By Jody Avirgan The NBA draft could use some fixing. Whether NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admits it or not, teams are tanking in order to land a better chance at a top pick. On the most recent episode of our sports podcast Hot Takedown, we discussed a few proposals to fix the draft structure, from the “wheel” to closing the gap between the worst and second-worst team’s chances. Now, it’s your turn.When you’re sitting on your couch, daydreaming, what crazy scheme have you come up with to fix the draft structure? Tell us below — no idea is too weird. We’ll compile some of them on FiveThirtyEight and discuss our favorites on the show.We’ll also endorse one idea as the official Hot Takedown proposal and send it as a notarized letter (on fancy paper, too) to Silver. And that’ll solve everything! Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed
When next season begins, the Ohio State men’s basketball team will return with four of its five starters from the 2009-2010 campaign. But the one missing, Evan Turner, left a gaping hole in the Buckeyes’ roster when he declared for the NBA Draft last week. Turner led OSU in points, rebounds and assists this season and, after winning the Wooden Award Saturday night, will carry six national player of the year awards with him to June’s draft. But when OSU tips off its 2010-2011 season, none of that will matter, and the team must find a way to fill his shoes. “Obviously losing him is going to change a lot for our team because he did so much on the court for us,” guard Jon Diebler said. “We know we have a lot to work on, as a team and individually, but even with Evan leaving, we’re still very confident with who we have coming back and who’s coming in.” Fortunately for the Buckeyes, as Diebler mentioned, they will welcome arguably the nation’s best recruiting class to Columbus next season. Highlighted by Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas, the six incoming recruits could go a long way to replacing Turner. However, with Turner gone, and with seniors P.J. Hill and Jeremie Simmons also leaving the program, there will be no returning point guard. One of the incoming freshmen, Aaron Craft, plays the point, but is probably the fourth or fifth-most heralded newcomer in the class. Diebler, who was coached in middle school by Craft’s father, said that while Craft might not be as talented as some other future Buckeyes, he can certainly hold his own. “He’s a tough kid, just like all the kids coming in,” Diebler said. “He knows a lot about the game and his IQ is really high, and that’s something you can’t teach.” Regardless, it seems unlikely that Craft will be able to step right in and run the OSU offense as a freshman. That leaves the likely possibility of one of the current Buckeyes making a position switch. Just as Turner did a season ago, somebody will have to quickly adapt to a new position. Diebler and forward David Lighty seem to be the most obvious candidates. Lighty proved to be one of the few Buckeyes that can consistently beat people off the dribble and create his own shot, which would make the position switch somewhat seamless. Diebler played point guard almost exclusively in high school, and although his role has been much different in college to this point, he said he wouldn’t be opposed to returning to his roots. “I wouldn’t mind it,” Diebler said. “I just want to do whatever helps us win. It’s going to be my last year and Dave’s last year and I know we’re all going to work on our ball handling.” For Lighty, despite losing Turner and no matter who ends up playing point guard, the expectations are still high. “We never lower our standards here just because he’s leaving,” Lighty said. “I believe with him, obviously we’d be that much better, but without I believe we still have a great team.”
In college basketball, and, perhaps, college sports in general, it’s the coaches from the smaller and less-known schools that are the most candid, and maybe the most truthful, too. It can be interesting and fun to hear a re-telling of the team you pay attention to through the mouth of opposing coaches. For Ohio State men’s basketball, the two coaches to most recently oppose the Buckeyes on the hardwood are the only two that have gotten it correct in their recounting of OSU hoops. The next two coaches after them could complete the picture of Buckeyes basketball in 2012. OSU’s season began with an 82-60 win against the Albany Great Danes. Albany coach Will Brown provided a season’s worth of lavish praise and hyperbole in the game by lauding OSU’s depth as well as starting junior guard Aaron Craft. “My guys go to McDonald’s to eat, they (OSU) have McDonald’s All-Americans coming off the bench,” Brown said of OSU’s depth before moving discussing Craft. “He’s (Craft) going to be in the NBA for 10 years, I’m sure,” Brown said. As the season has gone along, OSU has continued to receive acclaim for its convincing wins. The University of Kansas City-Missouri came to the Schottenstein Center on Nov. 23 and was sent packing with a 91-45 loss. Afterward, UMKC coach Matt Brown simply said that OSU is “a terrific team.” It would be fair to say that OSU was at least a somewhat unknown commodity prior to its first true non-conference test of the year at Duke on Nov. 28. The 73-68 loss at a rowdy Cameron Indoor Stadium was a kind of reassurance that the Buckeyes could hold their own against top competition. Upon returning home, OSU greeted more mediocre teams. The first was Northern Kentucky, another inferior out-of-conference foe that the Buckeyes throttled and in turn had more praise heaped upon them. Following his team’s 70-43 loss, Northern Kentucky coach Dave Bezold said it was a “great experience” for his players to just be on the same floor with the Buckeyes. “It is an absolutely tremendous opportunity for us to play with one of the most historical teams in the country,” Bezold said. “It is a special moment for our kids to be on this floor and play against such a great program.” Relative to other coaches that came to The Schott and were dealt a swift defeat, Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax was calculated in his post game remarks after the Buckeyes beat his Tigers, 85-45 on Wednesday. Broadnax had plenty to say about the game, but what stuck out was that he stopped at saying OSU was decent. That was it, nothing more. In OSU’s next game, all visiting UNC-Asheville did in its 90-72 loss on Saturday was end the Buckeyes’ streak of 14 consecutive non-conference home wins by at least 20 points. By comparison, Duke lost by 22 points last season at The Schott. Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach also had measured praise for OSU, stating that he thinks fellow Big Ten team Indiana still plays harder than the Buckeyes. “I think Ohio State is one of the top 6 teams in the country, it’s a little early talent wise,” Biedenbach said. “Indiana… I don’t think they’re more talented than Ohio State – I think they play harder.” After seven games, and a flatbed truck’s worth of homage paid to OSU coach Thad Matta’s program by opposing coaches, Broadnax and Biedenbach finally arrived at the accurate depiction of Buckeyes basketball – the jury’s still out about this team. If there is such a thing as a decent, or “blah” No. 7-ranked squad, OSU has to be that, as Broadnax said. And like Biedenbach said, OSU is a top team in the country and in the Big Ten, but, unlike last season’s Final Four team, there appears to be a gulf between America’s very best squads and the Buckeyes. The 2012 Buckeyes haven’t been tested with the frequency of the 2011 team, which played Florida in the second game of the season before hosting Duke in game No. 7. It certainly hasn’t been as successful either: The 2011 Buckeyes won both of those games whereas the 2012 Buckeyes came close at Duke and the team is now receiving only lukewarm praise from coaches of the mid-majors it beats soundly. Next up is Winthrop, which upset Ohio University this past weekend, and Saturday is OSU’s marquee non-conference home match against Kansas. A win against Kansas changes the trajectory for the Buckeyes, or at least the outside perception of that trajectory. Two losses in the big non-conference games doesn’t necessarily condemn OSU to a failed season, and certainly doesn’t rule the team out from a deep NCAA Tournament run. However, there was something about the way OSU fought for a win in a tight game against Florida last season, and then the way it cruised past Duke, that seemed to announce its intentions and demand recognition. Two losses against Duke and Kansas this year? That only seems to demand recognition as a team that isn’t quite ready. So, listen to what Kansas coach Bill Self has to say after Saturday’s game – depending on the outcome and how the game goes down, you’ll likely hear comments that complete the picture of the 2012 Buckeyes.
