Last month, for the first time in history, Bornean orang-utans were declared critically endangered — one step away from total extinction. Bay Ismoyo / AFP Photo
Last month, for the first time in history, Bornean orang-utans were declared critically endangered — one step away from total extinction. Bay Ismoyo / AFP Photo

Inside Borneo’s jungle school that helps rescued orang-utans return to wild



KETAPANG, INDONESIA // Ignoring the shrieks of his rowdy, wrestling classmates, baby orang-utan Otan practises swinging alone at his “jungle school” on Borneo island, switching hands and hanging upside down as he builds confidence high above the forest floor.

The three-year-old is learning to fend for himself since being found wandering a palm oil plantation, alone and suffering smoke inhalation, at the height of fires last year that razed swathes of rainforest in Indonesia’s part of Borneo.

Otan and the other orphans must build nests, find food and avoid predators — especially man — to prove they’re ready to “graduate” and return to the wild, but life in the real world has never been more perilous.

Last month, for the first time in history, Bornean orang-utans were declared critically endangered — one step away from total extinction.

Experts warn these majestic primates — who could once cross Borneo without ever touching the ground — could vanish entirely from the island within 50 years as the rainforest they’ve inhabited for centuries is felled and burnt at alarming speed.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Ayu Budi, a veterinarian who heads the orang-utan health clinic at the International Animal Rescue centre in West Kalimantan province.

“When you see them, it’s really sad. They’re supposed to be with their mothers in the wild, living happily, but they’re here.”

The 101 orang-utans under Ms Budi’s care — including the 16 playful infants — are the lucky ones, rescued near death and nurtured back to health with baby bottles in a tranche of protected forest outside the city of Ketapang.

But hundreds of thousands of their species have died in the past four decades across Borneo, slaughtered by hunters, burnt in land-clearing fires or starved to death by habitat loss.

Rampant logging and the rapid expansion of commercial-scale paper and palm oil operations across the island has reduced the species’s habitat by at least 55 per cent in two decades, says environmental group WWF, driving them into ever-closer contact with humans.

The result has been wild orang-utan populations in free fall. In the mid-70s, nearly 300,000 of these great apes roamed Borneo. Today, just a third of that number remain.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature — which changed the species’s threat level to critical — estimates a mere 47,000 will be left in the wild by 2025.

Those working at the coalface are under no illusions that efforts to arrest this decline have not succeeded, said Chris Wiggs, a conservation adviser at IAR’s forest outpost in Ketapang.

“I think people on the ground working in Borneo have known for a long time that the orang-utan situation was pretty desperate,” he said, as a wheelbarrow of baby orang-utans passed on its way to the nursery.

The number at the centre has grown nearly tenfold since 2009 as ever-increasing amounts of forest is cleared by industry.

Two of the school’s newest pupils are Vijay and Moli who were found without their mothers near burnt land.

They are the victims of fire, an annual scourge that has escalated into a major threat to the future of the species.

Every dry season across Indonesian Borneo, fires are illegally lit by land owners to quickly and cheaply clear forest for new plantations.

The fires often get out of hand, tearing through forest and smouldering relentlessly on Borneo’s compact, carbon-rich peatlands.

Last year’s blazes were among the worst on record.

Fanned by a prolonged dry season, fires tore through 2.6 million hectares of Indonesian forest, laying waste to prime orang-utan habitat.

The smoke turned skies yellow in Indonesia and blanketed neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, forcing schools to shut and causing thousands to fall ill.

Conservationists fear a repeat disaster of that scale would ring the death knell for the Bornean orang-utan.

“I think we’re all pretty scared ... whether the species can take another hit like that,” Mr Wiggs said.

Under international pressure, Jakarta has promised action.

This month an Indonesian company linked to the 2015 fires was slapped with a US$80 million fine — a record for slash and burn activities, a spokesman for the environment minister said.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo in April proposed a halt on granting new land for palm oil plantations, urging producers of the edible oil to use better seeds to increase their yields.

“We need to restore and rehabilitate our peatlands, and fix past mistakes,” said Sustyo Iriono, the head of the government’s conservation agency in West Kalimantan.

Ms Budi and her colleagues remain optimistic, teaching orang-utans like Jack — a mischievous, attention-seeking seven-year-old — to forage by hiding peanuts and honey inside plastic balls high in the treetops.

But she frets her young charge will never get the chance to prove his independence in the wild, as Borneo’s lowland forests shrink ever smaller.

“I think they still have a chance, but if the forest is gone, it will be difficult,” she said.

* Agence France-Presse

EA Sports FC 24

Developer: EA Vancouver, EA Romania
Publisher: EA Sports
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
Rating: 3.5/5

MAIN CARD

Bantamweight 56.4kg
Abrorbek Madiminbekov v Mehdi El Jamari

Super heavyweight 94+kg
Adnan Mohammad v Mohammed Ajaraam

Lightweight 60kg
Zakaria Eljamari v Faridoon Alik Zai

Light heavyweight 81.4kg
Mahmood Amin v Taha Marrouni

Light welterweight 64.5kg
Siyovush Gulmamadov v Nouredine Samir

Light heavyweight 81.4kg
Ilyass Habibali v Haroun Baka

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Gold
Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Silver
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Bronze
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

$1,000 award for 1,000 days on madrasa portal

Daily cash awards of $1,000 dollars will sweeten the Madrasa e-learning project by tempting more pupils to an education portal to deepen their understanding of math and sciences.

