UAB Shows Us How To Revive A College Football Program

Just six months after UAB President Ray Watts made what he termed an agonizing decision to shut down the school’s football program because of its pending financial insolvency, he announced Monday that Blazer football is back. Sometime in the next couple of years — once UAB has re-recruited its players, reassembled its coaching staff and regained admission to the Football Bowl Subdivision — Birmingham will once again have a (relatively) big-time college football program.A whole lot changed in the interim, including the data being used to back up the decisions. In his announcement of the reversal, Watts cited an influx of outside financial pledges to the football team as the key reason a program is once again viable. Some observers, including Paul Finebaum, a popular sports-talk-radio host in the South, point to the fervent outpouring of support for the team after its demise. (Online, the #freeuab movement has been particularly impressive and has often been coupled with the #fireraywatts hashtag.) Local politicians have also been pressuring Watts into reinstatement, perhaps because much of the pressure behind the decision to shut down the program seems to have come from Tuscaloosa, where the University of Alabama football program has often been hostile toward UAB’s. But the biggest change seems to be which model of Blazer football’s financial future Watts and UAB are choosing to trust.Over the past year, entities within UAB have commissioned three separate forecasts from three consulting groups to analyze the financial prospects of its athletic department with and without football. Universities often lean on projections from outside consultants when making major decisions, but these projections are controlled by the formulas the consultants use — formulas that aren’t always statistically rigorous. In this case, despite having access to much of the same data, the reports contain completely different projections about the program’s impact on the university. One says it will cost the university millions of dollars a year. Another says the program will roughly break even. And another — the one UAB tried to cancel midway through — says football will be a huge financial boon. Small differences the consultants made in the assumptions behind the models created huge effects in the data sets. As a result, their recommendations were completely different.When Watts announced the death of the program in December, he cited a report from CarrSports Consulting projecting that if the athletic department kept football, it would lose more than $5 million a year and would need to spend an additional $20 million to improve facilities. CarrSports got those numbers by pairing generous calculations for the cost of fielding what it termed a competitive Conference USA team with modest increases in ticket sales, donations and student fees. “When considering a model that best protects the financial future and prominence of the athletic department, football is simply not sustainable,” Watts wrote at the time.Pushback in the wake of the decision, combined with complaints over the discovery that some may have been planning for the cancellation before the review even started, led UAB’s Athletic Assessment Task Force to commission another study. This time the consultants were College Sports Solutions (CSS). CSS said that although an athletic department with a football team would lose roughly $3 million a year compared with a department without football, mainly because of financial aid for players, almost all of that would be made up by increased enrollment, donations and other revenue resulting from the national prominence a football team brings. The study concluded that either resurrecting the program or leaving it for dead were “viable options”; Watts leaned on this report when announcing football’s return.There was another study, too, that fell between CSS’s and CarrSports’s. The task force had originally engaged a firm called OSKR to lead the review before the administration vetoed its hiring in March. Allen Bolton, UAB vice president of financial affairs and administration, said he was worried that the OSKR team had already made up its mind that UAB should keep the sport, explaining that “due to their very own comments this firm does not meet the critical threshold for many of providing a fresh, new, unbiased analysis.” OSKR finished its review anyway and found that keeping football would add an additional $2 million a year to the university’s coffers once benefits from donations and exposure were accounted for. OSKR’s projections are the most optimistic, and they seem to be the most rigorous. They model not only expected changes in the athletic budget over time, but also the impact of the team on the university’s media coverage, out-of-state enrollment and conference affiliation.Two major factors caused the $7 million swing in annual projections that led to the disparate recommendations: First are projections on how fast football-related revenue will grow. CarrSports projects that with football, the athletic department’s revenue will grow a measly $300,000 or so a year, while OSKR and CSS both project more than $1 million each year in added revenues. The larger forecast makes sense considering that Conference USA’s TV deal with Fox Sports alone is worth more than $1 million a year to each team.Second are assumptions about expenses. Both the CarrSports and CSS reports treat athletic scholarships as, basically, gifts that cost the university about $4 million to give each year. In his Tumblr, OSKR consultant Andy Schwarz argues that this is willful manipulation because the actual expense to the school to feed, educate and house its players is much, much lower than the projected $52,000 each scholarship “costs.” In addition, he notes that the program attracts full-tuition-paying walk-ons who are transferring out now that the program has been shuttered. By OSKR’s math, scholarships cost the university only about a million dollars a year.Once you add in the reports’ different assumptions about football’s impact on student enrollment and alumni donations and the need to upgrade facilities to be competitive, you’re left with the final mess, in which UAB’s president can totally reverse course — and still have a model that backs him up. read more

Kobe May Go Down As the NBAs Last True Gunslinger

Bryant, the son of former NBA player Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, modeled his game after Michael Jordan and came closer to replicating His Airness’s silky offensive style than anyone we’ve seen. He finished his 20-year career with more points than MJ and stood apart by managing to hit impossible shots from all over the floor, despite having defenses draped over him.What Michael was to Kobe, Kobe became to the next generation of players. One possible sign: The number of guys wearing No. 8, which Bryant wore for the first 10 years of his NBA career, has more than tripled — from seven in 1995-96, the year before Bryant’s rookie season, to 231This list shows 25 players, but two were cut before they actually played a game for the team they entered the preseason with. this season. (In the second half of this career, Bryant wore No. 24, which was more popular than No. 8 before Bryant donned it. Bryant’s adoption of it doesn’t seem to have had much influence leaguewide.)But even though younger NBA players adopted Bryant’s number, few players have adopted his style of play — a ball-dominant one that involved taking tough contested shots inside the arc — as some offenses around the league have become more free-flowing and hyper-efficient.The current players who draw perhaps the most frequent comparisons to Kobe, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and Raptors swingman DeMar DeRozan (both of whom are from the L.A. area and played there collegiately), each count Bryant as a mentor of sorts and possess a handful of the same skills and flaws that he had.In Westbrook’s case, he’s so talented that he sometimes can dominate the ball too much — even when he has another superstar, or two, on the court with him. And much like Bryant did, DeRozan makes a living from midrange, a shot that goes against the grain of today’s league, where most star wing players have developed a respectable shot from 3-point range.Translation: On any given night, both guys are capable of shooting it less efficiently than other stars because they’re taking far tougher shots than just about everyone else. (DeRozan, in particular, has the highest degree of shot difficulty in the NBA among those who’ve taken at least 200 attempts, according to data from Second Spectrum, which uses high-level tracking equipment in NBA arenas to compile data.) That willingness to launch (miss) scores of contested shots is vintage Kobe.“I don’t care about that crap, and I’m sure he doesn’t either,” said then-Lakers coach Byron Scott after Bryant broke a record for the most missed shot attempts in NBA history. “I don’t mean to cut you off, but to me, it speaks of his aggressiveness and longevity.” It also speaks to his being wired far differently than many other players, who refuse to take shots that have little chance of going down for fear of hurting their field-goal percentages, which factor into future contracts and potential earnings.During the 2015-16 campaign, his farewell season, Bryant attempted more fadeaway jumpers than any guard in the league despite missing 16 games that year. And during the final three-season span of his career, Bryant ranked dead-last among 357 players2Those who attempted at least 500 shots total from the 2013-14 season through the end of the 2015-16 season. in Second Spectrum’s Quantified Shot Quality metric, which estimates the odds of a shot going in by tracking shot and defender distance. Put another way, this means he took the hardest collection of the shots in the NBA in that window. (He also shot worse than expected on those attempts.)It’s worth mentioning a couple of things here. First, it’s not really fair to focus more on Bryant’s misses3Especially late in his career, when he was clearly diminished and arguably the worst volume shooter in the league. than his makes — he was an absolutely devastating scorer in his prime — and defensive accomplishments. Secondly, even his missed shots often turned out to be a good thing. Kirk Goldsberry, then of Grantland, created the “Kobe Assist,” a metric that highlighted how Bryant’s shot attempts attracted so much defensive attention that they opened up easy putback opportunities for his teammates.There’s no telling how much more productive Bryant could have been in this era, one in which coaches, teams and even the league itself are more aggressive about resting their players in hopes of safeguarding them from injury. Bryant, of course, famously pushed himself to play through pain, especially during the final days of the 2012-13 season, in which he tore his Achilles tendon while playing enormous minutes during a playoff push.Both the increased focus on efficiency and the new-age strategy of holding players out for rest make it less likely that we’ll see another star with such a devil-may-care attitude on scoring and health. On some level, that’s what made Bryant’s finale — in which he scored 60 points on 50 shots, both NBA records for a player’s last game — so fitting. Having the courage to fire up tough shots from all over the floor, and worrying about the statistical consequences later, if at all, doesn’t happen much anymore. In fact, it’s an attitude that might’ve gone extinct with Bryant’s exit from the league.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Related: The Lab Retiring a number is the ultimate recognition of a former player’s contribution and legacy to a franchise. But for Kobe Bryant, one number apparently doesn’t do his years with the Los Angeles Lakers justice: Tonight, he’ll become the first player in NBA history to have two different numbers lifted to the rafters by the same team. It’s a fitting honor for a man who played more than 1,300 games, scored more than 33,500 points and won five titles for Los Angeles — yet couldn’t settle on one number to wear.But if there’s one thing we end up remembering the Laker legend for, it should be that he went out as arguably the NBA’s last true gunslinger. The Sixers Still Have Growing Pains To Work Out read more

