Police Offer Contrasting Testimony in Oscar Pistorius Murder Case

Oscar Pistorius received a boost in his murder trial Wednesday when testimony from a South African detective indicated he found no inconsistencies in the claims by the double amputee sports hero who shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day.Pistorius, nicknamed Blade Runner, said he thought a burglar was in the bathroom of his home when he shot four times through the door, three times hitting Steenkamp, who died at the scene. Prosecutors claim he murdered her in an angry rage in a case that has captured the attention of the country and much of the world.Under cross-examination, Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha acknowledged that the witness who allegedly overheard the argument was more than 650 yards from Pistorius’ house — nearly 2,000 feet or four city blocks in Pistorius’ gated community in the suburbs of South Africa’s capital, Pretoria.Later, Botha said the distance was much closer. But confusion reigned for much of his testimony. At one point Botha said officers found syringes and steroids in Pistorius’ bedroom. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel quickly interjected that the drugs were actually testosterone.Pistorius said in an affidavit read in court that he and Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and budding reality TV star who was cremated Tuesday, had gone to bed and that when he awoke during the night he detected what he thought was an intruder in the bathroom. He testified that he grabbed his 9 mm pistol and fired into the bathroom door, only to discover later to his horror that he had shot his girlfriend.Botha said: “I believe that he knew that Reeva was in the bathroom and he shot four shots through the door.”Nel displayed a plan of the bedroom and bathroom in court that showed Pistorius had to walk past his bed to get to the bathroom and could not have done so without realizing that Steenkamp was not in the bed.“There’s no other way of getting there,” Nel said.Botha said the trajectory of the bullets showed the gun was fired pointed down and from a height. This seems to conflict with Pistorius’ statement Tuesday, when the athlete said that he did not have on his prosthetics and was on his stumps and feeling vulnerable because he was in a low position when he opened fire.But asked if the police found anything inconsistent with the version of events presented by Pistorius, Botha responded that they had not. He later said nothing contradicted the police’s version either.Officers also found .38-caliber pistol rounds in a safe, which Botha said Pistorius owned illegally and for which he said the athlete would be charged. However, Botha also acknowledged investigators didn’t take photographs of the ammunition and let Pistorius’ supporters at the crime scene take them away.Botha said the holster for the 9 mm pistol was found under the left side of the bed, the side on which Steenkamp slept. He also implied it would have been impossible for Pistorius to get the gun without knowing if Steenkamp was there. Pistorius attorney Barry Roux later argued that Pistorius had suffered an injury to his right shoulder and wore a “medical patch” the night of the killing and slept on the left side of the bed.Steenkamp was shot in the head over her right ear and in her right elbow and hip, breaking her arm and hip, Botha said. However, Roux later asked Botha if Steenkamp’s body showed “any pattern of defensive wounds.” The detective said no. read more

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Michael Vick Ready to Compete For Starting QB Position

Quarterback Michael Vick still doesn’t know where he stands on the Eagles’ depth chart. In an interview back in June, he was asked if new coach Chip Kelly should name the starting quarterback before training camp, and he responded, “Yeah, that would be swell.”Eagles general manager Howie Roseman spoke to the media on Monday, and talked about which quarterback on the team has a chance to win the starting job.Roseman also talked about whether Vick knew that training camp would determine who the starter would be once the season begins.“Every conversation I’ve had and everyone in this building has had with Michael was about competition, he’s all for it,” Roseman said via PhillyMag.com. “He wants the best players to play and he’s not shying away from competition in any aspect. He knew that when we signed him — he knew there was going to be competition at every spot — and he said nothing other than he wants to compete.”Back in minicamp, Vick said it was difficult to split first-team reps.“It’s tough,” he said during minicamp. “I have to continue to be a professional and put my feelings and emotions to the side and just continue to compete. But it’s hard. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t, but that’s just what I have to deal with, and I’m going to keep dealing with it until I see otherwise.”Vick will compete with second-year player Nick Foles and rookie fourth-round pick Matt Barkley. read more

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For What LeBron James Brought to Miami He Deserved

The best thing about LeBron James going back to Cleveland last summer was that it showed he controlled his career, that he was his own man, that he was unafraid of disappointing or making angry fans in Miami.He was admittedly uneasy about his return to Miami yesterday, but it was encouraging that he overwhelmingly received applause and love, because that was all he deserved. At once, James was the catalyst to reinvigorating a floundering franchise and a downtown that was mired in a drastic economic slump.In four years, James led the way to four NBA Finals appearances and two championships. Heat tickets were the hardest to get in the league. Going to see James, matched with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, was an event, a happening. Miami became more than the city to pass through en route to South Beach.As a franchise, the Heat’s value doubled, from $364 million in 2010 to $770 million in 2014, according to Time magazine. That increase speaks to what economists call the “LeBron Effect.”Downtown near and around American Airlines Arena, once close to barren, saw restaurants and lounges spring up as James’ presence facilitated action downtown like never before.“He certainly did help the bottom line,” said Alyce Robertson, executive director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority to the Daily Business Review. “When the team was in the finals, we got a lot of free publicity with our skyline being projected across the world, and so a team that is rebuilding is not going to get that kind of media coverage.”The Heat’s average ticket price was the highest in the NBA last season at $245. They sold out every game. An economist estimated that a home playoff game generates about $15 million a game in local revenue, and Miami played more home playoff games in James’ tenure than any other club in the league.“I gave everything and more to this city when I was here,” James said after his team lost to Miami yesterday. “I never disrespected this city or the franchise or any of my teammates. (I did) everything as a professional and I gave it all. That’s all I can do.”That’s why James received what he deserved yesterday, from the overwhelming amount of fans at the sold out arena: love. A video tribute in the first quarter showed that the franchise got it.“A lot of emotions come back and you know, I spent four years here with those guys, man, and some guys are still here, some guys are not here. We put in a lot of hard work and dedication just to do the best we could,” James said.The LeBron James Effect traveled back to Cleveland, where his presence the first time around grew Cleveland’s downtown. Now, though, finance professor LeRoy Brooks of John Carroll University, near Cleveland, estimated that James’ return to his home state could be worth $500 million to the local economy. In ticket sales alone, James’ presence could earn the franchise $129 million more than last season.“The Cleveland fan can expect the LeBron Effect to provide a lot more positive and less negative experiences then most of them have had in any prior year, or imagined that they would ever see in the future prior to LeBron’s announcement,” says Brooks. “Many would view this as priceless.”Miami fans apparently understood that James’ four-year presence there was priceless. It honored him appropriately in his first return. And he deserved it. read more

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How Every NFL Teams Fans Lean Politically

