Will UConns Dominance Of Womens Basketball End Anytime Soon

Hot Takedown More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (Dec. 15, 2015), we look at whether the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team will sweep every team before it in this year’s NCAA season. With FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver, we explore the rise of Kristaps Porzingis and whether we can compare him to Dirk Nowitzki. Plus, we try and understand a metric that’s earning college football coaches hundreds of thousands of dollars. And a Significant Digit on Odell Beckham Jr.’s almost-record-breaking number of touchdown receptions.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above. Links to what we discussed are here:Benjamin Morris on why last season’s Huskies were so good.Nick Martin on the metric earning college football coaches millions.Odell Beckham Jr.’s magic touchdown caught on pylon camera. If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. read more

Teams Want to Know if Manti Teo is Gay

Is Manti Te’o gay?That is the question, according to reports, that NFL executives want answered before the upcoming NFL draft. Because of the culture of NFL locker rooms, that could be a key issue in Te’o’s NFL stock.“Here’s the elephant in the room for the teams, and it shouldn’t matter, but we have to step aside from the rest of reality and walk into the unique industry that is the NFL,” Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and NBC Sports said on the Dan Patrick Show. “Teams want to know whether Manti Te’o is gay. They just want to know. They want to know because in an NFL locker room, it’s a different world. It shouldn’t be that way.”The concern about Te’o’s sexuality has been rampant since news broke that he engaged in a two-year online relationship with a man masquerading as a woman. But here’s the rub: It is doubtful teams asked Te’o, who interviewed with 20 teams, directly about his sexual orientation. Amazingly, a few years ago, Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant was asked by Miami Dolphins’ general manager Jeff Ireland if his mother was a prostitute, creating a major backlash.“I don’t think you can ask (Te’o) that question — because of the Dez Bryant question a few years ago,” Florio said. “If you go Katie Couric on Manti Te’o, it’s going to come out that some team, some GM, some coach asked Manti Te’o if he’s gay. Then you’ll have to deal with all the distraction and all the stuff that flows after that.”Patrick, formerly of ESPN, asked Florio: “You’re telling me that you’re hearing from teams who want to know this, but how do you ask it? Are they trying to find a finesse way to ask that question, or are they going to do investigative work on finding out if Manti Te’o is gay?”Florio answered: “It’s been described to me as the proverbial elephant in the room, and I don’t think anyone knows how to solve this dilemma yet. It’s just that they want to know what they’re getting. They want to know what issues they may be dealing with down the road. We just assumed that at some point there would be an openly gay player in an NFL locker room, and the team would have to work with the realities and make sure that everything’s fine.“Now you have a situation where you have a guy who was in a relationship with a fake girl who ended up being a real man, and the man has said to Dr. Phil that he was romantically in love with Manti Te’o, it just raises a lot of questions that the NFL at some point is going to have to deal with.“Tony Dungy makes a great point on this. If the NFL were ready for an openly gay player, there would be an openly gay player. Nobody knows better the feel of an NFL locker room than someone who’s in it.“I’m not saying anyone would take Manti Te’o off the board if they suspected he’s gay or know he’s gay. That’s just the thing that’s out there that they want to know the answer to.” read more

Second Coming Charlotte Hornets Return to NBA

The NBA Board of Governors granted changing the Charlotte Bobcats’ name back to the Hornets starting the 2014-15 season.The Hornets name became available after New Orleans changed their name to the Pelicans earlier this year. The Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans in 2002, and two years later the Bobcats joined the league as an expansion team.Commissioner David Stern mentioned that Michael Jordan, who is the owner of the Bobcat, has lobbying to get the Charlotte Hornets name back since he purchase the organization back in 2010.“We’re thrilled to bring back the Hornets to Charlotte and the Carolinas,” Jordan said in a statement. “The passion and enthusiasm around this name change by fans in this market has been unmatched. They overwhelmingly told us what they wanted, we listened and we couldn’t be happier with the Board of Governors’ approval of the name change.“With the young team we are developing on the court, the direction of our business and the return of the Hornets name, we are extremely excited about our future. The buzz is back!” read more

1st USBorn Black Pro Hockey Player Val James Gives

The wife of Val James, the first American-born Black player to play in the National Hockey League, said, “I cried for a week” after reading the first 77 pages of her husband’s new book, “Black Ice: The Val James Story.”The level of racism James endured in a 13-year career—mostly in the AHL, plus just 14 games over two seasons in the NHL—stunned Ina James, who thought he had a grasp of the scope of hatred her husband experienced.“My first question was, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ “ she said to The New York Times.When she cried as she spoke those words, James said, “This is why I didn’t tell her.”James’ book details in depth the racism he encountered in the 1980s as a member of the Buffalo Sabres. For instance, after a game in Boston in ‘82, angry fans blocked the team bus of the Sabres, who had two Black players that season. The fans pelted the bus windshield with a beer bottle into the windshield, called James a vile name and demanded he exit the bus.Angry, James headed for the door. But coach Scotty Bowman ordered him to return to his seat.A shoulder injury ended James’s career in 1988, and no one noticed, just as his entry into hockey history was not acknowledged at the time. The fact that no one seemed to notice he was gone did not bother James; he was mentally fatigued from all he put up with over his career in the AHL and NHL.“There is the only way I can explain it for people who don’t understand that feeling,” James, 57, said. “Let’s start with women. What’s the worst thing you can call a woman? Imagine having one of those words thrown at you every three seconds for 60 minutes. Now multiply that 40 road games a year.”In the book, James recounts a story in Salem, Va., in 1981 when a teenager brought a watermelon to the game to give to him.The Times interviewed Warren Skorodenski, a former Springfield, Mass., Indians goalie who spent five seasons in the N.H.L, who said he recalls some Springfield, Mass. Fans dressing in Ku Klux Klan hoods and linesmen had to spend stoppages of play to retrieve bananas thrown on the ice at James.“It was disgusting,” Skorodenski said. “To be in his shoes, I just couldn’t imagine.”As a Black person growing up playing hockey on Long Island, James was a rarity—and that’s where the racism first started. He said in his book that disgusting slurs were hurled at him when he was 13 during a youth tournament in Michigan.“When I started skating, I set out to be a hockey player, not a black hockey player,” he wrote. “However, the two concepts quickly became intertwined. And not by choice. From early on, there were some people who were determined to prove that being black and being a hockey player were mutually exclusive.”When a shoulder injury ended James’s career in 1988, he seemingly vanished. He was emotionally drained, he said. James returned to Long Island for about a year after retirement before relocating with his wife Niagara Falls, where they have lived mostly in obscurity.He said he contemplated writing a book right after he stopped playing. But he was not ready…until now.“I had to deal with it in my own mind, and pretty much forgive,” James said. “That’s the only word that comes close to it. Just to cleanse my own mind of it all, and to think.” read more

