Broadcasting stint helps PBA hopeful Reyes understand game better

first_imgPH among economies most vulnerable to virus Ginebra teammates show love for Slaughter “When I decided to enter the draft four months ago, I tried to get better every day. I wanted to focus on myself, get stronger, quicker, and better. I want to control the game better, be able to dictate the tempo, and just being a point guard out there.”Though the pain of his injuries may have hurt his career in the past, Reyes would rather look back at it as a blessing in disguise, pushing himself even harder to get to his goal.Reyes is leaving it all up to God, believing he has done all he could to achieve his dream of playing in the PBA.And if he gets called up on stage on Sunday, it would be the sweetest gift for his 26th birthday.“Butas ng karayom talaga itong dinadaanan namin. Kahit magtrabaho ka araw-araw, even if you don’t take a day off, di mo pa rin alam anong mangyayari,” he said. “I believe that I worked as hard as I can. Kumbaga, nilabas ko na lahat. Kung hindi man ako umabot, I know deep in my heart na magagamit ko pa rin yung mindset na yun for the future. Ganun naman ang buhay eh, wala ka namang alam. You just have to trust in God’s plan.”ADVERTISEMENT Reyes went to the commentary table and served as an analyst for two seasons in the NCAA, where he sat beside some of the country’s best basketball minds like Olsen Racela and Ronnie Magsanoc.“Malaking tulong para sa akin yun,” he said. “I met people who know the game. There were lots of information I had to process when I’m covering the games and nakita ko rin in third person yung nangyayari during the games. Mas naintindihan ko yung nga situations, so it’s really a big help for me.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSCone plans to speak with Slaughter, agentReyes has been inactive from competitive tournaments since suiting up for Foton in the PCBL. But it doesn’t mean that he has stayed away from the hardcourt as he kept himself fit and even trained with his friends from the commentary table and the press.Making the decision to join the Draft long before the other players have, Reyes was able to fully focus his efforts on improving his skills as a point guard, even shutting down his loud social media accounts to avoid distraction. 30 Filipinos from Wuhan quarantined in Capas 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 Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next EDITORS’ PICK Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town MOST READ View commentscenter_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. We are young PBA Draft Hopeful Mikee Reyes. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMikee Reyes has taken the unconventional route to the 2016 PBA Rookie Draft.Hampered by shoulder injuries during his time in University of the Philippines and was even crippled by an ACL injury after his collegiate career, the 5-foot-10 guard is eyeing to progress to the pro league in his own unique way.ADVERTISEMENT Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports BREAKING: Solicitor General asks SC to forfeit ABS CBN’s franchise Mainland China virus cases exceed 40,000; deaths rise to 908 Pocari turns back BaliPure, gains first place tie Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH Brad Pitt wins his first acting Oscar as awards get underwaylast_img read more

