When Should You Draft a Quarterback in the First Round

In “No Team Can Beat the Draft,” my colleague Neil Paine argued that the player-evaluation market in the NFL appears to be pretty efficient. No team or general manager has shown an ability to consistently pick players who earn better stats in their first five years than we would expect given where they were taken in the draft.Neil’s argument doesn’t imply that no teams are better at general draft strategy than others. Some add value by trading their picks for more valuable picks. Some get value by picking in the “sweet spot” — the area where the return on investment for a pick is the highest (typically late in Round 1 or early in Round 2) — more often than others. Some address their team needs better than others. And so on.Of course, there’s also a lot of uncertainty in how players are valued. For Neil’s analysis, that’s not particularly important, because any arbitrary metric will do: If someone drafts better players, they will generally have more fruitful careers as measured by most metrics. But one weakness that almost all of those metrics share is not really understanding how much each player contributes to the overall quality of a team. This is a completely open question in football, with a wide range of estimates.So rather than looking at how players perform, I thought I’d take a quick look at how teams making certain types of picks perform overall over the next five years, relative to how we would expect teams of their strength to perform over the same period.For example, here’s how teams perform relative to their SRS (Simple Rating System, or margin of victory adjusted for strength of schedule) depending on where in the first round they drafted (using data from 1970 onward):Teams drafting in the top five slightly exceed expectations, while teams in the early and mid-round underperform; teams who draft late in the round do better than we’d think (again, this is in addition to the fact that teams who draft late are generally stronger).This is completely consistent (and, in fact, supports) the Massey-Thaler analysis, which suggests that early first-round picks are somewhat valuable, mid-round picks are not, and then the value of picks rises steadily until peaking in the second round.If we use this result to adjust for when a team makes its picks, we can start to look for other patterns, such as how teams have done after drafting players of certain positions in various spots.For the following table, I first calculated each team’s expected performance (in SRS) over the next five years based on its record, its SRS in the previous year and where it was making their draft pick. Then I compared that expectation to its actual performance, broken down by its draft slot and the position of the player it drafted. Here are the results for the eight positions most commonly drafted in the first round:Granted, these results are noisy. A lot of the difference is likely just variance, but slightly more results seem statistically significant than we would expect. A couple of the strongest results also reflect plausible theories:First, teams who take quarterbacks in the first five picks tend to perform better than expected (unsurprisingly), but teams who take QBs later in the round typically perform worse. This is the result I was hoping to find, based on the theory that marquee quarterbacks are easy to identify, but sorting out the rest is difficult. In other words: If the top QBs are off the board, it’s probably not worth spending a first-round pick (and more money) speculatively.Second, tackles possibly aren’t as valuable as people think. Guards didn’t make the list because a lot fewer of them were taken in the first round, though for those that were, the teams who took them did better than average. This could be explained by tackles being poorly-valued by the market relative to guards. read more

Putins Russia Just Cant Seem To Win Olympic Hockey Gold

10Patrik EliasCCzech Rep.89.934.8124.7 14Daniel AlfredssonRWSweden92.828.2121.0✓ 1Nicklas LidstromDSweden75.583.4158.9✓ PlayerPoscountry*Off.Def.TotalWon Gold? 5Alex OvechkinRWRussia126.223.8150.0 6Marian HossaLWSlovakia110.533.6144.2 2Joe ThorntonCCanada112.842.1154.9✓ 20Henrik SedinLWSweden75.432.7108.1✓ Russia’s not-so-golden generation of pro starsOlympic golds among skaters with the most NHL Point Shares, 1998-2018 *Players are listed with the national team they played for in the Olympics.**As of Feb. 18, 2018Source: Hockey-Reference.com 7Zdeno CharaDSlovakia49.288.7137.9 8Sidney CrosbyCCanada110.724.7135.4✓ 9Patrick MarleauCCanada96.232.1128.3✓ 3Jaromir JagrRWCzech Rep.119.833.7153.5✓ 19Henrik ZetterbergLWSweden79.328.9108.2✓ Perhaps it’s no coincidence that in the first Olympic hockey tournament devoid of NHL players since 1994, the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) are dominating. Buttressed by Datsyuk and Kovalchuk (who both left North American hockey in the last five years but are both still good enough to play on most top lines in the NHL), they’ve often decimated their opponents in Pyeongchang, and the OAR team looks as likely as any other to win the gold this weekend. But even if they win it all, it won’t truly count as the kind of Olympic dominance that Russia’s been lacking of late.On top of the the fact that OAR medals don’t count in the national team’s tally, there’s also the matter of never beating the best hockey players the world had to offer. Remember, the Soviet and Unified teams only ever beat groups of amateurs, and although there are plenty of professionals and ex-NHL players skating in South Korea, it would be incorrect to say these Olympics are an exhibition of the globe’s top talent. If the Olympic Athletes from Russia go on to win gold this weekend, they’ll join a long line of champions who beat some pretty good hockey teams — but never quite had to face the best on the planet.Who knows if the NHL and the International Olympic Committee will ever come to terms and allow the sport’s best players to return to the world’s most significant international ice hockey tournament. If not, all-time Russian greats like Ovechkin and Malkin could finish their illustrious careers without ever capturing Olympic gold. And if the NHL stays home again in four years, even a (presumably) restored Team Russia won’t really get a chance to measure itself against the world’s best players.Perhaps Russia will just have to content itself with basking in the on-ice brilliance of president Vladimir Putin: Eight goals by one team might be impressive, but who needs Olympic gold when you have a player who’s capable of netting eight goals by himself? 13Daniel SedinCSweden90.330.9121.1✓ 18Pavel DatsyukCRussia82.129.1111.2 15Chris ProngerDCanada49.669.6119.2✓ What do Sergei Fedorov, Pavel Bure, Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin have in common? They’re all infinitely gifted hockey men from Russia — who’ve never won a gold medal at the Olympics. In fact, no Russian men’s hockey team has ever won gold at the Olympics.That is, of course, slightly disingenuous — between those great Soviet teams of the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, and the Unified Team (made up of players from the just-collapsed USSR) that reached hockey’s mountaintop in the French Alps in 1992, teams from what is now Russia have won an astounding eight Olympic golds. But the Russian Federation has never reached such great heights. In the last six Olympics, the country’s hockey teams have only won two medals: a silver at Nagano in 1998 and a bronze at Salt Lake City in 2002. And this year’s team won’t be the one to end the drought. Although Russian athletes have been playing great, they are officially competing as Olympic Athletes from Russia after a widespread doping scandal led to the country being formally banned from this year’s Winter Olympics. Since these athletes aren’t technically playing under the Russian flag, any medals they win can’t contribute to the country’s medal total. Whatever happens, the Russian anthem won’t be playing in Pyeongchang.That one-in-three rate for acquiring medals of any color at the last six Olympics must be jarring — unacceptable? — for a national team so accustomed to slicing its opponents to bits at international ice hockey tournaments. The Soviets are rightly famous for their dominance at the Olympics, but they also cleaned up at the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Ice Hockey World Championships: Between 1954 and 1991, they won 22 championships, finishing in second on seven more occasions.1They also won bronze five times. And while the Russian Federation team has had some success in the same competition — they’ve won five World Championships2Plus three silver and four bronze. — it doesn’t have the same luster as capturing gold on the world’s biggest winter athletics stage. This quadrennial shortfall must be a disappointment to Russian hockey fans (and their, uh, hockey role-playing president).Russia’s multigenerational stretch of frustration at the Olympics looks more grim when it’s juxtaposed with the success of Canada and Sweden. The best players to come out of each of these two nations in the past two decades — for example, Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews for Canada, and Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Lundqvist for Sweden — have at least one shiny piece of golden hardware to show for their efforts at the Olympics. Even the Czechs, led by a 25-year-old Jaromir Jagr, grabbed gold at Nagano ’98. Back when the Olympics were played by amateurs, the Soviets were almost unbeatable3Mainly because those Soviet players were amateurs in name only.; not long after the tournament allowed NHL talents to participate, the Russians all but disappeared from the conversation.4A confounding factor here is that the 1988 rule change allowing professional players in the Olympics shortly predated the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Just as the quality of competition was improving, the Russian team would have had a smaller pool of talent to draw from, as a number of countries broke from the USSR to become independent. 16Martin St. LouisCCanada87.927.0114.8✓ 4Jarome IginlaRWCanada119.333.8153.1✓ 12Sergei GoncharDRussia68.056.2124.2 11Teemu SelanneRWFinland99.924.6124.5 Point Shares** 17Evgeni MalkinLWRussia93.519.0112.5 read more

