Amare Stoudemire Homophobic Slur On Twitter Causes A Stir

Amar’e Stoudemire’s caused a storm when he abused New York Knicks’ supporter Brian Ferrelli on Twitter.Ferrelli had sent a tweet to the star saying he’d ‘better come back a lot stronger and quicker to make up for this past season’, the New York Daily News reported.In response, Stoudemire, who is currently suffering from a hand injury, fired off a private message saying: ‘F*** you. I don’t have to do anything f**.’NBA officials then launched an investigation after Ferrelli posted a screen grab of the message on the social networking site that started trending.According to reports, Stoudemire has since apologized to the fan in a subsequent direct message. “I apologize for what I said earlier,” Stoudemire allegedly messaged. “I just got off the plane and had time to think about it. Sorry bro!! No excuses. Won’t happen again.” read more

Kevin Love Is Only Following The Same Rubric As Six Decades Of

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love made news Monday when he endorsed Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA MVP race. Now, normally that wouldn’t be much of a story — we’ve made the case for Westbrook ourselves — except for one not-so-tiny detail: Love picked Westbrook over his own teammate, LeBron James.Asked to choose between Westbrook (Love’s old college teammate at UCLA) and James by Dan Patrick on his eponymous radio show, Love said:They’re both having an MVP-type season, but I’m going to go with Russell Westbrook because … every single night you’re looking at his stat sheet, they’re fighting for a playoff spot, with Serge Ibaka going down now, Kevin Durant potentially being out the rest of the year and him still going out there and fighting for his team, and winning, and fighting for that seventh or eighth spot in the playoffs. … I think Russ is arguably having the better season.The supposed slight between teammates was later downplayed by James (“Kevin has his own opinion of who he believes is the MVP. No one should fault him for that.”). But to some, it added to the speculation about a growing rift between the two superstars — and what it could mean for Love’s future in Cleveland. If he chooses to, Love can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer.Then again, maybe Love was just following the same rubric that MVP voters have adhered to for over a half-century. Several years ago, Justin Kubatko (then of Basketball-Reference.com) analyzed historical patterns in NBA MVP voting, attempting to create an algorithm that would predict the front-runners for the award in-season. After going through a variety of statistical combinations, he found that four categories had by far the most influence on MVP results: team wins, points per game, rebounds per game and assists per game.That research forms the basis for Basketball-Reference.com’s MVP tracker tool, which currently gives Westbrook about twice as good a shot at the award as James. While James’ team has been better, winning 64 percent of its games — compared with 58 percent for Oklahoma City — Westbrook’s edges over James in points, rebounds and assists per game are traditionally more than enough to offset the difference in team records. The Thunder’s winning percentage would have to drop to 48 percent for Westbrook and James to have the same MVP probability per the Basketball-Reference.com model.(For what it’s worth, the metric also lists Houston’s James Harden and — especially — Golden State’s Stephen Curry as overwhelming MVP favorites, with Curry garnering a 41 percent probability of taking home the hardware. So it’s still unlikely that Westbrook or James will win the award.)In other words, Love isn’t necessarily going out of his way to disrespect James here. Perhaps the homer pick — publicly backing one’s teammate despite evidence to the contrary — is still a customary gesture of solidarity among colleagues. But by picking Westbrook instead, Love was at least highly consistent with the way media members have voted for players since the first MVP was handed out. read more

Buckeyes claim first win of the season

Senior forward Danny Jensen advances the ball down the field against a UC Santa Barbara defender. Credit: Ohio State AthleticsThe Ohio State men’s soccer team knew the stakes coming into Friday night. A loss meant the Buckeyes would start the season 0-5 and 0-1 in conference play.But when the lights were the brightest, coach John Bluem’s team finally shined.The Buckeyes were able to secure their first victory of the season on Friday night, as they beat the Northwestern Wildcats by a score of 1-0.The team had not gotten off to a good start, scoring just one goal through their first few games with an 0-4 record to back it up.With their first conference matchup against Northwestern looming, The Ohio State men’s soccer team knew that the time to start winning was right now.“The Big Ten Conference season gives you that new lift,” Bluem said. “Yeah we are off to a disappointing start but now conference games is a new chance, a new shot at it.” It looked like Ohio State would be in an unfavorable position in the early goings of the first period.In the 25th minute, Northwestern was able to put one into the back of the net off a corner kick. Their excitement would be short lived, however, as the Wildcats were called for being offside on the play, taking the goal off the board.The Buckeyes were eventually able to control tempo in the opening period, outshooting the Wildcats 9-1 with a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.In the 30th minute, sophomore midfielder Abdi Mohamed ripped a shot into the top left corner of the net, requiring a diving save by Northwestern goalkeeper Francisco Tomasino to keep the Buckeyes off the board.After a free kick by junior forward Marcus McCrary, junior defender Niall Logue stood alone with the ball on the right side of the box, but his strong shot flew just wide left of the far post.Ohio State continued their possession-dominating play right out of the gate after play resumed. Just four minutes into the second period, senior midfielder Ben Fitzpatrick was able to launch a shot off Tomasino and into the back right of the net for the Buckeyes first goal of the game and first goal at home this season.“I found a gap. Danny [Jensen] played a good ball to me,” said Fitzpatrick. “The keeper could not make the save so I got my first goal for the Buckeyes.”Fitzpatrick, who grew up in Hilliard, Ohio, is a transfer from Urbana University. Playing for Ohio State has always been a goal of his.“It’s surreal,” said Fitzpatrick. “Ever since I’ve been a little kid I’ve dreamed about playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Coming in and finishing my senior year here has been a really big thing for me.”Northwestern had numerous attempts to net the equalizer, registering seven shots in the second half.However, Fitzpatrick’s score would prove to be enough, however, as the game ended with the Buckeyes on top 1-0.The Buckeyes outshot the Wildcats 16-8 with a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks. They move to 1-0 in conference play.“Our attacking play certainly was better tonight than it has been in previous games. We created a lot more opportunities,” said Bluem. “Our defense was very resilient again and Parker Siegfried had a very, very good game in goal for us tonight. Glad he got a shutout.For Siegfried, it was his first career shutout. He made two saves in the game.Ohio State will look to make it two in a row when they take on Penn State at University Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m. read more

