Richard Sherman Cites Race in DeSean Jacksons Release by

For Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman wrote about how race played a role in DeSean Jackson’s release by the Philadelphia Eagles and his relationship with his childhood friend. The Eagles cut the Pro Bowl receiver amid rumors he had connections with an L.A. gang. Jackson vehemently denied the allegations and eventually signed a three-year, $24-million contract with with the Washington Redskins.I’m not going to tell you that DeSean Jackson isn’t in a gang, because I can’t say unequivocally that he isn’t. I can’t tell you whether his friends have done the things police have accused them of doing, because I wasn’t there. I can’t tell you what DeSean does with his time, because we play football on opposite ends of the country. I can only tell you that I believe him to be a good person, and if you think, say or write otherwise without knowing the man, you’re in the wrong.And if it’s true the Eagles terminated his contract in part because they grew afraid of his alleged “gang ties,” then they did something worse. [Editor’s note: Jackson has agreed to terms with the Redskins.]I look at those words—gang ties—and I think about all the players I’ve met in the NFL and all of us who come from inner-city neighborhoods like mine in Los Angeles, and I wonder how many of us could honestly say we’re not friends with guys doing the wrong things.I can’t.I grew up in Watts, and I played baseball with DeSean in elementary school on a team coached by his father near Inglewood. His father, Bill, picked me up from elementary school 30 minutes away from his home for practice and games because my parents both worked and didn’t finish until later, and I wanted to play baseball with some childhood friends. Bill was a great coach, and a great man. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2009, the summer after his son’s rookie season. DeSean and I didn’t hang out then like we did as kids.Those men with DeSean in the social pictures and the police reports weren’t his closest friends in childhood, but when his father died and few people were there for him, they were there. When a tragic event like that happens, the people who are around are the people who are around, and they were there for him.Was DeSean supposed to then say, “Thanks guys, but now that I’m a millionaire, please leave me alone”? Even if he wanted to, he wouldn’t have. In desperate times for people who come from desperate communities, your friends become your family. I wouldn’t expect DeSean to “distance himself” from anybody, as so many people suggest pro athletes ought to do despite having no understanding of what that means. Going to college and playing in the NFL creates a natural distance, but we can’t push people away just because they’re not as successful as us. I can’t change who I grew up with, but what I can do is try to educate them on the right way of doing things, help them when they need it, and try to keep them out of trouble.There is, of course, a tipping point. There have been times when I realized that someone can’t be helped, because they continue doing the wrong things. Typically, the only time I cut someone off is when they’re in jail, because I can’t help them there.And if they’re accused of a crime, as DeSean’s friends have been, should that reflect poorly on me? Consider that for every several guys I try to help who end up dead or in jail, there’s another person I was able to rescue from a similar end. Should I give up on everybody out of fear of being dirtied by the media?Sorry, but I was born in this dirt.NFL teams understand that. The Seattle Seahawks get it. The Philadelphia Eagles apparently do not.This offseason they re-signed a player who was caught on video screaming, “I will fight every n—– here.” He was representing the Philadelphia Eagles when he said it, because, of course, everything we do is reflective of the organization. But what did they do to Riley Cooper, who, if he’s not a racist, at least has “ties” to racist activity? They fined him and sent him to counseling. No suspension necessary for Cooper and no punishment from the NFL, despite its new interest in policing our use of the N-word on the field. Riley instead got a few days off from training camp and a nice contract in the offseason, too.Commit certain crimes in this league and be a certain color, and you get help, not scorn. Look at the way many in the media wrote about Jim Irsay after his DUI arrest. Nobody suggested the Colts owner had “ties” to drug trafficking, even though he was caught driving with controlled substances (prescription pills) and $29,000 in cash to do who-knows-what with. Instead, poor millionaire Mr. Irsay needs help, some wrote.But DeSean Jackson is the menace, right? He’s just as bad as those guys he parties with because he threw up a Crip sign in a picture and he owns a gangsta rap record label. If only all record-label owners were held to this standard, somebody might realize that Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg weren’t the bosses behind NWA. Jim Irsay lookalikes in suits were.But go ahead and judge DeSean for the company he keeps. While you’re at it, judge me, too, because I still live in Los Angeles, and my family does, too. We didn’t run from where we grew up. We aren’t afraid to be associated with the people who came up with us. We brought some of our money back and started charities and tried to help out a few guys who were with us when we were nobodies.I won’t apologize for that, and I suspect neither will DeSean when he’s back on the field doing what he’s always done: grinding through adversity. read more