How Much Should LeBrons Finals Record Hurt His Legacy

Kyrie Irving318.90.610.4 Tim Duncan617.84.250.8 Stephen Curry418.23.23-0.2 PlayerAppearancesAvg. Game ScoreExp.Act.Diff. Game Score is a metric that summarizes a player’s statistical production, set to roughly the same scale as points per game.Source: Basketball-Reference.com 2011MIADAL55.913.7 Larry Bird520.63.13-0.1 According to our measure, James is firmly in the middle of this pack of historical greats. That’s probably still a knock if we’re judging his candidacy for the title of absolute GOAT, but adjusting for competition does end up softening the blow of LeBron’s raw Finals record. Individually, James has outplayed almost all of his peers on the game’s biggest stage, but he’s seldom been in a position to convert those performances into championships.And in many ways, 2018 was the ultimate microcosm of James’s Finals career. He went into the series as a massive underdog, after carrying his undermanned Cavs through a grueling Eastern Conference playoff run. Even as James was scoring 51 points in Game 1, JR Smith’s late blunder probably cost Cleveland its best chance to make the Finals competitive. (It also reportedly spurred James to punch a whiteboard in the locker room after the game, injuring his hand for the rest of the series.) Still, according to Game Score, James had one of the best individual NBA Finals of any player since the merger (on a per-game basis) … and for all of his efforts, the Cavs still got swept. He might have been the only player ever, in any sport, who could earn Finals MVP speculation while being on the wrong side of a sweep.This is LeBron James’s fate, it appears. And because of it, we have to measure him relative to his conditions, rather than in the typical vacuum of ring-counting analyses. Perhaps that will be one of James’s enduring legacies: He caused us to bring a new level of nuance to the usual debates about Finals records. Shaquille O’Neal622.63.840.2 2007CLESAS27.5%10.6 Dwyane Wade517.72.031.0 YearTeamOpponentPre-Finals W%Finals Game Score/GWon Finals? Scottie Pippen615.44.161.9 Kobe Bryant716.75.050.0 2017CLEGSW9.629.6 Michael Jordan624.54.16+1.9 2013MIASAS67.422.5✓ 2016CLEGSW27.426.5✓ LeBron James922.62.830.2 K. Abdul-Jabbar816.23.751.3 James Worthy616.12.730.3 Julius Erving421.22.21-1.2 Clyde Drexler319.81.21-0.2 Source: Basketball-Reference.com Hakeem Olajuwon321.61.120.9 Magic Johnson921.14.051.0 LeBron has seldom had much of a chance in the FinalsPre-series odds (via Elo ratings) for LeBron James’s teams in the NBA Finals 2015CLEGSW21.424.6 2012MIAOKC30.823.6✓ Pau Gasol316.31.920.1 Isiah Thomas317.61.920.1 Kevin Durant325.92.42-0.4 Count the (adjusted) ringsNBA championships won vs. expected (based on pre-series Elo ratings) for players with at least 3 Finals appearances and an average Game Score of 15.0 per game, 1977-2018 2018CLEGSW19.628.3 Finals Wins James’s Cavs and Heat teams have generally gone into the Finals with far less than a coin flip’s chance of winning the series. And although James played poorly (especially by his standards) during his first two appearances — including a 2011 matchup with the Dallas Mavericks, in which Miami was favored and could have won if James had only performed better — he’s been playing at a progressively higher level as his Finals career has gone on. With the Warriors’ juggernaut always advancing out of the Western Conference in recent years, though, it hasn’t mattered.So in that sense, it’s not really a surprise that James has that 3-6 record in the Finals. In fact, if you add up the pre-series odds in the table above, you get an expected championship count of 2.8 for James — meaning he’s somehow running 0.2 titles above expectation, despite his record. Although that trails Jordan (who won 1.9 times more than we’d expect from the pre-series odds), it’s better than Bryant, whose 5-2 mark is exactly even with what the probabilities would have expected.Here are those numbers for every player who averaged at least a Game Score of 15.0 across a minimum of three NBA Finals appearances since the ABA-NBA merger: Another year, another NBA Finals defeat for LeBron James. After his Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the Golden State Warriors Friday night, ending a four-game championship sweep, James’s Finals ledger now lists only 3 wins against 6 losses. It’s a mark completely out of step with those of his historical peers, including Michael Jordan (6-0), Tim Duncan (5-1), Kobe Bryant (5-2), Shaquille O’Neal (4-2) and Stephen Curry (3-1). It’s also probably the No. 1 stumbling block in James’s case as the NBA’s greatest-ever player.But, as is usually the case when you dig deeper than simple ring-counting, things are more complicated than they initially seem. For instance: According to the pre-series Vegas lines, Jordan was favored in all six of his Finals bids, while James has been an underdog seven times in his nine trips to the Finals. One of the hallmarks of James’s career has been dragging terrible teammates to the brink of a championship (and none might have been worse than the crew he brought to face the Warriors this season). That’s great for boosting a player’s tally of Finals appearances — but it leads to a terrible record in the title round itself.Because of this, any analysis of rings won has to account for the differing levels of expectation a player’s teams have going into each series. And by that standard, James has actually won more championships than we’d reasonably expect him to, even after falling to the Warriors this year.We can measure a player’s Finals record versus expectation by using FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings (which measure a team’s relative quality at any given moment) to calculate his teams’ pre-series odds of winning the Finals. Add up those probabilities over an entire career, and you get the number of titles we’d expect a player to have won, adjusted for who he played and how good his own team was. Here’s how James’s Finals career breaks down against expectation: 2014MIASAS20.922.5 read more

