In the NBA Its Not Whether You Win or Lose Its Whether

It was the age of foolishness. It was the summer of trading three draft picks for Andrea Bargnani. It was the autumn of J.R. Smith being suspended for marijuana possession. It was the winter of disparaging the shot clock. It was the New York Knicks’ 2013-14 season. So when Mike Woodson was fired as the coach of the Knicks on a warm, spring day in Gotham Monday, New York breathed a sigh of relief.But Woodson’s problem wasn’t just that the Knicks were bad. The Knicks are usually bad. Woodson’s problem was that the Knicks — for a change — were expected to be good. They’d won 54 games and gone to the Eastern Conference semifinals the year before. Preseason over-under lines pegged their win total at 49.5 games. When my ESPN colleague Kevin Pelton, through his SCHOENE system, instead projected the Knicks to win 37 games, his projection threatened to turn Knickerblogger, the eminently sane and stats-friendly blog, into the basketball version of “unskewed polls.”The Knicks went 37 and 45.In the NBA, where about 30 percent of the league turns its head coach over every season, these expectations matter as much as reality. I mean that literally: Las Vegas’s preseason over-under lines predict coach turnover just as well as actual wins and losses do.I went back and collected preseason over-under lines dating back to the 2006-07 season. I compared them to each team’s actual record during the regular season. Then I ran a logistic regression analysis. The dependent variable is whether the team kept the same head coach from the start of that regular season to the next one. Here are the results:The regression output contains two variables: exp_w (the number of games a team was expected to win, per Las Vegas) and act_w (actual wins). For the 2011-12 NBA season, which was shortened by a player lockout, I’ve prorated both totals to 82 games.You may notice that the coefficient on each variable is almost identical, though they have opposite signs. What that means is that an expected win hurts a coach about as much as an actual win helps him.The graph below provides an illustration of this, and measures the probability of a coaching change under two scenarios: a team (like this year’s Sacramento Kings) that was expected to win 30 games, and a team (like the Knicks) that was expected to win 50. If the projected 30-win team wins 35 games, just slightly better than expectations, its probability of a coaching change is only about 17 percent. If the projected 50-win team wins 45 games, just slightly worse than expectations, the probability is 37 percent instead.Lest this seem too abstract, I’ve compiled a list of all teams since the 2006-07 season that underperformed their over-under line by 10 games or more. There are 33 of these. Here’s what happened to their coaches:Nine of them were fired during the season;Nine of them were fired after the season;One of them resigned during the season;Two of them resigned after the season;Two of them, Larry Drew of the Milwaukee Bucks and Brian Shaw of the Denver Nuggets, just completed their seasons and have yet to learn their fates;The other 10 kept their jobs, although five of them were fired during or after their following season. Other factors also affect a coach’s odds of being fired. Deep playoff runs help coaches. First-year coaches sometimes get mulligans and are less likely to be fired. We’ll save that discussion for another post, however.The lesson is simple: A coach is not long for his job when expectations run wild, as they often do in New York. With the benefit of hindsight, it now seems likely that Woodson’s Knicks overachieved in the 2012-13 season. That only made it harder for him to keep his job this year. read more

Kevin Garnett Tell LeBron to Worry About Miami

Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Garnett says Miami Heat’s LeBron James should worry about his own team.Earlier in the week James said that Garnett and Paul Pierce should apologize for their criticism of Ray Allen for departing Boston and then leaving the Celtics themselves.“Tell LeBron to worry about Miami. It has nothing to do with Celtic business,” Garnett said in response.“I left Boston?” Pierce said when asked about James’ comments, hinting that the Celtics let him go as free agent.Garnett and Pierce were upset that Allen left the Celtics for the Heat last offseason. Pierce said he hadn’t forgiven Allen for leaving Boston, and KG said he lost his phone number and didn’t communicate with him anymore.“I think the first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,’” James said. “I think it’s OK; I didn’t mind it. But there were a couple guys who basically [expletive] on Ray for leaving, and now they’re leaving.“That’s the nature of our business, man. I don’t know what Boston was going through at the end of the day. I know Ray had to make the best decision for him and his family and his career. Doc [Rivers, former Celtics coach], KG and Paul did that as well. You can’t criticize someone who does something that’s best for their family.” read more