Freshman guard D’Angelo Russell (0) goes for a layup during a game against Campbell on Nov. 26 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 91-64.Credit: Ed Momot / For The LanternFor five minutes, the Campbell Camels kept it close.But five minutes later, the No. 16 Ohio State men’s basketball team held a 20-10 lead after going on an 11-2 run.The Buckeyes (4-0) held a 45-22 lead at halftime, but only outscored Campbell (1-3) 46-42 in the second half on their way to a 91-64 win Wednesday night at the Schottenstein Center.Sophomore forward Marc Loving said there were portions of the game — particularly in the second half — when the Buckeyes were lacking in energy.“We relaxed at times,” Loving said after the game. “Spurts in the game we needed to regroup and we didn’t. Definitely take care of that in practice.”Coach Thad Matta said OSU didn’t have “a lot of energy” or “juice” in the second half, and he didn’t see the same pace he had hoped for after a fast start to the game.“I told ‘em at halftime, ‘the biggest thing I’m looking for in the second half is claiming rebounds and running in transition,’” Matta said. “And we get it a couple times, but it was never the consistent push that we wanted.”OSU struggled with rebounding on the defensive side of the floor at times, leading to 13 offensive rebounds for the Camels, compared to just 13 for the Buckeyes.Two early 3-pointers helped the Camels keep it at 9-8 five minutes into the game, but OSU’s balanced attack helped the Buckeyes take a double-digit lead at the 11:01 mark in the first half that they never relinquished for the final 45 minutes of action.As a team, OSU shot 60.7 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point land in the game.Matta said he’s been “pleasantly surprised” by how well the Buckeyes have shot this season, but added that won’t necessarily be a given week in and week out.“You’re hoping that’s something that you can bank on, and we joked about it the other night, I don’t know how much longer you can keep shooting at this clip,” he said. “But I do think guys are taking more pride in their shots and seeing the ball go through the basket.”The second half started much like the first as Campbell opened the period on a 10-5 run. But the Buckeyes responded to take a 73-46 lead with 9:03 to play in the game.Starting with a 53-32 lead at the 16:43 mark in the half, OSU led by at least 20 for the rest of the game.Despite scoring one more point in the second half than his team did in the first, Matta said he wanted to see more push from the Buckeyes.“You still score 91 points, but I didn’t think we played as fast as we wanted to,” he said.All 10 OSU players to take the court scored, while all five Buckeye starters scored in double figures. The Buckeyes have scored at least 90 points in three of four games this season.OSU shot 60 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes while limiting Campbell to a 29.2 shooting percentage and just three 2-point field goals at the break. All five Buckeye starters scored at least six points in the first half, with freshman guard D’Angelo Russell leading the way with 12 points and sophomore forward Marc Loving adding 10.Russell said the Buckeyes were more focused on playing their own game than paying attention to Campbell heading into the contest.Sophomore forward Marc Loving (2) passes the ball during a game against Campbell on Nov. 26 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 91-64.Credit: Ed Momot / For The Lantern“We’re really not worrying about our opponent, we’re worrying about our team and we’re trying to get better as a team the best way we can,” he said.Senior guard Shannon Scott — who set a program record with 16 assists in a win against Sacred Heart on Sunday — had four of OSU’s eight assists before halftime.Freshman guard D’Angelo Russell led all players with 22 points while sophomore forward Marc Loving had 18. Russell also led all players with seven assists and shot four of six from 3-point range.After tallying his career-best scoring output, Loving said he wasn’t any more comfortable against the Camels than he was in the first three games of the year.“I wouldn’t say I get more and more comfortable each game,” he said. “I’ve been pretty comfortable this season.”Campbell redshirt-senior guard Andrew Ryan poured in 17 points on five-of-eight shooting from three to lead the Camels.The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to the court on Friday to take on James Madison at the Schottenstein Center. Tip is set for 4:00 p.m.With two games in three days, Matta said the Buckeyes are set to practice in the afternoon on Thanksgiving to prepare for Friday, and he said he’s hoping the team keeps its energy during the holiday.“I told these guys, there’s two types of teams over break, we’re on break right now,” he said. “There’s teams that play really, really well because they don’t have a lot to do and then there’s teams that kind of become lethargic, and I know which team I want us to be.”