Russia Made The King Of Chess The US Dethroned Him

The end of Ilyumzhinov’s reignResults for World Chess Federation (FIDE) presidential elections Nigel Short🇬🇧 EnglandTBD– Ilyumzhinov’s dual tenures in Kalmykia and at FIDE were dogged by scandal.Once dubbed the “King of Kalmykia,” Ilyumzhinov allegedly used his homeland as a base of operations for illicit activity and intimidated those who stood in his way.In expert witness testimony submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice and obtained by ABC News and FiveThirtyEight, Louise Shelley, the founder and director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University in Washington, D.C., wrote that, “Under the Ilyumzhinov regime, the Kalmyk public and law enforcement agencies were repeatedly accused of interfering in election campaigns, engaging in corrupt activities, [and] covering up and profiting from organized crime.”The allegations, which Ilyumzhinov denies, go beyond corruption. Shelley testified that Ilyumzhinov’s regime “was tainted with gross human rights violations, including suppression of political opposition and harassment of human rights activists.”Perhaps the “grisliest,” she noted, was the assassination “linked to Ilyumzhinov’s name.”“But when you start to touch the purse, when you start to uncover concrete things that touch on money and concrete people, then they kill.”As Ilyumzhinov prepared to welcome players and delegates from more than 100 countries to Kalmykia for the 1998 Chess Olympiad, the mutilated body of a local journalist was discovered in a pond on the outskirts of Elista, the region’s capital city.Larisa Yudina had been the editor of Sovietskaya Kalmykia, an opposition newspaper affiliated with Yabloko, Russia’s most prominent liberal party. According to two of Yudina’s former colleagues, Valery Badmaev and Batyr Boromangnaev, Yudina had discovered details about a scheme involving Kalmykia’s so-called “offshore zone,” a tax haven from which many of Russia’s best-known oligarchs benefited.Yudina’s colleagues said she was poised to report that money paid by companies registered in the offshore zone was flowing into a presidential fund and foreign bank accounts instead of Kalmykia’s budget.“In Russia, you can criticize about some kind of general questions as much as you like,” said Badmaev. “But when you start to touch the purse, when you start to uncover concrete things that touch on money and concrete people, then they kill.”The subsequent federal investigation into Yudina’s murder quickly yielded three suspects — Sergey Vaskin, Vladimir Shanukov and Andrey Lipin — and uncovered a direct link to Ilyumzhinov. The leader Vaskin, a former police officer, was a onetime member of his campaign team.The three men were convicted, and in a Russian court filing detailing their sentences, the judge presiding over the case described how one of the men posed as a disgruntled former employee of an Ilyumzhinov-controlled agency that Yudina was investigating. He appeared to be eager to provide Yudina with compromising documents, luring her to an apartment where she was beaten and stabbed to death.“Her professional activities are creating headaches for some influential people in the republic,” Shanukov testified Vaskin told him. “In connection with that, she needs to be removed.”But in the end the authorities and the court found that “the involvement of other persons in the commission of the crime is not established.”Almost immediately after Yudina’s body was discovered, Yabloko launched its own investigation into the murder, fearing a cover-up by local authorities loyal to Ilyumzhinov. Valery Ostanin, a former police officer with 20 years’ experience, was given full access to the case materials.He called the murder the most “bestial” he had ever encountered. “There was blood on every wall and even on the ceiling,” Ostanin said.According to Ostanin, there was credible evidence linking the murder to Ilyumzhinov, including a flurry of communications between Vaskin and members of Ilyumzhinov’s administration shortly after Yudina’s body was discovered. Yet the investigation stalled, he said, as case materials went missing and key investigators were transferred away.In an interview, Ilyumzhinov acknowledged his acquaintance with Vaskin and his familiarity with Yudina’s reporting, but he dismissed the accusation he had any involvement in the tax scheme or her murder, claiming that he “investigated it specially so that there wouldn’t be conversations” and personally invited the federal agents from Moscow to launch their probe.“There was a trial, there was an investigation, it was proved. The issue is finished,” Ilyumzhinov said. “Let me accuse you or your father of killing John Kennedy or Martin Luther King. It’s absurd.”No charges were ever brought against Ilyumzhinov. In his childhood years, Ilyumzhinov wrote in his autobiography, he “seemed to be living two lives,” one as a troublemaking child, the other (after a lesson from his grandfather) as a chess obsessive.“I became fascinated by chess; I would sit at the checkerboard for hours forgetting everything,” Ilyumzhinov wrote of his childhood. “The 32 white and 32 black checks on the board seemed to me to encompass the duality of the whole world.”After a stint working in a factory and then military service, Ilyumzhinov entered the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, one of Russia’s most prestigious universities and widely known for producing two types of graduates — diplomats and spies.He graduated in 1989, having studied diplomacy and Japanese in the midst of perestroika, an era when the Soviet authorities began to allow limited types of private enterprise.“I wanted to become a millionaire,” he said. So rather than enter, say, the foreign ministry, he became a car salesman. Ilyumzhinov said he made a small fortune importing Japanese and other luxury cars and wrote that he turned some “huge profits” on various high-risk, high-reward ventures.According to Michael Khodarkovsky, a professor of history at Loyola University Chicago who has both studied in and written on Kalmykia, Ilyumzhinov quickly established himself among a new breed of post-Soviet powerbrokers.“His early biography is very murky,” Khodarkovsky said. “After the Soviet collapse, people [like Ilyumzhinov] knew what strings to pull and quickly accumulated sizable fortunes.”With wealth came power, as impoverished institutions looked to Ilyumzhinov and his considerable resources for a financial bailout.He was elected to the Russian parliament in 1990, at which point, he wrote, he “began to allot money from [his] personal funds” to fill the gaps in the state’s budget. A few years later, in 1993, he was elected president of Kalmykia.He was 31 years old. His first decree was to make chess obligatory in Kalmyk schools.FIDE came calling shortly thereafter, and Ilyumzhinov harbors no illusions about the reason behind the sudden interest in his leadership.“Why was I elected? Because FIDE was bankrupt then,” Ilyumzhinov told us. “There was no money. And so they asked me.”In 1995, he was unanimously elected president of FIDE, giving him control of the sport that had long ago captured his imagination. He immediately moved to close FIDE’s debts, spending $2 million, he said, from his personal fortune.It would become apparent, however, that both Kalmykia and FIDE had traded a short-term problem for a long-term ruler whose alleged activities were destined to make headlines around the world for more than two decades.Some headlines were just weird — he has repeatedly claimed he was abducted by aliens in 1997. Others spoke to something more wicked. 2006Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia64%– Garry Kasparov🇷🇺 Russia36%– Whatever lingering suspicions surrounded Ilyumzhinov following the murder investigation, they don’t appear to have loosened his grip on power. He remained firmly entrenched in his Elista headquarters for more than a decade after Yudina’s killing, where throughout his rule a trio of flags waved overhead — one for Russia, one for Kalmykia, and one for FIDE.In the months following the murder, Ilyumzhinov was re-elected president of FIDE. He ran unopposed.According to Garry Kasparov, then the world’s top player and now an outspoken critic of both Ilyumzhinov and the Kremlin, chess insiders were more than willing to look the other way.“[It] just put on display the indifference of the world of chess,” Kasparov said in 2017, “for the source of money that was being used to fund chess activities.”“It’s not a secret. He can go like he is just there for chess, for the chess tournament, but he can deliver a message. And the message won’t get screwed up.”Ilyumzhinov maintained a packed travel schedule that saw him unexpectedly but repeatedly appear beside some of the world’s best-known strongmen leaders, typically under the auspices of promoting the game.In 2003, Ilyumzhinov flew to Iraq, less than two days before the start of the U.S. invasion, where he reportedly met with Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday. In 2011, he flew to Libya, amid an ongoing NATO bombing campaign, where he played a chess match against Moammar Gadhafi. And in 2012, he flew to Syria, shortly after the outbreak of civil war, where he met with Bashar Assad to, in Ilyumzhinov’s telling, deliver chess textbooks to Syrian schoolchildren.At times, he appeared to be doing much more than promoting chess. Over the years, Ilyumzhinov has repeatedly been alleged to act as an informal envoy for the Russian government.His son David confirmed that Ilyumzhinov served a unique role. “It’s not a secret,” David told us. “He can go like he is just there for chess, for the chess tournament, but he can deliver a message. And the message won’t get screwed up.”With 188 national chess federations scattered across the globe, Ilyumzhinov’s opportunities for chess diplomacy were all but endless.“It offers unique opportunities to be used as the unofficial embassy,” Kasparov said. “So Ilyumzhinov can go to different places as the president of the chess federation. … He’s a very useful ambassador. If you can call it ambassador.”Ilyumzhinov, however, scoffed at questions about his association with other autocrats.“If tomorrow Kim Jong Un from North Korea [contacted me],” Ilyumzhinov said. “I would also travel there and develop chess.”He denied working directly for the Kremlin but acknowledged that his trips served a dual purpose. He described himself as a “people’s diplomat,” one who promoted not only chess but also “peace and stability.” He became “friends,” he said, with businessmen and politicians around the world with whom he might have casually shared information over lunch.Peskov, who also serves as the chairman of the board of trustees of Russia’s national chess federation alongside other senior Russian officials, denied any connection between the Kremlin and Ilyumzhinov.“He used his influence, and he used his authority to promote chess globally,” Peskov said. “And he’s got certain results. He was very successful.”But Ilyumzhinov’s globetrotting — which his longtime deputy Georgios Makropoulos said was often the largest line item in FIDE’s annual budget — contributed to another fiscal crisis for the federation.Several chess insiders agreed that the FIDE president’s well-publicized association with oppressive regimes made would-be sponsors increasingly wary of association with FIDE.Rex Sinquefield, an American philanthropist and the biggest benefactor of American chess, bankrolls his own tournaments rather than doing business with FIDE.“It’s not a group we could work with,” Sinquefield told us. “There’s a fundamental question of integrity and honesty, and it’s pretty clear to me the mess they’re in.”But just as in Kalmykia, Ilyumzhinov’s money and Kremlin connections would make him especially difficult to remove from his perch atop chess.The first serious challenge to his presidency came in 2010, when the Russian former world champion and onetime Communist Party apparatchik Anatoly Karpov ran against him. Karpov initially managed to win the support of the Russian Chess Federation until an armed raid of its headquarters, reportedly ordered by a then-senior Kremlin advisor Arkady Dvorkovich, appeared to persuade its officials to reconsider.The second serious challenge came in 2014, when Kasparov ran against him. He appeared to attract significant support to his reformist agenda until what Kasparov described as “direct interference” by the Russian Foreign Ministry and the network of Russian embassies, including, he said, threats of retaliation and outright bribery, accusations Ilyumzhinov dismissed.“What do I need votes for,” he asked us, “if I practically kept that organization running for 23 years?”It would ultimately take an intervention of the highest order to precipitate Ilyumzhinov’s downfall — and it came from President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department. Kalmykia, where Ilyumzhinov was born in 1962, would seem an unlikely springboard to power, but that’s where his rapid rise began.One of Russia’s harshest and poorest regions, it is a sweeping stretch of arid grassland home to a largely Buddhist population that was once targeted for exile and extermination by Joseph Stalin. 2018Arkady Dvorkovich🇷🇺 RussiaTBD– YearCandidateCountryVote share 1995Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia—– 1996Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia65%– Vladimir Putin speaks with Ilyumzhinov during a meeting in the Kremlin in 2006. Like in other elections around the world, Russia has been accused of meddling in FIDE’s election for the top spot in international chess. DMITRY ASTAKHOV / AFP / GETTY IMAGES But what’s next for Ilyumzhinov? His work, he said, is far from over. He said he will focus on philanthropic efforts to further his new goal of “teaching 1 billion people to play chess.”He also suggested he might play a role in the reconstruction of war-torn Syria.“Maybe I will do business there,” Ilyumzhinov said. “They are inviting me to get into it.”According to Ilyumzhinov’s son, David, Ilyumzhinov’s “connections” remain valuable, and his presence can provide a measure of protection and influence in Russia’s notoriously ruthless business environment.“He just partners,” David said. “Sometimes he goes in as cover, so that people won’t have problems. … It’s kind of lobbying but in a different way.”Ilyumzhinov wavers between aggrievement and acceptance. He laments that the institutions he believes he saved have now turned on him, calling him “a fool” and telling him to “get out of here.” But he also adopts a kind of Buddhist serenity, claiming he “never look[s] back” and declaring “what’s past is past.”“When people do nothing, just criticize, then I’m silent,” he said. “Because I have nothing to say to them. Like with the aliens. Why do aliens not argue with us? Because they are on a different level. I am on a different level to people. Why should I discuss or talk?”He points to the Buddhist temples and “chess palaces” he built in Kalmykia and in countries around the world, monuments to the money he poured into his passions.“Is that corruption?” he asked. “It’s a gift from me. Look how many I have built. I built that with my own money. In every region. They are real. They stand. Is that corruption? You Western people, you don’t know. You Western people don’t understand. You are a different mentality. I give.” The actual Chess City in Elista, on the left, and a model of its original, grander plan, featuring a chess-decorated castle, on the right. The neighborhood sits largely neglected in the Russian desert. PATRICK REEVELL Bessel Kok🇳🇱 Netherlands36%– In 2015, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Ilyumzhinov “for materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria,” which had employed brutal measures to maintain control of its territory amid a popular uprising.U.S. officials provided few details about the exact nature of the activity that led to the sanction but alleged that Ilyumzhinov owned or controlled the Russian Financial Alliance Bank alongside Mudalal Khuri, its chairman, who “has had a long association with the Assad regime and represents regime business and financial interests in Russia.”According to a former U.S. Treasury Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, being placed on the U.S. list of sanctioned individuals not only freezes all U.S.-based assets but “really is a scarlet letter in the financial system.”“Banks around the world will stop doing business with those people,” the former official said. “I mean a lot of banks, even non-U.S. banks.”Ilyumzhinov vehemently denied allegations that he had assisted the Assad regime, but the sanction created a legitimacy crisis for him at FIDE. Despite that, Ilyumzhinov continued to enjoy a level of state support that revealed how important chess remains to Putin and his inner circle.Peskov called the sanctions “illegal,” pointing out that Ilyumzhinov has never been convicted of any crime.“We’re living in a world of allegations and fake news,” Peskov said.Ilyumzhinov did all he could to combat the sanction. He wrote letters. He hired a lawyer. He even appealed directly to “His Excellency” President Donald Trump, whose alleged affinity for Russia had been dominating headlines for months.“I know that you are completely and utterly committed to the principles and ideals of America,” Ilyumzhinov wrote to Trump in September 2017 in a letter obtained by ABC News and FiveThirtyEight. “I ask you to use your power and authority to allow me to come to New York and face law enforcement … Mr. President! What I’m asking is not vital for either FIDE or Ilyumzhinov. This is required by the principles of justice and human rights.”None of his efforts appeared to make much progress, so with his colleagues within FIDE urging him to step down, he focused on doing what he did best.Running for reelection.“You are managing the responsibilities well,” Putin said. “You have accumulated lots of experience and have every chance to win … and I’d like to wish you success.”By 2017, he appeared set to face his own deputy Makropoulos and English grandmaster Nigel Short, each of whom sought to cast themselves as reformers of a corrupt federation too close to the Kremlin.In response, Ilyumzhinov began mobilizing state support behind his candidacy. In July, he secured Putin’s endorsement in a segment on Russian state-owned television. “I feel that Russia should not concede this position,” Ilyumzhinov told Putin. “And I have decided to run again for the post of the president of FIDE.”“You certainly deserve this position,” Putin replied. “You are managing the responsibilities well. You have accumulated lots of experience and have every chance to win. In any case, you have deserved the right to present your candidacy and fight for the position, and I’d like to wish you success.”In October 2017, the U.S. Chess Federation received a letter, which was obtained by ABC News and FiveThirtyEight, from the Russian Embassy in the U.S., urging the federation to support Ilyumzhinov’s candidacy.“Chess is developing steadily,” wrote Russian Minister-Counselor Denis Gonchar. “And Mr. K. N. Ilyumzhinov enjoys high credibility according to his merit in the chess world.”But just as a financial crisis gave Ilyumzhinov power, it would ultimately be a financial crisis that took it away from him.In January of this year, the Swiss bank UBS moved to close FIDE’s accounts, notifying the federation of the “termination of [its] business relationship.” Bank officials, Makropoulos told us, made it clear in private meetings that FIDE’s accounts had become toxic.Despite the financial problems, Ilyumzhinov remained undeterred. He bolstered his presidential ticket with an American named Glen Stark. But this would-be chess official, it was soon discovered, was neither named Glen Stark nor was he American; he was, in fact, a Russian named Igor Shinder allegedly peddling inflated credentials.This strange scandal appeared to be too much, and Ilyumzhinov’s candidacy suffered an abrupt end — he stepped aside in favor of the Kremlin’s new chosen candidate, former deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich.Ilyumzhinov characterized his departure differently. He is merely stepping down, he said, because he has already “fulfilled all the tasks” before him and, like an undefeated boxer in his heyday, he has “already beaten the strongest.”“If you have beaten Tyson and everyone, why go on, right?” Ilyumzhinov said. “You’re already top.” Georgios Makropoulos🇬🇷 GreeceTBD– Whether he’s on the ballot or not, the upcoming chess election, like every chess election since 1995, is about one thing: Ilyumzhinov.And like so many elections around the world, the Russians are allegedly meddling in it.Chess leaders have convened in Batumi, Georgia, this week to elect the federation’s first new leader in 23 years. On Wednesday, they will choose between three men — Greece’s Georgios Makropoulos, England’s Nigel Short, and Russia’s Arkady Dvorkovich.Makropoulos, Ilyumzhinov’s longtime deputy, is the de facto incumbent put in the awkward position of running on reform, framing the election as a choice between the federation’s political independence and continued “Kremlin control.” And Short, the longshot challenger, appears to have made more accusations than progress — he hoped for “the removal of the Makropoulos administration, which is nothing but a giant cancerous tumour on the body of chess.”But the Kremlin-preferred candidate is the late-entrant Dvorkovich, the former deputy prime minister, who oversaw Russia’s staging of the FIFA World Cup earlier this year. Dvorkovich has supported Ilyumzhinov in the past — he reportedly ordered the raid on the Russian Chess Federation in 2010 — and in many ways represents a continuation of the sport’s alignment with the Kremlin.The contest is facing mounting allegations of Russian interference, including an intervention by Vladimir Putin himself.In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in July, Putin appears to have offered Netanyahu a deal to shore up support for his chosen candidate.“The Russian president asked the prime minister for Israel’s support in favor of former deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich’s candidacy,” wrote an Israeli official in a cable obtained by ABC News and FiveThirtyEight. “Putin, in turn, said he would support Israel as the host of the next world championship.”Dvorkovich disputed the interpretation that Putin was pressuring the Israelis to support him, telling the BBC that the Russian president “didn’t do anything wrong” and was merely “informing” his counterpart of an “important” election.Makropoulos has also accused Russia of trying to boost Dvorkovich’s candidacy by promising money, positions of power and gifts — including 2018 FIFA World Cup tickets — to officials who have a vote in FIDE’s election.Dvorkovich acknowledged inviting chess officials to the World Cup but denied providing them with tickets, and responded to Makropoulos’s claims by filing a defamation suit.Peskov said the Kremlin has had no involvement in the candidacies of either Ilyumzhinov or Dvorkovich and rejected any allegations of interference.“It’s a free vote,” Peskov said, “and we simply don’t have any means to interfere and we don’t have the slightest intention to interfere.”So Ilyumzhinov’s legacy-defining battle rages on without him. Chess has been established as an effective instrument of “soft power” for the Russians, the former Treasury official said, and a “feather in the cap” like the Olympics or the World Cup that allows Russian leaders to project a polished image to visiting politicians and businessmen.Ilyumzhinov has endorsed Dvorkovich, hopeful that under the former deputy prime minister, the “status” he says he brought to the organization will be “maintained,” but he dismissed the suggestion of holding a position under the new administration should a Russian keep the post.“For what?” he scoffed. “I’m not a bureaucrat.” 1998Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia—– Anatoly Karpov🇷🇺 Russia37%– 2002Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia—– Jaime Sunye Neto🇧🇷 Brazil35%– In the days following the 2016 election, a large group of Russians gathered in New York to watch one of their own wage war in miniature.They were at the World Chess Championship, where a patriotic Russian grandmaster was challenging the Norwegian defending champion in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. Members of Russia’s business and political elite gathered in the venue’s dimly lit VIP lounge and whispered over martinis as their countryman tried to restore Russia to its former chess glory.One person was especially conspicuous, and he wasn’t even there.Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has lorded over the sport as the president of the World Chess Federation, more commonly known by its French acronym FIDE, for more than two decades. But the game’s most powerful figure had been barred from the country hosting its highest profile event. Ilyumzhinov was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2015 for providing financial assistance to Bashar Assad’s government in Syria as the regime inflicted a shocking degree of violence upon its citizens and purchased oil from the terrorist group ISIS.The sanction was an extraordinary allegation to level against a sports chief, but Ilyumzhinov is no ordinary chief, and chess is no ordinary sport.For years, he served simultaneously as the president of a Russian region and the steward of its national pastime. His authoritarian rule in those dual posts established him as a uniquely valuable Kremlin asset and has led his critics to bestow him with other, less flattering titles. Stooge. Spy. Madman. And perhaps worse.Now, after a 23-year reign atop the game, Ilyumzhinov is days away from the end of his colorful tenure. An election to replace him takes place this week.In a series of interviews with ABC News and FiveThirtyEight, former U.S. government officials, political rivals, criminal investigators, Russia experts, chess insiders, and top players dissected Ilyumzhinov’s career, revealing new details about the mysterious provenance of some of his wealth, the Kremlin connections that critics say kept him in power, and the ongoing battle for the sport over which he presided. Ilyumzhinov replaced a resigning president in 1995, and in 1998 and 2002, he was unopposed. The 2018 election is scheduled for Oct. 3.Source: FIDE The portrait that emerges offers a window into how Russia has used sport as statecraft, allegedly currying favor and peddling influence around the world under cover of an ancient board game.Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, denied that Ilyumzhinov had ever acted on behalf of the Kremlin.“He never represented Russia and the Russian Federation as a kind of envoy,” Peskov told us. “Of course, we’ve been proud of our citizen to be such a successful head of FIDE.”In a wide-ranging and often baffling one-on-one interview, Ilyumzhinov disputed or deflected the allegations against him, portraying himself as a builder and benefactor whose career defies easy classification.“I am simply a citizen of Russia and a simple person,” Ilyumzhinov said, “who sort of travels around the whole world.” 2014Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia64%– 2010Kirsan Ilyumzhinov🇷🇺 Russia63%– Elista’s Chess City is one such gift, a relic of the city’s once-favorite son. Built by Ilyumzhinov to host international chess tournaments, it is a convention center surrounded by a semi-gated community that is now home to the city’s small upper class. Its tidy suburban streets are lined with about 150 houses, many of which appeared to be empty, with crumbling facades and broken windows.It is a rundown fantasy sitting neglected in the desert.As his tenure with FIDE comes to a close, Ilyumzhinov envisions a different fate for himself. Asked directly why he was useful to the Kremlin, he bristled at the suggestion that his useful days are behind him.“Why ‘was’? Have I flown away to the moon?” he asked. “I’m staying around!” Halley Freger, Emily Ruchalski and Jinsol Jung also contributed to this report.This story was initially developed with the support of The Hatch Institute, formerly The Contently Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit that offers editorial guidance and financial support to aspiring investigative reporters. Madden has since joined its board of advisers.This story was featured in the Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, episode of ABC News’ daily news podcast, “Start Here.” read more

