The Oakland Athletics, for weeks now, have been terrible. They’ve gone 27-37 in the season’s second half, with a 12-17 record in August and an even uglier 8-15 mark in September. Yet thanks largely to some atrocious play by their AL West rivals in Seattle, the A’s are about to clinch their third straight playoff berth anyway.Still, few people seem to be taking Oakland seriously as a World Series contender. Some of that disrespect comes from simple math: By having to play an additional one-game playoff just to get to the American League Division Series, the A’s face a tougher climb than MLB’s six division winners. But much of the disdain for Oakland’s chances stems from an overemphasis on momentum. If the A’s have stunk up the joint for most of August and September, why should anyone believe October will be any different?Because there’s no evidence to suggest that how a team plays heading into the postseason has any correlation with how it fares in the postseason. That’s why.Last week, we looked at teams’ regular-season road records and whether those can predict playoff success (the answer was yes, they do). Here, we used the same methodology, looking at every playoff game from 1969 through 2013 to see whether we could find a predictive link between late-season performance and playoff success.In the end, we found that full-season winning percentages were a significant predictor of postseason outcomes. But the degree to which a team was hot after June, July or August was not statistically significant when it came to forecasting playoff proficiency.Now that doesn’t necessarily prove definitively that there’s nothing to the momentum theory. As Bill James reminds us, an absence of evidence isn’t conclusive proof by itself, and it’s possible that further research using a different approach could yield different results.Still, given the hot-or-not narratives that pop up every October, and the lack of evidence to support the momentum theory, it’s probably time to take the A’s a bit more seriously as contenders. Jay Jaffe (at Baseball Prospectus) and Dave Cameron (for Fox Sports) both tested the theory by looking at playoff results from 1995 on and couldn’t find any statistically significant correlation either.Yes, the A’s will probably have to get past a stingy Kansas City Royals squad, one that’s excelled at pitching and defense all year, just to crack the ALDS. But with a pitching staff bolstered by the acquisitions of Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija, and an offense that has struggled in the second half but looked strong in the first half, the A’s have the talent to compete for a title in a playoff field that lacks a clear favorite.As sharply as their luck turned down the stretch, it could just as easily turn for the better — starting now.CORRECTION (Sept. 26, 11:57 a.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly said the Oakland Athletics have gone 27-39 in the season’s second half and had a 8-14 mark in September. They have gone 27-37 in the second half and 8-15 in September.
Jonathan Vilma, the New Orleans Saints’ linebacker who received a one-year suspension in the team’s bounty case, received strong support from quarterback Drew Brees in his quest to play this season.Vilma is fighting his punishment levied by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Brees’ affidavit was entered in New Orleans federal court as evidence for Vilma’s motion to dismiss the 2012 suspension for the linebacker’s alleged involvement in a program offering bonuses to players who injure opponents. Vilma has sued Goodell, claiming defamation. An NFL investigation found that the New Orleans Saints operated a bounty system rewarding between 22 and 27 players for hard hits and injuring opposing players.Drew Brees, who signed a five-year, $100 million contract last week to stay with the Saints, also swears that he wasn’t aware of any bounty program.“I have no knowledge of a pay to injure program existing, and yet to personally see any evidence that would substantiate these allegations,” Brees says in the affidavit. “In my four years as a teammate with Jonathan, I have found that he is a man of integrity who passionately plays the game of football within the frameworks of the rules and has respect for his opponents.”Drew Brees was generous in his depiction of Vilma, who has been a model citizen off the field. He said Vilma has been dedicated to helping the city recover from Hurricane Katrina and has started a foundation to build schools in Haiti.“As a professional football player, our platform to reach our communities is directly driven by the manner in which we compete on the field,” Brees said. “Therefore, Jonathan’s absence on the field will adversely affect his ability to impact the community in a positive way as a leader and a role model.”Vilma and Saints coach Sean Payton have been suspended for the 2012 season for their roles in the bounty program the NFL says went on for three seasons.The league wants the case dismissed because the collective bargaining agreement reached last August to end the lockout gives the commissioner the authority to punish players for “conduct detrimental” to the NFL. But Vilma is not accepting Goodell’s unilateral decision without a fight.
20-21981543.8 From 2000 through 2013, the average draft saw seven selected players who would have been 21 or younger at the start of the regular season. Since 2013, that number of prospects barely old enough to drink on opening day nearly doubled to an average of 13.4. Last year’s 15 was the second-highest this century.What caused such a dramatic change? The rookie wage scale instituted with the 2012 draft, which gives first-round selections a fixed, four-year deal based on where they ended up in the draft, plus a club option for a fifth year. Prior to that, college players projected for the first round but not as the top picks had more of an incentive to stay in college and improve their stock in order to demand a higher initial salary. But with that negotiating power gone, more pro prospects now want to get into the NFL as quickly as possible and set the clock in motion for their second contract, where they can make the most money. Obviously, the younger you are when that rookie contract and option year expire, the more earning potential you have.The number of younger players declaring as underclassmen has increased dramatically ever since. From 2000 to 2011, the last year of the old collective bargaining agreement, an average of 49 underclassmen entered the draft per year. But since the 2012 draft, that average is up to 87. This year, there were a record 106 underclassmen who declared.But younger prospects expected to be first-round picks have regularly left college early — in fact, those who stayed in school have often garnered the bigger headlines. So the increase in top-drafted underclassmen isn’t completely explained by the overall increase in players declaring. Teams also finally appear to be looking at how underclassmen actually performed rather than knocking them down a peg or two for leaving school “before they can refine their skills” or develop “emotional maturity.” Even a quarter of a century after underclassmen eligibility was granted, NFL coaches praised for innovation and an intimate knowledge of the college game were still stating a general preference for seniors.The more interesting question then is not why more young players are being targeted now but rather what teams were doing for all those years. Looking from 2000 to 2013 (the most recent draft year for which no first-round pick could still be on his rookie contract, including an option year), younger first-rounders were most successful. To measure this, we can use Pro-Football-Reference.com’s weighted career approximate value (CarAV), which rewards a player for his contribution to a team’s points scored and prevented as well as overall performance in other key statistics. Younger draftees perform betterFirst-round draft picks’ approximate career value based their ages as of Sept. 1 of the draft year, 2000-13 Average NFL teams leave no stone unturned when it comes to scouting top players for the draft. They scour college tapes, career statistics, physical attributes, intelligence tests, personality traits, social media accounts and school transcripts. By the time draft day arrives, NFL teams know if a player ever stepped out of line in middle school. But there’s one very obvious piece of information that teams seem to be changing their tunes on before choosing the players who can make or break a franchise: their birth certificates.In last week’s NFL draft, teams seemed to be saying “younger is better” when it came to the top picks. Seventeen of the 32 players selected in the first round will be age 21 or younger on Sept. 1 — about when their rookie season will begin. This is the highest number this century.1The league changed the rules on underclassmen in 1990, but rules on free agency and the salary cap further changed the league in the 1990s. And it’s not a one-year fluke based on this draft’s talent pool: It’s the continuation of a trend. 