How Our Womens World Cup Model Works

Check out FiveThirtyEight’s Women’s World Cup predictions.Women’s sports don’t have the same rich data that men’s sports do. So what do you do if you want to forecast the Women’s World Cup? You gather up everything you can get.We put together a database of about 8,000 international women’s soccer matches since 1971 — as many games as we could find. And we used these to develop a set of women’s national team ratings — we call them WSPI (Women’s Soccer Power Index) — and projections for the 2015 World Cup. The United States and Germany enter as front-runners, and you can read more about all the elite teams, the dark horses and the players to watch in our colleague Allison McCann’s World Cup preview. We’re here to take you through the methodology behind these projections.WSPI ratings are based on a simplified version of the Soccer Power Index (SPI), a system that Nate developed in conjunction with ESPN in 2009 to rate men’s soccer teams. Men’s SPI is based on two components: a team rating derived from scores of international matches and a player rating, which is primarily based on results from club play for the individual players on each national team’s roster. For WSPI, we use only the team ratings component because detailed data on club play is not readily available for women’s soccer.Otherwise, the major features of WSPI are similar to the team-rating component of SPI:Ratings account for the final score of each match, including whether the match went into extra time or a shootout, and the location of the game.Ratings also account for the importance of the match: A World Cup match counts far more than a friendly.A team’s rating varies continuously over time. For example, China had a considerably stronger WSPI in 1999, when it played the United States in the World Cup final, than they do now.WSPI ratings, like SPI ratings, are broken down into offensive and defensive components. The offensive rating can be interpreted as how many goals we would expect the team to score in an average competitive international match,1In the past, we’ve sometimes referred to SPI ratings as indicating how many goals a team would score and allow against an average international opponent. But that’s not quite accurate: The way SPI ratings are designed, they indicate a team’s performance in an average international match, controlling for strength of schedule and weighting by match importance. The same is true for WSPI. The distinction matters because stronger teams tend to play more matches than weaker ones, especially in women’s soccer. The average international match, in other words, is typically against a considerably above-average opponent. while the defensive rating is how many goals it would concede in such a match, controlling for strength of schedule. Higher offensive ratings are better. Lower defensive ratings are better.The offensive and defensive components are combined into an overall WSPI rating, which reflects the percentage of possible points we would expect the team to score in a hypothetical round-robin tournament against every other team in the world.Let’s look at a more detailed example of how a team’s WSPI rating is calculated. Here are some of the United States’ recent results, along with the ratings the team received for each match and the weight WSPI gives to the match: You can see some of the key features of WSPI in these examples (a team’s overall offensive and defensive ratings are a weighted average of these game-by-game ratings). The USWNT’s March 11, 2015, match against France receives relatively little weight, even though it was played fairly recently, because it was a friendly. The 2012 Olympics still receive quite a lot of weight, however, given their importance.2Unlike in men’s soccer, women’s Olympic soccer teams don’t have any age restrictions. The Olympic tournament tends to be almost as competitive as the World Cup. (The maximum possible weight for a match, in case you’re wondering, is 1.68.)Meanwhile, you can see how much strength of schedule matters in WSPI. The USWNT gets a higher offensive rating for beating France 2-0 than for beating Mexico 3-0 because France has a tougher defense. It’s not uncommon for a team to win a match against a weak opponent but receive poor adjusted ratings because it didn’t win by as much as WSPI expected. Conversely, a team can receive a good offensive rating just by scoring on a very good team, even if it loses. The location of a match is also important: Home advantage in competitive matches has historically been worth about 0.35 goals and would make the home team about a 60-40 favorite in a matchup between two equally rated teams.Once we’ve generated WSPI ratings for every team in the world, we can estimate the probability that any team will beat any other team.3This part of the model is “trained” on all non-friendly matches between two teams in the WSPI top 50 — matches that roughly approximate World Cup competition. More specifically, we first calculate the expected number of goals that each team will score in a given match and then convert these into a matrix of possible outcomes using Poisson distributions. Thus, in any given match, we’ve estimated the probability that it will end in a 0-0 tie, a 1-0 victory, a 2-3 loss or any other possible scoreline. Knowing this distribution of possible scores is important because the tiebreaker to advance to the knockout stage of the World Cup takes goals scored and allowed into account.With these individual match probabilities in hand, we can calculate the chance that each team in the tournament will advance to the knockout round or eventually win the tournament. To do so, we simulate the tournament 20,000 times: If the U.S. has a 28 percent chance of winning the tournament, this means that it won in approximately 5,600 out of 20,000 simulations. As simulations are played out, each team’s WSPI is updated to reflect its results in that simulation. Loosely speaking, this accounts for the possibility that a team will “get hot” during the tournament and considerably outperform its pre-World Cup WSPI.4For a more technical discussion, see here.Matches in the knockout round continue into extra time if they are tied at the end of regulation and a shootout if tied after that, so we’ve spent some time making sure our simulations handle these cases accurately. Extra time is treated as a shortened match in which teams score at a slower rate than during regulation.5Historically, teams have scored at a rate about 25 percent lower during extra time. Shootout win probabilities are also derived from WSPI instead of being treated as random. There is evidence that shootouts are skill-based — the team with the better WSPI rating has won 58 percent of shootouts in our database — but good teams don’t tend to be as dominant in shootouts as they are in regular time. For example, the USWNT would be more than a 90 percent favorite to beat Thailand in a regular game, but only a 71 percent favorite to win in a shootout. For this reason, it’s usually in the interest of the weaker team to play for a shootout even though it’d be an underdog if one occurred.Have any more questions? See Nate’s 2009 article and FAQ for more of the technical details and philosophy behind SPI, most of which also apply to WSPI. Or drop us a note here. We hope you’ll enjoy following the women’s tournament with us. DATELOCATIONCOMPETITIONOPPONENTSCOREWEIGHTOFF. RATINGDEF. RATING 10/24/14Chester, PennsylvaniaWorld Cup qualifierMexico3-00.963.10.1 7/28/12Glasgow, ScotlandOlympicsColombia3-00.803.10.1 3/11/15Faro, PortugalFriendlyFrance2-00.284.3-0.3 7/25/12Glasgow, ScotlandOlympicsFrance4-20.808.11.3 10/15/14Kansas City, KansasWorld Cup qualifierTrinidad & Tobago1-00.960.30.4 read more

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Facing Health Concerns Venus Williams Wins At French Open

Venus Williams faces challenges off the court.Venus Williams, in her first Grand Slam match since revealing in August she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, overcame a slow start Sunday to beat 19-year-old Paula Ormaechea of Argentina 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.The seven-time major champion did not look excited to be on the court, hardly smiling after many of her 41 winners. But Williams, 31, laughed a lot during her news conference, especially when she discussed her health as ”definitely an adventure and journey; it’s life happening.”An autoimmune disease is a case of mistaken identity, when the body begins attacking its own healthy tissue. Autoimmune conditions include rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.”A lot of it, I have to figure it out. It’s physical and emotional and all kinds of different things. Mental,” Williams said of her medical condition. ”It’s a big accomplishment for me to be here right now.” read more

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Who Is In The Most Trouble Brazil Germany Or Argentina

