Adopting a new resolution by a vote of 14 in favour and 1 abstention (Venezuela), the Council also extended the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group until 15 December 2016, and reiterated its expectation that the Government of Eritrea would facilitate the Group’s entry into that country.Reaffirming Somalia’s sovereignty over its natural resources, the Council underlined the vital importance of the Federal Government of Somalia putting in place a resource-sharing agreement to ensure that the national petroleum sector did not become a source of increased tension. The Council condemned the ongoing export of charcoal from Somalia in violation of the total ban on charcoal exports.The Council expressed serious concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Somalia and condemned in the strongest terms increased attacks against humanitarian actors. It also expressed concern about continued reports of corruption, diversion of public resources and financial impropriety involving members of the Federal Government Administrations and the Federal Parliament, underlining that individuals engaged in acts that threatened Somalia’s peace and reconciliation process might be listed for targeted sanctions.Also by the text, the Council urged the Government of Eritrea to allow access or provide information, including to the Monitoring Group, on the Djiboutian prisoners missing in action since clashes between the two countries from 10 to 12 June 2008.
According to a statement issued last night by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, the Secretary-General “is disappointed” that no agreement was reached during the 9 to 14 August 2016 talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Further in the statement, the Secretary-General strongly urged all the parties to resume negotiations, abide by the roadmap agreement, and refrain from any attempt to escalate the conflict in Darfur and the two areas. He also reiterated that there can be “no lasting alternative to a negotiated settlement” and stressed that a cessation of hostilities is “the first, indispensable step” towards achieving this goal.The Secretary-General appreciated the vital role played by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), the African Union/UN Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and his Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan to bring about a lasting peace in Sudan, the statement said.On 8 August, the African Union-brokered roadmap for ending conflicts in the country was signed by Sudanese opposition groups. The Secretary-General, at that time, called on all Sudanese parties to maintain “this positive momentum” and urged them to continue working towards an agreement on a cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access to conflict-affected areas and the process for reaching a final, political settlement through an inclusive national dialogue.
‹ › Secretary-General Guterres looks out at a portion of the Aral Sea, which has now dried completely. Photo: UN Spokesperson Source: UNIC, Uzbekistan Source: UNIC, Uzbekistan Source: UNIC, Uzbekistan “The Aral Sea’s progressive disappearance was not because of climate change, it was mismanagement by humankind of water resources,” said Secretary-General Guterres after visiting Muynak, the ‘cemetery of ships’ – once a port city but now devoid of all water. “It also shows that if in relation to climate change, we are not able to act forcefully to tame this phenomenon, we might see this kind of tragedy multiply around the world,” he warned. The environmental disaster was precipitated by diversion of tributary rivers which drained into the Aral Sea for irrigation projects nearly half a century ago. Lack of fresh water feeding the sea slowly dried it up, increasing the salinity of the area, with serious impact on human health and agriculture. Terming the catastrophe “probably the biggest ecological catastrophe of our time,” one that demonstrated that “men can destroy the planet,” the Secretary-General called on everyone to make the Aral Sea a lesson and to mobilize the whole international community to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and to make sure that such tragedies will not be repeated. Earlier in the day, Mr. Guterres held a meeting with the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, where they discussed collaboration between the UN and the country in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and regional matters. The UN chief also met with representatives of the civil society and visited Samarkand, one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia.