The showdown between President Trump and the NFL over some players’ decision to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice has raised all kinds of important issues. It’s also put the most popular major sports league in the United States in a difficult position. The NFL’s fan base is much more bipartisan than those of other major sports leagues, and it risks angering one side or the other if it mishandles the situation.Pro football is unique in that its fandom stretches across partisan lines. Using Google Trends to measure fan interest for a given media market in the United States,1Excluding the Alaska markets of Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau, none of which had complete search-traffic data. we calculated the percentage of search traffic over the previous five years for each region related to each of the major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL), as well as college football, college basketball and NASCAR.2President Trump specifically mentioned NASCAR in several tweets over the past week. We then compared it to Trump’s vote share in last year’s presidential election in each market. (You can find that data on GitHub here.) Not surprisingly, teams that are located within markets where Trump did his best tended to be the places where there are more Republicans, compared with Democrats: For example, teams based in the Republican-leaning areas of Jacksonville, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee, have more Republican-leaning fan bases — in terms of the percentage of fans identifying as Republicans minus the percentage identifying as Democrats — than average. (This made the Tennessee players’ decision to not be on the field during last week’s playing of the national anthem especially interesting.) The same goes for the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers, each of whom saw internal friction over their response to Trump. On the other end, Democrats tend to hold their biggest edge among teams based in major metropolitan areas where Clinton did best, like New York, Chicago and the Bay Area, where the Oakland Raiders have been especially active in kneeling during the anthem.There were a few surprises in the data. The New England Patriots, despite being based in the Democratic bastion of Massachusetts, have a fan base that is slightly more Republican than the average team. The reason is that even though New England fans who live in Massachusetts are overwhelmingly Democratic, the Patriots fans who live outside of Massachusetts (of whom there are many) are much more Republican than the average NFL fan. Likewise, much of the fan base for the recently relocated Los Angeles Rams is from outside California, which helps to explain why Ram fans are more Republican than you’d expect given that the team plays in the very anti-Trump Los Angeles market.There was also a major partisan split between the two most popular teams in our poll: the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. Unlike the Patriots, both the Cowboys and Packers are based in Trump-friendly areas. (Trump carried the Dallas media market by 12 percentage points; he carried the Green Bay media market by 18 points.) Yet, according to our poll, the Cowboy fan base is far more Republican than the Packer fan base. That may be why Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has tried to remain in Trump’s good graces. The Democratic lean of the Packer fan base may be tied to the fact that the Green Bay area has the smallest television market of any NFL franchise. This means that to become such a well-liked team, the Packers had to pick up a lot of fans outside of Green Bay (only 9 percent of Packer fans are based in Wisconsin). Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that the partisan breakdown of the overall Packer fan base is closer to the national average for NFL team fan bases.Arguably, though, the biggest takeaway from our poll is that every team in the NFL has both Democrats and Republicans in their fan base. No matter what teams choose to do during the anthem — they’re probably going to get in some trouble with some portion of their fan base. And as long as Trump keeps up his fight with the NFL, all eyes will continue to be on sidelines before each game. Of course, not every person in a team’s market actually is a fan of football, and some teams have fan bases that extend well beyond their television market. To quantify the political affiliations of each team’s fan base, we commissioned a SurveyMonkey Audience poll of 2,290 American NFL fans in early September5Specifically, the poll was conducted among a national sample of adults ages 18 and older from Sept. 1 to Sept. 7. Only responses from self-described NFL fans (including those who labeled themselves “casual” fans) were included in the analysis. that asked them to list their three favorite teams, as well as the political party with which they identify. Sample sizes ranged from 526 respondents who put the Green Bay Packers in their top three to 41 for the Jacksonville Jaguars; the average margin of error6Computed according to the traditional formula, even though this poll technically uses non-probability sampling. was +/- 7 percentage points.Here’s the breakdown of each fan base by party affiliation, according to our poll. Keep in mind that more Americans self-identify as Democrats than Republicans. In our poll, the average team’s fan base is made up of 6 percentage points more Democrats than Republicans. The key is to look at how each team’s fan base compares to the average. Among the sports leagues we considered, the NFL had the most search traffic and the least partisan fan base. There is basically no correlation3Weighted by the total number of votes cast in the 2016 presidential election in each market area. between how Democratic or Republican an area is and how often its residents made NFL-related searches. By comparison, NASCAR has a very Republican fan base, which may explain why its team officials have been outspoken against the NFL protests. The NBA, meanwhile, has a largely left-leaning following, and the responses by its players and coaches have been especially critical of Trump.4The fact that baseball is more popular in Clinton-friendly areas is probably because it is most relatively popular in the Northeast, which Clinton won by a sizable margin last November. Polling does not indicate that baseball fans are overwhelmingly Democratic-leaning.Making matters more difficult for the NFL is that some teams are based in Democratic areas and others in Republican areas: read more

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Opinion Return of Braxton Miller soothes wound left by Mike Vrabel

Junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) looks for an open receiver during the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl against Clemson Jan. 3 at Sun Life Stadium. OSU lost, 40-35.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorDJust as Buckeye Nation thankfully swallowed a goodbye, a new farewell came up unexpectedly.The first announcement, the unexpected goodbye if you will, came as a shock to most and what seemed to be at the time, a significant blow to the program.OSU’s defensive line coach Mike Vrabel made the decision to bolt for the NFL and join former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien’s staff at the Houston Texans.At first I, along with undoubtably many OSU followers, thought this would be a great hit to the recruiting ability of the Buckeyes. It’s always nice to be able to shine three Super Bowl rings in front of a recruit (Vrabel won three with the New England Patriots) and that influence is now gone from the program.Enter Larry Johnson.Less than a week after losing Vrabel to Houston, OSU coach Urban Meyer reeled in Johnson from O’Brien’s former staff in State College, Pa.Johnson spent 18 years coaching at Penn State. He has recruited and developed players such as Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali and former No. 1 overall draft pick Courtney Brown.Needless to say, OSU not only rebuilds in terms of players, but coaches as well.The second bit of news that came in shortly after the news about Vrabel’s departure was that junior quarterback Braxton Miller would return for his senior season.While this did not come as a surprise to some, I was a little shocked the star quarterback didn’t make the leap to the NFL.After taking a beating in the second half of the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl, some, including myself, thought Miller wouldn’t be willing to take another beating like that unless he was being paid for it. Yet he made the decision to return to Columbus.Hearing OSU was hanging onto Miller came as a relief after losing Vrabel.Losing both would have been a significant blow to a team that struggled on defense in 2013-14 and is graduating four of five starters on the offensive line.OSU fans should consider themselves lucky that the news was not reversed and Miller had left with Vrabel staying.Remember OSU fans will no longer have the luxury of seeing redshirt-senior quarterback Kenny Guiton — who graduated in the fall — come off the bench to save the day in the event that Miller goes down with an injury. Had Miller left, the Buckeyes would be preparing to enter 2014 with a group of quarterbacks — freshmen Luke Morgan and J.T. Barrett and redshirt-freshman Cardale Jones — that combined for only two pass attempts in their careers.So be grateful, Buckeye Nation, the future is still bright and we will all be able to enjoy one more year of No. 5 in Columbus. read more

