September 29

Why This NBA Rookie Class May Be The Best Of The Century

As we approach the end of the NBA’s regular season, awards conversations are all the rage. As usual, the two most talked-about races are for Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year. Whether it’s “Get Up” or The Jump, Sports Illustrated or CBS or NBA TV, or even NBA players themselves, everyone’s got an opinion on who should take home the hardware at the end of the season.The Rookie of the Year debate, at this point, pretty much boils down to the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic, who stormed out of the gate and grabbed onto front-runner status fairly quickly, and the Hawks’ Trae Young, who started off terribly but has been shining during the season’s second half.But lost among this debate is this: The entire 2018 NBA rookie class — or at least the top five picks — deserves an award. Collectively, they are having the best debut season of any group of top five picks in more than 25 years.Doncic (pick No. 3) is carrying averages of 21.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game while acting as the primary facilitator and scoring option in Dallas. He is only the second rookie in NBA history to average at least 20, 7, and 5 in those categories, and the other is Oscar Robertson, who did so during the 1960-61 season.The man whom Doncic was traded for on draft night,1The Hawks drafted Doncic and traded him to the Mavericks in exchange for Young and Dallas’s top-five protected 2019 first-round pick. Young, has been nearly as productive, albeit less consistent, in his debut season for Atlanta. Young’s season-long numbers of 19.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game are strong.2He’s one of only three rookies to have gone for 19, 3 and 8 per game. Those numbers, though, are dragged down by his poor start to the year. Since the All-Star break, he’s averaging 25.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 9.2 assists a night, with shooting numbers that are far better than those he was posting earlier in the season as he struggled to adjust to the NBA game.Two of the first five picks in a given draft looking this good, this early, would be impressive on its own; but Doncic and Young are not alone in their shining debuts. The other three players selected in the top five — the Suns’ DeAndre Ayton (No. 1), the Kings’ Marvin Bagley III (No. 2) and the Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. (No. 4) — have each been pretty damned good this year too.Ayton has been a monster offensive force for Phoenix from Day 1, and he is already one of the league’s best post scorers and offensive rebounders. Among rotation players averaging at least 2 post-ups per game, per, Ayton’s 1.03 points per play on post-ups ranks third, behind only Joel Embiid and LaMarcus Aldridge. Ayton’s offensive rebound rate, meanwhile, ranks 22nd among the 263 players who have qualified for the minutes per game leaderboard. And he’s been improving on defense throughout the season.Bagley is averaging 14.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game off the bench for the surprisingly frisky Kings. And he’s been even better since returning from a five-game, injury-related absence in early March, posting 18.5 points and 8.2 rebounds a night with an improved shooting line. He has a diverse, varied face-up game and is working to stretch his jumper, and given his athleticism and quick feet, his defense could eventually come around as well.Memphis shut down Jackson in late-February due to a quad injury, but before his season ended he averaged 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 combined steals and blocks in just 26 minutes a night. He did all that despite being, at 19 years old, the second-youngest player in the league.3The Lakers’ Isaac Bonga is about a month younger than Jackson, and Bonga has played less than 100 minutes this season. Jackson also knocked down 35.9 percent of his threes and carried an above-average usage rate and true shooting percentage, which is wildly impressive for a player whose primary contributions were expected to come on the defensive end of the floor.So how does this season’s top five stack up against past classes? The chart below plots the collective win shares and win shares per 48 minutes for the top five picks in each draft class from 1979 through 2018 (otherwise known as the three-point era) during their respective debut seasons. Note that only players who played during the season immediately following that year’s draft are counted in this analysis; because we’re looking at the top five picks as a class, if a player did not debut with the rest of his class, it doesn’t make much sense to count him along with the others. For example, Ben Simmons was the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, but he did not play during the 2016-17 season, so he counts for 0 minutes and 0 win shares toward the total of that draft class. Simmons was excellent as a rookie once he did step on the floor, but it also would not make sense to group him with the 2017 draft class, because he was not drafted in 2017. Likewise, the same logic applies to Simmons’s Sixers teammate Joel Embiid, who was drafted in 2014 but did not debut until two years later.4It also applies to Jonas Valanciunas (stayed in Europe for a year before coming over and joining the Raptors); Blake Griffin (injured); Ricky Rubio (Europe); Greg Oden (injured); Danny Ferry (went to Italy for a year because he refused to play for the Clippers); David Robinson (naval service); and tragically, Len Bias (an overdose-caused death). 1992O’NealMourningLaettnerJacksonEllis0.118 Draft pick Among the 20 players selected in the top five of those four drafts, eight are currently in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Another four — Bill Cartwright, Sidney Moncrief, Terry Cummings and Christian Laettner — made at least one All-Star team during their career. And six more became long-term rotation players. Only Greg Kelser and Bill Garnett failed to pan out at all, as they wound up out of the league entirely within a few seasons.That’s an incredible hit rate of solid NBA players, and bodes well for what we should expect from Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Jackson and Young in the future. It’s obviously far too early to predict that any of these players will be enshrined in Springfield one day, but the future certainly appears bright, and it seems likely that the 2018 draft class will be remembered as one of the best in quite some time.Check out our latest NBA predictions. 2018AytonBagley IIIDoncicJackson Jr.Young0.102 As you can see, the 2018 class fares extremely well in both win shares — which represent’s attempt to divvy up credit for team wins to the individual players on the team — and win shares per 48 minutes. The 21.1 win shares collectively accumulated by Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Jackson and Young ranks eighth among the last 40 draft classes during their respective debut seasons, while their win shares per 48 average of 0.102 makes this class one of just six to exceed 0.100 win shares per 48.One of those six classes (2009) saw only three players actually take the floor during their debut season, thanks to an injury that knocked Blake Griffin out for the year and Ricky Rubio’s contract with Barcelona that kept him in Spain for two years before he arrived stateside. Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden and Tyreke Evans saw varying degrees of success during their respective rookie years and ended up posting a collective average of 0.108 win shares per 48 minutes, but they also combined for only 11.9 total win shares, far fewer than the other five classes that stand out in this analysis, each of which exceeded 20 total win shares.It’s worth noting, then, who was actually taken in the top five in those five NBA drafts (1984, 1979, 1982 and 1992). It’s also worth noting that just a single class between 1992 and 2018 saw its top five post a win shares per 48 average better than 0.100, meaning it’s been nearly a generation since we saw an actual top five class debut with a performance as good as the one we’re seeing from the most recent draft class. The top-five picks in the 2018 draft are in HOF companyThe five NBA draft classes with the highest win shares per 48 minutes Hall of Fame inductees in boldSource: 1982WorthyCummingsWilkinsGarnettThompson0.129 1984OlajuwonBowieJordanPerkinsBarkley0.174 1979JohnsonGreenwoodCartwrightKelserMoncrief0.137 Year1st2nd3rd4th5thWS per 48 min read more

