The Jaguars Finally Rank First In Something Besides Ineptitude

MIA60OAK54OAK 27, MIA 24+12.4– Jacksonville (yes, Jacksonville) has the NFL’s best defenseThe Jaguars’ defensive ranks since 2012 PER GAME 72009Jets8.99-7Lost in conference championship PHI75PHI77DEN 23, PHI 51-1.0– 102011Ravens7.912-4Lost in conference championship NO79NO74TB 10, NO 30-4.2– 32006Ravens10.813-3Lost in divisional playoffs Jaguars defense could end up being the best in a decadeTop 10 defensive expected points added per game since 2006 42008Steelers10.212-4Won Super Bowl KC52KC59KC 17, DAL 28-10.1– NYG51LAR62LAR 51, NYG 17+9.5– 12008Ravens11.611-5Lost in conference championship Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 9Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 9 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game JAX62JAX65CIN 7, JAX 23+0.1– 22017*Jaguars11.05-3 SEA76SEA73WSH 17, SEA 14+1.8– 20142626222718 2017*131271 ARI66ARI62ARI 20, SF 10-5.7– 62008Eagles9.09-6Lost in conference championship *Through Week 9Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.RESULTREADERS’ NET PTS YEARPOINTSYARDSPASS YARDSRUSH YARDSEPA HOU72HOU73IND 20, HOU 14-4.5– Another half of the football season still remains, and Jacksonville has work to do to ensure a playoff berth. But their chances of making the postseason are partly predicated on the strength of their remaining schedule: Of their eight remaining games, the Jags have a higher Elo rating than seven of their opponents. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll finish with a 12-4 record — they do play four of those remaining games on the road, and they are still the Jaguars after all. (Sorry, we had to slip one more in.)FiveThirtyEight vs. The ReadersWeek 9 in the NFL saw plenty of teams fighting for their playoff spots — in some cases quite literally. Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green’s double ejection sparked an all-out brawl. And things got heated in New Orleans when the Saints and Buccaneers got into it on the Tampa Bay sideline. In our NFL prediction game this week — in which we invite you to outsmart our Elo algorithm — the readers had a couple of double-digit wins, the largest of which came as the Lions beat the Packers on the road to net the readers a whopping 18.8 points. For some reason, Elo picked Jay Cutler and Miami and was punished for doing so in the Raiders’ 27-24 win over the Dolphins, which netted readers 12.4 points. Make sure you get your Week 10 predictions in early — see you next week. RANKYEARTEAMEPA/GAMERECORDPLAYOFFS OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION *Through Week 9Source: ESPN STATS & INFORMATION GROUP 20132827252927 52006Bears9.113-3Lost Super Bowl The Jags’ rapid ascent to the top of the league’s defensive rankings has been sudden, so you’d be forgiven for missing it. Of their eight games so far this year, they’ve held opposing teams to 7 points or fewer in four of them (most in the NFL), compared with zero all of last year. And they’re not just the best in 2017. Seth Walder of the ESPN Stats & Information Group neatly detailed before Week 9 that the Jags’ secondary is on pace to become the best pass defense since 2006 — yes, better than the Legion of Boom. From an overall view, of the 10 defenses with the highest expected points added per game since 2006, only Ray Lewis’s 2008 Baltimore Ravens rank ahead of Doug Marrone’s defense. 201625651913 We would like to use this moment to offer a formal apology to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Over the past few years, pointing out Jacksonville’s many hilarious inadequacies has been one of our favorite hobbies (like we did here, here and here). And on occasion, we’ve gone out of our way to insert jokes about the Jaguars into articles that weren’t even about them (such as here and here). In our defense, they did deserve it: Between 2011 and 2016, Jacksonville won just 22 games — the fewest in the NFL. But this season, no one is laughing about the Jaguars, who are 5-3 and tied for first place in the AFC South. For the first time since 2010, the Jags have an Elo rating of more than 1500, meaning that after seven years, they’re finally an above average team again.1An Elo rating of approximately 1500 is considered average.The last time Jacksonville was this good, the Apple iPad was just a few months old, “The Social Network” had just been released, and the Chicago Bears were playoff-bound. And the Jaguars aren’t just above average. With their 23-7 win over the Bengals in Week 9, the Jags now have an 83 percent chance of making the postseason for the first time since 2007, according to our NFL Elo predictions. While much-maligned (by us) quarterback Blake Bortles has shown marginal improvements this year, it’s been the defense that’s had the biggest influence on the Jaguars’ winning ways. (“Jaguars” and “winning ways” sounds so strange to say aloud.)In the past two drafts, almost two-thirds of Jacksonville’s picks have been on the defensive end, including Yannick Ngakoue, who has 6.5 sacks so far this season. In free agency this year, the Jags signed Calais Campbell to a four-year, $60 million deal, and Campbell currently leads the league in sacks with 11. The dividends this season of the team’s focus on defense have been tremendous: Through Week 9, the Jags rank No. 1 in the league in points per game allowed with just 14.6 and expected points added with 11 per game. GB66%DET54%DET 30, GB 17+18.8– 82012Bears8.410-6Missed playoffs 20122930223028 TEN56TEN55BAL 20, TEN 23-2.6– BUF59BUF64BUF 21, NYJ 34-8.4– ATL51ATL52ATL 17, CAR 20-2.7– 20153124291524 92013Seahawks8.013-3Won Super Bowl The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. read more

Ohio State defensive line adopting a pack mentality to replace departed starters

OSU then-redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Hubbard (6) celebrates after a fumble recovery during a game against Penn State on Oct. 17 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorThe change in seasons is not the only change this spring at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. With 22 players having departed the program, the remaining players and staff for the Ohio State football team are left trying to fill those voids. A lot of that change can be seen in the defensive line. A gaping hole at the right side of that line is leaving many wondering how OSU will fare without Joey Bosa. Bosa, a two-time winner of the Big Ten’s Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year award and a projected first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft, leaves big shoes to fill. OSU defensive line coach Larry Johnson said he believes that the new contributors don’t need to be carbon copies of the player they’re stepping in for but can find ways to make themselves successful in different ways. “My philosophy is that you don’t try to replace them, you just try and find a guy to raise their game to the next level,” Johnson said. “I think the talent is there, and they want to be very good. What I do as a coach is to try and get them to raise their game.” Redshirt sophomore defensive end Sam Hubbard is one such player expected to raise his game to the next level. The 6-foot-5 Cincinnati native is well aware that the ghost of No. 97’s shadow will be looming over the defensive line all season long, but he’s trying to avoid that pressure. “I don’t want to be Joey Bosa,” Hubbard said. “He’s a great player, but I just want to be the best Sam Hubbard.”Fortunately for Hubbard, he was able to accumulate enough experience last season to set him up for his newfound spotlight. Hubbard, who recorded 6.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman, was in the rotation, often giving Bosa a few downs off or even playing on opposite sides of the line. His biggest test, however, was when he replaced Bosa after the starter was ejected in the first quarter against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. From that point forward, Hubbard said he knew he needed to be a leader of the unit. “I used to watch the older guys, and now the younger guys are watching me,” Hubbard said. “There are great players that came before us, and if we have any drop off, then our possibility of losing the game is higher. We have to continue at the level of play that is expected at Ohio State.”One of the younger guys who could be a factor next year has a familiar surname: Nick Bosa. Before he even takes a snap donning scarlet and gray, one of the most highly touted recruits in the nation already has exceedingly high expectations. Although Nick Bosa is still on the road to recovery after sustaining a torn ACL as a high school senior, Johnson said he believes that once the younger Bosa gets back to work after his injury, the sky’s the limit.“He is so far ahead in his rehab right now, and we are talking and communicating. I am getting great video of what he is doing,” Johnson said. Johnson and his staff have yet to make a decision on where on the defensive line Nick Bosa will play. His older brother played on the outside, but the incoming freshman could find himself on the interior.“He can do both,” Johnson said. “We are going to see what’s the best fit for him and put the best 11 guys on the field. If he is a part of the best 11, we are going for it.”Alongside Hubbard is Tyquan Lewis, a redshirt junior defensive end from North Carolina. After playing through a shoulder injury last year, Lewis is spending his spring rehabilitating to get back and lead the younger guys. For Lewis, though, it’s not about one guy but the whole unit defensively. “We all have to play within ourselves but understand that we are playing together as one,” Lewis said. “The expectations for all of us are high because this is big-time football at a big-time university, so we want to make sure everyone gets a piece of the pie.”The culture that Johnson is helping bring to the defensive line is to limit the expectations of the individual but heighten expectations of the unit. This kind of collectivist thinking is influencing the players to think of themselves as one of 11. Hubbard, a primary leader of the defensive line, said he sets the example for not only the younger guys but for the entire defense.“I just want to never lose a rep, be a disruption, make plays, do my job, and be my one-eleventh part of the defense that everyone can rely on,” Hubbard said.OSU is set to make its return to the field on Saturday in the annual intrasquad spring game. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. at Ohio Stadium following the men’s lacrosse game against Michigan. read more

