Monthly Archives: September 2019

Archive of posts published in the specified Month

Sep
30

Gonzaga Women Earn Still More Chances To Play Close To Home

If you’re nostalgic for the days when Gonzaga was a reliable source of March Madness upsets, look to the women’s tournament.As a No. 11 seed, the Bulldogs are making an unlikely run, having already knocked off No. 6 George Washington and No. 3 Oregon State last weekend in Corvallis, Oregon. That earned the Bulldogs a trip home this weekend: They get to play in their city of Spokane, Washington, on Saturday against eight-time national champ Tennessee. Our March Madness predictions give Gonzaga a 31 percent chance of pulling off the upset, thanks to home-city advantage, and projects this matchup to be the closest of any Sweet 16 game on Saturday.Gonzaga’s women’s team has thrived in the NCAA tournament in recent years despite usually playing with a double-digit number next to its name. In 2009, Gonzaga won its opener as a No. 12 seed. That was the Bulldogs’ first tournament win ever. They lost narrowly in the next round, but the program was just getting started. Three times since then when seeded at No. 11, Gonzaga advanced to the Sweet 16. One of those times, in 2011, it went all the way to the Elite 8, the furthest any team seeded so low has ever advanced.In just the last seven tournaments, Gonzaga has written a significant portion of the short history of upsets in the women’s tournament. In 1994, the event expanded to 64 teams. Since then, favorites have ruled. In the last 22 tournaments, teams seeded 10th or lower have won just 102 games, according to data provided by ESPN Stats and Information. That’s fewer than five wins per year, over all rounds, for 28 teams. Gonzaga has eight of those 102 wins, all since 2009. No other program has more than four.Here are the teams with at least three wins as a No. 10 seed or worse since 1994:Gonzaga, 8BYU, 4Florida State, 4Kansas, 4Marist, 4UC Santa Barbara, 4Notre Dame, 3San Diego State, 3SMU, 3Stephen F. Austin, 3Gonzaga’s return to the Sweet 16 this spring after a two-year absence is particularly impressive because the Bulldogs are playing for a first-year coach. Kelly Graves, who led Gonzaga to its first NCAA tournament win in 2009 and three straight Sweet 16 appearances in the next three years, left to coach Oregon last April. Lisa Fortier, his longtime assistant, replaced Graves. Fortier also had to contend with the graduation of her two starting guards. She helped fill one of the vacancies on the coaching staff with her husband, Craig, who left Eastern Washington’s men’s program to work as one of her assistants.“Winning and losing, he’s fixed in,” the head coach told the Spokesman-Review of Spokane about her assistant and husband this week. “It’s been especially helpful in this first year.”Part of Gonzaga’s success stems from its good fortune to play so many games in and near Spokane, turning the national tournament into what sometimes feels like the Spokane Invitational. In 2010, as a No. 7 seed, Gonzaga won its first two games in Seattle. In 2011, the scheduling worked even more in the Bulldogs’ favor: They played their first two rounds at their home arena, and their next two at another arena in Spokane.1UCLA’s coach said “no favors were done” in scheduling for her Bruins, in a comment made before they lost to Gonzaga. In 2012 and 2013 Gonzaga again got to open at home, which helped it to a Sweet 16 berth in 2012 but wasn’t enough to upset Iowa State the next year. And this weekend it gets to play at a Spokane arena about a mile from campus.“It’s kind of like a home game for [Gonzaga] and so it’s going to be loud with a lot of people there, but we’re excited,” Tennessee guard Ariel Massengale told the AP.Gonzaga’s men used to be the ones regularly upsetting higher ranked teams. In the three tournaments from 1999 to 2001, each time Gonzaga was seeded 10th or worse, and each time the Bulldogs reached at least the Sweet 16. They won seven games altogether, six of them against teams with better seeds. Now the Gonzaga men regularly get much better seeds, including a No. 2 seed this year on their way to the Elite 8.“The men helped the Gonzaga name get out there,” Gonzaga women’s star Courtney Vandersloot said after leading the Bulldogs to the 2011 Elite 8, “and they showed that even though we don’t play in a big conference and we’re not really nationally known that we can go far in the tournament.”Perhaps in the future the Gonzaga women’s team will have the advantage of a favorable draw to go along with the home-court advantage it has already enjoyed.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions. read more

Sep
30

Why Jamaica Consistently Produces Top Calibre Sprinters

The race ends in the blink of an eye. With millions watching around the world, a pistol shatters the silence and in a little over nine seconds, a mere 40 strides, the 100-metre sprint is history. The 100-metre event, among the oldest and greatest athletic competitions ever devised, is the ultimate test of nerve, skill and explosive athleticism. That sprint in the London Olympics will probably decide the fastest person in human history.Favoured to win is the metaphorically named Jamaican sprinter, Usain St Leo Bolt. At 26, Bolt has been the runner to beat since winning three gold medals in Beijing in 2008 for the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4×100-metre relay. Bolt also holds the record for the fastest 100-metre sprint ever, an incredible 9.58 seconds.He is an extraordinary physical specimen. At 6ft 5in (195cm) and weighing 200 pounds (90kg), Bolt has the physique of an Olympic swimmer, rather than the more compact frame typical of a sprinter.There are two crucial factors in sprinting ability. One is stride frequency: how fast you can step. The other is stride length: how long each of those steps is. World-class sprinters tend to have very fast stride frequency but ordinary stature, lengthening their strides by applying extraordinary force. Bolt turns his size into an advantage and uses not only remarkable strength but his long bone structure to dominate opponents.His biggest threat is his teammate and training partner Yohan Blake. The only sprinters close to their ability are Americans Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin. But London bookmakers are offering overwhelming odds that one of the Jamaicans will win.Which raises a fascinating question. In a nation of just 2.8 million people, it’s incredible that Jamaica has produced not just one contender for the fastest person in the world, but two. You’d expect the US – the richest nation in the world, with a long sporting tradition and a population 100 times greater – to produce champions.Is it pure luck that Jamaica is sending not one but two of the fastest men in the world to London?It turns out Bolt and Blake are not unique in Jamaica…Read more: Financial Review read more

Sep
30

Victor Conte Says Half Of Baseball On Illegal Drugs

Victor Conte, founder of the infamous BALCO and sort of mad scientist behind the steroid era, said he estimates that “as much as half” of current players in Major League Baseball are using performance-enhancing drugs of some kind.Conte told USA Today, “I’m not going to name names, but I’ve talked to a lot of top players in Major League Baseball, and they tell me this is what they’re doing. There is rampant use of synthetic testosterone in Major League Baseball.”Conte’s comments come after the San Francisco Giants’ star Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for positive test for synthetic testosterone.Of course, MLB disagrees with Conte’s estimates.“There is no way that Victor Conte would have information that would allow him to have any basis on that,” MLB vice president Rob Manfred said. “He’s just making that up. It’s a guess. We use the very best, most sophisticated methodologies that are available.”Many baseball experts believe Conte could not be so tuned into the baseball world to have an accurate assessment. They further believe he likes being in the spotlight and misses the controversy he used to enjoy before becoming an athletic leper.Conte also indicated he wonders if  “Major League Baseball has a genuine interest in stopping these guys.”Ryan Braun, the 2011 National League MVP tested positive before having his suspension overturned by an independent arbitrator, and now this year’s All-Star Game MVP has been hit with a 50-game suspension.Seems like there’s truly an effort by baseball to clean it up based on those high-profile cases. But it would not be surprising if Conte is throwing around big numbers for a cause that would benefit him.On the other hand, an even more forceful assault on PED use in baseball might make Victor Conte go away, so there’s that. read more

