Germany May Be the Best National Soccer Team Ever

Germany didn’t begin the World Cup as the favorite. That honor belonged to (ahem) Brazil. But that’s a slightly deceptive measure. This was a top-heavy World Cup; not only Brazil but also Germany, Argentina and Spain would have been the front-runners in many past editions of the tournament.By the end of the World Cup, Germany left little doubt it is the best team in the world. In fact, it may be the best national soccer team ever assembled.One simple way to compare World Cup winners is by their goal differential throughout the tournament. Germany, with 18 goals scored and four allowed, comes out at a plus-14. This is tied for the best goal differential ever for a World Cup champion; Brazil also scored 18 goals and allowed four in winning the 2002 tournament.No, the Germans weren’t flawless. They tied Ghana in the group stage and had a little more trouble than they should have with Algeria in the Round of 16. But few World Cup champions are perfect in every match. All but three eventual winners took a draw or loss, or required a penalty shootout, along the way (soccer statisticians usually count games that go to penalties as draws).And some of these teams were fortunate in other respects. Uruguay only needed to play four matches to win the inaugural World Cup in 1930. Uruguay also had the benefit of playing on home soil. Brazil, in 2002, had a favorable draw — China, Costa Rica and Turkey were in its group.The Germans, by contrast, did this against some tough competition. They took down Argentina and Brazil in the knockout stage, along with a French team that had been playing as well as anyone.The World Football Elo Ratings provide one way to account for all these factors: a team’s strength going into the tournament, its dominance during the tournament itself, the quality of its competition, and whether it was aided by playing at home.Germany’s Elo rating was high to begin with at 2046, which is stronger than a number of World Cup winners. But it gained 150 more points throughout the World Cup (about half of them by beating Brazil 7-1), finishing with a rating of 2196.This is the highest Elo rating ever for a World Cup champion. The 1962 Brazil team previously held the top spot.In fact, it’s the highest a national soccer team has ever been rated in the Elo system. Before Germany, the highest-rated team of all time had been Hungary in 1954. Hungary’s rating peaked at 2166 after winning the World Cup semifinal, but then it lost to West Germany in the tournament’s final match.I’ll be curious to see how this year’s German team is regarded in barroom arguments around the world, both now and with the benefit of hindsight. It doesn’t have a transcendent superstar, although it has a number of players who might rank in the top 20 or 25 in the world. It’s often said that the Germans didn’t have a distinctive style — although their relentless attacking play represents the new paradigm in world football, and it led to the highest-scoring and perhaps most exciting World Cup in many years.Other teams — notably Spain from 2008 to 2012, and Brazil under Pele — had longer sustained stretches at the apex of world football. But Germany is young and deep. Mario Götze, who scored the winning goal in the final Sunday, is 22. Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos are 24, and Mesut Özil is 25. The Germans have a good chance to go in as the favorites in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.Still, the competition is going to be tough. At the start of the next tournament, Brazil’s Neymar and Colombia’s James Rodríguez will be just 26, and Lionel Messi — despite playing in his fourth World Cup — only 30. France is perhaps a player away from competing with the world’s best teams, and after having won FIFA’s Under-20 World Cup last year, it could make that transition soon. This is a great era for the international game, and that makes what Germany accomplished all the more impressive. read more

LeBron And The Rest Of The Cavs Are Better This Year

But it also bears mentioning that Cleveland has been playing well above its established talent level during the playoffs thus far. Their offense has been an order of magnitude better than it was during the regular season, and although some of that has come from simply shooting the lights out (their effective field goal percentage has been a league-best 5.1 percentage points above what we’d expect from the quality of their shots during the playoffs), they’re also assisting on a higher percentage of their made buckets in the playoffs — perhaps a sign of the greater cohesion James alluded to.So if we gauge supporting casts by postseason performance alone (again measured by BPM), the 2016 Cavs emerge as the best group of teammates ever to accompany James to the NBA Finals — and the 10th best to support any star player, period: For the 14th time, we’ll get an NBA Finals rematch, this one between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Last year, the Warriors overcame a few early-series hiccups to close out LeBron James and the otherwise-undermanned Cavs in six games, beating them by an average of 7.2 points per game in the series. But James thinks things will be different this time around.“We’re better built to start the finals than we were last year,” James told reporters Tuesday. “We have another year under our belt and more chemistry, [and] healthwise, you know we’re healthy and we’re excited about the opportunity.”He’s right that this version of the Cavs is far better than the iteration Cleveland sent to the finals last season. Missing Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving for much of the postseason a year ago — Love was lost for the playoffs in the first round, and Irving logged only one appearance in the finals — the Cavs provided James with one of the worst supporting casts ever dragged to the cusp of a championship. That Cleveland at one point managed to claim a 2-1 series lead against Golden State was mostly a testament to the singular greatness of James, who produced one of the best individual performances in finals history despite losing.The Cavaliers who suit up alongside James this year will be far better. To measure the quality of James’ supporting cast (and those of every player who led his team to the NBA Finals since 19791The earliest season for which data availability makes this exercise possible.), I first calculated a multi-year Box Plus/Minus (BPM) talent projection for every player on a finalist’s playoff roster, tracking the number for the team’s best player2I was liberal in my definition of a team’s “best player” — if a player either had the highest talent rating on his team’s postseason roster, or led the team in playoff value over replacement player, I included him in the sample. as well as his teammates. (Defining the quality of a player’s teammates as his team’s BPM if that player was replaced with a league-average, zero-BPM talent.) While James’ supporting cast last year ended up ranking 88th out of 93 entrants since 1979 — sixth from the bottom of the list — this year’s version ranks a far more respectable 50th in terms of raw talent. It isn’t James’ most talented set of finals teammates — that honor is reserved for the 2011 Heat (for all the good it did them). And it still isn’t more talented than the crew Stephen Curry will be rolling with in Golden State. The Warriors’ supporting cast ranks 42nd if you consider Curry their top player. (They also rise to 22nd if Draymond Green is considered No. 1; Green leads the team in VORP this postseason, though it’s mostly a function of Curry’s missing so many games earlier in the playoffs.) VIDEO: LeBron’s supporting cast is playing better than Curry’s Furthermore, James himself is also enjoying one of his best-ever playoff performances this season. That’s why, according to playoff BPM, the Cavs as a whole rank fourth among all NBA Finalists since 1979. If we focus on recent play, Cleveland certainly looks “better built” this time around.But a team’s long-term track record should count for something as well, and by that standard the Warriors still have the edge. Golden State went into last year’s finals with an Elo rating (our pet metric for gauging team strength) 90 points ahead of Cleveland — the equivalent of 3.2 points per game on the scoreboard at a neutral court — and they currently lead the Cavs by 64 — about 2.3 points per game — despite Cleveland’s playoff surge. Slicing the favorite’s edge by nearly a point per game isn’t nothing, but the Warriors also have home-court advantage again, to say nothing of the benefits they might reap from their championship experience of a year ago.So even the better-built version of the Cavs comes into the finals as an underdog. But with superior teammates this time around, James will have a far better opportunity than last year to change his underwhelming lifetime finals record for the positive. The rest will be up to him.Check out our latest NBA Finals predictions. read more

Report Lakers Coach Mike Browns Job In Jeopardy

Despite receiving an endorsement from executive vice president Jim Buss, Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown needs his team to make an about-face from a terrible start to the season or he could be fired.Sources told ESPN.com that the Lakers, while having publicly expressed support for Brown in the wake of a 1-4 start, are privately anxious about what they have seen – or not seen – of the team so far. The Lakers a six-game homestand against inferior competition. And should the team continue to struggle, it could be Brown’ undoing.The homestand begins Friday night against the Golden State Warriors who’ll be without injured center Andrew Bogut and reserve Brandon Rush. The Lakers will also face Sacramento, San Antonio, Phoenix, Houston and Brooklyn.In Brown’s defense, the Lakers have had a healthy Steve Nash in the lineup for only 1½ of their five games so far because of a leg injury. Dwight Howard continues to rec0ver from the back surgery and Kobe Bryant has also been playing through a foot ailment.All that and still, according to ESPN.com’s source, the team’s hierarchy want to see vast improvement in a short period of time.The Lakers are off to the worst start in the Western Conference despite carrying the league’s largest payroll at just over $100 million, which would trigger an estimated luxury-tax bill at season’s end of nearly $30 million.“I have no problems with Mike Brown at all,” Buss said. “He just works too hard and he’s too knowledgeable for this to be happening.“So either the (new Princeton offensive) system is flawed or something’s going on. Or, like the Triangle, it’s very hard to pick up and understand. I’m not a basketball mind like he is or the players are, and the players are fine with it, so I just have to be patient.”The challenge there is that heading into the season, Buss acknowledged that “this team was built to win now,” raising questions as to how patient the Lakers are willing to be.“You have to give it time to understand (what’s going on),” Buss said. “I don’t know if there’s an actual game total that would make me impatient. I know if we’re 1-15, I don’t think that would be very good. I’m sure that would be a panic button. But at this time, I’m fine with what’s going on. It’s a learning process for the players. As long as everybody is on the same page, I think we’re fine.”After practice Thursday, Bryant admitted that he’s dismayed by the first 1-4 start in his 17-year career but labeled himself as Brown’s “biggest supporter” in the organization.“For us, (belief is) the biggest thing right now, especially while we’re trying to find our way,” Brown said.Said Howard: “Right now, there’s a lot of noise. We’re trying to figure out how to play with each other. We’re trying to figure out where we’re going to get our shots. Everybody is trying to just figure each other out and how we can put this thing together. So once the noise is settled, we can all just have a clear mind. We’ll be fine.” read more

