Dwight Howard Could Play For Lakers Sooner Than Thought

Dwight Howard was running and jumping and dunking at his first Los Angeles Lakers practice, a welcome sight for a team that said it did not expect the perennial all-star center to be fully recovered from back surgery in time for the start of the regular season.Going by Tuesday, where he participated in a full practice, Howard certainly could be in the team’s Nov. 2 opener against the Los Angeles Clippers. In fact, he said h hopes to play in some preseason games to get some timing down with his new teammates.“Hopefully, I’ll be back for some preseason games,” Howard said. “I think we’re going to need it for chemistry and all that stuff. But . . . I’m not going to rush it. I’m going to continue to practice. We’ve had some great practices.”A source who witnessed Howard at the portion of practice that was closed to the media described Howard’s level of play to ESPNLosAngeles.com as “unbelievable.”“He was dunking everything in sight,” the source said. “He looks like he can play in an NBA game today.”Howard said he was not surprised to be going full tilt considering how hard he has been training leading up to the start of camp. But Howard’s effort did catch at least one of his teammates off guard.“He worked just as much as everybody else, so that was good,” Pau Gasol said. “I didn’t expect that.”Lakers coach Mike Brown said Howard had been working out six days a week at the practice facility with assistant coaches Darvin Ham and Chuck Person for the past month.“He looked good,” Brown said.As impressive as Howard was, Brown said the decision as to when Howard makes his debut will be up to the Lakers’ training staff.“Whenever he’s ready, he’ll be ready,” Brown said. “It’s our trainers’ jobs. Our trainers do a terrific job of it. They’re out here the whole practice and if they feel they need to pull him out of it, they’ll pull him out.”Ultimately, Howard tried to measure expectations as to when his first game appearance will occur. “We’re not in a rush,” Howard said. “These guys need me for the whole season, not a couple preseason games.” read more

The Raiders Are Rolling With Historic Inexperience At QB

On Wednesday afternoon, the Oakland Raiders confirmed that history will be made in their playoff game against the Houston Texans Saturday: Rookie quarterback Connor Cook will become the first signal-caller in the Super Bowl era to make his NFL debut in a playoff game.It’s probably not the way Cook wanted to enter the record books. Things rarely go well when a team is forced to use a backup QB, particularly in the playoffs. Since 1966, there have been 86 playoff games where a team’s primary passer1i.e., the quarterback who led the team in dropbacks during the game. wasn’t the same as the team’s usual QB from the regular season;2i.e., the quarterback who led the team in dropbacks during the season. in those games, the team in question scored 21 percent fewer points than their seasonal per-game average, and their passing efficiency (as measured by adjusted net yards per attempt) was 20 percent worse than normal.Now, it being the postseason, you’d expect less offensive output anyway (since good defensive teams tend to make the playoffs). And indeed, teams who have their usual starter also see their performance decline — but only to the tune of 10 percent in points per game, and 12 percent in passing efficiency. The penalty for starting a backup is about double the typical postseason drop-off.3That the typical drop-offs for passing and overall offense are roughly equal lines up with research that shows passing efficiency is far more correlated with offensive success than how a team does in the running game. (Plus, quarterbacks do play their own role in the running game, whether by rushing themselves, by handing off or by opening up the defense with effective passing.)Things get even worse when a rookie backup — like Cook — is called into playoff action. Here’s the subset of those 86 games from above where the backup was in his first NFL season: It’s only an 11-game sample, but offenses led by rookie backups tend to collapse even harder than those directed by stand-ins with some NFL experience. Those teams’ points per game declined by 29 percent and their passing efficiency by 49 percent when compared with their regular-season averages.The good news for Oakland, however, is that the Texans are also dealing with a quarterback crisis of their own. And although the backup QBs in my dataset above tended to play horribly, they still managed to scratch out a victory more than 35 percent of the time — as did rookie backups. So although Cook may be historically inexperienced for a playoff starter, it wouldn’t exactly be inconceivable for the Raiders to pull off the win anyway. read more

Why The Raptors Need To Strike Early

The NBA Finals kick off Thursday night when the Toronto Raptors host the Golden State Warriors in Game 1. Golden State is dealing with several key injuries, and in the video above, FiveThirtyEight breaks down why the Raptors should try to strike early, before the Warriors can field their full team.

Alex Rodriguez Wouldve Made The Hall Of Fame Without Steroids

News broke Wednesday morning that Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees third baseman who was suspended by Major League Baseball for the entire 2014 season over allegations of performance-enhancing drug (PED) use, had admitted to federal Drug Enforcement Administration officials that he used the prohibited substances from 2010 through 2012. Rodriguez’s confession came behind closed doors last January, but in public he continued to deny the charges right up until the Miami Herald released its findings in a story Wednesday.The news confirms accusations that Rodriguez had augmented his performance during the 2011 and 2012 MLB seasons, in addition to his previous admission of using PEDs from 2001 to 2003, when he was a member of the Texas Rangers. Given the current climate of baseball’s Hall of Fame voting — neither Barry Bonds nor Roger Clemens has cracked 40 percent of the vote in either of their two years on the ballot — Rodriguez’s latest admission seems like the final nail in the coffin for his Hall of Fame candidacy, assuming it wasn’t already long buried. But it’s also worth remembering that, like Bonds and Clemens before him, Rodriguez was a magnificent player before taking PEDs, and likely could have been a Hall of Famer without them.Not only did Rodriguez rank first on Baseball America’s 1995 Top 100 Prospects list, but after hitting .311 with a .948 OPS and good range at shortstop as an 18-year-old at Triple-A in 1994, he might well have been the greatest prospect in the history of the draft era. And lest the hype seem unjustified, in 1996 — his first full season in the majors — all Rodriguez did was belt an MLB-leading 54 doubles, smack 36 home runs, hit .358 (!!), post a 1.045 OPS (just the second time a shortstop had ever topped a 1.000 OPS, creating a club with the incomparable Arky Vaughan), lead the American League in total bases and finish tied as the fourth-best fielding shortstop in the AL according to TotalZone runs saved.Did I mention he did all that at age 20?Between then and 2001, when Rodriguez was said to have begun using PEDs, he would also do things like hit .300 or better in three out of four seasons, hit 40 or more home runs in three out of four seasons, set the all-time single-season record for Bill James’s Power/Speed statistic in 1998 (when he became the third member of the 40-40 Club with 42 home runs and 46 stolen bases), and become, in 2000, just the 22nd player in baseball history to surpass 10.0 wins above replacement (WAR) in a single season.Rodriguez’s supposed last season before he began using came that year, his last as a member of the Seattle Mariners. Through age 24, only two players in baseball history — Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle — produced more career WAR than Rodriguez did. Current Los Angeles Angel Mike Trout has A-Rod beat (along with everyone else who ever played the game) on career WAR through age 22, but there’s no question that Rodriguez had the pure talent to rank among the game’s all-time greatest players even before he started using PEDs.James once developed a long-term career forecast model called Brock2 — essentially a very early progenitor of a full-fledged projection system like PECOTA — which could produce an expected career stat line for a player based on his career performance through a given age. Feed it Rodriguez’s age 20-24 seasons, and it produces an absurd set of projected career totals: 3,573 hits; 668 doubles; 1,075 home runs. As mean projections for anybody, those numbers are silly (Trout through age 22 also generates a forecast of 3,646 hits, 740 doubles, and 826 home runs), but they underscore how incredible Rodriguez’s first five full MLB seasons were. (Through 20 seasons, Rodriguez now has 2,939 hits, 519 doubles and 654 home runs.)All of this, it bears mentioning, matters only if you believe Rodriguez began using PEDs in 2001, and didn’t before that. At the time of Rodriguez’s initial suspension in August 2013, Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci wrote a column that included the following quote:“If you believe he started using [PEDs] in 2001, when he said he did, you’re a fool,” a former teammate said. “The likelihood is that he never played a day clean in the major leagues. Why? Insecurity. Alex doesn’t know how good he could be without drugs, and didn’t trust himself to find out.”That remains speculation at this point. But based on what we do know, Rodriguez’s early-career numbers were so great, and his potential so vast, that he had a very high likelihood of making the Hall of Fame before he ostensibly began using performance-enhancing drugs. Wednesday’s revelations only add to the disgrace he’s brought to his legacy since then. read more

