The US Is Downright Mediocre At The World Baseball Classic

South Korea1471.79 Australia19-3.73 Teams are ranked according to the Simple Rating System (SRS) for all WBC games since 2006, with extra weight applied to games in later rounds.Source: Wikipedia China28-6.12 Japan — not the U.S. — dominates the World Baseball Classic Puerto Rico1380.67 Cuba1480.67 COUNTRYWINSLOSSESWEIGHTED SRS United States1010-0.41 National pastime or not, America’s unexceptionalism probably won’t improve until the U.S. starts treating the WBC less like an exhibition event, and more like the international showcase other countries already think it is. Share on Facebook Italy47-1.49 Dominican Republic1441.49 American fans like to think of the U.S. as the home of baseball; they even tried to mythologize it into the game’s place of origin at one point. And, yes, the majority of the game’s best players are from America. But in the World Baseball Classic, arguably the highest-profile event in international baseball, the U.S. is merely ordinary: It’s 10-10 over the tournament’s history, despite playing a relatively weak slate of opponents over the years. What gives?The WBC has always held more appeal for international players and fans, whose national teams take it far more seriously than the U.S. team does. The U.S. seldom sends its best players to the event, for better (it reduces the risk of key injuries in games that are essentially treated as exhibitions) and worse (it deprives the game of its best players playing on a worldwide stage). That means we won’t be seeing the likes of Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw in this year’s Classic, much less living legend Mike Trout.As a result, the U.S. has gotten mediocre results on the field, far from what might be expected out of a country that still considers itself baseball’s standard-bearer. To get a schedule-adjusted ranking of how countries have performed at the four World Baseball Classics,1Including 2017’s games, as of March 8. I calculated Sports-Reference’s Simple Rating System (SRS) for every WBC game since the event began in 2006.2A few more details: I gave more weight to games that took place in later rounds (first-round games had a weight of 1, second-round games a weight of 2, WBC semifinals a weight of 4 and WBC finals a weight of 8.) I also used a home-field advantage term of +0.16 runs per game, matching what it is in MLB since 2006. Among the 13 teams that have played double-digit WBC games, the U.S. ranks just seventh — far behind No. 1 Japan, who has dominated the tournament more than any other country. Mexico69-2.05 Chinese Taipei39-3.26 Venezuela107-0.22 Netherlands910-1.20 Japan1973.40 read more

Vegas Is The Best Expansion Team In NHL History

Right wing James Neal — who leads the Knights in scoring this season — recorded 40 goals in the 2011-12 season and has scored at least 50 points four times in his career. Winger Reilly Smith brings more scoring touch (he notched 25 goals with the Florida Panthers in 2015-16) and respectable possession metrics to the table. And while winger David Perron’s career scoring pace of 48 points per 82 games doesn’t qualify him as an elite scorer, it still makes him a nice addition — through seven games, he’s tallied the third most points for the Knights. Vegas even managed to nab a three-time Stanley Cup-winning goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury.4Fleury was a starter for only one of those three cups, but he played in at least 35 regular season games in the seasons the Penguins won those cups.But despite scoring some key pieces in the expansion draft, the Knights are still an expansion team. The average expansion team since ’92 collected just 57 points in its first NHL season — which is to say that the average expansion team hasn’t been very good.5For reference, only four teams in the past four NHL seasons have notched fewer than 57 points: the 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche, which is among the worst hockey teams in the history of the NHL; the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Sabers; and the 2014-15 Arizona Coyotes. And before the season began, some writers predicted that the Knights might even be very bad. (The regular kind of bad or, worse, the historically kind of bad.) Still, there’s hope for the Knights — they may just have to wait a few years.Five of the other nine expansion teams improved enough early on to qualify for the playoffs by their fourth season, and only three teams — the Atlanta Thrashers (who are now the second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets), the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Nashville Predators — took at least six seasons to earn their first playoff berth. However, none of them became .500 teams by the end of their fifth season, and only a handful have become postseason mainstays. 1992-93Lightning+186.3+121.9-11.8+296.4 1993-94Panthers+130.7+162.1+155.1+447.9 1992-93Senators+217+76.8+18.9+312.7 2000-01Blue Jackets+295+73.5+31.7+400.2 1998-99Predators+254.9+18+2.9+275.8 One of those mainstays is the San Jose Sharks. Their first-season roster was middle-of-the-pack as far as expansion teams go, and while they struggled mightily early,6The Sharks won just 11 games during their second season. they’ve been by far the most successful expansion team of the past three decades in terms of playoff appearances: In their 25 seasons, they’ve made the postseason 19 times. But then there’s the case of the Thrashers/Jets, whose first-year roster matched San Jose’s in terms of previous season GVT but who, after 17 seasons, still haven’t managed to win a playoff game. An expansion team’s previous career GVT isn’t a guarantor of immediate success, but of the nine expansion franchises that came into the NHL between 1991 and 2001, only the Florida Panthers — whose previous career GVT is second only to the Knights — took less than a decade to get to the Stanley Cup Finals, making it in just their third season.7Despite a glut of playoff appearances, it took the Sharks 24 seasons to make their first Stanley Cup Finals. And three of the nine expansion franchises are still without a finals appearance to their credit.The Panthers, like the Knights, were able to snag an established goal scorer (Scott Mellanby) and goalie (John Vanbiesbrouck) in the expansion draft, so they had some crucial puzzle pieces in place from the jump. They also drafted well early on — they snatched Rob Niedermayer in their inaugural draft and Ed Jovanovski the following year — and that mix of fresh talent and solid veterans came together in a magical, rubber rat-infested run to Eastern Conference preeminence. We’re not sure how Vegas will draft, but if they’re able to score the right players, they may find themselves in a similar position as those early Panthers teams.But the sun has rarely shone in Sunrise since that early success — in the 20 seasons subsequent, the Panthers have made the playoffs only four times. For the Panthers, previous career GVT correlated with early success, but it meant little in the way of long-term franchise well-being.Truth is, expansion franchises since 1991 haven’t had a whole lot of success in terms of championships won. Only two — the Lightning and the Ducks — have lifted Lord Stanley’s mug, and neither did so within their first decade of existence.The Knights are off to a historically great start, but history also suggests they’re still probably looking at a spring void of playoff hockey. And if it’s a Stanley Cup they’re after, the Knights shouldn’t hold their collective breath. But who knows: maybe the Knights, with their historically good expansion roster, will shock the NHL. Source:, HockeyAbstract Three weeks into the NHL season, there’s little that makes sense in the standings. The Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers — Eastern Conference stalwarts in recent years — have combined for three wins.1One of which came when New York beat Montreal. Meanwhile, several of the league’s recent doormats — like the Philadelphia Flyers and the New Jersey Devils — are looking surprisingly dangerous. But perhaps the biggest oddity of all is this: The Vegas Golden Knights are playing some good hockey.Of course, it’s early and the Knights are up against some tough narratives: The quixotic practice of desert hockey hasn’t exactly worked out for the NHL to this point (looking at you, Phoenix), and no expansion team from the past 26 years has made the playoffs in its first season. But no expansion team from the past 26 years — or in the history of the NHL, for that matter — has gotten off to this good of a start, either.The Knights’ six wins in seven tries are remarkable considering how their expansion brethren have fared. Among the other nine expansion teams that began play since 1991, only three — the 1992-93 Tampa Bay Lightning, the 1993-94 Florida Panthers and the 1993-94 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim — managed to win more than one of their first seven games. And then there’s the case of the putrid 1992-93 Ottawa Senators, who didn’t win their second game until their 23rd try.What’s more, there’s reason to believe the Knights aren’t hovering around the top of the Western Conference standings by accident. The team’s roster — like all expansion teams — is largely a Frankenstein’s monster of the rest of the league’s broken parts. But the Knights cobbled together a decent group of players! (As far as expansion teams go, and as far as teams in the 2017-18 NHL go, too.) According to goals versus threshold (GVT) statistics,2GVT was developed by Tom Awad of Hockey Prospectus and is similar to baseball’s VORP in that it seeks to determine a player’s value in goals above what a replacement player would contribute. the Knights entered the NHL with one of the best expansion rosters of the past three decades.3We looked at expansion teams dating back to the league’s seventh expansion, which happened in 1991-92 and saw the addition of the San Jose Sharks. Average+201.4+78.6+36.6+316.7 PREV. CAREER GVT 2000-01Wild+95.8+50.9+10.8+157.5 Vegas has some of the best expansion talent everGoals versus threshold (GVT) in previous careers for expansion teams’ top 12 forwards, top six defensemen and top two goalies, since 1991 1993-94Mighty Ducks+51.1+70.5-2.3+119.3 1991-92Sharks+280.8+9.4-6.5+283.7 1999-00Thrashers+225+90.4+30.5+345.9 2017-18Golden Knights+277.7+112.8+136.9+527.4 YEARTEAMFDGTOT read more

