How Wide Receivers Are Like College Football Teams

One of my absolute favorite early “sabermetric” football studies was conducted in early 2005 by Doug Drinen, the founder of Pro-Football-Reference.com. At the time, Drinen was spending a week guest-writing football posts at the blog of a fellow professor, the economist J.C. Bradbury, and was performing innovative statistical research using the first iteration of the Pro-Football-Reference database. In those days, digitized historical football data was very difficult to come by, and Drinen’s collection — mind you, a small fraction of the current PFR database’s size — was the best on the web.As one of his experiments, Drinen made an unorthodox attempt to rank modern wide receivers relative to one another. (For what it’s worth, the conundrum of how best to rate receivers is still a problem nine years later.) His unique twist? The method he used treated receivers the same way he would, elsewhere, treat college football teams in a power-rating system such as the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) used.Drinen’s rationale was as follows:Wide Receiver is the only position where even small groups of players are actually competing against each other under nearly identical circumstances… [Two receivers] are working in the same system with the same quarterback, the same offensive line, even the same game conditions. Raw numbers probably are a good way to determine to what extent [one is better than the other]… Every season, every team has a group of 3 to 5 guys that can, for the most part, be rank-ordered by their numbers. This situation is unique to wide receivers.But how does this help us compare [receivers]? Think college football. USC didn’t play Auburn [in 2004]. So who was better? Well, you know USC was good because, among other reasons, they crushed Oklahoma, who we suspect was pretty good; they beat Texas, for example. We know Auburn was good, in part, because they beat Tennessee, Georgia, and LSU, all solid teams. While there is unfortunately no direct evidence to help us settle the Auburn/USC debate, there are piles and piles of indirect evidence. Every game played by either team, or the opponents of either team, or the opponents of those teams, serves as a tiny sliver of indirect evidence about how good USC and Auburn were. And many very intelligent people have devoted lots of their time and talent to convincing computers to assimilate all this information.So why not put this technology to work ranking wide receivers?Drinen went on to describe his system. In it, each receiver competes against his fellow teammates for receiving yardage; the degree to which one beats the other is how much he outgains him statistically (after adjusting for aging effects). When receivers change teams, they face different matchups against a different set of opponents, which help tell us about not only the receiver’s own quality, but also the relative quality of his old and new teammates. Do this for every season in NFL history, and we have a rough way to gauge how much each receiver would outgain (or be outgained by) the average NFL pass-catcher, adjusted for his strength of schedule (teammates).While doing research for my article about receiving stats and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I replicated Drinen’s “BCS rating” — right down to the aging curve — but applied it to True Receiving Yards per game (Drinen used total yards). Here were the leaders among pass catchers who started their careers in 1950 or later:You can find the full results for this rating alongside each player’s career True Receiving Yards and With or Without You (WOWY) scores, as well as the data for the TRY per game aging curve, on GitHub. read more

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Where Does Boxing Go After Mayweather

At the age of 40, after a 21-year career and a 50-0 record, Floyd Mayweather, the greatest prizefighter of his era, has walked away. He peddled the most lucrative act in the history of not only boxing, and not only sports, but entertainment.When Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao in 2015, he earned over $200 million for hardly breaking a sweat. The audience who witnessed those 36 minutes had the star power of the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, ESPYS and White House Correspondents’ Association dinner — combined. Some seats at the MGM Grand sold for $350,000 a pop. The fight obliterated records for gate and pay-per-view numbers. And why not? Mayweather had proven himself the most exciting fighter in the history of boxing — that is, until he stepped into the ring. After the opening bell sounded and the crowd had its chance to lean in toward the “Fight of the Century,” most recoiled before the first round was over, as though reacting to the stench of a spoiled carton of milk. Despite the ensuing bitterness and buyer’s remorse, only two years later, against Conor McGregor last month in Las Vegas, Mayweather was able to both earn and generate nearly as much money — although final estimates have yet to be released — fighting an opponent who had never boxed professionally.Mayweather is gone. Pacquiao had his bite at the Mayweather apple and is now intent on becoming this generation’s answer to Muhammad Ali, hanging around too long at the fair. So what now? Mayweather was a lightning rod for the sport — many loved him, more loved to hate him, and he defined the big-money barometer of boxing success. Without this conduit, where does boxing’s energy flow? We might glimpse the future this weekend over 12 rounds in Las Vegas.Two international fighters are ready to assume the mantle of the Face of Boxing. This Saturday, three weeks after the sideshow of Mayweather-McGregor, Mexican phenom Saul “Canelo” Alvarez squares off against undefeated Kazakhstani knockout artist Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin for the WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight titles in one of the most combustible matchups in decades.After Mayweather, Alvarez has established himself as the sport’s most bankable pay-per-view star, albeit with far smaller numbers. The only blemish on his record is a 2013 defeat to Mayweather himself,1 Not counting a 2006 draw to Jorge Juarez in his fifth fight. which nearly broke what was then the all-time pay-per-view record Mayweather set against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. Alvarez has fought seven times since, mainly against stiff competition, and steadily improved with each outing. Golovkin, meanwhile, is mounting his 19th-consecutive title defense.But how much will the public care? In the U.S., this fight, more than any on the horizon, will prove a bellwether for what the health and complexion of boxing look like in a post-Mayweather era. Examining the top pay-per-view fights over the last couple of decades provides some useful clues and insights into the evolution of what the public sought from boxing and, ultimately, what it got for its money. Long before Mayweather-McGregor infected the water supply, Mike Tyson single-handedly set boxing on course where spectacle would supplant substance. After serving a three-year sentence for rape at Indiana’s Plainfield Correctional Facility, the former champion emerged from prison more popular than ever, facing off against a walking punchline named Peter McNeeley, in 1995. The fight was billed with the line “He’s Back,” with Tyson playing the role of the “Jaws” shark and McNeeley the teenager wandering into the ocean with a surfboard. The resulting 89-second disqualification (McNeeley’s manager jumped into the ring) became the most lucrative fight in boxing history and Tyson was again one of the highest-earning entertainers on earth. Tyson offered a poignant assessment of the American public’s frightening fascination with him: “I can sell out Madison Square Garden masturbating.”Tyson was a box-office behemoth after that. He continued to generate big numbers the next year when he faced Frank Bruno and the 25-1 underdog Evander Holyfield, who shockingly knocked out Tyson. Their rematch broke records yet again, before Holyfield’s ear was bitten off and spat out into the public consciousness. Only Van Gogh’s might be more famous.Tyson lost his boxing license for just over a year. All he really had left in his career was offering the public his comeuppance against Lennox Lewis in 2002. It didn’t matter that Tyson was 35, more than a decade past his prime, and fighting one of boxing’s most menacing and dominant heavyweight champions. The public’s infatuation with Tyson ensured that the fight would set the pay-per-view record as the highest-grossing fight in boxing history. Only three years later, in 2005, a worn-out, broken-down Tyson quit on his stool against an Irish journeyman named Kevin McBride. Two hundred and fifty thousand people still paid to watch.In 2007, two years after Tyson retired, Mayweather had fought on pay-per-view only three times and produced underwhelming numbers, never reaching even 400,000 buys. But the public spent $136 million on Mayweather-De La Hoya, and Mayweather used the opportunity to usurp his opponent’s considerable fan base. If he couldn’t win them over with his style in the ring, he would entice them to pay even more money, exploiting his undefeated record and willingness to play the “heel” role. “Pretty Boy” Floyd became “Money” Mayweather, and he dipped his toe into “Dancing with the Stars” and the WWE to gain even more exposure and cultural purchase. It worked like a charm. A decade after fighting De La Hoya, only 11 fights later, before Mayweather was done — not including the astronomical figures yet to be crunched from the McGregor bout — there was $1.3 billion in revenue from more than 19.5 million pay-per-view buys.Mayweather tapped the post-prison Tyson business model of packaging hype and spectacle in ways that transcended the sport. But operating on a different plane during the same era, Pacquiao assumed the pre-prison Tyson business model. Pacquiao earned legions of devoted fans by becoming the most devastating fighter in the sport who would steamroll opponents with almost cartoonishly iconic knockout victories. As a result, from 2008 to 2012, there were six Pacquaio fights on pay-per-view that earned more than 1 million buys.2Against De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito and two against Juan Manuel Marquez.Which brings us to boxing’s next chapter. The story on these pages is a new one. Although Golovkin and Alvarez may be the two most exciting boxers in the sport, neither has crossed the blockbuster threshold established by Tyson. Among the 22 fights estimated to have yielded more than 1 million pay-per-view buys, only three didn’t involve the names Tyson, Mayweather or Pacquiao: De La Hoya versus Trinidad and Holyfield’s fights against George Foreman and Lewis. Canelo’s six non-Mayweather fights on pay-per-view have averaged 575,000 buys and Golovkin’s two each earned fewer than 200,000.The potential for a great fight is no guarantee that we’ll get one. Andre Ward demonstrated this last year in his pay-per-view disaster against Sergey Kovalev. Ward inherited the pound-for-pound crown from Mayweather, is sponsored by Nike’s Jordan brand, in his prime, and the last male American to win an Olympic gold medal. He challenged an undefeated knockout machine in Kovalev in one of the best 50-50 fights on paper in decades. Nobody cared and the fight generated anemic numbers. Their rematch this year produced even worse numbers.3The first fight had an estimated 165,000 pay-per-view buys; the second got 130,000.Both Golovkin and Alvarez are in their primes. They aren’t marketing this fight with dog whistles toward racism, homophobia or misogyny, or with cynical appeals to the lowest common denominator. They simply are offering what promises to be one of the best fights in years. Is that enough? In today’s America, nothing is taken seriously that doesn’t sell. And after years of being hooked on the antiheroic narrative, is America in our modern age willing to pay to watch a fight without one boxer wearing the black hat? read more

