Juan Nieves Changes Sox Now Pitching Coach In Boston

Juan Nieves, a former bullpen coach with the Chicago White Sox, was hired as the Boston Red Sox‘ officially introduced Juan Nieves as the club’s next pitching coach.New Sox manager John Farrell said hie long-standing relationship with Nieves was important in Nieves landing the job after five seasons with the White Sox.“His ability, his communication and my understanding of Juan and what’s important to him as a person, as much as a pitching coach, those were all factored into the ease of communication, which is going to be a major component once we get into in-game input that he’ll have in the dugout,” Farrell said. “I feel with our rapport and existing knowledge of the guys on the pitching staff already, this is a very good fit and a very good tandem.”It was believed that longtime pitching coach Rick Peterson was the favorite for the job — a baseball source last week told ESPNBoston.com that Farrell was “all in” on Peterson. Farrell said he was impressed with all four candidates who interviewed (Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire and Royals bullpen coach Steve Foster were the others) but Nieves got the job for a number of reasons.Farrell expressed the importance of communication between the manager, the pitching coach and the entire pitching staff, and his confidence in Nieves’ ability in that area.“The ease of our working relationship will really foster that,” Farrell said.Another aspect to the decision to hire Nieves was his longstanding working relationship with White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper.“He’s learned under a longtime pitching coach that has had a lot of success in his own right in Don Cooper and this is a very good fit for the Red Sox,” Farrell said.Nieves agreed.“It’s an easy fit first of all because I’m only changing Sox,” he said. “It was a great fit knowing John from a long time in Puerto Rico and we actually played on the same team. We were able to talk a lot through the years.”Nieves has spent a total of 15 years working with Cooper and plans on bringing a lot of those philosophies to Boston.“Establishing a structure for the guys and stay on that course,” Nieves said. “To create some stability for the guys is very important. read more

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The NBA Haters Ball

WORST USE OF TIMEOUTSLos Angeles ClippersFor the most part, teams know that defenses play better coming out of timeouts than offenses. There’s no cross-matching to worry about, and no early-shot-clock semi-transition rush job to stamp out. Every time an offense called a timeout in 2016-17, the ensuing play was worth about 3.5 points per 100 plays for the defense compared to typical halfcourt offense. So the offense generally needs to cram enough value into that time to make it an even proposition — advancing the ball late in the game, or subbing in shooters, or trying to take the air out of a run. For some teams that’s possible. For a team that digs as deep a hole as the Clippers, good luck.The Clippers got 10 points worse per 100 plays every time they called a timeout. This is confusing, because the Clippers had one of the best halfcourt offenses in the league, ranking fourth at 98.6 points per 100 plays. But after timeouts, that rate shrunk to 88.7. It’s not just a matter of inferior bench players coming in after the timeout, either: Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, both excellent halfcourt players, fall off significantly after timeouts. Paul’s typical halfcourt offense is good for 101.2 points per 100 plays; he falls to 87.7 after timeouts. Griffin’s falls from 96.6 to 84.7.After timeout stats tend to be noisy, and in 2015-16 the Clippers were one of the better teams in the league in those scenarios. But in 2016-17, no team lost more steam during breaks than the Clips. 6Ed DavisPOR17.24.32.118.0 LEAST DEFENSIVE PLAYERAndrew Wiggins, Minnesota TimberwolvesThanks to a draft-day trade, Tom Thibodeau is reunited with defensive stopper Jimmy Butler, and not a moment too soon. Butler will be joining forces with the single most catastrophic defender in the league: Andrew Wiggins.Using the NBA’s player-tracking data to look at shots defended and how those shots turned out,1These values are based on shot location, defender location and other variables. The “expected” value is based on what a shooter would make against an average defender given shot distance and the time on the shot clock, and the net value displayed is the difference between that expectation and the result that the defender allowed. we can see who’s making a positive impact, who’s making a negative impact, and who’s making the most impact. 8Miles PlumleeCHA10.82.50.818.3 MOST OVER-AMBITIOUS SHOOTERMarcus Smart, Boston CelticsAt a certain point, you just have to admire the confidence.Marcus Smart was not the worst 3-point shooter in the league this season. But he was the worst 3-point shooter who routinely took a lot of threes. Smart took 4.2 3-pointers per game in 2016-17 and made 28.3 percent of them. Only two players in the 3-point era have taken four or more 3-pointers per game and shot a worse percentage than Smart did this season: Mookie Blaylock in 1997-98 and Latrell Sprewell in 1994-95. And it’s not like Smart was launching nothing but bad shots, either — 3.1 of his 3s per game came on spot-ups, which are usually high-quality looks. But Smart shot 31.2 percent on those.Smart contributes in other ways — mainly through being Point Guard Ben Wallace — and his shooting percentage did, briefly, see an uptick in the playoffs. That’s enough to make him useful, at least on a team that gets stomped by the Cavs. WORST SINGLE GAMEJamal Crawford, Los Angeles ClippersIn a lot of ways, 36-year-old Jamal Crawford is miraculous. In his 17th season, Crawford played 26.3 minutes per game and averaged 12.3 points on 52.6 percent true shooting, just a hair under his career mark. But on the nights he doesn’t have it, he really doesn’t have it.On January 8, Crawford played the single worst game of the season by any NBA player. In a home win against the Miami Heat, Crawford put in 31 minutes and went 1-for-12 on 2-point shots (0-for-4 from three) while collecting one rebound, one assist and two turnovers. He came out of the game with a