Month: September 2019

Restraining Order Keeps Dennis Rodman From ExWife

More police blotter stuff from Dennis Rodman, once perceived as eccentric but now regarded as troubled: a restraining order has been executed that prevents him from being around his ex-wife after allegedly attacking her last month .Michelle Rodman obtained a temporary ban against the retired athlete after he allegedly entered her house on May 28 and shoved her when she refused to let him near his 11-year-old son.She asked a judge to make the ban permanent. On the stand, sh claimed the athlete was drunk when he barged into her home at 2.30am and pushed her onto a bed when she would not let him see his son D.J.Rodman is expected to appear in court when the hearing continues today,  TMZ reports.The former couple wed in 2003, but Michelle filed divorce papers to end their union a year later (04). read more

Bryce Harper May Already Be Past His Prime

From ABC News: Injuries have played a role in this. Harper has played fewer than 120 games in three of his seven years in the majors, and those partial seasons have also limited his ability to rack up WAR, which is a cumulative stat that rewards just showing up for work.FiveThirtyEight examined all players in MLB history who have had one season of 8 or more WAR — but only one — before turning 26, and then we studied the trajectory of those players’ careers. There are 32 such players in MLB history, including three other than Harper who are still active: Aaron Judge, Matt Chapman (who hasn’t played his age 26 season) and Evan Longoria. Of the 28 players who are no longer active, 17 never produced another 8-plus WAR season after their age 25 season.The historical players studied peaked at age 24 (6.6 WAR) and 25 (6.5 WAR), then they declined steadily. A player’s peak is often earlier than conventional wisdom would expect. Jeff Zimmerman at FanGraphs found that while the average ballplayer peaks at age 27, good players peak at either 25 or 26 years old.While there are exceptions like Adrian Beltre and Henry Aaron, who had some of their best years later in their careers, the best baseball happens early for many excellent players. That doesn’t mean that Harper (or Machado, for that matter) can’t be a star-level player regularly, but history is betting against him becoming a consistent MVP presence like Mike Trout. Baseball may not quite know what Bryce Harper is, but the Phillies are going to find out.Neil Paine contributed research. The Philadelphia Phillies and star outfielder Bryce Harper on Thursday reached a record free-agent agreement in terms of total dollars ($330 million) and years (13). After waiting 123 days since the World Series ended, Harper breaks the mark set just days earlier by Manny Machado. The previous open-market record — Alex Rodriguez’s free-agent contract for $275 million deal with the Yankees on Dec. 13, 2007 — stood for 11 years until this winter.1Before Thursday, Giancarlo Stanton had set the record for the richest deal signed, a $325 million extension with the Miami Marlins in 2014.But Harper’s deal falls short in terms of annual average value ($25.4 million). For instance, Rodriguez’s mega deals signed in 2007 and 2001 each had greater average values, and offseason speculation expected that Harper might command more than $30 million per season.2After all, one win above replacement is valued at about $10 million. There is no opt-out clause in the deal, but there is a no-trade clause. Given the deal’s less-than-expected annual average value and Harper’s far-longer-than-expected wait on the open market, the contract suggests that the baseball industry didn’t quite know what to make of Bryce Harper.The good news for the Phillies is that Harper should help them immediately. Based on 100 simulations run for FiveThirtyEight by Out of the Park Developments, Harper will improve the Phillies from an 80.2-win team in 2019 to an 86.1-win team, though the computer forecasts still had Philadelphia missing the postseason. Harper caps an aggressive offseason for the Phillies, who traded for catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Jean Segura and added notable free agents Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson to a young core led by ace pitcher Aaron Nola and slugger Rhys Hoskins.But what’s troubling for the Phillies, who are now committed to Harper through his age 38 season in 2031, is that there’s a good chance that Harper has already played his best baseball.Harper was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2009 at age 16, dubbed the “most exciting prodigy since LeBron.” A year later, he was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. He debuted as a 19-year-old in 2012 and won rookie of the year. In 2015, he posted a season of 10 wins above replacement and was named as the National League MVP. Since he reached the majors in 2012, he’s 20th in position player WAR, and he owns a .900 OPS (on-base plus slugging). In many ways, he’s lived up to the hype.But seven seasons into his career, we’re not exactly sure what type of player Harper is. While he’s shown stretches of brilliance, volatility in performance has been his most consistent trait.This has led to an unusual career trajectory to date.He’s one of only 15 position players 25 and younger to own a 10-WAR season, according to Baseball-Reference.com. The rare company includes Ted Williams, Mike Trout, Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken Jr. But he’s had just the one elite-level season.3We consider a season “elite” when a player has at least 8.0 WAR. His other campaigns have had a range of outcomes, from 1.1 to 5.1 WAR. Even within seasons, he’s had dramatic peaks and valleys. Last year, for instance, he hit .214 with an .833 OPS in the first half but was a star in the second half when he hit .300 with a .972 OPS. read more

Both The Raptors And The Warriors Lost In Game 5

More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed On Monday night, the Golden State Warriors kept their hopes alive for another championship ring, sending the NBA Finals back to Oracle Arena for Game 6. But the Warriors were not celebrating. Kevin Durant returned in Game 5 after a calf injury had kept him out of the playoffs since the Houston series, but he went down in the second quarter clutching his right leg. His Achilles injury could keep him off the court for another year. Neil, Geoff and Sara react to the injury and discuss what’s ahead for Durant, the Warriors and the NBA Finals.The NHL is also nearing an end to a dramatic Stanley Cup Final. Boston will host St. Louis for Game 7 on Wednesday night. The Blues have looked strong in this series and claim that they’re confident going into the final matchup. However, historical precedent would suggest that the Bruins are better-positioned to take the title. Our team debates who has the stronger case for the Cup.Finally, Sara indulges in the success of her favorite team, the Minnesota Twins, in this week’s Rabbit Hole.What we’re looking at this week:In case you missed it, catch our moment-by-moment analysis on the FiveThirtyEight NBA Game 5 live blog.Neil’s analysis of what Kevin Durant’s injury means for the finals and free agency.Stats to know in advance of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.Details of the Minnesota Twins’ high-powered offense from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Embed Code FiveThirtyEight read more