Read full story VIDEO: UN mobilizes in response to recent attack in Somali capital. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are among the host of UN entities already on the ground. More than 100 UN staff have donated blood to help the injured. The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has deployed technical advisors, medics and bomb-sniffing dog teams at the main bomb blast site near the Safari Hotel. Fire unit personnel from the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the UN Support Office in Somalia have been using specialized life-detection equipment to search for survivors. According UNSOM, youth from local universities also joined the clean-up and rescue operation earlier this week. More than 300 youth volunteers are participating in the effort and were accompanied by the Mogadishu Mayor, Thabit Abdi Mohamed, in clearing the debris and rubble. Our short video story takes you inside the post-blast recovery effort, and in a related Soundcloud, the UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Vincent Lelei, tells UN News that the international community’s support to Somalia is a “silver lining” in the face of the tragedy. AUDIO: Vincent Lelei, UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia, provides an overview of the atmosphere in Mogadishu. The United Nations has mobilized its staff and resources to aid Somalis affected by last Saturday’s bomb blasts in the capital Mogadishu.“We have called upon our colleagues in the UN family to donate blood. At the same time, the entire UN family is also mobilizing in support for the response by the Federal Government and the local administration,” said the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Raisedon Zenenga. Since last Sunday, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has deployed technical advisors, medics and explosives-detecting dog teams at the main bomb blast site near the Safari Hotel. Fire unit personnel from the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the UN Support Office in Somalia have been using specialized life-detection equipment to search for survivors. On Monday, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) delivered 3.8 metric tonnes of medical supplies – donated by the United Kingdom – to Mogadishu’s Medina Hospital and a newly established National Emergency Operations Centre. UNICEF also erected three large tents for personnel tracing patients’ relatives. Earlier this week, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also delivered tents, a generator and 1,000 non-food item kits to Medina Hospital and the operations centre. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) contributed three tons of medicines and other emergency relief supplies on Tuesday to treat those wounded in the explosions. In addition, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has delivered radios to a local ambulance company and is planning to provide cash payments to hundreds of youth who have been participating in rubble-clearing operations at the main blast site. For its part, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is helping to synchronise the response of various UN humanitarian agencies and the massive donations of international partners supporting the recovery effort. On behalf of UN family in Somalia – 137 of whom have donated blood – Mr. Zenenga expressed deep sadness over the attacks that killed more than 300 civilians and injured hundreds more. While noting that many city hospitals had been overwhelmed by the number of people wounded and were running short of supplies, he said that the UN is working closely with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to ensure that they provide adequate support to federal and local government ministries and agencies. “Our support as the UN family will partly go through AMISOM, including some equipment and medical supplies,” Mr. Zenenga said. Alan Macdonald, Director of UNMAS Somalia, pointed out the important role played by the agency’s sniffer dogs in searching for secondary explosive devices around the perimeter area of the main blast site. “In the second day, the response changed, we have explosive detection dogs but we’ve also augmented that with combat engineering support where we are helping the AMISOM soldiers with heavy equipment for removing rubble at the site,” Mr. Macdonald noted.
“The Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access is an important first step in the revitalization of the peace process,” said the mission in a news release, Friday. “UNMISS is committed to supporting the peace process in line with its mandate through advancing reconciliation efforts, strengthening conflict resolution mechanisms, building national cohesion and engaging in regional and international peace initiatives,” it added. The Agreement was signed Thursday between the Government and opposing groups attending the High-Level Revitalization Forum in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. It aims to revitalize efforts to implement the 2015 peace agreement in South Sudan which came under increasing strain due to violence in the country. Also in the news release, the UNMISS acknowledged the efforts of all actors involved in the Forum in reaching an agreement and thanked the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-country trade bloc in Africa, for its leadership of the peace talks. “[We] urge all parties to adhere to the Agreement and end the ongoing violence so that durable peace can be achieved in the interests of the people of South Sudan,” added the UN Mission. The world’s youngest country, South Sudan has spent much of its short life mired in conflict, riven by a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and his then former Vice-President Riek Machar, that erupted into full-blown war late in 2013.
