A 14Team NFL Playoff Wouldnt Bring More Parity

New York Giants President John Mara said Tuesday that the NFL would probably not expand its postseason field from 12 to 14 teams for the 2014 season. But make no mistake, expansion is coming sooner or later. The television ratings for playoff matchups — even for early rounds — are so monstrous that it makes sense from a revenue-maximizing perspective to add postseason games.But how about from a football perspective? ESPN’s Stats & Information correctly points out that, even with 14 playoff qualifiers, only 43.7 percent of NFL teams would earn postseason berths, which is still lower than the 53.3 percent qualification rates in the NBA and NHL. Then again, both of those sports play best-of-seven series to determine who advances to the next round; the NFL’s postseason is a single-elimination tournament. (And, 2013 excepted, the NFL playoffs are trending toward less predictable outcomes as it is.)Even in a 12-team playoff format, the best team in football fails to win the Super Bowl far more often than not. But would a 14-team bracket add another layer of randomness? Using the power of Monte Carlo simulation and the theoretical distribution of true talent in the NFL, we can estimate how often a team of a given ranking in “true talent” wins the Super Bowl under both the 12-team format and the proposed 14-team arrangement. For both formats, I assigned each team a true-talent rating at random (from a normal distribution with a mean winning percentage of .500 and a standard deviation of .146) and simulated the 2013 NFL schedule 10,000 times, recording how often a team of a given talent ranking won the Super Bowl. Here are the results:As it turns out, a 14-team playoff format wouldn’t change much for the favorites’ chances of a Super Bowl victory. The No. 2 seed in each conference would be forced to play an extra game (rather than receiving a bye during the wild-card round), but that doesn’t move the needle a lot — mainly because the No. 1 seeds still get byes into the divisional round.What would really shake things up, though, would be a move to a 16-team bracket, which would give the NFL a playoff participation rate closer to the NBA and NHL (although the NFL would still be lower). If we run the same simulation process above but plug teams into a 16-team playoff format, the following probabilities emerge:Forcing the top seed in each conference to play an extra game would drastically shift the Super Bowl odds for the NFL’s three most talented teams, redistributing much of their current probabilistic advantage across the rest of the league. The move to a 16-team playoff would be a much bigger change than from 12 teams to 14.The remaining question is whether that’s a bad thing. A 16-team playoff would increase the role of chance in the NFL’s postseason — an element which has already been on the rise in recent seasons. The NFL’s landmark popularity over the past decade suggests that such parity has moved the league closer to the optimal mix of determinism and randomness. (By contrast, a system designed to turn the NFL playoffs into a science experiment always yielding the most deserving champion would be tedious and unpopular.) But it’s not clear whether there are diminishing returns to the NFL’s parity formula. read more

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Black Women Say Title IX Discriminates Against Them

At a gathering in Harlem last week at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, several African-American women came together for a forum during which they accused the federal Title IX law of discriminating against black women.Women of all ages and backgrounds were at the meeting, from an 88-year-old grandmother to a 21-year-old recent college graduate, from executives at sports foundations to several recently retired athletes, but theyall shared one common goal: To widen sports opportunities for black women.Forty years ago President Richard M. Nixon signed the statute known today as Title IX, which declared, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” The legislation only talked about gender inequality in sports, but failed to address racial inequality. It opened many doors for white female athletes, but for black female athletes the benefits are yet to be seen, the women claimed.“If we don’t advocate for black women, who will we have to be the first to advocate for ourselves? We have to be the first ones at the table,” said Tina Sloan Green, the co-founder and president of the Black Women in Sport Foundation in Philadelphia. “We’ve got to take charge of our agenda.”The Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program also held a meeting in Washington that discussed a similar topic. They addressed the gap of opportunity between white female athletes and all female athletes of color, not just African Americans.The group in Washington believed that the gap in opportunity wasn’t necessarily intentional; the group of women who met in Harlem, on the other hand, begs to differ.“These white women don’t want us to compete with them. They want their kids to get the scholarships,” Green said. “They give us all kinds of awards, but when it comes to distributing money, it’s a whole other story.”According to a 2007 report by the United States Department of Education, white girls had a 51 percent participation rate in sports among high school sophomores. For black girls, the participation rate dropped to 40 percent. The percentages dropped lower for Asian/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics, whose participation rate was 34 percent and 32 percent, respectively.According to the New York Times, Title IX has also decreased the number of female coaches by allowing more men to coach female sports teams, especially in basketball and soccer. read more

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Carmelo Anthony Likely to Stay With Knicks Says Wife

Carmelo Anthony, the New York Knicks star who plans to become a free agent after the season, will shun various overtures and re-sign with the Knicks. This is according to his wife La La Anthony.The actress said: “I definitely think he will stay” during an interview with Bravo TV’s “Watch What Happens Live.” “I know that he wants to stay, and I support wherever he wants to go.“Listen, I used to live in Denver with him. If I can live in Denver, I can live anywhere. I just want him to be happy.”Carmelo Anthony, who is under contract through next season, says he will exercise his right to opt out of the contract and test free agency this summer.The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be a suitor.“Well, everybody wants to play in Los Angeles,” Kobe Bryant said when asked about Anthony’s potential interest in joining the Lakers. “I mean, New York is a beautiful place, don’t get me wrong, but it is colder than s**t out here. You know, palm trees and beaches obviously are a little more appealing.“All jokes aside, I think that players, when that time comes, will have to make the best decision for them and their families. I try not to think about it too much. If he wants to call me for advice later as a friend, I will be more than happy to give it to him.”Anthony, who is in his 11th season, said Monday that his sole motivation is to win an NBA title.“That’s the only thing I care about. Anything else is irrelevant to me when it comes to basketball,” he said. “Championship is the only thing that’s on my mind, is the only thing I want to accomplish, I want to achieve, and I’m going to do what I got to do to get that. That’s my motivating factor. Nothing else even motivates me anymore, just that.”Bryant agreed with that position.“The only way to do that is win,” Bryant said. “That’s it. I won five championships, and there’s some of you guys [who] still say that. You just got to take it and roll with it. The important thing is winning a championship. That’s the only way to shake it. That’s the only way Michael [Jordan] shook it. That’s the only way any top scorer will be able to shake it.” read more

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The Warriors Could Be The 1990s Bulls Or The 1970s Bucks