break-even plus-minus, though any success the Clippers had was mainly due to a great game from Chris Paul (19 points, 18 assists, 1 turnover) and Heat players Dion Waiters, Rodney McGruder, Wayne Ellington and Willie Reed going a combined 7-for-32. MOST OVER-AMBITIOUS DUNKERMarquese Chriss, Phoenix SunsThe missed dunk is one of the more universal plays in basketball. In a split-second, it has a neat little narrative arc: the audacity to leap in defiance of gravity and the instant comeuppance. Some players experience this more than others. Marquese Chriss experiences it more than anyone.Chriss missed 26 dunks this season, four more than second-place DeAndre Jordan … on 146 fewer attempts. Chriss’s 79.8 shooting percentage on dunks is the worst mark Basketball Reference has on record for any player who tried at least 100 dunks in a season.Not all missed dunks are of equal difficulty, of course. Dwyane Wade getting stuffed by the bottom of the rim in a playoff game is not the same as Chriss blowing in-traffic NBA Jam dunks. But there’s a certain charm to Chriss’s misses, like he knows they aren’t “all worth two points” and he’s determined to collect the difference, even at the cost of the two points. WORST LINEUPLos Angeles Lakers’ youth On the one hand, it’s frustrating that the Lakers have to sell off their best young players in order to get out from under contracts that were bad news from the moment they were signed. On the other hand, hoo boy, those young players really, really didn’t play well when they were all on the court together.D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Larry Nance, Jr. played 108 minutes across 20 games this season — not a huge sample, but not quite nothing, either. By pure net rating, they were the second worst lineup in the league (-28.3 points per 100 possessions), trailing an especially grim configuration of Sacramento Kings. But it’s not so much the margin that was demoralizing about the group as it was the humiliating way in which it was run up.Out of 103 non-free-throw scoring plays against this Lakers’ lineup, 24 were dunks. (For comparison’s sake, the league-average team would figure to allow 10.3 dunks for every 103 buckets.) Not mere layups, not simple wide-open shots — dunks! A quarter of all points from the floor scored on the Lakers’ Team Of The Future were on dunks, as though the goal of the defense was to corral the opposing team into the most efficient route possible on the way to the rim. PLAYERTEAMMIN. PER GAMEPTS. PER GAMEOFFENSIVE REBOUNDSTOUCHES PER 36 MIN. 5Tristan ThompsonCLE30.08.13.717.5 Source: nba.com 1Jakob PoeltlTOR11.73.11.514.8 Tonight at New York’s Pier 36, the NBA will host its first annual awards show, heaping praise on the best and most outstanding players of the season. We are here today to do the opposite. The players no one passed toNBA players with the fewest touches per 36 minutes, 2016-17 4Noah VonlehPOR17.14.41.817.5 LEAST OFFENSIVE PLAYERTristan Thompson, Cleveland CavaliersThe player to whom no one passes the basketball is a typically a well-earned title, and one held by the inimitable Bismack Biyombo for the last few years. This season, however, Biyombo’s offensive role has, erm, flourished. He averaged a robust six points per game for the Orlando Magic after posting the highest usage rate of his career, at 13.2. But with Bismack abdicating the throne, who is the least passed-to man in the league?Finding players to whom no one passes is easy thanks to the NBA’s player tracking data. Take the number of “front court touches” (that is, the number of times a player touches the ball on the offensive end of the floor) and subtract the number of offensive rebounds he collected, and you’ve got something close to the number of times he was passed the ball. 9Omer AsikNOP15.62.71.518.5 3Salah MejriDAL12.32.91.317.0 7Roy HibbertDEN14.24.61.118.3 Unsurprisingly, the list of players who don’t see much of the ball fit a profile: big men who are on the floor for defense and rebounding, not scoring. Strictly speaking, Jakob Poeltl and Lucas Nogueira see the least of the ball on a per possession basis, which is probably to be expected on a team with DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. But a little ways down the list is another name, and a bigger number: Tristan Thompson played 30 minutes per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but was passed the ball just 14.6 times per game and 17.5 times per 36 minutes.Thompson isn’t as offensively bereft as many of the other players on the list this season or in seasons past. He has good instincts in pick-and-roll and finds space off the ball (or at least, puts himself in positions where LeBron James can find him). But he also has by far the smallest offensive role on the team. Kevin Love, who has seen his role reduced drastically from his superstar days in Minnesota, got 37.8 touches per 36 minutes. James got 66.8; Irving got 67.2; even Iman Shumpert, who cannot dribble, pass or shoot, got 30.1. Richard Jefferson, who was drafted when Thompson was 10 years old, got 26.8.Like Marcus Smart, Thompson has other skills that are important to the Cavaliers. They trust him with important responsibilities. Just not with the basketball. 2Lucas NogueiraTOR19.04.41.416.7 Possession by possession, there are a few defenders who are as bad as Wiggins. When Wiggins contests a shot, opponents have a 56.1 effective field goal percentage; when they are unguarded, they have a 56.4 eFG percentage. Fundamentally, getting a shot up against Andrew Wiggins is the same as getting an open shot.Wiggins’s deficiencies are too many to list quickly, but at root the issue seems to be basic effort. He barely jumps to contest shots, doesn’t run hard to close out, and gets lost watching the ball.But the truly destructive part of Wiggins’s defense is how much of it there was. In the way that defenders like Draymond Green or an in-his-prime Tony Allen seem to be in all places at all times, challenging seemingly every shot on the floor, Wiggins is omnipresent in his awfulness. He defended the 10th most shots in the league, by far the most by a below-average defender. Most teams do their best to hide their weak defenders, but opponents seek Wiggins out like no other defender in the league. 10Willie ReedMIA14.55.31.819.1 read more

