New duck species found in Philippines

Question: If you woke up one morning and saw this handsome bird flying overhead, what sort of habitat would you be standing in? Would you need to wear a coat or would you instead need to wear bug spray? Where in the world would you be? Would you be excited to see this bird? If so, why? Can you identify this mystery bird’s taxonomic family and species?

Response: This is an adult Philippine duck, Anas luzonica, a distinctively-marked duck that is endemic to the Philippines. The Philippine duck is placed into one of the most recognisable taxonomic families for birds, Anatidae, which includes ducks, geese and swans.

However, the genus, Anas, is a different story. It is a maddening tangle of poorly understood and often fuzzy relationships. This confusion stems from the rapid and recent radiation of Anas species, which renders most molecular markers ineffective at resolving taxonomic relationships. Further, as anyone who watches birds knows, Anas species readily hybridise with their congeners as well as other family members, usually producing fertile offspring. Thus, introgression “muddies the genetic waters”, rendering mitochondrial DNA mostly useless for resolving phylogenetic relationships whilst nuclear DNA evolves too slowly to reveal anything of value.

The Philippine duck is lumped into the Pacific clade of Anas, along with the Hawaiian duck, A. wyvilliana, Laysan duck, A. laysanensis, Pacific black duck, A. superciliosa and the extinct Mariana mallard, Anas (platyrhynchos) oustaleti.

The Philippine duck is distinctively marked, with a cinnamon head, with a black crown and nape, a bold black stripe through the eye, bluish-grey bill with a black nail, brownish-grey body, and greyish-brown legs. The upperwing coverts (known as the speculum in ducks) is an iridescent blue-green with black borders and a narrow white edge, and the underwing is white. The sexes are look the same, and juveniles are slightly paler than adults.

This large dabbling duck is found a variety of wetland habitats, in both freshwater and saltwater, including watercourses inside forest, mangroves, and even open sea. They feed on fish, shrimps, insects, rice and young vegetation. This species is sedentary.

Question: If you woke up one morning and saw this handsome bird flying overhead, what sort of habitat would you be standing in? Would you need to wear a coat or would you instead need to wear bug spray? Where in the world would you be? Would you be excited to see this bird? If so, why? Can you identify this mystery bird’s taxonomic family and species?

Response: This is an adult Philippine duck, Anas luzonica, a distinctively-marked duck that is endemic to the Philippines. The Philippine duck is placed into one of the most recognisable taxonomic families for birds, Anatidae, which includes ducks, geese and swans.

However, the genus, Anas, is a different story. It is a maddening tangle of poorly understood and often fuzzy relationships. This confusion stems from the rapid and recent radiation of Anas species, which renders most molecular markers ineffective at resolving taxonomic relationships. Further, as anyone who watches birds knows, Anas species readily hybridise with their congeners as well as other family members, usually producing fertile offspring. Thus, introgression “muddies the genetic waters”, rendering mitochondrial DNA mostly useless for resolving phylogenetic relationships whilst nuclear DNA evolves too slowly to reveal anything of value.

The Philippine duck is lumped into the Pacific clade of Anas, along with the Hawaiian duck, A. wyvilliana, Laysan duck, A. laysanensis, Pacific black duck, A. superciliosa and the extinct Mariana mallard, Anas (platyrhynchos) oustaleti.

The Philippine duck is distinctively marked, with a cinnamon head, with a black crown and nape, a bold black stripe through the eye, bluish-grey bill with a black nail, brownish-grey body, and greyish-brown legs. The upperwing coverts (known as the speculum in ducks) is an iridescent blue-green with black borders and a narrow white edge, and the underwing is white. The sexes are look the same, and juveniles are slightly paler than adults.

This large dabbling duck is found a variety of wetland habitats, in both freshwater and saltwater, including watercourses inside forest, mangroves, and even open sea. They feed on fish, shrimps, insects, rice and young vegetation. This species is sedentary.

Unfortunately, due to high levels of hunting and trapping, clearing of mangroves for shrimp farms, development of wetlands for aquaculture and fishponds, and escalating levels of pesticide use on rice paddies, this species is in rapid decline — dare I say that their numbers are plummeting at a dizzying rate? In 1993, the Philippine duck’s population was estimated at 10,000-100,000, but fewer than 10,000 birds were thought to remain by 2002. There are 5,000 or fewer Philippine ducks alive today. If we aren’t careful, this species could disappear in the blink of an eye.

Incredible! Is this the luckiest penalty you’ll ever see?

You won’t see a penalty like this again anytime soon. During an under 17’s match between Chivas and Lobos BUAP in Mexico, this young lad did the seemingly impossible.

Diego Campillo, from Guadalajara, decided to step up and take Chivas’ first spot-kick in this tense penalty shoot-out

And everyone on the pitch though he’d missed when he pummeled the crossbar with a thunderous effort, but after what seemed like an eternity the ball bounced down and found the net.

ESPN labeled it the ‘most unbelievable penalty in football history’ as the clip soon went viral over the weekend.

Campillo walked away in utter shock, biting his shirt, as the scoreboard changed from red to green to indicate that he actually scored from the spot.

Image: Chivas TV
Image: Chivas TV

Last year, Rubin Kazan’s U21 forward Norik Avdalya scored one of most audacious penalties you’re ever likely to see for Kazan National Research Technical University.