Sep
30

Tubby Smith Surprisingly Fired as Minnesota Coach

Tubby Smith, who signed a three-year contract extension with Minnesota in July, was fired by the Gophers on Monday, the day after his team lost to Florida in the round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament.“Tubby has had a long and distinguished career and we feel it’s time for a fresh set of eyes for our student-athletes and our program in general,” Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague said in a statement released by the school. “We are grateful to Tubby and his entire staff for their hard work and dedication to this university, our students and the entire Minnesota community. We wish Tubby, Donna and the entire staff well.”Smith earned about $2 million annually, with a $600,000 base salary plus 5 percent annual raises he had been entitled to since 2008 and supplemental compensation of $1.2 million.“I want to thank the University of Minnesota and the people of Minnesota for giving me the opportunity to lead the Golden Gopher basketball program for six years,” Smith said in the news release. “Our staff did things the right way and will leave knowing that the program is in far better shape than when we arrived. The people of the state of Minnesota embraced Donna and me from the beginning and we will always be grateful.”The contract of former Kentucky coach, who won a national championship with the Wildcats in 1999, states that if he was terminated before April 30, 2016, the university will pay one-half of his base salary and supplemental compensation for each of the remaining seasons on the contract. The total amount cannot exceed $2.5 million.The 11th-seeded Gophers were 21-13 and 8-10 in the Big Ten after the 78-64 loss to the No. 3 seed Gators. For his career at Minnesota, Smith was 124-81 with NCAA Tournament berths in half of his six years there.In 2012, his team finished with 23 victories, the most by the program since the 1996-97 Final Four season that was later erased by NCAA punishment.Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, for one, was surprised by the news.“It’ll be a loss for this league and a loss for college basketball if he doesn’t stay in it,” Izzo said to reporters. “He’s got integrity beyond belief and let me tell ya, he’s been in some tough situations. I’ll close it up by saying it bothers me, saddens me.” read more

Sep
28

Djokovic Makes a Run at No 1

At the end of a strange day at the Monte Carlo Masters men’s tennis tournament Friday, Novak Djokovic emerged as a growing threat to Rafael Nadal’s No. 1 ranking.The world’s top four players appeared on the Monte Carlo Country Club’s red clay on Friday. Three of the four won. The lone upset victim was the least likely: Nadal had won 30 straight matches on clay before losing to David Ferrer. Like Nadal, No. 4 Roger Federer and No. 2 Djokovic each lost the first set of their matches, but they came back to win and join Ferrer and No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka in the semifinals Saturday.The loss left Nadal with just 180 ranking points for the tournament, which he had won eight straight times before losing to Djokovic in last year’s final. The loss also dropped Nadal further back in a little-noticed rankings-point race. In the seven months since Nadal won last September’s U.S. Open, Djokovic has amassed 6,830 ranking points to Nadal’s 4,800 (including the results through Friday at Monte Carlo). Federer and Wawrinka aren’t far behind Nadal’s total and they, along with Djokovic and Ferrer, will split the remaining 880 ranking points available in the Monte Carlo tournament. Djokovic, who has won the last four Masters events and is the defending champion in Monte Carlo, is the favorite to collect most of those points.The official rankings are based on the last 12 months, and these split-season rankings aren’t readily available; they’re my best approximation from the players’ ranking breakdowns on their ATP World Tour Web pages. The advantage of these split-season rankings is that they show who has amassed the most points, most recently. Those players who’ve earned points recently are at an advantage in future rankings because points drop off a year after they were earned. About two-thirds of Nadal’s points are due to drop off by the end of the U.S. Open; about 40 percent of Djokovic’s will fall off in that time.Djokovic still has work to do to overtake Nadal for the No. 1 ranking that Nadal seized from him last October. Nadal got there by sweeping the clay events at Barcelona, Madrid and Rome, before winning his eighth French Open. Nadal, the world’s best clay-court player, then looked like its best hard-court player (a title Djokovic mostly has held since the start of 2011) by winning titles in Montreal, Cincinnati and New York — his second U.S. Open title. That sparkling spring and summer still leaves Nadal with a lead of nearly 2,000 points even if Djokovic wins Monte Carlo this weekend. But Nadal may have to repeat his run on clay last year to hold off Djokovic before the tour moves to grass in June. read more

Sep
28

Yogi Berra Was One Of A Kind

Long after he retired, Berra remained one of the most quotable and beloved figures in baseball’s considerable history. Measured by the frequency with which his name is mentioned in books, Berra is more prominent by a large margin than any of the four catchers who produced more total WAR in their careers. Instead, Berra’s name appears in books at a frequency closer to that of historic greats like Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. Berra’s outsize popularity is a testament to his special character and likability, which came to overshadow his no-less-impressive or -unusual accomplishments on the field.CORRECTION (Sept. 23, 5:17 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly described comparisons of Berra’s strikeout rate and home runs with those of other players. In the text, we compared Berra’s strikeout rate with that of players who have hit more than 350 home runs since 1940, and, in the chart, we compared his strikeout rate and home run total with those of players who have had more than 2,000 plate appearances since 1940. None of those comparisons were with all players with more than 350 home runs or more than 2,000 plate appearances. Yogi Berra, the ever-quotable former catcher and manager, died Tuesday at the age of 90. By quality, he was one of the best catchers ever, amassing the fifth-most total wins above replacement at the position and the 11th-most WAR per game.1I applied a minimum of 1,000 games played at catcher. By quantity, he played in 13.2 percent of all of the Yankees games in history and more World Series games than any other single player. But more than the obvious accolades — the three Most Valuable Player awards, the 10 World Series wins — Berra was exceptional by virtue of his improbability.As a 19-year-old, Berra participated in the D-Day invasion as a member of the U.S. Navy, fighting from a boat at Omaha Beach, where there were some 2,000 casualties. He was later injured in Marseilles and earned a Purple Heart. After he returned to baseball, he played in just 77 minor-league games before advancing to the majors. Because of his service, Berra didn’t begin his career in earnest until he was 21 years old.Berra was unlikely even as a baseball player: All of 5 feet 7 inches tall, he launched 358 home runs during his career, 90 more than anyone his height or shorter.2Here I am using the Lahman database numbers. The runner-up is Joe Morgan (5 feet 7 inches, 268 home runs). The shortest player who hit more home runs than Berra is Mel Ott (5 feet 9 inches, 511 home runs). Berra was an unusually disciplined batter, striking out in only 4.9 percent of his plate appearances. That combination of power and plate discipline is exceptionally rare in MLB history. Sluggers tend to strike out at higher-than-average rates because they are often selective and waiting for a pitch to drive. Players with more than 350 home runs since 1940 have struck out, on average, in 15.8 percent of plate appearances, more than three times Berra’s rate. No one else with a strikeout rate below 5.5 percent hit more home runs than Berra did during that period. When you add up his position, size, power and plate discipline, Berra is unique in all of baseball’s history. read more

