American Gymnasts Are Exceptional On The Vault

But in the Olympics’ event finals, when gymnasts can win individual medals on apparatuses, the then-16-year-old American landed on her behind on an easier vault. That landed her the silver medal.Maroney wasn’t impressed, but she wasn’t deterred either. She returned next season with the same tough skill and won her second world vault title.Maroney is the highest flier in a recent line of fantastic American vaulters. But before 2005, only one American woman had ever won a medal in vault at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships: Brandy Johnson tied for silver in 1989. A decade-and-a-half later came Alicia Sacramone, who won four of the eight medals the U.S. has claimed in the event since 2005 — gold (2010), silver (2006) and bronze (2005 and 2007). And since 2009, the American women have won four world vaulting titles.There’s a good chance the medal streak will continue in 2014. Maroney is sitting out the world championships this week in Nanning, China, following knee surgery, but Simone Biles (the current U.S. and world all-around champion) and Mykayla Skinner have qualified to compete in Saturday’s vault final. Of note, Biles posted the highest qualifying score for the vault, balance beam, floor exercise and all-around.Long gone are the days of the perfect 10. In vaulting finals, gymnasts perform two vaults from two groups, and each earns two marks — one for difficulty and one for execution. The difficulty score is predetermined and higher if there are more saltos and twists. For example, the Amanar that Maroney and Biles (below) generally perform has a 6.3 difficulty value, downgraded in 2013 from a 6.5; Skinner’s Cheng is worth 6.4.The execution mark is out of 10 and considers the gymnast’s form on the vaulting table and in the air; her height and distance from the table; and how she lands (i.e. whether she “sticks” the landing). Those values sum to produce a total score for each vault. The average of the two total scores determines the gymnast’s final score.So, Americans are good at vaulting, but just how good are they at eking out the best scores for particular vaults? I used results provided by USA Gymnastics to plot the 76 vaults completed in the most prestigious vaulting event each year since 2009 (for every season except 2012, an Olympic year, that event is the world championships). As the chart below shows, U.S. gymnasts have generally received some of the best execution scores for vaults at the highest levels of difficulty. (A technical note: I plotted only the raw difficulty and execution marks prior to penalties. I omitted four vaults that received a total score of 0.00; a gymnast earns a 0.00 if, for instance, she fails to land on her feet first, or touches the springboard or table without completing the vault.)The two outliers in the bottom right corner belong to Yamilet Peña Abreu of the Dominican Republic, who lacked in execution while performing the demanding Produnova at the London Games and the 2013 world championship. (At the 2011 world championships, she landed on her back and earned a 0.00.) Last year, the vault — a front handspring onto the table followed by two front somersaults — was downgraded by 0.1, to a difficulty score of 7.0. Peña Abreu was the first gymnast to complete it in competition since its namesake, Elena Produnova, in 1999. Two others have landed it in competition in 2014. You may not remember the vault. You probably remember her face.In 2012, McKayla Maroney performed at the Olympic Games what was deemed by women’s gymnastics judges and commentators as perhaps the best-executed vault in the history of the sport. Her jaw-dropping Amanar, which includes two-and-a-half twists, came in the team portion of the competition: read more

We Gonna Be Championship A New Approach To Fixing Sports Quotes

Editor’s note: Tuesday was opening day at The Undefeated, a new ESPN website that explores the intersections of race, sports and culture. In an introductory letter, Kevin Merida, its editor-in-chief, says the site won’t shrink from covering challenging subjects with a mix of original reporting, innovative storytelling, provocative commentary, must-see video, narratives and investigations. At FiveThirtyEight, we’re so excited at having a new sibling that we’ll be running several of The Undefeated’s articles on our site this week — including the one that follows here — and we have big plans for partnerships in the future. More stories from The Undefeated:The puzzling plummet of RGIII, by Jason ReidMass incarceration is a local issue, by Brando Simeo StarkeyKimberly Clay finds solace in running Play Like a Girl, by Kelley D. Evans It’s not enough to hope for brilliant basketball in these Western Conference finals that feature four of the top-seven finishers in this year’s MVP voting. I want to see flawed quotes, in all of their glory, presented without fear of backlash. If Kevin Durant leaves out a letter of an indefinite article when disparaging an owner or Brazilian Leandro Barbosa uses broken English during a postgame interview, it could end up being the best part of the series — as long as they are allowed to truly speak for themselves.If you think quoting people accurately can’t be controversial then you haven’t read about Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle relaying the English words of Dominican-born Houston Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez verbatim:Gomez: “For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed.”Critics, including Gomez himself, accused Smith of ridiculing Gomez by highlighting the native Spanish speaker’s grammatical inaccuracies. The editor of the Chronicle apologized.Since when should journalists apologize for being accurate?Smith would only be in the wrong if he went out of his way to mock Gomez. Instead, Smith did the opposite, crediting Gomez for an honest self-assessment of his time with the Astros that included a .237 batting average and only four home runs.Reasonable people can make allowances for those who use English as a second language. Instead of teasing them for their shortcomings, we can applaud them for successfully conveying their thoughts.The Smith-Gomez flap brought up a debate about the old journalistic tradition of “cleaning up” quotes — that is, making slight fixes to align grammar and pronunciation with standard English.This is a tradition that needs to go.For one, it’s patronizing, with the implication that anything that deviates from the norm is inherently inferior and must be corrected. Black English, for example, isn’t a referendum on intelligence — it’s a reflection of centuries of segregation, just as American English is a linguistic representation of our country’s split from Britain. Passing judgment based on speech can often say more about the listener than the speaker. (Do we consider Yoda any less wise because of his mixed-up syntax?)And in an age where postgame news conferences are televised and video of most locker room interviews can be found online, altering quotes can damage credibility when the real versions are so readily available for comparison.Sometimes there is no fix to be found, no way to improve on the wonderfully wobbly phrases such as Barbosa’s proclamation last year that “We gonna be championship!”It became a rallying cry for the Golden State Warriors; and when Barbosa’s prediction came true, the Warriors shouted it out in their champagne-drenched locker room Instagram post.Recently, Barbosa delivered the “We gonna be championship” sequel. It still sounds great.Durant’s most memorable line of these playoffs can’t be found in a box score. It came when he responded to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s claim that Russell Westbrook isn’t a superstar by saying: “He’s a idiot.”Technically, it should have been “He’s AN idiot.” The incorrect article didn’t detract from the power of the statement. Nor did it alter our perception of Durant as a thoughtful person. If we can celebrate Westbrook pushing the boundaries of fashion, we can allow Durant to step outside the rigidity of grammar.When we cover the NBA, we cover a diverse array of characters, with all of their successes and failures. And when you get down to it, we cover who’s gonna be championship and who’s a idiot, no matter how those things are phrased. read more