Womens College Basketball Is Better Than Mens

Women’s volleyball429.65.085 TennesseeW1261 At least by this metric, it’s fair to say that basketball — both men’s and women’s — requires the most “talent” (among team sports) to play at the college level.It may also be worth noting that about 22 percent of female high school athletes who play team sports play basketball, compared with 17 percent for men. Meanwhile, female college basketball players make up 20 percent of the athletes who play top team sports, while men’s basketball players make up 11 percent. With a higher relative participation and fewer tempting alternatives for women athletes, college women’s basketball is likely to be receiving a very large share of the total female athletic talent.The top NCAA women’s teams recruit about as well as the top men’s teamsOf course, the top basketball teams — the type you are likely to see when watching the championship tournaments — feature much stronger talent. To get a better sense of the relative depth of women’s and men’s basketball, we have to look at both how good the top players are and how that talent is distributed across the players’ respective leagues.ESPN maintains “top 100” prospect lists for both men’s and women’s basketball. While skill will change over time, this provides us with a pretty good snapshot of the highest-ranked talent entering college.For individual teams, one way to boil down their recent recruiting prowess is to look at the top five recruits they signed over the previous four years (corresponding to the typical college stint). This tells you the top five prospects a team could theoretically put on the floor. For example, over the past four years, UConn has recruited two No. 1 overall prospects: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (2011) and Breanna Stewart (2012); a No. 2 overall: Moriah Jefferson (2012); a No. 6: Morgan Tuck (2012); and a No. 14: Gabby Williams (2014). Or, shorthand, UConn’s four-year recruiting class was a 1-1-2-6-14. It’s no wonder the Huskies have been so dominant!Actually, the University of Kentucky men’s team has had an even more impressive recruiting haul: Its four-year 2014 class was a 1-1-3-4-5. Here are the top 10 four-year recruiting classes of 2014, by average rank of the top five players: Women’s softball364.35.962 TennesseeW134563.8 TexasM1131 RutgersW699111810.6 DukeM1234124.4 RECRUITING RANK OF PLAYERS KentuckyM113452.8 SCHOOLSEXTOP2ND3RD4TH5THAVG Last month, when my editor tasked me with looking into the stats surrounding the notorious Harvard-Stanford 16 vs. 1 upset from 1998 for ESPNW, I didn’t know much about women’s basketball. When I found that upsets are much less common in the NCAA women’s tournament than in the men’s, my mind jumped to what seemed like a logical explanation: Perhaps the lack of upsets is caused by a lack of depth in the women’s game.In particular, teams like the epically dominant University of Connecticut Huskies — newly minted winners of their third straight national title and the 10th of Coach Geno Auriemma’s reign — must be able to win so much because they get all the best players from a shallow talent pool. Even many who love and defend women’s basketball often judge it a little differently than men’s, on the presumption that it’s a less mature sport.I don’t begrudge anyone for thinking this — I would still think the same if I hadn’t had the game on my mind for the past seven weeks. (Have I mentioned my editor is patient?) And it would make sense if there were any truth to the notion that women’s basketball is less talented.But it isn’t. As it turns out, not only is women’s college basketball as strong and deep in college-age talent as the men’s game, but for the rarest talent, it is significantly more so.Women’s college basketball is drawn from a talent pool similar to men’sFirst, let’s introduce a simple proxy for “talent”: How rare is an athlete’s skill relative to her peers?Take, for instance, Serena Williams. Serena is Serena not because she has the fastest serve on Earth, but because she has taken on the best competition in the world, on the biggest stages in the world, and come out on top — 19 times. One of the reasons this is so impressive is that tennis is an extremely popular sport worldwide — among both men and women — and Serena has been better than a whole generation’s worth of opposition. That is, of the literally tens of millions of women who play tennis around the globe,1Estimates have put the total number of participants at over 75 million. she has been the best for a long time.According to the 2013-14 High School Athletics Participation Survey, around 184,000 high school girls in the U.S. played tennis last year, making it the fifth-most-popular competitive2Meaning sports in which players or teams compete head to head and are scored in wins and losses, thus excluding individual sports like track. sport. With a rich history of female inclusion, stardom and even pay equity in major tournaments, tennis is probably the most female friendly sport. Yet the most popular competitive sport among young women is basketball, which was played by around 433,000 high school girls last year. Indeed, it has been the most popular women’s team sport at the high school level since people started keeping track of women’s sports in the 1970s.3It has maintained a total participation rate of around 400,000 since at least the mid-1970s, although other sports have gained in relative popularity. Volleyball and/or soccer may overtake basketball in coming years.The popularity and the competition both increase in college. As of 2012-13, the NCAA had 1,090 women’s basketball teams (the most of any sport — women or men), although getting a spot on one of them is still harder than for other sports. There are approximately 27 high school basketball players for every one spot on an NCAA roster and 87 for every spot on a Division I roster.That ratio of 87 to 1 is the highest of any of the top4“Top” here means a team sport in the top 10 most popular sports for each gender. women’s team sports and higher than any of the top men’s sports except men’s basketball: Women’s basketball433.35.087 So five of the top 10 teams were male, by this limited measure. But, of course, this has a couple of shortcomings: First, averaging ranks is probably not a great indicator of overall strength. For example, Tennessee’s recruits have a slightly lower average rank, but most people would probably take UConn’s.5Both teams have a 1 and a 6, but I’d take UConn’s remaining 1-2-14 over Tennessee’s 3-4-5. Second, the men’s recruiting prowess is slightly understated relative to the women’s considering that the top recruits come from a slightly larger pool (as I mentioned above).To adjust for all this, rather than looking at raw rankings, I’ve rated players by their percentile among graduating high school players in the year they were recruited.6I estimated each graduating class size as 28.6 percent (the ratio the NCAA uses for similar estimates) of the total high school participation for each player’s gender in the year they were recruited. This allows us to fill in the blank in the phrase, “She’s one in a ________.” For example, because Stewart was the No. 1 ranked prospect in her class, “she’s one in a hundred thousand” (OK, 124,539 — give or take).Using this method, in 2014, 71 college basketball teams had four-year recruiting classes that included at least five “one in a thousand”-quality players: 36 were men’s and 35 were women’s. Add the requirement that the team recruited a “one in 10,000” player as well, and the list whittles down to 21 women’s teams and 19 men’s teams. Require a superstar “one in 50,000”-type on top, and it’s pared down to 11 teams — six men’s and five women’s. Women’s soccer374.68.743 UCLAM1031 Men’s baseball482.610.248 SPORTHIGH SCHOOLDIVISION IHS/DI Notre DameW244212511.2 ConnecticutW1143 Men’s football1093.227.340 Men’s basketball541.1k5.4k101 ConnecticutW1126144.8 BaylorM721 North CarolinaM6810131710.8 Women’s lacrosse82.02.840 SCHOOLSEX1K10K50K DukeM1463 Of the five women’s teams, three were in the Final Four this year. (Related: Recruiting strength is a fairly good predictor of success.)One other way to look at a team’s recruited talent is to sum up all of its players’ talent pools. For example, a team with a one-in-100,000 player, a one-in-50,000 player and three one-in-10,000 players would have a total pool of 180,000. Using this method, here are the top 25 men’s and women’s teams:Note that this doesn’t correspond to any prediction model or such — it’s just a fun way to assess recruiting strength that’s easy to grasp and rewards teams for having the best players. Virtually any metric that rewards both breadth and depth will lead to the same main takeaways:All things considered, the distribution of talent to men’s and women’s teams has been pretty similar.While there’s no doubt that UConn has been the best recruiter among women’s teams over the past few years, it’s not any better at recruiting than we would expect the best recruiting team to be (unlike, say, their per-possession advantage, which is way higher than we would expect the highest per-possession advantage to be).Of course, one of the reasons that Kentucky’s men’s team is so good at recruiting is it has a lot of slots open up.More of the best college-age women actually play college basketballAs you may have anticipated by now, the main thing that has an impact on competitive balance — and it’s a doozy — is the number of top players on the men’s side who leave college early, generally to enter the NBA draft. The 2015 NBA draft could see more than 50 early entrants; the WNBA draft this year had only two — and that was two more than it usually has.7Before this year, only two women who had remaining years of eligibility had entered the WNBA draft and only one had gone before her fourth year in college (Kelsey Bone, who left Texas A&M after her junior year in 2012).While virtually all the best female players of college age are playing college basketball, only a fraction of the best male players are. Here’s how the chart above looks with all the players who departed for the NBA draft excluded:By this measure, Duke leapfrogs Kentucky for the strongest recruits on its roster on the men’s side, and sure enough, Coach K is once again proven to be a genius. (Related: Recruiting strength is a fairly good predictor of success.) But with the men’s teams having lost 39 one-in-5,000 or higher players to the draft, the UConn women pull ahead of all of them as the team with the best recruiting pedigree overall.More importantly, essentially the entire men’s line drops significantly below the women’s. And while recruiting strength is a reasonable proxy for talent levels overall, note that the actual loss of talent to the NBA probably has a much larger effect, as many of the most-talented players who weren’t highly ranked coming out of high school depart as well.And here’s the bottom line: In women’s basketball, there is far more talent actually on the court in a typical game, season or championship tournament:Which is to say, more of the best female college-age players play college basketball.The “downside” of having every great player stick around for four years is that teams get good. And they play together for long periods of time and get better. The effects of good recruiting — as well as good coaching — are more pronounced and last longer. In the women’s tournament, we have a much better sense of who the best teams are, and they play like it. You don’t get the “madness”-engendering scenario in which talented teams with no experience face off against experienced teams with less talent.The irony is that the lack of upsets in the women’s tourney is frequently cited as a sign of the sport’s immaturity or inferior talent. But the chalk likely results from the opposite: The women’s game is the more mature of the two.No doubt, the women’s tournament has a very different character than the men’s — and I don’t just mean the scarcity of dunks. Big upsets are extremely rare, and teams perform relatively closer to their expectations. But you don’t tune in to witness madness; you tune in to witness greatness. South CarolinaW1021 KentuckyM18133 DukeW2369106.0 Men’s soccer417.45.773 DukeW1461 KansasM1152 KansasM13611147.0 Notre DameW1031 ArizonaM4479157.8 ONE IN … read more