Buckeyes blank Zips in first game of Luke Fickell era

On a day of many firsts for Ohio State football, Luke Fickell earned the most important one: His first win as coach. In his first start, redshirt senior quarterback Joe Bauserman was 12-for-16 passing for 163 yards and three touchdowns, and also ran for 32 yards and one touchdown in three quarters of work. Jake Stoneburner became the first OSU tight end to catch three touchdowns in a game and, along with a stingy OSU defense, the Buckeyes defeated the Akron Zips, 42-0, in front of 105,001 fans at Ohio Stadium. Saturday’s game was the team’s first since former coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign as OSU coach on May 30 after failing to self-report NCAA violations committed by his players. No. 18-ranked OSU (1-0) also had nine players suspended for the game, including DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Dan Herron and Solomon Thomas, who are suspended for the first five games of this season. Jordan Whiting was also banned from Saturday’s game, as were Corey Brown, Travis Howard and Jordan Hall, whose suspensions were announced on Thursday. “We’ll focus on what we have and not what we’ve lost,” Fickell said in his post game press conference. “We’ll continue to move forward. Even with everything that’s been outside and out and around us, the players have done a really good job of focusing.” As Fickell promised during a Tuesday press conference, Bauserman took the first snap of the game, and then made the most of his first drive as an OSU starter. Bauserman led the Buckeyes on an eight-play, 74-yard scoring drive. After eluding a tackle in the backfield, Bauserman scampered 15 yards into the end zone. The ensuing point-after attempt put OSU up, 7-0. After forcing a punt on Akron’s second possession, Fickell endured the first missed opportunity in his short time as the Buckeyes’ coach. Redshirt freshman tailback Rod Smith carried five times for 31 yards to help lead OSU into scoring position, but fumbled inside the 5-yard line. OSU’s defense forced a three-and-out and a third consecutive punt by Akron (0-1), however. Enter true freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, who stepped onto the Horseshoe’s turf to lead his first drive. Miller kept the ball and ran for two yards on his opening play, however, his first pass attempt was bobbled and dropped by junior tight end Reid Fragel. Miller was then forced to smother the ball after an errant snap on his third play under center, and the Buckeyes punted. After Akron’s fourth punt of the game, Bauserman retook the offensive reins on OSU’s next possession. That drive, which covered 64 yards and lasted 5:35, resulted in a 28-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jake Stoneburner and a 14-0 lead for OSU. Kicker Drew Basil missed a 40-yard field goal with 2:52 remaining in the second quarter, but the OSU defense protected the team’s two scores by limiting Akron to a single first down to that point in the game. Senior linebacker Andrew Sweat intercepted a pass by Zips’ sophomore quarterback Clayton Moore just moments later, however. Sweat stomped his feet in-bounds before falling into the OSU bench area on Akron’s 35-yard line. “(Dominic Clarke) deflected it (the pass) and I just ran to the ball,” Sweat said. “I was just trying to assist on the tackle and it ended up deflecting upward and I was lucky enough to catch it.” By game’s end, Sweat had also tallied a team-high six tackles, two of which were for losses totaling eight yards. Moore, who completed only six of 16 passes 54 yards in the game, could only help guide the Zips to 90 total yards of offense. Sweat’s interception gave OSU a chance to redeem itself — and it did. Sophomore tailback Carlos Hyde opened the drive with a 24-yard run. Three plays later, Bauserman again connected with Stoneburner for an 11-yard touchdown pass to put the Buckeyes up 21-0. On the ensuing Zips’ drive, kicker T.J. Marchese’s 41-yard field goal attempt sailed left of the uprights as time expired in the first half. On the defensive side, the Buckeyes limited Akron to 100 total yards in the half. Sweat’s interception also marked the only drive on which the Zips didn’t punt. The Buckeyes’ dominance continued at the outset of the second half. Eight plays after sophomore kick returner Corey Brown returned the opening kick of the half to Akron’s 49-yard line, Bauserman threw his third touchdown pass of the day to Stoneburner — a 2-yard pass this time — and OSU led, 28-0. Stoneburner had four catches for 50 yards on the play. He also became the first tight end in the 122-year history of Buckeyes’ football to score three touchdowns in a game, as well as the eighth player at any position to accomplish the feat. Bauserman led the Buckeyes on six of their first seven drives before Miller took command of the offense for the duration of the game. “It felt good to get out there and get good timing and get comfortable with the seniors and offensive line,” Bauserman said. “I’ll watch film and critique it (the game) and move on.” On just his third drive as a collegian, Miller celebrated his inaugural touchdown pass. Miller found wide receiver and fellow freshman Devin Smith for a 14-yard touchdown after leading OSU on a six-play, 59-yard drive. At that point, the Buckeyes led, 35-0, and both teams began to clear their benches. Miller then guided a 38-yard scoring scoring drive that Smith capped with a two-yard touchdown run to put the Buckeyes up 42-0, and went on to win by the same score. For the game, Miller and Bauserman combined to help the Buckeyes tally 517 total yards of offense. “It was good for both Braxton and I to get out there,” Bauserman said. “Braxton came in and did well and moved the ball. We both were focused.” Smith finished the game with 74 yards on 18 carries while Miller ended his afternoon 8-for-12 passing for 130 yard and one touchdown. After notching his first victory on a day when the temperature on the field rose above 100-degrees, Fickell said that he had not spoken to Tressel prior to Saturday’s game and that he was solely focused on his players’ performance. “No, I have not talked with (Tressel),” Fickell said. “I know he’s rooting for us and for these guys. We are definitely excited about having a great day out there and looking forward to getting better.” OSU plays the Toledo Rockets (1-0) on Saturday at noon at the ‘Shoe. read more