Ohio State womens basketball falls to Nebraska 6253

The Ohio State women’s basketball team’s Big Ten slate hasn’t been kind to them this year. It was more of the same for the Buckeyes against Nebraska Thursday, as the Cornhuskers dropped OSU, 62-53. In the process, the Buckeyes lost their seventh conference game this season. They might be losing hope of a turnaround, too. “To be honest, it’s hard to come to practice and to try to be positive,” said OSU senior guard Amber Stokes. OSU, which sits 10th in the conference, struggled to match the Cornhuskers‘ (15-6, 5-3) marksmanship from behind the arc. En route to what is now a three-game winning streak for Nebraska, the Cornhuskers unloaded 25 3-point shots and connected on nine of them. That theme seemed apparent early in the contest. Less than two minutes into the game, the Cornhuskers scored two 3-pointers while the Buckeyes struggled to make a basket. OSU’s shots clanked off the iron time and time again, but for a while, it seemed Nebraska wasn’t faring much better. After the initial 10 minutes of the contest, though, when both teams only made 25 percent of their shots, the Cornhuskers improved to 38 percent of their shots and the Buckeyes to 33 percent. Nebraska, however, proved to be the more aggressive team in the first half, including a 5-of-13 outing from behind the arc. Conversely, OSU missed all seven of the 3-point attempts in the game’s first act. Despite OSU senior guard Tayler Hill’s 12 first-half points and junior center Ashley Adams’ eight points, the Cornhuskers continued to build a cushion between themselves and the Buckeyes and head into intermission leading, 34-24. It also didn’t help that OSU turned the ball over 10 times compared to Nebraska’s five miscues. The second half started off better for the Buckeyes, with a jumper by redshirt junior center Aleksandra Dobranic within the first ten seconds. On the subsequent possession, Nebraska turned the ball over, which translated into an easy layup for Hill, who finished the night with 22 points. But for every shot the Buckeyes made, the Cornhuskers had an answer. Their lead, which withstood a 41 percent outing from the floor from OSU, never fell below six points for the rest of the half. Part of that had to do with Nebraska junior forward Jordan Hooper’s season-high 28 points. “My teammates did a really good job of finding me and I just shot it,” Hooper said after the game. OSU head coach Jim Foster said that he thought OSU’s defense was weak on Hooper. “I don’t think we did a great job of identifying where Hooper was. And when you have a player like that, you don’t start your defense under the 3-point line, you start it one foot outside the 3-point line,” Foster said. “That just comes with experience and understanding and making decisions. And hopefully we learn something from them.” The Buckeyes (11-10, 1-7 Big Ten) are now 10-3 at home this season. OSU is set to next take on Indiana Sunday in Bloomington, Ind., at 2 p.m. read more

Ameryst Alston and Raven Ferguson lead Ohio State womens basketball to upset

Junior guard Raven Ferguson drives to the basket during a game against Michigan Jan. 5 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 64-49.Credit Shelby Lum / Photo editorThe Indiana Hoosiers came into their game against the Ohio State women’s basketball team undefeated and ranked in the top-25 for just the second time in team history.They left Assembly Hall with a loss to the unranked Buckeyes.OSU sophomore guard Ameryst Alston led all scorers and tied a career high with 29 points as the Buckeyes took down the No. 22 Hoosiers, 70-51, Saturday.Coach Kevin McGuff was not shy in his praise of his star guard after the victory.“She (Alston) was in attack mode for 40 minutes tonight,” McGuff said in a press release following the game. “We are a different team when she is playing with that type of aggressiveness.”The Buckeyes also got quality minutes from junior guard Raven Ferguson, who came off the bench to record a career-high 18 points.“This was Raven’s best game all year,” McGuff said. “She generated a lot of offense for herself and her teammates.”The efforts of Alston and Ferguson also made an impression on Indiana coach Curt Miller.“The one-on-one ability by Ameryst and the one-on-one ability by Raven Ferguson was the big difference in the game tonight,” Miller said in a postgame video for Indiana athletics. “They created havoc with their penetration.”The OSU defense was a big factor in the victory, as it held the Hoosiers to just 28.8 percent shooting from the field.“I thought we were particularly good on the defensive end today and I think our players did an excellent job executing what the game plan was and playing with great intensity,” McGuff said. “Our communication was better and we were just much, much better on the defensive end.”Another area of success for the Buckeyes was scoring inside, where the Buckeyes outscored Indiana 38-14 in the paint.“Ohio State’s big,” Hoosiers senior center Simone Deloach said in a postgame video. “They did a really good job of getting the ball inside and … passing out of the post too.”The game seemed to be in hand midway through the second half as OSU led 56-37 with 10:46 remaining.But the Hoosiers then scored 11 straight to cut the lead to eight with just more than eight minutes left.The crowd at Assembly Hall roared, but the Buckeyes had an answer.The Buckeyes finished the game on a 14-3 run in the final eight minutes to seal a victory, much to the delight of McGuff.“That was really great to see,” McGuff said. “They certainly could have crumbled and quit doing the things that allowed us to get the lead we had prior to that run.”The win over Indiana gave the Buckeyes their second road victory this season, the other coming against West Virginia Nov. 8 when they beat the Mountaineers 70-61.“We still have a long way to go,” McGuff said. “But this was a good performance for us.”OSU is scheduled to travel to Penn State Thursday. Tipoff between the Buckeyes and No. 14 Nittany Lions is set for 7 p.m. read more