Sep
28

Gronk Was The Most Efficient Receiver Weve Seen

7Jordy NelsonWR9248,5879.3 6Michael IrvinWR9608,9369.3 10Travis KelceTE5795,2369.0 2Julio JonesWR1,09510,7319.8 5Brandin CooksWR5465,1479.4 3Malcom FloydWR5705,5509.7 PlayerPositionTargetsYardsyards per target 9Doug BaldwinWR7226,5639.1 Among players with at least 500 career targetsSource: Pro-Football-Reference.com Good things happened when you throw to GronkMost career yards per target for NFL players, 1992-2018 1Rob GronkowskiTE7947,8619.9 It was the Instagram post that shook the NFL. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski took to the social-media platform Sunday night to announce what had been speculated for the better part of two years: He was retiring from football at age 29, leaving the Pats less than two months after New England won Super Bowl LIII. Despite his relatively short career, Gronk seems like an ironclad lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame based on his three championships and many spike-worthy touchdowns. And there’s plenty of evidence that the traditional markers of tight end production undersell Gronkowski’s success. When healthy, Gronk was one of the most efficient offensive weapons in NFL history, notable as much for the nightmares he caused defenses as for the short amount of time his star shone (or his party-loving ways off the field).Not that Gronkowski’s conventional stats are anything to scoff at. He was named to the Pro Bowl in five of the seven seasons in which he played more than half of the Patriots’ games and was the first-team All-Pro tight end in four of those years. In the 2010s, no tight end had more receiving yards, and no receiver of any kind scored more receiving touchdowns. Only two tight ends in history — Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez — have more regular-season career TD catches, and Gronkowski caught 12 more in the postseason, which ties him with John Stallworth for the second-most playoff TDs among all players behind Jerry Rice.On a per-16-game basis, the average Gronk campaign would consist of 72 catches, 1,094 yards and 11 touchdowns — numbers that would rank among the top 25 tight end seasons in history. And Gronkowski sustained that pace for nine seasons.Those numbers are only scratching the surface in terms of how valuable Gronk was to Tom Brady and the Patriots over the years. On a per-target basis, Gronkowksi picked up 9.9 yards — basically an entire first down every time the ball was thrown in his direction — according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. Since 1992 (the first season for target data on PFR), that’s the best of any receiver — wideout or tight end — in the NFL. 8T.Y. HiltonWR8788,0979.2 4DeSean JacksonWR1,05710,2619.7 Remember longtime Vikings WR Cris Carter’s old reputation — “all he does is catch touchdowns”? For Gronkowski, that was closer to being true than for any player of his generation — and it was a very good thing for the Patriots. With 521 career receptions and 79 career touchdown grabs, Gronk hauled in a TD once every 6.6 catches. Only eight players in NFL history with a minimum of 400 lifetime receptions — Don Hutson, Paul Warfield, Tommy McDonald, Art Powell, Jimmy Orr, Wesley Walker, Randy Moss and Lance Alworth — caught touchdowns as a greater share of their total catches than Gronkowski did.With those rates of great things happening whenever he was involved in the play, it’s easy to make a case that Gronkowski was the most efficient receiver (of any type) in NFL history. What’s more, Gronkowski consistently made his teammates more efficient, too.When our colleague Kyle Wagner looked at Gronk’s impact during the 2017-18 playoffs, he found that Brady’s passing efficiency numbers were significantly higher when his favorite tight end was on the field than not, one of the big ways Gronkowski has been a secret weapon for the Pats during the latter phase of their record-smashing dynasty. Since Gronk’s debut in 2010, Brady’s passer rating when targeting Gronkowski is 124.7, but it was just 96.8 when throwing to any other receiver. Even when it came to the greatest quarterback of all time, Gronkowski found a way to make him look much better.And then there was Gronkowski’s effect as a blocker. He frequently graded out as the best blocking tight end in the game, according to ProFootballFocus.com’s ratings. This aspect of his game made Gronk an asset whether the play call was a pass or run — keeping the Patriots from having to sub him in and out depending on the situation, or having his presence tip the Pats’ hand on which type of play was coming. No matter what Gronkowski was asked to do, he generated a mismatch with the defense.(All of this is to say nothing of the fun-loving image Gronkowski cultivated both on and off the field. We’ll leave others to judge his extracurricular activities, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t reference this great description of Gronkowski’s playing style from The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay: He was “six-foot-6, 265 pounds, galloping straight at you in the open field like a pony who just broke loose at a children’s birthday party.”)Gronkowski was still a valuable player in 2018, but there’s no denying that he was a shell of his old self. According to ProFootballFocus, he was ranked 11th best overall at the position. But as he showed in the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory this year, Gronkowski could still be a game-changing player. His 29-yard reception in the fourth quarter set New England up on the goal line, leading to the game’s only touchdown. While Gronkowksi’s impact as a blocker generated great fanfare during the regular season and in the playoffs, he also was the team’s primary downfield weapon after Josh Gordon exited New England, averaging 16.4 air yards per reception, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group. That was more than 50 percent greater than Brady’s overall mark per attempt during the same span.Few Hall of Famers have ever retired before their age-30 season,1In the parlance of Pro-Football-Reference, which calculates its seasonal ages based on the player’s age as of Dec. 31 during the year in question. but Gronkowski is destined to join a group that also includes Jim Brown, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley and Gale Sayers (among modern2Retiring since 1960. players). Though his time in the NFL was relatively short, Gronk made his mark on the league as a receiver, blocker and all-around offensive terror. The game — and its greatest quarterback — will miss him dearly next season. read more