YEARTEAMCOMPOSITE ELOCHANGE FROM PRIOR SEASONWON NBA FINALSAVG AGE*CONT-INUITY* 1966-6776ers1734+103✓27.995% 27.282 2007-08Lakers1701+171 1984-85Lakers1736+102✓28.2100 That’s a pretty good group. You see Michael Jordan’s Bulls (twice), along with Tim Duncan’s Spurs and several of the Lakers’ mini-dynasties. But there are also a couple of cases of teams that didn’t quite live up to their promise. The next chart shows how many games each team won in the seven seasons after its breakthrough, along with whether it reached or won the NBA Finals.On average, these teams won 1.5 additional championships in the seven seasons after their breakthrough year.1Technically, that average could go slightly higher if the Cavaliers win the championship next year or if the Miami Heat do within the next three seasons. But the average, of course, conceals a lot of variation. Eight of the 13 teams won multiple additional titles, while the other five won no more.The Warriors look pretty good even compared to this elite group of teams, however. Their Elo rating is the second-highest — after the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls — while their average team age, 26.4 weighted by win shares, is the second-youngest, behind the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks.The Warriors have also gotten better “organically” with the same core group of talent. Their continuity percentage, which I calculate as the percentage of a team’s win shares that came from players who were also on the roster in the previous season, is 86 percent. Interestingly, going from good to great organically seems to be the more common path than doing it by signing a bunch of superstars. The 2007-08 Boston Celtics and the 2010-11 Miami Heat are the only real exceptions on the list above.Based on a nearest neighbor analysis,2Using the five categories you see in the first table in this chart: a team’s Elo rating, its change in Elo rating from the previous season, whether it won the NBA championship, its average age and its continuity percentage. the most similar team to this year’s Warriors is the 1990-91 Chicago Bulls. The Bulls’ three best players that year — Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant — were 27 years old, 25 and 25. By comparison, Curry was 26 this season, while Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were 24.That’s a fortuitous comparison, of course, since the Bulls’ 1991 championship was the first of six they’d win in eight seasons. The second-most similar team, however, is the 1970-71 Bucks. They had all the talent in the world — Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor3Alcindor changed his name to Abdul-Jabbar after the Bucks won the 1971 finals.) on the same team! But after going 66-16 and romping their way to a title in 1971, the Bucks wouldn’t win one again. They ran into a 69-13 Lakers team in the 1972 playoffs and then were upset (by the Warriors) in the 1973 playoffs. They did reach the finals again in 1974 but lost to an underdog Celtics team. Robertson retired after that season, and Abdul-Jabbar left for Los Angeles a year later. And that was it.At least the Bucks were highly competitive, though, averaging 61 wins in the three seasons after their breakthrough. If the Warriors fail to win another title, it’s likely to be because of a Bucks-like circumstance of running into some other really hot team in the playoffs or blowing a couple of playoff series that they ought to win — rather than (barring an injury to Curry) because of a sudden and dramatic collapse. Winning an NBA championship is never easy. But the Warriors are very good, very young and have many players locked up to long-term contracts. Teams in similar circumstances usually haven’t been one-year wonders and instead are able to make several more runs at a championship. 28.942 2014-15Warriors1796+170✓26.486 1995-96Bulls1815+199✓30.289 26.779 We here at FiveThirtyEight have been riding the Warriors bandwagon for a long time. Good thing they won the championship Tuesday! But now the question is how many more titles Steph Curry and company might expect in their future.Let’s take a really simple approach. We’ll identify other teams that, like the Warriors, had a big breakthrough and quickly went from being good to really great. More specifically, we’ll look for teams that had a composite Elo rating of 1700 or higher, which is a rating that we’d ordinarily associate with a championship-caliber team, and whose Elo rating improved by at least 100 points from the previous season.There were only 13 of these teams before the Warriors, it turns out. You can find them below. 1971-72Lakers1732+199✓30.489 1998-99Spurs1728+105✓29.478 2007-08Celtics1710+310✓28.048 2008-09Cavaliers1738+188 1970-71Bucks1723+143✓25.977 2010-11Heat1702+138 1999-2000Lakers1724+110✓28.481 *Weighted by win shares 1990-91Bulls1755+122✓26.795 1979-80Lakers1706+124✓27.266 read more

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Beside The Points For Thursday May 17 2018

Oh, and don’t forgetHow Shoddy Statistics Found A Home In Sports Research We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe See more NBA predictions Some personal news first: I’m leaving FiveThirtyEight soon to start a forthcoming daily newsletter, Numlock News. If you’ve been a fan of Beside The Points, please subscribe!Things That Caught My EyeLightning making a go of itThe Tampa Bay Lightning’s win Tuesday meant that their playoff series with the Washington Capitals won’t end in a sweep, but Washington has good reason to be excited about their chances up 2-1. Teams have a 21-0 series record when they win the first two road games in the final two rounds of the playoffs. Still, as all of my fatalist Caps friends repeatedly insist, if there’s any cursed sports city that could foul that up it’s Washington. The teams play tonight in D.C. [The Washington Post]Vegas was secretly a sports town this whole timeThe Vegas Golden Knights are 5-1 at home during the playoffs and have outscored the opposition 22-10, cementing the town as one of the toughest away games in the league. That’s extra-impressive because in the playoffs as a whole, road teams have actually been on a tear, with a record of 38-35. [USA Today]Seattle ready for another franchiseA Seattle group testing the waters to become the 32nd franchise in the NHL received 10,000 deposits in the first 12 minutes of availability, with the final count ending up north of 33,000. Vegas’ immediate success sets a high bar for any new expansion franchise, but the rules that made Vegas’ squad so good — teams could protect either eight skaters and a goalie or seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender — mean that top-flight talent is instantly available to new organizations who raid teams with salary-cap issues. [The Los Angeles Times]Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?Cavs are off their gameThe Cleveland Cavaliers are allowing 112.8 points per 100 possessions against the Boston Celtics, and this is an opponent that during the regular season averaged only 105.2 points per 100 possessions with star guard Kyrie Irving playing most of the year. (Irving was lost to injury right before the playoffs.) Another issue that the Cavs are having is that their three-point shooting touch is off, a factor that’s had a very strong correlation with this particular team’s efficiency. [FiveThirtyEight]Basketball is fasterThis past NBA regular season saw an average of 99.57 possessions per 48 minutes, which is almost 10 possessions faster than the pace in 1996-97 (89.78 possessions per 48). This quickening of the game has also proceeded into the playoffs, when the game usually slows down. Round two of the NBA playoffs had a pace of 99.94 possessions per 48 minutes, and round one had a pace of 97.52, some of the speediest ever. [FiveThirtyEight]De-processing the NBA draftThere’s an enormously steep curve of future value when moving through the NBA Draft. Breaking down the production of an NBA draftee in his first five seasons, the average No. 1 pick in the draft is worth more than 35 wins over replacement player; once you get past the tenth pick, however, those players are generating only a fraction of the WORP. This has incentivized teams to tank like hell in order to get a better shot at the top pick, which makes for crummy basketball. But a new tweak set to go into effect next year will make that incentive considerably dicier. [FiveThirtyEight]Big Number(s)64 percentThe American League has beaten the National League in interleague play every single year since 2003. So far in 2018, though, the NL has won 64 percent of the time, leading the AL 32-18 in interleague games. Recently, the AL has had most of the talent — even this season, only one person in the top 10 of major league WAR is in the National League — and over the past decade it had a record of 1,503-1,257 against the NL, going into this season. Perhaps this is the year things will finally be different. [FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slack: neil:Frost: Not all titles claimed by Tide legit, eitherThis dumb college football debate continues to be great Predictions NBA All newsletters read more

