Here’s another stunning aspect of Germany’s 7-1 domination of Brazil on Tuesday: We have a new best soccer team in the world. The blowout changed the landscape of ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI) ratings. Going into the match, here’s what the SPI top five looked like:Despite somewhat unimpressive play in the World Cup, Brazil still ranked first over Argentina by a healthy margin, and the Germans ranked fourth. But when ESPN’s Stats & Info team recalculated the SPI on Wednesday morning, a very different picture emerged:Essentially, Germany’s incredibly lopsided victory caused it to flip spots with Brazil. Now the Germans have a sizable lead over the rest of the field (nearly as big a separation as Brazil had going into the tournament), and Brazil has dropped to fourth behind the Argentines and Colombians. (Note, too, that Colombia’s SPI dropped marginally, because Brazil’s loss affected the strength-of-schedule component of its rating.)SPI was wrong Tuesday in its estimation of the relative qualities of Germany and Brazil, even after adjusting for the loss of Brazil’s superstar forward, Neymar. But the good thing about a rating system like SPI is that it can use new information to revise its estimates; the stronger the new evidence, the greater the adjustment. And a 7-1 win is strong evidence that SPI had Germany rated too low and Brazil too highly.
While the Los Angeles Lakers have endured a (predictably) poor start to the 2014-15 season, their future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant continues to rack up individual milestones. In one game last month, he picked up his 20th career triple double and became the first player in league history to record 30,000 career points and 6,000 career assists. And after a 32-point outburst Tuesday night, Bryant moved to within 30 points of Michael Jordan and third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list — meaning Bryant could pass Jordan in the Lakers’ Friday night game against the San Antonio Spurs.Jordan has always been an easy comparison for Bryant. The two men play the same position (shooting guard), are built similarly (both stand 6 feet 6 and weigh about 200 pounds), seem to possess the same maniacal work ethic, and even have similar-looking games. Bryant’s championship count, five, even rivals Jordan’s six. In the minds of many fans, Bryant is the closest to Jordan the game has seen since Jordan retired for good in 2003.Statistically, though, there’s never really been much of a comparison. According to most advanced metrics, Jordan was better than Bryant at both ends of the floor. (This is true even if we restrict both players to the same block of seasons by age so we’re comparing apples to apples. Kobe entered the NBA at age 18, and he’s 36 now; Jordan played from age 21 to 34, retired and played again from age 38 to 39. So their overlapping years are 21 to 34.)Offensively, Bryant can’t hold a candle to Jordan, mainly because of a disparity in efficiency. After translating both Jordan’s and Bryant’s stats to a league-wide offensive efficiency level of 106 points per 100 possessions to account for the changes in the game (the NBA’s overall average since it merged with the ABA in 1976), Jordan posted an offensive rating of 118.4 between the ages of 21 and 34, while Bryant put up a rating of 112.4. For a top scorer like Bryant or Jordan, an offensive rating boost of six points per 100 possessions can mean an extra four wins for his team in an 82-game season.Because of an effect known as “skill curves,” it can be misleading to directly compare efficiency numbers between players with different offensive responsibilities. (This is why Steve Kerr and Fred Holberg aren’t better offensive players than Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, for instance.) But Jordan’s and Bryant’s roles were of roughly the same, so it’s a fair comparison; between the ages of 21 and 34, Jordan used 31.9 percent of the Chicago Bulls’ possessions while on the floor, while Bryant used 31.6 percent of the Lakers’ possessions when he was in the game. In other words, with essentially the same volume of the offense being directed through each player, Jordan was just a lot more efficient than Bryant at turning possessions into points.Why? Jordan shot the ball more accurately than Bryant, with a true shooting percentage of .580 to Bryant’s .556 — and that number even includes Bryant’s superior three-point shooting (particularly by volume) and a slight edge to Bryant at the free throw line as well. This means Jordan’s shooting advantage was almost totally driven by a better success rate on 2-pointers, where he crushed Bryant 52.0 percent to 48.5 percent despite the high likelihood that Bryant has taken more shots closer to the rim than Jordan did. (Even though a much larger proportion of Bryant’s shots came from three-point territory, Bryant’s rate of drawing fouls per shot attempt — a good proxy for how close to the basket a player is taking his shots — was higher than Jordan’s.)Jordan also protected the ball much better than Bryant. Between the ages of 21 and 34, Jordan turned the ball over on just 9.3 percent of his possessions, the best rate ever among players with such a high volume of shooting. Bryant isn’t exactly careless with the ball, but Jordan’s combination of a high usage rate, great shooting efficiency, a good assist rate and a microscopic rate of turnovers is what makes him arguably the best offensive player of the NBA’s post-merger era.Even when coupled with usage rate, it’s possible for individual efficiency numbers to belie a player’s true offensive contribution. A more sophisticated approach to measuring a player’s effect on his team’s offense can be found in statistical plus/minus metrics like Daniel Myers’s Box Plus/Minus (BPM). By that measure, Jordan helped his teams’ offenses by about 2.3 more points per 100 possessions than Bryant did between ages 21 and 34. We can’t be sure what a player’s actual on-court impact was before 2001 because we don’t have play-by-play data, but this reconstruction of regularized adjusted plus/minus for the 1990s (using box score and quarter-by-quarter score data) estimates that Jordan was, by far, the best offensive player of that decade. (By contrast, Bryant’s offensive impact ranks fourth relative to his peers.)Meanwhile, on defense Bryant looks like the Derek Jeter of the NBA — soaking up defensive accolades on reputation rather than performance. Over his career (which includes 12 All-Defensive team nods) the Lakers have only been 0.6 points per 100 possessions better than average defensively, and Bryant’s long-term regularized defensive plus/minus of -0.9 is below average. Synergy Sports, the video-tracking service that classifies every play a player is involved in, has the most favorable view of Bryant defensively but still considers him to be just a 55th percentile defender on aggregate since it began tracking full-season data in 2006-07 (a span over which Bryant was named to six All-Defensive squads).We don’t have Synergy numbers for Jordan defensively, but what evidence we do have suggests that he was better than Bryant at that end of the court. Jordan posted higher rates of steals, blocks and defensive rebounds than Bryant, and team-based defensive metrics like Dean Oliver’s defensive rating consider Jordan far superior (101.1 to 105.4; lower is better on defense) over the age 21 through 34 span after translating for era. Furthermore, the defensive component of Myers’s BPM lists Jordan as saving about 1.4 points per 100 possessions relative to Bryant (whom the metric considers a below-average defender). And while Jordan was in the top 12 percent of 1990s defenders by the aforementioned reconstructed plus/minus rating, Bryant was in the bottom 42 percent of his peers in defensive regularized plus/minus.Bryant will catch — and pass — M.J. on the all-time scoring list soon, but that shouldn’t be taken as an indication that Bryant has been a better basketball player than Jordan. To the contrary, the best statistical evidence at our disposal shows there really isn’t any legitimate way to make the argument for Bryant’s superiority. It’s only natural to hold the two players up side by side because of their superficial similarities, but a serious breakdown of the numbers renders all of those comparisons silly — the better player is Jordan, in a landslide.
