Current threats and future hopes for the greater Mekong’s mangroves

first_imgCritical to the health of rivers, shorelines and forests globally, today only 150,000 square kilometers (57,900 square miles) of mangroves remain, down from 320,000 square kilometers (123,550 square miles) 50 years ago.Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar are home to the largest mangrove forests in the Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia, but rapid economic growth and illegal logging for fuelwood collection have damaged these forests.Technical advancements such as floating mangroves, along with increased public awareness, do offer hope for the future of these trees in the region, as some are protected and recovering. HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — While Southeast Asia is known as one of the world’s fastest-growing economic regions, home to booming metropolises like Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur, it also hosts some of the planet’s most vital ecological areas.The Greater Mekong, which includes Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, is key to this environmental vitality. According to the WWF, more than 2,200 new vertebrate and vascular plant species have been discovered in the region since 1997.In the 1970s it was the most densely forested area on Earth. Since then, a third of that tree cover has been lost. Another third is expected to disappear by 2030. Urbanization, land use changes and agribusiness such as palm oil and rubber have devastated forests, along with the wildlife species which rely on them for habitat.The Greater Mekong is also home to one of the world’s major mangrove forest distributions, along with Central America and the southern United States, as well as the coastal tropics of West and East Africa.Threats to the Greater Mekong’s mangrovesMangroves live in brackish or salt water, and Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar, which have more than 8,400 kilometers (5,200 miles) of coastline, feature significant forests of these trees. Cambodia, with 443 kilometers (275 miles) of coastline, has a mangrove area as well, though it has been seriously degraded. This is not uncommon.Benno Böer, chief of natural sciences at UNESCO’s office in Bangkok, explained by phone that mangrove forests are largely shrinking everywhere they are found, with the exception of Eritrea, Abu Dhabi and Australia.A typical mangrove forest in Panama. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.“The main reason approximately 32 million hectares [320,000 square kilometers, or 123,550 square miles] of mangroves globally have been brought down to 15 million hectares [150,000 square kilometers, or 57,900 square miles] is land use change,” Böer said. This decline has occurred over the last 50 years. “That includes agricultural development, that includes the establishment of shrimp farms and other coastal development projects.”According to UNESCO, within the Greater Mekong region, Myanmar contains the largest area of mangroves, covering 5,030 square kilometers (1,942 square miles), followed by Thailand with 2,484 square kilometers (959 square miles), Vietnam with 1,057 square kilometers (408 square miles), and Cambodia with 728 square kilometers (281 square miles).Forest destruction and degradation due to household fuelwood collection is an issue globally, including in Myanmar.Piles of wood can be seen at villagers surrounding Mein-ma-hla Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary (MKWS) in Myanmar. Photo by Ann WangThree major intact mangrove areas are located in Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar. In southern Vietnam, the 750-square kilometer (290-square-mile) Can Gio Biosphere Reserve lies outside Ho Chi Minh City. The 300-square kilometer (116-square-mile) Ranong Biosphere Reserve is in Thailand, just below Myanmar’s southern tip on the Kra Isthumus. Myanmar features a mangrove forest in the area between Kawthaung and Myeik, north of Ranong.Böer said he recently visited Ranong and Myeik along with experts and policymakers from Myanmar, Thailand and international conservation organizations. The study tour was put together by the Manfred Hermsen Stiftung Foundation, Fauna and Flora International, UNESCO and the Mangrove Action Project. It examined the effectiveness of Thailand’s biosphere reserve and what lessons can be applied to Myanmar’s mangroves, with officials from the latter country expected to push for more protection of these areas as a result.“The cutting of mangrove forests and converting the wood into charcoal is an issue,” Böer said. “Thailand used to lose a lot of mangrove due to wood cutting some decades ago. Then, they established a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and they had to have very transparent management plans, and those plans included the strict ban of mangroves being cut anymore.”Mangrove forests are an important source of fish for the indigenous communities. Image courtesy of the Rainforest Foundation.Mangroves were replanted in this area, and the specialists on the trip found that the forests have recovered well, at least in terms of biomass. However, this has pushed charcoal production across the border into Myanmar. This part of the country does not have a protected area. The Irrawaddy Delta, which also has mangroves, is home to the Meinmahla Kyun Wildlife Reserve. However, due to endemic corruption in Southeast Asia, the creation of a protected area does not necessarily mean all illegal activity will stop.