Texans Arian Foster Gives Up Meat For Peace

Houston running back Arian Foster has made a lifestyle change that he hopes promotes better health and tranquility. He’s given up meats.“Officially a vegan now. We’ll see how this goes. But week one down. So far, so good. Feels wonderful,” the 6-foot-1, 229-pound running back said of giving up any form of animal products.News of Foster’s diet decision caused a social media uproar.“People feel so strong about meat and milk. I wish they felt this strong about peace,” the two-time Pro Bowler wrote shortly after his original tweet.“I don’t think there is any better place for a new vegan to gain notoriety than Texas, the only state that shows up twice on the list of America’s most obese cities,” said Cameron Patton, a writer for OneGreenPlanet.Org “People are already converting their diets in the wake of Foster’s decision, tweeting comments that thank him for the push. (Comments like) ‘Arian, you have inspired me to go vegan; I hope I can do it. Gotta try to be healthier.’“Believe it or not, Arian is not the first NFL player from a Texas team to go vegan. Tony Fiammetta, who plays for the Dallas Cowboys is 6 feet tall and 242 pounds is also fueled by a plant-powered diet.”Since taking hold of the Texans’ starting job in 2010, Foster has run for 2,840 yards on 605 carries and caught 119 passes for 1,221 yards. Undrafted out of Tennessee four years ago, he signed a five-year, $43.5 million contract with Houston in March. read more

Ray Rice On AntiBullying Campaign in Wake of Kids

Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice has been somewhat of a bully on the football field, running over opponents at every chance. But he has a problem with bullying among kids at school, and wants to stem this growing trend.The 26-year-old Rice has spoken at several local Maryland schools about bullying, having been touched by the death of 12-year-old Bailey O’ Neill.O’ Neill, who was a student at Darby Township in Pennsylvania, was taken off life support Sunday after being placed in a medically induced coma. He was beaten up by fellow classmates on January 10, causing seizures. Doctors placed O’Neill in the medically induced coma to stop the seizures.Rice took to his Facebook page Sunday.“I reached out to the family and was able to spend about 45 minutes on the phone with them,” Rice wrote. “I could hear their sadness, worry, frustration and grief. They would be faced with removing their son, cousin, nephew, and best friend from life support.”The Super Bowl champion expressed confusion in trying to understand why bullying has been so prevalent.“I don’t know if we will ever get to a point where bullying is actually considered a CRIME, rather than “kids being kids” or a “playground incident,” Rice wrote.Rice told between thousands at an anti-bullying rally in Baltimore last July that his sister was the victim of bullying.“Going into the eighth grade, a girl kept on picking [my sister],” Rice said via The Postgame. “The girl threw a rock, hit my sister in the eye, and my mother’s first reaction was to tell her to retaliate. That wasn’t the right answer.”Rice said after getting the police and the principal involved, that his sister has not had any more problems from the girl. Unfortunately, the outcome for Bailey was not the same.“But, I DO KNOW THIS: I will NOT give up my fight. Every day I will continue to fight AGAINST bullying and fight FOR Kindness,” Rice wrote.He added: “Bailey – my little buddy, I will not let you become just another bully statistic…you are my inspiration and one more angel that will help me continue the fight for kids everywhere. You are going to help me save lives. RIP my little friend.”The investigation into O’Neill’s death is ongoing. read more

This Years Indians Are Secretly Better Than Last Years

2007NL WestSDPARI1.09.3-8.3ARI *Second place in the 2017 AL Central division is currently tied.Excludes strike-shortened seasons in 1981 and 1995.Sources: Retrosheet, ESPN Stats & Info WINS 1992AL WestMINOAK1.08.7-7.7OAK 1997NL EastATLFLA4.09.8-5.8ATL 1972NL EastPITNYM5.013.3-8.3PIT 1989AL EastBALNYY6.011.2-5.2TOR The Indians are on pace to outplay their World Series versionProduction per 162 games for 2016 and 2017 Cleveland Indians So the good news for Cleveland is that it’s badly outplayed both of its would-be division challengers. The bad news is, that’s not always enough. Among the midseason division leaders on the list above, only two-thirds of them ended up eventually winning the crown, despite starting off with an average lead of 3.3 games.Even so, FiveThirtyEight’s MLB Elo ratings give the Tribe a 70 percent chance of winning the Central and an 81 percent shot at making it back to the playoffs, despite what’s shaping up to be a crowded AL wild card picture. You wouldn’t guess it from the standings, but if the Indians just keep playing the way they have been, they should be right in the thick of things again come October.Check out our latest MLB predictions. 1985NL EastSTLNYM3.09.1-6.1STL 2008AL CentralCHWMIN1.07.8-6.8CHW 2008NL EastPHIFLA1.08.9-7.9PHI 1989NL WestSFGHOU2.08.6-6.6SFG 2017AL CentralCLEMIN*2.010.9-8.9— 1993AL WestCHWKCR1.06.7-5.7CHW Nobody has secretly dominated like the 2017 IndiansDivision leaders with largest difference between actual and Pythagorean-predicted leads through 82 games, 1969-2017 YEARDIVISIONLEADERNO. 2ACTUALPYTHAG.DIFF.WINNER 1973AL WestOAKANA1.06.3-5.3OAK 1971AL EastBALBOS3.09.3-6.3BAL 1985NL WestSDPLAD2.08.4-6.4LAD Difference-7.7+1.6+0.1 2017AL CentralCLEKCR*2.08.5-6.5— 2012AL CentralCHWCLE2.08.6-6.6DET 1969AL EastBALBOS12.018.1-6.1BAL The biggest factor holding Cleveland’s record back has been a distinct lack of clutch hitting: Tribe hitters have the majors’ third-worst on-base plus slugging (OPS) with two outs and runners in scoring position, and its second-worst OPS in “high leverage” situations. But their vaunted relief pitching — led by do-everything relief ace Andrew Miller — has been as good as advertised, as have starters Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. Although Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Edwin Encarnacion and Francisco Lindor have all been various degrees of disappointing in the first half, third baseman Jose Ramirez has enjoyed a breakout season (he ranks 11th in the majors in WAR). Taken altogether, Cleveland is playing just fine.But the team happens to be caught up in one of the most misleading division races ever, as far as the standings go. Through 82 games apiece, the AL Central-leading Indians’ record was two games better than those of the Royals and Twins.2Cleveland played its 82nd game on July 4, while Kansas City and Minnesota have currently played 83 games. But according to Pythagorean records, Cleveland “should” be 8.5 games up on Kansas City, and 10.9 games up on the Twins, whose -54 run differential is almost exactly the negative mirror image of the Indians’ mark.That 8.9-game difference between Cleveland’s actual and Pythagorean leads over Minnesota is the biggest gap between a division leader and runner-up at this stage of the season3Through 82 games. in the history of divisional play (since 1969): 201786.992.847.1 1976NL WestCINLAD6.013.5-7.5CIN 1970NL EastNYMPIT2.07.1-5.1PIT SEASONACTUALPYTHAGOREANWINS ABOVE REPLACEMENT Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs DIVISION LEAD 1998NL CentralHOUMIL7.013.2-6.2HOU 201694.691.247.0 Just like its struggling World Series counterparts in Chicago, things haven’t been easy for the Cleveland Indians’ pennant defense this season. The team that was one ninth-inning run away from stunning the Cubs last November looked even stronger heading into this season. The core of young talent was intact, a pair of aces missing from its postseason run were healthy, and the normally frugal Indians’ front-office shelled out $60 million for a new slugger. But despite an enormous on-paper advantage in talent, the Tribe hasn’t exactly blown the doors off the American League.Cleveland was trailing in the American League Central as recently as the last week of June; even now, they only lead the second-place Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals by a game and a half each. For a franchise that hasn’t made back-to-back playoff appearances since 1999, the 2017 Indians appear on the surface to be headed for disappointment, just like every other season on the Cuyahoga since 1948.But unlike the Cubs, who’ve mostly earned their disappointing sub-.500 record, Cleveland has played much better this season than their Ws and Ls would indicate. The team’s +58 run differential ranks seventh-best in major league baseball, placing it firmly in the next tier of contenders below the dominant Dodgers/Astros/Diamondbacks/Yankees/Nationals group at the top of the game’s pecking order. According to both the Pythagorean expectation (which converts a team’s run differential into an expected winning percentage) and total team wins above replacement1All mentions of WAR in this story will refer to an average between the competing versions offered at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. (WAR), the 2017 Indians have been superior to the 2016 version that ultimately ended up winning the AL pennant: read more

