March Madness Crib Notes for Fridays Sweet 16 Games

No. 3 Oklahoma (46 percent win probability) vs. No. 7 Michigan StateLocation: SyracuseWhen to watch: At 10:07 p.m. EDT on TBSPower ratings: Oklahoma 88.3, Michigan State 87.9Upset probability: 54 percentPlayer to watch: Isaiah Cousins, OklahomaIn one of the more bizarre stats you’ll see, the FiveThirtyEight model actually favors No. 7 Michigan State over No. 3 Oklahoma. That’s what happens when the committee over and under seeds the field. Michigan State is an above-average 7-seed, while Oklahoma is a below-average 3-seed. While the Sooners have a slightly better SRS1Simple Rating System, or margin of victory adjusted for strength of schedule of 18.9 vs Michigan State’s 17.5, the Spartans generally have more efficient game-level stats. Their net effective field goal percentage was 9 percent, compared to OU’s 6 percent, and a good amount of that comes from Sparty’s better shooting from behind the arc: 39 percent compared to OU’s 35 percent.23-point shooting tends to be less sensitive to opponent strength. But if you’re looking for a more cosmic reason why the Spartans are favored, you need look no further than coach Tom Izzo. His prowess in the NCAA tournament is not only nature defying, but stat-defying – according to my colleague Neil Paine’s research, his teams have run 7 standard deviations above SRS-based expectation in the Big Dance. The first half of the Sweet 16 is in the books, and the favorites answered any early round questions with a vengeance. Each higher seed won, with the biggest favorite doing its best impression of the UConn women’s basketball team: It took just under five minutes for Kentucky to jump out to an 8 point lead, which is virtually unassailable for a garden-variety tournament favorite, much less an undefeated powerhouse. And the Wildcats continued to outscore a powerless West Virginia squad (whom we called Kentucky’s “sternest test” just yesterday) by nearly a point per minute. Kentucky won by 39 in a game that (as the saying goes) wasn’t as close as the final score.Friday’s action promises to be more eventful. Or at least equally eventful. Well, at least it can’t be less eventful. So let’s see what’s going down:No. 1 Duke (66 percent win probability) vs. No. 5 UtahLocation: HoustonWhen to watch: At 9:45 p.m. EDT on CBSPower ratings: Duke 92.8, Utah 88.9Upset probability: 34 percentPlayer to watch: Delon Wright, UtahDuke is doing what Duke does: Being exactly good enough to be a solid contender deep in the NCAA tournament. According to the FiveThirtyEight model, the Blue Devils have about as good a chance of winning this tournament as anyone not named the Kentucky Wildcats. They’ll face off against the Utah Utes, who, having survived the 5-seed jinx, hope to avoid the same kind of Final Destination-style comeuppance suffered by fellow 5-seed West Virginia.Both of these teams have gotten where they are the old-fashioned way: By making regular, old-school buckets. While the NBA has seen a radical shift in its balance of power as a result of the 3-pointer, the hot stat in the NCAA this year is a stalwart: Field goal percentage. Five of the top eight teams in the nation in this stat (including the top three) are still in the tournament: Duke ranks third in the country and Utah ranks sixth (Gonzaga, Notre Dame and Arizona are first, second and eighth, respectively). No. 4 Louisville (55 percent win probability) vs. No. 8 N.C. StateLocation: SyracuseWhen to watch: At 7:37 p.m. EDT on TBSPower ratings: Louisville 85.7, NC State 84.2Upset probability: 45 percentPlayer to watch: Montrezl Harrell, LouisvilleSo far this year, N.C. State is the only team to knock off a No. 1 seed, in a 71-68 victory over presidential-bracket finalist Villanova. Teams that get hot in the tournament do tend to outperform their ratings (even accounting for the win), and the FiveThirtyEight model adjusts accordingly. That may be why this is basically a coin flip despite Louisville being nearly four points better by SRS (18.1 vs 14.2). Protip: If you have trouble wrapping your mind around exactly how much more 55 percent is than 50 percent, but you’ve played a lot of poker, imagine the feeling of being all in pre-flop with pocket jacks against Ace-King offsuit. No. 2 Gonzaga (76 percent win probability) vs. No. 11 UCLALocation: HoustonWhen to watch: At 7:15 p.m. EDT on CBSPower ratings: Gonzaga 91.3, UCLA 83.7Upset probability: 24 percentPlayer to watch: Norman Powell, UCLARemember back when Gonzaga made Adam Morrison look like Cinderella? Well now the shoe is on the other team’s foot. Gonzaga enters the Sweet 16 as a No. 2 seed with only 2 losses and will face No. 11 UCLA – which has 13 losses and made it this far because of a last-minute goaltending call and UAB’s improbable victory over Iowa State. To kill a giant, as the Bruins have to do, it helps when underdogs are used to shooting the 3-pointer. But the Bruins are not. Neither team is: Gonzaga has taken 17.5 attempts per game, UCLA 16.9. The main thing the Bruins have going for them is guard Norman Powell. His 3-point shooting is unremarkable (31.9 percent on 3.4 attempts per game), but he gets a lot of rebounds for his position (5.4 per 40 minutes) and collects the most steals of anyone who’ll be on the floor (2.2 per 40 minutes). In addition to generally being awesome, steals are the kind of high-variance play that UCLA will need to pull this off. Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions.CORRECTION (March 27, 1:52 p.m.): An earlier version of this article incorrectly named Chris Jones as the player to watch for Louisvlle. He is no longer on the team after being dismissed in February because of rape charges against him. read more

Is Ja Morant A Better NBA Prospect Than Zion Williamson

More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code Hot Takedown responds to a packed week in sports, starting with a flurry of MLB contract extensions. We hear from superstar Mike Trout on the factors he considered before recommitting to the Angels. Did the free-agency journeys of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado serve as cautionary tales? We consider the future of free agency in the league and wonder if another strike is in our future. Plus, Neil breaks down the FiveThirtyEight predictions for the baseball season.Our second segment dives into the NCAA Tournament and standout players Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. On ESPN’s “Get Up!” Jay Williams suggests that Morant’s skills will translate better to the NBA. We break down the data to see if that’s the case.For our Rabbit Hole of the Week, we pay proper respect to Rob Gronkowski, who announced his retirement this weekend. While his career may have been short, his impact on the game was monumental.Here’s what we’re reading this week:Neil and FiveThirtyEight contributor Michael Salfino reflect on Gronk’s place as the most efficient receiver the game has seen.The Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond does a deep dive into “The Death of Free Agency in Baseball.”FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness interactive.And check back on March 27 for FiveThirtyEight’s complete MLB predictions! FiveThirtyEight read more