Mens basketball What to expect from Ohio State in 201718

The 2017-18 Ohio State men’s basketball team held its preseason media day Wednesday at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Nick Clarkson | Social Media EditorKnowing how the Ohio State men’s basketball team was going to perform each night the past two seasons was a mystery. This year, it might be even more difficult to predict.Ohio State held its preseason media day Wednesday with all seven returning players, plus Michigan transfer guard Andrew Dakich, before the team’s first official practice Saturday for the first season under head coach Chris Holtmann. With a fresh coaching staff and a roster full of new players, there likely haven’t been more question marks heading into an Ohio State season since former head coach Thad Matta took over the program in 2004. But despite all the program turnover and offseason storylines, the team goals haven’t changed.“I was definitely excited [for the season] because I felt that as a team, we didn’t leave it all out there on the table [last season],” senior forward Jae’Sean Tate said. “I wouldn’t say that overall goal hasn’t changed since coach Holtmann came, but the style was an adjustment from one coaching staff to another.”It’s difficult to know if Ohio State can actually compete with top programs this year, but based on depth and overall uncertainty, the logical answer would be “no.” Yet, if there’s a reason Ohio State can surprise teams and critics around the country, redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop’s play could be it.After playing just nine games due to a season-ending leg injury last year, which led to a medical redshirt, Bates-Diop returns as perhaps Ohio State’s best two-way player. He said he hasn’t “felt this good in probably a year and a half, physically.”At 6-foot-7 and with a wingspan of more than seven feet, he has the ability to contest on the glass, defend on the perimeter and shoot over top of any defender.“I think I’m more consistent with my jump shot. I worked on a lot of the stationary stuff, so I kind of went back to basics, essentially with shooting,” Bates-Diop said. “And coming back, I worked on a lot of footwork and agility stuff just because my leg was weaker and I needed it. I think I’m better in a lot of areas.”Tate said he believes the team is talented enough to meet its goal, presumably being competitive in league play and improving significantly from last season’s dismal 17-15 finish without a bid to the NCAA Tournament, or even the NIT. However, the steps to get there have changed a bit.The first step for the team is learning an entirely new system. All the players who spoke Wednesday said Holtmann is a defensively focused coach. In the two hours per week the team can be with the coaching staff in the offseason, per NCAA rules, Holtmann has steered clear of working in the half court, instead focusing on transition defense and offense.“He’s big on defense,” Bates-Diop said. “All the details in everything. It just kind of opened our minds, essentially.”Sophomore center Micah Potter said the team is in better condition now than it was at this point last season, which could be a direct cause of the heavy work in transition.“If you remember back last year, there were a lot of games we lost by, like, one to five points,” Potter said. “I think being in shape will help us keep that focus and help us make those extra hustle plays that help us win those kind of games.”Depth at point guard is a major issue for Ohio State in 2017-18, with junior C.J. Jackson being the only true point guard on the roster. It is still unknown who is going to be the backup point guard, but all signs point to Jackson playing extended minutes. Tate, Dakich, Bates-Diop and redshirt senior guard Kam Williams have all been practicing as ball handlers. Bates-Diop said Williams is the most likely of the bunch to receive time at point guard. Williams said he expects to play some point guard this season.Including Bates-Diop, Ohio State returns three starters and because of depth problems will have to play inexperienced freshmen forwards Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson and freshman guard Musa Jallow because of depth problems. The players raved about the maturity of the freshmen, which is important for the future of the program, but might not translate to victories in the intermediate.“We’re Holt guys. We’re Thad guys, but at the end of the day, we’re Holt guys,” Tate said. “We’re the start of this new tradition and coach Holtmann has let us know that there’s an emphasis on we’re going to be the building blocks for years to come.” read more

Womens Hockey No 6 Ohio State stuns No 1 Wisconsin with 31

Ohio State redshirt junior goalie Kassidy Sauve (32) sits on the puck after a save in the first period of the game against Minnesota on Jan. 19. Ohio State won 3-2. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe No. 6 Ohio State women’s hockey team (19-7-4, 12-4-4 WCHA) completed a home series sweep against No. 1 Wisconsin (26-3-1, 17-21-1 WCHA) with a 3-1 upset victory at the OSU Ice Rink Saturday.The Buckeyes won the game behind another strong outing from redshirt junior goalie Kassidy Sauve, who stopped 34 of 35 shot attempts. Her night did not begin easy. Just three minutes into the game, she appeared to be injured, forcing the trainer to come out and see her on the ice.“She had to over extend to make a hell of a save,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “I think it changed the pace of the game. She’s a competitor, she knows that she’s a quarterback to our team. She’s going to play through any bumps and bruises.”Though Sauve was healthy enough to stay in the game, she appeared to have been slowed by the injury. Two minutes after being checked on by trainers, she allowed the game’s first goal to sophomore forward Alexis Mauermann.“After their first goal I had to encourage the girls to not feel demoralized,” Muzerall said. “Continue to press, continue to press. You can score, you have proven that yesterday.”With 6:51 left in the second period and a night after scoring the lone goal in the Buckeyes’ 1-0 win against Wisconsin, Maltais scored her 13th goal of the season. Redshirt sophomore defender Jincy Dunne and freshman forward Tatum Skaggs were credited with assists. “Dani Sadek flipped it up, it was in the neutral zone and [freshman forward] Tatum [Skaggs] chipped it by their D,” Maltais said. “I saw a little bit of a lane, so I just leaned into the defensemen on the other side. Honestly, I just shot it. We had talked in video about how we need to shoot high on this goalie was the way to go, I just tried to get it up there and it went in.”The Buckeyes maintained steady control of the puck early in the third period, and their aggressive attack eventually led to junior forward Charly Dahlquist burying the tie-breaking goal 2:49 into the period. Maltais and Skaggs assisted the goal.“Any time you can get a puck past Campbell, from Wisconsin, that’s a good success,” Muzerall said. “Vise versa too, to get a goal past Sauve is just as difficult. We figured it would be a battle of goaltending.”Though the Badgers finished the third period having outshot the Buckeyes 11-7, Wisconsin could not find the back of the net. And in the end, Skaggs fired a shot into an empty Badger net, icing the game at 3-1.“I think the girls are well deserving of this win,” Muzerall said. “I’m very proud they got two past Campbell.” read more