Peyton Manning Had The Worst Season Of Any Super Bowl Quarterback Ever

With a few notable exceptions, one being Brother Eli on the 2007 Giants, even the dumpier quarterbacks who get to the Super Bowl tend to play at about a league-average level. But Manning has blazed a new trail for ineffective passers with eyes on the Super Bowl, so long as they play in front of a superlative defense and cobble together a few decent playoff starts. There’s a reason the 2015 Broncos’ most similar team was the 2009 New York Jets.Funny thing, however: Manning playing poorly doesn’t seem to matter very much for Denver’s chances of winning the game. Based on regular-season value over average, Cam Newton and the Panthers have a huge advantage in the passing game over the Broncos — the sixth-biggest in any Super Bowl since the merger, in fact2The biggest passing mismatch was the aforementioned 2007 Eli against the record-setting Tom Brady. — but that hasn’t mattered much in past Super Bowls. Whether you look at total or per-attempt measures of value, there’s essentially zero correlation between the disparity in regular-season QB performance for the Super Bowl opponents and the eventual point margin of the game itself. This makes sense, as the equilibrium of a successful team will account for poor play from any given position (even QB) if the rest of the team is strong enough. And given the importance of quarterbacks to modern NFL play, the Broncos’ compensation for Manning’s play is just about the most impressive thing we’ve seen out of a unit leading up to a Super Bowl. Peyton Manning, The Sheriff, is back in the Super Bowl saddle. Good for him; we’ve written many paeans to Manning over the years, for the simple reason that he’s the greatest statistical quarterback of all time. But let’s face it: 2015 was also far — faaaaaar — from Manning’s best season, and in the context of a Super Bowl appearance, Manning’s standard of play pales even in comparison to “game managers” like Trent Dilfer. In a lot of ways, Peyton’s 2015 was worst regular-season performance ever by a QB who would eventually start the Super Bowl.During the regular season, Denver had the NFL’s eighth-worst passing offense according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average, with a mark one full standard deviation worse than average. That’s really bad by Super Bowl standards: If we index the Broncos’ DVOA relative to the league, the only post-merger Super Bowl team to throw the ball less effectively were the Vince Ferragamo-led 1979 Los Angeles Rams.Now, Manning was injured during the regular season and missed six games, so you might think others share in the blame over the Broncos’ lousy aerial attack. But you can’t pin this on Brock Osweiler — he was mediocre in Manning’s stead, not outright horrible. Manning, on the other hand, was the league’s worst QB (on a per-drop-back basis) according to adjusted net yards per attempt (ANY/A), and its second-worst according to DVOA. He ranked among the bottom 15 percent of NFL passers in not just conventional categories such as touchdown and interception rate, but also fancier numbers like the percentage of his throws that were on-target.1In the estimation of ESPN’s Stats & Information group. Plain and simple, he stank.Let’s compare Manning’s overall season to those of other Super Bowl starting QBs over the years. If we judge by ANY/A compared to the league average from the season in question, Manning’s 2015 ranks second-worst, again ahead of only Ferragamo’s catastrophic 1979 numbers. And Ferragamo’s damage was at least limited: He started only five of the Rams’ 16 games, and played in an age when teams passed less, so a poor QB wasn’t as harmful to his team’s chances as today. (Not that it mattered for Ferragamo; his Rams lost the Super Bowl to the Steelers 31-19.)Manning, by contrast, plays in a pass-crazed era and threw the ball about as often per game as his peers, despite his horrible passing efficiency rates. The result, according to Football Perspective founder Chase Stuart’s method of judging QB value versus league average (which considers both passing and rushing value) was by far the worst regular season by a Super Bowl starter since the merger. read more

Report Evan Lisle transferring from Ohio State football

Ohio State will be losing some offensive line depth next season, as fourth-year junior offensive lineman Evan Lisle will reportedly transfer to Duke University next season.Bucknuts of 247Sports was the first to report. Duke Athletics confirmed that Lisle had joined the program officially on Jan. 11.Lisle, a 6-foot-7, 308 pound native of Centerville, Ohio, backed up multiple positions this year on the line. Last season, the junior saw playing time on special teams, including extended time on the offensive line against Rutgers.Even with the praise of the backup offensive line from OSU by coach Greg Studrawa in the preseason, Lisle had limited time in the trenches for the Buckeyes this year. Lisle is a graduate transfer, and will be available immediately for the Blue Devils next season. While the departure might hurt the depth of the offensive line, it aids in OSU meeting the scholarship limit of 85. The Buckeyes currently have 91 players on scholarship, which includes the incoming 2017 recruiting class, with that number likely to grow as more members of the commit to OSU for 2017.Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with confirmation from Duke Athletics read more

Urban Meyer Keeping momentum will be key coming out of bye week

Just five games and seven weeks into the season, the Ohio State football team has already found itself with two bye weeks.The Buckeyes (5-1, 1-0) are scheduled to return to the field this weekend, two weeks removed from their 52-24 win against Maryland on Oct. 4. On Monday, OSU coach Urban Meyer met with members of the media to discuss the unusual early-season breaks, the development of offensive skill players and the talent on his young roster.Meyer said the Buckeyes have to find a way to keep the momentum going after a week off between the Maryland win and the week leading up to a matchup with Rutgers.He called the second early-season bye week “a little bit of uncharted waters for myself.”Meyer called Rutgers’ last game — a 26-24 win against Michigan on Oct. 4 — a “tremendous effort.”Meyer: “We’re a young team that’s getting older.” He said the young players on both sides of the ball are continuing to develop and contribute.He said he will talk to the team “like grown men” to discuss keeping the momentum going this week.Meyer said the Buckeyes are “no where near where we will end up.” Said the team is “still growing” and “much better” than where it was two weeks ago.He said the defensive line needs to find more depth, young players need to step up and contribute.Meyer said the OSU offensive coaching staff adapts well to the available personnel. Had to adapt to a new-look group this season.He said the offensive staff is in charge of the product on the field as long as the players have the talent, which is the case at OSU.Meyer said he would “always go defense first” if given the option in an overtime game.He said it makes no difference that he and his players haven’t gone up against Rutgers before and said its win against Michigan caught his eye.Meyer said he voted Mississippi No. 1 on his ballot this week.He said he wishes more true freshmen — like freshman linebacker Sam Hubbard — were playing this season, but added it’s not worth wasting a year of eligibility for a player to get into games for a handful of snaps.Meyer: “This is an extremely young team that got hit in the face in training camp with some injuries.”He said despite those injuries, “the cool thing is we had a redshirt-freshman quarterback grow up right in front of our eyes.”He said credit is due for a few guys — Barrett, redshirt-junior tight end Nick Vannett and redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Michael Thomas — who weren’t really factors in the past.With 13 of 24 starters being freshmen or sophomores, Meyer said it’s “a good sign for the future” at OSU.Meyer said injured senior quarterback Braxton Miller gave the Buckeyes the “wow factor,” which isn’t as prominent with Barrett under center.He said he feels better about the offensive skill this season than he has in the past.Meyer said redshirt-senior running back Rod Smith was a “non-factor” during the spring but is now a strong contributor.The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to the field on Saturday to take on Rutgers at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. read more

