FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver traveled to Australia to play in the Aussie Millions Poker Championship. While he was there, he spoke to Fairfax Media about tics, tells and “playing the math.”,FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver traveled to Australia to play in the Aussie Millions Poker Championship. While he was there, he spoke to Fairfax Media about tics, tells and “playing the math.”
Mariano Rivera, the closer extraordinaire who tore his ACL during last season, could reach a new agreement with the New York Yankees before next week’s winter meetings, according to ESPNNewYork.comThe Yankees are “hopeful” for a new deal, the website reported a source familiar with the negotiations indicated.With Andy Pettitte about to sign a new contract for nearly $11 million, the Yankees are aiming to finish Rivera’s new contract soon so they can focus fully on figuring out right field and catcher. Rivera, who turns 43 on Thursday, made $15 million last year. He did not finish the season after tearing ligaments in his right knee in May.Rivera, after some consternation, has already informed Yankees general manager Brian Cashman that he plans on returning. Cashman and Rivera’s agent, Fernando Cuza, have been discussing the parameters of a new deal. Rivera is expected to sign a one-year contract in what could be the final season of his career.At catcher, the Yankees’ first choice is Russell Martin, but thus far the two sides are way apart. The Yankees are willing to give Martin, 29, a multi-year contract to return. A source said that Martin’s initial asking price was four years and $9-10 million per season.A source said Texas, Seattle, Pittsburgh and Boson have all shown interest in Martin. Martin’s agent, Matt Colleran, said Monday that Martin has visited multiple cities to feel out his comfort level. Colleran declined to say which teams.Besides Mike Napoli, whom the Yankees are not in on, the other top catcher on the market is A.J. Piernzynski. He, too, is expected to receive a multiyear deal.Besides catcher, the Yankees also must figure out right field for next season. Nick Swisher is not expected to return. Ichiro Suzuki’s agent told the New York Post that Ichiro’s first choice is to return to the Yankees. Ichiro could be the Yankees’ right fielder with Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner holding down the other two outfield spots. The Yankees have discussed moving Granderson to left and Gardner to center.In the midst of each of his negotiations, Cashman is trying to restructure the team’s payroll to drop under $189 million by 2014. This has been mandated by owner Hal Steinbrenner to take advantage of opportunities to reduce luxury tax payments in the new collective bargaining agreement.
Once, Black college sports were all the rage. The players with the most talent and creativity went to historically Black colleges and that was that. Then integration hit in the mid-1960s, and slowly but sadly, the Black athlete began to consider it the thing to do by playing somewhere else. Soon, Black colleges saw a drop in star athletes coming to their schools. Soon, the lure of play at a majority college took over and Black colleges were left, in many cases, stagnant and troubled.Talent FledOnce integration hit and coaches at major colleges suppressed their biases, they used the freedom they had to recruit the players they had long admired from afar at Black colleges. They used the inducement of having better training facilities, playing in front of much larger crowds and exposure to the NFL as enticements … and the Black athletes gradually began turning away from historically Black colleges and universities.
Houston Texans12 Kings8220 Kevin Love threw more 50-foot outlet passes than any NBA team Warriors8222 Hawks8218 OAKLAND — For the Cleveland Cavaliers to upset the heavily favored Warriors for the second-straight year, a lot of things will need to fall into place. Their defense, maligned throughout the regular season, will need to perform far better than it has all year. They’ll have to figure out who’s responsible for covering Golden State superstar Kevin Durant. Cleveland also has to get something out of its bench, especially since the Warriors have been a lackluster team when they often choose to rest Durant and Stephen Curry at the same time.But above all else, winning the title may come down to something Cleveland figured out by the end of last year’s NBA Finals: The best way to beat the Dubs is to score on them quickly, before Draymond Green and his teammates can set set their stingy defense.Cleveland was 4-1 in the Finals last year when it managed to post 15 fast-break points or more. The Cavs averaged 20 points in transition in their Finals wins, up from the the 12 points they averaged in Finals losses. And while the Warriors are solid defensively in transition, they’re far less impactful during the first six seconds of the shot clock1They rank 11th out of the NBA’s 30 teams in opponent’s effective field-goal percentage during the first two seconds of the shot clock, and sixth in the league during the four seconds after that. But they rank within the top four of each shot-clock scenario — early (15 to 18 seconds left), average (7 to 15 seconds left), late (4 to 7 seconds left) and very late (0 to 4 seconds left) — after those first six seconds pass.than they are later in a possession, when they have time to ruin offensive sets with their length and versatility. So, short of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving simultaneously going supernova the way they did toward the end of last year’s series, getting early looks will be key for the Cavs.In other words, the Cavaliers’ best offense might be to rely on Kevin Love’s uncanny ability to launch 65-foot passes down the court after each Golden State miss. Seriously.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/loveoutlet_170531_short.mp400:0000:0001:20Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.During the regular season, Love successfully threw 24 outlet passes2Defined as a pass someone threw — and that a teammate caught — immediately after grabbing a defensive rebound. that traveled at least 50 feet, according to an analysis run by STATS SportVu data analyst Brittni Donaldson at FiveThirtyEight’s request. To put that into context, that’s more than any individual NBA team had this past season. The number becomes more ridiculous when you consider that Love missed 22 games due mostly to a February knee injury. Includes passes that traveled 20 yards in the air before being caught during 2016-17 NFL and NBA regular seasons. Doesn’t include plays on which a receiver’s run after the catch helped push it past the 20-yard mark.Sources: STATS SportVu, ESPN Stats & Info Bulls8219 Includes any 50-foot pass thrown and completed immediately after a player recorded a defensive rebound during the 2016-17 regular season.Source: STATS SportVU Los Angeles Rams17 TEAM/PLAYERCOMPLETIONS THAT TRAVELED 20 YARDS Kevin Love17 San Francisco 49ers13 Denver Broncos16 To be sure, Love is like any other QB in that he needs to connect on his long pass attempts and avoid turnovers. His attempts can occasionally land in the hands of defenders when he’s off the mark — or in the second row when’s really off the mark. He committed five turnovers while making outlet passes during the course of the regular season, according to a play-by-play analysis run by STATS SportVu.