Paid leave is all an officer found to have used a racial slur against Boston Red Sox’ Carl Crawford received as punishment — for now, at least.Officer John Perrault was suspended pending a disciplinary hearing scheduled for next week at which he could face more severe punishment, and even could be fired, Leominster mayor Dean Mazzarella and police chief Robert Healey said.Perreault engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer, according to the chief and mayor.The officer, who is white, was placed on desk duty after the July 5 incident. He was described as a veteran officer with no prior disciplinary problems.Perrault was off duty and attending a minor league game in Manchester, N.H.Witnesses said a heckling fan called Crawford, who is black, a “monday” before a game between the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and Portland Sea Dogs. Crawford said he interpreted the word as a racial slur.“It surprised me he was a police officer,” said Crawford, who admitted he is attempting to move on from the incident. “It’s disappointing in all that kind of stuff. I just want to put that stuff behind me and not worry about that stuff anymore.”The word can be used as a derogatory term for blacks, and is often associated with Mondays being one of the least-liked days of the week.Crawford was playing for the Double-A Sea Dogs while rehabilitating a wrist injury. Crawford alerted stadium officials to the remark, and team management apologized.“I don’t know how I really feel about it,” Crawford said. “It was disappointing that it had to happen. It’s just one of those things you’ve got to let go.”Leominster police reached out to Crawford as part of their investigation but did not talk to him, Mazzarella said. The mayor and chief also issued an apology to Crawford.“You would think we would have grown past that kind of stuff,” Crawford said. “Hopefully that’s the last time something like that happens.
It is amazing to some that Isiah Thomas is welcomed back in New York City, much/less back to the New York Knicks.The Hall of Fame player with the Detroit Pistons was a wreck as president of the Knicks. And yet, his relationship with Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan is so strong that the New York Daily News reported that Dolan has given Thomas an opportunity to return to the team in a management capacity.According to the newspaper, Thomas and Dolan have had numerous discussions about a position in the organization, but Thomas has been reluctant to accept the job offer.“Isiah is very close with Jim Dolan but he’s told me that he’s not ready to jump back into the NBA just yet,” the News reported from a source who was with Thomas on Friday at the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Springfield, Mass. “There’s this perception out there that Isiah is desperate to get back, but that’s false. I think it will eventually happen but just not now.”Friday, Thomas who presented inductee Chet Walker at the Hall, was spotted in a Manhattan hotel having breakfast with Dolan, which according to the source is not uncommon.“They’re friends. They talk all the time,” the source added.Two years ago, Dolan wanted to rehire Thomas as a consultant, but the NBA vetoed the move because Thomas was coaching Florida International University at the time. Once the league nixed the hiring, Dolan famously said that he could continue to solicit Thomas’ views on basketball-related matters.It is clear that Thomas is serving as an unofficial adviser, considering that his two former college teammates and longtime friends, Mike Woodson and Glen Grunwald, are the Knicks’ head coach and general manager, respectively.But there is animosity between Thomas and other top MSG executives in the aftermath of the highly publicized MSG sexual harassment trial in 2007.Thomas, who was fired by FIU last spring, is said to be content working on earning a master’s degree in education from UC-Berkeley and reconnecting with his Chicago roots.Recently, he recently participated in a “Stop the Violence” march in Chicago, where he told gang members, “This is genocide. You have to stop the killing.”Thomas, along with Bulls center Joakim Noah and former Knick Quentin Richardson, is scheduled to attend a basketball tournament on Sept. 22 to promote peace in Chicago.Last month, Thomas returned to the West Side of Chicago to honor his late mother at a ceremony in which Homan St. was changed to Mary Thomas Way.Thomas is not a candidate to replace Scott O’Neil, who was removed from his position as Garden president on Wednesday.Instead, Thomas will remain as the unpaid — but very visible — friend and adviser to Dolan, the Garden’s most powerful man. And no doubt one day they’ll officially be co-workers again.
Welcome to the return of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast! On today’s episode (March 19, 2019), we discuss Mike Trout’s deal before we jump into March Madness. It looks like conference tournament wins didn’t help out with bracket seeding for a few key men’s teams, and Jay Williams of ESPN’s “First Take” makes the case that the tourneys shouldn’t be considered. We also ponder why UConn was awarded a second seed in the women’s tournament — and if geographic advantage is an appropriate consolation.In our second segment, we weigh recent moves in NFL free agency and hear Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports Radio contemplate the role of culture in structuring a young team.Finally, our Rabbit Hole of the week is a deep dive into Geoff’s very specific ideas of what makes a great NCAA mascot.Here’s what we’re reading this week:In the wake of Mike Trout’s new historic deal, we’re looking back at Neil’s piece reflecting on Mike Trout’s dearth of championships.Our March Madness guides for both the men’s and women’s bracket — which wouldn’t be complete without our full predictions for the tournaments.Kevin Clark put together a great retrospective on the NFL free agency period for The Ringer. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code FiveThirtyEight
The NFL is an organization built on the perception of parity. “When you come into a season, every fan thinks that their football team has a chance to win the Super Bowl,” league Commissioner Roger Goodell said in 2011. Jonathan Kraft, president of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, echoed this sentiment during a pregame radio show earlier this season, saying: “The difference between 0-2 and 2-0 can be a couple of plays in individual games. And I’m not surprised because the one thing I’ve learned is if you expect something to happen in this league, it’s likely not going to happen. And you see that lesson repeat itself over and over. It’s what makes it so special and why people love to follow it.”This is a narrative that built a multi-billion dollar business, one that encourages supporters and inspires graphics that go viral. It keeps fans involved when their teams are struggling and brings them back each year. Even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14 in 2014 and 2-3 so far this year) think they have a chance in 2015. Each game is a new set of downs, a shot to continue a winning streak or turn around a flagging franchise. You either win or you lose. The excitement comes because your team has a chance to do both.But the “Any Given Sunday” idea — that any team has a chance to win any game — is less true than NFL executives want the fans to believe.Sure, you might see your favorite team go from worst to first over