Randy Moss Making Strong Impression With 49ers

Randy Moss, the sometimes indifferent receiver, will make a difference for the San Francisco 49ers, he teammates believe.Going off what the 14-year veteran has done in training camp – on and off the field – the Niners see Moss as a difference-maker.“I find myself saying, ‘Wow!’ a couple of times,” star tight end Vernon Davis said. “He’s been in the league, what? Fourteen years? Yet he can still do some of the things he’s done in the past.”“I watched him on film the other day, then I tapped Delanie [Walker, another tight end] and said, ‘Man, he’s moving.’ He ran a ‘go’ route, and he left the corner behind. I looked at Delanie and said, ‘Wow, he’s moving. I can’t believe he can still run.’“But he runs well. You can tell he’s getting older and that he doesn’t have some of the attributes he did when he was younger. But he can still get it done.”Moss, apparently, is driving by one thing.“All he wants,” one GM told cbssports.com, “is a ring. The guy loves the game and wants a Super Bowl ring.”He is on a squad that could do just that. The 49ers had one of the top defenses last year and every starter from that unit remains on the team. And they bolster their offensive skill-position players. San Francisco signed Moss for one year at $2.5 million, not knowing what to expect from the future Hall of Famer.But Moss has been the ideal teammate – so far. He has been among the first to arrive to team meetings and practice. He shares his knowledge with younger teammates.“Randy can still stretch the defense,” linebacker Patrick Willis said. “He can still create a mindset with a defense where it’s ‘OK, where’s Randy? We have to know where Randy is at all times.’ And that’s going to allow other guys to be able to be free.”“He’s going to be an asset,” said quarterback Alex Smith. “For a guy his size to play the ball in the air the way he does and to run like he does is a unique ability. Anytime you get in the red zone, if you want to load the box and play one-on-one with him that’s a gamble — and that makes him a real threat.“Second, I just think the attitude and the professionalism he’s brought to the receiving corps is going to do nothing but contribute to us. The guy’s been in a lot of offenses and won a lot of games. I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s a great communicator as a receiver, and that’s good for our receivers to see.” read more

Cowboys Defense Brings Desperately Needed Win Over Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys defense rebounded to deliver a win to the team in Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins.The Cowboy’s defense was blamed for last week’s loss to the Denver Broncos, but this week it was the cause of the desperately needed 31-16 victory.“Huge, huge win for us,” middle linebacker Sean Lee said late Sunday night as he stood outside the Cowboys locker room. “We knew we needed to uphold our end of the bargain.”Last week, the Cowboys lost their lead in the NFC East and owner Jerry Jones called the loss a moral victory and described how import this win was for the team.“I don’t want to call it pressure, but there was a lot riding on it,”  Jones said. “We did not need to lose this ball game. This was a moral victory.”As a note to the improvement of the Cowboys defense, they sacked Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III three times after getting just one sack combined in the past two games against Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning.The Cowboys are hoping for their first chance at consecutive wins this season as they take on the Philadelphia Eagles on their home field next week. read more

How Derrick Rose Drills His Ugly Midrange Jumpers

For everything Derrick Rose has accomplished in his decorated NBA career — No. 1 overall draft pick, three-time All-Star, youngest player to ever win league MVP — no one would ever accuse him of being a good 3-point shooter. After shooting 28 percent from deep two years ago and 29 percent last year, Rose is hitting just 22 percent1The league-average mark this season is 36 percent. of his shots from 3-point range this season, the third-worst mark in the league among the 267 players who’ve attempted at least 50 3-pointers so far.But for all his struggles from three, something extraordinary happens when Rose steps just inside the arc: The New York Knicks guard somehow manages to hit midrange jumpers at an above-average clip despite shooting line-drive bullets that barely make it over the rim. Sometimes the ends excuse the means.When an average NBA player shoots from 15 feet or more, his shot arc peaks at 15.1 feet. Rose is not average. His shots from that distance peak at just 14 feet, the lowest average shot arc of any NBA guard or small forward, according to a query run by SportVU data analyst Brittni Donaldson at FiveThirtyEight’s request.This shouldn’t work out for him. Research shows that loftier arcs improve a shot’s chances of finding the bottom of the net. “I’ve always felt you had to be even more accurate than normal to be able to make a shot when you’re using a low arc like that,” says Jeff Hornacek, Rose’s coach with the Knicks, and one of the league’s best shooters during his playing days.Yet Rose, with almost no arc whatsoever, hits better than 45 percent of his 2-pointers from outside 15 feet, according to NBA.com. For context, the rest of the NBA has shot 40.5 percent from that range this year, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/rosemake.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/roseagain.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.“I’ve tried practicing [my shot] with more arc. But this is just more comfortable. I really can’t describe [why],” Rose told me after shooting 6-for-6 on long 2-pointers in a loss to Milwaukee Wednesday night. “I’ve been a midrange player my entire life. [I] have never really been a 3-point shooter.” The emergence of a solid midrange jumper, combined with his lengthy injury history, will make the 28-year-old an intriguing free agent this coming summer.Still, none of this is meant to suggest that Rose — who, for a long time, was talented and athletic enough to get by without being able to shoot jumpers — is on the cusp of morphing into Steph Curry.2Rose himself seems to accept this fact. Threes have accounted for just 7 percent of his shots this season, down from 14 percent last season and almost 33 percent in 2014-15. His shooting form can occasionally go awry as he lunges with his upper half instead of connecting his entire body through one fluid motion. And Rose sometimes doesn’t let go of the ball until he’s on the way back down,3NBA 2K players likely know this problem all too well thanks to the game’s shot meter. limiting the arc he can get on a given shot. “With Derrick, I always emphasize finishing at 11 o’clock instead of 9 o’clock, which means releasing at the peak of his jump instead of doing it on the way down,” says trainer Rob McClanaghan, who has worked with Rose since he was 18.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/roselaterelease1.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.To compensate for his lower delivery, Rose goes for bank shots more often than his peers do. Rose began using bank shots far more often last season, saying they helped him deal with the blurred vision and lack of depth perception he experienced after breaking his orbital bone during training camp. He ranked second in in the league in bank-shot frequency last season,4Among players with at least 30 such attempts. when he took 76 shots off the glass. And while that number is down this season (24 attempts), banked shots still account for almost 6 percent of his jumpers.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/roselinedriveshot3.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/roselinedrive1.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Using the glass allows players to aim a bit lower than they otherwise would for a jumper. And it’s likely not a coincidence that Rose’s shot-arc numbers (14 feet this season and 14.2 last season) are nearly identical to those of ex-Spurs great Tim Duncan (13.9 feet in 2015-16 and 14.2 in 2014-15, per SportVU), who perennially took a greater share of bank shots than any other player during his time in the league, according to NBA Savant, a site tracks and compiles the specific types of shots each player takes.So while Rose may not be a good perimeter shooter in a traditional sense, he’s actually become pretty solid in another regard. We simply don’t notice because his technique doesn’t look like it should work.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