The Russian Underdog Strikes First At The World Chess Championship

He pushed his pawn up to c5, instantly giving Karjakin his biggest edge of the entire match, according to the chess engine Stockfish. After the two traded the rooks at the top of the board and the Russian captured the Norwegian’s pawn on c5 with his knight, the position belonged to Karjakin and his two unimpeded pawns on the board’s left side, itching to become queens. The game was won.But Karjakin had been burning through his time, which ticked down to less than a minute for five moves in a row. (If a player runs out of time he loses.) He relied on the bonus 30 seconds, burned them down, made a move, received 30 seconds in return, and then burned them down again. It was torturous to watch. In chess, thanks to the 30-second increment, you can relive ulcerous final seconds over and over and over again. The crunch got to Karjakin, eventually. He misplaced his queen on the 37th move, ceding back to Carlsen all of the advantage. One blunder cancelled out another, and the game was level again.With seven seconds left on his clock — seven seconds until instant defeat and devastated title chances — Karjakin made his 40th move.Things calmed down for a while after that, both players comfortably pondering the game with their added time. Stockfish saw the endgame as level, or maybe just a touch better for black, until the 51st move. Carlsen (white) had to make a decision here: Chairs have a storied history at the world championship. Bobby Fischer famously demanded that an Eames Time-Life Chair be shipped to Reykjavik for his 1972 championship match against Boris Spassky. He said he thought better while sitting in it. An Icelandic chess official thought it’d be nicer for the cameras if Spassky had a matching chair, so one was driven by limousine to John F. Kennedy Airport and put aboard the first flight to Iceland. The model of chair, now an icon of 20th-Century design, thanks in part to the match that had a rabid viewership in the States, is now sold by Herman Miller for $3,000.And what about this year’s model? After a Zapruder-esque examination of photographs from this year’s match, a lengthy search of office chairs online, and a crowdsource of my social networks, this year’s chair appears to come from Staples, the office-supply chain store. It’s called the Baird Bonded Leather Manager’s Chair and it retails for $270. Both players appear to use the same model. (Multiple messages to FIDE and its partner Agon Limited asking about the chairs were not returned.) Sitting in an Eames chair, Bobby Fischer, right, plays Soviet chess player Tigran Petrosian in Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 1971. Getty Images The two grandmasters will take their seats for at least two — and up to four — more hours-long games. There could be further shorter games if the match is tied after that. They should both get comfortable in their Staples chairs. Kirill Zangalis, Karjakin’s manager and a spokesman for the Russian chess federation, addressed the press after the game. “Sergey now knows how he can win this match,” he said. “Now, it’s only the beginning.”Tuesday is a rest day, and Game 9 begins Wednesday afternoon. I’ll be covering the rest of the games here — although there will be no dispatch here on Thursday — and on Twitter. “Chess is everything: art, science and sport,” the former world champion Anatoly Karpov once said. With the ticking clock and dramatic swings, it had never felt more like a sport to me than it did Monday night. And in sport, the equipment matters. The brilliancies and blunders are born in the minds of the two geniuses vying for this title, but they’re expressed to the world via more mundane physical objects. I wanted to know the tools of these sportsmen’s trade. Consider this your guide if you’re hoping to build a chess arena of your own at home.The official chess clock of the sport’s governing body FIDE — the small plastic box that loomed over Game 8 — is the handsome maroon model DGT 2010. It goes for about $80.The championship uses a souped-up board with sensors in the pieces, so that moves can be instantly related to spectators on monitors in the venue and on the internet. But you can buy an essentially identical version, sans sensors, for $470. It sports a rosewood and maple board and ebonized boxwood pieces, and was designed by the Pentagram architect Daniel Weil. The size of the pieces are, apparently, proportioned to the pitch of the facade of the Parthenon.But, most importantly, in what do the grandmasters sit? Chairs are important to chess players, for obvious reasons. In this year’s match, the two grandmasters have sat — minus the odd bathroom break and so forth — for about 68 total man-hours. He slid his queen over to e6. Karjakin pushed his right-side pawn to h5, heading down toward the white king’s defenses. And thanks to Karjakin’s innocent-looking pawn move, Carlsen had, essentially, run out of useful things to do. The black pawn on a3 was sprinting toward queendom while the black queen and knight were menacing the white king. One move later, Carlsen resigned and the two players shook hands.After his loss, a distraught Carlsen brushed past a would-be postgame interviewer without a word. As Karjakin dutifully did interviews backstage, Carlsen came out onto the stage for the press conference. But the timing was off. There was no moderator, no Karjakin, no questions being asked. It was just Carlsen, sitting alone on the stage in silence, facing a thick phalanx of expectant reporters, photographers and chess fans. You could pierce the awkwardness with the top of a bishop. And he sat and he sat and he sat, for minutes that felt like hours.Eventually, Carlsen had enough. He threw his hands up in disgust, stormed backstage and never returned. Magnus Carlsen testing different chairs before the match. The Staples chair that was chosen is at left. Photograph by Misha Friedman After a lengthy series of draws and building tension over the past 11 days, the deadlock at the World Chess Championship was finally broken Monday evening. The defending champion and world No. 1, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, was bested and resigned after 52 moves and five hours of play. His challenger, Sergey Karjakin of Russia, a heavy underdog coming into the match, now leads 4.5 to 3.5 in this race to 6.5 points and chess’s ultimate crown.1Wins are worth 1 point, draws are worth half a point for each player, and losses are worth 0 points. If the match is tied after 12 games, four relatively speedy tiebreaker games will be played on Nov. 30. Each player would get 25 minutes for his moves. Karjakin, who began the match ranked No. 9, has inched up to No. 6 in the world.The advantage in Monday’s Game 8, played on a frigid day in lower Manhattan, swung wildly back and forth between the two players. The game featured back-to-back blunders and a last-second move with the clock’s final seconds ticking down, a scenario worthy of a classic NCAA Final Four game. In the end, Carlsen overextended his reach, wandering into endgame territory more dangerous than he’d realized. Karjakin eventually steeled himself, as he’s done in a number of previous games, and found the winning line.In the opening, Carlsen, playing as white, deployed something called the Colle-Zukertort System.2Edgard Colle was a Belgian master in the early 1900s and Johannes Zukertort was a contender for the 1886 world championship, which took place partially in New York. In this opening, “white develops pieces behind its pawns, then takes action on his own terms,” Robert Hess, a grandmaster and chess.com contributor, told me. In other words: White’s position could get quite intricate before the fight begins, as he gets his pieces just where he wants them. “White tries to release tension on his terms so that his pieces can flourish.”By about the 25th move, it was clear that time was going to be a factor in the game, as the players struggled to deal with the insanely complex board they’d created with all those flourishing pieces. (Karjakin later called the position “crazy.”) The players get 100 minutes to start the game, 30 bonus seconds after each move, and 50 minutes when they make their 40th move. On the 32nd move, Carlsen had six minutes remaining on his clock and Karjakin had five. On the 34th move, the time ticking, Carlsen (white) faced this position: read more

