There Are No Easy Matches In Womens Tennis Anymore

WIMBLEDON, England — No one has any idea which of the four semifinalists will win the women’s singles title at Wimbledon on Saturday. But there is one prediction you can make with confidence: The remaining matches will be close, hard-fought contests that could easily last three sets.Women’s tennis matches keep getting longer and more grueling. Since the 2014 Australian Open, the four Grand Slams — including this year’s Wimbledon, which is not yet complete — have averaged 40.9 three-set women’s matches per tournament. That’s up from an average of 36.8 between 1988 and 2013. Last month’s French Open saw 46 women’s matches go the distance, which was the most ever at Roland Garros and tied for the fourth-highest tally at any Slam since 1988, according to the WTA. So far this Wimbledon, there have been 43 three-setters, with three matches left to play. One more would put this year’s competition in a three-way tie for the most three-set matches at Wimbledon since 1988 — the 2011 and 2008 tournaments each saw 44. Tennis’s current crop of women are, as a group, extremely talented but frequently flawed players, which means anyone can win almost any match. This is especially true while Serena Williams, the sport’s most dominant player, is off the circuit during her pregnancy. For evidence that anyone can win, look no further than last month’s French Open, where an unseeded 20-year-old — Jelena Ostapenko, who at the time was ranked 47th in the world — took home the trophy. Five of her seven matches there lasted three sets, including the semifinal and final. In the final, Ostapenko trailed by a set and 3-0 before charging to victory.Agnieszka Radwanska, seeded 9th at Wimbledon, saved two match points in the second round and beat Christina McHale, an unseeded American, in three sets. She needed three sets in the next round too, against Timea Bacsinszky, seeded 19th. Radwanska, who became a professional in 2005, said that today’s tennis is far more tense than it was in the past.“A couple of years ago, those first two rounds when you didn’t play against seeded players, it was easy,” Radwanska said. “You don’t have to play 100 percent and you’re gonna win. Obviously it’s not gonna happen anymore in tennis right now. You can play … those players that you really don’t want to play in the first round, and that’s why I think we can also see a lot of upsets in early rounds.”In men’s tennis, the late rounds of many tournaments remain compelling — it’s hard to be bored when greats like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are duking it out — but in early rounds, the excitement has fizzled. The men’s side rarely sees any early upsets, and players are more likely to retire in the middle of matches; nine men bowed out during the first three rounds at Wimbledon this year, compared to only two women. We don’t yet know if the women will have any 30-something superstars in the final this year, but the women’s matches are competitive and entertaining from the first round to the last. CoCo Vandeweghe, an American currently ranked 25th, described the men’s field as “top-heavy” compared to the women’s side.“In the women’s game, as you’ll see, there is more upsets along the way with the seeded players, because I think there is more depth in the 20s to 30s to 40s,” she said. “I think there is some very solid depth of players that can make an impact against a top player. I mean, I’m an example of that myself.”British star Johanna Konta says that anything can happen and happen quickly. She has won three three-set matches so far, including one that required 18 games in the third set. She said she worries about everyone she faces.“I don’t underestimate any opponents,” she said. “I respect each and every opponent that I’m playing because I’m fully aware of the challenges that they will bring.”Of course, no one will underestimate Konta’s next opponent. She plays five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in the semifinals on Thursday. read more

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Can Utahs NewLook Offense Lead The Pac12 Back To The Playoff

And it’s working. Since 2005, only once has Utah had a more efficient start to the season offensively. Trailing only Mike Leach’s perennially magnificent Air Raid at Washington State, Ludwig oversees the conference’s second-best offense, which ranks in the top 25 nationally in expected points added on passes a season after it finished 96th. If maintained, the Utes’ 2.59 points per drive would be their best mark since 2008, when they went undefeated.Starting quarterback Tyler Huntley reportedly spent the offseason packing on 25 pounds. Armed with a new physique, the senior leads the country in adjusted completion percentage (90), ranks fifth in yards per pass attempt (11.2) and is 12th in QBR (85.4). He hasn’t thrown an interception or been sacked.4Utah is the only Power Five team to not have allowed a sack. He has help in the backfield from Zack Moss, who is coming off consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns. Moss has accumulated more yards after first contact this season than all but two players in college football and will likely leave as the school’s all-time leading rusher. Utah has slowed its offense way downThe Utah Utes vs. Pac-12 average in four metrics, for the 2019 season Time of possession per play34 seconds26 seconds Source: ESPN STATS & INFORMATION GROUP Under-center rate43%15% The most realistic shot for the “Conference of Champions” to break its College Football Playoff drought rests on the shoulders of one of its newest and most unproven members. It falls on a coach who traditionally oversees .500 ball once the regular season passes the midway point and on a quarterback whose last two seasons have been derailed by upper-body injuries.And with the Pac-12 Conference’s preeminent powers having already lost, Utah is perhaps the last team standing between the conference and a third consecutive season of missing the playoff.But contrary to what the school’s trophy case might indicate, Utah is now more than just a powerhouse on the slopes. The Utes’ football team has made a convincing case to be taken seriously so far this season: They have three wins, with each decided by at least three possessions.1Starting QB Tyler Huntley has only thrown two fourth-quarter passes this season. Kyle Whittingham’s 15th full season at the helm in Salt Lake City opened with unprecedented expectations: They were ranked in the preseason top 15 for the first time, picked by the media and oddsmakers to win the Pac-12 and even deemed a national title contender by the lovably eccentric Lee Corso. And the prognostications were for good reason, too: Utah returns more than half of its starters on each side of the ball and features arguably the best defensive line in the nation. As Stanford coach David Shaw candidly put it at Pac-12 Football Media Day, “I think it’s great they’re not on the schedule for us this year.”The program’s trajectory has reached an inflection point in recent years. From 1950 through 2013, Utah managed to crack the Associated Press Top 25 poll in just seven seasons. This year marks the sixth consecutive that the Utes have barreled into the top 20.Since joining the Pac-12 eight years ago, the Utes have finished each season with a defense more efficient than its offense.2According to ESPN’s measurement, which is based on the point contributions of each unit to the team’s scoring margin. The average is around 50 for each unit. The team’s average defensive efficiency over that time (73.3) grades out as tops among all defenses in the conference, while its offense (46.9) grades out as the second worst. This season, the two are within 2 points of each other, as the Utes feature a smashmouth offense that has vaulted the program onto the national scene.In a conference marketed by speed and governed by spread offensive principles, Utah has been as deliberate as it gets. That’s the work of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Andy Ludwig, who returned to Salt Lake City this offseason after previously serving in the former role from 2005 to 2008.3 Ludwig shepherded the Utes to a 13-0 record and a Sugar Bowl victory the last time he called the plays. Like many coordinators, Ludwig adapts his system to the personnel on hand. This season, that flexibility has arguably produced the kind of offense that, according to Utah backup quarterback Jason Shelley, will “smash you right in the face.”Last season, Utah huddled on just 60.7 percent of snaps. Two seasons ago, only 27.5 percent of offensive plays involved that traditional gathering. But this year, Ludwig has the Utes huddling before 98.4 percent of plays, a rate outpaced by only a handful of teams. The Pac-12 averages a huddle rate of 52.2 percent, with six teams opting to huddle on less than 40 percent of snaps. In turn, Utah has gone almost entirely under center. While Arizona, Oregon and Washington State have used just two under-center snaps this season combined, Utah has racked up 78. By average time of possession per play and per drive, this is easily Utah’s slowest offensive cadence in at least 15 years — and it’s on pace to be the slowest Pac-12 offense over that same stretch. MetricUtahPac-12 average Time of possession per drive3:122:30 Huddle percentage98%52% These team performances have come via an abridged playbook. “Ludwig has done a very good job of just keeping things really basic,” Moss said after the Utes thrashed Idaho State. “We’ve just been running the first couple installs we did going into this year. If you can win with your basic stuff, that’s really good for your offense.”Friday’s matchup at USC presents an opportunity for the Utes to allay fears that the moment will grow too big for them. It would mark a historic victory for Utah, which hasn’t beaten the Trojans in Los Angeles since 1916 (though in only nine attempts). Since arriving in the Pac-12 in 2011, Utah has never shown the flash of Oregon or the imagination of Washington State. It has even found itself in the shadow of Stanford, another program that bucks conference norms behind a conservative, play clock-drowning style. So it’s fitting that Utah, a program conventionally known for a stout defensive front, is gunning for contention behind an old face and a new offensive blueprint.Check out our latest college football predictions. read more

