Even For a Team Down 31 the Rangers Are in Bad Shape

The New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings will meet in Los Angeles on Friday night for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Before Game 4, when the Rangers avoided the sweep, I said that simple probability was not on the Rangers’ side after they fell behind 3-0. Even if we assumed they were evenly matched with LA, New York had just a 6.1 percent chance of winning four consecutive games before the Kings could win one.Now that the Rangers have a win under their belt, their chances are better — improving to about 11.1 percent (if we again assume the teams are evenly matched). But the odds are still long: New York still needs to beat Los Angeles three times in a row, including two games on the road.We were wondering, though, if the sequence of wins and losses matters in a 3-1 series. For instance, by winning Game 4 and snapping a three-game Kings winning streak, do the Rangers have more momentum than, say, a team that won Game 1 and proceeded to lose three straight?The simplistic way of looking at this question would be to count the number of times each possible four-game sequence (e.g. LLLW, LLWL, LWLL, WLLL) occurred, and to determine how many times playoff team down 3-1 ended up winning the series after each sequence. From 1968-2013, here are those numbers:This seems to suggest the Rangers picked the worst possible sequence of wins and losses for a team down 3-1. But, of course, selection bias could be rearing its ugly head here: Teams trailing 3-1 that won in Game 1 or Game 2 are more likely to have been at home for the first two games of the series (historically, the NHL has used a 2-2-1-1-1 format for the majority of its playoff series). This doesn’t confer any special advantage — there’s no format under which teams would have more home games than their opponent through the first four games of a series — but it does tell us they were seeded higher, meaning they had the better record and were probably the better team. All else being equal, those are the types of teams you’d expect to come back more.Here’s what happens if we restrict to looking at teams that started the series on the road:The difference between teams like the Rangers — who lost the first three games of the series but won Game 4 — and teams that lost the first two games, won Game 3 and lost Game 4 is negligible after we remove teams that were on the road in Games 3 and 4. In that sense, the sequencing of the Rangers’ home wins and losses thus far doesn’t matter.However, there remains a rather large effect for teams down 3-1 who managed to get their win on the road, especially in Game 1. Teams who take Game 1 in the other team’s building and then proceed to lose three straight tend to win the series at a rate more than three times that of teams who trail 3-1 via any other sequence of events. Even in a relatively small sample of series, this is a statistically significant result.The question is, why? We’ve removed the bias of including teams that were at home for Games 1 and 2, so this sample strictly deals with teams who, for seeding reasons, did not have home-ice advantage (and were therefore less likely to be the better team). And all still had to win three consecutive games, including two more on the road. My only hypothesis is that it must matter for a team to show it is capable of beating the opponent on the road early in the series. But it’s possible I’m missing a theory, so please leave yours in the comments below.At any rate, those numbers aren’t of much consequence to the Rangers, because they didn’t get their win in Los Angeles. The history of teams trailing 3-1 offers little hope for teams whose lone win came at home, as New York’s has. read more

Read More

Are NFL Rookies Being Drastically Underpaid

Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s episode (July 26, 2017), FiveThirtyEight sports editor Geoff Foster joins Kate and Neil for his inaugural appearance on the podcast. He helps us break down how the current collective bargaining agreement in the NFL is screwing over rookie players — despite the fact that they’ve been found to contribute half of all NFL value. Next, we’re joined by The Undefeated’s Jerry Bembry to discuss the site’s 50 Greatest Black Athletes list, which is currently counting down 10 new players each week until Aug. 8. We chat about the methodology behind the SurveyMonkey-compiled list, the difficulties of comparing athletes across sports and some of the list’s biggest surprises — and snubs.Here are links to the things we discussed during the show:Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman originally wrote on how the NFL is cheating rookies out of millions of dollars.Chase Stuart looked at the stats behind this for FootballPerspective.com.In early July, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins lamented how much bigger NBA free-agent contracts are than those in the NFL.The Undefeated is currently releasing a list of the 50 Greatest Black Athletes of All Time.For more of Jerry Bembry’s thoughts as the list progresses, you can follow him on Twitter. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight Embed Code read more

Read More

Remember The Brooklyn Nets Theyre Good Now

In layman’s terms, the Nets have essentially adopted the same offensive principles as the analytically friendly Houston Rockets, coached by Atkinson mentor Mike D’Antoni. (Fitting that these clubs combined for an NBA-record 106 3-point attempts in a game last week.) Russell, who leads starting ball-handlers with 61.5 pick and rolls per 100 plays, will run you around screens all day, and he and his Brooklyn teammates generally avoid midrange shots, instead probing for much higher-percentage looks. No NBA team has driven to the basket more than the Nets, and this would mark the third consecutive season that Brooklyn ranks in the top 10 in free-throw rate.Defensively, the story is much the same. The Nets have excelled at forcing opponents to walk the analytics plank, ranking among the top five in 2016-17, 2017-18 and again this season in terms of how often they coax teams into longer midrange 2-pointers. When teams are fortunate enough to get to the basket, they’re often met by 20-year-old Jarrett Allen, a big man who has erased some of the game’s biggest names at the rim while sometimes playing a one-man zone. The Nets also rank near the top of the NBA in boxing out, to finish those defensive possessions.That combination — continuing to take the most efficient shots possible on offense while taking those same shots away on the other end — has been the NBA equivalent of Andy Dufresne’s rock hammer in “The Shawshank Redemption.” The team’s strategy and talent, combined with its newfound maturation in the clutch, have finally set it free.Brooklyn basically looked shackled at the ends of games last year and at the start of this season. Whether it was inexperience, consistently bad whistles or a combination of the two, the Nets were managing to find new, devastating ways to lose close contests each night.But even that’s changed of late. The Nets, who were a dismal 4-10 in clutch situations as of Dec. 1, have since gone 11-4 in those same scenarios.One noteworthy shift there is rooted in Russell and Dinwiddie’s ability to coexist during the hot streak — something that had consistently backfired from a net-rating standpoint over the past two seasons. (Their ability to play together, or lack thereof, will be worth watching because of the decision the Nets have to make about the future of Russell, who’s a restricted free agent this summer. Yet it looks like Russell will have the show to himself, as Dinwiddie, who just signed a three-year, $34 million extension, could miss considerable time with a torn ligament in his thumb.) But other elements also stand out. Joe Harris is one of the NBA’s best perimeter shooters. Latvian forward Rodions Kurucs was a great find and is a fluid scorer at 6-foot-9.While the Nets are clearly ascending, they still have their issues, too.Brooklyn has one of the highest turnover rates in the league. The Nets can occasionally find themselves with matchup problems against teams with floor-spacing bigs because of how Allen anchors himself to the paint on defense. The lack of pressure on pick-and-roll ball-handlers hurts their ability to force turnovers. For how well the team gets to the stripe, Russell, its leading scorer, takes fewer free throws than any other volume shooter in the NBA.1This includes any player taking at least 15 field-goal attempts per game. Injuries have nagged Brooklyn all year, and while it’s fair to expect a boost from players if and when they return — especially from LeVert — key players’ roles may have to shrink to accommodate everyone once they’re back. And the Nets, who have enjoyed one of the easiest slates so far, will be thoroughly tested by their upcoming schedule — especially from mid-March to the end of the season.There’s a reason we hear so much about the Nets eventually landing a player like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard or Jimmy Butler. Aside from the fact that they’re one of few big-market teams that seemingly has a direction, a blank-enough canvas (in terms of not having a star) and cap space to make something happen, they also would become an instant contender by adding someone of that caliber. Again, the decision on Russell could complicate that. Yet the reality is that getting past the second round likely requires more than this current cast, even at full strength.For the time being, though, it has been eye-opening to watch the 22-year-old Russell play this well since the turn of the new year, a span in which he’s averaged 24 points and nearly eight assists on 49 percent shooting from the floor, along with his rainbow-arc triples falling at a 44 percent clip.While he’ll never possess the sort of bounce that some of his counterparts have, the former No. 2 overall pick has leveraged the threat of his pull-up jumper into being able to beat defenders to certain spots. When he senses defenders on his hip, he’ll often make use of ball fakes to buy himself more space before shooting.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Russell.mp400:0000:0001:22Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.He’s been more consistent with the ball during that window, too, passing teammates open while logging a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in 2019 — up from 2-to-1 earlier this season and much better than his career ratio of 1.5-to-1 coming into the 2018-19 campaign.Certain elements of Russell’s offensive run lately, much like the team’s overall, are going to come back down to earth at some point. But with how hellish things have been in Brooklyn for much of the past five years, and with how sound the team’s strategy has been in digging out of that trench, Russell, the Nets and their fans all have ample reason to be enjoying this — even if they aren’t exactly sure what comes next.Check out our latest NBA predictions. For more than four years, the Brooklyn Nets had been more or less irrelevant on a national scale. Whenever the team came up in a larger conversation, it was usually to discuss how one of its first-round picks — dealt in that infamous trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce — was benefiting another franchise that got to reap the draft payoff. You have to go back to 2013-14, a full season after the Nets left New Jersey for Brooklyn, to find the last time they finished .500.All of which makes the Nets — winners of five straight and co-owners of the NBA’s best record over the past month and a half — so compelling. At 26-23, the team is currently holding a playoff position in sixth place in the East. Coach Kenny Atkinson, again, is finding enormous success with his point guards, including D’Angelo Russell, who’s in contention for an All-Star spot. And the club, which in early December was mired in an eight-game skid and couldn’t hold late-game leads, is all of a sudden unbeatable in the clutch. And this is after Brooklyn lost perhaps its best all-around player, Caris LeVert, to a brutal long-term injury.But underneath all that past losing — and there was a lot of it, given that this team has had three consecutive seasons with fewer than 30 wins — there were several road signs that the Nets were tapping into an array of good strategies to begin a turnaround.Much of that was rooted in ideology and experimentation, necessities because of how bare the draft-pick cupboard was for a while. The team had to take some creative steps (read: accept salary dumps) in a bid to get some talent on its roster. And the club’s front office, led by Sean Marks, had to identify talent that was being ignored or undervalued, like guard Spencer Dinwiddie, and trust its own ability to help develop players like him into everyday rotation pieces.The hiring of Atkinson, a longtime NBA assistant, was a key catalyst. Well before the wins started outnumbering the losses, and before there was enough talent to expect playoff berths, the 51-year-old quickly began changing the team’s shot profile on both ends of the floor.During the 2015-16 campaign, a year before he came on, the Nets ranked 26th out of 30 in quantified Shot Quality, which measures the likelihood of shots going in, if taken by an average NBA player, according to stat database Second Spectrum. The club completely overhauled that at the start of Atkinson’s tenure, though, as Brooklyn finished fifth and fourth in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively. And this season, the Nets rank ninth in the metric. read more