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/loveoutlet8to.mp400:0000:0000:15Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/loveto2.mp400:0000:0000:09Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Love, in a past interview with The New York Times, said that he honed the skill in part by watching film of Hall of Famer Wes Unseld, an unusually gifted outlet passer who played with Love’s father, Stan, during the 1970s. In the piece, Love said he undergoes a quick mental calculation after grabbing a defensive board, concerning where his teammates are. But the math becomes pretty easy if he sees James running down the floor. “If I see LeBron with any sort of advantage,” he told Times reporter Scott Cacciola, “I’m going to throw it.”If the Cavs are smart, they’ll look down court for more leak-out opportunities in this series. Love is completely comfortable finding James, as they have been the NBA’s top outlet tandem the past couple years. They led the league with 12 connections this year3The next closest pairing, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, had seven., and had a league-best 17 last year, per STATS SportVu. (Love-to-James led NBA tandems with the most long outlet passes, and James-to-Love tied for second place, with seven times.) Love also hit Irving, Smith and ex-teammate DeAndre Liggins with multiple 50-foot outlets this year.Regardless of whether the Cavs are capitalizing on long outlets, however, the more important objective is to run whenever possible. Pushing the pace and finding quick hitters will help the Cavs catch the Warriors off balance — like they did here when Love missed a 3-pointer about four seconds into the shot clock.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/finalsexample3.mp400:0000:0000:15Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The shots won’t go down in every instance. But getting good, clean looks against this Warriors team is hard. And the task only gets harder the longer you wait to break them down. There’s reason to believe Cleveland can make use of this strategy against the Warriors in particular. Love and the Cavs cleaned the defensive glass very well against Golden State during this past regular season, limiting the Warriors to an 19 percent offensive-rebound rate that, over the course of a full campaign, would have ranked near the bottom of the NBA (The Warriors offensive-rebound rate jumped to 27 percent with Love off the court, a figure that would have put Golden State right near the top of the league in the statistic).Because the Warriors take a lot of long jumpers, in some ways they’re more susceptible to two things: Having longer rebounds off the rim and having perimeter defenders several steps closer to the opposing basket. Only seven teams allowed more 50-foot outlet passes than the Warriors this past season.This was on display during Game 7 of the Finals last year. Watch as Cavs swingman J.R. Smith leaks out after briefly challenging Steph Curry’s 3-point try. After a long rebound, LeBron James — who tied for the second-most 50-foot outlet passes in the NBA this year with 11 — in one fluid motion finds Smith racing down the floor for an easy layup.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/finalsexample.mp400:0000:0000:11Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.It should go without saying, obviously, that Cleveland needs to do far more than simply push the ball after the Warriors miss. They need to actually force the misses first; a task that becomes a lot tougher now that Durant is in a Warriors uniform. And it’s unclear yet whether Love will be good enough defensively, particularly against Golden State’s quickest and best shooting groups, to be on the court as much as he’d otherwise be.Beyond that, Love’s ability to find open receivers streaking down the court makes him the NBA’s answer to an NFL quarterback. In fact, when it comes to connecting on long passes, he was better than several actual NFL quarterbacks this season. Love’s 17 “completions” that traveled 20 or more yards in the air were more than five NFL teams across a 16-game season (the sad-sack Cleveland Browns across town were not in this group — barely). Kevin Love completed more 20-yard throws than some NFL teams Kevin Love6024 Jacksonville Jaguars13 Baltimore Ravens13 TEAM/PLAYERGAMES PLAYED50-FT OUTLET PASSES COMPLETED
Things That Caught My EyeUnpatriotic defenseThe Patriots offense has been great, as usual, but their defense is on pace to be the worst NFL defense since 2006. Looking at expected points added (EPA) per game, the Patriots have been coughing up 12.2 points per game and allowing an average 116.5 passer rating. [FiveThirtyEight]Lynx v. Sparks, Part II: Revenge of the LynxPrior to Wednesday, both the Lynx and Sparks scored exactly 908 points in their past 12 games — going back to the start of last year’s finals. The Lynx had won five and the Sparks seven, including last year’s title. But Minnesota won the latest round of this intense rivalry with a 85-76 victory over Los Angeles to win the Game 5 championship of the WNBA finals and seal their fourth title in seven years. [ESPN]Hockey has started!Dom Luszczyszyn over at The Athletic ran a massive fan poll to determine what NHL fans thought about the forthcoming season. Based on the wisdom of the crowds, Pittsburgh’s favored by 16 percent of respondents to repeat, followed by the Nashville Predators (11 percent chance to win), Washington Capitals (10 percent) and Tampa Bay Lightning (10 percent). [The Athletic]Dak could use a raiseCowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who is still on his rookie contract, is making $540,000 in 2017. For prospective, Matthew Stafford of the Lions makes Dak’s entire salary in 10 game minutes, Mike Glennon of the Bears’ bench made it in 32 minutes of game, and Jay Cutler of Miami took only about 52 minutes of game time to make Dakbucks. [ESPN]Bring your child to work day gets a little too real in CalgaryJaromir Jagr, the 45-year-old who’s the second all-time point scorer in NHL history, signed a one-year contract with the Calgary Flames for $1 million and another million in bonuses. Jagr will be playing alongside the son of a player he was drafted alongside in 1990, and 10 team members were not born when Jagr won the Stanley Cup in 1991. [SportsNet Canada]Cleveland has hope again, ughThe MLB postseason is underway, with the Yankees defeating the Twins and the Diamondbacks defeating the Rockies in the wild card games. Cleveland is most favored to win the World Series — we give them a 26 percent chance of doing so — followed by the Dodgers, Astros and Nationals. [FiveThirtyEight]Big Number6 NBA ChimerasOnly six teams in the past 25 seasons have had three players with at least 25 percent usage over the course of the season: the 2016-17 Warriors, 2016-17 Cavaliers, 2008-09 Mavericks, 2007-08 Spurs, 2001-02 Bucks and 1999-2000 Bucks. This year between Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, the Minnesota Timberwolves may very well join that club. [FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slackwalt:Want that 400 word Post about my Jets Browns bet for Friday? Can file tomorrowgfoster:Yeah for sure. Does the Jets being half decent screw it up? I guess not…walt:Nahwalt:They’re also half not decentPredictions MLB Oh, and don’t forgetWatch the most delightful man in New York — with correct feelings about the Eagles — crush it at Jeopardy See more MLB predictions See more NFL predictions NFL We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe All newsletters
