‘You don’t find orchids; they find you’: Q&A with botanist Edicson Parra

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Maria Salazar Edicson Parra has not only discovered more than 20 new species of orchids in his home country of Colombia, but has also used his expertise in orchid diversity to help halt development, road and mining projects that would have otherwise threatened their forest habitats.But studying orchids can be a dangerous challenge in Colombia, due to drug traffickers and threats to environmentalists in the country.Parra says orchids could be “one of the most sensitive of all Earth’s taxa.” Orchids are particularly vulnerable and fragile to deforestation, including edge effects, making protecting large tracts of forests key to their survival. When a mining company came to exploit an old-growth cloud forest near Edicson Parra’s hometown of Fusagasuga in Colombia, he decided to take action. He rallied as many relatives and friends as he could and joined a street protest against the looming project.Photos of Parra and his family waving placards and sporting identical Colombian soccer jerseys ran in local newspapers. But Parra had one superpower nobody else at the protest possessed: he had spent 10 years learning how to identify orchids.On entering the tract of forest slated for demolition, Parra, who recently received his Ph.D. in conservation science from Imperial College London, did what any biologist worth their salt would do: he carried out a biological survey. Rooting through mossy treetops and rotten logs, Parra found 24 species of orchids living in the cloud forest. Three were endemic to Colombia. One of these, Epidendrum fusagasugüense, Parra had discovered and named after his hometown only the year before.He provided the information from his botanical survey to a legal team fighting the mining. A court eventually banned development in the ecosystem. A central factor in the ruling was the recognition of the forest as an orchid hotspot, along with the fact that this forest provides freshwater to over 1,000 households.But this wasn’t the first time Parra had used his orchid knowhow in defense of Colombia’s cloud forests. Already once before, his botanical surveys helped divert a road set to cut through a unique forest reserve in the Central Cordillera. And when a company planned to build a gated community of luxury chalets in a forest that Parra calls “the orchid Garden of Eden” – home to 126 orchid species, including 15 completely new to science — his targeted surveys once again came to the rescue.Mongabay caught up with Parra to chat about using orchids to save forests, the realities of working as a biologist in war-torn and post-conflict Colombia, and the threats and conservation opportunities for Colombia’s most enigmatic plant family.Edicson Parra searches for understory and canopy orchids in the cloud forests of the Colombian Andes. Images by Gianluca Cerullo.Mongabay: Where did your passion for orchids come from? Edicson Parra: My mum was into her flowers. When I was young, we used to hike up into the hills and look for orchids. I literally fell in love. I can’t think of another explanation apart from love. Whenever I get the chance to go into the forest now, I always bring that passion with me. I try to keep the link between being a scientist and a human. There’s this perception of scientists as heartless. But how can you be called heartless when you regularly say out loud that you are in love with a family of plants? It helps that orchids are so emblematic in Colombia and that we really are the global epicenter for orchid diversity — for sure, that keeps things interesting!Why are there so many orchid species in Colombia and do you think there are many more to still be discovered? My country has more than 4,000 species of orchids. Even though orchids are the most diverse plant family in the entire world, that’s still a hefty chunk of Earth’s orchids! The story of why Colombia is the most orchid-rich country on the globe is closely linked to the uplift of the Andes. As these mountains rose, it provided a huge altitudinal and spatial gradient, with lots of varied microhabitats that epiphytes [plants that grow on other plants], including orchids, were able to exploit. We also have this land gradient between the Amazon and the Andes in southwest Colombia which is incredibly diverse.The second reason for Colombia’s staggering orchid diversity lies in the very high diversification rate of some of its smaller orchids, especially the subtribe of orchids known as the Pleurothallidinae. These essentially settled in one place and then exploded in diversity like an orchid atomic bomb!There are definitely many more species to be discovered in Colombia. Previously conflicts with guerrillas made it difficult to access some areas for surveys, but in peacetime lots of new expeditions are on the hunt for new species. There’s huge potential for exciting discoveries, especially in the Chocó biogeographic region in the west of the country, which is pretty well preserved.Colombia is the most orchid-rich country in the world, with more than 4,000 species. Images by Edicson Parra.How do orchids respond to forest degradation? So far there has actually not been much research into how orchids respond to habitat degradation, but from what we do know, things look very worrying indeed. When you chop down or fragment a forest it creates these new edges that my research has shown can have devastating impacts on orchids.Working in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, I found that there are some drought-resilient orchid species that can survive in farms or colonize the drier edges of forests. But this is only a tiny fraction of hardy orchids. Most species, including those that are the most critical in providing pollen and other rewards to pollinators, are extremely sensitive and simply cannot survive in forest edges.Because orchid seeds don’t have a protective tissue, to grow, their seeds have to land in a sort of Goldilocks zone, where conditions such as moisture and mycorrhizal associations are just right. But these Goldilocks zones vanish as humans homogenize forests and as edge effects fritter away core forest area.In my research, I found that 85 percent of orchids need to be half a kilometer [0.3 miles], or even more, away from the forest edge to have the right sort of habitat to survive. That’s huge! To put that in perspective, that means that less than one-fifth of habitat remaining in the entire Brazilian Atlantic Forest biome, which has already been heavily fragmented and reduced by farming, could actually conceivably support forest-specialist orchids into the future. Orchids could very well be one of the most sensitive of all Earth’s taxa.You’ve discovered more than 20 species of orchid. Which were the most meaningful to you?You never forget your first love, and it’s like that with my first orchid discovery: Lepanthes