So what can Germany do? Only with better counterpressing from the forward line and midfield — to prevent opponents from striding through the center of the pitch with ease as Mexico did — can Germany regain its defensive strength. Coach Joachim Low started only two central midfielders, Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira, in order to get playmakers Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller into the lineup behind a central striker. A personnel shift that adds another central midfielder to the mix while dropping an advanced creator seems like the obvious next step. Of course, this isn’t as easy as just scribbling a new name on the lineup sheet. Player positions and relationships will have to be reconsidered and restructured. Mexico exposed Low’s first lineup, and now he needs to identify a backup plan and get his players ready to go with it in just a few days. The task is great.A similar tactical problem looms for Argentina. While La Albiceleste did not see its chance of advancing go down by a large margin, it was in trouble from the moment it was placed in a group full of such capable defensive sides as Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria. With a 32 percent chance of being eliminated before the knockouts, Argentina should be worried.And what went wrong against Iceland does not seem easy to solve. Argentina attempted 26 shots against Iceland but generated only about 1.1 expected goals, a rate of about 0.04 expected goals per shot. The only teams in the tournament that have created lower-quality shooting chances are Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.You would expect a team with Lionel Messi to be creating good scoring chances. But Argentina has a problem: Messi is tasked with bringing the ball forward from defense to attack. If Messi must pick up the ball in deep areas, who will make the pass or run near the penalty area to break open the defense? According to the statistical company Impect, which tracks whether passes took a team beyond an opposition defensive player, Argentina’s passes only bypassed a defender 23 times, the fourth-fewest of any team in the World Cup through the first four days.At the same time, Iceland created about 0.9 expected goals on eight shot attempts, a rate of 0.11 expected goals per shot,1Ninth-highest in the tournament so far, only slightly behind Mexico’s 0.13. showing that Iceland was able to create good scoring opportunities despite Argentina’s conservative approach. If Argentina’s defense can be exploited like this, it’s hard to suggest that coach Jorge Sampaoli should bring on a more attack-minded midfielder like Ever Banega and risk opening up further at the back. A counterpress could also work, but Argentina already tried that. Sampaoli drilled his players to press high up the field and seek to create turnovers that could give them new possession in advanced areas, but the team’s middling results and underlying numbers from qualifying suggest that has not worked either. It may be that the only real solution is hoping that Messi puts together a truly legendary tournament and covers both creative roles, advancing the ball through the midfield and beating the defenders.By contrast, Brazil’s exceptionally talented roster should not have to depend on one player. But against Switzerland, it did. Although its goal came from a brilliant individual finish by Philippe Coutinho, in general, Brazil tried to ride Neymar to victory. The creative winger was constantly on the ball and, more than that, constantly tasked with beating a man to create space for the attack to move forward. Eighteen times Neymar was involved in a one-on-one with a defender. This is high even for Neymar, who averaged about 10 one-on-ones per match for Paris Saint-Germain. But while Neymar was successful about 60 percent of the time in the French league, here he struggled, winning only five of 18 contests. Switzerland consistently bodied and often fouled Neymar, leaving him unable to progress the ball as he usually does. And while that could just be a fluky bad game from Neymar, Brazil has reason to worry. The draw against Switzerland was Neymar’s first match back from injury, and before the game, Brazilian coach Tite said Neymar was not fully fit. Brazil struggled to break down Switzerland because, time and again, its attack waited for Neymar to beat a defender, and he couldn’t do it.Unlike Argentina, however, Brazil already has the players to lean on while Neymar works himself back into shape. Coutinho and Marcelo are elite passers, while Willian adds about 3.5 complete dribbles per 90 minutes, 12th highest among players in the big five leagues with at least 2000 minutes played. None of them alone can do what Neymar usually does, but Brazil’s starting lineup as a collective can carry some of Neymar’s workload. What will be required for Brazil, rather, is that the team rebalance the attacking load until its superstar is fully fit. Brazil has the talent to continue to roll without Neymar at 100 percent, if it can limit his responsibilities.All of these teams remain favored to escape their groups. But a shocking early exit is possible for Germany and Argentina if they cannot solve some major problems. Brazil should be able to continue and succeed without Neymar at his best, at least for a while. But to reach or win the final, all three teams must make important changes.Check out our latest World Cup predictions. The World Cup has been full of surprises. Of the five teams rated most likely to win the World Cup before the tournament by FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index, only France won its first match. Spain, Argentina and Brazil could manage only draws, and worse yet, Germany lost to Mexico. While Spain’s 3-3 draw against Portugal can be excused — Cristiano Ronaldo’s team is rated the eighth-best side in the tournament and has legitimate hopes of winning the whole thing — the other three face larger problems.Germany’s difficulty may be the most acute. While Argentina and Brazil saw their chances of reaching the knockout round go down only slightly (77 percent to 68 percent for Argentina and 89 percent to 85 percent for Brazil), Germany is suddenly at risk of being the third consecutive defending World Cup champion to go out in the group stages. Die Mannschaft’s odds of reaching the round of 16 plummeted from 90 percent to 64 percent.Germany can’t say the loss was undeserved. Mexico created more expected goals, a statistical estimate of the quality of scoring chances, than Germany did, with the Mexican counterattack ripping up the German defense even when it did not create shots. Eight times in the match, Mexican players combined to move the ball straight through midfield — with more than 50 percent of ball movement directly toward the goal — and into the German penalty area. Though only four of those ended in shots, one produced a goal.That Hirving Lozano game-winning goal was the most devastating example of this counterattack. It starts with an open-play turnover, leading to a few quick passes and runs, a couple of defenders beaten on the dribble and a pass into the penalty area. The map below shows the Lozano goal and three other moves like it. If Mexico had been more clinical in creating good shots from these moves, the result could have been even worse for Germany. read more

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Which 2018 Stars Are Doing The Best Impressions Of Pele Maradona And