September 28

Former Ohio State football players Reid Fragel Jake Stoneburner take on NFL

INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL Scouting Combine, a pinnacle of anatomical scrutiny in the world of sports, has already seen two former Ohio State football players endure its challenges. Five additional Buckeyes will face the gauntlet that is the Combine in the days to come. Former OSU right tackle Reid Fragel and former tight end Jake Stoneburner had their respective chances to impress NFL coaches and scouts, as they were put through a series of timed or measured drills along with the rest of the Combine’s offensive lineman, tight ends and specialists Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Tests included the 40-yard dash, bench press (225 pounds), vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle run. Fragel posted a 5.14-second run in the 40-yard dash, a 7.62 run in the three-cone drill and a 4.68 shuttle run, according to Fragel’s 33 repetitions on the bench press was sixth best in his position group. Fragel, the tight end-turned-offensive lineman with a year of experience at right tackle, posted the fourth-best broad jump in his position group at 9-foot-5, as well as a 30-inch vertical jump, according to Stoneburner, who was a tight end invitee to the Combine despite switching to wide receiver for his senior campaign at OSU, showed his speed in the 40-yard dash when he clocked in with a time of 4.65 seconds, according to Stoneburner’s 4.27-second 20-yard shuttle run time was the best time posted in his position group, as was his 11.5-second 60-yard shuttle run. The Dublin, Ohio, native also impressed with a 9-foot-8 broad jump – the fifth best mark in his position group. The tight end, who caught 13 touchdowns and 53 passes in his OSU career, had a 34.5-inch vertical jump (fourth best among tight ends), a 116-inch broad jump and a 7.12-second three-cone drill, according to Neither player was made available to the media following their workout. Next up for the troupe of former Buckeyes is Zach Boren, a fullback-turned-linebacker invited to the Combine as a fullback  (Boren had 12 rushing attempts for 40 yards and two touchdowns during OSU’s 2012 season). The remaining four Buckeyes at the Combine, including former defensive lineman and team captain John Simon, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, linebacker Etienne Sabino and defensive end Nathan Williams, are scheduled to take the field for their tests on Monday. Combine activities conclude on Tuesday when defensive backs hit the turf. Sunday’s Combine activities begin at 9 a.m. read more