Cocaine blamed for rising deforestation in Peru’s Bahuaja-Sonene National Park

first_imgAgriculture, coca plantations, Coffee, Deforestation, Drug Trade, Environment, Featured, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Illegal Logging, National Parks, Places to Watch, Protected Areas Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis The cultivation of coca is a burgeoning business in southern Peru, where even forests in protected area are being cleared to make room for coca fields.Coca is the plant from which cocaine is produced and is a more lucrative and dependable crop than coffee, which has been a staple crop in the region for years.Satellite data and a survey by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) show increased clearing in and the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park due primarily to coca farming. The burned forest and coca crops that have dominated the landscape along the road for the past two hours are gradually being transformed into coffee plantations. These are the last plantations left in San Lorenzo de Palmerani, which lies east of the Putina Punco district. Simón* is a coffee farmer who continues to bet on a crop that grows in the middle of an ecological paradise – between the Peruvian Bahuaja-Sonene and Bolivian Madidi national parks – but is haunted by drug trafficking. This corner where Simón lives in the Puno jungle is one of the last bastions of legality left in the Sandia valley.To get to this district, a rugged terrain must be crossed where thin passes and crevasses are typical along the way to the jungle. The journey that supposed to take eight hours took much longer when there was no road. The reward, however, has always been high-quality coffee plantations that grow at more than 1,500 meters above sea level, where the climate is ideal for this crop.Coffee plantations have been retreating in the wake of an aggressive advance of coca crops. Image by Vanessa Romo/Mongabay Latam.Simón has just returned from the forest to check his crops. He notes that he is happy, as they are becoming fuller, which is how he usually refers to crops that grow at a good pace. There have been heavy rains since November and Simón prepares coffee to receive visitors.“We have learned to grind [the coffee beans] to see if we can give it some added value, because what they pay us now is no longer enough,” he says. In the last year, the price of 46 kilograms of coffee fell to just over $91, which is a big difference compared to the 1990s, when, according to Simón, “they were paid [$182 per 46 kilograms], not counting the [profits] that the cooperatives gave.”Last May, Mongabay Latam reported on the organic coffee crisis in Putina Punco, an emblematic area home to Tunki coffee, award winner of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. But the region has now been taken over by the coca crops – from which cocaine is produced – that feed the illegal drug trafficking business.The problem continues to worsen, as confirmed by satellite data analyzed by the University of Maryland. These data, visualized as deforestation alerts on the forest monitoring platform Global Forest Watch, indicate that Bahuaja-Sonene National Park is not only surrounded by increasing forest loss from coca cultivation, but that this activity is increasing within the park itself.Areas of rainforest have been replaced by coca crops in the protected area of Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. Image by Vanessa Romo/Mongabay Latam.Increase in drug traffickingIn addition to crops both surrounding and invading Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, there are also cocaine processing facilities, paste production laboratories, and clandestine airstrips where small Bolivian planes have the capacity to transport up to 300 kilograms of the alkaloid at a time, according to intelligence data from the Peruvian Air Force.Satellite data from the University of Maryland’s Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) lab indicate the situation has deteriorated in recent months. The GLAD lab recorded at least 880 human-caused deforestation alerts in Bahuaja-Sonene National Park between July and the end of October.Satellite data from the Global Land Analysis and Discovery Lab at the University of Maryland show recent incursions into Bahuaja-Sonene National Park.Deforestation within the park also coincides with the area occupied by the Colorado hamlet, a human settlement adjacent to the southern part of the protected area. Its inhabitants claim that they should remain there, since they were living on the land before the protected area was created. Peru’s National Service of Natural Areas Protected (Sernanp) considers their actions illegal, since law prohibits any form of deforestation within national parks.Although Sernanp claims that the deforestation caused by this hamlet represents less than 1 percent of the park – the protected area covers 1,091,416 hectares in total – more coca fields, laboratories, and clandestine tracks have been established in this sector than in any other.The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently published its annual Coca Cultivation Survey that found deforestation was higher in 2017 than in the year prior. According to the survey, 193 hectares were deforested by illegal crops