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What Does Kevin Durants Injury Mean For The Warriors

FiveThirtyEight More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. This week’s show was taped live at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston. On this episode (Mar. 8, 2017), we talk to Baltimore Raven John Urschel, who is pursuing his Ph.D. in mathematics at MIT during the offseason. Next, we break down what Kevin Durant’s injury means for the Warriors’s postseason prospects. Finally, we investigate some interesting NHL trades and ponder the merits of building a hockey super team. Plus, we turn our regular significant digit segment into a quiz!Links to what we discussed:John Urschel explained his decision to head back to school for The Players’ Tribune last year.Urschel was recently named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list.FiveThirtyEight’s Kyle Wagner wrote about why Kevin Durant’s injury showed how much the Warriors needed him.The Kevin Shattenkirk trade was a no-brainer for the Capitals, notes The Washington Post’s Steve Allen.Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky says that the Ben Bishop trade was startlingly smart. read more

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Thad Matta earns 300th win in Ohio State mens basketball season opener

OSU freshman forward Jae’Sean Tate in action during a game against Marquette on Nov. 18 in Columbus. Credit: Lantern File PhotoOhio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta notched his 300th win as the Buckeyes defeated Mount St. Mary’s 76-54 in the team’s first game of the season.Matta, who is in his 12th season with the team, became OSU’s all-time winningest coach during last season’s Big Ten tournament. His OSU teams now have a record of 300-94.“I’ve always said that I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to be here at Ohio State,” Matta said. “It goes back to (Alex Haley’s) old saying, ‘When you see a turtle on the fence post, you know it didn’t get there by itself.’ That’s definitely me on that fence post.”Sophomore forward Jae’Sean Tate said Matta is deserving of his record.“That’s just another stat to add to his résumé, he’s a wonderful coach, he’s a wonderful guy and hopefully we have many to come this year,” Tate said.Tate, who missed the Buckeyes’ exhibition game against Walsh with a sprained ankle, helped lead the Buckeyes to victory with an impressive offensive showing. His 21 points were one shy of tying his career-high, and his two 3-point field goals nearly equaled his season total from his freshman campaign (three). “It definitely boosts my confidence. I’m still not where I want to be, so I have to continue to work, I can’t rest on that,” Tate said.Matta said as a coach it was rewarding to see Tate’s hard work pay off.“Jae’Sean was good. It was so exciting when he let his first three go, to see it go down. I’ve seen that kid, how diligent he’s been in terms of his work ethic and developing that,” Matta said.Two of the more veteran players on the roster, junior forward Marc Loving and sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop, led the team in minutes with 35 and 38, respectively, but it was freshman center/forward Daniel Giddens who made one of the biggest impacts of the afternoon.The 6-foot-9 Mableton, Georgia, native made his presence known with 11 points in 26 minutes of hard play.“For myself individually, I just have to build on what I did today and just want to make this season a successful one,” Giddens said.Matta said he was impressed with Giddens’ play.“Daniel was everywhere. He was showing his chest, helping, getting back to his man,” Matta said. “The thing I love about Daniel is that effort is never going to be a problem for him. He’s a kid who cares, he is starving for extra work, he’s starving for finding ways to improve his game.” Giddens appeared to be calm on the court, but the freshman said he was “freaking out”  internally.“I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. I’m still nervous. This is new to me,” Giddens said.Other freshmen members of the Scarlet and Gray also made their presences known. Guard JaQuan Lyle put up 12 points, the third-highest of the team, and guard A.J. Harris came off the bench, showing off his publicized speed and energy. Meanwhile, guard Austin Grandstaff nailed a 3-point attempt, his first and only shot of his young career. The Buckeyes started the game strong going into the half with a 42-21 lead and a team field-goal percentage of 56.3 percent. The Mountaineers tried to mount a comeback in the second half, at one point cutting the deficit to 13 points.“I painted the picture at halftime, I said this is what could happen and it did. We got a little bit complacent,” Matta said. “We didn’t have the pace we needed in the second half.”Turnovers were an issue for the Buckeyes throughout the game, something Tate said will get better as the season goes along.“Having such a young team, being the first game I think that played a role in that. With two freshman point guards and so many young guys, we’ll mature as the season goes on,” Tate said.Matta said the turnovers were due to not making the simple play, and there’s still a lot of teaching needed for a young Buckeye team that has games both Tuesday and Friday. “I just told them after the game, ‘You guys want to play in the NBA? Well, you’ve got an NBA schedule this week,’” Matta said. “We’ve got to prepare for Grambling, but we also got to look at what we need to get better at.”The Buckeyes are set to take the court again at the Schottenstein Center on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Grambling State. read more

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Frontcourt provides relief in Ohio State womens basketballs 9770 win

OSU forward Alexa Hart (22) looks for space around defending Virginia Cavaliers forward Sydney Umeri (44) on Dec. 21 at the Schottenstein Center. Photo Credit: Greg Bartram | USA TODAY SportsThe Ohio State women’s basketball team has relied heavily on the explosiveness of the nation’s top-scoring duo during the 2015-16 season.That wasn’t the case Thursday evening at the Schottenstein Center against the Indiana Hoosiers.Top Buckeye guards, sophomore Kelsey Mitchell and senior Ameryst Alston, were held in check early on in Columbus, prompting the OSU frontcourt to come alive. The extra effort was definitely needed for the No. 5 Buckeyes (11-3, 3-0) to fend off Indiana (9-6, 1-2) at home, 97-70.“They came out ready to play right off the jump,” OSU junior forward Shayla Cooper said. “We had to match their intensity, and once we matched it we actually took it to another level after that.”The Buckeyes have struggled immensely with their perimeter defense this season, ranking dead last amongst Big Ten teams in 3-point defense. A lack of outside pressure has allowed teams to attack OSU with an onslaught of long-range jumpers from the tip.Matters were no better on Wednesday when Indiana opened up the first quarter of play shooting 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.“I think putting more pressure on the ball, not letting them see the open man,” Cooper said of the team’s solution to Indiana’s hot start.Multiple missed layup opportunities also stymied OSU from overcoming Indiana. However, OSU sophomore Alexa Hart and Cooper continued to work the interior, sparking a 10-3 run that knotted the contest at 18 after one quarter of play. Hart registered a double-double on the night, scoring 18 points and collecting 13 rebounds.Despite breaking out of an early shooting slump, the Buckeyes still could not entirely pull away from the Hoosiers. That’s because OSU’s elite scorers Mitchell and Alston continued to be held in check by Indiana, combining to shoot 4-of-18 from the field in the first half.“The way (Indiana) came out, the way they shot the ball, I think that prevented us from doing things that we usually do,” Mitchell said.Nevertheless, OSU’s presence in the post continued to eat away at Indiana. Cooper provided a 14-point first-half spark off the bench, leading a Buckeye frontcourt that outscored the Hoosiers 32-18 in the paint over the first 20 minutes. Cooper finished the night shooting 10-of-16 from the field, tallying 23 points and eight rebounds.“I like the energy and it gives us a different look when she comes in,” OSU coach Kevin McGuff said of moving Cooper to the bench.The Scarlet and Gray brought a 40-35 advantage into halftime and built some early momentum after the break. OSU’s first 3-point conversion two minutes into the second half from Mitchell brought the Buckeyes’ lead to seven and led to an Indiana timeout.Mitchell, who finished with 23 points on the night, led the team with 15 points in the third quarter on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the field, opening up a 12-point lead heading into the final quarter.“Sometimes when you’re not sure about yourself and you have a slow start it can wear on you,” McGuff said. “But I do think we have a lot of confidence about how we’re playing.”OSU continued to pull away via not letting up on the Hoosiers, sustaining an aggressive and pesky press on defense. That tenacity brought the team’s turnover margin to a plus-10 mark by the game’s end, and helped the Buckeyes finish with 16 points off of turnovers and 23 offensive rebounds.The Buckeyes will continue their Big Ten schedule with a matchup against Rutgers (10-4) on Sunday. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. read more

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Crew enters home playoff contest in need of goals

An unmistakable confidence has pervaded Columbus Crew training sessions in the week leading up to this Saturday’s home-leg playoff match against the Colorado Rapids, despite trailing 1-0 in total goals scored. “We are very confident that we can overcome this deficit,” said Columbus head coach Robert Warzycha on Thursday. Warzycha’s assertiveness has rubbed off on Crew players. Andy Gruenebaum, who will be the Crew’s starting goalkeeper Saturday, is relishing the pressure. “We’re all very confident, it is true,” Gruenebaum said. “No one is freaking out, there’s no frantic behavior. This is what we play for, to be the higher seed and to have this game at home.” The Rapids were aggressive and took advantage of defensive miscues by Columbus en route to a 1-0 win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the opening leg of the series on Oct. 28. Gruenebaum hopes to guide the Crew to a stronger defensive showing Saturday. “As a defensive unit, we need to keep a high line and maintain pressure on the ball and their big playmakers like Conor Casey and [Omar] Cummings,” Gruenebaum said. Robbie Rogers started in the midfield for the Crew in the first leg match at Colorado and provided insight into Saturday night’s must-win contest. “It’s positive in the locker room right now, we’ll be keeping the ball better and we’ll tighten it up on defense,” he said. With the Crew organization expecting a sizable turn-out for Saturday’s match, Rogers sees the loyal Columbus fan base as the final piece of the winning equation. “Just being here at home with all the fan groups is special,” Rogers said. “We have a close connection with all the people in this stadium. They’re the best in the MLS, so the atmosphere is going to be in our favor. This is in our hands.” read more

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Which conference has the recruiting edge