Serena Williams Wins In Tutu At US Open

Serena Williams twirls after defeating Carina Witthoeft, of Germany, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)NEW YORK (AP) — It’s all about the tutu for Serena Williams at the U.S. Open.Just days after French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli said her black catsuit with clot-preventing compression tights “will no longer be accepted,” Williams chose a one-armed black tutu-style dress by Off-White’s Virgil Abloh to take on Magda Linette at the Open. She won.Perhaps her sparkly shoes emblazoned with her name and “queen” also helped.On Wednesday night, playing against Carina Witthoeft, Williams was in another tutu dress that’s part of her new collaboration with Nike and Abloh, who is also men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton. Anna Wintour looked pleased as she watched Williams beat Witthoeft.The Queen Collection is inspired by Williams’ love of dance. She paired the black look with a leather biker jacket. The dresses have sheer panels on one shoulder and long sleeves on the other. Williams tugged hard on the sleeve as her Wednesday match began.The 23-time Grand Slam winner wore compression fishnets with her tutu looks to guard against blood clots, a problem she battled soon after giving birth last September.Retail, prices range from $130 to $900 for various pieces in the new collab. read more

How Were Predicting The 2016 College Football Playoff

College football season kicked off 69 days ago, on Aug. 26. But with the College Football Playoff committee releasing its first set of rankings Tuesday night, the season for irrational pigskin arguments has only just begun.Take the committee’s initial rankings: Although the top three of Alabama, Clemson and Michigan didn’t surprise anyone — they’re three of the only four remaining undefeated major-conference teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision — the decision to put one-loss Texas A&M at No. 4 over unbeaten Washington was generally seen as a head-scratcher. And that’s just the first edition of the rankings! A whole lot more can happen between now and Dec. 4, when the final version drops.To help you sort it all out, FiveThirtyEight is relaunching our College Football Playoff prediction model for the 2016 season. In fact, this year we’ve built a continually updating page that lets you view the current favorites, as well as the not-so-favorites: Every team with at least a 0.1 percent chance of making the playoff is listed. You can also choose custom scenarios for the future, letting you see how the model changes if a given team wins or loses its next game, or if it wins out over the remainder of its schedule. As for the nuts and bolts of the model, we’re using the same system we rolled out last year, itself an improvement over the version we used in Year 1 of the CFP.Here’s a brief refresher on how our model works: It takes the most recent version of the CFP committee’s rankings, simulates the next week of games using ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), uses a version of our old friend the Elo rating to guesstimate how the committee would react to those FPI-simulated results,1With uncertainty-generating mechanisms in place to “scramble” the rankings in ways that might not always follow historical precedent. and then repeats the process until we have a simulated version of the committee’s final rankings.Do that 10,000 times, and we can estimate the likelihood of any team ranking in the committee’s top four when the dust clears on the season. But … does it actually work? Well, for what it’s worth, the model did a pretty good job of predicting the field last season. Just don’t ask us about what happened in 2014. (Don’t worry, we also tweaked the model afterward to fix some of its first-year bugs.)This season, Clemson, Alabama and Michigan check in at Nos. 1-3 in playoff probability — which isn’t exactly a shock. And Washington fans shouldn’t feel too bummed about their team’s snub in the first CFP rankings. Despite placing fifth in the committee rankings, our model gives the Huskies a 47 percent probability of making the playoff, the fourth-best odds of any team, and greater than a 99 percent chance of making the playoff if it wins out (though it gives the Huskies just a 25 percent chance of doing that).Of course, the model also comes with a lot of built-in uncertainty, especially at this early stage of playoff speculation. It says there’s an 84 percent chance that at least one team outside the Clemson-Alabama-Michigan-Washington quartet crashes the CFP party by season’s end — most likely Ohio State (though the Buckeyes probably need to beat Michigan on Nov. 26 to do it), Louisville, Texas A&M or Wisconsin, all of whom have a 10 percent shot or better at the playoff.Some of those teams need more help than others, however. The Buckeyes and Badgers could control their own destinies to some degree by winning out — Ohio State’s odds would be 96 percent if it ran the table, Wisconsin’s would be 74 percent if they did the same, and Texas A&M’s would be 61 percent. But Louisville’s chances at the playoff would only be 39 percent even if we knew they’d win all their games from here out. (Gaming out contingencies such as those are where the choose-your-own-scenario feature of our interactive comes in handy. Hint, hint.)Even with the perfect number of undefeated major-conference teams for a four-team playoff, the crystal ball is still pretty cloudy at this point. There’s a lot of football left to be played. But our model should at least be a useful guide for making sense of the silliness that’s surely waiting in the season’s second half.Check out our college football predictions. Will your favorite team make the College Football Playoff? See all of our predictions for the 2016 season » read more