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Podcast Hockeys Modern Dynasty NBA Finals And A Baseball Hacking Scandal

Hot Takedown Video Excerpt: Baseball, Big Data, And Espionage More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (June 16, 2015), we discuss how LeBron James could win the NBA Finals MVP even if his team loses, whether the Chicago Blackhawks qualify as a dynasty, and the news that the FBI is investigating whether the St. Louis Cardinals hacked data from the Houston Astros. Plus, our Significant Digit of the week, on the second biggest upset in Women’s World Cup history.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above.Below are some links to what we discuss on this week’s show:Nate Silver says the Blackhawks are a dynasty.The Cardinals are accused of hacking the Astros.Last year, Bloomberg profiled “Ground Control” and Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow.Neil Paine on how proprietary data is a growing issue in pro sports.Neil Paine on LeBron James possibly going down as the greatest loser ever.Benjamin Morris offers another story about how great James is.Significant Digit: 6 percent. That was Colombia’s win probability going into its game with France, according to our Women’s World Cup predictions. Colombia won 2-0, the second biggest upset in Women’s World Cup history. If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. read more

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Report More allegations of Zach Smith abuse emerge

Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith talks to junior wide receiver Eric Glover-Williams prior to fall camp on Aug. 5. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor.Courtney Smith, the ex-wife of former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith, reported violent acts performed against her to the Powell Police Department, including choking, physical abuse and death threats in October 2015, according to a report from the Columbus Dispatch. According to reporters Dean Narciso and Rita Price, Ohio State sent a lawyer to speak to Courtney Smith in her home in Powell and tried to convince her to drop the charges because, “it would embarrass OSU if she proceeded with the prosecution.” Ohio State spokesman Chris Davey told the Columbus Dispatch the university was unaware of any allegations made and would investigate. The Lantern reached out to Ohio State for comment, but did not receive a response at the time of publication. According to the reports acquired by the Dispatch, Courtney Smith reported multiple incidents of domestic violence against her, including events where, “the suspect choked her until she could not breathe” and Courtney Smith telling the police, “the suspect tells her all the time that he will kill her.” The report acquired by the Dispatch said Zach Smith’s actions against Courtney Smith stemmed from allegations she made against him that he was cheating on her with other women. Zach Smith was fired from Ohio State on July 23 after allegations were released against him for domestic violence against his ex-wife. read more

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Brazilian diver falls out with team mate by bringing canoeist back to

first_imgA pair of Brazilian synchronised divers will not compete with each other again after one athlete is alleged to have  banished her team mate from their bedroom so she could enjoy a “marathon sex session”.Ingrid Oliveira, 20, is reported to have spent the night with canoeist Pedro Goncalves, also Brazilian, in the Olympic Village room she was supposed to be sharing with her 17-year-old diving partner Giovanna Pedroso.The pair are said to have engaged in what South American media reports have dubbed a “marathon night of sex”, fanning the flames of a row that led to the synchronised diving pair ending their partnership. According to local media, the incident was the “final straw” between the divers, who are said to have already had a “fraught” relationship.Miss Pedroso told O Globo: “After the Olympics I will focus on my individual [diving]. It’s good because I will not need to depend on anyone.” Answering claims that he spent the night with Oliveira, Goncalves told Brazilian website Globo Esporte: “My personal life, I do not speak about.”Beneath a picture on Instagram of herself and Miss Pedroso in mid-dive, Miss Oliveira spoke about the row as she replied to a fan’s comment.Miss Oliveira wrote: “Mistakes, everyone makes mistakes, no one is perfect apart from God.”Claiming that most of the reports about the row were “pure sensationalism”, she said she was banned from talking about what happened and thanked followers for their support during this “difficult moment”.  The following day, Miss Oliveira and Miss Pedroso finished last in the women’s 10-metre synchronised platform dive after a performance described as “pathetic” by local media.Two weeks ago, the pair posed for an Instagram picture along with 23-year-old Goncalves and other Olympic athletes during a break by the pool in Rio. Ingrid Oliveira, left, and Giovanna Pedroso compete in the Women's Diving Synchronised 10m Platform final last Tuesday Ingrid Oliveira, right, and Giovanna Pedroso warm up ahead of the women's synchronized 10-metre platform diving final - the day after their row Ingrid Oliveira, in a picture posted on Instagram Ingrid Oliveira, in a picture posted on Instagram, is said to have asked her team mate if she could share their bedroom with Pedro GoncalvesCredit:Instagramcenter_img Ingrid Oliveira, left, and Giovanna Pedroso compete in the Women’s Diving Synchronised 10m Platform final last TuesdayCredit:Clive Rose/Getty After the pair came last in the women’s 10m synchronised diving, Miss Oliveira told the newspaper: “After today, I don’t know what will happen, but I know I will no longer synchronise dive with her.” She added:  “We had a fight and were not talking.  We leave differences behind and we talked normally. From today I will not jump synchronised with her.” Ingrid Oliveira, right, and Giovanna Pedroso warm up ahead of the women’s synchronized 10-metre platform diving final – the day after their rowCredit:Marcos de Paula/Rex Features 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. Around 450,000 condoms have been distributed among athletes in the Olympic Village – three times more than for the London Games in 2012.The International Olympic Committee said part of the reason was because 100,000 female condoms will be available for the first time, along with 350,000 condoms for men. About 175,000 packets of lubricant are also being supplied.  The IOC said the condoms would encourage 10,500 athletes and staff to practice safe sex. However, the pair’s friendship was in tatters after Miss Pedroso is said to have reported Miss Oliveira’s alleged tryst to Brazilian team managers.According to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, the row began when Miss Oliveira brought Goncalves back to the flat she was sharing with Miss Pedroso in the Olympic Village.She is said to have asked Miss Pedroso if she and Goncalves could share their bedroom.After what was described as a “heated discussion”, Miss Pedroso is said to have given in and went to sleep in a different room.last_img read more