“The issue is that the illegal charcoal production in Myanmar has increased since charcoal production from the mangroves in Thailand has ended,” Böer said. “They are trading the charcoal from Myanmar into Thailand. It is now important for the two counties to work jointly on developing and applying professional transboundary mangrove management plans.”Last year a Myanmar Times investigation found that charcoal production was on the rise in Myeik, with the product being shipped to cities in Myanmar, as well as illegally exported to Thailand in unrecorded quantities.What mangroves doMangrove deforestation is particularly devastating given the vital ecological role these forests play for surrounding communities.“Forests in general tend to be underappreciated for the many contributions that they make to human well-being across scales,” said Frances Seymour, a distinguished senior fellow at the World Resources Institute, via Skype. “But mangrove forests, in particular, serve a variety of functions that are underappreciated and that are disproportionately important both to local communities and at the global scale.”Seymour, who authored the 2016 book “Why Forests? Why Now?: The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change,” described the role of mangroves as a trifecta of human-nature interconnectedness. They support local livelihoods through fishing and the collection of fuelwood (albeit often illegally), act as nurseries for fish to sustain coastal fishing communities, and excel at storing carbon.Additionally, they help to prevent flooding caused by coastal storms, which are expected to increase in severity and frequency due to climate change.Florida mangroves. Image by Wilen Bill, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.According to Seymour, mangroves also combat tsunamis, “because of their function in coastal protection and attenuating the strength of wave action as waves crash into the shore.” While tsunamis are very rare in the Greater Mekong, research has found that mangroves in nearby Indonesia helped protect coastal communities from the catastrophic 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.These forests play a huge role in mitigating effects of climate change as well, Seymour said: “They store a large amount of carbon and, like peat swamps, because they provide an anaerobic environment where organic matter doesn’t completely decay underwater without oxygen, you have carbon that is not only stored in the vegetation of a mangrove swamp, but also stuck in the mud, so to speak.”Such functions are particularly vital in the Greater Mekong, where climate change is expected to severely impact coastal regions and major cities. Vietnam, for example, faces threats from both rising sea levels and more frequent typhoons. Both Thailand and Myanmar have experienced devastating flooding in recent years thanks to extreme rain events and storms.An example of what is lost when mangroves are deforested can be found in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta.Charlotte Nivollet, Southeast Asia regional director at the Group for the Environment, Renewable Energy and Solidarity (GERES), said that historically the delta was a major charcoal production area.The dense mangrove forest of the Mangrove Marine Park provide cover. Photo by William Clowes for Mongabay.“This seems to be decreasing a lot simply because there is no more mangrove,” Nivollet said by phone from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. “In 2008, Cyclone Nargis destroyed most of the remaining poor, degraded mangrove out there, so it was really catastrophic.”This storm served to highlight the role mangroves play in protecting communities from storms. “The effects of Nargis were even worse thanks to the fact there wasn’t much mangrove already, and it destroyed the rest,” Nivollet added.Nargis was the deadliest natural disaster in Myanmar’s history, causing at least 138,000 deaths. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), when the cyclone made landfall the delta featured less than half of the mangroves present 30 years prior, when these forests spanned more than 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles).Methods to maintain mangrovesFuelwood and charcoal are main focal points of GERES’s work in Cambodia, though Nivollet said charcoal producers have largely moved away from the country’s small remaining mangrove forests north of Sihanoukville, a beach city undergoing explosive, unchecked growth through massive Chinese investment.“The mangrove has been very degraded over the past decades, for charcoal production and for other reasons,” she said. Now, most charcoal production in Cambodia takes place in the Cardamom Mountains, along the country’s border with Thailand.While fuelwood production no longer appears to be a significant threat to Cambodia’s limited remaining mangroves, GERES is working on a pilot scheme for fuelwood production that could serve as a model in countries like Myanmar, which are struggling to maintain their mangrove forests.