Baseball America released its annual list of Top 100 Prospects last month, tabbing Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton as the best emerging talent in baseball. But what can you expect out of the No. 1 prospect — or Nos. 2 through 100, for that matter?I gathered data on Baseball America’s historical Top 100 lists back to 1990 and tracked how many wins above replacement (WAR) each player generated over the seven seasons after each list was released. (A team has control of its players for the first six years of their careers, according to service time, but not every prospect’s clock starts ticking the same year he’s ranked by Baseball America.)For example, Baseball America’s No. 1 slot gets 46 WAR from 1995’s top prospect, Alex Rodriguez. But the top spot loses 1.9 WAR from Todd Van Poppel, one of the game’s all-time biggest busts. Among 18 players from 1990 to 2007, the average for Baseball America’s top spot was nearly 20 WAR.Do this for all 100 slots, and you arrive at an average, early-career WAR total for each ranking. It’s not a perfectly smooth drop-off from each spot to the next — for instance, the average at No. 10 (15.5 WAR) was quite a bit higher than the average at No. 5 (9.3) — but overall, the shape of the list’s average WAR resembles a logarithmic curve. In other words, a disproportionate amount of WAR is generated by the top handful of prospects.The expected future value of a guy like Buxton is about 17 WAR over the next seven seasons (that’s 2.5 WAR per year, which would be solid for a starter but something less than an All-Star on average). If that number seems low, it’s because Baseball America’s top prospects, from A-Rod to Van Poppel, have been all over the place. This underscores the difficulty Baseball America, or any scouting organization, faces when trying to project the future for 20-year-old prospects, as even the most promising talents have a history of flaming out. read more

LeBron James became the youngest player in NBA history with 20,000 points Wednesday night, and, barring injury, it will be just one of many milestones to come for the Miami Heat superstar widely regarded as the best player in the world.James authored a gem in leading the Heat’s 92-75 blowout victory over the Golden State Warriors: 25 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds in just 30 minutes in securing his latest piece of history.James’ short jumper with 2:45 left in the second quarter was the history-making play. The previous youngest to score 20,000 points was Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant,  who was 29 years, 122 days old. James was 28 years, 17 days on Wednesday.“It means everything,” James said. “It means a lot. First of all, like I continue to say, it means I’ve been able to be healthy. To be out on the floor and do what I love to do, I love the game of basketball and I try to give everything to the game. And hopefully it continues to give back to me.”In the first quarter, James also found Wade for his 5,000th career assist. He is the 13th player with 20,000 points and 5,000 assists.James eclipsed both marks before halftime and helped Miami go ahead by 34 points in the third quarter. Dwyane Wade added 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Mario Chalmers scored 15 for the Heat, who had lost three of their last four road games.The Warriors, who beat the Heat 97-95 in Miami on Dec. 12, lost consecutive games for only the third time this season. Clearly, James and Co. went into the game focused on making amends for that defeat.“Disappointing, but we faced a team that remembered what took place in South Beach and came with a mindset to make a point, individually and collectively,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “That’s what great players do.” read more

The only task 49ers Tarell Brown had to complete was working out with his team: lift some weights, run some sprints, go through some drills. With the workout program complete, the San Francisco 49ers would have had to pay the starting cornerback $2 million extra in base salary, thanks to a clause in his contract.But he didn’t do that, and the blame falls on his agent Brian Overstreet.Overstreet never informed his client that to receive the $2 million, he was contractually obligated to work out with the Niners during their offseason program. So because Brown didn’t honor his contract, he forfeits the money and instead will make  $925,000.Brown, understandably upset, swiftly fired the agent.

Puerto Rico1380.67 Chinese Taipei39-3.26 American fans like to think of the U.S. as the home of baseball; they even tried to mythologize it into the game’s place of origin at one point. And, yes, the majority of the game’s best players are from America. But in the World Baseball Classic, arguably the highest-profile event in international baseball, the U.S. is merely ordinary: It’s 10-10 over the tournament’s history, despite playing a relatively weak slate of opponents over the years. What gives?The WBC has always held more appeal for international players and fans, whose national teams take it far more seriously than the U.S. team does. The U.S. seldom sends its best players to the event, for better (it reduces the risk of key injuries in games that are essentially treated as exhibitions) and worse (it deprives the game of its best players playing on a worldwide stage). That means we won’t be seeing the likes of Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw in this year’s Classic, much less living legend Mike Trout.As a result, the U.S. has gotten mediocre results on the field, far from what might be expected out of a country that still considers itself baseball’s standard-bearer. To get a schedule-adjusted ranking of how countries have performed at the four World Baseball Classics,1Including 2017’s games, as of March 8. I calculated Sports-Reference’s Simple Rating System (SRS) for every WBC game since the event began in 2006.2A few more details: I gave more weight to games that took place in later rounds (first-round games had a weight of 1, second-round games a weight of 2, WBC semifinals a weight of 4 and WBC finals a weight of 8.) I also used a home-field advantage term of +0.16 runs per game, matching what it is in MLB since 2006. Among the 13 teams that have played double-digit WBC games, the U.S. ranks just seventh — far behind No. 1 Japan, who has dominated the tournament more than any other country. Mexico69-2.05 Japan — not the U.S. — dominates the World Baseball Classic Japan1973.40 Venezuela107-0.22 Italy47-1.49 United States1010-0.41 COUNTRYWINSLOSSESWEIGHTED SRS Cuba1480.67 Australia19-3.73 Dominican Republic1441.49 Netherlands910-1.20 Teams are ranked according to the Simple Rating System (SRS) for all WBC games since 2006, with extra weight applied to games in later rounds.Source: Wikipedia South Korea1471.79 China28-6.12 National pastime or not, America’s unexceptionalism probably won’t improve until the U.S. starts treating the WBC less like an exhibition event, and more like the international showcase other countries already think it is. Share on Facebook read more

The Rose Bowl isn’t the National Championship, but playing in the oldest, most prestigious bowl is a tradition that every Big Ten and Pac-10 team dreams of.The Ohio State Buckeyes are one win away from realizing that dream, but must first knock off the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday. An OSU win will cement a record fifth consecutive conference title and the Buckeyes will certainly smell the roses.OSU Coach Jim Tressel knows just how much the game means. He said that on Saturday, both teams will know what will be on the line.“I think it would be hard if you have the opportunity to earn a chance to play in that bowl game to minimize the excitement of that,” Tressel said. “We haven’t gone in a long time. It’s an important thing to Ohio State. It’s an important thing to Iowa. I’m not sure what year was the last time they went, but it’s a big deal.”“The Granddaddy of Them All,” as the Rose Bowl has come to be known, is a spectacle filled with tradition, a parade and a fierce inter-conference rivalry.The Big Ten and Pac-10 send their best teams to play on Jan. 1, but surprisingly, the Rose Bowl always seems to escape the Buckeyes’ grasp.  Ohio State has only played in the Rose Bowl three times in the last 30 years. Their last appearance in 1997 was an instant classic with the Buckeyes winning on a late touchdown against previously undefeated Arizona State.Since the inception of the Bowl Championship Series in 1998, the Buckeyes would have sent three teams to the prestigious bowl: 2002, 2006 and 2007 would have all been Rose Bowl years, but instead, OSU played for a national championship.In 2007, OSU lost to Illinois in the penultimate game of the season. The following week, after a win over Michigan and another Big Ten title, the roses were brought out and the Buckeyes celebrated what was believed to be a bid to the big game.However, due to several upsets the Buckeyes climbed from No. 7 to No. 1 without playing another game and instead went to the National Championship against LSU.“We were real excited to win another Big Ten championship and get the chance to go to the Rose Bowl,” senior tight end Jake Ballard said about the 2007 victory. “It was thrilling, we hadn’t been to the Rose Bowl in 10, now 12 years. We were just looking forward to going.”The BCS title game might have more at stake, but as a Big Ten school, the Rose Bowl is what a team plays for. Its tradition and pageantry cannot be rivaled. Tressel even got a bit nostalgic when talking about New Year’s Day’s most sacred game.“Jan. 1 in our house, two black-and-white TVs set up side by side, that old 30-pot coffee … my dad never got off the couch, man, we were taking him coffee and switching stations. I mean, that was — shoot, you were living on Jan. 1,” Tressel said with a smile. “That was it for the year, by the way.”Recently, the Rose Bowl hasn’t been a proud event for the Big Ten. The conference representative has been blown out by USC the last three years and hasn’t won the bowl since 2000.“The Rose Bowl is everything, it is where college football is at; … what it’s all about,” Ballard said. “Everybody wants to go there, everyone wants to play in that game. Ohio State has a long history in the Rose Bowl and we haven’t been back in some time. To go out there our senior year and to take care of business and come back with a Rose Bowl victory would be something great for Ohio State.”It would also benefit the Big Ten as a whole, Ballard said, because of their lack of big bowl wins the last several years.Ohio State could kill two birds with one stone Jan. 1. Making up for its past three BCS bowl losses, but also getting a big win for a conference that has struggled recently in postseason play.To do that, the Buckeyes will have to beat Iowa first. read more

