Isiah Thomas To Join NBA TV As An Analyst

Isiah Thomas’ efforts as an NBA head coach and general manager were nowhere near as outstanding as his Hall of Fame career as a point guard for the Detroit Lions. He was not that good as a college basketball coach, either — or owner of the CBA.Maybe Thomas’ ideal role is in as an analyst. He will join NBA TV in the studio starting Friday  during the network’s Pre-Game Show at 7 p.m.Thomas, who served years ago as an in-game analyst for NBC, will make several appearances each month on the network and will also be a regular contributor to will be interesting to see if he is on set with Magic Johnson, who works for TNT but on occasion will be an NBA TV guest. Johnson and Thomas were best friends, so much so that they actually kissed before NBA Finals games in the late 1980s when the Pistons faced Magic’s Los Angeles Lakers.However, the thick-as-thieves-relationship fell off in subsequent years for many rumored but unconfirmed reasons.Thomas is a 12-time NBA All-Star and was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.He became the target of much fury in 1987 when he repeated teammate Dennis Rodman’s comment that Larry Bird, the NBA’s MVP at the time, ”would be just another good guy” if he were not white. The backlash was so sever that Thomas flew to Los Angeles and appeared alongside Bird during a press conference.He explained then: ‘My mistake was in joking in a manner and with someone who did not fully understand that I was joking,” Thomas said. ”I’m really hurting about this.”At the same time, Thomas can be thoughtful, insightful and pensive. If he unleashes all his knowledge, he can become a strong addition to the network.He had a decent run as coach of the Indiana Pacers and a rally bad stint as coach and general manager of the New York Knicks. His latest basketball job was at tiny Florida International, where he did not make a significant mark.Recently, Thomas, who won the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in ’87, spoke out at a rally in his hometown of Chicago to end the extreme violence that has marred the city.Thomas played 13 seasons in the NBA, all as a member of the  Pistons. He led the franchise to back-to-back world championships in 1989-90 and earned NBA Finals MVP in 1990.Thomas is chairman and CEO of Isiah International, a holding company with interests in a diversified portfolio of companies with strong market positions and growth potential. read more