foreroi, named after my botany professor at university. I remember working in Yotoco reserve with my friend when I stumbled across it. And then, during my master’s, I found a few species. The one I named after my son, Hapalorchis dominicii, is of course special to me. And then a few species, Epidendrum fusugasugüensis and Lepanthes dapäensis, came at a really good time for the conservation of community forests. Ah, it’s so hard to pick one!The one I’ve named after my partner is still in press, waiting to be published, so that will be a nice if it comes through!People in my field, especially non-academics, say that you don’t find orchids. Spend enough time in the forest, and it’s the orchids that find you. Like a human pollinator, you are pulled in by their fragrance and the complex, fragile reproductive systems that they have evolved. I have to admit that I do put some stock in that. Whenever I go in the forest, I just feel this lure toward orchids. It’s magnetic! Probably something is wrong with my brain.Parra’s discovery of Epidendrum fusagasugüense came at a very important time for the conservation of a community cloud forest imperilled by a looming mining project. Image by Edicson Parra.Orchids are epiphytes, meaning that they grow on other plants. This makes them very vulnerable to habitat change, as they require ideal conditions to survive. Images by Edicson Parra.What were some of the more harrowing experiences of working as a biologist in Colombia during the war? In 2o1o, I was working alone in Garrapatas, near the Páramo las Hermosas. This area was historically under the control of drug-trafficking groups. Once, I was stopped at a territorial checkpoint, stripped of my clothes and held at gunpoint for several hours. I was only an undergrad at the time and I had barely enough money even for transport, let alone to pay any bribes. But I’d committed the mistake of borrowing a GPS from my university. This raised a lot suspicion, as the guys thought I had been sent by the military to spy on their territory. There was a lot of shouting and arguing. In the end I think they got bored of my wimping and let me go. But that was scary.Another time I was carrying out orchid surveys in cloud forests near the Chalet de la Muerte. This place was the scene of a horrible atrocity, where a cartel wanting control over the area had slaughtered many community leaders. While I was exploring my forest plot sites, I collapsed through the forest floor and into a hole. Initially I thought I had fallen into an ancient indigenous tomb and was really excited. But I quickly realized I was walking on bones and that this was in fact the scene of a mass slaughter and grave. That still makes me really sad today because I know that the people murdered were innocents who only wanted to live their lives in peace.The most danger I have been in myself though was nothing to do with the conflict. I was 27 meters [89 feet] up a tree looking for canopy epiphytes and my rope was caught in a bromeliad at the fork of a branch. I went to untangle the rope and got bitten by a very venomous pit viper. It was probably hunting for frogs around the bromeliad. So I did what any macho man would do in that situation: I screamed out, cried a lot and shouted for help! I was silly enough to be in the forest on my own, so it was a long and dizzy way back down the tree, to camp, and then on to the hospital to get anti-venom. When I next went back to the field, I made sure that I had an assistant!Edicson Parra returns from a day hunting for orchids in mountaintop cloud forests. Image by Gianluca Cerullo.Why was the forest near your hometown under threat and how did you help to ensure its conservation? In short, this cloud forest reserve, which provides water to over 1,000 Colombian households and farmlands, was imperilled by a mining development project. After community members attended a workshop run by the mining company, they felt they had been unfairly tricked into accepting the project by its silver-tongued representatives. This fomented distrust. When a fire suspiciously broke out in the forest, locals fought to douse the flames and save some of the resident wildlife. This was when our community really came together and were galvanized to attempt to halt the mining through peaceful protest.I was having drinks with other protesters and I expressed my intention to help out in any way that I could. And the only thing I know how to do is sample orchids. Apart from that I’m pretty useless. So I went into the forest, carried out my surveys and found these rare orchids — one of which had never been recorded before in the Central Cordillera. It was pretty exciting for the community who weren’t aware how diverse the orchids in the forest were.I also did something else. Here in Colombia, whenever a company wants to carry out a small- or large-scale project, they have to hand in a report that quantifies which species are present in the area. But when I looked in public archives at the report submitted by the mining company, I found that it a was plagiarized copy of a completely different assessment carried out elsewhere. This report said that there were no orchids at all even present in the forest — which was in complete contradiction to my findings.Orchids are protected in Colombia by law. So if a company wants develop in an orchid area, they have to spend money on restoration or mitigation. And the last thing a mining company wants to do, at least from my own experience, is spend money on biodiversity.But if you lie in a public document, it means you are lying to the government and the state. Which is a crime. So I submitted my findings as documents in the trial. The judge validated my report, and thanks to that report — and especially to the hard work of the community, without whom the whole process wouldn’t have even been possible — the company was prevented from mining in the area.We celebrated with lots of beer and Tejo! [Tejo is a Colombian sport that involves throwing metal pucks at a clay target full of balls of gunpowder, which explode on impact.]After a suspicious fire broke out in community-owned cloud forest slated for mining, community members tried to rescue resident animals and douse the flames. This sloth died from its wounds days after. Images by Edicson Parra.Are there any other examples of how you have used your knowledge of orchids to save forests? I once carried out a knowledge-exchange project with my botanist friend Oscar Perez in a community reserve in Dapa, near Cali. It was in this 10-hectare [25-acre] forest fragment. We found around 126 species in this one fragment. It’s the most orchid-rich forest I’ve ever been in, like some kind of orchid Garden of Eden. Around 15 of the species we found were completely new to science!But that reserve was in the eyes of a construction developer. Dapa is in this really privileged spot that overlooks all of Cali, so this construction project wanted to