first_imgFrom turtles to national contenders, there’s a spot for everyone in the Humboldt Swim Club.In fact, according to head coach John Pearce, the only requirement needed to join is the ambition to have fun.“Our only goal here is one, to have fun, two, to have fun swimming, and three, to have fun swimming fast,” Pearce said.The HSC, which operates out of the Arcata Community Pool, was formed a decade ago and offers the opportunity for swimmers of all abilities to swim competitively or just learn …last_img

first_imgJoin us for live news and analysis Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. when the Warriors play the Trail Blazers in Portland in their last game before the All-Star break.The Warriors (41-15) have won their last 11 games on the road and have also won 16 of their last 17 games overall, but they’ll be challenged Wednesday when three of their main players sit out. Center DeMarcus Cousins, forward Andre Iguodala and guard Shaun Livingston will all be rested. The Warriors are 9-0 since Cousins returned …last_img

first_imgAfrican mangroves are getting a helping hand from Nasa. (Image: Nasa) MEDIA CONTACTS • Temilola FatoyinboEnvironmental scientist, Nasa+1 818 354 9609 USEFUL LINKS • Nasa • WWF – mangroves • African Mangrove Network • East African Mangroves• World Rainforest MovementRELATED ARTICLES • World honour for SA botanist • SA scientists find plant barcode • African projects to save the earth Janine ErasmusAfrica’s endangered mangroves are getting a helping hand from the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (Nasa), thanks to a Beninese scientist from the US space agency who recently completed what is believed to be the first ever comprehensive survey of the continent’s mangrove swamps.Results of the survey will help African countries anticipate changes and implement measures to manage and protect this sensitive ecological system, which is threatened by commercial fishing, pollution, real estate development and deforestation.In many parts of the world, mangrove swamps are disappearing faster than tropical rainforests or coral reefs – faster, in fact, than survey data can be produced, giving ecologists no time to take action.However, the study carried out by environmental scientist Dr Temilola Fatoyinbo, currently based at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a Fellow under its post-doctoral programme, could turn the situation around.Earlier in the decade, as a graduate student at Virginia University in the US – and always mindful of the delicate situation of the mangroves back home – Fatoyinbo decided to tackle the issue.Her project included the development of a new satellite technique for surveying the area, height and biomass of mangrove stands. Biomass in this case refers to the sum total of all parts of a plant, both above and below ground, and is helpful to scientists for calculating the amount of stored carbon dioxide.“We’ve lost more than 50% of the world’s mangrove forests in a little over half a century; a third of them have disappeared in the last 20 years alone,” she said, “but hopefully this technique will offer scientists and officials a method of estimating change in this special type of forest”.Mangrove conservationists now have three new types of mangrove maps to draw on – area maps depicting how much of the continent is covered by mangroves; a 3D representation of the height of mangrove forest canopies; and biomass maps.To check the accuracy of her measurements, Fatoyinbo travelled to Africa to personally measure trunk diameters and tree heights. Her empirical data closely matched the numbers generated by the computer.Dwindling livelihoodAn August 2009 Nasa report, detailing Fatoyinbo’s research, claimed that “impoverished fishermen along the coast of tropical African countries like Mozambique and Madagascar may have only a few more years to eke out a profit from one of their nations’ biggest agricultural exports”.The report went on to say that in a few decades’ time, this source of livelihood may have disappeared altogether. Should that happen, said Nasa, the implications are severe not only for the botanical world, but also for climate change, biodiversity and general quality of life on earth.Salt-loving plantsMangroves, which grow in the salty zone between land and ocean, occur along much of Africa’s coastline – from Mauritania in West Africa down to Angola, and from Somalia to South Africa on the east coast. They’re also found in the Seychelles and Madagascar.They play a crucial environmental role, as they stabilise the coastline against erosion, act as a buffer for ocean surges brought on by storms, and provide a haven for over 1 300 species of sea creatures, birds and animals. Many of these species are themselves endangered.Mangroves also take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere at an estimated rate of about 123kg per hectare.However, they play an equally important social and economic role in the fortunes of nearby communities. The swamps are ideal for small-scale rice and shrimp farming, the creatures that dwell among their gnarled roots provide added food security for communities, they provide timber and firewood and they protect villages from harsh storms, winds and floods blowing in from the sea.Africa’s 3.2-million ha of mangroves, running along 2 700km of shoreline, amount to roughly 19% of the global total.The largest surface area of mangroves in all of Africa is found in Nigeria, where the leafy stands play an important role in supporting regional wildlife as well as fishing. However, the plants are threatened by oil spills. In East Africa, the highest concentration of mangroves is found in Madagascar.Species found on the west coast include Avicennia germinans (white mangrove); Laguncularia racemosa; Conocarpus erectus; and Rhizophora harrisonii, R. mangle, and R. racemosa (red mangrove). Among the 10 species found on the east coast, the most dominant are Rhizophora mucronata, Ceriops tagal and Avicennia marina.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Contact Janine Erasmus at read more