His club might have been 1-0 down against Cheboksary Government Pedagogical University, but Avdalyan decided to experiment by backflipping, yes BACKFLIPPING, before smashing the ball into the back of the net.

The striker wheeled away in celebration as the goalkeeper looked around, stunned like the rest of us watching at home.

How did he manage this, then?

Kazan National Research Technical University went on to win the match 4-0 but as expected, this incredible penalty grabbed all the headlines.

Remarkably, the striker did the exact same penalty last year, but it was not an official game as it is now.

View image on Twitter

You can’t beat an unorthodox penalty.

Woods has belief in 14th major win

No. 14 — The 2006 PGA Championship

Tiger posted 21 birdies and only three bogeys in 72 holes and won fairly easily during a birdie-fest that tarnished Medinah’s reputation as a major-worthy site. There was potential for an exciting finish since Woods began the final round tied with Luke Donald, but Donald melted with 74 and Woods shot 68 and easily won by three over former PGA champ Shaun Micheel. — Gary Van Sickle

No. 13 — The 2007 PGA Championship

Tiger avoided a major-season shutout by outdueling Ernie Els and Woody Austin in a sloppy final round at Southern Hills. The pursuers had closed to within a shot when Woods slammed the door with a clutch 7-iron shot and a 15-foot birdie putt at the 15th hole. Southern Hills was supposed to be a Tiger-killer course with its many doglegged fairways that he had played so poorly in the ’01 U.S. Open, but he proved the experts wrong.— Gary Van Sickle

No. 12 — The 2005 Masters

With apologies to Gene Sarazen, Tiger’s chip-in on the 16th hole in the final round is now the most famous shot in golf history thanks to instant replay. It is no less fantastic now as that ball rolls backwards towards the cup, teeters on the edge and finally drops. Hollywood couldn’t have done it better. The fact that Woods bogeyed the next two holes, and then needed two more holes to dispatch the gritty DiMarco only added to the drama.— Gary Van Sickle

No. 11 — The 2005 British Open

This was not the robot Tiger of 2000. This was Tiger in the midst of a reboot, fine-tuning yet another swing change.

Still, he played like an android assassin, laying waste to a championship field.

Attacking the Old Course with mechanical precision, Woods opened with a steely 66 on Thursday, then backed it up with rounds of 66, 67 and 71. He led wire to wire and was never really threatened. If there were glitches in the system, they didn’t show.

For anyone in search of human subplots, the week was sweetly scripted. Jack Nicklaus, who’d claimed two of his majors at St. Andrews, opted to make this his Open swan song. He missed the cut, and bid farewell on Friday from the Swilcan Bridge, clearing the weekend stage for his successor, who had claimed the Claret Jug at the Old Course in 2000 and with this repeat completed a second career Grand Slam — at least two titles at each of the four majors.

With emotions riding high around him, Woods went about his cold-eyed work, navigating breezes and quirky bounces and completing all four rounds with just a single three-putt. (Even that was on a short par 4 he’d driven, so he walked off the green without losing a stroke.)

A few players came within radar distance, including Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal and Retief Goosen. But it was Colin Montgomerie who finished closest, five strokes off Tiger’s steady pace. You had to feel for Monty, falling short once more to Iron Byron. It had happened to him famously at the ’97 Masters, when Tiger blew away the competition at Augusta. That week, in Georgia, after being paired with Tiger in the third round, Monty had rung a note of resignation that would have applied nicely at St. Andrews, too. “All I have to say is one brief comment. There is no chance. We’re all human beings here.”

Well, nearly all of them, anyway.— Josh Sens[video:2265439]

No. 10 – The 2002 Masters

By age 26, been-there-done-that moments were piling up for Tiger Woods. One feat he hadn’t accomplished, however, was repeating as Masters champ. Only two players had ever gone back-to-back at Augusta, Jack Nicklaus in 1965-66 and Nick Faldo in 1989-90. On April 14, 2002 Woods ticked another box by defending the title he had captured in 2001. It had all the suspense of a church bake sale.

During a rainy, mud-stained event that forced Woods to play 26 holes on Saturday, on a golf course that had been “Tiger-proofed” (again), with trees planted and nine holes lengthened, no one had any answers for golf’s dominant Number 1.

By Saturday night, a dream leaderboard had emerged, with Woods and 2001 U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen (World No. 4) tied at the top at 11-under-par 205, followed by four others ranked in the top 7, Vijay Singh (7th) , Ernie Els (3rd), Sergio Garcia (5th) and Phil Mickelson (2nd). By Sunday night, it was a dream deferred for everybody except Woods.

On a dull final round with little movement at the top, Woods dropped an enormous wet blanket on the field. His 71 was sufficient to down Goosen by three and Mickelson by four, but it may as well have been 13 and 14, so complete was his beat-down. “You just know Tiger is not going to make any big mistakes,” said Goosen, whose three-putt bogey at the first hole set the stage for failure, as Woods was opening with par-birdie-birdie.

Added a dazed Mickelson, “When other guys are up there, you know that if you can just stay around there, there’s a good chance they might come back two or three shots. But Tiger doesn’t seem to ever do that.” After Woods chipped in for birdie from behind the green at the par-3 6th, everybody was playing for second — yet again.— Joe Passov

No. 9 – The 2000 British Open

In preparation for this millennial Open, the R&A had deepened and steepened the fabled bunkers at the Old Course, which doesn’t mean that they’d actually Tiger-proofed the track.

