LBJ: Three times the MVP.Boston Celtic fan douses LeBron James with beer after Miami Heat winLeBron James is villainized by critics when he has a less-than-stellar game. He’s also villainized when he plays well.After the Miami Heat’s 98-79 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, a fan threw a drink on James as he was heading to the lockerroom.James, who had just scored 45 points, chose not to react and kept walking.Nothing that he could have said would have made more of a statement than his play had anyway.With his team facing elimination, he seemingly couldn’t miss. He scored 14 points in the first quarter, had 30 by halftime and added 11 in the third quarter. He made 19 of his 26 field-goal attempts, his most efficient output in any of the six games in which he scored 45 points or more.He also had 15 points and five assists.Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra gushed about the player who is accused of not being clutch in big games.“He was absolutely fearless tonight,” Spoelstra said. “And it was contagious.”Boston Coach Doc Rivers also paid homage to the highly criticized superstar.“I hope now you guys can stop talking about LeBron and that he doesn’t play in big games,” Rivers told reporters. “He was pretty good tonight. Now that’s to bed.”James didn’t let the classless Celtics fan ruin his moment or spoil his mood.While on the podium, he took a moment to reflect on his performance.“It’s a great feeling to be in, when you feel like everything you put up is going in,” James said.Source: LA Times
One day before Chris Paul signed his five-year, $107.3-million free-agent contract with the Clippers, Paul joined his teammates J.J.Redick, Jared Dudley and Darren Collison and holdovers Matt Barnes and Ryan Hollins at their own contract ceremony.Paul could have commanded all the attention, but he decided to share it.“I didn’t want that,” Paul said. “We all had to sign at the same time, so why not do a press conference together? There’s no one person who’s more important than the team, and I absolutely mean that.”So when the Clippers held a news conference on Wednesday to announce their newly signed players, Paul sat quietly in the back row.
San Francisco 49ers’ Chris Culliver was overcome by pain and shed tears after he sustained a left-knee injury, a torn anterior cruciate ligament, in a practice session with his team on Thursday.Culliver’s third season finished before it began after an MRI at Stanford Hospital confirmed a torn ACL. He will be placed on the injured-reserve list.Culliver is not the only player to suffer injuries. Linebacker Patrick Willis fractured his right hand and wide receiver Michael Crabtree tore his right Achilles, league sources confirmed.“There’ve been some nicks and we try to dodge bullets,” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Sometimes you don’t dodge them all. What it means now is guys are getting an opportunity to show what they can do.”Culliver was unavailable for comment and he hasn’t granted any interview requests this training camp.
6Marcus Allen1982-85576,942121.8 14Chuck Foreman1973-76536,009113.4 With no clear favorite for MVP this season, Bell is making a strong late-season push. And you can see it beyond the traditional stats. Among running backs, Bell ranks as the third-best rusher and the fourth-best receiver (subscription required), according to Pro Football Focus; he’s the only player in the top five in both of those metrics. He also is one of just four starting running backs averaging over 2 yards per carry after contact, bringing a power element to his game as well.This may be Bell’s best season, but he has been a yards from scrimmage monster for much of his career. In 45 career games, Bell has 3,830 rushing yards (85.1 per game) and 1,952 receiving yards (43.4 per game). That translates to 128.5 yards from scrimmage per game for his career, which would be the highest career average since 1932.And while it’s not apples-to-apples to compare Bell’s production right now to every other player’s career production — Bell hasn’t seen his average dragged down by playing games during the decline phase of his career — we can see Bell’s dominance just as clearly by comparing him to players when they were at the same stage. Among the 100 players with the most yards from scrimmage through four seasons, Bell has the highest number of yards from scrimmage per game.3Although total yards and passing stats are at historic highs, rushing yards are near historic lows. Most statistics are best viewed in light of era adjustments, but that’s much trickier to do when it comes to yards from scrimmage; currently, teams are averaging just 107.6 rushing yards per game, the third-lowest average since the league starting tracking this metric back in 1932. As a result, it’s not clear what advantage, if any, modern running backs have when it comes to racking up big yards from scrimmage totals. For example, it was a wide receiver, Julio Jones, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage last year, but it was with the lowest total by any player since 1996. RKPLAYERSEASONTEAMRUSHRECYFSGYFS/G 8Marshall Faulk1999STL1,3811,0482,42916151.8 Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell had himself a day on Sunday. He rushed for 236 yards against the Buffalo Bills, breaking the Pittsburgh single-game rushing record that was set by Willie Parker in 2006. Bell also caught four passes for 62 yards, giving him a total of 298 yards from scrimmage. That’s tied for the 10th-most in a regular-season game since at least 19501That’s the first year for which Pro-Football-Reference.com has game-level statistics for each player. — and it’s more than the entire Bills offense gained against the Steelers defense. On a day when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger struggled (37.8 passer rating), Bell carried the team to victory.In an NFL season light on superlatives — no quarterback or wide receiver is having a historically great season — the top performers have been running backs. Dallas rookie Ezekiel Elliott leads the NFL in rushing yards, with 1,392, and is a big reason why the Cowboys are beating every team they play that’s not the Giants. Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson, my vote for midseason Offensive Player of the Year, has arguably been better than Elliott. Johnson has gained at least 100 yards from scrimmage in every game the Cardinals have played this season; he’s only the second player in NFL history to cross the 100-yard mark in each of his team’s first 13 games of a season.And yet, neither Elliott nor Johnson has been the most dominant player in the NFL this season, at least not on a per-game basis. That honor belongs to Bell, who now has 1,616 yards despite missing the first three games of the season. He’s averaging 161.6 yards from scrimmage per game this season — 20.8 more than Johnson, 29.8 more than Elliott and at least 50 yards more than everyone else in the league. There is simply no more dynamic or versatile star in the league: 4LaDainian Tomlinson2001-04637,921125.7 9Arian Foster2009-12516,052118.7 2Edgerrin James1999-02526,640127.7 6Marshall Faulk2001STL1,3827652,14714153.4 5Marshall Faulk2000STL1,3598302,18914156.4 4Chris Johnson2009TEN2,0065032,50916156.8 7Jim Brown1963CLE1,8632682,13114152.2 9Walter Payton1977CHI1,8522692,12114151.5 13Jamal Lewis2000-04606,822113.7 12O.J. Simpson1973BUF2,003702,07314148.1 3Eric Dickerson1983-86627,842126.5 14Clinton Portis2003DEN1,5913141,90513146.5 7Billy Sims1980-83526,252120.2 15Walter Payton1975-78576,427112.8 YARDS Single-season leaders in yards from scrimmage (YFS) per game RKPLAYERSEASONSGYARDS FROM SCRIMMAGEYFS/G 1Priest Holmes2002KC1,6156722,28714163.4 3O.J. Simpson1975BUF1,8174262,24314160.2 13Barry Sanders1997DET2,0533052,35816147.4 15Steven Jackson2006STL1,5288062,33416145.9 Bell’s average of 161.6 yards from scrimmage isn’t remarkable for 2016 alone. If it were to stand through the end of the regular season, Bell’s 2016 performance would rank as the second-highest single-season average since 1932.2That’s when the NFL began tracking individual yards. Minimum eight games played, 1932-2016 seasonsSource: Pro-Football-Reference.com 1Le’Veon Bell2013-16455,782128.5 8Ricky Williams1999-02546,437119.2 5Terrell Davis1995-98617,594124.5 Leaders in yards from scrimmage per game, first four seasons 11Jim Brown1957-60485,642117.5 10Tiki Barber2005NYG1,8605302,39016149.4 10Clinton Portis2002-05607,059117.7 2Le’Veon Bell2016PIT1,0535631,61610161.6 Right now, Bell is second in the league in rushing yards per game and sixth in yards per rush. And among all players, he is fourth in receptions per game, with 6.7. If Bell can continue his dominance during the final three games of the regular season, he has a good chance of taking home the MVP — and dragging the Steelers into the playoffs while he’s at it.Check out our latest NFL predictions. Among the top 100 players in yards from scrimmage through four seasons, 1932 to 2016.Jamal Lewis was injured for the whole 2001 season, so his first four seasons include 2000 and 2002-04.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com 12Adrian Peterson2007-10616,952114.0 11LaDainian Tomlinson2003SD1,6457252,37016148.1
On Wednesday, Baseball America released an online version of its annual organizational talent rankings, listings of each major league franchise in order of “the total worth of each farm system’s prospects.” This year, the Pittsburgh Pirates came in first.I wrote about the expected wins above replacement of individual players in Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list, and I wanted to continue the discussion by looking at how the publication’s assessments of organizational talent track with each team’s top prospects’ expected WAR and with future team performance.Using various sources — including, in large part, this archival Baseball America page — I compiled Baseball America’s organizational lists for every season back to 1984. For years since 1990, we can compare these overall system rankings with those that would be implied by adding up the expected WAR values of each team’s best prospects (those who cracked Baseball America’s Top 100 list).For example, at the height of their dynasty years in 2000, the New York Yankees were rated No. 1 in Baseball America’s organizational talent rankings. But adding up the expected WAR totals for the Yankees’ Top 100 list members gets us 28.8 — only good for fifth at the time and miles behind the league-leading Marlins’ 51.3 expected WAR. (That Marlins prospect class produced a trio of future ace pitchers in Josh Beckett, A.J. Burnett, and Brad Penny — not a bad haul.)I’m picking on the Yankees here a bit for having an overrated class of phenoms under the championship halo of 2000 (aside from No. 5 Nick Johnson and No. 16 Alfonso Soriano, their only other Top 100 selections that year were Wily Mo Pena at No. 88 and D’Angelo Jimenez at No. 89). But overall, there’s a strong correlation — a Spearman’s rho of 0.86 — between a team’s Baseball America organizational ranking and its ranking if we just add up the expected WAR values of its players in the Top 100 list.This year’s top Pirates prospects total an expected WAR of 42.4, which ranks third behind the Chicago Cubs’ 50.3 mark. That’s not quite as wide a gap as the 2000 Yankees. (It’s also worth noting that the distribution of prospects has a long tail, so while the presence of an organization’s farmhands in the Top 100 matters a lot, it’s not everything. It’s completely plausible that a system’s depth beyond the Top 100 can make up several spots in the overall rankings.)The real question, though, is what this means for the next decade or so of baseball in Pittsburgh. Optimistic Pirates fans might point to the 1992 Atlanta Braves’ top-rated prospect class, which preceded a decade in which the Braves boasted the best record in baseball. But pessimists will quickly find a counterpoint close to home: The 1997 Pirates also had Baseball America’s best crop of prospects, only to have MLB’s third-worst record over the next 10 years.Anecdotes aside, the general relationship appears to be a weak one. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient between a team’s Baseball America organizational ranking and its rank among MLB teams in winning percentage over the next 10 seasons is just 0.24. However, there are also a lot of other factors at play in a team’s performance beyond just its prospect classes.Writing at Baseball Analysts in 2010, Sky Andrecheck — currently in the Cleveland Indians’ front office — looked at the ability of Baseball America’s farm rankings to predict future team wins after controlling for existing team quality, team payroll and market size. He found that a team’s running four-year organizational ranking was a significant predictor of a team’s success, and that the top farm system could contribute about 67 more wins than the worst system over the following nine seasons.Two years later, Matt Swartz of FanGraphs attacked the question from a different direction, measuring a team’s return on investment in terms of “nonmarket WAR” — that is, WAR for which a team does not have to pay the auction-style premiums found on the free agency market (including the dreaded winner’s curse). He found an effect similar to what Andrecheck observed: The best farm system was worth 41 more nonmarket WAR than the worst farm system over the subsequent five seasons.But Swartz also underscored the risk involved in banking on prospects. A team’s organizational ranking didn’t explain anywhere near as much of its subsequent nonmarket WAR as its payroll explained its future auction-market WAR. Or, as Swartz wrote, “Payroll … can tell you about four times as much as about the difference between teams over the next five years as farm-system rankings can.”This isn’t great news for the Pirates, who enter the 2014 season with the majors’ fourth-lowest payroll. (That’s not an abnormal ranking for them, either — 2013 was the only season since 2003 in which Pittsburgh didn’t have one of baseball’s 10 lowest payrolls.) For its long-term future, the club is probably banking on the “low payroll/good prospects” model to bring it success. But the research says that path is a risky one, even if a team has a shiny No. 1 Baseball America organizational ranking.
