A DurantLed Thunder May Be Better Without Ibaka

One more piece of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 2012 NBA Finals run was cast to the wind during Thursday night’s draft. The Thunder dealt Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the rights to No. 11 overall pick Domantas Sabonis. For those of us who look back fondly on the 2012 Thunder’s killer Big Four of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Ibaka, it was a reminder of how OKC broke up one of the great what-might-have-been young cores in NBA history.But putting aside one of the internet’s favorite pastimes of 2015 — second-guessing the Harden trade — the truth of the matter is that the roster the Thunder sent to the 2016 Western Conference finals had already surpassed the edition that went to the NBA Finals four years earlier, at least according to advanced metrics such as our Box Plus/Minus talent ratings:1Essentially a lo-fi version of ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus ratings, with the benefit that they can be computed for historical seasons. We’ve used them a few times in the past. And a big reason why was the emergence of Steven Adams, who was selected with one of the picks that came to OKC in return for Harden and has become an excellent defender and rebounder. Adams’s strong play made Ibaka expendable, but so had Ibaka’s own downturn over the past couple years. And although comparing shooting guards and stretch fours is a bit apples-to-oranges, Oladipo posted better numbers than Ibaka last season, at a younger age, for less than half the money. As currently constructed, the Thunder are better off now than they were a day ago.Of course, none of that matters if Durant doesn’t opt to re-sign with Oklahoma City in free agency. Despite a bit of a down playoff campaign — and the fact that he probably isn’t even OKC’s best player anymore — KD is still one of the top handful of players in the NBA, and it will be his decision that determines the Thunder’s future far more than Sam Presti’s draft-day machinations. If Durant does re-up with Oklahoma City, the addition of Oladipo would edge the Thunder ever closer to the Warriors and Spurs at the top of the West. If not, they’ll be just another mid-level team in one of the most top-heavy conferences ever. read more

Robert Griffin III Must Protect Himself – Or Take

It is ironic that during the week the Washington Redskins devised a game plan to minimize exposure of their prized rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III to potentially vicious hits, Griffin got blasted by the Atlanta Falcons’ Shawn Witherspoon, causing a mild concussion.The Redskins were traumatized to see Griffin wobbled, but hope that he would be OK to play next week when they host the Minnesota Vikings. They also hope Griffin finally learned a lesson. There were no need for him to take that hit Sunday.He was not going to get to the end zone. There was ample time for him to throw away the ball and let the field goal unit come onto the field. Or he could have just sprinted out of bounds. Trying to cut back against two defenders that had the angle on him set himself up to take a legal but devastating hit from Witherspoon, jolting his head back before crashing to the turf.“We’d like to have him throw the football away when he’s outside of the pocket,” team leader London Fletcher said after the game, “and not take the hit like that.”It is admirable to be so competitive and to be willing to sacrifice his body. But Griffin has to be smarter. There is a lot of value to playing is conservative in order to stay on the field. He appears to be a smart guy, so it stands to reason Witherspoon hammered home the message of protecting himself.All he has to do is look at Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles and see how much punishment he continues to take week after week through a reluctance to get out of bounds, slide feet forward or throw away the ball. Those are three options Griffin has to employ.Coach Mike Shanahan said Griffin was removed because he could not answer basic questions about the game, such as the score and what quarter it was. Griffin Tweeted that he will play next week against the Vikings, but, under league rules, Griffin will not be permitted to practice or play until he is cleared by neurologists that have no association with the Redskins.Without Griffin, the Redskins’ chances for success diminish exponentially. Rookie Kirk Cousins took advantage of busted Falcons coverage and hit Santana Moss for a 77-yard touchdown during his action replacing Griffin. He then threw two interceptions in his last two passes, helping Atlanta secure the win. The idea that Rex Grossman could return as starting quarterback makes Redskin fans everywhere as loopy as Griffin felt Sunday. Whenever he returns, Griffin must protect himself with wise decisions when under duress — or the kind of abuse Witherspoon inflicted will not be the last. read more

Phil Jackson Rules Out Any Return To Coaching

Phil Jackson had interest in returning to the Los Angeles Lakers, but that was it. No other team interests him. So let go of any hopes of luring him back, Washington Wizards or any other team soon to be seeking new leadership.After a brief flirtation with a comeback after the Lakers fired Mike Brown, Jackson said to TMZSports.com that the chances are “slim and none, probably” that he would return to the profession he won 11 NBA championships as coach.“I really wasn’t looking to coach again,” he said. “That one was happenstance, and it just came about.”Jackson, 67, interviewed with the Lakers following Brown’s firing, but was eventually passed over in favor of Mike D’Antoni — a move that confounded many, including Jackson and D’Antoni.Jackson had two stints with the Lakers, winning five championships with the team and 11 overall as a coach — six others with the Bulls. As a player, Jackson won two titles with the Knicks.“Well, we never discussed any terms, so there was never anything that was unfair,” Jackson told TMZ. “It was just a midnight coup. It was kind of weird.”While Jackson is trying to be diplomatic, he did call the Lakers’ handling of the situation, “slimy.” In a statement, though, Jackson was a bit more cordial.“I was awakened at midnight on Sunday by a phone call from Mitch Kupchak. He told me that the Lakers had signed Mike D’Antoni to a 3-year agreement and that they felt he was the best coach for the team. The decision is of course theirs to make. I am gratified by the groundswell of support from the Laker Fans who endorsed my return and it is the principal reason why I considered the possibility.”According to reports, which were disputed by other reports, Jackson was seeking unprecedented power over the team with the ability to veto roster moves as well as special travel considerations to help with his health issues — as well as a massive contract somewhere in the range of $10 million-$15 million. read more