Sep
28

Ohio State softball completes perfect week vs Big Ten teams with sweep

OSU sophomore Taylor White (21) makes a catch during a game against Penn State on April 6 at Buckeye Field.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorThe Ohio State softball team swept its third Big Ten opponent of the season this weekend, taking down Rutgers (18-23, 2-7) in a three-game series.The Buckeyes (24-8-1, 9-1-1) scored at least 10 runs in each of the three matchups, and seven players hit home runs, including three each by freshman Emily Clark and redshirt junior Alex Bayne. Bayne is now three home runs away from breaking the program’s single-season home run record, which has stood at 19 since 2009.Bayne hit .615 over the three games, while Clark hit .545, and eight of the nine OSU starters hit above a .300 clip.Game 1OSU set off on a destructive path on Friday, taking the 17-8 win after a tight game through the first four innings. The Buckeyes had their third eight-run inning of the year in the fifth inning, where five players brought in runs. Five players — Bayne, senior catcher Cammi Prantl, redshirt senior first baseman Erika Leonard, sophomore outfielder Taylor White and Clark — sent balls over the fence, thus sustaining the team’s now 13-game home run streak.Freshman Katya Duvall made only her fourth appearance of the season but earned her third win on the mound, combining with junior Shelby Hursh for eight strikeouts. Duvall, one of seven California natives on the team, held the Scarlet Knights to one earned run in the final three innings of the chilly evening matchup.OSU coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly utilized 16 members of her 22-player roster in Friday’s game, including redshirt freshman Alex Vargas, who collected her first hit and RBI of her career with the Buckeyes.Like 19 other games this season, OSU scored first on Leonard’s sixth home run the year, but Rutgers responded with senior Melanie Slowinski’s homer of her own to take the lead. Sophomore catcher Sierra Maddox later stole home to give the Scarlet Knights another run.Rutgers held the narrow lead until the top of the fourth, but solo shots by Clark and Prantl tied the game. The Scarlet Knights’ top hitter, senior Stephanie Huang, sent a long ball over the left-field fence to restore her team’s lead.If the Buckeyes’ bats had been warm in the first four innings, they caught fire in the top of the fifth, starting with redshirt junior Jess Machovina’s single to center field. Sophomore Ashley Goodwin brought in the first run of the inning after junior Anna Kirk stole second to situate herself in scoring position.Clark scored on a passed ball, and Bayne and Prantl advanced runners with singles to the outfield. White’s home run brought OSU’s lead to six, and Kirk’s deep double marked the team’s sixth hit of the inning.The Scarlet Knights timidly responded with two unearned runs in the bottom of the inning, one scored on a fielding error by McIntyre and one on a walk. The Buckeyes then lengthened their lead to 14-7 on Bayne’s 15th homer and Machovina’s 12th RBI of the year.Still, OSU was not content, adding three runs on Leonard’s and Vargas’ hits. Rutgers’ last chance in the bottom of the seventh inning produced one run on a late home run from freshman Allie Yoffee, but the Scarlet Knights fell for the 21st time this season.Game 2Inclement weather cut Saturday’s game short, forcing OSU and Rutgers to pick up play on Sunday morning, when the Buckeyes sealed an 11-9 win. On what was her 16th home run of the year, however, Bayne battled the cold and rain in the top of the third to send the Buckeyes’ lead to 4-1.In the previous inning, Clark’s blast over the fence brought the game to 2-1, after the Scarlet Knights scored first on a sacrifice bunt.Rutgers left three on in the bottom of the second inning to make way for redshirt senior shortstop Maddy McIntyre’s leadoff single and Bayne’s homer. Machovina continued her three-game hit streak with a single to bring pinch runner Cassidy Clough home.The bottom of the third, just as the Scarlet Knights were heating up, was stalled by the weather. Rutgers brought the game to 5-3 on senior Elizabeth Adams deep double before the umpires suspended the game.When the matchup resumed Sunday, Goodwin’s quick single tacked on another run to OSU’s lead, but Rutgers third baseman Jordan Whitley notched a two-run home run to make the game a tight 6-5.OSU reliever Morgan Ray, who took over for sophomore right-hander Shelby McCombs, allowed a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the sixth, but the freshman nabbed the last out with a groundout.Clark sent her second home run of the game to center field in the top of the final inning to bring in White, who recorded an RBI with a single in the previous at-bat. Sophomore Becca Gavin followed suit with a two-run shot of her own, giving the Buckeyes an 11-5 lead.For the first time this season, Gavin saw action behind the plate, allowing Prantl to take to left field, where she spent a handful of games in her previous three seasons.The Scarlet Knights attempted to shorten their deficit in the bottom of the inning, scoring four runs in a late rally. Three of the runs were scored on passed balls, and the fourth was on one of Ray’s four walks of the day. Ray recorded three of her four strikeouts in the seventh inning, sending the Buckeyes to the final game of the series with the series win in hand.Game 3OSU took advantage of its 2-0 weekend lead and sunnier weather to bounce out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the final matchup. That score stood until the top of the fifth inning, when Machovina recorded her second home run of the year to take OSU’s lead to three.The Scarlet Knights went down in order in the second, third, fifth and seventh innings at the hands of junior Lena Springer and the OSU defense. Springer, a transfer from Central Florida, struck out seven in her ninth start of the year.While Springer pitched a complete game, Rutgers used three pitchers in the circle and went for six combined strikeouts.The game was a clash of defenses, as both teams struggled to move runners around the bases. The Buckeyes opened up in the sixth inning with Machovina’s home run and doubles by Kirk and Clark, expanding their lead to five.As if 16 home runs were not enough for Bayne, she drove another long ball over the left field fence in the top of the seventh inning. Prantl, Leonard, White and Clark followed with singles to give OSU two more runs. With the bases loaded, junior Aubrie Levine hit McIntyre with a pitch, bringing in White. Bayne, in her second at-bat of the inning, then snapped a quick single to the pitcher and beat out the throw to send Clark home.OSU’s offense solidified its fifth shutout of the year in the bottom of the final inning, where Rutgers put three infield groundouts into play. The Scarlet Knights suffered their second Big Ten sweep of 2016 and their seventh shutout.Up nextOSU is set to return to Buckeye Field on Wednesday in a game against Dayton, before heading to No. 1 Michigan for a major Big Ten weekend series. The matchup against the Flyers is slated to begin at 6 p.m. read more

Sep
28

Ohio State wrestling stumbles against Penn State

In a battle of top-five ranked wrestling teams, No. 5 Ohio State fell, 34-9, against No. 2 Penn State in front of a sold-out crowd in University Park Pa., Sunday afternoon. “It was a complete mental, physical letdown,” said OSU wrestling coach Tom Ryan. “Overall, it wasn’t a lot of positive to draw from it.” OSU was only able to win two matches behind the effort of brothers redshirt freshman Logan Stieber and freshman Hunter Stieber. The two have been the last two weeks’ Big Ten Wrestler and Co-Wrestler of the Week. At 133-pounds, Logan Stieber pinned Frank Martellotti and, shortly after, at 141-pounds, Hunter Stieber secured an 8-5 decision against Bryan Pearsall. From 149-pounds on, though, Penn State piled 31 straight points over the course of seven straight wins in a blowout victory for the defending national champions. While Ryan said Penn State provided some match-up problems, he was still upset that his team didn’t wrestle up to level of competition that they did against Iowa, which the Buckeyes won, 20-9. “This isn’t about winning and losing. It’s about effort,” Ryan said. OSU was without 149-pound freshman Cam Tessari and 184-pound redshirt junior C.J. Magrum. Both sat due to lingering injuries. Between OSU and Penn State, 17 wrestlers, as of the day of the dual, were ranked in the top 25 in their respective weight class. Penn State, who last beat Iowa 22-12, improved to 9-1 and 5-1 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, slipped to 9-3 on the year and 3-3 in the conference. The loss comes nine days after OSU secured what some call its biggest dual win in history against the Iowa Hawkeyes. This week, however, the Buckeyes were less fortunate on the road, like they have been much of this season with all three losses coming away from home. OSU will look to rebound at home against Michigan at 6 p.m. Friday night. “I do think we we’ll respond,” Ryan said. “We saw what we’re capable of against Iowa.” read more

Sep
28

Noholdsbarred riots precede Final Four

NEW ORLEANS – Paying $25 for a student ticket to the Final Four probably seemed like a deal to students whose schools advanced to the last weekend of competition in men’s college basketball. But the riots that ensued when they arrived at the venue left some students shocked and others trampled. Students from each of the four institutions competing in the 2012 Final Four arrived throughout the early morning Saturday to obtain their tickets for the Kentucky-Louisville and Ohio State-Kansas National Semifinal Games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Erik Christianson, director of public and media relations for the NCAA, said students entered the garage area for the Superdome about 16 hours before any game was scheduled to start. “In an effort to secure floor seats from a general admission pool of student tickets, a crowd of approximately 500 students crossed barricades and entered a garage area at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome without proper authorization at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Saturday,” Christianson said in an email. Although instructed to begin forming lines at about 10 a.m., students attempted to line up early to secure highly coveted floor seats. “The students were instructed by their respective schools and the NCAA to arrive at the garage at 10 a.m.,” Christianson said in an email. “While they were being removed in an orderly manner, some students rushed back into the garage and remained there against the orders of security staff.” Several students said the day-of-game ticketing process was a “riot” that morning, adding that people were trampled and pushed over while grappling for position in line. Jon Hicks, a second-year in human development and family services at OSU, attempted to position himself for a lower level ticket and arrived in line at about 7:30 a.m. Hicks was one of 710 OSU students to buy a $25 ticket and was trying to sit on the floor rather than in the upper bowl of the stadium, where half his peers would be located. He said a riot broke out shortly after his arrival when security guards told OSU, Kansas, Louisville and Kentucky students to leave the arena. “Some cop came in and said, ‘You all have to leave,’” Hicks said. “We all went outside. We were there for five minutes. They said, ‘Go back in,’ and we went right back inside. A couple Kentucky girls got knocked over. It was bad. It was pretty intense.” Ricky Voigt, a second-year in human resources at OSU, said hundreds of people began running around in the Superdome parking garage where the four groups of students waited for tickets. Voigt said it was the closest he’s ever been to being in a riot situation, and likened the scene to that of a rock concert. “People were jumping over barriers, climbing up the parking garage. Just running and screaming,” Voigt said. “There was really no security or personnel from the Superdome facilitating anything. It was sort of self-governed by the students.” Voigt said he did not see any students injured. However Nick Nachbar, a first-year in microbiology at Kansas said he saw several female students trampled. Nachbar, who described a process of waiting for hours for multiple wristbands in order to obtain access to Superdome floor seats, said people were pushed down and trampled in the rush to reposition after being told to leave the arena and then invited back inside. Christianson said adjustments were being made to ensure a similar incident does not happen when Kentucky plays Kansas Monday evening. “When the NCAA and facility staff arrived at 7 a.m., they adjusted the ticket distribution process to accommodate the students,” Christianson said. “The NCAA and facility staff has reviewed the incident and are taking measures with increased security for Monday’s game to ensure the safety of the students.” Nachbar said he had never seen anything like the scene he saw Saturday morning. “For the people in the middle trying to get up front, it was no-holds-bar,” Nachbar said. “Anything they had to do to get to the front of the line, they would do. It’s crazy.” read more