A little more than a month after blowing away the field by 15 strokes at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, Woods winged into St. Andrews and stripped the home of golf down to its studs.

He went around on Thursday in 67, then tacked on scores of 66, 67 and 69 en route to a 19-under tournament total that was eight strokes clear of the closest competition, runner-ups Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els.

By claiming the Claret Jug, Woods, then 24, became the youngest player ever to complete the career Grand Slam, snatching the honor from Jack Nicklaus, who was 26 when he pulled off the trick.

Parroting Bobby Jones, Nicklaus had once noted that Tiger played a game “with which I’m not familiar.”

No one else at St. Andrews had seen his likes before.

“He’s the best who ever played,” Mark Calcavecchia said. “And he’s only 24.”

Added Bjorn: “Somebody out there is playing golf on a different planet.”

Otherworldly as it was, Tiger’s performance was also largely uneventful. He racked up big red numbers without making an eagle. A three-putt on the second hole on Saturday gave him his first bogey of the event.

As for those steepened bunkers, they punished other players, including Tiger’s Sunday playing partner, David Duval, who required four strokes to escape the Road Hole bunker on 17. But they didn’t bother Tiger, who completed all four rounds without ever once finding the sand.— Josh Sens

No. 8 – The 2002 U.S. Open

The brash New York golf fans, watching the first major championship ever played at a course they felt belonged to them — Bethpage State Park’s Black Course — roared for a still major-less Phil Mickelson, hassled Sergio Garcia for his club-waggling and nervous regripping, and were impressed by Tiger Woods.

It wasn’t that Tiger played his best golf at the 2002 United States Open. He didn’t. And that’s why they should have been impressed.

“You could say he won this tournament with his B game,” said Padraig Harrington, who tied for eighth. “If he can win like that, he can probably win the next two.”

Woods was in one of his unstoppable modes, it seemed. He carried a four-stroke lead into the final round, then made three-putt bogeys on the first two holes to give his pursuers a temporary opening. It was a fool’s gold moment, however. Nobody ever got too close, and Woods finished as the only player under par, three shots better than runner-up Phil Mickelson.

Let’s be honest — he appeared to be playing a different game than the rest. That made it eight major championships by age 26, the fastest anyone has accomplished that. Since he’d already won the Masters, he looked like a good bet to knock down an actual calendar year Grand Slam, as Harrington hinted, since he kicked off 2001 by completing the Tiger Slam (four majors in a row not in the same calendar year) with his second Masters win.

Woods shot a closing 72 on a Bethpage Black course that proved more than tough enough for the world’s best players in its major championship debut, to the delight of the raucous galleries.

”It’s awesome to win the nation’s title, on a public facility, in front of these fans,” Woods said. ”I don’t think anyone appreciates how hard it is to win major championships. This one was hard. I’m going to celebrate.”

Dave Anderson wrote in the New York Times what everyone in golf was considering: “Who dares to think Tiger won’t get the Grand Slam this year?”

Woods steadfastly maintained that a Slam was doable because he’d already done it. “I’ve had all four trophies on my mantel,” he said. “To do it in a calendar year would just be different.”

The Grand Slam got away from Tiger, however, and that turned out to be as big as winning the U.S. Open. But that’s another story.— Gary Van Sickle

No. 7 – The 1999 PGA Championship

Tiger Woods was only 23, but he’d already copped a major at the ’97 Masters. He was poised to dominate for decades. Who would test him?

Sergio Garcia, 19, had rocked the amateur ranks before falling apart (89-83) in his first professional major, the ’99 British Open at Carnoustie.

The two young pros clashed at the ’99 PGA at Medinah, which at 7,401 yards was the longest course in major championship history. Woods took a five-shot lead through 11 holes on Sunday, but fell back. Garcia hung tough and made a long birdie putt on 13, then looked back at Woods on the tee. “I was kind of telling him,” Garcia said later, “‘If you want to win, you have to play well.’”

The moment was soon forgotten, though, because three holes later, Garcia swung a six-iron from the base of a tree and closed his eyes through the shot in case his club hit a root and exploded. The shot came off perfectly, and he ran up the fairway after it, the picture of youthful exuberance.

Garcia would sign for a final-round 71, but Woods’s 72, including a bloodless par on 17, where he made a slick eight-foot putt to save par from behind the green, was enough to win by one. Still, the tournament seemed to herald a rivalry that would keep us entertained for years. SI’s Alan Shipnuck even declared Woods and Garcia the new “Newman and Redford” of golf.

Okay, it didn’t turn out that way. But we’ll always have Medinah.— Cameron Morfit

No. 6 – The 2006 British Open

A sense of uncertainty hung in the air on the eve of the 2006 Open Championship. There was the venue, England’s Royal Liverpool, a.k.a. “Hoylake,” which had been absent from the Open rota since 1967. There was the defending champion, Tiger Woods. He entered the event having just missed the first major cut in his professional career at the U.S. Open (courtesy of a pair of 76s), and he was still dealing with the loss of his father in early May.

