Former NFL Star Darren Sharper Pleads Not Guilty In

Darren Sharper, a former safety in the NFL, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he drugged and raped two women he met at a West Hollywood night club, while the emergence of a new accuser in Florida left him under investigation in five states.Lawyers for Sharper, who played in the NFL from 1997 to 2010 primarily with the Green Bay Packers, said they would prove that any sexual contact Sharper engaged in was welcomed.”All of these were consensual contact between Mr. Sharper and women who wanted to be in his company,” said attorney Leonard Levine.But a prosecutor pointed out the many investigations against Sharper in places including Tucson, Ariz.; Las Vegas and New Orleans, and asked a judge for $10 million bail.The judge rejected that as excessive, though increased it from $200,000 to $1 million.”The court considers these crimes quite serious and has to protect the public,” Superior Court Judge Renee Korn said.Sharper, wearing a gray suit and black T-shirt, showed up  to court with his lawyers and a bail bondsman who immediately arranged to post his bail.The judge ordered Sharper to remain in Los Angeles, stay away from nightclubs and not be alone with any woman he did not know before October, when the first allegations emerged.The judge set a court date for April 15 to schedule a preliminary hearing. Korn rejected a bid by defense attorney Blair Berk to shut down the release of information in the case.”We’re asking to litigate this in a court of law, not by Twitter feed and entertainment shows,” said Berk.The latest allegations surfaced in a Miami Beach police report released Thursday. It was filed Jan. 19 – more than a year after the alleged attack. No charges have been filed but Detective Vivian Hernandez said the investigation remains open.The report states that the accuser and two friends went to a club in the fall of 2012 and met Sharper and another man. All five left the club at approximately 4 a.m. and Sharper drove them all to his condo. The victim admitted to being extremely intoxicated.The victims’ two friends told her the next day that she went into a bedroom with Sharper and he closed the door behind them. The friends said they heard her telling Sharper ”No, no. Stop, I don’t want to.” They began knocking on the door, entered the room and attempted to take the victim home. The victim can’t remember what she said except that she wanted to sleep.The victim said she awoke around 9 a.m. to find her pants off and Sharper having sex with her. She said she asked ”what’s going on” and Sharper got up and put on a pair of shorts. Sharper told her they didn’t have sex. He then walked her to her car in a parking garage.The victim said she went to be examined a week later. She made the police report after a friend saw that Sharper was arrested for sexual battery.If convicted in the California case, Sharper could face more than 30 years in state prison.Sharper was selected All-Pro six times and chosen for the Pro Bowl five times. He played in two Super Bowls, one with the Packers as a rookie and a second with the Saints. read more

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With 300 Million In Play Floyd Mayweather Is Right

No bag can hold the money Floyd Mayweather will make in two weeksWhen you consider the almost incomprehensible financial windfall for this one fight, Floyd Mayweather is right: He and Manny Pacquiao are facing off at the right time. That’s what the money says, and money talks.Five or six years ago, when they were likely at the peak of their physical powers, a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout might have produced a more technically sound fight than what we will see in a fortnight. But they would not have earned the money they stand to gain from this fight.For example, on Monday, according to the The New York Times, promoter Bob Arum will transfer into a Pacquiao bank account $50 million. That’s a down payment, minus the IRS’ 30 percent cut.Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Productions, would not share specifics about his boss’ pay. But he said, “I will tell you this. Floyd Mayweather’s check will be a lot more than $50 million. And then it goes from there.”According to the contract, Mayweather is to receive 60 percent of the revenues to Pacquiao’s 40 percent. When all the pennies are calculated, both men will make more than $100 million, win or lose, which almost means no one loses. It will rank as the highest grossing fight in history, by double.That would not have happened six years ago. But the boxing public is so thirsty now, as the sport struggles with an identity, for star power, that the meeting of the two biggest names in the game is the uber fight of recent times.“This is a unique situation, the confluence of time and event — the two biggest fighters in the world coming together,” Ken Hershman, the president of HBO Sports, said to The Times.Ironically and significantly, the fight began to take shape after Mayweather and Pacquiao ran into each other at a Miami Heat NBA game in January. Mayweather set up another meeting the next day at his hotel and the richest fight in history was on.“We’re both bigger names than we were five, six years ago,” Mayweather said at his gym in Las Vegas on Tuesday. “We’re meeting at the pinnacle of our careers. The time is right.”Mayweather made about $105 million in two fights last year, bolting him to the world’s highest paid athlete status. To keep all the money straight for this fight, The Times reported, rivals HBO (Pacquiao) and Showtime (Mayweather) are co-producing and co-distributing the pay-per-view event in a rare agreement. They have created a central accounting system.“They distribute the revenue in accordance with the contracts of the two fighters, so that there is no side money,” Arum said. “We felt that this was the most reasonable way to go. It’s the way we’ve done it to prevent the accusations that we usually get, that this promoter is stealing from that promoter.”All revenue from the fight — the foreign broadcast rights, closed-circuit income from bars and theaters, ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise sales and so on — goes into the pot. That will be about $130 million.A pay-per-view audience of three million at $89.98 would generate an estimated $270 million. Under the deal, according to The Times, cable companies and satellite providers will receive 30 percent to 40 percent of gross pay-per-view revenues, depending on the level of marketing each does.When the revenue is combined, the two fighters could divide around $300 million for a 12-round fight that will take less than an hour.“The demand is what’s driving the revenue,” Ellerbe said.There are more financial dynamics, but you get the point: A lot of money will be generated through this fight, money levels they would never have reached if they had fought six years ago.See why Mayweather says the timing is right? read more

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Are The Warriors Ruining Basketball

VIDEO: How the Cavs can push back in Game 3 Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Jun. 6, 2017), we discuss the Nashville Predators’ win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. That series is now tied 2-2. Next, the Golden State Warriors are running roughshod over the Cleveland Cavaliers, which has some complaining that the NBA’s competitive balance is out of whack. We dig into league commissioner Adam Silver’s latest remarks on the matter and discuss whether the rise of the Warriors is a good thing or a bad thing for the NBA. Plus, a significant digit on an untethered ascent of El Capitan.Check out the following links to the topics we discussed.Pekka Rinne had a great Game 4 to help the Predators even things up.FiveThirtyEight’s NBA predictions say that the likelihood of the Warriors winning the series is 97 percent.In an interview with ESPN’s Mike and Mike, NBA commissioner Adam Silver fought back against claims that the Warriors have disrupted the league’s competitive balance.FiveThirtyEight’s Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner teamed up to break down Steph Curry’s return to form in this year’s NBA finals.Deadspin’s Albert Burneko writes that despite last year’s Cavaliers’ comeback, a Warriors victory feels inevitable this year.Is the superteam era ruining the NBA? Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins investigates.Significant Digit: 3,300, the number of feet that Alex Honnold climbed on his route up El Capitan, the famous climbing wall inside Yosemite National Park. He did it all without a rope. Honnold has become the first free solo climber to scale the route. read more

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LeBrons Legend Didnt Need Reinforcing But He Did It Anyway

