Significant Digits For Monday May 11 2015

$5.4 millionThat’s how much the U.S. Department of Defense paid NFL teams to honor and thank the nation’s troops from 2011 to 2014. The funds mostly came from the National Guard. [NJ.com via Scout]$11,118,775.13As of Friday, that’s how much money has been spent by the state of New Jersey on legal bills for the parties involved in the “bridgegate” scandal. About $7.8 million went to foot the legal bills of members of the governor’s office. [WNYC’s Matt Katz] 11 percentThe new cigarette tax rate in China, up from 5 percent. About 1 million Chinese citizens die annually from smoking-related illnesses. The last time China raised the tax, the State Monopoly of Tobacco Administration — which owns the country’s cigarette manufacturer because, you know, communism — isolated actual smokers from the tax and just ate the costs. So let’s just wait and see how this goes. [Bloomberg]At least 12 arrestsPlease never change, Massachusetts: More than 100 people were involved in a brawl at Revere Beach in Massachusetts on Mother’s Day. There were at least 12 arrests after an altercation that began between two women and their friends spiraled into an all-out fight at the beach. [NECN]60 kimberlite pipesNew research suggests that the plant Pandanus candelabrum can grow the presence of kimberlite pipes, or underground columns of volcanic rock. Who cares? Well, there are about 6,000 known kimberlite pipes, and a tenth of them have diamonds in them, and about a tenth of those have enough diamonds to be worth digging up. So keep your eyes peeled for Pandanus candelabrum. I don’t really know how this works but between you and me, this weekend I’m going to check to see if there might be diamonds under the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Shh! [CNET]$86Current projection for the fare to ride California’s future bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco. If you follow technology at all, you probably know by now that Californians are really bad at estimating the actual value of things — be it a train ticket or a startup — so it should come as no surprise that the estimate has been as low as $50 and as high as $105. [Los Angeles Times] $1.1 million to $2.3 millionThat was the range of the value of former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke’s assets back when he was running America’s favorite helicopter-based cash-distribution entity. He’s probably a little bit further in the black now that he’s consulting for Pacific Investment Management Co. and the hedge fund Citadel. [Bloomberg] You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this as an email newsletter, please subscribe.4 percentThat’s Alabama’s existing tax on rentals of “tangible personal property.”  The state’s department of revenue wants to extend that tax to rentals on, say, Netflix, which generally speaking is pretty intangible and impersonal. [The Washington Post] $50 billionUber is considering raising another $1.5 billion in funding, which would value the company at $50 billion, basically making it a herd of unicorns if my Silicon Valley terminology is up to date. [The New York Times] If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey. 5th-most productiveWillie Mays saw his career home run record eclipsed by beleaguered Yankee Alex Rodriguez last Thursday, but the stats still appear to show that Mays was the better ballplayer. Looking at all-time wins above replacement, Mays is in fifth place in the annals of baseball history, while A-Rod is 17th. [FiveThirtyEight] read more

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NHL Lockout Gary Bettman Prosposes 2Week Break In Talks

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman suggested to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr  that the two sides take a two-week moratorium from negotiations.Fehr informed Bettman he’d like to speak with his membership first, a source said. The union likely will give Bettman a response Friday, although it is believed it would prefer meeting rather than not, according to TSN and ESPN.Bettman’s suggestion follows a disheartening week of limited communication between the sides. The league and the union last met face to face on Sunday in a meeting that lasted less than an hour and yielded no progress.After the short session, in which neither side seemed willing to concede on its respective position on player-contracting issues, Fehr said he couldn’t see a “path to an agreement.”That prompted Bettman to float the possibility of the sides taking some time off to regroup before resuming negotiations, one source said.The sides did not have any communication Thursday.“I find it incredible that the Union is suggesting that we are somehow ‘close’ to a deal,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email to ESPN. “They have utterly refused to negotiate for months. They have made essentially one proposal — five times. They continue to request a ‘guaranteed’ Players Share as part of the next agreement and we repeatedly tell them maybe they should get a reality check. And in the mean time, maybe they can make their position clear to us on 50-50, on the make-whole and on Player Contracting issues.”NHLPA’s special counsel Steve Fehr countered Daly’s statement.“Of course everyone on the players’ side wants to reach an agreement,” he said. “The players have offered the owners concessions worth about a billion dollars. What exactly have the owners offered the players? We believe that it is more likely that we will make progress if we meet than if we don’t.“So we are ready to meet. If indeed they do not want to meet, it will be at least the third time in the last three months that they have shut down the dialogue, saying they will not meet unless the players meet their preconditions. What does that tell you about their interest in resolving this?” read more