Read More

How The Eagles Went From Catastrophe To Champion In Two Years

102002Buccaneers356297232010Packers482674 Few champs have had as much draft talent as the EaglesAverage draft value on roster (weighted by approximate value) for Super Bowl champions since 1993 Draft value is determined by the expected value of the pick where the player was selected, based on AV.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com 71993Cowboys574198202001Patriots483381 4199449ers6736103172005Steelers562783 21993Cowboys12.0152015Broncos8.4 YearTeamOLDLTOTAL 21996Packers5550105152016Patriots494190 72002Buccaneers10.3202008Steelers7.2 82013Seahawks475198212007Giants403878 YearTeamWeighted Draft 132014Patriots543993 At long last, the Philadelphia Eagles are finally world champions, after knocking off the New England Patriots in a shootout of historic proportions. Like most Pats Super Bowls, its outcome came down to the wire, as unheralded backup QB Nick Foles ultimately outgunned Tom Brady to win MVP honors. Philly fans celebrated in the only way they knew how: They danced atop cars, scaled lampposts, ran naked through the streets and generally lost their minds in a night of jubilant mayhem. No matter who you were rooting for, it was a lot to process.What might have been forgotten Sunday night, though, was just how far the team had come in such a short period of time. A little over two years ago, the Eagles were in a state of disarray after a series of failed personnel moves by former coach/GM Chip Kelly. They’d sputtered to a disappointing 6-9 record before Kelly was fired in 2015, and were staring at a roster stocked with far too many overpaid veterans. It seemed like it might take a while to restock the team with enough talent to contend again.But once-and-future personnel honcho Howie Roseman moved quickly to erase Kelly’s miscues. He ditched DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso and Sam Bradford — the cornerstones of Kelly’s madcap offseason plans of a year before — and used some of the spoils to eventually pick up receiver Alshon Jeffery and running back Jay Ajayi. And although he traded up in the draft (usually a no-no) to grab franchise QB Carson Wentz — a gamble that so far has panned out extremely well, at least until Wentz went down with an ACL tear in Week 14 — Roseman also made a smart, low-risk play to bring Foles back to Philly as an insurance policy.Needless to say, the repair job paid big dividends. And the Eagles’ Super Bowl team might provide a new (old) blueprint for future championship rosters, built as it was by stockpiling raw talent and amassing powerful offensive and defensive lines.In addition to extending talented players already on the roster, Roseman admitted that one of his strategies while rebuilding the Eagles was to go after highly drafted players who washed out with other clubs. “Those guys, being drafted that high, they obviously have traits in their body that you can bring out with the right coaching system,” Roseman told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. According to Chase Stuart’s system of measuring the amount of draft value on a roster (weighted by each player’s approximate value), the Eagles had more impact players who were high draft picks than any Super Bowl winner since the 2000 Baltimore Ravens — and they ranked sixth-best among champs during the free-agency era.1Since 1993. Uses Pro-Football-Reference.com’s positional designations, which are incomplete for players who did not start or were primarily backups.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com 41995Cowboys10.5172009Saints7.7 5199449ers10.3182001Patriots7.6 132010Packers8.7 122005Steelers8.8252013Seahawks6.1 32000Ravens11.1161996Packers8.4 The Eagles were built along the trenchesTotal approximate value (AV) contributed by offensive and defensive lines for Super Bowl champions, 1993-2017 AV FROM … AV FROM … 102003Patriots9.0231998Broncos6.7 112006Colts9.0242016Patriots6.7 Much of that talent was concentrated up front, where six of the team’s nine starters on the offensive and defensive lines were taken in the first two rounds of the draft (and a seventh, Brandon Brooks, was drafted in the third round). By concentrating on the big guys in the trenches, Roseman built a team whose strengths resembled those of the champions of a different age, such as the 49ers, Cowboys and Packers teams that dominated early in the salary-cap era.Between its offense and defense, Philly got 101 total points of approximate value out of its linemen this season, including 62 from the quintet of Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Brooks. The last Super Bowl winner that got more combined approximate value from its offensive and defensive lines were those 2000 Baltimore Ravens again. And here, too, Philly was only bested by a handful of champs: 52017Eagles5744101182003Patriots424082 32000Ravens4361104162004Patriots563389 11999Rams6253115142006Colts662490 91997Broncos554297222008Steelers423274 61995Cowboys613899192011Giants443882 81997Broncos9.4212014Patriots6.8 122009Saints623193252015Broncos352762 11999Rams12.8142007Giants8.6 92011Giants9.2222004Patriots6.8 YearTeamWeighted Draft YearTeamOLDLTOTAL 62017Eagles10.3192012Ravens7.4 111998Broncos593695242012Ravens403272 Given those powerful lines and a talented array of skill-position players who saved their best production for the games that mattered most — Ajayi, Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz, Corey Clement and Torrey Smith all put up more scrimmage yards per game in the playoffs than in the regular season — it makes sense that Foles was in a position to thrive during his magical postseason run. Losing Wentz to injury was a major blow, but this roster might have been uniquely equipped to adapt to and overcome that loss.That was a testament to how quickly and effectively Roseman overhauled the Eagles in the wake of the Chip Kelly era. It wasn’t very long ago that Philly’s first-ever Super Bowl crown seemed like a pipe dream — but with the help of some shrewd roster shuffling, it became a reality. read more

