Confident Spencer targets podium spot in Rio

first_imgMarquee 400m hurdler Kaliese Spencer recalls last season as bittersweet but remains confident that should she medal at this year’s Olympics in Rio, Brazil, it would put the icing on the cake as her greatest year ever.Spencer is one of the most successful track athletes in the history of the Diamond League circuit with a total of 21 wins.In an interview with The Gleaner, Spencer said that 2015 was a bittersweet season for her. “It began great. Unfortunately, I got an injury and I wasn’t able to complete my season as I would have wanted to but just using that as a stepping stone for this season.”Jamaica and the world have definitely not seen Kaliese Spencer’s best. I think this season is going to be a great season, so just watch out.”Despite her recent IAAF World Championships medal failures in the finals, Spencer maintains that she is over those disappointments, settled in her new training club, and looking at improving.”I have a great set of coaches working with – great people, great athletes – and it’s like a family,” she outlined at Cameron Blazers, adding that it would help her medal this year.”Definitely, I will be on the medal podium (Rio Olympic Games). I just want to stay healthy, and once God is in it, I will be a winner and I will be there,” Spencer continued.”I am over that (disappointments) long time ago. I don’t stay long on one thing. I just get going. OK, that was it. I am strong in faith, and I believe that God is by my side, and I believe that one day I will be victorious, and I am just working towards that,” she said.Though Spencer admits that she has a lot left in the tank, she did not want to predict how fast she could run this year.”I am not thinking about (times) that. I am just thinking about focusing and getting my technique better and getting stronger and staying healthy, and once I stay healthy, the times will come,” stressed Spencer.last_img read more

New league NBL focuses on grassroots talents

first_imgLights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal NBL execs during league launch. Photo from NBL-Philippines FacebookA new amateur basketball league that caters to homegrown talent will have its inaugural season.The National Basketball League will open on August 25 with 12 teams, bearing local players, from Bataan, Bulacan, Camarines Sur, Dasmariñas, Laguna, Marikina, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Parañaque, Quezon City, Rizal, and Taguig.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award NBL will have amateur players aged 18 to 29-years-old who grew up in their respective provinces, cities, or municipality.The games will be played in the different provinces giving the local communities to watch their talents from up close.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’NBL commissioner and former PBA player Nandy Garcia said there is a potential from provincial players as he himself is a testament to that after scouts discovered him in a league in Imus.“My life in basketball has gone full circle being the commissioner of the NBL. I’m looking forward to seeing new potential talents from our member teams,” said Garcia in a press conference on Wednesday at the Dad’s Restaurant – EDSA. MOST READ ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Young South Korean footballers head to Pyongyang Peza offers relief to ecozone firms NBL chairman Celso Mercado said the NBL will not compete with the PBA nor the MPBL but will serve as a supplement league whose players can then jump to the higher levels.“We are focusing on our grassroots development of our teams from provinces, cities, and municipalities. It is our dream that NBL players will be noticed by professional and semi-professional leagues,” said Mercado.The NBL is also planning to organize a women’s commercial league and a youth league that could be finalized in the coming months.ADVERTISEMENT In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Grades for Sale at UL?

