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The Case For Russell Westbrook MVP

James42.4 PER 100 POSSESSIONS PLAYERCRUNCH TIMENET RATINGASSIST %TS %USAGE %PIE 1’16-’17Westbrook97.844.815.114.721.5 Russell Westbrook is the MVP. You are likely already familiar with Westbrook’s claim to the award because every conversation that suggests someone else is the MVP must do the work of explaining why it is not, obviously, Westbrook.Westbrook’s case for MVP is self-evident. His season-long triple-double is a historic accomplishment, and its grandeur only grows when adjusted to account for the way the game is played today. Here are the top seasons for the triple-double stats sorted by John Hollinger’s Versatility Index, which shows how good players are at those three metrics, combined1Versatility Index is the geometric mean of points, rebounds and assists per 100 possessions., which adjusts for pace: DeAndre Jordan105+3.21.968.818.723.4 Kawhi Leonard137+24.023.055.440.428.5 PLAYEROFF PASSES FROM PLAYEROTHER SHOTSDIFFOFF PASSES FROM PLAYEROTHER SHOTSDIFF 2-PT SHOT PERCENTAGE3-PT SHOT PERCENTAGE Isaiah Thomas163+18.225.065.446.026.4 4’14-’15Westbrook95.741.110.612.517.6 Stephen Curry90+10.827.361.836.123.3 Nevertheless, clucking about the righteousness of one MVP candidate over another inevitably returns to an epistemological debate about “value.” And there are a variety of cases to be made for players who had less outstanding, but perhaps more “valuable,” seasons than Westbrook did. James Harden moved to point guard and turned in a season that was two parts Steve Nash, one part Corey Maggette, and his Houston Rockets have faint yet plausible finals hopes. LeBron James had the best statistical season of his career at age 32, in his 14th year in the league. And Kawhi Leonard squeezed 61 wins out of a depleted San Antonio Spurs roster on which Dewayne Dedmon has a reasonable claim to being the second-best player. Each of those players’ teams has a far greater chance than Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder of making the finals and winning a championship.But what if a player is uniquely valuable when the stakes are highest? We’ve seen an example of this before: LeBron James during the 2015 Finals. During that series, James took two games against the ascendent Warriors basically all by himself. James led all players in points, rebounds and assists, and did so while carrying a true shooting percentage of 47.7 and a usage percentage of 39.3. It was a marvelous series for James despite his poor efficiency, in part because his efficiency remained basically in proportion to what’s expected of the most efficient stars despite an altogether absurd workload.Russell Westbrook has done over 82 games what James did for six. He has scrambled our sense of what game-altering dominance looks like in the age of advanced stats, and he’s done it largely without the benefit of the most important tool of the modern game: reliable 3-point shooting, from himself or his team. Westbrook’s success this season has argued convincingly that top-end efficiency isn’t an absolute requirement for success in today’s NBA, so long as you can make up for a dip in quality with sheer force of quantity.Efficiency is not a vacuumAmong a certain part of the advanced stats-minded crowd, Westbrook is easy to dismiss as an outdated, high-usage, low-efficiency volume shooter in an NBA that has moved beyond ball hogs. This makes sense if you view the split between Westbrook and high-efficiency players like Harden as a proxy battle in some broader war for the aesthetics of basketball. On one side you have the game played as a brutal, Pat Riley-style combat sport, and on the other the spread-’em-out game of the Rockets or Warriors. But Westbrook is defying the norms of efficiency, too. He’s just doing it in his own way.Take a look at this chart showing usage percentage and true shooting percentage, which originally ran in an article by my colleague Ben Morris, in which he made the case for Steph Curry as the MVP: STATS DURING CRUNCH TIME Source: NBA.com DeMar DeRozan139+16.128.854.842.926.1 Russell Westbrook148 min+21.758.3%56.9%62.3%40.3 When a Westbrook pass leads to a 2-point shot, his teammates are shooting 58.2 percent; when they take 2-pointers not directly following a pass from Westbrook, they shoot 48.6 percent. This is a massive difference, but also a logical one: Players shoot better when their point guard sets them up for shots.Things go downhill quickly once OKC ventures out beyond the arc. There, Westbrook passes lead to makes on only 33 percent of attempts; without Westbrook passing to them, his teammates make 31.4 percent. Both numbers are staggeringly bad. The Thunder simply don’t have players who can shoot NBA 3-pointers. Versatility index is the geometric mean of points, rebounds and assists (per 100 possessions).Source: basketball-reference.com 34’61-’62Robertson124.926.710.89.914.2 How teammates shoot after passes from their stars Curry40.0 Leonard41.4 Which stars have teammates who can shoot? Curry58.555.5+3.041.835.6+6.2 LeBron James126+15.140.667.332.124.6 Top NBA players by involvement during crunch time 5’04-’05Garnett89.131.419.18.016.9 The best pace-adjusted triple-double seasons James55.152.3+2.840.937.2+3.7 SEASONPLAYERPOSS. PER GAMEPTSREBOUNDSASSISTSVERSATILITY INDEX James Harden133-3.040.055.651.021.5 In general, the more possessions a player uses,2Plays on which a player takes a shot, draws a shooting foul or commits a turnover. the less efficient his personal offense becomes. You can see the frontier of exceptional player seasons forming a rough diagonal, sloping down from Kevin Durant’s 2016-17 in the upper left to Westbrook’s in the lower right. Generally, that’s the frontier of achievement for maximizing efficiency and usage, and anything that breaks past the outer rim is in the running for the best season in NBA history. Curry’s 2015-16 was more or less unprecedented, but was followed up quickly by Isaiah Thomas and Harden this season, each putting up absurd efficiency numbers with what have traditionally been extremely high usage rates. Then there’s Russell Westbrook.While a glance at the advanced stats (55.4 true shooting; 41.7 usage percentage) will give you the gist of the relationship — less efficient, more usage — they mask just how far out of the norm Westbrook has been. He has bucked the trend that’s afflicted super-high-usage NBA players for as long as the league has existed: Westbrook’s usage has exploded … and his efficiency hasn’t really changed. As a challenge to the basic makeup of NBA efficiency trends, Westbrook’s season is just as much of an aberration as Curry’s 2015-16.This is the final entry in our series making the case for five NBA MVP candidates. We’ve also made the cases for James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Lebron James and Stephen Curry. Also, check out our NBA predictions.That said, just because Westbrook’s season has been impressive does not necessarily make it useful or valuable. And while it’s undeniably hard to do what Westbrook has done, it’s been an open question how much value there is in his tirelessly filling up the box score while also eating up possessions. Players such as Curry and Harden, who shake up the ratio by adding efficiency to a standard-issue star player workload, are far easier to evaluate. But a player who can take on limitless responsibility with seeming immunity to defensive attention is a dangerous tool in situations where good possessions are hard to come by, even if he isn’t the most efficient guy on the floor. We’ve seen Westbrook deliver in those situations this season.An unstoppable, moderately efficient forceWestbrook has been laboring under LeBron-esque playoff demands all season long as the late-game anchor for a severely offensively handicapped team.Westbrook’s crunch-time numbers this season are comical. We’ll define “crunch time” here as the last five minutes of a game (or overtime) in which neither team has a lead greater than five points. In those situations, Westbrook has been unstoppable. His already absurd usage percentage jumps from “just” 41.7 to 62.3. (Sixty-two point three!!!)Something else interesting happens to Westbrook during crunch time: As his usage goes up, so does his efficiency. His true shooting percentage creeps up to 56.9, and his assist percentage goes to 58.3. While he’s on the court in crunch time, the Thunder is outscoring opponents by 21.7 points per 100 possessions (up from +12.5 overall). In fact, Westbrook’s work rate late in games is so prolific that he produces as much value as entire teams. No, really.We know this thanks to a little-noticed stat on the NBA’s stats site called Player Impact Estimate, or PIE. PIE is the share of all box score activity in a game (so points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks) with deductions for negative stats (turnovers, missed shots, personal fouls). The average for a player should be about 103Since there are 10 players on the court., and the average for a team about 50.4Since each team makes up half the players. It’s an especially useful stat when used in tandem with net rating, because you can then see both how well a player is doing individually (the PIE rating) as well as how well the team is performing overall (the net rating).5Net rating is just a team’s scoring differential per 100 possessions.Anyway, Westbrook’s PIE in crunch time is 40.3, meaning he accounts for about 40 percent of both teams’ combined activity all on his own — a greater share of game stats in his clutch minutes than five teams6The Pistons, Heat, Lakers, Nets and Suns. collect as a whole. The Thunder as a team has a 61.4 PIE in crunch time, fourth in the league, which tracks more or less with its 19.9 net rating, which ranks second overall. Source: NBA.com Westbrook30.9% 2’16-’17Harden100.038.410.714.818.3 3’15-’16Westbrook96.733.911.315.118.0 Harden38.3 Source: NBA.com PLAYERTEAMMATES’ WIDE-OPEN 3-PT % Westbrook58.2%48.6%+9.633.1%31.4%+1.7 Harden62.652.5+10.134.037.6-3.6 Jimmy Butler141+12.831.563.041.329.4 A player totally unfettered from the effect of a defense is dangerous all game long, but a particular nightmare late in games.Team composition mattersOK, so Westbrook can get his whenever he wants to get his. No one really doubts this. But Westbrook’s ability to get his teammates quality shots is a lingering question because Westbrook is not Curry, who distorts the parameters of the game without even touching the ball. Curry’s teammates find better shots and make more of them without Curry ever having to generate a traditional assist. But Westbrook’s teammates … let’s just say not even Curry could charm Andre Roberson into hitting his wide-open 3s.The Thunder roster is not quite as bereft of talent as it’s sometimes made out to be — Steven Adams is a very good center, and Enes Kanter, Victor Oladipo and a few young players like Domas Sabonis all have their uses. But the team’s players are the worst long-range shooters in the league.This is made clear when we separate out the team’s doomed long range shots. Anthony Davis163-2.78.351.736.124.8 Leonard47.249.6-2.443.838.3+5.5 … As a team, the Thunder were a bit above average at creating wide-open 3s (meaning the nearest defender was six or more feet away). Getting open 3s is good! Except, they shot 32.4 percent on those wide-open looks, good for dead last in the league. Westbrook himself shot 40 percent, which means the rest of the team shot 30.9 percent. Again, on wide-open 3s. No defender within six feet. Thirty point nine percent. A tabletop cactus could shoot 30 percent with the defense out to lunch.So while Westbrook does not have as profound an effect on his teammates’ shooting as his peers, this is hard to pin on Westbrook himself when he’s holding the bag for an Oklahoma City front office running back the ’93 Knicks.“Stat hogging” is not a phenomenonOne final line of suspicion about Westbrook’s stat line revolves around the notion that the numbers are inflated by methods unnatural to the game. One of those allegations: that Westbrook’s teammates let him collect rebounds to help stuff the stat sheets.But it’s not that simple. For one thing, stars have always received preferential treatment on cheap rebounds. There’s an old story about Rockets players getting gassed up when Yao Ming finally began to yap at teammates who tried to scoot in on missed free throw rebounds — generally the easiest to collect — because those are reserved for the star big man, and the NBA runs on hierarchy. And Kevin Love made a habit of grabbing the ball at the ends of quarters, just after the buzzer sounded, and doing a quick turn, point and grin in the direction of the scorer’s table trying to get credit for the board.7These anecdotes came from Bill Simmons interviews that are lost to history after Grantland was shut down.The Thunder also aren’t as blatant about giving Westbook rebounds as they’re made out to be. Yes, it’s conspicuous that Westbrook is pulling in 8.5 uncontested rebounds per game, up from 5.9 a season ago. But we can track how often teammates give up a rebound so that a nearby teammate can pick up the ball: It’s a stat called deferred rebound chances. This season, the number of the Thunder’s deferred chances has decreased to 16.8 per game from a league-high 17.7 a season ago. What’s changed? Well, the 6.6 uncontested rebounds per game Kevin Durant collected in 2015-16 needed to be redistributed somewhere.Unlike shooting or passing, rebounding suffers from severe diminishing returns. There are only so many rebound opportunities, and only so many bodies needed to corral them. Oklahoma City finished first in overall rebound rate, and third in defensive rebound rate. The Thunder have decided to use this surplus of rebounding to leak extra bodies out into the break, knowing their point guard can collect the rebound and start the break. In other words, the Thunder have made a conscious effort to let Westbrook get the rebounds because they think it helps them win, not just because they wanted Westbrook to hoard triple-doubles. The Thunder are fifth in percent of points scored via transition, so it’s working out for them.But there’s a downside: This strategy often leads to Westbrook playing abysmal defense as he hunts for the rebound — the number of shots he contests is dismal, and by far the lowest among league leaders in defensive rebounds, though they are more or less in the same range as those contested by Harden and LeBron. But then, Westbrook has never been a great defender, and it makes a certain amount of sense to have him sacrifice already questionable defensive attention in service of the offense, especially since the defense manages just fine (10th in efficiency) without him. That’s not an ideal outcome, of course. In a perfect world, Westbrook would be more engaged defensively, and have teammates with shooting range that extends beyond the college 3-point line. But the Thunder’s willingness to let Russell be Russell is its own sort of progress.For years now, we’ve been hearing about how evolutionary players such as Kevin Durant or Anthony Davis or even Steph Curry were set to move the NBA game forward. That has largely turned out to be true: Offense in the league has improved at record rates, primarily because players and front offices have maximized efficiency at every opportunity. The league has found a way to squeeze more production out of more specialized players. And that works just fine as a general rule. But Russell Westbrook’s season proves that’s not the only way to remake the NBA in your image. Shaving away minor imperfections in pursuit of the ideal less-for-more ratio isn’t necessary if you come equipped with a never-ending supply of more. read more