Following a road loss to Indiana on Friday, the Ohio State men’s basketball team needed a win against Nebraska to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time since the 2009-10 season. They did just that, dominating the Cornhuskers, 71-40, at the Schottenstein Center in the teams’ first matchup as Big Ten conference foes. OSU’s defense made an impact from the opening tip. Nebraska hauled in the first possession, but tight Buckeye defense forced a shot clock violation. It was a sign of things to come. Through the game’s first eight minutes, OSU forced seven turnovers and the Buckeyes jumped out to a 17-4 lead. A layup from Nebraska’s Corey Hilliard got the Cornhuskers within 10, but on the ensuing possession, OSU sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas out-jumped Nebraska’s defenders to grab the offensive rebound and finished at the rim despite being fouled. Two OSU possessions later, sophomore forward Jared Sullinger spun away from the Nebraska defense near the right baseline, absorbed a foul, and kissed the ball off the backboard before it landed through the net. He sunk the free throw and gave OSU a 31-15 lead. Nebraska never showed signs of threatening again. OSU’s quick lead allowed Buckeye coach Thad Matta to look to the bench early. Eleven players saw playing time in the first half and eight Buckeyes scored. Sullinger led the way, scoring 12 points including a fall-away 3-pointer before time expired to give the Buckeyes a 44-20 lead at intermission. But Sullinger’s 3-pointer doesn’t tell the story for the Buckeyes offensively. OSU pounded the ball inside all night, finishing the game with 42 points in the paint, in large part due to Sullinger and Thomas finishing an easy opportunities. Sullinger finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds while Thomas added 15 points and 4 rebounds. Senior guard William Buford also finished in double figures with 13 points. Overall, OSU shot 54 percent from the floor while holding Nebraska to 31 percent shooting. The win gives the Buckeyes a 14-2 overall record and a 2-1 record in conference play. Nebraska’s record drops to 8-6 on the year and 0-3 in the conference. OSU next takes the floor Saturday, Jan. 7, in a road game against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Opening tip is set for 3 p.m.. read more

After one season as the Ohio State’s football team’s wide receiver coach, Stan Drayton is the Buckeyes’ running backs coach, returning to the position he once played as a three-time Division III All-American at Allegheny College.In his first season under coach Urban Meyer, Drayton faces the task of replacing the team’s top running back from last season, Daniel “Boom” Herron, who ran for 672 yards in just eight games.Drayton won’t have Herron to work with, but the team returns three running backs who combined for 1,090 rushing yards last season.Carlos Hyde, a rising junior, ran for 566 yards this past season. Rising senior Jordan Hall ran for 408 yards as a junior. Additionally, rising redshirt sophomore Rod Smith ran for 116 yards in his first season.OSU’s stable of running backs also includes freshman Bri’onte Dunn, who enrolled at OSU in January and is participating in spring practices.Drayton said all four of the players are competing for playing time.“It’s open competition right now,” Drayton said. “We’re just trying to see who’s going to separate themselves. Nowadays, you got to prepare at least three or four (running backs) to make it through an entire season anyway, so all of these guys are preparing to get game-ready. As far as me setting the depth chart right now, I like to leave it open so these guys can continue to compete throughout the spring.”Hall, who led the Buckeyes with 1,275 all-purpose yards last season, is expected by some to be the leader of the OSU running game.Drayton said the coaching staff will use Hall in a variety of ways this season.“We’re going to play into Jordan Hall’s strengths,” Drayton said. “He’s a guy who can be a versatile player for us.”Drayton said he expects Hall to contribute as a receiver this season, but added that he thinks all the running backs should do so.“He’s very, very capable,” Drayton said of Hall’s receiving abilities. “We may put a little bit more on Jordan’s plate, but all of my backs are going to have to get out there, get lined up at wide receiver, recognize coverages and play out there.”Hall said he is uncertain how he will be used in the offense this year, but said he is looking forward to playing in the offense implemented by this year’s new coaching staff.“I don’t know really what my role is yet, but I just know that the offense is more zone reads, bubble screens, screens … just getting in open space,” Hall said. “I like being in space, and this is the perfect offense.”Drayton said he has been very impressed with Hall’s maturity this spring.“I’ve seen an unbelievable change,” Drayton said. “The leadership and the toughness, both in the weight room and on the field, that was already there, but he’s taken it to another level.”Drayton said he also has big expectations for Hyde this season.“Carlos’s progression is going to be very significant to our run game,” Drayton said. “We need Carlos to take his game to another level so he can contribute to this football team. He’s too talented not to.”Hyde was not made available for comment.Drayton said he expects Smith to have a bigger role this fall.“I’m very confident that (Smith) is going to make an impact for this football team,” Drayton said.Drayton also said he has high expectations for Dunn.“I think his future is going to be really, really bright around here,” Drayton said.Hall was asked whether he thought opposing defenses would be able to stop the OSU offense this fall.“Not if we execute,” Hall replied.OSU will kickoff the 2012 Spring Game Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Ohio Stadium. read more

The Ohio State football team takes the field for the 2018 Spring Game at Ohio Stadium between Team Scarlet and Team Gray. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignThe Big Ten announced its conference schedules for each member of the conference from the 2022 season through the 2025 seasons on Wednesday. Ohio State now has a completed schedule for the next three seasons with six non-conference games to be decided during the four-year span. From 2022-2025, Ohio State will play all seven members of the Big Ten West, including regular season games against Wisconsin, home-and-homes with both Iowa and Northwestern and games against Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and Purdue. Ohio State opens the 2018 season on Sept. 1 against Oregon State. 2022 Ohio State ScheduleSept. 3 – Notre DameSept. 17 – Toledo Sept. 24 – at Michigan StateOct. 1 – at Penn State Oct. 8 – Rutgers Oct. 15 – Iowa Oct. 22 – Off Oct. 29 – Indiana Nov. 5 – at Northwestern Nov. 12 – Wisconsin Nov. 19 – at MarylandNov. 26 – Michigan 2023 Ohio State ScheduleSept. 2 – at IndianaSept. 23 – at Notre DameOct. 7 – MarylandOct. 14 – at PurdueOct. 21 – Penn State Oct. 28 – at WisconsinNov. 4 – at RutgersNov. 11 – Michigan State Nov. 18 – MinnesotaNov. 25 – at Michigan 2024 Ohio State ScheduleSept. 7 – at Washington Sept. 28 – Illinois Oct. 5 – RutgersOct. 12 – at NebraskaOct. 26 – Wisconsin Nov. 2 – at MarylandNov. 9 – at Penn State Nov. 16 – Indiana Nov. 23 – at Michigan State Nov. 30 – Michigan 2025 Ohio State ScheduleAug. 30 – at Texas Sept. 13 – Washington Sept. 20 – at Indiana Sept. 27 – at IowaOct. 4 – Maryland Oct. 11 – at WisconsinOct. 25 – at Rutgers Nov. 1 – Northwestern Nov. 15 – Penn State Nov. 22 – Michigan StateNov. 29 – at Michigan read more