Ohio State junior swimmer Lindsey Clary competes at the Big Ten championships in February, 2016. Credit: OSU AthleticsOhio State entered the Olympic Swimming Trials with 34 swimmers competing for a spot on the team, but none of them managed to crack the United States swimming group heading to Rio later in the summer.The results found below are from the trials going from Wednesday until the conclusion of the trials on Sunday. For the results on the first three days, click this link.On Tuesday, the first event for the Buckeyes was the women’s 200-meter freestyle match. The school’s lone representative was graduate Alex Norris who finished 30th with a time of 2:01.02.The second event on the third day was the women’s 200-meter individual medley. Senior Lindsey Clary represented the Scarlet and Gray and placed 23rd with a time of 2:16.70.Junior Gregory Nymberg competed in the men’s 200-meter butterfly on Tuesday, finishing 45th with a time of 2:01.82.Day four of the event saw plenty of OSU swimmers compete. In the men’s 100-meter freestyle, senior Josh Fleagle advanced to the semifinals after placing 17th with a time of 49.58 in the preliminaries. He would be knocked out in the semifinals after only placing 16th with a time of 49.70. Also in that event was junior Nathan Christian who placed 66th with a time of 50.98 and graduate Tim Phillips who finished 23rd with a time of 49.89.Also for the men on day four was the 200-meter breaststroke. Two Buckeyes competed in that event, graduate D.J. MacDonald who finished 27th with a time of 2:16.68 and sophomore Brandon Fronczak who placed 83rd after completing the event in two minutes and 21.16 seconds.The third and final event for the Buckeyes on Wednesday was the women’s 200-meter butterfly. Clary finished 69th with a time of 2:17.23 while Amanda McNulty completed the race with a time of 2:17.55, good for 76th in the race.The fifth day of the trials held four preliminary events of which the Buckeyes participated in three. First up for the Bucks was the women’s 200-meter breaststroke. The sole member of the Scarlet and Gray was junior Katie Antal who finished 108th after completing the event with a time of 2:38.32.The next event up for the Buckeyes on that day was the men’s 200-meter individual medley. Three Buckeyes raced in that event with senior Andrew Appleby placing the highest at 35th with a time of 2:04.11. Next up was graduate Chris DePietro who placed 77th with a time of 2:07.41. Lastly was sophomore Gus Whiteman who had a time of 2:12.55 and finished 88th.Whiteman also participated in the 200-meter backstroke, but his time was disqualified.On Friday, the sixth session of the trials began, and OSU again was well represented, having competitors in all four morning events. The men’s 50-meter freestyle event saw three Buckeye swimmers compete. Senior Matt McHugh finished 46th overall with a time of 23.04; freshman Mossimo Chavez finished 61st with a time of 23.15 and junior Kevin Musterait placed 124th with a time of 23.56. The next men’s event, the 100-meter butterfly, saw one swimmer do particularly well. Graduate Tim Phillips finished second in the preliminary trials with a time of 51.68, .19 seconds better than 22-time Olympic medal winner Michael Phelps. Phillips again finished second in the next round, this time with a time of 51.28. He could not replicate his success in the finals as he placed fifth in the event with a time of 51.44.Also competing in the event was Matt McHugh who finished 48th with a time of 54.19. Behind him was sophomore Michael Salazar who placed 51st with a time of 54.26 and Nymberg who finished with a time of 55.09, 89th best at the event.The first women’s event on Friday morning saw the Buckeyes’ leading swimmer Clary (who competed in a school-best five events) compete in the 800-meter freestyle. She was the lone member of OSU in the vent and she placed 15th with a time of 8:41.90.The women’s 200-meter backstroke was the final heat on Friday morning. Only senior Kaitlyn Ferrara swam for OSU and she placed 54th with a time of 2:16.15.The events continued on until Sunday, but the final day with any OSU swimmers was Saturday. The women’s 50-meter freestyle event had four OSU swimmers competing in the event of 180 swimmers. First among the Bucks and 75th overall was junior Macie McNichols who finished with a time of 26.21. The remaining three swimmers were junior Cheyenne Meek who finished 125th with a time of 26.55, graduate Annie Jongekrijg who finished 145th with a time of 26.70 and graduate Rachael Dzierzak who placed 160th with a time of 26.83. The only event for the men on Saturday was the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle event. The lone competitor for the Bucks was junior Brayden Seal who finished 75th with a time of 15:58.50.
The show put on by the WWE for Monday Night Raw in Nationwide Arena can be a tough act to follow.But with the faint smell of pyrotechnic smoke and testosterone wafting through the air, Columbus Blue Jackets fans were treated to a 3-2 victory over their rivals, the Nashville Predators.Defying expectations, Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock went back to struggling goaltender Steve Mason in net against the Predators. After Mason gave up a soft goal to the Minnesota Wild in the Jackets’ last game, a 4-2 loss, Hitchcock was widely expected to give Mathieu Garon the start.“It’s my decision. I like the way he reacted after the third goal,” Hitchcock said. “It was a bad goal and he knows it. We can keep bailing on people or ride it out.”Mason, playing in his 100th career NHL game, justified his coach’s confidence with 29 saves.The game opened as so many others have this season for the Jackets: With Columbus trying to find new and unusual ways to shoot themselves in the foot.In the early minutes of the first period, Blue Jackets’ defenseman Jan Hejda passed the puck to line mate Mike Commodore; a nice thought. The only problem was that Commodore was no longer in possession of his hockey stick.Commodore gamely tried to pass the puck soccer-style to a teammate with his skate, but the end result was a turnover deep in the Blue Jackets’ own zone.In spite of the early miscues, Columbus fought the Predators to a draw in the first period. It was a victory of sorts for the struggling Jackets, who had given up a goal in the first four minutes of play in each of the last seven games. Mason had seven saves in the period.The second stanza saw a boost in the action.After Columbus forward Chris Clark drew a hooking penalty in the early minutes of the period, Mason was forced to make several spectacular saves during the ensuing Predator power play. One saw him dropping into the butterfly position as he made a glove save on a Nashville laser shot.Center Derick Brassard broke the scoring deadlock at the 16:10 mark of the second period.Columbus defenseman Milan Jurcina fired a slap shot from just inside the blue line in the Predator’s zone. The puck was re-directed by Brassard from the middle of traffic in front of the net and slid through the five-hole of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. OSU product R.J. Umberger also assisted on the play.“I parked myself in front of the net,” Brassard said of the goal. “You get yourself there and good things can happen.”Columbus continued the scoring in the third.Following a hooking penalty on Nashville captain Jason Arnott, Jackets’ left-wing Kristian Huselius cashed in on the power play opportunity with his 16th goal of the season.The goal came on a special teams’ play that would have pleased Hickory coach Norman Dale, of the Hoosiers movie fame.While set up in their power play, Columbus made five crisp passes between each Jacket player on the ice, before Huselius took the shot and put the puck in the net. Thirty-nine seconds later, Fredrik Modin extended the Blue Jackets’ lead to three, as Rinne lay helplessly on his back after a collision in front of the net.The Predators bravely hung in, converting on two scoring chances as the third period winded down.First Martin Erat beat Mason high and left with a wrist shot, and then Patric Hornquist drew Nashville to within one with a rebound goal.The Jackets’ faithful began to get a little restless. They had seen this scenario before.But Mason was up to the challenge as he withstood the onslaught of Predator shots to make the lead stand up and deliver the victory for Columbus.Hitchcock was effusive in his praise of his goalie following the game.“Our goalie was the best player on the ice and we needed him today,” Hitchcock said. “He can win games by himself.”The Jackets’ coach confirmed that Mason will get the start again against the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night. With the Kings bringing a 4-1 record in their last five games, they’re sure to need another stellar game from him.