Mariners71-91Robinson Cano2014-23240.0 Losing teams are often willing to payLargest contracts signed in MLB history Machado’s deal exceeded many expectations. On the eve of free agency in November, the FanGraphs crowd predicted a deal of 8.6 years on average at $273 million for Machado. In January, when asked again, the crowd’s prediction fell to 7.9 years and $233 million, a 15 percent drop in dollars.Padres chairman Ron Fowler is now a big-spending outlier for a second straight offseason. The Machado deal comes almost exactly a year after the Padres signed Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million deal. (The Padres hope for far more than Hosmer’s replacement-level, -0.1 WAR debut season, according to the FanGraphs metric.) And like Hosmer, Machado could have some of his offensive numbers decline by playing in what is typically a pitcher’s park.The Padres did figure to have some financial flexibility, finishing last season ranked 22nd in payroll. Machado’s record deal should pause the offseason talk of tanking and collusion at least for a few news cycles.The Padres are trying to compete with the Dodgers, who appear set for sustained success in the NL West. They now indisputably have what they tried to purchase last year with Hosmer: a centerpiece to build a lineup around. While Machado can hit for power, hit for average and capably play the field, he’s not one for sprinting. Much was made of Machado’s lack of urgency last postseason, when he said hustling is not his “cup of tea” after appearing to not run out a ground ball in Game 2 of the NLCS at Milwaukee:Some speculated that his lack of hustle could cost him in free agency. But $300 million later, that thinking seems misguided. And there’s reason to believe the lack of hustle is not a recent development or much of a major concern as it relates to his overall value.In 2017, Statcast began measuring a metric called “sprint speed,” which consists of two measurements: home-to-first times on weakly hit ground balls and speed when advancing two or more bases (except for instances when a runner was on second base at the time of an extra-base hit). Tigers95-67Prince Fielder2012-20214.0 Reds90-72Joey Votto2014-23225.0 Angels85-77Albert Pujols2012-21240.0 Signing ClubPrev. season recordPlayerYearsGuaranteed dollars Red Sox78-84David Price2016-22217.0 Source: Cot’s Baseball Contracts Rangers71-91Alex Rodriguez2001-10252.0 Machado’s top speed, 26.3 feet per second, was the same in each of the past two seasons and up slightly from 2016 (26.1 second). Machado averaged 27.4 seconds in 2015, the first year Statcast cameras tracked player movement. His sprint speed split times, including his initial burst — his first 5 feet (0.55 seconds) — were also the same in each of the past two seasons.One debate entering this offseason was whether Harper or Machado was the better free-agent bet. But what Machado offers that Harper does not, in addition to consistency, is the ability to play on the left side of the infield.After playing shortstop last season, when he was the third-worst defensive shortstop in the game, Machado figures to transition with San Diego back to third base, where he has been elite. Machado has ranked as above average in defensive runs saved in every year he has played third. He was second in baseball in defensive runs saved in 2013 (35), trailing only Andrelton Simmons. He won Gold Glove awards at third in 2013 and 2015.The Padres made a big push late in the offseason to sign one of the best free agents of all time. And even it at record dollar amount, it will be worth the cost if it coincides with the young Padres coming of age. Marlins75-85Giancarlo Stanton2015-27325.0 Tigers74-87Miguel Cabrera2016-23248.0 Yankees94-68Alex Rodriguez2008-17275.0 The San Diego Padres may have surprised some on Tuesday when they reached a record-setting agreement with Manny Machado — ending a lengthy wait for a star free agent — but the match is an ideal fit for the club and player. Machado will receive the biggest deal ever for a free agent, while a club that is traditionally not a big spender and hasn’t reached the postseason since 2006 will add an in-his-prime, superstar-level player to play alongside one of the most enviable collections of young talent in the sport.Machado’s overall production and youth make him one of the most appealing free agents in baseball history. The former Oriole and Dodger has produced the 26th most wins above replacement among position players through age 25 in baseball history (33.8), according to Baseball-Reference.com. For comparison, fellow 26-year-old free agent Bryce Harper is 41st (27.4). And of those players ranked ahead of him, Alex Rodriguez was the last player who was younger when he entered the open market — coming off his age 24 season in signing with the Texas Rangers in 2001.In signing for a reported $300 million over 10 years, Machado will break Rodriguez’s 11-year-old record ($275 million) for a free-agent contract set in 2008, his second mega-contract.1Giancarlo Stanton’s $325 million, 13-year contract extension with the Marlins was the largest deal overall. The deal is also the largest free-agent pact in North American pro sports history. Machado’s agreement includes an opt out in the fifth year.As the Rangers and Rodriguez did with his first free-agent deal, the Padres and Machado prove that not all major contracts are signed by clubs coming off winning seasons, looking for an extra push to get them a title. The Padres recorded 96 losses a year ago and were projected by FiveThirtyEight entering Tuesday to win 73 games this season.Of the 12 previous contracts exceeding $200 million in baseball history, six were awarded to players by teams with losing records the previous season: Giancarlo Stanton (contract extension) with the Marlins in 2015, Rodriguez with the Rangers in 2001, Robinson Cano with the Mariners in 2014, David Price with the Red Sox in 2016, Miguel Cabrera with the Tigers in 2016 (contract extension) and Zack Greinke with the Diamondbacks in 2016. Only Greinke and Price have reached