Sep
28

Ohio State 201314 athletics Year in review

Some seasons end in championships. Others, losses that make you scratch your head.Some teams show pure dominance in their sport. Others fight just to finish with a winning record.Ohio State sports dabbled in a bit of each of these during the 2013-14 season, as the men’s tennis, men’s lacrosse, pistol and synchronized swimming teams captured at least a share of a conference or National Championship, and redshirt-junior Logan Steiber captured his third-consecutive NCAA wrestling title in addition to senior Joe Totts winning his second individual pistol title.Other squads, like the football, women’s volleyball and men’s basketball teams, all started hot and won at least 12 straight contests to open the season, only to falter down the stretch.Some OSU teams are still battling to the finish off their respective seasons — baseball, softball and men’s and women’s lacrosse, to name a few — but let’s take a moment to look back at the school year that was in OSU athletics. The championsEven though perhaps the most popular sports failed to pick up any championships this past year, other Buckeyes did.The synchronized swimming team won the 2014 U.S. Senior National Championship; the men’s tennis team won its first ever National Team Indoor Title in February and also clinched a share of the Big Ten Title for the ninth straight year. As mentioned before, Steiber won his third consecutive wrestling National Title and the men’s lacrosse team grabbed a share of the regular season ECAC crown after defeating Air Force Saturday, 8-6. The OSU pistol team also snatched its sixth NRA Intercollegiate National Championship March 13. New coachesNumerous programs saw a changing of the guard on their coaching staffs, as men’s hockey coach Steve Rohlik and women’s tennis coach Melissa Schaub shed their interim tags and took over on a full-time basis. Rohlik led the Buckeyes to the conference championship game of the inaugural Big Ten Tournament where the Buckeyes fell to Wisconsin in overtime, and Schaub guided her team to an 18-7 regular season record in preparation for the Big Ten Tournament, which is set to commence Thursday.A pair of other coaches — women’s basketball’s Kevin McGuff and diving’s Justin Sochor — also came to OSU prior to their seasons’ starts. Sochor became the next man in line behind Vince Panzano, who retired after 35 years at the helm and McGuff took over for Jim Foster, who was ‘terminated without cause’ March 19, 2013. McGuff’s Buckeyes finished the season 17-18, but made a run to the Big Ten Tournament’s semifinals before falling to Iowa.The OSU Spirit Squad also has a new head coach in Ben Schreiber, who returns to his alma mater after spending five years at the University of Delaware. Schreiber replaces former head coach Lenee Buchman, who was terminated “for cause” Nov. 25 following a sexual harassment investigation involving former coaches and a former cheerleader. The main revenue sportsIn what some fans could consider a down year, the Buckeye football and men’s basketball programs both started off their respective seasons well, with the football team again going 12-0 and Thad Matta’s team ripping off 15 straight wins themselves as the team ascended as high as No. 3 in the polls.But things quickly went south for the hoops squad, as it struggled to score consistently and only won half of its remaining 20 games to close out the season. The Buckeyes fell to Dayton, 60-59, in the NCAA Tournament’s second round, marking the first time in five seasons the Buckeyes failed to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.“If anything, we’ll look at this and put ourselves in positions of understanding what it takes to win on a consistent basis,” Matta said on his team’s season after the loss to the Flyers. “It’s not just putting on a uniform that says Ohio State, it’s about going out and getting the job done.”It took 739 days for Urban Meyer to experience his first loss as OSU’s football coach — the school officially announced his hire Nov. 29, 2011, and the team ripped off 24 straight wins before losing to Michigan State, 34-24, in the Big Ten Championship Game Dec. 7.After following that loss with another less than a month later — this time to Clemson, 40-35, in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl Jan. 3 — Meyer wasn’t pleased with how his team finished out the season.“Is this what we expect? No,” Meyer said after the Orange Bowl loss. “We expect top 10 defense at Ohio State, top 10 offense and top 10 special teams, and I don’t believe we accomplished any of those.”OSU Director of Athletics and Vice President Gene Smith said Meyer has got the program in an “outstanding” place, but the team must perform better in the big games.“Every game we have a chance to win, and we were there,” Smith said in an interview with The Lantern Jan. 29. “There’s a lot of teams that wish they had the opportunities to be in those games. We have to perform better when we’re in them, because we don’t want to lose them … I feel good about where we are.”Both programs look to rebound for next season, as Matta brought in two transfers — forward Anthony Lee, from Temple who can play next year and center Trevor Thompson from Virginia Tech, who will sit out the 2014-15 season — to help fill the void. Meyer finalized another top five recruiting class and also added defensive line coach Larry Johnson, from Penn State, and co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash, from Arkansas, to help bolster the unit. The restMultiple teams are knee-deep in their spring seasons — baseball, softball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s tennis and track and field — but the women’s rowing team and men’s and women’s golf teams are just getting their seasons going. The rowing team captured OSU’s first women’s NCAA team title in June, and is looking to add another title to the list this year. The men’s soccer team finished the year 5-8-4, while the women’s team was 10-7-3, falling to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament in November.Much like the football and men’s basketball programs, the women’s volleyball team started off well only to falter at the end of the year. After winning their first 14 matches this past season, the team finished 18-14. The men’s team fell to IPFW, 3-0, Saturday in the first round of the MIVA Tournament to end its season 11-16. read more

Sep
28

Ohio State mens lacrosses postseason run ends in 1513 loss at Denver

On Saturday, the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team ended its 2015 campaign with a loss to the No. 4 Denver Pioneers, 15-13, in the NCAA quarterfinals.Inside the Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, the Buckeyes (12-7) took a quick 7-1 lead in the first 18 minutes of action. However, success for the Buckeyes wouldn’t last as Denver (15-2) struck back with nine unanswered goals to lead the Pioneers to their third consecutive NCAA semifinals.Although the Buckeye attack had success early, DU goalie Ryan LaPlante made 13 saves to hold the Buckeye offense. But it was senior attacker Wesley Berg who would lead the Pioneers to victory, scoring six goals while contributing one assist.OSU senior midfielder Jesse King was the main contributor for the Buckeyes, scoring three goals and handling three assists.“It comes down to possessing the ball and that’s what we did a really good job of in the first quarter,” King said. “We were scoring on probably 50 percent of our possessions. Then you get unlucky and you don’t get a couple of ground balls that you want and Denver starts getting them, and that’s when things went wrong.”King, along with 11 other seniors, will be leaving the Buckeyes after leading OSU into the new era of Big Ten lacrosse. The group had been a part of 32 wins over the last four years, leading the Buckeyes to two NCAA quarterfinal matchups.The unseeded Buckeyes fell to 0-3 all-time in NCAA quarterfinals after previously losing in 2008 and 2013. read more