Terriers Were Once The Greatest Dogs In The World

15-inch beagle2 Newfoundland2 Embed Code Of course, other breeds have their own issues. Where terriers are blessed with pluck, beagles, for example, “you have to convince them that they love what they’re doing,” Darlene Stewart, a committee chair for the National Beagle Club, told me. Training, rather than grooming, might be the main challenge.Ultimately, each dog is judged according to its own breed’s rubric. In the Best in Show ring, a dog competes against the others, but also against the platonic ideal of its own breed. And these ideals are public record. The American Kennel Club’s standard for the wire fox terrier, for example, comes in at just over three dense, single-spaced pages. Old English sheepdog2 BREEDBEST IN SHOWS The breed group system was introduced at Westminster in 1924. The number of groups has increased since then; I’ve backdated the present group definitions for the chart above.2Five of the groups were introduced in 1924, the hound group was added in 1930, and the herding group was created in 1983. For the cat-fanciers among you: The sporting group is home to your retrievers and spaniels; the working group to huskies and mastiffs; the toys are pugs and Shih Tzus; the non-sporting are Dalmatians and bulldogs; the hounds self-explanatory; and the herding group is sheepdogs and collies.“Terriers are in many ways the most homogenous group of breeds,” Flyckt-Pedersen said. Terrier breeds tend to be similar to one another, especially compared with the heterogeneity of the non-sporting group, for example, which is home to both the Lhasa apso and the Norwegian lundehund.If terriers were once the Yankees of Westminster, one terrier breed in particular was their Babe Ruth: the wire fox terrier. Flyckt-Pedersen, who has bred terriers since 1963, called wire fox terriers “the ultimate” terrier breed. “They were hunting dogs, and they had to be tough and fearless to hunt badgers and foxes,” he said. “They have to have a real personality, they have to have a real character, and they have to be confident and, hopefully, fearless.” Wire foxes alone have won 14 Westminster Best in Shows. A distant second: another terrier. The Scottish terrier has won eight. Scottish terrier8 Norwich terrier2 Miniature poodle3 Oliver Roeder and Jody Avirgan visit the Westminster Dog Show on our podcast What’s The Point. And there is a disconnect between popularity in the broader canine world and success in the silk-stocking milieu of Westminster: Ubiquity doesn’t necessarily lead to first-place ribbons and shiny pewter bowls. No Labrador retriever (“America’s dog,” per the vice president of the American Kennel Club) has ever won Best in Show at the Garden. Nor has a retriever of any kind. No beagle had until 2008, despite more than 70 years in the popularity top 10.Some popular dogs do take the top prize, though. Poodles of various types have taken nine titles, and cocker spaniels, which have enjoyed two distinct reigns as the country’s most popular breed, have won four. In some sense, popularity is bound to help. “If a breed is bred in numbers and bred by serious people, the chances that you breed something fantastic is higher than if it’s a small breed, with a small number of breeders,” said Flyckt-Pedersen, the terrier judge.Some breeds have seen boom times. Chief among them: the French bulldog, Rottweiler, Maltese, and Siberian husky, each of which has risen from obscurity around 1950 to prominence today. But so far only one of these — a Siberian husky back in 1980 — has taken Best in Show. Smooth fox terrier4 Black cocker spaniel2 “A lot of working-class people were involved with them in the U.K. because it was a hobby,” Green said. “It didn’t cost a lot of money to keep a dog and breed a few dogs, and working-class people would breed puppies and make a little money doing that.” Someone was always in the market for a good show dog. “A good one is always what everybody was looking for,” Green said.A “good one” was exactly what George Thomas was always looking for. In 1939, The New York Times called Thomas “one of America’s greatest all-around dog experts” when he judged Best in Show at Westminster. But it was his business acumen decades earlier that drove him to this distinction. Beginning in the late 1800s, Thomas imported terriers from England to the United States, and business was good. The English press dubbed him the “American Ambassador.” He imported hundreds of the greatest wire fox terriers ever produced in England to the U.S.The rich East Coasters who bought the dogs often got more than a dog in the deal. “George Thomas would say, ‘OK, I can get you the foundation stock; I can get you a man from England to come over and take care of the dogs and groom them for you,’” Green said. “And he did, literally, scores of people, started their kennels for them.”And judging by news reports from Thomas’s time, this was a profitable business. The 1915 Westminster champion, yet another wire fox terrier, was plucked from “the obscurity of an English barnyard” for 2 pounds. On our side of the pond, one Boston terrier3Actually the result of breeding bulldogs with the (now extinct) English white terrier. at the 1907 show sold for $1,000 — about $27,000 today — to “a prominent New Yorker.” Doberman pinscher4 Westminster’s dog show is the second-longest-continuously-running sporting event (if you’ll permit it the label) in the country, after the Kentucky Derby (ditto). Since Westminster first crowned a Best in Show, in 1907, 46 winners have been terriers. Of the 43 Best in Shows that were awarded in the first half of the 20th century, 29 went to a terrier.1There was no Best in Show awarded in 1923. The first three Best in Shows all went to the same terrier — Warren Remedy, a fox terrier. The terrier “is to Westminster awards what Meryl Streep is to the Oscars, except that the terriers win more,” The New York Times wrote in 2003. But this has changed. The market and tastes that made terriers such popular show dogs in the first half of last century shifted, and a broad decline in terrier popularity is now mirrored by fewer terrier Best in Show titles. “The domestic dog is a genetic enterprise unique in human history,” a team of biologists wrote in a 2004 paper in Science. The animals are all one species — Canis familiaris — but they range from the diminutive 8-pound Brussels griffon to the massive 150-pound Neapolitan mastiff. But with the exception of the Boston terrier’s one-year reign in 1935, only four dogs have taken turns atop the American Kennel Club’s most popular breed list: the cocker spaniel, the beagle, the poodle and the Labrador retriever. Afghan hound2 The word “terrier” comes from the Middle French chien terrier — literally, dog of the earth. The dogs were originally bred to kill vermin — there’s still a breed known as the rat terrier. And it is this hunter’s instinct, this fearlessness, that has come to define the temperament of the breed today. As A. E. Housman, the English scholar and poet, wrote, “I can no more define poetry than a terrier can define a rat.” Hunting — like poetry to a poet — is just what terriers do.This temperament is highly valued in the present-day show terrier. “When a terrier group comes into the ring, they’ll all look confident and seem to enjoy doing what they’re doing,” Geir Flyckt-Pedersen, this year’s Westminster terrier group judge, told me.Terriers may have a temperament made for a dog show, but their coats are the stuff of nightmares. To maintain the coat coloring that is valued in the breeds, and to keep it properly harsh, a show terrier’s hair must be pulled, plucked and stripped, by hand. Every day. Illustration by Sean Sims. Frame photo by DeAgostini / Getty Images Stingray of Derryabah, a Lakeland terrier, won Best in Show at Westminster in 1968 and Best in Show at Crufts, the U.K.’s major dog show, the year before. Photo courtesy of AKC Gazette Collection Standard poodle4 Thomas’s heir apparent in the trans-Atlantic dog trade was Percy Roberts, who started as a kennel boy for Thomas when he was 16 years old. During his 70-year career, Roberts was terriers — “a leitmotif of the 20th century in dogs,” according to The Canine Chronicle, a show-dog magazine. Roberts won his first Best in Show, with a wire fox terrier, in 1926. And then the stock market crashed.Roberts was traveling from England to America with thousands of dollars’ worth of dogs in 1929 when he got news of the crash. He didn’t go back to England for another four years. The Gilded Age was, by now, a distant memory, and the Great Depression had begun. “There were some big kennels that went kaput when the crash came,” Green said. The Manhattan dollars that had been put toward show dogs dried up, squeezing the terrier-import business. Not only had the terriers themselves cost good money, but so had the mercenary experts that undertook the intensive endeavor that is terrier maintenance. And so went the terrier demand.And then television came along. While Black Tuesday changed the business from the U.S., a few decades later, mass media changed it from England. The English working class that was largely responsible for raising the dogs turned to other leisure pursuits. “So instead of you going outside in a cold shed and pulling hair, you can watch a football game, and you’re sitting in your kitchen by the fire,” Green said. “Well, which would you rather do for a hobby?” And so went the terrier supply.Echoes of these effects are visible in data. The American Kennel Club, which is the governing body for dog shows and whose membership includes Westminster, tallies the most popular breeds in the country each year, going back to 1935. This data is based on purebred dog registrations with the club, which says it registers