build luxury chalets there. The community was against that. So they organized themselves and they were trying to find evidence that the forest had value — not just biological value, but also cultural value.Using our surveys in the fragment, as well as of orchids in the surrounding forests, the community was able to demonstrate the high biological value of the area. But we’d also trained some kids and community leaders on how to spot and cultivate orchids in the forest. And we’d made an orchid trail through the ecosystem so that community members could make a bit of money through ecotourism, from people coming from Cali to see orchids in the wild. This was further evidence that the fragment had cultural value to the community too.With proof of its importance, the community was able to apply pressure to halt construction in the fragment. It was a real group effort that in the end led to the local government negotiating with the project manager to even bring the fragment into a corridor of small protected forest reserves. That was a great achievement.I’ve also been involved in a locally organized and community-driven project to divert a road from being expanded through the only official forest reserve on the flank of the Valle del Cauca Cordillera. Again, with orchid surveys, and in close concert with local communities and the National University of Colombia, we were able to force the road developer to build tens of kilometers of extra road so that they circumvented cutting through this monkey-filled and orchid-bursting cloud forest.Is it dangerous for environmental activists to challenge extractive industries in Colombia? Since 2018, 317 social leaders, including environmental activists, have been killed in Colombia, with a further 4,000 considered to be under threat. The impact of this is huge, not just because of the life and expertise lost with each leader, but because of how the fear surrounding these murders stifles the emergence of new leaders in remote areas, where they are needed most. We’re tired of this sort of thing. We’ve already had 60 years of war.It’s hard to link these deaths to extractive industries directly. A lot of it is over territorial conflict, with splinter paramilitary and criminal groups using brutal tactics to take over previously FARC-dominated areas left in the post-conflict power vacuum.Currently, one of the frontiers for environmental activism in Colombia is related to mineral extraction in our high-altitude flagship páramo ecosystems. These strange areas studded with frailejon [a sunflower-like shrub] are like natural sponges that provide water to literally millions of people. But with strong political support, they are being carved up into gold and rare mineral concessions at the behest of transnational corporations. Just in the past days we’ve seen tens of thousands of people in Bucaramanga rise up to protest against the company Minesa, which is planning to mine for gold near the Santurban páramo.Colombia’s páramo ecosystems capture, regulate and provide water for millions of people, but are threatened by mining and poor government protection. Image by Gianluca Cerullo.What are some of the key threats that orchids face in Colombia? The conversion of land and expansion of the agricultural frontier is the main threat because of the high sensitivity of orchids. Harvesting and collection of orchids for the illegal trade is probably a big threat also, but there is very little reliable information on the magnitude or extent of this currently. Historically, the orchid trade was likely much higher than today. I’ve been told stories by local people in the Eastern Cordillera who used to see entire trucks filled with orchids drive past their houses several times a week 25 years ago.Climate change is set to hit high-altitude cloud forests especially hard, have you seen this impact of this already and are you concerned for orchids in a warmer world? What worries me most of all about climate change is how it’s going to worsen the already considerable problems caused by habitat degradation. Already, our forest fragments and edges have drier exteriors that don’t hold moisture well and have more intense light exposure. Water is such an important factor for the survival of orchids, and looking at how so many orchid species just go extinct at forests’ dry edges, what’s going to happen when warmer temperatures and changes to water cycles are added to the mix? It’s not just the orchids that are going to suffer, but the pollinators that rely on them.Orchids provide key resources to pollinators including bats, hummingbirds, bees and many other insects. Images by Edicson Parra.Colombia is undergoing huge political change. Do you think this will lead to a shift in how its forests are managed in the future?Yes. We are in a strategic moment. Currently, there is a lot of discussion about Colombia’s national plan and its planes de ordenamiento territorial, which dictates regional environmental policy over 12 years. Similar to what is happening in Brazil, with [President Jair] Bolsanaro strongly favoring expansion into the Amazon, our current government is very much in favor of pursuing unsustainable development, recently opening up new areas to fracking, mining and oil extraction, and also seeking to unravel protective legislation, particularly in páramos. It’s certainly a tense time for Colombia’s environment. We are at a tipping point.Ediscson Parra carries out biodiversity surveys in páramos degraded by fire and grazing. Image by Edicson Parra.If you could give one message to Colombian politicians or members of the public to help in orchid conservation, what would it be?For politicians, let’s look at the scientific evidence of the impacts of habitat destruction on people and the environment, instead of just viewing exploitation as a means for short-term economic gains. For communities, let’s be happy with the amazing diversity of Colombia and try to protect it. That’s our legacy and our heritage as citizens lucky enough to live in one of the most biologically rich countries on Earth!What advice would you give to young conservationists who want to use their research to act?For me, I got lucky. I fell in love with orchids, which are naturally a very charismatic and treasured family of plants. So when I go to talk to people about orchids, they take an immediate interest. From my orchids and experiences, I have learned that you should embrace the knowledge that you have and make it sound fun. That’s how you will get people to listen to you. Understand the scientific literature, and then think of ways to transform it into ways that will be easy to understand for politicians or community leaders. People are not stupid, but conservationists are not always the best at communicating. So be active in trying to engage people about science.center_img Cloud Forests, Conservation, Environment, Forests, Interns, Interviews, Orchids, Plants last_img read more