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Series against Ferris State may determine Buckeyes fate in CCHA Tournament

Win both games and Ohio State might get a first-round bye. If not, it might be heading back to Alaska. That is the reality for the OSU men’s hockey team in its Thursday and Friday matchups against Ferris State. With the Buckeyes (15-15-3, 10-13-3 CCHA) able to finish anywhere from fourth to ninth in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings, there will be a lot on the line. But coach Mark Osiecki isn’t looking at it that way. “It’s kind of like the Green Bay Packers’ get-to-playoff mentality,” he said, referring to the team that was last to make the playoffs in the NFC and went on to win the Super Bowl. “Let’s keep on moving forward.” The Buckeyes sit in ninth place and, to move up in the standings, will need to beat Ferris State twice and will need Western Michigan, Northern Michigan, University of Alaska and Lake Superior State to lose. A team that wins a game receives three points toward the conference standings, and with only four points separating seeds five through nine, the potential for a bye is there. The top five seeds in the CCHA receive a first-round bye, so getting six points is crucial. “We have to win both games this weekend,” senior forward C.J. Severyn said. “Nothing less.” If the team loses, it could possibly head back to Alaska for the CCHA Tournament. The last time the Buckeyes made the more-than-3,000-mile trip to Alaska, they lost both games in the series, giving up six goals in the second game. “It could mean … we get a first-round bye or fly back to Alaska,” Severyn said. “It’s an incentive to do well.” Osiecki said his players are anxious to get back on the ice and will continue only to focus on what they can control. “They are tired of practicing. … They are just ready to play,” he said. “We worry about ourselves and go from there.” Senior forward Kyle Reed said he knows this series is do or die and the team has to be on top of its game. “I just want to leave everything on the ice,” he said. The Buckeyes, who have an unusual Thursday-Friday series, will have the chance to sit back and watch the games on Saturday to learn their CCHA Tournament fate. If OSU receives a first-round bye it will begin CCHA Tournament play March 11-13. If not, it will play March 4-6. This week’s series against Ferris State has the Buckeyes and Bulldogs facing off Thursday and Friday at the Schottenstein Center. Both games are scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. read more

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Mens basketball Six years and 80hour weeks Kyle Davis became Ohio States