An unusually dry summer had yielded a baked-out course that was playing exceedingly firm and fast. Woods adopted a conservative strategy and stuck to it for 72 holes. He stood one back after the first round, with a five-under 67. It was the only round in which he hit a driver, and he only used it on one hole, missing the fairway at the 16th. He had hit 370-yard drives in practice, but found he couldn’t control the ball, so the driver disappeared. His putter was alive and well, as were his long irons. He hit 2-iron off the tee at the par-5 18th, then a 4-iron onto the green from 236 yards to 20 feet. Boom! Eagle.

In round 2, Woods chose 2-iron off the tee at the brutal par-4 14th, then hit a drawing 4-iron from 212 yards that bounced several times, clanked the metal flagstick and dropped in. Boom! Eagle.

From that point, it was always close, but essentially over. Chris DiMarco clawed to within one on the final nine, but three straight birdies from Woods starting at the 14th sealed the deal. As the fans stood at the last green, Tiger’s caddie, Steve Williams, said to him, “This one’s for dad.” Woods broke down with Williams, and soon after with his wife, Elin. At the trophy ceremony, he told those assembled, “To win my first tournament after my dad passed away, and for it to be a major championship, it makes it that much more special.” In a career filled with special moments for Tiger Woods, this one resonated.— Joe Passov

No. 5 — The 2000 PGA Championship

Nothing about the exploits of Tiger Woods seems believable in hindsight.

When Woods won the 2000 PGA Championship, he took ownership of the all-time scoring record in all four major championships. This just three years after his 1997 Masters breakthrough.

Even wilder, Tiger’s three-hole PGA Championship playoff victory over Bob May at Valhalla turned out to be the greatest duel of Woods’ career, even though many more major titles were still to come. Think about it. If you picture the two most memorable scenes in Tiger’s major victories, one has to be the first extra hole at Valhalla against May, when Woods poured in a 25-foot birdie putt and went prancing after it, pointing at the cup long before the ball reached it. Turn on Golf Channel at just about any moment during the offseason and it seems to be a 50-50 chance the network is replaying highlights of the Tiger-May duel.

Wilder still, Tiger’s greatest-ever duel was with… a 31-year-old journeyman named Bob May? May was a relative unknown, although he’d been a superstar in California junior golf when a young Tiger was growing up. Subsequent back problems meant that May had all but vanished within a few years of the Valhalla thriller, but he was a rival in the skills department. A back-nine 31 at Valhalla helped him finished 72 holes at 18 under, a PGA record that Tiger tied moments later. May shot his third 66 in the final round.

“I think if you shoot three 66s in a major, you should win,” May said. “But you’re playing against the best player in the world, and he proved it wasn’t good enough.”

The PGA win was Tiger’s third in a row. He’d go on to make it four in a row the following spring at Augusta.

It almost wasn’t a playoff duel at all. Woods needed 15 putts over his final 12 holes, and he’d lost the lead early in the final round — it wasn’t until that first playoff hole and that theatrical birdie putt that he regained it. The key moment of the duel came at the 15th. Woods holed a tricky 15-footer to save par, and then May missed his four-foot birdie putt. If it had gone the other way, May would have cruised in with a three-stroke lead. Instead, his lead was only one. And Tiger, 24, quickly erased that with a wedge shot to four feet for birdie at the 17th.

So they went to the 72nd hole tied for the lead. Both players reached the par-5 green in two, but each had a long putt. May’s effort ended up 18 feet away. It didn’t look good. Tiger hit his putt to six feet, still not a gimme. May then dropped his momentous putt in a stunning instant, and Tiger followed by making his, too.

That exchange led to a three-hole playoff. Woods took the edge on the first extra hole with that famous putt. They got up and down for pars at the second hole, and at 18, Woods hit a greenside bunker shot to a foot for a tap-in birdie, and then watched as May missed a long eagle try.

“It was one memorable battle,” Woods said. “Birdie for birdie, shot for shot, we were going right at each other. I think it’s got to go down as one of the best duels in a major championship.”

It turned out to be the most dramatic shootout in Tiger’s career — and possibly the most memorable victory of a memorable career.— Gary Van Sickle

No. 4 – The 2001 Masters

There were plenty of nicknames for a Grand Slam that was or wasn’t a Grand Slam, depending on whether you were a golf traditionalist who lived by the calendar or simply a golf fan who marveled at four major championship wins in a row.

The losers in the naming derby included Phi Slamma Granda, Thai Slamma Granda, Fiscal-Year Slam, Major Sweep and, courtesy of legendary golf scribe Dan Jenkins, the Mulligan Slam (since Tiger needed a second try at the Masters to complete this Slam) and the Woods Wins Quartet, a bridge (and a pun) too far.

The phrase “Tiger Slam” eventually stuck, and it was a fitting way to describe the unthinkable. When Tiger Woods won the 2001 Masters, he completed an unparalleled run through golf’s greatest championships. For the next two months, all four of golf’s major trophies would sit on Tiger’s mantel.

Woods did what Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan and all the rest couldn’t. Only Bobby Jones had ever won a Grand Slam and his was the Opens — the U.S. and British — and the Amateurs — the U.S. and British. No one had ever won four professional majors in a row. Only Hogan and Nicklaus had won three straight, and Jack’s, by the way, were not in the same calendar year, either.

In 2001, it seemed as if Tiger’s winning streak might go on indefinitely. He had no real rival. The game’s other top players were Phil Mickelson, who still hadn’t won a major; David Duval, who still hadn’t won a major; and Vijay Singh, who put the green jacket on the Tiger Slam champion but didn’t have the skill on the greens to sustain any real challenge.

