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The LA Kings Rediscovered Their Offense Just in Time

During the 2013-14 regular season, the Los Angeles Kings were the NHL’s fifth-lowest scoring team, notching just 2.4 goals for every 60 minutes they were on the ice. On paper, no team headed into the postseason with as anemic an offense. Yet fast forward a month and a half and Los Angeles is on the verge of closing out the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals partly because the Kings’ offense is sizzling. They put together a five-goal barrage in Game 4 against Chicago, and Los Angeles’ 3.3 goals per 60 minute mark leads all teams in scoring during the postseason.How did the Kings’ offense suddenly become so potent? During the regular season, LA converted their shots into goals at a paltry 7.6 percent rate, which tied the Vancouver Canucks for the second-worst shooting percentage in the entire NHL. In the playoffs, though, they’ve upped their conversion rate to 11.3 percent (including 14.5 percent against the Blackhawks), which ranks second among playoff teams. Since they’re not shooting more often (to the contrary — they’re actually averaging 1.6 fewer shots per 60 minutes in the playoffs than during the regular season), the Kings’ goal-scoring increase can be traced to the huge uptick in shooting accuracy.The Kings’ increased shooting percentage hasn’t been driven by facing a particularly easy set of goaltenders. Weighted by the number of shots they had against each opponent, Los Angeles’ playoff foes have had a composite save percentage of .913 during the regular season, which is slightly higher than the overall league average of .911 — certainly nothing that would explain a 3.7-percentage-point leap in shooting percentage. Nor has it been fueled by more time on the power play, where shooting percentages are higher: during the postseason, LA spent about 28 fewer seconds per game with a man advantage than they did in the regular season.One other place to look is where the Kings’ goals have been coming from. For example, during the regular season, LA’s shooting percentage was well below the NHL average on shots from the high slot, the space between the two face-off circles and above the hash marks. And in their Game 1 loss to Chicago, the Kings attempted three shots from that area, missing all three. But ever since, they’ve scored three goals on eight shots (a shooting percentage of 37.5) from a zone of the ice where they usually turn only 6.7 percent of their shots into goals. Since goals are such rare events, even a shift like that on just one section of the ice can lead to a big overall increase in scoring.Likewise, the late-season addition of Marian Gaborik, who leads LA in shots during the playoffs, and whose lifetime shooting percentage of 12.9 percent is well above the league average over his career, explains part of the team’s scoring burst. But it bears mentioning that while shot quality — and converting those chances into goals — makes a big difference in retrospect, it’s hard to tell how much is luck and how much is skill.In other words, the biggest reason the Kings’ offense has caught fire in the postseason may simply be good fortune, with some regression to the mean thrown in for good measure. Los Angeles wasn’t ever as bad at shooting as their regular-season percentage suggested (they were in the middle of the pack the season before), nor are they as good as their postseason run would indicate. The truth lies somewhere in between, and as we’ve seen before with hockey stats, it’s a truth mixed in with a lot of noise. read more

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Papa Johns Apologizes for Criticizing NFL Anthem Protests

San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (11) kneel during the performance of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Papa John’s Pizza apologized Tuesday night for comments made by CEO John Schnatter blaming sluggish pizza sales on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.The Louisville, Kentucky-based company is a major NFL sponsor and advertiser, and Schnatter said on an earnings call on Nov. 1 that “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders” and that the protests “should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”The company tweeted a statement offering to “work with the players and league to find a positive way forward.”“The statements made on our earnings call were describing the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive,” it said. “That definitely was not our intention.“We believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players’ movement to create a new platform for change. We also believe, as Americans, we should honor our anthem. There is a way to do both.”The movement was started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled to protest what he said was police mistreatment of blacks. More players began kneeling after President Donald Trump said at an Alabama rally in September that team owners should get rid of players who protest during the anthem.Papa John’s added that it is “open to ideas from all. Except neo-Nazis.” It previously has tried to distance itself from white supremacists who praised Schnatter’s comments, saying it does not want those groups to buy its pizza.The company’s stock has fallen by nearly 13 percent since Schnatter’s comments. read more

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How Many Times Did The Mets Blow It

Hot Takedown The vine of LeBron James and Dion Waiters that Chadwick Matlin mentions on the show.Rob Arthur on the best Royals team ever.Neil Paine breaks down the cost of leaving Matt Harvey in the game.FiveThirtyEight’s NBA preview.ESPN breaks down the stats in New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup victory.Brett McKay on the difference between rugby in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.Significant Digit: 38. That is the longest New York City Marathon streak held by a woman. Connie Brown, at 71, finished her 38th marathon; her time was 5:50:44. Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (Nov. 3, 2015), we ask whether the Kansas City Royals won the World Series or the New York Mets lost it. We also preview the NBA’s Western Conference and where FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO NBA player projections rank Kobe Bryant this season. Plus, a look at New Zealand’s victory in the Rugby World Cup with Brett McKay, ESPN Scrum writer and host of The Cheap Seats podcast. And a Significant Digit on a New York City Marathon streak.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above. Video, bonus audio and links to what we discussed are below. How many times did the Mets blow it? If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS read more

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Dwight Howard Has Transformed The Hawks