Commentary Its up to Fickell to have Miller prepared

As freshman quarterback Braxton Miller was given his first opportunity to take the reins of the Ohio State offense on Saturday, this much was clear: what looked to be a disappointing 2011 season a week ago had suddenly transformed into one full of optimism, not just for now, but for the next four years in Columbus. But even as Miller moved the ball with the most consistency the Buckeyes had seen since playing woeful Akron in the first week of the season, his success was the cause of more frustration for Buckeye fans. First, let’s examine the good that came along with Miller’s starting debut on Saturday. Thanks in part to a Colorado special teams unit that would have made former OSU coach Jim Tressel cringe, Miller led the Buckeyes to 37 points, the most the offense has scored since OSU’s win against Akron. He ran the ball well as he accumulated 83 yards rushing the ball and turned multiple would-be losses into gains with his feet. After last week’s debacle against Miami, the Buckeyes needed to find a new identity to tell poll voters that this wasn’t the same OSU team that couldn’t score a touchdown or even move the ball with any sort of consistency a week ago in South Beach. With Miller playing well as he took over as the undisputed starting quarterback for the Buckeyes, they accomplished just that. But with Miller playing as well as he did on Saturday, I’m sure that many OSU fans found themselves asking why Miller wasn’t named the starter earlier in the season. Despite turning the ball over twice against Miami, Miller moved the ball more consistently as the team’s quarterback than Joe Bauserman did, and one can’t help but think that giving Miller more playing time — especially versus Toledo, against which he didn’t take any snaps — would have better prepared him for the Hurricanes and the remainder of the 2011 season. The best way to get past that frustration is to tell yourself that it’s time to look forward and not backward. But even doing that raises more questions about the OSU coaching staff’s use of Miller. Throughout much of the game against Colorado, offensive coordinator Jim Bollman refused to take the training wheels off of Miller as the Buckeyes centered their offense around running the ball. On two separate occasions, OSU elected to run draw plays when facing third-and-long situations. Not surprisingly, both attempts were unsuccessful. Admittedly, I’ve never taken a meaningful snap at quarterback at any level, but even playing Madden on my PlayStation 3 has taught me that in order to maintain a successful passing game, it’s best for a quarterback to develop a rhythm, which would require attempting more than the 13 total passes that Miller attempted on his 11 offensive drives on Saturday. OSU’s negligence to its passing game resulted in a 5-for-13 throwing the ball performance for Miller, who wasn’t helped by drops from T.Y. Williams and Jaamal Berry and a questionably ruled incomplete pass to his new favorite target, Devin Smith. It was still good enough to beat Colorado, but it won’t be good enough to beat the Buckeyes’ next two opponents, Big Ten title contenders Michigan State and Nebraska. Both of those teams will bring defensive-minded coaches in Mark Dantonio and Bo Pelini who carry ties to OSU and will be making their best cases to take over for OSU coach Luke Fickell at the end of the season. And if Miller proves to be ill-prepared for the challenges brought by the Spartans and the Cornhuskers in the next two weeks, then it will be Fickell, more than anyone, who helped those coaches’ causes. read more

Fighting through injuries adversity molds Ohio State captains

OSU senior quarterback Braxton Miller. Credit: Courtesy of OSUWhen Urban Meyer named the Ohio State football captains for the 2014 season, he seemed to set the tone for the rest of the year.Despite being out for the season, senior quarterback Braxton Miller was voted a captain by his teammates for the second season in a row. He headlined the list of five players who will lead the Buckeyes on the field.Coach Meyer said Miller was a “high vote getter” and the team will try bring him along when it travels as often as possible.“He’d be one of the 70 (players to go on the trip) if he can go. He won’t be able to go this time because of his (shoulder), but there will be times we have to make that decision,” Meyer said of Miller, who is currently in Florida to meet with Dr. James Andrews for shoulder surgery. Meyer said his surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.The other four players, all seniors, include cornerback Doran Grant, linebacker Curtis Grant, defensive lineman Michael Bennett and tight end Jeff Heuerman.Doran Grant, the only returning starter in the Buckeye secondary, has had impressive spring and fall camps, Meyer said Aug. 16, adding that Grant was playing like an all-Big Ten conference corner.Curtis Grant struggled for most of his Buckeye career to crack the starting lineup as he was constantly battling for time against former Buckeye Ryan Shazier, but then was eventually replaced by former converted fullback Zach Boren because of lack of production.Despite that, he’s emerged as a starter and team captain for the Buckeyes this year because he’s been putting the team first, junior linebacker Joshua Perry said.“Curtis has been here for a few years and he has tried a lot of different things to be successful and some of them have worked better than others,” Perry said. “This year his mentality was to be a guy who is about the team and to help everybody in our unit out. I think by doing that, that made him a better overall player and leader.”Meyer also made a point of singling out Curtis Grant, who has started 13 games in his Buckeye career.“That’s one of the great things about what we do for a living is to see young people grow up, and boy, has Curtis Grant done a nice job,” he said Monday.Bennett, who has remained a model of consistency at OSU, is coming off of a season in which he started 13 games and recorded seven sacks.Bennett is the fourth Buckeye from Centerville High School in Centerville, Ohio, to be named an OSU captain along with now-ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit (1992), Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent (2004) and Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk (2005). All three went on to be named team-MVP at the end of the year.He has played 34 games so far in his Buckeye career.Rounding out the captains is Heuerman, who, like Miller, is coming off of an offseason injury.Meyer said that although Heuerman still isn’t 100 percent healthy, he anticipates the tight end will play in the opener against Navy.The senior from Naples, Fla., recorded a career-best season in 2013 with 26 catches for 466 yards and four scores.The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Navy Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Kickoff is set for noon. read more

Missing RAF servicemans mother convinced of thirdparty involvement amid Facebook plea for

first_imgPolice are searching for three potential witnesses who may have seen a missing RAF gunner on the night he disappeared, as they say it is possible he went off with someone.Senior aircraftman Corrie McKeague, of II Sqn RAF Regiment, has not been seen for more than a fortnight after he vanished following a Friday night drinking session with comrades in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.Detectives say they have now identified three young people seen on CCTV at the time who they want to speak to. Corrie McKeague was last seen in the early hours of September 24Credit:SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY Brown suede Timberland boots Corrie McKeague is thought to have been wearingCredit:Suffolk Police/PA SAC McKeague is described as white, 5ft 10in and of medium build, with short light brown hair. A pink Ralph Lauren shirt that Corrie McKeague was believed to have been wearing when he disappeared A pink Ralph Lauren shirt that Corrie McKeague was believed to have been wearing when he disappearedCredit:Suffolk Police/PA 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.center_img Police and detectives have said the 23-year-old is believed to have set off to walk to his base at RAF Honington nine miles away and they fear he may have had an accident on the way.However his mother, Nicola Urquhart, of Dunfermline, has said she is convinced others are involved.Ms Urquart, herself a police family liaison officer, said: “Police are confident Corrie is not still in Bury and has not left on foot. “This includes the possibility that Corrie may have attempted to walk home but not been captured on CCTV, that he has willingly gone with someone else or that something else may have happened.“At this stage there is no evidence of criminality and nothing to indicate any third party involvement, however this continues to be subject to the ongoing investigation and nothing can be ruled out at this time.” Brown suede Timberland boots Corrie McKeague is thought to have been wearing “This can only mean there is third party involvement, there is just no evidence so far to prove criminality.Suffolk police said: “Police are continuing to keep an open mind as to what has happened to Corrie, and continue to investigate all possibilities. Corrie McKeague was last seen in the early hours of September 24last_img read more