Duke Arizona And Michigan State Are Biggest Tourney Gainers

Pretty much every team that survives its first two games and advances to the Sweet 16 has the right to be pleased with its performance. But four men’s teams — Duke, Arizona, Michigan State and Gonzaga — should be especially giddy. Their odds of winning the championship have improved the most so far.In the table below, I’ve compared the 16 surviving teams in two ways: First, by the change in their power rating in the FiveThirtyEight forecast since before the tournament began, and second, by the change in their probability of winning the tournament.Teams’ power ratings can change for two reasons. Our model updates the power ratings at the end of each game based on how a team performs relative to its expectations. A team that wins by an especially wide margin, or that wins as an underdog, will see the largest gains. By contrast, a team’s power rating may decline if it wins by a smaller-than-expected margin.We’re also continually updating the model with new data on player injuries. Two injury situations are the most critical so far: North Carolina’s Kennedy Meeks’ Sweet 16 status is uncertain after he hurt his knee in the Tar Heels’ Saturday win against Arkansas. And Wisconsin point guard Traevon Jackson has yet to play despite hopes that he might have returned.Apart from the changes in its power rating, a team’s chances of winning the tournament can change because its draw becomes harder or easier. Michigan State’s probability has improved not just because they beat Virginia, for instance, but also because the No. 1 seed in the East region, Villanova, was ousted by North Carolina State.Here’s a quick look at the teams with the largest shift in their probability:Duke’s championship probability has roughly doubled to 11.9 percent from 5.7 percent. The Blue Devils won their first two games easily, and they were helped by losses elsewhere in the bracket, especially to Iowa State, their one-time potential opponent in the Elite Eight.Arizona’s chances have improved to 14.5 percent from 9.5 percent. The Wildcats have also been helped by an upset: Instead of facing No. 3 seed Baylor in their Sweet 16 game, they’ll get Xavier. It helps, too, that Wisconsin, Arizona’s potential Elite Eight opponent, has not looked as strong as the model had them originally.Almost everything has gone Michigan State’s way: The Spartans beat the No. 2 seed in their region, Virginia, and got a lot of credit for it in the model. But the No. 1 seed in the East, Villanova, was eliminated too. The Spartans are now the favorite to reach the Final Four from the East and have some chance to go further than that — they were underseeded to begin with, and will stay reasonably close to home for the rest of the tournament with the remaining games in Syracuse and Indianapolis. (Plus, there’s Tom Izzo’s amazing run of postseason success, although the model doesn’t give them any extra credit for that.)Gonzaga won easily on Sunday against an Iowa team that looked excellent in its opening game. Its path has also gotten easier because of the elimination of Iowa State, a team they could have played in Sweet 16. Instead, they’re 75 percent favorites to win their grudge match against UCLA.By contrast, Wisconsin and North Carolina’s probabilities have declined slightly, partly because of their injury issues and partly because Arizona looms large in the West regional, which will be played in Los Angeles. Wisconsin also played a closer game against Oregon than the model expected.Still, Wisconsin retains the fourth-best overall chance to win the tournament, after Kentucky, Arizona and Duke. And even if the Badgers don’t win the tournament, their chances of winning an NCAA spelling bee are up after they learned all about stenography this weekend. What’s a 10-letter word for “in the hunt?”Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions. read more

Sullinger Craft find friendship after rivalry

At a Jan. 18 press conference, Ohio State freshman point guard Aaron Craft was asked if he ever had a “Welcome to Ohio State” moment during summer scrimmages with former OSU players. His teammate, freshman forward Jared Sullinger, took the liberty of answering the question for him.“(Former OSU guard) Scoonie Penn calls him ‘Cheese,’ ’cause his last name is Craft,” Sullinger said. “So that was a ‘Welcome to Ohio State’ moment right there. He won’t tell you all, but I will.”As reporters roared with laughter, Craft took the moment to thank Sullinger sarcastically for sharing the formerly private information with the media.“And now that is outside the team.” Craft said. “Thank you, Jared.”Whether they’re joking around in a press conference or connecting on the court, it’s easy to see Craft and Sullinger have had chemistry — both on and off the court — since the moment they met. Sullinger, however, said his and Craft’s friendship was born out of a rivalry that dates to middle school AAU basketball.“What’s funny is, me and Craft was enemies in the eighth grade,” Sullinger said. “I didn’t like Craft ’cause he played for All-Ohio Red and I played for Columbus Jaguars, and they constantly beat our butt until nationals.”The following season, Sullinger left the Jaguars to join Craft’s All-Ohio Red team. Craft said he vividly remembers the moment he found out he would be teaming up with his former rival.“The first AAU practice we had in ninth grade, Jared wasn’t with us at the time, and after practice, our coach told us that he was going to play with us, and I’m not going to lie, I got pretty excited,” Craft said. “I knew who he was; I knew what he could do; and once I finally met him, we definitely kind of just formed a bond.”Alongside OSU freshmen Jordan Sibert and J.D. Weatherspoon, who was ruled academically ineligible for Winter Quarter, Craft and Sullinger continued to play for All-Ohio Red in AAU basketball tournaments during the springs and summers throughout their high-school careers. Sullinger said Craft’s abilities always impressed him, even if opposing teams underestimated Craft.“He played on a team full of black guys. You know how there’s that one guy, they classify him as a shooter? So every time Aaron got into the game they were like, ‘Watch the shooter; watch the shooter.’ And the next thing you know, he blows by you,” Sullinger said. “He’s always been the underdog, and he’s always embraced it, and so being with him for the past four years and just watching how everybody attacks him just because of the way he looks, the way he carries himself, it’s pretty funny.”Opposing teams weren’t underestimating Sullinger. After earning a reputation as one of the top players in his class, Sullinger accepted a scholarship offer from OSU following his freshman season of high school. OSU coach Thad Matta enlisted Sullinger to help to fill out the rest of the 2010 recruiting class.“When I committed to Ohio State, coach Matta said we need to add more people to the class. Not more so, you know, top-ranked basketball players, but solid basketball players,” Sullinger said. “I kept telling him about Aaron. I was like, ‘Coach, get Aaron. You got to get Aaron.’”By the time Matta relented to Sullinger’s plea to offer his AAU teammate a scholarship, it appeared to be too late, as Craft had already committed to play college basketball for coach Bruce Pearl at Tennessee.“When I was first committed, I was definitely just kind of focused and trying to enjoy my high school career,” Craft said. “I was glad to have the decision out of the way, and I was happy with my decision.”To the delight of both Sullinger and Matta, Craft reconsidered his options as his junior year of high school came to a close, and he backed away from his commitment to Tennessee. Less than two weeks after de-committing from the Volunteers, Craft was the newest addition to OSU’s 2010 recruiting class.“Once you started hitting AAU, I mean we had Jared over here and Jordan (Sibert) kind of just plant some things in my ear,” Craft said. “I definitely just had to reevaluate the decision I made in the fall.”Sullinger didn’t deny playing a role in recruiting Craft to join him at OSU.“I threw some text messages once I heard he was reevaluating,” Sullinger said. “Luckily, my buddy here, he came to Ohio State.”Craft said he has enjoyed continuing his friendship with Sullinger at the college level.“I’m just very pleased and happy with how everything has worked out,” Craft said. “It’s definitely just been great to have a person like Jared just beside me the whole way, and just to have that calming hand, and he’s definitely just a great guy to have around at all times.”Sullinger and Craft have played key roles in helping advance OSU to its first 20-0 start since the 1961-62 season. Sullinger said the Buckeyes’ addition of Craft has made his college experience more enjoyable — both on and off the court.“With a player like Aaron Craft, it was the best pickup we got,” Sullinger said. “It’s a real pleasure to have him, one as my friend, and two as a teammate.” read more