Urban Meyer issues statement asking for help in search for Ohio States

OSU redshirt-senior defensive lineman Kosta KarageorgeCredit: OSU AthleticsOhio State football coach Urban Meyer released a statement Friday afternoon praising the hard work of senior defensive lineman Kosta Karageorge — who was reported missing Thursday morning — and asking for anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts to come forward.“Our thoughts continue to be with the family of Kosta Karageorge and we pray that he is safe and that he is found soon,” Meyer said in his statement. “He is a young man who joined the football team in August and was a hard worker on the field and pleasant off the field. He has been an important player in practice for us, right up until the time he was reported missing. If anyone knows anything about his whereabouts, please help his family and contact the authorities.”According to a Facebook post from Karageorge’s mother, the player — who also wrestled at OSU — was last seen at about 2 a.m. on Wednesday. The post explained that Karageorge’s family had traced his phone to the Grandview area of Columbus.The OSU release containing Meyer’s statement also had a statement from team physician Dr. Jim Borchers.According to a report by The Columbus Dispatch, Karageorge’s sister, Sophia Karageorge, said the family was concerned he might have been suffering from symptoms  related to concussions.In his statement, Borchers said he was unable to comment on Kosta Karageorge’s health, but reinforced his confidence in OSU’s medical practices.“First and foremost, our primary concern is for health, safety and welfare of Kosta,” Borchers said in his statement. “While we are not able to discuss or comment about the medical care regarding our student-athletes, we are confident in our medical procedures and policies to return athletes to participation following injury or illness.”A tweet sent from Karageorge’s personal Twitter account (@kostadinos81) provided a number to contact with any information about where he might be.“Kosta was last seen around 2 am November 26. His family is asking for prayers & any info regarding his whereabouts.Please call: 614-747-1729,” the tweet said.Karageorge was listed by OSU among 24 seniors set to be honored during the Buckeyes’ matchup with Michigan on Saturday, marking the last game of their regular season and their last game of the season at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon. read more

So far so good for Shayla Cooper and Ohio State womens basketball

Sophomore forward Shayla Cooper (32) attempts a shot during a game against Iowa on Feb. 21 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 100-82.Credit: Ryan Cooper / Lantern photographerDecember brought a joyful celebration season for the Ohio State women’s basketball team, even before Christmas rolled around.Dec. 22 marked the first time 6-foot-2 sophomore transfer Shayla Cooper took the court dressed in the scarlet and gray.The 96-54 drubbing of West Virginia was a turning point in the season for OSU as Cooper became the root of much improvement to follow.“We have gotten more tough rebounds and our post defense has been better since her addition,” coach Kevin McGuff said of Cooper. “She is a good player and has really helped us, that’s for sure.”Cooper, who transferred from Georgetown, joined the Buckeyes last spring. NCAA regulations forced her to sit out the first 11 games this season before joining her new team on the court.“When the season started this year, I was just more anxious to play,” Cooper said. “We had a countdown, every game, it was one less until I could play.”Coming from a private Catholic school like Georgetown to a large public school like OSU has been a surprisingly easy transition for Cooper, she said, in large part because of her teammates, coaches and the great people she has met in Columbus.“It’s more about the people,” Cooper said. “The people here are way nicer than back in D.C. and the environment is just different.”Cooper attributed much of her success in making the transition to junior guard Ameryst Alston and the overall closeness of the Buckeye team.“Ameryst and I have gotten really close,” Cooper said. “She was one of my hosts when I came to visit and I could tell from just interacting with her those first couple days that she would be someone I would get close to.“We tend to laugh around all the time,” Cooper said of the team. “We get on each other and joke around a lot, but that is what makes it fun. It’s a fun, happy environment to be around.”The transition on the court has been just as easy for Cooper as it has off the court. It has been her intimidation factor and aggressive play that has lifted the Buckeye defense since she became eligible, freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell said.“When she is aggressive, it makes it easier for everybody else,” Mitchell said. “She is a dirty type of player, a trash talker. You are never going to find a person like that, let alone a player like that. I’m grateful and I’m glad to have her on the team.”McGuff said it is Cooper’s aggressive nature that has allowed the team to get better defensively because she can match up with the bigger players OSU has faced.“She gives us different options on how we want to play defensively,” McGuff said. “We put her on the bigger player because she is a little bigger and stronger and does a good job pushing opponents out of the paint.”Although she’s not the biggest at her position, Alston said she believes it’s the intimidation factor that allows Cooper to have so much success down low.“She is really strong, I think she intimidates a lot of players,” Alston said. “She is definitely someone we need.”Cooper has solidified her spot as the sixth man for the Buckeyes and unlike most players who would rather be in the starting lineup, she said she has relished the opportunity.“It’s fun,” Cooper said of her position in the OSU lineup. “My sophomore year of high school, I came off the bench, and then the next year I started. I am fine coming in as a sixth man and cleaning up everything and always knowing what I need to do.”Since her addition, OSU has gone 14-5 and secured the third seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament.Cooper said she believes she made the best choice of her career in coming to OSU and thinks this is just the beginning of her efforts to change the Buckeye program around.“I thought this could be my second chance in having the opportunity to change a program around,” she said. “So far, so good. I am loving every minute of it.” read more