The NL Easts MetsNats Battle May Come Down To Injuries

3Miami Marlins7778797777.6 EXPECTED NUMBER OF WINS RANKTEAMPECOTAFANGRAPHSDAVENPORTWESTGATEAVERAGE 1Washington Nationals8891899289.9 How forecasters view the NL East 4Atlanta Braves7673747674.6 2New York Mets8985858986.9 In honor of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, which starts April 2, FiveThirtyEight is assembling some of our favorite baseball writers to chat about what’s ahead. Today, we focus on the National League East with writer Maggie Wiggin and FiveThirtyEight senior political writer Harry Enten. The transcript below has been edited. neil (Neil Paine, FiveThirtyEight senior sportswriter): I will have everyone know that I am wearing a non-Mets hat today to maintain my impartiality during this chat. (The Orioles are my wife’s team, so I stole her hat today …)Let’s get started. The top projected team in the East according to Fangraphs is the Washington Nationals. That’s been true for a number of years, including seasons in which the Nats both won the division and fell short spectacularly. Do we think they should be the favorites again this year? Or is it an every-other-year thing where they’ll disappoint again?heynawl-enten: Last year, the Mets were actually favored in the preseason projections. That turned out great for them!maggiewiggin: I think the Nationals have the edge, but it’s a close enough competition with the Mets that it should be a tight race down the stretch.neil: Is it fair to say that Washington has been a tough team to get a read on during this stretch? They always seem to have one of the most talented rosters in the league, but it doesn’t always translate.maggiewiggin: They always seem to have one piece of the team really underwhelm. In 2015, it was the bullpen. Last year, it was Bryce Harper (though Daniel Murphy’s transformation into Mecha Ted Williams offset that). I don’t know if that makes them any different from other teams, but they never have that unbeatable vibe.neil: How many more chances do you think the Nationals will get with this Harper/Stephen Strasburg core? I remember when they shut Strasburg down in 2012 — the rationale was that they were playing the long game for many shots at a championship. Fast forward to now, and I wonder whether they’d feel the same way.maggiewiggin: It’s tough to feel any certainty with Strasburg. He keeps approaching this true ace-level pitching without ever quite getting there. I thought we were finally seeing it last season before (another) injury did him in. Harper is also up and down, but in 2015, we actually did see him get there.heynawl-enten: The crazy thing for me is that Strasburg has never really had that standout season. His highest wins above replacement in a season is 3.5. He’s never finished higher than ninth for Cy Young. Heck, he only garnered a vote in one season.maggiewiggin: Whenever I look at Strasburg’s numbers, the only one that ever really blows me away is that he’s going into his eighth year in the bigs. We’re all getting old.heynawl-enten: At least we’re all getting old together.maggiewiggin: Except for Max Scherzer, it would seem.heynawl-enten: He’s Dick Van Dyke for baseball.neil: I bet he does a better British accent. Meanwhile, with all this talk of getting old, 23-year-old Trea Turner has no idea how we feel at all. With him improving and the additions of catcher Matt Wieters and outfielder Adam Eaton, could this be the most talent that Washington has had in this Harper/Strasburg era? (And will it be enough to pass the Cubs? Thinking big-picture here.)maggiewiggin: They’re definitely stacked, but it’s hard not to imagine the loss of Wilson Ramos stinging.heynawl-enten: Cubs? You’re talking Cubs? I’d like to see the Nats advance past the divisional round first.neil: Come to think of it, Wieters might be a nice metaphor for the Nats. Supposed to be a future Hall of Famer, he ended up being just “pretty good” (though he’s been even less than that recently).maggiewiggin: I do think the impact of picking up Eaton was overshadowed by the hefty price tag. There’s a ton of speed at the top of that lineup now and some killer defense up the middle. Pretty much the anti-Mets on those measures.neil: Great transition! Let’s talk about those Mets.heynawl-enten: Thank goodness they kept Bartolo Colon.neil: We’ll get to Bart later.heynawl-enten: neil: Anyway, the Mets! The big problem for them last year was health. (And the next-biggest problem. And the next-biggest.) That would seem to portend an improvement this year, right? They can’t possibly be that hurt again.maggiewiggin: It’s pretty much their only glaring weakness at this point.neil: But pitchers are weird creatures, too. Does relying too much on pitching set you up for that?maggiewiggin: It’s a lot of eggs in a very rickety basket, but, oh man, those eggs taste good.heynawl-enten: I’m hungry now.maggiewiggin: So’s Bartolo — it’s why we love him.heynawl-enten: Nice.maggiewiggin: But what the Mets are making work for them is the rare combination of quality and quantity on the mound. Every guy who comes up seems to outperform expectations. Their injury-ravaged rotation was top in the game in FanGraphs’ WAR last year; that shouldn’t happen.heynawl-enten: Their fifth starter at this point is Jacob deGrom clone Robert Gsellman. He didn’t do too horribly last year. The biggest question mark I have is Matt Harvey. And that wasn’t all about injuries last year.neil: Yeah, do we think he’ll ever be the same? (And does he really need to be?)maggiewiggin: No, on both counts. But it would be nice if he could claw his way back to something like a mid-3’s ERA and 175-ish innings. His baseline was just so incredibly high if you look at what he did for three seasons, even right after Tommy John surgery.heynawl-enten: Most of the Mets staff is getting into their upper 20s in age. I do wonder about that a little bit. Especially given the heat at which some of these guys (like Harvey) could throw.maggiewiggin: You’ve basically got a whole staff throwing 91 mph sliders — it’s not exactly ergonomic.neil: And if that staff isn’t quite as lights-out, is there reason to think the offense will be able to offset any decline? The Mets were tied for the fourth-fewest runs scored in the National League last year.maggiewiggin: Compared to last year, the offense boils down to two things for me: how much you buy into situational hitting as a repeatable skill and how quickly they can get Jay Bruce out of there.neil: Right, because they were terrible with runners on/in scoring position.maggiewiggin: Almost historically so.heynawl-enten: Look, Jay Bruce is a quality … Oh who am I kidding. Why oh why did they make that trade?neil: It was important for blocking Michael Conforto’s development.heynawl-enten: He is perhaps the other big question mark to me. Conforto had the sophomore curse last year.maggiewiggin: They traded for Bruce because they were chasing the Cespedes dragon.neil: Speaking of, seems like they basically had to bring Cespedes back just to keep the lineup