end of the day, it’s just sports, which are important, but not that important. On the gray railing in front of the empty black seat is a black rectangular plaque, with a thin-gray trim. In large gray font, it reads: “YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.” Below, it continues: “Since World War I, more than 92,000 American soldiers are unaccounted for. This unoccupied seat is dedicated to the memory of these brave men and women and to the sacrifices each made in serving this country. God Bless You. God Bless America.” Sometime around noon on Saturday, the kicker for either Bowling Green or Ohio State will send a football flying through the blue September sky. Well over a 100,000 fans, wearing a collection of scarlet and gray, orange and brown, or their ROTC uniform, will leave their seats, making noise, as the game gets under way.But in the first row of section 3AA, there will be a tiny space where no noise is coming from, near the black seat, in which no one is sitting. read more

Big Hank making sizeable impact on Ohio State line

With his 6-foot-3-inch, 335-pound body frame, it’s easy to see why Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins goes by the nickname “Big Hank.” Hankins, a native of Detroit, is six games into his freshman campaign and has already made his presence felt, recording 10 tackles and a sack. As Hankins continues to give OSU productive minutes, his role in the defensive line rotation will only increase. “You’re going to start hearing his named called a little bit more because he’s going to get a few more reps as the year goes on,” said ESPN analyst and former OSU linebacker Chris Spielman on 97.1 WBNS’s “Sunday Sports Brunch,” following the Indiana game. Hankins presents a tough matchup for opposing offensive linemen, not only because of his size, but also because of his deceptive speed. Hankins can run, OSU defensive coordinator Jim Heacock said. Perhaps just as important as his physical skills is Hankins’ understanding of the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity he has on the field. “You can’t take off because if you take off one play, anything can happen,” Hankins said. Playing with intensity every play will be crucial for not only Hankins, as well as the rest of the football team, as the Buckeyes are ranked No. 1 in every major college football poll. Hankins understands OSU will play with a target on its back the rest of the season. “It’s going to be tough,” he said. “Teams are going to be coming out fighting, ready to knock us off, but we have to hold our ground.” read more

Sophomore racquets step up for Buckeyes

Normally, when a top player goes down with an injury, it’s panic time for a coach and his or her team. When the women’s tennis team’s No. 1 singles player and senior captain Paloma Escobedo went down in early March, coach Chuck Merzbacher didn’t have to reach for the panic button. Instead, he and his team put their faith in the sophomore trio of Gabby Steele, Fidan Manashirova and Kara Cecil. Their faith has paid off in wins. With a combined record of 55-30, the three have helped the Buckeyes (10-8 overall) to a winning record. The team is 3-1 in the Big Ten, with its lone loss coming against Northwestern, which leads the conference with Michigan. “They’ve stepped up,” said Merzbacher, who isn’t surprised by his players’ success. “They were a good recruiting class coming in. I knew they were going to be significant. They’ve done that and more.” With the loss of Escobedo, the players were forced to fill in the gap. “I think that everyone had to step up,” Manashirova said. “We all had to play our best tennis every single match.” The women were all 5-star recruits coming out of high school, and have had little difficulty adjusting to collegiate tennis. “Looking at the past captains and leaders, you learn from that. It’s really easy to adapt quickly here,” Manashirova said. The players’ quick learning curves have impressed Merzbacher. “They’ve adapted to college tennis very quickly,” he said. “They’ve come in; they’ve learned how to win right off the bat. They just keep moving up the lineup. There’s been no delay in their progress; they’ve gone right to it.” On the court, the women play with a quiet intensity. Despite attending high school in different regions (Manashirova in California, Steele in Ohio and Cecil in Florida), the women play with a natural chemistry. In less than two seasons, they have secured 103 combined wins in singles play. But when it comes to their success, the women aren’t ones to promote themselves. “We just keep having fun. We don’t take anything too seriously,” Steele said. “We just kind of go for it.” Merzbacher thinks otherwise. “I think they push each other. … They compete with each other, and they’re great teammates to each other at the same time,” he said. “They’re going to be an important part of this year and for the future.” It’s not the future or the past that interests Manashirova and Steele. The women prefer to focus on their next opponent. “Just taking it one match at a time. I just want to win every single match that I play,” Manashirova said. “I just want to think about what’s next.” Steele also believes her next match always has to be better than her last. “I think there’s always room for improvement and you can always do better,” she said. “Every single day that you go out on the court, work hard to improve.” The hard work and focus is paying off and Merzbacher doesn’t hesitate to say he’s proud. “Those three stepped up,” he said. “I think that shows the type of kids they are.” read more

