Its Official Silas Redd Leaves Penn State for USC

The Penn State scandal very well could have catapulted USC to national champions. For, as expected, former Nittany Lions running back Silas Redd as informed the heavily sanctioned school that he is leaving Happy Valley to join the Trojans.Redd, who gained 1,241 yards last year for Penn State could be the final piece to a powerhouse USC squad that in some circles is a pre-season No. 1 in the country.Here’s the irony: Redd’s transfer could be the decisive piece to a program just getting over its own sanctions from the NCAA.Not only can Nittany Lion players transfer without sitting out a year, they can be aggressively recruited. And USC coach Lane Kiffin was especially forceful with Redd, according to reports. Remember, Kiffin was on the other end of the same rule two years ago after USC was hit with heavy NCAA sanctions stemming from the Reggie Bush scandal.Kiffin wooed Redd with a personal visit in Connecticut. He wowed him with a Power Point presentation on the lifelong benefits of joining the Trojan family and the short-term benefits of playing a season with senior quarterback Matt Barkley.He had backup quarterback Max Wittek, a youth football teammate of Redd, call his old buddy. He brought Redd to campus and walked him through the new 110,000-square-foot, $70 million John McKay Center. He painted a clear picture of national championship aspirations.While some coaches said they would not recruit Penn State players, Kiffin apparently did so with vim and vigor. There are not many who would be surprised that Kiffin would make his play for any player he desires. And he did so within the rules, so there really is no room for anyone to gripe.The Trojans’ offense needed a definitive rusher, and Redd proved he can handle a significant load. read more

Its Been the Americas World Cup

Before the World Cup began, FiveThirtyEight’s projections, which are based on ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), were higher for teams from South America and lower for teams from Europe than other ratings systems’.So far, that’s looked like a reasonably sharp assessment. And if we extend the analysis from continents to hemispheres — with teams from North America and South America in one group, and those from Europe, Africa and Asia in the other — it looks like we may even have underestimated teams from the Americas.First, let’s look at the results by continental confederation. The table below evaluates each confederation’s results so far and compares them with the FiveThirtyEight/SPI forecast before the tournament. It includes results through Friday afternoon’s game between Costa Rica and Italy, and excludes games (such as the France-Switzerland match that I’m watching now) between teams from the same confederation.Before the tournament, our projections expected South American teams to have compiled 5.7 wins, 2.0 losses and 2.3 draws through this point in the World Cup. In fact, their record is 7-2-1. Not a huge difference, but the South American teams have more than held up their side of the bargain.Teams from Europe, by contrast, are 5-6-2 in games played against other confederations, compared with an expected record of 5.1 wins, 4.6 losses and 3.3 draws. Pretty close, although a pinch worse than expected.It’s teams from North America’s CONCACAF federation, instead, that have produced the largest discrepancy. They’re 4-1-1 so far, much better than their meager expected record of 1.4 wins, 3.1 losses and 1.5 draws. Meanwhile, teams from Asia and Africa, although not expected to be much good, are struggling with a combined record of just 1-8-4 so far.A still more striking result comes when you combine the continents into hemispheres (counting Europe along with Asia and Africa in one hemisphere and the Americas in another). In inter-hemisphere matches so far, the Americas have 10 wins against just two losses. The rest of the world has the opposite record: 2-10-0.What accounts for the differences? The least sexy explanation might be luck: We’re not talking about all that large a sample of matches. We’ll have to see whether the pattern holds through the rest of the tournament.But travel distance could also play a role. The FiveThirtyEight match projections include a very modest adjustment for east-to-west travel distance (north-to-south distance seems to matter much less, perhaps because it doesn’t produce as much jet lag). The adjustment is calibrated based on the results of highly competitive soccer matches since 2006. However, there’s evidence that the home-continent advantage had been higher in the past. No European team has ever won a World Cup played in the Americas.It’s also possible that the effect has something to do with the stadium atmosphere. Teams such as Chile and Colombia have received raucous support in their matches so far; in the game I attended at Estádio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, perhaps 90 percent of the crowd was pulling for the Chileans. Because partisan crowds seem to affect officiating decisions in soccer, that could mean these teams are getting a bit more slack from the officials. Chile, for example, spent much of the second half of its win against Spain lying on the pitch with exaggerated injuries but received no sanction for time-wasting.A final theory might be that teams from the Americas are fresher. The major European leagues just completed play in mid-May after beginning their season last August. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, played in 51 matches for Real Madrid since the start of last summer, including the Champions League final a few weeks ago. The best teams from the Americas, like Brazil and Argentina, also have plenty of stars in the major European leagues. But others, such as Costa Rica and Mexico, are less reliant on such players. That could serve to mitigate the talent advantage that the European teams might have and reward the countries with disciplined and tactical team play. read more

UConn Has Been Slightly Less Dominant In The Tournament Than It Was

In case you haven’t been reading this site lately, here’s the latest reminder that the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team, which is seeking its third straight national title Tuesday in Tampa, is really, really good. UConn is way more dominant than Kentucky’s men’s team was even before the Wildcats lost in the national semis. It’s way better than its closest rivals in the women’s game: Notre Dame, its opponent Tuesday. And it’s even way more dominant than its worthiest rivals: other recent UConn teams.Before the tournament began, we tracked how much UConn led by in its games, on average, throughout the 40 minutes of regulation. Not only had UConn crushed its opponents by an average of 42 points per game this year, but it was even more dominant earlier in the game — for instance, it led at halftime by an average of 25 points. And at just about every stage of the average game, the Huskies were ahead by more points than the UConn teams of the previous four years. The big exception was their Elite Eight game against Dayton, in which UConn had a lead of more than 10 points for less than a quarter of the game.What we didn’t know then is whether the comparison would hold up once the NCAA tournament began. UConn would have to face some tough competition — could it continue to dominate?The answer is a qualified yes. UConn’s average halftime margin has been 18.2 points during the tournament, compared to 24.8 points in the regular season and American Athletic Conference tournament — a drop-off of 27 percent. But it has caught up a bit in the second half of games, winning by an average of 37.4 points — just 11 percent lower than its 42.1-point average lead at the end of regulation coming into the tournament. That may mean that UConn peaked at different times in tournament games, or that the 11 percent gap is understating the extent to which UConn has struggled in the tournament, since it spent less time with its foot off the gas pedal in the second half. Of course, struggling is relative for these Huskies: They’ve still won each of their tournament games by at least 21 points.A related question we faced was how much of this team’s apparent edge over its UConn predecessors would drop away once it, like its predecessors, had to play in the tournament. The answer is, not much.This chart isn’t finished yet — Notre Dame will have something to say about it. Our March Madness predictions give the Fighting Irish only a 14 percent chance of winning. They have an even smaller chance of winning by enough to change UConn’s overwhelmingly dominant profile.Correction: An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to a tournament in which UConn played. It was the American Athletic Conference tournament, not the Big East. read more

