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LSU Offers Football Scholarship To 8th Grader Dylan Moses

There’s being ahead of the competition and then there’s what Les Myles did this week. The LSU coach who is known for his bold – and questionable – decisions during a football game and his staff offered Dylan Moses a scholarship for when he is ready to attend college. And that would be in 2017.You see, Moses is 14 and headed to the eighth grade. That is not a typo.Following a warped lead established by Washington, which had an eighth-grader commit to its school, the LSU coaching staff watched with amazement as the youth ran a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash at a Tigers’ football camp. Throw in that he is maturely built at 6-feet, 2o5 pounds, and the coaches were salivating.The offer, though, even stunned the kid.“I was kind of shocked when I first heard it — it was a dream come true,” Moses said. “I’ve always wanted to play for LSU since I was a kid, and now it’s coming true in front of my eyes.”“The coaches told me they were offering — and they were serious. I thought they were playing,” Edward Moses said. “Really, I thought that they were joking around until I saw the serious look on their faces. So I rolled with it. Let’s see where it’s going to end up.”Much has been made of the offer since word got out the Tigers were interested in a soon-to-be eighth grader. Indeed, even if he accepted the offer,  Moses couldn’t officially sign with LSU for another five years.His workout numbers certainly don’t reflect that youth. In addition to the blistering 40 time, the middle-schooler posted a broad jump of 9 feet, 3 inches and a 34-inch vertical leap. Impressive as they were, the latter two weren’t so surprising to his father.“I already knew that he could jump the 34-inch vertical, and we were actually working toward 9 feet in the broad jump. I didn’t think it was going to come then, but I felt it coming,” Edward Moses said. “The 40 — that blew me away. I wasn’t expecting a 4.46 40-yard dash.”And he was not expecting his son to draw an offer this soon. “The coaches told me they were offering — and they were serious. I thought they were playing,” Edward Moses said. “Really, I thought that they were joking around until I saw the serious look on their faces. So I rolled with it. Let’s see where it’s going to end up.” read more

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Dwight Howard To Magic Manager I Want A Trade

Of course, two days could not go by without some “movement” on the Dwight Howard trade saga. He told the Magic general manager that he wants to be traded. Again.Breaking news, right? That’s what this ongoing melodrama has become: When Howard, the all-star center, reiterates his position that he wants to be traded, it’s news – or something accepted as news.Anyway, Howard and GM Rob Hennigan apparently met in Los Angeles, according to espn.com, on Wednesday. It was Hennigan’s “check in” meeting, which went exactly as his other “check in” meetings went with Howard – he made it clear that he wanted to be traded and that at the end of next season he would become a free agent.This is almost like the cops coming over to a fender bender and telling the on-lookers, “OK, move on. Nothing to see here.”Even the Los Angeles Lakers, who had been aggressively pursing Howard, seem to have centered (pun intended) their thoughts on granting their young, talented center, Andrew Bynum, a lucrative contract extension.It’s the least they can do after offering him up in myriad deal scenarios to land Howard.While the pace of the talks has frustrated executives and hamstrung business around the league, the Lakers seem to have found a way of remaining open to a trade for Howard while still going about their business.Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Wednesday he’s had “positive and productive” conversations with Bynum’s agent in recent days.Under the terms of the new CBA, Bynum would be eligible to sign a three-year extension before the start of the season. Or he could play out this season, become an unrestricted free agent and sign for four years with another club or re-sign with the Lakers for five years.Typically it slows down in August, but the brakes are never on,” Lakers general Kupchak said, implying a move for Howard could still happen.The Lakers’ position on Howard has remained relatively unchanged for the past few months, league sources familiar with the situation have told ESPNLosAngeles.com. The Lakers always have been willing to trade for Howard without assurances he’d re-sign with them after the season, believing that once Howard experienced a championship culture, he would want to stay.However, the Lakers also remain unwilling to take back contracts from Orlando that would subject them to the most punitive luxury-tax penalties of the new collective bargaining agreement, according to sources.The Lakers also lost the ability to include future first-round draft choices after including their 2013 and 2015 first-round picks in a sign-and-trade with Phoenix for Steve Nash. read more

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Tajh Boyd Making Case for Heisman Trophy Leads Clemson

After Tajh Boyd threw five TDs in Clemson’s season-opening victory against Georgia, the quarterback made a statement that he’s a real contender for the Heisman Trophy this year. Now, the QB is proving his case for the trophy for best college football player at the end of the regular season.Boyd threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another as he lead the Clemson Tigers to a 56-7 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday. The outstanding performance made him only the second Atlantic Coast Conference quarterback to score 100 career TDs.“It was a fun game,” Boyd said. “I got a lot of chances to smile out there.”Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris told Boyd to just go out there and “Have fun.” Morris mentioned before the game that he thought Boyd was putting too much pressure on himself, and that the quarterback just needed to relax and play his game.“The biggest thing for me is just to go out and enjoy,” playing football, Boyd said. “I’ve pretty much accomplished everything you can accomplish in a college career, minus a couple of things. But, now I’ve got to enjoy this last go-round with my guys.”Boyd’s accomplishments against Wake Forest left him at 102 TDs in his college career. He joined former North Carolina State QB Phillip Rivers as the only two players in ACC’s history who managed to hit the 100th touchdown mark. Boyd also surpassed Charlie Whitehurst as Clemson’s total offense leader, by throwing for 311 yards and running for 69 yards. read more

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Why Tennessee — The Men — Could Easily Get A No 1

North Carolina108 Michigan St.610 TeamBPI RankChance at No. 1 seed Virginia2>99% Feb. 10AlabamaAway65% One last No. 1 seed up for grabsMen’s college basketball teams with the best chances of getting a No. 1 seed according to ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index Feb. 17GeorgiaAway77 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group Feb. 24U. of MississippiAway79 March 3GeorgiaHome91 Feb. 21FloridaHome81 Villanova1>99 Purdue394 Feb. 13South CarolinaHome92 The road gets easier for the VolunteersThe chances of Tennessee’s men’s basketball team winning each of their remaining regular-season games Feb. 27Mississippi StateAway71 Duke56 Kansas716 DateOpponentLocationChance of Winning One key to BPI’s projection is that it considers not only what Tennessee has done so far but also what it thinks every team will do over the remainder of the regular season and conference tournament. So what makes the Volunteers’ chances so strong? A combination of accomplishment, a front-loaded schedule and tough roads for competitors.Let’s start with what Tennessee has done so far this year. The Vols rank seventh in Strength of Record — strong, especially for a team with five losses, but not enough to justify making them a No. 1 seed if the season ended today. One reason Tennessee ranks so high in this measure is that those losses are made more palatable by the circumstances (opponent and game location) they came in. The Volunteers lost to the best team in Division I, Villanova, on a neutral court before falling to two top-20 BPI teams in North Carolina and Auburn at home. They have two losses against lesser opponents, Missouri and Arkansas, but both came on the road. And while neither the Tigers or Razorbacks are ranked, both are currently forecast to make the tournament and rank in the Top 50 in BPI, so these losses aren’t complete clunkers (like, say, this one).Even if the members of the selection committee ignored Strength of Record (though it will now be right in front of them when they perform the selection), they would only see “quality” losses. In its current team sheets, the committee divides games up into quadrants of difficulty according to RPI rank and whether the game was played at home, on the road or on a neutral court. Of the four levels of difficulty, all five of Tennessee’s losses appear in the toughest quadrant at the moment. In addition, the Volunteers have recorded impressive wins against Purdue earlier this season and at Kentucky on Tuesday.If facing all of those teams already this season sounds difficult, that’s because it is. The Volunteers have faced the fourth-toughest schedule thus far per BPI, but it’s about to get easier, because they have just the 64th-most-difficult regular-season schedule remaining. That’s right in the sweet spot: There’s a 56 percent chance they only take one or zero losses during that stretch, according to BPI, but the games are still challenging enough that they’ll get some credit for the wins. From there, they’ll likely need to win the SEC tournament to land a No. 1 seed, but they are the favorite (36 percent) to do that according to BPI. If the Vols can lose no more than once the rest of the way and win their conference tournament, their projection for getting a No. 1 seed will rise to a 85 percent. With roughly a month left in the college basketball season, three teams already have a tight grip on one of the four No. 1 seeds in this year’s men’s NCAA tournament: Villanova, Virginia and Purdue. But the last top spot is very much up for grabs. And one team that is a legitimate contender to snag it may be a surprise to college hoops fans: Tennessee.Tennessee, on paper, may seem like a long shot for a coveted top seed: The Vols have five losses and are only ranked 15th in the latest AP poll. What’s more, Tennessee has never been a top seed in the NCAA tournament, has never made it to the Final Four, and was predicted to finish 13th in its conference in a preseason SEC media poll.But according to ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index, which estimates team strength and is designed to predict future performance, the Volunteers have a 37 percent chance of earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. That gives them the best shot of any of the remaining teams outside the top three. Part of the reason Tennessee could earn a top seed even without meeting the above criteria is that its competitors have a tough road ahead.Xavier, for example, currently has the third-best Strength of Record in Division I, but BPI projects it to lose twice more this regular season — the team is an underdog at Creighton Saturday and at Villanova the following Saturday — and is a long shot to win the Big East tournament (17 percent), which all combines to suppress the Musketeers’ chances.Kansas is a similar story. Though it’s the best team in the Big 12, the conference is so stacked that the Jayhawks only have a 36 percent chance to win their conference tournament. Michigan State is only projected to lose about one more game during the regular season, but it isn’t as good as Purdue, according to BPI, so the Spartans will likely take another loss in their conference tournament. Duke was a serious contender until Thursday night, when the Blue Devils dropped a close game to their rival Tar Heels, reducing Duke’s chances of earning a No. 1 seed from 29 percent to 6 percent.In other words, the best thing that Tennessee has going for it is that it’s in a slightly weaker conference than most of the other majors and happens to be the best team in that conference, per BPI. Granted, if one of those other teams outperforms its projection, then Tennessee will probably be left off the top seed line. But right now, the Vols have a shot.Paul Sabin contributed to this story. Xavier1421 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group Tennessee1237 read more