Read More

Crew kick off season with shutout win over Toronto

In a game both coaches described as a “good result,” one would expect a hard-fought draw. That was not the case in the first Major League Soccer game of 2010 for the Columbus Crew and Toronto F.C.In front of 13,536 fans at Crew Stadium, the Crew extended its unbeaten streak against rival Toronto to nine games and started the season with a 2-0 victory.In MLS, opening day is usually a mystery. Teams begin to see what players should be on the field to help their quest for the playoffs and MLS Cup in November. The Crew, though, playing a similar lineup to the one it used last year for the home-opener against Toronto, managed to maintain much of the roster that has finished with the league’s best record each of the last two seasons.The game started off slowly, with the Crew dominating the majority of the possession. It finally paid off in the 29th minute. After midfielder Eddie Gaven suffered a tough foul near the sideline, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, former league and finals MVP and set piece wizard, took the free kick that met the head of central defender Andy Iro and found the back of the net. Iro was starting in place of two-time reigning Defender of the Year Chad Marshall.The game opened up after the first goal. Both keepers were forced into action before halftime, with Schelotto nearly slotting home a poor back pass by Ty Harden, and O’Brian White of Toronto forcing Crew keeper William Hesmer into a finger-tip save that kept the Crew’s advantage going into halftime.Looking to use the speed of wide midfielder Robbie Rogers, the Crew got into the Toronto box several times in the second half, but was unable to capitalize on its chances. Central midfielder Adam Moffat had what was probably the best chance of the afternoon to double the Crew’s advantage when he found himself one-on-one with Toronto keeper Stefan Frei. But his shot rolled meekly into Frei’s arms, and Moffat was left to rue the chance that was.The physical play typical of a rivalry game between the Crew and Toronto was on display in the second half, with a few stoppages for players that had gone down and multiple fouls being called on both teams. Crew head coach Robert Warzycha called the game “a battle,” saying, “both teams played hard” looking for the win.It wasn’t until the 86th minute that the Crew controversially doubled its lead and sent the passionate fans in the Nordecke, the Crew’s supporter section, into a frenzy. After the referee signaled advantage for the Crew on a foul against Gaven, Danny O’Rourke, playing out of position at left back, slid to beat Frei on a 50-50 ball.This time there was no foul called, and the ball was poorly cleared by Nick Garcia of Toronto, falling to Schelotto, who curled the shot into the open net from outside the 18-yard box as Frei remained down.It was Schelotto’s fifth goal in his last three appearances for the Crew, dating back to last year’s playoffs and the CONCACAF Champions League match against Toluca F.C. of Mexico earlier this year.“Toronto is a difficult team to play,” Warzycha said. “They have a new coach and some new faces … but three points at home and a first win is good.” read more

Read More

Ohio State football defeats Wisconsin in overtime 2114

Miller did, however, set up Hyde’s score with a crucial first-down run in the overtime period, and Meyer credited Miller for the run after the game. “I liked the way the offense just went in and attacked it (in overtime),” Meyer said. “(Hyde) got a big run, Braxton Miller ran like Braxton Miller. We got him in some space and then we pounded it in there.” Then the defense stepped in when Wisconsin, again playing before a crowd that had been muzzled by a Buckeyes’ score, took the ball in the overtime. The Badgers ran four plays, and no more. In his first game back since sustaining an injury in the Oct. 6 game against Nebraska, OSU redshirt senior linebacker Etienne Sabino stopped Ball for a 2-yard loss on third down. Sabino tallied six tackles in his return. Then Bryant, who finished with five tackles, stepped in front of Phillips’ 4th-down pass, deflecting it to end the game. Bryant was not made available for comment after the game. OSU sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby said the team accomplished its goals on defense. “We knew what they wanted to do and we had gone over in practice a lot of time the things that they do, things that they run,” Roby said. Roby also said he knew how the game would end if the offense gave the Buckeyes a lead. “We knew that if our offense scored,” he said, “then we were gonna win.” “The Game” between OSU and Michigan next Saturday is scheduled for a noon kickoff at Ohio Stadium. MADISON, Wis. – The dream is still alive for Ohio State football. The No. 6-ranked Buckeyes withstood a late rally by the Wisconsin Badgers and senior running back Montee Ball’s furious pursuit of NCAA history to stay undefeated with a 21-14 overtime win at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday. OSU junior running back Carlos Hyde scored the eventual game-winning touchdown in the overtime period and Buckeyes senior defensive end John Simon tied an OSU single-game record with four sacks in the game to deny the hosts. OSU (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) will host rival Michigan (8-3, 6-1 Big Ten) at Ohio Stadium next Saturday. The Wolverines defeated Iowa, 42-17, in their final home game of the 2012 season. “I’m honored to be the coach of an 11-0 Ohio State Buckeye team, especially one that’s very deserving,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said after the game. We played great defense in a great environment and their offense, to keep (Ball) somewhat in check, I thought our defense did a fantastic job.” OSU hushed the Camp Randall faithful in the first half, taking a 7-0 lead on a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown by junior receiver Corey Brown late in the first quarter. Hyde added a 12-yard touchdown run on the Buckeyes’ next possession. Ball halved the Badgers’ deficit on a second-quarter touchdown run, the 78th of his career. The score tied Ball with former Miami (Ohio) running back Travis Prentice for the NCAA career record for touchdowns. The run was befitting of the moment – Ball loped through the OSU defense, shedding tackles before plopping down in the end zone in front of his peers in the student section. Ball would finish the night with 191 yards on the ground, but his Senior Day celebration came to a screeching halt in the closing minutes of the game. Wisconsin tied the contest, but Ball barely factored in the play. His time to score, which would have set the NCAA career touchdown record, came with just less than three minutes to play. On 4th down from the 1-yard line, Ball took a handoff and leapt for the goal line. OSU sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier met the ball with his head, forcing a fumble that was recovered by OSU junior safety Christian Bryant. “Once (Ball) jumped, I knew I was going to jump,” Shazier said. “Whatever was in my face, I hit it. It could have been him. It could been anyone.” Stunned silence swept across Camp Randall. Ball said his teammates and coaches encouraged him after the game despite falling short of setting the NCAA career touchdown record in his final home game as a collegian. “They just told me, ‘good game. Keep your head up. We all tried,” Ball said, “‘and no matter what, we’re all behind you.’” The silence was momentary. OSU punted the ball back to Wisconsin, which marched back down the field to tie the game with eight seconds remaining in regulation. Badgers redshirt senior quarterback Curt Phillips found redshirt junior tight end Jacob Peterson for the game-tying score. But then came overtime, where Hyde took the ball when OSU opened the first overtime period and scored on a 2-yard run. The Buckeyes defense then denied the Badgers – Bryant was there to break up a 4th-down pass by Phillips. The Buckeyes’ bench erupted and rushed the field. They will have the opportunity to play for the sixth undefeated season in program history, and what would be an undeniable achievement any year, but especially in light of the team’s postseason ban. With the win, the Buckeyes clinch the outright Big Ten Conference Leaders Division championship – the players wore commemorative shirts in the locker room after the game. Wisconsin is on pace for a third-place finish in the division, but will represent the Leaders side of the conference in the Dec. 1 Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis. The division’s second-place team, Penn State, is also banned from postseason play. OSU’s defense held the Badgers to 360 yard of total offense, most of which belonged to Ball and the Wisconsin ground attack, which racked up 206 yards on 56 attempts. Phillips led a Wisconsin passing attack that accumulated 154 yards. He was 14-of-27 passing in the contest. The Badgers’ offense threatened throughout the second half, but the same cannot be said of the Buckeyes, which gained only 85 yards and collected a single first down in the second half. It could also be said of OSU sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller that, for the first time all season, his impact on the game was minimal. He was 10-of-18 passing for a pedestrian 97 yards. On the ground, Miller totaled 48 yards and did not score. read more