Wrestling Husband and father first AllAmerican wrestler second for Bo Jordan

Ohio State redshirt junior wrestler Bo Jordan comes into the 2016-2017 NCAA season ranked No. 1 for 174 weight class. Credit: Ohio State Athletics.Most mornings, Bo Jordan is awake bright and early to head to a morning workout or practice.As a student in athletic training, he attends his classes until about 2 p.m. only to return to the weight room for another lift and another practice until around 5 p.m.The wrestler then takes an ice bath, showers and cleans himself up before he returns home for the night. But instead of hanging out with his teammates or heading to a bar, the redshirt junior comes home to dinner and playtime with his wife and 11-month-old daughter.This is not the typical day for most student athletes, let alone average college students. While the 22-year-old holds the responsibilities of being a student at Ohio State and an All-American wrestler on his broad shoulders, he also has the responsibility of being a husband and father in his home life.“Honestly, everyone always asks me, ‘How do you do it?’ Or they will tell me, ‘It seems so hard.’ But it’s easier. It’s honestly easier,” Jordan said. “I’m not out partying or doing anything stupid. I’m in, spending time with my wife and daughter, getting my homework done and I’m living a real clean life, and it’s easy.”Bo isn’t the only Jordan on the Ohio State wrestling team, as his younger brother Micah is a redshirt sophomore. Micah is just one of Bo’s many teammates who wonders how he balances all of his responsibilities in his life.“Sometimes I’m like, ‘How does he do it.’ But he’s really strong and he is really mentally tough,” Micah said. “He still puts time in with his family, with his wife and his daughter, and also he still spends a lot of time in the wrestling room.”For Bo, living with his wife Ashley and their daughter Keira meant he had to change his lifestyle. At first, he said it was different for him because he had to prioritize his motivations and let go of some things he was used to, such as playing video games for several hours a day. But he drifted away from those activities and now is accustomed to life with his family.“Now it’s like I can’t wait to get out of practice and to go home and see my daughter. I can’t wait to get out of practice to just go hang out with my wife and watch some Netflix. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s awesome,” Jordan said. “I love my life and it’s very, very different.”OSU wrestling assistant coach J Jaggers said that Jordan is able to balance being a wrestler, a student, a husband and a father because of his maturity.“One of the adjectives that comes to mind when you think of Bo is that he is a mature kid,” Jaggers said, “He knows what he values, and that is evident in his relationship with his wife, the kind of father he is and the teammate and brother he is.” Head coach Tom Ryan said that Jordan recognizes what it takes to be able to manage and maintain his lifestyle.“He understands what a real man acts like in society, and real men uphold their responsibilities,” Ryan said. “He has done a great job at managing his home life … because he was raised in a way that you take care of your own stuff. We call it flying your own plane. You take a hold of the wheel and you fly, so he has been a great example of that.”When he and his then-girlfriend, now wife, found out that they were going to be parents, it was in the middle of the team’s 2015 national championship run. Jordan waited about two months to say anything to the coaches because he was concerned that they would be upset with him.But Jordan couldn’t have been more wrong.A few days after the team won the national championship, Jordan called Ryan to tell him about the news.“I was kind of tearing up and didn’t know what to say,” Jordan said. “He went, ‘Holy crap. Holy crap.’ He said that three times, and then he started dying laughing, and I didn’t know whether to start laughing or crying because I didn’t know what was going on. But then he goes, ‘Hey man, that’s life. I love ya. What can I do to help.’”Ryan said he knows that Jordan has a great circle of people around him whom he can go to for advice and counseling, but he was happy that Jordan decided to give him a call.“I was excited. I was like, ‘Look, can you imagine how many loving people are going to be in your daughter’s life,’” Ryan said. “It was a good, healthy conversation and it was about faith, God and the meaning of life.”Jordan knew that the coaches didn’t recruit him expecting he would be married and have a child by his junior year, so the support from his coaching staff was everything to him and his wife,” Jordan said.“When you say when you are recruiting somebody that ‘I’ll be there for you through the thick and thin,’ it sounds good, but it’s not so easy to apply sometimes,” Ryan said. “I think he has seen firsthand that we love him not only as a wrestler, but as a human being. Not only as someone that can score points for us and win national titles for us, but as a man and as a person.”The couple was married before Keira was born. Jordan said that, along with getting married, becoming a dad was the proudest moment of his life.“Before that, it was always the wrestling that was the proudest moment. I won four state championships in high school and came in third twice in the national tournament at Ohio State. But now, what means the most to me is just my wife and our little girl,” Jordan said. “That’s crazy because I’ve been wrestling since I was 6 years old, and I have had my daughter for a year. Nothing compares to that.”Not only did the coaches of the wrestling team support Jordan and his wife when they were going through the process of getting married and having their child, but so did his teammates.“When Bo’s daughter was born, a lot of the team went over to the hospital and got to see Bo, his wife and Keira,” Micah Jordan said. “The whole team just embraced Bo’s relationship with his wife and his daughter. It was amazing.”This upcoming season will be his second season as a married man and a father, but it also marks a few more changes for the wrestler.The first change is that the four-time time state champion at St. Paris Graham High School will move up to a higher weight class. In his first two seasons wrestling at OSU, Jordan wrestled at the weight of 165 pounds. He finished twice as the runner-up at the Big Ten championships and third at the NCAA championships. But this season, he will be competing at 174 pounds.“I think he will be better there. I think he will feel better there. He’s got a huge frame, and he is just more of a wrestler of great strength,” Ryan said. “He was ranked No. 1 in the country at 174, so that’s a pretty good indication of what the country thinks of him.”Although Jordan has yet to wrestle competitively at the weight, he said that he feels good in the practice room and is looking forward to competing. He knows there are expectations of him and his teammates, but he feels like the sky’s the limit this season.“As far as attaching an accolade as a goal, you can say it, but it doesn’t need to be said,” Jaggers said. “But if Bo competes his hardest and his hardest gets him fourth place in the country, then we are going to wrap our arms around him and give him a hug and be so proud of him.”The other change in Jordan’s life this season comes away from the mat. He and Ashley are expecting their second child, a girl whom Jordan said is due on November 25.While Jordan’s education and wrestling career are both very important to him, he said that being married and being a father helps him deal with the stress that wrestling and school can bring.“I feel like when I wasn’t married and I didn’t have a kid, it was all business. I really didn’t relax as much, and I didn’t really take my mind off wrestling,” Jordan said. “But now when I go home, I have a little girl that will run up to me and give me hugs and kisses. It’s just a whole different world, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. If I could do it all over again, I would do it the exact same way 10 times.” read more

Shark week Titus I could raise some hell with this draft

When the final buzzer sounded at the end of Ohio State’s win in its regular season finale, Mark Titus’ “playing” career in a Buckeye uniform was over. On his own senior night, Titus shed tears, entered the game, and recorded a “trillion” in his final collegiate game. But is his basketball career over?  Despite entering — and promptly being kicked out of — last year’s NBA draft, Titus said he’s ready to give professional basketball another shot. “I’m going to try, yeah,” Titus said. “I’m definitely still a free-agent NBA player, and if anybody wants to pick me up, I’d be happy to lend my services.” His first priority is getting healthy. Titus missed the majority of his senior campaign with a shoulder injury and had a season-ending surgery following the Buckeyes’ completion of the regular season. But NBA executives need not worry. Titus said he has fully healed and is ready to play.  “I just got out of the sling, which is really exciting,” he said. “I had to wear a sling for like five weeks or something like that. I’m excited to start playing again if I get drafted somewhere.” Titus is aware, however, that some might question whether a guy who played in just 32 games during his four-year career is good enough to play in the NBA. For the doubters, he created his “Mr. Rainmaker” video earlier this year. Following its release, Titus said he planned to use the video as evidence of his exceptional basketball abilities. “I’m going to send the video to NBA scouts and see what comes back from that,” Titus said. “I already tried to get a hold of Greg Oden to tell him to talk to the [Portland Trail] Blazers for me. “We’ll see what happens, but I’m sure I could raise some hell with this draft, too.” read more