Football Ohio State drops six spots to No 8 in latest AP

Wide receiver K.J. Hill (14) and coach Urban Meyer sing Carmen in front of the student section following their 31-16 loss to Oklahoma. Credit Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorFollowing Ohio State’s 31-16 loss to Oklahoma at home Saturday, the Buckeyes have dropped six spots from No. 2 to No. 8 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The victor in that game replaced Ohio State as the No. 2 team.The top five consists of No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Clemson, No. 4 USC and No. 5 Penn State. Michigan is the only other Big Ten team besides Penn State to be ranked ahead of Ohio State at No. 7.In total, the Big Ten has four teams in the top 25. After Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State, Wisconsin placed at No. 10, moving down one spot from last week. Three teams in the conference received votes as Maryland received 42, Iowa had two and Michigan State had one.Ohio State will look to rebound next Saturday when it hosts Army at 4:30 p.m.AP Poll Alabama (58)Oklahoma (2)Clemson (1)USCPenn StateWashingtonMichiganOhio StateOklahoma StateWisconsinFlorida StateLSUGeorgiaLouisvilleAuburnVirginia TechMiami (FL)Kansas StateStanfordTCUWashington StateSouth FloridaTennesseeFloridaUCLA read more

Mens soccer Ohio State looks to continue momentum against Rutgers Sunday

Senior defender Hunter Robertson (6) passes the ball upfield during the OSU vs. Penn State game on Tuesday. Credit: Ris Twigg | Assistant Photo EditorThe Ohio State men’s soccer team (5-1-0) will look for their fifth consecutive shutout against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-4-1) when the teams face off in Piscataway, New Jersey, Sunday at 1 p.m. The Buckeyes are one shutout away from tying the program record of five consecutive shutouts set by the 2007 team, which finished as the runner-up in the College Cup.Ohio State is off to its best start to a season in 12 years and senior defender Kevin Blackwood has not been surprised by the team’s early success.“It’s based on what we did in the summer, I came here earlier before I transferred and a lot of the guys were talking about going and doing actual work on their own, getting that head start before the season actually started,” Blackwood said. “Basically, I think it’s hard work and dedication. The comradery of the team has been phenomenal and that’s one of the reasons for the start so far.” The Buckeyes are coming off a commanding 3-0 win against Penn State at Jesse Memorial Stadium Tuesday, while the Scarlet Knights are coming off a 3-0 loss against No. 3 Maryland. All four Rutgers losses have come at the hands of top-15 opponents. Senior defender Hunter Robertson said despite the four losses on Rutgers’ record, the Buckeyes will still need to treat Rutgers as they would any other tough opponent as Rutgers’ only losses have come against some stiff competition.“It’s a Big Ten game we really want to get three points from them, but we know that those four losses were against some really good teams — Indiana, Maryland, Wake Forest, North Carolina,” Robertson said. “They didn’t get the best results against them, but they’re going to be battle tested and we know if we want to win we have to come in and play really hard and be really efficient to score goals.”The Buckeyes will look to contain one of Rutgers’ top weapons, redshirt senior forward Ethan Vanacore-Decker, who leads the team with five points (two goals, one assist). Robertson said that with the talent Rutgers has on the offensive side of the ball, the Buckeyes will need to deploy a more defensive approach to the game.“We are playing with two midfielders holding back, more than usual,” Robertson said. “Usually, we have two of them on attack, but they have a pretty special attacking mid and a fast forward, so we’re trying to keep someone on this attacking mid at all times, so when they try to play the long ball we have someone to cover because the kid’s really fast.”The team is looking ahead for the chance to win its sixth game and is beginning to focus on what they must do to come away with the victory.“We just have to be locked in, ready to go, we cannot take them lightly,” Blackwood said. “I know this is the Big Ten, every team we play from now on is going to be really good. Match their intensity, work hard for 90 minutes, and be tuned in.” read more

Businessman fears he will die in prison like his father if he

first_imgA British resident fighting extradition to Romania has told how he fears he will die in prison if he is deported to face “unfounded” corruption charges.Alexander Adamescu says he will suffer the same fate as his father Dan, who has died in hospital as a result of blood poisoning contracted in a Romanian jail.Mr Adamescu Jnr claims corrupt elements within Romanian state are determined to destroy his family and seize their business assets.Mr Adamescu Snr, 68, a millionaire businessman who owned one of Romania’s largest opposition newspapers, died in a hospital on Monday night after contracting sepsis at the notorious high security Rahova prison, where he was serving four years for bribery.His son, who lives in London with his wife and three young children, told The Daily Telegraph: “The appalling treatment of my father demonstrates the total breakdown of the rule of law and due process in Romania, and the vindictive persecution that its government authorities have inflicted upon him.“By killing my father they have put me on notice of their intentions. If extradited, I fear it would not be long before I, too, would be disposed of and my little children orphaned.”Mr Adamescu added: “Should the UK ignore my, and many others’ warnings, about the parlous state of justice in Romania and fail to prevent my unlawful extradition, it is inevitable that I will be subject to the same persecution and abuse that claimed my father’s life. I have no doubts that I’m to be done away with next to finish the job.” Alexander Adamescu, pictured here with his wife Adriana, fears he will die in prison if he is extradited to Romania The report concludes: “There can be little doubt that Alexander Adamescu is being pursued because he is Dan Adamescu’s son, and the prosecution has been predicated on the desire to ‘decapitate’ the Adamescu family’s holdings and their influence.”The EU routinely labels the country as one of the most corrupt in Europe and has placed it, along with neighbouring Bulgaria, under a corruption monitoring scheme. A European parliament study estimated Romania lost about 15 per cent of its GDP to corruption.However, observers say the Romanian authorities have put significant effort into prosecuting corrupt businessmen and politicians as part of their bid to win closer European integration, including accession to the Eurozone.Under the campaign some of the country’s most powerful businessmen have been brought down, along with a string of high-profile government ministers. They include Mr Ponta, who is currently battling corruption charges of his own, including tax evasion and money laundering.The Romanian National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) denied conspiring to seize the Adamescus’ business holdings and said Mr Adamescu Snr had received a fair trial. Earlier this month Mr Adamescu’s wife accused Romanian government agents of attempting to kidnap her from a London street.Adriana Constantinescu described how two masked men tried to drag her into a car outside her St John’s Wood home after she had dropped her children off.She described the attack on her in March last year as “terrifying”.“There was nothing random about this kidnap attempt – it is symptomatic of the attempts by the Romanian prosecutors and intelligence agents to intimidate us and show us what they are capable of doing,” she said. “It is the typical Romanian neo-Communist  fashion to go after the entire family, wife, children, babies, when you want to destroy a person.”Scotland Yard said the incident was still subject to an ongoing investigation, but that no arrests had been made and there had been few leads to pursue.Mr Adamescu, 38, who is a German citizen, was arrested last June and locked up in Wandsworth Prison for two nights before being released on bail pending a EAW hearing into his case in April.The Romanian authorities are demanding his extradition as part of a wider case against Mr Adamescu’s father Dan, a businessman and proprietor of the opposition newspaper Romania Libera, had been found guilty of attempting to bribe judges in his case, charges his family say were completely unfounded. Alexander Adamescu, pictured here with his wife Adriana, fears he will die in prison if he is extradited to RomaniaCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley/The Telegraphcenter_img Mr Adamescu claims the authorities are using the European Arrest Warrant to seek his extradition from Britain on the pretext of fighting corruption at home. In September last year he was moved from a six man prison cell – where he claimed he suffered from inhumane and unsanitary conditions – to a hospital intensive care ward attached to Jilava prison, near Bucharest, to receive treatment for sepsis.Alexander Adamescu’s lawyer, Robert Amsterdam, said: “The horrific and intentional mistreatment of Dan Adamescu, which has lead to his death, represented a grave violation of his human rights and is aimed at controlling his newspaper and expropriating his businesses.”    The family’s supporters claim former-Communist elements within Romania’s security services fabricated a bribery case against the Astra insurance company run by Mr Adamescu Snr, which had grown to become the country’s largest.They claim that in February 2014 the then-Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta instructed market regulators to take control of the firm, which was subsequently liquidated.Dan Adamescu was the founder of Nova Group, which holds stakes in several shopping centres, offices and hotels in the Romanian capital, including the InterContinental Hotel Bucharest.A high level report by a senior figure in British intelligence, seen by The Telegraph, says that Romania is seeking Alexander’s extradition and trial in an attempt to silence him and thwart the Adamescu family’s attempt to win millions of Euros in compensation from the authorities. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Stars come together to record Grenfell Tower charity single

