Month: February 2020

Back-to-back losses serve as wake up call for Blackwater

first_imgBlackwater head coach Leo Isaac. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAmid Blackwater’s precarious start, Art dela Cruz admitted that the two-game losing skid was a humbling experience for the team.“It was a wake up call for us. We made it a motivation and we moved on. It was tough for us because this is a very different conference for us,” the sophomore forward said.ADVERTISEMENT “Even in practice, we already know our roles. There’s no star player in this team who coach says we should pass the ball to. Whoever is open, that’s where we pass the ball to. Luckily, all of us contributed. Actually, all of our points are close and everyone of us had a good game,” shared Dela Cruz.Dela Cruz is keeping his hopes up that this will be the start of another winning run, with Blackwater’s next games against GlobalPort and its Christmas day duel against Mahindra.“Our confidence is on a high, especially we won against coach Yeng Guiao. It’s a big thing for us.Hopefully, we sustain this and be consistent,” he ended.ADVERTISEMENT View comments MOST READ Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND Lyceum, San Beda triumph in NCAA Women’s volleyball Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine PH among economies most vulnerable to virus Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img With the Elite brought back down to earth after a 2-0 opening, they picked up the pieces and pulled off the 96-85 win over NLEX on Wednesday to halt their skid.Dela Cruz finished with 18 points and eight rebounds to lead Blackwater, which found a way to regain its defensive intensity to repulse the injury-riddled Road Warriors.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSFreddie Roach: Manny Pacquiao is my Muhammad Ali“What was lacking from us in our two losses was our defense. That’s why in our past few practices, we made it a priority. We settled down on defense and that’s why we won,” he said.Also helping the Elite is the coaching staff defining every one’s roles, with specific instructions given to the players in preparation for the games. Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town Ginebra teammates show love for Slaughter Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH As fate of VFA hangs, PH and US forces take to the skies for exercise We are young Senators to proceed with review of VFA Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. EDITORS’ PICKlast_img read more

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Bird watchers of the West Bank navigate a fraught political climate