The UN rights chief cited reports of numerous violations and abuses by security forces and pro-Government armed groups, including the excessive use of force, killings, arbitrary detentions, torture, threats and intimidation.She said her Office was continuing to investigate reports of “possible extrajudicial executions by security forces”, naming the Special Actions Force or FAES, as reportedly responsible for killing “at least 205 persons. A further 37 were reportedly killed in the course of January 2019 in Caracas”, she added.“It appears that some of these killings have followed a similar pattern. They take place during illegal house raids carried out by the FAES, which subsequently reports the death as resulting from an armed confrontation – although witnesses report the victims were unarmed,” said Ms. Bachelet.I am also concerned about increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and of the press in Venezuela,” she said, “and the allegations that the authorities have arbitrarily used the law against hatred, adopted in November 2017, to prosecute journalists, opposition leaders and anyone expressing dissenting opinions.”Divisions are exacerbating an already critical situation” the rights chief said, arguing that there was “a need for common agreement on a political solution by all stakeholders, with actions to improve a wide range of urgent human rights issues. I call on the authorities to take steps to demonstrate their real commitment to addressing the many challenging issues reported across the country.”Minimal progress on accountability in Sri LankaTurning to Sri Lanka, Ms. Bachelet said that despite progress on some issues, “there has been minimal progress on accountability” including on setting up a special judicial mechanism to deal with the worst crimes committed during the 2009 conflict between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the north-east of the country.“Continuing impunity risks fuelling communal or inter-ethnic violence, and instability”, she spelled out, calling for the establishment of an independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a vetting process to remove officers with questionable human rights records.“This Council continues to have an essential role in accompanying the Government and people of Sri Lanka in their journey towards realizing the dignity, and rights of all members of society, irrespective of their sex, ethnic origin or belief”, she concluded.A ‘glimmer of hope’ in Yemen’s ‘dire situation’On Yemen, Ms. Bachelet noted that while the fragile ceasefire in Hudaydah presents “a glimmer of hope”, the situation across the rest of the country is “dire’.Salaries of teachers, doctors, nurses and other public employees have gone unpaid for years – UN rights chiefMore than 24 million people need aid, with 14.3 million in acute need, she told the Council. Moreover, basic resources have become “a luxury that few can afford”.“Salaries of teachers, doctors, nurses and other public employees have gone unpaid for years” she stressed.Meanwhile, “periodic airstrikes, shelling and landmines continue to kill and maim civilians” and children continue to be conscripted or enlisted into armed forces or groups, she added.The UN rights chief expressed particular concern about a recent escalation of hostilities in Hajjah governorate, where preliminary reports indicate that 22 people were killed earlier this month and thousands of families displaced.“All States, including those not involved in the armed conflict, have the obligation to take measures to ensure that parties to a conflict respect the Conventions”, she stated, calling “conditioning, limiting or refusing arms transfers” one such measure. Amid a protracted crisis from a faltering economy, political instability and violent anti-Government demonstrations, a technical team of five OHCHR staff members are currently touring the country, which rights chief Michelle Bachelet, described as “a positive first step”.She highlighted “dramatically” deteriorating “economic and social rights”, exacerbated by the recent electricity blackout and expressed concern about the “continued criminalization of peaceful protest and dissent”.
The disease remains on the of the world’s leading killers, with one child dying every two minutes. Most of the fatalities are in Africa, where more than 250,000 children die each year.Known officially as the RTS,S, vaccine, it will also be introduced in Ghana and Kenya in the coming weeks. “We have seen tremendous gains from bed nets and other measures to control malaria, but progress has stalled and even reversed in some areas”, said WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus.The new #malaria vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of children’s lives. @WHO welcomes the Government of #Malawi’s launch of the world’s first malaria vaccine today in a landmark pilot programme. https://t.co/1gwiV6WD0E pic.twitter.com/TlKnzoayP6— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) April 23, 2019 “We need new solutions to get the malaria response back on track, and this vaccine gives us a promising tool to get there”, he added. “The malaria vaccine has the potential to save tens-of-thousands of lives.”‘Thirty years in the making’RTS,S, is the first and only vaccine so far, that has demonstrated it can “significantly reduce” malaria in children so far, during clinical trials. It was successful in approximately four in 10 cases, including three in 10 cases, where the disease was life-threatening to the young patient.WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said malaria was “a constant threat” to the communities where it was being administered in the coming weeks. “We know the power of vaccines to prevent killer diseases and reach children, including those who may not have immediate access to doctors”, she added.‘Model’ public-private partnershipThe pilot programme is a collaboration between the UN and ministries of health in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi and a range of other national and international partners, including PATH, a non-profit organization, and GSK, the vaccine developer and manufacturer, which is donating up to 10 million doses for this pilot.“We salute WHO and Malawi for their leadership in realizing this historic milestone,” said Steve Davis, President and CEO of PATH, “and we look forward to the start of vaccination in Ghana, and then Kenya later this year. A vaccine for malaria is among many innovations needed to bring an end to this disease, and we proudly stand with all countries and our many partners in progressing towards a malaria-free world.”The malaria vaccine pilot aims to reach about 360,000 children per year across the three countries. Dr. Seth Berkley, Chief Executive of the global public and private sector vaccine alliance, Gavi, said that Malaria continues to be “one of the biggest killers of children worldwide”, taking the lives of over 200,000 every year. “These pilots will be crucial to determine the part this vaccine could play in reducing the burden this disease continues to place on the world’s poorest countries,” he noted.