first_imgLeona Lewis leaves the studio in west LondonCredit:PA Pop stars including Rita Ora, James Blunt and Leona Lewis have spent the weekend recording a charity single to raise money for the Grenfell Tower victims.The cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water is expected to be released this week and is tipped to raise several million pounds.It was the brainchild of Simon Cowell, 57, who took action after watching harrowing news coverage of the blaze. He said many artists had asked to take part. “It’s really inspiring to see people come together,” she said, “It gives you hope in humanity.”As for the song, she added: “It sounds beautiful.”Ora, 26, grew up in west London and said she used to play in the streets around Grenfell Tower. She was among those who visited the scene to help distribute supplies to residents left homeless by the fire last week. Gareth Malone arrives at a studio to help with the recording of the charity single Credit:PA Other singers who have agreed to take part in the project are said to include Paloma Faith, Emeli Sande Craig David and members of One Direction.The singers have been recording the single at the Sarm Music Village in west London, just a few minutes’ walk from the blackened tower. Gareth Malone arrives at a studio to help with the recording of the charity single  Emeli Sande arrives at a studio to help with the recording of the charity singleCredit:PAcenter_img After recording her part, Sande said it was a “real pleasure” to sing on the track. Emeli Sande arrives at a studio to help with the recording of the charity single Chorister Gareth Malone has put together an ensemble of 300 people, made up of local choirs and local people.He said: “I just think we need something really positive at the moment.”Singing absolutely cannot fix anything, a record cannot fix anything, but we might be able to raise some money, we might be able to touch a few hearts.”To be frank I don’t care what it sounds like, it’s just about doing something good.” Leona Lewis leaves the studio in west London Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Rosie HuntingtonWhiteley announces birth of first child with actor Jason Statham

first_imgModel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has welcomed her first child with actor Jason Statham.The British star announced the news by posting a picture of her new-born son – named Jack Oscar Statham – grabbing her finger on Instagram. They announced they were expecting their first child together in February this year, as the model posted a snap of herself showing off her baby bump while on a beach.At the time, she wrote: “Very happy to share that Jason and I are expecting!! Lots of love Rosie x.”Huntington-Whiteley’s estimated earnings for last year were believed to be nine million US dollars (£6.9 million).She has previously modelled for lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret, and she has her own underwear range, Rosie For Autograph, with Marks and Spencer.Away from the runway, Huntington-Whiteley has appeared in films including Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Mad Max: Fury Road.Statham is best known for his typical hard-man roles in various Guy Ritchie films, including Snatch and Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels. Along with the image, Huntington-Whiteley wrote: “Our little man arrived!”Jack Oscar Statham 8.8lbs on Saturday June 24th.”The 30-year-old catwalk star and actress included an angel and a heart emoji with her sweet message.The Plymouth-born model has been in a relationship with Statham, 49, since 2010, and the pair confirmed their engagement in early 2016. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley shows off her bump to model Alessandra AmbrosioCredit:Kevin Mazur/VF17/WireImagecenter_img Rosie Huntington-Whiteley shows off her bump to model Alessandra Ambrosio Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

London murders 2019 Four murder probes launched in 24 hours as teenager

They tried for more than half an hour to save his life, but Mr Martinez died at the scene at 5.10pmScotland Yard do not believe the incident is gang-related.Man dies three days after being stabbed in SohoA man died  three fays after he was found with serious stab injuries in Soho over the weekend.On Sunday, 3 March just after 6am hours police were called to Romily Street, W1.Officers attended along with the London Ambulance Service and found the 37-year-old man suffering stab injuries. He was taken to hospital with critical injuries and he was pronounced dead at 7.42pm hours on Wednesday, 6 March.His next of kin are aware and a post mortem examination is due to be held in due course. A murder investigation was then launched by the Met Police and is being led by Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin.A 34-year-old man was charged on Monday, 4 March with two counts of attempted murder, in relation to this incident along with another stabbing on the same day, of a teenager which occurred in University Street, WC1.The charge for attempted murder willl be subject to a review by the CPS.A 41-year-old woman who was arrested remains released under investigation.Film producer’s body found in shallow grave in Kew gardenA murder investigation has been launched after the body of a film producer who has worked with the likes of Joan Collins and Sheridan Smith was discovered in a shallow grave two days after she was reported missing.  Laureline Garcia-Bertaux, 34, from Richmond, was reported missing after she did not turn up for work on Monday.But late on Wednesday night, officers located a body in a shallow grave in a garden in Darell Road, Kew. Laureline Garcia-Bertaux The home of Laueline Garcia-Bertaux Spanish national stabbed to death in LeytonDavid Martinez was stabbed to death in east London by someone police believe was known to him. It is thought he was attacked at a home near North Birkbeck Road. He managed to stumble out into the street, where he collapsed.  David Martinez Laureline Garcia-Bertaux The scene in West Kensington French national Ms Garcia-Bertaux, from Richmond, was last seen on Saturday night at a supermarket in the area, but she was messaging friends on Sunday night when it is understood she was planning on going on a date with a “charismatic vet”.Producer Hester Ruoff, who worked with Ms Garcia-Bertaux on a number of projects including Gerry with Joan Collins, was among those to have talked to her close friend hours before she was reported missing. She told The Telegraph: “I am just absolutely devastated. “It’s very, very rare in our industry that you find someone you trust in a way that I trusted her. She was just the most trustworthy woman with so much charisma, so much spirit. “Laureline was incredibly loyal – she had my back 100%. She would give up her contacts for the benefit of the film, which is just so very, very rare in the industry. “She became so much more than my line producer, she became a very close friend. She was just so spirited and very loyal and when you find someone like that you do everything you can not to let them go. Scotland Yard launched four murder investigations in the space of 24 hours as a teenager became the 25th person to be murdered on the streets of London this year. In a barbaric week in the capital where the authorities were squeezed further to curb the knife crime epidemic, it emerged three of the four most recent victims had been stabbed. The first murder probe was launched Wednesday afternoon when Spanish national David Martinez, 26, was stabbed to death in Leyton. Hours later, a man who was stabbed on Sunday, March 3, in Soho, succumbed to his injuries and a second murder investigation was launched. The third murder file was passed to CID on Thursday afternoon when the body of film producer Laureline Garcia-Bertaux was found in a shallow grave in a garden in Kew. And the fourth murder investigation in 24 hours was launched when Ayub Hassan, 17,  was stabbed to death in broad daylight in West Kensington. The scene in West KensingtonCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley Scotland Yard, who launched a murder investigation Thursday afternoon, have made no arrests.Teenager stabbed in broad daylight in West KensingtonPolice investigating a fatal stabbing in Fulham are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward. Police were called at 2.14pm on Thursday to Lanfrey Place, West Kensington, to reports of a person stabbed.Officers, London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance attended the scene. A male, aged in his late teens, was found with stab injuries to the chest.He was taken to a central London hospital where he sadly died a short time later. Next of kin have been informed.Detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command have been informed. On Friday morning, Scotland Yard announced they had arrested three males – aged 18, 17 and 15, on suspicion of murder. Later on Friday, the victim was named as 17-year-old Ayub Hassan.  David Martinez 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 home of Laueline Garcia-BertauxCredit:David Rose London Ambulance Service and London Air Ambulance attended and reported finding a man suffering from knife injuries. “My heart goes out to her mum who has had such a hard year losing her partner and a close friend.”  read more

