Last week, my colleague Neil Paine wrote about the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins, who is probably the favorite to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year but who has so far been among the least efficient players in the league according to a variety of advanced statistics. The article triggered a lot of objections on Twitter and in the comments section. Many readers thought it was ridiculous to assess any player, especially a 19-year-old rookie, after just a couple dozen NBA games. Others were skeptical of the array of advanced statistics that Neil cited.So let’s look at Wiggins’s case through the lens of traditional statistics instead. And let’s measure him directly against his peers. Wiggins played in his 30th NBA game on Tuesday night; we can compare his performance so far against other 19-year-old rookies through their first 30 games. I ran a search on Basketball-Reference.com for players who:Were age 19 or younger in their rookie season (based on their age as of Feb. 1 of their rookie year);And who averaged at least 24 minutes per game (i.e. played at least half their teams’ minutes) during their first 30 NBA games.Since 1985-86 there have been only 15 such players (counting Wiggins). The list puts Wiggins in pretty good company. It includes a number of superstars and All-Stars, among them LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Tony Parker and Chris Bosh. There are only one or two total busts, most notably Dajuan Wagner. The rest of the list includes players, such as Luol Deng, who turned into good NBA regulars, and others like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist about whom it’s too early to make an assessment.But in other respects the data is less favorable for Wiggins. When comparing his first 30 games against the first 30 games of those other players, he’s been among the least effective. In the chart below, I’ve listed each player’s statistics per 36 minutes played in the 10 categories that are most commonly used in rotisserie basketball leagues: points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, turnovers, personal fouls, 3-pointers made, field goal percentage and free-throw percentage. (For personal fouls and turnovers, fewer is better.) Then, again in the fashion of a rotisserie basketball league, I’ve ranked the players from No. 1 to 15 in each category and added up the rankings to produce an overall score.As a reminder, these stats reflect each player’s performance through the first 30 games of his rookie season only. On this basis, Wiggins ranks about average in points scored, steals, 3-pointers made, turnovers and fouls committed. He’s been somewhat below average in rebounds and blocks — two categories where his athleticism has not yet translated into good numbers. He’s also been a below-average shooter, and his assist rate — 1.6 assists per 36 minutes — has been poor.By the fantasy basketball scoring method, Wiggins ranks 13th out of the 15 players. It’s tough to be a rookie in the NBA, but some of the rookies who came before Wiggins showed more early on. James ranks ahead of him in nine of 10 categories; Durant and Davis rank ahead of him in eight. Even Luol Deng, a player with whom Wiggins is sometimes compared, ranks ahead of him in eight of 10.On the other hand, some rookies who weren’t much better than Wiggins in their first 30 games turned out to have nice NBA careers. Parker and Bosh, in particular, weren’t very productive early on. Overall, a player’s performance through his first 30 games does seem to tell us something — you’d rather take the players from the top half of the rotisserie-style rankings than those from the bottom. But it’s a fairly noisy list.So Wiggins might have lost some value based on his performance so far this year, but he hasn’t crashed. (This conclusion is pretty similar to Neil’s.)What about those advanced stats showing Wiggins to be awful (instead of just mediocre)? They’re probably not the thing for him to worry about right now. Most of those stats will punish players who shoot relatively often but relatively poorly, as Wiggins has so far. But the 5-25 Timberwolves don’t have a lot of better options, and Wiggins has shown some development this year, like shooting well from 3-point range. (And keep in mind that James shot just .417 through his first 30 games.) The bigger concerns are Wiggins’s low rates of rebounds, assists and blocks, deficits that show up in advanced and traditional statistics alike. read more

Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s decision to go forward with the New York Marathon on Sunday despite the fact that the city is still reeling from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy has stirred up another storm of intense reaction in the city.While a third of the city is still without power and parts of Staten Island, where the race begins, are still under water and thousands are homeless, Bloomberg said the city needs to restart the economic engine to keep the city afloat. But many residents and politicians think holding the race is an awful idea.The controversy comes as the death toll from Sandy increased to 95, as emergency workers continue to slosh their way through flooded homes looking for survivors and millions of people remain without power in the Northeast. Of the 39 people the storm has killed in New York City, almost half of whom were in Staten Island, the borough hardest hit. In Staten Island, rescue workers yesterday found the bodies of two boys, ages 2 and 4, who were swept away from their mother’s arms Monday night after the car they were driving was swamped by flood waters.“There’s an awful lot of small businesses that depend on these people. We have to have an economy,” Bloomberg said at a news conference on Wednesday—the day before he endorsed Obama for president.The mayor promised that the marathon will not divert any resources from storm victims—though it normally takes at least 1,000 city police officers to pull off the mammoth event.“It’s a great event for New York, and I think for those who were lost, you know, you’ve got to believe they would want us to have an economy and have a city go on for those that they left behind.”But New York City Councilman James Oddo said on Twitter, “If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream. We have people with no homes and no hope right now.”“The prudent course of action here — postpone the marathon, come back a different day,” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “Our first priority, let’s help people who lost their homes, who are missing loved ones.” According to Stringer, downtown Manhattan “looks like a wasteland” and is nowhere close to being ready for the race, which goes through each of New York’s five boroughs. Lisa Tobin, 35, a pastry cook from the Bronx who will be running in the ING New York City Marathon for the first time, said, “If the city is able to put on the marathon safely and it doesn’t divert resources away from rescue, then runners should take to the street.”Dave Jaffares, who tends bar at Mullanes Bar & Grill, concurred, saying his bar, which is along the marathon route in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, usually makes $2,000 to $3,000 more on marathon day.“It needs to happen. The marathon is coming at a great time. It gets people back into the idea that we are New York,” said Jaffares. “This is what we do, we do a marathon every year. Nothing stops us.”According to the New York Road Runners, which organizes the marathon, the event will bring $340 million to the city. The club also said yesterday that it will donate at least $1 million, or $26.20 for each of the more than 40,000 runners expected to participate, to aid New Yorkers affected by Sandy. In addition, the Rudin Family, one of the founding members of the marathon, said it would donate $1.1 million and the ING Foundation said it would give $500,000.“We’re not looking to be a drain on any of the city resources,” NYRR spokesman Richard Finn told Reuters. NYRR had hiked the race fee this year, in part to pay police overtime.Though more than 47,000 people signed up for this years race, organizers now think that about 8,000 of the 30,000 out-of-towers once expected won’t make it. Hotels in Midtown are already struggling to accommodate stranded commuters, guests moved from electricity-starved Lower Manhattan and tourists unable to get a flight out of town, according to reports in USA TODAY.“Things are everything but normal for so many people,” said Patricia Profita, a teacher who lives in the Great Kills neighbourhood of Staten Island. “People should not be running through the boroughs, but instead running to aid those people.”The storm has killed at least 39 people in New York City, almost half of whom were in Staten Island.The NYRR club announced on its Facebook page last night that this year’s marathon is dedicated to the City of New York, the victims of the hurricane and their families.But the majority of the more than 270 comments on the page were critical of the decision. Dana Donadio wrote, “As a former Staten Island resident, current Manhattan resident and runner of 2 NYC Marathons I have to say this is an extremely bad idea. The city’s resources could be put to much better use at this time.”Scott Cohen, 52, who is running his 18th New York City Marathon in a row, admitted it “seems frivolous in light of the death, disruption and despair in parts of the city.”Still, the fitness trainer expects that by Sunday most New Yorkers will be supportive. “The race has always been a 26.2 mile block party and the city feels the love.” read more