Sidney Rice has a lot on his shoulders this year with the Seattle Seahawks. The problem is, he had surgery on both shoulders and so they are hardly ready for him to take on NFL hits.“This is going to be up to them. I know they’re going to protect me as much as possible,” Rice said of the team. “Preseason is important but it’s not as important as the regular season. They’re going to take their time and progress me along, bring me along as much as possible, and we’ll see what happens during the preseason games.”Rice’s first season with Seattle was marred by injury. He injured one shoulder during the preseason and said he was unaware that the other was also damaged. Rice played as best he could through the two shoulder injuries until a pair of concussions — the second one suffered in Week 12 against Washington — finally landed Rice on injured reserve.His first shoulder surgery on the right one came Jan. 3. His left shoulder was repaired Feb. 16. Still, it could be a while before the Seahawks put him at risk. Initially, they were going to place Rice on the physically unable to perform list for the start of training camp, but he was cleared to participate in drills over the weekend before the first practice.“We’re just going to go through this conservatively, I guess you can say, and lengthen the time of his recovery through this camp. That’s great that he’s working and getting the timing worked, but we won’t get him banged for a while,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We’ll see how that goes as we start to make progress. This is the best time for us to have our hands on him and really work him right and finish off his off-season, and I just think he’s had enough that he’s been through that it warrants taking our time here and not rushing him back.”Rice’s health is of the utmost importance for Seattle this year because of the questions that linger with the rest of its receivers. The competition to find who will start opposite Rice, along with determining the depth of the position, is one of the few true battles the Seahawks have to solve during the next month.“I’m the leader of this group now with Mike (Williams) gone and I just want to lead by example,” Rice said. “These guys know how to play football but we have to bring it every day, bring the right attitude.”
Then again, fans weren’t exactly being treated to great hockey — and the trade of star Ron Francis and the talk of relocation didn’t help to build goodwill either. In the 1989-90 season, the Whalers had a slightly above-average 38-33-9 record and also earned slightly above-average revenues. But things went underwater from there: the Whalers never had a winning season again.The question is whether the Islanders would be better off with one-eighth of a loaf in New York or a market to themselves in Connecticut. Considering the popularity of the New York Rangers (and the presence of the New Jersey Devils), the inadequacy of the Barclays Center for hockey, and all the other competition for the fans’ entertainment dollar in New York, it’s probably a pretty close call. It was one of the best logos in all of sports. A green “W,” and a blue whale’s tail, neatly using the negative space to form an “H,” as in “Hartford Whalers.” Unfortunately, they don’t give out Stanley Cups for graphic design. The Whalers didn’t have a lot of success on the ice, winning just one playoff series in 18 NHL seasons before moving to North Carolina and becoming the Carolina Hurricanes before the 1997-98 season.But now there’s a chance the Whalers could resurface. The state of Connecticut is pursuing the New York Islanders, who are in danger of being kicked out of their woefully inadequate arena at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The team would play at the XL Center in Hartford, the Whalers’ former home.How successful might Whalers 2.0 be? In a 2013 study, I estimated that about 175,000 avid NHL fans live in the Hartford-New Haven metro area. That sounds bad, though it’s comparable to or slightly better than some of the lower-tier American NHL markets, including Columbus, Raleigh-Durham, Miami and Nashville (and better than Las Vegas, where the NHL is expanding). Furthermore, there’s potentially room for growth. According to our estimates, 7 percent of adults in the Hartford metro area were avid NHL fans in 2013. But the percentage is 13 percent in the New York metro area and 17 percent in the Boston metro area. If the Islanders or another team were to relocate to Hartford, the numbers would probably improve. The Hartford-New Haven media market is the largest in the U.S. without a “big four” sports franchise. But it’s only about one-eighth the size of New York’s media market (which includes Long Island and Northern New Jersey).Of course, the NHL’s last stint in Hartford didn’t exactly end successfully. Between the 1989-90 and 1996-97 seasons, the average NHL team’s revenues more than doubled, increasing from $22 million to $52 million, according to estimates from Forbes and Financial World magazines. But the Whalers’ revenues didn’t increase at all during this period, flatlining at about $25 million. That doesn’t adjust for inflation, so their income actually decreased on a real basis.