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Rory McIlroy Could Be A Bigger Threat To Jack Nicklaus Than Tiger

You couldn’t have scripted a more media-ready changing-of-the-guard than this year’s PGA Tour Championship. Since Tiger Woods’s gentle smack-talk after Rory McIlroy’s British Open win in July, McIlroy won at WGC-Bridgestone (taking back his No. 1 ranking), and on Sunday he followed that with his third win in a row and fourth major victory — coming from behind, in the dark, and fending off Phil Mickelson, no less!Meanwhile, Woods missed another cut, amid lingering health questions, and still hasn’t won a major since George W. Bush was president. For the better part of a decade, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Woods would meet or surpass Jack Nicklaus’s 18 major wins. Now, that goal is less and less attainable.Even a few days ago, I would have thought positing McIlroy as a greater threat to Nicklaus than Woods was ridiculous, but this is where we stand: McIlroy has built up one of the best starts to a career in modern golf history, essentially matching the Golden Bear through age 25, and each day Woods moves farther away from his prime.It may not look like much, but that four-major start by McIlroy is firmly in Woods and Nicklaus territory — they are the only players to have won four majors through age 25. Winning those four majors in a 15-tournament span is also a rare accomplishment. There have been a number of similarly meteoric rises in golf, but they usually come at a more mature age (see, for example: Nick Faldo, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan). And some early starts aren’t so meteoric (Seve Ballesteros).McIlroy has had both:Of course, after Woods won his fourth major, he went on to win the next two as well, and four of the next seven, so it’s silly to call McIlroy the next Tiger. But McIlroy doesn’t have to be as good now as Woods was then to have a chance at passing Nicklaus — Woods was way ahead of Nicklaus’s pace before injuries and possibly other things got the better of him.And now, even after clawing his way back to the top of the rankings, Woods isn’t who he used to be. At this point, it would take something unprecedented for him to match or pass Nicklaus. He needs four majors for a share of the lead, but by the time the Master’s comes around again in 2015, it will have been nearly seven years since Woods last won a major (no player has ever won four majors after going even five years between wins). And Woods will be 39 years old (no player has ever won four majors after the age of 39, not even the notoriously ever-spry Nicklaus).The good news for Woods is that he has some experience doing things that are fairly unprecedented in golf.But what about McIlroy’s expectation at this point? Trying to model the long-run performance and behavior of outliers can be particularly difficult, because the other data isn’t really a good guide. Nonetheless, assuming McIlroy faces the same regression to the mean as the average golfer does after a hot start (about a 50 percent to 75 percent reduction in win rate for the rest of his career), my best estimate is that he should win around 12 majors — plus or minus six or eight.For Tiger to beat Jack, he’ll have to break an unexpected trend, and for Rory to beat Jack, he’ll have to maintain a trend unexpectedly. read more

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Here Are College Footballs Most Important Week 8 Games