Mike and Mike bring big personalities and sports expertise to Ohio Union

Normally, the hosts of a popular talk-radio show talk about sports on a quiet set with only a few production assistants in the room. On Thursday, ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” talked sports in front of about 800 spectators in the Archie Griffin ballroom at the Ohio Union. In an Ohio Union Activities Board event, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic appeared at an interactive sports discussion covering everything from the Cleveland sports scene to whether there should be a playoff system in college football. “It was great. I love doing these,” Greenberg said. “There are a lot of different groups we might speak in front of, and my favorite to do is college.” The prominent duo shared the stage with hosts Scott Torgerson, known as “The Torg” from his local sports-talk radio show on 97.1 FM, and former Buckeye quarterback Craig Krenzel. “We are like an old married couple,” Greenberg told the crowd. “We bicker and are rarely intimate.” The two ESPN personalities shared the experiences that lead them to own a prominent morning radio show and gave insight to what it’s like to be paired with someone for 12 years. Greenberg said he started out working during late nights at a local news radio station in Chicago, while Golic had a nine-year career in the NFL as a defensive lineman after starring at Notre Dame. “When I played, I was the guy who all the beat writers would go to for quotes,” Golic said. President E. Gordon Gee attended and provided one of the more awkward moments of the night for the rambunctious radio personalities. In November, Gee said Ohio State’s football team doesn’t play the “little sisters of the poor” in regards to TCU’s football team. Greenberg then criticized Gee’s comment on-air during their radio show. Once Torgerson made Greenberg aware of Gee’s presence in the crowd, Greenberg apologized and mentioned how admirably Gee handled of the situation. Following the show, Torgeson said he was amazed at the level of chemistry the two Mikes share. “It’s fun because they work so well together,” Torgerson said. “When they got on stage it’s like they’ve been doing this for 30 years and have a routine, but I can tell you they don’t have a routine. That’s what’s so great about tonight. They were funny, informative and worked very well with each other.” Following the free-flowing sports discussion on numerous sports topics, Greenberg and Golic took questions from the crowd that focused mainly on the Ohio sports scene. One attendee had asked if any of the Cleveland sports franchises would win a championship during his lifetime. Greenberg and Golic answered with a resounding “No.” “With Ohio State being a school where athletics are so popular, it made perfect sense for the Ohio Union Activities Board to bring Mike and Mike to campus,” said Daniel Walls, OUAB lectures chairman and a third-year in microbiology. OUAB would not disclose the cost of bringing the duo to OSU. “It had been some time since OUAB had brought a sports-related lecture to campus, and after surveying students on various potential speakers; Mike and Mike consistently performed well,” Walls said. read more

Commentary Fighting Irish resemble 2002 Buckeyes

Ohio State and Notre Dame football fans don’t always get along, but when comparing the 2002 Buckeyes and the 2012 Fighting Irish, silver and gold might have more in common than they would like to admit. For starters, defense seems to have been a pillar for both squads’ success. The 2002 Buckeye defense allowed an average of 13 points per game during the run and they held five of their opponents to seven points or less. This years, Notre Dame has given up 10.3 points per game and held five of their opponents to seven points or less. The greatest challenge for OSU’s 2002 team was their final game against the Miami Hurricanes offense that averaged almost 42 points per game during the regular season. Likewise, Notre Dame will try to tackle an Alabama team that has put up 38.5 points per game this season in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7. For the 2002 Buckeyes and 2012 Fighting Irish, their defenses were stout enough to will them through some tight contests. This year, Notre Dame has won five of their games by seven points or less including two games (Stanford on Oct. 13 and Pittsburgh on Nov. 3) which went into overtime. The latter contest, which was the closest to ending the Fighting Irish’s perfect season, ended, 29-26, in triple overtime. Seven of OSU’s 14 games during the 2002 season were decided by seven points or less. Perhaps the most memorable of those games was the 10-6 victory against Purdue when a former OSU quarterback Craig Krenzel completed a 37-yard game-winning touchdown pass to former wide receiver Michael Jenkins with less than two minutes left in the game. In his first full season as a starter, Krenzel did not put up outrageous video game-like numbers. Then a junior, he threw for 2,110 yards passing, 12 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 59.4 completion percentage. Plenty of other quarterbacks around the country put up more impressive stats, but it likely did not matter to Buckeyes fans because of the season he put together. Redshirt freshman quarterback Everett Golson has shared time under center with junior Tommy Rees in his first season playing for Notre Dame, but he is without question the starting quarterback of his team now after strong performances down the stretch. Much like Krenzel, his stats will not wow any avid sports fan that looks at them a decade from now. In 11 games played, Golson has a 58.9 completion percentage and thrown for 2,135 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He ranks 79th in the FBS among quarterbacks in passing yards but if he leads the Irish to a win on Jan. 7, Golson might live in the same lore as Krenzel. Coming into the 2002 National Championship Game the Buckeyes were an 11.5-point underdog against the dominant Hurricanes. OSU was taking on the defending national champions, which were riding a 34-game win streak and held a 54-8 record since the beginning of the 1998 season. A similar task awaits the Irish. As of Dec. 3, Notre Dame is listed as a nine-point underdog against the Crimson Tide, this season’s defending national champions, but also have a 60-7 record over the past five seasons. Like the Scarlet and Gray of 2002, the Fighting Irish might need to inspiring football to overcome such odds. But don’t be surprised if Golson and Notre Dame are raising up a crystal football at the conclusion of the national championship game. read more

