September 30, 2019 | | Post a Comment

During warmups prior to Tuesday night’s Houston Rockets game, center Dwight Howard and Rockets mascot Clutch the Bear had an unofficial contest to see who could be the first to hit an over-the-back halfcourt shot, with Clutch pulling off the surprise upset.Howard could probably use his warmup time more productively by focusing on his free-throw shooting, but he didn’t need to for this game against the Boston Celtics. Howard compiled another double-double of 10 points and 11 boards helping the Rockets open the game on an 18-1 run and had a 40-18 lead after the first quarter, improving to 8-4 on the season.The Rockets have won three in a row after Tuesday’s 109-85 defeat of the Boston Celtics. read more

September 30, 2019 | | Post a Comment

Tiger Woods, the golfer who lives for major championships and who is on a quest to topple Jack Nicklaus’ record victories, will miss his second consecutive major this year. The U.S. Open at Pinehurst is out for Woods.His surgically repaired back has not recovered enough for him to compete in next month’s event in two weeks, a blow to Woods and his ambition to increase from 14 his number of major championship victories. Nicklaus has 18.“Unfortunately, I won’t be there because I’m not yet physically able to play competitive golf,” Woods said via his website. It’s the sixth major he will be sidelined due to injury. “I’d like to convey my regrets to the USGA leadership, the volunteers and the fans that I won’t be at Pinehurst.“The U.S. Open is very important to me and I know it’s going to be a great week. Despite missing the first two majors, and several other important tournaments, I remain very optimistic about this year and my future.”Woods has not played since the WGC-Cadillac Championship on March 9. He had surgery to alleviate a pinched nerve in his back on March 31, causing him to miss the Masters for the first time in his career.Since winning the 2008 U.S. Open — the last of his 14 major titles — Woods has missed four other majors, two that year following knee surgery, and two in 2011 after knee and Achilles injuries.With his inactivity, Woods has dropped to No. 3 in the world behind Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson.Last week at the Quicken Loans National media day, Woods gave no indication of a return to the PGA Tour.“There’s no date, there’s no timetable, just taking it day by day and just focusing on trying to get stronger and come back,” he said at the Congressional Country Club on May 19. “I want to play today, but that’s just not going to happen. So just taking it step by step.”The Quicken Loans Tournament benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, and it is just two weeks after the U.S. Open. The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool — where Woods won in 2006 — is five weeks after the U.S. Open.Woods called Nicklaus on Wednesday morning to express his regrets over not being able to compete at this week’s Memorial Tournament, hosted by Nicklaus, which Woods has won five times.“It was a very, very nice call, wishing me well [with] the tournament, sorry he couldn’t be here,” Nicklaus said. “He said he’s doing well, progressing well, and he’s looking forward to getting back into the game. He misses it.” read more

September 29, 2019 | | Post a Comment

More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight Embed Code It only took 108 years, but our sports podcast Hot Takedown finally got to discuss a Chicago Cubs World Series win. We break down the strange managerial decisions in Game 7, discuss whether this year’s Cubs or the 2004 Boston Red Sox are Theo Epstein’s crowning achievement, and FiveThirtyEight’s Oliver Roeder joins us to discuss the legacy of this year’s Cubs team.

September 29, 2019 | | Post a Comment

Ivica Zubac00002020-1.9+2.30.4 Paul George014022036+2.9+1.54.4 PLAYERPGSGSFPFCTOTALOFF. +/-DEF. +/-TOT. +/- Jerome Robinson021003-0.4-0.9-1.3 Mfiondu Kabengele000459-2.4+0.4-2.0 Maurice Harkless00711018-0.8+1.30.5 Expected wins:59.0 9Thunder+1.1+2.2+3.149.51587 Kawhi’s Clippers should be among the West’s bestProjected full-strength regular-season depth chart for the 2019-20 Los Angeles Clippers, based on CARMELO plus/minus ratings Jerome Robinson0460010-0.4-0.9-1.3 Lou Williams12900021+2.4-3.3-0.9 Montrezl Harrell00032427+0.7+0.61.3 The new-look Philadelphia 76ers check in as the league’s most talented team, though the Houston Rockets (remember them?) aren’t far behind — assuming they aren’t torpedoed by their reported chemistry problems. The Clippers are firmly in the next tier of teams, those projected for roughly between 52 and 55 wins of talent, a group that also includes the Lakers, Warriors (remember them?), Bucks, Nuggets and Jazz.There are also reasons to think that the numbers above are underrating the Clippers’ true power.We’ll put aside questions about whether Los Angeles will really have a barely average defense — the metrics have disagreed with the eye test for years about the quality of Kawhi’s D — and instead focus on what might make these Clippers more formidable in the playoffs. For starters, we’ve added a new feature to CARMELO that accounts for players who routinely improve in the playoffs, and Leonard’s rating gets a major shot in the arm in that regard. Plus, many of the low-rated Clippers in the depth chart above see their minutes fall off in our playoff projection, rewarding L.A. more than most for having an extremely solid top seven in their rotation. Check out how many of their poorly rated players (in pink) see a major drop-off in minutes for the team’s full-strength playoff depth chart: Rodney McGruder6230011-1.1-1.2-2.3 Team total Team total 8Jazz+1.4+3.0+4.352.31615 Landry Shamet02090029+2.0-1.50.6 Rodney McGruder11400015-1.1-1.2-2.3 176ers+2.5+5.2+7.660.01700 Landry Shamet01690025+2.1-1.50.6 Ivica Zubac00002121-1.9+2.30.4 CARMELO’s way-too-early 2020 regular-season rankingsFull-strength regular-season rankings for the Top 10 2019-20 NBA teams according to FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO player projections and current depth charts 240+6.4+1.07.4 7Nuggets+3.9+0.6+4.552.61618 Patrick Beverley25000025+0.7+0.31.0 3Lakers+1.8+3.6+5.554.91643 10Pelicans-0.1+2.7+2.648.01572 6Clippers+4.6+0.6+5.354.21635 Terance Mann014005-1.7-0.6-2.3 4Warriors+2.7+2.6+5.354.51639 Dear NBA Diary,Well, so much for the speculation that Kawhi Leonard would join the Los Angeles Lakers (or stay with the Toronto Raptors). After the Los Angeles Clippers stunned the NBA by signing Leonard and trading a massive haul of picks for Paul George, everybody is still trying to figure out exactly what just happened to the NBA in the wee hours of Saturday morning.For starters, the Clippers vaulted themselves into the championship conversation thanks to the superstar combination of Leonard and George, plus the solid group of complementary players L.A. mostly retained around them. Here’s what our CARMELO projections (and depth-chart algorithm) think of their full-strength regular-season roster: EXPECTED MINUTES PER GAMEPLAYER RATING Montrezl Harrell00012223+0.8+0.71.4 Team ratings have not yet been rescaled to account for an average offensive and defensive rating of 0.0. Lou Williams17700024+2.3-3.4-1.1 The better Clippers should play a lot more in the playoffsProjected full-strength playoff depth chart for the 2019-20 Los Angeles Clippers, based on CARMELO plus/minus ratings Paul George017915041+2.9+1.54.4 CARMELO thinks the Clippers will go from giving 60 of their 240 minutes per game to negative (below-average) players during the regular season to 42 during the playoffs, which means the Clippers will be rolling out at least four above-average players most of the time in the games that matter the most.That still isn’t enough to make them West favorites in the system’s eyes, but the Clippers are now solidly in the discussion — and give or take a few moments of peak Lob City hype, that hasn’t been true for this franchise basically ever before. Patrick Beverley25000025+0.6+0.30.9 240+4.6+0.65.3 That projected CARMELO rating of 1635 would be good for about 54 wins per 82 games, and it ranks sixth in the NBA. On the one hand, that’s a huge improvement over last season, when the Clippers finished with a 1496 CARMELO that ranked 17th in the league. Then again, it also might sound underwhelming compared with early reports that Vegas bookmakers had shifted their odds to make the Clippers 2020 NBA championship favorites.But in terms of regular-season projections (using full-strength rosters),1But excluding players such as Kevin Durant who are known to be injured for all or most of the 2019-20 regular season. things are just very wide-open at the top of the league right now: 2Rockets+5.5+2.2+7.859.81698 Expected wins:54.2 CARMELO team rating:1688 Terance Mann000000-1.7-0.6-2.3 PLAYERPGSGSFPFCTOTALOFF. +/-DEF. +/-TOT. +/- 5Bucks+2.1+3.2+5.354.51638 EXPECTED MINUTES PER GAMEPLAYER RATING Keep track of the chaotic NBA offseason with our Free Agency Diary. Kawhi Leonard002210032+2.7+0.43.2 Mfiondu Kabengele000044-2.4+0.4-2.0 Kawhi Leonard002413037+3.2+0.94.0 RkTeamOFF. +/-DEF. +/-TOTal +/-Exp. WinsCARMELO Maurice Harkless00217019-0.9+1.20.3 CARMELO team rating:1635 read more

