When Spring Training Matters

Brandon MossOAK.374.571.380+.006 PlayerTeamProj.wOBASpringwOBARevisedwOBADiff. Andrew McCutchenPIT.402.666.407+.005 Abraham AlmonteSEA.335.267.330-.005 Jose TabataPIT.340.105.334-.006 Mike MoustakasKC.321.615.331+.010 A.J. PollockARI.337.503.344+.007 Corey HartSEA.367.209.358-.009 Kolten WongSTL.313.514.326+.013 Ryan SweeneyCHC.325.098.317-.008 Ruben TejadaNYM.315.142.309-.005 Austin JacksonDET.354.544.360+.006 (Revised wOBA is what we would expect for the players’ 2014 wOBA after we factor in their spring performances.)At the other end of the spectrum, the projected everyday players whose poor showings in spring training are most likely to cost them during the regular season are 2013 rookie sensation Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers, the Mariners’ Corey Hart, and the Cubs’ Ryan Sweeney and Junior Lake. Travis d’ArnaudNYM.318.206.312-.006 Going into the 2013 baseball season, you would have been forgiven for thinking Marlon Byrd’s days as a relevant player were behind him. He was 35 years old, an age at which most players’ skills have deteriorated significantly. He was coming off a miserable year, one in which he hit .210/.243/.245, was discarded by two teams (the Cubs and the Red Sox, who combined to go 130-194 on the season) and received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for the banned substance tamoxifen.1It remains unclear when exactly Byrd was using performance enhancing drugs, and how much of a residual effect they had on his horrendous 2012 season. Although he signed a minor-league deal with the Mets in February, few thought Byrd would even be serviceable in the upcoming season.Then Byrd went on a tear in spring training. He hit .357/.393/.571 in exhibition games, was subsequently named the New York Mets’ opening-day right fielder and went on to put up the best year of his career — in New York for five months of the season and later, after a trade, as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first playoff team since 1992.With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to connect the dots and declare that Byrd’s hot spring set the tone for his renaissance season. But is that what happened? Does an unusually strong March have any predictive power over a player’s performance once the games count?The answer is … well, sort of. To find out what that means for this year’s crop of spring standouts, I looked into all the data since 2006, the earliest season for which MLB.com lists spring-training statistics. Using wOBA, an advanced metric to measure a batter’s offensive performance,2I used the harmonic mean of plate appearances in each sample as the weights. I ran a weighted correlation3A quick primer on correlations: They measure the linear relationship between two variables, on a scale that runs from -1 (strong negative relationship) to 1 (strong positive relationship). The closer to 0, the less of a relationship there is. between performance in the spring and during the regular season. It revealed a weak relationship between the two variables, at best.4The correlation coefficient was 0.189, which is relatively feeble.You can see that weak relationship below. Each dot on the graph represents a player’s season plotted according to his spring training wOBA and his corresponding regular season wOBA.We also have access to information beyond a player’s spring-training statistics. In the case of a veteran player like Byrd, we know his track record from recent seasons and can use that data to inform expectations for the forthcoming season.But there’s a more sophisticated way to see if spring training matters come the regular season: Use a linear regression5Even quicker regression primer: this method seeks to model a linear relationship between two or more variables. The advantage of regression here is that it can estimate the impact of an increase in one variable (spring training wOBA) while holding the other (preseason projected wOBA) constant. to determine the predictive significance of spring training after controlling for expected performance. And as luck would have it, establishing a baseline of expected performance is where statistical forecasting systems6Such systems seek to set an expected level of performance for each player based on his age, previous statistics and sometimes even comparisons to similar players. can come in very handy.One of those systems was developed by sabermetrician Tom Tango, who releases a set of projections known as the Marcels (so named for the pet monkey from the show “Friends”) before each season. These projections are “so basic that a monkey could compute them,” but they perform no worse than far more sophisticated projection systems — a testament to the fundamental power of a weighted average of recent seasons and a simple aging adjustment. The sabermetricians (and brothers) Jeff and Darrell Zimmerman took the time to calculate historical Marcel projections for players going back to 1901, which we can use to build our regression.We then find that spring productivity is statistically significant when predicting actual performance in the upcoming season, even after controlling for a player’s Marcel projection. However, while significant, the effect is extremely small: To raise his expected regular-season wOBA by just a single point, a typical player would need to hit for a wOBA roughly 17 points higher than expected during the spring.In other words, spring numbers can and should affect our predictions for a player’s regular-season production, but only slightly, and only after a particularly strong or weak performance.Among players likely to get playing time (a minimum of 400 plate appearances, according to Fangraphs’ depth charts), we should keep an eye on the likes of the Tigers’ prospect Nick Castellanos, the Cardinals’ Kolten Wong, the Royals’ Mike Moustakas and the Mariners’ Brad Miller, all of whom are tearing up opposing pitching during the spring thus far. And the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen, last year’s National League MVP, could be even better than expected this year given his spring. Skip SchumakerCIN.313.471.319+.006 Junior LakeCHC.351.166.344-.007 Brad MillerSEA.342.566.352+.010 Nick CastellanosDET.337.484.350+.013 PlayerTeamProj.wOBASpringwOBARevisedwOBADiff. Jose ReyesTOR.364.228.359-.005 Yasiel PuigLAD.397.147.387-.011 Yoenis CespedesOAK.352.145.345-.007 Dustin AckleySEA.316.496.323+.007 There’s no guarantee any single one of these guys will use the spring to propel himself to a great regular season — or, conversely, that a rough spring portends certain doom — but the data says these players are more likely to diverge from their projections now than they were just a month ago. read more

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MLB Teams Hold Up Well After Overseas Travel

This weekend, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will be in Sydney to play Major League Baseball’s Opening Series. MLB’s effort to sell the sport in a new market is seemingly asking a lot of the two teams involved. If either squad gets off to a rough start after returning stateside, you can bet there will be plenty of talking heads ready to blame the jet lag from a 15,000-mile round trip to Australia.We can quickly look at whether past teams put in similar situations suffered. From 2000 to 2012, MLB sent eight teams to Tokyo, which is about 2,000 miles closer to the continental United States than Australia. But Tokyo should still be a decent proxy for the trip the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are making (both flights exceed 10 hours).If you’re not interested the nitty-gritty statistics, skip the next paragraph, but suffice it to say we’re comparing how we would expect these teams to perform to how they actually performed.The nitty-gritty statistics: Using a weighted average of Pythagenpat records from the previous two seasons, I established projected “true talent” winning percentages for the globetrotting teams and their opponents in all April games after they came back to the U.S. I plugged those numbers into Bill James’ Log5 formula (factoring in MLB’s traditional 54 percent home-field advantage) to estimate the number of post-travel games each team should have won. If there was a big difference between the expected win totals and the number of games won, then perhaps there is something to the jet-lag theory.Here are the results: 2008Boston Red Sox0.5430.593 2012Seattle Mariners0.4310.455 2012Oakland Athletics0.5170.455 Total0.4950.497 2000New York Mets0.5630.625 YearTeamExp. Win %Actual Win % 2008Oakland Athletics0.4870.593 2004Tampa Bay Devil Rays0.4260.316 As it turns out, the teams involved in Tokyo games went on to finish April winning at almost exactly the same clip that was expected from their preseason projection (on average, these teams played about 23 games in April). This is far from a definitive study, but the early returns say it’s unlikely that any residual travel effects will contribute to a monthlong malaise for Los Angeles or Arizona. If either club struggles next month, they probably won’t have the Land Down Under to blame. 2004New York Yankees0.5390.524 2000Chicago Cubs0.4370.360 read more

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An Oddity of Tennis Scoring Makes Its Annual Appearance at Wimbledon