first_imgBetter grades can get a student from one level to another in their academic sojourn.  These grades are currently rumored to be on sale at the state-run University of Liberia following the completion of a fragile semester in April.According to scores of UL students, who just completed their senior course in English, those who could not make the desired grades were asked to pay L$1,000 to “cross the bridge” from failure to passing. This amount being requested by unscrupulous instructors is being seen as too much by students.The English course— coded as Engl. 411— was taught in the seventh section on the schedule, and is reported to have recorded mass failure due to academic limitations of poorly prepared students.The affected students told the Daily Observer that the instructor gave an assignment to students as part of what will constitute their final grades in addition to the examination.The students, who asked for anonymity, said they failed to meet the required grade points and ended up failing.“Upon receiving our papers, one of our classmates told us not to search for the instructor on UL campus, but rather to go to the Stella Maris campus where he was eating.  When we got there, he gave each person an envelope for us to write our names with our identification number to put L$1,000 into.  When he took the money, he then returned the emptied envelope to the student and his/her ID is checked,” a student explained.“The money is too much for us at this time because some of us are not working to get money.  If it were L$500, it would be acceptable. But the L$1,000 is too much as we still have tests to do and the burden of transportation is still hanging over us,” another student said.While our reporter was on the Fendell Campus on April 4, students copying the class schedule for next semester were seen and heard checking names of instructors to sit under.Normally students look out for convenient days and times, but now they ask who the instructor is before choosing their section.Students were rejecting certain instructors attached to courses because of past encounters with them.When the Dean of the college was contacted via mobile phone, he said such an issue had been brought to his attention, and that he would conduct an investigation to ascertain the facts.In another instance, students who did beginner’s accounting said the instructor charged US$10 to “cross the bridge.”Coded as Acct. 003, the students who were in section 9 on the schedule said their instructor told them to pay the amount as a prerequisite to passing the course.“This is my third time doing this course under this same instructor, I still can’t pass.  Now that he has collected my US$10, I hope to see a passing grade and not an ‘F, NG’ or ‘I.’ If not, he will feel the weight,” one student threatened.At the “Brother and Sister Restaurant” where this instructor and his female friend were sitting on the main campus, we were asked by this woman to use our phone so she could give us the amount to be paid.  When my phone was given back to me with a figure on the screen, I was asked to pay L$500.  The woman threw my phone on the ground and it almost broke,” a student said.Amidst these instances at UL, affected students are regretting the absence of Dr. Wede Elliot-Brownell, who they say would not allow such activities to take place under her watch.According to them, under Dr. Brownell instructors were careful about what they did in class as they needed to protect their jobs. Dr. Brownell was constantly on their (the instructors) backs to ensure that no one takes money from students for grades.“These instructors were only advocating for the woman to leave the university so they could go about “business as usual.”  Since she is not here, they will continue giving tests with intention of failing people so they can extort money from us and build their houses,” a distressed female said.UL Relations Vice President, Dr. S. Momolu Getaweh, in response to a call from the Daily Observer, said such information was not available to him, but the Dean of Student Affairs would look into the issue.Efforts made to contact the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Julius S. Nelson, proved futile as his phone was switched off.Although Dr. Emmet A. Dennis’ Administration at the University of Liberia is strict in making sure that the problem is tackled, it is difficult to control as students themselves are willing to take part.In most instances they are the first through, their class leadership, to propose money collection to bribe an instructor. Many students do not attend classes or take lessons seriously; preferring to use money to buy grades instead.As a result of this issue plaguing the education system, instructors who teach and live by principles are often hated by students, who describe them as “harsh and uncompassionate.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

DONE DEAL! West Brom complete £8m deal for Hull defender James Chester

first_img1 James Chester has completed his move from Hull to West Brom.The Baggies agreed an £8m fee for the defender with the recently-relegated Tigers on Tuesday.Leicester had also been interested in the 26-year-old, who came through the youth ranks at Manchester United, but Chester has now put pen-to-paper on a four-year contract with Tony Pulis’ side.“James did very well for Hull City. I’ve had a good chat with him and he’s the type of player I like,” said Pulis.“He’s young, a strong character, a good defender, he has good feet and he has the Manchester United stamp all over him, just like (Stoke City’s) Ryan Shawcross and Darren Fletcher. They’re wonderful lads and I’m told James is as well.“From the people I spoke to, like Steve Bruce and people in the Welsh party…they speak very highly of him.“Steve especially gave him a great mention and there is no better accolade than Steve Bruce giving a defender a good drum roll.“James is a good player who can play anywhere along the back line and I’m confident he will get better with age.“ James Chester last_img read more