LeBron May Already Be The Greatest Laker Of AllTime

CelticsBird • Pierce • Parish1,21363% 1James+11.1Mikan28.5Chamberlain.248 You can make the case that Jabbar — and maybe also Chamberlain and Karl Malone, who had a cup of coffee with the Lakers when he was 40 — generated more total value in their careers than James has to date. So his case as the greatest player to ever wear a Lakers uniform is not totally open and shut. But the fact that James can even enter the argument, a day into his tenure with one of the most decorated franchises in pro sports history, is telling about his stature among NBA legends.It remains to be seen if James will be the Lakers’ lone surefire future Hall of Famer next season; whether he gets big-name help will likely determine L.A.’s viability as a true threat to the Golden State Warriors’ supremacy right away. Whatever happens, though, James has finally restored to the Lakers the one resource they’ve scarcely been able to live without over the years: legendary talent. Thunder/SonicsPayton • Durant • Westbrook56636 PistonsLanier • Thomas • Hill56239 LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform used to be the stuff of fan photoshops and NBA 2K’s franchise mode.1Usually accomplished by switching off the game’s trading AI. But now it has become reality, after the announcement Sunday night that James is signing a four-year, $153 million free-agent contract with L.A. It might be jarring at first to see James in Lakers gear this fall — but he’ll fit right in with a franchise whose destiny has always been determined by Hall of Fame talent. In fact, even among the Lakers’ many, many historical stars, James could be the best player who ever suited up for the team the first second that he steps onto a court wearing Forum blue and gold.In their 70-year history, the Lakers have won 16 NBA championships, one behind their archrival Boston Celtics for the most by any franchise in the league. And most of that success has been due to the team’s immense star power: players such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor … the list goes on and on. If we measure player value using a mixture of Basketball-Reference.com’s Player Efficiency Rating and Win Shares, and look back in history to 1963,2For accounting purposes, this was the first season for which we know exactly how many minutes a player split between teams if he switched teams midseason. Los Angeles has gotten nearly 1,200 total wins above replacement3Using the same replacement-level threshold as in Daniel Myers’s VORP metric. from players who either eventually ended up in the Hall of Fame or are likely to be there someday — a number that represents roughly 60 percent of the team’s total wins above replacement over that period. In each regard, only the Celtics have gotten more out of their Hall members, and the Lakers might have surpassed even Boston if we could have also included the contributions of Mikan and Vern Mikkelsen (who played before we have a precise accounting of a player’s minutes spent with each team during a season). KnicksEwing • Frazier • Reed56339 5Horry+4.8Jabbar23.0West.213 4O’Neal+5.3West23.1Johnson.225 BPM is calculated since 1974. PER and WS/48 are calculated since 1952.Source: Basketball-Reference.com JazzMalone • Stockton • Dantley55841 * Weighting active players’ WAR by their Hall of Fame probability.WAR is calculated using a mixture of Win Shares and Player Efficiency Rating.Source: Basketball-Reference.com 3Jabbar+5.4O’Neal26.1Jabbar.228 WarriorsCurry • Barry • Mullin53939 10Harper+3.8Baylor21.8Bryant.171 9Grant+4.0Howard22.3Howard.172 RocketsOlajuwon • Harden • Malone68845 6Bryant+4.4Johnson23.0O’Neal.208 8Russell+4.1Bryant22.4Dantley.189 SpursDuncan • Robinson • Gervin73939 LakersBryant • Jabbar • Johnson1,16558 Top 10 in BPMTop 10 in PERTop 10 in WS/48 Which teams have relied on Hall of Famers?The franchises with the most wins above replacement (WAR) from players who are currently in, or are likely to be in,* the Hall of Fame, 1963-2018 7Gasol+4.4Chamberlain22.8Malone.205 The Lakers’ greatest players, by the numbersWhere LeBron James ranks in career Box Plus/Minus, Player Efficiency Rating and Win Shares per 48 minutes relative to other Lakers 76ersBarkley • Erving • Chamberlain71350 2Johnson+7.4James28.3James.238 From 1997 through 2013, the Lakers had picked up double-digit WAR from Hall of Fame players in 16 of 17 seasons, almost always managing to pair Bryant with an all-time great like an O’Neal or a Pau Gasol (who, perhaps surprisingly, has a 93 percent Hall probability according to Basketball-Reference). It was part of a pipeline that had flowed nearly uninterrupted since the days of Mikan in the 1950s. But since 2014, Los Angeles has gotten a mere 2.4 WAR from future Hall of Famers, almost all of it belonging to Gasol before he departed for the Bulls. (Apologies to Lou Williams and Jordan Hill, but they’ll probably have to pay to visit Springfield like the rest of us.)Even granting that we don’t know what the future will ultimately hold for younger prospects such as Julius Randle, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, the Lakers had never gotten fewer than 7 WAR from Hall of Famers in any five-year span since 1963 — and that dark period came from 1992 to 1996, right after Johnson abruptly retired after contracting HIV. The franchise really was never forced to confront life without an NBA legend for so long until very recently.And thanks to James, it won’t have to anymore. Our CARMELO projection system thinks LeBron will add about 12 wins to the Lakers’ tally next season. Depending on whether L.A. can also trade for Kawhi Leonard (or sign another star to pair with James), the team could see its Hall of Fame contributions be rebuilt even further. Either way, the Lakers’ pipeline of all-time talent is gushing again.Moreover, by the historical metrics, LeBron might instantly be the best player who has ever suited up for the Lakers (in terms of stats produced across a player’s entire career, not just with the Lakers). James is the NBA’s all-time career leader in Box Plus/Minus (which can be calculated going back to 1974), easily outpacing Johnson. Among fellow Lakers, he trails only Mikan in Player Efficiency Rating (ranking one slot ahead of O’Neal), and he trails only Chamberlain in Win Shares per 48 minutes (coming in one spot better than Jabbar): FranchiseTop three HOF players by WARWAR By all HOFHOF % of total WAR read more