In tennis, the better player doesn’t always win. Sometimes, she loses in straight sets.Imagine if basketball, football or hockey games were decided by which team outscored the other in the most periods. Get outscored by 20 points in the first quarter, and it’s no problem, you just have to eke out the last three by a point each to take the game.That’s sort of how tennis works. Win more sets than your opponent, and you win the match — even if your opponent played better throughout. These anomalous results happen rarely, but more often on grass, the surface of play at Wimbledon, which started this week.This can be extremely frustrating for recreational players, and, in the heat of the moment, for pros. But given time to cool down, players whose paychecks depend on the tennis’s quirky scoring structure are at peace with its occasional oddities. Some even prefer things this way.“I think that’s what’s great about our sport,” American pro Rajeev Ram said in an interview last week after losing in the last round of Wimbledon qualifying; he’ll play in the tournament’s doubles draw. “You have to finish the job. You can’t run out the clock.”Ram was speaking from recent experience. Just the week before, he’d lived and died by this scoring quirk. Playing a grass-court event in Nottingham, England, Ram faced Tatsuma Ito in the quarterfinals. Ito dominated the match statistically. Ram won just 23 percent of points when Ito served. Ito won 30 percent of Ram’s service points. The ratio of return points won, or the dominance ratio (DR), was 1.33 for Ito. Typically a player with a DR greater than 1 wins, because of the symmetrical nature of the sport.1To win a match, you have to win more sets than your opponent. To win a set, you either have to break your opponent’s serve more times than your serve is broken, or break serve the same number of times and win more return points in the tiebreaker. To break serve more often, it helps, naturally, to win more return points. Yet Ram managed to edge the second-set tiebreaker, 10-8, and win the match. He played what we might call a lottery match, and hit the jackpot. Samuel Groth of Australia in action during his first round match Monday against Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine at Wimbledon. Al Bello / Getty Images The next day, Ram was a lot less lucky. He faced Samuel Groth, the Australian man who hit the fastest serve ever recorded — 163.4 mph. Ram outplayed Groth, winning 32 percent of return points to Groth’s 21 percent. Ram’s dominance ratio was 1.53, but he didn’t dominate. He earned seven break points, but couldn’t convert any. Groth didn’t get any chances to break. Both sets went to tiebreakers, and Groth won each one. Afterward, Ram tweeted, “Won 6 fewer points yesterday and won..won 5 more points today and lost. This is definitely not basketball.”Groth, who won his Wimbledon qualifying match last week just as Ram was losing his, said afterward he’d make no apologies for his Nottingham win. “That’s just tennis,” Groth said. “It’s a bit of a cliché, but whoever is better on big points wins.” Groth added, “Grass can be a bit of a lottery.”The data bears this out. Wacky outcomes like Ram’s pair of lottery matches happen more often at Wimbledon than at the other Grand Slams. Since 1991,2The first year for which match-level data is available. 8.8 percent of completed Wimbledon men’s matches have been lottery matches, won by the player who was less successful at protecting his serve than his opponent. At the other three Grand Slam tournaments, that proportion ranged between 6.4 percent and 6.6 percent, according to data provided by Jeff Sackmann of Tennis Abstract. Over all men’s matches for which data is available,3More than 95,000 provided by Sackmann, covering all tour-level matches since match stats have been archived plus some challengers and qualifying tournaments. 7.5 percent end in this odd way.Grass is more of a lottery because the ball’s low, skidding bounces reward big servers. They can stay competitive even while being outplayed simply by holding on to their service games and entering the sport’s version of soccer’s penalty kicks to decide draws in knockout matches: tiebreakers. And that’s especially true in the men’s game, which is more serve-dominated than women’s tennis.4Men hold serve more often than women, as women’s returns are stronger relative to their serves than is the case for men.Perhaps the most memorable run of lottery-match luck was Goran Ivanisevic’s at Wimbledon in 2001. The Croatian wild card won both his semifinal and final despite winning a lower percentage of return points than his opponent did in each of the five-set matches.Already at this year’s Wimbledon tournament, men and women have won lottery sets and matches. Groth was better than Alexandr Dolgopolov in the second set of their match Monday, but lost that one and the other two to exit the singles tournament. Kimiko Date-Krumm, the oldest player in the draw at 43, won a higher percentage of return points than Ekaterina Makarova but lost in three sets. Leonardo Mayer and Dusan Lajovic won five-setters despite winning a lower percentage of return points than their opponents did.In the fourth set of his match against Andrey Kuznetsov, Dan Evans won a greater percentage of return points. If Evans had won the set, he’d have extended the match to a fifth and deciding set. But instead Kuznetsov won it in a tiebreaker, 7-5. In Evans’s post-match press conference, a reporter asked, “There was nothing to choose between you really, was there?” The Briton responded, “No, just the scoreline and the sets.”Even among all the grass-court lottery matches, Groth-Ram stands out. Among the more than 61,000 other straight-set wins for which data is available, just two times did the winner have a lower DR than Groth did.The sport’s time-tested scoring system has many virtues, even if total fairness isn’t one of them. Its symmetry makes players alternate the deuce and advantage sides, switch sides of the net, rotate serving and returning. It guarantees that a player trailing by a big margin gets all the time it takes to stage a comeback, provided she performs well enough to earn that time. It keeps matches that are lopsided short, and lets close matches take all the time they need.“It’s the beauty of the sport,” Denis Kudla said last week on the lawns of the Bank of England Sports Centre, just after clinching a spot in Wimbeldon’s main draw. “At the end of the day, whoever wins was the better player.” That maxim applied, in his mind, to a match he still remembered from three years earlier, when he beat Ivo Karlovic — on grass, of course — in a lottery match. “Sometimes these stats are funny,” Kudla, a 21-year-old American, said. “It’s cool when you do win less points, and do win.”Being on the other end of one of these matches is less cool. Ante Pavic, at that same Nottingham tournament earlier this month, was in control of his second-round match against Miloslav Mecir, leading 6-3, 5-3. Mecir turned around the match, if not his level of play, beating Pavic despite winning just 29 percent of return points to Pavic’s 36 percent. “I wanted to break all the rackets,” Pavic recalled. “That’s how angry I felt.” Luckily he spared three of his sticks, which he used to qualify for Wimbledon, where he won his first-round match Tuesday.Benjamin Becker has lost a dozen lottery matches in his pro career. Yet the 33-year-old German doesn’t mind the possibility of such bad luck. “You have just to deal with it,” Becker said in an interview Monday after winning his first-round match at Wimbledon. “It doesn’t bother me. It makes tennis interesting.” read more

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Why Cant The Rockets Be The Warriors