the course of a season, but that’s more a function of luck than anything. Teams play such a small number of games that they might have ended up in the cellar even though they weren’t that bad the year before. Conversely, even if a team stinks, it can luck its way to an 8-8 year.But beneath that luck, the NFL is much more unequal than Major League Baseball or the National Hockey League. Instead, it’s on par with the NBA, a league that’s dominated by its transcendent talents.That’s what we found by comparing leagues simultaneously, judging their competitiveness on the same scale. We turned to gambling to do it. While game results and win-loss metrics can be affected by scoring systems and number of games, sportsbook odds are the one unifying metric. In a world with perfect competitive equality, each team would have a 50-50 chance of winning. But as the gaps in talent between the teams grow, games are no longer a coin toss. For example, in Sunday’s contest between Green Bay and St. Louis, the underdog Rams were given roughly a 1 in 5 chance of emerging victorious.The chart below shows a compendium of the pregame probabilities, derived from Sports Insights betting odds, of the home team winning each game in each of the four pro major sports over the past 10 years1The data set provided by Sports Insights included regular and postseason games for each league. The time spans it covered varied for each league. For the NBA, we had data from the 2004-05 season through 2014-15; for the NHL, 2005-06 through 2014-15; for MLB, the beginning of the 2005 season through Aug. 22, 2015; and for the NFL, the beginning of the 2005 season through Sept. 21, 2015. or so.2We used implied probabilities given pregame money lines taken from Sports Insights. For example, say the Steelers are -250 on the money line against the Jaguars. A bet of $250 on the Steelers to win the game would yield a $100 profit if the Steelers win. In probability terms, Steelers backers think Pittsburgh is more than 71.4 percent likely to win. However, the implied probability for this game also has to account for the sportsbook’s take, which is generally a tick over 2 percent. In our data, we normalized the team win probabilities so that they summed to 1. In the Steelers example, the -250 favorite matches a probability of 71 percent, or a true underlying probability of about 69 percent. In the vast majority of NHL and MLB games, the home team’s chance of winning falls between 35 and 70 percent. That’s the big spire you see in the middle of the graph, and it suggests that the home team is never that big of an underdog or favorite. Many games, if not most of them, are a near 50-50 proposition. The curves for the NFL and NBA, though, are more spread out because fewer games in those leagues are tossups. The NFL’s curve may look even, but that really suggests that the games feature more lopsided matchups. Bad NFL home teams are bigger underdogs than bad MLB teams. Every week, there are several NFL games where you can be fairly confident which team is going to win and which is going to lose before they take the field for warmups.In hockey and baseball, even the worst teams are generally given a 1 in 4 chance of beating the best teams. Meanwhile, in the NFL and NBA, teams like the 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars and the 2014 and 2015 Philadelphia 76ers are sometimes given no more than a 1 in 20 chance by odds makers. And while only about 1 in 100 NHL or MLB contests feature a heavy favorite (75 percent or higher), about 1 in 4 NBA and NFL games reach such a standard. That is, about a quarter of NFL games each weekend are bigger mismatches than the most lopsided baseball or hockey games — think the Dodgers hosting the Phillies or the Sabres traveling to Pittsburgh.Parity in the NFL is perceived, a phenomenon born out of each season’s tiny sample size of games. Sabermetricians Tom Tango and Phil Birnbaum, for example, argue that you learn as much about true team talent from 12 NFL games as 14 NBA games.336 NHL games and 69 MLB games also meet the same standard. But while the NBA gives teams 82 regular-season games to prove themselves, the NFL provides only 16 games. It’s easier for a less-talented NFL team to luck its way into a few victories and make the playoffs. And the NFL’s playoff format, which can reward divisional winners at the expense of teams with more talent, helps, too. It means that the 2014 Carolina Panthers, at 7-8-1, can make the second weekend of the playoffs, a major marker of a successful year, even though few people would argue that they were one of the league’s best teams. In fact, they were a 7 to 1 underdog in their playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. While the Panthers reached the postseason (after all, someone had to win the NFC South last year), they were given little chance to win a title.What’s also interesting about these results is that unlike each of the other leagues, which fix schedules almost entirely using divisional or conference affiliation, the NFL goes out of its way to encourage closer games by using an unbalanced schedule. When there are fewer games between the Pats and Bucs and more between perennial powerhouses like the Pats and Broncos — who have met in six of the last seven regular seasons — the league, on average, artificially narrows the curve in the chart above. Perhaps that’s a good thing for a league that relies on the myth of parity to keep supporters interested. If the NFL made its schedule following the rules used by other major sports, it might become abundantly clear to the fans that Any Given Sunday is only true in the movies.CORRECTION (Oct. 12, 1:30 p.m.): An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect time period for its analysis of pregame probabilities for major sports leagues. The probabilities were not based on all games since 2005; the time periods varied by league, and in several cases, games in recent weeks were not included. We have added a footnote clarifying the exact dates.
“As far as a career, I don’t really know what I want to do,” Titus said. “I thought about acting or writing scripts. I’ve thought about being a sports writer. I’ve thought about everything, I guess.” Fortunately, he has a few people looking to lend a helping hand. “I’m flying out to L.A. to meet with [ABC’s] Jimmy Kimmel and [ESPN’s] Bill Simmons, and we’re going to try and figure something out,” Titus said. “I thought of some stuff that would be fun, but I haven’t really tried to pursue anything seriously because I’m going to wait and see what they have to say. “I don’t really know,” Titus said. “I’m open to anything.” As a friend of then-Ohio State freshman Greg Oden, Mark Titus began his OSU basketball career as a team manager. However, shaky camera work, lazy water bottle filling and sub-par punctuality quickly forced him back into the general student population. But when injuries left coach Thad Matta’s roster dwindling, Titus was again asked to help out — this time as a player. He joined the team in 2006, and in just four years Titus went from being a lowly walk-on to a Buckeye legend. The question now, as Titus approaches graduation at the end of Spring quarter, is where does he go from here? No longer will he have his cushy seat at the end of the Buckeye bench, and like so many other graduating seniors, he is soon to be thrust into the real world. Although he doesn’t have any specific plans, Titus, who is majoring in marketing, said life could take him just about anywhere.
