THE CANADIAN PRESS
LONDON — Canada will take on Israel in the Davis Cup playoffs later this summer, with the winning team advancing to the World Group.
Israel won a draw to host the best-of-five tie from Sept. 16-18. A venue and court surface will be announced at a later date.
Canada defeated Mexico 4-1 on the road in March in the Americas Zone Group I first-round tie and followed that up with a 3-2 victory over Ecuador last weekend.
“Our goal for this year since Day 1 has been to make World Group and we have given ourselves that opportunity,” Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau said Wednesday in a release. “We will have to play on the road again but we’ve won two challenging away ties already this year which I think has given our team confidence.
“Israel will be tough but our guys have gained tons of experience so we’re just going to have to work hard through the summer to give ourselves the best chance to win.”
Israel is the seeded team with a Davis Cup world ranking of No. 10., well ahead of Canada at No. 21. This will be their first meeting in Davis Cup play.
The other playoff matchups include Australia versus Switzerland; Romania versus Czech Republic; Russia versus Brazil; South Africa versus Croatia; Chile versus Italy; Japan versus India; and Belgium versus Austria.
By Rivka Borochov
Through Israeli circumcision operations, thousands of African men have improved their chance of reaching old age by 60 percent. This ancient Jewish ritual has proven to reduce the AIDS/HIV epidemic considerably, and Jewish Israeli expertise is transferring this public health tool to Africa. Now a new agreement with the United Nations makes Israel an official “contributing nation” to the UN’s efforts to fight the deadly disease. Israel’s Health and Foreign ministries will earmark an initial fund totaling $250,000 toward a special task force called UNAIDS.
The agreement was signed in April by Aharon Leshno Yaar, Israel’s ambassador to UN institutions in Geneva, to battle an infectious disease that knows no political borders and has killed millions of people in Africa over the last 30 years. With lack of access to anti-viral medications, or refrigerators to keep the medication effective, African nations are overwhelmed by the rate of AIDS-related deaths, and the millions of orphans the virus has created.
This development exemplifies Israel’s commitment to providing foreign aid, and also gives credence to the work of hundreds of Israeli volunteers who have been educating South Americans in AIDS prevention for more than two decades, mainly through picture flashcard kits innovated by the non-profit Jerusalem AIDS Project.
A history of helping
Dr. Inon Shenkar, director of the Jerusalem AIDS Project, says Israel’s involvement dates from 1988, when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs enlisted MASHAV, its center for international cooperation, to work with the organization to implement AIDS education in Latin America, starting with Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Peru, and later on Argentina and Brazil.
“Israel’s Foreign Ministry paved the way for these countries to launch school-based education programs,” Shenkar says, citing his organization’s involvement in training according to the MASHAV model: Don’t give the hungry fish, but the skills so they can fish for themselves. The programs became a resounding success, says Shenkar, and have become part of the national training programs in the respective countries.
Today, the Jerusalem AIDS Project is very active in Africa. While coordinated through the Israeli government, its work is made possible by donations. Shenkar says he is happy that the government has decided to fund the initiative in Africa, but millions more are needed to address the problem fully.
The Jerusalem AIDS Project has maintained its area of focus on education in African nations such as South Africa, Swaziland, Ethiopia and Uganda, and it recently ran a teacher training workshop in Myanmar.
What drives Shenkar is a desire to alleviate human suffering, but at the same time he is proud that the work of his organization helps to “rebrand Israel, to show we are much more than a country in conflict.” Shenkar says he is constantly getting calls from backpackers asking for a copy of his flashcard kit. “They travel with it and do miracles,” he says.
Translated by Yadin Katz (Via Nocamels)
Have you ever visited a great restaurant and then told all your friends about it? You are not alone. A joint research by the Movement Ecology Lab at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Nature and National Parks Authority has discovered that vultures are “gossiping” about food and communicate information about worthy eating locations.
The Griffon vulture, a big bird on the verge of extinction, has suffered a decrease in numbers in Israel in the past few years due to poisoning, shooting and electrocution. In order to figure out where they fly and how they find their food, the researchers did a study on the local eagle population. The results of this study were presented during the 39th conference of the Israeli Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
The team of researchers, Roee Harel, Or Spiegel and Proffessor Ran Natan attached GPS transmitters to 43 vultures in the past 43 years, in order to follow their paths and habits in nature. The technological advantage of the transmitters is that they can deliver an exact location of the vulture every couple of minutes. Equipped with accelerometers, they also give the researchers insight into the vultures’ behaviors. That way they can find out if the vulture was eating, walking, flying, or gliding throughout his course.
“Most carcasses on which the vultures feed are being supplied by the Nature and National Parks Authority in special feeding stations. That allows us to watch them, control the amount of food,” said Roee Harel of the research team. “However, the vultures also feed off the occasional animal carcass they find on their own.”
The research shows that the vultures’ night colonies actually function as information centers where they exchange information and “gossip” with each other. “If a vulture has eaten somewhere and comes at the end of the day to a colony with vultures who haven’t eaten anything, we found that the next day they will all follow together to the spot with the food,” said Harel.
After identifying the vultures, the researchers’ goal was to find out if there was a correlation between the dates of departure of different vulture from their colony. “We found a correlation between the date of departure of individuals who did find food and the individuals who didn’t find any food,” said Professor Ran Natan.