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30 police investigate after soldier shot dead on exercise at military base

first_imgRAF Tain Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, said it was a tragic incident, adding: “My deepest condolences go to the family, friends and colleagues of the person who has died.”It is another important reminder of the often difficult and dangerous job our Armed Forces do every day.” A soldier who died at an RAF weapons range was taking part in a night-time training exercise involving around 20 servicemen.Emergency services were called to RAF Tain, north of Inverness, at around 6pm on Tuesday and a cordon was set up around the base following the incident.Police Scotland, which is leading the investigation, would not say if the death was being treated as accidental and around 30 officers are involved in the inquiry at the base on the Dornoch Firth.Chief Insp Iain MacLelland, who confirmed a firearm was involved, said the nature of the incident would require a continued police presence in the area in the days ahead.He added: “We are keeping a very open mind into the cause of the incident.“It is the very early stages of the investigation and as the investigation progresses we’ll continue to release further information into the nature of that inquiry.”The family of the victim has been informed and police confirmed that he was not from the local area. But Dr Paul Monaghan, the local SNP MP, said he was concerned that staff cuts at the base could have increased the risks to the general public.He added: “Since the year 2000, 135 deaths have taken place involving military personnel on training or on exercise. Eleven of these deaths have taken place during live fire exercises.”I have some outstanding concerns about the management of RAF Tain and staffing reductions that appear to increase risks and reduce safety levels to the general public.”The death comes a little more than two months after a soldier was shot dead during a live-firing exercise at Otterburn Training Area in Northumberland.Pte Conor McPherson, 24, from Paisley, a member of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, was killed on August 22.Just over a month before that, a soldier died on a training exercise on the hottest day of the year in Brecon, South Wales. Joshua Hoole, from Ecclefechan, near Lockerbie, was training for the Platoon Sergeants’ Battle Course when he died on July 19. Theresa May used Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons to pass on her condolences to the serviceman’s family.The training facility is used by the RAF and the Army and has a rifle range and small arms range, as well as bombing ranges for aircraft.It is also used by US and other Nato air forces for bombing and strafing practice.Alasdair Rhind, deputy leader of Highland Council, said the site had a very good safety record.center_img Tain RAF Tain 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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Ipso launches new symbol in fight against fake news

first_img“That means Ipso, and that’s why I’m proud that so many of our member publications will proudly display our mark on their pages.”Most national newspapers are signed up to Ipso, a voluntary independent body not backed by the Government, which acts as a regulator with its own code of conduct.The problem of  “fake news” largely disseminated on the internet has become an increasing problem in recent times with the public unclear what is false and what is genuine. The big technology information companies Twitter, Facebook and Google have been accused of failing to crack down on the spread of ‘fake news’ on their platforms. A newspaper industry logo has been launched to reassure readers that they are being protected from ‘fake news’. The new symbol has been produced by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) to help the public in ensuring that what they read is genuine rather than ‘fake news’.Newspapers, websites and magazines signed up to Ipso, which includes the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph and telegraph.co.uk, will be able to use the logo as a guarantee to readers they are not being misled. The slogan that accompanies the symbol states: “For press freedom with responsibility”.Ipso said the new symbol was particularly useful at a time when the “public’s trust in journalism has been undermined because of the rise of ‘fake news’.”Matt Tee, Ipso chief executive, said: “I strongly believe that Ipso membership helps our publishers distinguish themselves from the unregulated, thereby demonstrating that they choose to hold themselves accountable to higher standards.” He said the mark and what it stood for could help organisations to overcome challenges currently facing the industry.Mr Tee said: “The newspaper and magazine industry faces a number of complex challenges over the short term and I firmly believe that one of the ways in which it can thrive and prosper is by its commitment to independent, effective regulation. Ipso has issued a new symbol to help people ensure what they are reading is not "fake news" center_img Ipso has issued a new symbol to help people ensure what they are reading is not “fake news” Credit: IPSO In last year’s US presidential election, Donald Trump used the term “fake news” to attempt to discredit the mainstream American media, which remains highly critical of him. But Mr Trump is accused of using ‘fake news’ himself to boost his own popularity and standing. Last week, he retweeted videos posted by Britain First, a far right extremist organisation, which purportedly showed a ‘Muslim migrant’ attacking a Dutch boy in a park in a town outside Amsterdam. Dutch newspapers later reported that there was no evidence the attacker was either a Muslim or an immigrant. ‘Fake news’ was also voted its phrase of the year by Collins Dictionary, which estimated that usage of the term had increased by 365 per cent since 2016. It is defined as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting”. 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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Student stabbed to death by man she met on Tinder days after