Mens hockey Lack of offense hurts No 12 Buckeyes in series finale

Ohio State freshman defenseman Matt Miller fights for the puck against a Michigan forward against the Wolverines on Feb. 25 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorEntering the weekend, Ohio State and Michigan averaged 11 combined goals per game in their last six contests. After a 4-2 victory at home Friday night, the Buckeyes’ (17-9-6, 8-7-1-1) offense went silent in the series finale, falling in a quiet Game Two to the rivaled Wolverines, 1-0.The lone goal in the game from Michigan freshman forward Nick Pastujov sealed the win for the visitors, who recorded just their first regulation win in 2017. The loss drops the Scarlet and Gray to 6-6-2 at the Schottenstein Center this year, and marks their first shutout loss at home since 2012 — a 4-0 loss to the Wolverines.“I thought we chased it from the start,” coach Steve Rohlik said following the loss. “Give credit to Michigan, give credit to their goaltender. They did what they had to do to come in here to win a game.”Similarly to Game One, the Scarlet and Gray controlled the tempo the opening half of the first period — but the Wolverines (10-17-3, 3-11-2-2) again found the back of the net first. Freshman forward Nick Pastujov cashed in from close range to give the visitors a 1-0 lead with a little over 10 minutes remaining on his first goal of the season.Five minutes later, Michigan senior forward Max Shuart found himself one-on-one with OSU senior goaltender Christian Frey for a chance to quickly double the lead just outside the crease. However, the Buckeyes’ netminder prevailed with a pad save to keep the one-goal deficit into the first intermission.Even on shots out of the locker room, OSU continued to pepper Wolverines’ senior goaltender Zach Nagelvoort throughout the period, searching for the equalizer. Rohlik’s squad provided a number of opportunities to level the scoreline, but the nation’s third-ranked offense lacked the finishing touch in front of net and struggled to bury its chances.“(Chances) are so close at times with scrums in front of the net, and you wonder why they’re just not going, but it’s just kind of how it goes sometimes,” senior forward and captain Nick Schilkey said. “You can’t quit on it….we did force it at times, but for some reason they just weren’t going.”It took nearly two full periods for the both sides to earn their first power plays of the game, but neither could add to the scoresheet in the second stanza as the visitors carried their lead into the third at 1-0.More and more chances presented themselves in the final frame for Michigan to add to a one-goal advantage, or OSU to get back into the game. Frey and Nagelvoort continued to fight off waves of shots, but after 60 minutes, the Buckeyes dropped an important conference clash, 1-0, despite outshooting the Wolverines 42-23.“Down the stretch, I feel like we drew a few calls that normally we would actually get. But the reality is that we have to score some five-on-five goals,” Schilkey said. “We’ve got to be better offensively five-on-five, and that was kind of the theme of the night.”A home series with Michigan State, and a weekend trip to Wisconsin remain on the regular season slate for the Scarlet and Gray. With Big Ten seeding and NCAA tournament implications on the line in the closing weeks, Rohlik said his team can’t dwell on this loss to Michigan, and that their hopes of postseason play still remain in their control.“We just want to get back on the ice. We got to get back after it next week, and have a great week of practice,” he said. “We just got to go out and keep winning hockey games, and as hard as it is, we’ve got to put this one behind us and we’ve got to look forward to Michigan State next week.”Puck drop next Friday for Game One of a weekend series with the Spartans is set for 7 p.m., while the season’s home finale Saturday night is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. read more

Mens soccer rebounds with pair of wins

After two rough games last week, the Ohio State men’s soccer team rebounded well, getting a tough win against Oakland last Wednesday and a 2-0 win Friday night against Cleveland State. “We stumbled a little last week, but to respond from the two bad games and to get back on the right track was very good,” coach John Bluem said. “I am proud of the guys. It was a good team effort in both of our wins this week, so I am very happy right now for the team.”Under cloudy and rainy conditions at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, the Buckeyes struck early, two minutes into the game.After a great pass from Buckeye forward Chris Hegngi, who crossed the ball to Austin McAnena, McAnena got the ball and drilled it into the upper-right corner of the goal to give OSU a 1-0 advantage.“That was all Chris,” midfielder Austin McAnena said. “I was just on the back end of that. It was a great pass right on the money. I give the credit to Chris and the rest of the team.”Midfielder Matt Gold was the player who initially started the play with an outlet pass to Hegngi. For the freshman McAnena, it was his third goal of the season. “They’ve done that a couple of times this year,” Bluem said. “Those two freshmen are really good players, and they play more like upperclassmen.”OSU added another quick goal in the 19th minute of play when senior co-captain Doug Verhoff scored his fourth goal of the season.Verhoff launched a free kick from 25 yards out that bent around and went into the goal, which gave OSU its 2-0 score.From start to finish, the Buckeyes dominated, playing much more aggressively and very physically. Cleveland State displayed a sense of frustration, with five yellowcards by the end of the game.For goalie Matt Lampson, it was his fifth shutout of the season. The redshirt freshman had five saves on the day and he improved his record to 5-1-2 on the year.Last Wednesday saw the Buckeyes matched up against Oakland, a rematch of last year’s second-round tournament game. OSU defeated Oakland 1-0 after sophomore Joshua Breto scored the game’s only goal.The Buckeyes will remain at home when they return to action Wednesday against the University of Illinois-Chicago. Game time for the non-conference matchup is 7 p.m. read more

Braxton Miller announces intentions to move from quarterback to receiver

Redshirt senior Braxton Miller (5) carries the ball during a spring practice. Miller announced on Thursday his intentions to switch to H-back for his final season.Credit: Lantern file photoWhile the three-horse race for the starting quarterback position has been much of the talk since Ohio State won the national championship in January, one of those horses dropped out of the running — but into a different spot on the offense.Redshirt senior Braxton Miller is set to make a transition from quarterback, where he started for OSU for three years, to a receiver role for his final collegiate season.This was announced in an interview with Sports Illustrated published late Thursday evening. In it, Miller, who entered the offseason competing with redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett and redshirt junior Cardale Jones for the starting spot, said he had begun to consider the idea in April.Since then, the article said, Miller began catching balls from Barrett at night in order to keep the possible transition a secret in case OSU coach Urban Meyer decided to tab him the starter.On Thursday, Miller announced that the secret was out as he was no longer in the running for the QB job and instead plans to play H-back, which is a position that acts as a hybrid of wide receiver, tight end and running back. It is a position requiring versatility and athleticism that was utilized last season in junior Dontre Wilson and redshirt sophomore Jalin Marshall.In the SI story, Miller said he has not completely closed the door on playing quarterback this season, but he anticipates practicing with the wide receivers 80 percent of the time and quarterbacks 20 percent when fall practice begins in August.Miller said also he hopes to return punts for the Buckeyes, a role H-backs Wilson and Marshall shared last season.The Huber Heights, Ohio, product started 12 games in each of his first three seasons with the Buckeyes, throwing for more than 5,000 yards and 52 touchdowns. He also ran for 32 more scores.He was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for his sophomore and junior seasons, as well as a Davey O’Brien Award finalist for the nation’s top quarterback in his sophomore campaign.Miller was set to be the starter heading into the 2014 season, but a torn labrum in his right shoulder cost him the season just a few weeks before it began. He was replaced by Barrett, who started 12 games before suffering an ankle injury on Nov. 29 against Michigan. Barrett was then replaced by Jones, who started OSU’s three postseason games and helped lead them to the national championship.Rumors swirled about Miller possibly transferring with the seemingly uphill battle toward winning back the starting job over Barrett and Jones, but he confirmed his intentions to stay in the scarlet and gray earlier in July.Now, Miller is set to begin his final collegiate season and his first in his new role on Sept. 7 when OSU travels to Blacksburg, Va., to open the season against Virginia Tech. read more