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Seahawks DE Michael Bennett 4 Others Say They Wont

Michael Bennett in a selfie with his family. Image via Instagram.Israel suffered a major public relations blow after five of 11 NFL players scheduled to visit the nation as goodwill ambassadors decided to pass on the trip.Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett laid out his issues with the trip in an Instagram post on Feb. 10. The two-time Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl champion said he refused to be used as a political pawn by the Israeli government. He also expressed support for Palestine.“I was not aware that my itinerary was being constructed by the Israeli government for the purposes of making me, in the words of a government official, an ‘influencer and opinion-former’ who would then be ‘an ambassador of goodwill,’” he wrote.“I will not be used in such a manner,” Bennett added. “When I do go to Israel — and I do plan to go — it will be to see not only Israel but also the West Bank and Gaza, so I can see how the Palestinians, who have called this land home for thousands of years, live their lives. I want to be a voice for the voiceless and I cannot do that by going on this kind of trip to Israel.”Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril, Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, 49ers running back Carlos Hyde and Broncos running back Justin Forsett followed suit and decided to skip the trip.Leading up to the seven-day, all-expenses paid goodwill tour, the Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and other Israeli officials told media they hoped the players’ presence in the sole Jewish state would curb “negative and false characterizations of Israel.” read more

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The Kentucky Derby Is Getting Predictable