At Wimbledon Ryan Harrison Suffers Again From His Bad Luck of the Draw

To make the most of their abilities, young tennis players need training, coaching and good health. Then there’s another factor, also important and beyond their control: the luck of the draw.The careers of young Americans Ryan Harrison and Christina McHale show what a difference luck can make. When Harrison has been lucky in Grand Slam tournaments, he has been very good. But he’s usually been unlucky, drawing one of the tournament’s top players in the first round and losing. The latest Harrison conqueror was Grigor Dimitrov, the No. 13 player in the world, who straight-setted Harrison out of Wimbledon on opening day Monday in London. Harrison’s frequent early exits from Grand Slams have contributed to his fall out of the top 100.McHale, meanwhile, has been much more fortunate. She opens her Wimbledon campaign Tuesday against the 97th-ranked player in the world, Chanelle Scheepers. In the 17 Grand Slam tournaments where McHale could have faced a seeded player in the first round, she has done so just three times — and never had an opponent in the top 20.Along with the intended intrigue and variety, the random draw at tennis tournaments creates inequity. For the 128-player Grand Slam singles draws, this is, roughly, how the draw works: The best 25 percent of players are given seeds, and each of the 32 seeded players is slotted in a four-player pod in which the other three players are unseeded (kind of like our Burrito Bracket). In the first round, the seeded player plays one of the unseeded players in the same pod, and the other two unseeded players play each other. Drawing players randomly into these pods, rather than seeding all 128 of them, helps keep things interesting, creating tough sections of the draw and openings elsewhere.Every unseeded player has a one-third chance of drawing a seeded opponent in the first round, which is, generally, an unlucky draw. That’s not always the case: Sometimes the seeded opponent isn’t as tough as rankings suggest, because of weakness on the tournament’s surface or a recent injury. Drawing a weak seed near the bottom of the top 32 players can open up a player’s draw, since the next opponent wouldn’t be seeded.All else equal, though, if you’re unseeded, you don’t want to match up against a seeded player in the first round. Yet Harrison seems to be drawn inexorably toward seeded opponents by some as yet undiscovered magnetic field. In the 16 majors he’s entered as an unseeded player, he’s drawn seeded opponents nine times. By chance alone, he could have expected just five such tough matches. More than 98 percent of players with 16 opportunities to draw a seed in the first round should do so eight times or fewer, according to the binomial distribution. Harrison is in the unlucky 1 percent.Not so with McHale. About 13 percent of players who have played 17 majors as an unseeded entry, as she has, could expect to get three or fewer seeded opponents. She has also never drawn a top 10 opponent in the first round, something just 15 percent of players in her shoes could say.Against unseeded first-round opponents at majors, Harrison is a dominant force: He’s 5-2, including wins in his past five matches. Against seeded opponents, he’s 1-7; Harrison’s loss to Dimitrov Monday was his seventh straight against seeded opponents. All those first-round losses have contributed to Harrison’s drop in the rankings to 150 from 43 two years ago.Luck of the draw matters for non-Americans, too. I studied 18 young men and women at Wimbledon who have entered at least five majors without a seed. Together they have won half of first-round matches against unseeded opponents, but fewer than one-third of matches against seeded players.As hard as Harrison’s had it, he’s been blessed to avoid the fate of David Goffin. The 23-year-old Belgian has entered nine majors unseeded. Seven times he has drawn a seed in the first round, including four top 10 seeds. Of 1,000 players with his Grand Slam history, 999 could expect to have drawn fewer seeded first-round opponents, and fewer top 10 seeds.Goffin hasn’t won a Grand Slam match in two years, and his ranking fate has resembled Harrison’s: He’s dropped from No. 42 in the world to No. 105. His latest rough draw came against defending champion Andy Murray, the No. 3 seed at Wimbeldon. Murray dispatched Goffin in straight sets on Monday. read more

Adrian Beltre Is Hall Of Fame Worthy

A long drive, deep over the outfield wall … without a boost from performance-enhancing drugs.It’s an old-time ideal that Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers has played out over and over again. Earlier this week, he smashed two home runs, closing in on a relatively exclusive honor: membership in the 400 home run club. (Beltre needs one more dinger to become a card-carrying member.)In our view, and according to advanced stats, Beltre should be a Hall of Famer someday. But we worry that he won’t be because his conventional stats lack that Cooperstown shine.Why do we think Beltre should be enshrined alongside the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Bill Mazeroski (more on him in a minute)? Beltre is a rarity — a player who excels at both offense and defense. And in both cases, that excellence is best illustrated using sabermetric measurements.1His offensive bona fides are also clear from such traditional statistics as home runs, of course. Among third basemen, Beltre, with his nearly 400 long balls, ranks fifth all-time; three of the four ahead of him are either already in Cooperstown or are locks to make it someday (Chipper Jones).For instance, in terms of per-plate appearance rates, Beltre ranks in the 80th percentile of his peers2Qualified hitters (according to Fangraphs’ leaderboard) who played between 1998 and 2015. in isolated power, the 70th percentile in contact rate, the 50th percentile in speed and the 82nd percentile as an overall hitter. (His only real offensive weakness is a 27th-percentile walk rate.) And those are just the rate statistics; Beltre’s durability has also seen him notch the second-most at-bats of any active player and the 53rd-most of any player ever.That longevity is a big reason why Beltre ranks ninth all-time in offensive wins above replacement (oWAR) among third basemen. Only one non-Hall of Famer, the easily forgettable Toby Harrah, ranks higher, and Beltre should pass him (plus Home Run Baker) this season, assuming that Beltre’s 2015 oWAR resembles his yearly output over the past five seasons. In fact, based on projections from Baseball Prospectus, there’s a good chance that the only players ahead of Beltre in oWAR by the end of his career will be offensive juggernauts Wade Boggs, George Brett, Chipper Jones, Eddie Mathews and Mike Schmidt.And defensively, Beltre’s advanced numbers are among the best ever. Per defensive WAR (dWAR) and defensive runs saved above average (DRAA),3Defense is harder to measure than offense, and traditional measurements have a way of propping up horrible defenders (see Jeter, Derek). But advanced statistics such as dWAR and DRAA (which is based on video-tracking data for recent seasons and estimated “zone ratings” for years before that) seem to capture defensive skill well. All modern players in the top 10 for DRAA have won at least one Gold Glove, and all but two have won at least four. Beltre is the second-best defensive third baseman in baseball history. Only Brooks Robinson, whom Reds manager Sparky Anderson had nightmares about after Robinson’s unforgettable defensive performance in the 1970 World Series, ranks better. According to dWAR, only 19 other players (across all positions) in baseball history were more valuable defensively than Beltre has been.The defender most like Beltre at this point is Mazeroski, who made it to the Hall almost entirely on his defense. Beltre, by contrast, combines Mazeroski-like defense with vastly superior offensive stats and greater durability.Yet, we worry about Beltre’s fate because his traditional measurements lag behind his advanced ones. The case against Beltre starts by saying that his nearly 400 home runs may be somewhat devalued by the steroid era — more than half of the club’s 51 members hit the majority of their home runs in the 1990s or 2000s — even if Beltre has never been implicated for steroid use. And Beltre’s other impressive credentials (four Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers and four All-Star Game nods) are good, but not great. Eric Chavez, for example, will only see Cooperstown as a visitor, but he won six Gold Gloves at third base. In addition, Beltre is unlikely to hit above .290 for his career or win a most valuable player award, and he has never won a World Series (only playing in a single Fall Classic).Simply put, Beltre’s conventional résumé falls short of Cooperstown’s traditional benchmarks. While there is no generally accepted baseball equivalent of’s Hall of Fame probability metric, Bill James developed a few good ways to gauge a player’s traditional statistical portfolio: the Hall of Fame Standards and Monitor tests, as well as the Black Ink and Gray Ink tests. Together, those metrics measure how well a player met certain (admittedly arbitrary) benchmarks that, historically speaking, are strongly correlated with Hall of Fame induction.In the “Ink” tests — which measure how often a player led the league and finished among the top 10 in important statistical categories — Beltre sits well behind the typical Hall member. He does fare somewhat better in the other, benchmark-based calculations (though he still ranks below average in both the Standards and Monitor tests), and at just 36 years old, Beltre still has time to add to his totals. But overall, he may not even have a coin flip’s chance at the Hall of Fame, according to traditional gauges. A logistic regression between the James metrics and Hall of Fame enshrinement for the eligible players on’s leaderboards4With additional variables for a player’s era and whether a player was publicly linked to steroids. would assign Beltre a mere 18 percent chance of induction if he retired today.But our hope is that Hall of Fame voters are slowly moving past the older considerations. If they look instead at Beltre’s advanced numbers, they’ll see a Hall of Fame worthy outlier. Look at the Jaffe WAR Score system, or JAWS.5For those curious, the eponym behind the number is Sports Illustrated’s Jay Jaffe. Built on the foundation of WAR, JAWS attempts to strike a balance between players who compiled value over a long period of time (think Paul Molitor, whose JAWS was 57.5) and those who burned brightly for a shorter span of seasons (think Jackie Robinson, whose JAWS was 56.8). And the difference between Beltre’s actual JAWS and what we’d predict from his conventional credentials6As measured by a regression using the James metrics. is stark.Beltre is one of only 10 non-Hall of Famers7Among either eligible players who were not elected or those ineligible for induction. in major league history to produce a JAWS rating above that of the average Hall of Famer, despite a predicted JAWS below the average Hall of Famer.8Predicted JAWS is designed so that its average equals the average JAWS.How can there be such a big difference? It’s partly because predicted JAWS doesn’t take into account defense (because it’s using conventional stats) and actual JAWS does. As we noted previously, defense is very hard to measure in a conventional sense. That’s especially the case at third base, where people can’t even agree on the best skill set for the position. It used to be impossible to say what exactly a player’s defensive range was, for instance. That’s why James’s metrics don’t make much of an attempt at incorporating defense, with the exception of taking into account a player’s position and where it sits on the defensive spectrum.But now we can understand how valuable Beltre is defensively. And we know that his mixture of offensive and defensive production for a third baseman is very rare.The question left is whether Hall of Fame voters will see things that way, conventions be damned. read more