first_imgThe charges will be denied and there will be a trialAdam Hodge, for Dearlove, He is further charged with two counts of assault through ill treatment or neglect of Paul on the same day.It is alleged the death occurred in the Haverton Hill area of Stockton-on-Tees.Adam Hodge, for Dearlove, said: “No application for bail can be made today but for the benefit of Mr Dearlove that the charges will be denied and there will be a trial in due course.”Dearlove,  who was grey haired and wore a navy blue t-shirt, spoke only to confirm his name and address in the two minute hearing.Paul died from a fractured skull in Middlesbrough General Hospital. The Teesside Evening Gazette reported that the former Teesside Police, now Cleveland, said Paul was aged 21 months when he died, two hours after falling out of bed. 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. Police investigated and “found no evidence of foul play.” On October 3, 1968, an inquest was opened and adjourned.Paul was the son of Mervyn and Carol Booth. He also had a brother, Peter, and a sister, Stephanie, according to his death notice in the local paper.In January of this year his father appeared to be trying to find his son’s grave. He wrote in on online forum how he was trying to find his son’s resting place in St John’s churchyard Haverton Hill, which has been demolished although the graveyard still stands.He pleaded with church authorities: “There must be something you can find out or do, please God help.” A man has appeared in court accused of the 1968 murder of a toddler. David Dearlove, 70, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk,  appeared for Teesside magistrates court, where his lawyer said he will deny the charge of murdering Paul Booth.The case was adjourned until Wednesday when Mr Dearlove will appear before Teesside Crown Court.Dearlove is accused of one count of murder of Paul, aged 18 months, on October 1st 1968.last_img read more

first_imgA health watchdog spent almost £250,000 on lawyers in a bid to hide the truth from a bereaved father, documents show.James Titcombe exposed a baby deaths scandal at Morecambe Bay, and an ensuing cover-up by NHS authorities, which led to an overhaul of the system of inspection.His son Joshua died in 2008, aged just nine days, when midwives Holly Parkinson and Lindsey Biggs repeatedly missed chances to spot and treat an infection.Midwives who dubbed themselves “the musketeers” colluded to hide failings  which caused the avoidable deaths of at least 11 babies and one mother, an investigation found.Yet it was not until 2015 that action was finally taken against any of the midwives, prompting Mr Titcombe to criticise regulator the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Now new documents reveal that the watchdog spent £240,000 on laywers – paid from subscriptions by nurses and midwives – on advice about how to respond to his attempts to uncover the truth.The bereaved father sought information from the regulator, after the NMC refused to supply him with details of a review it had carried out, and correspondence to other regulators.Mr Titcombe made a “subject access request” under the Data Protection Act, in the hope he could find out more.The bereaved father said he was shocked when the NMC redacted documents about him so heavily that they became meaningless.In many cases, whole pages of information were removed, save for a mention of his name, or a meaningless half-sentence. Those that remained showed evidence that the regulator’s staff had been attempting to monitor Mr Titcombe, with orders to “flag anything” he said on social media, and graphs tracking his twitter activity.   Other emails revealed contemptous remarks by staff –  including the “the strategy of how we coped with the Titcombe attacks.”After he asked the NMC to be more open, the watchdog revealed that it already had spent £239,871.85 on advice from lawyers about how to answer his questions.Last night he said: “I just couldn’t believe such a gross misuse of of resources, and all in an attempt to maintain secrecy. It’s horrific.”An NMC spokesperson said: “We receive hundreds of FOI and DPA requests every year with the vast majority of these requests being dealt with in-house by the NMC, like all public bodies we have a duty to respond to requests as fully and as timely as we can. Each request is assessed individually and in this case, due to the size of the request, it was decided that it would be more appropriate and cost effective to get some support.  This request involved information relating to multiple fitness to practise cases over a long period of time and each document needed to be read to ensure that we did not disclose any personal data relating to other individuals. We did not have the internal capacity required to respond to Mr Titcombe, which is why we had to take the decision to get help from an external company.“We engaged an external company to help ensure that we met our obligations fully in an open and transparent way. Handling the request in this way has incurred a significant cost to the NMC, however, we believe that the approach taken was the best way of ensuring a full response.“As part of this process the NMC provided a significant number of documents to Mr Titcombe.  Within these documents there were a small number of cases where staff should have worded their communication more carefully and we apologise to Mr Titcombe for this.“The investigation into the tragic events at University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has been lengthy, complex, and has involved multiple agencies and individuals. These cases have taken far too long, which we regret and we have apologised for.  We have committed to carrying out an independent review to identify learning in order to see where we could do things differently should a similar situation arise now.  We have been in contact with the families involved and asked them to share their experiences with us as part of this review.” Joshua and Hoa  Joshua and Hoa Titcombe had a long battle for the truth about failings surrounding their son’s deathCredit:North Newscenter_img The cover up over Morecambe Bay led to an overhaul of the Care Quality Commission, the NHS regulator Credit:Dominic Lipinski/PA  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. NHS last_img read more

first_imgIt was only when the doors opened to what they thought was the exhibition and they were dazzled by hundreds of camera flashes that they realised they had been set up.The ‘tour’ was part of a stunt organised by American TV host Jimmy Kimmel, who broadcast the entire thing live on his YouTube channel. But the couple – who had no idea about that at the time – made sure they documented it all for themselves just in case their friends and family refused to believe them. Ms Wozencroft, 50, added: “It was so surreal. Absolutely surreal. It is something I will never ever forget – we were treated like celebs in Hollywood. “It was just incredible. It was the best experience of my life.”Eight lucky tourists made it into the Oscars as part of the stunt, including a father and daughter from Ireland and two couples from America. Pete Hobden pictured with Jennifer Aniston and the audience at the Oscars Credit:SWNS Pete Hobden and Shelly Wozencroft back at home in BristolCredit:David Hedges/SWNS Pete Hobden and Shelly Wozencroft back at home in Bristol “We were just awe-struck. All our friends and family are so jealous. “It was an amazing experience. We never thought we would go to the Oscars.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img Viewers of the awards will recall seeing a bus-load of bewildered tourists being introduced to the ceremony wearing shorts, t-shirts and hooded sweaters among the glamorous gowns of other guests. Among them were Mr Hobden, a carpenter from Bristol, and his partner of 12 years, office manager Ms Wozencroft. Mr Hobden said: “They lifted up the fence and ushered us inside, past two big security guards and through a metal detector.”They told us, ‘This is a special tour,’ and said we would be going to an exhibition to see all the gowns, and we might get to touch an Oscar. “We had no clue what we were in for whatsoever.” Actors Casey Affleck, Matt Damon and Samuel L Jackson were among the others they rubbed shoulders during the seven minutes they were given to mingle. “At one point, I turned round and was thinking, ‘I recognise that guy.’, ” Mr Hobden said.”He said, ‘Hi, how you doing Pete?’ I said, ‘How do you know my name?’ and he said, ‘Because you’ve got a name badge on.'”I said, ‘I don’t know your name because you haven’t got a name badge.’ Then he left and I walked past him and realised it was Denzel Washington. Mr Hobden said: “When the doors opened it was a surreal moment where all these people were clapping us. I just thought, ‘Oh Jesus, we’re at the Oscars.'”I was just babbling, I couldn’t speak properly. Shelly was shaking. We were in total shock. It was unbelievable. We were just awe struck.”The couple took photos with Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston and Ryan Gosling, and they spotted other celebs like Halle Berry and Meryl Streep. When a British couple embarked on a sightseeing trip on Hollywood Boulevard, they hoped it would be a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to see the homes of the rich and famous, and perhaps catch a glimpse of an actor passing by.Instead, Pete Hobden and Shelly Wozencroft spent their evening rubbing shoulders with the A-list inside the real-life Oscars ceremony, after finding themselves swept up in a tour bus prank. Mr Hobden, 55, and his partner said they were left “babbling” in shock after being propelled from their ordinary tour-bus into the 89h Academy Awards, taking photographs of Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston and Ryan Gosling and finding themselves in conversation with Denzel Washington. The unsuspecting pair, who were on a dream holiday in the States, had booked a ticket for a sightseeing tour and boarded a bus alongside eight other holidaymakers.But after zigzagging around the city sights, their coach drove down Hollywood Boulevard and pulled up outside the Academy Awards for a prank insigated by television host Jimmy Kimmel. Pete Hobden pictured with Jennifer Aniston and the audience at the Oscars last_img read more