Mens basketball Musa Jallow commits to Ohio State will play in 201718

Ohio State men’s basketball 2017-18 roster receives immediate help in the form of Musa Jallow.The four-star shooting guard committed to coach Chris Holtmann and the Buckeyes Friday night and will reclassify to the 2017 class making him immediately eligible.The prospect was originally a member of the 2018 recruiting class, but Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch tweeted that he had reclassified to the 2017 class just before his announcement. The Bloomington, Indiana, native received offers from Virginia, Vanderbilt and Indiana, as well as an offer from Butler while Holtmann was the coach. The initial offer from Ohio State came in May during former Ohio State coach Thad Matta’s tenure.The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Jallow is the eighth-ranked prospect in the state of Indiana and 120th overall, according to 247Sports composite rankings. The scouting site also pegs the Bloomington North product as the 31st-best shooting guard. Jallow is the second recruit to announce his intention to play for Holtmann at Ohio State, following 2017 forward Kyle Young who flipped from Butler to Ohio State a week after the Holtmann was hired. The Buckeyes had lost all three previous commitments to the 2018 class — each were considered four-star prospects by 247Sports composite rankings. Small forward Darius Bazley decommitted prior to Matta’s exit on April 6, and small forward Justin Ahrens and shooting guard Dane Goodwin both re-opened their recruitments on June 6 and June 21, respectively, after it was announced Matta would be leaving.Bazley verbally committed to Syracuse on Monday while Goodwin gave his word to Notre Dame on Wednesday. read more

Butter and salt are not a problem when it comes to heart

first_imgButter, crisps and salt are “not a problem” and eating them will not cause heart disease, a top cardiac surgeon has claimed.Samer Nashef, a consultant surgeon at Papworth hospital, suggested people should not modify their lifestyles to stop high cholesterol, which can trigger heart attacks and strokes.They should instead eat what they want, within reason, and take statins – cheap daily pills that reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood.The only things that can combat heart disease are stopping smoking, controlling diabetes or high blood pressure and losing weight if you are obese, he added.  The things that do not matter; butter, salt, crisps. These things are not problems Speaking to The Telegraph after the talk, he added: “I start from the principle that most people, like me, believe that they should not shift from an enjoyable lifestyle to a more restrictive one without solid evidence that there is real benefit in the shift.”When it comes to smoking and obesity, the evidence is overwhelming… the evidence for salt being harmful is nowhere near as clear cut, and the evidence for butter being harmful is virtually nonexistent.”The messianic zeal with which users of salt and butter are harangued is simply not justified by the data.” But Mr Nashef insisted that stopping smoking was the “most important” thing to do. “There are some things you can’t do anything about, I’ll tell you what they are; your family, your genes… you can’t change your parents, your age, sex,” he said.“Men do worse, old people do worse and people with terrible family history do worse. “There are some things that will definitely help. The first thing and most important is don’t smoke because that is absolutely a guarantee.”“Being obese is also bad, if you have a high blood pressure it must be controlled because that is a problem as well and diabetes should be controlled.”Mr Nashef said if he had a set of patients and one was young with no clear risk factors, he could guarantee they smoked. Mr Nashef’s book also claims patients should ask their surgeon when they are going on holiday as the mortality rate is just over double the day before a trip, when compared with the day after. “We looked at the patients operated on by me and my colleagues the day immediately after a holiday and the ones operated on on the day just before we went on holiday and then everybody else, the ones operated on far from holidays and we took the everyone else as a standard,” he said. “And what we found is that the patients operated on the day just before we went on holiday had a mortality rate that was a little bit more than double the ones operated on when we came back. “And that was a bit of a surprise, I wasn’t expecting the getting back to be that safe and there are possibly psychological reasons for that. One of them is being a little bit deskilled and rusty and out probably makes you a little bit more careful… and you don’t cut corners. I can’t prove that but I expect it is one element.”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. They should not shift from an enjoyable lifestyle to a more restrictive one without solid evidence that there is real benefitSamer Nashef Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Mr Nashef said: “The things that do not matter; butter, salt, crisps. These things are not problems.”He later added: “If you have high cholesterol and you are worried about that and thinking of taking a statin then the best thing about it is you can take the statin, which will make your cholesterol drop so far that it doesn’t matter what you eat afterwards.”Statins have been the focus of a long-running debate for years, with many professionals claiming they carry the risk of serious and damaging side effects.For decades, health bodies, including the NHS, have also warned people not to consume excess saturated fats, claiming they can damage the heart.Current guidelines recommend that less than 10 per cent of daily calories are taken from saturated fats to reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.last_img read more

Allergy warning as Nestle recalls batch of KitKat Bites over fears they

first_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. Nestle has recalled a batch of its KitKat Bites and warned people with nut or peanut allergies to be “especially vigilant” after incorrectly packaging the chocolates.The confectioner said it is recalling bags of KitKat Original Milk Chocolate Bites as they may have been incorrectly packed with peanut butter chocolates.A company spokesman said: “Although these packs are clearly labelled with ‘may contain peanuts and nuts’ there is a risk to anyone with a nut or peanut allergy who may consume their contents without realising.”Although these products are otherwise safe to consume we are making this recall as a precaution.”This does not affect any other KitKat products.”Nestle said the product affected is the 104g KitKat Bites pouch bag, with the line code 12311184 and batch code 70720457V2.People who have bought the chocolates are advised not to eat them but return them to Nestle, with a full refund.Anyone concerned about the issue should contact Nestle on 0800 604 604.last_img read more

Prince Charles fellow Gordonstoun pupil condemns untrue and inaccurate Crown storyline

first_imgA former pupil has condemned The Crown for its “untrue and inaccurate” storyline about Prince Charles’ schooldays, saying the on-screen version of Gordonstoun does not “remotely resemble” the reality. Its nickname of “Colditz in kilts” was hardly flattering. Its portrayal in Netflix drama The Crown even worse. Hugh Lamont, a retired civil servant, wrote to the Telegraph to dispute the Netflix storyline, which sees an episode dedicated to a miserable young Prince Charles being ostracised and tormented at a freezing cold school. “It is so untrue and inaccurate that one wonders what… But Gordonstoun school has at least one reason to look on the bright side: loyal Old Boys rallying to its defence.last_img read more