Ohio State women’s basketball freshman guard Ameryst Alston hadn’t made a shot all night until there were .01 seconds left in regulation. Alston rebounded a purposely-missed free throw by senior guard Tayler Hill and threw up a prayer over two Wisconsin defenders. The ball danced around the rim and finally found the bottom of the net as time expired in the second half, sending the game into overtime with a 52-52 tie. “We work on missing free throws occasionally in practice. I did not even think about it. I just caught it and passed it up there,” Hill said. The game went on into double overtime before OSU finally pulled away and dropped Wisconsin, 65-59, at the Schottenstein Center Thursday. OSU coach Jim Foster said he was confident in Alston’s put-back the moment it left her hands. “She always makes interesting layups. She has a good sense around the basket and knows how to get there,” Foster said. But Wisconsin coach Bobbie Kelsey didn’t agree. He said he wasn’t so sure if the shot was even good or not, blaming the lack of monitors for a possible game changer. Alston finished with five points, four assists and two steals, and helped her team earn just their third Big Ten win this season. Up two at the end of the first half, the Buckeyes started the game’s second act with much more aggression to get to the rim. OSU managed to build a six-point lead, but easy Badger layups left the Buckeyes trailing for the last six minutes of the game. Wisconsin sophomore guard Jacki Gulczynski could not be guarded as she drop 13 points in the second half. “Jacki stepped up big time,” Kelsey said. “She came through for us. She hit some clutch shots when we needed her to.” Conversely, Hill’s 15 points made the contest her 56th consecutive game in double figures, the longest active streak in the Big Ten and the fourth longest in Division I women’s basketball. Hill also finished the game with five rebounds, four assists, and three steals in 46 minutes of playing time. But for a change, it was not Hill that led the Buckeyes in scoring, but rather junior center Ashley Adams. Adams finished the night one rebound shy of a double-double with nine. She also had 16 points, three assists, and one steal. Foster said Adams stepped up and played well inside the paint. Another key to OSU’s success was redshirt senior guard Amber Stokes, who played 32 minutes and added 15 points, hitting her shots at crucial moments. After losing to Wisconsin for the first time since 2001 on Jan. 20, the Buckeyes needed a staunch defensive effort to prove they were better than their 2-7 Big Ten record indicated. And it was defense indeed that seemed to be the saving grace for the Buckeyes in the second half. The Badgers went from shooting 40 percent from 3-point range in the first half to not taking any 3-pointers in the second half. “As a team we played good defense,” Stokes said. “We held them down until the very last second.” With just six games remaining in the Big Ten regular season, the Buckeyes (13-10, 3-7 Big Ten) are now 11-3 at home this season. The Buckeyes will look to continue their momentum against Northwestern on Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.
Senior running back Carlos Hyde (34) rushes for a touchdown during a game against Penn State Oct. 26 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 63-14.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorA group of former Ohio State Buckeyes are set to showcase their talents in front of NFL scouts with dreams of getting selected in the 2014 Draft.A total of six Buckeyes — senior running back Carlos Hyde, senior wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown, a pair of redshirt-senior offensive linemen, center Corey Linsley and left tackle Jack Mewhort, junior linebacker Ryan Shazier and redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby — are scheduled to compete in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis from Saturday through Feb. 25, according to a press release.OSU is tied with Wisconsin for the highest number of players invited to the combine from the Big Ten. Alabama has the most of any school with 12 players in attendance.The 2013 team — which finished 12-2 after back-to-back losses to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game Dec. 7 and then to Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl Jan. 3 — had notable members who did not receive an invitation to the combine include redshirt-senior quarterback Kenny Guiton, senior safety Christian Bryant, senior offensive lineman Andrew Norwell and redshirt-senior offensive lineman Marcus Hall.Mewhort, named first-team All-American by ESPN.com and second-team All-American by Walter Camp, “Sports Illustrated” and the Football Writers Association of America in 2013, was a big part of an offensive line that paved the way for the third-most rushing touchdowns in school history (45). OSU also ranked fifth in the country with 308.6 yards per game on the ground in 2013.Mewhort said he is looking forward to the opportunity to represent the Scarlet and Gray at the combine this weekend.“Obviously it’s a huge honor, big responsibility,” Mewhort said in an interview with The Lantern Monday. “You’re wearing that Block ‘O’ and people know you’re representing The Ohio State University. It’s my responsibility to go out there and show what the university is made of show that you are proud you get to compete and show that we’re the best of the best, which we are. It’s kind of on our shoulders to do that this year.”Brown either led or was tied for the most number of receptions on the team during each of his last three seasons in Columbus and was just the second OSU wideout to have consecutive seasons with at least 60 catches, the other being David Boston from 1997-98. His 63 receptions this past season are the fifth-most in school history.According to the release, Hyde’s 6.1 yards per carry average during his career is the best of any OSU running back in school history, along with his 7.3 yards per carry average in 2013. His 10.2 yards per carry average in the Buckeyes’ 60-35 win against Illinois Nov. 16 is also a school record.Even after serving a three-game suspension for his involvement in an incident at a Columbus bar in July, Hyde still amassed a team-leading 1,521 yards this past season. After OSU lost the Discover Orange Bowl to Clemson, 40-35, Hyde addressed his career and mentioned how he looking forward to what’s next.“I almost finished pretty much like I finished my senior year in high school, close to 1,600 yards and like 18 touchdowns. So I think I had a pretty good career my last year here,” Hyde said Jan. 3. “I’m looking forward to the next step in my life.”Known as “the apex” to coach Urban Meyer and his teammates, Linsley earned All-Big Ten Conference honors each of the past two seasons, in which he started every game and helped the Buckeyes to a 24-2 record over that span.Despite being suspended for OSU’s first game this past season against Buffalo because of his involvement in an incident at a Bloomington, Ind., bar in July, Roby started 36 of 37 games in which he played at OSU. He scored five touchdowns on defense and special teams in his career and led the country in passes defended with 19 in 2012.Roby had his ups and downs in 2013 and was the subject of some criticism as a result of on-field struggles. He was beaten by receivers for multiple touchdown passes in games against California Sept. 14 and Wisconsin Sept. 28, and Roby said after the Buckeyes’ 63-14 win against Penn State Oct. 26, criticism just comes with being a cornerback.