Bengals Rookie Gets 3 Years In Prison For College

Prison-bound: Brandon JoinerBrandon Joiner, an undrafted rookie on the Cincinnati Bengals’ roster, was sentenced to three years in prison on charges stemming from a 2007 incident that occurred when he was playing at Texas A&M. according to the Bryan-College Station Eagle.Joiner, a linebacker, was indicted for two counts of aggravated robbery and one charge of felony drug possession in January 2008, about a month after police said he and another former Texas A&M player broke into a College Station apartment and robbed a drug dealer at gunpoint.According to court documents, Joiner and Yemi Babalola used duct tape to bind the man before taking off with wallets, keys, cellphones and marijuana, the police report stated.A police search of Joiner’s home found marijuana, hydrocodone and Ecstacy, according to the report.Joiner finished out his collegiate playing career at Arkansas State after being kicked off the Texas A&M team.Jay Granberry, Joiner’s defense attorney, said he worked out a plea deal with prosecutors that would allow his client to graduate before going to jail. The lawyer indicated Joiner could be released on parole after six to nine months in prison. read more

Read More →

JaVale McGee Is No Joke

1JaVale McGeeGS7391215.9 This JaVale McGee guy sure can dunk During the 2016-17 regular season, McGee took a career-high 78 percent of his shots at the rim. In 2012-13, rim shots accounted for only 65 percent of his total attempts.2Before this season, McGee’s career high for the share of his field-goal attempts at the rim was 65.4 percent in 2015-16. Similarly, just 3 percent of McGee’s field goals this season were attempted from outside of 10 feet, whereas these jumpers made up at least 10 percent of his shots in each of his previous campaigns. While McGee’s effectiveness at the rim this season (73 percent field-goal percentage) is basically unchanged from the past two seasons, his condensed shot distribution means that he’s more efficient overall.The Warriors have several actions designed to get McGee near the rim. Most reliably they deploy a Curry-Green high pick-and-roll with McGee positioned at the edge of the lane. Curry’s dead-eye shooting tends to demand a double team in this situation, allowing him to slip a pass to Green around the free-throw line. From there, the Warriors gain a numerical advantage with only McGee’s defender remaining to stop Green’s marauding drive down the lane. The ultimate result is a lob to McGee and a slam dunk.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/embedded-video-02-curry-green-pnr-to-green-mcgee-alley-oop.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The Warriors also use a McGee-Curry ball screen up top. In this variation, McGee picks Curry’s defender and rolls hard to the rim, Curry slings the ball toward Green at the wing, and Green relays it to the cutting McGee for an alley-oop.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/embedded-video-03-mcgee-curry-pnr-green-mcgee-alley-oop.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.McGee gets dunks when he rolls to the basket after setting off-ball screens for Klay Thompson, too. He gets dunks when Andre Iguodala beats his man off the dribble. He gets dunks in transition. He gets dunks on putbacks. He gets all kinds of dunks, all the time. In fact, McGee led the league in dunks per 36 minutes this season.3Among players who played at least 200 minutes. PLAYERTEAMMIN. PLAYEDTOTALPER 36 MINUTES 8Mason PlumleePOR, DEN2,1481312.2 Among the top 15 in total dunks during the 2016-17 regular season.Source: Basketball-Reference.com 14Steven AdamsOKC2,3891121.7 5Rudy GobertUTA2,7442353.1 McGee’s dream season has been about more than just a string of dunks, though. With the encouragement of the Warriors coaches, he has distilled his game down to its essence. “The thing about it is I have to know my role, and my role isn’t to get post-up touches and stuff like that,” McGee told reporters after the playoff opener. “My role is to rebound, block shots and run the floor.”Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/embedded-video-04-mcgee-blocks-rebounds-runs-the-floor.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.McGee is providing a lift on defense, too. He’s tall, long and springy, which allows his teammates to funnel ball handlers in his direction. It’s a perfect responsibility for McGee, who is good at sloughing off his man in search of blocks. During the regular season, McGee contested shots at the fifth-highest rate in the NBA (0.5 contests per minute). One benefit of this McGee-centric Warriors defensive scheme is that his teammates — Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Durant and Green — each foul at a lower rate when he is on the court to back them up, saving them each an average of 0.6 fouls4Includes shooting, personal and blocking fouls on defense. per 100 possessions.Despite the seeming transformation, McGee told the Post that he hasn’t metamorphosed into some more-mature version of himself. “I’ve been the same goofy guy I’ve been this whole time,” he said. And there have been some goofy moments: missed dunks, behind-the-back turnovers, even one attempt to inbound the ball for the wrong team. But McGee told the Post that his new team recognized that he is also earnest: “They knew who I am and realized, underlying me laughing all the time, I’m actually working hard.” Indeed, many of McGee’s bloopers this season — and even his mishaps from his peak Shaqtin’ years — are errors of overzealous activity and effort.