Womens soccer looking to ride momentum into huge game at Penn State

Junior midfielder Ellyn Gruber (5) fights off a defender during a match against Purdue Sept. 29 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost, 1-0.Credit: Michele Theodore / Copy chiefAs the Ohio State women’s soccer team (8-3-3, 2-2-2) heads to State College, Pa., to play No. 17 Penn State, it has to prepare to face its second ranked opponent in its last three scheduled matches.Coach Lori Walker said she understands the importance of this match for the Buckeyes.“(Playing) at Penn State is always a great challenge,” Walker said. “It’s going to be a battle, and you know, we’ve just got to take it minute by minute. I (have) got to make sure my A-team gets on that bus.”The Buckeyes won their last match Saturday, ending a three-game scoreless streak in the process, by finding the back of the net three times in a win against Michigan State.“It was a huge weight off our shoulders,” said junior midfielder Ellyn Gruber. “We (had) been working all week on (finishing), a lot of repetition and stuff, so it finally gave us some confidence.”OSU started the year at No. 23, peaking at No. 21, but fell out of the polls after losing to Boston College 1-0 Sept. 5, despite beating Northeastern 4-1 Sept. 8. The Buckeyes currently sit eighth in the Big Ten and if the team wants to move up the standings, it has to start with improved finishing offensively, sophomore forward Michela Paradiso said.“We just gotta continue to work harder in practice and keep finishing, cause that can give us confidence that we can keep putting goals up on the board,” Paradiso said after Saturday’s game.At 10-3-1 overall and 4-2-0 in Big Ten matches, the Nittany Lions are currently third in conference play, sitting behind No. 22 Nebraska and No. 12 Michigan. The Nittany Lions are coming off a 1-0 home loss to the Wolverines Sunday, their first loss at home since the beginning of the 2012 season to Stanford.Offensively, senior forward Maya Hayes leads Penn State with 13 goals on the season, a mark that makes her second-best in the Big Ten.The Buckeyes lost their matchup last season with the Nittany Lions, a 3-0 decision at home, but Gruber said the Buckeyes will be ready this time around.“That’s going to be a huge, huge game. It’s going to be really tough, but we are just going to have a good, hard, week of practice, and we’ll be prepared,” Gruber said.The game is set for 3 p.m. Thursday. read more

Plot hatched to reintroduce extinct great auk to British shores

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. Errol Fuller, a writer and expert on extinct birds, said the great auk was a “superstar of extinction”.“The bird has an appeal which I don’t think you can put into words,” he said.“It’s just iconic, and that’s why the 19th century collectors wanted it so much.“It’s British, it’s large and it’s dramatic looking – black and white.”Other “de-extinction” projects already taking place include those to restore the woolly mammoth, passenger pigeon and heath hen.In each case the extinct genomes have been thoroughly sequenced, along with the genomes of their closest living relatives.In the case of the woolly mammoth, 16 genes governing three important traits have already been edited into a living elephant cell line by Harvard scientists.To reintroduce the Great Auk, a flock of captive-bred razorbills will eventually be needed to supply sufficient embryos. Equivalent in size to a medium penguin, they lived mainly in the open ocean except for when they waddled onshore to breed.Once out of the water, however, the striking black and white bird’s flightlessness made it vulnerable to humans eager to exploit its meat and feathers.As early as the 16th century, fruitless attempts were made to restrict hunting the great auk, but as their numbers steadily dwindled the animals became even more coveted by collectors, which further hastened their decline.In 1844 the last birds in the final known colony on an island off Iceland were killed. Great Auk The flightless bird was easy prey for humansCredit:Alamy The great auk could return to British shores for the first time in almost 200 years after geneticists hatched a plan to bring the extinct bird back from the dead.An international team of scientists has met to discuss reintroducing the flightless marine birds onto the Farne islands off the north-east coast of England.Until the species’ final extinction in the middle of the 19th century, great auks ranged across the Atlantic from Northern Europe to Iceland, Canada and the eastern United States. It would be rather wonderful to feel that we could bring it backMatt Ridley Matt Ridley, a science writer who chaired a recent meeting where the plans were discussed, said: “Effectively the great auk is the only European breading bird to go extinct in the last 500 years.“It’s one of the very few flightless birds of the northern hemisphere and it obviously played a very important part in the ecosystem of the North Atlantic.“It would be rather wonderful to feel that we could bring it back.”The Farnes, one of the very few island groups of the east coast of Britain, have been selected because are attractive to island-nesting seabirds.The number of breeding birds has approximately doubled in the last 40 years, thanks largely to protection from human disturbance and control of the predatory gull population.Each summer the islands now host tens of thousands of puffins, guillemots, razorbills and other species. Now an American research institute, Revive & Restore, which attempts “genetic rescue” for endangered and extinct species, believes it can recreate the species and gradually restore it to its old breeding grounds.The scientists want to extract great auk DNA from fossils or preserved organs and then use digital data to sequence the animal’s entire genetic code, or genome.The important genes – those particularly characteristic of the great auk – would then be edited into the cells of its nearest living relative, the razorbill.Fertilised embryos would then be implanted into a bird big enough to lay a great auk egg, probably a goose.last_img read more