Ohio State video coordinator Kyle Davis spent six years with the program without salary, now he’s living his dream as video coordinator. Credit: Courtesy of Sam HollingsheadOn Feb. 27 inside the Schottenstein Center, Ohio State men’s basketball video coordinator Kyle Davis made the final preparations needed for the next day’s game at Penn State. The day’s practice was scheduled for 3 p.m., and less than three hours later, the entire staff and team would board a bus routed for the airport, then fly to State College, Pennsylvania.At 1 p.m. Davis was approached by associate head coach Dave Dickerson. He asked Davis to compile an organized database that lists every game remaining, through the state championship, for each high-school prospect OSU is recruiting.“When do you need it?” Davis asked. Dickerson answered, by the end of practice. So Davis grabbed graduate assistant Chris Logsdon, who helps with the bulk of the video responsibilities, and the two sat in the video room inside the practice gym and compiled the database for the next four hours. Logsdon found all matchups for the in-state recruits the program is looking at and Davis covered the rest of the recruits. The spreadsheet, which included nearly 70 prospective recruits, was done by 5 p.m.“That’s what you got to do, though,” Davis said.After sifting through complicated state tourney brackets, Davis spearheaded a project that enabled the coaching staff to know who they can visit on certain days and who to send messages of encouragement to on their game days.“There’s no one that can spoonfeed you this information,” Davis said. “This information is out there, but it’s in 17 different places. Every college basketball program needs someone that is capable of finding all this information, putting it together and making sense of it in a way for your whole staff to understand.”For OSU’s program, that someone is Davis, who has been with the organization for seven seasons — four as a student manager, two as a graduate assistant and one in his current role. The three video coordinators before Davis are all current assistant coaches. Kevin Kuwik is at Dayton, Greg Paulus is an assistant at OSU and Jake Diebler just finished his first season as an assistant at Vanderbilt.Davis doesn’t have the coaching experience or playing experience that those in the role before him had, so the path to becoming video coordinator was even more difficult. For six years, his only income was per diem for road trips and holiday breaks as he continued to rack up student loans from undergraduate and graduate school. He spent 30-40 hours each week for four years and 60-plus hours per week for two years at the Schott. But becoming an official member of the OSU coaching staff was always the end goal. Davis’ career has been defined by doing the jobs few would want to do.A startDavis’ passion for coaching began during his sophomore at nearby Hilliard Darby High School when he needed volunteer hours for a class he was taking. He reached out to a local recreational league to help with a sixth-grade team. Then, two weeks before the season, he suddenly became the head coach.The original coach quit and left 16-year-old Davis with a group of kids and parents he had never met.“I loved it. But my team stunk,” he said. “Ironically enough, the guy who was the coach of my team, no one really liked him. So the commissioner of the league purposefully gave him the worst kids in the league. We weren’t very good. I think we won one game all year.”The losses didn’t matter. Davis couldn’t get enough.Davis, back right, started coaching sixth graders when he was 16 years old. Credit: Courtesy of Kyle DavisSo when the commissioner asked him back as a coach, he agreed. That next season, Davis said his team of sixth graders was undefeated. However, some of the parents voiced concern regarding his coaching style after Davis ran a zone that resulted in allowing just two points.Davis said that’s when he learned he was a little too competitive for that league.But before he left, Davis made a valuable connection with OSU’s strength and conditioning coach Dave Richardson; Richardson’s son was on Davis’ team. He also met then-OSU assistant coach — now the team’s director of recruiting and player development — Alan Major, who was watching Richardson’s son play.“I’ll never forget Alan Major, I talked to him after the game and he said, ‘Well, if you’re not a player, you can come be a manager if you want to get involved with coaching,’” Davis said. “From that day forward I thought that would be a pretty cool thing to do.”But he wasn’t done coaching just yet. He still had two more years of high school.At the time, Davis’ brother was in seventh grade and 6-foot-4. Davis knew a few of his brother’s friends and knew them to be pretty good athletes for their age. So, that spring after he concluded coaching in rec league, he began to recruit some of them and other kids at his brother’s middle school and founded an AAU team — at age 17. The 13-and-under Ohio Havoc played their first games that summer.“I’m sitting there and I had like $11,000 in my hand (for team fees),” he said. “I’m just thinking like, I’m 17 years old. I have $11,000 in my hand to spend on uniforms, travel, tournament fees and all that. What am I doing with my life? This isn’t something a 17-year-old gets to do.”That summer and the next, Davis took his team to compete in tournaments throughout Ohio and in nearby states like Indiana — some of which his team won. He also coached at nationals.Through that experience, watching the competition at that level and finding a passion for coaching, Davis took Major’s advice and became a student manager at OSU when he enrolled Fall 2010.The journeyFreshmen managers are given the duties not sought after by anyone else. Carrying towels and water, mopping up puddles of sweat, dragging Gilman dummies from the main court to the upstairs court along with the cart full of other practice necessities, and staying late to rebound for players are the basic on-paper duties they have.Being a basketball manager is a fraternity with a rite of passage — one where respect isn’t easily earned. There’s not a lot of glory that goes with it either. It’s not a paid position. Managers still have to go to class, then it is right to the Schottenstein Center six days a week for at least three hours (in the preseason, it’s more like four hours). On game days, managers have to be there dressed and ready to hit the floor five hours before tip for shootaround. Managers receive stylish team-issued gear, including a pair of Lebron-brand shoes, but when adding all of it with two games per week, it gets to be roughly 30-40 hours a week outside of the classroom.“No one asked us to do this. This is just something that over the years I learned how to do it, I thought it could be a cool thing. I thought it could be more efficient and it allowed me to extend myself to do other things.” – Kyle DavisBut that didn’t matter to Davis. Being a part of the men’s basketball program at OSU was a title he held with pride. After all, Davis had higher aspirations. From the first day, Davis would do anything possible to become the video coordinator at OSU.OK, well, the second day. The first day, then-senior manager Bryce Crawford, now-assistant coach at Division I University of Maryland Baltimore County, told Davis and each freshman manager privately, “Listen, I don’t like any of you. You haven’t done spit for this program, and I’m not going to like any one of you until you can prove you can do something around here.”“I loved that he did that because it created the most amazing work ethic in us,” Davis said. “And we all thought Bryce was this biggest (jerk) in the world … but it was really cool because we were like, ‘Man, this guy’s legit.’”Davis, back right, coached the Ohio Havoc AAU team for two years before becoming a manager at OSU. Credit: Courtesy of Kyle DavisKuwik, the Dayton assistant, was the video coordinator when Davis joined the program. Davis walked into the video room inside the practice gym and asked Kuwik to help with the video responsibilites, which is work normally reserved to the senior managers and graduate assistants.In the room were four DVRs the staff used to record every game of any team that OSU would play against that year. Kuwik told Davis his tasks involved recording all of those games, which required him to know the TV schedules of those games, find the channels and tape them. Then, he would transfer it to a DVD, catalog it and store it.Kuwik left for Dayton after Davis’ freshman year — when OSU lost to Kentucky as the No. 1 overall seed in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament — and Paulus entered the role. That same year, OSU hired Chris Jent, a former NBA assistant, for a similar role. Davis continued to work around the video department with Paulus at the helm. After that first season, Jent requested to change from the DVSport video software to Sportcode, which he used in the NBA.With the addition of Sportcode, Davis and the entire video team were able to finish video work in half the time. It’s as if they traded in a 1989 Honda Civic for a NASA space shuttle, Davis said.Through his four years as a manager, Davis became the low-level busybody member in the organization that the staff would turn to when things needed to be done. As senior manager, he spent more time in the film room and was in charge of a staff of a dozen or so managers. He was the main point of contact between the staff’s needs and making sure there were managers at the gym for rebounding, opposing team shootarounds and any other task — often with less than two hours notice. Davis helped coordinate official visits, assisted in setting up the team tailgate before football games. He even helped change a tire on State Route 315 on the vehicle of former OSU guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. to ensure he would be on time for practice. Davis made it his job to do any menial task possible to be recognized as a reliable member of the program.“He was always around. He was very adamant about getting involved and tried to figure things out,” Crawford said of Davis. “He was just very locked in and it was very clear that he wanted to get into the business.”Following Davis’ final season in 2014 as a manager, he and then-graduate assistant Weston Strayer made it a mission of theirs to memorize the Sportscode manual from cover to cover.Now, after two years, Davis said he and Strayer designed 16-20 different programs on the Sportscode software to use and relay information to the coaches.“No one asked us to do this,” he said. “This is just something that over the years I learned how to do it, I thought it could be a cool thing. I thought it could be more efficient and it allowed me to extend myself to do other things.”Davis continued to work on these programs through Diebler’s final two years with OSU, which made the video department even more valuable.“It’s so hard to do your job to the best of your abilities as video coordinator if you’re doing it by yourself,” Diebler said. “You need great, great help and those guys were the best in the country, in my opinion at what they did.”Outside of games is when Davis does most of his work, finding new trends that can help coaches make educated decisions for on-court personnel. During road trips, Davis had to have the entire game with individual stats coded by the time the plane landed, which led to Davis frequently being told by flight attendants to turn his laptop off. In game, Davis designed programs that can give OSU its best small and big lineup in the middle of a game. He also charted each shot a player takes on particular plays and paired it with live video that is being coded in the team locker room, and has that ready for coaches to view at halftime and end of the game.“The money didn’t matter, the title didn’t matter, but to know that I had a future within our staff just meant the world to me. I told everyone from the beginning, I’m here for Ohio State basketball. Whether that means I’m wiping the floor, cutting video or recruiting, just whatever it is, I’m happy to be here.” – Kyle DavisHe said sometimes information on paper can be misleading and cannot accurately tell the staff why the team was shooting poorly from a particular spot on the floor. Therefore, he linked all of the stats to video for evidence that can help with development.“I’m not really an analytics guy. I’m more of an analytics ‘make you look at things in a different way’ sort of guy,” he said. “Numbers are great but until you can actually see why those numbers came to be about, it really doesn’t help you as a coach. You can’t coach numbers. You have to coach basketball things. That’s what this allows you to do.”In the 2015-16 season, Davis was the chief graduate assistant receiving some much needed help in the video room from walk-on-turned-graduate assistant Andrew Goldstein, team videographer David Aaron, head manager Robbie Rucki and others. Diebler, still the video coordinator at the time, was often in the video room compiling anything the staff needed at the last minute, but also knew Davis was available at a moment’s notice and had the assurance that Davis and Goldstein were getting the work completed well ahead of time. With that belief in Davis, Diebler was able to spend more time on the court with the staff and players, and Davis was able to do much of the video coordinator role before he was promoted.Davis, who estimated he worked 75-88 hours per week in his last year as a graduate assistant, said Diebler was the greatest thing to have happened to his development in the way he empowered the video staff.“He’s got a great feel for what’s necessary in that area of preparation and things like that,” Diebler said of Davis. “I thought it was very valuable to help me do my job and (he) worked really hard, spent long hours, wasn’t afraid to stay up late or get up early.”On top of the strides he made in the video room, Davis took on some, if not all, of the responsibilities dealt to the role of recruiting and operations coordinator, which was vacant during the 2015-16 season after Christopher Spartz left the program.“When he left — not like I was going for his job or anything, but it was around this time last year … and I was like, well, someone has to do some of the stuff he was doing,” Davis said. “And I wasn’t sure what we were doing or who we were going to hire so I just started sitting at his desk and doing his job, and nobody said otherwise.”Davis began handling logistics for official visits, helping coordinate prospects with faculty advisors, coaching staff and touring the campus. He also prepared recruiting packets and any other task the program needed done.He wasn’t instructed to do more work than he was given as a graduate assistant, but as was the case as a manager, Davis never shied away from the opportunities available, which were mostly the undesirable tasks that someone had to perform.Through all of that effort came an unexpected moment.On Feb. 28, 2016, OSU hosted No. 8 Iowa as a last-chance effort to back itself into the NCAA Tournament. Dickerson walked over to Davis during the under-eight media timeout while the team was down five and asked for the team’s best small lineup throughout the season. Davis had the info and gave it to him. The lineup, which Davis can’t explicitly remember, went into the game halfway through the second half and cut into the Hawkeyes lead. The Buckeyes earned their second top-10 victory that season, 68-64 over Iowa.It was trial by fire for the work Davis had put in for the past year and a half.“That was so frickin’ scary because if something went bad, (Dickerson) was never going to trust me again,” he said. “It was the stress test. This wasn’t the last minute or last possession, this was towards the end of the game but it was one of those things where it was really cool for me to see that I put all these hours into something, not knowing if it was ever going to be used or not, and it got used.”That hard work, however, nearly didn’t earn him a job on the staff. Davis had a decision to make about his future with the program.A decisionAs mentioned before, managers and graduate assistants aren’t paid and there isn’t time for a second job if you want to advance to be a coach. On top of that, the basketball program does not pay for tuition of graduate school. For Davis’ second year as a graduate assistant, he didn’t have the funds to pay for housing around campus, so he was forced to move back in with his parents in Hilliard. Sometimes, he would even sleep at the Schott if he was there late and needed to be there early the next morning.“It got to the point where I realized I’m 24 years old. I have a lot of student debt. I’m living at home with my parents. I’m chasing this coaching dream, and I love it,” Davis said. “But ultimately, the programs I have built on a platform called Sports Tech … they were rapidly expanding.”Patrick Ford, a former manager and Davis’ friend, worked at Sports Tech’s headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska, and set Davis up with an interview. Sports Tech, the company that bought the popular football video service Hudl, was looking for people who already knew the software; Davis fit the bill.A year before, Davis saw Strayer struggle to get into coaching before Strayer took a job at Lake Superior State in Michigan, which left doubt in Davis’ mind about his chances. Coaching was Davis’ dream but maybe it wasn’t meant to be. After all, he had to start making money.Davis said he once sat down and calculated how much money he would have made if he were paid minimum wage for every hour he worked through his six years with the program. The number after taxes: $111,973.23.“It made me want to f—ing puke,” he said.In the middle of the 2015-16 season, all Davis had to do in order to accept the Sports Tech job was make a trip to Nebraska. However, by mid-April, Diebler left the program for Vanderbilt, which resulted in Davis taking on his responsibilities.Davis was about to make a call to Sports Tech to schedule his visit when David Egelhoff, the director of basketball operations, tapped Davis on his shoulder and asked to meet with him in his office. Davis asked to make the phone call first, but Egelhoff told him that’s why he needed to talk to him.Egelhoff offered Davis his first paid position on staff as the recruiting coordinator. He started to run through the details of the offer and the job, but Davis accepted before Egelhoff could finish.“That’s what I had always wanted,” Davis said. “The moment that presented itself, I was all in. Everyone on the staff knows I’m a two-feet-in guy. I’ve given everything I’ve had to this program for six years. It hasn’t always been the work on the front page. It’s been the work behind closed doors, and I’m cool with that.”“The money didn’t matter, the title didn’t matter, but to know that I had a future within our staff just meant the world to me. I told everyone from the beginning, I’m here for Ohio State basketball. Whether that means I’m wiping the floor, cutting video or recruiting, just whatever it is, I’m happy to be here.”Less than three months later, OSU hired Alan Major — the one who first planted the idea of being a coach at OSU into Davis’ mind — as coordinator of recruiting and player development, and Davis was promoted to video coordinator.One of the first things Davis did as video coordinator was call his mentor, Diebler. Davis told Diebler that when he took the job at Vanderbilt, that was one of the best things that could have happened to Davis. Davis said he was able to prove his worth to the staff with Diebler’s absence, which contributed to his promotion.Davis was in charge of the entire official visit of now-junior point guard C.J. Jackson, who will likely be the starting point guard in the 2017-18 season.“I think he’s got a bright future in coaching because he works hard, he cares about the guys on the team and wants to see them succeed,” Diebler said. “I think he’s going to be a good coach and I’m excited to have worked with him for three years and excited to see what the future holds for him.”Davis sits beside the coaching staff and players during the Indiana game on March 4 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Courtesy of Sam HollingsheadThe job he wants to doSince taking over as video coordinator, Davis has taken on projects that he saw needing improvement and has applied lessons from Diebler on staff management.Davis began to reshape the team’s social media presence this season with the help of David Aaron, the team’s videographer, and Joe Gemma, who works as a graphic designer for the men’s and women’s basketball programs.Davis has also become more involved in official visits. He coordinates how the recruit is getting to Columbus, how is he going to be picked up, when is he arriving for practice, when will he meet with the Student Athlete Support Service Office (SASSO) and what the presentation will entail.“All the little things from golf carts to making sure you can get a private room at a dinner. All those little things, that’s my life,” he said. “The coaches are going to deal with the nitty gritty stuff, but I’m trying to provide the examples with my academic career and my career around the program, how they can relate to kids too.”He also has taken on some operations functions to allow Egelhoff to focus on big picture items for the program.And video — he still does plenty of that.Davis no longer counts the hours he works at home because he understands it’s the nature of the job.“What makes the video coordinator job so tough is that when you go home — you may take a breather to make some dinner — there’s more film to watch,” Diebler said. “That’s like the video coordinator’s nightmare is that you didn’t do enough preparation going into a game to where there’s a surprise. Only way to do that is to make sure you watch all the available film.”Davis had been doing that well before he was named the team’s video coordinator.The only difference now is Davis is performing in the role he has always wanted to.“I love Kyle just from the standpoint of where he started and he’s worked his way up,” OSU coach Thad Matta said. “He’s one of those guys that the technology portion of his position is so important. What he can do in terms of how quick he can get the edits done and he’s spot on with everything. He’s figured me out in terms of what I like and what I don’t like. “He’s a guy that when we lose, he’s as sad as anybody in our program, and when we win, he’s as happy (as anyone). He’s a Buckeye.”So, was the journey worth it?“Absolutely. There’s no question,” Davis said. “If you would’ve asked me six years ago, what’s the realistic dream, I would have told you: to be the video coordinator of Ohio State basketball.” read more