LeBron doesn’t go quietlyMost points per game in NBA history when facing elimination* RkPlayerGamesPoints/G 3Kyrie Irving531.2 2Michael Jordan1331.3 1LeBron James2234.1 There’s a reason why James has made seven consecutive NBA Finals, with an eighth appearance potentially awaiting the result of Sunday’s Game 7.1The only players in NBA history who made more Finals than that in a row are all Red Auerbach-era Celtics: Bill Russell (10), Tommy Heinsohn (9) and Sam Jones (9), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He makes life extraordinarily hard for opponents when they’re trying to close out his teams. Even after seeming to run out of gas late in Game 5, James showed few signs of fatigue on Friday, logging 46 minutes and saving some of his best plays for the fourth quarter (even after pulling up limping with an apparent ankle injury at one point).James got a little bit of help, in the form of George Hill (20 points on 58 percent shooting) and a bench that outscored Boston’s reserves 36-23, even as three of Cleveland’s other starters — Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and JR Smith — combined for only seven total points. (Love exited with a concussion just five minutes into the game, and is questionable to play on Sunday.) But down the stretch, it was all LeBron: He had an astonishing usage rate of 48.8 percent in the fourth quarter. Although James carrying an undermanned squad to the Finals is nothing new, watching it play out in real time seldom ceases to amaze.Meanwhile, the Celtics dug a hole for themselves on the scoreboard in the second quarter, following a nice start powered by an aggressive Jaylen Brown. They eventually mounted a late charge — but one that could never quite overcome LeBron’s heroics. After a star-making 24-point performance in Game 5, Jayson Tatum played more like a rookie in Game 6, and Boston’s usually staunch defense allowed an astronomical 120.3 points per 100 possessions during the second half. Even granting that Boston’s defense tends to be much, much worse on the road than at home, Brad Stevens has some things to iron out ahead of Game 7.Either way, Friday’s result helped extend one of the oddest series in playoff history, in terms of home-road splits. Between Cleveland and Boston, the home team has won each of the first six games in this East final, by an average margin of 16.7 points per contest. I know home-court advantage means a lot in the NBA playoffs… but this has been ridiculous. Since the postseason expanded to 16 teams in 1984, only one other seven-game series saw the home team win each game by a bigger margin: The 2008 clash between the Spurs and (New Orleans) Hornets, where the home team won the first six games by an average of 18.2 points.In that series, the Spurs broke the stalemate with a road victory in Game 7, so we’ll see if LeBron and the Cavs can overcome the Celtics’ home court magic to do the same. All that hinges on that outcome is an entire era of NBA history, LeBron’s future in Cleveland, one of the great playoff home-court performances ever and a potential passing of the torch to the next generation of Eastern Conference stars. (You know — no big deal.) And given the way this series has played out so far, nothing on Sunday should come as a surprise to us, no matter who comes out on top.Check out our latest NBA predictions. When you’re already arguably the greatest player in NBA history, it’s tough to find new ways to add to your legend — but LeBron James somehow managed that feat Friday night, as his Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 109-99 to force a seventh game in the Eastern Conference finals. In a do-or-die contest, all James did was score 46 points, snag 11 boards and hand out 9 assists, padding his numbers as the NBA’s all-time postseason leader in points per game when facing elimination (according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group): 4Wilt Chamberlain2331.1 * Among players with a minimum of five such gamesSource: ESPN Stats & Information read more

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How Much Is Winning the NBA Draft Lottery Really Worth