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Football Barrett and Watson have walked different paths but hope to obtain

OSU redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) runs into the endzone for a touchdown during the first overtime of the Buckeyes’ 30-27 win over Michigan on Nov. 26. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorOhio State and Clemson fans have known how dynamic the starting quarterback for their favorite teams has been since they first suited up. On Dec. 31, the nation will get to watch the playmaking ability of both OSU redshirt junior J.T. Barrett and Clemson junior Deshaun Watson.Both players have a similar skill set behind them. While Barrett and Watson have the ability to tuck it and run when the pocket collapses or carry an offense with their arms, each has their own background and past that drives them forward.Barrett was a young Longhorns fan, who had aspirations of one day playing under then-Texas coach Mack Brown in the burnt orange uniforms beloved by Austin natives. Watson, hailing from Gainesville, Georgia, is a former five-star recruit who drew interest from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Clemson and even Ohio State.Barrett was thrust into the starting role during his redshirt freshman year with the Buckeyes after then-quarterback Braxton Miller injured his shoulder before the start of the 2014 season. Watson, on the other hand, received playing time in his freshman season and was named the starter late in September 2014. Both have been discussed as possible Heisman Trophy winners in the past, and even drew some eyes this season as the best player in the nation. While Barrett has seemingly dropped out of the race following a few disappointing performances, Watson is still very much in the running. “I don’t have a vote, but if I had one, it’d be the easiest vote ever,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said on Sunday. “He represents everything you could possibly want in a Heisman. He’s made college football better in his three years.”Barrett was a front-runner for the 2014 Heisman Trophy, but broke his ankle against Michigan, which ended his season. He was forced to watch from the sideline, as Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott led OSU to an improbable national championship. Barrett had his chance to finish the game against the Wolverines this season, and capitalized for a 30-27 double overtime win. He ran for 125 yards and a score, and threw for 124 yards and an interception. Although he is just a two years removed from his injury, he said he tries not to dwell on it too often.Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) scrambles in for 4-yard touchdown run during the second half against North Carolina State at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C., on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. Clemson won, 24-17, in overtime. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)“I don’t go back to it often, if at all,” Barrett said prior to the Michigan game. “It’s one of those things, it happened, I grew from it, learned from it, got better from it, mentally more than anything. So I guess I don’t revisit that time.”For both players, their roads to starting in the Fiesta Bowl have been different. However, both have the ultimate goal of bringing home the hardware to their respective school, but each has a different reason for wanting to win.Watson has been the answer for Clemson since Tajh Boyd left for the NFL draft, but the 6-foot-3 signal caller has yet to win it all, or bring home college football’s biggest individual award. Although his long list of achievements is impressive — All-American, Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, first FBS player with 4,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in a season — the pressure to win it all still looms for Watson.Barrett, hungry for a chance to finally have his time to shine and lead his team, was asked about his accomplishments on Sunday, including being named first team all-Big Ten and Big Ten Quarterback of the Year, and how they might affect his play against Clemson.The low-voiced quarterback kept his same calm composure he’s known for when he answered, and gave an answer in his trademark blunt style. “I guess I don’t really think about it like that,” he said. “I think my main thing is to go out there and play my best. I think my best is pretty good — puts us in a place to win games.” read more

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Twin towers Madsen gives OSU sizeable advantage at center

When Kyle Madsen arrived at Ohio State, he made an interesting first impression.“He was a little bigger and had long, floppy hair,” junior David Lighty said. “When I first saw him, he looked like Shaggy [from] ‘Scooby-Doo.’”Three years removed from his first season in Columbus, however, Madsen has changed a lot. He has shed the cartoon character image and, for the first time in his career, the senior on the OSU men’s basketball team has made a consistent impact on the court.In his final season Madsen has come off the bench for the Buckeyes and averaged a career-high 12.7 minutes per game, but more importantly, he has made his minutes count. He has scored in each of the last six games, including a career-best 11 points in the Buckeyes’ win at Indiana last Wednesday.  Perhaps aiding Madsen’s emergence is the recent play of starting center Dallas Lauderdale. Like Madsen, Lighty said, Lauderdale is playing what may be the best basketball of his career.Against Indiana, Madsen and Lauderdale “came out and had terrific games,” Lighty said. “Both of them are playing at their peaks right now and that’s a really good thing for us.”As Lauderdale continues to improve, opposing teams have started to pay him more attention on the offensive end. They are forced to prepare for the specific style that he brings to the floor — a style that Madsen said is much different than his own.“Me and Dallas are really different players,” Madsen said. “Dallas is a lot more explosive blocking shots and dunking the ball. My game is a little bit more cerebral, stepping outside and shooting the shots when I’m open.”Like Madsen said, he might not provide the crowd-pleasing thunderous dunks or blocks that Lauderdale often features. However, he may have one of the best mid-range games on the team and has seemingly mastered the art of the 15-foot baseline jumper.Though he doesn’t take the shot all that often, when he does take it, it’s a virtual certainty that it is going to go in. For coach Thad Matta, it’s that consistency that makes Madsen so valuable.“You never worry with Kyle that he’s going to make the wrong read,” Matta said. “I love it to death that you know what you’re getting with him.”For a Buckeye team that is heavily dependent on its five starters, Madsen has become OSU’s most reliable option off the bench. Although his increased contribution may have come as a welcome surprise to most Buckeye fans, his teammate said it didn’t necessarily come out of nowhere.“His skills have always been there,” Lighty said. “He’s been knocking the shots down. We see him do it every day in practice and he’s doing it in games now.” read more

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Mens tennis meets untimely end in NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships

