20 Medals Now For Michael Phelps Including Another Gold

A London Olympics that started with a whimper for Michael Phelps has been a big bang ever since, including Thursday, when he increased his most medals record to 20 by besting American rival Ryan Lochte in the 200-meter individual medley.Lochte said these Games were “my time” after he opened by winning the gold medal in the 400 individual medley. He also said Phelps, who finished fourth in that event, would come back more determined than ever.Lochte was wrong about the first, right about the second.Phelps earned his 16th gold medal by handled the field in a time of 1 minute, 54.27 seconds, just off his winning time in Beijing. The silver went to Lochte and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh took the bronze.So his final Olympics that looked bleak at the start look golden now. He was not as dominant as he was four years ago in Beijing. But his medal count this year rests at two golds and two silvers in five races – and he still has two more events to go.In fact, as soon as Phelps finished off Lochte, he hopped out of the pool and headed to the nearby diving well to warm down, knowing he still had a semifinal of the 100 butterfly before the night was done.Lochte had gone through the same routine just a few minutes earlier, trying to pull off an impressive double 31 minutes apart. He came up short in both races, fading to bronze in the 200 backstroke behind fellow American Tyler Clary, then touching after Phelps in the medley.Phelps’ reaction wasn’t a water-pounding celebration, just look of relief. He seemed to be soaking it all in, relishing a gold of his own in London with his previous victory coming in the 4×200 freestyle relay.Lochte shook hands with his rival before crawling out of the pool for the last time at these Games. In a symbolic gesture, he tossed his cap and goggles into the crowd, his work done. His final tally: two golds, two silvers, one bronze and a fourth-place finish — impressive, but undoubtedly shy of what he had predicted would be “my time.” read more

Wait … Is LeBron James Actually Going To Miss The Playoffs

LeBron James has been so good for so long that it’s easy to forget just how astounding some of his accomplishments are. For example, he currently owns one of the greatest ongoing streaks in sports: His team has made the NBA Finals in eight straight seasons, starting in 2011. That’s mind-blowing in a league where a single finals appearance can be the highlight of a player’s entire career — and he’s done it for two different franchises.Of course, everyone knew it would be hard for James to keep that streak going this season after moving from the Cleveland Cavaliers — and the relative ease of the Eastern Conference — to the Los Angeles Lakers and the scary West. The thing that has taken NBA observers by surprise is the reason why the finals streak might not happen: James’s Lakers are in real danger of not making the playoffs at all.According to our NBA projection model, Los Angeles currently has just a 26 percent probability of making the playoffs. L.A. sits a game under .500 in the West’s No. 10 slot, three games back of the eighth-seeded Clippers with 25 games left on the schedule, and it will face the league’s ninth-toughest schedule down the stretch. The Lakers’ only saving grace is that, at full strength, our model thinks they’re the West’s eighth-best team, significantly better than both the Clippers and the No. 9 Sacramento Kings. But it will be a race to the finish that James hasn’t had to worry about in a very long time.The last LeBron-led team to miss the postseason entirely was the 2004-05 Cavs, in James’s second NBA season. They went 42-40 — which has traditionally been good enough to make the playoffs in the East — but lost out on a tiebreaker with the New Jersey Nets (who beat Cleveland 3-1 in the season series). Talent-wise, that team was a far cry from even later versions of the Cavs that would be prematurely bounced out of the playoffs: Journeyman guard Jeff McInnis was second on the team in minutes behind LeBron, and low-scoring swingman Ira Newble was also a full-time starter. (The next scoring options behind James were Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden.) James himself had not yet fully ascended to GOAT levels of performance, either, posting what would eventually be the fifth-worst Box Plus/Minus and fourth-worst win shares per 48 minutes of his career to date.On paper, this season’s Lakers should not be drawing comparisons to Jeff McInnis and Ira Newble. Although L.A.’s supporting cast didn’t have the same immediate appeal as players in other potential free-agent destinations for James, it was assumed that the young quartet of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball would build on their promising 2018 performances — particularly by playing alongside James — and mix with the Lakers’ strange mishmash of veterans to make a functional team. But that hasn’t consistently happened during James’s debut campaign in purple and gold. 2018 Season2019 Season Average-0.4.0769.8-1.1.0608.7 Lonzo Ball+1.7.05310.0+0.7.0568.8 Kyle Kuzma-1.3.07710.4%-1.3.07810.6% *Win shares per 48 minutes†PIE% = Player Impact Estimate, a rough measure of the percentage of all positive on-court events (for both teams) the player accounted for.Source: Basketball-Reference.com PlayerBPMWS/48*PIE%†BPMWS/48*PIE%† Brandon Ingram-1.3.0689.6-3.2.0428.4 It’s been a tough season for the young LakersPerformance metrics for four Los Angeles Lakers prospects, 2018 vs. 2019 Across a variety of metrics, LeBron’s young sidekicks have mostly declined in performance this season, despite benefiting from an extra year of development and getting to play next to one of the greatest offensive creators in NBA history. Only Kuzma can credibly say he has shown any amount of improvement, increasing his usage rate and true shooting percentage while reducing his turnover rate. The rest — particularly Ingram, whose advanced stats have slid into an abyss — have stalled out or worse, and none has even amounted to a league-average player, according to the consensus of metrics.Making matters worse, it could be argued that those four cost Los Angeles a shot at trading for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis at the deadline (assuming that former Pelicans GM Dell Demps ever actually intended to deal Davis). If even a few of the Lakers’ youngsters had played well this season, showing the requisite star potential to be included in a trade package for Davis, it’s possible that L.A. would have been penciling a LeBron-AD duo into its lineup for a playoff push this year. Instead, it’s left waiting for Hart and Ball to return from injury and hoping the kids can play better down the stretch.The veterans haven’t exactly helped much, either. JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler are an efficient pairing of defensive bigs, and both are above average in win shares per 48 — the most charitable stat for each — while shooting guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the recently acquired Reggie Bullock are at least in the vicinity of average in the metric. (As is new power forward Mike Muscala.) But Rajon Rondo has shot the ball poorly this season, and Lance Stephenson hasn’t been an effective player in years. All told, James’s supporting cast hasn’t been appreciably better than the one he fled in Cleveland after last season.1On average (weighted by minutes), non-James Lakers this season have a -1.1 BPM and .080 WS/48. Last year’s non-James Cavs had a -1.6 BPM and .086 WS/48.And it bears mentioning that James himself has not been as statistically dominant as in his last few seasons as a Cavalier. His usage rate, true shooting percentage, assist rate, rebound rate, steal rate, block rate and defensive BPM are all down from last year. He’s shooting worse on twos, threes and free throws. And most concerning, the 34-year-old missed 18 games between Christmas and early February with a groin injury, and he’s played only 49.5 percent of the Lakers’ available minutes this season — by far the lowest mark of his career.James did tell reporters over All-Star weekend that he “feels great,” though, and that he’s ready to lead a playoff push for Los Angeles.“[I’m] looking forward to seeing what we can do to get back in this playoff race,” James said. “That’s the only thing that’s going to happen in my mental space for these next two months, pretty much on how I can get this team playing the type of level of basketball we were playing before my injury.”The Lakers will need to summon all of James’s focus and talent to storm back into the playoff picture. It’s more than possible, particularly if James is indeed healthy. But our projections are still low for a LeBron team even after accounting for James’s return to the lineup — and the fact that the Clippers were sellers at the trade deadline. (That’s why we give L.A. a 26 percent chance, while simpler forecasts such as the one at Basketball-Reference.com peg its odds at about 5 percent.) And even if the Lakers do make the playoffs, they would probably end up being heavy underdogs against the Golden State Warriors in the first round.The Lakers’ long-term future should be brighter: The team will have plenty of cap space to use on free agents surrounding James and plenty of superstar options to choose from (in addition to the ongoing potential of a Davis trade). For now, though, James’s finals streak has a real chance of ending far earlier than anybody expected: April 10, the final day of the 2018-19 NBA regular season.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Josh Hart-0.1.1118.8-0.4.0636.4 read more