nearly 1 million dogs each year. (There are something like 80 million dogs owned in the U.S.)4I obtained rank data — the American Kennel Club doesn’t release raw registration numbers. The club ranked roughly the top 100 breeds for the early years of this data set, increasing to roughly 175 breeds in more recent years. Many of the all-star terrier breeds5Those that have won more than two Best in Shows through 2015. The smooth fox terrier, which has won four Best in Shows, isn’t included in the chart because the data on its popularity during the last century is incomplete. began to decline. Wire fox terrier14 Toy poodle2 One Yorkie did win Westminster, back in 1978. But Yorkshire terriers, small as they are, compete in the toy group at Westminster. The terrier on the rise is barely a terrier at all.Despite the upending of the import market decades ago and the breeds’ often sharply declining popularity, the terrier experts I spoke to were still high on the dogs’ chances to prevail at the Garden this year. Oddsmakers haven’t cooled completely on their chances, either. The Wynn sportsbook puts the odds of a Skye terrier Best in Show at 5-to-1, making that breed the second overall favorite. The odds of a German shepherd win are 4-to-1.7The Scottish terrier comes in at 18-to-1, the wire fox at 40-to-1, and the Welsh at 125-to-1. Charlie, the Skye terrier who was last year’s runner-up, has good odds to win this year, as does Rumor, who was the best of the German shepherds and won the herding group on Monday.At the Garden on Tuesday, the mood among the dog handlers will be serious and competitive. “It’s just like what you would expect with trainers at the Kentucky Derby or mechanics at the Daytona 500,” said Stewart, the beagle expert. “They’re not going to be talking to each other about the new clutch they put in their car.”But that competitive tension can work in a terrier’s favor. “The chaos that is [the Westminster] show doesn’t bother the terriers,” Orange said. “They are so outgoing and so full of themselves that they don’t get exhausted. And they don’t stress out the way some of the more sensitive breeds do. Very few things bother a terrier.”The royal terrier bloodline may have thinned, but it’s royal nonetheless. “Terriers are still difficult to beat if you’ve got a good one,” Green said. English springer spaniel6 Source: Westminster Kennel Club Sealyham terrier4 German shorthaired pointer2 Illustrations by Joe McKendry Airedale terrier4 For decades, it wasn’t just dog-show success injecting the terrier brand into the collective American psyche — politics and pop culture also shined light on these breeds. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had Fala, a Scottish terrier, as a pet in the White House. The dog was a centerpiece of a nationally broadcast speech given by the president in 1944, and a statue of the pet sits at Roosevelt’s memorial in Washington, D.C. The Kennedys owned a Welsh terrier called Charlie. Asta, a wire fox terrier and now a staple of crossword puzzle answers, became a Hollywood star, appearing in “The Thin Man” films and many other movies in the 1930s and ’40s. Alfred Hitchcock owned Sealyham terriers, and the dogs made cameos in his movies.But the history of terriers in America goes back further than that. To understand it, you have to start in the United Kingdom.Terriers were described by an English physician as early as the 16th century; by the Victorian era, the animals had become the people’s dog of choice. Flyckt-Pedersen and Peter Green, a legendary terrier handler who has won four Westminster Best in Shows, agreed that some combination of the animals’ hunting utility and the vagaries of public taste were responsible for terriers’ popularity in the U.K. Around the turn of the 20th century, “terriers were the popular things,” Green said. “The only other breeds that were popular were sporting dogs.” And different terrier breeds emerged that were tailored for different landscapes and different prey — rats, badgers, rabbits and so on. Most successful breeds at Westminster “God loves a terrier.” — Gerry and Cookie Fleck, “Best in Show”Nearly 3,000 dogs are entered this year in the Westminster Kennel Club’s annual dog show. Officially, they belong to 199 dog breeds and varieties, their names affirming the global success of dog breeding, one of the most awesome biological experiments in history: affenpinscher, Beauceron, boerboel, keeshond, löwchen, Plott, Samoyed, schipperke, vizsla, xoloitzcuintli.On Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, seven dogs will bound onto Westminster’s iconic green carpet in the event’s final round. Each dog will be linked to a human handler by a show collar and lead, the two participants expertly guided and guiding. When the applause finally dies down, a tuxedoed judge will carefully assess each dog for its appearance, gait, coat, ears, eyes, teeth and temperament — its form against its original function. After careful deliberation, the judge will deem one of these dogs the highest expression of what a dog can be. The award: A polished pewter bowl and the coveted title Best in Show.For a long time at the Westminster show — the club has put on dog shows since 1877 — the winner of this title came from the same group of dogs over and over and over again, resulting in a record that is unrivaled even by the most storied of sports dynasties. For decades, terriers reigned supreme over Westminster. But then the arc of history turned against them. Lakeland terrier2 Boxer4 Bulldog2 More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Pointer3 West Highland white terrier2 This fall from prominence has affected more than the multi-champion terrier breeds. The Dandie Dinmont, the Skye, the Kerry blue, the Bedlington, the Welsh, the standard Manchester, the Australian and the Lakeland have all seen significant declines in popularity, as well.For some terrier breeds, the situation is existential. In 2011, a campaign was launched to save the Sealyham terrier — winner of four Westminster Best in Shows and once the dog of choice of King George V, Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor — from extinction. “If we can save the rhino or tiger, we can surely save this useful and charming breed of dog,” the British magazine Country Life wrote. Some related breeds, like the English white terrier, from which the Sealyham line descends, have already gone extinct. In 2010, only 49 Sealyham puppies were registered with the U.K.’s Kennel Club, down from 2,000 in the breed’s peak years. The near-extinction of the Sealyham is an extreme illustration of terrier decline — even among terriers, the Sealyham is extremely difficult to show. The dogs have very thick coats, for one thing, and their white fur tends to get dirty easily.Despite the difficulties, an intrepid few still soldier on in the terrier world. Diane Orange, a columnist for the American Kennel Club, told me that she has bred terriers since 1956 and now breeds Welsh terriers in West Virginia. When I reached her by phone, she had her hands full: “I’ve got a 6-month-old puppy running around loose, and I’ve got to put her back in her crate.�� When she returned a minute or two later, she continued: “Right now, I’m starting to work on coats for four of them for the summer, and once I get really working on the coats, it’s going to take me an hour a day, per dog, to get them ready to show, for about three months.”When terriers were hegemons of Westminster in the early 20th century, there were far fewer breeds in the country. And as terrier popularity has declined, the variety of dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club and competing at Westminster has increased. But terrier titles haven’t gone down just because there is more competition now. In 1950, when terriers ended their run of winning 29 out of 43 Best in Shows, there were 19 terrier breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, 17 percent of the 109 total. Now, there are 31 terrier breeds, 16 percent of the 189 total.6Westminster did not have historical data on the number of breeds and varieties competing each year, so I used the American Kennel Club data, which is a close proxy. There are 10 more dog types on the Westminster list, though, because the breeds are divided into even finer categories — e.g., the dachshund is one breed on the American Kennel Club list, but its longhaired, smooth, and wirehaired versions compete at Westminster separately. A new terrier breed — the American hairless — was recognized just this year and will make its debut at Westminster in 2017. It remains unclear what the next dog-show dynasty will be or if there will be one at all. Might it be the dawn of the toy? A Pekingese and an affenpinscher took the titles in 2012 and 2013. Perhaps a long-in-coming age of the hound? Hounds have taken three titles since 2008 — as many as they’d won in the previous century. Or maybe the retrievers will finally get their due.Things change. A Portuguese water dog now lives in the White House. Our celebrities tote around Maltese and toy poodles. “Frasier” went off the air long ago, and its star terrier, Moose, is dead. So is Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier from “The Artist.”But amid the still-smoldering ruins of the terrier empire, one terrier prospers — the rose that grew while the others wilted. The Yorkshire terrier’s increased popularity, per the American Kennel Club data, stands alone as a terrier on the rapid rise. By Oliver Roeder Pekingese4 In the past two decades, titles have been fairly evenly distributed across most of the breed groups. Last year’s winner was a beagle (a member of the hound group) known as Miss P, only the second beagle to take the title. The runner-up: Charlie, a Skye terrier. read more