Sep
28

Mens Hockey No 6 Ohio State prepares to take on topranked Notre

Ohio State sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski controlls the puck during a 4-0 loss to Penn State on Dec. 2. Credit: Nick Hudak | For the LanternThe No. 6 Ohio State men’s hockey team (18-6-4, 11-6-1-0 Big Ten) travels to South Bend, Indiana, Friday and Saturday to take on top-ranked Notre Dame (21-5-2, 15-2-1-1 Big Ten) for a colossal Big Ten weekend series.Ohio State has won eight of its last 10 games, but is coming off a loss to Michigan State to split a weekend series.Notre Dame enters having lost just two of its last 20 games with the only blemishes coming against No. 17 Wisconsin and No. 12 Minnesota. It started that stretch with back-to-back wins versus the Buckeyes at the Schottenstein Center in early November.“I think we’re different because we’ve got more experience. We’ve played quite a few games and we’ve played some close games. I hope to think we’ve grown as a team. Our special teams, maybe our power play, is in a better spot,” Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said. “Against a team like this, it all comes down to the little things. We didn’t do enough of the little things against them last time here. Hopefully, we’ve corrected some of that stuff.”Notre Dame is one of the best defensive teams in the country, allowing just two goals per game, third-fewest in the NCAA. The Irish defensemen almost act as extra goaltenders, blocking shots while clearing traffic in front of the net. They also can contribute offensively. Senior defenseman Jordan Gross leads the group with 21 point, while junior defenseman Bobby Nardella has 18 points and sophomore defenseman Andrew Peeke adds 11.If a player manages to get past those defensemen, he would still have to deal with sophomore goaltender Cale Morris. Morris has posted some of the best numbers in collegiate hockey, allowing the second-fewest goals-against average at 1.68 and registering the highest save percentage at .952.“You’ve got to get a guy in front of their goaltender. You’ve got to work to get into the dirty areas. It comes down to competing and it’s the one-on-one battles,” Rohlik said. “It’s either our will to get the goaltender or their will defensively to not let us there.”The Buckeyes’ special teams play has been a key for the team when its 5-of-5 play has faltered. The Ohio State power play has found its way into the top 10 in the country at 23.5 percent, joining the top-ranked penalty kill at 90.4 percent.Continuing that power-play success against Notre Dame won’t be easy, though, since the Irish’s penalty kill is fifth in the country at 88 percent.“We are going up against one of the best teams, No. 1 in the country and they are great at special teams, especially on the penalty kill,” Rohlik said. “Our best penalty kill is being disciplined and not taking penalties, and they do that as well. They don’t take a lot of penalties. When we get an opportunity, we’ve got to take advantage of it.”The Buckeyes sit in second place in the Big Ten standings with 34 points, 13 points behind the Irish, who are first with 47 points. With a win, Notre Dame can clinch the Big Ten regular-season title, which includes the top seed and a bye in the Big Ten tournament.The Irish need a victory at home where they have gone 10-3-1 this season. Ohio State redshirt defenseman Wyatt Ege would like to have them wait another week.“I don’t think you want anyone to have that success against you. I think that’s a big part of it,” Ege said. “We know that we are going to have to face them in the Big Ten Tournament too, potentially. I think this is a big weekend for us to send a message.”Puck drop for the weekend series will be at 7:35 p.m. Friday and at 7 p.m. Saturday. Both games will be played at the Compton Family Ice Arena. read more

Sep
25

Eurostar bomb scare as passenger brings WW2 relic to Gare du Nord

first_img#Eurostar bomb disposal are on site… pic.twitter.com/6Lp9ScRToQ— Joe Rickelton (@JoeRickelton) December 19, 2016 A Eurostar passenger reportedly sparked a bomb scare at a French station after trying to board the train with a “military relic”.The cross-border operator said Gare du Nord station in Paris was evacuated after a “suspect package” was discovered on Saturday afternoon. Witnesses reported scenes of confusion at the transport hub, with several saying on social media that they heard a controlled explosion.One person wrote on Twitter: “No information on what’s going on at gare du Nord!?! Massive queues, delays , explosion… Any update for your passengers?”Eurostar replied to another person online, writing: “Somebody tried to take through a military relic so it’s just being checked and check in should be open very shortly.”The high-speed service provider reassured passengers that services had not been cancelled but “interrupted until further notice”.One tweet read: “Check-in was interrupted due to the presence of a suspect package which caused the evacuation. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Sep
25

Academies are using taxpayers money to pay unjustifiably high salaries to senior

first_imgThe committee calls for the government to do more to challenge academy trusts that are paying excessive salaries Staff costs make up more than 70% of a school’s cost, so large salary hikes, when overall funding is not rising at the same rate “add to the financial pressures faced by schools”, the group of MPs said.It also says the Department for Education has “no easy way” of linking performance and salaries, so could not tell the committee if those earning large pay packages are those responsible for the best-performing schools.The committee calls for the government to do more to challenge academy trusts that are paying excessive salaries and take action if they cannot be justified.Trustees are responsible for helping to make decisions relating to an academy trust – which can run one or a group of schools, and according to government information, they would only receive payment for their work as an employee in an academy trust – such as a headteacher, or the chief executive of a chain of academies (often known as a multi-academy trust). Meg Hillier, PAC chair The report also says that academy trusts are educating increasing numbers of children and handling large amounts of public money, the report says.”It is therefore crucial that they show the highest standards of governance, accountability and financial management,” it says.”Too often academy trusts are falling short of these standards and the Department for Education (the Department) is too slow to react.”PAC chair Meg Hillier said: “More than two million pupils are taught by academies in England. The governance and financial management of these schools is fundamentally important to pupils’ educational outcomes and future life prospects.”If parents, Parliament and others are to hold them properly to account, it is vital they have timely access to transparent and detailed information. Academies and the trusts that run them must be judged against the standards expected of other schools funded by the taxpayer.”She also said: “Excessive trustee salaries deprive the frontline of vital funds and it is alarming that, in two-thirds of cases where Government has challenged individual trusts on pay exceeding £150,000, it has not been satisfied by the response.”A Department for Education spokesperson said: “All academy trusts operate under a strict system of financial accountability and have to publish their audited accounts.”To ensure all pupils get the excellent education they deserve we continue to scrutinise the system on an annual basis and take action where necessary, such as recently asking all trusts paying high salaries to justify them.” The committee calls for the government to do more to challenge academy trusts that are paying excessive salariescenter_img Academies are using taxpayers’ money to pay “unjustifiably” high salaries to senior staff, MPs have warned.In some cases, academy trusts are failing to prove that hefty pay packages are appropriate, according to the public accounts committee.In a new report, MPs argue that if pay is left unchallenged, there is a risk that high wages become accepted as the norm, which will pile more pressure on school budgets.Academies are state schools that are not under local authority control, but run by trusts. The PAC report says: “Some academy trusts appear to be using public money to pay excessive salaries.”The latest official annual report and accounts for academies in England show that there were 102 instances where trustees were paid salaries in excess of £150,000, it notes.It goes on to say that last November, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) wrote to 29 single academy trusts (those responsible for just one school) where a trustee was paid in excess of £150,000, requesting justification. While all 29 have responded, in two-thirds of cases ESFA is not yet satisfied with the response, the committee said.”Unjustifiably high salaries use public money that could be better spent on improving children’s education and supporting frontline teaching staff, and do not represent value for money,” the report says.”If the payment of such high salaries remains unchallenged, it is more likely that such high salaries become accepted as indicative of the market rate. This could then distort the employment market in the sector for senior staff.” Meg Hillier, PAC chair 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