Napolitano tours Pico Rivera

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventDuring the visit, she told the librarian that she would get her staff to send out books on government and listened while city staff pointed out the lack of space in the 1961 library. At City Hall, City Manager Chuck Fuentes hosted a slide show featuring plans for a new, bigger library at Smith Park. The anticipated funding estimates are $7 million from the city, $8 million from Los Angeles County with the help of Supervisor Gloria Molina and $5 million from private capital campaign funds also assisted by Molina, he said. He explained, too, the crucial needs for a grade separation project at the Passons Boulevard railroad crossing and road work at the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Rosemead Boulevard. He said there had been several deaths at the Passons Boulevard railroad crossing, including that of a 14-year-old El Rancho High School student last year. He also showed how the neighborhood surrounding the rail crossing, including stores, houses and an apartment building, would be impacted by a grade separation at that location. The road work where Slauson meets Rosemead is greatly needed because the intersection is now in dire need of repair and upgrading, he said. Napolitano and her staff members also walked through the Pico Rivera Senior Center where they saw an existing small fitness room and learned about plans for a bigger fitness area at the center. “This is a really, really big thing for us for Grace to come here to our obsolete library, which has pretty much been obsolete since it was built, and other facilities and see how great our needs are,” said Mayor Pete Ramirez. By late afternoon, the group was on its way to Norwalk City Hall. Napolitano and her staff members will also visit Montebello, East Los Angeles and Pomona during the week-long tour. “It’s a chance for all her staffers in Santa Fe Springs and Washington D.C. to see everything \ she is advocating,” said Daniel Chao, Napolitano’s chief of staff. debbie.pfeiffer@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PICO RIVERA – City officials Monday stressed the need for a bigger city library to Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Santa Fe Springs, during her visit to the 6,000-square-foot library. Napolitano and her entourage from Washington, D.C. and Santa Fe Springs offices visited the Pico Rivera Library and other city facilities during a whirlwind tour of the Southern California cities the congresswoman represents. The goal of the tour, titled Staff Retreat 2006, is to introduce the congresswoman’s staff in Washington, D.C. to the community projects considered to have the highest priorities. “Every community of mine has a wish list, but there is less and less funding available all the time,” said Napolitano. “So this helps the staff be hands-on and see the projects that need to be funded, for example, a new library.” last_img read more