All-America forward Otto Porter is leaving Georgetown after his sophomore season and making  himself eligible for the NBA Draft.“The toughest part was knowing you’re going to leave a great place like this,” Porter said Monday at a news conference on campus alongside Hoyas coach John Thompson III. “I love this place.”Porter, ranked fourth overall among draft prospects by ESPN.com’s Chad Ford, was the Big East player of the year and finished second in the voting behind Michigan’s Trey Burke for The Associated Press player of the year award. Burke, also a sophomore, is leaving college for the NBA as well.Porter averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds, both highs for Georgetown. Along with outstanding junior guard Markel Starks, Porter led a team that was unranked in the preseason to as high as No. 5 in the AP poll.The Hoyas were a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, but lost their opening game to Florida Gulf Coast and finished 25-7.The 6-foot-8 Porter, from Sikeston, Mo., was Georgetown’s sixth All-America selection and first since Allen Iverson in 1996. He also was a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award.It’s Porter’s all-around game that impresses, with an ability to score inside or from beyond the 3-point arc, to rebound, to set up teammates and play defense.“Whatever they ask him to do, he’s going to be able to do,” Thompson said.Porter’s breakout performance — the one that put him on everybody’s radar — came on the road against Big East rival Syracuse on Feb. 23. Porter produced 33 points, eight rebounds, five steals and hit five 3-pointers while playing all 40 minutes in a Hoyas victory.After Porter had 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists when Georgetown beat Syracuse again on March 9, Orange coach Jim Boeheim declared that Porter ought to be the No. 1 overall pick in the next NBA draft.Now everyone will get a chance to find out exactly where NBA teams think Porter stands.“On draft night, we don’t expect him to be sitting around too long,” Thompson said. read more

Photo by Al BelloNew York Jets’ Geno Smith had both good times and bad times against the New England Patriots on Thursday. The rookie quarterback threw three interceptions and was sacked four times in the Jets’ 13-10 loss to the Pats Thursday. Several Jets receivers missed passes also, adding to Smith’s tough part of the night.“Geno had his (good) moments,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “I don’t know how many balls we dropped today, but it was a bunch.”The Patriots also had a sloppy night of play and only managed just nine first downs in their win.“We have a long way to go,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. “No one is coming to (our) rescue and save the day, so we’ve just got to fight through it.”Smith’s three interceptions came in the fourth quarter, after the Jets cut into the Patriots lead to 13-10 on Bilal Powell’s 3-yard touchdown run with 5:05 left in the third quarter. read more

What has changed is the rest of the Premier League. The average points taken by the other big clubs (Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham) this season through 35 games was 72.8. In previous seasons this average has not exceeded 70. Among the weakest four of the big six, the clubs Arsenal directly needs to beat in order to qualify for the Champions League, the average point total through 35 matches this year is 67.7. Only once previously (2013-14) has the average been close, and Arsenal was fortunate enough to be clear with 70 points through 35 matches that year.The strategy of Wenger’s Arsenal has been to build a team good enough to reach the top four, usually with 70-75 points and a goal difference between plus-20 and plus-30. The strategy has worked in part because the other clubs with the resources to match these results failed to achieve Arsenal’s consistency. This year they have improved and Arsenal has not.But that is not the whole story. Expected goals, a statistical measure of the quality of chances created and conceded, suggests that Arsenal in 2016-17 are running below the level of quality they have in the recent past. Arsenal’s expected goals difference is only plus-13, easily the club’s worst statistical performance in the last six years. This drop-off has been most pronounced in recent weeks. Since March 1, Arsenal has gone 5-1-4, but the Gunners have conceded as many goals as they have scored. Their expected goals difference is even worse, at minus-4.The most notable change in this time is that Wenger has, for the first time in years, switched to a formation with three center backs, utilizing winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as a wingback and deploying a varying set of forwards — including Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott — in a front three. Playing in the new formation has brought a good haul of points, but in those matches Arsenal has conceded more clear scoring chances to its opponents (9) than it has created (5). The streak is unlikely to continue unless the underlying performances pick up. What is most notable about the changes in formation and personnel is that Arsenal usually isn’t tinkering this late in the season. Wenger is known for giving his attackers freedom to improvise on the pitch and to build off relationships and experience. It stands to reason that in such a system, stability in personnel and tactics would lead to higher levels of performance, as players develop understandings from playing together. Arsenal’s statistics over the last six years bear this out. During seasons in which Arsenal has maintained stability in its first 11 over the final weeks of the season, the club has finished hot. In the only two seasons when Wenger made major changes, Arsenal has averaged just 1.6 and 1.1 points per match, respectively, down the stretch.Regardless of whether Wenger continues to tweak tactics in these final three games, his team needs to win — and even that may be not be enough. With luck, perhaps these new tactics and new formation will click and the streak can be extended. But if it doesn’t pull off late-season heroics, Arsenal won’t be seen in the Champions League next fall, and the team that will be seen in England may look much different. The one constant in the English Premier League is that no matter what else happens, Arsenal will finish in the top four. Under manager Arsene Wenger, the club has never finished as low as fifth, a run dating to the 1996-97 season. After 21 years, Arsenal may finally drop outside the top four. The Gunners are currently in fifth place with only a 22 percent chance of fighting their way back into the top four.The implications for Arsenal go well beyond just the trivia. First, it would cost the North London club an annual influx of cash it has grown accustomed to. The top four clubs in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League, which provides a major revenue boost; last season Arsenal made about $58 million from the Champions League. If Arsenal finish outside the top four, the club will qualify for the Europa League, where Tottenham Hotspur earned almost $23 million last season for a similar performance.It may also cost them players. Playing in Europe’s premier club tournament offers prestige and glory that in turn helps attract better players on transfers. Arsenal should be particularly worried about maintaining their Champions League streak because star forward Alexis Sanchez has only one season remaining on his contract. If Sanchez does not sign a new contract this summer, he may have to be sold in order for Arsenal to recoup a transfer fee from his departure. The sharks are already circling, with Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Chelsea rumored to be considering bids.But the most significant casualty of Arsenal’s disappointing season may be Wenger himself. The long-tenured manager has not signed a contract for next season. If Arsenal cannot right the ship, he may be gone, ending an unprecedented run of consistency at the top. (Since he took the reins at Arsenal, 159 different coaches have held a job in the EPL, plus another 53 have held interim positions.)So with three Premier League games remaining for most of the teams at the top of the table, the stakes could hardly be higher. With yesterday’s victory at Southampton, Arsenal remained in the top four race with a 22 percent chance of Champions League qualification. To get there, Arsenal will need Liverpool or Manchester City to drop points, and the Gunners will probably need to win all of their remaining matches. Arsenal projects to a 61 percent chance of finishing in the top four if it wins out, with chances falling fast if any more points are dropped.So how has Arsenal found itself in this predicament? The streak is evidence that the team hasn’t had a really bad spell in decades. But that doesn’t mean the team has gotten any better — and that’s part of the problem. Wenger’s Arsenal for years has treaded water in the third- and fourth-place spots — last season was the first time Arsenal had finished above third since 2005. All it would take for the Gunners to fall would be for the other big clubs in the Premier League to play up to expectations. And this season that is exactly what has happened.Arsenal has taken 66 points through 35 matches with a plus-26 goal difference. These numbers are not particularly unusual for Arsenal in the last several seasons. Since 2010-11, Arsenal’s points through 35 games have ranged from 64 to 70. The goal-difference numbers are ranged similarly, from plus-21 to plus-32. The Gunners’ stats this season show up at the lower end of the team’s recent level, but they are not outliers. read more