For the first time since 1993, the women’s soccer Big Ten championship will not be decided with a post-season tournament. The change, which puts emphasis exclusively on a team’s regular season performance, makes Ohio State’s games at Wisconsin and at Minnesota this weekend all the more important.In the past, the league has had two titles, crowning both a regular season and a tournament champion. Now, the conference championship, as well as an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament, will be decided solely on the regular season standings.The elimination of the league’s post-season tournament has brought a noticeable change to the pressure brought on by each game, coach Lori Walker said. “You’re in an ‘every game matters’ scenario right from the beginning,” Walker said. “In the past, there were a few games where you just stay on task … you could always make that one last push using the tournament, and we don’t have that anymore.”Walker, who has always been a supporter of a conference tournament, said its single-elimination style was valuable practice for her team. The tournament represented a chance, the coach said, for her team to prepare for the pressures of playing in the NCAA championship at the end of the season.Junior midfielder Courtney Jenkins said the pressure is still there, it is just a little different.“Each game is a big game,” Jenkins said. “It’s always a battle, and without having the tournament at the end of the year, you can’t wait until the end to prove yourself.”Coming off of last weekend’s victories, OSU is looking to move up the Big Ten ladder this weekend. They currently sit third in the conference, behind their next two opponents, and begin the road trip Friday night to Madison to face the Badgers. The game is one of three consecutive road games for the Buckeyes. It is their longest stint away from Columbus this season. The biggest struggle of playing on the road comes in the team’s energy level, Walker said.“When you’re playing in the [Jessie Owens Memorial Stadium] and all of your friends and family is there, it can be really easy to elevate your excitement and your passion from the get-go,” Walker said. “When you’re on the road it’s got to come from the inside.”Jenkins said the team is aware of how difficult the weekend will be.“Both Minnesota and Wisconsin are going to be tough,” Jenkins said. “But I think we’ll get some good preparation this week and we’ll be ready for it.”
Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel has interviewed for the Indianapolis Colts’ head coaching job and will learn next week if he is hired, according to multiple reports. Colts owner Jim Irsay has reportedly met to discuss the position twice with Tressel, who served as a game-day consultant for the team this past season. From his Twitter account, @JimIrsay, Irsay tweeted Saturday at about 11 a.m.: “The #1 pick debate will rage on,what a great year to have it..the HC search is wide ranging n thorough,decision by mid 2 late next week.” The Colts did not immediately respond to The Lantern‘s request for comment regarding the team’s head coaching position. Tressel opted to postpone his term of employment with the Colts until Week 7 of the NFL season due to concerns about current and former OSU players who were suspended in both the NFL and NCAA. In Tressel’s final game coaching the Buckeyes, he led the team to a 31-26 victory against Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl in the Louisiana Superdome. That game, along with the entire 2010 season, was later vacated by OSU as part of its self-imposed penalties for violating NCAA policies. Tressel resigned from his post with the Buckeyes on May 30. This past season, the Colts posted an NFL-worst 2-14 record.
The No. 4-ranked Ohio State rowing team was selected as one of 16 teams that will head to West Windsor, N.J., this week to compete for the national title at the NCAA Championships. The rowing, which had one of the athletic department’s 46 self-reported NCAA violations that were released last week, have qualified for the NCAA championships every year as a team since 2000, making this their 13th-consecutive appearance. The program is one of only five in the nation to achieve that number of consecutive trips. OSU finished second at the Big Ten Championships on May 13, with a total of 145 points, falling behind Michigan, which took home the win with 147 points. The NCAA Championships are made up of 16 teams, with each team fielding two boats of eight rowers, First and Second Varsity Eights, and one boat of four rowers, First Varsity Four. Senior Ellen Heister, who rows on the First Varsity Eight, said the loss to Michigan at the Big Ten Championships will give the team an advantage going into nationals. “Big Tens was kind of a learning experience for us. We saw the speed that Michigan has all season, but we hadn’t gotten to race them until Big Tens. We got to analyze a few things about our own race, in relation to how they did when they beat us, so I think that will be beneficial when we get to race them again,” Heister said. “I think we’re all really excited about where our team is seeded in accomplishing the goal that we set at the beginning of the year.” Coach Andy Teitelbaum said that with the goal and focus on winning a national championship, the team looks forward to racing former competitors and new opponents. “I think Michigan showed us a couple of things in the First and Second Eight, and now it’s up to us to see whether or not we’re equal to the challenge,” Teitelbaum said. “They’re not the only crew that’s out there that I think is particularly formidable. We haven’t seen anybody from the West Coast, so it will be fun to see how we stack up against their speed.” Junior Allison Elber of the First Varsity Eight said the team is eager to meet the high competition and compete at the next level. “There are a lot of really good teams there and we’re expecting that, and we feel that we’re ready to compete at that level now, so we’re just really excited to get out there and show what we can do,” Elber said. Sophomore Claire-Louise Bode of the First Varsity Eight, said the two-point loss to Michigan at the Big Ten Championships was a part of their journey toward the goal of a national title. “I feel like that was one step towards what we plan to do,” Bode said. “Now that we’ve gone through it, we have a better picture in our heads of where we’re going to, and the goal is in reach. We’re ready for it now.” The Buckeyes will compete on Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J., for the NCAA Championships Friday through Sunday.
Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) takes a 3 pointer in the first half of the game against Maryland on Jan. 11 in the Schottenstein Center. Ohio State won 91-69. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorNo. 13 Ohio State (18-4, 9-0 Big Ten) is exactly halfway through its conference schedule with nine games won and nine games remaining. It narrowly edged out Nebraska Monday, 64-59, in its closest conference game of the season. Here are some notes from the postgame press conference. Keita Bates-Diop finding production despite tighter defensive coverageThe cat is out of the bag: redshirt junior Keita Bates-Diop is one of the best players in college basketball. The 6-foot-7 forward averages 19.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from the 3.Earlier in the year, teams played man-to-man against Bates-Diop. It allowed him to easily drive and to shoot high-percentage shots inside or catch wide-open passes from beyond the arc and knock home 3s. But teams have started to press more often in their coverage of him, double-teaming him to prevent him from having those open looks. His current four-game stretch has seen him average his lowest point rate (16.8) since he averaged 15 points per game from Nov. 19-26. The added defensive pressure has made it more challenging for Bates-Diop to find open lanes to drive to the basket. But against Nebraska, he said he was able to stay moving and would eventually find open space without the ball before catching a pass and making a play.“So I started slipping screens and just moving around a little bit more, cutting a little bit more off the ball and all my teammates found me,” Bates-Diop said Monday. “It was mostly just layups to the basket.”He had been off to a slow start, making only 2-of-5 shots from the field and struggling to find open shooting chances given the coverage. Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said he typically does not have to say much to Bates-Diop when he goes into a bit of a lull and that it is always just a matter of time until his star forward starts putting up points.“I just told him I’d like for you to score a lot more and go get 14 really quickly here,” Holtmann joked. “He’s getting a lot of attention. He missed some open shots, but he made some huge plays for us. And I thought our guys did a nice job finding him in the post late too.”Four games in eight daysWhen the Buckeyes went to the locker room after the game Monday night, they finally had a chance to really catch their breath. They had just wrapped up their fourth game in eight days with the first three coming on the road. “I definitely am a little fatigued,” senior forward Jae’Sean Tate said. “I mean you know that’s just the cards we were dealt. Especially this season with the tournament being moved up, it’s a little tougher. But I think as a team, we’re doing a great job. The coaches are focusing more on film and recovery.”Holtmann said the team did not discuss any change in approach to the four-game stretch, but that the players have worked additionally with strength and conditioning coach Quadrian Banks to avoid getting too worn down.He also said he wanted three of his starters — junior guard C.J. Jackson, Bates-Diop and Tate, who played 37, 37 and 33 minutes, respectively — to get more rest given how much they had played during that stretch. However, given how close Monday’s matchup wound up being, he was unable to rest his starters as much as he would have liked.“We’re going to continue to trust and use our bench,” Holtmann said. “We played seven guys over 20 minutes, which is kind of normal. But we need to continue obviously for Thursday. We need to probably utilize our bench even more if we can.”Andre Wesson and Andrew Dakich providing much-needed reliefPart of those bench players who have helped to provide key relief for starters have been sophomore forward Andre Wesson and redshirt senior guard Andrew Dakich. Wesson, who lost time over the summer due to an undisclosed injury, has worked his way back and has taken the role of the top bench forward. Over the past five games, he has averaged 21.8 minutes per game.Though he has only averaged 2.8 points per game over that stretch, the players and coaches have raved about his passing and defense being valuable coming off the bench. “Sometimes you guys may not see things that don’t show up on stat sheets, but he’s being a great defender,” Tate said. “He’s getting his hands on deflections, he’s boxing out his man, making sure they don’t get the ball, but also keeping balls alive.”Like Wesson, Dakich has not been the most productive scoring guard, averaging just 3.8 points per game over his past five games — with an average of 22.4 minutes per game. Unlike Wesson, he lacks the size to guard taller forwards attempting jump shots. He also lacks game-changing speed, but Holtmann said the 6-foot guard makes up for it with his awareness.“What he lacks in athleticism — and let’s be honest, he lacks athleticism — he makes up for it so much in his IQ and his ability to connect his teammates,” Holtmann said. “I did not realize he’d be this solid for us defensively. They tried to ice him tonight and people shot over at times, but he’s hard to get around.”Up NextOhio State will try to extend its unbeaten streak in the Big Ten to 10 games when it hosts Penn State at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Schottenstein Center.
The fez, said to be a little worn from the attentions of the owner’s cat, will go on display at the V&A from Tuesday. Other highlights on display will include a “gag file”, a metal cabinet containing Cooper’s hand-written jokes, filed alphabetically “with the meticulousness of an archivist”, and contracts including those that went unfulfilled because of his sudden death following a heart attack on live TV in 1984.The museum announced it had bought the late comic’s archive, minus the fez, earlier this year.Hans van Rijs said: “I travelled to London to meet Mr Cooper in the first week of April 1984 to discuss his script for a Dutch TV commercial for Bassett’s Wine Gums. Tommy Cooper’s famous red fez is to finally go on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, more than 30 years after it was loaned to the makers of a Wine Gums commercial.The tasselled hat will join the remainder of Cooper’s archive at the museum, after curators put out a plea to find the missing star item.It is a gift from Hans van Rijs, an advertising executive who was given it by Cooper himself as the pair work on the animation for a Bassett’s Wine Gums commercial in 1984.Days after giving the fez away, Cooper died and the advert was never made, with the hat remaining in van Rijs’ house. He died at the age of 63, shortly after collapsing during a live broadcast from Her Majesty’s Theatre, London, in April 1984.The Cooper archive is billed as the largest collection of its kind, tracing the life and legacy of the much-loved British comedian.The fez, alongside a selection of objects from the collection, will go on public display for the first time in the museum’s Theatre and Performance galleries on Tuesday. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “I arrived at his house around 10.30 and was offered something to drink. We finalised the script and he gave me his fez to take back home with me, so that the special effects team could begin animating it for the advert. “He died a few days after we met, so sadly that advert was never made.”Cooper is believed to have first worn a fez after mislaying his army-issue helmet while performing in Cairo during the Second World War.He is said to have taken a fez from a waiter to wear for the show and, as the hat looked comically small on Cooper’s 6ft 3in frame, it became his trademark. Cooper was often seen on screen in one of his many fez’s Simon Sladen, senior curator of modern and contemporary performance at the V&A, positions late comedian Tommy Cooper’s famous red fez Simon Sladen, senior curator of modern and contemporary performance at the V&A, said: “It is wonderful news that we now have an authentic fez in addition to the Tommy Cooper Collection at the V&A.”Cooper’s fez is an icon of 20th century British comedy. It’s thrilling that we can display it alongside his hand-written gags and unique examples of his comedy props to give visitors a fascinating insight into one the best-loved entertainers of the 20th century.”After an early career with the Army, Cooper went on to star in his own TV shows and become one of Britain’s highest-paid and best-loved entertainers. Cooper in action in 1970 The fez has lost a few of its tassles, thanks to an admiring cat
