Which Bowls Are Usually The Best — And Worst

Not surprisingly, the championship games of the BCS (and, now, CFP) rank highest, followed by the rest of the BCS/New Year’s Six games — except, oddly, the Peach Bowl. (Aside from the mid-1980s and the last decade or so, the Peach hasn’t traditionally been much more than an average bowl.) Also near the top of the list: The oft-forgotten Bluebonnet Bowl, which was discontinued in 1987 despite consistently featuring good matchups between major-conference schools.And if you’re curious, here are the rankings if we just limit ourselves to bowls that have played 10 or more times since college football’s BCS era started in 1998: As I was writing my piece about 2016’s bloated bowl season, I developed a system for ranking each game based on a five-point grading scale in each of three factors: The quality of the teams involved, the evenness of the matchup and the amount of offense expected of each team in the game. Since I have those scores for every bowl that featured FBS/Div. I-A teams1Sorry, Salad Bowl. going back to 1936, I figured I’d calculate each bowl’s average over that span to see how they usually tend to grade out: read more

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The World Cup Players Who Step Up Most For Their Countries

CasemiroBrazil-0.26-0.13-0.39-0.24 X. ShaqiriSwitzerland+0.09+0.02+0.11+0.46 J. KimmichGermany-0.02+0.33+0.31+0.24 PlayerCountryGOALsassistsGoals + AssistsExp. Goals + Assists E. ForsbergSweden+0.27-1.44-1.17-0.49 E. CavaniUruguay-1.48-0.33-1.81-2.04 I. GundoganGermany+0.13+0.00+0.13+0.51 J. BlaszczykowskiPoland+0.52+0.58+1.10+0.50 J. KimmichGermany13.119.2+6.1 Share of team exp. goals + assists KokeSpain-0.21-0.23-0.44-0.27 A. Di Mari­aArgentina+0.04-0.50-0.46-0.34 P. PogbaFrance-0.11-0.39-0.50-0.26 L. ModricCroatia12.925.4+12.5 A. KolarovSerbia15.320.6+5.3 C. EriksenDenmark+0.53-0.13+0.39+0.29 L. PiszczekPoland10.017.1+7.1 Y. CarrascoBelgium-0.19-0.43-0.62-0.46 L. MessiArgentina57.563.3+5.8 E. HazardBelgium+0.30+0.68+0.98+0.45 DIfference between club and national team J. Dos SantosMexico-0.14+0.06-0.08-0.24 T. MeunierBelgium16.324.9+8.6 X. ShaqiriSwitzerland42.848.1+5.3 J. MikelNigeria5.227.9+22.7 Messi and Ronaldo probably only appear to be underperforming on the international level because they’ve spent the past decade thrashing defenses in Spain’s La Liga while playing for two clubs that are lousy with all-world talent. Scoring at a pace of roughly a goal per game is difficult to sustain over the course of a single season; Messi and Ronaldo have been doing it for 10. They’re not performing terribly for their national teams, they’ve just set the bar too high for themselves.But then there’s Neymar, the other greatest player in the world. He has set his bar pretty high during his time with Barcelona and now with Paris Saint-Germain. But unlike the two legends lording over him, Neymar has been able to vault over it — he scores at roughly the same rate for Brazil as he does for his club, and he provides more assists. And Neymar has increased his share of the team’s expected goals plus assists by 12.8 percentage points from club team to national team.Argentina is done; Portugal is done; Brazil and Belgium meet tomorrow in Kazan to decide who gets a spot in the semifinals. So it will be Hazard and Neymar trying to become the next Pelé, Maradona or Zidane.Check out our latest World Cup predictions. I. RakiticCroatia15.835.2+19.4 C. RonaldoPortugal54.659.4+4.8 B. DzemailiSwitzerland-0.05+0.20+0.15+0.72 DIfference between club and national team C. RonaldoPortugal-1.09-0.57-1.67-1.53 R. LewandowskiPoland+0.25+0.01+0.26-1.35 A. GuardadoMexico+0.53-0.24+0.29+0.29 P. CoutinhoBrazil+0.27-0.23+0.04-0.23 PlayerCountryGOALsAssistsGoals + AssistsExp. Goals + Assists The biggest changes in share of team productionWorld Cup players with the biggest increase from share of club team’s expected goals and assists to share of national team’s expected goals and assists, 2014-18 J. Rodri­guezColombia34.5%58.5%+24.0 S. RudyGermany-0.07-0.21-0.29-0.33 M. RojoArgentina+0.19+0.12+0.31+0.22 J. MikelNigeria+0.39+0.41+0.80+0.44 C. VelaMexico-0.03+0.35+0.31+0.18 IscoSpain+0.13-0.38-0.25-0.29 T. SilvaBrazil+0.31-0.03+0.27+0.19 PaulinhoBrazil24.530.7+6.2 NeymarBrazil45.658.4+12.8 J. BlaszczykowskiPolad13.723.9+10.2 Joao MarioPortugal-0.26-0.23-0.49-0.44 J. VertonghenBelgium+0.20+0.05+0.25+0.18 L. MessiArgentina-0.67+0.11-0.56-0.61 From 2014 to 2018, Messi notched 0.61 fewer expected goals plus assists per 90 minutes while draped in the vertical blue and white stripes of Argentina. Ronaldo has found it more difficult to score for Portugal: Over the same span, he scored an entire goal per 90 minutes fewer with Portugal than he did with Real Madrid, and he averaged 1.53 fewer expected goals plus assists. And Uruguay’s superstar striker Edinson Cavani has had it even worse: He averaged 2.04 fewer expected goals plus assists per 90 minutes with La Celeste than he with Paris Saint-Germain.The outlook gets brighter for Messi and Ronaldo (but not for Cavani) when you consider their contributions as a percentage of their national team’s expected goals plus assists versus their club team’s since 2014: Messi was responsible for 57.5 percent of Barcelona’s expected output and 63.3 percent of Argentina’s, while Ronaldo accounted for 54.6 percent of Real Madrid’s expected output and 59.4 percent of Portugal’s. They’re not in James or Rakitic territory, but they’re not in the red either. A. GriezmannFrance-0.30+0.12-0.17+0.28 M. RojoArgentina7.113.9+6.8 L. ModricCroatia+0.28+0.05+0.33+0.17 G. SigurdssonIceland+0.38-0.22+0.16+0.20 E. BanegaArgentina-0.21+0.06-0.15-0.37 I. RakiticCroatia-0.02+0.30+0.28+0.39 I. GundoganGermany17.332.4+15.1 M. FellainiBelgium+0.31-0.03+0.28-0.24 J. RodriguezColombia+0.49+0.03+0.52+0.53 Only players who played 1,000 minutes for a major European team since 2014; national team data includes only major tournaments.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group The club team heroesWorld Cup players with the biggest drop-off in expected goals plus assists per 90 minutes between national team and club team, 2014-18 The national team heroesWorld Cup players with the biggest discrepancy in expected goals plus assists per 90 minutes between club team and national team, 2014-18 B. DzemailiSwitzerland23.431.0+7.6 PlayerCountryClubNationalDifference T. MeunierBelgium+0.32+0.73+1.04+0.50 S. RamosSpain9.615.9+6.3 A. IniestaSpain13.319.1+5.8 D. MertensBelgium-0.63+0.38-0.25-0.84 Only players who played 1,000 minutes for a major European team since 2014; national team data is only major tournaments.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group When we think of the best soccer players in history, we rarely think about the relatively inconsequential goals they scored for their club teams in midseason matches against their middle-of-the-pack competition. Instead we think about how they played for their national teams, and especially how they performed at major international tournaments like the World Cup. We think of a 17-year-old named Pelé delivering Brazil its first title in 1958; we think of Diego Maradona ripping through England’s defenses (and famously getting a little handsy with the ball in the box) in 1986; we think of the French maestro Zinedine Zidane scoring twice on home soil to topple Ronaldo and Brazil in 1998.Some players just seem built to wear their national team’s jersey.We wanted to know if there are certain players who play well for their club but disappear when playing for their national team — and certain players who raise their production when playing for country. So we looked at the tallies of expected goals and assists per 90 minutes for every player at the World Cup and compared the difference between club stats1Big five European leagues only. and country2Including World Cup, World Cup qualifiers and each confederation’s tournament. since 2014. We also looked at each player’s share of his entire team’s expected goals plus assists.Among the remaining stars at the 2018 World Cup, the best example of one who thrives while representing his country is Belgium’s Eden Hazard — at least based on raw production. The quick and crafty man from Wallonia has a knack for playing his best soccer when the world is watching. From 2014 to 2018, Hazard scored 0.30 more goals per 90 minutes and provided 0.68 more assists per 90 minutes while wearing a Belgium jersey than while repping Chelsea blue — while his expected goals plus assists are 0.45 better for Belgium.Hazard’s exceptional international form has carried over into this World Cup: In three games played, he contributed two goals and two assists — one of which tied the match against Japan after Belgium had gone down 2-0. The diminutive Belgian danced at the left corner of the penalty area, shrugging off a pursuant Yuya Osako before delivering an inch-perfect cross with his left foot to the edge of the 6-yard box and onto Marouane Fellaini’s head. Fellaini scored, but Hazard’s brilliance was responsible.Hazard’s form and contributions are expected. Thomas Meunier’s form and contributions, on the other hand, are a bit of a surprise. The right back has been perfectly competent for Paris Saint-Germain, but he’s been an outright world beater on the international stage: Since 2014, he’s scored 0.32 more goals per 90 minutes and provided 0.73 more assists per 90 minutes while playing for Belgium than for his clubs. The biggest of his 10 international assists was the one he provided to Nacer Chadli to knock off Japan on Monday. Both Meunier and Hazard are among the top seven players at the World Cup when it comes to expected goals plus assists for country versus club. But based on actual goals and actual assists, both Belgians are in the top three.3Only Poland/Wolfsburg winger Jakub Blaszczykowski has them both beat. J. VertonghenBelgium2.78.2+5.5 Only players who played 1,000 minutes for a major European team since 2014; national team data includes only major tournaments.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group C. EriksenDenmark36.548.8+12.3 D. CarvajalSpain9.714.5+4.8 B. SilvaPortugal-0.60+0.04-0.56-0.45 The leaderboard is peppered with players who have made a difference in Russia: Swiss mainstays Blerim Dzemaili and Xherdan Shaqiri led their team to the round of 16, while Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic and Real Madrid’s Luka Modric have been the backbone of the Croatian attack. Another quick and crafty midfielder — this one from Colombia — has been very good for both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich over the past four seasons, but he’s been downright marvelous for Los Cafeteros: From 2014 to 2018, James Rodriguez scored nearly half a goal more per 90 minutes while wearing the yellow Colombia kit than while donning club colors. In our sample, his difference in expected goals plus assists from club to country is second to only Dzemaili, who plays for Bologna in Italy. It’s no surprise then that Colombia was eliminated by England in the round of 16 when a calf injury sidelined James.Hazard and James are built to wear their national team jerseys. But there are others — two of whom are often invoked in the GOAT conversation — who seem to perform a little worse, or at least score with less frequency, on the international stage. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the two best players in the world,4They’ve each won five of the past 10 Ballon d’Or awards, given to the best soccer player in the world. but both have underwhelmed a bit while representing their countries. PaulinhoBrazil+0.33+0.18+0.50+0.32 read more