Woman who sued NHS for £25m claiming operation left her in agony

A woman who tried to claim £2.5m from the NHS after claiming that having vaginal mesh fitted had left her in constant pain has been sent to prison after pictures showed her enjoying her daughter’s Ibiza hen partyLesley Maria Elder, 50, from Poole, Dorset, was caught after photos on social media showed her taking part in the celebrations in night clubs on the party island.Elder claimed she was left disabled by constant pain following a vaginal mesh operation and could no longer work or do routine tasks without help.She sued the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Nuneaton, where she underwent the surgery in 2010, for £2.5 million.But a judge found she had “grossly, dishonestly and repeatedly” exaggerated her symptoms.Undercover surveillance also showed Elder was able to go shopping and to walk her dog regularly, without the aid of a walking stick.Elder was jailed for five months at the High Court in London for contempt of court over her false claims.She was sentenced in her absence.Judge Karen Walden-Smith said: “This was a deliberate and persistent making of false statements for the purpose of falsely recovering significant monies from a publicly-funded body.” The court was told Elder suffered a genuine injury as a result of the surgery, which it later transpired was not necessary because she had been misdiagnosed.The NHS trust admitted liability but disputed the amount she claimed, and a judge at a county court in 2017 ruled she was entitled to just £120,000 instead. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

BBC to use controversial TV licensing collection firm as outreach officers

He wrote at the time: “The BBC takes very seriously how licence fee collection is managed. We should do everything we can to minimise evasion, but must always ensure that how this is done is fair and proportionate.”Details of the licence fee “outreach team” for over-75s were provided yesterday by Clare Sumner, the BBC’s director of policy, in an appearance before MPs. She did not mention that the job would be outsourced to Capita.Ms Sumner said the people recruited would be “a different cohort to people who enforce the licence fee” and the visits would be carried out “as sympathetically as possible”.But MPs said the doorstep visits could be “traumatic” for elderly people, while Age UK said the plans would be “chaos at best and deeply upsetting for some of our oldest people at worst”.Up to 3.7 million older people who currently receive a free licence will have to pay the £154.50 cost from next June, after the BBC scrapped the universal concession.Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Tory MP, led condemnation of the BBC’s plan yesterday. “The BBC will send bailiffs round to octogenarians and calls them an ‘outreach team’, Humpty Dumpty would be impressed by such linguistic gymnastics,” he said. The BBC has come under fire over licence fee plans 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 corporation is urging people who are currently eligible for pension credit but do not claim it to sign up for the benefit.The Office for Budgetary Responsibility said this could cause an extra 250,000 claimants to register, at a cost to the Department of Work and Pensioners of £850 million.That significantly outweighs any savings the BBC will make by scrapping the universal concession. “The net effect on the public finances would be to push the budget deficit up not down,” the OBR said. Helen Skelton became the latest BBC presenter to criticise the corporation’s plans for the over-75s. “I say this reluctantly because cut me in the middle and it says ‘BBC’, I think it’s a fantastic organisation that has a deserved and fabulous reputation worldwide, I started at the BBC and I hope to finish at the BBC… but is it time to end the licence fee and do something different?” she said.“Older people are the most loyal people to the BBC. They need to reinstate those free licences otherwise there’s going to be a massive public outcry.”A BBC spokesman said: “As outlined, we are recruiting a specific group of staff as customer support workers to over 75s. Their sole purpose is to help people apply for their licence – including a free licence – and raise awareness of Pension Credit as we recognise that this group may welcome more personal support either through TV Licensing hotline or by a visit.“They will not arrive unannounced – we will always contact people several times by letter first. And they will not be involved in enforcement action.”It emerged yesterday that the BBC’s decision to means-test the licence fee could cost the public purse more than it saves. The BBC said the team will not include bailiffs. Capita suspended two members of staff and conducted an internal review, which led Lord Hall to say he was satisfied that the behaviour was “neither systemic nor representative” of the firm’s field operations. The BBC is to use Capita, the controversial TV Licensing collection firm, to provide the “outreach” officers who will visit the homes of over-75s in pursuit of licence fee payments.Two years ago, the corporation ordered an investigation into reports that Capita employees were using aggressive tactics to target vulnerable people.An area manager for the firm was recorded by an undercover reporter explaining the company’s methods of collection, which included taking payments on the spot with handheld card machines.“Cash, debit, credit card – we’ll take anything. I tell people I’ll take shirt buttons,” the manager said. The company had an incentive scheme in which enforcement officials earned bonuses based on how many licence fees they sold on the doorstep.A former RAF officer suffering from a brain tumour and early onset dementia was taken to court for non-payment after he forgot to renew his licence.It was claimed that a Capita worker, told of the man’s condition, replied that he did not have time to “listen to excuses”. The case was only dropped when his doctor provided written evidence of his condition to magistrates.At the time, the BBC’s director-general, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, expressed “serious concern” about the allegations. Free licences for the over 75s are being scrapped Free licences for the over 75s are being scrapped The BBC has come under fire over licence fee plans read more