first_imgWearing a polka dot dress, Kate arrives at Wimbledon on Monday morning Spectators gather in the grounds before the start of the opening day at the Wimbledon  Asked during her visit to SW19 if she played tennis, she laughed and said: “Yes, but not to any standard!”The Duchess’s visit to SW19 is also likely to see a rush by tennis fans to copy her hairstyle.At least one salon in Wimbledon is already offering to recreate the look. ‘The Duchess Dry’ is available at Lulu Blonde salon in Wimbledon village, a snip at £40. The Duchess of Cambridge has wasted no time in paying tribute to the people who really matter at Wimbledon – the ball boys and girls.During her first visit to the All England Lawn Tennis Club in her new capacity as patron, Kate told them that their work “makes the game happen”.The Duchess was introduced to players and club officials when she toured the club on the opening day of the Wimbledon championships. Kate arrived at Wimbledon for the first time as Patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet ClubCredit:Gareth Fuller/PA Wearing a polka dot dress, Kate sits on Centre Court for day one of WimbledonCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley for The Telegraph Kate looks to be enjoying the tennis on Centre CourtCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley for The Telegraph A worker adds the order of play to a board But she appeared to be particularly interested in the work of the ball boys and girls, who are recruited from local schools and spend weeks undergoing a strict training regime for the tournament.She told two ball girls and a ball boy she met: “Your work makes the game happen. It makes such a difference to the players, your professionalism,” adding: “You look so smart.”Kate, who was wearing a Dolce and Gabbana tennis-themed white dress with black polka dots, was shown around the complex where the ball boys and girls relax between matches. The local schoolboy, who has participated in three previous Wimbledons, gets picked up by a coach every morning and dropped off after a day’s work.He said: “Being a senior ball boy I try and look out for the younger ones.” He said taking part in Andy Murray’s matches last year was “definitely a highlight”, adding: “The first year doesn’t really matter what team you’re in, you’re just loving every moment.” Kate watches the action on Centre Court on Monday afternoonCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley for The Telegraphcenter_img Kim Sears, Andy Murray’s wife, on Centre Court on MondayCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley for The Telegraph Duchess of Cambridge During her visit, announcements over the intercom reminded the youngsters to wear suncream and they were encouraged to keep well hydrated.Among the ball boys preparing for their first match yesterday was Max Wood, 18, who said: “It’s a lot of fun to get away from school.” Kim Sears on Centre Court Spectators gather in the grounds before the start of the opening day at Wimbledon Credit:Tim Ireland/AP Duchess of Cambridge Wimbledon Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A worker adds the order of play to a board at WimbledonCredit:DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP The Duchess also met Agnieszka Radwanska, the women’s world number 10 player, and Dominic Thiem, the men’s number eight, before taking her place in the Royal Box for Andy Murray’s first match in defence of his single’s title.Joining her in the Royal Box were actor Dominic Cooper, the writer Bill Bryson and Andy Murray’s father, William. The Duchess of Cambridge watches the action on Centre Court on Monday afternoonlast_img read more

A Scottish teenager has fallen to her death from a seventh floor apartment in Majorca after trying to climb from one balcony to another.Natalie Cormack, 19, of West Kilbride in North Ayrshire, realised she did not have her keys when she returned from work at a bar in the resort of Magaluf.Spanish police said she went to a friend’s apartment and attempted to gain access to her neighbouring flat at the Eden Rock de Torrenova block.An ambulance crew was called to the scene but the Guardia Civil in Palma confirmed she died following the accident on Friday morning.An officer said: “We are still investigating. But it seems she did not have any keys when she arrived at her apartment and went to a friend’s flat.”She was climbing to her own balcony when she fell from the seventh floor. We understand that she comes from Scotland and was working in a nearby bar, but we don’t have any more details yet.” Earlier this month, Ms Cormack posted on Facebook that she was having the best time of her life. Her mother, Lynn McLaren, posted a message on the social media site confirming her death, prompting a flurry of messages from her grieving friends. She said: “I am so sorry to do things this way but have to let everyone know that Natalie has fallen from a balcony in Magaluf and has died. At the moment this is all we know.”A Foreign & Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the family of a British national following her death in Spain, and our staff are in contact with the Spanish and UK police regarding the incident.” 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

Tales of family heroics inevitably become exaggerated and embellished over time. But the descendants of Sir Thomas Noel Harris, a British Brigade-Major in the Battle of Waterloo, can finally rest assured that their ancestor really did play a pivotal and death-defying role in the decisive conflict. So when a jacket purporting to belong to the officer came up for auction, his family bought it and asked forensic experts at Cranfield University to find out whether it was the genuine article and if it backed up his story. Not only were scientists able to say with certainty that the uniform was… Family legend and diaries suggested Sir Thomas had been shot, and had his arm amputated on the battlefield. 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

The naming of the Russian agents believed to be responsible for the Novichok poisonings in Salisbury has brought the spectre of chemical weapons to the forefront of the public consciousness once again.But while such weapons can undoubtedly wreak enormous havoc, a Telegraph film investigating the threat of biological terrorism has shown that a far simpler way to spread fear and disrupt daily life would be to harness diseases in plants, animals and even humans.Dominic Nicholls, defence and security correspondent, has spoken to a host of experts who reveal that  bacteria such as anthrax, which occurs naturally in the soil and can infect cattle and wild animals, and foot and mouth disease could be a much bigger threat than chemical weapons.In the film, which you can watch by clicking the link above, he talks to biosecurity experts and farmers to investigate the scale of the threat and how prepared the UK is to tackle it. 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. Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security  read more