24+271833.6 While the youngest group of players age 20-21 performs only slightly better on average (43.8 average approximate career value) than the second-youngest at age 22 (42.9), the gap quickly widens. The 146 first-round picks who would have been 23 years old on Sept. 1 of their draft year had a 39.5 CarAV. And the 27 who were age 24 and over averaged just 33.6. (The oldest was 28-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden, picked by the perennially hapless Cleveland Browns.)While younger players were drafted only slightly higher in this span on average, this variance could be at least partially attributed to selection bias. Players who are good enough to make the NFL at this age are probably just better in general than the older players. But at the same time, each player taken in the first 32 picks of the draft is elite regardless of whether he’s a senior or a junior. So if age is a factor in the success of a draft pick, the Bills’ selection of the first round’s youngest player, Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, seems a lot smarter. Conversely, the Ravens tabbing the round’s oldest player, soon-to-be-25-year-old tight end Hayden Hurst of South Carolina, seems more questionable.But what about age at the game’s most important position, quarterback? This is the one position where the pros and cons of age are arguably most balanced. Older quarterbacks may be ready to slot into an offense right away if that’s what a team needs, while other teams may have the luxury of letting a younger player carry the clipboard for a while — something that can’t always be done at other positions. Using CarAV again, we see the effect of age at quarterback as even more pronounced — albeit with smaller sample sizes. 221741642.9 No 20-year-old quarterbacks were drafted in this span.Source: Pro-football-reference.com For QBs, age is even more importantFirst-round quarterbacks’ approximate career value based on their ages as of Sept. 1 of the draft year, 2000-13 Average AgeNo. DrafteesOverall PickCareer Approximate Value Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com AgeNo. DrafteesOverall PickCareer Approximate Value 216975.2 2210754.5 23181245.9 24+31639.7 231461739.5 The six signal callers age 21 and younger by September of their draft year have by far the greatest average value, at 75. And it’s not just Aaron Rodgers, who has posted a 128 career approximate value. Alex Smith (93 CarAV), Matthew Stafford (85) and the retired Michael Vick (93) were also successful picks at this age. This would be good news for the team that this year took the youngest of the highly drafted passers, the Jets with soon-to-be-21-year-old Sam Darnold. The returns diminish dramatically with the 10 QBs at age 22, even though they were drafted higher on average (seventh versus ninth). And the bust rate (players with a CarAV below 40) increases from 33 percent to 50 percent. Likewise, 11 of the 18 picks (61 percent) at age 23 were busts. This age 23 group houses some of the most notorious draft disasters in this time period: Tim Tebow, Christian Ponder and Jake Locker were all 23 by Sept. 1 of their draft year. Locker, drafted No. 8 overall in 2011, was so tired of football that he walked away from the game at age 26.All of this could be a red flag for the first overall pick and oldest first-round quarterback, new Cleveland Brown Baker Mayfield, who turned 23 last month. Darnold will be entering his third season when he’s the age Mayfield will be this year as a rookie. So while Mayfield may end up being the draft’s most pro-ready passer, Darnold may just end up with the more productive career.
When Major League Baseball’s All-Stars take the field Tuesday night in Washington, the Cleveland Indians will be quite well-represented. With starting third baseman Jose Ramirez leading the way, the Tribe has six total players on the American League roster, tied with the Houston Astros for the most in MLB.1Including both original All-Star picks and injury replacements. It’s a fitting honor for this star-powered season in Cleveland: The Indians currently boast four players — Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — each on pace to put up at least six wins above replacement,2Averaging together the WAR values found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. which, if it holds up (grain of salt), would tie them for the most by any MLB team since 1901.That kind of star performance is nothing new for the Tribe, though. Since the All-Star Game began in 1933, only seven franchises (the Yankees, Cardinals, Red Sox, Dodgers, Reds, Giants and Braves) have sent more total players to the midsummer classic than Cleveland has. And no team’s top players have done more to help their league win during the game itself, especially on the pitching side. The franchise may not have won a World Series since 1948, but it does shine brightly on at least one high-profile stage.I figured all this out by crunching a simplified version of WAR on the stats from each All-Star Game in history. This WAR doesn’t use defensive metrics3Though I did adjust for position. or fancy adjustments for extra bases gained, but it does judge a player’s basic hitting and pitching stats relative to the environment in which they were produced. (For batters, this mainly meant calculating runs above average using weighted on-base average; for pitchers, this involved a 50-50 blend between the value of not allowing earned runs and the value of performance in categories a pitcher directly controls — walks, strikeouts and home runs.)4I also applied an adjustment for the leverage index of a pitcher’s innings, although I ditched WAR’s usual distinction between pitching stats for starters and relievers. In the All-Star Game, most pitchers are used in the manner of a typical reliever — for just an inning or two — even when they start.By all those numbers, here are the franchises who have the best All-Star Game WAR over time, divided by the number of years they’ve existed (through 2017): In terms of value from batters (per season that both the team and the All-Star Game existed), the Indians rank fifth behind the Cardinals, Red Sox, Tigers and Diamondbacks. That’s pretty good, and it comes thanks to players such as third baseman Al Rosen (career 1.247 All-Star OPS, or on-base percentage plus slugging) and catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. (who was named MVP in 1997). But the pitching side is where Cleveland has really distinguished itself, easily ranking No. 1 among all franchises (topping the Dodgers and Reds). That’s largely due to the efforts of 1930s/40s-era Tribe hurlers Mel Harder and Bob Feller, who show up as the top two pitchers in All-Star history according to WAR. In 25⅓ combined All-Star innings over nine appearances, that pair allowed just 1 earned run, good for a miniscule ERA of 0.36.Now, we should note that it’s no coincidence the All-Star Game’s most valuable pitchers played early in the game’s existence. Back then, pitchers like Feller were allowed to log three to four innings at a time, as opposed to today’s trend of letting each pitcher on the roster get about an inning of work apiece. Obviously, it’s easier to rack up big WAR totals if you get to throw more innings — provided you’re effective the way Harder and Feller were.But that isn’t to say no modern players are near the top of the All-Star WAR ranks. Mariano Rivera ranks ninth among pitchers after allowing zero earned runs in nine innings of work, and Randy Johnson ranks 11th. On the hitting side, Derek Jeter enhanced his status as baseball’s biggest star with a 1.184 OPS and the third-most All-Star WAR of any position player.5This is the part where I reiterate that this simple version of WAR doesn’t factor in Jeter’s astonishingly bad defense relative to other shortstops. And Mike Trout is zooming up the list — because of course he is — with a 1.533 OPS and the seventh-most WAR of any hitter, compiled in only five appearances.Speaking of modern entities, at the other end of the All-Star WAR spectrum from the Indians are the Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies, who look terrible even after adjusting for how comparatively few chances they’ve had to rack up appearances. (Each franchise entered MLB in 1993.) Interestingly, the Astros join them among the teams whose players have done the least in the All-Star Game over the years. Houston has had plenty of top-line talent to represent it, but Jose Altuve and Craig Biggio combined to go 1-for-23 in their All-Star appearances, and Roger Clemens gave up 3 earned runs in two innings as an Astro, to go with a handful of other high-profile flops.The good news for the Astros is that they’ll get a bunch of chances to reverse that trend in Tuesday’s game. At the same time, the Indians will get plenty more opportunities to pad their all-time numbers. Bauer and Ramirez might never catch up to Feller and Rosen, but they do have a lot of illustrious history on their side.Check out our latest MLB predictions.
Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell controls the ball during the first quarter of the Buckeyes’ game against Idaho on Nov. 15. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorLess than two weeks ago, the Ohio State women’s basketball team needed overtime, but it defeated Michigan 78-71 on the road to remain undefeated in Big Ten play.No. 8 Ohio State (16-2, 5-0 Big Ten) will have a chance to defeat No. 19 Michigan (15-4, 4-2 Big Ten) a second time to keep its spotless conference record at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Schottenstein Center. Both teams will be fresh off Saturday road victories. The Buckeyes defeated Indiana 77-62, while the Wolverines beat Nebraska 69-64 in overtime.Projected StartersOhio State:G — Asia Doss — Senior, 5-foot-7, 9.2 ppg, 3 rpg, 3.5 apgG — Kelsey Mitchell — Senior, 5-foot-8, 25.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.4 apgG — Linnae Harper — Redshirt senior, 5-foot-8, 15.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.4 apgG — Sierra Calhoun — Redshirt junior, 6-foot, 12.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.2 apgF — Stephanie Mavunga — Redshirt senior, 6-foot-3, 15.2 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 0.8 apgMichigan: G — Katelynn Flaherty — Senior, 5-foot-7, 23.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.9 apgG — Nicole Munger — Junior, 5-foot-11, 9.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.4 apgF — Jillian Dunston — Senior, 5-foot-11, 3.6 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 3.7 apgF — Hailey Brown — Freshman, 6-foot-1, 8.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1 apgC — Hallie Thome — Junior, 6-foot-5, 16.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.5 apgScouting MichiganTuesday’s game pitting the Buckeyes and Wolverines will be the second matchup between the teams in less than two weeks. In Ohio State’s overtime win on Jan. 7, the visiting team needed everything they got from senior guard Kelsey Mitchell, who dropped 37 points. On Tuesday, the Buckeyes might need more of the same from the preseason All-American because the Wolverines have succeeded this season, including in their game against their rival two weeks ago, on the interior. Michigan averages 9.7 more rebounds per game than its opponents, which ranks 18th in the country. It holds opponents to 30.3 rebounds per game, the lowest average in the conference.The Wolverines’ dominance on the board begins with junior center Hallie Thome, a Chagrin Falls, Ohio, native who Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said he recruited for a short time before the Buckeyes landed other commitments. She averages 16.4 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game, which each rank second on the team.Thome’s standout trait is her size. Standing 6-foot-5, she towers over every player on Ohio State, including redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga, the starter in the post who averages a double-double. McGuff, though, is more impressed by Thome’s touch around the basket and feel for the game.“She’s really, really skilled,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said. “You see a lot of big kids, but not many big kids that have her size in conjunction with the skill that she has. [It’s] a really tough matchup for us.”In the first matchup between the teams, Thome led Michigan with 27 points and corralled eight rebounds. She was joined in double-figures by senior guard Katelynn Flaherty, who added 22 points and eight assist, but made only 7-of-22 shots. McGuff said he thought the Buckeyes defended her well, but she still managed to make tough shots while defenders swarmed.In order to hold Michigan’s offense in check, Ohio State must keep Flaherty, who averages the third-most points in the conference (23.1), from getting open looks and keep Thome from getting the ball in opportune positions.“They just present a really tough matchup because those kids are so good,” McGuff said. “And they’ve got other players around them that seem to play their role extremely well.”One of the other role players McGuff is referencing who could hurt the Buckeyes is senior forward Jillian Dunston. Though she lacks much scoring ability, she helps facilitate the offense and leads the team with 9.4 rebounds per game. Michigan junior guard Nicole Munger holds the highest 3-point shooting percentage of any player on either team (41.6 percent). The Wolverines make 36.3 percent of their triples and hold opponents to just 30.9 percent from beyond the arc, the third-lowest of any team in the conference. Ohio State has shot more 3-pointers (481 attempts) than any team in the Big Ten.Remaining undefeated in Big TenAs the highest-ranked Big Ten team in the AP poll and the only team left undefeated in Big Ten play, Ohio State has only had one close call against a conference opponent: an overtime win against Michigan.The Buckeyes began the Big Ten portion of the season 5-0 for the first time in McGuff’s tenure. Last season, they finished 15-1 against conference opponents, with their only loss coming to Michigan State in the fifth Big Ten game of the season.For the record to remain unblemished, Ohio State will have to take on a Michigan team that has struggled against the upper echelon of college basketball teams and is still searching for a win against a top-25 team after four failed attempts. In November, it lost 74-49 to No. 2 Louisville and 83-63 to No. 5 Notre Dame. The Wolverines then lost 82-72 to Iowa on Dec. 31 before dropping the overtime game to the Buckeyes.