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Can The Mariners Finally End Their Playoff Drought

Of all the storylines to watch as Major League Baseball begins the second half of the 2018 season, the most interesting might be whether the Seattle Mariners can hold on to their current position in the standings — and, in the process, end the longest active postseason drought in major professional sports. (The Mariners earned this dubious honor when the Buffalo Bills grabbed an AFC wild card last season.)It’s been a magical start to the summer so far in Seattle. Picked preseason to finish around .500, the Mariners instead sit nearly 20 games over that benchmark. Surprisingly, they spent much of the first half challenging the defending champion Houston Astros for the top spot in the American League West; they’ve also built for themselves a three-game cushion over the division-rival Oakland A’s in the race for the AL’s second wild card. (And they’ve done it even after losing star second baseman Robinson Cano, who was putting up great numbers before getting busted for steroids in mid-May.) If the regular season ended today, the M’s would finally be back in the playoffs.That would be a major accomplishment for a Seattle club that hasn’t tasted postseason baseball since its disappointing five-game exit from the American League Championship Series 17 years ago. When my former colleague Rob Arthur wrote about the Mariners’ streak a few seasons back, he found that no team in baseball had made the playoffs fewer times relative to expectation (based on their regular-season records) since 1998 than Seattle. It’s undeniable that, with just a little better luck, the Mariners would have sneaked into the playoffs at least a few times over the span of their drought. In that regard, they are long overdue to catch a break.In 2018, however, Seattle might be collecting all of the extra good fortune it’s owed at once. According to The Baseball Gauge, no first-half team exceeded its expected record more through luck in close games or favorable “sequencing”1Bunching hits within innings on offense and scattering them across innings on defense. than the Mariners. For instance, if you simply looked at Seattle’s runs scored (412) and allowed (414), you’d think it was precisely the .500-ish team that the preseason projections had called for. Instead, the Mariners have gone 26-12 in one-run games, which — while not exactly in 2016 Texas Rangers territory — suggests they could be due for a serious second-half downturn.In fact, Seattle’s combination of win-loss record and negative run differential is so unusual that it’s tough to find similar historical teams. Since 1950, the Mariners are the only team to be 19 games over .500 through a similar stage of the season2Specifically, between 90 and 100 games into the schedule. while also having a run differential below zero. But if we just limit ourselves to the 13 teams that were at least 10 wins above .500 and had outscored opponents by 10 runs or fewer through 97 games, those clubs won only 51 percent of their games over the rest of the season (an 83-win pace per 162). So the Mariners probably shouldn’t expect to keep cruising along at a clip remotely close to their current .598 winning percentage.Indeed, if the wheels do fall off for Seattle, naysayers may point to the team’s poor play just before the All-Star break — eight losses in its last 11 games — as a sign of when things started to go wrong. But ace pitcher James Paxton will be back from the disabled list soon, and Cano is eligible to return Aug. 14. Meanwhile, the time off should benefit the slumping quintet of Kyle Seager, Jean Segura, Dee Gordon, Ryon Healy and Nelson Cruz, each of whom seemed to be running out of gas heading into the break.In the bigger picture, there’s also something to be said for the team’s overall balance as an antidote to the notion of an impending collapse. The Mariners are one of only six teams in baseball to rank among the top 10 in wins above replacement3Averaging together the WAR values found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. from both its pure hitting and its pitching, joining the Astros, Red Sox, Yankees, Indians and Dodgers — pretty good company! Of course, that brushes aside Mariner weaknesses such as baserunning (they rank 24th) and fielding (20th), but it also underscores that despite Seattle’s uninspiring run differential, the fundamentals of the team aren’t necessarily unsound.In order to stay on course for the playoffs, Seattle will need to keep getting unexpected performances like the ones they’ve enjoyed from first-time All-Star Mitch Haniger and journeyman-turned-10-game winner Marco Gonzales. Closer Edwin Diaz (who leads baseball with 36 saves) will have to keep slamming the door shut in the ninth inning, and the lineup will need to continue hitting well in big moments. None of that will be easy, especially not with Oakland zooming up in the rearview mirror. But after nearly two decades of the pieces never falling into place for a postseason push, it’s high time the Mariners had the breaks go their way.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

