‘Crazy journey’: From double shark attack to Paralympic snowboarder

first_imgCarpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award “It’s been a crazy journey,” said the 26-year-old.“I am just really happy to get on the big stage, and try and show what I am capable of still doing now.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkPollard made it through the early heats in the snowboard cross, narrowly missing out on the quarter-finals.Even in a Winter Paralympics filled with hundreds of inspiring tales, from war veterans who lost limbs on the front line to cancer survivors, the Australian’s story stands out as remarkable. 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Brown among SAG Awards presenters Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazilcenter_img “It’s been a fairly tough kind of ride the last few years,” he said.“It took me six months before I could put socks on again.”Sean Pollard of Australia rests after his men’s snowboard Cross SB-UL qualification run at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre in Pyeongchang on March 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONESBut he picked himself up and got his first taste of para-snowboarding during a visit to a ski resort town in the Australian state of Victoria.During a subsequent trip to Canada, he happened to meet the country’s Paralympic coach, which further fired his interest in the sport. On his return home he contacted the Australian Paralympic Committee — and began in earnest the journey that would eventually bring him to Pyeongchang.ADVERTISEMENT Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown View comments Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew He says he feels grateful to them as the attack gave him the chance to travel the world taking part in sports events — and he ended up becoming a marine conservationist focused on shark protection.Another Paralympian to have lost a limb in an animal attack is Ukraine’s Vasyl Kovalchuk, whose right arm was torn off by a bear during a visit to a zoo when he was 11.He won gold medals in air rifle shooting at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Paralympics.Pollard has a message for anyone who finds themselves struggling to overcome such a trauma: just keep trying.“I think the biggest thing for me was I was not afraid to fail,” he said. “You’ve got to keep trying.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next In Liverpool, Man United sees the pain and path to recovery Sean Pollard of Australia rests after his men’s snowboard Cross SB-UL qualification run at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre in Pyeongchang on March 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONESSean Pollard was surfing in Australia in 2014 when he was attacked by two great white sharks, losing his left arm and right hand and only just escaping alive.But far from wallowing in his misfortune, he threw himself into snowboarding — and just three years after taking up the sport, he made his Paralympic debut in Pyeongchang this week.ADVERTISEMENT Since November he has been travelling widely on the para-snowboarding circuit in preparation for the Games, competing in the Netherlands, Finland, Canada and the United States.As well as snowboard cross — which pits competitors in a series of heats and head-to-head races — Pollard is also competing in slalom. ‘You’ve got to keep trying’There are numerous different categories in para-sports depending on athletes’ disability, and Pollard competes in the category for people with upper limb impairments.With both hands missing, he is at a disadvantage even to other para-snowboarders. Snowboarders typically begin their runs by pushing off the top with a hand — but Pollard has to place his board sideways and jump out, giving him a slower start than his rivals.“It puts me to the back of the pack straight away, but that is the sport and I would not whinge about it at all,” he said.He is not the first Paralympian to have suffered a shark attack. South African swimmer Achmat Hassiem lost part of his right leg when he was mauled by one of the creatures in 2006.He earned the nickname “Shark Boy”, and competed in three Summer Paralympics, winning a bronze medal in London 2012.But Hassiem does not hold a grudge against sharks. Cabuyao City rising above the ashes through volunteerismlast_img read more