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Mens Soccer Ohio States season comes to an end with 31 loss

Ohio State junior defender Osman Fofanah dribbles past Rutgers defenders during the second half of the Ohio State-Rutgers game on Sep. 30. Ohio State lost 3-2. Credit: Cody Mefferd | For the LanternThe Ohio State men’s soccer team (1-15-2, 0-8-1 Big Ten) saw one of the toughest seasons in program history come to an end on Saturday afternoon at the hands of Northwestern (6-8-5, 1-5-3 Big Ten) in the No. 8-No. 9 seed matchup in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament. The Buckeyes went ahead early in the 17th minute on a goal from redshirt junior forward Jake Scheper, his second goal of the season.Scheper took a pass from junior defender Osman Fofanah and volleyed a lob shot past Northwestern’s sophomore goalkeeper Miha Miskovic. It was all Northwestern from there on out. The Wildcats found three goals from their midfield to seal the victory. Junior midfielder Sean Lynch, senior midfielder Camden Buescher and junior midfielder Matt Moderwell tallied the goals for Northwestern.Buescher and Moderwell are the two leading scorers for the Wildcats, and they provided the punch that is expected from them, as they iced the game with goals in the 78th minute and 88th minute respectively. Ohio State took the early lead not only on the scoreboard, but on the stat sheet. The Buckeyes outshot Northwestern 7-4 in the opening 45 minutes. Five minutes after the Scheper goal, Northwestern found the equalizer when Lynch scored his first goal of the season to tie it at 1-1. Despite the match being tied at the half, the opening 45 minutes seemed to put the Buckeyes in a good position to win just their second match of the season, allowing them to live and fight another day. Saturday’s match turned out to be a tale of two halves. Northwestern found its footing and pulled away from the Buckeyes, outscoring Ohio State 2-0 in the second half and outshooting the Buckeyes 7-5. Miskovic and Ohio State redshirt junior goalkeeper Parker Siegfried both made three saves on the afternoon. Northwestern will advance to play No. 1 seed Indiana in the Big Ten quarterfinals. read more

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Baseball Ohio State rallies from down 61 wins 108 to move to

Ohio State senior Nate Romans (7) swings at home plate in the Buckeyes’ home opener against the Lipscomb Bison on March 15, 2019 at Bill Davis Stadium. Credit: Sal Marandino | For The LanternThe Ohio State baseball team overcame an early 6-1 deficit to claim its second-straight victory. Ohio State (10-10) rallied to beat Northern Kentucky (4-13) 10-8. The Buckeyes produced 14 hits, including two home runs, in the win. After trailing 6-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, Ohio State cut into the deficit to just a run by the bottom of the seventh inning. With one man on, redshirt sophomore catcher Brent Todys lifted a home run over the left field wall to give the Buckeyes their first lead of the game. “[The mindset was] just competing. I’d been struggling of late. Just going out there and putting that bat to help the team string together something,” Todys said. Five Buckeyes recorded multi-hit games, including a three-hit, two-RBI game from senior left fielder Brady Cherry. The freshmen especially shined, combining to hit .417 with five RBI. After a pair of hard groundouts started the game for Northern Kentucky, redshirt senior designated hitter Will Haueter hit a two-out double down the third base line to give his team a runner in scoring position. The Norse capitalized with a two-run home run by sophomore first baseman Griffin Doersching.Following a quick two outs in the Buckeyes’ half of the inning, Cherry snuck a ball down the third base line. Junior first baseman Conner Pohl drove home Cherry with a single to right-center field, cutting the deficit to 2-1 after one inning. Following a hit batsman and a wild pitch, a single to center put runners on the corners with one out in the top of the third inning. A strikeout got the second out, but a fielding and a throwing error by Ohio State freshman third baseman Zach Dezenzo allowed the Northern Kentucky runner from third to score. On the same play, junior right fielder Dominic Canzone roped a throw from right field to record the final out at the plate and keep the score at 3-1. Ohio State head coach Greg Beals noted the importance of the play to bail them out of the inning and prevent further damage. “That’s what you expect out of your big-time players though. Dom’s a big-time player for us. We needed him to make big plays,” Beals said.  Junior pitcher Jake Vance recorded two strikeouts in the fourth inning, but two doubles put another run on the board for the Norse. A two-run home run from redshirt freshman left fielder Sam Hedges put Northern Kentucky ahead 6-1. Vance exited the game after four innings. He allowed five earned runs with four strikeouts. But Todys said the team kept its head up even with the five-run deficit.“We felt like we were still in it, and we felt like our bats are good enough right now to where we can get ourselves back into the game when we are down like that,” Todys said. Ohio State freshman designated hitter Marcus Ernst was able to immediately respond with a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman center fielder Nolan Clegg launched the first home run of his collegiate career to reduce the Norse lead to three.“Just chip away at their lead,” Clegg said. “We were still very early in the game, so we had plenty of time.” A fielding error and a hit batsman kept the inning alive for the Buckeyes with two outs. Cherry took advantage with a two-RBI double to deep left-center field to make the score 6-5. “That four runs in the fourth for us kind of put us back in the mix and gave us that believing feeling,” Beals said. Northern Kentucky started the sixth inning with a pair of walks, and a bunt by Northern Kentucky advanced the runners into scoring position with one out before a sacrifice fly by Hedges moved the score to 7-5. Ohio State freshman pitcher Bayden Root stepped on the mound in the seventh inning and he struck out three, surrendering one hit. Pohl was able to hit a double in the gap in right centerfield to open the bottom of the seventh. Dezenzo drove a hard liner to third base, which bounced off the diving third baseman’s glove for a double, bringing home Pohl to cut the Ohio State deficit to one. This set the stage for Todys to lift the Buckeyes ahead with his two-run home run. Following a strikeout to record the second out of the bottom of the eighth inning, a pair of bases-loaded walks pushed the Ohio State lead to 10-7. The ninth inning proved difficult for the Buckeyes for the second-straight game. Northern Kentucky loaded the bases with two outs, and a passed-ball strikeout reduced the deficit to two. Junior pitcher Andrew Magno struck out the final batter to earn his second save of the year, as the Buckeyes survived another late-game scare.“Those experiences, I think, are thickening our skin a little bit, toughening us up. Our guys again survived,” Beals said. Root earned his first collegiate win with a four-strikeout performance in 2 2/3 innings of relief. “This was a big game, because this gets us back to even ground. Now we just go in and never look back,” Todys said. Ohio State will return to start a four-game series with Hawaii at Bill Davis Stadium at 5:05 p.m. Thursday. read more