Who Needs Bryce Harper When You Have Aaron Hicks

playerTeamTOTALper 600 plate app. Aaron Hicks is climbing the WAR chartsThe top 20 MLB players by wins above replacement per 600 plate appearances, 2017-18 8Jose AltuveAstros12.56.04 19Giancarlo StantonMarlins/Yankees10.84.73 9Francisco LindorIndians13.25.51 It once seemed inevitable that the New York Yankees would sign Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper when he became a free agent at the end of this season. Though Harper has been injured and inconsistent since his 2015 MVP year, he’s still a rare talent who will hit free agency just entering his physical prime at age 26 — and the Yankees are one of the few teams able to afford him.But the Yankees may no longer need Harper’s services in the outfield. They’ve found a new star to join Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and the rest of their big names, a star who may not be as well-known but who has turned into one of the game’s best players: Aaron Hicks.The underrated 28-year-old is in his prime and under club control through the 2019 season. Hicks avoided arbitration by settling for a modest one-year, $2.85 million deal last offseason. He’ll be a relative bargain next year, too.Hicks homered Saturday and later provided the walk-off hit against Baltimore to clinch a playoff berth for the Yankees. He left Monday’s game in the fourth inning with hamstring discomfort, but he told reporters he isn’t concerned and should be able to return in a few days.Through Sunday, Hicks was tied for 17th in position player wins above replacement at 4.9 WAR, according to FanGraphs. (Harper was tied for 38th.) WAR is an accumulative stat, so when we adjust for playing time,1Hicks missed significant time in 2017 because of an oblique injury. Hicks ranked 11th in baseball in WAR per 600 plate appearances since 2017. By that measure, he placed ahead of stars like Christian Yelich, J.D. Martinez and Kris Bryant in terms of overall performance per playing time. 17J.D. MartinezTigers/D-Backs/Red Sox9.14.88 15Kris BryantCubs9.25.01 WAR 1Mike TroutAngels16.38.95 14Alex BregmanAstros11.05.04 Among players with at least 800 plate appearances since the start of the 2017 season.Source: FanGraphs 5Anthony RendonNationals12.46.32 10Tommy PhamCardinals/Rays9.65.38 4Jose RamirezIndians14.56.61 12Christian YelichMarlins/Brewers11.25.11 13Andrelton SimmonsAngels10.45.07 20Lorenzo CainRoyals/Brewers9.74.72 6Justin TurnerDodgers9.56.08 3Aaron JudgeYankees13.06.79 16J.T. RealmutoMarlins8.94.88 18Nolan ArenadoRockies10.64.82 7Matt ChapmanAthletics9.36.06 2Mookie BettsRed Sox15.16.91 11Aaron HicksYankees8.25.30 Hicks projects to finish 2018 as a 5-WAR center fielder, a star-level player. He blends one of the game’s strongest outfield arms (reaching 105.5 mph with a throw in 2016) at a premium defensive position with one of the most disciplined bats in the majors and burgeoning switch-hitting power.Of course, prior to last season, he had been a major disappointment. The Twins selected Hicks — a two-way star at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California — 14th overall in the 2008 draft. He made multiple top 100 prospect lists. But in his three years in the majors with Minnesota, covering 928 plate appearances, Hicks batted just .225 with a .306 on-base percentage and .349 slugging mark. It was good for an OPS+ of 81, meaning he was 19 percent below the average major league offensive performer.On Nov. 11, 2015, the Twins ran out of patience and traded Hicks to the Yankees for John Ryan Murphy, a replacement-level catcher with a career on-base mark of .269. Murphy is now a backup in Arizona.“In Minnesota, I feel like I was just trying to hit for a high average. That’s pretty much all I was trying to do,” Hicks told me in July. “I didn’t worry about home runs or anything like that. I just tried to get on base and have a high on-base percentage and hit singles: up-the-middle, opposite field.”The approach was generally ineffective for Hicks. When he arrived at Yankee Stadium, which has one of the shortest right-field fences in baseball, his entire philosophy changed. With the Twins in 2015, Hicks pulled batted balls at a 35.8 percent rate. Hicks has increased his pull percentage to 42.9 percent last season and to 45.1 percent this season, making him the 28th most pull-oriented hitter in the game.“When I came here, they wanted me to use my athleticism to hit the ball in the air more,” Hicks said. “Hit for more power. … The [Yankees major league] staff has been amazing as far as being able to elevate my game, different approaches in how to attack the baseball, and how to become the type of player I want to be.”The Yankees as a team focus on power and pull. That philosophy may be why the Yankees (251 home runs through Sunday) could challenge the 1997 Seattle Mariners’ single-season team home run record (264) despite having only one player (Stanton) with more than 30 home runs this season.Hicks doesn’t have the raw power of some of his teammates: His average exit velocity of 87.3 mph puts him in the middle of the pack in the majors, ranking 195th out of 336 batters. But he said his focus on power and pull has a side benefit: He’s become more selective at the plate. Hicks ranks fifth in baseball in walk rate on the season at 15.8 percent, a slight increase from his 14.1 percent mark last year and a large gain from 2016 (8.3 percent) and 2015 (8.7 percent). In the second half of this season, Hicks leads baseball in walk rate at 19.6 percent.“When I try and get the ball in the air, I swing at less stuff, because if I can’t hit a pitch in the air, I don’t swing at it,” Hicks said. “Naturally, I start to walk more. … If I’m getting pitches I can’t do damage with, I’m not going to swing until I have to with two strikes.”Only two major league players have walked more frequently and hit more home runs than Hicks this season: Harper and Mike Trout.Hicks swung at 23.8 percent of pitches classified as out of the strike zone in 2015 and 24.4 percent in his first year with the Yankees in 2016. That rate dipped to 21.5 percent last year and 19.4 percent this season. Among qualified hitters, only Joey Votto, Alex Bregman, Andrew McCutchen and Mookie Betts are swinging at fewer pitches out of the strike zone. Those players are either MVP candidates (Bregman, Betts) or have won MVP Awards (Votto, McCutchen). Trout ranks seventh.Pitchers have thrown Hicks — an excellent fastball hitter — fewer and fewer four-seam fastballs, from 34.8 percent of offerings in 2016 to 31.2 this season. Yet Hicks is slugging .525 against curveballs and holding his own against changeups.The Yankees have unearthed a star. While the club could still pursue Harper, Hicks gives it an alternative. He allows New York to invest $400 million elsewhere this winter and beyond.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

Mens lacrosse pipeline in the making

Home is not very far for a trio of Ohio State men’s lacrosse players. For senior midfielder Scott Lathrop, sophomore defenseman Mark Crawford and freshman defenseman John Hardesty, it is a short drive back to their hometown of Upper Arlington. All three Buckeyes played high school lacrosse for Upper Arlington High School. “Playing there gave me confidence. It gave me drive to continue the success here,” Lathrop said. “I know everybody always wants to win, but it’s nice coming from a program that had that kind of success.” In the case of Upper Arlington, “success” might not be the right word. “Dominance” might be more appropriate. Upper Arlington coach Ted Wolford is entering his 18th season at the helm. He has won 12 state championships as coach. Wolford said the trio of Buckeyes are some of the most loyal kids he has coached. “If you say to yourself, ‘If I were to go into battle, would I want one of those guys in your foxhole with you?’ You would say, without a doubt,” he said. “Any one of those guys would be people that would have your back, people that would be there to support you.” Lathrop, a co-captain for the No. 13/15-ranked Buckeyes, also was a captain when he wore a Golden Bears uniform. “Scott was a captain for us, you know, as well as he is now for Ohio State,” Wolford said. “He was just always a very focused individual that worked very hard.” Wolford said Crawford’s first choice was football and that he chose to play lacrosse late in his high school career. But, Wolford said, that didn’t change the type of character he had. “He definitely had the strongest work ethic in his senior class,” Wolford said. “He’s definitely one of those kids that everybody looked up to because he pushed everybody to improve. There’s not an ounce of ego in him at all.” Just a freshman for the Buckeyes, Hardesty was exposed to high-level competition early in his high school career. Like Lathrop, Hardesty also was a captain for Upper Arlington. “Right from the get-go, he kept coming to us and asking how he could get better,” Wolford said. “He always pushed us as coaches to help him improve his game.” The success of the Upper Arlington program has made it a hot spot for OSU recruiting. Wolford said he already has two players on his team this year who have committed to play for the Buckeyes in the future. Although the three Buckeyes all are in different classes, they share a bond from their time as Golden Bears. “I think the biggest part would just be having that person that you’ve known for two, three or four years in high school, and kind of having that connection already made and bringing it to college,” Crawford said. Despite the three now playing lacrosse for the Buckeyes, Wolford said he still remains in contact with them. “I always try to stick around after games and try to talk to them afterwards and see how they’re doing,” he said. “I want to let them know that I’m very proud of them; I’m very happy with the fact that they’re competing and that they’re doing well both in the classroom and in their athletic endeavors.” OSU has started off the season with three consecutive victories against Detroit Mercy, Mercer and previously No. 3-ranked North Carolina.  The Buckeyes suffered their first loss against Massachusetts on Saturday, 11-9. While many of the OSU players come from all over the country, the trio has one advantage that not many other members of the team can say they have. “We share a little bit, I think, because we’re always getting stuff for being so close to home and going home and getting home-cooked meals,” Crawford said. “So we all have to stick together and stay strong.” read more