Belmont Stakes1.430-0.77 Co-favorite victories counted as winsSources: Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Daily Racing Form Update (May 6, 10:50 a.m.): Although Classic Empire was the morning-line favorite, the odds have since shifted. As of 10:50 a.m. Saturday, Always Dreaming is now narrowly favored to win the Kentucky Derby in what is considered a wide-open field.One of the cardinal rules of horse racing is that betting on favorites is fun — who doesn’t like having a winning ticket? — but it’s the quickest way to go broke. Except, that is, in the most famous race in America.The Kentucky Derby should be nearly impossible to handicap. The horses, at just 3 years old, don’t have much experience and are still maturing. Many of them have never run this distance before, or run at Churchill Downs. And even if a handicapper can sift through all that uncertainty and use a combination of past performances and pedigree to identify the best contenders, it can all become irrelevant thanks to the abnormally large Derby field — with as many as 20 horses creating gridlock and chaos, results ought to be utterly unpredictable.That’s what makes the last several years of the Kentucky Derby so strange: It is, seemingly, getting more predictable. For four straight years, the favorite has come out on top. It began with Orb in 2013, then continued with California Chrome, American Pharoah and Nyquist.In total, 16 favorites have won the Kentucky Derby in the last 50 years.1Including Forward Pass, the favorite in the 1968 Kentucky Derby who initially finished second but was awarded the win after first-place finisher Dancer’s Image was disqualified for failing a drug test. Bets on Dancer’s Image may have been paid out before the horse was disqualified, but for the purposes of this thought experiment, we’re counting things as if Forward Pass won the usual way. And that has produced a compelling betting strategy: Forget all the wonky handicapping. Over the last half-century, placing a $2 bet (the smallest bet you can make on a single horse in the Derby these days) on the favorite each year would have netted you $107.80 on a $100 investment — a 7.8 percent profit. But in just the last 20 years, returns on that same strategy would be much better: 74 percent. Now the question has become: Is the recent rash of victorious favorites a coincidence? Or a sign of something bigger?Before these last four years, the Kentucky Derby had for decades been known for its unpredictability. Between 1980 and 1999, not a single favorite won. Before 2013, it had been four years since a favorite wore the roses.There are two rational explanations for this trend. The first is chance. These horses, after all, are the favorites for a reason. And this kind of streak is not unprecedented — favorites won four straight years from 1972-1975, too.But there’s another rationale that would indicate that this is more than a fluke. It explains why the Kentucky Derby is getting chalkier and why the mega-longshot winners we once saw regularly in this race might become increasingly rare.When Orb won the Derby in 2013, that wasn’t just any year. It was the first year that horses qualified for this first leg of the Triple Crown under a newly implemented points system. This “Road to the Kentucky Derby” awards points to the top four finishers in a select group of races. The top 20 get to run in the Derby.What’s more important than the point system is the mechanism it replaced. Before 2013, horses qualified for the Derby based on their winnings in graded stakes races.This created chaos in the Derby. In some instances, horses that were elite in sprints — races shorter than a mile, which are excluded from the new qualifying system — could crowd the Derby, a route run at 1¼ miles. In other instances, horses that weren’t good enough made it in anyway. But these horses didn’t just fade down the stretch into irrelevance. They regularly introduced anarchy, transforming the subtle mechanics of a race in a way that allowed longshots to thrive.There’s no more illustrative example than the 2005 Derby, when 50-1 longshot Giacomo stunned the world. Giacomo’s best friend in that race was a 71-1 longshot named Spanish Chestnut, which led for the first three-quarters of a mile. In the last two races Spanish Chestnut ran before the Derby, it finished sixth twice. In other words, it didn’t belong. But during those first six furlongs, Spanish Chestnut set the second-fastest pace in Derby history.Predictably, Spanish Chestnut couldn’t sustain such a hot pace, ultimately fading and finishing 16th. But while this longshot was in the lead, other horses got sucked into running that fast and wound up tiring, too. The favorite that day, Bellamy Road, was close by, in fifth place, when Spanish Chestnut started to slow.At that same distance, three-quarters of a mile, Giacomo was in 18th place out of 20 and trailed by 14¾ lengths, the farthest behind of any eventual Derby winner in more than a quarter-century. But when Spanish Chestnut — and every horse that tried to keep up with Spanish Chestnut — tired, Giacomo had enough gas left in the tank to pass 17 other horses.The new points system is better at weeding out the Spanish Chestnuts. That means longshots like Giacomo are even less likely to encounter the volatile circumstances that enable them to win.The strategy of betting the favorites for 50 years would also pay off in the Preakness Stakes, the Triple Crown’s second leg. In fact, in the long run you’d make more than you would on the Derby — the Preakness has offered returns of 11.4 percent. But in any single year, betting on a favorite in the Preakness can be less attractive: When American Pharoah and California Chrome won, for example, they went off at odds shorter than 1-1, meaning that if you cashed in on a $2 bet, your winnings would likely be counted out using more quarters than dollar bills. Essentially, it requires risking a lot of money just to win enough to pay for a celebratory cigar. Preakness Stakes1.544+0.23 On the other hand, because the Derby is so uncertain, favorites can be had at good value. This year’s morning-line favorite, Classic Empire, is priced at 4-1. That would offer better returns any Preakness favorite in the last half-century.At the same time, the biggest sucker’s move is betting a favorite in the Belmont Stakes, which at 1½ miles is longer than almost any other race these horses will ever run. In other words, nobody knows how the horses will handle the distance. What’s worse, the favorite will often be racing for the third time in seven weeks, which can leave a horse worn down. A bet on the favorite in the Belmont in the last 50 years would have cost you 38.7 percent of the money you staked. There’s a reason we went nearly 40 years without a Triple Crown winner before American Pharoah came along.All of this means that the best betting strategy for this year’s Derby may also be the dumbest one: Bet on Classic Empire. Kentucky Derby2.732%+$0.16 RACEAVG. FAVORITE ODDSFAVORITE WIN PCT.AVG. PROFIT ON $2 BET Outcome of betting on the favorite, 1967-2016 read more