On the trail of the Big Five

first_imgChris Thurman visits Exeter River Lodge in the Sabi Sand private game reserve in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, and has a bush experience different to any that he’s enjoyed before. There are those who will tell you that it doesn’t matter how you spend your time in the African bush, or where you stay – it’s enough simply to be there. To some degree, this is true; certainly, no matter what your accommodation and game-viewing is like, it’s better than being in the office. After only a few hours at Exeter River Lodge in the Sabi Sand private game reserve, however, I couldn’t help reflecting that it was different to any bush experience I’d enjoyed before. It wasn’t just that our luxuriously appointed room looked out onto the Sand River, giving us a view of buffalo crossing the water or baboons loping down to the shore. It wasn’t just that the ever-available but never-intrusive staff treated us like royalty. It wasn’t just the food, or the wine, or the afternoon teas. It wasn’t the private plunge pool, the masseuse, the quirky collection of books or any of the other distractions to while away the day. Over and above these pleasures, the highlights of the trip were the morning and evening game drives. A good game ranger is many things: a raconteur, a sturdy outdoorsman or woman, a walking encyclopaedia of information about animal, bird and plant life. He or she can tell you, for instance, that a hunting leopard can leap up to 22 metres in a second – not very encouraging when you’re about 20 metres away – and will explain why the same leopard rubs its neck in the mud around a watering-hole (so that it can mark its territory by brushing the mud against trees and thus leave a more durable scent).Not just the Big Five A major advantage of going on a private game drive is that rangers in different vehicles are in constant radio communication, increasing your chances of great sightings. But our ranger at River Lodge, Ryan, ensured that no drive was a headlong rush from one Big Five member to another. Along the way we also learned about the less glamorous animals, like the numerous species of buck whose presence is so often taken for granted. Kudu, for instance, have big ears and therefore the best hearing, which means they are less skittish than other antelope and provide the most reliable alarm call to anyone tracking big game on foot. Furthermore, we were reminded, if you’re only looking for creatures with four legs, you miss out on half the action. There is an abundance of bird life pursuing the same herbivorous and carnivorous habits as gravity-bound mammals: we saw a juvenile fish eagle on a high branch, trying to crack open a tortoise (don’t worry, it ended well for the tortoise; the eagle dropped him, he fell on his shell and survived). And you don’t have to be a birder to appreciate the exquisite colouring of a lilac-breasted roller. The more time you spend in the bush, the more you appreciate the minutiae – admiring rare flowers that only bloom for a couple of weeks each year, or discovering, courtesy of your ranger, the subtle interactions that take place between interdependent elements within an ecosystem. Oxpeckers remove ticks from buffalo and giraffe; desiccated termite mounds become lairs for warthog and hyena. Best of all, with an experienced tracker assisting the ranger in locating game and a radio always at hand, you’re guaranteed to see a greater variety than you would on your own. And once you’ve spotted something in the distance, you don’t have to strain with binoculars just to catch a glimpse of a horn or tail – the ranger shifts down a gear, engages the diff lock on the 4×4 and you head off-road to take a closer look. What would a late afternoon game drive be without a sunset pause for a cup of coffee or a gin and tonic – and, of course, some snacks to tide you over until supper? Then it’s time to enjoy the magical world of the bushveld at night. Rangers and trackers are careful not to interfere too much with nocturnal activity; and, after many years of conservation efforts, the animals have learned to tolerate the human presence because it is neither intrusive nor threatening.Non-interventionist policy Where possible, the principle of non-intervention is applied. In some cases, however, humans have to undo the damage caused by previous interventions which may have been less well-intentioned or well-conceived. A good example is the challenge of decreasing the prevalence of tuberculosis in the buffalo population: up to 70% of buffalo in certain Kruger-Sabi herds have bovine TB. The solution is an intriguing one – raising disease-free young buffalo who suckle on domesticated Jersey cows before being released into the wild. This has been quite successful, and also provides a curious proof of nature overcoming nurture. The buffalo calves have to learn to suckle from the side as all Jersey calves do, but when they become mothers in turn, they follow their instinct and let their young suckle from behind. This is a vital survival tactic, because it means that cow and calf can keep walking, and allows buffalo herds to keep moving even while the young are suckling. Another little-known fact is that buffalo milk makes delicious Feta cheese! Of course, the conservation programmes being implemented in South Africa’s game parks also require ongoing vigilance against human threats. The recent increase in rhino poaching is a case in point. Countering this disturbing trend requires not only stricter policing within our reserves, but also broader campaigns to stop both the international demand for rhino horn, particularly in east Asia, and the local suppliers. These are the “foot soldiers” of poaching who have no other means of livelihood. Certainly, staying at a place like River Lodge is a luxury. But our natural heritage should be a shared, public concern – protecting it is the responsibility not of the few, but the many. First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Government is Prioritising Investment into ICT as South Africa Hosts the 2018 Telecom World By Minister of Telecommunications & Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele Date of publication:…