Suspect handbag snatcher dies after citizens arrest

first_imgA man who was subject to a citizen’s arrest following a suspected robbery has died in hospital.The 29-year-old had been restrained by two men who believed he had snatched a woman’s handbag on a residential street in Wolverhampton.Police officers were called in the early hours of 16 October to a suspected robbery Stafford Road. Two men who witnessed the alleged crime detained the suspect while waiting for police, the West Midlands force said. Officers arrived and arrested him but police said he then “became unwell”.They performed CPR on him before paramedics arrived to take him to hospital, but he died three days later. 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 man’s family have been informed, police said, and are receiving specialist support.Detective Inspector Greg Evans, from Wolverhampton CID, said: “We are piecing together what happened on Sunday and it is really important that people who were in the area at the time come forward.“We know the man who made the original 999 call asked a passing member of the public to help him confirm the location as he was unsure. That passer-by then spoke to the 999 operator but left the scene… I really need him to contact me or one of my team so I can clarify what he witnessed.”Further tests are required following a post-mortem examination. The coroner and the Independent Police Complaints Commission have been notified of the incident.last_img read more

MP names Manchester United and Wayne Rooney over tax dodging investigation

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. Manchester United are believed to be among those included within an image rights “tax dodging” investigation, a Conservative MP has said.Charlie Elphicke added fans should be angry that top football clubs and players including United and England captain Wayne Rooney “stand accused of dirtying the beautiful game with a culture of excessive greed and tax dodging”.Jennie Granger, HMRC’s head of enforcement and compliance, earlier this month said 43 players and 12 football clubs in British leagues – alongside eight agents – are currently under investigation around the issue of image rights.Speaking in the Commons, Mr Elphicke said: “HM Revenue and Customs says it’s investigating 43 Premier League players and 12 clubs for image rights tax-dodging, believed to include Manchester United.”Would you agree fans are right to be angry that big clubs, including players like England captain Wayne Rooney, stand accused of dirtying the beautiful game with a culture of excessive greed and tax dodging?” Sports Minister Tracey Crouch replied: “I agree with you that those in football should protect the reputation of football.”But you are asking me to comment on a matter that HMRC is still investigating, and football players, clubs, managers are treated no differently to others and are expected to adhere to the same principles.”A Manchester United spokesman said later: “The club operates within the rules set by football’s governing bodies and HMRC has full visibility of all agreements and payments.” A spokesman for Wayne Rooney said: “All of Wayne Rooney’s tax affairs, including those involving his image rights, are conducted in full compliance with the law.”last_img read more

Theresa you must be SO proud Sue Perkins bashes Prime Minister on

first_imgTheresa May’s speech impressed some, as she laid out her 12 point plan to leave the single market but stay in Europe and get the “best deal” for Britain.However, some were less than impressed, including beloved television presenter Sue Perkins.After seeing Nigel Farage praise Mrs May’s words, tweeting: “I can hardly believe that the PM is now using the phrases and words that I’ve been mocked for using for years. Real progress.”Ms Perkins sarcastically replied: “Oh Theresa, you must be SO proud…”. Oh Theresa, you must be SO proud…. https://t.co/LLhbjVHOrV— Sue Perkins (@sueperkins) January 17, 2017 Brexit means Clean Brexit, Deal means No Deal. No single market but best possible access to single market. #waffle— lily allen (@lilyallen) January 17, 2017 Brexit ?? Blah blah blah. Big L is not impressed #hotairvent pic.twitter.com/HqdPzSZsqT— norman smith (@BBCNormanS) January 17, 2017 Lily Allen, however, dismissed it as “waffle”. The Prime Minister used a major speech to warn that the EU will be torn into “tiny pieces” if it does not give Britain the deal it wants, insisting that she will walk away from negotiations with Brussels if they attempt to give Britain a “bad deal”.She promised to give MPs and peers a final vote on the Brexit deal, and confirmed we will leave the single market.center_img And Larry the cat spent the majority of the speech lying on a hot air vent. Today, our Prime Minister @theresa_may found her voice. Strong, bold, courageous leadership. Bravo. 👏👏👏— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 17, 2017 She was also unimpressed by the Labour Party, accusing them of not being a real Opposition.The presenter wrote: “Democracy, of course, only really works when there’s an opposition…”Other celebrities and prominent figures expressed their views on the speech.Piers Morgan tweeted that Theresa May had “found her voice” and virtually applauded her. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.last_img read more

Bridget Jones would be fine now because the age of the singleton

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. Helen Fielding made the comments at the Hay FestivalCredit:Clara Molden for the Telegraph But Fielding said times have changed. “The pressure from society was so great – remember that scene in the first movie where she goes to a dinner party with six married couples who asked, ‘Why aren’t you married?'” she told an audience at the Hay Festival.”And I think what probably has shifted now is that pressure to be in a couple. I think people are too embarrassed now to say, ‘Why aren’t you married?’ because they know it’s a stupid question.”Women are big multi-taskers now. There’s lot of reasons for not wanting to take that traditional route. People live in urban families in cities, people make their families out of their gay friends, their single friends, their married friends.”Life is very complicated. Gender roles are evolving apace and people choose to live the way they live.” The age of the singleton is over, according to Helen Fielding, who says Bridget Jones’s Diary would be a different book if it was written today.The original 1996 book and the film adaptation divided the world into single people and ‘smug marrieds’, who looked at her with pity because she didn’t have a man. Helen Fielding “Judging themselves on how many ‘likes’ they get on Instagram is pretty stupid really,” she said, adding that the Bridget Jones stories were “about the gap between how we think our lives should be and how they actually are”.The author, who has written three sequels to her original book, also laughed off those who said her books were anti-feminist because the heroine wanted to find a husband.”My god-daughter told me that at her university they’re studying Bridget as ‘post-feminist’, so that’s one to put in one’s pipe and smoke,” she said. But Fielding said her main concern for today’s young women is the self-doubt brought on by social media.last_img read more