We’ve seen all this before. And it was not so long ago.On Tuesday night, with his Houston Rockets up 2 against the streaking Portland Trail Blazers, a little more than three minutes on the clock, James Harden made a three. A few possessions later, he made another. The Rockets won 115-111 to go to 57-14 on the season, best in the NBA and four games up on the reigning champion Golden State Warriors. On both shots, Harden took what would have been called hero ball shots in another context. No other Rocket touched the ball; everyone in the arena knew what Harden would do, and how. Harden has made these shots his signature and his team’s by finding success where others have found only stacks of Rudy Gay box scores. And while the league has come to view the shot as not just unguardable but reliable, it has at times waffled on whether Harden’s team can be trusted. Funny, given the recent history of ascendant teams led by star guards with an unguardable shot.Just a few seasons ago, a team was led by two star guards who hadn’t found much success in the postseason thanks to a history of injuries and bad fortune. It featured a young big man who anchored the defense and epitomized a key facet of modern offenses. It boasted a sixth man who would have been a featured starter on practically any other team, a roster loaded down with dead-eye marksmen and a fleet of versatile wings who could switch assignments and not fall down. This team won the NBA title.(Key: Steph, Klay, Draymond, Andre, just about everyone else, and the top-ranked 2014-15 defense.)The 2014-15 Golden State Warriors were an unexpected development. The team had won 51 games the previous season under then-coach Mark Jackson, and the roster was largely unchanged coming into that season. Once the season began, however, it was clear that something was very different. Golden State won 21 of its first 23 games and finished the season with 67 wins, ranked first in defensive rating and, importantly, second in offensive rating, up from 12th the season before. Yet a broad set of NBA observers doubted that a team playing the way the Warriors did could win a title, even after they’d already won it.This season, the Rockets ran out to a 25-4 record before losing seven of nine games. In each of the losses, they were missing Harden, Chris Paul or Clint Capela. Since then, Houston has lost just three times in 33 games. FiveThirtyEight’s projections expect the Rockets to win 67 games total, up from their tally of 55 last season. They have the top-rated offense not just this season, but for as long as Basketball-Reference.com has been keeping track. They sneak into the top 10 on defense this season as well, an improvement on 18th the previous season. They’re flat good. But you know that by now. What’s important here is that when a team is this good, regardless of what its doubters say, the question isn’t whether it has arrived but whether it will win the title or merely its conference.There are a few ways to slice this. Since 1983-84, this year’s Houston team ties for 20th among all teams in net rating (the difference between points scored and points allowed per 100 possessions) through 71 games. That’s a bigger deal than it may seem, for a few reasons. First, the teams ahead of this season’s Rockets are immensely accomplished. They include four Michael Jordan teams, three Tim Duncan teams, two Laker teams — one Shaq and Kobe, another Magic and Kareem — one Kevin Garnett Celtics team and, of course, the past three versions of the Golden State Warriors. In general, teams at Houston’s level at least win the conference. The teams that didn’t make the finals tended to have extenuating circumstances. The 2012-13 Thunder, for instance, were the top seed in the West but lost Russell Westbrook in the first round and fell to Memphis in the second. The 2011-12 Chicago Bulls lost reigning MVP Derrick Rose in the first game of the first round. And the 2015-16 Spurs faced an exceptionally high level of competition, losing in the second round to a Thunder team that went up 3-1 on the Warriors.1These rankings tend to be sticky. Meaning that the list after 25 games looks a lot like the list after 45 games, which looks a lot like the list after 65 games. Teams shift around a few places, but they do not tend to bomb in or out of the rarified neighborhood. We know that the early season is predictive in sports because players tend to be healthy and rested, but it’s also good to remember that teams playing at an all-time level are seldom flukes.Net rating isn’t the only factor in which Houston is dominating, and as Benjamin Morris wrote for FiveThirtyEight a few seasons back, margin of victory is actually far less predictive in the playoffs than it is in the regular season. In fact, it’s Houston’s wins that make it a playoff force. In the postseason, the difference between two teams’ win totals is much more predictive than margin of victory. If the Rockets finish with 67 wins and the Warriors finish with their projected 61, Morris’s data from his 2016 article suggests that given home court advantage, Houston would win a series 70 percent of the time — even if the two teams were dead-even on margin of victory.The Rockets may not be quite as good as the Warriors were in that first season or as Golden State was in the 73-win 2015-16 campaign. But, then, neither are this year’s Warriors. The team’s injury troubles and continuing sloppiness have turned it into a merely dominant team, not an all-time one. Even if we grant the Warriors a few extra victories because their injury problems have been worse than Houston’s, it would make a prospective series between the two a coin flip, not heavily slanted toward Golden State.And like the Warriors, the Rockets aren’t simply unguardable as a team: They have a player who has mastered an unguardable manner of playing. Harden doesn’t have the same switchblade release as Curry — he can’t dart around a ball screen and have a shot in the air before his man can turn his head. What Harden can do is get just about any switch he wants, thanks to the level at which he and Paul are running the pick and roll, and then, in isolation, he can walk into his now-trademark step-back threes.The pull-up three is increasingly a staple of modern offenses, as defenses have adjusted to the off-ball maneuvering that good offenses use to free up shooters. Harden leads the league in pull-up threes per game, taking 8.0 and making 39.0 percent of them. Paul is third on the list, taking 5.2 per game and making 38.5 percent of them.2The Blazers’ Damian Lillard sits between the two at 5.4 pull-up threes per game. As a team, the Rockets are taking 16.5 pull-up threes per game and making 35.9 percent. The next-closest team, the Los Angeles Clippers, takes 10.0 per game. Even if its primary pick-and-roll engine sputters, Houston has an entire extra, independent dimension to carry its offense through dry spells, like Curry’s pull-ups or like Kevin Durant’s mastery of contested shots in last summer’s finals.Nothing the Rockets could do this season would make them meaningful favorites to most NBA fans against a healthy Warriors team in the playoffs. Nothing the Warriors could do would do that, either. That’s probably correct: There are many things most projection systems, like FiveThirtyEight’s CARM-Elo, can’t spot, such as player injury, which undermine the edge Houston holds by the numbers. Golden State is a dominant champion with what is now a considerable track record of excellence. It’s tough to be favored heavily against that. But there is also now sufficient evidence to declare that Houston is squarely in Golden State’s weight class, just as there was for Golden State when it arrived on the scene.Check out our latest NBA predictions.CORRECTION (March 22, 2018, 5:15 p.m.): A previous version of this article mistakenly said that James Harden played in Houston’s Jan. 4 loss to Golden State. He was out with a strained hamstring. read more

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No 10 Ohio State wrestling team rolls over Wisconsin to finish regular