Duval finished second at this historic Masters, two shots behind Woods, whose winning score of 16 under par was only two strokes off the tournament record he had set in 1997. Mickelson was three back.

Mickelson and Duval saw their hopes fade Sunday with costly errors at the par-3 16th. Duval flew it over the green and made bogey. Mickelson later said he pulled his 7-iron shot, but some observers thought he simply was unable or unwilling to go against his natural left-to-right shot shape and that ball spin was what caused his shot to stay up on the slope above the back-left pin location. A right-to-left shot, not in Phil’s repertoire, almost certainly would have spun down to the hole. Phil’s first putt raced past the cup and he three-putted for a bogey.

Woods birdied the 18th hole to cap a remarkable run and the Grand-Tiger-Mulligan Slam, whatever you wanted to call it.

“To win four in succession, that’s hard to believe,” Woods said. “On top of that, you’ve got to have some luck.”

It gave Tiger six major titles, tying Nick Faldo and Lee Trevino for 11th place on the all-time major championship list.

CBS announcer Jim Nantz made the call as Tiger finished, and he kept the terminology bland: “There it is! As good as it gets! Tiger has his Slam!”

At the Masters award ceremony, Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson summed it up best while, like Nantz, deftly avoiding any naming controversy. “We have witnessed the greatest golfing feat of our time,” Johnson said.

That was one thing we could all agree on.— Gary Van Sickle

No. 3 – The 2008 U.S. Open

In my office at home I have a photograph taken milliseconds after Tiger Woods holed his do-or-die putt on the 72nd hole of the 2008 U.S. Open. Woods’ lusty double fist-pump celebration was instantly iconic, but my eyes always go to the throng circling the final green at Torrey Pines. Peeking over the shoulder of a gaggle of photographers is yours truly. Everyone in the photo is cheering but I’m laughing maniacally. The reasons are both idiosyncratic and universal. I was laughing because what else could you do in the face of such genius? Bumpy green, broken leg, insane amount of pressure…and Tiger brushed it in like a practice round gimme. It was so absurd, giggling seemed the only logical response. But it was also a mirthless laugh at my own misfortune. Allow me to explain.

That week in June 2008 happened to be the very first time SI was operating under a new, compressed production schedule. Prior to that, we sent the magazine to the printers late Monday nights. But that Monday at the Open we were operating under a tighter deadline: the mag had to be buttoned-up by 1 p.m. California time, which was roughly when Woods and Rocco Mediate would be finishing their 18-hole playoff. I was laughing because I knew I was utterly screwed.

That Sunday night, at my hotel room in San Diego, I wrote two 3,000 word stories. One was celebrating Woods for the grittiest victory of his career. (A few spots were left open to insert details of the playoff.) I finished that story around 2 a.m., had a celebratory room service slice of cake, and then wrote until sunrise the account of a heroic Mediate producing an upset for the ages. There was plenty of fodder for each story. The details of Woods’ double stress fracture in his left tibia wouldn’t be made public until later, but he was clearly hurting. In his diminished state he produced some wildly uneven golf, including four double bogeys.

But he also torched his back nine on Friday in 30 strokes, and Woods’ final flourish on Saturday remains legendary. He had played the first 12 holes in 3 over par and looked to be running out of Band-Aids, but on the 13th hole he buried a big-breaking, downhill 65-foot eagle putt. On the 17th hole he jarred a chip for birdie and then at 18, after two perfect shots, faced another eagle putt. Back then, Woods had a metaphysical mastery of the moment, a singular ability to seize an opportunity that his third-round playing partner Robert Karlsson described as “freakish.” Watching Woods stalk his 30-foot putt, Karlsson, like everybody else, considered the outcome preordained. “No doubt,” said Karlsson. “That putt was just in.” And so it was.

At that point, Woods was 13-for-13 closing out 54-hole leads at major championships, but he was shaky on Sunday, double-bogeying the first hole again (his injury made it impossible to warm up properly) and later bogeying 13 and 15 to cough up the lead. It took his spectacular birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force the playoff and set up my misery.

After my all-nighter, I straggled to the course to monitor the playoff from the press room, tweaking each story continuously depending on who was doing what. When Mediate bogeyed 9 and 10 in the playoff he was down by three strokes and I was ready to delete the file about his hypothetical victory. But he birdied 13, 14 and 15 to surge into the lead and in my sleepless state I could barely deal with this reversal of fortune. Naturally, Woods birdied 18 again to extend the playoff — are you freakin’ kidding me?! — and when Mediate bogeyed the 19th hole Tiger had his myth-making victory.

In a scrum before his formal press conference I asked Tiger how this victory compared to all the others. “I think this one is the best,” Woods said, “just because of all the things I had to deal with.” I phoned that in to the New York office and the printers started rolling. Two days later I pulled the issue out of my mailbox, with Woods on the cover.

I just reread both stories. The Mediate narrative is groan-inducing good fun, a time capsule from an alternate universe. One line in the Woods piece really struck me: “With his 14 career majors Woods has crept ever closer to Nicklaus’s epic total of 18, and it is mind-boggling to think that at 32 he is potentially one great calendar year away from attaining the unattainable.”