SMMT has welcomed the latest exhibit to its modern Westminster exhibition space this week: a trio of products from specialist manufacturer, Caterham Cars. The display follows the launch last week of SMMT’s report into the UK’s unique low volume car manufacturing industry, highlighting some of the challenges these companies face and, importantly, the opportunities for growth that can be achieved.SMMT’s report highlights how specialist car manufacturers like Caterham inspire diversity in the marketplace, provide highly-skilled jobs, positively contribute to net exports and are often at the leading edge of product design and innovation.Caterham’s mainstay product, the Seven, is based on an original design by Lotus Cars founder Colin Chapman that was first seen in 1957. In 1973, Lotus sold the rights to the Seven to Caterham, and the Surrey dealer became a UK sports car manufacturer in its own right.Since then, the company has continued to refine the original design, through technical development and innovation, and there is now a range of variants on offer. Three of these are on show at SMMT – a Superlight R300 race car, a CSR 200 and an R500.Superlight R300 race carFollowing in the footsteps of more powerful Superlight siblings like the R500, this car adheres to original Seven recipe; high performance through extensive use of lightweight materials. The R300 is the best-selling model in the Superlight range, blending a 515kg weight with a 175bhp 2.0-litre Caterham Powertrain (CPT) Duratec engine.CSR 200The CSR is the latest evolution of the Seven design. Both CSR 200 and CSR 260 feature bespoke, high performance engines tuned by engineering partner Cosworth. The model also benefits from fully-independent rear, and inboard F1-style, front suspension plus major chassis enhancements. There are no power brakes or power steering, and considerable aerodynamic improvements were developed by Caterham to increase downforce at higher speeds.Superlight R500In Caterham’s view, the Superlight R500 represents the ultimate expression of Colin Chapman’s fundamentals. The car’s name is derived from its power-to-weight ratio of more than 500bhp per tonne, which gives the R500 a 0-60mph time of just 2.88 seconds. Stripped to the bare essentials, all unnecessary comforts are removed to save weight and reduce mass, thereby boosting the car’s performance credentials.“The UK is home to more specialist car manufacturers than any other country, including some of the world’s most iconic and prestigious brands,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “These marques boast a strong brand heritage, enviable motorsport pedigree and display a world leading use of innovative new technologies.”To download a copy of the report, Specialist car manufacturing – a uniquely British success story, visit the UK automotive publications section of the website.Click through the slideshow below to see all the photos from SMMT’s exhibition space.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
Plug-In Car Grant: Since the launch of the Plug-In Car Grant in January 2011, there have been 47,690 eligible cars registered. Please note: this data includes only new car registrations and not commercial vehicles. For questions about these figures, or to enquire about more detailed data sets, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) SMMT has published Electric Vehicle (EV) registration figures for December 2015 and the year-to-date.
Congress 2014 organizers are looking to fill more than 500 student volunteer and contractor positions as it gears up for the major academic conference at Brock University in May.Last held at Brock in 1996, Congress – the largest symposium of its kind in Canada – will bring 8,000 or more delegates to the campus between May 24-30.Organizers are looking for between 350-400 volunteers to help with “anything and everything,” said Curtis Gadula, Brock manager, off campus living and neighbourhood relations.“We couldn’t have done this without the volunteers.”Another 110 paid contractor positions are also available.Hosted by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Congress brings together academics, researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners to share findings, refine ideas, and build partnerships that will help shape Canada’s future.Developed in partnership with a different host university each year, Congress programming is open to attendees, academics and non-academic audiences.From theatre research, literature studies and education to history, sociology and communications, Congress represents a unique showcase of scholarly excellence, creativity and leadership.Interested volunteers should contact Gadula prior to the deadline March 14 at 4 p.m.Applications for positions can be filled online.