Because Schröder’s passes have generally left him with nothing to do but lay the ball in, particularly against lesser opponents such as the Sixers, Howard’s average time of possession per touch is down nearly 16 percent from last season and has decreased more than 27 percent from two seasons ago. Additionally, his dribbles per touch are down 10 percent and 27 percent, respectively, from last year and two years ago, according to SportVU.Can it last?Yet for all that, it’s fair to wonder how much of Atlanta’s hot start is sustainable.Schröder, in his first year as a starter, probably won’t finish this season with a higher three-point mark (42.9 percent so far) than his overall field-goal percentage last year (42.1 percent). Howard left Tuesday night’s win with a thigh bruise, and the injury will be a problem if it persists. The team is already thin in spots, including at center, since backup big man Tiago Splitter is still recovering from a February hip surgery. And there’s also the matter of the team’s soft schedule (fifth-easiest in the NBA) to this point: The Hawks are the only team to have beaten the defending-champion Cleveland Cavaliers, but as of Wednesday afternoon, five of their eight wins had come against Philadelphia, Washington and Miami, the Eastern Conference’s three worst teams.Still, Atlanta — outscoring opponents by more than 10 points per 100 possessions — has generally dominated its competition. The Hawks are limiting opposing offenses to just over 95 points per 100 plays, second-best in the NBA, trailing only the Clippers.The defense, which has been active and has deflected more passes than any Eastern Conference team, appears to be staying home a bit more often than in years past, to allow Howard to serve as a rim protector as opposed to chasing guards all over the court. That has paid dividends: They’re limiting opponents to 52.8 percent shooting from inside five feet, outpacing last year’s impressive 55.5 percent mark.Even with all this in mind, and Howard playing well, the same question as before still faces this team: Does the team — however good it might be — realistically have enough scoring, or enough stoppers, to get the best of LeBron James and the Cavaliers?Probably not. But by changing their look, and playing more inside-out than they have in years past, there might be a little more intrigue this time around, even if the end result turns out to be the same.Check out our latest NBA predictions. 20141.840.62 20151.590.50 Dwight Howard is making faster decisions For years, the Atlanta Hawks have had two guiding philosophies. Under coach Mike Budenholzer, the club has prioritized moving the ball in an uptempo offense, fashioning every player into a jump-shooting threat. On defense, Atlanta thrived thanks to the unusual frontcourt mobility of Paul Millsap and Al Horford. While neither was a traditional rim protector, the team used an array of hedges and switches to slow down pick-and-rolls and limit drives to the basket.With that in mind, things were bound to get interesting one way or another this season. Horford bolted for the Celtics over the summer, taking with him the unique passing and mobility he provides at the center position. He was replaced by Dwight Howard, who is a totally different player from a stylistic standpoint even if he’s a surefire Hall of Famer. The Hawks, who for years lived on ball movement and swiftness, seem to be replacing those virtues with brute strength.The swap — along with promoting point guard Dennis Schröder to a starting role after dealing away former All-Star Jeff Teague — has brought about some encouraging signs for the 8-2 Hawks, who probably needed a bit of a shake-up despite their relative success in recent years. Howard’s replacing Horford doesn’t necessarily make the Hawks more of a contender, but the move at least allows them to try a different look, both offensively and defensively, in hopes of finding a way forward.Howard on the boardsThe clearest difference from last season is the team’s overnight transformation into an offensive-rebounding powerhouse.The Hawks from previous years — much like the Spurs model that Budenholzer borrowed from his time as an assistant in San Antonio — didn’t concern themselves with offensive rebounding, instead preferring to space the court and simply retreat back on defense following a miss.As such, Atlanta ranked dead last in offensive-rebound rate in 2015. This year’s team, by contrast, is tied for the NBA’s fourth-best offensive-rebounding rate. The Hawks, who had ranked in the NBA’s bottom five in second-chance points in each of the previous three seasons, are currently ninth in second-chance points per game. Howard has everything to do with that. His personal numbers look good — he’s averaging 14.8 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game, with eight double-doubles in 10 games — but his effect on Atlanta’s overall numbers appear to be even better. The club’s 31.1 percent offensive-rebound percentage with him on the court this season would be tied for the highest in the league, alongside the Chicago Bulls. The team’s offensive-rebound rate falls to a below-league average rate of 22.2 percent when Howard is on the sideline.Between those easy putbacks, and Howard’s pick-and-roll feeds from Schröder, Atlanta is shooting nearly 67 percent at the rim — up from just over 60 percent last year — second only to the Golden State Warriors so far. (Note the proximity that NBA.com uses for its at-the-rim stats differs slightly from the one the site uses in its shot charts, embedded below, but the trend holds true in both.) Howard, taking more than 80 percent of his shots from there (and also connecting on about 67 percent of those attempts), is fundamentally changing the way the team’s shot chart looks in the process.Howard on the blockBefore Tuesday’s quad injury, Howard was enjoying a bit of a renaissance after three frustrating seasons in Houston, where he felt underutilized and in the shadow of James Harden. Aside from cleaning the glass for easy putbacks, he was jelling with Schröder in pick-and-roll scenarios, regularly catching lobs from his new point guard, who appears to be making a concerted effort to keep him involved. And defenses, as much as they’d like to flood the paint to prevent Howard from getting easy baskets, have been reluctant to help too much in that part of the floor. Usual suspects such as sharpshooter Kyle Korver, along with Kent Bazemore and Millsap, are all threats to connect from outside if left open as a result of overhelping.With the Rockets, Howard’s offensive involvement wavered from time to time. Consider the fact that Howard received 6.7 passes per game from Harden during his first year there, before getting just 2.2 passes from him in 2014 and 4.5 passes from the Rockets star in 2015. Schröder, in Atlanta’s equal-opportunity system, is finding Howard more than eight times a night, according to SportVU tracking.Perhaps because of those frequent opportunities — and the fact that he’s no longer wondering if or when he’ll touch the ball, the way he sometimes did in Houston — Howard’s possessing the rock for shorter amounts of time as opposed to slowing his team’s offense to back down an opponent and force up an ugly hook shot, merely to create a scoring chance for himself. YEARSECONDS PER TOUCHDRIBBLES PER TOUCH 20131.820.70 Source: nba.com 20161.390.45 read more

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The Washington Capitals Are Lucky Because Theyre Good

The Washington Capitals are on fire right now. They’ve lost only three times since the calendar flipped to 2017 and have outscored their opponents 95 to 44 over that stretch. Aside from an 8-7 overtime loss to the rival Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 16, the Capitals have only surrendered more than three goals two times during their hot streak. In a league in which holding the opponent to three goals or fewer will earn you at least a shootout most nights, it’s easy to see why Washington is piling up points in the standings.Not only do the Caps own the league’s best record, but they also have the most dominant stats in hockey. They lead the league in Hockey-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System (SRS), which estimates the strength of every team in the NHL,1Technically speaking, SRS measures a team’s average goal differential after adjusting for strength of schedule. as well as team goals against average, the mark of a stingy defense. They also rank in the top five in several other major statistical categories, including goals scored per game; power play percentage; penalty kill percentage; and Corsi percentage, which estimates a team’s all-important possession rate by measuring the percentage of shot attempts it directed at the opponent’s net during games.2Adjusted for score, zone and venue.This is all to say that the Capitals look really, really ridiculously good on paper. But they’ve also ranked highly in a few key stats that are traditionally more in the realm of luck than skill. For example, they’re No. 1 in PDO, which is the sum of shooting percentage and save percentage (a notoriously unstable indicator in stathead circles), both of which the Capitals also either lead the league in or are tied for No. 1. Ordinarily, a high PDO could be seen as a red flag — suggesting that a team’s statistical résumé is like a house of cards, ready to collapse at any moment. But in Washington’s case, the team even seems to have come by the percentages that make up PDO (mostly) honestly. It’s the consequence of a roster design that could mean it’s finally Washington’s year to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup.The Capitals’ statistical excellence is nothing new — in each of the past three seasons, they’ve ranked among the NHL’s top eight in both points and SRS. Perhaps even more telling, they’ve been among the NHL’s top three in PDO for the past two seasons. Their good fortune in the percentages is commonplace by now.So how do we know Washington’s success isn’t purely based on good luck? For one thing, they’ve assembled a roster that perennially shoots the lights out. The Capitals have finished outside of the top 10 in shooting percentage only once since 2009-10. And since Barry Trotz took the helm as head coach in 2014-15, the team has ranked no worse than fourth. Only the Dallas Stars outperformed the Capitals in shooting percentage in both 2014-15 and 2015-16, but while the Stars have regressed — they sit in the middle of the pack (12th) in 2016-17 — the Capitals continue to put the puck in the net with a high degree of efficiency, thanks to that group of good shooters.A handful of said marksmen are having personal best shooting percentage seasons: T.J. Oshie, whose career shooting percentage of 13.1 percent is good for 24th among active players, is scoring on 23.7 percent of his shots in 2016-17. Frequent playoff hero3This is one of the reasons the Capitals signed him. Justin Williams has a career shooting percentage of 9.7 percent, but he’s scoring on 15.7 percent of his shots. Left winger Marcus Johansson has a career shooting percentage of 14.0 percent but is scoring on an astounding 22.9 percent of his shots. And he looks poised to shatter his career high mark for goals in a season. Some of that overachievement is bound to regress to the mean, but if the Caps’ history as a team is any indicator, Washington should be able to hold onto at least some of their improvements.That’s just one of PDO’s two (usually unstable) components. The other half of the Capitals’ brilliant, odds-beating equation is goaltender Braden Holtby. Holtby is among the best netminders in the world (his career save percentage is third-best among active goalies), and he’s only getting better. His goals against average and save percentage are both better than they were last season, and if it weren’t for Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk’s ridiculously impressive performance in 2016-17, Holtby would be a lock for a second consecutive Vezina Trophy. Goaltending statistics can be notoriously fluky, but they tend to be more stable over a career, particularly when they’re as consistently great as Holtby’s have been.The main criticism of the Capitals — and especially their captain, Alex Ovechkin — has been that they’re playoff underachievers.4It’s hilarious to assign an “underachiever” tag to a guy who ranks sixth all-time — and first among active skaters — in goals scored per game. Alexander Ovechkin is a gift and a once-in-a-generation talent, and every hockey fan on Earth — Washington Capitals fan or not — should cherish his existence. They’ve qualified for the postseason in eight of the past nine seasons but haven’t managed to get past the conference semifinals despite having rosters stacked with such quality players as Ovechkin, Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alexander Semin (when he was actually good), Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green (when he was actually good), and Holtby.When juxtaposed against the Capitals’ inability to make a deep playoff run, Washington’s degree of statistical dominance suggests that, sure, perhaps the team has underachieved a bit. But there’s no doubt that Trotz and general manager Brian MacLellan have built a team poised to succeed in the modern era of the NHL. Not only do they have a group that controls the puck well, but they’ve also hacked through the noise of PDO to assemble a roster that isn’t just lucky when it beats the percentages. Who knows if the Capitals will win the Cup this year, but they’re a legitimately dominant team and, as things sit now, championship favorites. Maybe this is the year they finally shrug off the underachievers tag and deliver on that promise. read more