The rags-to-riches tale is a cultural archetype, but so is its reverse: the reminder to be careful what you wish for. Social science journals are full of cases of sweepstakes winners who wound up no happier in the end. Sometimes winning the lottery doesn’t work out so well for NBA teams, either.The Portland Trail Blazers weren’t blessed by winning the prize of the first draft pick in 2007 and choosing Greg Oden. The Washington Wizards won the lottery and took Kwame Brown in 2001; had they stayed in their expected position, they might have gotten Pau Gasol instead.1The Wizards had the third-worst record in the league the prior season; Gasol went third in the draft.That’s not to say that the 13 NBA teams2There are 14 picks in the lottery; however, the New York Knicks have traded their pick to the Denver Nuggets, who also have a draft choice of their own. that will vie for the first pick in Tuesday night’s draft lottery would be better off losing out. Drafting in the NBA isn’t quite as unpredictable as it is in the NFL. The first pick, in particular, produces a high rate of return. But the impact of winning the draft lottery is not quite as impressive as you might assume.It’s tempting to go through something like the following thought process: The league’s superstar players, like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, are worth perhaps worth $40 million per season or more. Imagine having the chance to employ the next LeBron for a decade. That’s a $400-million player up for grabs based on the bounce of a few ping-pong balls!Things rarely work out so smoothly, however, and there are three gigantic problems with this analysis. First, drafting is an imperfect science: Durant, for example, was the second pick in 2007, behind Oden.3Obligatory Sam Bowie/Michael Jordan reference. Second, even if a player produces a lot of value, you’re still going to pay him something. Third, the player may not stay around long enough to win his team a title: Instead, teams are guaranteed control of their first-round picks for only five years.The difference between the Milwaukee Bucks winning the lottery Tuesday night (they have the best chance of doing so) and falling to the fourth pick probably amounts to the equivalent of around $11 million in long-term profits.4Throughout this article, I’m using terms like “profit” and “return on investment” in a particular way. They refer to the value that a player’s wins would take to acquire on the free-agent market, which we assume to be $1.75 million per win, inflating at 3.5 percent annually. Does winning an extra game actually produce a gain of $1.75 million in a team’s marginal revenue? Some studies suggest that market value and marginal revenue are fairly close in the NBA — perhaps more so than in other sports, like baseball. It may also depend on whether a team makes the playoffs, or what sort of market it plays in, along with other factors. This is beyond the scope of the analysis. That’s not chump change, but it’s World Series of Poker money — not Powerball dough.The NBA draft lottery was instituted in 1985. I looked up how many wins (as measured by Basketball-Reference.com’s win shares)5Past research using different measures of player value, like that by Arturo Galletti, has come up with similar results each player chosen in the first round since then produced during his first five NBA seasons,6Note that I count the first five NBA seasons whether or not the player participated in them. That means if he missed a year due to injury or other reasons he is counted as producing zero value. based on the slot where he was selected.7Totals for seasons shortened by a labor dispute are prorated to 82 games. The analysis accounts for the fact that the most recent selections, such as the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, have not yet seen five seasons.8I accomplished this by averaging the win shares for all draft picks who’ve seen a given number of seasons since their selection, and then summing the total. For instance, there have been two seasons since Davis was selected No. 1 overall. Thus, the win-shares average for No. 1 picks in their second NBA season includes Davis. But the average for the third season, and years beyond that, does not.The average number of wins produced by draft selections Nos. 1 through 309The NBA draft currently has 30 first-round picks, as there are 30 NBA teams. However, my figures include (for instance) the 30th overall selection for all drafts dating back to 1985, even when that pick occurred in the second round. appears in the graphic below. The pattern is fairly nonlinear: No. 1 overall picks have produced an average of 33.9 wins in the five seasons following their pick, as compared to 22.3 for No. 2 overall selections. It takes a logarithmic curve, with a fairly sharp uptick for the No. 1 overall pick, to do an adequate job of fitting past years’ results.With a bit more work, we can translate wins into dollars. In particular, during the previous NBA regular season, a total of $1.78 billion was paid to players who weren’t still on rookie-scale contracts. Collectively, those players produced just over 1,000 win shares. That implies that the market rate for a win in the NBA is about $1.75 million.The players on rookie-scale contracts were bargains by comparison, coming at a cost of about $900,000 per win last season. (For much more detail on how rookie contracts work, see Larry Coon’s salary cap FAQ.)But how much does the price per win vary based on where a player was chosen in the draft?The next chart compares the market value produced by the player against his rookie-scale contract figures, using the following assumptions. First, the market rate for an NBA player is increasing at 3.5 percent per year.10This is the assumption embedded in the annual growth rate of the NBA rookie salary scale. Second, teams pick up their option for each first-round pick for the player’s third and fourth seasons (this assumption might seem dubious — we’ll test it in a moment), and they make the players a qualifying offer before his fifth seasons, which comes to represent his annual salary during that year.11This would make the player a restricted free agent, with the team that drafts him having the right to match any counteroffer. As my Grantland colleague Zach Lowe has noted, these matching rights are usually enough to deter counteroffers, although often NBA teams and players will seek to agree to long-term contract extensions to avoid the brinksmanship. Another complication, which I’ve ignored for this article, is that players chosen with the 10th pick or higher in the draft are sometimes eligible for larger salary increases if they’ve met certain other criteria. Third, the team is paying the player the maximum amount allowed under the rookie scale in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.12The NBA’s rookie salary scale includes a tolerance range: Players may actually sign for anywhere between 80 percent and 120 percent of the recommended figure. In fact, most players sign for the full 120 percent, in part because this still usually represents a bargain for the team compared to what it would take to find a similarly talented player on the open market. Fourth, I’m using smoothed values for the wins produced by each pick based on our previous chart.In this analysis, the first overall pick produces about $63 million worth of market value during the first five NBA seasons after he’s drafted; by comparison, under our assumptions, his team would be obligated to pay him $35 million over five years. That means a discount of about $28 million for the team.The other first-round picks are also bargains by this measure, although the value diminishes the later a player goes in the draft. The fourth overall selection — the worst the Bucks could wind up with tonight — produces a profit of just under $18 million. The 30th and last pick in first round, held this year by the San Antonio Spurs, brings an expected profit of about $4 million.As I mentioned, these figures assume that an NBA team will employ a drafted player for five seasons. However, NBA teams are obligated to keep first-round draft picks for only two years. They have the unilateral option to extend the contract for a third and fourth year, and then to make the player a qualifying offer for his fifth season. This potentially gives the teams some option value in that they can extend their more successful picks on reasonably favorable terms, while cutting bait on the weaker players.To an extent, these options are more appealing in theory than in practice. One problem is that an NBA team must determine whether to offer a player his third- and fourth-year options a year ahead of time, or before he starts his second and third seasons. In practice, it’s quite rare for a team to fail to exercise its third-year option.I attempted to simulate this decision-making process. I assumed that an NBA team made a projection13More precisely, I ran a regression analysis on a player’s third-year win shares based on his first-year win shares and his draft position. of a player’s third-year value based on his win-shares total as a rookie and the draft slot where he was chosen. If the player’s rookie-scale contract salary was at least 20 percent higher14I built in this 20 percent cushion because, by forsaking a player before his third year, a team also forsakes its option value on him in the fourth and subsequent years. If you had a player who you expected to be worth just slightly less than what you were paying him in his third season, but he also had an outside chance of a breakout that could make him very valuable in his fourth and fifth seasons, you’d want to keep him. than his projected value for his third season, I assumed that the team dropped him. However, these conditions only applied to about 2.5 percent of draft picks. (A player basically has to be a complete and utter disaster to get dropped: This algorithm would have the Cleveland Cavaliers failing to pick up their third-year option on Anthony Bennett, the first overall pick in last year’s draft, for instance.)The fourth-year option represents more of a real choice. A team still has to decide on it a year in advance. But it has two years of player performance to evaluate, and not just one. Meanwhile, the player may be improving slowly — if he’s still improving at all15The average first-round pick sees his win shares improve by 68 percent between his first and second seasons, but just 18 percent between his second and third seasons and only 3 percent between his third and fourth seasons. — while he’s due for a hefty raise under the rookie pay scale. I assumed that teams would drop players whose fourth-year salaries were projected to be at least 10 percent higher than their value in that season, and found they would fail to extend 28 percent of players16The 28 percent total is among players who weren’t already dropped before their third season. by these rules.Finally, a team gets to decide after a player’s fourth season whether to make him a qualifying offer for his fifth season. Using a similar method, I found that about 32 percent of players who hadn’t been dropped after their third or fourth seasons would be let go at that point.17I’m no longer including a 10 or 20 percent fudge factor to account for a player’s future option value because a team has no guaranteed way to keep a player after his fifth year.We can now re-run our estimates of the net value of each draft pick excluding both the win shares associated with the dropped players and the cost of their contracts. You’d expect this to increase the profitability associated with the picks, since the teams are dropping precisely those players they expect to produce a negative return on investment. It does increase the profitability, but the difference isn’t all that great — the net value associated with the average first-round draft pick improves by 18 percent. Most of the improvement in profitability comes from selections chosen late in the first round. That’s because they’re due for proportionately larger pay increases under the league’s rookie pay scale and should be dropped more often.My revised estimates of the net profitability associated with each first-round draft pick are in the table below. To be clear, these are general estimates built from how all draft picks have performed since 1985, and don’t say anything in particular about Andrew Wiggins, or other projected top picks this year.18The figures represent a team’s projected net profit from the 2014-15 through the 2018-19 NBA seasons; the values will increase in the future if NBA salaries continue to rise. For readability, figures are rounded to the nearest $50,000 increment.The first overall draft pick is worth about $30 million by this measure, compared to $23.5 million for the second pick, $20.5 million for the third pick and $18.8 million for the fourth pick. The 14th selection — the last lottery pick — is worth about $12 million, while the final overall pick in the first round is worth $7.3 million.But these figures only estimate the profit associated with a player during his first five seasons. What happens after that?Usually teams aim to act proactively before getting to that point, especially for their most talented players. They’ll try to extend those players’ contracts.These options become pretty complex. To go through a full empirical analysis of the profit or loss associated with these extensions and long-term deals would require an article with even more footnotes than this one. That may be a challenge that we’ll undertake in the future.In the meantime, let’s try a slightly gentler approach. I looked up the players whose rookie seasons came 10 years ago (in the 2003-04 NBA season) or later and found who produced the most win shares over their first four NBA seasons. Did they turn out to produce happy endings for the teams who originally drafted them? Here are the top 15, in order:Chris Paul (Hornets): Traded to the Clippers after he made clear to New Orleans that he wouldn’t sign an extension with them.LeBron James (Cavaliers): Took his talents to South Beach.Blake Griffin (Clippers): Signed through 2016-17. This could turn out happily, but it’s too early to say.Dwyane Wade (Heat): This has to be considered a big success based on what he and the Heat have accomplished so far, though going forward Wade may not be worth as much as he’s paid.Dwight Howard (Magic): Forced a trade to the Lakers.Kevin Durant (Sonics/Thunder): Extended through 2015-16. This has to count as a smashing success, even if the Thunder never win a title.Brandon Roy (Trail Blazers): Signed an extension with Portland, but the contract turned into a disaster after injuries robbed Roy of his game. The Blazers eventually used their amnesty provision on him.James Harden (Thunder): Preemptively traded to Houston, in part because the Thunder wanted to avoid a massive luxury tax bill.Al Horford (Hawks): Signed an extension — in what initially looked like a pretty good deal for Atlanta — but he’s since missed most of the 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons with injuries.Chris Bosh (Raptors): Signed one extension and then to South Beach he took his talents.Kevin Love (Timberwolves): One more guaranteed year on his deal and then he reportedly wants out of Minnesota.Andre Iguodala (76ers): Now we’ve begun to reach those players who are fine NBAers, but probably worth something near the maximum NBA salary and not a lot more than that.Marc Gasol (Grizzlies): See above.Derrick Rose (Bulls): Signed an extension, which looked to have plenty of upside for the Bulls — but his injuries mean it could turn into a problem for them instead.Deron Williams (Jazz): Forced a trade out of Utah. His performance has regressed in Brooklyn and the trade is looking like a blessing in disguise for the Jazz.Get the drift? These players produced a ton of surplus value for their teams during their first three or four or five seasons. Those rookie-scale contracts are really favorable to NBA teams.However, we’ve already accounted for the profit a team achieves on a player over his first five seasons. And after that, things get much dicier. The attrition rate is high. Players can leave in free agency, or force a trade, or get hurt, or perform at a perfectly decent level but not necessarily any better than what they’re being paid. And this is a list we’ve formulated with the benefit of hindsight, knowing exactly how valuable the players were during their first four seasons.After winning the draft lottery, a team essentially needs to get lucky three times over in order to have a storybook ending. First, it has to draft the right player. Next, it has to convince him to stay in town. Finally, he has to play up to his new contract. The odds are that something will go wrong. In 1997, the San Antonio Spurs chose Tim Duncan at No. 1 and went on to win four NBA titles with him on the roster. None of the teams to make the first overall pick since has won a championship. read more

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March Madness Crib Notes For Saturdays Games