Football Former Michigan recruits now key Buckeyes

OSU redshirt junior cornerback Gareon Conley picks off Michigan State’s quarterback Tyler O’Connor to seal the team’s 17-16 win at Spartan Stadium.. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorIt’s no secret that this coming Saturday’s game between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan has a lot of implications behind it. It is not just college football’s annual matchup between the two teams, but it is also a game that will potentially decide which of the two teams will make the College Football Playoff. But the rivalry goes beyond just “The Game” itself. It ranges all the way down to recruiting.For years, young football players have looked at both universities as potential options to continue their playing careers, while both programs have pushed to obtain the next best recruit. On the OSU roster, there is no shortage of connections with “That Team Up North,” as a few of its current players have decommitted from Michigan only to commit to OSU. This was the case for redshirt junior cornerback Gareon Conley and redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber.“I was a young-minded person, and really, (Michigan) was my first big offer,” Conley said. “But I wanted to explore my options, and when I came (to OSU) it just felt like going from the same program to a better program of what I already experienced, and it felt like home.”As a four-star prospect out of Massillon Washington High School in Ohio, Conley was a Michigan commit for eight months before he decided to join Urban Meyer’s 2013 class. Meyer said on Monday that he went to watch Conley play basketball when recruiting the cornerback, and that the team thought highly of him during the process.“I went and watched him actually practice basketball, and that’s when I was like, ‘this is a crazy athlete,’” Meyer said. “Then you get to meet him and his family. Major impact. He’s not just a great player, but a great leader as well.”Conley, who made the game-ending interception last Saturday against Michigan State, said that his initial commitment to be a Wolverine was “real fast.” He had only gone to Ann Arbor once to visit and didn’t talk to a lot of people, causing him to make the decision to switch schools.“It was a magnificent decision because, obviously, two years ago we won a championship and last year we had a good season,” Conley said. “Overall, the teams I’ve been a part of (at OSU) and the brotherhood I have experienced — it’s great.”Now one of the Ohio State team captains, Conley was the first player that Meyer would convert from Wolverine to Buckeye in his OSU coaching tenure. Conley wouldn’t be the last player to recommit to OSU, as Weber would do the same just two years later.Unlike Conley, Weber grew up in Michigan as a native of Detroit. After playing football for Cass Technical High School, Weber committed to the Wolverines. However, after Michigan fired then-head coach Brady Hoke, the four-star recruit decommitted from the university, and eventually ended up at Ohio State.Weber said that former Cass Tech teammate and current Ohio State teammate Damon Webb, a junior cornerback, helped him with his decision to join the Buckeyes.“Having people here that I know of, that I can talk to, and that relate to me is always good,” Weber said. “I used to talk to (Webb) in high school about the program, about what to expect, and he always gave me good feedback.”Weber said that with Webb already in Columbus and with redshirt freshman defensive tackle Joshua Alabi, also one of Weber’s Cass Tech teammates, committed to OSU, he was comfortable with his decision.“It feels good to play with guys you grew up with,” Weber said.However, Weber, who joins Maurice Clarett and Robert Smith as the only Ohio State freshman to rush for 1,000 yards, will be playing several of his high school teammates when the Buckeyes and Wolverines take the field on Saturday. “Now it is really personal. A lot of people I played with — Jourdan Lewis, Delano Hill, Mike Onwenu, Lavert Hill — all those guys I played with in high school and won championships with are on the team,” Weber said. “It’s going to be fun playing against all those guys and I’m looking forward to it.”Along with Conley, Weber, Alabi and Webb, true freshman offensive lineman Michael Jordan is also a native of Michigan and will be playing for his home-state rival on Saturday.With each of these players deciding to play for Meyer and the Buckeyes, there is no denying that both teams could look very different for Saturday’s game had Conley and Weber not recommitted to OSU and stayed at Michigan.Conley said that he is looking forward to the game on Saturday, and that he is happy with the decision he made three years ago.“It’s an honor to play in this game. It’s an honor to be a Buckeye in this game,” Conley said. “This is one of the most tradition-rich programs in tradition games, and it’s going to be a great challenge. I’m just glad to be here with my team.” read more

Womens swimming Ohio State set to swim final dual meet of the

Ohio State junior swimmer Lindsey Clary competes at the Big Ten championships in February, 2016. Credit: OSU AthleticsThe Ohio State women’s swimming team is set to compete against Wright State in their final dual meet of the season on Friday, just a couple of weeks before heading off to West Lafayette, Indiana, to compete in the Big Ten Conference Championships.Last weekend the team fell to Michigan 212-88. However, OSU coach Bill Dorenkott said he believes that the score doesn’t do the team’s individual performances justice.“If you looked at our results, we got beat by a better team and that’s the long and the short of it … If you looked at our performances, we were actually pretty strong,” Dorenkott said. “We put up some of our fastest times of the season and in some cases, some of the fastest times any Buckeye has ever (swam). That being said, we got broadsided by a team that was ready to roll, and that falls on me. That’s not the team, there’s nothing that they did wrong.”Though the Buckeyes were disappointed with the outcome of last weekend’s meet in Ann Arbor, the team has kept it’s spirits up and use Friday’s competition to prepare for the challenges ahead.“We’re in the middle of our preparation for Big Ten’s, and while we’re disappointed with how we performed at Michigan, it doesn’t change what our ultimate goal is which is to swim well at Big Tens and NCAAs,” Dorenkott said.Aside from last weekend’s meet against Michigan, the Buckeyes are undefeated this season and are planning to use this Friday’s meet as an additional way to fine tune their skills before the post season competitions.“We’ll use this meet as an opportunity to do some hard work, and make sure we’re staying on track,” Junior Liz Li said. “I would definitely say that Friday’s meet is … an opportunity to help us to push ourselves a little bit and be a little bit sharper.”In addition to using this meet to sharpen their skills and shave some seconds off of their times, the athletes are also using this Friday’s competition to showcase the team’s senior class in their final dual meet at OSU.“This meet is our senior night, so I’m really excited … to see all the seniors do all of their little ceremonies, which will be so much fun,” Li said. “This Friday is about trying to swim as a team, so we’ve got one more chance to do that (with the seniors) and have fun together.”Dorenkott said he is looking forward to giving the team’s senior class the praise they earned over the years as well, while also hoping to finalize who will be traveling to West Lafayette in the next couple of weeks.“It’s a special class, and it’s a great opportunity to highlight and showcase them,” Dorenkott said. “We’ve also got a couple of spots that are still to be determined in terms of who is going to travel to the Big Tens, so we’re still trying to figure out who’s going to fill those spots, and this weekend will help us a little bit with that as well.”The competition is set to begin at 5 p.m. at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. read more

Urban Meyer on Braxton Miller Kenny Guiton against Penn State Were going

No. 9 Ohio State travels to Penn State this weekend for a battle between the conference’s two teams ineligible for postseason play. OSU coach Urban Meyer and PSU coach Bill O’Brien weighed in on the status of Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller at the weekly Big Ten football coaches teleconference. Preparing for Miller Time Miller was injured in the third quarter of last Saturday’s overtime win against Purdue, and Meyer said that the sophomore quarterback is still nursing a very sore neck. Meyer confirmed that Miller has been cleared to practice, but said backup redshirt junior Kenny Guiton will be prepared to play. “We’re going to have two ready,” said Meyer of his quarterbacks. Nonetheless, O’Brien said his team is preparing for OSU’s typical offense, in which Miller is the team’s leading passer and rusher. “Obviously, we’re preparing for Braxton Miller,” O’Brien said. “He’s one of the top players in the country, at the end of the day that’s the guy that we have to prepare for.” High Praise for Heuerman Buckeye fans might be celebrating Jeff Heuerman for his receiving skills right now – the sophomore tight end caught the game-tying two-point conversion last Saturday – but Meyer has been impressed with a different aspect of Heuerman’s skill set. “He might be the best blocking tight end that I’ve ever had in my head coaching career,” Meyer said. Heuerman’s contributions might not jump off a stat sheet, he has six receptions this year for one touchdown, but Meyer said that Heuerman’s blocking has been extremely important this season. “He’s giving us a component that we’ve never really had at that spot,” Meyer said. “He’s a point guy that can really block a defensive had. That’s really great to have.” Better left unsaid? Michigan has not won a Big Ten title since 2004, and coach Brady Hoke said that he uses the program’s conference championship drought to motivate his players everyday. “Let’s face it,” said the second-year Michigan coach. “Besides graduating and honoring your name, the expectations are to win Big Ten Championships. We embrace it and we are not going to shy away from it.” Hoke’s approach is fundamentally different than that of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, who said he just tries to keep his team focused on getting better every day. “I don’t talk about (winning the conference) daily,” Pelini said. “Our players understand what’s out there and what the challenges are.” Michigan (5-2, 3-0 Big Ten) and Nebraska (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) meet this weekend, and whether the coaches want to talk about it or not, the game has major implications on the conference championship picture. To maintain its undefeated conference record, Michigan will have to do what it’s failed to do twice this season – win a night game away from home. The Wolverines were handled, 41-14, on a neutral field against Alabama on Sept. 1, and fell to Notre Dame three weeks later. “We haven’t played our best football,” Hoke said. “We are going to need to this week.” read more