afloat and anywhere near on par with what they figure to get out of the pitching.maggiewiggin: The team is barely a borderline contender without Cespedes, if that. But I agree that Conforto is the wild card here.neil: “Wild card” might be the operative term. Again.heynawl-enten: Nice.neil: Either way, it seems like there’s kind of a gap between the top two teams and the rest of this division. That’s what we thought before last season as well, but Miami kept things competitive until the end. Then they suffered a tragic loss that can’t really be quantified, the death of Jose Fernandez. Is there any way that the Marlins can rally back to their form for most of last season and contend again, or was that chance lost forever with Fernandez’s passing?maggiewiggin: The Marlins are definitely a team without a real identity now. They were built around this incredibly dynamic duo of Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton, but it’s hard to see any real path to contention for them this year. Their starting pitching tops out at mediocre, though I expect the lineup to surprise a bit.neil: Even without Barry Bonds as hitting coach?maggiewiggin: The true Barry Bonds is inside all of us. I think their big spending on relievers had one express purpose — setting up a midseason fire sale to fill a barren farm system. They’re going to be treading water for a couple of years.neil: Yeah, I think many fans might be surprised how poorly their farm system grades out. It’s in last place, according to Baseball America.heynawl-enten: The best thing the Marlins have going for them is that Jeffrey Loria is probably going to sell the team, at long last.neil: That is actually great news for them. Loria is the worst. Going back to Stanton, what do we expect of his 2017 season? His exit velocity was still on point, but big chunks of his 2016 were awful.maggiewiggin: He’s another guy who just can’t stay healthy.heynawl-enten: “Awful” is a bit of an overstatement. He did have 2.5 WAR last year. But, yeah, he’s only played in more than 120 games once in the last four seasons.maggiewiggin: It actually says a lot about him that his .815 OPS was a career-low.neil: So it seems like he might be due for better things this year, then, if he stays in the lineup.maggiewiggin: If he’s on the field, the power is going to be there too. He’s a very, very strong man.neil: Very true, and Christian Yelich is no slouch either. Maybe the thing for Miami is whether they have the depth around their stars to really make any noise.maggiewiggin: And the pitching. Wei-Yin Chen is their number one starter — that’s never a good sign.neil: Eek.maggiewiggin: They do have a solid bullpen, but again, how much of that is still around on Aug. 1? Not a lot if everyone’s doing their jobs right.neil: Well, that was one thing I wanted to ask about all three of the teams projected to finish 3-4-5 in this division: Which direction are they moving in the Success Cycle? If Miami is moving toward a rebuild, the Braves seem like they might be moving toward respectability with some of their offseason pickups.heynawl-enten: They’re timing it well to move into their new stadium.maggiewiggin: The Braves have such a rich talent pool in the minors, they’re getting very close to being a force again.neil: Yeah, it can’t be long it seems, with Dansby Swanson assuming a full-time role and the best farm system in MLB coming up behind him.heynawl-enten: One thing to keep an eye on with the Braves is how strong they finished last year. They were 18-10 in September and October.neil: Positively Mets-like in that regard.maggiewiggin: The Matt Kemp acquisition in left field surprisingly worked out very well for them, so far at least.neil: And now apparently they’re trying the pitcher version of that with Bartolo, R.A. Dickey and Jaime Garcia.heynawl-enten: Granted, Dickey hasn’t been worth very much, but I like the idea. “Cheaper” veterans combined with youngsters.maggiewiggin: The only question is: Who will they package with Kelly Johnson when they trade him to the Mets?heynawl-enten: HAH!neil: It’s an annual tradition.So, any chance the Braves actually challenge the Nats and Mets? Or are they still a year or two away?maggiewiggin: Like with the Marlins, the rotation seems to be the biggest weakness, but a hot first half combined with a big get at the deadline could have them nipping at some heels for sure. But realistically, 2018 seems to be when that window opens.heynawl-enten: I wouldn’t be shocked if they stayed competitive for some of the year. Winning the division is another question entirely.neil: I have to ask the same of the Phillies, who’ve shared the NL East’s basement apartment with the Braves these past few years …heynawl-enten: Last season, the Phillies were quite awful in every month not named April.neil: They were also the luckiest team in baseball not named “Texas Rangers.”maggiewiggin: They have some serious depth issues. Anything other than exceptional health could get ugly fast.neil: Then again, on the upside, they were the youngest team in baseball last year. And, similar to Atlanta, they have one of the best farm systems in baseball.maggiewiggin: Both teams have managed their rebuilds very well in that way.heynawl-enten: But I feel like they’re still a few years away.maggiewiggin: I agree. They lack any clear top-level talent right now, though they have a few promising names.heynawl-enten: I guess the good news is that the Phillies finally got rid of Ryan Howard. That signing didn’t make sense when it happened, and it certainly makes no sense now.maggiewiggin: The fact that they kept him around as long as they did will remain one of life’s great unsolved mysteries.neil: He was worth -1.0 WAR or worse in four of his final five seasons! 😱heynawl-enten: Getting back to the larger point, I think the Phillies have the least to look forward to of any NL East team this season. Well, either them or the Marlins.maggiewiggin: The lowest upside as currently constructed, definitely.neil: But the parallel rebuilds in Philly and Atlanta might also underscore that the clocks are ticking in Washington and New York.maggiewiggin: It’s going to be a very different landscape in two years — that’s for sure. Especially if Washington keeps deferring money like the world is ending.heynawl-enten: Remember, the Braves were good for all those years, and then they weren’t. Dynasties have a way of ending, and the Nationals have not a single thing to show for it. The Mets may hold on a little longer, given the age of their pitching staff (getting older, but not close to old).maggiewiggin: Hey, if Tim Tebow can get a real, live hit, anything’s possible.heynawl-enten: He got a hit? The world might really be coming to an end.maggiewiggin: Hmm, maybe the Nats’ financial strategy is sounder than I thought. Based on projected wins or over/under win totals. Data gathered on March 15, 2017.Sources: Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, Clay Davenport, Las Vegas Review-Journal 5Philadelphia Phillies7372727372.4 read more