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¡Vámonos Paloma Escobedo makes her voice heard on the court

It doesn’t take long to realize when senior Paloma Escobedo steps onto the tennis court. Within seconds of the first serve, you can hear Escobedo’s voice, shouting and hissing a mix of Spanish, English and the occasional curse. “Vámonos! Let’s go!” Escobedo shouted, zooming a return past Wisconsin’s Jenny Hois. It was Escobedo’s first tennis match in more than a month, and she’d been itching for her return to the court. When she went down with a stress fracture in her left leg on March 11, she was forced to watch her team hit the home stretch of its season without her. “At the beginning, it was really hard mentally and physically,” Escobedo said. “Sitting through practice was exhausting. I wanted to be out there.” She returned to the court for the final two home matches of the season and the senior captain put her struggles into perspective. When she saw someone in a wheelchair, Escobedo said, she quit feeling sorry for herself. “It was a learning experience,” she said. “As time went on, I started to mature, in a way, because I started to accept it. I started thinking, ‘Things could be a lot worse. It was a bad deal that it was my senior year, but I’m a healthy girl and I should be thankful.’” When Escobedo went down, the women’s tennis team lost its No. 1 singles player. Alone, she has accounted for 65 total wins, with an additional 78 wins in doubles play. But with the loss of its captain, the team gained its most vocal cheerleader. “I make it a big deal to have the positive energy transfer to every court,” Escobedo said. “This is my job; I’m the juicer. Sometimes we get nervous, and it helps to have a good captain. It shows how strong our team is.” Coach Chuck Merzbacher said he knows how valuable Escobedo was to his team, both on and off the court. “She gets it,” he said. “She knows if she can’t be on the court … she’s going to cheer them on. She’s going to help every kid out and just be a good leader. She’s stepped up by being real helpful and keeping everyone going.” Escobedo said when she was unable to play, she had to find an alternative way to help her team. “Even when I’m not playing, I’m the loudest person,” she said. “Even when I’m not playing, I know I annoy the other team. … I’m proud of that. I try to show who’s boss when I’m on the court.” Despite a fiery effort, Escobedo’s return to the court ended with a loss. But her frustration was short-lived. Within minutes, she was with her teammates again, screaming at the top of her lungs. After the match, she was calm and collected. “I had a lot of fun out there, even though I lost,” she said. “I saw what I needed to work on still. It was just really nice to be out there. I was really just happy to be able to play tennis again, to be able to play competitive tennis and matches. I think that it’s just going to get better from here on out.” It’s this Jekyll-and-Hyde behavior that defines Escobedo. On the court, her passion and spirit make her a daunting opponent. Off the court, the same qualities define her as an individual and teammate. The significance of her return to the court can’t be measured simply in wins. For Escobedo, the journey has been worthwhile. “It has been the most memorable, enjoyable experience,” she said. “I’ve been very lucky and very blessed to have this opportunity. … I’ve had the best four years. It went by way too fast.” Following OSU’s victory against Minnesota on Senior Day, a tearful Escobedo stood side by side with her teammates in the same fashion she had since her first days as a Buckeye. In front of her stood Merzbacher, equally emotional, if not more so. Beside her, teammates cried and laughed with her. “Everyone gets along with her, everyone appreciates her and everyone has enjoyed her as a teammate,” Merzbacher said. “I think that’s more important than anything. They just want her to end on a good note.” read more

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Commentary Downandout Buckeye football hits rock bottom after loss at Nebraska

Remember Annie from the movie “Bridesmaids?” She was the main character who was dumped by her boyfriend, broke her car, lost her job, lost another job and got into a fight with her best friend. One life-altering tragedy happened after the other and just when you didn’t think it could get any worse, it did. But then, finally, Annie hit rock bottom. Right now, the Ohio State football program is like Annie. They’ve finally hit rock bottom. They can’t possibly fall any further than they already have. The program-defining coach was forced out, the star quarterback left, players were suspended left and right, an endless stream of negative headlines dominated the news, and the program’s once-lustrous reputation was irreversibly damaged. Then the season started, and instead of a welcomed distraction, the results have been a constant reminder of what once was. The mighty OSU football team almost lost to a team from the MAC (Toledo) and was a fingernail away from being shut out for first time since 1982 against Michigan State. More suspensions were issued for players who were paid for work they didn’t perform and the Buckeyes traveled to Nebraska, a train wreck without a conductor. Just when it looked like there was a spark of hope, with the Buckeyes leading the Cornhuskers 27-6 in the third quarter, it all fell apart. The Buckeyes imploded on both sides of the ball and blew the biggest lead in the program’s history. Any hope or confidence gained in the first half was washed away along with the lead. The Buckeyes fell to 0-2 in the Big Ten, a conference they’ve made a habit of winning over the past seven years. But it won’t get any worse. It can’t. If your car’s already broke, your boyfriend already broke up with you, and you already lost your job, then there’s just not much else to go wrong. The NCAA can go ahead and give the program a bowl ban. What are they really taking away? A mid-December bowl game with a “.com” after the name? Or maybe the NCAA could slash scholarships, but what would that do? The OSU football program might be a “quick fix” by normal standards, but programs are rebuilt in years, not months or days. A reduction in scholarships wouldn’t be enough to severely hamper the rebuilding process. So, in a weird way, the Buckeye’s bottoming out is good news. It means everything is up from here. Some spoiled Buckeye fans may have to readjust their expectations because, unlike years past, a BCS bowl appearance seems like a fairy tale, not an inevitability. It’s a sad reality, but at least things can’t get any worse. Unless OSU loses to Michigan. read more