By analyzing the statistical fingerprints of every performance by every player to appear in a World Cup since 1966,1Excluding players with less than 30 minutes of playing time. FiveThirtyEight’s new interactive tool — 50 Years Of World Cup Doppelgangers — can give a realistic sense of how great or lousy each performance in Russia this month is by comparing them to how other players have done in the past. The best comparison for how teenaged French sensation Kylian Mbappé is performing so far, for instance, is the way Brazilian Ronaldinho played in the 2002 World Cup.Some matches are far less obvious: The performance of Croatian captain Luka Modric through three games is most similar to that of Kuwait’s Abdullah Al Buloushi in 1982 … naturally.But what if we reverse engineered things? Which players in Russia are doing the best impressions of iconic World Cup performances of years past? Some player and tournament combinations do not have particularly close analogues in 2018, including Ronaldo (the single-name one, not Cristiano) in 2002 or Xavi in 2010, but we found eight iconic World Cup displays that have a reasonably close counterpart in Russia this summer:Bobby Moore 1966Cedric Soares 2018 (12th most similar), Santiago Arias 2018 (17th most similar) While Cruyff may have been the best attacking player on the planet in 1974, Franz Beckenbauer, who captained West Germany, was the best defender. His performances were characterised by high defensive involvement, but also an extremely impressive ability to advance the ball, which was demonstrated by the number of progressive passes and dribbles he made.Poetically, the most similar performance to Beckenbauer’s in 1974 is Philipp Lahm’s in 2014 — Lahm also captained Germany to the trophy. Meanwhile, his closest 2018 counterparts are teammates for Real Madrid: Marcelo, who is known for terrorising opposition down the left wing, and Sergio Ramos, an aggressive center-back who is also extremely competent with the ball at his feet.Paolo Rossi 1982Diego Costa 2018 (18th most similar) England is one of the World Cup’s greatest under-performers since the tournament began, but the Three Lions have managed to get their hands on the trophy once. Bobby Moore captained the side to victory when his country hosted in 1966.Though he was technically a center-back, soccer’s most defensive outfield position, Moore was an all-rounder — he got two assists in the final and completed more passes than anyone on the pitch that day. It’s somewhat unsurprising, then, that his closest 2018 analogue is an offensive right-back — Cedric Soares of Portugal, who maraudes down the right wing and is characterised by progressive passes and dribbles (those that advance the ball at least 10 yards toward the opponent’s goal or into their box) and defensive involvement.Eusebio 1966Cristiano Ronaldo 2018 (21st most similar) Though Portugal lost to England in the semifinals in 1966, Eusebio, the dazzlingly fast striker, took home the Golden Boot with nine goals. He owed his impressive offensive display in large part to the number of good scoring chances he got and to his progressive dribbling skills.This pairing of goal-scoring skills and canny dribbling ability is similar to that of James Rodriguez, whose breakthrough 2014 World Cup performance for Colombia was the second most similar to Eusebio’s in 1966, while Ronaldo’s 2002 performance for the Brazilian team is the sixth most similar. Eusebio’s closest 2018 peer? The hero of Portugal’s modern era: Cristiano Ronaldo, who is very much the focal point of their attack in Russia, with four goals already.Pele 1970Edinson Cavani 2018 (9th most similar) Brazil’s 1970 team have gone down in legend as one of the best teams of all time, captivatingly winning their third trophy in Mexico and cementing the beginning of a soccer dynasty. In the process, Pelé became the only player in history to have won three World Cups, and he took home FIFA’s Golden Ball award for being the best player in the tournament.The Pelé that led Brazil’s front-line in Mexico was less dynamic and sprightly than the 17-year-old who burst onto the international scene in the 1958 tournament in Sweden. He was more of a dedicated goal-scorer than he had ever been, contributing four at the tournament. His closest 2018 equivalent is Edinson Cavani, the tireless Uruguayan forward who specialises in getting high quality goal-scoring chances.Johan Cruyff 1974Isco 2018 (5th most similar); Neymar 2018 (9th most similar) Paolo Rossi is one of few players who is remembered more for his World Cup performances than his club ones. He inspired Italy to their third World Cup title in 1982, taking home the Golden Boot with six goals, including an iconic hat trick against Brazil in the quarterfinals.This summer, Diego Costa’s work with Spain is the most similar to Rossi’s 1982 performance; in each case, the players were dedicated goal-scorers who didn’t tend to dribble or create much.Diego Maradona 1986Lionel Messi 2018 (second most similar); Neymar 2018 (fifth most similar) Zinedine Zidane has been both the hero and villain for France on the world stage. In 1998, though, when they were the hosts in one of the most fondly remembered World Cups in the modern era, he was very much the former.He scored twice before halftime in the final as France beat Brazil, while his performances at the tournament in general typified being a creative playmaker. In Russia this year, the performance most similar to Zidane’s 1998 showing is from Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri, who is the star player in a surprisingly dangerous Swiss outfit that is hoping to advance past Sweden in the round of 16. Diego Maradona’s heroics at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico have gone down in soccer folklore as the legend of a star player dragging his team to success by any means possible. Arguably the most gifted dribbler of all time, the diminutive Argentine could tear defenses apart single-handedly, as England learned all too well.Unsurprisingly, fellow diminutive Argentine Lionel Messi, who will only sink deeper into Maradona’s shadow if he doesn’t triumph in Russia, has put in performances that are among the most similar to Maradona’s in 1986. Messi’s 2018 performance ranks second, while his 2014 and 2010 incarnations rank ninth and 10th, respectively. The 2018 performance by Neymar, who is equally talismanic for Brazil, ranks fifth.Zinedine Zidane 1998Xherdan Shaqiri 2018 (18th most similar) Though Johan Cruyff’s contributions to soccer went far beyond his playing career, his performance at the 1974 World Cup in West Germany remains one of his greatest gifts to the sport. In a team playing revolutionary “Total Football,” the playmaker was granted a free role that allowed him to roam the pitch as he pleased.His electric dribbling ability was complemented by supernatural passing vision, and it is these characteristics in particular that have made his closest 2018 peer, Spain’s Isco, his team’s most important player so far in Russia.Franz Beckenbauer 1974Marcelo 2018 (12th most similar); Sergio Ramos 2018 (17th most similar) read more

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Cardale Jones looks to keep Ohio State on track against Minnesota

OSU redshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones (12) runs with the ball during a game against Rutgers on Oct. 24 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway Township, NJ . OSU won 49-7. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorWith the one-game suspension of Ohio State redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett following a Saturday morning drunk-driving citation, the door has opened for redshirt junior Cardale Jones to come off the bench and lead the offense.It is a situation the Cleveland native is more than familiar with after filling in for the final three games of last season, but not likely one he expected just one game after losing his starting job for the first time.Still, OSU coach Urban Meyer said he has complete faith in Jones.“Cardale had a great week of practice last week, he’s engaged, he handled everything like a man,” Meyer said. “He threw for 300 yards a couple weeks ago at a 75 percent clip. He’s 10-0 as a starter. That’s not even a hesitation.”Despite Meyer’s confidence in Jones, senior left tackle Taylor Decker said the absence of Barrett could affect the offense for OSU (8-0, 4-0) that was improving each game.“I think it does affect our momentum,” Decker said. “We were getting J.T. in there more and more and we were improving week to week, but at the same time I don’t think it was just J.T. getting in there that affected our momentum. I think everyone was playing better.”That start for Jones is set to come on Saturday against visiting Minnesota (4-4, 1-3).OSU has won eight consecutive meetings with the Golden Gophers, but Decker said OSU expects a very tough matchup with the road team, which is led by the 25th ranked defense in the country.“It could be one of the toughest games for us thus far this year,” Decker said.If something were to happen to Jones on Saturday, Meyer said another former starting quarterback would step in: redshirt senior Braxton Miller.Miller, a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, started at quarterback for the Buckeyes for three seasons before a shoulder injury and the emergences of Barrett and Jones forced him to switch positions to H-back.The Huber Heights, Ohio, native is yet to throw a downfield pass this season, but Meyer said the decision to slot him as the backup over redshirt freshman Stephen Collier was an easy one.“There’s no question that he’s our No. 2 quarterback,” Meyer said.Meyer said no decision had been made as of Monday as to if Miller would be behind center in the red zone, as Barrett did for the final two weeks of Jones’ original stint as the starter.Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. at Ohio Stadium.About the GophersMinnesota’s season has been marked by several strong performances and several duds.The Golden Gophers put scares in No. 8 TCU in the season opener and, last week, No. 17 Michigan, losing by six and three points, respectively.However, a trio of three-point wins over the Mountain West’s Colorado State and the Mid-American Conference’s Kent State and Ohio showed that Minnesota has oftentimes looked better in losses than wins this season.Minnesota’s interim coach, Tracy Claeys, is set to lead his team for the second consecutive game after stepping in following the sudden retirement of former coach Jerry Kill.The players rallied around Claeys in his first game, coming within a yard of upsetting Michigan. Meyer said he expects that same passion on the road in Columbus.“I think that they played their best game (against Michigan),” Meyer said. “They were very inspired, they played tremendous in that game on both sides of the ball against a very good team. So, I think they’re an excellent team. They’re hitting their stride right now as well.”A season ago, Minnesota put up a fight against the Buckeyes in Minneapolis, though OSU came away with a 31-24 victory. Barrett was responsible for 389 yards and four touchdowns in the game.That contest marked the last time OSU junior running back Ezekiel Elliott failed to rush for over 100 yards, as he finished with 91. The St. Louis native has eclipsed the century mark in 13 consecutive games since. Webb is backDuring Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference, Meyer revealed that sophomore cornerback Damon Webb’s suspension has been lifted and he could return to action on Saturday.Webb played in each of OSU’s first two games, picking up eight tackles, before being suspended for an undisclosed violation of a team policy before the Buckeyes’ Week 3 game against Northern Illinois.Webb’s return comes as a necessity for an OSU secondary that has lost junior safety Cam Burrows and, as Meyer also announced on Tuesday, sophomore safety Erick Smith for the season.Webb did not appear on OSU’s weekly depth chart, but Meyer indicated during the teleconference that he will see the field against the Golden Gophers.Meyer also said on Monday that junior H-back Dontre Wilson and redshirt freshman receiver Parris Campbell are questionable on Saturday, while redshirt freshman receiver Johnnie Dixon is out following a knee injury.Up nextAfter the matchup with Minnesota, OSU is scheduled to head to Champaign, Illinois, for a meeting with the Fighting Illini. Kickoff is slated for either noon or 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 14. read more