Following a hard-fought 20-17 victory at Iowa last weekend, No. 8-ranked Ohio State returns home on Saturday for its 107th meeting with Michigan and its regular season finale. Although the win put the Buckeyes into the history books as the only team in conference history to win 10 games or more in six straight seasons, coach Jim Tressel said his team’s thoughts immediately shifted to the rival Wolverines. “It seems like Iowa was a long time ago. We knew it was going to be a battle and it was,” Tressel said. “It wasn’t 30 seconds over that our thoughts began to rumble about this one, and we’re anxious.” The Buckeyes have dominated the Wolverines at the Horseshoe in recent history, winning every game against Michigan in Columbus since 2000. Senior defensive tackle Dexter Larimore said OSU will face a much-improved Michigan squad. “It’s crazy to think that last year they were almost a completely different team,” Larimore said. “This year, they have just turned it on offensively and just been able to score on anybody.” Pryor comes through in the clutch Junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor didn’t have his most impressive statistical game in the Buckeyes’ victory in Iowa City, Iowa, completing 54.5 percent of his passes and throwing for two interceptions. However, Tressel said he was impressed by his signal caller. “I thought he played pretty well,” he said. “There were a couple times where, from the sideline, I thought he should have stood in and waited for something to develop, and then when you watched it on film, I could see why he moved around a little. … I would say his grade was as good or better than any he’s had. He really had a grasp on what we were trying to do.” Even with the interceptions, Tressel said it was Pryor’s performance down the stretch that stood out. “He ran the ball well. He got us in and out of plays we needed to be and obviously, you know, you’re evaluated by how you do when the chips are down, and I thought he did a nice job in that last six minutes,” he said. Senior day Twenty-four OSU seniors will run out of the tunnel onto the field at the Horseshoe for the last time Saturday, hoping to stay unbeaten in their careers against Michigan. Couple that with the magnitude of the rivalry, and Tressel said it is going to be a special day. “We’re looking forward to 24 seniors, the last time they go out there, and that’s a big deal to us, but that’s a bigger deal to them,” he said. “They have been a part of some good football teams and they’re trying to lead this team into being a good football team and they know they only have one more chance back in Ohio Stadium.” The seniors agreed that their last game in Columbus will be memorable. “It will definitely be emotional and definitely a kind of bittersweet feeling knowing that I made it through the five years,” senior offensive lineman Bryant Browning said. “At the same time, it is going to be the last time I get to run out onto the field with my team at the Horseshoe and play in the great stadium, so it is going to be something I remember for the rest of my life.” Downtrodden Wolverine defense The 2010 edition of the Wolverine defense is certainly not one of the best Michigan has produced. Heading into its final regular season game, Michigan has allowed more than 33 points per game and given up an eye-popping 445.2 yards of offense per game. Despite the shortcomings, senior wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said he expects to see a better Wolverine defense Saturday. “We’re obviously confident in our offense no matter who we are facing,” Sanzenbacher said. “We’ll game-plan for whatever we think is going to work, but at the same time we always know that they’re probably going to be a little better than what we see on film.” Tressel said the magnitude of the matchup will bring out the best in all parties. “I can promise you this, they are going to play the best they can possibly play and then some,” he said. “They’re going to play better than they are. We need to play better than we are, and that’s, to me, the fun of this game.”
Head Coach Chris Holtmann tells Ohio State redshirt junior guard Keita Bates-Diop (33) to head back into the game in the first half in the game against Michigan State on Jan. 7 in Value City Arena. Ohio State won 80-64. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe Ohio State men’s basketball team turned around its downward trajectory Monday, rising from No. 17 to No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll.After losing to Penn State Jan. 25 and falling four spots from No. 13, Ohio State bounced back with wins against Indiana and Illinois. The Buckeyes are joined by No. 3 Purdue, No. 4 Michigan State and No. 20 Michigan as Big Ten teams in the top 25. They travel to West Lafayette, Indiana, to face the Boilermakers at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Ohio State will head back onto the road to face the Wolverines on Feb. 18.AP Poll Villanova (48) Virginia (16) Purdue Michigan State Xavier Cincinnati Texas Tech Auburn Duke Kansas St. Mary’s Gonzaga Arizona Ohio State Tennessee Clemson Oklahoma Rhode Island West Virginia Michigan North Carolina Wichita State Nevada Kentucky Miami (FL)
According to the BBC’s research, this has resulted in a combined income of £31m for English councils in 2015-16 – from a total of 1.2m penalties. The figure is likely to be higher as some councils couldn’t break down figures by individual cameras.Drivers in Bradford, Manchester and London are some of the hardest hit. Bradford council alone made £2.3m from bus lane fines in 2015/16. England’s most lucrative bus lane is on the northbound section of John Dobson Street. It is based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a council that made over £1m from bus lane fines in 2015/16. Between 23 February and 31 October 2016, this single camera issued 62,975 penalty charge notices, making a total of £1.5m – or £5,960 from an average 250 fines every day.The council was forced to give refunds to some motorists impacted by this camera in its first two months of use, after it was found that signs for “inadequately lit” at night.Currently, fines for driving in bus lanes in England stand at: Greater London: £130 but £65 if paid within 14 daysOutside London: £65 but £30 if early payment is made 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. Bus lane cameras in England took 31m from motorists in 2015-16, fining almost 4,000 motorists per day.The most lucrative camera in the county makes £6,000 every day, according to BBC freedom of information requests to 160 authorities responsible for highways in England, 64 of whom had bus lane cameras.The worst 10 cameras for catching drivers are centred in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Manchester and London. Councils told the BBC that cameras are clearly signed and that they expect income to fall as drivers begin to avoid bus lanes in the future.