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St Pauls School offering bursaries for children of parents who earn £120k

first_imgSt Paul's was meant to be “an inclusive meritocracy" Professor Mark Bailey, pictured in 1998 “The part-bursaries are being offered in a far more generous way,” he told The London Magazine.“You will be looking eventually at [families earning] £150,000, £170,000, £190,000 potentially benefiting.”He conceded that soaring fees at St Paul’s mean his school has become “increasingly unaffordable”.“It was our founder’s vision,” he said, “[to educate] boys indifferently of their background and we’ve drifted away from that.”St Paul’s School was founded by educational pioneer and dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, John Colet, in 1509.It was meant to be “an inclusive meritocracy in which boys ‘from all nations and countries indifferently’ would be educated, without regard to means or race”.But St Paul’s isn’t the only private school whose soaring fees are pushing out middle-class parents. One of Britain’s most famous private schools is offering bursaries and scholarships for children of middle-class families, even if parents earn £120,000 a year.London-based St Paul’s, which charges £7,827 a term, is offering discounts to families on a combined salary of £120,000, after headmaster Professor Mark Bailey admitted the school had become “unaffordable”.This comes amid concerns that private school fees – which have risen by 550 per cent in the past 25 years and now cost up to £30,000 annually per child – are affordable only to wealthy foreigners.Professor Bailey added that eventually, families on a combined income of £190,000 would become potential beneficiaries of bursaries. “The changes have been phenomenal with the arrival of Russians, Chinese and people from the Middle East as well as emerging countries such as Kazakhstan.”Now we are finding people coming from South America, we’re getting Brazilians and Argentinians and also Mexicans. I get people ringing me from South Africa and saying, ‘If my son gets into St Paul’s, we will move over to London.”Independent schools argue they are trying to combat the soaring increases. Figures from the Independent Schools Council (ISC) reveal that bursaries and scholarships totalled more than £850 million last year, with more than £700 million coming directly from schools’ budgets.But it isn’t just middle-class parents that are suffering as youngsters are also under increasing pressure to meet their parents’ expectations.Lucy Elphinstone, head of Francis Holland School in west London, said: “The [current situation] is fuelling desperation among parents, which is having a detrimental effect on children’s mental health.”Already schools are tackling a growing culture of tutoring children ahead of assessments as parents push them through, in many cases, up to six exams at different institutions in an effort to make it to the best school. Professor Mark Bailey, pictured in 1998Credit:Philip Harriscenter_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The changes have been phenomenal with the arrival of Russians, Chinese and people from the Middle East as well as emerging countries such as KazakhstanSusan Hamlyn St Paul’s was meant to be “an inclusive meritocracy” Research shows fees are their least affordable since the 1960s and that the children of previous generations who were able to go private schools will no longer be able to do so.The average pay packet is currently around £25,000 a year but it now costs more than £30,000 to send a child to board for a year, while the annual cost of a private day school is £15,500.Particularly in London, the average private school fees have risen at triple the rate of inflation over the past five years.And the sheer volume of pupils competing for places has turned London into a ‘pressure cooker’.At the Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead Garden Suburb, 2,000 students applied for 100 places.Soaring demand, an influx of wealthy international parents and rising costs in paying staff and modernising facilities are often-cited reasons for the increase in fees.Susan Hamlyn, a former teacher and director of The Good Schools Guide, said the increase in foreign families sending their children to private school was a major factor.She said: “I’ve been working at The Good Schools Guide for the past 16 years.last_img read more

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More pensioners caught drinkdriving because they think they can still drive safely

first_img“They are called the hard core – a cross-over group that includes elderly drink drivers and others from all age groups.”Hard core older drink drivers will have developed bad habits over years, probably got away with it in the past and believe they can still drive safely when half-cut.”Drink-driving can result in three months’ imprisonment, a £2,500 fine or a driving ban. He added that the figures suggested that “morning-after” enforcement designed to catch drinkers going to work still drunk was not working.”What is surprising is that, with more of the enforcement done the morning after to catch the home boozers, the number of elderly drivers caught has gone up. “With less likelihood of retirees needing to get up early to go to work, the chances of getting caught at that time of day must be lower,” he said. More elderly people are getting caught for drink-driving because they believe they can still drive safely when drunk. New figures suggest that pensioners are still getting behind the wheel after a drink – while teenagers are less likely to risk it. The number of under-19s caught drunk at the wheel has plummeted over ten years while the number of over-65s has risen.Data released by the Ministry of Justice following a Freedom of Information request shows that 1,436 under-19s were caught drink-driving in 2015, compared to 6,744 in 2005. The overall number of people convicted of drink driving has fallen from 84,540 in 2005 to 45,970 in 2015. But pensioners have bucked the trend, with the number of over-65s convicted of the offence rising from 1,295 in 2005 to 1,435 in 2015. However, just three over-65s have been convicted of causing death by careless driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs in the past ten years.Accidents involving drivers who had been drinking also fell over the same period, from 10,080 in 2005 to 5,740, according to separate figures from the Department for Transport, with the number of fatal accidents falling from 470 to 180.Expensive alcohol means young people are less likely to be driving home drunk from bars and clubs, according to a spokesman for the AA.  He added that older drivers have a misguided view that they can still drive well after having had a drink.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. He said: “For the younger drivers, the cost of alcohol in pubs and nightspots will have put downward pressure on drink-drive statistics in their age group.”However, there is a need for targeted policing of places with late night drinking. “Although the majority will heed the warnings, it is the minority who flout the law and still pose a high risk.last_img read more

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Flamefest Man dies and woman found unconscious after kinky sex festival in Tunbridge Wells

first_imgZulhash Uddin, another councillor, called for a full review of safety measures at any future events in the borough.“It is so sad to hear that somebody has lost their life. Safety is a number one issue at events like these and this will trigger a review when we do get the council issuing permits and licensing. One man, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was woken by the sound of the air ambulance landing. He said he had heard that the pair may have been overcome by carbon monoxide. A post mortem on the cause of the man’s death will be held in the next few days.”We don’t know for sure. It’s so sad,” he said. “Maybe they were cold and put a stove in their tent or something?”A Kent Police spokesman said: “Kent Police is making enquiries to establish the circumstances surrounding an unexplained death in Tunbridge Wells.”A Tunbridge Wells Borough Council spokesman said the festival was authorised under a temporary licence and the authority had “no discretion to select the type of events held providing they meet the requirements of the relevant legislation”. A man was found dead in a tent and a woman airlifted to hospital yesterday after attending an outdoor sex festival.The man, who was in his 50’s, and the woman were understood to have been at the two-day Flamefest, a so-called “kinky rave”,  in woodland near Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent.Detectives and paramedics were called to a campsite shortly after 6am when the two people were discovered unconscious.Attempts to revive the man were unsuccessful, and his death was last night being treated as “unexplained” while investigations continue. The unconscious woman was taken to hospital by air ambulance where she was being treated.It remained unclear what caused the pair to lose consciousness. One man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said barbeque apparatus had been removed from a tent, raising the possibility they were overcome by fumes. Others claimed the man’s death may have been drug-related. Kent Police vehicles at the site of Flamfest near Tunbridge WellsCredit:FLYJM The festival, in its second year, attracted controversy after boasting of being an event for “kinky, quirky, creative hedonists” who could “explore their wild side”. According to its website, visitors can “explore kinks” and “play within the boundaries of our common-sense rules”. There were also DJs and circus-style performers including fire-breathing acrobats and sword swallowers. Last week, Dianne Hill, councillor for the ward where the festival was held, told a local radio station: “I’m no prude but this is the wrong place for this sort of thing. It’s a residential area. A big worry is they say there will be coaches coming down – where are they going to park?”Helen Smedley, festival organiser, said it was a private event and insisted no sex would be on show to the public. She was yesterday unavailable for comment.However, local councillor Nasir Jamil, from Southborough Town Council, said yesterday that he was “appalled and disgusted” after seeing two couples having sex in a beauty spot where he normally walks with his children.“The organiser has fooled the council by saying it was a music festival but it wasn’t a music festival at all,” he said.“The whole community here is very shocked. Then we heard there was a death here and I was really, really shocked. I think there was illegal drug taking going on.” Flamefest Facebook advert The location of the festival, which has a “discreet adult play area” with “fetish equipment” and an outdoor “dungeon” with dominatrixes, was a closely guarded secret. But when it emerged it would be held on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells the local media was inundated with complaints.  Still from promotion video for Flamefest 2017, the kinky sex festival center_img Organisers of the event drafted in extra security to stop gatecrashersCredit:Grant Falvey/LNP Flamfest Flamefest Flamefest, which is in its second year, has a ‘discreet’ adult play area and an outdoor dungeonCredit:Facebook Still from a promotional video for Flamefest 2017,Credit:Youtube/Flamefest “Obviously local people did raise concerns about the festival. I am sure this will be looked at by the appropriate agencies.”Police were yesterday seen focusing their investigation on a cordoned off large white tent. 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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UK weather Newlyweds spend wedding night in school as mini beast from