Breaking balls typically have greater whiff rates than fastballs, and breaking balls are being thrown more frequently.On sliders, pitchers are often looking for more horizontal break — and less vertical movement — than on a curveball. They’re getting both this season: Velocity is still certainly at play in these nastier breaking balls: Increased velocity generally leads to an increase in spin rate. (The average curveball spin rate this year is 2,536 rpms, up from 2,315 rpms in 2015). More spin (specifically, transverse spin) creates more of the phenomenon known as Magnus Effect, which plays a key role in determining a pitch’s movement.But velocity hasn’t surged as dramatically as pitch movement has in recent seasons. And it isn’t just that fresh faces with killer breaking balls have replaced older, craftier pitchers: 86 pitchers who threw at least 50 curves in 2017 and 2019 averaged an increase of 1.4 inches of greater vertical break, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis. Something else must be at work.One possibility is that new methods of training, and new technologies, are playing a role in creating better breaking balls. For example, when Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer revamped his slider in the 2017-18 offseason, he wanted a pitch with zero inches of vertical movement and an elite level of horizontal movement. At Driveline Baseball, a data-based training center, he used new pitch-tracking technology, allowing for improved feedback of the pitch-in-progress. Specifically, he wanted to create a certain spin axis, which determines the direction the ball moves, while spin rate determines how much the pitch can move. Detroit Tigers starter Matt Boyd, who also designed a slider at Driveline, has quietly become one of the top pitchers in baseball. His slider ranks as the game’s seventh best since 2018, in terms of runs saved compared to the major league average per pitch type. “I’ve worked on it at Driveline a ton in recent years,” Boyd told FanGraphs. “At Driveline, we were on the Rapsodo [pitch-tracking tech] and the Edgertronic [high-speed camera] a lot. … Again, we were working that thing, working that thing.” The technology allowed him to monitor the spin rate and spin axis of the pitch. High-speed cameras showed him how his grip was imparting spin on the ball. The work paid off: In 2017, Bauer saw just 2.83 inches of horizontal movement on his slider, which ranked him 131st in baseball. But this season, he’s up to 11.1 inches, putting him third. Major League Baseball seems to be on an unstoppable pathway to more and more strikeouts. After a record share of plate appearances ended in a strikeout last season (22.3 percent), this season is winding up to set another record: If the to-date strikeout rate of 23 percent holds or increases over the season, it would mark the 12th straight year of a record set for strikeout rate.Fastball velocity is often cited as the source of the strikeout surge, along with hitters willing to trade contact for power. The constantly increasing fastball velocities of recent years are such a concern that MLB is partnering with the independent Atlantic League next year to move the mound back by 2 feet — to 62 feet, 6 inches from home plate. Still, there may be another culprit behind all of the K’s: Breaking balls have never moved more. According to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of PITCHf/x and Statcast data at Baseball Prospectus, sliders and curveballs this season are darting away from bats at their greatest levels in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008). White Sox left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer became yet another pitcher to look into designing a pitch this winter. In a Driveline-like facility called Dynamic Velocity in Omaha, Nebraska, he created a cut fastball to better combat right-handed hitters. After righties hit .338 against him last year, they are batting .095 this season. Bummer has allowed only one earned run in his first 11⅓ innings this season. His cutter and fastball rank among the best in the game.“It’s actual proof that your ball is moving, not someone sitting behind you and saying, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s a great pitch. That looks really good,’” Bummer said of the tech-aided pitch development. “You have instant feedback that tells you, ‘Did that pitch do what it’s supposed to do?’ To me that was a huge deal. The belief behind it.”While the effort to create better pitches began with curious (and/or motivated) players going outside the game to independent facilities, teams are hiring more and more outsiders to pitch-design roles within their organizations. Over the offseason, the San Francisco Giants hired former Driveline pitch-design guru Matt Daniels, and the Philadelphia Phillies hired another design specialist in Eric Jagers. The industry is so interested in pitch design that the Edgertronic SC1, the most common high-speed camera, is selling more quickly than Sanstreak can produce it. This year, the Edgetronic and Rapsodo devices were seen in spring training bullpen mounds all over Arizona and Florida. The Orioles held “mandatory group spin axis seminars” this spring.Pitchers’ pitches will likely keep getting better, moving faster and with more movement. There is seemingly no end to the increasing frequency of strikeouts. While the home run surge has masked other areas of offensive decline, technology and training is giving pitchers a new edge.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

Cam Burrows talks to the media on Aug. 12 after practice at the Woddy Hayes Athletic Center. Credit: Jacob Myers | Assistant Photo EditorJust days before the season opener, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer indicated on Wednesday that redshirt junior Cam Burrows could miss the entire 2016 campaign. Meyer was not confident the defensive back was going to be healthy enough to play for the Buckeyes this season. “I don’t think he’s going to play this season,” Meyer said.An OSU spokesperson told the media on Wednesday that Burrow’s foot was bothering him.After appearing to be fully healthy for the first time since his sophomore campaign back in 2014, he was forced to redshirt in the 2015 season after breaking his foot.Burrows began his career at Ohio State with lofty expectations, as he was a four-star recruit according to 247Sports back in 2012. He was viewed as the second best recruit in the state of Ohio, the eighth best cornerback prospect and the 61st best recruit overall.When OSU released its first depth chart on Tuesday, Burrows was not on the two-deep at safety. Redshirt sophomore Malik Hooker and junior Damon Webb are scheduled to start at the two safety positions with freshman Jordan Fuller and junior Erick Smith serving as the primary backups. read more