the playoffs with their signing teams, and the Padres are in a much stronger position than any of those clubs. Padres66-96Manny Machado2019-28300.0 Nationals96-66Max Scherzer2015-21$210.0m Dodgers92-70Clayton Kershaw2014-20215.0 San Diego has Baseball America’s top-rated farm system, including consensus top-five prospect Fernando Tatis Jr., who figures to slot in at shortstop next to Machado in the not-too-distant future. The Padres have a number of other potential future stars and contributors in prospects like Mackenzie Gore (pitcher), Luis Urias (middle infield), Francisco Mejia (catcher), Adrian Morejon (pitcher), Chris Paddack (pitcher) and Luis Patino (pitcher).And if Machado makes good or exceeds his 5-WAR forecast for the coming season, perhaps he can help the Padres creep into the postseason picture even sooner. Machado has produced at least 5.7 WAR in four out of his past five full seasons2He put up 2.3 WAR in his injury-shortened 2014. and has played in at least 156 games five times since 2013. The four-time All-Star has averaged 31 home runs per 162 games and has won two Gold Glove awards at third base.Baseball America editor J.J. Cooper speculates that the Padres could further accelerate their timetable by trading for veteran pitching: Diamondbacks79-83Zack Greinke2016-21206.5
Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer is calling the competition for the Buckeyes’ starting right tackle job a “battle,” but that word seems too strong when you hear the players involved discuss the matter. Senior tight end-turned-lineman Reid Fragel is opposed in his pursuit of the starting position by freshman Taylor Decker. Fragel said he doesn’t begrudge Decker for opposing him, nor does Decker wish to supplant the Buckeyes’ three-time letter-winner in cold blood. Quite the opposite – they’re supporting each other in the competition and both players said they plan to keep it that way during OSU football’s annual media day Sunday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Meyer said he isn’t satisfied with either players’ performance so far and noted their position as one of the weaker ones on the entire team, as well as one of few ongoing position battles. “One guy is learning how to play (the position) and one guy is a freshman,” Meyer said during OSU’s media day. “They’re trying hard. They’re talented guys. They’re great people, but our production at right tackle isn’t where it needs to be.” For Fragel’s part in the bout at the right tackle, he volunteered to change positions after Meyer was hired for OSU’s coaching job in November. “I knew when coach Meyer came in, his offensive philosophy was different from (former OSU coach Jim) Tressel,” Fragel said. “Being a pro-style tight end, I knew I couldn’t fit in as a spread tight end. I also knew I had some blocking ability and size to work with.” For his offer to switch positions – an act some might consider selfless and for OSU’s betterment – Fragel was rewarded with a fight for playing time with Decker, a 6-foot-10, 310-pound first-year player from Vandalia, Ohio. The players have formed a bond through their competition, though – Decker even disclaims every positive remark about himself with an equally positive nod to the elder linesman he is fighting for playing time against. “I feel like I know that offense really well, not that Reid doesn’t. Reid knows the offense really well,” Decker said. “I try to study well and come off the ball hard, and, I mean, Reid does those things well also.” Fragel, who pulled in five catches for 64 yards in 13 games during the 2011 season, agreed with Decker, saying “whatever” to anyone that thinks of the players’ competition as a battle. In fact, Decker is routinely aided by Fragel in practice – some battle, indeed. “We don’t avoid each other or anything like that,” Fragel said of their off-field relationship. “It’s not like two gunslingers walking past each other. I definitely try to help him out.” It seems unlikely this friendly competition will end in the kind of football training camp brawls that receive national attention this time every year. By the end of camp, one player will be slated to see significantly more time on the Ohio Stadium turf than the other. Both players appear happy to defer to the other, though, and Fragel said it’s what’s best for the team. “At the end of the day, Taylor’s a great player,” he said, “and the way it should be in any system is the better player will play.” You might say Decker agreed with Fragel, but you could also argue “agreed” isn’t strong enough verbiage in the same way “battle” doesn’t accurately describe the players’ competition. “Reid’s a great player. He’s obviously a tremendous athlete, being a tight end and everything,” Decker said. “I would love to be able to play… but I love (Fragel).” OSU opens the 2012 season Sept. 1 against Miami (Ohio). The game is scheduled for a noon kickoff at the Horseshoe.
Courtesy Walt Middleton Photography / provided by OSU athletic departmentThe top-ranked Ohio State rowing team made history Sunday morning at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, becoming the first team to win an NCAA title in program history.First-place finishes in both the first varsity four and second varsity eight as well as a third-place finish in the first varsity eight left the Buckeyes with 126 points, two better than runner-up California.The win makes OSU the first Big Ten team to win an NCAA team title in rowing.“It’s hard to put into words what it means to win a national championship,” said OSU coach Andy Teitelbaum, in a press release. “The NCAA Championship is a tremendous regatta every year. To be able to walk out of here with the NCAA Championship is unbelievably gratifying and really speaks to the athletes who’ve had a great year.”The Buckeyes’ first varsity four started the day by winning its second consecutive NCAA title. The squad of Taylore Urban, Sara Handa, Chloe Meyer, Aina Cid-Centelles and coxswain Dara Schnoll crossed the finish line in a time of 7:08.26, just ahead of USC (7:11.02) and Washington (7:12.03).OSU’s second varsity eight was next in line to race, finishing with a time of 6:27.86, ahead of California (6:29.89) and Brown (6:30.14). The crew of Daphne Socha, Katie Beletskaya, Silvia De Matteis, Stephanie Johnson, Nicole Becks, Lauren Eckles, Samantha Fowle, Catherine Shields and coxswain Amanda Poll earned its first ever NCAA Championship with the victory, closing out the season with a perfect 12-0 record.The first varsity eight boat of Katie King, Cori Meinert, Eelkje Miedema, Ashley Bauer, Meghan Birkbeck, Allison Elber, Holly Norton, Claire-Louise Bode and coxswain Victoria Lazur placed third in its final competition of the season with a time of 6:23.19. California (6:23.19) and Princeton (6.22.59) finished the competition in first and second, respectively.In women’s sports, Ohio State has only seen championship wins in pistol and synchronized swimming, which are not NCAA sports, making this the school’s first women’s NCAA Championship victory.