Hurshs shutout Baynes home run carry Ohio State softball to 10 win

OSU junior Shelby Hursh (19) during a game against Penn State on April 6 at Buckeye Field. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorTo obtain its sixth straight win, the No. 23 Ohio State softball team had to be carried by its pitching Wednesday evening, downing Dayton 1-0. OSU junior Shelby Hursh pitched a complete game with 13 strikeouts, taking her season record to 13-3.Redshirt junior outfielder Alex Bayne recorded the Buckeyes’ only hit of the game on her 18th home run of the year, bringing her within one of the program’s single-season home run record.“One swing of the bat can matter, so just being there for my team is important,” Bayne said. “And them helping me stay up is really awesome.”The Flyers went down in order in the top of the first inning, giving OSU the chance to grab an early lead on Bayne’s solo shot to left center field. Through the following two innings, both teams remained hitless, as Hursh and Dayton sophomore Manda Cash, who struck out nine through six innings, continued to best batters.“(Hursh) pounded the zone,” said OSU coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly. “We didn’t mix it up, and sometimes we try and finesse the outside corners, which is where we get into trouble with walks.”Dayton got its first runners aboard in the fourth inning with singles from freshman Kyle Davidson and junior Krista Gustafson but could not continue the streak to bring them home. The Flyers threatened the Buckeyes’ defense again in the fifth with a leadoff double from sophomore Kailee Budicin, and junior Katie Ryan reached first on a fielder’s choice with one out.OSU kept its composure and got out of the jam but went down in order in the bottom of the inning, leaving the game in a tight, one-run game.“Her wind-up was something we haven’t seen before, so we just had to zone in on every pitch,” Bayne said of the left-hander Cash.Again, the Flyers got their leadoff batter, junior Gabrielle Snyder, aboard on Hursh’s only walk of the game, but sophomore Becca Gavin caught her stealing on a snap throw to second base in the top of the sixth. Hursh added two more strikeouts to silence Dayton’s bats and give her opponents one last chance to score.“We haven’t been faced with a lot of low-scoring games, so I actually really enjoyed Shelby rising to not even allow a run,” Schoenly said.In the bottom of the sixth, Bayne headed to first base on her second walk of the day and stole her fifth base of the year, but seniors Cammi Prantl and Erika Leonard left her stranded. In the final inning, Dayton went down in order to give OSU a piece of momentum heading into this weekend.“I just want to keep a positive attitude for my team. If I don’t get it done in an at-bat, I know that I can make a difference next at-bat,” Bayne said. “Just embracing every moment.”Schoenly shared Bayne’s optimism of Wednesday’s close outcome, expressing pride in her players’ composure and confidence.“It kept them super hyped, and I think that’s going prepare them for down the road here,” the coach said.That road leads the Buckeyes to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to take on No. 3 Michigan in a decisive Big Ten weekend series. Friday’s game, the first of three, is set to begin at 6 p.m. read more

A diary from the Big Ten Indoor Championships

Junior Letecia Wright, who competes in sprints and hurdles for the Ohio State women’s track and field team, shares her perspective from the Big Ten Indoor Championships at Penn State this past weekend.For the past two years of my college career, my team has been ninth at the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. When the team scores went up at the end of the track meet, our heads would look down.However, things changed this year. For the first time in my collegiate years of running, my team finished second out of 10 teams. I remember at the end of the meet this weekend my fellow juniors were crying and hugging each other. We knew our team had accomplished something we were not expected to do.Weeks leading up to Big Ten, my team and I realized we had a chance to do very well. We had multiple people ranked in many individual events and our relays were ranked in the top five in the conference.We left to drive six hours to Penn State last Thursday. During the long bus ride, the whole team laughed, watched movies and projected how fast we were going to run that weekend.Come Friday morning, we were up bright and early at Penn State practicing for the first day of war on Saturday. During our practice, everyone practiced their respective races and field events.After practice, I could feel the anxiety in the room during our team meeting. We all knew the first day of Big Ten was going to be a war and everyone had to run fast to make it back to finals on Sunday. I went to sleep with butterflies sitting in my stomach and dreams of winning going through my head.The first day of Big Ten Championships, our team shattered several school and personal records. Our two multi-event competitors both placed top eight and started the day off right.We also had three 60-meter hurdlers, three short sprinters, a 600-meter runner, two 400-meter sprinters and countless others make it back to finals on Sunday. Our distance medley relay got fifth, which also gave us good points for the first day of competition.Everyone left the meet excited because everyone ran their fastest times. A few also qualified for NCAA Nationals.Going to sleep Saturday was hard for me. I knew my team could do well, but I never imagined we would finish second overall as a team. I also never imagined that we would have as many girls place top eight to put points on the board.The final day of Big Ten came and it was a true war. Sophomore Shaniqua McGinnis caused an upset in Happy Valley by beating Penn State’s best 400-meter runner and giving us 10 crucial points.While warming up, I took a fall over a hurdle and hit my head. I really wanted to win and run faster, especially after watching Shaniqua win. Sadly, I did not win the hurdles because of a small mishap at the start. Luckily, my other teammate won it, I battled back for second and freshman Christienne Linton got seventh.These were big points for my team. After this moment, I was crushed about not winning, but had to move on because the rest of the day was filled with many personal records and places for my teammates.The meet was filled with great performances by all the multi-event, sprinters, distance and field event girls. At the end of the meet, we cried, hugged and expressed how proud we were of each other.Even with some of the disappointments we had during the meet, we all worked hard to run fast and support everyone. Now some of us get ready for NCAA Nationals and outdoor season.Though the Big Ten Championships were a great present, we now have to look to the future. read more

Injury report Lightys broken foot in 200809 a blessing in disguise

When Ohio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta thinks his team needs a boost, he’ll sometimes show highlights of former OSU players to amp up his Buckeyes. One of Matta’s favorites involves a player still on his roster. During the final minutes of an 81-68 win against Jacksonville on Dec. 17, 2008, then-OSU junior David Lighty raced up the sideline and stole a pass to help move the then-No. 16 Buckeyes to 7-0 — all while playing on a broken foot. “He broke his foot in that game and continued to play the last five minutes,” Matta said, “and played harder than anybody I had ever seen.” At the time, Lighty’s injury was a blow to a Buckeye team looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2007–08 season in which it didn’t make the NCAA Tournament. With Lighty’s foot recovering in time for a potential return to OSU at the tail end of the season, Matta debated bringing back the forward for a potential postseason run. “Part of me wanted to see how good that team could have been,” Matta said. “He was such an intricate part of it.” Matta ultimately decided against bringing back Lighty during the 2008–09 season, and the Buckeyes went on to make the 2009 NCAA Tournament, falling to Siena in the first round. With Lighty being granted a medical redshirt for that season, Matta recalled realizing that the injury could end up paying dividends for OSU in the long run. “I remember when he broke his foot and you’re visualizing ahead, and we knew we were going to have a big incoming class coming in that year,” Matta said. “I remember saying to myself, you know, this could be good to have David Lighty as a fifth-year senior guiding those guys.” Matta’s prophecy has turned into a reality this season, with Lighty playing a key role on a Buckeye team that is 24-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country. Lighty said there was never any doubt in his mind that his injury two seasons ago was a blessing in disguise. “I always look at it as a positive thing,” Lighty said. “Being with these guys one more year and being able to develop my game another year and especially having the chance and opportunity that we have right now to leave Ohio State, hopefully, as a national champion would be great.” Playing on a team with freshmen Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft, who weren’t yet in high school when he was playing his first season at OSU, Lighty has made his impact mostly on the defensive end of the floor, something Matta says Lighty is the best in the country at doing. When the Buckeyes were tied with Northwestern during the final minutes of their Jan. 29 matchup, it was Lighty who made a key steal that resulted in the game-winning free throw from Sullinger. The win gave the Buckeyes their 22nd consecutive win, a feat that Lighty — the player who’s been a part of the most wins in OSU history — has accomplished twice in his career. The other time came during his freshman season, 2006–07. Matta made a point of praising Lighty for the accomplishment following the game. “Of the four teams he’s played on, two … have won 22 games in a row at some point in his career,” Matta said. “That’s incredible.” Matta isn’t the only one to realize the impact Lighty has had on this year’s team. A freshman when Lighty broke his foot in 2008, junior guard William Buford said that what Lighty has brought to this year’s Buckeyes has been invaluable. “You’re always going to need Dave. He brings all the energy to the team,” Buford said. “He’s the most talkative guy when we’re on the floor. He’s the heart and soul to this team.” read more

