The shading shows you the general range of strengths for each seed.Although not a huge effect, the gap between the No. 5 and 6 seeds and their competition has been narrowing over time. The average difference between No. 5 and 12 seeds from 2000 to 2002 was about 7.6 points, but it has been about 5.8 from 2012 to 2014.More importantly, the 5 vs. 12 matchup looks a lot more like the 6 vs. 11 one than it does the 4 vs. 13. The No. 5 seeds have been considerably weaker than No. 4 seeds, and No. 12 seeds have been considerably stronger than No. 13 seeds. The average No. 5 seed had a 6.6 point expected advantage going into a game against its No. 12 seed opponent. That’s only 2.2 points higher than the average advantage that No. 6 seeds held against No. 11 seeds (4.4 points), but it’s 5.1 points lower than the average advantage that No. 4 seeds held against No. 13 seeds (11.7 points).It seems like the 5 vs. 12 seed matchup is the threshold where the games should start being much more competitive. Combine that with the psychological effect of thinking five is a number that has more in common with four than six (blame our five fingers), and you have a recipe for “shocking” upsets.That is, there are a number of upsets, but we shouldn’t really be shocked. Even just looking at recent history, No. 5 seeds have only been a greater than 10 point SRS favorite in eight round-of-64 games since 2005, and they won 7 of them.3The loser was Illinois against Western Kentucky in 2009. The No. 5 seed has been an SRS underdog three times (and lost twice). Still, the No. 5 seed has performed below what one would expect based on the difference between them and their opponents. But so have most seeds. Here’s a chart comparing the average expected outcomes based on SRS difference and average actual outcomes for each seed over the past 12 years:From this angle, the No. 5 seed “outlier” doesn’t look as impressive. Seeds No. 1 through 6 all underperformed expectations by a smallish — but somewhat consistent — amount. The main difference with the No. 5 seed is that it didn’t have a big enough advantage to underperform this much without losing a lot more games.In other words, if there’s something that has systematically led tournament favorites to underperform their expectations by a few points or so across the board,4As a strictly mathy thing, having a somewhat constant deviation isn’t as weird as it may seem because the standard deviation for a team’s actual SRS is similarly stable. So in this case, it’s a bit like the stronger teams are all running one standard deviation below the expected mean. No. 5 seeds would be disproportionately hard-hit. Thus the 5-seed jinx may be more like the proverbial “canary in a coal mine,” indicating that something bigger is going on.We know the Big Dance is exciting, but could there really be something about the tournament that makes favorites underperform and gives underdogs better-than-normal chances?It’s tricky. For example, the selection committee may systematically overvalue particular types/classes of teams, but that doesn’t necessarily explain why teams would underperform relative to SRS. Some of it could be that SRS is poorly calibrated for the types of matchups we see in the tournament (e.g., between larger and smaller conferences that rarely play each other). It could be that favorites are more likely to regress to the mean.5This is always a good candidate, but, interestingly, there is no such effect in the women’s tournament.Or it could just be that this is March Madness, and anything can happen. If there’s one piece of folk wisdom that has emerged over the past decade or so of March Madness, it’s that No. 5 seeds are jinxed. SportsCenter did a whole story on the subject featuring Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2012, VCU was a No. 12 seed that pulled off a “shocking” upset against Wichita State. In 2013, VCU was itself a No. 5 but defied the trend, crushing No. 12 Akron by 46 points to become the only No. 5 seed to win its opening-round (round of 64) game that year. In 2014, VCU’s story came full circle. It again entered the tournament as a No. 5 seed but was upset by unheralded No. 12 seed Stephen F. Austin University. The tournament quirk that was once VCU’s magic was now its curse.Including those VCU games, No. 12 seeds over the past three years have pulled off upsets in eight of 12 round-of-64 matchups, including six of their last eight. It would be extremely easy to dismiss this as a freak occurrence. (I certainly did at first.) But it’s a real phenomenon. And after looking into it, I think it may be indicative of something larger. The 5-seed jinx may be a sign that March Madness — at least on the men’s side — is even madder than we think.But I’ll get there. First, let’s look at the phenomenon. If it seems like No. 12 seeds beat No. 5 seeds more than they should, it’s because they have. Going back to 1995, No. 5 seeds have been upset 33 times in 80 games. Their 59 percent win rate compares unfavorably to the 66 percent win rate of No. 6 seeds. Based on the trend, it would appear that No. 5 seeds should be winning more like 72 percent. Take a look at how far No. 5 seeds deviate in the chart below. The gray region is the standard error on the fit between seed and win percentage when not including the No. 5 seed:So they’re an outlier, but is it significant? Particularly, how unlikely is this to have happened by chance? Let us consult the oracle of binom.dist() — Excel’s handy function that tells you the probability of things happening a certain number of times, given the probability of them happening once. In a fun bit of symmetry, given an expected win rate of 72 percent, the odds of No. 5 seeds losing six of eight, eight of 12, or 33 of 80 are all about the same: Each is a little under 1 percent.10.8 percent, 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.Note that it would be unremarkable for this to have happened by chance: One in a hundred-type things happen every day. But, as a committed Bayesian, I have to consult my priors and determine whether the phenomenon of No. 5 seeds’ underperforming is more likely to be a result of chance or other plausible factors.First, let’s look at how strong each seed’s teams have been since 1995. As you go from the 1 vs. 16 matchups down to the 8 vs. 9 ones, the better-seeded teams get worse and the worse-seeded teams get better, making the contests much closer. To see how much so, we can plot each team’s SRS (Simple Rating System, a metric that measures margin of victory adjusted for strength of schedule) prior to the game.2I backed these out myself, so there may be very small differences from what was actually recorded at the time. They’re as prior to each team’s round-of-64 match for each year (since 1995). Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions. read more


Mandy Minella pulls a Mandy Minella. She set her own standards, no need to drag the 🐐 into this mediocrity.— Dagreatone1 (@freddie005) July 4, 2017 I pulled a Michael Jordan and didn’t make the NBA— mikey the apache (@m1kety) July 4, 2017 She didn’t “pull a Serena” because she didn’t win. She just a lost a tennis match while pregnant. https://t.co/g9McD2QRzW— Imani Gandy o—€ (@AngryBlackLady) July 5, 2017 Wouldn’t that require oh I don’t know, WINNING? Delete this headline. Do NOT diminish/pin Serena against anyone.— WitchyKilljoy (@JJovana) July 4, 2017 Winning while never dropping a set.*— Neuroscience Nerd (@CourtB890) July 4, 2017 Many said Mandy Minella, with her husband on the left, shouldn’t be compared to Serena Williams (@mandyminella Twitter/@serenawilliams Instagram)An article linking pregnant tennis player Many Minella to expectant Grand Slam winner Serena Williams backfired, primarily because the former lost her first-round match at Wimbledon.During the early stages of her pregnancy in January, Williams famously won the Australian Open and earned her 23rd Grand Slam singles title. Tennis.com’s Baseline ran an article Tuesday, July 4, saying Luxembourg native Minella, who is four months pregnant, “pulled a Serena” during the first round, where the world No. 82 fell to 37-year-old and No. 72-ranked Italian Francesca Schiavone, 6-1, 6-1. Comparatively, Williams beat her sister Venus 6-4, 6-4 in the final at Australia.The failed comparison immediately got Twitter users talking.So she didn’t pull a Serena? https://t.co/ZwM5AtcYGG— Shyne Coldchain Jr. (@Smooth_Orator) July 4, 2017 pic.twitter.com/63HmZMR3lA— Ashley Ja’Terria (@All_N_Yo_Tweets) July 4, 2017Despite having the best possible reason to be doing so, Williams seemed to be missing Wimbledon as she showed off her drills on Instagram Monday, July 3. read more


