Monthly Archives: September 2019

The Rangers Needed Better CPU Assistance

For most of the first period at Madison Square Garden on Monday night, the newly renovated scoreboard above center ice displayed only the time remaining and a 0-0 score — not shots on goal, face-off percentage or the other data that it normally tracks.I thought this might be a ploy by New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. In Games 1 and 2 of the series — both comeback wins by the Los Angeles Kings — the Kings’ peripheral stats were more impressive than the Rangers’ (the Kings led the Rangers 87-65 in shots on goal, for example). Indeed, Los Angeles has a well-deserved reputation as a stat-savvy team that focuses on metrics related to puck possession and scoring opportunities, which can better predict game results than goals scored and allowed.No #fancystats for you, LA Kings! No moral victory on the strength of Zone Start Adjusted Corsi! You’ll have to win this hockey game the old-fashioned way: by scoring more goals than the other team!The stats clicked back on to the MSG scoreboard late in the first period. Soon after, the Kings scored, and they went on to beat the Rangers 3-0.But it was the Rangers who had more scoring opportunities. They had 32 shots on goal, compared with 15 for LA. Counting missed shots and blocked shots, their edge was 59-33.It can be tempting, if you have a passing familiarity with advanced hockey metrics, to take solace when outcomes like these occur or to curse your favorite team’s bad luck. How often does a team lose despite outshooting its opponent by a 2-1 margin, for instance?Actually, teams lose often. In playoff games since 1988, teams that took about two-thirds of the shots in a game (somewhere between 65 and 70 percent) won only 62 percent of the time. The chart below generalizes this data based on logistic regression and estimates how often teams win a game based on the number of shots they take.Much of this is simply a reflection of the fact that goals scored and allowed are a noisy statistic. A lucky deflection or two for the Kings, a great save or two by Jonathan Quick, and all those extra shots often go for naught.But another reason is that play changes once a team finds itself trailing. The shot count was even at 4-4 when the Kings scored with one second left in the first period. The Rangers piled on shots only once they trailed.The chart below shows how often a team shoots based on the game score. The data is based on playoff games since 2012. It includes blocked shots and missed shots, as well as shots on goal (these are called Corsi events in #fancystats terms) in 5-on-5 play.Teams down by one goal are shooting about 25 percent more often than their opponents at even strength. Teams down by two or more goals are shooting about 40 percent more often.Are those extra shots translating into goals? Actually, yes. In cases when it trails by two goals or more, a team scores about 2.4 goals per 60 minutes of ice time at even strength, compared with 1.8 goals for the leading team.So, at least in the playoffs, there’s been some tendency for the trailing team to recover (despite that it should be the slightly weaker team on average for having fallen behind). It’s like a mild version of the CPU Assistance that allowed the computer to make spectacular comebacks in games such as NBA Jam just when you thought you had everything wrapped up.It isn’t clear whether this represents rational behavior on the part of the leading team. It would be one thing if it were stalling just to get the game over with, reducing shots and scoring for both teams. But it’s actually allowing its opponents more shots and more goals — at the same time it’s taking fewer of its own.One possible explanation is the avoidance of penalties (to the extent they can be averted through more passive play). In playoff games since 2012, teams are scoring 6.3 goals per 60 minutes on the power play — nearly three times their rate at even strength. Shorthanded teams score 0.8 shorthanded goals per 60 minutes. Those long-term averages didn’t help the Rangers on Monday night, who went scoreless in six power play opportunities. read more

UConn And Notre Dame Could Renew The Best Rivalry In Womens Basketball

Maryland and South Carolina have really good women’s basketball teams — two of the four best in the country. But Connecticut and Notre Dame, their respective Final Four opponents on Sunday in Tampa, are a cut above. They’re ranked No. 1 and 2 in the country by the AP, the coaches and the tournament selection committee. They’re the favorites to reach Tuesday’s final in our March Madness predictions and in Vegas. They played each other in last year’s final. And, best of all, they have a rich history — one that isn’t as one-sided as UConn’s recent dominance suggests.Notre Dame has dealt UConn seven of its 18 losses since the start of 2007. In other words, 39 percent of the time UConn has lost in the last eight-plus years, it’s been against Notre Dame.If UConn and Notre Dame play each other in the final, it’d be their 21st meeting since the start of 2007 — the latest ESPN Stats & Info data available. They played 12 regular-season games (11 back when both were in the Big East), plus three Big East conference finals and one semifinal. They’ve also met four times in the last eight Final Fours, with two wins apiece. A Tuesday meeting would be the rubber match.Maryland and South Carolina have been good, but they simply haven’t been as dominant. UConn has won 94.6 percent of its games since the start of 2007, by far the best in the sport. Notre Dame ranks fifth, at 84.1 percent. (Stanford, Green Bay and Baylor are second, third and fourth.) Maryland is 11th, at 80.6 percent. And South Carolina is 53rd, at 64.3 percent. But South Carolina’s and Maryland’s relative inconsistency, coupled with UConn’s and Notre Dame’s late, lamented conference rivalry, means they have a much thinner record against the rest of the Final Four.So let’s look more closely at the UConn-Notre Dame rivalry. UConn has won 13 of their last 20 matchups, or 65 percent. That’s as close as UConn gets these days to a balanced rivalry — it’s the lowest winning percentage UConn has against any team it has played more than five times since the start of 2007. Every team but one that has played UConn at least once in that time has a losing record against the Huskies. (The one exception is longtime rival Tennessee, which won their only recent meeting.) More than 90 percent of UConn opponents haven’t beaten the Huskies even once, including four teams that have played them at least 10 times.Also notable, for a team that has regularly all but clinched its games by halftime, UConn has beaten Notre Dame by an average of less than eight points per game in their 20 meetings. That’s the closest average margin for any UConn opponent that has played the Huskies more than five times since 2007.UConn, meanwhile, is responsible for a big chunk of Notre Dame’s losses since the start of 2007: 13 of 49, or 27 percent. UConn is the only team Notre Dame has played in more than six games in that period that has a winning record against the Fighting Irish.Notre Dame’s recent wins against UConn all came in an astonishingly short spell: The Fighting Irish won seven of eight meetings over a stretch that started with Notre Dame’s upset of UConn in the 2011 Final Four. Notre Dame star Jewell Loyd, a junior and the team’s leading scorer, is the only current player who was a major contributor for the Fighting Irish when they last beat UConn.It’s not the most heated or longstanding rivalry. Before the teams played in December — in a game UConn won by 18 points — espnW’s Graham Hays pointed out that it doesn’t have the rich character and tension of UConn-Tennessee. Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw, asked before the game about her relationship with Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, made it sound like the two were friendly acquaintances in the corporate world. “Geno and I are terrific,” McGraw said. “We saw each other this summer. We’ve got no issues, no problems. Just business as usual for both of us.”If it’s business as usual for both teams on Sunday, we’ll see them renew their acquaintance in the final on Tuesday in Tampa, in the latest edition of the closest thing to a rivalry that Auriemma’s dominant UConn team has these days. read more