There is an axiom in sports that all die-hard fans embrace. Once a team has reached a level at which its coach is grumpy after a victory, that team has “arrived.”So it was with the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday in their 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings before a crowd of 15,251.On the back of their strong special teams’ play, the Blue Jackets improved to 5-1-0 this season, the best start in franchise history. The Jackets got two goals from their power play unit, and captain Rick Nash scored a short-handed goal during the penalty kill.It didn’t seem to be enough for coach Ken Hitchcock.“We didn’t play that well tonight,” he said. “We competed, but we didn’t play that well. We need better play if we’re going to get to the next level.”The energy was noticeably absent from the building at the beginning. At least a third of the stadium’s seats remained empty at the first drop of the puck. The subdued atmosphere wasn’t improved when L.A. right winger Dustin Brown kicked off the scoring with a shot from just outside the slot that beat Jackets goalie Steve Mason.This Jackets team, unlike many in the past, refused to head into the dressing room down a goal. With just under a minute remaining in the period, left winger Jason Chimera brought the puck out of Columbus’ end, sped through the neutral zone, and fired a slap shot from the left circle. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was too slow for it, and the Jackets went into the first intermission tied up.The Jackets never looked back.Mason continued to flash the kind of dazzling goaltending that made him the NHL Rookie of the Year last season, making 27 saves, many of the jaw-dropping variety.During one stretch in the second period, Mason made a series of saves on a flurry of opposing shots, including one in which he was caught out of position but made a diving recovery to cover up the puck in front of the net.Mason was quick to credit his teammates.“It’s extremely huge the way these guys are stepping up right now,” he said. “These guys are coming in and putting up a big effort and making my job easier.”Columbus’ Raffi Torres took some of the pressure off him with a rebound goal out of a scrum in front of the Kings’ net on the power play. He was assisted on the play by Derick Brassard and Kris Russell, who had just been signed to a contract extension by the club earlier in the day.Columbus was not finished yet.Down a man because of a cross-checking penalty on Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin, Rick Nash decided to take matters into his own hands.  Jackets center Samuel Pahlsson deftly stole the puck away from a Kings forward and swept it to a waiting Rick Nash, just past the blue line. Nash raced up the ice and undressed the Kings’ Justin Williams with a deke to his left before letting fly with a backhand shot that beat Quick.“I noticed there was a forward playing defense, and I thought I’d try something. Luckily enough, it worked,” Nash said of the goal.Jakub Voracek finished the scoring with an empty-net, power-play goal with 1:11 left in the game.As Jackets fans stood and applauded their team’s victory, there was joy once more in Mudville as the sting of the Buckeye football team’s defeat faded from memory. read more

Moments after time had expired on the 2009 Ohio high school boy’s basketball championship game in March, the victorious Columbus-Northland Vikings lined up to shake hands with runner-up Cincinnati-Princeton. When Northland’s Jared Sullinger met Princeton’s Jordan Sibert in line, the teams came to a brief halt. Sullinger took a moment to console a dejected Sibert before the two left the Schottenstein Center court in different directions.Before ever playing for a state title, Sibert and Sullinger became friends. They gave two of the earliest verbal commitments to Ohio State’s 2010 recruiting class. Last week, they officially signed their letters of intent, and along with four other high school seniors, joined what some consider to be the best group of recruits in the nation.Joining Sibert and Sullinger are DeShaun Thomas from Fort Wayne, Ind., Lenzelle Smith from Zion, Ill., Aaron Craft from Findlay, Ohio and J.D. Weatherspoon, Sullinger’s teammate at Northland.The group members, dubbed as the “Super Six,” have grown to know each other well.“I love the fact that they’ve got a good feel for each other,” coach Thad Matta said. “They’re very close, and they’ve communicated for the last couple of years in the process of the recruiting.”Matta has adapted a knack for bringing in highly touted recruiting classes during his career in Columbus. Including Sullinger and Thomas, he has signed eight five-star recruits since 2006, according to Rivals.com.Matta said even though they might be highly rated, he treats these players like all the others.“The one thing I always try to do with recruits, once they finish their senior year of high school, I go and sit down with them and just say, ‘Alright here’s how it’s going to be,’” Matta said. “‘It’s going to be unlike anything you’ve ever been through before. It’s a completely different game. It’s a completely different level.’”This most recent class will draw comparison to OSU’s 2006 class that included four players now on NBA rosters. Matta is not ready to compare the two in terms of talent, but he said there is one thing both groups have in common.“I think we got in both classes what we needed,” Matta said. “When they rank recruiting classes, they need to rank it on, ‘Did the team get what they needed?’ For us, I think we got what we needed not only for this year but for the future of our program.”What is particularly encouraging about these recruits, Matta said, is the success they’ve had on and off the court.“We’ve got six great kids and six kids that I think truly understand what Ohio State is about athletically and academically,” Matta said. “You have three 4.0 students in the class. Every guy has played for a state championship, and three of them have won a state championship.”Among the three state champions is Sullinger. With all the hype surrounding the “Super Six,” Buckeye fans hope the next time he hoists a trophy, Sibert will get to join him. read more

first_imgOne is selling for £110 A quick eBay search brings up dozens of £5 notes being sold for much more than a fiver.440 million of the notes will be printed. They are made of a thin polymer and last on average five years longer than the paper note, which is being phased out.The paper note will be accepted in shops until 2017.New notes are still being distributed, and it could take until the end of next week for all the cash machines dispensing £5 notes to get new ones. One is selling for £110Credit:eBay Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img Got a new polymer £5 note? Even though the streets are due to be awash with them soon, people are putting the new note up for £200 and more on eBay.The notes, released last week, are already flooding eBay for rare money collectors and people eager to get their hands on them early.Collectors are looking for notes with low serial numbers while they are still in mint condition.The first batch of new notes will have a serial number starting AA01. The Queen got the first £5 note, which is AA01 000001.Collectors are looking for notes with serial numbers starting AA01 and preferably with low six-digit serial numbers.This £5 note sold for over £200, and this one sold for £196.If you  have a new £5  note, it may be worth checking the serial number, as it could be worth money.last_img read more