Football Ohio State headed to the Cotton Bowl to face USC

Ohio State players and coaches celebrate in the fourth quarter of the B1G Championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 2 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ohio State won 27-21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorNo. 5 Ohio State might not be reaching the College Football Playoff, but the Buckeyes will have a chance to make a statement facing off against Pac-12 champion No. 8 USC at AT&T Stadium in Dallas at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 29.The winners of the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences typically square off in the Rose Bowl, but this season, the Rose Bowl is one of the two playoff games and will be the matchup between No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Georgia. The Buckeyes have played the Trojans 23 times since 1937, and USC holds the 13-9-1 edge in the matchup. USC has won all of the past seven matchups dating back to 1975, including wins in 2008 and 2009 when Jim Tressel and Pete Carroll squared off against one another. read more

Trinny Woodall faces £300000 divorce battle from beyond the grave

first_imgA High Court registrar initially threw out the case, but the ruling is now being appealed.A spokesman for Ms Woodall, who is in a relationship with millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi, said: “This is a nightmare for an innocent spouse who received nothing on divorce, yet years later is sued by a trustee in bankruptcy, asserting an unheard-of claim to spousal rights of her deceased ex-husband.”Her barrister, Caroline Hely Hutchinson, said the trustee had no standing in law to bring a “personal claim” on behalf of Mr Elichaoff, arguing that any such right ended when he died.She said that the trustee’s claim was “factually outrageous” and targeted “a single mother who received no property from her husband either during the marriage or afterwards, and who has alone provided for their child.”She told the High Court: “My client had a five-year-old daughter and she was entirely responsible for the pastoral and financial care of that daughter.”The husband was a drug addict and these debts have been accrued post-separation. As it is, that man never made a further contribution to his wife and never repaid the £1.4m.”The court heard Ms Woodall, who now gives regular fashion advice on ITV’s This Morning, and Mr Elichaoff married in 1999 and divorced in 2009 on grounds of two years’ separation.A bankruptcy petition was presented in March 2009 for non-payment of rent and Mr Elichaoff was officially made bankrupt on July 7 of that year. Nine days later, a court approved their divorce settlement, under which he was to pay £24,000-a-year each to his daughter and wife.For the trustee, barrister James Pickering told Judge Robin Dicker QC that instead of being ordered to pay maintenance in the divorce settlement, Mr Elichaoff should have been awarded a six-figure sum from his former wife.Describing his case as “innovative”, he said: “At the time, the bankrupt was relatively poor and had little or no assets or income.”Miss Woodall, on the other hand, was relatively wealthy and had capital resources approaching £1.5m and a six-figure annual income.”Evidence at the time suggested Miss Woodall was on a £350,000-a-year salary, while Mr Elichaoff earned only £30,000 a year, he added.He said that the issue of whether Mr Elichaoff’s entitlement to support from his ex-wife was “property” that passed on to his trustee at the time of the bankruptcy could now be settled, adding: “It would be wholly bizarre if such a valuable right did not pass to a bankrupt’s trustee.”Mrs Hely Hutchinson argued that the trustee had failed to recognise that Ms Woodall herself was owed £1.4m by her former husband.She also said there had not been an example in 200 years of divorce law in which a trustee in bankruptcy had taken on a deceased spouse’s case. At the inquest into Mr Elichaoff’s death last year, a police officer who had driven him to a mental health unit two weeks before he died said that he had been told by the businessman that he was depressed because he had lost “a lot” of money “through some terrible investments in oil.”Judge Dicker reserved judgment on the case until a later date. Trinny Woodall in April Trinny Woodall in AprilCredit: Jonathan Hordle/REX/Shutterstock 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. Trinny Woodall and Jonny Elichaoff after announcing their engagementcenter_img Trinny Woodall is being pursued through the courts for debts of almost £300,000 left behind by her dead ex-husband.The former What Not to Wear presenter is facing a “nightmare” battle after the trustee in Johnny Elichaoff’s bankruptcy has claimed that she should have been paying her husband maintenance after their marriage ended.The couple, who had a daughter together, had agreed a divorce settlement in 2009 which stated Mr Elichaoff should pay the fashion adviser £24,000 a year in maintenance as well as repaying £1.4m that she had lent to him over their ten-year marriage. Trinny Woodall and Jonny Elichaoff after announcing their engagementCredit:Eleanor Bentall However, it later emerged that Mr Elichaoff had been declared bankrupt shortly before the divorce was finalised, prompting a judge to invalidate the original settlement earlier this year.Now creditors owed almost £300,000 by his estate claim that, as the wealthier party, Ms Woodall should have been ordered to make payments to her former partner, and have taken their case to the High Court in a bid to force her to settle his debts.Mr Elichaoff, who became addicted to painkillers after suffering serious injuries in a road traffic accident, took his own life in 2014 having never paid Ms Woodall any of the money agreed in the original settlement.The former drummer, who later managed Tears for Fears, was believed to have been depressed following a series of failed oil investments.The trustee in Mr Elichaoff’s bankruptcy, Ian Robert, now wants to “step into his shoes” to pursue Ms Woodall through the courts to try and force her to pay his £285,000 debts, plus legal bills.last_img read more