first_imgA student was stabbed to death by a man she met on the dating app Tinder, just days after she reported him to the police, a court has heard.Molly McLaren, 23, was sitting in her car at the Chatham Dockside Outlet in Kent when Joshua Stimpson repeatedly stabbed her in the neck and head just after 11am on June 29 last year.Maidstone Crown Court heard that Ms McLaren and Stimpson started dating in November 2016, but briefly split four months later. Stimpson, 26, was described as “rather demanding”, with Ms McLaren often trying to “put things right”. He himself said he had “intense emotions”.She finally ended the relationship on June 17, 12 days before she died.In the intervening days, the warehouse worker posted photos and derogatory comments on Facebook about the University of Kent student and part-time barmaid.Ms McLaren had blocked Stimpson on social media, but learnt of his comments and reported the posts to police on June 22. Joshua Stimpson pictured on CCTV purchasing a knife, that was shown to the jury at Maidstone Crown Court  The previous day, Ms McLaren had told a relative she feared Stimpson would hurt her. Describing him as ­“manipulative and turning nasty”, she said: “I am actually scared about what he might do. I’m scared he might hurt me. I don’t know how on edge he is.” Joshua Stimpson pictured on CCTV purchasing a knife, that was shown to the jury at Maidstone Crown Court Credit:Kent Police/PA During the killing, Benjamin Morton, a witness, tried to pull Stimpson off Ms McLaren as she screamed.Mr Morton later told police Stimpson was “continuously” stabbing Ms McLaren, mainly in the neck area. He added: “It was like a frenzy, he was ­doing it again and again.”Ms McLaren, who studied sport, exercise and health, had just been to a gym. Stimpson had been at the same gym and she asked him: “Are you following me now?” She also sent a WhatsApp message to a group of friends at 11.02am, saying: “Feel like I’m f—— looking over my shoulder all the time”. It was her last communication.Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC said as she walked to her car, CCTV footage showed Stimpson waiting for her in his vehicle and then begin to tail her. He left his car, walked quickly to hers and yanked the door open as Ms McLaren screamed. Stimpson, who admits manslaughter but denies murder, was arrested at the scene, covered in blood. The court heard he had told a work colleague he suffered from bipolar disorder.Two days before the killing, Stimpson bought a Sabatier paring knife from an Asda store in Chatham. It was found on the driver’s seat of Ms McLaren’s car ­after she died. Police also discovered a pick axe in Stimpson’s car.  The trial continues. 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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British actresses demand end to sexual harassment ahead of the Baftas

first_imgBritish actress Emma Thompson Credit:AFP The open letter – published in The Observer and signed by actors including Emma Watson, Gemma Arterton, Letitia Wright and Olivia Colman – states: “This movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone.”It adds: “In the very near past, we lived in a world where sexual harassment was an uncomfortable joke; an unavoidable awkward part of being a girl or a woman.”It was certainly not to be discussed, let alone addressed. In 2018, we seem to have woken up in a world ripe for change. If we truly embrace this moment, a line in the sand will turn to stone.” Emma Watson Emma Watson signed the open letterCredit:Jesse Grant /Getty The stars will be joined at the Baftas by activists in a move that mirrors the Golden Globe Awards in America. More than 190 of Britain’s leading female actresses are demanding an end to sexual harassment ahead of the Bafta Awards.Stars including Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson, Naomie Harris and Jodie Whittaker are among signatories to an open letter vowing support for the Time’s Up movement, set up following the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal.The publication of the letter comes as many stars prepare to wear black at the ceremony in a show of solidarity with their American colleagues who held a similar protest at the Golden Globe Awards last month.The British celebrities urge people to donate to a new UK Justice and Equality Fund aimed at supporting women who are victims of abuse in “all industries”.center_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. “Research in the UK has found that more than half of all women said they have experienced sexual harassment at work.”Calls for women to wear black at the the Baftas has led to speculation about whether the Duchess of Cambridge, who is due to attend the event, will join in. Laura Bates who founded the award-winning Everyday Sexism project, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, co-founder of UK Black Pride, and Eileen Pullen and Gwen Davis, two of the ‘Dagenham Girls’ who walked out of a Ford Motor Company plant after learning they were being paid less than their male counterparts, will be among the guests.The letter adds: “Here in the UK, this movement is at a critical juncture. The gender pay gap for women in their 20s is now five times greater than it was six years ago. British actress Emma Thompson last_img read more

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Met Office chief executive sacked amid questions over governance and management

first_imgThe findings of the internal investigation were then passed to Alex Chisholm, the permanent secretary at BEIS, who requested that Mr Varley resign. “He agreed to step down after being told to step down,” said the BEIS spokesman. The Met Office has been plunged into crisis after its chief executive was sacked over problems with “governance and management controls” at the £170 million a year public body.Rob Varley was ordered to resign from his £160,000 post by the most senior civil servant at the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which oversees the national weather service.Mr Varley, who had worked at the Met Office for 34 years beginning as a trainee forecaster in 1983, agreed to step aside.It comes at a pivotal time for the Met Office, which lost the contract to provide forecasting services for the BBC to its rival MeteoGroup. It will stop providing forecasts later this month. The Met Office has provided data for the BBC’s weather forecasts since the corporation’s first radio weather bulletin in November 1922.An internal report by Sir John Beddington, the Met Office’s chairman and the Government’s former chief scientific adviser, raised concerns over the “governance arrangements and management controls” within the chief executive’s department, said a BEIS spokesman. [Rob Varley] agreed to step down after being told to step down.BEIS spokesman Mr Varley’s father had also worked at the Met Office and the pair briefly overlapped. It is not clear the precise nature of the complaint against Mr Varley. The Met Office’s annual report raised a “significant governance and control issue” over “a particular product development and a bid which resulted in incorrect pricing and specifications for some key services”. The report went on: “The specific issues have been addressed but these processes are being analysed to identify the root causes and to develop appropriate remedial actions.”center_img The Government refused to say exactly what the problem was but insisted it concerned management around the chief executive’s office and said the problem was “not on a huge scale”.The Met Office declined to say why its chief executive had been forced to resign. A spokesman said it had come as a surprise and nobody had been informed of the reason.The Met Office said that its work was “wholly unaffected” by Mr Varley stepping down  and that the current deputy chief executive and chief finance officer Nick Jobling has taken over with immediate effect on a short term basis.“This will ensure continued leadership of our world-class National Meteorological Service,” said the organisation, adding; “Met Office operations and services are wholly unaffected by this decision.” Mr Varley was appointed chief executive in 2014 and had spoken of his great ‘privilege’ in heading up the body.He said at the time of his appointment: “I feel hugely privileged to be asked to take up this role having started work at the Met Office as a forecaster over 30 years ago.”He went on: “I am passionate about the difference accurate forecasts and warnings can make to people lives and livelihoods. As Met Office Chief Executive, I want to ensure we unlock the full potential of our science for the benefit of the nation and our partners in the UK and overseas.” 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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Spider taught to jump on command in bid to create army of