Commentary Mayor Coleman should have kept his mouth shut about NBA team

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman should have just kept his mouth shut. The Columbus Dispatch reported Thursday that Coleman sent a two-page letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern in which he stated his interest in attracting an NBA franchise to central Ohio and Nationwide Arena. Coleman presides over a city that already has one professional team – the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets – and it’s a team that is perpetually out-shined by Ohio State athletics. Everyone knows Columbus is a Buckeyes town, so that was a dent in the mayor’s argument before he even smudged the postage stamp on his letter to Stern. Upon peeling Coleman’s correspondence open, a few more dents were likely exposed. Coleman’s argument to the NBA for bringing professional basketball to Columbus included arguments amounting to, “our arena situation is now stable,” and “big businesses exist in this city.” Of course, noting that your arena situation has been stabilized calls into question why it was unstable in the first place. According to the Dispatch report, one of Coleman’s zingers to Stern was something to the affect of, “we have the lowest unemployment rate in the state.” The lowest unemployment rate in a rustbelt state? That might be a fact, but not necessarily a reassurance to Stern. What I’m truly surprised by is that he didn’t include that Columbus appears on all United States maps, and is, in fact, the capital of Ohio. Another reason Coleman should have kept it zipped is because the unintended consequences of his letter stretched to Cleveland and back. Coleman’s letter also elicited a response from Cleveland Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert, according to The Dispatch, who said he’d have to weigh whether he’d allow another NBA franchise to move in-state. “I haven’t even studied the demographics of Columbus to know if they could handle two sports teams,” Gilbert told The Dispatch. Then Columbus’ Major League Soccer franchise, the Columbus Crew, took exception to Gilbert’s comments, as any self-respecting professional sports organization would. From the Twitter account, @ColumbusCrew, the MLS team tweeted Thursday afternoon: “Looks like #Crew96 fans should let Dan Gilbert know that there are already two professional sports teams in Columbus.” That tiny spat between organizations could have easily been avoided if Coleman hadn’t sent the letter. Like the rest of us, I’m sure Colelman had fun fantasizing about having an NBA team in town. But that doesn’t mean you go grab the NBA commissioner’s attention over it, or write him a letter for that matter. This isn’t 1920 – email or call Stern, or set up a Skype date with him and your potential investors (if there are any) and conduct some business. It’s going to take more than some City of Columbus letterhead to attract an NBA franchise to this market anyway. read more

More middle class families choosing state schools over the private sector as

first_imgResults collated by The Telegraph showed that some academies, including Queen Elizabeth’s school in Barnet, north London had nearly 90 per cent of pupils achieving two As and a B or above.Ralph Lucas, of the Good Schools Guide, said: “The independent [schools] percentage shows a steady decline from 2011. Perhaps independent schools as a whole are admitting a broader range of children.”Leading private school heads on Friday defended this year’s results as “solid”.Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), said: “ISC schools focus strongly on the ‘facilitating’ subjects which are much prized by top universities. In 2015 our schools had record levels of entry to Russell Group universities and we expect this trend to continue”. In 2010 18.2 per cent of pupils achieved the top grade at private schools, compared with a national average of 8.1 per cent.But this year while the national average remained the same, private schools achieved only 17.9 per cent – their lowest ever score.This year the gap has also narrowed when it comes to A grades, with a national average of 25.8 per cent compared with 48.7 per cent for independent pupils.The gap, 22.9 percentage points, is down from 25 percentage points in 2010.Jonathan Simons, head of education at the Policy Exchange, a think tank established by a group of Tory MPs, said: “Some of the independent schools cannot compete with the state sector and middle-class parents are wondering why they should be paying this much if they can get the same quality or better for free.” 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. Academies are driving up educational standards, campaigners have said, as the latest A-level figures show the gap between pupils gaining the highest grade at state and private schools is at its narrowest yet.When the A* grade was introduced in 2010 there were 203 academies compared with nearly 4,000 now.In that time the proportion of privately-educated pupils gaining a top grade has gone down significantly. Private schools have been hit disproportionately by efforts to cap grade inflation. The figures also showed private schools suffered the lowest ever A* grades as they too are hit by tougher exams with the percentage of top grades dropping from 18.2 per cent in 2010 to 17.9 per cent this yearlast_img read more

Man charged over murder of oneyearold boy and attempted murder of twin

first_imgA man is due to appear in court charged with the murder of a one-year-old boy and the attempted murder of a girl believed to be the child’s twin.Both toddlers were discovered with critical injuries at a flat near Finsbury Park, north London, on Saturday night.They were taken to hospital, where the boy died in the early hours of Sunday morning.The girl, who has been operated on, remains in a critical condition, police said.Bidhya Sagar Das, 33, is due to appear in custody at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.A post-mortem examination in relation to the boy, who has not been formally identified, will take place on Tuesday at a central London hospital.Witnesses heard a woman shouting for help on the street outside at around 11.10pm on Saturday and later saw two children being carried out of the property.Mihai Manea, 29, who lives on the second floor of the white three-storey building, said the children were twins and lived on the top floor with their parents.A woman living opposite the building, who gave her name as Gui Gui, said she opened the window to offer help after hearing a woman shouting: “My kids.”Das was arrested in the Hackney area on Sunday evening following a major search by police. 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. Emergency services were called to Finsbury Park on Saturday nightlast_img read more