Duos effort helps Buckeyes club Gophers

Double-doubles by Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahlis fueled Ohio State past Minnesota as the Buckeyes torched the Gophers 81-58 Thursday night at the Schottenstein Center.A combined 43-point effort by the duo almost matched the Gophers point total on their own. The two also combined for 17 rebounds.Prahalis added 10 assists, including an array of impressive no-look or down-court passes that earned loud cheers from the crowd. The game was never close as OSU opened up the first half with a 10-point run, then added a 14-2 run four minutes later and never looked back.The victory answered many questions about OSU after it lost Monday night to Purdue, a team they were heavily favored against.The Buckeyes looked like the team of weeks past, shooting 10-21 from three-point range and grabbing 10 steals.The Prahalis-Lavender combo seems to be back in action and with those two hitting on all cylinders, the Buckeyes hope to avoid another surprising loss in conference play. read more

The Lantern examines concussions

Concussions have become a hot-button topic all over the country. As science and medicine are continuing to discover how big an impact head injuries can have on someone’s day-to-day functions and future livelihood, sports organizations, and even Congress are beginning to take notice. Just this week, the NFL made its players aware of a new policy that will institute suspensions for its athletes for malicious helmet-to-helmet hits on a defenseless player. While once seen as a minor deterrent, the long-term effects associated with concussions have helped to paint a frightening portrait of what’s to come for our favorite athletes if they aren’t properly protected. Starting Monday, The Lantern will run a series on concussions beginning with part 1, prevention. Part 1 will be focusing on what can be done to better prepare oneself for avoiding a head injury, as well as offering a detailed look into why concussions are so hard to predict, who gets them, and what’s being done to protect athletes from having to worry about receiving one. Part 2, running Tuesday focuses on treatment. The story explains the dangers caused by head injuries both physically and mentally, what physicians and trainers look for in terms of symptoms, and what athletic trainers are doing to ensure that football players are ready to play after going through a concussion. Part 3, Second Impact Syndrome, focuses on a rare condition associated with a second head injury. SIS can lead to permanent disabilities and even death, but determining who’s susceptible to SIS is nearly impossible beforehand. Make sure to check out The Lantern in print or online for this exclusive look at concussions. read more

Eurostar train ploughs into wild boar causing delays for passengers

first_imgA spokesman for Eurostar said: “They obviously had to stop and check the train was safe to carry on and that caused residual delays on the line.”The wild boar in the area can “take it upon themselves to roam from their area onto the track”, a spokesman said.Customers complaining about delays to their journeys were told on Twitter there had been “an incident involving a wild boar” and they would be “on the move shortly”. Wild boar are related to domestic pigs and have thick, bristly coats. They weigh around 20 stone – although some males can reach double that – and live for approximately 30 years. The train later arrived safely at the Gare du Nord in Paris.  Delays on Eurostar. Leaves on the line? No. A wild boar. Bacon sandwiches all round…— Vicki Dodge (@vickiD1971) October 2, 2016 Elsewhere a Grand Central train hit a herd of cattle between Peterborough and London Kings Cross, causing delays for passengers. Eleven cows died in the incident.  The end is nigh: @Eurostar delayed due to a wild boar— Zoe Tabary (@zoetabary) October 2, 2016 @LisaPhelps20 Apologies Lisa, another Eurostar hit a wild boar earlier and this has held up the traffic for a while causing some delays.— Eurostar (@Eurostar) October 2, 2016 Eurostar passengers were delayed after a train ploughed into a wild boar, holding up services behind it.The 14.22 service travelling from London to Paris hit the animal near Huate Picardie, roughly halfway between Calais and Paris, causing delays of around an hour.Speed restrictions were put in place after the incident. The wild boar in northern France can occasionally roam onto the railway tracksCredit:Christopher Jones Wild boar @kateaustin496 Sorry Kate, there’s a bit of congestion on the line due to speed restrictions following an earlier incident with a boar— Eurostar (@Eurostar) October 2, 2016 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