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Three areas Urban Meyer covered in his weekly Ohio State press conference

Urban Meyer speaks at the 2016 Student Appreciation Day on April 2 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Credit: Judy Won | For The LanternThe Ohio State football team might be creating buzz with the contributions of incoming freshmen in spring drills, but there are still multiple questions about the team that will don scarlet and gray come September.Following the morning session of spring practice on Tuesday, OSU coach Urban Meyer answered questions from the media about how the team is progressing with spring drills.Here are three takeaways from Meyer’s time at the podium.Assist from alumniMany notable players departed Columbus after last season to pursue the next level, such as wide receiver Michael Thomas, cornerback Eli Apple and offensive tackle Taylor Decker.Although these players will no longer step on the field for the Buckeyes, they are contributing in ways other than making plays.“They’re really helping our young guys,” Meyer said. “(Thomas) comes here to coach.”A big question looming over the heads of Buckeye fans is how the offensive line will handle the large transitional phase of losing three starters from last season. But spirits are high, Meyer said, especially since one of the highest-rated offensive linemen in this year’s NFL draft is mentoring the next men up.“(Decker) is here for a lot of reasons,” Meyer said. “One is to lift and train, but also to help (sophomore) Isaiah Prince and (junior) Jamarco Jones.”Jones is expected to start at left tackle this season for the Buckeyes, while Prince looks primed to be the regular right tackle.Student Appreciation Day more than just funOn Saturday, OSU hosted its annual Student Appreciation Day, in which students are invited to attend a practice held by the team and witness what it is like to suit up with the Buckeyes.Although the event is fun for the spectators and usually results in good laughs — like when players such as redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett participate in the circle drill with a female student — there is a more serious side to the event, Meyer said. “Last week was about chaos,” the coach said. “You have 3,000 students in there, loud noise the entire time, screaming and yelling.”  When the Buckeyes take the field at Ohio Stadium, there is invariably more than 100,000 fans in attendance, making it a hectic environment. But, outside of the sounds of whistles and shouting coaches, most of their spring practices are quiet.The use of the annual event to create a more distracting environment is something the coaching staff feels will better prepare the team for games where crowd noise makes relaying plays and audibles extremely difficult.“We, on purpose, try to create situations like that,” Meyer said. Linebackers look promisingOSU has gained a reputation for producing strong talents at linebacker, a trend Meyer said he feels will continue again this year. He spoke volumes about the ability of sophomore linebacker Jerome Baker. Meyer said the Buckeyes could very well use the Cleveland native like they used Darron Lee, who bolted for the NFL after starting for two seasons. The Buckeyes also lost Joshua Perry at linebacker. “Jerome Baker has the skill set,” Meyer said.Baker, a 6-foot-1 four-star recruit, was not a starter last season and saw limited action on the field, registering three tackles. But after a string of good spring showings, Meyer said the coaching staff feels he can make a large contribution for the Scarlet and Gray this year. The Buckeyes are working toward preparing the team for the upcoming spring game, which is set for 1:30 p.m. on April 16 at Ohio Stadium. read more

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Ohio State womens golf takes 2nd out west at Branch Law FirmDick

The Ohio State women’s golf team started its fall season in full swing tying University of Nevada-Las Vegas for second out of 17 teams at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. The Buckeyes started off with a score of 293 strokes for the first round, and shot a pair of 297s for rounds two and three. Senior Rachel Rohanna, who was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week on Wednesday, led the Buckeyes, placing second individually with scores of 71, 72 and 73 to finish the tournament. Rohanna credits her success at the tournament to her strength and her mental game. “My biggest strength is my strength on the course,” Rohanna said. “I think I have a little more of an advantage over most of the golfers out here with my distance off the tee and especially my irons and my mental game.” Fellow seniors Amy Meier and Susana Benavides followed Rohanna. Meier tied for 13th place with a final score of 221, and Benavides tied for 19th place with a final score of 222. Meier attributed her success at the tournament to her ball striking and ability to hit greens. “I hit a lot of greens and even if I didn’t make that many putts, I knew that hitting the greens would give me more opportunities,” Meier said. The three seniors were included on the 2012-13 Big Ten Players to Watch List at the beginning of the season. Coach Therese Hession said she is proud of the seniors’ work at the tournament. “I think our seniors did a fantastic job,” Hession said. “They all had a good tournament and it sure is fun to get out of the gate that way.” The rest of the Buckeyes followed with sophomore Claudia Lim tied for 35th place with a final score of 228, junior Allison Harper tied for 55th place with a final score of 233 and sophomore Jan Chanpalangsri tied for 69th place with a final score of 236. Hession is pleased with the overall results from the tournament and hopes the team can keep it up throughout the season. “I think we had a solid tournament,” Hession said. “We were in the hunt around the top of the leader board the whole time, which we always love being there, and unfortunately we came off one shot short.” The Buckeyes will travel to Chicago, Ill., to contend in the Windy City Collegiate on Oct. 1-2. read more

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Buckeye Brief Urban Meyer addresses locker rooms NFL religion in offfield issues