Kevin Durant Helps Oklahoma School Build AllNew Facility to

Kevin Durant with students from Positive Tomorrows (Positive Tomorrows)Kevin Durant is continuing his charitability toward Oklahoma City even though the NBA forward has moved on to play for the Golden State Warriors. On Tuesday, Dec. 13, Positive Tomorrows announced the athlete’s Kevin Durant Charity Foundation donated $57,000 to the elementary school.According to a statement on the Oklahoma-based school’s website, Durant’s hefty gift unlocked a secret $50,000 challenge award that will allow the school to buy land for a new building.“Kevin continues to be a great friend to Positive Tomorrows, and he has been instrumental in helping our school grow over the last several years,” school president and principal Susan Agel said. “Still, we consistently turn away students due to a lack of space and his generous contribution this year along with several anonymous donors will enable us to embark on our upcoming capital campaign debt-free. We are so grateful.”Positive Tomorrows works to provide a private, tuition-free education to homeless students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade, 48 percent of which are Black. It also supports families so they can improve their employment, housing and income.As a supporter of the institution since 2012, Durant has gifted students with shoes on Christmas and paid for a summer program. Last year, NewsOK reported that the NBA star gave $35,000 to the school to stock food and build an all-new kitchen to better serve pupils.“They needed some help and, simple,” he said of the grant. “I’ve been here and seen the impact it’s had on these kids and I just wanted to help even more.”This year’s $57,000 gift makes it the fourth time he has provided funds to the school.“He’s been an instrumental part of our growth,” Agel said. “And it means the world to us and to our students that he continues to believe in our children’s potential and to invest in their futures.” read more