Explaining how even the best parents can struggle to manage their children’s “screen time”, she writes how many social media sites actually replicate the most normal and natural forms of offline communication and game playing. And, she says, Christmas is the ideal time to celebrate family life and the chance for parents and their children to enjoy a digital free time.“I think we are in real danger of losing something really special if children’s play becomes exclusively about playing online games on their own,” she writes. “So Christmas Day is the perfect opportunity to sit down together and play together as a family. Board games are quite a novelty for a lot of children and they will soon find the conversations and family banter they encourage is fun.”Mrs Longfield notes how many computer games or apps are actually based on more traditional forms of children’s entertainment that require youngsters’ to use their imagination and creativity.“If children are going to use tablets and smartphones, encourage them to do more than passively consume. In many ways, games like Minecraft are digital versions of Lego and Meccano,” she says.However, in her Digital Five a Day, she encourages families to turn off their electronic devices and indulge in the art of conversation, be more active by heading outdoors over the festive season, be creative and embrace the way the spirit of Christmas is about giving. 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. Finally, she urges parents to teach children how to be aware of the way and how often they use the internet so they are better able to spot signs when they are becoming dependent or using it in an unhealthy way. “Encourage them to come up with ways of managing the time they spend online themselves and appreciating the time they spend offline more. Use apps that helps them to switch off. Set an example yourself by not spending every spare Christmas moment on your own phone.”She concludes: “The toys and gadgets children want from Santa change every year, though smartphones and tablets look here to stay.“What I hope will never change are the fundamentals of a childhood Christmas. Playing and spending time together, interacting with each other, sharing activities, giving to others and being mindful of others should all still be at the heart of every child’s Christmas, even in today’s digital world.” Parents should set an example this Christmas by putting down their mobile phones and tablets to play board games and interact in the real world with their children, the Children’s Commissioner for England and Wales says.Anne Longfield claims youngsters’ increasing obsession with the internet and virtual reality means many of them see traditional games as a “novelty”, and are consequently missing out on the pleasures of conversation and family banter.Drawing up a “Digital Five a Day” for children’s mental health similar to the NHS five a day dietary requirements for physical wellbeing, she urges families to embrace the art of conversation, activity, creativity, charity and mindfulness.Mrs Longfield warns how many families are facing a “digital Christmas” with children glued to tablets, smartphones and the internet with its myriad of social media websites only emerging from their screens to eat. Comparing the virtual world to junk food, she claims that parents owe children more than a mere digital diet this festive season.She says: “We need to pay the same attention to our children’s digital diets as we do to the food they eat. We wouldn’t allow them to eat a double cheeseburger every day and we shouldn’t be happy to leave them to set their own digital diet. If we want to make sure the time children do spend online is healthy and productive, parents must take responsibility.”
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. David Walliams was the biggest-selling author of 2017, overtaking JK Rowling with sales of more than £16 million from his children’s books.The writer and television presenter outsold fellow children’s authors Julia Donaldson and Philip Pullman, thriller writers James Patterson and Dan Brown, and TV chefs Jamie Oliver and Mary Berry.Walliams published his first book for children in 2008 and has been billed as the successor to Roald Dahl. His two most recent books, The World’s Worst Children and Bad Dad, helped boost his sales by almost 20 per cent on the previous year.He sold £16.57 million worth of books in 2017. Rowling came second in the list with sales of £15.47 million, as readers continued to lap up her Harry Potter books. Donaldson was third with sales of £14.65 million, followed by Jamie Oliver on £11.44 million and Lee Child on £7.5 million.The figures, compiled by Nielsen BookScan and published by The Bookseller, also showed that women dominated literary fiction sales last year.Nine out of the 10 best-selling literary authors were female, with Haruki Murakami the only male.Margaret Atwood topped the list with sales of £2.76 million, boosted by the Netflix adaptation of her dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. David Walliams at the launch of his 2014 book Awful AuntieCredit:Tim P Whitby/Getty Images Helen Dunmore, who died last summer, was second in the list, followed by Sarah Perry, author of the runaway bestseller The Essex Serpent.Naomi Alderman, Elena Ferrante, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Maggie O’Farrell and Arundhati Roy completed the top 10, edging out Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan and the Nobel Prize winner, Kazuo Ishiguro.