Teenager who dreamed of becoming doctor died of multiple neck wounds in

first_imgEllen had last been seen leaving Winstanley College in Wigan at 1pm. Her friends launched an appeal on Twitter and Facebook to try to find her when she disappeared.Detective Superintendent Howard Millington, from GMP’s Major Incident Team, said: “This is an absolute tragedy; my thoughts are with Ellen’s family and friends. What they must be going through is unimaginable.”We are also working with Wigan Council and Winstanley College, where Ellen was a pupil, to ensure support is in place for anyone affected by this shocking incident.”The post-mortem has now taken place and we have a clearer picture of what may have happened to Ellen, but we are still piecing together her exact movements in the lead-up to her death.”He added that police were looking into reports that two young women were followed in the area earlier in the week.The detective urged everyone who had been in the area of the popular beauty spot to get in touch, no matter how small their piece of information was.He said: “We have dedicated significant resources to this inquiry. We will be leaving no stone unturned.”We have issued a press appeal and are getting a good response. I would urge members of the public to ring if they have any information. “Young people like to congregate at the water park, fishermen use the lodges there. If you were there and saw anything you think is not quite right I would like to know about it.”It may seem insignificant but I would like to make that call.”Somebody out there knows or suspects who is involved in this. I would appeal to their conscience to come forward and help us get this sorted out.”This is a big scene, but of particular interest is the location where the young lady was found, on the edge of a field. I would ask the public to stay away from the area.”I cannot rule out a sexual motivation and as the investigation progresses, including forensic investigations, that is one thing I will be looking at. We are keeping an open mind at this stage.”There was also an earlier incident involving two women being followed.”This was in the same area and whether it is connected or not if anyone has information about it I would like to know about it.”GMP said it is leaving no stone unturned in the investigation and asked for the public to get in touch if they had seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area on Friday or in the days before. Mr Millington said: “Attacks of this severity are thankfully incredibly rare, but that in itself makes this all the more shocking.”Our officers will be patrolling the streets in the area whilst we continue our investigation. Anyone with any concerns should come and speak to our officers. ” A student who dreamed of becoming a doctor died of multiple neck wounds after a “brutal attack” at a beauty spot, police have revealed, as they said the killing could have had a sexual motive.Sixth-former Ellen Higginbottom, 18, was discovered dead on the edge of a field in Wigan early on Saturday 13 hours after she disappeared.The A-level student had been reported missing by her family at 7.20pm on Friday, when she failed to return from college. They said this was extremely out of character for her.On Sunday night police arrested a 47-year-old man from the Billinge area of Wiganon suspicion of murdering the 18-year-old.Friends of the keen singer and horserider said she had last been near Orrell Water Park. Greater Manchester Police searched the area and discovered a body at around 2.30am on Saturday.It was revealed on Sunday that a post-mortem examination gave the teenager’s cause of death as multiple wounds to the neck.Detectives said the nature of the attack is the type rarely seen in Greater Manchester and confirmed they are not ruling out a sexual motive.Last night,  specially trained family liaison officers supporting Ellen’s family. Her father Mike, an IT expert, told a newspaper his daughter had dreamed of becoming a doctor. 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