The SEC has secured an upper hand in college football. The conference has won the last five BCS National Championships and finished last season with six schools ranked in The Associated Press Top 25, one more than any other conference. The Big Ten, which has appeared in two BCS National Championship Games, is one of the conferences vying for second billing. The facts point to an SEC advantage on the field, and this advantage might start in the classroom. Compared to schools in the Big Ten, most SEC institutions fall short academically. U.S. News & World Report ranks every university in the country each year based on average acceptance rate, retention rate, graduation rate and SAT and ACT scores, among other criteria. In these rankings, SEC universities fall short of those in the Big Ten. The average ranking for an SEC school is 99th. Big Ten schools come in at an average of 53rd. Michigan State, the lowest ranked school in the Big Ten, is tied for 79th nationally with the fourth-best SEC school, Alabama. The Big Ten consists of 11 universities and the SEC has 12 institutions. These lower academic standards might be an asset in recruiting high school players as they lengthen the list of available recruits and therefore directly affect on-field performance. “What the SEC will do is several teams will sign more borderline kids. They take more chances on kids that may or may not qualify,” said Scott Kennedy, director of scouting for Scout.com. “A Big Ten team doesn’t want to have three or four borderline kids on their list.” Steve Helwagen, staff writer for recruiting website Bucknuts.com, agreed. “I think that that is pretty obvious that some of those (SEC) schools can get the at-risk kids,” Helwagen said. “It doesn’t take a math wizard to realize that gives them an incredible competitive advantage if they are able to pull from a larger pool of players to build their roster.” SEC schools hauled in 73 of Rivals’ top 250 high school prospects in the 2011 class, compared to only 27 for Big Ten schools. Despite the apparent correlation between poorer academic performance and better recruiting classes, Ohio State coaches don’t see a problem. “I don’t think our admissions policies have hindered us at all,” quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano said. “We try to do our best to recruit the best student-athletes we can find.” Besides college rankings, the SEC also falls short in the Academic Progress Rate. APR is “a term-by-term measure of eligibility and retention for Division I student-athletes that was developed as an early indicator of eventual graduation rates,” according to the NCAA website. Big Ten schools rank 46th on average in APR, versus a 53rd-place average for SEC universities. One SEC coach said academic deficiencies are not an advantage. “Illinois, Ohio State, they are going to recruit the same kids that we recruit,” Auburn safeties coach Tommy Thigpen said. “All of us fall in the same line. With the exceptions of the Stanfords and the Dukes of the world, we all go after the same kids.” Thigpen, a Rivals 2011 top 25 recruiter, has recruited in both conferences. He was on the Illinois staff from 2003–04. Coaches from Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Tennessee declined to speak with The Lantern. Barry Every, a national analyst for Rivals, also fails to see any advantage from academics. “The SEC schools still have to meet the minimum standards to get into school as the Big Ten schools,” he said. “They have the same standards as Michigan State and Michigan.” The NCAA Division I requires a student-athlete to have a minimum of a 2.0 high school GPA and a sum ACT score of 86, averaging to a 21.5 on the 36-point scale, to be eligible, according to the organization’s website. Though these marks are uniform across all D-I schools, individual university requirements are often much higher. For example, Michigan’s most recent freshman class averaged an ACT score between 28 and 32, according to the university’s website. Thigpen admitted Auburn’s willingness to “hold a kid’s hand,” but said the school would not do so for an entire team of athletes. OSU running backs coach Dick Tressel, differing from his fellow OSU assistant, Siciliano, indicated that the school’s higher academic standards help focus the staff’s recruiting. “Early on in the process, there are so many prospects that we have directed away from (at-risk recruits) a little bit,” Tressel said. “Hey, we’ve got these higher standards so we just have some early decisions to make.” Though the role of academics might be disputed, the idea that SEC schools gain an advantage from their location faces little opposition. The seven states that house SEC schools produced 87 top 250 recruits in this year’s class compared to just 38 from the seven states representing the Big Ten. As recruits are added to the list, the disparity becomes further magnified. “It’s just where they are located,” Every said. “Approximately 2,500 high school players a year sign D-I; 500 of them are coming from two states (Florida and Georgia) from the Southeast.” SEC coaches have taken notice. “For us,” Thigpen said, “the pool is bigger of skilled athletes.” Location aside, academics do seem to play a factor. The top-five-ranked schools in the SEC and Big Ten (Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Michigan, Wisconsin and Penn State), as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, secured only 12 top 250 recruits. The top two schools, Vanderbilt and Northwestern, did not manage one. Though it might not be the biggest point of emphasis, the willingness and ability of the schools in the SEC to recruit student-athletes with lower academic results might help them on the field. “The standards are almost exactly the same for everyone,” Kennedy said. “The leniency of the schools to sign those players and wait for them to see if they will get in is a little more lenient in the south.” read more

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UNC head football coach Everett Withers joins Ohio State football staff

Everett Withers, the current interim head coach of the University of North Carolina football team, was hired Wednesday to join new Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer’s staff. Withers will be the assistant head coach, as well as co-defensive coordinator under Meyer, according to a press release. Withers will split defensive coordinator duties with current OSU head coach Luke Fickell. However, Meyer previously said Fickell will call plays for the unit. In his fourth season at UNC and his first as its head coach, Withers led the team to a 7-5 overall record and an appearance in the Dec. 26 Independence Bowl against Missouri. Withers will stay with the Tar Heels to coach its bowl game. A UNC football team spokesman declined to comment to The Lantern regarding Withers’ departure from the university. OSU did not immediately make Withers’ contract details available. Withers is currently in his 24th season as football coach of both NFL and college teams. Withers began his coaching career as defensive coordinator at Austin Peay in 1988 and would eventually hold other collegiate coaching position at Tulane (1991), Southern Mississippi (1992-93), Louisville (1995-97), Texas (1998-2000) and Minnesota (2007) before becoming UNC’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 2008. Withers has also served as defensive backs coach for the NFL’s Tennesee Titans from 2001-2006 and oversaw defensive quality control for the New Orleans Saints in 1994. The Independence Bowl Dec. 26 is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. kickoff while Fickell will coach OSU in Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 2 when the Buckeyes play Florida in the Gator Bowl. read more

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NCAA approves tougher violations rules Gene Smith sees improvement in flawed system