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/embedded-video-05-mcgee-misses-multiple-layups-trys-hard.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.In the opening round of the playoffs, the Trail Blazers were an undermanned and undersized team that offered McGee an ideal opportunity for success. The Western Conference semifinals provide a new challenge for McGee: the Utah Jazz and their likely soon-to-be All-NBA center Rudy Gobert. Gobert demands more attention from McGee on defense and makes it more difficult for McGee to find dunk opportunities on the other end. Indeed, McGee had a very quiet Game 1 against Utah, tallying just one dunk and one block in nine minutes. But I don’t expect that Gobert will be taking him lightly moving forward. McGee has opened eyes and shut mouths all season with his stellar play. And he has long since proved that he’s more than just a 7-foot punchline.Check out our latest NBA predictions. 4Dwight HowardATL2,1991993.3 6Giannis AntetokounmpoMIL2,8451942.5 2Clint CapelaHOU1,5511633.8 The Golden State Warriors have acted out many familiar scenes during this year’s playoff run. Kevin Durant has crossed up big men en route to vicious slams, Draymond Green has continued to revolutionize rim protection, and Stephen Curry has danced his way to almost 30 points a night. But a bit player has elbowed his way into the spotlight, too: Warrior reserve center JaVale McGee.In Golden State’s opening series against Portland, McGee was outstanding in his supporting role, chipping in 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 12 minutes per game. He also gave the Warriors a decided advantage over the Blazers when he was playing, contributing to a +48 scoring margin for the Warriors during his 48 minutes on the court. In Game 1, McGee stuffed Portland’s Damian Lillard to ignite a fast break, hustled down court to rebound a missed transition jumper, and set up Curry for a corner three that gave the Warriors the lead. The sequence was emblematic of McGee’s play during the series: exuberant and useful. You could describe McGee’s whole season like that. A player who was once derided as a laughingstock of the NBA is enjoying an unexpected breakout year.In the offseason, McGee had to scratch and claw just to earn an NBA roster spot. After a slew of leg injuries limited the big man to only 62 regular-season appearances over the previous three seasons combined, McGee was waived by the Dallas Mavericks in July. He eventually accepted a non-guaranteed contract and a training-camp invitation to audition for Golden State’s final roster spot.McGee’s image wasn’t helping his prospects, either. After years of unwanted attention on “Shaqtin’ A Fool” — the NBA’s blooper show hosted by Shaquille O’Neal — McGee was saddled with a nasty reputation as basketball’s court jester. Warriors coach Steve Kerr told The Washington Post that his view of McGee had been colored from afar — “he’s had the reputation of being flighty.” Speaking to the Mercury News earlier this season, McGee characterized the opinion held by many NBA fans more bluntly: “They think I’m a dumb person.”Once in camp, however, he won over his teammates and coaches with a bevy of high-flying dunks and blocks and earned the 15th spot on the squad. Before a preseason game, Kerr told SFGate that he was optimistic about the player’s fit with Golden State: “He gives us something that we don’t have with our other centers, just with that ability to catch a lob and finish. I think he has the potential to help us. We’ll see how it all goes.” As it turns out, it has gone really well.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/embedded-video-01-mcgee-curry-dribble-handoff-curry-mcgee-alley-oop.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.During the regular season, McGee led all NBA players1Minimum 20 games played. in plus-minus per possession, with the Warriors edging their opponents by an average of 19.2 points for every 100 possessions he was on the court. This impressive stat stands in stark contrast to McGee’s career norms — he’s posted negative plus-minus numbers in nearly all of his previous seasons. In part, McGee’s statistics reflect the strength of his new team. He’s asked to play only about 10 minutes a night, and those minutes rarely come during clutch situations. Still, his plus-minus mark substantially surpassed the numbers of his more-renowned teammates: Curry (17.5), Durant (15.9), and Green (15.5), suggesting that he isn’t just an anonymous extra, either. 3DeAndre JordanLAC2,5702533.5 13Andre DrummondDET2,4091181.8 11Kevin DurantGS2,0701071.9 12Anthony DavisNO2,7081361.8 McGee has been spectacularly efficient with his shots, posting a career-high true shooting percentage of 64 percent this season. And even though he doesn’t play a lot, when he’s on the floor, he’s a big part of the Warriors offense. McGee was one of just 14 players — including superstars LeBron James, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Durant and Curry — who combined 60+ percent true shooting with a 20+ percent usage rate this season.Although some of it is a luxury of playing with his talented Warrior teammates, McGee’s improved efficiency is mainly the result of a more disciplined shot selection. Compare his shot chart from this season with the one from the 2012-13 season, when he played for a 57-win Denver Nuggets team. Note that with the Warriors, McGee is attempting nearly all of his shots from inside the paint; whereas with Denver, he regularly stepped away from the basket to shoot. DUNKS 15Karl-Anthony TownsMIN3,0301301.5 10LeBron JamesCLE2,7941451.9 7Hassan WhitesideMIA2,5131632.3 9Tristan ThompsonCLE2,3361221.9 read more