“The laws and regulations are in place in Cambodia, but the thing is that the practical way of how to implement and comply with the regulations doesn’t exist,” Nivollet said. She and her team hope to create a sustainable charcoal value chain in line with regulations.The first step would be to create the actual documents needed to comply with these regulations.“We’re helping the forestry administration to develop from scratch the documents and letters that need to be obtained [by charcoal producers] — none of this exists,” she said. “There are many regulations, everything is clear on paper, but in fact it has never been implemented by anyone. Even the forestry administration people have no idea how to respect the law, so of course they can’t enforce it.”Mangrove roots. Photo courtesy of Seacology.Nivollet’s vision is for people living in community forest areas to produce firewood through sustainable forest management practices. They can then sell the wood to registered, fully legal charcoal producers, thus regulating and legally enforcing a trade that GERES estimates is worth $100 million annually.The problem they are encountering is that applying to become a legal producer involves paying numerous royalties, fees and permit costs, disincentivizing the process of becoming legitimate.“We’re trying to explain to the forest administration, ‘How do you want this sector to become regulated if regulations mean a reduction of the profitability for producers?’” Nivollet said. “It’s very challenging to find the way to make it profitable to produce sustainable, legal charcoal.”While there is a long way to go in terms of achieving these goals, starting at the first step of creating actual legal documents, and similar regulatory issues exist in every Greater Mekong country, GERES’s strategy points to one way toward better forest management.Another possibility is artificial mangroves, which UNESCO’s Böer says have been successfully tested in Qatar. “Some years ago we developed a system to grow mangroves in a sand-filled container with a semi-permeable membrane underneath which allows seawater to penetrate, but the sand does not fall out of the container,” he said. “Under the seawater we put an air bubble, which allows the mangroves to float on the ocean surface.”UNESCO hopes to test this system in Myanmar, the Philippines and Australia in the future before expanding it further. “We want to suggest the establishment of floating artificial mangroves so that people can be encouraged to use these mangroves for the legal harvest of [fuel wood from] artificially produced mangroves, and then that can turn away from the illegal production of charcoal in natural mangroves,” Böer said.Such a development is still in the very early stages, however. While the trial in Qatar was a success, funding has not been secured to expand the technology to other mangrove regions. Research is also underway to determine the financial costs and scalability of floating mangroves.For example, UNESCO is currently working with the University of New South Wales in Sydney to test the seaworthiness of floating mangrove plantations, which would likely be placed next to existing mangrove forests.The future for the Greater Mekong’s mangrovesWhile such technical and legal advancements offer hope, there is little doubt that the near future will be challenging for the region’s mangroves, much like forests in general.“Each country in this region is trying to keep double-digit growth, so they have to look at how the economy grows, and sometimes it’s about investment in land and increasing productivity,” said Thibault Ledecq, regional forest coordinator at the WWF’s Greater Mekong Program in Phnom Penh, in a Skype call.“Infrastructure and agribusiness will continue to be major drivers of deforestation, and wood consumption is only increasing year after year,” he said.One relatively bright spot, at least in terms of mangrove protection, is Vietnam. Though the Can Gio Biosphere Reserve is located within the limits of fast-growing Ho Chi Minh City, it has thus far been spared from the city’s rapid urbanization. Major tourism developments have been proposed on its fringes, but as of now it provides a striking green contrast to the nearby urban sprawl on satellite images.“Several years ago, Vietnam began carrying out several programs for the rehabilitation of mangroves for coastal protection, while at the same time improving awareness among local people,” Pham Trong Thinh, director of the Southern Sub-Forest Inventory and Planning Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, said in an email. “Illegal logging in mangrove forests and wetlands is not a big problem in Vietnam at the moment.”Vietnam’s mangroves are aided by the fact that the government has successfully provided a stable electricity supply to more than 99 percent of the country’s population, according to the World Bank. This means very few people need firewood for daily living. Poorer Myanmar and Cambodia, on the other hand, have not electrified all of their territory.Myanmar, for its part, is considering establishing a conservation area around the mangroves near Myeik, whether that is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a geopark or a RAMSAR Wetland Conservation site.“Then, the Myanmarese would also have to decide if and how they would protect their natural mangrove systems, which are very vast,” Böer said.last_img read more