Brock University continues to make significant commitments to support the 2021 Canada Summer Games in Niagara through the appointments of Sport Management Associate Professor Julie Stevens and Brock’s Vice-President, Administration Brian Hutchings.Stevens, whose PhD is in sport and business, has been named as Brock’s Special Advisor to the President and Vice-Chancellor, Canada Games, a position she will use to maximize the partnership between the Games and Brock University, exploring opportunities for teaching, research and experiential education related to the country’s largest multi-sport event.Stevens will take over the position of Chair of the Brock University Canada Games Steering Committee (Academic), and will sit as a member on the Brock University Canada Games Executive Committee, chaired by Hutchings. Together, Stevens and Hutchings will span the full capacity of Brock to support success of the 2021 Games and related benefits they bring to the region.Brian Hutchings, Vice-President, Administration.With nearly 20 years of Brock experience and significant Canada Games research, Stevens is eager to take on the role through which she will help faculty, staff and students create connections to the Games.“I’m very familiar with the Games program, its history in Canada and its footprint in different communities,” said Stevens. “I’m excited — for Niagara and for Brock — about what it will mean to have the Games in the region.”Hutchings, a former professional athlete, is also the lead contact regarding Canada Games site locations at Brock and related developments.“As a community partner, Brock will be ready to help Niagara welcome thousands of athletes and supporters coming for the Games in July 2021,” said Hutchings. “The campus will be a busy hub, serving as the athletes’ village and also hosting several athletic events.”These latest announcements follow the Government of Canada’s appointment earlier this year of Brock President Gervan Fearon to the board that is overseeing the Games itself, alongside Brock senior official Tom Arkell. Fearon said Stevens’ appointment will help the University contribute to a major national sports spectacle that should have a big impact on Niagara’s future growth.“With her impressive background and wealth of Canada Games knowledge, Julie will help Brock make the necessary connections to see those ideas for hands-on learning come to fruition,” said Fearon.“The Games is an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding achievements of Canadian athletes and to build our community, but is also a chance to introduce new avenues of experiential education that will benefit our students in their future careers.”Stevens will work with the Academic Steering Committee to explore experiential education, teaching and research opportunities related to the Canada Games. The committee includes representatives from each of Brock’s Faculties as well as administrative and student services units.“From the discussions that have already taken place with the steering committee, it’s clear there are experiential opportunities for students in all programs. It’s about thinking beyond the sports context and building awareness,” Stevens said. “For instance, there are opportunities in Math and Science with computer science and IT, and in Humanities with opening and closing ceremonies, performances and cultural aspects of the Games.”Stevens will work with all Brock stakeholders involved to map, track and capture the impact of the experiential education, research and teaching connections to the Games.“It will help us identify new ways of co-operating with a community partner, especially one that itself is very connected to government, sport clubs, business and other areas of sport,” she said.“This gives Brock an opportunity to set the foundation that will allow the Canada Games Council to include experiential education in all its future bids. We will provide a starting-point to help them develop their approach.”At the same time, Brock will also use the experience to improve its own experiential education, collaborative research and teaching for the future. Gary Comerford, Chair of Brock’s Board of Trustees, said it’s a tremendous opportunity for the entire community.“The Canada Games will bring about 5,000 young athletes to Niagara,” he said. “It is expected that another 5,000 volunteers will be needed to host the Games, which will bring an economic impact of about $200 million to the Niagara area.”In addition to hosting certain sports competitions and the athletes’ village, Brock will also house the Games’ provincial mission offices, transportation centre, administrative offices, polyclinic and information centre.
What did the population of St. Catharines look like in 1900?That’s the question Brock University students aimed to answer during a recent project looking into the city’s history.Students in HIST 2P26 — Introduction to Digital History spent the past semester digging into archival material in hopes of not only shedding light on St. Catharines’ past, but also sharing their findings with the public.Forty students took on the task of transcribing St. Catharines tax rolls from 1900 to build a database and create an historical GIS map of the city’s population at the turn of the 20th century.“The project gave students digital skills as well as experience working with archival materials and writing social history,” said Assistant Professor of History Colin Rose, who works with GIS data in his own research.“A lot of them have commented on how this student-driven learning experience has helped them develop new skills, like reading cursive, and really understand the process of designing and pursuing a history or digital humanities project.”The students used GIS to match the previous city population to the current road layout, showing exactly where individuals from the past would live today. They also included statistical data on the number of children, total property value, occupation, age and pets within each household.