Royal Ascotwinning jockey forced to retire at 25 with PTSD

first_imgMr Chaloner said: “Injuries heal. I think mentally it takes a lot to get over.”Dr Jerry Hill, Chief Medical Adviser to the British Horseracing Authority, said: “Incidences of PTSD in horseracing are rare – only two cases during my time at the BHA that have led to retirement.“However, horseracing carries a risk for its participants at all times and it is possible, or even likely, that there may have been more underlying cases of this disorder which has affected participants but they may have been unaware or reluctant to come forward to speak about their issues.“British horseracing and the BHA takes its responsibility to its people extremely seriously. Alongside Racing Welfare and the Professional Jockey Association, the BHA are signatories to the Mental Health Charter for sport and recently appointed the mental health charity Mind as an advisory body to assist the sport achieving its commitments to the Charter. Through Racing Welfare the sport has its own dedicated charity supporting its workforce, with a particular focus on mental wellbeing.”Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at mental health charity Mind, said that PTSD can occur either after a single event of a series of traumas and the symptoms can sometimes emerge years later.  George Chaloner in hospital after his fall A Royal Ascot-winning jockey has told how he had to retire at the age of 25 after suffering post traumatic stress disorder following a heavy fall. George Chaloner had just returned from injury when his horse Woodacre fractured a leg and he was thrown to the ground. Just millimetres from paralysis, he broke a vertebrae and his foot. He now suffers flashbacks and says that he will never ride again. Mr Chaloner cannot remember getting on the horse or riding the race, saying: “All I remember is horses going over the top of me and then waking up in hospital.””Being in hospital laid on my back in a brace I just thought someone was trying to tell me something. It stopped my career, it stopped the only thing I ever knew. “Being told I was half a centimetre from being paralysed – it was a big shock.” George Chaloner on Stamp Hill in 2016  Paul Struthers, Chief Executive of The Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), said that he was only aware of one other case of a jockey suffering with PTSD. “George’s case was dreadful. He had a very bad fall and spent a lot of time and hard work on his rehabilitation and then on his very first ride back from that injury he had this other awful fall,” Mr Struthers said.”I do think that this is rare for jockeys. The historic term of ‘your bottle is gone’ is very different to PTSD, which is a very specific condition which prompts a physical response, but there may have been people in the past whose ‘bottle had gone’ who may have been suffering with PTSD.”Though falls are “part and parcel” of racing for flat racers they only occur on avers once every 250 rides. With a lot of “very hard work” and support from the Jockey Education and Training Scheme (JETS), Mr Chaloner has now found himself a new job on the management team of Pontefract Racecourse. According to a survey released yesterday by the Professional Players’ Federation (PPF), more than half of former professional sportspeople have had concerns about their mental or emotional well being since retiring.  George Chaloner in hospital after his fall He said: “Symptoms of PTSD can include vivid flashbacks, nightmares, lack of sleep and feeling emotionally cut-off. “Athletes experience a unique set of pressures in their jobs; from getting past the finish line, to winning trophies, to facing media scrutiny and meeting the high expectations of adoring fans. Approaching retirement is a difficult time for many sportspeople, including jockeys, who have often spent their entire lives being defined by their sport. So coming to terms with life after a career in sport can be particularly challenging.“Mind has seen an increase in sportspeople publically revealing their own battles with mental health problems including; depression, PTSD and self-harm.“It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re a jockey, a taxi driver, new mum or student, everyone should all be able to access timely mental health support when they need it. If you think you might be experiencing a mental health problem seeking help is one of the most important things you can do. If someone has been living with distressing symptoms for over a month after a traumatic event, they should see their GP, who can refer you for specialist help.“Speak to a friend or family member or go to your GP, who can talk you through the support that’s available or call the Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393 for more information.”center_img Whilst commonly associated with soldiers PTSD can affect anyone who experiences a trauma, with NHS research suggesting that it is around one in 20 people.   Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Mr Chaloner, who won a race at Royal Ascot then the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle in just one week in 2014, had gotten back in the saddle for the race in Newcastle in February last year after three months of rehab from a fall in Wolverhampton. He told the BBC: “It started when I was in hospital in Newcastle. I’d be falling asleep and then all of a sudden I just remember falling off the horse, hitting the deck and waking up.  “It would just be like a flashback of literally you would be on the horse for like two seconds before its head disappearing and you’d be flat out on your back and waking up in hospital.”People used to say to me when they used to visit  that it would be like I had been for a run and I was out of breath and then suddenly I’d be wide awake and wouldn’t know where I was.”It continued for just six months, and eventually Mr Chaloner was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is rare in his sport. At first he could not even watch anyone else racing, particularly his partner Shelley Birkett, who also rides on the flat. Mr Chaloner, who hails from a well known racing family, said: “I never planned for a second career. I have ended up having to retire at 25. I have a plate in my ankle, both feet have got metal work in, my shoulder has got metal work in, I have 27 screws in me all together – if they weighed me in I would be worth a fortune I would say.”I realised that I wasn’t going to ride again, I got told that I wasn’t going to ride again. It was a big shock because I always though I would be a jockey and I’d be doing that for as long as I could. ” George Chaloner on Stamp Hill in 2016 Credit:Rex/Shutterstocklast_img read more

British skier misses Winter Olympics opening ceremony after complaining Korea is absolutely