PSC urges similar engagement with other delinquent companies

first_imgDDL, GRA tax settlementIn light of the recent $5 billion tax settlement between the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), the Private Sector Commission (PSC) is urging that similar procedure be adopted with other delinquent companies.“From the point of view of the Private Sector Commission, we wish to urge that the Guyana Revenue Authority now engage other aggrieved companies to apply similar formulae to correct the distortions in the market place resulting from this action,” the Commission said in a statement on Friday.Furthermore, the PSC applauded GRA and DDL on the settlement and compromise over the long outstanding consumption and excise taxes. “We wish to congratulate the Company on the amicable resolution of this issue, which has been ongoing since 2002 – that is an achievement which took fourteen years and is also a credit to all concerned,” the brief statement added.Last week, DDL announced that it has reached an “amicable” settlement with GRA thus resolving the longstanding legal battle between the two, which arose out of a Consumption Tax assessment levied against DDL by former Commissioner General Khurshid Sattuar in January 2009 to the tune of $5,392,020,753.However, the legal battle dated back to 2002, when the local beverage giant raised a legal challenge against the GRA on the methodology adopted by the latter for the assessment of Consumption Tax.In February, 2005, the High Court found in favour of DDL. The GRA subsequently appealed that decision and on July 31, 2008, the Guyana Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the GRA’s Appeal.But the following month, GRA commenced a new assessment, this time issuing a new claim, billing the company a crippling $5.392 billion. This was again challenged by DDL in 2009 and the High Court had issued an Order Nisi pending the hearing of the matter.“DDL and the GRA were able to recommence negotiations for a resolution of the methodology for a calculation of Consumption Tax (and its successor, Excise Tax), and have now been able to arrive at consensus to fully and finally settle all claims by the GRA and liability by DDL for both Consumption and Excise tax up to March 9, 2016 in the sum of $1,500,000,000. This sum is payable over 12 months. DDL, in good faith, very recently effected payment of $100,000,000 in compliance with the settlement terms,” a statement from the company on 12 April, 2016 stated.However, while the PSC has lauded the settlement, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has strongly condemned the transaction, calling it a “scandalous out of court settlement” that has cost the State billions of dollars in revenue.“The settlement sends the wrong message to the business community; that a company can unilaterally decide to stop paying taxes, while other companies comply with the law, take the matter to court and drag it out until a sympathetic government comes to power and settles its debts to the State,” the former Guyanese President stated.Jagdeo further outlined that the settlement has opened the door for other companies to seek refunds on taxes paid: “There have already been reports in the private sector of other major companies consulting lawyers about this possibility. Management officials from a major local alcohol and beverage producing company have made it clear, in the past when I was President, that the company would be seeking a refund depending on the outcome of the DDL matter,” he noted.last_img read more