Softspoken Ohio State sprinterhurdler Christina Manning makes noise in Big Ten

When it’s time to compete, Ohio State women’s track and field star Christina Manning likes to get down to business. “Everyone knows I’m a very silly person,” Manning said. “But when it comes down to competition, I know that there’s expectations.” Manning has met those expectations and built an impressive résumé in her time at OSU. In her tenure, the junior has been named a three-time All-American and has earned five Big Ten Individual Championship titles. Most recently, Manning was named Big Ten Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. The accolades compliment her performance at the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships where she was also named the Athlete of the Championships and Big Ten Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. “Well, it feels amazing,” Manning said. “I had previously won indoor last year, but last year outdoor I had a downfall and didn’t get to finish the race. So this year I had to defend a title and earn a title, and being able to do that made me feel really good about both seasons. I take championships very serious, and to be named Athlete of the Year both indoor and out is recognition to that.” Coach Karen Dennis said Manning’s focus is the key to her success. Before she competes, Manning prefers to warm up on her own. “She’s soft-spoken,” Dennis said. “I think when it comes time to be on the track she becomes introverted. I think that’s probably one of the qualities you need in order to be a champion. You have to get centered and be able to avoid distractions.” The recognition added to an already great season for Manning and her team, who claimed the Big Ten Indoor Championship for the first time in school history. But for Manning and her team, one championship wasn’t enough. When the outdoor championship came, Manning knew she had to turn it up a notch to sweep the conference. When her team called on her, she delivered, claiming first place in the 100-meter dash and the 100-meter hurdles, and anchoring the 4-by-100-meter relay team to a first-place finish. “I was working really hard, and you don’t really go to a meet like that and leave with that title,” Manning said. “It felt really good.” Relay teammate Letecia Wright agreed. “Christina is a great hurdler and competitor. I’m proud of her,” said Wright, who leads the 4-by-100-meter relay team that Manning anchors. Manning’s versatility makes her a valuable asset to her team and to her coach. “Christina is probably, pound for pound, one of the best sprinter-hurdlers in the history of this program,” Dennis said. That’s a label Dennis doesn’t use liberally. Manning has affected the team in a huge way, and it’s taken hard work to earn that respect. “I definitely think it’s because of the work ethic that I put in,” Manning said. “Coach Karen molded me into a more serious athlete and a more serious individual.” Considering her high school career, Manning’s success may come as a surprise. She was a devout hurdler in high school and didn’t become a sprinter until she came to OSU. The atmosphere she trained in at high school practices wasn’t near the challenging level she has experienced in college. “We didn’t really practice in high school,” Manning said. “You went there; you laughed; you saw your friends. … There were no rules.” Once she arrived at OSU, her coaches let her know things were going to be different. In the latter stage of her college career, Manning adapted to the demands of the workouts. “Coach Joel (Brown) … he runs professionally, so he knows exactly what he talks about,” Manning said. “He doesn’t play. There’s no fun and games when he’s around. That helps us focus.” Dennis wasn’t easy on her either. Used to making her own rules, Manning had to learn to bend to her coach’s will. “Coach Karen is hard on me,” she said. “She doesn’t let me do whatever I think would be best for me. … She just keeps my head on.” Manning understands Dennis has her sights set on teaching her athletes to be their best in more ways than one. “It’s helping to make me a better woman in general,” Manning said. “Coach Karen cares a lot about the women we’re going to become.” But Dennis’ rules have helped mold Manning into a champion still looking to accomplish even bigger goals. “By the time I leave here … I want to get three individual (medals) and then a relay,” Manning said. “Four gold (medals) at the end of Big Ten Championships. And, of course, I want to win nationals.” No matter what happens, Manning said, her ultimate goal is to compete professionally. Dennis said Manning has what it takes to break records at OSU and excel at the next level. “Christina has ambitions to be an elite athlete,” Dennis said. “I think she’s certainly on the right track to running at the elite level.” read more

Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman named head coach at Houston

Ohio State co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom HermanCredit: Hayden Grove / Lantern TV Sports directorOhio State co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman has officially been named the next head coach at Houston, the school announced Tuesday.Herman is set to be introduced at Houston in a Friday press conference, the school announced in a press release. His contract spans five years and is worth $6.75 million.The release said Herman will stay with the Buckeyes’ coaching staff until OSU’s run in the College Football Playoff comes to an end.“This is a tremendous opportunity for my family and I to come back to Houston and lead one of the top programs,” Herman said in the release. “I am looking forward to working with one of the top athletic directors in the country as well as (Houston Chancellor Renu) Khator in a partnership that will make the city of Houston and the great state of Texas proud.”Under Herman in 2014, the OSU offense finished fourth in the nation with 45.2 points per game. The Buckeyes were also eighth in the country with 507.6 total yards per game.In each of his three seasons at OSU, a Buckeye quarterback was named the Big Ten’s Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year.Current senior quarterback Braxton Miller won the award in 2012 and 2013 — as well as being named the conference’s MVP and Offensive Player of the Year both seasons. After Miller was ruled out for the season after injuring his shoulder during fall camp, Herman coached redshirt-freshman J.T. Barrett to a record-setting season and the Quarterback of the Year honor.In his only season as the starter, Barrett set the Big Ten and OSU record for total touchdowns in a season with 45 and set school records for passing touchdowns in a season and total yards in a season.Herman also picked up an accolade of his own this year, as he was named the 2014 Broyles Award winner. The Broyles Award is given annually to the top assistant coach in the nation.Herman — a California Lutheran University product —  joined the Buckeyes in 2012 along with coach Urban Meyer after holding the same position at Texas State, Rice and Iowa State in previous seasons. He also spent time as an assistant at Sam Houston State and a graduate assistant at Texas.The Simi Valley, Calif., native is set to replace Tony Levine at Houston after Levine led the Cougars to a 21-17 record over three seasons. Levine was fired on Dec. 8.Herman’s hiring was initially reported by Fox Sports on Monday.After coaching Barrett to an 11-1 record as a starter, Herman was also tasked with preparing another quarterback for their first collegiate start after Barrett fractured his ankle in the regular season finale against Michigan.With a week of preparation, Herman helped redshirt-freshman quarterback Cardale Jones throw for 257 yards and three touchdowns in his first start, leading OSU to a 59-0 win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. The win also helped the Buckeyes secure a spot in the first-ever College Football Playoff.Herman is set to coach Jones and the Buckeyes against No. 1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on New Years Day. Kickoff for the semifinal matchup is set for 8:30 p.m. in New Orleans. read more

Urban Meyer coaches not going to change despite national title run

Coach Urban Meyer (left), co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tim Beck (center, without helmet) and co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash led the Buckeyes on the first day of spring practice March 10 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The Buckeyes kicked off practice less than 2 months after winning the 1st-ever College Football Playoff National Championship. Credit: Tim Moody / Sports editorOhio State football coach Urban Meyer has won three national championships and led the Buckeyes to their first title in 12 years less than two months ago — and he isn’t letting up. OSU senior linebacker Joshua Perry said Meyer and the rest of the coaches were just as intense on the first day of spring practice as they have ever been. “They want to coach us really hard and they want to put us in those situations where we have to kind of fight a little bit,” Perry said. “They want to make sure we get the best out of everybody and we want to develop young players and make sure the older players know what they’re doing and have great leadership.”Perry, who was part of Meyer’s first recruiting class at OSU, led the Buckeyes in tackles during their title run. Another member of his recruiting class, senior offensive lineman Taylor Decker, said Tuesday that Meyer’s consistency is what has led to the success of the football program at OSU. “He is the same guy. He is not going to change,” Decker said. “He will recognize guys for their efforts but he is not going to change the type of person and the type of program or the culture that we have around here.”That culture took a slight hit this offseason as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman bolted to the University of Houston for a head coaching position while running backs coach Stan Drayton accepted the same position with the NFL’s Chicago Bears.Meyer said losing a coach like Drayton worries him. “You lose a Stan Drayton who is a heck of a football coach. You worry, will there be a drop off in that room?” Meyer said. “I am going to watch it even more closely now than I ever have.”Meyer will likely also be watching over the quarterback room, which is now occupied by Tim Beck, who was hired from Nebraska to replace Herman. Meyer said the reason for bringing in coaches like Beck to replace Herman and Tony Alford from Notre Dame to replace Drayton is important because of what they can add to an already established culture.“You look at what Nebraska, the last 10 years, it’s one of the winningest programs in America. I picked their brains about some of the things they did well,” Meyer said. “Then Tony Alford came from one of the great programs, they played for a title two years ago. I try to absorb and pull information out of them.” Make no mistake, though: Meyer is committed to what OSU is doing and is sticking to it. “We have a coach’s manual that we kind of went through. There is a very detailed way we teach. The expectation level of your unit room, the culture of the program, there are three parts of the culture you are expected to know,” Meyer said. “I would have to say that’s one area I am insane about.”But while Meyer is worrying about introducing new coaches into the OSU environment, he said he is also encouraged by the coaches who have already been in the system. “Our defensive coaches … they actually led a team meeting today,” Meyer said. “Chris Ash and Luke Fickell (led it) and it was magical. You have meetings that are reactive and proactive. Reactive meetings are awful. The meeting we had today was proactive.”While the defensive coaches are starting to lead team meetings, it’s an offensive coach who received an offseason promotion. Offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner was upgraded to offensive coordinator after Herman’s departure, which Decker said he was happy to see. “He deserved something like that, a promotion like that. When coach Herman told us he was leaving, I knew coach Warinner wanted that spot because he had been in that seat before,” Decker said. “I am completely confident in his ability to do that.”Warinner served as the offensive coordinator at the University of Kansas for three years before coaching for two years at Notre Dame.So with a mix of new and returning coaches, how is Meyer going to monitor his team? “That’s something I’m going to watch like a hawk,” Meyer said. “That the culture here is established now we have to just add to it not change it.”The Buckeyes are set to play their annual Spring Game on April 18 at Ohio Stadium before starting the 2015 season on the road against Virginia Tech on Sept. 7. read more

