Thabo Sefolosha will wrap his Atlanta Hawks career with a lawsuit settlement.(Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images)Atlanta Hawks’ forward Thabo Sefolosha will get a $4-million settlement in a police-brutality suit he filed against the NYPD that he said broke his leg and left him unable to finish the NBA season in 2015.“This settlement is not a concession that Mr. Sefolosha was blameless in this matter and there was no admission of liability by the defendants,” the city law department said in a statement to the New York Daily News. “But, in light of the gravity of his injuries, the potential impact on his career as a professional athlete and the challenge for a jury in sorting out the facts in this incident, the resolution of the case was in the best interests of the city.”The $4-million payout is a fraction of the $50 million Sefolosha originally sought from the New York City Police Department and the city it serves in October 2015.As previously reported, police maintained they had been close to Manhattan, N.Y.’s 1Oak nightclub in April 2015 addressing the stabbing of now-Turkish Basketball Super League player Chris Copeland. The cops claimed Sefolosha questioned their authority, adding they were simply trying to keep him out of the area. Sefolosha said he handed a homeless man money near the club when officers pulled him to the ground, arresting Sefolosha and breaking his leg. Former Hawks teammate Pero Antic had accompanied Sefolosha to the club and also was arrested.Sefolosha, whose suit also pointed to a “racial matter” regarding the hoodie he wore at the time of his arrest, testified that he referred to NYPD Officer Jean Paul Giacona as “a midget,” according to NYDN, before he was dragged to the ground. The act of police brutality injured the 6-foot-6 baller’s leg and could have ended his NBA career, his lawsuit said.Charges against Sefolosha stemming from the incident, including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, were dismissed in October 2015.The 2016-2017 NBA season will be Sefolosha’s last as a Hawk as his three-year, $12-million deal comes to a close, Yahoo reported. He will become a free agent this summer, while Antic, who also sued the city over the scuffle, is playing for the Turkish Basketball Super League. Antic’s federal lawsuit over the incident is pending.
Marshall basketball coach Dan D’Antoni was angry. His team had been down 20 points at halftime during a late December non-conference game against Pittsburgh (“We looked like we were running in mud,” he said), had exploded in the second half, scoring 1.45 points per possession on a variety of back-breaking 3-pointers and half-court cuts that led to easy layups, and still lost. Any team that can drop 68 points in 20 minutes should win the game, but the final score was 112-106 in favor of Pittsburgh. “We booted it,” he said. When a reporter questioned whether the team’s high number of 3-point attempts might explain the loss, he got testy.Decked out in his customary Marshall basketball t-shirt and a dark blazer, D’Antoni unspooled what he referred to as his “daggone analytics story”: “The last two championships have been Cleveland and Golden State,” he said, talking about the NBA. “What did they do? You don’t see anybody post up. They just spread that thing out and go.”D’Antoni became an overnight exemplar of analytics. But can an NBA blueprint remake a mid-major team with subpar talent in the NCAA?When I asked D’Antoni about his quote, he said that he didn’t mean to embarrass the reporter but, “I could’ve said, ‘Of all those five players on the floor, how many of them do you think we had rated higher for college play than [Pittsburgh] had?’ And we’re within a few points of them. That’s like going to the playground and giving the other team the first five picks, saying, ‘Let’s play,’ and then when they win, saying they outcoached us. Give me a break.”This is D’Antoni’s third season at Marshall, after roughly a decade as an NBA assistant, where he coached alongside his younger brother, Mike, in Phoenix, New York and Los Angeles. Thus far, his tenure has mostly been a success. Before he arrived in Huntington, Marshall had been known more as a stepping stone for rising coaches, such as Billy Donovan and Donnie Jones, than for any on-court successes: the team had finished under .500 nine times since 2001-02. The Herd won 17 games in 2016 (the record marked Marshall’s fifth-highest win total in the 2000s) and quickly notched 14 wins this season before a three-game losing streak the past two weeks sapped some of the squad’s momentum. Now tied for fifth in Conference USA, the Herd have an uphill climb to make it to the NCAA tournament. They face arguably the conference’s toughest February slate — UAB, Old Dominion, and Middle Tennessee all loom during this next week; they’ll likely need a run through the CUSA tournament to make it to the dance.D’Antoni isn’t your usual coach. As I prepped for our interview, I read an article about D’Antoni that mentioned he once said he hugged a tree in his front yard each morning. When I asked D’Antoni about it, he said, “I believe there is a connection between here and somewhere else, and since the tree is a living thing, I connect through it and thank it for everything I have been fortunate to have.” But perhaps even more compelling is his attempt to transform Marshall, a team composed of borderline DI players, a walk-on, and an ex-DII player, into one of the nation’s most analytically efficient offenses.“If you do just the ordinary, you’ll lose, so you have to do something unusual to beat people more athletically gifted than you,” D’Antoni said.For the Marshall coach, that means streamlining an offense so that his players are executing each possession with the intent of taking the most efficient shot possible. And D’Antoni knows all of the percentages. “I’ve told our players the numbers forever,” D’Antoni said. “When you look at offense, it’s not about the overall scheme — it’s about the actions within an offense, and you have to know the best odds for scoring.” Using data culled from the NBA, which D’Antoni contended still applies to the college game, a corner 3, which is worth 1.27 points per shot, is the best shot in basketball. The next best shot? “Any other three,” he said. A lay-up — “a clean lay-up,” D’Antoni stresses — is even better: 1.8 points per shot.1According to the NBA’s most recent data, a shot in the restricted area is worth 1.21 points per shot, while a 3-pointer above the break — that is, an attempt either atop the perimeter or on the wing — is 1.06 points and a corner 3 is 1.21 points.Which is why Marshall never stops shooting. Roughly 43 percent of the team’s attempts are from beyond the arc, squaring Marshall within Division I’s top 50 (per Ken Pomeroy), and according to Synergy Sports, Marshall scores 1.08 points per spot up (1.17 points per catch and shoot), which is bested by only 23 other DI squads. “I don’t know if there is another team in the country that does as many shooting drills as we do,” said Austin Loop, a junior guard with the third-best overall offensive rating in Division I and who has converted 49 percent of his 3’s. Perhaps not coincidentally, Marshall scores at one of the country’s most efficient clips, dropping 1.11 points per possession, which is the highest ever for a D’Antoni-coached team (and good for the top 60 nationally).“We go over every stat that the coaches keep,” Ryan Taylor, Marshall’s senior stretch-4, said. That includes game-by-game plus/minus reports, which are presented to the Herd via a white board in their locker room, as well as intensive film sessions and Synergy analysis (provided by D’Antoni and the rest of the coaching staff). “Coach D’Antoni wants us to make at least 36 percent of our 3’s, which equates to 52 percent on 2’s,” Taylor elaborated.2If Marshall were to connect on 36 percent from deep, it would actually equate to 54 percent of their 2’s. “Taking 3’s is easier for us — since it is farther away from the basket, it isn’t contested, and then it opens up our offense even more.”D’Antoni didn’t naturally warm to this style of play. During his initial years as a high school coach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, he coached conservatively: “My teams were constantly posting up and taking contested 2’s, which are essentially worthless. Those shots only count for .78 points and are the worst shot in basketball.”His thinking didn’t change until a late-1980s conversation with Mike, then playing in Europe, who relayed the revolutionary impact of the 3-point shot overseas. Dan began to eliminate post ups and mid-range jumpers, and he emphasized 3-point attempts and pick-and-rolls. He continued to fine-tune his offensive approach after he ditched the high school ranks and followed his brother to Phoenix as an assistant, where the two coined the phrase “athletic ball,” a concept D’Antoni brought with him to