Ohio State junior forward John Wiitala (10) pushed down Wisconsin freshman forward Sean Dhooghe (24) in front of redshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo (30) in the first period on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State won the game 6-2. Credit: Wyatt Crosher | Assistant Sports EditorAfter earning the No. 3 seed in the West Region, the Ohio State men’s hockey team will travel to Fargo, North Dakota, to challenge Denver for a spot in the NCAA West Regional Final.Ohio State (20-10-5, 13-7-4 Big Ten) has once again seen its USCHO ranking drop following its 5-1 loss to Penn State in the Big Ten tournament semifinals, this time from No. 6 down to No. 9. Denver (22-11-5) has taken the Buckeyes’ previous ranking, currently ranked No. 6 in the nation.Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said his team has learned from its mistakes in the past Penn State match and is ready for this weekend.“Our guys understand what we did, our lack of what we did against Penn State, and we’ve got enough guys who’ve been through the trenches to understand how we’ve got to prepare for this weekend,” Rohlik said. “It’s been a good week-and-a-half.”Denver is ranked No. 10 in the country in win percentage with Ohio State trailing just behind at No. 11.Ohio State senior forward John Wiitala said the high stakes of the tournament makes this upcoming match all the more stressful.“I think we’d like to say that the nerves are the same, and it’s just another hockey game,” Wiitala said. “But obviously, just like we talked about, the desperation: we all know that one game and you lose, you’re going home.”On defense, the Pioneers just barely edge out the Buckeyes. Denver is currently ranked No. 9 with 2.08 goals allowed per game, with the Buckeyes close behind at No. 14. Two of the top goalies in the country will play: Denver sophomore goalie Devin Cooley and Ohio State sophomore goalie Tommy Nappier are tied at No. 3 in the country with a .934 save percentage. Nappier is the likely starter for the Buckeyes after taking the start over redshirt senior goalie Sean Romeo in the lone Big Ten tournament game, something Rohlik said following that loss was a decision based on Nappier’s impressive statistics on the season.In terms of offense, Denver lacks the same aggression Ohio State possesses. The Pioneers are No. 29 with 2.82 goals per game, while the Buckeyes rank No. 17. The Denver offense is led by junior forward Liam Finlay, who has accumulated 15 goals and 20 assists so far this season, good for 0.92 pointe per game. The teams have not met this season.Ohio State senior defenseman Sasha Larocque said the fact that they haven’t played each other this season makes for a different experience than the team has been used to with Big Ten play.“I wouldn’t say it’s any more stressful, but it is a different experience not knowing exactly what you’re going to get,” Larocque said. “Playing a team out of conference that we haven’t seen before, you don’t really know them too well.”The semifinals match between No. 2 Denver and No. 3 Ohio State will begin at 4 p.m. Friday in Scheels Arena in Fargo, North Dakota.
Municipal staff clean the trashed streets following a demonstration demanding justice after the death of Rashan CharlesCredit:Anadolu Agency Stafford Scott, who stood next to Mr Charles and spoke on behalf of the family, directly addressed the young people who protested the night before, and said that they understand their anger and frustration.”Don’t feel that the family don’t feel that anger and that frustration too. But what the family knows is that taking it to the streets doesn’t give you justice,” he said.Mr Scott said the family have found the best legal support they can and are now asking the community to “support them in their struggle” but with “peace on the streets”.Those in the crowd at the vigil could be heard chanting “no justice, no peace” as they called for the police officer who arrested Mr Charles to be suspended. The watchdog said IPCC staff met with Mr Charles’s family on Wednesday afternoon to update them with the results of the forensic analysis. Last week, the IPCC said the evidence it had seen so far suggested that Mr Charles was detained by a Metropolitan Police officer who had followed him on foot into a shop on Kingsland Road after an earlier attempted vehicle stop. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) watchdog, which is investigating the events leading to the death of Mr Charles, said: “The IPCC has now received results of forensic analysis of an object that was removed from Rashan’s airway by paramedics.”The object did not contain a controlled substance.”The IPCC said its investigation into the circumstances of Mr Charles’s death following contact with police in Hackney is “ongoing and making good progress”, adding: “Our independent investigation is thoroughly examining all aspects of police interaction with Rashan prior to his death and has already undertaken a large number of investigative actions.” 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. A man who died after swallowing an object during a police chase was not concealing a “controlled substance” according to forensic analysis.Unverified footage on social media appeared to show at least one police officer attempting to restrain Rashan Charles, 20, on the floor of a shop in east London before he died later in hospital on July 22.His death sparked violent clashes with police in Hackney on Friday as demonstrators hurled bottles and fireworks at officers. Makeshift road blocks in fire at a protest in Kingsland Road in east London, where people gathered in response to the death of Rashan CharlesCredit:Lauren Hurley The officer restrained Mr Charles, with the help of a member of the public, and he was handcuffed.After he was detained, attempts were made to remove an object from his mouth or throat.His condition deteriorated, and the officer called for a police medic who provided assistance prior to the arrival of paramedics, according to the IPCC.Weyman Bennett, co-convenor at Stand Up To Racism, claimed: “We now know that the initial statements put out at the time of Rashan’s death were misleading or outright lies. Justification for his death looks increasingly at the hands of those people that forcibly restrained him.”The attempt to smear Rashan as somebody involved in drugs was an attempt to assassinate his character. We hold the police wholly responsible for these false statements that were put out, and we demand justice for Rashan.” Mr Charles’s family made a fresh plea for “peace on the streets” at the weekend following the violent clashes.Demonstrators blocked Kingsland Road in Hackney with wheelie bins, mattresses and debris on Friday afternoon – with bottles and fireworks later being thrown at officers as the growing anger bubbled over into the night.Outside Stoke Newington police station on Saturday, his father Esa gathered with the family of Edson Da Costa – who died last month, six days after being detained by police – for a vigil organised by Stand Up To Racism.
Domestic abuse victims are to “regain their voices” with a new law which will make it easier for them to register to vote anonymously, campaigners have said. Victims of domestic violence live in fear of being “hunted down” by those who abused them, meaning they need to appear on the electoral register anonymously. But the process is currently difficult, with victims required to produce a court order or have their application supported by a senior independent witness, such as a police superintendent. Advocates have warned that bureaucracy and fear of being discovered puts many off registering to vote at all.Under plans announced today the law will be changed to increase the number of people who can act as witnesses, to include medical and healthcare workers and refuge staff. The Prime Minister has called tackling domestic abuse a ‘priority’Credit:Carl Court/Getty Images Europe Domestic abuse victims often fear being tracked down for a long time afterwards, the charity saidCredit: Dominic Lipinski/PA The required police rank will also be lowered to inspector and the type of order needed will be expanded to include domestic violence protection orders and female genital mutilation protection orders.The changes form part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s reforms to help those who have suffered because of domestic abuse. In Feburary she announced a draft domestic abuse bill, saying reforming the law was a “key priority” and something she attaches a “personal importance to”. She has also committed to introducing new tougher sentences where the violence is committed against a child. Domestic abuse groups said the changes would “give survivors their voice back”. Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “The changes announced today will help survivors of domestic abuse to regain their voices. “For too long these women have been silenced because it was too dangerous for them to sign up to an electoral register, which would reveal their location, and too difficult for them to register anonymously. “For them anonymity is a matter of life or death; with the very real threat of being hunted down by their perpetrator.” 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. She said the charity particularly welcomed the move to allow refuge staff to act as witnesses. Up to 12,000 women are being supported by its refuges at any one time. However, she added that the current need to re-register for anonymity each year also needed to change, so that the anonymous status could instead last indefinitely. “Often women are on the run from domestic abuse for the rest of their lives,” she said. The Cabinet Office added that it would “launch further research to identify and explain other barriers to electoral registration faced by survivors of domestic abuse”. Chris Skidmore, Minister for the Constitution, said: “Ensuring every eligible person is able to vote is a matter of social justice. Every voice matters and this Government will continue to encourage our record levels of democratic participation by ensuring we have a democracy that works for everyone.”