Attack worries Nyangweso ahead of Confederations Cup

first_img“It is a bit worrying because we create many chances in the friendly matches we have played, but we have not had the sharpness and calmness to finish. It is worrying but it is an area we need to work on. Also, we have some bit of lapses in defense but they are small mistakes we hope to correct before our first match,” Nyangweso said.The military side played their third pre-season friendly match on Saturday evening against fellow Kenyan Premier League side Mathare United, a match that ended 1-1.New boy Baron Oketch netted for Ulinzi in the second minute of the match but Mathare leveled 10 minutes later through Edwin Mwaura’s penalty after Geoffrey Kokoyo nudged Chris Oduor on the back.Nyangweso was happy for Oketch having scored his first goal for the soldiers, but wants him to work more to improve his finishing and fitness.Ulinzi Stars players take a water break during a friendly match against mathare United at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on January 28. 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu“It was very important for him to score and I know it is going to give him a lot of confidence. He has improved but still needs to work more. Overall comparing how we played our first friendly match at the beginning of the month and today, the team has really improved. We have to engage in a higher gear now heading closer to the game,” the tactician added.Meanwhile, Oketch was pleased to break his goal drought and hopes he will keep his scoring boots heading into the competitive games.“It has been a lot of hard work getting match fit because in the second leg last season I didn’t play many matches. I am glad I am finally getting that touch back and scoring will give me much needed motivation heading forward,” the on-loan Gor Mahia forward commented.Ulinzi will head to Kisumu this week where they will play two friendly matches, a return against Muhoroni Youth and a final one against Western Stima.Ulinzi Stars defender Oliver Kiprutto clears the ball during a friendly match against mathare United at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on January 28, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluMeanwhile, the first leg Confederations Cup tie against Benghazi will be played in an empty military Stadium in Cairo on February 10 due to the current security situation in Libya.“We received a letter from CAF that the letter will be played in an empty stadium at the Cairo Military Academy because of the security situation in Libya and according to our primary plans, we will travel to Cairo on February 6,” Ulinzi vice chair Major Joel Birgen told Capital Sport.At the same time, the team’s wish to have their CAF home games at their traditional Afraha Stadium home ground in Nakuru has been rejected and they will now play at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Ulinzi Stars forward Oscar Wamalwa takes on a Mathare United defender during a pre-season friendly match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on January 28, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29- Ulinzi Stars head coach Benjamin Nyangweso is worried that his attack line is yet to get the finesse he requires, less than two weeks before they play their preliminary round first leg CAF Confederations Cup tie against Libya’s Al Hilal Benghazi.Nyangweso has singled this out as his first area of concern as the team heads into the final bend of preparation with the first leg tie set for February 10.last_img read more

Santa Clarita bank eyes shopping area

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “We are pleased with our new location and the team of professionals that we are assembling to staff the branch upon opening,” said James D. Hicken, president and chief executive officer. “Our convenient location, which will be adjacent to the 14 Freeway combined with our current location off the (Interstate) 5 Freeway, will unify banking services within the entire Santa Clarita Valley.” Hicken said the bank will continue looking for other locations to establish branches. Headquartered in the Santa Clarita Valley, Bank of Santa Clarita provides a full range of financial services, including lending, cash management, Internet banking and foreign trade services. SANTA CLARITA – Bank of Santa Clarita plans to lease space for a branch in a new high-profile shopping center under construction in the Golden Valley area. Pending regulatory approval, the bank, which opened in late 2004, will set up shop at the Plaza at Golden Valley in about a year, bank officials said. The shopping center is part of the Golden Valley Ranch development southeast of the Antelope Valley Freeway north of Placerita Canyon Road. The new full-service branch will consist of 4,040 square feet and will be located in a 620,000-square-foot center to be anchored by major tenants including Target Greatland, Kohl’s and Lowe’s Home Improvement Center. last_img read more