Left: Coach Urban Meyer hoists the Amos Alonzo Stagg Big Ten Championship trophy after the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin on Dec. 6 in Indianapolis. OSU won, 59-0.Credit: Chelsea Spears / Multimedia editorRight: Alabama coach Nick Saban hoists the trophy following a 42-14 win against Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami Gardens, Fla.Credit: Courtesy of TNSPaul “Bear” Bryant and Wayne Woodrow “Woody” Hayes.The first time the Ohio State Buckeyes and Alabama Crimson Tide took the field against each other, the two legendary coaches squared off in a battle for the — wait for it — Sugar Bowl championship in New Orleans.Now, almost 37 years to the date, two more legendary football coaches will roam the sidelines in the 2015 installment of the Sugar Bowl.While they don’t have nicknames like “Woody” or “Bear,” OSU’s Urban Meyer and Alabama’s Nick Saban know each other all too well. They’ve squared off three times as members of the Southeastern Conference when Meyer was at the University of Florida and are set to meet again in a College Football Playoff semi-final game in the first season of the new system.Saban said during a Sunday conference call that returning to the Sugar Bowl for a second year in a row is a “great opportunity,” especially against the Buckeyes.“(It’s) a real honor for our team to be able to come back to the Sugar Bowl, to be a part of the first-ever playoff system playing against an outstanding, very traditional, a great traditioned program like Ohio State, with a great coach like Urban Meyer,” Saban said.Meyer, who is 1-2 against Saban head-to-head, said he can remember his lone win against Saban.“The 2008 game was just one of the great games in college football history, in my opinion,” Meyer said Sunday. “Where evenly matched teams were going back and forth, back and forth. And obviously we got, scored right at the end to take a two-score lead.”Meyer’s Florida Gators defeated Saban’s Crimson Tide, 31-20, in that game to earn a spot in the 2009 BCS National Championship, which they won over the Oklahoma Sooners.Combined, the two coaches have recorded six national titles, a far cry from the combined 11 that Hayes and Bryant combined for in their coaching careers.Adding to the intrigue is the fact that both Saban and Meyer were not only OSU assistants in the 1980s, but also both played their college football in Ohio with Saban at Kent State and Meyer at Cincinnati.Meyer, who was a graduate assistant at OSU from 1986-87, coached his first game against the Crimson Tide, a 16-10 loss.Just six years prior, Saban was on the same Buckeye staff as a defensive backs coach under then-head coach and Meyer mentor Earle Bruce.During a fundraiser in Mason, Ohio, back in April, Saban spoke about one particular coach who made an impact on him when he was an up-and-coming football coach.In Saban’s second year at OSU, the unranked Buckeyes entered a game against Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., as significant underdogs with the Wolverines ranked No. 7 in the nation.Saban said Hayes, less than three years removed from his final game at OSU, came back for the first time to address the team.“He came to Senior Tackle and he talked to the team and he says, ‘You can have no great victories in life unless you can overcome adversity. The War in the Pacific was the greatest military victory of all time because of Pearl Harbor, and the adversity we had to overcome because of that,’” Saban told Cleveland.com. “We won the game, 14-9, you can look it up, and they didn’t score a touchdown.”Now, all these years later, the Buckeyes are once again facing adversity.During a 42-28 victory over Michigan, redshirt-freshman quarterback and then-Heisman hopeful J.T. Barrett fractured his ankle, forcing the Buckeyes to go to their third-string quarterback, redshirt-sophomore Cardale Jones.A day later, OSU learned that missing teammate Kosta Karageorge had been found dead off-campus from what police said was a potentially self-inflicted gunshot wound.Despite all of that, OSU was able to dismantle the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game, 59-0, catapulting the Buckeyes into the first-ever College Football Playoff.Through the crazy ride that has been the 2014 season, senior cornerback Doran Grant said Sunday that the strides the Buckeyes have made are because of this year’s challenges.“Handling the adversity, just coming together as a group. I feel the same way because I think we improved a lot because of how close we became over every week,” Grant said. “Overcome the obstacles, adversity, and we just remained together. And I think that’s a big part of our improvement.”Grant will now be faced with a challenge of his own, as he will likely be matched up with Heisman finalist and junior Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper.Cooper ranks second in the nation in receiving yards with 1,656 to go along with 14 touchdowns. His 115 receptions equal exactly half of Alabama starting senior quarterback Blake Sims’ completions.Grant said while he isn’t sure what the game plan is for the Crimson Tide just yet, he knows what to expect from Cooper.“I know he’s a great receiver. A very polished receiver. He has big play ability. Looking forward to the matchup, honestly,” Grant said. “Not sure how we’re gonna handle everything, but looking forward to going against a great team period.”While Grant isn’t looking at film on Cooper just yet, Meyer did say he might look at some film from some of his previous matchups against Saban.“We’ll probably look at the last two. Or maybe we will. Because our offense has adapted and changed somewhat, but I think I always like to go back and see because a lot of times there’s some fundamentals or coverage concepts or front concepts that we’ll look at,” Meyer said. “That will be mostly on that side of the ball that I’ll check out a little bit what they did in the past. But that’s about it.”While Meyer has beaten Saban before, the Buckeyes currently hold a 0-3 record against the Crimson Tide all time, something OSU will look to improve upon as it is set to take on Alabama on New Year’s Day in the Allstate Sugar Bowl for a chance to play for a national championship at 8:30 p.m.
OSU coach Urban Meyer addresses the media on July 30 in Chicago during the 2015 Big Ten Media Days. Credit: Kevin Stankiewicz / Asst. Sports EditorCHICAGO — As a coach who had already won two national championships at Florida before adding a third with Ohio State last season, Urban Meyer knows the potential pitfalls from returning off the high of a title.Players can get lazier on the field or in the weight room, or get full of themselves and get into trouble. Or, oftentimes, the spark that drove the team during the title season can be absent in the next.So after OSU completed “The Chase” by defeating Oregon in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship Game in January, Meyer’s new quest began: to steer his team past the possibility of the next-season hangover.“Every coach is concerned about (complacency),” Meyer said on Thursday during his opening press conference at the 2015 Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. “There’s no perfect team. There’s no perfect program. Everyone deals with ‘stuff.’ When you’re Ohio State or some of these other big-time programs, ‘stuff’ becomes a major deal.”After Meyer’s first national championship with Florida in 2006, in which the Gators compiled a 13-1 record, the team came back the next year with a 9-4 regression.“Maybe it was a mistake in ‘06, after we won it, we were like ‘Well, we’re playing with house money now, it’s all going to get really easy,’” Meyer said. “It actually gets more complicated.”Senior linebacker Joshua Perry said one of his jobs as a leader of the team is to make sure the Buckeyes avoid that trap of lacking the spark that winning teams need, but he is confident that they will be successful because they overcame the other side of that situation last season.“If we start at the bottom, there’s human nature where you’re always complaining about some of the things that never go your way, and then on the way there, things get tough, and there’s that human nature of ‘Man, it would be really easy to just kind of be here and be average,’” Perry said Thursday. “And then when you get to the top there’s the human nature of getting complacent.“But I think we fought through all these things and we’re able to get to a certain point, so I think you’ll see us continue to fight, continue to do what we did.”Meyer cited three indicators that he and his coaching staff keep an eye on to make sure the players are staying focused and driven: academic, training and social.“We had the highest graduation rate in the history of Ohio State football,” Meyer said about the academic aspect. “I don’t want to just buzz right over that. So that’s one indicator that our guys are locked in.”“The second thing is the weight room,” Meyer said. “I have the best coach in America (in strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti). We evaluate everything.