Softball Alex Bayne ready for special senior season

OSU then-junior outfielder Alex Bayne (left) high-fives then-junior pitcher Shelby Hursh during the 2015-16 season. Credit: Courtesy of OSUWhen Ohio State senior right fielder Alex Bayne started playing softball, it was because her dad, a former baseball player himself, wanted to see his daughter take up the sport that he so dearly cherished. Little did Bayne’s father know at the time that his influence bred one of the Big Ten’s most dominant players.Alex Bayne’s first start came in 2015, but she really made a name for herself the following year. She tied OSU’s single-season home run record with 19, led the team in RBIs (49), runs (53) and OBP (.461), and was even named first-team All-Big Ten, as well as first-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Midwest Region. While Bayne’s breakout season was certainly one for the history books, softball hasn’t always come so naturally to the Manvel, Texas, native.She originally began her college career at Marshall University, eventually transferring to OSU, making the team as a walk-on.“Marshall wasn’t a good fit for me personally, so I took the year off and contemplated whether I wanted to play softball still,” Bayne said. “My boyfriend — now fiance — was going to OSU, and I’d come to visit him. I fell in love with OSU and knew I wanted to play softball again, so I started getting ready for tryouts to show that I was worth it.”Despite proving that she was worth it during tryouts, Bayne was still anything but a refined softball player. It was through the guidance of the coaching staff and some former teammates that helped Bayne realize her full potential.“The coaching staff has developed me exponentially,” Bayne said. “I came in a wide-eyed sophomore who was a walk-on coming from tryouts. My coaches saw potential in me that I didn’t even see yet, and they developed my talents. Also, the leaders of the team back then took me under their wing and allowed me to really grow.” Not only is Bayne one of the top softball players in the country, she’s now a leader for OSU. Senior pitcher Shelby Hursh said it’s Bayne’s reliability that sets her apart from the pack. “It’s the best feeling to have players like Alex behind you,” Hursh said. “Especially as a pitcher, you know that if you give up a couple runs, we have a hitter like her and we’ll be able to get those runs back.”Bayne has picked up right where she left off through OSU’s first eight games this season. She has already hit six home runs, scored 11 runs, and has a .407 batting average. In order to attain such consistency, a player has to be willing to work hard and be coachable, OSU coach Kelly Schoenly said.“What I appreciate so much about Alex is that she learned from the leaders during her first year on the team,” Schoenly said. “Alex purposely attached herself to them so she could learn from the very best. She was never bitter, and Alex learned that if you want to get in the starting lineup, you have to put in the extra work, and she started doing it.”In her final year of eligibility, Bayne has not begun to seriously reflect on her time as a Buckeye. Although she’s been a part of some memorable moments in the last two seasons, the best is yet to come, as far as Bayne is concerned. “I definitely think this season’s up for a lot of special memories,” Bayne said. “Obviously, going to the postseason last year and being one of the qualifying teams in the NCAA Tournament is probably at the top. I still think there’s more in store this year. There’s room for pretty great memories.” read more