Russell Westbrook Cant Stop Going Left

The Oklahoma City Thunder star has gone to his left almost three-quarters of the time when driving one-on-one this season, a career-high rate and an 11 percent increase from last season, according to data from Synergy Sports Technology. Yet despite going to his left on 74 percent of his drives — more frequently than any other NBA guard or small forward — and doing so without nearly as much scoring help as he had before, Westbrook has managed to increase his efficiency when in isolation scenarios. He’s scoring on one-on-one tries 40 percent of the time this season, up from 35 percent in 2015-16.I went to Oklahoma City this week, hoping to get more insight on what’s changed from Westbrook himself. I gave him a sheet with stats on it that showed which direction he has favored over his career and told him that he could keep it. He glanced down at it briefly and then handed the sheet back, saying, “I don’t want it!”Westbrook said he goes left so often because he’s simply taking what defenses give him. “People send me left, man — I can’t really tell you much about [why],” said Westbrook, who is ambidextrous but shoots with his right hand. “People send me that way, and if that’s the way they want me to go? I guess they’re seeing the numbers differently than you are. Maybe they think it’s better for them if I go left. I have no idea.”Defenses, eager to slow Westbrook down any way they can, could indeed be a major part of it. Opposing teams may have picked up on a longstanding tendency of Westbrook’s; throughout his career, he’s been far more likely to drive all the way to the basket when going to his right, while he has more frequently pulled up for jumpers when going left, according to the Synergy data.1Westbrook wouldn’t be alone in this regard. All-time great Michael Jordan noted in an ESPN The Magazine profile that LeBron James has the same tendency. If you’re a defense, you’d rather have Westbrook take a jumper than explode at the rim. Yet defenders’ potential knowledge of Westbrook’s tendencies would make it even more surprising that Westbrook has been able to boost his isolation efficiency so often.Westbrook’s leftward lean may also be happening because Oklahoma City has a left-handed big man — rookie Domantas Sabonis — who usually operates from the right block. That might be limiting Westbrook’s ability to go toward his right at times.The other big change for Westbrook this season, of course, is Kevin Durant’s departure. It’d be natural to think that maybe his absence provided more opportunity for Westbrook to roam left. But during Durant’s final season with the Thunder, a greater share of his shot attempts came from the right side of the floor, meaning that there should be more room for Westbrook on the right side this season.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/russgsw.mp400:0000:0000:08Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Regardless of why Westbrook is favoring his left, the spike is noteworthy. It’s a statement that Westbrook has come a far way from how he played when he was young. He favored going to his right as a freshman at UCLA, and for good reason: Westbrook was in college basketball’s 98th percentile on right-sided isolation efficiency but in the bottom 1 percent when isolating left, according to Synergy. As a rookie in the NBA, he went right 60 percent of the time. But each season since, Westbrook has played to his left more.Normally a player would be forced to address an imbalance as extreme as Westbrook’s to keep opponents on their toes. Between intricate film breakdowns and advanced numbers, defenders in today’s NBA have more weapons at their disposal than ever before. But given how well Westbrook has fared in one-on-one situations this season, there may not be a reason for him to change much.Check out our latest NBA predictions. 2008-0940.359.7 2016-1773.7%26.3% 2012-1367.432.6 SEASONDRIVES LEFTDRIVES RIGHT 2009-1051.848.2 No one has figured out how to stop Russell Westbrook this season, as evidenced by his season-long triple-double. Perhaps the most interesting thing about his dominance: He’s accomplished much of it while being more predictable than ever on offense. 2011-1266.933.1 2014-1567.132.9 Source: Synergy Sports Technology 2013-1464.435.6 2010-1154.245.8 Which way Russell Westbrook drives in one-on-one situations 2015-1666.433.6 read more

Two ranked opponents ahead for Ohio State wrestling in trip to Indiana

OSU redshirt junior Josh Fox wrestles against Nebraska’s Aaron Studebaker during a match at St. John Arena on Jan. 17. OSU won 21-17. Credit: Muyao Shen | Asst. Photo EditorAs the Big Ten and NCAA Championships rapidly approach the Ohio State wrestling team, the Buckeyes are gearing up to travel to Indiana for a pair of conference matchups.No. 9 OSU (7-2, 4-1) is first set to travel to Bloomington to square off against the No. 22 Hoosiers.Indiana (6-2, 3-2) is coming off a tough loss against Michigan in which the Hoosiers struggled to produce any points.No member of the team produced more than 10 points in the meet.The Hoosiers are not likely to be an easy foe, though, and the Buckeyes are well aware of the fact.OSU coach Tom Ryan noted that with both conference and national tournaments right around the corner, it’s sometimes a struggle to maintain a certain level of play.“It’s really challenging with so many competitions in a sport like this,” Ryan said. “But every team goes through it.” It’s no secret that longevity is key to a successful program, and Ryan understands that better than anyone.“Those (teams) that understand it and manage it best have an advantage,” Ryan said.The Buckeyes have had success against Indiana in the past, winning each of the last five meetings between the programs.Led by 125-pound freshman Elijah Oliver, the Hoosiers will be looking to set the tone early and buck that trend on Friday.Oliver is currently 24-4 on the year, with a dual-meet point differential of plus-29, and is currently ranked 19th in the InterMat 125-pound rankings.Redshirt junior Nate Johnson will also pose a significant challenge to the Buckeyes.Johnson dropped a decision against Michigan for his first in-conference loss of the season, but he is still ranked eighth in the InterMat polls at 174 pounds with a 24-3 overall record.Indiana holds some nostalgic significance to Ryan, as it is the school where his coaching life began.“Indiana, ironically, was my first job,” Ryan said. “The head coach there now, Duane (Goldman), gave me the opportunity to coach at this level.”OSU’s match against Indiana is slated to begin at 7 p.m. in the University Gym.After the dual meet with the Hoosiers is completed, OSU is set to get on the bus and drive a little over two hours north to West Lafayette to battle with the No. 24 Purdue Boilermakers.Purdue (7-4, 2-3) will be having just its third match of the season in a home environment, as the Boilermakers have competed at six away matches and three neutral sites.The last home meet for the Boilermakers saw a complete domination by the Black and Gold, with the team ultimately taking home a 32-6 win against Maryland.Redshirt senior Chad Welch is the key member of the Purdue lineup that OSU will have to account for.The 165-pound Welch leads the team wins, major decisions and falls this season.Last year, Welch competed in the Big Ten Championships and went on to earn a berth in the NCAA Championships.Currently, the redshirt senior is ranked seventh at 165 pounds in the InterMat rankings.Purdue has struggled at times this season and is coming off a close loss to Minnesota.Ranked opponents have been a thorn in the side of the Boilermakers, giving Purdue just a 13-38 mark against wrestlers ranked in the top 25.The Buckeyes’ match against Purdue is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday in the Holloway Gymnasium.Quick recoveriesAfter missing the previous match with a sore back, redshirt freshman Micah Jordan is expected to return to the lineup this weekend.Jordan was scratched from the lineup and replaced by redshirt junior Stanley Hendrix.The Scarlet and Gray will be competing in matches very close to each other, with limited time for recovery in between. However, Ryan’s wrestlers are well-versed on how to maintain their health and stamina.“The biggest thing is making sure you’re getting sleep and making sure you’re eating really well,” redshirt freshman Jake Ryan said. The OSU team has been fairly lucky in terms of health this season, after struggling at times to put a healthy unit on the mat last season.Challenges aheadAfter the stay in Indiana, the Buckeyes are scheduled to travel to State College, Pennsylvania, to meet the current unanimous top team in the country, Penn State.The Nittany Lions have not lost a dual meet all year and are in a dead heat for the top spot in the Big Ten.The dual meet between OSU and Penn State, which is arguably the biggest and most important meet of the year for the Scarlet and Gray, is set to take place on Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. read more