Three weeks ago, the Denver Broncos looked like an easy choice for the NFL’s best team after back-to-back impressive wins: a 42-17 thumping of the San Francisco 49ers (then the third-ranked team in our Elo ratings), followed by a 35-21 victory over the then-seventh-ranked San Diego Chargers. Since then, however, Denver has arguably been the coldest team in the league. Or at least, nobody has shed more points off of their Elo rating since the end of Week 8 than the Broncos (although the Carolina Panthers certainly seem to be trying their best to match Denver’s skid).Denver’s record over that span — one win, two losses — hasn’t necessarily been its entire undoing. Unlike some of the other more frigid teams across the league, the Broncos have at least won a game in November. (Not to pick on Carolina again, but the Panthers haven’t won since the first week of October.) But the Broncos were also expected to win more — the pregame Elo ratings generated an expectation of 2.1 wins over their past three games. Our Elo point spreads figured Denver would take care of its November opponents by a collective 19.5 points; instead, the team has posted a -13 point differential.The most damaging game of the Broncos’ season thus far was their most recent one, when they were upset by the St. Louis Rams. Losing 22-7 despite being favored by 6.5 points, the defeat cost Denver 43 points of Elo rating, the fifth-most Elo points any team has relinquished in a single game so far this season. (If you’re curious, the Cleveland Browns’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals ranks first in that department.) It also dropped the Broncos to fourth place in the current rankings, the lowest they’ve sat since right after they were shellacked by the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl in February.But all is not lost for the Broncos — in fact, from a making-the-playoffs perspective, hardly anything was lost. Although the losses to the New England Patriots and St. Louis were costly to the team’s chances of locking up one of the AFC’s top two seeds (and therefore a first-round playoff bye) and even of winning the AFC West (the Kansas City Chiefs are in hot pursuit), they were not particularly damaging to its postseason probability. The Broncos’ chances of making the playoffs have only declined from a practical certainty (96 percent) to a matter of high likelihood (85 percent) during the skid. And Denver still has the league’s third-best chance of winning the Super Bowl. So, despite the team’s recent lapses, fans can probably R-E-L-A-X.The bigger playoff concerns belong to Denver’s Super Bowl opponents a season ago: the Seahawks.Before Week 8, we said the league’s defending champions were suddenly underdogs to return to the postseason … upon which the Seahawks promptly rattled off three consecutive victories, increasing their playoff odds to 61 percent. But on the heels of a loss in Kansas City, here we are again; our Elo simulations say the Seahawks have only a 47 percent probability of returning to the playoffs.The 49ers, who bested the New York Giants last week, were clear beneficiaries of Seattle’s loss, tacking 14 percentage points onto their playoff probability as the Seahawks lost precisely the same amount from theirs. It was a fitting zero-sum transaction for last year’s NFC Championship Game contestants. At the start of the season, the NFC West was supposed to go to the Seahawks or the 49ers, with the runner-up at least being favorites to grab a wild card berth. But nobody counted on the Arizona Cardinals building on their surprising 2013 success and emerging as the division front-runners, the reality of which could leave either Seattle or San Francisco (or both?) out of the playoffs.As Arizona increasingly runs away with the West (Elo gives the Cardinals an 80 percent chance of winning the division, granting that it doesn’t take Carson Palmer’s injury into account), it has become apparent that the Seahawks’ and 49ers’ only path to the playoffs might lead through one of the NFC’s two wild card slots. While our simulations say there’s a 72 percent probability that at least one NFC West team earns a wild card berth, there’s only a 32 percent chance that both wild cards emerge from the division. Most likely, one of the West runners-up will be left out — a fate that befalls Seattle in a slightly higher proportion of simulations than it does San Francisco.Elo point spreadsRecord against point spread: 76-72-3 (6-5 in Week 11)Straight-up record: 111-49-1 (8-6 in Week 11)The Elo ratings again had a winning record against the gambling lines last week, but as we caution in every edition of this column, don’t take these numbers to Vegas and use them to place bets. Even in a lucky year, Elo hasn’t done well enough to turn a profit after the bookies take their vigorish.At any rate, Elo seems to have a difference of opinion than Vegas when it comes to the aforementioned NFC West race. The consensus spread on this weekend’s big Arizona-Seattle tilt has Seattle favored by 6.5 points, while Elo only considers the Seahawks two-point favorites. Much of this probably stems from Seattle’s formidable home-field advantage, which is several points per game greater than the generic 2.6-point edge Elo gives home teams. But Vegas also rates Arizona much lower than Elo does — and that was true even before Palmer’s injury. The bookmakers are probably accounting for the Cardinals’ relatively unimpressive peripheral indicators, figuring their performance will come back down to earth.Vegas also seems to devalue San Francisco relative to its Elo rating. Elo ranks the 49ers fifth, but their implied rating from the betting lines places them 11th in the league. This explains why, against a dreadful Washington team, San Francisco is favored by nine points instead of the two-touchdown edge Elo would predict.Meanwhile, Vegas holds the Green Bay Packers in much higher regard than Elo does. While Elo ranks the Packers sixth in the NFL and has boosted their standing more over the past three weeks than all but three teams, the oddsmakers list them as 9.5-point road favorites against the Minnesota Vikings this week. Elo gives them a four-point advantage. That 5.5-point discrepancy is the biggest for any spread in Week 12, so it will be interesting to see whether the relatively high “K-factor” Vegas seems to be assigning to Green Bay’s recent dominance (to put it in Elo-equation terms) is appropriate. read more


If you want to talk about the really good guy who’s not in the tournamentMarkelle FultzFreshman PG, 6-foot-4, WashingtonFultz’s Huskies won’t be in the tournament, but he may come up in draft conversations just the same. Like Ball, Fultz is a stand-out point guard prospect. But while Ball’s offense comes from all over, Fultz was at his best in pick-and-roll, where he has scored 101 points per 100 plays — among the best in the nation for that play type, according to Synergy. He’s especially good at turning the corner quickly and finishing at the rim, but he can also curl around the screen and fire a pull-up three — a shot that’s growing in popularity (and effectiveness) in the NBA. Otherwise, Fultz gets most of his offense by getting out in transition and getting set up for spot-up jumpers, where he’s good but doesn’t stand out as much as he does in the pick-and-roll.If you’re looking for wingsJosh JacksonFreshman SF, 6-foot-8, KansasJackson is a defensive standout and one of the best point-forward prospects in the class. While his defensive numbers (via Synergy) are good but not great (he’s holding his marks to 81 points per 100 plays overall), he can straight-up stick his man and chase him off of shots he’d otherwise take. In fact, his overall numbers are pulled down a bit by his role: Despite spending most of his time as a stretch-4, almost 60 percent of his defensive plays come against spot-up shooters and in isolation, which are play types where the offense believes it has an advantage. Yet Jackson is still holding his own.Jackson is a natural and willing passer who finds runners on the break and in semi-transition, often on clever back-door cuts, and sucks defenders in on drives before dishing to a teammate for an easy dumpoff and dunk. Kansas also puts Jackson in a lot of 4-5 pick-and-rolls, where he can throw lobs to center Landen Lucas. A lot of times, prospects can put up impressive passing numbers simply by using a lot of possessions (Jackson’s assist percentage is 18.9 — very good for a non-point guard), but in this case, the eye test matches the numbers. Jackson is the truth.The one question with Jackson’s game is whether his jump shot is real. Jackson began the season shooting miserably from long range, going 23.7 percent on 2.1 3-point attempts per game in his first 18 games. But since late January, he’s been on a tear. In 13 games since Jan. 21, Jackson is shooting 51.3 percent on three 3-point attempts per game. That evens out to 38 percent on the season, but that kind of extreme swing is worth keeping in mind. As with any one-and-done prospect, we’re dealing in small sample sizes. But for Jackson, there’s at least some explanation for the inconsistency: His coaches aren’t touching his jump shot this season.“Now can he tighten it up and do some things differently? Absolutely,” Kansas coach Bill Self said in December. “But that will probably be on somebody else’s watch. That won’t be on our watch as much. I don’t see a reason why when you have a young man for a very brief period of time why you want to totally cloud his brain with something other than very, very few, simple things.”So the state of Jackson’s jumper over the next few weeks may not be the most important thing to focus on. But how able he is to adjust once he’s in the NBA will be crucial, as the difference between a wing prospect who can do it all and one who can do it all minus a jumper is the difference between an All-NBA-level talent and a useful role player.Jayson TatumFreshman F, 6-foot-8, DukeTatum is a down-the-middle wing prospect. He’s a good defender (allowing 73 points per 100 plays), a pretty good defensive rebounder (19.7 percent defensive rebound rate), a pretty good spot-up jump shooter (89 points per 100 plays, according to Synergy, although 12 of his 37 made threes for the year came during a three-game stretch in February), and a pretty good passer. But his underlying metrics don’t match up with his more obvious talents, such as when he broke out and averaged 22 points per game through the ACC tournament. The natural comparison for Tatum is Justise Winslow, another Duke swingman/small-ball 4 with obvious talents that can go unrecognized by college stats.If you are Vivek RanadiveMalik MonkFreshman PG, 6-foot-3, KentuckyOver the last several seasons, we’ve gotten a pretty clear idea of the tastes of Sacramento Kings owner Ranadive, as well as the forcefulness of his pursuit of those tastes. The Ranadive type is a guard in the mold of Ben McLemore, Nik Stauskas or Buddy Hield, a gunslinger who can shoot a team into the Final Four all on his own. This season, no player captures that type better than Kentucky’s Malik Monk. No offense to Monk.Monk is a shooter, and almost singlehandedly shoulders the load of 3-point shooting for Kentucky. This makes him a somewhat unique Kentucky guard, as he’s averaging nearly seven 3-point attempts per game and hitting 40 percent of them, which is impressive on its own, but more so when you consider that he’s doing it while dealing with extra defenders cheating off of backcourt mates De’Aaron Fox (24.2 percent from three) and Isaiah Briscoe (27.3 percent). For many NBA fans, March Madness is the embarrassing time of year when they realize that while they can recite, say, the Milwaukee Bucks’ bench rotation or the draft implications of a Sacramento Kings win, they can’t name more than a handful of college players. The tournament is the first time such fans will be seeing many of the players whom they’ll then discuss at length leading up to the NBA draft. So if you’re starting from zero, or are just looking for a quick refresher on a few prospects, here’s a viewing guide to the top lottery prospects in the tournament.If you’re looking for point guardsLonzo BallFreshman PG, 6-foot-6, UCLAChances are that most NBA fans have heard a little bit about Lonzo Ball. But much of the talk has been about his father, his brothers or his draft stock, rather than just how outstanding Ball has been on the court.First off, Ball is one of the most efficient scorers in the college game. His top-line analytics are staggering: Ball has a 66.7 true shooting percentage and scores 108 points per 100 plays; 56.3 percent of his field goal attempts are threes (he hits 41 percent of those). The overall efficiency is propped up a little because 31 percent of his plays (a massive chunk) have come in transition, where he scores 112 points per 100. Getting out and running is an effective strategy, and a big reason why the Bruins lead the NCAA with 90.4 points per game, but it’s not quite as telling for what Ball will be able to do in the NBA. For that, catch him spotting up for that broken-looking jumper of his — he scores 125 points per 100 plays on spot-ups, which is just as impressive as it sounds.Where Ball isn’t as polished is on the pick-and-roll — a play type that fellow top prospect Markelle Fultz of Washington excels at. Ball scores a more mediocre 78 points per 100 pick-and-roll plays. He’s also just a so-so rebounder for his size, with a 9.4 total rebound rate and 14.4 defensive rebound rate, neither of which is overly impressive for a 6-foot-6 superathlete.But those are all just individual stats. What makes Ball so special is that he can do all those things while also operating as a true point guard. Combine Ball’s individual stats with his passing numbers and the numbers begin to get silly. According to Synergy Sports Technology, he has an absurd 156 points per 100 plays on all plays he finishes — so when he shoots or draws a foul or commits a turnover — plus plays on which he records an assist. A little reference, since this isn’t the most common stat around: These plays + assist numbers tend to look a little inflated compared to what you usually see for players, because adding assists includes only made shots. This isn’t ideal, but it does give a good sense of the total contribution of a player, since adding more assists will nudge the number upward. Here are the numbers for some other top players: Fultz and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox are at 127p+a/100; Malik Monk of Kentucky is at 119; Josh Jackson of Kansas is at 116. Those are very good numbers, but Ball’s still stand out when compared apples-to-apples.De’Arron FoxFreshman PG, 6-foot-3, KentuckyThe line on Fox has been that he’s a jump shot away from being a top-five pick. So it’s telling that he’s still projected to be a late-lottery pick. On the year, Fox is scoring just 79 points per 100 plays on spot-up jumpers, according to Synergy, which is not very good at all. That’s not a great sign for a perimeter prospect, but Fox has one big thing working in his favor: speed.Fox is a burner, one of the fastest guards in the country, and puts that speed to material use in his game. He and backcourt mate Malik Monk are both in the top 15 of transition plays per game (5.6 per game for Fox, 5.7 for Monk). And once Fox is out in the open court, he can get to the rim at will. His penetration also carries him on isolation plays, where he’s strong (97 points per 100 plays). The question is whether Fox can combine those individual skills into an all-around game. He’s sitting on an assist percentage1The percentage of teammate field goals assisted by a player while he’s on the court. of 30, which is solid, but he doesn’t have the best passing instincts out on the break and can force things at the rim.VIDEO: Our picks for bracket success This perimeter workload has weighed down other parts of Monk’s game. As a prospect, he was known for killer athleticism, but he hasn’t gotten to the basket the way Fox has for the Wildcats: 80 percent of his shots in the halfcourt offense have been jumpers, according to Synergy. He’s scored an excellent 111 points per 100 plays on those jumpers, so it’s working out. But he’s even more efficient when he gets to the rim, either in half court or in transition.If you’re looking for big menLauri MarkkanenFreshman PF/C, 7-foot, ArizonaMarkkanen is a 7-foot freshman center out of Finland who lacks a true comparison in the modern game because I’ll be struck down by the Almighty if I invoke Arvydas Sabonis.Markkanen is sitting on a 63.3 true shooting percentage; 44.4 percent of his field goal attempts are threes, and he hits 43.2 percent of them. He isn’t just a jump shooter, though — Synergy has him averaging 125 points per 100 plays as the roll man in pick-and-roll and 102 points per 100 plays posting up — both excellent numbers. He is a bigger body than recent rangy big-man prospects like Nikola Mirotic but has more bounce than guys his size. This allows him to be a strong rebounder (17.7 defensive rebound rate) but also a live body filling the lane in transition or cutting off the ball. While Markkanen’s stats are impressive enough, he’s one of the guys in the tournament who are especially eye-opening in live action since a not-that-scrawny 7-footer moving around the court and doing the things he can do is a rare sight, even in the NBA.Check out our March Madness predictions. read more