Mens soccer Terrapins too much for Ohio State

OSU sophomore midfielder Abdi Mohamed dribbles the ball against UC Santa Barbara at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Credit: Ohio State AthleticsThe Ohio State men’s soccer team knew it was heading into its toughest match of the season. As OSU stepped onto the field at College Park, a place where coach John Bluem team has never recorded a win, the Buckeyes looked to hand Maryland its first loss of the season.  The Terrapins would prove to be too much to handle, as they would go on to defeat the Buckeyes 2-0 on Friday night, handing OSU its fourth straight loss.Maryland attacked early and often in the first period and was quickly rewarded for its efforts.In the 13th minute, sophomore forward Gordon Wild netted his Big Ten-leading 10th goal of the season to put the Terps ahead 1-0.Moments later, in the 19th minute, sophomore forward Sebastian Elney was able to find the back of the net from 15 yards out to extend the Terrapins lead to 2-0.The two goals would be more than enough for Maryland, holding the Buckeyes scoreless through 90 minutes.  OSU has not been able to get on the scoreboard in its last two games, being held without a goal for the last 243 minutes. The last time OSU found the back of the net was in the 27th minute against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Sept. 28.A big reason for the Buckeyes’ loss was a very poor first period, in which they were outshot 11-2. They were able to outshoot Maryland 7-5 in the second period, but by that time the Terrapins had taken their foot off the gas and protected their lead.Despite the loss, redshirt freshman goalkeeper Parker Siegfried had a solid night in net. Siegfried made six saves, giving him a total of 37 on the year through 12 games.With the loss, the Scarlet and Gray fall to 3-9 on the season, with a 2-3 record in conference. The team will now return to Columbus, where they begin a two-game home stand with matches against Oakland and Indiana. read more

Weekly football predictions Week 5

Quinn Pitcock Last week: 3-0 Overall: 9-4 Picks: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Alabama, Oregon Justin Zwick Last week: 3-0 Overall: 11-2 Picks: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Alabama, Oregon Zack Meisel Last week: 1-2 Overall: 6-7 Picks: Ohio State, Michigan State, Alabama, Stanford Dallas Lauderdale Last week: 3-0 Overall: 9-4 Picks: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Alabama, Oregon James Laurinaitis Last week: 3-0 Overall: 9-4 Picks: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Alabama, Oregon Last week, Justin Zwick, James Laurinaitis, Dallas Lauderdale and Quinn Pitcock all predicted the same winners for the three games of the week. Lantern sports editor Zack Meisel opted to be different. He was the only participant to choose Arkansas over Alabama and West Virginia over LSU. Poor decision. Meisel went 1-2, while the other four completed a perfect week at 3-0. This week, it’s more of the same, as Zwick, Laurinaitis, Lauderdale and Pitcock all envision the same outcome for the four games selected. Zwick leads the way with an 11-2 mark, while Lauderdale, Laurinaitis and Pitcock sit at 9-4. THIS WEEK’S GAMES: No. 2 Ohio State @ Illinois No. 11 Wisconsin @ No. 24 Michigan State No. 7 Florida @ No. 1 Alabama No. 9 Stanford @ No. 4 Oregon read more

Last years loss against Purdue a distant memory

What a difference a year makes. The last meeting between Ohio State and Purdue left the Buckeyes stunned and the Boilermakers euphoric. Upset 26-18 by underdog Purdue, OSU left West Lafayette, Ind., a year ago shocked and embarrassed. At the time, the loss was devastating. One year later, it was motivating. The OSU coaching staff hung reminders of last season’s uninspiring effort this week to ensure its team didn’t forget the debacle. “You walk in the building, the hallway, locker room, weight room, anywhere you can think of it was there,” senior offensive lineman Justin Boren said. … “After we lost I think the headline was ‘Train Wreck’ or something and it just reminded us that we have to take care of business.” On Saturday, it appeared as though the coaches’ ploy worked. This year’s Buckeye squad refused to fall victim to Purdue. They were ready. Dominating their opponent in every facet of the game, the Buckeyes thrashed Purdue 49-0. “I’ve never been a part of this team where we had to come off a loss straight into a team that beat us last year,” senior captain Dane Sanzenbacher said. “We all had a lot of emotions coming into the game. Not a lot needed to be said. Everyone was ready.” Looking to avoid a repeat performance, the Buckeyes sprinted to a 42-0 halftime advantage. “It was definitely something that we remembered, and we definitely didn’t want to let that happen to us again,” safety Orhian Johnson said of last year’s loss. “We felt like we needed to go out there and just play our game and just get after them early.” OSU’s 76 yards on the ground in the first stanza alone were 10 more than the Buckeyes had in all of last year’s contest combined. Compiling almost triple the rushing yards from a year ago and outgaining the Boilermakers 489-118, the Buckeyes did everything they could to erase the unpleasant memories from a year ago. And recording nine tackles for losses while pitching its first shutout of the year, the silver bullet defense avenged its subpar performance at Purdue a year ago as well.   “We try to make every game a statement game,” safety Jermale Hines said. “When you’re a Buckeye, you tend to have a lot of pressure on you because people expect you to win every game. We didn’t get it done last year but we came together as a team, as a coaching staff and fought hard.” Although the Buckeyes had extra motivation suffering their first loss of the year a week ago, quarterback Terrelle Pryor said it was the previous Purdue game that had him fired up. “I think Purdue last year was a lot more motivation than last week,” Pryor said. “I think Purdue last year really motivated us because they really kicked our butts up and down the field the whole game.” Fortunately for the Bucks, it was them doing the butt-kicking this time around. read more