Queens Christmas message 30 things you didnt know about Her Majestys annual

first_imgQueen Elizabeth II delivers her 2007 Christmas speech in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace The Queen in the Long Library at Sandringham after making the first televised Christmas day broadcast to the nation in 1957Credit:PA The custom of a Royal Christmas address was came into force for good in 1939, when King George VI wanted to boost morale during WWII. The Queen has given an address every year since 1952, apart from one – in 1969. In 1969, the Queen decided to write a Christmas message instead of broadcasting one. This was apparently because the Royals felt that they had been in the spotlight too much, after the release of the documentary film ‘Royal Family.’ It was also the same year as Prince Charles’ investiture. The Queen wrote ‘I want you all to know that my good wishes are no less warm and personal because they come to you in a different form.’ During the 1957 broadcast, some viewers complained that their radio transmissions were interrupted by an American police radio frequency. One instance of interference included a police officer saying “Joe, I’m gonna grab a quick coffee.” 1992 was described as an “annus horribilis,” by Her Majesty. In a year where the marriages of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew  fell apart as well as a large fire at Windsor Castle, The Sun leaked the speech two days early. The Queen sued, and the paper paid £200,000 to charity. Between 1986 and 1991, David Attenborough produced the Queen’s Christmas address. In 1989 Elizabeth II read part of her speech in front of an audience at the Royal Albert Hall. This was the first time that an audience had heard the speech prior to broadcast. The Queen writes her Christmas address herself. Rather than using a script writer she is believed to sit with advisors and put forward her ideas and words. The broadcast is filmed at Buckingham Palace, or one of the Queen’s other properties a few days before Christmas. The idea for a Royal Christmas address came from Sir John Reith, founder of the BBC The time of 3pm was chosen so that all parts of the commonwealth could listen or watch at a reasonable hour. Today, the message is broadcast to New Zealand at 6:50pm local time, Australia at 7:20pm local time and Canada at midday, local time, as well as live on the Royal’s YouTube channel. The Christmas address was broadcast on radio or television exclusively by the BBC until 1997. Since then, the production has rotated every two years between ITV, and from 2011, Sky News. In 2015, the Queen’s message was the most watched Christmas Day programme, pulling in 7.5 million viewers in total, beating Downton Abbey’s 6.9 million.Who writes the speech?While poet and author Rudyard Kipling drafted the first speech for King George V, the Queen writes her own Christmas speeches and it is one of only a few instances where she is able to speak publicly without any advice from her ministers.Planning begins months earlier once the Queen decides on her theme of the year. From there appropriate archive footage is collected and assembled for the speech which is recorded a few days before Christmas. The Queen in the Long Library at Sandringham after making the first televised Christmas day broadcast to the nation in 1957 Queen Elizabeth II making her first ever Christmas broadcast to the nation from Sandringham House Queen Elizabeth II making her first ever Christmas broadcast to the nation from Sandringham HouseCredit:Getty Every year, at 3pm on Christmas Day, millions of us around the country turn on the radio or television, take off our party hats, and listen to the Queen’s Christmas message.But what are the origins? Why did we hear American police officers in 1957? And which phrases does the Queen reuse the most?Here are 30 things you might not have known about the Queen’s Christmas Day address: ‘The Queen’s Speech’ is not actually called ‘The Queen’s Speech.’ The formal name given to the event is ‘Her Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech.’ The first ever Christmas address, by King George V started: “I speak now from my home and from my heart to you all; to men and women so cut off by the snows, the desert, or the sea, that only voices out of the air can reach them.” The first Royal Christmas address was written by Rudyard Kipling, in 1932 and delivered by Elizabeth II’s grandfather King George V. The first Christmas address was 251 words long. Queen Elizabeth II averages 656 words. There was no broadcast in 1936 or 1938 because the annual tradition was not yet established. Queen Elizabeth II making her Christmas broadcast to the peoples of the British Commonwealth from New Zealand in 1953 When and where can I watch or listen to it?The Queen’s Christmas Message is embargoed until 3pm on Christmas Day. It is then broadcast on BBC One, ITV, Sky 1, and Sky News from 3pm until 3.10pm. You can also listen to it on BBC Radio 4.center_img Queen Elizabeth II delivers her 2007 Christmas speech in the 1844 Room at Buckingham PalaceCredit:Steve Parsons/PA Why is it done?King George V’s original Christmas speech in 1932 was intended to be a one-off event as a way to inaugurate the BBC World Service, but over the years it has become one of the most important events in the royal calendar, and a Christmas staple for those living in the Commonwealth.It was firmly established as tradition during the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 where King George VI, in his first Christmas as the King, sought to reassure people and boost morale.What did she say in last year’s speech?Reflecting on a year of terror attacks including the events in Paris and Tunisia, the Queen used her 2015 Christmas Day broadcast to make one of her most “overtly religious” addresses to the nation in many years. What is the Alternative Christmas Message?Since 1993 Channel 4 has been broadcasting an alternative Christmas message to the Queen’s Christmas Message broadcast on BBC, ITV, and Sky.Sometimes it is a humorous message – Marge and Lisa Simpson gave the speech in 2004, where they compared the “special relationship” between the UK and the US to the relationship between Mini Me and Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers films.Other times the message is a serious one. In 2013 Edward Snowden delivered the message and urged the government put an end to mass surveillance, while Abdullah Kurdi, father of Alan Kurdi, the young Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, gave the speech in 2015. What is the Queen’s Christmas Message?The Queen’s Christmas Message is a broadcast made by the monarch to the 52 member states in the Commonwealth of Nations each Christmas.Originally called the King’s Christmas Message when the tradition began in 1932 with a radio broadcast by King George V, the message has been read by Queen Elizabeth II since 1952.The Queen typically uses the speech as a chance to reflect on the year and the major events that have occurred throughout it. She also makes a comment on her own personal milestones of the year and expresses her opinion on Christmas in general. Queen Elizabeth II making her Christmas broadcast to the peoples of the British Commonwealth from New Zealand in 1953Credit:PA Quoting directly from the Bible, she said: “It is true that the world has had to confront moments of darkness this year, but the Gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’.” In her first Christmas address, the Queen described the British Commonwealth and Empire as an “immense union of nations” which “can be a great power for good – a force which I believe can be of immeasurable benefit to all humanity.” The highest ratings for the Christmas address came in 1980, when an extraordinary 28 million people turned onto the BBC at 3pm. According to mathematicians at UCL, The Queen has said 42,000 words during her Christmas addresses. But…only 3991 are distinct – meaning she has used 90% of the words more than once in a Christmas Address. This high percentage of recycled vocabulary is comparable to rappers Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z, in their music catalogues. Although their language is rather more colourful, the Queen likes to repeat the phrases ‘shining example’ ‘weak and innocent’ and ‘the Commonwealth.’ In 1952 the broadcast was shown on television for the first time, but with sound only. The first broadcast in colour came in 1967, the same year as the Queen had taken part in a five week tour of Canada. In 1975, the Broadcast was filmed outside for the first time, in the Buckingham Palace gardens. 2015 also saw the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, something the Queen also touched on in her speech: “One cause for thankfulness this summer was marking 70 years since the end of the Second World War. On VJ Day, we honoured the remaining veterans of that terrible conflict in the Far East, as well as remembering the thousands who never returned.”Acknowledging the birth of Princess Charlotte in May, the Queen also added: “One of the joys of living a long life is watching one’s children, then grandchildren, then great grandchildren, help decorate the Christmas tree. And this year my family has a new member to join in the fun!” 2006 was the first year in which you could download the speech as a podcast. In 2012, Sky News produced the christmas address in 3D. Viewers were able to see the Queen donning a pair of 3D glasses, rather different to her usual rimless spectacles. This year, the broadcast will be live on Facebook and Youtube as well as television and radio. last_img read more