Midwest RegionalNo. 8 Cincinnati vs. No. 1 Kentucky at 2:40 p.m. on CBSGodspeed, Cincinnati. Take your 6 percent win probability and make the best of it.No. 6 Butler vs. No. 3 Notre Dame at 9:40 p.m. on TBSButler’s already pulled off one upset this tournament, even though it beat a team with a worse seed. No. 11 Texas was slightly favored to beat the Bulldogs, but Texas flamed out as it did for most of the season. Butler has a bigger challenge ahead of it in playing Notre Dame, though. The Irish are favored to win 62 percent of the time, perhaps because of their offense, which was third in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy. Butler’s defense is also in the top-10, though, making this a matchup of contrasting strengths. South RegionalNo. 5 Utah vs. No. 4 Georgetown at 7:45 p.m. on CBSBoth teams were heavy favorites in their opening games, but Utah struggled to put Stephen F. Austin away. The FiveThirtyEight model says not to worry about that — the advanced metrics love Utah because of its great defense and efficient offense. The model says Utah should win this matchup 71 percent of the time.No. 14 UAB vs. No. 11 UCLA at 12:10 p.m. on CBSThis isn’t a basketball game, it’s a glass-slipper competition. Who will become Cinderella? The UCLA Bruins, which most talking heads said didn’t belong in the tournament, or the UAB Blazers, which put together the third-most surprising upset since 2011, according to FiveThirtyEight’s past models. This year’s model likes UCLA to win (67 percent favorite), thanks to UCLA’s strength of schedule during the regular season, and its higher offensive and defensive ratings. West RegionalNo. 10 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Arizona at 5:15 p.m. on CBSAs D’Angelo Russell goes, so go the Buckeyes. Bloodied but still breaking ankles, Russell led a furious charge as Ohio State came back against VCU to stage the upset. It won’t be so easy against Arizona, which has the third best defense in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy. That Arizona has the ninth-best offense probably won’t help the Buckeyes either; the Wildcats have an 81 percent chance of moving on to the Sweet 16.No. 14 Georgia State vs. No. 6 Xavier at 6:10 p.m. on TNTSomebody get Georgia State’s coach, Ron Hunter, a stool with some armrests. After his son, R.J. Hunter, hit the game-winning shot in Georgia State’s game against Baylor, Hunter tumbled out of his stool and right into a thousand highlight reels. The good news for Georgia State: Our model likes them in this game more than it did in the last (and our model gave them a decent shot on Thursday). The problem: The Panthers still only have a 30 percent chance of beating Xavier.No. 5 Arkansas vs. No. 4 North Carolina at 8:40 p.m. on TNTThis No. 5 vs. No. 4 matchups looks like it should be a taut contest based on the seeds. But the FiveThirtyEight model thinks North Carolina is twice as likely to win as Arkansas. The Razorbacks come from a worse conference, have a poor defense and struggled against No. 12 Wofford. Then again, North Carolina didn’t have a great game against Harvard, either. But the model takes the longer view — the fundamentals favor UNC. The teams that play on Saturday are the survivors of the wild opening day1Not counting the play-in games. of this year’s NCAA men’s tournament. No matter how many harmonic means, linear regressions and bootstrapped standard errors we applied to the data, we couldn’t find a way to make it say Saturday’s games would be as thrilling as Thursday’s were. But the data didn’t say that for Thursday either! It’s March Madness — there’s always a chance of chaos.Read on for more of what to look for in the NCAA tournament Saturday. East RegionalNo. 1 Villanova vs. No. 8 N.C. State at 7:10 p.m. on TBSNo team on Thursday looked better than the Wildcats, who devoured the sacrificial lambs of Lafayette. That victory — by 41 points — helped raise Villanova’s chances to win it all by 4.3 percentage points. They looked that good. N.C. State did not look great, needing a last-second shot to overcome a middling LSU squad. The model expects Villanova to run away with this one — the Wildcats are an 88 percent favorite. read more

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Las Vegas Is A Terrible Place For An NHL Team

The NHL will expand to Las Vegas pending a $500 million fee for the new franchise, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. In 2015, Nate Silver explained why Las Vegas doesn’t make much sense for the NHL. This post was originally published on April 22, 2015. The original text is below. There ought to be more NHL teams in Canada, which has only seven of the 30 NHL franchises despite having about as many hockey fans as the United States.And there perhaps ought to be fewer in midsize American markets, especially those far from the Canadian border. According to my previous research, the six current NHL markets with the fewest number of hockey fans are Nashville, Miami, Raleigh, Columbus, Phoenix and Tampa. Those franchises lost a collective $51 million in 2013-14, according to Forbes.Now there’s momentum to place an NHL expansion team in Las Vegas, another idea that makes little sense.Our 2013 analysis estimated that there are just 91,000 NHL fans in metro Las Vegas. That’s tiny even by comparison to the six smallest NHL markets that I mentioned before, which have between 146,000 (Nashville) and 279,000 (Tampa) hockey fans. And it’s well below Seattle’s 241,000 or Quebec City’s 530,000 fans.But here’s another reason to be skeptical about Las Vegas: The city has had several professional sports franchises (albeit none from the four or five largest North American sports leagues), and it hasn’t supported them very well.Consider that the city’s Triple-A baseball franchise, the Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League, had the lowest attendance in the PCL last year.Or that the city’s professional hockey franchise, the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL, disbanded earlier this year after years of middling attendance and an inability to find a suitable home arena.The Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena Football League were relocated to Cleveland in 2007 after five seasons of attendance well below AFL averages. Las Vegas has a new AFL team this season, the Las Vegas Outlaws, but their attendance was poor in their first two games.You could make an optimist’s case for the NHL in Las Vegas. The number of fans will grow, undoubtedly, if the league places a franchise there. The city gets a lot of tourists (it has about 150,000 hotel rooms), which adds to the functional size of its population.1Although a lot of the tourists are from California and the American Southwest — hardly hockey hotbeds. And Las Vegas’s population is growing, although the rate of growth has slowed since the housing bust.But it’s asking a lot for Las Vegas to support a major league team when it’s struggled to support pretty much every minor league team that’s tried to play there. If the city has some positives, it also has some negatives, like irregular working hours, middling public transit and abundant competition for the entertainment dollar, which may depress sports attendance.To their credit, the backers of the Las Vegas NHL franchise, after a monthslong campaign, have gotten commitments from about 11,000 would-be season ticket holders. That sounds impressive until you consider that the Winnipeg Jets sold out their entire allotment of 13,000 season tickets in 17 minutes after the Atlanta Thrashers were relocated there in 2011. Hockey’s a bit more popular on the frozen tundra than in the middle of the desert.There is a much better case for an NBA team in Las Vegas. NBA avidity is already well above average there, based on the number of Google searches for NBA-related topics. The NBA, unlike the NHL, has had success in similar markets, like San Antonio and Oklahoma City. And the only sports team that’s consistently been a good draw in Las Vegas is a basketball team: The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels averaged almost 14,000 fans per game from 2009-10 through 2013-14.2Attendance data for the most recent college basketball season isn’t available yet. read more

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Mens gymnastics Jake Martin named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week

OSU redshirt senior Jake Martin competes during a meet. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsOhio State men’s gymnastics redshirt senior Jake Martin was named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week following the 47th Windy City Invitational on Saturday. Martin, a captain of the team, now has the fifth highest all-around score in the NCAA this year with his performance.“I was very proud of Jake tonight, and how he competed,” Ohio State head coach Rustam Sharipov said on Saturday night.Despite it being his first meet since an Achilles tendon injury in 2016, Martin was the highest Buckeye scorer in the high bar (14.250) and floor (14.300). Martin excelled in the pommel horse, scoring the third-highest total in the meet with a tally of 13.800. He also averaged 13.450, 14.150 and 13.450 in the rings, vault and parallel bars, respectively. This is the third time in Martin’s career that he has been named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week. read more

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Smith Big Ten expansion Yes Adding just Notre Dame Not a likely