Spiders are notorious for making people jump.But now scientists at the University of Manchester have turned the tables, training a jumping spider to leap between platforms on command so they could film its super-springy take-off and flight.It wasn’t easy. Several of the early spiders simply wandered away from the platforms, while others sat stubbornly still, baffled by the task of bounding on cue.However after several weeks of gentle encouragement, star arachnid Kim, finally began to spring from one ledge to the other, allowing scientists to record, monitor and analyse a spider’s movement in high-resolution 3D for the very first 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. The spider's body was mapped using state-of-the-art scanners  The spider’s body was mapped using state-of-the-art scanners Credit:University of Manchester  Not only does the new footage help to explain more about how the creatures manage the feat, but will help engineers to create an army of agile micro-robots capable of hunting pests, so that farmers would no longer need toxic pesticides. But, if Kim is jumping a longer distance or to an elevated platform, perhaps to traverse rough terrain, she jumps in the most efficient way to reduce the amount of energy used. Kim the spider was taught to leap on command so her incredible jumping ability could be recorded in detail Kim the spider who has been trained to jump to help scientists study the mechanics of the jumping arachnidCredit:University of Manchester  Kim the spider who has been trained to jump to help scientists study the mechanics of the jumping arachnid Kim the spider who has been trained to jump to help scientists study the mechanics of the jumping arachnidCredit:Dr Mostafa Nabawy  Kim, who has since died, belonged to a species of jumping arachnid known as Phidippus regius, or ‘Regal Jumping Spider’ and was about 1cm in length. The team recorded her jumps using ultra-high-speed cameras, and used high resolution micro CT scans to create a 3D model of Kim’s legs and body structure in unprecedented detail.They found that to jump shorter, close-range distances she favoured a faster, lower trajectory which uses up more energy, but minimises flight time. This makes the jump more accurate and more effective for capturing its prey. Scientists have known for more than 50 years that spiders use internal hydraulic pressure to extend their legs,Dr Bill Crowther, co-author of the study, explains: “Our results suggest that whilst Kim can move her legs hydraulically, she does not need the additional power from hydraulics to achieve her extraordinary jumping performance.”The study is being published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. Kim the spider who has been trained to jump to help scientists study the mechanics of the jumping arachnid Kim the spider was taught to leap on command so her incredible jumping ability could be recorded in detailCredit:Dr Mostafa Nabawy  Dr Mostafa Nabawy, lead author of the study, said: “We could have used a cricket to tempt her to jump across the platforms but we could only have done that once a week because spiders don’t eat that often, and we wanted to film different kinds of jumps, not just catching prey.“There is a huge interest in developing jumping robots, but so far research has focussed on long distances. This research could allow robots to be created that jump shorter distances but are more accurate when they land.“It could allow the development of robot spiders which are capable of hunting pests, so instead of using pesticides you could have an army of robotic spiders capable of targeting bugs.” The aim of the study was to understand how jumping spiders modify their speed and trajectory when jumping long or short distances or leaping upwards.A jumping spider can leap up to six times its body length from a standing start. The best a human can achieve is about 1.5 body lengths.The researchers were anxious not to skew Kim’s behaviour by tempting her to the other platform with food, as they would only have seen a predatory jump rather than recording the full range of her abilities.Instead, over several weeks they placed Kim backwards and forwards between the ledges until she finally got the idea of jumping between them. read more

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The Beano relaunches prankfilled fan club for 80th birthday

There is even one diabolical suggestion to offer friends “cupcakes” made with an unpleasant egg mayonnaise topping masquerading as frosting.Created by publisher DC Thomson in Dundee, The Beano sold almost two million copies weekly in the 1950s. The much-loved fan club has been relaunched as a password-protected section of the Beano smartphone app The much-loved fan club has been relaunched as a password-protected section of the Beano smartphone app Very few first issues of the Beano remain in existence, with one selling for more than £17,000 at auction in 2015. The first edition was fronted by Big Eggo The Ostrich  The Beano has relaunched the “Dennis and Gnasher Fan Club” as a smartphone app in celebration of its 80th birthday.The comic first hit the shelves on July 30, 1938 as a companion to The Dandy which was first published eight months earlier.Home to Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids, The Beano has enjoyed a renaissance in the last few years with a digital strategy which has reinvigorated its popularity among the latest generation of readers.It boasts that its online hub Beano.com is the fastest-growing children’s website in the country.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––In addition to a guest editorship by comedian and children’s author David Walliams and a museum exhibition in its native Dundee, its birthday celebrations include the relaunch of its infamous Fan Club, closed to new members in 2010, as an app. Very few first issues of the Beano remain in existence, with one selling for more than £17,000 at auction in 2015. The first edition was fronted by Big Eggo The Ostrich Credit:Beano Studios/DC Thomson/PS Most of its best-known characters were introduced to the comic in the years after its launch.The longest-running and most famous, Dennis The Menace, made his Beano debut on March 17, 1951, but the “World’s Wildest Boy” had to wait until May 5 of that year to be given his trademark black-and-red striped jumper.In his editor’s letter, Walliams said: “What I always loved about the Beano was that it felt naughty.”It was a comic that you should read under the duvet with a torchlight. I don’t think I’d have got into writing my books without Beano.”  Membership is now free, and provides printable club badges and membership certificates.But once members use their secret code to access a password-protected area of the Beano smartphone app, the comic’s traditional world of pranks is open to them.Suggestions for pranking school friends, parents and teachers range from the benign – make a bowl of cereal and freeze it, before offering it to your parents for hilarity to ensue – to the potentially troublesome – hide your teachers’ pens and pour food in their desk drawers. 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

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Mystery surrounds the discovery of human remains at a Yorkshire cottage where