first_imgThe Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice for all of England and Wales, lasting until 9am on Tuesday. Conditions are expected to brighten later in the week, with temperatures soaring to double figures by Thursday. Richard White, volunteer rest centre manager, said spirits were high among those sheltering in the school, despite their dramatic evening.He said: “We first of all provide them with something hot to drink and we’ve got blankets, duvets.”We make sure people get a good night’s sleep, we feed them in the morning and weather-permitting, we prepare them to get back in their cars and on their way.”Police want everybody off the roads to give them the opportunity to clear the roads with the snow ploughs and the gritters in time for the morning.” The A30 was hit by “significant snow” overnight into Monday, Devon and Cornwall Police said, with conditions “changing rapidly from passable to impossible”.Some 64 miles of road between the M5 at Exeter and the A38 at Bodmin were shut as a result while officers and Highways England cleared the route.Although it was believed the cold snap would be over by the beginning of the week, wintry weather is continuing into Tuesday. Dozens of flights cancelled after frosty weekendOn Sunday, ice led to delays and cancellations at Gatwick Airport – with 37 flights axed. Hundreds of schools across the country shut due to the treacherous conditions, while train services were also disrupted, with some disruptions expected to continue on throughout Tuesday.Drivers urged to avoid travelling on A30 in DevonHighways England advised motorists wanting to travel on the A30 to instead use the A38 between Exeter and Bodmin.Meanwhile, Devon County Council confirmed the closure of dozens of schools on Monday, while train services were also said to be affected. Our newly weds, John & Sara who spent their wedding night at Okehampton Rest Centre.. Pretty unique way of spending your first night.. pic.twitter.com/UKNCdG5Ksf— Richard White (@Sectorleadrich) March 19, 2018 Weather map for today and the week ahead A car is driven along a snow covered road near Okehampton in Devon “In the South West, we’ve seen a constant flow of snow coming in from the English Channel with snow depths going up and up.”In Exeter, we have at least 10cm (4in) of snow lying at the moment.”Many routes towards Dartmoor and Exmoor have the potential to see a lot of disruption because of ice this morning.” #A30 #DevonandCornwall closed, significant snow that highways are working to clear, if you`re already on it drive with caution as conditions are variable changing rapidly from passable to impossible , if not on it DELAY YOUR JOURNEY until midmorning at the earliest— DevonCornwall Police (@DC_Police) March 19, 2018 Hundreds of schools shut due to snow and iceHundreds of schools across Somerset, Devon and Cornwall were closed on Monday due to snow and ice.Devon County Council’s website said that all but four of 307 schools were closed. The four were listed as “partially closed”.Cornwall Council said 97 schools were closed, with 51 opening late due to the weather.Somerset County Council had 163 schools listed as closed, just three as open and 28 as partially open.’Constant flow of snow coming in from Channel’Met Office meteorologist John West said: “It’s been a very, very cold night overnight with widespread frost.”A lot of the lying snow seen across the country over the weekend has created some icy stretches this morning. A car is driven along a snow-covered road near Okehampton in Devon on Monday morningCredit:Martin Keene /PA Speaking of the mood inside the centre, Mr White added: “It is people coming together, it’s the community working not for the benefit of each other, but for the whole community. It’s a lovely atmosphere we’ve got, it’s a fantastic atmosphere here and we make the most of it.” A newly married couple were forced to spend their wedding night in a school after heavy snow shut a 64-mile stretch of a major road in south west England.They spent the night with more than 80 other commuters as they took emergency shelter on Monday evening as a wintry snap dubbed the “mini beast from the east” wreaked havoc. John and Sara Lund spent their honeymoon night in a rest centre at Okehampton College on the north side of Dartmoor.The couple, who were married in Bristol on Saturday, told the BBC they had been headed to Watergate Bay Hotel on the north Cornwall coast.”We were heading down to Watergate Bay in Newquay for what would have been a very luxurious honeymoon in a beautiful bridal suite with bouquets of flowers but we, like a number of other people, got caught in the A30 just outside Okehampton,” Mr Lund told BBC Breakfast.”The lovely people of Devon County Council have looked after us very well.”I didn’t imagine there would be snow in March to be perfectly honest with you, but certainly didn’t expect to spend our first night in a school college.”The couple said they hoped to make their way to the hotel, where they are booked in for three nights, on Monday. Met Office: Drier and brighter weather on horizonForecasters painted a better picture for the rest of the day, with drier and brighter weather on the horizon for much of the country, but warned it will still feel particularly cold due to the wind chill.Mr West said: “Through the course of the day today, much of the country will experience a fine and dry day.”We’re sort of closing the door to the the cold easterly flow and temperatures will be less cold than we’ve seen over the weekend.”We could see highs of 5C (41F) or 6C (43F) but add some wind chill on there and it won’t feel very pleasant at all.”However there will be some decent, fine weather, plenty of sunshine around today, particularly in northern parts, and a bit of an improvement from what we’ve seen over the weekend.” Hi, a snowy morning for many, but hopefully the start of the thaw. Keep up-to-date with #snow and #ice warnings via our website: https://t.co/gesWAaUr3w, mobile weather: https://t.co/tt58GdAMfb or Weather app: https://t.co/7ABAM2XZT1 Watch out for icy roads and pavements!^Fleur pic.twitter.com/lrNo2v760w— Met Office (@metoffice) March 19, 2018 The airport apologised to affected passengers and advised them to contact their airlines to be kept up to date.”We apologise to all passengers who have been delayed or had flights cancelled tonight, this is due to the prolonged cold snap and the essential de-icing requirements which have mounted during the afternoon and evening,” the airport said. 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
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British workers need to lose Victorian attitude towards hospitality industry postBrexit say

They argue that the UK has a “Victorian” attitude and “upstairs-downstairs” approach towards chefs and hotel managers, which holds the industry back.. Chef John Campbell, founder of the Woodspeen restaurants, said the Government should “get a move on”, explaining: “Brexit’s going to be a big opportunity for us, certainly in London where we have all that new… A source from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told The Telegraph it is working on a hospitality strategy post-Brexit, but there is not one yet. Leading figures in the hospitality industry are calling on the government to develop an industrial strategy post-Brexit as British people do not see it as a “real job”.

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Barclays in credit scandal as shoppers missold finance on sofas windows and cars

SCS, Sofology (formerly Sofaworks), Anglian Windows, Wren Kitchens, Everest, Peter Vardy, and the now defunct Car Carcraft Automotive, were… Barclays Bank’s consumer lending arm, Barclays Partner Finance, failed to stop customers at high street retailers being pressured into taking out loans they may not have been able to afford as recently as 2016, according to an internal report seen by The Telegraph.  Consumers who have bought cars, furniture and home improvements on credit supplied by one of Britain’s biggest banks are embroiled in a potential mis-selling scandal, it can be disclosed. Do you have experience of finance mis-selling? We want to hear from you. Email katie.morley@telegraph.co.uk

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Amazon customer stunned as parcel thrown through upstairs window

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 opened the door, and on the mat was the delivery note saying he had put it through the open window.”I was baffled as all the downstairs ones were closed. The only open one was the upstairs spare room. I went upstairs and sure enough, there on the floor was the box.”Fortunately, it was very well padded and the bulbs weren’t damaged. So I just found the whole thing hilarious. But if they’d been broken, I might have felt differently.”The mum-of-two, who runs the Sunshine and Light yoga class in her home village, added: “The package could also have ended up on the roof, or anywhere.”And it could have hit a child in the room, or a pet. It wasn’t particularly heavy, but if it had hit a newborn baby in a cot, for example, it wouldn’t have done it much good.”I just found it very weird. The driver ticked the ‘we left it in the safe place you told us about’ box – but that certainly isn’t an open window ten feet in the air.”An Amazon spokesman said: “We have very high standards for our delivery partners and expect every package to be handled with care.” An Amazon customer was left stunned after a delivery driver hurled a box of lightbulbs through an upstairs window while she was out.Claudine McLaren returned home on Monday to find a note saying the parcel had been ‘left in the safe place you told us about’.The driver added it had been ‘put through an open window’ on the ‘sorry we missed you’ card.Claudine said she thought the message was strange, as all the downstairs windows were closed, but found the box of £9.99 LED lightbulbs on the floor of her spare bedroom.The 43-year-old yoga teacher said: “I was absolutely amazed.”The window is over 10 feet in the air, and there is no evidence he used a ladder. And there is nothing to stand on. He must have just stood on the pavement outside and chucked it through the window.”I’m surprised he managed to get it in. The window isn’t much bigger than the box itself. He must have been very confident in his own ability to do it. My mum thinks he must be a cricketer or something.”Ms Claudine, of Houghton-on-the-Hill, Leics, added: “I receive quite a lot of packages from Amazon, and if I’m not in the driver usually leaves them around the back in the garden. read more

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Two cousins sentenced 15 years each for murder of 17yearold taxi

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedBartica Massacre trial resumes after two-week adjournmentDecember 6, 2016In “Crime”BREAKING: Two Bartica massacre accused sentenced to death by hangingFebruary 3, 2017In “Court”Man gets 16 years for raping, torturing & murdering female taxi driverJanuary 10, 2018In “Court” The two cousins who were charged with the murder of a 17-year-old taxi driver back in June 2014 were on Tuesday sentenced to 15 years imprisonment each when they admitted their involvement before Justice Navindra Singh at the Georgetown High Court. 20-year-old Ashraf AllyAppearing separately before Justice Singh, 20-year-old Ashraf Ally and 21-year-old Abdool Razack, both pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.Kemo Griffith, the defence counsel for the two cousins emphasised that the duo were teens at the time of the incident which led to the death of Dhanraj Latchman of Parika Backdam, East Bank Essequibo.He noted that since then, the young men have enrolled in several prison programs to better themselves. However, State Prosecutor, Tuanna Hardy maintained that the killing was a senseless act.After some deliberation the judge passed down his 15 year sentence to each man, pending deductions for time served already. 21-year-old Abdool RazackThe sentence brought about loud grumbles by relatives of the dead man. They told media operatives that the verdict did not give them justice for their lost loved ones. Latchman’s mother, Taramattie Dabie, who was in a state of disrepair, tearfully cried out “this is not justice!”“Ow God, this is not justice. Meh beg yuh. This is unfair!,” she cried out as she was being led out of the court.After she calmed down, the distraught mother said “me nah satisfied. They get fifteen years imprisonment concerning meh son. Them tek meh son from my house and cyar him and kill he. Them had meh son life in he hand. They kill him because he know them. Is he own village people. Me nah  satisfied. Fifteen years then they gotta cut it down three years. Sunday coming is three years fuhh meh son since he get murder.”The mother also noted that she will be appealing the case. “Me guh review back the case. I will do it. I don’t care what ever it cost me, I will. If I got to guh thief, beg or borrow or whatever me gotta go do, do wrong thing fuh get money, I will because I need justice.”Murdered: Dhanraj LatchmanMeanwhile, as Razack was being led to the holding cell in shackles, he told media operatives that he felt the verdict was unfair. He maintained that he did not murder Latchman, and had only pleaded guilty to “tek a chance.”“…I never kill no one…When yuh don’t plead guilty and when you aint do ah act, you know the judge does still find you guilty or not guilty so that’s why I tek the chance.”In June of 2014, the two men reportedly hired Latchman- who was a taxi driver- to transport them to Lusignan. However, their intentions were to reportedly steal the teen’s car. As such, after arriving at their location, the two reportedly strangled Latchman to death with the seatbelt then dumped his body and made arrangements to sell his motor vehicle.They were arrested after they gave conflicting stories to police. They later confessed to the gruesome act. (Ramona Luthi) read more