NHS should charge health tourists upfront instead of chaotic debt chase

first_imgThe task force well help staff patients ineligible for free careCredit:AFP The damning report sets out a host of failings against policies to recover NHS funds, warning: Forecasts to recover £200m from European patients have been rewritten, after the Department of Health admitted just £72m is likely to be clawed back; Just one in five NHS trusts anticipate any significant increase in recouped funds, with MPs suggesting that few have the “will” to chase debts; A target to reclaim £500m  a year from all overseas patients by 2017/18 is set to be missed by more than £150m; GPs are failing to identify overseas patients, with no systematic arrangements in place to ensure patients are billed; Meg Hillier, PAC chairman said: “The Government’s failure to get a grip on recovering the costs of treating overseas visitors is depriving the NHS of vital funds.”Our committee has reported extensively on the financial pressures facing the health service and it is simply unacceptable that so much money owed should continue to go uncollected.”“The systems for cost recovery appear chaotic,” the report says. “The Department told us it was planning further changes relating to policy and regulation, good practice and IT, but we are not convinced that enough is being done to identify and charge overseas patients”.In evidence to the committee, the DoH said all trusts would now be encouraged to tell patients the likely cost of treatment in advance, with payment secured “up front” wherever possible.The report said the failure to collect payment from patients who were not eligible free care, was limiting resources for those who were entitled to it.“If the NHS does not recover the cost of treating patients who are not entitled to free care, then there is less money available to treat other people and even more pressure on NHS finances,” the report states.Some trusts were found to be collecting as little as 15 per cent of debts owed. NHS hospitals should charge foreign patients “upfront” unless the case is an emergency, the government has said – as a damning report warns Britain is failing to recoup hundreds of millions of pounds.MPs said “chaotic” systems and a lack of sanctions for hospitals which failed to recover debts meant legitimate patients were being starved of vital resources.It comes as a BBC documentary revealed one of the largest hospitals in the country is owed an estimated £500,000 by a Nigerian woman, after she went into labour with quadruplets three months early after landing at London Heathrow in November. The 43-year-old, named only as Priscilla, has said she is unable to pay the bill and was expecting to give birth in the US, where she has family. The health service is supposed to reclaim the costs of treating patients who come to this country from elsewhere in Europe, under reciprocal European Union (EU) arrangements. The systems for cost recovery appear chaoticPublic Accounts Committee 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 committee also suggested the NHS had shown a limited appetite to tackle the issue.“Increasing the amount recovered depends on action by hospital trusts, but only 11 of 50 trusts that responded to a consultation thought that their income from overseas patients would increase significantly in future,” the report said.Just 10 hospital trusts accounted for half of the charges to visitors from beyond the European Economic Area.The report suggests trusts should follow St George’s Hospital in London, in introducing stringent tests of eligiblity for maternity care, after it became the victim of a health tourism scam.  “This suggests it may be possible to take effective action when there is the will to do so. However, there are no clear, consistently applied, sanctions when trusts do badly,” the report warns.It also calls on GPs to do more to help identify those patients who should be charged for NHS care.And it said the current rules are hard to enforce. MPs said the NHS should expand identity checks to establish entitlement to free care, because pilot schemes demanding passports and utilities bills do not prove eligibility, while penalising those who struggle to provide them.Last year  a London trust was revealed to be running a Home Office pilot scheme, which demands that women hand over passports before they give birth.St George’s Hospital in south London drew up the scheme, which may form the basis of the national plan, after uncovering a scam which saw con-men charging Nigerian women who flew to the NHS to give birth.Officials said the unit was used by around 900 pregnant health tourists last year — with deliveries from non-EU mums accounted for a fifth of all births.The hospital sector last year admitted to a deficit of more than £2.45 billion – the largest in its history. If the NHS does not recover the cost of treating patients who are not entitled to free care, then there is less money available to treat other people and even more pressure on NHS financesPublic Accounts Committee But a report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) says the UK is getting back less than  £50m back for the costs of treating European patients – while paying out £675m for care of Britons in Europe.While Poland claimed £4.3 million from the UK for care of Brits staying there annually, the UK claimed just £1.5 million from Poland, the committee found.MPs urged ministers to “get a grip” on the problem – warning that Brexit could cause “further uncertainty” in a system riddled with “unacceptable” failings.The commitee said it was not confident that the Government was taking effective action – and suggested the NHS had shown little desire to tackle the problem. An NHS wardlast_img read more

First aider talks trainee through how to save his life after cardiac

first_imgMr Knowles was taken to the nearby Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, where he suffered a further cardiac arrest and a pulmonary embolism.But his condition improved after having three stents fitted to open his arteries, along with an internal defibrillator implanted in his chest.Mr Knowles spent five weeks in hospital and is now recovering at home after defying the expectations of medical professionals who initially told his family to expect the worst.Doctors are convinced his survival is down to the rapid first aid he received from the woman in his audience. She thought I was role playing, but I told her it was real and that I was going to lose consciousnessDavid Knowles David Knowles with his wife Nova, also a retired nurseCredit:SWNS David and Nova Knowles. She said: “I was there while the paramedics were resuscitating David. He was in and out of consciousness and I was worried he would be afraid, but he was very calm and telling them exactly what was wrong. He was so calm and clear because he was directing us.” 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. A first aider talked one of his church group trainees through saving his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest during a class on how to deliver CPR.David Knowles, a retired nurse, was delivering a talk about his work with the St John Ambulance when he found himself at the centre of a real-life emergency.The group thought the 77-year-old was role-playing, before realising the severity of the situation as he began to lose consciousness.A woman in the audience went to help Mr Knowles, who told her exactly what to do to save his life before he passed out.She gave the St John Ambulance trainer CPR until an ambulance arrived at the Belmont Chapel church group in Exeter, Devon. Mr Knowles fell ill on February 16 and was discharged from hospital on March 22.Doctors at first feared he might have suffered brain damage and that his internal organs could have been affected by his ordeal.They also predicted he would need months of rehabilitation, but Mr Knowles was allowed home several weeks earlier than expected.He is now being looked after by his wife, 75-year-old Nova, also a retired nurse. Mr Knowles, a retired nurse who has volunteered with St John Ambulance for 11 years, said: “I had just started my lecture.”We were talking about cardiopulmonary resuscitation – CPR – and the more senior members of the group had asked for a demonstration. As I was instructing one of them, I suddenly felt dizzy and weak, so I had to lie down.”She thought I was role playing, but I told her it was real and that I was going to lose consciousness. I told her what to do to save my life, then passed out.”I’m told I came too, briefly, and was talking to the paramedics about my condition, but the next thing I remember is waking up in hospital, two and a half weeks later.last_img read more