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Not always greener on the Urban side for Ohio States new coach

At the Fawcett Center on Ohio State’s campus Monday night, some clapped as Urban Meyer was introduced as the 24th coach in OSU football history, but others remain skeptical. The six-year, $24 million contract Meyer signed earlier that day has stirred Buckeye Nation just days after the conclusion of a 6-6 regular-season campaign. The former University of Florida coach arrives at OSU as it awaits a final ruling from the NCAA regarding rule infractions committed by the football program, though OSU’s newest hire also departed a Florida program that was rife with off-field transgressions. The Associated Press reported Monday that 27 UF players were arrested a combined 30 times during Meyer’s tenure in Gainesville, Fla. Meyer said during the Monday press conference that the reports of charges against his former players were inflated. “I see numbers of arrests and the numbers I see are exaggerated,” Meyer said. “We’ve had a pretty good track record. We ran some bumps in the road at the University of Florida. Does that mean we had bad kids? I’ll fight that forever. No, absolutely not ­— we did not have bad guys. Did they make stupid mistakes? Yeah, I’ve made a few stupid mistakes.” George Diaz, a sports columnist for the Orlando Sentinel in Orlando, Fla., said that it’s on Meyer to choose to deny documented arrests and cases against UF players that ranged from marijuana busts to domestic violence. “(Meyer) certainly had some issues with discipline and keeping everyone in order,” Diaz said. “That’s on his record. It doesn’t overshadow everything that he has done, which is a lot of great things, but it’s a part of his permanent record.” Tom Green, a UF student and sports editor of The Independent Florida Alligator, said that the off-field arrests and run-ins with law enforcement by UF players made headlines in the Sunshine State. “It got a lot of headlines because of the number of arrests,” Green said. “It got a lot of attention. A lot of the arrests were either marijuana related or underage drinking and, you know, stuff that a lot of college students get arrested for.” Green said he disagreed with Meyer’s claim that the charges against UF players were exaggerated. “(Players) got arrested and it got reported,” Green said. “The arrests just piled up over the years.” OSU athletic director Gene Smith said that should OSU receive a bid to a postseason bowl game, Meyer would not be involved with preparing or coaching the team for the game. Once Meyer takes the reigns at OSU, he said he would apply a set of core values that will help Buckeye players stay out of trouble. “We have a set of core values. Honesty (and) respect,” Meyer said. “Number one, treat everyone with respect. Number 2, no drugs, no stealing, no weapons. Those are core value issues. You’re either dismissed or you miss a good bunch of time playing the game.” Both Diaz and Green said a bitter taste will remain in the mouths of Florida fans because Meyer, who left college football to address health concerns and family issues, returned to the sidelines so soon. “Florida fans are understandably disgruntled and upset and confused,” Diaz said. “There’s a lot of emotions going on. I think (Florida fans) are just upset by the mixed signals he’s sending out by taking the (OSU) job.” Green agreed. “Just from what I’ve seen from friends, Facebook and on Twitter and online, all of the people are mad because they didn’t think that (Meyer) would do that,” Green said. “A lot of them feel betrayed.” Meyer said during his introduction as OSU coach that he would always consider himself a member of the Florida family, having won two national championships in Gainesville. Green said he didn’t think those words would console many Gators fans. “I personally don’t think he lied to (Florida fans),” Green said. “An opportunity of a lifetime presented itself to him and he couldn’t turn that down. (Fans) shouldn’t feel betrayed.” Meyer boasts a 104-23 overall record in 10 seasons as an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision coach, as well as a 7-1 mark in bowl games and a 4-0 record in Bowl Championship Series games. Diaz said OSU fans can look forward to having one of the most talented and capable coaches in the country patrolling the Ohio Stadium sidelines when the 2012 season begins. That isn’t to say there aren’t potential draw backs to having Meyer lead OSU football. “He’s gone through some significant health issues and had to deal with some family matters. He said he’s come out of it differently and will approach things differently,” Diaz said. “Now, we’ll see if that new approach changes what transpires on the field. That’s the great unknown.” OSU (6-6, 3-5) is currently awaiting a postseason bowl bid. read more

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Scotts helping hand sparks newlook Buckeyes