first_img Whitley Bay is a seaside town in North Tyneside A spokesman said: “There was a man in the vehicle, but he was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.”The driver’s next of kin have yet to be informed and the body has not been formally identified, they added.Officers are investigating how the vehicle got on to the causeway and are treating the death as “unexplained”. Anyone who saw a vehicle being driven suspiciously earlier on Tuesday should call 101, the spokesman said.The short causeway out to the rocky island and its lighthouse is submerged at high tide.It is a popular walk for locals and visitors to Whitley Bay. Lighthouse car overturned Credit:Owen Humphreys Lighthouse car overturned Coastguard crews in Whitley Bay after the fatal crash A driver has died after his car was found on its roof on a causeway to a popular lighthouse.Police were called to the path out to St Mary’s Lighthouse, Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, after a member of the public spotted the vehicle.Northumbria Police said officers attended and found a blue vehicle on its roof  at shortly after 7am on Tuesday. Lighthouse car overturned Credit:Owen Humphreys/PA Credit:Owen Humphreys/PA Coastguard crews in Whitley Bay after the fatal crashCredit:Owen Hmphreys/PA 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

first_img“And with a raft of new financial powers at her disposal, as well as an increased budget, Nicola Sturgeon now has the tools to deliver. Instead, the SNP is squandering this strong platform and is today seeking to blame Brexit.”Mr Mundell also warned that constant talk of a second independence referendum was damaging the Scottish economy and impacting on jobs and economic activity.The SNP accused Mr Mundell of “throwing in the towel” on Scottish membership of the single market. Margaret Ferrier, the SNP MP and Scotland Office spokesman, said he had backtracked on an earlier commitment over the single market.She added: “Clearly he has thrown in the towel on getting the best deal for Scotland, and now he and his UK government colleagues are going full steam ahead with their ‘hard Brexit’ .   “A hard Brexit would be would see a race to the bottom replace our membership of the single market and everyone – perhaps apart from the very wealthiest – would be worse off as a result.” Meanwhile, on a difficult day for the Scottish Government, new statistics also showed the Scottish economy is lagging behind the rest of the UK.The economy north of the border is growing at a third of the rate of the UK as a whole, with the latest GDP data showing Scotland’s economic output increased by 0.2 per cent in the period July to September 2016, compared to a rise of 0.6 per cent across the UK.Unemployment has also increased over the past quarter, with 139,000 people out of work and seeking a job, while over the same period, unemployment fell in the UK by 52,000.According to Jamie Hepburn, Scotland’s employability minister, the Brexit vote has caused significant economic uncertainty and is threatening Scotland’s economic recovery and the stability of the jobs market.The claim was dismissed by the Scottish Conservatives as a “pathetic” excuse for economic mismanagement.Murdo Fraser, the Tory finance spokesman, said: “Today’s figures show that, in Scotland, unemployment is on the up and growth is lagging behind the rest of the UK.“Coming on the back of other troubling news on the economy it makes it clear that Scotland is now suffering from an SNP slump, with the cost paid in lower jobs and growth. Any normal government would make it its first priority to turn this around. Mr Mundell issued the warning on the eve of Thursday’s meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee on European negotiations, which will discuss the Scottish Government’s blueprint for Brexit. It calls for either UK membership of the single market, or a bespoke deal for Scotland inside the UK. 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. Nicola Sturgeon’s hopes for a distinct Brexit deal for Scotland have been dealt a fresh blow after the Scottish Secretary rejected the idea.The day after Theresa May said the UK would be leaving the single market, David Mundell said he had not been persuaded there was any need for Scotland to remain in the trading bloc.The First Minister has claimed that the Tory plans for a hard Brexit mean a new vote on breaking-up Britain is now almost inevitable.But Mr Mundell claimed there were a “whole range of areas” in which the Scottish and UK governments are on common ground, although that did not apply to the “ideological issue of whether Scotland should somehow be separate from the rest of the UK”.He told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: ”We are not in agreement with the Scottish government on that and at the moment I have not seen evidence which would persuade me that there is a need for a Scotland-specific solution in relation either to market access or in relation to issues around migration.”He also said in the Commons that immigration, which Ms Sturgeon wants devolved to Scotland, would remain a reserved power. “How can we do exceptions for Britain and then exceptions for Scotland? I don’t think this is a cherry-picking thing, I am very sorry for Scotland because of that.” Theresa May has promised to consider Scottish Government proposalsCredit:AP Theresa May The Scottish Government argued on Wednesday that it was not asking for a separate deal, but a “differentiated position” to be presented in UK negoations and claimed its bid to stay in the single market was not dead.Fiona Hyslop, the external affairs minister, said: “We recognise that as a member state the UK will be negotiating and in that one deal we expect a differentiated position to be presented.”She said ministers anticipated the “hardest of hard” Brexits but they still have the opportunity to influence the UK government.”If they’re serious about us all be equals in terms of this partnership of nations, they have to make sure that the democratic mandate of the people of Scotland is represented and its parliament is listened to.”There was further bad news for the SNP when Elmar Brok, a senior member of the European Parliament, also said there could be “no exceptions” to allow Scotland to remain in the single market.The German MEP, chairman of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, told BBC Radio Scotland: “We cannot have two agreements with the United Kingdom and with Scotland.last_img read more