Scott Hutchison wrote song about suicide as devastated family confirm his death

Scott Hutchison, 36, was last seen at the Dakota Hotel in South Queensferry around 1am on Wednesday (pictured hours previously)Credit:Police Scotland The frontman’s brother talked Wednesday of his “incredible worry” as police continued to search for him. Scott Hutchison, 36, was last seen alive leaving the Dakota Hotel in South Queensferry in Scotland at 1am on Wednesday in a “very fragile state”.  Scott Hutchison, 36, was last seen at the Dakota Hotel in South Queensferry around 1am on Wednesday (pictured hours previously) In a statement released through Police Scotland, Mr Hutchison’s family said: “As a family, we are utterly devastated with the tragic loss of our beloved Scott. Scott Hutchison - lead singer of the band Frightened Rabbit The band, which was formed in Selkirk in Scotland in 2003, are due to perform in Glasgow on June 1.During the early years, Hutchison began performing under the name Frightened Rabbit – a name given to him by his mother to describe his shy nature as a child.He began recording and performing with his brother Grant the following year and has collaborated a number of indie acts. Vocalist and guitarist Hutchison is the only ever-present member of Frightened Rabbit, who have released five studio albums. The latest, Painting of a Panic Attack released in 2016, reached number 16 in the UK album charts and the 2008 release The Midnight Organ Fights made NME’s top 100 albums of the decade.  Be so good to everyone you love. It’s not a given. I’m so annoyed that it’s not. I didn’t live by that standard and it kills me. Please, hug your loved ones.— Scott Hutchison (@owljohn) May 8, 2018 I’m away now. Thanks.— Scott Hutchison (@owljohn) May 8, 2018 I closed my eyes for a second and when they opened you weren’t there.And the door shut I was vacuum packed, Shrink-wrapped out of air.And the spine collapsed, and the eyes rolled back to stare at my starving brain.And fully clothed, I float away (I’ll float away) down the Forth, into the sea.I think I’ll save suicide for another day.And I picture this corpse on the M8 hearse and I half run away to sleep an a rolled up coat against the window with the strobe of the sun.And the life I’ve led ,am I ready to leap? Is there peace beneath the roar of the Forth road bridge?On the Northern side there’s a Fife of mine and a boat in the port for me.And fully clothed, I float away (I’ll float away) Down the Forth, into the sea I’ll steer myself through drunken waves.These manic gulls scream it’s okay. Take your life. Give it a shake. Gather up all your loose change.I think I’ll save suicide for another year.Songwriters: David Kennedy / Grant David Hutchison / Scott John HutchisonCopyright: Domino Publishing Company Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote: “Heartbreaking news. My  thoughts are with Scott’s family, friends and fans. A remarkable and much loved  talent.”  Lightbody paid tribute on Instagram to “one of Scotland’s most extraordinary song writers”.”He wrote with such profound insight into loss and longing and listening to his words always made me feel this heady mix of wonder, elation and pain. That pain that also makes you feel someone understands what you’re going through and you don’t feel so alone.”He was willing to hurt in his songs so that the listener hurt less. But when you live on the edge of that pain it can sometimes get to be too much to bear. I just wish he knew what he meant to so many.”Thank you Scott for every extraordinary song you ever wrote and for the times we shared. Your music brought light to the world and always will. So much love to all your family, band mates and close friends.”I am so deeply sorry for their loss. The world is less today without you Scott.” His band Frightened Rabbit have also issued a statement, saying Hutchison leaves a “legacy of hope, kindness and colour”.It read: “There are no words to describe the overwhelming sadness and pain that comes with the death of our beloved Scott but to know he is no longer suffering brings us some comfort.”Reading messages of support and hope from those he has helped through his art has helped immensely and we encourage you to continue doing this.”He will be missed by all of us and his absence will always be felt but he leaves a legacy of hope, kindness and colour that will forever be remembered and shared.” He added: “He does suffer from depression, he has been very open about that in an attempt to help other people with similar conditions.”He’s kind, he’s a great uncle to my three kids, a fantastic wee brother and an inspiring guy who is one of my heroes. “”He’s an inspiration to me and I miss him very much.”Grant Hutchison, a drummer with the band, spoke about his brother being an “inspirational” figure and a “hero” who he missed very much. His last tweets prompted hundreds of supporters to come forward with messages of encouragement for the singer, including former Radio 1 DJ Edith Bowman, Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol, Saint Raymond and Frank Turner. But these turned to tributes on Friday as news filtered through that police had found a body. Franz Ferdinand singer Alex Kapranos tweeted: “Awful news about Scott Hutchison. A terrible loss.”Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian wrote: “Tragic news about Scott Hutchison. The whole music community in Scotland was praying for a different outcome.”Folks, if you are up against it, having dark thoughts, please tell someone, family, a friend or a doctor. There is always another way, though it might not seem like it.” “Depression is a horrendous illness that does not give you any alert or indication as to when it will take hold of you.”Scott battled bravely with his own issues for many years and we are immensely proud of him for being so open with his struggles.”His willingness to discuss these matters in the public domain undoubtedly raised awareness of mental health issues and gave others confidence and belief to discuss their own issues.” 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. “Despite his disappearance, and the recent concerns over his mental health, we had all remained positive and hopeful that he would walk back through the door, having taken some time away to compose himself.”Scott, like many artists, wore his heart on his sleeve and that was evident in the lyrics of his music and the content of many of his social media posts.”He was passionate, articulate and charismatic, as well as being one of the funniest and kindest people we knew.”Friends and family would all agree that he had a brilliant sense of humour and was a great person to be around.”In addition to his musical success, Scott was a wonderful son, brother, uncle and friend. Despite whatever else was going on in his life he always had time for those he cared for. It emerged the lead singer left the hotel without his phone and his brother Grant, who plays drums in the Scottish indie band, updated fans Thursday morning by saying: “We have no news to report on Scott’s whereabouts this morning.”Your support so far has been incredible and all we ask is you keep him in your thoughts, keep an eye out and keep sharing his picture online. Thanks for everything. Your kindness and positivity is keeping us going.”He signed off the message on Twitter with his initial, and it came after an Instagram post Wednesday pleading for help.In it, he said: “Has anyone seen my brother/bandmate/best friend? He’s in a very fragile state and has been missing since last night and we’re all incredibly worried.”On Thursday Mr Hutchison’s brothers, Grant and Neil, said they were “distraught” about his disappearance and appealed for him to get in touch.The pair spoke about their sibling’s fight with depression and how he had helped others by speaking about his condition.Elder brother Neil, 38, said: “In relation to Frightened Rabbit, the band and Scott’s work and how many people he himself has helped who might be suffering from the same emotions and feelings, that’s been great to read.” Floating in the Forth by Frightened Rabbit (lyrics)So you just stepped out of the front of my house and I’ll never see you again. Scott Hutchison – lead singer of the band Frightened Rabbit Depression is a horrendous illness that does not give you any alert or indication as to when it will take hold of youFamily of Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison Scott Hutchison’s family have talked of the Frightened Rabbit singer’s battle with depression as it emerged he wrote a song about suicide near where his body was found. Officers at Police Scotland made the discovery at Port Edgar near South Queensferry at 8.30pm on Thursday.His family have been left “utterly devastated” and described how he “battled bravely with his own issues for many years and we are immensely proud of him for being so open with his struggles”.Hutchison talked openly about mental illness, and the singer-songwriter wrote a song addressing suicide titled Floating in the Forth. In the chorus from the 2008 song he sang: “And fully clothed, I float away Down the Forth, into the sea. I think I’ll save suicide for another day.”Three hours before he was last seen, at 1am on Wednesday, the frontman tweeted: “Be so good to everyone you love. It’s not a given. I’m so annoyed that it’s not.”I didn’t live by that standard and it kills me. Please, hug your loved ones.”The singer followed the tweet up minutes later at 11.09pm with message simply reading: “I’m away now. Thanks.” read more

Duke of Cambridge arrives at the Royal Wedding with Prince Harry

Friends including Jessica Mulroney, Misha Noo Lindsay Roth, Benita Litt, Janina Gavankar and Priyanka Chopra are expected to be part of the congregation. Prince Harry went on to tease his brother mercilessly during a none-the-less heartfelt best man’s speech at the wedding reception, allegedly wearing a fez, mimicking the lovestruck conversations between a young Kate and William, and ridiculing his bald spot.Royal men have traditionally had “supporters” by their side at their wedding, with both Prince William and Prince Harry now breaking with the convention to use the more modern term of “best man”. Jessica Mulroney and Meghan Markle in 2016 Prince Harry Meghan Markle Royal Wedding Duke of Cambridge The pair were cheered by the crowds as they arrivedCredit:PA The Duke, who has always been the front-runner for the supporting role at the May wedding, is “honoured” to have been asked, Kensington Palace said. Prince William and Prince Harry in borrowed policemen outfits Asked how he felt about being asked to be Prince Harry’s best man, the Duke said: “It feels great. [I am] Thrilled and delighted obviously. ​ Earlier this year, the Duke talked of the lifelong close bond he has enjoyed with his brother, saying at a charity event about male mental health in January: “Our relationship is closer than it’s been because of the situation we’ve been through.”Losing our mother at a young age, it’s helped us travel through that difficult patch together. You’re like-minded.”You go through similar things, it’s a bond and it’s something you know you’ve tackled together and come out better for it.”After the ceremony inside the chapel, which is in the grounds of Windsor Castle, he is expected to deliver a traditional best man’s speech. Jessica Mulroney and Meghan Markle in 2016Credit:George Pimentel/WireImage Prince William and Prince Harry in borrowed policemen outfitsCredit:PA ​ The best man and bridesmaidsThe Duke of Cambridge will be Harry’s best man, missing the FA Cup final to be at his brother’s side. The two spent the night at the Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park where the cheapest room available costs £370.Meghan Markle stayed at a hotel 15 miles away – the Cliveden House Hotel – with her mother Doria Ragland. Prince Harry was Prince William’s best man in 2011 when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wed inside Westminster Abbey.  Prince George and Princess Charlotte were almost certain to be page boy and flower girl. The siblings already know the score – they performed those roles at the wedding of Pippa Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge’s younger sister, to James Matthews in May last year.  Kensington Palace has announced that Ms Markle will have no adult bridesmaids ‘because she’s unable to choose between her friends’, and will instead be surrounded by children as page boys, bridesmaids and flower girls. “Revenge is sweet. I’ll be looking forward to it.”The Duke’s own stag do is reported to have been held on a Devon estate, Hartland Abbey, where he and close friends indulged in drinking, clay pigeon shooting, surfing and games. 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. FOLLOW LIVE COVERAGE OF THE ROYAL WEDDING HEREThe Duke of Cambridge arrived with Prince Harry at St George’s Chapel, taking up his role as best man for his brother at the Royal Wedding – and returning the gesture from his own big day seven years ago.Both Harry and the Duke of Cambridge wore the frockcoat uniform of the Blues and Royals.The Queen gave her permission for her grandson to get married in his uniform, Kensington Palace said. Both uniforms were tailored at Dege & Skinner on Savile Row.Prince Harry and the Duke looked relaxed as he walked down to the chapel with his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, to loud cheers from the waiting crowd.The pair smiled and waved to well-wishers during the short walk. read more