Opinion While Columbus Crew shows strength in defense midfield must regroup for

Columbus Crew midfielder Ethan Finlay dribbles past Chicago Fire goalie Sean Johnson during a game against the Fire May 24 at Crew Stadium in Columbus. The Crew won, 2-0.Credit: Courtesy of Crew Communications / Kirby HinesThe Major League Soccer regular season is far from done but the Columbus Crew are facing the rapid approach of crunch time, and they know it.The Crew, winless since May 24 and seventh in the Eastern Conference, have to figure out a way to make gritty gameplay translate to valuable standings points if they want to be postseason contenders this year.Crew defender and captain Michael Parkhurst said Wednesday — after a disheartening last-minute 2-1 loss to defending MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City — his team needs to focus now in its pursuit of being in playoff contention come October.“Obviously, it’s down,” Parkhurst said of the team’s confidence following the dramatic defeat to Sporting KC (9-5-5). “You know, it’s been a tough stretch. It’s been a long time since we won an MLS game and it’s taken its toll.”The Crew is slated to face a reeling squad in the Montreal Impact (3-9-5) when the Canadian franchise comes to town this weekend, and Columbus needs its offense to find a spark as the defense continues to work to limit chances.Parkhurst and his backline played well Wednesday despite the loss, repelling eight of first-place Kansas City’s 10 shots.The defensive corps featured Costa Rican natives Waylon Francis and Giancarlo Gonzalez in their first MLS action in more than two months after both were called up for their national team’s FIFA World Cup run to the quarterfinals.The duo had not played alongside Parkhurst since a 1-0 home loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps May 10, but the aggressive presence of Chad Barson at right helped relieve a lot of pressure in the middle in the Costa Ricans’ first game back.Barson made life nightmarish along the left flank for Sporting forward Soony Saad, who was replaced by substitute Kevin Ellis in the 57th minute.Barson allowed neither player much leeway and limited their touches with an up-close style of contesting possession. Francis was then free to nudge inward and help midfielders Tony Tchani and Bernardo Anor cover space along the left side of Kansas City’s attacking half.Sporting forward Dominic Dwyer, the team’s leading goal-scorer, therefore got the full brunt of world-class double coverage by Parkhurst and Gonzalez in the center and was a non-factor in the game because of it.Dwyer was ruled offside three times and took no shots.“I thought they did a good job on Dom Dwyer, he’s a handful,” Crew coach Gregg Berhalter said in a postgame press conference. “The backline I think performed pretty well. They haven’t been playing together in two months. So again, a little bit of rust in their communication, their movements and buildup but it’s fine.“I think they did a good job.”This performance could be a good indication that this Crew defense is for real, since Dwyer scored a goal just four minutes into Sporting’s July 12 match against the same Impact team Columbus is set to take on Saturday.Unfortunately for the Crew, the newly reunited defense getting definitively beaten on just two Kansas City plays in nearly 95 minutes of total match time proved two times too many against the league’s fourth-highest scoring offense.Sporting midfielder Benny Feilhaber notched an assist and his second score of the year, making him the difference in Wednesday’s game. His corner kick led to a headed goal by Sporting forward C.J. Sapong in the 42nd minute and he scored the game-winner from open space in the 93rd minute to break the hearts of Columbus fans.In a match that included the drama of two red cards and an own goal by Kansas City defender Igor de Carvalho Juliao to equalize the game for the Crew, an extraordinary conclusion seemed to fit the occasion.“It’s incredibly frustrating and disappointing, obviously, with the late goal there,” Crew midfielder Ethan Finlay said after the game. “I don’t think we would have been honestly satisfied with a tie tonight, but we definitely didn’t earn the win.”Finlay will need to step up Saturday if the Crew want to come away with three points. He has been a consistent threat in the attacking half for the Black and Gold this season but he can’t do it alone against Montreal.With forward Jairo Arrieta out of the lineup due to a hamstring injury sustained July 12 against the New York Red Bulls, and with starting forward Federico Higuain “not 100 percent fit” in Berhalter’s estimation, the onus looks to fall on utility players like Finlay and Anor to generate offense.It’s also worth noting that talented midfielder Wil Trapp — usually a crucial distributor of the service ball to a streaking Finlay or a healthy Higuain — is out for Saturday’s matchup after his red card Wednesday earned him a one-game suspension.So Finlay, who has played both as a forward and a midfielder this season, now has to use his speed and soft footwork to give the Crew an attacking presence more than ever.If Finlay slots as a right wing midfielder Saturday and is aided by left-side counterpart Anor, any transition opportunities they can create against Montreal figure to be the ticket to glory. The Crew struggled to get anything substantive going in the midfield offensively against Kansas City, but Finlay and Anor have the skill sets to change that Saturday.“He’s able to play outside mid, he’s able to play left back. He’s a strong guy in the air so those are things he was able to bring to tonight’s game,” Finlay said of Anor’s performance Wednesday as a second-half substitute. “(Anor) is very versatile and I think, you know, going forward … I think it’ll be good. He’s a huge part of this team.”Barson also figures to be a vital contributor on both sides of the ball against Montreal.His ability to traverse the pitch from end line to end line will be a boon in Columbus’ favor on Saturday, just as it was Wednesday when his skillful cross in the box resulted in the Sporting own goal that equalized the game.“It’ll be another test. Montreal’s not in great form either,” Parkhurst said. “It’s a team we’re going to battle with for the playoffs, so we need to recharge the tanks and we need to be ready because we need to win that game.”Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Crew Stadium. read more

Mens Basketball No 14 Ohio State takes on No 3 Purdue in

Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) guards a Hoosier in the first half against Indiana on Jan. 30 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorNo. 14 Ohio State (20-5, 11-1 Big Ten) will face No. 3 Purdue (23-2, 12-0 Big Ten) in its biggest road game of the season so far at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night in Mackey Arena.The Boilermakers are currently leading the conference, one spot ahead of Ohio State, with an unblemished 12-0 Big Ten record. A Purdue win would give the Boilermakers a two-game lead over the Buckeyes in the conference, while an Ohio State win would put the Buckeyes in a tie for first with the tie-breaking head-to-head matchup giving Ohio State the leg up.  The Boilermakers have won their past 19 games and are coming off a win in which they held off Rutgers for a 78-76 road win. The Buckeyes most recently defeated Illinois at home, 75-67.Projected Starters for PurdueC — Isaac Haas — Senior, 7-foot-2, 290 lbs., 14.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.3 apg F — Vincent Edwards — Senior, 6-foot-8, 225 lbs., 15.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.1 apgG — Dakota Mathias — Senior, 6-foot-4, 200 lbs., 12.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.4 apgG — Carsen Edwards — Sophomore, 6-foot-1, 200 lbs., 16.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 apgG — P.J. Thompson — Senior, 5-foot-10, 185 lbs., 8.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.0 apgProjected Starters for Ohio StateF — Kaleb Wesson — Freshman, 6-foot-9, 275 lbs., 11.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.1 apg F — Keita Bates-Diop — Redshirt junior, 6-foot-7, 235 lbs., 20.2 ppg 8.9 rpg, 1.7 apgF— Andre Wesson — Sophomore, 6-foot-6, 220 lbs., 2.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.0 apgF — Jae’Sean Tate — Senior, 6-foot-4, 230 lbs., 12.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.8 apgG — C.J. Jackson — Junior, 6-foot-1, 175 lbs., 12.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.3 apgPurdue leads the Big Ten in both scoring offense, averaging 84 points per game, and 3-point field goals made, averaging 10 per game. The Buckeyes rank sixth in the league in 3-point defense.Purdue presents a challenge to the Buckeyes defensively because of its size and the combination of both the long-range and interior offensive threats from all five starters.“They have a lot of size down low. They’re a very smart team, veteran team,” senior forward Jae’Sean Tate said. “I like their team composure. I don’t think there’s a lot of teams like that, the way they show how together they are. [Wednesday] we’re going to have to be smart about the shot selection we take and driving in with such length in the post.”But senior center Isaac Haas is one player in particular who will be difficult for the Buckeyes to defend because of his size. In the past four games, the 7-foot-2 Haas averaged 19.3 points and six rebounds per game, while shooting 60 percent from the field. Redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop said it will require a team effort to attempt to defend him.Another challenge for the Buckeyes is the road environment at Purdue. Ohio State is facing a tough Big Ten road environment for one of the first times this season, with a lot at stake.“I’m anxious to see how we perform in a very hostile environment against an elite team,” Holtmann said. “Anxious to see what we can take from that good and bad. There will be a lot of good in stuff and then a lot that we will have to continue to work on.”Holtmann compared the game preparation to the challenge of when the Buckeyes faced then-No. 1 Michigan State in December. There are some key differences, but the Buckeyes are now preparing for a battle as an underdog against a potential national championship contender.“It’s been a while since we were the underdogs and I think that’s a good thing for us. I actually enjoy being the underdog,” Tate said. “It’s been so long and we kind of got used to it. We are motivated and excited for the opportunity.”Kam Williams will not travel with teamOhio State head coach Chris Holtmann said Tuesday redshirt senior guard Kam Williams will not travel with the team to West Lafayette, Indiana, but will have his status re-evaluated Thursday. Sophomore forward Andre Wesson started in place of Williams against Illinois. “[Williams has] got class he needs to attend to tomorrow,” Holtmann said. “So he’ll be here in Columbus, finishing up work. He’s got a project and going to class.”Holtmann added he believes Williams has “accepted responsibility” and that the team expects him return to the starting lineup in “short order.” read more