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Ohio State baseball stumbles into Big Ten Tournament

It wasn’t pretty, but the Ohio State baseball team earned its spot in the Big Ten tournament over the weekend. Indiana swept OSU in its three-game series, but the Buckeyes still earned the sixth and final spot in the tournament because of a tiebreaker against common opponents in the conference. OSU falls to an 11-13 record against Big Ten opponents after losing the series. The Buckeyes received some assistance from Minnesota defeating Illinois in their series finale Saturday to secure OSU’s spot in the tournament. OSU coach Greg Beals said he wants his players to come with more energy for the tournament since they weren’t able to build momentum against Indiana over the weekend. “We did not play loose and relaxed in our final conference series this weekend and we need to change that heading into this week,” Beals said. “We’re very fortunate that we have been given another opportunity and we need to come out re-energized on Wednesday.” One advantage OSU will have heading into the tournament is home field. Columbus’ Huntington Park will host the Big Ten tournament again this year and some players think it can help them get some wins. Tim Wetzel, sophomore center fielder, said the team can have success in the tournament playing at home. “No team’s going to want to play us (in Columbus),” Wetzel said. “We can make some noise in the tournament.” Beals, on the other hand, said playing for a Big Ten championship is the main priority and that playing in Columbus isn’t a big deal. “Our guys have an expectation to play for a championship and it doesn’t matter where it’s at,” Beals said. Kirby Pellant, junior shortstop, said winning the tournament is at the top of the team’s goals. “One of our main goals all year has been to win the Big Ten Championship,” Pellant said. Despite the losing effort over the weekend, the team can still reach its goal starting at 3:35 p.m. on Wednesday against No. 3 seed Penn State. Beals said people shouldn’t count OSU out even though the team is stumbling into the tournament after a rough weekend. “Ohio State should be in the discussion when you’re talking about Big Ten Championships,” Beals said. read more

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Opinion Michael Sams coming out could open road to brighter future in

Then-redshirt-senior Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) celebrates a sack during a game against Vanderbilt Oct. 5 at Vanderbilt Stadium. Feb. 9 Sam came out as gay and hopes to become the first active openly gay NFL player.Courtesy of MCTTypically an article like this would begin with something clever. A witty pun or a topical joke used to entice someone to dig further.But I feel this deserves more. Any attempt at humor would diminish and, honestly, disrespect the incredible bravery shown by former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam.In an interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” Sam has come out as “an openly, proud gay man.”“I’m not afraid to tell the world who I am,” Sam said in the interview with ESPN’s Chris Connelly. “I’m Michael Sam, I’m a college graduate, I’m African-American and I’m gay.”Sam recently finished his career at Missouri and is an NFL draft prospect, something that already comes with a heavy amount of scrutiny.Now the limelight will shine even brighter on the young football player.In 2014, this shouldn’t be big news. In the U.S., we have openly gay teachers, doctors, politicians, even pastors, and yet a major professional athlete admitting he or she is gay remains somewhat of a taboo.There has never been an openly gay player actively playing in the four major American professional sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL).Although former Washington Wizards center Jason Collins came out in April, he has not played for an NBA team since his announcement. LA Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers made the same courageous announcement in January 2013, but Major League Soccer isn’t given as much attention as the NFL.There have even been former NFL players who have come out as gay after retirement — Dave Kopay, Kwame Harris and Wade Davis to name a few — but never someone who is, or is seeking to, actively play in the league.What Sam is attempting to do is break into the most popular and over-analyzed sport in America.Sam is putting his career, his livelihood and, to be frank, even his life, on the line so he can be a role model and a leader for countless others across the country.“I understand how big this is,” Sam told “Outside the Lines.” “No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be … I want to be a football player in the NFL.”I don’t pretend to understand what going through adversity is truly like. I am an upper-middle class, heterosexual, white, liberal male, but that does not diminish the respect that I have for what Sam is doing.His courage and fearlessness are something that could pave the way for the future.But now that the announcement has been made, another hurdle must be jumped: getting drafted.Sam — projected as a mid-round draft prospect by nfldraftscout.com — is set to continue preparing for the NFL draft in the hopes of being selected in May.It would be completely naive to pretend that his draft stock will not be affected with this coming to light.Even with all of the talent he possesses — Sam led the SEC with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss in 2013 — the media circus that is sure to follow him wherever he goes might make NFL general managers think twice before pulling the trigger and selecting him.It shouldn’t, though. If this were an ideal world, Sam would be judged on his football accomplishments and not his sexual orientation. In 2013, Sam had an incredible season for the Tigers, being named first team All-American and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.“It shouldn’t matter,” Sam said about coaches and players reacting to his sexuality. “If I work hard, if I make plays, that’s all that should matter. ‘Can he help us win games, is he a team player,’ that’s all that should matter.”“Sports Illustrated” reported there are anonymous sources in the NFL who believe Sam’s presence in the locker room will prove to be a distraction, which is an argument that is not only ridiculous, but offensive to the gay community.“I mean, people will talk about the stereotype of gays being in the locker room … to me, I think that it’s a little stereotyped that gay people are predators,” Sam said. “It’s just very offensive.”Sam said in the interview he told his teammates at Missouri in August before the 2013 season began. If his coming out to the team was a distraction, it wasn’t a very good one. The Tigers finished with a record of 12-2, tied for the best in program history, and finished the year ranked No. 5 in the country.Since the announcement, there has been a large number of people come out in support of Sam.Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams took to Twitter to back Sam.“I could care less about a man’s sexual preference! i care about winning games and being respectful in the locker room!,” Williams tweeted  Sunday evening from his personal account, @DeAngeloRB.The NFL issued a statement on their stance, which said “We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with the ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.”Despite all of the positive support, it is the detractors — whether they be players or coaches — who could change Sam’s fate.If even one player in the locker room comes forward to the general manager, the owner or the coach and voices his opinion against Sam, it could be the difference between Sam being drafted or not.I am asking, nay I am begging NFL owners to try and not see Sam just for his sexual orientation but to see him as a player. Look at his résumé to judge his abilities — don’t base your decision to employ him on a factor that has nothing to do with football.At the end of the day, it will come down to just one team deciding that it wants Sam and the barrier will be broken.Only time will tell if Sam will be rightfully rewarded for his bravery or not. But one thing is clear to me.People like Sam, Collins, Rogers and the many others deserve to be celebrated more than any other athlete. What they are doing reaches beyond sports and into the culture of America.Michael Sam, I am in awe of you and what you are doing, and want to thank you for the step you are taking toward a brighter future. read more

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Ohio State announces ticket prices for 2015 spring game

Coming off of a championship season, the Ohio State football program is gearing up for 2015.It was announced Wednesday that tickets for the 2015 spring game are now on sale for the intrasquad scrimmage at Ohio Stadium, scheduled for April 18.Tickets for general admission seating will cost patrons $5, while reserved box seats will cost $15.Last season, OSU sold general admission seats for $12 before lowering the price to $5 just days before the game.A ticket will also get fans access to the OSU men’s lacrosse game against Maryland which will precede kickoff, set for 1:30 p.m.Last season, the OSU spring game drew 61,058 fans to Ohio Stadium on a seasonally warm 78-degree day.