The Cubs Arent Just The BryantRizzo Show Anymore

Since their incredible World Series run in 2016, the Chicago Cubs haven’t always lived up to the grand expectations set forth for their young core. The 2017 version never really clicked, even before the Los Angeles Dodgers dispatched them in the National League Championship Series, and this year’s club spent almost all of the first half trailing the upstart Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central race. And yet, the Cubs’ empire hasn’t crumbled yet. They recently fought their way back into first place, having won 15 of their past 20 games through Sunday’s win over visiting St. Louis, and our projection model has them tipped as the NL favorites.Unlike the 2016 Cubs, who enjoyed a historically effective pitching staff, Chicago’s primary weapon this season has been a dominant offense that is averaging an NL-best 5.2 runs per game. At a glance, that might not be too surprising for a team with Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo penciled in the lineup every day. But the driving forces behind this year’s offensive performance aren’t the leading names we’ve come to expect — and it remains to be seen whether this new configuration is sustainable as the team moves away from the All-Star break.From 2015 through 2017, there essentially wasn’t a better 1-2 offensive punch in baseball than Bryant and Rizzo. Together, the pair was responsible for 712 weighted runs created (according to FanGraphs.com) — the most by any two teammates over that span — and they generated 30.5 percent of the Cubs’ total runs — which, among duos, ranked second to the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout-Kole Calhoun tandem.1Also known as “Trout plus whoever happened to log enough at-bats to finish a distant second on the team in wRC.” To the extent that Chicago was a legitimately great offensive team during those seasons, that was mainly the doing of the Cubs’ top two bats. A. Russell7.1– B. Zobrist6.4– D. Fowler7.5– PlayerShare of Cubs’ wRCPlayerShare of Cubs’ wRC K. Bryant15.2– A. Rizzo10.2– 2015-17 seasons2018 K. Bryant11.0– W. Contreras10.4– The Cubs are getting help from more placesTop five Chicago Cubs players by share of weighted runs created (wRC), through July 21, 2018 A. Rizzo15.3%– J. Baez11.8%– This season, however, Chicago’s hitters have spread the contributions around. Through Saturday’s games, Bryant and Rizzo had generated only 21.2 percent of the Cubs’ weighted runs created, with an even greater share turned in by other tandems on the roster — such as Javier Baez and Willson Contreras (22.2 percent).For Rizzo, it has been an outright disappointing year. Going into the season, FanGraphs projected a weighted on-base average (wOBA) of .389, but through Saturday he had only managed to deliver a .337 mark, which is barely better than league average and represents his worst output since 2013. Rizzo’s power numbers are mostly to blame; he’s on pace for just 20 home runs after averaging 32 over the previous four seasons. Although StatCast indicators such as exit velocity suggest that Rizzo has been hitting the ball plenty hard, his swing has flattened out into more of a line-drive stroke, which has resulted in many fewer balls hit in the sweet spot for power and launch angle.Bryant has been much better than Rizzo, with a solid .371 wOBA that ranked 26th in baseball. But even that comes off as slightly unsatisfying after a 2017 season in which Bryant was a top-10 hitter and set career highs in batting average and on-base percentage. At 26, Bryant was supposed to be on an upward trajectory toward peak production, but this season has been a step backward — particularly given that his rates of hard-hit balls also have been trending in the wrong direction.Luckily for the Cubs, others have stepped in to pick up the slack. Baez is enjoying easily the best campaign of his career, and he has the potential to flirt with 30 homers before season’s end. Contreras, too, is tracking for his finest season (thanks especially to an uptick in playing time), and Albert Almora Jr. and Kyle Schwarber had a combined .351 wOBA after going for a .333 mark last season. Even Jason Heyward, whose struggles at the plate have held him back when compared with his star reputation in the field, boasted an above-average .337 wOBA. Not every Cubs player is having an outstanding year with the bat — sorry, Addison Russell — but most of them are: Of Chicago’s top 10 batters by plate appearances, nine (all but Russell) are above the league average in wOBA.2In terms of having a weighted runs created plus above 100.Naturally, the Cubs would love for their lesser stars to keep raking while Bryant and Rizzo revert to their previous form, although underperformers don’t appear any more likely to progress upward to their previous means than overperformers are to slide back downward. At least, that’s according to a quick and dirty study I did of qualified hitters3Specifically, players between the ages of 25 and 30 who had at least 250 plate appearances in a given season, had at least 1,000 career plate appearances going into that season and had at least 250 plate appearances the following season. since 1950. The 20 percent of players who overachieved most (in terms of wOBA, compared with that of their career previously) tended to give about 61 percent of their gains back the following season. Meanwhile, the 20 percent who underachieved most tended to regain about 67 percent of their previous form the next year. The difference wasn’t quite statistically significant — and that’s before considering that the sample is somewhat biased for underachieving players to bounce back. (Remember, they needed 250 plate appearances the next season to be considered.) So the Cubs should be prepared to take the good with the bad when it comes to which players revert to their previous standards of performance.Either way, Chicago will need to keep scoring runs. As Craig Edwards of FanGraphs wrote a few days ago, the Cubs’ starting pitching has been so bad that it’s on pace to accrue the fewest wins above replacement in recent franchise history. Chicago’s bullpen has been reliable enough to salvage some victories, and its defense is very good, per usual. But barring some kind of major trade to shore up the rotation, the Cubs will continue to ride their offense-first philosophy into the postseason and hope whatever regression comes is of the positive variety — such as Rizzo and Bryant turning into the team’s dominant combination of old — rather than the negative.Check out our latest MLB predictions. K. Schwarber10.2– Source: FanGraphs read more