OSU drum major living dream after 10 years of preparation

Buckeye fans see the Ohio State drum major on fall Saturdays leading “Script Ohio,” but few know the man behind the garb. OSU head drum major Jason Stuckert said he is excited to travel to the University of Minnesota on Saturday, the only away game the marching band will travel to this year. “Hopefully we get a warm welcome,” he said. But getting to the Minnesota game and Ohio Stadium has been a long time coming for Stuckert. Even with almost 10 years of experience, Stuckert was anxious the day he made his debut in the ‘Shoe. “I was very, very nervous right before I ran onto the field,” he said. “Once I started moving, I just had a big smile on my face because this is what I had wanted for so long. I had the time of my life.” OSU has had a drum major since 1878, but Stuckert is the second person in OSU’s history to win the title of head drum major as a first-year student. Despite his age, Stuckert was confident in his abilities. “In my head, I think I knew that it was possible that I could get it as a freshman,” Stuckert said. His interest in being drum major and joining the marching band was evident from a young age. Marcia Lowe, Stuckert’s mother, said their family had season tickets to the Avon Lake High School football games by the time Stuckert was 2 years old. Though they usually made it only through the halftime show, Lowe said Stuckert and his sister, Abigail, a 2009 graduate of Miami University, were fascinated by the band. “He watched that drum major, and by the time he was in fifth grade, he started horsing around with his sister’s baton, which is a totally different baton,” Lowe said. Lowe said she was surprised when Stuckert asked for a ‘Gray Baton,’ an all-metal baton designed by former OSU Marching Band member John Gray, for his 12th birthday. “He was outside in the front yard … twirling that thing every day — sometimes twice a day — between two trees, so we had a mud hole sitting there that he’d worn in the grass,” Lowe said. As a child, Stuckert was “always happy, always smiling” and “a big entertainer,” Lowe said. Stuckert caught his first glimpse of the OSU drum major program in the seventh grade at Avon Lake’s annual homecoming parade, where he saw Avon Lake High School alumnus Scott Sommer and his brother, Eric, perform. Scott and Eric were the 1998 and 2004 OSU head drum majors, respectively, and were the first siblings to hold the title. After the parade, Stuckert went to a short drum major clinic taught by the Sommer brothers for students interested in becoming drum majors at Avon Lake High School. Eric said Stuckert was “rough around the edges but had a real desire to learn.” Stuckert’s story will conclude on Monday. read more

Football Ohio State announces hiring of Alex Grinch to coaching staff in

Former Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. Credit: Courtesy of Ezekiel Nelson | Daily EvergreenOhio State announced it hired former Washington State defensive coordinator and secondary coach Alex Grinch, who joins the staff in an undisclosed role. The university said “his responsibilities will be announced at a later date.”Grinch will be the 10th assistant coach on Ohio State’s staff. The NCAA instituted a rule allowing football teams to expand their coaching staffs from nine to 10 assistant coaches.“I am pleased to announce the addition of Alex Grinch to our coaching staff,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said in a statement. “I am very impressed with his body of work while at Washington State, as many others were, and am happy he chose to come home to Ohio to become a part of our Buckeye coaching staff.”A Grove City native who graduated from Mount Union in 2002, Grinch spent the past three seasons coaching Washington State.During his final campaign with the Cougars, Grinch’s defense allowed the 16th-fewest average yards per game (323.3) and was tied for the 56th-fewest yards per game (25.8). Prior to his hiring in 2014, Washington State’s defense ranked 114th in points allowed per game in the country with 38.6.Prior to his time coaching to Cougars, Grinch coached the secondary at Missouri (2012-14), Wyoming (2009-11) and New Hampshire (2005-08).Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports first reported Grinch would be joining Ohio State on Thursday. He reported Grinch would assume the role of co-defensive coordinator with Greg Schiano, but Ohio State did not mention what title Grinch will have. read more

Family homeless days after moving into 400yearold cottage as wood burner sets

first_imgThe fire as it was being tackled at the Purdy family home Since the fire, people in the local community have created a fundraising page to help support the family.Reverend Kate Peacock, rector of St Nicholas’ Church, has placed a book in the church, allowing people to pledge their support and offers of help to the Purdys.A GoFundMe page has also been set up to support the family and so far close to £3,000 has been donated.”The support we have received from the community has been absolutely overwhelming,” Mrs Purdy said.”Everyone has been so amazing, from the fire service, to the police, to the farmers who assisted the crews in offering hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to help put out the fire.”Although we have lost everything, in some ways, we have everything we need, and I can’t thank everyone enough for their help.”A Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue spokesman confirmed that the fire is being ruled as accidental. The Purdy family's cottage The house had stood in the village for 400 years, but only a few days after we move in, it burns down, so we feel pretty unluckySophie Purdy The Purdy family described the cottage as their ‘dream home’Credit:Mullucks Wells/SWNS The fire as it was being tackled at the Purdy family homeCredit:SWNScenter_img A family have been left homeless for Christmas just days after moving into their 400-year-old cottage when the wood burner they were using for the first time set light to the thatched roof.The Purdy family had only moved into their £865,000 “dream home” three days before it was razed to the ground on Dec 1.They had lit their wood-burner for the first time to warm up the five-bedroom cottage, but the thatched roof caught fire and burnt for hours.Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, fire crews were unable to save the home in Great Hormead, Hertfordshire. Paul Purdy, 38, and his 32-year-old wife Sophie are now homeless days before Christmas along with their children Oliver, three, and one-year-old Madeleine.Mrs Purdy said: “We are absolutely devastated and have lost everything. Fortunately we managed to rescue portraits of the children.”The house had stood in the village for 400 years, but only a few days after we move in, it burns down, so we feel pretty unlucky.”We have not heard back from the insurance company yet but we are hoping to rebuild once we are able to.”Although it was the worst day of our lives, it was one of the best days for Oliver, as he loved seeing all the fire engines and even got to sit in one.”He does keep talking about his new room though, and we don’t really have the heart to tell him that he doesn’t have a room anymore.”We are now basically homeless, and have been forced to stay at a hotel until we sort something out.” The Purdys first spotted the cottage six months ago and fell in love with their “dream home”.The couple, who have been together for 14 years, moved from their four-bedroom semi-detached property in Stotfold, Bedfordshire, at the end of November.Mrs Purdy, a project director for BT, said: “Nobody will ever know what happened. We caught the fire right at the start, which is the frustrating thing and the fire service said they thought there would be a little bit of damage to the thatched roof.”It is heartbreaking as we had bought our dream house after first seeing it about six months ago and we were really looking forward to it.”As for Christmas, we are probably going to spend it at my mum’s house. We’re just about to buy all the presents again as we lost all the ones we had bought in the fire.” 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