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Gallery 2017 Cotton Bowl

The Buckeye offense takes the field for warmups prior to the start of the 2017 Cotton Bowl against University of Southern California on Dec. 29 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

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UK beachgoers defend woman in burkini prank video

first_imgA viral video has captured how UK beachgoers reacted to a woman being told to remove her burkini in a staged encounter.YouTube channel Trollstation got two actors, one dressed in the body-covering swimsuit and another as a police officer, to argue over removing the  full length swimming costume on a beach in Southend.They secretly filmed the encounter in what they called a ‘social experiment’ and the video has received more than 160,000 views in 48 hours. As the argument gets more heated and more people surround the pair, the woman admits: “We’re actors. We need to raise awareness about this issue.”The burkini ban has been ruled illegal in France – prompting right-wing backlash and vow from towns to ignore it.Last week, protestors against the controversial burkini ban staged a “wear what you want” beach party outside the French embassy in London. 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. burkini bancenter_img YouTube pranksters Trollstation looked at how UK beachgoers would react to the burkini banCredit:YouTube / Trollstation “You’re not allowed to wear this it at the beach. It’s banned,” the man dressed as a police officer says in the video.The woman pretends to respond angrily: “I’m not going to take anything off. I’m allowed to wear whatever I want.“How am I any different to anyone else? This is racial profiling.“You can’t say this to me. I don’t feel oppressed at all.”A member of the public then defends the woman, telling the male actor: “You can’t do that…She’s obviously a Muslim. Do not discriminate against her religion. You can’t do that.”last_img read more

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Theresa May accuses BMA of playing politics after union announces fresh wave

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. The BMA decided to stage a fresh wave of strikes, the most severe in history of the NHS, after a deal on pay agreed in May between the union and the Government was subsequently rejected in July in a referendum of junior doctors.The Prime Minister described the deal as “safe for patients”, adding that the NHS had received “record levels of funding” and “more doctors than we’ve seen in its history”.“The Government is putting patients first, the BMA should be putting patients first – not playing politics,” she said. The Government is putting patients first, the BMA should be patients first – not playing politicsTheresa May Theresa May has accused the British Medical Association of “playing politics” after its announcement yesterday of a series of five-day strikes over the new junior doctor contract.The Prime Minister also threw her weight behind Jeremy Hunt, describing him as an “excellent Health Secretary”.Mrs May’s comments mark her first intervention in the long-running and bitter dispute since entering Number 10 in July. The first five-day strike, which will include all departments including accident and emergency and maternity care, will begin at 8am on September 12.If the strike is repeated once a month for the rest of the year, as junior doctors’ leader Ellen McCourt wants, an estimated 1 million out-patient appointments and 125,000 operations could be cancelled.On Thursday morning Dr Mark Porter, BMA chairman, would not contradict claims that the strikes were authorised on the basis of a 16-14 council vote.last_img read more

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One in six young people are Christian as visits to church buildings

first_imgOne in six young people are practising Christians, new figures show, as research suggests thousands convert after visiting church buildings.The figures, show that more than one in five (21 per cent) people between the ages of 11 and 18 describe themselves as active followers of Jesus, and 13 per cent say they are practising Christians who attend church.The study, commissioned by Christian youth organisation Hope Revolution Partnership and carried out by ComRes, suggested that levels of Christianity were much higher among young people than previously thought.Research carried out by church statistician Dr Peter Brierley in 2006 suggested church attendance among teenagers was less than half of this, with 6 per cent of 11-14 year-olds and 5 per cent of 15-18 year-olds attending church.Around 13 per cent of teenagers said that they decided to become a Christian after a visit to a church or cathedral, according to the figures.The influence of a church building was more significant than attending a youth group, going to a wedding, or speaking to other Christians about their faith.Jimmy Dale, the Church of England’s national youth evangelism officer, said his team had been “shocked” by the results.The research was carried out in December but was not released until now because analysts thought such a high figure could not be accurate. Only nine of Britain’s 42 cathedrals currently charge for entry, but there are concerns that more could be forced to do so because of financial pressures.The impact of the heightened terror threat is also a concern for open churches. Last month Birmingham Cathedral closed temporarily following the bombing in Manchester in order to put in place increased security arrangements.The Bishop of Worcester, John Inge, who is the lead bishop for churches and church buildings, said: “This shows the power of church buildings – they are powerful for all sorts of reasons.“They give a sense of stability, and also the sense that the Christian faith has inspired people to build these extraordinary buildings,” he said.He is leading a campaign to persuade parishes to keep churches open, instead of locking their doors.There are around 16,000 Churches of England buildings which are still operational.Evidence suggests that damage is more likely to come to churches which are locked as intruders feel they are less likely to be disturbed.“I’m passionate about church buildings staying open. The cathedrals are the jewel in the crown but when thinking about all those young people, it’s just as likely to be one of the parish churches which they have been inspired by,” added Mr Inge. 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 But another study recently released by Christian group Youth for Christ showed similar results, suggesting that a surprisingly high number of young people still describe themselves as Christian.Mr Dale said: “There was disbelief among the team because it was so high.“What is really exciting for us is that there is this warmth and openness that we are seeing among young people – they are really open to faith,” he said.The study suggests that new methods invested in by the Church, such as youth groups and courses such as Youth Alpha, are less effective than prayer or visiting a church building in attracting children to the church.One in five said reading the Bible had been important, 17 per cent said going to a religious school had had an impact and 14 per cent said a spiritual experience was behind their Christianity.“Things which we would class as old hat methods are some of the more effective ways.“It’s a real wake-up call for the church – we’ve got lots of young people who are coming into churches with school groups and that’s a really integral part of them becoming a Christian,” Mr Dale added.Senior Church of England figures said the findings showed the importance of keeping churches and cathedrals accessible.last_img read more

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Heatwave What are your rights as an employee during hot weather

The regulations place a legal obligation on employers to provide a “reasonable” temperature in the workplace…. Rules around temperatures in the indoor workplace are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.  When Britain swelters in soaring temperatures, it is not everyone’s idea of bliss. What does the law say on employees’ rights in hot weather? Here’s everything you need to know about your rights, as Britain gears up for 36C on Friday – the hottest ever July day on record. While those lucky enough to be on holiday during the heatwave can enjoy the weather in their gardens – or from air-conditioned comfort – what about those who have to work when the mercury rises? 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

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Guns imported using a legal loophole used for murder on the streets

Police have urged the Home Office to close a loophole which is allowing hundreds of unlicensed handguns to be brought into Britain legally. Some of the components used in making the ammunition… The guns are being sold to criminals after entering Britain, an investigation has revealed. The handguns are exempt from legislation, which requires firearm owners to have a licence because they were produced before 1939 and are old enough to qualify as antique weapons and were designed for calibres of ammunition which are now considered obsolete. But despite this, criminals have been able to manufacture their own rounds for the guns, which have been used in six killings and dozens of shootings so far.  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