Urban Meyer prepares to run out on to the field with the team prior to the Ohio State- Oklahoma game on Sep. 9. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorAlong with several topics pertaining to the on-field performance of Ohio State’s football team, head coach Urban Meyer also addressed several off-field topics and locker room issues that are important to his team during Monday’s press conference. Here are our takeaways.Big Ten away locker roomsFootball teams know when traveling for away games that the accommodations in the locker room will not quite live up to the standards set by those at home. However, teams expect not only at least respectable locker rooms, but also believe they should be met with air conditioning and proper care when it comes to medical treatment.During Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh’s press conference Monday, the outspoken coach said his team was met with poor facilities at Purdue and that the poor conditions tend to be more of a reflection on the rest of the conference rather than just the Boilermakers.“We had to open the doors to get ventilation going in a small area and people are walking by watching you dress. The number of urinals or bathrooms for the players and staff, I think there was two,” Harbaugh said. “Injured players can’t get an X-ray. Taken to a student health care center in a van. We needed a brace for a player and there wasn’t one at the facility we were taken to. A lot of things need to be addressed.”Harbaugh is not the only coach to express displeasure with away locker rooms in the conference. Meyer said he has had a “couple” of difficulties with the locker rooms in opposing stadiums and said that he has expressed his opinions to the commissioner, Jim Delaney.“All due respect, this is the Big Ten Conference,” Meyer said. “I’ve shared it with our athletic director and the commissioner should handle that.”Kneeling during the National Anthem in the NFLFollowing tweets from President Donald Trump condemning the actions of players in the NFL who knelt during the national anthem, athletes from around the league demonstrated a large display of solidarity Sunday, kneeling during the anthem in large groups or remaining in the locker room. As the players did this, debates raged between those who viewed the demonstration as players expressing their First Amendment rights to protest racial injustice in the United States and others who viewed it as a protest against the country as a whole and as disrespectful to military members.Topics such as this have divided the nation, but Meyer said the mutual respect teammates show for one another has helped maintain decorum in Ohio State’s locker room.“It’s the ‘r-word,’ the respect. Respect all,” Meyer said. “I personally have very strong beliefs and thoughts about things like that. And I share them with my friends and obviously very close with my family about our thoughts.”Religion in sportsThe “r-word” appeared again in Meyer’s vocabulary when the head coach was asked about religion. He talked about how important it is for the players in the locker room to all have mutual respect for everyone as many of the players have different views on religion as well. Meyer said the players are all allowed to hold their own views on religion, and that in the Ohio State locker room, all views are not only welcome, but also encouraged given how important religion is in Meyer’s life.“Our players, you look at their schedules, so we want everything to be user-friendly,” Meyer said, “Whether it be nutrition, whether it be real-life Wednesdays, those type of things, and also your spiritual life, so we have everything available to them. And I’m proud to say we have multi religious players, denominational people in our program.” read more

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Monarch of the Glen painting could be saved for the nation

first_imgSir John Leighton, director general of the NGS, said he was delighted by Diageo’s gesture, which offered offered a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this major work to be acquired for the nation”.He added: “The Monarch Of The Glen is an iconic image which is famous across the world.”The ideal home for such an important and resonant picture is the Scottish National Gallery, where it can be enjoyed and admired by millions of visitors in the context of the nation’s unrivalled collection of Scottish, British and European art.”Fiona Hyslop, the culture minister, welcomed the deal and said reaction to news of the painting’s planned auction in London next month had underline its importance.The romantic evocation of the Highlands of Scotland, depicting a “royal” stag with 12 points on its antlers, was commissioned as part of a series of three panels to hang in the Palace of Westminster in London. It later entered corporate hands and was widely used in advertising campaigns.Strictly speaking it might have been called The Royal of the Glen, as a “monarch” stag has 16 points. ‘Royal’ stags have 12 points and ‘monarchs’ have 16 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 Monarch of the Glen, Sir Edwin Landseer’s iconic oil painting of a red deer stag, could be saved for the nation after its owners agreed a deal with the National Galleries of Scotland.The drinks giant Diageo planned to put the painting up for auction – for the first time in 100 years – in a move that art lovers feared could have taken it overseas.However, the firm has now gifted half the estimated £8 million value of the piece to the galleries in the hope that they can raise the remaining £4 million to bring the masterpiece into public ownership for the first time.It has been on display while on loan to the National Museum of Scotland for 17 years, and the drinks company said it decided to sell the work of art, painted in 1851, because it had no direct link to its business or brands.Gallery officials now have four months to raise the target figure that will keep the famous Victorian painting, which gave its name to a popular TV series, in Scotland. Stag's headlast_img read more

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Terror chief Max Hill warns risk of attacks in Britain is highest

first_imgMr Hill also brought to justice the men behind the failed plot to bomb the London Tube weeks after the attacks of 7/7Credit:PA Mr Hill said the prosecution of Damilola Taylor’s killers was the case that made the biggest impression on him British citizens are facing a level of threat from terrorists not seen since the IRA bombings of the Seventies, the country’s new terrorism watchdog has warned.In his first major interview since taking the role, Max Hill said Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) was planning “indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians” on a scale similar to those perpetrated by the IRA 40 years ago. He told The Telegraph that Islamists were targeting UK cities and said there was an “enormous ongoing risk which none of us can ignore”.  Firefighter Angus Campbell remonstrating with Ramzi Mohammed inside the Underground train in the failed 21/7 bomb plotCredit:PA The warning comes just days after Mr Hill, one of Britain’s leading terrorism prosecutors, was unveiled as the new independent reviewer of terrorism legislation. It follows a 30-year legal career during which he helped convict the 21/7 bomb plotters, break up terror cells and imprison Damilola Taylor’s killers.  Max Hill won’t be afraid to take on ministersCredit:Jason Alden Metropolitan Police handout photo of CCTV footage shown to the jury of the 21/7 bomb trial at Woolwich Crown Court He also raised concern about the hundreds of British extremists who fled to fight in Syria and Iraq with Isil but are set to return after a string of military defeats. “It’s an enormous concern that large numbers – we know this means at least hundreds of British citizens who have left this country in order to fight – are now returning or may be about to return,” Mr Hill said. “Of course the imminent fall of Mosul and perhaps the prospective retaking of Raqqa are both bound to lead to a higher instance of returning fighters. Does that mean that the British public need to be immediately alarmed at a spike in terrorist activity within this country? “The answer to that is, I don’t know, but it doesn’t follow as a matter of fact that those who chose to go to live or fight abroad will bring that fight back to this country.” Revealing his views about the terrorism threat in Britain, Mr Hill also:Expressed “enormous concern” at the imminent return of hundreds of British jihadists who have been fighting for Isil in Syria;Warned that British teenagers as young as 14 are being radicalised by extremist videos and hate speech online;Promised to stand up to Theresa May if he believes her administration’s policies will harm British society;Defended ministers who approved a reported £1 million compensation payment to Ronald Fiddler, the Guantanamo Bay detainee who this month carried out a suicide bomb attack in Iraq;Pledged to review Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures amid concerns they are an “extraordinarily serious infringement” on freedom. Mr Hill was unveiled on Monday as the new watchdog, taking over from David Anderson in a role that dates back to the height of the IRA threat. He was praised by Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, for his “wealth of experience and legal expertise” when the appointment was announced. In the role, Mr Hill will  report annually to Parliament on the state of British terror legislation as well as undertaking his own reviews. center_img Mr Hill also brought to justice the men behind the failed plot to bomb the London Tube weeks after the attacks of 7/7 Max Hill won't be afraid to take on ministers Speaking exclusively to this newspaper, Mr Hill made plain his fears that the scale of threat facing Britain today has not been seen since the Seventies.“It is possible to point to distinctions in terms of the mindset, organisation and strategy of different terrorist groups and therefore it would be wrong to draw a simple comparison between Irish republicanism and the ideology of so-called Islamic State,” Mr Hill said. “But in terms of the threat that’s represented, I think the intensity and the potential frequency of serious plot planning – with a view to indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians of whatever race or colour in metropolitan areas – represents an enormous on-going risk that none of us can ignore. “So I think that there is undoubtedly significant ongoing risk which is at least as great as the threat to London in the Seventies when the IRA were active on the mainland.” At the time Britain was facing a concerted terrorist campaign from Irish republicans that saw pubs, train stations and Parliament repeatedly targeted in bomb attacks. It was a battle that would only truly end with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, signed by Tony Blair, which secured peace in Northern Ireland.  Mr Hill said the success of the intelligence services after the 7/7 bombings in 2005 was largely to thank for such attacks not becoming more frequent.   I think the intensity and the potential frequency of serious plot planning – with a view to indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians of whatever race or colour in metropolitan areas – represents an enormous on-going risk that none of us can ignoreMr Hill Mr Hill said the prosecution of Damilola Taylor's killers was the case that made the biggest impression on him 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