in Bahuaja-Sonene National Park in 2017, compared with 118 hectares in 2016. Sernanp rangers, who are constantly monitoring, say the figure is yet higher this year: 473 hectares (roughly five square kilometers). The UNODC survey shows that coca cultivation now occupies 3,147 hectares in the park’s protected area, an increase of approximately 1,000 hectares over 2017.Kristian Hölge , representative of the UNODC Office for Peru and Ecuador, noted that the entire Puno jungle comprising the valleys of Tambopata (where Putina Punco is located) and Inambari is “one of the main growth centers of the coca frontier. In the last report, UNODC calculates that between the two valleys there are 5,310 hectares of coca leaf plantations. We know that this growth responds to the market demand for coca leaf and by-products from the border area, particularly with Bolivia. This, together with the existing problems of accessibility to address the problem, makes this trend even more worrisome.”Remains of burnt forest lie beneath young coca bushes in the Tambopata basin, in the protected area of Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. Image by Vanessa Romo/Mongabay Latam.Biologist and ecologist Ernesto Ráez Luna recalled that there was a successful coffee program in the 1990s. However, according to Ráez Luna, the project did not evolve despite being a good alternative to deforestation activities within the park.“There is a combination of factors that are beginning to create problems, such as the lack of soil management so that the land does not wear out and continues to produce,” Ráez Luna said.Ráez Luna added that the project collapsed when the price of coffee began to fall and productivity began to decline due to poor soil quality. He said coffee rust, a disease caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix, was the nail in the coffin and shifted grower focus to coca crops.A lost battle?Simón slowly sipped his steaming coffee from an earthenware cup. “There is Madidi and a little further on is Bahuaja Park,” he said, pointing in the direction of the other side of the mountains covered by rain-filled clouds.“When I was a child, this was all coffee,” Simón said. “My father sent me 50 years ago with the donkey from Sandia to Putina to bring groceries and coffee sacks. The workers lined up to work on the farm to work on a daily basis.”What he liked best was the red color of the ripe coffee. When he was 24 years old, he bought six hectares of land, planted coffee plantations and built his house nearby to watch them grow. But in 2012, the rust plague wiped out everything in its path. Simón was left with only one hectare from which he was lucky enough to produce around 720 kilograms of coffee beans this year.“That is why many have become discouraged – even I did,” he said.After the coffee growers of Putina Punco became discouraged, coca plantations started to appear. Unlike coffee that has one annual harvest, coca has four.“The weakest [coca] farmer has one hectare, the average is five to five,” said a local technical agronomist who, for security reasons, preferred not to reveal his name.The months of greatest deforestation occur during the driest part of the year between July and September. The forest is cut down and burned and then coca seeds are planted. Photo by Vanessa Romo/Mongabay Latam.On average, one hectare of coca can produce between 1,200 and 1,800 kilograms of coca leaf, according to the inhabitants of Putina Punco. Calculations from UNODC are more optimistic and indicate 2,415 kilograms can be obtained from each hectare. Growers are able to make more money per kilogram of coca than coffee, which further incentivizes the crop.According to Jorge Turpo, head of the Specialty Coffee project of the Putina Punco municipality, only 15 percent remain of the 5,000 producers who once worked in the area.“Those who remain, from young adults to older adults, do not have the level of production as before 2012,” said Hernán Tito of the Central Agricultural Cooperative of the Valleys of Sandia (CECOVASA). He said the reason for this decline is a lack of workers. The daily wage for those working in coca extraction is around $40, while coffee workers earn between $9 and $11 per day.A glance around the area seems to reveal the trappings of an influx of wealth and burgeoning industry: upscale houses are under construction, new trucks drive up and down the road.A man from one of the new trucks greets Tito. “He’s my cousin,” Tito says. “He got involved in cultivating coca last year and bought his truck after three harvests.”A pending debtMatilde* has been getting up very early for 42 years, looking out of her window at the majesty of nearby Madidi National Park. Few people are lucky enough to live in front of such a biodiverse national park. She was 18 years old when she arrived at the Miraflores Lanza area, which is located in the Miraflores Lanza basin, two hours from the center of Putina Punco. The coffee producer said that since last year the wooded hill where she lives, located on the Peruvian side but adjacent to the Bolivian park, has begun to gradually run out of forest. She said logging ramped up in 2018, recalling how five hectares were cut down and burned to plant coca seeds right in front of her farm.