PAURIC BRESLIN WINS JG MEMORIAL 5K

first_imgJ.G. Memorial 5k 2016Place Bib Name Gender AG Club Time1. 397 Pauric Breslin m SM Letterkenny A.C. 15:462. 416 Liam Doherty m SM Letterkenny A.C. 16:283. 398 Enda Mc Bride m SM Letterkenny A.C. 16:524. 465 Noel Diver m SM Rosses A.C. 16:575. 393 Eoin Hughes m JM Letterkenny A.C. 17:146. 468 Edward Sweeney m SM Cranford A.C. 17:407. 472 John Whoriskey m SM 17:438. 421 Declan Mc Bride m SM Cranford A.C. 17:449. 426 Damian Mc Bride m SM Milford A.C. 17:4510. 464 Frankie Bradley m SM 18:2011. 428 David Harvey m SM 24/7 Triathlon 18:2712. 425 Peter Lilburn m M60 City of Derry Spartans A.C. 18:4013. 463 Pól Mac Giolla Bhride m SM Letterkenny A.C. 19:0414. 473 Gerard Marley m SM Milford A.C. 19:1515. 432 Irene Mc Fadden f SW Letterkenny A.C. 19:1916. 433 Nathan Mc Hugh m SM 19:2217. 434 Noeleen Scanlon f SW Letterkenny A.C. 19:2218. 476 Michael Mc Hugh m M40 Milford A.C. 19:2819. 437 Barry Mackey m M50 Letterkenny A.C. 19:3720. 446 Frank Pinder m M50 19:4021. 427 Patrick Duffy m M40 19:4622. 435 Patrick Mc Hugh m SM 19:5423. 394 Martin Kerr m M60 19:5824. 474 Gillian Marley f SW Milford A.C. 20:1825. 441 Angus Hunter m M50 20:3726. 471 Curley Coyle m M40 20:5627. 424 Michael Gallagher m M50 Foyle Valley A.C. 21:0528. 449 John Fealty m M50 21:0829. 413 Owen Coyle m M50 Rosses A.C. 21:1530. 395 Liam Donnelly m SM 21:1631. 475 Kenneth Moon m M40 Milford A.C. 21:2832. 477 Siobhan Mc Hugh f W45 Milford A.C. 21:4233. 470 Joe Coyle m SM 21:4334. 466 Seamus Carr m SM 21:4835. 399 Brian Mc Bride m M60 Letterkenny A.C. 21:5236. 461 Jimmy Mc Bride m M60 Letterkenny A.C. 22:0137. 420 Paula Hegarty f SW Milford A.C. 22:1638. 439 Joe Mc Laughlin m SM 22:2539. 438 Frank Mc Taggart m M40 Milford A.C. 22:2540. 442 Arthur Lynch m SM 22:3841. 400 Oran Mc Menamin m JM Cranford A.C. 22:5542. 414 Rionach Giles f JW Cranford A.C. 22:5943. 478 Nancy Mc Namee f W45 Finn Valley A.C. 23:1244. 431 Hugh Gallagher m M60 Letterkenny A.C. 23:2745. 422 Sam Faulkner m SM Run for Fun Letterkenny 23:4846. 423 Clare Molloy f W35 23:4847. 482 Laura Black f JW 24/7 Triathlon 24:0848. 440 Noel Mc Bride m M50 24:1149. 481 Edward Diver m M50 Ray Men 24:1350. 430 Eddie Sweeney m M60 Ray Men 24:3151. 450 Con Duffy m SM 24:3352. 479 Mary Bond f W55 Finn Valley A.C. 24:4153. 396 Paddy Fox m SM 25:3654. 448 Frankie Pinder m JM Letterkenny A.C. 25:4455. 483 Kate Black f JW 24/7 Triathlon 26:0656. 469 Majella Granaghan f W45 26:5957. 443 Noreen Pinder f W45 27:3458. 444 Mairead Pinder f JW Letterkenny A.C. 27:3559. 467 Cathy Carr f JW 28:5460. 484 Kim Bradley f SW 29:0861. 480 Gerard Sharkey m M50 Swanlings 29:1962. 445 Eileen Pinder f JW Letterkenny A.C. 30:4063. 429 Yvonne Lynch f W35 30:4064. 436 James Doherty m M60 Cranford A.C. 42:07PAURIC BRESLIN WINS JG MEMORIAL 5K was last modified: July 1st, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

81 JOBS SAVED AS NEWSPAPER COMPANY ‘RE-STRUCTURES’

first_imgUP TO 81 jobs have been saved after a well-known local company was wound up and a new company put in place to run six local newspapers.In a statement this afternoon River Media Newspapers confirmed that River Newspapers has been wound up and the new company – River Media Newspapers – has taken over the Letterkenny Post, Donegal Post, Inish Times and three other titles.The company said: “As part of a wide ranging re-structuring of River Newspapers, joint receiver managers RSM Farrell Grant Sparks were appointed to the Group’s Republic of Ireland titles and PwC appointed as Administrator of the Group’s titles in Northern Ireland on Friday, September 2nd. “The Group has been trading profitably over the past year but was hampered by a very large historic debt burden and has been working with its key creditors to address this issue.“As a result of the re-structuring, River Media Newspapers Limited has now acquired all six newspapers titles from RSM Farrell Grant Sparks and PwC.”The statement went on: “Commenting on the developments CEO Padraig O’Dwyer emphasised that the restructuring had no impact on the contracts or conditions of the 81 employees of the titles that were transferred to River Media Newspapers Limited.“Mr O’Dwyer thanked those employees for their continued commitment to the success of the business saying ‘While conditions in the advertising market remain challenging, the Group is highly centralised and operating off a very low cost base. “‘The Group is now on a sustainable footing and the Board is confident that all six titles have a bright future’,he concluded.”81 JOBS SAVED AS NEWSPAPER COMPANY ‘RE-STRUCTURES’ was last modified: September 6th, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Conte on Burnley, his Italy trip, Man Utd’s title hopes, Hazard, Willian and ‘warrior’ Luiz