All newsletters See more NFL predictions We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe See more MLB predictions Things That Caught My EyeKareem Hunt is incredibleRookie running back Kareem Hunt has opened his NFL career with a staggeringly good trifecta of games. He’s accumulated 538 rushing and receiving yards in three starts for the Kansas City Chiefs, with a fourth game tonight against Washington on Monday Night Football. Of the 812 rookies who have racked up more than 100 yards in their first three games, Hunt sits behind only Billy Simms, who put up 562 yards for Detroit in 1980. [FiveThirtyEight]Niners (D-CA) vs. Bucs (R-FL)The NFL has been a nexus recently for protests, particularly last weekend after some goading from the president on Twitter. This sent league executives into a crisis, and it’s clear why: The NFL appeals to people across party lines in a way few other sports do, with fans in San Francisco (who have a +22 point Democratic lean) to Tampa Bay (a +9.5 Republican lean). [FiveThirtyEight]MLB teams waffle on jumping lowest possible bar for safetyA devastating line drive foul that severely injured a child has spurred league-wide introspection about how much netting should protect spectators from baseballs. People in luxury boxes hate mildly obstructed views, but also baseballs can be dangerous projectiles as seen in New York last month. Only 10 of 30 teams have netting that goes to the end of the dugouts. At least four teams have announced they will extend the netting in the wake of the injured 2-year-old in Yankee Stadium. [The New York Times]WatsonThe Texans set a franchise record for points scored in their 57-14 win over Tennessee, with rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson tying a 1961 Fran Tarkenton record for five touchdowns — four thrown, one rushed — for a rookie quarterback in a game. [ESPN]New Jersey man fails to pay protection racketThe New York Giants tried their third offensive line in four games. It didn’t work either, and the team lost to the Tampa Bay Bucs on the road. If you ever wanted to tackle Eli Manning, your next available opportunity is by working for the Chargers next week. [ESPN]2016 repeat?Two of the best teams in college football right now are Clemson and Alabama, the two teams who incidently played in the college football championship game last year. Despite the loss of Deshaun Watson — you remember the phenom on the Texans you read about mere moments ago – Clemson pivoted terrifically to a rushing offense and we could see a rematch later this year. [ESPN]Big Number5 under 5There are five teams in the NFL who — based on FiveThirtyEight’s projections — currently have less than a five percent chance of making the playoffs. Those teams are Cleveland (0-4) and San Francisco (0-4), each with less than 1 percent chance of making the postseason; the L.A. Chargers (0-4), with a 1 percent chance; Chicago (1-3) with a 3 percent chance, and the New York Giants (0-4) with a 4 percent chance. [FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slack[in which three reporters monitor the AFC East]neil:Pats haven’t lost more than 3 home games in a season since Brady became starting QBThey have 2 home losses already this yearwalt:dangis tom brady an elite quarterback? tbd.heynawl-enten:Who is watching this Jets game?Heading towards a tie and fastneil:I gave up on it lolTurned to NFL Network gameday liveheynawl-enten:[4:35 PM] Here we go[4:35] Jets kick for the win[4:35] let’s see[4:36] IT’S GOOD![4:36] Oh wait[4:36] flag down[4:36] NOPE[4:36] IT’S GOOD[4:36] JETS WIN[4:36] LOLPredictions MLB NFL Oh, and don’t forgetThe tick tock of the Adidas scandal read more