Read More →

How UMBC Did The Unthinkable — And The Inevitable

After a relatively sedate start to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the most shocking result in tourney history was saved for one of the last games in the round of 64. Late Friday, Maryland-Baltimore County did the unthinkable, pulling off the victory that college fans have been waiting decades to see: The Retrievers became the first No. 16 seed in the history of the men’s tournament to knock off a No. 1 when they beat Virginia 74-54.1The women’s tournament beat the men to the punch by 20 years, of course, when No. 16 Harvard beat No. 1 Stanford in 1998.(Look, we did say a No. 16 seed could beat a No. 1 this year — never mind which No. 16, and which No. 1…)No, instead of the obvious pick, it was the obscure one. UMBC went into the game ranked 188th in Ken Pomeroy’s power ratings; Virginia ranked first. Our predictive model gave the Cavaliers a 98 percent probability of winning. Nothing about the two teams’ track records suggested that number was too high. (If anything, facing a Retrievers team that lost by 40-plus points to the likes of Albany, UVA seemed like it might be the safest No. 1 seed in the first round.)Instead, the Cavs were on the wrong side of history.Besides the novelty of a No. 16 beating a No. 1 seed — let alone the tournament’s No. 1 overall team — the magnitude of the upset would have been shocking in any context. According to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, it was tied for the worst loss by an Associated Press No. 1 team to an unranked team at any point in the season, let alone the tournament.2Undefeated No. 1 St. Joseph’s lost to Xavier by 20 in the 2003-04 season. And from a bettor’s standpoint, UMBC joined Santa Clara in 1993 and Norfolk State in 2012 — a pair of No. 15 seeds that won — as the only teams to win a game outright in the men’s tourney despite being an underdog of 20 or more points.Virginia can place some of the blame on losing forward De’Andre Hunter right before the tournament. Sidelined with a wrist injury, Hunter was UVA’s best player on a rate basis,3Excluding those with low playing time. according to Sports-Reference.com’s Win Shares per 40 minutes. The Cavs no doubt missed his efficient play at both ends of the court against the Retrievers.But this loss cannot be pinned completely on Hunter’s absence. Against UMBC, Virginia played just about the worst game it possibly could. What had been one of the top offensive teams in the country during the regular season shot just 41 percent from the floor — including 18 percent from 3-point range (to go with a 50 percent showing from the foul line). More shockingly, the nation’s best defense looked completely lost, particularly in the game’s second half.The Retrievers played their best possible game as well. They shot a stunning 54 percent from the field against the Cavaliers, nailing 12 of 24 attempts from beyond the arc. Going into the game, Virginia hadn’t allowed an opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from the field all season, against a schedule that consisted of many difficult opponents. Though no major-conference school could solve the UVA defense, UMBC — led by an audacious 28-point performance from electrifying guard Jairus Lyles — was the team that finally broke through. Virginia was holding opponents to 53.4 points per game, the lowest in the country. Lyles and the Retrievers got 53 in the second half alone.In terms of blame, there’s plenty of finger-pointing left for Virginia coach Tony Bennett’s deliberately low-possession brand of basketball. The Cavs were easily the nation’s slowest team all season, and they basically never had to accelerate the pace to make a comeback push all year. As TV analyst Kenny Smith pointed out in the postgame coverage, UVA was unable to adjust once UMBC forced the Cavs to play from behind.This topic deserves more research, but there is some evidence that slow favorites generally disappoint in March. It makes sense: Unlike underdogs, who should want more variance — and therefore fewer possessions in a game — favorites should theoretically be trying to reduce the randomness and give variance a smaller role in a game’s outcome. So it could be that Virginia-style favorites are inadvertently doing their opponents a big favor by slowing the pace down to a crawl, essentially giving away some of their talent advantage by allowing more randomness to seep into the game. (Whether this works in practice, though, is up for debate.)Whatever the reason behind it, UMBC’s win was an upset for the ages. On the one hand, it was surprising that no 16 seed had ever beaten a No. 1 before Friday — according to our Elo model, we’d calculate the chances as 1-in-27 (or 3.7 percent) that a No. 16 wouldn’t have broken through in 134 tries. But this was also the victory that just seemed like it might never happen. Now that it has, there are no gimme games in the bracket anymore. Just when you thought it wasn’t possible, March Madness somehow got an extra dimension of madness. And it all comes courtesy of the UMBC Retrievers and their long-awaited underdog victory. read more