Mike Vrabel Bob Knight 10 others set for Ohio State Athletics Hall

Twelve former Ohio State athletes are ready to be cemented into Buckeye lore. The Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame is set to induct most notably former Indiana coach Bob Knight and current OSU defensive line coach Mike Vrabel. Joining Knight and Vrabel in the honor are Ray Griffin (football) Pete Cusick (football), Joseph Gailus (football), Dick Schafrath (football), Rex Holman (wrestling) George Downes (wrestling), Jessica Davenport (women’s basketball), Louise Bond-Williams (fencing), Keturah Lofton (track and field) and former volleyball coach Jim Stone. All 12 inductees are scheduled to be officially honored Friday night in the Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom at the Ohio Union. The ceremony’s reception begins at 5:30 p.m. before dinner and the program at 6:30 p.m. Knight, an OSU alum and former Army, Indiana and Texas Tech coach, will be inducted with the Class of 2012 this fall as the hall of fame’s first-ever recipient of the “lifetime achievement” category. According to a released statement, the purpose of Knight’s honor is to recognize “outstanding former Buckeyes who have excelled in their careers after leaving Ohio State.” Knight amassed a record of 902-371 over the course of 41 years of coaching, While at Indiana, Knight led the Hoosiers to three national championships (1976, 1981, 1987) and 11 Big Ten titles. Perhaps most notably, Knight’s 1976 Indiana team remains the last college basketball squad to go undefeated with a record of 32-0. Vrabel, who was the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and back-to-back All-American selection in 1995 and 1996, still holds the university’s career sack record (36) and career tackle for loss record (26). A native of Akron, Ohio, Vrabel played 14 years as a linebacker in the NFL. Eight of those years were spent under Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick, where Vrabel was an integral part of three Super Bowl championships in 2001, 2003, and 2004. In New England, Vrabel recorded 57 sacks, 11 interceptions and 17 forced fumbles, His skills for the Patriots, though, weren’t just limited to the defensive side of the ball as he scored 11 touchdowns as tight end-two of which came in two different Super Bowls for New England. The Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame was created in 1977 and has honored 261 men and 96 women so far. 108 football players have been inducted into the institution since its inception. The 12 inductees are scheduled to be recognized at halftime of the Buckeyes’ football game against California on Saturday at noon. read more

No 11 Illinois routs No 8 Ohio State mens basketball 7455

All week long the players and coaches of the Ohio State men’s basketball team stressed the importance of being ready for every Big Ten game. “Every game in the Big Ten is going to be a tough game,” said junior point guard Aaron Craft. The Buckeyes learned how true that statement was, the hard way, while being routed by Illinois, 74-55, on Saturday in Champaign, Ill. OSU looked flat and sloppy from the opening tip and trailed by double-digits for most of the game. In fact, the Buckeyes played so poorly that they committed nearly as many turnovers, 16, as they had made shots, 20. OSU was also outrebounded, 39-28. OSU junior forward Deshaun Thomas led all scorers with 24 points, but it wasn’t enough for an OSU team that’s still searching for a second scorer to assist Thomas. Against Illinois, the rest of the Buckeyes shot a combined 28 percent from the floor for 31 points. Senior guard Brandon Paul led Illinois (14-2) in scoring with 19 points on 6-12 shooting. The Illini had four players score in double figures. OSU is now 0-3 against opponents ranked in the Associated Press top-25 poll. As it stands, OSU has been defeated by the No. 1, No. 5 and No. 11-ranked teams in the country. With the loss OSU falls to 11-3 on the season and 1-1 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes play next on the road against Purdue on Jan. 8. Purdue defeated Illinois in its Big Ten opener on Jan. 2. read more

Ohio State mens lacrosse set to take on No 7 Notre Dame

Senior defenseman Joe Meurer (11) tracks an opposing player during a game against Marquette Feb. 22 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. OSU won, 11-7.Credit: Brett Amadon / Lantern photographerAfter picking up its first win in almost a month, the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (2-5, 1-0) welcomes No. 7 Notre Dame (3-2, 2-0) to town, a team the Buckeyes haven’t beaten since 2004.Junior defenseman Evan Mulchrone said this game provides a big opportunity for OSU to earn a quality victory as well as getting a chance to take down a team no current Buckeye has done in his career.“Right now at this point in the season we are just taking it one game at a time,” Mulchrone said. “This is a big one on our schedule. They’re not in our conference but they are a team that we haven’t beaten in years so we are trying to get the opportunity to get back at them for once in my career.”Playing without its leading scorer in junior midfielder Jesse King as well as starting goaltender Greg Dutton, OSU was able to snap a three-game skid Friday with a 10-7 win against ECAC opponent Bellarmine.Never trailing throughout the contest, the Buckeyes got big performances from sophomore attackman Carter Brown, who had five points, as well as freshman goaltender Nick Doyle, who made nine saves in his first collegiate game.OSU coach Nick Myers said the Buckeyes will need more of the same on the offensive end Tuesday if they are going to score on a Notre Dame defense yielding only 8.80 goals per game.“It’s important that we run our offenses, that we turn scoring opportunities into shots on cage, and make sure that we generate quality opportunities,” Myers said. “They’re defense is excellent. They have great goalie play, they are very well schooled, very well prepared … but I think for us, it’s executing our schemes, focusing on taking care of the ball and making sure we end up with shots not turnovers, and then doing a great job on the defensive end of making our stops.”Playing in the ACC, arguably the toughest conference in college lacrosse, Notre Dame has played four teams currently ranked in the top 20 in its first five games.However, after splitting their first four contests of the season, the Fighting Irish picked up a convincing win over No. 8 Virginia, 18-9, March 16.Leading the way for Notre Dame was sophomore attackman Matt Kavanagh with four goals and six points. Only once this season has the Rockville Centre, N.Y., native been held to fewer than five points in a game.Senior defenseman Joe Meurer said OSU cannot expect to stop Kavanagh every time, but his coaches have a gameplan in place which Meurer expects will limit his chances.“We’re going to stick to our scheme,” Meurer said. “We have a really good game plan going into the game. Matt’s a great player, he’s very dynamic, but we are going to play with seven like we do every week and try to limit him as much as possible. He might get a play or two here and there, but we are going to do everything we can to limit him.”This is the first meeting between the two teams since March 2013, a 9-4 victory for Notre Dame.Game time is set for 4 p.m. Tuesday inside Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. read more