Again, not every DNF or DQ is a crash, and research has shown that per-run injury rates are still highest in the speed disciplines (downhill and super-G) versus the technical ones (giant slalom and slalom). This jibes with common sense: Although it’s easy to get disqualified for missing a gate in slalom, those miscues don’t always result in terrifying crashes. Making a mistake at the speeds involved in downhill, on the other hand, can have more devastating consequences.All of this is worth keeping in mind while watching Olympic races over the next few weeks. Some of the most seemingly terrifying sports can actually rank among the lowest in terms of on-course incident rates — although what few mishaps there are tend to be quite dangerous. Meanwhile, anything can happen in the most technical skiing events. As it turns out, hurriedly weaving down an icy slope on skis is difficult to do without skipping a gate or crashing. Who knew?— Ella Koeze contributed research. In addition to skeleton and bobsled, luge is another sport that seems prone to disaster, with its high speeds and steeply banked turns. However, roughly 96 percent of competitors end up finishing their runs unscathed, an even better rate than bobsledding can claim.4That doesn’t mean luge isn’t dangerous, of course. At the 2010 Olympics, amid concerns over an excessively quick course, Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died after a crash in practice. Short track speedskating, by comparison, has a more deserved reputation for mayhem, with nearly 9 percent of runs ending prematurely — though the list of offenses that can get you disqualified from a race is fairly lengthy. On the short track, crashes and chaos are features that add to the excitement.But the undisputed king of ending athletes’ races prematurely — and thus dashing gold-medal dreams — is Alpine skiing. Since 1994, nearly a third of all ski runs have ended without the racer actually crossing the finish line. And the breakdown within the sport varies pretty heavily by event: Perhaps surprisingly, the lightning-fast downhill discipline has skiing’s lowest rate of incidents, with only about 10 percent of runs going unfinished. That number would still be higher than any of the sports we looked at above, but it’s low compared with other familiar high-speed activities such as NASCAR (where 16 percent of individual races ended in a DNF last season) or Formula 1 (24 percent). Downhill takes tremendous speed, skill and courage, and we’ve all seen what can go wrong when a racer makes a mistake, but those moments are still rather few and far between by Alpine standards.DNFs and DQs become much more common, however, in disciplines featuring tighter turns and more gates — those pesky markers that a skier must navigate around to complete the course. Whatever the discipline, failing to send the tips of your skis (plus boots) inside of a gate will get you disqualified from the race.In the super giant slalom (or “super-G”), racers gather speeds comparable to those seen in downhill, but they also must make sharper cuts around more gates, which are bunched more closely together. (They also aren’t allowed practice sessions beforehand, which doesn’t help matters.) Between the men and women, only about 78 percent of Olympic super-G runs are completed cleanly.And super-G is not considered a “technical” skiing event. Giant slalom is, and it involves even more gates and more side-to-side turning. Since 1994, a third of Olympic giant slalom runs ended in DNF or DQ. But the ultimate tough-to-finish Alpine discipline is the standard slalom, with skiers zigzagging back and forth across the slope around pylon-like gates in rapid succession. Almost 50 percent of slalom runs fail to cross the finish line, a testament to the perfection required to clear every gate at world-class speed.Nothing in slalom is guaranteed. For instance, even in successful runs like the one that clinched the gold medal for the great U.S. racer Mikaela Shiffrin at the 2014 Olympics, disaster is always lurking around the next gate: At one point midrace, Shiffrin’s left ski lost contact with the ground, requiring an expert recovery to avert a missed gate — or worse. Tianyu Han of China and Yuri Confortola of Italy, at right, crash during men’s 1,500-meter short track speedskating qualifying during the 2018 Winter Olympics. Richard Heathcote / Getty Images At the climax of everyone’s favorite bobsleigh-based film, 1993’s “Cool Runnings,” disaster strikes the upstart Jamaican team when its ricketty sled flips over during the final race. Everyone from Calgary to Jamaica fears the worst — but the teammates shake off the wreck, determined to finish the race. Together, they hoist up the sled on their shoulders, carrying it over the finish line. Cue that inspirational slow clap.It was a real thing that actually happened … well, aside from a few bits of artistic license. (For instance, they never carried the sled; the fact that all four racers walked away from the crash at all was remarkable enough, given how it looked in slow motion.) But one of bobsledding’s most iconic moments was also a total rarity. As far as Winter Olympic sports go, bobsled has one of the lowest rates of in-race mishaps, with racers completing roughly 95 percent of their runs. In other sports, by contrast, finishes aren’t anywhere near as guaranteed — we’re looking at you, Alpine skiing.To measure how often a run goes awry, we grabbed data from Sports-Reference.com’s Olympics site going back to 19941The year the Winter Olympics switched to its current cycle. for events in nine timed sports: skiing (Alpine and cross-country), skeleton, luge, bobsled, speedskating (short and long track), biathlon and Nordic combined. For each event, we tracked how often it ended in a DNF — “did not finish” — or a disqualification.To be sure, not every DNF or DQ represents a crash like the Jamaicans suffered in 1988.2Technically, they were disqualified for the wreck. For example, in skeleton (you know, the one where you slide face-first down an icy track at stomach-churning speeds), the only DNF or DQ happened not on the course but when Canadian racer Mike Douglas was late for a pre-race inspection.3It should be noted that, before 2002, skeleton had appeared in only two Olympics: 1928 and 1948. The sport was reintroduced to the Olympics in 2002. But DNFs and DQs do usually correlate with the difficulty in staying on course and avoiding spills, missed gates or other sources of misfortune.Since 1994, these are the winter sports with the lowest (and highest) rates of DNFs and DQs among the timed events in our data: read more


In layman’s terms, the Nets have essentially adopted the same offensive principles as the analytically friendly Houston Rockets, coached by Atkinson mentor Mike D’Antoni. (Fitting that these clubs combined for an NBA-record 106 3-point attempts in a game last week.) Russell, who leads starting ball-handlers with 61.5 pick and rolls per 100 plays, will run you around screens all day, and he and his Brooklyn teammates generally avoid midrange shots, instead probing for much higher-percentage looks. No NBA team has driven to the basket more than the Nets, and this would mark the third consecutive season that Brooklyn ranks in the top 10 in free-throw rate.Defensively, the story is much the same. The Nets have excelled at forcing opponents to walk the analytics plank, ranking among the top five in 2016-17, 2017-18 and again this season in terms of how often they coax teams into longer midrange 2-pointers. When teams are fortunate enough to get to the basket, they’re often met by 20-year-old Jarrett Allen, a big man who has erased some of the game’s biggest names at the rim while sometimes playing a one-man zone. The Nets also rank near the top of the NBA in boxing out, to finish those defensive possessions.That combination — continuing to take the most efficient shots possible on offense while taking those same shots away on the other end — has been the NBA equivalent of Andy Dufresne’s rock hammer in “The Shawshank Redemption.” The team’s strategy and talent, combined with its newfound maturation in the clutch, have finally set it free.Brooklyn basically looked shackled at the ends of games last year and at the start of this season. Whether it was inexperience, consistently bad whistles or a combination of the two, the Nets were managing to find new, devastating ways to lose close contests each night.But even that’s changed of late. The Nets, who were a dismal 4-10 in clutch situations as of Dec. 1, have since gone 11-4 in those same scenarios.One noteworthy shift there is rooted in Russell and Dinwiddie’s ability to coexist during the hot streak — something that had consistently backfired from a net-rating standpoint over the past two seasons. (Their ability to play together, or lack thereof, will be worth watching because of the decision the Nets have to make about the future of Russell, who’s a restricted free agent this summer. Yet it looks like Russell will have the show to himself, as Dinwiddie, who just signed a three-year, $34 million extension, could miss considerable time with a torn ligament in his thumb.) But other elements also stand out. Joe Harris is one of the NBA’s best perimeter shooters. Latvian forward Rodions Kurucs was a great find and is a fluid scorer at 6-foot-9.While the Nets are clearly ascending, they still have their issues, too.Brooklyn has one of the highest turnover rates in the league. The Nets can occasionally find themselves with matchup problems against teams with floor-spacing bigs because of how Allen anchors himself to the paint on defense. The lack of pressure on pick-and-roll ball-handlers hurts their ability to force turnovers. For how well the team gets to the stripe, Russell, its leading scorer, takes fewer free throws than any other volume shooter in the NBA.1This includes any player taking at least 15 field-goal attempts per game. Injuries have nagged Brooklyn all year, and while it’s fair to expect a boost from players if and when they return — especially from LeVert — key players’ roles may have to shrink to accommodate everyone once they’re back. And the Nets, who have enjoyed one of the easiest slates so far, will be thoroughly tested by their upcoming schedule — especially from mid-March to the end of the season.There’s a reason we hear so much about the Nets eventually landing a player like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard or Jimmy Butler. Aside from the fact that they’re one of few big-market teams that seemingly has a direction, a blank-enough canvas (in terms of not having a star) and cap space to make something happen, they also would become an instant contender by adding someone of that caliber. Again, the decision on Russell could complicate that. Yet the reality is that getting past the second round likely requires more than this current cast, even at full strength.For the time being, though, it has been eye-opening to watch the 22-year-old Russell play this well since the turn of the new year, a span in which he’s averaged 24 points and nearly eight assists on 49 percent shooting from the floor, along with his rainbow-arc triples falling at a 44 percent clip.While he’ll never possess the sort of bounce that some of his counterparts have, the former No. 2 overall pick has leveraged the threat of his pull-up jumper into being able to beat defenders to certain spots. When he senses defenders on his hip, he’ll often make use of ball fakes to buy himself more space before shooting.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Russell.mp400:0000:0001:22Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.He’s been more consistent with the ball during that window, too, passing teammates open while logging a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in 2019 — up from 2-to-1 earlier this season and much better than his career ratio of 1.5-to-1 coming into the 2018-19 campaign.Certain elements of Russell’s offensive run lately, much like the team’s overall, are going to come back down to earth at some point. But with how hellish things have been in Brooklyn for much of the past five years, and with how sound the team’s strategy has been in digging out of that trench, Russell, the Nets and their fans all have ample reason to be enjoying this — even if they aren’t exactly sure what comes next.Check out our latest NBA predictions. For more than four years, the Brooklyn Nets had been more or less irrelevant on a national scale. Whenever the team came up in a larger conversation, it was usually to discuss how one of its first-round picks — dealt in that infamous trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce — was benefiting another franchise that got to reap the draft payoff. You have to go back to 2013-14, a full season after the Nets left New Jersey for Brooklyn, to find the last time they finished .500.All of which makes the Nets — winners of five straight and co-owners of the NBA’s best record over the past month and a half — so compelling. At 26-23, the team is currently holding a playoff position in sixth place in the East. Coach Kenny Atkinson, again, is finding enormous success with his point guards, including D’Angelo Russell, who’s in contention for an All-Star spot. And the club, which in early December was mired in an eight-game skid and couldn’t hold late-game leads, is all of a sudden unbeatable in the clutch. And this is after Brooklyn lost perhaps its best all-around player, Caris LeVert, to a brutal long-term injury.But underneath all that past losing — and there was a lot of it, given that this team has had three consecutive seasons with fewer than 30 wins — there were several road signs that the Nets were tapping into an array of good strategies to begin a turnaround.Much of that was rooted in ideology and experimentation, necessities because of how bare the draft-pick cupboard was for a while. The team had to take some creative steps (read: accept salary dumps) in a bid to get some talent on its roster. And the club’s front office, led by Sean Marks, had to identify talent that was being ignored or undervalued, like guard Spencer Dinwiddie, and trust its own ability to help develop players like him into everyday rotation pieces.The hiring of Atkinson, a longtime NBA assistant, was a key catalyst. Well before the wins started outnumbering the losses, and before there was enough talent to expect playoff berths, the 51-year-old quickly began changing the team’s shot profile on both ends of the floor.During the 2015-16 campaign, a year before he came on, the Nets ranked 26th out of 30 in quantified Shot Quality, which measures the likelihood of shots going in, if taken by an average NBA player, according to stat database Second Spectrum. The club completely overhauled that at the start of Atkinson’s tenure, though, as Brooklyn finished fifth and fourth in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively. And this season, the Nets rank ninth in the metric. read more