BBC robot animals to go undercover to film nature even David Attenborough

first_imgThe BBC programme will feature 34 robot animals Chimps proved curious about their new robot friend It will see 30 different robot animals sent to live among the real thing, with fully-working skeletons built bone by bone, a realistic muscle structure and an exterior created painstakingly by artists.The orangutan, the most expensive of the animatronics, saw each hair planted one by one in its body, while newly-hatched crocodiles were waterproofed in case their new mother dropped them into the river.A wild dog puppy was “taught” how to make characteristic submissive and playful gestures in order to help it be accepted by the pack, while a strategically egret and tortoise help film-makers capture an elephant family trying to protect its new baby while on the move. John Downer, producer, said the programme, which took three years to make, will help shed light on human emotion and behaviours, by showing they also exist in the animal kingdom.While is used to be frowned upon to anthropomorphise the nature world, he said, academics were now coming round to admitting the similarities.“I think that’s been the great breakthrough over the last ten years,” he said. “I think animal behaviourists knew it, but they didn’t dare say it.“You can’t spend any time with animals without realising that so much of what they do is just like us.“We’re seeing behaviour mirrored in that natural world. Now there’s no one who studies, particularly the primates but increasingly other animals. Some of the animals were a little too realistic A wild dog pup is designed to make a submissive bow, before adults accept it into the pack Chimps proved curious about their new robot friend One scene, which they claim has never been captured on camera before, will show a chimp attempting to keep a tiny genet kitten as a pet, while another sees a family of langur monkeys grieving after believing they had killed the lifeless robot animal.Tom McDonald, the BBC’s head of natural history commissioning, said the programme marked a “real change” in natural history filming, providing “genuinely mind-blowing” footage he promised would show viewers the world “in an entirely new way”.The results will be shown in a new series entitled Spy In the Wild, due to broadcast on BBC One in January.Grouped into themes, each episode will explore how animals display love, intelligence, misbehaviour and friendship across species: or, as one programme-maker described the latter, “whether the Lion King could be true”. “As scientist have been getting closer to them, they are now interpreting that behaviour through how we would express things.“To deny it is to fly in the face of what you’re seeing.“Everything always used to have to be couched in very scientific language. Those barriers have broken down, because it really stops you understanding what’s going on.”Rob Pilley, producer, said academics were now encouraging their use of animatronics in filming behaviour they had written about but never filmed, adding films were “contributing, albeit on a small level but a significant one, to science”.Spy in the Wild will be broadcast on BBC One on January 12. For decades, Sir David Attenborough and his television descendants have been creeping ever-closer to the natural world to show it off to viewers in all its glory.But the BBC will next year go one step further, as it commissions 34 hyper-realistic animatronic  spy creatures to go undercover in the animal world.A new BBC natural history show will see life-like animals from baby crocodiles to adult orangutans infiltrate the jungles, deserts and grasslands of the planet, in an attempt to assimilate into wild families.The results, programme-makers say, will prove once and for all that animals experience the same emotions and relationships to humans. The BBC programme will feature 34 robot animals One animal proved too realistic for its own good, after cameras caught a real tortoise valiantly trying to mate with its robot companion.Programme-makers admitted sending the finished creatures into their new families was “quite nerve-wracking”, with concerns about upsetting the natural order of families.In one difficult scene, a young langur monkey appears to believe she has dropped the robot baby to its death, with the family gathering round to mourn it.Robot animals were also sent to live among a penguin colony, as a chick hatching out of its own egg inside a bird’s nest and among dozens of giraffes filmed assembling in mourning for a family member which had died of old age. Some of the animals were a little too realistic The langur monkeys were later filmed grieving, after dropping the robot baby The langur monkeys were later filmed grieving, after dropping the robot baby A wild dog pup is designed to make a submissive bow, before adults accept it into the pack 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

Blogger Stacie Pridden forced back on organ waiting list as her body

first_imgStacie Pridden was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2002Credit:Adam Gray/South West News Service Stacie Pridden, 26, writes a blog documenting her journey On her blog – Life is Worth The Fight – she took her readers through the ups and downs of her illness. But she finally underwent her organ transplant at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge in May 2015.Her body has accepted the heart well. “Everyone knows when they have a transplant that they will eventually go into some form of rejection,” she said.”I kind of hoped I would reach the five-year average but unfortunately I was one of the unlucky people that went into rejection sooner.”I think my family find it hard watching me go through it again because this time I’m a lot iller than I was the first time and they’re having to do a lot more for me.” I think my family find it hard watching me go through it again because this time I’m a lot iller than I was the first timeStacie Pridden A LOT of pain today. Pleurisy + coughing = Agony Not impressed with my body today, at all!— Stacie Pridden (@staciep90) January 4, 2017 I’m still regular old me, I’m just very ill again and I’m using a wheelchair again and I can’t really walk very farStacie Pridden Miss Pridden was born with three holes in her heart and has endured operations every year until she was 13.She was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2002, a rare blood vessel disorder in her lung, and knew an organ transplant was the only thing that would keep her alive.She was officially put on the transplant list when her condition significantly worsened after her 18th birthday and was given three years to live. “While I was deteriorating I did feel like I was dying and every breath was my last. It feels a lot more urgent this time.”A double lung transplant is even rarer the second time around. I believe it has only been done twice in the world.”Nine out of ten people can’t go back on the waiting list for various reasons.”I’m just extremely lucky that I’m still young and that my drugs haven’t had time to destroy my other organs yet.”I’m still regular old me, I’m just very ill again and I’m using a wheelchair again and I can’t really walk very far.”General day-to-day stuff is very hard for me yet again. But I still feel very happy and positive.”center_img Stacie was first diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension in 2002 Stacie Pridden, 26, writes a blog documenting her journeyCredit:Stacie Pridden / 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. However, she is at the back of the queue for a donor and a “transplant on top of a transplant” operation has only been carried out twice in the world.She said: “Whereas the first time around I had 20 years of deteriorating, this time I had six weeks to deal with it. An inspirational blogger who captivated Twitter as she underwent a double lung and heart transplant has been forced to turn back to the waiting list after her body rejected the lungs.Stacie Pridden, 26, touched people around the world with a blog documenting her journey as she waited for the organs.The risky transplant went ahead in May 2015 and, shortly afterwards, she posted a photo to her Twitter followers saying: “I’m alive guys.” She appeared to recover well until she got an infection and was diagnosed with chronic lung rejection in July last year.Her lung functionality dropped from 80 to 25 per cent in just six weeks and doctors have now told her she will need another double transplant.Miss Pridden, from Pinehurst in Swindon, Wiltshire, is now relying on oxygen and a cocktail of medication to stay alive, and doctors have been unable to tell her how long she may have to live.last_img read more

We came back stronger Busker sings songs of defiance after Manchester terror

first_imgManchester’s Piccadilly Gardens packed with workers on lunch as a busker plays “All You Need Is Love” and “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”— Arj Singh (@singharj) May 23, 2017 As music venues announced their plans to host Tuesday night gigs as planned, citizens left impromptu tributes on paper placed on a table outside Cass Art, on Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter.Messages included “stay strong” and “hope not fear” as life in the northern part of the city centre appeared to return to relative normality after the attack, which killed 22 people, including children, after US pop star Ariana Grande finished her performance at Manchester Arena.The busker, 30-year-old Sam Fairbrother from Sale, said he had given up his usual plan of playing for money elsewhere in the city.”I woke up at 5am and heard the news and I was just crying,” he said.”I just thought I had to do something so I’ve come down here to play three songs on a loop all day and I’m not asking for money, it’s not about that.” A woman leaves flowers outside St Ann’s Church in ManchesterCredit:Ben Birchall/PA In a Facebook post he called on “musicians and lovers alike” to gather in Piccadilly Gardens to sing All We Need Is Love. Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens was packed with workers on their lunch break listening to a busker singing songs of defiance after Monday night’s terror attack.Hundreds of Mancunians sat in the sun-drenched central square eating lunch and listening to the musician, who sang songs such as All You Need Is Love by the Beatles.The singer even adapted the lyrics of Bob Marley’s Everything’s Gonna Be Alright to include a reference to the 1996 IRA bomb that struck the city.”We were all right in the 90s and came back stronger,” he sang. 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.center_img Among the messages was one on the front of a pink envelope which read: “Stay Strong The People Of Manchester. You’ll Never Walk Alone.”Another read: “Bless You All To The People of Manchester. My Heart Goes Out To You All. Love Will Always Come Through In The End.”A makeshift poster read: “Manchester City. We Stand United. 22 Lost Souls Will Be Remembered Forever Always.”Never Forget. Never Forgotten 22/5/17”. “Let’s gather in music and strength to again confirm we stand as one,” he added.Elsewhere, well-wishers left floral tributes outside St Ann’s Church in the city centre. A woman leaves flowers outside St Ann's Church in Manchester Another card said:”We Will Not Give In. We Will Not Give Up. We Will Not Fail. We Will Survive.”On the pavement in Albert Square, someone had written in chalk: “We are grieving today but we are strong” alongside an emergency number and the number for the anti-terror hotline.last_img read more