OSU redshirt junior Josh Fox wrestles against Nebraska’s Aaron Studebaker during a match at St. John Arena on Jan. 17. OSU won 21-17. Credit: Muyao Shen | Asst. Photo EditorHalfway through the 133-pound match, the wave broke out in St. John Arena. It was that kind of night for the Ohio State wrestling team against Wisconsin, as the Buckeyes dominated the Badgers on their way to their 10th team victory.In its final dual meet of the year, OSU left little doubt as to the team it will be presenting in the Big Ten and NCAA championships. The Buckeyes picked up eight individual victories in a fitting send-off to the graduating seniors.The first half of the dual meet began at 165 pounds with one of the most anticipated matches of the night between redshirt sophomore Bo Jordan and his first cousin, redshirt junior Isaac Jordan.In a rematch of last year’s 165-pound weight class Big Ten championship match, it was the Jordan from Wisconsin who came out on top. Bo Jordan was unable to find any holes in the defense of Isaac Jordan and scored no takedowns. He ended up dropping the bout 6-4.The loss was Bo Jordan’s first of the year.Freshman Myles Martin got OSU back on the right track against redshirt sophomore Ricky Robertson, picking up a 12-1 major decision victory. A four-point near fall was key for the victory for Martin.Robertson only scored once on an escape, and Martin cruised to his 23rd win of the year.The 184-pound weight class was up next, and Kenny Courts kept the momentum going for the Scarlet and Gray with a thrilling sudden-victory win. Courts scored a key escape in the third to force the match into the sudden-victory period.With the score deadlocked at 4-4, Courts shot in and scored a takedown to pick up the 6-4 win over redshirt freshman Ryan Christensen. Courts extended OSU’s lead to 7-3.Senior Mark Martin returned to the mat after missing the last few dual meets to earn a hard fought 6-3 win over redshirt sophomore Eric Peissig. Martin started the action quickly with a takedown in the first 30 seconds, before both wrestlers retracted to a defensive mindset.Martin controlled Peissig and dictated the match, not allowing any takedown attempts to sneak through, while also earning his third Big Ten victory of the year.Heavyweight was next up before the intermission, and sophomore Kyle Snyder rounded out his short season with another major decision. The 25-11 win gave him three major decisions this season.Snyder used speed to break through the defense of redshirt senior Brock Horwath and power to secure a flurry of takedowns. After his overwhelming victory, the world champion spoke volumes about the seniors who were making their last home appearances.“It was good being able to wrestle with the seniors one last time,” Snyder said. “It was exciting being able to compete with them one more time here before we split ways.”After the intermission, redshirt sophomore Nathan Tomasello capped off a stellar regular season at 125 pounds with a technical fall win over sophomore Johnny Jimenez. The bout started slow, but soon both wrestlers attacked. Tomasello picked up multiple takedowns to stretch out a lead.Near the end of the third, after Jimenez was whistled twice for caution, Tomasello picked up a 20-5 win with one last takedown. Jimenez was clearly frustrated with the match, and he threw his headgear as he was running back to the locker room.Johnni DiJulius started off his match at 133 pounds with a thunderous takedown of redshirt freshman Jens Lantz. The expected starter for Wisconsin, redshirt junior Ryan Taylor, did not start in the dual meet.DiJulius rounded out his OSU career with a 10-2 major decision win. The win extends the redshirt senior’s career mark to 111 wins, which is good enough for 17th all-time at OSU. At this stage, the Buckeyes were ahead 24-3.After watching his brother sustain a tough loss, redshirt freshman Micah Jordan commanded his bout against redshirt sophomore Gabe Grahek. Micah Jordan started off quick with a takedown, and he found himself up 5-1 at the end of the first.Micah Jordan prevented any further scoring from Grahek and scored a late reversal to put himself up 10-1, as well as earn a major decision.Even with the Buckeyes riding on high with seven straight individual victories, the crowd fell silent after redshirt senior Hunter Stieber lost 6-4 in sudden victory. The loss didn’t quiet the crowd, but the reaction by Stieber did.Stieber was pushed backwards by redshirt sophomore Tyler Crone, and the referee stopped the bout. Stieber clutched his at his leg after the match, and put no weight on his right knee as he was helped form the mat by OSU trainers. He received a standing ovation from the crowd in St. John Arena.After Stieber left the mat, the night rounded out with one more OSU victory, as redshirt freshman Jake Ryan scored the only fall of the night against redshirt junior T.J. Ruschell. Right before the midway point of the second period, Ryan caught his opponent in a favorable position, and capitalized.“I kind of smelled blood a little bit,” Ryan said with a smile. “I ran as hard as I could and put all my energy into (the takedown).”Overall, the Scarlet and Gray picked up a 34-6 team win. The victory gave OSU its 15th Big Ten win in two seasons, which is the most in a two-year period in the history of the wrestling program.Buckeyes remember one of their ownBefore the match began, there was a moment of silence for former OSU wrestler and two-time NCAA champion Kevin Randleman. Randleman died suddenly Thursday night due to complications from pneumonia.Randleman won the national championship at 177 pounds back-to-back in 1992-1993. OSU coach Tom Ryan spoke on the kind of person Randleman was after Friday’s match.“He was a gentle soul; a tireless competitor,” Tom Ryan said. “He had tremendous respect for what it took to compete at this level.” read more

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Ohio State baseball needs mindset to win in UCF Tournament

Then-sophomore pitcher John Kuchno (45) throws the ball during a game against Northwestern May 6, 2012, at Bill Davis Stadium. OSU won, 4-1.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorEven though Columbus is currently experiencing some of its warmest temperatures this winter, the Ohio State baseball team isn’t quite tepid enough.A week after splitting a four-game tournament slate in Florida, OSU (2-2, 0-0) looks to bounce back as it returns to the Sunshine State this weekend for its second tournament in as many weeks.The Buckeyes are set to be a part of the UCF Tournament in Orlando, playing host Central Florida Friday, The Citadel Saturday and Oklahoma Sunday.Redshirt-junior pitcher and first baseman Josh Dezse said it is important OSU has a productive week of practice and rolls into this weekend with a mindset to win.“They are going to be three great teams. These are teams we can’t take lightly. Any games we can’t take lightly if we want those 40 wins to get into the national tournament at the end of the year,” Dezse said. “We’re going to go down, we’re going to play Buckeye baseball like we know how to play, and hopefully the outcome is in our favor.”Even though Central Florida has a reputation for a being a strong ball club — one that has made it to the NCAA Tournament two of the last three years — junior outfielder Pat Porter said OSU should be in the thick of it Friday.“It should be a good game. I hear they have some pretty good guys and they’re a pretty solid team,” Porter said. “I think we’re a really solid team too though and we can definitely hang with them.”Senior pitcher Greg Greve and junior pitcher Ryan Riga look to set the tone for the Buckeyes in Orlando as the top two starting pitchers in OSU’s rotation.Riga, who led the Buckeyes to a 1-0 win over Auburn Feb. 15 with six shutout innings was named Big Ten co-Pitcher of the Week, the conference announced Tuesday.“Riga was just on point against Auburn. We couldn’t ask him to throw a better game than that. It was very impressive,” Dezse said.Junior pitcher and closer Trace Dempsey said the Buckeyes have to work on slowing down the game and other fundamentals this week in practice.“We got exposed in a couple areas of the game. It showed there is always stuff to improve on,” Dempsey said. “We’re going to work on that this week here at practice, get a good week of practice in and head down to Orlando.”Scoring no runs in the first or second innings of their first four games, the Buckeyes are aiming to get baserunners on early in Orlando, Porter said.“We talked about how important each pitch of the game is and how important getting the first batter on base is,” Porter said.Dempsey added that even if the Buckeyes do get behind early, they have the ability to compete in any situation.“We can play from behind and we can come out hot early — we can play all facets of the game,” Dempsey said.After missing all of last season with a stress reaction in his back, Dezse said he was relieved to get a hit in the Buckeyes’ first game of the season against Connecticut last weekend.“It was really nice because I know I was stressing just a little bit. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the field and getting that (hit) out of the way really loosened me up,” Dezse said.With the first weekend behind them and the season underway, all that matters for OSU moving forward is getting victories, Dezse said.“Obviously, we started out hot with two wins and we played OK, but then OK wasn’t to our expectation,” Dezse said. “We expected to play a little bit better than that. What we take away is we have some things to work on.”First pitch between OSU and Central Florida is set for 7:05 p.m. Friday. read more

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Urban Meyer Ohio State to show off drastically improved pass defense at