Read More

Opinion Michael Sam is ready for NFL but media are not

Then-New Orleans Saints tackle Thomas Welch (60) works against then-St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam (96) in the first quarter during exhibition action on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. The Saints won, 26-24.Credit: Courtesy of MCTMichael Sam has made it perfectly clear that he just wants to be treated like any other football player. He likely felt the world was ready to have an openly gay player in the NFL, so he made his huge announcement.I agree that most of the world is ready.Unfortunately, national sports media outlets such as ESPN are part of that world and they are not ready.First of all, let me clearly state that I am not writing to say anything bad about Sam. I think it was incredibly brave of him to be a pioneer for more athletes — and people anywhere — to feel comfortable and be true to themselves. He has handled the vast amount of attention an announcement like that is sure to get in this day and age extremely well from day one.But with that sort of attention comes page views and television ratings, and that’s where the national media start to lose their heads.In July, former NFL coach Tony Dungy told The Tampa Tribune he would have steered clear of Sam in the NFL Draft.“I wouldn’t have taken him,” Dungy said. “Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.”The national media exploded, with articles brandishing Dungy as homophobic and calling him intolerant for not wanting the “distraction” of having Sam on his team.The thing is, though, those articles bashing Dungy’s comments completely validated them.See, Dungy was not saying that he wouldn’t want Sam on his team because of his sexual orientation. In fact, he made it clear that he was not saying that.Dungy wanted to avoid the media circus that surrounds a player who is prevalent in the public image, especially one who was only a seventh-round pick and didn’t make the St. Louis Rams’ final roster.You know, the kind of media circus that leads to someone’s comments being taken completely out of context and causing that person to be branded a homophobe. The same kind of media circus that had Sam’s NFL future in doubt until it was reported on Tuesday that he would undergo a medical and sign with the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday. Even if Sam does make the Dallas practice squad — which ESPN reported is the Cowboys’ plan — there is no guarantee he will play a down in the NFL.The way ESPN and other outlets have covered Sam since he publicly announced he is gay does make me question how ready for this day they really were.For Sam to be just another football player, as I certainly hope he can and will be, more has to happen than just him being able to comfortably take a shower with his teammates.To be just another football player, ESPN has to not feel the desire to publish a story about Sam’s post-practice cleaning.Numerous football players get cut during and at the conclusion of training camp and the preseason. Can you guess which player’s release ESPN sent out a breaking news alert about? And then another about how he cleared waivers?It really doesn’t matter if Sam is a benchwarmer, a star or never gets to play a snap in the NFL.He came out, handled it with bravery and class, and showed that a man who has a boyfriend can still line up across from the offense just the same as a straight man can.What the media have shown are that they are determined to work so hard to convince everyone that a gay man can be “just another player” that they are turning him into a sort of sideshow attraction. If he were just another player, each preseason sack he registers wouldn’t be a breaking news story.I am positive the world is ready for openly gay athletes.I’m just not sure the media are. read more

Read More

1000 newborn babies could be saved by groundbreaking NHS safety drive

first_imgMore than 1,000 babies a year could be saved every year under “ground-breaking” plans to reduce stillbirths, Jeremy Hunt has said, warning that too many women are being robbed of the “magical moment” of parenthood.The Health Secretary said Britain needed to do far more to improve monitoring of women in labour in order to tackle its “shocking” place in international league tables.Promising extra funding for safety training, and new ratings of maternity services, Mr Hunt said the UK had higher rates of stillbirth than Poland, Croatia and Estonia.“We are in the bottom third of a global league table of 164 countries for progress on reduction of stillbirths,” he warned, in a speech in London. Last week, a report by the Care Quality Commission found that 37 per cent of maternity services were “inadequate” or “require improvement”.In November a national study found half of stillbirths occurred after women contacted maternity units because they were fearful that their baby’s movements had slowed, changed or stopped.In almost all such cases units failed to properly investigate the warnings, while others botched their attempts to monitor the baby. Announcing a new fast-track compensation scheme for those affected by maternity blunders, he said a more open culture was needed so tragic failings were not covered up, only to be repeated.“We need to make the NHS the world’s largest learning organisation – so that the precious time of doctors and midwives is spent focused on mothers and babies, not lawyers and courts,” he said.Describing the “magical moments” when his three children were born, he contrasted his experiences with the parents bereaved by the Morecambe Bay maternity scandal, where at least 11 babies died.“Each recounted how medical notes or records had been tampered with or described how instead of honesty and willingness to learn from what went wrong they encountered a wall of obfuscation and denial,” he said. 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. Joshua with sister Emily  More than 1,000 lives could be saved if every NHS trust could match the performance of the best in this country, the Health Secretary said.Mr Hunt said training programmes in Bristol had resulted in a halving in the number of babies starved of oxygen.If changes were achieved nationally, it would mean 100 fewer severe birth injuries annually, saving the NHS £2.8bn a decade, he said. If the rest of the country matched progress in West Midlands, it would mean at least 1,000 fewer stillbirths each year.Mr Hunt said midwives needed to do more to listen and act when concerns were raised by mothers-to-be. ‘It is very positive that the Government will be listening to disabled people and their parents on how the NHS can better support families when serious issues do occur during birth’James Taylor, disability charity Scope Baby Joshua Titcombe died after hospital staff failed to provide antibiotics for an infection center_img Under the current negligence system, it takes an average of almost 12 years for families to see a resolution to their case.The new voluntary scheme, based on a model used in Sweden, also aim to reduce the amount spent on lawyers.Since 2004/5, the value of claims against NHS maternity units for brain damage and cerebral palsy has risen from £354m to £990m, official figures show.The cases – often linked with a failure to monitor babies’ heart rates, to detect risks of oxygen starvation – fuelled maternity negligence claims of more than £1.2bn in 2015/16.In total, almost 1,100 maternity claims were lodged last year, official figures show.The most expensive involve cases of brain damage and cerebral palsy, where round-the-clock support is often required for life.The amount spent settling cases rose by 30 per cent, last year, reaching £509.3m.Meanwhile, overall NHS spending on claimants’ lawyers rose by 43 per cent to £418m, data from the NHS Litigation Authority shows.  babies feet  Under the new plans, parents with a maternity claim would be able to join a voluntary “rapid resolution and redress” scheme.Their case would be assessed by investigators working independently from the hospital where errors occurred, who would question NHS staff and parents and look at medical records.Their findings would be presented to a panel of legal and medical experts who would decide whether compensation is warranted and arrange for payments to be made.Sweden has seen the number of avoidable birth injuries halve since it introduced the scheme. Britain has one of the highest levels for stillbirths in the Western world Credit:Dominic Lipinksi/PA  ‘By learning from proven methods in countries like Sweden, we hope to achieve a dramatic reduction in the number of tragedies where babies are lost or injured for life’Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary The Government hopes the scheme – which would assess around 500 cases a year – will help dismantle what it sees as a “litigation culture”.The plans will also see the creation of an NHS Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, modelled on systems used by the airline industry, which will make maternity its first focus, and £8m funding for safety training.The plans, which will go to public consultation, will not “lock” claimants into the scheme, meaning parents could still launch a legal case against the NHS trust if they were not satisfied with recommendations of their review.  The plans will also see new maternity ratings comparing hospitals, and extra funding for training and safety pilots.last_img read more