Senior guard Shannon Scott (3) dribbles the ball during a game against Marquette on Nov. 18 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 74-63.Credit: Muyao Shen / Lantern photographerIn the first two games of the 2013-14 season, the Ohio State men’s basketball team tallied 27 assists.Through two games this season, Shannon Scott has 25.The No. 20 Buckeyes — playing without their top three scorers from last season — are 2-0 and shooting 63.3 percent from the field in those two games.After OSU’s 74-63 win against Marquette on Tuesday, Scott — who had 14 of the team’s 23 assists in the game — said his teammates have a different offensive mindset than they did a year ago.“I think last year, we would play the same way at times, but players didn’t know if they wanted to shoot the ball or not,” Scott said. “I think this year everybody knows that when they touch the ball, it’s gonna be their shot, and they gotta make the shot.”Against the Golden Eagles, making the shot is exactly what the Buckeyes did, and what they have done consistently through 80 minutes of basketball this year. With five new players contributing to the scoring output, the shooting — and making — has come on the shoulders of a variety of players.Including a true freshman, a redshirt-freshman and a redshirt-senior playing in their first seasons at OSU, six different Buckeyes have scored in double figures at some point this season. Four of those six players have averaged double digits through two games, and two of those four didn’t take the court last season.The distribution of scoring has led to all 10 OSU players who have taken the court this season scoring on both games.With senior forward Sam Thompson, senior centers Amir Williams and Trey McDonald, redshirt-senior forward Anthony Lee, sophomore forward Marc Loving, redshirt-freshman guard Kam Williams, freshman guard D’Angelo Russell, freshman forwards Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate and himself all contributing points, Scott said the Buckeyes already have a good idea of how they each fit into the team dynamic.“Just the simple fact that everybody came in and contributed in some aspect of the game is just a great feeling,” Scott said Tuesday. “And I think everybody has a better understanding of what their role is.”The wide range of contribution has helped Scott excel as a distributor, as he picked up 11 assists in the opener against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell last Friday before his 14 helpers against Marquette.Those 14 assists are tied for the second most in a single game in school history, but Scott attributed the big numbers to his teammates and not his own play.“I just have so many weapons around me, it makes the game a lot easier,” he said. “Kam came into the game, played great. Amir played well.“Sam, Marc, D’Angelo, Jae’Sean, Kam, Keita, Trey, Anthony, everybody played well. So having so many weapons around me, it makes the game a lot easier for me.”After the Buckeyes’ hot hand from 3-point land carried them to a seven-point halftime lead against the Golden Eagles, they moved inside and scored 32 points in the paint in the second half. Coach Thad Matta credited Scott’s ability to push the team for the second-half switch on offense.“I think Shannon was able to open things up a little bit and obviously Sam running in transition,” Matta said after the game. “I think our bigs are really doing a good job of getting down the floor as well which opens things up.”Scott said the team’s mindset has changed from a year ago, allowing for the more free-flowing offense OSU has run so far this season.“I think everybody just has the mindset this year that we’re not gonna take any plays off on the offensive end,” he said. “We played so hard on defense the last couple years that we kind of forgot about offense.”Perhaps contributing to his recent success passing the ball, Scott added that the Buckeyes have more of a plan on offense than they did last year as well.“This year we know when we get the ball we’re gonna attack every time,” Scott said. “You can ask Kam and Amir the same thing, we’re all attacking every time we touch the ball, and that makes it a lot easier for all of us.”Apart from the new-look offense, Amir Williams said the Buckeyes have benefited from a change to their defensive philosophy as well after switching to a zone look.“We have so much length and quickness on defense,” he said after the Marquette game. “It allows us to attack our opponents better than last year. We have guys doing a great job of covering the gaps, and we’re definitely still working out the kinks, but so far it’s been working very well for us.”As the team transitions its mindset on both sides of the ball, Scott has helped lead a high-flying young roster to a fresh start to begin a potential-laden season. But with the rest of the year an unknown, one thing is for sure. If Lee had flown just a little higher on one dunk attempt, Scott would have made his mark in the records books, and not just on recent box scores.Amir Williams and Kam Williams combined to let out a long “oooh” when they found out Scott was just a Lee-missed-dunk away from tying former Buckeye Aaron Craft’s program record of 15 assists, but the fourth-year veteran took it in stride, and instead looked ahead to another chance.“It’s OK, we’ll just try to get it again, another game or something,” Scott said.OSU is scheduled to return to the court on Sunday against Sacred Heart at the Schottenstein Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m. read more

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Motorist faces brush with the law after being caught on camera brushing

first_imgMr Tulip pictured this driver cleaning his teeth at the wheelCredit:Mercury Press Mr Tulip pictured this driver cleaning his teeth at the wheel A father caught the moment a motorist appeared to brush his teeth while driving down the motorway for more than five minutes.Robert Tulip, 42, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, was on his way to Blackburn on October 13 with his wife when he noticed the driver in the car next to him appearing to still be completing his morning routine.The support worker claims the motorist was cleaning his teeth for around five minutes and using a travel mug to spit into while driving 50-60 miles per hour along the M62. At first my wife thought I was joking. She thought I was having a laugh. She didn’t think anyone would do thatRobert Tulip Mr Tulip shot the footage to show his wife Lisa, who was driving and didn’t believe it was actually happening.Even though the incident amused Robert he admits these “stupid” actions can risk lives and hopes the video will ‘shame’ the motorist and make other drivers think twice.Mr Tulip said: “It’s such a distraction. The video only shows a little part of what I saw. I was trying to prove what he was doing. I don’t think he was aware at all that I was filming him.”I wanted to shame him. I didn’t do it for a laugh. I did it because people like that should be accountable for their actions and realise they’re putting the rest of us in danger.”There is no way you are 100 per cent committed to what is going on around you [if you are doing that].”If it was myself and I was stupid enough to do something like that and someone filmed it I would be embarrassed and think twice about doing it again. “We were driving along and I saw the man and it took us a mile or so to catch up with him again because he took off when we first saw it.”A couple of more minutes later he was still doing it. Must have been about five minutes in total.”I was half expecting him to spit out the window but he was spitting into a travel mug. It was 1pm, it was a bit of an odd time to be cleaning your teeth whilst driving.”At first my wife thought I was joking. She thought I was having a laugh. She didn’t think anyone would do that.”After Mr Tulip spotted the red Vauxhall Astra driver he decided to share his dash cam footage to help raise awareness to the dangers this can cause to other drivers.Mr Tulip said: “I ride a motorbike and you see quite a lot when you’re on a bike because you observe more. I see the dangers more than most car drivers.”What really annoys me as a motorbike driver is when people get in their cars they’re in a little bubble and that puts other drivers in danger.”I showed it to the friend we were visiting and he thought it was hilarious. At first I thought it was funny but when he was continuing to do it I thought he could put someone’s life at risk.”I saw the funny side of it. It’s funny as long as nobody was getting hurt. I’ve not seen any one doing it before. I’ve seen plenty of people using their phones.”They don’t realise the consequences of it and it’s the same with this. You get car drivers going 100 mile an hour without getting fined or prosecuted and it puts the rest of us in danger.”I want to try and raise awareness to these dangers.” 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

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Scandalous Princess Diana tapes are ratings hit for Channel 4

first_imgBut he says that “despite its faults and opportunism”, the programme has as much right to be shown as Diana’s BBC interview with Martin Bashir or her sons’ recently aired ITV documentary.Andrew Billen gave the programme two stars out of five in The Times, and wrote in his review: “Diana: In Her Own Words was pretentious and trashy. Kensington Palace, the royal household of Diana’s sons, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, has declined to comment on the documentary.The Telegraph’s Allison Pearson called the show “muck-raking spite posing as history”. Writing in the Daily Mail, Jan Moir said she thinks Diana would have approved of the tapes being aired and that they show her in a “golden light”.In the Guardian, Mark Lawson said: “The film is also manipulative, scored with a gloomy flute constantly telling the audience how moved to be. The editing is slick, but also often sly.” A controversial documentary airing tell-all tapes of Diana, Princess of Wales, has secured 3.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched Channel 4 show this year.The channel, which has been heavily criticised for broadcasting the tapes, enjoyed its best-rated overnight hit since Gogglebox in April 2016, and its most successful documentary since Benefit Street in February 2014. It won 16.4 per cent of the audience share at 8pm on Sunday, going up against the athletics on BBC One and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on ITV. Poldark, airing at 9pm on the BBC, won 4.9m viewers.  Diana: In Her Own Words peaked at 4.1m, with a Channel 4 spokesman confirming it was more than double the usual viewing figure for the Sunday night slot. The programme, which was given two stars by the Telegraph, saw tapes made by Diana’s voice coach Peter Settele broadcast for the first time in the UK. The tapes were never intended to be seen in public and since the princess’s death have been the subject of lengthy legal battles and accusations of huge betrayal. Diana interviewed for BBC Panorama The late Diana, Princess of Wales, practising her speech The programme already been strongly criticised by royal biographers, and Rosa Monckton, one of Diana’s closest friends, said it was a “betrayal of her privacy”. The programme laid bare the marriage of Charles and Diana The programme laid bare the marriage of Charles and Diana Diana interviewed for BBC Panoramacenter_img Bet the Royal Family have had better Sunday nights #dianainherownwords— Liam Wilson (@LiammWilsonnn) August 6, 2017 There were a lot of people not wanting this broadcasted, bet they’re glued to it #dianainherownwords— Zaf Aslam (@ZafAslam2) August 6, 2017 I was at first opposed to #DianaInHerOwnWords but it was actually bittersweet – a pillar of strength in public, lonely&vulnerable in private— Ant C (@AntCorrigan) August 7, 2017 “But within it wronged Diana, in her sweetness and confusion, lived again.”If you could forgive the attendant ickiness, that apparition was worth gazing upon.” Didn’t watch #dianainherownwords not bothered. Also thinking of her 2 sons. Leaves a nasty taste in my mouth #GMB— naughtyfortydiaries (@naughty_forties) August 7, 2017 The late Diana, Princess of Wales, practising her speech But Channel 4 said it gave the Princess a voice and placed it “front and centre” in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of her death in a car crash in Paris on August 31 1997.The documentary featured Diana speaking candidly and informally about her upbringing, her courtship with the Prince of Wales, her troubled marriage and her public life. 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