Mississippi State1.1-1.1+2.01.4 Clemson65.5%+8.1-42.7±13.6 Texas15.0-0.6+1.50.8 Notre Dame50.1-0.8+4.11.3 Total* Total* NC State7.5-5.7+29.99.5 Michigan State2.5-2.5+4.93.3 Ohio State51.7-0.5+2.90.9 Total* Change in odds w/ Ohio State… Change in odds w/ Michigan… Total* Swing in playoff odds is weighted by the chance of each outcome — win or lose — actually happening.*Total swing includes every game in the country — not just those listed here. TeamCurrent Playoff%WinLossWgtd Swing How Oklahoma-TCU swings the playoff picturePotential changes in College Football Playoff probability for selected teams based on the outcome of the Oct. 20 Oklahoma-TCU game No. 6 Michigan (6-1) at No. 24 Michigan State (4-2)Favorite: Michigan (66.3 percent)Total potential CFP swing: 16.0 pointsThe stakes: Michigan’s season-opening loss to Notre Dame hurt its playoff chances, but research shows that, if you’re going to lose, it’s better to get it out of the way early and win out the rest of the season. Cross-state rival Michigan State is the Wolverines’ latest impediment to that plan, and the Spartans’ own meager playoff bid (which does exist!) received a shot in the arm when they beat Penn State in Happy Valley last week. There’s about a 1-in-3 chance that Sparty does the same to Michigan in East Lansing on Saturday, which would drop the Wolverines’ playoff probability to 5 percent (and elevate MSU’s to 7 percent). Georgia, Ohio State and Oklahoma would also get about a 1-point boost to their playoff probabilities if Michigan State wins. The Fighting Irish, however, are in an unfamiliar place here. Because of their head-to-head win over Michigan, Notre Dame fans should be rooting for Michigan to win, which would add about a half-point to the Irish’s chances of making the playoff. Swing in playoff odds is weighted by the chance of each outcome — win or lose — actually happening.*Total swing includes every game in the country — not just those listed here. Ohio State51.7-0.4+0.80.5 TeamCurrent Playoff%WinLossWgtd Swing LSU13.6%+5.4-9.8±6.9 Ohio State51.7-0.5+1.10.7 Alabama64.5-0.3+1.50.5 How Ohio State-Purdue swings the playoff picturePotential changes in College Football Playoff probability for selected teams based on the outcome of the Oct. 20 Ohio State-Purdue game No. 3 Clemson (6-0) vs. No. 16 NC State (5-0)Favorite: Clemson (84.1 percent)Total potential CFP swing: 28.5 pointsThe stakes: Right now, we list Clemson as tied with Alabama for the best odds of making the playoff at 65 percent, a number that would rise to 74 percent with a Tiger win this week … or fall to 23 percent with a loss. Though it’s not overly likely — particularly since the game is in Death Valley — the Wolfpack do have the potential to pull off a huge surprise win. Despite a 5-0 record, NC State is still probably the nation’s best-kept secret (granted, its most impressive win so far is merely a 28-23 victory over Boston College), but it could really begin to gain national traction by knocking off Clemson. The Wolfpack’s playoff chances would rise to 37 percent with a win on Saturday, making them the rare unheralded team to make noise in today’s stratified college football world. Notre Dame and Ohio State should be rooting for the Wolfpack, too: The Irish would pick up 4 percentage points of playoff probability if Clemson loses, while the Buckeyes’ chances would improve by 3 percentage points. Clemson is an 18-point favorite, so don’t hold your breath, but this is still the game with the most potential playoff ramifications of any in Week 8. LSU13.6-0.4+1.80.7 Swing in playoff odds is weighted by the chance of each outcome — win or lose — actually happening.*Total swing includes every game in the country — not just those listed here. Ohio State51.7%+4.9-21.0±7.9 LSU13.6-0.4+1.10.6 Swing in playoff odds is weighted by the chance of each outcome — win or lose — actually happening.*Total swing includes every game in the country — not just those listed here. Notre Dame50.1-0.5+2.10.8 Thanks to our College Football Playoff model — which simulates every game of the season to figure out each team’s chance of reaching the final four stage — we can see how much influence any given game has on the overall playoff picture. Most games have little to no effect, but some can potentially swing the playoff probabilities not just for the two schools involved but also for numerous teams around the country. To help you prepare for Week 8 of the college football season, here are the games that matter most this weekend in terms of their potential cumulative effect on the entire nation’s playoff chances. 17.7 Georgia22.0-0.6+1.20.8 Georgia22.0-0.5+1.30.7 Alabama64.5-1.0+1.91.3 No. 2 Ohio State (7-0) at Purdue (3-3)Favorite: Ohio State (81.2 percent)Total potential CFP swing: 15.9 pointsThe stakes: The Buckeyes are in great shape right now, sitting undefeated with a 52 percent chance of making the playoff. And on paper, the Boilermakers don’t pose too great a threat to Ohio State’s winning streak, ranking 41st in ESPN’s Football Power Index ratings. But the great thing about college football’s regular season is that no team is safe, and any loss can throw a season into disarray. A slip-up against Purdue would drop OSU’s playoff chances by a whopping 21 percentage points, and the biggest beneficiaries would be Clemson, Michigan and Notre Dame — each of whom would receive multiple points of playoff probability with the Buckeyes dropping down. Ohio State should win this one as 12-point favorites, making all of these possible shakeups moot, but the potential for anarchy is lurking. No. 9 Oklahoma (5-1) at TCU (3-3)Favorite: Oklahoma (72.1 percent)Total potential CFP swing: 17.7 pointsThe stakes: Last week, we talked about how Oklahoma could still make the College Football Playoff after losing to Texas earlier this month. The Sooners’ path hinged on taking care of business over their reasonably winnable remaining schedule and hoping for a peer like Notre Dame to slip up along the way. They almost got their wish for the latter with an Irish near-loss to Pitt, but OU’s own journey back starts with Saturday’s clash against the Horned Frogs. A loss would all but dash Oklahoma’s playoff hopes, and TCU is a tough opponent in spite of its 3-3 record, so the stakes for this one are already high from the Sooners’ perspective. But the game also picks up extra leverage from the fact that another loss would seriously damage OU’s chances of making the Big 12 championship (which helps conference leader Texas) and also remove it as a viable playoff rival for Notre Dame plus fellow one-loss squads LSU, Michigan and — now — Georgia, which fell to the Bayou Bengals last week. 15.9 Change in odds w/ Oklahoma… Georgia22.0-0.8+1.51.0 How LSU-Mississippi State swings the playoff picturePotential changes in College Football Playoff probability for selected teams based on the outcome of the Oct. 20 LSU-Mississippi State game Change in odds w/ LSU… TeamCurrent Playoff%WinLossWgtd Swing No. 5 LSU (6-1) vs. No. 22 Mississippi State (4-2)Favorite: LSU (64.7 percent)Total potential CFP swing: 15.9 pointsThe stakes: LSU, the other team whose odds we broke down a week ago, always needed to keep winning games in order to maintain its position as a playoff contender. It passed its first test with flying colors by upsetting Georgia last week, raising its playoff probability to 14 percent. That number would leap to 19 percent with a win over Mississippi State but plummet to 4 percent with a loss, effectively ending any realistic playoff chance for the Tigers. Those stakes are compounded by the slight gains for fellow SEC contenders Alabama and Georgia if Mississippi State can go into Baton Rouge and pull off the upset, to say nothing of the small playoff chance the Bulldogs would see (3 percent) if they win. Change in odds w/ Clemson… Check out our latest college football predictions. Oklahoma23.3%+6.1-15.8±8.8 16.0 Oklahoma23.3-0.2+1.10.3 Michigan15.5%+5.1-10.1±6.8 Texas15.0-0.3+1.40.5 15.9 Notre Dame50.1-1.1+2.81.6 TeamCurrent Playoff%WinLossWgtd Swing Notre Dame50.1+0.4-0.80.5 TeamCurrent Playoff%WinLossWgtd Swing Notre Dame50.1-0.7+1.20.9 Clemson65.5-0.8+3.41.3 Michigan15.5-0.7+3.01.1 Oklahoma23.3-0.4+0.80.5 Swing in playoff odds is weighted by the chance of each outcome — win or lose — actually happening.*Total swing includes every game in the country — not just those listed here. Michigan15.5-0.4+1.10.6 28.5 Total* How Clemson-NC State swings the playoff picturePotential changes in College Football Playoff probability for selected teams based on the outcome of the Oct. 20 Clemson-NC State game How Michigan-Michigan State swings the playoff picturePotential changes in College Football Playoff probability for selected teams based on the outcome of the Oct. 20 Michigan-Michigan State game read more

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Ohio State mens hockey trying to get over the hump

The Ohio State men’s ice hockey team heads into the final third of its regular season campaign with plenty to prove. With an overall record of 8-11-5, the Buckeyes’ 25 points in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association places them seventh out of 11 teams. OSU will have ample opportunity to make up ground on the teams ahead in the rankings as five of its remaining six conference series come against teams that sit above the Buckeyes in the CCHA standings. Of those two-game series, four will be held on their home ice at the Schottenstein Center. After posting a 7-4-3 mark in their first 14 games, the Buckeyes have struggled as of late, posting only one win in their last 10 times out. “We’ve had a good first half, but we need to get over the hump as a team,” said freshman defenseman Sam Jardine. OSU has recently gotten four players back from injury, and coach Mark Osiecki said he sees his roster’s improved health as a key to getting over that hump as March’s CCHA Tournament nears. “It’s important right now to get them back so they get some experience for a month before it really amps up,” Osiecki said. The team’s recent struggles may be attributable to the absence of former volunteer assistant coach RJ Umberger. Umberger, a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets and former Buckeye, used the NHL lockout as an opportunity to help coach his alma mater and instruct the current members of the Buckeye squad. Players said he had a positive impact on OSU’s performance. “Everyone took whatever he had to say and we put that towards the ice, that helped us a lot,” said sophomore forward Tanner Fritz. Throughout the Buckeyes’ ups and downs, senior goalie Brady Hjelle and sophomore forward Ryan Dzingel seemed to have played consistently great hockey. Hjelle is second in the league with a 1.61 goals-against average and his .945 save percentage is second best in the country. Dzingel leads OSU in points (20) and goals (nine). His 11 assists are second only to Fritz’s 13. Dzingel and Hjelle were recently named to the Hobey Baker Award ballot which is given annually to the NCAA’s best player. No OSU player has ever won the honor. With the continued production of their top players, along with the added contribution of individuals returning from injury, OSU might have the potential to finish the season on its highest note. A strong showing over the next six weekends would put the team in position to make convincing runs in the CCHA and NCAA tournaments. The Buckeyes are set to play against Lake Superior State Friday at 7:05 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. read more

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James Jakes prepared to race in Indy 500 with support of Jakesy