Football Gene Smith Urban Meyer back Ryan Day as acting head coach

Ohio State said offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day was named the acting head coach for the duration of the investigation. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignAs the Board of Trustees decided on the future of head coach Urban Meyer at the Longaberger Alumni Center on Wednesday, the Ohio State football team practiced. The sound of strength coach Mickey Marotti’s voice echoed across Olentangy River Road, encouraging individual players as the team warmed up at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center during its 4 p.m. practice prior to the season opener against Oregon State on Sept. 1. As day turned to night and the voice of Marotti faded, the deliberation ended, deciding Meyer would be suspended without pay through Sept. 2 and for the games on Sept. 1, 8 and 15. In Meyer’s absence, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day will continue as the acting head coach, a role he has held since Aug. 1 when Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave when the Board of Trustees began its investigation into his knowledge of domestic violence allegations made against former assistant coach Zach Smith. In the opening statement of his press conference, Athletic Director Gene Smith thanked Day for taking on the role of acting head coach, calling him and the assistant coaches strong leaders throughout the investigation. The main message from Gene Smith ahead of his suspension was simple: provide the necessary support for Day through the first three games of the 2018 season. “Our top priority over the next few days is to make sure that we do everything that we can to reaffirm Coach Day’s commitment to being our interim coach during this timeframe,” Gene Smith said. “I will also working to ensure our student-athletes have every resource they need to maintain their focus on academics and competition.”Even though Meyer will not be on the sideline for the first three games of the season, the Ohio State head coach will be able to coach during the weeks leading up to games after Sept. 2. However, for a coach that said he had “worked diligently to build a program that would make the great state of Ohio and Ohio State very proud,” Meyer said his absence from the program has been extremely difficult. “It’s been very tough, one of the toughest things I’ve experienced,” Meyer said. “I have very good players and a very good staff. My message when i get to speak to the team is that I love them dearly, I appreciate all they’ve done for this incredible university.”While he is away from the team for the first three weeks of the season, Meyer was very complimentary towards his current coaching staff, including two former head coaches in defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. “It’s also one of the best coaching staffs I’ve had,” Meyer said. “I look forward to watching them continue to grow and getting updates as we move forward.”When it is all said and done, the Board of Trustees decided, with the decision to reinstate the head coach after a three-game suspension, that Ohio State was still Meyer’s team. This is the mindset Meyer looks to take as his return to the Buckeyes comes closer. “I’ve been a Buckeye my entire life,” Meyer said. “I appreciate the opportunity to learn from the mistake and work as hard as I ever have to make our strong program even stronger.” read more

Mary Berry eyes gardening show with Mel and Sue after Bake Off

first_imgMary Berry has said she will work with Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins again, but joked that a future project may involve gardening instead of baking.The Great British Bake Off judge also promised that tonight’s episode of the popular BBC One show is “the most difficult one we’ve ever had”.The finale of the seventh series will be the last time it airs on the BBC before it moves to Channel 4 next year.Berry, Giedroyc and Perkins will not move with the show, with co-judge Paul Hollywood the only member of the original team going to Channel 4. Berry told Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2 that her decision to stay with the corporation was made “straight away”.She said: “It was a gut feeling and I made it straight away for myself, having discussed it with my family and others. I’m very happy I’ve stayed with the BBC. Everything I’ve done has been with the BBC and I wanted to stay with them.”I’m sure the programme will go on to be a little bit different, but it will still be wonderful.”The remaining contestants – Andrew Smyth, Jane Beedle and Candice Brown – are hoping to rise to the occasion and be crowned the series winner.Rolls-Royce aerospace engineer Smyth, garden designer Beedle, and PE teacher Brown withstood the heat of the kitchen against nine other cake creators to reach the showdown for the title of 2016’s best baker. Berry said of the finale: “It really is the most difficult we’ve ever had, because you know, (it is) series seven and the showstopper is… we are wanting sheer perfection and they will be very nervous because they have watched every series.”The baking doyenne said of Perkins and Giedroyc: “We have made no decisions whatsoever, we haven’t actually all three got together, but we will do something because we’re good pals, and who knows what it would be?”Well, it may not be baking, you never know, it could be gardening. I’m a very keen gardener you know.”Tasks for the final BBC episode include a return to meringues for the signature bake, a technical challenge set by Berry that will ask the contestants to complete a British classic after being given just one instruction and no measurements, and a showstopper that is said to be the most complex set in the competition, with the most bakes requested for a challenge.As usual, the winner will be announced at a celebration attended by the family and friends of the three finalists, as well as the bakers they knocked out in previous rounds.The Great British Bake Off final airs tonight on BBC One at 8pm.center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Metropolitan Police accuses honour crimes whistleblower of gross misconduct