Private school pupils who take IGCSEs have a better chance of getting top marks, the exam watchdog has admitted. Roger Taylor, the chair of Ofqual, said it is a “problem” that a far higher proportion of children get As and A*s in IGCSEs – the majority of which are taken by those at fee-paying schools – compared to their state educated peers who have sat the reformed GCSEs.He told the education select committee that this is a “disturbing” issue within the exam system, and agreed that it reinforces the privileges of children whose families can afford to pay for private school fees.  Originally, private schools opted for IGCSEs as they saw GCSEs as too easy and not sufficient preparation for A level.However, in a bid to make GCSEs more rigorous, the ministers overhauled the qualifications by removing most coursework and introducing a numerical grading system.Earlier this year, research published by Education Datalab showed that two thirds of pupils achieved grade A* and A in IGCSEs in maths and English language, while just 18 to 20 per cent achieved the equivalent grades in reformed GCSEs.Lucy Powell, the Labour MP for Manchester Central, said it is a “scandal” and an “outrage” that children at private schools who win top grades in their IGCSEs are looked on more favourably by universities and employers who cannot tell the difference between these exams and GCSEs. Robert Halfon is chair of the education select committee 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. Mr Taylor said that the difference can – at least in part – be explained by privately educated children generally having higher levels of attainment than children at state schools. Robert Halfon is chair of the education select committee He said that IGCSES are not “systematically easier” than the reformed GCSEs. But since they are not regulated in the same way it means there is a “risk” that a “particular subject in a particular year will be easier and we don’t have the mechanisms to do anything about that”.GCSEs are regulated by Ofqual, which uses a statistical method called “comparable outcomes” to ensure that roughly the same proportion of pupils will be awarded each grade as in previous years. Meanwhile, IGCSEs are not regulated by Ofqual, meaning that the number of top grades handed out are not in any way restricted. Mr Taylor agreed with Robert Halfon, the Conservative chair of the education select committee, that currently there is not a “level playing field” between private and state school pupils.  He said the best solution would be for IGCSEs to be renamed, and said the Ofqual has examined “legal routes” to address this. Mr Taylor added: “This is a situation that is not really conducive to public trust in the examination system. It is a problem. We obviously are monitoring this and have researched this because it is an area of concern.”Labour committee member Ian Mearns said that there is a feeling that the current set up is “inherently unfair” on state school students. Mr Taylor replied: “I think this is precisely why this is such a disturbing issue in terms of the fairness of the system. Because it is used in one sector of the education system and not in another.”Mr Halfon said: “Basically, what we are saying is that if you are wealthy enough to afford to go to private school, not only that, you’re going to get an easier exam, which is called the same name and recognised by employers.”But if you’re not wealthy, you go to state school and do a higher quality, higher standard exam that is called GCSE, and you get potentially lower grades even though that person from private school is getting all those advantages.”Mr Taylor said he agrees with this analysis, but added that private schools are allowed to teach whichever qualifications they want so they are not breaking any rules. read more