Helmsley is a picturesque market town in North YorkshireCredit:Alamy The discovery was made by builders working on the property 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. Helmsley is a picturesque market town in North Yorkshire She said: “Although they speak broken English they both write it perfectly and neatly. I know that because they would write letters of complaint about staff in Costcutter at the time I worked there.”They complained about me because I was chatting to a customer while I served them and about another member of staff because they said she had mud on her boots.”In that case they actually followed her home and posted the letter of complaint through her door, so they were told they were no longer welcome as customers.”They started shopping at the garage instead after that and pre-order their food in a letter each week.”She added: “They don’t appear to work but the rumour is that he is an author, he certainly writes English very well.” “To my knowledge the little girl didn’t go to school, she was rarely seen. It was around 20 years ago so she’ll be an adult now.” “A neighbour of theirs was having some work done on a roof and then about two weeks ago scaffolding went up outside their home as well.”The roofers were at work when they noticed a dreadful smell. I don’t know what they uncovered but the police were called in and the body was found.”It’s chilling, people are shocked and horrified that such a things has happened here. Helmsley is your typical Yorkshire market town, you don’t get much to talk about from one year to the next.”She added: “At some point it’s said they had a young girl living with them but if that’s the case I never saw her.”Helmsley town councillor, Chris Parkin, who runs a nearby bed and breakfast business, said: “Although they have lived in the town for quite some time these people have been totally alien to everything that happens here.”They didn’t take part in anything, they went out as a pair and they shopped together as a pair, although the popular speculation here is that they are brother and sister. It is only speculation because people just don’t know them.” A neighbour in the cottages said: “In all the time they have lived here I have never had so much as a word from them, in fact they avert their gaze when you meet them so as to avoid contact.”I have seen the old lady from time to time but only a face at the window or sometimes at the door when she lets the younger pair back in. For some reason they always knock instead of using a key. Penny Bradley, 51, who works in the local petrol station and shop where the family often buy their groceries, said she believed the younger man and woman were brother and sister and that he worked as a writer.She said the family had been barred from the local convenience store after getting into rows with the staff. A North Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said the family had been released on bail under investigation. She said: “Following a report by a member of the public, officers located the remains of an adult body at a property on Bondgate in Helmsley at around 6pm on Tuesday 25 September 2018.”The 75 year-old woman, 46 year-old man and 51 year-old woman who were arrested in connection with the incident have all been released on conditional bail.Enquiries are continuing to determine the circumstances around the incident. “A former neighbour said that when the family moved into the house in 1998 there were five members, including a young girl.She said: “When they moved in there was the man and woman, who people  thought at the time were married but it’s since turned out they’re brother and sister according to most people in town.”There was an older man and woman and a little girl.”The girl would only have been around four or five and was very small, she suffered some kind of disability I was told.”I saw her outside the house a couple of times and I’d also see her looking through the window, peering out through the pot plants.”It’s been years though since anyone saw her or the older man, everyone assumed they had left, maybe to go back to Japan. Police in an historic market town are investigating the discovery of human remains at a house where neighbours claim they used to a see a child staring out of the window.The alarm was raised when roofers working on a 200-year-old cottage in the North Yorkshire town of Helmsley, became concerned by a foul smell as they removed tiles and coping stones from the property.Detectives subsequently recovered human remains from the terraced cottage, which has been occupied for at least 20-years by a reclusive family, thought to be originally from Japan.A 49-year-old man and two women aged 51 and 75, were arrested in connection with the discovery, but were later bailed.Locals said the family were often seen around the market town but rarely interacted with others.Neighbours also reported that a young girl had lived at the property in the past, but that she had not been seen recently. The discovery was made by builders working on the propertyCredit:KTDMedia read more

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Ban childrens smartphones from mealtimes and before bed parents told

The new guidance, from all four chief medical officers of the UK, follows a review of the evidence about the impact of screen-time on children’s mental health and wellbeing.It found that heavy use of social media was associated with a doubling in depressive symptoms.The review said there was not enough published research to support any specific daily limit for screen time. But the guidance suggests parents should take a “precautionary approach” and not allow children to spend more than two hours at a time on smartphones and other gadgets.And social media providers will be told to introduce a raft of measures to tackle addictive and harmful behaviours, and prevent under-age use of sites, or face tougher laws. Dame Sally’s recommendations on screen use and social media: Leave phones outside the bedroom when it is bedtime. Talk about sharing photos and information online and how photos and words are sometimes manipulated. Parents and carers should never assume that children are happy for their photos to be shared. For everyone – when in doubt, don’t upload. Make sure you and your children are aware of, and abide by, their school’s policy on screen time. Keep moving! Everyone should take a break after a couple of hours sitting or lying down using a screen. It’s good to get up and move about a bit. Advise children to put their screens away while crossing the road or doing an activity that needs their full attention. Talk with your children about using screens and what they are watching. A change in behaviour can be a sign they are distressed – make sure they know they can always speak to you or another responsible adult if they feel uncomfortable with screen or social media use. Screen-free meal times are a good idea – you can enjoy face-to-face conversation, with adults giving their full attention to children. The country’s chief medical officer is backing a Duty of Care as she warns social media companies they must remove “addictive” technology or face new laws.Prof Dame Sally Davies spoke out as she issued the first official advice on screen time and social media – urging parents to ban smartphones from mealtimes and leave them outside of bedrooms at night.The new guidance suggests parents need to take more control over the digital habits of their sons and daughters and find out what content they are watching.And it suggests using tracking features to monitor how much time children spend looking at screens, or using social media.It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned social media providers to “clean up your act” – or face new laws to force them to comply with a duty of care.“We are masters of our own fate as a nation and we can and must legislate to make sure this amazing technology is used for good if social media companies won’t work with us,” he warns, writing in the Telegraph.Today he will meet senior figures from Instagram, Facebook and Google and urge them to take action to remove images, videos and messages that glamorise suicide or self-harm. Dame Sally said: “Technology is an unavoidable aspect of modern life and technology companies have a duty of care. They must make more effort to keep their users safe from harm, particularly children and young people.”The  Telegraph has been campaigning for a statutory duty of care to protect children from online harms, which is now under consideration. The chief medical officer said parents should talk to their children about the content of what they are watching, and look out for changes in behaviour. As well as the guidance for parents, she has asked the technology industry to introduce changes to establish a “duty of care” to young users, or face legislation. She also recommends that parents try using tracking features which measure how much time they and – with permission – their children spend looking at screens, or on social media,And families are urged to have “screen-free mealtimes” with “adults giving their full attention to children” away from televisions, tablets and smartphones.The guidance, published by the chief medical officers, also says parents should never assume a child is happy to have their photo published online and should talk to them about the fact that photographs can be manipulated.The review found 38.1 per cent of teenage girls spending more than five hours a day on social media suffered from depressive symptoms, compared with rates of 18.1 per cent among those spending between one to three hours on such sites. Levels of depression among teenage boys rose from 6.8 per cent to 14.5 per cent, in the group spending longer on such sites.The review could not prove a causal link.But Dame Sally urged parents to take steps to control their children’s use of social media, while further research is carried out. These include changes in the way sites are structured to “remove addictive capabilities” which encourage users to get hooked.This could mean getting rid of functions like “auto-play” which mean content is continuously delivered, or pushed with nudges that “you might like” particular videos or games, and praise for logging in regularly.Other measures include effective age verification methods, age-appropriate advertisments, and the removal of harmful content such as bullying or images of self-harming.And the technology industry will be asked to contribute to funding on research on the impact of screen time, and to share anonymised data to improve the scientific evidence base about the potential risks and benefits of social media.Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health said the advice would help parents who were “crying out for help to protect their children and help them navigate the Wild West of the digital world.”Dr Bernadka Dubicka, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists said: “The chief medical officer is right to be cautious about how long children are spending looking at screens rather than talking to their friends or getting a good night’s sleep.“We do not yet have enough evidence to draw a definite causal link between amount of screen time use and mental health problems but it is clear that some of the content that young people are viewing online, such as pro-anorexia, suicide or self-harming content, can be incredibly harmful.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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Fiona Onasanya released from prison just four weeks into threemonth sentence in