201516 NBA Preview Have The Heat Moved On From LeBron

The Heat paid Goran Dragic $85 million this offseason to be the franchise’s best point guard since Tim Hardaway. If nothing else, Dragic should ignite a team that played at the NBA’s second-slowest pace last season. Now that he has recovered from season-ending treatment for blood clots on his lung, Chris Bosh hopes to play as he did in his most productive year in a Heat uniform, the 2013-14 season. His conditioning and versatility ensure that his game will continue to age like fine wine. Many want to compare Justise Winslow, a former Duke standout, to a younger version of Wade, but Wade says Winslow’s size and strength remind him of a younger version of Metta World Peace, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest. To complicate matters further: CARMELO thinks Winslow’s top comp is another Heat teammate, Deng. The post-LeBron James era got off to a disastrous start last season for the Miami Heat, who endured a 37-45 campaign that was riddled with injuries and dumped the team outside of the playoffs for the first time in seven years. A potentially devastating offseason could have followed, but some semblance of order and continuity was restored when franchise anchor Dwyane Wade patched up differences with management and settled on a one-year, $20 million contract for this season. Point guard Goran Dragic signed a long-term deal. Promising center Hassan Whiteside continued to develop, and both Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts are healed and healthy coming off season-ending maladies last year. All signs point to a Heat revival in the East and an opportunity, if the team stays relatively healthy, to stare down LeBron in the postseason.FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO, on the other hand, projects the Heat to go 38-44 and fall just below .500. We’re inaugurating our NBA player projection system, CARMELO, with 2015-16 season previews for every team in the league. Check out the teams we’ve already previewed here. Learn more about CARMELO here. If Dwyane Wade had a million dollars for every game he missed last season — oh, wait. Evaluating Wade is all about vantage point. He’ll point to the fact that he was second in the league in usage rate last season, but skeptics counter that injuries prevented him from being used for at least 20 games for a second straight season. CARMELO expects Wade to be a shadow of his former self; his top comp, another great in the last chapter of his career. After spending a decade in Chicago, Luol Deng struggled with the turbulence that moved him to Cleveland and ultimately to Miami in the span of a few months. After failing to find comfort with his role last season, he’s banking on that to change in a contract year. It figures that a projection system named after a member of the longtime rival New York Knicks would take such a low-blow shot at the Heat. So a year after hitting rock-bottom and winning just 37 games during an injury-ravaged season, Miami is projected to win only one more game? If so, expect a major shakeup for what has been one of the NBA’s most stable franchises.Here are the CARMELO projections for Miami’s core players: The promising yet enigmatic big man did something last season that hadn’t been done in 50 years: Hassan Whiteside averaged 11 points, 10 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in less than 24 minutes a game. That’s profound efficiency, but the key now for Whiteside is to develop consistency. The route from a $21 million salary last season to the $1.6 million vet’s minimum this season involved plenty of sacrifice for Amar’e Stoudemire. But it’ll require even more if Stoudemire is willing to accept a reduced role off the bench to make this work in Miami.Read more: 2015-16 NBA Previews read more

Start the award train Turner Matta take home Big Ten honors

Well before the season started, coach Thad Matta told Evan Turner that he wanted the junior to make the switch from small forward to point guard.The choice to put the ball in Turner’s hands proved to be a monumental decision, as the Buckeyes became Big Ten regular season champions and Turner and Matta both took home postseason honors.In the first of what will likely be many awards for the Ohio State junior, both the media and coaches selected Turner as the Big Ten Player of the Year Monday.“I think it’s a really big deal,” Turner said Monday night on a teleconference. “Most of my awards are state-wide but this is across the Midwest and is against some of the best talent in the country.”Matta was honored by the media as the conference Coach of the Year. Purdue’s Matt Painter earned the honor from the coaches.“We all love playing for [Matta},” Turner said. “He’s a player’s coach and we all have trust and faith in him.”Turner leads the conference with averages of 19.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. His 5.8 assists per game rank second in the Big Ten.The Chicago native started the season with a bang, recording just the second triple double in OSU history, with 14 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists in a 100-60 victory over Alcorn State.Two weeks later, he stuffed another stat sheet, notching 16 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in an 84-64 win over Lipscomb.But the success came to an abrupt — albeit temporary — end. On a breakaway dunk in the early stages of a blowout victory Dec. 5 against Eastern Michigan, Turner fell to the floor, breaking a pair of vertebrae in his back.Doctors initially predicted that the injury would cost Turner eight weeks, but the resilient junior returned to the court after just five weeks of recovery.During his absence, the Buckeyes fell into the Big Ten cellar. OSU went 3-3 with Turner sidelined, plagued by an ineffective offense.But once the do-it-all guard returned to action, the Buckeyes surged through the home stretch of the season, winning 13 of their last 15 regular season games.With a 73-57 win Mar. 2 over Illinois, the Bucks clinched a share of the Big Ten title.Matta and Turner look to each other for the reasons behind the team’s success this year.“We’re really close. I really look at him for guidance,” Turner said. “He’s coached some great players and he’s taught me how to be a great player. He’s helped me grow up in a number of ways, and I’ll forever appreciate him for that.”Turner is the fifth player in OSU history to win the award. Jim Jackson took home the honor twice.Sophomore William Buford was named Third-Team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media. Junior David Lighty was selected as a Third-Team All-Big Ten choice by the media and junior Dallas Lauderdale was named to the First-Team All-Big Ten Defensive Team by both the coaches and media.Ohio State earned the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, and will play the winner of the Michigan-Iowa game at noon Friday in Indianapolis. read more

Softball slugger recovers from injuries to provide spark for Ohio State lineup

As a tri-captain on the softball team, it’s no wonder why Courtney Pruner refers to herself as “the enforcer.”“She’s a standout player, so it’s always great when your captains are your best players and/or your hardest workers,” coach Linda Kalafatis said. “She gets some due respect because of the things she does that enables us to win.”Pruner has a .318 batting average and a slugging percentage of .598. She has 37 RBIs, despite a hip surgery in December 2007 that caused her to miss her entire sophomore season.“I looked at it like, I’m not going to play softball for 15 years of my life to miss one of my last years,” Pruner said. “All my life I’ve wanted to play four years of Division I college softball. It’s not in my nature to not come back, even though the hip pain was rough and the rehab was rough.”“But I knew if I wanted to play this last year I’d have to work hard at rehab.”A redshirt senior, Pruner is primarily OSU’s designated hitter. She has 10 home runs this season and 36 in her career.Pruner received Big Ten Player of the Week earlier this season in April after going 6-for-7 against the Illinois Fighting Illini. This was the first conference award of her career.“It’s a huge honor because the Big Ten is such a tough conference and there’s so many amazing players,” Pruner said.Although Pruner has pitched for the Buckeyes and played infield and outfield, her field time is limited.“Because of my hips, it’s just way too painful,” Pruner said.Kalafatis said, “The kids really admire Courtney’s ability to fight through pain and all the things she’s been through. She’s shown some great maturity and leadership in that respect.”That leadership is exactly why Pruner is captain.“It’s nice to be respected by your teammates,” Pruner said. read more