Geno Smith Wasnt Better Than His Backup

In the most surreal bit of sports news to hit Tuesday’s wires, Geno Smith, the incumbent starting quarterback for the New York Jets, is going to miss six to 10 weeks with an injury. And it wasn’t just any kind of injury; it was the kind you get when a teammate punches you and breaks your jaw.According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, now-cut linebacker IK Enemkpali slugged Smith because he failed to reimburse Enemkpali for a $600 plane ticket. Jets fans — at least, Jets fans in the FiveThirtyEight office — rejoiced. But coming into the preseason, this Jets team showed at least a vague sense of promise. Are the Jets really better off without Smith? Last year, New York went 4-12 (3-10 under Smith) with one of the NFL’s worst passing offenses, and Smith was pretty bad for the second straight season. In fact, his career has gotten off to one of the worst starts of any QB since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Although Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Terry Bradshaw kicked off their careers with equally bad passing efficiency numbers, it’s far more likely that Smith is a talent on par with, say, Kyle Boller than that he’s harboring hidden star potential.And while Smith will be 25 this season, an age at which QBs still show a decent amount of improvement, the typical aging curve wouldn’t even carry Smith to league-average status at his peak.Meanwhile, the Jets’ backup quarterback isn’t a bad one. Longtime Buffalo Bills starter Ryan Fitzpatrick occupied the seat behind Smith and — statistically speaking — he’s probably a better QB than the man slated for the huddle, at least in the short term. Over the past two seasons (when he was with the Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans), Fitzpatrick’s Total QBR1ESPN’s play-by-play-based measurement of quarterbacking performance, which grades on a 0-100 scale. of 54.1 was better than Smith’s 41.2 mark during that span, and Fitzpatrick’s cumulative ProFootballFocus grade of +11.3 vastly outpaced Smith’s total of -37.3. By the numbers, the Jets are better off with the glass-jawed Smith out of the game, holding a clipboard on the sidelines.Of course, these kinds of assessments always come with the caveat that individual football statistics are obscured by countless interactions, coaching decisions and other contextual factors. And the Jets did add a good receiver over the offseason, Brandon Marshall, so it’s possible Smith would have improved significantly in 2015 had he not run afoul of Enemkpali’s fist. But Jets fans shouldn’t worry too much about what might have been: The team’s offense will probably be better with Fitzpatrick under center than it would have been with Smith. read more

Evan Turner injured taken to medical center

Junior guard Evan Turner was injured Saturday after falling to the floor after an attempted dunk in the first half of Ohio State’s game against Eastern Michigan. Turner left the floor under his own power, but was taken to the OSU Medical Center for precautionary x-rays on his lower back.Turner leads the Buckeyes in points, rebounds and assists per game.Stay tuned to www.thelantern.com for more information and coverage of the game.

Experts differ on Buckeyes chances at BCS bowl berth

Following Saturday’s 38-14 win over Penn State, No. 9 Ohio State was stagnant in the BCS ranks, along with the rest of the top 10. But that doesn’t mean things didn’t change. Rece Davis of ESPN is a strong believer of the same “chaos” theory that brought the Buckeyes to the national title game in 2007. He thinks it could happen again, and the first step was Utah falling to Notre Dame 28-3 last Saturday. TCU, ranked No. 3 in the BCS, beat Utah 47-7 one week earlier. “I think that people have re-evaluated TCU’s resume,” Davis said in a phone interview with The Lantern. “So what that’s done, I think, is it’s opened the door for some of the one-loss teams. “It’s not a high percentage of a chance, but I think there is a chance. Should (TCU and No. 4 Boise State) lose, then you have complete and utter chaos that would be in line with what happened in 2007.” That year, a series of upsets propelled OSU from No. 7 in the BCS to No. 1 in a span of three weeks. For Davis’ theory to come to fruition, three of the four remaining undefeated teams — Oregon, Auburn, TCU and Boise State — would likely have to lose. OSU would have to win impressively this weekend in Iowa, and Wisconsin would have to falter in one of its two final games against Northwestern or Michigan. It would then be up to the BCS to jump the Buckeyes ahead of No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Stanford and No. 8 Nebraska. Davis said he would give the Buckeyes the nod over other one-loss teams because they had been ranked No. 1 before losing to Wisconsin. He said he expects No. 2 Auburn to struggle with Alabama and then South Carolina in the SEC Championship game. He also said Oregon State could give Oregon a run for its money in the annual “Civil War” game, and said a Boise State loss to No. 18 Nevada is a “possibility.” Jerry Palm of CBS Sports said the only way the Buckeyes would go to the National Championship game is if every team ahead of them lost. “I never really thought Ohio State was going to get a lot of juice from (beating) Iowa anyway,” he said. “But giving (the Hawkeyes) their fourth loss instead of their third loss diminishes that,” he said, referring to Iowa’s third loss of the season last week, which came against Northwestern. In his weekly bowl projections, Palm has OSU playing in the Capital One Bowl, Michigan State playing in the Rose Bowl and Wisconsin playing in the Sugar Bowl. If the Buckeyes win the rest of their games, they are guaranteed at least a share of the Big Ten Title — an honor that could help their case for a BCS game. Coach Jim Tressel doesn’t quite buy into what goes into the BCS’ evaluation of teams. “If style points are important with what we have ahead, we’re in trouble, because there’s not going to be much style going into the ball game we’re getting ready to play,” Tressel said of Saturday’s game in Iowa City. Another bizarre twist to the Big Ten race this year is that OSU and Michigan State do not play each other. “Typically, if you miss Ohio State on your schedule, you’ll be jumping up and down,” Davis said. “Preseason, I’m sure Michigan State said, ‘Well, OK, we missed the Buckeyes.’ Now the shoe is on the other foot for both teams. They sort of needed each other and they’re not playing.” Davis said he expects the Sugar Bowl to be “all over Ohio State” if the Buckeyes win out and do not earn a spot in the Rose Bowl. read more