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Paul Hollywood Prue Leith reminds me of my motherinlaw in a fantastic

first_imgLoose Women star Ruth Langsford asked Hollywood how he felt about the backlash last year over his decision to remain on the show while Berry, Giedroyc and Perkins stepped down.He said: “They were loyal in their own little arenas of what they wanted to do, I was in a different stage of my career.”And it’s my job, and I love doing the Bake Off. And when it moved channels – I’m with the production company, I don’t work for a channel, I work for a production company – and my job was always there. “I didn’t want to lose it. They gave me a shot seven years ago, and I grasped it with both hands – why would I want to let it go?”Hollywood said he and Berry – who judged the popular programme together for seven series during its run on the BBC – spoke about his decision to stay with the show, which was sold by Love Productions to Channel 4.He said: “We did talk during it, and I’ve said before, Mary said ‘if I was in your shoes I would have done exactly the same thing’.”I’m a different stage to Mary, and I just couldn’t let go of that job.” He said he was not consulted about the line-up before it was announced, adding: “I did know about Prue, but I didn’t know about the others at all.”Asked if they had convened as a group, Hollywood said: “We’re about to, it’s got to be kept so quiet – it’ll be on the moon somewhere!” Prue Leith who is to replace Mary Berry as a judge on The Great British Bake OffCredit:Kirsty O’Connor/PA Wire Hollywood told ITV’s Loose Women he thinks the new Bake Off “dynamic” will be a success, but confirmed they have not yet met as a foursome.He said: “I’m really excited. Obviously it’s a big thing for the country, the Bake Off, and when I heard the names read out, I was really excited.””I think the whole dynamics of it, when I sat down and thought about it, because I’m a big fan of Noel, and Sandi actually, and Prue, because – Prue, she’s got this huge professional background, working in London for years and I’ve got nothing but respect for Prue, so I’m really looking forward to it. Prue Leith who is to replace Mary Berry as a judge on The Great British Bake Off 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’ve actually met and had a chat, there was something there.”In fact, she reminds me so much of my mother-in-law. In a fantastic way! I think we’re going to get on like a house on fire.” Paul Hollywood said his new Great British Bake Off co-star Prue Leith reminds him of his mother-in-law, and he is sure they will get on “like a house on fire”.The TV baker also defended his decision to remain on the cookery competition programme when it moved from the BBC to Channel 4, saying that he works for a production company, “not a channel”.The new line-up of the Bake Off was confirmed last week after months of speculation, with veteran chef Leith as a new judge replacing Mary Berry, and Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding stepping into the shoes of departed hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.last_img read more

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New faceageing algorithm shows how police may have got image of older

first_imgThe technique involved taking careful measurements from photographs of 500 people when they were aged 21 months, six years old, 14 and 22. However when they tested the programme on a photograph of missing youngster Ben Needham, they found it bore no resemblance to… Artists’ impressions of what missing people such as Madeleine McCann and Ben Needham look like years after they vanished may be completely unreliable, a new study suggests. Researchers at the University of Bradford have developed a method of ageing facial images which they say could enhance the search for people across the world. They then used the results to create an algorithm which accurately predicts how a face changes over time.last_img read more

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Who is Charlie Gard what is the disease he suffered from and

