Everyones Still Chasing The Yankees And Red Sox On Facebook And Twitter

Twins330906301,140403,100 Mets4501604,2801,32023010,310 Rangers6301901,4802,260407,640 Nationals3101009706001003,690 Giants9002103,8302,97029023,910 Angels3501301,4301,2801307,700 Orioles3801109601,0901203,950 Mariners310901,0801,0901204,470 Athletics28060840770602,530 Diamondbacks23080840680604,080 Tigers7302201,2202,32019010,510 Phillies1,0401707201,690-303,610 White Sox3401101,0701,650705,650 Astros2901201,6208901508,450 Rockies21060560860303,010 NAMEFANSFAN GROWTHINTERACTIONSFANSFAN GROWTHINTERACTIONS MLB5,280k1,360k11,420k6,300k330k21,940k Cubs7103104,7002,58027021,210 Red Sox1,1402602,2405,1003010,400 Marlins17040620580502,270 Dodgers8302304,9002,95018015,100 Padres20060540710501,940 Braves6901401,5902,140809,040 TWITTERFACEBOOK Pirates4101201,7501,0901508,890 Cardinals7201902,0102,33016013,800 Brewers300804901,040403,550 Rays27080510700203,270 Blue Jays1,1005702,5601,38034010,530 Royals4501701,9801,0202309,090 The Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets on Twitter as well as in the World Series.The Royals had about 479,000 followers on Twitter as of this morning, 15,000 more than the Mets had — even though New York City’s metropolitan area has nearly 10 times the population of Kansas City’s. In fact, the Royals had 8,000 more followers than the 2014 population of Kansas City, Missouri.1By far the more-populous of the two Kansas Cities. The Mets were winning on Facebook, though, with 1.3 million fans to the Royals’ 1.1 million.2We’re defining fans as people who like the team’s Facebook page.One reason most people who live in or near New York City aren’t following the Mets’ tweets and Facebook statuses about ticket sales, merchandise and, the day after the team’s World Series exit, bittersweet musings: Their region also has the Yankees and seven other major pro sports teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL. Residents of Kansas City have only the 3-5 Chiefs.The Mets and Royals are far from the top of the social-media leaderboards in the MLB. The Yankees and Red Sox have the most Twitter followers and Facebook fans of any MLB team, according to data as of Oct. 25 compiled by Socialbakers, a company that analyzes social media followings. (The Royals already led the Mets in Twitter followers on Oct. 25, even before the World Series began, though both follower counts rounded to 450,000.) The Yankees couldn’t make it out of the wild-card round in the playoffs, but their Facebook page has 35 percent more fans than MLB’s page does. The Philadelphia Phillies, meanwhile, rank fourth in Twitter followers but much lower in Twitter interactions and were the only team to lose Facebook fans over the past 12 months. Here’s how MLB teams compared to a year earlier:3Interactions on Twitter include retweets, favorites and replies on tweets from the profile account. On Facebook, they include shares, likes and comments. The picture doesn’t look that different between the two leading social media platforms: The r-squared for the relationship between number of interactions on the two platforms among teams is 0.77; it’s 0.71 for the number of fans; and it’s 0.37 for growth in number of fans over the past year. Yankees1,5202604,5708,4902026,050 Reds4501101,2601,190709,430 Indians3501001,1701,1201303,600 Even the Yankees and Red Sox can’t compete with the online following of top NBA teams. Both the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls have more than twice the number of Facebook fans as each of the Yankees and Red Sox — and Lakers followers on Twitter outnumber Yankees and Red Sox followers combined. Some of that support comes from outside the U.S., where the NBA is far more popular than MLB. The popularity extends to the league as a whole. The NBA’s Facebook page has 27.5 million fans, more than the NFL’s (12.5 million), MLB’s (6.3 million) and NHL’s (3.9 million) combined. And while Socialbakers hasn’t run the numbers yet for this year’s World Series, Facebook and Twitter activity around last year’s Game 7 fell far short of activity around the end of conference championships in the NBA and NFL. The Royals won the World Series — in a sport that has a lot of work to do to capture the attention of the social-media world. read more