Womens Hockey Ohio States Emma Maltais given chance to shine on international

Ohio State freshman forward Emma Maltais (17) heads back out on the ice to start the second period of the game against Minnesota on Jan. 19. Ohio State won 3-2. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignEmma Maltais is coming off one of the most impressive freshman campaigns in Ohio State women’s hockey history, scoring a team-high 40 points in the 2017-2018 season.She plans to build off that year after recently being invited to participate for the Under-22 USA vs. Canada women’s series. Maltais joined two of her fellow Buckeye teammates, redshirt junior defenseman Jincy Dunne and senior defenseman Lauren Boyle, in being selected for this series. However, unlike her two teammates, Maltais was chosen to represent her native country of Canada.This was not the first time that Maltais has been selected to play for Canada, as she has had an eventful career playing internationally before she came to Ohio State. The Buckeye sophomore forward played for the Under-18 women’s team for Canada back in 2016 and competed in the 2018 Nations Cup with Team Canada out in Germany, playing against other national teams from several countries including Finland, Sweden, Germany and Russia. “Nothing is taken for granted,” Maltais said. “You never know when the last time you’ll be wearing the jersey is. So, every time you’re out there trying out is always an opportunity, so you have to leave it all out there.” Despite all this history, the Under-22 USA vs. Canada women’s series offered a little twist for Maltais. The Team Canada head coach was Nadine Muzerall, head coach for the Ohio State team.Muzerall’s presence brought a sense of familiarity for Maltais. “It was really cool learning that I was going to play under coach Muzerall,” Maltais said. “I’ve never had that before, so I thought that knowing a little bit of her system with practices and practice drills would help me out a lot. She’s an amazing coach, and it made me more comfortable in the sense that it was like being back in Ohio.”The actual series itself went in favor of Team USA, as the team swept the series. Maltais herself did not score any points but, in the three games played, she showed Dunne why she was on Team Canada. “Emma’s one of the best sports all around,” Dunne said. “Off the ice, she’s a great friend, but on the rink, she was wearing a Canada jersey. It’s awesome to play against someone so talented. Every time I go up against, I know that she’s going to push me, and I know I have to bring my best game.” As the days dwindle down to the beginning of the 2018 season, Maltais said she looks forward to building off of this experience and the successes of the Buckeyes last season making the Frozen Four. “All of this builds confidence,” Maltais said. “Making the Frozen Four last year with our team was the definition of hard work paying off. Having that confidence and experience moving forward into this series really helped me as a player and an individual. I also think that by participating in that series, I can bring that experience back to OSU and that will really help the team this year.” read more

Father of soldier murdered in Iraq blasts Government for hounding troops but

first_imgThe father of a soldier murdered by an Iraqi mob has accused the Government of “rank double standards” for hounding troops over alleged abuses while failing to pursue the insurgents who killed his son.Reg Keys said ministers had “all but given up” tracking down seven men who had been identified over the murders of six military policemen – known as “Redcaps” – in June 2003.Lance Corporal Tom Keys, 20, and five comrades were ambushed by a 500-strong mob and executed as they guarded a police station in one of the most notorious incidents of the Iraq conflict. It prompted Mr Keys to campaign to hold the Government to account, eventually standing against Tony Blair in the 2005 election. The call to scrap the Iraq and Afghanistan criminal investigations has been lent further support from mothers of soldiers killed in the conflicts.Carol Valentine, whose son Simon, 29, a sergeant, was killed by a bomb in Afghanistan, has launched a petition, with four others, to have Ihat and Operation Northmoor shut down.An MoD spokesman said: “We understand the continuing anguish suffered by families of the six military policemen who were murdered in Iraq in 2003. The MOD has gone to very great lengths to investigate the circumstances of these murders, to bring the insurgents responsible to justice, and to learn lessons and to minimise the risk of recurrence.”  Lance Corporal Tom Keys It just beggars belief that the Government is spending millions while there are murderers of Britons walking free in Iraq.Reg Keys 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. Reg Keys with a photo of his son Tom John and Marilyn Miller, the parents of Corporal Simon Miller, 21, one of the others killed at Majar al-Kabir, have also complained of having no justice for their son’s death while British soldiers were being investigated by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat) and Operation Northmoor, which is looking at alleged abuses in Afghanistan. “I’m disgusted and outraged at the number of allegations against British troops in Iraq,” said Mr Miller, 64. “What is even worse is that there is no reciprocation for the brutal murder of my son and his five Royal Military Police comrades. If this isn’t the ultimate betrayal, then nothing is.”After a request under the Freedom of Information Act, Mr Miller obtained witness statements taken shortly after the Red Caps were killed in June 2003.  These show that local police gave a list of nine suspects to the Ministry of Defence.The documents disclose that 16 witnesses described what happened on the day, including graphic details of how insurgents armed with AK-47 assault rifles fired at the police station where the British soldiers were and shouted “kill them”. Reg Keys with a photo of his son TomCredit:ANDREW PRICE/REX Despite this, not one Iraqi has been held responsible for the slaughter. The MoD has released the witness statements – but the suspects’ names have been redacted. The Millers, who live in Washington, Tyne and Wear, have said it is “absolute nonsense” that they were not able to know the names of the suspects, nor of the interpreter who was with their son at the time so they could speak to him.“They keep telling us it is for data protection reasons and that they don’t want to jeopardise any court case in Iraq,” Mr Miller said.  “It is absolute nonsense. They don’t want us to know because they don’t want to do anything about it. I want to know who killed my son. I want to be able to use those names to fight for justice. I want to see the Iraqis investigated like we are investigating our guys.”After the murders, it emerged that the Redcaps had been sent lightly armed and unprepared into an area known to be dangerous, and left without proper communication or back-up. Their grieving parents have faced a string of legal hurdles in getting to the truth. Earlier this year, they were blocked from finding out the names of their sons’ alleged killers because of “data protection”.Mr Keys, 54, said: “It just beggars belief that the Government is spending millions while there are murderers of Britons walking free in Iraq.“A coroner delivered an explicitly clear unlawful killing verdict and this Government have not given a damn.“Jack Straw stood up after they died and vowed to bring these killers to justice. It’s a betrayal that the only people now facing criminal inquiries are our own men and women sacrificed to an unjust war.”He added:  “It sends a signal that you can kill a soldier with impunity whereas the other way around any soldier caught out committing even just a common assault, they will come down on like a ton of bricks. It’s like it’s open season to kill a British soldier and nobody goes after you.” Lance Corporal Tom Keyslast_img read more