“Throughout the season you’re going to have ups and downs. Nobody’s going to be perfect, especially at my position,” Roby said. “Just because you make a few bad plays here and there doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you can’t be this or that.”A first-team All-American in 2013, Shazier led OSU in tackles in both 2012 and 2013 and finished 15th in program history with 306 total tackles. He also had 15 games with at least 10 tackles.“Playing in the NFL is something that I have been dreaming about since my days in pee-wee football,” Shazier said in an OSU press release Jan. 4 when he announced his decision to forgo his senior season. “I just feel that now is the perfect time for me.”Workouts at the combine at Lucas Oil Stadium are set to be televised on NFL Network, with tight ends, offensive linemen and special teams players kicking things off Feb. 22. Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers are set to compete Feb. 23, defensive linemen and linebackers are scheduled to work out on Feb. 24, and defensive backs are slated to finish the combine off the following day.A record 85 underclassmen are among 335 players invited to the scouting combine, according to CBSSports.com.OSU’s Pro Day is set for March 7 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus.The 2014 edition of the Buckeyes are scheduled to open their 2014 campaign Aug. 30 against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
OSU junior forward Yaw Amankwa (23) attempts a shot during a game against Louisville on Sept. 29 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU won 1-0. Credit: Breanna Williams / Lantern PhotographerThe Ohio State men’s soccer team concluded its three-game home stand with a shutout victory over Louisville.The Buckeyes improve to 3-4-2 overall, while the Cardinals fall to 4-3-3 on the season.Playing in wet, rainy conditions, the first half of the game started slow for both teams.OSU senior midfielder Kyle Culbertson took the first shot attempt of the game in the first minute at about 20 yards out, but his shot went wide of the net.Louisville earned three corner kicks in the ninth minute, but the Buckeyes were not phased, as redshirt senior goalkeeper Chris Froschauer saved two of the kicks.OSU earned its first corner kick of the game in the 20th minute, but the ball was cleared away.The Scarlet and Gray were given another chance at corner kicks in the 24th minute, but were not successful in its execution, keeping the game scoreless.In the 37th minute, Culbertson was given another chance at a score with a feed from junior forward Danny Jensen. However, Culbertson did not find any success in his shot.In the final minutes of the first half, OSU senior midfielder and co-captain Zach Mason attempted a header but the ball hit just outside the near side of the net.Neither team managed to find the back of the net in the first half, leaving the game scoreless heading into the second half.After a slow start in the first half, the Buckeyes decided to make some changes that eventually worked in their favor.“We decided to switch and play low pressure defense and sit in a little bit and frustrate them,” OSU coach John Bluem said.The switch in the Buckeyes’ defense started to show immensely as OSU managed to continue to keep Louisville at bay while opening up more offensive chances for themselves. Jensen fired up the Buckeyes when he broke through with the first goal of the game in the 55th minute with a header assisted by senior defender and co-captain Liam Doyle. Jensen’s score was his second goal of the season and his 11th of his career. “Liam played a left-footed ball from the right side so I knew it would be headed toward the keeper,” Jensen said. “I was lucky enough to get a header on it and it found the back if the net.”The Buckeyes managed to keep the Cardinals from notching a goal in the final 35 minutes, claiming a 1-0 victory.Overall, shots were 9-7 in favor of the Buckeyes, while OSU also held a 7-6 lead in corners.With the two saves to preserve his second consecutive shutout, Froschauer improved to 3-4-2 on the season. The Union, Kentucky, product has kept a clean sheet in all three of his victories.The Buckeyes are next scheduled to hit the road to resume Big Ten play against Michigan State at 1 p.m. on Sunday in East Lansing, Michigan.
Ohio State sophomore forward Kyle Young defends during the Buckeyes’ 74-70 win against Penn State on Thursday at the Schottenstein Center. Photo: Ethan Clewell | Senior Lantern ReporterEven when active on the roster, sophomore forward Kyle Young’s impact wasn’t obvious.Before going down with a stress fracture in his right leg against Maryland on Jan. 18, Young averaged 7.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, starting in 12 of the 17 games to begin the season.But in his return to the team on Thursday, Young proved his value late down the stretch.Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann didn’t even expect to play him as much as he did.“I was worried about his conditioning,” Holtmann said. “In my head, I thought 15 minutes, potentially, depending on foul trouble.”Fifteen minutes turned to 25 minutes, but again, Young’s statline didn’t stand out — six points and six rebounds, albeit while going 3-for-3 from the field.Without the exciting numbers, Young’s plays down the stretch of the game are what gave Ohio State just enough to pull out a 74-70 win against Penn State, a team it hasn’t defeated in the past three tries.Young found himself with the ball at the basket with his team down one point and just over a minute to go. Instead of rushing the shot opportunity, Young exhibited patience, waiting for junior forward Lamar Stevens to come down after the block attempt, leaving the sophomore forward an open layup, putting the Buckeyes up 71-70.“I thought his shot-fake finish was big there late, showed great poise,” Holtmann said. “[Young] rebounded it well, played with activity, you know, that’s who Kyle is, we’ve missed that.”Ohio State would not give that lead up the rest of the game, which again was assisted by Young.This time on the defensive end, it was Stevens attacking the basket with Young defending. Again, Young got the better of him, blocking Penn State’s leading scorer with 38 seconds to play.“I know he was hungry to be back, so he didn’t need too much motivation to come into the game and give his all,” freshman guard Luther Muhammad said. “We just told him to come in, continue to play his game and just play within the team and he had to do good and he did.”Young’s indent on his team can be situational. But when he has chosen to take an opportunity, he has proven to be reliable.During Big Ten play, games in which the Buckeyes are 5-6 as opposed to their 10-1 nonconference record, Young has remained a consistent presence.Ohio State is shooting 43.8 percent as a team in conference play, but Young has made 23 of his 27 attempts in seven games, good for 85.2 percent from the field, highest on the team of anyone besides redshirt junior forward Danny Hummer, who is 1-for-1.Moving forward, while the Buckeyes continue to look for answers due to a small roster, Young could be the difference maker when the time is needed.Against Penn State, he proved to be exactly that, even after a four-game absence.Junior forward Andre Wesson didn’t even think Young was ready to play yet.“When he said he was playing, I was like ‘You’re playing?,’” Wesson said. “He came in, didn’t miss a beat, he was still out there doing his job, rebounding, being another key part of our defense with blocking shots and everything, so it was good to see.“