Chelsea Finally Publicly Addresses Racial Allegations

Chelsea finally addressed the racial abuse allegations against referee Mark Clattenburg on Tuesday, insisting there was no misinterpretation that players heard Clattenburg use the word “monkey” during a Premier League match against Manchester United.Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck opted to end the public silence despite an ongoing investigation by the English Football Association.Buck said he had an obligation to report the allegations after black midfielders John Obi Mikel and Ramires said they heard the derogatory word used.“Suppose we had tried to sweep this under the rug and said to the various players, `Look, it’s not a big deal and the press are going to be all over us, maybe you want to reconsider,”‘ Buck said in an interview with the London Evening Standard. “If that had leaked out, we would’ve really been crucified.”Chelsea has received quite a bit of criticism filing a complaint with the EFA while still backing captain John Terry, who served a four-match ban for using racially offensive remarks to Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand last year.Buck attempted to point the finger at the press for trying to tie both incidents together in similarity.“The press seem to juxtapose `our support’ of John Terry and what’s going on here, and looking at us as being a bit hypocritical,” Buck said. “We have to divorce the John Terry situation from this. From our perspective, the latest situation was pretty straightforward.”Buck feels that the reaction that the club has received has been “very unfair” and they were not interested in any type of retaliation against Clattenburg or anyone else.Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager, has been pretty straightforward in criticizing the complaint against Clattenburg. He doesn’t believe the allegations made by Chelsea. United went on to win the match 3-2 with a goal from Javier Hernandez after Chelsea dup Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres had been sent off.Buck remains firm that the allegations are not false, despite suggestions that the players may have misheard Clattenburg.“I spoke to the players involved, either because they were allegedly the recipient of that abuse or had heard it, three separate times,” the American lawyer said. “I asked them if they could be mistaken. I asked them if they might have heard `Mikel’ instead of `monkey.’ I thought I had covered that base.”Clattenburg has yet to publicly respond to the allegations, but can rest a little easier knowing that he is no longer being investigated by the police due to lack of evidence. The Society of Black Lawyers sparked the probe by the Metropolitan Police, but neither Chelsea nor their players approached the police.Clattenburg resumed training Monday with other topflight officials, but has not refereed since the accusations.