“My neighbors ask me when I’m going to get into coca, but I haven’t dared,” she said.Matilde’s farm in Miraflores borders Bolivia’s Madidi National Park. New coca cultivation has begun close to the protected area and her farm. Photo by Vanessa Romo/Mongabay Latam.According to agrarian experts in the area, deforestation begins with the clearing of small weeds, branches and leaves between July and September. After this, trees are cut down. Farmers say that in primary forest, they fell trees like walnut and wild cedar that have trucks up to a meter in diameter.After clearing forest, farmers wait a couple months so that the summer heat can dry out the felled land before setting controlled burns. Then the coca seeds are planted. In less than six months, it will be time for the first coca leaf harvest.“When the land is deforested, we are eliminating both trees and fauna, interspecific associations and habitats,” said UNODC representative Kristian Hölge. “Coca, like other monocultures, acidifies the soil, reducing the level of nutrients. The recovery of these soils is a slow process, though it can be effective as long as coca is not replaced by another monoculture.”Sernanp officials say they are working to stem encroachment into the park.“There is political will to remove the illegal [encroachment] from the park and we are working to make this a reality as soon as possible,” Sernanp head Pedro Gamboa told Mongabay. He also commented that Bahuaja-Sonene is a priority and that intelligence operations are being conducted in order to carry this out effectively.Recently deforested land in the Miraflores area. Image by Vanessa Romo/Mongabay Latam.Gamboa said the current situation is different than in years prior, explaining “there is close coordination” with the authorities responsible for carrying out interventions, such as the Ministry of the Interior and the Anti-Drug Directorate of Peru’s National Police. However, he was unable to confirm whether these actions will happen in 2019.Hölge believes that planning is the key to addressing the problem.“Analyzing deforestation in a coca-growing area has much greater scope than combating drug trafficking,” she said. “This is directly linked to people’s quality of life and the creation of adequate conditions to generate well-being among the population, especially in the most remote areas. A comprehensive State intervention must be applied.”A coffee farmer looks at her crops in the Alto Azata area. Few farmers remain in the coffee business after the rust epidemic affected crops and lucrative coca entered the scene. Image by Vanessa Romo/Mongabay Latam.As night fell, trucks began to appear more frequently to collect the coca leaf harvests the farmers leave on the side of the road.“This is washing time,” said a local source. This is the term used for processing cocaine paste in laboratories that are farther away from the city and closer to the park. It is also the time when brothels receive more customers. The forest is not the only thing that has changed in Putina Punco.The survivorsSimón’s discouragement following the decline in coffee has not led him to cultivate coca. Rather, the crisis filled him with more hope and more expectation for the arrival of change in the area. Diversifying his production has helped him to survive, and he is cultivating crops like cocoa that are doing much better.As the rain fades in Miraflores and forested mountains materialize from the clouds, patches of deforested land can be seen close to the mountains on the Peruvian side.“Few people now have land to cultivate food crops; everyone prefers to use it for coca,” Hernán Tito said.Some areas of primary rainforest have been replaced by coca crops in Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. Image by Vanessa Romo/Mongabay Latam.Simón looked out at the fields and lowered his head.“I have told the young people in the assembly not to cultivate so much coca; at least grow some coffee,” he said. “Or if you have coca, stop cutting down trees – what you have is enough.” As he holds a cup of coffee in his hands, he turns to his young plants and looks at them with hope. “We now have a good reputation for growing great coffee thanks to Tunki coffee and we have a responsibility to continue this. “That is why I must grow coffee until I die. It is my symbol,” he said, a symbol he does not intend to lose. This is a translated version of a story that was first published in Spanish on December 21, 2018. *Names have been changed to ensure the safety of those interviewed for this story. 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 Cover image: Vanessa Romo/Mongabay Latam.Editor’s Note: This story was powered by Places to Watch, a Global Forest Watch (GFW) initiative designed to quickly identify concerning forest loss around the world and catalyze further investigation of these areas. Places to Watch draws on a combination of near-real-time satellite data, automated algorithms and field intelligence to identify new areas on a monthly basis. In partnership with Mongabay, GFW is supporting data-driven journalism by providing data and maps generated by Places to Watch. Mongabay maintains complete editorial independence over the stories reported using this data.Feedback: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.This article was first published by Mongabay Latam. Translation by Sydney Sims.last_img read more