Former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent was convicted of intoxication manslaughter Wednesday for driving and crashing in a fiery wreck that killed his teammate and close friend, Jerry Brown, in December 2012.He faces up to 20 years in prison. He could also get probation, as did North Texas teen, Ethan Couch, who received probation for intoxication manslaughter after a wreck that left four people dead a few weeks ago.Brent was led from the courtroom in handcuffs after the jury returned its decision following nine hours of deliberation over two days. Among those sitting with Brent’s sobbing family was Stacey Jackson, Brown’s mother. Jackson left the courtroom with Brent’s family and did not answer questions. She said in previous interviews that she’s forgiven Brent and could testify in support of a lighter sentence for him when that phase of the trial begins Thursday.Attorneys from both sides remain under a gag order that prevented them from commenting after the proceedings.“We understand the very serious nature of this situation and express our concerns for all of the families and individuals that have been affected by the tragedy of Jerry Brown’s death,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement.Prosecutors say Brent, a defensive tackle, was drunk when he crashed his Mercedes on a suburban Dallas highway in December 2012, killing Brown, a linebacker on the Cowboys practice squad who had also been Brent’s teammate at the University of Illinois. Officers who arrived on scene saw Brent trying to pull Brown’s body from the wreckage.Police say Brent’s blood alcohol level was tested shortly after the crash at 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit for drivers in Texas. Prosecutors last week argued that the burly, 320-pound defensive tackle had as many as 17 drinks the night of the crash.Brent’s attorneys argued the blood tests used by police were faulty and that Brent couldn’t have had nearly that much to drink. Attorney George Milner said his client was “guilty of being stupid behind the wheel of a car,” not drinking beforehand.Jurors saw video of Brent appearing to hold bottles of Champagne in each hand and credit-card receipts that showed Brent had purchased three bottles. They also saw police camera footage of Brent losing his balance during field sobriety tests and occasionally stumbling over his words while talking to officers. read more

first_imgThe country’s development prospects will be bleak if the projected growth of population is not controlled immediately, a Prothom Alo roundtable was told on Monday.Already, experts said, Bangladesh is facing a variety of challenges, including employment and shortage of land due to the huge size of population on a small landmass.They added, Bangladesh’s earlier success in population growth control has been stagnated in recent times, and emphasised the urgent need for revitalising the past family planning programmes, resuming visits to door to door by field workers.”Our dream to become a middle income country will be jeoparadised if the population is not managed,” Hossain Zullur, executive chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC), said presenting the keynote at the workshop.”The success we have achieved has become stagnant as we have relaxed our past strategy to visit door to door for campaign to create awareness about the family planning,” added the economist, also a former caretaker government adviser.The roundtable titled ‘family planning: empowerment of people and development of nation’, was organised at the Prothom Alo office with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The discussion was moderated by Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Qayyum.According to the 2011 population census, the country’s recent population is more than 160.30 million and it is projected to be 280 million by 2061, it was mentioned in the keynote. Technical officer of family planning of UNFPA Abu Sayed Hasan authored it.On the current situation, Hossain Zillur Rahman said the country is facing the crisis of employment opportunity.Around 2.2 million people are adding to the workforce, but 700,000 people are being provided with jobs domestically and another 500,000 people abroad, he pointed out.Hossain Zillur said the land cannot be found for implementing the projects.In 20 years between 1994 and 2014, the proportion of women visited by family planning field workers has been almost halved.However, director general of family planning Kazi Mustafa Sarwar said over 400 physicians have been appointed to strengthen the family planning activities in the field level.Speaking as the chief guest, health minister Mohammad Naism said the population growth in Sylhet and Chittagong is very high as being conservative, the people there do not want to receive family planning methods.He urged Prothom Alo authorities to arrange seminars and discussions at slum and rural areas and he will attend those, rather arranging it in drawing rooms and conference halls.Law maker Fazilatunnesa Bappy said family planning activities are very urgently needed to implement sustainable development goals (SDG).She said men also have to be included in the programmes.Chairman of Population Science Department at Dhaka University professor Aminul Haque said the family planning is not possible only by controlling birth. Overall matters including health and education have to be included in the planning.Actress Peya Jannatul said the people have to be made aware through drama.Youth representative Tasneem Jara said women have to be empowered by providing them with knowledge about contraception.Youths have to be utilised as they want to work on population issues, she added.While moderating, Abdul Qayyum said the additional population is number one problem.”We have not achieved progress to our desired level. We have to increase investment,” he said.Line director at the directorate of family planning Moinuddin Ahmed, chief of party USAID-DFID NGO Health Service Delivery Project Halida Hanum Akhtar, Associate of Population Council Sharif Mohammed Ismail Hossain, Ipas country manager Sayed Rubayet, Islamic Foundation Director Khijir Hayat Khan and genereral manager of SMC Toslim Uddin Khan, among others, also spoke.last_img read more