Baseball player pipeline runs from Arizona to Buckeye State

Ohio’s erratic, day-to-day weather conditions are nothing like the sunny, cactus-filled deserts of Arizona. The two states are separated by almost 2,000 miles and the Rocky Mountains, so it’s no shock the climates are quite different. However, when five Arizona natives willingly leave the year-round warm weather to play baseball in the often-unpredictable climate of Columbus, it’s surprising. Ohio State sophomore Jaron Long and juniors Greg Solomon, Tyler Giannonatti, Brian King and Kirby Pellant all left “The Grand Canyon State” to play baseball two time zones away for the Buckeyes and coach Greg Beals. “I just came because I wanted to get out of Arizona,” Solomon said. “I wanted to come to a D-I university that had a good program.” Solomon, a catcher, was the first of the five to make the decision to come to Columbus when he left Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix after the 2010 season. As a junior college transfer, he said he wanted to go somewhere where he knew he could play and at least have the opportunity to start. He said he felt OSU was a good fit because then-starting OSU catcher Dan Burkhart was leaving for the pros and Beals was taking over for retiring OSU coach Bob Todd. Solomon started 46 games last season for the Buckeyes and has started 24 of OSU’s 35 games this season. The other four “Arizona Buckeyes” transferred just a year later from junior colleges as well. Pitchers Long, Giannonatti and infielder Pellant, all transferred from Chandler Gilbert Community College in Chandler, Ariz., while King came from Paradise Valley like Solomon. “I feel like I should get some sort of finders fee for these guys,” Solomon said with a grin. “I mentioned (King) to the coaches last year and I don’t know if they had already thought about going out there, but I feel like I was the instigator of these guys.” King, a pitcher for the Buckeyes starting eight games this season with a 5.08 ERA and 3-3 record, acknowledged it was easier making the decision to come to OSU knowing his junior college battery-mate was already there. The same can be said of Giannonatti and Pellant, who not only went to the same junior college, but also won the 2009 Arizona Class 5A state championship together at Corona del Sol High School in Chandler. “(OSU) came out and they offered me and they offered (Giannonatti), and it was like, ‘If he’s going, I’m going,”” Pellant said. Beals said it definitely helps the recruiting process when players are recruited in pairs. “They’re coming a long way from home, it’s nice to have a little bit of a comfort zone there,” Beals said. “It helps that they know they’ve got a buddy here or they’ve got another buddy coming with them.” Long, a three-game winner with a 2.31 ERA, was the last of the five to sign with the Buckeyes. He said knowing that Pellant and Giannonatti were already committed to OSU made his decision easier, and he is glad they were here when he arrived. “When you come to a school this big and you don’t really know anyone, it’s intimidating,” the Buckeye pitcher said. “But you have these guys that you’ve been friends with, so until you find new people to hang out with, you’ve got somewhere you can go with people you already know.” When the two prominent baseball programs in Arizona don’t come calling, the state’s high school baseball players are not left with many options. “In Arizona, there’s two schools: Arizona and Arizona State,” Beals said. With eight national championships between them, The University of Arizona and Arizona State University have rich baseball histories and many of the state’s high school players dream of playing for the storied programs. But when they’re not offered the opportunity, they can feel slighted, like Pellant. “If you don’t go there or get offered there, you kind of have a hatred toward them,” OSU’s team leader in steals (19) said. “That’s what makes you want to leave Arizona to get somewhere else.” For many, the platform “to get somewhere else” is Arizona’s junior college baseball. “If you don’t go to one of those two schools, a lot of kids go to junior college,” Beals said. “It is such more of a prominent avenue for high school kids there than it is here in the Midwest.” “The JUCO baseball out there is good competition,” Pellant said. “Guys are getting drafted every year and it draws a lot of universities out there. OSU heard about it and went out there.” The five players said they are happy that OSU gave them the opportunity and said coming to Columbus was the right choice, aside from maybe the weather, they all said jokingly. They said at times, they can’t believe they’re playing for a school like OSU. “Ohio State comes out and recruits you and it’s kind of like, ‘Dang! OSU wants me,’” Giannonatti, who’s yet to appear in a game this season, said. “You see (OSU) on every channel every day, it’s a big school. It’s almost an honor to come here.” Solomon said being a Buckeye has made him notice things he didn’t before. “Whenever I go back to Arizona, I notice the ‘Block-O’ more than I did, before I saw it everyday,” Solomon said. “Knowing that there’s people all over rooting for you, I think is pretty cool, and I’m glad that I got to come here.” Pellant agreed and said it’s awesome knowing there are Buckeye Nation fans everywhere that love them. “They don’t know you, you don’t know them, but they support you every minute of the day,” Pellant said. “That’s special.” The “Arizona Buckeyes” have been a vital part of OSU’s team this season. Pellant and Solomon, the only everyday players of the five, have started a combined 59 games for the Buckeyes while Long and King are part of OSU’s improved starting rotation, each winning three games. read more

Ohio State womens soccer draws rival No 24 Michigan 22

Then-freshman Nichelle Prince (7) avoids a defender during a game against Pittsburgh Aug. 28, 2013. OSU won 2-0.Credit: Lantern file photoWith time running out, the Ohio State women’s soccer team made a big play at the end of regulation to tie with No. 24 Michigan.There wasn’t a lot of action in the first half as neither team was able to get much going. Both sides were unable to convert on opportunities as the match entered halftime scoreless.The Wolverines held an 8-4 lead in shots and 3-1 lead in shots on goal for the first half.Sophomore forward Nichelle Prince gave the Buckeyes a chance to take the lead in the 63rd minute but freshman goalkeeper Megan Hinz made a diving save to keep the score tied.Sophomore forward Nicky Waldeck gave the Wolverines the lead in the 70th minute with a header off a corner kick from freshman forward Taylor Timko.OSU responded with a header from senior midfielder Ellyn Gruber off a cross from senior forward Kayla Varner in the 75th minute to tie the game.With two minutes remaining, Varner had a chance to give the Buckeyes the lead with a header but the shot was saved by Hinz to keep the game tied.In the final minute, freshman forward Danielle Hogarth gave the Wolverines the lead with a header off a cross from sophomore midfielder Anna Soccorsi.Just a few seconds later, sophomore defender Nicole Miyashiro tied the game again off an assist from freshman forward Sammy Edwards. The late goal was the last of regulation, sending the game into overtime with the score tied, 2-2.Michigan ended regulation with a 22-18 lead in shots while both teams managed seven shots on goal.Redshirt-freshman midfielder Ani Sarkisian gave Michigan a shot in the 93rd minute but redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Megan Geldernick was there to make the save.Both teams were unable to score and so the game was sent into a second overtime.Both teams struggled for chances in the second overtime, but sophomore midfielder Jessica Heifetz had a chance to give the Wolverines the win in the 107th minute but Geldernick was able to make another save for OSU.The rest of overtime played out and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.OSU moved to 5-8-3 overall and 2-5-3 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes also handed Michigan (11-4-1, 7-2-1) its first draw of the season.Up next, the Buckeyes are scheduled to face Iowa on Friday at 7 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium and Nebraska on Sunday at 1 p.m. read more