Marshall: “Instead of a player creating a scoring opportunity, you move the ball quickly so that the ball creates the opportunity. That way, a player who isn’t as athletic but is skilled can play against anybody. As long as the ball is free flowing, it’ll get to the place where that guy is capable of making that shot.”As Mike explains, “Something has to be athletic enough on the floor if your players aren’t, and the ball zipping around accomplishes that.”That’s being put to the test at Marshall. D’Antoni arrived at the college game at a fitting moment. Since 2002, DI’s 3-point field goal attempts rate — the percentage of shots taken beyond the arc — has jumped from 32.1 to 36.2 percent, the highest it has ever been. What works for Cleveland, Golden State and the majority of the NBA — spacing the floor through the 3-pointer — has finally begun to saturate the DI level, and thanks to the years D’Antoni spent on the NBA sidelines, Marshall has been a leader in this strategic shift (the Herd’s 3-point attempts rate jumped from 34 to 42 percent in his first season).As the team’s 14-11 record makes clear, though, change takes time. What D’Antoni is preaching clearly works at the NBA level, but his players are not of that caliber, and the learning curve — even 90 games into his tenure — is still much steeper.During Marshall’s recent losing streak, the Herd made just 30 percent of its 3’s and scored an anemic 1 point per possession. D’Antoni spends each practice teaching his players what constitutes a good shot from a bad shot in his free-flowing and fast-paced offense, but the line separating the two is still very much open for interpretation when the players take the court.“If you watch us play, we still take a lot of bad shots,” said former assistant coach Chris Duhon, who spoke with FiveThirtyEight before he resigned in January after an arrest for driving with a license revoked stemming from a DUI. “We haven’t mastered that process yet.”“Obviously they take some bad 3’s, but heck, if I coached any other way, they’d take some bad 2’s,” D’Antoni said. “But I don’t want players looking over their shoulders to see what is a good shot or not. Our offense gives them a freedom to play the game and use their own smarts to create good shots. Let them choose.”This is the only way D’Antoni knows how to coach, and as a self-described “gunslinger,” the only way he believes Marshall will succeed is through what he calls his ‘organized chaos’ offense. “There is more to it than just saying, ‘Here’s an analytic game plan, let’s do it,’” he said. “I may have opened up how the game is played, but I never want to stand pat.”He continued, “I am a big believer in risk. You have to know how to bet, know the odds, and have a feel for everything. How far along I am with my coaching and whether it’ll work, I don’t know. I tried to figure out the odds, and I just know what I’m coaching at Marshall presents us the best odds for winning.”
For every step taken, there’s been a step back — no matter who has been the coach. The team made a breakthrough in 1994 when it reached the knockout stage for the first time in the expanded World Cup era.1It was expanded to 24 teams in 1982 and to 32 teams in 1998. It followed that by crashing out in 1998. The Americans stunned Portugal in the group stage in 2002 and made its first modern-era quarterfinals with a win over Mexico in the round of 16. It followed that by being a complete also-ran in 2006. So if the heroics in 2010 and 2014 — when the team fought through tough groups to survive and advance in dramatic fashion — gave the U.S. any confidence, it has just been completely wiped out. 7/23/00Qualifier1799Costa Rica157167.6 DATESTAGEU.S. ELOOPPONENTOPP. ELOHOME?WIN PROB. 10/10/17Qualifier1761Trinidad & Tobago138982.7% 5/31/85Qualifier1558Costa Rica1505✓70.7 Only includes matches that were at the World Cup or World Cup qualifying level (i.e., excludes continental championships, friendlies and minor tournaments). Games played in neutral locations denoted with a dash.Source: eloratings.net A chart of the U.S. team’s Elo rating over the past two decades shows not so much steady growth but a series of peaks and valleys with, at the moment, no overall progress to speak of. This is not to say that money and size are everything in international soccer. The two biggest countries in the world by population — China and India — have made the World Cup just once (China in 2002), whereas Iceland, a country of just 340,000, will play in its first next summer. But the U.S is different. It has spent the last decade talking about long-term plans for soccer development. The U.S. Soccer Federation increased its staffing and pay for national team coaches and introduced new youth initiatives to build a better team from the ground up. It is hard to see the results of these ambitions on the field. We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe 3/25/16Qualifier1749Guatemala146074.8 9/1/17Qualifier1789Costa Rica1741✓70.1 All newsletters 5/11/69Qualifier1455Haiti1453✓64.3 6/14/02World Cup1832Poland1653—73.7 9/1/01Qualifier1791Honduras1734✓71.2 Before coach Bruce Arena gets too much of the blame, it’s important to remember that it was the failures of the team under his predecessor, Jurgen Klinsmann, that put the Americans in this position in the first place. The team lost to Mexico and Costa Rica last November in this qualifying cycle, which led to Klinsmann’s ouster. And, ultimately, losing those points made what should have been a meaningless game against Trinidad a must-win. Earlier last year, the same Klinsmann team also inexplicably dropped a game to Guatemala in the group stage of qualifying, the second-worst loss by Elo.The advantages the U.S. squandered are many. America finally has a legitimate men’s soccer superstar in Christian Pulisic, but he alone could not score two goals for the team. (He got one.) And it’s not just a question of talent: The U.S. towers over these CONCACAF opponents when it comes to resources. Trinidad and Tobago, after all, has a population of 1.2 million — or roughly the size of the greater Hartford metro area. Here is how the 12 countries that made the group stage of the 2018 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying compare in gross domestic product and population — it probably won’t be hard to spot the U.S. 10/15/08Qualifier1813Trinidad & Tobago153373.8 6/22/06World Cup1797Ghana1682—66.0 The worst USMNT World Cup losses everMatches for which the U.S. men’s soccer team had the highest probability of winning (according to Elo ratings) but ultimately lost, 1885-2017 No one still believes that we will win.On Tuesday night, it all fell apart for the U.S. men’s national soccer team. A seven tournament, 24-year streak of consecutive World Cup berths was snapped in cartoonishly heartbreaking fashion.Coming into the match, American fans were rightfully confident. All it would take to qualify for the World Cup was a win or a tie against Trinidad and Tobago, a team that had nothing to play for but pride and only one win in nine matches in the final qualifying group. And even if somehow the U.S. lost, Honduras and Panama would both need victories over the top two teams in the group, Mexico and Costa Rica, to complete the elimination. If the USMNT lost and only one of Honduras or Panama won, the US would be headed for a playoff against Australia. By ESPN’s Soccer Power Index, the United States had a 93 percent chance of reaching its eighth consecutive World Cup.Then the U.S. conceded two goals in the first half — first an own goal and then a blistering 35-yard strike — despite giving up little in the way of high-quality chances. And despite a halftime switch to bring on Clint Dempsey and line up two attackers behind strikers Bobby Wood and Jozy Altidore, the U.S. could not create the chances to level the score. USMNT fans could only watch in horror, and Panama and Honduras both clawed back first-half deficits to knock the U.S. out of World Cup qualification.U.S. men’s soccer is obviously no stranger to embarrassment and heartbreak on the international stage. In the 1998 World Cup and the 2006 World Cup — the last two on European soil — it combined for one tie and five losses. In 2015, the team was stunned at home in the Gold Cup semifinal by Jamaica, which at the time was ranked 76th in the world by FIFA. But what happened Tuesday night may stand alone.Looking only at World Cup matches and qualifiers, it was the worst loss in USMNT’s history based on the Elo rating system. Going into the game, Elo gave the U.S. an 83 percent chance of beating Trinidad and Tobago, making the Americans huge favorites even after accounting for the fact that they were playing on the road. Going back to 1885, the American men had never lost a match at that level when they had such a high probability of winning. And it came with all the chips on the table. You cannot blame U.S. soccer fans for being a little woozy this morning.