Dan Hope / Oller reporterOf all the teams racing in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, the one with the most ties to the Columbus area is Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.The IZOD IndyCar Series team headquarters is in Hilliard, Ohio. Graham Rahal, the son of team co-owner and 1986 Indy 500 champion Bobby Rahal, was born in Columbus and graduated from New Albany High School.Graham Rahal’s popularity in his hometown may be rivaled, however, by his teammate James Jakes.Jakes, a British driver in his third IndyCar season and first with Rahal Letterman Lanigan, has gained popularity thanks to a dedicated, Columbus-based fan following who call themselves “Jakesy Nation.”Joey Recktenwald, president of “Jakesy Nation” and a Columbus resident, said the group began in 2011 when he and some friends decided to team up and choose one driver to root for. They chose Jakes, who was an IndyCar rookie at the time.Those 8 to 10 friends have grown into Jakes’ unofficial fan club. Their popularity is growing, as the group’s Twitter feed, @JakesyNation, has more than 1,000 followers, and it also has its own website and Facebook page.Jakes often interacts with “Jakesy Nation,” and the fan club designed a helmet which Jakes used during an IndyCar race last season. On Monday, Jakes autographed and returned the helmet to his supporters at a media luncheon. The fan club also hosted a birthday party for Jakes, which the driver attended, during the weekend of IndyCar’s race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last August.“It’s awesome, I can’t thank those guys enough,” Jakes said of “Jakesy Nation.” “It’s great to have them on board, and great to see them at races and enjoying themselves.”Dru Delaforet, who graduated from Ohio State in 2009 with a degree in communications and received his master’s degree in English education from OSU in 2011, is the head blogger for “Jakesy Nation.” He called the interaction between the group and Jakes “great.”“He’s really nice to us,” Delaforet said. “Sometimes we don’t even expect some of the things that he does for us, and how much he interacts with us. I think he just really appreciates the support, and he knows that when he wins a race, because he has yet to win a race … that we will go nuts and we will be there for him.”The members of “Jakesy Nation” attend multiple races annually, one of which is the Indy 500. One of the group’s traditions at Indianapolis each year is a rib cook-off named in honor of Willy T. Ribbs, who became the first African American driver to compete in an Indy 500 in 1991.“We just did it because of the name, because his last name was Ribbs,” Delaforet said. “We’re trying to get him to come to the Willy T. Ribbs cook-off this time.”Another tradition stems from the initiation process into the fan club. When a new member joins, he or she is expected to wear a penguin head and a yellow apron at their first race.“You’ve got to wear the penguin head and the apron at least the first day,” Delaforet said. “Usually people end up just wearing it the whole weekend, because it gets you a lot of attention. It’s like a really frilly, yellow apron so all these girls want pictures of you, everybody just ends up wearing it the whole weekend.”James Irwin, the group’s self-proclaimed “beauty,” went through the initiation process during his first race, and said it was the “most incredible experience.”Irwin said “Jakesy Nation” is the best fan club in IndyCar.“No doubt about it. Clearly the best,” Irwin said. “We have the most fun and we support our racer better than anyone at the track.”While the group has grown, Recktenwald said they have not changed much from when they were just a few friends attending races.“It’s not like we’ve had to go above and beyond to change our regular tradition,” Recktenwald said. “Now, there’s people that are coming over introducing themselves and saying they want to join up with us, so everywhere we go, we’re meeting new people, which is fun.”Recktenwald hopes the club helps generate more popularity for IndyCar racing in Columbus.“It’s fun for us because Mid-Ohio (located in Lexington, approximately 60 miles from Columbus) is so close, and we’re three hours from Indianapolis,” Recktenwald said. “There’s enough around here that if we can try and build a buzz for it, there’s teams to follow and drivers to follow and tracks that are close enough that we can get to them.” read more

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Opinion Its time for Alex Rodriguez to stop trying to earn back

The New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez speaks during press conference at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Aug. 5, 2013. Credit: Courtesy of TNSAt this point, Alex Rodriguez has made more mistakes than he’s hit home runs, especially since his play dropped off a cliff a few years ago.The New York Yankees’ third baseman, and one-time future Hall of Famer, straight up denied using performance enhancing drugs back in 2007. But in 2009, it was proven that he had actually used such drugs.At that point, he gave a well-scripted apology that I can’t imagine many people took to heart. Then he got back to playing baseball, and hit 30 home runs in 2010 at the age of 34.But A-Rod (or A-Roid, depending how much you like crass, semi-clever nicknames) wasn’t done just yet. He ended up being suspended for more than an entire season, beginning in 2013 and spanning all of 2014, after it came out that he had gotten HGH from Anthony Bosch’s biogenesis clinic (Bosch was sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday, by the way.)And on the same day Bosch was sentenced, Rodriguez decided the time was right to try his hand at this whole apologizing thing again.“To the fans,” a reportedly hand-written apology letter read. And he signed off “Sincerely, Alex.”It’s a good thing he said to “the” fans, because if he had written “to my fans,” the letter would probably have been addressed to nobody.For a guy with all the natural ability in the world, how much did performance-enhancing drugs really do? Perhaps he hit a few more home runs with the extra help, but he would most likely been destined for Cooperstown no matter what. His ego got in the way.That’s all fine and well for him. He’s still set to make $61 million over the next few years, and honestly, that’s great. He managed to earn a living most people could never dream of. Yeah, he cheated his way to it, but he would’ve earned it cheating or not.So congratulations, Alex, you have a lot of money, but it’s time for you to take it and run.His letter professed that he had taken “full responsibility” for his mistakes. Which is pretty obvious since, you know, it was his fault for making those decisions. The letter even addressed the fact that many won’t accept his apology, or “believe” it, in his words. Which is true, and why would they?He’s apologized before, then cheated again, then apologized some more.Rodriguez won’t be gaining back any of his lost respect, and he should embrace that. Instead of apologizing to try and make his name better and avoiding even more of a media firestorm, Rodriguez should sit back, play baseball for a few more years, retire and accept that he had a wildly successful career no matter what fans or fellow players think of him.In the end, Alex, you have an amount of money I’d at least have to consider sacrificing a limb for.Now go enjoy it on your yachts and private jets and leave the rest of us alone, because you’re right: We don’t believe you, and we never will. read more

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Up to 100 schoolchildren armed with bats and knives involved in mass

first_imgMy lovely home town of Northumberland Heath pic.twitter.com/BiWYb55ExJ— Yamborghini (@Shane_Newman1) September 19, 2016 Seven males, aged between 15 and 21, were arrested and taken to police stations in south London. The two teenagers taken to hospital were 15 and 19, and suffered “non-life threatening injuries,” a police spokesman confirmed.A spokesman for the borough of Bexley said they were still trying to “establish the facts” of the fight, adding: “We are obviously dismayed by the incident.”Police were still at the scene of the fight nearly 24 hours after the brawl took place. Police vans were seen parked up at various points around the community, while uniformed officers lined the streets as students left school on Tuesday afternoon. Witnesses described “absolute pandemonium” as the fights spilled onto the roads of Northumberland Heath, near Erith.And a local landlady yesterday said it was a “miracle” that no one had been killed in the fight, which prompted police to deploy a helicopter and dogs.Footage understood to have been filmed during the brawl showed dozens of young people punching and kicking a young person who had been beaten to the floor. Some of his attackers appeared to have been armed with sticks as they launched kicks to his body and head. Another eyewitness added: “In 30 years I have never seen anything like it.”Police yesterday began an investigation into the brawl, which prompted more than 40 calls to the emergency services.They had been able to disperse an earlier disturbance nearby, a spokesman said, but the same group of people were believed to have been involved in the larger fight that took place shortly after. Riot police were called to south-east London after around 100 schoolchildren believed to have been armed with bats and knives were involved in a mass brawl.Two teenagers were taken to hospital and seven were arrested after every available police officer within the area was sent to combat the violence on Monday evening.Panicked residents locked themselves into their homes and shops as the youths, many of whom were wearing school uniforms, caused chaos on the streets of Bexley. She said she believed gangs in the area clash over racial divides, and added that a boy of 12 took refuge in the pub after he made a racist taunt towards teenagers outside.Barmaid Bonnie Lampard, who locked and bolted all of the pub’s doors, said she saw a group of white boys wearing balaclavas and Halloween masks running out of the park before “around 50 young black boys in school uniform came down the road.”She added: “One of them had a knife and was waving it around. They had metal bars, knuckle dusters and knives. Youths at the scene of the mass brawlCredit:@Shane_Newman1 Some of them were armed with sticks as they kicked and punched the person on the floor Police on the scene of the mass brawl 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 is believed the fight began at the local recreation ground, but soon expanded onto the streets of Northumberland Heath.Sharon McHattie, a landlady at the Duchess of Kent pub, said many of the children – some of whom were reportedly as young as seven – were armed with knives and bats, while there were also reports that some were brandishing concrete slabs as weapons.“It’s a miracle no one was killed,” she said. “They all had their hoods up and balaclavas on. How they never got killed I don’t know. They were all standing in the middle of the street.” “The police were completely outnumbered. If it had all kicked off then the police would not have been able to contain it.”A resident said she was afraid to leave her house as the stand-off with police lasted for more than two hours.“There were a lot of kids outside, both black and white in uniform,” said 39-year-old Kerry Duggan. “They were pushing the police and there was a lot of shouting. There were more than 100 kids just outside and the white kids were fighting with police.” Some of them were armed with sticks as they kicked and punched the person on the floor Police on the scene of the mass brawlCredit:@Shane_Newman1 Youths at the scene of the mass brawllast_img read more