HALTED High Court halts parking meter contract

Parking meter scandal… as MAPM holds its largest parking meter protestChief Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards (ag) has issued an order bringing paid parking, penalties and the implementation of the controversial parking meter contract in Georgetown to a screeching halt, pending the results of a hearing later this month.The order was granted yesterday after an application for judicial review was made by Attorney Kamal Ramkarran, on behalf of Mohendra Arjune. Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase Green, Town Clerk Royston King and City Councillors were named as the respondents.According to the document, which was seen by this news outfit, “an order nisi of certiorari be and is hereby granted to quash the decision of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown to enter into an agreement on or around 13 May, 2016”.In addition, the order also prohibits the respondents from making “any amendments thereto for the establishment of parking meters in Georgetown with (Smart City Solutions – SCSI) and all acts and things thereafter which flowed from that decision”.The order also curtails the power of the Town Clerk. According to the High Court order, “this court orders that an order nisi of certiorari be and is hereby granted to quash the decision of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown and the Town Clerk empowering and authorising the Town Clerk to sign and operationalise contracts with (SCSI) for the establishment of parking meters in Georgetown and all acts and things done or caused to be done thereafter flowing from that decision”.It also revokes “the decision of the Mayor and Councillors and anyone acting by or through them or under their directions or instructions or on their behalf to exempt persons or categories of persons from paying fees for parking in the City of Georgetown and being subject to penalties for parking in Georgetown”.The respondents will have to show cause against all the orders made by the Chief Justice to quash their decision to enter into the contract, which has already caused weekly mass protests in front of City Hall. Their day in court is set for February 27, 2017, before Justice Brassington Reynolds. Should they fail to comply, the document noted, they will be held in contempt of court.The original contract had been shrouded in secrecy, with Councillors complaining of it being kept in a secret room at City Hall. Mayor Chase Green has, in the past, defended this secrecy. When the original contract was revealed, it was found that only four City Hall officials signed it.The four officials – Chase Green; King; Chairman of the Finance Committee, Oscar Clarke and his predecessor and current Councillor, Junior Garrett – were dubbed the “Fantastic Four” after they embarked on trips to Mexico and Panama, funded by the company, to conduct due diligence checks on the parking meters the company had previously installed. However, these checks were done after they signed the contract with SCSI. However, Chase Green has always denied the existence of a ‘Fantastic Four’ faction which would sideline other Councillors when making decisions affecting Georgetown.The City Council, including outgoing Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan, had reportedly not sanctioned the trips or even known about them. The Deputy Mayor had insisted that a full council must discuss the deal, as that is the role of the council. During the first of three Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) protests in front of City Hall, the Town Clerk had been asked about the legality of the contract and the rates and penalties prescribed in the by-laws.King had been adamant that there was no need to tender at the national level. He had also expressed the belief that the penalties were just.MAPM, a recently formed lobby group composed of concerned citizens, has always held the view that solid legal grounds existed for the termination of the contract.PROTEST While some sought redress in the courts, MAPM organised its third and largest protest yet in front of City Hall on Thursday. The third consecutive protest to shut down Regent Street for an hour, it was supported by several city businesses that closed their doors from 12:00hrs, when the protest started.Present at the protest was activist Ras Leon Saul, who made it clear that the conciliatory measures being pursued by the M&CC were not sufficient. Noting that matters have escalated, Saul stated that former SCSI Director and co-signatory on the original contract, Ifa Cush, did not help matters when he referred to protesters as having a “slave mentality”.“The voice of the people is (sacrosanct). And right now the people are calling for total revocation. I think we’ve got to listen to the people’s call. And even though the Mayor and City Council has given some leeway, it’s still too little, too late.” (Guyana Times) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedHigh Court order means ‘paid parking on hold’ – former AGFebruary 20, 2017In “Business”M&CC shows ‘gross disrespect’ for Chief Justice’s Court OrderFebruary 18, 2017In “latest news”Justice Reynolds denies ‘stay’ to put on hold M&CC’s paid parking projectMarch 6, 2017In “Court” read more

Man sustains fracture after being punched in face by berserk attacker

The victim Reyaaz Khan sustained a fractured cheek bone after the incidentA man who is said to be mentally ill went berserk on Friday evening around 19:00h at a Chinese Supermarket at Foulis, East Coast Demerara causing at least three men to be injured in the process.One resident of the said area, Reyaaz Khan, 43, was on his way with his wife, Twinkle Khan, to make a purchase at a nearby Supermarket when the said man dealt Khan a severe cuff to his face while he was seated in his vehicle.The man immediately began bleeding and was taken to the Enmore Police Station where a report was lodged.Because of the injuries Khan sustained the officers at the Police Station encouraged him to seek medical attention.The man’s wife told this publication that her husband was taken to the Mahaicony Cottage Hospital that evening, where he underwent an X-ray scan and it was determined that his check bone was fractured.He was referred to the bone specialist at the Georgetown Public Hospital, emergency ward, where he had to wait for hours before receiving treatment and being sent away.Khan is expected to undergo surgery soon as the blow he received left an indentation on his face.The man’s relatives are however calling for swift action to be taken against the suspect who is a known trouble maker in the area.According to residents in the area, the suspect would usually get away with unlawful acts as his family is reportedly affiliated with members of the Police Force.This publication was informed however that the suspect was subsequently arrested and is currently assisting with the investigation. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPolice still hunting for Stewartville man who allegedly drowned wife in canalFebruary 9, 2016In “Crime”5 arraigned for murder of Berbice phone card distributorFebruary 16, 2017In “Court”Stewartville man still on the run after killing wifeJanuary 23, 2016In “Crime” read more

Shop owner remanded over alleged narco trafficking

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedAlleged possession of 9 grams of cannabis lands musician in CourtMay 23, 2018In “Court”Man who tells court he uses cannabis as medicine granted bail  August 5, 2019In “Court”4 years jail for female found guilty of cocaine possessionSeptember 23, 2015In “Crime” A shop owner of Lot ‘E’ Hardina Street, Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown, was on Friday hauled before the courts after she was allegedly busted with a quantity of cannabis in her possession.Roslyn Barclay appeared before Senior Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, where she was required to plea to the charge.The accused denied the charge, which alleged that on November 15, 2018 at her Lot ‘E’ Hardina Street, Werk-en-rust home; she had in her possession 650 grams of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.According to the facts presented by Police Prosecutor Richard Harris, a search was conducted at the defendant’s home and shop when a black plastic bag containing the drugs was unearthed from a heap of wood within the yard. The defendant was later arrested and charged.Magistrate Daly ordered that Barclay be ramanded to prison. The case will continue on December 14. read more