Read More →

Wild finish leads Minnesota to upset over Ohio State womens basketball

OSU senior guard Cait Craft (13) looks to make a pass during a game against Nebraska on Feb. 18 at the Schottenstein Center.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorSenior night for Minnesota (19-9, 11-6) was upon the No. 5 Ohio State (23-5, 15-2) women’s basketball team as it entered Williams Arena Wednesday night for a late regular-season showdown.It was a healthy crowd that made its way out to witness a true barnburner at “The Barn,” with the Golden Gophers coming away with the 90-88 upset victory in overtime after a game-winning shot with less than a second remaining.Right from the tip, the Buckeyes and the Golden Gophers went back and forth. But in the first half, neither squad was able to get efficient offensive production.Before practice on Tuesday, Buckeye coach Kevin McGuff harped on the fact that his team would have enough time to get used to the elevated floor at Williams Arena, stating how it was still a basketball court with two hoops like all the other arenas that OSU played at this season. It turns out it is easier said than done to get hot at The Barn — even for the home team.Minnesota presented an extended 2-3 zone to OSU to prevent senior guard Ameryst Alston and sophomore guard Kelsey Mitchell from driving to the hoop for their own shots and also penetrate to find open teammates. The zone allowed for OSU to swing the rock and have plenty of open looks from downtown, but Minnesota was willing to take the risk with its strategy.The gamble on OSU’s 3-point shooting looked genius, as the Buckeyes only shot 1-of-11 from 3-point land in the first 20 minutes of play. That was an unorthodox showing from the Scarlet and Gray, who average 37.8 percent from behind the arc, ranking third in the Big Ten in that category.However, it wasn’t only the Buckeyes that had problems getting the ball to hit the nylon. Minnesota shot a whopping 26 percent from the field, not only missing long-distance jump shots but also fundamental layups.Heading into the locker room, Minnesota only trailed OSU by four, and the Golden Gophers did not plan on letting the Buckeyes march away in the second half like others have done in the past, as a potential bid for the NCAA tournament was on the line.The third quarter began with a quick OSU 6-0 run to give the Buckeyes an 11-point lead, but Golden Gophers redshirt senior guard Rachel Banham took the game into her own hands after a Minnesota timeout.Averaging 27.5 points per game on the year, scoring over 50 points multiple times and earning recognition on Twitter from NBA legend and future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, Banham is all that, and she proved it in the second half against the Big Ten-leading Buckeyes.The 5-foot-9 Banham had no problem creating space for herself from all areas of the court, giving OSU senior guard and tenacious defender Cait Craft a difficult task of guarding her. Banham would finish the game with 35 points and five assists, including a highlight-reel around-the-back pass to sophomore center Jessie Edwards.As play continued in the second half, the officials began to get more and more stingy, whistling after nearly every hand-check and touch on both sides of the court.Craft, who followed Banham up and down the floor the entire night, was forced to exit the game with the five-foul maximum in the fourth quarter.  With 1:10 to play in regulation, Minnesota was holding a 76-74 lead, and the Buckeyes were having a tough time navigating through the Golden Gopher defense. The possession ended up resulting in a shot-clock violation, turning the ball back over to the home team.The Golden Gophers brought the ball down with confidence, but OSU sophomore guard Asia Doss applied stifling defense, stealing the ball and converting the basket on the other end to tie it up with only 16.7 seconds left on the clock.Minnesota put the ball in Banham’s hands for the final shot, as she has pulled through in the clutch time and time again for this Golden Gophers squad. After dancing around at the top of the key, Banham made an