Teenager admits killing American tourist in Russell Square knife rampage

first_imgBut the court heard that he had become increasingly aggressive in the weeks before the attack and had believed people were putting spells on him.Just hours before the knife attack, Bulhan’s father had taken him to the East London Mosque in Whitechapel to see someone who it was hoped could help calm him down.But Bulhan ran away from the Mosque and made his way to Russell Square where he launched his random knife attack shortly after 10.20pm.The court was told that the area, which has a large number of hotels, was busy with tourists making their way home after an evening in the West End. Yovel Lewkowski, an Israeli tourist, who survived the knife frenzy in Russell SquareCredit:pixel8000 The scene as emergency service workers attend to a woman who had been stabbed in Russell Square Zakaria Bulhan has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility Bulhan, whose parents were Somali migrants, had been chanting “Allah”, when he was confronted and Tasered by armed police close to the scene of one of the 7/7 attacks, prompting fears that it was a terrorist incident.But it later emerged that he had been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, which had not been properly diagnosed when he had undergone a mental health assessment, months earlier. The Old Bailey heard that Bulhan had been carrying a pamphlet entitled Fortress of the Muslim when he was arrested and Scotland Yard anti-terror chief, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, had appeared before the cameras to reassure the public that officers were doing everything to investigate extremist links.But within hours the incident was linked to mental health problems and yesterday (Mon), Bulhan’s barrister, insisted his client had never had any connections to Islamic extremism. Zakaria Bulhan has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility Police forensic officers at work in Russell SquareCredit:Yui Mok/PA Wire  Mrs Horton’s daughter, Shannon, 26, who works as a mental health clinician, added: “I believe this person has lost all right to be in society any longer and has proven he is incapable of functioning on an outpatient treatment level.”I believe the severity of his actions calls for actions that ensure the safety of your citizens as well as those who travel to your city as my family has on many occasions.” The scene as emergency service workers attend to a woman who had been stabbed in Russell SquareCredit:Rehana Azam / SWNS.com Police guard Russell Square following the knife attack We have suffered an unspeakable tragedy because of potentially unknowable deficiencies in our system of identifying and treating individuals with mental illnessRichard Wagner, widower of Russel Square victim He said: “What is perfectly plain is that whatever were his mutterings when he was on the floor having been Tasered and whatever the Islamic literature found about his person, they had absolutely no role to play in the events that transpired in Russell Square and any premature conclusion that may have been arrived at by some, that it was any kind of directed attack or terrorist attack, was completely misconceived.”He said the teenager had been suffering from mental illness from the age of 15, but it had reached a “crescendo” on August 3 last year.Bulhan later told psychiatrists in Broadmoor secure hospital that he felt people were trying to kill him, the secret service were tracking him and he was possessed by demons.He said: “I attacked the people because of the voices. It was like something took control of me.”He has since expressed deep regret for what happened.He will be sentenced on Tuesday and is expected to be held in Broadmoor for many years. Yovel Lewkowski, an Israeli tourist, who survived the knife frenzy in Russell Square Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, said Balhan had been seen moving erratically along the pavement, holding a large kitchen knife.He said: “Without warning or provocation, the man stabbed six people in quick succession, saying nothing to any of them, moving on after each stabbing towards his next victim.”While five of those who were stabbed suffered non-fatal injuries and have since made good recoveries, Mrs Horton was stabbed through the lung and heart and died at the scene.Israeli tourist Yovel Lewkowski was among those who survived  the attack. Mrs Horton’s widower, Richard Wagner, said there would be “blood on our hands” if the killer was ever released.In a statement read out at the Old Bailey, where Bulhan denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, Mr Wagner said: “We have suffered an unspeakable tragedy because of potentially unknowable deficiencies in our system of identifying and treating individuals with mental illness, in his family and life circumstances, and in our knowledge of mental illness.”As a result, a potential killer was allowed to walk the streets. But knowing what we now know, if we ever allow him to repeat his crime and does so, the deficiencies will be our own and the blood will be on our hands.” The court heard that Bulhan had undergone an assessment in April last year by the East Wandsworth mental health trust after dropping out of school and showing symptoms of extreme anxiety.He was not diagnosed as as psychotic at the time however and it was recommended he be treated by his GP. Police guard Russell Square following the knife attackCredit:AP Photo/Frank Augstein Police forensic officers at work in Russell Square The family of an American tourist stabbed to death by a mentally ill teenager, have blamed “deficiencies in our system” for allowing a killer to walk the streets.Darlene Horton, 64, a retired special needs teacher from Tallahassee, Florida, had been due to fly home the following day, when she was attacked on August 3, along with five other people in Russell Square, central London by 19-year-old Zakaria Bulhan. 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

Oneoff pill can cause two stone weight loss study finds

first_imgThe pill is attached to a thin tube, meaning the balloon can be filled with water after it reaches the stomach.Experts said counselling was necessary to ensure that patients kept the weight off, after the empty balloon passes out through the body.Dr Roberta Ienca, from the University of Rome, said: “Because the Elipse Balloon does not require endoscopy, surgery or anaesthesia, this may make it suitable for a larger population of obese patients not responding to diet and lifestyle treatment.”The pill would not even need to be administered by a doctor, she said, suggesting nutritionists and dieticians could dole out the medication. The results triggered an “incredible” reaction from patients, who had struggled with their weight for years, she said. The ease of the technique  – avoiding anaesthetics or surgery – meant it could be popular with swathes of failed dieters, they said. The technique could be suitable for those with a body mass index of 30 or moreCredit:PA Because the Elipse Balloon does not require endoscopy, surgery or anaesthesia, this may make it suitable for a larger population of obese patientsDr Roberta Ienca obese woman 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 pill – dubbed it a “gastric band in a tablet” – is licensed for use, but not yet available on the NHS. It costs around £3,000 privately – around half the price of stomach stapling.Researchers from the University of Rome said the balloon technique could be used widely and bring “significant cost savings” to health services in the long run.The head of the NHS has recently warned that obesity is the greatest challenge facing the service, fuelling £10bn spending on diabetes.The research, presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto, found patients who were given the one off pill, lost an average of 36 pounds – over 14 per cent of their total body weight.They also saw significant improvements in their health including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar control. Millions of Britons could lose more than two stone by taking a pill which contains a balloon, a study suggests.The results – unveiled at the world’s largest obesity conference – showed it can be an effective alternative to weight loss surgery.Experts said the NHS should now considering funding the pills for millions of Britons, with more than one in four obese.After the pill is swallowed, the balloon swells up in the stomach when it is filled with water – restricting the amount of calories a person can eat.The study of 42 adults found they lost two stone and six pounds on average after four months. Professor Jason Halford, from the European Association for the Study of Obesity, said: “This is to help people manage their appetite. If they have the balloon but they are also modifying their behaviour and the balloon helps them do that, that would be excellent. In that context it could be a solution for people who don’t want to go for full bariatric surgery.”The researcher, from the University of Liverpool, said “millions” of people could benefit from the treatment, if NHS would agree to pay for it.Prof Halford said: “I think this is for people before they would get to the point where they need bariatric surgery. It would be an alternative to an anti-obesity drug, which would come between the BMI 30 plus when people have tried everything and drugs have not worked….for somebody in that position it might be a good intervention.” Dr Simon Cork, Research Fellow at the Department of Investigative Medicine, Imperial College London, said:“This is an interesting study with interesting outcomes for clinical practice.” “Currently gastric balloons have to be inserted under general anaesthetic or sedation.  This not only limits the number of patients who can have them implanted, but also increases surgery time and has significant costs associated with it.”Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said:  “Balloons should take all the fear and angst out of a bariatric procedure.  If you need treatment and are offered the balloon experience, go for it .”last_img read more