“And then the social element, that’s obviously the one that you keep one eye open, and we’ve been relatively good.”However, the team’s “relatively good” mark took a hit when earlier on Thursday it was announced that four players — junior defensive end Joey Bosa, H-backs redshirt sophomore Jalin Marshall and junior Dontre Wilson and redshirt senior wide receiver Corey Smith — were suspended for the opening game at Virginia Tech for a violation of an OSU Department of Athletics policy.Perry said while he is disappointed in the actions of his teammates, he does not think it has any relation to the “top of the world” feeling from being national champions.“I don’t think that has to do with losing an edge, I think it just has to do with guys being guys and making a mistake,” Perry said. “There’s no lost edge. We’re all hungry. Guys are getting after it.“We worked so hard this summer; (the coaches) got after us harder than they’ve gotten after us in a while. And we responded to it, and I think that’s the important thing, so moving forward we’re going to be prepared for a lot of these things up ahead.”Despite the infractions, Meyer remained upbeat on Thursday about the place his team is in heading into fall camp in August.“The indicators other than (the suspensions) has been not good, it’s been great, and tomorrow’s another day, so we’ll just keep pushing forward,” he said.OSU will look to continue pushing forward to Sept. 7, when it is set to travel to Blacksburg, Va., to open the regular season against the Hokies. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Then-redshirt sophomore quarterback Joe Burrow (10) runs the ball in the fourth quarter against Nebraska in Memorial Stadium on Oct. 14. Ohio State won 56-0. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorDwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow have been through this before — just last year, in fact.Last March, the quarterbacks went back and forth, battling each practice to become J.T. Barrett’s backup. Neither won. They both played well in the Spring Game and entered the summer tied in the race to be second in line for playing time.But a broken hand near the end of fall camp submerged Burrow’s chances of becoming Barrett’s backup and handed Haskins the backup role.Even when Burrow returned to action, he entered after Haskins late in blowout games. Then later in the year, Haskins took advantage of the opportunity and completed a comeback win in Ann Arbor, Michigan, against the Wolverines after being thrust into action in the second half after Barrett suffered an injury.Despite this season’s quarterback battle having immeasurably higher stakes than last year’s, Haskins and Burrow seem to be stuck in the same place — a tie. But this time, they are tied atop the depth chart. And this year, a third quarterback — redshirt freshman Tate Martell — has engaged them in competition.Head coach Urban Meyer said he is taking the quarterback competition “day-by-day.” He said Martell had a better practice Monday, Burrow had a better performance in an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday, then Haskins “came back” and played better.Despite the offense not having a set leader at quarterback, Meyer seemed unconcerned with the ongoing uncertainty behind center.“You’d wish one would take it,” Meyer said. “But then again, you like having the day-to-day competition, which is what I’m seeing.”In order for someone to separate themselves and earn the starting job, Meyer said Haskins, Burrow or Martell have one simple job: to “lead the team.” Thus far, he feels that has not happened.“There’s got to be a separation at some point, and right now there is not that separation,” Meyer said. “Just when one starts going, the other one comes up, and the other one drops a little bit.”As each practice passes and no quarterback separates himself from the pack, the Buckeyes get one day nearer to ending spring practice without naming a starter. Ohio State has just five more practices in the next two weeks before playing the Spring Game on April 14 at Ohio Stadium. If Meyer does not name a starter, it would be the first spring game since 2015 that Ohio State does not have a quarterback cemented atop the depth chart. Meyer said he does not know whether he will have a starter by the end of spring.However, the timeline has major implications on the position for Ohio State. Both Haskins and Burrow have shown, in limited time, they possess the requisite skills to start at a major college football program. But Burrow could transfer if Haskins, the assumed favorite, earns the nod.Burrow is on track to graduate from the university in May, meaning he would not have to sit out if he decided to transfer like most college athletes. Instead of backing up Haskins or Martell, he could transfer and compete for a starting job on a team without Ohio State’s high-end talent at quarterback. A month ago, Meyer said his first obligation is Ohio State, but “probably, yes” he has an obligation to tell Burrow his status by the end of spring practice. Given the lack of separation between the three quarterbacks, the probability of Meyer not offering Burrow a solid answer by the time he graduates seems more possible than ever.The last time Meyer did not make a decision on quarterback after spring practice, Ohio State’s disastrous circus of Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett flip-flopping starts and snaps led to an offense that could never seem to find a rhythm in 2015. Meyer said he has moved on from that situation and did not learn anything from it. But the clock is ticking, and the day-to-day competition that Meyer enjoys will end after the Spring Game in less than two weeks. Without naming a starter, Ohio State will not have a leader behind center during the summer with whom the offense can build a rapport. That might not worry Meyer yet, but the uncertainty could do irreparable damage if he does not make a decision until the fall.
Garden ponds create an important habitat for wildlifeCredit: Heathcliff O’Malley for The Telegraph Lead author Dr Stephen J Price said: “Ranavirus is one of the most serious health threats currently facing the UK’s amphibian population, so our findings that humans seem to have helped move the virus around, facilitating its rapid spread, could be translated into some straightforward ways to manage the risk of disease outbreaks.”It seems that well-meaning homeowners stocking their garden ponds with frogs, fish or spawn translocated from neighbouring ponds or beyond could inadvertently be fuelling the spread of this serious amphibian disease.”We certainly don’t want to discourage people from adding ponds to their urban gardens – this remains one of the most positive steps we can all take to support wildlife – but equally we would strongly urge people to try to limit how much potentially infectious material they’re moving into and out of their gardens in the process.”The study was led by the Zoological Society of London and Queen Mary University of London, along with University College London and Herpetofauna Consultants International. Gardeners could be spreading a lethal frog disease by stocking suburban ponds with exotic species or moving frogspawn around, scientists have warned.A study into the rapid spread of the infectious disease ranavirus – characterised by ulcers, red spots, breakdown of limbs and death – found genetic analysis suggested at least two separate introductions of the disease into the UK.The research, which draws on data reported by the public in a long-running “citizen science” project, showed localised spread of ranavirus which could be down to natural movement by frogs and newts.But the risk of disease was also higher in areas with more people, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B said. The findings point to humans also playing a role, by moving frogspawn and tadpoles or even silt from other ponds or buying animals from commercial aquatic retailers.Outbreaks tended to be recorded in more affluent areas, where people have gardens, and the scientists suggested the fashion for introducing exotic or wild animals into ornamental ponds could be fuelling the spread of the disease.The UK now has a number of non-native amphibian species, such as the alpine newt, which has become established in Britain having been released into gardens and parks.Experts said they did not want people to stop creating garden ponds, which were an important habitat for wildlife, but urged gardeners to limit potential transfer of infected material and garden in ways – such as reducing use of pesticides – that benefited native species. Well-meaning homeowners stocking their garden ponds with frogs, fish or spawn translocated from neighbouring ponds or beyond could inadvertently be fuelling the spread of this serious amphibian diseaseDr Stephen J Price Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