in-and-out crossover to the left elbow for the go-ahead jump shot, but it was off the mark.Bouncing off the rim, the ball ended up in Edwards’ hands, who jumped straight up to put the ball through the cylinder to give Golden Gophers a two-point lead and win with the game clock hitting zero.But then whistles blew; the game was not over.The officials went to the scorer’s table to review the play, and after looking over the time when the ball made it through the net, they came to the conclusion that the Buckeyes would have 0.5 seconds to try to send the game into overtime or win it with a 3-pointer.After a Buckeye timeout, Alston set to inbound the ball on the sideline near her own bench. Sophomore forward Alexa Hart looped off of an off-ball screen toward the basket, receiving a lob from Alston and touching it in right before the buzzer sounded.The referees looked it over and determined it was good. Next up, overtime.In the extra period, both teams continued to go back and forth, finishing the entire contest with 12 ties and 13 lead changes.Mitchell, who turned it on in the fourth quarter and overtime period, finishing with 21 points, grabbed her ninth rebound of the night and at the same time drew the foul from Banham, which was her fifth, sending her to the pine for the remainder of the game. Mitchell then hit both foul shots to make the score 86-85 in favor of the Golden Gophers.Minnesota sophomore guard Carlie Wagner, who finished with 26 points, extended the lead to three points, but then OSU junior forward Shayla Cooper came up big on the other end, answering with a strong old-fashioned 3-point play to tie the score up at 88 with 14.3 seconds left on the clock.Wagner wanted the last word, coming down on the other end and knocking down a contested jumper in the short corner with less than a second left to give Minnesota a two-point lead.Once again, the officials would go to the scorer’s box and come back to the floor putting up more time on the clock: 0.8 seconds.After what happened in regulation, the Golden Gophers were aware that the game really isn’t over until the buzzer sounds, no matter how much time is on the clock.This time around the Buckeyes, would inbound the ball to Mitchell in the corner, who would not have enough time to get a shot off, giving the Golden Gophers a sigh of relief and a moment of happiness to celebrate senior night in winning fashion.With their 11-game win streak coming to a close, the Buckeyes will head back to the drawing board and look to finish the regular season on the right foot Saturday versus the Michigan State Spartans.The game is set to tip at 2 p.m. in East Lansing, Michigan. read more

Read More →

Ohio State Equestrian Team reigns in medals

The Ohio State Equestrian Team has another banner to hang on the wall.OSU’s equestrian club traveled to Raleigh, N.C. last weekend to compete in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships and finished as reserved national champions.“I’m really excited,” said coach Ollie Griffith. “We had plenty of opportunity to win and we just had a few bad breaks … but the team was great. They gave it everything they had.”The team finished second behind Oregon State University, who won the championship for the first time. Nebraska finished third.The team now boasts nine national championships and six reserve finishes.“We got another banner to hang on the wall,” Griffith said.The team also came home with some individual wins.Beth Bianco, a veteran Equestrian team member, was first in individual reigning. Austin Griffith, a second-year in marketing and Ollie Griffith’s son, was the high-point reigning and horsemanship western rider.“It was an awesome experience,” Austin Griffith said. “Winning the high point rider was really something I’ve really wanted to do.”Claire Sutton, a third-year in environmental science, won second in the team advanced competition. Lidia Pedrozo, a first-year in biology and animal science, was fourth in the team beginner bracket.“It was a lot of fun,” Austin Griffith said. “Our coaches just wouldn’t let up and we pulled through. I was really proud of our team.” read more