BBC foreign editors should not earn more than British ambassadors says new

first_imgJon Sopel, the BBC’s North America editor, earns £200,000-£249,999 per year. Sir Kim Darroch, Britain ambassador to the US, earns £180,000-£184,999. Matt Hancock Among the few big names on staff, rather than a short-term contract, is Huw Edwards. The BBC is said to have asked him to take a cut, but he is under no obligation to agree.Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hancock said the BBC must set “appropriate levels of pay in an organisation funded by licence fee payers”.He told MPs: “All of these jobs are in public service, and when you are in the service of the public, restraint is necessary.”Men working for the BBC earn an average of 9.3 per cent more than its women. Lord Hall has said this puts the corporation in “a better place” than other organisations, as the UK average is 18 per cent. But Mr Hancock said: “The defence that they as an organisation are better than others and better than the average is, frankly, not good enough – not just because everybody should be doing better, but because the BBC should be held to a higher standard because they are a treasured national institution and our national broadcaster.”A BBC spokesman said: “We have great respect for the diplomatic service but the BBC is an international broadcaster and while we can’t match the salaries offered by some of our rivals, it is media companies we have to compete against for talent.” 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. Matt Hancock answered questions in the Commons on his first day as Culture SecretaryCredit:PAcenter_img Carrie Gracie The BBC must bring down the pay of its top journalists, the new Culture Secretary has said, arguing that it is unacceptable for the corporation’s foreign editors to earn more than British ambassadors to the same countries.On his first day in the job, Matt Hancock waded into the BBC pay row and said the public service broadcaster should be held to a higher standard than other organisations.“This isn’t just a matter of levelling women’s pay – it is a matter of equality. Working for the BBC is public service, and a great privilege, yet some men at the BBC are paid far more than other equivalent public servants,” Mr Hancock said.“The BBC has begun to act and I welcome that, but more action – much more action – is needed, especially when BBC foreign editors can earn more than Her Majesty’s ambassadors in the same jurisdiction.”His intervention came as Lord Hall of Birkenhead, the BBC director-general, was asked to appear before a Commons select committee alongside Carrie Gracie, who this week resigned as China editor after discovering she is paid at least 50 per cent less than her male counterparts. Carrie Gracie has resigned as China editor in protest at unequal payCredit:Dominic Lipinski/PA Gracie earns £135,000 per year – more than Dame Barbara Woodward, ambassador to China, whose salary is £120,000-£124,999.Asked if some of the BBC’s high salaries are “impossible to defend”, Mr Hancock replied: “Absolutely spot on.”He also called for the BBC to close the gender pay gap before the 2020 deadline set by Lord Hall. It is understood that a significant number of male presenters have already accepted lower pay deals since the summer as their contracts have come up for renewal, when salaries of £150,000 or over were made public at the government’s insistence.One high-earning star said: “Every male I know is having their pay moved down, unless they are on staff.”last_img read more

Prince Philip leads tributes to genius Telegraph cartoonist Matt as he celebrates

first_imgJilly Cooper, bestselling author“Like a sunrise, he lifts the heart.”He’s achingly funny, but also he’s very good at characterisation. He seems to get the moment and just illustrate people so brilliantly.“They make me laugh for days afterwards.” Matt Pritchett Theresa May’s favourite cartoonCredit:Matt Evan Davis, broadcaster and Newsnight hostDavid said, when reading the newspapers each morning, “I absolutely promise the Matt cartoon was the thing I looked at first”.”It’s a gentle way in to the newspaper: you’re about to be assailed by all the kind of bad news…to make all of that more bearable, you’ll want it to start with the gentle wit of a cartoon…none greater than Matt himself.” Matt at workCredit:Jane Mingay 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. Reflecting on the last 30 years, Matt Pritchett said: “Time flies when you’re panicking about tomorrow’s cartoon.”Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, was also invited to join the anniversary celebrations. His team politely declined, saying none of the Matt cartoons they had seen about Mr Corbyn were funny. “Matt sent this cartoon to me and I have it in my office in Downing Street. It exemplifies how great he is at taking major political events and seeing the humour in them.  It’s always good for politicians to laugh at ourselves and he helps us to do that.”David Cameron, Prime Minister 2010 to 2016 “But even if I’d had his phone number I would have known better than to try it on him. Max Beerbohm once wrote how he’d written a song for a favourite music hall performer, and at the last moment decided not to send it to him because, he said, to hit the bull’s eye you’d have to  be  him. “Still less would I have been able to draw the joke; which is the other thing about Matt: how does he do it?  I have often stared at his faces, wondering how something so “wrong” could be so right, how a pair of eyebrows and half a chin can conjure  not just a face but an inner life.  Chris Evans, Telegraph editor, said: “In an unpredictable world, our readers know that Matt’s cartoon can be relied on to lift their spirits and make them smile. All of us at The Telegraph are delighted to celebrate 30 incredible years of cartoons with him.” National treasures from John Humphrys to Jilly Cooper have selected their favourite drawings, with Newsnight’s Evan Davis declaring that, in a crowded field of British cartoonists, there are “none better”. The Duke of Edinburgh joked he is the world's most experienced plaque unveiler shortly before his retirement A message from Prince Philip A favourite of both David Davis and John HumphrysCredit:Matt “I hope Matt has many more years of drawing ahead of him – to highlight the national mood; embarrass politicians and public figures alike; and carry on delighting us all.”Gordon Brown, Prime Minister 2007 to 2010“Cartoonists often get far nearer to the truth than other commentators and over 30 tumultuous years Matt Pritchett has consistently demonstrated exactly that. “If, as it is said, a picture can paint a thousand words, then a pocket cartoon conjured up by Matt can regularly do even more.”Tony Blair, Prime Minister 1997 to 2007 Theresa May's favourite cartoon “Even when I was the subject of a Matt cartoon I always found them brilliant, witty and pointed without being offensive. And still do. I loved the fox one. It has about five different messages in one single picture.” Matt's cartoon commemorating the retirement of the Duke of Edinburgh David Cameron's favourite cartoon, about the day he left his daughter in the pub Sir John Major, Prime Minister 1990 to 1997 Tony Blair's favourite cartoon Sir John Major's favourite cartoon A favourite of both David Davis and John Humphrys Sir Tom Stoppard, playwright: “Matt has entered my brain.  Sometimes on reading a news story I wonder idly, ‘What would Matt do with this?'”A pocket cartoon doesn’t grow on you, it jolts the laugh out of you by making a connection just before you might have made it yourself. “Now and again I think up my own Matt cartoon. When the founder of Ikea died I thought of a Matt chap scratching his head over the instructions for assembling a flat-pack coffin.  Gyles Brandreth, writer and actor“I think he’s a genius. We have a wide range of brilliant cartoonists in this country; no country can compare with ours. The leader of the pack is undoubtedly – and has been since the beginning of his work for The Telegraph 30 years ago – Matt. Theresa May, Prime Minister 2016 to present David Cameron’s favourite cartoon, about the day he left his daughter in the pubCredit:Matt “I love this cartoon – as does my family. So much so that my daughter, Nancy, has it displayed on her bedroom wall.”Matt has always been one of my favourites – the way in which he manages to get to the very heart of a scandal or issue with such a light touch and in a very comic way is genius. “I’ve been so fortunate that he agreed to design a few of my recent Christmas cards – always poking fun at me; my friends and family love it! He says: “Matt has a gift for gentle, understated humour, which I have enjoyed for many years. In the 1990s, when I was under heavy press bombardment, Matt produced a cartoon of a newspaper billboard reading: ‘Queen falls off horse: Prime Minister not involved’. It caught the moment magnificently.” David Davis, Exiting the European Union secretary The Duke of Edinburgh, the patron of the Cartoon Museum whose retirement from public duties at the age of 96 this year was marked with a Matt cartoon reading “Unveil your own damn plaque”, has sent a hand-signed congratulatory message.“Successful cartoonists do not only need to be able to draw, they have to think of subjects to illustrate,” he said.“Matt has shown that he has a genius for both, as well as the ability to think of wonderfully appropriate swipes at the idiocies of contemporary life.” A message from Prince Philip Matt Pritchett, who has been known under the pen name of Matt since February 1988, has created more than 8,000 Telegraph cartoons, each capturing the absurdities of everyday life with sharp humour and a gentle touch.The Telegraph will be celebrating “30 Years of Matt” with a special Saturday magazine edition featuring an interview with the man himself, with a four-page souvenir cover wrap showcasing 90 of his favourite cartoons on Monday.This website will have a gallery of the cartoons, as well as videos from celebrities showing off their favourite and personalised drawings. “The art of cartooning is not Matt’s alone, of course, but when it comes to having the right thought, Matt is on his own.” To celebrate 30 Years of Matt, we are offering a 30% discount of the 93 favourite cartoons by Matt to our subscribers. Go to telegraph.co.uk/mattprints30years or call 0191 603 0178 The Duke of Edinburgh joked he is the world’s most experienced plaque unveiler shortly before his retirementCredit:Getty Matt Pritchett Matt’s cartoon commemorating the retirement of the Duke of EdinburghCredit:Matt “He is the national cartoon.” John Humphrys, BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenterHumphrys said of his favourite cartoon, about UK Brexit negotiators: “Doesn’t that absolutely say it all? It’s just so perfect.“The great thing about Matt’s cartoons is that the characters are us. They do something that writers can’t do, they take you to a different place.” “Matt’s cartoons never fail to raise a smile, but can also cut right to the serious heart of their subject matter. They encapsulate the best of the British press: intelligent, persuasive, irreverent and funny. They are daily reminder to all of us in public life of the importance of keeping ones sense of humour.” Tony Blair’s favourite cartoonCredit:Matt Sir John Major’s favourite cartoonCredit:Matt The Duke of Edinburgh has paid tribute to the “genius” of the Telegraph’s Matt, as Britain’s leading public figures celebrate the cartoonist’s 30th anniversary at this newspaper.The Duke, a collector and long-term supporter of the art form, expressed his admiration for Matt in a personal message, in which he praises his “ability to think of wonderfully appropriate swipes at the idiocies of contemporary life”.He today leads tributes to the “30th birthday” of Matt as a Telegraph cartoonist, joined by Theresa May, every living former Prime Minister, Britain’s finest broadcasters, writers and best-loved figures from the arts.Mrs May, the Prime Minister, sent her personal congratulations to Matt for helping politicians to “laugh at ourselves”, while David Cameron revealed he enjoyed one cartoon poking fun at him so much it is mounted on the wall of his daughter’s bedroom.Sir John Major praised his talent for capturing each moment “magnificently” with “gentle, understated humour”, as Sir Tom Stoppard admitted: “Matt has entered my brain.  Sometimes on reading a news story I wonder idly, ‘What would Matt do with this?'” Matt PritchettCredit:Jane Mingay Liam Fox, International Trade secretary“The thinking man’s cartoonist – politically on the nail and funny to boot.”Jeremy Vine, broadcasterVine admitted his “life’s ambition” is to have a Matt cartoon about him.“There’s something about having that one cartoon in the day’s papers, full of all the carnage and misery,” he said. “There’s this little window, and even if this whole country is hit by a nuclear bomb they’ll still be a Matt cartoon the morning after, and we’ll still laugh.”last_img read more