first_imgIt has been a heartbreaking legal battle that has captured international attention and drawn offers of support from Donald Trump and the Pope.Now, Charlie Gard has died after his life-support was withdrawn soon after he was moved to a hospice, denying his parents their “final wish” for him to spend his final hours at home.The little boy’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, had asked for more time with their son after he was transferred from Great Ormond Street Hospital, but High Court judge Mr Justice Francis said doctors could stop providing treatment shortly after 11-month-old arrived at the hospice.Here is everything you need to know about the case. Who is Charlie Gard?Charlie is a 10-month old patient in intensive care at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London.On August 4, 2016, he was born a “perfectly healthy” baby at full term and at a “healthy weight”. After about a month, however,  Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, noticed that he was less able to lift his head and support himself than other babies of a similar age. If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2017 Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son CharlieCredit:PA “Nobody knows because it is so very difficult because of the ravages of Charlie’s condition,” she said.”He cannot see, he cannot hear, he cannot make a noise, he cannot move.”Interventions from Trump and the VaticanWhile Ms Yates and Mr Gard said they have been boosted by support from US President Donald Trump and the Vatican, a leading expert has described interventions from high-profile figures as “unhelpful”.Professor Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said in an open letter that Charlie’s situation is “heartbreaking” for his parents, and “difficult” for others including medical staff, but added that even well-meaning interventions from outsiders can be unhelpful. May 23: After analysing the case, three Court of Appeal judges dismissed the couple’s appeal two days later. June 8: Charlie’s parents then lost their fight in the Supreme Court. Charlie’s mother broke down in tears and screamed as justices announced their decision and was led from the court by lawyers. Show more Connie Yates leaves the Supreme Court after a panel of three Supreme Court justices on dismissed the couple's latest challenge A banner hung on railings outside Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in LondonCredit:PA Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie She said that “sometimes parents are right in what they think” and it is not simply that they do not want to switch off life support. May 3: Charlie’s parents then asked Court of Appeal judges to consider the case. He said judges should not interfere with parents’ exercise of parental rights.Lawyers, who represented Charlie’s parents for free, said Mr Justice Francis had not given enough weight to Charlie’s human right to life.They said there was no risk the proposed therapy in the US would cause Charlie “significant harm”.However, Miss Yates and Mr Gard have now acknowledged that the therapy could not help their son get better. Their lawyer, Grant Armstrong, told the court that the delay in offering treatment to Charlie had meant he had no prospect of getting better. Mr Armstrong said damage to Charlie’s muscle and tissue was irreversible.”The parents’ worst fears have been confirmed,” he said”It is now too late to treat Charlie.” Ribbons and hearts tied to trees outside Great Ormond Street Hospital in London by well wishers backing a campaign to allow terminally ill baby Charlie Gard to be treated in AmericaCredit:PA Chris Gard leaves the Supreme Court after it ruled in favour of Great Ormond Street HospitalCredit:PA June 20:  Judges in the European Court of Human Rights started to analyse the case after lawyers representing Charlie’s parents make written submissions. A European Court of Human Rights spokeswoman said the case would get “priority”. “In light of the exceptional circumstances of this case, the court has already accorded it priority and will treat the application with the utmost urgency,” she added. She said the family had seven specialist doctors – two from the US, two from Italy, one from England and two from Spain – supporting them.She added: “We expect that structural damage is irreversible, but I have yet to see something which tells me my son has irreversible structural brain damage.”The parents have now acknowledged that the therapy they were seeking could not help their son get better. Their lawyer said the couple felt that continuing their fight would cause Charlie pain.  The interest of the Pope and Mr Trump in Charlie’s case has “saved his life so far”, his mother has said.Ms Yates told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on July 10: “Yeah, they have saved his life so far. It turned it into an international issue.”There are a lot of people that are outraged by what is going on. We have got new evidence now so I hope the judge changes his mind.” Connie Yates leaves the Supreme Court after a panel of three Supreme Court justices on dismissed the couple’s latest challengeCredit:PA June 27: On Tuesday, European court judges refused to intervene. A Great Ormond Street spokeswoman said the European Court decision marked “the end” of a “difficult process”.She said there would be “no rush” to change Charlie’s care and said there would be “careful planning and discussion”.July 10: Charlie’s parents return to the High Court and ask Mr Justice Francis to carry out a fresh analysis of the case. Mr Justice Francis gives them less than 48 hours to prove an experimental treatment works.July 24: Charlie’s parents withdraw their request to change the original court order.  Mr Gordon suggested that Charlie might be being unlawfully detained and denied his right to liberty. The baby will have his life support switched off in the next few days.Why was the case back in court?Charlie inherited the faulty RRM2B gene from his parents, affecting the cells responsible for energy production and respiration and leaving him unable to move or breathe without a ventilator.GOSH describes experimental nucleoside therapies as “unjustified” and the treatment is not a cure.The hospital’s decision to go back into the courtroom came after two international healthcare facilities and their researchers contacted them to say they have “fresh evidence about their proposed experimental treatment”.Charlie’s parents have now decided to end their legal battle. Grant Armstrong, the parents lawyer, told the court: “for Charlie it is too late.”What did Charlie’s parents argue?Richard Gordon QC, who led Charlie’s parents’ legal team, had told Court of Appeal judges that the case raised “very serious legal 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. In October, after he had became lethargic and his breathing shallow, he was transferred to the Great Ormond Street Hospital.Why was there a legal fight? Charlie’s parents wanted to take him to see specialists in the USA, who had offered an experimental therapy called nucleoside. A crowdfunding page was set up in January to help finance the therapy. Supporters outside the Supreme Court “They wish to exhaust all possible options,” Mr Gordon said in a written outline of Charlie’s parents’ case.”They don’t want to look back and think ‘what if?’. This court should not stand in the way of their only remaining hope.” Ribbons and hearts tied to trees outside Great Ormond Street Hospital in London by well wishers backing a campaign to allow terminally ill baby Charlie Gard to be treated in America Chris Gard leaves the Supreme Court after it ruled in favour of Great Ormond Street Hospital But doctors at GOSH concluded that the experimental treatment, which is not designed to be curative, would not improve Charlie’s quality of life. When parents do not agree about a child’s future treatment, it is standard legal process to ask the courts to make a decision. This is what happened in Charlie’s case.What were the stages of the legal battle?March 3: Great Ormond Street bosses asked Mr Justice Francis to rule that life support treatment should stop.The judge was told that Charlie could only breathe through a ventilator and was fed through a tube.April 11: Mr Justice Francis said doctors could stop providing life-support treatment after analysing the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in LondonHe concluded that life-support treatment should end and said a move to a palliative care regime would be in Charlie’s best interests.  What did GOSH argue?Katie Gollop QC, who led Great Ormond Street’s legal team, suggested that further treatment would leave Charlie in a “condition of existence”.She said therapy proposed in the USA was “experimental” and would not help Charlie.”There is significant harm if what the parents want for Charlie comes into effect,” she told appeal judges. “The significant harm is a condition of existence which is offering the child no benefit.”She added: “It is inhuman to permit that condition to continue.” A banner hung on railings outside Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London Doctors discovered he had a rare inherited disease – infantile onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS).The condition causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage. Supporters outside the Supreme CourtCredit:PA Ms Gollop said nobody knew whether Charlie was in pain.last_img read more

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Prince Harry takes on Royal Marines role from Duke of Edinburgh

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 Prince takes on his new duty as the 6,600-strong Corps is fighting possible cuts as Service Chiefs try to find cost savings to hit aggressive Treasury efficiency targets.Possible cost-cutting options submitted to the MOD have included the loss of 1,000 marines and two amphibious warships.Speculation over the cuts has led to intense lobbying from MPs and former Royal Marine officers.Any decision on cuts is not expected until the New Year.Meanwhile the Prince on Tuesday called for redoubled efforts to clear landmines around the world.In a video address to a Vienna conference reviewing progress on the international mine ban treaty, the Prince said: “The mine ban treaty includes a commitment from the international community to clear the world of landmines by 2025. Prince Harry has replaced the Duke of Edinburgh to be appointed ceremonial head of the Royal Marines. His appointment as Captain General of the Marines comes after the Duke held the position for more than 64 years.The Duke’s last solo public duty before retiring in August was to take the salute from a group of fundraising Royal Marines and on Tuesday he was joined at Buckingham Palace by his grandson, as he assumed his new position.Buckingham Palace said The Queen “has been pleased to give her formal approval to the appointment of His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales as Captain General Royal Marines.”The Queen’s Consort announced in May he would be retiring from royal engagements after more than 65 years supporting the monarch in her role as head of state and attending events for his own charities and organisations.On August 2, in Buckingham Palace’s forecourt, the Duke celebrated the achievements of the Royal Marines who had taken part in the 1664 Global Challenge, a series of strength and endurance feats raising funds and awareness for the Royal Marines Charity.It was the last of his 22,219 solo official engagements, carried out since 1952. The Duke has joined the Queen at a number of events since then and in June spent two nights in hospital being treated for an unspecified infection.center_img “With just eight years to go, we must stiffen our resolve and redouble our efforts if we are to stand any chance of achieving this goal.“I am delighted that the British Government has taken the lead by increasing its funding to clear these terrible legacies of war, but without similar commitments across the world, the 2025 goal will not be achieved.”The treaty was signed 20 years ago and 163 states have now joined, but an average of 24 people a day are still killed by mines or unexploded ordnance each day. Jane Cocking, chief executive of Mines Advisory Group, said 2016 had seen the worst level of casualties in two decades and “more than 60 million people still live in fear of landmines”.She said: “From the new landmine emergency in the middle east, to the legacy of contamination from wars gone by, these indiscriminate weapons don’t only injure and kill innocent people but eliminate land that could be used for farming, schools or hospitals. We have the means and the ability to solve this problem.”last_img read more