“It’s interesting to see what occupations people had then,” said second-year student Elisa Mastroianni, who worked with Vanessa Barbera to transcribe data from a section of the city’s St. George’s ward. The pair found occupations as diverse as piano tuner, labourer and bicyclist in their data.“Women were always designated as wife or widow in the tax roll,” said Barbera. “Some were landlords renting out property.”Mastroianni was intrigued by details of past lifestyles.“It was interesting to see what family life was like,” she said.Students found interesting spatial patterns in their data, noting that housing was clustered by socio-economic status rather than by ethnicity. Working class neighbourhoods — particularly, apartment blocks — where a lot of migrant labours made their first homes were highly diverse areas.Students also commented on the surprising lack of family dogs, although that could be an idiosyncrasy of data recording, Rose said.Rose and the students worked closely on the project with Brock’s Archives and Special Collections and St. Catharines Museum, which provided tax rolls for digitization.“It is a public history project that gives local history enthusiasts access to a trove of genealogical and historical information on St. Catharines’ past,” said Rose. “The students have done a public service through their research and learning, which, hopefully, the community will find value in.”The interactive, dynamic WebGIS students have been constructing allows users to explore and analyze the historical population of St. Catharines. The project is available at www.niagaralives.ca
MURRAY, Ky. — Ja Morant made 12 of 14 free throws, scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Murray State beat Prairie View A&M 83-67 on Saturday night.Shaq Buchanan added 14 points for the Racers. Mike Davis scored 12 and Tevin Brown added 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists.After Morant’s free throw put Murray State (4-1) ahead 30-28 with 4:52 before halftime, Gary Blackston and Chancellor Ellis made back-to-back 3-pointers and Devonte Patterson made a pair of free throws and the Panthers led 36-30.The Racers put together an 8-0 run to close the half and, after intermission, Patterson’s jumper tied it at 38. But Morant responded with a dunk and a 3-pointer and Murray State led the rest of the way. Davis’ layup with 13:27 to play extended the lead to 58-42.Patterson led Prairie View (1-7) with 18 points and Blackston had 14. The Panthers have lost seven straight.The Associated Press
OSU freshman setter Taylor Hughes (6) sets the ball during a match against Florida State on Sept. 6 at St. John Arena. Credit: Ashley Roudebush / For The LanternThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team has started off the season going 8-1, including three victories over top 25 teams in then-No. 14 Florida State twice and then-No. 13 Arizona.Before the 13th-ranked Buckeyes open conference play with No. 11 Wisconsin and No. 23 Minnesota next week at St. John Arena, the team has three final nonconference matchups in Rochester, Michigan, against Eastern Illinois, Western Michigan and Oakland.OSU plays in statistically the toughest conference and has the ninth toughest schedule overall in the NCAA.A key contributor to OSU’s success so far this season has been junior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe. The third-year starter put together strong performances in the D.C. Koehl Classic tournament, including a match against Florida State in which she tallied zero hitting errors. Sandbothe is second on the team in kills with 110 kills, and has a .419 hitting percentage through nine matches, 33rd best in the country. “You need players like that,” coach Geoff Carlston said about the Big Ten co-Player of the Week. “She’s certainly one of the kids we’re looking to for those moments.”Sandbothe said she sees herself as a player who likes to lead the rest of her team by example.“All of us have a passion for the game, and if I can influence my team by having that swagger and confidence on the court, that’s the player I want to be,” she said. “And if my teammates can look to me to be that kind of player consistently, I feel like that’s a privilege for me.”With two freshmen and four sophomores on the roster, Carlston said he looks to the seniors for leadership but has equally been impressed by the juniors.“I think our younger players tend to gravitate toward other people,” he said. “Our juniors have really stepped up in terms of taking on that leadership role. I’ve seen them keeping our team relaxed and in the moments.”Along with Sandbothe, junior libero Valeria León — the team’s defensive leader — said she takes on some of the responsibility of assisting the freshmen and sophomores in understanding how to play in big games.“We always talk about staying in the moment,” León said. “Don’t get excited, don’t get too nervous.”OSU returned most of its key players from last year’s squad that was a set away from an Elite Eight appearance — which would have been the first in Carlston’s tenure at OSU — and an improved 12-8 conference record from the 2013 season, when the Buckeyes were 6-14 in Big Ten play.León said she sees the team continuing its strong start through conference play and into the NCAA tournament.“After this year, I’m going to be a senior so right now, I’m approaching this year like it’s my last one,” León said. “I think we have a pretty good chance to make it far this year. I’m really excited for this team.”Sandbothe echoed the libero’s enthusiasm about the team.“Our team definitely has a dynamic and chemistry unlike we’ve ever had,” Sandbothe said. “Don’t count us out for being a Final Four team — and winning the Big Ten.”