Staff shortages leave 30000 pregnant women with mental health problems without proper

first_imgAround 30,000 new mothers with mental health conditions are being left to fend for themselves after giving birth because of a gaping shortage in properly trained staff, NHS figures reveal.Currently just 15 per cent of areas provide the recommended level of post-birth community care, while 40 per cent offer no service at all.The data emerged as NHS England announced it was making available the first tranche of a £365 million fund to provide better support for mothers with existing mental illnesses, as well as those with birth-induced conditions such as postpartum psychosis. Many new mothers do not understand what they are sufferingCredit:Anna Gowthorpe “We absolutely need to ensure that all women have the access to high quality perinatal mental health care and are committed to addressing current issues and variation,” he said.“If left untreated, it can have a devastating impact on the woman affected and her family.”Dr Berrisford said that while mothers with mental health conditions will often have access to traditional psychiatric services, particularly if they remain in hospital, what women really need is psychiatric staff who understand both the psychology and physiology of pregnancy.Around one in five women suffer mental ill health during pregnancy or in the year after birth, according to the health service.This can range from anxiety post-natal depression, which affects up to 15 per cent of new mothers, to postpartum depression, where mothers suffer hallucinations.Suicide, of which there were 101 from 2009 to 2013, is the second leading cause of maternal death after cardiovascular disease.NHS England said the cost of perinatal mental ill health to society is an estimated £8.1 billion for each annual cohort of births, or almost £10,000 per birth. Woman in dark room We need to ensure that all women have the access to high quality perinatal mental health careDr Giles Berrisford, NHS England 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 announcement comes in the aftermath of a 2015 review by the University of Oxford and NHS England, which found that half of all suicides by women while pregnant or after giving birth could be prevented by better standards of care.From today, local providers will be able to apply for grants from a £5 million fund to provide specialist training for existing staff, and to employ new specialists, in order to support new mothers with serious psychiatric conditions.A further £15 million will become available next year and another £40 million in 2018.Dr Giles Berrisford, the association national clinical director for perinatal mental health, said the UK was “miles ahead” of most other countries, but conceded that there was a significant shortage in adequately trained staff.last_img read more

What is thirdparty ownership in football and why is it controversial

first_imgGianni Infantino, the Fifa president West Ham was found guilty of acting improperly and withholding key documentation over Tevez and Mascherano’s ownership, and the club was fined £5.5 million.TPO was banned by the FA at the start of the 2008-09 season. The Premier League concluded that the practice “raises too many issues over the integrity of competition” and “the development of young players”.Gianni Infantino, now the Fifa president, said it was unacceptable for companies to “trade” economic rights to people. West Ham signings Carlos Tevez, left, and Javier Mascherano, hold up their new shirts at a press conference in September 2006Credit:Jane Mingay/AP Photo Third party ownership (TPO) of football players has been described as a form of modern-day “slavery” by some of the most senior figures in soccer.It involves a third party, such as a company or an agent, owning all or part of the financial rights to a player, so that the third party, rather than a football club, benefits from transfer fees every time the player is sold.It is in the third party’s interests to sell the player as often as possible to generate as much money from transfers as they can. Gianni Infantino, the Fifa presidentCredit:Walter Bieri/EPA Michael Platini, the former Uefa president, described the practice as “a type of slavery”. However, its proponents insist the practice provides a source of income for cash-strapped clubs.A global ban on third party ownership of players was introduced by Fifa in 2015.But agents found loopholes including buying shares in a club, with a view to cashing in with a cut of transfer fees netted by the club; providing a “loan” to a club and being repaid plus “interest” from sell-on fees; and acting as an agent in order to receive a cut from sell-on fees as “commission”. West Ham signings Carlos Tevez, left, and Javier Mascherano, hold up their new shirts at a press conference in September 2006 The practice came to prominence in 2007 when it emerged that West Ham United had breached Premier League rules over the signings of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano the previous year.The economic rights of the two Argentinian stars were part-owned by a London-based fund, in a practice that was common in parts of Europe and South America.In itself, TPO was not then out of bounds. But the Premier League concluded that the contracts signed for the transfers gave the fund the right to decide whether a player moved to another club and for what fee. This was a breach of existing rules banning third parties from having influence over the transfers of players. 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

Pharmacies to dole out emergency prescriptions to ease NHS crisis

first_imgEvery year, around 200,000 people call 111 because they have run out of medication which is urgently needed.The national scheme will also see the phoneline refer increasing numbers of patients with minor ailments to community pharmacies for advice and medication.Health minister David Mowat said: “Community pharmacists already contribute a huge amount to the NHS, but we are modernising the sector to give patients the best possible quality and care.”This new scheme will make more use of pharmacists’ expertise, as well as freeing up vital time for GPs and reducing visits to A&E for urgent repeat medicines.” Patients in need of an emergency prescription will be able to bypass their GP under new plans intended to ease pressures on the NHS.A pilot scheme means that patients who call 111 because their medication has run out will be referred directly to chemists.Ministers said the change would free up time for GPs and reduce the number of patients turning up at Accident & Emergency departments because they could not obtain medication. Under the plans, patients will be given advice about how to obtain repeat prescriptions from their pharmacist in future, reducing the numbers calling 111 in an emergency, officials said. Health officials hope the scheme will free up time for GPs Credit:PA  GP consultation  ‘This new scheme will make more use of pharmacists’ expertise, as well as freeing up vital time for GPs and reducing visits to A&E for urgent repeat medicines’David Mowat, Health Ministercenter_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. Health officials hope the scheme will reduce pressures on A&E departmentsCredit:Chris Radburn/PA  A&E sign  Keith Willett, medical director for acute care, NHS England, said: “Directing patients to go to a community pharmacy instead of a GP or A&E for urgent repeat medicines and less serious conditions, could certainly reduce the current pressure on the NHS, and become an important part of pharmacy services in the future. This pilot will explore a sustainable approach to integrate this into NHS urgent care.”It comes as latest figures show record levels of “bedblocking” in hospitals and longer waiting times in A&E this summer than in almost any winter for a decade.This week a report by regulators found eight in ten hospitals are not safe enough, with rising numbers overloaded by a crisis in care of the elderly which is approaching “tipping point”.last_img read more