The total number of carrier bags being used in stores has fallen by 85 per cent since the launch of the policy in October last year, according to the Government’s own figures.The new M&S bags contain technology called “Biomaster” that use anti-microbial properties to inhibit the growth of bacteria, thereby allowing shoppers to safely carry raw meat one day and general groceries the next, without worrying about contamination. He said: “Bacteria can exist on the outside of packaging and make people ill, so this is a great initiative from M&S.”However, the bags don’t kill existing bacteria so people still need to wash their food thoroughly before eating.”View latest offers from Marks & Spencer Anti-bacterial bags are being sold at till areas alongside ordinary bags for life. Prices start at 90p and the bags come in three different sizes: small, medium and large. M&S said the anti-bacterial properties would not reduce over time, meaning the bags could be used repeatedly for long periods.An M&S spokesman said: “We offer a wide choice of reusable shopper bags – currently up to eight different styles in store – and in May 2016 we started to introduce the anti-bacterial ‘silver technology’ into this range as an additional feature for our customers.”Stuart Kelly, a food hygiene expert at Acoura consulting firm, said the move was a “positive step” towards tackling a growing problem created by E-Coli and Campylobacter outbreaks and the fact that more people are using bags for life in which dangerous bacteria can fester. The Food Standards Agency recently found that campylobacter – a leading cause of food poisoning in the UK – was twice as likely to be found on chicken purchased from Sainsbury’s and M&S, than at budget supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl and Morrisons.It is estimated that the bacteria kills 100 people a year and is responsible for around 280,000 cases of food poisoning annually. M&S denied the new bags were introduced in response to problem levels of campylobacter. A spokesman said the retailer had been working on the advanced bags for four years.The launch comes just weeks after the Government announced that Britain has drastically cut the use of disposable plastic bags by introducing a new 5p charge. In November, the FSA reported that just over three quarters of chickens tested positive for campylobacter, the food poisoning bugCredit: Nick Ansell Marks & Spencerhas become the first supermarket to offer reusable shopping bags with anti-bacterial technology that could prevent bugs from contaminating food.The new bags are designed to reduce the risk of food poisoning by stopping the spread of dangerous bacteria, such as E. coli and campylobacter which are both found on raw shop-bought chickens.Experts welcomed the move as a “positive step” in tackling the growing problem of dangerous bacteria lurking in shopping bags.A combination of recent outbreaks of bacteria on batches of fresh food and more people using bags for life have meant people are at a heightened risk, researchers have said previously. 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.
Sleep habits of those at the topAs Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher famously slept for just four hours a night during the week, though she took regular daytime naps.When asked how many hours sleep people need, Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have replied: “Six for a man, seven for a woman, eight for a fool.”US President Barack Obama is understood to only sleep for six hours a night.Business magnate Donald Trump boasts just three to four hours sleep nightly.Sir Winston Churchill managed on just four hours sleep a night during the Second World War – but insisted on a two hour nap in the afternoon.Scientist Albert Einstein reportedly slept for 10 hours a night, plus daytime naps.Bill Gates, former chief executive of Microsoft, says he needs seven hours of sleep to “stay sharp”. Those who were awake longer did not tend to expend more energy – suggesting the extra hours were spent lying on the sofa, or eating snacks.Overall, they had a net energy gain of 385 calories per day,Researchers also found there was a small shift in what sleep deprived people ate – they had proportionately higher fat and lower protein intakes.Study senior author Doctor Gerda Pot, of King’s College London and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, said: “The main cause of obesity is an imbalance between calorie intake and expenditure and this study adds to accumulating evidence that sleep deprivation could contribute to this imbalance. 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. Margaret Thatcher regularly had just four hours’ sleep a night The new research, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, combined the results of 11 studies with a total of 172 participants.The analysis included studies that compared a partial sleep restriction intervention with an unrestricted sleep control and measured the participants’ energy intake over the next 24 hours.The amount of sleep restriction varied between the studies. Those short of sleep had between three and half and five and a half hours a night, while control subjects spent between seven and 12 hours in bed. ‘There may be some truth in the saying ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy and wise’Dr Gerda Pot, King’s College London “So there may be some truth in the saying ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy and wise’.”This study found that partial sleep deprivation resulted in a large net increased energy intake of 385 kcal per day.”If long-term sleep deprivation continues to result in an increased calorie intake of this magnitude, it may contribute to weight gain.”Dr Pot added: “Reduced sleep is one of the most common and potentially modifiable health risks in today’s society in which chronic sleep loss is becoming more common.”More research is needed to investigate the importance of long-term, partial sleep deprivation as a risk factor for obesity and whether sleep extension could play a role in obesity prevention.”They called for further research over longer periods in real life, as most of the studies were short and carried out in the lab.Sleep deprivation has been shown to have major impacts on health. Just one week with less that six hours’ sleep each night leads to 711 changes in how genes function.Lack of sleep impacts performance, attention, long-term memory and encourages drug and alcohol use.It also leads to exhaustion, anxiety, frustration, anger, impulsive behaviour, weight gain, risk-taking, high blood pressure, lower immunity, stress and a raft of mental health conditions.Neuroscientists say teens are biologically predisposed to go to sleep at around midnight and not feel fully awake and engaged until around 10am.• 25 tips and tricks to help you get better sleep • How to get to sleep: eight surprising tricks and tips Previous studies have suggested that work and school starting times should fit with the natural body clockCredit:Getty The study suggests that those who are short of sleep are likely to eat an average of 385 calories a day extra the next day – equivalent to around four slices of bread A poor night’s sleep is likely to make you fatter, research suggests. Those who get less than seven hours’ sleep a night were found to consume the equivalent of an extra four slices of toast a day.The systematic review by King’s College London found that those who were sleep-deprived consumed an average of 385 calories per day more than those who slept for longer.Researchers said that that disruption to the body clock appears to affect the hormone ghrelin which controls hunger and the hormone leptin, which dictates feelings of fullness.Other studies have also found that sleep deprivation resulted in greater activation of areas in the brain associated with reward when people were exposed to food.