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The man behind the metal baton

Leading “Fight the Team Across the Field,” doing back-breaking bends and throwing a baton 20 feet in the air have caused many Ohio State fans to notice the OSU drum major. But few know his story. OSU head drum major Jason Stuckert said he was excited to travel to the University of Minnesota on Saturday, the only away game the marching band traveled to this year. But for Stuckert, getting to the Minnesota game and to Ohio Stadium has been a long time coming. Even with almost 10 years of experience, Stuckert was anxious the day he made his debut in the ‘Shoe. “I was very, very nervous right before I ran onto the field,” he said. “Once I started moving, I just had a big smile on my face because this is what I had wanted for so long. I had the time of my life.” OSU has had a drum major since 1878, but Stuckert is only the second person in OSU’s history to win the title of head drum major as a first-year student. Despite his age, Stuckert was confident in his abilities. “In my head, I think I knew that it was possible that I could get it as a freshman,” Stuckert said. Stuckert’s interest in the drum major and marching band was evident from a young age. Marcia Lowe, Stuckert’s mother, said their family had season tickets to the Avon Lake High School football games by the time Stuckert was 2 years old. Though they usually only made it through the halftime show, Lowe said Stuckert and his sister Abigail, a 2009 graduate of Miami University, were fascinated by the band. “He watched that drum major, and by the time he was in fifth grade, he started horsing around with his sister’s baton,” Lowe said. Lowe said she was surprised when Stuckert asked for a Gray Baton, an all-metal baton designed by former OSU marching band member John Gray, for his 12th birthday. “He was outside in the front yard … twirling that thing every day — sometimes twice a day — between two trees, so we had a mud hole sitting there that he’d worn in the grass,” Lowe said. As a child, Stuckert was “always happy, always smiling” and “a big entertainer,” Lowe said. Stuckert first experienced the OSU drum major program in the seventh grade at Avon Lake’s annual homecoming parade, where he saw Avon Lake High School alumni Scott and Eric Sommer perform. Scott and Eric were the 1998 and 2004 OSU head drum majors, respectively, and were the first siblings to hold the title. After the parade, Stuckert went to a short drum major clinic held by the Sommer brothers for students interested in being drum majors at Avon Lake High School. Eric said Stuckert was “rough around the edges but had a real desire to learn.” In spring 2005, Stuckert began attending OSU’s free clinics for high school students interested in becoming drum majors. “That was just a mind-blowing experience for me because I was surrounded by all these ridiculously good drum majors that I had never met before,” Stuckert said. From that point on, Stuckert drove about four hours round trip from Avon Lake to Columbus to attend semiweekly practices in the summer and made an effort to attend as many semiweekly winter practices as he could. On the days he attended practices in Columbus, he returned to Avon Lake around midnight, slept, and got up for school seven hours later. Stuckert spent three years as Avon Lake High School’s drum major, which was modeled “just like OSU’s drum major,” he said. The OSU drum major was a military position in the late 19th century and followed a strict military discipline. By the 1920s, it had evolved to include showmanship and smart execution of movements, according to the OSU Marching Band Drum Major website. One of the most influential people in Stuckert’s life, particularly during tryout preparation, was Stewart Kitchen, the 2006 and 2007 head drum major at OSU. Like Stuckert, Kitchen became OSU’s head drum major as a first-year student. “It is unusual and somewhat of an exception when a person makes the drum major squad as a freshman,” said Jon Woods, director of the marching and athletic bands at OSU. To try out for drum major, incoming freshmen must first make the drum major row called D-row, where they spend up to two years learning what they need to know for tryouts. After one year on D-row, members are eligible to try out for the assistant and head drum major positions. Since he became head drum major, Stuckert’s life has been full of 15-hour-per-week practices, performances and appearances. “It’s a lot of responsibility,” said Lowe, who added that Stuckert participates in community events and student recruitment as part of his position. “The university uses him for a variety of (public relations) opportunities.” Both Lowe and Stuckert agreed the role has improved his organization skills and focus. “Game day can be pretty overwhelming,” Stuckert said. “There’s not really much time to catch a breath or anything, even when you’re not performing. People are always wanting to get their picture with you — you’re almost like a second mascot.” Stuckert said fans who approach him after the game remind him “how much spotlight is on the band,” which motivates him to keep doing well. Though he “hasn’t found a place to fit it in yet,” Stuckert said he plans to perform a back flip at an upcoming game. Stuckert’s longtime friend Brian Hathaway, a second-year in computer science and engineering and first-year band member at OSU, said Stuckert’s role is “pretty incredible.” “I almost take it for granted that one of my best friends is the drum major,” said Hathaway, who went to high school with Stuckert. “For me, he’s still the same old Jason Stuckert.” Stuckert said his interests outside his head drum major duties include Cleveland sports teams, music and model trains. If he weren’t the head drum major, Stuckert said he would play the trumpet or another instrument in the band, which he “loves.” “Being the leader of it is one of the greatest things that could ever cross my mind,” Stuckert said. read more

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Buckeyes fall at the hands of Sparty 107