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Urban Meyer lauded in performance review gets 330K raise after 2013 season

OSU coach Urban Meyer stands during a game against Iowa Oct. 19 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 34-24.Credit: Lantern file photoAlthough he’s yet to win a National Championship or a Big Ten Championship trophy at Ohio State, Urban Meyer received an 8 percent raise following the 2013 football season. The football coach’s latest performance review also showed he needed to be engaged with various groups because of recent changes with the NCAA governance structure and consideration being given to new benefits for student athletes.After he amassed a 24-game regular season winning streak to start his tenure at Ohio State, Meyer received a raise of exactly $328,640 over his three areas of income — base salary, media payment and Nike payment — heading into the 2014 campaign. In a letter obtained by The Lantern addressed to Meyer from OSU vice president and athletic director Gene Smith, Smith congratulates Meyer on “another remarkable season” before listing the annual salary increase for the head coach. The letter was dated March 25.A university policy says a compensation package exceeding $350,000 — which Meyer’s does — must be approved by the president and the provost, according an OSU document. Joseph Alutto was serving as interim president and Joseph Steinmetz was serving as provost at the time Meyer’s raise was approved. Meyer’s base salary jumped to $818,640 from $758,000, his media payment went to $2.05 million from $1.9 million and his Nike payment increased to about $1.57 million from $1.45 million annually.The letter concluded with Smith informing Meyer that the change in his contract would become effective Feb. 1 and would be reflected on his March 31 paycheck.Smith told The Lantern that the raise was nothing out of the ordinary.“It was part of the normal evaluation process we have each year,” Smith said in a Saturday email.Meyer’s initial contract at OSU was signed as a six-year, $24-million deal, but has since undergone various revisions throughout his time with the Buckeyes. In 2012, the OSU Board of Trustees approved changes to Meyer’s contract that included bonuses of $50,000 for any Big Ten Leaders Division championships. Meyer’s initial contract also included bonuses of $100,000 for a Big Ten Championship, $150,000 for a non-national championship BCS bowl game and $250,000 for a National Championship Game appearance.Meyer’s latest performance review — which was sent to The Lantern on Nov. 12 to fill an open records request — was conducted by Smith on June 3 and was overall positive.Smith thought Meyer exceeded expectations (out of three possible categories, “exceeds expectations” is the best) in four out of eight core competencies. These included commitment to compliance, student-athlete welfare, leadership and public and donor relations. Click to enlarge.Smith thought Meyer met expectations (which is the category between “exceeds expectations” and “opportunity for improvement”) in the remaining four categories. These included academic success of the program, competitive success of the program, communication and budget management. The performance review also included an “overall rating” box that was left blank. Above the box read text that said an overall rating must be given for all employees.When asked about the blank box in a Wednesday afternoon follow-up email, Rebecca Dickson, a paralegal and program manager in the public records office who sent the original documents, said she would work on getting an answer. In a June 3 letter from Smith to Meyer attached to the performance review, Smith said he needed Meyer to “continue to focus on the academic initiatives” of the team. Smith also said Meyer needs to be engaged with his “national organization” and the Big Ten Coaches group, because of changes in the NCAA governance structure and consideration being given to adding benefits for student athletes, which potentially pays them outside of cost of attendance.Under the former NCAA governance model, athletic directors and student athletes did not have a voice in the legislative process, but under the new model they do. “We need to be sure our position is properly represented with these groups,” Smith said.Smith also praised Meyer’s approach to developing the “total student athlete,” calling it “one of the best.”He said Meyer has created an environment where players can strengthen their values, learn life skills and strive for excellence in all that they do. Smith said he was proud of the way Meyer led the coaching staff. He said there is “clarity” in the roles, expectations and value. read more

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Mens Basketball Despite struggles from 3 Ohio State might have to return

Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) attempts a 3-pointer in the first half of the game against Rutgers on Feb. 20. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State has not been a team that relies on 3-point shooting this season.Its offensive strength has come from the ability of its forwards to find space inside and to outscore opponents by significant margins in the paint. The Buckeyes strayed from that identity Thursday, however, attempting 40 triples in their game against South Dakota State. They tried to live and die by the 3. They nearly died.Despite the fact its inefficient 3-point shooting nearly cost Ohio State the game, the team might have to go back to that strategy and hope for more success when the fifth-seeded Buckeyes return to the court Saturday to face fourth-seeded Gonzaga.The Bulldogs are a team without many clear flaws. Gonzaga is bigger than Ohio State and is one of the best post teams in the nation — both offensively and defensively. It has the sixth-best rebounding margin of any team in the nation and averages the 12th-most points per game and 48th-fewest points allowed. There is one potential weakness Ohio State can exploit: Gonzaga’s struggles defending shots from long range.The Bulldogs have allowed opposing teams to make 34.9 percent of shots from 3 this season, 164th in the nation. In all but one of its four losses, Gonzaga allowed teams to make at least 47 percent of 3-point attempts.Despite Gonzaga’s issues defending triples, teams have not always tried to bludgeon them from beyond the arc. No team has attempted as many as the 40 shots from 3 Ohio State attempted Thursday, and only six times have opponents even attempted at least 25 3s.That strategy was not lost on Ohio State in the first matchup. The Buckeyes attempted 20 shots from 3, but only six landed. At times, Ohio State has been a strong 3-point shooting team. At others, it has not. It has made over 40 percent of 3s in 10 of its 33 games and has four times reached double-digit makes. However, nine times this season Ohio State has made fewer than 30 percent of 3s and three times fewer than 20 percent. This inconsistent shooting trend was perfectly exemplified during its first-round matchup with South Dakota State. Ohio State made just two of its first nine attempts from beyond the arc before knocking down six of its next eight attempts from long range. The Buckeyes made just four of their final 23 3-point shots.The one constant between a majority of the attempts was that South Dakota State tended to ease off the Buckeyes and allow them to attempt the 3s. The Jackrabbits seemed comfortable letting Ohio State rattle off 40 shots — a strategy that seemed to work with Ohio State missing 28 of them. Part of the reason Ohio State might have been shooting so frequently from 3 against South Dakota State is because the Jackrabbits are a group that thrives using that offensive style. They attempted 31 3s with 13 makes in the game, leading to a tie for the most 3-point attempts by two teams in an NCAA Tournament game. This season, their 39.3 3-point make percentage ranks 25th in the nation.When faced off against an opponent that likes to attempt a lot of 3s, Ohio State has often tried to mirror the approach.While it won’t be facing a team that lives and dies by the 3, Ohio State will need to be ready for an opponent that can score from deep if given the chance. Gonzaga has made 37 percent of 3-point shots, but relies more heavily on its post play to pick up points. The team has reached double-digit made-3-pointers in 16 of its 35 games and finds that 32 percent of its total points come from 3s, just slightly more than the average team in the country.Ohio State will not need to be making 3s to keep up with another team that will be shooting them all night. But Gonzaga’s offense is one that will be tough to slow down inside and can burn the team outside as well. The Buckeyes can’t afford to abandon their 3-point shooting. Facing a team like Gonzaga that is so strong inside defensively and can be beat from long range, making 3s will be a critical part of scoring. However, Gonzaga is so efficient offensively that the Buckeyes can’t have another game where they miss 28 3-pointers. Against the 12th-seeded Jackrabbits, the Buckeyes can live missing wide-open 3s.It won’t if that happens again Saturday against Gonzaga. read more