September 28, 2019 | | Post a Comment

INDIANAPOLIS — If there’s one thing that’s become almost painstakingly clear about the Indiana Pacers this season, it’s that they’re an acquired taste among basketball fans.Unless you’re from the state of Indiana, chances are you’re not going to find this club all that sexy. In a league flush with pace, dunks and threes, the Pacers rank near the bottom in all three. Their franchise player, high-flying All-Star Victor Oladipo, went down with a devastating, season-ending injury in January, supposedly ruining whatever chance the club had of making a deep playoff run — if it could even finish the job and reach the postseason to begin with.But focusing on what the Pacers don’t have, or won’t accomplish, might make you miss something important: Indiana possesses perhaps more grit than any NBA team.Of course there are two concerns with a statement like that. First, as numbers-heavy as we are at this site, we couldn’t quite come up with anything to measure the Pacers’ heart (although we pieced together a number of things to make a solid argument). Second, and perhaps more important for the time being: For all the heart Indiana possesses, looking at the team’s recent results might lead you to believe the struggling team is on life support.Before their home win here over the Pistons on Monday night, the Pacers had lost seven of their past eight and were coming off a dismal 4-10 record in March, by far their worst month of the campaign. They’ll head into Detroit on Wednesday in the midst of a 10-game road-losing streak — concerning for a team in danger of falling to the fifth seed and losing home-court advantage in the first round.Aside from a much tougher schedule lately (of those 10-straight road defeats, nine have come to teams that will make the playoffs),1This rationale might comfort Pacers fans. But if Indiana can’t beat playoff-caliber teams on the road anymore, that probably speaks volumes about the team’s prospects of making it out of a second-round series, if it even gets that far. Indiana has struggled to generate consistent offense in Oladipo’s absence. The team logged just 106.5 points per 100 possessions during the month of March, the league’s fourth-worst scoring attack during that span, according to NBA Advanced Stats.More and more, the Pacers’ hardscrabble offense has been putting too much pressure on the team’s third-ranked defense. Before Oladipo’s injury ended his season, Indiana was 16-12 when giving up 100 points or more. But since he left the lineup, and the team’s margin for error shrank immeasurably, the Pacers have gone just 6-17 when surrendering 100 or more.Understandably, the team was a mess immediately after Oladipo’s injury, which required him to be carried off on a stretcher before the home crowd. General manager Kevin Pritchard gave an emotional rallying cry in the locker room after the game, reminding the players that they’d gone 7-4 without Oladipo already this season (as opposed to 0-7 the season before) and were still 5 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents with him off the floor. But that didn’t stop Indiana from falling into a season-worst four-game skid. Adjustments were needed.“It’s a totally different thing to play those 11 games without him when you know in the back of your mind that you’re going to get him back healthy,” coach Nate McMillan said of Oladipo, who was also an All-NBA defender. “But after the injury, we knew he wasn’t coming back. So we had to change everything [in our offense] and hit the reset button.”That meant shifting from a relatively open system — one that often encouraged players (especially Oladipo) to take midrange shots if opponents sagged off — to one that’s more heavily synchronized. Indiana has tripled its number of ball screens for Bojan Bogdanovic,2Since February, Bogdanovic has gotten a ball screen 12.7 times per 100 possessions — up from just 4.2 per 100 possessions prior to Oladipo’s injury, according to data from Second Spectrum. giving him a downhill advantage to set up open teammates if and when defenses collapse into the paint.With more playmaking responsibilities, Bogdanovic has upped his scoring average from 16 points before the Oladipo injury to almost 22 per game since then. He and Wes Matthews, who signed with the Pacers after being bought out following the trade deadline, have replaced the vast majority of Oladipo’s shot attempts. Thaddeus Young’s play has been noteworthy, too, as he has basically doubled his assist average since Oladipo went down. All three players factored into Indiana turning things around in February, winning eight of nine — albeit against suspect competition.Effort has been one of Indiana’s defining traits, both this season and in previous years. After posting that 0-7 mark without Oladipo in 2017-18, the Pacers now stand 21-21 in games without their star this season. They’re highly physical, almost always preferring to fight through screens as opposed to switching on defense, like most teams do. They dive on the floor for extra possessions and rank near the top in recovering loose balls on D. And they’ve developed an attitude that suggests that no deficit is too big for them to overcome. In one of their best wins of the season, the Pacers rallied from 19 down last month to beat ex-Indiana star Paul George and the Thunder. It marked a league-high 19th time over the past three seasons that Indiana had come back to win a game it once trailed by 15 points or more, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group.But the struggles over the past month and change have illustrated that effort, which these Pacers are built on, can take you only so far — especially now that Indiana’s foes are bona fide playoff clubs again.“When you’re struggling offensively, it’s hard to grind on these guys and yell, ‘C’mon guys: Keep guarding! Get your intensity up!’ when you can just see their confidence oozing out of them and slipping away with each missed shot,” Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke told me.Put another way: At a certain point, you can only get so much defense out of a team that isn’t producing anything on offense.That isn’t to suggest there isn’t talent on the roster, because there is. It just hasn’t been reliable from top to bottom. Take the two biggest acquisitions from last summer: Tyreke Evans and Doug McDermott. Evans, who figured to be an enormous insurance policy as a ball-handler in case anything happened to Oladipo, has been the NBA’s worst finisher at the rim.3Literally the worst. Out of the 85 players who have taken at least 250 shots from the restricted area, Evans — at 45.7 percent — is the only one shooting worse than 50 percent. And while McDermott has been fine, he’s had unusually wild shooting swings, depending on whether he’s playing at home (just over 30 percent from 3-point range) or on the road (where he’s slightly better than 48 percent from 3-point range).Indiana uses cutters better than most teams. But the Pacers are often slow to identify the mismatches they have when opposing defenses counter their screen-and-roll action with a switch. In fact, no team generates less efficient offense than the Pacers (who score a minuscule 0.81 points per possession) do when getting a switch, according to data from Second Spectrum.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/SWITCHES.mp400:0000:0001:38Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.And as you might guess, crunch-time offense has often been a struggle for Indiana, one of a handful of teams to average less than 1 point per possession in those scenarios since Oladipo’s injury.There are obviously plenty of things the Pacers do well, and they still somehow have an outside chance of reaching the 50-win mark. Domantas Sabonis has become one of the NBA’s most efficient bench scorers. Indy shoots very well from three; they simply don’t take many (29th in attempt rate). Yet the team’s bread and butter is its defense, where players like Young and block machine Myles Turner (both of whom deserve All-Defensive Team consideration)4And in Turner’s case, Defensive Player of the Year consideration. frequently force opponents into mistakes. Indiana has occasional breakdowns, too, of course. But the fact remains that the Pacers usually keep themselves in games on that end of the floor.Whether their defense will keep them in the playoffs for long is a separate question. But even if it doesn’t, we can rest assured that the Pacers — warts and all — will leave whatever they’ve got on the court.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