Britains trout population on a knife edge as weeks of dry weather

first_imgArable farmers are particularly struggling, with crop producers describing the combination of the dry patch with cold weather the “worst of all possible worlds”.Jack Ward, Chief Executive of the British Growers Association, said: “It is getting concerning to have this amount of dry with this amount of cold. The warning came as the Environment Agency revealed four out of five rivers are at “abnormally low” levels for the time of year.Many, including in what is usually the wettest inhabited spot in England, Seathwaite in Cumbria, have been left “bone dry”.“Rivers are at extremely low levels at the moment and that has a big impact for brown trout – they’re not doing well,” said Kathy Hughes, a freshwater specialist at WWF. “Then a drought comes along and it just knocks them out.” A reservoir near Tring on the border Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire on Monday A reservoir near Tring on the border Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire on MondayCredit:SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY “Things just don’t grow. The longer seeds sit there in the ground without growing, the greater the chance of something going wrong.He said that without prolonged rain, the success of crops such as fresh peas, which are grown on a large scale making them difficult to irrigate, would be under threat this summer.However, strawberries and other summer fruits, which tend to be grown under polythene tunnels with irrigation systems, are likely to benefit from the dry conditions, according to s spokesman for producers.Guy Smith, Vice President of the National Farmers Union said: “The situation is patchy with farmers, particularly in the South and East, reporting as low as 10% of their expected March and April rainfall.“While decent rains in May and June will put many crops back on track, some crops like spring barley have clearly already lost their full potential.” It has a big impact for brown trout – they’re not doing wellKathy Hughes, a freshwater specialist at WWF Elsewhere, firefighters tackled a blaze at a thatched cottageCredit:Solent News & Photo Agency Britain’s trout population is “on a knife edge” as weeks of dry weather drains rivers to historic low levels, environmentalists have warned.The species was already faring badly due to the poor state of many UK rivers, but the driest winter and early spring in 20 years now threatens to devastate numbers across the country.The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) said parched rivers also pose a danger to other much-loved wildlife, including kingfishers, wading birds and water voles. Data from 2016 showed just 14 per cent of rivers in the UK are considered healthy, and surveys have revealed that trout are currently found in fewer than 40 per cent of the chalk rivers they would be expected to inhabit. The lack of rain has raised fears of a drought.Last week homeowners were warned to cut back on the amount of water they consume by only using their dishwashers and washing machines when fully loaded.Meanwhile firefighters reported battling more than 500 gorse fires in a single week, many of them started deliberately by made harder to control by the dry conditions. Elsewhere, firefighters tackled a blaze at a thatched cottage 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

UK weather Heatwave set for stormy end as heavy rain sweeps across

first_imgHeavy showers, which could still involve hail, are likely to push across the southern parts of England as the night progresses, starting with Dorset from around 6am.They are then predicted to move eastwards, hitting London between 8am and 10am, and clearing East Anglia by lunchtime.Further showers are also likely in Lincolnshire, where the weather warning is in place until 5pm. The wet weather is likely to make conditions muddier than many will have expected at Glastonbury Festival. 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. A 16-year-old boy died at a reservoir in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on Monday, while a 15-year-old boy died after going into a lake with friends in the Pelsall area of the Black Country, in the West Midlands, on Tuesday evening.UK weather forecast: Thursday, May 22 The sweltering temperatures placed “unprecedented demand” on ambulance services in London, with people fainting, collapsing and becoming unconscious in the heat.On Monday, London Ambulance Service call handlers answered 6,613 emergency calls, compared with 4,695 the week before – a 41 per cent increase – and the service warned this was expected to continue while the heatwave lasted.Youngsters were urged not to go swimming in lakes, rivers and reservoirs during the hot weather, following the deaths of two teenagers in separate incidents. Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkhill said: “Once these showers clear away it’s not looking too bad.”It should be a fairly fine day, cloudier than of late but there will still be some sunshine.” Most areas can expect mid to high 20s (77-82.4F) – nowhere near the sweltering 34C reached on Wednesday, the UK’s hottest June day since 1976.Heathrow in west London had recorded temperatures of 34.5C (94.1F) by 4pm, the highest for June since the 35.6C (96F) recorded in Southampton on June 28 1976.The 40-year high – which is the hottest summer solstice on record – was recorded as parts of Britain sweltered for a fifth consecutive day with temperatures above 30C (86F). Sunseekers enjoy the hot weather in Brighton on WednesdayCredit:Gareth Fuller/PA Brighton beach He added that Thursday will see a “marked drop” in temperatures, with conditions feeling fresher into the afternoon.In the far south-east corner of the UK, Kent is expected to hold on to the heat for the longest, with maximum temperatures of 27-28C (80.6- 82.4F) predicted. With the potential for severe #thunderstorms and #hail be prepared for sudden downpours today and stay #weatheraware pic.twitter.com/XwOBxVS6ZZ— Met Office (@metoffice) June 21, 2017 A band of thunderstorms is expected to sweep across the UK and put an end to its record-breaking heatwave.Severe weather warnings are in place throughout Thursday, with a cold front set to bring heavy rain and thunderstorms to parts of southern Scotland, northern England, north Wales and the Midlands.The Met Office warned of the potential for torrential downpours, frequent lightning, very large hailstones and strong gusts of wind, which could lead to localised flooding and temporary disruption of power supplies overnight until early on Thursday.last_img read more