first_imgA Scotland Yard whistleblower who claimed the Crown Prosecution Service is failing Asian female victims of honour crimes has been served a formal notice alleging gross misconduct for talking to the press by his employers at the Metropolitan Police.Det Sgt Pal Singh is facing possible disciplinary sanctions and even dismissal after disclosing to The Daily Telegraph that he believes “apathy” by prosecutors led to the collapse of what could have been the first conviction for forced marriage in England.He claims his treatment is “indicative of state censorship” and shows “public institutions are more concerned about their reputations than the victims of crime”.  However, Det Sgt Singh, who received an excellent appraisal from his employer in May 2016 and has been commended three times in the past year for his work combating honour crimes, denies he has portrayed the MPS in a negative light or jeopardised any police investigation. He told The Daily Telegraph: “The article made the MPS appear to be diligent, competent and tenacious.” However, Det Sgt Singh claimed, the CPS “were furious about the article”. The Green Party’s Sian Berry, who sits on the Mayor’s police and crime committee, said: “This is a Met officer who worked hard on a lot of cases and noticed a pattern that concerned him. He raised a complaint to the CPS regarding this case and wasn’t satisfied with the response so went public about what he felt was part of a wider problem.”She added: “Whistleblower legislation is in place to protect people in exactly this way. It seems like an overreaction from the Met at a time when we need to be encouraging people to bring forward problems like this that need addressing.”A CPS spokesman said: “Any decisions about disciplinary proceedings would be a matter for the Metropolitan Police.”The Metropolitan Police confirmed it was investigating Det Sgt Singh for potential misconduct and refuted the claims made by him in his reaction to the notice. A spokesman said: “The MPS, like any organisation, expect its officers and staff to follow policies and procedures and investigate failures to do so.” In an article on Nov 8, 2016, he raised concerns that a “politically correct” CPS was failing to pursue convictions over honour crimes for fear of causing “unrest” in Asian communities. After the article appeared, the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, made inquiries into the alleged failings by the CPS.His comments were supported by charities and Theresa May responded by insisting there was “no honour in so-called honour crimes”.Now Det Sgt Singh, who believes he should be protected by whistleblower legislation, has been informed he must attend a misconduct hearing.He told The Daily Telegraph: “Forced marriage is a violation of human rights, which invariably leads to marital rape and years of domestic abuse and modern slavery, with sometimes fatal consequences. If this is not a policing priority then I am content at being dismissed.” A notice served to Det Sgt Singh on Dec 8 deemed he dealt with the press “without seeking the relevant authority” and that his “comments may have had a detrimental effect on investigations”.  Forced marriage is a violation of human rights… If this is not a policing priority then I am content at being dismissedDet Sgt Pal Singh Det Sgt Singh with Metropolitan Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe at the Domestic Abuse Achievement Awards 2015Credit:Det Sgt Palbinder Singh Det Sgt Singh with Metropolitan Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe at the Domestic Abuse Achievement Awards 2015 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

Gary Lineker and Lily Allen join protest against Donald Trump

first_imgThe crowds were so big Lily Allen almost didn’t make it, complaining on Twitter of being stuck in traffic.She said: “Am here but crowds bare massive: can’t get anywhere near Downing St”. Just spotted former Nagoya Grampus Eight striker @GaryLineker at the Trump #travelban protest in Westminster. pic.twitter.com/DuZAl620GU— Daniel Hewitt (@DanielHewittITV) January 30, 2017 Now, Parliament is expected to debate the state visit, with some MPs including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn already campaigning for people to sign the petition.It seems the debate may prove fruitless; a Downing Street source has told the BBC that cancelling the trip would be “populist gesture” and “undo everything” achieved by Theresa May during her trip to the US last week.  Meanwhile, Gary Lineker was spotted by many passers-by mingling with people in the crowd. Thousands of people filled the streets of cities across the country on Monday night to protest against Donald Trump’s travel ban and ask Theresa May to rescind his state visit.Among them were celebrities Gary Lineker, who attended with his two sons, and Lily Allen.Protests were seen in London, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff, Brighton, Newcastle, Nottingham, Liverpool and Birmingham.The London protest boasted an influential line-up of speakers, including Allen, Lineker, Ed Miliband and Diane Abbott.  He wrote “well played London” on Instagram after attending the event.1.5 million Brits have signed a petition asking for Donald Trump’s state visit to be rescinded.The Donald Trump petition calls for the visit, which is due to take place in the summer, to be abandoned because of the risk it will “embarrass” the Queen. 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. Show more Can’t even see a stage NGL pic.twitter.com/amlpw5UhXC— lily allen (@lilyallen) January 30, 2017last_img read more

Private school parents think they are buying exam success for their children

first_imgRising fees at independent schools mean that pushy parents believe they are “buying” success for their children, a teachers’ leader has said.Dr Mary Bousted, president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said there was a growing “sense of entitlement” among parents who pay tens of thousands of pounds to privately educate their children.She said that as fees became higher and higher, parents increasingly believed that they had effectively “bought” their children good grades and a place at a top university and expected the school to “deliver” this.“People think that if you work in an independent or private school, you don’t have pressures. Well, you don’t have the same pressures as teachers in state schools,” Dr Bousted said.“You are probably less likely to have children who come into school hungry and cold and with very, very fundamental problems with their home life, which makes the job of a teacher in a state school more challenging.“But teachers in the independent sector often tell me ‘we don’t have that, but what we do have is a sense of entitlement among parents’. Private school parents expect their children to do well in exams, Dr Bousted saidCredit:Dave Thompson/PA “And somehow in that equation the sense that the parents have a role to play beyond paying, and that the child has to have the aptitude and ability … gets lost in the equation.”The average private school fees – including both day and boarding schools – is £16,686 a year, a rise of 3.5 per cent from last year, according to data from the Independent Schools Council.Dr Bousted was speaking at the ATL’s annual conference in Liverpool, where delegates passed a motion calling on independent schools to carry out an audit of private school staff workload, and to produce guidelines for employers.Helen Porter, an independent school teacher from Berkshire, said: “The workload is particularly high for colleagues at this time of year in the build up to external exams and when the first choice university offers are high on the wish list. Parents and students make it very clear to us that they expect the grades they paid for, and that means that we have to do extra revision sessions at lunchtimes, after school and even in the holidays.”Dr Bousted said that the demographic of privately educated children was changing, with international students now making up a sizeable proportion of independent schools. a primary school teacher marking homework 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. Parents who lived overseas and had sent their children to Britain for schooling tended to have particularly “high expectations” for academic success, she added. Dr Bousted explained that parents overlooked the fact that this approach may do their children more harm than good.“There are important life lessons to be learned, one of which is if you don’t do the time you won’t get the results,” she said. “No one can get that result for you, you have to work for it yourself.”Dr Bousted said that teachers were working “insane hours” at the behest of parents, which made their lives “extremely difficult”. “The entitlement is this: we are paying all this money for our children to be educated, therefore we expect you to get them through exams with very good grades and go to a top university.last_img read more

Bill Turnbull reveals he needs more chemotherapy despite thinking he had finished