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Nine out of ten car thieves are not caught as the number

Critics say criminals no longer fear being caught Less than three in ten car thefts are ever solved Some of the country’s largest police forces are failing to identify suspects in more than 90 per cent of car thefts, as critics claim criminals no longer fear being caught.After years of decline, the number of vehicles now being stolen has risen to its highest level in almost a decade.Organised criminal gangs often steal high value cars in order to ship them overseas.Keyless technology has also been blamed for a rise in offences, with thieves using special devices to bypass vehicle security.But the rise in offences has not been matched by a rise in the number of criminals being brought to justice. All but five forces closed over half of these cases without identifying a suspect.West Midlands Police said it is committed to following the trail of evidence in all cases but if an investigation finds no witnesses, CCTV or forensic evidence then the chance of identifying offenders is “vastly reduced”.But RAC Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said motorists will be “shocked” by the findings.He said: “This is a sign that thieves have found ways around car security systems and have ways of selling vehicles on with little or no fear of being caught.””The fact fewer suspects are being identified is very worrying and no doubt a symptom of the declining number of police officers and the resulting reduction in time that can be dedicated to investigating these crimes.” Critics say criminals no longer fear being caught Less than three in ten car thefts are ever solved Analysis of the the latest crime statistics reveals that nationally 77 percent of vehicle theft investigations are closed by police with no suspect having been identified.In some parts of the country, including the West Midlands, that figure rises to over 90 per cent.In London only 15 percent of car thefts result in a suspect being identified with even less eventually being convicted of the offence.In the year up to March over 106,000 offences of theft of or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle were reported to police forces in England and Wales. This represented the highest annual total since 2009.But of those offences, more than 80,000 were eventually classified as “investigation complete – no suspect identified”.This is used when a reported crime has been investigated “as far as reasonably possible” and the case is closed pending further investigative opportunities. 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

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Department of Environment launched

– integrates 6 agenciesThe Department of Environment’s Office, which is located on High Street, Kingston, Georgetown, Opposite the Red HousePresident David Granger was on hand on Wednesday to formally launch the Department of Environment, one of several sub-agencies and ministries which fall under the preview of the Ministry of the Presidency, and is designed to integrate all agencies with an environmental mandate. This Department is housed in a building at High Street Kingston, opposite Red House.Director of the Environment Department, Ndibi Schweirs, informed those present at the launch that the work of six agencies has been subsumed into the Department to correct anomalies which relate to differing policy objectives and approaches to matters that concern the country’s environment issues. These agencies are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Protected Areas Commission, National Parks Commission, Wildlife Commission, and the offices of Climate Change and Project Management.Head of the Department of Environment, Ms. Ndibi Schwiers addressing the gathering at the formal launch todayMs. Schweirs stressed that this Department will work with all Government agencies and civil society and other interest groups to ensure that the country has environmental policies in all the regions.“It also represents Government’s commitment to ensuring a holistic and rationalized approach to environmental conservation and management, through the coordination and integration of agencies with an environmental mandate into a unified unit that can effectively respond to the green economy and concept of sustainable development,” she stressed.President Granger, who delivered the key address, highlighted the importance of Guyana to the sustenance of the world’s environment. To this end, he stressed that Guyana’s forest assists the globe in the regulation of climate by reducing carbon emissions and balancing oxygen.“We are part of the lungs of the earth,” Granger noted.He, however, said that the Department of the Environment must do its work.“Our grasslands, wetlands, highlands, coastal zone, mudflats, rain forest, rivers are all under threat, and we need a strong permanent institution to preserve and protect and sustainably manage our biodiversity,” he added.The Head of State also noted that Guyana must improve on solid waste management and disposal practices.Meanwhile, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said the Ministry of the Presidency is fully behind the newly established Department. Highlighting the timeliness of the agency’s functioning, Harmon praised the country’s recent acceptance as a member of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), an initiative which was launched at Rio Plus 20 in 2013.“Our acceptance to this initiative is timely, given our own push towards achieving a sustainable green economy. It will, no doubt, provide us with the necessary and needed support to reframe our economic policies and practices to foster economic growth,” he added.The Department of Environment was gazetted on September 1, 2016. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedUNDP strengthening Guyana’s capacity to realise Rio ConventionsOctober 14, 2016In “Local News”OCC re-launches National Climate Change CommitteeAugust 16, 2018In “latest news”Guyana will become a ‘green state’ but concerted effort neededOctober 2, 2016In “latest news”,– integrates 6 agenciesThe Department of Environment’s Office, which is located on High Street, Kingston, Georgetown, Opposite the Red HousePresident David Granger was on hand on Wednesday to formally launch the Department of Environment, one of several sub-agencies and ministries which fall under the preview of the Ministry of the Presidency, and is designed to integrate all agencies with an environmental mandate. This Department is housed in a building at High Street Kingston, opposite Red House.Director of the Environment Department, Ndibi Schweirs, informed those present at the launch that the work of six agencies has been subsumed into the Department to correct anomalies which relate to differing policy objectives and approaches to matters that concern the country’s environment issues. These agencies are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Protected Areas Commission, National Parks Commission, Wildlife Commission, and the offices of Climate Change and Project Management.Head of the Department of Environment, Ms. Ndibi Schwiers addressing the gathering at the formal launch todayMs. Schweirs stressed that this Department will work with all Government agencies and civil society and other interest groups to ensure that the country has environmental policies in all the regions.“It also represents Government’s commitment to ensuring a holistic and rationalized approach to environmental conservation and management, through the coordination and integration of agencies with an environmental mandate into a unified unit that can effectively respond to the green economy and concept of sustainable development,” she stressed.President Granger, who delivered the key address, highlighted the importance of Guyana to the sustenance of the world’s environment. To this end, he stressed that Guyana’s forest assists the globe in the regulation of climate by reducing carbon emissions and balancing oxygen.“We are part of the lungs of the earth,” Granger noted.He, however, said that the Department of the Environment must do its work.“Our grasslands, wetlands, highlands, coastal zone, mudflats, rain forest, rivers are all under threat, and we need a strong permanent institution to preserve and protect and sustainably manage our biodiversity,” he added.The Head of State also noted that Guyana must improve on solid waste management and disposal practices.Meanwhile, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said the Ministry of the Presidency is fully behind the newly established Department. Highlighting the timeliness of the agency’s functioning, Harmon praised the country’s recent acceptance as a member of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), an initiative which was launched at Rio Plus 20 in 2013.“Our acceptance to this initiative is timely, given our own push towards achieving a sustainable green economy. It will, no doubt, provide us with the necessary and needed support to reframe our economic policies and practices to foster economic growth,” he added.The Department of Environment was gazetted on September 1, 2016. read more

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Electronic devices banned on some US flights