TV weatherman Fred Talbot jailed for sexually abusing boys on school trips

first_imgFred Talbot Fred Talbot, the former TV weatherman, has been jailed for four years for a string of sex offences against schoolboys on trips to Scotland more than three decades ago.The 67-year-old indecently assaulted seven teenage boys in his care during camping and boating trips in the 1970s and 1980s while working as a biology teacher at a school in the Manchester area. He is already serving a five-year sentence imposed in Manchester in 2015 for indecently assaulting two other schoolboys.During a nine-day trial at Lanark Sheriff Court last month, Talbot denied the allegations. But a jury took four hours to convict him of seven of the nine historical abuse charges against him.The four-year sentence is due to start from August, at the end of the punishment part of his current jail term.The television personality, who regularly appeared on a floating weather map in Liverpool’s Albert Dock for ITV’s This Morning show for several years, stood and nodded as Sheriff Nikola Stewart delivered her sentence on Thursday afternoon. She said he “grossly abused the trust” placed in him as a teacher with “systematic” abuse of schoolboys.”It is beyond doubt these trips were organised with sexual exploitation of these boys very much in mind,” Sheriff Stewart said. Sheriff Stewart said he had “utter disregard” for his duties as a teacher and the boys he preyed on were “too embarrassed and disempowered” to report his “disgraceful behaviour”.Dressed in a grey shirt and striped tie, Talbot was led down from the dock before being transported back to prison.Fraser Gibson, procurator fiscal for South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway, said: “Fred Talbot was in a position of trust and abused that to prey on vulnerable boys.”For over 10 years he may well have thought that he had escaped justice but he was wrong and thanks to the courage of his victims in coming forward to report what happened to them is now paying the consequences for his actions. “By denying your guilt and insisting on a trial, you put each victim through further trauma.”In mitigation, Talbot’s defence lawyer Alan Gravelle said it was recognised that there is no alternative to a prison sentence, but asked the sheriff to take into account his age and lack of offending over the last three decades.The lawyer said: “His reputation is damaged beyond repair. With this second case in Scotland, my lady, his shame is now complete.”Sheriff Stewart said the pupils that went on trips organised by Talbot had all trusted and liked the teacher.”They were all utterly unsuspecting of the sexual threat you posed,” she told the former weatherman. Fred Talbot at courtcenter_img “I would urge any victims of sexual crimes, even ones which occurred decades ago, to come forward and report them. They will be treated with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity by the police and our expert prosecutors and we will do all we can to deliver justice.” Fred Talbot arriving at Minshull Street Court at a previous hearngCredit:Lynne Cameron/PA Talbot assaulted seven teenage boys in his care during camping and boating trips in the 1970s and 80sCredit:Greater Manchester Police 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

Electric car gutted by flames after it set fire while charging

first_imgFirefighters tackle car blaze The fire service said the car was “100% alight”Credit: Stephen Huntley/HVC Pictures of the scene show the vehicle was reduced to a shell by the flames. Firefighters said the fire in Wickford, Essex, was caused by an electrical fault. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said the blaze was accidental. The car had been left to charge outside an office building. In the early hours of Sunday morning the fire service received reports that it was on fire.The fire was put out by 6.25am. A building was also damaged by smokeCredit: Stephen Huntley/HVC In a statement the fire service said: “An electric car which was left on charge outside an office building has been 100% destroyed and caused smoke damage to a building after catching alight.”Crews were called to reports of a car fire this morning (Sunday 9 July) outside an office building.”On arrival firefighters reported that the car was 100% alight and that the building it was parked outside was becoming smoke logged as a result. “By 6.25am firefighters had extinguish the fire, ventilated the building and ensured that the scene was safe.”The cause of the fire has been recorded as accidental, and was due to an electrical fault.” A firefighter surveys the damagecenter_img Electric car fire  An electric car was left completely burnt out after it set on fire while charging.The vehicle was destroyed and a nearby building was damaged by smoke in the incident. Firefighters survey damage of electric car The car had been charging when it went up in flamesCredit: Stephen Huntley/HVC A firefighter surveys the damageCredit: Stephen Huntley/HVC 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