Ohio State womens basketball set for matchup with No 22 West Virginia

OSU junior guard Ameryst Alston goes for a 2-point shot while VCU freshman guard #13 Brittani Burgess and sophomore guard #14 Adaeze Alaeze try to intercede in the first half of the OSU Women’s basketball game against VCU November 23, 2014. OSU went on to win 96-86.With the Big Ten season around the corner, the Ohio State women’s basketball team is set to end its non-conference season on a high note against No. 22 West Virginia.The Buckeyes (7-4) and Mountaineers (9-1) are set to complete a home-and-home series dating back to last season, in which the Buckeyes won in Morgantown, W.Va., 70-61. Following that game, the Mountaineers would go on to win 17 of their next 18 games.Sophomore forward Shayla Cooper said she hopes to make a big impact in her first game for the Buckeyes.“I’m looking to bring a lot of energy, a lot more rebounding,” Cooper said.Cooper, a transfer from Georgetown, had to sit out until the end of fall semester due to NCAA transfer rules. In the two games she played for the Hoyas in 2013, she totaled 32 points and 17 rebounds.She spoke highly of her own defense, which will likely be needed against a deep Mountaineer frontcourt.“I’m more like the muscle of the team,” Cooper said. “I’m the one that’s going to get those rebounds, like when we played Pitt and we needed that one rebound.”The Mountaineers frontcourt starts with 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore center Lanay Montgomery, who has totaled 66 rebounds in 10 starts this season.OSU coach Kevin McGuff said he was glad to have Cooper as an eligible player on the team.“It’s good to have her now,” McGuff said. “It’s good to have another body.”At 6-foot-2, Cooper provides depth, especially since the Buckeyes starting lineup is currently comprised of four guards and only one forward.One of those guards, junior Ameryst Alston, is looking forward to playing with Cooper for the first time.“Definitely, really excited to have her back,” Alston said.  “I’m really looking forward to playing with her finally, like in an actual game.”Alston said that Cooper’s presence is also important both offensively and defensively.“She’s definitely going to bring energy, for sure,” she said. “She’s such a physical player, so that’s definitely something that we need, as far as rebounding.”In addition to Cooper’s eligibility, freshman forward Alexa Hart was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week, her first weekly award. Alston was also named to the Big Ten Honor Roll.With a win, the Buckeyes would be on a four-game winning streak heading into conference play. That would be the longest of the season and would be a tie for the longest in the past two seasons under McGuff.The game against the Mountaineers is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start on Monday at the Schottenstein Center. read more

Football Where does Ohio State go from here

Urban Meyer watches a Buckeye offensive possession from the sideline in the third quarter of the Ohio State-Iowa game on Nov. 4. Ohio State lost 24-55. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State will not win a national championship this season. It will not even reach the College Football Playoff.The Buckeyes’ second loss of the season, a 55-24 blowout to Iowa Saturday, made sure of that.As far as many Ohio State fans are concerned, the 2017 campaign is effectively over. Quarterback J.T. Barrett’s Buckeye career will end in a meaningless bowl game, and the rest of the team will begin to look to next season.So what’s next for Ohio State?Head coach Urban Meyer said Monday that keeping the Buckeyes motivated with few remaining game in their schedule is something he has not considered too much.“That’s something we work on not today, that’s something we’ve been working on all year,” Meyer said. “And you try to get a close team that cares about each other and plays really hard. It’s not going to be some speech I give to the team. So it’s a process. It’s a journey that we’re on. And there’s still plenty of things, great things ahead.”Though players and coaches will say the Big Ten is still theirs to take — and they’re not wrong — that is not what Ohio State sought to accomplish when it began the year. Players, coaches, media and fans all set the expectation level for the Buckeyes to win a championship. Despite the fact Meyer has won just one Big Ten title in his six-year tenure at Ohio State, winning the Big Ten is tertiary to reaching the playoffs and winning a title. If Ohio State wins the remainder of its three regular season games — against Michigan State, Illinois and Michigan — then it will travel to Indianapolis to presumably square off against the Wisconsin Badgers, who are one win from clinching the Big Ten West title.For Meyer, the matchup against Michigan State is as far as he is looking ahead. Just as it has for a large part of Meyer’s career in Columbus, the road to the Big Ten title game runs through that matchup.“You still look at the standings and Ohio State and Michigan State are [first and second] in the Big Ten East,” Meyer said. “And everybody knows this game for the last, what’s our sixth year of playing them or something, usually it’s just a prizefight. So the tougher team usually wins. And we’ve got to understand what we’re going to play against.”Even if Ohio State runs the table and captures Meyer’s second Big Ten championship, this season is lost for many.And this year defines the end of an era. The core group of players that led Ohio State to a national championship, two playoff appearances, a Big Ten title and another bowl game win will exit Ohio Stadium for the final time against Illinois, leaving the Buckeyes with a plethora of position battles heading into the next season. With so many potentially drastic changes coming to Ohio State’s roster and the struggles this veteran team has faced thus far this season, it is fair to wonder whether Ohio State will be back in the mix next season. How will the team fare with a new quarterback under center and an offensive line replacing its two top linemen protecting him? What about a defensive line that could potentially lose four starters?Those asking the questions might not want to admit it, but next season could prove less fruitful than this campaign. It is going to be a young team replacing key contributors all over the field, and a learning curve will await. Those disappointed by the results in 2017 could be disappointed by 2018. Perhaps the difference in expectation levels will lessen the blow of a down year for the Buckeyes. Knowing that the team is younger could make a title-less season easier to stomach.The Buckeyes entered the 2017 season as the favorite to win the Big Ten and among those listed as most likely to win the national championship. That they will not achieve the latter is a devastating blow and the former would be only a mere consolation prize. Though it is still early, the Buckeyes do not appear to be in a position to be named the early favorite to win the Big Ten or national championship next year.To many outside the program, the season is over. To those inside the program, the season is still alive and well. There will be no talk of the 2018 season until the clock in that meaningless bowl game ticks down to zero.“Where is the program headed?” Meyer asked. “That’s kind of deep. We’re playing Michigan State this week. We gotta really practice well and fix the turnover issue on offense and play a little better on defense. Kicking was much better.” read more

Mayoress wrongly claims £13000 in benefits after failing to disclose husbands National