How could we possibly have known then that we were witnessing the zenith? Woods lost the rest of 2008 and the first two months of ’09 to surgery and physical therapy. He played well upon his return but was not quite the same, missing opportunities to win at the Masters and U.S. Open, missing the cut at the British and then getting Y.E. Yang’d at the ’09 PGA Championship. Three months after that epic upset, Woods’s life was torn asunder in the biggest sex scandal of the Internet age. So Torrey Pines will always be peak-Tiger, the ultimate example of his scoring gifts and iron will. No matter how much it inconvenienced certain sportswriters, we were all lucky to witness it.— Alan Shipnuck

No. 2 – The 2000 U.S. Open

“It’s not a fair fight.”

Rarely has one sentence so perfectly encapsulated a golf tournament, but that was Roger Maltbie’s oft-repeated assessment of Tiger Woods’s landscape-altering blowout at the 2000 U.S. Open, the centerpiece of the greatest season in golf history. But it’s worth noting here that Woods’s victory at Pebble Beach was not quite as inevitable as it now seems.

Tiger had won his second major championship at the 1999 PGA Championship, two-and-a-half long seasons after his breakthrough at the Masters. In the interim he had torn apart his swing, leading to a tighter, shorter and more repeatable action. In Woods’s first seven events of 2000 he had three wins and three runner-ups, but at the Masters he laid an egg: an opening 75 during which he hit two balls into the water. That doomed him to fifth place and was of a piece with the 1999 PGA, where he almost blew a 5- stroke lead on the back nine on Sunday.

Woods’s 65 on Thursday at Pebble was a bold opening statement but it didn’t give him the separation you’d expect at a U.S. Open. In perfect scoring conditions, Miguel Angel Jimenez posted a 66, John Huston a 67 and Hale Irwin, Loren Roberts and Bobby Clampett came home in 68. The second round was much breezier and the USGA offered a sterner setup, leading to widespread bloodshed. The above players averaged 76 on Friday, while Woods brawled his way to a 69 that gave him a commanding six-stroke lead. It was during the second round that Woods, facing a horrendous lie in the rough, smashed a seven-iron over a tree, around the ocean and up a mountain onto the 6th green to setup an eagle putt. It was that display of power, guts and precision that led Maltbie to all but concede the tournament to Woods. He was unrelenting on the weekend, including a bogey-free 67 on Sunday that led to a record 15-stroke victory. The Tiger Slam had begun.— Alan Shipnuck

No. 1 – The 1997 Masters

The 1997 Masters was years in the making. Tiger Woods had won the USGA junior national title in 1991, ’92 and ’93. He won the U.S. amateur in ’94, ’95 and ’96. In ’97, at Augusta, he would be playing in his first major as a professional. He was already a proven winner on Tour. His amateur career in the four majors, amassed when he was still a Stanford student, no longer meant anything.

The ’95 Masters was an all-timer, Ben Crenshaw winning days after burying his teacher, Harvey Penick. The iconic photographs of Crenshaw being consoled by his tall, slender caddie, Carl Jackson, moved millions of people, way beyond the borders of golf. In ’96, Greg Norman had a six-shot lead going into Masters Sunday, and lost to his playing partner, Nick Faldo, by five. It was like watching a funeral, gripping but depressing. The hug the two men shared, despite nothing but a vague animosity between them, again brought millions to the game who otherwise would not have been paying attention.

And now it was ’97.

It was springtime in Augusta, America and the world. The Masters had never been bigger. Tiger had never been bigger. You could easily make the case that golf had never been bigger. Not under Bob Jones, who invented the USGA (pretty much) and Augusta National. Not under Arnold. Not under Jack. The moment was just there.

And the kid went out in 40. You wondered if he would make the cut.

You know what happened next. He played the back nine in 30 shots, four under par. Yes, we know the back-nine at Augusta National is a par-36. On the card. But Woods, playing a short-shafted steel driver with a little tiny head, was hitting the drop-dead beautiful baby-draw tee shots that were in the air forever. He played 13 and 15, the two iconic back-nine three- shotters, not as par-5s, but as short par-4s. After his opening 70 there were only three players ahead of him.

Unfairly, we — millions of us, who love golf but were ashamed of its elitist reputation — assigned a job to Woods for which he never volunteered. This bright (Stanford), telegenic (what a smile!) working-class (son of an Army officer) black (Cablinasian, if you must) kid (all of 21) was going to take the game, our game, places it had never been before. All he had to do was become the youngest person ever to win the Masters.

By Saturday night, that was a foregone conclusion. Ben Crenshaw — a drinker, a smoker, a Texan, an artist, as old-school as a June day is long — stood with the writers (writers!) and talked about a new day coming in. The Tiger Era! He was not forlorn. Not at all. He had had his day in the sun, no sunblock, but now Michael Jordan was moving in and the game would no longer need, and maybe even have room for, Pistol Pete Maravich. This is not sportswriter hyperbole. No, sir. Colin Montgomerie, a genius (in case you didn’t know), was spelling it all out on that Saturday night. “All I have to say is one brief comment,” Montgomerie said. He had played the third round with Woods. “There is no chance. We’re all human beings here. There’s no chance humanly possible that Tiger is going to lose this tournament. No way.” Why, the great Scot was asked. The Norman collapse was only a year old. “This is very different,” Montgomerie said. “Faldo’s not lying second, for a start. And Greg Norman’s not Tiger Woods.”