Buckeyes focused on dualthreat quarterback Denard Robinson

As quarterback Denard Robinson goes, so goes Michigan’s offense. Robinson has accounted for 67 percent of his team’s total yards through 11 games this season. Limiting the Heisman contender will be the challenge for the Ohio State defense Saturday. “It’s going to be tough to game plan for him,” senior defensive end Cameron Heyward said. “I don’t know if there really is a weakness.” The difficulty comes from Robinson’s ability to beat you with his legs and his arm. The quarterback is the first player in NCAA history to have more than 1,500 yards passing and 1,500 yards rushing in the same season. The evolution of his passing game is what has OSU defenders worried this season. “You’ve got to watch out because he has turned out as a good passer,” defensive tackle Dexter Larimore said. “He has been able to throw down field like he hasn’t quite been able to in the past couple years.” That improvement has come from more repetitions and more thorough preparation by the sophomore signal caller. “You’ve got to be able to read everything and know where everybody is supposed to be at on the offense,” Robinson said at Michigan’s weekly press conference Monday. “I think that is pretty much what I learned this year.” The fact that Robinson has been able to put both facets of the game together makes him hard to duplicate on the scout team in practice. The Buckeyes have to use more than one player to mimic the Wolverine quarterback. “I’m sure we’ll get some of the wide outs in there doing part of it (and) the running backs,” coach Jim Tressel said. “It’s a tremendous challenge because it gives you all of the problems that a wildcat offense gives you with a great running back … (but) it has all the passing problems.” The Buckeyes will use different scout players to work on Robinson’s running and passing threats separately because it is “impossible to simulate him” in any other way, Tressel said. Unfortunately for OSU, the two skill sets will be combined this Saturday. To slow down Robinson’s dual-threat capabilities, the Buckeyes will have to stay disciplined. “We just have to play assignment football,” senior safety Jermale Hines said. If “guys stay home and guys do their job, everything should take care of itself.” Teammates agreed that a team approach will be essential this weekend. “I think the biggest thing is to be able to play as a team and be able to play a team defense because he’s probably going to make one guy miss or two guys miss,” Larimore said. Discipline aside, Buckeye players realize that completely stopping Robinson is not an option. “He is one of the best players in college football, so it is going to be a huge challenge for our defense,” senior linebacker Ross Homan said. “We know that he’s going to get yards on us, but we just can’t quit.” The ability to dictate how he gets those yards might be the key to beating the Wolverines. In Michigan’s four losses, Robinson has 185 yards rushing a game. That number falls to 138 yards a game in the team’s seven victories. Given this disparity, limiting the passing attack might be more important for the Silver Bullet defense. The players realize that to do so, they can’t let Robinson get off to a quick start. “He gets very hot very quick,” Heyward said. “We have to be ready for both the pass and the run, and he’s got so many different options on the team, it’s going to be tough to stop him.” No matter how they go about slowing down Robinson, OSU players know doing so is the only way to stop the Wolverine attack. “He is definitely what makes their offense go,” Homan said. read more

Football Tight end Kierre Hawkins departing from Ohio State

After two years in Ohio State’s program, redshirt freshman tight end Kierre Hawkins is leaving.An Ohio State spokesman confirmed Hawkins’ is “departing,” but said he did not know the tight end’s destination. Ryan Donnelly, a recruiting analyst for Rivals, tweeted a screenshot of a post from Hawkins’ Instagram in which he is wearing a Youngstown State jersey with the caption, “New beginnings. Everyone’s journey is different. In God’s hands.” Hawkins’ Instagram account is protected.Per his Instagram post, it looks like Ohio State tight end and former Maple Heights (Ohio) four-star Kierre Hawkins will be transferring to Youngstown State pic.twitter.com/J5u6VLxJ8g— Ryan Donnelly (@RivalsRyan) December 12, 2017A former four-star recruit, Hawkins has not taken a snap in his two years at Ohio State. He entered the program in a class with three tight ends, including Luke Farrell and Jake Hausmann. Hawkins fell behind both Farrell and Hausman on the depth chart, as well as redshirt senior Marcus Baugh and redshirt sophomore Rashod Berry. The Buckeyes hold a commitment from Jeremy Ruckert, the top-ranked tight end in the 2018 recruiting cycle. Also, redshirt sophomore tight end A.J. Alexander, who missed the 2017 season with a knee injury, will return next season.Hawkins, a Maple Heights, Ohio, native, was the 329th-best overall prospect and the 13th-ranked tight end in the 2016 class, according to 247Sports composite rankings. read more

Mens Hockey Ohio State beats Michigan State 62 in first game of

Ohio State junior forward Mason Jobst (26) and redshirt sophomore defenseman Wyatt Ege (7) fight for possession of the puck in the first period of the game against Wisconsin on Feb. 23 in the Schottenstein Centern. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State head coach Steve Rohlik always talks about how tough it is to win college hockey games. It would be tough to come away with that impression watching Ohio State with 21 wins in 34 regular-season games this season.The No. 6 Ohio State men’s hockey team (22-8-5, 15-8-2-1 Big Ten) added another win Friday, using a strong special teams performance to push the team to a 6-2 win against Michigan State (12-21-2, 6-17-2-1 Big Ten) at the Schottenstein Center in the first game of the Big Ten tournament matchup.Rohlik knows the win is huge for his team, but that it will feel even bigger if his team earns another victory on Saturday.“It’s very difficult to win at this level, especially against teams like [Michigan State], with our league, Rohlik said. “You know it’s a best two out of three, to get that first win, basically it just gives you the one-up, but that just means you are going to get their best effort tomorrow.” The Buckeyes had three points from junior forward Mason Jobst, as well as two points from sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski and redshirt sophomore defenseman Wyatt Ege. Redshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo added 18 saves on 20 shots in the win.Special teams were key for the Buckeyes. The nation’s best penalty kill went 2-for-2, while the Buckeye power play took advantage of a Spartan penalty kill that is fourth-worst in the NCAA at 76 percent, going 3-for-5 on the night.“I think it’s just executing and I think the guys just decided-we just don’t want to sit back, we kind of got to take it to them, and whoever you play,” Rohlik said. “I think that was the attitude right now, tonight, with our power play. I think that translated into the game.” Two of the three Buckeye power-play goals came early after the penalty was called, each coming just 10 and eight seconds into the power play chances.  “The key is just giving it to our forwards,” Ege said. “As you can tell like, [ Laczynski] and [Jobst], they’re good, just give them and they’re gonna make some stuff happen.”   Laczynski benefited from a lethal Buckeye power play and now has four points in his past three games. The Buckeyes’ top scorer is finding his game in a crucial part of the year.“This is the time you need to be playing your best hockey,” Laczynski said. “Even though I had that slump, like you said, I’m happy to be playing some of my best hockey here and come playoffs. It’s a big game and a big win”  The first period began with a lethargic stalemate, but the intensity and physicality picked up, resulting with a roughing call to Spartan senior defenseman Carson Gatt. That gave Ohio State its first power play chance on the night with 1:28 remaining in the period. On the power-play chance, Laczynski fired a shot from the top of the right circle through a maze of players and past sophomore goaltender John Lethemon for the game’s opening score.The Spartans got on the board just 3:12 into the second period when sophomore forward Patrick Khodorenko gathered a bouncing puck in the slot, firing it over the right shoulder of Romeo to even the score.The Buckeyes took another shot on the power play and converted. Laczynski threw the puck to the goal and senior forward Matthew Weis directed it past Lethemon to regain the lead with 3:28 remaining in the period.The Buckeyes added goals from Jobst and junior defenseman Sasha Larocque in the third, chasing Lethemon from the net.Spartan senior goaltender Ed Minney came in relief of Lethemon, but couldn’t stop two more Buckeye goals. The Spartans and Buckeyes traded late goals for the final of 6-2.Shots were 40-20 in favor of Ohio State. Lethemon made 25 saves on 29 shots and Minney made nine saves on 11 shots in a losing effort. The Buckeyes have a chance to advance to the Big Ten semifinal game if they beat the Spartans in the second contest of the three-game series at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Schottenstein Center. read more