Ohio State football’s defeat to Michigan State on Saturday was more than a setback in the Big Ten standings. It was nearly a loss of historic proportions. A 33-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Kirk Cousins to senior receiver B.J. Cunningham midway through the first quarter put the Spartans up early, 7-0. A field goal in the fourth quarter by Dan Conroy proved to be enough for the Spartans who went on to win, 10-7. With 10 seconds to go in the game, red shirt senior quarterback Joe Bauserman found Evan Spencer for a 33-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 10-7. But it was too little, too late for the Buckeyes. OSU was only able to accumulate 178 yards of total offense in the game against MSU’s 324 yards. The Buckeyes were only 10 seconds from being shutout for the first time since a 1993 blanking at the hands of Michigan. It would have been the first shutout at Ohio Stadium since October 1982, against Wisconsin. The Buckeyes started the game slowly with freshman quarterback Braxton Miller leading the offense, which accumuled only 42 yards of total offense in the first quarter. In the mean time, Cousins found Cunningham in the back of OSU’s end zone to open the scoring. Cousins rolled out to the right of his pocket and found the streaking Cunningham, who made the catch despite double coverage from OSU. In the second quarter, Miller completed a 33-yard pass on third-and-13 to push OSU into Spartans’ territory for the first time. The drive ended with 7:39 remaining in the first half after Miller’s next pass was thrown into double coverage and intercepted by MSU sophomore corner Darqueze Dennard. By the end of the first half, the Buckeyes’ offense had been out-gained by the Spartans, 170-87. OSU’s defense stopped MSU scoring threats twice in the second quarter, however. A fumble recovery by sophomore defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins with under one minute remaining preserved the 7-0 deficit. The Buckeyes attempted to salvage a score from the remaining 50 seconds of the half, but Miller took a sack and the clock then ran out. Michigan State jumped and celebrated as it headed for its locker room with the lead still intact — the Buckeyes exited the field to a chorus of boos. After the intermission, OSU’s defense held the Spartans again. MSU drove 52 yards from its own 14-yard line to set up a long field goal attempt. Conroy pushed his 51-yard try wide right of the uprights and OSU’s deficit remained at 7-0. OSU’s offense continued to sputter — Miller led the team to only 16 total yards of offense in the third quarter as redshirt senior quarterback Joe Bauserman began to throw a ball behind the Buckeyes’ bench. MSU moved into scoring position again late in the quarter when Cousins completed a 52-yard pass to Cunningham. The Spartans eventually moved to the Buckeyes’ 5-yard line, but Cousins’ pass on third-and-goal was intercepted in the end zone by sophomore safety C.J. Barnett. Then Bauserman went under center for the Buckeyes, though he didn’t fare much better, going 0 of 1 passing on his first drive before being sacked on third down. The Buckeyes’ never found their footing with either Bauserman or Miller leading the offense. Conroy’s 50-yard field with 10:35 remaining put the Spartans up 10-0 and proved to be the game-winning score. OSU (3-2) will continue conference play next Saturday when it makes its first-ever trip to Nebraska. read more

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Ohio State looks to break from recent tradition in Sweet 16 matchup

If all the madness of March could be examined and condensed for the Ohio State men’s basketball team, it’d probably read as one word: pressure. No, this isn’t last year’s team that was the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 overall seed and heavy favorite to win it all. But that sort of pressure, in more way than one, still remains. For the third-straight year, the Buckeyes have advanced to the Sweet 16. They are set to play Cincinnati at 9:45 p.m. Thursday in Boston’s TD Garden. Out of 345 Division I basketball teams, only OSU and Kentucky have managed to accomplish such a feat. The question on everyone’s mind, though, is whether or not the Buckeyes’ season, for the third-straight year, will end there too. It’s even gotten to the point that some have suggested the Sweet 16 is now an expectation for OSU and anything but just isn’t good enough anymore. OSU coach Thad Matta doesn’t seem to think so, though. “I’ve never been one to care a whole lot about what other people think,” Matta said with laugh. “Obviously nobody wants to win more than myself and the players do.” While making it to the Sweet 16 is a goal of OSU and Matta’s, he was clear it’s not the end-all-be-all of their aspirations. “I think being in the situation is great, but being complacent or satisfied is something that we don’t want to do,” he said. “The goal is to be playing on Saturday.” Matta also wanted to point out that this year’s team is “a completely different team” than the past two teams that made it to and lost in the Sweet 16. Still, he hoped lessons were learned the last time the Buckeyes were on such a stage. “I do hope that for William (Buford) and the freshmen that they remember what it feels like to be sent home and you hope that it serves as a reminder, as motivation, whatever you want to call it,” Matta said. What’s different compared to years past is OSU’s opponent Thursday: Cincinnati. Traditionally-and by nature-teams facing off in the Sweet 16 have little familiarity with each other. For example, the Buckeyes’ last two opponents were out of the Southeastern Conference-last year’s being Kentucky and the year before that, Tennessee. This year, however, it’s a neighboring Ohio school that stands in OSU’s way of reaching the Elite 8. Cincinnati, one of four Ohio-based teams (including OSU) to make the Sweet 16, will have its first crack at the Buckeyes since December 2006. Perhaps more notably, it’s just the second time the teams have met since the Bearcats defeated the Buckeyes in consecutive national championship games in 1961 and 1962. That, and OSU’s intentional or unintentional avoidance of playing other Ohio teams, is why some have suggested that there’s even extra pressure on OSU Thursday. But, Matta said he doesn’t want to look at it that way.  “From that standpoint, I think that there’s so much more made on the outside than on the inside. … I want them to play their best basketball regardless of who we’re playing,” he said. For the Buckeyes, the perceived additional challenge of facing an in-state team is more or less a non-factor. “(The players are) pretty callous to that in terms of, ‘Hey, if we don’t play our best basketball, we don’t have a chance to win on Thursday night’ and they know that,” Matta said.   Rather than the contest being so focused on the intrigue of the matchup between OSU and UC, Matta said he thinks this is more about the NCAA Tournament. “This is about trying to get to the Elite 8 and have a chance to play for the national championship,” he said. “Both teams are in the exact same position in that regard.” Right or wrong, the perception out there is that the pressure on OSU to win and advance, perhaps, is as high as it’s been all season.  And it won’t be easy. The Bearcats have been among the nation’s hottest teams since early February, winning 11 of the last 14 since dropping three in a row against West Virginia, Syracuse and Rutgers. Matta said what stands out to him the most are their multi-dimensional guards and the presence that senior forward Yancy Gates commands down low. He also said it seems that the Bearcats have seem to finally found their rhythm. “I think what happened is a very talented group of guys came together. … You’ve got a talented group of guys that have come together and are playing great basketball,” Matta said. Still, OSU said it will treat this game as they would any other. “It’s more about advancing then who you’re advancing against,” Matta said. And that’s exactly what the Buckeyes hope to do Thursday in Boston. read more

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Ohio State looks to get rid of bad taste after loss to