first_imgThe US team also sported specially heated jackets to accompany them through the ceremony, which reportedly cost $2,500 each.Australian freestyle skier Lydia Lassila turned down the opportunity to carry her nation’s flag into the opening ceremony to avoid the cold before competition.Reports earlier this week said that the extremely cold conditions were turning skis to “garbage”.At the inaugural event at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in November, seven people were treated for hypothermia. On the bobsleigh and skeleton track, if temperatures are too low it can make the ice sticky, ultimately slowing the sleds down. On Twitter he wrote: “It’s only about -5 degrees, but the wind makes if feel absolutely Baltic. Hate to think how cold it will feel if the temperature drops to -20 like it was here last week.”Cross country skiing rules say that at -20C racing will be postponed – but that’s base temperature and doe not include the windchill factor.Many previous Olympic events have been postponed because of wind, too much snow, or fog but never purely because it’s too cold. A Team GB skier missed the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics after complaining that it was “absolutely Baltic” in South Korea. Andrew Musgrave opted to stay at the athletes village whilst the ceremony got underway, saying he “didn’t think it’s the best prep for my race on Sunday.”The cross-country skier is due to take part in the Men’s 15km skiathlon on Sunday as well as participating in the 30km skiathlon and team sprint relay. The 27-year-old took to his social media to praise his “windproof boxers” after high winds made temperatures feel close to -15C.“Pyeongchang isn’t half bad when it warms up a bit and you remember your windproof boxers”, the Olympian joked, adding that he should have worn two pairs. Olympic British cross-country skier Andrew Musgrave posts on social media in the run up to the Pyeongchang  A Team GB spokeswoman said that it was highly common for athletes not to attend the opening ceremony if they were competing in the following days. The spokeswoman added: “They use this time to rest and prepare as best they can. It’s very common and happens in the summer Olympics as well as the Winter Olympics, hot or cold.” Musgrave is hoping to win Britain’s first cross-country medal in the 15km event and the 30km skiathlon.For the opening ceremony the Olympian was not the only one to pass on the event. The Italian team told any staff with existing health issues to skip the curtain-raiser and had reminded their athletes to keep moving at all times. center_img The low temperatures being felt in Pyeongchang are considerably different to those athletes were faced with in the Russian city of Sochi in 2014. The games there were deemed the warmest ever as temperatures hit a high of 20C. Olympic British cross-country skier Andrew Musgrave posts on social media in the run up to the Pyeongchang winter olympics Olympic British cross-country skier Andrew Musgrave posts on social media in the run up to the Pyeongchang winter olympics 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

Vineyard using traditional bare foot method for Christmas sparkling wine subject volunteers

An English vineyard which hosted a day of traditional barefoot wine making subjected volunteers to a fungal foot check, promising “clean feet only” for its guests. Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire on Saturday opened its doors to members of the public to help stomp their grapes to create Christmas sparkling wine. A first for the region, volunteers macerated grapes by squashing the fruit with their bare feet; a traditional process which has taken place across wine countries for over a thousand years.Before the fun began organisers requested “no minging feet” as they now plan to sell the produce for the Christmas season, revealing wine makers were sure to scan feet for any fungal faux pas.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Renishaw Hall spokesperson Jane Travis said: “With a natural process there will be the odd bug and leaf. We won’t be adding any chemicals to the wine so there are polite questions being asked when people remove their socks. “As people take off their shoes we can give a quick health and safety check looking out for athlete’s foot, bunions, verrucas and so on. We would like people to be able to enjoy the wine over the festive season.”  Shiela Coles and Rosemary Slater treading grapes Credit:Charlotte Graham Her husband, winemaker and vineyard tenant Kieron Atkinson, said that for any potential drinkers they could rest assured that no germs would be left in the wine, but highlighted prior to the stomping that “no minging feet are allowed”. He explained that during the juice and fermenting process bugs die off, adding: “All the sugars are converted into alcohol which again kills off any germs so people can be safe in the knowledge they are free to enjoy the wine.”The natural foot stomping method has not been used in any of the UK’s vineyards this year and it is the first time the practice has been used in the North of England, whilst some vineyards in the South have trialled it in the past. Mr Atkinson said that after the increased popularity of products such as craft beers in recent years it had become clear that people were looking to try something different and experiment with new flavours. “We’ve always produced good wine and the vineyard has been here for 46-years so it’s well established,” he said. “But we also want to keep offering people something different, and we think it’ll appeal to the local areas of Derbyshire and Sheffield where craft beer has been extremely popular.” This is the first time the vineyard has invited members of the public in to stomp their grapes, something Mr Atkinson said was as a result of the hot summer weather this year producing better quality and riper fruits. The juice generated will go on to produce a natural method sparkling wine, known as ‘Pet Nat’ – Pétillant Naturel.The wine will then be naturally fermenting and ready to sell by Christmas – two years earlier than traditional method sparkling wine takes to be ready for sale.Mr Atkinson added: “This wine will be a superb product to buy at Christmas. What better gift to buy someone than a 100 per cent pure, local, sparkling English wine made by entirely natural methods.” 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. Shiela Coles and Rosemary Slater treading grapes read more

Spinning and yoga classes should be introduced by employers during lunchtime NICE says