Before the season started, coach Thad Matta told his team that the regular season Big Ten champion was going to have four losses. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, they were nearly at that number just two weeks into the season. After four games, OSU was just 1-3 and near the bottom of the conference standings. But despite the slow start, the team was surprisingly confident. “I don’t think we were really thinking about, ‘We don’t really have a shot to win it,’ because we had a lot of games to play,” junior Jon Diebler said. “We were still positive that we were going to get back on the right track.”And that’s exactly what they did. Two months and 13 wins later, the Buckeyes are the Big Ten champions.“We had shown that we could be a good team and there were spurts where we played good basketball,” junior David Lighty said. “Everything just kind of flowed for us to get these wins.”The trouble began for Matta and the Buckeyes in early December when Turner was sidelined with a back injury. OSU was left without its best player for what was initially projected to be as many as eight weeks. The loss made what was already expected to be a difficult start to conference play even harder. OSU was scheduled to begin Big Ten play with four of its first five games away from Columbus. Fortunately, Turner returned sooner than expected, but after the slow start, his team had a tall mountain yet to climb. Despite all the odds stacked against him, Matta said his confidence never wavered.“It was one of those things where I never even thought about a Big Ten championship,” Matta said. “It was more of how to get ready to play. I knew in July when they sent me the schedule, with the start, it was going to be challenging.”Matta has always been a strong proponent of the typical one-game-at-a-time mentality that so many coaches have, or at least appear to have when in the public eye. But for Matta, it’s no act. Ignoring the prying of reporters, Matta refused all year to look ahead to a potential title. It’s a mindset that Diebler said has been infused throughout the team. “He keeps pounding it into our heads, so after three years I guess we’re going to [believe it],” Diebler said. “Honestly, we were mad because we were losing and we know what type of team we could be so it was frustrating to start off 1-3. Obviously we’re doing alright right now.”With the exception of junior David Lighty, the conference title is a first for all of OSU’s regular contributors, including junior guard Evan Turner.  “You keep persevering through and keep pushing through and keep overcoming the odds,” Turner said. “People always knock you down and don’t show you that type of respect because they don’t see how hard you work. “We paid our dues and I guess some of the luck is coming.” read more


Coach Thad Matta’s starting five, laden with incumbent veterans and arguably the best freshman in the nation, doesn’t have room for Aaron Craft — a point guard who arguably could start for any other team in the country. That doesn’t mean the smallest player in the seven-man rotation doesn’t get his playtime. Averaging 28 minutes per game, Craft is fifth on the team, ahead of starting forward Dallas Lauderdale. Only the other four usual starters, junior guard William Buford, freshman forward Jared Sullinger, senior forward David Lighty and senior guard Jon Diebler play more than the freshman. He is the rotation’s only true point guard — so, what’s keeping him from starting? Barring injury, it doesn’t look like he will be slotted into the starting lineup anytime soon. Combined, the team’s four veteran starters have played 485 games, starting in 390 of them. It’s that experience which contributes largely to Matta’s thinking when deciding whom to start each game. “With who we’re starting, I love the experience that we have,” Matta said. “You’ve got four guys out there that have started a lot of games in the scarlet and gray. You’ve got a pretty good freshman in Jared, and I’ve been pretty pleased with how we’ve started a majority of our games this season.” Though he averages a pedestrian 6.8 points per game, Craft leads the team in assists, averaging 4.8, and is the team’s second most efficient offensive perimeter player. Only Diebler’s 49.5 percent from the field is better than Craft’s 49 percent. Craft also leads the team in turnovers. His 50 on the season are 10 more than Buford’s 40 while averaging 2.3 per game. Despite those giveaways, the team’s veterans consider Craft an asset. “He’s a perfect fit for us,” Lighty said. “He comes in and runs the offense and runs the team, and plays defense at the highest level I’ve seen for a freshman in college basketball.” But Craft deflects the individual praise to his team’s defense as a whole. “We’ll have times when some people play great individual defense, but at the same time it’s five guys out there. We, all five, need to be connected, and when one person doesn’t do the thing they’re supposed to, then the whole defense breaks down,” Craft said. “It doesn’t matter how great of defense you play as an individual.” Craft is a victim of circumstance when it comes to starting for this version of the Buckeyes. If he were to replace Lauderdale in the starting lineup, that would leave Sullinger as the only capable big man on the floor. It’s unlikely he would replace Diebler or Lighty either, simply because Diebler is the team’s best shooter and Matta regards Lighty as the nation’s top defender. That would leave Buford as the lone candidate to take a seat to Craft, but the junior is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 13.5 points per game. One thing is certain: Starting or not, Craft is gaining valuable experience in his first year as a Buckeye. “Aaron’s so unique that he would learn if he was starting (or) if he was coming off the bench, and it’s just sort of who he is,” Matta said. “I haven’t coached a lot of guys like him that think at the level that he thinks, especially at his age, and (he) really wants to understand and know everything that’s going to happen or could happen.” read more


Ohio State’s women’s volleyball starting lineup stands together prior to the game against No. 5 Minnesota on Oct. 18. Credit: Rebecca Farage | Lantern ReporterAfter being on the road for the last two weeks, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team (14-13, 7-9 Big Ten) will return to St. John Arena to host No. 5 Nebraska (22-4, 15-1 Big Ten) at 6 p.m. Friday and Iowa (17-12, 6-10) at 8 p.m. Saturday.With Nebraska currently riding nine-match winning streak, the Buckeyes have a tough match on their hands. Nebraska has only lost one Big Ten match to No. 12 Wisconsin.Ohio State head coach Geoff Carlston recognizes that Nebraska is one of the best serving teams in the conference and admits the Buckeyes have struggled in that area with this season.“We’ve done well against them, but they’re playing really well right now,” Carlston said. “We have to battle in the serve-and-pass game, so if we can do what I know we can do serving-wise then it gives us a little bit more advantage.”This will be the first meeting between Ohio State and Nebraska this season. The Buckeyes have beat the Huskers in three of their last four matches. However, Ohio State has only beat Nebraska once at home since both teams started playing in 1978. The Cornhuskers hold a 11-7 record against the Buckeyes in the all-time series.Though the Buckeyes have won 62 of 73 games against Iowa, they couldn’t pull out a win last week when they lost 3-1 to the Hawkeyes. The game ended Ohio State’s 15-match win streak against Iowa. The Hawkeyes have one of the top defensive specialists in the conference, senior Annika Olsen, who leads the Big Ten with 4.89 digs per set.The Buckeyes have struggled to maintain their momentum this season. Mauer admitted that while they did not always have a consistent flow, they have been able to adapt to the changes on their own team as well as on the other side of the net.“We don’t give up,” Mauer said. “I think we’re one of those teams that don’t let a ball drop and I think we’re just very scrappy and we make the other team work for it.” Carlston said he believes his team can be a little more disciplined in its plays and how it handles the ball.“[We need to] make [Nebraska and Iowa] earn every single point, like get in there and roll up our sleeves, blue collar defense and relentless pursuit of the ball,” Carlston said. “When we get a block we need to take advantage of that and run our offense behind it.”Mauer has recently had to step up as the starting setter of the team with junior setter Taylor Hughes sidelined with a season-ending injury Hughes.Carlston did not provide specifics regarding the injury, but said Hughes has been trying to work through it while mentoring Mauer and being another set of eyes for the team.“She’s our emotional leader. She’s our quarterback. But she’s also mentored Becca very well,” Carlston said. “Becca, as has happened a lot with us this year, she steps up and she’s doing a great job.”Though the multitude of injuries to the team has depleted Carlston of several starters, the absences have provided the freshmen on the team with an opportunity to start at an early age.“It’s kind of fun because we’re getting better every single day,” Carlston said. “It’s almost like a whole new season with our group because it’s just so different than maybe we were in August, September, even October.”Although the team has had to work through injuries and adjustments, Carlston is confident the team can fight through these next two games and make it to the final tournament.“We’re trying to keep that in mind, that we control our own destiny,” Carlston said. “But we know we have to play and we have to … fall in love with the process again which is hard to do here late in the season.” read more