September 28

Football DreMont Jones will play final game for Ohio State in Rose

Ohio State defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones (86) takes the field in the second quarter of the 2017 Cotton Bowl against University of Southern California on Dec. 29 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Ohio State won 24-7. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignFollowing Ohio State’s win against Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship, redshirt junior Dre’Mont Jones’ future as a Buckeye was up in the air.When asked if he would play in the Rose Bowl, Jones responded, “we’ll see.”On Wednesday, Jones put all those rumors to rest, announcing he will play in the Rose Bowl against Washington on Jan. 1. Jones also said it will be his final game at Ohio State, forgoing his final year of eligibility to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.Jones was a first-team All-Big Ten member this season after leading the Buckeyes with 7.5 sacks, as well as earning 12.5 tackles for loss. Jones became an even more important player for Ohio State this season as the team lost junior defensive end Nick Bosa for the season with a core muscle injury.Jones is projected by many to be a first round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. read more

September 28

TBDPITL Ep 21 Ohio State Signing Day

Wyatt Crosher and Colin Gay discuss Signing Day and the players from Ohio State they got to talk to on Wednesday. They also look at men’s basketball’s win against Penn State and what it means moving forward. NOTE: We recorded this before Justin Fields officially was cleared to play with the Buckeyes for 2019