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Will people trust third parties?

first_imgDear Editor,In light of their disappointment with the political behaviour of the Alliance for Change (AFC), which seems to have been fused with, or morphed into, the PNC, several individuals of integrity have indicated a willingness — or are encouraging others — to start a new political party or movement away from the two dominant parties.I applaud those who wish to plunge into the troubled waters of Guyana’s politics. It takes courage to start a new movement to break from the discredited ones of the past. Those thinking of starting or entering into a new political force must be encouraged, as we need a new kind of politics, and a new breed of politicians who seek to provide real representation of people, away from self.But there are important questions that a new third party would have to confront. The big question is: Will people trust a new third party in light of the AFC shattering their dreams of a new politics? A related question is: Will a new party be a force to reckon with in light of our legacy of race politics and the betrayal of the polity by the AFC, which claims to be a non-racial movement but has been absorbed by a race-based party.Other parties tried and failed, until the AFC came to the fore. Another serious question is: Will a new third party or movement be able to cobble together a party apparatus for political mobilization? And can it truly represent the aspirations of those voters who are not racially affiliated. Or will this dream of a non-racial politics, which people like me have fought for all our lives, simply fade away just like that of the AFC?The latter is an important question, given that any new movement will come up against the jagged edges of the race-based electoral juggernauts, who will accuse it of seeking to sell out their race. The attacks against a new movement will be geared towards denying votes to third parties.Seeking to win over votes in Guyana is indeed frustrating. Both PNC and PPP have been very successful at populist mobilisation. Both purposefully used the motifs of ethnic identity and adroitly deployed it into a practical political mobilisation has which so far attracted a gullible people who fall for race-baiting on both sides. But one must not give up hope for a credible third party, or make no effort to change our politics.To succeed, any new political movement must confront the race issue. A political movement must focus on assuaging the fears of the races by guaranteeing power sharing among the ethnic groups and the parties. It is important that people feel they will be represented in Government regardless of which party is in control of the institutions of the state. A new politics requires that all parties share in governance in accordance with their percentage share of the votes. Such a concept of power sharing will encourage people to trust a new third party.Yours truly,Vishnu Bisramlast_img read more

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Inaction by President Granger

first_imgDear Editor,A vote for David Granger and his coalition in 2015 was touted as a “vote for change” and indeed, there have been changes in the Administration of Government of Guyana. A major change has been the levelling of corruption charges based on evidence. Former President Bharrat Jagdeo has used the constitutional office of Leader of the Opposition to transform the previous culture of allegations based on innuendo or anecdote. When in office, the PPP/C often replied to allegations with requests for evidence. Given a chance to prosecute many of these claims made while in Opposition, the Granger Administration has fallen woefully short of credible. The sale of land for housing at less than market value at Sparendaam and a mix-up about the inclusion of the purchase of law reports in an employment contract speaks more to political witchhunts than serious corruption.We are now in the ear of evidence-based allegations, with files and complaints being filed at various law enforcement agencies, whistleblowers have emerged in every sector of the public service and from across the political spectrum to provide tangible proof of wrongdoing. Names, dates, documents, images, file numbers, specificity to the nth degree.As interesting as this phenomenon is, a pattern emerges after the response. Following allegations, there is a period of total silence which lasts for seven to seventeen days. During this period, the claims are pushed with vigour by media, corruption watchdogs and political activists. If the hue and cry dies down, we never get an explanation as with claims of verbal abuse of a constable by Annette Ferguson and the requested release of an unlicensed motorcycle rider in August 2018. However, when allegations do persist, the public is then treated to an ‘explanation’. These are not accompanied by policy documents, paper trails or any other exculpatory evidence. For example, the bizarre case of the payment of US$9000 into David Patterson’s personal account has not been attended by any paperwork. Patterson has repeatedly avoided explaining how a Chinese company got his personal bank account details; short of it being printed on the back of his business card, there is no plausible explanation, nor has Patterson provided paper evidence to demonstrate repatriation of the “travel expenses” to MARAD. Take my word for it, this is not an option preferred by taxpayers.There is also the denial of allegations based on specificity. Winston Jordan denied receiving a “US$20 million” signing bonus. His defence when the truth came out was a lame excuse that the actual bonus is “US$18 million”. Eric Philips denied receiving “3000 acres” of land. Now that the evidence has come to light of a grant of “2000 acres” with probable cause to believe there may be more revelations of additional acreages allocated, there is no doubt Phillips will rely on the ‘Jordan’ defence.There are other minor patterns that show the Granger Administration lacks moral and ethical direction from top to bottom; acceptance of paid travel and lack of policy directing courses of action.The clearest and most damming pattern is of the inaction by President Granger when faced with irrefutable evidence. His Excellency’s ability to turn his face from black and white realities is remarkable if only for its consistency. He is the rock upon which his corrupt Ministers stand, on drug bonds, on D’Urban Park, on the Harbour Bridge, on downsized but increased priced airport renovations, contracts for family and friends. More and more of the Cabinet clamber onto the safety of Granger’s rock, seemingly not noticing that it is sinking inexorably into the quicksand of corruption. We are into the silence again and David Granger is experiencing that sinking feeling, and his fear of facing the electorate is palpable.Respectfully,Robin Singhlast_img read more