Read More →

Ohio State womens volleyball set for beginning of home schedule

Then-freshman outside hitter Kylie Randall (1) delivers a spike against Michigan on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio. OSU won 3-1.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorFollowing its season-opening weekend in Oregon, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team is set to begin its home schedule later today with three matches over the weekend in the 9th Annual Sports Imports D.C. Koehl Classic.The Buckeyes (1-2) are scheduled to play Auburn (2-1) at 12:30 p.m., followed by Florida Gulf Coast (1-2) at 7:30 p.m.  The Buckeyes are then set to take on Southern Illinois (1-3) on Sunday at 2 p.m.After starting the season 1-2, coach Geoff Carlston said he believes the team has had a good week of practice and has corrected some mistakes from the trip to the University of Oregon Invitational last weekend.“We made a few changes on the defensive end that will be really helpful,” Carlston said. “So I’m excited to see the fruits of that labor.”Carlston added that he expects to see more of a crowd Friday evening against FGCU than the early-afternoon matchup with Auburn. He added that when the crowd arrives later in the evening, they will give an advantage to his team.With the Buckeyes playing on their home court, finding consistency, managing unforced errors and a defensive attitude lead Carlston’s three keys to victory.After starting in her first collegiate game against Oregon on Aug. 29, freshman outside hitter Luisa Schirmer is set to play in her first home game at St. John Arena.“I’m super excited to just be in this atmosphere, obviously never having played here before,” Schirmer said.Against Oregon, Schirmer started in all three sets for the Buckeyes.Sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe received all-tournament recognition in Oregon and hopes to follow that successful weekend with more success this time around.“I hope to get similar accolades, that would be nice,” Sandbothe said. “But just carrying over intensity and making sure I can be a big leader for the team (will result in) some W’s this weekend,”After the tournament, the Buckeyes are scheduled to play their next three games in Cincinnati at the Millennium Hotel Invitational hosted by Xavier University on Sept. 12 and 13. OSU is set to play Syracuse, Ohio University and Xavier in the tournament. read more

Read More →

Network Rail fined £4m over death of actress killed at railway crossing

first_imgMrs McFarland, 82, had starred alongside Sean Connery in the 1961 film The Frightened City.She had a home at Creeting St Mary near Stowmarket, Suffolk, and lived in a care home in Eye.In a statement issued after the hearing, Richard Schofield, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “We are truly sorry for the death of Miss McFarland.”Since this tragic accident we have improved safety by introducing a speed restriction on the line and reducing the crossing distance by straightening the crossing and re-positioning the gates.”However, this is not a permanent solution.”We believe that removing the level crossing is the safest option and we are continuing to work with the local community to get their support to close this crossing.”In the year following Miss McFarland’s death, the executive directors turned down their bonus entitlement and instead chose for this money to be reallocated to a safety improvement fund for level crossings.”Since 2010 we have closed over 1,000 crossings and we are spending £100 million across the country improving level crossing safety.” Olive McFarland as a young actress Olive McFarland in ‘Shadow and Substance’Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock Network Rail has been fined £4 million for a string of safety failures after a former actress was struck and killed by a train on a railway foot crossing.Olive McFarland, who was a regular in TV dramas and films from the 1950s to the 1970s, died on the crossing near Needham Market, Suffolk, in August 2011.The 82-year-old was hit by a train travelling at nearly 100mph on a section of track that a Network Rail employee said should have been restricted to 55mph, but this safety work was not done, Ipswich Crown Court heard. Olive McFarland in 'Shadow and Substance'center_img At an earlier hearing at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court, Network Rail admitted being an employer in breach of a general duty of care for a period spanning from January 1999 to the day of Mrs McFarland’s death in 2011.The company was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday.A fine of £4 million was imposed with Network Rail granted 28 days to pay, and it was ordered to pay costs of £35,857. Olive McFarland as a young actressCredit: albanpix.com 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