Syrian doctor says he would rather go back to Aleppo than stay

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Abdul Kader al-Zuebi outside the Home Office building in Croydon He posts pictures of his expensive lifestyle on social mediaCredit:Facebook  A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “At around 3.30pm officers were informed of a disturbance at Lunar House.”They arrested a man on suspicion of a public order offence.”He had been remanded in a south London custody suite. Enquiries continue.”The Home Office said it would not comment on individual cases.  He said he once earned £6,000 a month as a doctor but now in the UK had been subjected to “bad” beds in hostels and food that is “not better than normal”, so had decided to stay in hotels.”I have had to spend my nights in five star hotels like the Marriott and The Four Seasons,” he said. “I had to sell my Rolex for £3,000 to pay for my rooms.” Abdul Kader al-Zuebi is dragged from the building in Croydon by police Credit:Nick Edwards He now says he wants to return to Syria Credit:Nick Edwards  Rolex  Abdul Kader al-Zuebi  He added: “They (Home Office) took me from the airport, to a hostel in Dulwich, after four days they took me to a miserable place in Cardiff.” He added: “I want to work and support myself and I have told them I want to be deported. I’ve been turning up here for several days.”They say they are not going to send me back to Syria.”He pledged to sleep outside the Home Office building in Croydon until he was deported, but shortly afterwards he was arrested for a public order offence.He was seen being dragged from the building, bent over in a restraining position by six officers on Thursday afternoon. A Syrian doctor has said he would rather go back to Aleppo than stay in Britain after living at a hostel in south London and a “miserable place” in Cardiff since arriving less than two weeks ago.Abdul Kader al-Zuebi, 28, who has three British relatives and a British fiance, said his time in the country so far had been made unhappy by Home Office delays which he claims have made it difficult for him to find a home or gain employment.Dr al-Zuebi, who once worked as a Syrian army medical officer, said he has a German passport but applied for asylum in Britain and has now been barred from working.  Abdul Kader al-Zuebi is dragged from the building in Croydon by police  He has been standing outside the Home Office building in Croydon where child refugees have arrived from the Jungle campCredit:Ryan Hooper/PA He claims officials have refused to return his passport since he arrived at Stansted airport 12 days ago.”I am living in hotels for the last 11 days, I can’t go anywhere,” he said. “The Home Office are refusing to let me leave. They don’t know where my passport is.”last_img read more

Madeleine McCanns parents have not been ruled innocent judge says

first_imgJudges made it clear in their decision their job was not to decide whether the McCanns bore any criminal responsibility over their daughter’s disappearance and said it would be wrong for anyone to draw any inferences about the couple’s guilt or innocence from their ruling.But they added: “It should not be said that the appellants were cleared via the ruling announcing the archiving of the criminal case. In truth, that ruling was not made in virtue of Portugal’s Public Prosecution Service having acquired the conviction that the appellants hadn’t committed a crime.”The archiving of the case was determined by the fact that public prosecutors hadn’t managed to obtain sufficient evidence of the practice of crimes by the appellants.”There is therefore a significant, and not merely a semantic difference, between the legally admissible foundations of the archive ruling. It doesn’t therefore seem acceptable that the ruling, based on the insufficiency of evidence, should be equated to proof of innocence.”They added: “It’s true that the aforementioned criminal inquiry ended up being archived, namely because none of the apparent evidence that led to the appellants being made ‘arguidos’ was subsequently confirmed or consolidated. “However even the archive ruling raises serious concerns relating to the truth of the allegation that Madeleine was kidnapped.”The McCanns were told their arguido status had been lifted on July 21, 2008, when the Portuguese probe into Maddie’s disappearance was shelved, three days before Amaral published his controversial book.The former detective was ordered to pay the couple 500,000 euros (£430,000) by a Lisbon court in April 2015 after they won round one of their lengthy judicial battle.Amaral got that ruling – and a ban on selling his book  overturned on appeal in April last year.The decision by Lisbon’s Court of Appeal sparked the Supreme Court fight which was resolved last Tuesday. Now, Portuguese Supreme Court judges – who last week ruled against their final appeal over Amaral’s 2008 book The Truth of the Lie – have  said the lifting of their status as ‘arguidos’, or formal suspects, and the archiving of the criminal case into Maddie’s disappearance did not mean they were innocent.The court issued its 76-page ruling on the McCanns’ fight against a lower court’s decision last April to reverse their 2015 libel win against the former detective.The couple were left facing a legal bill and the prospect of being sued by Amaral, who led the initial hunt for Madeleine when she vanished, after being told last Tuesday the Supreme Court had gone against them in a ruling which was not made fully public until Thursday. It should not be said that the appellants were cleared via the ruling announcing the archiving of the criminal casePortuguese Supreme Court judges 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 Madeleine McCann’s parents have not been ruled innocent when it comes to their daughter’s disappearance, a judge in Portugal’s highest court has said.Kate and Gerry McCann have vehemently denied any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.However, they have been plagued by allegations suggesting they were involved, including former police chief Goncalo Amaral’s claim that Maddie died in the flat and her parents faked her abduction to cover up the tragedy. Judges have said the archiving of the criminal case into Maddie's disappearance did not mean they were innocent Judges have said the archiving of the criminal case into Maddie’s disappearance did not mean they were innocentCredit: PAlast_img read more