Ohio State field hockey features foreign flavor

Being a Division I college athlete and balancing classes is hard enough. Now add traveling thousands of miles from your home and family to play in a foreign country. Of the 22 girls on Ohio State’s field hockey team, more than 25 percent of them come from countries outside of North America. Among the six players, they have to travel an average of almost 4,000 miles to return home. Contextually, the distance between Columbus and Los Angeles is almost 2,000 miles. Freshman midfielder Emma Royce, from Kingston upon Thames, U.K., said moving so far from her family never bothered her. “I didn’t have a problem with it because I know they supported my decision like 100 percent, and you get a new family when you play with your team,” Royce said. “I’m just enjoying it so much and I am so busy you don’t even think about it.” The freshman has started in nine of the Buckeyes’ ten games and scored two goals. Junior midfielder Arielle Cowie, from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, is from the hometown closest to Columbus of the six girls, being just more than 2,400 miles from home. She started at midfield in all 21 games last season, posting two goals and one assist, and has started all ten games this year, but has yet to score a point. Moving away from her home was not as easy for Cowie, she said, but now she feels at home. “My first year was a bit difficult because, I mean, like I just uprooted myself from home and (came) to this strange place. So I was very, very skeptical at first. But as soon as I got here everyone has been so, so welcoming and now this feels like my home,” Cowie said. When it comes to recruiting the international players, the head coach or assistants will take trips to other countries to see talent, like in the case of Royce’s recruitment. “One of the Ohio State’s coaches was at my national final and … when he got back to America he saw my videos circulating as well and that’s when he emailed me,” Royce said. “I had seen a couple of other American universities, but I had never been to Ohio State, but I did my research and it felt like the right place.” Coach Anne Wilkinson said the farthest she has traveled to recruit players was Europe. Sometimes a player will come to the U.S. and the coaches will see them there, like in Cowie’s situation. Her club coach in Trinidad also coached a U.S.-based team and Cowie traveled up with her coach to an indoor tournament in Virginia Beach. While at the tournament, an OSU assistant coach went to see her play. “After that we kept in touch, and I sent in a video, and we just kept talking and they offered me a scholarship,” Cowie said. “But initially, they found out about me because there were two girls from Trinidad on (OSU’s) team before. So I guess when they were looking to recruit people my name came up.” Wilkinson, who is in her 17th season with the Buckeyes, said she has had players from Trinidad on her teams since her first job at American University. Coaches do recruit the players but Wilkinson believes that recruiting is a two-way street. “They pursue OSU. Field hockey is a very popular sport internationally,” Wilkinson said. “There is a pretty good pipeline of players who want to come to Ohio State.” When the players arrive in Columbus there are adjustments that have to be made. For Cowie, the biggest transition was adjusting to the weather extremes. The average high temperature of her hometown is between 85 and 88 degrees all year, while in Columbus, the average high varies from 37 degrees to 86 degrees from winter to summer, according to “The Caribbean is so scorching hot and when I came up it was my first winter. So that was kind of a shock, but by now I am accustomed to it in a way,” Cowie said. For Royce, the biggest difference is the traveling. The U.K. is 94,530 square miles compared to the U.S. which is 3,794,000 square miles. It would take 40 U.K.’s to equal the size of the U.S. “Coming from a small country, the farthest you will go is like three hours, and now I am going on a coach for like seven-and-a-half hours, eight hours sometimes, and getting on planes to go to games,” Royce said. “It’s very, very different.” Other international players on the team are sophomore midfielder Mona Frommhold, from Berlin, junior back Nora Murer, from Luzern, Switzerland, senior forward Berta Queralt and junior midfielder Paula Pastor-Pitarque, both from Barcelona, Spain. read more