Savannah Phillips, Isla Phillips and Mia Tindall Credit: GoffPhotos.com Mr and Mrs Tindall announced at the end of last year that they had sadly lost the baby they were expecting just a month after they announced the pregnancy.A spokesman for the couple said: “Very sadly, Zara and Mike Tindall have lost their baby. At this difficult time, we ask that everyone respects their privacy.” 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 Tindalls also live on the estate. Mia was born at nearby NHS hospital the Gloucestershire Royal in 2014.Mrs Zindall last year missed out on a place at the Rio Olympics after she failed to make the equestrian team because of problems with her horse. She was part of the silver medal winning team at London 2012. Mia was pictured with her cousins Savannah and Isla Phillips, whose parents are Autumn and Peter Phillips, Mrs Tindall’s brother. Her well-behaved pet dog appeared to follow dutifully wherever Mia led him. Three-year-old Mia Tindall brought an extra supporter along as she attended the Gatcombe Horse Trials to cheer on her mother Zara.She was pictured devotedly walking the family pet Boxer, called Spey, at the event. Mia was joined by her former rugby player father Mike Tindall as they attended the horse trials in Gloucestershire, which took place on Mother’s Day. Mrs Tindall rode Fernhill Facetime in the equestrian event on her mother Princess Anne’s estate. Zara Tindall took part in the event Credit:Steve Parsons /PA Mia with her father Mike TindallCredit:Steve Parsons /PA Mike Tindall with his daughter Mia Credit:Steve Parsons/PA Mia Tindall with her pet dogCredit:REX/Shutterstock
Mr Davison described “frantically” breaking small branches from the tree so he could get to his wife and flagging down a passing ambulance to help.The inquest heard that Mrs Davison was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead after attempts at resuscitation.A post-mortem examination found that she had died from injuries consistent with the branch of a tree penetrating through her abdominal wall.Michael Ferries, watch commander with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, attended the scene on the evening of November 11 2010 and said the weather conditions were the worst he had experienced.He told the inquest Mrs Davison had been “impaled” by the branch, which he described as being 12-13ft long and 7ins in diameter at its widest point.He said he became concerned about the condition of remaining trees because of the “cracking” noise they were making.The inquest heard that Mr Davison had given a negative breath test on the evening and collision investigations found no evidence he had been speeding, the vehicle was in good condition and there were no problems with the road surface.Mr Hinchliff said Mr Davison would have had no prior warning of the branch falling and would not have been able to avoid the impact. The inquest heard how the windscreen was pressed in over Mr Davison and his wife and he could see something “wood-like” pressing against Mrs Davison’s stomach through a hole in the glass.Mr Hinchliff said to him: “You describe going into what you say was a blind panic.”You asked Elaine if she was OK, but she said ‘no, I’m hurt’.”He continued: “Elaine was saying she couldn’t breathe, she was holding the tree branch up against her stomach, she was saying ‘get it off’.” The inquest at Wakefield Coroner’s Court, which is due to last around 10 days, was adjourned until Tuesday. A husband has described how he told his wife he would not let her die after she was impaled by a tree branch, which crushed their car in gale force winds.Elaine Davison, 55, suffered fatal injuries after the 13ft branch crashed through the windscreen of the car she was travelling in with her husband in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in November 2010.Edward Davison struggled to contain his emotions as he told an inquest about the events leading up to his wife’s death.Mr Davison, who had been in a relationship with Mrs Davison for 30 years, told the jury of seven women and four men that his wife told him she was hurt after the tree hit their Vauxhall Zafira.He said: “The only other thing she said to me was ‘don’t let me die, will you?’ and I said ‘no, I won’t’.”That’s one of the hardest things. It’s the first time I’ve ever had to lie to her and I can’t take it back.”Coroner David Hinchliff read Mr Davison’s statement to him and described how the couple had been to visit their daughter at Pinderfields Hospital before setting off to return home to Pontefract.Mr Hinchliff said: “You said it was very windy and recalled Elaine pulling her coat collar up to keep the wind out.” 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. Elaine was saying she couldn’t breathe, she was holding the tree branch up against her stomach, she was saying ‘get it offEdward Davison Mr Davison said he could see small tree branches on the road and feel them beneath his car as he drove along the A642 Aberford Road.The coroner said: “The wind was actually blowing your car along, you could actually see the car shaking from side to side while you were driving.”You remember Elaine saying to you she ‘didn’t like this’ and appeared nervous. She asked if you were speeding, which you told her you were not. You could see she was frightened at the time.”You reassured her ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be tucked up in our pyjamas in 20 minutes’.”Mr Davison described a sudden “banging and crashing sound” as the tree branch fell into the road directly in front of the car, before hearing “silence” after the impact.
“If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the UK and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so,” he wrote.A White House spokeswoman said: “Although the President himself has not spoken to the family – he does not want to pressure them in any way – members of the administration have spoken to the family in calls facilitated by the British government.“The President is just trying to be helpful if at all possible.” Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie GardCredit: PA The Pope’s Roman hospital has offered to take Charlie Gard into its care in order to prevent Great Ormond Street from turning his life support off.Pope Francis tweeted: “To defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all”.Now, Pediatric Hospital Bambino Gesu, known as the ‘Pope’s Hospital’ and sits close to the Vatican’s walls, has offered to give the 10-month-old sanctuary. Mariella Enoc, the president of the hospital, said in a statement: “I have asked the health director to check with Great Ormond Street Hospital if there are sanitary conditions for an eventual transfer of Charlie to our hospital. We know that the case is desperate”.This comes after US President Donald Trump made an eleventh-hour intervention and offered to help.The small child has been at the centre of a lengthy legal battle as his parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, fought for him to be allowed to undergo a therapy trial in the US. 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. Mariella Enoc: “Siamo vicini ai genitori nella preghiera e, se questo è il loro desiderio, disponibili ad accogliere #Charlie presso di noi” pic.twitter.com/6YzqBRNAC3— Bambino Gesù (@bambinogesu) July 3, 2017 It is understood that a doctor and a hospital have been lined up to help if an agreement is reached.Theresa May’s official spokesman said that the Prime Minister’s thoughts were with Charlie and his family but declined to comment on Mr Trump’s tweet.Her official spokesman said: “This is a very sensitive case. I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to talk about it here at this point other than to say our thoughts are with him and his family.” Having lost the fight, the couple were spending their last hours with him before his life-support is turned off when Mr Trump waded into the legal struggle via Twitter to state that he would be “delighted” to help the terminally ill baby.