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. Doris Kraus with husband Peter, the former mayor of Pembroke Dock, outside Swansea Crown Court Credit:WALES NEWS SERVICE Doris Kraus links arms with husband Peter, the former mayor of Pembroke Dock, outside Swansea Crown Court  The court heard she failed to inform the Department for Work and Pensions when her husband began a new job with the National Trust, where he became a Visitor Services Assistant.Richard Ace, prosecuting, said: “She was told to notify the DWP of any change in her circumstances.”She failed to tell officials until 2014 that her husband was undertaking work which meant she was not entitled to the money.”Kraus, a grandmother, was mayoress from May 2012 to May 2013 – in the middle of the four years she wrongly claimed the benefits. She was also mayoress again for a year until June 2016.Swansea Crown Court heard she applied for pension credits in March 2010 after her husband’s business PK Executive Travel was wound up, saying the couple had no income.But a year later, independent councillor Mr Kraus began working again and taking home around £2,000 a month from the National Trust.Mr Ace said: “She was told there was a requirement to notify of any changes. That didn’t happen. She eventually notified the Department for Work and Pensions four years later, in April 2014.”She said she was sorry for what happened and she told them of the situation.” A mayoress wrongly claimed more than £13,000 in benefits after failing to tell the council that her husband was being paid £2,000 a month by the National Trust.Doris Kraus, 68, claimed her husband Peter was out of work while in his civic role as mayor of Pembroke Dock, West Wales.She avoided a jail sentence after paying back all of the £13,355 she was wrongly paid in pension credits over four years.Her husband was mayor of their home town, where his wife accompanied him to civic dinners, gala concerts, award presentation, public events and formal functions.But at the same time, Kraus was wrongly claiming benefits by saying her husband’s executive travel business had collapsed. An investigation was launched over the fraudulent claims and Kraus later pleaded guilty to failing to notify a change in circumstances.The court heard she has been given loans from her children after her benefits fraud was revealed.Mr Ace added: “She has now paid the full amount of money outstanding.”James Hartson, defending, said Kraus was of “impeccable character” and the money was taken because of “negligence and ignorance”.He said: “Her intention was not one of dishonesty. She’s mortified to find herself in the dock.”Mr Recorder Richard Booth QC said Mrs Kraus’s clean character and that she had repaid the money, meant she would be spared a prison sentence or fine.He said: “You are clearly remorseful. It’s neither necessary or appropriate to impose a sentence on you.”The judge gave Kraus, from Pembroke Dock, a conditional 12-month discharge. She left the court with her husband. Her intention was not one of dishonesty. She’s mortified to find herself in the dockJames Hartson, defendinglast_img read more

Eurovision crisis as staff organising the event quit

first_imgAmong those who quit were executive producers Oleksandr Kharebin and Victoria Romanova and commercial director Iryna Asman.Britain will be represented by former X Factor contestant Lucie Jones in this year’s contest after she saw off five other former hopefuls from the ITV show in a BBC one-off competition. Ukraine won in 2016 with the song 1944 performed by Jamala, which was largely seen as a criticism of Russia over the country’s action in Crimea.The EBU’s statement said: “The group felt they were not able to continue work on the project owing to staffing matters at UA:PBC, which the EBU cannot fully comment on.””The team have been instrumental in the planning for this year’s EurovisionSong Contest and we thank them for their hard work”We have reiterated to UA:PBC the importance of a speedy and efficient implementation of plans already agreed, despite staff changes, and that we stick to the timeline and milestones that have been established and approved by the reference group to ensure a successful contest in May.” Lucie Jones will represent Britain in the Eurovision Song ContestCredit:Matt Burlem/PA / BBC The team behind the next Eurovision Song Contest has been thrown into crisis after a number of top level staff quit, prompting producers remind them to stick “to the timeline”. The next contest is set to take place in Ukraine, after their politically charged entry won last year. A reported 21 members of the Ukraine Public Broadcaster (UA:PBC), including two executive producers, the event manager and head of security, resigned over “staffing matters”, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said.The EBU, which founded Eurovision in 1956, released a statement reiterating the need to “stick to the timeline” and insisting the event would go ahead in Kiev in May.  Lucie Jonescenter_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. Show more She won the slot with a rendition of her song Never Give Up On You during the live voting programme in January. last_img read more

BBC presenters lose new pound coin down the back of the sofa

first_imgThe presenters on BBC Breakfast were trusted with two of the first new pound coins.However, giving the shiny new money to the presenters appeared to be a lapse in judgement.Dan Walker carelessly tossed his new pound coin in the air and lost it behind the sofa.They were given two of the 12-sided coins by the Royal Mint to show viewers, a day before they enter circulation on Tuesday. The cameras returned to the studio after the show aired a package on the coin, but Walker was nowhere to be seen.”We have a first here. I have my pound coin. Dan has actually lost his pound coin,” Minchin explained.”The first pound coin down the back of the sofa already.” Walker popped his head up from behind the sofa and told viewers: “I went for the first toss of the new pound coin, to do the head and tails thing. It disappeared down here somewhere.”Minchin asked him: “Have you got it yet?” to which he replied: “No”. But just as Minchin was handing over to the local news, Walker popped up again brandishing his coin, delighted that he had found it.The new coin, which will eventually replace the old “round pound”, has high-tech features, including a hologram, and has been described as the most secure coin in the world. Shambles. Almost lost the 1st new pound coin 😬 https://t.co/VjxVHrIPQz— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) March 27, 2017 He managed to find the coin in the endcenter_img He managed to find the coin in the endCredit:BBC News/PA Wire @mrdanwalker you have certainly given my week a chuckly start…please, never change…ps well done Louise @louiseminchin— Yvonne Wright (@yvonnewright29) March 27, 2017 New pound coin news today. We get them from tomorrow @BBCBreakfast pic.twitter.com/KjPqtbAP2i— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) March 27, 2017 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

End of the soggy bottom Channel 4s Great British Bake Off to

first_imgShe said she hoped viewers would find that “this is Bake Off but with an extraordinary, high calibre of contributors and it’s got a slight Channel 4 feel to it.”We’ve got a new tone to it, it’s got a new comic riff to it. I think that feels modern and future facing. I think it’s a show that people will love with a Channel 4 spin.”Her comments come after Sue Perkins, who hosted the series on the BBC with Mel Giedroyc, admitted that she was running out of puns. A source confirmed that the first episode of the new series contains none of the “soggy bottom” jokes that Bake Off has been long-associated with.Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s chief creative officer and the force behind the broadcaster securing The Great British Bake Off, said that she was “quietly confident” about the series. On the BBC, mild innuendo and baking puns were as much of a staple of the Great British Bake Off as flour, eggs or butter.But the days of the soggy bottom could be firmly behind it, as the new Channel 4 version promises a “new tone” which “feels modern”. Mel and Sue, who loved a laboured baking pun 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. Mel and Sue, who loved a laboured baking pun Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith The BBC line-up, featuring Mary Berry, Mel and Sue As Leith and Hollywood began their deliberations on who would be ejected from the tent, Toksvig joked: “You could say Noel.” Ms Hunt denied reports that relationships between the new team – judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood alongside hosts Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig – had soured. Paul Hollywood and Prue Leithcenter_img Prue Leith replaces Mary Berry as judge Fielding added: “I’ll go. I’ll go now. I’ll take a hit for the team. It’s been great…”Planting a kiss on Toksvig’s cheek, he added: “See you later kids.”Channel 4 paid a reported £75 million for three years of the hit show, which scored 15 million viewers on the BBC. The final Christmas episode of GBBO on the BBC “I was in the tent a few weeks ago for the whole day. I was struck by completely the opposite.”Chemistry is hard to achieve on television and the thing that I took away from it more than anything else is that there was natural warmth and that they got on really well and their humour worked incredibly effectively together,” Hunt said. She added: “Their chemistry is fantastic, the calibre of the baking is absolutely jaw dropping…”I can reassure all the sceptics that it’s looking absolutely fantastic.”A source said that in the first episode there were no “soggy bottom” jokes.”With Noel, it’s a slightly more surreal take. So far, episode one, there’s no reference to soggy bottoms but it’s got a freshness and it feels modern in terms of their comic take on it… It’s got a slightly more surreal twist,” the source said. The BBC line-up, featuring Mary Berry, Mel and Sue “Noel’s got a big, bright primary colours imagination and that’s where his gags are mined from.”A clip, aired to the media as Channel 4 unveiled its annual report, showed a brief glimpse of the line-up in action.Comic Fielding told the bakers: “Sadly I have to deliver the bad news… a horrible job.” Prue Leith replaces Mary Berry as judge The final Christmas episode of GBBO on the BBClast_img read more