Doting grandpa Prince Philip back in action in his first outing since

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. He missed the State Opening of Parliament, where the Queen was instead accompanied by the Prince of Wales, the final two days of Royal Ascot. The Duke and the Queen Their son Edward, Earl of Wessex, was already at the show, watching Lady Louise Windsor driving a carriage at the  British Driving Society Annual Show.Prince Philip himself was instrumental in setting up carriage driving as a sport in Britain, convening a committee to lay out international rules. He took up the sport aged 50, after giving up polo, and has regularly been photographed enjoying himself driving in Windsor. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Trooping the Colour last weekend He was admitted to a private London hospital on Tuesday with an infection, staying in for two nights before returning to Windsor to rest and recuperate.  England play Scotland in the Penny Farthing International Polo match during the Bentley Motors Royal Windsor Cup Final Lady Louise, 13, has followed in his footsteps, with her grandparents the Queen and Duke often seen supporting her along with parents Edward, Sophie and nine-year-old brother James, Viscount Severn.At the same event, visitors were treated to extraordinary scenes as England played Scotland in the Penny Farthing International Polo match.It is the first time the Duke has been out in public since his hospital stay. The Duke and the Queen Lady Louise at the Guards Polo Club Lady Louise at the Guards Polo Club England play Scotland in the Penny Farthing International Polo match during the Bentley Motors Royal Windsor Cup Final The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Trooping the Colour last weekend The Duke pulled out on an engagement at London Zoo next week, where he had been due to present the Prince Philip Award for Contributions to Zoology, but is expected to resume his official duties soon.  The Duke of Edinburgh has been photographed out in public for the first time since he was hospitalised with an infection, as he and the Queen enjoy a day out at the Royal Windsor Cup.The Duke, 96, drove his wife to the event, where their granddaughter Lady Louise was taking part in a carriage driving procession.The Duke was photographed waving to guests as he and the Queen got out of the car at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor.last_img read more

The Pope says Charlie Gards parents should be allowed to stay with

first_imgCharlie Gard with his parents They said they had been denied their final wish to be able to take their son home to die and felt “let down” after losing their legal fight.The hospital later confirmed it was “putting plans in place for his care”. Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, is being cared for at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).The little boy has been at the centre of a lengthy legal battle between his parents, who wanted him to undergo a therapy trial in the US, and specialists at the hospital who said the treatment was experimental and would not help.On Friday a picture of the couple sleeping on either side of their son in hospital was posted on their Twitter account alongside the hashtags #jesuisCharlieGard #charliesfight #letcharliegohome. Charlie Gard with his parentsCredit:PA  The couple released an emotional video a day earlier saying they had been told Charlie would die on Friday.center_img Pope Francis has called for the parents of terminally-ill Charlie Gard to be allowed to “accompany and treat their child until the end”.It comes as Chris Gard and Connie Yates are spending the last days of their 10-month-old son’s life with him, after being given more time before his life-support is turned off.In a statement, the Vatican press office said the pope “is following with affection and sadness the case of little Charlie Gard and expresses his closeness to his parents. For this he prays that their wish to accompany and treat their child until the end is not neglected”. Charlie’s plight has touched many people and the family received donations totalling more than £1.3 million to take him to the US for therapy.Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life issued a statement saying: “Dear Charlie, dear parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates, we are praying for you and with you.”He also drew criticism for saying the parents’ wishes should be respected, but that they must also be helped to understand the “unique difficulty of their situation”.Campaigners have pledged their support to the family on social media using hashtags and blue heart emoticons.Charlie’s parents, both in their 30s and from Bedfont, west London, had asked European court judges in Strasbourg, France, to consider their case after judges in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London ruled in favour of GOSH doctors.But on Tuesday the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene 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

Brain scanning could improve dementia diagnosis for two thirds of patients study

first_imgThousands of people are misdiagnosed because the NHS does not carry out routine brain scanning for people with suspected dementia  Routine brain scanning could improve dementia diagnosis for two thirds of patients, ending years of misdiagnosis, a study has found. Currently the only way to determine whether Alzheimer’s is present is to look at the brain of a patient after death.For patients who are still alive, doctors usually use special cognitive tests which monitor memory and everyday skills such as washing and dressing, but the results are often be misleading or inaccurate. Now new findings presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London show that Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans altered the diagnoses for more than two thirds people.Currently people with early stage Alzheimer’s can wait up to four years to receive a correct diagnosis because PET scans are rarely carried out on the NHS as they cost up to £3,000 a time.But PET scans show the build-up of sticky amyloid plaques in the brain which prevent neurons from communicating and eventually kill areas, wiping out memories and can help with a definitive diagnosis. “A negative brain PET scan indicating sparse to no amyloid plaques rules out Alzheimer’s disease as the cause of dementia symptoms,” said Dr James Hendrix, Alzheimer’s Association Director of Global Science Initiatives.“This makes it a valuable tool to clarify an uncertain or difficult diagnosis. Misdiagnosis is costly to health systems, and expensive and distressing to persons with dementia and their families.” Thousands of people are misdiagnosed because the NHS does not carry out routine brain scanning for people with suspected dementia Credit:Paula Solloway/Alamy  Dr David Reynolds, Chief Scientific Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK said: “Diagnosing dementia is a complex challenge, and doctors have to gather a range of clues to create a picture of what is going on in the brain.“This new research highlights that value that amyloid brain scans can bring in helping doctors make a more informed diagnosis, either by indicating or ruling out Alzheimer’s as the possible cause of someone’s dementia symptoms.“The current drive for life-changing dementia treatments means that in the future, the use of amyloid PET scans or other innovative diagnostic methods will be important to ensure that new medicines reach the right people at the right time.”center_img Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans work by picking up how good parts of the brain are at sucking up glucose, which is injected into the body bound to a radioactive tracer which can be seen on screen. Parts of the brain that are clogged up and not functioning will not light up. The new study by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden involving 135 people who had been referred for memory problems found that 68 per cent had a change in diagnosis, following the scans.A separate study led by GE Healthcare in the UK analysed data from four previous studies looking at the use of brain amyloid PET scans in the process of dementia diagnosis, combining information from 1106 people, found the use of brain amyloid PET scans led to a change in diagnosis in 20 per cent of people. Not only do scans pick up problems early, when drugs or lifestyle changes could make a difference, but they could also help reassure people who are suffering mild memory problems that they do not have the disease. 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