Track and Field Ohio State sending 53 athletes for highly competitive Music

Junior Nick Gray will run the men’s 60-meter-dash, 200-meter-dash and 4×400-meter-relay this weekend at the Music City Challenge in Nashville, Tennessee. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State AthleticsOhio State will open up its roster by sending 53 athletes to Nashville, Tennessee, for the Music City Challenge, a two-day meet filled with tough competition and national implications. There will be 12 events on Friday and Saturday with at least one NCAA national championship qualifier.In the past two meets, Ohio State opted out of sending its full roster. This week, Ohio State is sending its full team, marking the season debuts for several athletes.Men’s previewThe 60-meter dash is filled with highly competitive sprinters who should create a close end result. Ohio State’s junior Nick Gray and senior Zack Bazile, as well as Southern Mississippi’s Cra’vorkian Carson and Memphis’ Davon Demoss, have top times that are separated by just .04 seconds. Carson has the fastest time at 6.64, which ranks 11th overall in the country, while Bazile is the slowest at 6.68, ranked 21st in the nation. The athletes with the top-16 marks will go to the national championship meet.“In the 60 meter, it’s important to focus on body technique, how fast I’m getting out and not focus on what’s going on in the outside lanes,” Gray said. Gray currently has a season-high mark of 6.66. That time would tie him for the last national championship qualifying spot, but that race was not counted by the NCAA. Since that race, Gray has been hampered by small injuries.“My goal for this track meet is to leave healthy and not hurt,” Gray said. Gray said he does not feel pressure to beat his personal record because he is currently more focused on his better events, the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash. Gray will make his season debut in the 200-meter dash and will run in 4×400-meter relay. Bazile has primarily been a jumper throughout his collegiate career, but ran a 60-meter-dash in 6.68 seconds two weeks ago.“Zack’s always wanted to run on the track,” assistant coach Joel Brown said. “He has the opportunity to do that this year and it is turning out well for him.”Redshirt sophomore Kendall Sheffield will make his track debut for Ohio State. Sheffield’s personal record in the 60-meter dash is a 6.70. He also plays cornerback for the Ohio State football team. Bazile also is expected to have a big meet outside of the 60-meter dash. He has the farthest long jump by .35 meters heading into this meet. While Bazile set a personal best in triple jump this year, Southern Mississippi’s John Warren has the better mark on the season. In the men’s 800-meter run, Ohio State junior Alexander Lomong has the top time this season. It will be the first 800 of the season for three of Virginia Tech’s runners, all of whom have faster personal records than Lomong.The Buckeyes are having their best season in school history in pole vault. Cole Gorski has the pole vault record a 5.45 meters set last week, and junior Coty Cobb is ranked third all-time (5.35m).They will be facing off against some tough familiar foes. Cincinnati’s Adrian Valles has beaten both Buckeyes and has the third-highest jump in the country at 5.61 meters. Michigan State’s Tim Ehrhardt has a personal record higher than Gorski’s, but Gorski beat Ehrhardt earlier this season.Women’s previewThe weight throw will be a showdown of the top-three collegiate throwers in the country and an Olympian. Junior Sade Olatoye is currently third with a throw of 22.76 meters, behind Cincinnati’s Ann Echikunwoke (23.69) and Mississippi’s Janeah Stewart (23.83). The top three will square off against Gwen Berry, a member of Team USA.Olatoye, Stewart and Echikunwoke also will compete in shot put. Freshman Anavia Battle will run in the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. She is coming off first place finishes in the 60-meter dash (7.45) and 200-meter dash (23.79). Both finishes are the two best times this season for Ohio State. Brown said Battle is doing less weight training than her teammates and is focused more on bodyweight training and explosiveness to stay on track for this meet.Senior Mikaela Seibert has the farthest personal best in triple-jump heading into this meet of all competitors, but Cincinnati’s Irati Mitxelena has the farthest mark of the season. read more

Mens Hockey No 4 Ohio State topples No 11 Notre Dame 42

Then-junior forward Freddy Gerard celebrates as Mason Jobst scores an empty net goal during the third period of Ohio State’s 5-1 victory over Denver in the NCAA Tournament. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The LanternWhat was originally expected to be a low-scoring game turned out to be a high-scoring affair, as Ohio State (16-5-4, 9-3-3 Big Ten) defeated Notre Dame (14-9-3, 7-7-2 Big Ten) 4-2, its fourth straight win. Ohio State senior forward Freddy Gerard led the team with two goals, scoring what would be the deciding goal on a power play midway in the third period to secure the win for the Buckeyes.Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said that he has seen a more consistent team as of late during the Buckeyes’ winning streak. “I think we’ve had a pretty good season, I think we’ve been more consistent lately,” Rohlik said.  “I think we were a little up-and-down at the beginning but I like the consistency that our team’s brought and I think that’s the correlation of having some success.”The second period showed surprising offensive aggression from Notre Dame: a team that is primarily known for its defense. After the first period goal from Gerard and the third goal of the season by Ohio State sophomore forward Austin Pooley, assisted by freshman forward Quinn Preston and junior defensman Matt Miller, the Fighting Irish stepped up, scoring two goals in 34 seconds: one by freshman forward Michael Graham on a power play and the other from junior forward Cam Morrison.   Notre Dame nearly doubled the Buckeyes’ aggression, having shot on target 11 times versus Ohio State’s six in the second period.The Buckeyes showed an increased aggression that was seemingly absent in the third period, shooting on target 11 times in total, something that led to the power play that helped lead Ohio State to the victory. “I thought we did a good job at third coming out, skating, moving our feet,” Pooley said.  “And I think when we move our feet like that we’re going to eventually draw penalties and we did a good job at that in the third.”Nearing the end of the third period, Notre Dame put the pressure on Ohio State. With their goalie pulled, shot after shot came at redshirt senior goaltender Sean Romeo.Adding eight saves in the third period, Romeo recorded 27 saves on 29 shot attempts in the Ohio State win. “He’s a big-time player, a big-time goalie,” Rohlik said about Romeo.  “You’ve seen that out of him before. He made that ESPN save there tonight at the end. Incredible.”Ohio State senior forward Brendon Kearney added a goal with one second left on the game clock, sneaking the puck away from the Fighting Irish and shooting it straight into Notre Dame’s empty net.Ohio State will play Notre Dame again at home at 8 p.m. Saturday. read more

Mens Lacrosse No 9 Ohio State drops second straight Big Ten game

Ohio State junior attack Tre Leclaire (44) passes the ball during their match against Rutgers at Ohio Stadium on Mar. 31. Ohio State lost 6-14. Credit: Willow Mollenkopf | For The LanternNo. 1 Penn State’s offense was too much for No. 9 Ohio State to handle, with the Buckeyes losing their second straight game with a 13-8 defeat to the Nittany Lions, leaving Ohio State without a win in Big Ten play so far.On a wet and slippery Sunday night in State College, Penn State’s offensive efficiency and star players proved to be the key difference. Penn State junior attacker Mac O’Keefe scored three goals, while redshirt junior Grant Ament added two goals and six assists in front of the home crowd.The Buckeyes (7-2, 0-2 Big Ten) were not able to capitalize on the shots they saw, scoring on eight of 37 shots and picking 16 ground balls to Penn State’s eight. However, Penn State made the most of its opportunities, making 13-of-26 shots and saving 14 shots to Ohio State’s seven.Penn State (9-1, 2-0 Big Ten) scored within the first four minutes of the first quarter with a goal from sophomore midfielder Brian Townsend and added to another goal before Ohio State tied it with two straight goals from junior attacker and leading scorer Tre LeClaire. Both teams would score back-to-back goals to keep the game tied at the end of the first. LeClaire finished the game with four of Ohio State’s eight total goals on 10 shots, five of which were on goal. The second quarter started strong for the Nittany Lions, with Penn State’s two prolific stars making the difference. O’Keefe scored two straight goals to stay as the second to top scorer in the country and Ament was the player on both assists, adding to his already nation-leading assist total. The Buckeyes would add a goal, but Penn State would get two more, one of which came from O’Keefe for the hat trick.Ohio State made a strong run to get back into the game, scoring three goals in the third quarter — including LeClaire’s third of the day — but Penn State had an answer for the Buckeyes every time they made a run, answering with three goals in the quarter.The final quarter about Penn State ending the Buckeyes hopes, scoring two straight before LeClaire found the net again, but it wasn’t as enough as Penn State scored again to end the game with the five-goal victory.Ohio State moves on to face Johns Hopkins at noon Sunday. read more