first_imgOhio State sophomore quarterback Justin Fields (1) looks to pass the ball during the first half of the game against Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 21. Ohio State won 76-5. Credit: Amal Saeed | Photo EditorLocation: Columbus, Ohio2018 record: 13-1Head coach: Ryan Day (second year, *7-0)*3-0 in 2018 as interim head coach2019 record so far: 4-0What’s happened so far in 2019:The Buckeyes dominated Florida Atlantic at home to open Ryan Day’s debut as full-time head coach, trouncing the Owls 45-21. Hosting in-state rival Cincinnati in Week 2, the defense came into form, shutting out the Bearcats in a 42-0 rout. Traveling to Indiana in Week 3, the Buckeyes decimated the Hoosiers 51-10 to begin Big Ten conference play. Returning home, Ohio State gave up an early safety, which led to a Miami (Ohio) field goal before the Buckeyes responded with 76 unanswered points to defeat the Redhawks. Key offensive player:Sophomore quarterback Justin Fields, a transfer from Georgia, takes the reins of an explosive offensive unit for the Buckeyes. A former five-star recruit, Fields has embraced his new role as field general with 19 total touchdowns, 880 passing yards and 150 rushing yards in the first four games. More importantly, his improved decision-making and ability to escape pressure have allowed him to find open receivers on the run. With help in the backfield from junior running back J.K. Dobbins and deep threat wide receivers sophomore Chris Olave and senior Binjimen Victor, Fields must lead Ohio State through the Big Ten gantlet. If the Buckeyes emerge unscathed, the sophomore from Kennesaw, Georgia, will likely remain in the Heisman Trophy conversation.Key defensive player: Leading the charge against opposing quarterbacks is team captain and junior defensive end Chase Young. Young is off to an excellent start for Ohio State, currently tied for the most sacks in the NCAA with seven in four games. Young had two strip sacks in the second quarter alone against Miami, both of which led to Ohio State touchdowns. Young has even gotten his hands dirty on special teams, blocking a field goal against Cincinnati. Young’s aggressiveness has allowed the secondary to ball-hawk, making the opposing quarterback pass before being set and influencing errant throws and missed reads. Projected as an early first-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft, Young is an early front-runner for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.Weaknesses: The Buckeye defense has been stout against the run but given up great yardage through the air. Ohio State is No. 19 in the NCAA against the pass, and the secondary will need to tighten up against short throws and quick receivers in order to survive a grueling Big Ten schedule, which includes four ranked opponents. Though all of Ohio State’s games have been blowouts, Fields is throwing for just 220 yards per game, ranking No. 8 in the Big Ten. That figure is well below the 345 yards former quarterback Dwayne Haskins averaged in 2018, and it will be interesting to see if Fields can consistently move the ball in must-pass situations against Big Ten defenses.last_img read more


first_imgHe was reversing a tractor and muckspreader into a corner of the farm to empty a septic tank close to where Harry was watching from a gate next to a Dutch barn.As Green reversed the tractor and trailer Harry jumped down from the gate and crossed behind the trailer, unseen by Green whose coordination and vision was impaired by the alcohol in his bloodstream.Another farm worker, John Gill, watched from the cab of a JCB digger as he saw the muchspreader heading for Harry and shouted a warning which the youngster didn’t hear.To the horror of farm workers and Mrs Whitlam who rushed to the scene, Harry was struck. Swithens Farm in Rothwell, Leeds where 11 year old Harry Whitlam was killedCredit:Ben Lack Photography Ltd Mr Long said: “It can be concluded that the defendant is likely to have had 86mgs of alcohol in his bloodstream, two and half times the legal limit.”To have had that quantity of alcohol in his system at that time he had have had to have consumed 13 pints of beer between 10pm and 2am or its equivalent.”The effect of that would have diminished his attention, judgement and control together with his reaction times and possibly his vision. It would have significantly reduced his ability to manoeuvre the tractor and trailer.”He said Green had two previous convictions for drink driving on public roads, the most recent of which was nine years ago.Michael Collins, for Green said the remorse he felt for Harry’s death had led to suicide attempts, the first 18 days after the accident and the most recent in April of this year.He said: “I express the real sorrow the defendant had about his conduct and the emotional impact it has had and is going to continue to have.”He said that Green had not known he would be driving heavy machinery on the farm on the day he caused Harry’s death.He pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of others, a charge brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.It was the only legal option open as the accident happened on private land.If Harry has died on a public road Green would likely have been charged with causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs,  which would have carried a maximum sentence of 14 years.Sentencing Green,  Judge Guy Kearle, QC, said: “The defendant failed to conduct careful checks prior to and during the reversing procedure, possibly because of his consumption of alcohol.”He was operating potentially dangerous large machinery. To do that safely when sober requires considerable control and attention.”To do so whilst under the influence of a considerable amount of alcohol is a breach of his duty of care and had the potential to cause considerable danger and injury to other people.”He said the risk to others and the fact he had two previous drink drive incidents against him were aggravating factors and he took account of Mrs Whitlam and “the effects this had had and will continue to have on her life and her family’s life.”Harry, who had an older sister Rachel, 25, and brother Ben, 18, will never be forgotten, said his mother.Mrs Whitlam added: “I want to be able to remember Harry for so many other things but while this case has been going on it had all been about that day.” On Tuesday at Leeds Crown Court he was jailed for 16 months and two weeks under health and safety legislation which carried a maximum penalty of two years in jail. He is likely to serve half that time in jail.Had the accident happened on a public road the maximum sentence would have been 14 years and lawyers told Harry’s mother Pamela he would likely have been jailed for six years.Pamela Whitlam, 50, said after the case: “There has to be a change to this ridiculous, out-dated law and we are calling for that in Harry’s name. “The greatest shock of all was when he found out today that this man had two previous convictions for drink driving. He didn’t learn the first time, he didn’t learn the second and on the third occasion Harry was killed. Harry Whitlam died at a farm near I want to be able to remember Harry for so many other things but while this case has been going on it had all been about that dayHarry’s mother Harry Whitlam, 11, who was killed at Swithens Farm, Rothwell, LeedsCredit: SWNS.com Harry Whitlam died at a farm nearCredit:SWNS.com Mr Long said: “The nearside wheel of the tanker collided with him, from behind, knocking him down and running him over, causing him severe injuries from which he died.”There was a quite terrible scene, one in which the defendant and others tried to help Harry. His mother came to the scene and saw her son son unconscious and severely injured. He was taken to hospital but succumbed to his injuries the same day.”Detective Sergeant Ben Kemp, a police officer who attended, breathalised Green after he noticed he smelt of drink and that his eyes were glazed.Mr Long said: “The reading was 90mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, more than twice the legal limit. When that was put to Mr Green he replied: ‘It is private land.'”Green told investigators “It is harvest time, I am working long hours” before admitting drinking four pints at his local pub in Wakefield, West Yorks, and two further cans when he arrived back home.A later reading was taken which showed 74mgs of alcohol, however a prosecution expert estimated the amount of drink to be much higher.center_img “The fact that he will be free within eight months is extremely distressing and we will campaign until we see this law changed.”Prosecutor Andrew Long said Harry’s death happened on August 9, 2013 at Swithens Farm, Rothwell, Leeds, where Mrs Whitlam worked in a farm shop.Harry would often go to work with her and was well known at the farm where he would help feed animals and collect eggs from the chickens.Mr Long said that after a heavy drinking session the previous night between 10pm and 2am, Green turned up to work the following day “drunk”. Harry's mother Pamela (left) and Green arrive at court Harry Whitlam, 11, who was killed at Swithens Farm, Rothwell, Leeds Harry’s mother Pamela (left) and Green arrive at courtCredit:SWNS.com A tractor driver with two previous drink-drive convictions who ran over and killed an 11-year-old boy after drinking the equivalent of 13 pints of beer may serve just eight months in jail due to a legal loophole.The mother of tragic Harry Whitlam tearfully called for the law to changed as Gary Green, 52, could not be prosecuted under drink drive laws as the accident happened on a farm.The court heard that Green was aware that drink-drive laws do not apply on a farm. His first response after being told he was over the limit was: “It’s private land.” Swithens Farm in Rothwell, Leeds where 11 year old Harry Whitlam was killed 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


first_imgChannel 4 have promised GBBO will retain its charm even without its original hosts Giedroyc added: “ It was very dry, nary a gag in sight. We tried to lighten it up a bit and I feel proud that we set the template.”The show is expected to relaunch on Channel 4 this year, with Prue Leith replacing Mary Berry as judge. Channel 4 have promised GBBO will retain its charm even without its original hosts Paul Hollywood was the only member of the on-screen quartet to go with the show, with his female co-stars releasing a statement to say they would not be “following the dough”.In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Perkins said of the decision: “It was the right thing. And there was no hesitation. We both wish it all the best.“Hand on heart, I don’t know if I’d watch it because that might be a bit weird but that doesn’t mean you don’t want it to succeed.” Sue Perkins, the former Great British Bake Off host, has said she may not watch the new Channel 4 version on the show because it would be “weird”, admitting “it does sting sometimes” that she is no longer part of the show.Perkins, who co-hosted the popular baking show on the BBC with Mel Giedroyc, said it was “really sad” they could not continue.The pair chose to leave after GBBO along with Mary Berry, after Love Productions took it to Channel 4 in the television scandal of 2016. The Bake Off presenting team at the BBC She added: “It does sting sometimes that we’re not doing it any more – and of course it’s really sad – but we made our decision and we made it quickly and together.”Giedroyc said it “felt like the right thing to do” to leave the show, adding: “It’s going to be sad not to be doing it but we’ve got amazing memories.”Perkins told the newspaper Bake Off had taken a long time to build its audience at the BBC, explaining: “When it started, Bake Off wasn’t a big hit. Respect to the people who said: ‘We’ll keep commissioning this and give it a chance.'” Prue Leith is tipped to be the new judge Prue Leith is tipped to be the new judge The Bake Off presenting team at the BBC 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