School children are required to watch an educational video each day and answer a question related to it. They then enter into a raffle draw for the $1,000 prize.

“We are targeting everyone who wants to learn. This will be $1,000 for 1,000 days so there will be a winner every day for 1,000 days,” said Sara Al Nuaimi, project manager of the Madrasa e-learning platform that was launched on Tuesday by the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to reach Arab pupils from kindergarten to grade 12 with educational videos.  

“The objective of the Madrasa is to become the number one reference for all Arab students in the world. The 5,000 videos we have online is just the beginning, we have big ambitions. Today in the Arab world there are 50 million students. We want to reach everyone who is willing to learn.”

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Name: Brendalle Belaza

From: Crossing Rubber, Philippines

Arrived in the UAE: 2007

Favourite place in Abu Dhabi: NYUAD campus

Favourite photography style: Street photography

Favourite book: Harry Potter

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Company profile

Name: Homie Portal LLC

Started: End of 2021 

Founder: Abdulla Al Kamda 

Based: Dubai

Sector: FinTech 

Initial investment: Undisclosed 

Current number of staff: 14 

Investment stage: Launch 

Investors: Self-funded

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Roll of honour 2019-2020

Dubai Rugby Sevens
Winners: Dubai Hurricanes
Runners up: Bahrain

West Asia Premiership
Winners: Bahrain
Runners up: UAE Premiership

UAE Premiership
}Winners: Dubai Exiles
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes

UAE Division One
Winners: Abu Dhabi Saracens
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes II

UAE Division Two
Winners: Barrelhouse
Runners up: RAK Rugby

PRISCILLA

Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi

Rating: 3/5

Apple Mac through the years

1984 - Apple unveiled the Macintosh on January 24
1985 - Steve Jobs departed from Apple and established NeXT
1986 - Apple introduced the Macintosh Plus, featuring enhanced memory
1987 - Apple launched the Macintosh II, equipped with colour capabilities
1989 - The widely acclaimed Macintosh SE/30 made its debut
1994 - Apple presented the Power Macintosh
1996 - The Macintosh System Software OS underwent a rebranding as Mac OS
2001 - Apple introduced Mac OS X, marrying Unix stability with a user-friendly interface
2006 - Apple adopted Intel processors in MacBook Pro laptops
2008 - Apple introduced the MacBook Air, a lightweight laptop
2012 - Apple launched the MacBook Pro with a retina display
2016 - The Mac operating system underwent rebranding as macOS
2020 - Apple introduced the M1 chip for Macs, combining high performance and energy efficiency
2022 - The M2 chip was announced
2023 -The M3 line-up of chip was announced to improve performance and add new capabilities for Mac.

Western Region Asia Cup Qualifier

Results

UAE beat Saudi Arabia by 12 runs

Kuwait beat Iran by eight wickets

Oman beat Maldives by 10 wickets

Bahrain beat Qatar by six wickets

Semi-finals

UAE v Qatar

Bahrain v Kuwait

 

RESULTS

5pm: Rated Conditions (PA) Dh85,000 (Turf) 1,600m
Winner: AF Mouthirah, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer)

5.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: AF Alajaj, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

6pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: Hawafez, Connor Beasley, Abubakar Daud

6.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner: Tair, Fabrice Veron, Eric Lemartinel

7pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 2,200m
Winner: Wakeel W’Rsan, Richard Mullen, Jaci Wickham

7.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh100,000 (T) 2,400m
Winner: Son Of Normandy, Fernando Jara, Ahmad bin Harmash

Recent winners

2002 Giselle Khoury (Colombia)

2004 Nathalie Nasralla (France)

2005 Catherine Abboud (Oceania)

2007 Grace Bijjani  (Mexico)

2008 Carina El-Keddissi (Brazil)

2009 Sara Mansour (Brazil)

2010 Daniella Rahme (Australia)

2011 Maria Farah (Canada)

2012 Cynthia Moukarzel (Kuwait)

2013 Layla Yarak (Australia)              

2014 Lia Saad  (UAE)

2015 Cynthia Farah (Australia)

2016 Yosmely Massaad (Venezuela)

2017 Dima Safi (Ivory Coast)

2018 Rachel Younan (Australia)

Sustainable Development Goals

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its effects

14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

Why all the lefties?

Six of the eight fast bowlers used in the ILT20 match between Desert Vipers and MI Emirates were left-handed. So 75 per cent of those involved.
And that despite the fact 10-12 per cent of the world’s population is said to be left-handed.
It is an extension of a trend which has seen left-arm pacers become highly valued – and over-represented, relative to other formats – in T20 cricket.
It is all to do with the fact most batters are naturally attuned to the angles created by right-arm bowlers, given that is generally what they grow up facing more of.
In their book, Hitting Against the Spin, cricket data analysts Nathan Leamon and Ben Jones suggest the advantage for a left-arm pace bowler in T20 is amplified because of the obligation on the batter to attack.
“The more attacking the batsman, the more reliant they are on anticipation,” they write.
“This effectively increases the time pressure on the batsman, so increases the reliance on anticipation, and therefore increases the left-arm bowler’s advantage.”

Company profile

Name: WallyGPT
Started: 2014
Founders: Saeid and Sami Hejazi
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment raised: $7.1 million
Number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Pre-seed round


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