Offer horizons to the poor

first_imgIn Guyana, if nothing else, we should at least have the grace to avoid belittling the poor because of the circumstances of their lives. After all, we all came, in the words of Martin Carter, “from the Nigger Yards” – whether we were of African, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese or even Amerindian origin. The last were also not spared the scorn of not being white.But yet, from each group, there were many who clawed their way out of their degradation through sheer determination and grit, to assert their humanity. We saw this in the great movement of freed Africans to initiate the Village Movement, and in the peoples who followed them to expand “Guyana” beyond the sugar plantations. This capacity was sustained by a willingness, in modern economic language, to defer their gratification.Today, this willingness to imbibe self-control, plan for the future, and defer gratification to ensure that the plan gets accomplished in the face of humble circumstances is fast disappearing. We are now generally living and consuming for the moment, but still want to see our lives improve over time. We want to “suck cane and blow whistle at the same time.” It can’t be done, so we end up frustrated; sink into despair, or demand handouts. Some, of course, use force and take what they want.From whence have we imbibed this new ‘don’t give a damn’ attitude? For one, in any group, there will be some that go against the grain. But generally, it’s as a result of outside pressures and influences – cultural and otherwise. In the Caribbean, there are aspects of the dominant Creole culture that present some of these pressures and influences, and they were encouraged by those with power. And this has been part of my rejection of the assimilationist imperatives in the present dominant mode of ‘integration’. As Malcolm X said in an analogous context, “Why integrate into a burning house?”Back in 1984, there was an International Roundtable in Guyana to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery. Then Prime Minister Desmond Hoyte delivered an address: “Towards 2034: A Deeper View of the Horizon”, in which he made some pertinent remarks on the refusal to live for the future. Because my assertion about Creole culture can be (and have been) egregiously misinterpreted, I quote rather liberally from Mr Hoyte’s address.“…(O)ne of the most pernicious consequences of slavery was that it bereft the slave of a vested interest in the future by imposing upon him the need to be constantly preoccupied with the exigencies of the moment. Indeed…the African slave on a WI plantation found himself in a world without horizons. His condition circumscribed within very narrow limits not only his physical, but also his spiritual being. It deprived of the cohering and creative influences of his social organisation and his culture.“Uprooted from his natural milieu, no longer able to fulfil his civic and religious duties, he was robbed of his spiritual points of reference. His personality disintegrated, and, in a word, he suffered “social death”. It is not to be wondered at, then, that his outlook was little informed by any curiosity beyond the immediate, by any speculation about the distant future.“And so, lacking a social motive, he developed no interest in, or aptitude for, making long-term arrangements. Moreover, the colonial polity which succeeded the era of slavery did not provide the former slave and his descendants with significantly greater incentive or opportunity for cultivating these pursuits. Thus there persists in our society, even to this day, a reluctance to focus too intently on the future.“It is critically important, I believe, that we should analyse and understand this phenomenon of our lack of interest in the future, and our failure generally to plan in a serious, methodical way with respect to it.”While Mr Hoyte’s address focused on the need for planning at the country and international levels, it is important to note that he grounded the fundamental lacuna at the individual level. And it is here I believe that, in the present, thirty-four years after his warning, we must begin. The question is, “Can we teach our selves how to live for the future, to create the ‘good life’ for all?”The evidence of the forty-eight thousand descendants – more than half of the freed slave population who quit the plantations within one decade after the Apprenticeship Scheme to found the Village Movement mentioned above — shows that if the opportunities are there, our people will seize them. They turned the “straw” of abandoned plantations to “gold”.last_img read more

PPP/C team committed to Guyana’s development

first_imgDear Editor,The People’s Progressive Party, under the leadership of General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo, has clearly indicated through its membership and supporters that they are prepared to manage Guyana whereby every Guyanese is being respected and has a commitment of hope for a better future.The recent stakeholder forum was held to input genuine ideas in the PPP/C manifesto in order to craft a framework that would enable national development through this consultative process. This forum was represented by numerous stakeholders who were able to represent their ideas.The presidential candidate, Comrade Irfaan Ali, in his impressive ‘presidential’ presentation, outlined some measures that the PPP/C would be implementing to reduce the burden that was enforced by this failed APNU/AFC Government. Comrade Irfaan Ali also emphasised the importance of the PPP/C manifesto and his commitment to ensuring implementation for a better Guyana.This consultative approach by the PPP/C is a definite indication that the party’s intentions on the assumption to Government will be inclusive, approachable, committed, transparent, and progressive.Regards,Zamal Hussainlast_img read more