Doctors prescribing antidepressant drugs linked to suicidal thoughts to teens against advice

first_imgMental health charities said doctors should only prescribe antidepressants when talking therapies were also in place.Nick Harrop, campaigns manager at Young Minds: “Antidepressants can have a place in treating some mental health conditions among young people, but they should never be the only course of action – there should always be a balanced approach to treatment, combining a range of therapies to ensure that the person has the best possible chance of recovery.“When antidepressants are prescribed, it’s really important that children and parents have comprehensive information about the effects that they can have.“Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are a postcode lottery, with unacceptably long waiting times and a high threshold for treatment in many areas.” Dr Michael Bloomfield, Clinical Lecturer in Psychiatry, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, UCL, said medication should only be given when it is appropriate.“Of concern is the finding that depressive symptoms appear to be increasing in this age group,” he said.  “There must be a wider conversation in society to understand the complex reasons underlying this. “Children and young people suffering mental distress deserve rapid access to expert psychiatric care which includes psychological support alongside careful treatment with medicines where appropriate. “In the UK, we are hearing on the ground that this can be difficult to access.” Earlier this year, a review of 70 trials by the Nordic Cochrane Centre of the most common antidepressants, involving more than 18,000 people, found they doubled the risk of suicide and aggressive behaviour in under-18s.After comparing clinical trial information to actual patient reports, the scientists concluded pharmaceutical companies had regularly misclassified deaths and suicidal actions or thoughts in people taking antidepressants to “favour their products”. Doctors are ignoring health watchdog guidelines and regularly prescribing youngsters with an antidepressant linked to suicide and overdose, new figures show.Under guidance from The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) antidepressants should be a last resort for under-18s, and then only fluoxetine (Prozac) is recommended.But a study by the university of Swansea found 40 per cent of youngsters who need drugs are being prescribed citalopram, even though it carries a warning that it can increase suicidal thoughts and behaviour in the under-24s.Recent studies have also found the drug does not work for children and is highly toxic in overdose. 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. Dr Ann John, the lead author at Swansea, said: “The only antidepressant licensed for use in children and young people is fluoexetine and the recent study showed that it is the only that works.“But over 40 per cent of the drugs that were prescribed were citalopram. Citalopram should only be prescribed when fluoexetine isn’t working but what we found is that citalopram is being given as one of the first antidepressants to lots of children.“So it’s off-label prescribing and it has a known toxicity in overdose, there were warnings given about it in 2011. A third of that prescribing was given to 18 year olds. All the rest of that was given to kids off label and outside prescribing guidelines.”The research, which looked at 195 practices in Wales between 2003 and 2013 also found that anti-depressant prescribing had risen by 28 per cent during that time, even though recorded diagnoses of depression have fallen in that period. There were more than 10,000 first-time prescriptions over the period.Dr John, said that GPs needed better training in distinguishing what was a real mental illness from growing pains so that they were not simply ‘medacalising unhappiness’.“The teenage years are a phase of gaining independence, engaging with the world and testing boundaries,” she said. “This can result in normal developmental range of emotional responses – stress, loneliness, sadness and frustration.“For some young people reassurance that this is within the range of normal human experience may be appropriate.“Across the world we are seeing an increase in the antidepressant prescribing for young people and there is lots of debate and controversy about the idea that we are medicalising unhappiness.”Dr Johns said that prescriptions were sometimes given because waiting times for talking therapies were too long. There is lots of debate and controversy about the idea that we are medicalising unhappinessDr Ann Johnlast_img read more

Man charged with murder of Pentonville Prison inmate

first_imgA man has been charged with murder following the death of a 21-year-old man at Pentonville Prison.Jamal Mahmoud, who had just become a father, was stabbed to death at the jail in Islington on Tuesday during an attack that also injured two others.Police say Basana Kimbembi, 34, has been charged with his murder.A second man, 26, has been released from custody over the incident and returned to prison.The two injured men – aged 21 and 30 – were taken to an east London hospital for treatment for non-life threatening injuries, police said, and they remain there.The killing of the young father prompted calls for an inquiry into the state of jails in England and Wales, with his family accusing the prison of “neglecting him”.HMP Pentonville is a category B Victorian prison which opened in 1842 and holds more than 1,200 adults.According to a HM Inspectorate of Prisons report in February last year, the prison sees a rapid turnover with more than 100 new prisoners a week and it was “performing poorly” as a result of staff shortages, overcrowding and prisoners’ easy access to drugs. 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