“Wi-fi can be the difference between allowing a medical professional, a GP to see a patient urgently and making that decision as to whether they need to be rushed into A&E and actually whether they’re OK, it’s a UTI and they need a course of antibiotics. “It can help manage staff rotas so businesses become more efficient, there’s a continuity of care and also the business is sustainable,” she told an audience at the event organised by think tank the Resolution Foundation. Research published by Citizens Advice has found that one in five care homes do not offer wi-fi to residents and one in four care home staff did not know whether or not it was available.”Where wi-fi is not available, residents would have no access to Skype, Facebook, email or other services that might be used to keep in touch with friends and family unless they arrange mobile internet for themselves at extra cost,” the charity warned. Care homes need to prioritise wifi to make sure grandchildren come to visit, care minister Caroline Dinenage has said. Speaking at an event in London the minister said not enough homes allowed their residents to access wi-fi. She said internet access could help older people stay in touch with their families and encourage younger members to come and visit more often. “Wi-fi actually can encourage your grandchildren to come and visit. Because they will sit there, and you can do something together,” she said. Dementia patients can be helped by “incredible online tools to help people and trigger memories and for therapeutic things,” she added. Online systems are available which allow patients and their families to upload photo albums, music playlists and videos that they can then watch together. She added that a lack of internet access could cause problems with access to medical care and information as well as making it more difficult to organise staff rotas. 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.
Jihadi bride Khanjit NijjerCredit:Ed Willcox In 2015, his wife started sending him money – first £1,500 then later two payments of £2,000 – telling those whose names would appear on the transactions that Khan was studying or carrying out aid work. ‘Although I accept you were acting to support your husband, you retained a choice and you chose to send the money to be used in Syria.’You provided significant sums of money to be sent to your husband and prepared to send him equipment and clothing as well, knowing he was by then engaged in fighting for Isil.’At his suggestion you engaged other innocent people to make the transfers for you.’You told them lies about the reason you needed their assistance. You also agreed with your husband to use an encrypted messaging App to conceal your discussions. Overall your offences are very serious ones.’Nijjer, of Dalberg Way, Abbey Wood, southeast London, admitted two counts of a funding arrangement contrary to section 17 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and was jailed for five years and three months. Judge Kinch added: ‘The background is that you left home aged 18 or 19 and converted to Islam and then married Abdul Khan.’You became part of his family and you say you found him dominating and controlling. When Abdul Khan went to Turkey in 2014 and overstayed he required you to send funds to support him.’Your pleas are tendered on the basis that at first you thought the money might be intended for Abdul Khan to start a business in Turkey but by 2015 you had become aware that it was not just an extended business trip to Turkey but that he had crossed into Syria and was taking up arms for so called Islamic State. Nijjer was caught out when her name was spotted by police investigating cash transfers in Turkey.She was interviewed by the police and told them she thought her husband was travelling in Turkey on holiday with friends.When Nijjer was released on bail her phone was searched by police and a secretive messaging application called Threema was found installed at her husband’s request.Conversations on the phone showed Khan glorifying drone strikes, Isil, and achieving martyrdom.By 2016, Khan was pressurising his wife to join him in Syria, but she was worried about her safety and refused to go.Nijjer was interviewed a second time in June 2017 by police and only when showed an image of her husband dressed as an Isil fighter did she accept the transfers were funding terrorism. A jihadi bride who bought flip flops for her Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) terrorist husband while he was fighting in Syria has been jailed for more than five years.Khranjit Nijjer, 32, deceived friends and family to raise £4,500 to fund Abdul Khan, who she married when she was 19.The money was then wired to Isil accounts to used by the extremists in the Middle East to fund their reign of terror. Three covert payments were made through transfers using third party names to Khan and Nijjer also used money she raised to buy chargers for iPads and smartphones, solar panels, flip flops and boots which she was going to send to Syria. The items had all been ordered through Nijjer’s Amazon account following specific requests and instructions from Abdul Khan identifying what he needed,’ Judge Christopher Kinch QC told the Old Bailey. They were then delivered to her address in Docklands or Abdul Khan’s family home in Romford, the court heard. Khan travelled to Turkey in 2014 after withdrawing £10,000 and was caught by Turkish authorities only to escape to join Isil in Syria, where it is understood he is still fighting. 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: “We just don’t know who sent the cards to you. You may have sent the cards to yourself to try and make false claims about Mr Yule or your colleagues.”She replied that it was “not a possibility” for her to have sent them. Both men deny sending the cards.The hearing continues. A woman who claims she was taped to a chair by male colleagues at a Scottish Government agency told a tribunal she has become a recluse because of the bullying and harassment she suffered.DeeAnn Fitzpatrick said she experienced a racist and misogynistic culture while working for Marine Scotland, and once contacted the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.In a hearing ahead of the tribunal she said she was taped to a chair and gagged by two male colleagues in 2010. A shocking photograph of the alleged incident emerged last month.However, it is understood the tribunal is unable to consider the allegation as it was said to have taken place more than three years before a complaint was brought. Despite this, Ms Fitzpatrick’s family released the picture saying it needed to be seen.Ms Fitzpatrick, 49, said in the earlier preliminary hearing that the incident happened during years of bullying at the agency’s Scrabster office in the north of Scotland, and was a warning to her to keep quiet. Dignitas building near ZurichCredit:AFP Ms Fitzpatrick told the tribunal she had worked for Marine Scotland, which acts as the watchdog for the fisheries and aquaculture industries, since 2006.The alleged abuse is said to have taken place while she was based in Scrabster and to have continued after she was signed off.She alleged two colleagues – Derek Yule and Reid Anderson – were responsible for sending the cards. The tribunal heard there was a bad atmosphere in the office during the period.Ms Fitzpatrick denied sending herself the cards to create “false claims” about colleagues.Andrew Gibson, representing Scottish ministers, put it to her there were a number of people in the community who did not like her and they could have sent the cards, or they could have been created by herself. DeeAnn Fitzpatrick said she contacted Dignitas over alleged harassmentCredit:BBC A message in one called her an “old troll” and another warned her about trying to “climb the ladder of success”.She added: “When I first started getting the cards, it made me feel awful. But as they continued, yes it’s affected my self-esteem.”It’s actually made me become a recluse, I stay at home, I have gone more into myself. With everything going on, I contacted Dignitas in Switzerland. I had enough.”Dignitas provides assisted suicide to those suffering from a terminal illness, severe physical or mental illnesses. The Canadian national told the first full day of the tribunal on Wednesday that she felt intimidated after being sent anonymous cards.She said she suspected the cards, received on Valentine’s Day and her birthday every year between 2015 and 2017, were sent by colleagues. 