September 28, 2019 | | Post a Comment

OSU redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Hubbard (6) defends during a game against Western Michigan on Sept. 26 at Ohio Stadium. OSU 38-12. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorYesterday, The Lantern began its two-part examination of what Ohio State’s starting lineups might look like during the 2016 season after an unprecedented amount of talent depart due to graduation or the NFL draft, which included 16 of 22 starters — eight on offense and eight on defense.The three offensive starters returning — redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett, redshirt senior guard-turned-center Pat Elflein and redshirt junior guard Billy Price — will have to quickly integrate with the large number of offensive weapons asked to step up in a big way to keep the powerhouse program afloat.The same will have to be done on defense, which was often considered the bread and butter of coach Urban Meyer’s 2015 squad. The three returning starters there — junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan, redshirt junior cornerback Gareon Conley and redshirt junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis — started all 13 games in 2015. However, beyond that trio the projected starters next season ranged from players splitting snaps to seeing limited playing time to being in high school in 2015.Here is an early glance at OSU’s defense as it turns the page on the next era of talent.On the lineThe players occupying the two ends of the front four seems obvious enough, with Lewis returning to one end and redshirt sophomore Sam Hubbard, who was a key contributor off the bench in 2015 with 6.5 sacks, on the other.Hubbard will be asked to fill the shoes of Joey Bosa, though Hubbard actually registered 1.5 more sacks than the consensus top-10 pick.Almost as important as filling Bosa’s spot with Hubbard, however, is filling Hubbard’s role of picking up snaps on both end positions on the line when a starter gets a breather. The likeliest candidate for that job seems to be junior Jalyn Holmes, who received an extended look in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame after Bosa’s early ejection.Things get murkier up the middle, however. Both starters there, Adolphus Washington and Tommy Schutt, were lost to graduation, with not a ton of strong options waiting in the wings.Redshirt junior Michael Hill started a few games in 2015 that Schutt missed with various injuries, so it is reasonable to think he will step into a full-time role next year.But Meyer might have to get creative for the other spot in the interior. It is possible that lower-ceiling players like redshirt sophomore Donovan Munger or redshirt junior Tracy Sprinkle could get the early nods as a placeholder, but don’t be surprised to see Meyer turn to a true freshman to occupy the role.Malik Barrow, a four-star recruit from Tampa, Florida, could be ready to step up from Day 1 if he performs well in spring and fall practice. Fellow Floridian Nick Bosa, the younger brother of Joey, is also a possibility. Recruited as a defensive end, some have thought the five-star recruit could project as a defensive tackle. The hitch with him is that he is recovering from a torn ACL suffered during his final year of high school, so health could hold him back from playing right away.In the middleAs one of the few returning starters, combined with his natural leadership role of the Mike linebacker, McMillan will be the unquestioned captain of the defense. There is a very strong possibility that his junior season will be his final one in college, so another strong season from the Hinesville, Georgia, product, who led the team with 119 tackles in 2015, should be expected.The other two starting linebacker spots, however, are not so easy to figure out.Expect one of them to go to redshirt junior Chris Worley, who would have likely been a starter each of the last two years had he not been beaten out before the 2014 season by the now-departed Darron Lee.The third seems to be an absolute toss-up. Junior Dante Booker and sophomore Jerome Baker could certainly be considered the favorites when camp opens, but a name to keep an eye on is redshirt freshman Nick Conner.Conner broke out with a very strong performance during the 2015 spring game, leading many to believe he could play a significant role as a true freshman. While a knee injury ended his hopes of contributing in 2015, Meyer has made it clear how much he likes the product of nearby Dublin Scioto High School.While Conner’s future will likely lie with inheriting McMillan’s Mike linebacker job, he could get an early head start should he be granted the outside or strong-side linebacker position in 2016.In the backAs with the first two defensive groups, the secondary features one returning starter in Conley. This unit arguably features more talent loss than any other, with safeties Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell and top cornerback Eli Apple saying goodbye with eligibility remaining.Opposite Conley at the cornerback position should be junior Damon Webb, who saw snaps in seven games as OSU’s nickelback in passing situations.Occupying Webb’s former role as the third corner, therefore, is up for grabs. Redshirt sophomore Marshon Lattimore is probably the leading candidate for the job, but sophomore Denzel Ward, who took the familiar Meyer route of getting his feet wet on special teams, could be keyed in on for a bigger role.The safety spots should be occupied by redshirt sophomore Malik Hooker and redshirt junior Cam Burrows, simply by process of elimination of the thinnest position on the team.Unless Webb or Ward shift from cornerback to safety, those two are really the only candidates on the roster with any experience. Hooker appeared in each game in some capacity in 2015, while Burrows was ahead of him on the depth chart before suffering a season-ending foot injury midway through the year.That projection, however, hinges on the health of junior Erick Smith, who should have a starting spot with his name on it should he recover fully from a torn ACL suffered in early November. But ACL injuries are no joke when it comes to both getting healthy and regaining effectiveness, so it’s a big question mark if Smith will be able to step into a large role when the season begins on Sept. 3 against Bowling Green. read more