On Tuesday, they will be back at work at Buckingham Palace, meeting thousands of guests at a party celebrating the charities and patronages the Prince of Wales has dedicated his adult life to. The Prince drew… The gesture, which will no doubt be warmly welcomed by the Prince, follows his unexpected role at the Royal wedding, in which he accompanied Ms Markle up the aisle in the absence of her own father. The newlyweds decided not to travel overseas immediately after their wedding on Saturday, relaxing at Windsor Castle before slipping away on Sunday morning. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have delayed their honeymoon in order to celebrate the Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday garden party tomorrow. 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.
“This is one of our biggest confiscation orders and, thanks to the investigation, the money recovered will go back to the estate of the late Audrey Willis and then distributed according to the original terms of the will.” A greedy son stole more than £700,000 from his mother after discovering he was set to lose out in her will.Richard Willis spent four years plundering the savings of his elderly mother Audrey while she languished, seriously ill, in a care home.The 66-year-old used to money to fund a lavish lifestyle – buying himself a new house and spending large sums on expensive food and wine.Willis, unemployed, has now been released on licence after being sentenced to six years in jail in 2015 after a jury found him guilty on four counts of fraud at Northampton Crown Court.But a judge has now ordered him to pay back £566,365 within three months or face a further 40 months in prison.Sitting at a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing Judge Rupert Mayo described Willis as a “spendthrift”, adding: “Money, as it became available to him, burned a hole in his pocket. Whenever Willis had access to his mother’s accounts he would go off and buy antiques, guns, cars and, via credit card, very nice food and wines.”Sums were expended largely for personal expenditure rather than money that was being squirreled away for later on.”Willis described himself as having a fascination with gun making and was, I am sure, keen to impress his shooting friends with the correct clothing, 4×4 vehicle and other accoutrements.” Judge Mayo estimated Willis had benefited to the tune of £713,002 from his criminal conduct and issued a confiscation order for what was believed to be a recoverable amount.This included £220,000 from hidden assets, £297,143 from the sale of his mother’s cottage, £30,000 from guns and £8,500 from motor vehicles.The court heard how Willis spent the pilfered savings on shotguns, sports cars like Jaguars, and a £285,000 cottage in his home town of Newport Pagnell.Willis managed to gain power of attorney for his ageing mother after his father died in 2007 and discovered out he would not be entitled to a large part of her fortune.In May 2010, he transferred £185,000 from her account and the following month he took a further £190,000.Willis even sold her retirement flat in Northampton for £199,000 the following year and moved her into a full time care home.He only used £29,000 from the sale of the property towards her care, the court heard, leaving her just “two sets of clothes to her name” when she died in 2013.Sue Lyon, Northamptonshire Police financial investigator, said: “Willis was driven by greed to make money and lead an easy, lavish lifestyle, but this legislation allows us to go after him even when he was released from prison. 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.
They include those written from 1693 – 1695 by Ann Wyatt, the only woman to have owned a ship building business in the whole of British history. The letters, which have been catalogued as part of a 20 year long project, are believed to be the earliest examples of British women demanding parity in the workplace. Records specialist Bruno Pappalardo said the letters reveal that women challenging a gender pay gap is “not such… The women of the Dagenham Ford factory strike have long been considered as the original pioneers of fighting for equal pay. But newly discovered letters in the National Archives reveal a series of formidable businesswomen were taking on the gender pay gap 300 years earlier.
…one of the suspects nabbed is on bail for $9M casino robbery – Crime ChiefA suspect in the Princess Hotel Casino $9 million heist, along with four other suspected accomplices, was on Saturday nabbed moments after committing a robbery at Diamond, East Bank Demerara. Richard Junior Stewart, who was granted bail for the casino heist, is presently in Police custody assisting with this investigation.Robbery suspect: Richard Junior StewartAccording to a Guyana Times report, a customer had just withdrawn $330,000 from a commercial bank at Diamond, East Bank Demerara, was departing the bank’s premises at about 11:00hrs when he was pounced upon by Stewart and his four accomplices and relieved of the bag containing the money.Thereafter, the five men jumped into a car and fled the scene. The Police were contacted, and based on the description given to them by the victim, intercepted the getaway vehicle and arrested Stewart and the four other men, who are all characters known to the Police.When contacted, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum confirmed both the occurrence of the robbery and the arrest of the five suspects. He also related that Stewart had been released on bail in connection with the Princess Hotel heist, which occurred on April 29, 2016 at Providence, East Bank Demerara. In addition, Stewart is on bail on illegal possession of firearm and ammunition charges that were brought against him.Stewart, Wayne Griffith of Bagotville, West Bank Demerara and Andrew Blackman of 60 Middle Street, McDoom East Bank Demerara were arraigned in connection with the casino robbery. It was reported that the trio, along with others, robbed the Princess Hotel cashier of a total sum of $8,951,000. During the robbery, several workers and patrons of the casino were shot and injured. In addition, Lance Corporal Andrew Richardson was shot during a gunfight with the men while responding to a report of the robbery.It was reported that Stewart and three other men, all armed with guns, entered the casino and discharged rounds in the air. The men held up the security guard who was on duty, and took away his shotgun and ammunition before ordering everyone to lie on the ground. They then took the security guard to the cashier’s cage, where they held up the cashier and took away the money. Police ranks responded to a report received and confronted the bandits at the hotel; and in the ensuing gunfight, the police rank was shot.The five men are, in the new week, expected to be charged in connection with this robbery which occurred on Saturday at Diamond, EBD. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedThree suspects in multi-million-dollar Casino heist remandedMay 6, 2016In “Crime”UPDATE: Bandit nabbed in Eccles, Police hunting accompliceNovember 8, 2016In “Crime”Suspect in $9M Princess casino robbery found guilty, gets 5 years jailNovember 26, 2018In “Business”,…one of the suspects nabbed is on bail for $9M casino robbery – Crime ChiefA suspect in the Princess Hotel Casino $9 million heist, along with four other suspected accomplices, was on Saturday nabbed moments after committing a robbery at Diamond, East Bank Demerara. Richard Junior Stewart, who was granted bail for the casino heist, is presently in Police custody assisting with this investigation.Robbery suspect: Richard Junior StewartAccording to a Guyana Times report, a customer had just withdrawn $330,000 from a commercial bank at Diamond, East Bank Demerara, was departing the bank’s premises at about 11:00hrs when he was pounced upon by Stewart and his four accomplices and relieved of the bag containing the money.Thereafter, the five men jumped into a car and fled the scene. The Police were contacted, and based on the description given to them by the victim, intercepted the getaway vehicle and arrested Stewart and the four other men, who are all characters known to the Police.When contacted, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum confirmed both the occurrence of the robbery and the arrest of the five suspects. He also related that Stewart had been released on bail in connection with the Princess Hotel heist, which occurred on April 29, 2016 at Providence, East Bank Demerara. In addition, Stewart is on bail on illegal possession of firearm and ammunition charges that were brought against him.Stewart, Wayne Griffith of Bagotville, West Bank Demerara and Andrew Blackman of 60 Middle Street, McDoom East Bank Demerara were arraigned in connection with the casino robbery. It was reported that the trio, along with others, robbed the Princess Hotel cashier of a total sum of $8,951,000. During the robbery, several workers and patrons of the casino were shot and injured. In addition, Lance Corporal Andrew Richardson was shot during a gunfight with the men while responding to a report of the robbery.It was reported that Stewart and three other men, all armed with guns, entered the casino and discharged rounds in the air. The men held up the security guard who was on duty, and took away his shotgun and ammunition before ordering everyone to lie on the ground. They then took the security guard to the cashier’s cage, where they held up the cashier and took away the money. Police ranks responded to a report received and confronted the bandits at the hotel; and in the ensuing gunfight, the police rank was shot.The five men are, in the new week, expected to be charged in connection with this robbery which occurred on Saturday at Diamond, EBD.