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Jacklow, Akawini students shine at NGSA

first_imgEleven-year-old Dane Richards of Akawini Primary School in Pomeroon, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) made history in his community at this year’s sitting of the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) when he secured 460 marks and landed a spot at Essequibo’s prestigious Anna Regina Multilateral School.The elated student said he was proud of his achievement since he worked very hard, and was excited to attend the secondary school, though it was located on the Essequibo Coast miles away from his home. Akawini is an Amerindian villageAkawini Primary School’s top NGSA student Dane Richardsaccessible by a creek that connects to the lower Pomeroon River. Most residents are small-scale loggers and miners.Richards is from a combined class of 12 students from the Akawini Primary and Baracaro Annex who wrote the NGSA this year. Several of the students earned passes to secondary schools at Charity and Wakapao.Class teacher Daniel Gildharie, who is one of two trained teachers at the school, said Richards’ achievement was motivation for the teaching staff, students and the entire community. He noted that the school feeding programme, which started last December; support of the village council and parents’ involvement have aided both students’ attendance and performance.Gildharie returned to teach at Akawini last September after he completed a two-year primary education programme at the Cyril Potter College of Education at Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown.Meanwhile, in the Upper Pomeroon, one student of the Jacklow Primary, Calvin Thakurdin, earned a spot at the St Joseph High in Georgetown with 498 marks, while six others were awarded places at the Anna Regina Multilateral School. TheyCalvin Thakurdin of Jacklow Primary School gained a spot at St Joseph Highare Travis Cornelius, Brian Narine, Kelsie Williams, Annie Joy Phillips, Mariano Goocharan and Alicia Sulker. Other Grade Six students at Jacklow Primary earned passes to Charity and Wakapao Secondary Schools.Headteacher Rajendra Pershad, who also taught the Grade Six class along with Demetria Alphonso, noted that the school has been seeing improved performance of its students over the years. He observed that overall, the students were poor at reading and the staff has developed several strategies to help address this challenge, including guided reading sessions.He noted too that in hinterland communities such as Jacklow, attendance was often low as some parents were financially unable to send their children to school regularly. However, the school feeding programme has been impacting positively on such since it started at Jacklow last December.“We currently have an attendance rate of 85 per cent which is a big improvement from the previous years and we are working constantly to increase it. However, when we look back at last year’s attendance, we noticed that 18 children were regularly absent from school, because they were unable to bring lunch…since the school feeding programme, we have noticed 16 of those children are present every day now,” Pershad stated.The Headteacher further noted that most of the students were from single-parent homes or were growing up with grandparents and sometimes needed that extra motivation and guidance.“We actually talk to the children a lot and tell them about the successes of past students who came right from Jacklow and who had some of the same challenges facing students now,” Pershad related. In riverine areas such as Jacklow, children usually paddle long distances to get to school even amidst the most adverse weather conditions.Pershad emphasised that his school has received significant help from the Regional Administration which aided rehabilitation works, installed a solar panel and was now moving to repair the school’s stelling during the July-August holidays. The school is also hoping to get some help to upgrade its playground.last_img read more

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Scary Spice tied knot in June with movie producer

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Former Spice Girl Melanie Brown, who gave birth to Eddie Murphy’s daughter in April, married her boyfriend, Steven Belafonte, in June, according to Clark County, Nev., marriage records. Murphy acknowledged his paternity of Brown’s daughter, Angel, last week, one day after the 32-year-old singer took legal action to establish him as the parent. Belafonte is a movie producer whose recent credits include “Sisters” and “Thank You for Smoking.” Brown was known as Scary Spice when she performed with the Spice Girls, whom she’ll join for the band’s reunion tour in December and January. A marriage certificate filed with Clark County, which encompasses Las Vegas, lists the date of the couple’s nuptials as June 6. It does not state exactly where they were married. An e-mail to Brown’s publicist was not immediately returned.last_img read more