Alevel results 2017 Boys beat girls to top grades for first time

first_imgAT MERCHANT TAYLORS CROSBY SCHOOL IN LIVERPOOL It has been falling over the decade, standing at 1.5 points in 2011, 1.4 points in 2012, 0.8 in 2013, 0.5 in 2014 and 0.4 in 2015. In 2011, 27.7 per cent of girls achieved an A* or A – compared to 26.2 per cent of boys.A sample of results for 18-year-olds in England, provided by the Joint Council for Qualifications, shows that in the new raft of 13 reformed subjects, the drop in A or A* grades for girls fell 1.1 percentage points compared to just 0.2 points for boys.  Boys are beating girls to top A-level grades for the first time in 17 years – with 26.6 per cent of boys achieving coveted A* or A grades compared to just 26.1 per cent of girls.The dramatic reversal of fortunes is thought to be fuelled by the new “tougher” A-levels, which have less coursework and no modules. Girls have outperformed boys every year since 2000.In the 13 subjects that have a reformed syllabus and course structure – devised by former education secretary Michael Gove in a bid to raise standards – the top grades of girls have drastically declined. The gender gap across all subjects, which sees boys 0.5 points ahead of girls for A* or A grades, has reversed on last year – when girls were 0.3 points ahead of boys. The figures, published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) also show boys have pulled further ahead at the highest grade.The statistics, for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, also show:The overall A*-E pass-rate has fallen by 0.2 percentage points to 97.9 per centThe proportion of entries awarded the highest result – A* – has risen 0.2 percentage points to 8.3 per centAmong the 13 reformed subjects only, results are down slightly compared to the equivalent subjects in 2016When comparing 18-year-old results, the proportion of A* grades for these courses is down 0.5 percentage points to 7.2 per cent, A*-A grades have dropped 0.7 percentage points to 24.3 per cent and A*-E results have fallen 0.5 percentage points to 98.1 per cent. Students celebrate their A-Level results from the King Edward VI High School for Girls in Edgbaston There was a 12.8 per cent increase in the number taking political studies, and a 1.7% rise in those taking Spanish at A-level.But there were dips in the take-up of other languages – with a 2.1 per cent drop in those doing French and a 4.7 per cent decrease in students sitting German. Meanwhile, writing in The Telegraph, Theresa May’s former chief of staff has said the “unsustainable and ultimately pointless Ponzi scheme” that higher education has become is burdening graduates with debts and must be radically reformed.Nick Timothy said many school leavers receiving their A-level results are being “forced” into expensive degrees that fund a “gravy train” for university bosses.What next? How to apply for a student loan  However, Jo Johnson, the universities minister, said university still delivered “extraordinary returns” for students and the system was meeting the Government’s core objectives, although it was always kept under review. He also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he had called for restraint on vice-chancellor’s pay.”The new regulator, which we’ve recently created to promote value for money in the system, the Office for Students, I’ve asked it to ensure that exceptional pay can only be justified by exceptional performance,” Mr Johnson said.  Pupils at Merchant Taylors Crosby School in Liverpool collect their resultsCredit:JAMES SPEAKMAN/Mercury Press Students celebrate their A-Level results from the King Edward VI High School for Girls in EdgbastonCredit:Aaron Chown/PA Elsewhere, entries for history – one of the most popular A-levels by number of students – fell by 8.1 per cent.Data showed a 3.3 per cent increase in entries for maths, but there was a significant drop in those sitting English. It comes as the proportion of A-level exams awarded the highest results has risen for the first time in six years, with more than one in four entries scoring at least an A grade this year, despite efforts to make them tougher.National figures show that 26.3 per cent of A-level entries scored an A* or A this summer, up 0.5 percentage points on 2016. It is the first time the A*-A pass rate has risen since 2011.The rise comes amid major changes to the qualifications, with the first grades awarded in 13 subjects that have been reformed, with a move away from coursework and modular exams throughout the course, making them more challenging for students. 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 subjects are art and design,  biology,  business,  chemistry,  computer science,  economics,  English language,  English language and literature,  English literature,  history,  physics,  psychology and  sociology. The share of top grades is equal for boys and girls in these subjects at 24.3 per cent. This included a drop of 10.2 per cent in English language, 4.7 per cent for literature, and 11.1 per cent for the combined English language and literature subject.Overall, entries for English subjects saw a 7.2 per cent decrease. Figures showed a huge spike in the number of entries for a small range of subjects, including computing, with a 33 per cent rise in the number of A-level students sitting the exam in 2017, compared with last year. This included a 34 per cent increase in female students – 816, up from 609 in 2016.last_img read more

Fewer children than ever are writing letters to Father Christmas literacy charity

first_imgDr Jane Medwell, a leading academic in the field of handwriting and literacy who works with the Write Your Future Campaign, said: “It’s easy to lose sight of the importance of handwriting in a digital world – but ultimately, this skill is crucial to a child’s development leading to benefits in later life as well.“We must work harder to support teachers and parents in fostering handwriting, so that their students can thrive.“Making handwriting lessons fun and providing more tools for teachers is an important first step in helping children develop this literacy skill and making sure that handwriting remains a crucial part of the learning process.”Royal Mail revealed last month that the gifts most requested by children who had written to Father Christmas via their service were Lego, a bike, games consoles and Hatchimals. He said writing letters was still an important part of creating a well-rounded child, who was prepared for the future as a whole and not just the digital age.”We work with children who are primary school aged, particularly those from a deprived area and particularly those who are struggling with their literacy needs,” he added.”We really work with them to enable them to write as well as have comprehension as well as having reading and everything else.”But one of the key core skills we develop is writing.” Fewer children than ever are writing letters to Father Christmas as the tradition is replaced by email, the head of a literacy charity has warned.The centuries-old custom is a valuable part of childhood and is “paramount to a child’s development,” Matthew Hickey, chief executive of the Children’s Literacy Charity, said.But he expressed fears that technology was “taking over” as time-pressed parents found it easier to help their offspring type an email rather than put pen to paper before taking a trip to the local post box.”For me, being able to write a letter to Santa has a certain nostalgic feel to retaining what this time of the year is all about – which is making sure that children are able to be children,” he said.”It is about developing children who are multifaceted, who can do everything to prepare them for the future.”Not just being able to be prepared for the digital age, but actually being prepared to put pen to paper and use those multiple skills.” A child’s letter to Father ChristmasCredit:Rii Schroer A child's letter to Father Christmas The tradition of writing letters to Father Christmas can be traced back to the 1200s, when a girl wrote a letter to the real Saint Nicholas, a bishop who lived in Myra, now Turkey. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img Royal Mail is inundated with Christmas postCredit:Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images For generations since, boys and girls have sat down with paper and pens or crayons to insist they have been good and list the presents they would like.Among those who penned their own list this year was Prince George, who asked for a police car and whose letter was hand delivered by his father, the Duke of Cambridge, on an official visit to Finland.Royal Mail has encouraged the tradition with its Letters to Santa service, launched in 1963, but while a spokeswoman revealed they received “hundreds of thousands” of children’s letters annually, she said they did not publish specific figures and was unable to say whether the number written annually had dipped.As long ago as 2007, a survey suggested that a third of primary school age children sent emails to Father Christmas rather than letters.But Mr Hickey said his charity was keen to inspire parents to uphold the letter-writing tradition.”It is paramount to a child’s development,” he added. “Because if you can’t handwrite, how can you answer an exam question properly, or fill out an application form?”We know there is a lot of stuff happening online but having that skill of handwriting will always be needed.” Conversely, the Mothers’ Union charity has urged parents not to encourage their children to write a Christmas list for fear that it places undue pressure on them to create as big a “present pile” as possible, spending more than they could afford. Royal Mail is inundated with Christmas postlast_img read more