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Reallife Italian Job Gang toured UK stealing money from ATMs while sleeping

first_imgGetaway cars and hammocks were found in the back of lorry used by ATM gang.Credit:Liverpool Echo ATM gang Andrew White, 28, of St Helens was jailed for 19 years, Miah, 28, of Birmingham, was given a life sentence, Anthony White, 26, of Huyton, was jailed for 16 years; Carl Cavanagh, 33, of Huyton, for 11 years; Anthony Conroy, 29, of Wavertree, for 12 years; Galea, 41, of Prescot, 15 years; Carey, 40, of Tuebrook – who was only involved in one raid – received 10 years.Cavanagh and Conroy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions and conspiracy to burgle but their co-accused were convicted of both conspiracies. The high powered luxury vehicles they stole for their revolving fleet were conservatively estimated to be worth more than £320,000 and were used to enable the gang, using false registration plates, to cause “untold damage and distress” to the rural communities whose cash machines they destroyed, he added.”It is clear from CCTV footage that each attack would involve about four people and a vehicle with a driver and potentially other people and vehicles nearby.”Between February 2015 and February last year there were 13 actual or attempted raids, eight of which were “gas attacks” and the other five “drag outs”. One of the cars used by the gang. Italian Job The driver, Nanu Miah was arrested along with Andrew White, Cavanagh and Conroy.The other defendants, White’s brother Anthony, Michael Galea and Gary Carey had been arrested earlier during the crime campaign.Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Green, who heads up the North West Regional Crime Unit (TITAN), said: “This is the culmination of an extensive 12-month investigation into crimes involving thefts from cashpoint machines across and throughout the UK and a number of burglaries at residential properties.””These individuals believed they were untouchable and they used dangerous tactics in targeting ATM’s, which clearly put members of the public at risk. The techniques used by the men involved in these attacks were extremely risky and we are fortunate that no-one was hurt.” They drove at dangerously high speeds – once reaching 150 mph to escape police – on busy motorways and narrow country roads and the presence of the canisters turning their vehicles into “potential high speed mobile bombs”, according to prosecutor Ian Unsworth QC. Despite an officer pointing his firearm at the driver the gang reversed into the police vehicle and an officer used a shotgun to blow out one of the tyres. Andrew White led the gang who blew up cash machines across the country.Credit:BPM MEDIA In a plot akin to the Italian Job, a gang of criminals have toured the UK in high performance cars blowing up cash machines to steal more than half a million pounds.Using transporters to live in, the gang transformed trucks into “high speed mobile bombs” to hide their luxury getaway cars, which included Audi RS4’s, RS6’s and Mercedes A45, and deadly explosive devices.They were finally caught in a police shootout in Scotland.center_img During their year long campaign – which left a £200,000 trail of destruction – the thieves transported canisters of acetylene, oxygen, fuel and heavy cutting equipment in expensive vehicles they had stolen to target 13 cash machines in rural communities in England and Scotland. Nanu Miah The gang used a plot similar to the Italian Job. Italian Job Now a judge in Liverpool has jailed the “ruthless” gang of seven for more than a 100 years in total.Judge Alan Conrad QC described the gang as “arrogant, skilled, determined and ruthless”.”No doubt you were attracted by the thrill of organising and carrying out these offences – by acquiring and driving expensive high performance cars – the identification and reconnaissance of suitable targets – the putting in place of men and equipment – the high speed chases and the attempts to stay one step ahead of the police,” he said.”And then there was the money which has not been found, very considerable sums which enabled you to live comfortably without any honest work.”The overwhelming impression that remains with me is one of breathtaking arrogance on your part.” The gang stole Motorhomes to transport the equipment they used to carry out the ATM gas attacks.Officers from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit recovered a Scania lorry with a stolen trailer unit which had been converted to house a stolen RS4, the trailer came complete with ramps so that the vehicle could be quickly loaded on to it following an offence.The offenders also had hammocks strung up in the rear of the trailer so they could use it to rest and a number of large fuel canisters used to refuel the vehicles to cut down on visits to petrol stations and motorway forecourts. The first attack was at a Nat West bank in Reading and the final one was in Carnoustie, Scotland, where there had also been raids in Newtonhill and Kingswell in Aberdeenshire and in Perth. The others took place in the North West, Midlands and further South.The court heard that four of the defendants were arrested after being seen in a white Mercedes by a McDonalds in Arbroath on February 12 last year shortly after a nearby Co-Op in Carnoustie was attacked. Nanu Miah led the West Midlands side of the Italian Job gang. Credit: BPM MEDIA Andrew White 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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Exercise can help chronic fatigue syndrome study shows

first_imgCFS affects about seven in 1000 people and is characterised by chronic, disabling fatigue in the absence of an alternative diagnosis.The self-help exercise programmed involved slowly building up physical activity levels after establishing a daily routine, with the support of a physiotherapist over the phone or Skype.The research was published in The Lancet. Increasing exercise each day can help patients with Chronic Fatigue System to feel less tired and feel better, a new study suggests.Scientists at Queen Mary University of London placed 200 people on a 12 week programme in which they were either encouraged by a physiotherapist to walk a little more each or given a programme of medical care including medication for depression, pain and insomnia.After four months the mean fatigue score of the exercise group was four points lower than in the control group, on a scale of 100, which researchers said was a moderate but significant impact.  Physical function was also six points higher.One in five of the group who had exercised also reported feeling ‘much better’ or ‘very much better.’ Gradually increasing walking each day could help reduce fatigue Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img Gradually increasing walking each day could help reduce fatigue Lead author Dr Lucy Clark said: “We found that a self-help approach to a graded exercise programme, guided by a therapist, was safe and also helped to reduce fatigue for some people with chronic fatigue syndrome, suggesting that it might be useful as an initial treatment for patients to help manage symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.“We are now looking at whether the effects were maintained beyond 12 weeks.“The aim is to progress carefully to improve rather than pushing people too hard and towards a setback.”last_img read more