“A referral under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to the Court of Appeal can only be made if a sentence is not just lenient but unduly so, such that the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range of sentences reasonably available in the circumstances of the offence.”The threshold is a high one and the test was not met in this case.”Under parliamentary rules only MPs jailed for 12 months or more are automatically kicked out of the Commons.Onasanya’s refusal to quit her seat has drawn criticism both from Labour and the Tories.Jurors at the Old Bailey heard that Onasanya colluded with her brother Festus after her car was clocked doing 41mph in a 30mph zone in the village of Thorney, near Peterborough, in July 2017.The court was told that she was sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution to fill out, but it was sent back naming the guilty driver as Aleks Antipow, an acquaintance of her brother, who was away visiting his parents in Russia.Her brother received 10 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to three counts of perverting the course of justice over speeding, including over the July 24 incident. Onasanya is appealing against her conviction. 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. Disgraced MP Fiona Onasanya has been released from prison after serving a third of her sentence for perverting the course of justice.The MP for Peterborough, who was expelled by the Labour Party, was driven out of HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey, on Tuesday morning – four weeks after she was jailed.She was sentenced to three months at the Old Bailey on January 29 after being convicted of perverting the course of justice by lying to avoid a speeding charge.Onasanya sat in the back of a white Vauxhall with the closest window to her covered by a hi-vis jacket as it drove past photographers at speed.She has refused to stand down and trigger a by-election in her seat and having been freed under an early-release scheme, the politician – now sitting as an independent – could appear in the Commons for tomorrow’s crucial Brexit voting.The Daily Mail reported that she would be made to wear an ankle tag as part of the programme.The 35-year-old solicitor was jailed on January 29 after she was convicted at the Old Bailey.News of her release comes a day after a complaint to the Attorney General’s Office that the sentence given to her was unduly lenient was rejected. The Attorney General’s Office said on Monday: “After careful consideration, the Solicitor General has concluded that he could not refer this case to the Court of Appeal. Fiona Onasanya will be required to wear an ankle tag, according to a reportCredit:Steve Parsons Fiona Onasanya leaves HMP Bronzefield on Tuesday morning read more

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Major incident declared as one women dies and 19 people are hospitalised

She said: “A major incident was declared at 13.51 today after a serious road traffic incident took place on Forest Road, Newport, involving two cars and a bus.”The Isle of Wight NHS Trust can confirm that four people have been airlifted to mainland hospitals and currently 15 patients have been brought into St Mary’s Hospital.”The spokeswoman said the airlifted patients were possibly taken to hospitals in Portsmouth or Southampton.People are being asked not to attend the emergency department unless absolutely necessary.The Trust tweeted: “A Major Incident has been declared after a serious RTI (road traffic incident). We are requesting that people do not attend the Emergency Department unless absolutely necessary. Please ring NHS 111 for advice and guidance if you have an urgent medical health concern but it’s not life threatening.” One person has died and nineteen people have been taken to hospital after a crash involving two cars and a bus on the Isle of Wight.Four of the casualties were airlifted after the collision on Forest Road in Newport on Sunday afternoon.The person who died was a woman in her 60s, Hampshire Police said.Three others who were travelling in a red Fiat Bravo with the woman were taken to hospital in a “serious condition”, the force added.A statement read: “We can confirm we are investigating a serious road traffic collision on Forest Road in Newport, Isle of Wight, which has resulted in the death of a woman in her 60s.”The deceased was travelling in a red Fiat Bravo. Three other people in the vehicle are in a serious condition and have been taken to hospital.”The driver of the bus, a man in his 50s, is also said to have sustained a serious injury.”Ten passengers who were travelling on the bus have also been taken to hospital as a precaution. Four people travelling in a silver Mini Cooper, were also taken to hospital as a precaution.”A major incident has been declared, a spokeswoman for Isle of Wight NHS Trust said. 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

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Assange tried to create a centre for spying inside the Ecuadorian embassy

“I think the first thing to say is Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations over the past few days to justify what was an unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy,” she said.Pressed over the veracity of the allegations, Ms Robinson said: “That’s not true.”She also said Assange’s fears of a US extradition threat were proved correct this week after allegations were made that he conspired to hack into a classified Pentagon computer.Assange faces up to 12 months in prison after being found guilty of breaching his bail conditions when he entered the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012.He made the move after losing his battle against extradition to Sweden where he faced allegations including rape.Assange is now expected to fight extradition to the US over an allegation that he conspired with former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer.Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has joined Assange’s supporters in saying he should be protected against extradition to the US because he exposed evidence of “atrocities” in Iraq and Afghanistan.More than 70 MPs have also urged the Government to ensure Assange faces Swedish authorities if they request his extradition. Ecuadorean President Lenin MorenoCredit: PABLO COZZAGLIO “This activity violates asylum conditions. Our decision is not arbitrary but is based on international law.”The president also made references to Assange’s apparently poor hygiene following allegations made by interior minister, Maria Paula Romo, which included Assange “putting faeces on the walls”.Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, disputed the claims when she appeared on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday. Julian Assange has been accused of trying to create a “centre for spying” in the Ecuadorian embassy that sheltered him by the nation’s president.Lenin Moreno also said that no other country had an influence over the decision to revoke the WikiLeaks founder’s asylum, which the leader claimed followed repeated violations by Assange.The comments in an interview with The Guardian show the degradation of Assange’s relationship with Ecuador, which allowed him to stay in the London embassy for nearly seven years.But the 47-year-old was dragged out by police in dramatic scenes on Thursday. He now faces jail for breaching bail and possible extradition to the US.Mr Moreno, who became president in 2017, said his nation’s previous government provided facilities within the embassy “to interfere in processes of other states”.”We cannot allow our house, the house that opened its doors, to become a centre for spying,” Mr Moreno told the newspaper. Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno 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