Then-junior defensive lineman Michael Bennett (63) celebrates a tackle during The Game Nov. 30 at Michigan Stadium. OSU won, 42-41.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorSpring practice holds different levels of importance for college football programs across the country.Some look to prepare for that next necessary step toward becoming elite, some look to completely reload after losing key members from a winning team the year before, while others still are dwelling in major transition periods while they welcome new leadership.The Ohio State Buckeyes could be considered to be in the latter as they sit mere hours from their annual Spring Game at Ohio Stadium, after co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash as well as defensive line coach Larry Johnson were brought in to help revamp the OSU defense and get it back to championship level.The two coaches — along with head coach Urban Meyer and the rest of the staff — have preached the “4 to 6 seconds, point A to point B” mantra all spring long, and they’ll finally get to show the fans what they hope is an improved squad Saturday.“We had six units operate at capacity and three units that did not,” Meyer said Thursday on the Big Ten Teleconference regarding the 2013 team. “I’ve had people ask me that question, ‘(Why are you) changing the culture, you just won 24 straight?’ No, we’re enhancing our culture. We’re making it better.”Meyer said as the Buckeyes head into the annual intrasquad scrimmage, the pass defense — particularly on first down — has “drastically improved,” which is likely to be pleasing to OSU supporters. That unit gave up 268 yards per game last season, good for 112th in the country. The defense as a whole gave up 1,014 yards in OSU’s two losses last year — to Clemson in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl and Michigan State in the 2013 Big Ten Title Game — which put a stop to its 24-game win streak.“You’re only as good as your last game. You’re only as good as your last practice, and our last two games weren’t that great,” senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett said Thursday on the Big Ten Teleconference. “But last year we did some really good stuff in the beginning of the season but kind of trailed off in the end for whatever reason. It’s important to look back and figure out why you trailed off so that it doesn’t happen again. It’s not about blaming people, it’s just about, find the problem and learning how to fix it.”Meyer said Wednesday he looks forward to the Spring Game as not just “another practice” because it allows him and his staff to evaluate players on a bigger stage. He echoed that statement Thursday, saying it’s not really for the guys who have that experience to get snaps.“That’s not really what spring games are for — I know what their reaction is going to be in front of a nice crowd,” Meyer said. “What I want to see are the skilled athletes that need to go learn how to make plays and let the fans watch them and have some fun doing it.”Meyer touched on the fall schedule as well, which sees two new conference opponents in Rutgers and Maryland added to it.“I think it’s great,” Meyer said of their additions to the Big Ten. “Plus, being the main attraction, the main conference on the eastern seaboard … I know that’s a big goal of the Big Ten.”Some new toys Meyer has on offense to combat those new foes are freshman wide receiver Johnnie Dixon and freshman H-Back Curtis Samuel, who he said Wednesday are both in the rotation offensively. Bennett agreed with his coach on the latter, adding that redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones is also impressed him in place of the injured senior Braxton Miller. Miller’s been out all spring after having shoulder surgery.“I’d say the freshman Curtis Samuel, and Cardale’s been doing pretty well,” Bennett said. “Other than that, I haven’t paid too close attention.”A total of seven freshmen enrolled early as part of yet another top five recruiting class for Meyer, and they figure to be put to the test plenty Saturday once the Spring Game starts at approximately 1:30 p.m.“If you want to have a practice, have a practice,” Meyer said. “If you want to somehow arrange it so a receiver has to go beat a guy in coverage and catch a pass and hear the crowd roar, I mean that’s real. I think that’s one of the unique things we get at Ohio State.” read more

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Heisman winner Troy Smith to be honored at Ohio Stadium during Michigan

The eight names and numbers hanging up at Ohio Stadium honoring five Heisman Trophy winners and two OSU greats. Credit: Hayden GroveWith the names Ohio State’s first five Heisman Trophy winners already on display at Ohio Stadium, the school is set to honor its most recent winner during the Buckeyes’ regular-season finale.Former OSU quarterback and 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and his No. 10 will be honored during halftime of the Nov. 29 contest between OSU and Michigan, OSU announced in a press release Saturday.Smith is set to join former OSU football players Les Horvath, Eddie George, Vic Janowicz, Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, Archie Griffin, Chic Harley and Bill Willis as the only Buckeyes in the history of the program to have their names and numbers displayed at Ohio Stadium.“Being recognized like this from such a prestigious university like The Ohio State University usually doesn’t happen until later years down the line, so this is a special time in my life and an important time,” Smith said in the release.OSU vice president and athletic director Gene Smith said that the accomplishments of No. 10 throughout his career merited this recognition.“It’s time to honor one of our all-time greats. Troy’s playing days are over,” Smith said in a statement. “His accomplishments and achievements are legendary. And we are so proud to be able to recognize this young man by honoring his name and number in Ohio Stadium.”Smith’s nine total touchdowns, 857 total yards and 3-0 record against Michigan are amongst the best numbers for any OSU quarterback against the Wolverines.Smith’s No. 10 is currently worn by freshman defensive lineman Jalyn Holmes. He will continue to wear that number throughout his career, as OSU has made the decision to no longer take jersey numbers out of circulation in any sport when they are honored, according to the release.The release added that the 18 numbers already retired by OSU will remain retired going forward.OSU is scheduled to play Indiana on Saturday at noon at Ohio Stadium before taking on the Wolverines next weekend. read more

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Britains cushiest jail The superprison where inmates are men not offenders

first_imgBritain’s biggest jail where prisoners will be called “men” rather than “offenders” and the governor insists that the rooms are not cells has started welcoming inmates. Criminals arriving at HMP Berwyn will find a laptop, TV and phone in their en-suite rooms and be able to make use of the all-weather football pitch and gyms when they are not in classes. Prison officers will have to knock before entering the rooms, which will not be referred to as cells, and the men will not be referred to as offenders or ex-offenders, to try to prevent them living up to the label. Governor Russ Trent has said that he wants it to be “truly rehabilitative” but critics have questioned whether the facility is too soft.  A cell at HMP Berwyn complete with a TV and phone  He said: “The opportunity we have got at Berwyn is we have got staff that understand the principles of rehabilitation and the desire to give men in custody the hope that they can have a better life in the future. ” The facility also has a full-sized 3G football pitch, gyms, an education block, workshops, sports hall, multi-use games areas, a health and wellbeing centre, and multi-faith centre. Inspirational posters adorn the walls with messages including  “Look to the future with ambition and hope” and “Big journeys begin with little steps”. There will even be a scout group at the prison for the children of those behind bars. Mr Trent said that the men are punished when they are taken away from their homes and families, so whilst in prison they should have decent conditions and live a life as normal as possible. It is the first in a series of new “super-prisons” to open  its doors and was last month heralded by Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, as proof that the system is being modernised.  HMP Berwyn gymCredit:Daily Post Wales HMP Berwyn cell where prisoners have access to a phone, computer and TV in their room  But Philip Davies MP, who sits on the Justice Committee, warned that for their to be trust in the system the public needed to see justice being done. He said that the perks they had sent a “terrible message”, adding: “You can rehabilitate people without giving them the creature comforts that many of my constituents could not afford such as a computer in their room.” The prison is run in a collegiate system, like Oxford and Cambridge universities, and is split into three blocks of 700 so the men have more of a sense of belonging.  At the moment, only one block is operational. The blocks are broken up into 24 communities, which can hold up to 88 people. There are even specific communities for armed forces veterans. Staff say the smaller communities make the men easier to manage and will help foster a better atmosphere. The other blocks are scheduled to open in May and late July.    HMP Berwyn cell where prisoners have access to a phone, computer and TV in their room Credit:Daily Post Wales/Cascade Any suggestion that it will be “cushy” has been rejected by Nick Dann, the deputy project director.  “They are not prisoners, they are men. If you keep calling someone an offender or ex-offender, that’s how they will act,” he said. “If they start off with the mindset that this does not feel like a prison, we are hoping they will act like it is not a prison as well. “When Nelson Mandela was in custody, he wrote about the importance of normality. The more normal you make it on the inside, the easier it is to transition when they get out.” Costing £250m to buid,  the Category C prison can hold up to 2,100 inmates, making the biggest in the UK and one of the biggest prisons in Europe. A cell at HMP Berwyn complete with a TV and phone Credit:North Wales Daily Post HMP Berwyn communal areaCredit:Daily Post Wales  HMP Berwyn communal area Mr Trent, a former Royal Marine who was seen as a trouble shooter, has said that the facility will be run on ‘Mandela Rules’,  a United Nations standard aimed at making life in prison as similar as possible to life on the outside. Therefore the inmates, who started arriving on Tuesday, will find their rooms kitted out with technology to make their lives as “normal” as possible. Laptops will not have access to the internet but will be used by the men to arrange visits, order meals for the week and do their weekly shopping, as well as complete any work related to their studies.They will have phones in their rooms which can call approved numbers “so they can ring their children at night and say goodnight”.  He had previously told staff he didn’t call the men in custody prisoners or offenders and claimed that by describing their living areas as rooms not cells it was “giving them ownership of it and how they live in there and how they keep it clean and tidy”. Michael Gove, then Justice Secretary, said that his approach was “absolutely right” as “the principal purpose of prison is rehabilitation”.  HMP Berwyn gym Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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Anglican church congregation numbers have stabilised