Freshman attackman JT Blublaugh (9) looks for an open teammate during a game against Robert Morris Feb. 1 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. OSU won, 11-7.Credit: Ryan Robey / For The LanternWith the preseason wrapping up and the regular season set to get underway, the No. 9 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team faces a stiff test right off the bat.The Buckeyes are set to travel to Baltimore Sunday to take on No. 13 Johns Hopkins to start their season and ECAC title defense.The Johns Hopkins Blue Jays are looking to start the 2014 season with a signature win after a year where they failed to make the NCAA tournament for the first time in 42 years, the longest active streak of any Division I team in any sport.However, OSU coach Nick Myers said he knows traveling to Homewood Field is not an easy task, and the Buckeyes are going to have to be ready from the first faceoff.“Our kids are going to go in there and know that there’s a great challenge that lies ahead,” Myers said. “For us, right now in February, we know there’s still a lot to work on … we’re hoping we can settle into the game and play 60 minutes of Buckeye lacrosse.”The Blue Jays are returning one of the nation’s most prolific offenses — finishing tied for No. 14 for in the nation with 11.5 goals per game in 2013 — centered around junior attackman Wells Stanwick and senior attackman Brandon Benn.Stanwick, a 2013 Honorable Mention USILA All-American, led Johns Hopkins in points last season with 47 while Benn led the Blue Jays in goals with 34.OSU senior defenseman Joe Meurer said the key to containing the potent Blue Jays offense is sticking to the fundamentals.“It’s just sticking to our keys … having a lot of good communication, good sliding and playing good off-ball defense,” Meurer said. “I think everything will fall into place for us.”OSU features a balanced squad led by two preseason first-team All-Americans in Meurer and junior midfielder Jesse King. King is the Buckeyes’ leading returning scorer after totaling 55 points for the 2013 squad that won the ECAC tournament championship.The Buckeyes’ preseason schedule leading up to Johns Hopkins consisted of three exhibition games against Hill Academy, Navy and Robert Morris. OSU went 2-1 in the three contests, with their only loss coming at the hands of Navy, 15-11, Jan. 25.Meurer said the exhibition games were important for the Buckeyes to get time on the field against real opponents.“It helps us identify a lot of our weaknesses and what we need to work on,” Meurer said. “We were playing really good talent in Navy and Robert Morris, so we definitely gained good experience from the games.”Senior defenseman Darius Bowling said the key for the Buckeyes Sunday is to continue to play at the level they are capable of and not let Johns Hopkins control the game.“I think it’s just playing within ourselves,” Bowling said. “We’ve got to stick to our scheme, trust each other, and trust what we’ve been doing all fall and through the preseason.”Sophomore attackman Carter Brown, who missed all three exhibition games for an undisclosed reason, practiced this week for the Buckeyes and Myers is hopeful he is able to take the field Sunday.“We liked seeing him on the practice field for the first time,” Myers said. “Right now, it’s a wait and see, but it’s certainly nice to have him back.”Game time is set for Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
OSU then-junior offensive lineman Jamarco Jones (74) blocks Rutgers redshirt junior Darnell Davis (59) during the Buckeyes game against the Scarlet Knights on Oct. 1. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorSeveral offensive linemen in the Ohio State football program have likened their approach to strengthening and reshaping one another to an assertion in Proverbs: Iron sharpens iron.If that is the case, and OSU’s offensive line wholeheartedly believes it is, then expect the Buckeyes’ pass protection to be much improved in the upcoming season. Every day in spring practice, the OSU offensive line challenges itself, dropping back to protect the passer against the highly touted Rushmen package.“We look forward to having that challenge,” said redshirt senior center Billy Price. “We look forward to going against those defensive line guys every single day. Because, again, I got the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year (redshirt senior defensive end Tyquan Lewis) across from me all the time. I got guys who are going to be on the first-team Big Ten list this year.”The Rushmen are led by Lewis, who led OSU with eight sacks and 10.5 tackles for losses. He is joined by defensive ends redshirt junior Sam Hubbard, senior Jalyn Holmes and sophomore Nick Bosa.Price said he believes that not only could all four start for any college team in the nation this season, but that each could be first-round picks in the 2018 NFL draft.“If that doesn’t get us better, then, oh boy,” Price said.Last season, OSU allowed 28 sacks, an average of 2.15 per game. This tied it at 68th in the nation with Florida, Arkansas State, Boston College and Kentucky.The pressure on redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett was even more noticeable when compared to the 18 sacks the Buckeyes gave up during the 2015 season.“I mean, it’s hard to not mention it, just because that’s not our culture around here, you know?” said senior left tackle Jamarco Jones.Price feels the pressure to improve in pass protection immediately.“Unfortunately, it’s never something you can just avoid and just kind of say, ‘Ah OK, it’s no big deal,’” Price said. “It’s something that you have to continue to work on, and that’s something that we acknowledge.”Pass-protection problems contributed to OSU’s first loss last season, 24-21 to Penn State. “Offensively, we didn’t control the line of scrimmage. (Barrett) was under pressure all night when we threw it,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said following the Penn State game.Price said he sees the correlation between the loss and offensive line issues and believes there is causation between the two factors.“As you saw, in games that we struggle as a team, the offensive line struggles,” he said. “In games that we absolutely dominate and blow people out, the offensive line is just dominating and blowing people out.”Two days after the loss to the Nittany Lions, during a press conference, Meyer had to affirm junior right tackle Isaiah Prince would be keeping his starting job. The first-year starter had come under fire after giving up multiple pressures and a sack on the offense’s final, futile drive. But a few months later, Jones sees Prince progressing in practice and believes he will be a key kog in the offensive line.“He’s having a great spring right now. He’s battling his tail off — we all are,” Jones said.Even some on the defensive side of the ball noted Prince has stood out.“Isaiah’s improved a lot, especially from y’all talking about him a lot,” said redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones.Price noted this will be Prince’s and sophomore left guard Michael Jordan’s second seasons as starters, and he expects them to make a steep improvement.“There’s a lot more continuity and chemistry within the offensive line as the guys going from one year to two years now, and I think you’ll be able to see that,” Price said.One of the only offensive line spots lacking continuity is right guard. With Pat Elflein heading to the NFL, Price slid over to the middle of the line while a group of linemen battle for his former spot to the right of the center.“Demetrius Knox is running with the ones and Malcolm Pridgeon is still learning the offense, but Matt Burrell is probably one of the most improved offensive lineman at this point and the other guys are much improved as well,” Meyer said.Knox replaced Jordan in the Fiesta Bowl after he went out with an ankle injury. Pridgeon missed last season with a knee injury.No matter who wins the starting right guard spot, Jamarco Jones said he knows the unit up front must take a step forward to live up to the high expectations placed upon it.“And that was the thing last year, we didn’t have a year that was acceptable for Ohio State O-line,” Jones said. “We got to have a chip on our shoulder to get back to where we were before.”