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Peacocks terrorise village but council says locals will have to catch them

Homeowner Eddie looks on as two male peacocks roam on his propertyCredit:Jordan Pettitt/Solent News & Photo Agency 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. Two peacocks causing chaos in an Hampshire village will only be stopped if residents themselves can catch them, a council has said.Residents of Picket Twenty, in the Test Valley district of Hampshire, say the birds are destroying their gardens and breaking into their homes.The peacocks, which are currently in the peak of their mating season, have even left homeowners unable to sleep as a result of their loud mating calls.The local authority, after receiving numerous complaints, has advised residents to ‘catch or corral’ the peacocks so someone can come and collect them.Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) is sending letters to local residents, which state the birds ‘are not owned’ and have come ‘from an unknown colony’. Becky McNeil, a local resident with a toddler and a newborn baby, is among villagers who have been impacted by the noise.She said: “They are lovely to look at, don’t get me wrong, it’s just the noise at night. It starts at about 10pm and lasts until about 2am. For a good five weeks it was every night.“Even when I close the windows with the vents open it is still incredibly noisy. My toddler gets quite frightened.”Another resident said the peacocks were in her garden everyday for two weeks and were able to eventually enter her house.”They were walking around the lounge when I came downstairs. They are not scared; this is the thing. My other half was washing his car with the pressure washer and they just walked right up to him.”Photos of the birds flying onto residents’ roofs on social media have also emerged.Councillor Phil Bundy, TVBC portfolio holder for housing and environmental health, said: “Although the council has no obligation to move the animals on to a new colony, we would need access to a secure location around Picket Twenty in which to safely capture them. While the authority itself does not have access to this type of location, we would welcome any assistance from residents who may be able to offer such a space.” Homeowner Eddie looks on as two male peacocks roam on his property in Picket Twenty, Andover, Hants read more

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Romanian man accused of Midsomer Murders killing remanded in custody

On the fifth anniversary of Ms Graves’s death last December, relatives told how no-one had given up hope on the investigation although there was a sense police had exhausted all lines of inquiry.Cristian Sabou is a Romanian national who was living in the UK at the time Ms Graves was killed.Earlier this month his father, Viorel Sabou, told The Telegraph that Cristian had become homeless when he first moved to the UK, before living in a caravan at the scrap metal yard where he worked.He told of his son’s love of animals, and his dream to set up a snake farm in Australia. Cristian Sabou will attend a plea and trial preparation hearing on 30 September in advance of his trial. A Romanian man has appeared in court charged with the murder of grandmother Valerie Graves, who was beaten to death with a claw hammer while house sitting for friends in 2013.Cristian Sabou, 27, appeared in court wearing a black t shirt and confirmed his name through a translator.He was extradited from Romania earlier this month after being arrested on a European Arrest Warrant in Dej, Romania. The arrest was a joint operation by Romanian police and the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team detectives. Mr Sabou did not oppose his extradition, and now faces trial in the UK.At Lewes Crown Court today Judge Christine Laing set a preliminary trial date of January 6, 2020.Ms Graves, 55, was house sitting for holidaying friends in a £1.6m waterside mansion in Bosham, West Sussex, over Christmas 2013, when she was killed.Her body was discovered in her bedroom with fatal injuries to the face and head, inflicted with a claw hammer later discovered nearby. The murder confounded detectives from Sussex Police, who interviewed more than 9,000 people and took 3,000 DNA samples in an attempt to find her killer.The case became known as the Midsomer Murder after an episode of the popular ITV drama was filmed in the picturesque coastal village. 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

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Guyana closer to crafting national climate change policy

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedStakeholders benefit from capacity building training to access funding for ‘green’ initiativesSeptember 13, 2017In “Environment”GCF approves $140M for Agriculture sector, FAO to assist in resilience buildingJuly 26, 2018In “Business”Guyana participating in Green Climate Fund’s conference and workshop in South KoreaApril 27, 2016In “latest news” Guyana is crafting a national climate change policy with assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).Head of the Office of Climate Change, Janelle Christian, said the policy will ensure that there is collective action to mainstream climate change mitigation efforts across all sectors. Christian explained that her office has been in discussions with the CDB for several months, on the policy.Head of Office of Climate Change Janelle Christian“We have received firm commitment from the CDB to support the Government of Guyana through the Office of Climate Change for the preparation of a National Climate Change Policy and also to support the office directly by preparing a strategic plan (to guide us) over the next five to ten years,” Christian explained.Christian noted that the national climate change policy would provide overarching guidance to all sector agencies to help them develop respective sector plans. She said this is necessary to integrate climate action into all developmental planning whether social, environmental or economic activities.Christian further explained that Guyana will be receiving support through the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub to fund activities to better tackle climate change. The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub initiative was implemented at the opening of the COP21 Climate Change Summit in Paris, France, to assist vulnerable small states already facing the adverse impacts of climate change.“Guyana is among one of the first countries to be benefitting from the Commonwealth Secretariat Climate Finance Access Hub and they will be supporting the Government of Guyana by sending a climate finance advisor in the first instance for 12 months, with the possibility of extension,” Christian said, adding that the finance advisor is expected here by the second quarter of this year.Additionally, the Latin America Energy Agency  is supporting the process to implement energy efficiency solutions in public buildings.According to Christian, local agencies have also come on board to support the Office of Climate Change in implementing and developing the national policy for climate change adaption and mitigation.Christian pointed out that the office has been working very closely with the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), National Center for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) and the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL) among others.“Given the fact that we want to address the gap in public knowledge of climate change and how it impacts our lives, we would like to have an ongoing public education and awareness programme,” Christian said.The Head of the Office of Climate Change said while the Office awaits the resources to develop the national policy, awareness sessions have started in schools. (GINA) read more

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