YouTube video that taught Manchester bomber how to make explosives is still

first_imgA terrorist bomb-making video watched by Salman Abedi before he blew himself up at a Manchester pop concert is still being shared on YouTube, the US Senate has heard.A senate committee questioned how the video was getting round the web giant’s safeguards designed to stop extremists posting propaganda and terrorist content.The video has been uploaded to the site as recently as this month, the committee disclosed as they quizzed executives from the world’s top social media companies.Executives from Twitter, Google’s YouTube and Facebook said their automatic tools for spotting and quickly removing the content were becoming increasingly effective. But senators said the efforts were still “not enough”.Sen John Thune, chairman of the commerce committee, said: “According to the Counter Extremism Project, one single bomb making video used to instruct the Manchester suicide bomber has been uploaded to YouTube and removed 11 times but continues to resurface as recently as this month.“How is it possible for that to happen?” Juniper Downs, YouTube’s director of public policy, said the video had been entered into a database of harmful films that were being automatically searched for and taken down.She said: “We are catching reuploads of the video quickly and removing it as soon as those uploads are detected.”The rapid online radicalisation of a string of ‘lone wolf’ terrorists in America and Europe has put intense pressure on tech firms to do more to police their platforms.Intelligence officials in Britain have warned that attackers are becoming radicalised and inspired to carry out attacks by jihadist propaganda in a matter of just weeks or even days.The committee heard social media companies were relying too heavily on programmes to catch extremists and their content. Clint Watts, of the Foreign Policy Research Institute said: “Social media companies continue to get beat in part because they rely too heavily on technologists and technical detection to catch bad actors.””Artificial intelligence and machine learning will greatly assist in cleaning up nefarious activity, but will for the near future fail to detect that which hasn’t been seen before.”The committee heard that though the ability to use anonymous accounts may have allowed pro-democracy activists to battle repressive regimes, it also benefited extremists. Sen Ben Nelson said: “These platforms have created a new and stunningly effective way for nefarious actors to attack and to harm.”Carlos Monje, director of public policy for Twitter, said that even with all the web firms’ efforts to tackle terrorist and hate content “it is a cat-and-mouse game and we are constantly evolving to face the challenge”. The web giant has safeguards designed to stop extremists posting propaganda and terrorist contentCredit:DADO RUVIC/Reuterscenter_img The web giant has safeguards designed to stop extremists posting propaganda and terrorist content The bomb-making tutorial features a balaclava-wearing Islamic State group fighter standing in a kitchen and explaining how to build a bomb with easy to obtain ingredients.Amedi manufactured a home-made bomb that he used to murder 22 people when he detonated among crowds leaving an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Skull of Indian executed by cannon for mutiny should be repatriated because

first_imgAs punishment, it said he had been “blown away from a gun”, a common method of execution used by the British to execute rebels which involved tying the person to the mouth of a cannon which was then fired. The note added that the skull had been brought back to Britain by “Captain (AR) Costello (late Capt. 7th Drag. Guards), who was on duty when Alum Bheg was executed”.But Dr Wagner says Mr Bheg was wrongly accused – and the real culprit was a local executioner who had a personal grudge against the British. Bheg was a member of a regiment whose members did mutiny in the location where the missionaries and doctor were killed, but wasn’t actually involved in the violence, he says. “My research shows he was actually innocent,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “Those murders did happen, and he was there, but he didn’t kill them. We know who did kill these people, and it was somebody else. The rolled-up, handwritten scrap of paper was inserted into an eye socket 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. Storming of Delhi, Sepoy uprisingCredit:DEA / A. C. COOPER /De Agostini Editorial  A skull found in a Kent pub should be repatriated and buried in India because it belongs to a man wrongly accused of murdering European missionaries, an academic believes. The skull was owned by a couple who inherited it after relatives took over the The Lord Clyde pub and discovered it in a back room in 1963. The couple passed it on to Dr Kim Wagner, an expert in imperial history at Queen Mary University, London, who began to investigate its provenance. He was helped by the fact that the skull came complete with a note which claimed to tell its history. The rolled-up, handwritten scrap of paper was inserted into an eye socket and said it was the skull of Havildar “Alum Bheg,” a leader in the mutiny of 1857 who murdered a group of missionaries and a doctor near Sialkot, which is now in Pakistan. It said he had been a “principal leader in the mutiny of 1857 & of a most ruffianly disposition. “He took possession (at the head of a small party) of the road leading to the fort, to which place all the Europeans were hurrying for safety. “His party surprised and killed Dr. Graham shooting him in his buggy by the side of his daughter. His next victim was the Rev. Mr. Hunter, a missionary, who was flying with his wife and daughters in the same direction. DEA / A. C. COOPER center_img The rolled-up, handwritten scrap of paper was inserted into an eye socket “After 1857 the punishment that the British meted out was quite indiscriminate. “There was very little concern about individual guilt.” As a result, he says the man’s skull should receive a respectful burial in his home country – particularly because the method of his death was a deliberate effort to stop a proper burial taking place. “It should be buried because the method of execution – he was blown from a cannon, so his body was physically destroyed.”That was intended, when the British did that in 1857, as a kind of spiritual punishment, so that the body could not be buried. “So that combined with the fact that the skull was then taken as a trophy, all points to the fact that it’s a kind of humiliation.”So my aim would be to bury it and put it to rest under respectful circumstances.”He said the British High Commission in India and the Royal Asiatic Society were involved in preliminary discussions about a possible repatriation, as well as non-Governmental Indian institutions. “There’s no real precedent for this kind of thing,” he added. The mutiny of July 1857 involved Indian soldiers rebelling against the British East India company, in part because they believed gun cartridges, which a soldier had to open with their teeth, were being greased with cow and pig fat, which would be forbidden by both Hindu and Muslim religions. “He murdered Mr Hunter, and his wife and daughters after being brutally treated were butchered by the road side.”It described him as “about 32 years of age; 5 feet 7 ½ inches high and by no means an ill looking native”. last_img read more