Read More

Rail passenger satisfaction at lowest level for a decade as watchdog says

first_imgFor London and the southeast only 80 per cent of passengers were very, or fairly satisfied overall – a fall of two per cent since Autumn 2015.Only 77 per cent of passengers on Southeastern, which serves routes from Kent and Sussex into London, are satisfied with its services overall, and just 73 per cent are satisfied with services on Thameslink, which runs from Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, sussex and Kent into the capital.But the rail operator with the worst level of passenger satisfaction was Southern, with just 65 per cent.This follows a series of crippling strikes on the network by guards and drivers protesting against the planned introduction of driver only operated trains.The dispute has seen hundreds of trains cancelled and delayed in recent months, causing widespread inconvenience for passengers.Mr Smith added: “As passenger numbers rise, parts of the rail network will remain brittle until welcome improvements are in place and working.“Southern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Network Rail must continue to collaborate to produce a more robust timetable.  Passengers need a better balance between peak and off-peak services, reliability and capacity.”More than 29,000 passengers were polled for the Transport Focus Autumn 2016 report.It showed the only area where levels of satisfaction among passengers had risen was with facilities and services at stations, such as cafes, the availability of shelter and seating, along with toilets on trains. Passenger struggling with limited services during recent industrial action on Southern rail, January 2017 Passengers boarding the Gatwick Express at London’s Victoria Station, January 2017Credit:Guy Bell/REX/Shutterstock Passengers boarding the Gatwick Express at London's Victoria Station, January 2017 Passenger struggling with limited services during recent industrial action on Southern rail, January 2017Credit:Guy Bell/REX/Shutterstockcenter_img The rail operators admitted their services were not as good as they should be and sais new investment would deliver improvements for passengers.Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, said: “We know we must do better.”We’re sorry when customers don’t get the service they expect, including those affected by strikes. Everyone in the railway is working hard to make train journeys better from start to finish.”After decades of under-investment and with passenger numbers soaring to 4.5 million a day on thousands more trains, the railway is full in many places.”Rail companies are working together to deliver more than £50 billion of improvements, including more than 5,500 new train carriages, to tackle congestion and make journeys faster, more comfortable and more reliable. While we build the bigger, better railway the country needs there will be some disruption.” The timetable for rail services on the busiest commuter lines is “a work of fiction”, leading to the lowest levels of passenger satisfaction for a decade.The damning verdict came as new figures showed that passenger satisfaction with overall services nationally has fallen to 81 per cent from 83 per cent last year, the worst result since 2007 – when overall satisfaction was also at just 81 per cent.Satisfaction with the punctuality and reliability of services is even lower, falling by five per cent since Autumn 2015 to 73 per cent, according to the independent passenger watchdog.Passenger satisfaction is particularly low on the key commuter services in the southeast, where thousands of people depend on rail to get into London.Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, which carried out the survey of passenger satisfaction, said: “The results around the country are disappointing. Scottish passengers and those travelling in peak hours in London and the South East are bearing the brunt of poor performance.“The timetable on parts of the London and South East’s railway can be a work of fiction which passengers cannot rely on.” 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

Read More

Millennials have no qualms about GM crops unlike older generation

Two thirds of young people support the use of drones in livestock farming Show more Proposals put forward by Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, which are currently under public consultation recognise that developing the next generation of food and farming technology could reduce the impact of pests and diseases and improve the UK’s competitiveness. The ABC has called on the Government to use Brexit and the reset of agricultural policy to take advantage of ground-breaking technologies that have previously been blocked at EU level.It said the use of gene editing and GM technology in the UK, post Brexit, could help British farming flourish. Two thirds of young people support the use of drones in livestock farmingCredit: Ian Waldie/Getty Images The advent of genetically modified crops caused a scandal in the 1990s.But the younger generation is largely relaxed about eating GM foods, new research has shown, as farmers called for a post-Brexit technology revolution.Two thirds of under-30s believe technology is a good thing for farming and support futuristic farming techniques, according to a survey.Only 20 per cent of millennials expressed concerns about the benefits of gene editing or genetically modifying crops, despite decades of opposition and media warnings.The poll of more than 1,600 18 to 30-year-olds, carried out for the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC), also found that around two thirds of young people support the use of drones in livestock farming to count sheep and in arable farming to assess, monitor and spray crops.A similar number also supports the use of innovations such as unmanned aerial vehicles to improve crop security and yields while only one in five object to the use of self-driving tractors on farms. Mark Buckingham, chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council said: “We are delighted to see young people embrace technology as part of the future of farming.“Using cutting edge technology and growing techniques will enable the UK to deal with the serious challenges of keeping our farmers competitive, maintaining a safe, affordable food supply, and protecting our natural environment.“With Brexit on the horizon, techniques such as editing individual genes in crops to make them more resistant to diseases are going to be essential to help British farmers and scientists lead the world in agri-science.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Read More

Grenfell Tower floodlit green to mark oneyear anniversary of fire as poignant vigil

Yvette Williams, from campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell, said: “I think we kind of almost move from ‘did it really happen at all?’ to ‘it feels like it happened yesterday’, to looking at the struggles the bereaved families and survivors have had over the year (and realising) that it is actually a year. 13 buildings in the area have been illuminated to mark the anniversary  After the silent march, families will come together for a community Iftar to break bread with those fasting over Ramadan.The following day, schools across the country are expected to take part in “Green for Grenfell”, a day to “celebrate the spirit of people coming together”. “I saw everything from the start of that night and I couldn’t sleep for three weeks,” recalled Farhiya Abdi, 42, a mother-of-two who was among the first to arrive at Grenfell from her nearby home as the fire spread. A woman walks on the platform of Latimer Road Tube station in the shadow of GrenfellCredit:TOLGA AKMEN /AFP Grenfell Tower (centre) in west London is illuminated in green along with its surrounding towers “When I closed my eyes I would hear the screaming for help, see the children’s faces at the window again. I saw people jump to their death,” she said earlier in the evening, at a remembrance event on a closed-off nearby street.Thursday marks 12 months since a small kitchen fire in the high-rise turned into the most deadly domestic blaze since the Second World War. The display is one of a series of commemorations and vigils taking place this week as the public inquiry takes a step back.From 11am, there will be a service of remembrance at St Helen’s church organised by campaign group Relative Justice Humanity for Grenfell. Relatives, survivors and friends of victims of the Grenfell tower fire walk to the tower to hold a vigil, one year after the fire in London  Grenfell Tower in west London is illuminated in green along with its surrounding towersCredit:Jonathan Brady /PA The 24-storey block was illuminated on Wednesday night, the first step in a series of commemorations taking place this week.Twelve blocks, plus the tower, glowed green in a show of solidarity across the west London skyline, while Downing Street was also lit up. They will also be illuminated for the following four evenings.The tower is now completely covered by white sheeting, with banners featuring the green Grenfell heart and the words “Grenfell forever in our hearts” emblazoned across the four highest floors. The local authority declined to specify the approximate locations of those now in temporary and permanent homes, including how many people are living in or outside the borough. Grenfell Tower was among a dozen buildings illuminated green on Wednesday night as the local community began 24 hours of poignant commemorations for the tragedy that killed 71 people a year ago.Clutching the flowers and placards bearing images of their lost loved ones, dozens of tearful survivors of the tragedy joined still-grieving relatives on an emotional walk through the area.The procession – accompanied by a portable speaker playing a melancholic track on repeat – ended in the shadow of the burnt-out block just prior to the 12:54 am anniversary of the blaze’s outbreak.One by one, relatives announced the names of the deceased accompanied by a flurry from a bongo drum, before pinning their pictures at the “wall of truth” – a section of the fencing around the tower featuring messages and candles.Then at 12.54 am, heralded by a short trumpet blast, an eerie silence of 72 seconds – in memory of each of the people who perished, along with a stillborn baby – descended on the sombre site, as light rain started to fall. Clarrie Mendy, who lost two family members in the fire and organised the anniversary event, said the names of the 72 victims would be read out, while 73 doves will be released outside the church. They will be giving out 400 white roses which people will be able to carry on their way to the tower afterwards.In addition, a moment of silence will be observed at midday by survivors and bereaved gathered close to the tower’s base and nationally.A community mosaic is to be unveiled, while wreaths will be laid and candles lit. #GreenForGrenfell Downing Street goes green to mark one year since the Grenfell Tower disaster. pic.twitter.com/phCVerxAPJ— Ben Ando (@BenAndo) June 14, 2018 A woman walks on the platform of Latimer Road Tube station in the shadow of Grenfell In the afternoon, the community is expected to congregate at the nearby “Wall of Truth” ahead of the silent march which will set off around 7pm.Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will join survivors, the bereaved and others at the dignified gathering, which has taken place every month since the fire. Families and friends who lost loved ones in the Grenfell Tower fire hold portraits of victims as they march to Grenfell Tower Relatives, survivors and friends of victims of the Grenfell tower fire walk to the tower to hold a vigil, one year after the fire in LondonCredit:PETER NICHOLLS /Reuters The bereaved and survivors group Grenfell United hopes the idea will become an annual event which will continue the unity and support demonstrated by the local community after the fire.This year, children are being asked to wear green to school and help with a community project, sharing their achievements online. She said: “It’s a service of healing, community, inclusivity and solidarity, to know we are not alone.”We’ll be releasing 73 white doves. Why 73 instead of 72? One for the unknown. If there were more than 72, we will put one for the unknown.” On Thursday and Friday, more than 2,000 schoolchildren across the UK will sing Grenfell From Today – a charity single inspired by Cornwall Hugs Grenfell, an organisation offering holidays to those affected.The song is also being learned by choirs in New Zealand and America, founder Esme Page said.It comes as latest figures show that 68 families will spend the anniversary in emergency accommodation, mainly hotels. Some 52 households are in temporary accommodation and 83 families are in permanent homes, Kensington and Chelsea Council said. Grenfell Tower in west London is illuminated in green to mark a year since the moment the devastating fire took holdCredit:Jonathan Brady/PA Families and friends who lost loved ones in the Grenfell Tower fire hold portraits of victims in the marchCredit:TOLGA AKMEN /AFP 13 buildings in the area have been illuminated to mark the anniversary Credit: PETER NICHOLLS/Reuters Relatives, survivors and friends of victims of the Grenfell tower fire walk to the tower to hold a vigil, one year after the fire in London Downing Street in London is illuminated in green to mark a year since the Grenfell Tower fire Relatives, survivors and friends of victims of the Grenfell tower fire walk to the tower to hold a vigil, one year after the fire in London Credit:Reuters Grenfell Tower in west London is illuminated in green to mark a year since the moment the devastating fire took hold “We want the nation to keep Grenfell in their consciousness. The anniversary is about love and support – the fight can start again on Friday and Saturday – and keeping that humanity going on that day.” Downing Street in London is illuminated in green to mark a year since the Grenfell Tower fireCredit:Edward Lawrence /PA In a statement, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, said: “The terrible tragedy of Grenfell Tower remains very real, raw and painful for many people, every day. My thoughts, and those of all us in Met, are with all those who died, the loved ones left behind, and all those who survived the fire that night.”The continued resilience and sense of spirit shown by the community at the heart of this tragedy is inspiring. Many of us will take time today – one year on – to think back and remember.”Met officers and staff continue to work very hard to progress our ongoing investigation, to assist the public inquiry and provide support to families.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Read More