Greg Norman was a borderline transformational figure in the game. The face of golf, in the years after World War II, went from Ben Hogan to Arnold Palmer to Jack Nicklaus to Tom Watson to Greg Norman. But Montgomerie was saying what we were all about to learn: Norman’s impact was nothing compared to what Tiger Woods was about to do.

Masters Sunday ’95 pulled on your heartstrings. Masters Sunday ’96 ripped your heart. Masters Sunday ’97 expanded your noting of the possible. The kid won by 12 and he and the old man shared a hug that was seen around the world.

Right about then, anything and everything seemed possible. Maybe it was too good to be true. Maybe we were expecting too much. But, man alive was it exciting. He was so skinny, and his sweater, with the arms pushed up, was so red. — Michael Bamberger

Can you can think yourself thin?

No, but the right thoughts influence whether you lose weight. It took me a long time to learn this because for a lot of my adult life I was a competitive rower. This involved training 2 or 3 times per day and burning a lot of calories—over 4000/day. I stuffed myself with lots of food. All kinds of food, including healthy stuff like salad and also less healthy stuff like pizza and chocolate cake. For normal amounts of exercise it’s true that you can’t outrun a bad diet, but I was doing more than normal, and I burned it all off.

You can’t outrun a bad diet

When I retired from rowing I thought a bit about diet because some of my friends who retired got fat. I continued training and watched what I ate a bit. Thankfully, I’d learned healthy eating habits from my Mom, who was an amazing cook, so remained and prided myself on being lean and generally healthy.

That all changed when my wife was pregnant two years ago. For 3 months, she was nauseous and wouldn’t finish the food on her plate. I’d been trained as a child to finish what was in front of me, and I don’t like the idea of wasting food. So, after eating all my food, I would eat what she had left. Repeat for three months, and the result was predictable: I gained 5kg (12 lbs). That was 6% of my bodyweight, and my ‘body mass index’ (or BMI) increased to 27, which is considered overweight. It affected me. I couldn’t do some of my favourite yoga poses without feeling my belly squishing into me. Walking up flights of stairs puffed me out more easily, and I felt lethargic.

Walking up flights of stairs puffed me out more easily, and I felt lethargic.

Thomas Schultz/Wikimedia

Brain thinkingSource: Thomas Schultz/Wikimedia

Before reading any further, this blog is about the many of us who are or who have struggled with losing excess weight. Some people don’t eat enough and are underweight—if you are one of them, this doesn’t apply to you, please seek help.

At first, I thought it would be easy to burn the extra fat. After all, I was a disciplined athlete, and am a disciplined scholar. But the extra 5 kilograms was a tough opponent. I tried weighing myself every day, saying no to junk food and tracking my calories. I flirted with a ketogenic diet. All those things would start well, then I would fall off the wagon, binge, and get right up to where I started. I even tried a 10-day fast where I consumed nothing but water. I lost the weight but then binged on all the foods I had been dreaming of while fasting. Two years went by and I had little success.

My light bulb moment was when I started fasting on the (wrong) thoughts about food.

My light bulb moment was when I started fasting on the (wrong) thoughts about food. Instead of fighting the action of getting the chocolate cake, I would consciously direct my attention to something else, like the more lasting pleasure I feel from losing the additional weight. Instead of acting on the feeling of hunger by grabbing some grub, I would think to myself, ‘the feeling of an empty stomach is good, it makes me feel light’.

The fact that thoughts were important shouldn’t have surprised me, since I do mind/body research. Also, it’s common sense that we need positive thoughts to begin the challenging task of returning to or maintaining a healthy weight. To prove this, imagine the opposite—imagine you had the negative belief that you just can’t change. Some people, like those with severe genetic conditions, really can’t change. But the vast majority of us are capable of modifying our thoughts and behaviours, at least to some degree. If you start off with that negative thought, you won’t bother to even start on the path towards a healthy weight.article continues after advertisement

More generally, thoughts or desired precede actions (philosophical caveats notwithstanding). The thought of walking on the moon arose before anyone actually did it, and the thought or desire of eating chocolate cake arose before I did it. Even the thought of fasting on (wrong) thoughts of food occurred before I started fasting on them. So, in a sense, addressing thoughts around losing weight is primary.

As illuminating as it was to me, the idea that thoughts affect whether we lose unnecessary weight has been around for a long time. Psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapyhypnosis, and mindfulness show promising effects for achieving weight loss. Going back even further, fasting from food includes a spiritual dimension that involves fasting from wrong thoughts in HinduismChristianityIslam, and Judaism.

So, it’s not new that thoughts help lose weight. What is new, is that it’s become more important. A quarter to a third of people in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, and many other countries are obese. Latest research shows that obesity is poised to overtake smoking as a preventable cause of cancer in the United Kingdom and United States. Obesity has even been called the ‘World’s Public Enemy Number 1’.

…the journey towards healthy weight begins with the right thought and staying on the right path depends partly on avoiding wrong thoughts.

To be sure, we need more than just the right thoughts to lose weight. We also need knowledge of nutrition and exercise. However, the journey towards healthy weight begins with the right thought and staying on the right path depends partly on avoiding wrong thoughts.