Members of the Ohio state football team run out of the new players’ enterance tunnel before a matchup with Virginia Tech on Sept. 6 at Ohio Stadium. OSU los, 35-21.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorFor players like Michael Thomas, losing wasn’t a reality until after nearly two full seasons at Ohio State.Since that first loss, it’s become commonplace, as the Buckeyes have now lost three of their last four games.Thomas, a redshirt-sophomore wide receiver, said the time since OSU lost to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6 has left him and his teammates itching to have another shot to prove themselves on the Ohio Stadium field.“We just want to get that bad taste out of our stomach,” Thomas said Wednesday. “(To) a lot guys, it seems like it’s been the longest week ever.“We’re just waiting to get back in the ‘Shoe and make Buckeye nation proud.”After winning their season-opening game against Navy in Baltimore on Aug. 30, the Buckeyes took on the Hokies and fell, 35-21, after falling behind, 21-7, at halftime. Previously, OSU started slowly against the Midshipmen, going into the half with a 7-6 deficit before taking a 34-17 victory.OSU coach Urban Meyer said Buckeye teams of old have been known for fast starts, and added he believes his team has to put that tradition in motion to have more success going forward.“We had a pretty good reputation for a while there of coming out of the gates real fast, real hard and we haven’t done that yet,” Meyer said Wednesday. “I did some research on that, it was brought to my attention a while back and we haven’t. So we got to go take the lead and play Ohio State-style football.”While starting slowly has been the Buckeyes’ problem lately — even dating back to the 2013 Big Ten Championship game against Michigan State when the Spartans jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first half — they’ve been able to get back in the game late. Each time — the Virginia Tech game included — OSU has come back to at least tie it up in the second half.But each of the four games dating back to Michigan State has led to an OSU loss — save the game against the Midshipmen — as the Buckeyes followed a slow start with a slow finish. Meyer said finishing the game strong will be a focus as well on Saturday against Kent State.“Of course that’s the message, and it’s all about execution,” he said.Regardless of what happened to end last season, or what has happened so far in 2014, at least one Buckeye doesn’t see his team’s long-term goals changing just yet.“Season’s not over,” senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett said Wednesday. “We’ve still got however many games. There have been one-loss teams that have won the national championship before. It’s happened.”Bennett said his team doesn’t have time to worry about what those outside the program are saying about the Buckeyes after the loss to the Hokies, despite OSU dropping to No. 22 from No. 8 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.“We’ve just got to keep chugging along, keep getting better and then just whatever happens, happens and they can say whatever they want,” Bennett said.The first step along the road to achieving the team’s goals is set to come against Kent State on Saturday, marking the first time in 36 years the Buckeyes will be playing their second home game without an Ohio Stadium win already under their belt.Sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott said the team is “hungry” to get back on the field to “make up for last Saturday.”“It’s just crazy, it’s that feeling in your stomach,” Elliott said Wednesday. “You just ready to go, we’re going to come out angry on Saturday and work hard.”Kickoff against the Golden Flashes is set for noon. read more

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Cleveland Cavaliers to play game at Ohio State for third straight year

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is seen before tipoff of overtime of a game between the Cavs and the San Antonio Spurs. The Cavs beat the Spurs, 128-125, in overtime.Credit: Courtesy of TNSOhio State might be home to the defending college football national champions, but for a night in October, it will host the defending NBA Eastern Conference champions, as well.For the third consecutive year, the Schottenstein Center is set to be the sight of a Cleveland Cavaliers preseason game as the Cavs will meet the Memphis Grizzlies on Oct. 12.The game is set to be the third of seven Cavs preseason games, with their opener on another Ohio college campus: Xavier University in Cincinnati.Last season, the Cavs hosted the Chicago Bulls at the Schottenstein Center in front of a sold-out crowd of 19,049. The Cavs won that contest 107-98, with point guard Kyrie Irving and small forward LeBron James combining for 46 points and 13 assists.The year before, the Cavs entertained the crowd with a 104-93 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.The Cleveland Browns also expanded their preseason to Columbus this year, bringing their Orange & Brown Scrimmage to Ohio Stadium on Aug. 7. That event drew just under 50,000 fans.Last season, James returned to the Cavs after four years with the Miami Heat, leading them to a 53-29 record and second-ever trip to the NBA Finals, where they eventually fell to the Golden State Warriors in six games.James, an Akron, Ohio, native and avid supporter of OSU athletics, was given a permanent locker in the home locker room at the Schottenstein Center in 2013.Tickets to the Oct. 12 preseason matchup between the Cavs and Grizzlies go on sale at 10 a.m. on Sept. 10 and begin at $15. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Correction Aug. 26: An earlier version of the story stated the 2013 game against the 76ers was the Cavs’ Columbus debut, when in fact they had played at the Schottenstein Center prior to that. read more

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Mens Hockey Tanner Laczynski eyes path to NHL following impressive collegiate career

Junior forward Tanner Laczynski looks for a pass during the second period of Ohio State’s hockey game vs. Michigan on Jan. 11. Ohio State lost 2-1. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The LanternTanner Laczynski has always eyed a path to the NHL.A native of Shorewood, Illinois, he laced up his skates and began playing hockey at 3 years old, setting the groundwork for his potential professional career.“My mom took me out to an open skate, one of the local rinks, and kind of just got the hang of it quicker than walking,” Laczynski said.His skating eventually became less of a hobby and more of a serious venture as he grew older. He eventually found success playing for the Joliet Jaguars before moving on to play with Chicago Fury and Chicago Mission. After finishing his career in AAA hockey, he became a member of Chicago Steel and the Lincoln Stars before finally joining Ohio State.Now a junior forward at Ohio State, Laczynski will have the opportunity to live out that professional dream, having been drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2016 NHL Draft in the sixth round, No. 169 overall.Laczynski has been a key asset for the Ohio State men’s hockey team. He was voted most valuable freshman 2016-17, was in the running for this year’s Hobey Baker award and has netted more than 100 points in his collegiate career.This season, Laczynski believes the bond between him and his teammates is stronger at Ohio State than any of the previous teams he’s been with.“I think just having the same guys around for almost four years is what really brings us close and be able to do things on the ice,” Laczynski said. “We’re all in it for the same reason, we all love each other and truly are just a family in the locker room.”Senior defenseman Sasha Larocque said Laczynski is a highly competitive player for the Buckeyes, so competitive in fact that “it’s frightening at times.”“To get a puck off him you’ve got to pretty well try and kill him, and if you do get it off him he’s going to come right back at you,” Larocque said.According to senior forward John Wiitala, Laczynski’s competitive nature helps the entire team become better.“He’s hard to play against every day in practice,” Wiitala said. “He makes everybody better every day in practice. He’s that big strong kid that, you go one-on-one against every day, is going to make you better. That’s where he really excels.”While hard work and talent might have gotten him to this level, Laczynski ascribes a lot of his collegiate success to the coaching staff at Ohio State, for he said he’s hit bumps “here-and-there.”“Getting sick freshman year and being injured this year, but at the same time [the coaches] have been really good at getting me back in the lineup and getting me going,” Laczynski said.Laczynski has missed 10 games due to a pair of injuries this season. Despite this, he has found his way into the lineup whenever possible this season, racking up 10 goals and 20 assists this year. All in all, he has played over 100 games in his time with the Buckeyes, regardless of needing time to spend recovering.“You just have to know that in time it’s going to heal,” Laczynski said. “You’ve just got to work that much harder to get back into the lineup and get back on the ice.”In spite of having already been drafted by the Flyers, Laczynski is looking to focus on what he has now rather than looking toward his future at the pro level.“Obviously it’s a dream one day to play in the NHL,” he said. “But right now, I can’t worry too much about ‘What’s next year look like? What’s two years look like? What is my future?’; I try to just live in the moment.” read more