The Super Bowls Best Matchup Is Gladys Knight vs The Clock

Help Me Make It Through the NightKris Krisofferson+66 So while anthems have gotten longer over time, the 40-year average is not fully accounting for that trend. When you do account for it5I used an AutoRegressive Integrated Moving Average model — or ARIMA — which allows us to better forecast time series data. the best forecast for the 2019 anthem is actually 119 seconds, 13 seconds over the 40-year average.Gender of the anthem singer is also significant. Men tend to sing the anthem more quickly than women — though not many men have sung the anthem in recent years, when the anthems have been getting longer overall. Still, the all-time shortest anthem performance was by a man — the incomparable Neil Diamond — who got in and out like a boss in a cool 61 seconds. And the longest anthem ever performed at a Super Bowl was by the unforgettable Natalie Cole in 1994, which clocked in at a diva-esque 148 seconds. Gladys Knight takes her time with interpretationsDifference in song length between Knight’s covers and the original songs Super Bowl LIII is not only about two of the league’s best offenses squaring off against one another — New England and Los Angeles — it’s also about America’s other favorite pastime: gambling. The total amount bet on the Super Bowl1In nominal, noninflation adjusted dollars has risen from $40 million in 1991 to more than $158 million in 2018, and much of that growth has come from “props” or proposition bets.For readers who aren’t degenerate gamblers, prop bets are wagers you can place on events during a game that don’t directly involve the final outcome. This year there are the standard prop bets, like if the Patriots will score a touchdown in the first quarter (they never have in a Super Bowl), or if the Rams will rush for more than 127.5 yards (they averaged 143.3 yards per game in the regular season and the playoffs). But there are also more exotic prop bets on things like whether Donald Trump will tweet more than six times during the game. (The implied probability on one offshore book is 58 percent that he will hit the over.)Another interesting wager is on the length of Gladys Knight’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Several offshore books have set the total for the anthem at 1 minute 47 seconds, and the implied odds for both the under and the over were set at one book at -115 — a 53.5 percent implied probability — on both sides.2This accounts for the house’s take on each bet, or “vigorish,” which is why the implied percentages add up to over 100 percent. The implied probabilities being equal indicates that the book has no real opinion on the length of Gladys’s performance — they just want to take a percentage from each side of the wager and hope bettors will place their bets evenly on both.But is Knight performing the anthem in over/under 107 seconds really close to a 50 percent proposition? Or is there evidence that might convince us that the oddsmakers got the probabilities wrong?To find out, I went to Youtube and watched 40 Super Bowl national anthems from 1979 to 2018. I eliminated any anthems with trumpeters (there were two) and then started timing the anthem from the moment the singer first started to sing and ended the timer after the completion of the first utterance of “brave.”3I didn’t include any extra “braves” or broader codas. Using this methodology, the 40-year average of all national anthem singers4I removed choirs and trumpeters to calculate this average is 106.1 seconds, roughly in line with the total set by the books. So the total is correct so far as the average goes, but it also seems lazy. Surely there are other factors that might help us better predict how long Gladys might sing.For starters, the performance time of the anthem has changed as the Super Bowl has grown to become the unparalleled cultural phenomenon we now enjoy each year. As the pomp, circumstance and viewership have increased, the time anthem performers spend on the stage has also risen. Ave MariaAnna Moffo+65 Tracks of My TearsSmokey Robinson & The Miracles0 The Need to BeJim Weatherly+13 Wind Beneath My WingsRoger Whittaker-34 For Once in My LifeBarbara McNair+50 You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to MeRay Price+8 Baby I Need Your LovingThe Four Tops+1 SongOriginal ArtistDifference The Way We WereBarbara Streisand+36 Cloud NineThe Temptations-9 Fire and RainJames Taylor+33 I’m Gonna Make You Love MeDee Dee Warwick+30 Groovin’The Young Rascals+27 YesterdayThe Beatles+70 SongOriginal ArtistDifference Thank YouSly & the Family Stone-45 Taking a larger view, only two anthems in the past 15 years have been performed faster than the 40-year average of 1 minute 47 seconds. And when I looked at the age of the anthem singers, I found no significant correlation between age and performance time.6p-value: 0.228 On the other hand, we can look at one of Knight’s previous performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” itself, which is solid piece of evidence against the over, running for 92 seconds. It was, however, performed 28 years ago. All things considered, the bookmakers appear to have this line wrong on Gladys, and her upcoming anthem performance is probably going to go over 107 seconds.Researching a single prop was a lot of work, and it’s understandable why books might not want to put this level of effort into each and every bet they publish. But it does imply that there are profitable edges for some Super Bowl props. Using the Twitter machine, I threw up a bat signal for a gambling expert to help me confirm my priors. Rufus Peabody, a professional sports bettor and former ESPN contributor who is well-known in gambling circles for the scale and volume of his Super Bowl prop wagers, agreed to help.“The time and effort to accurately value props is pretty high,” Peabody said. “Some books put more effort into their props than others, and for some props there’s almost no data. Books will move the lines aggressively when sharp bets are made though, which helps them adjust.”I’ve been keeping an eye on the Gladys anthem line, and it hasn’t moved all week. I was tempted to bet the over, but when I was confronted with the prospect of having to convert real money into Bitcoin in order to place a bet on an offshore site, I decided to abort. When I looked around for somewhere to place the bet in Las Vegas — where they accept actual money — I struck out. Peabody explained that prop bets like anthem length are illegal in Las Vegas because of restrictions on the types of sources casinos can use to “grade” or determine the outcome of a bet.Even if it won’t net me any cash, I’ll be pulling for Knight to go over regardless. I want her to belt out that last note in “home of the brave” for an egregiously long time. After all, my Twitter credibility is on the line, and that’s serious business. Every Beat of My HeartThe Royals-49 Heard It Through the GrapevineMarvin Gaye-39 Let It BeThe Beatles-21 The Look of LoveDusty Springfield+85 Everybody Needs LoveThe Temptations+8 Midnight Train to GeorgiaCissy Houston+42 I Wish It Would RainThe Temptations-4 Baby Don’t Change Your MindThe Stylistics-1 Finally, Knight herself appears to be a singer who knows how to stretch a note. Using whosampled, I identified 31 covers performed by Knight and timed the cover performance of each using similar criteria to the anthem timing. Knight’s covers were 7 percent longer than the originals on average, good for a bonus 12.7 seconds of soothing soul per track. In perhaps the best comp to the national anthem — “Ave Maria,” a soaring, vocal-heavy standard covered by hundreds of artists — Gladys’ performance was 37 percent longer than the standard version. Goin’ Out of My HeadLittle Anthony and the Imperials+7 You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’The Righteous Brothers-14 Average+13 Is There a Place?The Supremes-34 Feel Like Makin’ LoveRoberta Flack+129 sec. All I Could Do Is CryEtta James+2 I Feel a Song (in My Heart)Sandra Richardson-19 Yes, I’m readyBarbara Mason-1 Sources: YouTube, Whosampled Keep an EyeDiana Ross & The Supremes-9 read more