The US pastor with a criminal record at the bedside of Charlie

first_imgAn evangelical preacher jailed in the US for picketing an abortion clinic is spearheading the campaign to secure Charlie Gard’s treatment.The Reverend Patrick Mahoney led a team of American ‘right to life’ campaigners who flew to the UK last week to drum up support worldwide for the 11-month-old boy.Rev Mahoney, the pastor in charge of the Church on the Hill in Washington DC and director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said he had met with a senior official in the White House before flying to London. Show more Connie Yates with son Charlie Gard Charlie Gard’s parents were at the High Court on TuesdayCredit: Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph Chris Gard, 32, and Connie Yates, 31 arrive at the High Court Rev Mahoney said he and his team, which includes a US lawyer, had been invited to the UK by the family after they enlisted their support to widen the campaign. The reverend said he had met with a White House official before departing for London and that president Trump was being kept abreast of events. Today the group launched a new campaign “#IamCharlieGard” and released a photograph of the little boy, wearing a US-themed rompersuit, which they hoped would be posted by at least a million people on Facebook and Twitter in support.According to Rev Mahoney, US Congress is also due to debate a bill on Tuesday that would give Charlie effective US citizenship allowing him to travel to the US for the experimental treatment – should the British courts decide his parents can go ahead and take him abroad. 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 source said: “I have no idea how he got in with the parents. He just suddenly turned up last week.” He posted a photograph on Facebook of himself with Charlie’s parents at the boy’s bedside in Great Ormond Street, claiming the hospital had tried to prevent him from entering the intensive care unit before relenting.“This continues to show Great Ormond Street Hospital’s disregard for the wishes of Charlie’s parents. First, the hospital denies care, and now they deny prayer,” he wrote on Facebook.The 63-year-old pastor has been jailed in the US for defying a court order that prohibited him from demonstrating front of abortion clinics in Houston, Texas. He was also jailed briefly by Chinese authorities for trying to pray in Tiananmen Square in 2008.A source previously close to Charlie Gard’s parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard has spoken of their [the source’s] dismay at the apparent hijacking of the campaign and the attack on Great Ormond Street Hospital. Connie Yates with son Charlie Gardlast_img read more

RAF fears Lake District zip wires would down fighter jets

first_img“Therefore, this application could cause a significant hazard and it would significantly impact upon vital military training conducted in this area.” Caroline Quentin, president of Campaign for National Parks, said the zip wires “will spoil the peace and tranquillity of this beautiful place”.And the writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, who was born and raised in Cumbria, said”The destruction of the great pools of silence in the Lake District will most likely deter more people than it will attract.”This is nothing to do with enhancing the Lake District or enriching the experience. It’s a commercial grab that will disfigure the landscape and destroy its crucial peaceful nature.”Thirlmere Lake was originally two smaller lakes purchased by Manchester City Corporation Waterworks in 1889.The area was dammed and became one vast reservoir 3.5 miles long, 1.2 mile wide and 158 feet deep,In the process, the settlements of Armboth and Wythburn were submerged, the only remaining building being the little church at Wythburn.Their destruction was one of the events which led to the creation of the National Trust – one of the bodies which has now voiced its strong objection to the zip wire plans, alongside the Open Spaces Society, the Friends of the Lake District charity and the Wainwright Society. Thirlmere Reservoir in the Lake District National ParkCredit: www.Alamy.com Thirlmere Reservoir in the Lake District National Park The planned installation of eight of the longest zip wire rides in the country across Thirlemere Lake could bring down fighter jets using the area for training, the RAF has warned.The plans by the Cumbrian firm Treetop Trek to erect the 1,200-metre ride across one of the finest landscapes in the country have already attracted the opposition of conservationists and environmentalists.Now the RAF has voiced its fears that the rides, which would see thrill seekers cross the lake 130 metres above the water, would interfere with its low flying jets.The MoD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation has strongly objected to the zip-wire in a letter to the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA), which is set to make a decision on the scheme in the coming weeks.Di Sylvester, the DIO’s assistant safeguarding officer, said the zip line “poses a risk to low flying operations.”She added that “military aircraft would not being able to readily identify wires or safely navigate away from them”.The letter goes on: “The Lake District is used by both experienced crews and students undertaking Basic Fast Jet Training, Advanced Flying Training and those from the Defence Helicopter School.”Activity stands to be severely affected, with impacts recognised in safety, cost, efficiency and output. The National Trust said: “The Thirlmere Valley was one of the key locations for the development of the early conservation movement in the Lake District.”It inspired our founders to form the National Trust – it’s one of our birthplaces, and this is recognised in the World Heritage Site inscription.”Just as our founders did all those years ago, we’re standing up for the Lake District – this development could have a significant impact on the landscape.”However, Treetop Trek argues that the activity hub would create 53 local jobs and generate an extra £600,000 spent in the local economy annually.Their plans have also been backed by Cumbria Tourism and the Lake District Park Partnership Business Task Force, who claim the project would boost the county’s tourism industry and local economy.Mike Turner, managing director of Treetrop Trek, said: “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to create another world-class attraction in the Lake District.”The hub would create 53 jobs altogether and an amazing cycling infrastructure.”The LDNPA has said it will provide a “substantive” update by January 24, when it will confirm whether or not the application will be considered at February’s meeting of its development control committee. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.last_img read more