“I have not been confident about the outcome of this, a lot of people from the tower have concerns about the transparency and integrity of it.” After meeting residents earlier in the day, the judge said he was “doubtful” all of their concerns could be addressed by his inquiry. Responding to his comments, Mr Miller said: “That goes against what the Prime Minister has said, that has gone against the official statement, that it would ‘leave no stone unturned’.” On the night their home was ravaged by fire Mr Miller had received a call from his partner as she escaped from the building.“I was outside the building, I had just got back from my mum’s and my partner called me and told me the building was on fire, which didn’t really penetrate,” Mr Miller said. Ms Jones, who was marking her 32nd birthday on Thursday, added: “I came out just before 1am, when I came out one side of the building was on fire.” Since then, the family have been living in a hotel and unable to begin the process of rebuilding their lives. Mr Miller said: “It has been very stressful, we are stuck in a hotel, we cannot purchase new items like kids’ bunk beds and the trauma has been extended because we cannot really grieve. Labour councillor Robert Atkinson speaks to the media outside Kensington Town HallCredit:PA Mr Paget-Brown told councillors: “I’ve been advised that if there are others present we cannot have an open discussion. “We can’t have an unprejudiced discussion in this room with a public inquiry that’s about to take place if journalists are recording and writing our comments.”I’m told the press are here because of the result of legal intervention and that therefore means we cannot have the discussion that we intending to have because that would prejudice the public inquiry. Fire consumed Grenfell Tower near Latimer RoadCredit: Guilhem Baker A couple left homeless by the Grenfell Tower fire have said failure to invite all survivors to a consultation about the public inquiry was “disrespectful”. Sir Martin Moore-Bick said it was ‘doubtful’ his inquiry would satisfy survivors and admitted it would be “pretty well limited” in its scope. Sir Martin, 70, who was a former lord justice of appeal, also suggested his inquiry would not be quick, saying he hoped an interim report could be produced within a year. Sir Martin Moore-Bick was at the scene on ThursdayCredit: Photoshot The leader of Kensington and Chelsea council was facing renewed calls to resign after he scrapped a public meeting on the Grenfell Tower disaster because journalists were present.Nicholas Paget-Brown took the astonishing step of dissolving the meeting when he realised newspaper reporters were in the council chamber.The move was branded “anti-democratic” while Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, called it “disgusting”.Earlier in the day, the council had announced the cabinet meeting would be held behind closed doors because of a claim of a risk of violence to councillors and staff.But a High Court order was obtained by newspapers giving the media the right to attend the cabinet session. Reporters were finally let into the meeting shortly after it began but when Mr Paget-Brown, who is a Conservative, was made aware of the presence of reporters, he called it off. “That is the legal advice I have received and therefore have to declare the meeting closed.” He said that inquiry “did not consult with the families and the survivors” and “the same thing seems to have happened all over again”. Theresa May said she expects one “as early as possible”. It emerged yesterday that Sir Martin previously ruled in favour of Kensington and Chelsea council, which is at the centre of the Grenfell Tower scandal, in an appeal court case in which an Iranian asylum seeker objected to accommodation she was being offered because it resembled her jail cell in Iran.Sir Martin’s appointment was announced by the prime minister at 9.30am yesterday but within three hours he had angered local residents in North Kensington on a tour of the site and at a meeting with survivors.Sir Martin said after his discussions with victims: “I’ve been asked to undertake this inquiry on the basis that it would be pretty well limited to the problems surrounding the start of the fire and its rapid development in order to make recommendations about how this sort of thing can be prevented in future.“I’m well aware the residents and the local people want a much broader investigation and I can fully understand why they would want that – whether my inquiry is the right way in which to achieve that I’m more doubtful.”Sir Martin refused to put a timescale on the inquiry, immediately prompting concern it could go the way of Mrs May’s other ill-fated inquiry into child sexual abuse, which is now expected to cost more than £100 million and will take at least six years. Jason Miller and Corinne Jones escaped the 17th floor of the burning block with their two children and have since been living like “refugees” in emergency accommodation. On Thursday morning Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the judge leading the forthcoming probe, met a handful of residents to discuss the investigation. Many who lived in Grenfell Tower were unaware of the meeting and few had confidence in the outcome of the inquiry, Mr Miller said. The 37-year-old told the Press Association: “The first we heard about the meeting was when my partner spoke to someone from a law firm who said the judge would be visiting the tower and she asked fellow residents if they knew that and no-one knew about it. “Not being aware as residents of the tower, we found that a bit disrespectful. “We have reservations about the judge as well and previous cases he has presided over because it has related to people in social housing.” Controversy about Sir Martin’s appointment to the role began brewing when it emerged he had ruled a mother-of-five had to move 50 miles away from her home in 2014. “Hearing that was like salt in the wounds,” Mr Miller said. Downing Street said it wanted all parties involved in the aftermath of the fire “to be as open and transparent as possible, both with residents and the wider public, to ensure full confidence in the response effort”. A spokeswoman said: “We would encourage everyone involved to respect this wherever possible.” “We are out every day just getting items such as driving licences and passports. “We feel like refugees at the moment.” His partner added they simply wanted to “go back home”, saying: “We will never be able to sit back in our front room, we just want a permanent house.” The judge also addressed concerns that his ruling on a housing case in November 2014 would cause issues for the inquiry.In the proceedings he had sided with Westminster City Council’s decision that mother-of-five Titina Nzolameso should be rehoused 50 miles (80km) away. His ruling was later overturned in the Supreme Court. With permanent accommodation for the Grenfell Tower residents being an urgent concern, there were fears that his involvement in the case could inflame sensitivities. Sir Martin said: “I was rather surprised to see myself described as controversial. “The case is one of many that I have decided over my time as a judge. I have been a judge for over 20 years and, particularly in the Court of Appeal, one deals with an enormous range of work, much of which involves local government or central government. “One simply reaches the conclusion that you think is right, applying the law as you see it, and that is the work of a judge. “You can’t pretend to get every case right, at least in the eyes of the Supreme Court.” The ruling, condemned as ‘social cleansing of the poor on a mass scale’ – was overturned by the Supreme Court. The Telegraph can disclose that in a 2015 appeal court hearing, he ruled in favour of Kensington and Chelsea council against Vida Poshteh, an Iranian asylum seeker who was refused accommodation after rejecting the council’s offer of a two-bedroom flat because it reminded her of her prison cell in Iran. Sir Martin said: “The purpose of this independent inquiry is to discover the truth about what happened at Grenfell Tower, so that we can learn lessons for the future and ensure that a tragedy of this kind never happens again. “It is vitally important that the inquiry be open, transparent and fair to all those whose involvement with Grenfell Tower comes under scrutiny. “It is important for everyone that the inquiry should establish as quickly as possible the cause of the fire and how it was able to spread so quickly to the whole of the building. “I understand the desire of local people for justice; justice for them, and for all those involved in whatever way, will best be served by a vigorous inquiry that gets to the truth as quickly as possible.” Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, said: “One of great things about our country is we believe in open democracy. Kensin and Chelsea needs to reflect on the way its behaved since Grenfell.” In a statement released after the cabinet meeting was dissolved, Mr Paget-Brown said: “We are under sustained media criticism for a slow reaction to the fire, non-visibility and for failing to invest in North Kensington. “I believe that many of these criticisms need to be challenged and over time they will be, but I can think of nothing more demeaning to the memory of those lost and missing in the fire than seeking the resolution of political scores.”The row came on a dramatic day with the retired judge chairing the Grenfell Tower inquiry angering residents within hours of his appointment yesterday, admitting he was “doubtful” his investigation would satisfy them. The announcement prompted chaotic, angry scenes. Mr Paget-Brown was furiously confronted by opposition councillor Robert Atkinson who stood up to demand the cabinet’s resignation.”An absolute fiasco, this is why I am calling for your resignation,” he said.”Our reputation is absolutely in the gutter,” another councillor in the room said.Ahead of the meeting, the council had posted on its website: “Please note this meeting will be held entirely in private session, pursuant to Standing Order 31.01, in the light of the risk of disruption (as witnessed on Friday 16 June) and consequent security and public safety concerns.”The council had been stormed shortly after the fire with residents and others furious at the council’s slow response to the catastrophe – and blame for it happening in the first place. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said in reaction to the announcement: “It was a young MP called Margaret Thatcher who changed the law to allow the public to attend council meetings and it is utterly shameful that a Conservative council is trying to stop democracy. This is frankly disgusting.” The terms of reference of the inquiry are still to be decided but one legal source said Sir Martin will be ‘efficient’ and that would likely mean not giving a platform to every resident of the tower to tell their story at public hearings. Scotland Yard has said 80 people died in the blaze but the final toll may not be known until the end of the year. Mrs May said “no stone will be left unturned” by the inquiry as she confirmed Sir Martin’s appointment. She said: “I am determined that there will be justice for all the victims of this terrible tragedy and for their families who have suffered so terribly.”Sir Martin’s appointment was recommended by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd.Downing Street denied claims it had some unease over the choice because Sir Martin had presided over a 2014 appeal court case in which he ruled in favour of Westminster city council in a dispute with a tenant facing homelessness after she refused to be rehoused near Milton keynes. Sir Martin said: “I think it’s impossible to say how long it’s going to take; I have said on other occasions a matter of months, some people have talked about two or three months.”I don’t think that’s realistic; on the other hand I would be very disappointed if we couldn’t get a preliminary report out in under a year.“I would rather not say with any precision now when that is likely to be.” Residents who met Sir Martin at a church close to Grenfell Tower told of their concerns, including his background as a commercial lawyer, who had specialised in shipping and insurance law. Joe Delaney, 37, who worked with Grenfell Action Group, said: “He seems to want to keep the scope very narrow, to do with why the fire spread so quickly, while we are more looking at why was it started in the first place, why were residents ignored?“Can a technical insurance man like that deliver those answers?”Oluwaseun Talabi, who fled Grenfell Tower with his partner and four-year-old daughter, said: “We need a criminal judge.A well-placed source told The Telegraph: “The judge’s comments are very problematic.”Michael Mansfield QC, who has met survivors of the fire, said it was “unbelievable that lessons are not learned” from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which is now on its fourth chairman. 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.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan speaks at the Eid celebrations in Trafalgar Square on Sunday, encouraging Muslims to unite after a month of terror and tragedy in the capital. 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.
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. An F-35 fighter The Government’s failure to disclose how much Britain’s new stealth jets will cost is unacceptable and risks undermining public confidence in the programme, MPs are warning.The multi-billion pound scheme to buy F-35 Lightning II jump jets is the UK’s second largest weapons programme, but the MOD has refused to tell Parliament how much they will cost.A Commons defence select committee report has said the MOD’s response is “wholly unacceptable” and demanded six monthly updates on the programme to buy the Lockheed Martin jets.Julian Lewis MP, chairman of the committee said: “There has been an unacceptable lack of transparency from the MoD and Lockheed Martin which risks undermining public confidence in the programme.“F-35 is a major investment for the UK and we want it to succeed for the good of this country’s security.”However, it is precisely because this project is so important that it must be subjected to the closest possible scrutiny.”MOD officials repeatedly failed to give the committee the full cost of each aircraft, including spares, upgrades and retrofits. RAF Mildenhall was built in 1930, but has been a US-only base since 1959. America has announced its forces will leave the base next decade, some time after 2024. The committee said it “views this failure to provide adequate cost estimates, either on a per aircraft or programme-wide basis, as wholly unsatisfactory”.Britain last week received its 14th F-35B. The first UK squadron is due to be operational from RAF MArham next year, while flight trials will also begin from HMS Queen Elizabeth in the autumn off the east coast of America.
In a pilot scheme launched in London and the West Midlands last year, the charity posted advertisements on billboards stating “obesity causes cancer”. Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has said it toned down a major campaign warning of the dangers of obesity to avoid scaring overweight people, but has hit back at critics accusing the organisation of “fat-shaming”. However, this was altered to “obesity is a cause of cancer” for the campaign proper this year. Last night Professor Linda Bauld, who leads the CRUK’s prevention efforts, said the barrage of criticism levelled at the the charity had not influenced the change, but that the alteration took place to make it “absolutely clear that not everyone who…
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. Ms Skoll, a self confessed rugby fan, has loved every minute of the tournament, impressed by the fans’ behaviour and charmed by England’s footballers. She met the players at an open training session along with 30 children the British embassy sponsors through its charity work in Russia. Skoll said there were colleagues in the Foreign Office who were “horrified and bemused as to why a woman who knew nothing about football was going to be spearheading the Russian network effort on the World Cup”Credit:GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS “I have to be really clear the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury was outrageous and that has badly damaged our bilateral relationship and you can’t get around that,” she said.But the diplomat, with a degree in history and Russian and whose previous post was High Commissioner to the Seychelles, believes that the legacy of this World Cup will be for Russia to wake up and become “a more open, tolerant and diverse society”. Looking beyond Putin’s rule, she hoped “the next generation of Russian leaders” will use the football tournament as a platform for change.“I am not naive. I don’t think transformation will occur overnight but I would like to think that the celebration of a sport like football has to have some lasting effect here,” she said, adding: “Moscow has been transformed and it’s not easy to put the genie back in the bottle. It is an infectious thing and it has ignited something in Russia that is powerful in a social and cultural way.” Ms Skoll, the most senior official responsible for looking after English fans during the tournament, added: “You realise that in England football is still very much a male pursuit and I thought that is quite sad. At no point did I feel endangered it was just brilliant. “There are a lot of colleagues in the Foreign Office who were horrified and bemused as to why a woman who knew nothing about football was going to be spearheading the Russian network effort on the World Cup,” she said.Ms Skoll will attend the last 16 knockout game against Colombia, the biggest match played by England since 2006. About 10,000 fans are expected to pour into Moscow, five times the numbers that watched the opening game in Volgograd.Fans have their own favourites and Ms Skoll, a mother to one daughter and two stepchildren, is no different. She adores harry Maguire, the England defender. “I love Harry maguire,” she said, “There is something about him. There’s something a bit boyish. He was absolutely charming when I met him. He gets on the pitch and he’s sensational,” she said, a smile broadening across her face. “All the male fans I have met have been universally charming, polite, really inclusive, delighted to see us. I wouldn’t want to say it’s a macho negative thing. I still think it’s a legacy of the 80s and 90s in English football. I would love to see more women and families because for me that would show that English football has transformed into something beyond those really dark days.”Ms Skoll only took up her post in January, with responsibilities that included heading up the World Cup diplomatic team. Just two months later, relations with the Kremlin plunged to a new low after the nerve agent attack on the Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. Britain barred all dignitaries – including ministers and members of the Royal Family – from attending the World Cup, leaving Ms Skoll as the senior UK representative at the games.