Track and Field Sade Olatoye throws herself into Ohio State record books

Ohio State senior Sade Olatoye goes through her motions during a weight throw. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsBreaking record after record, Sade Olatoye has carved out a space for herself in the school’s history books. Olatoye wasn’t always a track athlete. In third grade, she started playing basketball, which became her main sport. In seventh grade, she joined track as a way to stay busy.“I thought I was definitely going to be a sprinter,” Olatoye said. “That turned out not to be the case.”Instead, she participated in shot put, discus and high jump.While attending Dublin Coffman High School, Olatoye continued playing basketball and running track, still as just a hobby. That would all change.Olatoye tore her ACL after a contact injury on the basketball court before her senior year of high school. Her high school track and field coach, David Woodmansee, said he remembers her being devastated. But the injury proved to be much more critical to her future than she knew at the time.“[The injury] pushed me more to the track side, and the bigger offers I was getting [were] for track and field,” Olatoye said. Olatoye knew she would have to focus on track and field after her commitment to Ohio State her senior year of high school, preparing for events she might not be used to: the hammer throw and the weight throw. Before starting her fall semester at Ohio State, Olatoye took summer classes and trained with Ashley Kovacs, the assistant throws coach at Ohio State, when she was introduced to the collegiate field events. With no experience in either the hammer or the weight throw, Olatoye was off to a slow start. But she did not let that get to her.  Olatoye said the summer training helped her to get the repetition and practice she needed to establish the fundamentals to excel in the two events during her freshman year. During the summer of her freshman year, Olatoye represented the United States at the U-20 World Junior Olympics. “Being able to represent the United States as one of the top two throwers my freshman year was really amazing,” Olatoye said. Kovacs said Olatoye is one of the best competitors she’s ever seen. “She has all the physical tools she needs to be at the absolute highest levels,” Kovacs said. Olatoye’s success didn’t stop after her freshman year. Throughout her sophomore year, she won a total of 10 titles during the outdoor season.It was also the year Olatoye made a place for herself in the record books as the first woman in program history to win both the shot put and weight throw at the same conference meet. She also became the first woman in program history to be named Big Ten Indoor Field Athlete of the Year. But Olatoye still had larger goals on her mind. She did not compete during the outdoor season of her junior year, strategically redshirting to get an opportunity to get an Olympic qualifying mark during the 2020 season. During her senior indoor season Olatoye has begun that process.After winning and setting records in both the shot put and weight throw at the Big Ten Championships, she earned herself the No. 1 spot in the nation in both events. Because of her performance, Olatoye earned a spot on the Bowerman watch list and is the first Buckeye to ever receive this honor. The Bowerman Award is presented annually by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association to the most outstanding male and female NCAA track and field athletes in the nation.She is also the first athlete at Ohio State to win the Great Lakes Women’s Field Athlete of the Year award.Looking forward to the NCAA Championships, Olatoye said she hopes to get over the standard and break 18 meters in the shot put and qualify for the World Championship, which takes place in the fall.Olatoye also said she hopes to break 24 meters in the weight throw. “I think that Sade can go as far as she wants to go in the sport,” Kovacs said. “There are no limits for what Sade could do.”Olatoye said all the awards she has received are humbling, but she reminds herself to not let it go to her head. “Don’t get blindsided by all the shiny things that are in front of you — you just have to focus at the task at hand,” Olatoye said. read more