Visitors can see the original Beowulf manuscriptCredit:British Library Examples of expert craftmanship are on showCredit:Ashmolean Museum It is popularly held as a period when Britain and the rest of the world fell into a deep decline.But according to the British Library, the Dark Ages were anything but. The curator of a new exhibition has suggested the term unfairly maligns a time of great creativity and enlightened thinking.Dr Claire Breay said that objects in the “once-in-a-generation” exhibition, which opens on Friday, show that Britain was sophisticated and pioneering. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––She told The Telegraph: “I think people always think of this time as the Dark Ages. “We are trying to show the public and encourage them to engage with the literary and artistic evidence of the [Anglo-Saxon peoples’] complex and sophisticated lives.”At the time, she said, Britain lead the world in areas such as poetry, shown by texts like Beowulf, medicine, and organisation of land and taxes, which is shown by the Domesday Book. Displayed together for the first time are outstanding illuminated and decorated manuscripts, spanning six centuries from the eclipse of Roman Britain in the 5th century to the Norman Conquest of 1066. The intricate jewels worn by the rich can also be seen, with a notable example being the bright Alfred Jewel, surrounded by delicate gold carvings. Britain’s literary tradition is also on display; four principal manuscripts of Old English poetry are shown together for the first time, with the British Library’s unique manuscript of Beowulf displayed alongside the Vercelli Book returning to England for the first time from the Biblioteca Capitolare in Vercelli; the Exeter Book, and the Junius Manuscript.Visitors can also see music scores written for horns to be played centuries ago, displayed alongside an original instrument.There are many firsts to see in the exhibition; from the first political biography of a woman, to the first English letter.Dr Breay added: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to see an outstanding array of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and objects produced over six centuries, which demonstrate the sophistication and interconnected European world of Anglo-Saxon art, literature and history.” Dr Breay added: “That’s what made Britain so attractive for other countries to invade – it was prosperous and well-organised.“The exhibition shows many examples of just how sophisticated our literary tradition was.“Not only that but the Domesday Book shows the degree of the administrative sophistication we had.”Many of the objects show expert craftsmanship which has stood the test of time, most notably the brightly-decorated manuscripts which still glow and gleam in their original coloured ink. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
A school’s Progress 8 score measures progress of each pupil from the end of primary school up to GCSEs It compares pupils’ results with the achievements of other pupils that have the same prior attainment and measures performance across eight qualifications at age 16.The average progress score is zero, so a positive score means pupils are making above average progress and a negative score means below average. This year, the average Progress 8 score for white children in state schools was the lowest at -0.10, compared to -0.02 for mixed race, 0.45 for Asian, 0.12 for black and 1.03 for Chinese pupils. White children has the second lowest score for attainment, with an average of 46.1.Chinese pupils had the highest score of 64.2, followed by Asian children, while black children had the lowest. Both this year and last, children with English as a second language had a higher score for attainment and made better progress on average than native speakers. The data, which covers every secondary in England, shows that Yorkshire and the Humber has the lowest proportion of under-performing schools while the North West had the highest. Over a quarter (26 per cent) of all the under-performing schools in England are in the North-West, figures show. The figures also show that the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils has increased by 0.6 per cent since last year, but has narrowed by 9.5 per cent overall since 2011.Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “Making sure that all pupils, regardless of their background, are able to fulfil their potential is one of this Government’s key priorities and these results show that more pupils across the country are doing just that. “It’s been clear for some time that standards are rising in our schools and today’s data underlines the role academies and free schools are playing in that improvement, with progress above the national average and impressive outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.” White children are the least likely to achieve their potential between primary and secondary school, official data shows.Official data released by the Department for Education (DfE) shows that white children are making less progress compared to their peers from all other ethnic groups by the time they are 16-years-old.The figures also show that 346 secondary schools are considered under-performing, meaning they fall below the “floor standard”, with another 257 deemed to be “coasting”.These numbers appear to be an improvement – however, this year ministers have excluded University Technical Colleges (UTCs), further education colleges and studio schools from their calculations.These tend to specialise in vocational and technical qualifications and generally perform worse than mainstream schools.When these are also excluded from last year’s data set, figures show that the number of below average schools has gone up, from 8.9 per cent to 9.2 per cent for coasting schools and from 10.4 per cent to 11.6 per cent for schools that fail to meet the floor standard. In previous years, schools have been ranked according to the proportion of pupils achieving at least five grade A* to Cs at GCSE, including English and maths. This measure was scrapped two years ago in favour of a new system that measures progress as well as attainment. 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.
Toni McLachlan has denied having anything to do with Alesha’s deathCredit:PA The teenager, who gave evidence for more than two hours, told the court he saw Ms McLachlan in the early hours of that morning after she asked if he wanted to meet for a cigarette. A teenage boy has claimed he is the victim of an “extraordinarily wicked” plan to frame him for the rape and murder of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail.The 16-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, said he had never met Alesha and never knew her name before her body was found on July 2 last year.Giving evidence on his own behalf at the High Court in Glasgow, after the prosecution closed its case, he told the jury: “I would never do something like that.”He denies abducting, raping and killing the schoolgirl and has lodged a special defence blaming the crime on 18-year-old Toni McLachlan, the girlfriend of the victim’s father Robert MacPhail.The body of the schoolgirl, who died from significant pressure being applied to her face and neck, was discovered in a wooded area on the Isle of Bute.The court heard earlier on Tuesday that DNA found on Alesha’s body matched the teenager, with odds of more than a billion to one that it came from another person.He claims in his defence that he had sex with Mc McLachlan on July 2 and that she must have taken a condom he used and planted his DNA at the scene. He said he had previously had sex “fairly frequently” with her in late 2017, despite her being in a relationship with Mr MacPhail, and that he had previously bought cannabis from them.He claimed the pair started chatting that morning, before having sex again in a lock-up garage.The court heard earlier that Alesha was found at 8.54am later that morning in the grounds of the former Kyles Hydro Hotel on Bute.Asked by Brian McConnachie QC, defending, if he had sex with the schoolgirl, he said: “Absolutely not. I have never met Alesha in person. I did not even know her name.”He claimed he could “speculate” as to how his DNA could be at the murder scene, adding: “I cannot think of any other way that it could get on Alesha…that Toni took the condom when I left and just went and killed Alesha.”Iain McSporran QC, prosecuting, branded the boy a “confident liar” and asked him why Ms McLachlan would want to implicate him in the murder. The boy told the court: “I agree.”The prosecutor also told the teenager that Ms McLachlan would have taken a “big risk” to have met him that morning before returning to the home she shared with Mr MacPhail and his family to get Alesha.The boy said: “I cannot think of how else she would have done it.”Mr McSporran told him: “Someone brutalised Alesha MacPhail. It is either you or Toni McLachlan.”He replied: “Not me, absolutely not. I would never do something like that.”The trial continues. Robert MacPhail, Alesha’s father, at the High Court in GlasgowCredit:Getty The teenager replied: “To get away with it. Maybe she is mad at me for something.”Mr McSporran said: “So, she had murder in mind and would fit someone up. Someone, you say, she had sex with, someone she got on with. If that is right that makes her an extraordinarily wicked person?” 