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Transatlantic flight with unaccompanied bag on board forced to make emergency diversion

first_img“I am an ex-dispatcher and you cannot dispatch an aircraft when there is a mismatch between the [passengers] on board and the baggage count,” the commenter said. “It will, without doubt, be the subject of an internal inquiry.” FlightRadar24.com shows the path of the flightCredit:FlightRadar24.com In 1985, Air India Flight 182 crashed off the coast of Ireland en route from Toronto to Sahar International in India after a bomb placed in the cargo hold by Sikh extremists Babbar Khalsa exploded over the Atlantic.The passenger responsible is believed to be ‘M Singh’ who checked himself onto the flight – along with a suitcase – but did not board. FlightRadar24.com shows the path of the flight A transatlantic flight from London to Boston was forced to divert to Dublin when the crew realised there was a piece of unaccompanied luggage in the hold.Norwegian Flight DY-7147 was 38,000 feet above the Atlantic off the west coast of Ireland with as many as 344 people on board when the Boeing 787 Dreamliner turned back towards the UK before navigating its way to the Irish capital, where it landed 55 minutes later.The crew reported that a piece of luggage had travelled without a passenger, creating a potential security issue.Norwegian has not responded for a request for comment but a spokesperson told the Irish Times the aircraft had been diverted to Dublin “to offload a piece of luggage”, adding: “The passenger whom the luggage belonged to was not on board the aircraft, which is why this security measure was taken. We’re sorry about the inconvenience caused to the passengers.”Data from FlightRadar24.com shows how the aircraft rose to cruising altitude before turning around twice and heading to Dublin. Other commenters say that the Norwegian aircraft should never have left the gate.One person believed to be on the flight posted on Twitter: “Thank you for not accounting for all bags and turning round for an emergency stop in Dublin #pleasegetmehome.” The plane remained at Dublin for about an hour and a half before it continued to Boston and landed nearly three hours late.A commenter on the website AVHerald, which reported on the incident, said there was “no excuse” for such a situation.last_img read more

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Hog roasts and burgers falling out of fashion at outdoor festivals as

Amongst our favourites are: Breakfast radish & charred cucumber salad with mint & elderflower and jersey royal potato salad, chives, homemade mayonnaise garnished with summer flowers.“We believe that the healthy eating trend at festivals will continue, dishes will include more plant based creations making vegetables the hero ingredient.”Those planning a wedding may want to keep in mind that burgers and sausages are being shunned in favour of lighter options such as king prawns and halloumi, according to Amy Braind, the Wedding and Events Manager at the Bingham Hotel in Richmond. David Cameron at wilderness festival Oysters are preferred by some to heavier food such as burgers at festivalsCredit:ROBERT GILHOOLY To keep in British tradition minus the heavy meat pies and mash or hog roasts, ‘Best of British’  salad stalls were a big hit: serving a variety of colourful delicious seasonal salads with local produce. Oysters are preferred by some to heavier food such as burgers at festivals Those attending any sort of festival or outdoors wedding during the summer months can usually expect to detect the whiff of hog roast in the air, or the tempting aroma of a burger van.However, organisers and chefs who cater some of Britain’s top outdoor events say these traditional festival foods are falling out of fashion in favour of dinky sharing plates and light salads.Daniel Maycock, who organises the Great British Food Festival, which takes place all summer across Britain’s country houses, said: “Old traditional things seem to be struggling, especially heavy foods in the summer heat – so hog roasts, big burgers, meat pies and mash that sort of british classic festival food. In, are lighter things, hallomi, falafel, even salads!”Those who went to Wilderness last weekend were more likely to opt for crunchy radishes and colourful vegetables over a piece of charred pork, Caroline Hall, whose company Rocket Food has catered the upmarket festival.She said: “Due to the heat wave, we’ve seen an increase in demand for lighter food at our parties this summer. Big hits were:  Secret Smoked Salmon carving station, Lydersfarm Oyster beds with bespoke garnishes and seafood bars. David Cameron at Wilderness festival She said: “I would say this is definitely a trend that has grown this last year or so. Whether it’s because couples are wanting to do something a little different or are conscious that they don’t want their guests to feel uncomfortable after a meal so have room for more drinking and dancing, who knows.“The volume of food is still very important, couples don’t want their guests to go hungry but I think as a country we are now more aware of and have access to lighter delicious options that get people talking.We offer a fabulous BBQ menu which we find is incredibly popular especially over the summer months and doesn’t just include your typical burgers and sausages. In fact our most popular items are the prawn skewers, halloumi & veg skewers, lamb cutlets and couscous”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Thomas Markles leaked letter from Duchess of Sussex could provoke legal action

The five-page letter, which laid bare the Duchess’ feelings over her father’s behaviour since she married into the Royal Family, was shared by Thomas Markle with a newspaper this weekend and has since been published around the world. Kensington Palace is considering taking legal action over a leaked letter from the Duchess of Sussex to her father, as her estranged family threaten to make public further details of their relationship breakdown. Palace aides are understood to be considering whether to take a stand over the very public family disclosures, taking legal advice before the Duchess decides whether she wishes to take formal action. The Duchess’ estranged half-sister has said her father… read more

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Archbishop of Canterbury says failure on child sexual abuse is knife in