Renowned conservationist was involved in £60m tax dodging scheme court hears

first_imgThe case was heard at Southwark Crown CourtCredit:AFP Southwark Crown Court Southwark Crown Court was told that the alleged schemes involved trading carbon credits through removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, for example by planting trees in an area where they had been cut down.This was a “suitable” plan as it meant lots of money would be spent at the outset before any returns were made.The example was given of a banker who had been paid a £1 million bonus. By parting with around £230,000 the banker would “loan” the rest of the cash from a lender connected to the scheme.As a result he would only pay out the £230,000 rather than the £400,000 he would usually pay in tax as he had “lost” £1million in investment, the prosecutor outlined.Mr Christopher said: “No doubt the clients believed when they made use of the schemes that they were entitled to make claims.”But he claimed that “nothing like” the amount said to have been being used on  environmental research was actually spent. Swingland denies cheating the public revenue and conspiracy to commit fraud by false representationCredit:Ed Willcox/Central News The prosecution allege that each of these five defendants knew that the tax advantages were dependent on a false account being givenJulian Christopher QC, prosecutor Swingland is alleged to have given his support to the schemes involving environmental research even though he “must have realised” they depended on lies.Julian Christopher QC, prosecuting, said: “The prosecution allegation is that the tax advantages were entirely depend​ent on a false account being given to HMRC and the prosecution allege that each of these five defendants knew that the tax advantages were dependent on a false account being given.”The alleged total amount of tax avoided was said to be “over £60 million”, supposedly through “sideways tax relief”, whereby losses from one business are offset against profit from another, resulting in what appears to be less profit being made.“For it to work and be legitimate the loss has to be made in the course of trade which is being carried out commercially and with a view to making a profit,” Mr Christopher explained.center_img The scam allegedly ran between 2005 and 2008.Swingland, of Canterbury, Kent, denies cheating the public revenue and conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.Andrew Bascombe, 58, and John Banyard, 67, each deny two counts of cheating the public revenue.Anthony Blakey, 65, and Martin King, 54, deny two counts of cheating the public revenue and one of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.The trial, expected to last three months, continues 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. Ian Swingland  A renowned conservationist who was awarded an honour for his work took part in a £60m tax-dodging scheme which used climate change projects, a court heard.Professor Ian Swingland OBE, 69, allegedly took part in a three-year scam which helped wealthy investors avoid tax on £170m worth of income.Swingland founded the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology in 1989 at the University of Kent, a world-leading research facility into biodiversity, communities and sustainable development.He is accused alongside four others of being involved in “the promotion of a series of dishonest tax schemes” which sheltered people with high income from paying the highest rate of tax.last_img read more