Ohio State baseball looking to continue winning ways against Penn State

After taking two out of three from Illinois in last weekend’s Big Ten series, the Ohio State baseball team is looking to keep the winning mindset alive with Penn State coming to town Friday night. OSU senior right-hander Brad Goldberg feels the season is still young and the team still has work to do, but is really starting to get that winning attitude back. “We’re still working,” said Goldberg. “We nearly gave ourselves some heart attacks coming back in both wins last weekend, but I definitely think we are getting that winning attitude.” Senior left-hander Brian King agreed with Goldberg, and said the team is gaining confidence and enjoying playing baseball together. “The confidence is huge right now everyone is working together and enjoying each other,” said King. “Honestly, we are just having a good time out there.” Ohio State is 25-13 overall this season and 9-6 in Big Ten play. The team is 9-4 at home this season, and is looking to continue that success this weekend. “Home field has been big all year,” said Goldberg. “We know the turf and especially now with finals it’s just nice to be at home and not have to worry about missing classes.” PSU sits last in the Big Ten with a record of 2-10 in conference play and 11-25 overall. As of late though, the Nittany Lions are heating up, and have won back-to-back games including a 7-4 win over La Salle Tuesday night. They also won their first Big Ten series last weekend after taking two of three from Iowa. A bright spot in Penn State’s lineup is sophomore catcher J.C. Coban, who is hitting .315 with two home runs and 21 RBIs in 32 games played. OSU coach Greg Beals said he is happy with the results from the previous two Big Ten weekend series, but hopes his team takes the right approach in the series against the Nittany Lions. “What I am looking for offensively is the approach,” said Beals. “It’s the mentality, it’s a competitive thing, and I want them to go up with a plan and execute it.” OSU is set to take the field against Penn State at 6:35 p.m. Friday at Bill Davis Stadium to start the weekend home series. read more

Commentary Johnny Manziel penalty too lenient

Courtesy of MCTThen-redshirt-freshman quarterback for Texas A&M Johnny Manziel runs the ball during a game against Oklahoma on Jan. 4, at Cowboys Stadium. A&M won, 41-31.Texas A&M redshirt-sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, has been suspended for allegedly being involved in the signing and sale of merchandise.Was he suspended for half the season? No. For the non-conference season? Nope. The entire first game? Negative.Manziel has been suspended for a whopping one half of the team’s first game (which will likely be an easy victory against an overmatched Rice team).Allegedly, Manziel received tens of thousands of dollars to sign autographs throughout multiple signing sessions. On Thursday the NCAA released a statement saying, essentially, there was no evidence that Manziel received payment for autographs. It did say, however, Manziel was found guilty of a separate (and lesser) NCAA violation.From the point of view of the Buckeye faithful, it’s hard to believe that Johnny Football would have received such a pointless penalty had he chosen to play ball in Columbus.The now infamous “Tattoo-Gate” (which supposedly dealt with less money than the Manziel situation) led to former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor leaving the university for the NFL, the forced end of Jim Tressel’s coaching career and multiple suspensions for various players. On top of that, the team received multiple sanctions, including a self-inflicted bowl game ban for 2012-13.While the two situations are certainly different, I just do not see how the NCAA justifies their decisions at this point.In one case, the NCAA nearly ruined one of the most successful football programs in history, in another they slapped their new poster boy on the wrist.I understand that Manziel was not found guilty of the greater violation, but from everything that has been reported, it seems like the NCAA must not have put forth much effort into finding evidence.Would I say the NCAA favors him? Yes, I would, and I truly believe a greater suspension would have been handed down if he played for OSU, regardless of the evidence that came up.They want to be known as the tough kid on the block, but today the NCAA proved that they are hiding out with their tails between their legs.The media have a field day when OSU gets in trouble, and the NCAA is proud to hand the Buckeyes tougher sanctions than any other school (save one or two), but when the great hero Johnny Football leaps over the line, they simply move it further away. read more

Buckeye Brief Ohio State defensive line scheme change replacing Michael Hill and

With just over a week until Ohio State’s season opener against Indiana on Aug. 31, the Buckeyes have shifted their focus to their Week 1 opponent. Monday afternoon, Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson and a group of Buckeye defensive linemen addressed the media. Here is what we learned.Defensive line to “pin its ears back” on first and second downLast season, Ohio State’s talented foursome of defensive ends — redshirt senior Tyquan Lewis, redshirt junior Sam Hubbard, senior Jalyn Holmes and sophomore Nick Bosa — combined for 18.5 sacks, a total less than might be expected given the group’s elite talent. Some of that might be due to opposing offenses’ increased focus on stopping their pass rush. However, there might be another factor to the less-than-anticipated sack totals.Ohio State sophomore defensive end Nick Bosa (left) and redshirt junior defensive end Sam Hubbard prepare for a drill at fall camp on Aug. 5. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor.“Last year, we were more a squeeze front, built a wall, and now this year, we’re playing a tad wider which allows us to get up the ball and allows us to play a little faster,” Johnson said. “This system fits what we have talent wise.”The change was spearheaded by defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, who, Johnson said, has a different philosophy than former co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. “Coach Fickell, obviously a linebacker coach, we kind of set up all the plays for the linebackers to make and now it’s us pinning our ears back and going instead of waiting,” Bosa said.Bosa said last year he felt frustrated as the ends focused on defending the run on first and second down. This year, that is unlikely to be the case. Though offenses will once again be focused on deterring a ravaging defensive front from reaching the quarterback, a more aggressive, attacking defensive line on first and second downs might result in more sacks by Lewis, Hubbard, Bosa and Holmes.How will Ohio State defensive tackles rotate without Michael Hill?Last Monday, coach Urban Meyer announced redshirt senior defensive tackle Michael Hill would be suspended indefinitely, at least for the first couple of games, for undisclosed reasons. On most teams, a suspension of a returning starter in his fifth year with the program would be a devastating blow. But given Ohio State’s depth, the Buckeyes feel they can overcome the temporary loss of a starter.Ohio State redshirt senior defensive tackle Michael Hill goes through a drill at fall camp on Aug. 5. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor.“Mike brings some veteran stuff, he played a lot of football for us last year. But one guy out, next guy up,” Johnson said. “So right now, the guys know that and so we’ve got to find a guy to step up and get it done.”A conglomerate of interior linemen, including redshirt senior Tracy Sprinkle, redshirt sophomores Robert Landers, redshirt sophomore Jashon Cornell and redshirt sophomore Davon Hamilton and freshman Haskell Garrett, will help serve as Hill’s replacement until he returns.Sprinkle ruptured his patellar tendon in the first week of last season. Despite the seriousness of his injury, Johnson said he expects the redshirt senior to be ready to play in the opening week. Landers is a short, stocky lineman listed at 6-foot-1, 283 pounds. The defensive tackle relies on his quickness and will be pushed into a larger role than he had last season.Hamilton, who missed much of spring practice with a broken foot, might be thrust into a larger role early in the season, along with Cornell and Garrett, due to Hill’s suspension.Hill, the starting nose tackle, racked up 21 tackles, including four for a loss, last season. Being a BosaLast season, Bosa burst onto the scene last season with seven tackles for loss and five sacks, the second most, behind his brother Joey (7.5 sacks), of any Buckeye true freshman since Meyer was hired as Ohio State head coach. That being said, expectations are high for him to increase that total and disrupt even more quarterbacks in 2017.Ohio State sophomore defensive end Nick Bosa runs through a drill at fall camp on Aug. 5. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor“I remember last year, he didn’t really practice much at the tempo that he needed to do to get him ready because of the ACL injury he suffered in high school,” Meyer said. “He’s ridiculous right now.”Though Nick said the knee injury didn’t affect his play last year, he admitted it was tough being thrown into the rotation as a freshman. And since Ohio State possessed so much depth at defensive end, he wasn’t able to stay in games long enough to gain a rhythm.This offseason, Nick said he has been sending practice film to Joey, who plays for the Los Angeles Chargers, to work on day-to-day improvement. “The thing they both have is the ability to work hard,” Johnson said. “Nick’s a great worker, Joey was a great worker. So they play really hard. They have a burning desire to be the best.”According to the sophomore defensive end, his brother’s help has worked. Though he didn’t want to set specific goals, Nick said he feels like he is reading and reacting quicker to plays.“(We) need some more Bosas,” Meyer joked.Dre’Mont Jones taking the next stepWhen redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones enrolled at Ohio State, he wasn’t even playing the position at which he is now a highly regarded NFL draft prospect. The Cleveland native was the 11th best strongside defensive end in the country in 2015, according to 247Sports composite rankings. Given the former defensive end’s experience rushing the passer from the outside, Johnson sees a potentially disruptive player that can get pressure from the interior of the line.“Play inside on top of the guard, he adds a dimension. It’s like having a defensive end playing three-technique,” Johnson said. “He is a really fast guy playing three-technique who can get one-on-one battles with the guard, and that’s what we want with this team.”Johnson said Jones played well last year, but didn’t disrupt the passer as much as the team expects from its defensive tackles. In his redshirt freshman season, Jones didn’t get a single sack, but picked up four tackles for loss and 52 total tackles.Entering his third year in the program, Jones said he understands he needs to maximize the remaining time, as it is limited. “It’s night and day,” Johnson said. “He’s taken so many leaps and bounds, he really has. He’s gotten stronger in the weight room, he’s much more physical. He’s always been a really bright player.”Since Ohio State will be without Hill for at least a few weeks, Jones will be counted on to make big plays immediately. read more