BBC wont be able to justify licence fee within 10 years if

first_imgIts Reality Check service will expand to combat the rise of “fake news”, fact-checking the “most popular outliers on social media and refute claims if they are found to be false” and working with Facebook to build trust.Highlights coming up on-screen include a year-long season of science and technology programming, and the relaunch of Civilisation for a new generation over a nine-part series.Lord Hall said: “This year will be a year of great British creativity, where the unique value of the BBC to UK audiences, the creative economy and Britain’s place in the world should be clear to all to see.” As younger people watch less television and listen to less radio, the report said, the BBC must work out how to make Facebook, Twitter and the “techniques of the mobile world” to keep audiences with them.“Online innovation has slowed the decline seen across all traditional media companies,” Lord Hall wrote in the report. “It has not reversed it.“If this trend continues, by the mid-2020s a significant minority of licence fee payers would no longer be a part of our shared national conversation, and might not be getting value to justify their licence fee either. BBC News must keep up with the social media generation Newsreaders have already embarked on a more engaging, relaxed style iPlayer and mobile are key to the BBC's plans “And we will need to use all the tools and techniques of the mobile world – like alerts, notifications and live feeds – to reach audiences where they are in the way they expect it.”Other future plans could include developing virtual reality and personalising iPlayer services to bring about the “simple, frictionless discovery of BBC content” powered by “sophisticated, intelligent search”.In particular, the report said, the corporation would use social platforms to reach target audiences “including women and the young and show them that we are relevant to their lives”. “We have already made significant changes to re-cast our presenter lineup and we will build on this to deliver a more modern, diverse, relaxed and engaged style across bulletins and programmes,” it said. “Most of all, we would be failing to give them trusted information, education and entertainment. “So every major part of the BBC will need to contribute to meeting this challenge.”He added: “BBC News Online, on PC or mobile, or on Twitter or Facebook, is essential to our strategy.“But we will need to work harder to maximise the visibility and value of BBC News on third-party sites such as social media platforms. Theresa May and Laura Kuenssberg The corporation had already announced investment in children’s services, with a range of digital activities to capture them young and halt the domination of American television.On television news, the report stated, the BBC will “refresh the tone” of its programmes on air to make it more engaging for audiences. Jane Hill and Matthew Amroliwala iPlayer and mobile are key to the BBC’s plans The BBC will not be able to justify the licence fee within 10 years unless the corporation masters new ways to deliver news and programmes to the social media generation, Lord Hall has suggested.Lord Hall, the director-general, warned that if the current trend away from linear television and radio continues, a “significant minority” of licence fee payers would “no longer be a part of our shared national conversation”.Saying that would leave the BBC failing them, he argued the corporation would no longer be able to justify the requirement to make them pay their licence fee.In the BBC’s annual plan, released today, Lord Hall specified how he hoped to see the corporation take on the challenge of the social media era, “reinventing” themselves to match new consumption habits.last_img read more

Prince William scores penalty against England womens football team

first_imgPrince William shows off his goalkeeping skills After achieving third place in the 2015 Women’s World Cup, the @Lionesses have their eyes on the #WEURO2017 trophy. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/sCe443wkhs— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) July 13, 2017 Prince William meets schoolgirl footballers Prince William takes a penalty Prince William shows off his goalkeeping skills “I always find myself in these positions!” he joked as he first took his position in goal. The Duke of Cambridge, who is president of the Football Association,  was hosting the England Women team at Kensington Palace, inviting them to a reception to wish them good luck ahead of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 tournament. The England Women Senior squad will travel to the Netherlands today, where they kick-off their Group D campaign against Scotland in Utrecht on July 19th, before facing Spain in Breda on July 23rd and Portugal in Tilburg on July 27th.The visit tied in with FA Girls’ Football Week, a national campaign aimed at raising the profile of female football in order to double the number of women and girls playing football by 2020. He told captain Steph Houghton: “I’m sure you’re going to nail it. “I’ll do my best to get out there to the final.”He also spoke about getting his children Prince George, who is almost four, and Princess Charlotte, two, into the sport.Player Casey Stoney said: “I said do his kids play.”He said at the moment he’s trying to teach George that football is actually a contact sport but George doesn’t really like it when he’s palming him off and getting physical. Jill Scott celebrates scoring the first goal of England’s game during the European Champions Qualifying 2015 Prince William meets schoolgirl footballerscenter_img He later attempted to settle the score by putting the ball past her in the gardens of Kensington Palace, before she returned the favour to make it 1-1.Scott said afterwards: “I said I’d go in goal and he said ‘let me see if I can get a penalty past you’. “He scored so I’m a bit gutted to be honest, I was getting competitive. “I was saying that will be payback for that tackle but then I managed to get one past him so we’re even now.”She added of the Duke’s skills: “He was good. He was actually good.” The Duke of Cambridge was celebrating today after he managed to score a penalty against the England women’s football team.The Duke, who is president of the FA, was praised as “actually good” by players after he took a penalty with Jill Scott in goal. His success continued a long-running joke with Scott, who tackled him by accident a decade ago during a friendly kick about.”She’s lethal,” the Duke told her team members, joking he still has a scar on his leg from where she accidentally kicked him after slipping. Afterwards he joined them in a kickabout with girls from the St Mary of the Angels School, as part of the Wildcats Girls’ Football programme.After scoring against Jill he had a turn in goal against the school children, letting in far more that he saved.  The Duke of Cambridge, who is president of the Football Association,  was hosting the England Women team at Kensington Palace, inviting them to a reception to wish them good luck ahead of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 tournament. “He said he’s really encouraging his kids to get involved with sport. From what he was saying he’s encouraging both his kids to play.”Another team member Karen Bardsley said: “We asked him where the kids were and he said they were making a ruckus in the garden.”The prince posed for a picture with the team, who will shortly be heading out to the Netherlands for their first match against Scotland on July 19.  Jill Scott celebrates scoring the first goal of England's game during the European Champions Qualifying 2015 Prince William takes a penalty 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

Black pudding saved my life says butcher who used it to free

first_img“The black pudding was the best thing to hit the button with because it was the right shape. I used it like the police use battering rams to break door locks in, that’s what I did with the black pudding.”It was solid, pointed and I could get plenty of weight behind it. I’m lucky really – we sell about two or three each week and that was the last one in there.” A butcher who got stuck in a freezer owes his life to black pudding after he used a block of the blood sausage “like a battering ram” to free himself.Chris McCabe, 70, said he thought he was going to die when he got locked inside his own walk-in freezer, which stores meat at temperatures of -20C.With time running out in the freezer, which it is believed could lead to the death of someone trapped inside within 30 minutes, he grabbed the only tool he could find.He battered the lock with the frozen stick of black pudding, with it eventually giving way and Mr McCabe walked free.Mr McCabe, a father of four from Totnes, Devon, said: “Black pudding saved my life, without a doubt. No one could hear me banging because it is outside, round the back of the shop. Chris McCabe inside his shop in Totnes, DevonCredit:SWNS Mr McCabe wielded the 3lb 6oz (1.5kg) stick of black pudding and hit the door-release button before managing to free himself on the third attempt.He added: “I had rushed in. I was in a hurry as usual and I heard the door shut behind me. I thought that was OK, because I could kick the safety button from inside.”I’ve been shut in before and I used the button to get out then, but this time it was frozen solid. I removed all the metal racking around it and I looked around for some thing to hit it with and I came on the idea of using a black pudding stick.”They weigh 1.5kg and they are a big long stick that you can just about get your hand around. I managed to get in a position to bash the button a few times until the ice broke and the door opened.” Black pudding butcher Chris McCabe I managed to get in a position to bash the button a few times until the ice brokebutcher Chris McCabe McCabe said wind blew the door shut behind him and he discovered the inner door release button had frozen solid.He looked around for something to save him, but could not find anything to de-ice the emergency release: the lamb was too big and the beef did not afford enough grip. Mr McCabe said he had all but given up hope when he spotted the last black pudding.The pudding, supplied by Royal butcher HM Sheridan of Ballater, was the perfect size, weight and diameter, he said.center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Mr McCabe said that meat is frozen solid in the freezer in just half an hour, and although he was only stuck for a few minutes, he believes he would have died within 30 minutes.He sells black pudding from his shop for £7.95 per kg, describing it as the “perfect accompaniment for a fried breakfast”. The walk-in freezer is at the back of C M McCabe Butchers in Totnes. There is no passing footfall around the freezer and no one to hear any cries for help. Chris McCabe had all but given up hope of being freed when he spotted the last black pudding, which he sells for £7.99 per kiloCredit:SWNS Black pudding butcher Chris McCabelast_img read more