David Gaskin, 37, of Kuru Kururu, Linden-Soesdyke Highway was taken into Police custody on Monday over allegations that he murdered Owen John, a boat captain of San Martin, Venezuela following an altercation between the two at Eteringbang Landing.This publication understands that the men were reportedly imbibing at Maria Da Silva’s shop when the two started arguing over money.Police disclosed that from preliminary investigations, Gaskin, a miner, asked John to borrow money but, the boat captain refused.After John refused, Gaskin allegedly dealt him one punch to his nose which caused the boat captain to fall to the ground. It was stated that the suspect then dealt John several kicks to his head and body during which he became motionless.Police said that when they arrived on the scene, the boat captain’s body was lying on the ground with blood oozing from the nostrils.This publication understands that the man’s body was awaiting transportation to Georgetown where a post-mortem examination will be performed. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMan accused of murdering Venezuelan boat captain remandedDecember 14, 2017In “Court”GDF member assaulted, robbed of valuables in Kuru-KururuAugust 27, 2018In “Crime”GDF Captain to be arraigned tomorrow for murder of girlfriendApril 3, 2018In “Crime”
…One arrested with stolen motorcyclePolice ranks on a mobile patrol on Tuesday night in the vicinity of Bourda Market responded to a report of an armed robbery committed on two male sex workers of their motorcycle and a cellular phone and arrested one of the suspects with the stolen motorcycle .This is according to the Police Public Relations Office and Press Officer – Superintendent Jairam Ramlakhan who said that about 21:15hrs the sex workers were seated on their motorcycle at the corner of Croal Street and Orange Walk when they were suddenly pounced on by four armed males who arrived in a motorcar. The bandits then relieved the victims of their aforementioned valuables and escaped but not before they (sex workers) relieved one of the bandits of his firearm and “valiantly attempted to restrain them from escaping.”According to Ramlakhan, “during the commission of the crime, the victims engaged the armed suspects in a scuffle and were successful in disarming one of his weapon (a .32 pistol with 5 matching live rounds) and soon after handed same to the police.”The swift response by the police resulted in a 24-year-old suspect of no fixed place of abode being pursued and arrested on Camp Street with the victims’ motorcycle.Police say the suspect was positively identified by the sex workers and is cooperating with investigators as investigations are ongoing. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedAlleged bandit 19, killed in confrontation with police after Zeelugt robberyOctober 27, 2018In “Crime”Bandits who robbed 71-year-old man of monthly pension caught by PoliceFebruary 6, 2018In “Crime”Western Union cashier robbed at Bagotstown Mall by armed banditsJanuary 11, 2018In “Crime”
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedParents turn over man who escaped custody after allegedly burning ex, her loverFebruary 6, 2018In “Crime”Labourer stabbed to death by drinking buddyApril 7, 2019In “Crime”Essequibo labourer stabbed to death in Old Year’s rowJanuary 1, 2019In “Crime” …Cops hunting suspect who escaped their custodyPolice are now hunting a 21-year-old labourer who reportedly attempted to burn his ex-girlfriend and her new lover alive during the wee hours of Saturday morning in the Charity Housing Scheme, Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon Supenaam).17-year-old Susanna CulpepperSusanna Culpepper, 17, of Charity Extension Scheme, Essequibo Coast- received injuries to her face, both hands, stomach and feet- and Chavez Watson, 21, of Charity Housing Scheme, Essequibo Coast- was burnt on his right side waist and chest.The suspect has been identified as Kyle Goddette, 21, of Charity Housing Scheme, Essequibo Coast.INews understands that Culpepper was once in a relationship with Goddette but it quickly turned sour after the labourer reportedly became abusive.As such, the 17-year-old left him and became involved with Watson.Wanted: Kyle GoddetteCulpepper reportedly told police that on Friday evening, she visited Watson – a jet man- at his home and decided to spend the night.At around midnight, the young lady recalled that the jet man had secured his home, and the duo retired to bed in the one flat wooden building, leaving the louver pane windows in the bedroom, open.According to the teenager, she was awoken at 03:00hrs on Saturday by a burning sensation on her skin. Upon opening her eyes, the young lady recalled seeing a huge ball of fire on the bed she and Watson were sleeping on.The duo immediately jumped off, and Watson reportedly indicated that upon opening the western window of the room, he observed Goddette at one of his bedroom windows. The labourer then allegedly ran away.Wattson quickly raised an alarm in his neighbourhood and a bucket brigade was formed, extinguishing the fire.The injured duo were escorted to the Suddie Hospital where they were treated and Culpepper was admitted to the Burn Unit at the Georgetown Public Hospital, in a critical state.Her boyfriend was subsequently discharged.The burnt bedInspections at the scene revealed that the bed was partly burnt and the room walls were significantly scorched.INews understands that Goddette was arrested by the police and while reportedly denying the allegation, he escaped from their custody.Investigations are ongoing. (Ramona Luthi)
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPresident not obliged to take GECOM’s advice on elections date – Govt commissionerFebruary 22, 2019In “latest news”GECOM a creature of the constitution, must comply with 90 days elections time frame- RamJanuary 30, 2019In “latest news”GECOM “dragging feet” on elections timelines – PPP Chief WhipJanuary 25, 2019In “latest news” …GECOM and Chief Whips to meet todayIt has been 34 days now since the historic no-confidence motion was passed in the National Assembly activating Article 106 of the Constitution which mandates that fresh elections be called within a 90-day period, but the President is still to announce a date for elections and according to People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Commissioners at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the entity seems to be in stalling mode.GECOM, which successfully ran the Local Government Elections (LGE) in November 2018 less than three months ago, is being blamed by Government for not being ready, but it is the President of Guyana who has to give a date for elections and not GECOM as being touted.Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Head Office located at Kingston, GeorgetownOn Thursday, GECOM’s Commissioners met for the first time to discuss the readiness of the Commission for the March 21, 2019 deadline for mandatory elections as stipulated by the Constitution of Guyana. However, that meeting, which lasted more than five hours did not bear much fruit.Speaking to the media following the meeting, PPP Commissioners Sase Gunraj, Bibi Shadick and Robeson Benn all expressed their disappointment that GECOM seems to be in a stalling mode.According to Gunraj, during the morning session of the meeting, there seemed to be consensus that elections could have been held within the constitutionally mandated time; however, during the afternoon session, there were a number of issues raised and consensus went out of the window.He said when hosting an election, the Commissioners are supposed to be presented with a work plan and they would have requested that at Tuesday’s meeting, but to date have not received any such plan from the CEO. He said that the work plan is populated by tasks and their duration and when juxtaposed with dates a critical path is derived.He said that all they have seen are poorly thought-out proposals which do not indicate the readiness or not of the Elections Commission for the hosting of the constitutionally-mandated elections.Meanwhile, Commissioner Shadick said that while consensus has not been arrived at, it is solely because of the Government’s Commissioners coming up with new issues that are minute with the intention of delaying or avoiding the constitutional requirements.She explained that she would have produced a timeline that would allow for the hosting of elections within 50 days. She expounded on that indicating that since the Commission would have trained over 11,000 persons for the LGE, it would train every day as opposed to just weekends as well as doing other tasks simultaneously.Bibi Shadick. [iNews’ Photo]“I am convinced that the CEO in trying to please all his masters is prepared to go back on the submissions he gave us and is a thoroughly confused person and at this point I said that he is not fit for the job” Shadick said.Commissioner Benn accused GECOM of not playing its part since the passage of the no confidence resolution. Meanwhile, Government Commissioner Vincent Alexander said that the reason GECOM is not ready is because the voters list needs to be fixed.He added that there was no budgetary allocation for the hosting of an election and that it was previously discussed and chronicled in the document of the Commission that at least 180 days are needed to prepared for the hosting of an unscheduled election.The GECOM Commissioners requested that COE Keith Lowenfield provide them with feasible timelines based on the operational and legal timings for the conduct of election.The meeting between GECOM and the Opposition and Government Chief Whips will take place today.
One of the article’s in January International Mining examines oil shale mining in Estonia and technologies being advanced top improve extraction. America’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and American Shale Oil (AMSO), have just entered into a technical co-operation agreement to develop carbon sequestration technologies for in-ground shale-oil production processes. Specifically, LLNL will partner with AMSO to study how to use depleted underground oil shale retorts to permanently store carbon dioxide generated during the oil shale extraction process. AMSO will provide technical expertise and oil shale core samples from its federal lease site.Oil shale can be converted to oil by subjecting it to high temperatures and high pressures – effectively speeding up the geological clock. In early demonstration projects, LLNL researchers used explosives to fracture the vast oil-shale reserves in the western US so that the oil could be processed in place. That effort evolved in the early 1980s into a surface oil-shale retorting process that used hot oil-shale particles as the heat carrier. The research also produced a model of how oil is formed in nature. Today, this model aids the exploration efforts of nearly every major oil company in the world.The shale that remains in the ground after the oil is extracted could be used as a storage place for the carbon dioxide that is created during the extraction process.“We’re glad to be working with the impressive staff and capabilities of AMSO to help tackle the key environmental and technical challenges facing domestic oil shale production,” said Julio Friedmann, program leader of LLNL’s carbon management program. “We see this partnership in line with our mission in energy and environmental security for the nation.”AMSO holds a Research Development and Demonstration (RD&D) lease from the US Bureau of Land Management for a 160-acre parcel of federal land in northwest Colorado’s oil-shale rich Piceance Basin. Upon demonstration of an economically viable, environmentally acceptable extraction process, AMSO has a preference right to acquire a 5,120-acre commercial lease.After the oil is extracted from shale, the depleted retort of heated, rubblized underground shale may be particularly suitable for capturing carbon dioxide, according to Dr. Alan K. Burnham, AMSO’s Chief Technology Officer. “Together with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, we will explore several interesting approaches to protect the environment by sequestering CO2 through mineralization in retorted oil shale.”“Lawrence Livermore National Lab is a nationally recognized leader in scientific research on clean energy production”, said AMSO CEO Howard Jonas. “I’m delighted that the Lab will be working with AMSO to develop carbon sequestration approaches for oil shale production. Americans deserve affordable fuels developed using the best available environmental protection technologies.”AMSO, a subsidiary of IDT Corp, is one of three companies holding a US Bureau of Land Management oil shale research, development and demonstration lease of government-owned lands in the Piceance Basin in northwest Colorado. Its aim is to develop its proprietary technology into a commercially viable and environmentally sound method of producing commercial quantities of shale oil by using in-situ extraction processes. AMSO has developed a multi-phase plan from the initial pilot stage through commercial conversion of the BLM lease.
A ground breaking ceremony attended by high profile dignitaries on April 18 marked the start of construction on Volvo’s SEK350 million excavator factory, underscoring the company’s commitment to the Russian market.The new plant is being built in Kaluga – 150 km southwest of Moscow – and will be Volvo’s seventh excavator manufacturing facility (of a total of 16 plants globally). Building has begun on the 15 ha plot and, when completed, the final manufacturing area will be 20,660 m2. Six models of excavators are planned to be made at the plan ranging from the 20 t EC200 to the 48 t EC480. New Russian dealer Ferronordic Machines has an ambitious investment and expansion program that will see numbers of branches swell to some 100 locations by 2015 (up from today’s 55) and workforce more than double to around 1,000 people in the same timescale. The first machines are due off the assembly lines in 2013, creating 280 new jobs in the process. While these excavator models are mainly used in the construction and quarrying industry, they are also employed in mining applications such as smaller gold operations – both for selective ore mining, as well as host machines for breaker attachments. They have also been delivered to Russian coal operations. This year, Ferronordic delivered a Volvo EC460B excavator to Yakutugol, which will be used for coal loadnig at its Dzhebariki-Khaya mine.“This is a considerable investment and underscores Volvo’s confidence in – and commitment to – the Russian economy,” commented the company’s President Pat Olney. “Excavators are a key product in this rapidly developing market and customers in Russia have a high regard for the Volvo brand and for the fuel efficiency, reliability and performance of our machines. This investment also demonstrates our strategy of, where possible, manufacturing goods close to where our customers are located.”“This is the first completely new plant Volvo CE has built for quite a while,” said Carl Slotte, Vice-President of the company’s activities in northern Europe. “Starting with a clean sheet of paper gives us the opportunity to create an advanced manufacturing site that incorporates innovative technologies and designs. It will be built in close compliance with our performance and environmental requirements.” Volvo CE states that it is a leading player in the Russian market today, and plans to double sales in the country by 2015. Excavator manufacturing in Kaluga will play an important role in achieving this goal. The second important success factor will be developing a distribution network.