Four members of the Ohio State men’s tennis team could not make it past the NCAA Singles and Doubles championships quarterfinals this past week. Competing for the Buckeyes at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Center were senior Matt Allare, junior Chase Buchanan, redshirt freshman Peter Kobelt and freshman Blaz Rola. Allare, Buchanan and Rola all competed in both the singles and doubles tournaments, while Kobelt competed solely in doubles. The tournament began with singles action on Wednesday following the conclusion of the team championships on Tuesday. Rola, the No. 5 seed in the tournament and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Player to Watch, was the only Buckeye to advance past the first round of singles. In his first match, Rola beat Stanford’s Ryan Thacher 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the second where he beat Pepperdine’s Finn Tearney 7-5, 6-2. Rola advanced to the third round where he defeated Michigan’s Evan King 6-3, 6-0 before falling in the quarterfinals 6-3, 6-3 to Southern California’s No. 1-seeded Steve Johnson. “It’s my first time at NCAAs. I’m pretty excited about it,” Rola said after the second round of the NCAA team championship. “There is a lot more at stake here.” Both Allare and Buchanan fell in the first round of singles. Allare lost to Oklahoma’s Costin Paval 6-3, 7-5 and Buchanan fell to Southern California’s Ray Sarmiento 3-6, 7-6, 6-3. Doubles action began on Thursday when OSU doubles pairs Allare and Kobelt, and Buchanan and Rola represented the Buckeyes in the tournament. Allare and Kobelt fell in the first round to Tennessee’s Boris Conkic and John-Patrick Smith 7-6, 6-2. Buchanan and Rola advanced to the second after winning their match 6-2, 7-5 against Southern California’s Johnson and Sarmiento. “We have to bring everything we have to the table and just play our best,” Buchanan said after the fourth round of the team tournament. After advancing to the second, the duo fell to Louisville’s Austen Childs and Viktor Maksimcuk 7-6, 6-1. The Buckeyes season may now be officially over, but the team will get back to practicing for next season in mid-June, said coach Ty Tucker. read more

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No 16 Ohio State falls to Rutgers 6461 in second straight loss

Ohio State freshman forward Duane Washington (4) moves past a Michigan State defender in the game between the Buckeyes and Spartans on Jan. 5. Credit: Nick Hudak | Lantern ReporterKaleb Wesson has been a defining factor for Ohio State this season: its leading scorer, its leading rebounder, its overall leader. When he is off the court, head coach Chris Holtmann has admitted he has a different team. Holtmann had a different team in the first half of Wednesday’s game against Rutgers after Wesson recorded two fouls in the first three minutes. Ohio State was outscored 10-3 in Wesson’s absence, leading to a 16-3 run that helped lead to an 11-point deficit heading into halftime.But even when the defining factor returned in a big way in the second half, scoring 12 of Ohio State’s first 15 second-half points and 16 points overall, his absence in the first half was still felt as No. 16 Ohio State lost to Rutgers 64-61, losing back-to-back games for the first time this season and only the third time in Holtmann’s tenure as Ohio State’s head coach. After Wesson had given Ohio State the 40-38 lead with 15:21 to go in the game, freshman guard Montez Mathis hit a jumper, igniting a 10-0 run for the Scarlet Knights in the second half. But Ohio State stormed back, as layups by Ohio State freshman and Newark, New Jersey, native Luther Muhammad and senior guard C.J. Jackson helped the Buckeyes to a 7-0 run, ending a 16-3 run to take a 61-58 lead with 2:37 left in the game. But two consecutive layups by Mathis sandwiched between a turnover by junior forward Andre Wesson, one of 13 on the night for the Buckeyes, secured Rutgers’ first conference win of the season and their first win against a ranked opponent since Dec. 16, 2017 against No. 15 Seton Hall. In the second half, the Scarlet Knights shot 46.2 percent from the field while limiting Ohio State to make 11-of-30 shot attempts. Even with Wesson’s return, Ohio State seemed sluggish as the first half continued, recording nine turnovers and allowing 10 points off turnovers. The Buckeyes recorded only five turnovers in Saturday’s loss to Michigan State. Ohio State allowed 18 points off turnovers in Wednesday’s three-point loss. The Buckeyes also recorded 18 fouls while the Scarlet Knights shot 75 percent from the charity stripe. With the Buckeyes’ inability to create consistent momentum with their carelessness offensively, Rutgers went on a 16-3 run. Despite two 3-point makes by Muhammad, Rutgers took its largest lead of the day, 28-17, after a 7-0 run with 6:02 left in the half. But Rutgers scored only three points for the remainder of the half as Ohio State went on an offensive surge, hitting two 3s and bringing its deficit to 31-30 heading into halftime.After scoring two points in the first half, making only 1-of-4 attempts from the field, Wesson became that leader in the second half that Ohio State is used to, scoring the first 10 points for the Buckeyes. Rutgers junior forward Eugene Omoruyi left the game in the first half after landing awkwardly on his left leg after attempting an offensive rebound. The Scarlet Knights’ leading scorer and rebounder would not return to the game. In his homecoming game, Muhammad scored 13 points, making 5-of-11 from the field with six rebounds and three turnovers. Ohio State will try and return to its winning ways Saturday when the Buckeyes travel to Iowa City for a road game against Iowa at 2:30 p.m. read more

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How Anjem Choudary the firebrand cleric linked to a string of terror