Big Ten aiming to dethrone SEC

NEW ORLEANS — Even before the suspensions of six players last week, Ohio State was going to be faced with questions about its 0-9 bowl record against the SEC when it arrived in New Orleans. Now, the Buckeyes will attempt to diffuse the controversy surrounding Tattoo-gate in addition to their winless streak against the SEC. The streak has taken on a life of its own, mainly because of OSU’s recent national title game debacles against Florida and LSU. Senior defensive back Jermale Hines said the Buckeyes’ struggles against the SEC stay with them no matter how much they would like to forget about their past. “It’s always something in the back of our minds because it’s real,” Hines said. “The last couple outings we got destroyed by SEC teams.” Offensive guard Bryant Browning takes a different approach when it comes to the streak: ignorance. “I really haven’t watched too much of that kind of stuff” in the media, Browning said. “You can’t really worry about what people say. We’ve got to focus on ourselves.” Tonight OSU will face off against Arkansas in the 77th Allstate Sugar Bowl, nearly 32 years to the day that the Buckeyes were handed their first bowl game defeat at the hands of an SEC team. On Jan. 2, 1978, Paul “Bear” Bryant’s Alabama Crimson Tide destroyed the Woody Hayes-led Scarlet and Gray, 35-6. The players, including Browning, have echoed the sentiments of OSU coach Jim Tressel, who has implored them to remain focused on the task at hand. “We know if we go in and play any team in the nation and we play our best game, then we’ll come out on top,” Browning said. “We’re just working hard to try to do whatever it takes so that when Jan. 4 comes around we’re at our best.” That may be easier said than done against an Arkansas passing offense ranked third in the nation. Junior quarterback Ryan Mallett has led the Razorback attack, throwing for 30 touchdowns and 3,500 yards in back-to-back years. Although the Arkansas offense will be pass-heavy, it can also run the ball effectively with sophomore running back Knile Davis. When OSU faced Florida in 2007 and LSU in 2008, it went up against balanced offenses and gave up a combined 79 points. The winless streak against the SEC may be very real, but at least one OSU player doesn’t believe in the “SEC speed” theory, which fans and pundits alike claim gives the SEC the ultimate advantage on the playing field. “As far as the speed thing goes, I never have thought that that was the difference-maker,” said senior wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher. “People don’t just get slower when they come to the Big Ten.” Senior kicker Devin Barclay is looking forward to the opportunity to disprove the doubters, and reminds everyone that OSU is playing Arkansas, not the ghosts of SEC past. “We’ve really got to focus in on doing our thing. Obviously the games in 2006 and 2007 … we remember those games — they sting still, and they were against SEC teams. (But) they weren’t against Arkansas,” Barclay said. “There’s always been the press saying that we can’t compete against these SEC teams. It’s going to feel good to prove them wrong.” read more

Mens hockey looks to bounce back against Bowling Green

OSU players celebrate after the Buckeyes first goal of the game against Miami (Ohio) Oct. 11 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 6-2.Credit: Matthew Homan / Lantern photographerComing off the wrong side of a two-game sweep at the hands of Miami (Ohio) this weekend, the Ohio State men’s ice hockey team is looking to bounce back as it travels to Bowling Green State University for a one-game bout.Despite giving up a combined 12 goals in their two losses against the Redhawks in coach Steve Rohlik’s first series at the helm of the team, the Buckeyes (0-2-0) are optimistic about their matchup with the Falcons (0-1-1).Junior forward Max McCormick said Bowling Green and OSU are “hard-nosed teams,” so the game is going to be a battle.“We didn’t let (being swept by Miami) get us down,” McCormick said. “We’re getting better every day and that’s our mindset, so we’re staying positive and we’re going into Bowling Green to get a win.”Despite the positive attitude, senior forward Alex Szczechura said playing away from Columbus will pose a challenge the team must overcome.“They’ve always been a hardworking team,” Szczechura said. “In their home rink, they’re a tough team to play. So coming into (Tuesday’s) game, we really just want to work hard and keep things simple, keep battling on the ice.”McCormick noted that penalties and maintaining possession were two issues the Buckeyes faced against Miami, among other things.“We really need to take care of the puck,” he said. “We worked on some things in the (defensive zone) and the neutral zone this week in practice and we brushed up on some things in the power play.”OSU is 12-1-3 against the Falcons in the teams’ last 16 meetings.The Buckeyes are slated to take on the Falcons Tuesday in Bowling Green, Ohio with the puck set to drop at 7:07 p.m. read more