Sep
25

Cheerleader and gaelic footballer named among three teens killed after crush at

Two people died at the party at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown Co. TyroneCredit:PA Police check the perimeter of The Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, County Tyrone, where two young people have died and others have been injured Police at the entrance of the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown Co. Tyrone in Northern Ireland Emma Heatherington, whose two sons, aged 17 and 18, had been at the event, said she “felt sick” when she saw the police appeal. The service said: “NIAS despatched two Rapid Response Paramedics, two doctors and five emergency crews to the scene.”A source told Belfast Live: “A lot of people had congregated outside the Greenvale and there was a lot of carry on but suddenly all hell broke loose and there was a big panic. People were running all over the place.” “My two boys were there so I rang them, shaking and thankfully got them both,” she said. “They were on their way home at that stage.”They say there was a huge crowd waiting to get into the venue and then a lot of commotion up near the front of the queue, then they said the emergency services arrived and they were all asked to leave.”They came home very, very shaken with rumours that some people had died.” “The people that I’ve spoken to, they’re very shocked. It’s a close-knit community.” Police at the entrance of the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown Co. Tyrone in Northern IrelandCredit:PA One of the teenage boys who died was today named locally as Connor Currie.Tributes were paid to Mr Currie, a keen gaelic footballer, by his club Edendork GAC in Dungannon.In a statement posted on social media, the club wrote: “As a club and community, we are deeply saddened and devastated to hear of the tragic passing of our much loved and highly thought of player and member Connor Currie.”Connor will forever be remembered with the greatest affection by all associated with our club and indeed the wider Edendork community.”We are all in shock at Connor’s untimely passing, to lose a dear friend and team mate is one of the most difficult life experiences you will have to face.”Morgan Barnard, a pupil at St Patrick’s Academy in Dungannon, was also named as one of the victims.The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said they had received several calls at about 9.30pm following reports of a number of people having sustained serious injuries.  “You were an incredible cheerleader and were the backbone of our team.” Speaking from the scene, Mr Hamilton said: “Our preliminary investigations show there was a crush towards the front door of this hotel.”There looks like there was a large crowd of young people pushing up against the hotel.”Cheerleader Lauren Bullock was described as the “backbone” of the Euphoria Allstar Cheerleading NI team.The team said: “Euphoria are absolutely devastated to say we lost one of our senior athletes, Lauren Bullock, in the tragedy in Cookstown last night.”My heart is broken writing this. You were the most down to earth, beautiful soul and our Coral team will never be the same without you. Police check the perimeter of The Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, County Tyrone, where two young people have died and others have been injured Credit:Alan Lewis The 42-year-old, of Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, added: “While it’s not clear exactly what happened, it’s the most tragic ending imaginable to what was supposed to be a celebration of St Patrick’s Day.”Democratic Unionist Part leader Arlene Foster tweeted that her “thoughts and prayers” were “with everyone impacted by this tonight”.And Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O’Neill called it a “parents’ worst nightmare”.”My thoughts and prayers are with the families,” she added.Former Democratic Unionist MP for South Antrim, William McCrea, said: “We’ve got to see what lessons can be learned from this tragedy.”I drove past this 10 minutes before it happened, not knowing that 10 minutes later an absolute tragedy would happen. Two people died at the party at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown Co. Tyrone Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A cheerleader and gaelic footballer were today named among the three teenagers killed at a St Patrick’s Day party in Northern Ireland amid reports of “a crush”.Paramedics were called to the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, County Tyrone on Sunday, where dozens of young people were attending a celebration.The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said in the early hours of Monday morning that a multi-agency incident was under way, confirming two people had died and that two others had been taken to hospital. Just after 7am on Monday, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton confirmed a third teenager had died.The victims were named as Lauren Bullock and Morgan Barnard, both 17, and 16-year-old Connor Currie. read more

Sep
25

IPI urges Govt to review amendments to broadcast bill

The International Press Institute (IPI), today, called on the incumbent administration to review the controversial Broadcast Amendment Bill, which was recently passed in the National Assembly.Citing the many concerns already expressed, the IPI says that government should hold consultations with local stakeholders before the President assents to the Bill.The following article, written by Henri Mikael Koponen, was published by the International Press Institute on its website:   The government of Guyana should address serious concerns raised by local media groups over pending amendments to the country’s broadcast law, the International Press Institute (IPI) said today.Local critics say the amendments, passed on Friday by Guyana’s National Assembly and now awaiting the signature of President David A. Granger, grant the state “unwarranted” power to manage the programming of radio and television stations by allocating time slots for public service programming dictated by the government.In a joint statement last week before the bill was passed, a group of private Guyanese broadcasters called for debate to be deferred, describing the planned public service programme requirement as an “infringement on the freedom to determine broadcast content”.That view was echoed by the Guyana Press Association (GPA), which told IPI in a statement that it condemned the planned changes and would work with international groups to “convince the government of the need to halt or reverse this process given the severe consequences these amendments pose to freedom of the press and the commercial viability of private radio and television stations”.IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis urged the Guyanese government to address criticism regarding the amendments before they become law.“We are troubled that this bill appears to have been drafted and passed without time for sufficient consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including Guyana’s private broadcasters and local civil society groups,” Ellis said. “Elements of this legislation – in particular provisions related to the broadcasting of public service content – also raise questions about the government’s commitment to ensuring that Guyanese radio and television stations can operate independently from state and political control. We urge lawmakers to address those questions and revise these amendments as necessary.”Tabled early last week by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, the amendments include a provision requiring private broadcasters to allocate, free of charge, up to 60 minutes of public service programming daily. Additionally, the law would require all current broadcast license holders to reapply within 30 days or lose their right to broadcast.While the GPA said it agreed that private broadcasters should play a role during emergencies and disasters, it highlighted the fact that the amendment would give authorities the ability to dictate time slots if they did not agree with the ones allocated by stations. Furthermore, the new legislation leaves the frequency and content of public service announcements to the discretion of the government.The changes define a public service broadcast as “the broadcast of a programme produced for the purpose of informing and educating the public, and promoting policies and activities of the Government that benefit the public as a whole”.The broadcasts, which also include time for presidential addresses and disaster warnings, are to be allocated between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.GPA told IPI the bill “will disrupt and violate contractual obligations that stations will have with advertisers and programme sponsors”, adding that it “strongly objects to the Guyana government seeking to redefine what constitutes public service programmes”.Anand Persaud, editor-in-chief of the daily Stabroek News, told IPI that mandating the airing of what the government considers to be public service programming “unconscionably limits the freedom of operation” of private broadcasters, who have to pay broadcasting fees.“The content of the public service programmes will invariably be political,” he commented. “It is a clear attempt by the government to promote itself.”Opposition lawmakers in Guyana have slammed the amendments. Former President Bharrat Jagdeo, now leader of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), dubbed the changes “a threat to press freedom” and said they would force broadcasters to air government propaganda. On Friday, PPP MP Gail Teixeira described the bill as “reckless, undemocratic in content, and an infringement on the rights of people”.Prime Minister Nagamootoo defended the bill, insisting that it did not restrict press freedom but rather “lends clarity and certainty” to the powers granted to Guyana’s National Broadcasting Authority (NBA), a body established by the Broadcasting Act of 2011.Concerns over broadcasting freedom in Guyana are not new. The Guyanese government exercised a complete radio monopoly until 2011, and critical television broadcasters were consistently denied broadcast licenses during much of the PPP’s 23-year rule from 1992 to 2015. During a 2013 visit to Guyana, IPI urged the government to ensure that the granting of television and radio licenses under the newly introduced Broadcasting Act be conducted in a transparent and impartial manner. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedBroadcast Amendment Bill: PPP/C plans to challenge it in Court- NandlallAugust 9, 2017In “Business”Legal challenge to Broadcast Amendment Bill filed by former Attorney GeneralOctober 10, 2017In “Business”Broadcast Amendment Bill: GPA stands in solidarity with local broadcastersAugust 3, 2017In “Business” read more