Oxford University scientists gave babies trial TB vaccine that did not work

first_imgThe baby trial began in July 2009 and almost half of the 2,800 infants taking part were given the new jab.In 2013, the outcome of the trial on the infants was announced and concluded that the new vaccine offered no increased protection. Professor Beverley, a principal research fellow at the University of Oxford until 2010, complained formally to the university. An inquiry was launched and concluded that although there had been no wrongdoing, it “would have been good practice for the potentially adverse reaction observed in the monkey experiment to be reported to the authorities in a more timely fashion.” Professor Helen McShane, one of the lead scientists who developed the new vaccine, has said that the purpose of the monkey study was to “test the aerosol delivery” to the animals, not to “yield safety information”. She said it was a “failed experiment” because “there was no difference “ between the groups. Prof McShane told the Telegraph that there was no delay in providing data from the monkey experiment to regulators. She said she did not think that families in South Africa were exploited and that regulators had signed off the information sheet that was given to parents.    Almost 1,500 babies in South Africa received the new jab and parents were paid in the region of £10 for taking part.The South African regulator which approved the trial admitted to this newspaper that the information sheet given to parents “could be construed as misleading”, raising questions about whether families were sufficiently informed.The scientists at Oxford who carried out the trial maintain that the jab was safe for children and that their experiment was approved by several regulators in advance. They said they followed the infants’ development for two years after the immunisation was given – a time period approved by the regulators. The monkey study that concerned Prof Beverley began in November 2006 and the application to test the vaccine in the Western Cape was submitted 18 months later.Around this time, Prof Beverley said he heard that the animals in a study had to be euthanized “rather rapidly”. All the monkeys were infected with TB, but one group was given the widely used BCG jab, a second was given no immunisation and a third was given BCG plus new vaccine.  He said people affected by tuberculosis were often poor and “not very highly educated”, making it particularly important that they were given “clear, understandable information.” Oxford University is embroiled in an ethics row after scientists were accused of questionable conduct over a controversial trial of a new vaccine on African babies.Professor Peter Beverley, a former senior academic at the university, complained that scientists planned to test a new tuberculosis vaccine on more than a thousand infants without sharing data suggesting that monkeys given the immunisation had appeared to “die rapidly”.“Certainly here in this experiment there was no evidence whatsoever that this is an effective booster vaccine,” Prof Beverley said.He claimed the information was not given to regulators when an application to do the trial was initially submitted.In the monkey study, five out of six of the animals infected with TB who were given the experimental vaccine had become “very unwell” and had to be put down.  An information sheet given to families in South Africa participating in the trial said the vaccine had been tested on animals and humans and was “safe and effective” in animals.  Professor Jimmy Volmink, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, told The Telegraph the information sheet did not appear to reflect the evidence from the monkey study, which was “not right”.center_img She added that the monkey trial contained a “limited” number of animals and Professor Beverley was “disgruntled”.South African Medicines Control Council, which was one of the regulators who approved the trial, said that a “large body of data” – apart from the monkey experiment and which included previous human trials – was considered as part of the approval process.  They also said that the monkey experiment was “not a trial of the vaccine in monkeys” and that “there was no suggestion that the vaccine was unsafe in the monkeys or that it had caused disease or death”However, when asked about the information sheet that was given to parents, the regulator said, “In retrospect the information on efficacy achieved in the animal studies could be construed as misleading”, although the “evidence of safety in the previous human studies was fairly reported”.  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

First polar bear cub born in UK for 25 years

first_img“It is testament to the commitment and professionalism of our team and hugely exciting.”At RZSS we believe we have a duty to help protect this magnificent species, with the reduction in sea ice, the polar bear’s primary seal hunting platform, predicted to significantly reduce numbers over the next 40 years.”Our polar bears are part of the European Endangered Species Programme and we hope Victoria’s offspring will survive to reinforce the captive population, which may be needed in the future to augment and help restore a markedly reduced and fragmented wild population.”The last polar bear cubs born in the UK were twins at Flamingo Land in Yorkshire in December 1992.Victoria, born in Germany in 1996, previously gave birth at Aalborg Zoo in Denmark in 2008.She arrived at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park in March 2015. The first polar bear cub born in the UK for 25 years is being monitored at a Scottish wildlife park.The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) said its resident female polar bear Victoria has given birth at the Highland Wildlife Park.The charity described the birth as an “outstanding achievement” but stressed that the first three months can be perilous for polar bear cubs, both in the wild and in captivity.Staff at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, at Kincraig near Kingussie, confirmed the birth after hearing “high-pitched sounds” from Victoria’s maternity den.It is the first time a polar bear cub has been born in the UK for a quarter of a century, the organisation said.However, the RZSS said photographs and videos of the new cub were not available as filming is not possible near the polar bear enclosure for animal welfare reasonsUna Richardson, the park’s head keeper responsible for carnivores, said: “We first heard promising noises in the week before Christmas and these have now continued into the new year. “While we are absolutely thrilled, we are not celebrating prematurely as polar bear cubs have a high mortality rate in the first weeks of life due to their undeveloped immune system and the mother’s exaggerated need for privacy, with any disturbance risking the cub being killed or abandoned.”We will continue to monitor Victoria and very much hope for the best possible news when she emerges around March.”Until then, Victoria’s enclosure will be closed to the public and keeper activity will be at a minimum to give her offspring every chance of survival.”New-born polar bear cubs are blind, around 12in (30cm) long and weigh little more than a guinea pig, the charity said.They only open their eyes when they are a month old and are entirely dependent on their mother, feeding on fat-rich milk to grow quickly, weighing between 22lb (10kg) and 26.5lb (12kg) by the time they leave their den.The polar bear breeding season began in March last year, during which Victoria mated with Arktos, one of the park’s two males.Arktos and Walker, the other male bear, remain on view to visitors to the attraction.Barbara Smith, RZSS chief executive, said: “The birth of the first polar bear cub in the UK for a quarter of a century is an outstanding achievement which will arouse interest around the world. “Because we don’t have sight inside her cubbing box we can’t be sure if Victoria has had more than one cub but we can confirm the birth. File photo issued by the Highland Wildlife Park of polar bear Victoria, who has given birth to the first polar bear cub born in the UK for 25 years at the Scottish wildlife parkCredit:PA File photo issued by the Highland Wildlife Park of polar bear Victoria, who has given birth to the first polar bear cub born in the UK for 25 years at the Scottish wildlife park 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

Mystery pornography troll targets Church of England primary school staff in yearlong

first_img Kirsty Pellant is a victim of the trollCredit: STIAN ALEXANDER  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. A mystery pornography troll has targeted Church of England primary school staff in a year-long hate campaign.Workers’ pictures have been taken from social media and used to create false profiles on pornography websites and adult escorting profiles.At least three staff have been targeted at St John’s in Canterbury, in Kent, with one profile claiming the woman “would consider implied and fully nude roles.”The profile added: “Also private movie producers as well as commercial as i have already starred in several private movies.”One of the victims is the school’s head of welfare and inclusion, Kirsty Pellant, who said she has been left traumatised by the online posts.Her name has been posted on scores of adult websites, with captions such as “Slutty teacher Kirsty Pellant.” They have been discovered on adult websites headed with her name and featuring videos of a woman who looks similar to her as well as images that have been digitally manipulated. On the fake profile, which lists her age as 33, from Canterbury, it states “been on stage in several productions in local area. First nude role due in September”.Police have been investigating for a year to uncover who is behind the malicious campaign against employees. But since the first report of harassment in February 2017, no suspects have been identified. Head teacher Jo Warnock said: “This is online bullying and will not be tolerated. We are absolutely desperate to find out who is responsible and to see them prosecuted. “It’s also important for children to know that it’s not right and we do something about it. It is extremely distressing for the staff involved and their families.”We are working hard to continue as normal as we do not want to see such a malicious person affect the education of the children.”Police said the investigation into harassment of staff at the school is ongoing. Kirsty Pellantcenter_img Some links have been shared on Facebook by parents, forcing the school to warn those circulating them they could face prosecution for making malicious communications.Ms Pellant, 37, who has been working at the school since 2012, said the damaging posts first started appearing in 2016.Her distress intensified in recent weeks with fresh posts appearing online being shared on Facebook in residents’ groups with as many as 23,000 members. She said: “It’s been a horrible year. The impact on me personally can’t be overstated. I could have crumbled because it has been so shocking and upsetting, but I have to keep fighting.”I have made it my mission to take down as many of the posts as possible, but they keep appearing and it’s a long and arduous task.”It’s scary, and I have no idea what the motivation behind it is but it has hit me hard and I shouldn’t have to go through this.”Of course I worry that some people might think it’s true, but all the parents I have spoken to have been very supportive.”She has the full support of the school, Kent County Council and the school governors who have written to all parents telling them about the “malicious and unfounded” attacks, urging them not to share images or links. Ms Pellant said she was distressed by what had happenedCredit:Stian Alexander  Kirsty Pellantlast_img read more