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter expecting their second child

first_imgBenedict Cumberbatch and his wife Sophie Hunter are expecting their second child, it has been confirmed.The couple appeared together on the red carpet in Los Angeles to promote the actor’s film, Dr Strange, where fans noticed what appeared to be a baby bump under Ms Hunter’s black ball gown. The couple on the set of Dr Strange A spokesman confirmed the news, telling the Telegraph: “Everyone is absolutely thrilled.”The couple, who married on Valentine’s Day in 2015, already have one son, Christopher Carlton, born in June 2015. The couple already have one toddler at home Benedict Cumberbatch and his wife Sophie Hunter They have recently applied to extend their north London home. Cumberbatch has spoken regularly about his pride for his baby son, saying: “Having a baby – it’s massive. “It’s serendipity though, that wasn’t as planned as this was.”It also had an effect on his work-life balance, he said, admitting he rushed home after the theatre to help take take of their baby.”I drop it all very very quickly because I have to eat and sleep,” he said. “That’s honestly the truth. And get home, to a newborn.” The couple already have one toddler at homecenter_img Benedict Cumberbatch and his wife Sophie Hunter The couple on the set of Dr StrangeCredit:Splash “And on a very unexpected level. Suddenly I understood my parents much more proudly than I ever had before.”He told the Graham Norton show earlier this year: “I’ve become a father and a husband, and in the right order — just.“I might go for a (Cumber) batch of boys.”Cumberbatch has previously spoken of how becoming a father had changed him as an actor. Speaking during his sold-out turn as Hamlet at the Barbican, he said: “I’ve just become a father and I used to think of have to be childless to be a Hamlet.”I thought that it may be a difficult ingredient to play with but it’s miraculous that your thinking about how you were parented shoots up as well. So that’s all fed into it. Everyone is absolutely thrilledA spokesman for the couple 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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Louis Tomlinson performs X Factor tribute to his mum just three days

first_imgOne Direction’s Louis Tomlinson gave an emotional performance of his debut solo single live at the X Factor final tonight, just three days after the death of his mum, Johannah Deakin.Johannah, who was just 43 years old and a mother of seven, lost her battle with leukaemia on Wednesday. It was initially assumed that Louis would pull out of his scheduled performance of Just Hold On, with DJ Steve Aoki, but it was revealed that he wanted to go ahead with it to pay tribute to his mum. After he’d performed on stage at Wembley, an emotional Simon Cowell, who put One Direction together on X Factor 2010 and worked with them for six years, said a few words.”What you’ve just done… the bravery… I respect you as an artist and I respect you as a person,” he said, as Louis appeared to fight back tears.”Your mum was so proud of you Louis, she was so looking forward to tonight, she’s watching down on you now and you’ve done her proud.”  Louis Tomlinson and mother Johannah Deakin  Louis Tomlinson and mother Johannah DeakinCredit:REX/Shutterstock Credit:REX/Shutterstockcenter_img It’s thought that some of Tomlinson’s One Direction bandmates were in the arena to support him.  Louis Tomlinson and mother Johannah Deakin  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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Pushy parents live vicariously through their children and become obsessed with trophyhunting

first_imgPushy parents are living vicariously through their children, obsessing over their progress and buying into a “trophy-hunting” culture, the deputy head of one of Britain’s top preparatory schools has warned.Children are being drawn into a “relentless cycle” of tutoring and “over-preparing” for classes, to feed their parents’ endless desire for success, said Loren Macallister of Shrewsbury House School in Surrey.Writing in the Spring edition of the education magazine, Attain, she described typical topics of conversation at parents’ coffee mornings and online discussions. The Government announced that it was seeking to introduce ‘tutor-proof’ tests as it plans to expand the number of grammar schools.The changes including a six hour interview process as opposed to the traditional hour, which head teachers believe will allow the child to relax and their real personality to shine through.Some schools will also question children on a surprise topic, on which they have had no time to prepare or receive tutoring to show their natural aptitude.You can read the full article by Loren Macallister, Deputy Head of Shrewsbury House School in the Spring edition of Attain magazine The chapel at Eton CollegeCredit:Peter Lane /Alamy In September it emerged that leading independent schools are changing their admissions tactics Eton College chapel In September it emerged that leading independent schools are changing their admissions tactics The £17,000-a-year school for boys aged seven to 13 acts as a feeder for some of the most prestigious institutions, with alumni going on to Eton College, Winchester College and St Paul’s.“In an increasingly results-driven prep school environment, both in London and beyond, parents are at risk of being drawn into the relentless cycle of tutoring, over-preparing and trophy-hunting in the desire for their children to succeed,” Ms Macallister said.center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “Often the silverware and commendations are a reflection of  what a child has achieved on the back of heavy tutoring and, sadly, as a result of parents living vicariously through their children.”She suggested that teachers’ attempts to combat the pressurised atmosphere include introducing mindfulness and mental well-being courses.Ms Macallister said that parents see “endless” tutoring as a “cure-all” solution to their children’s education.“If we stand back from it all, endless tutoring is almost akin to receiving a school photograph of one’s child, with the option to tick the airbrushing of flaws,” she said. Parents are at risk of being drawn into the relentless cycle of tutoring, over-preparing and trophy-hunting in the desire for their children to succeedLoren Macallister, Deputy Head of Shrewsbury House School In September it emerged that leading independent schools are changing their admissions tactics and introducing six-hour entrance assessments in order to see through “over-tutored” pupils.Brighton College, Wellington College and Westminster are among those who are changing the way year-six students are examined in order to differentiate between the most naturally able and those who have received the most help. These include “Can you recommend a good tutor for French/Maths/English etc; our last one is really not working out” or “I really need our DS [darling son] in the top set. He has to be if he is going to (insert school)”.Shrewsbury House School in Surbiton, Surrey was established in 1865, making it one of the oldest preparatory schools in the country.last_img read more

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David Attenborough says the BBC still needs white men explaining things to

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. Sir David Attenborough has said the BBC still needs “white men explaining things” in television programmes, after the editor of BBC Four said “the era of that has passed.”The Blue Planet presenter gently contradicted Cassian Harrison, who told the Edinburgh International Television Festival in August: “There’s a mode of programming that involves a presenter, usually white, middle-aged and male, standing on a hill and ‘telling you like it is.’“We all recognise the era of that has passed.”Newsnight’s Evan Davis asked: “I don’t know if you heard in August, Cassian Harrison, the editor of BBC Four, said the BBC no longer wants TV shows in which white, middle aged men stand up and explain things. I’m sure he didn’t have you in mind.”–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Chuckling, Sir David replied: “I’m sure he did, because that’s what I do.“I don’t think [those days have] passed, I personally think there’s a place for that sort of thing, Blue Planet got one of the biggest audiences of documentaries in a long time. On the other hand I suppose he might say there wasn’t a lot seen of you. Which is absolutely true and a very good thing.” The presenter said he thinks that experts are needed on television shows, to explain the topics clearly, adding: “But there are some things that you do require someone who knows about something, to tell you in terms which don’t have bogus illustrations they don’t try and pretend to explain something with a diagram that can’t be explained in that way.”Britain’s most-watched television show last year was Sir David’s Blue Planet II, with 14 million viewers.The BBC has pledged to make its programmes less male-heavy after being widely criticised for its pay report, in which most of the highest-earning stars were men.In April, the broadcaster promised to insist half of the expert voices heard on news and current affairs programmes are women by next year.By early 2019, the corporation aims to have an equal number of male and female expert contributors to topical shows, as it increases the number of women on air. This change is not limited to news programmes; yesterday the BBC announced that Zoe Ball would be the first female host of Radio 2’s breakfast show.The interview with Sir David was held to mark the release of his new book Life On Earth and he also discussed allegations of TV trickery in nature broadcasting.He told Evan Davis that captive animals are sometimes best used to illustrate the scientific points made. Sir David said if programmes illustrate their stories with “a polar bear that happened to have been born in a zoo, and you could never get that in the wild without risking the polar bear’s life or indeed your own – then that’s biology. That’s perfectly fair”. He said: “Some programmes set out to deceive and some do not. “Nonetheless, there is a lot of veracity involved in just having the picture there and it’s fair dues for someone to say, ‘OK if you say that’s going to happen, show me’.” read more

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Nondisclosure agreements Everything you need to know about NDAs and their misuse