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Devils focus on defending Buckeyes dynamic duo of Lavender and Prahalis

The No.3 women’s basketball team is off to its best start in coach Jim Foster’s eight seasons with the Buckeyes. Tonight, the Buckeyes travel to Durham, N.C., to take on No. 11 Duke in the feature game of the ACC/Big Ten challenge.In their 8-0 start, the Buckeyes have already won the Preseason WNIT and the Buckeye Classic. Led by junior Jantel Lavender and sophomore Samantha Prahalis, the Buckeyes are defeating opponents by an average of 27.4 points per game and average scoring just fewer than 90 points per contest.In the Buckeyes’ most recent victory over California, both Prahalis and Lavender finished with double-doubles. “She’s as good as there is in the open court,” coach Jim Foster said of his point guard. “She has a good sense of the game and as we grow, she starts to find her wings as well as herself.”As for Lavender, the center recorded her 40th career double-double against the Golden Bears, the most among active Big Ten players. She, along with Prahalis, was named to the Buckeye Classic All-Tournament Team.Ohio State will need big production from both of its stars to beat Duke.While perennial powerhouse Duke is having a bit of a down year by its standards, the Blue Devils’ home record is impeccable. Duke has won 18 consecutive home games, its last loss coming in February of 2008.Duke is riding a four-game win streak, in large part because of junior guard Jasmine Thomas. Thomas recorded a triple-double in Duke’s most recent victory over Marquette. Thomas leads the high-powered Duke offense and averages more than 14 points a game.If the Buckeyes defeat the Blue Devils, it will be their first win in the Big Ten/ACCchallenge. OSU lost its previous two matchups against North Carolina and Maryland, while Duke has posted a record of 1-1 in the first two challenges.The teams square off at 7 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham. read more

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No 1 Buckeyes aim to bust Boilermakers

The Ohio State men’s basketball team (20-0, 7-0) has managed to do what its football counterpart couldn’t: remain ranked No. 1 in the country for more than a week. When the polls were released Monday, the Buckeyes sat atop both The Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls for the second consecutive week. Thanks in part to wins against Iowa and Illinois, as well as losses suffered by former unbeaten teams Kansas and Syracuse, the Buckeyes increased their lead in the polls, earning 63 of the 65 first-place votes in the AP poll and a unanimous 31 first-place votes in the Coaches’ poll. The Buckeyes will defend their No. 1 ranking tonight when they welcome No. 12 Purdue (17-3, 6-1) for a 9 p.m. tipoff with first place in the Big Ten on the line. Purdue is led by senior forward JaJuan Johnson, the Boilermakers’ top scorer this season with 20.5 points per game. OSU coach Thad Matta said his team is well prepared for the challenge Johnson presents. “We’ve gone against a lot of different types of big players, big guys,” Matta said Monday. “He’s sort of a collection of them all.” Besides Johnson, the Boilermakers have relied heavily on the play of senior guard E’Twaun Moore, the only other Purdue player averaging double digits in scoring, with 18.1 points per game. “You’ve got one of the greatest combinations right now in basketball with Moore and Johnson,” Matta said. “I mean, those two guys are getting it done.” Having seen players such as Johnson and Moore emerge for Purdue during his five seasons at OSU, senior guard David Lighty has come to expect tight games between the Buckeyes and Boilermakers. “It’s been close games since day one, since everyone’s been there and since I’ve been here playing against them,” Lighty said. “Just us coming out and trying to execute and make plays down the stretch, I think, pretty much, that’s what it always comes down to.” read more

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Ohio State womens soccer splits weekend matchups