September 28, 2019 | | Post a Comment
September 28, 2019 | | Post a Comment

I have never, not once, managed to sit through an entire baseball game from first inning to last. Halfway through most games, I either get too fidgety to stay, the heat drives me out or whoever I am at the game with wants to leave early (which I never argue with).That being said, I sat through the Columbus Clippers game on Monday from start to finish for the entire three plus hour affair, and it was not only hot, but rainy as well, but making it to the end was gratifying.Before the game, I met with Joe Santry, media relations for the Clippers but also the historian for the team, who shared with me that many road names surrounding campus and Columbus (including the road I live on) are named after Clippers players. Neil. Chittenden. Those names sound familiar?The Clippers are part of Columbus history, and not just as a baseball team. The name hanging above the stadium isn’t just a sponsor. Huntington used to be one of the worst baseball players on the team, and after a season where he didn’t have a single hit recorded (or one that lasted the records this long), he was told not to quit his day job, which so happened to be a bank teller.While I would have chosen a cooler day (one where my shoulders weren’t burned by the end) and the random raining wasn’t ideal, it still was worth it to know the history behind the Clippers, the stadium and the relationship the team has with the city.The only way the game could have been better: a hot dog. read more

September 28, 2019 | | Post a Comment

With cameras raised and the volume so low you could hear a pin drop, Ohio State senior Peter Kobelt stepped up to the line to serve for match point against Northwestern’s senior Raleigh Smith.It seemed routine, as Kobelt has sealed so many matches for the OSU men’s tennis team this season. But this meant so much more than any other match.He lofted the ball up and, with one powerful swing, rocketed his serve at Smith, who could barely get a racket on it. Smith’s return barely made it over the net and Kobelt knew exactly what to do with it. He fired into the corner of the court for the win, secure the match and history for the Buckeyes.Kobelt had just sealed the deal to complete OSU’s 185th consecutive home win. That’s more than any other team in any other sport in the history of the NCAA.One hundred eighty-five straight.If the magnitude of that many wins doesn’t sink in, then consider this: The beginning of the streak started with a 5-2 win over Purdue on April 5, 2003.That’s 4,104 days ago.At that time, “Finding Nemo” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” were some of the top-grossing movies at the box office and “In Da Club” by 50 Cent and “Ignition (Remix)” by R. Kelly were the top songs on the radio. Do you feel old yet?Dominance like that over a nearly 11-year span is beyond impressive. Dominance might even be too light of a term to describe the run. When it comes to the Buckeyes playing at the Varsity Tennis Center, perfection seems like a more appropriate word.In the sports world, teams don’t just stay good like this, but the Buckeyes have proven to be magical in Columbus.The Super Bowl champions when this streak started were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since then, the Buccaneers have had four different coaches and have become the bottom-dwellers of the NFC South.Roger Federer, arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, had not yet won a Grand Slam title when the Buckeyes began their streak. He now has the most ever with 17.Over a decade, this remarkable winning streak has seen its way through the invention of the smartphone, three presidential elections and inflation of gas prices (it was $1.49 per gallon in Ohio in April 2003).The Buckeyes have fielded 10 All-Americans during the streak, including having at least one each season since 2004. They also have had a doubles national championship in 2012 (Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola) and a singles champion in 2013 (Rola).Kobelt is the only All-American on the roster now, but one man who has been at every win throughout the streak is head coach Ty Tucker.Playing at Ohio State from 1989-91, Tucker was a two-time All-American before going pro in 1992.He returned to Ohio State as an assistant coach in 1995 and became head coach in 1999. Since then he has turned the Buckeyes into a national power and Kobelt referred to this streak as “his baby.”After beating Illinois Sunday, the Buckeyes only have three more opponents left on their 2014 home slate in Tulsa, Iowa and Nebraska. As the No. 2 team in the nation, though, it is likely they will host a regional for the NCAA tournament to try and add on even more wins to the streak.With Kobelt being the lone senior on the team, the future still looks bright for OSU with younger members of the roster looking to extend dominance the Buckeyes have managed so far in Columbus.The Buckeyes (21-2, 6-0) are next scheduled to play at Minnesota Friday at 3 p.m. read more

September 28, 2019 | | Post a Comment

OSU players sing “Carmen Ohio” following a 34-17 win against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Aug. 30.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorThe Ohio State football team entered its season-opener against Navy on Saturday with a plethora of question marks throughout the team. The depth chart was filled with listings of one player “or” another set to start, and a redshirt-freshman quarterback was set to be under center for the first time as a Buckeye.While not every question was answered in the game, The Lantern’s sports editors picked five key takeaways from the Buckeyes’ 34-17 victory at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.1. There won’t be an “or” at quarterback on OSU’s next depth chartComing into the game against Navy, there was still some speculation as to whether redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones would replace Barrett for any amount of time against Navy.Before the game, OSU coach Urban Meyer said there was no set plan for that to happen, but left the door open for a possible Jones appearance despite the fact that Barrett was listed as the only starter under center.On Saturday, Barrett played the entire game and gave the coaches no glaring reason to pull him. The Wichita Falls, Texas, native completed 12 of 15 pass attempts — including at least one drop — and threw two touchdowns and one interception. The pick, which came in the red zone, was the only clear mistake Barrett made throughout the game.While he still wasn’t — and never will be ­— the runner that senior quarterback Braxton Miller is, Barrett still managed to lead the Buckeyes with 50 yards on the ground.He wasn’t asked to do a lot, but for all intents and purposes, Barrett passed his first test with flying colors.2. Offensive line partially sorted out, but still a red flagSpeaking of question marks on the depth chart, there might not be a position group with more unknowns than the offensive line.On the depth chart released by OSU before the Navy game, only three of the five offensive line positions had a set starter listed. Junior Taylor Decker, redshirt-sophomore Pat Elflein and redshirt-senior Darryl Baldwin were set to get the starting nod at left tackle, right guard and right tackle, respectively.All three did end up starting, although Elflein was moved over to left guard while redshirt-freshman Billy Price started at right guard. Junior Jacoby Boren started at center and played the vast majority of the game for OSU.It looks like Boren will have that spot locked down going forward, but Price and senior Joel Hale rotated during the game at the second guard position after Price struggled early. It could be argued that Hale had the better overall day, and you can look for both to continue fighting for playing time the rest of the season.Even if the line is sorted out in the coming weeks, it’ll have to improve — Meyer said he was “very disappointed” by its performance against Navy.3. Young Buckeye backs impressed in debutsReplacing a 1,000-yard rusher at running back is never easy, but a few young Buckeyes proved they can handle the football in their hands.Freshman running back Curtis Samuel showed he can handle the pressures of major college football as he recorded 45 yards on seven carries in his Buckeye debut.Redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall showed why he has been pushing sophomore H-back Dontre Wilson for touches against Navy as he showed explosiveness on a few outside runs. Ultimately though, Wilson proved he is still deserving of a starting job as he led the Buckeyes in yards per carry (7.2) against Navy as he finished with 43 yards rushing to go along with another 46 yards receiving. Sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliot did not have a big day, but he did account for OSU’s only rushing score as he amassed 44 yards on 12 carries in the Buckeye win.  4. OSU kickers will likely split dutiesFreshman kicker Sean Nuernberger accounted for all of OSU’s first half points against Navy as he converted on field goal attempts of 46 yards and 28 yards in his first college appearance. Redshirt-senior kicker Kyle Clinton however, assumed the kickoff duties for the Buckeyes but did not exactly impress, booting one kick out of bounds, resulting in a penalty. Despite that, it appears the two kickers will continue to split duties barring an injury or poor performances from one or the other. 5. ‘Silver Bullet’ secondary remains untested As expected, the Navy offense did not attempt the throw the ball much against the Buckeye defense, completing two of just four pass attempts in the 34-17 loss to OSU. Entering Saturday, the Buckeye defense will be up against a much more traditional offense as Virginia Tech comes to Columbus.The Hokie offense is led by Texas Tech transfer quarterback Michael Brewer who, in his first start for Virginia Tech, threw for 251 yards on 23 of 30 passing attempts. Needless to say, the OSU secondary that struggled mightily in 2013 will face its first real test Saturday. The Buckeye secondary, which returns only one starter from 2013 in senior cornerback Doran Grant, will play in front of its home fans for the first time in 2014 when it takes on Virginia Tech at Ohio Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. read more