Mark Austin reveals he feared for his daughters life as she battled

first_imgAustin at work for ITN Philip May, Prime Minister Theresa May, Carol Vorderman and Mark Austin at a Prince’s Trust receptionCredit:PA Austin at work for ITNCredit:Getty Mr Austin said that the situation became more complicated when his daughter hit 18 because he was no longer able to see her medical notes.”Things were getting pretty bleak,” he said.The presenter said the NHS offered the best emergency health care in the world for physical problems but warned that help for mental health is underfunded.”We are heading towards an epidemic in mental health and there are not the resources there to deal with it.”He added: “Social media is a key problem. In many ways a generation of teenagers are guinea pigs in a social experiment – and we don’t know how it will end.”Mr Austin told the programme, a mental health special, that his daughter is now “doing fine”. In many ways a generation of teenagers are guinea pigs in a social experiment – and we don’t know how it will end.Mark Austin Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has two young daughters, said that any father listening to Mr Austin’s interview would be “incredibly worried”.While the Government was investing £1.4 billion in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) over the course of the parliament, he acknowledged that more needed to be done.”Obviously in Mark’s case it is wonderful that his daughter made a full recovery, but I’ve spoken to a dad whose daughter committed suicide in Cumbria the day after she had a CAMHS appointment – I’m sure, not the fault of the therapist she was seeing – but we didn’t spot the seriousness of the problem and we weren’t able to prevent that suicide. So I do think it is an area we need to do a lot better,” he said”It is partly about making financial commitment which I believe we are making. It is also about consistency of service because, as Mark Austin and other people have pointed out, it is very patchy.”center_img Philip May, Prime Minister Theresa May, Carol Vorderman and Mark Austin at a Prince's Trust reception Mark Austin, the broadcaster, has told how he feared for his daughter’s life after she became “dangerously ill” with anorexia.The ITN newsreader said his family had struggled to find the care the teenager needed, after her illness left her close to organ failure.Mr Austin, who hosts the ITV Evening News, revealed one of his daughters developed a serious eating disorder when she was studying for her A-levels and she entered a “bleak, dark world of depression”.”She was basically shrinking away before our eyes,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One.”She was there, but she was gone and it all happened very quickly.”We thought we were losing her so we tried to get help, but there wasn’t really the help there.” 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. Mr Austin said his daughter had needed “quick, significant” intervention, “but we couldn’t find it”.”Within a period of four or five months she was very dangerously ill,” he said.The newsreader’s daughter dropped to five and a half stone in weight, so the family turned to private health care but “that didn’t work”.”It wasn’t the kind of care we wanted for her,” he told the programme. “There was force-feeding going on. There was all sorts of stuff that was making her even more depressed.”We pulled her out and basically looked after her ourselves. Had it not been for the fact that my wife is an A&E doctor I’m not sure what would have happened.”She was getting close to organ failure.”last_img read more

Lock away your grandparents BBCs new Agatha Christie show is no cosy

first_imgThe drama is based on a 24-page courtroom story by Christie The drama is based on a 24-page courtroom story by Christie Lock up your grandparents. Or at least, try not to let them near the television this Boxing Day.So goes the advice from the makers of the BBC’s latest Agatha Christie adaptation, as they warn the days of the “cosy” afternoon murder mystery are over.The director of Witness for the Prosecution said Christie adaptations such as Miss Marple and Poirot have become synonymous with a “lovely cosy afternoon watching TV on the sofa”, with neat plots, a sense of fair play and the bad guys always getting their comeuppance.But, Julian Jarrold said, a new version of Christie’s 24-page courtroom drama may require grandparents and young children to be “put away” from the television, thanks to a chilling storyline and unsettling ending. The Witness for the Prosecution tells the story of a wealthy, glamorous older woman, played by Kim Cattrall, who entices a young working class man to her home.The BBC version will see Leonard Vole, played by Billy Howle, be paid for his sexual services, before the woman, Emily French, is found bludgeoned to death on her living room floor.Vole is immediately arrested, drawing on the services of a down-at-heel, cough-ridden solicitor to save him from the gallows. Miss Marple: comforting television, according to programme-makers David Suchet in ‘Poirot – Death in the Clouds’, 1992 The programme will include some swearing, a “dismal” sex scene and dark undertones, set in a smog-filled post-war London.Sarah Phelps, the scriptwriter, said she had previously believed Christie dramas were “cosy fireside entertainment for when you’re depressed about winter”, with fans sitting down to watch in the comfort that “because everything will be alright in the end”.But she said, she had now become “acutely aware of the danger, the really unnerving, unsettling qualities” of the author’s work, leading her to capture the “cruel” elements of Christie’s storyline in her three-part series. Miss Marple: comforting television, according to programme-makers Catrall stars as the doomed Emily French Andrea Riseborough plays Vole’s girlfriend, an actress Andrea Riseborough plays Vole's girlfriend, an actresscenter_img Kim Cattrall, Andrea Riseborough, Toby Jones, Billy Howle and Monica Dolan star “I know the TV adaptations of Miss Marple, and Poirot; it’s all delicious, bitchy and glorious and you’ve got the great and the good of stage and screen wearing gorgeous costumes,” she said.”But the undertow of it is it’s really great entertainment. “With some of the Marple and the Poirot shows we’re used to seeing, you’re in a very safe place; here’s the murder, here’s the plot and here’s the person who’s going to unravel it. Kim Cattrall, Andrea Riseborough, Toby Jones, Billy Howle and Monica Dolan star “There isn’t any thing where I go ‘ooh I’m going to swear now and it’ll be really shocking’,” she said. “People swear and have sex. It’s not that shocking to me.“It seems extraordinary that people get upset by sex and swearing when really you’re writing about murder. She’s got her head caved in, there are brains on the floor. ‘But forget about that, don’t say the eff word!’“What? It’s a genuinely bizarre thing. 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. “It’s very satisfying. You feel very embraced by it.”My take on it [Agatha Christie], and one of the reasons I find it really satisfying to write for the small screen, is that the stories are dark.“What I like is to take this general perception of knowing where you are with ‘cosy Christie’ and twisting it.”Speaking at a screening of the drama at the BFI in London this week, Phelps was asked about the potential for controversy, with several expletives inserted into the script. David Suchet in 'Poirot - Death in the Clouds', 1992 Catrall stars as the doomed Emily French “So I don’t think oh this will rattle them up in the shires. I just think what is this story about and who’s telling it.”Witness for the Prosecution will begin on BBC One on Boxing Day at 9pm.last_img read more