HAPPY MATCHMAKER CASE: OWNER STILL WISHES WOMAN ‘ALL THE BEST’

first_imgDONEGAL’S Happy Matchmaker Mary Mitchell today showed what a superb woman she really is – by wishing a woman who took a legal action against here ‘all the best’.And that’s despite being left with a legal bill running up to €10,000! A judge yesterday rejected a damages claim against Mary’s dating agency by a woman who said she had not found romance.Annmarie McBrearty (35), of Oldtown, Letterkenny, told Donegal District Court she was introduced to four men through the The Happy Matchmaker agency without finding romance.Judge Kevin Kilrane ruled in Mary Mitchell’s favour and dismissed her claim for €6,348.99 for negligence, breach of duty and fraudulent misrepresentation.And today Mary declared: “I’m over the moon and relieved at winning the case. This has been a very tough 18 months for us; I even had to let a member of staff go with all the publicity surrounding the case.“I would still wish Miss McBrearty all the best for the future. Anyone would; that’s the way I am.“I haven’t had my legal bill yet but I’m hoping that it will be less than €10,000. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.“I always believed what I did was honest and upfront and the story given to the court didn’t tally at all with what I understood happened.”Mary also revealed: “I’ve spoken to the four men referred to in the case and they would have different things to say about all this.“They are all good fine and good-looking fellas.”The Ballintra businesswoman said she has now diversified her business to ‘Speed Dating’ events which had been hugely successful.Ms McBrearty had told of paying €600 to the Ballintra-based agency in January 2009 for introductions to 12 men.It was reported that she met one man in a coffee shop near Argos in Letterkenny for 30 minutes.When she reached to give him a peck on the cheek in “a polite goodbye” she claimed that “he put his arm around me and as I leaned forward he put his tongue down my mouth. I was disgusted. It was not that we were going to start snogging in a shopping centre in the middle of the day.”Three other dates had also been unsuccessful, but Mary said today the men she had arranged for Miss McBrearty to meet were compatible.Mary had told the court of her screening system before matching couples. She said since the case was publicised she had received threatening calls.The judge said Ms McBrearty, was not vulnerable but articulate and well able to state her case. “Four men were introduced to her and they all appeared to be within the range of compatibility.”Added Mary today: “I’m just relieved and delighted this is all over and that the court has ruled in my favour.“All clients are given advice beforehand; to meet in a public place in the afternoon to get to know each other.“It doesn’t always work out but many many times it has worked out and there are lots of happy couples all over Donegal today who have been brought together via the agency.“I will move on now, and I hope Ms McBrearty moves on and does find happiness with someone else.”endsHAPPY MATCHMAKER CASE: OWNER STILL WISHES WOMAN ‘ALL THE BEST’ was last modified: March 29th, 2011 by gregShare 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) Tags:Annmarie McBreartyBallintraHappy Matchmakerlegal caseletterkennyMary Mitchelllast_img read more

What Liverpool must do on the final day to win the title ahead of Man City

first_imgThis season’s Premier League title race has been one of the most exciting in years with Liverpool and Manchester City going toe-to-toe all the way.The top-flight giants will both finish the campaign with well over 90 points and can be considered two of the very best sides on the planet. Ronnie Moran, Kenny Dalglish and Roy Evans celebrate the 1990 title shining deals whoops Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury no dice tense Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card 2 Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City REVEALED LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS gameday cracker latest center_img While City have won three titles in seven years including last term, Liverpool are longing to end their wait for another top-flight crown.But they go into the final day as the underdogs with City’s 1-0 victory over Leicester on Monday night putting them back in front ahead of the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday. Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT huge blow 2 Liverpool news live: Klopp reveals when Minamino will play and issues injury update Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are desperate to win the title this season Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars Man United transfer news live: Haaland ‘wants a change’, two players off in January Real Madrid ‘offer’ Isco to Chelsea in bid to ‘make room’ for Tottenham star What do Liverpool need to win the title?City’s win over Leicester moved them one point clear at the top of the table ahead of Sunday’s final round of fixtures.Liverpool host Wolves at Anfield while City travel to Brighton with both matches kicking off at 3pm.Liverpool must win and hope City draw or lose to win the title.If City lose and Liverpool draw, Jurgen Klopp’s side will finish on the same number of points but will take the runners up spot due to an inferior goal difference, unless City are beaten by five clear goals.When did Liverpool last win the title?The Reds’ last league title came in the 1989/90 season, some 29 years ago. It was their 18th title.In that season, Kenny Dalglish’s side finished nine points clear of Aston Villa at the top of the First Division and lost just one match all season.Liverpool have finished league runners-up on 13 occasions and did so most recently in 2013-14. REAL DEAL Did Mahrez just accidentally reveal Fernandinho is leaving Man City this summer? last_img read more