Read More →

Chemical terrorist attack huge concern says London fire chief

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Dany Cotton is the first female fire commissioner in London Ms Cotton told the BBC: “I think the chemical attack is a really big threat because its an unseen one, it’s something you do with a relatively small amount of chemical if you can find the means to disperse it.” Britain’s most senior fire chief has warned that the potential for a terrorist chemical attack in the country is a “huge concern”.Dany Cotton, recently appointed first female commissioner of London Fire Brigade, said she would be increasing the number of chemical attack practice drills carried out by her crews.She also suggested the public needed more education about what to do in the event of an attack.Her comments came just days after the security minister warned Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (Isil) terrorists wanted to use chemical weapons in a mass casualty attack against Britain. London would be a preferred target, said Mr Hamish de Bretton-GordonCredit:PA Dany Cotton is the first female fire commissioner in LondonCredit:SWNScenter_img London Underground Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former Army officer and chemical warfare expert, said such an attack may not kill many people, but would have a huge psychological impact. He said an attack need not use military grade chemical weapons, but could involve industrially available gases such as chlorine.He said: “One of the challenges for Isil in this country is that actually doing an active shooter attack like in Paris is very difficult because they can’t get guns.“For Isil that’s the preferred modus operandi and it’s not going to happen in this country. That’s why why they are keen to focus on asymmetric attacks, like chemical attacks.” She said in the event of such an attack, the public would need to make sure they did not inadvertently spread deadly chemicals.She said: “The natural reaction would be if something happens to run away and go somewhere else. But that just spreads it, which is what the terrorist wants. It’s very important that people stay contained and allow the emergency services to help them and out and to deal with the situation.” Ben Wallace said: “They have no moral objection to using chemical weapons against populations and if they could, they would in this country.”Isil fighters have been accused of repeatedly using chemical weapons on the front line in Iraq and Syria and one leading expert in the field said they were becoming “the norm” for the group.last_img read more

Read More →

Revealed 21 of the most annoying office bugbears

first_img21 of the most frustrating office bugbears1.     Crashing computers – 27% 4.     Workplace too cold – 24% 8.     Colleagues making you look bad – 19% 11.  People calling in sick when you suspect they’re fine – 17% More than a quarter of people asked admitted these office annoyances made them want to work remotely, while one in four said they wished they could become their own boss, according to the research.   20.  Talking too loudly on the phone – 12% 5.     Colleagues moaning – 22% 17.  Appraisals/performance reviews – 13% 16.  Meetings that seem to go on forever – 13.5% 2.     Slow internet – 25% 7.     Pointless meetings – 21.5% Moaning colleagues, pointless meetings and co-workers who eat too loudly are some of the most frustrating aspects of modern office life, according to new research.Other office bugbears on the list include a slow internet connection, other employees ‘pulling a sickie’ and the office being either too hot or too cold. 3.     Office gossip – 24% 13.  People who suck up to the boss – 15% Other bugbears to make the complete top 50 list included overly loud typing, colleagues not making tea and also when food gets stolen from the communal fridge. Darren Fell, CEO of Crunch Accounting, who commissioned the research, said: “Our customers are the self-employed, freelancers and contractors – people who have made the conscious decision to escape the rat race and start their own business. So it comes as little surprise to hear how frustrated Britain’s employees are with the niggling bugbears of the modern corporate office.”Other examples of annoyed office workers: Last year, this passive aggressive office worker penned a genius response to this photocopier poster. While this office worker got the ultimate revenge on a food thief.   21.  Uncomfortable seats – 11% 10.  Colleagues interrupting you – 17% 9.     Workplace too hot – 19% 6.     Eating loudly at desk – 21% 18.  Stinky food – 13% 19.  Messy office – 12% 14.  The toilets being left in a horrible state – 15% 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. 15.  Emails being ignored – 14% 12.  People coming into work when they’re contagiously ill – 16%last_img read more