first_imgIn December 2001, Richard Reid, a criminal who had converted to Islam while in prison, boarded an American Airlines flight from Paris bound for Miami.While the aircraft was high above the Atlantic he attempted, unsuccessfully, to detonate explosives that were packed into his shoes.He was subdued by the crew and other passengers and was later sentenced to three life terms plus 110 years without parole.It later emerged that he had attended the Finsbury Park mosque where members of al-Mahoujiroun had operated.The Ricin Plot As he faces his spell in prison, we examine the life and times of the 49-year-old father of four and explore the terror plots he is alleged to have been associated with.Choudary’s early lifeBorn in Welling, south east London, Choudary’s father was a market trader and he had an unremarkable and generally happy childhood.His parents were from Pakistan, but were not particularly devout and he had many white non-Muslim friends growing up.Bright and ambitious, Andy, as he was known to his friends, won a place at Southampton University to read medicine. For more than a decade Anjem Choudary has gleefully fulfilled the role of radical Islam’s pantomime villain, spouting a stream of controversial rhetoric deliberately designed to wind up his detractors.Jailed on Tuesday for five and a half years, Choudary has revelled in his role as Sharia Law’s agent provocateur, whether he was calling for the Queen to wear a burkha, or for drunks to receive 40 lashes.But behind the rabble rousing headlines, Choudary’s malign influence on disillusioned and impressionable young Muslim’s has had deadly consequences, with some experts claiming around half of all terror attacks carried out by Britons can be linked in some way to him or the Al-Muhajiroun organisation that he fronted. Hindu convert Dhiren Barot was arrested in 2004 and charged with plotting to blow up the New York Stock Exchange, the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington and the World Bank using limousines carrying radioactive dirty bombs.There were also plans to blow up London underground trains as they travelled under the River Thames.He was charged alongside Luton based Abdul Aziz Jalil, who was an al-Muhajiroun activist.The 7/7 Bombings Siddhartha Dhar was a close associate of ChoudaryCredit:LNP Emdadur Choudhury leaves Wesminster Magistrates’ CourtCredit:AFP/Getty Choudary became Omar Bakri Mohammed’s right hand man He fell completely under Bakri’s spell and the pair went on to found the al-Muhajiroun organisation, which campaigned to unite Muslims across the world and see the global imposition of Sharia Law.Along with a zealous group of devotees they travelled around the country setting up market stalls radicalising young Muslims and even encouraging some to go abroad and fight.In 1999 Choudary told a Telegraph investigation that: “The volunteers are trained in Britain and some of the training does involve guns and live ammunition.”Al –MuhajirounDespite its increasingly outspoken stance, Al-Muhajiroun was largely ignored until after the September 11 attacks on the United States.While the world condemned the atrocity, Bakri Mohammed helped organise a seminar at the Finsbury Park Mosque entitled: September 11 2001: A Towering Day in History.Choudary was among those who attended and the hijackers were praised as the “Magnificent 19”.With it influence quietly building within some communities, the security services began to note that young men had approached al-Muhajiroun “slightly radicalised” and had emerged a short time later “very radicalised”.Choudary became a regular in the media spouting increasingly extreme opinions.He was a fixture at all major Islamic demonstrations, able to whip up the crowd with his well rehearsed rants.But despite calls for him to be arrested for incitement  he used his training as a lawyer to ensure he remained on the right side of the increasingly stringent terrorism legislation. (Clockwise from top left) Zahid Iqbal, Mohammed Ahmed, Syed Hussain, Umar Arshad all British and from Luton, all admitted a series of terrorism offences Kamel Bourgass Earlier this year delivery driver Junead Khan from Luton was jailed for life for plotting to kill US servicemen outside an airbase in Suffolk.The 25-year-old used his job to scout for potential victims and had planned to stage a road accident outside the Lakenheath base and then attack people who came to help.At his trial the court heard he had also intended to go to Syria to join Islamic State.Detectives believe that Choudary was behind his radicalisation. Britain’s youngest convicted terrorist was just 14 when he was found to be orchestrating a plot from his bedroom in Blackburn that would have seen an Australian jihadist carry out a massacre on Anzac Day.He was jailed for life with a recommendation that he serves at least five years after a court heard that the plot was shocking in its “brutality and scope”.Inspired by Islamic State, the teenager, who cannot be named, is understood to have had contact with Choudary prior to hatching the plot.Siddhartha Dhar On Remembrance Day 2010 members of the al-Mahajiroun offshoot, Muslims Against Crusades gathered near the Royal Albert Hall to burn poppies.Throughout the two minute silence they could be heard shouting ‘British soldiers burn in hell’.The following March, Emdadur Choudhury, 26, from east London was convicted of a Public Order Offence.Despite the offence and upset caused, Choudhury was fined just £50 which he refused to pay.The fine was paid for by his good friend Anjem ChoudaryToy Car Bomb Plot Former bouncy castle salesman Siddhartha Dhar emerged as the unlikely narrator in a chilling Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) video released earlier this year in which a number of suspected spies were executed.The 32-year-old from Walthamstow, east London, changed his name to Abu Rumaysah after converting from Hinduism to Islam.A spokesman for al-Muhajiroun, he was a close associate of Choudary, who lived nearby in Walthamstow.RAF Lakenheath Plot Choudary was known for his party lifestyle at universityCredit:Solent News and Photo Agency Emdadur Choudhury leaves Wesminster Magistrates' Court Omar Khyam was convicted in connection with the Bluewater shopping centre plot Junead Khan was convicted of planning a terror attack on RAF Lakenheath Adebolajo was filmed standing behind Choudary at a Muslims Against Crusades protest in London in 2007.After their murderous attack on Drummer Rigby, Choudary persistently refused to condemn their actions and was even seen in one video saying the killers would go to paradise.Plot to Behead British Soldier Adebolajo (L) and Adebowale (R) had attended al-Muhajiroun events Dhiren Barot plotted to blow up the New York Stock Exchange The London bombings left 52 people dead and hundreds injured Michael Adebolajo was a supporter of ChoudaryCredit:BBC News Choudary is thought to have influenced Britain’s youngster convicted terrorist In December 2010 police uncovered a plot by an al-Qaeda gang to detonate a bomb at the London Stock Exchange.The men had planned to send five mail bombs to various targets including the stock exchange and the home of the then London Mayor, Boris Johnson, in the run up to Christmas.The group had also discussed carrying out a Mumbai style marauding attack.Mohammed Chowdhury, Shah Rahman,  Gurukanth Desai and Abdul Miah later pleaded guilty to preparing for acts of terrorism, while Mohammed Shahjahan, Omar Latif, Nazam Hussain, Usman Khan and Mohibur Rahman admitted other terrorism offences.Six of the nine men had been personally taught by Choudary, who later said their plans had been “taken out of context”.Poppy Burners Nine men admitted various terror charges connected to the Stock Exchange plot Dhiren Barot plotted to blow up the New York Stock Exchange While some chose to dismiss Choudary as an ludicrous figure of fun, the security services became increasingly alarmed at how many British jihadists were citing him as a direct influence.HOPE not hate, the pressure group, published a report in 2013 that suggested Choudary and his acolytes had been implicated in as many as 30 terrorist act or plots around the world.The organisation’s chief executive, Nick Lowles said: “Justice has been a long time coming. For far too long, Anjem Choudary has played a key role as a cheerleader for ISIS, and been allowed to demonise the Muslim community.”He added: “Over the last 15 years he has influenced and inspired over 100 Britons who have carried out or attempted to carry out terrorist attacks at home and abroad. Finally Choudary can now pay for his actions.”Here we examine some of the terror plots Choudary and al-Muhajiroun have been implicated in. The shoe bomber Just over a year after the murder of Drummer Rigby, a teenager who had been inspired by their actions was arrested with a knife en route to behead a soldier.Ziamani, 19, from Camberwell in south London, was turned into an Islamic extremist by Choudary after he was kicked out of his Jehovah’s Witness family home.Homeless he was offered a place to stay at a flat in Camberwell that was a meeting place for Choudary and members of his banned al-Mouhajiroun group.Anzac Day Plot Brusthom Ziamani was jailed for life for plotting to behead a soldiercenter_img The London bombings left 52 people dead and hundreds injuredCredit:Eddie Mulholland Siddhartha Dhar was a close associate of Choudary Choudary was known for his party lifestyle at university Adebolajo (L) and Adebowale (R) had attended al-Muhajiroun events (Clockwise from top left) Zahid Iqbal, Mohammed Ahmed, Syed Hussain, Umar Arshad all British and from Luton, all admitted a series of terrorism offences In April 2013 four men were jailed for plotting to blow up a Territorial Army base by sending in a remote controlled toy car packed with explosives.Zahid Iqbal, Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, Umar Arshad and Syed Farhan Hussain, all from Luton had discussed making a homemade bomb based on instructions provided in an English language jihadist magazine.The men, who had undergone physical training exercises in Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, had attended numerous al-Muhajiroun events in Luton.The Royal Wooten Bassett Plot Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. In 2006 police interrupted a plot by Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaeda to bring down seven transatlantic airliners using liquid explosives carried on board disguised as soft drinks.A total of 24 suspects were arrested in a series of raids, with seven eventually convicted of conspiracy to murder.The ringleader of the plot, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, from east London, became involved with al-Muhajiroun while studying at City University.London Stock Exchange Plot On the morning of July 7 2005 coordinated suicide attacks across the London transport network claimed the lives of 52 people and injured 700 more.The terrorists, Mohamed Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Jermaine Lindsay and Hasib Hussain had links to al-Muhajiroun.Khan had met with Omar Khyam the ringleader of the fertilizer bomb plot, who had been radicalised by Bakri.On the eve of the first anniversary of the attacks, the Choudary said Muslims in Britain were oppressed and had the right to defend themselves by any means necessary.He later refused to condemn their actions.Transatlantic Bomb Plot Terrorist Richard Dart with Choudary Nine men admitted various terror charges connected to the Stock Exchange plot On the afternoon of May 22 2013 two Muslim converts, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, attacked and killed British army sergeant Lee Rigby close to his barracks in Woolwich, southeast London.Drummer Rigby, 25, who was off duty at the time but was wearing a Help for Heroes sweatshirt, was run over by their car and then partly decapitated in the street.On December 19 2013, both men were found guilty of murder and were jailed for life with Adebolajo told he would never be released and Adebowale told he would have to serve at least 45-years.Both men converted to Islam at around the same time and after falling under the spell of al-Muhajiroun activists, who had a considerable presence around Greenwich. Michael Adebolajo was a supporter of Choudary Junead Khan  Abdulla Ahmed Ali plotted an attack on airlines bigger than 9/11 Terrorist Richard Dart with Choudary Choudary is thought to have influenced Britain's youngster convicted terrorist Brusthom Ziamani was jailed for life for plotting to behead a soldier Richard Reid In March 2004 police acting on intelligence intervened to prevent a terror plot that had been ordered by al Qaeda against a number of high profile targets across Britain, including the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London.More than 1,300 pounds of fertilizer, that can be used in bomb making was seized from a storage unit in west London.Omar Khyam, Waheed Mahood, Jawad Akbar, Anthony Garcia and Salahuddin  Amin were eventually found guilty of conspiring to cause explosions and endanger life.It later emerged that Khyam, a 24-year-old computer studies student and a key ringleader of the plot had been radicalised by Bakri.The Dirty Bomb Plot Choudary became Omar Bakri Mohammed's right hand man Abdulla Ahmed Ali plotted an attack on airlines bigger than 9/11 In 2002, Kamal Bourgass, an Algerian born asylum seeker with links to al Qaeda, began plotting to unleash a deadly chemical attack on the streets of Britain.At his flat in Wood Green in north London, the 31-year-old set up a laboratory where he planned to manufacture ricin and other deadly chemicals.It was thought his plan was to smear the chemicals on car door handles in a busy part of the capital but the plot was interrupted and he fled to Manchester before his flat was raided.Tragically when the police moved in to capture him in January 2013, Bourgass stabbed to death Detective Constable Stephen Oake.While it is not known if Choudary and Bourgass ever had any direct contact, the Algerian was a follower of al-Muhajiroun.The Fertilizer Bomb Plot Kamel Bourgass planned a ricin attack and murdered a police officer Omar Khyam was convicted in connection with the Bluewater shopping centre plot In April 2013 former BBC security guard, Richard Dart, a white Muslim convert from Dorset, was one of three men jailed for their part in a plot to bomb Royal Wooten Bassett where mourners gathered to pay their respects to British troops killed in Afghanistan.Dart, who had appeared in a documentary entitled, My Brother The Islamist, had travelled to Pakistan for training and had provided information for others looking to do the same.Dart converted to Islam in the summer of 2009 under the tutelage of Choudary and became a key figure in the al-Muhajiroun spin off Muslims against Crusades.The Murder of Lee Rigby ‘Shoe bomber’, Richard Reid, is serving life in prison in the United States But his reported fondness for drink, drugs and pretty girls meant his studies took a back seat and he failed his first year exams.One university contemporary said: “I can’t keep a straight face when I see ‘fundamentalist Muslim Anjem Choudary in the papers, attacking the British for drinking and having girlfriends.”When I knew him he liked to be called Andy, would often smoke cannabis spliffs all day, and was proud of  his ability to down a pint of cider in a couple of seconds.”Responding to the claims, Choudary said: “I admit I wasn’t always practising. I committed many mistakes in my life.”After flopping in his medical studies he subsequently switched to law and after qualifying as a solicitor became chairman of the Society of Muslim lawyers.His radicalisationBy his late 20s Choudary had begun to tire of his decadent lifestyle and had started to show more interest in religion, becoming a regular at the Mosque.Choudary’s journey from fun loving party animal to Muslim fundamentalist was swift once he met the Syrian born Islamist, Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed at a mosque in Woolwich.last_img read more