Walt Disney World Ice Cream Crawl

first_imgShare This!Leave it to artist Donna Yan’s adorable Dole Whip couple to make us simultaneously want Dole Whip and a Mickey Bar!I don’t know about you, but one of my absolute must-have indulgences at Walt Disney World is ice cream. Add into that my love of coming up with themes or challenges for our Disney trips, and you get a recipe for success. (Specifically, you get a Walt Disney World Ice Cream Crawl!) My husband and I are apt to try a variety of challenges on our trips. We might focus on only getting snacks from places we’ve never been to before. Or we might make all of our table service reservations for restaurants we’ve never visited. Or we’ll do a trip dedicated to resort dining. (I’m just now noticing the theme of food in a lot of our planning…) For our upcoming trek, we decided to crank it up a bit and focus on ice cream.I knew from the very beginning that not only did I want to do an ice cream crawl, but I wanted it to have its very own passport. I was inspired by the Epcot festival passports that detail out what food items you can find where. Seriously, what better way to keep track of all the amazing ice cream options than to have a dedicated ice cream passport?! (You can download your very own passport later in the article.) Let’s back things up a bit and discuss how the ice cream crawl was formed.Simply put, the ice cream crawl was born out of an intense desire for ice cream. (Okay, it was actually as a result of the Whole30 we were in the middle of, but don’t tell anyone else that. It’s not like we were dying for sugar or anything…) First, I needed to decide what locations would be fair game for inclusion in the passport. All four theme parks were obvious, but what about resorts? Water parks? Disney Springs? At the end of the day, I went with locations that we would be reasonably likely to frequent. This included all four theme parks, Disney Springs, and the area around Crescent Lake. It’s so easy to pop out of Epcot and over to the Crescent Lake resorts that including those seemed appropriate. (And we really needed Ample Hills Creamery in there!)Nobody likes ice cream as much as my sister-in-law. Nobody.Next, I had to determine exactly what I was using as my definition of ice cream. Would the traditional popsicles in the Mexico pavilion count? Kakigori in Japan? Slushies? Long story short, the answer to all of those questions is no. Once we crossed the line into fruit/water-based frozen treats, I decided it was not eligible for inclusion in the passport. (Although I REALLY considered that kakigori!)I then had to look up menus for all the restaurants, kiosks, etc. in all of the locations I was including in the passport. As tedious as it sounds, that’s exactly what I did! I pulled up every menu in each of the targeted areas and scrolled through them looking for ice cream. (It’s quite possible I missed something somewhere, but I did my best!) I should point out that I did not include any of the ice cream carts that have prepackaged ice cream treats. (I know, I know – some of those treats are iconic! In the end, I made an executive decision.)Donna Yan’s art really speaks to me! Cuteness + Disney Food = TOTAL AWESOMENESSFinally, it was time to build the actual passport. Luckily, the amazing artist Donna Yan allowed me to use her fantastic Disney food artwork in the passport. (You should check out her adorable Disney food prints on her website, and I highly recommend you follow her on Instagram here.)I wanted to keep things simple on my end, so I created the passport using Microsoft Word and converted the file to a PDF. I have two different versions for you to download based on your needs. The first version of the passport keeps the pages in order. This is the one I recommend if you are going to use the passport electronically. The second version of the passport has changed the page order so you can print it 2-up, double-sided and assemble it into a simple booklet. With this one you’ll need to cut each of the pages out and bind it along the spine. You can staple it, or even hole punch it and use ribbon. Use your imagination when it comes to putting it together! Here are the steps to print version two of passport:In the Print menu, click the “Multiple” button under “Page Sizing and Handling.”Set the “Pages per sheet” to 2 by 1.Set the “Page order” to “horizontal.”Check the “Print on both sides of paper” box and make sure the “Flip on the long edge” radial is selected.Print your passport!Make sure your settings match this example when you print version two of the passport.I expect that we’re going to look something like this by the time we’re done with our crawl.Next I would suggest that you spend some time planning. Really peruse the options and make a game plan for your absolute must-haves. I’m not saying that you need to plan out every creamy treat you’re going to indulge in, but make sure you pick out some key targets. (Believe me, I’ve already got quite a few on my list!)There is one last thing I’d like to draw your attention to in regards to the passport. All of the items marked with an asterisk are adult ice cream treats. They contain alcohol, so if you and your kids sit down to pick items from the crawl passport, make sure they stay away from the marked ones. (This is noted in the passport, but I wanted to make sure an extra warning was thrown out here!)My husband and I will be test driving our passport the week of Labor Day, so follow me on Twitter at @Angela_Wilhelm if you want to see updates on our progress! (And we will definitely be hitting some of those adult ice cream treats!) While the more extreme might consider tackling this crawl over the course of one day, we are opting to use our vacation as a sort of continual crawl. (Mostly so we don’t spend the trip getting sick from ice cream overindulgence!)Would you try to tackle an ice cream crawl in a single day? What would be your must-have treats? Share your thoughts in the comments!last_img read more