Salisbury car park ticket machine cordoned off as expert warns dusty nerve

first_imgThe Horner family, which owns Winterslow Coachworks, declined to comment.Meanwhile, the upper floor of the Sainsbury’s car park was also sealed off by police amid a sudden burst of activity close to the scene where the Russians collapsed. Police began examining sections of the same car park on Monday for any traces of the Novichok nerve agent used to poison the pair. That reinforces the belief that the agent may have been introduced into Mr Skripal’s BMW car by the attacker, infecting him and Yulia when they first climbed into the vehicle, possibly to make their way into Salisbury city centre on Sunday, March 3.It came as a former chemical weapons inspector warned that the Novichok used in the attack is “very persistent” and could linger for a “reasonable length of time” as a “dusty agent”. Screens were erected to prevent the public from witnessing developments at the scene. The cordon around The Mill was also extended. As it emerged a Novichok nerve agent was used in the attack, Philip Ingram, a former intelligence and security officer who has studied chemical warfare, said Col Skripal’s car was now the likely source of the contamination.Mr Ingram said: “Using the car would explain why both Mr Skripal and his daughter got a dose at the same time and then transferred it around the restaurant and the pub.”It is easy to break into a car and put some of the substance in there. They then jump into the car to go to the restaurant and pub and get contaminated in the process.”This nerve agent Novichok would have taken effect in hours at most to work, rather than days.” Video: What is Novichok? Nerve agent more potent that VX Mr Skripal’s car has already been taken away for examination by experts at the Government’s Porton Down chemical weapons research centre, along with the vehicle used to tow it from the Sainsbury’s car park to a local car pound. Meanwhile, Jerry Smith, a former chemical weapons inspector for the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said the Novichok agent is “very persistent” and could linger for a “reasonable length of time”.He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “To be honest there is very little knowledge in the open source about these agents. There is sort of six or seven elements that the whistleblower put out of certain lightweight detail shall we say, not a huge amount of detail.“But we do know that they can be as you mention binary, we do know that they can be very persistent. In fact they can actually be micro pulverised dust so they are called dusty agents rather than being a liquid so they can hang around on surfaces for a reasonable length of time.”Mr Smith also suggested the agent could have been made by other “advanced countries”. The search for clues to the assassination attempt on Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter has widened again as police sealed off a car park ticket machine in Salisbury.The ticket dispenser at the Sainsbury’s car park, in the city’s Maltings Shopping Centre, was covered by a yellow and white forensics tent and a cordon placed several yards wide around it on Tuesday morning. Two police officers were guarding the scene.The move suggests police believe Mr Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia – who are both still in a critical condition – parked in the car park and obtained a ticket at the machine before going on to Zizzi restaurant and the Mill pub, both of which were sealed off last Monday, the day after the attack took place. The ticket dispenser at the Sainsbury’s car park, in the city’s Maltings Shopping Centre, was covered by a yellow and white forensics tent “One of the young bar staff who was on a break sat really near them and has also been interviewed.” Neither the police nor Ashley Wood Recovery would comment. Sergei Skripal with his daughter Yulia As further details of Col Skripal’s movements emerged, a source close to Greg Townsend, manager of The Mill, revealed that he served the Russians last Sunday afternoon and had since been treated like a “terror suspect”, interviewed by police up to eight times last week.He said The Mill had 12 CCTV cameras, covering the large open-plan bar area as well as the upstairs balcony and lavatories overlooking it.“The pub has obviously remained closed for more than a week and the cordon widened, but Greg feels like he has been kept completely in the dark, they’re not telling him anything. “He actually served them. He’s had a bit of a time of it all and is a pending terror suspect.”He certainly said he’s being treated like one. He’s had around eight police interviews.” Police officers at a cordon around a ticket machine in a Sainsbury’s car park in SalisburyCredit:Paul Grover for the Telegraph Police block the entrance to Sainsbury’s car park in Salisbury on Monday Credit:Andrew Matthews /PA Army Chemical Experts investigate property and a hire van in the village of West Wintersnow center_img Sergei Skripal with his daughter Yulia Other vehicles, such as the ambulances that arrived at the scene to treat the Skripals after they collapsed onto a bench on the banks of the River Avon, near the car park, have also been taken for examination.The police car driven by Detective Sargeant Nick Bailey, who was among the first to help Mr Skripal and his daughter and suffered the effects of the agent but is now recovering in hospital, has also been examined.From the car park, it was just a short walk through The Maltings shopping precinct to Zizzi, where they ate lunch before heading to The Mill pub for a drink. The bench on which the pair later collapsed would have been on their route back to the car. Last Thursday, Ashley Wood Recovery’s garage in Salisbury was cordoned off as police recovered the BMW.Ambulances, police cars and unmarked vehicles have also been removed from locations across the city. The ticket dispenser at the Sainsbury’s car park, Salisbury, was covered by a yellow and white forensics tentCredit:HENRY NICHOLLS /Reuters Caroline Clayden, from Winterslow, said: “It is like something out a film, it is quite scary, we can’t go anywhere and nobody has been told what on earth is going on.”They are right outside my door taping things up now.”It would be jolly nice to know what is happening that’s for sure.” Sainsbury's ticket machine Army chemical experts investigate property and a hire van in the village of West Wintersnow Credit:David Rose for The Telegraph The source said the CCTV cameras covered the whole bar and had been seized by police. “Skripal and his daughter sat just to the right of the front door. Police block the entrance to Sainsbury's car park in Salisbury The recovery van believed to have towed his abandoned vehicle from the parking space early last week was carefully removed from an address in the village of Winterslow, eight miles from Salisbury, by military personnel in protective suits shortly after 2pm on Monday.The road was also blocked off. The van was owned by Ashley Wood Recovery and was parked outside the home of one of its employees, 22-year-old Robert Horner, who lives with his parents. Neighbour Robbie Williams, 54, said: “They took all the guy’s clothes.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.last_img read more

Young farmer breaks her arm in armwrestling match

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. He said: “It ended with a dance which 600 people attended and we were on site until 1.30am.”The Cumbria Federation of Young Farmers, which hosted the event, is made of 25 regional clubs open to those aged 10 to 26.It is also open to non-farmers, and organises charity events, festivals and competitions.Last year a Federation charity fundraising event saw 12 young farmers push a bed 32 miles through the Lake District, from a pub near Kendal around the northern shore of Lake Windemere, to a country show in Lowick. A young farmer broke her arm competing in a female arm-wrestling match.The 20-year-old woman was taking part in the test of strength at a Young Farmer’s festival in Cumbria.The incident was so shocking her opponent fainted after realising what had happened.Andrew Dickinson, a partner in Kentdale First Aid who was on hand to provide medical assistance told the BBC the woman was given pain relief until an ambulance quickly arrived.He said: “She broke her arm while wrestling with another girl.“It was a bad break and she was in a lot of pain.“The other girl realised she had broken her arm and fainted.“The team were straight on to her, she was fine.”The 20-year-old was taken to Cumbria Infirmary by ambulance.The all-female arm-wrestling competition was one of more than 100 events at the Young Farmers’ Club Northern District Field Day in Irthington near Carlisle, on Saturday.Around 800 young farmers from 15 clubs in north and west Cumbria attended the festival, which included a competition to find the most deft tractor driver, a bale stacking race, and competitive sheep shearing and flower arranging.Mr Dickinson said that other than the incident, “the day was fantastic”. read more