Christmas Day could be the warmest on record with some parts of

first_imgChristmas Day could be the warmest on record with some parts of the country expected to reach 15C.Forecasters are predicting balmy weather in areas in the south – rivalling the record of 15.6C registered in Devon in 1920. Ho, ho, ho, Fleur here, Merry Christmas! Mild for many but windy in north with Storm Connor drawing in from the NW:— Met Office (@metoffice) December 25, 2016 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. “It could maybe reach 15C which could make it the warmest Christmas day of record in the last 100 years.”For Scotland though, we could still see a touch of snow.”Forecaster Charlie Powell also said there would be amber warnings for the first part of Boxing Day and a yellow warning covering northern areas.He said: “As Conor pulls away on Boxing Day the winds will increase. The temperatures will drop down to 8C and it will be sunny but crisp.” Members of the public head into the freezing sea for the annual Brighton Swimming Club swim Met Office meteorologist Chris Page said: “Because of the wind direction from the south west, Storm Conor brings up some milder air which means temperatures will only drop to lows of 9 (48F) and 10C (50F), making it a very mild start to Christmas day.”We’ll see some clearer, drier spells in Scotland but the sunshine will be in the south and with south-westerly winds dragging up more mild air we could even see some records broken.center_img A Christmas Day swimmer skips out of the cold waters on Brighton beach A Christmas Day swimmer skips out of the cold waters on Brighton beachCredit:EPA But while some parts of England will be bathed in sunshine, there could be snow in the north of Scotland, brought in by Storm Conor as it approaches the UK.With winds expected to reach 80mph, the Met Office has raised its weather alert to amber.The latest storm is set to follow in the tracks of Barbara, which brought travel disruption and power cuts to the north of Scotland on Friday. Members of the public head into the freezing sea for the annual Brighton Swimming Club swimCredit:PA last_img read more

Why avocado prices have hit alltime high

first_img Show more A growers strike in Mexico and a drought in California have meant there is not enough avocado to meet global demands.The average price of an avocado in the US has surged from $0.98 (£0.76) each in April 2016 to $1.26 (£0.97) in April 2017.The food trend for avocados hasn’t helped matters.Widely lauded as a health food, the fruit can be seen everywhere, from toast to chocolate pudding.Many are concerned avocados could face a further price hike – President Trump has threatened to levy tariffs on Mexico and exit NAFTA, which could come as a blow to avocado fans.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img It looks like it could be time to find something else to spread on toast or pile on nachos: avocado prices have hit a record high.Surging global demand and reduced harvests from major producers Mexico, Peru and California have meant the popular fruit is getting expensive.According to Bloomberg data, prices from suppliers have almost doubled; Mexico’s biggest producer is selling a 10-kilogram box of Hass avocados for about 530 pesos (£21.78), which is around twice what it was last year.It doesn’t appear the price will drop anytime soon; analysts have said consumers should expect remain at “elevated levels”.last_img read more

Watch how Big Bens final chiming draws huge crowds from all over

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Thousands of tourists from all over the world, including reportedly as far as Australia, erupt into spontaneous applause as they gather outside Parliament to hear Big Ben bong for the last time for four years.last_img