Warnings over deathtrap highrise building cladding ignored for decades

first_imgFire safety experts warned as long ago as 1999 that the cladding used on buildings such as Grenfell Tower posed a deadly threat to hundreds of residents inside, it has emerged.The experts, from industry and the firefighters’ union, predicted that such cladding could help drive any fire upwards to quickly engulf an entire building.In a chilling premonition of what would happen 18 years later at Grenfell Tower – where at least at least 58 people are now feared to have been killed – Fire Brigades Union official Glyn Evans told MPs: “The problem with cladding is that it will, if it is able, spread fire and it will spread it vertically. If you get multistorey buildings you will get fire spread up the outside if the cladding will permit it.”After hearing evidence from Mr Evans and others, a House of Commons committee concluded in early 2000 that the authorities could not afford to wait before taking action to tackle the risk.It’s report stated: “We do not believe that it should take a serious fire in which many people are killed before all reasonable steps are taken towards minimising the risks.” The Reynobond cladding fixed to the Grenfell tower last year was made from powder-coated aluminium panels that are usually filled with plastic insulation, which is flammable.On Friday Worcester based firm Omnis Exteriors said it had been asked to supply cheaper cladding to the installer, Harley Facades, which did not meet strict fire-retardant specifications. A banner reading hangs from the balcony of a property near the devastated Grenfell Tower block in north KensingtonCredit:NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP A banner reading hangs from the balcony of a property near the devastated Grenfell Tower block in north Kensington There now is a growing conviction among construction and fire experts that the cladding system fixed to Grenfell Tower to improve the energy efficiency and appearance of the building as part of a £8.6 million refurbishment helped spread the fire.The Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs – the Government department then presided over by Labour’s John Prescott – had gathered in July 1999 to hear evidence on the use of external cladding in high rise towers, following a fire at a 14-storey block in Irvine, Ayrshire, the previous month, in which a 55-year-old disabled man was killed.That followed a fire in 1991 at Knowsley Heights in Liverpool, where flames spread from the bottom to the top of the 11-storey block, causing serious damage.Mr Evans told the committee that if external cladding failed to resist flames from a fire inside the building it could rapidly spread upwards to engulf the entire structure.He said: “If a fire occurs within a building it leaves the building through a window opening in an external wall, and the strong probability is that the cladding will be involved.”Mr Evans added: “If the cladding cannot resist the spread of flame across the surface then it will vertically envelop the building; in other words, the fire will spread to the outside of the building and it will go vertically.” The committee also heard a number of other potential problems which existing safety tests were not taking into account.Experts told MPs that “the fixtures which attach the cladding to the building may not withstand the fire, risking the detachment of the system from the building and endangering persons in and around the building, including firefighters” and that “plastic materials [ ] used for the cladding, [ ] could melt and form burning droplets which again endanger people below.”These fears were borne out when the Grenfell Tower blaze took hold in the early hours of Wednesday morning.Large chunks of burning and melted cladding began falling away from the building onto those fleeing from the lower floors and the firefighters desperately trying to tackle the flames. Grenfell Action Group described Mr Maddison’ attitude as “cavalier and grossly disrespectful” and accused him of treating residents with “contempt and disdain”.An investigation by Janet Seward, KCTMO’s Policy and Improvement Manager, into the group’s allegations uphold the majority of its complaints.She admitted KCTMO had failed to properly resolve the group’s complaint and that the organisation had not adhered to its own service standards.Ms Seward also admitted Grenfell Action Group’s request regarding the Rand Survey “was not dealt with appropriately or within the required timescales” and promised to “ensure that this situation does not happen again”.KCTMO failed to answer a request from The Telegraph for details of any disciplinary action taken against Mr Maddison at the time. But the regulations were not retrospective, which meant there was no requirement to fit sprinklers to Grenfell Tower when it underwent its refurbishment – something both survivors and safety experts are convinced would have saved dozens of lives on Wednesday morning. The select committee suggested that it would be deeply irresponsible to wait until a disaster claimed many lives before introducing improvements to the cladding used and the way it was fixed to tall buildings.Its report stated: “We do not believe that it should take a serious fire in which many people are killed before all reasonable steps are taken towards minimising the risks.It added that all external cladding systems should either be “entirely non-combustible”, or “proven through full-scale testing not to pose an unacceptable level of risk in terms of fire spread”. The planning application for the refurbishment stated that fire barriers were due to be inserted between the cladding on each floor to limit the spread of any flames. People have been putting up dozens of posters of those missing feared dead after the Grenfell Tower fire People have been putting up dozens of posters of those missing feared dead after the Grenfell Tower fireCredit: Xinhua / Barcroft Images Posters and notes put up in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, appealing for information about the missing The report appears to have been one of several alarm bells rung over the safety of high rise buildings which went unheeded. The safer sheets were only £2 a square metre more expensive meaning that for an extra £5,000 the building could have been encased in a material which may have resisted the fire for longer. The cheaper version is banned from use on tall buildings in the US and Germany.At the same time evidence continues to emerge that the potential danger of external claddings was being ignored in the years that followed the select committee report of 2000.Building safety experts for David Cameron’s Conservative government warned last year that the drive for greater energy efficiency meant more and more buildings were being wrapped in potentially combustible materials.In a report published in April 2016 the Building Research Establishment (BRE), which works on fire investigations for the Department of Communities and Local Government, warned of an “increase in the volume of potentially combustible materials being applied” to buildings. Members of the emergency services work inside the charred remnains of Grenfell Tower  But Dr Jim Glocking, technical director at the Fire Protection Association, said its own tests showed that if these barriers were breached by a vent or a pipe, “a chimney effect may quickly develop that will cause the very rapid consumption of the insulation and expansion of the damage area”.Professor Ed Galea, of Greenwich University said: “At each of the junctions with the floor plate you would have a fire insulation material that is meant to stop the spread of fire up through this gap.”If that material was not correctly place or an incorrect material then you are going to allow a fire to start within one of these compartments to spread.”He added: “When you drill a hole to pass a pipe through for renovations then that hole has to be correctly fire stopped to prevent fire and smoke spreading through.”Warnings about the lack of water sprinklers in older high rise building such as Grenfell Towers have also been repeatedly ignored.In 2004 a report commissioned by Mr Prescott, in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister, said water sprinklers were probably cost effective for blocks of flats over 11-storeys high.The following year sprinklers were required to be fitted in all new blocks of flats higher than 18 metres in Scotland and in 2006 Tony Blair’s government issued instructions that sprinklers should be fitted to all new blocks higher than 30 metres, or 11 storeys. Residents complained they were being treated with “contempt and disdain” by Peter Maddison, the Director of Assets and Regeneration for KCTMO, which runs the high rise block.In 2013 Grenfell Action Group raised repeated concerns about the safety of the building, culminating in the warning that last year’s £8.6m refurbishment of the tower had created a disaster waiting to happen, complained to KCTMO about his behaviour.The group’s complaint against Mr Maddison followed its attempts to obtain information about how much money was to be spent on badly-needed repairs to the ageing 23-storey building.Minutes of a KCTMO meeting seen by Grenfell Action Group showed that a report by construction consultants Rand Associates had found that £105 million needed to be spent on the TMO’s entire housing stock by 2017, but that the organisation was only planning to spend £38 million, a shortfall of £67m.Grenfell Action Group claimed their attempts to see the Rand report were repeatedly blocked by Mr Maddison, until he eventually released a heavily redacted version on the grounds that it contained commercially sensitive information”.The group stated: “He had painstakingly removed every numerical reference within it, which  had the effect of rendering the document completely unintelligible and irrelevant.” The select committee urged changes to the British Standards codes for the testing and use of cladding to reflect its disturbing findings.Since the Grenfell Tower disaster the Government and Kensington and Chelsea council have insisted that all building regulations were up to date and complied with.Rydon, which won the contract to refurbish the tower, before subcontracting work to several other firms, said it had met “all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards”.But the tower’s residents say they repeatedly warned about what they said was “a disaster waiting to happen”. Posters and notes put up in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, appealing for information about the missingCredit:Nick Edwards The alarm bells continued to ring when the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition came into power in May 2010.The previous month the coroner presiding over the inquest into a fire at Shirley Towers in Southampton, which killed two firefighters, recommended sprinklers be fitted into existing high-rise blocks.In 2013 a similar recommendation was again made, this time by the inquest into the death of six people in a fire at Lakanal House, Camberwell in 2009.In the opinion of several experts the decision was to prove fatal when Grenfell Tower went up in flames.Jon O’Neill, the managing director of the Fire Protection Association, said: “Whether they’d have stopped that fire spreading at the speed it did up the outside of that building is another matter.”But to have had sprinklers in that building would have created an environment where it would have been easier to rescue people and increase survivability.” Grenfell Tower official criticised for attitude to residentsA senior official responsible for Grenfell Tower was criticised by an internal investigation for his attitude to the concerns of those living there. Even before the work began the Grenfell Action Group said it had continually warned the council about fire safety problems in the block, complaining that it seemed the contract had been “awarded to the cheapest bidder regardless of the quality of works and the consequences to residents.”Last November the group warned of “dangerous living conditions” and said: “It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO.”There is growing evidence that the rush by private firms to fulfill council contracts as cheaply as possible led to less expensive cladding being used that was not as fire resistant. Members of the emergency services work inside the charred remnains of Grenfell Tower Credit:TOLGA AKMEN/ AFP 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

Oversexualised Femfresh shaving advert banned for objectifying women

first_imgThe ASA said the advert portrayed women in an overly sexualised wayCredit:ASA/PA Church & Dwight UK, which owns the brand, said the ad was aimed at a target audience of women aged 18 to 34, and the dance sequence was choreographed by a female choreographer and featured moves regularly performed during dance warm-ups, yoga, Pilates and other forms of exercise.It claimed close-up shots were used to illustrate that the product could give consumers a smooth bikini line.The ASA said: “Even taking into account the nature of the product, we considered that it had been presented in an overly sexualised way that objectified women.”We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and therefore breached the code.”It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form, adding: “We told Church & Dwight not to use advertising that objectified women and which was likely to cause serious or widespread offence to promote their products.” What do you think? Join the debate by leaving a comment below. 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.center_img The ASA said the advert portrayed women in an overly sexualised way An ad for female shaving products has been banned for objectifying women and the likelihood that it would cause serious or widespread offence.The video-on-demand ad for Femfresh bikini line shaving products, seen on ITV Player and 4oD in March and April, featured several women wearing briefs and swimwear while dancing.The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said 17 viewers complained that the ad objectified women and portrayed them in an overly sexualised way, and was therefore offensive and socially irresponsible.last_img read more