Ohio State sophomore guard C.J. Jackson (3) and junior forward Jae’Sean Tate walk down the floor in the second half against Northwestern on Jan. 22 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jacob Myers | Assistant Sports EditorWhen Ohio State (13-8, 3-5 Big Ten) began conference play 0-4, it appeared the Buckeyes would be left in the dust as the rest of the conference would separate themselves from the pack. However, for some, it’s more difficult to leave the nest than it is for others.The current state of the Big Ten has nine teams separated by just one game from fifth place to 13th. OSU is one of six teams at 3-5 and a game behind three teams at 4-4. Coach Thad Matta said he hasn’t been paying close attention.“I’m more just like, ‘let’s just keep winning basketball games,’” he said. “In the end, I am aware of this, that (Saturday’s) game turns the halfway point. I think that there’s still so much that has to be done, but I guess that there is a log jam or whatever. But we’ll see how it plays out.”Whether he realizes the traffic in the heart of the Big Ten standings or not, Matta is well aware the Buckeyes can’t afford a stumble on the road against the Iowa Hawkeyes (11-10, 3-5 Big Ten) who are also fighting for relevance in the arduous Big Ten. The Buckeyes have done themselves a favor by beating Michigan State and, most recently, Minnesota at home — two teams currently projected in the NCAA tournament according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Three weeks ago, OSU looked totally overmatched against conference competition, giving reason to believe that the season could be the worst finish in the Big Ten in Matta’s tenure. Since then, OSU has gone 3-1 against three teams who are in strong consideration for at-large bids come March.But what was absent in all of that talk was the fact that two of OSU’s five conference losses have come by a combined total of three points and the team has played through the third-toughest Big Ten schedule to date. That’s just a couple reasons why Matta has been telling the players that the season isn’t over and there’s still plenty to play for after what was a bleak beginning.“You know, we’re not out of this yet,” junior forward Jae’Sean Tate said. “It’s a tight race. Anything can happen. We just got to go out there every game we play and try to win and the rest will take care of itself.”Iowa is eerily similar to OSU thus far. The Hawkeyes have the second toughest conference strength of schedule, behind Illinois, and have performed well at home, but poorly on the road. All three conference wins for coach Fran McCaffery have come at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, including a victory over then-No. 17 Purdue. Like Iowa, the Buckeyes haven’t performed well away from home. OSU is shooting roughly 44 percent from the field on the road compared to better than 47 percent on its home floor. Likewise, Iowa is six percent worse shooting away from home. The Buckeyes and Hawkeyes also have both been blown out on the road to two teams at the top of the conference — Wisconsin and Northwestern, respectively.The Buckeyes have struggled with performing well from the tip on the road. Against Minnesota, OSU led by as much as 17 in the first half, which is the opposite of what usually happens away from Columbus. OSU has seen first-half deficits of 18 at Minnesota, 18 at Wisconsin and 12 at Nebraska.“I don’t know why that is,” freshman forward Andre Wesson said. “We definitely got to fix that because that definitely can’t happen again. We got to continue to do what we did, just build on what we did against Minnesota.”Regardless of the trend so far this season, OSU has to break its spell and find a way to capture a win at Iowa to avoid falling behind the ball in the Big Ten.“Where we’re at right now, our room for error is very tight,” Tate said. “Going in there and we’re going to give it the best we got and build on this last game.”
At the end of the regular season, No. 14 Ohio State women’s volleyball team didn’t just earn an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, but three Buckeyes were also recognized for their spectacular play on the court as well. Leading their team to a 22-10 overall record, with a 13-7 record in the Big Ten, senior outside hitters Mari Hole and Emily Danks, along with junior outside hitter Kaitlyn Leary earned All-Big Ten honors as the league announced on Tuesday. Hole was one of the eight players that were voted unanimous All-Big Ten selections, while her teammates were awarded All-Big Ten honorable mention. For the second time in her career with OSU, Norway product Hole snagged All-Big Ten honor by being one of the best hitters in the country. She led her team with a 4.36 kills per set average in her conference that is the second best among all Big Ten student-athletes. Danks aced her way to her second All-Big Ten honorable mention honor by being one of the best in serving up aces. Against Big Ten opponents, Danks totaled 29 aces and led her team with 62 blocks. In a breakout season for the Parma, Ohio, product, Leary captured her first Big Ten honor as she finished second on her team with a 3.20 kills average against teams within her conference. She ended up with 243 kills for the year. The Buckeyes will continue their season into the 2012 NCAA Tournament, as they will face Notre Dame on Friday at Lexington, Ky. Tip-off for the game will start at 5 p.m. ET.
Ohio State then-junior forward Mason Jobst (26) attempts to evade a Badger defender in the first period of the game against Wisconsin on Feb. 23 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignNo. 1 Ohio State men’s hockey scored in the final minutes of the game against UMass to win their first home game of the season by a score of 3-1.Coming off a 6-3 Friday night loss to the Minutemen in their home opener, head coach Steve Rohlik said the Buckeyes were looking to respond to the loss and play like the No. 1 team in the nation to earn their first home win of the season.“I like our group and our room. We’ve got a great culture,” Rohlik said. “It was a good response. You don’t like losing, and certainly don’t want to lose two in a row, so it was a good response for our guys tonight.”The teams traded goals early, with a goal by UMass sophomore forward Mitchell Chaffee being followed up only 13 seconds later by Ohio State junior forward Tanner Laczynski’s first goal of the season. Laczynski’s goal was assisted by junior forward Ronnie Hein and sophomore defenseman Grant Gabriele, his first point of the season.After these goals, however, a scoring drought developed, as neither team scored for the next 51 minutes of game time. Both teams had two power play opportunities during the game that were killed, and had multiple open shots that went off the post or wide of the net.Ohio State sophomore goalie Tommy Nappier allowed one goal and had 35 saves, tied for a career-high, and has only allowed one goal through two games this season.UMass freshman goaltender Filip Lindberg contributed to the Buckeyes woes on offense for most of the game, only allowing two goals and saving 36 shots for the Minutemen.The tie was finally broken with Lacyznski’s second goal of the game, assisted by redshirt junior defenseman Wyatt Ege with less than two minutes remaining in the game. “Last night we came out, we played hard first couple shifts, but then, you know, we were just flat the rest of the game it felt like,” junior forward Tanner Laczynski said. “It was good today, I thought we came out hard, put the pressure on them, and I thought we were consistent the whole night.”Ohio State outshot the Minutemen 39-36 on the night. Senior forward Mason Jobst added an additional goal in the empty UMass net with less than a minute left to make the final score 3-1.The Buckeyes will remain home for their series-opening game against Bowling Green next Friday at 7:00 p.m. and will travel to Bowling Green for their game Saturday at 7:07 p.m.