US Air Force base in Suffolk in lockdown after car tries to

first_imgMilitary guards on duty after the RAF Mildenhall security scareCredit:Geoff Robinson/GEOFF ROBINSON PHOTOGRAPHY It is being reported that US military personnel opened fire on the suspect as he tried to enter RAF Mildenhall, and that the suspect was then detained with cuts and bruises.So far neither police or the base have confirmed this. “Shots were fired by American service personnel and a man has been detained with cuts and bruises and taken into custody.”No other people have been injured as a result of the incident.”Suffolk Police remain on site and further updates will be issued.” Picture shows the armed soldiers at RAF Mildenhall on Monday afternoon,Dec 18th after a security scare. A man is in custody after allegedly attempting to break into an RAF base used by the US military this afternoon (Mon) A US Airforce base in Suffolk suffered a major security breach when a driver forced his way through the main security checkpoint.American military guards opened fire as the car travelled a significant way inside RAF Mildenhall after passing through a hail of bullets – stopping just metres short of a military aircraft, The Telegraph understands.Suffolk Police confirmed a 44-year-old British man forced his way onto the airfield at RAF Mildenhall on Monday afternoon, having initially entered into a dispute at the base’s entrance.The incident triggered a security lockdown.  Suffolk Police confirmed the incident was not terrorist-related and a 44-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass.A spokesman said: “Shots were fired by American service personnel and a man has been detained with cuts and bruises and taken into custody.” The driver approached the main gate of the US base, which is manned by both US Air Force personnel and Ministry of Defence police. “No other people have been injured as a result of the incident.” Here’s the latest from Suffolk Police: “We are continuing to deal with an ongoing incident at RAF Mildenhall, it is considered that there is no wider threat to the public or occupants on the base.”One man has been arrested and police are not looking for anyone else on the site.” 3:14PMPolice update: Shots were fired and man detained Members of the public are asked to avoid the area around RAF Mildenhall for the time being. More to follow shortly.— Suffolk Police (@SuffolkPolice) December 18, 2017 Police road block at RAF MildenhallCredit:GEOFF ROBINSON PHOTOGRAPHY A force spokesman said: “Suffolk Police were contacted at approximately 1.40pm today to reports of a disturbance at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.”The base was put into lockdown and units responded immediately. Police road block at RAF Mildenhallcenter_img A defence source said opening fire in such a situation was standard practice for the personnel guarding a base.The source said: “If you enter a military base forcibly you would expect an armed response.” Suffolk Police says officers are responding to reports of a "significant incident at RAF Mildenhall" 3:07PMUS military ‘shot at suspect’ 3:45PMSuffolk Police: No wider threat RAF Mildenhall is home to the 352nd Special Operations Wing which carries out missions to support America’s special forces. It is also home to the 100th Air Refuelling Wing of fuel tankers.The air base was built in 1930, but has been a US-operated base since 1959. America has announced its forces will leave the base next decade, some time after 2024.Junead Khan, a delivery driver from Luton, was convicted last year of plotting to behead a US serviceman in Britain outside RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.His trial heard that he may have been planning to carry out an attack on Westminster.It was also revealed that he had posted a video on YouTube called ‘ISIS drives around Westminster’, which featured music praising the terror group. Police are responding to reports of a significant incident at RAF Mildenhall, further details shortly, follow us for any updates.— Suffolk Police (@SuffolkPolice) December 18, 2017 Suffolk Police says officers are responding to reports of a “significant incident at RAF Mildenhall”Credit:Chris Radburn/PA Wire Police have responded to reports of a disturbance at RAF Mildenhall in #Suffolk and a man has been detained with cuts and bruises and taken into custody. No other people have been injured as a result of the incident.Read more – https://t.co/GNFFXrwysT pic.twitter.com/KTc7EcUTer— Suffolk Police (@SuffolkPolice) December 18, 2017 Suffolk police said: “Shots were fired by American service personnel and a man has been detained with cuts and bruises and taken into custody. 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

Breast cancer screening scandal who is to blame for the error

In 2009, health officials were launching an NHS trial to test the wider expansion of breast cancer screening. In doing so, their computer program inserted a fundamental glitch into their algorithms.  All women should have been offered breast cancer screening every three years from the age of 50 to 71, with the last scan given between the age of 68 and their 71st birthday. Questions are now being asked as to how the flaw was… The crisis affecting up to 450,000 women began with a basic computer error. But the computer program designated the cut-off point as 70, meaning up to 450,000 women were never offered a scan in the last three years they were eligible. It was nine years before it was detected. read more

Meghan Markles wedding dress was last moment of fashion joy before entering

The newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leaving Windsor Castle “I think it was the last moment that she could reflect sort of the other side to her: the joy and the human within her.“I was aware that we had to get the right kind of positioning, the right pace, the right voice. There was a delicate line.”She added: “It’s either a thumbs up or a thumbs down, it’s that kind of gig.” Stella McCartney, the designerCredit:Getty 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. “When you come to a wedding, you don’t just go ‘here, this is what you’re wearing’. That person has to feel like a million dollars, they need to feel like they own it.“The role she’s taken on, it’s very austere, it’s very sort of serious, and I think there’s a great weight that she has acquired through that and she takes it very seriously. Meghan Markle’s evening wedding gown was the last moment for her to reflect her joy and personality before joining the “serious” Royal family, the designer Stella McCartney has suggested.McCartney, who created the second wedding dress for Ms Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, said she was “very proud” to have worked with the bride to tread the “delicate line” of appropriate attire.The dress, described by Kensington Palace on the day as a “bespoke lily-white, high neck gown made of silk crepe”, was seen around the world as the newlywed Duchess and her husband drove to their evening reception.McCartney, who has undertaken a series of interviews as she promotes her new flagship store on Old Bond Street, said it was the ” last moment that she [Ms Markle] could reflect sort of the other side to her: the joy and the human within her”.The British designer also dressed high-profile guests including Amal Clooney and Oprah Winfrey for the reception, saying she was surprised and “thrilled, obviously” by the positive response she had received on the day. The newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leaving Windsor CastleCredit:PA “It was very much her dress, and I felt very proud that she came to me for that part of the wedding. She got to reflect her in it.”Asked whether Ms Markle had come to her with ideas for how she wanted to look, McCartney said: “Yeah, we worked together. In an interview with the BBC, McCartney said of dressing Ms Markle: “I feel it’s such a private experience. And as a designer and as a woman who’s been married – I had to do my dress – it’s such a big deal. Stella McCartney, the designer The first, daytime wedding dress by Clare Waight KellerCredit:AFP Clare Waight Keller, who designed the first wedding dress worn by Ms Markle for the ceremony, carriage ride and daytime reception, has said previously: “I think every bride is unique. They always come with their own ideas. She was really focused, as I was, on it being absolutely perfect for the occasion. “That was the modernity and the fact that really wanted something that was so elegant and classical and timeless in a way.” The first, daytime wedding dress by Clare Waight Keller read more

Navy rescued Manchester bomber Salman Abedi from wartorn Libya three years before