Womens Soccer Ohio State falls 10 to Michigan on the road

Ohio State senior goalkeeper Devon Kerr (1) prepares to take a goal kick in the second half of the game against Florida Gulf Coast University on Sept. 7. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorThe Ohio State women’s soccer team (6-5-1) ended its four-game unbeaten streak on Friday, falling to Michigan (8-6) in Ann Arbor. In the first 45 minutes of the match, neither team could find its opponent’s net, resulting in both teams staying scoreless, while the Wolverines leading 5-4 over the Buckeyes in shots. Michigan sophomore midfielder Nicki Hernandez, who leads the team with seven goals and five assists this season, notched the first goal of the night in the 54th minute of the match, finishing from six yards and giving the Wolverines a 1-0 advantage over Ohio State.Ohio State senior goalkeeper Devon Kerr recorded only one save on Friday night. The Buckeyes concluded the game with a 5-1 edge in corner kicks, a 5-2 lead in shots on goal and recorded 10 shots over the Wolverines eight, while Michigan was able to make five saves over Ohio State’s one. The Ohio State women’s soccer team will travel to East Lansing to take on Michigan State on Sunday at 1 p.m. read more

Hitler Hes a little chap like Charlie Chaplin diary of Girl Guide who

first_imgThe diary is titled ‘Bavaria and Austria Holiday’ and begins on July 24, 1936, after Hitler’s fame had reached a peak following the Berlin Olympic Games earlier that summer.The Girl Guide group stayed in the Bavarian Alps at Berchtesgaden, close to where Hitler had his Eagle’s Nest lair, and five days into the trip they met ruler who went on to order the deaths of six million Jews.The diary begins with the words: “A party of us started from Victoria at 8:20 p.m. We were a very jolly crowd of all ages.”The author, who also collected photos and mementoes of the trip, wrote: “At breakfast we were invited by the Hitler boys and girls to accompany them to see Hitler.”We were very bucked and said we would. We marched up with the Youth Movement and it took us 2 ½ hours… The girls meet the Hitler Youth. And this is possibly the author Adolf HitlerCredit:BridportAuctionRooms/BNPS Sadly we don’t know the name of the girl who wrote it or where she was from. It appears those from the group came from across the countryMike Dark A diary in which a British Girl Guide described Adolf Hitler as a Charlie Chaplin lookalike when she met him during a trip to Germany in 1936 has emerged for sale.The 100 typed pages documenting the youth hostelling excursion to Bavaria three years before the start of the Second World War read like an Enid Blyton adventure book, but with a chilling undercurrent.The girl, who is not named, described the Nazi dictator as a “little chap” who reminded her of the English comic actor Chaplin, who spoofed Hitler four years later in the film The Great Dictator.She also noted that he was ‘wonderful’ with the children and had a fascinating smile. Adolf Hitler “When we arrived at his residence we were all like grease-spots and found that we had four hours to wait.”However we possessed out souls in patience and waited. At last we entered his drive and then had to wait opposite Hitler for about ¼ hr. whilst the other people passed by.”He is a little chap – rather like Charlie Chaplin with his toothbrush moustache – with a very fascinating smile.”With children he is wonderful. He talks to them, accepts their posies and lets them stand by him while the people pass by saluting.”He only had four Storm Troopers guarding him and it all seemed very informal. When we passed he smiled sweetly and saluted several times.”One of the journalists nearby took our photographs and told Hitler who we were.” The girls meet the Hitler Youth. And this is possibly the authorCredit:BNPS The group of 47 youngsters was divided into patrols given colours and the unnamed author states that her patrol called ‘Orange’ was led by a ‘Captain’ – Miss Wright.The girl continued: “We consisted of Captain, her friend Miss Flood, Tubby (Olive Stokes) – so called because of her largeness – Marjorie Fricker, Betty Ainsworth, Ruth Adam and two girls from Wolverhampton and myself.”The detailed account mainly describes the day-to-day events, but also records the sights and the geography.The trip concludes with a humorous description of a trip to Papa Teuber’s Schloss for a campfire and singsong. The girls returned to England on August 8.The diary is being sold with an estimate of £200-300 on September 30. The diary is going under the hammer at the Bridport Auction Rooms in Dorset after it was consigned by a local collector.Mike Dark, from the saleroom, said: “Sadly we don’t know the name of the girl who wrote it or where she was from. It appears those from the group came from across the country.”It has also been corrected in pencil possibly by a teacher or Guide leader. For example, where the girl writes that Hitler only had four Storm Trooper guards, a pencil addition has been made that states ‘and two alsatian dogs’.”The diary is a jolly account full of their japes and scrapes and of course, their visit to see Hitler.”They appeared to be quite taken with the dictator even if they did compare him with a professional clown.”It’s interesting to wonder how those girls felt a few years later when that clown began a world war.” 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

Street protests could halt hospital closures NHS boss

first_imgIt’s very difficult for the NHS to proceed with wholescale change if you’ve got people out on the streetsChris Hopson, NHS Providers Yesterday Mr Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers, said architects of the schemes were so far failing to engage local communities, which “have the ability to sink plans they don’t support”.“It’s very difficult for the NHS to proceed with wholescale change if you’ve got people out on the streets marching with placards and banners and saying “don’t do this”,” he said.“Fundamentally you can’t make big changes to service provision without taking local people with you.”The plans follow an admission in May that the provider sector overspent by a historic £2.45 billion in the last financial year.The country has been divided into 44 areas, with each ordered to come up with a proposal that both closes the gap and caters for booming patient demand.So far the plans involve the closure of one of five major hospitals in South West London, an A&E unit in the North East of England, the loss of almost 600 beds in Devon and the possible closure of two A&E units in St Helens and West Lancashire.Mr Hopson yesterday said unit closures were too widely being regarded as a “silver bullet” to make the “overambitious and undeliverable” plans conform to tight budgets.“We have become obsessed by the money and not got the public engagement right,” he said.“We are also trying to do it too quickly.”But Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS medical director, has this week there was “plenty of time” for the public to shape the changes. 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 Hospital closures planned to shore up NHS finances could be derailed if enough people take to the streets in protest, a health service chief has said.Chris Hopson, leader of England’s hospitals sector, said public unrest and opposition by local MPs could scupper so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), which are billed as crucial to the long-term viability of the health service.On Monday the respected think tank The King’s Fund heavily criticised health bosses for trying to organise the sweeping closure of hospitals and NHS units in secret, moves which it said could put lives at risk.last_img read more