“The people I worry about are the people who have to tackle cancer alone.”Turnbull said bee keeping had been “very good therapy” as when he focused on his six hives everything else was briefly forgotten.“When in chemo you have to be careful not to be stung or catch colds but I still manage to peek in at them,” he added. Turnbull appeared on the Great British Bake Off: Stand To Cancer 2017 special, without realising he had cancer Credit:Mark Bourdillon / Channel 4  He described the “deep shock” he experienced on learning of his diagnosis and urged men to get checked for the disease. Turnbull said that having travelled so much as a reporter he had no desire to travel the world and admitted he hated the term “bucket list” because it implied you were about to kick the bucket.He is writing a book and enjoying spending time exploring Suffolk with his wife, Sesi, who he described as “incredible”. “I would be absolutely lost without her,” he added. Bill Turnbull, the broadcaster, has been told he needs more chemotherapy for prostate cancer having thought he had finished the treatment.The former BBC Breakfast host said his prognosis was “not dire but not brilliant by any means” and that although he hates the term “bucket list” he planned to spend the summer doing one or two things he would not otherwise have done.A keen bee keeper, he was at the Chelsea Flower Show to highlight the importance of the work of the Bees for Development charity and said the hobby had provided a welcome relief distraction since his diagnosis.Turnbull, 62, said: “I’ve had six rounds of chemotherapy and that should be the lot but I think I will have to have some more.“It’s a bit irritating because it gets worse as time goes on.”He revealed in March that he had prostate cancer which had spread to his bones, despite checks at 40 and 50. He said he made the decision to go public because of the “irony” that he had taken part in The Great Celebrity Bake Off – Channel 4’s Stand Up to Cancer special – when he had cancer but did not know it. Since then, he has been contacted by “a lot” of people who had been inspired to get tested as a result, or whose fathers or relatives had gone to get checked, and had been told they had prostate cancer.“Lives have been changed, lives have been saved as a result, which is fantastic,” he said.“I didn’t go to the doctor for four years because I didn’t have anything wrong with me, I thought.“Occasionally I think if I had taken notice of this or that things might be brighter but there we go, you just have to get on with it.”Turnbull, who has three grown-up children, is being treated at the Royal Marsden, a specialist cancer treatment hospital in London, which he said was a “great place.”“You don’t have to ask anybody what’s wrong,” he said. “We all know.”He has had chemotherapy, hormone injections and a “cocktail of drugs” and believes he should still have “quite a lot of time.” Bee keeping had been “very good therapy”, Turnbull saidCredit:Paul Hackett/Getty  Bill Turnbull bee keeping at his home in Buckinghamshire Great British Bake Off: Stand To Cancer 2017: 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

Duke and Duchess of Sussex join the Queen at Royal Ascot

The Duchess of Sussex has made her debut at Royal Ascot, joining the Queen for her favourite event of the season as she channeled the monochrome style of My Fair Lady.The Duchess, in a white and black hat and dress, accompanied her husband in an Ascot carriage for her first outing to the Royal Enclosure, before presenting a trophy to race winner Frankie Dettori.While she appeared to have taken style inspiration from the outfits of Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza Doolittle, she suffered no similar etiquette mishaps, mingling with seasoned race-goers and engaged in cheerful conversation with the Queen.The Queen, in bright yellow, led her family in the opening day of Royal Ascot, joined by the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Royal and Duke of York with his daughters.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––The Duke of Cambridge was elsewhere, undertaking engagements focusing on male mental health and technological innovation in Liverpool, while the Duchess remained out of sight with her three children. 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. In an unmistakable sign of welcome into the Royal family, the Duke and Duchess were tasked with presenting the trophy for the St James’s Palace Stakes, won by Favourite Without Parole ridden by Frankie Dettori and trained by John Gosden. The Duchess of Sussex wore an embellished white shirt dress from Givenchy, the fashion house that designed her wedding gown, with a striking hat by Royal favourite Philip Treacy. Fitting in with the strict dress code of the Royal Enclosure, the Duchess’ colour scheme was reminiscent of the 1964 My Fair Lady film, in which a beautiful cockney flower seller mingles with high society at Ascot before being unmasked by her coarse shouts of encouragement at the horses. The Queen wearing yellow for the first day of Royal Ascot The Queen wearing yellow for the first day of Royal Ascot The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived in the third carriage of the tradition Royal procession, along with the Earl and Countess of Wessex.They would have had much to talk about, as the newlywed Sussexes celebrated the “one month anniversary” of their wedding and the Wessexes marked 19 years to the day since their own Windsor Castle nuptials. read more

Smart motorways are putting lives at risk former roads ministers says

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. “Drivers’ concern at safety implications of smart motorways is growing yet Government refuses to act.“Any incident in a live lane also causes chronic congestion due to lane closures so the rationale of smart motorways is backfiring.”A spokeswoman for Highways England said the average spacing of ERAs on smart motorways without a hard shoulder was now “just over a mile”. She insisted the new style of motorways are “good for drivers” because they add extra lanes letting more people travel, and use technology which “makes journeys more reliable and evidence proves they are as safe as traditional motorways, which are already among the safest roads in the world.”She said the company will “continue to make some changes to the design of motorways” by making the ERAs “more visible”, with more signposting, as well as introducing detection systems to spot stationary vehicles. Smart motorways are putting lives at risk because emergency refuge laybys are spaced too far apart, a former roads minister who approved early designs of the motorways has said.Sir Mike Penning, Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead, said he has been “shocked” by Highways England’s “continued prevarication” over its commitment to ensure Emergency Refuge Areas (ERAs) are built closer together on motorways where the hard shoulder has been turned into a ‘live’ lane.Three years ago, a Commons Transport Committee report warned how the intermittent lay-bys were “placed too scarcely” apart.It said the “scarcity” of emergency zones could “lead to a driver being forced to stop in a live lane in the event of a breakdown.”Highlighting how police, motoring organisations and vehicle recovery companies had warned stranded motorists could be hit by traffic, the committee recommended ERAs be no more than half-a-mile (800m) apart, with the closest spaced a third of a mile (500m).Jim O’Sullivan, boss of Highways England which maintains the country’s motorways, told the committee in 2018 it would “install a number of additional emergency areas in locations with the highest levels of potential live lane stops,” adding how “future” smart motorways would have a maximum spacing reduced from 1.5 miles to one mile “where applicable”. The AA is among a number of driving organisations that has campaigned for more emergency refuge areas. Edmund King is show here in front of one of his company's vans Campaigners say Emergency Refuge Areas are not close enough Edmund King, AA president, said: “From the outset we have told Ministers and Highways England we need more emergency refuge areas. The calls we listen to from members broken down in live lanes, praying they won’t be hit, are harrowing. The current system is an accident waiting to happen. Matt Jacobs, whose father, Derek, 83, was killed in March when his van came to a stop on the first lane of the M1 smart motorway before being hit by a coach, said smart motorways should be scrapped altogether.“Hard shoulders have been a safety feature of motorways since the 1960s when there was a fraction of the traffic there is today,” he said. “With today’s volume of traffic, the decision to remove them is murderous negligence and incompetence. Many more people will be killed as a direct consequence of this decision.” Sir Mike Penning wants emergency refuge areas on smart motorways to be built closer together Campaigners say Emergency Refuge Areas are not close enoughCredit: Highways Agency Sir Mike Penning wants emergency refuge areas on smart motorways to be built closer togetherCredit:Mark Makela/Corbis via Getty Images “I also pressed Highways England on their commitment to reducing spacing in the future “where applicable” to one mile – which is probably still too far apart – and left the meeting with the strong impression Highways England would look, again, to do the absolute minimum when it came to improving safety by reducing refuge area spacing. “The ‘where applicable’ qualification appears to be just another attempt to reduce costs to the detriment of the safety of recovery operators and motorists.“Highways England’s continued prevarication on this issue really isn’t good enough – the lives of recovery operators and stranded road users are being endangered by the design of existing sections of All Lane Running motorways.” Sir Mike said: “When I met Highways England in May of this year I was shocked to learn that none of the retrofitting of refuge areas had taken place, a whole 16 months after a commitment was made in writing to a Commons Select Committee. The AA is among a number of driving organisations that has campaigned for more emergency refuge areas. Edmund King is show here in front of one of his company’s vansCredit:Oli Scarff /Getty Images read more