September 25

Fantasist who murdered Sadie Hartley in love triangle obsession faked her own

first_imgThe farm owner, Cllr Mike Cheers, told the Telegraph: “It just shows you can’t trust anyone. The police have been really good with us at the farm. I will be glad when it’s all over.”The murder diary was found hidden in a tree on his land. She then visited his wife, Janet, at their home in May 2012 and told her about the affair. Two weeks later, she sent a letter detailing their relationship to her and pretended she was pregnant and even sent a fake scan picture.Williams went to his home and would “stare” at the house from her car. After months of harassment, his wife reported Williams to the police.But for the police warning her against harassment, his wife could have faced a similar fate to Ms Hartley.Mr Sitiwatjana told The Telegraph: “I made a mistake going with Sarah. I just want to forget it and put it all behind me.”Friends of Williams described her as a “bunny boiler” and she spoke of herself as a “psycho” and a “she-devil”.It was during this time that she met Mr Johnston. He claimed he was single at the time, having split from Ms Hartley.He and Williams had exchanged flirtatious text messages and she arrived at his house in a short skirt and red high heels. Their relationship quickly became sexual.Mr Johnston ended the relationship after a few months when she became “heavy and clingy” and “obsessive”, before rekindling his relationship with his long-term partner Ms Hartley.But, in September 2014, jealous Williams sent Ms Hartley a letter claiming they had been having an affair for more than a year behind her back and having “fantastic sex”. Letter sent by Sarah Williams to Sadie Hartley The 500,000-volt stun gun was found buried in a field Katrina Walsh and Sarah Williams A murderer described as a “bunny boiler”, who spent years taking revenge on the married lovers who spurned her, even faked her own kidnap and sex attack to cover up an illicit encounter, according to friends.Lifelong fantasist Sarah Williams has been jailed for life for killing her love rival businesswoman Sadie Hartley by attacking her with a 500,000-volt stun gun and stabbing her more than 40 times on the doorstep of her home in Helmshore, Lancashire,  on January 14. The alleged kidnapping of Sarah Williams when she was 13 was reported in the Daily Telegraph in January 1995Credit:Daily Telegraph Ian Johnston and Sadie Hartley on holiday in Ecuador in 2013Credit:Lancashire Police  Police forensics officers at the scene of Sadie Hartley's murder Walsh describes in her diary how they had “murder practice”, where she would open the door and Williams would pretend to attack her with the stun gun.She wrote of Williams standing behind her with the knife pretending to slash her throat. The pair celebrated their plans by going on holiday to France with Mr Hardwick for Christmas.On their return, they carried out a “dry run” by delivering flowers to Ms Hartley’s home to make sure they had got the right house and knowing she was home alone because Mr Johnston was abroad skiing.Ms Hartley texted him saying it was “worrying” to receive the anonymous flowers late at night. Sadie Hartley, a keen horse rider, was murdered at her home in Lancashire Williams had a reputation for being unable to handle rejection after she repeatedly targeted former lovers and their wives.Just months before striking up a relationship with Johnston, Williams’ behaviour with another ski instructor mirrored what was to come.Between June 2011 and April 2012, Williams had an affair with married martial arts instructor Somapat Sitiwatjana, 47, known as Master A.When he ended their affair, Master A – who runs a gym in Manchester’s Northern Quarter – was targeted by Williams.She let down the tyres on his Mercedes Benz and attempted to get her co-accused, Walsh, to put foam in his exhaust pipe. Katrina Walsh, left, and Sarah Williams, right, who killed Sadie Hartley Sarah Williams recruited her friend Katrina Walsh (pictured) to help plot the murder She was a total fantasist. She was seeing a married guy. I think Sarah concocted the abduction hoax to explain her disappearance over a weekend with himPhil Jones Letter sent by Sarah Williams to Sadie HartleyCredit:Lancashire Police The 500,000-volt stun gun was found buried in a fieldCredit:Lancashire Police Those who knew Williams claimed she was making it up and described her as a “fantasist”. They said the kidnap was a work of fiction to hide the fact she had disappeared with a married man.Phil Jones, the owner of Wirral Riding Centre, said she made up the claims after she left the stables.”Her false claims were the talk of the Wirral when it happened,” he said. “She was a total fantasist. She was seeing a married guy.”They used to disappear into a horse box together. I think Sarah concocted the abduction hoax to explain her disappearance over a weekend with him.”Cheshire Police refused to comment on the claims, but Shelley Williams, Cheshire Police press officer, added: “No one was arrested or convicted. If anyone came forward with new information we would look into it.”Williams continued to ride at the equestrian centre along with her accomplice, Walsh.It was at the centre as a teenager she met her  “sugar daddy”, married businessman David Hardwick, a man three times her age, whom she dated until her arrest.The pair would have weekends away in a mobile horse box, nicknamed the ‘purple passion wagon’, with Walsh and her ex-husband Kevin.Mr Hardwick took her on 12 holidays a year, bought her homes and paid more than a £1,000 a month into her bank account.Despite this, she had three affairs behind his back in the run up to Ms Hartley’s death – all with ski instructors at the Chill Factore in Manchester, where she worked. Mr Johnston denies this and says Ms Hartley believed him and, following the letter, they decided to move in together. It was at this point that Williams recruited her friend Walsh, a riding instructor, to help plot the murder.A diary kept by 56-year-old Walsh, who was addicted to Channel 4 series Hunted, detailed their plans in entries