The NCAA Board of Directors released a new, more stringent set of rules Tuesday for enforcing athletic programs’ adherence to codes of conduct. The new rules try to simplify and accelerate what has traditionally been a long and complicated rule-enforcing process. The rules also aim to increase the severity of the sanctions and make punishments more uniform instead of treating things on a case-by-case basis, according to the announcement posted on ncaa.org.  Among the most notable changes involve holding head coaches more accountable for the actions of their staff. Now, violations by any member of the staff will reflect on the head coach, unless he or she can prove their personal effort for an “atmosphere of strict compliance.” There was also a change in tiers of violations. Rather than categorizing a violation as “major” or “secondary,” there will now be four levels, with a level one violation being the most “severe breach of conduct.” The NCAA could potentially disqualify a team for multiple years of postseason play and fine the program millions of dollars for a level one violation. Other consequences for various levels of infractions include harsher scholarship reductions, recruiting limits and head coach suspensions. Suspensions for coaches as well as programs can range from 10 percent of the season to a full season. The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions will expand from 10 members to 24, speeding up the infractions process and handing out violations in a more timely manner. In Ohio State football’s case, this could have meant serving out OSU’s bowl ineligibility during the 2011 season rather than the current season. The last of the most significant changes in the new set of rules includes a more consistent penalty system. Sanctions will no longer be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and the new standards will ensure equal treatment – and punishment – across the NCAA. NCAA President Mark Emmert said the rules aim to eliminate the temptation for teams to do whatever it takes to win. “We have sought all along to remove the `risk-reward’ analysis that has tempted people — often because of the financial pressures to win at all costs — to break the rules in the hopes that either they won’t be caught or that the consequences won’t be very harsh if they do get caught,” Emmert said. “The new system the board adopted today is the result of a lot of hard work and membership input devoted to protecting the collegiate model.” OSU athletic director Gene Smith said he agrees with the new rules and says they help to solve a “flawed” system. “I am supportive of the new legislation,” Smith said. “It provides clarity and transparency to a system of enforcement and infraction management that was flawed. It also will improve the ability for cases to be handled more expeditiously.” Emmert began the process of establishing a new set of rules in August 2011. The new enforcement structure will take effect on August 1, 2013. Dan Hope contributed to this article
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Commentary Scarlet and Gray Sports Radio reflects on Ohio State footballs season

As members of the student-run Scarlet and Gray Sports Radio, we have been given a tremendous opportunity. Sports broadcasting is a rather exclusive field, and when we graduate from Ohio State, it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever get another chance to broadcast another Ohio State sporting event. It’s even more unlikely that we’ll ever get a chance to broadcast a Buckeyes football game ever again. That’s why this particular weekend is going to be a special one for all of us on the football crew for Scarlet and Gray Sports Radio. The football game against Michigan is always the most important sporting event in Columbus every year, but this weekend it’s about more than just bragging rights. This Saturday marks the end of a long (but not long enough) journey for this OSU football team, as players look to finish off an undefeated regular season against that hated school up north. As Woody Hayes once said with tears in his eyes, “It’s Michigan! It’s Michigan!” There shouldn’t need to be any reason other than that, for this to be the most important game of our lives. This year you can throw in the chance OSU has to be one of just two undefeated programs (depending on what Notre Dame does) and a potential Associated Press national championship. This is easily the most important regular season game we’ve had the privilege to broadcast, and as always with these rivalry games, there is a lot at stake. Not many people get the opportunity to even attend a game this important, let alone broadcast it out to the world. In our time covering this team, we’ve been able to follow them through the highs and lows of the last couple seasons. We were present for Devin Smith’s unbelievable game-winning catch against Wisconsin last year, we were there as the defense nearly collapsed in the final minutes against Indiana, and we were there as backup quarterback Kenny Guiton led the team down the field in the final seconds to force overtime, and ultimately win, against Purdue. It’s been an awesome journey, and this Saturday is sure to be a thrilling climax. As much as we love following the team in this capacity, it can be a humbling job sometimes. Since we broadcast online at our website OhioStateSports.net, we get listeners from all over the world. After the Nebraska game this year, we were lucky enough to receive a couple emails from active military members who listened from the Middle East. It was truly awesome to see. For the three seniors who will be on the call for the game, this is it for football. The one sport we all dream to broadcast and take a little more to heart. We worked hard, competing with other very capable and dedicated broadcasters just to get a chance to call a football game. But as many football fans know, this isn’t just a football game, it’s The Game. It’s up to every listener to decide how good a job we do when we put on the headsets every Saturday, but we do know it’s been nothing but a blast broadcasting OSU football this season, just as it is every season. It’s sure to be an exhilarating atmosphere Saturday in the Horseshoe, and we can’t wait to be there for all the excitement. No matter what happens, we will be able to say that we were the only OSU students that broadcast the Buckeyes’ shot at an undefeated season. That is pretty darn cool. read more

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Internet makes audiences harder to wow Royal Ballets newest stars say

first_imgThe Royal Ballet's four newest principals Lauren Cuthbertson, Ryoichi Hirano, Edward Watson in Song of the EarthCredit:Bill Cooper The Royal Ballet’s four newest principalsCredit:Geoff Pugh The Royal Ballet has announced its four new principals, the first to be promoted from within the company since director Kevin O’Hare joined four years ago.Alexander Campbell, Francesca Hayward, Ryoichi Hirano and Akane Takada will now take their place among 13 other lead ballet dancers in the company, being awarded star roles and dressing rooms closer to the stage.In their first interviews since the promotion, the quartet said they were thrilled and honoured to take on the positions, hoping to win even more fans over to the art form.Campbell, who was born in Sydney and trained at the Royal Ballet School, said: “Because of things like Youtube and the internet, it’s so easy to access incredible things. “I think there’s a video of a Chinese acrobat standing en pointe on someone’s head, and that’s incredible.“So if you come and see someone en pointe on a massive floor, it doesn’t have that same excitement because while it’s an impressive feat you’re not on someone’s head. So it takes away that amazement.“What we then have to do, and that’s our responsibility, is to say yes we do incredible things and they will take your breath away, hopefully.“But we’re artists, we’re performing: that’s where the craft and quality really comes into it, by making it look seamless.” Woolf Works performed by the Royal BalletCredit:Alastair Muir Hayward, a British dancer who graduated from the Royal Ballet School before joining the company, said: “I feel it’s becoming slightly dangerous as the years go by that people are becoming more impressed by tricks in ballet.“They’re more impressed by how many pirouettes someone can do or how high they can get their leg. And I think sometimes the line is quite fine between being sporty-gymnastic type of ballet and being the pure art form, which can be so exciting depending on the way you perform it.” As the newest stars of the Royal Ballet, they are the very brightest of their generation and the first dancers promoted internally at the company for years.But even the four new principals at the prestigious company may have their work cut out to impress the modern public, it appears.The rise of Youtube and the internet have made it more difficult than ever to impress the viewing public, the dancers have said, as they are expected to perform ever-more gymnastic feats to keep up with what people can see online.While online videos have taken away some of the “wow-factor”, leading people to expect ever-higher jumps and faster pirouettes, they have vowed to prove ballet can be ever more exciting thanks to its storytelling and emotion.center_img Woolf Works performed by the Royal Ballet Rhapsody performed by the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House Francesca HaywardCredit:Alastair Muir Rhapsody performed by the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House Francesca Hayward Lauren Cuthbertson, Ryoichi Hirano, Edward Watson in Song of the Earth 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. Hirano added: “I think people do expect us to do one more turn, a higher jump. But for me that’s just a split second of a three hour ballet.“We are storytellers, we’re not circus trick people.”The four dancers will begin their seasons later this month.last_img read more