Brexit impact studies leak reveals which regions will be hit hardest

first_imgTheresa May’s Brexit “war cabinet” will meet again on Thursday against a backdrop of official forecasts showing the regions and sectors of the economy which face being hardest-hit by withdrawing from the European Union.Impact studies released to MPs by the Government reveal the North East of England and West Midlands will sustain the biggest hit to economic growth from Brexit.London will take the least damage, according to the controversial forecasts which ministers were forced to release after they were leaked to the media and amid pressure from Labour and pro-EU Tories.MPs have been reading the documents, which were prepared by the Department for Exiting the EU, under controlled conditions, but the figures have been leaked.Meanwhile, Sky News also obtained official estimates of the potential impact of non-tariff barriers – such as extra red tape, customs checks and rules of origin regulations – on various economic sectors.The motor industry faces cost increases of between 5% and 13%, while the retail and wholesale industry could see costs rise by between 7% and 20%. By comparison, London would sustain just a 2% hit to growth if the UK gets a free trade deal, 3.5% in a no deal scenario, and just 1% if the country stays in the single market.Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: “This is a damning outlook for Britain. The Tories are putting everything on the line because they do not care about the lives and livelihoods of the people of the UK. But the Prime Minister insisted she would be “robust” in Brexit talks and dismissed “noises off” from the EU.She told MPs: “As I have said right from the very beginning we will hear noises off, we will hear all sorts of things being said about positions that are being taken.”What matters is the positions we take in the negotiations as we sit down and negotiate the best deal. We’ve shown we can do that. We did it in December and we are going to do it again.” “The Government need to start being clear what they are fighting for. They are still keeping no deal on the table despite how crippling it would be to the regional economy.”People did not vote to make themselves poorer. They should be allowed a vote on the final deal and a chance to exit from Brexit.”Labour MP Stephen Doughty, a leading supporter of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign, said: “People in every corner of the United Kingdom will be shocked to see the Government’s own assessment of the damage Brexit will do to their communities.”Earlier, Brussels released papers showing it wants to put in place a method to rapidly curtail the UK’s single market benefits if it breaches agreements on a transition deal. The economically important financial services sector stands to suffer a 5% to 10% cost increase, but construction faces no extra costs.The potential impact on automotive manufacturers could cause concerns as Mrs May prepares to host a meeting with Japanese business leaders on Thursday – including representatives from the country’s motor industry.center_img The leaked figures have been seized upon by backers of a “soft” Brexit to protect the economy.But officials said they did not show the impact of the Government’s preferred post-Brexit option of an “unprecedented” economic partnership with the EU.Mrs May chaired the Brexit sub-committee on Wednesday and do so again on Thursday to thrash out what kind of trade relationship the UK will seek in negotiations.Figures showed the North East would take an 11% hit to economic growth under a free trade deal with the EU, while leaving with no deal will result in a 16% dip, and staying in the single market amounts to a 3% decline.In the West Midlands, a free trade deal would result in an 8% hit to growth, compared with 13% under “no deal”, and 2.5% if the UK stays in the single market. Responding to the leaks, a Government spokesman said: “This document does not represent Government policy and does not consider the outcome we are seeking in the negotiations.”As ministers clearly set out in the House, this is provisional internal analysis, part of a broad ongoing programme of analysis, and further work is in progress.”We are seeking an unprecedented, comprehensive and ambitious economic partnership – one that works for all parts of the UK. We are not expecting a no deal scenario.” 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

Police release shocking CCTV of moment 51yearold man was attacked and killed

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “I am trying to get justice for Desmond, his two attackers were very distinctive and part of a larger group. I hope that witnesses and those from that group who did not know how serious the attack was will now come forward.” DCI Noel McHugh, investigating, said: “Someone might see this video and remember that they witnessed this incident; you will see a female who is clearly shocked by what has happened and holds her hands up to her face. “You may have been part of the group and did not realise how seriously Desmond was hurt and that he has now died. That may prey on your mind. You can contact us and help us get justice. Desmond was an inoffensive man, a big man and character, who was out having a drink. The CCTV shows that he was senselessly attacked and he never stood a chance. Police have released the footage of the moment a 51-year-old man was attacked, apparently randomly, in Trafalgar Square, in a bid for witnesses.Desmond O’Beirne, 51, from Westminster was attacked outside the National Gallery at around 00:25 on Saturday, 3rd June 2017.He was approached by two men, who assaulted him, and then both calmly walked away.Mr O’Beirne, who was out for a drink with friends, fell into a vegetative state due to head trauma, and died in hospital in December last year.A woman appeared shocked by the attack, holding her hands up to her face – but the police have had no witnesses come forward yet.His death in December  prompted a murder inquiry, and a serious crime reward of £20,000 is available to anyone providing vital information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible. “The events of Desmond’s attack precede the London Bridge Terrorists attacks which were in the following evening. So whilst there is a passage of time, people will remember where they were in London, and could remember this incident. I’m asking anyone who took any footage or selfies around that time in to contact us; take a look through your photos and see if you have something that can help us.” Desmond O’Beirne, 51, died in Dec ’17 after being assaulted in #TrafalgarSquare in June ’17. Do you have information that could help officers?— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) April 9, 2018 His sister, Vivienne Folan, said: “My brother Desmond was hard working and larger than life. He was on a night out in Trafalgar Square when he was brutally and viciously attacked by two cowards who then calmly walked away and left him for dead.“As a direct result of this attack he suffered a traumatic brain injury and was left in a vegetative state. Desmond’s life was ended far too soon and our family is left devastated by his loss.“Unfortunately for Desmond, his attack happened less than 24 hours before the London Bridge/Borough Market terrorist attacks and I feel that possible witnesses may have focused their attentions on those events. I am appealing to members of the public who may have been in the Trafalgar Square area on the night and witnessed this assault to come forward to the police.last_img read more

Antivaxxers must not be given credence says Health Secretary Matt Hancock

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. “If you cannot encourage people to take up vaccines we are in trouble,” she said.While there has been great progress made in providing access to vaccines globally immunisation rates are stalling, the meeting heard.Wilson Mok, head of policy at Gavi, which provides vaccines to people in developing countries, said vaccine coverage was “stagnating” in low income countries .“We need to work with countries to strengthen immunisation systems. It could be down to human resources capacity, to supply chains, to data systems to ensure we’re not missing children in urban slums, rural areas and other marginalised groups. We need to get coverage rates up – that’s a focus for us,” he said.Charlie Weller, head of vaccines at the Wellcome Trust, said persuading people of the benefits of vaccines was a complex challenge.“In different countries the reasons for hesitancy around taking vaccines is varied. The key people in communities that families listen to – religious people or health professionals – this is a potential area for focus in terms of spreading positive messages,” she said. Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security  Health secretary Matt Hancock has said that positive messages about the benefits of vaccinations must be promoted in a bid to stop the spread of misinformation.Speaking at a parliamentary event about vaccinations and their role in fighting antimicrobial resistance Mr Hancock said that he did not want to give any “credence” to the “anti-vaxxers”, who spread junk science about immunisation.“We have to make sure communications around vaccinations are always positive and about the positive value of vaccines, rather than engage in debate which only improves the chances of [false] claims,” said Mr Hancock.There has been growing concern over recent months of the spread of anti-vaccine messages – with the World Health Organization identifying “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the 10 biggest threats to health.Social media – and Facebook in particular – has been singled out for failing to clamp down on harmful messages discouraging parents from vaccinating their children against potentially fatal diseases. Vaccine hesitancy is seen as one reason for an explosion in the number of measles cases in Europe and outbreaks in the United States, Japan and the Philippines. Mr Hancock told The Telegraph that vaccine hesitancy was not such a problem in the UK as immunisation levels were still high. “In other countries the problem is greater but the importance of vaccination is underlined by all the scientific studies,” he said.However immunisation rates have fallen in recent years, with the latest figures from the NHS showing that coverage for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine fell for the fourth year in a row in 2017-18.Coverage for this vaccine is now at 91.2 per cent in England, whereas the World Health Organization target is 95 per cent. This is the level at which “herd immunity” protects children who fall through the cracks or who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons. London has the lowest rate of immunisation, at 85.1 per cent while the North East region has the highest coverage, at 94.5 per cent.Mr Hancock added: “It’s very important that misinformation isn’t spread and the most important thing we can do is to get the scientifically-based objective evidence of the value of vaccinations out there so that people know the truth.”The Department of Health said it was looking at how to improve communication campaigns around the importance of vaccines.  Philippa Whitford MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Vaccinations for All, said her committee would investigate vaccine hesitancy and the reasons for it. read more