that began in August 2014.One of the first entries read: “Had a long discussion on how to break up Ian from his sugar mummy. Sarah came round so got caught up in endless murder plots for Ian’s other half.””Another said: “We are seriously talking about getting rid of her opponent. I agree is a good play..she does seem to be a totally evil bitch.”As the months progressed, she wrote about “the excitement of plotting the perfect murder”. Initially, the pair plotted a drive-by shooting on a motorbike covered in an Isil flag. It then changed to buying a cattle prod and a knife.The pair even tried to enlist Walsh’s ex-husband Kevin as a hitman believing he could use his archery skills, which he had gained from Viking re-enactments, to kill Ms Hartley.Williams asked him to meet her as she had a job suiting his “particular key skill” but he refused believing it was “dodgy”.Later Walsh wrote: “Wow, I may get to be instrumental in helping remove this awful woman. This may happen. Wow. Am unexpectedly excited by it.”The prosecutor likened the elaborate plot to “the stuff of spy novels” as he detailed how the two women bought a tracking device which they secretly attached to Mr Johnston’s car to find out where their victim had moved to.  Walsh and Williams pictured on a ferry to Germany to buy the stun gun that was used to kill Sadie HartleyCredit:Lancashire Police Sarah Williams recruited her friend Katrina Walsh (pictured) to help plot the murder It was the second time the pair had taken revenge on one of Williams’ married ex-lovers. Their plots were more akin to a Hollywood blockbuster than the streets of Lancashire.Williams’ attention seeking began as a child, when at the age of 13 the femme fatale sparked a nationwide manhunt after telling police she had been abducted as she cycled home from Wirral Riding Centre in Chester.She told detectives her kidnapper grabbed her as he pretended to fix his car near the stables in January 1995. A jury convicted horse enthusiasts Williams and her friend Katrina Walsh, both of Chester, of murdering mother of two Ms Hartley.The pair spent more than 18 months plotting the “perfect murder” after jealous Williams could not handle the break-up of her relationship with Ms Hartley’s partner, retired firefighter Ian Johnston. The police first turned their attention to Williams after asking Mr Johnston who would have had a grudge against Ms Hartley.A jury at Preston Crown Court have now convicted them of murder.Mr Justice Turner said the pair had played a “game of death” which led to the “savage butchery of a blameless woman”.”Sarah Williams, over a period of about eighteen months you plotted the murder of a woman whose only crime was to love the man you wanted for yourself, ” he said.”But let no one make the mistake of thinking that this was a crime of passion. It was a crime of obsession, of arrogance, of barbarity but, above all, it was a crime of pure evil.”You Walsh, are every bit as morally degenerate as Williams. No wonder you have been the best of friends over so many years.”They have both been jailed for life, Williams will serve a minimum term of 30 years and Walsh 25 years.He added: “Sadie Hartley died for your amusement. The contrast between her life affirming generosity of spirit and your vile, destructive, resentful and self-regarding hypocrisy could hardly be starker.”The meandering and over-elaborate planning served to heighten your pleasure by deliciously postponing your ultimate and inevitable gratification.”Doubtless, the features of secret agent-style intrigue carried with them elements of fantasy but this was no harmless world of make-believe it was a game of death.”I am in no doubt that her murder was planned and rehearsed down to the finest detail.”Williams’ father refused to comment on the case, adding: “I’ve no comment to make.” Walsh and Williams pictured on a ferry to Germany to buy the stun gun that was used to kill Sadie Hartley Ian Johnston and Sadie Hartley on holiday in Ecuador in 2013 Williams claimed the man locked her in the boot of a Vauxhall Cavalier and drove her to a house where she was told to cover her eyes as she was led up a path to a house and was allegedly subjected to a serious sexual assault.Then she said the attacker put her back in the boot of the car and dumped her in remote countryside 30 miles from her home, where a passing lorry driver took her to a service station on the M6.Her story of becoming victim to a kidnapper made many newspaper front pages, but despite a major investigation no one was ever caught. A week later, Williams drove to Ms Hartley’s home and attacked her in the head with the 500,000-volt stun gun and stabbed her more than 40 times on her doorstep.It was a day later that the victim was discovered when concerned work colleagues raised the alarm when she failed to attend a meeting.After the murder, Walsh buried the murder weapons at Collinge Farm livery stables in Backford, Cheshire, where she taught and kept her horse. They attached it to his car when Ms Hartley and her partner attended a Christmas party at the ski village. A chilling photo shows them smiling happily as Williams looks on from the background.She then visited the street five times in the five weeks leading up to the murder.Despite claiming his relationship with Williams was over, text messages retrieved from her phone show “sexts” between Mr Johnston and Williams from last December.He claims he was “in a bad place” as his mother was dying of cancer and she “took advantage” of him. After this, Williams pushed ahead with her plans.In the month before the murder, Walsh and Williams got a ferry to Germany to buy the stun gun. Walsh bought the 8″ knife from a local Tesco store and Williams purchased size 10 boots to put police off the scent. The alleged kidnapping of Sarah Williams when she was 13 was reported in the Daily Telegraph in January 1995 Sadie Hartley, a keen horse rider, was murdered at her home in LancashireCredit:Lancashire Constabulary Police forensics officers at the scene of Sadie Hartley’s murderCredit:Lancashire Police Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