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Social media users campaign for Gary Lineker to win Best TV Presenter

first_imgGary Lineker has won the backing of a social media campaign calling for him to win a national award after he attracted controversy over his pro-migrant comments.People are calling online for him to be named Best Presenter at the National Television Awards. The ceremony is sponsored by the Sun, which has published calls for him to be sacked by the BBC.As people questioned the ages of the child refugees coming into the country, the star wrote on Twitter: “The treatment by some towards these young refugees is hideously racist and utterly heartless. What’s happening to our country?”While some took offense at the idea of being labelled “racist”, others have begun to campaign for him to win the award. National Television Awards: your chance to vote for Gary Lineker (final category) https://t.co/B6hrr9UDD8— Chris Bertram (@crookedfootball) October 22, 2016 Messages asking for people to vote for Mr Lineker have been retweeted hundreds of times, making it more likely that he could win the award.Among those who have stood up for the presenter online is Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, who tweeted: “I admire @GaryLineker and @lilyallen for showing Britain at its best: compassionate, welcoming, and standing up to fear and division”.Lily Allen recently came under fire for apologising to a migrant in the Calais jungle on behalf of England.Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, also voiced his support for Mr Lineker, writing: “The Sun should lay off @GaryLineker. Compassion and solidarity are great British values. Since when should people be sacked for them?”Mr Lineker has, however, asked his fans not to vote for him in the award. Please don’t. https://t.co/CY08j9DLTW— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 22, 2016 Never voted in National TV Awards before, but you can vote for @GaryLineker and it’s sponsored by @TheSun, so… 🙂 https://t.co/j2vpENd0Zw— Duncan Hothersall (@dhothersall) October 22, 2016center_img Responding to one person who asked for others to vote for him, the star said: “Please don’t”.The Match Of The Day host has continued to defend his comments on Twitter, writing: “Getting a bit of a spanking today, but things could be worse: Imagine, just for a second, being a refugee having to flee from your home”. 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. Vote for @GaryLineker in National Television Awards, final section, Best Presenter. Sponsored by The Sun. https://t.co/3ZJmkf35rX— J Courtenay Grimwood (@JonCG) October 22, 2016last_img read more

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Black Death burial pit found at site of medieval abbey in Lincolnshire

first_imgThe Black Death was one of the worst pandemics in human history. It devastated European populations from 1346 to 1353 and resulted in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people.The disease is documented to have reached Lincolnshire in the spring of 1349.The team said they sent teeth samples from the skeletons found at the Thornton Abbey site to McMaster University in Canada, where ancient DNA was successfully extracted from the tooth pulp. DNA test revealed the presence of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium responsible for the plague. The team said they sent teeth samples from the skeletons found at the Thornton Abbey site to McMaster University in Canada An “extremely rare” 14th century Black Death burial pit containing 48 skeletons, including 21 children, has been discovered at the site of a monastery hospital.The mass burial was been uncovered by a team from Sheffield University at Thornton Abbey, near Immingham, in North Lincolnshire.The presence of such a large burial site – which included both male and female adults as well as 27 children – suggests the community was overwhelmed by Black Death and left unable to cope with the number of people who died, they said. The Black Death was one of the worst pandemics in human historyCredit:University of Sheffield/PA The team said they sent teeth samples from the skeletons found at the Thornton Abbey site to McMaster University in CanadaCredit:University of Sheffield/PA The presence of such a large burial site – which includes both male and female adults as well as children – suggests the local community was overwhelmed by Black DeathCredit:University of Sheffield/PA Dr Hugh Willmott, Sheffield University’s Department of Archaeology, said: “Despite the fact it is now estimated that up to half the population of England perished during the Black Death, multiple graves associated with the event are extremely rare in this country, and it seems local communities continued to dispose of their loved ones in as ordinary a way as possible.”Dr Willmott said the only two previously identified 14th-century sites where Yersinia pestis has been identified are historically documented cemeteries in London, where the civic authorities were forced to open new emergency burial grounds to cope with the very large numbers of the urban dead. The Black Death was one of the worst pandemics in human history He said: “The finding of a previously unknown and completely unexpected mass burial dating to this period in a quiet corner of rural Lincolnshire is thus far unique, and sheds light into the real difficulties faced by a small community ill-prepared to face such a devastating threat.”Dr Diana Mahoney Swales, of the University of Sheffield’s Department for Lifelong Learning, who is leading the study of the bodies, said: “Once the skeletons return to the lab, we start properly learning who these people really are.”We do this by identifying whether they are male or female, children or adults. And then we start to investigate the diseases that they may have lived through, such as metabolic diseases like rickets and scurvy, which are degenerative diseases for the skeleton.”However, for diseases such as plague, which are lethal, we have to use ancient DNA analysis to investigate that further.” The presence of such a large burial site - which includes both male and female adults as well as children - suggests the local community was overwhelmed by Black Death Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Diesel cars should be phased out to stop pollution deaths says Chief

first_imgBut the RAC said ‘demonising’ diesel was the wrong approach to tackling pollution. RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes said: “The chief medical officer’s comment about needing to steadily phase out diesel cars is not helpful in that it is very much a ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’ approach to tackling poor air quality caused by harmful nitrogen dioxide and particulate emissions.“Demonising diesel cars as a whole is extremely short-sighted and simply phasing them out is not the answer. We should instead be looking to ‘phase out’ the most polluting diesel vehicles on our roads.“Some of the newest diesel vehicles on the road are also some of the cleanest, and diesels will also play a role in helping to reduce CO2 emissions, which contribute to man-made climate change.” Demonising diesel cars as a whole is extremely short-sighted and simply phasing them out is not the answer.Nick Lyes, RAC roads policy spokesman Earlier this month the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) issued draft guidance for cutting air pollution, but it did not include recommendations for diesel cars.Dame Sally also said people needed to take greater responsibility for their own health although admitted she would not be participating in Dry January, despite previously urging women to think about cancer whenever they had a glass of wine.Addressing her controversial comments she said: “I could have framed that better, couldn’t I, when I was in front of the Select Committee. And everyone knows, who knows me well, that I enjoy a glass of wine too.”Dame Sally said she will be enjoying a glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve like many others, but insisted there is a “straight line” in the relationship between drinking and breast cancer.She also criticised those who have dubbed her “nanny-in-chief” saying previous male chief medical officers had not been given the nickname.“I think it’s very sexist, I’m the first female CMO,” she added. “But you can’t do things overnight. I am pleased to say when we replaced our car a few years ago we did buy petrol.“But all of these things are open to both regulation and individual behaviour. The big issue for us is how do we change behaviors, not just the public’s but our own.”Air pollution plays a contributing factor in at least 25,000 deaths in England each year,  triggering heart attacks and exacerbating respiratory conditions.But road usage in Britain is at record levels, with an estimated 320 billion vehicle miles travelled in the year ending September 2016, contributing to about a third of air pollution in urban sites.The government is facing huge pressure to phase out diesel cars, or tax their owners, after missing European emissions targets for cutting pollution.Limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were introduced by EU law in 1999, and were to be  achieved by 2010 but the Government has consistently missed targets and is facing millions in fines. In November the High Court ordered the Department for the Environment to come up with a new strategy for cutting fumes by the summer. The AA also warned that diesel car drivers were unfairly targeted when haulage was the biggest problem. Many bought their cars during Gordon Brown’s “dash for diesel” when ownership was encouraged to tackle climate change by cutting carbon dioxide emissions.“Diesel car drivers are seen as an easy target but that is really missing the point, and barking up the wrong tree,” said Luke Bosdet, AA spokesman.“If you are going to have ever increasing numbers of people living in urban areas then they need to be serviced with goods, and their waste taken away. It is the big delivery and refuse trucks that are largely to blame for diesel emissions, so until there is a strategy to replace them, penalising car drivers won’t do much good. Diesel cars should be phased out to cut the tens of thousands of deaths caused each year from air pollution, the government’s chief medical officer has said.Dame Sally Davies, said that she drove a car with a petrol engine because of the polluting effects of diesel.Dame Sally, who was guest editing Radio 4’s Today programme, was asked by BBC presenter Mishal Husain if diesels should be banned to save lives.“I think we do need to steadily phase them out, there is good evidence of that pollution,” said Dame Sally. “The fact is, diesel is 15-20 per cent more efficient, and until there is a new technology which can take over from it, I can’t see how it can be phased out.” Dame Sally Davies Motoring groups believe that diesel car and truck owners will be incentivised to scrap their vehiclesor face heavy taxes, because they emit the largest amount of nitrogen dioxide and particulates. Dame Sally Davies said there was a clear link between diesel cars and air pollutionCredit:Gary Lee  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Killer on the loose after going missing from open prison