Taxpayer was ripped off by student loan book sale Public Accounts Committee

The taxpayer was ripped off by the sale of the student loan book, a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report has found.The Treasury’s rush to reduce debt is “short sighted” and risks public assets being sold off “at any price”, it added.When the Government sold the student loan book in 2017, it had a face value of £3.5 billion but was sold for £1.7 billion, which is a return of only 48p in the £1.  According to the PAC, the deal was did not represent value for money for public sector finances in the long term. It pointed out that according to the Government’s own analysis, if it had held on to the loans it would have recouped the £1.7 billion sale price in just eight years.  –– ADVERTISEMENT ––“We did not expect government to recover the face value of the loans as repayments rely on people’s earnings, which means there is no realistic prospect of them all being repaid in full,” the report said.  “But we do expect the Treasury and the Department for Education (DfE) to get the best possible deal on behalf of the taxpayer. In this case, government received too little in return for what it gave up.”The Committee said that Treasury risks accepting too low a price for public assets due to their willingness to accept offers from investors if they exceed government’s theoretical “opportunity cost” of holding on to them.“The government’s objective to reduce ‘public sector net debt’, as with previous asset sales, runs the risk of being prepared to sell at any price,” they said.  All undergraduates are given a taxpayer backed loan, administered by the Student Loans Company, to pay their tuition fees.They pay it back as a percentage of their income after the graduate and if they have not paid it back after a period of time, the loan is written off altogether.The sale last February was the first of a four-year programme of sales of loans issued before 2012, when university tuition fees were raised to £9,000. According to the PAC, the deal did not represent value for money for public sector finances in the long term According to the PAC, the deal did not represent value for money for public sector finances in the long term The report also criticised the transparency of the deal, in particular, the refusal to disclose the identity of the investors on the basis that it may weaken the Government’s hand in future negotiations.  “It is too easy to fall back on that as an excuse not to reveal information where there appears to be no public interest reason to prevent disclosure,” the report said.  “Government should be transparent about who is investing in the loans and potentially profiting from public assets”. The PAC said that the DfE should “at a minimum” disclose publicly the number and type of investors, and should seek permission from all investors to release their names.  In future sales, there must be a presumption to release investor names, unless there is an “evidenced and quantified risk” to value for money in doing so.“Government will need to learn quickly from the weaknesses of this sale if it is to secure the best deal for taxpayers in future,” said Meg Hillier MP, chair of the PAC.“When public assets are gone, they’re gone – in the case of this first student loans sale, for too little return.” She said it is “troubling” that the Government would have recouped the £1.7 billion sale price within eight years.“Decisions on asset sales must fully consider value for money but I am not convinced that this transaction, with its narrow and short-term objective of reducing public sector net debt, is fully compatible with that principle,” Ms Hillier added. A Government spokesperson said: “We are confident that we achieved value for money for taxpayers from the first sale of student loans”, adding: “We received more for the loans than the value to Government of retaining them, further strengthening the public finances.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Woman killed on train may have put head out of window

A woman killed on a train may have been leaning out of a window when she suffered a blow to the head, police have said.She died after sustaining serious head injuries on a Bristol Temple Meads-bound service, between Bath and Keynsham, on Saturday evening.Police said the woman’s death is not being treated as suspicious. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has been informed.A British Transport Police spokesman said: “We were called at around 10.10pm following a report a woman had received serious head injuries while travelling on a train between Bath and Keynsham.”Officers from British Transport Police attended along with colleagues from Avon and Somerset Police and South Western Ambulance Service, but despite their best efforts the woman died at the scene.”Our investigation remains at an early stage, but initial inquiries suggest the woman may have been leaning out of a window when she suffered a blow to the head.”Officers are currently working to confirm her identity and inform her next of kin.”We are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the incident, which has been reported to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.”The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Oxford University spends £12000 on making College menus more diverse

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 month Baroness Royall, a Labour peer, said she wants to “change the culture” of her college to make sure it is “welcoming for all”.She told how after receiving a complaint from a first-year student about an octopus terrine dish, she instructed Somerville’s catering staff to replace it with a less adventurous alternative.Baroness Royall, the former Labour leader in the House of Lords, revealed the move in a blog post last month, titled “I am determined to move fast on widening access to Somerville”, which was published on the College’s website.“One of our students told me of her bemusement at being served an octopus terrine at the Freshers’ Dinner,” she wrote. “I’m sure the cephalopod dish was delicious, but it might not be quite right for everyone. I have asked our catering colleagues to ensure that the first dinner at the beginning of term features dishes everyone is comfortable with.”Some Oxford colleges have removed formal hall altogether in recent years in a bid to become more inclusive, in 2014 Wadham College made the decision to replace it with a termly “guest night”.An Oxford University spokesman said: “Eating together in college has always been a really important part of the Oxford experience for students and we want everyone to be fully involved. “Personal history and culture can be big factors in the kind of food and dining that individuals most enjoy.“That’s why college chefs, food service staff and bursars are working with experts and students on this exciting project, which will help us understand how better to support our communities so everyone can enjoy dining here.” Baroness Jan Royall, head of Somerville, demanded that octopus is removed from the menu  Baroness Jan Royall, head of Somerville, demanded that octopus is removed from the menu  Oxford University has spent £12,000 on making College menus more diverse, it has emerged.Catering staff will be given training and a suite of resources to help them ensure their menus are sufficiently “inclusive” for students.The move comes after Baroness Jan Royall, head of Somerville, demanded that octopus is removed from the menu as part of a drive to make disadvantaged students feel more “comfortable”. The inclusive catering project will be spearheaded by domestic bursars from across Oxford’s colleges. They have formed a new working group to oversee the project, which has been awarded £12,000 from the university’s Diversity Fund.The money will be spent on developing resources and a training programme for kitchen staff, and a series of student focus groups have been arranged with the assistance of a consultancy firm. It is hoped that re-designing College menus will better cater to the tastes of students and staff from black or minority ethnic (BME) or international backgrounds, religious groups, or those who have dietary requirements based on ethical or health grounds.Ellie Macdonald, vice president for welfare and equal opportunities at Oxford’s student union, welcomed the initiative, saying: “It is great to see this happening.It’s vital that catering options reflect the diverse nature of the student body here at Oxford.” However, Mohamed Iman, a third year History student at Oxford said that it is a “wasteful” use of £12,000.“Colleges differ so much that this scheme, whilst well meaning, is most likely to lead to the simple conclusion that halal, kosher and other dietary requirements aren’t being met in some places and are in others,” he said.  Oxford’s Diversity Fund spends £70,000 each year on initiatives aimed at “fostering an inclusive culture which promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected”. read more

Ministers launch crackdown on bad behaviour in schools

Tom Bennett, the Government’s advisor on behaviour, said: “Good behaviour is fundamental – not just to great learning, but countless other goals we value. However, too many students don’t enjoy classrooms where they can thrive and feel safe, and teachers need support and training to ensure this is the case.“This scheme may very well be one of the most significant strategies for public good we have seen in decades and I’m thrilled to be leading this national programme that will help schools become safer and calmer, allowing more children and staff to flourish.”The Department for Education will hire a team of behaviour experts to visit schools and come up with action plans on how to improve their culture. 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. Parents could be fined if children are persistently late for school, ministers have announced, amid a Government crackdown on bad behaviour.The move comes against a backdrop of rising concern about classroom disruption, with a third of state schools marked as having poor behaviour, according to Ofsted inspection reports.From September 2015 to December 2018, 34 per cent of state schools were marked as either “inadequate” or “requires improvement” rating for the Ofsted criteria of “personal development, behaviour and welfare”.  Persistent disruptive behaviour is the most common reason for permanent exclusions in state schools, accounting for over a third (35.7 per cent) of all permanent exclusions in 2016/17.The £10 million crackdown will focus on advising schools how to improve issues such as pupil attendance and punctuality and detention systems.If a pupil is persistently late without a valid reason, this may lead to the parent being issued with a penalty notice or prosecuted.Earlier this year, the Education Secretary said that truancy is a key reason for rising knife crime, as he admitted efforts to reduce the number of pupils persistently absent from school have stalled.One child in 10 is persistently absent while overall unauthorised absence has increased from one per cent in 2006 to 1.3 per cent in 2016/17, according to official data. read more