It not only lifted the lid on the sheer scale of the harassment suffered by women, but also shed light on the extent to which NDAs were used to permit bad behaviour to not only continue, but to flourish. But it is clear they can be used to keep allegations of wrongdoing out of the press.When have they been used?Disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein deployed them to keep alleged victims quiet, it emerged, as dozens of women accused him of sexual harassment and assault. He denies all the allegations.Among those to sign a confidential agreement was Zelda Perkins, a Briton who was an assistant to Weinstein in London.She risked being sued by breaking the NDA to tell journalists that Weinstein harassed her and sexually assaulted another woman.They have also been used in politics, with figures revealing that the House of Commons spent more than £2.4 million through NDAs over the last five years.Free speech is crucial, so why do these exist?Rather than silence claims of bullying, harassment or worse, they can be used to prevent trade secrets from being made public.They are widely used in the business sphere and Government guidance says they could be used when sharing ideas with potential investors or financial advisers.Is the government acting?In the wake of the Weinstein scandal, Theresa May said in December that she will “look at” the use of NDAs.The Prime Minister added that settlement agreements when someone leaves a company should not go further than protecting client confidentiality and commercial interest. Theresa May promised to review the use of NDAs, with her spokesman saying at the time: “The Prime Minister will look into the way these non-disclosure agreements are applied to see if changes are required.”The Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Government’s watchdog, went further, calling for a ban on companies using NDAs to sweep sexual harassment claims under the carpet, suggesting that the deals had permitted such behaviour to “become normalised”.Rebecca Hilsenrath, its chief executive, has said: “NDAs are rife across industries. They prevent the number of complaints bubbling up.”Parliament’s all-party women and equalities committee began an investigation into the use of NDAs and Lucy Frazer, the justice minister, promised to curb gagging clauses that threaten to silence women who suffer potentially criminal sexual harassment.She told the committee she would “definitely” tackle lawyers who were helping employers write “unenforceable” clauses into NDAs.She said: “It is absolutely wrong and there are measures in place and laws in place to protect people from wrongdoing. It is right that government looks at whether there are gaps that can be filled if people aren’t being protected.” It is reckoned Weinstein has paid out millions over the years. The actress Rose McGowan, who had accused him of raping her in 1997, was paid $100,000 and asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, burying the allegations. The #MeToo movementWith the whistle blown on Weinstein, the MeToo movement spread to other sectors. Nine days after the first exposé on Weinstein by the New York Times, the American actress Alyssa Milano tweeted MeToo to encourage survivors of harassment and assault to come forward and to gauge the extent of the problem. By the next day, the MeToo hashtag had been tweeted more than half a million times. On Facebook, it was posted 12 million times in 24 hours.Thus, a movement was born.The film world was engulfed by MeToo, with fashion, academia and Parliament soon similarly shaken. Complaints spread across the world, not limited to the US or UK.Football has also come under scrutiny with claims that over decades young footballers were preyed upon by coaches.Two years ago, The Telegraph disclosed how a former youth footballer at Chelsea Football Club, who was sexually abused by a coach in the Seventies, had received a secret payout from the club’s current owners, but only on condition the victim, his family and lawyers were banned from talking about the abuse. They have become the legal weapon of choice for the rich and powerful: non-disclosure agreements, used to silence the victims of sexual harassment and worse from an overbearing boss.Gagging clauses – as they are known – were originally designed to stop employees sharing trade secrets when they moved to another company, but in recent years they have become synonymous with hushing up claims of sexual harassment, bullying and other abuse, some of it potentially criminal.The contracts can be so binding, so all-encompassing, that victims, in return for a financial payout, are prevented from talking about allegations of conduct ranging from systematic bullying, intimidation 
and abuse to sexual harassment and even assault.Many women – and men for that matter – will feel that it is easier to take the pay-off and the gagging clause that comes with it, rather than try to fight the usually wealthy and powerful boss and their legal team and risk losing everything.With their secretive nature back in the public eye, here is what you need to know about the agreements:What is an NDA?Sometimes referred to as “gagging clauses”, they are legal contracts used to prevent people from discussing confidential information and keep trade secrets private. And the co-conspirator for all those men who managed to use NDAs as their shield? The legal system that gave gagging clauses legitimacy.Government considers ban on gagging clausesThe growing controversy over the use of NDAs is understood to have prompted the Government to consider a ban on such gagging clauses for allegations of workplace sexual harassment. Under the plans, it has been reported, NDAs will be made illegal in cases where victims have brought complaints of sexual harrassment.A Whitehall source said: “The intention is to stop NDAs being used to stop the victims of sexual harassment from going to the police, and to introduce a new onus on employers to make it absolutely explicit to their staff that these agreements cannot be used in cases where a potential crime has been committed.”Under the new rules businesses will be expected to protect employees from groping, lewd jokes and assault. There is talk of a new national database to log complaints.In one of the most notorious examples in the UK, young women employed as hostesses and waitresses at the all-male Presidents Club dinner were obliged to sign NDAs that were intended to prevent them from talking about groping and other harassment by paying guests. Maria Miller MP, the chairman of the committee, said the Government needed to send “a really clear message to the legal profession” that it was not acceptable “to say you aren’t allowed to talk about something which is potentially a breach of the law”.Growing concern over use of NDAsAn NDA is simply a legal agreement – in the form of a signed contract – between two parties, to allow trade secrets to be kept private. They are regularly used in the business world in the case of, for example, mergers and acquisitions, where one company is given sensitive financial information before it proceeds with a deal to buy another business.But companies soon realised NDAs could be deployed in employment disputes to settle claims with departing staff rather than risk having their “dirty laundry” aired in public at a tribunal. In March, an ex-assistant to Weinstein complained to a parliamentary inquiry that she was put under pressure to sign an NDA in 1998 that was “morally lacking on every level”. The gagging clause had been drawn up by a London law firm paid handsomely by Weinstein.Zelda Perkins had been forced to stay quiet for 20 years. Ms Perkins, who had worked for Weinstein’s Miramax Films in the UK in the 1990s, told MPs “there cannot be a legal document that protects criminal behaviour”. Are NDAs legally binding?NDAs are legally binding, but in the wake of MeToo there has been growing disquiet that the public interest should outweigh contracts imposed upon staff who have made complaints.The problem becomes more confusing if one employee has signed – or been forced to sign an NDA – and then another, who has no such agreement, decides to speak out about sexual harassment he or she has endured. Where does that leave the former employee who did agree to the gagging clause? They risk being sued for breach of contract even when other claims are in the public domain. But she is under renewed pressure to act.Weinstein bought silence with NDAsLast year, the use of non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs for short, was thrown into sharp focus by the exposure of Harvey Weinstein, the film producer, who was named in multiple allegations as being a serial sex abuser.Weinstein had managed to protect his reputation for decades, often buying women’s silence in return for their signature on an NDA. His victims were said to have been put in such fear that one woman refused to talk to a counsellor about Weinstein’s attempt to rape her because she was “so afraid” of breaking the agreement. Weinstein had used lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic to keep intact his reputation, now thoroughly discredited.When Weinstein was finally unmasked as a powerful bully and accused of being a serial sexual predator by journalists in the US, it mobilised thousands of women to speak out about similar workplace abuse under the banner of the MeToo movement. Harvey Weinstein arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York in MayCredit: SHANNON STAPLETON/ Reuters The event at London’s Dorchester Hotel in January last year caused outrage at the highest levels. Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York, U.S., May 25, 2018 What’s more, a pattern or culture of sexual harassment can be easily covered up 
by buying the silence of one complainant after another, with each alleged victim left isolated.One employment law QC said: “It’s a standard provision. In a sense it is a gagging clause but it shouldn’t stop a company from launching its own internal investigation if there are allegations of sexual harassment.” However, there is growing concern NDAs have been used increasingly to hush up wrongdoing; to protect a company’s reputation – or those of its executives – rather than allow a proper investigation of allegations.“They’ve been used more lately to hide people’s dirty secrets. The consequence is the public never knows,” said Robert Ottinger, founder of the Ottinger Firm, a US employment law practice.“We sign settlement agreements every week, and you can’t tell anyone but your spouse, your accountant and your lawyer.”The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the legal watchdog, became so concerned over the proliferation of NDAs that it issued a warning notice in March. “We recognise that NDAs can legitimately be used to protect commercial interests and confidentiality and in some circumstances, to protect reputation,” said the SRA. It expressed its concern that some NDAs were making people “feel unable” to report concerns to among others, “law enforcement agencies”. The club had wanted to protect its reputation. But following an outcry, Chelsea tore up the NDA and allowed the former footballer to go public with what had happened. Public interest over claims of widespread abuse in football had over-ridden the gagging clause.The sums paid out to effectively buy silence can be staggering. Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News presenter and star US broadcaster, paid out nearly £10 million ($13 million) in non-disclosure agreements with five women who accused him of sexual harassment and verbal abuse. The claims were settled between 2002 and 2016.“Strict confidentiality was the goal of the settlements,” reported the New York Times. “If the women were found to breach the agreements, they would be forced to return all the money they had received, forfeit any future payments and pay Mr O’Reilly’s legal fees.” Gagging clauses have been used in Parliament, too. Since 2013, House of Commons authorities have spent £2.4 million on NDAs with 53 departing members of staff to resolve employment disputes. Many of those cases revolve around workplace bullying.Dame Laura Cox, in her report published on Monday into bullying and harassment in the Commons, concluded that complaints by “a cohort of individuals… cannot now be fairly investigated” in part due to victims being “inappropriately asked to sign non-disclosure agreements”.It appeared that in the era of MeToo, gagging clauses might just go out of fashion.However, the rich and the powerful, disdainful of being held to account, will not be ready to give up such a powerful weapon in their legal armoury quite so soon. Bill Cosby, the 81-year-old comedian and actor whose reputation was so clean cut that he was nicknamed “America’s dad”, paid a female basketball player, Andrea Constand, nearly £2.6 million in a confidentiality agreement signed in a 2006 settlement.Cosby had drugged and raped Ms Constand in his house. The Cosby Show star was convicted last month of three counts of aggravated indecent assault and sentenced to three to 10 years in a state prison. Ms Perkins, who claims she had been subjected to harassment by Weinstein, said she left her job after the film mogul “sexually assaulted and attempted to rape a colleague of mine”. Weinstein has denied all allegations of “non-consensual sexual conduct”.But the NDA was so restrictive that the alleged victim could only talk about her experience to doctors and lawyers who had themselves signed an NDA. Ms Perkins had a similarly restrictive clause.The women received £250,000 in return for them agreeing to a gagging clause for the sexual harassment, but last October – following the MeToo outcry – Ms Perkins broke the NDA to blow the whistle on the astonishing cover-up at Miramax of its founder’s behaviour. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Boxing Day sales footfall drops despite huge discounts