IDB says Cbean urgently needs quality leap from declining export competitiveness

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCaribbean exports increase for the first time in four yearsMay 24, 2017In “latest news”Caribbean News Round-upOctober 18, 2015In “Regional”New IDB study says AI can boost Caribbean economiesAugust 30, 2018In “Regional” BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (CMC) — A new report by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says Latin America and the Caribbean need a “quality leap” from declining export competitiveness.On Wednesday, the IDB said in the first quarter of 2018, the value of exports from Latin America and the Caribbean grew at a year-on-year rate of 9.7 per cent in comparison with the same period in 2017.But the IDB said this growth has come amid signs that the region is becoming less competitive amid rising economic risks and global trade tensions.The growth in exports was driven by increases in the prices of commodities, such as oil and copper, the IDB said.In contrast, it said the volume of exports slowed to 3.1 per cent during the same period, “which speaks to the region’s loss of market share due to declining competitiveness and the lack of high-quality exports from many countries in the region.”“The Quality Leap: Export Sophistication As a Driver for Growth,” a new report in the IDB’s Trade and Integration Monitor series, launched in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday, maps the sophistication of the region’s export supply and the main challenges it faces in securing a firmer position in the more profitable sectors of global trade.Independently of factors, such as the economic difficulties experienced by several countries and dampened external demand, the report says that the competitive lag determined by low productivity and high trade costs affected the export performance of the region.To estimate the loss of competitiveness, the study measures the variation in market share between 2011 and 2016, with an emphasis on intraregional exports.The report says the region’s competitiveness dropped by 7.4 percentage points during the period, which accounts for 22 per cent of the decrease in exports.The IDB said the analysis does not seek to present an exhaustive discussion of the determinants of productivity and competitiveness, which lie in a set of phenomena not exclusively related to the ability to compete in world markets.“In a global context of growing uncertainty and low regional competitiveness, Latin America and the Caribbean urgently need to prioritise a policy agenda that will enable a leap in the quality of their exports,” said Paolo Giordano, principal economist at the IDB’s Integration and Trade Sector, who coordinated the report. “More sophisticated exports will help support the current trade recovery and lay the foundations for greater growth in the future.”Giordano said that the gap between Latin America and the Caribbean and its global competitors is wide and has gone unchanged for decades.He said that although there have been success stories and clear opportunities for improvements to quality, “a sizeable share of the region’s exports are of no more than medium quality.”The report identifies the product lines where there is most room for quality increases, such as food (coffee, cocoa, sugar, cereals, or fish) and raw materials (wood, hides, or skins), among others.For example, it says countries can export higher-quality coffee or cocoa beans, or more processed leathers.An analysis of the differences between intraregional and extra-regional trade reveals that the intraregional export basket is of a higher quality than the extra-regional basket.The report says the export basket is also more diversified, contains a larger share of manufactured products, and has higher technology content.However, since the financial crisis, the report says the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have lost some of their regional market share due to a decline in competitiveness.The report says they have also been unable to leverage the potential for regional integration to develop complex value chains based on trade in intermediate products and production inputs.The report calls for an ambitious multisectoral policy agenda. At the national level, it recommends the construction of “comprehensive, efficient, high-quality infrastructure systems that are clearly oriented toward internationalisation.”At the regional level, it argues in favour of initiatives that aim to complete and rationalise the architecture of trade, along with investments in infrastructure that facilitate greater productive integration.The report says strengthening higher-quality trade flows and regional value chains would not only benefit the export diversification and sophistication of exports, it would also help improve the competitiveness of the region’s economies in the global market. read more

Stillwater Mining comments on robust palladium outlook in the surging PGM market

first_imgStillwater Mining Co (SWC) yesterday commented on the impressive 2009 recovery in PGM prices following the collapse in those prices in the fourth quarter of 2008 during the economic meltdown. PGM (palladium, platinum and rhodium) prices have moved strongly ahead in recent days, continuing a steady recovery that began in early 2009. Palladium, which just over a year ago had fallen 72% from its 2008 high of $582/oz to a 2008 fourth quarter low of $164/oz, yesterday was quoted in London at $422/oz, up 157% from the 2008 low. Platinum, which fell 66% from its record high of $2,273/oz in early 2008 to a low of $763/oz a few months later, had recovered by 104% to $1,556/oz. Rhodium, which fell 90% from its 2008 peak of $10,100/oz to bottom out at $1,000/oz, yesterday was quoted at $2,750/oz, up 170%. Commenting on the recent buoyancy in PGM prices, SWC Chairman and CEO Frank McAllister observed, “Given the severity of the 2008 economic meltdown, the depth of the corresponding downward price movement in PGMs perhaps was understandable, but the magnitude and momentum of the subsequent recovery in PGM prices clearly has caught many observers by surprise. Palladium at the moment is faring best, having fallen the least and recovered the most, currently off just 27% from its 2008 high. Platinum also has done well, at present down 32% from its high. Rhodium remains down 73%.“Within the recovery we also see a modest convergence of the palladium price towards the platinum price. Last March palladium was trading at just 18% of the price of platinum. Today palladium is priced at 27% of platinum, having closed some of the price gap, but still priced very attractively relative to platinum and rhodium. We expect to see this price gap narrow further going forward as research from the past several years comes to market that increases the opportunity to substitute palladium for platinum and even rhodium.“Both the stronger PGM prices and the narrowing of the price gap between palladium and platinum are good for Stillwater with its 3.3 to 1 palladium to platinum mine production ratio. Recently, we have focused on the factors behind the strengthening in PGM prices over the past year, as well as the price gap between palladium and platinum. Some of these factors are outlined below and we expect to offer a more detailed analysis of the price drivers in the Stillwater 2009 Annual Report to Shareholders now in preparation.”Financial factors are having a significant influence on PGM prices in general. Those with the most impact include weakness in the US dollar, a surge in precious metal sentiment and investment (both as a safe haven and as an attractive investment), and the newly approved US ETF securities for both platinum and palladium.South African PGM production has fallen steadily since making record highs in 2006, despite strong PGM pricing and earlier projections of aggressive growth. Still, South African production for 2009 will constitute 78% of the platinum, 35% of the palladium and a whopping 86% of the rhodium produced worldwide last year. The issue: multiple challenges face the PGM miners in South Africa, according to SWC – “work interruptions related to mine safety; shortages of and conflicting priorities for electricity and water supplies; a strong Rand (local currency); aggressive wage demands and labour actions; failure to meet increasing capital expenditure requirements needed just to maintain production in ever deepening mines; worker skill shortages; failure to develop adequate replacement mines; and political involvement in mining. Concerns about South African production have driven the stronger PGM pricing we have seen over the past year. And given the predominant role of South African production in meeting world PGM requirements, PGM pricing in the end will always be influenced by the South African PGM market basket with its 2 to 1 platinum to palladium bias, in particular during times of a market shortage of the metals. The bias also suggests a continuing need for a strong platinum price to entice the production necessary to meet world PGM requirements. Yet even today’s $1,276/oz market basket price still leaves the cost structure and capital sustainability of many key South African mines at risk.”Automotive catalytic converter technology is made possible by the unique properties of PGMs, the enabling element in the devices that have cleansed the atmosphere of major auto emission pollutants since a platinum-fitted catalyst was first introduced in 1974. From that time forward, driven by price and by surging environmental requirements, the technology has steadily evolved. In the 1990s, palladium technology emerged largely replacing platinum as the catalyst of choice for converting gasoline emissions. More recently palladium has drawn even with platinum in applications converting diesel emissions; and now palladium can even replace scarce rhodium, albeit at high prices given a replacement ratio of 8 to 1, in converting NOx emissions. Such applications today account for over 50% of worldwide PGM consumption. Price driven substitution toward palladium in this whole arena is underway and continuing.Surging auto demand and environmental requirements in the developing world are the largest growth factor for PGMs. Going forward auto build is projected to grow an aggressive 2% to 3% a year, as will environmental requirements. At present in the US and Western Europe, the recession-driven slump in new-car output is masking this broader trend. One must but look to China where auto build grew a stunning 40% in 2009, placing China at a build rate currently exceeding that of the mature US market. In India and Brazil, growth rates are surging as well, and with nascent US and European economic recoveries now in progress, demand shortly could once again outstrip PGM mine production. Auto emissions limits in these developing countries are now being tightened, similar to the regulatory climate the developed world faced during the 1990s. Despite efforts to develop alternatives, it appears that for the foreseeable future the internal combustion engine will continue to dominate in this compounding numbers phenomenon — as surging developing world demand for automobiles and ever tighter emissions control limits on them feeds a growing demand for PGMs, led by palladium.Palladium jewelry is not expected to have much effect on the market for platinum jewelry, but is now a widely accepted jewelry metal in its own right and commands a growing market following. This acceptance expanded further this week when on January 5, 2010, the UK officially recognised palladium as a precious metal by making use of its hallmark compulsory. Stillwater says it “has nurtured the palladium jewellery market since its infancy in 2004. Jewellery now represents about 14% of the demand for palladium and over 25% of the demand for platinum.“Russian government palladium stocks remain a state secret and thus a market wild card. At one time sales from these stocks totaled nearly 2 Moz/y. Because such sales have diminished in the last couple of years many consider the stocks near to, or at a point of, exhaustion. Putting the stocks into perspective is critical to an understanding of their market impact. Total worldwide production of platinum and palladium has been in nearly equal quantities for the past 20 years — amounting in aggregate to a little over 100 Moz of each. Some speculate that sales from the Russian palladium stockpile over the same time period exceeded 25 Moz. This market perspective suggests: 1) because of the stockpile sales, over 25% more palladium has been consumed during the past 20 years than platinum; and 2) when the palladium stocks are exhausted the available supply flow of palladium will run short of market requirements.”Price disparity between products that compete for the same market is a curious thing. In the end, in the absence of compelling product differences, such competition is settled by price. For most of the catalytic converter market there is little compelling product difference between palladium and platinum — except price. With over 50% of the demand for all PGM metals now competing for the catalytic converter market, price is now the determining factor, which makes palladium the metal of choice. With this shift progressing, the auto market growing, and the exhaustion of Russian stocks nearing, price convergence between palladium and platinum will shortly become a reality and determining the appropriate price equilibrium between the two will be a new market riddle.Stillwater Mining is the only US producer of palladium and platinum and is the largest primary producer of PGMs outside of South Africa and the Russian Federation.last_img read more