first_imgA gang of terror suspects who dubbed themselves the “Three Musketeers” claimed they could not have been plotting a bomb and knife rampage because they were only interested in playing the Fifa video game, a court heard.Naweed Ali, 29, Khobaib Hussain, 24 and 32-year-old Mohibur Rahman planned a terrorist atrocity on encrypted messaging app Telegram, jurors were told.When anti-terror police searched Ali’s Seat Leon car in August last year, they recovered a multi-coloured JD Sports bag stuffed with weapons and ammunition, it is alleged.Their associate, 38-year-old Tahir Aziz, from Stoke, was caught with a samurai sword when officers searched his Ford Fiesta on the same day, the prosecution said.The defendants have denied terror offences at the Old Bailey, claiming an undercover MI5 agent, known only as “Vincent”, planted the evidence during a covert operation. Terror suspects Aziz and Hussain comp “‘The best they could come up with was the suggestion that he would ‘like to get a result’.” The prosecutor said the claims were “plucked from the air” and told the jury to focus “not on theoretical conspiracy theories for which there is no evidence, but hard, actual evidence that there is before you”.A half-made pipe bomb allegedly found in Hussain’s car was said to be made with the same 22mm piping he had been taught about while studying plumbing at City College in Birmingham.His DNA was also found on a strip of tape used to strap an empty magazine onto an imitation hand gun inside the the JD Sports bag found in his car, the jury heard. No doubt every terrorist who ever plotted or executed a terror attack has at various stages along the way engaged in all sorts of everyday activities or commentsProsecutor Gareth Patterson QC He added: “Don’t think that having a girlfriend means that you can’t commit a terror attack. Not one of these defendants was in an ongoing relationship with a woman, nor did any of them have a girlfriend or anything approaching a relationship approaching marriage at the time of their arrests.” Jurors heard the “Three Musketeers” were exchanging jihadi films on encrypted messaging apps before they were arrested. “These were not innocent people, these were guilty people,” said Mr Patterson.”They wanted to discharge their duty to attack the kuffar [non-Muslims] as they saw it, and will themselves have got these weapons for an attack.”Ali and Hussain, both of Sparkhill, Birmingham; Rahman and Aziz, both of Stoke, each deny a single charge of preparing for acts of terrorism between May 25 and August 27 last year. The trial continues.center_img Defendants Khobaib Hussain, left, and Tahir AzizCredit:Central 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. Prosecutor Gareth Patterson QC told jurors the accused men plucked “conspiracy theories” out of the air in a bid to avoid jail.He warned them not to fall for “red herrings”, such as the defendants’ claims that they focused on “innocent past times” such as playing Fifa video games and trying to find wives.”Is it being suggested that playing Fifa means that you cannot be engaged in attack planning?” said Mr Patterson. “No doubt every terrorist who ever plotted or executed a terror attack has at various stages along the way engaged in all sorts of everyday activities or comments.” Mr Patterson insisted that defence claims about “Vincent” planting evidence were unfounded, saying: “The defence were unable to offer, realistically, a single grievance that that officer [Vincent] could or did have against Naweed Ali or Khobaib Hussain.last_img read more

first_imgBrothers Noel and Liam Gallagher have been embroiled in perhaps the most famous sibling feud in popular culture for almost a decade.However, it appears that the former Oasis bandmates have been able to set aside their differences in time for Christmas.Fans were overjoyed when younger brother Liam, 45,  tweeted that the two were “all good” — as he often tweets insults towards Noel, 50,  and the two have had a rocky year.It even appears the two are to meet up — causing fans to wonder if a reunion is on the cards.He tweeted to wish his older brother a “Happy Xmas” saying “looking forward to seeing you tomorrow”. 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. He’s already reached out— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) December 19, 2017 I wanna say Happy Xmas to team NG it’s been a great year thanks for everything looking forward to seeing you tmorrow AS YOU WERE LG x— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) December 19, 2017 He said of his brother: “We’re all good again.”Last month, Liam admitted he missed his brother and that he disliked taking to the stage without him.He told FAULT magazine: “‘I don’t want to be solo. I don’t want to do it on my own – I’m not a guitar player or a prolific songwriter.”Admitting he wanted to make up, he told the Sunday Mirror: “I hope we make up. Not just for Oasis but for brothers. Enough is enough now. “I know I wind him up. I have put it out there enough times, but I think he doesn’t want to know. I reckon we would have to meet up and hug it out, as they say.”last_img read more

first_img“A person may have the expectation of becoming a better person through meditating, and may believe that to be the case – but in fact this has not been proven.” Initial analysis carried out indicated that positive effects were seen by making people feel moderately more compassionate or empathetic, compared to if they had done no other new emotionally-engaging activity.However further analysis revealed it played no significant role in reducing aggression or prejudice or improving how socially-connected someone was. The research reviewed more than 20 studies that investigated the effect of various types of meditation, such as mindfulnessCredit:Andrew Crowley If you want to be more compassionate go and volunteer at a charityDr Miguel Farias Meditation does not make you a better person according to a new study despite widespread claims that meditation can make you calmer and more compassionate towards other people.Researchers have found that despite popular beliefs that meditation can make people more compassionate and less aggressive the evidence for this is limited. The research by scientists at Coventry University in the UK, Massey University in New Zealand, and Radboud University in the Netherlands, reviewed 22 studies involving 1685 people to investigate the effect of various types of meditation.The practice, incorporating a range of spiritual or religious beliefs in a bid to boost the mind, body and spirit, has been touted as being able to make the world a better place.Initially research found that meditation did have an overall positive impact, however further analysis revealed a core methodological flaw that greater levels of compassion only increased if the meditation teacher was also the author of the study, suggesting bias.  Unexpectedly the study, published in Scientific Reports, also revealed that the more positive results found for compassion had important methodological flaws.Namely compassion levels in some studies only increased if the meditation teacher was also an author of the published report.Overall the results suggested the moderate improvements reported by psychologists in previous studies may be the result of methodological weaknesses and biases.Dr Farias added: “When we first looked at the data set together we had what looked like positive effects. However, it appeared that people only became more compassionate when there was bias in the data set. “None of this, of course, invalidates Buddhism or other religions’ claims about the moral value and eventually life changing potential of its beliefs and practices. The lack of a positive change in compassion he said was not surprising as in most instances to improve compassion or empathy this would involve spending more time interacting with others.“Why would people get compassion from meditating alone. There is a belief that Buddhists meditate for 12 hours a day, but this is not true. They spend a large amount of time interacting with one another,” he said.“If you want to meditate because you want some quiet time and time to relax, I see no issues, but the benefits it can have on a person’s character are limited, if you want to be more compassionate go and volunteer at a charity.” Meditation has been touted as being able to make the world a better placecenter_img “But our research findings are a far cry from many popular claims made by meditators and some psychologists.” 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. Meditation has been touted as being able to make the world a better placeCredit: ImagesBazaar Dr Miguel Farias, from Coventry University’s Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science, said: “The popularisation of meditation techniques, like mindfulness, despite being taught without religious beliefs, still seem to offer the hope of a better self and a better world to many.”We did not find that meditation had any negative effects, however the good impacts can be compared to a placebo effect. The research reviewed more than 20 studies that investigated the effect of various types of meditation, such as mindfulnesslast_img read more