Van Gaal targets Juve’s Vidal

first_imgThe prospective valuation of Vidal is not thought to be an issue for Van Gaal, with one option being to offer a player as a makeweight. Nani has long interested Juventus and may be deemed surplus to requirements by the Dutchman. Van Gaal also wants Kevin Strootman, the Roma midfielder, but as he will not return from a serious knee injury until late autumn, according to his representatives, the manager is hopeful of strengthening this area before the close of the transfer window. Van Gaal, who is currently Holland coach and led the team to the World Cup semi-finals following’s Saturday’s penalty shootout win over Costa Rica in Salvador, has already added Luke Shaw to his squad, along with Herrera. After the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, the 62-year-old’s priority is a top-class central defender – Borussia Dortmund and Germany’s Mats Hummels is Van Gaal’s No1 choice, with Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen also of interest to add further options in the position. With those players not involved in the World Cup having returned to the club’s Carrington training base on Friday for pre-season tests – no ball work is currently being undertaken – the former midfielder Paul Scholes believes the quality of opposition on United’s summer tour of the USA will be of benefit. With Van Gaal, who is in ongoing contact with the club executive while at the World Cup, expected to officially start work as soon as Holland head for home, his opening matches will be against LA Galaxy, Roma, Internazionale and Real Madrid. Scholes said: “I think players prefer to play against top-class teams. The manager and staff will want to use as many players as they can to ensure they’re ready for the first game of the season and playing against some of these teams will definitely help the players do that.” -The Guardian0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000LONDON, England, July 6- Arturo Vidal is on Louis van Gaal’s radar as a summer transfer target, with the Manchester United manager an admirer of the Juventus midfielder who starred as Chile reached the last 16 of the World Cup. Juventus would be expected to demand as much as £40m for the 27-year-old, and Van Gaal wants another central midfielder following last month’s £28.5m addition of Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao. last_img read more

Video: Serbia v Albania – trouble, fighting and a drone flown on to the pitch in Euro 2016 qualifier

first_imgThe Euro 2016 qualifier between Serbia and Albania had to be abandoned after a drone carrying a provocative political message was flown into the stadium, leading to fighting on the pitch and in the stands.Tensions exist between the two countries over the region of Kosovo and the drone carried a flag with a map of that area alongside a Greater Albanian flag, which was pulled to the ground by Serbian player Stefan Mitrovic.That sparked ugly scenes as players clashed and the crowd – fortunately containing no away fans – expressed their anger, as the Albanian team fled down the tunnel.Serbia’s side was skippered by Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and also featured his club mate Nemanja Matic, as well as Manchester City’s Aleksandar Kolarov and Matija Nastasic.last_img

Poisoning of Iraqi policemen kills 11; attack by militants suspected

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsSunni insurgents who have targeted police and military forces with bombings and shootings have not been known to use poisoning as a weapon. But the suddenness and severity of the sickness raised speculation that the incident could be a new attack. The division is mainly made up of Shiites. Between 600 and 700 policemen were affected to varying degrees, and 11 who had the heaviest amount of the food had died, al-Atwan told The Associated Press. Some of the soldiers collapsed as soon as they stood up from them meal, others fell “one after the other” as they headed out to the yard in the base to line up in formation, al-Atwan said. BAGHDAD, Iraq – Hundreds of Iraqi policemen fell sick from poisoning Sunday at a base in southern Iraq after the evening meal breaking their daily Ramadan fast, and officials said they were investigating whether the poisoning was intentional. An official with the Environment Ministry said 11 policemen had died. However, the governor of Wasit province – where the poisoning took place – denied any deaths, though he said some of the victims were in critical condition. There was no immediate explanation for the contradictory reports. Some of the policemen began bleeding from the ears and nose after the meal, said Jassim al-Atwan, an inspector for the Environment Ministry, who was serving as a liaison in the investigation between the Health Ministry and the base, located in the town of Numaniyah. “Hundreds of soldiers were poisoned after taking food and water in the iftar,” Wasit Gov. Hamad al-Latif told the Associated Press, referring to the meal that breaks the sunrise-to-sunset fast during the Islamic holy month. “Investigations are under way to determine the cause.” Samples of the food and water were being tested “to determine the substance in them” and will be sent to Baghdad for further test. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Martin has The Master’s College abuzz