Zuma appoints Marikana commission

first_img24 August 2012President Jacob Zuma has announced the composition and terms of reference of the judicial commission of inquiry into the Marikana tragedy, calling for cooperation from all parties involved so that the country can come to a full understanding of the causes behind the tragedy.Thirty-four people were killed in clashes with the police at the mining town of Marikana near Rustenburg last Thursday. Prior to this, 10 other people – including two police officers – were killed in nearly a week of fighting between rival worker factions.A number of memorial services took place around the country on Thursday as South Africa mourned those who lost their lives and came together to show support for the families of the deceased.Addressing journalists in Pretoria on Thursday, Zuma said the commission of inquiry would be headed by Judge Ian Farlam, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal, and include advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj.In investigating the events leading up to the tragedy, the commission has been tasked with looking into the conduct of mining company Lonmin, the South African Police Service (SAPS), and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).Regarding Lonmin, the commission will investigate, in particular, whether the company:Exercised it best endeavours to resolve any disputes which may have risen between itself and the labour force on one hand, and generally among its labour force on the other.Responded appropriately to the threat and outbreak of violence which occurred at its premises.By act or omission, created an environment which was conducive to the creation of tension, labour unrest, disunity among its employees or other harmful conduct.Employed sufficient safeguards and measures to ensure the safety of its employees, property and the prevention of the outbreak of violence between any parties.The commission will also examine Lonmin’s policies generally, including its procedure, practices and conduct relating to its employees and organised labour.“It will also investigate whether by act or omission, the company directly or indirectly caused the loss of life or damaged to persons or property,” Zuma said.Regarding the SAPS, the Commission will look at:The nature, extent and application of any standing orders, policy considerations, legislation or other considerations in dealing with the situation that gave rise to the incidents.The fact and circumstances that gave rise to the use of force and whether this was reasonable and justifiable in the circumstances.The role played by SAPS through its respective units, individually and collectively in dealing with the incident.Whether by act or omission, it directly or indirectly caused the loss of life or harm to persons or property.Regarding the NUM and AMCU, the Commission will look at:Whether the unions had exercised its best endeavours to resolve any disputes which may have arisen between itself and Lonmin or the other union or other parties.The extent to which the unions exercised effective control over its membership and those allied to it, in ensuring that their conduct was lawful and did not endanger the lives and property of other persons.Whether by act or omission, it directly or indirectly caused the loss of life or harm to persons or property.Zuma said the commission would also look into the role played by the Department of Mineral Resources, any other government department or agencies in relation to the incidents, and whether this was appropriate in the circumstances and consistent with their duties and obligations according to the law.“The Commission will also look into the conduct of individuals and loose groupings in fermenting and/or otherwise promoting a situation of conflict and confrontation which may have given rise to the tragic incident, whether directly or indirectly,” the President said.The commission will submit interim reports and recommendations to Zuma each month before the final report is presented.The commission’s work will be completed in four months, and within a month thereafter it will submit its final report to the President.“The commission shall, where appropriate, refer any matter for prosecution, further investigation or the convening of a separate inquiry to the appropriate law enforcement agency, government department or regulator regarding the conduct of a certain person or persons,” Zuma said.It will also have the necessary powers, including the power to enter and search premises, secure the attendance of witnesses and compel the production of documents.“We urge all affected parties to work with the commission so that the truth can be uncovered about what really happed in Marikana,” Zuma said.Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

NIH Fact Sheet Lays Out Sequester Impact

first_imgThree months after Congress approved mandatory across-the-board 5% budget cuts due to sequestration, the National Institutes of Health today described in grim detail how it is absorbing the loss of $1.55 billion. “NIH must apply the cut evenly across all programs, projects, and activities (PPAs), which are primarily NIH institutes and centers. This means every area of medical research will be affected,” a fact sheet states. It lists several figures, some of which were described earlier in agency budget documents and notices. The agency will make around 700 fewer grants; it will freeze training stipends; and it expects to admit 750 fewer patients the NIH clinical center. About one in six grant proposals will be funded, or 17%. Already awarded, ongoing grants will be cut by an average of -4.7%. Intramural research must absorb the 5% cut in less than 6 months, a “substantial” impact, the fact sheet says. However, NIH does not expect to furlough employees but will find savings by freezing hiring and reducing service contracts. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) As ScienceInsider previously reported, exactly how these cuts will affect labs will unfold over months and may be difficult to disentangle from the effects of over 10 years of flat NIH budgets.last_img read more