first_imgEmbed from Getty ImagesChelsea boss Antonio Conte was asked about a number of issues at his press conference ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. Here’s some of what he had to say.On Burnley“It will be a really tough game. We must pay great attention because the stats show Burnley are a really strong team at home.“They’re third in the table for games played at home – we are first with 33 points, Tottenham are second with 32 and Burnley are third.“It’s a fantastic achievement for them. I warned my players because if you don’t face this game in the right way, anything can happen.“We are preparing very well for this game. My players know really well the game that we will face.“It’s important to know the strengths and the weaknesses of the team you go to face. We have studied them very well.“They fight a lot, they play a lot of long balls and put a lot of pressure on when you have the ball”On Burnley’s ex-Brentford striker Andre GrayEmbed from Getty Images“Gray is a really good player, very clever, he’s always in the right position when they win second balls to attack the space in the defensive line.”On the benefit or otherwise of playing after title rivals“Whether we play before or the others play before us, the pressure is the same. If our opponents win it reduces the gap, if they don’t you have the possibility to take more points.“I think that until the end of the season you have to live with this type of pressure.“But it’s important to think about ourselves and our game against Burnley. Now we are at the top of the table so we can count only on our game. Then, if good news arrives about the other teams, we’ll be happy but we must count on ourselves.”On whether Manchester United are still in the title raceEmbed from Getty Images“Honestly, I think there are six teams who are very strong and can fight to win the title.“Manchester United have a great squad. If we think that we have a nine-point lead and we are very close to winning the title it’s a great mistake.“There are 14 games to play and five teams, with Chelsea the sixth, who can fight to win the title. It’s important we don’t make mistakes in this race.”On whether his return to Juventus this week was a business trip“No, only fun! [It was] a bit of relaxation after a very intense week, with FA Cup, then Liverpool and Arsenal – so to watch a game totally relaxed was very good for me, and to come back into a stadium I know very well was very good. It was a good experience.”On his players’ time off “After the game against Arsenal I wanted to give them one day off because I thought they deserved it. We’d had an intense week with three games in seven days.“There are different moments – there are the moments you must work very hard and sometimes there is a moment it’s important to have one, two or three days off, to relax with your family, to come back fresher and start to work very hard.“We know our results depend on our work. It’s good if the players want to go and relax in different countries – the most important thing for me is that they come back in the right way, with the right attitude and the right behaviour.”On the difficulty of playing lower-ranked sides“Honestly, in England, if you ask me before a match if it will be an easy game my reply is always the same – there aren’t easy games and we have lots of examples of teams at the bottom who win and draw.“For this reason it’s important to have always great concentration and great focus and to be ready to fight to try to win, if you want to win the title at the end.“If your ambition is to stay in the top four or top six, you can have highs and lows. If you want to win [the title] you must have always the same concentration, good focus and know that in every game you can lose points.”On why Eden Hazard came off against ArsenalEmbed from Getty Images“When I make a substitution there is always a reason. Sometimes I try to preserve some players. Sometimes there is a tactical choice.“In the last game, I wanted to give him the great applause of our fans because I think he deserved this, for the game that he played – not only with the ball, but above all without the ball.”On Hazard’s value“I’m not going to put a price on a player. Eden, for sure, is a great player, a top player. He’s in a very high level but I don’t see the problem because we don’t want to sell him. He hasn’t a price now.”On David LuizEmbed from Getty Images“He’s fit. He’s playing with a little pain in his knee but he’s a warrior and I think he’s playing very well.“I’m pleased for him. He’s showing me great attitude, [and a] great will to continue to fight despite sometimes having a bit of pain.”On whether Cesc Fabregas and Willian may return“There is this possibility because we are talking about two great players in good form.“To have, in this moment, Cesc and Willian on the bench or on the pitch is very important.“Now, Pedro is playing very well, he’s in great form [but] Cesc is playing very well when he plays and also when I call him to come on.“I have different solutions, for sure, but for me the most important thing is I can count on the squad and every single player is in good form.”On Willian suggesting Manchester United wanted to sign himEmbed from Getty Images“I don’t know about this news. For me it’s not important. The most important thing is the present, to be focused, to take the best choice for the team to try to win.”See also:Conte on Bakayoko, Hazard, Pedro’s setback and facing Spurs   Ads by Revcontent Trending Articles Urologists: Men, Forget the Blue Pill! This “Destroys” ED x ‘Genius Pill’ Used By Rich Americans Now Available In Netherlands! x What She Did to Lose Weight Stuns Doctors: Do This Daily Before Bed! x Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do This x One Cup of This (Before Bed) Burns Belly Fat Like Crazy! x Drink This Before Bed, Watch Your Body Fat Melt Like Crazy x Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Madagascar’s natural resources under siege