Ohio State holds off Illinois 6255 to end 4game skid

Senior guard Aaron Craft (4) goes up for a layup. OSU won against Illinois, 62-55, Jan. 23. Credit: Kaily Cunningham / Multimedia editorA win’s a win.For the No. 17 Ohio State Buckeyes, that’s all that really matters after beating Illinois, 62-55, to put a stop to a four-game losing streak.“We try to do our best to put the losing streak behind us. This game wasn’t about that. It was about trying to come out and find a way to be better than Illinois and that’s our only goal in this game,” senior guard Aaron Craft said after the win. “We wanted to find a way to get better before this game in practice and watching film and we were able to do that. We were a tougher basketball team down the stretch than we have been, and that’s what matters.”A three-point play by junior forward LaQuinton Ross followed by a 3-pointer by senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. (his fourth of the game) and free throws down the stretch helped secure the win for OSU.“I think it was just everybody being connected tonight. I think we had…it was a lot of togetherness tonight. You see guys jumping up and down, you see fans jumping up and down. We was able to get our crowd into it. It felt good to be playing back at home, too. Having that support for you from the crowd,” Ross said. “I think it was just a group effort tonight, everybody did what they had to and pitched in.”Both teams struggled offensively early on, combining to make just five field goals in the opening nine minutes of play.Smith Jr.’s second 3-pointer of the game gave OSU the lead, 24-23, with 57 seconds remaining in the first half, but a dunk on the other end by Illini junior center Nnanna Egwu helped give Illinois the lead at the break.The Buckeyes had as many field goals (seven) as they did fouls in the first half.OSU was able to gain momentum in the second half thanks to a 9-0 run that was topped off by a 3-pointer by junior forward Sam Thompson. That gave the Buckeyes the lead, 40-34, aided by four turnovers in six possessions by the Fighting Illini.Illinois (13-7, 2-5) would not go away quietly though, as it would make back-to-back 3-pointers to stay in the game.Craft would answer with a 3-pointer shortly thereafter, but two baskets by Illinois redshirt-senior guard Joseph Bertrand and a layup by junior guard Tracy Abrams tied the game at 46.Ross would bury a three from the wing, though, and a steal by Smith Jr. lead to a layup by junior guard Shannon Scott that gave OSU a five-point advantage with 3:31 left.The Buckeyes (16-4, 3-4) were able to make enough plays late to hold off Illinois for the win.“I’m just so excited for my team right now. Got a chance to see guys smiling and I miss that,” Smith Jr. said after the win. “As a senior on this team, obviously you want to see your team smiling as much as possible. I can tell you, prior to this game there was no smiles, there was no laughter. There was none of that. Guys were kind of in their shell. And now I feel like everybody’s out now and I’m just looking forward to going forward and playing the next game with a lot of confidence.”Ross led the way for OSU with 18 points, but Smith Jr. wasn’t far behind with 16 of his own. Craft finished with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists.“I think this. Did we play perfect? No, we did not,” OSU coach Thad Matta said. “The thing I liked was I loved our energy on defense. I thought we played extremely hard. I thought we got back to rotating, seeing things the way we need to see them. And that was something going in…you know offensively, first half I’m just like, ‘here we go again.’ When (junior center) Amir (Williams) missed the dunk I’m like ‘maybe this isn’t supposed to be.’ But to the kids credit they had a different look in their eye down the stretch and give the (Schottenstein Center) a ton of (credit). I mean that crowd was as energetic as it could be and really helped us.”Bertrand scored 19 for Illinois in the loss.Next up, the Buckeyes are set to host Penn State (9-10, 0-6) Wednesday at the Schottenstein Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. read more