It was one of four terrorist attacks to strike Britain last year, and the review said MI5 had on two separate occasions received intelligence on Abedi “whose significance was not fully appreciated at the time”. Salman Abedi, right, was rescued from Libya on board HMS Enterprise, left  HMS Enterprise in Libya in 2014. The ship was diverted to rescue British nationals stranded in the war-torn country  Abedi, then aged 19, was rescued from the Libyan coast by HMS Enterprise, according to the report, before being taken to Malta for his flight home.His younger brother Hashem, who is in jail in Tripoli facing trial over the attack, was also rescued by HMS Enterprise. It’s understood they were part of a group of 100 British citizens rescued. Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi was rescued by the Navy from the fighting in Libya before flying back to Britain, three years ahead of his deadly attack, it has emerged.The rescue of Abedi – who was known to the security services at the time of his trip to the war-torn country – enabled him to catch a flight home to the UK in August 2014, according to reports.Nearly three years later he went on to carry out the deadliest terror attack for more than a decade when he set off a bomb at the Manchester Arena in May 2017, killing 22 people.By the time of the bombing, security services were no longer monitoring him.The revelation, reported in the Daily Mail, is likely to infuriate the families who lost loved ones in the attack, and raises further fears over possible intelligence mistakes. “He was a British citizen so it was our job to safeguard him. Salman was one of many people in that mix and we absolutely had to evacuate him.”He was not a threat at the time and it was in a very different context,” one source told the Mail. However, Mr Anderson’s report into the Manchester Arena attack found he had been first investigated in January 2014 – seven months before the rescue, when he was seen acting suspiciously with a “subject of interest” by police. A victim of Abedi's attack in Manchester Salman Abedi, right, was rescued from Libya on board HMS Enterprise, left  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. Back in 2014, the country was in the grip of civil war. HMS Enterprise, a survey ship, was diverted from routine operations in the Mediterranean to head to Tripoli to pick up Britons after the ambassador closed down operations in the country.Clashes and fighting around the capital were killing dozens of people every night, at a time when the Foreign Office was advising against all travel to Libya. Airlines had begun cancelling flights, while Michael Aron, the then British ambassador to Libya, was overseeing some of the evacuations.The brothers were on holiday there at the time, and the Royal Navy was tasked with picking them up, along with other British nationals, on a list provided to sailors.A review of his deadly attack by David Anderson QC found the bombing could have been averted “had the cards fallen differently.” It emerged MI5 had planned to discuss the threat posed by him just nine days after he launched his attack, after he was highlighted for discussion. A Whitehall source told the Mail: “For this man to have committed such an atrocity on UK soil after we rescued him from Libya was an act of utter betrayal.” The paper also quoted sources in London and family friends in Libya saying Salman Abedi was on HMS Enterprise.The brothers regularly to Libya from their home in Manchester, as their parents, Ramadan and Samia, were both living in Libya. A victim of Abedi’s attack in ManchesterCredit:Joel Goodman/London News Pictures Ltd It’s understood Abedi’s father Ramadan had travelled back to Libya in time for the 2011 revolution, allegedly fighting against the Gaddafi regime with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. It is not certain whether the two brothers were with their father at the time of the revolution or instead in neighbouring Tunisia.Senior security sources stressed told the paper they did not believe Abedi had been radicalised at the time of the Royal Navy rescue. Salman, who was on a gap year from Manchester College at the time, went on to study business management at Salford University, before dropping out. He later became brainwashed after watching bomb-making videos on Google-owned YouTube and terror material on other internet sites, they believe. At the time of the rescue in 2014, the MoD released a statement from HMS Enterprise’s commanding officer, Cdr Mark Varta, saying: “This is a period of uncertainty for UK citizens based in Libya but we have been proud to play our part in enabling their move to safety.”The then defence secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, also said: “I thank the crew of HMS Enterprise for their support and professionalism in carrying out this important task.”The 90-metre-long survey ship, normally based in Plymouth, had been eight weeks into an 18-month mission carrying out surveys in the area.A Government spokesman said: “During the deteriorating security situation in Libya in 2014, Border Force officials were deployed to assist with the evacuation of British nationals and their dependents.” Show more He then came to the attention of the authorities again in October 2015 because of his supposed contact with an Islamic State figure in Libya, but his file was closed once more.A family friend was reportedly adamant that Abedi was there for innocent purposes, telling the paper: ‘Salman and Hashem were not involved in fighting at all and they had spent a lot of time with their mother in Tunisia.”The rescue operation saw UK citizens taken in small boats from the port of Tripoli to HMS Enterprise. HMS Enterprise in Libya in 2014. The ship was diverted to rescue British nationals stranded in the war-torn country Credit:MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP read more

Bouncer suspended after woman tweets about sexual harassment in nightclub

Ms White told Devon Live she asked him to “do one” after he wolf-whistled at her outside the nightclub’s toilets.“Then he started making sexual comments about my appearance and derogatory comments about my chest, so I had a go at him and told him this wasn’t okay,” she said.“He was surrounded by a group of men who weren’t bouncers but I guess his mates, and he was continuing the altercation to make them laugh and make a joke out of me, which was the most intimidating thing.” A bouncer accused of sexually harassing a woman at a Cornwall nightclub has been suspended pending an investigation after she spoke out on Twitter about the alleged incident.Emily White, 19, told the BBC a doorman at the Sailors Arms pub and nightclub wolf-whistled, leered at her and made comments about her breasts on a night out last month.The teenager, from St Austell, Cornwall, said when she complained about the “cocky” doorman’s unwanted behaviour he replied: “I can do what I want.”“Was sexually harassed by a bouncer in a night club this weekend,” she tweeted on 24 July.“So I snapped a photo of his ID, emailed the club, who have emailed his agency, who have begun an official displinary [sic] investigation. He told me, ‘I’m a bouncer I can do what I want”. No mate, no you can’t.’” 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. She told the BBC that the bouncer also “moved his arm out so I could take a picture of his ID”.“That’s how cocky he was,” she added. “He thought no-one would challenge him on it. He was wrong.”Regency Security, who provide door staff for the venue, confirmed to The Telegraph that the door supervisor has been suspended pending further investigation.Ms White’s account of the alleged incident has been shared by more than 8,000 Twitter users and received 90,000 ‘likes’, while attracting hundreds of messages of support and praise for choosing to speak out. “Really admire you for bringing this to everyone’s attention,” commented one. “No one should have to be a victim of such disgusting behaviour. Well done for standing up to it.”“Fantastic that you took action,” responded user @xyrosie. “Zero tolerance of such behaviour is the best way to change things. Thank you for stepping up!”One user, who is currently employed as a bouncer, replied: “I have never had to lay hands on someone, unless had to escort someone out … At the end of the night, I want to make sure you get home safe, along with myself.”A spokesperson for Sailors Arms in Newquay said until the investigation is complete the doorman “will not be employed at our door”. Was sexually harassed by a bouncer in a night club this weekend. So I snapped a photo of his ID, emailed the club, who have emailed his agency, who have begun an official displinary investigation. He told me, “I’m a bouncer I can do what I want”. No mate, no you can’t.— em (@itsemilywhite) July 24, 2018 “Upon hearing of these allegations an immediate investigation was launched in collaboration with the agency which employs our door staff and that is ongoing.” read more