It may not look like it – but somewhere beneath this undergrowth is a three-bedroom end-of-terrace about to be auctioned for almost half a million pounds.The dilapidated house which has been completely swallowed up by foliage is up for auction on Tuesday with a guide price of £450,000.The home has been left abandoned for several years – enough time for it to develop its own private woodland. Other properties on the street sells for £800,000, so an adventurous buyer could snare a bargain.The £450,000 price tag is still double the price of an average UK home, but just below the London average of £475,000.The house will be auctioned by Savills at The Marriott Hotel on Grosvenor Square in Mayfair, London. General view of an abandoned house up for auction that has been completely engulfed by foliage in south east London. Credit:SWNS.com The back garden is also very overgrownCredit:SWNS.com “It has been neglected for so long and is in need of a complete renovation. We’re calling it The Tree House.”It is on a really good street but it is so overgrown that it is surprising no one has made a complaint to the council about it.”We have had a good level of interest. With the potential and the location it could make a great family home.” According to auctioneers Savills, the property on Ruthin Road, in Blackheath, south east London, is “in need of complete modernisation”.It has a kitchen, reception room, three bedrooms and a bathroom. There is also a 50ft long back garden, which is heavily overgrown, as well as a garage.Robin Howeson, director at Savills Auctions, said: “We don’t get homes like this very often. The door is barely visible from the streetCredit:SWNS.com The 82-year-old said that the property has “been empty a few months now” and said the house has been swallowed by the plants “for a long time”.”There were loads of people here yesterday looking at it, and they have been a few times,” she said.”It was a lovely little house… it is a wonder the neighbours didn’t kick off about it though,” she added.”I would love to see the windows, I bet the curtains are black.” One neighbour, Julia, a Dublin native who has lived opposite the house for 52 years, said she remembers the former occupant planting the garden flora “quite a few years ago”. The three-bedroom home, dubbed The Tree House, has been left untouched for years and now boasts its own private woodlandCredit:SWNS.com 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.
Sue Barker and her husband Lance Tankard successfully lobbied Tewkesbury CouncilCredit:Rex/Getty Images Former tennis star and Wimbledon presenter Sue Barker has raised the roof of the Cotswold home she shares with her husband because he repeatedly banged his head on low ceilings.The couple applied for permission to increase the height of their Gloucestershire home by 1.5 metres, according to planning documents. The council was also asked to grant retrospective permission for an extension to the property.Nearby residents had objected to the development, with one saying it had a “disproportionate and overbearing affect” upon neighbouring houses, but the permission was given the green light. Sue Barker with the Women’s Singles trophy in the trophy cabinet at the All England ClubCredit:Ray Burmiston 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. Lance Tankard said he had once “knocked himself clean out” and had twice cut his head on “pinch points” where the valleys of the roof meet to the rear of the property.”I can only place a small chest of drawers into these areas and then limbo up towards them if I want to open a drawer,” he wrote in a letter to Tewkesbury Council. Plans showing the elevation application of the home of Sue Barker as she claim the ceilings are to low for her husband. The offending room is located bottom rightCredit:Eastabrook03
Weather forecast for Thursday and the week ahead The highest temperature of the year so far was recorded as 25.7C at Heathrow Airport on Thursday.Met Office forecaster Graham Madge said the mercury was expected to soar past that later, pointing out that Wednesday’s peak temperature was recorded at around 3pm.He said: “We are not expecting that that is the maximum temperature – it will go higher than that. It is already warmer than any April temperature last year.” Swimmers go for an early morning dip in the Serpentine, in London’s Hyde Park, on ThursdayCredit:HENRY NICHOLLS /Reuters Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. When was the previous warmest April day?A high of 28C would beat the 2001 April high of 27.8C (82F), the Met Office said.The warmest April day on record was 29.4C (85F) in 1949.Meteorologist Alex Burkill said: “There’s a fairly good chance of 28C, there’s about a 60 per cent chance.”Quite widely we are going to see low 20s, and for many it will be a little warmer than Wednesday.” Whilst pollen levels will be high across much of the UK, only hay fever sufferers who are affected by birch and ash tree pollen will feel the impacts 🌳 pic.twitter.com/2vUHiqgtG7— Met Office (@metoffice) April 19, 2018 Hayfever sufferers hit by high pollen countsSome hayfever sufferers could be affected by high pollen counts, he added. Mr Burkill said: “For anyone who suffers from tree pollen they will probably be feeling the effects, but that’s only about 20 per cent of hayfever sufferers. Grass pollen season comes later in summer.” Temperatures are set to soar to 28C (82F) in some parts on Thursday, making it the warmest April day in nearly 70 years.The South East will enjoy the best of the weather, while most of England and Wales should see the temperature rise into at least the low 20s, the Met Office said.Conditions will be mild across the UK, with Northern Ireland likely to push 19C (66F) in some parts and a peak of 20C (68F) possible in Aberdeenshire in Scotland, the forecaster said.The hot weather far surpasses the average maximum temperature for April, which sits at 11.4C (53F).The summery spell comes as a result of warm air from the Azores, off the coast of Portugal, being dragged up towards the UK by the combined efforts of an area of low pressure over the Atlantic and high pressure over western Europe. For the latest UK weather news, click here. A high of 25.3C (78F) was recorded in St James’ Park in London on Wednesday, making it the hottest day of the year so far. How long will the warm temperatures last?Thursday is expected to be the hottest day of the warm spell, with weekend temperatures dipping slightly before showery outbreaks on Sunday.Competitors in the London Marathon can expect hot and humid conditions with a forecast of between 21C (70F) and 23C (73F), Mr Burkill said.”There could be a shower but it’s not very likely. It’s not great conditions for running. In fact if any showers do come they might be very welcome,” he said. Temperatures will climb even further tomorrow in the #sunshine, with possibly 27 ºC being reached somewhere in SE England, which will make it the #warmestdayoftheyear so far…again! pic.twitter.com/RBgPggGEf0— Met Office (@metoffice) April 18, 2018
Adults who want to view pornographic websites will be able to buy a code at newsagents to prove they are over 18 when new age verification laws are introduced later this year. New rules were due to come into force in April, but the Government pushed back the date in an attempt to ensure any system introduced was workable. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)… A 16-digit code – or “porn pass” – will be one option available to the estimated 25 million Britons who regularly visit adult websites and so will be required to prove they are not under age. The move, part of new legislation being drawn up, is an attempt by the Government to prevent children accessing obscene online material. 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.