September 28, 2019 | | Post a Comment

Ohio State redshirt junior wide receiver Johnnie Dixon scores in the first half on a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback J.T. Barrett. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorBy the time Ohio State’s slow-arriving student section filled up, the Buckeyes had already taken a 7-0 lead against UNLV as speedy H-back Parris Campbell raced 69 yards for the opening touchdown on the offense’s second play. The Scarlet and Gray extended the early lead, continued to build upon it and never allowed the Rebels to even feign a threat as Ohio State dominated, winning 54-21 Saturday afternoon at Ohio Stadium.Redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett marched his team down the field at will against an overmatched, less-talented UNLV defense, completing 12-of-17 passes for 209 yards and five touchdowns and subbed out before halftime. “Probably the same thoughts as everybody else,” coach Urban Meyer said. “Let’s go do it against a team that’s equally matched.”Seven players — wideouts Terry McLaurin, Johnnie Dixon, K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor, Campbell and walk-on C.J. Saunders and tight end Rashod Berry — caught touchdowns for the Buckeyes, the most in a single game in Ohio State history. Barrett overthrew sophomore wideout K.J Hill on one of his first passes of the game, but settled in as the Buckeyes scored on all but one of his drives. Campbell led Ohio State with three catches for 105 yards, but fumbled near the goal line on his team’s third drive of the game.The Rebels offense stood no chance facing off against the Buckeyes’ stout defense. An aggressive, blitz-heavy defensive front pressured redshirt freshman quarterback Armani Rogers the entire game. Late in the first quarter, backed up at the 2-yard line, defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones stuffed a run and forced Ohio State’s first safety of the season.Ohio State redshirt sophomore wide receiver K.J. Hill (14) runs the ball in for a touchdown in the second quarter of the Ohio State- UNLV game on Sep. 23. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe Buckeyes racked up four sacks and a season-high 13 tackles for loss. Sophomore defensive end Nick Bosa led the Buckeyes with three tackles behind the line of scrimmage.“It builds confidence,” Bosa said. “And it just allows you to go through your progressions and just get more used to playing out there. It’s helpful and nice.”Rogers competed 11-of-19 passes for 88 yards. The Rebels, buoyed by junior running back Lexington Thomas’ 55-yard touchdown, rushed for 41 yards on 176 carries.With 3:32 left in the second quarter while leading 37-7, redshirt freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins replaced Barrett, and first-team All-American center Billy Price subbed out of the blowout.Haskins threaded the needle to Saunders for his first touchdown of the game, a 28-yard strike across the middle. The strong-armed quarterback went 15-for-23 and 228 yards and tossed two touchdowns. He hit Berry late in the third quarter who rumbled for a 38-yard touchdown, the first of the defensive end-turned-tight end’s career.“I was just determined to get to the touchdown, get into the end zone and [I] was speechless,” Berry said.Haskins later threw an interception to linebacker/defensive back Javin White, who took it 65 yards for a touchdown, the first pick-six thrown by an Ohio State quarterback this year.“That’s inexcusable. Throw it right to the guy,” Meyer said. “Obviously it’s a young player, a freshman. And they’ve gotta go through that.”Freshman running back J.K. Dobbins took 14 carries 95 yards. Once again, redshirt sophomore running back Mike Weber did not play. He has dealt with a hamstring injury since the beginning of fall camp and missed the first game of the season. Defensive tackle Robert Landers, offensive guard Matt Burrell, linebacker Chris Worley and cornerback Shaun Wade also did not play for Ohio State due to injuries.Ohio State will look for its third consecutive victory when the Buckeyes head to Piscataway, New Jersey, next Saturday to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-2) at 7:30 p.m. read more

September 28, 2019 | | Post a Comment

After four players committed as a part of the 2020 recruiting class, Ohio State continued to build its 2019 recruiting class Monday after four-star linebacker Kane Patterson committed to the Buckeyes, announcing his intention on Twitter.615614 pic.twitter.com/gjZTZg3sEP— Kane Patterson™ ✞ (@kane_prime4) July 9, 2018One of 11 four-star recruits in Ohio State’s class, Patterson is ranked as the No. 8 inside linebacker in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports composite rankings. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound linebacker is the No. 6 recruit in the state. Patterson will join running back Master Teague, running back Mitch Rossi and offensive lineman Max Wray as the Tennessee natives on Ohio State’s roster. Patterson joins four-star defensive end Noah Potter, four-star safety Jordan Battle and four-star outside linebacker Cade Stover as the defensive recruits in the Buckeyes’ 2019 class. Patterson is one of 11 players from outside the state of Ohio in the class. read more