Former EDL leader Tommy Robinson freed from prison after judges quash contempt

To print the document, click the “Original Document” link to open the original PDF. At this time it is not possible to print the document with annotations. In the afternoon, Robinson emerged from Onley Prison, Warwickshire, in a blue T-shirt, jeans and carrying a black holdall, but refused to answer reporters’ questions.As he was ushered into a black people carrier by some of his supporters, he said: “I’ve got a lot to say, nothing to you. I just want to say thank you to the British public for their support.”At the appeal hearing the judges had been also urged to overturn a contempt of court finding against Robinson that had been made last year at Canterbury Crown Court. « A Free Tommy Robinson march in JuneCredit:AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivias 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 appeal judges also found he was sentenced as if he had pleaded guilty, despite it being unclear what he was admitting to, and there had been a “muddle” about the nature of the contempt he faced. Loading Loading Jubilant Tommy Robinson supporters celebrate outside courtCredit:John Stillwell/PA The founder of the English Defence League, “Tommy Robinson”, has had his conviction for contempt of court quashed as the Court of Appeal orders a new trial.The far-right activist, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was released from prison on bail after three judges ruled that he was jailed earlier this year following a series of procedural “flaws”.Robinson, 35, had been convicted of contempt in May after broadcasting on Facebook a 1.5 hour video from outside Leeds Crown Court about a case which has a blanket reporting restriction imposed for legal reasons. His footage was watched by 250,000 people when it went live.Within hours of posting the video online he was brought before Judge Geoffrey Marson QC in Leeds and jailed for 10 months with an extra three extra months for an earlier suspended sentence for contempt.Yesterday the Court of Appeal found that that judge had rushed into proceedings despite Robinson having removed the video from the internet. The decision to free him from prison was met with a round of applause from his supporters in court. However, activists supporting Robinson and rival anti-fascist campaigners faced each other chanting outside the court. Former EDL leader Tommy Robinson pictured leaving prison after judges quash contempt ruling Credit:Joe Giddens/PA In May 2017, he was filmed outside court commenting on a trial of four Asian men who were later convicted of gang-raping a teenage girl.He was given a suspended three-month sentence and told his conviction was not about “freedom of speech”  but about “justice and ensuring that a trial can be carried out justly and fairly”. Reporting restriction on that case were later lifted. Such reporting restrictions are usually imposed if a judge fears publication of the case could prevent a fair trial in that hearing, or any linked cases.Jeremy Dein QC, for Robinson, told the appeal hearing the Canterbury conviction should be quashed along with the Leeds one because of a “conglomeration of procedural deficiencies” which had given rise to prejudice. Previous Former EDL leader Tommy Robinson pictured leaving prison after judges quash contempt ruling  Read the Royal Courts of Justice’s full judgement here: for “” Next Tommy Robinson: The divisive founder of the EDLFor years, Tommy Robinson faced the prospect of slipping into obscurity. With the demise of the English Defence League, a group he founded in 2009, he struggled to find a platform to air his extremist rhetoric.After becoming a self-declared journalist, he used social media to broadcast claims about ongoing “secret” trials in the UK.But his new found fame came not from breaking stories, but instead from coming into conflict once again with the law of the land.When he was jailed in May for contempt of court after filming outside Leeds Crown Court, a case to now be retried, a series of protests were held across the country. Page Note  1 of  24 0 Jubilant Tommy Robinson supporters celebrate outside court The judges said they were satisfied that the decision at Leeds to proceed to committal to prison “so promptly”, and without “due regard” to rules governing procedures surrounding someone alleged to have acted in contempt of court “gave rise to unfairness”.They added that the haste in bringing him to court back in May meant his barrister, found during a 33 minute adjournment, had “limited opportunity… to investigate mitigation” or obtain character references.Delivering the ruling in the Court of Appeal in London, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said: “Where a custodial term of considerable length is being imposed, it should not usually occur so quickly after the conduct which is complained of; a sentence of committal to immediate custody had been pronounced within five hours of the conduct taking place.”After granting Robinson conditional bail they stressed the need for a fresh hearing before a different judge to be held “as soon as reasonably possible”. Robinson, who was not in court for the hearing, was banned from going within 400 metre of Leeds Crown Court as part of his bail conditions. The fresh contempt case will be now heard at the Old Bailey in the capital. Original Document (PDF) » p. 1 Show more p. 2 Yaxley Lennon Full Judgment p. 3 Loading Loading Yaxley Lennon Full Judgment A Free Tommy Robinson march in June Related Article » Document Pages Notes Text Contributed by: Telegraph Graphics, The Telegraph However, the appeal judges only quashed the Leeds case. Zoom Contents Among those, Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who has compared the Quran to Hitler’s Mein Kempf, yesterday tweeted that it was “fantastic” Robinson was now free.The anti-fascist group, Hope Not Hate claim their arch-rival remains a violent thug (he posted a clip of him once hitting a migrant in prison) who in Canterbury last year nearly brought down a case that could have meant rapists were freed.The clamour to free him could be renewed if a future hearing rules he was in contempt when broadcasting about that case heard at Leeds Crown Court. Yaxley Lennon Full Judgment (PDF)
Yaxley Lennon Full Judgment (Text) CLOSE Sensing a conspiracy, his supporters immediately claimed he was “gagged”. It prompted Donald Trump Jr to defend him, urging America not to “follow in the footsteps” of the UK.Donald Trump’s controversial right-wing advisor, Steve Bannon, waded on UK radio to declare Robinson, who has criminal convictions dating back to 2005, as the “backbone of this country”.Meanwhile, anti-Muslim figures and organisations campaigned and raised funds to call for his release. Loading Loading » read more

Royal Mail accused of disrespect by mixing up DDay beaches with Indonesia

The Royal Mail says its 2019 Special Stamp programme is supposed to commemorate anniversaries and celebrate events and popular culture relevant to UK heritage and life. Images such as birds of prey and scenes depicting British engineering excellence are planned, as well as six stamps of Queen Victoria at various stages in her life, and four of her husband Prince Albert.The D-Day landings were to be marked with a set of 11 stamps, in what the Royal Mail said “will be a timely commemoration of all those who participated and will use images from the day itself”.Paul Woodadge, 49, a D-Day historian and former tour guide living in Normandy, told the BBC: “It’s quite shocking really. It’s going to be the 75th anniversary of D-Day – the last one where there’s any veterans around who will remember it.”These stamps are the kind of thing people will buy for their fathers and grandfathers.”A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: “We work very hard to ensure that our Special Stamp programme appropriately commemorates anniversaries and events that are relevant to UK heritage and life. British Commandos of 1st Special Service Brigade landing from an LCI(S) (Landing Craft Infantry (Small)) on 'Queen Red' Beach, SWORD Area, at la Breche, at approximately 8.40 am, 6 June 1944. “We would like to offer our sincere apologies that our preview release for our 2019 Special Stamp programme included a stamp design which had been incorrectly associated with the D-Day landings.”We can confirm that this image will not be part of the final set, which will be issued in June 2019.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The D-Day landings occurred almost a month later – and thousands of miles away – on the coast of northern France, in what was to be the start of the final allied effort from the West against Nazi-occupied Europe. British Commandos of 1st Special Service Brigade landing from an LCI(S) (Landing Craft Infantry (Small)) on ‘Queen Red’ Beach, SWORD Area, at la Breche, at approximately 8.40 am, 6 June 1944. Credit: IWM/Getty Images Royal Mail has been widely criticised for planning to release a stamp marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day using an image of US troops landing in what was Dutch New Guinea, almost 8,500 miles from the Normandy beaches.The stamps, priced at £1.25 each, were due to be released in 2019 as part of a ‘Best of British’ collection.Captioned ‘Allied soldiers and medics wade ashore’, the image was supposed to depict the amphibious landings on the coast of northern France on June 6, 1944. However, after being previewed on social media, many observers pointed out the geographic error.One commentator on Twitter called it a “disrespectful sloppy blunder” while another said: “Having worked 3 years for Royal Mail, this does not surprise me at all”. Another tweet pointed out that the Royal Mail had released a series of stamps in 1994 commemorating 50 years since the landings, with correct imagery.The image, an official US Coast Guard photo, appears on the website of The National WWII Museum, an American site containing thousands of photographs and oral histories of the war.It first appeared in the July 1944 edition of ‘All Hands’ magazine and clearly states it shows troops carrying stretchers from a landing craft at Sarmi, Dutch New Guinea – now part of Indonesia – on May 17, 1944. read more