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British researchers say they have solved the global chocolate crisis with an

first_imgHave Bangor University researchers helped to solve the #chocolate crisis?https://t.co/2ICZbkKh1X pic.twitter.com/8pkiS8C1Xe— Bangor University (@BangorUni) September 2, 2016 Study author Sayma Akhter with wild mango fruitCredit:Bangor University  British researchers believe they have found a potential solution to the world’s chocolate crisis by discovering wild mango butter could be used as an alternative.Production of cocoa worldwide is on the decline because of crop failure and diseased and ageing plants, but demand for cocoa is predicted to rise 30 percent by 2020. Now scientists at Bangor University think they have the answer in the form of wild mango butter, which is similar to cocoa butter in its chemical, physical and thermal properties. Cocoa butter is extracted from cocoa beans, and has one of the highest prices of all tropical fats and oils. The price of cocoa butter more than doubled between 2005 and 2015, according to the International Cocoa Organisation. Cocoa butter is extracted from cocoa beansCredit:Clara Molden for the Daily Telegraph  Study author Sayma Akhter with wild mango fruitcenter_img Akhter, a postgraduate student at Bangor University’s School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, added: “With the support of government and non-governmental organisations, small scale industries could be set up to create a new income source for local people.”There are many other new products that can come from underutilised fruits which are still waiting for proper attention.”Another of the report’s authors, Professor Morag McDonald, Head of the School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography,  added: “Going beyond the use to industry, wild fruits like the mango are an important source of food, medicine and income for rural dwellers, but are in decline due to drivers such as deforestation.”Adding value to underutilised products through processing for products that have market value can generate a valuable incentive for the conservation of such species, and help to generate alternative income sources and reduce household poverty”. Sayma Akhter, senior author of the study published in Scientific Reports, said: “Wild mango is one of the so-called ‘Cinderella’ species whose real potential is unrealised.”The identification of real added value as we have shown in this study, could pluck it from obscurity into mainstream production.”Mango butter even has some advantages over cocoa butter, with a higher moisture content than cocoa butter,  which could help create low fat chocolate.  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. Cocoa pods in the Dominican Republiclast_img read more

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Airlines refusing to pay out on flight delay compensation

first_imgPassengers dissatisfied with an airline’s decision on compensation can go to the CAACredit:2016 Getty Images/Drew Angerer Under EU regulations, passengers are entitled to compensation if delayed by more than three hours when flying from the UK or with an EU airline to an EU airport. Holidaymakers flying short-haul can claim as much as €250, while long-haul passengers could claim up €600 if their flight is delayed by more than four hours.Compensation claims end up with the CAA if a passenger is dissatisfied with an airline’s decision to reject a claim or has not had a response.  Airlines are refusing to pay passengers compensation for flight delays and cancellations, new analysis by the consumer watchdog Which? has revealed.In more than half of the cases (53 per cent) handed to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for arbitration, the regulator ruled that the airline should pay out.However, according to Which?, carriers are failing to comply – and while the CAA can rule on a case, it has no powers to enforce its decision, meaning airlines can continue to refuse compensation. Passengers dissatisfied with an airline's decision on compensation can go to the CAA A spokesperson for Easyjet said: “We take our responsibilities under EU261 seriously, comply with all regulations and have been commended by the CAA for our claim handling. We have also made improvements to our claims process since then making it quicker and easier to claim”.A spokesperson for Emirates said: “As one of the world’s largest airlines, we comply with all legal requirements and regulations as set by the relevant authorities.“The way in which the CAA has communicated this issue is both misleading and unprofessional. As the CAA is well aware, the recent EU guidelines on EC 261 are not intended to amend the law. The issue of EC 261’s application to our flights from the UK involving a stopover in Dubai is currently pending before the Court of Appeal. We will rigorously defend our position, and challenge the blanket application of EC 261 to every situation, without consideration of context or the safety of our passengers. Emirates, like any responsible airline, puts the safety of our passengers first and to be penalised for this is absurd.”center_img Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “Some airlines seem to be making it as difficult as possible for passengers to receive the money that they are rightly entitled to for flight delays.“We want to see airlines introduce measures so that, where possible, passengers are compensated automatically for delays and cancellations.”Which? believes it is time airlines paid out on compensation due under EU law automatically, without passengers needing to go through a claims process. It said the same as thousands of travellers began the process of claiming money back from BA after its computer meltdown last month.The consumer body said it approached every airline for comment but only several responded. A spokesperson for Norwegian told Which? that it takes customer care “very seriously and always maintains a consistent policy regarding delays and cancellations in accordance with EU261”.A spokesperson for Vueling said that a busy summer season and operational disruptions meant claims were taking longer to process than usual. “Vueling has a good work relationship with all national enforcement bodies in the European Union, including the CAA, and cooperates with them to apply all requirements raised by the authorities,” the spokesperson said.A spokesperson for British Airways said: “​We fully honour our EU compensation obligations and process claims as quickly as possible. We take all complaints seriously and if customers have cause to raise any concerns we address them as soon as we can.​” Considering statistics for 2016, Which? found that the CAA advised Norwegian that its original decision to refuse compensation was incorrect in 83 per cent of cases, while Ryanair was told the same in 77 per cent cases, Thomson 69 per cent, Iberia 73 per cent and British Airways 48 per cent.Which? found that the airlines generally then agreed to pay, but some still refused. The CAA disagreed with the decisions of Jet2 on 27 per cent of cases and the airline failed to pay out on 35 per cent of those. The CAA told United to pay on 50 per cent of arbitrated cases but the airline refused to pay out on 42 per cent of them.Emirates had some of the highest figures (disagreeing with the CAA on 60 per cent of cases, then refusing to pay out on 74 per cent). The airline is in a long-standing disagreement with the CAA over its interpretation of the law with regard to compensating passengers who experience a delay on the first leg of a flight that caused them to miss a connecting flight in a non EU country and, as a result, to arrive at their final destination over three hours late.last_img read more

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Civil partnerships could open to all after Supreme Court rules they are

A Government Equalities Office spokesperson said: “The Government is very aware of its legal obligations, and we will obviously be considering this judgment of the Supreme Court with great care. “We recognise the sensitive and personal issues involved in this case and acknowledge, as the Supreme Court does, the genuine convictions of the couple involved. “We will study the Court’s judgment carefully and respond in due course.” Civil partnerships were introduced in 2004, ten years before the law was changed to allow same-sex couples to get married. In court lawyers for the Government argued that it needed to collect four whole years of data showing the demand for civil partnerships before it could decide what to do.  These are important issues… they are serious for my clients because they cannot marry conformable with their conscienceKaron Monaghan QC Figures show that the number of partnerships registered fell to 890 in 2016, down from the 6,305 which were registered on average each year between 2007 and 2013.A document published last month set out plans for a consultation to assess whether there was still enough demand among same-sex couples since the law was changed to allow them to get married in March 2014. The judgment, given by Lord Kerr, criticised the Government, saying that it had created a “situation of inequality” and then asked “for the indulgence of time”. In the judgment the justices made clear that the decision did not oblige the Government or Parliament to act. But experts suggested a decision may have to be made more quickly. Scott Halliday, family law solicitor at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth said: “The court was clear that the government’s position is not legitimate and the court cannot allow the government a further period of time and to endorse a toleration of discrimination.” The appeal was brought by London academics Rebecca Steinfeld, 37, and Charles Keidan, 41, who said they had  “deep-rooted and genuine ideological objections to marriage” because it was “historically heteronormative and patriarchal”. Following the judgment the couple embraced in court as they were applauded by their supporters. In a statement outside court they said they were “elated” by the ruling and Mr Keidan said there was now only one option – “to extend civil partnerships to all”.He said they hoped the Government will “act with urgency” for the sake of thousands of couples across the country.Speaking in the House of Commons Conservative former minister Tim Loughton, who has brought a private members’ bill which would broaden the availability of the partnerships, also urged the Government to “resolve this illegal inequality and extend civil partnerships to everyone”.  Civil partnerships could be opened up to all after the Supreme Court ruled that they are unlawful because they exclude heterosexual couples. In a unanimous judgment five Supreme Court judges ruled that the current law was incompatible with human rights legislation. The Government Equalities Office, now overseen by International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, had previously said it would not resolve the question until 2020. But the Supreme Court said its slowness to deal with the issue was not appropriate. The Daily Telegraph understands that the minister’s personal view is that they should be extended to all couples, rather than scrapped entirely. 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