Becky Godden murder trial verdict Did double killer prey on other vulnerable

first_imgI caught a serial killer; preventing any further girls being murderedSteve Fulcher Police interview taxi driver Christopher Halliwell in February, 2015 He told police: “I don’t want to keep coming back every couple of years on different charges,” adding: “If I can clear this up in the next few hours, will everything else be forgotten?”Miss O’Callaghan’s mother, Elaine Pickford, and Detective Superintendent Sean Memory have both speculated for several years that there may have been other murders.Unsolved cases in neighbouring areas include Melanie Hall, a 25-year-old university graduate who disappeared in 1996 after leaving a nightclub in Bath, Somerset; Sally Ann John, a 24-year-old prostitute went missing from Swindon’s Manchester Road red light district in September 1995; and Thi Hai Nguyen a Vietnamese immigrant went missing in Swindon in 2005. John Godden , father of Becky Godden Killer taxi driver Christopher Halliwell may have murdered more vulnerable young women, police and relatives warned as it emerged he tried to cut a deal to avoid questions about other cases.Officers are set to renew pressure on Halliwell to detail whether he committed other sexually-motivated crimes in the eight years between the deaths of Becky Godden and Sian O’Callaghan.Prior to the trial, Halliwell hinted that he would admit to the murder of Godden if he was not pursued for other crimes. Miss O’Callaghan’s mother, Elaine Pickford, added: “Halliwell may have gone on to do others. We’ll never know will we? As far as I’m concerned I think there would be others. I don’t know when.”I don’t think a man started killing at the age he killed Becky, that’s my own personal take and I don’t think he’d have gone the length of time between Becky and Sian without needing his fix.”Meanwhile, Halliwell’s ex-wife, Lisa, told the Telegraph last night: “I do not know if there could be any more. He is not the person I knew. I hope the families can move on now.”And following Halliwell’s conviction for murdering Miss Godden, it can now be reported that he discussed strangulation and the definition of a serial killer with a fellow prisoner.The jury was not told of the account of Ernest Springer, an inmate at HMP Dartmoor with Halliwell in 1986, when the killer was serving a sentence for burglary.’I caught a serial killer’: says detective suspended over Becky Godden case as taxi driver is finally found guiltyThe detective who was suspended over his snap decision to take killer Christopher Halliwell to the shallow grave of Becky Godden today fiercely defended his actions as he insisted: “I caught a serial killer”.  Relatives of Miss Godden, who disappeared in Swindon in 2003, thanked Mr Fulcher for “bringing their little girl home” following a five-year wait for justice as he faced gross misconduct action. The prosecution against Halliwell was originally dropped after it emerged Mr Fulcher failed to caution him and questioned the taxi driver on a remote hilltop without a lawyer as he showed police where Miss Godden, 20, was buried in 2011.  Mr Fulcher told the court that at the time, Halliwell “had a weight lifted off his mind as a consequence of taking us to Sian, and that he considered the issue of unburdening regarding his previous offending”.The officer said Halliwell took him to the site of Miss Godden’s body and was only a few feet away from the exact spot after pacing it out.It was only then that Halliwell was read his rights by other officers and taken to a police station, where he was advised by a solicitor to give no comment in interviews.The charge of murdering Miss Godden was withdrawn until March this year, following an investigation by Wiltshire Police that uncovered overwhelming evidence against Halliwell.The father-of-three denied murder and represented himself during a two-week trial at Bristol Crown Court, where he told Mr Fulcher during cross-examination: “It was a pleasure ruining your career. You corrupt b—–d.”Mr Fulcher added that he expected the details of the case to lead to a “public crisis of confidence” and insisted he did not regret any decisions he made that day.”Ultimately, that decision ensured the return of two beautiful young women, which brought comfort to their families and ensured that Halliwell has been duly convicted of both murders,” he said.  “I want to ensure that any senior investigating officer, faced with crimes in action, is able to take the right decision without suffering the repercussions I experienced whilst performing my duty.”Mr Fulcher was also praised by the victims’ friends and family following the verdict at Bristol Crown Court.Speaking outside court, Karen Edwards, Miss Godden’s mother, thanked Mr Fulcher “for bringing my little girl home”. Christopher Halliwell appearing via video link in court at a previous hearing I accept that it was a really difficult investigation for himDetective Superintendent Sean Memory Other riddles include 39-year-old Tina Pryer, last seen getting in a taxi in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, in April 2001; Sandra Brewin, 21, who disappeared form her parents’ home in Peatmoor, Swindon in 1994; and Linda Razzell, a 41-year-old college worker who disappeared from Swindon in 2002. Mrs Razzell’s estranged husband Glyn Speaking outside court following yesterday’s guilty verdicts, DS Memory, the senior investigating officer, said: “I am really open-minded there may be others – there is an eight-year gap between Becky and Sian.”I would appeal to Christopher Halliwell, actually, if he wants to speak I’m willing to speak with him…He has clearly demonstrated he is very forensically aware. I can’t link him directly to any offences however there is an eight-year gap between the two murders and I have no evidence to suggest Becky was actually the first one.”Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, who was forced to resign over his handling of the case, also told Bristol Crown Court he believed there were other victims. John Godden , father of Becky GoddenCredit: Ben Birchall/PA Evidence that convinced jury to convict Christopher Halliwell of second murderWiltshire Police uncovered new evidence to help convict taxi driver Christopher Halliwell, 52, of the murder of 20-year-old prostitute Becky Godden more than a decade ago.Evidence of Miss XA former prostitute, who was only known in court as Miss X, told Halliwell’s trial that he was “besotted” with Miss Godden and was a “regular” customer. Miss X said Halliwell would give Miss Godden money to stop her working in Swindon’s red light district.Halliwell maintained he had never met Miss X, telling the jury: “I’ve never seen that woman before… it is a fairytale.”He also insisted that he never knew Miss Godden and said two drug dealers – who he refused to name – were responsible. Halliwell claimed he drove the two men in March 2003 to Oxo Bottom field in Eastleach, Gloucestershire, after they told him something “went wrong”.Months later, one of the men informed him that they had buried a prostitute from Swindon.The last sighting of Miss GoddenRebecca Boast, a friend of Miss Godden, told the court she saw her getting into a taxi outside Destiny And Desire nightclub in Swindon in January 2003. Police believe it was the night of January 3.Halliwell denied it was his taxi saying he had broken down in the Farringdon area of Oxfordshire after running out of fuel during a chauffeur job. He claims he was waiting for a driver from a rival firm to bring him a gallon of diesel.Running out of dieselAt 5.25am on the morning of January 3 2003 Halliwell logged a call with the RAC reporting that his Volvo S80 had run out of fuel on the A361 at Inglesham, near Lechlade-on-Thames, which is only a few miles from Eastleach.Halliwell said that RAC mechanic Ronald Chadwick “remembered nothing” of the incident.Oxo Bottom fieldForensic experts were able to link the soil found on a shovel in Halliwell’s shed to the field in Eastleach, Gloucestershire, where Miss Godden’s remains were found. They were also able to link tape found in the grave to tape attached to the shovel.Halliwell insisted that the spades found in his shed would not be able to dig a grave in that field.”The forensics evidence so poorly presented to the forensic lab, so poorly examined it is not worth mentioning. It is rubbish,” he said.Confessing to the murderTrial judge Sir John Griffith Williams ruled that Halliwell’s confession to Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher to murdering Miss Godden could be put before the jury. They were also told of details of a conversation Halliwell had with police surgeon Dr Nasir Ali, in which he said he had killed two people.Halliwell told the jury that he gave an “account” to Mr Fulcher about Miss Godden’s death because he wanted to get the detective in trouble for refusing him a solicitor and threatening his daughter.”As twisted as it is, what I did to Sian, I was going to do everything I could to destroy his career, basically get revenge for what he said at Barbury Castle about my kids,” Halliwell said.The father-of-three also maintained that the exact words he used to Dr Ali were “apparently I’ve killed two people”. Police interview taxi driver Christopher Halliwell in February, 2015Credit:Wiltshire Police Christopher Halliwell appearing via video link in court at a previous hearingCredit: Elizabeth Cook/PA “We have waited over five years for this momentous day,” she said. “It has been an extremely painful journey but today we have received the justice that has felt like an eternity coming for our beautiful little girl Becky.”She added: “I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart Steve Fulcher for bringing my little girl home.“I will also respect him and will be indebted to him for making that moral decision as a police officer but he should have never have suffered the terrible consequences, loss of reputation and career for doing such a thing.”Elaine Pickford, Miss O’Callaghan’s mother, said she believes Halliwell could have gone on to kill others, had the lead detective not breached police procedural rules to obtain the crucial confession. She added that her family held no “negative feeling” towards the officer. The 54-year-old said: “From my point of view I feel he shouldn’t have lost his career over it, for sure, but I also understand that he made decisions that caused a legal argument.”Detective Superintendent Sean Memory, the senior investigating officer for the case, accepted that it was a “really difficult investigation” for Mr Fulcher. He told the Daily Telegraph that he could not comment on whether the Independent Police Complaints Commission were right to find Mr Fulcher accountable, but added: “There is a possibility that Becky may well have remained where she is now, in an undignified clandestine grave had he not acted. “That doesn’t necessarily make it right but at least we have brought closure.” Ian Harris, head of the Complex Casework Unit for the Crown Prosecution Service Wessex, said the focus had been on “getting justice for Becky and her family” since Halliwell confessed in 2011.He said: “My team in the Complex Casework Unit in CPS Wessex has worked tirelessly with Wiltshire Police to build up a strong case against Christopher Halliwell and this meant that earlier this year we were able to re-start the prosecution for Becky’s murder.”Halliwell will be sentenced at the end of this week. Trial judge Sir John Griffith Williams said he was a “liar” and would receive either a whole life order or a “substantial” minimum term of imprisonment. It meant Halliwell, who confessed after being arrested over the disappearance of another woman, Sian O’Callaghan, could not be arrested or charged until further evidence was uncovered. Mr Fulcher, who resigned from Wiltshire Police in 2014 after being reinstated and given a written warning over the complaints, broke his silence and said he was “very pleased” that justice had been done.Speaking about his actions, Mr Fulcher said: “I did all I could to find an abducted girl, Sian O’Callaghan, in an effort to save her life; the first duty of a police officer.”I also recovered a second victim of Halliwell’s murder; Becky, returning her to her loved ones after eight years of their misery. I caught a serial killer; preventing any further girls being murdered.” Describing Halliwell as an “evil and depraved violator of women,” Mr Fulcher said that he adhered to the Association of Chief Police Officers’ kidnap principles and said Halliwell had to be arrested because he was about to commit suicide.Halliwell, 52, was later sentenced to life with a minimum of 25 years over the murder of Miss O’Callaghan, who he abducted in his taxi as she made her way home from a night out in Swindon in March 2011. It was while he was under arrest over Miss O’Callaghan’s abduction that he offered to take police to “another” body, leading them to a field near Eastleach, Gloucestershire, where he had buried Miss Godden’s body years earlier. Bristol Crown Court heard in 2012 that it was after Halliwell had been initially arrested that Mr Fulcher ordered him to be taken to Barbury Castle for questioning instead of a police station.During the nine-minute conversation with Halliwell, Mr Fulcher urged him to give up the location of Miss O’Callaghan. Halliwell later took the officers to a shallow grave near White Horse Hill in Uffington, Oxfordshire, where Miss O’Callaghan’s body had been left.The cab driver then asked the officer for another one-to-one chat in which Mr Fulcher claimed he used the words “another one”. 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

