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first_imgThe Ministry of Justice is still waiting for chancellor George Osborne to approve the government’s £375m investment in courts infrastructure in the forthcoming spending review, it has emerged. MoJ permanent secretary Richard Heaton (pictured) told MPs that the bid for the five-year investment, earmarked to modernise the courts system, is still ‘in play’ ahead of the chancellor’s announcement on 28 November.The funding was promised in the Conservative manifesto but the department needs to find ways to save £1bn in real terms from its annual budget.‘This is one of the many finance areas we are seeking money from the Treasury but the spending review is tight,’ said Heaton during his appearance at the House of Commons justice committee yesterday.Pressed by committee chair Bob Neill on whether this could mean the programme might collapse, Heaton said: ‘It is one of our top bids, both in terms of capital and resource funding.’Heaton said there are ‘bound’ to be reductions in staff numbers at the MoJ in the coming years as the department seeks to reduce spending.But members questioned why certain areas of spending have increased from 2014 to 2015, with consultancy spending up from £27m to £34m and temporary staff spending up from £134m to £165m. Numbers of permanent staff members have fallen from 82,000 to 79,000 in the space of a year.MoJ director general Ann Beasley said that the headcount in the court service is down from 22,000 in 2010 to around 17,000 in 2015.She said the department had ‘deliberately’ recruited agency staff in the knowledge that headcount would be reduced, saying it would be ‘dishonest’ to give permanent jobs to people knowing those jobs would not exist in future years.Heaton said he had tried to discourage staff from allowing overspend in certain areas and relying on moving funds from a different part of the MoJ, adding that it creates a ‘culture of slackness’.Heaton confirmed eight people are paid more than the £180,000 annual salary of the highest-paid director.These roles include an interim head of IT and digital, information assurance adviser at GCHQ, enterprise architect, programme manager and four programme directors.Heaton said specialists were needed in building the digital service, contract management and technology at the MoJ. ‘They are all taking a considerable drop in the salary they were earning outside as they want to do public sector work.’last_img read more

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first_imgVanderbilt pitcher Walker Buehler throws a pitch against Virginia during Game 3 of the national championship series.Vanderbilt pitcher Walker Buehler throws a pitch against Virginia during Game 3 of the national championship series.Former Vanderbilt pitcher Walker Buehler reportedly will undergo Tommy John surgery after signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Commodores coach Tim Corbin said that wasn’t the reason he was pulled from the national title game.“We pulled him out of the national championship game because he wasn’t throwing as well. He wasn’t on point,” Corbin said. “Could it have been that his arm was tired? Certainly could have been. But no, (he wasn’t injured). First of all, if that was information that we had, we never would have pitched him.”Buehler, a junior right-hander, was pulled with no outs in the fourth inning of a 4-2 loss to Virginia in the third game of the best-of-three national championship series on June 24. He was drafted by the Dodgers with the No. 24 overall pick and received a signing bonus of $1.78 million, about $300,000 less than the projected value based on his draft slot.Vandy’s Swanson, Buehler sign MLB deals near deadlineBuehler, who could not be reached for comment, now will undergo Tommy John surgery, according to various reports. On Friday, The Sporting News reported that “Buehler’s elbow injury played into his disappointing three-inning outing in the national championship game against Virginia.”But Corbin said Buehler was pulled from the game because he simply was not pitching well, especially compared to the gem he tossed in a 7-1 victory against TCU in the College World Series five days earlier.Buehler walked four of the 15 batters he faced against Virginia. He was pulled after giving up a game-tying two-run home run in the fourth inning. The four relievers after him gave up a combined two runs in six innings.Buehler missed the first three weeks of the season with elbow soreness, but he pitched well when he returned to the mound.“We evaluated his arm before the season and during the middle of the season. We didn’t see that (need for Tommy John surgery),” Corbin said. “With a lot of these kids, I think it gets to the point where they have to make a decision of where their elbow is (and) how they feel of whether that surgery is a reality (before beginning a professional career). It’s more prominent now with a lot of kids.”Buehler finished the 2015 season with a 5-2 record in 16 starts, a 2.95 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings.In his two starts before the national title game, Buehler allowed only six hits and one run in a combined 11 2/3 innings to beat Radford in the NCAA Regional and TCU in the College World Series. He had 18 days between those starts because Vanderbilt won the Super Regional in only two games, and his turn in the three-man rotation didn’t come around again until the third game of the College World Series.Final: Virginia 4, Vanderbilt 2 in CWS“A kid who threw that well in the season, particularly in the first game in Omaha, he just couldn’t have gotten by and had that strength in his arm if there was a lot of damage,” Corbin said. “I don’t know how it got evaluated by (the Dodgers’) doctors, but it was probably something they wanted to do now while he was young and work him back into the fold a year from now.”Buehler capped his career as one of the most successful starters ever at Vanderbilt. Only six pitchers in program history racked up more than Buehler’s 21 wins in a three-year career.Reach Adam Sparks at 615-259-8010 and on Twitter @AdamSparks.last_img read more

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first_imgFleet-footed France will have to find a way past the tournament’s joint-meanest defenders Uruguay in the first of two inter-continental World Cup quarter-finals on Friday.The South Americans kept Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo at bay in their 2-1 last-16 win, and that goal conceded was the only one against them so far in Russia – a defensive feat only matched by Brazil, who play Belgium later on Friday.But France banged in four goals in their last 16 game against Argentina, and will be hoping their formidable attacking trio of Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe can turn it on again at the Nizhny Novgorod stadium.Nineteen-year-old Mbappe scored two goals in the Argentina game, becoming the first teenager since Brazilian great Pele in the 1958 final to score two goals in one World Cup match.But it was his amazing 70-metre sprint earlier in the match, to win France a penalty, that stunned viewers worldwide.“I was wondering whether he was riding a scooter,” joked France midfielder Florian Thauvin of the teenager whom Uruguay’s defenders must be having nightmares about.On the surface, though, Uruguay look relaxed and their experienced central defenders Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin are relishing the chance to foil both Mbappe and their friend and Atletico Madrid team mate Griezmann.“We want to deny them space, stop them playing, make their strikers uncomfortable – that’s our weapon,” said midfielder Diego Laxalt at the Uruguay camp in a hotel outside Nizhny Novgorod which, oddly, is painted in the colours of Brazil.With an impressive strike partnership of their own in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, the Uruguayans believe they can surpass their most recent best of a semi-final in 2010 – though Cavani is sweating on a calf injury that may keep him out.‘Les Bleus’ will be inspired by the two-decade anniversary of their only World Cup win in 1998, while double winners Uruguay’s modern generation are desperate to recreate the black-and-white-era glories of their 1930 and 1950 trophies.The winners will play Brazil or Belgium, who meet in their quarter-final in Kazan on Friday evening, for a place in the July 15 final.last_img read more

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