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Women more likely to quit social media during scrollfree September says Royal

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. Women make up the majority of the 300,000 people planning to quit “toxic” social media during “scroll-free September”, the Royal Society for Public Health has announced. The organisation, which has masterminded the NHS-backed campaign, said that three times more women than men were set to take part because social media leaves women feeling inadequate and with low self-esteem from being bombarded with perfect body images on platforms like Instagram.Other experts blamed the chauvinism and trolling of women on networks such as Twitter for the disproportionate desire by women to give social media a break.At least 300,000 Britons – about 12 per cent of those who have heard about the campaign – are expected to take part in scroll-free September which starts tomorrow (Sat) and invites people to give up or cut back usage of sites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, RSPH polls show.Of those who said they would take part, three quarters are women. Most likely to quit are 25-34 year olds (34 per cent), followed by 18-24 year olds (16 per cent) against under 10 per cent among older age groups. According to the RSPH poll, more than a third (34 per cent) of the public believe quitting for a month would have a positive impact on them, rising to almost two thirds (63 per cent) of 18-24 year olds.Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s national director for mental health, said the campaign was right to highlight growing concerns that social media is contributing to mental ill health in young people.“We need to see concerted action with everyone taking responsibility including social media giants, so the NHS is not left to pickup the pieces of a mental health epidemic in the next generation,” she said.The campaign coincides with one of the biggest-ever studies into the impact of new media. It found teenagers who were heavy users of social media were twice as likely to be unhappy as those who spent more time talking with friends face to face, exercising and doing their homework.About a fifth (20.3 per cent) of those who spent more than 40 hours a week on social media or gaming were rated unhappy based on wellbeing questionnaires compared to 12 per cent of those who limited their online activity to just three to five hours a week.The study which tracked 1.1m US students aged 13 to 18 over 25 years also found 16 per cent of those who spent no time on social media were unhappy, confirming previous research that some time online is beneficial but declines for every additional hour.The research, led by Dr Jean Twenge from San Diego State University, found a dramatic decline in teenagers’ happiness and wellbeing from 2012, a point when smartphones started to saturate the teenage market with ownership doubling from 37 per cent to nearly 80 per cent.The Daily Telegraph is campaigning for a statutory duty of care on the social media and gaming firms to better protect children from online harms. RSPH spokesman Ed Morrow said: “Image-heavy social media platforms like Instagram can be a particularly toxic environment for young women who are often left with feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem from the barrage of images of unattainable body image ideals that tend to flood such platforms.”Its research has suggested as many as nine out of 10 teenage girls are unhappy with their bodies, while a UCL study found girls who spent longer online were more likely to suffer depression than boys who tended to be video gaming rather than on social media.“This is a problem that has been fuelled by TV and magazines for years, but social media makes it all the more inescapable,” said Mr Morrow. “Women also tend to be more open to discussing mental health issues than men.”Tanya Goodin, a tech detox expert and author of Stop Staring at Screens, said Twitter could be a “hostile” environment where “there’s a definite issue around women being targets for trolls.” read more

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Childcare costs set to soar following Government proposals to raise registration costs

He said: “If the government can admit that Ofsted need a fee increase to keep pace with inflation then it’s beyond time they looked again at early years funding. That means not only an urgent increase in funding levels but also a commitment to review them annually – anything less would reek of double standards and consign many more providers to closure.”Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association, said that she can understand why ministers have raised the Ofsted fee, but added that “we could well apply the same logic to childcare funding”.She said: “Any increase in fees is just one too many for childcare providers who are already staggering under the heavy burdens of staffing salary and pension cost increases, stagnating funding rates over the past few years for funded places and business rates.” Childcare costs are set to soar for parents, following Government plans to raise registration costs by 20 per cent.The annual fee to register with Ofsted will rise from £35 to £43 for childminders and from £220 to £269 for nurseries from next April, according to proposals published by the Department for Education (DfE) in a consultation document.Government officials point out that the registration fee has remained the same for the past decade, and that the “cost of inspection and regulation continues to be heavily subsidised”.But nursery leaders have criticised the move as “reeking of double standards” as they warn that this could lead to an increase is fees for parents.Francesca Chong, manager of the childcare app Yoopies UK, said: “You could describe this as a stealth tax on nurseries. It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth to childcare provides which are already struggling.“This could lead to a rise in prices for parents. A lot of childcare businesses wouldn’t have any other choice but to pass on the extra cost to parents.”Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said that there is “no doubt” that running costs have increased in line with inflation, but accused ministers of employing “double standards”. 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

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Sir Elton John leaps to Harry and Meghans defence revealing he supplied