Ohio State then-freshman goalie Andrea Braendli (30) prepares for a shot in the game against Minnesota State on Oct. 11. Ohio State won 4-0. Credit: Wyatt Crosher | Assistant Sports EditorThe Ohio State women’s hockey team is set and ready to go for a road trip after a bye week of preparation.No. 6 Ohio State (11-5, 7-3 WCHA) last played Nov. 17 when it swept Minnesota Duluth at home in a top 10 matchup. This week, the Buckeyes face conference opponent Minnesota State (7-5-2, 2-5-1 WCHA), a team that they swept earlier in the season at home. The last time Ohio State played on the road, it lost twice to then-winless Bemidji State. After the week off, Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said the team took the bye to make the necessary improvements.“Although it was a bye week, it wasn’t really,” Muzerall said. “We took that as a training week. It was a bad road weekend the last time against Bemidji, but we can’t keep looking in the rearview mirror. We’ve moved on from that and we bounced back incredibly against Duluth in the following weekend. Now we know what’s at stake.”Minnesota State has not had a winning season since the 2003-04 season and currently rides a three-game winning streak. Continuing that streak with a statement win against a top 10 team such as Ohio State would certainly attract attention. Muzerall said the key to beating Minnesota State again is getting to its freshman goaltender Abigail Levy early. “Last time we played them, we only won by a goal, but we dominated the game,” Muzerall said. “What that told me is that they have a very good goaltender, and she is. So, we just got to rattle her early and get on the board early. If we don’t, then the key is not to panic. You just keep getting shots on net, crashing the net and the end result may not be pretty, but it still shows on the scoreboard.” Ohio State also has an impressive goaltender of its own in freshman Andrea Braendli. Braendli won WCHA Rookie of the Week for her play against Minnesota Duluth, saving 48 shots over the two games, the second time of the season Braendli received rookie of the week honors. The first time she won the award was when the Buckeyes played the Mavericks. Braendli feels very confident that she and her fellow Buckeyes will come out on top in the goaltender matchup. “Those successes are always an honor to receive. It’s a big confidence booster as we go up to face the Mavericks,” Braendli said. “The last two games we played against them were my first two WCHA games and I know I can do even better in these games. I know Levy is really good, but I think I’m better. I’m not focusing on her. I have to focus on myself, so I can be prepared.” Braendli said another key for an Ohio State win is to continue playing its aggressive style of play.“Buckeye hockey is how we succeed. We’re unique in that our hockey is a very interesting play style,” Braendli said. “We plan to be ready from the first shift and we expect them to come out hard and fast. Our Buckeye hockey means that we will pressure back. Our hockey is fast and aggressive and when we play like that, I believe that we are the better team.” The Buckeyes play two games this weekend on Friday and Saturday against Minnesota State. Friday’s game is set to start at 7 p.m. and Saturday’s game is set for 3 p.m.
Temperatures are set to plunge well below zero this week as an Arctic blast sweeps across the country.Vast swathes of Britain are expected to be covered in several inches of snow, after a cold northerly wind hits parts of the country on Wednesday evening. The cold blast will sweep across the UK, hitting northern Scotland and the North Sea coast, as well as Northern Ireland, parts of Wales, Devon and Cornwall, the Met Office said. Snowstorms and chilly winds will reach the whole of the UK by the weekend, the forecaster warned.From Friday, the whole of the country could see freezing storms bring 2-4 inches (5-10cm) of snow. Temperatures could drop as low as -12°C in parts of Scotland.The Met Office has warned commuters to expect heavy traffic problems as thick ice and snow are likely to disrupt services across the country on Friday.Forecaster Marco Petagna said: “We could see the coldest day of winter on Friday. A cold front moving in from the Atlantic will bring heavy frost and frequent snowstorms.”It is likely that five to 10 centimetres of snow will come in from the north and fall as far as the south of the country on Friday, and there could be even thicker snow in the hills.”Daytime temperatures on Wednesday will be around 4-6°C (39-43°F) but harsh winds will make it feel as if temperatures are well below freezing.”Temperatures will become increasingly colder throughout the week and by Friday it is likely that night-time temperatures will be as low as minus 2°C (28°F).”He warned that thick ice and snow could cause widespread travel disruptions on Friday. He said: “People will need to keep tuned to forecast updates because it is extremely likely that travel warnings will be issued.”The frost is likely to harden which could give rise to a number of hazards.”The freezing Arctic blast will first hit Scotland and the North on Wednesday before gradually moving all the way down to the south. He explained: “Low-pressure weather systems will move in from the Atlantic and bring cold northerly winds.”Cold and stormy conditions will begin in the north of the country and cover the entire country until Friday evening.”He added that weather should be mild on Monday but will become increasingly unsettled on Tuesday. He said: “Commuters can expect a quiet day on Monday with low cloud cover across the most of the UK.”Mild temperatures of 9- 10°C (48-50°F) can be expected in much of the country thanks to high-pressure weather systems, with a low risk of rain to be expected in the north west.”On Tuesday the picture will become increasingly unsettled and there could be outbreaks of rain in the north west and south west of the country.”Weather systems will bring damp and windy weather on Tuesday evening before the cold front moves in from the Atlantic on Wednesday.” Snow could cause problems for the roadsCredit:Darren Staples /Reuters Cold weather has hit across Europe. Pictured is the Temple of Appolon in GreeceCredit:Valerie Gache/AFP / Getty 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.
Miss Harman, now 66, graduated aged 21 in 1972 with a 2:1 degree despite having turned down the married professor’s alleged advances.Referring to the incident when she was a politics undergraduate, she said she “did not” respond to the alleged offer by her course tutor, adding: “I was repulsed by him.”The claim is made in Miss Harman’s memoir, called A Woman’s Work, which is due to be published next week, reported the Daily Mail.Prof Sathyamurthy, who died in 1998 aged 68 after 30 years of teaching at York, was married at the time of the alleged incident. Harriet Harman, the former Labour deputy leader, has claimed that a university lecturer offered her a better degree score in exchange for sex.The MP said she was “repulsed” by the alleged offer from a professor while she was studying politics at the University of York in the 1970s.She said that Professor T V Sathyamurthy told her he could guarantee her a 2:1 in return for sleeping with him after telling her she was a “borderline candidate”. At the time of his death, an obituary described academic life as being like “oxygen” to Madras-born Prof Sathyamurthy, adding: “His curiosity about his human habitat knew no bounds.”Filed in his capacious memory were countless anecdotes, tales of feuds, mishaps, indiscretions and entanglements (he candidly confessed to more than his fair share).”Miss Harman’s new book, which is being promoted as “the story of women’s progressive politics over the past 30 years”, charts her role in increasing the number of female MPs and tackling a Parliamentary culture “with no consideration for family life”. Filed in his capacious memory were countless anecdotes, tales of feuds, mishaps, indiscretions and entanglementsobituary to Harriet Harman’s university course tutor Harriet Harman graduated from the University of York in 1972 with a 2:1 degree despite turning down the alleged advancesCredit:Alamy She became the first Minister for Women under Tony Blair in 1997 and ten years later was appointed Minister for Women and Equality by Gordon Brown.Miss Harman joined an estimated 100,000 who descended on central London on Saturday in a women’s march as protests were held around the world following US President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Harriet Harman speaking at a rally in London in 1984Credit:Express/Getty Dr David Duncan, registrar and secretary at the University of York, said: “The allegations made by Ms Harman are extremely concerning.”The University of York strongly condemns all forms of sexual harassment and will not tolerate it among staff or students.”Behaviour of the sort described by Ms Harman would constitute gross misconduct and would lead to dismissal. “We have an extensive support system in place for students and staff who are concerned about harassment of any kind.”We are also in the process of developing new guidance following publication of the recent UUK report on violence against women, harassment and race hate.” 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.
Adam Henson, a presenter on the BBC programme, said farmers should instead celebrate their lives saying they had an “incredible environment to work in” which should be promoted. Farmers need to stop “whingeing” about being underpaid because they are putting off younger generations from following in their steps, a Countryfile presenter has said. “We’ve got better over the years, we’ve become more professional I think…but we’re very good at being the over-worked, under paid whingeing farmer when actually we should be celebrating our lives because when I wake up in the morning I genuinely want to go to work. “It’s not all easy but we… “Farmers are really bad at getting the message across,” he said.