Rolle bringing swagger to Buckeye Nation

It takes confidence to know confidence. Linebacker Brian Rolle has brought some southern swagger with him to Ohio State. “It’s just playing confident. I look back at the early University of Miami teams,” Rolle said. “They get on the field and those guys are jumping around, playing around, having fun. Then you get teams that just line up and play football. That’s maybe more traditional, but playing with swagger means you’re confident, your team’s confident.” Rolle isn’t the prototypical OSU linebacker. The senior from Immokalee, Fla., stands out from a line of elite ‘backers of Buckeye past who excelled with a hard-nosed, physical style. “The only person I kind of had an idea about was Chris Spielman,” Rolle said. “I had never heard of James Laurinaitis or any of those guys because I wasn’t an Ohio State fan when I got recruited. But then looking at it after I committed here, I learned about the long line of great Buckeyes.” Unlike Spielman, Laurinaitis, Andy Katzenmoyer or A.J. Hawk — all big, physical specimens — the diminutive Rolle — at 5-feet-11-inches — plays off his speed and instincts. “I tell everyone I’m 6-foot-4, 230 (pounds),” Rolle said. “Why not? I play like it. I do see myself as a little different, maybe a little faster than past linebackers we’ve had, maybe a little more instinctive.” But perhaps the most identifiable characteristic Rolle brought to OSU is his expertise on playing confidently. “Some of the coaches don’t agree with me jumping up and down, being jacked before games,” he said. “But some coaches do agree with it. I feel like we fall in the line of playing with swagger.” Growing up in Florida, Rolle developed a passion for Miami Hurricane football. He said it was the only school he considered attending — until it didn’t offer him a scholarship. “I just feel like people know who they want and what they want,” Rolle said. “But as we saw in the second week of the season, they missed out on a great player and a great season.” Rolle got the last laugh when the Buckeyes knocked off Miami, 36-24, on Sept. 12. “We expected those guys to come out here and jump up and down and they did,” Rolle said. “But we have a little swagger ourselves and I feel like our defense, if I may say, we ‘out-swagged’ theirs and came up with the win.” For a player so focused on confidence, it comes as no surprise that Rolle listed a play in which he quieted an opponent’s swagger as the most memorable moment of his career. “I would say the (2009) Illinois game, the interception, playing in the rain, something I love doing,” Rolle said. “I wish it rained every game, and then to get the interception, that was a lot of fun. Those guys were talking a lot during the game, so it was nice to seal it with the interception and let those guys know the trash-talking is not needed.” Rolle would be the one to know. read more

ESPN said files withheld illegally sues OSU

In a lawsuit filed with the Supreme Court of Ohio on Monday, the ESPN Inc., has sued Ohio State for withholding public record documents. In the suit, ESPN says OSU wrongfully cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as a reason for withholding various documents. ESPN stated in the complaint that producers at ESPN had made public records requests for all emails sent or received by President E. Gordon Gee, athletic director Gene Smith, compliance officer Doug Archie and former head coach Jim Tressel, that included the keyword “Sarniak.” Ted Sarniak is a businessman in Jeanette, Pa., closely associated with former OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor. OSU described the two’s relationship in an email to the Columbus Dispatch. “Mr. Sarniak is someone who Terrelle has reached out to for advice and guidance throughout his high-school and collegiate career,” Archie said in an email. OSU’s media relations department cited FERPA as a reason for not supplying the record to ESPN. However, ESPN argues that FERPA does not apply in this case. They said that FERPA protects maintained student files as they relate to finances, but it does not protect against the requested files. OSU spokesperson Jim Lynch told the The Lantern in an email that they normally do not comment on pending litigation, but due to the circumstances, made a statement regarding the case. “The university believes that it has adhered to all applicable state and federal laws,” Lynch said in the email. “The university has been inundated with public records requests stemming from its ongoing NCAA investigation and the university. These include voluminous requests from ESPN, which in turn has received a voluminous amount of information. “We are disappointed that ESPN decided to file this suit on Monday,” Lynch continued. “Notwithstanding this, we will continue to work cooperatively with ESPN and all media in responding to their numerous requests on these matters.” ESPN also said OSU denied other requests about the events leading up to former head coach Jim Tressel’s resignation. ESPN said some of the requests were sent back because they were too broad. According to the Ohio Revised Code, all denied public records requests citing that the request is too broad have to have legal reasons for the denial and be accompanied with a suggestion to make the appropriate request. “While the university often receives media requests that are overly broad, given Ohio’s public record laws, we generally try to work with reporters to help them find the information they are seeking, working within the boundaries of the applicable laws,” Lynch said in the email. A representative for ESPN declined to comment on the matter, saying ESPN does not comment on pending litigation. read more

Football players to audition for NFL scouts for Ohio States pro day

The march to the NFL Draft for some former Ohio State football players continues Friday. Twelve players from the senior classes of 2010 and 2011 ­— Mike Adams, Dionte Allen, Mike Brewster, Nate Ebner, Donnie Evege, Aaron Gant, Daniel “Boom” Herron, Tony Jackson, DeVier Posey, Grant Schwartz, J.B. Shugarts and Andrew Sweat — will take to the field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center under the watchful eye of NFL scouts. The workout sessions, which wlll be led by new OSU strength coach Mickey Marotti, will serve as a second chance for Adams, Brewster, Herron and Posey to show their athleticism after the NFL Combine, which took place Feb. 22-28. Posey measured 6-foot-2 and weighed 211 pounds on the scale at the NFL Combine. A state-champion sprinter in high school, Posey ran the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds, posted a 36.5-inch vertical jump and managed 14 reps in the 225-pound bench press. Herron measured 5-foot-10 and weighed 213 pounds. He ran a 4.66 second 40-yard dash and got 22 reps on the bench press. He also posted the second best time for running backs, 4.04 seconds, in the 20-yard shuttle, which measures speed and change of direction over a short distance. Adams has the size of a prototypical NFL left tackle at 6-foot-7 and 323 pounds, and many project him as a first-round draft selection. Adams ran a 5.40 second 40-yard dash and had 19 reps on the bench press. Posey, Herron and Adams were all involved in NCAA violations at OSU and served suspensions during the 2011-12 season. Posey was suspended for a total of 10 games, Herron was suspended for six and Adams was suspended for five. Brewster weighed in at 312 pounds and measured 6-foot-2. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.35 seconds and had 29 reps in the bench press. The NFL Draft begins April 26 and ends April 28. Follow @Lanternsports on Twitter Friday morning for live OSU Pro Day coverage. Look for a recap of the players’ performance shortly after the workout sessions conclude. read more