Police renew appeal for witnesses to Salisbury nerve agent attack in attempt

Police have made a renewed appeal for witnesses to the Salisbury nerve agent attack in an attempt to prosecute Russian military agents over the death of a British mother-of-three.Dawn Sturgess died when she inadvertently smeared herself with Novichok nerve agent disguised in a perfume bottle and which was discarded by Russian hitmen.Police launched the appeal a year on from the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury last March. Colonel Skripal, who had sold Russian intelligence secrets to MI6, survived the attack but Miss Sturgess died.Her boyfriend Charlie Rowley said he found the discarded perfume bottle on June 27, almost four months after the attack on Col Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Mr Rowley gave the perfume to Miss Sturgess as a gift.Two Russian military intelligence agents have been charged in their absence with the attempted murder of Col Skripal but cannot yet be linked directly to the death of Miss Sturgess. Counter-terrorism officers suggested yesterday that witnesses may still be deterred from coming forward – raising concern they fear Kremlin reprisals.Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “We are determined to bring to justice those responsible for Dawn’s death and Charlie Rowley’s poisoning. “A year on from the attack on Yulia and Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, there are parts of the picture that we are continuing to piece together, and I am urging anyone who has information that they have not yet passed to police to do so.“I am conscious someone may have information but is worried about telling us a year on. Please do not worry – just call or email us. The information you have could be crucial to securing the prosecution of those responsible for Dawn Sturgess’ death.”Detectives are still trying to “account for the whereabouts” of the Novichok disguised in a counterfeit ‘Nina Ricci’ perfume box and bottle between March 4 when Col Skripal was attacked and June 27 when it was found by Mr Rowley.Yesterday, Col Skripal’s house and 11 other potentially infected sites were ruled safe on Friday after military teams spent 13,000 hours on the clean-up. It also emerged that 5,000 test samples were taken from across Salisbury and nearby Amesbury, where Dawn Sturgess, 44, was fatally poisoned.Col Skripal’s house was yesterday handed back to Wiltshire Council from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which had been involved in the deep clean. An estimated 600 to 800 specially trained military personnel, including the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear regiment, were involved in the clean-up, named Operation Morlop.A senior military source said the Skripal house was the “most complex” but each decontamination effort was “bespoke” to the site.Two Russian agents – both senior officers in the GRU – were charged in their absence after police and MI5 pieced together their movements in the UK at the time of the attack.The men travelled under false identities of Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov. They were later exposed as GRU agents Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, a trained doctor. Both had received Russia’s highest military honour from Vladimir Putin. Both men fled the UK on the day of the attack and remain in Russia. Yulia Skripal, who was contaminated with the nerve agent Novichok along with her father Sergei Skripal Yulia Skripal, who was contaminated with the nerve agent Novichok along with her father Sergei SkripalCredit:PA A Defra spokesman said: “The completion of clean-up work at Christie Miller Road, Salisbury marks a significant milestone in south Wiltshire’s return to normality following the sickening Novichok nerve agent attack last year.“The property was declared safe following extensive cleaning and testing by specialist teams. Wiltshire Council will shortly begin to co-ordinate work to refurbish the property, with residents of Christie Miller Road consulted on its future use.”Along with the house, the sites include the park bench where the Skripals were found collapsed, the Zizzi restaurant where they had dined beforehand, and the home of Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who was also exposed to Novichok. 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

British Army boss issues stark warning over criminality as review is launched

Although he said he could not comment specifically on either case, he added: “But I will say this: where serious allegations are proven against members of the Army including allegations of a violent or sexual nature, it demonstrates indiscipline that is wildly at odds with the values and standards that represent the fabric of not just our army but the nation’s army, the British Army.”Not only is it downright unacceptable, it is illegal and it stands in stark contrast with everything the British Army represents.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Last week, the Army was criticised after a video emerged showing soldiers in Kabul, Afghanistan, using a picture of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, for target practice.The MoD launched an investigation into the conduct of the personnel from 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, shown in the film.Meanwhile, Sir Mark said: “All these allegations are being taken very seriously by the military chain of command and are now under active investigation by the police, which is exactly as it should be and what I expect.” Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson said he will launch a review into bullying and harassment  The head of the British Army has issued a stark warning to troops that he will not tolerate violent or sexual criminal behaviour after “a series of exceptionally serious allegations” were made against soldiers.In an outspoken broadcast, Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, said criminality among Servicemen is “downright unacceptable” and “damaged the reputation” of the British Army.The Ministry of Defence (MoD) posted his film online after it emerged six soldiers were arrested by military police over allegations of a sexual assault on a 17-year-old female soldier.It was alleged that the woman awoke in her room to find the soldiers, members of a sports club who had been drinking, in her room.The arrests prompted Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, to launch a review into bullying and harassment across the Armed Forces. He said British soldiers are known for “stoicism, a sense of honour and duty, courage, a sense of humour and an honest sense of decency”.Explaining how servicemen and servicewomen need to behave to a “higher level” as they are responsible for defending the nation, he added: “Any behaviour that falls short of that high standard we cannot and will not tolerate.”He concluded: “This hasn’t been a good week for the Army. It has damaged our reputation which is exceptionally hard earned and includes the sacrifice of our friends on the battlefield.”We all belong to a national institution, something the country is proud of and rightly so – the best of British. Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson said he will launch a review into bullying and harassment Credit:Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media “And we are proud custodians of that reputation, which needs all of us – each and every one of us – to do better.”The woman allegedly attacked is understood to have been offered full support and counselling.It is believed five of the soldiers were arrested by military police on March 29 and then a sixth arrest on April 1. The men have been released while inquiries continue. The name of the unit where the alleged attack took place has not been revealed for legal reasons.Asked about the latest allegations, Mr Williamson said: “There is no place for these kind of actions in the military and, if true, those involved must face the full force of the law.”Mr Williamson is due to meet in Whitehall a senior military officer and senior civil servant he has appointed to conduct the review.They will draw up a timetable and establish the full terms of reference to be covered. read more