September 28, 2019 | | Post a Comment

Ohio State freshman guard Luther Muhammad (1) dribbles the ball during the first half of the game against Northwestern on Feb. 20. Ohio State won 63-49. Credit: Amal Saeed | Assistant Photo EditorTuesday will begin a closing stretch of games head coach Chris Holtmann views as one of the toughest of the season for Ohio State. The Buckeyes will face three Big Ten teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 in the final four games of the regular season: No. 22 Iowa, No. 14 Purdue and No. 19 Wisconsin. With an Ohio State team on the bubble for a spot in the NCAA Tournament, and with this stretch of games heading into the Big Ten tournament, Holtmann said his team is in a position not many teams have the opportunity to be in. “We all know what was said about this group earlier in the year, before the season got started, and we’ve got an opportunity here to see how we can finish,” Holtmann said. “We get what we earn.” Projected StartersOhio State (17-10, 7-9 Big Ten)G — C.J. Jackson — Senior, 12.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.4 apgG — Luther Muhammad — Freshman, 8.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 apgF — Justin Ahrens — Freshman, 2.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.2 apgF — Andre Wesson — Junior, 8.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.7 apgF — Kaleb Wesson — Sophomore, 14.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.7 apgNo. 22 Iowa (21-6, 10-6 Big Ten)G — Jordan Bohannon — Junior, 11.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.5 apgG — Joe Wieskamp — Freshman, 11.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.0 apgG — Isaiah Moss — Redshirt junior, 9.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.9 apgF — Tyler Cook — Junior, 16.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.5 apgF — Luka Garza — Sophomore, 13.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.9 apgAs the No. 6 team in the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes have won five of their past six games, taking a 76-70 overtime win against Indiana Friday. Iowa will bring the No. 1 scoring offense in the conference to Columbus Tuesday, averaging 80.4 points per game and shooting 46.6 percent from the field, which is second-best behind Michigan State. Ohio State already has an idea of what the Iowa offense looks like, having lost to the Hawkeyes 72-62 Jan. 12. Despite the Buckeyes leading 26-24 at halftime, Iowa exploded to make 15-of-27 from the field in the second half.“We thought that it was a win,” sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson said. “I feel like going into the second half, we didn’t have the same intensity and came out with the same toughness that we had the first time in the first half.” Much of the Hawkeyes’ success was due to the play of its two starting forwards: junior Tyler Cook and sophomore Luka Garza. Against Ohio State, they combined for 31 points, converting on 11-of-17 attempts from the field with 12 rebounds. Wesson said that both Iowa forwards do a good job of sealing, getting them multiple touches in the paint. Holtmann said the reason why both forwards have put up the numbers they have is because of the shooting ability of the rest of the starting lineup. The Hawkeyes are No. 3 in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage. In his first year with the Buckeyes, Holtmann knew of Cook, the player who leads Iowa this season with 16 points per game. But Garza was the one who made the lasting impact. “I was so impressed with Garza last year when we played them,” Holtmann said. “And he has proven to be as good of a player as he is.” Garza made 6-of-7 shot attempts against the Buckeyes Jan. 12, leading the team with 16 points. On the outside, Holtmann said senior guard C.J. Jackson will return to the starting lineup after being sidelined with a shoulder injury Saturday against Maryland. After earning his first career start against the Terrapins Saturday, freshman forward Justin Ahrens will continue to have opportunities in an increased role, Holtmann said. He added that the starting spot is still “fluid,” though. In five games against ranked opponents this season, Ohio State is winless. Its past two losses to ranked teams have been by double digits. However, Holtmann said he senses a level of urgency heading into Tuesday’s matchup with the Hawkeyes, saying, “You’ve got to be living in a cave if you don’t have that feeling.” But the number attached to Iowa does not change the mentality of Wesson ahead of Tuesday’s game. “Every game from now [on] is the biggest game of the season,” Wesson said. “We have to go into practice and think our biggest game is Tuesday.” Ohio State will take on No. 22 Iowa at the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m. Tuesday. read more

September 25, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgThe country faces frost, ice and dense fog as the Christmas warm spell gives way to wintry conditions.The M5 between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare was temporarily closed in both directions on Tuesday morning because of ice after several minor collisions. Gritters were called in to make safe a 20-mile stretch of road. 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 worst affected areas will include the Vale of York, the Welsh Marches and north and east of London.A forecaster at the Met Office said: “2016 will end with much quieter weather than it started with. We are looking at pretty still conditions nearly everywhere.”We will see widespread frost and fog in central, southern and eastern England and Wales. It will be quite dense in some places and it will be quite slow clearing.”The return to more normal wintry temperatures follows one of the warmest Christmas Days’ on record. Forecasters said temperatures in the early hours of Wednesday were likely to fall as low as -5C (23F) in the Midlands following days of unseasonably warm weather.At the same time dense fog is expected to form overnight in large parts of England and Wales and stay around for much of Wednesday, before thickening again overnight. Show more last_img read more

September 25, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgOxfam is calling on international leaders to improve international cooperation to stop tax dodging, action to encourage companies to act for the benefit of staff as well as shareholders, wealth taxes to fund healthcare, education and job creation, and improvements in opportunities for women.It also urged business chiefs to commit to paying a living wage and their fair share of tax.Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB chief executive, said: “This year’s snapshot of inequality is clearer, more accurate and more shocking than ever before.”It is beyond grotesque that a group of men who could easily fit in a single golf buggy own more than the poorest half of humanity.”While one in nine people on the planet will go to bed hungry tonight a small handful of billionaires have so much wealth they would need several lifetimes to spend it.”The fact that a super-rich elite are able to prosper at the expense of the rest of us at home and overseas shows how warped our economy has become.”Inequality is not only keeping millions of people trapped in poverty, it is fracturing our societies and poisoning our politics.”It’s just not right that top executives take home massive bonuses while workers’ wages are stagnating or that multinationals and millionaires dodge taxes while public services are being cut.” Inequality is not only keeping millions of people trapped in poverty, it is fracturing our societies and poisoning our politicsMark Goldring, Oxfam Eight billionaires have riches equivalent to the same wealth as half the world, campaigners have warned world leaders gathering for talks in Switzerland.The research by Oxfam found that the gap between rich and poor was far greater than had been feared and called for an overhaul of a “warped” economy that allowed a small group to have more wealth than they could ever spend while one in nine people went hungry.Theresa May and Philip Hammond will attend the World Economic Forum of global political and business leaders in Davos this week.The annual event, held in a luxury Swiss ski resort, is often criticised for being little more than a talking shop for the rich and powerful. Davos Oxfam said out-of-control pay ratios meant the average pay of FTSE100 chief executives was 129 times that of the average employee and works out to the equivalent of 10,000 people working in Bangladeshi garment factories.It said new and better data on the distribution of global wealth, particularly in India and China, showed the poorest had less wealth than previously thought.The charity said if the information had been available when it carried out research last year, its report would have found that nine billionaires owned the same wealth as the poorest half of the planet instead of 62.Among the eight billionaires from the latest research, Bill Gates, who tops the list, and Warren Buffett, the world’s third richest man, are known philanthropists who have pledged to give away most of their wealth.The Adam Smith Institute free market think tank accused Oxfam of putting out misleading information.Head of research Ben Southwood said the welfare of world’s poor was improving with the proportion of the global population surviving on less than 2 dollars-a-day – falling from 69% in 1981 to 43% in 2008.”Each year we are misled by Oxfam’s wealth statistics. The data is fine – it comes from Credit Suisse – but the interpretation is not,” he said.”It is not the wealth of the world’s rich that matters, but the welfare of the world’s poor – and this is improving every year.”The consumption of the world’s poor continues to rise, as does their education, healthcare, and height.” A worker arranges a seat on a stage at Davos during preparations for the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic ForumCredit:LAURENT GILLIERON/EPA 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

September 25, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgThe population of the UK will be the largest in Europe by 2050, overtaking France and Germany, mainly due to an ageing population and immigration. The UK has seen more births than deaths in every year since 1976, helping drive the population to 65m, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.This figure will soar to 76m in 2045.A quarter of the population will be over 65 in three decadesIncreasing life expectancy is one of the main reasons for the population increase – with people living longer due to improved healthcare and lifestyles. Girls born in 2015 can expect to live 82.8 years from birth, while boys will live to 79.1 years. This has meant that the proportion of people aged over 65 has increased from 14.1 per cent in 1975 to 17.8 per cent in 2015 – and is projected to expand further to almost a quarter of the population by 2045. This growth will help the UK have a larger population than any European Union country by 2050, at 77 million, according to Eurostat. It is currently the third biggest country, behind Germany and France.According to the ONS, while the proportion of Britons at “traditional working age” has remained stable over the last 40 years, it is projected to fall in future years as a result of the growth of the ageing population. Immigration has increased the population by 250,000 per yearAside from natural change, immigration has also helped increase the population since the 1990s. In 2015, 631,500 people immigrated to the UK, while emigration was half its levels at 299,200. The growth of net migration has increased the population by more than 250,000 people per year on average from 2004 to 2015.This is about 50,000 more people per year than natural change for the same period. While living longer is a cause for celebration, an ageing population may result in fewer people of working age to support those of pension ageONS It is estimated that there will be an extra 10.8m over 65s in 2045 than there were in 1975 – accounting for over half of the population growth seen in that period. As well as the direct impact of people migrating to the UK, immigration also impacts the population due to past movements impacting the numbers of births and deaths in the country.What does this population growth mean?A growing population is good for the economy as it can mean that there are more people available to participate in the workforce.But an ageing population can also lead to strains on the NHS and other public services in the country. There were estimated to be 308 of a pensionable age for every 1,000 people of a working age in 2016 – and this figure is projected to increase to 365 in 2037. When releasing the data, the ONS said: “While living longer is a cause for celebration, an ageing population may result in fewer people of working age to support those of pension age.”This increase means that there will be fewer people of working age to support a larger population over State Pension age. While a larger population increases the size and productive capacity of the workforce, it also increases pressure and demand for services such as education, healthcare and housing.” 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