Bumblebees make flowers grow bigger and smell sweeter

first_imgThe field mustard plants grew three inches (eight cms) taller when pollinated by bees Credit:University of Zurich  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. Bees like purple and blue flowers because they find them easier to see Credit:Alamy  The change happens because insects differ in their preference for plants. Bees like taller more fragrant plants so will seek out and pollinate those more often than shorter, unfragranced varieties, causing the bigger, smellier plants to thrive.Flies, alternatively are not so effective at pollination, and so plants will self-pollinate more often, which slows down the emergence of new traits. The bee pollinated plants (shown on the left) had double the fragrance  The bee pollinated plants (shown on the left) had double the fragrance Credit:University of Zurich “With a bit of bee-friendly gardening, and a bit more tolerance of weeds, we can all help to make sure our streets and neighbourhoods are buzzing with these amazing insects.”  The research was published in Nature Communications and to sign up for the bee count visit www.greatbritishbeecount.co.uk. The field mustard plants grew three inches (eight cms) taller when pollinated by bees  Gardeners have long known the importance of bees for pollination, but the insects can also help flowers grow bigger and smell more fragrant, scientists have discovered.Swiss researchers found that plants evolve differently depending on the insect which is pollinating them.Tests on a type of cabbage species called field mustard, a close relative of oilseed rape, showed that when pollinated by bumblebees, the plants grew three inches taller than with hover flies in just nine generations.They also flowered a day earlier and had double the fragrance. And when placed on ultraviolet light, they had more colours which bees can see.“The traditional assumption is that evolution is a slow process,” said Professor Florian Schiestl.“But a change in the composition of pollinator insects in natural habitats can trigger a rapid evolutionary transformation in plants.” “Bees are brilliant pollinators – and this study underlines their importance,” said Friends of the Earth bee campaigner Paul de Zylva.“Bees aren’t the only pollinator, but many plants will not thrive if they are only visited by other insects, as this new research shows.“But Britain’s bees are under threat, and we can all do more to help them – such as by growing pollinator-friendly plants, avoiding pesticides and turning gardens and other spaces into bee-friendly habitats.“And you can check out the bees in your garden, park or neighbourhood by taking part in the Great British Bee Count later this spring.”Gardeners with lawns are also encouraged to leave dandelions and clover to flower for the bees, and a ‘messy corner’ of old wood and leaves will provide shelter. Chemical pesticides should also be avoided, especially those containing bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides.Bee expert Professor Simon Potts from the University of Reading said: “Everyone can help our under-threat bees this Spring. Research has already show that our towns and cities can be great places for bees – if the right plants are grown in parks and green spaces. Bees like purple and blue flowers because they find them easier to see  Professor Schiestl said the rapid decline of bee populations in Britain could be leading to flowers that do not grow as abundantly or smell as fragrant. In the long term it could also reduce the genetic diversity of plants leaving them more susceptible to disease.Friends of the Earth (FOE) are currently encouraging gardeners to plant bee-friendly gardens ahead of the Great British Bee count in May and June. Purple and blue flowering plants are best because they are easier for the bees to see, and different species prefer different shapes of flower, so a mix of snapdragons, lavender, heathers, sunflowers, wallflowers, yarrow and verbena will attract all kinds. They are also drawn to shrubs, trees, fruit and vegetables as well as spring and autumn flowering bulbs.last_img read more

Duchess of Cambridge holds Pippa Middletons train as her sister did for

first_imgThe page boys are Casimir Tatos, Edward Sebire, William Ward and Prince George.All wore bespoke outfits by Pepa & C. 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 picture was reminiscent of the famous one taken at the Duchess’ wedding, at which Pippa Middleton wore a very striking dress.The Duchess struck a more sober note in her long, pink gown and fascinator as she assisted her sister. Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, left, stands with her daughter Princess Charlotte, bottom leftCredit:AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth Among them were her own children, Charlotte and George.The bridesmaids are Countess Philippa Hoyos, Lily French, Avia Horner and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.  was seen telling the page boys and bridesmaids to ‘Ssh’, with her finger to her lips, as she escorted them in to Pippa Middleton’s wedding. Duchess of Cambridge tells the the children 'Ssh!'  AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworthcenter_img Duchess of Cambridge tells the the children ‘Ssh!’ before her sister’s wedding ceremonyCredit:Max Mumby/Max Mumby Credit:Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage The Duchess of Cambridge was pictured helping her sister Pippa Middleton with her train, as was previously done for her at her wedding in 2011.Kate Middleton escorted the children into the church, telling them to “ssh!” before coming out again to help her sister with her dress. Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage Princess Charlotte, who has just celebrated her second birthday, walked down the aisle with Miss Middleton on May 20th, at St Mark’s Church, Englefield.Meanwhile, Prince George, who turned four in July, acted as page boy as Pippa marries James Matthews, a 41-year-old hedge fund manager. Prince George and Princess Charlotte looked utterly adorable dressed up as pageboy and bridesmaid for their auntie Pippa’s wedding on Saturday.last_img read more

Girlguiding and Google launch badge to get more girls into coding

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. Girlguiding needs to evolve to suit the needs of the people who are joining it.Alice Pinney, 18 In one exercise girls will “programme” an imaginary robot by giving it instructions on how to move around a paper grid and carry out tasks such as tidying. Girlguiding ambassador Alice Pinney, 18, said the programme would show girls there was more to tech than selfies and social media. “When we talk about technology that jump from technology to social media is instant because that’s what people use their phones all the time, but computers are there to take science to a new level – technology is far more than this reductionist approach of social media. “There is definitely a lack of representation of girls in things like coding. I applied for a computer science course and there were 40 people there and three girls.”It is just that girls aren’t being exposed to as much these female STEM role models which means that the field isn’t seen as accessible for them.”Technology should be as important as outdoor adventure in the Guiding movement, she added. “The two things are very very different – adventure gives girls the opportunity to develop themselves and learn more about themselves, being confident within themselves is a really positive thing, whereas technology is a massive part of society which underpins practically everything we do, and it’s really important that girls learn the skills that they need whether they want to enter that world of work prepared, or something which may not be in the STEM sector but just about everything requires technology. Girlguiding’s traditional image has been focused on crafts, camping and outdoor adventure. But its newest badge is set to be rather more futuristic. The 100-year old organisation has launched a new digital badge alongside Google in a drive to get more girls to learn to code and go to work in the technology sector. The new programme will include a challenge for Brownies which will allow them to design a robot, learn about algorithms and how computers work. A separate digital design badge for Rangers, who are aged between 14 and 18, will also be launched in the summer. The Brownies programme, set to be available to 200,000 girls, does not actually involve any computers but allows girls to learn about algorithms and how they work in computer programmes and robots.  “Society has evolved – we’re not the same society we were when Girlguiding started 100 or so years ago, so if Girlguiding didn’t move on, people wouldn’t go, people would lose interest. “Girlguiding needs to evolve to suit the needs of the people who are joining it.”Google engineer Nicole McWilliams who worked on designing the programme, said: “We want to explore areas which are a bit scary and demystifying these into everyday tasks, so they are a bit more accessible.”We want to encourage girls that coding is fun and challenging and something they can explore as a future career.”We want to help girls think more positively about technology. Part of the pack was to engage girls more in the creative side of technology versus the consumption. The world is going more digital and the creative side is an important element of it.”The changes are part of an overhaul of Girlguiding’s entire programme which is due to be launched in July. One other badge was announced earlier this year, an aviation badge for Brownies.  The Brownies programme, set to be available to 200,000 girls, does not actually involve any computers but allows girls to learn about algorithms and how they work in computer programmes and robots.   Credit:Girlguiding UK The Brownies programme, set to be available to 200,000 girls, does not actually involve any computers but allows girls to learn about algorithms and how they work in computer programmes and robots.   last_img read more

Trooping the Colour Former Chief of Defence staff Lord Guthrie falls from

Police came swiftly to Lord Guthrie’s aidCredit:PA Wire Trooping the Colour Lord Guthrie fall Field Marshal Lord Guthrie, the former Chief of the General Staff, was injured after falling from his horse during Trooping the Colour on Saturday.Lord Guthrie, 79, was treated on The Mall by paramedics after appearing to collapse and slip from his steed.He was taken to hospital, where aides said he was “being well looked after”.Lord Guthrie, who was taking part as Colonel of the Life Guards, was Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, from 1994 to 1997, and Chief of the Defence Staff from 1997 until his retirement in 2001.The incident took place close the Victoria Memorial, at the top of the Mall, in front of dozens of people waiting to watch the fly past and appearance of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. “He was behind the Queen, and just in front of the monument he fell off, and there were loads of paramedics and they put a screen up as well. Then we thought, something bad is really happening. “Will Berry, 22, added:  “There were a pair of policemen next to him, within that crowd, keeping their eye on him all the time.”John Nichol, the former Iraq prisoner of war turned author, said: “Really hope all is OK – a nicer General Officer you could not hope to meet. Wishing you well Sir.” “Once the Queen had gone past we then followed her up the Mall, and we got closer and heard from people near us that he was shaking, and people were propping him up, next to him. Police officers at the sceneCredit:PA Wire Police stand by as Lord Guthrie receives medical attentionCredit:PA Wire Pictures show Lord Guthrie on the ground, as officers rushed to his aid while another officer leads his horse away.Emily Dance, 22, said: “We were standing further up the mall and we saw the guy on his horse, and his posture was just sloped, he was lent back at a 45 degree angle. We spotted him way off. He looked like he was going to faint. During Lord Guthrie’s military career he saw service with the Welsh Guards and the SAS and was closely involved in military operations in Northern Ireland. Trooping the Colour - Lord Guthrie fall Trooping the Colour - Lord Guthrie fall Meanwhile, a 51-year-old woman was arrested for a public order offence after an item was thrown towards a procession at Trooping the Colour, Scotland Yard said. He advised the Government on the conduct of the Kosovo War and also cautioned against a British invasion of Zimbabwe to remove the then-dictator Robert Mugabe. A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said that Lord Guthrie was receiving medical attention. 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

Sarah drops out of top 100 baby names for first time in

Edith has returned to the top 100 for the first time since 1934, and Ralph is now at number 98, the highest position since 1944, beating out derivatives including Ralphie, Ralphy and Ralphi.  Beatrice re-entered the top 100 five years ago having been absent since the 1920s, and Elsie reappeared in 2011 after dropping off in the 1930s. The data also reveals that while Olivia was the top girls’ name throughout England and Wales, Oliver was beaten by Muhammad in London, the West Midlands, and Yorkshire and The Humber, and by Harry in the north east of England. Analysis by the ONS suggested that some names had very localised popularity for religious reasons.David, which ranks 44th nationally, was the top boys’ name in five local authorities, three of which had a higher than average population of Jewish people. Similarly, Maryam, which ranks 78th nationally for girls’ names, is the top name in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Redbridge, Luton and Leicester, all areas with a large population of Muslims.  Lisa, which peaked at 5th in 1974, is now in 764th place, with 52 girls given the name last year, and Louise, which was 13th in 1974 is now at 499th place, with 87 girls given the name, though it also features in almost 50 compound forms including Lilly-Louise, Phoebe-Louise, Bonnie-Louise and Faith-Louise. A similar pattern can be seen for boys’ names, with names such as Paul, which peaked in the top spot in 1974, now in 357th place behind Troy, Nikodem, Zayd and Teddie. Andrew, which was near the top in the 1960s and 1970s, is now in 210th position, with 250 boys given the name, and Mark, which was 2nd in 1974, is now 247th. The trend suggests new parents are avoiding giving their children the names they were familiar with among their peers or their parents’ generation.  It’s been one of the UK’s most popular baby names for more than a century.But Sarah has dropped out of the top 100 girls’ names for first time since records began, ONS figures show. The name, which peaked in popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, fell to the 103rd most popular names in the data for 2017. It was the top girls’ name in 1974 and 1984, and its popularity has been falling ever since. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––An alternative spelling, Sara, overtook it in 2015, and last year was the 82nd most popular girl’s baby name in the UK. The change leaves Elizabeth as the only girls’ name which has been in the top 100 continually since records began in 1904. The very top of the list remained unchanged since last year, with Oliver and Olivia remaining the most popular boys’ and girls’ names.  New entries into the top 100 for girls include Aurora, Hallie, Lyla and Bonnie. Sarah has met the same fate as many names which peaked in popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, including Claire, the second-most popular name in 1974, which had dropped to 90th place by 1996 and is now the 915th most popular baby girl name, with 41 newborns named Claire in 2017.  By contrast, names which were popular earlier in the century, particularly in the 1930s and 1940s, are entering the top 100 again.  Nick Stripe, of the ONS’ Vital Statistics Outputs Branch, said: “Although Oliver and Olivia remained the most popular baby names in 2017, some fascinating changes took place beneath them. “Leo entered the boys’ top 10 for the first time, whilst Hunter rocketed into the top 100, also for the first time, reaching number 78. “Sarah, the most popular name for baby girls throughout much of the 1970s and 1980s, dropped out of the top 100 for the first time since our records began in 1904.” 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