first_imgThe decline in Anglicanism may have slowed thanks to a resurgence in patriotism and pride in Christianity, a report has found. Academic Stephen Bullivant said that the growth in non-religious people has slowed and Anglicanism has seen a small uptick since 2013. The professor of theology and the sociology of religion at St Mary’s University in Twickenham said that the church was recovering after losing a lot of believers after the publication of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in 2006. He also said that a rise in patriotism might be linked to greater pride in Christianity among some groups. “People see Christianity as an expression of Englishness. There has been more rhetoric around Britain being a Christian nation.”People are looking for ways to connect with others. I suspect a larger proportion of people who do say they are Anglican tend to be patriotic,” he said. The figures, which are based on an analysis of the British Social Attitudes Survey and the European Social Survey, show the the proportion of people who say they have no religion rose to a high of 50.6 per cent in 2009. It has been static or lower ever since and reached 48.6 per cent in 2015. Meanwhile the proportion who say they are Church of England worshippers has risen from a low of 16.3 per cent in the same year to 17.1 per cent in 2015. The report says: “The proportion of self-describing Anglicans in Britain has more than halved, from 40 per cent in 1983, down to 17 per cent in 2015. “That said, the past three years are worth highlighting. If talk of even a modest Anglican revival would be premature, one certainly can speak of a newfound stability.”Professor Bullivant added that the release of Dawkins’ book had stopped a lot of latent Anglicans from describing themselves as Christian. “That book was really aimed at those people who said they were Anglican but didn’t really believe in God,” he said. “So a lot of them stopped ticking Anglican on the forms and started to tick atheist instead.”He said that numbers could have stopped falling because the church is now left with a groundswell of genuine believers – and efforts to attract new worshippers could be working. “After decades of bad news, this is certainly welcome for the Church of England,” he said. “If I was in the Anglican Church I would be celebrating this.”The Rt Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, said: “The report tells us that the past four years have shown a gentle increase in the number of people who see themselves as Anglicans.“In Liverpool, where I am bishop, we say that want more people to know Jesus and more justice in the world – a message of personal relationship and community action. In my experience that message remains attractive to people in this increasingly self-centred and lonely world.”The report also shows that one in four people who say they are of no religion pray.The Bishop of Manchester David Walker, said: “Part of our calling is to help these many people who pray to deepen their prayer, and to help those who come along to our services, who may not at present call themselves Christians, to find both a warm welcome and the presence of God.”Last month a BBC survey found that one in ten non-religious people believe that Jesus did rise from the dead and one in five believe in live after death. However, Professor Bullivant also found that 61 per cent of those who now say they are of no religion were brought up as Christians, suggesting that many people are still deserting Anglicanism.In the past figures have suggested that a small recovery in Anglicanism may have taken place, but this is the first full analysis to show the trend.  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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Britains first Bitcoin heist as trader forced at gunpoint to transfer cyber

first_imgArmed robbers broke into the family home of a city financier turned Bitcoin trader and forced him to transfer the digital currency at gunpoint, in what is believed to be the first heist of its kind in the UK.Four robbers in balaclavas forced their way into the home of Danny Aston, 30, who runs a digital currency trading firm, before reportedly tying up a woman and forcing Mr Aston to transfer an unknown quantity of the cryptocurrency.Mr Aston lives in the picturesque village of Moulsford in South Oxfordshire, where episodes of Midsomer Murders have been filmed, in a rented four-bedroom converted barn estimated to be worth at least £700,000 on a private drive.Police were called at around 9.40am on Monday to attend the home after raiders are reported to have entered the property by kicking down the door.The Mail on Sunday reported that the men tied up a woman and kept a baby outside in a pram while forcing Mr Aston to transfer the Bitcoin. The value of a single Bitcoin is now around £8,000.A neighbour confirmed on Sunday the property where the violent burglary took place, but said that Mr Aston and a woman believed to be his partner left Moulsford on Monday to stay with relatives and have not returned. They said: “I was not here at the time, but I know the couple have left and are staying with relatives, they haven’t been back since. The village of Moulsford is home to two schools and a girl from Cranford House Prepatory School described how the students were told to get to safety as the armed robbery happened nearby. “We are all obviously a bit shaken up, even though a few days have passed now. It is not what you expect to happen around here.”Mr Aston – who lives with his 31-year-old business partner Amy Jay, according to the latest Companies House records – previously worked at Trayport, a London-based financial software company that operates a platform for trading energy commodities.In June 2017, he established his own digital currency firm just before Bitcoin’s huge surge in value in July, according to Companies House.Both Mr Aston and Ms Jay are listed online as directors of Aston Digital Currencies Ltd, and a company called Butler Hosting, which specialises in “data processing, hosting and related activities”.A user named Danny Aston has previously been active on trading site Poloniex, which allows users to trade and store digital currency.A local resident described the victim of the attack as well-known, but suggested that the small village community had been left dazed by the news.“Everyone is shocked I think,” he said. “We think we live in a safer space, and then this happens and everyone gets scared.” The cryptocurrency has proved popular with investorsCredit:Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images AsiaPac A police spokesman said: “Thames Valley Police is investigating an aggravated burglary which occurred at a property in Moulsford on Monday.“Officers were called at about 9.40am to a report that offenders had entered a residential property off Reading Road and threatened the occupants. No one was seriously injured during the incident.“An investigation into the incident is underway and officers attended nearby Moulsford School as a precautionary measure. It is not believed there was a threat to anyone at the school. She said: “We were all told to get down on the floor and stay in the middle of the schoolroom. All the curtains were closed and the doors locked. No-one knew what was going on but it was scary to say the least.”Bitcoin is a digital currency that allows users to trade anonymously and securely across the internet without regulation or a central bank.center_img The cryptocurrency has proved popular with investors Show more It is understood that although Bitcoin’s secrecy will make the theft in Moulsford much more difficult for the police to investigate, there is a chance that the stolen currency will appear on the market as thieves try to exchange it into conventional money.In the last 12 months, Bitcoin’s value has risen over 1000 per cent. It hit an all-time high on 17th December, when it was worth over £13,500. “Officers are particularly interested in speaking to anyone travelling through the village on the A329 Reading Road between 7.30am and 10.30am on Monday who has Dashcam footage or anyone with mobile phone footage.“People in the local community may notice an increased presence of officers in the area while our enquiries are ongoing.  The investigation is in its early stages however initial enquiries suggest this may be a targeted incident.“No arrests have been made at this stage.” 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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Holy grail blood test could detect cancer long before tumours develop

The breakthrough is being hailed as a major step towards the “holy grail” of curing cancer after trials on 1,400 patients found the simple procedure worked with up to 90 per cent accuracy. Experts said the findings could pave the way for an almost universal NHS screening programme that could detect warning signs of disease long before it developed, vastly improving survival chances. A new blood test able to detect 10 types of cancer years before a person falls ill could become available on the NHS within five years, scientists say. Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said such breakthroughs were part of major changes which “would unlock enormous survival gains” across the health service…. 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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Virgin drops drag queen for being a woman

A drag queen has accused Virgin Atlantic of sex discrimination after allegedly dropping from a gay pride advert because they “discovered” she was a woman. Lacey McFadyen claims Richard Branson’s airline offered her work appearing in a promotional video celebrating sexual diversity but withdrew it because “they only wanted male acts”. The 26-year-old female drag artist, who uses the stage name Lacey Lou, was contacted by Sassy, a communications company working for Virgin, to ask her to appear in a “remake” of the airline’s famous 2009 television advert featuring glamorous air stewardesses walking through Gatwick Airport. They spotted the professional drag queen’s Instagram page which contains…–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