Then-freshman forward Lindsay Agnew (18) dribbles the ball during a game against Eastern Michigan on Aug. 25, 2013, at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU won, 2-1, in overtime.Credit: Lantern file photoTiming was everything for the Ohio State women’s soccer team this weekend. After late-game heroics guided the Buckeyes past Indiana on Friday night, two goals in the final 10 minutes denied them a point against Purdue on Sunday.OSU (4-4-0, 1-1-0) finished its first weekend of conference play with a 2-1 overtime win against Indiana (4-4-0, 0-2-0) and a 3-1 loss to Purdue (5-2-1, 1-1-0).The Buckeyes entered Sunday on a three-game winning streak but couldn’t capitalize on their momentum against the Boilermakers.Tied 1-1 at halftime, neither team could find the back of the net for the early part of the second half. Purdue sophomore forward Maddy Williams eventually broke the stalemate in the 81st minute with her second goal of the afternoon. Williams led a Boilermakers offense that outshot OSU 15 to 13 and six to four in shots on target.Both teams worked to use the width of the field in the first half. The strategy worked first for Purdue in the 33rd minute when Williams received a pass from the right flank and put it behind OSU redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Megan Geldernick.The Boilermakers nearly stretched their lead on a corner kick moments later, but sophomore defender Nicole Miyashiro made a save on the goal line to keep the Buckeyes within one.OSU leveled the score in the 41st minute when sophomore forward Lindsay Agnew’s shot from beyond the penalty box surprised Purdue freshman goalkeeper Erika Yohn and snuck inside the near post.Agnew’s tally was her first of the season and proved to be the Buckeyes lone goal of the afternoon.Defensively, OSU benefited from the return of junior defender Marisa Wolf who rejoined the Buckeyes back line against Indiana after missing the previous three games with a concussion. Wolf logged 158 minutes in her first weekend back.OSU made a splash in its Big Ten opener, beating the Hoosiers 2-1 in overtime. The Buckeyes trailed 1-0 until the final minute of play when OSU senior forward Kayla Varner converted a penalty kick with three seconds left in regulation.Junior midfielder Michela Paradiso notched the golden-goal in the 97th minute. Varner, fresh off her first goal of the season, provided the game-winning assist to cap her first multi-point game of the year.With the win against the Hoosiers, OSU coach Lori Walker recorded her 200th victory with the Buckeyes.The game marked the Buckeyes’ second overtime contest as it fell 1-0 to Toledo on Sept. 2nd.Walker said she was pleased with parts of her team’s play on Friday but said OSU needed to find more balance between possessing the ball and stretching the opposing defense.For the majority of the evening Indiana played a patient game, looking to capitalize on the Buckeyes’ mistakes, Walker said. The Hoosier’s lone tally came in the 38th minute off a corner kick.Geldernick made four saves against Indiana and added three more against Purdue.OSU is scheduled to close its three-game road swing against No. 8 Penn State (6-1-0, 2-0-0) on Friday. read more

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Baseball Ohio State beats No 16 Southern Mississippi splits between Nicholls State