first_imgLeyhill open prison in south Gloucestershire He has links with the West Midlands and Brighton.An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: “If you see him, he should not be approached and you should call 999.” Leyhill open prison in south GloucestershireCredit:Google Maps 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.center_img A mentally disturbed man who raped and killed a woman while on home release from prison in the 1990s has absconded from custody again.The alarm was raised after killer Keith Whitehouse failed to appear for roll call at Leyhill open prison in South Gloucestershire at 8.15pm on Saturday. He was last seen three-and-a-half hours earlier.Whitehouse, now 56, is serving a life term for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after he battered 21-year-old Suzanne Bromiley over the head with a brick after forcing her to have sex at knife-point in a graveyard in 1991. He also stabbed her in the head. Whitehouse committed the crime during five days’ leave from Risley jail, Warrington, where he was serving a 30-month sentence for kidnap.No one looked for Whitehouse – who was known to have a psychopathic personality disorder – for more than four months until he attacked Ms Bromiley in Brighton after meeting her at a day centre for unemployed people.The fugitive is described as a white man, 6ft 5ins tall of slim build with short grey hair, grey moustache and a goatee style beard. He has an eagle tattoo on his left arm and a leopard on his right arm.last_img read more

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Vanessa Redgrave to spend entirety of new film in bed playing artists

first_img Timothy Spall as L.S. Lowri Noble said it will shine a light on an artist who has not been given his due. The Tate finally staged a major Lowry exhibition in 2013, after keeping its paintings by the artist in storage. Artist L.S. Lowry standing in his hometown of Pendlebury, Lancashire, 1964 “We were delighted to have her. How many great parts are there for an 81-year-old woman? There are very few. In fact, actors very often say things start running out when you get to 50 unless you’re Judi Dench or Maggie Smith,” said Adrian Noble, former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and director of the film. “There was one painting of his that she liked, of sailing boats, which he painted around 1930 before he found his style. That’s a bit like saying to Picasso that you like the work he did before he started doing funny shapes.”Mrs Lowry did not live to see her son become successful. She died in 1939. A year later, Lowry painted The Bedroom, Pendlebury, an image of the bed in which his mother spent the last years of her life. The film is adapted by Martyn Hesford from his own play. With six Oscar nominations to her name, Vanessa Redgrave has taken on plenty of demanding roles. Her new film presents a different challenge: she spends the entirety of it in bed.Redgrave plays Elizabeth Lowry, the mother of LS Lowry, in a film charting the pair’s difficult relationship.Mrs Lowry & Son stars Timothy Spall as the artist whose paintings of ‘matchstick men’ are beloved by the public but sniffed at by many in the art establishment.Elizabeth Lowry was a domineering figure, depressed and bedridden for the latter part of her life. Following her husband’s death, she and her son shared a cramped terraced house in Pendlebury, Greater Manchester.Lowry worked as a rent collector by day and a carer for his mother by night. She detested his art and he was able to paint only after she had fallen asleep for the night. The casting of Redgrave is a coup for the film, which was made on a budget of just £1.5 million.  Timothy Spall as L.S. Lowri A painting by English artist LS LowryCredit:Imperial War Museums A painting by English artist LS Lowry Artist L.S. Lowry standing in his hometown of Pendlebury, Lancashire, 1964Credit:Hulton Archive “And we have absolutely made her bedbound, as the real Mrs Lowry was. Every one of her scenes is in that bedroom.” This is Spall’s second film portrayal of a famous British artist: he played JMW Turner in Mike Leigh’s 2014 film, Mr Turner.Explaining the relationship between Lowry and his mother, Noble said: “The word ‘complex’ is an understatement. The film is about a very particular form of love.”Lowry was in this rather curious position of being a carer, almost a full-time carer, for a woman who despised his art. She loathed it because it depicts a world of the working classes, a world of poverty, that she resented. She wanted to be middle class but lived in a poor area in a two-up two-down, and she hated that. Sir Ian McKellen was among those who accused London galleries of dismissing Lowry as “only a Sunday painter”. Noble said: “Lowry’s genius was to capture that modern phenomenon: that we live in cities but we are all very lonely. It’s a particular urban view of our lot.”He saw beauty not in the natural world but the created world, in factories and mills and chimneys. But there is a snobbery towards him. It’s this cancer in British society, the cancer of snobbery, that you don’t get in America or elsewhere.”The audience for this film isn’t people who know everything about Lowry, although that would be great. It’s a wonderful, surprising, beautiful and complex story, and you get to see these two amazing actors at work.”Filming has just finished on ‘Mrs Lowry and Son’ and the film is expected to be released next year (2019). Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Grenfell inferno would not have spread without faulty refurbishment report finds