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 Duchess was all smiles as she met the retired actors Credit:Andrew Matthews/PA Wire “She was so chatty with all of them. She made an effort to actually in every room to say hello to absolutely everyone.”It really made everyone’s day. It really brought smiles to their faces.” Mr Cooper said: “The timing of the visit is fantastic as it comes a few weeks after the Royal Variety performance which she attended with Prince Harry.”And it comes after her wedding, which all the residents here were watching. We had the television on, Union Jack bunting up and a party atmosphere – so it’s nice to have the bride here.”Among famous entertainers who have been cared for at the residential home are Sir Norman Wisdom, Dame Thora Hird and EastEnders actor Leslie Grantham. Among the residents she met were Richard O’Sullivan, star of 1970s sitcoms Man About The House and Robin’s Nest, and Mona Hammond, who played Blossom Jackson in the BBC soap opera EastEnders.In the dining room of the Edwardian house, with decor evoking a mix between a seaside hotel and an old theatre, the Duchess was introduced to the 83-year-old former EastEnders actress and was told that she won an OBE for championing black actors. Spot Meghan’s bauble #notaeuphemism pic.twitter.com/2gU1nE43Fr— Hannah Furness (@Hannah_Furness) December 18, 2018 “She mentioned the video – that was the key to it – it made her say ‘I want to go and see that’.”It was the fact of being amongst entertainment people and actors. Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas, Royal Variety style #DuchessofSussex pic.twitter.com/06yV6pod4Q— Hannah Furness (@Hannah_Furness) December 18, 2018 When the former West End star asked how she was feeling, the Duchess replied “Very good” before asking: “Do you have kids?””No I don’t, I had a career,” Ms Gordon replied, before Meghan told her: “Yes… that I understand.”Giles Cooper, Chairman of the Royal Variety Charity, said: “There’s a care home in LA that she [Meghan] used to visit and when she saw the video at the end of the Royal Variety Performance she said it reminded her of that.”In LA it brought feelings of being amongst your own.”She was very much at home with them and put a smile on their faces, but she was enjoying it as well. Credit: Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph The Duchess of Sussex has returned to her acting roots as she visited a home for retired entertainers, mingling with older stars including Richard O’Sullivan for a morning of showbiz.The Duchess, who is due to give birth to her first child in the spring, admitted she was “feeling very pregnant” as she charmed residents by chatting about her pregnancy and her life.She brought Christmas cheer to the residents of Brinsworth House in Twickenham, south west London, which is funded by the £600,000-a-year proceeds of the Royal Variety Performance and 15p from every telephone vote in Britain’s Got Talent.The Duchess, 37, spoke fluent Spanish to one resident and told the actors how she had visited a similar home for artists in Los Angeles many times, remarking much it felt like they were all part of one big family. Credit:Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph “Oh my goodness. That’s amazing,” she said. Meghan holding court with the pensioners Credit: Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph When she moved across to talk to retired West End theatre actress Josephine Gordon, the talk quickly moved to the baby.“I’ve been reading about you in the papers,” Ms Gordon, 87, said.The Duchess look down and patted her bump. “I’m feeling very pregnant,” she said. The Duchess is a former actress who is best known for her role in the hit US legal drama series Suits, in which she played paralegal-turned-lawyer Rachel Zane.Sign up for our weekly Royals newsletter, Your Royal Appointment
A British woman has told of her “15 month trip to hell” after her holiday turned into a nightmare when she was jailed over painkillers.Laura Plummer, 34, landed at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday afternoon and said she thought her “nightmare would never end” when she was held in al-Qanater women’s prison, south of Cairo in Egypt.The shopworker from Hull was sentenced to three years in prison on Boxing Day 2017 for taking 290 Tramadol tablets into the country.Breaking down in tears as she arrived back in the UK, Ms Plummer said: “Words cannot express how delighted I am to be home.”At times I thought this nightmare would never end. What should have been a two-week holiday in the sun turned into a 15-month trip to Hell.”I would like to thank everybody for supporting me throughout this, especially my family.”Ms Plummer was arrested at Hurghada Airport on October 9 2017 when she flew into the Red Sea resort.She claimed she was taking the tablets – which are legal in the UK but banned in Egypt – for her Egyptian partner Omar Caboo, who suffers severe back pain.Her family previously said Ms Plummer had no idea that what she doing was illegal and was just “daft”. 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 September, she was refused permission to appeal against her conviction, but was granted early release on Monday after serving a third of her sentence. Karl Turner, Ms Plummer’s local MP, said: “I am delighted for Laura and her family that this terrible ordeal is now coming to an end.”I would like to thank the Foreign Office and particularly minister of state Alistair Burt MP for everything he and officials have done for Laura and her family since this saga begun.”I very much hope that Laura can put this behind her and get on with her life now.”A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We are pleased Laura is now able to reunite with her family.”Our staff provided extensive support to Laura and her family during her imprisonment, visiting her regularly to check her welfare, and maintaining close contact with both her family and lawyer.” Ms Plummer, pictured, spent 15 months in prison
Investigators have made one of the biggest ever seizures of heroin in the UK after discovering £40 million worth of the drug hidden among a consignment of bathroom towels and robes on board a ship from the Middle East.The drugs, which weighed almost 400 kilos, were thought to be destined for British streets and would likely have been sold by county lines gangs across the country.The haul came when officers from Border Force and the National Crime Agency identified a suspicious container on board a ship that had docked at Felixstowe, Suffolk on its way to Belgium.Inside they discovered a huge quantity of the drug which had been packed into boxes and hidden under towels.After removing the heroin, the container was loaded back onto the ship and was allowed to continue on its voyage under covert police surveillance. The container was unloaded in the port of Antwerp, before being taken by lorry to Rotterdam.When suspects began to unload the container on Monday, Dutch police swooped and arrested two men.At around the same time officers from the National Crime Agency arrested a man in the Bromsgrove area of Worcestershire in connection with the operation.The consignment is estimated to have a street value in excess of £40 million and is one of the largest ever hauls seized in the UK. The heroin was found packed in with towels and robes 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. Colin Williams, from the NCA said: “It is almost certain that some of these drugs would have been sold in the UK, fuelling violence and exploitation including what we see in county lines offending nationwide.”The heroin trade also feeds addictions that put users’ lives at risk, while giving rise to crime such as theft which make people feel unsafe in their communities. We work in the UK and with partners around the world to target the crime groups posing the greatest threat to this country.”