September 25

Watch World record set for highest jump by a llama

first_imgNine-year-old Caspa has been with his owner, Sue, from Porthmadog, Wales, since he was two years old. Sue describes him as “a total diva”.Like most Llamas, Caspa was more adept at spitting and kicking when he first arrived on the farm but after spotting his extraordinary talent, he and Sue have been able to bond through his positive reinforcement training.Caspa can now clear a bar standing at a huge 3 ft 8.5 in, making him the envy of all the other Llamas on the farm. 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

September 25

Fake Sheikh reporter Mazher Mahmood will not give evidence in trial over

first_imgThe Old Bailey has heard that The Sun’s undercover journalist had a meeting with the singer at the Metropolitan Hotel in London, posing as a film producer keen to discuss a role alongside Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio.Miss Contostavlos had allegedly arranged for Mahmood to be sold half-an-ounce of cocaine by one of her contacts for £800 in May 2013. Undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood (centre) at the Old Bailey with his face covered But the N-Dubz star’s trial was thrown out of court after Smith changed his police statement to remove comments she allegedly made expressing disapproval of hard drugs.She had allegedly said she had a family member with a drug problem as Smith drove her home to Potters Bar in Hertfordshire after the meeting with Mahmood.Mahmood, of Purley, south London, and Smith, from Dereham, Norfolk, deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice.Mahmood’s lawyer, John Kelsey-Fry QC, told jurors that his client would not be going into the witness box.Trevor Burke QC followed suit and said he would be calling no evidence for Smith. 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 lawyer suggested that Mahmood had wanted to “show off” to his employers and prove that he “deserved the title of King of the Sting”.The lawyer went on to say that Mahmood’s methods had been put on trial over the question of entrapment. Mazher Mahmood, the reporter known as the Fake Sheikh, has declined to give evidence in his trial for allegedly tampering with evidence in the case of pop star Tulisa Contostavlos.The 53-year-old and his driver, Alan Smith, 67, are accused over their role in the collapse of the former X Factor judge’s drugs case in July 2014. Retired driver Alan Smith arrives at the Old Bailey on WednesdayCredit:Philip Toscano/PA Alan Smith Undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood (centre) at the Old Bailey with his face coveredCredit:John Stillwell/PA And so Miss Contostavlos’s disapproval of hard drugs was “airbrushed out” after Smith emailed his statement to Mahmood, Ms Forshaw said.She added: “You may think these men have concluded their best chance of being found not guilty is to say nothing.” Pre-trial legal argument risked him being “exposed” as a “trickster” rather than the “swashbuckling hero” he wanted to be, she said.Smith’s initial statement to police which included the pop star’s anti-drugs comments had posed a problem for the journalist, the court heard. Alan Smith (left) and Mazher Mahmood are pictured in the dock at the Old Bailey in a court artist sketchCredit:Elizabeth Cook/PA Alan Smith (left) and Mazher Mahmood are pictured in the dock at the Old Bailey in a court artist sketch In her closing speech, prosecutor Sarah Forshaw QC said: “If they were innocent men with nothing to hide, wouldn’t they be shouting it from the rooftops?”Ms Forshaw told jurors: “When you put them all together, they altogether lead you to the compelling inference that these two men put their heads together to change that statement – a compelling inference that demands an explanation and you have had none.” If they were innocent men with nothing to hide, wouldn’t they be shouting it from the rooftops?Prosecutor Sarah Forshaw QClast_img read more