first_imgThe report details how the 2014-2016 refurbishment failed to meet several major fire safety standards set out in the building regulations.  The Grenfell Tower inferno would not have spread claiming 71 lives if the building had not been refurbished, a major report has found as lists a litany of fire safety failings. The report, prepared for the Metropolitan Police as part of their investigation into the tragedy, details five breaches of building regulations including the use of combustible cladding and insulation and gaps in the structure and window frame that helped fan the fire.It leads to the conclusion that had the refurbishment not been carried out it would have been difficult for it to spread beyond the fourth floor flat where is began in a fridge freezer in the early hours of June 14 last year.A draft of the  200 page report prepared by fire investigation experts BRe Global, dated 31 January 2018 and leaked to the Evening Standard, says: “Grenfell Tower, as originally built, appears to have been designed on the premise of providing very high levels of passive fire protection.“The original facade of Grenfell Tower, comprising exposed concrete and, given its age, likely timber or metal frame windows, would not have provided a medium for fire spread up the external surface. In BRE’s opinion … there would have been little opportunity for a fire in a flat of Grenfell Tower to spread to any neighbouring flats.”  One of the flats in the Grenfell Tower which was destroyed by the fire  The report found that, contrary to building regulations, many of the doors did not have closers on them so as people fled their doors remained open allowing large quantities of fire and smoke to get into the communal areas. Firefighting facilities were also said to be deficient as there was only enough room for one engine to get close to the building. BRE also noted the absence of a sprinkler system and the fact that the tower’s only stairwell was 8cm too narrow  but says that they did not contribute to the loss of life.It details how the fire started in a fridge freezer in flat 16 just one metre from an open window. It then could have either caught the materials around the window, the insulation or the combustible material in the cladding panels, or a combination of the three, experts say. This allowed the flames to enter the cavity between the concrete and the facade and the lack of cavity barriers created a chimney-like effect. As well as spreading upwards and laterally the fire spread downward fire spread because of “burning droplets of polyethylene falling and igniting combustible materials below”.The faulty windows then allowed the fire to enter the other flats and the lack of door closers meant it could spread into the stairwell.  The window frames were too small for the hole meaning that rubberised membrane, rigid foam insulation and uPVC lightweight plastic panels were used to fill that gap and “none of the materials used would be capable of providing 30 minutes fire resistance”.Instead the materials provided a “fuel” which allowed the fire to spread to the facade, it is said. The cavity barriers, which were meant to close the gap between the concrete building and the external cladding in the event of a fire, were too small to do so and some were installed upside down or back to front. This created a chimney-like effect, it is said.  The insulation on the outside of the building was combustible and “provided a medium for fire spread up, across and within sections of the facade”, the BRE report found.  Furthermore, the aluminium composite material used in the outside panels of the cladding had a polyethylene (plastic) core that “appears to be highly combustible” and “appears to have provided a medium for fire spread up and across the facade”. Each breach relating to the cladding system is of far greater importance when “considered in combination as opposed to when they occur in isolation”, BRE notes.  One of the flats in the Grenfell Tower which was destroyed by the fire  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 fire was so ferocious that had the original building not been built to such strict standards, it is likely it would have collapsed, the experts say. The BRE was asked to look at the fire by the Metropolitan Police to try and establish the circumstances surrounding as many of the 71 deaths as possible, and failings in duty of care to residents, and to provide expert witness support to any criminal prosecution of public inquiry. last_img read more

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Why the new Royal baby will be an Earl or Lady rather

The Duke and Duchess of Cambrigde at the Lindo Wing with Prince Louis in 2018Credit:Getty Instead, they will arrange for photographs of the baby to be taken in the days following the birth, after mother and baby have enough time to recover and bond.The low-key plans in part reflect the status of Baby Sussex, who will be seventh in line to the throne. He or she will not have an automatic HRH title, being known as the Earl of Dumbarton if a boy, and Lady [firstname] Mountbatten-Windsor if a girl. The palace are expected to issue a short written announcement confirming the Duchess is in labour, with a second to follow upon the safe arrival of the baby, giving details of its sex, weight and time of birth.Pictures of the baby will be issued later, when the infant is a few days old.The couple are also likely to utilise their SussexRoyal Instagram page to share news and images of their choice.The palace will not yet confirm whether news of his or her arrival will be posted on an easel outside Buckingham Palace, or whether it would be celebrated with a gun salute. “I think the expectation [from the public] was that the photocall had become a bit of a royal tradition,” he said of the Lindo Wing. The Duke and Duchess of Cambrigde at the Lindo Wing with Prince Louis in 2018 George, Charlotte and Louis, the baby’s cousins, were all confirmed as being a Prince or Princess before birth thanks to a Letters Patent issued by the Queen in December 2012, seven months before the arrival the first Cambridge child.  The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will instead follow in the footsteps of the Queen with hopes for a home birth, and will settle into their new home in Windsor before the public is offered a glimpse of their newborn.In a statement issued by Buckingham Palace, a spokesman said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby. As the child is not directly in line to the throne, there is no convention that insists upon it.The Royal Collection Trust would not say whether a range of china will be produced.Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, pointed out the announcement had already led to accusations from critics that the Sussexes had courted publicity when it suited them only to shun it again, but said the majority of people would be understanding. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince GeorgeCredit:PA “Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private.”The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.” The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George No such declaration has yet been made with respect to the Sussex’s baby.The choice of a private birth plan also sees the Sussexes choose a different path to that of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who confirmed each of their three children would be born at the Lindo Wing and invited members of the public and media to wait in a carefully-controlled area outside to see them.The Princess Royal and Diana, Princess of Wales, both also stepped out of the Lindo Wing cradling their babies, while Sarah, Duchess of York, posed outside the Portland. Some remember it as a glorious moment of history being made, as a newborn future king was brought outside by his loving parents for the besotted public to see.Other recall it as the days when Britain collectively lost its head staring at a closed hospital door.Either way, the scenes of jubilation outside the Lindo Wing will not be recreated for the next royal birth, as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex swap the celebratory public moment for total privacy as a new family of three.The Duke and Duchess, whose first child will be an Earl or Lady rather than Prince or Princess, said they would be “celebrating privately as a new family” after the birth as a first priority.In a short statement issued yesterday, they said they would not be sharing plans for the arrival of their baby, and will not undertake a public appearance after it is born. “As we now know that’s not proved to be the case, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have chosen to do things in their own way for their own reasons.“I think there may be an element of disappointment on the part of the most zealous of royal watchers.“But like all matters royal, these things evolve and this is how the Sussexes have chosen to do it.”Simon McCoy, the BBC newsreader who became famous for his dry observations about the lack of Lindo Wing action during Prince George’s birth, responded to the announcement with a cheerful “good news!!!” read more

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Port Kaituma rape suspect arrested

Ranks of the Guyana Police Force yesterday arrested a twenty-four-year-old male of Port Kaituma, North West District, for rape which occurred on February 08, 2017, and during which a firearm was allegedly used to threaten the victim. According to a statement issued by the Guyana Police Force, during interrogation, the suspect who is a miner, took the police to a location, at Arakaka, Barima, North West District, where the offence allegedly occurred and handed over an unlicensed .32 Beretta Pistol, without ammunition. Police say a Case File is being compiled for legal advice.  Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMan stabs 20 – year – old brother to death during argumentDecember 12, 2013In “Crime”Port Kaituma man stabbed to death, suspect arrestedNovember 15, 2014In “Crime”Miner killed during argumentJuly 26, 2013In “Crime” read more

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