Penn State junior cornerback Grant Haley (15) returns a blocked field goal for a touchdown as OSU senior punter Cam Johnson (95) chases after him in the second half of the Buckeyes game on Oct. 22. The Buckeyes lost 24-21. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo EditorOhio State’s 31-16 Week 2 loss to Oklahoma Saturday night places immense pressure on the Buckeyes. To have a chance of reaching the College Football Playoff for the third time since it was created four years ago, Ohio State will likely have to go undefeated for the remainder of the season. In order to do that, the No. 8 Buckeyes (1-1) will have to upset No. 5 Penn State (2-0), the team that took down then-No. 2, undefeated Ohio State 24-21 last October. Prior to defeating the Buckeyes last season, the Nittany Lions had not defeated a ranked team since coach James Franklin took over the program in 2014. Since that game, the Nittany Lions have only lost one game, a thrilling 51-48 defeat at the hands of USC in the Rose Bowl. Ohio State, on the other hand, has never looked the same, especially on offense.Calls for Dwayne Haskins or Joe Burrow to replace J.T. Barrett at quarterback have increased. The offense, which many presumed would change under new co-offensive coordinators Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day, looks similar to last year’s.Fortunately for Ohio State, it has time on its side. The Buckeyes don’t play the Nittany Lions until Oct. 28, after a bye week and face off against lesser-talented squads that game. Games against Army (Sunday), UNLV (Sept. 23), Rutgers (Sept. 30) and Maryland (Oct. 7) will test Ohio State’s in-season improvements. It is unlikely that any of those teams will upset the Buckeyes, but they offer opportunities for the Scarlet and Gray to improve.In the meantime, the Nittany Lions are hitting their stride, having decimated Akron 52-0 and dominated in-state rival Pittsburgh 33-14.OSU then then-redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber (25) carries the ball during the first half against Penn State on Oct. 22. The Buckeyes lost 24-21. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo EditorPenn State quarterback Trace McSorley and Heisman Trophy-candidate running back Saquon Barkley returned to power an electric offense that returned nine starters, including four offensive linemen. Tight end Mike Gesicki, a preseason first-team All-American who was named to the Mackey Award preseason watch list, has caught a team-high 10 passes and four touchdowns in the first two games of the year.Given Ohio State’s unstable, inexperienced pass defense, which has surrendered 806 passing yards in the first two games of the season, a McSorley-led offense might have a field day against the Buckeyes. Ohio State stuffed Indiana and Oklahoma’s run games in the first two weeks. However, Barkley has dominated the Buckeyes, averaging 7.7 yards per carry, in the past. As a freshman against Ohio State, he took 26 carries for 194 yards. Last season, he ran 12 times for 99 yards.On the other side of the ball, Ohio State’s offense will have a second chance to win the battle up front. After last season’s game, coach Urban Meyer pinpointed the offensive line not being able to hold off Penn State’s ravenous front seven as the reason for the loss. This means junior right tackle Isaiah Prince will have a shot at redemption after the Nittany Lions turned him into a turnstile a year ago. Beyond just the players currently on the field, Penn State will have a chance to make history.The Nittany Lions might be favored to win its second game in a row against Ohio State for the first time since 1980, when the Nittany Lions took down the Buckeyes 31-19 in the Fiesta Bowl.But Ohio State also has history on its side. A Meyer-coached team has lost to an in-conference opponent in back-to-back seasons only twice in 17 years, and that hasn’t happened since he was named Ohio State head coach.Whichever team wins the battle between classic Big Ten powers on Oct. 28 will gain an edge in the battle to win the East Division. And if Penn State wins, Ohio State will likely be kept from a conference championship for the third year in a row.
OSU coach Urban Meyer prepares to lead the Buckeyes onto the field before the OSU- Army game on Sep. 16. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignOhio State head coach Urban Meyer released a statement on Twitter on Friday that said he knew about allegations involving former wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Smith in 2015, and that he took appropriate action at the time.pic.twitter.com/wrlRi9jtZz— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) August 3, 2018In the statement, Meyer said that he has “always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures” when he has learned about incidents, and that he “did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015.”Meyer also commented on his previous statements that he made during Big Ten Media Days last Tuesday, where he had said he “was never told about anything” regarding that 2015 incident.“I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media, and I apologize for the way I handled those questions,” Meyer said in the statement.This statement comes two days following allegations made by former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy that Meyer knew about domestic violence incidents on Smith made by his ex-wife, Courtney, but that Meyer did nothing about it.Ohio State then put Meyer on paid administrative leave and formed an independent board to continue the investigation.The team held its first fall camp, but all practices are closed to the media, with the team anticipating that it would have an update on August 6.
Police also believe he has connections to as many as 500 of the 850 young British Muslims, who have travelled to Syria to join the ranks of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).Choudary was eventually prosecuted after swearing an oath of allegiance to Isil and posting YouTube videos in which he praised the murderous group. But there have been questions about why it took the authorities so long to prosecute Choudary, with some suggesting the law was not adequate. Choudary with one of the Lee Rigby killersCredit:BBC News The security services repeatedly prevented Scotland Yard from pursuing criminal investigations against hate preacher Anjem Choudary, it has been claimed.Met counter-terror officers often felt they enough evidence to build a case against the radicalising cleric, only to be told to hang fire by MI5, because he was crucial to one of their on-going investigations, a source has claimed.The situation led to tension between the two sides with police feeling “frustrated” that Choudary was not being brought to justice, the source added.After almost 20-years at the forefront of radical Islam in Britain, Choudary was finally convicted of a terrorism offence last month and faces up to ten years in prison when he is sentenced on September 6.But following his conviction it was revealed that the 49-year-old former lawyer had been linked to at least 15 terror plots dating back as far as 2001. However one counter-terrorism source, who investigated Choudary on numerous occasions, insisted the decision not to prosecute him had come from the security service, MI5.He said: “I am gobsmacked that we allowed him to carry on as long as long as he did. He was up to his neck in it but the police can’t do full investigations on people if the security service say they are working on a really big job, because they have the priority.“That is what they did constantly. While the police might have had lots of evidence they were pulled back by the security service because he [Choudary]was one of the people they were monitoring.“It was very frustrating and did cause some tension but we were told we had to consider the bigger picture.”Security expert Will Geddes said while the police and security service had a good record of working together, there was often a difficult balance to strike between prosecuting evidence and gathering intelligence.He said: “Whilst the cops always want the collars the spooks want the information and it is a challenge getting the right balance“Choudary was certainly clever and knew where the line was and that was part of the reason it took so long to get him, but it was certainly possible that MI5 wanted to continue to monitor him because he was the focal point of so much.“Given how influential he was in terms of setting up the forums for those guys to get inspired, it made perfect sense for the intelligence agencies to say ‘we haven’t exhausted this yet’.“In the end though he got caught because he believed his press too much and he got carried away with his own media profile.” Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute, said: “Intelligence officers have to generate leads somewhere, so if you have got a kind of honeypot that is Anjem Choudary and every nutter in the UK is gravitating towards him and from there you just trail them and follow them, you can see how it’s doing your job for you in some ways.“There is undoubtedly an element of security folk who work in the intelligence side who would probably see this as something that is potentially quite useful.”But he said he believed the authorities had always intended to convict Choudary as soon as they had a strong enough case to take him out.He said: “I feel like there was a desire to do it, I think Anjem was just very careful about what he said and how he said it and he made sure he never associated himself specifically with the plot.“Was it possible that the agencies were like ‘Let’s focus on the guys actually making bombs rather than the guy who is loosely somewhere in the background, let’s focus on him later’, that’s possible, but I would be very surprised if you found a directive somewhere in [MI5] or somewhere else that said ‘Don’t touch him because he’s more useful out there than he is inside.’” Scotland Yard counter terror officers had been pursuing Choudary for more than a decadeCredit:Matt Dunham/AP 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.