Thomas Markle father of the bride pulls out of royal wedding ceremony

Meghan Markle’s father will not walk the Royal bride down the aisle, after he pulled out of his daughter’s wedding to Prince Harry.Thomas Markle, 73, said he would no longer be flying to Britain, after embarrassing disclosures about his dealings with the paparazzi.Mr Markle reportedly told the US showbusiness website TMZ that he had suffered a heart attack six days ago, but had checked himself out of hospital and had been intending to travel for the ceremony on Saturday.But he will no longer make the journey to meet his future son-in-law Prince Harry, he said, or keep appointments with the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.The decision leaves arrangements for the Royal wedding in doubt, and Ms Markle without her father on the biggest day of her life.It also raises the question that her mother, Doria Ragland, may walk her down the aisle, or that she will be accompanied by a member of the Royal family or make the journey alone. A spokesman said:  “This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding.”She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation.”Ms Markle is understood to be distressed and deeply worried about her father, who has been struggling to cope with being in the spotlight as a result of her engagement.She is now being supported by Prince Harry as she contemplates her wedding going ahead without him. Palace aides, who have been attempting to provide active help to Mr Markle in dealing with media interest, have previously expressed concern about the pressure he had been under. On Monday evening, TMZ reported that Mr Markle was suffering further chest pains and quoted him as saying he was taking Valium while he was suffering both physically and emotionally. The celebrity gossip website previously quoted Mr Markle as saying he meant no harm to Ms Markle or Prince Harry after taking part in an arranged photoshoot with a paparazzi agency. Samantha Grant, who is no longer in contact with Ms Markle, said she had suggested their father pose for “positive” photographs “for the benefit of the Royal Family”.Instead, the images caused deep embarrassment, appearing to show Mr Markle colluding with photographers despite Kensington Palace’s repeated insistence that he was a private individual who had no interest in working with the media.Ms Grant, writing on Twitter, said: “The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault.”The media was unfairly making him look bad so I suggested he do positive photos for his benefit and the benefit of the royal family.“We had no idea he would be taken advantage of. It was not for money.” And speaking on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday morning, she said he was pressured into a “dangerous situation”.”He was living a very quiet peaceful life, not as a recluse,” she said. “He’s a very intelligent man, he’s been gregarious and worked in entertainment for 40 years.”He had spoken with press and was doing just that, but when he called me panicking on the freeway because he’s in a dangerous situation being followed by seven or eight cars, I think there have been examples in history of how dangerous that can be.”So he was so stressed out they rented the house next to him in Mexico, four or five of them, he can’t open his blinds, he can’t go anywhere without being followed and really it’s quite atrocious and intrusive and I think it’s highly unethical.” Thomas Markle with his daughter MeghanCredit:TIM STEWART NEWS LIMITED  An official engagement photo released by Kensington Palace of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Thomas Markle with baby MeghanCredit:TIM STEWART NEWS LIMITED Pressed on whether he had been paid for his cooperation, Ms Grant said: “I have no idea but if he did I’m going to assume it was a pittance, because they don’t pay that much.“It was really so that the world could see him doing the healthy things that he’s doing.”Asked about the effect on Kensington Palace, after aides repeatedly insisted Mr Markle did not wish to be photographed, she conceded: “I can understand why it would be awkward.” Hours earlier, Meghan Markle’s half-sister claimed responsibility for a setting up a controversial paparazzi photoshoot for her father. Her brother, also called Thomas, has said that Mr Markle “won’t saying anything publicly but he’ll apologise sincerely to Meg and the Royal Family”.  Mr Markle has been receiving the support of Kensington Palace since news of Ms Markle’s engagement brought him into the public eye, with a source saying aides would “continue to make interventions with the media out of concern for his safety and security”.Kensington Palace has previously issued warnings to the media not to publish pictures of Mr Markle or Ms Markles mother, Doria Ragland, taken under circumstances of harassment, insisting they had no wish to take part in any personal publicity.But a series of photographs, printed in the tabloid press, aroused suspicion after showing Mr Markle exercising in public, reading a book called “Images of Britain”, being measured for a suit, and looking up pictures of his daughter in an internet cafe.This weekend, the Mail on Sunday published CCTV images appearance to show him collaborating with a photographer, walking into the cafe with him and setting up the best angle. An official engagement photo released by Kensington Palace of Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleCredit:Reuters Thomas Markle with baby Meghan Thomas Markle with his daughter Meghan 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. He allegedly claimed he had not made the decision because of money, but in order to recast his image after a series of unflattering photographs were taken.“He’s now decided not to go [to the wedding] because he doesn’t want to embarrass the Royal Family or his daughter,” TMZ reported. Kensington Palace did not confirm that Mr Markle would be missing the wedding, but issued a statement asking for understanding. She did not directly answer whether her sister still wants him at the wedding, but instead Samantha Markle said: “He was really having heart pains and suffered a heart attack, it was an unbelievable amount of stress.” Appearing on Loose Women on Monday, she elaborated to say that she was “entirely the culprit” in staging the photographs, convincing her father that it would be to his advantage to show himself in a positive light.“It was my suggestion that to benefit him and to benefit the Royal Family and that everyone looked good, and they depict you as you are,” she said. read more