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedNew passenger security checks on US-bound flightsOctober 25, 2017In “latest news”US weighs banning laptops on int’l flightsMay 29, 2017In “latest news”GCAA says with immediate effect all passengers travelling to the US will face increased security screeningJuly 27, 2017In “Business” Flights to the US from Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s largest hubs, will be among those affected (AP)(BBC) The US has announced a ban on large electronic devices from cabin baggage on flights from eight countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.Bombs could be hidden in laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said.The measure will affect nine airlines operating out of 10 airports. Phones are exempt from the new rules.The UK is set to introduce a similar ban on laptops shortly.Downing Street said airline passengers are to be banned from carrying laptops in cabin luggage on inbound direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.The Turkish government has said the US ban is wrong and should be reversed.Large electronic devices will only be allowed on board in checked baggage.Passengers on some 50 flights a day from some of the busiest hubs in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa will be required to follow the new rules.Which flights are affected?The nine airlines affected by the US ban are Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.They have been given 96 hours, beginning at 07:00 GMT on Tuesday, to ban devices bigger than a mobile phone or smartphone from cabins, US officials said, adding that the ban had no end date.The airports affected are: Mohammed V International, Casablanca, MoroccoAtaturk Airport, Istanbul, TurkeyCairo International Airport, EgyptQueen Alia International, Amman, JordanKing Abdulaziz International, Jeddah, Saudi ArabiaKing Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaKuwait International AirportHamad International, Doha, QatarAbu Dhabi International, United Arab EmiratesDubai International, United Arab EmiratesHowever, an Emirates spokeswoman told Reuters news agency the airline understood that the directive would come into effect on 25 March and remain valid until 14 October 2017.Why now?The restriction is based, we are told, on “evaluated intelligence”, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner writes.That means that US intelligence has either intercepted discussion of a possible extremist plot or has been passed word of one by a human informant.The Middle Eastern and North African airports affected are nearly all ones with close, friendly relations with Washington, so this will be seen by some as a drastic and unpopular measure. Wealthy Gulf Arab business leaders flying to the US, for example, will no longer be able to work on their laptops mid-flight.But aviation security experts were alarmed by an incident in Somalia last year when the insurgent group al-Shabaab smuggled an explosive-filled laptop on a flight out of Mogadishu, blowing a hole in the side of the plane. The aircraft was still low enough that the pilot was able to land the plane safely.How did the US justify the ban?In a statement, the DHS cited attacks on planes and airports over the past two years.Bombs, it said, had been hidden in such items as a soft drink can, in the downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt in October 2015 with the loss of 224 lives, and the laptop used in the unsuccessful Somali attack last year.“Terrorists have historically tried to hide explosives in shoes in 2001, use liquid explosives in 2006, and conceal explosives in printers in 2010 and suicide devices in underwear in 2009 and 2012,” it noted.So-called Islamic State said it bombed the Russian plane over Egypt (AP)“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,” the DHS said.The restrictions are believed to have been under consideration for several weeks.Jamil al-Qsous, a former Jordanian aviation security official, told the Associated Press news agency that the ban meant “one less headache” for security agencies.He said security measures at Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport were among the most stringent in the region but the Americans had nonetheless taken “the right decision”.What do the critics say?Turkish Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan told reporters the ban was “not a right move”.Ataturk Airport, which has stringent security checks in place, was attacked last year (Reuters)“We particularly emphasise how this will not benefit the passenger and that reverse steps or a softening should be adopted,” he added.Philip Baum, editor in chief of Aviation Security magazine, told the BBC: “If we cannot, in 2017, distinguish between a laptop that contains an IED [improvised explosive device] and one that does not, then our screening process is completely flawed.“And encouraging people to check laptops, and other such items, into the luggage hold simply makes the challenge even harder. Cabin baggage can, at least, be inspected piece by piece and the accompanying passenger questioned.“Surely the lesson of the Yemen printer toner cartridge devices was that bulk screening is not always up to the task and that common sense should rule – the devices were found due to an alert Emirati security guard, not by X-ray or trace detection technologies.”Is this linked to the Trump travel ban?Officials quoted by Reuters news agency said the new measure was not connected to US President Donald Trump’s efforts to ban travellers from six Muslim-majority states.On 6 March, the US leader signed a revised executive order barring citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from travelling to the US for 90 days.Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked the ban, which had been due to take effect last week. read more

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Father son gunned down in TT

(Trinidad Guardian) An employee from the Port-of-Spain General Hospital (PoSGH) and his father, a retiree who also worked at the hospital, were both ambushed and killed by gunmen in Laventille on Tuesday, while responding to a call of an accident along Picton Road involving one of their vehicles.fresh crime scene at nightFitzroy Daniel, 65, and his son Jabari, 25, were taken to the PoSGH after the attack but Daniel was pronounced dead on arrival. Jabari died while undergoing emergency surgery hours later. Both father and son lived at Boxhill Trace, Laventille.The men were shot in the back of their heads and torsos around 12.30 pm by attackers using high-powered rifles, according to investigating officers.The T&T Guardian was told that Jabari, who works at the PoSGH’s Engineering Department, Refrigeration, reported for duty yesterday (Tuesday) when at shortly before noon he received a phone call from a relative informing him that one of his vehicles was involved in an accident with two other cars and a truck along Picton Road near Dan Kelly.A friend close to the family, who wished not to be identified, said Jabari left in his red station wagon to get his father before going to the area of the accident.“From what we hear, is that by the time they got there the fellas around there were very rowdy and things began to heat up. By then, it look like when Jabari and his dad decided to leave the scene to go back up the hill that the gunman run up on them from where the father sat in the passenger seat and opened fire,” the close friend said.It is believed Jabari, on hearing the gunshots, stopped the car, got out and attempted to run away, but the gunman chased after him and shot him several times in the head and left side of the back. The gunman then ran off.Police are yet to determine a motive for the killing, as although it may be linked to the accident they are not ruling out that it may have been a hit on Jabari.At the PoSGH yesterday, Jabari’s co-workers described him as a “quiet and hardworking” individual.“All of us were very shocked to hear what happened. We knew Fitzroy very well and he retired about five years ago and just recently, I saw him and I asked him if he wasn’t ageing,” one of Jabari’s co-workers said.“Jabari was a real nice and quiet person who was always in work. Just last week he used his other car (the blue one) to come to work and this morning (yesterday) he came with the red one.”Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident, four people were shot in San Juan just after midnight yesterday while liming at a lane off Shende Street, Sunshine Avenue.One of the victims, identified as Kareem Syndey, 29, was pronounced dead at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mount Hope. The others, Ronnie Seecharan, Cornelius Samuel and Davien Garth, remain warded at hospital in critical conditions.Police said the group of men were liming when they were ambushed by gunmen at about 12.20 am. A motive is yet to be determined in that shooting incident.The murder toll now stands at 279 for the year so far.Investigations are continuing into both incidents. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedSchoolboy murdered in T&T, ten years after brotherJuly 5, 2018In “latest news”Cousins gunned down in T&TJune 19, 2017In “Crime”T&T man gunned down in range roverFebruary 6, 2017In “latest news” read more

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Teen fined 80000 after admitting to stealing colleagues salary