Logan Schuss shines in Ohio State mens lacrosse season opener

Ohio State men’s lacrosse senior attacker Logan Schuss has one more year, one more chance to do what he’s done for the past three seasons. The British Columbian has led the Buckeyes in many ways during his illustrious four-year career. Last year’s Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Offensive Player of the Year, Schuss has been a standout since first stepping foot on campus in Columbus. In his freshman campaign, Schuss garnered honorable mention All-American honors, on top of his ECAC Rookie of the Year award and first team All-ECAC status. He has lead the Buckeyes in goals in each of his first three seasons. Recruited by coach Nick Myers from the beginning of high school, Schuss took the risk of heading to a foreign environment to play for OSU, but he said he’s never doubted the decision. “I had the opportunity to have coach Myers come and see me play and we started talking,” Schuss said. “We just saw all the stars line up and I got the chance to come here and play.” As one of the primary recruiters going after Schuss, Myers recalls being impressed by the Canadian’s talent as he watched Schuss grow as a player and a person over a span of almost eight years. “It’s been a great deal of growth,” Myers said. “Logan was a young man that we recruited and I can remember seeing him play for the first time when he was a ninth grader.” Voted a captain by his teammates for this season, Schuss sets an example for his teammates on and off the field. Assistant coach Dave Dobbins said Schuss is a positive influence on the younger players. “We expect a lot out of him, he’s a senior and a captain for us,” Dobbins said. “His responsibilities go way beyond just scoring goals and making assists. He’s what makes the team tick a lot of times.” The success and accolades haven’t gone to Schuss’ head, though, and fellow captain, senior midfielder Dominique Alexander, said Schuss remains very much the person he was when he first came to OSU. “He’s become more of a leader. Overall he hasn’t changed much. He’s still running around yelling at practice, you come around and hear him yelling, getting guys pumped up,” Alexander said. “Logan’s definitely going out with a chip on his shoulder, where he doesn’t want it to be something he looks back on as, ‘I didn’t do my job.’” Dobbins said Schuss’ mentality of not wanting to let down his teammates makes him work harder at practice and show a work ethic seen in few players his age. “He’s a guy that goes out there to practice every day with the right approach,” Dobbins said. “He’s not a guy who always leads with his voice, but leads by example. He’s one of the hardest working guys out there.” The future looks bright for Schuss, who was drafted recently by the Ohio Machine along with Alexander and senior midfielder Kevin Mack, but Schuss said he isn’t letting anything distract him from giving the game his all in his time left at OSU. “I try not to think about the whole ‘getting drafted’ part of it,” Schuss said. “I want to focus on the Buckeyes and being a leader.” As a three-time OSU Scholar Athlete majoring in physical education, Schuss said his future isn’t just squared on lacrosse. He said he sees his career taking him toward a different leadership role. “I’m going to be coming back for a fifth year to do my student teaching,” Schuss said. “I’m going to one day, hopefully, be a P.E. teacher.” In the season opener against Detroit Saturday, Schuss tallied a career-high 10 points. In fact, he has totaled least a point in all 46 of his career games. “On the field, he’s a competitor. He’s very talented. Aside from the talent is a work ethic that his teammates and the younger guys can feed off of,” Myers said. Schuss and the Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Jacksonville Sunday at 3:15 p.m. in Jacksonville, Fla. read more

Council mocked for saving BT phone boxes so they can be enjoyed

first_imgThe red telephone box is widely recognised as a design classic, worthy of preservation as a symbol of bygone Britain.But now a local council has decided the rather unloved glass fronted phone kiosks which replaced it – and have long been made redundant by the advent of the mobile phone – are also worthy of being saved for posterity.Rochdale council, in Greater Manchester, has announced it has saved six BT glass kiosks from being destroyed by the telecoms provider so that they “can be enjoyed by generations to come”.The decision to save them from the scrapheap has raised eyebrows among some residents, who believe the sentiment may be a stretch too far.Unlike their red counterparts, the borough’s assortment of BT boxes are tattered, rusted and, in some cases, daubed in graffiti. And while Rochdale remains determined to save them, neighbouring councils have been pushing for their removal because they are seen as “toilets, drug dens and rubbish dumps”.Commenting on the announcement, a local resident who wished to be known only as Dan said the kiosks were an eyesore and more likely to mocked than cherished by the community,”It’s been decommissioned so there is nothing in it at all. I thought it was such a funny thing to be ‘gifted’ to the people,” he added. “It’s really funny – it’s just a glass box. To be honest, a lot of people do use some of the traditional red boxes as bookshops but I just can’t see it with this one. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “The traditional red ones are what you would expect to see it happen with. There are practical uses for disused phone boxes but because of what this one looks like, with it being so ugly, people were just making fun of it.” BT Phone box Unphased by the scepticism, a spokesman for Rochdale insisted that the boxes were worth saving and will now be fitted with heart defibrillators for use in the event of local emergencies.It follows similar initiatives launched across the country, which have sought to give kiosks–grey and red–renewed purpose whilst preserving their striking features.“This is part of our life-saving Rochdale Defibrillator project which aims to reduce the number of early deaths in the borough,” the spokesman added.“The defibrillators will be activated in the next few months, after the necessary work to clean up the telephone boxes and installation of equipment has been completed.” Poster last_img read more

Lyme Disease warning issued after two people contract deadly tickborne illness at

first_imgIn a warning shared widely on Facebook, people have been told that the disease can be easily treated with antibiotics if caught at an early stage.The message says:”Lyme disease is a nasty disease which can be debilitating and can cause serious symptoms (including meningitis) for years if it goes undiagnosed, but if caught at a fairly early stage is easy to cure with antibiotics.”The first symptom (in two thirds of cases) is that you have a red “bullseye” halo up to 6 inches away from the bite site.”Once that has gone the next symptoms are flu-like, general aches and pains and a stiff neck.”The incubation time is up to three months, so it may not have shown up yet.”If you think you may have it, get to your GP immediately for a blood test. Please forward this email to all who attended Tewkesbury this year.”The Tewkesbury Medieval Festival took place on July 8 and 9. Organisers say two members of a group who attended the festival have had confirmation that were infected with the disease. Show more Thousands of re-enactors, entertainers, traders and sightseers congregated in Tewkesbury for the largest annual free medieval gathering of its kind in EuropeCredit: Lee Thomas Lyme Disease is a growing problem in the UK. At the turn of the century there were only around 250 reported cases of lyme disease in the UK each year, but now the NHS says the figure is closer to 3,000 and some charities claim the actual number could be as high as 45,000. The rise is partly down to Britain’s soaring deer population.  One person on Facebook wrote: “Oh no, sounds like I have this. I had one horrendous bite at Tewkesbury, then an infected leg, and then was quite ill the week after with what I thought was flu.”I’m now just under the weather and my body hurts. It’s off to the GP for me.”Another Facebook user added: “I was bitten most badly near the public entrance on the Friday evening and again on Saturday by the beer tent after public hours.”The first aid treatment on site was superb and really helped. My ankles and feet swelled so much I couldn’t flex my ankles or feel my toes.”center_img Thousands of re-enactors, entertainers, traders and sightseers congregated in Tewkesbury for the largest annual free medieval gathering of its kind in Europe A warning about Lyme Disease has been issued to attendees of a medieval festival after two people contracted the deadly illness from ticks. Anyone who attended the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival in Gloucestershire last month is being urged look out for the symptoms of the condition. 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