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 IFS report warns that 16-18 education has been “the biggest loser from education spending changes over the last 25 years”.”It experienced larger cuts in the 1990s than other sectors, smaller increases during the 2000s and is currently experiencing the largest cuts,” it says. “This long-term squeeze in resources is a major challenge for the sector as a whole.”FE spending per student was 45 percent higher than secondary school spending in 1990, and will be around 10 percent lower in 2019/20.Luke Sibieta, one of the report authors and an IFS associate director, said: “Over the next few years, both further education and schools are due to experience cuts. For schools, this comes on the back of very significant increases over the last few decades.”For FE, this comes on the back of tight funding settlements for decades that will leave spending per student the same in 2020 as it was in 1990. The lack of priority given to FE by successive governments in spending settlements does not seem sustainable.”A Department for Education spokesman said: “School funding is now at its highest level on record at more than £40 billion in 2016-17 and the IFS has shown that by 2020 per pupil spending in schools is set to be at least 70% higher in real terms than it was in 1990.”We are transforming post-16 education and investing £7 billion to ensure there is a place in education or training for every 16 to 19-year-old who wants one.” Schools are facing the first real-terms cuts to their funding since the mid-1990s, a leading think tank has said.Spending per pupil is set to fall by 6.5 percent by 2019/20, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), although it added that school funding has been well protected over the last two decades.Instead it is sixth-formers who are facing a continuing squeeze on budgets, with spending per further education (FE) student falling by 6.7 percent between 2010/11 2015/16 and a further drop of 6.5 percent expected over the next few years.It means that funding for 16-18-year-olds is no higher than it was almost 30 years ago.center_img The IFS study examines education spending for different age groups – from early years to universities – over a number of years.It shows that the biggest spending increases over the last 20 years have been on schoolchildren in England, with £4,900 currently spent on each primary school pupil £6,300 spent per secondary student. In both cases this is around double, in real terms, the amount spent in the mid-1990s.But the report shows that school spending is now falling, and will drop by 6.5% over the course of this Parliament.”This will be the first time schools have seen real-terms cuts in spending per pupil since the mid-1990s”, it says.The IFS also says that protections for school budgets over the last parliament mean that spending per pupil will still be similar to 2010 levels,It also notes that the introduction of the national funding formula, which will redistribute money to schools in a way that ministers say will be fairer, is the “largest shake-up in school funding in England for at least 25 years”.last_img read more


first_imgMichael Marshall, Project Director at the Good Thinking Society, said audits had shown the Royal Hospital of Integrated Medicine, an NHS facility on Great Ormond Street, was routinely using money from local GP groups on homeopathic remedies. “There is no good evidence that homeopathy works,” he said.“The NHS should not be funding treatments which have been proven not to work as every penny that is spent could be betters spent elsewhere.”Last month Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, described homeopathy as a ‘placebo at best’, and a ‘misuse of scarce NHS funds.A second consultation is currently taking place in London, led by Enfield CCG, to gain support for abandoning all funding for homeopathy.However, it is expected that both the London and Bristol engagement exercises will prompt ‘disproportionately strong’ support from patients in favour of alternative treatments.“We know that homeopathy supporters in the area are very active and we are certain they will be responding to the survey to urge the CCGs to keep funding homeopathy,” said Mr Marshall. There is no evidence that homeopathy is effective  At the time of publication the Royal Hospital of Integrated Medicine had not responded. While obtaining a referral for homeopathic treatment, such as for conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome or allergies, is difficult and decided on a case-by-case basis, some hospital doctors are allegedly providing taxpayer-funded treatments even when these have not been commissioned by GPs. The battle to abolish taxpayer-funded homeopathy is being undermined by GPs and other NHS doctors who believe the alternative therapies work, campaigners have warned.The health service has announced a ban on commissioning the treatments, yet in London and the South West family doctors continue to prescribe them, and some NHS hospitals deliver them, costing up to £6 million a year.Resistance to official policy is being bolstered by a network of homoeopathic doctors within the health service, as well as a cultural attachment to homeopathy among many patients, according to the Good Thinking Society. They are hoping a public consultation in Bristol, which closes on Tuesday, about the future funding of alternative therapies will mark the beginning of the end of homeopathic treatments in the NHS.The health service in Liverpool and surrounding areas abandoned homeopathy in 2016, leaving just two significant areas of the country where the NHS funds the practice.Opponents of the so-called pseudoscience believe the results of the consultation concerning Bristol and parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire will herald its final abolition in the South West, but they predict stamping it out in the capital will be harder. There is no evidence that homeopathy is effective Credit: Cultura Creative (RF) / Alamy Stock Photo 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


first_imgThis year we expect the biggest Easter shopping weekend everPatrick Munden, Global Head of Retail at global ecommerce consultancy Salmon There are 29 per cent more discounted products available this Easter than there were last year, data from sales website Lovethesales.com shows. On average items are 35 per cent below their recommended retail price, 3 per cent lower than during Black Friday 2017 when the average discount was 32 per cent. This year shops will receive an additional Easter boost as pay day falls just ahead of the weekend. Experts at footfall monitor Springboard said footfall across the UK’s shops was 10 per cent lower than usual in the first half of this week, because people were putting off their shopping until the weekend. Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: “Given the dreary start to the year, and of course the havoc caused by the ‘Beast form the East’ which markedly put sales on hold, Easter is more important than ever for retailers. Based on the monthly like-for-like growth we have seen over the past five years, we could see a monthly uptick of 3 per cent again this year, with food and furniture likely to be the strongest performing categories.” Motorists have been warned to look out for traffic this weekendCredit:Jonathon Marks/Twitter/PA On online shopping boom is also expected to ensue with analysts at Salmon expecting the biggest Easter shopping weekend ever, with £100 million spent online over the four day period. Although Easter is catching up it is still dwarfed by Christmas spending with last year’s boxing day saw a record £1bn spent online. Currys PC World’s sale includes TVs, laptops, coffee machines and other small appliances with discounts of up to 52 per cent. And John Lewis is offering substantial discounts on Le Creuset’s Signature Cast Iron Casserole which is down from £149 to £119.20, as well as 20 per cent off a range of sofas and armchairs and lighting.Meanwhile in clothing Topshop has a pair of sock boots which have been slashed by 70 per cent from £36 to £10 as part of its Easter sale. Motorists have been warned to look out for traffic this weekend The AA said that because Easter was so early, many were planning an extra holiday or visit family and friends, before going away again in the summer. 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. Good Friday is becoming the new Black Friday, analysis shows, as hard-pressed retailers are dropping prices by up to 70pc over the weekend.Experts are predicting a record Easter shopping bonanza with sales expected to rise by 3 per cent compared to last year for the sixth year in a row, according to consumer analysts at KPMG.  After a period of weak sales shops are luring consumers back onto the high street in time for the four-day break with even bigger discounts than Black Friday, data shows.The British Retail Consortium said the influx of extreme Easter offers were “fundamentally shifting the traditional cycle of seasonal promotions”, as retailers struggled to entice customers.Six in ten retailers currently have items on sale according to analysts at IbisWorld, with stores including Argos, Curry’s Debenhams and Topshop deploying specifically named “Easter sales”. Stuart McClure, founder at sales website LovetheSales.com said there was a significant trend toward retailers trying to make Easter the ‘Black Friday’ for home products. Patrick Munden, Global Head of Retail at global ecommerce consultancy Salmon, added: “We have seen an growing trend towards event-based online sales extravaganzas such as Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday, where consumers are increasingly on the hunt for bargains at specific times of the year and Easter looks set to follow suit. This year we expect the biggest Easter shopping weekend ever.”Rachel Lund, head of retail insight & analytics at the BRC, said: “Today’s retail environment is tough. With the internet offering shoppers the ability to compare prices in an instant and only buying when they see a significant deal, retailers are having to respond quickly in offering discounts, fundamentally shifting the traditional cycle of seasonal promotions.”However families taking to the roads over Easter will find they are the busiest they have been for several years, experts warned, with congestion on the roads compounded by heavy snow. Some 26 million motorists are expected to take to the roads this weekend, almost double that of the last few years. But forecasters have predicted a wet and windy weekend and a severe weather warning for Monday, when most of the country due to be carpeted in up to four centimetres of snow.Martin Bowles, from the Met Office, said: “The heavy rain coming from the south will meet the cold air coming from the north and there could be significant snowfall in the Midlands, Wales and the north of England.”Bank holiday traffic is expected to peak today (SAT), with two thirds planning a car journey, before soaring again on Monday as many head home. Traffic analysts Inrix said one of the worst times to travel will be between 12pm and 5pm on Easter Monday.Traffic hot spots are likely to include the M25 between Gatwick Airport and the M1, the M3 south west of London, the A303 near Stonehenge, the M55 between Preston and Blackpool, and the M53 between Liverpool and Chester, according to the RAC.Highways England said it had removed some 300 miles of roadworks. Warnings have also been issued about major disruption on train services.last_img read more