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Retired teacher 80 breaks both legs in paragliding fundraiser

first_imgA retired teacher who decided to celebrate his 80th birthday by paragliding has broken both his legs in a crash landing.Mike Pont, who has suffered from recurring skin cancer and previously lost an eye in a road accident, attempted the  ‘Geriatrics Jump’ to raise money for Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare.But after the accident, having leapt more than 165m off the South Downs, the pensioner said he was “really pleased” he managed to complete the challenge.Mr Pont, from Little Horsted, East Sussex, decided to take on the fundraiser to confront his fear of heights. He has previously had both knees replaces and also a replacement hip. Before attempting the feat, he wrote on his online fundraising page: “I have taken a break from my partial sanity to complete a paragliding jump.”As you may know I turned 80 a few months ago and not content with permanently marking myself with my first tattoo, I thought I’d risk life and limb by paragliding off from the Sussex Downs. Let’s see if my knee and hip replacements can take it.”He made the leap dressed as a Spitfire pilot as a tribute to a war-time pilot he had witnessed being killed after bailing out of his aircraft at Dallington, near Heathfield.After the crash landing, Mr Pont was rushed to the Royal Sussex Hospital County Hospital, in Brighton, and is now at home.Nigel Mason, Raystede’s chief executive, said: “He’s such a remarkable man and was so determined to do the jump, we hope he recovers soon.”We spoke to Mike’s wife and she told us that he is really pleased he managed to do the jump still, but it is such a shame he’s suffering so much now. He’s such a remarkable man and was so determined to do the jump, we hope he recovers soonNigel Mason, Raystede’s chief executivecenter_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.last_img read more

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Mother of Westminster terrorist says she is shocked by his actions and

first_imgPolice are still trying together Ajao’s movements ahead of last week’s attackCredit:Healthcliff O’Malley Police are still trying together Ajao's movements ahead of last week's attack Masood drove a hire car into groups of people on Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing PC Keith Palmer  Adrian Ajao transformed from a bright and popular teenager into a violent terrorist Adrian Ajao transformed from a bright and popular teenager into a violent terroristCredit:Julian Simmonds But he added: “Whilst I have found no evidence of an association with IS or AQ (al Qaeda), there is clearly an interest in jihad.” Despite the attack, the gates at the front of  Westminster continued to be patrolled by unarmed officers when they were reopened for the first time on Monday. Despite calls for increased security around the main vehicle uniformed officers were stationed in front of the open gates throughout the day.Armed officers were patrolling the New Palace Yard area behind the gates and two officers with guns stood inside the boundary, but security experts warned that the area remained vulnerable. The mother of Westminster terrorist, Adrian Ajao, has said she is “deeply shocked, saddened and numbed” by her son’s actions and has “shed many tears” for the victims.Speaking for the first time since last Wednesday’s outrage, Janet Ajao said she did not condone the atrocity or share the beliefs that led her eldest son to kill and injure so many innocent people.In a statement released through the Metropolitan Police, Mrs Ajao, who lives in Wales, said: “I am so deeply shocked, saddened and numbed by the actions my son has taken that have killed and injured innocent people in Westminster.”Since discovering that it was my son that was responsible I have shed many tears for the people caught up in this horrendous incident.”I wish to make it absolutely clear, so there can be no doubt, I do not condone his actions nor support the beliefs he held that led to him committing this atrocity.” After looking into his background and movements however, it was decided he did not pose a security risk.He later moved to east London, before relocating to Birmingham last year, with his new partner Rohey Hydara and their two young children.The West Midlands remains the main focus of the investigation and is where Ajao hired the car used in the attack.Two men, aged 58 and 30, who were arrested in Birmingham on suspicion of preparing for acts of terrorism remained in custody. However at other high profile points around the capital, security had been beefed up including outside Buckingham Palace, where huge bollards had been placed and yellow steel structures.A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “It’s security measures put in place but not in response to any threat. Buckingham Palace is obviously a high profile area that is going to benefit from them. There is no intelligence to suggest a threat to these spots.”Scotland Yard said counter terror detectives were still trying to understand what had triggered the father of four to launch the deadly attack. Security has been beefed up around Buckingham Palace It comes as wellwisher laid flowers outside the Houses of Parliamentcenter_img Ajao killed four people and injured a further 50 when he drove across Westminster Bridge ploughing into pedestrians.Police now believe his powerful rented Hyundai SUV reached speeds of 76 miles per hour it careered along the pavement close to the House of Parliament.After crashing the car into railings, the 52-year-old jihadist ran into the Palace of Westminster grounds where he fatally stabbed Pc Keith Palmer before being shot dead himself.   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. While Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has claimed responsibility for the attack, calling Ajao “a soldier of the Islamic State”, detectives said they could find no direct links with the group.Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the senior national coordinator for UK counter-terrorism policing, said although he had clearly been inspired by other terrorist incidents, early indications appeared to suggest he had acted alone.He said: “His attack method appears to be based on low sophistication, low tech, low cost techniques copied from other attacks, and echo the rhetoric of IS (Islamic State) leaders in terms of methodology and attacking police and civilians, but at this stage I have no evidence he discussed this with others.” Masood drove a hire car into groups of people on Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing PC Keith Palmer  Ajao, who was born into a middle class Christian family, went off the rails as a teenager and has got a string of criminal convictions for violence spanning 20-years.Former friends said he converted to Islam while in prison in 2003, but police said they can find no evidence he was radicalised while inside.He later spent time in Saudi Arabia where he taught English, leading to speculation that he may have fallen under the malign influence of extremists there. Security has been beefed up around Buckingham PalaceCredit:SWNS Unarmed officers continue to stand guard at WestminsterCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley But a former colleague in Luton, where he moved to after returning from the Middle East, insisted he was very moderate in his views and was more interested in turning his life round.Farasat Latif, a former director of an adult learning centre where Ajao worked said: “When he arrived from Saudi Arabia, he was a stranger here in Luton. He was a highly intelligent man, and he would often talk about his family and ask lots of questions about religion.”I knew about his violent past, but he honestly seemed like a genuinely reformed man. He seemed to have turned his life around, he was cleaning it up. Religion wasn’t his main interests, and when it was it was just a lot of basic questions.” Despite this, it is understood Ajao came to the attention of the security services in 2011, when MI5 was investigating a plot to blow up a Territorial Army base using a remote controlled car. Unarmed officers continue to stand guard at Westminster It comes as wellwisher laid flowers outside the Houses of ParliamentCredit:CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty Imageslast_img read more