Inmates have effectively taken over one of Britains biggest prisons

first_imgJustice Secretary Liz Truss says quick fix solutions to cut the prison population will not workCredit:PA He said inmates were effectively running the prison, where he witnessed widespread drug abuse.In one of the most disturbing episodes of the investigation, footage shows a prison officer having convulsions on the floor after accidentally inhaling spice, a cheap and stronger synthetic alternative to cannabis, which is rife in the jail.Prison officers also found balaclavas, blackout clothing and wire-cutting tools at the category C jail.Ahead of the episode to be broadcast on BBC One on Monday, Mr Fenton said: “It didn’t take too long to realise that the inmates were, in effect, running this prison. I saw prisoners stumbling around drunk, others who were high on drugs and some struggling to cope with addictionJoe Fenton The Ministry of Justice told the BBC: “The justice secretary has been clear that levels of violence and self harm in our prisons are too high, which is why we are investing an extra £100m annually to boost the front line by 2,500 officers.”These are longstanding issues which will not be resolved in weeks or months but we are determined to make our prisons places of safety and reform.”A spokesman for Sodexo said: “We are proud of those staff at HMP Northumberland who do a professional job in such difficult circumstances.”Security and the safety of our prisoners and staff are our top priority, which is why we have made significant investments in these two areas over and above the contract requirements.” Justice Secretary Liz Truss says quick fix solutions to cut the prison population will not work “I saw prisoners stumbling around drunk, others who were high on drugs and some struggling to cope with addiction.”Prison officers repeatedly told me they had lost control of the prison. I saw officers worried about their safety and losing confidence.”Later today Justice Secretary Liz Truss will say prison numbers cannot be cut with “dangerous quick fix” solutions. The Cabinet member will use a keynote address to attack a “reckless” opposition call to reduce the current number of 85,000 prisoners in England and Wales to the 1990 level of 45,000.Ms Truss will say: “Reductions by cap or quota, or by sweeping sentencing cuts are not a magic bullet, they are a dangerous attempt at a quick fix.” She says Britain needs to deal with the reality of the present, rather than hark back to prison numbers of the past.”There are those in Labour who want to turn back the clock and cut the prison population to the size it was in 1990, at around 45,000,” Ms Truss adds.”This would be reckless and endanger the public.”Ms Truss says targeting sexual offenders more effectively has pushed the prison population up.“The biggest driver for prison growth in the last 20 years has been the exposure, pursuit and punishment of sexual offences, domestic abuse and other crimes of violence,” she will say.Ms Truss says the Government is dealing with human “wickedness” as she attacks Labour for its stance. 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. Inmates have effectively taken over at one of Britain’s biggest prisons, an undercover investigation has found.The scale of issues facing the UK prison system was highlighted the BBC’s Panorama programme following an investigation into HMP Northumberland, which is run by private firm Sodexo Justice Services.BBC reporter Joe Fenton spent two months undercover as a custody officer in the prison near Morpeth, which houses 1,348 men. “Shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti wants to halve our prison numbers because she does not believe ‘the sum of human wickedness’ could have doubled in her lifetime,” she says.“She blames a political arms race for the numbers in our jails.“What has actually happened in Baroness Chakrabarti’s lifetime is that the criminal justice system has got better at catching and convicting criminals who have perpetrated some of the most appalling crimes imaginable.”And sentence lengths now better reflect the severity of crimes like domestic violence, rape and child abuse.“It’s not that the sum of human wickedness has doubled – it’s that we have driven that wickedness out from the shadows and put it where it belongs, behind bars.”last_img read more

Primary school offer day 2018 Parents faking marriage breakdowns to get children

first_imgThe warning comes as over half a million families in England learn which primary school their child will attend in September, on what is known as “national offer day”.   As competition to secure places at the most sought after schools has intensified, parents are increasingly resorting to fraudulent means to boost their chances, according to The Good Schools Guide’s state school specialist Elizabeth Coatman. Local councils have become more vigilant in recent years, Ms Coatman said, with investigation departments trained to look out for anything suspicious…center_img Parents are now faking marriage breakdowns to get their children into a top school amid a rise in admission fraud, an expert has warned.  last_img read more