Iran seized the Stena Impero on July 19 and has held its 23 crew members in custody since then at the port of the Bandar Abbas. Iran has also seized two other tankers and allegedly used naval mines to attack several other oil vessels in the Persian Gulf. Tehran has repeatedly accused the UK of seizing the Grace 1 as part of Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign against the Iranian economy. Britain has denied that allegation. British warships are now escorting UK-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz as part of a broader US-led naval mission to protect civilian shipping in the region. The Indian captain of the Grace 1 and three of his officers were also released from arrest in Gibraltar. The captain previously accused Britain of using unnecessary “brute force” when Royal Marines took the ship. He said the marines pointed guns at his unarmed crew and forced them to kneel on the deck. “They just pointed the gun and they started shouting look forward, look forward,” he told the BBC. “I was totally shocked I didn’t know what to feel because they didn’t give me a chance to talk.” 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. Gibraltar has released an Iranian oil tanker detained last month despite a last-minute US bid to have the ship seized. The US made an emergency appeal to Gibraltar to keep the Grace 1 in custody but authorities in the British territory announced on Thursday that they were releasing it. The ship’s release after more than a month will raise hopes that Iran may now release the Stena Impero, a British-flagged tanker seized in retaliation by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. It was not immediately clear when the Grace 1 would actually set sail from Gibraltar or if the US would try to take further action to prevent its departure. The ship was seized on July 4 on the grounds that it was violating EU sanctions on Syria by carrying 2.1 million barrels of crude oil to the Syrian coast, Gibraltarian authorities said. Fabian Picardo, chief minister of Gibraltar, said he had received written assurances from Iran that the ship would not violate EU sanctions any further. “In light of the assurances we have received, there are no longer any reasonable grounds for the continued legal detention of the Grace 1 in order to ensure compliance with the EU Sanctions Regulation,” he said. He said the US request for the detention of the vessel would be considered separately. The emergency American appeal was filed early on Thursday morning and made a number of unspecified allegations about the Grace 1. There was no immediate US response to Gibraltar’s decision to free the ship. It was not clear if American authorities had given Britain any warning they would try to seize the ship. Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, condemned the US effort to stop the Grace 1’s release. “The US attempted to abuse the legal system to steal our property on the high seas. This piracy attempt is indicative of Trump administration’s contempt for the law,” he said. Mr Zarif gave no indication of whether Iran would now move to release the Stena Impero. Iran has occasionally suggested an exchange to free both tankers but never made a formal offer. A Foreign Office spokesman said there could be “no comparison or linkage between Iran’s unacceptable and illegal seizure of, and attacks on, commercial shipping vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and the enforcement of EU Syria sanctions by the Government of Gibraltar. “Freedom of navigation for commercial shipping must be respected and international law upheld.” Iran seized the British-flagged Stena Impero in retaliation for the seizure of the Grace 1Credit:Morteza Akhoondi/Tasnim News Agency via AP “With effect from today I have therefore revoked the Specification of the Vessel.”
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedEssequibians promised “continuous and reliable supply of electricity” when new plant is completedSeptember 4, 2018In “latest news”GPL’s CEO apologises for prolonged power outages in Region 2September 10, 2018In “latest news”Essequibo Coast GPL generator reportedly moved to Bartica for RegattaApril 1, 2018In “latest news” A new generation unit for the Guyana Power and Light’s station at Anna Regina (GPL) is expected to arrive before the end of 2017, Generation Engineer for Region Two, Lindsey Shepherd said.Generation Engineer, Region Two, Lindsey ShepherdAccording to GINA, Shepherd explained that there are currently two generation sets in the Region, one at Anna Regina which houses three units and a temporary set at Fairfield, with two units.Shepherd further explained that the plants are aged, existing beyond their life span of 20 years. He said electricity distribution in the region can be challenging sometimes, especially when the power company would have to manufacture parts for the plants in the event of disruptions.“The new plan is to build a new plant that should be commissioned around the last quarter of this year. We already procured the units; it’s just a matter of actual construction. That plant will supply the entire coast, (and) eliminate the need for the two plants,” Shepherd explained.According to GINA, the Generation Engineer noted that government is moving apace to have it in the region as soon as possible. He said the delay is due to the change of supply of units from Wartsila to the Power Producer and Distribution Incorporated (PPDI).Towards the end of 2016, Anna Regina, experienced long hours of blackout when two of the three generating units were unavailable due to unexpected mechanical failures. One of the two units was operating at reduced capacity.GPL subsequently managed to undertake urgent repairs on one unit with reduced capacity and has been able to increase capacity to meet peak demand. However, it was decided that the aged old units needed to be replaced as soon as possible to better serve the region.