OSU sophomore linebacker Raekwon McMillan (5) celebrates during a game against Minnesota on Nov. 7 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won 28-14. Credit: Lantern File PhotoOhio State defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell has a tall order this season. He must replace 171 tackles from former Buckeyes Joshua Perry and Darron Lee, including 18.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks.Migrating into a starting role is difficult enough, but when those players are following the footsteps of NFL draft picks, the water is even tougher to tread. Perry was a fourth-round pick to the San Diego Chargers, and Lee was selected No. 20 overall by the New York Jets. However, it’s not just those guys. It’s a long list of NFL linebackers to come out of OSU.“It’s not just 37 (Perry), there’s a No. 10, Ryan Shazier, there’s a No. 47, A.J. Hawk,” Fickell said on Tuesday after the team’s third practice. “There’s a standard set and that’s what we expect you to live up to.”Fickell has been on the OSU staff since 2002 when he was the special teams coordinator under former coach Jim Tressel. He has been a part of a national championship with Tressel and coach Urban Meyer, and spent four years as a linebacker on the 1993-1996 Buckeyes, starting in 50 consecutive games. In that time, he has seen a few changes of the guard at the linebacker position.Replacing eight starters on defense sounds like a daunting task, but Fickell was a part of the 2006 team that replaced nine starters on defense to make it to the national championship game where OSU eventually lost to Meyer’s Florida Gators. Linebackers Lee and now-junior Raekwon McMillan were thrown into the fire in 2014 and rose to the occasion. This season, Fickell said, is just another example of relying on young players.“We’re going to continue to recruit the best and guys are going to come in here and expect to play,” Fickell said. “I can say probably one of the greatest things we’ve been able to have around here is competition, especially at the linebacker spot.”Meyer has been regarded as one of the nation’s best recruiters. His ability to retool rather than rebuild on both sides of the ball is perhaps the greatest reason the 2016 Buckeyes are a favorite to win the Big Ten conference.Junior Dante Booker and redshirt junior Chris Worley are likely going to play at the weak-side linebacker and strong-side linebacker positions, respectively, with McMillan manning the middle. Booker and Worley may be new to the top of the depth chart, but Buckeye fans should take solace in knowing that those two are some of the most experienced players having to replace starters this season. Linebacker has always been a strong suit of the OSU defense, and Fickell believes this season will be no different.“They’re not those 44 some guys that are freshmen that have either redshirted or never played a down,” he said. “That’s one of those things where you can lay your head on a pillow at night knowing those guys are legitimate guys. They live, sleep and breathe our culture.”Worley and Booker saw several snaps last season and played on the special teams as well. McMillan, the team’s leading tackler in 2015, said that he doesn’t feel like he has to lead them like he does some more youthful teammates. He said going against the OSU offense in practice is as good of game preparation as a player can get in practice.“We have been working with each other the whole summer so we built that bond and that chemistry on the field,” McMillan said. “Once you build that chemistry on the field, you can work together and play together.”The expectation has been the same for the linebacker unit since they arrived on campus, and 2016 is no exception. They all sat behind guys like Curtis Grant, Perry and Lee, all of whom Fickell and McMillan proclaimed as great leaders. To be in the conversation of the last two seasons of dominant linebackers, McMillan, Booker and Worley are focusing on team accolades rather than their own personal goals.“We’re just going out there as hard as we can,” Booker said. “We’re trying to eliminate the selfish aspect of the game. Just go out there and become tighter as a unit.”Worley, too, understands the height of the bar set by former member of the “Silver Bullets.”“Coach Meyer don’t change the expectation,” he said. “Either you reach it or you got to get out.”
OSU redshirt freshman K.J. Hill (14) runs into the endzone for a touchdown during the first half of the Buckeyes’ season opener against Bowling Green on Sept. 3 at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 77-10. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorAfter being left off the initial two-deep depth chart, Ohio State redshirt freshman wide receiver K.J. Hill made sure everyone knew his name after last Saturday’s game against Bowling Green. Hill caught the first offensive touchdown of the season for OSU, and looks to be a primary target for redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett in the future.Hill, listed at 6-foot and 200 pounds, redshirted last season after after competing for a vital receiving role with the likes of three now-NFL receivers. The former four-star recruit from North Little Rock High School hauled in two receptions for 58 yards along with the first quarter touchdown reception.The crowded wide receiver unit, filled with upperclassmen like redshirt senior Corey Smith, junior James Clark, along with versatile H-backs like junior Curtis Samuel and senior Dontre Wilson who can make plays with their hands and their feet, could easily cause a young player like Hill to get lost in the mix. However, the redshirt freshman knows he can prevent being overshadowed by performing at a high level against Tulsa.