Read More →

Blood and bodies everywhere Witnesses describe aftermath of Manchester attack

first_img‘It was a huge explosion – you could feel it in your chest’Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters that she felt a massive explosion as she was leaving the concert.”We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming.”It was a huge explosion – you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out of the area.” 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 vehicles are seen outside the Manchester Arena following the explosion ‘In so much shock and panic’Oliver Jones, 17, was at the concert with his 19-year-old sister. Police and fans outside the Manchester Arena following the explosionCredit:Getty Images ‘Lucky to have gotten away’ Robert Tempkin, 22, from Middlesbrough, told the BBC: “Everyone was screaming and running, there were coats and people’s phones on the floor. People just dropped everything.”Some people were screaming they’d seen blood but other people were saying it was balloons busting or a speaker had been popped.”There were lots of ambulances. I saw somebody being treated. I couldn’t tell what had happened to him.” ‘I heard a huge bang’Suzy Mitchell, 26, whose flat is opposite the venue, reported a huge bang rocking the neighbourhood. ‘The corridor was full, it smelled of burning’Isabel Hodgins, an actress who had been attending the concert, told Sky News: “Everybody was panicking, there was pushing up the stairs.”The corridor was full, it smelled of burning, there was quite a lot of smoke as we were leaving.”It’s just shocking and we just feel very shaken up. We’re just lucky to have gotten away safely,” she said.Police have issued a number for people to call if they are concerned about relatives or loved ones: +44 (0)161 856 9400 ‘There was a sound like thunder’A barman at the nearby Steven Charles Snooker Club, who gave his name as Tyler, said he saw people lying on the ground covered in blood.”We’ve had a few people in with panic attacks and in all kinds of disarray,” he told the Press Association.”We’ve got four girls here – trying to get them sorted to get picked up.”There was a gentleman on the floor with his leg all bleeding and woman with blood down one side of her face.”We felt something but didn’t know what it was – there was a sound like thunder.”One girl had a panic attack and another had streaming tears, a woman had a heart attack just outside.”It’s a lot of teenagers – they’re all in tears.” “We heard the last song go and then suddenly there was a massive flash and then a bang and smoke,” he said. Emergency vehicles are seen outside the Manchester Arena following the explosionCredit:EPA He said: “I was in the toilet and heard a loud bang just after the concert had finished and people had started to leave.”The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run.”I seen people running and screaming towards one direction and then many were turning around to run back the other way.”Security was running out as well as the fans and concert goers.”Reports of blood and people injured.”He added: “In so much shock and panic. You see this on the news all the time and never expect it to happen to you. I just had to run and make sure me and my sister were safe.” ‘Everyone was in a huge state of panic’Majid Khan, 22, went to the concert with his sister. He described how the explosion hit the venue as they were leaving the building.”I and my sister, along with a lot of others, were seeing Ariana Grande perform at Manchester Arena, and we were all exiting the venue when a huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena.”It was one bang, and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit Trinity Way – and that was blocked, so everyone was just running to any exit they could find as quickly as they could.”Everyone was in a huge state of panic, calling each other as some had gone to the toilet whilst this had gone off, so it was just extremely disturbing for everyone there.” She told the Press Association: “(I) just heard a huge bang from my bed, came out to the front of my apartments (we’re on the top floor so have perfect view) and everyone was running away in big crowds.”The bang was so big I heard it from my room which is at the back of the apartment blocks.”Currently lots of emergency services going to and from. But can’t see anything substantial as of yet except fleeing people and lots of cars.” Police and fans outside the Manchester Arena following the explosion Concert-goers and witnesses have described the chaos after an apparent suicide bomb attack in the Manchester Arena following an Ariana Grande concert, which killed at least 22 people and injured about 50 more.Police have issued a number for people to call if they are concerned about relatives or loved ones: +44 (0)161 856 9400Here are some of the witness accounts: ‘I saw bodies lying on the ground’Andy Holey, who had gone to the venue to pick up his wife and daughter who had been at the concert, told the BBC: “As I was waiting, an explosion went off and it threw me about 30 feet from one set of doors to the other set of doors.”When I got up I saw bodies lying on the ground. My first thought was to go into the arena to try to find my family.”When I couldn’t find them, I went outside with the police and fire and looked through some of the bodies to try and find my wife and daughter.”Mr Holey told BBC that he did find his family and they were unhurt.”It was definitely an explosion and it was some force. It happened near the box office at the entrance to the Arena.” ‘We heard the last song go, then suddenly a massive flash and then a bang and smoke’Gary Walker from Leeds told BBC Radio 5 Live he was hit by shrapnel in his foot and his wife sustained a stomach wound as they waited for their daughters to come out of the concert.last_img read more

Read More →