At the time she was stabbed to death, Ms Boden was working as a senior staff nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in central London.The inquest heard she was on a night out with friends at Boro Bistro on June 3 2017.She heard the sound of the van crashing and her immediate response was to leave the table to help, the coroner said.Mr Hodder said: “Her actions on that night didn’t surprise anyone who knew her. To Kirsty it would not have seemed brave.”She loved people and loved her life helping others. To Kirsty, her actions that night would have been an extension of how she lived her life.”We are so unspeakably proud of her and not a day goes by that we are not in awe of her bravery that night.”Speaking on behalf of her family, Ms Boden’s father, Ken, said his daughter “meant the world to us”.He said: “We miss Kirsty every second of the day. There is a hole in our hearts that will never heal.”Ignacio EcheverriaIgnacio Echeverria Miralles De Imperial, 39, was stabbed to death as he bravely fought the terrorists with his skateboard.Dubbed ‘The Skateboard Hero’, he used the improvised weapon to save a French woman from being stabbed to death. James McMullan Several bystanders fled to safety as the Spaniard, from La Coruña, swung his board at one of the terrorists.He was stabbed in the back and killed by the other two attackers. “To see you again we simply need to close our eyes. To remember your kindness, your generosity, your love for your family.”Sebastien we miss you a lot and you are always, forever in our hearts.”Xavier ThomasThe life of a French father-of-two was taken away by “barbarians” when he was hit by a hired van being driven by terrorists as he walked across London Bridge with his girlfriend, his family has said.Xavier Thomas, 45, was thrown into the River Thames, where his body was recovered downstream three days later – while his partner of two years, Christine Delcros, was struck and seriously injured in the attack.She wept as she paid an emotional tribute to Mr Thomas in French from the witness box on Tuesday as the court heard of their “passionate love story”.The mother-of-one said: “Since Xavier disappeared in such tragic and traumatic circumstances our whole world has fallen apart.” Sara Zelenak Xavier Thomas A young woman kissed her fiance and told him “I love you” moments before she was caught up in the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack, a inquest has heard.Three women and five men died on June 3 2017 after three men ploughed into crowds in a white van before stabbing revellers with 12in ceramic knives.The victims were Christine Archibald, 30, Xavier Thomas, 45, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39.The attackers, Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, were shot dead by police at the scene of the attack.The inquests are expected to examine why there were still no barriers to protect pedestrians on London Bridge by June 3.Families will also want answers to how Butt was able to plan and carry out the attack while he was under investigation by security services.In the coming weeks, the court will hear from witnesses, the family and friends of the attackers, and a senior MI5 officer.Other evidence is expected to include CCTV footage of the attacks and the terrorists’ movements, body-worn video from police officers. Chrissy ArchibaldCanadian Christine Archibald told her fiance that she loved him and gave him a passionate kiss moments before she was killed on London Bridge. From there he went on to work in a series of restaurants, including in Corsica for a number of years, and in 2009 decided to move to London to join friends.Mr Belanger started work at the Coq D’Agent in the City and was promoted to the role of head chef.His mother said she was “so very proud” of her hard working son, who enjoyed eating good food and relaxing with his friends.Originally from Angers, western France, he was drinking at the Boro Bistro when he was stabbed repeatedly in the chest.Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft QC told the court that despite being confronted by three knife-wielding attackers, he had “bravely fought back” before he was killed by “quite horrific injuries”.In a tribute from his family, his brother Julien described the sports fan as “a breath of fresh air”, and said “his eyes were full of dreams”.The family said: “Sebastien we will never forget you. There is always a place, a word, an image that reminds us you are still with us. Kirsty Boden Mr Thomas, who had arrived in London on the day of the attack, lived near Paris, worked for American Express and had two children from a previous marriage.His stepfather, Philippe Pesez, also spoke in French as his mother, Christiane Pesez, stood in tears behind, while a photograph of Mr Thomas was shown on big screens in court. Ignacio Echeverria skateboarding Xavier Thomas Christine Archibald (known as Chrissy) and Tyler Ferguson “She was meant to be working and at the last minute she got the night off.”Pri (her au pair friend) and Sarz were going to go to a rooftop bar and couldn’t find it, then Soho, though decided Borough Market would do because it was close to the rugby where they were meeting up with some friends when it finished.”At 10pm Sara’s phone rang and her friend said ‘I’ve finished at the rugby’ and so she left her safe haven … and walked out into a terrorist attack and was stabbed to death.” Sebastien Belanger James McMullan Alexandre Pigeard Alexandre Pigeard Kirsty Boden The couple, who were living together in The Hague, Holland, had been organising their wedding and were planning to get married in the autumn of 2018 in their native Canada. Christine Archibald (known as Chrissy) and Tyler Ferguson Remembering his “dark, deep and soft eyes”, his father said: “It’s 703 days since the events took place, 703 days where I missed Alexandre.”I’m present here as a desolated father who has lost a child in such circumstances, an inconsolable father who for 703 days has not been close to his son.”Mr Pigeard, a musician in the band Tanger, also questioned whether British authorities could have done more to prevent the rampage following the Westminster Bridge and Manchester Arena attacks.Kirsty BodenThe partner of Australian nurse Kirsty Boden, 28, who was killed as she ran towards the London Bridge terror attack in a selfless bid to save people, has told how he is still “in awe of her bravery”.In an emotional tribute, James Hodder said he was “completely floored” by Ms Boden, who was from the small town of Loxton, in South Australia, when she moved to London in 2013.”Despite me being a pasty, bumbling, British accountant, Kirsty fell in love with me and our love never stopped growing from the first summer in 2013,” he said.The couple moved to Hampstead, in north London, and Mr Hodder said: “We had a beautiful life there. I am still head over heels in love with Kirsty and I miss her so much. 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. Sebastien Belanger He loved electronic music and was a member of a group of DJs called Club 808. Mr Ferguson said they were “very much looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together and starting a family”.Ms Archibald’s father, Greg, told the inquest that social work was his daughter’s “calling”.She studied for a degree in social work before taking a job at a centre for drug addicts in Vancouver for three years, and then moved to the Netherlands.He told the Old Bailey: “Chrissy believed from the bottom of her soul that each and every person is worthy of respect.”The world has many sunshine people in it. Their smiles warm us.”Chrissy was not the sunshine, Chrissy was the moon. You might not notice the moon on a sunny day but you need the moon when it is dark to find your way.”The keen runner, who was a twin, was also an animal lover and was close to her family.Her father said: “She was shy and polite, gentle but determined, tall and beautiful.”Ms Archibald was killed by multiple, severe blunt crush injuries.Sara ZelenakAustralian au pair Sara Zelenak was on the “trip of a lifetime” when she was stabbed to death while on a night out with a friend, her family said. Sara Zelenak She told how she last saw the 32-year-old alive on her 30th birthday on 13 May, 2017 – and that two years later she was hearing evidence about his death.”You belong to the moon and stars now,” she said.”Rest in power, James.”Mr McMullan’s father, Simon, described his son as “funny, charming and clever” and said “his fearlessness could never be underestimated”.”Nothing seemed to faze him, but more than this James was a person who put his family above all else,” he said.”Our days and nights were enhanced by his presence and our lives were enriched by his essence,” he continued.”He was James McMullan – a friend, a son, an uncle, a brother, an inspiration and a maddening genius, a brilliant and beautiful paradox. Farewell James.”Alexandre PigeardFrench rock musician Philippe Pigeard paid tribute to his son Alexandre, 26, who was stabbed to death near London Bridge.The young waiter was stabbed in the neck near Borough Market’s Boro Bistro restaurant, where he had worked for nine months.Nicknamed “King of the Night”, Alexandre, from Caen, Normandy, had been living in London for just more than two years when he was killed. Mrs Wallace said she and her husband have since dedicated their lives to setting up “Sarz Sanctuary” to help other families to cope with grief.”I would love every victim’s family to come to Sarz Sanctuary who is here today and I would love to help them from the bottom of my heart,” she added.”At 10pm, her phone rang and (her friend) said ‘we have finished the rugby’ and she left the save haven of her hotel and into a terrorist attack,” her mother said.”She was stabbed to death.”Sebastien BelangerThe mother of chef Sebastien Belanger said she does not forgive the terrorists who “mutilated and killed him”.Emotional tributes to the 36-year-old were read to the inquest into his death at the Old Bailey, first by his brother Julien in French, before Gareth Patterson QC, who is representing six of the victims’ families, read statements in English.His mother Josiane Belanger said: “We miss him so much, his smile, his joie de vivre.”I do not forgive what they did to him. They mutilated and killed him.”The Old Bailey heard how he was “full of mischief” as a child, and did not particularly like school. “But I am so thankful for all the years we shared together and I will treasure those memories forever.” He was also awarded two Grand Cross medals, a Silver Medal and a Medal of Honour by the monarchy and police in Spain.Former Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has praised his ‘heroic and exemplary act’.Mr Echeverria’s sister Isabel said at the time: ‘My brother Ignacio tried to stop the terrorists and lost his life trying to save others’. He discovered his love of food when he started work as a butcher’s apprentice at the age of 16, something that he found physically challenging due to his slight build. Her mother, Julie Wallace, who was supported by Ms Zelenak’s stepfather, Mark Wallace, said her 21-year-old daughter had arrived in the UK on March 10 2017.The inquest heard that Ms Zelenak worked with Mr Wallace as a crane truck operator in Brisbane, wearing high-visibility clothing and a hard hat, teamed with “bright coloured red fingernails”, to save up for the “trip of a lifetime”.Her mother said: “Sarz was the happiest she had ever been: working, travelling, meeting new people, doing all the things a 21-year-old should do.”That was until June 3 2017 when our lives changed forever. On that fatal night, every sliding door slid for Sara to be in harm’s way. Ignacio Echeverria Reading an English translation, lawyer Dominic Adamson, representing the family, said an “adventure” to the Cote d’Ivoire gave Mr Thomas “the taste for travel” when he was 17.”He had a tremendous bond with his children,” he said.”They were the apple of his eye.”Mr Thomas’s family said he had a “zest for life”, describing him as “fearless, dynamic, unselfish, very hardworking” and “always positive”.”On June 3 2017, barbarians who can in no way be described as humans took his life an destroyed his family,” his father said.”With such an emotional shock we have been totally devastated in the way he has been taken from us.”We all feel lost and are experiencing a great void without Xavier. His children have lost everything upon which their lives are based and it’s very difficult to recover from that.”James McMullanEntrepreneur James McMullan had been out celebrating getting financial backing for his online education company on the night he was killed by terrorists in London.The dual British and Filipino from Brent, north-west London, was watching the Champions League final with friends in a pub, but was stabbed to death when he left to have a cigarette.His sister Melissa said he called their mother, who died months later, the previous morning. Ignacio was cycling to Whitechapel, east London, with the board on his back when he saw the atrocity unfold.He worked as a money laundering prevention analyst at HSBC bank in London.Colleagues also nicknamed him ‘The Spin Doctor’ because he could pull off a triple backflip.The victim was awarded a posthumous George Medal for bravery by the Queen as well as a High Commendation by the Met, British Transport Police and City of London Police. The 30-year-old was visiting the capital for a short trip while her partner, Tyler Ferguson, was in the UK for work.On the night of the attack in June 2017, the couple had been out for a “celebratory” dinner after he had a particularly successful day.Mr Ferguson said: “We decided to walk over London Bridge. At one point Chrissy stopped me out of nowhere, gave me a passionate kiss and told me she loved me.”Then the attack happened and Chrissy was killed.”The social worker died in her fiance’s arms.Mr Ferguson described his partner as “my everything” and said she was “the most caring human being that I have ever met”.”I love and still love Chrissy more than life itself. She was my angel. I can still feel her presence in the moon and know that she is always watching over me.”Ms Archibald’s engagement ring was lost in the aftermath of the atrocity, but later recovered from the bridge. Mr Ferguson now wears it on a chain around his neck. “He was excited, giddy. He told her how everything was going to be okay, that he was going to be able to look after her,” she said. Ignacio Echeverria skateboarding Ignacio Echeverria read more