ExStephen Lawrence murder suspect jailed for six years in £4m drugs plot

first_imgMurdered teenager Stephen Lawrence who was stabbed to death in south London in 1993 He is not someone habitually involved in serious crimeJonas Milner, representing Neil Acourt “There was a sufficient flow of money down the channel that there must have been other transportations of cannabis. “Look at you all now sitting there, from the age running from 28 to 63. All thoroughly ashamed and all to one degree or another you have ruined your lives.”All recognise the depth of the criminality, all apparently recognising how damaging drugs are to the people addicted to them.”All of you were involved in a pre planned concerted conspiracy to move substantial amounts of cannabis that in any estimation would have kept the people of Newcastle area in spliffs for many a long day.”Jonas Milner, representing Acourt, had told the court his client was not at the very top of the conspiracy but was on the third rung and “not at the premier level”. He said: “He is 41 and I would say he doesn’t have any previous convictions relevant for your consideration. Acourt, who was acquitted of the murder of Lawrence when a private prosecution brought by the teenager’s family collapsed, had denied he was a ringleader, claiming he merely helped count bundles of up to £40,000 before passing it on. But the Recorder rejected his claims during a hearing and ruled he played a “leading role” in the operation, which also involved his father-in-law Jack Vose, 63, and childhood friends and associates, James Botton, 45, and associates Lee Birks, 55, Paul Beavers, 49, Daniel Thompson, 28.Speaking during sentencing, Recorder Clemence told Acourt “you’re not all bad”. Addressing why he believed Acourt did it, he said: “Perhaps one of the reasons with you, is for various reasons you have heard too much of the negativity about you and began to believe the negative publicity about you. “Perhaps it is time to walk away from that aspect of your personality.” “He is a family man as described and it is obvious from his evidence. His family are his main priority in his life. “It is obvious there is another side to him which again you have heard that from the witness that you heard from yesterday.”He is not someone habitually involved in serious crime. He is someone who is capable of positive good.”Acourt, of Eltham, was sentencing to six years and thee months, Botton, of Greenwich, was sentenced to four years nine months and Vose, of Bexley, was also jailed for four years and nine months.Beavers, of Newcastle, was jailed for three years four months and Thompson, of South Shields, was jailed for four years and two months. Birks, of Orpington, had his sentencing adjourned until a later date awaiting results of hospital scan for possible lung cancer, and he was bailed to appear at the same court on March 30.A confiscation hearing was arranged by the court to take place on a date yet to be set. Show more Murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence who was stabbed to death in south London in 1993Credit:AFP/Getty Images He told all six in front of him for sentencing: “Well gentlemen after a year you will hear the outcome of this stupid criminality you were all involved in. It was stupid and it was criminal.”The police caught red handed some of you, with in effect 100kg of cannabis. A substantial amount by any standards. A former suspect in the Stephen Lawrence murder case is not someone who is “habitually involved in serious crime”, a court was told before he was jailed for more than six years over his role in a £4million drugs ring. Neil Acourt, also known as Neil Stuart, had a leading role in running a drugs operation, which distributed cannabis from the South East of England to the North East. Recorder Paul Clemence told the 41-year-old at Kingston Crown Court that the operation “would have kept the people of Newcastle area in spliffs for many a long day”. “This will his first substantial lengthy period in custody. He has previously been in custody for relatively short periods of time. 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

Employers can force women to wear high heels as Government rejects campaign

first_img“To make the law clearer to employers and raise awareness among employees, the Government will be producing new guidance on workplace dress codes.” She was later called to present evidence before the Petitions and Women and Equalities Committees, during which MPs also heard that a black woman had been forced to chemically straighten her hair by an agency which provides temp workers to Harrods.However, while the Government acknowledged that the awareness among workers and bosses of the law was patchy, it added that some employers “knowingly flout the law”.Instead, the Government Equalities Office has called on all employers to review their dress codes and “consider whether they remain relevant and lawful”. Earlier in the year MPs had been told how women in heels were expected to climb ladders, move furniture and walk for great distances, while others were told to unbutton their blouses to entice male customers when they investigated the issue.But the Government rejected calls by the committees for changes to tribunal rules and more in-depth monitoring of failed discrimination claims.Helen Jones, who chairs the Petitions Committee, said: “This petition, and our inquiry, have already done a great deal to improve public awareness of the law.”It is nevertheless very welcome that the Government has accepted our recommendation that it should be doing much more to improve understanding among employers and employees alike, to prevent discriminatory practices in the workplace.A Government spokesperson said: “No employer should discriminate against workers on grounds of gender – it is unacceptable and is against the law. Dress codes must include equivalent requirements for both men and women. 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. However, the chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller, said the Government had not gone far enough, adding that current equality legislation is “not sufficient to achieve equality in practice.””This petition, and the committees’ inquiry, have reinforced the need for effective enforcement of legislation and for employers and employees to be aware of their obligations and rights,” she added.”We welcome the commitments made by the Government to increasing awareness of those rights, and hope that the next Government will monitor how this changes women’s experiences of the workplace.” Calls for a ban on “sexist” dress codes which force women to wear high heels to work has been rejected by the Government.It means that employers can continue to insist that female employees wear heels, providing it is considered a job requirement and men are made to dress to an “equivalent level of smartness”. New guidelines on dress codes are set to be issued in the summer following a public outcry over a temp worker being sent home after she refused to wear heels to work.But the Government has ruled out a change in the law because it believes the existing legislation is “adequate” and already prevents companies from gender-based discrimination.It comes more than a year after Nicola Thorp was told to go home from work without pay, after she arrived at PriceWaterhouseCooper to work in a temporary receptionist role in flat shoes, but refused to comply with demands that she wear 2-4 inch heels.Outraged, she launched a petition to tighten legislation on compulsory gendered uniforms, which gathered 152,400 signatures. It also plans to produce new guidelines in the summer to improve workers’ awareness of their rights.last_img read more

Zac Goldsmith to run as Tory MP in Richmond Park as Esther

first_imgLiberal Democrats winner of the Richmond Park by-election, Sarah OlneyCredit:PETER NICHOLLS  “After a resounding victory in the 2015 General Election, his absence from Parliament since last December has been a disappointment. He is widely regarded the best MP that Richmond Park and North Kingston has ever had, and we need him back to represent our residents effectively. Esther McVeyCredit:AFP Zac Goldsmith will attempt to mount a comeback as a Tory MP just months after quitting the party in a protest over the Government’s support for Heathrow expansion.Meanwhile, former minister Esther McVey appears set for a return to Parliament after being selected as the candidate in George Osborne’s old seat. “Far from being a hardened Brexiteer as his opponents have painted him, he will fight for the best deal for Britain. He has led on guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and is a champion of strong protection for the environment.”He will also continue to lead the fight against Heathrow expansion, an issue which continues to concern our residents.” Liberal Democrats winner of the Richmond Park by-election, Sarah Olney Esther McVeycenter_img The by-election defeat marked the second setback for Mr Goldsmith within months, after he lost to Sadiq Khan in the 2016 London mayoral election.That campaign was criticised, even within the Tory Party, for its negative messaging and focus on Mr Khan’s Muslim background.Ms McVey, who represented the Conservatives in Wirral West from 2010 until 2015, has been chosen to contest the Tatton seat following the ex-chancellor’s decision to quit Parliament to focus on his other jobs – including editing the London Evening Standard. Lib Dem Sarah Olney won the seat in December in a campaign which focused on Brexit – the Remain-supporting seat voting to oust Leave-supporting Mr Goldsmith.But local Tories insist Mr Goldsmith is not a “hardened Brexiteer”.Constituency chairman Georgina Butler said: “We are delighted that Zac Goldsmith has been reselected as the Conservative candidate for Richmond Park and North Kingston in the forthcoming General Election, and we look forward to having him back again as our representative in Parliament. Mr Goldsmith lost his Richmond Park seat in December 2016 to the Liberal Democrats in a by-election which he forced so he could run as an independent opposed to expanding the west London airport.He is now back in the Tory fold and seeking to regain the seat in the June 8 General Election after being selected as the party’s candidate.Despite the Government’s backing for Heathrow, he will continue to oppose it. Former broadcaster Ms McVey will defend a Tory majority of more than 18,000 in the Cheshire constituency at the General Election on June 8.Mr Osborne said on Twitter: “Huge congratulations to @EstherMcVey1, new Tatton PPC. A real star. I couldn’t have a better successor. A one-woman Northern Powerhouse.” 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