September 25

Gun owners must take better care of firearms to stop jihadist attacks

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. “One gun in the wrong hands in a public space is all it takes to cause devastation.”The UK has around 750 gangs involved with firearms, most of them linked to the drugs trade.Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the head of national counter terrorism policing, said he was also concerned about the number of weapons going missing from legal owners that could end up in criminal hands. Undated handout photo issued by the National Crime Agency (NCA) of automatic assault rifles seized during a raid in Kent, as six men and a woman will appear before magistrates following an investigation into the suspected importation of firearms Twenty two assault rifles were also included in the Kent haul in 2015.Credit:NCA Gun owners must take better care of their firearms to stop them falling into the hands of jihadists plotting a massacre, police have said, as they disclosed 800 lawfully-held weapons go missing each year.The threat of terrorists getting guns for a marauding Paris-style assault has meant the need to rid the streets of weapons has “never been a more significant priority”, senior officers said.The difficulty of finding guns in the UK has given police a “massive advantage” in stopping atrocities such as those seen in France, but there are concerns firearms are still available to potential terrorists, some of Britain’s most senior police chiefs have said. He said: “I am entirely relaxed about licensed ownership. The issue I an anxious about is everyone in that privileged position looks after their weapons with the rigor and security that the licence conditions expect of them. The fact that 800 go missing shows that in some cases that’s not the case.”Mr Rowley called on the public to tell the police if they knew of a gun owner who “treats the security of that weapon in a cavalier way”.Last month, Britain’s most senior police officer Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe warned more weapons were ending up on the streets of major UK cities, with a record 714 seized in London in 2015 and similar spikes seen in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool.Police are worried organised criminals are smuggling weapons including deadly automatic into the UK from Eastern Europe and the Balkans.Earlier this year a gang was convicted for smuggling the UK’s largest stash of automatic weapons by boat to Kent from the Continent. The arsenal of 22 assault rifles and nine sub-machine guns was to be buried for future use, but police said once sold on, it could have ended up in terrorist hands.Ms Owens called on the public to keep watch over small ports and air fields and inform police if they saw anything suspicious.Mr Rowley said the biggest risk of jihadists getting weapons was from street gangs.He said: “A major organised criminal who is looking to make as much money as possible has no reason to take the risk of getting involved with terrorists.”He went on: “With terrorism you’ve got some vulnerable, lost people who just get hooked by an ideology.”You’ve got some very bright, determined, clear-thinking people who buy into and fully commit and are drivers of Daesh [Islamic State] propaganda and terrorism, and then you do get gang members, criminals, people who are already angry, difficult people causing problems in communities who perhaps get given a more clear purpose for their violence by a terrorist ideology, whether they pick that up on the streets or in prison.”Those gang criminality links are an issue that concerns us and we have seen evidence of it potentially linking firearms into terrorism.” The National Crime Agency (NCA) and country’s counter terrorism police chief said they were concerned about terrorists getting weapons from organised crime gangs and street criminals.Half of all terrorist plots thwarted in recent years have involved the culprits trying to get their hands on firearms.Lynne Owens, director general of the NCA, said: “These criminal networks think nothing of who they supply their weapons to and they present a significant risk for a route by which an extremist or an extremist group will try to access the sort weapons of the sort we did see used in attack in Europe. last_img read more