British expat pensioners arrested over £2m cocaine smuggling plot named

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 cruise liner MS Marco Polo, on which Roger and Susan Clarke were arrested The cruise liner MS Marco Polo, on which Roger and Susan Clarke were arrestedCredit:Bork/ullstein bild via Getty Images Details on her Facebook page show that Susan is from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire and worked as a secretary in aviation industry. She now lives with her husband in Guardamar del Segura, just south of Alicante in Spain.The cocaine was intercepted at the ship’s penultimate stop, rather than at its final docking point of Tilbury, Essex.Portuguese police chief Vitor Ananais said: “We acted when we did rather than wait for a possible handover because we wanted to protect the investigation and ensure we seized the drugs.“We do not know for sure at the moment where the cocaine was going to be brought ashore,” he added.“We believe the couple were given the drugs in a Caribbean island but are still looking into which island at this stage.“The couple were not at all showy and blended in well because most of the other passengers on the cruise liner were elderly.“They were travelling alone. They didn’t try to protest their innocence after their arrests. They haven’t said anything to police as to how the drugs got in their cases.”The couple appeared in court on December 5, with Susan currently being held at a prison in Tires near Lisbon and Roger in a prison in the capital. Two pensioners arrested on suspicion of smuggling £2 million of cocaine into Europe on board a cruise ship have been named as husband-and-wife couple Roger and Susan Clarke.Roger, 72, had apparently loaded four new suitcases onto the Marco Polo cruise liner while it was docked in St Lucia, according to the Sun, who say they spoke to a fellow passenger on the boat.The pair were arrested in a targeted raid by Portuguese police on December 4, who boarded the cruise liner as it docked in Lisbon.Vitor Ananais, who led the operation for the Policia Judiciaria, said: “We knew who were looking for and boarded the cruise ship with a search warrant.”He described how nine kilograms of cocaine, with a reported street value of £2 million were found inside the couple’s cabin, hidden in false bottoms of their suitcases. The Foreign Office have been contacted for comment. According to the Sun, Roger bragged about buying cheap luggage to fellow guests on board the Marco Polo, saying: “I tell you what Sue, I’ve done a really good deal. $200 for four suitcases. Wasn’t that cheap?“They would be £1,500 in Harrods.”Susan, 70, was understood to have stayed on the boat while her husband went onshore. read more

Boris Johnson to tackle antivaxx fake news on social media that is

The Prime Minister has said social media firms must share the responsibility for the rising spread of measles in the UK as he attacked antivax misinformation. Boris Johnson will on Monday set out plans to improve vaccination rates on a visit to a hospital in the South West, following a rise in cases of measles.In the first quarter of 2019 there were 231 confirmed cases of measles, just three years after the World Health Organisation declared the UK measles-free. Earlier this year Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, said “fake news” by anti-vaxers on social media had fuelled a tripling in measles cases and added that the promotion of misguided messages on Instagram and YouTube was one of the factors behind the dip in vaccinations.Ahead of the visit, Mr Johnson, who will call a summit of social media companies to discuss how they can play their part in promoting accurate information about vaccination, said: “After a period of progress where we were once able to declare Britain measles free, we’ve now seen hundreds of cases of measles in the UK this year. 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. Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: “With this strategy, the whole health system will come together to renew focus on vaccinations, especially for our children, and this time we will eliminate measles for good.”Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said the UK losing its measles-free status was “a stark reminder of how important it is that every eligible person gets vaccinated”. “Elimination can only be sustained by maintaining and improving coverage of the MMR vaccine,” he said.”Measles is one of the most infectious diseases known to man – only one person travelling back to an area with lower vaccination rates can lead to an outbreak.”Anyone who has not received two doses of MMR vaccine is always at risk.” “One case of this horrible disease is too many, and I am determined to step up our efforts to tackle its spread. “This is a global challenge and there’s a number of reasons why people don’t get themselves or their children the vaccines they need, but we need decisive action across our health service and society to make sure communities are properly immunised.”The Prime Minister added: “From reassuring parents about the safety of vaccines, to making sure people are attending follow-up appointments, we can and must do more to halt the spread of infectious, treatable diseases in modern-day Britain.”Mr Johnson called for health leaders to renew their efforts to ensure 95 per cent of the population have had both doses of the MMR vaccine, as currently only 87.2 per cent of children have the second dose of the jab. As part of the Department for Health’s strategy it plans to work with the Department for Education to explore more ways in which students can be informed about their health, including the value of vaccinations, which they hope will enable them to critically assess misinformation spread online about certain vaccines. This is down from a high of 88.6 per cent in 2014-15, the lower uptake of which is thought to be partly behind the spread of measles, Downing Street said.NHS England will write to all GPs urging them to promote “catch-up” vaccination programmes, and will seek to strengthen the role of local immunisation co-ordinators in a bid to improve uptake.It will also seek to update the advice on the NHS’s website to address misleading information about the dangers of vaccines. read more

GECOM chair Opposition Leader President agree to third list

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGECOM Chair: Jagdeo says AFC cannot deny its role in the unilateral selection of PattersonNovember 14, 2017In “latest news”Patterson new GECOM Chair: Says he was approached hours before swearing inOctober 19, 2017In “latest news”GECOM Chair: New list will be submitted soon- TeixeiraMarch 29, 2017In “latest news” …high-level team to be assembled for smoother transitionOpposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo and President David Granger have agreed to the submission of a third list of six nominees for the post of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), a joint statement from the Opposition and Government said on Monday.This decision was made after a second meeting between the two was held at State House.The meeting was also attended by People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Members of Parliament Anil Nandlall and Irfaan Ali, Minister of State Joseph Harmon and Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman.The joint statement said the parties agreed that it would be in the best interest of the people of Guyana that the choice of a Chairperson of GECOM is made without undue delay.However, both parties further agreed that the Opposition Leader will submit a new list of six names to the President.It was also agreed that a high-level team would be assembled representing the President and the Opposition Leader which will begin to work immediately on exploring modalities to bring a resolution to this matter in the event that the list is rejected again by the President.The Opposition has publicly stated total disagreement with the President’s interpretation of Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of Guyana which deals with the selection of the chairman of GECOM.Jagdeo had, last April, submitted to President Granger a second list of six nominees for the post of Chairman of GECOM. They were retired Justice of Appeal BS Roy; retired Justice William Ramlall; former Magistrate Oneidge Walrond-Allicock; Attorneys Kashir Khan and Nadia Sagar; and businessman and pilot, captain Gerald Gouveia.This second list suffered the same fate as the first, following President Granger deeming them “unacceptable” on the grounds that they were not in keeping with ‘his interpretation’ of Guyana’s Constitution and his criteria outlined for selection.GECOM has been without a Chairman since February 28, 2017, when Dr Steve Surujbally stepped down after 15 years at the helm. read more