first_imgBy Minister of Telecommunications & Postal Services, Siyabonga CweleDate of publication: 10th September 2018This week South Africa and Africa are hosting world leaders in the Information and Communication Technologies in partnership with the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the private sector. The ITU Telecom World is being hosted in Durban at the iNkosi Albert Luthuli from today to 13 September 2018. The conference is expected to attract 7 000 government Ministers, leaders of multilateral organisations, regulators, business, entrepreneurs and small businesses. We are embracing this opportunity because it ensures that Africa’s voice is heard in the important technology discussions which include preparations for 5G networks, impact and ownership of Artificial Intelligence, cybersecurity and the risks and opportunities of a smarter world. These are important discussions because Africa cannot afford to be left behind.  We also need to ensure that small businesses are not left behind because they can give the continent a great lever in the development of local solutions to our challenges, thereby, localising the digital economy. The ITU Telecom World will also afford about 50 African and SA small businesses an opportunity to partner with other entrepreneurs and to also seek potential investors. They will be showcasing their ICT capabilities, forging deeper partnerships and staying abreast with global ICT best practices. One of the key legacies of this conference will be the African Digital Transformation Centre which will amongst other things test and standardise new African technologies on the continent. This will ensure that African innovation is tested on the African continent.  This annual conference is being held on the African continent for the first time and it coincides with the centennial anniversary of Tata Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu. Mandela was the first democratic South African President to address the ITU in 1995. This year’s conference takes forward Madiba’s vision of bridging the digital divide, using technology for development and ensuring that nobody is left behind.Addressing the 1995 ITU Telecoms, Mandela said: “Given the fundamental impact of telecommunications on society and the immense historical imbalances, telecommunications issues must become part of the general public debate of development policies. Telecommunications cannot be simply treated as one commercial sector of the economy, to be left to the forces of the free market.” It is clear that we shall need collaboration to achieve our goals much faster. This collaboration has to be with governments, regulators, private sector, labour and academia. As South Africa, we are hosting this conference with the sponsorship of the private sector.The ITU Telecom World is scheduled to be addressed by His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, bringing hope of a new dawn for the country, Africa and the world. He is expected to emphasising once more that we should take advantage of the rapid technological developments to help our countries to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals in order to improve the quality of life of all humanity. Collaboration will also help us to define Africa’s strategy in relation to data, which is evidently the fuel that propels the digital economy. Our collective decisions and actions will determine if we are become slaves or own our destiny in the digital economy. Decisions we make about data should support localisation of the digital economy.In South Africa, we have the E-Government Strategy which is our guide for digital transformation and modernising our public service departments to improve service delivery to our citizens. This will enable the Government to offer more services online to the citizens. Some of the non-sensitive personal data generated through this initiative could be made available to third parties so that it can be used for development of new products.Another area of focus should be the collaboration in the area of connecting the people who remain offline. The Smart Africa Initiative has resolved on launching the One Africa Network which is aligned to modern thinking in the rollout of infrastructure as the continent strives to connect her unconnected citizens. New ways of connecting people are required because existing methods have left us with the infrastructure gaps which are now trying to resolve. Training people in digital skills is as important as rolling out infrastructure to cover everyone. In this regard, African countries are rolling out the Internet for All programme which focuses on the provision of digital skills, localisation of the internet content and manufacturing and the rollout of infrastructure. Some private sector companies are partnering with African countries to scale up digital skills training. All these initiative are important because they facilitate the meaningful participation of Africans in the digital economy and empowers them to do so in their own terms.We want this collaboration to cybersecurity. Cyber criminals do not respect national boundaries and they can be defeated through collaboration.The ITU conference is coming at a time South Africa is preparing to host the Investment Summit in October. It therefore offers an excellent opportunity to attract investment from ICT investors. South Africa is indeed open for business.As we host the 2018 ITU Telecom World, we are committed to ensuring that more and more African citizens are connected to this important human right.last_img read more

Hacking scandal: Intruder tries to attack Murdoch during hearing

first_imgThere was high drama inside British parliament as Rupert Murdoch and his son James were being questioned on the hacking scandal. An intruder tried to attack the Murdochs inside the committee room while the hearing was on.The intruder in a check shirt lunged towards the 80-year-old Murdoch from behind and hit him on his shoulder with the plate with shaving foam.He was fought off by a group of people including Rupert Murdoch’s Chinese origin wife Wendi Deng, who appeared to be slapping him. He was caught by a couple of policemen and bundled out.While senior Murdoch remained calm, his son James appeared rattled as he got off to protect his father during the commotion.When the proceedings resumed, Murdoch had removed his jacket and continued his deposition. The committee even apologised to the Murdochs for the incident.Murdoch, his son James, who is the chairman of News Corp’s British arm News International, and former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks were being questioned by the British parliamentary committee.”We are sorry,” James told the panel earlier, adding, “We will make sure our actions are not repeated.” He also said the company has apologized and has accepted its liability.Eighty-year-old Murdoch said, “This is the most humble day of my life.” They faced tough questions from politicians about suspicions that Britain’s parliament was misled over allegations of phone hacking by one of Murdoch’s newspapers.The 10-member panel of politicians on the Culture, Media and Sport committee was to focus on James Murdoch’s admission that parliament was misled over the hacking allegations.advertisementThe Murdochs had initially declined to appear at the British parliamentary hearing, but later changed their minds amid escalating political and public condemnation of suspected media abuses at the News of the World tabloid.News International had previously pinned the blame for phone-hacking crimes on a single rogue reporter, who was convicted in 2007.last_img read more