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Mono’s 7-foot-5 pillar Samuel Deguara (top), denies Renaldo Balkman as Teerawat Chanthachon prepares to give help. —ABL PHOTOBANGKOK —Paul Zamar never imagined being in this moment more than a year ago when he signed for Mono Vampire.Hardly getting attention from PBA teams back home, the former University of the East stalwart found himself playing for the Thai powerhouse in a stadium in the outskirts of Bangkok with his team protecting a three-point cushion against a San Miguel Alab Pilipinas side looking to clinch the Asean Basketball League crown.ADVERTISEMENT P16.5-M worth of aid provided for Taal Volcano eruption victims — NDRRMC Truck driver killed in Davao del Sur road accident In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ LATEST STORIES Carpio 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 “Coming into the clutch, our team effort gave me the opportunity to make a play,” Zamar said. “We were right there trading blows [with Alab]. It was more of relief that I made it.”Even Alab coach Jimmy Alapag raved at Zamar’s basket, the impact of which was almost similar to the one that Ray Parks made over Zamar late in the Filipinos’ 99-93 win in Game 3.“That was a big shot similar to Ray’s the other night,” said Alapag, who was left to rue his team’s sloppiness that resulted in 26 turnovers.Still, Alapag feels they have achieved their mission in the Thai capital by getting a split and taking the series back home for what could be an explosive decider at Santa Rosa Multi-Purpose Sports Complex in Laguna on Wednesday night.Parks finished with 21 points, while Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman had 18 points each for Alab, which played catchup for most of the game following a flat start that saw them commit 19 turnovers in the first half.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Green group flags ‘overkill’ use of plastic banderitas in Manila Sto. Niño feast Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Imports key to PSL Finals With the shot clock winding down, Zamar took two dribbles before knocking in a floater that sealed Mono’s 88-83 victory over Alab Monday night that sent the best-of-five Finals into a winner-take game.“I was not thinking that I was playing against the Philippines, because our season was on the line,” said the 30-year-old Zamar. “It was a relief that I made that shot especially because I was struggling the whole game.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“I didn’t look at it as redemption but as survival,” he went on.Our season was on the line. It wasn’t easy, and we had to find other ways to win.”The 5-foot-11 Zamar finished with 11 points on a mediocre 4-of-12 shooting, but his gutsy drive and that dagger floater gave Mono a lifeline in a series that has turned out to be a dogfight in the first four games. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. ‘Stop romanticizing Pinoy resilience’ MOST READ Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Jo Koy draws ire for cutting through Cebu City traffic with ‘wang-wang’
Matjididi Mokono (centre) is an example of active citizenship in motion. She opened up an orphan centre in 2002 to feed and educate children in the village of GaMagoa in Limpopo. Active citizenship in South Africa has risen in recent years. (Images: Shamin Chibba)More than 10 years ago, when Matjididi Mokono was a primary school teacher, she looked at her community in GaMagoa, Limpopo, and saw its children struggling to live. They were not being fed well enough, many lived with their grandparents, and they were trying to get by in an environment rife with crime, alcoholism and drug abuse.Mokono did something about it. She left her post as a teacher and started Mponogele Le Iterele Orphan Centre under a tree. The initiative was meant to feed and educate the local children. “I wanted to help the children and support their family members who feel overloaded too,” she said.So successful was the project, Mokono started receiving support from the likes of Eskom, Brand South Africa and even overseas funders. Today, the centre has moved from the tree to a property with a small hall, a kitchen and even a computer room.It is people like Mokono who are pushing up South Africa’s score on the active citizenship index, which currently sits at 68%.The index forms part of Brand South Africa’s Domestic Perceptions Survey, which measures both active citizenship and social cohesion. It also contributes to developing an understanding of how South Africans perceive the nation brand based on national pride, attitudes, values and beliefs. On the whole, the survey found South Africans to be positive and optimistic about the future of the country.“South Africans tend to speak badly about themselves,” said Brand South Africa’s research manager Judy Smith-Höhn. “There’s a general tendency to say things are terrible. But what we are able to do is tell the positive story. We’re not looking to cover up challenges.”ACTIVE CITIZENSHIPWhile the active citizenship score was considered good, Smith-Höhn said there was still a lot of work to be done to take it to a level that was considered strong.The score implies that more than half of South Africans participate actively in their respective communities. But the study sample showed that 29% were involved community members who were always willing to contribute to their communities. The bulk of the sample, 53%, would like to be involved members but did not always have the time or money to do so.Level of involvement by percentage. (Images: Brand South Africa)The above graph shows the extent of the respondents’ involvement in their communities. (Images: Brand South Africa)SOCIAL COHESIONSouth Africans were starting to feel they belonged to the country and that they wanted to be here, said Smith-Höhn.The country’s social cohesion score was 73 out of 100, which was a healthy sign, she said. “We have a very high social cohesion index, which is surprising if you think of where we come from as a country.”Based on questions posed to all respondents, research findings revealed that almost half of South African citizens had a strong feeling of cohesion (45%) while 21% had a good sense of cohesion.A breakdown of the social cohesion index. (Images: Brand South Africa)Social cohesion in the Brand South Africa context refers to the degree to which people are integrated in society. Furthermore, it looks at how society’s solidarity finds expression among individuals and communities.In a country with diverse histories, cultures and religions, people feel their living environments are improving. There are fewer feelings of inequality, exclusion and disparity. More than half the respondents felt they were