The NFL Games To Watch With The Playoffs On The Line

BUF0.00.0MIA0.00.00.81395 NO74NO67NO 31, PIT 28-6.6– TEN73TEN74TEN 25, WSH 16-1.4– CAR62%CAR51%ATL 24, CAR 10+9.5– DAL75DAL72DAL 27, TB 20-3.2– DEN0.00.0LAC100.00.01.01518 MIN72.0%+/-31.6CHI100.0%+/-0.063.41597 CHI68CHI73CHI 14, SF 9+0.9– KC100.00.0OAK0.00.00.51492 GB57GB59GB 44, NYJ 38-0.3– TEN62.147.1IND37.847.094.71552 It’s the last week of the NFL’s regular season, and that means it’s time to game out all of the fun playoff scenarios facing each team.Here at FiveThirtyEight, we like to measure the most important games of the week based on how much they swing every team’s odds of making the postseason (across every team in the entire league). And by that standard, you can’t top Sunday night’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, which will shift around nearly 95 total points of playoff probability. (Really, that’s for the two teams involved — the winner will make the playoffs and the loser won’t, which effectively makes it a play-in playoff game.) Oddly, it’s only the third time ever that the Titans will play in NBC’s flagship Sunday night game (the last was in 2009), while for the Colts, it will have been exactly 60 years and two days since they beat the New York Giants for the NFL title in the Greatest Game Ever Played, which helped make TV-spectacle games like this one possible.That may not be the best game of Week 17, however. We also like to include an element for team quality, and Titans-Colts is still just the No. 13 team in our Elo ratings against No. 14. When the Minnesota Vikings face the Chicago Bears, it will be No. 6 vs. No. 11 in Elo, and it’s a game that has plenty of playoff significance in its own right. The Vikings wouldn’t automatically miss the playoffs if they lose, but they would not be in great shape (35 percent), while they would clinch with a victory. And the Bears have plenty to play for as well; a win and a Rams loss would help them get a first-round playoff bye. Of course, fans of the Philadelphia Eagles will be watching this game closely: A Vikings win would end Philly’s season, while a Bears win would give the Eagles a chance to play their way in. (Both games kick off at 4:25 p.m. ET.) The best matchups of Week 17Week 17 games by the highest average Elo rating (using the harmonic mean) plus the total potential swing for all NFL teams’ playoff chances based on the result, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions DAL100.00.0NYG0.00.00.91488 ATL0.00.0TB0.00.00.91470 MIA61MIA61JAX 17, MIA 7-2.2– LAR77LAR83LAR 31, ARI 9+0.7– LAC66LAC67BAL 22, LAC 10-3.5– HOU100.00.0JAX0.00.01.21489 Home teams are in bold.The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. CLE60CLE66CLE 26, CIN 18+2.6– IND74IND75IND 28, NYG 27-1.4– Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 16Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 16 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION Playoff %Playoff % Team ACurrentAvg. Chg*Team BCurrentAvg. Chg*Total ChangeGame Quality MIN55MIN63MIN 27, DET 9+4.4– CIN0.00.0PIT15.85.411.01491 DET0.00.0GB0.00.01.41456 BAL84.325.4CLE0.00.051.11524 PHI28.020.0WSH0.00.040.81512 PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.ResultREADERS’ NET PTS There are a few other games with playoff probability on the line. As mentioned earlier, the outcome of the Eagles’ game with Washington is very much of importance to the Vikings, who would clinch with a Philadelphia loss. The Cleveland Browns’ matchup with the Baltimore Ravens has done the unthinkable — made Pittsburgh Steeler fans root for the Browns — since a Baltimore win would eliminate the Steelers from the postseason picture. Baltimore could still make the playoffs with a loss, but the Ravens would need Pittsburgh to lose its game against Cincinnati, which is also happening simultaneously at 4:25 p.m. ET. (In related news: Are you ready for a completely insane Sunday afternoon of football?)Although other games could determine seeding, and there are a few stray percentage points of playoff odds’ difference at stake around the league, those are basically the games that will carry the most weight in Week 17, and we can’t wait to see how they all play out.FiveThirtyEight vs. the readersWhile you’re prepping for the playoffs, be sure to check out FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings using our NFL prediction interactive, which simulates the rest of the season 100,000 times and tracks how often each team should make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. Did you know you can also pick against the Elo algorithm in our prediction game? Maybe you can also climb up our giant leaderboard.Here are the games in which Elo made its best — and worst — predictions against the reader picks last week: NE84NE83NE 24, BUF 12-2.0– DEN61DEN62OAK 27, DEN 14-3.1– LAR100.00.0SF0.00.01.21499 NE100.00.0NYJ0.00.00.81467 PHI66PHI51PHI 32, HOU 30-14.7– Game quality is the harmonic mean of the Elo ratings for the two teams in a given matchup. Total Change adds up the potential swing in playoff odds for every team in the league (not just the two teams listed).*Average change is weighted by the likelihood of a win or loss. (Ties are excluded.)Source: ESPN KC54KC56SEA 38, KC 31-5.0– CAR0.00.0NO100.00.00.51587 ARI0.00.0SEA100.00.00.61451 After a shellacking at the hands of our algorithm in Week 15, readers rebounded slightly this week, losing by an average of 25.3 points. Philadelphia’s last-second win over Houston may have kept the Eagles in the playoff hunt, but it cost readers 14.7 points on average in our game. Readers did pick up 9.5 points on average in the Atlanta-Carolina game; though they incorrectly picked the Panthers to beat the Falcons, they did so by a smaller win probability than Elo.Congrats to Scott S, who led all users in Week 16 with an even 300 points, and to Greg Chili Van Hollebeke, who maintained his No. 1 ranking on the season with 1,075.4 points. Thanks to everyone who has been playing — and if you haven’t, be sure to get in on the action! You can make picks now and still try your luck against Elo, even if you haven’t played yet.Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more

