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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