Two women in their 70s arrested in dawn standoff with sneaky council

first_imgIn a statement Mr Clegg added: “Whether you think the trees need to come down or not, the way the council have acted is inexcusable.”Sheffield’s Labour leaders have shown that they are willing to go to any lengths in their tree felling mission against the wishes of the community, using disproportionate and underhand tactics to get their own way.”Relationships between residents and the council are already strained over this issue and this will only inflame tensions further.”The two pensioners were later released from custody and picked up by Mrs Brayshaw’s husband Jonathan from Shepcote Lane Police Station in Sheffield.Mr Brayshaw, 71, said he was contacted by his wife Freda to say she had been released from police custody.Retired solicitor Jonathan said Freda Brayshaw, also 71, had led a “calm and peaceful” protest before being taken away in a police car.He said the grandmother-of-two had “strong views” about the trees and a large banner was erected outside their townhouse promoting SORT (Save Our Rustlings Trees) on Thursday. Stag chairman David Dillner, who is at the scene, took the controversial tree-felling programme to the High Court earlier this year but lost his case.The retired actor complained that Sheffield City Council had not held a full consultation before launching the programme, and had failed to assess the environmental impact.Council bosses had disputed Mr Dillner’s allegations and in April a judge said the claim was “devoid of merit”.In a statement, Bryan Lodge, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, said he stood by the decision to do the “vital” maintenance work.Mr Lodge said: “For more than a year we have worked tirelessly with Amey and the local community to find the right solution for Rustlings Road. We have written to every home, brought in a new survey process for the entire city and set up an independent tree panel. Our approach has been assessed at the High Court on three occasions.”We have made a final decision to increase the number of trees on Rustlings Road by almost 30%. We need to replace eight out of the 30 existing trees, but we will plant 17, which means the road is gaining an extra nine trees. Professor Jenny Hockey, left, and Freda Brayshaw, protested against council’s decision to ‘cut down healthy trees’Credit: Alex Cousins / SWNS.com A crowd of neighbours and members of Sheffield Tree Action Group (Stag) stood around the last tree to go.Bob Hockey’s 70-year-old wife Jenny, a retired university professor, was one of three arrested after a “peaceful” protest with another neighbour in their street. Professor Jenny Hockey, left, and Freda Brayshaw, protested against council's decision to 'cut down healthy trees' Police in Sheffield are protecting council workers felling treesCredit: Tom Maddick/SWNS.com The 72-year-old said: “The police and contractors came and knocked on doors in the middle of the night at about 4.30am and asked people to move cars.”Then some protesters went to intervene. There is not much we can do but she (Jenny) wanted to make a stand.”She and another woman stood inside the ribbon around the tree. Then a young lad passing by jumped in and joined them.”I don’t blame the police. They are just doing their job. Cars were reportedly towed to gain access to the street Council contractors started cutting down trees with chainsaws before dawn Two women aged 70 and 71 were held in custody for eight hours after a stand-off with police over the controversial cutting-down of trees in a residential street before dawn.Angry residents in Rustlings Road, Sheffield, were woken by contractors who, with police protection, had arrived to fell a number of trees using chainsaws. “We have been protesting because the council is cutting down healthy trees and ignoning the advice of a panel they set up to advise them.”Mr Hockey said his neighbour and friend Freda Brayshaw, 71, a former teacher, was also carted off by police.Sheffield Hallam Liberal Democrat MP Nick Clegg voiced his support for the campaigners, who condemned “pig-headed” Sheffield City Council for going ahead with “improvement” works.He tweeted: Police in Sheffield are protecting council workers felling trees Cars were reportedly towed to gain access to the streetCredit:Tom Maddick/SWNS.com V. shocked to hear this morning about #Sheffieldtrees Council actions are unjustifiable, underhand and a waste of precious police resources— Nick Clegg (@nick_clegg) November 17, 2016 Council contractors started cutting down trees with chainsaws before dawnCredit:Dave Higgens/PA Wire 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. “We understand that this will be a difficult day for the tree campaigners, but this work is absolutely essential to ensure that Sheffield has healthy street trees for future generations.”We carried out the work very early in the morning, on the advice of the police, to make sure it could be done safely. This isn’t usually needed but in this case it was considered the best option for the safety of the public, protesters and the workers.”I understand there are strong emotions about this but have to stand by the decision to do this vital maintenance work. We’ve got 36,000 street trees in Sheffield and this programme means that in years to come we’ll have even more.”South Yorkshire Police confirmed that 12 officers “provided assistance at the request of the council”.A police spokesman said: “We have a small presence to ensure the safety of local residents and contractors whilst the work is carried out. Three people have been arrested on suspicion of preventing lawful work under Section 241 of the Trade Union and Relation Act 1992.” A sign on tree cut down by contractors in Rustlings Road One Stag member, Chris Rust, wrote on Facebook: “There was a very sneaky, small print road closure notice at each end of the road which enabled them to do this. By the time it was light eight trees were gone, three people arrested on their doorsteps, massive police presence.”Joe Otten, Lib Dem member at Sheffield City Council and opposition spokesman for environment, said: “They are magnificent trees that improve our quality of life. Yes, there are a few cracks in the pavement and some of the trees will have to go as part of the upgrade package.”They have the budget and programme and they are just going ahead with it. It’s pig- headed.”It is not necessary. They are just being stubborn about the way they go about it.” Whether you think the trees need to come down or not, the way the council have acted is inexcusableNick Clegg A sign on tree cut down by contractors in Rustlings RoadCredit:PAlast_img read more