Andrew Neil attacks BBC over Leftwing bias in comedy shows

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. Andrew Neil, the BBC political presenter often accused of right wing bias, has complained that the corporation’s comedy output is too left wing.Neil singled out The Mash Report, BBC Two’s satirical late night show, as “self satisfied, self adulatory, unchallenged Left-wing propaganda. It’s hardly balance. Could never happen on a politics show. Except this has become a politics show.”The Now Show on Radio 4 is “contrived ideological commentary” and Have I Got News For You “is on its last legs”, Neil said.”When it comes to so called comedy the BBC has long given up on balance, on radio and TV. Nobody seems to care. And I don’t want Right-wing comedy, whatever that is. I’d just like comedy. Which is in really short supply. On TV and radio,” he tweeted.He dismissed The Mash Report as a “pathetic imitation” of The Daily Show in the US, hosted by Jon Stewart, who “was Left-wing but also intelligent”.Neil said he has signed up to BBC Sounds, the corporation’s rebranded audio service offering access to radio comedies, but uses it to listen to old episodes of The Goon Show and Round The Horne.The presenter’s thoughts on BBC comedy came in a flurry of late night tweets in which he also referred to Carole Cadwalladr, the journalist who exposed the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, as the “mad cat woman” “Karol Kodswallop”. He later deleted it, and a BBC spokesman said Neil had recognised it was “inappropriate”.In his social media spree, Neil also described Channel 4 News as “the broadcasting arm of the Guardian” and railed against Bobby Gillespie, the Primal Scream singer who appeared in a recent edition of Neil’s show, This Week.Gillespie was shown staring stony-faced as Neil, former Tory minister Michael Portillo and Labour MP Caroline Flint performed a comedy dance routine at the end of the show. The footage went viral, and Gillespie later called Neil “arrogant, rude and smug”.In his tweets, Neil said: “I hope we show it again so somebody can tell who the miserable Jock is and what he’s ever done. Other than scowl and spout Corbynista propaganda from his fancy Islington pad.”The BBC has previously defended Neil against accusations of political bias, saying he is “an excellent interviewer who is bound by exactly the same rules of on-air impartiality as every other BBC journalist”.Neil, 69, is regarded by some as the perfect host for Question Time, but the job is expected to go to a younger woman.He stepped down as host of the Sunday Politics last year, replaced by Sarah Smith. read more

Two face jail after watching footage of  Emiliano Salas postmortem

Judge Peter Crabtree warned the pair that the starting point for sentence was custody.Judge Crabtree added: “The starting point is custody undoubtedly in this case, it’s extremely serious.”Two of the securing unauthorised access to computer material charges against Bray relate to her operating the CCTV equipment at Bournemouth Mortuary to access the post-mortem examination of Sala in February.The third is in connection with her using the CCTV equipment on April 24 last year to play the post-mortem examination of Andrew Victor Latcham.Wiltshire Police’s Digital Investigations and Intelligence Unit (DIIU) carried out a warrant at the CCTV firm’s offices last summer.Detective Inspector Gemma Vinton, from DIIU, said: “This is the most high-profile investigation that our recently-formed unit has carried out. I would like to commend the team of specialist investigators for their hard work and dedication.”This has been a case which has attracted significant global media interest, and has involved detailed forensic searches of a large number of digital devices, as well as regular contact with a range of stakeholders and interested parties – not least the families of our two victims, with Emiliano Sala’s family, who live in Argentina, being kept fully updated at all times. Christopher Ashford and Sherry Bray accessed video footage of Sala’s post-mortemCredit:Ben Birchall/PA She also admitted perverting the course of public justice by instructing Ashford to “delete your pics” on February 12, and the next day deleting the post-mortem cameras from the live feed camera facility and deleting the post-mortem image of Sala from her mobile phone. Two people have been warned they face jail after admitting accessing CCTV footage of the post-mortem examination of footballer Emiliano Sala.Sala, 28, had just signed for Cardiff City when the plane he was travelling in crashed into the English Channel, north of Guernsey, on January 21.His body was recovered on February 6 and a post-mortem examination took place at Bournemouth Mortuary the following day.A week later, police were alerted to an image on Twitter apparently showing the dead Argentinian footballer.The image was removed from Twitter, but was subsequently shared to other social media sites.Sherry Bray, 49, and Christopher Ashford, 62, appeared at Swindon Crown Court on Friday where they admitted accessing CCTV footage of Sala’s post-mortem examination.Ashford, of Calne, admitted three counts of securing unauthorised access to computer material between February 9 and 11 this year.Bray, of Corsham, admitted three counts of securing unauthorised access to computer material between April last year and February this year. Christopher Ashford and Sherry Bray accessed video footage of Sala's post-mortem “It has been the two families who have been at the forefront of our minds throughout the investigation; they have been significantly impacted at what was already a difficult and traumatic time for them.”The actions of Bray and Ashford caused additional unnecessary distress and heartache, and I hope the families will now be able to concentrate on grieving for their loved ones.”The pair were released on bail to appear at the same court on September 20. 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

TripAdvisor reviews of topranked hotels suspicious Which investigation finds

Nearly 80 per cent of the five-star reviews for one highly-ranked hotel in Cairo at the time of the study were left by first-time reviewers.After Which? reported its findings, TripAdvisor amended its listing not longer citing the hotel as the ‘best in Cairo’.In Las Vegas, two of the 10 highest ranked hotels received almost half (48% and 41%) of their hundreds of five-star ratings from first-time reviewers who had never made any other TripAdvisor contributions before or since – raising suspicions that the reviews could be fake. TripAdvisor currently posts red warning badges on the pages of properties that have manipulated their ratings with fake reviews.Campaigners say that reviews should be verified so the ratings system cannot be abused. Fake reviews could potentially be classed as a misleading or unfair practice under consumer protection laws, but a judge would have to rule on the matter in a civil case before any damages could be awarded. The findings emerged as reviews are being bought and sold in their thousands on Amazon, TripAdvisor, Yelp and Google Maps – written by robots, hackers and enterprising gig workers. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently working to tackle the increasing problem. A spokeswoman said: “We’re already cracking down on fake reviews and have recently urged Facebook and eBay to act to stop the sale of fake reviews through their sites.  “As part of our ongoing work, we are planning to examine the role of sites where reviews are posted.” TripAdvisor said the analysis by Which? “is based on a flawed understanding of fake review patterns and is reliant on too many assumptions, and too little data”.“It is far too simplistic to assume all first-time reviewers are suspicious,” a spokesman added. The spokesman said TripAdvisor has an “industry-leading team of fraud investigators who work tirelessly to protect the site from fake reviews”.He added: “We are confident our approach works, and is one of the reasons we continue to retain the trust of many millions of consumers worldwide.”HOW TO SPOT FAKE REVIEWS Repetition: TripAdvisor’s ‘Travellers Talk about’ section highlights phrases used repeatedly by reviewers. If you see the same phrasing or language repeated, it might indicate that a template is being used for fake reviews.Strange Timing: A flood of five-star reviews after some bad reviews could indicate a concerted “push” of positive reviews has been coordinated.Low scores elsewhere: Check reviews on other sites. The hotels that had the most suspicious reviews tended to have lower scores on other review sites such as Yelp and Expedia. Fakespot.com: Although TripAdvisor strongly disputes its methods, this fake review analyser correctly gave its lowest reliability rating to the hotel that had 730 reviews removed.  Hundreds of five-star reviews for some of the highest-ranking hotels on TripAdvisor are “suspicious”, a Which? investigation has found. The consumer watchdog has criticised TripAdvisor for failing to stop luxury hotels being boosted by fake reviews which can mislead travellers and ruin holidays.The latest investigation by Which? Travel analysed almost 250,000 reviews for the top 10 ranked hotels in 10 popular tourist destinations around the world, finding that one in seven of these 100 hotels had reviews which carried the hallmarks of fake reviews, while others raised serious concerns.Fifteen of the worst cases had been promoted with fake positive reviews last year, raising concerns that repeat offenders are being allowed to abuse the ratings system. Researchers focused on hotels which had a large proportion of five-star reviews left by users who made no other posts on the site.  Which? said it also found a “hugely suspicious” pattern of reviews for a highly-ranked hotel in Jordan. TripAdvisor has since removed 730 of the hotel’s five-star reviews, though the hotel denies any wrongdoing.Naomi Leach from Which? Travel said: “TripAdvisor’s failure to stop fake reviews and take strong action against hotels that abuse the system risks misleading millions of travellers and potentially ruining their holidays.”Sites like TripAdvisor must do more to ensure the information on their platforms is reliable and if they continue to fall short, they should be compelled to make changes so holidaymakers are no longer at risk of being duped by a flood of fake reviews.” 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

IPL 2017 Kings XI sent in to bat in mustwin game

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2017, MohaliBy: Shashank KishoreToss Kolkata Knight Riders chose to bowl v Kings XI PunjabKolkata Knight Riders’ bowlers removed Kings XI Punjab’s top order with early strikes © BCCIKings XI Punjab were put in to bat in the first of three knockout games by Gautam Gambhir, the Kolkata Knight Riders captain, in Mohali.Glenn Maxwell announced four changes to the Kings XI side that failed to defend 189 against Gujarat Lions two nights ago. Spinners Swapnil Singh and Rahul Tewatia came in along with Manan Vohra and Matt Henry, the New Zealand fast bowler, picked for his first game this season.The absence of Hashim Amla and David Miller, who have flown back to South Africa to prepare for the a short ODI series in England, resulted in Kings XI playing only four specialist batsmen and the wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.Meanwhile, Knight Riders were near full-strength with Robin Uthappa, who missed their last two games to nurse a sore hamstring, taking over wicketkeeping duties from Sheldon Jackson, while Kuldeep Yadav replaced Piyush Chawla.A win for Knight Riders would mean they join Mumbai Indians, Rising Pune Supergiant and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the playoffs. A Knight Riders win would also make this the earliest the four qualifying spots have been decided in the tournament’s history. (ESPNcricinfo)Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Sunil Narine, 2 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 3 Chris Lynn, 4 Robin Uthappa (wk), 5 Manish Pandey, 6 Colin de Grandhomme, 7 Yusuf Pathan, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Ankit RajpootKings XI Punjab: 1 Manan Vohra, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Glenn Maxwell (capt), 5 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 6 Axar Patel, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Matt Henry, 9 Mohit Sharma, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 Swapnil Singh Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedTewatia, Mohit keep Kings XI aliveMay 9, 2017In “latest news”Andre Russell steals the show as Knight Riders make it two in twoMarch 27, 2019In “latest news”Clinical Knight Riders storm into Finals by upstaging table-toppersMay 28, 2014In “Sports” read more