After a hectic year continuing their hard work and dedication to charity, David and I wanted the young family to have a private holiday inside the safety and tranquility of our home. To maintain a high level of much-needed protection, we provided them with a private jet flight.— Elton John (@eltonofficial) August 19, 2019 It was, according to reports, their fourth private jet flight in 11 days – they had previously flown to and from Ibiza to celebrate the duchess’s 38th birthday – prompting cries of hypocrisy. The couple have campaigned on green issues and earlier this month the prince said he and his wife would have “two children, maximum” as part of their contribution to saving the environment “To support Prince Harry’s commitment to the environment, we ensured their flight was carbon neutral, by making the appropriate contribution to Carbon Footprint™.”Sir Elton then praised the Duke and Duchess for their charitable work, concluding in his fifth and final  tweet: “I highly respect and applaud both Harry and Meghan’s commitment to charity and I’m calling on the press to cease these relentless and untrue assassinations on their character that are spuriously crafted on an almost daily basis.” The star, 72, was a guest at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding last year Sir Elton insisted he and his husband David Furnish had made “an appropriate contribution” to a company that specialises in offsetting carbon emissions. The flights, said Sir Elton, were as a consequence carbon neutral.The Duke and Duchess were photographed with their three-month-old son arriving in Nice in the south of France on a £15 million Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign jet on Wednesday. They left France three days later on Saturday afternoon. The star, 72, was a guest at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding last yearCredit:Ian West/AFP In a series of emotional postings on Twitter, Sir Elton said on Monday: “I am deeply distressed by today’s distorted and malicious account in the press surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s private stay at my home in Nice last week.“Prince Harry’s Mother, Diana Princess Of Wales was one of my dearest friends. I feel a profound sense of obligation to protect Harry and his family from the unnecessary press intrusion that contributed to Diana’s untimely death.”The singer, who loaned the couple the use of his home on the French Riviera, went on: “After a hectic year continuing their hard work and dedication to charity, David and I wanted the young family to have a private holiday inside the safety and tranquillity of our home. To maintain a high level of much-needed protection, we provided them with a private jet flight. Sir Elton John by his own admission counted Princess Diana as “one of my dearest friends” and famously and movingly sang at her funeral. On Monday, the rock star leapt to the defence of her youngest son, in an attempt to shield the Duke of Sussex and his wife from “relentless and untrue assassinations” amid allegations of hypocrisy over private jet flights taken by the couple.In putting a metaphorical arm around the Duke and Duchess, Sir Elton disclosed that he had paid for Prince Harry and his wife to fly on a private jet to his home in the south of France. He said Prince Harry, his wife and their son Archie needed the “safety and tranquillity” offered by his palatial villa on the French Riviera.  I am deeply distressed by today’s distorted and malicious account in the press surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s private stay at my home in Nice last week. pic.twitter.com/WjVRDSMX0z— Elton John (@eltonofficial) August 19, 2019 Buckingham Palace declined to comment on Sir Elton’s twitter posts. Earlier in the day, on the Duke and Duchess’s Instagram account they published a quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu which said: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Carbon Footprint Limited was unavailable for comment on Monday evening.  Another organisation C-Level, which also offsets carbon emissions, calculated a carbon footprint for the return flight at seven tonnes, assuming the Duke and Duchess and their son travelled with two protection officers.The emissions are seven times greater than had they flown with a regular airline. The cost to Sir Elton of offsetting the private flight would have been about £108, money which can fund tree-planting schemes and other projects, according to Daren Howarth, founder of C-Level.Mr Howarth said: “Private jets are problematic. What is wrong with the train? Are they so short of time?” read more

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South Ruimveldt man refused bail over attempted murder charge

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMan sentenced to 3 years in prison for wounding vagrantJuly 21, 2017In “Court”Teen accused of attempted murder remandedFebruary 20, 2018In “Court”Man admits to unlawfully wounding another over sunglassesDecember 19, 2018In “Court” A man was brought before Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts earlier today (Friday) after he allegedly attempted to murder another man.Roger Gibbert of Lot 35 South Ruimveldt, Georgetown vehemently denied that he committed the act on June 22 2017 at his residence.He pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him which indicated that he allegedly wounded Mortimer Miller with the intent of murdering him.However, Gibbert explained to Magistrate Daly that previously, he had taken a woman to file a Police report against the Virtual Complainant (VC). He added that since that time, the VC has been threatening him.On the day of the alleged wounding, he stated that Miller came to his apartment holding a cutlass in his hand and he appeared to be wounded. Gibbert said that he requested his help; however he refused to assist the man which prompted the VC to attack him.“I disarmed him and took the cutlass to the station where I lodged a complaint, however, I was arrested and charged with wounding the VC but I didn’t wound him” Gibbert explained.The Police Prosecutor asked that bail be refused as the VC is currently hospitalised.Bail was refused and the defendant was remanded to prison. He is expected to reappear in Court on July 21 2017. read more

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Father of 7 gets 4 years jail for trafficking 34 kilos

59-year-old Standley Pyle of Norton and Camp Streets, Georgetown, was jailed for four years and fined $30,000 after pleading guilty to trafficking 34 kilograms of marijuana, when he appeared before Magistrate Judy Latchman earlier today.Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) Prosecutor Konyo Sandiford in presenting facts to the court relayed that on September 10, 2017, CANU ranks went to the home of Pyle where they conducted a search which led to the discovery of the illicit substance contained in three cartoon boxes and two barrels. The father of seven begged for the courts leniency and the Magistrate after considering all mitigating factors imposed the custodial sentence and fine. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedFather of 3 fined $8.4M, jailed for drug trafficking; claims “I did it for my children”February 1, 2019In “Court”Duo busted with marijuana remanded to prisonFebruary 25, 2014In “Crime”60 months jail for man found guilty of trafficking MarijuanaAugust 25, 2014In “Crime” read more

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Seawall Shooting Police say eyewitness interview did not take place

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedSeawall shooting: “Eyewitness” surfaces, contradicts police report on killingsMarch 26, 2018In “Crime”Seawall Shooting: “Eyewitness” was never on the roof- Acting Top CopMarch 29, 2018In “Crime”Seawall shooting: Security Minister says he is ‘on the side of the Police Commissioner’April 4, 2018In “Crime” The self proclaimed eyewitness -to the Kingston Seawall killings of three suspected bandits – who according to the police was scheduled for a interview with a Senior Detective in the presence of his attorney, Nigel Hughes, today (Tuesday) did not turn up.(L) Attorney Nigel Huges and the self proclaimed eyewitness Devon LyteAccording to the Guyana Police Force public relations department, “Mr. Lyte’s Attorney-at-Law when contacted in relation to another matter informed the detective that his client needed another 24hrs. As his client has some issues to sort out.”The police had said that Lyte went to Criminal Investigations Department (CID) yesterday (Monday) around 16:45hrs and in the presence of his attorney submitted “a copy of the statement, which he issued earlier to the Crime Chief, Assistant Commissioner of Police Paul Williams.”Lyte during a press conference held at his attorney’s office on Monday read from the prepared statement where he claimed that on the day Dextroy Cordis also known as Dutty, of Grove, East Bank Demerara, Kwame Assanah, of Buxton, East Coast Demerara and Errol Adams also known as Dynamite were fatally shot, he was working on the roof of the Guyana Softball Association on Carifesta Avenue and would have witnessed the incident, which based on his account is vastly different from the statement issued by the police.Hughes recapping what Lyte said, among other things, posited that “there were two vehicles, the black vehicle which had the now three deceased in the front which was being followed by the silver [police] vehicle, he [eyewitness] hears banging looked west saw the road was blocked off by the police, those two vehicles were driving east along the Seawall road, gunfire erupted… the car in front stopped, the driver of the silver car got out walked to him, put him [Assanah] on the ground, was actually assaulting him on the ground and then after that there was gunfire…at the time the gunfire erupted he (officer) was physically standing over the guy who was on the ground.”The black vehicle the suspects were using and which was reportedly driven by Kwame Assanah“In fact, the driver of the black car was on the ground being physically assaulted for more than ten minutes before the gunfire erupted and three occupants, as you all know, were all dead…there were no motorcycle which disappeared with any pillion rider or any mysterious rider,” Hughes told media operatives.According to Hughes the facts presented by Lyte seems to suggest that this was an execution.Additionally, the purported eyewitness related that the roads leading to the seawalls were blocked to vehicular traffic prior to the alleged shootout.However, Lyte said that while he witnessed the event, he could not state whether shots were fired at the police, nor if the three suspects were armed.The damaged unmarked police vehicle with bullet holes Hours after the shooting to death of the three men, the police in a statement related that the men were followed by an unmarked police vehicle after they were seen trailing a customer who had left the Scotia Bank on Robb Street, Georgetown.The police claimed that in the vicinity of the seawalls, the men in the black Toyota car opened fire on them and in retaliation, they returned fire fatally wounding them. read more