Iowa football locker room has visiting team thinking pink

Tradition is an important part of college football, especially in the Big Ten. From the Ohio State Marching Band playing “Script Ohio” to Michigan football players running out of the tunnel and jumping up to touch the “Go Blue” banner, traditions make every school unique. Saturday, the No. 9 OSU football team will play at the University of Iowa, where players will encounter another unique tradition. The visitors’ locker room is painted pink. “I honestly don’t know anything about Iowa, the state or just anything to be honest. I know that they have a pink locker room, that’s about it,” OSU senior kicker Devin Barclay said. The pink locker room for visiting opponents is a tradition started by former Iowa coach Hayden Fry in his first season in 1979. “Our facilities were a little bit dilapidated when I arrived, and every place I’d gone to that had a losing program, we tried to change the image,” Fry said in an interview with Iowa TV station KWWL. Fry put linebackers coach Howard Sissel in charge of changing everything from the equipment to the facilities. When it came time to improve the locker rooms, Fry said, “The only paint that Howard could find was pink paint. So we applied that to the visiting team’s locker room.” Fry graduated from Baylor University with a degree in psychology, so he knew the pink color scheme could provide a small advantage for his football team. “Me, being an old psychology professor, knew that would be relaxing, cool, calm,” Fry said. “If I wanted to fire the opposing team up, I would have painted it red.” OSU coach Jim Tressel will be making his third trip to Kinnick Stadium, where he holds a 1-1 record. In Tressel’s first trip to Iowa City in 2004, the Hawkeyes dominated OSU 33-7. The Buckeyes’ last game at Iowa in 2006 had a much better result for Tressel — OSU won 38-17. Tressel doesn’t think the pink locker room will be too much of a distraction for his team Saturday. “They’ve renovated their stadium, and the locker rooms are nice but they are a different shade, and that’s one of the old tradition things that was done so long ago,” Tressel said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “Last time we were there, I didn’t notice it as a problem. Now, maybe two times ago that was the problem, I don’t know, but I’d like to think that won’t be the problem.” read more

Web preview Ochocinco teams up with former Buckeye soccer stars

Roger Espinoza and Konrad Warzycha knew they’d be competing with, and against, high-profile athletes when they left the Ohio State men’s soccer team to pursue Major League Soccer careers. But, teaming with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco never crossed their minds. Ochocinco, a six-time NFL Pro Bowl selection and avid soccer fan, recently concluded a four-day trial with MLS club Sporting Kansas City, which began March 23. Espinoza, a defender on Sporting KC’s squad, said he enjoyed training with the NFL superstar. “I spoke to (Ochocinco) a little bit, and he was happy to be here,” Espinoza said. “He’s a world-class athlete.” Espinoza, who helped to lead OSU to the 2007 NCAA College Cup championship game his senior season, said he expected Ochocinco’s trial with Sporting KC to be a “media thing.” Ochocinco’s attitude convinced Espinoza otherwise. “He’s not just here for media stuff,” Espinoza said. “He actually wanted to be here. He talks to a lot of the guys. He wants to play. … He knows a little bit about soccer.” Warzycha, a rookie midfielder on Sporting KC’s roster, never got a chance to meet or train with Ochocinco. After completing his final season as a Buckeye in November 2010 and signing a contract with Sporting KC on March 3, knee surgery forced Warzycha to return to Columbus for rehab. Warzycha said that missing the opportunity to meet Ochocinco was “definitely a disappointment.” “When I heard (Ochocinco) was coming,” Warzycha said, “I thought maybe I could do my rehab back in Kansas City.” To find out whether Ochocinco was offered an MLS contract, check out Monday’s edition of The Lantern. read more