The months of rumors surrounding the Big Ten conference lately have turned the Midwest into the Hollywood of college football. There have been all sorts of rumors, most of them no more than “Brangelina” status.On any given day, a rumor runs rampant of Texas joining the Big Ten, which would certainly grant the conference galactic college football superiority over the SEC. On another day Missouri and Nebraska are apparently guaranteed to jump the Big 12 ship to the Big Ten. Occasionally, a “report” of Rutgers and Pittsburgh establishing the Mid-Atlantic region for the Big Ten leaks out into the mass media.It all makes me want to venture back into reading the comments pages regarding the LeBron free agent frenzy…But what you won’t see as a dish on the table of the Big Ten brass anytime soon is a scenario in which Notre Dame is the only team joining the Big Ten, thus making the Big Ten the Big…Doce? Uno Dos? The Great Flat Land Conference?In any case, Ohio State Athletic Director (and Notre Dame alumnus) Gene Smith told me as much recently when I asked him about the plausibility of the Big Ten just adding the Fighting Irish to the Big Ten. However, he also admitted he’s relatively clueless as to how the expansion process will play out.“I don’t think we’d (just add Notre Dame). We’re looking at something different,” Smith said. “I just don’t know. At the end of the day, we’re not looking to do just that.”Smith went on to point out a numbers notion that many might not know, as well as stating an argument that many would agree with in regard to Notre Dame shunning the Big Ten.If just Notre Dame joined, “it would be beneficial (to OSU) financially,” Smith said. “It would be beneficial with a championship-type setup for a game. Financially we’re pretty strong too, so we’ll contribute to them a little bit more than they will contribute to us because of (the Big Ten Network). And that’s what most people don’t understand.” But Smith said it’s not about money for Notre Dame, “it’s about something else.”What Smith means by “something else” is probably along the lines of Notre Dame’s love for its football independence. They reportedly snatch $15 million from NBC for the rights to broadcast football’s home games.But joining the Big Ten could hold greener pastures for Notre Dame. According to reports, the Big Ten handed out $22 million to each member last year. Joining the Big Ten would net increased exposure for all of the Fighting Irish’s athletic programs.Yet, Smith says the conference wouldn’t just add Notre Dame. And I actually believe him.But that doesn’t mean the conference won’t eventually net the Golden Domers. The Big Ten could swell to 14 teams, netting Notre Dame along with Missouri and Pittsburgh, or Nebraska and Rutgers, or Texas and Kansas.In any event, Big Ten conference commissioner Jim Delany has the ball in his court. How he plays his cards, especially with the Ace of Spades (Notre Dame) will be very interesting to see in the coming months and perhaps the coming years. read more

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NFL playoffs dreams alive for former Buckeyes

Ohio State will be well-represented as the NFL playoffs continue into their second weekend of action. Eight former Buckeyes are on the active rosters of teams that will play Saturday or Sunday in two of the four divisional-round games of the 2013 NFL playoffs.Former Buckeye linebacker A.J. Hawk and defensive lineman Ryan Pickett play for the Green Bay Packers, which will play the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday at 8 p.m. in San Francisco. The 49ers have four former Buckeyes on their roster: Right guard Alex Boone, linebacker Larry Grant, wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. and strong safety Donte Whitner.On Sunday, two of OSU’s four 2012 NFL draft picks will line up against one another. New England Patriots safety Nate Ebner, who plays almost exclusively on special teams, will play against the Houston Texans and wide receiver DeVier Posey Sunday at 4:30 p.m. in Foxborough, Mass.The other four teams still remaining in the NFL playoffs – Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons – do not have any OSU alumni on their roster.Numerous Buckeyes played a significant role in their teams’ games in the opening round of the NFL playoffs.Of those Buckeyes whose teams are still standing, Hawk and Pickett each had two total tackles in the Packers’ win over the Minnesota Vikings, while Posey had two special teams tackles in the Texans’ win against the Cincinnati Bengals. In a losing effort, Vikings wide receiver Michael Jenkins caught three passes for 96 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Former Buckeye cornerback Antoine Winfield had four total tackles for the Vikings, while former Buckeye and current Cincinnati safety Nate Clements had nine total tackles for the Bengals.Defensive lineman Doug Worthington had one assisted tackle in the Washington Redskins’ Sunday loss to the Seahawks. read more

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Ohio State fends off sluggish start beats Delaware 7664

Junior forward LaQuinton Ross (10) shoots a lay up. OSU won against Delaware, 76-64, Dec. 18 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Mark Batke / Lantern photographerOhio State’s non-conference schedule is nearing completion, and as the team inches closer to the beginning of Big Ten play, things aren’t quite perfect in Columbus despite notching its 11th straight win to open the season.The No. 3 Buckeyes (11-0, 0-0) shook off a sluggish start to beat Delaware (5-6, 0-0), 76-64, Wednesday at the Schottenstein Center.OSU shot just 3-11 from the field in the first four minutes of action against the Blue Hens, not earning its first lead until the 13:07 mark in the first half.“We missed some lay ups early, and I think that affected us a little bit,” senior guard Aaron Craft said after the win. “Sometimes you gotta find a way to win when you’re not able to put the ball in the bucket.”The Blue Hens came into the game averaging 83.0 points per game, but despite holding them to nearly 20 points below their season average, Craft said OSU was less than pleased with the way they played on that side of the ball.“We weren’t really connected on defense today, and that’s on us,” Craft said.A back-and-forth affair continued until OSU took the lead for good with 3:15 remaining in the first half. The Buckeyes used a 12-0 run before the halftime buzzer sounded to take a 37-26 lead into the break.“Things weren’t going well for us early, and I thought we once again finished the first half on a strong note,” OSU coach Thad Matta said after the game. “That was definitely, probably the difference in the game for us in terms of coming out, and getting an 11-point lead at halftime there was big.”The lead swelled to 16 at one point in the second half, but the Blue Hens cut it to eight with 1:48 to play before a combined eight straight points by senior guards Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Craft helped close out the game.“That’s quite honestly what I want Ohio State seniors to play like. I think from a standpoint of what they did, the plays that they made (down the stretch) were big-time plays,” Matta said.Delaware’s leading scorer, senior guard Devon Saddler, finished with 17 points off the bench, six below his average. Blue Hens coach Monté Ross said he was proud of the way his team came out and almost pulled the upset.“I thought that our guys stood toe to toe, for the most part, with what I’m going to call the best team in the country,” Ross said after the game. “I’m going to say that, I’m going to keep saying that because we played them and I hope they win every game the rest of the way.”OSU had four players score in double figures, led by junior forward LaQuinton Ross with 19. The Buckeyes shot just 40.7 percent from the field, a dip from the 52.7 percent clip they held in their last three victories.Matta said he was unable to really say why his team was flat against Delaware Wednesday, but was happy to come away with a victory.“Sometimes you have some games where it’s not clicking the way you want it to,” Matta said. “I think the difference between the good teams and great teams is great teams can figure it out.”“We had practiced very well leading into this game, and we came out and we just weren’t as sharp as we needed to be on both ends of the floor,” Matta said.OSU is set to travel to New York Saturday to take on Notre Dame (8-3, 0-0) in its last game of the Gotham Classic. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. read more

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Ohio State field hockey set to begin Big Ten play

OSU senior midfielder Kaitlyn Wagner (13) lunges for the ball during a game against Ball State on Sept. 14 at Buckeye Varsity Field. OSU won, 3-2, in overtime.Credit: Melissa Prax / Lantern photographerFresh off an overtime victory against Ball State, the Ohio State field hockey team is set to welcome No. 16 Michigan State to Buckeye Varsity Field on Friday to kick off Big Ten play.For OSU (2-3), the path to a conference championship could start with playing well against the Spartans.“I think we all just have to realize how important these Big Ten games are,” junior forward Peanut Johnson said Wednesday. “The NCAA Tournament is super selective, so it’s imperative that we win the whole Big Ten. We can’t really have any off games.”The Spartans bring a 4-2 record into Friday’s contest after outlasting Kent State, 4-3, in overtime and handling Richmond, 6-1, last weekend in Kent, Ohio.Michigan State’s offense is averaging more than three goals per game in 2014 behind the play of senior forward Abby Barker, a Columbus native and the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. The senior forward has tallied seven goals and five assists.The Spartans’ speed is the biggest concern for OSU, which is a more deliberate team while attacking.OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said she’s working on different matchups against Michigan State so her best players can use their speed to the fullest.“It’s always a great matchup between our two teams. They’re fast. They love to counter,” Wilkinson said. “You should expect an up-tempo game.”OSU lost a pair of games by one goal to the Spartans in 2013, including a 2-1 loss in the Big Ten Tournament.Freshman midfielder Maddy Humphrey said she’s focused on staying aggressive to help her team get on the board early and often.“I’m really trying to focus a little more on finishing,” Humphrey said. “Because the last few games I haven’t been finishing my shots.”Humphrey leads the Buckeyes with eight points on two goals and four assists.OSU is set to continue its three-game homestand Sunday against Appalachian State at noon.The Mountaineers (2-4) are coming off a 3-2 overtime victory against Davidson on Sunday, and they feature a balanced offensive attack. Three Appalachian State players have tallied six points each early in the season.If OSU can take both games this weekend, the team will be better .500 for the first time in 2014. Humphrey said OSU is ready for the challenge.“We want to just play as a team, win as a team and just have a good time,” Humphrey said. “And finish.”OSU is set to take on the Spartans at 3 p.m. Friday. read more