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. When you start to look, it is quite alarming… Grades really do matterProfessor Robert Coe “Part of the reason for the re-grading process was because the top grades ad become a bit too common, and you want something that discriminates a bit more,” he said.“But the trade-off is that it is more likely to be wrong, with people awarded a grade that they shouldn’t have got. When you start to look, it is quite alarming. Individual subject grades can make a huge difference to someone’s whole life course. They do really matter.”Students will receive their GCSE results this week for the first time under a numerical system which uses grades one to nine, rather than from A* to G.The grades were designed by former Education Secretary Michael Gove as part of a package of reforms to toughen up syllabuses and to counter grade inflation at the top end, since A and A* are split between seven, eight and nine. Students will receive their GCSE results this week for the first time under a numerical system which uses grades one to nine, rather than from A* to GCredit:Vladimir Smirnov\\TASS via Getty Images Dennis Sherwood, a consultant who has previously carried out research for Ofqual, said that the new system is a “catastrophe”.“This affects everyone but the people on the bottom end are getting an extra kick in teeth,” he said. “If you are a child from a disadvantaged school and can’t afford to appeal, and you got a D instead of a C, you will be in the dustbin for the rest of your life.”Michelle Meadows, Ofqual’s executive director for strategy, risk and research, defended the changes, saying: “New GCSEs have been designed from first principles to deliver better differentiation on the new nine to one grading scale.“The new GCSE exams and mark schemes have been created to support better spread of grade boundaries and reliable assessment.” Mr Sheldon, a chief examiner with one of the UK’s leading exam boards, said that “doing away with grades altogether” would be the best solution, and instead pupils should just be given their a mark as a percentage.Ofqual warned last year of the “profound impact” that grading overhaul will have on likelihood of correct grades. Thousands of students are set to receive the wrong GCSE mark this week under the new numerical grading system, experts have said, as they warn of its “alarming” consequences.The proportion of pupils who will receive an unreliable grade for their English GCSE this Thursday is set to rise from 30 per cent to 45 per cent, statisticians predict, as they call for a system where students are awarded percentages rather than grades.Robert Coe, a professor in Durham University’s School of Education, said that in some cases a child’s grade will be “not much more than chance”. Since there is uncertainty around each grade boundary, the chance of a candidate getting a wrong grade multiplies when more boundaries are added, expert say.Prof Coe, who is director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, one of the UK’s leading educational research centres, said a solution would be to abolish grades altogether and give marks as percentages.Neil Sheldon, vice-president for education and statistical literacy at the Royal Statistical Society, said that the new process “is bound to produce inaccurate results”.“Even though [examiners] are doing their best to get things right, inevitably more will fall the wrong side of the boundary,” he said. “Near every grade boundary there are going to be candidates that have the wrong grade. If there are more boundaries there will be more children getting the wrong grade – there is no doubt whatsoever about that.” Pupils will be marked under the new system for English Literature, English Language and Maths, while the rest of their subjects will be marked under the old A* to G grades.Under the new system, the grade boundaries that affect the vast majority of candidates have increased from four (A* to D) to six (nine to three).
However, Mr Humphrys maintained that fashion models are “thin as rakes” and that it is a bad example for young women.Listeners did not appear to enjoy the segment, with one saying the presenter appeared “painfully out of his depth” and another sarcastically referring to him as a “renowned fashion expert”.The veteran presenter informed Ms Shulman: “60 years ago, the hourglass figure was desirable, now you want to be skinny as a rake.” Oh *please* @BBCr4today can we not have John Humphrys discussing women’s body shapes at 7.30am?— Heather Stewart (@GuardianHeather) August 31, 2017 BBC Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys made his listeners cringe when he aired his views about women’s fashion to former Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman.In Thursday’s Today Programme, he argued that one doesn’t see many “cosy, comfortable bodies” on Vogue and accused the magazine and the fashion industry of encouraging women to wear “excruciating stilettos”.Ms Shulman, who until recently edited British Vogue, attempted to explain the rise of the curvy Kardashian body and the fact that many fashionistas wear flats. She disagreed, pointing to Rihanna, Beyonce and the Kardashians as examples of desirable and curvy bodies.The former Vogue editor said: “No, not sure that’s entirely true actually…Rihanna, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, they’re not that skinny. Skinny is not necessarily what people want to be now. There has been a change in the last decade about that.” Did John Humphrys just describe women’s body shape as ‘cosy and comfortable’? What shape is ‘powerful and strong’ I wonder? #r4today— Amy (@amykurry) August 31, 2017 He pressed on, saying: “You don’t see that shape on the catwalk…all the models are as skinny as a rake. And they promote the size zero. Do Vogue do that as well? You don’t see reasonable cozy and comfortable people on the front of Vogue.” John Humphrys is painfully out of depth in this fashion segment with Alexandra Shulman, it’s embarrassing #r4today #bbcr4today— Stanners (@cheesecakebase) August 31, 2017 How dare the ex editor of Vogue come on #r4today and constantly contradict renowned fashion expert John Humphrys.— Gary Pepworth (@garypepworth) August 31, 2017 She replied: “I don’t know if that’s necessarily true…we had quiet a range…we had Adele, Vogue has a couple of not particularly skinny people coming up soon I think.” Ewww……I got a horrible image of John Humphrys drooling 🤤as he talked about stilettos, leather trousers and bikinis #bbcr4today— JillyCL ☮️ (@JillyCL) August 31, 2017 Mr Humphrys then moved on to the issue of stilettos, saying: “The other way in which fashion is cruel is shoes, stilettos, you make women feel they have to wear very high heels and they must be excruciating.”Ms Shulman joked: “Heavens John, you are very clued up on fashion this morning, no I do not agree with that at all, women do not have to wear high heels…wearing a heel gives you a completely different feel about your body…in my case it makes me feel in control rather than slopping around in a pair of slippers.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
A statistician’s analysis of Ryanair seating plans has led to claims that passengers are more likely to win the lottery than be randomly allocated a middle seat as often as they are.The calculations have prompted Ryanair to admit that it tries to “keep window and aisle seats free” but that the remaining seats are still “randomly allocated”.Jennifer Rogers, the director of statistical consultancy at Oxford University, was given access to information on the number of free seats available at the time of check-in on four different flights and from this was able to calculate the probability of customers being allocated the dreaded middle seat – as each of them was, four times over. So tiny, in fact, that you are more than ten times more likely to win the UK National Lottery (a probability of 1:45,057,474), she says, than for this to happen.We put this to Ryanair.“No, this claim isn’t true,” said Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer. “When a customer does not purchase a seat, they are randomly allocated a seat. The algorithm changes on each flight and each route by reference to demands for reserved seats.” What is this all about @Ryanair ?? Split families up on checkin and then everyone swapping around on the plane #madness #allaboutthemoney— Nicola Hartley (@HartleyNicola) September 1, 2017 Her sums suggest that the allocation of seating for passengers unwilling to pay to select a seat is not as random as they might think.Ryanair has angered some passengers over the summer by suggesting that must they pay an extra charge in order to sit next to each other on a flight.Whereas in the past, many swear blind that they would normally have been seated with friends and family if all were travelling on the same booking, this appeared to suddenly no longer be the case.Ryanair has denied on many occasions in recent months that it has changed its policy and said that it is not deliberately trying to split groups up with the way that seats are allocated. One of the few people able to mathematically put this to the test however is Rogers, who could calculate the likelihood of certain, real-life seating situations arising after being privy to the airline’s seating plans.She was asked by the consumer programme Watchdog to calculate the chances of four programme researchers being randomly allocated middle seats on all four flights, which is what happened.On their Manchester to Dublin flight, for example, she could see that there were 65 seats available at the time of check in, 15 of which were middle.“Therefore, we can calculate the probability of being allocated four middle seats on this flight as 1 in 500,” she said. “Carrying out similar calculations for the other flights, and then combining these probabilities together, I was able to calculate the probability of four researchers being allocated middle seats on their four flights, if the seating allocation was indeed random, as 1:543,094,880. A tiny probability.” @Ryanair @TomWitherow where is our other ‘random’ allocated seat?there are all these free rows around..row 33!!To sit together £28 joke! pic.twitter.com/fSfZWPyYs6— niki spiller (@sleepinbooti) July 3, 2017 Still confused? Us too.“This is entirely a matter of customer choice,” Jacobs explained. “We are very happy to facilitate any customer who wants a free of charge random seat but we are also going to do our best to facilitate customers who are willing to pay for a reserved seat (usually window or aisle) which start from £2.”In what has, in many ways, become a battle of semantics, Rogers puts it this way. “I don’t think they do allocate seats randomly,” she told Telegraph Travel. “Ryanair have said that they save the window and aisle seats. I think the rows will be randomly allocated, but you will be given a middle seat and then they fill up from there.”When contacted by the Telegraph, Ryanair also denied that it was concerned about reports that some passengers, upon boarding, then try to find people to swap seats with in order to reunite groups. ‘We have to keep window and aisle seats free’ says Ryanair Credit:Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto/NurPhoto Seat swapping could lead to flight delays He went on say that, while the airline did withhold window and aisle seats from “random-seat” customers, they were still able to allocate the remaining seats for them at random.“Some random seat passengers are confused by the appearance of empty seats beside them when they check-in up to four days prior to departure,” he said. “The reason they can’t have these window or aisle seats is that these are more likely to be selected by reserved seat passengers many of whom only check-in 24 hours prior to departure.“Since our current load factor is 97 per cent, we have to keep these window and aisle seats free to facilitate those customers who are willing to pay (from £2) for them.” This has been experienced by members of the Telegraph Travel desk on recent flights and there are reports of it happening on social media too.“No,” replied Jacobs yesterday when asked if it was a concern, “as all customers sit in the seats they have been allocated and the issue doesn’t arise.”