Scottish clan gets first chief in 337 years after genealogist keeps promise

The Buchanan has believed for most of his life that he was the rightful chief as a descendant of Francis Buchanan of Arnprior, who was executed for high treason for his role in the 1745 Jacobite uprising and named by Sir Walter Scott as the true Buchanan leader. For centuries millions of men and women around the world have waited patiently for the rightful chief of their ancient Scottish clan to be found. But for the last 337 years no-one has been able to verify a claim to the title. That was until a genealogist promised his grandmother he would solve the mystery before he died. Now a millionaire landowner has been announced as the chief of Clan Buchanan which has been without a head since 1681 after the 15th chief John Buchanan died, leaving no male heir or arrangements for his title to be passed on.John Michael Baillie-Hamilton Buchanan, 60, who owns Cambusmore Estate near Callander, has been accepted as head of the clan thanks to the work of genealogist Hugh Peskett.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––The 85-year-old, who famously traced President Ronald Reagan’s Irish ancestry in the 1980s, became a genealogist 50 years ago after his grandmother who was a Buchanan clanswoman herself urged him to find the rightful chief.Decades of genealogical work has allowed Mr Baillie-Hamilton Buchanan, now known as The Buchanan, to verify the claim of chief.  Genealogist Hugh Peskett The Buchanan with The Lady Buchanan and their son Bruce The Buchanan with The Lady Buchanan and their son Bruce The Lord Lyon King of Arms, the head of Lyon Court which regulates Scottish heraldry, has now formally upheld his bid to become chief. “We first approached the Lyon Court informally over 20 years ago and it has taken decades of genealogical research to back up our claim,” said The Buchanan. “I am honoured and proud that my claim to the chiefship of Clan Buchanan has been upheld by Lord Lyon.“Hugh Peskett has tracked down more than 12 chiefs and this is certainly very special for him because of his own family links.”The Buchanan first discovered that he could be chief after he was told of his family links by his father. Although he had never made a claim for the title, The Buchanan decided it was something he was keen to investigate.With his identity now proven Mr Peskett said: “As a clansman of the Clan Buchanan, it was absolutely fascinating to delve into the history and ancestry of one of the oldest clans in Scotland. My research took decades to compile and unequivocally confirms the chiefship claim.  The famous genealogist has traced many a rightful heir to Scottish clans. In 2003 a London banker ousted a farmer from his role as clan chief to the Oliphant family thanks to the work of Mr Peskett.David Byrne, president of Clan Buchanan Society International, said: “This is a day many of us believed would never happen in our lifetime so it is a time to celebrate for our members.“It has always been the goal of our Society since 1970 to keep the traditions of our clan alive in hopes that one day a chief would be named. Today we can proudly share that mission with The Buchanan for the first time in 337 years.”Clan Buchanan can be traced back to 1010 AD in Scotland, however it now has millions of members across Europe, North America, Africa and Australia.George Lauder McAusland, commissioner for Scotland and the UK of the Clan Buchanan International Society, added: “Clan Buchanan has members worldwide and having a chief for the first time in over 300 years will be an exciting time and a great opportunity to promote our great Clan to even greater heights.” “This is a historic moment for Clan Buchanan and I am truly privileged to have played my part. I believe my grandmother would be incredibly proud of what we have achieved.” Genealogist Hugh PeskettCredit: Geoff Pugh Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Read More

Music is becoming preserve of the privileged few as state schools abandon

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. “Much of the blame” for the decline in music teaching at schools lies in the introduction of the Ebacc, Lords told Lord Lingfield, a Conservative peer and chair of the English Schools Orchestra, added that it would be a “huge dereliction of our duty” to the next generation if music “becomes largely the province of independent schools”.Responding on behalf of the Government, Lord Agnew, a schools minister, told the Lords that music is statutory in the national curriculum, meaning that every child must study the subject from age five to 14.A network of music hubs is being set up to support schools, he said, adding the Government will be announcing the next stage of their national music strategy in the coming months. Music is becoming the “preserve of the privileged few” because state schools are abandoning the subject in droves, the House of Lords has been told.The discipline now faces an “existential crisis” as it increasingly drops off the syllabus, according to Lord Black of Brentwood.   Addressing the Lords during a debate about the state of music education in schools, Lord Black, who is chair of the Royal College of Music, warned that music is “literally disappearing from our schools”.“Rather than it being the fundamental right of all children, it is rapidly becoming the preserve of the privileged few at independent schools, as it dies out in the state sector,” he said.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––“Music in this country is now facing an existential crisis which only urgent radical action from government will be able to reverse.”He said he called the debate after presiding over the graduation ceremony at the Royal College of Music where dozens of musicians and their parents told him of the decline of music in their local area.  One in five schools has given up teaching Music GCSE entirely, the Lords heard. Only 35,000 pupils had completed GCSE music in England this summer, a decline of 23 per cent since 2010. He said that “much of the blame” for the decline in music teaching at schools lies in the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) in 2010 as a new accountability measure for schools.The Ebacc was been championed by former education secretary Michael Gove in a bid to reverse the “dumbing down” of GCSEs. In order to obtain the award, students must obtain five A*-C – or numeric 4-9 grades – in maths, English, the sciences, history or geography, and a language.Lord Black said that the Ebacc has led to arts subjects being “downgraded and punished” since secondary schools have no incentive to offer them as GCSE subjects.  He argued that music education should be a priority for ministers because the creative industries generate £92 million a year and is growing at twice the rate as the economy as a whole.Music is also a “formidable instrument for soft power”, he said, arguing that “our worldwide reputation for musical excellence” will be an “engine for prosperity” in post-Brexit Britain.The Earl of Clancarty, a crossbench peer, agreed that music is “under threat” in Britain, and accused ministers of “burying their heads in the sand” rather than address the problem. “Much of the blame” for the decline in music teaching at schools lies in the introduction of the Ebacc, Lords told Meanwhile, entries for Music A-level have fallen by 40 per cent since 2011. “Those shameful figures are part of a wider picture of music in ferocious decline in our schools,” said Lord Black, who is the deputy chairman of Telegraph Media Group. read more