Men falsely accused of rape are victims too says wronglycharged student as

A student who was wrongly charged with rape has said men falsely accused of a sexual offence are also victims as he welcomed the move to force complainants to hand over their phones for disclosure purposes in such cases. Liam Allan , then 22, went on trial in December 2017 facing 12 counts of rape and sexual assault. He had spent two years on bail and endured three days of trial before the case collapsed as it emerged his supposed victim had been pestering him for “casual sex”. Now, he says while it was “completely understandable” that rape complainants might not wish to hand over data, he insists that the move is “a good step as long as it’s not trawling through unnecessary information”.”I was innocent,” Mr Allan told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “I was asked to give over my phone. Does that mean I lose all my rights to privacy because I was accused?”But I’m innocent. I am now a victim because someone has made a horrible accusation.”He added that he was comfortable that the police may find things that will assist the prosecution, and they may find things that may help the defence when analysing a mobile phone.  “The police are really saying ‘If you don’t let us do this, the CPS won’t prosecute’,” she said.”It is a real concern that people will be put off making a complaint in the first place if it’s widely thought they are going to have to hand over lots of personal data – everyone lives on their phones, particularly teenagers.”In the lead-up to trials, police and prosecutors are required to hand over relevant material that can undermine the prosecution case or assist the defence. Max Hill QCCredit:The Telegraph/Rii Schroer Liam Allan, whose trial for rape collapsed when it emerged texts had not been disclosed, says “it’s not like we should be treated exactly the same” but alleged rapists and victims “deserve the same rights until the point of conviction #r4today— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) April 29, 2019 Police and prosecutors say the forms are an attempt to plug a gap in the law, which cannot force complainants or witnesses to disclose their phones, laptops, tablets and smart watches.The regime came under sharp focus from the end of 2017 after a string of defendants – including Mr Allan – had charges of rape and serious sexual assault against them dropped when critical material emerged as they went on trial.Mr Allan said that in his case he “did not even think to ask” for details of the complainant’s phone contacts with friends around the time of the alleged assault. In rape and sexual assault cases, prosecutors also now use disclosure protocols previously used in terror trials. “It has to work both ways – the ideology of it all. We deserve the same rights until the point of conviction,” Mr Allan said.Rape victims are being told they must hand over their mobile phones to police or risk prosecutions against their attackers not going ahead.Consent forms, which ask permission to access messages, photographs, emails and social media accounts, have been rolled out across the 43 forces in England and Wales.The move is part of the response to the disclosure scandal, which rocked confidence in the criminal justice system when a string of rape and serious sexual assault cases collapsed after crucial evidence emerged at the last minute. Police and prosecutors have sought to reassure victims of crime that only material relevant to a potential prosecution will be harvested, but the forms state even information of a separate criminal offence “may be retained and investigated”.They also state: “If you do not provide consent for the police to access data from your device you will be given the opportunity to explain why.”If you refuse permission for the police to investigate, or for the prosecution to disclose material which would enable the defendant to have a fair trial then it may not be possible for the investigation or prosecution to continue.”But privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch has dubbed the measures “digital strip searches” and said “treating rape victims like suspects” could deter people from reporting crimes.Griff Ferris, legal and policy officer at Big Brother Watch, said urgent reform is needed so victims do not “have to choose between their privacy and justice”.”The CPS is insisting on digital strip searches of victims that are unnecessary and violate their rights,” he said.Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird said the forms are just part of the problem as police and prosecutors look to harvest third-party material, such as school records and medical notes. The digital consent forms can be used for complainants in any criminal investigations but are most likely to be used in rape and sexual assault cases, where complainants often know the suspect.The forms state: “Mobile phones and other digital devices such as laptop computers, tablets and smart watches can provide important relevant information and help us investigate what happened.”This may include the police looking at messages, photographs, emails and social media accounts stored on your device.”We recognise that only the reasonable lines of inquiry should be pursued to avoid unnecessary intrusion into the personal lives of individuals.”The reactionScotland Yard’s Assistant Commissioner Nicholas Ephgrave said he recognised the “inconvenient” and “awkward” nature of handing devices to police and admitted: “I wouldn’t relish that myself.”He added: “People who have been victimised and subjected to serious sexual assaults, for example, that’s an awful thing to happen to them and you don’t wish to make it worse by making their lives really difficult.”But to pursue the offender, the way the law is constructed, we do have these obligations, so we have to find a way of getting that information with a) as much consent as we can, which is informative, and b) with the minimum of disruption and irritation and embarrassment to the person whose phone it is that we’re dealing with.” “That was some of the valuable evidence,” he said. “If we have to ask for these things, not knowing how the process works, they we are at a disadvantage and it’s not a fair trial.”The consent form is a good step, as long as it’s carried out in the right way, as long as it’s not trawling through unnecessary information.”The consent forms: how they workDirector of Public Prosecutions Max Hill said digital devices will only be looked at when they form a “reasonable line of inquiry” and only “relevant” material will go before a court if it meets “hard and fast” rules.”If there’s material on a device, let’s say a mobile phone, which forms a reasonable line of inquiry, but doesn’t undermine the prosecution case and doesn’t support any known defence case, then it won’t be disclosed,” he said.In 2017, the CPS launched a review of every live rape and serious sexual assault prosecution in England and Wales and, along with police, has implemented an improvement plan to try to fix failings in the system.Some 93,000 officers have undertaken training, while police hope artificial intelligence technology can help trawl through the massive amounts of data stored on phones and other devices. Max Hill QC 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

43 of Gordonstoun School alumni say outdoor lessons didnt help their academic

“There was so much to do outside the classroom I rather neglected my academic studies and failed to get into university,” one alumni told the report. With its motto “broader experiences, broader minds”, Gordonstoun has long prided itself on fostering resilience by encouraging pupils to take part in hearty outdoor activities.  But a new report, commissioned by the £38,000-a-year Scottish boarding school which counts the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh among its alumni, found that this approach did not serve all students well. A survey of over 1,000 former students found that almost half (43 per cent) felt that the emphasis on extra-curricular activities did not help or even negatively impacted their academic studies.The poll of alumni – known as Old Gordonstounians – was part of research that the school commissioned Dr Simon Beames, a senior lecturer in outdoor learning at Edinburgh University’s school of education.  A report, titled “The nature and impact of Gordonstoun School’s out-of-classroom learning experiences”, was published in May last year.The majority (57 per cent) of the school’s alumni felt that activities such as sailing and outdoor expeditions “somewhat or definitely enhanced” their academic studies, the survey found.  But the report noted that this was “the most contested issue to emerge from the OGs survey findings and revealed very contrasting viewpoints”.It said that there were a “number of highly critical responses” which included some students blaming the school’s approach on their failure to get into university, or even advance their career. UPDATE: An earlier version of this article wrongly stated that Dr Simon Beames’ report was published earlier this month.  In fact it was published in May last year.  In addition, the original headline focussed on the effect of outdoor lessons on pupils’ ‘prospects’ when it should have said ‘academic prospects’.  Following representations by Gordonstoun School, for which we are grateful, we have updated the text accordingly. The report found that overall, extra-curricular activities at Gordonstoun “have a powerful and enduring influence on students’ personal growth”, with 94 per cent of alumni rating their effect “positive” and 81 per cent “very positive”. Meanwhile, the effect on careers was rated “positive” by 73.8 per cent of  alumni and “very positive” by 52 per cent.The report also concluded that students build confidence and resilience through participating in outdoor pursuits. They develop a “just get on with it” attitude and become accustomed to “giving it a go”, it said.The Principal of Gordonstoun, Lisa Kerr, said: “The research was published a year ago and the findings were overwhelmingly positive about the lifelong benefits of learning experiences outside the classroom. The research backs up what we have seen with our own eyes – that education is about more than just exams results and our students become resilient, confident and responsible young adults.”A report published last year found that parents should not stop children playing sport in the run up to exams because it has no impact on results.Taking part in competitive team games in the run up to GCSE and A-level exams will have no negative effects on a teenager’s grades, according to research commissioned by The Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference. Another said: “My overall problem with Gordonstoun’s extra-curricular activities was that (in the 1970s) these were at the cost of good academic standards. “I failed my A-levels – having entered 3rd Form with highest Common Entrance marks – and failed to get into university. This, in retrospect, has had a seriously negative impact on my career.”Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother had warned against sending Prince Charles to boarding school in Scotland because she thought he would be miserable.She petitioned the Queen not to send Prince Charles to Gordonstoun in Moray as he would feel “terribly cut off and lonely in the far north” and suggested that he instead attend the “staunchly protestant” Eton.  Despite the Queen Mother’s pleas, the Duke of Edinburgh ruled that his eldest son would attend his alma mater, located in rugged countryside near Elgin.But her concerns proved accurate after the young prince described the inter-denominational school as “Colditz in kilts”.  In a letter home in 1963, he wrote: “The people in my dormitory are foul. Goodness, they are horrid. I don’t know how anybody could be so foul.” 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 young Prince Charles arrives for his first term at Gordonstoun school A young Prince Charles arrives for his first term at Gordonstoun schoolCredit:William Vanderson read more