Jeremy Corbyn likens Theresa May to Blackadders Baldrick as he accuses her

first_img7:45AMMay ‘blithely ignoring her own dire warnings’ over hard Brexit 12:39PMMay challenged on Heathrow air quality 8:02AMNo 10 insists May will ‘make a success’ of Brexit Following the exchanges at Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Tony ridiculed Mrs May’s “Brexit means Brexit” slogan by tweeting: “Baldrick means Baldrick.”He also wrote on Twitter: “Haven’t left (Labour), active member for 40 yrs. But if (Brexit Secretary) David Davis needs any help with Brexit Baldrick stands ready to serve.”Baldrick was known for his regular suggestions of a “cunning plan” – which would often be anything but.Speaking during PMQs, Mr Corbyn said to Mrs May: “On Monday, you told the House, ‘We have a plan which is not to set out at every stage of the negotiations the details’.”I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days.” https://t.co/uI4cuwdJpx I’ve been v outspoken about some Blair policies Iraq in particular. Doesn’t stop me thinking Corbyn is a crap leader— Tony Robinson (@Tony_Robinson) October 20, 2016 A 2009 leaflet from Theresa May Theresa May commends the Home Office for their work with child migrants.She also wishes Nick Boles well after his cancer diagnosis.”We wish him all the very best for the future and for his place in this House,” she says. Baldrick, Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa MayCredit:REX/PA 12:13PMCorbyn accuses May of ‘dithering’ over Brexit Theresa May But Ms Evans hit back: “Of course I have compassion. How dare you accuse me of not having any compassion. Just because I can see a system is being abused here.”I suggest that we take children that we know are genuinely children from refugee camps from war torn areas where they desperately need our help – not so-called children who have travelled through five safe countries and are already in a safe country and have decided for whatever reason they want to come to Britain.” 11:51AMPMQs coming up next Baldrick, Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May Corbyn accuses May of ‘dithering’ over Brexit plansLabour leader compares PM to Blackadder’s BaldrickThe day Corbyn quotes Baldrick.. and Baldrick answers backMay tells Corbyn he is ‘frustrating the will of the people’Theresa May has been offered assistance from Baldrick after her Brexit plan was likened to the schemes devised by Blackadder’s hapless sidekick.Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn mocked the Prime Minister by insisting Baldrick is the only “great philosopher” he could think of when assessing the Government’s EU exit strategy.Mrs May hit back by suggesting Sir Tony Robinson, the actor who played the character in the BBC television series, was no longer a member of the Labour Party. The quote from today’s Prime Minister’s Questions that is perhaps most memorable is Jeremy Corbyn’s likening of Theresa May to Blackadder’s Baldrick.He attacked the Prime Minister for not having a plan to deal with a “chaotic” Brexit.Mr Corbyn told her: “On Monday, you told the House, ‘We have a plan which is not to set out at every stage of the negotiations the details’. Tony Robinson has since been tweeting after his character Baldrick was name-checked at PMQs.He tweeted: “Baldrick means Baldrick”.He added: “If David Davis needs any help with Brexit, Baldrick stands ready to serve.” 12:20PMSaudi Arabia arms sales But today she said: “The Government looks very closely at the issue of air quality and environmental impact.”The evidence shows that air quality standards can be met.”It is more than just about airports, it is about road transport too. That is why we are doing more on air quality and I’m pleased we have a leading edge when it comes to electric vehicles.” 1:14PM’Our cunning plan is to have no plan’ Jeremy Corbyn starts by welcoming the child refugees that have arrived in Britain.He also wishes former Tory minister Nick Boles well after he revealed he has cancer. Theresa May at PMQs Theresa May at PMQsCredit:PA Tim Farron says Theresa May lacked the ‘political courage’ to speak up to the wider public about the dangers of BrexitCredit:PA 10:10AMFormer Tory minister Nick Boles has cancer Thersa May once said that being part of the single market was “significant” for Britain and that businesses could leave the UK after Brexit.In comments made before the referendum but only now released to the Guardian, Mrs May conceded that “a lot of people will invest” in Britain “because it is the UK in Europe”.  Theresa May has been accused of “blithely ignoring her own dire warnings” after it emerged she had previously warned about the consequences of a so-called hard Brexit after a recording emerged of her setting out fears for the economy.Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “It is disappointing that Theresa May lacked the political courage to warn the British public as she did a group of bankers in private about the devastating economic effects of Brexit.”But far more disappointing is that now she is supposedly in charge, she is blithely ignoring her own dire warnings and is prepared to inflict an act of monumental self-harm on the UK economy by pulling Britain out of the Single Market.”She is doing so purely to satisfy the uncaring, divisive and extremist voices around her own cabinet table.” Tory MPs heckled Mr Corbyn, who added: “I think when you’re searching for the real meaning and the importance behind the Prime Minister’s statement, you have to consult the great philosophers.”After a further delay due to shouts from Tory MPs, Mr Corbyn said: “The only one I could come up with is Baldrick, who says, ‘Our cunning plan is to have no plan’.”Brexit was apparently about taking back control but the devolved governments don’t know the plan, businesses don’t know the plan, Parliament doesn’t know the plan.”When will the Prime Minister abandon this shambolic Tory Brexit and develop a plan that delivers for the whole country?” 12:07PMDoes Brexit mean Brexit? Jeremy Corbyn quizzes Theresa May on access to the single market.”I thought the Prime Minister was going to tell us Brexit means Brexit again. I’m sure she will tell us what it means eventually,” he jokes.Mrs May hits back: “The Leader of the Opposition tries to poke fun at the phrase Brexit means Brexit but the whole point of Brexit is this Government is listening to the will of the people. Brexit means we will be leaving the European Union.” 12:05PMMay commends Home Office on child migrants Former Conservative minister Nick Boles has revealed he is fighting cancer for a second time. 1:34PMBaldrick wades into Brexit debate A 2009 leaflet from Theresa May Steven Woolfe on the floor of the European Parliament building following an altercation Steven Woolfe on the floor of the European Parliament building following an altercationCredit:ITV Newscenter_img Jeremy Corbyn accuses Theresa May of “dithering” over Brexit, telling her that she is creating a great deal of uncertainty for businesses who are considering leaving the UK.He says: “This cannot carry on until March next year. When is the prime minister going to come up with a plan?”She hits back: “I want this country to be a global leader in free trade. The Labour party is against free trade.”I want to introduce controls on free movement. Labour wants to continue with free movement.”I want to follow the will of the British people. He wants to frustrate the will of the people.”Mr Corbyn then mentions Baldrick, yes Blackadder’s Baldrick, to liken Mrs May to him.”Our cunning plan is to have no plan,” he jokes.Mrs May responds by saying that Tony Robinson, who played Bladrick, was in fact a Labour member.It is perhaps brave of Mr Corbyn to quote Robinson’s character after the actor recently described the Labour leader as “c***”. 10:51AM’Have you no compassion?’ Jeremy Paxman tackles Ukip leadership contender Suzanne Evans after she backs physical checks on child migrants Nick Boles, a former Conservative ministerCredit:Telegraph/Clara Molden “I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days. I think when you’re searching for the real meaning and the importance behind the prime minister’s statement, you have to consult the great philosophers.”The only one I could come up with is Baldrick, who says, ‘Our cunning plan is to have no plan’. “Brexit was apparently about taking back control but the devolved governments don’t know the plan, businesses don’t know the plan, Parliament doesn’t know the plan. When will the prime minister abandon this shambolic Tory Brexit and develop a plan that delivers for the whole country?”Mrs May hit back by reminding Mr Corbyn at Tony Robinson, who played Baldrick, was in fact a Labour member.But it was a good hit for Mr Corbyn at today’s PMQs. Speaking at Goldman Sachs on May 26, Mrs May is reported to have said: “I think the economic arguments are clear. I think being part of a 500-million trading bloc is significant for us.”I think, as I was saying to you a little earlier, that one of the issues is that a lot of people will invest here in the UK because it is the UK in Europe.“If we were not in Europe, I think there would be firms and companies who would be looking to say, do they need to develop a mainland Europe presence rather than a UK presence? So I think there are definite benefits for us in economic terms.” Theresa May was seen as a “reluctant remainer” in the referendum campaignCredit:Toby Melville /Reuters Ukip MEPs Steven Woolfe and Mike Hookem have been reported to French police over their altercation at the European Parliament which plunged crisis-hit Ukip into further turmoil. 10:13AMUkip MEPs reported to French police following altercation in European Parliament Jeremy Corbyn asks Theresa May if she will stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia in light of the kingdom’s activities in Yemen. She responds by highlighting the importance of the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. Jeremy Paxman has taken to task Ukip leadership candidate Suzanne Evans after she said she agreed that child asylum seekers wanting to come to Britain should undergo physical checks to ensure they are genuinely children.During ITV’s The Agenda programme, the former Newsnight presenter asked her: “Do you have no compassion?” Baldrick, as played by Tony RobinsonCredit:REX Baldrick, as played by Tony Robinson Nick Boles, a former Conservative minister 9:09AM’May was right to warn about losing single market membership’ Mr Boles, who served as planning minister from 2012 to 2014 and skills minister until this year, said doctors at King’s College Hospital accident and emergency department had found a cancerous tumour in his head.Read our full story. Theresa May will ‘make a success’ of Brexit, No10 insistsCredit:Reuters Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs A No 10 spokesman has responded to the secret recording in which Theresa May can be heard warning about consequences of a so-called hard Brexit during the referendum campaign.The spokesman did not directly comment on the recording, but insisted: “Britain made a clear choice to vote to leave the EU and this Government is determined to make a success of the fresh opportunities it presents.”David Davis made very clear in the House of Commons last week the importance the Government places on financial services across the UK in the negotiation to come, as has the Chancellor in recent weeks.”We want a smooth and orderly exit from the European Union, which would be in the interests of both Britain and the EU.” In recent weeks Mrs May has hinted that Britain will not be in the single market after Brexit. Mrs May supported David Cameron’s Remain campaign ahead of the referendum.However, she made relatively few interventions and allies of Mr Cameron have since said that she repeatedly refused to publicly back his campaign. She was seen as a “reluctant remainer” during the run-up to the referendum.Ahead of the vote she made a speech which offered cautious backing to staying in the EU, but with the caveat that there are “problems” associated with membership and that the UK “could cope” outside the bloc.She added at the time that the UK is “big enough and strong enough to be a success story in or out of the EU”. Chuka Umunna, the Labour MP and former shadow business secretary, said Theresa May was “right then – and it underlines why single market membership should be her ambition now”. Jeremy Corbyn at PMQsCredit:PA Mr Woolfe was left in hospital after the fracas in Strasbourg which led to him quitting Ukip and abandoning his bid to become the party’s leader.European Parliament president Martin Schulz said he had referred the matter to the French authorities “given the seriousness of the reported facts and their possible criminal implications”.Read the full story. Theresa May has been challenged on air quality concerns over the third runway plans at Heathrow.This is an issue she previously said she was concerned about in a 2009 leaflet. The row came after Tory MP David Davies was criticised for suggesting child migrants could be subjected to dental checks to verify that they were indeed children.Read the full story. Andrew Gwynne, shadow minister without portfolio, said: “As if we needed it, this recording is cast-iron evidence of how Theresa May and other senior Tories have been saying one thing in private about the economic impact of Brexit, and another in the comfort of Tory conference halls.”It’s plain that she recognises what a disaster it would be for Britain to lose access to the Single Market, so why doesn’t she be honest with the British people and say how she plans to retain it?”Labour’s Phil Wilson, an Open Britain campaign supporter, said: “It’s good to know that privately Theresa May thinks what many of us have been saying publicly for a long time – leaving the Single Market would be bad for businesses and for our economy.”Now she is Prime Minister, Theresa May is in an unrivalled position to act on her previous concerns – starting by putting membership of the Single Market at the heart of her Government’s negotiating strategy.” 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. We are now just a few minutes away from this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions and the Commons chamber is filling up. We will be bringing you the key exchanges between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. I think there are definite benefits for us in economic termsTheresa May 12:04PMCorbyn welcomes child refugees To laughter from her MPs, Mrs May told Mr Corbyn: “I’m interested that you chose Baldrick. Of course, the actor playing Baldrick was a member of the Labour Party, as I recall.”The PM went on: “I’ll tell you what we’re going to deliver: we’re going to deliver on the vote of the British people, we’re going to deliver the best possible deal for trade in goods and services with and operation within the European Union, and we’re going to deliver an end to free movement.”That’s what the British people want and that’s what this Government is going to deliver for them.” Tim Farron says Theresa May lacked the 'political courage' to speak up to the wider public about the dangers of Brexit Theresa May will 'make a success' of Brexit, No10 insists 7:31AMLeaked recording of Theresa May’s Brexit commentslast_img read more