Telegraph campaign for 999 heroes monument backed by Britains biggest rescue charity

An appeal for £3 million to build a National Emergency Services Memorial was launched at the weekend with the backing of the Duke of Cambridge Mr Scholes-Fogg has already created a National 999 Day, which takes place today beginning at 9am on the ninth of the ninth. The day was giving official backing by Theresa May when she was in Downing Street and was marked with a memorial service in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh at the weekend. A naval helicopter pilot who witnessed the disaster would later describe their actions as “the greatest act of courage that I have ever seen, and am ever likely to see” adding: “They were truly the bravest eight men I’ve ever seen.”When lifeboat disasters occur, they take a devastating toll because there is often a large loss of life hitting hard in small towns dotted around the coast.The Salcombe lifeboat tragedy of 1916 claimed 13 lives and just two crew survived washed ashore while the rest of the men perished off the Devon coast. James Cooper, 36, who has been a lifeboatman at Salcombe since he was eligible to sign up as a teenager, is the great grandson of one of the two survivors. Mr Cooper, a volunteer, is giving his full support to the 999 national monument.“Being a lifeboatman is in the blood. It is a big part of my family and a big part of this town. This national memorial will be fantastic for recognising all the work we have done in the past and the sacrifices made to save others,” said Mr Cooper, “The memorial would provide a place for generations to come in the future to recognise all the emergency services. Every time we go out we risk our lives and for us to have something that recognises the work we do in the centre of London would be great. It would be fantastic.” An appeal for £3 million to build a National Emergency Services Memorial was launched at the weekend with the backing of the Duke of Cambridge The RNLI has sent its most up to date kit, costing £1,700, to the sculptor who has collected uniforms from the police, ambulance, fire brigade and the lowland and mountain rescue as well. The five figures on the statue will be cast in bronze, each at a height of 8ft. The preferred location is Hyde Park Corner and Mr Scholes-Fogg, through his charity the National Emergency Services Memorial, is in talks for a suitable plot with the Crown Estate and other landowners.Has a member of the emergency services changed your life? Send your experiences of getting help after calling 999 to yourstory@telegraph.co.uk  to be featured.  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. RNLI The national monument will honour more than 7,000 emergency service workers who have lost their lives in the line of duty as well as two million ‘dedicated’ 999 staff employed across the police, the NHS, fire services and in sea and mountain rescue. The RNLI has saved 140,000 lives since it was founded in 1824 and in that time 624 lifeboat personnel, most of them unpaid volunteers, have died, often in attempting to perform incredible brave rescue operations in treacherous conditions at sea. The RNLI has its own monument at its headquarters in Poole in Dorset but recognises the need for a statue for all the emergency services, who work closely together, in the centre of London.Mr Dowie, a former naval officer and a manager of Salcombe lifeboat station, said: “Keeping people safe is a team effort. We spend our time working with all the emergency services and it is right they will all be celebrated on the memorial.“It is an extraordinary commitment made by these people and their families.” Of the RNLI’s 5,500 lifeboat crew, the vast majority – 5,100 crewmen and women – are volunteers. In 2018 alone, lifeboats went to the aid of 9,000 people and saved the lives of 329. The charity’s precise definition of a life saved states “where, if not for the actions of the lifeboat and/or its crew, a life would have been lost”. The RNLI has not lost a lifeboatman or woman at sea since the Penlee disaster in 1981 off the coast of Cornwall. Eight volunteer lifeboatmen died along. They had pulled four people off a stricken ship in huge waves but all perished on board.  The Telegraph campaign for a national ‘999’ monument has received the full support of Britain’s biggest rescue charity the RNLI.An appeal for £3 million to build a National Emergency Services Memorial was launched at the weekend with the backing of the Duke of Cambridge, a former air ambulance pilot, who said “it was only fitting that we should recognise the vital role” played by emergency workers.The monument also has the support of Boris Johnson and his five predecessors in Downing Street: Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Sir John Major.Now the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, one of Britain’s oldest and most respected charities, lends its voice to the clamour for the statue to be built.Mark Dowie, the RNLI chief executive, said: “This is an outstanding idea. The emergency services right across this country play an incredibly important part in keeping us all safe and having a single monument where people can go to pay their own tribute to the commitment of the emergency services and the sacrifice of those who have given their lives while on duty is nothing short of essential.”The statue is being created by Philip Jackson, perhaps Britain’s greatest living sculptor, after agreeing to take on the project. The brainchild is Tom Scholes-Fogg, a 28-year-old volunteer police sergeant, who was inspired to launch the campaign by his grandfather distraught by the killing of a female police constable on duty who told him not enough was done in the country to honour the emergency services. read more