first_imgIn the challenging climate of the West Bank, one regionally prominent conservationist named Anton Khalilieh says there is a general lack of conservation knowledge among residents about birds in the area.In an effort to change that, in 2017 Khalilieh founded a non-profit conservation organization called Nature Palestine.Khalilieh is also working to build a comprehensive database of the birds who specifically live in the West Bank. RAMALLAH — Anton Khalilieh is the premier Palestinian birdwatcher in the West Bank. The 37-year-old from Bethlehem has all the traits of a great birder: an encyclopedic knowledge of bird qualities and calls, insight into the ins-and-outs of the best birding sites — and the reflex to suddenly stop in his tracks and identify a speck flying in the sky.Khalilieh is well-schooled in the splendors of the birds found in the West Bank’s four distinct bio-geographical regions, which range from leafy mountains and coastal plains, to the rocky slopes of the Jordan Rift Valley, to the dry Dead Sea, and cultivated fields along the way.Arabian babbler (Turdoides squamiceps). Photo courtesy Anton Khalilieh.There are at least 370 bird species to see in the West Bank, a wide array despite the small space, ranging from the eagle owl, among the largest owls in the world, to the Palestine sunbird, a nectar-eating songbird whose males have glossy blue and green feathers that shimmer in the sun.But amid a fraught political climate, Khalilieh says opportunities for Palestinian birders are fewer than those for Israelis.“Bird watching is a luxurious hobby,” Khalilieh said. “But because of the political situation and the lack of funds and money and experience, we don’t [bird watch].”The West Bank is sandwiched between Jordan and Israel. Israel captured the West Bank in the Six-Day War of June 1967; Palestinians claim the land is theirs, and the U.N. International Court of Justice maintains that the area is an occupied territory. Peace agreements in the 1990s slated the West Bank as a part of a future Palestinian state and created an interim, semi-autonomous Palestinian Authority in part of the territory. But in the conflict-ridden years since, a final-status peace agreement hasn’t happened. Israeli settlements in the West Bank, considered illegal under international law, have in the meantime continued to grow. Today, the Israeli military guards these Jewish communities where many nature reserves and the best birding sites are located.Woodchat shrike (Lanius senator). Photo courtesy Anton Khalilieh.Khalilieh says there’s a general lack of conservation knowledge among Palestinians about the birds in the area. He says more people should be trained as birdwatchers to systematically track things like nesting habits. It’s something he says Palestinians can and should be leading in, and he’s trying to change that, one bird at a time.Since founding his own non-profit in 2017, Nature Palestine, Khalilieh has worked as a consultant for the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Nature Museum on bird and conservation issues. He’s also working to build a comprehensive database of the distribution of birds specifically in the West Bank. To do so, he’s drawing on Israeli data and research on birds throughout the region, as well as other resources like “The Birds of Israel,” the most comprehensive book on the subject to date. And, most importantly, he’s going out into the field to bird and document as much as he can.“Birds of the Middle East,” another bible of birders here, recently came out with a mobile app for Android that includes Arabic content. “So Arabs will be more interested in bird watching, hopefully,” Khalilieh said.Desert finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta). Photo courtesy Anton Khalilieh.In the last 15 years, he’s learned about the migratory and resident birds to look for, and where and when. His favorite periods are the twice-yearly migrations in the spring and autumn, when 500 million birds pass through from Europe to Africa and back again. It is the world’s second-most important flyway.Birdwatchers here can stay busy all year long. One of the West Bank’s iconic landscapes is classified as Mediterranean mountain region, exemplified by hills covered in vegetation or rocky slopes and cliffs. These areas are a haven for songbirds. Then there are the deep valleys famed for being where some desert species breed.Khalilieh says protecting birds is a hard sell for Palestinians struggling and working hard just to make ends meet. About one-third of Palestinians in the West Bank are unemployed, according to the World Bank. Many more are underemployed and just getting by, so have little time or money for a hobby like birding.Palestine sunbird (Cinnyris osea). Photo courtesy Anton Khalilieh.For Khalilieh and other Palestinians, access to the nearest post-secondary ornithology education requires a special permit to enter Israel. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Bethlehem University, in the West Bank, Khalilieh went on to get a doctorate in ornithology and ecological physiology from Ben Gurion University in southern Israel. He also studied at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel, which brings together Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians to work on shared conservation issues.Scientific studies on birds of the West Bank are included in Israeli bird databases, says Jonathan Meriav at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI). Meirav is director of birding tours for the SPNI’s International Ornithological Center.The SPNI is the largest environmental non-profit in Israel, but the center doesn’t organize birding events in the West Bank. That’s in part because of complicated logistics, given the territory’s disputed status, Meirav said. Overall, the center facilitates birding tourism and birding fund-raisers and festivals, including a yearly international race in the south, called Champions of the Flyway.Through several birding and conservation projects, though, Meirav has connected with Palestinian colleagues like Ikram Quttainh, 31, an ecotourism expert from Jerusalem. Quttainh became interested in learning about ecotourism and then birding in the West Bank as part of her master’s degree studies. She’s now participated twice in a joint Israeli-Palestinian team at the Champions of the Flyway race.“As a Jerusalemite, I didn’t know anything about what was happening [elsewhere] in the West Bank,” Quttainh said. “We would always go to shopping areas, but never to the nature areas.”Now Quttainh is a project coordinator at the Hanns Seidel Foundation, a German outfit, where she helps to organize West Bank ecotourism trips, including for birding. The foundation, in coordination with the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, has put together the first online database of Palestinian nature reserves. In addition to ecotourism and education, the foundation has funded signs for nature reserves under Palestinian control that urge people not to shoot the wildlife and explain what birds they can see.In places like the Wadi Qana Nature Reserve, a beautiful expanse of natural caves and springs in the West Bank, both Khalilieh and Quttainh said they love to bird watch but feel they have to tread carefully as Palestinians so as not to raise suspicions about what they are doing or veer into the settlements by accident.White-throated kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis). Photo courtesy Anton Khalilieh.A spokesperson for the Israeli Civil Administration, the governing body for the West Bank, said Israelis and Palestinians have the same right to access nature reserves and national parks, which they said were open to all people. They also denied that military zones or nature reserves were in any way connected to political plans to expand and sustain Israeli settlements.But nature reserves in the West Bank’s Area C, which constitutes 61 percent of the region’s territory, are “part of a patchwork of corridors of controlled areas that Palestinians can’t use,” according to Adam Aloni, a researcher with B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization.Khalilieh, meanwhile, is still working to map out how all of the politics impacts his birding and conservation efforts. As part of his research, he’s tracking what’s happening with birds in the West Bank that are on Israel’s “red list” of conservation concern. He also has dreams of one day organizing birding festivals and institutions in the West Bank, like the ones already happening in Israel.In the meantime, he can be found forging ahead in his jeep down the bumpy roads of nature reserves, stopping suddenly to raise his binoculars and record the lives and ecosystems that most others overlook.Banner image: Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus). Photo courtesy Anton Khalilieh.Miriam Berger is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. You can find her on Twitter at @MiriamABerger.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Genevieve Belmaker 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 overSponsoredcenter_img Archive, Birding, Birds, Birds Of Prey, Community-based Conservation, Conservation and Religion, Happy-upbeat Environmental last_img read more

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