Most online products in the Christmas sales are discounted at 40 per cent compared to 39.5 per cent in 2017, according to stats from LovetheSales.com.They expect this to rise beyond 50 per cent on Christmas Day, compared to 50 per cent at the same time last year.A 2017 study by Which? found 58 per cent had issues with at least one delivery last Christmas. Almost a quarter had a failed delivery while 11 per cent had a package left outside, the watchdog said while issuing a warning this year to online last-minute shoppers.Alex Neill, of Which?, said: “Problems with our deliveries really can be a nightmare before Christmas, causing added stress at a busy time of year. “If you face a delivery issue, remember that you have rights and should contact the retailer as soon as possible to have your problem solved.”Asos apologised to customers who complained on Twitter and requested they direct message order numbers to help investigate any complaints.Research by analysts at accounting firm Accenture show delivery times during the Christmas period have gone up – with firms now taking an average of five days to deliver, compared to 3.6 days last year. 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. Amy Maria wrote: “Never ordering from Asos again. So unreliable, ordered an item next day delivery five days ago emailed them yesterday to ask where it is. Got an email with a refund today to say it’s out of stock! Shocking!”Shan Davies wrote: “I ordered a Christmas present for next day delivery on Wednesday and now I’ve just received an email to say its being refunded.”Jean Delaney wrote: “Asos – why promise Christmas delivery to customers if you can’t deliver?” Last week, Asos issued a profit warning on the back of a “significant deterioration” in sales growth amid reports of a drop in footfall for High Street retailers.The online retailer cited the effects of weaker consumer confidence in the run-up to Brexit. Shares plunged by nearly 38 per cent while rival fashion retailers also took a hit, with Marks & Spencer and Next each closing nearly five per cent lower. Asos has been offering discounts of up to 50 per cent on products. Its rival Boohoo slashed prices by as much as 70 per cent, while Sports Direct offered discounts of up to 90 per cent on top brands. Meanwhile customers faced very long queues in M&S stores in Southend, Rayleigh and Basildon today (Sun) as shoppers queued for two hours to pick up their pre-ordered Christmas food.In a post on Your Southend Facebook page, one shopper is reported to have said: “I’m on the verge of abandoning my trolley and running away! Or just opening the wine while in the queue! Would that be frowned upon?”Another shopper claimed people were “losing their tempers everywhere”, the post said.An M&S spokesperson said: “Today is one of the busiest shopping days of the year and we do all we can to make it as seamless as possible for customers. “The vast majority of our customers have collected their Christmas Food orders within their allocated time slots and our teams are working hard to ensure any waiting customers can complete their collection as quickly as possible.”Asos has been approached for comment. Retailers are bracing themselves for last-minute delivery chaos after customers complained their parcels were arriving three days late.Asos and Amazon Prime offered customers next-day delivery on items ordered up to December 23 – and same-day delivery on Christmas Eve.Amazon Prime say orders made in London and selected cities as late as 10pm on Christmas Eve will be delivered before midnight.Asos customers using next day delivery have until 10pm today to place orders. Those opting for same-day Christmas Eve delivery can order up until noon.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––But the online fashion retailer has been heavily criticised on social media by consumers who claim parcels ordered on next-day delivery have failed to arrive.The customer backlash comes five days after consumer watchdog Which? warned of “nightmare” delivery delays before Christmas.Twitter users angrily expressed their disappointment about missing deliveries on Asos’s help page. Christopher Ansell wrote: “Appalling service from Asos. My next day delivery is already two days late and their only solution is to call me in 48 hours. Then the advisor just closed the chat mid conversation. Disgusting.”Mark Sara wrote: “Ordered something from Asos five days ago and paid for next day delivery and it still ain’t f—— arrived.”
Criticising the “toxic” gambling advertising industry that “preys on the young”, the Rt Rev Alan Smith tabled a motion calling on the Government to reduce the quantity of gambling adverts that are reaching British children.“The times have changed since when you would simply enjoy sport by supporting a team or a particular player. Now younger generations are conditioned to enjoy sport only by betting on who is going to score the next goal or which team is going to win,” he said. Describing Brexit as “a historic moment”, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, concluded the Synod with his annual State of the Nation speech.It is understood that the Church are planning a “season of prayer” for five days at the end of March when Britain is due to depart the EU. A senior Church of England source said the event would be to help people reconnect after the divisive 2016 referendum. Speaking at the Synod, the Most Reverend Justin Welby said: “Brexit has revealed how our politics and society have, for many decades, not paid attention to the common good. “One way or another, for better or worse, life will go on.“We remain a nation of great stability compared to many. A nation of world influence, generosity in overseas aid, skilled in the exercise of soft power, with a robust and effective democracy, judiciary and many other aspects which are envied around the world.” 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. Thirty six per cent of Anglican congregations have no parishioners under 16-years-old, the Church of England has revealed. Describing the situation as “shocking” Canon Mark Russell, chief executive of the Church Army, told the Church’s General Synod that only six per cent of Anglican churches have more than 25 under 16-year-olds. The new figures came during the Synod debate on the future of youth evangelism in England, in which the Church agreed to prioritise recruiting more youth workers and being inclusive of LGBT teenagers.Lucy Gorman, a parishioner from the Diocese of York, said diversity and inclusion is an issue within the Church’s recruitment problem, adding: “When one in 25 young people identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual we need to speak into the silence and connect with them to include them in the life of the Church.”The debate followed a motion on tackling gambling adverts in which the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, said children have become “conditioned” to enjoy sport by betting on who will win.