first_imgPrince Harry with the Army Air Corps graduates in front of an Apache helicopterCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley Prince Harry talks as he visits the Army Aviation Centre Credit: Heathcliff O’Malley Prince Harry with the Army Air Corps graduates in front of an Apache helicopter Speaking at the Middle Wallop military base in Hampshire, Prince Harry told the 12 wings recipients, their families and senior military figures from the site: “You’re now going to end up flying some of the best aircraft that we have to offer.”In certain areas budgets are being shrunk, but essentially you guys are the assets, the aircraft is the asset and just don’t forget who you’re serving and who you’re supporting.” It is not the first time Prince Harry has addressed potentially political matters in recent weeks.On Thursday, during a speech to a conference about veterans’ mental health, he told delegates: “In an ever-shrinking defence community where every man and woman counts, we must consider that mental health issues are the second highest cause of absence after muscular-skeletal injury.”The Prince graduated from Middle Wallop in 2010, picking up his own Wings from his father the Prince of Wales. In 2013, he qualified as an Apache helicopter commander, with his own commanding officer saying he passed with “flying colours”. 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. On Friday, he wore a civilian suit with three medals pinned to his chest, including the Operation Herrick medal for his service in Afghanistan, as he delivered words of wisdom to a new generation. Prince Harry talks as he visits the Army Aviation Centre  Prince Harry with the Army Air Corps graduatescenter_img Prince Harry has publicly raised the issue of cuts to Ministry of Defence budgets, as he visited to the home of Army aviation to present graduates with their wings. The Prince, who flew Apache helicopters during his army service, said “budgets are being shrunk” in certain areas, as he urged a dozen pilots from the Army Air Corps to remember they are “the assets”.While he stopped short of explicit criticism, the comments, made in what appeared to be a heartfelt unscripted speech, highlighted the issue of cuts to a defence budget which senior military figures have warned is already “close to breaking”.In recent months there has been widespread speculation about further cuts to personnel and equipment owing to major pressure on the defence budget, alongside calls from MPs to increase spending to 3 per cent of GDP. “The Modernising Defence Programme instigated by Gavin Williamson will have to come up with more funding for defence.”Lord Campbell, defence spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: “It may not quite be a Royal command but it’s as close as you can get.”Servicemen and women at every level in the forces are well aware of the serious under-funding of the defence budget.”In January, it was reported that proposed options to fund saving in the defence budget, including cutting 11,000 personnel from the Army, up to seven Royal Navy frigates and as many as 100 helicopters, had been put on hold. Lord West of Spithead, former First Sea Lord and Labour peer, said: “Any Royal ‘stands into danger’ when he makes comments that directly relate to political issues.”I am delighted he is saying it because it is true. Prince Harry  Prince Harry with the Army Air Corps graduatesCredit: Heathcliff O’Malley Prince Harry spoke to pilots without notesCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley Sergeant Ryan Nelson, 26, from County Durham, who was awarded two prizes at the graduation, said of the Royal visitor: “He’s really normal, a really down to earth guy, he doesn’t think of himself as anything special.“He was firing away little nuggets, little tips on how we could better ourselves as a pilot.“The best tip he gave me is that he told me about the fact that when he first got in the Apache he could barely get in, he didn’t know where to put his helmet, his monocle was in the wrong place, he was just in a general state of rag to be honest.“He was like ‘just expect that, if it does happen don’t be put off by it, it’s all progression. It will get hard at times but it’s all completely doable’.”last_img read more

Pioneering American bishop, the Most Rev Bishop Michael Curry, from Chicago, Illinois, has been invited to deliver the address as the couple strive to reflect their transatlantic relationship amid the tradition of St George’s Chapel.Bishop Curry, who has been praised for his “infectious laughter and self-deprecating humour”, is the first African-American bishop to have served as the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop, a role he has held since November 2015. The music will also have an American influence according to Christopher Warren-Green, who will conduct musicians on the day. Florist Philippa Craddock FlowersThe couple have chosen high society florist Philippa Craddock to design their day, using seasonal plants and flowers from the Crown Estates and Royal Parks chosen particularly for their pollinator-friendly properties.Aisles, pews, tables and halls will be lined with plants from wildflower meadows, picked to “provide a great habitat for bees and help to nurture and sustain entire ecosystems by promoting a healthy and biodiverse environment”, Kensington Palace said.Ms Craddock has been named “Queen of London florists” by British Vogue and “a floral mastermind” by Tatler. Read more about the wedding florist here. The Queen signed the Instrument of Consent in March, at the top of a vellum document transcribed in calligraphy and issued under the Great Seal of the Realm. Florist Philippa CraddockCredit:Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire A very traditional ceremony The couple will be make their vows at St George’s Chapel, which last hosted a royal wedding in May 2008 when Peter Phillips – son of The Princess Royal – married Autumn Kelly. The traditional ceremony will be conducted by The Dean of Windsor, The Rt Revd. David Conner while the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will officiate as the couple make their marriage vows. Miss Markle, who was a UN women’s advocate, is unlikely to opt to obey the prince. The couple will probably choose the Series One (1966) Book of Common Prayer ceremony, just as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did, which allows the bride to drop “obey him” and “serve him” from the religious proceedings.The regiments Prince Harry served with in Afghanistan will a have a “special place” during the ceremony.The 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, where the prince served as an Apache Pilot in Helmand Province will be represented, as well as The Royal Gurkha Rifles, his comrades in Afghanistan in 2007, and RAF Honington, where he is Honorary Air Commandant. The document states: “Now know ye that we have consented and do by these presents signify our consent to the contracting of matrimony between our most dearly beloved grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales KCVO and Rachel Meghan Markle.”Prince Harry, as sixth-in-line to the throne following the birth of Prince Louis, had to seek the permission of the Queen under the Succession to the Crown Act 2013.The Act requires the first six people in line to obtain the Queen’s blessing to marry, unless they wish  to be disqualified from succeeding to the Crown. Then at 1pm, the newlyweds will undertake a two mile tour of Windsor in an Ascot Landau carriage, greeting well-wishers, which is expected to take 25 minutes.It’s the same carriage the prince used in the procession at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton,when he was surrounded by small bridesmaids and page boys.The couple will leave Windsor Castle by carriage via Castle Hill, travelling along the High Street and through Windsor Town before returning along the Long Walk for the first reception at St George’s Hall.Read more about the procession here. Household Cavalry troopers will line the staircase at St George’s Chapel, while streets within the precincts of the castle will be lined by members of the Windsor Castle Guard from 1st Battalion Irish Guards, and by Armed Forces personnel from the Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving, which has the Prince as Commodore-in-Chief, and the Royal Marines, where he is Captain General.Read more about St George’s Chapel here.WATCH: How Diana, the in-laws and Prince Louis will fit into the Royal Wedding Peonies are one of Ms Markle’s favourite flowers, so it is likely her floral bouquet will include these fragrant blooms, which are in season in May. Don’t miss the processionAfter the ceremony, among the first people to congratulate the couple will be some of the 2,640 charity workers, community champions and local school children who are being invited to watch the wedding from inside the walls of Windsor Castle.  The Queen’s arrival at St George’s Chapel for her grandson’s wedding marked a key moment in the day’s proceedings: that the entire guestlist were now present at the venue.Tradition dictates that Her Majesty is the last to arrive at Royal engagements, visits and events – and the protocol even extends to her family’s weddings. She will watch Meghan Markle walk down the aisle to royalty and an awaiting Prince Harry.And guests will have to be on their guard for another tradition which means when the The Queen stops eating, others must do the same. The protocol usually relates to banquets, and with 200 guests set to sit down for an evening meal as part of the celebration, it is understood the custom will have to be adhered to.  But those worried about scoffing down their food as soon as it lands on their table might not need to worry given that the Queen has been known to push a morsel of food around on her plate to allow people to finish.Last week, the official document signed by The Queen granting permission for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry was released, incorporating the symbols of America onto traditional vellum to represent the bride.The ornate Instrument of Consent, the official document confirming the approval of the Queen, features emblems for Ms Markle including a rose, the national flower of the United States, two golden poppies from her home state of California, and olive branches adopted from the Great Seal of the United States.   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