obese Lunchtime yoga and spinning classes should be introduced by employers to stop staff becoming obese, health officials have said.New guidelines, published today by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), also advise companies to introduce stand-up meetings and ensure staircases are “clearly signposted and attractive to use” to stop employees using the lifts.Nice issued the advice as part of wider plans to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis, as almost two-thirds of people in the UK are obese or overweight.The guidance suggests that workplaces should advertise local gym classes such as spinning, offer subsidised gym memberships and distribute leaflets encouraging people to take the stairs and take regular breaks from sitting down.Offices should also have adequate bike storage, showers and changing facilities, and staff could be given access to a pool of bikes for short-distance business travel, it said. 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 national medical director of the NHS welcomed the advice, saying that there needs to be “concerted action taken by all parts of society” to tackle the growing problem of obesity.“Obesity is one of the greatest public health challenges we face as a nation – it can lead to a string of serious illnesses, with the NHS all often left to pick up the pieces,” Professor Stephen Powis said.The guidelines were also published in an attempt to reduce the amount of sick leave people take due to stress, depression or anxiety. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more than 131 million working days were lost to sickness in 2017, including 13 million working days lost to mental ill-health.Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at Nice, described the new guidelines as “a win-win for everyone,” adding: “If the United Kingdom’s 5.7 million small and medium sized businesses encouraged their workforce to be more active, they are more likely to reap the benefits of having engaged employees who are more productive and are less likely to take time off sick.”Simple things like providing secure bicycle storage, showers and changing facilities can go a long way to enabling people to cycle to work or to meetings.”As a society we are facing an obesity crisis caused in part by people not exercising enough. We need people to change their lifestyle and to take more exercise.”If they can do this during the working day, not only will they benefit, but so too will their employers and the NHS.” Two thirds of adults in the UK are obese, according to the NHSCredit:Clara Molden/PA read more

Adverts banned for stereotyping women as unadventurous and men as bad at

Ad clearance agency Clearcast said the dads’ agreement to “let’s not tell mum” in the Philadelphia advert was a “commonplace exclamation signifying embarrassment” that could equally be applied in role reversal, and represented a “careless, momentary and harmless distraction”.New advertising rules that came into effect on June 14, declare ads “must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence”.The ASA did not uphold five complaints about a television ad for Nestle’s Buxton bottled water featuring a female ballet dancer, a male drummer and a male rower. While men were portrayed as athletes, scientists and astronauts, a woman was depicted next to a pram in the Volkswagen advertCredit:ASA/PA A Volkwagen advert showed a man and a woman asleep in a tent next to a cliff face While men were portrayed as athletes, scientists and astronauts, a woman was depicted next to a pram in the Volkswagen advert A Volkwagen advert showed a man and a woman asleep in a tent next to a cliff faceCredit:ASA/PA 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. Television adverts which portrayed women as unadventurous and fathers as irresponsible parents have become the first to be banned under new gender stereotyping rules.The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated Volkswagen UK and Mondelez, owners of Philadelphia soft cheese, following complaints from viewers.Some 128 people objected about an ad for Philadelphia soft cheese that featured two new fathers leaving a baby on a restaurant buffet conveyor belt while they were distracted by the food.Complainants said the ad perpetuated a harmful stereotype by suggesting that men were incapable of caring for children and would place them at risk as a result of their incompetence. Both companies denied they had breached gender stereotyping but the complaints were upheld by the ASA. While three viewers complained about an ad for the Volkswagen eGolf car. The advert showed a sleeping woman and a man in a tent on a sheer cliff face, two male astronauts floating in a space ship and a male para-athlete with a prosthetic leg doing the long jump before a final scene showed a woman sitting on a bench next to a pram.Critics argued that the ad perpetuated harmful gender stereotypes by showing men engaged in adventurous activities in contrast to a woman in a care-giving role. read more