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Lucky to be alive – abducted taxi driver

Hours after being found alive, walking on the Annandale, East Coast Demerara road, 22-year-old, Matthew Shivtahal – the young man who was held at gunpoint and abducted by four hardcore criminals during the Camp Street Prison break on Sunday- says his pleading with his abductors and telling them he is a father, is what saved his life.Matthew ShivtahalAs the young man recounted his experiences on Monday to media operatives, Shivtahal explained that on Sunday he was returning home on the East Bank of Demerara from Industry in the company of a woman and her children.He said that upon hearing gunshots coming from the direction of the Camp Street prison, while on Broad Street, he attempted to turn around. However, he was too late since by that time, one of the four escapees was already in front of him with a gun pointed to his head.Shivtahal related that they took him to a certain point with his vehicle which was then abandoned and he was then made to trek with them through swampy backlands.“…ah had a lady and some children inside the car. They take out them, push me back inside the car [and we travelled] to South Backlands and we keep going down south, keep walking south, crossing  a lot of trenches, going down till to Land of Canaan.”Shivtahal explained that after hours of walking, the group approached a large trench where men were expected to swim, however, he recalled telling them that he could not swim.The audibly shaken Shivtahal  said “I can’t swim so they seh instead fuh I slow them down, best they kill me and done.”The young man related that he pleaded even more than before for his life.“I beg. I tell them that how I got a 1-year-old son, that I  wouldn’t like he to grow up without a father.”The father of one related that upon hearing that, one of the fugitives believed to be Royden Durant Williams aka “Smallie” –who was sentenced to death for being involved in the Lusignan Bartica Massacre- released him.“The rasta one…seh just because you tell me duh, ah gon leh you go and  the man show me a way weh fuh go out, walk down the dam, show me a way weh fuh go out [and I] cross over like four swamp, over a set of bridges, cut up meh foot…till last night 10 o’clock I came out. Since 12, Sunday night ah deh walking.”The seemingly traumatized Shivtahal thanked God for saving his  life.Following an attack staged by prisoners at the Camp Street Prison on Sunday, which resulted in the building being set alight and correctional officers being shot at and injured with their own firearms as well as make shift weapons, four hard core criminals, who were armed, managed to escape by hijacking a vehicle and holding Shivtahal, hostage.Wanted bulletins were issued for Mark Royden Durant aka Royden Williams, Uree Varswyke aka Malcolm Gordon, and Stafrei Hopkenson Alexander.Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels has now confirmed that there are Eight (8) fugitives missing from the Camp Street Prison following Sunday’s riot and fire.Samuels disclosed that the number was  originally nine but one of the inmates; Shamudeen Mohamed was recaptured last night at Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo.Investigations are ongoing. (Ramona Luthi) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedBreaking Prison Update: Abducted driver found alive, 22 Camp St inmates receive bailJuly 10, 2017In “Crime”Mother breaks down in Court as Duo is charged for murdering HairdresserSeptember 8, 2014In “Crime”Prison break update: Vehicle used by escapees recovered, driver still missingJuly 10, 2017In “Crime” read more

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Labourer dies following accident

Courtney Ashby, a 40-year-old labourer, succumbed to his injuries yesterday after being involved in an accident at Orangestein Public Road, East Bank Essequibo.Ashby, a labourer from Lot 2133 ‘Z’, Tuschen New Scheme, EBE, had ran into the path of a motor car around 5:30am. The  car was proceeding west along the southern carriageway of the Public Road at the time of the accident when Ashby ran into its path.He was picked up in an unconscious condition and taken to the Leonora Cottage Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedTuschen labourer killed in accidentDecember 16, 2017In “Crime”12-year-old struggling for life after being struck by motorcyclistMay 7, 2016In “latest news”Labourer killed following hit and run accidentFebruary 13, 2017In “latest news” read more

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Happening Now Scenes from 52nd Independence Flag Raising Ceremony

H.E. David Granger, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger arrive at Durban Park for the 52nd Independence Flag Raising Ceremony at Durban Park. Theme- Celebrating our People and our Patrimony..(DPI photos) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related

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3rd PetraLimacol Football tournament officially launched

New Guyana Pharmaceutical Company (GPC), under its Limacol brand, has again thrown its support behind the Petra organisation for the third edition of the Limacol Knockout Football tournament, which will kick-off on August 30 and conclude on October 7.New GPC’s Company Secretary Zulfikar Ali (2nd R) hands over the sponsorship cheque to Petra’s Mark Alleyne in the presence of GFF President Wayne Forde (L) and Petra Director Troy MendoncaThe company, through its secretary Zulfikar Ali, expressed its excitement at being onboard for another edition of the highly anticipated tournament.According to Ali, they are always interested in sports and its development, and have seen the progress from the first two installments, hence their return for a third time.Petra Director Troy Mendonca outlined that the tournament provides an avenue for the teams not involved in the Guyana Football Federation’s Elite League III, even though he would love for it to be used as a catalyst for teams to be promoted to that league.GFF President Wayne Forde, who was also on hand, expressed his pleasure at seeing the company onboard for a third year, citing their extended input in football.The 12 teams involved in this year’s tournament are as follows: Police, Georgetown Football Club, Pele, Sunburst Campton, Riddim Squad, Beacon United, Santos, Northern Rangers, Mahaica Determinators, Buxton Stars, Pouderoyen and Grove Hi-Tech.These teams will trash it out for the top prize of $600,000, while the runner up will have to settle for $300,000, third – $150,000 and fourth – $100, 000.Each top finishing team would have a trophy to accompany their cash prize. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedNew GPC refreshes Limacol Tournament for fourth yearAugust 23, 2019In “latest news”Youth Football takes centre stage in Petra/Milo U20February 7, 2014In “Sports”Limacol Football teams rewarded handsomelyMarch 22, 2017In “Sports” read more

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First smeltergrade alumina refinery for Indonesia Yenipazar feasibility study Amulsar gold project

first_imgToday’s issue of International Mining Project News is well over 50 pages packed with detailed information with reports on 22 prefeasibility studies, 27 feasibility studies, 32 projects in development, two new mines that have gone into production, seven existing mines that are expanding, six merger and acquisition announcements and many new appointments to new positions. The report covers 32 gold projects, 14 coal, 12 iron ore, 12 copper projects, nine uranium projects, six reports each on rare earth and silver projects, four in nickel and four in zinc, three projects each on zinc and molybdenum, two projects each on tungsten, lead and mineral sands, one project each on lithium, potash, diamonds, tin, bauxite, alumina, manganese, titanium, rutile, zircon, ilmenite, vanadium and lead, and includes one polymetallic project. King Island Scheelite (KIS) announced results from the recently completed DFS for its 100% owned Dolphin project. Redevelopment of this worldclass, high grade tungsten deposit on King Island (Tasmania) has the potential to generate strong cash flows over an initial 10 year mine life, during the course of which it would produce approximately one quarter of the current world non-Chinese supply of tungsten.Banro has announced the closing of its $175 million debt financing. The net proceeds from the offering will be used for the development of the company’s Namoya project.Inmet Mining has announced an initial independent resource estimate and recent drill results for the Balboa copper-gold porphyry discovery originally announced March 8, 2011. The deposit is located on the Cobre Panama property in central Panama and is owned by Minera Panama.IMX Resources reports a 150% increase in Measured and Indicated mineral resources at the Ntaka Hill Ni-Cu deposits at the Nachingwea JV Project in southern Tanzania. Managing Director, Neil Meadows: “This substantial increase in resources at the Nachingwea Nickel Project is great news for IMX shareholders. Through our 25% interest in the Joint Venture and 37% direct investment in Continental Nickel we have almost 53% beneficial ownership of the project which is beginning to advance towards development.”Blackthorn Resources has provided a project update for surface construction and mine development activities at the Perkoa Project in Burkina Faso.IronClad Mining has announced further success with its capital raising program for ongoing development of the Wilcherry Hill iron ore mine on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.AXMIN announced that over and above its previously announced $185 million mandated senior debt (press release July 20, 2011 and January 26, 2012) a further $25 million in senior debt and $25 million in subordinated convertible debt has been mandated with the International Finance Corp (IFC) for the purposes of partially funding the development of the Passendro gold project in the Central African Republic (CAR).Petmin has issued a maiden resource statement for its jointly-controlled North Atlantic Iron Corp (NAIC) iron sands to pig iron project in Canada’s Labrador province. Petmin will now accelerate its investment in NAIC based on the project’s technical and economic viability.Tahoe Resources announced financial results for the year ending December 31, 2011, and updated construction progress at its flagship Escobal project in Guatemala.  Project development costs of $39.6 million were expensed in 2011.  At December 31, 2011, the total project work force amounted to 428 employees, of whom more than 95% are Guatemalan. The project remains on schedule and budget for mill commissioning in the second half of 2013 and commercial production in 1Q 2014.Mechel OAO, one of the leading Russian mining and metals companies, has received subsoil licenses for exploring and extracting iron ore in the Sutamsky area and in the Sivaglinsky deposit, both located in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)’s Neryungri region. The Sutamsky iron ore area is about 3,300 km2 and consists of several promising iron ore deposits. The license area is over 740 km2. Its estimated reserves under Russian standards are 1,350 Mt. The Sutamsky ores’ Fe content averages 32-40%. The Sutamsky area is located 210 km southeast of Neryungri.Jonathan Henry, Gabriel’s President and Chief Executive Officer: “We continue to work closely with the Romanian Government to permit and build Romania’s first modern mine. Our campaign to highlight the substantial economic, social and environmental benefits of the Rosia Montana project continues and it is pleasing to see recent polls in Romania showing a significant majority in favour of the development of mining in Rosia Montana. We look forward to the TAC recommendation in the coming months.”ENK has completed the infill drilling program and has a nickel limonite and saprolite resource update for the Acoje project as well as an update on the nickel laterite infill drill program for the Zambales Chromite Mining Corp (ZCMC) project.  Both projects are located in close proximity on the west coast of Luzon, 250 km north of Manila in the Philippines. Xstrata Coal and JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp have created a joint venture comprising contiguous metallurgical coal assets in the Peace River Coalfields in Western Canada.  JX Nippon Oil & Energy (Australia), a subsidiary of JX, has paid $435 million in cash to acquire a 25% interest in Xstrata Coal British Columbia (XCBC). Vista Gold Corp has announced the initial results of the current resource conversion drilling program at its Mt. Todd gold project in Northern Territory, Australia, and provide an update on the company’s development activities at the Mt. Todd gold project as the definitive feasibility study nears completion. The company has decided to build a project development team in Australia and to evaluate the potential for a larger project than contemplated in the feasibility study.Azumah Resources has reported an expansion in mineral resources to 1,016,000 oz Measured and Indicated and 659,000 oz Inferred gold plus a substantial upgrade in the classification of all major mineral resources at its Wa gold project, northwest Ghana.These are just some of the projects covered in this issue. This fortnightly project watch is a great way of keeping up to date with your peers – other mining companies, other consultants or other engineering companies. These issues build into a global mine project overview. If you are a supplier – it is full of potential sales leads.Full details on all these projects and information on and contacts for many, many more are to be found in the March 2 issue of International Mining Project News…..To receive the full report, subscriptions to this service can be registered and paid for on-line (SUBSCRIBE TO IM PROJECT NEWS BUTTTON), or contact emma@im-mining.com for a free trial copy.last_img read more