London teacher named in top 10 for a global award warns living

first_imgA London teacher named among 10 finalists for a $1m worldwide teaching prize has warned of the poor living conditions of some of her pupils. Andria Zafirakou, a teacher at Alperton Community School in Brent, north-west London, has made it on to the shortlist for the fourth annual Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize, which recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession. Ms Zafirakou said she decided to submit an application after reading about it.”When you read about why they are doing this – sharing good practice, raising the profile of teachers and how fundamental they are in society – that was why I wanted to apply,” she told the Press Association.The pupils at Ms Zafirakou’s inner-city school, which is in one of the poorest areas of the country, come from a variety of backgrounds. She has learnt how to say basic greetings in many of the 35 languages spoken at the school, including Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil and Portuguese, to help parents feel welcome and included.”If you have somebody who can connect with you and appreciate your background, then that’s special,” she said.She added that greeting someone in their language “helps to break down barriers and enables families to engage more in the school community”. In a video message announcing the nominations, Bill Gates paid tribute to the finalists, saying research has shown that a great teacher can be “the most important factor” in whether students get a great education.The Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist said: “When you think about what drives progress and improvement in the world, education is like a master switch – one that opens up all sorts of opportunities for individuals and societies.”And research has shown that having a great teacher can be the most important factor that determines whether students get a great education.”The finalists were chosen partly for their proven abilities in inspiring students and helping them to learn, Mr Gates said.”Just as important, these teachers are leaders who have innovated in the classroom and mentored their colleagues,” he added.”They have demonstrated the kind of collaboration – teachers and schools working together – that can give all students the opportunity to get a great education.”The other finalists, drawn from 30,000 entries from 173 countries, are from Turkey, South Africa, Colombia, Philippines, United States, Brazil, Belgium, Australia and Norway.The award will be presented at a ceremony in Dubai on Sunday March 18. 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. “In fact it’s often so crowded and noisy I’ve had students tell me they have to do their homework in the bathroom, just to grab a few moments alone so they can concentrate.”I also found that some were being forced to play truant to cook meals in the allocated time slot they were permitted to use their shared home kitchen.”Others could not participate in extracurricular activities after school because they had to take on parental responsibilities like collecting their brothers and sisters from other schools.”Discovering all this prompted me to organise additional provision within the school day and often at weekends to help students have the opportunity to progress.”This included giving them access to a quiet place to do their art work, as well as time to participate in extracurricular activities.” Ms Zafirakou has helped to set up clubs and societies for students, redesigned the curriculum with her fellow teachers to make it relevant to pupils’ lives, and is known for taking time to understand her students’ lives, such as visiting their homes, taking the bus with them and welcoming them at the school gates.She said: “By getting pupils to open up about their home lives, I discovered that many of my students come from crowded homes where multiple families share a single property.last_img read more

Eurotunnel cancels thousands of tickets as UK prepares for Furnace Friday

The RAC said it is expecting breakdowns across the UK to be up around 15-20 per cent on what they would normally expect for late July by the end of Thursday.However although the hot weather is expected to cost the country in excess of £1 billion in lost productivity, Britain’s seaside resorts were experiencing a boom.Southend-on-Sea has seen the biggest growth with train bookings to the town for July and August up an 210 per cent compared to the same period in 2016 while bookings to Margate have increased by 164 per cent, St Ives, 79 per cent and Scarborough 76 per cent. Queues for the Eurotunnel in Folkestone, Kent, stretch back towards the M20  Queues for the Eurotunnel in Folkestone, Kent, stretch back towards the M20 Credit:Gareth Fuller/PA Wire Hundreds of Eurotunnel passengers face having to abandon their travel plans as the UK prepares for Furnace Friday.The Cross-Channel rail operator said it had taken the “unprecedented decision to cancel daytrip/overnight tickets” for travel tomorrow after the extreme temperatures buckled air conditioning units on the trains.Several carriages had to be taken out of service on Thursday due to the suffocating heat, causing five-and-a-half hour queues, and forecasters have warned that Friday could be even hotter.It came as the MCC broke its strict dress code and said it would allow members to enter the pavilion at Lords Cricket Ground without a jacket for the first time in its history.The announcement was made as England became became the hottest country in Europe as temperatures soared to 96F (36C) leading to widespread cancellations of summer outdoor events. Highways England also urged motorists to avoid throwing litter from cars to prevent glass starting fires on motorway verges.Many dog shows were called off after The Dogs Trust warned animals would suffer if they exerted themselves in the heat, while councils cancelled sports days and the National Trust abandoned some outdoor events.Gymkhanas and summer horse shows all over Britain were called off because the ground is too hard leading to fears riders could break bones if they fell from the saddle. Sunseekers flock to the beach in Lyme Regis, Dorset It isn’t just the UK experiencing the #heat at the moment 🌡️ much of Europe is too pic.twitter.com/A42Jv2636S— Met Office (@metoffice) 26 July 2018 Professor Sam Fankhauser, director at the Grantham Research Institute, at the London School of Economics said: “There is no doubt some industries will be hit hard by the heatwave and we usually see productivity drops of around 8 per cent when the temperature goes above 30C. For industries like construction which are outside that could be up to 30 per cent. “But it will probably be a boom for people who are selling ice-cream or who have outdoor business.” Sunseekers flock to the beach in Lyme Regis, DorsetCredit:Celia McMahon / Alamy Live News “If you’re looking for somewhere to escape the heat, western and northern areas will have pleasantly warm mid 20s Celsius, although across Northern Ireland and western Scotland this may be accompanied by occasionally cloudy skies.” Hundreds enjoyed a dip at the Hathersage outdoor pool in Derbyshire Hundreds enjoyed a dip at the Hathersage outdoor pool in DerbyshireCredit:Jacob King/Mercury Press 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. Hospitals were forced to cancel non-urgent operations as A&E departments were flooded with people complaining of respiratory problems and dehydration. Nurses reported feeling exhausted, sick and dizzy as temperatures soared inside hospitalsSaffron Cordery of NHS Providers said: “Some trusts are reporting record numbers of people coming in to A & E. This extra activity is leading to delays for patients requiring planned operations such as knee and hip replacements.“The extreme heat has also highlighted the shortcomings of ageing buildings which are not designed or equipped to deal with these conditions.” And as large numbers of stargazers were expected to gather tonight to the lunar eclipse, which could see the Moon turn a deep burgundy red from around 9pm, firefighters called for a ban on barbecues in parks in case sparks set light to parched grass. Temperatures of 98F (37C) were recorded by commuters on the London Underground, and commuters in the capital were also forced to endure high air pollution, leading to major Sadiq Khan issuing a major alert. The ongoing heatwave, which could break all time records on Friday if conditions pass 101F (38.5C), has already led to fun runs, charity walks, dog shows, gigs and fairs being called off over fears that participants would overheat. The heatwave was forecast to end with thunderstorms on Friday with yellow weather warnings issued for the north and east. The Met Office said there were risks of torrential downpours, flooding, gusts and hail.However although the weekend will feel cooler, the hot weather is expected to return next week.Steve Ramsdale, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “It’s likely that we will see a new temperature record set for July and possible that we could break the all-time UK record of 38.5° C if conditions all come together. Britain’s transport infrastructure also struggled to cope in the heat, with train passengers on LNER forced to plug in their own fans after air conditioning broke. Rail services across the country were cancelled as tracks buckled leading to speed restrictions. A spokesman for Lords said: “To our knowledge this is the first time members have been given prior permission not to bring a jacket at all.“Before, once or twice a season, they would be given permission to move around the pavilion without a jacket if it got really hot. It is the first time it has been prior agreed that they don’t even need to bring a jacket with them.” read more