Criminal prosecutions fall to record low despite crime reaching alltime high

Prosecutions have reached an all-time low despite crime soaring to a new record high, official Government figures reveal.The number of people dealt with by the criminal justice system in England and Wales fell by 7 per cent in the latest year while recorded crime shot up by 11 per cent to 5.5 million.The Victims’ Commissioner warned that unless the trend is reversed people will “simply give up” reporting crimes, creating “a real disconnect” between the public and law enforcers.MPs said stretched police forces and prosecutors have “raised the bar” for what is worth pursuing as it emerged that the number of on-the-spot fines issued for offences including cannabis possession and petty theft fell by more than a quarter year on year.Police chiefs blamed cuts in police numbers, changes to the way crimes are recorded and “significant rises” in complex cases such as child sexual exploitation and online fraud. 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. Baroness Newlove, the Victims’ CommissionerCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley Baroness Newlove, the Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove, the Victims’ Commissioner, said: “Behind  these headline statistics, there is a human side, individuals whose lives have been blighted by crime and who will be feeling badly let down, not only by the absence of justice, but the message it sends to criminals, that the chances are you will get away with it.“It is important that we reverse this trend and re-build public trust and confidence. If we don’t, there is a real risk that victims will simply give up reporting the crimes committed against them– thereby creating a real disconnect between the public and our law enforcers.” Prosecutors said part of the reason for the decline in cases going to court is the mass of digital evidence which must now be processed from mobile phones and computers, which is taking up more and more manpower.The figures released by the Ministry of Justice showed that 1.61 million individuals were either prosecuted or given an out of court disposal in the year ending March 2018, down 7 per cent year on year and the lowest number since records began in 1970. The Ministry of Justice said the rise in recorded crime was down to improvements in the way police record crime, yet the Crime Survey of England and Wales suggests 10.6 million crimes were committed, almost double the number recorded by police.Decisions on whether to prosecute suspects are taken by the Crown Prosecution Service, which said: “Although the number of cases has decreased there has been an increase in the complexity of the cases we prosecute.“This is reflected in the growth in digital evidence and, in the case of sexual offences, reliance on vulnerable victims and witnesses.” The use of out of court disposals, such as cautions for cannabis use, fell by 14 per cent, while on-the-spot fines – which can be used for cannabis possession, theft of under £100 of goods, harassment and drunk and disorderliness – fell by 27 per cent.The independent MP John Woodcock, a member of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said: “The system is under so much strain that cases that would have been routinely thought of as being in the interests of justice are now not being followed. We have seen anecdotal evidence that the bar is being raised higher for what is worth pursuing.” read more

Students need to work during  holidays if they want to get a

Over a fifth (22 per cent) of graduates are unemployed six months after they complete their degrees Over a fifth (22 per cent) of graduates are unemployed six months after they complete their degrees “As employers, we all have a responsibility to increase equality of opportunity and working with higher education providers we must redouble your efforts to improve equality and diversity in recruitment.”She said that many students, especially those who don’t have “the right networks” fail to secure work placements and or holiday internships while they are studying.  “This means they are more likely to face a cycle of internships – too often unpaid – after they graduate before they are able to get lasting graduate employment,” she said.Earlier this year a report found that students applying for summer internships are being asked whether their parents went to university. Almost half (45 per cent) of the country’s largest graduate recruiters, including top banking, accountancy, law, retail and engineering firms, now ask university students about their socio-economic status.This is a three-fold increase from 2012, when just 13 per cent of graduate recruiters asked such questions, according to a report published in July by the Institute of Student Employers. Students need to work during their summer holidays if they want to get a job when they graduate, the head of the university regulator has said.Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students (OFS), said that undergraduates need to make the most of their long holidays by undertaking work placements or internships.This will improve their employability and increase the likelihood of securing a “rewarding” job once they graduate.Ms Dandridge urged the country’s leading graduate recruiters to “redouble” efforts to boost “equality and diversity” of their intakes.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Addressing delegates at the National Graduate Recruitment Conference in London, including Goldman Sachs, J. P. Morgan and GlaxoSmithKline, she said: “Many employers are now offering degree apprenticeships and this is important and welcome.“But we also need more work placement opportunities, and more employers and universities and other higher education providers to work together to offer suitable placements to undergraduates.” Over a fifth (22 per cent) of graduates are unemployed six months after they complete their degrees, according to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency. Even at three and a half years, 15 per cent of graduates are not employed in highly skilled jobs.Ms Dandridge went on: “Research shows that graduates need to take up every opportunity available to them during their time at university to help to improve their employability and to get a rewarding job. 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

Christmas gift card warning as research shows millions is being lost because

“In terms of educating the consumer on the 12 month expiry date then this is printed under the Terms and Conditions on the back of the gift card and also on the cardboard holder. The 12 month period begins from the day of the gift card purchase.”Ryanair and Yo! Sushi have all been contacted for comment. Some retailers have much longer expiry dates, including Amazon which enables customers to use their cards 10 years after purchase, and Argos, which has a three year expiry date that is clearly marked on the back of the card.Pizza Hut, IKEA, Selfridges, Starbucks, Theatre Tokens and TK Maxx all sell gift cards with no expiry date at all. Fairer Finance is calling on the government to ban expiry dates on cards and to ringfence any money on them to make sure customers are paid back if the company goes into administration.After multiple high street companies went into administration this year, the consumer group is warning that consumers rarely get their gift card money back if a company is liquidated. On average, consumers receive less than 1p per £1 on their gift card in this situation. James Daley, Managing Director of consumer group Fairer Finance, said: “Hundreds of thousands of people will be receiving gift cards this Christmas – many of which will never get used because they expire, or the retailer goes out of business.The fact that there is still no proper protection for consumers stands in stark contrast to the spirit in which gift cards are given. 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. “There’s no good reason why shops should be allowed to add expiry dates to gift cards. The value of the card is eroded by inflation every day that a card goes unspent. And the likelihood of cards being used after a year is fairly low – as a significant number of cards are lost or forgotten.“But for those customers who find an unused card a few years after it was given to them, there’s no good reason why they shouldn’t be able to use it.”Ryanair denied that its expiry dates were “hidden” and added that they were in the terms and conditions and FAQs online. A Costa spokesperson said: “Costa Coffee gift cards are available to purchase both in store and online and like many High Street retailers, expire if the card is not used to make a purchase for 12 consecutive months. However, the 12 month re-sets each time a customer uses the Costa gift card, which means it can last much longer than a year. Our terms and conditions are clearly stated on our website and on the back of the gift card.”]A JD Sports spokesperson said:  “The JD Group gift card does have an expiry date of 12 months. However, this is purely for technological reasons surrounding the practical operation of the gift card and, in reality, if the customer’s gift card has expired then they are advised to contact our Customer Care Team who will verify the amount remaining and then reload the outstanding credit on to a new card with a new 12 month expiry. There is no limitation to the number of times that we would reload the outstanding value. All of our colleagues are instructed to honour this policy. Consumers have been warned against hidden expiry dates on gift cards given as Christmas presents as research shows millions of pounds are lost every year because cards run out.Hundreds of thousands of people plan to give gift cards to friends and family this Christmas, according to research – but money could be lost because of short expiry lengths.The majority of gift cards sold have ‘hidden’ expiry dates which are buried online or in the small print on the back of the card, new research by consumer right group Fairer Finance shows. Many of them run out within 12 months of purchase, but this is not clearly marked on the card.Gift cards running out causes £300m lost a year to the consumer, according to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association.Fairer Finance looked at 72 gift cards from the country’s biggest brands, and found that 90 per cent still carry expiry dates. Of these, 79 per cent  carry an expiry date of two years or less – after which time all money put on the card becomes worthless, and 75 per cent have ‘hidden’ expiry dates in the terms and conditions or FAQs.The worst offenders include RyanAir, which has an expiry date of 12 months on its gift card, which is “hidden” in its FAQS, and Yo! Sushi, which also has an expiry date of a year, which is in its Terms and Conditions. Costa Coffee and JD Sports also have 12 month expiry dates “hidden” in the terms and conditions. read more