“Every time you get a ball or a chance you gotta make the most of it,” Hill said.Initially committed to Arkansas, Hill jumped ship and made the decision to become a Buckeye after former OSU co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash left the Razorbacks to join OSU coach Urban Meyer’s squad. Hill said he was the one who made the call to see if the Buckeyes had an open spot for him.Meyer spoke highly of the ability of both Hill and his teammate — redshirt sophomore Noah Brown — on their ability to connect with Barrett and synchronize the timing of the routes they run. The relationship and ability by both men has earned high praise from the Buckeye coaching staff.Hill said the time he spent away from the field during his redshirt season motivated him to come out and work harder to become a top receiver for the Buckeyes.“It’s a tough process you go through. You know, I redshirted so I had a lot of downfalls and a lot of doubts,” Hill said. “I just kept going hard in practice, and my hard work paid off. I look back at it now and it was crazy.”Even with the top-tier production from Hill, he said the order of wide receivers has not changed, firmly placing him around the fifth or sixth receiver mark. Although this may seem buried in the depth chart, Hill can make a move up the roster if he continues to play at a high level.Hill will get his chance to make big plays against the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
FiveThirtyEight More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (May 24, 2016), we talk about the surprising NBA conference finals and wonder if the conventional wisdom about the best NBA teams was wrong. Then, we talk to ESPN’s Michael Wilbon about his piece on The Undefeated that argues that African-Americans aren’t interested in discussing sports analytics. Finally, Carl Bialik joins us to talk about the French Open and whether Roger Federer’s absence will have an effect on the outcome of the tournament. Plus, a Significant Digit on Ichiro Suzuki, the Miami Marlins veteran closing in on 3,000 hits in the Major Leagues.Neil Paine says the Warriors’ loss to the Thunder in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals was historic.And ESPN Stats and Info says the key to the Thunder’s win was their smaller lineup.Ben Morris writes that season series matter when it comes to predicting the playoffs.In the East, Neil Paine writes, the Cleveland Cavaliers are obliterating the competition.Neil Paine also says the Cavs won’t need any help beating the Raptors.But that was before Kyle Lowry helped the Raptors level things up in the series.Michael Wilbon writes in The Undefeated that blacks are not feeling the sports analytics movement.Carl Bialik writes that Roger Federer’s absence from this year’s French Open is the first time he’s missed a Grand Slam in 17 years.Could Rafael Nadal’s slump be at an end, asks ESPN’s Johnette Howard.Tom Ley in Deadspin says Ichiro Suzuki still rules.Significant Digit: 40. That’s the number of hits Ichiro Suzuki needs to reach 3,000 in the Major Leagues. He had 10 hits in just three games this week. If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong.
Anchored by a legendary lineup of hitters dubbed Murderers’ Row, the ’27 Yankees scored 975 runs and allowed only 599, outscoring foes by 2.4 per game (which also ranks No. 2 all-time). Babe Ruth had one of the finest seasons of his career, setting a single-season home run mark, which wouldn’t be broken until 1961. And Ruth wasn’t the only slugger in the lineup: Lou Gehrig (also a member of those dominant ’39 Yankees), had his best season, as well. Altogether, four members of that vaunted batting order would go on to make the Hall of Fame.But as historic a run as the 1927 Yankees had, we are now seeing what might be an even better Cubs team. Through 53 games — about a third of the season — only four teams accrued a higher run differential than this year’s Cubs squad: the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1912 New York Giants, 1929 Philadelphia Athletics and the 1939 Yankees. (Through 53 games, the ’27 Yankees’ +124 margin ranks 10th all time.) And if the Cubs continue their outstanding individual performances, they’ll crush the 1927 Yankees’ record for most WAR in a season — by about six full wins. Especially after accounting for the increase in parity over MLB’s history, this Cubs run stands out as startlingly impressive.The Cubs have stumbled slightly from their unsustainable 24-6 start, but they are still outscoring the opposition by 2.6 runs per game. If they can continue at that level, Chicago will surpass the ’27 Yankees’ total run differential around the 145th game of the season, giving them another 17 games to challenge the ’39 Yankees’ all-time record. So even as we remember the greatness of 1927 Yankees, we are also witnessing history unfold with this season’s Cubs team. Our colleagues at ESPN are spending much of this year on an innovative history project documenting the 1927 season of the New York Yankees. A look at the numbers explains the focus on that legendary team, and it’s difficult to overstate their dominance. Sure, the Yankees racked up 110 wins that year and easily swept the World Series, but even those accomplishments don’t fully do the team justice. More than just crushing opponents, the Yankees left them in shock. Opposing first baseman Joe Judge summed it up best: “Those fellows not only beat you, but they tear your hearts out.”According to FanGraphs’ wins above replacement, the ’27 Yankees’ 66.3 total WAR makes them the best team of the modern era.1Going back to the American League’s first major-league season in 1901. By a more conventional metric like run differential, their +376 scoring margin ranks second–best in baseball history, trailing only the 1939 Yankees’ +411 mark. Both are good statistics for encapsulating a team’s overall dominance — its ability to tear out hearts, if you will — and hardly any teams have posed a threat to the ’27 Yankees’ legacy in the last 89 years.But they could potentially have company this season in the form of the Chicago Cubs.