September 25

Constable painting looted by Nazis to be sold at auction

first_imgThe return of the Painting would be an act of symbolic reparation for this suffering.UK Spoliation Advisory Panel Beaching a Boat, Brighton (1824) is being sold by Hatvany’s heirs, who had maintained that Tate should relinquish ownership of the painting.The museum took the unusual step of asking the panel to consider further evidence – claiming an export licence issued by the Hungarian government undermined claims it was Nazi loot.The Tate’s then director, Sir Nicholas Serota wrote to the head of the panel, Sir Donnell Deeny, suggesting it was “highly unlikely” the Hungarian government would have issued an export licence “for a work known to be on the black market”.However, the panel concluded the Hungarian post-war art dealer Karola Fabri had in all likelihood applied for the licence to give her claim to the ownership of the painting  an air of legitimacy. The painting had been donated to the Tate in 1986 by a Mrs P.M. Rainsford and was said by the gallery to be a central part of its Constable collection.It had been acquired by Baron Hatvany in 1908. In 1942, when Budapest was threatened by Allied bombing, Hatvany put the Constable in the vaults of the Hungarian General Credit Bank, along with other works, from where it was later looted by the invading Germans. In 1947 the Baron fled to Paris to escape the new Communist government, and died in Lausanne in 1958.He had four children and it is their descendants who lodged the recent claim.The panel agreed that the painting had been particularly significant to the Hatvany family “from a sentimental and emotional point of view”.It said that the family suffered terribly during the German and Soviet occupations of Hungary.As well as losing all their possessions, several members of the family were murdered in Hungary by anti-Semitic mobs killed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.“The return of the painting would be an act of symbolic reparation for this suffering,” the panel agreed.The Constable, measuring 26cm by 30cm, is among the most valuable of the 20 cases considered by the UK Spoliation Advisory Panel.It was one of the first works he produced during his visits to the south coast of England.Beaching a Boat was inherited by Constable’s daughter Isabel, who died in 1888. It was sold at Christie’s in 1892 to Walter Dowdeswell, a London art dealer, before being eventually bought by Baron Hatvany. A painting by John Constable which was looted by the Nazis is to be auctioned after the Tate lost its claim to the work.The museum had initially disputed claims that the painting, Beaching a Boat, Brighton, had been looted during German occupation of Hungary.But the UK’s Spoliation Advisory Panel ruled that the work had been one of thousands of works of art stolen by the Nazis during World War Two.The ruling paved the way for the descendants of the painting’s last legal owner, Baron Ferenc Hatvany, to sell the piece.It will be auctioned at Christies next month with an estimated price of £600,000-£800,000.center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

September 25

Archbishop of Canterbury warns of division and despair if Brexit plan is

first_imgThe UK faces further “division and despair” after Brexit if any new settlement is based primarily on economic considerations rather than the needs of people, the Archbishop of Canterbury argues.Any attempt to renegotiate Britain’s place in the world based on “calculations of dubious material advantage” will fail to resolve the problems the country faces, the Most Rev Justin Welby insists.The warning comes in his first full-length book, “Dethroning Mammon”, a reflection on the power of money, drawing from his own experience of giving up highly paid job as an oil executive to living on a clerical stipend. We need a deep sense of the priority of the human person, whoever they are and wherever they come fromArchbishop of Canterbury Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, was spotted reading an advance copy of the book on the London Underground last Wednesday morning, just before the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement.In the book Archbishop Welby openly acknowledges his own “unease” at living amid the “surreal” surroundings of Lambeth Palace while speaking about issues of wealth and poverty. The Archbishop makes political arguments in his bookCredit:Leon Neal /Getty Mark Carney has been spotted reading the bookCredit:Rex / Shutterstock He argues that far from learning the lessons of the 2008 financial crash and the so-called “Great Recession” there are signs of a return to the same “debt-fuelled, crisis-creating model that led us into such trouble in the past”.He insists that it would be “absurd” to try to predict what the effect of the vote for the UK to leave the European Union, there are lessons which can and should be learnt now.“It is essential that the new United Kingdom outside Europe is not built to a design drawn by Mammon,” he writes.“To put it more clearly, materialism is not the answer to the challenges we face. Rather we need a deep sense of the priority of the human person, whoever they are and wherever they come from.“We need to remind ourselves that Mammon always deceives his followers. A campaign fought on his agenda will lead to division and despair.” The book, intended as a meditation to be used during Lent next year, argues that a tendency Britain and other western societies to judge success and worth purely by the basis of what can be measured, such as growth in GDP, has distorted and corrupted society.It is, he argues, fundamentally unchristian to view a healthy bank balance or even a strong economy as “the goal” rather than as a means to do good.“The more interconnected the world becomes, the more power is held over individuals and nations by economics, by money, by flows of finance,” he writes.He defines those forces collectively as “Mammon” a word, derived from Aramaic, used in the New Testament to mean the power of wealth or riches. In practice, however, the Archbishop’s family live in a modest flat in the medieval compound which he has actively sought to open up to new uses: inviting in a family of Syrian refugees, a community of young people on a monastic gap year and the first Roman Catholic residents of Lambeth Palace for centuries. Mark Carney Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, poses for photographers as he arrives at 10 Downing Street 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