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Historic England objects to billionaire art couples plan to knock down parts

first_imgThe couple, rated the ninth wealthiest couple in Britain, resubmitted plans last month which agreed to preserve more of the former Sunday school’s walls but included reconstruction of original brick features.However, the new plans also proposed further demolition of the space’s middle gallery.A letter sent to Camden council by Historic England read: “We welcome the changes made to retain the majority of the walls of the former Sunday school, the oldest space in the building. Anita Zabludowicz at the Zabludowicz Collection Credit:Silverhub/REX/Shutterstock A billionaire couple have sparked a backlash from Historic England over plans to demolish parts of a listed church for their art collection.Poju and Anita Zabludowicz founded the Zabludowicz Collection in the Nineties to “champion” emerging contemporary artists.The pair took over a former Methodist chapel in Chalk Farm, north London, in 2007 to house works by the likes of former Turner Prize nominee Tracey Emin. “This will allow continued appreciation of this space and its role connected to the chapel, whilst retaining a greater degree of its material integrity than the previous scheme.”We are disappointed to note that the revisions include a greater degree of demolition to the middle gallery … The justification for this change is not clear.”Overall we consider that the scheme is notably improved, although it would still cause some harm to the listed building.”A spokeswoman for the Zabludowicz Collection told the Evening Standard it had submitted plans to improve facilities for exhibition, performance, education and storage, as well as to improve access to the upper floors.She added: “The proposed plans respect and enhance the historic features of the building and the collection is working closely with architects FMA, Camden Design and Historic England to ensure the rich character and history of the building would be maintained as part of any future improvement works.”A date has not yet been set for the council’s planning committee to pass a decision on the plans. Anita Zabludowicz In January, the couple submitted plans to demolish part of the chapel’s former Sunday school in a bid to extend the gallery and create potential space for a cafe.But the Government’s official heritage advisers Historic England claimed the demolition would “cause harm to a listed building”.The body called for developers to reassess the benefit that the destruction of the building, which dates to 1880, would have on the community. Anita Zabludowicz at the Zabludowicz Collection Anita ZabludowiczCredit:Nick Harvey/REX/Shutterstock  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

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Safer 20mph zones led to rise in number of road deaths but

first_imgReducing the speed limit to 20mph has caused a rise in death and serious injuries, a council has admitted, but is refusing to reverse the scheme because it will cost too much. Bath and North East Somerset Council spent £871,000 bringing in the 13 new speed zones just 12 months ago.But one year on, a report has found that the rate of people killed or seriously injured has gone up in seven out of the 13 new 20mph zones.The review of the traffic control measures warns that this is a problem nationally, adding: “There is no simple explanation for this adverse trend but it could be that local people perceive the area to be safer due to the presence of the 20mph restrictions and thus are less diligent when walking and crossing roads, cycling or otherwise travelling.”Despite the council’s own report concluding that there is “little in the way of persuasive argument for continuing the programme in the future”, deputy leader Patrick Anketell-Jones has admitted there simply isn’t the money available to reverse the 20mph zones. The Conservative councillor said: “It has cost over £800,000 to roll out the 20mph zone and it would probably cost the same to reverse them. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. He said: “The facts are that the numbers of people being killed and injured are going up since the zones were introduced. “More people are being hurt because less people are taking care, and the council are saying that they can’t afford it.”To my mind that’s saying that people are being seriously hurt but we are not prepared to stump up the cash to stop that happening.”The Government’s current guidance remains that more traffic authorities should consider introducing the lower limits. A nationwide review of 20mph limits published by the The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) last month concluded: “A large number of evaluation studies have demonstrated a link between the introduction of 20mph zones and a subsequent reduction in casualties. The size of the reductions and the consistency of results over a wide number of areas are further evidence for this link.”However, their review pointed out that 20mph zones in which other traffic calming measures were introduced alongside the reduction in limit were much more effective. In Bath and North East Somerset they brought in the changes with a speed reduction and signs to indicate it only. The RoSPA report noted: “20mph limits without traffic calming also reduces traffic speed, although this effect is smaller than when they are introduced with traffic calming or other measures. Their lower cost means that wider areas can be covered.”center_img “We just haven’t got the money. I’m pretty sure the 20mph zones will stay in place for the foreseeable future.” It adds that the rise in casualty numbers and severity would “suggest against further expansion of area based schemes.”In the 12 months since each 20mph zone was installed the rate of people killed or seriously injured has gone up in seven out of the 13 areas.The reductions had been seen in central Bath whilst the worsening was largely in outlying rural areas.   The report added: “Casualty severity has worsened marginally in Bath and more so in outlying towns. Again, this is reflective of the national situation.” This is not the first warning that 20mph areas are more dangerous. In 2010 the Department for Transport reviewed the scheme in Portsmouth, one of the first areas to adopt it, and found that number of people killed or seriously injured on affected roads actually went up, not down, after the limit was lowered.Retired civil servant Simon Marshall, 58, from Lower Weston, called on Bath council to review the 20mph speed limits, calling them “unduly restrictive”. And he said he was astonished to see the report and learn that the council couldn’t afford to reverse the zones, despite rising numbers of deaths and serious injuries. last_img read more

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Labrador run over by four trains narrowly avoided death

first_imgPoppy the dog is cared for by staff at Garston VetsCredit: Garston Vets / SWNS.com  Garston Vets / SWNS.com She was given the all clear within a week and sent home.”It’s something that her owners never believed would happen,” added Ms Holmes.”She is making good progress but, unsurprisingly, has a degree of discomfort still. Fortunately, she hasn’t lost her appetite.”Network Rail said a train driver reported seeing something near the Hawkeridge footpath level in Westbury crossing at about 7.30am on January 17.Trains on the line were told to run with caution and an operations manager arrived on site to find injured Poppy twenty minutes later. A black labrador was lucky to be alive after it was run over by four trains but avoided death. The dog, called Poppy, chased a deer onto a railway line while out on a walk with her owner.Poppy and the deer were both hit by a passenger train, but where the deer was killed instantly, the pet survived by lying still in the middle of the tracks as three other trains passed overhead, all missing her.Poppy suffered broken ribs and Garston Vets in Westbury, Wilts, said things “looked very dark for Poppy”, but she pulled through.Sarah Holmes, of Garston Vets, said: “Her face was extremely swollen, she had a large wound on her back and was in considerable pain.”But we were amazed that the only broken bones were a couple of ribs.” 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