Defensive woes still ailing Ohio State football

Informed that his defense had given up 403 total yards to the 118th-ranked scoring offense in the nation, Everett Withers abruptly had one thing to say. “I think we gave up 15 points – that’s all I give a s— about,” Withers said. The total yards the No. 14 Buckeyes (4-0) gave up to the unranked and winless University of Alabama at Birmingham was likely something Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach was well aware of. Withers, likely, was cognizant of all of the day’s shortcomings, despite his defense’s refusal to give up a touchdown all afternoon long. But it didn’t change the course of events that had happened just some 30 minutes earlier. It didn’t change the fact that the 37-point favorites were fortunate to escape with a 29-15 win against, at least statistically, one of the worst teams in the country. It’s why the typical relief of a two-touchdown victory seemed to feel absent during OSU’s postgame interviews-especially with the year’s first Big Ten contest looming on the road against No. 20 Michigan State next Saturday. In its place, perhaps, frustration had found a way to mount itself for the undefeated – but arguably untested – Buckeyes. In a day that featured a struggles in all three phases of the game, OSU’s defensive deficiencies seemed to stand out as much as anything – especially for a team so hell-bent on returning to its “Silver Bullet” ways under the guidance of first-year coach Urban Meyer. Despite extra emphasis on the fundamental skill of tackling during the week leading up to their contest against the Blazers, Meyer said it was still something that ailed the Buckeyes on Saturday. “I still see guys flailing across and missing tackles. Far too many third-down conversions on defense. And it’s hard to pinpoint one thing that we have to get better at,” Meyer said. Wrapping up opponents, Meyer said, is something they’ll continue to work on. “That’s the fundamental – that’s the essence of tackle football,” he started, “and we’ve got to continue to improve.” And if they don’t, it could spell disaster when against the Spartans. It’s a fundamental key that sophomore outside linebacker Ryan Shazier said needs to be fixed. “It’s part of the game. We can’t miss tackles that lead to first downs, touchdowns, points,” he said. “So they’re saying that we need to stop missing tackles. We need to stop missing tackles.” Shazier, who led the Buckeyes with 13 stops, said he “probably missed like three of four” tackles. Part of it, he said, might be because some players are more focused on leveling crushing blows to the ball carrier rather than securing the tackle. “A lot of guys, we know we have each other’s backs pretty much, so a lot of guys are going in and taking a shot instead of just wrapping up and trying to get the tackle because we’re trying to make a big hit or get a turnover or whatever,” Shazier said. Fellow linebacker and redshirt senior captain Etienne Sabino said the missed tackles are due to technical failures. “Personally, we’re in a great position, we’re just not running our feet, we’re not wrapping, we’re going for the big hits or we’re lunging with our heads – myself included,” he said. “We’re all doing it and I can’t say why it is or whatnot but we need to stop that. We need to tackle better.” The consensus among some players, though, was that Saturday’s tackling efforts had improved from their previous outings. Senior captain and defensive lineman John Simon noted the defense had still missed some tackles, but said some are the result of a swarming defense. “That’s just guys being aggressive going to the football knowing that they got other guys flying there, too,” he said. “So even though we missed a few today, we had guys there to make the play also.” In fact, a more assertive defense might be key to ending what’s ailing OSU’s defense. Redshirt senior cornerback Travis Howard said part of the reason for the Buckeyes’ missed tackles is the innate difficulty of tackling in space, especially against teams that opt to use spread formations. And since the Buckeyes’ corners have been playing looser coverage schemes and lining up 10 yards off from opposing wide receivers, the challenge of making stops in the open field seems to magnify. “It’s definitely difficult and coach Meyer told us that he’s definitely going to shoot for us to play more man and press more so we can get up on guys instead of playing off,” Howard said. “As you can see, we gave them a lot of cushion to run a lot of screen plays and couple bubbles so that’s something that we’re definitely going to work on and I’m excited to see this upcoming week.” The change in philosophy might be because OSU, Meyer said, seems “like a very passive team.” “We’re on defense, we give up little screens, little bubbles. They didn’t score a touchdown on our defense but we gave up a lot of yardage,” he said. “That hurts. I sit there, I’m pained watching it. But we’ve got to be more aggressive on defense and play a little snuggler coverage. If our corners are as good as we think they are, we have to go play a little man coverage on people.” While OSU’s defensive woes weren’t disastrous enough to do them in against an overmatched Blazers squad, Sabino said the Buckeyes need to “step it up” against the Spartans. “You know, we’re not going to win many games missing a lot of tackles and giving up third-and-21’s,” he said. “It’s not gonna happen.” read more

Joshua Perry Buckeyes take part in Whipping Childhood Cancer

Junior linebacker Joshua Perry was joined by a few of his teammates outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Monday afternoon to promote a cause he called “Whipping Childhood Cancer.”Earlier in the year, Perry befriended a young boy named Joshua Chambers who has been diagnosed with leukemia.Perry, joined by teammates junior linebacker Joe Burger, redshirt-sophomore safety Tyvis Powell, senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett, junior cornerback Armani Reeves, redshirt-freshman linebacker Darron Lee, and co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell, took whip-cream pies to the face in an attempt to raise awareness about childhood cancer and the fight against it. read more

Womens basketball Kelsey Mitchell returning for senior season

OSU junior guard Kelsey Mitchell dribbles past senior guard Christen Inman of Northwestern. OSU won, 99-68 in the third round of the Big Ten tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on March 3. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports DirectorOn Wednesday night Ohio State junior guard Kelsey Mitchell announced she will return for her senior season with the Buckeyes. Mitchell is the all-time leader in three-point made field goals and is just 265 points away from leading the Buckeyes in all-time points scored.Mitchell released a statement giving her reasons to return, citing her studies and getting the Buckeyes to the Final Four.“Getting a degree from The Ohio State University was one of my top goals when coming to college and I look forward to completing my degree next spring. My teammates and I also have a number of goals we have yet to accomplish on the court. One of those goals is to play in the Final Four and we have a tremendous opportunity to do that next year here in Columbus. I’m excited to get back in the gym with my teammates and continue to work to get better,” she said.Earlier this week she was named an Associated Press All-American, her third time earning the title in her three seasons of play. Mitchell was also named this year’s Big Ten Player of the Year for the second time. read more

Mens basketball CJ Jackson 3pointer lifts No 16 Ohio State over Indiana

Credit: Jacob Myers | Managing Editor for ContentBLOOMINGTON, Ind. — As memorable as a season the Ohio State men’s basketball team has had, this one game won’t be soon forgotten.Indiana forward Juwan Morgan made a layup against the potential Big Ten Player of the Year, forward Keita Bates-Diop, with 7.4 seconds left in double overtime, seemingly ending Ohio State’s chances of winning a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship.C.J. Jackson had something to say about that.Taking the ball from the opposite baseline, the junior guard drove down the court and pulled up from 24 feet, released a clean look and hit nothing but net to give Ohio State (24-7, 15-3 Big Ten) an 80-78 lead with 1.6 seconds remaining in overtime to silence the packed crimson-and-cream crowd inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.The last desperation attempt from the Hoosiers (16-14, 9-9 Big Ten) fell well short and the No. 16 Buckeyes escaped with a victory in the regular-season finale to preserve their chance at a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship.“It’s been an unbelievable way to cap an unbelievable regular season,” head coach Chris Holtmann said.Jackson finished the game with 13 points. Bates-Diop had 24 points with 14 rebounds and redshirt senior guard Kam Williams scored 15. Senior Jae’Sean Tate and freshman Kaleb Wesson also were in double figures.Morgan had a team-high 18 points for Indiana. Senior guard Robert Johnson and freshman forward Justin Smith had 17 and 16, respectively.It was only fitting that Ohio State’s improbable season and prospects of winning a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship would come down to an overtime game in one of college basketball’s most historic venues against one of its most historic programs.It was ludicrous to think it would come down to two.There were a total of 16 lead changes and 14 ties, including nine lead changes in the final overtime that ended with Jackson shot to seal Ohio State’s first win at Indiana in five years.“We knew they weren’t going to go away,” Jackson said. “Senior Night, home night, they were going to have a lot of energy. We just had to match it.”In the past two road games, Ohio State struggled to match the energy of the opponent, which resulted in double-digit losses. Now, the Buckeyes were much better on the glass than they were against Penn State and Michigan last week, outrebounding Indiana 41-35, but to continually respond bucket after bucket in multiple do-or-die situations left Holtmann and the team with an added confidence heading into postseason play.“This team does have a grit to it that is necessary in a game like this, particularly on the road,” Holtmann said. “I think at the end of the day, that’s what you’re trying to preach from Day 1 and that’s what you hope to have guys that have that to them. To have that stuff inside them that we all look at and can identify as resiliency and grit and able to stay with it and not let one play affect the other. And they did that.”Bates-Diop scored 20-plus points for the first time since he scored a career-high 35 against Illinois on Feb. 4. He shot 9-of-24 from the field, but came away with some needed baskets in the final minutes of regulation.“I’ve been struggling the last few games, but tonight I got back into a rhythm,” he said.Ohio State shot 48 percent from the field and recorded 16 assists on 33 made field goals.With the win, Ohio State remains one game behind Michigan State for first place in the Big Ten. The Spartans have already clinched at least a share of the conference title and can win it outright with a win at Wisconsin on Sunday. If the Spartans lose, Ohio State will earn a share of the title and be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament next week.Up NextOhio State will play Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in New York. Its opponent will be determined when the conference season officially ends Sunday. read more