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How green is your sandwich Why switching to egg and cress could

first_imgAt the other end of the scale, the least polluting option is egg and cress, which generates 739 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq.), making it twice as green its meaty counterpart. But according to scientists, sandwiches are having a major impact on the environment. In fact, the worst culprit – the all-day breakfast of egg, bacon and sausage – produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as driving a car for 12 miles. When the 4th Earl of Sandwich ordered his meat to be served between two slices of bread to avoid disrupting a card game, he probably did not expect his action would affect future global temperatures 250 years later. For the first time, researchers studied the whole life-cycle…last_img read more

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Missing Frightened Rabbit lead singer did not take phone with him from

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. “I didn’t live by that standard and it kills me. Please, hug your loved ones.”The frontman followed the tweet up minutes later at 11.09 with message simply reading: “I’m away now. Thanks.”His latest tweet prompted hundreds of supporters to come forward with messages of encouragement for the singer, including former Radio 1 DJ Edith Bowman, who replied with: “You OK, fella? Sending love and a shoulder if you need it.”A post from the Frightened Rabbit Twitter account said: “We are worried about Scott, who has been missing for a little while now.”He may be in a fragile state and may not be making the best decisions for himself right now.”Please could Scott or anyone with any information on his whereabouts please contact Police Scotland .”He is described as white, 6ft tall with a stocky build, dark hair and a thick beard.He was last seen wearing a dark baseball cap, a navy hooded jacket, grey or khaki trousers and white trainers.Inspector Graeme Dignan said: “We are keen to locate Scott as soon as possible to ensure he is safe and well and would urge anyone who can assist with our ongoing inquiries to come forward.”If you believe you have seen him since the early hours of Wednesday morning or know where he currently is, then please contact police immediately. Scott Hutchison – lead singer of the band Frightened Rabbit “If somehow you are reading this Scott then can you just let someone know you’re safe please? We love you very much.” The brother of missing the Frightened Rabbit frontman has talked of his “incredible worry” as police continue to search for him. Scott Hutchison, 36, has not been seen since leaving the Dakota Hotel in South Queensferry in Scotland at 1am on Wednesday in a “very fragile state”. It has emerged the lead singer left the hotel without his phone and his brother Grant, who plays drums in the Scottish indie band, updated fans this 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 yesterday 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.”He was in a hotel in South Queensferry and hasn’t been seen or heard from since 1am.”Please repost and share and get in touch if you have any info. His phone is with the police. Messages of hope were sent from friends, family and fellow musicians, including Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol and Frank Turner. There was also support from authors Irvine Welsh and Christopher Brookmyre, and radio presenter Edith Bowman.Singer-songwriter Saint Raymond wrote: “Really hope he’s found well. Saw frightened rabbit live on Isle of Skye about seven years ago, and that show taught me how a live show should be. Incredible energy. Praying he’s ok.”Frank Turner wrote: “Scott is simply one of the best people I know. Keep your eyes Edinburgh, and look after him if you see him.”Hutchison is described as white, 6ft tall with a stocky build, dark hair and a thick beard.He was last seen wearing a dark baseball cap, navy blue hooded jacket, grey or khaki trousers and white trainers.Police Scotland said there was no update on the search for the singer, who lives in Dennistoun, Glasgow.Anyone with information should contact officers at Drylaw Police Station via the 101 number. I’m away now. Thanks.— Scott Hutchison (@owljohn) May 8, 2018 Three hours before he was last seen, Hutchison tweeted: “Be so good to everyone you love. It’s not a given. I’m so annoyed that it’s not. Scott Hutchison - lead singer of the band Frightened Rabbit 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 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.  Scott Hutchison performing in 2012 Scott Hutchison performing in 2012 “I’d also urge Scott to get in touch with family, friends, or with police, to let us know he is alright.” read more

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Britain facing shortage of meat and other foods amid CO2 crisis

The unprecedented shortage – caused by the unexpected shutdown of several factories – has been exacerbated by hot June weather and the England football team’s success in the World Cup.  Britain is facing the prospect of a shortage of meat and other food supplies amid calls for ministers to intervene in the growing crisis sparked by the shortage of carbon dioxide. Supermarkets warned customers that some products were already unavailable, with shelves expected to be empty of certain foods within days. CO2 is used for carbonating soft drinks, packaging a wide range of products including meat and bakery items and in the slaughter process of pigs and chickens.  Meat and beer, already in high demand,… read more

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Muslim convert The Eagle who planned Oxford Street terror attack jailed for