Secondary School students purchasing snacks robbed by armed bandits

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedStudent robbed by armed bandits on Kaikan Street, North RuimveldtJanuary 31, 2018In “Crime”NA money-changer robbed by armed men dressed as school childrenMarch 17, 2019In “Crime”Labourer robbed by knife wielding bandits in South RuimveldtSeptember 1, 2018In “Crime” Seven students fell victim to robbery under arms on Friday last, resulting in a quantity of cash and valuables being stolen, while in the vicinity of Macaw Lane, South Ruimveldt, Georgetown.The traumatised youngsters are said to be between the ages of 15 and 16 and are attached to the South Ruimveldt Secondary School.According to information received, the incident occurred at around 14:30hrs.INews understands that the children left school, at the said time, to visit a shop nearby to purchase snacks nearby.However, two unmasked males rode up from the western side of the street on two bicycles, with one of the men reportedly brandishing a handgun.The suspects allegedly entered the shop where the teenagers were and held the victims at gunpoint, before relieving them of a total of $5,000 in cash, 3 mobile phones, and one Nintendo 3Ds game.The bandits then fled the scene in a western direction.Police confirmed that CCTV footage in the area will be checked as investigations continue. read more

SouthGobi Energy puts all its coal in one basket

first_imgSouthGobi Energy Resources has sold, subject to regulatory approval, its Metals Division to Ivanhoe Mines for $3 million. The Metals Division consists of certain base and precious metals properties in Mongolia and Indonesia. The transaction will enable SouthGobi Energy to focus solely on its principal business of coal production, development and exploration.In connection with the sale agreement, the company has established a credit facility with Ivanhoe Mines, which allows SouthGobi to obtain advances from Ivanhoe to an aggregate maximum of $30 million. The credit facility is for a one year term with a one year discretionary extension. The credit facility is unsecured and carries an interest rate equal to LIBOR plus 7.5 basis points.SouthGobi commissioned an independent valuation report from Stephen Semeniuk, CFA, and engaged Pierre Lebel, Lead Independent Director, to negotiate the sale of the Metals Division to Ivanhoe Mines. “We believe the sale of the Metals Division represents excellent value to SouthGobi shareholders and positions SouthGobi to continue its evolution as a stand-alone coal mining company,” said Peter Meredith, CEO.SouthGobi Energy Resources is focused on exploration and development of its Permian-age metallurgical and thermal coal deposits in Mongolia’s South Gobi Region and its Eocene-age metallurgical and thermal coal deposits in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The company’s flagship coal mine, Ovoot Tolgoi, is in production and selling coal to customers in China. The company plans to supply a wide range of coal products and electricity to markets in Asia. The company also is investigating the implementation of clean-coal technologies in the development of coal power generating capacity to benefit all of its stakeholderslast_img read more

Bucyrus mine excavators pass major milestone of 100000 operating hours in oil

first_imgTwo Bucyrus RH200 excavators achieved elite status by surpassing 100,000 operating hours in December 2010. Both RH200s were delivered in 1994, but to different global locations; one to the oil sands in Canada and the other to a gold mine in Papua New Guinea. The working conditions, and subsequent operational challenges found at each location, are unique, but attest to the reliability of the Bucyrus RH200 in any mining application across the globe.The RH200 operating in Canada is owned by one of the largest oil producers in the Athabasca oil sands region of the Alberta province. The task of the RH200 is to remove overburden and process oil sands into the oil production system. For this machine to achieve 100,000 operating hours is no small feat, given the harsh winter conditions that see temperatures fall below -40°C. Keeping the machine running effectively is the result of an excellent cooperation between mine personnel and Bucyrus field service agents operating out of the company’s Fort McMurray service facility. Both service and spare parts are organised from the Fort McMurray service facility, providing quick and competent support for the RH200 when needed.To cope with the growing production numbers in the Athabasca oil sands region, mines located here have increased their digging capacity with large fleets of excavators, including the Bucyrus 495HF electric mining shovel and the Bucyrus RH400, the largest hydraulic excavator in the world.The RH200 operating in Papua New Guinea faces equal, albeit different, environmental challenges. Owned by one of the largest gold producers in the world, this RH200 often endures temperatures that exceed 35°C with high humidity. The extreme temperatures and moist air can wreak havoc on mining equipment components, making the Bucyrus RH200’s achievement of 100,000 operating hours particularly impressive.As in Canada, the longevity of this machine speaks for the reliability of Bucyrus excavators, but also highlights the importance of the partnership forged between the mine’s personnel and Bucyrus field service agents. Technical support and parts are facilitated by Bucyrus Australia, in close cooperation with the mine, and all major component overhauls needed throughout the machine’s sixteen-year life have been performed at Bucyrus’s Mackay facility in Queensland.The RH200 is a large hydraulic mining excavator with an operating weight of 525 t and bucket size of 26 m³. The powerful twin-engine concept, along with an electronically controlled hydraulic system, provides high breaking forces and fast operational speed to achieve maximum productivity. The market introduction of the RH200 took place in 1987, and since that time, more than 130 units have been delivered to mine sites all over the world.last_img read more

McLanahan makes design updates to Universal Jaw Crusher line

first_imgMcLanahan’s line of Universal Jaw Crushers has undergone a series of design updates. Based on customer feedback and years of applications expertise, these improvements have been engineered “to make everything from installation to maintenance a safer, simpler and smarter process.” Significant improvements have been made to the stationary jaw die. The new die design has a bevel that rests in a matched groove on the lower clamp plate and is secured by upper clamp plates with a groove to match die bevel. Dies are also reversible to utilise more wear metal, improving their life. Clamp plates match both upper and lower die bevels.For larger units, such as the 64”, stationary wear plates are made of two dies with peaks in the middle and valleys on the outside. These dies can be used on the movable side if the right side die moves to the left side to put the valley in the middle. They are lighter weight compared to full-size die and are smaller individually and easier to store. This means producers can minimise their inventory since one set is needed to change out either side, and the stationary side typically wears out more quickly than the movable side.This new Universal Jaw Crusher design features replaceable upper and lower stationary jaw die clamp plates, which are lighter, making it easier to install, replace and secure the die. Operators no longer have to rely on heavy key wedge or heel plate style side-liners to lock the dies in place. Additionally, all clamp plates are interchangeable if one side or top/bottom experiences more wear. Universal Jaw Crushers formerly featured long, one-piece sideliners, meaning the entire part needed replaced when a section was worn. Now, there are three cheek plates per side (top, middle and bottom). This allows liners in high wear areas to be replaced independently of other liners.“Maintenance is greatly simplified by the inclusion of several replaceable parts in the new Universal Jaw Crusher design. The barrel liner, which protects the barrel of the pitman from rock impact and scuffing, is replaceable, as is the smash plate, which absorbs impacts, and wears and deforms before the crusher frame/pitman, prolonging the life of the frame/pitman. In an effort to combat pitman toe wear that can lead to needing a new pitman or extensive pitman toe rework, the new Universal Jaw Crusher design features a bolt-in pitman toe for easy replacement. When performing maintenance, the new self-aligning locking wedges are adjusted from the rear of the crusher.” This area is usually allotted the most space for maintenance and operators don’t have to work around drive guards. Universal Jaw Crushers now come equipped with a safety pin that will lock the pitman in a closed position when maintenance is being performed.Finally, Universal Jaw Crushers are now designed with frames that are engineered to allow for infinite possibilities when it comes to mounting feet design and customisation. With custom feet, the crusher can be tipped forward, as well as located higher and lower or forward and backward from obstructions in an existing or new structure that would have normally made installation impossible.last_img read more