“We believe in the right to assembly, expression and to practice your religion, but this should never be at the expense of a woman’s right to legal healthcare. Context is everything, and a woman’s right to privacy and family life is paramount when walking through our clinic doors.However, he said that the Public Spaces Protection Order was not an “adequate response  to what is a national problem, leaving most clinics across the country defenceless”.He added: “It is time for the UK government to end the postcode lottery of harassment and legislate for Safe Access Zones outside all registered abortion care providers in the UK.”Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said: “We welcome the Court of Appeal’s decision. However, the harassment and intimidation of women and abortion clinic staff remains a national problem in need of a national solution.” She added: “Today’s judgment confirms that buffer zones are legal, proportionate, and necessary.” In September 2018 the then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid rejected calls for government legislation for buffer zones. There have been anti-abortion protests at 32 separate clinics and hospitals, including four new protest sites since then, according to BPAS. This September will see the campaign group 40 Days For Life begin six weeks of continuous “vigils” outside abortion clinics across the country, said the charity.  An abortion clinic buffer zone has been ruled legal by the Court of Appeal, which has said protesters can be forced to stand 100m away. In a landmark ruling, campaigners lost a Court of Appeal challenge against the country’s first protest-free “buffer zone” outside a Marie Stopes abortion clinic in Ealing. Three leading judges dismissed the appeal against the High Court, which had previously ruled that the restrictions, imposed by Ealing Council in west London on protests outside the clinic, were “justified”.The authority was the first to create a buffer zone in April 2018 when they imposed a public spaces protection order (PSPO) following reports of “intimidation, harassment and distress” for women using the facility in Mattock Lane, Ealing. However, the ruling may now encourage other councils to do the same. Earlier in the year a leaked report from the Manchester Marie Stopes centre, seen by The Telegraph, detailed the daily abuse faced by the clinic’s staff.  Protesters regularly gather outside the Marie Stopes clinic in EalingCredit:Jeff Gilbert for the Telegraph Protesters regularly gather outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing It was argued on their behalf that the buffer zone of 100m interfered with their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights to freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief and freedom of assembly and association.Ealing Council argued the buffer zone should remain and said some users of the clinic who had abortions many years ago are still “significantly affected by their encounters with the activists”.The authority’s QC said the council received a petition signed by more than 3,500 people urging it to take action.The appeal was unanimously dismissed on Wednesday by the Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton, Lady Justice King and Lady Justice Nicola Davies who upheld the earlier decision in favour of Ealing.Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn praised the “good news” in a tweet following the decision. He said: “A woman’s right to choose, free from intimidation or harassment, must be protected.” Marie Stopes UK’s Managing Director Richard Bentley said the Court of Appeal’s judgment was “a victory for common sense, compassion and women’s right to make decisions about their own bodies free from harassment”.  Ealing Council said the buffer zone prevented “intimidation, harassment and distress” for women using the clinicCredit:John Stillwell/PA Ms Murphy said that it was “unrealistic” to expect individual councils, who are already “under immense budgetary pressure” to pursue local PSPOs and urged the Home Secretary Priti Patel to consider national legislation.Representatives for Alina Dulgheriu and Andrea Orthova have said they will take the Court of Appeal’s decision to the Supreme Court.The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also tweeted his support. He said: “Whilst the right to peaceful protest must be respected, behaviour that seeks to deliberately target women for harassment and intimidation should not be tolerated.” Leader of Ealing Council, councillor Julian Bell, said they had seen a dramatic reduction in “activities having a detrimental effect” since the introduction of the buffer and called on the Home Secretary to introduce Ealing-style safe zones across the country. He said: “Anti-abortion groups who gather outside clinics have a detrimental impact on women, our team members and residents, and whether their behaviour is subtle or overt, it is a form of discrimination against women and targeted street harassment. Ahead of a 40-day anti-abortion protest in March, Greater Manchester Police offered increased support around the centre in South Manchester.Alina Dulgheriu and Andrea Orthova, who regularly attend a vigil run by the Good Counsel Network (GCN), challenged the decision at the Court of Appeal.  Ealing Council said the buffer zone prevented "intimidation, harassment and distress" for women using the clinic read more

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedSOCU requests more time to present statements in CourtMay 9, 2017In “Court”Law Books case: Nandlall’s trial set for June 8, prosecution still to get up statementsMay 29, 2017In “Court”Nandall arrested by SOCU, charged for missing Law books, gets self bailApril 27, 2017In “Court” …over the ownership of the law booksNandlall making his way from Court on ThursdayFormer Attorney General and attorney- at-law, Anil Nandlall- who was on Thursday arrested by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and placed before the Magistrates’ court with the charge of larceny by a bailee, that he fraudulently converted to his own use and benefit 14 Commonwealth Law Reports, valued at $2.3 million- said that charge should never have been filed in light of the fact that he instituted civil proceedings in the Constitutional Division of the High Court in relation to the ownership of those very books.On Tuesday, the day after he was initially detained by SOCU for questioning in relation to the law books, Nandlall filed legal proceedings in the Constitutional Division of the High Court, against Attorney General, Basil Williams, SC, to prove that the books are his property.Following the legal arguments in court, the Chief Justice (ag), Roxanne George-Wilshire granted the Conservatory Order, restraining officers of SOCU and the Guyana Police Force from seizing or detaining the said books.Nandlall is a post on Facebook said that “the truth is that this charge should never have been filed in light of the fact that I have instituted civil proceedings in the Constitutional Division of the High Court in relation to the ownership of these very books. This charge should have awaited the determination of those proceedings in accordance with Article 153 of the Constitution. This Article provides, inter alia, that if a citizen’s fundamental rights arises in relation to criminal proceedings, those constitutional rights issues must be first determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, before the criminal proceedings are to proceed.”According to Nandlall “many believe that Basil Williams has instructed the institution of these charges, simply to provide himself with the defence of justification in the libel and slander suit which I have filed against him. Unfortunately for him, the law is not an ass.”In April, Nandlall sued Williams for $125 million in compensation for the “considerable distress, anxiety and public humiliation” he reportedly faced by the utterances from Williams in relation to the missing law books.Nandlall had previously said that when he was appointed Attorney General, he requested as part of his contract of service for the Government of Guyana to stand the expense for his subscriptions for the Commonwealth Law Books. He had subscribed to Lexis Nexis, the publishers of the Law reports.His contentions were corroborated publicly by then President Donald Ramotar.After he was released on his own recognizance form Court, Nandlall told the media that the state paid for his subscription “because when I took this job, I took it at a loss of income, that I was earning much more and part of the package which I negotiated was the payment of my subscription for the law books.”He said he was not surprised by the charge, which he stated was a long time coming, after he had begun criticising the performance of Attorney General Basil Williams.“I don’t think anyone would be surprised by the turn of events. The Attorney General promised over a year ago that, should I continue to publicly criticise him, he will make these law books an issue and I will be charged,” Nandlall claimed.Moreover he asserted that him being arrested and dragged in front of the Court  “has nothing to do with the law books. As I indicated earlier, it has a political and sinister motive. (But) the state will expend millions of tax payers’ money to prosecute this charge, and it will go nowhere.”“Rest assured the criminal charge will be challenged and disposed of, shortly. Everyone who had an intentional hand in this persecutorial conspiracy and plot of vendetta will have to answer to the law. The majesty of the law will prevail in the end” Nandlall asserted.See Nandlall’s full statement below:Today, the inevitable eventually occurred. With all the allegations which they have made against me since they were in the Opposition, scraping at the very bottom of the barrel, they have finally come up with the charge of larceny by a bailee of the Law Reports. The charge is as frivolous as it is incredulous. The truth is that this charge should never have been filed in light of the fact that I have instituted civil proceedings in the Constitutional Division of the High Court in relation to the ownership of these very books. This charge should have awaited the determination of those proceedings in accordance with Article 153 of the Constitution. This Article provides, inter alia, that if a citizen’s fundamental rights arises in relation to criminal proceedings, those constitutional rights issues must be first determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, before the criminal proceedings are to proceed.Many believe that Basil Williams has instructed the institution of these charges, simply to provide himself with the defence of justification in the libel and slander suit which I have filed against him. Unfortunately for him, the law is not an ass.Rest assured the criminal charge will be challenged and disposed of, shortly. Everyone who had an intentional hand in this persecutorial conspiracy and plot of vendetta will have to answer to the law. The majesty of the law will prevail in the end.For now, I am happy that the world has seen how rapidly this Administration has descended into authoritarianism. Its own supporters are aghast. Perhaps, it is fitting that I, who have written so much over the past 2 years about the authoritarian conduct of this Government, its constitutional violations, and its manifest disregard for the rule of law, was the one that they used to showcase those very tendencies, as if to prove me right.Even after the charge was filed, there were great machinations in relation to, before which Magistrate, I should appear. Many felt that the political direction was to keep me in Police custody. Even the Special Prosecutor retained, whom I have criticized severely, appeared to have found the manipulation of the system, unjust and repugnant. I salute him for his professionalism.Eventually, a Magistrate decided to hear the matter. The charge was read. The Special Prosecutor did not object to bail. The learned Magistrate released me on my own recognizance. The magistrate maintained her independence. I salute her as well.I harbor no illusion that this will be the only charge that will be instituted against me. I anticipate that many more will come in the same political mould, not only against me but against my political colleagues, as well. Over a decade ago, in a presentation to the PPP leadership, I had predicted that anytime we were removed from Government, politically inspired and concocted criminal charges will be used as a political weapon against every PPP leader. It is part of the political culture of the PNC. From the moment we left Office, this has been their agenda.Sadly, for them, this will never break my spirit or the determination of the PPP to continue the struggle to free Guyana from this incompetent, corrupt and vengeful Government and to offer every Guyanese a better life. On the contrary, it makes us stronger. I have said before that we come from a history of struggle of which we see political persecution and imprisonment as a fundamental part.I wish to thank all my Comrades and Legal colleagues for the tremendous demonstration of support they have shown to me over the last three days, more particularly, today. I must also thank so many friends, well-wishers and supporters both locally and overseas who have called or sent me messages of support and solidarity, especially in the social media. Your support is what keeps me inspired.The struggle continues…. Round 2…. read more