September 25, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgRaccoon dogs stand in a broken bridge, expecting a daily feeding, in Sakai, western Japan.  Their cute and cuddly appearance may have gained them a legion of fans on social media, but the RSPCA has now called for the sale of tanukis – also known as racoon dogs – to be banned.The charity has confirmed that the creatures, which are native to Japan, Siberia and China, have already escaped into the wild and are posing a threat to British wildlife.And there are fears that tanukis, which harbour high levels of parasites, could also infect humans, in some cases with lethal results.Now the Government has said it  “takes the threat of this species seriously” and will investigate any reported sighting of the creatures.Conservationists fear that the so-called racoon dogs could begin to breed in the wild, creating a population explosion which threatens to overwhelm weaker native species.Dr Ros Clubb, RSPCA wildlife and exotic specialist, said: “We know that some raccoon dogs are now living wild in Britain, and there is a risk that they could start to breed.“We want the authorities to ban the sale of these animals as pets. They are simply not suitable, and they are escaping and getting out into the natural environment.” Tanukis come from the canine family but are closer to foxes than dogs in their behaviour and scavenging eating habits.In Sweden tanukis are already regarded as pests to be hunted down and eradicated because of the threat they pose to the country’s wildlife and habitat, particularly amphibians and ground nesting birds.Around 9,000 of the creatures were released by biologists 80 years ago into western parts of the former Soviet Union to be hunted for their fur.Their spread across Finland and Scandinavia has forced Sweden to set up a hunting programme to cull them wherever they appear.The RSPCA fears that if something is not done now to tackle the problem Britain may find itself in facing a similar crisis.Dr Clubb said: “They do compete with natural species in the area such as other predators or large mammals such as other dogs, badgers or foxes. They compete for the same food sources or den sites.“They also pose a disease risk, they could introduce rabies and they can carry some parasite species. They are seen as a threat to the natural species that are there.”Among the parasites tanukis are known to carry is the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, which can be fatal if untreated in humans and has silent incubation period of up to 20 years.Per-Arne Åhlén of the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management, who leads the effort to eradicate them in that country, warned.“There’s a high risk that Great Britain already has an emerging population, and that, I can promise you, will not be good for its amphibian life.“In an island country like the UK, you should do anything within your power to keep them out.”The growing popularity of raccoon dogs as household pets in Britain has its origins in their appearance on social media.In one case, in 2015, a Japanese owner rescued an abandoned tanuki and chronicled his efforts to care for the animal, which he named Tanu, on Twitter. 今日のタヌ飯!最近は青魚や海藻が多くなってるタヌ飯。今日も大サービスで焼き鯖の腹身1/4。丸呑みしないで少しずつ千切ってカミカミするタヌキに脂ぎった切り身をそのまま与えると、部屋中食卓気分で持っては置いてを繰り返すので、ほぐして炊きたてご飯に混ぜ混ぜしてかさ増ししてます。 pic.twitter.com/S5sk6acWqM— ことり (@chibi_tori) March 16, 2017 Raccoon dogs stand in a broken bridge, expecting a daily feeding, in Sakai, western Japan. Credit: SHIGERU KAWAHARAZAKI/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. His photographs of Tanu curled up in front of a fire or eating from plates spread quickly and had soon attracted more than 11,000 followers.British owners have spoken of taking their tanukis for walks on a lead, with many pet buyers mistakenly regarding them as a breed of dog which can be domesticated. Some are available to buy online for as little as £150 on internet websites.But the reality is far from cute, says the RSPCA.“People might think ‘I could just keep them in my living room and keep them as a dog but they’re wild animals and need large areas and people just don’t know how to look after them,” said Dr Clubb. “They can be aggressive, some don’t like to be handled or touched. They may run away or escape. It’s a nightmare trying to re-home them – when we hear one has come in we all just sigh.“People might think ‘I could just keep them in my living room and keep them as a dog’, but they’re wild animals and need large areas and people just don’t know how to look after them.”The RSPCA last year received 15 complaints about raccoon dogs and rescued three, up from four complaints and two rescues in 2015.Increasing evidence has emerged more recently that tanukis have been released into the wild, possibly by owners who could not cope with their wild behaviour.In January this year the charity was contacted over a raccoon dog found with a trap locked onto ther front leg in near Glossop, Derbyshire. It is thought she had been kept as an exotic pet before being dumped.It is offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to release these animals, or allow them to escape, into the wild because they are regarded as an invasive species not native to the UK.The charity warned that any increase in the number of raccoon dogs being kept as pets is likely to lead to more of them being abandoned, making it more difficult for suitable homes to be found.An RSPCA spokesman said: “It is difficult for the RSPCA to find suitable homes for raccoon dogs, where all their needs are met and they can express their natural behaviours, which are the same as their needs and behaviours in the wild.”A Defra spokesperson said: “There is no evidence of raccoon dogs being established in the UK. We take the threat of this species seriously and take swift action to investigate any reported sighting.“It is important we take action to address the threats posed by invasive non-native species. They threaten the survival of our own plants and animals and cost the economy at least £1.8 billion a year.”last_img read more