SOCU exceeding mandate actions politically inspired – former Attorney General

Launching investigations in allegations of misfeasance goes far beyond the mandate of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) of the Guyana Police Force (GPF).Persons who were instrumental in the establishment of the investigative arm of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) under the Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation are fraught with concerns over the apparent misuse of the entity.The Special Organised Crime Unit headquartersSOCU was established in 2014 on the recommendation of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and was intended to be a Police unit operating under the authority of the Police Commissioner but with a close relationship to the FIU.Head of the Presidential Secretariat at the time, Dr Roger Luncheon, had disclosed that SOCU was tasked with investigating suspected financial transactions suggestive of money laundering and financing of terrorism.Amid widespread concerns of SOCU exceeding its mandate following a high-speed chase in which two persons perished, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan introduced an amendment to the GPF’s Standing Order No 62, which concretised the expansion of SOCU’s mandate.The criminal activities outside of terrorism and money laundering which were outlined in the amendment were: participation in an organised criminal group and racketeering; trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling; sexual exploitation, including the sexual exploitation of children; illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; illicit arms and ammunition trafficking; corruption and bribery; fraud; counterfeiting and piracy of products; environmental crimes; murder; grievous bodily harm; kidnapping, illegal restraint and hostage taking; robbery or theft; smuggling; extortion; forgery; piracy; insider trading and market manipulation; tax evasion and gold smuggling.But there was no indication that it was authorised to investigate the “misfeasance” which the forensic audit claimed had been committed by the allottees of Pradoville 2.CriminalIn fact, legal luminaries have contended that the grounds upon which SOCU is conducting its investigations are not even criminal.Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall explained, during his weekly column “The Unruly Horse”, that the purchase of house lots from the Government of Guyana at Pradoville 2 by residents could never yield any causal nexus to the offences which the officers claim they were investigating.“Hence, I am of the firm view that every single arrest was unlawful and the consequent detention amounted to false imprisonment and the deprivation of those people’s liberty, as guaranteed to them as a fundamental right and freedom by the Constitution of Guyana. In the context of the Government’s housing policy, the fact that these lands were sold and bought below the market value can never lend itself to the establishment of criminal liability,” he stated.Radically transformedNandlall continued to point out that these exercises had nothing to do with law and the administration of justice.He noted that SOCU was created for the exclusive purpose of investigating organised crimes under AML/CFT, and Pradoville 2 had nothing to do with that law.“Since this Government has assumed office, SOCU’s mandate has been transformed into something radically different. It takes instruction directly from Ministers of the Government. In fact, it is Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, who first announced two weeks ago that former Ministers of the PPP Government will be arrested and charged for Pradoville 2 shortly,” he outlined.The parliamentarian noted too that SOCU was being funded out of the Ministry of the Presidency, as admitted by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon in the National Assembly.He observed also that the Government has already made it clear that if or when these criminal charges are filed, they would be prosecuted by Special Prosecutors, whom the Government has already identified. Some are practising out of Attorney General Basil Williams’ former law office; some out of Harmon’s former law office; another is the brother of a Minister of Government; and another was on the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) list of candidates for the 2015 General Elections.“To compound this political incest, the Attorney General has boldly disclosed in the National Assembly during the 2017 Budget debates that one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) has been budgeted to hire Special Prosecutors to prosecute Pradoville 2. In this diabolic political plot, there is no role etched out for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions which the Constitution invests with the exclusive mandate to prosecute criminal offences,” Nandlall stated.Harmon’s riposteHowever, Minister of State Joseph Harmon has defended the A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Government in the ongoing probe into Pradoville 2, by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), saying that the administration does not have its hand in the “independent” investigation.Harmon’s defense was in response to claims made by the opposition People’s Progressive Party, that the investigation being carried out by the Special Organised Crime Unit into the misappropriation of state assets that is obtaining state lands at a cost below the market price, has been sanctioned by Government.According to Harmon, the suggestion is an absurd one, since SOCU is an arm of the Guyana Police Force and has been carrying out its functions under the laws of Guyana. He said it is the organisation’s duty to carry out its functions in a professional manner. He assured that there has been no intervention by the Administration to influence the work of the Crime Unit.“There is no political vendetta. SOCU was not established by this administration. It was established by the previous administration, organized by Dr Roger Luncheon, (then Head of the Presidential Secretariat) in response to Guyana’s responsibility to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism legislation. “It is not something that we created; they are doing the work which they were created to do”, he told reporters on Wednesday.RebuttalHowever, former President Donald Ramotar, under whose tenure SOCU was established, also expressed major concerns over the new role of the entity.“It is certainly not carrying out its functions. It is unfortunate that the executive is using SOCU to carry out harassment on its political opponents,” he said in an invited comment to the Guyana Times.Over the last few days, SOCU has arrested and detained several former prominent government officials including former President and now Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, former Prime Minister and President Samuel Hinds, Dr Luncheon, former ministers Priya Manickchand, Irfaan Ali, Clement Rohee, and Jennifer Westford, among others in connection to their role in the Pradoville 2 scheme.The reason these persons are being questioned is because they purchased property at the Sparendaam seawall area commonly known as “Pradoville II”.The current Administration contends the transaction is a criminal act because of the belief that it was sold below market value.But Nandlall had argued that subsidised housing has always been a part of the legacy of the People’s Progressive Party and that countless Guyanese have benefited from lands sold below market value.“Every single house lot in this country was distributed way below the market price; $50,000 for a land in Mon Repos, $200,000 in Eccles, is that the value of the house lot? So let us not get carried away and become victims of the propaganda,” he pointed out. (Guyana Times) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedSOCU FRAUD PROBE: PPP demands shutting down of unitApril 13, 2019In “latest news”SOCU remains an agency under GPF, says HarmonSeptember 15, 2016In “Crime”SOCU being “kicked about like a political football” – British expertFebruary 25, 2016In “latest news” read more