Ohio State then-freshman second baseman Conner Pohl bats in the bottom of the seventh inning against North Carolina Greensboro. Credit: Edward Sutelan | Assistant Sports EditorThe Ohio State baseball team took a trip to Pensacola, Florida, this weekend for a trio of games as part of the Cox Diamond Classic.Riding 15 combined runs of offense to wins over Nicholls State and No. 16 Southern Miss in the first two games of the weekend — both wins, the Buckeyes ran out of steam and couldn’t recover from a shaky outing from redshirt senior starting pitcher Adam Niemeyer in the final game of the weekend against Eastern Michigan. Ohio State’s record now stands at 7-4 on the year.The Ohio State defense committed five errors across the three games this weekend, a small improvement from committing 12 in four games last weekend.Game 1: Nicholls StateIn the bottom of the fifth inning, Ohio State junior second baseman Brady Cherry stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second and jumped on the very first pitch. Pushing the ball to right field, Cherry cleared the fence for a three-run home run that put the Buckeyes up 5-1.It was more than enough for an Ohio State win over the Nicholls State Colonels (1-8) Friday by a final score of 6-3. Connor Curlis pitched a gem in his third start of the season for the Buckeyes, allowing just one earned run in 6.1 innings of work with seven strikeouts.Nicholls State sophomore catcher Kyle Knauth produced a large portion of the team’s offense, going 2-4 with a pair of RBIs and his second home run of the season.Ohio State junior shortstop Kobie Foppe put in a solid day’s work, going 2-3 with two RBIs. The transfer has been a pleasant offensive surprise for the Buckeyes so far this season, batting .353, 61 points higher than his best season at South Mountain Community College.Game 2: Southern MissThe Buckeyes went from down 6-3 to up 7-6 following a four-hit, four-run inning that included RBIs from junior catcher Jacob Barnwell, sophomore outfielder Dominic Canzone and a pinch-hitting freshman Dillon Dingler.With two insurance runs added in the ninth, senior reliever Seth Kinker delivered his third save of the season after a pair of shutout innings and sealed a 9-6 Ohio State win over the No. 16 Southern Miss Golden Eagles (7-3, 0-0 Conference USA) Saturday.As a whole, the Ohio State bullpen delivered four shutout innings with seven strikeouts spread between freshman Griffan Smith, redshirt senior Curtiss Irving and Kinker. Irving picked up the win (2-0).It was the usual suspects for Ohio State’s offense. Senior right fielder Noah McGowan, named national player of the week two weeks ago, scored four runs and batted home one more. Sophomore third baseman Conner Pohl left the yard for his third time this season as part of a 3-5 day. Canzone finished 3-5 with an RBI and a fourth stolen base on the season.Game 3: Eastern MichiganNiemeyer (0-2) gave up six runs, all earned, in just 3.1 innings of work before being relieved by redshirt senior Yianni Pavlopoulos. The offense sputtered and the Buckeyes suffered a 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Eastern Michigan Eagles (3-8, 0-0 MAC) Sunday.The Eagles enjoyed a big day from freshman designated hitter Jared Kauffman, who went 3-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base.One bright spot for Ohio State was Pavlopoulos’s performance in relief of Niemeyer. The redshirt senior pitched 3.2 shutout innings.Junior designated hitter Andrew Fishel drove in Ohio State’s lone run of the game. read more

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How clown craze escalating across Britain coincides with Hollywood remake of Stephen