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Gary Neville questions why Sam Allardyce would deserve payoff after losing job

first_imgSam Allardyce, pictured outside his home, said he made an ‘error of judgment’ and had ‘paid the consequences’Credit:Dave Howarth/PA Meanwhile, Gareth Southgate, the England football team’s new caretaker manager, has admitted he works in an industry “that at times I don’t like”.Southgate said the “business side” of football could be unsavoury at times, as he spoke for the first time since being put in charge of the national side. “You have to ask why [there was a pay-out] if it was inappropriate behaviour.”Speaking on a Sky Sports podcast, he said Allardyce’s departure had been a “moral issue”, adding: “When you take the moral exit route, particularly when you’re talking about the national game, you have to see it through.” 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. Sam Allardyce Gary Neville has questioned why Sam Allardyce would deserve a pay-off after losing his job as England manager following a Telegraph investigation.The former England assistant boss described Allardyce’s behaviour as “clumsy” after he left his job last week, having been in charge for just one match, amid the disclosures.He had been filmed by undercover reporters giving advice on how to get around Football Association rules and negotiating a £400,000 personal appearances deal.Allardyce reportedly received a £1million pay-off when his contract was terminated by mutual consent after he was covertly filmed less than three months in charge of the national side.  It came as John Motson, the country’s best-known football commentator, said the greed of some people had become a “cancer” infecting the game.Southgate – who has been given the England job for the next four games, but hopes he can impress the FA enough to make him the permanent choice – said: “I have to say I’m involved in a sport that I love and an industry that at times I don’t like.”He said he did not have “the detail” about the latest revelations, so could not comment in detail but added: “There’s lots about the industry of football that I don’t like but it’s a sport I love, representing my country was something I loved and they’re the bits I have to focus on.” The 61-year-old said he made an “error of judgment” and had “paid the consequences”.Commenting on the investigation, Neville said: “The question that needs asking more than anything is that the FA cited ‘inappropriate behaviour’, yet reports suggest there has been a pay-off of a £1m.  The former England defender, 46, has been in charge of the country’s under-21 team for the past three years after a three-year stint managing Middlesbrough.Giving his first press conference ahead of England’s World Cup qualifying match against Malta at the weekend, he said football was the sport of his dreams “as a kid” but with the “business side of the game” there were “many many different areas that I don’t particularly like”.last_img read more

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Termtime holidays Parents can be prosecuted for taking children out of school

first_imgMinisters have argued that children must be in school every day, and that every extra day of school a child misses can affect their GCSE results.How many children miss school for holidays?Figures published by the Department for Education last month showed that around a million schoolchildren missed lessons last year after taking family trips during term time.About one in six pupils in England took at least a half day off for a trip in the 2015/16 academic year with the vast majority doing so without getting permission from the head teacher.Overall, there were 801,980 pupils in England’s state primary, secondary and special schools (11.9 per cent) with one or more sessions (half days) of absence due to unauthorised family holidays, and 223,080 students (3.3 per cent) with at least one missed session due to agreed family breaks.There are no overall figures on the numbers of parents handed fines for taking children out of school, but figures previously showed that in the 2014/15 academic year, at least 50,414 penalty notices were issued due to children being taken out of lessons for trips.This was up 25 per cent on the year before, when at least 40,218 penalties were given out, and up 173 per cent from the 18,484 fines handed out by local authorities in 2012/13. These figures cover 71 councils that provided data for all three years. But a QC for Mr Platt described the submission as a new and radical interpretation of the law which was absurd and would ”criminalise parents on an unprecedented scale”.James Eadie QC, for the Education Secretary, argued it would be ”absurd” if parents could go on holiday with children when ”the sun is out and foreign climes beckon” in a way that ”undermined” Government policy on unauthorised absences.The Government ordered a crackdown on school absences in 2013.New guidelines were introduced for English schools which only allow heads to permit pupils to miss classes in ”exceptional circumstances”.Families complain that trips in official holiday periods are up to four times more expensive, and local councils have reported that the number of breaks in term time is increasing. Reading out the court’s verdict,  Lady Hale, Deputy President of the Supreme Court, said that Parliament would not have found it “acceptable” for children to be taken out of school by parents with a “blatant disregard for the rules”.”This is not an approach to rule-keeping which any educational system can be expected to find acceptable,” she added. It is a slap in the face to those obedient parents who do keep the rules, whatever the cost or inconvenience to themselves. “The case will be returned to the magistrates’ court with a direction to proceed as if the submission of no case to answer had been rejected.”The ruling will be seen as a victory for the Department of Education, which tightened the rules in 2013 in response to the rising numbers of parents taking their children out of school during term-time in order to avoid the surge in prices charged by travel companies during the peak holiday seasons.It followed a pledge by the then Education Secretary Michael Gove to curb the scale of unauthorised absences in primary schools – which were then twice as high as secondaries. Jon Platt High Court  Jon Platt Commenting, a spokesman for the council said the ruling had provided “much-needed clarity”, adding that it would continue to apply its code of conduct on school absences in accordance with the judgement.A Department for Education spokesman said it was “pleased” with the judgement, adding that it had removed lingering “uncertainty” for schools and local authorities.“The evidence shows every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances,” they added.Father: This is the state taking away parents’ rightsSpeaking after the ruling was given, Mr Platt said he was “not at all surprised” at the judgment.He said: “I’m pleased that they acknowledged the judgment doesn’t go on to say what the school rules should be. Schools need to think very carefully about what these rules should be.”Some have policies that mean that every day missed is a criminal offence.”He added that schools need to build in some flexibility to “attenuate the shocking outcome of this case”. He added: “I have absolutely no intention of pleading guilty to this offence when it goes back to the magistrates’ court.”To parents all over England I say this: the legal battle is now over. There is no right of appeal beyond this place. It will be a generation or more before this court revisits this issue, if ever it does.”You can no longer make the decision to take your children out of school, even for one morning without permission of the state.”Labour: Taking children out of school creates ‘chaos’Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Thursday, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said removing children from school during term-time would create “chaos” in the classroom.She said: “I completely understand the difficulties that working parents face – I did myself as a single mum.”But it’s really, really important that we set that principle that actually children should attend school in term-time. There are exceptional circumstances, there is discretion at the moment.”But if all parents took their children out of school in term-time because it was cheaper to get a holiday that way, then it would be chaos in our schools and it would affect all children.”What is the background to this case?The High Court ruling in May last year cleared Mr Platt of failing to ensure his daughter attended school regularly, as required by section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996.Mr Platt’s request for permission to take his daughter out of school was refused by her head teacher. Speaking in Parliament Square after the ruling, Mr Platt apologised to his wife for his stubbornness, adding that he was “not at all surprised” by the verdict.However, he said that he felt the decision was “outrageous” and “shocking”, as he warned parents with outstanding fines to pay them or face “ending up here in two years time”.Speaking to The Telegraph, he added: “I really hope people have paid them, but I know there will be those who don’t because they think they can still win.“I say to them that it is very difficult to do so now, because this ruling makes it very difficult to win the case. If you think that you can argue that 99 percent constitutes good attendance, you can’t.” Jon Platt speaking outside the High Court in May last year Credit:Matthew Chattle/REX/Shutterstock Jon Platt outside the Supreme Court on ThursdayCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty Mr Platt added that the decision represented a victory for the Department of Education, and symbolised the “state” wrestling parents’ rights over their children’s welfare away from them.He now faces legal costs of more than £10,000  and could be fined a maximum penalty of £1,000 when the case is reexamined at the Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court later this year. Jon Platt arrives at the Supreme Court  Until the Supreme Court’s ruling, many parents presumed they could escape prosecution for truancy, providing they could demonstrate that their child had regularly attended school.But on Thursday that question was unequivocally answered, with the judges ruling that unless a child is sick, absent due to religious observance reasons, or unable to attend because their school transport did not arrive, they must attend school – unless the headteacher has stated otherwise.It means that even half a day’s absence, unauthorised, could lead to prosecution – although the judges noted that “trivial” breaches of the law would likely receive a lesser sentence, such as a fixed-penalty notice or an acquittal.It comes two years after Mr Platt was unsuccessfully prosecuted by the Isle of Wight Council after he failed to pay a £120 fine, leading the authority to pursue the case through the case through High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court. The Department for Education has told parents that their children missing just a few days in the classroom can damage GCSE results.Why is this such an important decision?The crux of the matter is that five Supreme Court judges were being asked to consider whether or not Mr Platt committed an offence by failing to ensure his daughter “attended school regularly”, as required by section 444(1) of the 1996 Education Act. As managing director of JMP Partnership, a business which advises clients who have been mis-sold PPI, Mr Platt has been providing guidance to other parents facing prosecution during his landmark legal battle.But on Thursday there were fears that advice issued by the 46-year-old on his website may have resulted in some parents refusing to pay fines issued by their local authority – meaning they too could now face hefty penalties and a criminal record.The guidance, published by Mr Platt, who colleagues said was currently undertaking a law degree, claims that there “is a very good chance” that local authorities will “withdraw” fines if your child’s attendance is over 92.3 percent.Following Thursday’s ruling, however, he emphasised that “all parents with outstanding fines” should now pay them. After the holiday, he was issued with a fixed penalty notice, but he did not pay the £60 by the initial deadline, and was sent a further invoice for £120, which he also did not pay.At a Supreme Court hearing in January, the local authority, backed by the Education Secretary, argued that a child’s unauthorised absence from school ”for even a single day, or even half a day” can amount to a criminal offence. Jon Platt and his wife Sally outside the Supreme Court in central London on Thursday morning Jon Platt said schools now need to think ‘very carefully’ about absence rulesCredit:Stefan Rousseau/PA Jon Platt and his wife Sally outside the Supreme Court in central London on Thursday morningCredit:Stefan Rousseau/PA Mr Platt warned other parents to pay any outstanding fines or “face ending up here in two years time”, adding that the decision represented the “state” wrestling the duty of care for children away from their parents. “The issue is no longer about term-time holidays,” he said. “It is about the state taking the rights of parents away from making decisions about their children. “Many of you thought, as I did in 2015 when I took my daughter on holiday, that it would be grossly unfair to retrospectively criminalise me. That was very nearly the case.”  A key High Court finding was that the magistrates who originally heard the case were legally entitled to take into account the daughter’s overall attendance record and not just her lack of “regular attendance” during the Florida holiday period.At a Supreme Court hearing in January, the Isle of Wight council argued a child’s unauthorised absence from school “for even a single day, or even half a day” can amount to a criminal offence.A QC for Mr Platt, described the submission as a new and radical interpretation of the law which was absurd and would “criminalise parents on an unprecedented scale”.The action was being closely watched by parents across the country. 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 High Court ruling led to a surge in term-time holiday bookings, which are expected to fall sharply after Thursday’s ruling. Parents may no longer believe it is worth taking them out of lessons to take advantage of cheaper holiday prices.As the Supreme Court decided in favour of education bosses, it means that schools and local councils could be even tougher on families whose children miss any school without permission.What are the current rules?In the autumn of 2013, there was a major crackdown on absence, including term-time holidays.New rules were brought in, which said head teachers could only grant leave in “exceptional circumstances”. Previously, school leaders were able to approve leave of up to 10 days for “special circumstances”.Fines for unauthorised absence were also increased in 2013, with parents now incurring a penalty of £60, rising to £120 if it is not paid within 21 days. anyone who fails to pay within 28 days can face prosecution. Parents who take their children out of school for term time holidays can be prosecuted, the Supreme Court has ruled as a “stubborn” father lost his landmark case on Thursday whilst appealing to parents not to follow his example.Delivering their verdict, the judges ruled that Jon Platt, a businessman from the Isle of Wight who took his six-year-old daughter on a seven-day family trip in Florida in April 2015, should have paid a £120 fine for his daughter’s unauthorised absence.The judges said he had shown a “blatant disregard of school rules” and that his approach had been a “slap in the face” to “obedient” parents who abide by the law.Their ruling means that parents who take their children out of school on holiday – even if their child has regular attendance – can be prosecuted if they do not receive permission from the head teacher.last_img read more