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related …proposes fee of $10 – $20 (GYD) an hour for paid parking going forwardMAPM engaging in discussions with members of the Parking Meter CommitteeThe newly formulated Parking Meter Committee, chaired by Mayor and City Council (M&CC) Councillor Malcom Ferriera, met with members of the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) on Tuesday afternoon as part of the Committee’s consultative process to engage stakeholders as the controversial parking meter contract is being reviewed following a 3 months suspension.As members of the MAPM- which included an attorney- opened the discussions, they stated and emphasized that they are not against the introduction of a paid parking system in Guyana- specifically the city, but they are objecting to the current project on the grounds of lack of transparency, lack of adherence to the Public Procurement process and lack of consultation with the public.They then proceeded to call for full and complete revocation of the purported parking meter contract between the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and parking meter contractors, Smart City Solution Inc. (SCSI).“We maintain that the contract is illegal ab initio and as such, it is a legally untenable and impractical position to seek to renegotiate an illegality. In simple terms, there is no quick fix. It must be scrapped and the process restarted in accordance with law and the basic principles of good governance- due process, transparency and accountability, all of which were lacking prior,” their statement to the Parking Meter Committee said.MAPM emphasized that the absence of tendering in accordance to the laws of Guyana, particularly the Constitution of Guyana, the Public Procurement Act and the Municipal and District Councils Act is an insurmountable deficiency of the current purported contract.“We noted the Mayor’s comments as carried in certain sections of the media to the effect that tendering was not necessary since it was the contractor who approached the Council. However, this position is not grounded in law or logic. There is no exception in any of the Acts. Sections 232, 233 and 234 of the Municipal and District Council’s Act, which undoubtedly directly governs this Council specifies that any contract above the sum of GYD$250,000 must be tendered.”In addressing the Council’s justification that the current paid parking system would provide the much needed revenue for the M&CC to adequately function, the MAPM posited that the projected figures and actual figures earned as compared to the reported deficit of the council “does not make a strong argument for the Council,” and as such, the people of Guyana “out right reject this argument.”“The ratio of 80% to SCSI and 20% to M&CC for paid parking and 10% for Value Added Services further dilutes this position, particularly where other options are available which would yield higher revenue with lower impact. The absence of a deposit by SCSI also acts contrary to the revenue earning argument,” they explained to the listening ears of the Committee.Moreover, the Movement sought to poke holes into the other argument used by the M&CC to defend the parking meter initiative- which is that it eases traffic congestion. According to them [MAPM], there was no evidence to support this claim.“We have to date, not seen a feasibility study and/ or impact study which would support this position.” They also explained that the mandate of traffic congestion falls on the shoulders of the police according to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act.In concluding, they sought to remind the Committee that court proceedings regarding the legality of the parking meter contract are still pending and as such, they explained that it would be prudent to await the outcome so as not to lead to further complications, especially if the court is against the contract.They reiterated again that the purported contract must be rescinded, and a new contract can be drafted in accordance to the law.Proposed feesChairman of the Parking Meter Committee, Malcom Ferriera expressed appreciation at the fact that the MAPM came prepared for an engaging discussion.After almost an hour of listening to the arguments put forward by the MAPM as to why the contract should be rescinded, Ferriera inquired as to what their thoughts on the parking meter fees were.One representative of the Movement posited that based on several interactions with members of the public, a fee of $10-$20 (GYD) an hour was considered adequate, with a package deal for employees, which would be a lower cost.In their defence for what may have been deemed a low cost, the MAPM contrasted the economic status of Guyana to the United States (US), highlighting that the amount Guyanese were being forced to pay for parking was almost equivalent to what was being charged in the US.However, they explained that based on the income level in the first world  country, the parking meter fee for one of the most expensive states in the US, amounted to 13 per cent of their monthly income, while in Guyana, the cost for parking for the average person cost a whopping 49 percent of their monthly income.More consultations are expected to be held with other members of the public during the week.The parking meter committee was established on April 26 2017, one month after the Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan suspended the paid parking initiative.It’s members consist of Malcolm Ferreira (Chairman), Roopnarine Persaud, Noelle Chow-Chee (VC), Ivelaw Henry, Trichria Richards, Carlyle Goring, and Heston Bostwick.The Committee’s Terms of Reference (TOR) was drafted and voted upon by the majority of  members of the M&CC. The TOR provides the committee with the authority to “engage with all stakeholders within the parameters of the framework agreed upon by the Council, Cabinet and Smart City Solutions (SCSI) to seek to determine what terms of the Agreement can and should be negotiated to bring the contract in harmony with the desires of the Council, Central Government, SCSI and the citizenry.”In addition to that, it obligates the committee members “to listen to proposals made by the other concerned parties and report same back to the Council for the council to make a decision on whether to accept or reject the said proposals,” “to advocate Council’s position in relation to the contract being mindful of the concerns of all the stakeholders,” to put forward workable solutions to any impasse that may arise with a view to arriving at an agreement that is mutually beneficial to all the stakeholders,” and “refer all financial suggestions to the Council’s Financial Committee for its opinion and /or advice.”The committee members are responsible for negotiating the position taken by the Mayor and City council with regards to the parking meters among themselves, then upon conclusion of the negotiating period, they are required to prepare a report and present same to Council at a meeting called for that purpose, setting out the proposals and or agreements arrived at.Since having been elected, the members were sworn to secrecy pending the submission of a report of recommendations to the M&CC.M&CC had entered into a contract with SCSI on May 13, 2016, for parking meters to be implemented in Georgetown.However, the project came under intense scrutiny and rejections from various public and private stakeholders, the Opposition and even some Central government officials over the clandestine way it was being foisted unto the populace, its prohibitive pricing and the contracting company’s general disregard with the way the new mechanism was introduced to the public, among many other concerns.After becoming effective in late January, 2017, several large protests were staged in front of City Hall calling for the contract to be revoked, while multiple stakeholders took the M&CC and the SCSI to court over the matter.Following a barrage of continuous onslaught form all sides, on March 21 2017, the Minister of Communities who had initially passed the by-laws bringing parking meters into effect, ordered that it be suspended for a period of three months to  facilitate the re-negotiations of the terms of the contract.  (Ramona Luthi) read more