Pensioner who spent a year building up body of false evidence to

first_imgA pensioner has been jailed for going to “extraordinary” lengths to escape a speeding fine after spending a year building a body of false evidence.Gordon Lewis, 74, was snapped by a speed camera which would have incurred a £60 fine and three points on his licence.But instead of accepting liability he attempted to challenge the offence by claiming to have sold his vehicle two days prior to a fictitious company. 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. One of the pages from Gordon Lewis’ fake websiteCredit:SWNS.com Sentencing him at Truro Crown Court, Judge Simon Carr said: “You went to extraordinary lengths to challenge your speeding conviction when the normal punishment would have been a modest fine and three points on your licence.”Instead you took on a campaign to mislead the court and damage the justice system.”This was bogus from the beginning to the end. It is an exceptional case and extraordinary as to the lengths you went to try and challenge the justice system.”The court heard that Lewis, of Camborne, Cornwall, activated a speed camera on September 12, 2013.To challenge the offence he sent documents to the safety camera unit saying he had sold the car two days prior to the speeding incident to a fictitious company, which he called the Central Car Centre.He also created an address for the company in Liverpool, but following initial inquiries it was found that the address was in fact that of a pub in the city, and the details were not accepted.After the safety camera unit disputed the claim, Lewis then sent further bogus documentation, which was alleged to have been from the DVLA, to confirm the change of ownership.And he even had a fictitious custom company website built, http://www.centralcarcentreliverpool.co.uk, which he paid for using his son’s credit card.Lewis, whose last criminal conviction was in 1987, also had the audacity to appeal the decision of the magistrates when he was eventually convicted of the speeding offence in November 2014, the court heard.Defence barrister Julia Cox said: “Today is a realisation of how stupid he was. This has been hanging over him for some time.”Mr Lewis is well aware of how serious this offence is.” He was so desperate to avoid the potential £60 punishment he even set up a bogus website for the firm he claimed he flogged it to.Lewis even sent fake paperwork from them to the safety camera unit to try and dodge the conviction.He produced a bundle of documents including a receipt for the £2,500 transaction, a company checklist and other documentation to suggest the company existed.Lewis pleaded guilty to doing a series of acts tending or intending to pervert the course of justice between September 2013 and July 2014.His actions were branded “stupid” by a judge who sentenced him to eight months in prison. One of the pages from Gordon Lewis' fake website This was bogus from the beginning to the end. It is an exceptional case and extraordinary as to the lengths you went to try and challenge the justice systemJudge Simon Carrlast_img read more

Worlds most eligible bachelor the Duke of Westminster is off the market

first_imgMr Grosvenor became the seventh Duke of Westminster when his father Gerald suddenly died nine months ago.He inherited the bulk of his father’s estimated £8.3 billion fortune, and became the third richest person in the UK and the 68th wealthiest in the world. The 7th Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, arriving for a memorial service to celebrate the life of his fatherCredit:Peter Byrne/PA Wire 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. Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster They apparently stayed at the exclusive Ventana resort on the Big Sur coast, renowned for its views over the Pacific Ocean.The source added: “He is happiest when he is enjoying time with Harriet and their close circle.”He was left crushed when his father died but Harriet has been a huge ­support and is helping him to get used to his new responsibilities.”They’re a lovely couple and ­deserve all the happiness in the world.”Hugh’s father died at the age of 64 on his Abbeystead estate in Lancashire. “They have a lot of shared interests and are both very down to earth and ­family orientated.”She’s a really lovely girl and very much the love of his life.”The pair, both 26, met while pupils at the private school, Ellesmere College in Shropshire.Miss Tomlinson grew up in Chester near the Duke’s 11,000-acre family estate, Eaton Hall. She went on to study teaching at the University of Wales but chose not to pursue it as a career. Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of WestminsterCredit:Paul Grover The Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, on holiday in California Credit: Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor on holiday in California with new girlfriend, Harriet Tomlinson As Britain’s youngest billionaire, and perhaps the world’s most eligible bachelor, the Duke of Westminster has been in high demand.But now Hugh Grosvenor is officially off the market after being pictured arm in arm with new girlfriend Harriet Tomlinson.The pair were seen smiling on a romantic getaway abroad. At the heart of the family fortune is a property portfolio that includes 300 acres in two of London’s most expensive neighbourhoods, Mayfair and Belgravia.As well as property and land holdings in the capital, the new Duke inherited huge tracts of land across the British Isles, including in Oxford, Cheshire and Scotland, as well as in Spain.A source close to the new Duke – ­reportedly the richest man in the world under 30 – told The Mirror: “Hugh and Harriet are blissfully happy.  The 7th Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, arriving for a memorial service to celebrate the life of his father Instead she became a consultant on the estate agency desk at ­recruitment firm Deverell Smith in the City of London.Meanwhile, the Duke works as an accounts manager at a green energy firm.Miss Tomlinson and the Duke have apparently taken a string of romantic trips abroad including to California where he is pictured posing in front of a bright ­yellow Ford Mustang.last_img read more