Deepfake porn perpetrators are being given a free hand because the law

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. “Deepfake” porn perpetrators are being given a free hand to “shatter lives” because the law is unfit for purpose, a study has found.Fake porn – where videos and images are digitally altered to make them sexual or pornographic – is a “growing and harmful” problem, according to law professors from Durham and Kent universities.In a new report on image-based sexual abuse, researchers argue that the phenomenon has taken a more sinister turn due to modern technology.The use of artificial intelligence and “deepfake” – a technique for human image synthesis that uses machine learning – makes altering videos “much more straightforward and sophisticated”, the report says.“To the untrained eye, it is very difficult to tell the difference between the fake and real images, and so the harm and harassment felt by victim-survivors is just as significant,” it explains.The report comes after a Government announcement that the Law Commission has been asked to consider whether existing laws were sufficient.Clare McGlynn, professor of law at Durham University and one of the report’s authors, said: “Due to the serious legal and policy failings identified in this report, we are effectively gambling with people’s lives.”We found that image-based sexual abuse can shatter lives, often experienced as an entire ‘social rupture’ of their world.”She said that “out-of-date and piecemeal laws” must be overhauled, “including criminalising the paralysing and life-threatening impact of threats, and recognising the significant harms of fake porn”.Prof McGlynn urged ministers to introduce a new law criminalising all forms of non-consensual taking or sharing of sexual images, including threats and altered images.Revenge porn – the sharing of private or sexual images or videos of a person without their consent – became an offence in England and Wales in April 2015, but falls under communications legislation, meaning victims are not granted automatic anonymity like under sexual offences laws.Creating fake porn or “deepfake” images is not currently covered by a specific law, meaning the route to a prosecution can be difficult.Upskirting became a criminal offence in England and Wales in April 2019 following a high-profile campaign. However, academics said the law fails to cover grey areas about motive.The report found that while most social media and internet companies have processes to remove harmful images, those processes are “often slow and complicated”.The research, which will be presented to MPs on Monday, was funded by the Australian Research Council as part of a  project examining Image-Based Sexual Abuse in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. read more

Exam appeals should be free because middle class pupils have unfair advantage

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. Exam appeals should be free because middle class pupils have an unfair advantage, a private school chief has said.Shaun Fenton, chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference which represents the country’s leading schools including Eton College and Harrow School, said it “doesn’t seem fair” that some pupils are more likely to get their grades changed than others.Exam boards levy a range of charges for GCSE and A-level re-marks depending on what services are desired. A “clerical check” – which ensures that all the pages were marked and all the marks were added up correctly – is the least expensive, costing £8.05 for GCSEs and £16.10 for A levels with AQA.Meanwhile, a “priority review of marking” is more expensive, costing up to £46.40 with EdExcel for GCSEs, rising to £55.90 for A-levels.For AQA, it is £37.55  for GCSE and £51.75 for A-levels. OCR charge £59.80 for a “review of marking” for A-levels, rising to £71.95 if you want to see your script.  Most boards waive the fees if the grade is changed as a result of the remark.Mr Fenton, who is headmaster at the £19,350-a-year Reigate Grammar school, told The Daily Telegraph: “It doesn’t seem fair that children who come from wealthier backgrounds, where their parents have the funds and wherewithal to explore and pay for remarks, are more likely to get justice than families who can’t afford it.”He said that Ofqual should remove the cost barrier altogether and make all appeals and requests for remarks free.  Three years ago, the exams watchdog tightened up the rules surrounding appeals in an attempt to discourage such large numbers of students seeking remarks.Ofqual said it was not fair that some students were getting a “second bite of the cherry” as it felt too many students had been getting extra marks, and possibly a higher grade when in fact the original mark was “perfectly appropriate”.In 2016, examiners are being told to only change a mark if there is a clear “marking error” rather than simply a difference of interpretation. It was felt that this would likely lead to fewer successful challenges.Mr Fenton added: “Ofqual made it a lot harder to have a mark change. They had identified the right problem but this is the wrong answer.“I would rather increase access to justice, than say ‘because not everyone can have it, we will stop anyone from having it’.” read more

Letter Negligence procrastination seems to be the order of the day

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPharmacy graduates’ careers on holdMarch 14, 2017In “Local News”25 Medex unemployed 2 years after completing programmeMarch 29, 2017In “Health”Zara Group in collaboration with GPF to offer UG scholarshipsAugust 11, 2017In “Business” Dear Editor,I don’t know if there is any other country in the world where people’s time is wasted like in Guyana, but if there is, Guyana would still stand out as a front-runner.If this current Government does nothing else, it owes each citizen a debt to dismantle structures of senseless bureaucracy, incompetence and ineptitude.Two individuals recently had the royal run-around to get certificates from the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE) for exams they successfully completed since mid-last year (2016). The IDCE offers programmes administered by the University of Guyana (UG). One of the individuals needs her certificate to complete application for a programme being offered by the said UG. She was told that the certificate, which should have initially been ready within three months, had a spelling error and had to be redone.It took them nine months to realise that error. Over those nine months, the young lady was repeatedly told that her certificate was not yet ready. Consequently, the prospective UG student was charged $500 to make a change to her UG application. She had to pay a further $500 to IDCE for ‘expediting’. The latter process meant she had to go to a named commercial bank and stand in a snaking queue for almost one hour to pay G$500 (approximately US$2.30).The process of getting the certificate sorted took about four days in total, and on the date she was told to finally uplift her certificate it was still not ready. This was after one week of her $500 payment, because some Dean at UG had not completed the certificate’s endorsement. That young lady has already incurred expense of close to $10,000 in transportation and loss of income through the whole unfortunate episode for which she is at no fault of creating.How are we really helping people? How are we really helping to retain them? How are we going to build capacity and develop Guyana with such backwardness?The second individual’s experience, though similar, differs slightly only since the institution for which her certificate is required is in Canada. She already has a confirmed departure date from Guyana to Toronto. Her certificate is still not ready after much up and down.I had my own troubling experience dealing with UG recently too, but that was already addressed by an administrator who seems to be making an effort to rescue competence.This culture of wasting people’s time and money seem to be continuing unabated.It is worrisome when, at Guyana’s highest institution of learning, such a culture of negligence and procrastination seem to be the order of the day. The systems are convoluted by a mix of inflexibility, attitudinal hostility and lack of consideration or empathy for people who are often struggling to improve their lives.Something needs to be done to stem this “come-back-tomorrow”, “come-back-next week” culture.Such is the case at City Hall too, where earlier this year I had a four-month push around on a very simple matter by a senior official. If what my friends and I experienced as (dis)services are the accepted norms, when multiplied by hundreds of other clients or customers, we are in deep trouble as a nation.I know the Head of a prominent entity that is almost completely disillusioned by this nonsensical, unproductive culture in Guyana; something that daily affects his ability to perform and produce efficiently.Invariably when such lapses are challenged the buck always gets passed to somebody or given some senseless, illogical excuse that the hapless client has to live with since redress is often non-existent.It leads to growing frustration in our society. The wasting of time is the wastage of money, resources, health, life, etc. The often coined sentiment that “well this is Guyana” offers no real hope for progress at the rate that this country requires development.In the World Bank Group’s IBRD, IDA 2017 Report on (Ease of) Doing Business, Guyana is ranked at 124 out of 190 countries. That means there is a 65 per cent difficulty rate of doing any transaction in Guyana, compared to four per cent and 35 per cent in the US and Jamaica, respectively.The relevant oversight bodies and Government are encouraged to continue advancing influence and implementing mechanisms for improving service standards and operational efficiency within organisations and entities. It is vital to renewing public confidence and facilitating development in Guyana.Sincerely,Orette Cutting read more