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Clean eating is dangerous and unhealthy TVs Dr Christian claims

first_imgThe “clean eating” fad is more dangerous for children than fizzy drinks, a health guru has claimed. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow's website Goop promotes clean eating Dr Christian Jessen said that such doctrines, promoted by celebrities such as the actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop, are “absolute rubbish”.  However, they do not realise the dangers of “wellness” promoting brands – and may even follow the clean… He said that the wellness industry is particularly “insidious” because it masquerades as promoting a healthy lifestyle when in fact it does the opposite. center_img Credit: Ian West/PA Wire Dr Jessen, who is best known for presenting the television shows Embarrassing Bodies and Supersize vs Superskinny, said that parents at least know fizzy drinks, chocolate and sweets are unhealthy. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop promotes clean eatinglast_img read more

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Helen Mirren admits LOreal moisturiser probably does f all

first_imgShe is the face of L’Oreal’s ‘Age Perfect’ moisturiser range, and was signed as a brand spokeswoman in 2014 after their consumer research found she was perceived as “genuine, intelligent and glamorous, with looks that seem only to improve with the passing of time”. Helen Mirren attends the Closing Ceremony of the 57th Monte Carlo TV Festival on June 20 “As a 30-year-old, I used to look at that and think, what the f— are you talking about? It was ridiculous. P—– me off majorly. Advertisers are only just coming out of that, and it’s taken them a long time.”Speaking at the Cannes event, Dame Helen also reflected on her career.“I often feel I’ve lost my way in my aspiration to be an artist,” she said in a speech reported by Campaign magazine. Fans who dream of seeing Dame Helen as a female James Bond will be disappointed. “I’m too old,” she said.“In my youth, that would have been great, of course. But that time was different; we could never even have imagined a woman playing that role.”A L’Oreal spokesman was not available for comment. Helen Mirren attends the Closing Ceremony of the 57th Monte Carlo TV Festival on June 20Credit:Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images Asked if she felt she had sold out, Dame Helen replied: “Yes, I do in many ways. But, I may add, blissfully and quite happily.” “Of course, it’s wonderful to have success, and the thing I love most about it is economic freedom. Coming from a background where there was no money – and if you didn’t work, there was nothing to live on – to have bought my own house and to have never been in debt or on welfare is something I feel proud of.“But there’s a part of me that thinks I should have been a struggling artist.”center_img I’m an eternal optimist – I know that when I put my moisturiser on it probably does f— allHelen Mirren She describes herself as a long-time fan of the French brand, and said: “It used to drive me crazy that the ads promoting skin products were using pictures of 15- and 16-year-old girls. It could go down as her Gerald Ratner moment. Dame Helen Mirren, face of the skincare brand L’Oreal, has confided that using moisturiser “probably does f— all”.The Oscar-winning actress made her comments while sitting on a L’Oreal panel in the South of France, where she was appearing in her capacity as brand ambassador.“I’m not setting standards for others. All I can do is be who I am. I’ve always loved make-up,” she said.“I’m an eternal optimist – I know that when I put my moisturiser on it probably does f— all, but it just makes me feel better. I’ve always said to L’Oreal as well that I will only do what makes me feel better.” The reaction of L’Oreal executives at the event is not recorded.Her remarks drew comparison with the infamous 1991 after-dinner speech by Gerald Ratner, who sent his eponymous jewellery firm into a spiral of decline when he said of its stock: “People say, ‘How can you sell this for such a low price?’ I say, ‘Because it’s total crap.’”Dame Helen, 72, is the oldest of the French brand’s celebrity ambassadors and has insisted that the advertisements featuring her are not digitally retouched to erase wrinkles. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Prawns with shy personalities do better in the battle for survival

“The reasons for this aren’t clear, but it’s possible that bolder prawns have a higher urge to go on and continue exploring.”We witnessed prawns fighting over food, and it could be that some use a bold exploration strategy because they favour searching for new food over competing with stronger rivals.”Boldness was tested by repeatedly putting prawns into an unfamiliar tank and seeing how much they explored and ventured into the middle.Dr Tom Houslay, of the University of Exeter, said the study could help scientists understand why members of one species – and even the prawns in a single rockpool – have different personalities. We found that the shyer prawns were better at controlling a food sourceDaniel Maskrey, first author of the study “Some individuals are more successful at monopolising food, while others are more willing to engage in potentially risky exploration,” he said. Scientists studied rockpool prawns and found some were consistently shy, while others were bolder “In different conditions and situations, either of these strategies might pay off – which might explain why evolution has not led to a single personality type.”The rockpools where these prawns live change with each high tide and having such variation among prawns could be crucial when it comes to adapting to these and other changes.”The study, Who dares doesn’t always win: risk-averse rockpool prawns are better at controlling a limited resource, is published in the journal Animal Behaviour. Prawns have personalities and cautious crustaceans do better in the battle for food, new research suggests.Scientists studied rockpool prawns and found some were consistently shy, while others were bolder.But this bravery may come at a cost – as the risk-takers tended to do worse than other prawns when competing for food.”We found that the shyer prawns were better at controlling a food source,” said first author Daniel Maskrey, formerly of the University of Exeter but now at the University of Liverpool.”This means that when they found food and possible rivals were nearby, they stayed and fed for longer than bolder prawns. Scientists studied rockpool prawns and found some were consistently shy, while others were bolderCredit:Nicky Dobson/University of Exeter/PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Student crowdfunds £65k online to fund Harvard degree course