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Top police officer facing criminal probe over evidence given in fatal shooting

A top police officer is facing possible criminal charges over evidence he gave in a fatal shooting case, the police watchdog said.An investigation was launched after concerns were raised about evidence given by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Assistant Chief Constable Steven Heywood at a public inquiry into the death of Anthony Grainger, who was fatally shot by a firearms officer in 2012.The Independent Office for Police Conduct has now referred its findings to the Crown Prosecution Service as there is “an indication that ACC Heywood may have committed a criminal offence”.Some of ACC Haywood’s notes in a log book may have been written after the shooting, it has been claimed , and not necessarily contemporaneous. He has previously admitted and apologised for his record-keeping, but strongly denies misleading the inquiry.“This was not any great conspiracy from Greater Manchester Police,” he told the hearing. “This is my personal failing as a firearms commander for not doing the paperwork.” The watchdog will consider publishing the findings of its investigations following the publication of the findings of the inquiry and the conclusion of any related proceedings.The public inquiry into the death of Mr Grainger, 36, from Bolton, began in January last year and heard officers relied on out-of-date intelligence and inaccurate briefings. The father-of-two was shot by a firearms officer through the windscreen of a stolen Audi in a car park in Culcheth, Cheshire, on March 3 2012.A GMP spokesman said: “We have received the reports and recommendations from the IOPC related to two serving police officers and now will consider the findings before responding.”It would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage.” In reviewing the evidence, we have decided that there is an indication that ACC Heywood may have committed a criminal offenceIOPC statement “Our report, along with supportive evidence, has been shared with the CPS to consider if the following offences have been committed: perverting the course of justice, and misconduct in public office.”The IOPC also investigated Detective Chief Inspector Robert Cousen, who gave evidence to the inquiry as senior investigating officer, but the spokesman said there was no indication Mr Cousen had committed a criminal offence. Anthony Grainger was shot dead by a firearms officer in 2012 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. An IOPC spokesman said: “Our investigation looked at the evidence given by Assistant Chief Constable Steven Heywood at the inquiry, particularly in relation to how he recorded information in his police log book.”In reviewing the evidence, we have decided that there is an indication that ACC Heywood may have committed a criminal offence. Anthony Grainger was shot dead by a firearms officer in 2012 read more

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Dame Vera Lynn breaks link with DDay concert organisers after backlash

Such was the strength of feeling conveyed on social media that organisers eventually blocked any further comment about the concert on their Facebook page.Nigel Hay wrote: “My great uncle, Sir Maurice Holmes, came ashore on Juno Beach on D Day where he was Beachmaster – I am absolutely certain he would have given you your marching orders in no uncertain terms.“The 75th anniversary of Normandy is a commemoration. It is not a party, nor a circus. This beach is a totally inappropriate venue to hold a pop concert. People will wish to visit Sword, amongst other beaches, that day to quietly reflect and to honour the men who fought their way in.”Sal Williams-Larby said: You are disrespecting my grandfather and every other veteran that lost their lives fighting for your freedom on that very spot.”And Jean Ellwood pointed out that many families have scattered the ashes of their fathers and grandfathers there.“The Normandy beaches are a battlefield where many thousands of soldiers died,” she wrote.“There are human remains that still lie buried there. Would you hold a concert in a cemetery? It is a sacred area, and a total desecration to hold a concert there.”A statement released on behalf of Dame Vera noted that she was “always keen to support charitable endeavours, especially those that benefit veterans.”It added: “When she gave her written support to the Liberty Concert last October, the precise venues, dates and types of performances were unknown.   “As Michiel Florusse the organiser himself suggested, Dame Vera’s name will be removed from the Board until the organisers have, not only spoken to the various veteran organisations and the veterans themselves on July 21, but also have had a meeting with Dame Vera to clarify the situation.'”Those of us old enough to remember the D-Day Landings and the generations that followed us, owe our freedom to the servicemen who fought so bravely, and the thousands who gave their lives in Normandy. They will be  remembered forever.”Mr Florusse told the Telegraph that there were currently no plans to change the date or the location of the concert and that they hoped to reassure those opposed to the event at the public meeting on July 21.Liberty Concerts said online: “We sincerely believe that a respectful use of symbolic historic moments and places provide a chance to come in the hearts of the youth and the media on a meaningful and effective way.” 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. Sword Beach in Colleville-Montgomery, near Caen, FranceCredit:Matt Cardy/Getty Images Sword Beach in Colleville-Montgomery, near Caen, France Gravestones of British servicemen who died during the Normandy landings, at the Ranville Cemetery But when organisers announced that the event would be held on Sword Beach on June 6 2019, which will coincide with ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings, attended by the dwindling group of elderly D-Day veterans, the reaction was overwhelming.A petition had received almost 1,000 signatures by Friday night and scores of people expressed their disgust online, stating it was in “very bad taste”.Virginia Lewis-Jones, Dame Vera’s daughter and spokeswoman, said her mother could understand the concerns and had “no idea” what kind of event it was going to be when she lent it her backing.She was baffled when told that one of the Dutch organisers, Michiel Florusse, had been telling campaigners that the concert had her support.It was subsequently agreed that she would be removed from the board until he had met with the veterans, their families and opponents of the event next month at a hastily arranged meeting in Portsmouth. Gravestones of British servicemen who died during the Normandy landings, at the Ranville CemeteryCredit:Paul Grover It has been billed as a celebration to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day; a concert on a Normandy beach that purports to have the backing of Dame Vera Lynn.However, the Forces’ Sweetheart has asked for her name to be removed from the organisers’ website after the event attracted a wave of fierce opposition from veterans and their families who warned it was “shameful” and disrespectful” to “dance on the graves” of war heroes.The concert is expected to start with films, parachutists and stories about the Normandy landings.Several “international top artists and DJs”  will then take to the stage under the concert’s slogan “Fight for Freedom” although no specific acts have been confirmed.Organisers said it was intended to “inform and involve” millennials and that only artists with a “fitting message” and style would be included.Dame Vera, 101, agreed to join Liberty Concerts “board of recommendation” as an honorary member last year before any specific details about the concert, including date and venue, had been agreed. read more

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UK weather Heatwave could send temperatures soaring higher than 35C as Britons urged

The Met Office said the UK hotspot was Cavendish, Suffolk, with the temperature there 23C (42.1F) higher than the lowest temperature on Tuesday: Drumnadrochit,…–– ADVERTISEMENT –– Monday was the hottest day so far of 2018 with a high of 33.3C recorded at Santon Downham in Suffolk. But it is set to get even hotter, with temperatures expected to peak on Thursday and Friday thanks to a plume of air dubbed the Mediterranean Melt. 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. Parts of Britain have been warned temperatures could rise above 35C (95F) this week, as holidaymakers are urged to stay out of the sun amid extreme hot weather that is gripping northern Europe. Temperatures reached a high of 31.4C (88.5F) on Tuesday as the heatwave continued across vast parts of the UK. read more

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UK weather Britain is hottest place in Europe as heatwave nearing alltime