Blocks given to ExxonMobil by Janet Jagan led to the discovery

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedLetter: Govt’s claim that all the offshore blocks are gone is another falsehoodSeptember 22, 2017In “Letters”Guyana got “peanuts” for oil as ExxonMobil gains more – JagdeoDecember 29, 2017In “Business”Available petroleum blocks should be auctioned off- President’s AdvisorSeptember 18, 2017In “Business” …says ‘special circumstances’ at the time warranted the need for such actions Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, on Wednesday, staunchly defended the Petroleum Exploration License issued to ExxonMobil in 1999 under the hand of then President Janet Jagan.Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat JagdeoThe Opposition Leader was at the time responding to claims asserted by Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram, and reproduced in at least one newspaper, which pointed to some 600 petroleum exploration blocks being given to ExxonMobil.Ram contends this contravenes the governing petroleum laws which only allow a maximum of 60 blocks.He had rightfully indicated too that there are special circumstances provided for in the statutes and according to Jagdeo, special circumstances did exist at the time.Former President, the late Janet JaganThe Opposition Leader in defending the actions of former President Janet Jagan was adamant, “it is a fact ExxonMobil was given about 600 blocks in 1999…Let me say this country should be grateful to Janet Jagan.”The former President said the matter has to be seen in context and pointed to the fact that there has been oil exploration in Guyana for more than a century now.According to Jagdeo, “at that time when Janet gave these blocks out we didn’t have many takers.” He explained that with a track record of more than a century of explorations and never finding oil, Guyana was a high risk country for any investor to put money into oil exploration to the tune of hundreds of millions of US dollars.Natural resources Minister Raphael TrotmanJagdeo opined too that the move was in fact significant from a geopolitical perspective given the renewed Venezuela claims.According to Jagdeo, the presence of a large US based company such as ExxonMobil, located in a large offshore expanse – now claimed by Venezuela – demonstrated that the United States of America recognised the territory as sovereign to Guyana.“We don’t have anything to hide” Jagdeo said, adding that he “believed that Janet Jagan, in own her judgment, did the right thing for geo-political reasons. And her decision led Guyana to the discovery of oil.”Meanwhile, the Opposition Leader also used the occasion to respond to Social Activist, Christopher Ram, who has in recent days, through different mediums, accused Jagdeo of a suspect extension of the ExxonMobil Agreement in 2008, saying under the laws, the company should have had to relinquish half of what it had been granted.Jagdeo did in fact grant the extension which included not giving up any of the blocks held by ExxonMobil and he told media operatives, “it is a fact that in 2008 I signed an extension agreement with relinquishment in it, an extension to that agreement…we don’t have anything to hide about it.”In the agreement, ExxonMobil initially acquired the concession for four and a half years after which they would have to hand back 50 per cent.This did not obtain, but Jagdeo has since defended his actions and pointed to when ExxonMobil invoked the force majeure clause in its agreement.Force majeure is defined as unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract.ExxonMobil invoked force majeure when neighbouring Suriname had evicted a CGX rig that was conducting explorations then in the disputed border area.According to Jagdeo, this action by the company led to an essential halt on the operations of ExxonMobil.Explaining why his administration did not enforce the relinquishment provisions of the agreement – forcing ExxonMobil to give up half of its petroleum blocks – Jagdeo said “when you declare force majeure it freezes everything.”This happened in September 2000, but the matter was not resolved until almost a decade later in 2007, when a United Nation’s tribunal made a final ruling on the border dispute between Guyana and Suriname and demarcated the maritime boundary between the two countriesThe then president explained that the company approached government the following year to lift the force majeure, “so none of the period between 1998 and 2008 when force majeure was lifted could you have done anything because once force majeure is in place everything freezes.”Jagdeo said the actions led to an almost reset of initial agreement.He lamented the almost decade long period for which the force majeure clause had been in effect.The opposition leader noted too that when ExxonMobil found oil in commercial quantities in 2015 Guyana was de-risked meaning that investors were now looking to flock to these shores.The former President also used the occasion to sound another alarm following the sale of major shareholdings valued millions of US dollars in an offshore oil company operating in the Orinduik Block – a concession that was issued in January 2016 by the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Government after it took office a few months earlier.Jagdeo was at the time on Tuesday addressing members of the local media corps and observed the sale of the shares even as he again lambasted the administration over its silence regarding the affairs of the industry and to allegations regarding companies with intrinsically linked shareholdings that ties back to ministers.He told media operatives, “I saw an agreement that (Minister Raphael) Trotman gave being flipped now in just a matter of a year.”The former President was making reference to news that the French owned Total E&P Activities Petrolieres signed an agreement with a shareholder in Guyana’s Orinduik Block Eco Atlantic for the tune of millions of US dollars, and is likely to see it establishing a foothold locally.Speaking during the press engagement, the former President was adamant that Minister David Patterson is yet to respond to the claims that persons with shared links to the administration have been making application for petroleum concessions in order to flip the licenses for a profit.Jagdeo remains adamant that the lies emanating from the Administration have been overshadowing the core issues surrounding his allegation of likely corruption. read more

Letter Parliamentary Opposition amused at invitation to tour CJIA expansion project

Dear Editor,The Parliamentary Opposition notes with great amusement the invitation, under the signature of the Clerk of the National Assembly, being directed by Speaker on the behest of the Minister of Public Infrastructure to a tour of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project site, schedule for Friday 27th April 2018.The purported purpose of this tour, according to the correspondence, is to provide all Members of Parliament (MPs) with relative information so that a more informed discourse on the project may occur in the future.However, we wish to reiterate the following:The Parliamentary Opposition will not participate in any charade, of any kind, at any time, to lend any semblance of legitimacy and to camouflage any appearance of transparency to this unaccountable Administration;We remind all Guyanese of the hostile, diatribe and near sabotage of this project by the then Opposition, AFC and APNU, jointly. This was suppose to have been, according to their interpretation, a corrupt under hand deal by the then Jagdeo Administration;The CJIA expansion project was part of a number of transformative projects, which included the Marriott Hotel, to bring in a new sector, mainly tourism with its eco brand. Guyana was being poised to become a hub for air traffic to facilitate regional and international traffic, with one of the main effects being lower airfares and lower freight, which would have resulted in a ‘big boom’ for the export of non-traditional projects, not forgetting the Speciality Hospital with a view to provide for medical tourism. The development of the synthetic track and other world class facilities to encourage sports tourism;This contract that was entered into under the PPP/C Administration is a fixed price design and build contract, the documents clearly defined what was to be done. The expansion and lengthening of the runway, the new size of the tarmac, the number of boarding gates eight (8) according to the document and the square footage of the building. It was clearly understood that all the risk, including the geo-technical risk, was to be borne by the contractor in this arrangement. We are aware that significant alterations and changes have been made to the design. It is our intention, and we will at the appropriate time, call for a performance audit of this project, to ensure that the Guyanese people got value for their money and what was paid for was delivered. The Minister of Public Infrastructure on numerous occasions in the National Assembly, failed to answer questions or deliver information promised in regards to this project. His usual style of much rhetoric is now common place with very little to show;I suspect the reason that we have had the entire Cabinet visit this PPP/C project and now an invitation to the entire Parliament, is that the environment is being prepared for supplementary request and approval for more monies for this fixed price project. At the appropriate time, in the National Assembly, we will address these matters.It has been three years since this Administration has been foisted on the Guyanese people and they have not a single project, of a developmental nature, to show. Is this now an act of desperation for some media coverage, to show that things are happening? Maybe the now embattled Minister, who is facing private criminal charges for Misconduct in Public Office, through the Speaker may soon invite the entire Parliament to visit two other PPP/C projects, specifically, the East Coast Highway expansion and the West Coast Demerara road expansion and upgrade.Yours truly,Bishop Juan A. Edghill, PPP/C MPParliamentary spokesperson on Public Infrastructure Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCJIA expansion:$346.5M being sought for 2 more air bridgesApril 28, 2018In “Business”CJIA’s design of new terminal building to be completed by MarchJanuary 31, 2014In “Local News”Airport expansion continues without approval – Benn fends off questions on accountabilityJanuary 16, 2015In “Local News” read more