Southeastern passengers face major delays after freight train derailment near Lewisham station

first_imgSoutheastern service status at 8.50am on Tuesday Network Rail said the derailment happened shortly before 6am and that it had a team of engineers at the site by 6.15am.There were no passengers aboard and no one was injured in the incident. The derailment means trains cannot run between Dartford and Lewisham via Sidcup, with a shuttle service being arranged between Sidcup and Dartford.Trains are not running from Hastings towards London, while those from Ramsgate that normally run to Charing Cross are being diverted to London Victoria.Services starting and terminating at both Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks are also suspended, Southeastern said. Derailment in Lewisham – looks like a freight train carrying ballast pic.twitter.com/pmMj6tSEgH— ChrisO (@ChrisO_wiki) January 24, 2017 Southeastern rail services are being suspended and cancelled following a freight train derailmentCredit:PA #southeastern derailed freight train at Lewisham. Plenty of information. More hell. pic.twitter.com/vAR1cawGQL— Moaning Commuter (@MoaningCommuter) January 24, 2017 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The firm said tickets would be accepted on bus routes, Underground services and on other rail and tram services in the area.Southeastern added: “Disruption is expected to last all day. Please make sure you check before travelling.” Southeastern passengers vented their frustration on Twitter.One user, Nicky W, said: “Another day another £southeastern disaster. Freight train derailed at Lewisham. Don’t think I will rush…” Safety first at Catford Station #lewisham @acinderellaline @ABCommuters pic.twitter.com/ws08yK51Np— Brandon Davis (@onebrandondavis) January 24, 2017center_img Southeastern A Network Rail spokesman said: “Owing to a freight train derailment between Lewisham and Hither Green services are severely disrupted into and out of Charing Cross and Cannon Street.”Passengers are advised to check their journey before they travel.” Colin Twigg wrote: “No trains to Hastings from London Bridge at all?! Because a freight train derailment at Lewisham that’s not even on that line?!”.And Emilie Murphy said: “Derailed freight train at Lewisham means Uber to Kings Cross. Think I’ll still miss my train – @virgineastcoast will you honour tickets?” A freight train has derailed in south-east London, causing major disruption to the Southeastern network.Thousands of passengers faced delays getting to work as services were suspended and cancelled on Tuesday morning.Southeastern tweeted shortly after 6am to say the train had derailed in the Lewisham area, adding: “All services through the area will be disrupted, with some services suspended.” Update #Lewisham: Please see image / link for information on the service plan: https://t.co/04ScoNj3UP pic.twitter.com/lS1kSwrbYF— Southeastern (@Se_Railway) January 24, 2017 @kirstywilks21 @Sue__Moss gah! Train derailment at Lewisham, trains right up the creek! Will get to you soonest. ;oP pic.twitter.com/ii9EkozSZh— Andrew O’Brien ❄️🌱 (@darwinboerne) January 24, 2017 Chaos on #Southeastern after derailed train @ #lewisham pic.twitter.com/ldwgwUrfpp— daniel maclaren (@danmacl) January 24, 2017 Southeastern rail services are being suspended and cancelled following a freight train derailmentlast_img read more

Serial car thief could face life for killing child actor and aunt

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. A forensic police officer examining the scene in Lennard Road, where Makayah McDermott, 10, and Rosie Cooper, 34, were mown down by 23-year-old motorist Joshua Dobby in August last year Death by dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison but, in an unusual move, the Crown also brought manslaughter charges.It means that, following consideration of Dobby’s potential danger to society, a judge has the option of imposing a discretionary life sentence.When he first appeared before magistrates in Bromley last September, the court heard that Dobby had a “very long previous criminal record” including aggravated vehicle-taking.He was brought before the courts just two months before the deaths of Makayah and his aunt and was out on licence at the time, the court was told.During Dobby’s last appearance at the Old Bailey, Robin Ghosh his lawyer, said: “He wishes it to be noted that he fully acknowledges the utterly incomprehensible pain and suffering caused to the families involved.”Members of the victims’ families sat in the well of the court to watch the hearing before Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC.At the time of Makayah’s death, Sam Brown, of entertainment agency Brown and Mills, described him as an “extremely talented young actor” and a “bright young star”.He had recently auditioned for a role in a television series and had featured in a number of commercials.Ms Cooper, a hairdresser, was remembered by a friend as “one of the kindest, most beautiful, caring people you would ever meet”.The case comes amid discussions about giving judges greater sentencing powers when dealing with the worst death by dangerous driving offenders.Dobby entered his guilty pleas via video link from jail.Judge Hilliard ordered a pre-sentence report and adjourned sentence to Friday March 10.He said it was clear Dobby was driving dangerously on August 26 last year and again on the day of the fatal crash on August 31.He continued: “There is also an incident in 2010 that ended in a collision.”I understand he was on licence at the time of this offence and on the face of it he had a serious drug problem.”He said the defendant’s drug issues were shown in a letter to his girlfriend.However, he confirmed the Crown’s case was that toxicology texts were unable to establish whether he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash, only that he had used them previously. A forensic police officer examining the scene, where Makayah McDermott, 10, and Rosie Cooper, 34, were killed by 23-year-old motorist Joshua DobbyCredit: Dominic Lipinski/PA A convicted car thief from a wealthy background could be facing life behind bars for mowing down a child actor and his aunt during a police chase after admitting manslaughter charges.Joshua Dobby, 23, was out on licence when he drove a black Ford Focus into Makayah McDermott, 10, and Rosie Cooper, 34, as they walked along a road in Penge, south London, on the afternoon of August 31 last year.At an earlier hearing, Dobby admitted causing death by dangerous driving and injuring Makayah’s sister but denied manslaughter.Ahead of his trial, he changed his plea on Thursday, admitting two counts of manslaughter and also pleading guilty to dangerous driving relating to an incident on August 26 on the A228 near Snodland in Kent.last_img read more

Cat charity shop worker accidentally sells electricians £200 tools for £1

first_imgA charity shop worker made a huge error when she accidentally sold an electrician’s £200 tools for £1.Andrew Bickel, 39, was working for free fitting a new light switch in the charity shop in Cardiff when his tools suddenly vanished.He had nipped out to his van when his toolbox went missing.Asking what had happened to them, it quickly became clear that they had been sold – for just one pound.Andrew said: “It was a job as a favour. They mentioned that they had a faulty light switch so I said I would come back and change the switch. “I left my tools on a book case and went out to my van to get a switch.”I came back in and my tools had gone.”I asked if anyone had seen where they were and a customer told me a someone had just bought them.”We went outside but apparently he had got into a white Audi and driven away.”Mr Bickel is sure the person who bought the tools knew what a deal he was getting.He said: “I think he will have known how much they are worth!””He had gone up to the counter and told the old lady they were in a bargain bin and they were sold for £1.”Inside the toolbox there were professional screwdrivers worth £50-60, my pliers, cutters and testers worth about £200.”He continued: “They were so upset and apologised. “They offered to reimburse me but I said just pay half and I will pay the other half. I didn’t want them to be out of pocket.” “I was fuming but I find it quite funny now. My wife and friends can’t believe it.”And after all of that, Mr Bickel doesn’t even like cats. He said: “I bloody hate cats. They make me sneeze”. 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