first_imgScientists are racing to preserve Madagascar’s trove of unique flora and fauna as deforestation threatens the African island’s diverse plant and animal wealth. And these riches keep growing as researches discover more and more endemic species in its rainforests.  Extinction of Madagascar’s lemurs would cause a ‘extinction cascade’ event scientists warn. (Image: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew)Sulaiman PhilipEcological researchers continue to discover new plant and animal species in Madagascar’s forests. In the last 15 years they have discovered 600 new species. According to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report, 385 plants, 42 invertebrates, 17 fish, 69 amphibians, 61 reptiles and 41 mammals have been discovered on Madagascar.These species are found nowhere else on Earth and now they are under threat as farmers clear-cut the forests to make way for agriculture – or to sell the timber. In a country where most live on less than a dollar a day, the country’s biodiversity comes second to the need to earn a living and feed your family.Saving the island nation’s plant kingdom has become the enterprise of a team of botanists from the Royal Botanic Garden in Kew, England. The team, led by Solofo Eric Rakotoarisoa, trek into the forests, clamber up limestone cliffs and cross submerged roads to collect seeds to be stored in the Millennium Seed Bank at Kew Gardens. Seeds harvested in Madagascar are flown to the temperature controlled seed bank in Kew, England. (Image: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew) The project is a race against extinction. Once the seeds are collected, they are sorted and labelled, and then flown to the UK for safeguarding. In the freezer botanists have already stored 1 800 seeds from Madagascar’s 13 000 plant species.Since 2009, poverty, logging, mining and climate change have speeded up deforestation as the nation became poorer after former president Marc Ravalomanana was deposed and donor funding was suspended. Since the 1950s tavy, a slash and burn technique that clears forests for farming, charcoal production, and illegal logging, has led to four-fifths of the island’s forests being cleared.Rakotoarisoa has sounded the alarm. “It’s getting to the point where it’s really obvious the forests are disappearing. It’s getting worse and worse [the slash and burn clearances]; the poverty in Madagascar is increasing.”The aim of the Kew Gardens botanists is to create a storehouse of seeds that can be used to replace extinct plants. To head off that Armageddon, Madagascar’s population will need to understand the value of protecting the island’s biodiversity.As Mark Wright, a conservation adviser at WWF-UK, points out: “If they have no practical way of making a living, of course they are going to turn to the natural resources sector and see what they can get from that, and who wouldn’t do it?”Discoveries like the new species of wild coffee plant can be cultivated as a cash crop. Coffee, the most traded commodity after oil, would require protection of the remaining habitats while allowing families to earn a living.Love lemurs? Go see them nowKing Julien: “Don’t be alarmed, giant freaks! While you were asleep, we simply took you to our little corner of heaven. Welcome to Madagascar.” ‘Lemur’ means ghost in Latin, with wide-eyed, eerie stares and night time activity, it is easy to see how these spectre-like figures of Madagascar’s forests got their name. (Image: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew) Unlike the lemurs in the movie, Madagascar’s long-tailed primates are in danger of losing their habitat and becoming extinct. The suspension of donor