New dust collector design helps reduce power consumption

first_imgA new insertable dust collector that features improved filtering and a smaller footprint should help bulk material handlers minimise airborne dust at belt conveyor loading points. The Martin Insertable Dust Collector is an automatic, self-cleaning filter designed to remove dust from the air in conveyor loading and transfer points, silo vents, bucket elevators and screens. The collector design employs filter elements that are approximately one-eighth the size of filter envelopes in the previous system. The smaller filter elements allow a significant reduction in the dust collector’s footprint, so it can be installed in locations where tight quarters complicate the installation of other systems.The mesh-like material filters better and lasts longer — while consuming less energy — than conventional filter bags. The new filters also allow a reduction in fan size to move air through the elements, helping to reduce the overall power consumption of the collection system.Martin Insertable Collectors feature a pulse cleaning system, which uses a short burst of air sent back through the filter to dislodge accumulated material. Filter changes are a no-tool procedure from the clean side of the dust collector.“These new insertable dust collectors can eliminate many of the problems seen with central ‘baghouse’ collection systems, including long runs of ducting, large enclosures, maintenance difficulties and high power consumption,” said Martin Product Engineer Dan Marshall. “They help solve airborne dust problems by keeping fine particles in the load or returning them to the material stream.”The new line of insertable collectors was developed to handle the heavy dust concentrations and air volumes arising from material transfer points. They are designed to remove 99.9% by weight of all dry particulates 0.5 micron and larger (based on a time-weighted average of a properly-installed, operated and maintained unit).The automated “reverse jet” cleaning sequence facilitates continuous operation, keeping filters working effectively with a minimum of compressed air. The small integrated fan runs only when the conveyor is operational, further improving energy efficiency.“These systems eliminate the need for installing or maintaining ductwork, and there’s no haulage or cleanup costs for waste disposal, since fugitive material is returned to the process,” Marshall added. “Probably its most popular feature with operators is the clean-side access for inspection and filter changeouts,” he said. “It’s a quick and easy process, saving further on time and maintenance costs.”last_img read more

Minova relaunches its international website

first_imgGround support and consolidation products are the specialities of Minova International, which has just relaunched its international website aiming to “to improve usability and value for the customer,” it says. “The new website is going live with a new look and feel as well as improved navigation.”It also shows a map of Minova locations as an overview of all major facilities including links to all the regional websites. This is only the first step to improve the service and value of the website for customers.The site will go live in English and other language options will follow in a second phase, as well as more detailed product information later this year.Minova has been growing significantly over the past few years, covering new geographic areas as well as expanding business areas. The new website www.minovainternational.com will be built up to serve as a single point of communication to customers and prospects with more relevant news, product information and case studies.“Minova is continuously working on meeting the customer needs. We want to help our customers in ensuring a safe and efficient work environment,” says Jan Cappelen, Global Marketing Manager. “Easy access to information via the new website is part of a renewed focus.last_img read more

GE announces Mutlilin 8 control platform for mining

first_imgGE has announced the availability of the first product in its new Multilin 8 Series platform, GE’s next-generation protection and control relay platform, “designed to deliver the performance and reliability required to support the mission-critical electrical infrastructures of industrial and distribution utilities.” Built on GE’s more than 100-year history in industrial electrical automation, the 8 Series platform will enable industrial and distribution utilities to enhance the reliability of their electrical infrastructure and reduce costs associated with unplanned outages. To help customers better manage their electrical systems, the 8 Series delivers improved data fidelity in current and voltage sample rates, which GE says dramatically improves electrical system visibility, providing improved post-event analysis.“We understand that our customers’ electrical infrastructures are mission critical to their operations,” said Juan Macias, General Manager, Grid Automation for GE’s Digital Energy business. “Our new Multilin 8 Series has been designed to deliver process reliability that our customers can count on to keep their operations up and running. This new platform takes advantage of advances in technology and design approach to maximise reliability and product life. We have also made significant investments in our business to ensure our manufacturing and quality processes will deliver a product that will exceed our customers’ expectations.”Designed to withstand the harsh environments typically found in the mining industry, where downtime immediately translates into lost revenue, the 8 Series leverages detailed asset diagnostics so operators can make informed, proactive decisions to reduce unplanned outages and accurately plan maintenance schedules. Using GE’s environmental awareness module to actively monitor both the environment and its own internal components, the 8 Series generates data that operators can use to make decisions about when maintenance or downtime should be scheduled, increasing operational uptime. The standard harsh conformal coating on the 8 Series’ printed circuit boards helps protect against environmental factors to help deliver higher reliability and extend product life.The 8 Series also has an integrated integrity engine that utilises customised algorithms which provide advanced diagnostics to ensure asset protection is not compromised. Coupled with the latest cybersecurity features, customers can comply with the latest NERC/CIP and NISTIR 7628 cybersecurity requirements. With many industrial processes using a variety of communication gateways, integrating a new product can potentially increase the overall system cost and downtime. GE has designed the 8 Series to include advanced and flexible communication options to make integration easier and faster.The 8 series also is backed by GE’s new 10-year warranty—a warranty program for most GE-manufactured protection, control and substation automation products sold by GE’s Digital Energy business. With an ongoing commitment to delivering world-class products that help utility and industrial customers deliver power efficiently and reliably, GE is extending its warranty terms “to assure customers around the world of its continuous commitment to quality and innovation.” The company states: “All GE protection, control and substation automation products adhere to rigorous quality processes, certified to International Standard Organisation (ISO) 9001:2008 standards, encompassing the entire product development process from product design and testing to manufacturing and customer support.”When all products in the 8 Series platform are introduced, the complete platform will include feeder, motor, transformer and generator protection that, when coupled with other GE industrial automation solutions such as industrial radios, switches and an electrical control system, will deliver a full industrial automation solution.last_img read more