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Key eyewitness says she saw young woman acting suspiciously on night Madeleine

first_imgMs Murat said she told detectives at the time but the information is now thought to be a significant part of the investigation. She said she also saw a brown car speeding towards the McCann’s apartment  that night going the wrong way down a one-way street. “It was a small rental car,” she told the BBC.  People walk past a church in Praia da Luz where a memorial mass for Madeleine McCann will be celebrated on May 3, 2017, on the 10th anniversary of her disappearanceCredit:AFP At the time, her parents Kate and Gerry were eating dinner with friends at a restaurant around 40 yards away.  Ms Murat told the BBC she remembered driving passed the McCann’s apartment that night and seeing a young woman acting suspiciously right outside. “She looked like she was trying to hide from me. I do remember she was wearing a plum coloured top,” she told the BBC.  A key eyewitness in the hunt for Madeleine McCann has revealed she saw a young woman standing right outside the family’s apartment acting suspiciously. Jenny Murat, a British expat who lives a few minutes from the McCann’s holiday home in Portugal’s Praia da Luz, said she is still haunted by what happened. Speaking publicly for the first time, the 81-year-old described what she saw on the night – now reported to be a significant part of the investigation. Wednesday marked a decade since three-year-old Madeleine went missing from the family’s apartment, where she was sleeping with her siblings twins Amelie and Sean. People walk past a church in Praia da Luz where a memorial mass for Madeleine McCann will be celebrated on May 3, 2017, on the 10th anniversary of her disappearance “I saw the driver, both of us looked at each other. He had a very British look about him.”center_img  Robert Murat was a suspect in McCann case Credit:Geoff Pugh   Robert Murrat was a suspect in McCann case  Her son Robert, 43, was investigated and then ruled out as an official suspect by Portuguese police. He has also spoken publicly on the anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance, saying he would like to know “the truth” and why he was a suspect.”It didn’t only leave to me being destroyed, it was my whole family,” he told BBC News. 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

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Is artificial intelligence a threat to civilisation

first_imgArtificial intelligence risks being exploited by terrorists to mount driverless car crashes and cyber attacks because the technology is being rapidly developed without thought for its downsides, Oxford and Cambridge researchers have warned. Dr Shahar Avin, part of the research group, explains the risks we face today and could face in the future.last_img

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Yellow vest protester James Goddard who called Anna Soubry a Nazi on