Dog walker finds 8ftlong boa constrictor in Oxfordshire field

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Spring is here, and with the season comes all kinds of interesting wildlife as creatures come out of hibernation and return to our countryside.Dog walkers can enjoy keeping their eyes out for hares, frogs, birds and perhaps, if they’re lucky, a slow worm.However, one dog walker got more than he bargained for when he stumbled upon an eight-foot-long boa constrictor on his amble in Banbury, Oxfordshire.The dog walker is said to have got “a bit of a surprise” when he saw the huge reptile.The RSPCA has no idea how the 12.2kg snake ended up in a field outside a housing estate. Deputy Chief Inspector Melanie Fisher told the BBC that despite the cold, the boa constrictor is doing well.The female snake is assumed to be a pet, although the animal charity has no way of contacting the owner.”I think the caller got a bit of a surprise. It’s not every day you stumble upon an 8ft snake while out walking the dog.”The snake may have escaped from a vivarium or may have been abandoned.”Sadly she’s not micro-chipped so we do not know where she has come from.”The RSPCA is urging the owner of the reptile to get in contact with its inspectorate appeal line.last_img read more

Sister of government minister suffers traumatic brain injury after falling from horse

first_imgThe politician, who is standing for re-election in West Suffolk, has spent six years campaigning to reform horse racing industry so that betting firms, including those offshore, pay a levy on their profits.Friends who witnessed the accident described their concern for the mother-of two on social media. One described being “very worried all day”, while another said: “I have seen too many head injuries over the years…it can be a long road back to full health. She is fit and strong and still young so she has much going for her.”Gemma Tattershall, a British Olympic Event rider, responded to the news of Mrs Gilruth’s recovery on Facebook: “Very encouraging to hear, saw her fall and my blood ran cold. Keep fighting Emily…your eventing family are behind you.” Emily Gilruth Airlifted After Fall During The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials Matt Hancock Emily Gilruth Airlifted After Fall During The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse TrialsCredit:Jules Annan / Barcroft Images  British Eventing, the national governing body for the sport of eventing, said Mrs Gilhurst had started off Topwood Beau’s career off and the pair were very well acquainted. The first phase is dressage, the second, cross country, has been described as the “bravery element” and the final test of the rider’s prowess is show jumping.Known as the Wimbledon of the Eventing world, the four star international competition features the world’s top riders and comes with the highest prize money with £100,000 for the winner.Mr Seaman said: “It’s literally the top 80 protagonists of the sport. If she [Gilruth] qualified to get there she effectively is one of the top people – it’s very stringent”.”It is an all round test of the rider. Saturday is the bravery element.” 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 40-year-old, from Malpas in Cheshire, is in intensive care after she fell from her 14-year-old gelding Topwood Beau at the third fence of the cross-country course on Saturday.Mrs Gilruth’s brother-in-law Andrew Gilruth told the Telegraph: “With any significant injury it’s going to be about a week before anybody knows but she’s heading in the right direction. “She was on one of the non-technical fences [when the accident occurred]. There’s no indication that its not all recoverable the problem is we just don’t know yet…you just have to wait and see how it progresses. “All the medical support was there, you couldn’t ask for any more than that. The medical cover for Badminton is very rigorous you couldn’t fault that. It’s planned with meticulous detail and all the team know exactly what they’re doing.”Julian Seaman, from the Badminton Trials, saw the accident and said Mrs Gilruth fell having negotiated a fence after either the rider or the horse misjudge the distance.”To be honest it’s a big challenge of a course but it was surprisingly early on that she had a hiccup like that but one a cross country course, every course is a challenge,” he said. The sister of government minister Matt Hancock has suffered a traumatic brain injury after falling from her horse during the Badminton Horse Trials.Rider Emily Gilruth, the older sister of Mr Hancock, a minister in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, was competing in the country’s top Eventing competition when she had to be airlifted to Bristol’s Southmead Hospital. Emily Gilruth  Emily Gilruth  In a statement, her family said on Monday afternoon: “Emily’s family would like to thank all the many well-wishers for the lovely supportive messages that they have received.”Emily suffered a traumatic brain injury when falling from her horse at the third fence at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials on Saturday 6th May. She was airlifted to Bristol’s Southmead hospital.”The doctors are pleased with her progress. She has had a stable night and remains under sedation.”We would like to say a huge thank you to Badminton’s medical team, for their efficient and very caring service, also to the staff in the intensive care unit at Southmead.”Mr Hancock, who also takes a keen interest in horses and previously trained as a jockey, has not commented publicly on his sister’s accident.  Matt Hancock Mrs Gilruth has been described by friends as a highly experienced rider, and was competing in the second phase of the three-part competition when the accident occurred.A talented rider, Mrs Gilruth has competed in British event competitions for 18 years and runs her own yard. She first competed at Badminton last year and was riding a favourite horse – Topwood Beau – who she has been competing on since 2008.last_img read more

Facebook pays teen undisclosed damages over naked photograph in first case of

first_img“It now puts the onus on the provider to look at how they respond to indecent, abusive and other such images put on their platform.”Had these images been put in a newspaper or on the TV there would be serious repercussions and those same repercussions should also apply to whatever platform is used in the social media world.”The teenager’s lawyers had likened the posting of the photos to child abuse. They argued that Facebook had the power to block any republication, which should have been a “red-line” issue for the company.The tech giant insisted that it always responded to breaches brought to its attention and took this particular image down as soon as it was notified.Mr MacDermott said police delays in the handling of the case meant officers were unable to prosecute the person who posted the images.Five days had been set aside for the civil trial but Edward Fitzgerard QC, for the girl, told the court on Tuesday that the case had been settled. Facebook will also pay the teenager’s legal costs. 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. Facebook has settled a landmark legal action over a naked photograph of a 14-year-old girl posted on a “shame” page.The social media giant agreed to pay undisclosed damages to the teenager after failing in its attempt to get the action thrown out of court.Legal experts said the case – the first of its kind – could see social media firms face an avalanche of fresh claims for damages and shine a spotlight on their responsibility for inappropriate content.The girl, who cannot be identified, claimed the nude image was obtained after she was blackmailed and was then published as a form of revenge.Her legal team launched High Court proceedings in Belfast after it was allegedly posted on a so-called shame page on Facebook several times between November 2014 and January 2016.She sought damages for misuse of private information, negligence and breach of the Data Protection Act.center_img Pearse MacDermott from McCann and McCann Solicitors, which represented the teenager, said the settlement “moved the goal posts” in terms of how social media providers such as Facebook and Twitter respond to indecent and abusive posts and images.“Facebook always said it was up to the individual user to be responsible, not them,” he said.last_img read more