funding after the 2009 coup has sped up the destruction of the country’s forests and the habitats of the fabled wildlife.After the coup, donors and lending agencies suspended or ended all non-humanitarian aid. Madagascar’s national park system received 80% of its budget from donors, and these sanctions devastated their ability to protect the island’s wildlife and plant life.Or, as lemur expert and president of Conservation International Russell A Mittermaier explained: “Madagascar’s real brand, the real competitive advantage, is this unique biodiversity. By cutting the funding, we’re not just hurting Madagascar, we’re hurting the world as a whole.”Lemurs represent Brand Madagascar. They offer the promise of observing rare species in their natural habitat, and experience in Africa – Rwanda and Uganda’s mountain gorilla programmes – show that eco-tourists are prepared to pay a premium for the privilege.Extinction of the lemur population would lead to what primatologist Christoph Schwitzer refers to as an extinction cascade. “Lemurs have important ecological and economic roles, and are essential to maintaining Madagascar’s unique forests through seed dispersal and attracting income through ecotourism.”Co-ordinated conservation is the best solution for Madagascar going forward Schwitzer believes. This would involve engagement with local communities, eco-tourism and long term-field research.Madagascar’s Maromizaha Forest is a model for the preservation of the island’s eco-system. Members of the local community have been trained to be guides for tourists eager to see one of the 13 species of lemur that make the forest home.Researchers have gone into local schools to teach children about the unique environment around them. And they have brought new, less destructive, methods of agriculture to local farmers. In the four years to 2011, the number of visitors to the Maromizaha Forest went from 200 to close to 3 000.The increase in visitors brings with it risks. Schwitzer says: “There’s always a trade-off between the destruction caused by too many tourists and the money they bring to the country that can be used for wildlife conservation. This balance for Madagascar is still very positive for conservation and it’s a long way until it may tip over.” Scientist predict 60% of 57 species unique to Madagascar are likely to find suitable habitat reduced by an average of 59.6% over the next 70 years, entirely due to climate change. (Image: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew)Madagascar, the paradise on EarthOne hundred and sixty million years ago, or thereabouts, Madagascar broke off from continental Africa. Over time the island nation has developed a distinct natural eco-system. Today 95% of its reptiles, 89% of its plant life and 92% of its mammal population exist nowhere else. This diversity has ecologists referring to Madagascar as the eighth continent.This unique menagerie includes more than 700 species of reptiles and amphibians. In Madagascar’s threatened rain forests visitors can find neon green geckos and tiny tree frogs that secrete toxins through their skin. Half of the world’s chameleon varieties have evolved on this speck – Madagascar is less than 0.5% of the Earth’s landmass, in the middle of the Indian Ocean.Mark Wright explained in a 2011 report: “It is a very odd island. In terms of its geography, it helps speciation. There’s a mountain ridge down the middle, so on the east of the island you’ve got rainforest, but everything on the west is a rain shadow. So you get an enormous variety of environments from the very wet to the very dry. It’s a fantastic range of environments into which species can adapt.”last_img read more