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’“We have a bunch of guys that can play. Even though our team isn’t the most physical in size, our collective skill makes up for it,” said Martin about the aestheticism on the team. “We have guys that will share the ball and understand who takes the shots. There is no dominant player but put together it’s a dominant team.” This will be put to the test when NAIA Division I powerhouse Saint Xavier from Illinois pays the Mustangs a visit Nov. 4. “This will be an opportunity for us to see where we’re at,” said Martin. NAME, POS., HT, YR With the season opener more than a week away, The Master’s College men’s basketball team is anticipating an exciting season both for the players and the fans. In only his first season as head coach, Chuck Martin is creating a buzz on campus. “I like our team and I like our chemistry. We have a chance to be a good team as long as we can stay healthy,” Martin said. “If we can play above and beyond, we will meet our expectations.” Although the GSAC has the Mustangs ranked 10th in the coaches preseason poll, the first three games will set as a barometer to how the team will fare. Lucian Pesoli F 6-7 JR Great inside/outside player with NCAA Division I experience. Ryan Zamroz G 6-3 SO Able to make great decisions on the court. Has great court vision. Joshua Herman G 6-2 FR Takes the pressure off of Zamroz and Pesoli when they are being double teamed.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Sylva Rotary gives SCC Student Success Campaign gift of $500

first_imgEarlier this month, Sylva Rotary gave Southwestern Community College’s Student Success Campaign a gift of $500.“We are grateful for the gift from the Sylva Rotary Club to support the Student Success Campaign,” said Brett Woods, SCC’s foundation director.  “Scholarship awards from this fund have already helped numerous local students, like Dominic Caprita of Sylva and Temre Gillig of Franklin, begin to turn their dreams into realities.”The goal of the SCC Foundation and the Student Success Campaign is to create a $1 million endowed Student Success Fund to help students in perpetuity.“With some $865,000 already on hand, we are well on our way,” said Woods. “We are grateful to all of our donors who have graciously supported this vital initiative.”For more information on how you might support the Student Success Campaign, please contact Woods via e-mail at read more

What Makes the Perfect Online Checkout Page [Infographic]