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A primary school headteacher has accused a parent of defamation after she shared a photo of her daughter’s incoherent homework sheet on Facebook.Danielle Rowland, a parent at Moorgate Primary Academy in Tamworth posted the photo of a crossword strewn with grammatical and spelling errors which had been handed to her seven-year-old daughter with the caption “For literacy homework, the mistakes are shocking.”Headmaster Jonathan Williams confronted Ms Rowland on the phone and told her the post was defamatory towards the school and that it breached data protection guidelines.The crossword instructions said: “Complete the crossword by interesting one of the words below into the sentences.”The crossword itself was hard to decipher as the only place where ‘on the contrary’ would fit was in a sentence that contained no contradictions. The word ‘although’ would seemingly not fit where it should have been, because the sentence would read: ‘Although they had are prone to earthquakes, they do not have tremor proof houses.’Speaking to the Telegraph, Rowland, who has three children at the school said: “I posted the picture on Facebook to see if any other parents were having difficulty with the homework. It got picked up by a few people and I spoke to the headmaster about it on the phone. “He asked me to take it down because it is defamatory towards the school and that he would have to speak to the data protection officer if she refused.“I was disappointed, because you’d think a teacher would have a sense of pride in what they are doing. Things like this actually damage a child’s education.”It was unclear who had set the crossword, but it is understood that they have been spoken to by senior staff at the school.Last night, Mr Williams told the Telegraph: “The academy accepts that the homework provided did include some errors.  “Whilst this is an unfortunate and regrettable incident, it has been appropriately addressed and the school shall continue to support learning at home.” read more

“The penalty for the crime of murder is fixed by law. There is only one sentence I can impose in these circumstances and that must be custody, you will be detained for life. I will fix the punishment part for the offence at 16 years.” 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. She was sentenced after being convicted last month at the High Court in Glasgow. Conner Cowper was at a party with his killerCredit:Universal News and Sport conner He said earlier that Mr Cowper was in the wrong place at the wrong time, adding “that is to say, in your company when you were high on drugs and alcohol and had access to a bladed weapon”.Lord Arthurson described him as “to all intents and purposes a stranger” who had met her on the same night she plunged a kitchen knife into his neck.The teenager was said to have “exploded” following his remark at the party in a flat in Holytown, Lanarkshire, last April.The court heard earlier that Mr Cowper was interested in the teenager, but she had kissed another youth. Prosecutors claimed she “loved being centre of attention” and was trying to “play the two men off against each other”.The young killer, who was expelled from school at the age of 11, was heard shouting: “I want him f****** dead.” She fled the scene after the attack and was said to have been found by police “laughing” nearby.She claimed she attacked him because she was afraid he was about to hit her, but prosecutors described her evidence as “utter nonsense”.The court heard that she has since given birth while on remand at Cornton Vale prison, and that social workers had come to the conclusion there was no suitable place for her child with her immediate family. A teenager who is thought to be one of Scotland’s youngest female killers was pregnant and high on alcohol and cocaine when she stabbed a boy she had just met.The 17-year-old launched a “deliberate, brutal and murderous” attack on 18-year-old Conner Cowper after he called her a “stupid wee girl” during a party.The teen killer, who cannot be named because of her age, was ordered to be detained for life, and given a minimum sentence of 16 years, at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday.The judge Lord Arthurson was told by her lawyer that she “acknowledged” that her actions had caused “devastation”, but said he doubted whether that was correct.He added: “I have been told that not only do you feel regret but you also expressed empathy towards the victim.”However, as the presiding judge at your trial I saw nothing of that. Your demeanour was flat and disinterested and you didn’t give out any significant appearance of empathy.”You are a highly dangerous and unstable individual. The attack on Connor was deliberate, brutal, entirely unprovoked and entirely murderous. read more

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 couple began dating in March 2017 after reportedly being introduced by Princess Eugenie. Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice and their mother Sarah, Duchess of York, were greeted by Eugenie’s husband Jack Brooksbank who was one of the Groomsmen when they arrived at the service.The Duchess of York wore a headpiece and a chic black coat concealing her frock and Princess Beatrice also looked autumnal in a deep green, long-sleeved metallic dress and black headpiece. Princess Eugenie meanwhile was savouring the last of the summer in a bright floral dress and royal blue headband.  The wedding was held in York Minister, a large Gothic church and a famous landmark which couples are required to have a “present and demonstrable” connection to in order to gain a licence to wed there from the Archbishop of Canterbury.A York Minster spokesperson said the couple fulfilled the criteria in order to obtain a licence but a rep for the singer did not confirm whether or not they have been regularly attending the church in the run up to the wedding. The wedding reception was due to be held at Castle Howard, the stately home described as one of the “great palaces of Europe”.Ellie grew up in Herefordshire but Mr Jopling’s roots are in Yorkshire. His father is the Honorable Nicholas Jopling, of Frickley Hall, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.His grandfather is Baron Jopling, the ex-Conservative MP, who served as Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire. Newly married Ellie Goulding and Caspar Jopling leave York Minster after their wedding Newly married Ellie Goulding and Caspar Jopling leave York Minster after their weddingCredit:James Hardisty/PA From the spectacle in York this afternoon, you would be forgiven for thinking another royal wedding was afoot. But the nuptials which drew throngs of royals and A-Listers alike on Saturday were actually those of Ellie Goulding and her art-dealer fiance, Caspar Jopling.The bride arrived at the cathedral in an electric blue Volkswagen camper van wearing a high neck Chloé wedding gown adorned with pearl beading and a train which was designed by Natacha Ramsay-Lévi. She wore her hair in a relaxed upstyle underneath a long veil. The bride responded to cheers from the crowd with a regal wave upon her arrival. Her bridesmaids who wore offwhite dresses and relaxed ponytails rearranged Ellie’s train before she went inside for the ceremony. Also on the guest list were singer James Blunt, comic Jimmy Carr, actress Sienna Miller and artist Tracey Emin. They were joined by Katy Perry who arrived in a duck egg blue coat alongside fiance Orlando Bloom.Following the ceremony, the newly-married couple shared a kiss outside the cathedral delighting onlookers.  read more