Luton brother and sister charged with terror offences appear in court

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. She denied an identical charge between April 13 and July 3 this year. The pair, both of Kirkwood Road, Luton, will appear at the Old Bailey on July 29. A brother and sister from Luton charged with terror offences including training with wooden swords and booking a firearms course have appeared in court.Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 28, and Sneha Chowdhury, 25, were arrested in the Bedfordshire town by officers from the Metropolitan Police on July 3.They appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today from custody. He wore a grey sweatshirt and white trousers, while she wore a black and grey headscarf and dress with a flowery pattern.Mr Chowdhury is charged with one count of preparing acts of terrorism, one count of possessing a document likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism and one count of disseminating terrorist publications.The preparing acts of terrorism charge relates to: carrying out weight, fitness and martial arts training; purchasing and training with bokkens (wooden training swords); booking a firearms training course; requesting and selecting a firearm; and researching and requesting that another person research potential attack targets.He did not enter pleas at the hearing. There was no application for bail and he was remanded in custody ahead of his next hearing, where he will enter pleas.Mrs Chowdhury admitted one charge of failing to disclose information relating to acts of terrorism between January 24 and April 12 this year at the hearing. read more

LETTER Exposing AFCs double standards in relation to sugar workers plight

Dear Editor,An anonymous letter writer described me as ‘a confused complainer’ because I exposed Mr Moses Nagamootoo’s hypocrisy with regards the plight of the sugar workers. He, Nagamootoo had said at a rally in Canje (ironically the first set of workers in Berbice to be given redundancy letters) that, “Guyanese should light a candle for sugar workers…sugar workers are being screwed”. Now that the sugar workers are being ‘royally screwed’, where is Moses? Of course, he is not busy parting the Red Sea, that was done a long time ago! He divided the people and was rewarded with his ceremonial crown.The unknown letter writer then went on to state that Mr Nagamoottoo has a ‘history of standing up for sugar workers’.  Nagamootoo in his 2012 Budget speech had said that he was threatened with expulsion because he came to the rescue of the sugar workers. However, he should now recognize and accept the fact that ‘the standing up’ itself is now history. The real Nagamootoo has now emerged and the ‘standing up’ is for himself only, and no one else. Self-preservation can seal lips and harden hearts. It is now fitting to recall his own words taken from his 2012 Budget speech, ‘a classical case of the classical proverb, “I see not, I hear not, I speak not”, this is the case of the proverbial monkey’. Today he stands condemned by his own words! It is so unfortunate since I was a great admirer of this man’s zeal as a statesman.Would the late Dr Cheddi Jagan have stood silently while many of the sugar workers and their families are faced with dire poverty and starvation?  Nagamootoo is a self-proclaimed disciple of this great man. In 2012 Nagamootoo had bragged that the ‘PPP no longer hold the Jagan standards…we have it over here, the Alliance for Change….’ Moreover, apart from Nagamootoo’s reverberating silence, the AFC’s Minister of Agriculture, Mr Noel Holder agreed with GuySuCo’s heartless decision to serve redundancy letters to hundreds of sugar workers at Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates before Christmas. He arrogantly insisted that this decision was in keeping the White Paper, ignoring the fact that the Minister of State, Mr Joseph Harmon had assured the sugar workers that closure of the Estate will be delayed until next year. Is there a disconnect among the ministers of Government?  How could the Minister of Agriculture ignore the human aspect of the decision?President Granger at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, stressed that, ‘people must come before profits’, but I do hope that this can be seen as a general guideline of his Government’s policies. However, the manner in which sugar workers are being treated for some time now would suggest otherwise. This maxim does not apply to sugar workers. They are expendables because they are deemed to be ‘the raiders of the Treasury’!There seems to be reluctance on the part of the Government, especially the Minister of Agriculture and the Prime Minister to meaningfully engage sugar workers at Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates and try to alleviate some of their fears and try to convince them how they will continue to benefit from the privatisation/diversification process.Many of the sugar workers, who were given the termination letters do not have of savings and take groceries on credit during the out of crop period hoping to pay off during crop time.  I know these things because I live among them and my father was a cane cutter and my mother, a weeder at Albion Estate. I also worked as a cane cutter and a cattle ranger for some time at Albion Estate to make ends meetA final question: Are the redundancy letters to sugar workers just a ploy for the Government to now take up the savior’s role?Yours sincerely, Haseef Yusuf (FCCA; MBA)RDC Councilor-Region 6Former Cane Cutter Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMass firing of sugar workers: AFC supports move, says sugar is ‘terminally ill’- RamjattanDecember 8, 2017In “latest news”Letter: APNU/AFC have abandoned sugar workersNovember 26, 2016In “Letters”Letter: AFC’s concern about the plight of the sugar workers insincereJanuary 17, 2018In “Letters” read more

Block maker charged with assaulting policeman

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMinibus driver alleges police harassment; charged with resisting arrest & assaulting traffic rankNovember 14, 2013In “Crime”Albouystown man arraigned over alleged assault of CopsJuly 6, 2018In “Court”Minibus driver, conductor charged for assaulting peace officerFebruary 18, 2019In “Court” A 21-year-old  block maker found himself before Principal Magistrate Judy Latchman facing three charges of resisting arrest, assault and threatening behaviour.  He appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts where he denied the offences.It is alleged that Christopher Christoph Nickelson on October 15, 2018 at Tucville Terrace, Georgetown, resisted arrest as Constable Troy Mayor, a peace officer was acting in prosecution of his duties. It was further alleged that Nickelson, on the same date at the same location, assaulted Constable Mayor along with using threatening language towards him, thereby breaching the peace.The unrepresented man told the court that he was also assaulted by the peace officer who threatened to shoot and kill him.However, the Police Prosecutor, Quinn Harris informed the court that it was the defendant who put up a fight after a report was made for his arrest. Prosecutor Harris however did not make any objections to bail.Nickelson was released on $15,000 bail and his case will continue on November 14. read more