first_imgNeo JMB leader Abu Sayeed alias Karim alias Shyamal was produced before the journalists at the office of Detective Branch of police in Bogra on Saturday noon. Photo: Sohel RanaDetective Branch of police overnight arrested most wanted JMB leader Abu Sayeed, a death row convict, from Omarpur area of Nandigram upazila in the district.Sayeed alias Karim alias Shyamal was the main accused of Khagragar bomb blast in Burdwan in the West Bengal state of India.A team of detectives of Police Headquarters and detective branch of police in Bogra conducted a drive at the Nandigram upazila around 1 am last night and arrested him and recovered firearms, ammunitions and a motorcycle.He was the southern wing chief of banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), superintendant of police of Bogra Md Asaduzzaman told a press conference Saturday afternoon.Police sources said Sayeed joined JMB in 2002. In 2005, he was awarded death penalty in a case of launching bomb explosion in Naogaon. He fled to India in 2007.He got married to Khadiza, a daughter of militant outfit member Yadul in Murshidabad district and used to operate militant activities there.In 2014, Sayeed was accused of Burdwan blast. A case was lodged against him there.Following the Burdwan blast, National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Kolkata declared a reward of one million Indian rupees for credible information on his whereabouts. In 2015, he fled to Bangladesh.last_img read more

first_imgIndian’s state minister for external affairs MJ Akbar has said the Bangladesh government is committed to taking stern action against those who attacked Hindu minorities in the country.”The government of Bangladesh has made it clear that it takes these attacks very seriously and is committed to take [sic] stern action against perpetrators,” he said while responding to a question over attacks on minorities.In November last year, there were attacks committed on the Hindu villagers of Horkoli Thakurpara, Rangpur.The attackers burned down at least 30 Hindu houses following a Hindu youth had allegedly posted objectionable content relating to Islam on Facebook.MJ Akbar said in the lower house of India’s bicameral parliament on Wednesday that it is the responsibility of the government of Bangladesh and the government of Pakistan to discharge their obligations towards their respective citizens, including protection of their places of worship.”The government of India takes up the matter at a bilateral level, both with the government of Bangladesh and with the government of Pakistan,” he said.The questioner wanted to know whether there has been substantial increase in the incidents of attacks on minority Hindus living in neighbouring countries and whether the Indian government has formulated any action plan to express its resentment in this regard, according to the external affairs ministry.MJ Akbar said reports of attacks on members of minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan, including some incidents of forced conversion in Pakistan have come to the attention of the government.Information has been received from Bangladesh that some houses and a few temples of the Hindu community were also vandalised, he said.last_img read more

first_imgBimanThe managing director of Biman Bangladesh Airlines AM Masaddique Ahmed has been relieved of his duties, reports UNB.Civil aviation and tourism secretary Mohibul Haque confirmed it to UNB on Wednesday.He said Biman director (operation) captain Farhad Hasan Zamil will perform as acting managing director until a new MD is appointed.The decision was taken at a meeting of Biman managing committee on Tuesday night following allegations of irregularities and corruption in Biman, he said.A new managing director will be appointed within 15 June, he added.last_img