Fisheries revival could scupper Scottish independence dream

first_imgWe shouldn’t be too hard on Ruth Davidson who wasn’t even born when Ted Heath signed away some of the richest fishing grounds in the northern hemisphere. But successive Tory leaders failed to heed the pleas to re-negotiate the hated CFP which allows the UK only 13 per cent by value of the fish caught in what were previously British waters. Small businessmen like fishing boat skippers and processors were natural Tories, hence their accusations of “betrayal” by Heath and his successors for nearly half a century.  A Department of Agriculture and Fisheries paper as far back as 1970 warned that allowing such massive access to European boats would ‘lead to a weaker and less efficient national fleet’.Scottish Tories duly paid the price for Heath’s “betrayal”. Replaced in all their coastal constituencies by the Nationalists, they were subsequently wiped out throughout Scotland as a whole in 1997. With Alex Salmond representing the key fishing constituency of Banff and Buchan, the SNP was able to build itself into the political behemoth it has become. 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. ian duncan Scottish Tories went into the EU referendum advocating a “remain” vote. So, it’s fair to say that its leadership has found itself on the right side of the fisheries argument purely by default. Outraged at the collapse of their whole way of life, “fisher folk” and “fermin folk” united to turf Alex Salmond out of his rural Gordon constituency, replacing him with a Turriff farmer. But throughout the North East the fishing vote clearly played the key role in the SNP’s rout. Fergus Ewing, the current fisheries minister, claims the SNP has always opposed the CFP.  The truth is somewhat different. The party’s spin has always been that successive incompetent UK governments could not negotiate a favourable deal for Scotland. trawler Scottish trawlermen in Atlantic watersCredit:getty On a recent trip to Peterhead, David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, lifted up a giant cod for the media to photograph. It was hard to decide who looked the more startled suddenly to be hailed as the fishermen’s friend, Mundell or the dead cod.Cod, as a stock, has seen an impressive comeback in recent months.  So has the Tory brand, particularly in the heartlands of Scotland’s fishing industry, the North East.  What makes the revival remarkable is that it has come as a direct result of Brexit.Indeed “hard Brexit” is seen by many as the potential saviour of an industry that has been too long in the doldrums. Orders for new boats are up and former crewmen are clamouring to get back to sea. Far from revivifying the independence dream there is now the very real prospect that Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, and consequently from the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), could actually trigger its demise.center_img Lord Duncan is well versed in the issuesCredit:Stuart Nicol Seagulls over a large fishing vessel in LerwickCredit:Getty The Tories now have a golden opportunity to put Heath’s “betrayal” behind them. Lord Duncan, the Scotland Office Minister and a former deputy CEO of the Scottish Fishing Federation, well understands the complexities of fisheries negotiations. Westminster’s man in charge will be Michael Gove, the adopted son of an Aberdeen fish merchant. Gove and Duncan seem ideally suited to hold the Brexit negotiators’ feet to the fire.  Doubtless, EU vessels will continue to fish in the UK pond post-Brexit, but the British (and Scottish) governments, not Brussels, will have the right to decide who fishes where and for what species. It’s exactly the deal with the EU that Norway enjoys. It’s the kind of deal Britain could have had years ago if only the courage and political will had been there.Ted Brocklebank was a Tory MSP from 2003-2011 and is a former fisheries spokesman    fishing Could Salmond’s personal nemesis be the beginning of a nation-wide disillusionment with a party that promotes a failed Brexit negotiation as its best electoral hope? Could the bursting of the independence bubble come from the same fisheries heartlands that gave it birth? The evidence is stacking up as SNP stalwarts, including Alex Neil and Jim Sillars, openly question the absurdity of their party’s position on fisheries. What was needed was SNP determination and persuasiveness at the Brussels negotiations. Try telling that to the hapless Richard Lochhead, the SNP’s long-serving rural affairs spokesman, who sat alongside British fisheries ministers for years, and saw at first hand the impossibility of getting agreement among more than twenty EU countries. At the recent election, SNP candidates in fishing constituencies echoed the Ewing line, while Nicola Sturgeon was blithely claiming that Scotland in Europe would remain part of the CFP. Indeed the SNP’s fate in the fishing heartlands was probably sealed in Andrew Neil’s pre-election interview with the First Minister, when she conceded that in exchange for full EU membership a Scottish government would readily hand control of fisheries back to Brussels.  Previously booming fishing ports like Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Burghead and Lossiemouth have struggled for years under catch quota reductions and cuts in fleet sizes.  In 1974, when Heath signed up to the EEC, Britain had Europe’s biggest fishing fleet and 80 per cent of all its fishing waters. In that same year more than 500 boats worked out of Peterhead alone. It’s still Britain’s biggest landing port, but Peterhead has seen its fleet reduced to a rump with half of its remaining 90-odd vessels under 10 metres in length.last_img read more