Max Mosley using data protection law to gag the media

first_img“If data protection can be used to wipe out historical records, then the consequences would be dramatic.”John Whittingdale, the former Conservative Culture Secretary, said: “Data protection is an important principle for the protection of citizens. However it must not be used to restrict the freedom of the press.”The Information Commissioner’s Office declined to comment while the case is ongoing – albeit at an early stage – but pointed out the importance of the journalist exemption under the current data protection act. The act does not provide newspapers with a blanket exemption and journalists must show the “data must be processed only for journalism”.Mosley has provided £3.8 million of funding to the running costs of Impress, through two charities. Mosley is demanding that claims he ‘financed’, ‘funded’, or ‘bankrolled’ Impress be removed from articles that continue to be published online.Data protection laws are intended to determine how companies and other bodies handle private data held on individuals. The law has never been used before in an attempt to restrict press freedom.Mosley, who was president of the FIA, the world body that runs motor sports including Formula 1, is in effect trying to erase mention of the 2008 privacy case. The News of the World, which has since folded after the phone hacking scandal, had secretly filmed Mosley taking part in an orgy with prostitutes at his flat. Mr Justice Eady ruled the orgy was private, saying it was not ‘Nazi’ themed as the tabloid newspaper had claimed so there was no public interest in publication.If Mosley wins his case, then potentially law reporting of the 2008 trial would have to be erased.Mr Stephens insisted that the principle of open justice should take precedence over any claim Mosley might have for breach of data protection laws.Mr Stephens added: “You cannot effectively suppress reporting of court cases. In relation to Impress, the question is: ‘is he funding Impress?” and [the answer is] yes he is.” John Whittingdale, the former Conservative Culture Secretary, said data protection must not be used to restrict the freedom of the pressCredit:Eddie Mulholland Bill Cash, the Conservative MP, said: “The freedom of the press is paramount and it would be perverse to allow historical records to be removed on the basis of data protection. John Whittingdale, the former Conservative Culture Secretary, said data protection must not be used to restrict the freedom of the press Max Mosley, the former head of Formula 1, has been accused of trying to gag the media, using data protection laws to “erase” his notorious sexual history.Mosley’s lawyers have written to at least three newspapers, demanding that newspapers “block or erase” data that he believes is inaccurate. If Mosley wins his case, then newspapers would be forced to remove from the internet historic articles including reports on and ​orgy with prostitutes in 2008. Mosley successfully sued the News of the World, winning £60,000 damages for breach of his privacy.Mosley, a privacy campaigner and son of the fascist Oswald Mosley, is also attempting to stop newspapers reporting that he is bankrolling Impress, the only state-recognised press regulator. No national newspaper has joined Impress and many, including the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, are regulated by the industry-funded rival Independent Press Standards Organisation.Experts said Mosley’s legal threat – if successful – would set a damaging precedent. Journalists are supposed to be exempt from data protection laws under the 1998 act but Mosley’s lawyers argue that the exemption does not apply in many of the articles about him.Mark Stephens, head of media law at Howard Kennedy solicitors and a trustee of Index on Censorship, said: “This would set a very dangerous precedent if he won. It would be very worrying because it would drive a coach and horses through legitimate areas of inquiry and coverage by a responsible media.” 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

Afghan interpreters to be granted UK visas as relocation scheme extended

Dozens of Afghan interpreters who served alongside British troops will be granted the right to live in the UK, following a review of Government policy.Approximately 50 frontline volunteers who served in Helmand province will be granted visas, the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has said as he praised them as the campaign’s “unsung heroes”.They will be allowed to resettle in the UK with their wives and children, taking the total of new visas issued to around 200.The decision follows years of criticism of the Government’s treatment of Army interpreters, whose participation in the Nato effort places them at grave risk of reprisals.Many have since received death threats, including some who have been murdered in their own homes. They served our nation with dazzling distinctionGavin Williamson, Defence Secretary More than 7,000 Afghans provided some form of assistance to the British effort in Afghanistan, codenamed Operation Herrick, between 2002 and 2014, roughly half of whom were translators. Mr Williamson said reviewing the existing scheme would honour the interpreters’ “extraordinary service.”Writing in the Daily Mail, he said: “Frontline patrol interpreters were the unsung heroes of the military campaign in Afghanistan.“They served our nation with dazzling distinction.”The announcement follows bitter criticism yesterday from the chief executive of the Afghan Government, Abdullah Abdullah, who accused the UK of failing the individuals, whom he said took “even bigger risks than the soldiers”.“I know they did their job, taking a big risk in very difficult, life-threatening circumstances, some come from very rural areas and the risk for them today is even greater,” he said, adding that the interpreters acted in the belief they would be given sanctuary in Britain. Approximately 400 former interpreters have been relocated to Britain so far, however many more are struggling to gain visas.Those who have won visas recently called on the Government to provide the same support packages offered to British soldiers to help them transition to civilian life.They have also been fighting against a £2,389 fee charged for those granted indefinite leave to remain after their five-year residency permit expires, which the Home Office agreed to waive last monthThe announcement comes days after the Afghan Government requested Britain send more troops to help the 300,000-strong Afghan security and defence forces quell a resurgent Taliban.It follows reports that a former Afghan interpreter for the SAS was being denied entry to the UK despite being hunted by the Taliban. 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

Shoppers offered cash for old unwanted John Lewis clothes even if they

Shoppers are being offered cash for old clothes in a trial that will see John Lewis buy back unwanted items even if they are damaged.The scheme aims to reduce the impact of the 300,000 tonnes of clothes sent to UK landfill each year.More than 100 customers are testing the scheme that allows them to sell any unwanted clothing back to the department store, regardless of its condition, in return for an e-voucher that they can then use in store.The app-based service links to a customer’s John Lewis account data on what they have bought from its 50 stores or website over the past five years.Customers can then select the products they want to sell and are immediately shown the amount they can receive for them. Once a customer has a minimum of £50 worth of clothing to sell, a courier will collect the products within three hours. Items bought back are then either resold, mended so they can be resold or recycled into new products.If successful, the next stage will be to offer an option for customers to donate the money to charity.John Lewis developed the idea with social enterprise Stuffstr, which partners with retailers to buy back used items and recycle them.Stuffstr chief executive John Atcheson said: “Every item has value, even old socks, and we want to make it as simple as possible for John Lewis customers to benefit from their unwanted clothes.”View latest offers from John Lewis Martyn White, sustainability manager at John Lewis, said: “We already take back used sofas, beds and large electrical items and either donate them to charity or reuse and recycle parts, and want to offer a service for fashion products.”It’s estimated that the average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, but around 30 per cent of that clothing has not been worn for at least a year.” 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 average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, but around 30 per cent of that clothing has not been worn for at least a yearMartyn White, John Lewis read more