Leica Geosystems Mining and Locata Corp are extending their exclusive technology partnership in the mine machine automation and mine fleet management market until the end of June 2014. The extension guarantees the ongoing, commercial provision to the global mining industry of the Leica Jigsaw Positioning System (Jps), powered by Locata technology. This comes on the back of a huge body of work, which has resulted in the first successful operational deployment of the Leica Jps network. The ground-breaking technology at the core of the Leica Jps is a combination of the ‘Local Constellation’ (pioneered by Locata and adopted by the US Air Force), and Leica Geosystems’ technology portfolio.The co-developed Leica Jps network is the only high precision (HP) solution in the world that augments standard RTK GPS/GLONASS signals with Locata signals, ensuring no positioning signal loss or machine down-time – even against highwalls or in the deepest open-pit mines.Haydn Roberts, CEO, Leica Geosystems Mining: “Through this partnership, the Jigsaw Positioning System (Jps) will continue to meet and exceed industry expectations. In being available to augment any GPS/GNSS network on any site, we are truly providing a new capability for mining applications, enabling them to operate with unprecedented signal up time and benefit from the huge associated financial return. And we know it works – we have the data.“Through Jps we offer autonomy from sole reliance on satellite-based positioning networks. In accordance with Leica Geosystems Mining strategy, our technology for machine automation and now HP RTK positioning is completely OEM independent. No longer will machines stop work while waiting for the elusive satellite signal to reconnect. The Jps will seamlessly augment the signals, no matter on what machine, on what system, in what fleet.”Nunzio Gambale, CEO and co-founder of Locata: “Locata is truly delighted to extend, for a further two years, the global exclusive rights Leica Geosystems has to integrate and sell our revolutionary technology into the mining market. They deserve this extension. Haydn Roberts runs a team that is talented, experienced and motivated. They have proven to us many times over that they are some of the finest GPS engineers in the world.”The success of the combined technologies and continued relationship between both parties ensures the Leica Jigsaw Positioning System will be commercially available to the mining industry globally from August this year.
Intenational Mining’s South African technology and services focus is one of the articles in the January issue. Among the many burning issues on which South Africa’s mining industry is currently reflecting is the way it talks to its workers and their communities – and the way it listens to them.In the wake of recent mine violence and strikes, there is a growing need for a more effective engagement between mine management and local stakeholders, according to Nancy Coulson of the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry (CSMI) at the University of the Witwatersrand.“This is by no means a new issue for mines,” said Coulson, “but recent events have shown how much we still need to learn, and how much better we need to become at dealing with the deep and complex issues between mines, communities, workers and other stakeholders in this sector.”Getting mines to help build and diversify their local economies, for instance, has been one of the aims of government mineral policy for some time. She said that CSMI research is showing that a fundamental shift is already underway in how mines see and direct their socio-economic contribution to local economies.“In the past, a mine would largely have taken its own decisions on what projects would be initiated or supported in communities on its doorstep,” said Coulson. “Today, mines’ Social and Labour Plans require engagement with local municipalities and other stakeholders. Mining operations are also recognising that socio-economic investments may be made more wisely if they pool their resources with other mines in their locality. This would require a change to the present regulatory framework and is an indication of the significant strides forward.”But this is the start of a long process, a key aspect of which is to build knowledge and awareness among senior mine management and professionals, to take the industry beyond the check-list approach to community engagement.“This is a learning curve that many managers have gone through on other important sustainability issues, such as mine safety and environmental impact,” she said. “While there are managers and experts dedicated to each priority area on a mine, top management must be knowledgeable to the extent that they can pull these priorities together into an effective corporate strategy.”The good news, according to Coulson, is that that there is a growing body of working knowledge on stakeholder engagement – in the mining sector and beyond – that is helpful for this kind of work, and South African practitioners are benefiting from the progress made by local mines.The CSMI – which trains and educates managers, practitioners and regulators in various aspects of sustainable development – is developing a module for the MSc Mining Engineering course, looking specifically at issues of socio-economic development and stakeholder engagement.“Our concern is that learning in the field of community and stakeholder development has often been limited to a fairly low-level, hands-on approach that tries to provide simple steps to success,” she said. “We need to take this to a higher level, to help decision-makers to understand the systems at play in their workplace, the legacy that underpins our conditions today and the profound nature of inequality in our society that compounds our circumstances.”She insists that while there is no ‘right way’ to do this, there are certainly better ways – and the future of the industry will in part be dependent on how well mines can open up effective communication channels and engage with pressing issues outside their boundary fences.“It’s important to understand, for instance, the links between how stakeholders are engaged inside a company and what happens outside with a community,” said Coulson. “These two worlds are so inter-related that they can’t always be dealt with separately by different departments within a company; management needs to be alive to where worker issues overlap with community issues – and where these in turn link to questions of environmental impact.”Miners’ reporting on sustainable development can gloss over the real difficulties faced at operational level in meeting compliance targets; these unresolved issues, which frequently include living conditions and housing, then tend to bubble under the surface until they reach bursting point.Getting deeper into the complex challenges of community engagement will foster understanding and guide better mine-community interventions, she said, but long term impact cannot be achieved by mines alone. It is vital that initiatives are “institutionalised”, to carry them forward in a sustainable way.“The involvement of government is one of the most common ways that mines can leverage their community projects and boost both impact and longevity,” said Coulson. “It is certainly a problem that local government often does not have the capacity to deliver on their mandates to communities on the outskirts of mines, but this is part of the landscape that mines engage and need to help find solutions.”A central theme of this journey towards better stakeholder engagement, she said, is that better partnerships make more of an impact on fighting poverty and advancing development. This outcome will not be achieved by following a proven recipe, but by fostering critical and engaged thinking among management and other role players.The Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry (CSMI) is a centre of excellence in Africa for the training and education of managers, practitioners and regulators in sustainable development. It was formed in 2004 as a partnership between the School of Mining Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand and mining companies BHP Billiton, Lonmin and AngloGold Ashanti.