He has embraced Facebook and Twitter to promote his cause, claiming the “mainstream media” is biased. 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. James Goddard (centre)Credit:London News Pictures The self-styled yellow vest protester James Goddard has pleaded guilty to harassing MP Anna Soubry when he was filmed on live TV calling her a “traitor” and a “Nazi”.Goddard, who was often seen on demonstrations with his supporters wearing a hi-vis vest, had denied one count of harassment without violence outside the Houses of Parliament when Ms Soubry, then a Conservative MP, was called a “Nazi, traitor and scum”.On Friday, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, his lawyer said they would be seeking a Goodyear indication – where a defendant can find out what sentence they might face before considering their plea. But at around 3pm, he admitted the charge. Goddard also admitted one count of racially/religiously aggravated harassment/alarm/distress by words/writing, towards Pc Mindaugas Sciukas.Goddard, of Timperley in Altrincham, was thrown out of court during a previous case management hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last month after interrupting the judge.Ms Soubry – a prominent remainer and member of the Change UK party after defecting from the Tories in February – was expected to give evidence in person during the hearing, but did not take the stand because of the guilty plea.Goddard had previously denied any wrongdoing, insisting it was “fair comment”.  James Goddard (centre) The former forklift truck driver has previously declared he is a full-time political activist who will “rattle” the Establishment to ensure Britain leaves the European Union.In a Facebook video filmed outside Parliament he is seen stabbing his finger at police as he declares: “You wanna war, I’ll give you a war. You want it, it’s on.”  James Goddard in London Goddard has insisted he has done nothing wrong and has rejected the suggestion he was simply trying to make money through donations.He will be sentenced to the two counts of harassment on Monday. He then rounds on a policeman, asking: “Who do you think you are pint-sized? Don’t touch me” before apparently telling someone: “You’re fair game. You ain’t even f***ing British.”Goddard supports Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who as Tommy Robinson founded the English Defence League (EDL) in 2009 which held anti-Muslim protests, highlighting cases where Asian gangs had groomed young girls.Born Jamie Patrick Goddard in Leicester July 1989, he is the only child of Mark and Stephanie Goddard, who have since split up.According to a school friend, Mr Goddard attended a comprehensive school and then worked as a forklift truck driver before getting a job at a local taxi company.He came to prominence as a Far Right activist after persuading organisers at a ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ rally last summer in Westminster to allow him to speak on stage.Since then he has travelled to demonstrations in major cities across the UK, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Sunderland, Manchester and Leeds. James Goddard in LondonCredit:Barcroft read more

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North Koreas Kim promises no more nuclear or missile tests

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedNorth Korea ‘ready for nuclear attack’ amid show of forceApril 15, 2017In “World”North Korea rocket launch: UN Security Council to have emergency talksFebruary 7, 2016In “World”North Korea: Trump and Kim call each other madSeptember 22, 2017In “World” State media showed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspecting what it said was a hydrogen bombSEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — North Korea will carry out no more nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests and will shut down its atomic test site, it said Saturday in a move immediately welcomed by US President Donald Trump.Pyongyang’s declaration, long sought by Washington, will be seen as a crucial step in the fast diplomatic dance on and around the Korean peninsula.It comes less than a week before North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a summit in the Demilitarised Zone that divides the peninsula, ahead of a much-anticipated encounter with Trump himself.The North had developed its weapons in what he called a “great victory”, and so “no nuclear test and intermediate-range and inter-continental ballistic rocket test-fire are necessary for the DPRK now”.“The mission of the northern nuclear test ground has thus come to an end,” he added at the gathering of the central committee of the Workers’ Party, according to the official KCNA news agency.The party decided that nuclear blasts and ICBM launches will cease as of Saturday — the North has not carried any out since November — and the atomic test site at Punggye-ri will be dismantled to “transparently guarantee” the end of testing.Within minutes of the report being issued, Trump tweeted: “This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress! Look forward to our Summit.”Pyongyang has made rapid technological progress in its weapons programmes under Kim, which has seen it subjected to increasingly strict sanctions by the UN Security Council, the United States, the European Union, South Korea and others.Last year it carried out its sixth nuclear blast, it’s most powerful to date, and tested missiles it said are capable of reaching the US mainland.Kim and Trump traded threats of war and personal insults as tensions ramped up, and even when there was an extended pause in testing, US officials said that it could not be interpreted as a halt without an explicit statement from Pyongyang.South Korean envoys have previously cited Kim as promising no more tests, but Saturday’s news is the first such announcement directly by Pyongyang.“Certainly this is a positive development,” said Daniel Pinkston of Troy University. “It’s a necessary but not sufficient step in North Korea returning to its past non-proliferation commitments.”The formal declaration of an end to testing comes after Kim stated in his New Year speech that the development of North Korea’s nuclear force had been completed.In the same address, he said he had a nuclear button on his desk, prompting Trump to tweet that he had a bigger one of his own.Events have moved rapidly since then, catalysed by the Winter Olympics in the South, and Seoul is now pushing for a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War, raising hopes that a settlement could finally be reached on the peninsula.But there is a long way to go and Moon himself acknowledged this week that the “devil is in the details”.The US is seeking the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the North, while according to Moon, Pyongyang wants security guarantees, leaving much room for negotiation. The North has long demanded the withdrawal of US troops from the peninsula and an end to its nuclear umbrella over South Korea, something unthinkable in Washington.For its part, Pyongyang has been relatively reticent about the process, making its first official reference to contacts with the US only last week, when KCNA said Kim had discussed “the prospect of the DPRK-US dialogue”.But the leader told the Workers’ Party meeting: “A fresh climate of detente and peace is being created on the Korean peninsula and the region and dramatic changes are being made in the international political landscape.”For years, the impoverished North has pursued a “byungjin” policy of “simultaneous development” of both the military and the economy.But Kim said that as it was now a powerful state, “the whole party and country” should concentrate on “socialist economic construction”, in what he called the party’s “new strategic line”.Several factors have driven the Korean rapprochement, including the North feeling that it can now negotiate from a position of strength, concern about the belligerence of the Trump administration, and the looming impact of sanctions.Professor Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean Studies told AFP: “This is in effect a declaration of abandoning the byungjin policy for the sake of economic development.”“The North will now engage in negotiations with the US to obtain the normalisation of ties, guarantee against attempts to undermine its regime, and the lifting of sanctions which are essential for developing economy and improving people’s livelihoods,” Yang said. read more

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Female busted with ganja at Bartica stelling male implicated also in

The 1169 grams of compressed marijuanaA 32-year-old female resident of Patentia, West Bank Demerara (WBD), along with a 30-year-old male resident of La Grange, WBD were arrested after the female was busted at the Bartica Stelling with 1169 grams of compressed cannabis.According to information from the police, when officers, acting on intelligence, intercepted the woman on Saturday around 08:45h at the stelling, she was reportedly in possession of a plastic bucket which when checked was found to contain two taped parcels of compressed cannabis.The illegal substance when weighed amounted to one thousand one hundred and sixty nine grams.According to the police, the male person was arrested nearby in connection with the said narcotics.Investigations are ongoing. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related2 nabbed in Bartica with cannabisSeptember 16, 2018In “Crime”Two arrested for possession of cannabis at BarticaSeptember 17, 2018In “Court”Bartica man busted with 1027 grams of ganjaFebruary 10, 2018In “Crime” read more

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Black Thunder mine surpasses one year and 25 million employeehours with zero

first_imgThunder Basin Coal’s Black Thunder mine near Wright, Wyoming, USA surpassed 365 days and 2.5 million employee-hours without a single lost-time safety incident on April 28, 2009. During that time, the mining company’s 1,200 employees have produced more than 8% of the annual US coal supply from this mine. This achievement exceeds the mine’s previous safety record of 1.7 million employee-hours worked without a lost-time incident during 2001, which earned Black Thunder the Sentinels of Safety Award in recognition for operating the safest surface mine in America.“This record safety achievement is a real tribute to the men and women of Black Thunder,” says Ken Cochran, President and General Manager of Thunder Basin.  “The employees have each made a personal commitment to safety and are really working together to eliminate all incidents and injuries every day of every year.”In 2007, Thunder Basin was the first of Arch Coal’s subsidiaries to adopt a behaviour-based safety process to target at-risk behaviours. The Thunder Basin SABERS (Safety Actions Bring Employees Real Satisfaction) process includes peer-to-peer observations and problem-solving leadership. “Through our SABERS initiative, employees are empowered to be the primary drivers in the safety process,” says Thunder Basin’s Safety Manager Tim McCreary. “This level of individual engagement is helping drive our safety performance to the next level.”St. Louis-based Arch Coal is one of the largest US coal producers. Arch supplies cleaner-burning, low-sulphur coal to fuel roughly 6% of America’s electricity through its national network of mines. It attained an overall safety record in 2008 that was three times better than the US coal industry average, representing the company’s best year on record as measured by total incident rate and lost-time incident rate.last_img read more

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