Prison violence soars to record levels despite £70m drive to tackle assaults

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. “Clearly there is huge amount yet to be done but I am determined to cut the violence so prisons can focus on rehabilitating the offenders who will be back out at some point.“And while these figures are disturbing, I am optimistic that the measures we have been putting in place will help us to reduce violence and ultimately better protect the public.” Violence in prisons has soared to record levels despite a Government £70m drive to combat assaults and drug abuse, according to Ministry of Justice figures.Assaults on staff and on prisoners were up 20% overall in the year to September to almost 34,000, of which 12% were serious.Assaults on staff were up by nearly a third (29%) to more than 10,000, while prisoner on prisoner attacks rose by 18% to more than 24,000.Of these, 997 (10%) were serious assaults on staff, up 27% from the previous year.In the latest quarter the number of assaults on staff also increased, by 12%, to a new record high of 2,820 incidents.Self-harm by inmates hit a new peak with almost 53,000 incidents, a 23% increase from the previous year. Incidents requiring hospital attendance increased by 4% to more than 3,000.There were 325 deaths in prison custody in the 12 months to December 2018, up 10% from the previous year.There were 92 self-inflicted deaths, up from 70 in the previous year, three of which occurred in the female estate, compared to two incidents in the previous 12 months.Justice Secretary David Gauke said: “Violence and self-harm in our prisons is unacceptably high and these figures underline why we are spending an extra £70m to fight the drugs plaguing prisons and boost security, while also training over 4,000 new prison officers in handling the complex offender population. read more

Saddleworth Moor fire Apocalyptic blaze breaks out in Yorkshire after Britains hottest

They included engines from Marsden, Huddersfield and the Kirklees area.Incident Commander Laura Boocock told the BBC it was “one of the biggest grass fires (she) has ever seen”, but it was “nothing they can’t handle”.Witness Harry Broughton tweeted: “Never seen anything like this – had a drive up as these things look terrible.”High up on the Pennines between Saddleworth and Marsden on the Manchester/Yorkshire border, but close to houses including two pubs. Hope it is contained.”Britain’s wildfires, in pictures Firefighters make their way cross the charred moorland  The huge fire in EdinburghCredit:Jane Barlow/PA Two firefighters stand by as the fire rages in the background in East SussexCredit:Solent/Eddie Howland The view of the Saddleworth Moor fire from the roadCredit:John Eccles/PA People watch the fire burn on Arthur's Seat Firefighters from across the UK have been battling a string of wildfires after Britain saw its hottest winter day on record on Tuesday.The most recent blaze was whipped up on Saddleworth Moor, which witnesses described as “apocalyptic”. Firefighters were called there just before 8pm on Tuesday after Britain enjoyed its third day of unseasonable sunshine. It continued to burn into Wednesday until firefighters eventually brought it under control around lunchtime, but it wasn’t the only wildfire to hit the UK. Dramatic photographs showed a huge fire burning on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh as crews battled to bring around 800m of gorse under control having been alerted at 6.30pm. Earlier in the afternoon, East Sussex Fire and Rescue had to extinguish two separate wildfires. The first, just before 3pm engulfed 35 hectares in Nutley, before another broke out around a mile away in Ashdown Forest. Britain saw its hottest winter day on record on Tuesday when the mercury hit 21.2C (69.4F) in Kew Gardens, London. For the second day running we’ve broken the UK record for the warmest winter day with 20.8 °C at Porthmadog, Gwynedd— Met Office (@metoffice) February 26, 2019 Saddleworth Moor fire  The fire near Marsden could be seen for miles around as crews from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service battled to contain it through the night.Witnesses described the “terrible” scene of fire coming close to buildings high on the moorland.  West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it had five fire engines and two specialist moorland firefighting units at the scene. A firefighter walks through the charred moor Firefighters make their way cross the charred moorland Credit:Chris Furlong/Getty Two firefighters stand by as the fire rages in the background in East Sussex A firefighter walks through the charred moorCredit:Christopher Furlong/Getty  Fire and Rescue Service personnel from Greater Manchester and Huddersfield tackle a large wildfire on Saddleworth MoorCredit: Anthony Devlin/Getty The fire rages on Saddleworth Moor Britain’s hottest winter dayThe UK yesterday experienced its warmest winter day since records began for the second day running.Records were broken in England and Wales, as temperatures edged above 21C (69.8F) and Britons continued to enjoy a spell of unseasonably mild weather.The 21C barrier was hit at Kew Gardens in west London in late afternoon after temperatures hit 20.8C (69.4F) in Porthmadog, Gwynedd, North Wales, at 1.22pm, the Met Office said.On Monday, the thermometer reached 20.6C (68.5F) at Trawsgoed in Ceredigion, West Wales, the highest recorded in February and beating the previous record of 19.7C (67.4F) in Greenwich, south-east London, in 1998.Parts of Britain on Tuesday were hotter than a series of popular holiday destinations, beating Malibu, Athens and Barcelona. 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. People watch the fire burn on Arthur’s SeatCredit:Duncan McGlynn And reaching 21C, the temperature matched that of Cairo, Buenos Aires and Delhi.  Firefighters continue to work on Saddleworth Moor overnightCredit:Jon Super/Reuters Saddleworth Moor fire Credit:Nick Lawton/PA The view of the Saddleworth Moor fire from the road Fire and Rescue Service personnel from Greater Manchester and Huddersfield tackle a large wildfire on Saddleworth Moor Firefighters tackle wildfire in Ashdown Forest Saddleworth Moor Damage caused by the wildfire on Saddleworth Moor in West YorkshireCredit:Richard McCarthy/PA Firefighters tackle wildfire in Ashdown ForestCredit:Solent/Eddie Howland The huge fire in Edinburgh  The fire rages on Saddleworth MoorCredit:Getty/Anthony Devlin The warmth follows last February’s Beast from the East, which plunged temperatures below freezing and brought heavy snowfall across the country.Cooler temperatures expected from Wednesday onwards will be “still above average” for February, Met Office meteorologist Luke Miall said.Heavy showers are possible on Thursday as temperatures struggle to get above 11C (51.8F) or 12C (53.6F).Friday, March 1, will mark the first day of meteorological spring and is expected to be mostly dry before a wet weekend. Damage caused by the wildfire on Saddleworth Moor in West Yorkshire Saddleworth MoorCredit:Rich Needham/John Eccles/PA Firefighters continue to work on Saddleworth Moor overnight Mr Miall added: “The weekend doesn’t look great, it’s looking wet and windy across the country.”There’s lots of uncertainty over the details because it’s still a long way off but wet and windy seems to be the theme through many areas.”Monday’s record highs were likened to a “climate breakdown” by Green MP Caroline Lucas.Mr Miall said: “This kind of event is what climate change would expect but we can’t directly relate it to climate change.” read more