A 17-year-old of Kingston, Georgetown, was on Friday fined $80,000 when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts to answer to a charge of theft.The teen admitted to carrying out the act when Magistrate Leron Daly read the charge to him.He admitted that between July 31 and August 1, 2017, at Kingston, Georgetown, he stole $80,000 cash property of Damascus Grant.According to the prosecution’s case, the Virtual Complainant (VC) and defendant work together and on July 31, 2017, Grant collected his salary together with other monies and placed it in the pocket of his bag which he then secured at the said place of work and proceeded to go clubbing.However, upon his return the following day, at around 09:30h, he checked his bag and observed that the money was missing.A report was made at the Police Station and the defendant was arrested and questioned. He admitted to stealing the cash and as such was charged with the offence.When questioned as to why he stole the money, the defendant said he was “sorry” for what he did.Magistrate Daly fined him the said $80,000. Failure to pay the fine will result in him serving six months in prison. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCaught red-handed…18-year-old fined for stealing iPhoneJanuary 28, 2016In “Crime”Carpet thief pleads for freedom, fined $25,000April 25, 2018In “Court”Zinc thief before Court again, jailed for stealing water pumpApril 9, 2018In “Court” read more

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Neighbouring South American countries stiffen borders as chaos in Venezuela triggers

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMaduro tells Venezuelan migrants to ‘stop cleaning foreign toilets,’ returnAugust 29, 2018In “Regional”Venezuela’s neighbours seek aid to grapple with migration crisisSeptember 5, 2018In “latest news”US offers $2.5m in aid to Venezuelans in ColombiaMarch 20, 2018In “latest news” Venezuelan citizens wait in line to cross to Ecuador at the Rumichaca international bridge in Ipiales, Colombia, on August 11, 2018.(CNN) Thousands of Venezuelans fleeing the economic and humanitarian crisis roiling their homeland are facing increasing hostility from their South American neighbors.Stricter border rules and mob violence have greeted some migrants as they look for refuge from the chaotic situation in Venezuela.The mass exodus is ratcheting up tensions in countries such as Peru, Ecuador and Brazil even as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announces the introduction of “a magic formula” to get his country back on track.Brazil announced Sunday it would deploy 120 men from the country’s national force to the border state of Roraima, where hostility towards Venezuelan migrants recently boiled over.On Saturday, a mob of Brazilians attacked a group of Venezuelans in a border city and destroyed a migrant camp after a local business owner was robbed by Venezuelans, according to Brazil’s state run news outlet, Agencia Brasil. Around 1,200 Venezuelan migrants fled back over the border after the attack.A judge had earlier ruled to prohibit the entry of all Venezuelans to the state but the decision was overturned by Brazil’s supreme court.The Brazilian government has said it is committed to helping Venezuelans and will continue to try to spread migrants throughout various states in the country.The Venezuelan government issued a statement asking the Brazilian government to “take measures to safeguard and secure” Venezuelan citizens, “their families and belongings.”Ecuador and Peru announce restrictive measuresMeanwhile, a new rule came into effect in Ecuador Saturday requiring Venezuelan citizens entering the country to present a valid passport. Previously, Ecuador accepted other forms of identification.CNN was present at the border and spoke to some of the migrants. Many were caught by surprise, having started their journeys before the measure went into effect.“My family is fragmented, destroyed. We’re no longer together,” one Venezuelan migrant told CNN Sunday. “My son is in Peru, my daughter in Chile, I have yet another daughter who’s on her way to Poland. Give me a break! When will I get them all together again? My wife is in Venezuela. The situation is dire.”On Sunday as Ecuador’s Interior Ministry relaxed the identification rule slightly, saying on Twitter that the law allows for children and adolescents to not present their passport “as long as both parents have it and show their relationship of filiation and kinship.”The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says more than half a million Venezuelans have crossed into Ecuador via Colombia since the start of the year and that the number is accelerating with some 30,000 entering in the first week of August alone.The government has declared a state of emergency in human mobility in three provinces, meaning it can assign additional resources to Venezuelans.Ecuador is both a destination and transit point for Venezuelans escaping the humanitarian crisis in their own country. Some of the migrants are also heading towards Peru and countries further south.The Peruvian government has followed Ecuador’s lead, announcing Saturday that beginning August 25, Venezuelan citizens who want to enter Peru can do so only with a valid passport.Once land of opportunityIt is a reversal of fortunes for Venezuela, which was once the richest country in Latin America and a destination of choice for those fleeing turmoil in the region during the 1970s and 80s.Colombians fleeing civil war, Peruvians fleeing the political and economic instability under Alberto Fujimori and Chileans fleeing the Pinochet dictatorship sought refuge in the oil-rich country, which was seen as a land of opportunity.An economic crisis is driving the current mass migration out of Venezuela, where residents now live with food shortages, overcrowded hospitals, inflation and political turmoil.For now, the exodus shows no sign of slowing.Venezuelans filed 117,000 asylum claims in the first six months of this year, surpassing the total number of claims made in 2017, according to the UNHCR.“The exodus of Venezuelans from the country is one of Latin America’s largest mass-population movements in history,” UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said in a statement. “Many of the Venezuelans are moving on foot, in an odyssey of days and even weeks in precarious conditions.”What is Venezuela’s government doing?On Friday, President Nicolas Maduro announced new economic measures to go into effect starting Monday — — including a 60-fold increase in the minimum wage that will being to take effect on September 7.Maduro said the government will provide assistance on the minimum wage increase for 90 days but employers are nervous they won’t have enough money to pay their staff.The President also announced that the government was removing five zeroes from the Venezuelan currency — dropping the Bolivar’s value more than 90% — and launching a cryptocurrency called “Petro.” Venezuela plans to roll out a new currency Monday, the “Bolivar Soberano,” which will be worth 100,000 “old” Bolivares and was created to simplify transactions in the hyperinflationary Venezuelan economy.Maduro made a Facebook Live address on Sunday, saying, “We are going through a re-balancing process.“This does not happen overnight,” he said. “This re-balancing process will be developed. This is a magic formula that is truly impressive. That we discovered through our own thoughts and analysis.”A bank holiday was declared Monday out of the blue, with banks remaining closed even as the new currency was to take effect.Explaining the measures on national television Sunday night, Maduro said: “This is a really impressive, magic formula that we discovered while studying with our own, Venezuelan, Latin American-rooted thinking.”The latest announcements caused merchants to close their doors over the weekend, not knowing how to reflect the new currency in their pricing. Shoppers, on the other hand, rushed to supermarkets and gas stations that remained open.The International Monetary Fund says Venezuela’s inflation may hit 1 million percent by the end of the year.Amidst the chaos, there have been attempts on Maduro’s life. Two high-ranking military officers were detained earlier this month in connection with an alleged drone attack against Maduro. The government said drones armed with explosives flew toward the president as he spoke at a military parade.Maduro has accused opposition groups of orchestrating the August 4 failed attack and claimed the “financiers and planners” of the operation live in Florida.CNN’s Flora Charner and Stefano Pozzebon contributed to this report. read more

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