Sep
25

500000 reward bears fruit as arrest made in GTT Cable theft

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedVandalised cables: GTT offers $1M reward for info on perpsJuly 27, 2017In “Business”Fibre-optic cables ‘sabotaged’ again- GTTSeptember 16, 2017In “Business”Man charged for theft of GTT’s fiber optic cable granted bailAugust 11, 2017In “Court” The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) on Thursday commended public spirited citizens and members of the law enforcement agencies for apprehending aperson reported for their cable theft.GTT CEO Justin NeddThe arrest followed closely on the heels of an offered reward of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) for information leading to the apprehension of the perpetrator.Only last week, on September 12 and 13, 300 meters of cable were stolen at New Hope and Friendship on the East Bank of Demerara respectively. After the cable was cut and removed, more than 400 customers lost both voice and data services.According to GTT in a release, within a day of that theft, information was received in response to the reward offer and led law enforcement officers to Pasha’s Scrap Yard in Albouystown where a purchaser of the stolen GTT cable was apprehended.GTT CEO Justin Nedd was on Thursday in high praise of the swift response of the Guyana Police Force.Nedd said, “While we remain disheartened by the continued acts of vandalism against our fibre infrastructure and theft of copper cable, we are heartened by the swift response of the police once we had received the information.”GTT and law enforcement officers, buoyed by this arrest, continue to hunt for the saboteurs of the fibre network, he said.At a joint media conference with GTT at the Ministry of Public Telecommunications in July, Minister Catherine Hughes had pledged government’s support in apprehending persons who damage GTT infrastructure, pointing out that there were stiff provisions in the law, referencing Section 131 of the Criminal Law Offenses Act Chapter 8:01.CEO Justin Nedd also said, “we are also very happy with the support we got from the Government, especially from the Ministers of Public Security, Business, and Public Telecommunications during this episode. The government’s actions were in keeping with their commitments made in public.”GTT announced the system of cash rewards at the July media conference in a push to ensure that “perpetrators of vandalism and theft are no longer able to undermine business and put citizens and public services at risk by bringing down the network for their own nefarious gain.” read more

Sep
25

60 of child abuse victims in Guyana are 13 yrs or

A recent study conducted by ChildLink Guyana found that just over 60 per cent of child abuse victims are 13 years old or younger.According to the document, the study was conducted using the first 338 reports of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) received by the Child Advocacy Centres (CACs) operated by ChildLink in Guyana, as well as research interviews with teenage CSA victims and their supportive caretakers.The study found that 60.9 per cent of children reported that they first suffered abuse at the age of 13 or younger, while 26 per cent of the cases reported were children who first suffered abuse at the age of 10 or below.ChildLink also noted in its report that of the 338 children referred to its CACs during the target years, 41 were boys, which accounted for 12 per cent.When it comes to the abusers, the child agency revealed that many of the children said they were abused by more than one offender. A breakdown of figures was done by the agency which disclosed that a whopping 84 per cent of child victims alleged abuse by family members or known persons from the community.Male members of the child’s immediate or extended family, such as a father or stepfather, uncle, step-uncle or cousin, a brother-in-law or grandfather made up the second largest category of abusers which accounted for 40 per cent of those cases.“Stepfathers (12.4 per cent) fathers (6.8 per cent) and brothers (6.2 per cent) alone make up more than one quarter of the abusers reported to the CACs. Type of Abuse: Fully 57.7 per cent of the victims reported to the CACs had experienced forcible rape, which means physically forced penetration of the child’s vagina, anus or mouth with the abuser’s penis, finger, or an object.18.9 per cent of the victims reported to the CACs had experienced sexual contact, consisting of intentional touching of their breasts, bottoms or genitals, underneath their clothing, or being made to touch the abuser’s genitals. 12.4% of the participants experienced statutory rape.That is, they were considered below the age of consent (in Guyana the age of consent is 16 years), and were coerced into participating in sexual acts by an older person. In some instances, threats of violence formed part of the coercion. 4.4 per cent of the children referred to the CAC were victims of penetrative sexual abuse by an older brother or stepbrother,” the report reads.On the other hand, 42 per cent of abusers were non-family members who were known to their victims, such as community members, family friends, or service providers and professionals such as teachers, pastors, or bus conductors. Important to note is that only one of the abusers mentioned in the 338 reports was a woman.According to ChildLink, child sexual abuse is one of the most devastating forms of violence a person can suffer. Without adequate intervention, sexual abuse may permanently change a child’s life’s course, with echoes throughout the child’s family, community and nation. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedApart from trauma study finds sexually abused children suffered from STDsJanuary 10, 2019In “Featured”Demerara Assizes: Sexual offences matters constitute bulk of cases to be heardJanuary 14, 2019In “Court”Most cases of child abuse recorded on ECD – CCPAApril 23, 2019In “Crime” read more

Sep
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Too early to throw support behind David Granger Presidential candidacy –

Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy HughesThe Alliance For Change (AFC) on Wednesday said that it was too early for the party to say whether it will be supporting President David Granger as presidential candidate for the impending General and Regional Elections.“We’re not there right now absolutely not there right now, we hope that President Granger continues the speedy recovery that he is making…we continue to wish him the best, we have no idea, we have no idea when the election is going to be so we are not in a position to answer that right now”.That was the party’s Vice Chair, Cathy Hughes, responding the INews when asked whether the AFC would support Granger as the presidential candidate of the Coalition for the upcoming polls.During a press conference held at the party’s head office in Kitty, AFC Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan reassured his party’s commitment to the Cummingsburg Accord, adding that they will go into the next elections as a Coalition with the APNU since this would have worked in the past.“We’ve indicated that we are going to go coalition, we prefer to go coalition because of the fact that the chances are better there than if we go separately which we appreciate” Ramjattan said.While insisting that the minority party has done everything it could have to stay relevant within the Coalition administration, the AFC nevertheless assured that it is ready for elections should it be called.“We are very much prepared for elections but we will have the elections I understand as was agreed to in the presidential meeting with the Opposition Leader when of course the two very important matters, the Court cases and GECOM’s readiness are done. Yes we are on outreaches across the country as we have been doing for a number of months now and that will continue, it will be even bigger this year” Ramjattan explained.The AFC took a trouncing in the 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE) when they decided to contest alone garnering just under 4 per cent of the overall votes, while the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) won 61 per cent and APNU 34 per cent. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedAFC still to decide on Presidential, Prime Ministerial candidatesJanuary 26, 2015In “Politics”AFC awaiting NEC meeting to decide on Nagamootoo’s fate as PMJanuary 23, 2019In “latest news”APNU+AFC request that GECOM stop recounting votes; 94% of results to be released tonightMay 13, 2015In “Politics” read more