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. Shrunken human heads, complete with skin and hair, were made by the Shuar and Achuar people of Ecuador and Peru up until the 1960s.The practice of preparing the heads, known as tsantsas, originally had a religious significance for a number of tribes in the Amazon rainforest.Shrinking an enemy’s head was thought to harness the spirit of the enemy and prevent the soul from avenging his death. However demand for the heads increased as they became popular with European collectors, losing some of their spiritual significance and leading to many fakes being produced.In 1999, the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC repatriated the shrunken heads in its collection to Ecuador.The tsantsas are the most famous objects in the Pitt Rivers Museum’s collection, with the first question asked by visitors often being where they can find the shrunken heads.Mrs Van Broekhoven said: “There will be a period of consultation with the Shuar but for now the display will stay as it is.”She told The Art Newspaper: “If we conclude it is inappropriate to show the tsantsas, they might be taken off display. So far, we have no indication that this is the case. But all options are on the table. “In other museums Shuar representatives have indicated they were not happy about the way the heads were being represented in the museum.“Their concerns are whether there is a proper understanding of the way this elaborate leather making of human skin into a ceremonial object was done, and that it no longer is done today.”Ms Van Broekhoven said one solution might be to improve the display material explaining the significance of the heads and the part they played in the cultural and spiritual life of the Shuar and Achuar people.She added: “We are looking at research of audiences’ cross cultural understanding: when people are standing in front of this display case do they understand the significance of the shrunken heads? The display may not be communicating properly the importance of the shrunken heads.“Some of the words people use when standing in front of the display are quite shocking, such as ‘bizarre’, ‘gruesome’, barbaric, ‘freak show’, words they would not use to describe the ornate Shuar canoe hanging from the ceiling above the shrunken heads.“It may be a case of adding a message or a display in the case to help people understand more about what they are looking at.” A collection of shrunken heads which has for decades enthralled adults and children alike may be removed from an Oxford museum following complaints by an indigenous South American people.The Pitt Rivers Museum is in discussion with representatives of the Shuar people of the Amazon rainforest over the future of the shrunken heads, regarded by the tribe as having deep religious significance.Curators at the museum, where the seven human heads have been displayed since the 1940s, said talks were prompted after visitors complained the heads as a “freak show”.Officials hope to reach an agreement with the Shuar that would allow them to continue to show the heads by emphasising their cultural significance.But two scalps previously displayed in the same glass case, labelled Treatment of Dead Enemies, have already been removed and placed in storage following complaints by Native American communities who felt the display misrepresented their traditions.Laura Van Broekhoven, director of the Pitt Rivers Museum, said: “We know the collection of heads is cherished by many, but there are also many people who feel uncomfortable with it.“There are questions about whether human remains should be on display.“We are undertaking a project with Shuar representatives and the San Francisco University in Quito to see how they feel about the way their culture is being represented in the shrunken heads display.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A disciple of Anjem Choudary, jailed for plotting to behead soldiers, has been freed from prison and is now living within a mile of the notorious hate preacher.Kazi Islam is the latest follower of Choudary to be released after serving half of an eight year sentence.Islam, now aged 24, had tried to groom a vulnerable teenager with learning difficulties to carry out the murder of soldiers and to buy ingredients for a pipe bomb.The Telegraph has discovered that Islam has now returned to the family home, about a mile from where Choudary is living in east London.Islam also lives next door to his uncle Kazi Rahman, a convicted terrorist and another associate of al-Muhajiroun, the banned terrorist group that was headed up by Choudary.Described by a judge as “callous” and “manipulative”, Islam targeted 19-year-old student, Harry Thomas, who had learning difficulties, in an effort to lure him into carrying out a terror attack.He was inspired by the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, who was beheaded in Woolwich in 2013.Islam encouraged Mr Thomas – who suffered from Asperger’s syndrome – to start calling himself Haroon, and set about radicalising him by showing him pictures of dead children from war zones in the Middle East.Last year Mr Thomas was jailed after being convicted of an attempted murder in east London.A family source said his life had “spiralled out of control” after he was targted by Islam.The source said: “He never really got over what happened to him and he has never been the same since. He was extremely vulnerable and Kazi Islam deliberately targted him. It has ruined his life.”There are growing fears that former members of al-Muhajiroun are starting to regroup. Its activities were severely disrupted following the detention of Choudary, Britain’s most notorious islamist hate cleric, in 2016 under terror laws for his encouragment to Muslims to join the islamic State. Choudary remains on strict licencing conditions that prevent him communicating with other, known extremists as well as require him to wear an electronic tag and obey a strict curfew.It is likely similar conditions apply to Islam.Other senior figures in al-Muhajiroun – or its various offshoots – who have been released in recent months include Abu izzadeen, formerly known as Trevor Brooks, who acted as the group’s enforcer, and Mizanur Rahman, an internet expert who created private, online chat rooms for Choudary’s followers.A well-placed source said: “The group remains a threat to national security but the disruptions have been very effective. Choudary is now out and back at home. He is somebody who preferred to stay in the comfort of his home in London and encourage others to go and fight. He is a coward, his are not the actions of a warrior.”
They had been there to witness engineers blow up the three remaining ‘death towers’ where four workers were killed at Didcot in 2016.Ken Cresswell, 57, John Shaw, 61, Michael Collings, 53, and Christopher Huxtable, 34, died in the major incident in February 2016.The coal-fired station, commissioned in 1968, was turned off in 2013 after 43 years in service and owners RWE Npower had planned to clear the site by the end of 2017, but its plans were delayed when the site’s boiler house collapsed, killing the four workers.RWE said it had planned today’s demolition over several months with its contractor Brown and Mason, liaising with the relevant local authorities. A plea went out to sightseers not to take selfies when the towers were blown up.Owners RWE said they would “actively discourage all forms of public participation” amid fears that spectators would scramble for vantage points to take morbid selfies. They begged people to show some respect for the dead and not to gather and gawp.In the February 2016 tragedy, four men died when a large section of the boiler house collapsed while the building was being prepared for demolition. One was quickly found but the other three were listed as missing because it wsas too unsafe to search for them in the disaster area. “We are in contact with the station owner, RWE, to support them in their incident investigation alongside our own internal review into the network fault.“SSEN takes its responsibility to public safety seriously. We are aware of reports of minor injuries and damage caused by the incident at Sutton Courtenay and are working with the police and other agencies to identify those impacted. We would ask anyone affected to contact us through the power cut helpline 105 so we can investigate further.” What remained of the boiler house was demolished in a controlled explosion in July 2016. The bodies of the three missing men were still in the remains at that time but were later found.In 2003, Country Life readers voted the landmark Britain’s third worst eyesore, but others have found the structures to be a source of inspiration for poetry.The 2,000 megawatt (MW) station operated until 2013, when RWE Power moved to decommission it when new EU reduced emissions rules were brought in.SSEN said in a statement: “Shortly after 7am this morning, SSEN received reports of damage to its network at Sutton Courtenay, following the demolition of the nearby Didcot Power Station. SSEN engineers attended site to make the situation safe and power was fully restored to the 40,000 customers affected by 8.20am.“Initial investigations have confirmed that this morning’s power cut was caused by material related to the demolition of Didcot Power Station striking our overhead electricity network. During the demolition, a large section of debris protection material became detached from one of the cooling towers and made contact with our 33kV overhead line, which was outside of the advised perimeter. This resulted in significant damage to the overhead line and subsequent network faults. The power was restored by 8.20am. SSEN initially insisted that the power-cut was unrelated to the demolition.SSEN added that an investigation is now underway into the cause of the incident.Video circulating on social media showed an electricity pylon going up in flames and people who were gathered to watch the explosion running away. People look on demolition of Didcot power station structure in DidcotCredit:Mark Hodson/Reuters 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. Tens of thousands of homes were left without power on Sunday just moments after the demolition of the Didcot power station. Up to 49,000 homes in towns and villages across a wide area were blacked out when explosives were detonated to send shock waves through the 375ft tall towers, which crumbled and collapsed in huge clouds of rubble and dust at 7am.An electricity pylon near the site, where crowds of spectators had gathered to film the blast, was seen on fire after the blast. The power cut was likely caused by “material related to the demolition” striking the overhead electricity network at Sutton Courtenay, according to Scottish and Southern Electricity.A sub-station which serves Didcot and Abingdon, as well as Wantage, Wallingford and parts of the Chilterns blew. In the chaos, traffic lights went out and cafes were having to turn away hungry spectators. Mick Collings, one of four workers who died after the partial collapse of the boiler house at the Didcot A plant in February 2016Credit:Tees Riders M.C.C/PA
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGDF ranks implicated in crimes to face full brunt of the law- Chief of Staff (ag)November 1, 2018In “Crime”Ex-GDF rank freed of illegal gun, ammo chargesNovember 9, 2018In “Court”Miner facing 3 counts of robbery under arms remandedJanuary 16, 2018In “Court” Jamal Hazel, the 21-year-old soldier who along with an accomplice was arrested on January 13, 2018, in connection with a $5.5M robbery, was today charged for that robbery in addition to two others.Jamal HazelHazel, of Middle Road LaPenitence, appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ court before Magistrate Judy Latchman on three counts of robbery under arms committed on Boodram Hemraj at North Road on January 10, 2018, Marica Adams at Peters Hall, on January 6, 2018 and Andrea Purdessy at Pike Street Kitty, on January 11, 2018.He was also charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition without a licence.He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was refused bail and remanded to prison until January 30, 2018.Hazel, a Lance Corporal attached to the Guyana Defence Force was on Tuesday implicated in the two other robberies.According to police, the soldier was “picked out during an identification parade by two victims as the suspect who robbed them of their valuables on North Road, Georgetown, on January 10, 2018 and Peters Hall, East Bank Demerara, on January 6, 2018.”