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 family of a teenager fatally stabbed by his friend have launched a legal challenge against the “unduly lenient” sentence he received.Yousef Makki, 17, died after being knifed in the heart in Hale Barns, Greater Manchester, on March 2.The teenager who dealt the fatal blow, referred to as Boy A for legal reasons, admitted perverting the course of justice and possession of a knife, and was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter.He was handed a 16-month detention and training order and will spend half of that period in custody.Another 17-year-old, known as Boy B, also admitted possessing a knife and was given a four-month detention and training order. He will also serve half of that sentence in custody.Yousef’s family is now appealing to the Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox QC, for the “unduly lenient” sentences to be increased.They wrote in legal submissions: “Public concern at the increase in knife crime must be reflected in the sentences imposed.”A sentence of 16-months did not reflect the overall criminality involving Boy A.”So far as Boy B is concerned, for substantially the same reasons as identified in relation to Boy A, the sentence imposed was unduly lenient.”Yousef’s sister Jade added: “We believe that these sentences do not send the right message to society. Knife crime is at its highest at the moment and we need tougher sentencing.” On the day of the murder, Boy A lied to police that Yousef had been stabbed by someone who fled the scene by car. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. This meant he was treated as a witness rather than a suspect and wasted valuable police resources, crown court judge Mr Justice Simon Bryan QC previously said.During sentencing, the judge said Boy A “found knives cool”, videoed himself with them and listened to drill music and gangster rap which “glorified” the carrying and use of blades.Last month a disturbing video emerged showing Boy A making stabbing gestures as drill music referring to “blades” and “shanks” – slang for “knives” – plays in the background.The footage, seen by The Telegraph, is believed to have been filmed in a toilet cubicle at Manchester Crown Court during the trial while the teenager was on bail.The video ended up being sent to Yousef’s family, who then sent it to the judge presiding over the case.Detectives are investigating if the person who sent it to the family have committed an offence under the Malicious Communications Act.Yousef, who had dreamed of becoming a heart surgeon, had won a scholarship to the prestigious Manchester Grammar School before his death. A schoolboy pays his respects to Yousef outside Manchester Grammar SchoolCredit:Mercury Press & Media/Mercury Press & Media
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Irfaan Ali said there was absolutely no space for Cabinet to give its “no objections” to contracts once the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) was in place.He said the PPC has complete oversight responsibility of the procurement process, something Cabinet should have relinquished once the Commission was established.Irfaan Ali“What I know is that once the PPC comes into operation, which is the position right now, there is absolutely no role for the Cabinet. The Cabinet cannot give any “no objection”; it cannot be involved in any aspect of procurement. The Commission has complete oversight responsibility of the procurement process,” Ali was quoted as saying in the Guyana Times.Following an announcement by the recently-established PPC, Government had come in for criticism for “overstepping its grounds”, by being involved in the issuance of public contracts although the Commission was established for this purpose. The Commission, coming out in rebuttal of accusations made against it, laid out on Friday that it did not have within its remit, giving “no objections” to contracts, although Government said that would be one of its major responsibilities.On Friday, the PPC, in response to reports in the media, sought to clear up the “misconceptions” about its real functions as a recently-established procurement body. According to the PPC, recent media reports have contributed to the notion that it had not yet commenced its work, resulting in the continuing role of Cabinet in the national procurement system, whereby it issues its “no objection” to the award of contracts.However, the body said that since its establishment in October last, it has been carrying out some basic preliminary work, required by the Constitution before it could begin carrying out its mandate, which incidentally does not include the granting of “no objections” to contracts.They included the election of a chairperson; followed by discussions with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the benefits and conditions of service for the Commissioners; and the determination of a staff structure for the establishment of a Secretariat, including the preparation of the terms and conditions of the proposed staff, of which the three principal officers require the approval of the National Assembly”.It said in pursuit of this mandate, Commissioners have been meeting almost daily, and in the absence of a fixed office.It continued that following a detailed review of the applicable legislative framework, it engaged several stakeholders within the national procurement system to sensitise them to the role and functions of the PPC. In this regard, members of the Commission said it interfaced and held discussions with more than 100 public officials from several agencies and departments that function in the public procurement system and deal directly with procurement matters.Earlier this month, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said that PPC was still inactive as it still was in the process of recruiting competent employees, and Cabinet would stop granting its no-objection when the PPC was ready to work.“Once they say to us ‘we are ready to function’, then Cabinet will cease doing anything, but since these are public infrastructural projects that need to be executed, we cannot just sit and wait,” the Minister of State posited.“Once the PPC indicates that they are ready, and then Cabinet will pull back,” he emphasised. Harmon also admitted that though the PPC has been inactive, the Commissioners have been receiving their salaries.Reports indicate that PPC Chairperson Carol Corbin is receiving $1.3 million monthly, while the other Commissioners are earning some $900,000 per month.The other Commissioners are Nanda Gopaul, Emily Dodson, Ivor English, and Sukrishnalall Pasha. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedProcurement commission hints Cabinet might continue offering ‘no-objection’ to contractsFebruary 24, 2017In “latest news”Govt. buckles under pressure: Defers Procurement Amendment Bill after extensive debateDecember 19, 2013In “Politics”TIGI slams Govt for approving Public Health contract to blacklisted companyAugust 30, 2017In “Business”,Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Irfaan Ali said there was absolutely no space for Cabinet to give its “no objections” to contracts once the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) was in place.He said the PPC has complete oversight responsibility of the procurement process, something Cabinet should have relinquished once the Commission was established.Irfaan Ali“What I know is that once the PPC comes into operation, which is the position right now, there is absolutely no role for the Cabinet. The Cabinet cannot give any “no objection”; it cannot be involved in any aspect of procurement. The Commission has complete oversight responsibility of the procurement process,” Ali was quoted as saying in the Guyana Times.Following an announcement by the recently-established PPC, Government had come in for criticism for “overstepping its grounds”, by being involved in the issuance of public contracts although the Commission was established for this purpose. The Commission, coming out in rebuttal of accusations made against it, laid out on Friday that it did not have within its remit, giving “no objections” to contracts, although Government said that would be one of its major responsibilities.On Friday, the PPC, in response to