The note, in full: Oxford Street – long road with no bollards or barriers preventing a can mounting the pavement. Busiest time is between 11am-12pm with Saturday being the busisest day. Wolf should either use a ram attack or use … on the truck to maximise death … it is a busy street it is ideal for an attack.It is expected nearly 100 could be killed in the attack.Anjem Choudary demo drew Ludlow to police attentionThe court heard how Ludlow, from Rochester in Kent, first came to the attention of police in 2010 when he attended a demonstration led by radical preacher Anjem Choudary and his banned Al-Muhajiroun (ALM) group. “He said to me, ‘Don’t you want to die a martyr? They deserve it’.” Lewis Ludlow with the sword The judge said Ludlow had been engaged in preparations for a “spectacular” multi-casualty attack “with the intention of causing death or terror”.He told the defendant: “Your commitment at the time we are concerned with to violent extremism ran very deep and for some time. Lewis Ludlow's note On April 13 Ludlow’s mobile phone was retrieved from a storm drain and found to have videos of the defendant swearing allegiance to IS and evidence of “hostile reconnaissance”. “There could be no other explanation for your preparing to kill innocent people in a vehicle attack for ideological reasons.”Judge Hilliard rejected the suggestion Ludlow had been coerced by an Islamic State supporter in the Philippines, saying the defendant was “nobody’s fool”.He added: “I do not regard you as suggestible or easily taken advantage of. You were well able to resist the Prevent programme.”Lewis Ludlow’s handwritten noteThe Royal Mail worker who called himself The Ghost penned a handwritten note which he later ripped up detailing his plans for a terror attack on the capital:  Lewis Ludlow with the sword 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 Muslim convert nicknamed “The Eagle” has been jailed for at least 15 years for planning a “spectacular” terror attack on Oxford Street in London.Lewis Ludlow, 27, swore allegiance to Islamic State as he prepared to drive a van through London’s shopping district or Madame Tussauds.The former Royal Mail worker, who called himself “The Eagle” and “The Ghost”, researched potential targets around the capital.He bought a phone under a false name and wrote down his attack plans, which were later found ripped up in a bin.He identified Oxford Street as an “ideal” spot, writing: “It is expected nearly 100 could be killed in the attack.”Last year, he pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to plotting an attack in the UK and funding IS abroad.Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC jailed Ludlow for life with a minimum term of 15 years for the attack plan, with seven years to run concurrently for funding. When Ludlow was arrested by counter-terrorism police he refused to explain himself in interview.Following his guilty plea, autistic Ludlow told how he rejected an MI5 advance in March 2017 but agreed to engage with the Prevent programme.He became “bitter” and “heartbroken” when he was barred from going to the Philippines, he said: “I felt that I was trapped like an animal unable to escape its cage.”At first, Abu Yaqeen asked for money then talked him into plotting an attack in Britain, saying “you have to kill them”, he claimed.Ludlow told the court: “I said no at first, I did not want to because I felt this was a bit scary and then he said, ‘You have to do it. You have to kill them, make them pay in blood, you must get revenge. They are not innocent. They deserve to die’.”He said the best way to do so was using a ram attack. He said in order to achieve such a spectacular attack we should use a truck bomb attack to achieve the necessary effect.  Lewis Ludlow taking pictures in Oxford StreetCredit:PA When he was arrested in 2015, IS material was found on Ludlow’s electronic devices but no further action was taken.In January 2018, he bought a ticket to fly to the Philippines on February 3 but was stopped at the airport and had his passport seized.Having set up a PayPal account and a fake Facebook site called Antique Collections, he sent money to an IS supporter, Abu Yaqeen, in the Philippines.Ludlow also turned his attention to launching an attack in Britain, with encouragement from Yaqeen, the court heard.He visited an internet cafe in Vauxhall Bridge Road in central London where he searched online for shopping centres, Oxford Street and the Isis flag.Police later recovered torn-up scraps of paper from Ludlow’s bin detailing potential attack sites, including Madame Tussauds, Oxford Street, St Paul’s Cathedral and a “Shia temple in Romford”.He detailed a potential attack on Oxford Street using a van mounting the pavement, noting the lack of safety barriers.He wrote: “Wolf should either use a ram attack or use … on the truck to maximise death … it is a busy street it is ideal for an attack. It is expected nearly 100 could be killed in the attack.”  Lewis Ludlow taking pictures in Oxford Street Lewis Ludlow’s noteCredit:Central read more

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Mother of murdered teenager Breck Bednar calls for Government social media crackdown

“It will have to balance all these things in its judgments,” he said. “We are not interested in journalistic content. We are not interested in what journalists write.What journalists say on radio, what they write in newspapers, what they say on TV is controlled in other ways. What we are talking about is user generated content, what people put online and companies that facilitate access to that kind of material.“This is not about journalism. This is about an unregulated space we need to control better to keep people safe.”Mr Wright said the Government aimed to move as swiftly as possible to introduce legislation following an initial three-month consultation on the plans.The consultation includes whether the regulator will be an established body such as broadcasting watchdog Ofcom or a new one. Lorin LaFave said the Government’s White Paper needed to improve the way police and social media firms investigated trolls Lorin LaFave said the Government’s White Paper needed to improve the way police and social media firms investigated trollsCredit:Ben Kendall/PA Amid concerns over potential backdoor censorship of the media, Mr Wright stressed the regulator would be fully independent of Government and would be expected to take account of privacy, freedom of speech and the need to promote innovation in the tech sector. Jeremy Wright, the Culture Secretary, said it was an example of the “truly tragic consequences of harmful material online” which was why the Government was introducing a statutory duty of care requiring tech giants to take greater responsibility for keeping users safe online.He pledged that companies which failed in their duty of care would face fines of a “significant scale” worth billions of pounds rather than millions by the independent regulator responsible for policing the regime.He suggested they could be similar to those under new data protection laws where the Information Commissioner can fine errant firms up to four per cent of global turnover, which would be $2 billion for Facebook and up to $4.8 billion for Google.“Beyond even that we are also going to ask about the measures we might be able to take to hold individual directors liable for the behaviour of their companies,” he said.“And in the final analysis if everything else fails we will look to denying the opportunity for those companies to operate in the UK. That’s a power available elsewhere. It’s technically feasible. It’s not without problems.“That’s one of the reasons why we want to hear what people have to say about them. It’s right at this stage for the Government to set out a full range of penalties up to and including that one because we need those large global companies to take this regulator seriously.” The mother of a 14-year-old boy who was murdered after being groomed online appealed to ministers to go further in their crackdown on social media to combat trolling.Lorin LaFave, whose son Breck Bednar was stabbed to death after meeting his killer on an online gaming site, said the Government’s White Paper needed to improve the way police and social media firms investigate harmful accounts online.His sister, Chloe, received disturbing messages over Snapchat purporting to be from Breck’s killer, 18-year-old Lewis Daynes, but the messaging app refused to identify who was behind them until it had been formally approved under a treaty with the US, which could take a year.Ms LaFave told the BBC: “Snapchat and police said they can’t do anything… they pushed it back and forth on to each other. Then we found out it has to go through this process in the States and that would take a full year of investigation.“There’s no reason why police can’t get answers from social media platforms much more quickly than that in order to be able to investigate when there are malicious and harmful communications happening.“They have to be able to get the police and social media platforms to co-operate rather than saying there’s nothing we can do. That’s how it feels, they are both blaming each other that they can’t do anything when it should be quick and at the click of button, find out who is behind the profiles.” Snapchat has said it aimed to be “as helpful as we can” to police and that it would “welcome any efforts that help to speed up the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty process whilst allowing for appropriate judicial oversight and avoiding conflicts of 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. read more

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