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedSmith, Warner and Bancroft to leave South AfricaMarch 27, 2018In “Sports”Smith, Bancroft will not challenge ball-tampering sanctionsApril 4, 2018In “Sports”Smith and Warner suspended for 12 months Bancroft gets nine-month banMarch 28, 2018In “Sports” Further action against Australia captain Steven Smith, deputy David Warner, the coach Darren Lehmann and any other implicated members of the South Africa touring party will be confirmed by Wednesday morning, enough time for replacement players and staff to be flown to Johannesburg ahead of the fourth and final Test of a series now synonymous with the ball-tampering fiasco of Cape Town.(Photo: News Corp Australia)In the face of universal outrage from Cricket Australia’s corporate sponsors and amid negotiations for the next round of broadcast rights, the chief executive James Sutherland will travel to Johannesburg to assess the findings of the integrity officer Iain Roy’s hurried investigation into the events of the Newlands Test, which commenced at the Australian team hotel in Cape Town on Monday.While the CA’s code-of-behaviour (CoB) charges likely to be brought against numerous members of the Australian team will require CoB commission hearings, with the right to natural justice and procedural fairness are also enshrined in its terms, the board will have the option of standing down any players or coaching staff found to be in breach until the hearing or hearings can be held with an independent commissioner.This means that in addition to Smith, already banned from the Wanderers Test by the ICC, Warner is almost certainly set to miss the match, with Cameron Bancroft also an unlikely participant. CA advised state associations on Monday of Roy’s investigation needing to be concluded in time to determine “at a minimum” selections for the fourth Test, which starts on Friday, and of the possibility of replacement players being flown over. Justin Langer, the Western Australia coach, is also reportedly waiting in the wings should Lehmann be removed.Sutherland’s journey to South Africa has echoes of a similar trip made on the eve of the 2013 Ashes series, when the then coach Mickey Arthur was replaced by Lehmann as a result of disciplinary problems within the team personified by Warner’s drunken punch at Joe Root in a Birmingham bar following the loss of a match at the Champions Trophy. At the time, Sutherland spoke of “grasping the nettle” in advance of public expectation, but this time he and CA have been left reacting to a far greater level of umbrage.“Iain Roy and Pat Howard arrive in Cape Town this morning local time, and Iain will immediately conduct his inquiries around the specifics of the ball-tampering incident,” Sutherland said. “I am travelling to Johannesburg this evening and will arrive Tuesday morning local time to meet Iain to understand the findings of the investigation to that point, and to determine recommended outcomes. We know Australians want answers and we will keep you updated on our findings and next steps, as a matter of urgency.”Players most likely to be added to the squad will come from the Queensland and Tasmanian teams currently contesting the Sheffield Shield final, which ends in Brisbane on Tuesday. The Bulls openers Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns, plus the Tasmanian captain George Bailey, would appear the most likely players to be called up.There has been considerable disquiet within the team about events, with the pacemen Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc particularly unhappy to be drawn into the episode via Smith’s use of the term “leadership group” to describe discussions around ball tampering. At the same time, Warner is becoming seen as the central player in the decision to try to manipulate the condition of the ball with a foreign object, leading his opening partner Bancroft to make the attempt captured on television cameras.Save for the acting captain Tim Paine’s brief appearance at the end of the Newlands Test, no member of the Australian team has spoken publicly since Smith’s initial press conference alongside Bancroft. Lehmann’s customary post-match media conference did not take place, and a call with the spin bowler Nathan Lyon was also cancelled on Monday after Sutherland’s plan to fly to South Africa emerged – he is now expected to be the next person to speak on the events of Newlands, in Johannesburg on Tuesday night local time.“The Cricket Australia Board has been fully updated on the issue and supports James travelling to South Africa to manage the response to the investigation currently underway,” the CA chairman David Peever said. “We expect to be able to fully update the Australian public on the findings on Wednesday morning. We understand that everyone wants answers, but we must follow our due diligence before any further decisions are made.”The urgency of the issue for CA was underlined on Monday by an unprecedented rush of critical comments from corporate sponsors of the governing body and individual players. Sanitarium, Qantas, Lion, Commonwealth Bank, KFC, Accenture, Magellan Financial Group and the health insurer Bupa, all expressed disappointment in the national team and encouraged CA to take prompt action.A spokesperson for Sanitarium, which sponsors the Twenty20 Big Bash League and also Smith, said the company would consider its future relationship with the suspended captain pending the outcome of the CA investigation. “Cricket Australia updated us on this issue as the story broke yesterday and we’re continuing to follow it closely. It’s a shameful moment for Australian sport.“Regarding our sponsorship relationship with Steve Smith, we will assess our response once the management team of Cricket Australia has finalised its investigations. Like the rest of Australia, we’re incredibly disappointed. The actions taken by the team in South Africa are not aligned with our own – Sanitarium does not condone cheating in sport. We expect Cricket Australia to continue to keep us updated over the coming days and weeks.”Former England captain Michael Atherton, himself embroiled in a ball tampering scandal in a Test match against South Africa at Lord’s in 1994, said that Smith did not appear to realise the gravity of the situation when he first spoke about it. “It seemed clear to me from watching Smith’s press conference, that he had not grasped the seriousness of his situation,” he wrote in the Times.“He could have been talking about a dropped catch or two. When I was fined at Lord’s in 1994, the first thing I did was call Graham Gooch into the back office and ask him whether he thought I should resign. Even in those fraught hours, I was completely aware of the gravity of the situation, and that it was a possibility that I would have to stand down. Smith seemed to lack that awareness which speaks of hubris.” (ESPNCricinfo)