Alleged Assassination Plot not properly investigated Ramnarine

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedRamnarine’s testimony to CoI a “deliberate falsehood”- Crime ChiefAugust 16, 2017In “Crime”Alleged assassination plot: Unreliable evidence responsible for lack of charges – Justice SinghAugust 17, 2017In “Crime”‘Leaked’ to State media: Cabinet yet to see alleged assassination plot CoI reportSeptember 18, 2017In “Crime” Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine has opined that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) did not properly investigate Andrif Gillard’s allegations that businessman Nizam Khan had offered him $7M to kill President David Granger.The acting Commissioner placed his opinion on record when, on Friday at the Ministry of the Presidency, he took to the stand to testify before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) that is investigating the allegation.Acting Police Commissioner David RamnarineRamnarine said he was discharging the duties of Commissioner of Police (ag) when the matter was first reported, and he had ordered Crime Chief Wendell Blanum to personally supervise the investigation.Gillard had, on March 29, gone to the Public Security Ministry with the hope of meeting Minister Khemraj Ramjattan to report the alleged plot, but the minister was out of the country. Gillard was, however, referred to the CID Headquarters at Eve Leary.Ramnarine said that after he was briefed on the incident, he attempted to contact Citizenship Minister Winston Felix, who was acting in Ramjattan’s capacity, but those efforts were futile. He was, however, able to contact the Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, to whom he related the information in police possession.He noted that an investigation immediately commenced, and, at about 16:00hrs, he was informed that Nizam Khan was in custody. At around 20:00hrs, he had received a call stating that President Granger wanted a briefing the following day.At about 05:30hrs, while receiving the daily crime briefing from Crime Chief Blanum, it was indicated to him that Blanhum had ordered the release of Nizam Khan.The acting Commissioner said the police were not in possession of any information that would have suggested Gillard’s claims were dishonest; and as a result, he had asked why Nizam Khan was ordered released, and was told that Khan had promised to return the following day to assist with investigations.Ramnarine told the commission he had assured the President that all steps were being taken to guarantee the President’s safety, and was asked for a written report to chronicle the investigation.He said Commissioner Seelall Persaud resumed duty on April 1, and following a debriefing, he [Ramnarine] informed Persaud of the report, which was unfinished. Persaud told Ramnarine to provide him with all the information and he, Persaud, would compile the report and send it to the Commander in Chief.Ramnarine said he had not been consulted on the issue of bail, and if it were up to him, he would surely not have granted Nizam Khan bail.“We have held people for 72 hours for far less serious offences,” he told the CoI.On the night of March 29, Imran Khan, brother of Nizam Khan, behaved in a disorderly manner at the CID HQ and was subsequently arrested. During his arrest, his cellphone rang and it indicated that Commissioner Persaud was calling; and following that conversation, the investigating detective, Prem Narine, received a call instructing him to release the Khan brothers.Ramnarine told the commission that the following morning, when he was receiving the daily crime briefing, the crime chief did not provide any information on the investigation. He said he had to ask for an update, and was told that Blanum had released the Khan brothers.Having ordered the Crime Chief to supervise the investigation, Ramnarine said, he had felt that investigation would be through. He is now saying that he felt the investigation was not properly conducted because several senior officers had become involved therein.“I have now come to learn that he (Blanum) may have been influenced on the very afternoon of the 29th (of March), and that is to say specifically by the Commissioner (Seelall Persaud), who was on leave…because of the association of the Commissioner of Police and Imran Khan and Nizam Khan fundamentally. So, taking into account all the circumstances surrounding the conduct of this investigation, my sincere answer would be, ‘No, it was not properly investigated’,” Ramnarine revealed while being questioned by Commission Chair Paul Slowe.Attorney for Nizam Khan, Christopher Ram, objected to the line of questioning from Slowe, citing the need for the Commission to retain an attorney to ensure the proper line of questioning is observed. Slowe acknowledged Ram’s concerns, but continued questioning Ramnarine about his opinion of the quality of investigation conducted.During his testimony, Ramnarine also revealed that he would have seen Imran Khan in the company of Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud, and he had later learnt that they share a somewhat business relationship.Currently on leave, Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud is expected to appear before the CoI on Monday. CoI Chair, Paul Slowe, indicated that he had received a letter informing that a separate lawyer may represent Persaud, while Senior Counsel Ian Chang will represent the interest of the Guyana Police Force.Meanwhile, following the testimony of journalist Travis Chase, during which he had alleged that while working at News Update he was arrested following instructions by then Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud, editor of News Update, Romel Roopnarine, has since disputed this evidence, claiming that Chase was arrested following a report made by a staff member to the effect that Chase had stolen her friend’s camera. Chase has since been fined for the offence of larceny.The public hearing continues on Monday, and Slowe is expected to hand over his report to President Granger on August 18. read more

Service companies to be standardsready for emerging oil and gas sector

Stakeholders from the public and private sectors, on Thursday, stressed the importance of being ‘standards-ready’ for the many opportunities that would come about as a result of Guyana’s emerging Oil and Gas sector.Trinidadian Consultant, Dr. Joseph KhanAccording to the Department of Public Information (DPI), at the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) draft strategic-plan consultation, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Deborah Ramsay said the medical facility is collaborating with the GNBS to ensure standards compliance in its laboratory.Ramsay said the hospital is currently working towards achieving the ISO 9001 certificate by 2019. She noted, “Hospitals, labs and other medical institutions are just as equally important to the oil and gas sector. We know there are certain standards that we have to adapt.”Trinidadian Consultant, Dr. Joseph Khan, who has been working with the GNBS on its five-year strategic plan, said once the oil and gas begin to flow, there will be a greater need for service companies to be ‘standards-ready.’ “Locals in Trinidad were not ready to compete; they did not have their ISO certification. So, Guyanese must ensure that they are ready to capitalise on the opportunity,” Dr. Khan emphasised.Khan said he was sharing the ‘Trinidad experience’ to underscore the importance of implementing all the necessary measures and putting systems in place in order to be prepared, whether first oil is five or ten years in the future, DPI reported. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related10 labs certified, can qualify for international accreditation – GNBSJanuary 7, 2017In “Health”Oil MoU between Guyana, T&T inkedSeptember 19, 2018In “Business”Canada, Guyana to sign MoU for capacity building in oil sectorOctober 7, 2018In “latest news” read more