NHS staff to be offered pay rise for giving up days holiday leaked

first_imgGovernment negotiators have said the forfeiture of the one day of annual leave is a “red line”, according to the paper.The Department for Health and Social Care said the department does not comment on leaks. 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. More than a million NHS staff are to be offered a pay rise of 6.5 per cent – in return for giving up a day’s annual leave, according to a leaked document.The Government is prepared to increase salaries for the 1.3 million workers on the Agenda for Change contract, it has been reported.The contract includes all staff – barring doctors, dentists and some senior managers.Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, announced an end to the pay freezes or 1pc caps that had been in force when he unveiled his budget in November.The Guardian reported the Treasury and Department for Health and Social Care will put forward plans that will see non-medical NHS staff receiving a 3pc pay rise next financial year and 1pc to 2pc in the next two years.Other staff would see their pay rise owing to the scrapping of the 1pc cap on salary increases, the paper added.last_img read more

April mini heatwave 2018 how long we can expect warm British weather

Temperatures are set to soar to 28C (82F) in some parts on Thursday, making it the warmest April day in nearly 70 years.The South East will enjoy the best of the weather, while most of England and Wales should see the temperature rise into at least the low 20s, the Met Office said.Conditions will be mild across the UK, with Northern Ireland likely to push 19C (66F) in some parts and a peak of 20C (68F) possible in Aberdeenshire in Scotland, the forecaster said.The hot weather far surpasses the average maximum temperature for April, which sits at 11.4C (53F).The summery spell comes as a result of warm air from the Azores, off the coast of Portugal, being dragged up towards the UK by the combined efforts of an area of low pressure over the Atlantic and high pressure over western Europe. Swimmers go for an early morning dip in the Serpentine, in Hyde Park, London Hayfever sufferers hit by high pollen countsSome hayfever sufferers could be affected by high pollen counts, he added. 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. How long will the warm temperatures last?Thursday is expected to be the hottest day of the warm spell, with weekend temperatures dipping slightly before showery outbreaks on Sunday.Competitors in the London Marathon can expect hot and humid conditions with a forecast of between 21C (70F) and 23C (73F), Mr Burkill said.”There could be a shower but it’s not very likely. It’s not great conditions for running. In fact if any showers do come they might be very welcome,” he said.  For the latest UK weather news, click here. Swimmers go for an early morning dip in the Serpentine, in London’s Hyde Park, on ThursdayCredit:HENRY NICHOLLS /Reuters When was the previous warmest April day?A high of 28C would beat the 2001 April high of 27.8C (82F), the Met Office said.The warmest April day on record was 29.4C (85F) in 1949.Meteorologist Alex Burkill said: “There’s a fairly good chance of 28C, there’s about a 60 per cent chance.”Quite widely we are going to see low 20s, and for many it will be a little warmer than Wednesday.” Temperatures will climb even further tomorrow in the #sunshine, with possibly 27 ºC being reached somewhere in SE England, which will make it the #warmestdayoftheyear so far…again! pic.twitter.com/RBgPggGEf0— Met Office (@metoffice) April 18, 2018 A high of 25.3C (78F) was recorded in St James’ Park in London on Wednesday, making it the hottest day of the year so far. Whilst pollen levels will be high across much of the UK, only hay fever sufferers who are affected by birch and ash tree pollen will feel the impacts 🌳 pic.twitter.com/2vUHiqgtG7— Met Office (@metoffice) April 19, 2018 Mr Burkill said: “For anyone who suffers from tree pollen they will probably be feeling the effects, but that’s only about 20 per cent of hayfever sufferers. Grass pollen season comes later in summer.” The highest temperature of the year so far was recorded as 25.7C at Heathrow Airport on Thursday.Met Office forecaster Graham Madge said the mercury was expected to soar past that later, pointing out that Wednesday’s peak temperature was recorded at around 3pm.He said: “We are not expecting that that is the maximum temperature – it will go higher than that. It is already warmer than any April temperature last year.” Weather forecast for Thursday and the week ahead read more

Royal record keeper 87 reveals he had to win over palace aides

He had served as a lay steward at St George’s Chapel, secretary of the Friends of the Chapel and had helped to organise exhibitions marking the Duke of Edinburgh’s 90th birthday and anniversaries of the Queen’s accession and Coronation.Profiled in the New York Times in his 40th year of record-keeping, Mr O’Donovan described how he had started “my tables” as a hobby, cutting out the Court Circular from his newspaper and pasting it into a ledger before keeping a running total.”It was just a fascination with what they actually did,” he said. “Some of them work extremely hard.”One has had a huge amount of enjoyment out of doing it, because one has met people one would never have met before. It has widened one’s life, in a way.” Tim O'Donovan's ledger “All engagements differ as to time and content and there is also the time taken in preparation to consider, whether it be a visit, investiture or speech.”In 2018, the Princess Royal undertook 518 public engagement, the Prince of Wales 507 and the Queen 283, while the Duke of Cambridge managed 220 and Duke of Sussex 193. The Duchess of Cambridge did 87, reflecting her time on maternity leave, whilt the Duchess of Sussex who joined the family in May managed 96. The Queen takes part in the annual Maundy money ceremony in 2016 “All I’m doing is recording their activities,” he said. “It’s just a straightforward table of events, really.”Mr Donovan, who does not know who – if anyone – will take over his record-keeping when he dies, has promised to continue “as long as I can write and use a pair of scissors”.He remains a great admirer of the Queen, who will celebrate her 93rd birthday in April.”I think we have been amazingly lucky to have such a wonderful monarch,” he told the newspaper.”Continuity is a great thing, and I think there has never been any question of impropriety, like there are among other heads of state around the world. She has had an unblemished record.” Tim O’Donovan’s ledgerCredit:Mary Turner/NYT A photograph of the Queen speaking to Tim O’Donovan, third from rightCredit:Mary Turner/NYT Mr O’Donovan also appears to have won over any doubters at the palace. In 2016, he was among 180 pensioners invited to the chapel to receive Maundy money from the Queen in recognition of their service to church and community. The Queen takes part in the annual Maundy money ceremony in 2016Credit:Richard Pohle For 40 years, he has contributed his valuable work to the history books, recording each and every public engagement undertaken by the Royal Family for posterity.But the work of Tim O’Donovan, which began as a hobby and is now a part of British national life, has not been universally appreciated by the palace itself, it has emerged.Mr O’Donovan, who each year produces a list of the number of engagements performed by senior members of the Royal Family, has disclosed he was once invited to see the Queen’s Private Secretary to discuss concerns.A few years after he began publishing his record in 1979, he said, the then-dean of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, where he attended services, pulled him gentle aside to pass on a message that palace officials wanted it to stop.Only after visiting the Queen’s private secretary was he able to persuade aides of the value of collecting data, in a record he has continued ever since.Ever since, Mr O’Donovan, an 87-year-old retired insurance broker, has allayed palace concerns by emphasising that his statistics should not be used as a “league table” of hardest-working royals: a plea largely ignored by the press and public who nowadays celebrate the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal at the top, and keep a close eye on the young team at Kensington Palace trailing behind. Relaying how he had visited the Queen’s private secretary in the early 1980s to reassuring them of his good intentions, he said: “I suppose one was anxious because one did not want to stop doing it.””If they had said, ‘Mr. O’Donovan, we don’t want you to go on doing this,’ I would have obeyed them.”He now accompanies the published version with a caveat which last year read: “I should, of course, emphasise that the table of figures below should not be converted into a “league table” of individual royal performance. A photograph of the Queen speaking to Tim O'Donovan, third from right read more