Doctor struck off for hiding his true salary to avoid paying child

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 Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester was told the fraud took place between April 2013 and November 2015 after Nkoma split up with the child’s mother who lives in Coventry.Lawyer for the General Medical Council, Robin Kitchin said: “Over a 15 month period, he provided information to the Child Support Agency knowing it was false.”He added: “It was found that he had six bank accounts with Halifax, and six bank accounts with HSBC. He was earning over £100,000 across work and his business over that time. He had over £126,000 being transferred across his personal accounts and had been working for agencies in the UK.”The amount of money owed built up to £40,800.”Nkomo told the hearing how he had endured a “horrible split’ with his ex-partner and claimed he failed to make required support payments as he had been denied access to his son.He said: “I was frustrated at not being able to see him although I know this is not an excuse for what happened.” A children’s doctor was struck off after hiding his £100,000 salary from his wife in order to dodge paying child support.Paediatrics specialist Dr Collen Nkomo, 40, was earning up to £10,000 a month while working as a locum GP, as well as undergoing shifts at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.However, the father of three repeatedly lied to the Child Support Agency (CSA) about his income to avoid paying £40,800 in maintenance over a two and a half year period.The CSA began investigating after suspicions were raised when Nkomo said he was unable to make payments to the child’s mother with whom he had split.Inquiries revealed the doctor was earning £115,000 over one 15 month period and had over £126,000 being transferred across his six Halifax and six HSBC accounts during his work for various medical organisations. He subsequently admitted earning £30,000 in just three months.In 2017 Zimbabwe-born Nkomo from Altrincham, Greater Manchester was given a 20 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted fraud.  The medic was ordered to be erased from the medical register after a disciplinary said his conduct was “calculating and persistent.” He has since attended a course for “separated parents” and is now paying off the arrears at £500 a month.  read more

Allmale boards could be a thing of the past by the end

“Thanks to a combined push from government and industry, in under a decade the number of all-male boards in the FTSE 350 has dropped from 152 to just three.“We still need greater diversity at the top and want to see women holding a third of senior positions in FTSE 350 companies by 2020.” “I believe the companies simply need to work harder to recruit them to their Boards. So we certainly could see a woman on every Board of the FTSE 350 in 2019 – and I hope we do.”This view was echoed by Brenda Trenowden, global chair of the 30% club, who said: “In 2019, those three FTSE 350 companies with all male boards start to stand out and it is not a comfortable position, so that will have to change.  Millennium & Copthorne Hotels split with their CEO Jennifer Fox in September 2018, after only appointing her to the role in June. Her departure was swiftly followed by that of another female non-executive, leaving the group with no women at the top table.A spokesperson for the company said: “These resignations were unexpected and the vacant positions on the Board created by them have yet to be filled.  “The Nominations Committee of the Board is in the process of conducting a search for at least one new independent director.”The Group acknowledged that it needs to do more to promote gender diversity. Hugh Seaborn, the company’s chairman, said: “This is very much a temporary state.“We have five board members and have had at least one woman as part of our leadership group for the last 17 years.“We are in the process of recruiting for the vacant position and have every chance of finding a high calibre female. I believe that diversity is fundamental for the balance and mix of a board.”A spokesman for the Government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department said: “Diversity is good for businesses and for the communities they serve.   Vicky Ford MP said that businesses that are still all male should take a look hard in the mirrorCredit:Jeff Gilbert “We don’t have any current plans to appoint any more directors for the time being as there are no vacancies but we keep the situation under review.”TR Property Investment Trust has only operated without a woman on its board for eight days, after Susie Proctor stepped down from her non-executive role last week. Mark Jenner, Company Secretary for Daejan Holdings, said: “We have not appointed any executive directors for more than 30 years. We haven’t needed to.  “We appointed three representatives of the controlling family as non executive directors for succession purposes.  “We appointed two independent non executive directors as required by the Listing rules, they happen to be male.   Vicky Ford MP standing by a Christmas tree “We can most definitely expect more positive progress in 2019.”The three companies who have no female board members are: Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, who operate 20 hotels in the UK and a further 100 across the world, Daejan Holdings a property group who own Africa House in Trafalgar Square and TR Property Investment Trust. All-male boards could be a thing of the past by the end of the year at Britain’s 350 biggest companies, new data shows.There are just three companies in the FTSE 350 index which operate without a woman on their board, including global hotel chain Millennium & Copthorne who parted company with their female CEO after just three months in the job.MPs have condemned the businesses, saying they “need to work harder.”Vicky Ford, who sits on the Women and Equalities Committee, said: “Those businesses that are still all male should take a look hard in the mirror and ask themselves why they have not embraced the vast pool of talent offered by 50 percent of the population.”But Eddie Hughes, who sits on the same committee, was more upbeat, telling The Telegraph: “There is no shortage of experienced, professional, able women to fill these roles. Kwek Leng Beng at The Bailey, Glouscester Rd, SW7 Kwek Leng Beng is chairman of Millennium and Copthorne hotelsCredit:Jim Winslet 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

Almost one in ten heart attacks could be prevented if highrisk patients

Almost one in ten heart attacks and strokes could be avoided if check-ups were targeted at high risk patients, new research has revealed.People aged 40 and over in England and Wales are currently eligible to have their heart health assessed every five years.Blood pressure, cholesterol, blood-sugar levels, smoker status, age and family history are factors considered by doctors when working out a person’s chance of having a heart attack or stroke.Patients at higher risk can make lifestyle changes or take medication to lower their risk level.But scientists at University College London have found that low-risk patients are receiving checks too frequently while high-risk patients aren’t receiving enough checks.They believe a personalised rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach could save lives without costing the NHS any more money.Their research, published in Lancet Public Health, involved monitoring 7,000 people and how long they spent in low, intermediate-low, intermediate-high and high risk categories.While low-risk patients took an average of nine years to become intermediate-low-risk, 70 per cent of intermediate-high-risk patients took just four years to become high-risk and require treatment.The scientists say screening intermediate-high-risk patients every year, intermediate-low-risk every four years and low-risk patients every seven years would cost the same as the current system. 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. They say this more targeted approach would allow higher risk patients to be treated sooner and that this would prevent eight per cent of heart attacks and strokes.Professor Mika Kivimaki, one of the researchers, said: “The key message is use individualised screening, not one-size-fits-all.”I think this will be taken up in future and I hope it will happen sooner rather than later.”   read more