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. With the country just one stage away from a national emergency being declared, the Met Office predicts the UK might experience its hottest day on record with temperatures possibly exceeding 38.5C (101F) on so-called Furnace Friday. And passengers using… Commuters already battling difficult travelling conditions are being hit by a series of train cancellations and delays, as speeds are reduced to prevent tracks from buckling. Greater Anglia cancelled 13 services on Thursday – including seven rush-hour trains out of London. Parts of Britain are hotter than anywhere else in Europe with 36C (96.8F) forecast for Thursday, as the heatwave forces the cancellation of trains amid fears tracks will buckle. read more

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Phone and broadband firms to be forced to tell customers if they

An estimated 15 million households are currently out of contract with their broadband provider, or around a third of all customers.  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 reported how phone and broadband customers would soon receive alerts telling them when they have reached the end of their contract under a crackdown being planned by regulators. At present most providers do not inform customers when their terms are up and they could switch to a cheaper deal.  Every year at least six million loyal mobile phone contract holders are being charged for mobile phones they have already paid for, Citizens Advice analysis shows. Ofcom said the new rules would not come into force until February 15 next year, giving companies nine months to make the necessary changes to their systems and processes to make sure they “get this right”. Similarly most broadband providers quietly move customers onto a more expensive tariff when their contract is up, leading to them unwittingly paying over the odds. Broadband, TV, mobile and home phone companies will have to tell customers when their contract is coming to an end and show them the best deals available under new rules unveiled by Ofcom.The telecoms regulator said the move, the latest in its Fairness for customers programme, could see up to 20 million customers benefit by switching provider or agreeing a new deal with their existing one.Ofcom said people who bundle their landline and broadband services together pay on average around 20% more when they are out of contract and this rises to 26% among customers who bundle in their pay-TV services.It said that around one in seven customers do not know whether they are still tied to the original deal.Ofcom’s consumer group director Lindsey Fussell said: “We’re making sure customers are treated fairly, by making companies give them the information they need, when they need it.”This will put power in the hands of millions of people who’re paying more than necessary when they’re no longer tied to a contract.”The changes will involve providers sending tailored information to millions of individual customers, including the contract end date, the price before this date, any proposed changes and the best deals offered by their provider. Customers are unaware they are being charged for handsets after their contracts have ended, as providers do not tell them they have finished paying off the cost of the phone and only need to continue paying for calls, texts and data.On average, those customers pay an unnecessary £22 a month which rises to £38 extra for smartphones. One in five customers only realise after six months, by which time they will be £228 worse off. read more

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EYEWITNESS Qualifications…

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedEYEWITNESS: World Affairs…September 22, 2017In “EYEWITNESS”Timeline of Guyana/Venezuela border controversyJanuary 31, 2018In “latest news”EYEWITNESS: The Judicial process…February 2, 2018In “EYEWITNESS” …on ICJ’s jurisdiction?Not surprisingly, even as it’s undergoing a State-meltdown, Venezuela continues with its stubborn rear-guard action to prevent a settlement on the border controversy it precipitated in 1962 when it claimed the “full and final settlement” it signed on to in 1899 was “null and void”.Since then, this claim of “we wuz robbed” by perfidious Albion (Britain) has become an article of faith of all succeeding Venezuelan governments and has even been incorporated into their Constitution.Over the last few years, as we know, Guyana has slowly made progress by sticking to the terms of the Geneva Agreement which Venezuela signed in 1966 and which spelled out the measures to settle the controversy. We had a Mixed Border Commission…but that didn’t get anywhere.We had several other interventions – including a moratorium – then lastly, the UN Secretary General “Good Officer Process” which the Venezuelans just allowed to drag on and on and on for decades!!Didn’t matter to them…but it certainly crimped our development efforts!! Back in the 1970s, Burnham’s big dream of launching a mega-Hydro-electric project in the Mazaruni was stymied by the Venezuelans who blocked us from World Bank funding. Whether we highlighted it or not, this Venezuelan obstreperousness was the reason our oil potential remained ‘potential” up to the turn of the century…while Venezuela raked in the big oil bucks.The present PNC Government had to concede the strategic wisdom of Janet Jagan to offer Exxon 600 blocks in the Stabroek field in 1999, as a deterrent to Venezuelan revanchism.Be as it may, as per the terms of the Geneva agreement, “If the means so chosen do not lead to a solution…the Secretary General of the United Nations shall choose another of the means stipulated in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations.” Guyana petitioned the UN Secretary General to send the matter to the ICJ for a judicial Settlement – one of the options of Art 33.”The Secretary General agreed and now Venezuela has the nerve to say the ICJ has no jurisdiction over the case since it (Venezuela) hasn’t consented!But Venezuela is disingenuously forgetting that Article 36 of the ICJ just doesn’t say, “The jurisdiction of the Court comprises all cases which THE PARTIES refer to it”. It goes on to include: “and all matters specially provided for in the Charter of the United Nations or in TREATIES and conventions in force.” This standard “Compromissory clause” kicks in because Venezuela agreed to the Geneva Agreement!!Venezuela can’t have its cake and eat it too. While there’s no world government to compel its acceptance of the ICJ’s impending judgement…the rest of the world will!!And that’s what matters.…at GECOMThe points raised by the PNC partisans on GECOM – their three Commissioners and Granger’s unilaterally-appointed Chairman – on the appointment of a DCEO would be laughable, if their consequences weren’t so dangerous for Guyana. The PNCites are saying don’t bother with the assessment scores of the two candidates – which they themselves helped compile – just throw it out and let the Chairman pretend he’s Solomon!!The PNCites claim their decision has nothing with the fact their choice is a PNC-partisan – nah!! It has to do with her “academic” qualifications versus those of the other candidate.And this is where the asininity of their position is revealed. It’s a matter of trite law that so called “facially neutral criteria” for employment MUST be relevant to the job!! Or they just become means for weeding out individuals who may be more capable of ACTUALLY doing the job!As in this case, where the non-PNC candidate has over a DECADE of experience with ELECTIONS…and the PNCite has ZERO!!O judgement, thou art fled to brutish beasts!!…of (Chief?) Justice PattersonGECOM’s Patterson said it was a ‘slip of the pen’ when he claimed he was once “Chief Justice” of Grenada.With his pronouncement on the ‘gonads” of the Opposition Leader, is he now arrogating medical credentials?? read more

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Cristiano Ronaldo fined 32 mln euro in tax evasion case

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedRonaldo appears in court over tax evasion claimsJuly 31, 2017In “latest news”Ronaldo accepts €18.8m deal over tax evasionJanuary 22, 2019In “Sports”Cristiano Ronaldo tops Forbes 2016 ‘World’s highest-paid athletes’ listJune 8, 2016In “latest news” Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his third goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Portugal and Spain at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on June 15, 2018.MADRID,  (Reuters) – Cristiano Ronaldo will be fined 3.2 million euros ($3.7 million) and sentenced to 24 months in prison, a sentence he is unlikely to serve, after settling a tax evasion case with Spanish tax authorities, the prosecutor said on Friday.The 33-year-old is accused of evading 5.7 million euros in taxes. He has denied the allegations.Ronaldo is unlikely to go to prison as Spanish law states a sentence of under two years for a first offence can be served on probation.The football star will be required to pay the 3.2-million-euro fine plus the 5.7 million euros in back taxes, 1 million euros in accrued interest and 250 euros-per-day for the 48 months covering the prison sentence.This amount is likely to be only part of the striker’s fines over the case, which are expected to rise to around 19 million euros in total. read more

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