Midwives told to say partner during antenatal classes after samesex couple complained

first_imgHospital documents revealed the midwife had kept referring to the "fella's role" during the antenatal classes (file picture) The Trust said they didn’t have a written policy on how staff should speak to patients and their families.Last month, the British Medical Association came under fire after publishing guidance over the use of a raft of words that were considered to be potentially “discriminatory”. “You can also mix up the word order in common expressions, eg instead of saying, ‘men and women’, use ‘women and men’.”The BMA guidance added that words and phrases that reinforce stereotypes, cause discomfort or offence, or exclude certain groups of people through assumptions, could be considered discriminatory.Tony Williams, opposition leader on Blackpool Council said: “It would have been an innocent comment and there would have been no intention to offend.”I can understand if people feel offended or left out but I feel in this instance it would have been without malice. Both sides should draw a line under this and carry on.” The patient is in a same-sex relationship and felt this terminology was inappropriateHospital documents Midwives have been told to use the word “partner” during antenatal classes after a lesbian couple complained about a nurse using the term “fella”.The duo told hospital bosses they are too uncomfortable to return to the sessions and were given one-to-one sessions following the incident.Hospital documents revealed the midwife had kept referring to the “fella’s role” during the antenatal classes. Hospital documents revealed the midwife had kept referring to the “fella’s role” during the antenatal classes (file picture)Credit:Paula Smith / Alamy Stock Photo It said: “You should avoid references to a person’s gender except where it is relevant in a discussion.”The guidance suggested using “neutral” language when speaking about family unless there is certainty over which gender to use.It added: “For example, use the word ‘partner’ instead of ‘wife’ or ‘husband’, ‘parent’ instead of ‘mum’ or ‘dad’, and ‘child’ instead of ‘son’ or ‘daughter’. The document said: “The midwife hosting the class kept referring to the ‘fella’s role’ during the labour process.”The patient is in a same-sex relationship and felt this terminology was inappropriate, and that same-sex couples or single mothers could be made to feel uncomfortable.”The community midwives have been reminded not to use this terminology and to only use the word ‘partner’ in future classes.”One-to-one parentcraft sessions have also been arranged for the couple as they felt uncomfortable returning to the class.”A spokesman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said there was no additional cost for the one-to-one session. She added: “All our midwifery care is individualised to the family.” 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

Exclusive Oxford University may break with 700 years of tradition and open

first_imgOxford has been told that any campus opened in France could have French legal status and would continue to receive EU funding.As part of the plans, British universities would “relocate” degree courses and study programmes and create joint degrees and research laboratories.Should Oxford and other leading institutions sign-off on the proposals, construction of the new Parisian campus would begin in 2018.A spokesman for Oxford said no decision had yet been taken, but added: “Oxford has been an international university throughout its history and it is determined to remain open to the world whatever the future political landscape looks like.” 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. Francois Germinet, President of the University of Cergy-Pontoise, added that the project would represent an “extraordinary ground for experimentation” which would foster a new “relationship” between the UK and Europe.A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:“The UK is home to some of the world’s best universities and research institutions, and we intend to secure the best possible outcome for the UK’s research base as we exit the EU.“We have already taken steps to provide assurances by committing to underwrite Horizon 2020 grants bid for prior to the UK’s departure from the EU and put science and research at the heart of our Industrial Strategy with an extra £2bn investment per year – and will seek agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.” Jean-Michel Blanquer, the former director-general of the French ministry for education, confirmed that efforts were under way to lure Britain’s best universities across the Channel.Mr Blanquer, who is Dean of  Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales (ESSEC), said that plans for a new international campus were already underway at Universite Paris Seine – an association of ten universities in the French capital.Mr Blanquer added that he and other leading French academics are currently discussing the plans with the French government.Mr Blanquer said that he was in the early stages of consultation with the European Commission, and had already met with officials from  Oxford and the University of Warwick to discuss the proposals. The Commission, which oversees European higher education funding projects such as the Horizon 2020 programme – worth more than £2bn in funding to UK universities – could guarantee the Oxbridge and others continued access to funding and research collaboration.While the future status of British universities in Europe remains unclear, leading academics have warned MPs that Brexit has the potential to cause the “biggest disaster” for the higher education if European research funding is withdrawn.Speaking at an Education Select Committee hearing last month, Professor Alastair Buchan, Oxford University’s recently appointed head of Brexit strategy, said that continued access to Europe was crucial to maintaining the university’s place in the “top league”.”This a Manchester United problem isn’t it?” he told MPs. “The idea that Manchester Utd would not recruit players and wouldn’t have fans and wouldn’t play abroad really means that we have got to do three things.“We have got to be absolutely sure we are open; every student and every staff member that comes to Oxford is a benefit for this country because we recruit quality, people that play in the top league.”Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Blanquer said that he hoped to attract the “highest calibre universities” in order to “preserve the relations built with their partners in Europe”.“It is for this reason that we have chosen to act very concretely in order to offer them the possibility to pursue their development alongside us,” he added.“The idea is symbolic, to say after Brexit: ‘we want to build bridges and that academic life is not totally dependent on political problems’.“We want to say to British universities: ‘it can be a win-win game for you’. To have high quality institutions from the UK working in our territory, interacting together in terms of research and collaboration.“We are at the beginning of the process, so that by 2018, we are in a position to guarantee these things. The main idea is to get European funding through co-operation with the UK and other European institutions.“Of course this comes down to political considerations, but we are confident that European institutions will be working towards this, to allow this kind of project.”center_img The idea is symbolic, to say after Brexit: ‘we want to build bridges and that academic life is not totally dependent on political problems’Jean-Michel Blanquer Oxford University might break with 700 years of tradition by establishing its first foreign campus in response to Brexit, The Telegraph can disclose.French officials met senior staff at Oxford last week and revealed new proposals that they hope would guarantee future European Union funding for a “satellite” base in Paris.Other universities, including Warwick, were approached with the idea to build a new campus in Paris in 2018.It comes after France launched a charm offensive earlier this month to lure Britain’s bankers across the Channel after Britain voted to leave the EU. Show more last_img read more