David and Victoria Beckham hit out at laughable fake news that caused

Victoria Adams, Posh Spice of the Spice Girls and her fiance, English soccer player David Beckham Victoria was still in the Spice Girls when they started dating and David would often attend her concerts, while she was regularly photographed on the sidelines of his football matches. David and Victoria Beckham at the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Last month, the Beckhams arrived hand-in-hand at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.Victoria wore a characteristically serious expression as the pair arrived at St George’s Chapel, in the grounds of Windsor Castle.The couple first met in 1997 and publicly announced their engagement in July the following year. The couple, pictured in Los Angeles in July 2007, quickly became known as Posh and BecksCredit:Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images David and Victoria Beckham have hit out at fake news generated by social media that caused fevered online speculation the couple are to divorce.Claims the couple were to split began circulating on Twitter on Friday morning and even prompted a high street bookmakers to suspend betting on them getting a divorce.But suggestions of a ‘Bexit’ – a disbanding of Britain’s biggest celebrity brand – were scoffed at by the couple.The rumours were strongly denied by the Beckhams, clearly exasperated by the speed with which the internet can relay gossip as fact but unchecked.A spokesman for Victoria Beckham, the former Spice Girl turned fashion designer, said: “If I spent all my time responding to ridiculous Beckham gossip and rumours there wouldn’t be enough hours in the day. What nonsense. Journalist Chinese whispers and fake news fuelled by social media. There is no impending statement, no divorce.”David Beckham’s spokesman said: “It is nonsense. It is one of those laughable, nonsense things. There is no divorce. It is laughable.” They swiftly became one of the most recognisable couples in showbusiness and were soon nicknamed “Posh and Becks” by the media.Brooklyn, the couple’s first child, was born in March 1999. Four months later, the Beckhams married in a lavish wedding ceremony – featuring thrones, doves and purple reception outfits – in a castle near Dublin on July 4 1999.  David retired from football and the family moved back to Britain in 2014 after a period in which he played for LA Galaxy in California. The following year, the Spice Girls split up and Victoria went on to forge a solo career as the couple’s profile as a couple continued to grow.The Beckhams often turned heads with their choice of clothes. In 1998, David raised eyebrows when he famously wore a sarong.In another memorable fashion moment, they wore matching leather outfits to a Gucci show in 1999. Last year, David referred to the outfits on the couple’s 18th wedding anniversary, writing: “Wow, we really did this!” The couple and their children were seen dining last week at a fashionable restaurant in the Oxfordshire countryside. One source said: “They seemed very happy together. They did not look like a couple on the brink of divorce.”The Beckhams, who married in Ireland in 1999, have four children. Victoria Beckham posted a photograph of herself on Instagram with daughter Harper with the message “we love and miss u @davidbeckham.”The A-list couple have four children together – sons Brooklyn, 19; Romeo, 15; Cruz, 13; and six-year-old daughter Harper.David, the former footballer, and Victoria, the ex-pop star, tied the knot in July 1999 and swiftly became known as “Posh and Becks”.They met at a charity football match 21 years ago when David played for Manchester United and his future wife was Victoria Adams – or Posh Spice in the Spice Girls.On Friday morning, Victoria posted a picture on Instagram of her cuddling Harper and wrote: “We love and miss you David Beckham.” David and Victoria Beckham in July 2007 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. Victoria has gone on to achieve success in the fashion industry. In November 2003, David was made an OBE and the family moved to Spain in the same year when he was moved to Real Madrid.The Beckhams went on to have two more sons after Brooklyn – Romeo, who was born in 2002, and Cruz in 2005. The couple also have a daughter, Harper, who was born in 2011. David and the future Victoria Beckham in New York in July 1998 after their engagement was announcedCredit:Brad Rickerby/REUTERS David Beckham, the former England captain, is currently in Miami where he is launching a US-based football team but is due back in the UK this weekend ahead of a fashion launch on Monday. She has launched her own clothing label and was appointed an OBE in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to the fashion industry. David and Victoria Beckham at the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of SussexCredit:Splash News read more