Read More

Gordon Ramsay accused of cultural appropriation over Asian restaurant

Sejal Sukhadwala‏, a London-based food writer, suggested Lucky Cat appeared to be a pastiche of Asian influences, saying: “He [Ramsay] claimed to be setting up an “authentic” Asian restaurant – that’s the main issue here. Apart from all these issues around Lucky Cat… surely Pan Asian-fusion is really out-of-date?”Kimberly Yam, an Asian-American journalist, wrote: “Many people aren’t exactly happy with the chef’s claim to deliver ‘authentic’ Asian cuisine at the restaurant, especially without an Asian chef at the helm.”But Ramsay, whose restaurants hold seven Michelin stars, has defended his new venture, saying that head chef Ben Orpwood has spent several months in south Asia studying the region’s cooking.“He’s done the research,” he said. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. He has described his latest venture as inspired by the “culture, flavours and the incredible cooking” of Asia.But Gordon Ramsay has now found himself caught up in a row over cultural appropriation after his new restaurant was accused of tokenism and lazy stereotyping.The award-winning chef is opening Lucky Cat, which he calls “an Asian eating house” inspired by 1930s Tokyo, describing it as part of his “long time vision”.During one of the venue’s preview nights last week diners were treated to dishes such as mini wagyu pastrami burger with ‘Asian’ chilli jam, English asparagus with a smoked ponzu emulsion and smoked duck breast with plum and Japanese nashi pear.Ramsay said on the night: “I’ve toured and worked in much of Asia over the years and the culture, the flavours, and the incredible cooking never fail to inspire me. We’ve got a great team behind this project and we’re ready to bring something really special to London this summer.”However, critics have been quick to point out that the restaurant, which will open in Mayfair, does not appear to have any Asian chefs and seems to mangle together Chinese and Japanese cooking with little proper appreciation for either, distinct, culture.Angela Hui, a restaurant writer, who attended the preview night, said: “I was the only east Asian person in a room full of 30-40 journalists and chefs.”Writing on the food website Eater she added: “It was nothing if not a real life Ramsay kitchen nightmare. . . which felt more seedy nightclub than Asian eating house. Or, perhaps, that is Ramsay’s vision of a vibrant (nee “authentic”) Asian eating house.”Others have also been critical.George Chen, a Chinese-American chef and restaurateur, wrote on Twitter: “Is the famous Chef going to curse at his white cooks in Asian or what?  Every chef has a right to interpret another cuisine but the integrity and culture (read authenticity-albeit I hate that term) needs to be studied in depth and not whitewashed for marketing purposes!”Mr Chen also took issue with the name of the restaurant and the naming of a cocktail Lucky Geisha.“And what’s with all the ‘lucky’ naming deal…it’s like Charlie Chan stereotypes all over again.” What a night at the @LuckyCatGR pop up ! Can’t wait to see you guys there this summer #luckycatmayfair pic.twitter.com/OM01pkZnGn— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) April 10, 2019 Ramsay also took issue with Ms Hui’s description on social media of Mr Orpwood’s wife as a “token Asian wife”.Writing on his Instagram page he said: “It is fine to not like my food, but prejudice and insults are not welcome, and Ms Hui’s comments around my Executive Chef and his wife, calling her a “token Asian wife”, were personal and hugely disrespectful.” read more

Read More

Puffin population to be counted annually amid climate change fears

There are concerns about the reduction in the quality and abundance of its preferred food source, the sandeel, and more frequent storms, as a result of climate changeCredit:Gary Jones/Mercury Press “These factors are driving the good quality plankton which sandeels feed on further north, resulting in a poorer quality of plankton in this area for sandeels to feed upon.”The risk is that these pressures together with overfishing will eventually ‘squeeze’ the Farnes population, with more and more birds having to travel further for rich feeding grounds.”This means they’re more vulnerable to the increasing frequency of winter storms, whilst out at sea.”He said it was vital the “clowns of the sea” were monitored closely as there have been suggestions that in 30 to 50 years’ time there may be no more puffins on the Farnes.The team are calling for annual monitoring of puffins at other sites to get a better picture of the seabirds and the factors that affect them.Dr Chris Redfern, emeritus professor in the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at Newcastle University, said: “We don’t know enough yet about the sandeel population around the Farnes.”It is therefore very prudent to monitor closely how seabird populations change from year to year to see if trends emerge.”That way we have a chance of finding ways to mitigate against any negative effects.” There are concerns about the reduction in the quality and abundance of its preferred food source, the sandeel, and more frequent storms, as a result of climate change A five-yearly puffin census is being changed to an annual count amid fears climate change is affecting numbers, the National Trust said.The charity, which has carried out the survey on the Farne Islands for 50 years, says it will now monitor the charismatic seabirds more closely amid global declines in numbers which led to it being listed as vulnerable to extinction.There are concerns about the reduction in the quality and abundance of its preferred food source, the sandeel, and more frequent storms, as a result of climate change.The Trust, which looks after the islands off the coast of Northumberland, said Atlantic puffins have traditionally done well there due work by rangers, a lack of predators, suitable nesting areas, and increasing protection of the surrounding marine areas.Results from the 2018 survey revealed stable puffin numbers, with an increase of around 9% since 2013 to 43,956 pairs of birds.But more widely, puffins are in decline, with large drops in more northerly populations due to a shortage of sandeels, and annual monitoring on the Farnes will help reveal any downward population among the birds. Tom Hendry, one of the 11-strong National Trust ranger team on the Farne Islands, said: “Sandeel populations in the North Sea are being affected by two things: overfishing and climate change – with rising sea temperatures. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Read More

Twomonthold baby dies from head injuries in alleged assault

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 two-month-old boy has died after suffering head injuries in an alleged assault.The baby had been airlifted to hospital on Thursday afternoon after paramedics were called to an address in Steward Gate, Bamford, Derbyshire.He was in a critical condition but died at Sheffield Children’s Hospital on Saturday evening, Derbyshire Constabulary said.Anton Shields, of Hardwick Crescent, Buxton, was arrested on Thursday and charged with assault occasioning grievous bodily harm with intent.The 37-year-old appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on Saturday and was remanded into custody.Investigations are ongoing, police said.Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101. read more

Read More

Sales in beer fall by a third in 10 years as young

“On trade beer volumes have levelled out in recent years after a change in drinking habits, favouring drinking at home rather than in the pub,” said the report.”Last year was a fantastic year for the beer category with the exceptionally hot weather and the World Cup providing customers with more drinking occasions.”We expect to see further growth in ale from beers influenced by craft styles with more hoppy flavours, including contemporary keg beers, mainstream craft and niches craft ales, but classic lager brands will continue to decline as consumers drink less but better.” 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 growing trend is that people drink less, but better quality beerCredit:AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko “Premiumisation is impacting the Beer industry through drinkers drinking less but better,” the report says. Figures show that British people spent £177.8 million more on 66.5 million fewer pints of beer in 2017 than the year before, while the latest statistics from 2018 say that gap is widening, with a further £279 million being spent on another 40.6 million fewer pints. The growing trend is that people drink less, but better quality beer The volume of beer sold in Britain has fallen by more than a third in 12 years, with young people driving the popularity of alcohol-free drinks, a new report has revealed.In the year to March 2019, on-trade beer sales dropped to 3.6 billion pints from 5.7 billion pints in January 2007, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.The report, conducted by Marston’s, the brewers from Wolverhampton, shows that there has been a 30% growth in no / low alcohol beer since 2016 and some 40 new product launches in the last two years.The popularity of alcohol free products is being led by 18-24 year olds with almost one in 10 (nine per cent) having already switched to sobriety, and those aged between 18-34 being the most likely age band to consider turning to alcohol free drinks (22 per cent), according to the Portman Group.But while fewer pints are being purchased, people are spending more money on premium products. read more