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Reading to pay £2m loan fee for Premier League hitman

first_img Matej Vydra 1 Reading are ready to splash out £2m to land Watford forward Matej Vydra on loan for the season.The Czech Republic international scored 16 goals for the Hornets in the Championship last season while on loan from Udinese.That form earned him a permanent move to Vicarage Road this summer but he has already fallen down the pecking order under new boss Quique Sanchez Flores.The Spaniard is prepared to let Vydra leave on loan and over 10 clubs have reportedly made enquiries.However, Reading look set to win the race for the 23-year-old and are prepared to pay a £2m loan fee.last_img read more

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Man found dead in DB home invasion

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsThe cause of death was not immediately known, and coroner’s Lt. Fred Corral declined to release additional information. Butao said the home was also ransacked and that the wife found her husband in a bedroom tied up and not breathing. “Homicide detectives believe robbery was the motive,” he said. Police said at least one person carried out the robbery some time Monday night. Sheriff’s Sgt. Randy Seymour would not divulge any details surrounding the slaying but said investigators believe the perpetrators fled in the couple’s car – a 2004 silver four-door Mercedes-Benz E320. “The vehicle was not at the location this morning and it should have been,” he said, adding that he did not know if anything else was taken from the home. The Mercedes was found in West Covina on Tuesday afternoon, said sheriff’s Deputy Bill Brauberger, though he did not disclose exactly where or when it was found. Authorities believe the assailants are armed and dangerous. Authorities blocked off a large portion of Overlook Ridge Road on Tuesday as they investigated the scene. “I spoke to (the wife) yesterday,” said Linda Knight, who lives across the street. “She was so excited because (the family) was going to get together for Christmas.” Knight said the couple lived alone but had several adult children. “It’s horrible, horrible to think that something like that could happen right across the street,” she said. “Somebody is suffering and you can’t even help. Other neighbors slowly trickled out of their homes all morning and afternoon, shocked to hear the news. “It’s kind of concerning,” Kim Jarrell said. “Why that house? Was it random? Did they follow the person?” Jarrell – who lives in the neighborhood of neatly kept, well-trimmed homes – said the area is generally quiet and safe. “There are always kids out playing, riding their bikes,” she said. “There isn’t a lot of commotion.” Last week, authorities arrested four men in connection with a rash of burglaries in Rowland Heights and Diamond Bar. Seymour said detectives were investigating the history of crime in that neighborhood. “At this point we don’t know much,” he said. “The detectives are doing what they can. So much of what is happening now is catch-up stuff to figure out exactly what happened in that house.” Staff writers Brian Day and Bethania Palma contributed to this story. tania.chatila@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2109 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! • Video: Homeowner Dead DIAMOND BAR – A woman discovered her husband tied up and dead in their home Tuesday in what police believe was a deadly home-invasion robbery. Panalal Himatlal Shah was found by his wife about 6:15 a.m. when she returned to their Overlook Ridge Road home from work, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. Paramedics were called but Shah was pronounced dead at the scene, said sheriff’s Deputy Oscar Butao. last_img read more

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Players need not sign conflict of interest undertaking as of now: BCCI sources

first_imgCurrent and former Indian cricketers will not be immediately required to sign ‘Conflict of Interest’ undertakings but they may have to do so in future, a top BCCI source said today.There was speculation that current and former players will also be asked to sign the undertakings, just like the BCCI members who have been asked to declare that they do not have ‘conflict of interest’ while holding functionary posts in their respective cricket associations.But, a source in the BCCI told PTI that there was no such move to immediately ask the current and former players to make this declaration.”No players have yet been sent any ‘No Conflict of Interest’ undertaking yet. This is right now only mailed for presidents and secretaries of the state associations.Also read: BCCI working committee meets, says sponsors backing board After that it will be for the various committee,” a member of the BCCI Working Group set up to examine the Lodha Committee verdict said on condition of anonymity.”Gradually we will bring everyone but that’s a long way to go. As of now, no player or ex player has been sent any document. It is still some time before players are bought in the ambit,” he added, without giving any time frame as to when the players could be asked to sign the undertaking.No problems in signing undertaking Former India captain and a member of the Working Group, Sourav Ganguly said that he has no problems in signing any undertaking and he made it clear that he has no contract with the BCCI.advertisementRelated: MCA lifts ban on Shah Rukh Khan’s entry to Wankhede Stadium “I have no problems in signing any document. But you guys need a to get a bit more clarity on the subject. By the way, I am a commentator for ‘Star’, not BCCI. Different things. I am not a contracted commentator of BCCI. I have received the notification in capacity of CAB Secretary,” he said.Last month, in its bid to clean the image of the sport, the BCCI has notified all the Board members to sign an undertaking declaring that they do not have ‘conflict of interest’ while holding functionary posts in their respective cricket associations.Also read: Cricket, terror can’t go hand in hand, says BCCI’s Anurag ThakurThe ‘no conflict of interest’ clause would include no direct business links with any cricketing affairs in BCCI including interest or stake in IPL teams, sponsorships or looking after specific players’ interests.last_img read more