Isaiah Wellington Lynn during a visit to California   This week he has been invited to a ceremony, entitled Rare Rising Stars, in the House of Commons to celebrate the UK’s top 10 black students. And this October he returns to UCL to complete his final year.Kelly Hart, head of sixth form at St Edward’s Church of England Academy in Romford, remembered a teenage Wellington Lynn as a “very mature kind-hearted young man.” She said: “He was highly aspirational. He had vigour and determination that he was going to make a success of his life.“He always did it with a moral purpose. He was an all-round well rounded young man. He wanted to go to the best college to get the best opportunities to succeed in life. He would do whatever he could to overcome whatever obstacles were in his way.” She ensured he had a nutritious diet, waiting at the local supermarket for cut-price organic food at the end of the day. She got him to write a diary each day, which he admitted was so “annoying” he cried and broke his pens. However, he now appreciated it “as extremely important and pertinent to give me the confidence that I do have the potential to achieve anything.“She instilled in me these lessons that gave me the confidence so that I knew that when my scholarship [for Harvard] fell through, I could explore other ways of financing it.”The #StratfordtoHarvard website offered donors the chance to give anything from £1 to £10,000; £50 provided access to his YouTube channel, £1,000 secured a speaking engagement and £10,000 a basketball coaching session for up to 10 people, two week’s unpaid work experience and a photo diary of his time at Harvard.He admitted he had thrown himself full tilt into Harvard life, joining a “crazy amount of clubs”, played basketball for his college and set up his “social impact” venture as well as earning top grades in his medical anthropology and computer science studies.“My year at Harvard exceeded my expectations. More than anything it showed me what can be possible. There was a mindset at Harvard that if you have an idea, why not do it right now rather than rely on your future to let it happen,” said Wellington Lynn.He is currently on a three-month fellowship with the West Coast venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), which offers top college students internships at tech start-up firms in Silicon Valley. Some 31,000 competed for the 140 internships. An inner-city student crowdfunded £65,000 to pay for his degree course at Harvard, one of the world’s top five universities.Isaiah Wellington Lynn, who was brought up in a lone parent family in east London, graduated this summer and has now been selected from 31,000 applicants to be one of just 140 interns on a prestigious Silicon Valley scheme aimed at creating tech entrepreneurs of the future.He was forced to crowdfund the fees for the elite and highly-selective year-long Harvard visiting undergraduate programme after a charity scholarship fell through last summer when he was in the second year of his anthropology degree at University College London (UCL).After an intensive four-month selection process to win the place at Harvard, he refused to accept defeat and set up a website, #StratfordtoHarvard, and YouTube channel. He raised the £65,000 in a month from 700 donors across the UK, USA, Spain, Canada, Jamaica and Uganda.“Coming from a humble income, lone parent family, growing up in inner-city London could have stopped me reaching some of my aspirations. But it has not,” said Wellington Lynn. “Instead it has motivated me to explore just how far I can go with limited resources.“I have been brought up to believe that if someone told me that I could only achieve a certain grade, I would think why couldn’t I achieve the top grade. Why couldn’t I achieve an A-star.“I always had that mindset that was born out of my mum’s willingness to show me what the world had to offer outside of my social background and the small confines of Stratford.” Having graduated from Harvard with a 3.9 out of 4 score – equivalent to all As – his ambition is to run a venture capital firm investing in “social impact” projects and a foundation supporting children from “overlooked” backgrounds similar to his own.He has already raised $10,000 business sponsorship to set up the foundation with a friend from Harvard called Redefining Boundaries Fellowships. It is aimed at helping “dynamic, committed and intelligent” young “black techies” into the industry. Twelve 12 young fellows have already been selected to benefit.A talented basketball player previously selected for the England squad, Wellington Lynn, 23, was brought up in the east London borough of Newham, where he attended a primary school in Mile End and then St Edward’s Church of England secondary school in Romford.At his first primary school he said he was bullied “a lot” by fellow pupils and by teachers whom he claimed swore at him. He was so distressed he didn’t want to go to school so his mother moved him to another primary where he flourished. Instead of his predicted test scores of 3,3,4, he went on to get three top grade 5s at age 11.He said he owed his resilience and determination to his mother Novlette. “Even though we came from a low socio-economic background and she was a single parent, she made sure I had a ‘middle-class’ upbringing,” said Wellington Lynn.“She took me to museums, theatres and art galleries. I did different sports, basketball, football, cricket and I competed in swimming galas. I had French, German and drama classes, summer schools and similar at Easter and in the winter. I was never confined to my house.“When I got home from school and wanted to play on the Xbox or Playstation, my mother would ask me to read a book before I could so. By the time I had read the book for an hour, I was so engrossed I didn’t play on the game.” Isaiah Wellington Lynn during a visit to California   Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Increase use of stop and search to beat rising gang violence says

Police chiefs should dramatically increase the use of controversial stop and search power to tackle rising gang violence, former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith demanded last night.Mr Duncan Smith’s comments came as his think-tank released a new report warning that drug dealers operating “with impunity” across the country are to blame for a “toxic cycle of serious violence”, the Mail reported.The 148-page document, which is likely to increase the pressure on the government to get a handle on violent crime, comes just days after the number of killings in London this year reached 100.It will put pressure on London Mayor Sadiq Khan, but also the Prime Minister, who as Home Secretary led moves to reduce the use of police search powers, warning that they were being misused against ethnic minorities, who are up to seven times more likely to be targeted. But, the report, by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), dismisses the “racial disparity” and calls for additional funding for community policing as well as a new order to allow convicted gang leaders to be stopped and searched when they are released from prison, even if there is no evidence against them. Mr Duncan Smith, the CSJ’s chairman and founder, told the Daily Mail: “Stop and search does two things. It tells the gangs they cannot move their guns and drugs around, making their lives much more difficult. 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. “People claim, “it’s not fair”, but who are the communities affected by this the most? It’s the poorest communities in our country. It means shops close, people don’t go on the street, kids who want nothing to do with the gang feel threatened.”CSJ chief executive Andy Cook added: “If a gun were fired every day in rural Oxfordshire or leafy Surrey, every police resource in the country would be focused on bringing the violence to an end.” Among its finding the report details how a gun is fired illegally in London every six to nine hours, almost half of residents in the capital say there are “no-go areas” and that nearly three-quarters support police stop and searches. read more

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Silk stockings and bath oils will not be funded by NHS under

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. Silk stockings and bath oils will no longer be funded by the NHS under plans to save £17 million a year.The proposed clampdown follows measures to stop GPs prescribing homeopathy and gluten-free pizzas, cakes and biscuits, in a bid to cut spending on items that are ineffective or deemed a low priority.Simon Stevens, head of the NHS said the measures would make taxpayers’ money go further and drive savings back into frontline care.He said the NHS should not fund any items which had been found to be ineffective, or where there are safer or cheaper alternatives.Currently, the health service spends more than £15m a year on moisturising bath and shower preparations for those with skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema.In addition, more than £1.2m a year is spent on silk garments – such as stockings, underwear and nightwear – for those with the same conditions.  The funds are also spent on silk baby bodysuits, infant leggings, children’s pyjamas, gloves and tubular sleeves.Health officials will consult on ending funding for such items, along with five other types of treatment identified as low priority or having limited clinical or cost-effectiveness. These include drugs for high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms. Together, they cost the NHS more than £68 million a year.Mr Stevens said: “The NHS is one of the most efficient health services in the world but, as part of the long term plan for the NHS, we’re determined to make taxpayers’ money go further and drive savings back into frontline care. It is essential the NHS should not be paying for anything which has been proven to be ineffective or where there are safer or cheaper alternatives.”Research last year by Nottingham University found wearing silk clothing did not help children suffering from moderate to severe eczema.  And a study by Southampton University found no clinical evidence to support the use of emollient bath additives for standard management of the condition in childhood.NHS England is also issuing guidance to GPs on new regulations that come in to force next week, which mean they should no longer prescribe gluten-free pizzas, cakes or biscuits.  Family doctors will be able to issue prescriptions for gluten-free bread and baking mixes.The proposed new restrictions cover the blood pressure drug aliskiren, amiodarone, for abnormal heart rhythms, dronedarone – used to treat atrial fibrillation, minocycline – used to treat acne, blood glucose testing strips, and particular types of needles for pre-filled and reusable insulin pens. Consultation on the proposals runs until the end of February. read more

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Warning of rising drug prices as Britain prepares for nodeal Brexit