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told Church of England leaders that their failure to deal with child sexual abuse is “a knife in our soul”.Speaking at the opening of the General Synod in York on Friday, the Most Rev Justin Welby told an audience of hundreds of synod members that there is much more progress to be made in the wake of the safeguarding scandal.He said that “every time the Archbishop of York or I see another case where there’s a falling short of our response, it is a knife in our soul”.The Archbishop of Canterbury, along with Dr John Sentamu, are due to give evidence at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) later this week.The Archbishops are the two most senior members of the Church of England. Previous findings from IICSA have already concluded that the Church’s response to sexual abuse allegations was “marked by secrecy”. This investigation into the Anglican Church is currently assessing the appropriateness of safeguarding and child-protection policies and practices.It is also considering the adequacy of the Past Cases Review of the Church of England and the Historic Cases Review of the Church in Wales.In his comments, at Synod on Monday, the Archbishop of Canterbury – who conducted the christening of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie – was responding to a request for time to debate safeguarding. However, he said that it would be more appropriate to wait until the conclusion of IICSA. “We speak from the heart, every time,” he said.”We have to have processes and procedures. There’s no magic wand. We have to have rules.”There’s no shortcut. But we do that because we are so grievously ashamed of what has happened in this Church over the years.”We do that because it comes from the heart and that because we seek to change the culture.”And every time the Archbishop of York or I see another case where there’s a falling short of our response, it is a knife in our soul.”There are many survivors here in the Synod. Some known, some who’ve never felt they wanted to or were able to speak. There are many survivors among the bishops. They speak from the heart. And from grief.”IICSA will continue to hear evidence from victims and survivors as well as Church leaders and safeguarding experts later this month.’We are grievously ashamed of what has happened in this Church over the years… and seek to change the culture’.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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Lee Pomeroy murder Known schizophrenic was declared no risk a day before

Darren Pencille in the dock at the Old Bailey, London, on the first day of his trial.  During his trial, the jury heard that Pencille had been “hearing voices” on the train whilst arguing with Mr Pomeroy. Chelsea Mitchell arriving at the Old Bailey for the start of her trial 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. Darren Pencille in the dock at the Old Bailey, London, on the first day of his trial. Credit:Julia Quenzler / SWNS The court also heard he had a history of mental illness and paranoia which was worsened when he smoked cannabis.Justin Rouse QC, defending, described Pencille’s mental health as ‘the elephant in the room in this case’, and added that the killer told doctors he had feared for his life since 2009. The consultant forensic psychiatrist who saw Pencille the day before the murder said he had been admitted to River House Medium Secure Unit run by the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, in March 2015.There he was observed to be ‘confrontational and agitated’ if he did not get his own way and ‘angry and threatening’ when his behaviour was challenged.Pencille has been in contact with mental health services since 2003. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and treated for psychotic symptoms which he self-medicated with cannabis.During his trial, jurors heard the cannabis would sometimes calm him down, but it could also make him more argumentative. Following his conviction, British Transport Police Detective Chief Inspector Sam Blackburn described Pencille as “devious and dangerous”.  Lee Pomeroy who was stabbed to death on-board a Guildford to London Waterloo trainCredit:British Transport Police Chelsea Mitchell arriving at the Old Bailey for the start of her trialCredit:Central News/Ed Willcox After attacking the father of one, Pencille fled at the next station and was picked up by his girlfriend Mitchell who has borderline learning disabilities. Her IQ is also in the lowest 1 per cent of the population.The court heard how Mitchell collected her partner and took him to their Farnham home following the stabbing. She bought hair clippers and razors in order to help him change his appearance.Pencille refused to give evidence at his trial and insisted that he had acted in self defence.Instead, Mitchell retold their actions that day and described their co-dependent relationship.She revealed how her boyfriend could not deal with crowded places like railway stations, trains and shops. He would call her “nine times out of 10” when on a train, due to panic. An NHS Trust faces questions over why a known schizophrenic was declared “no risk to himself or others” just a day before he brutally stabbed to death a father in front of his teenage son.Darren Pencille, 36, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 28 years at the Old Bailey on Friday after he murdered train passenger Lee Pomeroy following a row about aisle blocking. His girlfriend Chelsea Mitchell, 28, from Farnham, Surrey was found guilty of assisting an offender. Following Pencille’s conviction on Friday, reports emerged around how he boasted about smoking cannabis and stood by his previous convictions as a gang member in South London, including a knife attack causing similar injuries Pomeroy’s.Over a 19-year period, he had 14 previous convictions for 19 different offences.In 2010, Pencille stabbed his 24-year-old housemate in the neck after a disagreement over cigarette papers. He had pleaded guilty in February 2010 to causing grievous bodily harm, and common assault in June 2018.After his arrest, police found an album on his phone containing images of various knives ‘designed to injure’, including lock-knives similar to the one used to kill Mr Pomeroy.At 1.01pm on Friday January 4, Mr Pomeroy and his 14-year-old son boarded a train at London Road station in Guildford bound for London Waterloo the day before his 52nd birthday. The couple were also yet to come to terms with the loss of Romeo, their stillborn son, who died just months before the train attack. But Pencille was deemed to have been ‘no concern of risk to himself or others’ when he was last seen by a consultant psychiatrist in Lambeth on January 3 and had taken no antipsychotic medication at the time of the attack.He had been prescribed drugs such as diazepam, mirtazapine and olanzapine, but forensic scientists found none of those substances in his system following the attack. He said Pencille was “very calm in his nature and reaction” and has never shown any remorse or taken any responsibility for what he has done.”He’s a dangerous man. Quite clearly with his previous convictions, where he also stabbed another man in the neck, and his propensity for carrying knives, he showed his dangerous, aggressive nature and that he wasn’t afraid to use that knife on that train on January 4,” he said.A spokesperson from the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust said: “We do not disclose whether or not a person is a patient of the trust, for reasons relating to patient confidentiality.” Lee Pomeroy who was stabbed to death on-board a Guildford to London Waterloo train read more

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SARU agents APNUAFC Councillor storm Enmore NDC compound remove computers PPP

..says incident another flagrant abuse of authorityThe Enmore Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC)In a released statement the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) has detailed harrowing events purportedly involving agents of the State Asset Recovery Unit (SARU) and a A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Councillor on the Enmore Neighbourhood Democratic Council’s (NDC) office.See the party’s full statement below: At or about 2 p.m. today, a group of men who claimed to be officials of the State Assets Recovery Unit, Ministry of the Presidency, entered the Enmore Neighbourhood Democratic Council’s office, located at Station Road, Newtown, Enmore in the company of Deochan Singh, an APNU+AFC NDC Councillor for that NDC and took away from the premises, without the permission of the NDC or the Community Resource Center, 15 complete desktop computers and 8 backup power-packs.These equipment are owned by the Community Resource Center, a Non-Governmental Organisation, established by the residents of Enmore that uses these equipment to hold classes for young people in the community. The equipment are stored and the classes are held in the upper flat of the NDC building with the permission of the said NDC.When the Acting Chairman of the NDC attempted to intervene, he was assaulted by Deochan Singh. A report of the incident was made to the Police Outpost at Enmore.The Peoples Progressive Party won 16 of the 18 seats on the Enmore NDC at the Local Government Elections held in March, 2016. The PPP views this incident as another flagrant abuse of authority and another extreme authoritarian initiative of this Government, again using SARU, as a weapon against innocent citizens and their private property. Currently, SARU has absolutely no law enforcement powers.The PPP emphasizes that these abuses are taking place in broad daylight and without the SARA Bill being enacted. One can only imagine the illegal rampages which will take place when this Bill assumes the force of law.The PPP calls upon the Commissioner of Police to immediately launch a full investigation into this matter and to institute criminal charges forthwith against those who were engaged in this clandestine, unconstitutional, authoritarian and criminal enterprise. The Enmore NDC and the Community Resource Center has also been advised to launch civil proceedings against the State claiming monetary compensation for trespass, constitutional violations and deprivation of private property. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPPP slams Govt’s ‘arrogant and spiteful behaviour’ – says certain NDCs are financially stifledJune 28, 2016In “latest news”Delay in setting up LGC leading to continued abuse of Executive power -PPPDecember 22, 2016In “latest news”26 scandals in 21 months of APNU/AFC in powerFebruary 16, 2017In “latest news” read more