September 25, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_img“We are proud of our work increasing tree cover even further and last November we opened the £19 million Woodland Carbon Fund to encourage more large scale planting.”The figures come as concerns are raised about tree-felling by officials because of health and safety. In January residents of the area near the Boconnoc Estate, Cornwall, complained that a mile-long stretch of beech trees had been cut down amid concerns about branches falling in the path of passing drivers. Officials on the estate said Highways England had asked them to cut back the woodland because it was a danger to motorists on the nearby A38. And last month locals protested after 20 trees planted in 1919 to commemorate victims of the First World War were earmarked for removal by Sheffield City Council amid concerns about their overgrown roots.According to Confor, the UK is the third-largest net importer of timber in the world, after China and Japan. Just 13 per cent of the UK’s land is covered with trees, one of the lowest levels in Europe.  England’s green and pleasant land is known for its great forests, from Sherwood to the Forest of Dean. But the future of the country’s woodland could be in doubt.According to new figures, so few trees were planted last year that just three people could have easily done the job.Forestry Commission figures show that just 582 hectares of trees were planted in 2016 – the lowest number since records began in 1976. By contrast almost 2,700 hectares were planted in 2013/14. According to industry figures, a professional planter can plant 1,000 trees each day. This means that three people, working full-time, could have planted the 887,000 trees which were planted over the course of the year. Figures fell to a new low in the final part of last year, when just 34,000 trees were planted – making it the poorest quarter in six years. The trend has continued into this year, with just 63,000 trees planted between January and March 2017. The figures mean that a Government pledge that 12 per cent level of woodland cover should be reached by 2060 is looking increasingly remote. Currently 10 per cent of England is woodland.Trees would need to be planted at around 10 times the current rate, or around 5,000 hectares a year, for the Government to hit this target.It also pledged that 11 million trees would be planted in England by 2020 – but the figures show that just 1.4m trees have been planted since the last general election. In March a damning report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee criticised the current regulation of forests as “not fit for purpose” and said it needed significant overhaul if the Government were to reach its targets.However, Thérèse Coffey a minister in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said she was “confident” the Government would “easily” fulfil the pledge.Landowners who wish to plant a forest must negotiate a “complex and bureaucratic” system in order to obtain a Government grant, the report said. Three agencies, the Forestry Commission, Natural England and the Rural Payments Agency administer the main grant available, the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. Stuart Goodall, chief executive of Confor, which represents the forestry industry, said: “The proof of policy failure is the disastrous year for tree planting in 2016 – the worst on record. 2017 looks little better and we face a real prospect of deforestation – something we associate with the Amazon, not England.” The group is pushing for the Forestry Commission to take on sole responsibility for approving the grants, which are designed to incentivise the planting of forests. Witnesses told the committee that the application process was “tortuous”,“bureaucratic”,“ overly complex” and “not fit for purpose”.A Conservative spokesman said: “Woodland cover in England is at its highest level since the 14th Century and between 2010 and 2015 we planted 11 million trees, including one million trees in urban areas. 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

September 25, 2019 | | Post a Comment

first_imgGwyneth Paltrow and Keira Knightley should never have been allowed to do Jane Austen adaptations because they are too “nasal” and not loveable enough, an expert on the author has claimed. Knightley was “completely wrong” for the part of Elizabeth Bennet in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice and Paltow’s annoying “nasal whine” ruined her portrayal of Emma in 1996, Paula Byrne said at the Hay Festival.Byrne, who was at the festival to talk about her latest book The Genius of Jane Austen: her love of theatre and why she is a hit in Hollywood, praised some of the male stars of Austen adaptations over the ages – including Sir Laurence Olivier and Colin Firth, who have both played Mr Darcy in versions of Pride and Prejudice. However, she panned recent portrayals of the heroines. “I didn’t like Keira Knightley at all. I thought she was completely wrong for Elizabeth Bennet. She has a great back, a beautiful back, and all we can see is her back. I found her quite wooden and she doesn’t articulate very well,” she said. “And she is way too beautiful for Elizabeth because the one thing we know about Elizabeth is that her sister is very beautiful but Elizabeth just has ‘fine eyes’ and that’s all we know about Elizabeth, that she has fine eyes. Gwyneth Paltrow in the 1996 film adaptation of Austen’s Emma Credit:Film Stills Gwyneth Paltrow in the 1996 film adaptation of Austen's Emma  Paula Byrne at the Hay FestivalCredit: Jay Williams “Elizabeth Bennet is a very interesting character for her vivacity. She is a very unusual character for the 18th century. But she is not beautiful. Paula Byrne at the Hay Festival “Jane Austen made it clear she was not writing heroines who were drop dead beautiful, she was writing about a new kind of heroine.”Keira Knightley was not just right for the role.”Then there’s Gwyneth Paltrow in Emma – that voice, that nasal whine! It just drives me mad! It’s like Keira Knightley – she’s got that nasal thing going on too. I want to just strangle her.”You don’t really want to feel like strangling Emma – you get annoyed with her, the character, because she’s such a horrible snob and gets things wrong. But we find her loveable as well and Gwyneth Paltrow was not loveable enough for me.” 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

September 25, 2019 | | Post a Comment

Keziah Shorten (left) with Surgeon Paolo Macchiarini But they failed to disclose in a funding application for the trial that a 20-year-old woman, Keziah Shorten from Tonbridge, Kent, had a similar operation in 2010 and was left fighting for her life in intensive care for six months.  She was then and later died.The trachea transplant in 2012 of another 15-year-old girl, Shauna Davison from Middlesbrough, was portrayed as a success in the application – but in fact she died 13 days later after her new trachea collapsed and she suffocated. Both young women were operated on compassionate grounds.Professor Patricia Murray, a specialist in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at Liverpool University, said that the compassionate use guidelines could be exploited by doctors who want to use their patients as “human guinea pigs”.She said: “Most doctors really do have the best interests of patients at heart. The danger comes where a doctor also has a research interest and wants to test it. Terminally ill patients are at risk of being used as “human guinea pigs” by doctors who want “research glory”, critics have warned.Under “compassionate use” guidelines, doctors are allowed to use unapproved treatments on people with life-threatening conditions, as long as it is in the patient’s bets interests and they understand the risks.But some experts say that this is open to abuse, particularly if doctors are also researchers in the same field of medicine. They say that this could lead to doctors encouraging patients to take part in risky operations in order to further their research goals.Norman Lamb MP, a former health minister, has called for a review of compassionate use guidelines to ensure that any “dangerous practises” are rooted out.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Mr Lamb, who is chair of the science and technology health committee, said that during their inquiry into research integrity earlier this year, they “certainly came across risks of conflict of interest” associated with compassionate use cases.“I absolutely think we need to review it, and make sure that there are proper processes in place to identify where these [conflicts] are. I certainly think it requires more thought and consideration,” he added.  He is calling for the establishment of a research integrity national committee which could “stamp out dangerous practises” like this. There is a potential conflict of interest: the desire to further your own research versus what is best for the patient. “In the trachea scandal, researchers were getting data [from patients] to support clinical trials. It is only [the doctors] who have access to the patients, they are writing up the accounts of what happens to patients, they can hide behind patient confidentiality to avoid scrutiny.”Dr Raphael Levy, a senior lecturer in biochemistry at Liverpool University, said that “research glory” is one of the motivating factors for scientists.“If you look at what drives people in research, like in any profession, progress in their careers is one of the drivers. The problem is when incentives for success drives you in the wrong direction.”A Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency spokesman said: “Our rigorous scientific assessment processes seek to establish that the potential benefits of a trial outweigh the risks in patient populations with severe conditions and limited treatment options.”A UCL spokesman said: “Any research undertaken at UCL is required to conform to the highest legal, ethical and regulatory standards, and we will not hesitate take the necessary action, if and when this falls short.” 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. Keziah Shorten (left) Keziah Shorten (left) with Surgeon Paolo Macchiarini This week, The Daily Telegraph revealed how scientists behind a clinical trial at University College London (UCL) are accused of a “cover-up” over the deaths of two young women who died after undergoing experimental treatment.Researchers submitted an application for Government funding for the first ever trial of stem cell-engineered larynx transplants to treat people with failing windpipes. Keziah Shorten (left) read more