Read More

500M Crab Island onshore base to create jobs for Berbicians –

Government is optimistic that a US$500 million onshore facility at Crab Island, Corentyne, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) will in effect create job opportunities for residents of the Ancient County.Government announced on Wednesday that it would be investing the US$500 million in the construction of an onshore oil and gas facility at Crab Island, which would cater for the expansion of exploration and subsequent production of oil in Guyana.Construction on the facility, which will serve as a logistics and supply base to the offshore production, should get underway during the course of this year.The Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission has been advertising leasehold lands close to the Island.President David Granger meeting with ExxonMobil executives at State House on WednesdayThe facility is expected to create some 600 jobs, which could bring significant relief to residents of Berbice who continue to complain about lack of employment.According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), the supply base could consist of sections including maintenance, fabrication, warehousing, spares, housing, and spares handling.Technical skills such as welding would also be in demand during and after construction.Last year, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman had said that jobs which would be created through the establishment of the onshore supply base facility would enable and enhance the labour force.Explaining why Crab Island was selected as the site for the onshore base, Trotman said that the current traffic congestion along Water Street, Georgetown makes that location unsuitable. However, the wharves along Water Street will be used for the first phase of the Liza development.Earlier this month, oil giant ExxonMobil advertised for onshore service providers. John Fernandes Limited (JFL) and Muneshwers Limited were among the shortlisted companies. These companies have port facilities along Water Street.However, Minister Trotman pointed out, “Everyone is thinking in terms of Exxon’s operations only, but suffice to say we can’t find ourselves thinking of one discovery and one company.”ExxonMobil and its partners struck black gold when significant hydrocarbon reserves were found in the Liza Field. The oil find was officially declared to be of commercial quantity last year. The company has presented to the Government and stakeholders its development plans for the Liza field with the year 2020 projected for oil production.Additionally, there are several other companies that were issued licences to explore Guyana’s deep waters. Those companies include Repsol, Tullow Oil, CGX, JHI, Eco Atlantic and Ratio Oil.“Some point in time, all will be looking to reengage and so the idea is to find an available piece of land or property which can accommodate all the operations,” Minister Trotman pointed out.Meanwhile, President David Granger on Wednesday gave Government‘s commitment to ExxonMobil, when he met with the oil company’s executives at State House. The Head of State said the Administration was committed to the development of Guyana’s oil and gas sector in an atmosphere of transparency and trust so that the parliamentary Opposition and the people of Guyana were fully involved in the process.The President met with the executives to discuss matters related to the status of exploratory and appraisal work in the Stabroek Block. He said it was important that there are regular and accurate announcements on matters pertaining to the development of the sector. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedExxonMobil to relocate onshore support operations from T&T to GuyanaJuly 10, 2017In “Business”Local Content Plan for oil sector expected by year-end- ExxonMobilSeptember 4, 2017In “Business”Oil, gas onshore supply base to be built in 2017December 30, 2016In “Business” read more

Read More

Teacher among 4 busted with marijuana in different incidents

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedLindener remanded for narcotics traffickingNovember 10, 2016In “Crime”18-y-o busted with 297 grams of cannabis in rice bag gets 3 years jailMay 28, 2018In “Court”Businessman busted with 403 grams of marijuana, remanded to prisonJuly 8, 2013In “Crime” The cannabis officers recovered from the cisternA First Avenue, Bartica, resident was on Sunday afternoon arrested at his home with four hundred and ninety-one (491) grams of Cannabis.Police acting on information that a 27-year-old suspect was selling narcotics at his place of abode, swooped down at the location about 14:30hrs and observed him (suspect) placing something in a toilet cistern, when he saw the police.According to the Police an examination of the cistern revealed the illegal substance, packaged in small-size zip lock bags. He was promptly taken into custody and will be charged for court on Monday.FarmerA 57-year-old farmer, Linden Gordon C/D Priest, of 5118 Central Amelia’s Ward Mackenzie, Linden was on Wednesday April 19, 2017, arrested in Amelia’s Ward by ranks of the Guyana Police Force with ninety-three (93) grams of cannabis.According to the Police, he was charged with Possession of Narcotics for the purpose of Trafficking and appeared before Magistrate Clive Nurse at the Wales Magistrate’s Court on Friday April 21, 2017.He pleaded not guilty to the charge and was remanded to prison until May 24, 2017, where he is scheduled to appear at the Linden Magistrate’s Court for trail.TeacherOn Thursday April 20, 2017, ranks on duty at Mabura Check Point arrested Jad Atkinson, 18, a teacher of Aishalton Village, South Rupununi with fifty (50) grams of Cannabis.He appeared before Magistrate Clive Nurse at the Wales Magistrate’s Court on Friday April 21, 2017, charged with Possession of Narcotics for the purpose of Trafficking.He pleaded not guilty and was remanded until May 24, 2017 for trial at the Linden Magistrate’s Court.MinerOn Saturday April 22, 2017, a 26-year-old miner of Beverly Hills, Lethem was arrested about 11:30hrs by ranks of a mobile patrol in Marudi Backdam, with one hundred and forty (140) grams of cannabis, which he had in his haversack he was carrying.He is being processed for court. read more

Read More

More oil experts share their knowledge with Guyana

As Guyana prepares for Oil and Gas production, the country continues to seek the advice of experts from around the world. This time around a Canadian delegation is visiting Guyana on a Trade Mission for the Oil and Gas Sector. The 45-member team selected from 20 businesses in Canada, are partnering with the Guyana Office for Investment, GO-INVEST to share their knowledge on the emerging Oil and Gas Sector.Mike Critch, Treasurer of the Broad of Directors of the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries.Delivering remarks Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin said that in relation to the sector much of the discussions are centered on Local Content. “Should it be regulated, should it be legislated, should it be made into contracts or should it be left to Oil companies to use their discretion”, Minister Gaskin said.More oil experts share their knowledge with GuyanaHe said that there is no lack of opinions to ensure that Guyanese reap the benefits of the developing sector. According to Gaskin the administration understands that “this is a huge long term private sector and that the investors are planning to extract 450 million barrels of non-renewable resource from beneath our sea bed”.The Minister told the Canadian Delegation that the government is satisfied with the progress that the LisaOne Project is making, “We want to see that progress continue and we want to see Oil produced by 20/20 as schedule…we understand the transformational nature of this project and how it can provide learn term benefits to our people and to our economy if its properly regulated, monitored and managed.”Treasurer of the Broad of Directors of the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association Mike Critch noted that Eastern Canada has developed their production over the last 25 years and is pleased to share their expertise with Guyana.“So Guyana being the country new to the Oil and Gas Production offshore, it’s going to have new sources of revenue, new sources of economic development. We think that we cans share some lessons and maybe help businesses and have the people of Guyana learn what they should do so that they can benefit the most”, Critch said. He added that as the sector develops there needs to be technological advancements as well.Chief Executive Office for GO-Invest, Owen Verwey explained how Guyana will benefit from this Trade Mission to Guyana. “If we don’t get involve and we don’t understand what is going to happen here, obviously we will be in a non-oil and gas economy. We don’t know what is required by the industry, partnering with those who would have experiences, partnering with those are interested in teaching us so that there will be a mutual benefit on both sides  is the biggest benefit from us.”Charge de Affairs, High Commission of Canada Jan Sheltinga said that the High Commission is privileged to facilitate the timely visit of the delegation to Guyana, “as the country prepares to establish strong support mechanisms for the emerging industry.” She noted that one of our key pillars of engagement with Guyana is supporting sustainable economic growth and mutual prosperity through increased trade and investment ties.The Trade Mission is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Business, GO-Invest the Ministry of Natural Resources and Government of Canada and the High Commission of Canada. (DPI) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedOil revenues could help Guyana realise its tourism potential, says GaskinNovember 2, 2018In “latest news”Guyana seeking to partner with reputable int’l oil and gas companies – GaskinFebruary 27, 2019In “latest news”Presidential Advisor briefs Cabinet on oil and gas sector development potentialMarch 28, 2017In “latest news” read more

Read More