Vaping could be a gateway to smoking for teenagers study shows

Dr Emmie Fulton, the lead researcher on the Coventry University study, said: “The young people we sampled may use e-cigarettes because they are easier to access than tobacco, and would have gone on to smoke regardless. “However they may also represent a group of young people who have no intention of trying cigarettes but could be becoming addicted to nicotine accidentally. “There’s the potential that this could act as a gateway to smoking and tobacco use for a proportion of the population who would otherwise have remained non-nicotine users.”Vaping has been hailed as way for smokers to stop smoking tobacco, which has significantly higher health risks. Where conventional products burn tobacco to produce smoke, e-cigarettes propel nicotine with propylene glycerol in a vapour, which is inhaled. As with regular cigarettes, it is illegal in the UK for under-18s to buy e-cigarettes.In February, Public Health England recommended that e-cigarettes were prescribed on the NHS, alongside nicotine replacement products such as nicotine patches, gum and inhalators. Children who try vaping because it is “cool” could inadvertently become hooked on nicotine and take up smoking, a new study has warned. E-cigarettes enable smokers to use nicotine without many of the health effects of smoking regular tobacco products, but the findings show that as many as half of young vapers have never tried a normal cigarette. The study raises questions about the lower tax levy placed on e-cigarettes, and the use of sweet flavourings that appeal to younger users. Research from Coventry University, where researchers surveyed 499 pupils, shows that less than half of users knew that vape products contain nicotine, and less than half knew that they were addictive. 40 per cent of regular smokers begin smoking before the age of 16, according to Cancer Research UK, making teenage smoking a key battleground for public health authorities.  A cigarette smoker is pictured on March 1, 2018, in Lille, northern France, on the day when the price of a packet of cigarettes was increased by one euro to fight against smoking. The government plans regular increases to bring the cost of a packet to 10 euros by 2020. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUENPHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images  Figures from Cancer Research UK show that 40 per cent of smokers begin the habit before the age of 16Credit:Philippe Huguen/AFP 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

Mumsnet is driving women to request caesarean sections a leading midwife has

Horrific tales of childbirth from friends and social media forums like Mumsnet are driving women to request caesarean sections, a leading midwife has warned. Catriona Jones, a lecturer in midwifery at the University of Hull, said up to 14 per cent of expectant mothers now suffer from ‘tocophobia’, which is defined as an unreasonable dread of childbirth.Although women throughout the ages have been afraid of labour, Mrs Jones warned that harrowing accounts on TV dramas and social media were fuelling the problem and called on mothers to avoid sharing their birthing horror stories.Speaking at the British Science Festival in Hull, Mrs Jones said: “If you go online and you go into any of the Mumsnet forums there are women telling their stories of childbirth, and it was terrible, it was a bloodbath, and that can be quite frightening for women to engage with.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––“People have a tendency to like things that are a bit morbid and a bit scary and people are drawn towards that. I wonder if sometimes the ramping up of how traumatic childbirth can be, that can be concerning. “Sometimes we can be more drawn to reading about that than about the women who give birth in a beautiful calm situation where everything turns out to be very straightforward and lovely. Around 80 per cent of women experience some fear about giving birth but for women with tocophobia, it can ruin their pregnancy and can even lead some to seek abortions. The condition can be driven by a previous traumatic birth and many can suffer insomnia and nightmares leading to fatigue or panic attacks.Women with fear of childbirth are almost three times more likely to develop postnatal depression and are at greater risk of suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.Mrs Jones said women often did not admit they had tocophobia until around a month before the birth, when they asked for caesarean section because they were too scared to deliver naturally.Her team is now trying to identify expectant mothers who are most at risk earlier so that they can get help while there is still time for therapy.She also warned that cuts to antenatal services meant women were not as prepared for childbirth as they used to be. Previously women would be shown around delivery rooms in the weeks before the birth but most maternity wards are now too busy.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “I also think social media can play a part in promoting the narrative around choice and leading a lot of people to believe they can walk into an NHS clinic and say I want my baby to be born by caesarean.” read more

Women should not be actresses if they dont want a stalker Felicity

Kendal Ms Maitlis also suffered at the hands of a stalker for over 20 years, comparing the experience to “a chronic illness”. In January last year, Edward Vines – who Ms Maitlis met as a student at Cambridge University – was jailed for 45 months for breaching a restraining order, having first been convicted of harassing Maitlis in 2002. Ms Kendal, who has warned being stalked “goes with the territory” for celebrities – saying of those who find it traumatic: “Don’t be an actress then.” Credit:John Walton/PA BBC presenter Emily Maitlis suffered from a stalker for 20 years, who was finally imprisoned early last yearCredit:Chris Williamson/Getty Images Commenting on the severity of a stalker to the Observer, Ms Kendall added: “Obviously there are limits beyond which it’s frightening and terrible.”You don’t want to be shot and you don’t want to be dragged into the bushes, but I think you instinctively know as a human being what the threshold is.”Ms Kendal also revealed that she once “had a temper” which resulted in her throwing crockery at her husband after going into fits of rage.The seemingly mild-mannered star said she hurled “jugs and mugs” at husband Michael Rudman after they got married in 1983. The couple divorced in 1990, but are now back together.The actress added: “We’re back together now, but when we were married for the first time, I struggled with my temper.”What I loved most was to throw things around the house – jugs, mugs, anything. Emily Maitlis  Actress Felicity Kendal has said women should not be actresses if they “don’t want a stalker”, as she admitted that one of her’s was “quite sweet”.Ms Kendal, best known for her role as Barbara Good in the 1975 television series The Good Life, said she had been stalked several times at the height of her fame by fans who used to follow her home after theatre performances.The 72-year-old British star said it is part of the “territory” of being an actress.Ms Kendal said: “I had a few stalkers, but I think everybody did in those days.”It was just a couple of people who came to every show and then they followed me home and they were always outside my house. It wasn’t serious, though. “One of them was quite a sweet guy. Perhaps he was just lonely. Some people might be traumatised by that, but I think: ‘Well, don’t be an actress then.’ It goes with the territory to an extent”, she told the Observer Magazine.Ms Kendal’s comments follow several other high profile females being victims of stalking, including TV star Christine Lampard and BBC News presenter Emily Maitlis.Last summer Mrs Lampard, who is married to former England footballer Frank Lampard, attended the trial of Christof King, 39, in which he pleaded guilty to stalking the presenter after sending her letters and turning up at her house. “I once threw a cup and saucer through the window of the ground-floor flat were living in and the following morning there was a ring on the doorbell and the porter, looking at the hole in our window, came back with all the little bits and said: ‘I think these must be yours.'”Luckily, Michael has very quick reactions so I never hit him.” 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