By Susan SvrlugaSadhana Singh is a senior at Trinity Washington University. She was born in Guyana and moved to the United States as a teenager. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)The Washington Post- Sadhana Singh didn’t go to the rally at the White House Tuesday; she was studying before class.But it was hard to concentrate, with all the messages she was getting from professors and friends wondering if President Trump would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, wondering if she would be able to legally finish her college degree or if she could be deported.“I have been bracing myself,” she said Tuesday. “I always thought it would be canceled.”But when she heard the attorney general actually make the announcement, she said, “It was crushing. Because they put an end date on it.”Singh is one of more than 100 students at Trinity Washington University with provisional legal status through DACA. They now make up about 10 percent of the private school’s enrollment — enough to have a profound impact on campus culture. The 31-year-old senior is part of the first group that will graduate in spring.For Trinity’s president, Patricia McGuire, the decision to be one of the schools partnering with TheDream.US scholarship program was an easy one, a moral imperative. “It is so consistent with our mission,” she said. “Real Catholic social justice.” And despite the expense, it has benefited the school. “They are extraordinary, outstanding students,” she said. “Almost all are on the dean’s list, very practical and very motivated.”She said from a conference of Catholic University leaders Tuesday that they were all outraged. “To use these young people as pawns in a political game with Congress is reprehensible. … There’s nothing about this that we believe reflects American values.”But for many of those worried about the impacts of illegal immigration, DACA was never legal because it was enacted by President Barack Obama by executive action, and it creates a loophole that could worsen the problem of illegal immigration with a clear incentive for coming to the United States. If the students were able to become U.S. citizens, said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that supports tighter controls on immigration, “then they would petition for their parents, and there’s no numerical limit.”As activists, lawmakers and attorneys prepared to fight, Singh kept preparing for her French and Energy and International Affairs classes that afternoon. “I’m overwhelmed,” she said, “by all the feelings streaming in.”It had been such a long journey to college.When the tourist visa her parents had to visit the United States expired, she knew. At 13, she took care of a lot of paperwork for the family, because of her parents’ lack of education. And so, even as she marveled at the scale and expanse of everything in the United States — the highways, the stores, the possibilities all so much more vast than anything at home in Guyana — she worried.But they stayed.And the longer they stayed, the more she learned about the promise of this place. “I came to America, and this whole world opened to me that I never saw before,” she said. “All these opportunities — all these things.”No one knew her secret in the small town in Georgia where they settled. The thing she wanted most, she said, was just to blend in, to be American. She faked a local accent. She picked an American-sounding name and told everyone to just call her Ashley.She loved reading and writing and learning. She worked hard, becoming one of the top students in her class. She dreamed of college. But while her classmates ticked off milestones — learner’s permit, driver’s license, college applications — she just kept pretending to fit in.After graduation, Singh finally told a few friends that she was not in the country legally, and one of their parents hired her. Her father, who had been a chauffeur in Guyana and kept his international driver’s license, drove her to work. At the end of the day, he drove her home.She felt as though she were looking through glass at everyone else traveling and learning and starting exciting new careers, while she stood still. For nine years.“I felt so left behind and so repressed,” she said. “I couldn’t move on to achieve any of my goals, my dreams.”She questioned why her parents had left Guyana, and she thought about going back there herself, even though it seemed entirely foreign to her. In that culture, she wouldn’t be expected to continue her education, either. But at least she would be there legally. She could drive, do things, travel without fear.Then the DACA program was created. She applied immediately — it seemed too good to be true. And a co-worker told her about a new scholarship he had heard about on the radio.“It was incredible,” she said. “It was a salvation.”With a TheDream.US National Scholarship, she came to Trinity, one of the program’s partner schools.She was 28 years old and a college freshman. “I was 18 again,” she said. “Everything excited me — the cafeteria, walking around campus, my dorm. I embraced the experience of being a normal college student.”Calculus tripped her up a little. But her other classes she found easier than she had expected; she had read so much in her years out of school that she hadn’t fallen too far behind.Her parents had been hesitant about college — it wasn’t something they had thought much about. They needed her income, and they were surprised to think of her moving out of their home. But then they saw how happy she was and began to understand that she was doing this to help the whole family, by opening up much greater opportunities for herself.This past year, she had to stop following the news so closely: All the political campaign rhetoric about cracking down on illegal immigration and ending the DACA program made her so anxious it was hard to concentrate on studying. “The fear was very real to me,” she said, “knowing I had come so far and achieved so much and it was all going to be taken away from me in an instant.”She has DACA protection until October 2018, so she hopes to be able to graduate. Even if she had to leave the country to work, she would be grateful to have her degree. Knowing now that she has six months gives her time to plan, she said, although she has no idea what she’ll do. And she has little confidence that Congress will be able to help.As she watched the attorney general Tuesday, she had a sudden urge to scream at him. “The constitutional overreach, the politics of the situation. … It’s human beings that are involved.”As she heard from friends worried about how they would support their families, she thought about how many people were affected, vastly more than the hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries of DACA. “It was really devastating now to pull the rug [out] from … under us.”“We’re all thinking about someone else more than we’re thinking about ourselves,” she said. She was most upset for her brother, who has been able to work at Home Depot after getting DACA status. Her parents depend on his income as well. The program has changed all of their lives, she said.“It pulled us into American society,” she said. “We were there all along — but we couldn’t participate.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGeorgetown Nursing School receives CAN $21,000 in materials to boost nurses educationNovember 29, 2014In “Business”Trump attacks top Democrat for rejecting Mexico wall dealJanuary 21, 2019In “World”Six Dreamers sue Trump administration over DACA decisionSeptember 18, 2017In “World”
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedBorder Controversy: Guyana’s case for ICJ ‘in good hands’ – Sir RamphalMarch 22, 2018In “latest news”Guyana/ Venezuela border controversy case filed with ICJMarch 29, 2018In “latest news”BORDER CONTROVERSY: Guyana on track to make submissions to World Court – GreenidgeOctober 17, 2018In “latest news” Guyana-born international diplomat Sir Shridath Ramphal today (Wednesday) said that the decision taken by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy would be legally binding and hence would have to be accepted by the parties involved.Sir Shridath Ramphal“The decision of the court will be binding. It is not going to be in an advisory capacity. Unfortunately, some pretty wild things have been said in Guyana which are far from legally accurate… Don’t be misguided by these wild opinions. This is not a time for Guyana to argue these issues in Guyana with Guyana,” he said.Speaking during a side interview at the opening of inaugural Guyana International Petroleum Business Exhibition (GIPEX) summit at the Marriott Hotel this morning, Ramphal said whether or not Venezuela heeded the advice of the United Nations and went to the ICJ to fight the matter, “Guyana is moving forward.”He related that the process to have a final settlement to this issue could take years, which to a large extent has a lot to do with how Venezuela responds to the matter.He has also advised that the team that won the border matter against Suriname should be reassembled to handle the border controversy with Venezuela.The international diplomat, who also happens to be Guyana’s top legal adviser in the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, told the media today that finding the legal fees to pay a team to represent Guyana is miniature.Venezuela has already rejected the decision taken by the UN to have the border controversy settled by the ICJ.The Guyana Government had said it plans to use a signing bonus of US$18M received from ExxonMobil to stand the expense of a legal team.