Two walkers die in fall on Ben Hope in Scotland

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. Two men have died after falling on a mountain in the Highlands, police have said.Concerns were raised for two men in difficulty on Ben Hope in Sutherland on Tuesday and a search operation was launched involving mountain rescue teams and a Coastguard helicopter.A Coastguard helicopter crew discovered the bodies on the north-west side of the 3,040ft munro shortly after 2am on Wednesday.Police say efforts are ongoing to recover them.Inspector Kevin Macleod of Police Scotland, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of both of these men at this tragic time. “I would also like to pass on our gratitude to the volunteers of Assynt Mountain Rescue Team for their efforts in extremely challenging conditions.”  Ben Hope, on the north Highland coast, is one of Scotland’s most northerly mountains.  read more

Alkaline wanted for questioning in murder

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedJamaica: Cops kill twin brothers – mother claims they were shot while asleepJune 11, 2016In “Crime”Vybez Kartel GUILTY of MurderMarch 13, 2014In “Regional”Vybz Kartel lawyers to appeal murder convictionMarch 15, 2014In “Regional” The police are seeking dancehall artiste Alkaline for questioning in relation to the murder of Rohan Morris, the Jamaica Observer has reported.Dancehall artiste, AlkalineThe Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), in a tweet a short while ago, said the artiste, whose real name is Earlan Bartley, is to report to Harman Barracks by 5:00 pm tomorrow.According to the Jamaica Observer, the lawmen said it is believed that Alkaline can assist them with their investigations.The JCF did not provide any further information on the matter. read more