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2nd Test, Day 2: Saha half-century drives India forward

first_imgWicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha capitalised on a charmed life to hit his second successive test fifty and guide India to 393 at the end of first innings on day two of the second test against Sri Lanka on Friday.Resuming on 319 for six, India lost Ravichandran Ashwin early but Saha added 46 runs with Amit Mishra (24) to frustrate the hosts at the P Sara Oval.Saha and Mishra added 46 runs for the eighth wicket before Mishra was out caught behind. Also read:  Rahul takes spotlight with cracking second tonSaha, who hit his maiden test fifty in India’s defeat at the Galle test guided India to a formidable lead in the second Test.Sri Lanka bowled without luck in the morning session, illustrated best in the second over of the day when Dhammika Prasad’s delivery brushed Saha’s off-stump but did not disturb the bails.Saha also survived a strong caught-behind appeal, while some of his edges fell short of the fielders. The 30-year-old took a single off spinner Tharindu Kaushal to bring up his fifty as India collected 69 runs from the session for the loss of two wickets.Rangana Herath who rattled the Indian batting line-up at Galle, continued his magical form, he scalped 4 wickets and captain Angelo Mathews took 2.last_img read more

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Diet myths busted, plus how to lose weight the right way

first_imgThe evils of corporate life–canteen meals, late nights and merciless snacking at her workstation had started catching up with Bengaluru-based Sonali Singh (38). Not overweight, she admitted that she felt lethargic and unfit. She knew that her lifestyle and eating habits needed to change. An ankle injury was the final catalyst. Yoga, gym and a personal trainer later, Sonali found that running really worked for her–made her happy and kept her fit. Today, she is a marathon runner and has recently completed a challenging 66km run!”Running is meditative and it makes me feel free. I also ensure that I supplement exercise with home cooked food and limit my eating out to once a week,” she says. Once you cross 30, your body starts altering gradually. Your basal metabolic (BMR) slows down and you gain “stubborn” extra kilos. There’s also a reduction in lean body mass and mineral density of the bone and loss of muscle tone. The good news, however, is that women are going all out to counter these effects of age-induced weight gain. “Women in their 30s are way fitter than they were earlier,” confirms Dr Joyeeta Basu, co-founder, Doctor’s Hub in Gurgaon.Also read: Are you overeating in winters? Here’s the big reason, why! “They are more aware, gyms have sprung up in every locality and they are consciously eating healthier foods” adds her partner Dr Manissha Sharma. Managing work, home and relationships can take a toll on even the best of superwomen and health is bound to take a backseat. When realisation strikes, some women succumb to fad diets that recommend “super” foods to burn fat, only one type of food, or even skipping meals for quick weight-loss. Ankita Mallik, associate HRM with an NGO, started skipping dinner and breakfast, and lost weight, but when she went back to eating breakfast, she would vomit it all out because her body could not take the strain.advertisementFour years and many diets later, she realised that eating a balanced meal and indulging in regular exercise were the only steps that actually reaped sustainable results. Now, she eats every two hours, goes to the gym six days a week and weighs a healthy 65 kg. “I realised eating healthy and limiting food quantities work; not crash dieting,” says Ankita.Dieting the right way:You can skip breakfast: No, you can’t. It’s the most important meal of the day. Plus long gaps between meals are not good for digestion. “By skipping meals you put your body into starvation mode–it decreases the energy, lowers your metabolism, and starts storing fat. So whatever you eat gets converted to fat,” says Dr Batra. When we sleep at night, our body rests but the brain doesn’t. It continues to use the reserved energy (glucose) in the body. So when we wake up in the morning, we need to eat to recover from a “fasting” state (and function optimally). Dr Batra suggests that breakfast should ideally be within half an hour of waking up and should include a protein (eggs, poha), carbohydrates (bread, roti), cereal and a fruit.Potatoes make you fat: No food should be banned from your diet. Potatoes are a good source of fibre, vitamin C and potassium (if eaten with the skin). They promise an energising supply of complex carbohydrates and contain only 