Bitcoin can be halal mosque declares as it becomes the first in

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. Zayd al Khair, a religious adviser at the mosque, said: “Any money or currency is neither halal – permissible – nor haram – impermissible. “Guidance is about the value which it represents.  If money is transacted in a lawful manner then it is halal. “We do not always know the source of cash donations, but we take these in good faith too.” It has received advice from Shoreditch startup Combo Innovation, a blockchain company which focuses on Islamic finance.The money is used to carry out repairs at the mosque, offer help to families who are struggling to pay funeral costs and shelter and feed the poor.  Bitcoin is acceptable in the eyes of Allah, a mosque has declared, as it becomes the first in the UK to accept cryptocurrency donations. Religious advisers at the Masjid Ramadan in Dalston, east London, have said the currency is halal if it is “transacted in a lawful manner”. There has been significant debate about cryptocurrency in the Muslim world, with figures including the Mufti of Egypt suggesting it is haram, or forbidden, because it is used by some for illegal activity. Because of its anonymous nature bitcoin has become associated with buying drugs and other unlawful items online. But the mosque has declared that Muslims can use it for their Ramadan donation, known as zakat. Muslims are meant to give away 2.5 per cent of their wealth to charity during Ramadan, an annual donation which is compulsory for all but the poorest Muslims. The mosque, also known as Shacklewell Lane Mosque, will accept donations in two different cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum.  read more

School boys are making rape jokes in bid to score lad points

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.  Four in ten boys see offensive "memes" daily “I think you have got the groups of students who are just looking to perhaps get lad points, or to entertain, to engage,” Ms Robertson said.”And then I think you have actually got another group of students who don’t necessarily have the intention of upsetting, offending, being disrespectful.”But where this is such a normalised behaviour, and where they don’t tend to get the upstanders in the group, who just leave or say ‘I don’t feel comfortable saying this’, where so many of them do just sit back and watch it, it’s OK – it gives them a sense of this is just how things are today.”  Four in ten boys see offensive “memes” daily She said that children tend to share racist and sexist jokes in private group messages over social media sites such as What’s App and Instagram.But just one group member could take a screenshot of the conversation and reveal its contents to a wider audience, she added. School boys are using memes and social media to make rape jokes in a bid to score “lad points”, headteachers have been warned.More than a third (36 per cent) of 11-18 year-old boys have shared racist or homophobic pictures, more than double the amount shared by their female peers, according to a poll of 20,000 children.The survey, commissioned by the organisation Digital Awareness UK (DAUK) and Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), found that four in ten boys see offensive memes daily.Emma Robertson, co-founder of DAUK, said that the memes – which could be images, videos or text that are spread online – range from fat-shaming to jokes  about the Holocaust, rape, slavery or comparing black people to animals.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Speaking at the HMC annual conference in Manchester, Ms Robertson told headteachers of the country’s leading schools that teenagers must be careful about sharing these memes online as well as reacting to them. read more

Measles Half a million UK children unvaccinated amid fears of public health

Measles vaccination Meanwhile in the first three months of 2019, more than 110,000 measles cases were reported worldwide, up almost 300 per cent on the same period the year before.The United States recorded 695 cases of measles in 2019, the most of any year since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000, health authorities said on Wednesday. Andrew Wakefield's fraudulent Lancet paper sparked a worldwide scare Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent Lancet paper sparked a worldwide scareCredit:Paul Grover “However, due to ongoing measles outbreaks in Europe, we will continue to see cases, particularly in unimmunised individuals.”This could lead to some spread in communities with low MMR coverage and in age groups with very close mixing.”Measles can be extremely serious, so make sure you and your family are protected.” Public Health England data shows the proportion of children in England receiving the MMR vaccine by the age of two fell to around 80 per cent in 2003.Professor Akbar said a significant proportion of measles cases last year were in teenagers and young adults who were not vaccinated when younger.“If you or your child has missed out on the benefits of vaccination, it’s not too late to get immunised,” he said. “Don’t regret it by waiting to catch one of these diseases.”Globally, 85 per cent of children received their first dose in 2017 and 67% got the second dose.Unicef said the rates reflected “lack of access, poor health systems, complacency, and in some cases fear or scepticism about vaccines”. An estimated 110,000 people, most of them children, died from measles in 2017 globally, a 22 per cent rise on the previous year.Professor Arne Akbar, President of the British Society for Immunology, said: “Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can lead to very serious complications, including death.“Because the measles virus spreads so easily between individuals, it’s vital that a high percentage of the population is vaccinated to block this spread.“The World Health Organisation state we need 95 per cent coverage.” Mr Stevens described vaccine rejection as a “serious and growing public health timebomb”.“With measles cases almost quadrupled in England in just one year, it is grossly irresponsible for anybody to spread scare stories about vaccines, and social media firms should have a zero tolerance approach towards this dangerous content,” he said.Coverage for MMR at two years decreased in 2017-18 for the fourth year in a row, the lowest it has been since 2011-12, which marked the high point of the recovery from the Wakefield scare.Anti-vax conspiracies have gained traction again in recent years, however, fuelled by social media and endorsement from celebrities such as Jim Carrey and Robert de Niro.The new Unicef research places Britain third worst among 10 high-income countries for the number of children left unvaccinated, estimated to be 527,000.Only in the US, where approximately 2,593,000 youngsters are not vaccinated, and France which has 608,000, is the situation worse.In 2017 there were 259 measles cases in England, rising to 966 in 2018. Symptoms of measles can be sore, red eyes, high temperature and spots on the inside of the cheeks, while serious complications involve pneumonia, fits and diarrhoea. More than half a million British children are unvaccinated against measles, new figures show, as the head of NHS England challenged social media giants to block “grossly irresponsible” anti-vax propaganda. Sites such as Instagram and YouTube should adopt “zero tolerance” regimes, Simon Stevens said as Unicef data revealed the UK to be among the worst high-income countries for uptake of the jab.The new data, which tallies children left unvaccinated between 2010 and 2017, follows a steep rise in measles cases in England last year.The hike is thought to be a direct result of the drop in vaccinations that followed the publication of fraudulent research linking the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) jab to autism by the disgraced British doctor Andrew Wakefield in 1998.Vaccination coverage among children reaching their second birthday in England is now 91 per cent, with just 87 per cent receiving the second dose by their fifth birthday.This falls below the 95 per cent coverage experts believe is necessary to achieve “herd-immunity”, where outbreaks are effectively unable to spread. Mary Ramsay, Public Health England’s head of immunisations, said: “The UK achieved WHO measles elimination status in 2017, so the overall risk of measles to the UK population is low. MMR take-up has fallen below ‘herd immunity’ levels in the UKCredit: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. read more