Only God can help us ex sugar worker tells Union on

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedLetter: Advertisement in Kaieteur reaches a new low in seeking to disparage GAWUJune 16, 2017In “Letters”Letter: GAWU willing to assist GuySuCo in sugar industry turn aroundOctober 12, 2017In “Letters”LETTER: Sugar workers opposed to Govt’s plan to close estatesSeptember 18, 2017In “latest news” Herlene Lewis, who was employed at Skeldon, said she was “…very disturbed, very disturbed especially for the young people what are they going to do, crime rate is also on the increase in the entire Guyana and not only Skeldon but the entire Guyana…education wise some people just came out of high school, graduates from the University of Guyana but they cannot get a job, what will these people do?”. She went on to say “…as far as I am concern this nation has become a stagnated nation and only God can help us”.Former sugar workers protesting their estate closure in 2017The now former, currently jobless, sugar workers have shared the hardships they have and are facing as their Union, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) reflects on its 42nd anniversary of the Recognition and Avoidance and Settlement of Disputes Agreement that it signed with the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc (GuySuCo) on February 27, 1976.The agreement legitimized the GAWU as the bargaining agent on behalf of the thousands of sugar workers employed in the industry’s fields and factories.The agreement was described as a landmark moment in the ongoing struggles of the sugar workers, who like all workers, are seeking to be treated with respect and dignity, to have their rights and conditions protected.GAWU in a statement said that “as we reflect with pride on the challenges we overcame, and the several success we recorded, we do so looking to the future with great anxiety and worry about what tomorrow and the days after that will bring.”The incumbent Administration “without any sound logic or even any credible economic justification have taken decisions to close sugar estates and have put thousands of workers on the breadline in the last two (2) years. These decisions which can be described as reckless, heartless and ill-considered have taken a heavy toll in the sugar belt where estates have been closed” said GAWU.GAWU quoted former Rose Hall worker, Glendon Grant who said “…people in the community are frustrated, personally I am frustrated, every morning I wake up I don’t know what to do”.Grant, went on to say, “…you can’t deprive people of their livelihood, this Government didn’t think what it would do, it didn’t see the negative impact it would have on people life…”.Moreover, an ex-cane harvester of Wales, Michael Chootoo, shared that “…we ain’t get no wuk [work], we ain’t get no severance, we ain’t get no nothing…”. Chootoo said he “…is not getting no job, he ain’t getting no money and he got pickney [children] going to school…”.According to workers Union however, “the workers faced with daunting challenges brought about by an uncaring Government did not give up hope. They stood up and defended militantly their jobs, their families and their communities. They demonstrated an indomitable will to succeed and to call attention to and overcome their plight.”“While we know this is not the outcome neither the workers nor the GAWU wanted, the workers can hold their heads high and once again recognize an abiding lesson of working-class history, that is, in authoritarian, class divided societies, the elites holding the reins of power, never or hardly ever ensure justice for the working-class. Thus, the struggle for real, pro-working people change must continue” said GAWU.According to workers Union “history and future generations of Guyanese will condemn harshly those who advanced, approved and implemented the plans which affected so many ordinary people.” read more

Port Kaituma vendor charged for alleged rape of 12yrold

A vendor was today (Wednesday) arraigned before Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan after he reportedly had sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old girl.Twenty-five-year-old, Stephon Belle of Port Kaituma, Water Front, North West District (NWD) was not allowed to plead to the indictable charge against him.It is being alleged that he engaged in sexual penetration with the girl on July 14 2018 at said Port Kaituma Water Front.According to the case facts, he invited the minor to his place of abode and forcefully had sex with her.As such the matter was reported to the Police and Belle was arrested and later charged.He was granted $350,000 bail to next appear at the Matthews Ridge Magistrate Court on August 7 2018. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPort Kaituma man charged over alleged sexual activity with 14-yr-old femaleJune 6, 2018In “Court”3 men appear in court on rape, sexual assault chargesApril 26, 2016In “Court”32 – Year – old charged with rape of 6 – year – oldApril 2, 2014In “Crime” read more

Can Rosia Montana overcome the hurdles

first_imgGabriel Resources is committed to responsible mining and sustainable development in the communities in which it operates. It is currently engaged in the exploration and development of mineral properties in Romania and is presently engaged in the development of its 80% owned Rosia Montana gold project. “2007 has been a frustrating year, we started off making tremendous progress until September when the permitting process was suspended,” said Alan R. Hill, President and CEO. “I can assure you that we have a strategy in place and we are as committed as ever to developing the Rosia Montana Project and ensuring that the long term benefits it will bring to Romania and all stakeholders are realized.”The project has long faced opposition from a group of foreign funded NGOs, certain Romanian organisations and some members of the Hungarian Government. Over the past nine months, however, the nature and magnitude of the opposition has changed. Nine months ago, Romania’s current minority government opposed a draft parliamentary “private members bill” to institute a ban on cyanide use in mining, arguing the merits of mining conducted to high EU standards. Eight weeks later, the government reversed its position – changing its view to support the bill to ban cyanide in the mining industry, without explanation. On Wednesday March 5, 2008, the industry commission, the third and final commission responsible for reviewing the proposed cyanide ban in mining, postponed voting on the issue. Once the industry commission votes and files its report, the proposed bill can be introduced into Parliament.Last September, the Romanian Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development (MESD), who had often expressed his opposition to the project even as he pledged to support the legal review process, unilaterally suspended the Technical Assessment Committee (TAC) meetings, asserting a linkage between a minor procedural certificate and the EIA process that lacks any basis in law. The company is focused on doing everything within its power to restart the permitting process – and to that end has filed a law suit against the Ministry of the Environment to restart the EIA process.In light of the suspension of the EIA process, management conducted a thorough review of all activities associated with the development of the project, with a goal of reducing expenditures to ensure the company remains financially strong, while maintaining all existing licenses and permits in good standing and working to restart the permitting process. As a result, in December 2007, the Company announced plans to retrench staff, to suspend engineering as well as procurement of long-lead-time equipment and surface rights acquisition, along with most other activities.Romania became a full member of the European Union on January 1, 2007. Open disputes between the presidential and parliamentary branches of government now dominate the political agenda, causing gridlock and delay. A new minority government comprised of the Liberal and UDMR parties was formed last April, representing approximately 23% of the Parliament, under the Prime Minister with tacit support from the opposition party. Romania’s UDMR party – representing Hungarian ethnic minorities and espouses a platform for autonomy for the Transylvania region in which the Rosia Montana Project is located – holds four ministries, including the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development.A censure motion to bring down the government was filed in late September 2007 by the Social Democrat Party (PSD). For the motion to succeed, it required 50% of the Parliament and Senate plus one vote, or a total of 232 votes. The motion failed by 12 votes, as 20 members of the PSD party abstained or voted against their own party’s censure motion.While management is making every effort – legal and political – to restart the EIA review process, it is becoming increasingly likely that a change in government will be required to restart the permitting process. The prospect for political change is real, as 2008 brings both local and national elections. With a change in government the company expects that the abuse of process it has seen will be replaced by a fair and open review process.On September 12, 2007 the company received a letter from the Romanian MESD indicating that the review process for the EIA for the Rosia Montana Project had been suspended. MESD based its unilateral administrative action on a court challenge by Alburnus Maior, an NGO opposing the project, to the validity of an urbanism certificate wholly unrelated to the EIA process.During September 2007, the company filed an Administrative Complaint against the MESD regarding its decision to suspend the TAC review process. The MESD responded to the Administrative Complaint on October 19, 2007. The 14-page response failed completely to address the grounds of complaint. As a result, the company filed a lawsuit against the MESD in November 2007, with the first hearing taking place on February 20, 2008.Significant progress had been made in 2007 until the MESD’s decision. The TAC held meetings on June 26, July 10, July 19 and August 9. The topic of those meetings included a general overview of the project, the technologies used, and our plans for dealing with waste material and potential project impacts. Those topics are covered under the first four chapters of our EIA and represent the bulk of the EIA. The TAC meetings had been very constructive with a thorough technical analysis of the project.MESD has also withheld final signature on our dam safety permits, which were approved in the spring of 2007 along with a number of other dam safety permits for unrelated projects by a committee of experts. While all other dams approved by the committee in the spring have now received their necessary permits, our permits alone await final signature by the MESD.The company filed an Administrative Complaint with the MESD regarding the withholding of the dam safety permits, a required precursor to litigation, in February 2008. Unless the permits are granted, the company expects to file a lawsuit in March 2008 against the MESD.The suspension of the EIA process has stalled most of the other permits and approvals.As a result of the suspension of the EIA review process, and in order to align the Company’s activity to the pace of the approval process, management met with the community to discuss a full shut down of the home purchase program. As a result, on February 1, 2008, the program was suspended indefinitely.Construction of the Alba Iulia resettlement site began in July 2007. Infrastructure is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2008, while construction of new homes began in October 2007. It is expected to take approximately 18 months to complete the approximately 130 homes at the Alba Iulia resettlement site. Construction at Alba Iulia site will continue despite the MESD’s decision to halt the EIA process.During the third quarter of 2007, the access road to the Piatra Alba resettlement site was completed and handed over to the local administration and tenders for construction for phase one of the new village were received. Final construction permits are expected to be issued during the first half of 2008.As of February 2008, the company owns or has options on approximately 77% of the homes in the industrial zone, protected area and the buffer zone. Once it completes the agreements for institutional properties, its ownership will rise to approximately 85% of the three zones of the project, further demonstrating the strong local support for the project.Ultimately, the company’s ability to obtain construction permits is predicated on securing 100%of the surface rights in the industrial zone.An NGO commenced legal action in the Alba Court of Appeal in 2004 and obtained an annulment with respect to archaeological discharge certificate no. 4. After a successful appeal to the Romanian Supreme Court and a retrial of the matter on its merits in the Brasov Court of Appeal, a second annulment of archaeological discharge certificate no. 4 was ordered by the Brashov Court of Appeal. Gabriel has appealed this second annulment to the Bucharest Supreme Court. It is not possible to estimate how long it will take for this case to proceed through the Bucharest Supreme Court. If archaeological discharge certificate no. 4 is ultimately annulled, then Gabriel will reapply for a new discharge certificate.The opposition has also challenged the issuance of archaeological discharge certificate no. 5 on grounds similar to their challenge of Certificate No. 4, and this matter is also currently before the Romanian courts. The company is using all means at its disposal to get the TAC process back on track, even as it continues to evaluate the implications associated with a prolonged delay. Once the TAC process recommences, and in the absence of any other extraordinary events, Gabriel anticipates that it would take at least six months to:– Complete the EIA approval process– Complete the purchase of the outstanding properties– Receive all other permits and approvals, including initial construction permits– Update the control estimate and complete the financing plan.Construction of the mine would then take approximately 24 months. Ultimately, the Romanian Government determines the timing of issuance of the EIA approval and all other permits and approvals required for the Rosia Montana Project, subject to the Romanian courts dealing with litigation from NGOs in a timely manner.last_img read more