Richard Hammond injured in motorbike crash while filming in Mozambique

first_imgHammond’s co-star Jeremy Clarkson had told the newspaper: “He really did hurt himself quite badly.”But asked if fellow host Hammond went to hospital, Clarkson joked: “We don’t do hospitals.” Richard Hammond now presents The Grand Tour with James May and Jeremy Clarkson In a post, entitled ‘Yes, I fell off but yes, I’m fine. Sorry’, shared on motoring social media platform DriveTribe, Hammond confirmed the reports.He wrote: “Thanks for enquiries re my slight shunt whilst filming for GT. Richard Hammond has assured fans he is “fine” after falling off a motorbike “many times” while filming for The Grand Tour.The TV presenter was in a remote part of Mozambique in east Africa shooting the Amazon Prime programme when the accident occurred, according to The Sun. Richard Hammond was severely injured in a crash in 2006Credit:Barry Batchelor /PA 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. Richard Hammond now presents The Grand Tour with James May and Jeremy ClarksonCredit:PA / Amazon Prime Video  Richard hammond James May and Jeremy Clarkson It comes 11 years after Hammond suffered life-threatening head injuries following a high-speed crash as he filmed for BBC’s Top Gear in 2006.The presenter was in a coma for two weeks following the 288mph accident, but made a full recovery. The Telegraph has approached Amazon for comment.  The other presenters were said to have been shaken by the incidentCredit:Paul Grover for the Telegraph “I can confirm that yes, I fell off a. bike, many times, in fact and yes, I banged my head and everything else. But life goes on (sic).” Richard Hammond crash scenelast_img read more

Man mauled to death by his own Staffordshire bull terrier was being

first_imgIt is not clear what the subject of the documentary was, but members of the film crew were the first to alert the emergency services.Neighbours in the block where Mr Perivoitos been resident for more than 20-years said Major was a friendly and well behaved dog and had recently helped save Mr Perivoitos’ life by alerting someone by barking when he suffered a similar seizure.One resident in the block said: “I heard he had a seizure and the dog apparently saved him.It was about two or three months back.” Mario Perivoitos was attacked by his dog after suffering a seizure Despite the fact the BBC crew were in the flat at the time of the incident, police were forced to break down the door in order to allow the emergency services access. Friend Angela Constantinou, 35, who had known Mr Perivoitos since childhood, said: “This guy had two master’s degrees. He was very intelligent, he was really kind. I think one of them was philosophy.”He was very interested in lots of things. He was excellent at computers.”But she said in recent years he had experienced drug problems and his health had suffered as a result.Police were called to Mr Perivoitos home in the Wood Green area just before 10.30pm on March 20 to find him in a critical condition.He was rushed to hospital but had lost too much blood and was confirmed dead a short time later.A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said the cause of death had been given as loss of blood and damage to the airway consistent with a dog bite.A BBC spokesman refused to say what the film crew had been doing, but confirmed that they were inside the flat at the time of the incident.The spokesman said: “A crew making a BBC documentary were present – but not filming – at the time of the incident and called an ambulance.”Given the ongoing inquiries, it would not be appropriate to comment further.” The dog involved was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier (stock image) Others described hearing him desperately trying to fight the dog off when it suddenly attacked.Geoff Morgan, 52, who lives in the property upstairs said: “I heard shouting – ‘Get him off! Get him off me’. He was shouting really loudly. He was bleeding from his neck. There was a lot of blood.”center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Mario Perivoitos was attacked by his dog after suffering a seizureCredit:SWNS  Staffordshire Bull Terrier (stock image) A philosophy graduate who was taking part in a television documentary was mauled to death by his pet dog after he suffered a seizure, sending the animal into a frenzy.Mario Perivoitos, had been filming with a BBC crew at his home in north London when he was suddenly taken ill, causing his Staffordshire bull terrier, Major, to attack.After falling to the ground the 41-year-old was bitten repeatedly in the neck, causing a fatal loss of blood.A spokesman for the BBC confirmed that a crew had been present when the attack took place but said the cameras had not been rolling at the time.last_img read more

Nearly half of professional athletes surveyed break rules to enhance performance

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. Last year the Telegraph disclosed how anti-doping checks at the Rio Olympics had descended into chaos after the process of sample collection was undermined by no-shows and security lapses.Organisers admitted to unauthorised individuals had gained access to restricted areas during the drug-testing process while a shortage of staff left many testers at breaking point, Some walked out because the pressure was so great.The problems last summer came just weeks after a damning report in which Russia was found guilty of state-sponsored doing at the 2014 Winter Olympics.   Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova was ordered to repay almost £378,000 to the organisers of the London Marathon after being banned for dopingCredit: PA Wire The test, which asked athletes the question “Have you knowingly violated anti-doping regulations by using a prohibited substance or method in the past 12 months” had special checks in place to make sure it was completely anonymous.Half of those who took part were never asked the doping question to make sure it was impossible to know who had responded.  But now the journal Sports Medicine has published the findings after deciding that the methods were scientifically sound, and a fair representation of the situation.“These findings suggest that biological testing greatly underestimates the true prevalence of doping in elite athletics,” said Harrison Pope, Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.“It indicates the need for future studies of the prevalence of doping in athletics using randomized response techniques to protect the anonymity of the athletes. Wada said that a working group will meet next month to discuss the latest study.“Given the numerous recent highly publicised doping scandals in major sports, one might guess that the proportion of such undetected cheats is high,” said Rolf Ulrich, co-author of the study from the University of Tübingen.Nicole Sapstead, Chief Executive of UK Anti-Doping, said that the findings were ‘disappointing and concerning.’However she added: “Significant improvements have taken place since 2011 when this data was collected.  Testing methods continue to advance but testing is only one part of the anti-doping process.“There is now greater investment in educating elite and up and coming athletes about the dangers and consequences of taking banned substances, as well as a greater emphasis on intelligence and investigations as an alternative way of catching those who seek to break the rules.” Russia's Liliya Shobukhova was ordered to repay almost £378,000 to the organisers of the London Marathon after being banned for dopingcenter_img Russia’s Ekaterina Galitskaya competing in the Stars of 2016 event in Moscow after athletes were banned from the Rio Olympics over evidence of state-sponsored dopingCredit:AFP Russia's Ekaterina Galitskaya competing in the Stars of 2016 event in Moscow after athletes were banned from the Rio Olympics over evidence of state-sponsored doping Nearly half of professional athletes are using banned drugs or methods to enhance their performance, an anonymous survey has found.Harvard University asked more than 2,000 elite sportsmen and women who were competing at World Championships in Athletics (WCA) and  Pan-Arab Games (PAG), whether they had broken the rules in the last 12 months.Nearly one third of WCA athletes admitted to violating anti-doping regulations and 45 per cent of those at the PAG, figures which were described as ‘disappointing and concerning’ by sports commentators.The statistics contradict biological tests or blood and urine which typically detect doping in only one to three per cent of competitors at elite events.The surveys were carried out at events in 2011 and commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), but the results have only just be published following years of rows over the researchers’ methodology. John Brewer Professor of Sports Science at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, said: “It is always a concern when reports like this on the extent of doping in sport come to light, and once again the report highlights the need for Governments and International Federations to continue to invest in research, education and testing to combat doping. “I think the figures are unlikely to be a reflection of the situation today, and I am confident that as well as testing and punishments acting as a deterrent, we have on-going education programmes in most sports which highlight the fact that doping isn’t just cheating – it ruins lives and in many cases either shortens lives or ends them prematurely due to the harm that most banned substances do to the human body.” “Even though the paper refers to events that happened in 2011, there is no reason to think the rates of doping in 2017 would be any different.”The authors conclude that doping is ‘remarkably widespread’ among elite athletes but remains largely unchecked, in spite of sophisticated testing methods.  They claim such prevalence not only compromises fair play, but could be detrimental to the health of athletes.last_img read more