MAST in front of HMS BelfastCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley 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. MAST has been built for the MoD’s defence laboratories and is based on an existing Bladerunner speedboat, but fitted with sensors and robotic technology that is still largely classified.The boat has a sophisticated anti-collision system to avoid hazards and other craft, but current laws meant that when it was unveiled on the Thames, it had to have a human coxswain on board.While the MAST is only a test platform for new technology and will not enter service as it stands, sources said it could it pave the way for future robots vessels that can track, shadow or spy on other craft as well as loitering off coastlines.Elizabeth Quintana, director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, said the Navy was looking at unmanned vehicles to take on “dull, dirty, and dangerous” jobs. The speedboat can be programmed to operate and navigate entirely on its own.Credit:Heathcliff O’Malley A drone speedboat that could pave the way for a Royal Navy robot fleet of high-speed reconnaissance and surveillance vessels has been unveiled by defence scientists.The 34ft boat can skim across the waves at more than 50kts to track high speed targets, while navigating and dodging other ships without the control of a human.Naval commanders believe the Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) could herald a robot fleet of high-speed craft packed with sensors to carry out spy and scouting missions. She said robot speedboats could also prove useful for protecting warships such as the new aircraft carriers from swarms of attacking speedboats like those deployed by the Iranian navy in the Gulf.But she said military chiefs were hesitant about arming unmanned vehicles.She said: “The real issue is the public perception and the nervousness that some in the military might have and the potential legal challenges.“The use of unmanned systems to deliver lethal force is still extremely controversial. It’s facing all sorts of legal challenges, so I think going down that road is quite difficult.”The Navy has already used unmanned vehicles for surveillance and for hunting for underwater mines.Earlier this year it announced its three-year-old fleet of ScanEagle drones which has tracked drug gangs, pirates and people smugglers would be axed, and cost-cutting means there is no budget for replacements.The ScanEagle aircraft, which was described by the Ministry of Defence as “crucial” and “game-changing” when it was bought in, will leave service next year.Exercise Unmanned Warrior will next month (OCT) see defence scientists try out competing maritime drones to see what they can offer the Navy in areas such as reconnaissance and surveillance, submarine hunting and mine detection. The unarmed test craft is one of 40 prototypes to be tested by the Royal Navy in a major robot war game off the coast of northern Scotland in October.The dawn of unmanned vehicles is likely to have the same revolutionary effect on naval warfare as the birth of flight and aircraft carriers, according to the navy’s Fleet Robotics Officer.Cdr Peter Pipkin said: “This is a chance to take a great leap forward in maritime systems – not to take people out of the loop but to enhance everything they do, to extend our reach, our look, our timescales, our efficiency using intelligent and manageable robotics at sea.”
Soaring numbers of maternity units are turning mothers in labour away, with some closing their doors every week amid overcrowding, new figures show.Statistics from the Royal College of Midwives reveal that the average unit temporarily closed on eight occasions last year – almost twice the figure from the previous year.Overall, almost four in ten maternity units closed their doors last year – including one which did so 50 times. In total, there were 281 such closures last year, its report found. As a result, women who were booked into local maternity units have been forced to travel more than 60 miles. In the last year, 99 women due to give birth at maternity units at Cambridge University Hospitals Trust had to have their babies in towns, including Norwich, Ipswich, Watford and Colchester.Staff shortages and rising numbers of births saw the trust’s maternity units closed for more than three and a half days, Freedom of Information disclosures reveal.In Chester, women due to give birth had to travel to hospitals up to 32 miles away in north Wales. The RCM said the closures were being fuelled by staff shortages at a time when midwives were coping with increasing numbers of complex births, with rising numbers of older and obese mothers.Its report was based on a survey of heads of midwifery across the UK, with two in five warning of staff shortages.Cathy Warwick, RCM chief executive, said it was “astonishing” that units were being forced to close so often, as they became overloaded. “We are seeing senior midwives describing services that are being battered by increasing demands, inadequate resources and staffing shortages,” she said.”These results show that midwives have never been so challenged in their ability to continue to provide high quality care for women and their families.Earlier this week the union said staff shortages were driving midwives out of the NHS, with fears of “tragic mistakes” by those left looking after 15 mothers and babies at a time.In a speech to the RCM’s conference in Harrogate, Ms Warwick said Brexit could see the loss of 1,000 midwives working here from elsewhere in the EU. She called on the Government to provide assurances that such staff could stay. “If the UK Government decides they cannot stay, England would go from being 3,500 midwives short to almost 5,000,” she told midwives. A Department of Health spokesman said: “We want midwives to feel that they have enough time and support to give good care. That’s why there are over 1,800 more midwives on our maternity units since 2010, as well as 6,400 currently in training, with our changes to student funding creating thousands more training places by the end of this parliament.” 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.