80 calories per 100gm. They are low on cholesterol and fat and have only a trace of sodium. If anything, they are the perfect diet food–as long as they are cooked right (bake, boil or saute but don’t fry).Also read: Natural diuretics, probiotics and ample hydration: The detox plan you must try after the long party season Eating diet food will help you lose weight: Packaged diet snacks such as diet chivda and diet crackers have flooded the market, but will eating that help you lose weight? The answer is, no. They might be low on calories and even “low fat”, but remember, it’s the quality of fat and not the amount that makes the difference. Also, pre-packaged diet foods may be high in sugar, sodium and trans fat. “Have a small portion as a snack, but don’t think of it as a substitute for a meal,” says Dr Archana. Also, look at the labels carefully; often the calorie difference is marginal.Mono diets are the way to go: Mono diets consist of eating one type of food through the day–usually a bowlful of fruit or vegetable in different forms. While it might not be a good idea to make it a ritual, weight watchers can follow them, say once a week to ” surprise” the body and give it a fresh impetus to lose. In the long run, this might be counter-productive because you might miss out on essential nutrients. The biggest drawback of mono diets is that they are not sustainable and don’t deliver any real benefit in the long run.advertisementA diet of juice will work wonders: Most nutritionists don’t advise going on a fruit juice diet. “Four to five oranges are squeezed for a glass of orange juice and then you throw away the roughage and fibre. This leaves you with only the sugary bit. You never have Four oranges in one go, then why would you want that in your glass of juice? It’s better to have a slice of apple or eat an orange instead,” says Dr Archana Batra. One fruit will only give you about 60 calories and make you feel satisfied (with 3gm fibre), whereas its juice will give you about 40 calories and only 0.2gm of fibre. Plus, juice leads to a spike in blood sugar which is likely to promote weight gain in the long run.Dieting means starving yourself: This is the most common myth. Dieting actually means eating more food (for satiety) but the ones that are low in calories. Pack in healthy do-gooders such as your favourite fruits and breakfast cereal for post lunch snacking; add veggies into soups, stews, and sauces and subtract empty calories such as ice cream or aerated drinks.Vegetarian diets are always healthy: Between 20 and 40 percent of India’s population is vegetarian and they tend to have a lower incidence of obesity and fewer chronic health problems. But just because you are not eating animal fat doesn’t mean you are necessarily eating healthy. If you don’t make the right food choices and go overboard on unsaturated vegetable fat such as canola oil, this doesn’t hold. Dr Batra advises that those planning to go on a vegetarian diet should include vitamin B12 supplements or at least an egg a day to counter this common nutritional deficiency.Help your child get fit: When eating in school: With children spending more than half their day at school every day, what they eat there becomes important, especially if the school offers a meal. “At our school, we offer a healthy lunch buffet with salads, nuts, fruits and yoghurt as a part of the meal,” says Bhagirathy Jhingran, a teacher for 20 years and head of the department (Humanities) at Pathways International, a residential school, in Gurgaon.”Snacks could be a croissant and fruit. Samosa is served only once a week. We also lay special emphasis on yoga and encourage children to take up sports,” she informs. Aarushi Menon had to change her daughter’s school because she was shocked to see her not being actively involved in her physical education class–the instructor could not handle all the 50 students of her class together. “Being healthy should become a habit, like good work ethics and studying,” says Bhagirathy.advertisementBe judicious when eating out: Stay off the caramel coated or buttered popcorn and nachos at the movies for the whole family.Don’t order combo meals or two-for-the-price-of-one meals for your child just because it’s convenient or is a bargain deal–it’s just extra calories for your child.Say no to extra add-ons in the menu; such as extra cheese when ordering pizzas, extra mayo on the salad, or a free icecream with the meal.Order dhokla, uttapam or steamed dimsums instead of fried samosas or pakoras when stopping for a quick bite.Stick to grilled options when dining out. With inputs from Kavita Devgan, Delhi-based nutritionist.last_img read more

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