Transgender students should not have to declare birth gender when applying to

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. The NUS will vote on the abolition of the monarchyCredit:Paul Grover Malia Bouattia, the NUS president Transgender students should not have to declare their birth gender when applying to university sports clubs, the National Union of Students (NUS) is expected to rule.At the moment transgender or intersex students are only allowed to join the teams that they were assigned to at birth rather than the gender that they identify with now.This can act as a “barrier” from transgender students which can sport “inaccessible” and “unwelcome”, according to a motion due to be debated on Tuesday at the NUS annual conference in Brighton.The motion proposes that “trans and intersex students should be able to train and compete in whichever sports team best fits their gender identity”. Other motions due to be debated at the NUS annual conference include the abolition of the monarchy, and launching an inquiry into the effect of “no platform” and “safe space” policies on free speech. Malia Bouattia, the NUS presidentCredit: Facebook The NUS will vote on the abolition of the monarchy It adds that trans and intersex students should not be asked to disclose their legal gender or personal medical information to participate in university sport, including details regarding hormone replacement therapy.The motion suggests that the NUS follows the lead of Durham University’s new policy on inclusivity, whereby trans and intersex students are allowed to compete and train in whichever team “best fits their gender identity”.Noorlann Shahid, the NUS LGBT+ officer, said the motion is likely to receive huge support, adding that inclusion in sports has emerged as a major issue for transgender students.  “We have made great strides in terms of trans inclusion in the last couple of years,” Shahid said. In addition to its two LGBT+ officers, the NUS last month elected a dedicated trans officer to head up campaigns relating to transgender students. Delegates at the conference will also attempt to ban clapping and whooping at all future NUS events, on the basis that these are not accessible to disabled students.A motion calls for “reduced cheering or unnecessary loud noises on conference floor, including whooping and clapping” and warns of “consequences for those who ignore this requirement”.last_img read more

Police apply for more funding for Madeleine McCann search

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. Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, have vowed never to give up hope of finding their daughter.In 2011 the Met Police launched its own investigation into what had happened to the toddler. Detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have applied for more funding for the search.The Home Office confirmed that it is considering an application from the Metropolitan Police for more money to keep the probe, called Operation Grange, going.A spokeswoman said: “The Home Office has provided funding to the Metropolitan Police for Operation Grange and the resources required are reviewed regularly with careful consideration given before any new funding is allocated.”Government funding for the investigation has been agreed every six months, with £154,000 being granted from October last year until the end of March.More than £11 million has been spent so far on the probe to find the missing girl, who vanished from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007, aged three.last_img read more

Eyebrows crucial to human evolution its how we first learnt to communicate

first_imgThey then discounted two theories commonly put forward to explain its protruding brow ridges – one being that they were needed to fill the space where the flat brain cases and eye sockets of archaic hominins met, and the second being that it acted to stabilise their skulls from the force of chewing.It led them to the possibility that the evolutionary changes were linked to social factors.Professor of Anatomy Paul O’Higgins said: “We suggest a plausible contributing explanation can be found in social communication.”The researchers explained communicative foreheads started off as a side-effect of our faces getting gradually smaller over the past 100,000 years.They said the process sped up in last 20,000 years as we switched from hunter gatherers to agriculturalists – a lifestyle with less variety in both diet and physical effort. Image issued by the University of York of a computer generated model of modern skull next to the heavy-browed skull of ancient hominin Kabwe 1 Image issued by the University of York of a computer generated model of modern skull next to the heavy-browed skull of ancient hominin Kabwe 1Credit:Paul O’Higgins/PA Co-author Dr Penny Spikins at York’s Department of Archaeology said: “Modern humans are the last surviving hominin.”While our sister species the Neanderthals were dying out, we were rapidly colonising the globe and surviving in extreme environments.”This had a lot to do with our ability to create large social networks – we know, for example, that prehistoric modern humans avoided inbreeding and went to stay with friends in distant locations during hard times.”Dr Spikins says in the study that eyebrow movements allow us to express complex emotions, as well as perceive the emotions of others. A rapid “eyebrow flash”, for instance, is a “cross-cultural sign of recognition and openness to social interaction”, while “pulling our eyebrows up at the middle is an expression of sympathy”.She added: “Eyebrows are the missing part of the puzzle of how modern humans managed to get on so much better with each other than other now-extinct hominins.” Eyebrows are crucial to human evolution, scientists have discovered, because it is how our predecessors first learnt to communicate.The evolution of highly mobile brows to express emotions helped early humans convey nuanced messages of recognition or sympathy, research by the University of York found.Scientists believe this was crucial to survival because it enabled them to work together, rather than alone in the wild.It is also probably why modern humans have developed a smooth forehead with more visible brows, compared to the pronounced brow of early hominins, they said.The team used 3D engineering software to study the brow ridge of a fossilised skull known as Kabwe 1, which lived between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago.center_img Eyebrow movements allow us to express complex emotionsCredit:Wavebreak Media ltd/Alamy Stock Photo Eyebrow movements allow us to express complex emotions 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