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Sophie Dahl follows in her grandfathers footsteps with first book for children

With someone like Roald Dahl in the family it was perhaps inevitable his granddaughter Sophie would one day turn her hand to writing children’s books. Now Sophie has created one of her own; Madame Badobedah, a mysterious old lady with a huge number of pets and possessions. 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 former fashion model writer and TV presenter is currently in the process of completing her first children’s book, about a sparky young girl called Mabel who lives in a hotel by the sea and an imperious old lady – Madame Badobedah – who comes to stay, armed with a towering pile of bags and…–– ADVERTISEMENT –– He was, after all, responsible for such fantastical characters as Willy Wonka, the Big Friendly Giant, Esio Trot and Miss Trunchbull read more

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Cricket chiefs plan alcohol free stadia for new event in bid to

The BBC wondered out loud if all the empty seats at the cricket had been caused by the huge queue for the beer tent. Others wondered if sponsors and others had simply not bothered showing up. Cricket fans watching on television complained they had been unable to buy tickets for yesterday’s game at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton – despite the fact hundreds of seats were unoccupied. The International Cricket Council (ICC), which runs the tournament, said it too was nonplussed…. Whatever the reason, England’s easy win yesterday over the West Indies – which kick-started the home side’s hopes of winning the tournament for a first time – was marred by what might best be called a spectator malfunction.

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Guyana preparing to host first ever CRIC Conference in the Caribbean

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related As Guyana prepares to host the 17th Session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC17) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in January 2019, Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon charged the National Planning Committee to put their best foot forward to ensure that the Conference is not just successful but also establishes Guyana as a major player in the fight against the effects of drought and deforestation.This is the first such meeting to be held in the region.State Minister, Joseph HarmonAccording to the Ministry of the Presidency (MotP), Minister Harmon, who has responsibility for the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), which is the chief organising agency, told the members of the planning Committee at its inaugural meeting in the GLSC Boardroom that Guyana’s hosting of the event is indicative of the Government’s commitment to the preservation of the natural patrimony.The State Minister also said that for any event to be successful, proper planning must be done and that Guyana has been chosen to host the event is testimony to the development that is taking place within the country.At COP13 in Inner Mongolia, China in September 2017, Guyana’s involvement was deepened when as a result of the progress made on the voluntary implementation of the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Project, it was selected to be one of four country presenters at that meeting.Guyana presented the report on a major draft decision on capacity building to ensure the efficacious implementation of UNCCD on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the country’s representative became the first one from the Caribbean to be elected as a Vice-President of the Bureau of the COP to represent the 33 countries that make up the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries (GRULAC).These achievements, Minister Harmon said, are indicative of a country that is going places with its development and making a positive impression on the world.Meanwhile, Director of the Multilateral and Global Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Troy Torrington, in brief remarks, said that Guyana’s hosting of this Conference is a significant milestone as the country continues to rely on multilateralism and diplomacy as its first line of defence. The hosting of this Conference, he said, therefore would allow Guyana to fortify its relations with the various countries.Chief Executive Officer of the GLSC, Mr. Trevor Benn, said that the National Planning Committee brings together a number of professionals from numerous Government agencies and Ministries, who can all provide input to ensure that the event is a successful one.Resident Coordinator, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka and Deputy Resident Representative, Ms. Shabnam Mallick of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as well as representatives from the Ministry of the Presidency, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Citizenship, the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Guyana Tourism Authority, University of Guyana and the CARICOM Secretariat, were also present. read more

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GTA reviewing regulations for hotel standards following Pegasus fire

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGTA honors eight tourism ambassadorsDecember 12, 2018In “latest news”Guyana tourism to be marketed by US, German firms- GTASeptember 3, 2018In “Environment”Six Intl tour operators impressed with Guyana’s wow factorSeptember 23, 2018In “Business” “We are in the process of updating our regulations relating to different subsectors. Currently, we regulated interior hotels; other hotels would fall under the coastal Georgetown city municipality-based hotels, tour operators and guides. We’re updating those regulations so that they reflect best practice in 2018 and into the future. So we’ll be working with hoteliers like Pegasus to get them up to those higher standards as well.”These were the words of Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) Brian Mullis, who in an interview with this media group on Tuesday said that the Authority is determining exactly happened on Sunday night last when a major fire disaster was averted at the Pegasus Hotel.Following the kitchen fire that saw guests being evacuated, concerns were raised after  emergency exits were reportedly sealed and smoke alarms were reportedly dysfunctional.GTA Director Brian MullisMullis declared that that agency has now become actively involved in the issue because the Pegasus Hotel had never previously been flagged for safety violations.“One of the agencies that we depend on is the Fire Department (GFS). So any operator or hotelier, before they can be licensed by the GTA, has to (pass through) the Fire Department. So that falls, to some extent, out of our purview, though safety is within our regulation as well. So our input will be to understand the situation,” he explained.“We’ve reached out to Pegasus proactively when we heard about the situation. (We want) to come in and understand the situation first hand, because we have heard at least two sides to the story. So we want to understand to what extent safety and security considerations are in place now,” Mullis explained.According to Mullis, the GTA wants to work with the Pegasus hotel to ensure that its safety standards are effective. When it comes to scrutiny of hotels in general, Mullis revealed, work is ongoing to review the regulations.“We are in the process of updating our regulations relating to different subsectors. Currently, we regulated interior hotels; other hotels would fall under the coastal Georgetown city municipality-based hotels, tour operators and guides. We’re updating those regulations so that they reflect best practice in 2018 and into the future. So we’ll be working with hoteliers like Pegasus to get them up to those higher standards as well.”The Pegasus HotelA statement from the Pegasus Hotel has declared that the fire was extinguished by staff themselves, and that the smoke alarm in the kitchen did go off. According to the statement, guests were evacuated “out of an abundance of caution…”“We understand the anxieties of our guests, who were inconvenienced. We are pleased that all guests were returned to their rooms within a short period of time, and that there were no injuries or any need for relocation to another property or alternative accommodation,” the hotel stated in a release on Tuesday evening.On Monday, the United States State Department issued an alert on the Pegasus Hotel. The alert came hours after the fire was averted at the hotel on Sunday night. However, the State Department has announced that US Government personnel staying at the hotel have decided to move to other locations. read more

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UPDATE Eteringbang plane crash Body of dead pilot flown to city

Captain Randy LiverpoolThe body of Captain Randy Liverpool, who was killed late yesterday when his aircraft exploded after crash-landing at the Eteringbang airstrip in Region Seven, has been recovered and flown to the city earlier today (Friday).Captain Liverpool was the lone occupant of the Cessna 206 aircraft that went down and exploded sometime around 17:45h on Thursday. INews understands that the pilot was on a shuttle flight at the time and it is unclear what might have caused the crash.In a statement earlier today, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said the recovered body arrived at the Eugene F. Correira International Airport sometime around 13:45h today, where family members and colleagues were gathered.GCAA inspectors, along with an investigator from the Guyana Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation Unit, are currently at the crash site to begin their investigation into the plane crash.The aircraft is owned by Domestic Airways Inc. (DAI).The company’s Director, Captain Orlando Charles, described Liverpool as “a very experienced pilot with over 3000 hours of flying in the hinterland regions.”Liverpool is married and recently got his first child, who is just three-months-old. He was also a former Air Traffic Controller at GCAA.The news of the accident and the pilot’s death has further shaken aviation operators who are still reeling from another plane crash earlier this week after the aircraft ran out of fuel. The pilot and a police officer onboard that flight sustained non-life threatening injuries and are recovering. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedDead pilot recently became a father to his first childFebruary 22, 2019In “latest news”Pilot dies after plane crashes at EteringbangFebruary 21, 2019In “Crime”Pilot dies after plane crashes over MahdiaAugust 28, 2017In “latest news” read more