An air ambulance takes off after Pamela Gower plunged to her death in Shotton CollieryCredit:Tom Banks/i-Images Ian Rosenvinge, the owner of Peterlee Parachute Centre told the inquest that Ms Gower had specially made kit to fit her frame, which she had bought from the United States. He passed on condolences to her family, who questioned if too much time had passed between each of her sky dives. Recording a conclusion of misadventure, Mr Tweddle said: “The deceased suffered from dwarfism and was an experienced diver who had done jumps in Spain and in the UK.” He went on to say that Ms Gower was “properly prepared” to do the jump. “She attempted a barrel roll,” he added. “She didn’t recover from this and went into a high speed spin. Her stature meant it was more difficult for her to recover from the spin and she was unable to do so. She lost consciousness. “Her back-up parachute deployed correctly, but she suffered fatal injuries when she hit the ground.” The coroner said he would write to the British Parachute Association to call for a review of rules surrounding the amount of time learners can take between jumps and Mr Butler told the inquest the review was already under way. Her stature meant it was more difficult for her to recover from the spin and she was unable to do soAndrew Tweddle, senior coroner Ms Gower, from Hebburn, in South Tyneside, jumped on her third chance, but while attempting a “barrel roll” manoeuvre she went into a high-speed spin and lost control. County Durham Coroner’s Court heard that video footage captured of the fatal jump showed Ms Gower trying to deploy the parachute two or three times.But the G-force from the spin, greater than that experienced by a fighter pilot, was too strong. Ms Gower was an employment adviser at the Newcastle branch of charity Remploy, which supports disabled people into work. Ms Gower had a specially adapted harness because of her restricted height, the coroner heard.She was found on a road at a housing estate close to an airfield at Shotton Colliery where her plane had taken off from, close to the Peterlee Parachute Centre. Tony Butler, chief operating officer at the British Parachute Association, told the court he thought that it would be more difficult for Ms Gower to stabilise herself in the air by “arching” because of her dwarfism. He said: “I think it would make it more difficult. Part of arch is to extend your limbs and as she has short limbs it would be difficult.” A charity skydiver with dwarfism who plunged 15,000 feet to her death had twice pulled out of a solo jump with modified equipment just hours before the fatal fall, an inquest heard.Pamela Gower had gone up in a plane with her instructor Michelle Meakins, but told her “my mind wants to do it, but my body doesn’t” just hours before she took part in the deadly dive. The 49-year-old, described at the inquest as an experienced skydiver, was planning to jump from the plane not holding on to the instructor on September 10 this year. Her instructor had encouraged her, telling her: “I know it’s nerve wracking, but you don’t need me to hold onto you.” Pamela Gower, pictured on holiday at the Taj Mahal in India, was described as an ‘experienced skydiver’ Credit:Evening Gazette Senior coroner Andrew Tweddle said: “So what we have is exceptional circumstances affecting a diver who is partially trained and because of her unique stature that made it difficult for her to recover through the arching technique. “It’s a combination of things all going wrong at the same time that led to the fatal outcome of this situation.” Giving evidence, Ms Meakins said she had become good friends with Ms Gower and described her as “very determined”.Although Ms Gower had completed sky dives in Spain, Ms Meakins insisted that she went back over old ground and practised with her at a wind tunnel before agreeing to take her on as a student. She said: “For my own peace of mind as an instructor I wanted to fly with her in a wind tunnel and take on board myself that she was satisfactory to fly. She achieved that.” 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 Notting Hill Carnival should be cancelled because of the number of police officers who are attacked at the event, the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation has suggested.Ken Marsh, who leads the rank-and-file group, said it is a “disgrace” that police officers were attacked with blood and bottles.The Bank Holiday weekend event in west London saw 28 police officers injured, with bottles and other objects thrown at them, blood spat at them and a potentially acidic substance thrown at them.Mr Marsh said: “What other event would be allowed to carry on regardless with so many police colleagues under attack?” The Carnival takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekendCredit:Tim Ireland /AP Police hold a man during the second and final day of the Notting Hill Carnival Credit: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. The Metropolitan Police Federation represents 32,000 officers in London. Mr Marsh said he would be taking the issue up with every level of the Met and the London Mayor’s Office.Some 313 arrests were carried out as of 10pm on Monday, the Metropolitan Police said, many relating to drugs and offensive weapons. Police officers at the Notting Hill CarnivalCredit:EPA “There are now so many officers being injured every year at the carnival – with more than 40 last year and let’s not forget that an officer was stabbed in 2015. What other event would be allowed to carry on regardless with so many police colleagues under attack?” More than a third of the arrests – 112 – were for drugs offences, while there were 58 arrests for possession of an offensive weapon or knife/blade, 37 public order arrests and 17 common assault arrests. Some 14 arrests for sexual offences were also carried out, while 17 arrests were made for assaults on police officers.Police seized a number of knives and batons, CS spray and a hammer. In another incident, three people reported “skin irritation” not thought to be serious, while two more were hurt in a subsequent stampede, when a “mild acidic liquid” was thrown over a number of people near Ladbroke Grove on Sunday evening. No arrests have yet been made in connection with it.The number of arrests is so far lower than last year, when more than 450 people were arrested across the two days of festivities. He said he suspected the true figure of officers injured on duty during the two-day carnival will end up being more than 28 – the number released by the Metropolitan Police on Monday night.In a statement he said: “The Met have put out a statement saying 28 of our colleagues were injured over the weekend at the Notting Hill Carnival. As almost a matter of fact. As if this is the norm. As if this is acceptable.”It is none of the above. It is a disgrace. Twenty-eight brave colleagues went to work this weekend and were attacked for just doing their job. This is not normal. This is not acceptable.
Delays in the application process for army recruits has seen thousands of would-be troops drop out altogether, it was reported last night.Over 100,000 tried to sign up but only 7,500 became soldiers, according to The Sun, with a typical application taking around 300 days to be completed.It leaves the army facing a potential shortage in troops, with it currently 4,000 soldiers short of the 82,000 it is supposed to have. Every year, it needs to hire 10,000 to make up for the numbers leaving.The Ministry of Defence hired business outsourcing firm Capita in 2012 to help run recruitment for the army.Some of the reasons why the backlog occurred in the process of hiring new soldiers was to do with extensive background and medical checks. However, around a third of applicants every year are turned away for being too old, too unfit or for failing educational standards. Some 101,854 tried to join in the 12 months to September last year, but only 7,441 were successful. In the same period 9,718 left – the second consecutive year where the number of people leaving outweighed those signing up.Former Army chief General Lord Richard Dannatt attacked the failure to meet recruitment targets.He told the newspaper: ““I’ve heard of a number of people who have been trying to join the Armed Forces and got fed up at the length of time it takes. The system is too complicated, the Army knows the previous system was better and would like to go back to it. “The reason why it’s not being done is because it’s too expensive.“The Army at 82,000 has never been smaller since modern records have been kept. At 78,000 we’ve hugely undershot the current level – which itself is too small. Ten years ago it was 102,000.”An Army spokesman said: “The huge demand to join the Army is to be welcomed and our new recruitment campaign and fitness app means thousands of people are applying.”We are working hard to speed up the process so recruits who meet our world class standards can start their training as soon as possible.” Former Army chief General Lord Richard Dannatt says the system was “too complicated” Credit:Ben Birchall/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.
The authors urge Theresa May to consider the “animals who have suffered a lifetime in tiny barren cages, often driven insane by neglect”. In a letter to the Sunday Telegraph, which is also signed by Twiggy, Sue Perkins and Ricky Gervais, the group questions: “if fur is too cruel to produce in this country, it’s too cruel to sell in this country.” Dame Judi Dench, Sir Andy Murray, Joanna Lumley and 27 other celebrities today call on the Government to use trade freedoms after Brexit to ban all fur imports. “It is from animals who have been brutally electrocuted or gassed, and sometimes even skinned alive. It is from animals caught and left for days in barbaric leg-hold traps. They endure all of…