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The potash boom – Canadas pink gold rush attracts the world

first_imgBy Marc Davis, http://www.bnwnews.ca/ – Farmers around the globe are demanding better access and prices to the indispensable and irreplaceable pink salt known as potash, which optimises the delivery of nutrients to plants. With the precious cargo slung over his shoulder, Vikram Singh strides through his field spreading the white granular stuff where it matters most.”I can’t afford to waste any…I had to buy it on the black market,” says the 38-year-old farmer from Dostpur Mangroli village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. For the last two decades, Singh has toiled his field for wheat and rice to feed his family of six, using the white stuff to stimulate the crops and his livelihood, in India’s once-fertile Gangetic Plain.“I have to use more and more because the land is not as good as it once was…this is not only expensive, it’s very hard to get,” says Singh, who paid twice the retail amount of 1,200 rupees (about $23) for a bootleg 50-kg bag of the white stuff — potash-based fertiliser.Pressure is mounting on the governments of fast-emerging economies like China and India, which view the daunting challenge of providing their booming populations with better quality food as a potential threat to national security.A greater reliance on potash promises to virtually double the output of their agricultural sectors, as well as other similarly-challenged emerging economies. That’s because this strategic mineral can significantly improve crop yields, while requiring less arable land and less water. Investment industry analysts therefore agree that there will be heightened global demand for many years to come.This reality has for the past several years spurred on a multi-billion dollar, high-stakes race to acquire and control the world’s few remaining undeveloped potash deposits. Most of them can be found in Saskatchewan where potash lies abundantly in the salts left behind by an ancient inland sea.According to a January 2012 report by Toronto-based bond ratings agency DBRS: “The anticipation of persistent demand growth for fertilisers and the rapid rise in potash prices has led to an explosion of expansion projects from existing producers and new entrants.”Hence, China and India have high-priority national mandates to get a piece of the action before it is too late in what is now being dubbed as Saskatchewan’s Pink Gold Rush.Saskatchewan’s Minister of the Economy, Bill Boyd, looks forward to a boom in the potash industry that he believes will fertilize the future of his province. “We have established a global reputation as the world’s largest potash producer with nearly half of the world’s proven potash reserves,” he says in a recent interview. “This means billions of dollars of potential new investments, and thousands of jobs for Saskatchewan residents.”Patricio Varas, the CEO of Western Potash, agrees. “There is no doubt that Saskatchewan is the Saudi Arabia of potash,” he says. This helps explain why his small company is being courted by China and India, which have an eye on its Milestone project, just outside of Regina. Both emerging superpowers are particularly anxious to lock-in long-term potash supplies by partnering-up with any of the several smaller players in the Pink Gold Rush – ones that cannot afford to go forward alone, like Western Potash.This Vancouver-based company’s emerging story is being followed by Ben Isaacson, a Toronto-based mining analyst for Scotia Bank.“Given the recent re-emergence of ‘the potash independence theme’ by several emerging economies -Brazil, China, and India-we would not be surprised to see a SOE (state-owned enterprise) take a run at Western Potash in the near-term,” Isaacson said in an investment newsletter to clients late last year.Varas declined to comment on any pending deals and the investment industry’s speculation. But he is keen to emphasise his company’s pragmatic business strategy.    “Western Potash’s ultimate aim is to help solve food security issues in Asia by guaranteeing a secure, long-term supply of potash,” he says.The upstart company’s proposed solution mine in Milestone has the potential to produce at least 2.8 Mt/y of potash for at least 40 years. Solution mining involves pumping water into the mineral deposits and dissolving them for extraction. It is less costly, more environmentally-friendly, and faster to commercialize than conventional mining.In fact, Western Potash made headlines earlier this month by announcing its intention to pay the city of Regina to redirect much of its treated sewage water to its mine site. Currently, this effluent is deposited into the Wascana River.Potash sales are already worth some $150 billion a year on a global basis. Saskatchewan accounts for about a third of the world’s annual production of about 55 Mt. Russia and Belarus are the only other major producers. Yet Canada’s potash riches and its favorable political environment make it the preferred jurisdiction for all the new players who want to muscle-in on this lucrative industry. In the past couple of years, two leading global mining multinationals, Vale and Rio Tinto have entered the hunt for potash in Saskatchewan. The latter did so by partnering-up with one of Western Potash’s peers in the junior potash sector, North Atlantic Potash, in 2011. The German fertiliser heavyweight K+S AG also took the fast-track to becoming a potash producer in Canada by acquiring another small player, Potash One, last year.  But the biggest new entrant to Saskatchewan’s potash mining business by far is the world’s current largest mining company, BHP Billiton. It is developing its own mega potash mine at Janzen, near Saskatoon. This would become by far the largest mine of its kind when it eventually reaches full capacity at about 8 Mt/y. And BHP Billiton has four smaller mines in the pipeline, too. A couple of them were formerly owned by two more of Western Potash’s past rivals, Anglo Potash and Athabasca Potash, until BHP Billiton gobbled up both companies in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan’s existing operators -Potash Corp, Mosaic and Agrium -are midway through multi-billion-dollar expansions to their mines, all of which are at least 40 years old, but are still going strong. Potash Corp, alone, plans to almost double its output from about 9 Mt/y to around 17 Mt by 2015. Collectively, this clutch of deep-pocketed mining behemoths promises to more than double Canada’s existing production within the next few years. But these game-changing developments will mean little to poor, struggling farmers like Singh in India and others elsewhere in the world’s emerging economies. That is unless they get the potash at steady, reasonable prices. Currently Saskatchewan’s trio of producers sell their potash via a marketing agency known as Canpotex, which manages both prices and supplies. However, it is renowned for sometimes demanding lofty, inflexible prices, which was especially the case in 2008, when its prices spiked over $1,000/t, as compared to current levels of around $475/t. Canpotex’s ‘take it or leave it’ mindset has long been a thorn in the side of China, its biggest customer, as well as India.This is where new market entrants like Western Potash and the mining industry’s interloping titans come into the picture. They aim to break the stranglehold that these existing producers currently have on Canada’s supplies.“This should make for a more competitive environment by allowing supply/demand fundamentals to dictate pricing of this vital commodity, Varas says. “This should translate into a win-win situation.”last_img read more

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Immersive develops new range of coal mining simulators

first_imgImmersive Technologies says it has furthered its commitment to the mining industry with the development of simulators (Conversion Kit) for underground coal mining. Simulators include those for continuous miners, shuttle cars, roof bolters, longwalls and miner bolters. “These products feature a previously unseen degree of simulation realism and Immersive Technologies’ ingenious new RealMove natural movement system. Bolstered with a demonstrated capability to deliver quantified improvements in cost savings, productivity and safety; Immersive Technologies offers a degree of training effectiveness not previously available to underground coal mining operations.”“Until now, there has been no training solution on the market which fully addresses the unique training requirements for underground coal equipment operators. These new products highlight our ongoing approach to invest in driving customer safety and profitability though our industry leading technology and extensive mining experience,” said Richard Beesley, Underground Coal Business Unit Manager. The simulators provide an authentic and comprehensive recreation of an underground coal mining work environment and support the following models with plans to continually develop new machines:JOY 14CM15 continuous miner with wireless TX2 or TX3 remoteJOY 10SC32 shuttle carFletcher CHDDR roof bolterCaterpillar EL3000 longwallJOY 12CM30 miner bolterImmersive Technologies has also firmly extended its Complete and Scalable Solution for operator workforce development into the underground coal mining industry. Beesley, an experienced roof bolter operator, says: “The expanded product line is the result of intense research and development drawing from original equipment manufacturers, industry best practices, subject matter experts and safety requirements specific to the underground coal mining industry.”The innovation continues with the development of the world’s first RealMove natural movement system, through this technology the operator can naturally walk around the 3D virtual environment to avoid hazards or to perform a full walk around of the machine. This is a key feature for remote machine operators where awareness of ones surroundings can be the difference between life and death. “The ability to train operators to react correctly during potentially life threatening situations is invaluable in underground mining. Many dangerous situations rarely take place so training operators to understand proper protocol in a safe environment is essential for underground operations,” Beesley says.The new machines operate on the CM360 Advanced Equipment Simulator. This platform was built upon the proven design and configuration of the Immersive Technologies UG360 Advanced Equipment Simulator. The CM360 utilises the full 360 degree visual experience recognising the distinct operating conditions of the underground mining environment. It features an entirely removable motion platform to permit both seated and remote operated simulation from within the one platform. The company states: “Particular care and attention to detail has been put into the visuals for these machines, setting new standards in 3D graphical machine models for mining simulations. RealMove along with the unparalleled degree of simulation realism allows operators to train at a level of detail the underground mining industry hasn’t seen before. Small details are critical to proper operations and we are excited to unveil these advancements in underground coal mining training. The company is to embark on a roadshow in popular coal mining regions to showcase the new developments.”last_img read more

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