Shamima Begum lawyers say 400 jihadists are already back in UK as

Shamima Begum is to claim she must be allowed to return to the UK because Theresa May has already allowed 400 jihadists to return from Syria without revoking their citizenship. Tasnime Akunjee, a lawyer who has represented Begum’s family since 2015, said: “There are 400 people who have returned, arguably in more culpable circumstances than her.” Lawyers for the jihadi bride are expected to argue in a taxpayer-funded legal challenge that the action is disproportionate and discriminatory. Most of the 400 Britons returned around five years ago when Mrs May was home secretary and were investigated by police and security services. Some were prosecuted, some put in deradicalisation programmes, and… read more

Natural England in row with RSPB over protection of hen harriers as

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 love these birds. Each winter we get a few in Cambridgeshire & l’m always delighted to see them. Hopefully this work will contribute to the overall plan to rebuild their numbers in England, & in future we will see more of them, not only in winter but thriving where they nest. https://t.co/kSjHMGR36B— Tony Juniper (@TonyJuniper) June 6, 2019 Natural England added that French conservationists have successfully been using a similar technique for Montagu’s harrier to move birds away from prime agricultural land. Mark Avery, a former RSPB chief who now runs conservation charity Wild Justice, also poured scorn on the plans, telling The Telegraph the scheme is “wrong, wrong, wrong.” He added: “It will be very interesting to see which grouse moors are participating and what are their credentials for raptor conservation.”The UK’s top bird blog, Rare Bird Alert, condemned the idea, adding that it serves to “placate wildlife criminals.”In a message to the Chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper, the blog wrote: “Hen Harrier brood meddling is completely flawed. Surely deep down you cannot support this? Why not call for a review now you are chair?”Mr Juniper said of the scheme: “Conservation and protection of the hen harrier is at the heart of what we are doing in licensing this trial of brood management. This decision takes forward but one element in a far broader recovery strategy for the species.“Natural England is ready to take the next careful step, aware that the licensed activity and the research will rightly come under close scrutiny from the scientists on the advisory group, from ourselves as the licensing authority and by those both  supportive of and opposed to this trial.“We, as an organisation, must pursue all options for an important bird such as the hen harrier, so that our children may enjoy this majestic species in the wild.”  Natural England is embroiled in a row with the RSPB over a plan to remove hen harrier eggs and chicks from nests and relocate them in order to protect the rare birds from poachers.The quango has plans to remove hen harrier eggs and/or chicks to a dedicated hatching and rearing facility, where they will be hand-reared in captivity.Birds will then be transferred to specially-constructed pens in a hen harrier breeding habitat, from which they are then re-introduced into the wild in the uplands of northern England.Currently, the endangered bird of prey faces threats from illegal persecution, as it is poached to protect grouse.Chris Corrigan, RSPB England Director, condemned the plans, and told The Telegraph:  “This is disappointing to hear. As we’ve said all along, brood management is the wrong tool to help restore hen harriers to their rightful place across the English landscape. “The RSPB believes the first step in hen harrier recovery should be the ending of illegal persecution. The evidence is now clear that this is the main reason driving the decline of this iconic bird.”Earlier this  year, the bird charity launched a legal bid against Natural England to block it from making this decision. However, in March, it was announced that they had lost the case. read more

Put Muntjac deer and crayfish on the menu peer says as he

Lord Randall tucking in to some crayfish at a pop-up in Bermondsey 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. Lord Randall tucking in to some crayfish at a pop-up in Bermondsey Restaurants should put invasive species including Muntjac deer and crayfish on the menu, a peer has said as he urged the British public to eat these ‘guilt-free’ foods.Lord Randall of Uxbridge, who used to advise former Prime Minister Theresa May on environmental issues, said eating crayfish is a “great idea” to help our aquatic environment, where the invasive crustacean devastates native fish and amphibian populations.He told The Telegraph: “Crayfish in particular are a real nuisance. I had a fun evening down with the kids at a pop -up in Bermondsey [London] enjoying my crayfish.”They are particularly tasty and more sustainable than eating prawns which are farmed in the Far East – they are actually connected with modern slavery.”One of the tastiest deer around is Muntjac, which is an invasive species too. “Let Britain eat its way out of invasive species, I’m up for the job.” Muntjac deer, shooters argue, can be a guilt-free alternative to other red meats.Tim Bonner, the CEO of the Countryside Alliance, explained: “It does a huge amount of damage to woodlands across lowland England, we’ve got quite a significant problem with browsing of low-lying vegetation in woodland which supports a lot of ground-nesting birds. “They taste delicious, they are the most sought-after of all the venison species, though there’s not very much meat on them – they’re tiny. They’re also quite a challenging quarry as they’re so small. We need to encourage as many people as possible to hunt them as they have such a disastrous effect on biodiversity.”He added that the Canada Goose is another example of an invasive species causing nuisance – but it is not legal to sell their meat. Shooters who kill the geese, however, have been known to enjoy them in casseroles and stews.Restaurants in London are catching on to the trend. Ivan Tisdall-Downes, who runs Native in Borough, has flooded his menu with invasive species.These include the signal crayfish, pennywort, pineapple weed, grey squirrel, Muntjac deer, Wild Fal oysters, Darwin’s barberry and the Alexander plant. read more