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CPL 2017 Walton Ronchi ensure Amazon Warriors all but qualify

By Peter Della Penna Guyana Amazon Warriors 150 for 1 (Walton 84*, Ronchi 55*) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 149 for 7 (McCarthy 44, Sangakkara 38) by nine wicketsChadwick Walton lays into a pull shot Randy Brooks – CPL T20 / Getty Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedTallawahs qualify for Hero CPL knockoutsJuly 21, 2016In “Sports”CPL 2017: Calm Williams takes Tallawahs up to second in thrilling finishAugust 18, 2017In “latest news”Guyana Amazon Warriors book place in Hero CPL finalAugust 4, 2016In “latest news” There was no respite at the other end as Luke Ronchi – who entered at the end of the first over after the fall of Sohail Tanvir – smashed Thomas for two sixes and a four in the third over. Ronchi then signed off on Williams’ disastrous 26-run fourth over with a six clubbed back over the bowler’s head.Even when change bowlers stemmed the flow of runs, the Tallawahs fielders did them in. Williams’ wayward throw from short fine leg to the bowler’s end off Mahmudullah resulted in four overthrows in the fifth over. Ronchi and Walton were then dropped off consecutive balls bowled by Mohammad Sami in the sixth over. By the time the Powerplay was done, Warriors were on 88 for 1, the joint-highest Powerplay in CPL history, equaling Trinbago Knight Riders’ electric chase earlier this year.Partnership markThe runs and no-balls – Williams overstepped another three times on consecutive deliveries in the 10th over – continued unabated for the rest of the chase as Walton and Ronchi finished with an unbeaten 135-run stand, the highest partnership for any wicket in CPL 2017. Both had opportunities to eclipse the individual fastest half-century of the season – jointly held by Darren Sammy and Colin Munro, in 23 balls – but Walton eventually reached his half-century in 26 balls while Ronchi took one delivery longer. (ESPNcricinfo) Guyana Amazon Warriors’ surge toward the final CPL playoff berth continued on Friday night at Sabina Park as they walloped the Jamaica Tallawahs by nine wickets. Chadwick Walton rocked to the top of the CPL scoring charts after his unbeaten 84 off 40 balls helped clinch victory with 57 balls to spare.Warriors started the week with a +0.061 net run rate advantage on Barbados Tridents. But their second heavy win of the week, following on from their 99-run demolition of Barbados Tridents on Tuesday, has swelled their lead in the tiebreaker to +1.409. It means the Tridents will need to beat St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and first-place Trinbago Knight Riders in their final two matches this weekend by sizable margins to overtake them.Sangakkara’s fifty streak endsTallawahs had made an assured start after a 79-run stand between captain Kumar Sangakkara and Andre McCarthy. When McCarthy fell in the 14th over for 44 off 35 balls, it was up to Sangakkara to carry on for a big score.However, he fell a dozen short of the milestone for 38 when his attempted paddle flick over short fine leg off Rayad Emrit failed to clear Jason Mohammed on the circle on the last ball of the 16th over. With both set batsmen now gone, Tallawahs limped through to the end of the innings, adding just 29 off the final four overs.Free-flowing WaltonOshane Thomas began his first match on Wednesday night with three dots including the wicket of Chris Gayle. On Friday night, his first two deliveries were a pair of massive oversteps. Walton pulverized both free hits over square leg for six – the second one a deep strike into a parking lot. Walton punished Krishmar Santokie’s opening over from the opposite end for three boundaries, driving him twice through mid-off and a third time over point.The free-hits for Walton returned in the fourth over courtesy of Kesrick Williams. After a boundary through midwicket to start the over, Walton carved a Williams no-ball over point for another. Walton then made it a hat-trick of sixes off free-hits with a slash over third man. Walton mocked Williams’ notebook wicket celebration after each shot, plucking out his own quill to mark notches in his bat.Powerplay mark read more

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30 Enmore Estate foremenwomen yet to receive severance payments GAWU

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGAWU to take GuySuCo, NICIL to court over remainder of severance for 4,283 employeesJune 27, 2018In “Court”Severance pay: Despite GAWU’s court case, Govt will pay when “it promised”- HarmonJuly 5, 2018In “Court”$2.4B tabled for remainder of severance pay as workers protest outside of ParliamentOctober 18, 2018In “Business” Thirty field foremen/forewomen of the Enmore Estate who were deemed redundant by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) are currently without their severance payments.File Photo: Earlier this year sugar workers and their families participated in a protest march along several streets of Enmore and Foulis on the East Coast of DemeraraThis is according to the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) which said that the Corporation’s redundancy letters to the aforementioned persons dated October 24, 2017, stated inter alia “… in accordance with Section 12, subsection (2) (a), (b) and (c) of the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act 1997 (TESPA), the Corporation wishes to inform you that your job is being made redundant. As a consequence, this letter serves to give you one (1) month’s notice of the aforementioned in accordance with Section 15, subsection (1) of TESPA 1997.” The letter continues “this notice shall expire on November, 23 2017, hence your last day of work with the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc., East Demerara Estate”.To that end GAWU posited that the affected group of workers, naturally, expected to receive their payments on their last working day but were disappointed as the Corporation is yet to honour its lawful obligations.“The workers related to the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) that the non-payment of their redundancy pay is adding insult to injury as they desperately require their monies to sustain themselves and their families at this time, until, hopefully, some work can be found in the near future” said GAWU.Moreover, the Union says it finds the delay perplexing given public statements by several State officials, including President David Granger himself, “committing that the workers would receive their redundancy pay as the Government moves forward with is heartless plans to shutter estates and cruelly put workers on the road at the usually joyful Christmas Season.”According to GAWU, “the delay certainly casts serious doubts on the Administration’s utterances and we cannot help but wonder whether this is a harbinger of things to come as four thousand workers, in a few days’ time will join the already saturated ranks of the unemployed in our nation.”Hundreds of workers attached to the East Demerara Estate (EDE) located in Enmore, East Coast Demerara, have been issued termination letters by GuySuCo, as the plans announced by Government earlier this year to close the sugar estate starts to take effect.Earlier this month, termination letters were issued to over 2000 workers at the Skeldon Estate. This move follows on the heels of the similar notice given to Rose Hall Estate workers about one week prior.In May 2017, Government announced plans to close the Enmore and Rose Hall Sugar Estates, sell the Skeldon Sugar Factory, reduce the annual production of sugar, and take on the responsibility of managing the drainage and irrigation services offered by GuySuCo.In November, GuySuCo announced plans to retrench 2500 workers by the end of this year.GAWU had said the downsizing and subsequent closure of sugar estates would lead to the loss of more than 15,000 jobs, and the potential threat of poverty for between 50,000 and 100,000 people. read more