The outgoing head of the family court has revealed he was once asked to rule on a child’s haircut because his parents couldn’t agree.Sir James Munby, the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, says he has had to make decisions on too many disputes that should be made by parents.The judge said he was once asked to rule on a disagreement about the length of a six-year-old boy’s hair because a father wanted a “crew cut” and a mother “more flowing locks” – saying no judge should have to make that ruling.He also said the family court is being undermined by “downright untruths” on social media. Sir James, who retired on Friday, said his efforts to increase public trust in the courts by making them more open and transparent had been made more challenging by online commenters. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––The judge said in 2014 that family courts should publish judgments online in significant cases and has called for the most secretive court, the Court of Protection, to be made more accessible to journalists. “The simple fact is that in relation to a huge amount of the stuff on social media today and the web today, one could have the most transparent system in the world and it wouldn’t stop people saying what they say. “One could have every single family court completely open to the world at large, one could have complete freedom to report everything except the names, and one would still I suspect, I fear, see on social media the kind of material one sees today,” he said.He said the problem “didn’t exist in the old days” but the internet was now a “completely free, completely unregulated marketplace of information, ideas, dissimulation, misunderstanding, in some cases just downright untruths.”The judge also said he thought the current situation, in which journalists are allowed into some family court hearings, but excluded in some cases, for example adoption proceedings, or when the judge believes that justice could be impeded, has “just about got the balance right”. Sir James, who will be succeeded by Sir Andrew McFarlane, has been outspoken since he took on the role in 2013. He also drew attention to access to justice, suggesting that “mobile courts” could take judges to litigants, rather than them having to travel, in a similar way to a mobile library.  “Why should we assume axiomatically that all litigants have to go and see a judge? Why should the judge not go and see the litigants?” he said.  He said he still believed that free speech means the “truth will triumph in the market of ideas”, but added that social media means this “doesn’t always work”.  One could have every single family court completely open to the world at large, one could have complete freedom to report everything except the names, and one would still I suspect, I fear, see on social media the kind of material one sees todaySir James Munby 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


Workplace stress drives up disability discrimination claims by more than a third, employment law experts suggest.The number of disability discrimination claims at Employment Tribunals has risen by 37%, from 4,770 in 2017 to 6,550 in 2018.Employment lawyers told The Telegraph that the rise may be driven by an increased willingness of individuals to bring claims related to mental health issues. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the problems these issues cause in the workplace.The research, conducted by Fox & Partners, the employment law specialists. also found that the rise in disability discrimination claims has been eight times faster than the growth in all claims.The firm analysed figures from the Ministry of Justice which also showed that the total number of claims at Employment Tribunals increased by 4.3% to 178,990 in the last year, up from 171,630 in 2017. Mind, the mental health charity, described the tribunal figures as “shocking”. Ivor Adair, Partner at Fox & Partners, comments: “Discrimination claims related to stress and mental illness are fast becoming a new area of friction between employees and employers.”“Workers are now facing a range of increased pressures impacting their mental health. This is especially true for employees in financial services, with the introduction of the Senior Managers Regime and the additional work needed to prepare for Brexit.”“Employers need to ensure they handle the pressures facing their employees in the correct way. Improved training amongst managers in dealing with mental illness can help them reduce the likelihood of claims by increasing awareness and helping them create ways to ameliorate them.”The number of stress-related absences in financial services is now higher than in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis. The number of working days lost per worker in financial services dues to stress rose to an average of 0.53 days between 2014-15 and 2016-17 – 10% higher than the average 0.48 days between 2007-8 and 2009-10.There are now many charitable and industry led campaigns designed to raise awareness of mental health 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. Embed code: The Government has also pledged to commit to the 40 recommendations of the Stevenson Farmer Review of mental health and employers, the independent review of mental health and the workplace published in October 2017, aiming to better support employees.Furthermore, the abolition of tribunal fees in July 2017 helped lead to a wave of tribunal claims coming forward. Overall, in the last five years, the number of claims related to disability discrimination increased by 99%, up from 3,294 in 2012-13.Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said: “It’s shocking to see that so many people feel that they’ve experienced disability discrimination in the workplace and have had to seek justice as a result through employment tribunals.”Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to any employee experiencing a disability under the Equality Act 2010, which can include a mental health problem if it has a substantial, adverse, and long term effect on normal day-to-day activities. However, in order to benefit from the protection of the Act, employees have to disclose their disabilities.Ms Mamo added: “Unfortunately, many staff fear opening up if they’re struggling with issues like stress, anxiety and depression at work, worrying that their employer will see them as weak or unable to cope. But those of us with mental health problems can and do make a valuable contribution to the workplace, especially if our employer provides support when we need it.” read more


A Romanian national who carried out a string of serious criminal offences can’t be deported because he is protected by EU law.Denis Viscu, 20, arrived in the UK in 2007 with his family and between July 2014 and March 2017 received 14 convictions for 20 offences including robbery and knife possession. But when the Home Office tried to deport him they were blocked by judges who held that under EU law he had rights to enhanced protection under the EU Citizens’ Directive as he had lived in the UK for five years.During his legal fight to stay in the UK  Viscu was further convicted of four more offences, including possession of a knife in a public place, burglary and possession of a Class A drug and was sentenced to a total of 4 ½ years detention in a young offenders institution.In September 2017, the Home Office tried to deport Viscu because he was a  ‘persistent offender’.Government lawyers argued that although Viscu had lived in the United Kingdom since 2007 he was not entitled to enhanced protection under EU law because the time he had spent in custody ‘broke the continuity of lawful residence’.But a judge held that, since Viscu was a juvenile he could not be sentenced to imprisonment and so his residence in the United Kingdom had been ‘continuous and uninterrupted’ availing him of special EU protection. Under Chapter IV of the Citizens’ Directive, ‘Union citizens who have resided legally for a continuous period of five years in the host Member State shall have the right of permanent residence there.’A member state can only expel an EU resident where they have strong grounds to believe their presence poses a risk to the public.But the EU has added the caveat that  ‘previous criminal convictions shall not in themselves constitute grounds for’ denying an EU citizen their right of residency.Now the Court of Appeal has ordered that the case be reheard in full.Lord Justice Underhill, sitting with two Court of Appeal judges, said the Home Secretary will be able to make a case for deportation on public policy and public security grounds. The judge said: “Although the jurisprudence refers most frequently to “imprisonment” rather than “custodial sentence” I am quite satisfied that the rationale for the principle that, in general, a custodial sentence is indicative of a rejection of societal values and a severing of integrative links so as to interrupt the required continuity of residence, is equally applicable to sentences of detention in a YOI as it is to imprisonment.”This is because, on a proper analysis, it is not the sentence which indicates rejection of societal values but the offending which is sufficiently serious to warrant a custodial sentence whether of imprisonment or some other form of detention.” 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


Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedUS based Guyanese grieving loss of husband who was robbed, murdered by muggersJanuary 12, 2018In “World”Suspect in murder of female cop commits suicideOctober 5, 2017In “latest news”Guyanese stepmom charged with strangling death of 9-year-old Queens girlAugust 22, 2016In “Crime” A 26-year-old United States (US) based Guyanese met her demise in the wee hours of New Year’s morning after reportedly being stabbed to death by her husband- also a US based Guyanese- who later committed suicide.Pictured: Vinny Loknauth and his wife Stacy Singh in happier timesThe dead woman has been identified as Stacy Singh, a mother of two, and her husband 46-year-old Vinny Loknauth, who was later found hanging from a tree.US police have indicated that the deaths are being treated as homicide/suicide.According to the New York Daily News, Singh was discovered face down inside the Richmond Hill home- on 103rd Ave. near 113th St.- she shared with Loknauth, with multiple stab wounds to her back at around 01:55hrs.“A knife was found near her body when police arrived” NY Daily News said.This was over an hour after police found Loknauth’s body hanging from a tree on Park Lane, opposite Forest Park- which is said to be some two miles away from the couple’s home.“Loknauth” was very abusive to her,”said the dead woman’s brother-in-law Romain Shaw. “She stayed with him no matter what because they had two kids together. She was hoping for him to change, but he never did.”According to Shaw in the NY Daily News article, Loknauth was drinking heavily and using cocaine when family members gathered on New Year’s Eve at a Queens restaurant.“He was so drunk, so very drunk,” said Shaw. “He always beat her up when he went home high.”A neighbour said the couple fought constantly, recalling one incident that ended with the battered wife leaving their home in an ambulance.“The cops are always there,” the neighbour said. “They were always having big fights. But she still came back to him.”Stacy was described as a “very sweet person” in addition to being generous and caring.The neighbours described Loknauth as a construction worker often seen sitting on the front step of the house, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. read more