Persons claiming to be Govt agents threaten Guyana Times

The management of the Guyana Times newspaper, in a released statement, has outlined that persons who claimed to be agents of the Government have been calling and threatening the publication, that it will face “dire consequences” should it continue to publish news items that are critical of the incumbent Administration.“As an independent media house, Guyana Times has striven to express the views of all Guyanese irrespective of religion, race, creed, or political background. This media house, over the past 10 years, has stood firm as a watchdog of our democracy and against Government excesses” the statement said.Moreover, the popular publication cited Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration which speaks to the protection of Press Freedom and emphasised the part of the Declaration which says that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”The media publication says it views the reported threats as “being aimed at silencing us as a media house from performing our role as the fourth estate of democratic government.”To that end however, Guyana Times says it “will not be intimidated by these threats and will continue to report and cover the news fairly and fearlessly as it unfolds.”See their full statement below:Guyana Times has received a number of threats from persons, who claimed to be agents of the Government to stop publishing news items, which are critical of the Administration.These persons have threatened that should this newspaper continue to pursue articles which are critical of the Government, its owners, management and affiliate companies will face dire consequences.As an independent media house, Guyana Times has striven to express the views of all Guyanese irrespective of religion, race, creed, or political background. This media house, over the past 10 years, has stood firm as a watchdog of our democracy and against Government excesses.Guyana Times, along with its sister companies Television Guyana (TVG-CH 28) and Radio Guyana Inc (RGI), is housed at the Sanata Complex, Ruimveldt Industrial Site, Georgetown.We are of the view that this threat is aimed at silencing us as a media house from performing our role as the fourth estate of democratic government.Freedom of the press is protected by Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration. This article is explicit in its protection of freedoms and more significantly, points to: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”In the past, this media house has been threatened by Government officials. In particular one Government official called for the torching of Sanata Complex, which houses among other entities, Guyana Times newspaper, Television Guyana (TVG-CH 28) and Radio Guyana Inc (RGI).Guyana Times assures our readers and public that we will not be intimidated by these threats and will continue to report and cover the news fairly and fearlessly as it unfolds. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPNC/R retracts statement, says President committed to non-interference in independent mediaMay 23, 2018In “latest news”Guyana Gov’t says it has never been accused of intimidating JournalistsNovember 3, 2014In “Politics”PPP calls out GHRA over ‘silence’ on spiraling crime, Amerindian biasNovember 21, 2016In “latest news” read more

Renatas journey started with Yo I write this thing yall want

By Lakhram BhagiratThere is something unexplainable about the way she speaks, the way she delivers, the way she shares her experiences. I question whether it is the power in her voice, or the ability of her words to soothe the searing pain of open wounds or the way the words just linger after speaking to our souls.For the past two years, her face has been gracing social media sites with her words spreading like wildfire. The name Renata Burnette is synonymous with modern-day Spoken Word Poetry in Guyana. The 22-year-old trailblazer is nothing short of inspiring as she speaks her truth which quite often is something a lot of people run from.Renata, a Communications major at the University of Guyana, never had in mind that her words would have made such an impact on society. Her journey has been, and continues to be, a learning experience for her as she aims for greater heights.After completing her secondary education at the Brickdam High School, Renata decided that she wanted to do CAPE Law and gained admission at the St Joseph High School. As usual, there were days when no teachers were available to teach and during that time students were urged to study or work on their own, but Renata and her classmates used that time for grounding sessions.They would trade advice and have heated discussions along with karaoke among other things. With the majority of students being female, it meant the discussions were almost always centred around relationships. It was during that time she experienced her first heartbreak and to add salt to the wounds the person she was dating almost instantaneously got into another serious relationship.“I felt as though I really couldn’t say how I felt and I started writing and then the words were coming consistently and then it started to make sense. It wasn’t necessarily a rhyme scheme, but it started to make sense because that was exactly how I felt. A day in class when we didn’t have any lessons or any teacher, I told my friends ‘yo I write this thing, Y’all want to listen to it and obviously why not’…they did.”“The first piece I wrote was called “Thank you for hurting me”, because it was like a healing process. It was like you hurt me, I was upset, I was angry, but now I see that you really weren’t meant for me, so thank you for showing me that, but you know, of course, in a way that caused me a lot of pain,” she explained.After hearing what she was capable of, Renata’s friends fell immediately in love with her talent and in an effort to encourage her, they told her to aim high. They encouraged her to shoot for the stars and said that they would be right there supporting her every step of the way. To date, whenever she performs or hosts an event, they are always there in her cheering section, pushing her to achieve every bit of success possible.Renata grew up in a family home at Better Hope on the East Coast of Demerara with her mother and sister. There were other relatives in the house as well. With her sister away at a school that required her to stay on campus and her mother a Sergeant in the Guyana Defence Force, Renata had a lot of free time since she was alone in the lower flat of their home most of the time.That alone time was spent with her numerous male cousins having a grand time. While growing up, despite being very good at Literature and English Language in school, Renata never felt an immediate connection to poetry. It may have been a work in progress, but she never connected the dots until she actually started to dip her feet in the poetry world.Back in high school, while attending mandatory Mathematics lessons, her friend Crystal would be constantly writing several long lines which were not mathematical formulas. Upon inspection of Crystal’s work, Renata thought it was “very sad and painful and deep, but that is how she felt and that was her comfort and I didn’t take heed to it until I started and it was very nice to know that somebody was interested in something I never heard about.”The Guyana Times in 2016 featured one of Renatta’s poems which went viral on social media.She also draws inspiration from several poets and artists whose work speak of their stories.Renata’s work is heavily influenced by her personal experiences since she does not write without feeling what she is writing.“I always describe myself as a self-sacrifice when it comes to my poetry. I could never write anything that I don’t feel or experience myself, hence I don’t recite other people’s pieces, you know. I have never recited anybody’s pieces. I have never really written anything that I have never experienced myself and to me, that’s how my poetry is because everything for me is personal because that is how I feel.”“Writing about the absence of my father, writing about how my mother saw men, writing about my family, writing about relationships, writing about societal issues and how they are affecting me and the people around me are all the things I felt personally. Things that made me angry, made me sad, made me feel scared and not in control and those were the easiest to write. Putting them down, it was hard because I hardly ever speak of these things because that’s where poetry works for me whereby that was my escape to let all of that out and then recite it in the hope of somebody would benefit from it,” she said.In Guyana, the common view is that a lot of emphasis is not being placed on the development of the creative sector. Renata shares this sentiment since she is of the view that we have failed to create a space where people can come and bask in their own art. She said that the Ministry of Social Cohesion should be placing more emphasis on the holistic development of the creative sector and not just when it sees an opportunity for benefit. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGirl, 5, makes US spelling bee historyMarch 8, 2017In “latest news”Vincentian woman set ablaze after refusing to have sexAugust 15, 2017In “Regional”Girl aged two can recite capital cities of 196 countries – in UNDER five minutesAugust 2, 2016In “World” read more