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Chinas falling fluorspar tungsten and tin shakes up Molna

first_imgA multi-product scenario looks promising at Minemakers Moina project in Tasmania. The company has an option to purchase an initial 80% equity for A$1.25 million. Its future looks bright due to China’s falling exports in a number of its prospective products.   Minemakers reports increased international interest in the Moina project in northern Tasmania due to significant fluorspar price rises caused by Chinese export cut-backs. In-fill assaying is in progress with the objective of a new and JORC-compliant interim resource estimate being commissioned in the first quarter 2008 without any further drilling. Detailed metallurgical test work is underway in Europe, aimed at assessment of recovery of multiple commodities. Minemakers says “recent trends in commodity prices are favourable for Moina. It is a deposit of potential international significance consisting of a mix of fluorspar, tungsten, tin, base metals (including zinc, bismuth and molybdenum) and magnetite. Fluorspar is the prime mineral containing the element fluorine and is the basic feedstock for all fluorine-based chemicals – which are essential for aluminium and uranium metal production, all refrigeration and air-conditioning and used in plastics, glass and the steel industry.“China is the world’s largest supplier of fluorspar and, until recently, has produced sufficient for its own needs and for export. This resulted in a balanced supply-demand situation and stable pricing. However, it was reported at the recent international Fluorspar 07 Conference, attended by Minemakers, that Chinese production has fallen due to mine depletion, resulting in lower exports with further declines in exports expected in future. This has driven a significant rise in fluorspar prices recently from $130/t to $230/t. As a result of this price rise, Minemakers has received enquiries concerning purchases of product and interest in seeking equity in the development.“Magnetite prices have been strong, large deals are being done on Western Australian deposits, and there is widespread reporting of possible price rises in 2008. Tin price has doubled over the last year. Significantly, China, the world’s largest producer, moved into a supply deficit in August. Tungsten prices have remained firm and China, again the world’s largest producer, has flagged further export cuts for 2008. Bismuth price has almost quadrupled over the last year.”Based on historic drilling, Minemakers considers that a mineralisation target in excess of 50 Mt is reasonable for Moina. Historically, it was first assessed as a fluorspar project, then a tungsten-tin project and subsequently a base metals and gold project. To date, it has never been appraised in total and the assay database, apart from fluorine, is incomplete. Minemakers has recently embarked on the task of infilling the assay database from the cores of all the Moina drill holes stored at Minerals Resources Tasmania, and covering all known and possible elements of interest.If it proved feasible to develop, for example, mining and processing at a rate of 3 Mt/y, this would see the project producing around 15% of current non-Chinese world fluorspar output (75% recovery basis) and up to 25% of non-Chinese tungsten production (100% recovery basis).The comprehensive metallurgical testwork program aims to build on the historic database. It includes mineralogical studies; tungsten and tin recovery by gravity; fluorspar, tungsten and sulphides recovery by flotation and magnetite recovery by magnetic separation. Results are due in early 2008.Minemakers considers the old drilling will probably prove to be at sufficient density to allow an initial JORC-compliant Inferred resource estimate by independent consultants. The company has begun an infill assaying program so as to get a full set of data for the known mineralisation and for an assessment of whether there may also be additional minerals not previously assayed, but whose presence is a possibility based on analogy with similar deposits.After receipt of the metallurgical results and the geostatistician’s appraisal of the current drilling density and new assays, it is anticipated that infill drilling will be undertaken as required to bring the resource estimation to at least indicated status. Minemakers has begun collation of other data necessary for a feasibility study, including topographic, land use and heritage and flora matters. www.minemakers.com.aulast_img read more

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Mine automation expenditure set to grow according to ARC Advisory Group

first_imgThe growth trend in the mining and metals industry that spurred demand for automation, instrumentation, and operational software came to a halt in the last quarter of 2008, according to ARC Advisory Group. The cause was the now well-known global financial crisis. However, spending will still be needed in 2009 with stronger spending to begin in 2010 and beyond, according to Analyst Dick Hill (dhill@arcweb.com), the principal author of ARC’s Automation Expenditures in Mining and Metals Worldwide Outlook.Through the first few months of 2008, demand for metals worldwide continued to grow. Emerging market demand was growing fastest as manufacturers in Asia and Eastern Europe increased production of industrial and consumer goods. Now the situation is quite different. World demand for steel in the first quarter of 2009 has dropped by nearly 25%, causing major steel producers to see profits plummet. The reduced demand for iron and steel has led to a dramatic drop in both the demand and price for iron ore. Through 2007, suffice it to say that no one saw the downturn coming, in terms of investment spending in mining and metals. With the global economic downturn as a backdrop, it is understandable that mining and metals companies have cut back the aggressive growth plans of pre-2008. The leading global mining and metals companies understand that, though it may seem counterintuitive in light of the current economic downturn, it’s important not to under-invest even now. Certainly, capital outlays are required to maintain production levels at existing mining sites as well as metals processing facilities. The larger investments seen prior to the current down turn have been postponed, but will have to be made to keep up with global demand for minerals and metals.Over the long term, demand will rise again, particularly in developing regions, and mining and metals prices will rise along with it. Indeed, over the short term, engineering and materials costs may go down as some more complex projects are put on hold, and steep drops in demand for finished goods helps to push down the prices for steel and other commodities. The end result is a more favourable environment for investment than many might expect.Regionally, the highest growth rates will occur in Asia and Latin America. Asia’s share of sales will reach 35%, according to the report, and while the highest growth in expenditures will be in Latin America over the forecast period, the region will still remain a relatively small portion of the overall market. Despite the strong growth in developing regions, Europe Middle East and Africa will have the largest share of the market. North America’s demand for automation, instrumentation, and software solutions will be nearly a quarter of the world’s sales, but growth is expected to be the lowest of all four world regions.The report examines the market for automation systems, instrumentation, and operational software in the mining of minerals through the production of metals. It provides strategic market information and guidance. In addition to quantitative assessments, the study also identifies key strategic issues that will have a future impact on this market:Market potential and size for automation systems and field devicesLeading suppliers in this vertical industry sectorMarket size in various world regionsStrategies for suppliers and manufacturers in the worldwide mining and metals industry to maximize opportunities in a dynamic energy market.Worldwide Study Table of ContentsExecutive SummaryScopeMarket size and forecastStrategies and recommendations for success.ScopeMarket Shares List of FiguresMarket shares of the leading suppliersMarket shares by regiono North Americao Europe, Middle East, Africao Asiao Latin America.Market Forecast List of FiguresTotal shipments of automation solutions to the Mining and Metals IndustryShipments by regiono North Americao Europe, Middle East, Africao Asiao Latin AmericaShipments by product typeo Collaborative production managemento Control valveso DCS without SCADAo Enterprise asset managemento Flowmeterso High power AC drives without midrangeo Human machine interface softwareo Laboratory information management systemso Low power AC driveso Plant asset managemento Process electrochemical systemso Process engineering toolso Programmable logic controllerso Real-time process optimisationo TransmittersSupplier ProfilesProfiles for 11 of the major suppliers servicing this market are included.  Each profile reviews the company’s business, products, and services as it applies to this market segment.  Suppliers profiled include ABB, Converteam, Danfoss, Emerson Process Management, Hitachi, Honeywell, Invensys Process Systems, Rockwell Automation, Siemens, Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems (TMEIC), YokogawaFor more information on this study, go to www.arcweb.com/res/metalslast_img read more

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