GCHQ codebreakers crack the cryptic code of Frank Sidebottom

It is famed for cracking the complex codes of malignant foreign powers.But in its ongoing bid to protect the country, GCHQ has turned its attention to cryptic matters of a different kind; the secret messages of Frank Sidebottom.They were initially stumped. But Britain’s finest brains have finally revealed that the creator of the giant cartoon character said things like: “Why does my nose hurt after concerts?”A GCHQ spokesperson said such challenges help the master codebreakers at the government’s listening station “build the skills we need to keep the country safe.”It is a turn of events that would have greatly amused Chris Sievey, the man behind the cult comedy hero.Sievey, who died in 2010, inserted cryptic symbols in artwork around the borders of various fan newsletters, football programmes and record and tape sleeves sent out to Sidebottom fans in the 1980s and 1990s. Frank Sidebottom's mystery code But even they were flummoxed, admitting they had absolutely no idea how to crack the code.That is until Sievey’s son, Stirling, recalled how his father would ask the children to fill an outer row with random symbols before Sievey inserted his code into the inner row.Mr Sullivan added: “It meant the outer row triangles is a complete red herring. Not only did he put a mystery out there, he made it deliberately impossible to crack.“By letting his kids add nonsense into the message, it deliberately obscures the chances of anybody – even top mathematicians – being able to crack it.“So I reported back to GCHQ that the outer ring is a red herring and then had an email one day saying, ‘Right, we’ve cracked it during a light-hearted training exercise.’” GCHQ told Mr Sullivan that Sidebottom “had a small but dedicated following” among its staff.Noticing some repeated pairs of symbols, the first word cracked by its team of top codebreakers was Sidebottom’s favourite, “bobbins”.The messages turned out to be a “combination of slightly autobiographical statements and silly statements about Frank’s world”, Mr Sullivan admitted.”Why does my nose hurt after concerts?” is believed to relate to the nose peg Sievey wore under Sidebottom’s giant head to give the character his trademark nasal voice.Another code translated as: “The Man From Fish EP is top secret” which is suitably baffling to even those who knew him best.”It was just an exercise in wilful absurdity, which is why he was doing it,” Mr Sullivan said.”But then all of his work was an exercise in wilful obscurity and absurdity. I think he loved the idea that he was putting communication out but people didn’t even know he was communicating.”He said GCHQ had “a great sense of humour about the whole investigation.”A GCHQ spokesperson said: “As the national authority for cryptanalysis, we’re sometimes sent codes which the team will test themselves with in their spare time.”They provide us with a great challenge and help build the skills we need to keep the country safe. Frank Sidebottom's paraphernalia  At the time, they were barely noticed by followers of the character with the giant papier mache head.But Sievey, from Manchester, told friends and family he was hiding very important messages in the code.When Steve Sullivan, the director, started making Being Frank; the forthcoming film about Sievey and Sidebottom, he took the rows of symbols to several codebreakers, but none could help. Frank Sidebottom’s mystery code Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. He told BBC News: “My own attempts to crack it proved absolutely futile. I spent a while just looking at them going, ‘What could he be saying, what could this mean?'”But it was impossible to crack them, and it was entirely plausible that there wasn’t a code there and that he was just winding people up.”In an attempt to solve the mystery, Mr Sullivan eventually turned to GCHQ.Astonishingly, they agreed to look at the comedian’s seemingly impenetrable rows of shapes and symbols. “With its colourful drawings and striking patterns, this code caught our eye and it was satisfying to be able to break it.” Frank Sidebottom’s paraphernalia Credit:Frank Sidebottom’s paraphernalia  read more