first_imgAlice Slattery was in her car with children Lily, four, and three-year-old Honey when a clown climbed on her car bonnet Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria–most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 3, 2016 Killer clown Alice Slattery was in her car with children Lily, four, and three-year-old Honey when a clown climbed on her car bonnet at a set of traffic lights in ManchesterCredit:Mercury Press In Suffolk, a boy “younger than a teenager” was chased by “several people dressed as clowns” in Beatty Road, Sudbury, at 8pm on Thursday.A man dressed as a clown “wearing a hockey mask and a blood-stained poncho” was captured on camera in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, on Thursday.Police in South Wales, Gloucestershire, Bedfordshire, Essex and Northumbria have also dealt with a string of incidents. Terrified victims have taken to social media to document the encounters. Shaneice Price, 22, from Bloxwich, in Walsall, posted footage on Twitter of a red-hair clown who she claims tried to get into her car on Sunday.Sporting Adidas tracksuit bottoms and a beanie hat, the clown can be seen running across the road towards the driver’s door of her car.In another incident, George Birkbeck said he spotted a sinister figure holding a hammer in a Tesco car park in Plymouth on Friday.He brandished a beer bottle at the apparent prankster, seen wearing orange dungarees and make-up which mimicked Batman’s ‘Joker’ character, who then ran off. Chief Supt Boyd, whose force received the 14 calls, added that the craze was causing a waste of police resources. The craze in which pranksters or criminals dressed as clowns try to scare innocent bystanders started in the US in late summer. Library imageCredit:Peter Byrne/PA Kurtis Mulvaney took this picture of two clowns who terrorised motorists after emerging from bushes in ManchesterCredit:Mercury Press His concerns were echoed by Chief Inspector Paul Staniforth from Gwent Police, which has now dealt with 18 reports including clowns “running through gardens and peering through windows, lurking around shopping centres, parks and schools and jumping from trees”.Meanwhile, in Norwich a 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of public order offences after allegedly dressing as a clown and jumping out on a woman in a park, screaming and then chasing her.A string of other forces across Britain have dealt with reports in recent days of people dressed as clowns acting suspiciously and frightening members of the public. A masked man carrying a knife left a group of children aged 11 and 12 “upset and distressed” when he jumped out on them on their way to the Hermitage Academy in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, at 8.40am on Friday.A separate report saw two 12-year-old boys, one wearing a clown mask and another a V for Vendetta mask, go to Howletch Lane Primary School in Peterlee to try to scare children in the playground. Police forces across Britain have dealt with reports of people dressed as clowns frightening members of the publicCredit:Peter Byrne/PA He said: “While we do not want to be accused of stopping people enjoying themselves, we would also ask those same people to think of the impact of their behaviour on others and themselves.”Their actions can cause fear and anxiety to other people, this could be perceived to be intimidating and threatening which could lead to public order offences, arrest and a criminal record.”In addition, their behaviour is causing multiple reports to our call takers and is tying up police resources which could impact on calls to other incidents.” Kurtis Mulvaney took this picture of two clowns who terrorised motorists after emerging from bushes in Manchester The craze in which pranksters or criminals dressed as clowns try to scare innocent bystanders started in the US in late summer. Library image Coming 30 years after the Stephen King book, a big-screen remake of the clown chiller It might have passed with little fanfare beyond its cult following. Yet 11 months before the film reaches cinemas, it is already attracting international attention – and some suspicion – due to the sinister “clown craze” now escalating across Britain.Its makers, New Line Cinema, recently denied any involvement in the sightings after commentators pointed out the coincidental timing of the release of promotional pictures.Within weeks of the first published images of the fictional killer clown Pennywise, played by Bill Skarsgård, police in more than 20 US states had recorded incidents reported by members of the public.And the craze is now blighting British streets in huge numbers too.In the past 24 hours alone, one police force had to deal with 14 incidents of people dressed as clowns threatening unsuspecting passers-by. Police forces across the country have warned that incidents are accelerating ahead of Hallowe’en. Despite the Hollywood company’s denials, many have expressed concern that the proliferation of masked pranksters terrifying unsuspecting members of the public has in part been inspired by King’s book.Nigel Adams, the Tory MP for Selby and Ainsty, told the Daily Telegraph: “Hollywood has taken a sinister turn with its interpretation of the clown in recent years and if this is in turn coming onto our streets, where people are dressing up to intimidate members of the public, then clearly this needs some thought.”King himself tweeted: A studio spokesman previously told American media: “New Line is absolutely not involved in the rash of clown sightings.”Across Britain, police forces warned sightings had increased over the weekend – and indicated the situation was getting out of control.Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “We are aware of this menacing craze, which originated in the USA, and will take action against those who are causing this fear.“There has been a lot of speculation on social media and I’m urging people to refrain from fuelling this craze and creating more distress.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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Dog accidentally started house fire when it jumped up at the cooker

first_imgA house fire was started after a dog accidentally turned on a cooker, fire fighters have said. Items left on the property’s cooker caught fire after the pet jumped up and pressed a button, turning the appliance on while the occupants were out. The semi-detached house in Braintree, Essex, has been left “uninhabitable” after the accident on Tuesday night.  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 kitchen has been destroyed and the rest of the house has suffered extensive smoke damageEssex Fire and Rescue Service spokesmancenter_img Three people tried to rescue the pet from the burning building but had to be treated for smoke inhalation following the incident, which happened around 7pm. A spokesman for Essex Fire and Rescue Service said the dog had died in the fire.  She added that the occupants had come home to find their home “full of smoke”. “The fire is thought to have been started accidentally by the occupant’s dog who had jumped up at the cooker and turned the cooker on,” she said. “Items left on the cooker then caught light. The property had smoke alarms fitted, but they did not have working batteries. “The kitchen has been destroyed and the rest of the house has suffered extensive smoke damage. The house is no longer habitable.”The fire service added that the incident showed the importance of having working smoke alarms and said people should remember to shut their internal doors when they go out to stop flames spreading in the event of a fire.last_img read more

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