But Vicky Brock, director of data at ReBOUND returns, warned: “After the trading year that 2018 has been retailers desperately need to get people into the stores.  The High Street, which saw a drop of 1.1 per cent by 4pm, was not as badly hit as out of town retail parks and shopping centres, where footfall was down by 5.3 per cent and five per cent on average.  This is because shoppers are treating it as a leisure activity, and therefore picking a spot where they can also enjoy a coffee or lunch, the analysts believe.Though the figures represent the third consecutive year-on-year fall, it is more modest than the 5.5 per cent drop between 2016 and 2017. Over the last few years, footfall on Boxing Day has consistently been about 10 per cent lower than on Black Friday and Springboard say that the latest figures show that it is losing its importance as a shopping day. However, online sales were predicted to rise from last year with average discounts of 43 per cent, up six per cent since last year, according to research by LovetheSales.com, a discount aggregator. They also found the more than 53 per cent of all products were discounted. Clothing saw the biggest discounts, with an average of 46 per cent off and online retailer Asos, which issues a profit warning earlier this month, offering reductions of up to 89 per cent. Liam Solomon, retail analyst at LovetheSales.com said “Since late December discounts have remained uncharacteristically high – we’re expecting this trend to continue deep into January with better discounts, as retailers try to shrug off a tough 2018. We expect the best bargains will be predominantly in fashion and in particular warm clothing.”  The Boxing Day sales fell flat as the number of people heading to the shops dropped for the third year in a row, despite retailers to offer huge discounts. Average footfall across the UK fell by 3.1 per cent, experts said, disappointing retailers who had hoped that the festive period would provide a boost at the end of a bad year. Despite some queues outside stores in the early hours of the morning, many of those looking for a bargain chose to do so online, where more than half of all products were reduced and the average reduction was at a record high of 43 per cent. Poor sales means that retailers are likely to continue slashing prices as low as possible with discounts continuing way into January. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––But the sales could see an increase in the number of profit warnings in the new year issued in the new year, experts warned, as many of the items sold online will be done so at a loss.  As shops began to close their doors figures from retail intelligence specialists Springboard showed that footfall was down by an average of 3.1 per cent from Boxing Day last 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. Shoppers enter Selfridges on Oxford Street, London as the department store opens for the Boxing Day salesCredit:PA Shoppers queue along Princes Street, Edinburgh, waiting for stores to open for the Boxing Day salesCredit:PA “Low consumer confidence has fuelled relentless discounting both online and on the high street, starving high street stalwarts of passing trade.”It has been a torrid year for retailers with notable high street names such as Poundworld and Maplin falling into administration, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams announcing plans to shutter stores, while Superdry, Carpetright and Card Factory issued profit warnings.They retailers have been battling higher costs, low consumer confidence and people increasingly shopping online. The trading statements which will show just how hard they have been hit are expected in January.  “An online sale is more costly than in a physical store because you have a much higher return rate. If shops reduce something by 70 per cent then they might make a little bit of a margin selling it in a store but they are going to lose money or not make anything selling it online.”She said that retailers are now likely to “discount quite hard” to get rid of left over stock and “draw a line under a horrible year”. Richard Perks, Director of Retail Research at Mintel, said that consumers could expect to see bumper discounts this year as “there is probably going to be quite a lot of stock to clear this Christmas” but heavy discounts could lead to a number of profit warnings in the new year. Chris Daly, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, added: “The quiet high streets across the country confirm that the days of setting the alarm to be first in line for the Boxing Day sales are long gone.”Today’s low footfall figures represent the final chapter in the tale of an exceptionally bleak year for traditional retail, when even high street giants considered ‘too big to fail’ stumbled. Shoppers enter Selfridges on Oxford Street, London as the department store opens for the Boxing Day sales Shoppers queue along Princes Street, Edinburgh, waiting for stores to open for the Boxing Day sales read more

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Met officer under investigation after appearing on Big Brother despite being denied permission

Pc Kareem had taken time off for an unrelated reason, the Met saidCredit:Instagram A Metropolitan police officer is facing an investigation after appearing on Big Brother in Nigeria without permission.Pc Khafi Kareem, who works in Lambeth, asked the Met if she could take part in the show and was told she could not.She entered the Big Brother house anyway, and has begun a relationship with a fellow contestant, Ekpata Gedoni.The programme follows the same format as the British version of the show, in which contestants live in an isolated house with cameras watching them.The Metropolitan Police said it does not support Pc Kareem’s appearance on the show and she does not represent the force while she is taking part.Pc Kareem was pictured in November alongside Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police commissioner, to celebrate 100 years of women in the force. Pc Kareem had taken time off for an unrelated reason, the Met said The spokesman added that Pc Kareem is within a period of unpaid time off work which was granted for an unrelated reason before she asked to go into the Big Brother house. She will now face an investigation by the Directorate of Professional Standards, which is charged with ensuring that officers do not bring the police into disrepute.”All police officers have a duty to behave with professionalism and in a manner that does not bring the Met into disrepute whether on or off duty,” a spokesman said. “Those who do not behave professionally risk breaching police standards of professional behaviour, and may be dealt with by way of misconduct proceedings.” Pc Kareem, left, with Cressida Dick, centreCredit:Metropolitan Police /PA Videos by Nigerian media appear to show Pc Kareem having sex on the programme, The Sun reported.A spokesman for Pc Kareem said The Sun’s report “deliberately and conveniently” omitted her side of the story to “sell a pre-conceived narrative”. He accused reports of playing to a “repressive culture of shaming and characterizing women for their sexual decisions and life choices”. When invited to offer a response to the story, the spokesman said Pc Kareem could not respond because she is not allowed to use her phone inside the Big Brother house. “Khafi is a proud black female police officer who prides herself in her work and has dedicated her youthful years protecting and serving with her many skills, which include the ability to speak at least five international languages,” he added. Pc Kareem, left, with Cressida Dick, centre 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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Mazaruni Prison Expansion works ongoing

-several living quarters near completionExpansion of the Mazaruni Prison is currently ongoing as the construction of several living quarters for prison officers are almost completed.According to the Department of Public Information, the expansion of the Prison was initiated after the completion of the Commission of Inquiry following the fire and deaths of 17 inmates of the Georgetown prison on March 3, 2016.Twenty living quarters are being constructed to accommodate additional prison officers in anticipation of at least 400 prisoners who will be housed at the Mazaruni prison.The living quarters contain three bedrooms, a living room, a patio, kitchen and a washroom. Adrian Ragoobeer, an engineer at AAV Ragoobeer General Construction is responsible for one of the four lots to be constructed. He said that the three houses under his supervision cost $35M and are about 85 per cent completed.A bird’s eye view of where the new Mazaruni Prison will be constructedRagoobeer said that all works are expected to be completed by July 31, 2017. He explained that, “works remaining is basically painting and pluming, some minor mason and carpentry works for the staircases”.Senior Superintendent of Prison and Officer in Charge of the Mazaruni Prison Alexander Hopkinson said that the houses are being constructed to accommodate prison officers and their families.“The reason these houses are being placed in this area is a collective effort by the administration, the Director of Prisons Mr. Samuels who wants these houses near the prison… it would be like a housing scheme… We have to have additional staff in place for the new prison and that is the purpose for the houses,” Hopkinson explained.A worker doing some final touches on one of the living quartersSenior Superintendent Hopkinson also pointed out that in addition to the family quarters, a number of single quarters will be built to accommodate more prison officers.“We are looking at over 200 because the prison that will be erected that should hold over 400 inmates so we have to have the ratio. So definitely we have to have additional quarters, it does not have to be family quarters it could be quarters for bachelors,” Hopkinson explained.The completion of the quarters will see the construction of the state-of-the art prison being built on the grounds of the Mazaruni Prison. The sum of $278M has been approved for the first phase of the project by Cabinet.Preparation works for the construction of the prison has already commenced with soil testing, leveling the ground and the erection of a new gate.According to Senior Superintendent Hopkinson, when the prison is completed, “it would be safer and as it relates to kind of material that will be used, the infrastructure and everything, it would be far different. We are trying to be more modernized”.The new section, which will be adjacent to a part of the old prison, will also feature automated locks, sprinkler systems and forced ventilation. The entire project will cost the state approximately $2B. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMazaruni Prison upgrade moving apace- SamuelsFebruary 21, 2018In “Crime”Cabinet approves over $58m for works at Mazaruni PrisonApril 27, 2017In “latest news”Mazaruni Prison expansion to “ease” overcrowding at Camp Street – GrangerDecember 10, 2016In “latest news” read more