Kitten stuck inside chimney rescued after fourday nightmare

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. RSPCA Inspector Matt Brown managed to free cat Lola “But getting her safely freed was worth a dirty uniform! She came out looking bedraggled and dazed.”In other pet news, a smiling dog faced losing his new home after this adoption selfie alerted police. He ended up covered in soot but said it was worth itCredit:Liverpool Echo/Merseyside Police Merseyside Fire Service helped with the rescue Credit:Liverpool Echo/Merseyside Police He ended up covered in soot but said it was worth it A lucky kitten has been rescued after spending four days stuck inside the chimney of a Liverpool property.Lola got herself wedged 8ft up a chimney and was freed after a rescue operation between the RSPCA and Merseyside Fire Service. Merseyside Fire Service helped with the rescue  RSPCA Inspector Matt Brown managed to free cat LolaCredit:Liverpool Echo/Merseyside Police RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer Matt Brown, who got completely covered in soot during the rescue, said: “Lola had been trapped up there for four days.“It was a different sort of job that I am used to – it just goes to show how varied a day in the life of an RSPCA inspector can be. Her worried owner, who initially thought she had gone missing,  contacted the RSPCA after hearing the kitten making noises inside the chimney.She had not long been adopted by her owner and, feeling timid in her new home, sought a place to hide – behind the fireplace, RSPCA official said.last_img read more

Twoyearold girl died when car with hand brake off rolled into river

“I looked everywhere.”PCSO Caryl Griffiths told the inquest how she dived into the freezing river and smashed her way into the car with a baton.”I immediately felt Kiara’s body. She floated out of the car into my arms,” she said.”All I remember was looking at her body and her face was purple.”I knew it was here because the coat she was wearing matched the description.”Detective Constable Hannah Gardener said the Mini could be seen in CCTV footage at the back of the building.”At 4.28pm bright-coloured trainers come into view from the vehicle and go out of view at 4.29pm,” she said.”At 4.32pm the car started to roll backwards towards the slip. At 4.32pm the vehicle is out of view.”A woman comes of of the building carrying items. She can be seen then talking on the phone.”The hearing was told the woman was Kiara’s mother. DC Gardener said that from video, the car was left unattended for just two minutes and two seconds.After Kiara was recovered from the river, a defibrillator was brought to her before she was flown to the University Hospital Wales in Cardiff.Professor Stephen Leadbeatter carried out a post mortem and gave a cause of death as immersion. In an emotional Facebook post after her daughter’s death, Ms Rowlands wrote: “Due to my own stupidity, I will have to live with the guilt of this for the rest of my life. Mummy loves you baby girl and I’m so sorry.”The verdict was recorded as misadventure Forensic investigator Aled Thomas told the hearing that the handbrake would have needed to be set to just two clicks to stop it from rolling down the hill. Kim Rowland’s silver Mini rolled down the slipway and into the river TeifiCredit:Athena Pictures The slipway where Kim Rowland's silver Mini rolled into the river Teifi Kiara Moore, with her father Jet Moore and mother Kim Rowlands Kiara Moore, with her father Jet Moore and mother Kim RowlandsCredit:Facebook “I went down to the river and couldn’t see anything,” said Ms Rowlands.“My next thought was that the car had been taken. I asked people if they’d seen anything.”I rang 999 and told them my car had been taken with my daughter inside. Then I was running about everywhere and asking drivers if anyone had seen my car. Coroner Peter Brunton said: “As the car was recovered I find that the handbrake was down in third gear.”Miss Rowlands said she left it in reverse. When the car was recovered that was not the case.”The vehicle has been tested and was in good condition with no handbrake defects.”There is going to be no satisfactory outcome.”He said that on the “balance of probabilities” the hand brake had not been set before it rolled into the river.”A perfectly lawful set of circumstances has taken place which has led to death. Kiara’s family have my deepest sympathies,” he added. Kim Rowlands posted on Facebook after her daughter’s death saying that she would have to live with guilt for the rest of her lifeCredit:Facebook Kim Rowlands posted on Facebook after her daughter's death saying that she would have to live with guilt for the rest of her life He said: “The handbrake was found in the unset position and not applied.”Investigating officer Sergeant Shane Davies suggested that Kiara moved into the back seat and that could have triggered the car rolling back. “Kiara made here way into the back of the vehicle,” he said. “It could well be that the movement has been enough to overcome the gravity tipping point and the vehicle has moved away.”CCTV has shown that the car rolled off slowly so that may be one reasonable explanation. “That movement has been enough to start that movement and gravity has done its thing.” A two-year-old girl died after the car she had been left in by her mother rolled into a fast flowing river, as the hand brake had not been applied, an inquest heard.Kiara Moore was left in the front seat of a silver Mini for just two minutes by her mother Kim Rowlands, as she went into her family’s riverside business in Cardigan, West Wales.It was suggested that Kiara moved into the back seat and that could have triggered the car to travel backwards down the slipway on which it was parked, and into the freezing cold river Teifi last March.Ceredigion coroner Peter Brunton said that on the “balance of probabilities” the handbrake had not been set before the car rolled into the river.The  29-year-old mother rang police to report that the car had been stolen with her young daughter inside, but after a two hour search, it was found submerged in the river just yards from where it had been parked. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Extinction Rebellion protesters plan to wreak havoc at Wimbledon

It comes after Wimbledon bosses came under fire last year when stars including Johanna Konta and Kyle Edmonds called out the sea of plastic litter left behind by both players and spectators. Extinction Rebellion, the climate change protesters who brought London to a standstill, are planning to ‘wreak havoc’ at the Wimbledon championships by demonstrating over single use plastics. The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) is understood to be stepping up security after discovering secret plans by environmentalists to disrupt the popular Grand Slam tennis tournament, which starts on Monday. Although plastic straws were banned last year, images emerged of the club’s iconic grass courts strewn with… read more

Schools rated outstanding to face routine Ofsted inspections after 10year gap in

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged a £14bn cash injection for primary and secondary schools in England, to be delivered over three yearsCredit:Aaron Chown/PA Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged a £14bn cash injection for primary and secondary schools in England, to be delivered over three years. This means the schools budget will be £52.2bn in 2022/23.Chancellor Sajid Javid has also earmarked £400m in additional funding for providers of education to 16 to 19-year-olds so they can teach young people the skills they need to enter well-paid jobs.The boost is the single biggest annual increase for the sector since 2010.On a visit to the further education college in Bristol where he studied economics, maths and computer science, Mr Javid said: “Further education, like all our public services, is a lifeline of opportunity for our young people.”We’ll make a strong statement in backing it at this week’s Spending Round and I’ll continue to look at what more we can do to help, just as my FE college opened my horizons and set me on my way.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged a £14bn cash injection for primary and secondary schools in England, to be delivered over three years Schools rated ‘outstanding’ will no longer be exempt from routine Ofsted inspections, the Education Secretary has announced, after it emerged that some have not been checked for more than a decade.Gavin Williamson unveiled the new rule as part of a raft of measures to tackle under-performance and ensure standards continue to rise, saying he would “leave no stone unturned” to achieve this.Since 2012, ‘outstanding’ schools have not been legally required to undergo routine inspections and are only visited if the watchdog has concerns about their performance.A report by the National Audit Office last year found that 296 had not been inspected for more than 10 years – during which time standards could steeply decline.But they will now be subject to the same visits as other schools to ensure the quality of education remains high and to reassure parents that their children are still receiving first class teaching.It comes after Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools in England, urged ministers to lift the exemption to ensure that the rating remains a “meaningful and a genuine beacon of excellence”.’Outstanding’ schools are highly sought after by parents and can drive up nearby house prices as families flock to the local area so that they qualify for the catchment area.But this academic year only 16 per cent of schools retained their ‘outstanding’ status following re-inspection compared with 33 per cent last year.Inspections can take place at any time after the first five working school days in the autumn term. The frequency of inspections depends on Ofsted’s findings.Schools can request that their inspection be deferred or cancelled, but only in exceptional circumstances. In the announcement, Mr Williamson also promised extra funding for top performing academies and more support for schools consistently rated ‘requires improvement’.He said a specialist academy trust will be piloted in the North of England to overhaul the most challenging schools struggling with long term underperformance.  Mr Williamson said: “Every parent wants to know their child is getting a great education and I will leave no stone unturned in my drive to deliver that.”Education standards in this country have been transformed since 2010, and I am determined to make sure those schools that are leading the way are sharing their expertise and lifting up others so every child, no matter where they are from has the best possible start in life.“This government has delivered on its promise to deliver a huge cash boost for the education system and now we will continue our relentless focus on standards by backing teachers, school leaders and the sector as a whole to do what they do best and deliver the best for our children.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more