“Ashes to ashes:” Firefighters tackle fires in devastated Amazon

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2019   •   420

(Image grabbed from Reuters footage)

Tree trunk ashes are all that remain in a barren portion of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil’s state of Rondonia. A dead bird lies next to a lifeless tree, a sombre scene which has angered the international community as a record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest intensified an unfolding environmental crisis.

Amid a global chorus of concern and condemnation, Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro pledged in an address to the nation to mobilize the army to help combat the blazes, while his administration launched a diplomatic charm offensive to try to mend bridges overseas.

Forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon, which accounts for more than half of the world’s largest rainforest, have surged in number by 83% this year, according to government data, destroying vast swathes of a vital bulwark against global climate change.

Environmentalists have warned that his controversial plans for more agriculture and mining in the region will speed up deforestation.

The Brazilian space agency INPE has registered 72,843 fires this year, the highest number since records began in 2013. More than 9,500 have been spotted by satellites over the past week.

Although fires are a regular and natural occurrence during the dry season at this time of year, environmentalists blamed the jump on farmers clearing land for pasture.

Farmers may have had at least tacit encouragement from the firebrand right-wing president, who took power in January.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly said he believes Brazil should open up the Amazon to business interests, allowing mining, agricultural and logging companies to exploit its natural resources. (Reuters)

(Production: Sebastian Rocandio)

UNTV Cup: PNP faces Malacañang in must- win game on Sunday

UNTV News   •   October 19, 2019

Facing elimination in the League of Public Servants, PO3 Anton Tolentino must-take charge to win the remaining 3 games of PNP Responders. 

Former UNTV Cup Season 5 champion PNP Responders must win against the multi-season finalist Malacañang-PSC Kamao on Sunday (October 20) at Pasig City Sports Center to keep their bid for the next round in the league of public servants.

As a winless team in Group B, the Responders share the bottom two spot with the GSIS Furies.

After the first-round elimination, only the top four from each group will advance to the next round. The lowest two teams in each bracket will go on vacation early.

Tough as it may seem, they cannot afford to lose their three remaining games. But what they will be facing are the unbeaten Malacañang-PSC which flashes solid offense and defense prowess in all of its 3 games, the GSIS Furies and the reinforced two-time champion Judiciary Magis.

The Responders will basically still rely on Ollan Omiping, Anton Tolentino with the support from Richard Villanueva and rookie Mariano Flormata Jr.

While the Raffy Gonzales-coached Malacañang-PSC Kamao will be led by Eric dela Cuesta, the Javier brothers, Visnu and Narayan, Myk Jimenez, Ian Garrido with solid supporting cast: Joseph Besa, Michael Ignario and rookies Joseph Roque, Jeff Punzalan.

The PNP- Malacañang-PSC bout will take place at 5:00 pm, Sunday.

An explosive 2nd game is also expected as the multi-season champion AFP Cavaliers will take on the revitalized Department of Agriculture Food Masters.

At the helm of the Food Masters team is PBA Legend Rodney Santos who takes pride of hard-fought victories in their first two encounters against PITC Global Traders and Ombudsman Graft Busters.

In the other games, rookie team SSS Kabalikat will take on sophomore UNTV Cup team PITC Global Traders at 2pm.

SSS Kabalikat, being win-less also, need to win all their remaining games to prevent early eviction.

UNTV Cup can be seen live at Pasig City Sports Center for free or via Facebook and YouTube accounts and of course via UNTV channel and UNTV website.

Team Standings

GROUP A
AFP Cavaliers 3-0
Agriculture Food Masters 2-0
Ombudsman Graftbusters 1-2
PITC Global Traders 1-2
PhilHealth Plus 1-2
SSS Kabalikat 0-2

GROUP B
Malacañan PSC Kamao 3-0
DENR Warriors 2-0
NHA Builders 2-1
Judiciary Magis 1-2
GSIS Furies 0-3
PNP Responders 0-2  

PhilHealth, GSIS in ‘must-win’ situation at UNTV Cup

UNTV News   •   October 12, 2019

The injury-stricken PhilHealth Plus is expected to lean on to Jonathan Aldave and Kenneth Emata against the Ombudsman Graft Busters

The winless teams, PhilHealth Plus and GSIS Furies must defeat their opponents this coming Sunday as they are on the verge of early elimination being on the bottom two in their respective groups.

In the first game of the triple-header, GSIS Furies would have to breach the tough defense of Malacanang-PSC Kamao head-on.

It’s going to be a big task for the Rene Banzali and Roger Yap-led team to even demoralize their opponent because Coach Raffy Gonzales’ Kamao team has the perfect winning momentum; on the other hand they will come from two-straight sorry loses.

The battle between the President’s men and the government-worker insurers is slated at 2 pm at Pasig City Sports Center.

In the other game, PhilHealth Plus must triumph against the Ombudsman Graft Busters led by its big man tandem of Bernzon Franco and Samuel Ignacio and the reinforcement playing coach of Edsel del Rosario.

The Health Insurers and “Tanod Bayan” face off is scheduled at 3:30 in the afternoon.

And in the main card of UNTV Cup Sunday games, Judiciary Magis and NHA Builders are eager to get the win that will decide their ranking in Group B with both having a 1-1 record.

Judiciary comes from a victorious game against GSIS last September 29.

Coach Joey Yabut said, “Sabi ko sa mga players, kailangan nating manalo kasi kapag nadalawang sunod tayo, mahirap na tayo bumawi kasi tatlong malalakas pa yung kalaban natin.”

NHA Builders Coach Benett Palad says, “Kailangan naming manalo doon para pumasok kami sa taas … yung team ko kasi ngayon nagkakaroon na ng camaraderie at teamwork so mas gumaganda yung takbuhan. Konting konti na lang ang i-aadjust ko na mali nila.” — Bernard Dadis

Aside from NHA, the Magis is slated to face DENR and PNP.

While the NHA Builders are determined to bounce back from a disheartening loss from Malacanang-PSC Kamao two-weeks ago.

Mysterious oil spill contaminates beaches across swathe of Brazilian coast

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2019

Slick from a mysterious oil spill blighted Brazil’s beaches over the weekend, as clean-up efforts get underway.

Reports of the oil spill emerged late last month.

Brazil’s environmental agency Ibama has reported that an analysis of a vast oil spill along the country’s northeastern beaches showed that the spilled crude did not originate in the country.

Ibama said in a statement that it had been investigating the spill on several beaches in some northeastern states since Sept. 2.

The spill spans over 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) of Brazil’s northeast coast, affecting wildlife and polluting some of the postcard beaches in one of the nation’s top touristic destinations.

A wide-scale cleanup operation is underway along the coast. (Reuters)

(Production: Pablo Garcia)

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