Storm Gareth Travel warnings as wind and rain batter Britain

As the storm started to clear to the east, a human shamrock formation appeared in Trafalgar Square, as part of Tourism Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations in association with the Mayor of London’s #LondonIsOpen campaignCredit:David Parry/PA If you are considering having a flutter from the comfort of having a roof over your head, Betting Reporter Ross Clarke has your tips here. Storm Gareth, in picturesSend your Storm Gareth pictures and videos to g.davies@telegraph.co.uk A photographer braves the winds of Storm Gareth and the high tide at BlackpoolCredit:Christopher Furlong/Getty Met Office forecaster Alex Burhill said: “We’ve got some very strong winds. The strongest in the morning rush hour are probably going to be around Northern Ireland and also western coastal parts, particularly western Scotland and north-west England.”Eastern areas might start getting some very strong winds by that point, but generally across much of the UK it’s going to be very windy this morning.”People need to be aware that there could be some travel disruption because there could be delays to things like ferries and aircraft and also bridges may need to be closed.”Heavy showers with some thunder were also expected across the northern half of the UK as the storm moves across throughout the day.Dozens of flood alerts have been issued by the Environment Agency in England, including two warnings for the River Ouse at York.Storm Gareth swept in across Northern Ireland on Tuesday, causing problems on the roads with fallen trees and the cancellation of ferries.Met Eireann, the Irish Meteorological Service, also warned of “severe and damaging gusts” as the storm moved over the country.The storm is expected to have moved out into the North Sea by Wednesday evening, although another band of wet and windy weather is expected to arrive from the west on Wednesday night.Goats and emu escape due to Storm GarethStorm Gareth blew a herd of goats into a busy town centre – as strong winds drove them from their hillside. Dozens of the Kashmiri goats sought shelter on lower ground as they escaped the gusty gales and heavy rain.The 122-strong herd usually live on the hilly grasslands of the Great Orme in Llandudno, north Wales, but moved into the town centre because of the bad weather.The goats were seen crossing roads and holding up traffic and climbing into gardens to nibble on flowers.A spokesman for Conwy Council said: “The goats come down to much lower ground because of the bad wet weather.” A photographer dodges a wave in the winds of Storm Gareth and the high tide at Blackpool  A ferry battles the weather as it comes into the Port of DoverCredit:Gareth Fuller/PA Lorries queue at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent as bad weather causes cross Channel ferry delays The herd of Kashmiri goats eating bushes in Llandudno A tree which has destroyed a fence after falling in high winds in HaringeyCredit:Dinendra Haria/LNP The herd of Kashmiri goats eating bushes in LlandudnoCredit:George Good/Daily Post Wales A herd of wild goats went trip trapping in Llandudno town centre as Storm Gareth hit the regionCredit:George Good/Daily Post Wales A photographer dodges a wave in the winds of Storm Gareth and the high tide at Blackpool Credit:Getty Meanwhile in Kent, an emu went on the run after leaping over a fence when she got scared by high winds.Owner Jan James said the bird, which can run at more than 30mph, said the female emu made a break for it on Tuesday.Writing on Facebook, calling on locals on the Isle of Sheppey to look out for the 6ft-tall flightless bird, Jan wrote: “Please message me if you see our beautiful Emu. She’s jumped our perimeter fence as the high winds have freaked her out.”She’s not dangerous, but please don’t chase or approach as she’s nervous of people she doesn’t know and will run even further away.”She’s running around the fields that go down to the bird reserve and Leysdown beach. Hopefully she will come back on her own and jump back over but I would appreciate any sightings.” As the storm started to clear to the east, a human shamrock formation appeared in Trafalgar Square, as part of Tourism Ireland's St Patrick's Day celebrations in association with the Mayor of London's #LondonIsOpen campaign It is meant to be the first major meet of the spring season, but Cheltenham threatens to be somewhat of a washout this year. Storm Gareth whipped strong winds and heavy rain across the racecourse on Tuesday morning.The going was initially announced as being good to soft, but as the rain continued to hammer Gloucestershire, it was reclassified as soft before midday.  A photographer braves the winds of Storm Gareth and the high tide at Blackpool “Despite atrocious weather, Sennen Cove Lifeboat launched but due to 5-6 metre (16-20ft) waves on scene and storm force winds, it was impossible for either the fishing vessel or the lifeboat to establish a tow with La Fanette,” the MCA said.”The six crew on board were airlifted from the fishing vessel by Newquay Coastguard Rescue Helicopter.”Storm Gareth is expected to continue moving across the country throughout the day, gradually easing later on in the afternoon as the storm moves out to the North Sea.Transport links were at risk of being impacted as the squally weather blows through – while racing at the Cheltenham Festival could also be affected.Commuters using trains in Wales, Scotland, the north of England and East Anglia were warned that services could be disrupted by high winds during the morning rush hour, with speed restrictions in place across a wide area.Trains between Durham and Newcastle were halted on Wednesday morning after overhead electric wires were damaged, impacting LNER, CrossCountry, Northern and Transpennine Express services.Meanwhile, some Virgin Trains services between Manchester Piccadilly and London Euston and some trains between Glasgow Central and Preston were cancelled.There were also reports of trees blocking roads and some exposed routes in the north-east of England being closed to high-sided vehicles. A tree which has destroyed a fence after falling in high winds in Haringey Update from Simon Claisse, Clerk of the Course ahead of racing. It’s currently wet with no issues expected today, but we are monitoring the gusts forecast for tomorrow. #CheltenhamFestival pic.twitter.com/j2jpvIOlf1— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) March 12, 2019 A ferry battles the weather as it comes into the Port of Dover A herd of wild goats went trip trapping in Llandudno town centre as Storm Gareth hit the region After scenes like these this morning, it’s no surprise the going at @CheltenhamRaces is now SOFTWatch the #CheltenhamFestival LIVE on @ITV from 1PM pic.twitter.com/Oduqd2tSLv— ITV Racing (@itvracing) March 12, 2019 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. Lorries queue at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent as bad weather causes cross Channel ferry delaysCredit:Gareth Fuller/PA Storm Gareth’s strong gales and heavy rain have been causing disruption, with rail and road links across the country affected.The Met Office has issued two yellow warnings for high winds covering Northern Ireland, Wales, most of England and the west coast of Scotland.Gusts of up to 75mph were recorded in Scotland on Tuesday night, while winds of over 60mph were seen widely across western parts of the UK in the early hours of Wednesday.The conditions were severe in Scotland, where three climbers died in an avalanche on Ben Nevis on Tuesday.  Six crew members were airlifted from a stricken French fishing boat off Lands End in “atrocious” 20ft waves and storm-force winds, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has said.HM Coastguard was alerted at around 10pm on Tuesday night that La Fanette, a 79ft fishing vessel, had suffered engine failure.Another fishing vessel went to help and a lifeboat was launched. Cheltenham Festival Ladies Day survives stormThe second day of the Cheltenham Festival – Ladies Day – will go ahead as planned aafter fears it could be called off due to Storm Gareth. Organisers said Wednesday’s racing could be under threat “due to wind speeds of around 50mph, which might affect temporary structures at the racecourse”.Clerk of the Course Simon Claisse said: “We wanted to give everyone an early insight into conditions for tomorrow as the forecast is looking challenging, with strong gusting winds throughout the day.”We are continually monitoring the situation and will keep racegoers informed as the conditions present themselves.”Ladies Day is traditionally one of the busiest and most popular days of the festival. The second day of the meet in 2008 was also called off due to stormy weather. But 2019’s Ladies Day survived the weather when organisers confirmed the wind speeds had become more moderate and the health worries were therefore alleviated.  read more

Frail pensioner who beat wheelchairbound husband to death with a pole cleared

A “frail” pensioner who beat her wheelchair-bound husband to death with a wooden pole after suffering decades of “hell” and abuse has been cleared of his murder.Packiam Ramanathan, 73, went into “a trance” when she attacked Kanagusabi Ramanathan, 76, as he lay in his bed, the Old Bailey heard.The defendant, of Newham, east London, denied murder but had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, citing his bullying and abusive behaviour during their 35-year marriage.Jurors had heard how the couple had an arranged marriage in 1983 and had fled Sri Lanka in the civil war.On September 21 last year, paramedics found  Mr Ramanathan dead in his bedroom after the defendant told her neighbour she had hit him.A blood-stained wooden stick was found in a cupboard in the hall of the couple’s flat.The former shopkeeper had suffered serious head injuries and multiple wounds to the body and neck, with other injuries to his arms and hands from trying to fend off the blows.Prosecutor Sally O’Neill QC had said there had been arguments about money and the defendant had become “very angry” at finding out her husband had written to Sri Lankan police accusing her brother of fraud and theft.She said: “There is no dispute that the person who used that stick to cause those injuries which killed him was his wife, and the prosecution case is that there can be also no doubt that she did so intending, at the least, to cause him really serious harm and that he was unlawfully killed as a result, that is, that she murdered him.””The prosecution case is that this was a brutal and sustained attack by this defendant on a disabled and defenceless elderly man whilst he was lying in his bed and that the attack was probably motivated by anger.Giving evidence, the defendant claimed she lost of control after suffering years of bullying and abusive behaviour by her husband.He allegedly threw sticks at her and subjected her to years of verbal abuse, even accusing her of having an affair with the fishmonger.Recalling the killing, she told jurors: “It was like I was in a trance. I hit him. I do not know. I did not know what I was doing. I could not feel this. I remember him saying don’t hit me. I remember I hit him.”I lost control at that time. I did not plan anything. I’m not a person who would do such a thing. I don’t know how I did it. For me I still feel like somebody else did it.”Stephen Kamlish QC, defending, suggested that if Ramanathan had wanted to kill her diabetic husband she could have simply given him a bigger dose of insulin and “no one would have known”.”The fact it was done in the way it was – with a stick – means there was no planning,” he added. “The fact it was done with such severity is evidence of loss of control.”She is frail, she is slight, she is getting on for anorexic weight. It’s hard to beat someone to death with a stick when you are that size.He had urged jurors to acquit her of murder, saying: “After the hell of this trial, the hell of 36 years of abuse, you can show what you think of this prosecution and do the right thing by coming to a very fast verdict.”Jurors took just half an hour to find Ramanathan not guilty of murder. 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