always part of the bigger South African community, and only 10% felt they were always excluded. The remaining 36% said they were sometimes excluded.The above graph indicates the respondents’ feeling of inclusion as a South African citizen. They had to pick one of the above three statements that best described their feelings as an individual living in South Africa. (Images: Brand South Africa)Despite the good vibes South Africans were emanating, the Domestic Perceptions Survey noted that lower income earners were showing some frustration. “The slight dissatisfaction among South Africans around the feelings of inclusion are, in fact, the reason why social cohesion is ‘good’ and not ‘strong.’”According to Brand South Africa, social cohesion improves a country’s economic performance because a more equal society and environment correlate with positive outcomes such as good health, child development and labour market adjustments.The above graph broke down the feelings of inclusion by income levels. A high level of respondents (57%) felt they were part of the bigger South African community. (Images: Brand South Africa) Social cohesion forms a large part of the social sustainability element in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. Even Mo Ibrahim, the billionaire Sudanese-British mobile communications mogul, emphasised the importance of social cohesion at the 11th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in 2013.The National Development Plan (NDP) has made social cohesion one of its priorities for the 2014-2019 electoral mandate. According to the NDP, its objectives are to reduce inequality of opportunity and enable the sharing of common space.ACTIVE CITIZENRY LINKED TO UNITYThe Domestic Perceptions Survey linked active citizenship and social cohesion. It found that an active citizenry was a key component of a more socially cohesive society. “Citizens need to help shape the development process and hold the government to account for the quality of services it delivers.”The report offered two recommendations: promote youth participation as a way to enhance active citizenship and promote inclusiveness among marginalised groups to enhance feelings of cohesiveness.
Several jawans were injured in an attack by militants on a CRPF patrol party near Lazibal area, Anantnag district of south Kashmir, on Thursday morning.However, unconfirmed reports suggest four jawans were injured. “We are assessing the situation. Reinforcements have been sent to nab the attackers,” said a police official.
Following the weekend’s training camp in Sydney, Australian Women’s Open squad member, Jessica McCall tells us about how the camp went and the squad’s excitement in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup. I always get excited when it comes to an Australian Touch Camp because although we all live pretty far apart, when we come together it feels like we see each other every week. Although when everyone arrived, we hadn’t seen each other since we were playing against each other at State of Origin a few months ago so we had the usual catch up with everyone while preparing for the start of the camp. While Belly, Phil, Swingers and Marto got the formalities out of the way about what to expect in the next six months, we had a few fresh faces that have been included into the squad which is always great to see. Hannah, Laura, Tamika and Sammy were included into the Women’s squad after an amazing year of Touch from all four of them. Belly also had asked three Under 18’s Australian reps to train with us which gave them in insight into the Australian Open’s Team and hopefully where they’ll end up in next couple of years.While we all knew that we had a fitness test before the camp, everyone was a bit on edge, especially me, as we all knew Belly likes our team to be physically fit as he likes a running game. While there were a few nervous faces and a few panic attacks, the test got under way. We ran for eight minutes, had an eight minute break and then ran for eight minutes again. While it doesn’t sound like much, the test is quite physically demanding and even more mentally demanding. Luckily I had Hannah Dyball helping me every step along the way but the whole team really put in a massive effort which I think comes down to our attitude to retaining the World Cup. With fitness out of the way, Belly decided to put us into two teams: Cows and Ducks. The Ducks were practically any squad member under 20 years of age versus the Cows which we classified as the older but more experienced. Although the Cows didn’t possess the youthfulness or the speed of the Ducks, the Cows had experience and experience won us the first challenge of line attack. The young ones were punished by Phil with V-sit holds and the young ones were determined to get back at us. Dummy-half running was next on the agenda and my team, the Cows thought it would be a good idea to give the Ducks some confidence and let them win this challenge, although this punishment would happen after our 20 metre Touch game. 20 metre Touch is a variation of Beach Touch and the Old Cows were once again winners so we ended up doing the punishment which was planks. The day was over after Ice Baths and everyone is a little sore and sorry but a very successful first day.We arrived on Sunday quite early and as everyone is booting up, Laura Peattie realises she forgot her boots. So lucky a Touch friend lived close by and her dad Ray Ray drove her boots out to her. The morning session revolved around driving patterns and yet again another challenge occurred with the experienced Cows winning again and the young Duckies had to army crawl the whole length of the field. This was one challenge us Cows knew we had to win as we probably wouldn’t be able to stand up if we had to do this punishment.We then had a proper game against the West’s Division One Men’s team which really showed us how far we’ve come in the space of two days. Our driving, talk and defence was amazing and the commitment shown by every player was world class. When the game finished we all knew we that we had something special within this squad and every player could pull on the Green and Gold jersey without any hesitation. If only we were allowed to take 20 players to the World Cup as I believe everyone deserved a spot to take the field in the World Cup.Our whole team would like to thank Belly, Swingers and Phil for such an organised camp and we all know the direction in which the Australian Women’s Open team is headed in. To Marto, thanks for being our Touch mum while at camp and knowing what we are going through really helps us more than you know. To TFA, thank you for your time and for organising a great camp for the entire Open squads. Related LinksAussie Camp Diary