reports in the media, sought to clear up the “misconceptions” about its real functions as a recently-established procurement body. According to the PPC, recent media reports have contributed to the notion that it had not yet commenced its work, resulting in the continuing role of Cabinet in the national procurement system, whereby it issues its “no objection” to the award of contracts.However, the body said that since its establishment in October last, it has been carrying out some basic preliminary work, required by the Constitution before it could begin carrying out its mandate, which incidentally does not include the granting of “no objections” to contracts.They included the election of a chairperson; followed by discussions with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the benefits and conditions of service for the Commissioners; and the determination of a staff structure for the establishment of a Secretariat, including the preparation of the terms and conditions of the proposed staff, of which the three principal officers require the approval of the National Assembly”.It said in pursuit of this mandate, Commissioners have been meeting almost daily, and in the absence of a fixed office.It continued that following a detailed review of the applicable legislative framework, it engaged several stakeholders within the national procurement system to sensitise them to the role and functions of the PPC. In this regard, members of the Commission said it interfaced and held discussions with more than 100 public officials from several agencies and departments that function in the public procurement system and deal directly with procurement matters.Earlier this month, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said that PPC was still inactive as it still was in the process of recruiting competent employees, and Cabinet would stop granting its no-objection when the PPC was ready to work.“Once they say to us ‘we are ready to function’, then Cabinet will cease doing anything, but since these are public infrastructural projects that need to be executed, we cannot just sit and wait,” the Minister of State posited.“Once the PPC indicates that they are ready, and then Cabinet will pull back,” he emphasised. Harmon also admitted that though the PPC has been inactive, the Commissioners have been receiving their salaries.Reports indicate that PPC Chairperson Carol Corbin is receiving $1.3 million monthly, while the other Commissioners are earning some $900,000 per month.The other Commissioners are Nanda Gopaul, Emily Dodson, Ivor English, and Sukrishnalall Pasha.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMazaruni Prison Expansion works ongoingJuly 16, 2017In “Local News”60 steel cells to be constructed at Camp StreetJuly 6, 2018In “Crime”See your incarceration as your opportunity to get right back up – Director of PrisonsDecember 19, 2017In “Crime” Acting Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels, providing an update on the expansion of the Mazaruni Prison said that twelve of the living quarters earmarked for prison staff at the institution have been completed and a further eight are set for completion this year.An aerial view of the houses being constructed at the Mazaruni Prison“Twelve houses were constructed last year and an additional eight will be constructed in 2018. Last weekend the advertisement went out for the first four of the eight houses, the tenders are supposed to be open this week so more than likely the contract would be awarded soon” he noted.In an interview with the DPI, Samuels noted that along with the completed twelve houses, the installation of its new generator in 2017 and prospective solar panels in 2018, the Guyana Prison Service (GPS) also plans to increase the number of hours during which electricity is provided on the island facility.This, Samuels said, will not only make the officers’ stay a more comfortable one, but will also aid its electronic surveillance security system and increase the opportunities for its skills training programme.“It will increase our ability to be able to offer skill training to prisoners because most skill training requires power tools and it restricted the capacity of the prison to offer training in carpentry and other such areas that would require the use of power tools when power was not adequately available. We are also looking at the installation of solar panels which will also complement the generators especially for our CCTV expansion which will be part of our 2018 project as well.”Midair view of the area designated for the prison’s constructionAccording to Samuels, these upgrades are in keeping with the budget request of the GPS and the recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry (CoI).In the 2018 National Budget, the sum of $1.5 billion has been allocated to the GPS, a sizeable amount of which will go towards continuing the expansion of the prison with construction of a new brick wing to house an additional 400 inmates. The penitentiary currently houses 452.
In America, the Senate Finance Committee has unanimously approved an amendment offered by Senators Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) that extends until 2010 a critical alternative fuels tax credit that will help accelerate the production of clean, domestic coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuels. Finance Committee members approved adding the CTL tax credit amendment on October 4 to a larger tax package primarily focused on aiding the reauthorization of federal agricultural support programs. The amendment extends an existing 50% per gallon fuel excise tax credit for CTL until 2010 and requires CTL producers to capture and store 50% of carbon dioxide emissions. CTL producers could be required to capture and store 75% of carbon dioxide emissions should an independent arbitration panel determine that such a level is commercially feasible. Without an extension, the tax credit, created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, is set to expire in September 2009.National Mining Association President and CEO Kraig R. Naasz: “Looking forward, the CTLC (Coal-To-Liquids Coalition) will continue working with all Senate CTL supporters to ensure this tax credit extension is signed into law.”
Following the announcement by the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia on March 27 that he would not approve the proposed takeover of OZ Minerals by China Minmetals Non-ferrous Metals Co if Prominent Hill was part of the transaction, OZ Minerals has negotiated commercial terms for a transaction involving the sale of certain assets to Minmetals. The parties have signed a term sheet and are now working towards the execution of a sale and purchase agreement. The proposed transaction, which requires shareholder approval, involves the sale by OZ Minerals of Sepon, Golden Grove, Century, Rosebery, Avebury, Dugald River, High Lake, Izok Lake and certain other exploration and development assets to Minmetals for $1,206 million. OZ Minerals will retain Prominent Hill, Martabe, specific exploration assets in Cambodia and Thailand and its listed equity interests (including its interest in Toro Energy). If OZ Minerals retires all its debt (except for the Convertible Bonds on issue), it is expected to also have a cash balance of approximately A$600 million immediately upon completion of the transaction.Barry Cusack, Chairman of OZ Minerals, said: “While this is a structurally different proposal to the previous cash proposal from Minmetals of 82.5 cents per share, we believe it represents an attractive offer for OZ Minerals and our shareholders. Importantly, it also provides a complete solution to OZ Minerals’ refinancing issues.”Andrew Michelmore, Managing Director and CEO of OZ Minerals, added: “This structure also allows OZ Minerals’ shareholders to retain full ownership of Prominent Hill, which has now commenced production and is expected to become cashflow positive during the second half of 2009. Prominent Hill has significant upside potential, and OZ Minerals will have the financial capacity to continue its development. Shareholders will now be able to retain full exposure to the long-term growth profile of Prominent Hill.”The sale price assumes the businesses are purchased on a “cash free, debt free” basis and assuming normal levels of working capital. OZ Minerals is expected to retain all existing cash and debt obligations, and intends to use part of the cash proceeds to pay down most or all of its debt facilities.The parties have entered into an Exclusivity Deed, which will operate until April 13 . This Deed obliges the parties to use best endeavours to agree formal legal agreements for the asset sales and grants Minmetals exclusivity in relation to corporate transactions involving OZ Minerals until April 13 (other than the Martabe gold project).