Combating acid rock drainage ARD industry collaborates on ARD Guide

first_imgThe Global Acid-Rock Drainage (GARD) Guide is a recent development to support sustainable management of ARD. This internet-based global best practices guide for the prevention and mitigation of ARD was recently published by the International Network for Acid Prevention (INAP). INAP is an international consortium of major mining companies, working collectively to combat the issue of ARD. The guide’s objectives are to promulgate best practice in the prediction, prevention and mitigation of ARD. It endorses a risk-based, proactive and consistent approach by encouraging the reduction and control of ARD at its source by incorporating best-management practices into a mine’s operation throughout its lifecycle, as part of a ‘cradle-to-cradle’ approach.As Terrence Chatwin, INAP and Rens Verburg, Golder Associates explain, “ARD is one of the mining industry’s most significant and potentially enduring environmental problems. ARD results when sulphide-bearing rock is exposed to oxygen and water, and combined with metal leaching can result in pervasive water-quality impacts. Methods are available to prevent ARD formation, but unfortunately these are not applicable to all existing ARD sources. In older closed mines, where ARD has and continues to occur, we are not always able to apply these modern approaches and long-term collection and treatment approaches may be required. These sites can continue to produce ARD representing a significant liability to mining companies, host countries and surrounding communities.“The high liability costs of ARD carried by many mining companies and governments are a clear indication of the gravity of the problem for older, primarily closed mines. At the end of the 1990s, the estimated financial liability at mining sites was estimated to be A$1 billion in Australia, C$3 to 5 billion in Canada and US$5 to 72 billion in the USA. With the increased level of mining and the greater societal expectation that mining companies leave a positive legacy at their closed mines, these costs have significantly increased during the past decade. “With environmental costs on this scale, global collaboration is vital as the industry as a whole faces increasingly stringent environmental regulations and the need to maintain a ‘social licence’ to mine.“In producing the GARD Guide, INAP was greatly assisted by the Global Alliance (GA) composed of: the Acid Drainage Technology Initiative (ADTI) in the USA, the Sustainable Mining Institute for Knowledge Transfer (SMIKT) in Australia, the Mine Environment Neutral Drainage (MEND) program in Canada, the Partnership for Acid Drainage Remediation in Europe (PADRE) and the Water Research Commission (WRC) in South Africa. As noted from the diversity of our GA partners the GARD project is global in scope with technical expertise drawn from ARD experts in Australia, Canada, Europe, South Africa, South America and the US. Golder Associates was contracted by INAP to prepare and integrate comments from these experts into the initial version of the GARD Guide.“Research into the ARD formation process has been underway for more than 50 years and a considerable body of research work exists; however this work is often difficult to access as it is widely distributed across different sources and much of the work is in the less accessible ‘gray literature’. There is also a tendency for research to focus on specific issues, commodities or geographical locations. To address these issues, INAP launched its program to create a state-of-the-art summary of the best practices and technology available to prevent and mitigate ARD regardless of the source or location.The guide’s target audience is all stakeholders, including mining industry professionals, regulatory agencies, research organisations, financial institutions, NGOs, the general public and industry consultants. While focused on the mining industry, it may also prove relevant to practitioners in other fields dealing with water management related to rock excavations. Examples exist of highways, airports and construction sites where disturbed sulphide minerals have resulted in ARD.Part of the guide’s appeal and applicability lies in its format as an online document – one with which today’s information-seekers are familiar. This also allows the GARD Guide to be a living document that will be regularly updated. The guide has extensive cross-referencing to information contained within it, as well as to external reference materials or stakeholder organisations involved with ARD issues.The guide is expected to be of particular benefit to those working in developing countries by giving them access to state of the art knowledge and technology. Indeed, INAP specifies one of its five main goals as “leveraging the world’s ARD expertise and sharing it with developing countries”, which will also support the Equator Principles’ objectives of achieving best global practice in future mining projects.The GARD Guide is ready for general industry use. It was formally launched at the International Conference for Acid Rock Drainage held at Skelleftea, Sweden in June 2009. INAP is currently seeking partnerships with mining organisations, government agencies and other groups to develop workshops to familiarise and train mining stakeholders engaged in preventing and mitigating ARD. The guide is located on the internet at http://www.gardguide.com/. More information about the INAP can be found at http://www.im-mining.com/wp-admin/about:blankwww.inap.com.au.INAP is a group of mining companies who work to address acid drainage. INAP current consists of Anglo American, Barrick Gold, BHP Billiton, Freeport McMoRan, Kinross Gold, Newmont, Rio Tinto, Vale Inco, and Xstrata.Terrence Chatwin is INAP Technical Director, terrence.chatwin@inap.com.au. Rens Verburg is Golder Associates Project Director for the GARD Guide, rverburg@golder.com.last_img read more