“It has been a baptism of fire,” she told The Telegraph, praising her team of about a hundred officials for ensuring the tournament has run smoothly for England’s fans. The World Cup has seen England supporters warmly embraced by ordinary Russians but Ms Skoll is in no doubt that nobody should be fooled and that once the tournament is over, the problems caused by Vladimir Putin – that include chemical weapons attacks in Syria and the invasion of Ukraine – will not have gone away. The UK’s most senior diplomat in charge of the World Cup has bemoaned the lack of female England fans at their matches in Russia, complaining the sport remains a ‘male pursuit’.Lindsay Skoll, Britain’s deputy ambassador to Russia, called on more women to come and support England and said she was saddened by how few had turned up. In contrast Panama, whom England beat 6-1, had a large number of women and even children cheering them on at the game in Nizhny Novgorod, she said.Ms Skoll, 47, who had never been to a football match until England’s first game against Tunisia in Volgograd two weeks ago, said: “I would love to see more women. I watched the match [against Panama] with a female colleague.“We were in the England end and we clearly were a rarity. And I thought when I looked at the Panama fans how many women and even children were there.” Ms Skoll, the most senior official responsible for looking after English fans during the tournament, added: “You realise that in England football is still very much a male pursuit and I thought that is quite sad” Credit:Aaron Chown/PA
Prof Neil Mabbott, Personal Chair in Immunopathology at The Roslin Institute & Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Edinburgh, said: “While the identification of a new case of BSE in Scottish cattle is worrying, the measures that remain in place in the UK should ensure that there is no risk to the public.“Clearly urgent research is now required to identify the potential source and characteristics of the BSE in this outbreak.”UK Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: “While it is too early to tell how this animal became infected, this detection shows that the surveillance system is doing its job.“As it has been made clear, there is no risk to food safety or human health in any part of the UK.” BSE originally occurred in UK cattle through the feeding of infected meat and bone meal. And during the UK outbreak in the 1980s and early 1990s, it is estimated that up to half a million cattle may have been infected in this way.Cows are now fed a strict vegan diet to avoid infection, but BSE can sometimes also occur sporadically in the cattle population – causing a disease known as atypical BSE, which has been the cause of the most recent outbreaks in Britain.In rare cases, BSE can be passed between people and animals by eating contaminated meat, causing the disease variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Since the CJD outbreak in Britain in 1996 there have been 178 cases diagnosed in Britain and no new cases since 2016. Animal tissues where the BSE prion proteins are concentrated such as the brain, spinal cord and spleen are now banned from the human food chain. A number of cattle on an Aberdeenshire farm will be destroyed after a case of mad cow disease was identified, the first in Britain since 2015.A movement ban has been put on the estate in Huntley, 40 miles from Aberdeen, to prevent the disease spreading further, after one dead cow was diagnosed during routine testing.The Scottish Government said no infected meat has entered the food chain but said it had initiated its response plan and said an investigation has been launched to find out how the animal became infected. It is the first case in Scotland since 2009.North east MSP Peter Chapman, of the Scottish Conservatives, described the infection as “very concerning”.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––“We need to know all about the animal, where it’s been, where its offspring are, and offer as many reassurances as we possibly can that this is a one-off instance.”Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said the government was working closely with Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to find out how the cow became infected.“I would urge any farmer who has concerns to immediately seek veterinary advice,” she said.A Whitehall source told The Telegraph that it is believed to be an isolated case and that rigorous testing of livestock at abattoirs meant that the “food chain is incredibly well protected”, adding that there are “incredibly robust inspection measures in place”. A number of cattle on the affected farm will be destroyed and a no movement ban has been imposed Credit:AP 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. Asked whether the discovery of BSE would lead to increase checks at border crossings, they said it was highly unlikely as the UK was already under a “controlled scenario” due to previous outbreaks.Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as ‘mad cow disease’ is a deadly brain condition in cattle that is caused by infection with prions.Prions are infectious proteins with abnormal shapes and once they enter the brain they cause extensive brain damage. There is no cure.
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. Sales of controversial white poppies have soared, new figures reveal, as an MP has criticised the “disingenuous” trend for appropriating the traditional poppy symbol.The Peace Pledge Union (PPU), who make and produce the white poppy, have seen a 30 per cent increase in the number being sold compared to this time last year.With one week still to go until Remembrance Sunday, which will mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, the charity have overtaken last year’s total and sold 101,660 white poppies.If the trend continues, the number of white poppies distributed this year will surpass 125,000.The PPU, whose busiest year was in 2015 when they sold 110,000 of the alternative Remembrance symbols, put the money from the sales towards their educational pacifism programmes.The charity have had increased interest from Churches and schools, selling at least 60 white poppy school packs – more than double the number of orders that they received last year.Conservative MP and former British Army officer Johnny Mercer, who last week described white poppies as “attention seeking rubbish”, said: “If people want to wear a white poppy then that is up to them.”What I don’t like is this insinuation that these campaign groups just don’t like war so therefore [they] wear the white poppy because the red poppy is a celebration of war – I think it’s extremely disingenuous.“Every soldier I know wants peace. If you want to celebrate those aims, then you could literally pick any other symbol you liked rather than using a symbol that has been used to raised money for injured soldiers and their families for a long time.” Last week, Mr Mercer took to Twitter criticising white poppies, saying: “Ignore the wearers of them. If you don’t want to wear a poppy don’t bother; they fought and died so you could choose. But don’t deliberately try and hijack it’s symbolism for your own ends.”Commenting on the increased popularity of the white poppy this year, Symon Hill, the PPU’s co-ordinator, said: “We are very pleased with the response. We have been taken aback by the number of orders – it has been a pleasant surprise.”Mr Hill believes that the number of white poppy orders have increased for a variety of reasons, including the “rise of the far-right”.“There are people who are worried about the rise of nationalistic governments and far-right politics around the world. To counteract that, some people want to assert their compassion for others”, he said.Mr Hill also thinks that this year’s popularity stems from the PPU making a “bigger effort” to “change the misunderstanding” surrounding white poppies, adding: “We are not trying to insult the Remembrance of the British Armed Forces.”White poppies in no way take money away from charities supporting veterans – white poppy wearers often make donations to charities supporting veterans or other victims of war. Local groups selling white poppies often donate the funds raised to such charities.”The new figures revealing the increased popularity of the white poppy come two weeks after St John’s Ambulance announced that they are allowing their volunteers to wear it for the first time ever.The 141-year-old first-aid organisation changed their dress code ahead of the the centenary of the First World War armistice welcoming the PPU’s alternative poppy.