first_imgIt’s taken an hour of searching online, but you’ve found the perfect birthday present for your dad. He’s particular about what he likes, and you can hardly wait to see your dad’s face when he opens the present from you. You select the “Buy Now” button. And you’re immediately prompted to register for an account. Huh? Didn’t you register last year when you bought that present for your brother? What email address did you use? Frustrated? You’re not alone. According to this infographic from Visual Website Optimizer, 68 percent of people abandon their shopping cart due to issues with checkout, amounting to about $4 trillion of abandoned merchandise.Ouch. That’s a lot of lost sales. So what can online retailers do to their checkout page make it easier for customers to purchase online? One key recommendation is to reduce the time for customers to fill out forms. Allow customers to make a purchase without registering. Avoid asking for more information than needed to complete the order. If you have an online store, the infographic offers more practical tips for creating a smooth checkout process. By focusing on design, function, security, and user experience on your checkout page, you’ll have happier customers. Check out the text version of the infographic.Source: Visual Website OptimizerWhat to Include on Your Checkout PageA well-executed checkout process can significantly boost sale conversions–turning shoppers into buyers and stopping them from abandoning their shopping carts.So how do you improve yours?The State of Abandoned Shopping CartsSixty-eight percent of all ecommerce visitors abandon their shopping carts, which accounts for $4 trillion approx. value of abandoned merchandise.Yet according to BI Intelligence, 63 percent of this is potentially recoverable. Why do people abandon carts? According to a VWO eCommerce survey, reasons include:Unexpected shipping costs: 28 percentHaving to create a new user account: 23 percentNot ready to buy yet: 16 percentPayment security concerns: 13 percentPoor user experience 12 percentFailed to find a coupon code: 8 percentChecking Out: What Makes the Perfect ProcessIt’s all about combining the following four elements:FunctionalityUsabilitySecurityDesignHere are just some ways to get this right.Login & Guest CheckoutMake it easy for existing customers to log in. And make it clear on how to retrieve forgotten passwords.Don’t force registrations. Give shoppers the option to create an account or to checkout as a guest.The key is to save new users time and effort in filling in forms. Visually indicate any errors or missing fields. Let people know exactly what needs fixing before moving on. Prefill where possible. Set input fields to “autofill.” Request postcodes first to help find address details.Keep it simple. Avoid asking for unnecessary information simply for marketing purposes. Test your page(s). The most effective structure will depend on your product and audience. Use an A/B test to see what works well. Cart PageDisplay cart details. Let shoppers review their cart, as they would in-store.Let customers change their mind. Have the option to change the quantity or remove items.Include the final price. Don’t surprise shoppers with hidden fees such as tax or shipping.Include a photo. Almost 93 percent of shoppers say visuals are the top influencing factor that affects their buying decision.Allow items to be saved for later. Retarget “window shoppers” later with discounts. Fifty-four percent of shoppers say they would purchase products left in their carts if offered again at a discounted price.Billing and ShippingGive multiple shipping time options. Set the cheapest as default.Give descriptions and input examples. The clearer the instructions, the faster the transaction.Consider free “Store pickup.” Use the customer’s postcode to look up availability. Shipping address same as billing. Customers won’t have to enter details twice.PaymentAllow for different payment options. PayPal is especially good on mobile when manually inputting credit or debit cards can be tiresome. Providing payment options can recoup 30 percent of sales by customers that abandon the process when cards are declined. Omit “Card type” option. This can be automatically highlighted using the first four characters of the card number.Include visual cues of security. Test different secure shopping certificates, logos, and locks to see which instills the most trust.Summary and Confirmation PageSend a confirmation email. Avoid sending it from “”. A real email that can be picked up from customer support staff is better.Provide contact details. Let the customer get in touch in case they’ve made a mistake. Offer guest customers the option to sign up for a full account. Now’s the perfect time to offer registration.Make the page easy to print. Have a PDF version of the page that’s automatically available.Is it Perfect?So you’ve done all the above…but can you do better?The best way to see what works best is to implement an A/B test. Ensure you track the interaction between your customers and process. Use this data to continually improve your checkout structure and user experience.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedOn Strawberries and Customer ServiceLast week I went strawberry picking. Not once, but twice. The strawberry season in Michigan doesn’t last long. And when you love Michigan strawberries like I do, you go as often as you can before the season is over. I’ve been strawberry picking ever since I can remember. When I…In “User experience”Dark Patterns: Free Trial Doesn’t Mean I’m Giving You My Credit Card DetailsI was excited! I had just read about a new class for something I’ve wanted to learn about for the past year. And a two-month free trial membership to take the class sounded perfect to me. I selected the link, anxious to get signed up for my trial membership so…In “User experience”5 Takeaways from Attract and Retain Members with a Great Content StrategyHow can content strategy be used by associations to improve their success in attracting and retaining members? At last week’s RealMatch webinar for associations, Hilary Marsh shared her insights as she described what content strategy is, explained how it can solve problems for associations, and shared tips on how associations…In “User experience”last_img read more