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Best Cop implicated in murder of city businessman says he was

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related After being implicated in the execution of Godfrey Scipio, called “Saga”, Police intelligence rank, Corporal Derwin Eastman has surrendered to detectives at the Brickdam Police Station. This was confirmed by A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) Commander, Marlon Chapman.His name was reportedly called by Aubrey Bobb, 26, of Kitty, Georgetown, who was arraigned for the murder. Bobb claimed that Corporal Eastman had loaned him the firearm to shoot the businessman as he was leaving a Kitty hotel in the company of a female last month.Corporal Eastman (right) receiving his award as Best Cop in A Division in 2015After making the allegation, Eastman was contacted via mobile phone to visit the Criminal Investigations Department. On Wednesday last, another rank was taken into custody since his name was also called during investigations into the execution.However, Eastman is of the view that he was set up, citing he was not in any way connected to the fatal shooting which occurred on October 12. He told reporters on Thursday that he was “set up” by members of the Guyana Police Force.Moreover, he noted that he would have arrested the accused on several occasions for armed robbery and feels that the suspect is implicating him in the murder as “payback”.Eastman is also holding out that after Scipio was killed, he along with other investigating ranks reviewed the CCTV footage and he was able to identify and name Bobb as the shooter. In light of the recent allegations, Eastman is requesting a confrontation between him and the suspect.Eastman is reportedly being questioned based on a statement given to the Police by the suspect who is already incarcerated for the murder.A senior Police rank told this publication that the bullet that killed Scipio did not match that the gun belonging to Eastman.“We are however looking at all angles since we have reports that Eastman might have been involved in activities that are not consistent with policing duties.” With this in mind, the senior rank noted that investigations are continuing.Corporal Derwin Eastman, who joined the Guyana Police Force in 2012, was commended for his exemplary work in the Force in 2015 and was awarded the Best Cop prize at the Force’s annual prize giving ceremony.Dead: Godfrey ScipioOn the night of the fatal shooting, the well-known businessman was reportedly leaving the hotel in the company of a female and as he approached his motorcar, he was accosted by the lone gunman who arrived on a motorcycle.Initially, the incident seemed as though it was a robbery since the gunman relieved the businessman, who is also called “Saga” of the gold chain he was wearing, but Police are now working on a theory that Scipio’s death might have been a hit.After relieving the man of his jewellery and other valuables, the perpetrator reportedly fled the scene but not before shooting the businessman to the right-side of his abdomen.Scipio fell to the ground and was picked up and taken to a private medical facility where he subsequently died. From reports received, he died as a result of severe damage to his intestines.In April 2011, the businessman was shot at Cummings Lodge during a shootout after four armed men discharged rounds during a robbery. read more

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Almost 1 year on Fmr Wales Estate workers bemoan lack of

By Shemuel FanfairIt is approaching one year since the Wales Sugar Estate on the West Bank of Demerara ceased operating on December 31, 2016, and the distance between several former workers and the payment of severance packages is seemingly miles apart.The Wales Sugar Estate was closed in December 2016After some 9 months, the High Court is yet to call the matter for hearing. In the meanwhile, former workers residing at Wales and contiguous communities continue to decry the magnitude of challenges that have befallen them because of a prolonged lack of consistent employment. These issues were highlighted on the sidelines of a Christmas cheer and donation event held at the Wales Community Centre Ground on Sunday.Cane worker Azad Ally, a father of three, was sitting on a bench speaking with former colleagues when this publication approached him. With his two fingers supporting the lower part of his face, Ally repeatedly highlighted that he has been unable to find steady employment. He said that while he was able to get some work for the holidays, he is afraid that once the holidays are over, this source of income would be completely depleted.“Some cane cutters going (to) Uitvlugt, but we didn’t choose to go there, and we really need our money. Since the estate close down, me nah get a permanent job… Some people employing you holiday time, but when the holiday season done, they laying you off….I work 17 years (with GuySuCo); since I was 16. I get take on at Wales in rodent control (department), then I take transfer and go and chop cane,” the former worker observed.Having underscored that Government should pay more attention to the plight of workers, Ally pointed to the shifting dynamics within the family structure.“This ain’t fair, because we hear some of them managers getting pay-off, but what happen to we? Is like this Government doesn’t have a heart for cane cutters, especially at Wales Estate. Right now only me wife working,” he disclosed.Another worker who also is awaiting severance told this publication that his wife is currently the principal breadwinner in his home. He said that at times of argument, he is subjected to statements which remind him of his employment status.“All like how I am not working, sometime you hearing wrong talk and all kind ah thing,” the former sugar worker, who declined to be identified, noted.Former tug captain at the estate, Gordon Thomas, commenting on the overall finances of workers, said Government operatives are more concerned with their own needs, as opposed to those of workers.“Last year was bad, and this year made it worse, because people are not earning. People expecting to get their severance because they lay-off people. The President said that people come first, but it doesn’t look like people come first; it shows like the Cabinet comes first and the ministers, because the workers continue suffering. 2015, no increase; 2016, no increase; 2017 no increase. How do you expect the people to survive?” pondered Thomas, a vocal critic of the decisions that have affected sugar workers.The former worker observed that the remaining workers, “cannot survive” on 2014 wages and salaries, and he called on Government to urgently address their plight.Sixty-year-old Bopaul Sugdeo also pointed to the “stress” that some workers might have encountered if they had opted to take up work several miles away at Uitvlugt Estate, West Coast Demerara. Workers had contended that they cannot be compelled to travel beyond 10 miles from their previous working place, and demanded severance on those grounds.“Before they closed Wales, they should have opened some other industry that the people could work. It is stressful for workers to go to Uitvlugt…” Sugdeo stressed.Albert Vieira, 61, said he received his pension the same year that the Estate ended operations. He noted that the closure, as predicted, has seen wide-reaching negative effects in the surrounding communities.“The people not getting work! Nuff of them went fisheries, they worked two morning because they had market…now de market suspend, they coming home. They not getting jobs! Work not circulating, money not circulating, we don’t have any factory that the people could go and work.”Vieira recalled that he was able to build his life from the earnings he had obtained from the entity, having started working there over 40 years ago.“I worked with the Estate since I was 16 years old, from 1972; and I get everything from there. I married, feed my children, and my son and grandchildren worked at the Estate. Up to now my son did not get payoff…,” he noted.Sugar worker Vishnu Jailall, on behalf of his fellow unpaid employees, had sent a signed petition to President David Granger in July 2017, urging him to ensure that the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) meets its legal obligations to provide the aggrieved workers with their severance benefits.President Granger, in a responding letter to the petition in early August, acknowledged the concerns of the workers and had further observed that Agriculture Minister Noel Holder would have tendered a response to the former employees. It was reported that the minister has not responded as yet to the President’s commitment.The Wales Estate closure was seen as a cost-saving measure due to billions of dollars that were allocated to the declining sugar industry. There has since been the scaling down of other estates across the country. Over 3000 sugar workers across the Enmore, Skeldon and Rose Hall estates have been given letters of redundancy, informing that their services have been terminated. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedSeveral months after shutdown, former Wales Estate workers facing difficult timesOctober 10, 2017In “latest news”If 40,000 tonnes target not met Uitvlugt Estate will incur a loss- ManagerJuly 6, 2017In “latest news”Fmr Wales Estate workers decry non-payment of severance at Job FairFebruary 1, 2018In “Business” read more

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