A snow leopard has been shot dead at a Midlands zoo after it escaped from its enclosure. The door on the eight-year-old male big cat named Margaash was left open by a keeper, which meant the animal was able to roam the grounds of Dudley Zoo near Birmingham. Management said they had “no other option” but to shoot the snow leopard dead “in the interest of public safety”. Zoo Director Derek Grove said: “This was an incredibly sad incident and our staff are understandably heartbroken.“Euthanasia is, and always will be, a last resort. Efforts to persuade Margaash to return to his enclosure failed and as the animal was close to surrounding woodland and dark was approaching, the vet did not believe a tranquiliser dart was a safe option due to the amount of time the drug takes to work.“Safety of the public is always of paramount importance and our staff are highly experienced and rigorously trained.”The incident happened on October 23 at around 5pm after the zoo had closed and all visitors had left the site.Since then, the zoo has carried out an investigation into what happened and as a result a “stringent review” of all zoo enclosure security has also been introduced. 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 probe found the door to the enclosure was left open through “keeper error”, which has resulted in what the zoo called “disciplinary investigation” of those involved.Margaash was born at Banham Zoo in Norfolk in May 2010 and came to Dudley Zoo in September 2011, where he lived with our three-year-old female Taïga.
Big Ben, the great bell in Parliament’s Elizabeth Tower, has been silenced – apart from national occasions – for over a year due to a multimillion pound four-year renovation projectCredit:Mark Duffy/PA The traditional bongs from Big Ben are familiar to BBC Radio 4 listeners. However on Christmas Eve they might sound a little different after the BBC said it will broadcast the chimes from Rochdale Town Hall instead.Big Ben, the great bell in Parliament’s Elizabeth Tower, has been silenced – apart from national occasions – for over a year due to a multimillion pound four-year renovation project.This ‘silence of the bongs’ – much criticised when the scaffolding was first erected – has meant that the BBC has had to broadcast a recording of Big Ben’s chimes before its main news programmes on Radio 4 at 6pm and at midnight.Earlier this year Jake Berry, the Northern Powerhouse minister, came up with his own solution and urged the BBC to broadcast the chimes from the clock above Rochdale Town Hall, which has the same “Westminster chimes” as Big Ben.Now Lord Hall of Birkenhead, the BBC’s director general, has replied – and agreed to broadcast the bongs from Rochdale Town Hall before the news at 6pm on Christmas Eve.In a letter to Mr Berry sent this week and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, Lord Hall said he “really liked” the idea, adding: “I’m delighted to tell you that Radio 4 will shortly be making a special recording of the Rochdale bells – and that they will feature at a very prominent moment in our schedule, just before the 1800 News on 24 December.”I’m really pleased you thought to suggest this, and I’m hoping you’ll enjoy hearing the chimes from Rochdale ringing out around the country for Christmas Eve.” Mr Berry, who came up with his idea after a visit when he stood at the base of the tower, as the clock struck eleven and the tower bells rang, said he was delighted with the BBC’s plans. He told The Telegraph: “I applaud the BBC’s decision to move from its pre-recorded London centrism and recognise that the chimes that have sounded across Rochdale since the industrial revolution are as worth its top billing at Christmas as Big Ben.”The Northern Powerhouse is about growing the northern economy, It is about recognising the industrial and cultural contribution that the north of England makes to Great Britain.”Ian Duckworth, 70, a former Conservative mayor of Rochdale who has been campaigning for years for a wider appreciation of Rochdale’s bells, said he would toast the town hall’s chimes on Radio 4 with a glass of champagne with his wife of 39 years Christine, 60.He said it was “brilliant news” and praised The Telegraph for drawing attention to the distinctive sound of the bells. “I am really looking forward to them putting Rochdale on the map for all the best reasons. I advise anybody in the country to visit our wonderful town hall,” he said.Construction of Rochdale’s Town Hall, described as a Grade 1 listed Gothic masterpiece, began in the mid-1800s and was completed on 20 June 1887, the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. In August last year Parliamentary authorities announced that the Westminster chimes would fall silent for the next four years during repairs to the Elizabeth Tower to safeguard the future of the 158-year-old clock.Due to health and safety rules, the 13-ton bell was taken out of action to protect the hearing of construction workers on site prompting an outcry from some MPs.As part of the £61million project the Great Clock was dismantled and its parts removed for examination and repair. The four dials will be cleaned, the glass repaired, and the hands removed and refurbished 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.
Speaking from his home in the ancient city of Fez, in northern Morocco, Mohammed Zaghba claimed his son had been a “decent young man” until he fell into the company of violent Islamists in east London. He told The Sunday Telegraph: “The West is exploiting Muslim youth. There are criminals out there who are manipulating young men into doing these dreadful things, and most of them seem to be in the West, not here.” The Moroccan father of London Bridge terrorist Youssef Zaghba has blamed the West for his son’s radicalisation, saying young Muslims were being “exploited” by British hate preachers. However, evidence heard during the inquest into the deaths of those killed in the attack alleged Mr Zaghba…
President David GrangerThe Guyana Police Force (GPF) has launched an investigation into an alleged assassination plot against the President of Guyana, David Granger.This was confirmed by State Minister, Joseph Harmon today during a Post Cabinet Briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency.According to Harmon, the investigation has reached a stage where advice is now being sought from the police legal advisors; however he refrained from disclosing more information, such as the identities of the alleged perpetrators.“Since this is one of these on-going investigations, I don’t think that we’re at liberty to disclose in any greater details, the nature of that investigation,” he said.Nevertheless, he expressed full confidence in the security forces to protect the President as well as all Government officials from what he deemed as misguided persons.“It is important that we understand that while we have a very popular president, that people all around this country love him and embrace him, and that sometimes there are some people who are misguided” said Harmon.Attempts to contact the authorities in the Force for more information on the alleged plot proved futile at this juncture. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPresident’s lack of confidence in the Force evident with assassination plot CoI- JagdeoJune 20, 2017In “Crime”Action yet to be taken on COI report into alleged assassination plot – HarmonNovember 3, 2017In “latest news”Suspect in alleged assassination plot on the President nowhere to be found- PoliceApril 25, 2017In “Crime”