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Monadelphous wins contracts worth A100 million

first_imgAustralian engineering company Monadelphous Group has secured contracts with a combined value of A$100 million in the aluminium, coal and iron ore markets with major customers BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. The majority of the contracts are in central Queensland. In a first for the company, Monadelphous will be working on two dragline shutdowns for the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) at its Blackwater coal mine in the Bowen Basin in central Queensland. Also in the Bowen Basin, the company has been awarded a contract to fabricate and construct a radial stacker for BMA’s Peak Downs coal mine.In Gladstone, central Queensland, Monadelphous has been awarded a package of work to install an Automated Alumina Delivery System and associated infrastructure as part of Rio Tinto’s Boyne Smelter Development Project.The company has also received a notice of award from Rio Tinto for construction of a Coal Handling Preparation Plant (CHPP) and associated coal handling plant as part of its Clermont mine project.In Western Australia, Monadelphous has been awarded a contract with BHP Billiton Iron Ore for structural and mechanical pre-works at Nelson Point as part of its Rapid Growth Project 6.All projects are scheduled for completion in the second half of calendar 2009, except for the work at Boyne Smelter which at this stage is expected to end in second half of calendar 2010.Commenting on the new contracts Monadelphous Managing Director Rob Velletri said: “We are especially pleased to be working for BMA as this is our first dragline maintenance contract outside the Hunter Valley and a major milestone in the achievement of our coal market growth strategy in the Bowen Basin.”last_img read more

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Carbon emissions trading reaches the gold mining sector

first_imgGold Fields is set to become the world’s first gold mining company to sell Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs), the financial securities used to trade carbon emissions. It will derive the CERs from the capture of methane gas at its Beatrix gold mine in South Africa’s Free State province. The company will sell 1.7 million CERs to European energy trading company Mercuria Energy Trading under forward contracts which will run until 2016.CERs are traded globally and frequently bought by industrial companies as part of their efforts to alleviate their own carbon emission obligations. At current CER values and exchange rates, the CER contract is worth about R200 million.Gold Fields will use the funds to finance a number of projects linked to the methane capture. The first phase, set for completion before the end of this year, comprises the installation of a methane extraction system underground and flares above surface at a cost of about R42 million. For the second phase, Gold Fields is looking at ways of using the gas to generate electricity, thereby converting a harmful greenhouse gas into a valuable resource. Construction of a power generation plant, with the potential to generate about 5 MW of electricity, is scheduled to start next year.So far CERs-linked projects in Africa comprise less than 2% of the total number of projects registered by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) executive board, the global body tasked with administering CERs trading. Gold Fields’ Beatrix project is one of around 15 South African projects that have to date received Designated National Authority verification from South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources.Gold Fields’ CEO, Nick Holland, comments: “In addition to the obvious financial and environmental benefits, this project will result in a safer working environment for our people at Beatrix, as it eliminates the hazard of underground mine methane, and it is one of many examples that shows Gold Fields’ commitment to being the global leader in sustainable gold mining.”Methane emanates from underground geological features such as faults, fissures and dykes and escapes during the normal course of mining operations. If released into the atmosphere it is a potent greenhouse gas. At Beatrix the methane gas will be captured at source underground and then conveyed via a network of pipes to the surface, where the methane will be flared. Installation of the underground pipes is well underway.Mercuria Energy Trading’s Jean Francois Steels said of the transaction: “This is our first transaction in Africa and follows shortly on the opening of our newest international office in South Africa. It shows our commitment to improving the geographical distribution of carbon finance to include the African continent.”The Beatrix development is the first in a number of carbon projects Gold Fields is investigating to bolster its sustainable mining practices. The strategy is underpinned by efforts to become more energy efficient and thus reduce dependence on coal-fired electricity.last_img read more

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Alcoa bauxite mine reforestation done in a natural way

first_imgAlcoa is using a new, natural method for reforestation at its Juruti bauxite mine in Brazil that it says is efficient, cost effective and sustainable. The technique is based on the theory of nucleation, where small dense nuclei of plants and animals facilitate the arrival of other species. At Juruti, birds and other elements of nature are helping recover the soil rather than traditional reforestation, which works the soil and then plant saplings.“The nucleation method restores the environment in a short amount of time, leading to greater richness in biodiversity,” explains Pedro Pinto, Alcoa Environment, Health and Safety Manager for the Juruti bauxite mine. “It benefits the formation of the soil by keeping the micro-environment more humid. This technique also reduces the need for using machinery, resulting in lower use of diesel oil and emissions,” says Pinto.The natural nucleation approach to reforestation was created by Professor Ademir Reis of Brazil’s Federal University of Santa Catarina. Techniques used include artificial shelters for animals; perches to attract birds and bats, which deposit seeds and help trees to germinate alone; laying out seeds, roots, branches and small tree trunks to stimulate the natural regeneration of species, which attracts animals and creates a food chain in the restoration process; and ecological stepping-stones of small refuges for fauna inside crop plantations.“The nucleation system is cheaper and ecologically more efficient because it makes the worked areas ‘look for’ its sustainability in a spontaneous way,” says Professor Reis.The Juruti bauxite mining area is among the first places in Brazil to use the nucleation method of environmental conservation. Alcoa began using the technique last August on a 70 ha area there. In about two years, the area will have an understory favorable to the introduction of new species, like Brazil nut trees, andiras, trumpet trees, copaibas and others.last_img read more

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