Shakib Al Hasan (L) of Bangladesh, Andre Russell (C) and Rovman Powell (R) of West Indies smile at the end of the 1st T20i match between West Indies and Bangladesh at Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts, on July 31, 2018BASSETERRE, Saint Kitts and Nevis (AFP) — Kesrick Williams’ career-best bowling figures and a hurricane batting cameo by Andre Russell highlighted an efficient effort by the West Indies in defeating Bangladesh by seven wickets in the rain-affected opener of the three-match T20 International series at Warner Park in St Kitts on Tuesday.After off-spinner Ashley Nurse rocked the visitors with the wickets of both openers without scoring in the first over of the match, fast bowler Williams claimed four for 28 to ensure there would be no substantial recovery for the tourists despite a fighting top score of 35 from Mahmudullah as they finished at 143 for nine.Set a revised target of 91 off 11 overs after rain delayed the West Indies response by more than 90 minutes, Russell blazed an unbeaten 35 off 21 balls with three fours and three sixes to ensure there were no alarms for the home side in taking a 1-0 lead ahead of the final two matches in Florida at the weekend.West Indies reached 93 for three off 9.1 overs.Russell and Marlon Samuels (25) put on 42 for the third wicket after seamer Mustafizur Rahman despatched opening batsmen Evin Lewis and Andre Fletcher without conceding a run in his opening over to give the Bangladeshis hope of restraining the home side.Rovman Powell then joined Russell after Samuels fell to Rubel Hossain to ensure the Caribbean team romped to the target.“Our intention is to win this series 3-0 after the disappointment of the one-dayers,” said Russell, who was chosen as “Man of the Match. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedTon-up Tamim leads Bangladesh to record 301 total against WindiesJuly 28, 2018In “Sports”Bangladesh bat first in decisive ODI against West IndiesJuly 28, 2018In “latest news”Rain washed out lone T20 between WI and BangladeshAugust 28, 2014In “Sports”
In its revised Climate Change Policy, BHP Billiton says it believes accelerated action is required to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at levels guided by the research of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The policy states that BHP Billiton “will take action within our own businesses and work with governments, industry and other stakeholders to address this global challenge and find lasting solutions consistent with our goal of zero harm”.The four action areas identified in the policy are:Understanding emissions from the full life-cycle of products Improving the management of energy and greenhouse gas emissions across the businesses Committing $300 million over the next five years to support low emissions technology development, internal energy excellence projects and encourage emissions abatement by employees and local communities Using technical capacity and experience to assist governments and other stakeholders on the design of effective and equitable climate change policies including market-based mechanisms such as emissions trading Chief Executive Officer, Chip Goodyear, said BHP Billiton acknowledged that the risks of climate change associated with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere must be addressed. “BHP Billiton has recognised that our company, as well as society generally, must make real behavioural changes and accelerate technological progress if we are to achieve a meaningful reduction in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Our policy is about trying to play our part as best we can and encouraging those we work with to do the same.”The policy includes new targets to reduce the energy and greenhouse intensity of BHP’s products by a further 13% and 6% respectively by 2012. It builds on previous achievements, which include a 12% improvement in greenhouse intensity over the period 1996 – 2000. “We are on track to exceed our current target of a further 5% improvement by the end of this financial year. We have also contributed significantly to research and development in clean coal technologies, including geosequestration, and have implemented several related programs across the business,” Goodyear said.“As a leader in the natural resources industry we have an important role in meeting the world’s growing energy and resources needs. At the same time, we have an equally important role in minimising the impact of our activities on the global environment and supporting our customers’ efforts to do the same”, he said.
Australia’s gemstone industry has been told that the diamond exploration and mining sector is far from “done and dusted” and would increasingly benefit from global breakthroughs in advanced diamond discovery and identification techniques. Addressing the second day in Perth of the 2008 Paydirt World Diamond Conference, Blina Diamonds’ Exploration Manager, Dr Mark Hutchison, encouraged delegates to “think outside the box”. There is an emerging science in diamond exploration worldwide to swap old concepts for new techniques and new concepts with substantial savings in discovery time and costs,” Hutchison said. “It has traditionally been followed that diamonds will be found in kimberlitic host rocks but the emergence of non-kimberlitic hosts such as the Ellendale field and mine in Western Australia, shows the opportunities available,” he said.“We have even learned how to grow diamonds experimentally in some of these exotic rocks so if we can do that, we should be able to find them in the same circumstances naturally – it just takes a different thinking approach and a desire to experiment with exploration models.“This is generating more contemporary approaches leading to the discovery of primary diamond deposit emplacements in non traditional locations. Such locations include craton-edge and off-craton settings such as around Orrorroo in South Australia’s mid north, or craton-edge diamond bearing fields such as in the Kimberley region of WA.”Hutchison told delegates that emerging technology that was less laborious and less costly was also proving a critical breakthrough in shaping the diamond’s sector future growth. “A key success has been the wider application of Computer Controlled Scanning Electron Micrometry (CCSEM) which is now allowing more rapid identification and chemical quantification of indicator minerals used to determine a diamond discovery. “The technology requires little sample preparation and operator time and is therefore more highly cost effective, allowing rapid in-situ mineral classification. As diamond discovery and identification is a challenging science, CCSEM is proving a useful contributor to modern exploration success. It has a proven track record in the coal industry and I expect it to have growing use in the diamond sector.”This approach is being supported by more modern dating on site of kimberlites and associated rocks, backed by research support from such external agencies as the CSIRO and Melbourne University.