Foreign delegation in Guyana to push for end to death penalty

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedInt’l rights groups want death penalty removedJuly 21, 2016In “Local News”EU grants $51.2M to Justice Institute of GuyanaApril 5, 2014In “Business”UN Human Rights Rep welcomes President’s stance on death penaltyJuly 22, 2016In “latest news” From right, Randy Suuskind, Deputy Director of the Equal Justice Initiative of the USA, along with the European Ambassador, Jernej Videtič, Co-Executive Director of the death penalty project based in the United Kingdom, Saul Lehrfreund and Surinamese Parliamentarians Krishnakoemarie Mathoera and Patrick Kensenhuis.A delegation of international experts on the death penalty are in Guyana to advocate for the abolition of the use of capital punishment in the country.The team which hosted a press conference on Tuesday said they plan to make a submission of their proposal to the National Assembly here.The delegation has been organised with the support of the European Union (EU) and British High Commission in Guyana.Co-Executive Director of the death penalty project based in the United Kingdom, Saul Lehrfreund will be joined by Randy Suuskind, Deputy Director of the Equal Justice Initiative of the USA, Surinamese Parliamentarians Krishnakoemarie Mathoera and Patrick Kensenhuis and will be supported by Nigel Hughes to push for the abolition to the National Assembly tomorrow.Currently, some 17 prisoners in Guyana are on death row even though Guyana has not carried out an execution since the year 1997.In his presentation, Lehrfreund pointed out that the death penalty according to research does not necessarily deter crimes.“The first assumption or justification that some countries rely on is that the death penalty is an effective criminal justice sanction because it deters crime and makes society safer and we would strongly argue that this is a myth and that there is no evidence whatsoever that the death penalty provides any deterrent effect than other forms of punishment” Lehrfreund argued.The Director further argued that the public would only be hesitant to accept the abolition of the capital punishment since their opinions is often characterised by a lack of knowledge on the subject.According to Lehrfreund it is impossible to ensure that innocent people are not sentenced to death, all the more reason why the death penalty should be abolished.Susskind the America Equal Justice Deputy Director revealed that the United States is also currently moving to have the death penalty abolished in all states.“The death penalty is actually on its way out in the United States. It is currently active but it is waning and its just a matter of time before over the course of the next years or so where the death penalty would likely be abolished. The trends are very clear and over the last ten years, out of the 52 states , 10 have since abolished the death penalty” Susskind stated.Suriname recently joined 142 nations that have abolished the death penalty.As such, the Surinamese MP’s are expected to share their experiences with the National Assembly.According to Mathoera and other members of the Human Rights Committee, Suriname, which after the abolition made several new changes in terms of security, have made new strides.“We have seen after three years of abolishing the death penalty, the impact of crime is not dramatic, it has no impact on crime. Our home side rate is very stable, it is one of the lowest in the region, Latin America and the Caribbean so that is what we have to show for the effects, so it is a misconception” one of the Suriname MPs said.The death penalty was imposed on Guyana through the British colonial rule.Since then, the UK has rejected capital punishment and today is vocal in advocating for global abolition.In 2016, at least 60 death row prisoners were exonerated around the world.Wrongful convictions remain a distressing reality wherever the death penalty is imposed.(Kizzy Coleman) read more

The AusIMMs new CEO – Michael Catchpole

first_imgThe Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy’s (The AusIMM) new Chief Executive Officer is Michael Catchpole, who brings extensive experience in business and association management and in government, media and community relations. He was previously Chief Executive of the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association (PACIA). He had previously worked as a political journalist and producer in ABC TV news and current affairs and with metropolitan daily newspapers. He also worked with global mining company BHP (as it was then) and, as an independent consultant, has provided project and issues management services to the private sector and to government departments and agencies.The President of The AusIMM, Peter McCarthy, said Michael’s experience with a range of clients and stakeholders and with another influential industry body would provide an excellent base for his new role. “Our members are spread across industry, government and academia, and work with companies ranging from the major global mining groups to sole consultancies. They share a commitment to professionalism, a passion for the minerals industry and the desire to use their knowledge and skills for the benefit of the industry and the community. Michael has the experience and skills needed to ensure that The AusIMM continues to fulfil its members’ aims, and to further enhance the organisation’s influence with key decision makers and its engagement with communities.”McCarthy paid tribute to the achievements of the previous CEO Don Larkin, who has retired after nearly nine years with AusIMM.Catchpole says he is excited at the opportunities presented by his role as CEO of the pre-eminent organisation representing professionals in the minerals sector. “I see The AusIMM’s role as being to provide opportunities for professionals to advance their technical excellence and best practice, and to communicate their learned opinions to key decision makers. The future of the mining industry is inextricably linked to global environmental, economic and social sustainability. The positive impacts our members can have as we seek a sustainable industry extend far beyond the mining sector.”He said the previous CEO, Don Larkin, had implemented many changes during his term to improve services to members and increase the influence of the organisation. One of the most recent innovations was the installation of a new IT system that would enable The AusIMM to better service and represent its increasingly mobile and global members.last_img read more