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. Drug firms are pushing up their prices amid preparations for a no-deal Brexit, as the health secretary charters a plane to airlift urgent medication to the UK.Pharmacies warned that drugs prices are soaring, amid attempts to build up a stockpile ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU.They highlighted spiralling prices for a number of drugs, some of which have seen prices hiked six-fold in a matter of months, as the industry prepares for the growing risk of a no-deal Brexit.They include medication for psychosis, which has seen a rise from 62 pence a pack to £3.16 in just six months, and some types of prescription painkillers, which have gone from £2.08 to £13.70 since March.The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee – which represents pharmacists – warned of a surge in the number of drugs which were now being reimbursed at special rates, above the standard national tariff, amid growing shortages.In a letter to Dr Sarah Wollaston, chairman of the Commons health committee, the chief executive of the committee, raised particular concern about contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit.Warning of rising numbers of generic drugs which are no longer available at standard prices, Simon Dukes said stockpiling, Brexit planning and attempts to make contingency plans were among the factors which could be causing the surge.The government has told manufacturers of both branded and generic drugs to ensure that six weeks’ worth of supplies have been built up to ensure continuity in the event of a no-deal Brexit.But Mr Dukes said: “there are question marks about whether this will be enough to provide continuity of supply to patients”.It comes as Matt Hancock announced that he has charterered a dedicated NHS aeroplane to ferry short-life treatments – like isotopes for cancer treatment – in case of a chaotic exit from the EU.  Under the contract, the NHS would have access to two flights bringing medical supplies from the Netherlands, Belgium and France to either Birmingham or Coventry airport.Ironically it would fly out of Maastricht, the Dutch city associated with the early 1990s treaty that brought closer ties with Europe.Earlier this week Mr Hancock said that no-deal planning had made him “the largest buyer of fridges in the world”, in order to provide short-term refrigeration of key drugs and other products.Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association, which represents major pharmacies, said: “There is a lot of concern from across the sector about the impact of shortages. If wholesalers, pharmacists or patients start to stockpile that does jeopardise the supply, which does push prices up.”And he said any weakening of the pound could make the UK a less attractive market for drugs, with other countries posing a more profitable option for traders.A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We have not seen any evidence of price rises in generic medicines linked to Brexit preparations –  the UK overall has some of the lowest generic prices in Europe. “No company should exploit the NHS and if there is evidence of any wrongdoing we will refer them to the Competition and Markets Authority for further investigation.“Our number one priority is to ensure patients continue to have access to medicines as we exit the EU and we are working with all sectors of the supply chain to ensure this happens.” read more

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Police will not bring charges after womans death following Cornish Obby Oss

Laura Smallwood died in hospital after she was injured during the eventCredit:Facebook “Police would like to thank the public for their assistance throughout this investigation.”Mrs Smallwood’s death has now been referred to the Cornwall coroner.Emergency services were called at about 7.35pm on May 1, after she collapsed and became unresponsive.Mrs Smallwood, a mother-of-two from Padstow, was resuscitated and airlifted to Derriford Hospital with a serious neck injury.She died in hospital the following Saturday morning. The traditional May Day event attracts thousands of visitors to Cornwall every year.  A traditional gyrating dance is performed to the sound of drums as locals sing folk songs and a “Teazer” leads a parade.The celebrations, which run for several hours, see residents split into two teams – one following a red-ribboned Oss and the other a blue one. It is not clear how the custom originated.  Some suggest it was an ancient fertility rite, others that it was to deter a French invasion centuries ago.Participants are accompanied by drummers and triangle and accordion players.Residents have admitted the event can attract rowdy and  aggressive behaviour.Police previously investigated reports that Mrs Smallwood may have been struck by the Blue Ribbon Obby Oss, which was examined and returned to its owners with the Health and Safety Executive informed. A police force has announced it would bring no criminal charges following the death of a Cornish woman who was injured during traditional May Day celebrations.Laura Smallwood, 34, suffered a severe neck injury after hundreds of people had gathered in the streets of Padstow to mark the centuries-old Obby Oss event.Devon and Cornwall Police said no-one would be charged in relation to her death, after investigating reports she had been assaulted earlier that evening, or had been struck by a person wearing the traditional Obby Oss horse costume.A force spokesperson said: “Officers have decided that there would be no criminal charges brought against any person linked to Laura’s death.”Laura’s family are aware of this decision and have worked closely with detectives throughout the investigation. Laura Smallwood died in hospital after she was injured during the event Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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VIP sex abuse fantasist put down  deposit for a Ford Mustang day

Mr Badenoch said: “At this time you were indebted, you had decided you would buy yourself a Ford Mustang, you had decided you would go for the convertible option. How were you going to pay the deposit?” Convertible Ford Mustang The court heard that Mr Beech went into his local car dealership and put a £10,000 deposit down on a convertible Ford Mustang – similar to this model.Credit:Stuart G W Price The alleged VIP sex abuse fantasist known as Nick, put down a £10,000 deposit for a Ford Mustang car the day after his criminal injuries compensation payment had been confirmed, a court has heard.Carl Beech, 51, applied for a publicly funded payout after going to Wiltshire Police in 2012 claiming to have been raped, tortured and abused by a group of high profile figures including politicians military figures and members of the intelligence services.The jury at Newcastle Crown Court, where Beech is on trial accused of 12 counts of perverting the course and one count of fraud in relation to the payment, was told that he was in considerable debt when he applied to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).In December 2014, Beech complained to officials that he had still not received any money, but on 6 March 2015 a payment of £22,000 was approved by officials.Tony Badenoch QC, prosecuting said it was around this time that Mr Beech had been preparing to make a “significant purchase” in the shape of a white Ford Mustang convertible at a cost of £34,035. Beech replied: “If I had received anything from the CICA I could have used that but I would have paid it anyway.”The day after the payment was approved, Mr Beech went into his local dealership and put a £10,000 deposit down on the car.Mr Badenoch went on: “The CICA provided you with money and you spent £10,000 on a Ford Mustang deposit.”Earlier Beech told the court that when he was a child he had been taken to Paris on board a privately chartered Boeing 747, where he was abused by men he was not willing to name.Asked to elaborate on the claim, he said: “I have not reported that so I do not think I should say in open court.”Asked who else was on the aircraft, he said: “I do not recall.”Mr Badenoch said: “You do not recall because you are making it up as you go along aren’t you Mr Beech?”He replied: “No.”Mr Beech denies all the charges and the trial continues. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Duo to stand trial in High Court for Carpenters murder

Twenty-eight-year-old Afabian Yankana and Akeem Yamar who were charged with the murder of Carpenter, Raul Rodriguez were on Monday committed to stand trial in the High Court.Afabian Yankana in white and Akeem Yamar in greenThe duo were committed by City Magistrate Judy Latchman who found the evidence presented to the Court by Prosecutor Shawn Gonsalves sufficient.As such, the two accused were told that a Prima Facie case was made out against them for the capital offence of murder.Reports are that on the day of his demise, in January of 2017, Rodriguez, a late father of three and resident of 64 Leopold Street, Georgetown, reportedly had an altercation with his attackers and was stabbed to his chest.After being stabbed, Rodrigues had reportedly run from his attackers, but subsequently collapsed in front of Demico House.He was picked up and rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC), where he was pronounced dead on arrival.Yankana, a bus conductor, was arrested by police shortly after and charged while Yamar was later arrested and similarly charged. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedDuo arraigned for murder of carpenterAugust 16, 2017In “Court”Ex-Cop to face High Court trial for alleged murder of wifeJanuary 2, 2019In “Court”Teenage murder suspect stabbed during brawl at Magistrates’ CourtsFebruary 7, 2017In “Court” read more

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School dropout arraigned with murder of Whim labourer

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related14-year-old arraigned for friend’s murderJuly 2, 2019In “Court”High drama outside Court as 15-year-old girl charged with murderMay 20, 2016In “Court”Poisoning of key witness: Family bracing for the worst as teen criticalJuly 22, 2017In “Crime” The teenager who was accused of murdering 29-year-old during a drinking spree at Whim Village, Corentyne Berbice on Saturday last was arraigned with the heinous crime.The 15-year-old made his appearance at the Springlands Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday and was not required to plead to the indictable charge.  He was remanded to prison by Magistrate Rabindranauth Singh.Murdered, Desmond SewdatIt was reported that the now dead man and the teenager were imbibing when an argument ensued between them. This quickly escalated into a scuffle.However, sometime after, Dewdat was discovered lying motionless with a single stab wound to his stomach.He was picked up and rushed to the Port Mourant Hospital but he succumbed to his injuries on his way.The teenager was arrested and later charged for the murder. The now dead man and the teenager were said to be friends. read more

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