Grey squirrels may have outlasted red squirrels in Britain due to their

first_imgThe researchers say they would have ideally studied wild squirrels living in the same area.However, as red squirrel numbers usually decline rapidly when grey squirrels arrived , they chose similar but separate locations.The grey squirrels studied were in woodland around the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus, or on the campus itself, while the red squirrels were in woodland around Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran, Scotland.- A battle of wits? Problem-solving abilities in invasive Eastern grey squirrels and native Eurasian red squirrels, is published in the journal Animal Behaviour. 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. One positive finding for the red squirrels was that, of those who solved the difficult task, some did so more quickly than greys in subsequent attempts.The successful red squirrels were also quicker to change tactics after trying a method that did not work.Professor Stephen Lea, also of Exeter’s Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, said: “These results illustrate how investigating animals’ differing cognitive abilities can help us understand important issues in conservation.” “These factors include disease resistance and the fact grey squirrels are bigger, but our research shows problem solving could be another key factor for the success of greys.”This might be especially important for an invasive species like grey squirrels, as they have evolved elsewhere and have to adapt to their surroundings.” Red squirrels performed worse in the taskscenter_img Red squirrels performed worse in the tasksCredit:Elliot Neep/Oxford Scientific RM Grey squirrels could have taken over from native red squirrels in the UK due to their problem-solving powers, researchers have said.A study tested wild squirrels with two tasks, one easy and one more difficult, to get hazelnuts.Both species were equally successful at the easy task – opening a transparent lid – but more of the grey squirrels cracked the difficult one, a more complex task of pushing and pulling levers.Researchers from the universities of Exeter and Edinburgh said this “superior behavioural flexibility may have facilitated their invasion success”.Grey squirrels, which arrived from North America in the 19th century, now outnumber red squirrels by more than 15 to one.Dr Pizza Ka Yee Chow, from the University of Exeter’s Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, said: “Many factors have been considered to explain why grey squirrels are more successful when they move into areas where red squirrels live. During the study, researchers set up the tasks and observed squirrels.The creatures can be identified by their unique body characteristics, including coat colour, tail shape, body size, ear shape and paw colour as well as markings on their face and body.About 91% of grey squirrels eventually solved the difficult task, compared with 62% of red squirrels.Researchers said “inefficient” foraging and food extraction was likely to mean poorer fitness among red squirrels, harming their chances of reproduction.Reduced breeding is known to be a major factor in the decline of the species, they added.”It is not yet clear whether grey squirrels are born better problem solvers, or whether they work harder because they’re an invasive species living outside their natural environment,” Dr Chow said.”The current stage of our research is to look at this, and the results may give us more insight into the likely future of both species.”last_img read more

Ratty begins fightback but water voles are still in desperate need of

first_imgWater voles may have begun the fightback following years of conservation efforts to reverse drastic declines in populations.The little rodents, made famous by Kenneth Grahame’s ‘Ratty’ in The Wind in The Willows have suffered catastrophic losses in recent decades, vanishing from 94 per cent of places where they once thrived.But although conservationists are still very concerned about the creatures, the last five years have seen a upturn in their distribution by seven per cent, helped by reintroduction programmes, such as in the Yorkshire Dales. “Water voles used to live in every part of Britain but development, changes in the way water is managed and the American Mink have all taken their toll.”American mink which were brought to the UK for fur farming but many were released into the wild, where they prey on water voles. They are the only creature capable of chasing voles into their underwater dens, so the creatures cannot escape.The Wildlife Trusts are calling for the creation of a Nature Recovery Network, to protect, link and create areas of habitat which help wildlife move and spread out, benefitting water voles and a range of other wildlife. Water vole distribution has started to increase slowly after decades of catastrophic decline They are also calling for more funding to help landowners create soft edges on their riverbanks to encourage water voles to dig their burrows.Ellie Brodie, Senior Policy Manager for The Wildlife Trusts, says: “Water voles are an essential part of our wild and watery places and it’s terribly sad that we’re continuing to witness huge declines of this much-loved mammal.“The Wildlife Trusts and others are working hard to help bring them back again and care for the places that they need to survive – but much more is needed if we’re going to stop this charismatic creature disappearing altogether.”Members of the public are also being encouraged to contact the Wildlife Trusts if they see water voles. In 2006 the number of water vole populations found in 6.2 square miles (10 square km) areas was 730, but that has dropped 30 per cent since then. However in last five years it has increased by around seven per cent.Darren Tansley, Water for Wildlife Officer at Essex Wildlife Trust, said: “We have seen a slight increase in water voles which is thought to be because of intensive work in some areas.In Essex we are seeing increases in the range of our water voles, but some counties have completely failed to find a single one. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Water voles build burrows in the soft banks of rivers but American mink can chase the creatures underwaterCredit:Margaret Holland Water vole distribution has started to increase slowly after decades of catastrophic decline The Wildlife Trusts are calling for more funding to help bring back the once widespread mammal Water voles build burrows in the soft banks of rivers but American mink can chase the creatures underwater The Wildlife Trusts are calling for more funding to help bring back the once widespread mammalCredit:Terry Whittaker last_img read more

Head teachers tribute to happy smiley Alesha MacPhail as police inquiry continues

alesha Alesha MacPhail went missing on Monday bute Wendy Davie, head teacher of Chapelside Primary School in Coatbridge, said Alesha would be greatly missed.She said she had just finished primary two, adding: “She loved being at school and enjoyed all aspects of literacy, in particular writing. She was such a perfectionist in her handwriting and was very proud of her work. “Alesha was very friendly and she welcomed everyone first thing in the morning at breakfast club.“She was a very considerate child who loved being part of a group and she was popular with all the other children and was a smiley and happy young girl.”Police have urged all those involved in the public search for Alesha to contact them and are currently treating her death as “unexplained”.There is a large police presence on the island, with local officers reinforced by collages from the mainland.High Road in Ardbeg was shut by a police cordon and a floral tribute was laid near police accident signs.A separate cordon was set up outside houses on Ardbeg Road and police tape was set up at the seafront on the opposite side of the street.Police have also taken the details of ferry passengers who have travelled to and from the island this week, while Det Supt Stuart Houston repeated an appeal for all those who took part in the search to come forward. A police cordon on ButeCredit:SWNS Messages on the floral tributes laid outside the homes read “sleep tight little angel” and “forever in our thoughts”.Alesha was reported missing at around 6.25 am on Monday and her body was found by a member of the public less than two hours later. A six-year-old schoolgirl who was found dead on the Isle of Bute hours after being reported missing has been described by her head teacher as a “smiley, happy and considerate” child.A major police investigation is underway on the island in the Firth of Clyde after the body of Alesha MacPhail was found in woodland on the site of a former hotel in the Ardbeg area of Rothesay on Monday morning.She had been visiting the island home of her grandparents Angela Kelly, 46, and Calum MacPhail, 49.Her father Robert MacPhail, 25, was said by witnesses to be “white” as he helped search for his daughter and called her name.Alesha’s mother, Georgina “Genie” Lochrane, from Airdrie, Lanrkashire, who found out her daughter was missing through a Facebook post from Ms Kelly, is now understood to be on the island.A post mortem examination was due to be carried out later on Tuesday. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Sir Patrick Stewarts politics From a preMeToo women rights advocate to a

From left-wing politics to domestic violence, Sir Patrick’s views have been shaped from personal experience from an early age. But the 78-year-old’s decision to quit the Labour Party is just the latest public stand taken by the Hollywood actor across a wide range of issues. And as he prepares to reprise the role of Jean-Luc Picard in a new Star Trek television series, the veteran actor sees it as another chance for one of his most famous characters to explore the latest social issues of the day. Sir Patrick Stewart humbly says he would never compare his activism to the work carried out by his good friend Sir Ian McKellen.  “During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about… read more