Foie gras imports could be banned after Brexit on ethical grounds

Mr Eustice went on: “When we leave the European Union, we do indeed have an opportunity to look at restrictions on sales along the lines that (Mr Smith) pointed out.”We know there are no barriers under WTO law, something which is sometimes raised by some people – there are clear precedents for putting in place ethical bans when it comes to WTO law.”Some countries – notably India – have brought forward bans on the sale of foie gras.” Mr Smith told the Commons: “Foie Gras is cruel to produce, unhealthy to eat and it’s expensive to purchase.”The ultimate cost though is paid by the ducks and geese who suffer so greatly before their slaughter, and it’s time we banned this outdated practice.”For the Government, Mr Eustice said in his reply: “While we are a member of the European Union, as (Mr Smith) pointed out, we are required to observe law which places restrictions on the introduction of measures that impair the movement of goods within the EU market.” Geese are force fed as part of the process of making foie gras before their over-sized, fatty livers are extractedCredit:Reuters Geese are force fed as part of the process of making foie gras before their over-sized, fatty livers are extracted Foie gras imports to the UK could be banned after Brexit, according to an environment minister.Conservative frontbencher George Eustice said the UK is required to observe law which restricts the introduction of measures which hinder the movement of goods within the EU market.But he added leaving the EU will offer an opportunity to examine restrictions on sales.His remarks came after Tory MP Henry Smith (Crawley) questioned why there was a UK production ban on foie gras, but not an import ban.The product is made from duck or goose livers. They are force fed as part of the process before their over-sized, fatty livers are extracted, MPs heard.Around 98% of duck foie gras imports to the UK come from France, while total imports amounted to around 100 tonnes in 2017, Mr Eustice said. 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. read more

Smokers should switch from cigarettes to vaping says worlds biggest tobacco firm

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 world’s biggest tobacco company is encouraging smokers to give up cigarettes and switch to vaping in a multi-million pound campaign.The £2 million campaign, called Hold My Light, is aimed at persuading the UK’s 7.4 million smokers to go “smoke free” with the help of family and friends.Smokers are encouraged to give up the habit for a minimum of a month based on Public Health England research that found smokers who gave up for 28 days were five times more likely to stop smoking completely.The initiative has been launched by Philip Morris Limited, makers of Marlboro, as part of a new strategy to switch smokers to their vaping products.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––They cite Public Health England research, which suggests vaping is 95 per cent safer than smoking cigarettes.Peter Nixon, managing director of Philip Morris Limited, said: “This campaign breaks new ground which is an important next step in our company going smoke-free and ultimately stop selling cigarettes.“There are more options than ever before for smokers to give up cigarettes but often they don’t realise that alternatives, like ecigarettes and heated tobacco are a better choice than continuing to smoke. Our research has shown that smokers want personal support from friends and family if they are to give up cigarettes – and that is what Hold My Light is designed to offer.” Hold My Light is based on similar behavioural science initiatives that have created positive societal change and is aimed at the 60 per cent of smokers that say they want to quit.The campaign features a website, video and major £2m advertising campaign across digital and print media aimed at both smokers and their potential supporters.The website, www.holdmylight.co.uk, suggests the kind of pledges that supporters might offer – from looking after a pet to cooking dinner every night in a bid to help loved ones give up smoking.It is the first time a tobacco company has launched a smoke-free campaign directly aimed at encouraging UK smokers to give up cigarettes.Former health minister Simon Burns MP supported the move, saying: “I think it’s a good initiative. Anything that helps people switch from cigarettes to a less dangerous product can only be a good thing.”In January, Philip Morris announced that it was “building its futureon smoke-free products that are a much better consumer choice than continuing to smoke cigarettes.”It insists its smoke-free products meet rigorous regulatory requirements although concerns have been raised over the safety of vaping. Since ecigarettes have only been on sale in the UK since 2007, long-term studies do not yet exist.A 2014 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that “electronic cigarettes may function as a ‘gateway drug’ that can prime the brain to be more receptive to harder drugs”.A study published in Environmental Science and Technology in July 2016 identified harmful emissions in the vapour, including possible carcinogens and irritants, though at a much lower level than in conventional cigarettes.Each year, smoking causes around 46,000 deaths from cancer and 28,000 from respiratory disease in the UK, plus an estimated 20,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease.The Royal College of Physicians has reviewed the available evidence and advises GPs to promote e-cigarettes “as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking”. read more