SA second at World Cup of Disabled Golf

first_img26 May 2014 Geoff Nicholas and Shane Luke of Australia chased down South Africa’s Reinard Schuhknecht and Daniel Slabbert over the last four holes at Zebula Golf Estate and Spa in Limpopo province to clinch the inaugural World Cup of Disabled Golf on Friday. The South Africans took a one stroke lead into the final round and stretched the gap to two shots at the turn, but Australian duo turned up the heat coming down the straight to win by three shots. Nicholas scored a 76 and Luke produced a 79 for a final round of 155 to give Australia a winning total of 473. The third member of their side, Graham Kenyon, carded a non-counting 88.South African scores South Africa’s Schuhknecht and Slabbert carded respective rounds of 78 and 81 for 159, while Conrad Stoltz signed for a 91. Canada’s Bob MacDermott returned an 84 while Nedbank SA Disabled Golf Open champion, Josh Williams, blistered the course in even-par 72 to secure third on 487. The United States vaulted to fourth on 495, courtesy of a 73 from Kenny Bontz and a 78 from the evergreen Jim Curley, while Andy Gardiner’s 78 and an 86 from Darren Grey helped England to sixth on 510. The evergreen Nicholas, a 12-time World Amputee champion, described the round as one of his most thrilling rallies ever.‘A very tight contest’ “It was a very tight contest through the first 14 holes, but it turned around for us between the 14th and 16th holes,” the 52-year-old said after securing the title. “Reinard and I both dropped shots at the 14th, but I managed a birdie at the 15th to get back to one over. Daniel missed his birdie attempt at 15 and then Shane birdied the 16th, and suddenly we were in the driver’s seat. “It was a fantastic rally and we are absolutely delighted with the result. To go home as the first World Cup of Disabled Golf champions will go a long way in shifting attention to disabled golf at home and hopefully around the world.”The bigger picture Schuhknecht had been battling a wrist injury at the start of the World Cup and his final round was his best performance in the event. The reigning World One-Arm Stroke Play champion was understandably disappointed, but preferred to focus on the bigger picture. “South Africa lost, but Daniel and I gained so much this week,” he said. “We got to wear our country’s national colours with pride this week and, yes, we put ourselves under a lot of pressure to win. Maybe we tried too hard, but you can’t change the result. “However, you can’t put a price on the experience of playing with seasoned international players like Geoff Nicholas, Josh Williams, Tracy Ramin, Kenny Bontz and Andy Gardiner. To watch how they conduct themselves out there was unbelievable and Daniel and I both gained from the experience. “I’m sure we will come back even stronger next year.”Double-bogey devastation Slabbert was devastated after a double-bogey at the 18th, but a pep talk from his team-mates soon put a smile back on his face. “We had such an incredible week, and I should focus on the experience of playing with a fantastic group of world beaters in this amazing event,” he said. “The first World Cup was an amazing success. We hope that next year we will have double the amount of nations competing.”LEADERBOARD – TEAMS473 – Australia 154, 164, 155476 – South Africa 160, 154, 159487 – Canada 166, 165, 156495 – United States 184, 160, 151510 – England 182, 164, 164531 – New Zealand 180, 170, 181542 – Sweden 185, 181, 176LEADERBOARD – INDIVIDUAL228 Geoff Nicholas (Aus) 72, 80, 76231 Josh Williams (Can) 80, 79, 72236 Kenny Bontz (USA) 85, 78, 73236 Daniel Slabbert (RSA) 78, 77, 81242 Reinard Schuhknecht (RSA) 82, 82, 78245 Shane Luke (Aus) 82, 84, 79247 Andy Gardiner (Eng) 90, 79, 78256 Bob McDermott (NZ) 86, 86, 84257 Krister Munther (Swe) 87, 88, 82262 James Curley (USA) 99, 85, 78264 Johannes Grames (Can) 91, 87, 86265 Darren Grey (Eng) 92, 87, 86266 Conrad Stoltz (RSA) 95, 80, 91266 Graham Kenyon (Aus) 90, 88, 88268 Jason Eade (NZ) 90, 86, 92268 Tracy Ramin (USA) 99, 82, 87268 Wayne Eder (NZ) 90, 89, 89272 Darren Reti (NZ) 92, 84, 96278 Paul Tookey (Eng) 94, 85, 99288 David Schutsander (Swe) 101, 93, 94293 Lars Lindenberg (Swe) 98, 101, 94 SAinfo reporterlast_img read more