Madigan CD, Hill AJ, Hendy C, Burk J, Caterson ID. ‘Say no’: a feasibility trial of a brief intervention to reduce instances of indulgent energy‐intake episodes.

Lawlor ER, Islam N, Griffin SJ, et alThird-wave cognitive behaviour therapies for weight management: systematic review and network meta-analysis protocol BMJ Open 2018;8:e023425. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023425

British Library plans new base in Leeds

The British Library is planning to expand its presence outside London, with a new base in Leeds and improvements to its site near Wetherby.

Proposals for the new British Library North were discussed at a recent board meeting, it has been confirmed.

The move would come as part of a wider plan for the library to mark Leeds’ year of cultural celebration in 2023.

Library bosses are also focused on improving its site in Boston Spa, near Wetherby, a spokesman said.

The base in the town is the home of the UK’s national newspaper collection, which comprises more than three centuries of local, regional and national newspapers.

There is also an extensive haul of books, microfilm, sound recordings and electronic resources.

A spokesman said: “The primary focus of our British Library North programme is to invest in the estate on our existing site at Boston Spa, near Wetherby, to expand archival-standard storage facilities for the collections under our custodianship, and to refurbish the staff areas, much of which is outdated.

“These plans are now well-advanced and we are in the process of developing an outline business case for renewed investment in the Boston Spa site.”

Plans for a new British Library North were initially reported in The Guardian on Monday.

The British Library
Image captionPlans for a presence in Leeds after 2023 would be discussed in the coming months, the library said

The spokesman said it was working to expand its culture and learning programme in the run up to the 2023 festival.

Plans for a longer-term presence in Leeds after that would be discussed in the coming months, he added.

Council leader Judith Blake said the library was important to the “cultural, digital and economic landscape”.

Mrs Blake added: “Leeds has ambitious plans for making the most of our cultural strengths as we work with partners towards 2023.

“We are delighted to have a strong relationship with the British Library… and we look forward to working with them in the years ahead, as one of a wide range of organisations who see the opportunities available here.”

First ever black hole image released

In the News

Accomplishing what was previously thought to be impossible, a team of international astronomers has captured an image of a black hole’s silhouette. Evidence of the existence of black holes – mysterious places in space where nothing, not even light, can escape – has existed for quite some time, and astronomers have long observed the effects on the surroundings of these phenomena. In the popular imagination, it was thought that capturing an image of a black hole was impossible because an image of something from which no light can escape would appear completely black. For scientists, the challenge was how, from thousands or even millions of light-years away, to capture an image of the hot, glowing gas falling into a black hole. An ambitious team of international astronomers and computer scientists has managed to accomplish both. Working for well over a decade to achieve the feat, the team improved upon an existing radio astronomy technique for high-resolution imaging and used it to detect the silhouette of a black hole – outlined by the glowing gas that surrounds its event horizon, the precipice beyond which light cannot escape. Learning about these mysterious structures can help students understand gravity and the dynamic nature of our universe, all while sharpening their math skills.

How They Did It

Though scientists had theorized they could image black holes by capturing their silhouettes against their glowing surroundings, the ability to image an object so distant still eluded them. A team formed to take on the challenge, creating a network of telescopes known as the Event Horizon Telescope, or the EHT. They set out to capture an image of a black hole by improving upon a technique that allows for the imaging of far-away objects, known as Very Long Baseline Interferometry, or VLBI.

Telescopes of all types are used to see distant objects. The larger the diameter, or aperture, of the telescope, the greater its ability to gather more light and the higher its resolution (or ability to image fine details). To see details in objects that are far away and appear small and dim from Earth, we need to gather as much light as possible with very high resolution, so we need to use a telescope with a large aperture.

That’s why the VLBI technique was essential to capturing the black hole image. VLBI works by creating an array of smaller telescopes that can be synchronized to focus on the same object at the same time and act as a giant virtual telescope. In some cases, the smaller telescopes are also an array of multiple telescopes. This technique has been used to track spacecraft and to image distant cosmic radio sources, such as quasars.

The aperture of a giant virtual telescope such as the Event Horizon Telescope is as large as the distance between the two farthest-apart telescope stations – for the EHT, those two stations are at the South Pole and in Spain, creating an aperture that’s nearly the same as the diameter of Earth. Each telescope in the array focuses on the target, in this case the black hole, and collects data from its location on Earth, providing a portion of the EHT’s full view. The more telescopes in the array that are widely spaced, the better the image resolution.

To test VLBI for imaging a black hole and a number of computer algorithms for sorting and synchronizing data, the Event Horizon Telescope team decided on two targets, each offering unique challenges.

The closest supermassive black hole to Earth, Sagittarius A*, interested the team because it is in our galactic backyard – at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, 26,000 light-years (156 quadrillion miles) away. (An asterisk is the astronomical standard for denoting a black hole.) Though not the only black hole in our galaxy, it is the black hole that appears largest from Earth. But its location in the same galaxy as Earth meant the team would have to look through “pollution” caused by stars and dust to image it, meaning there would be more data to filter out when processing the image. Nevertheless, because of the black hole’s local interest and relatively large size, the EHT team chose Sagittarius A* as one of its two targets.

The second target was the supermassive black hole M87*. One of the largest known supermassive black holes, M87* is located at the center of the gargantuan elliptical galaxy Messier 87, or M87, 53 million light-years (318 quintillion miles) away. Substantially more massive than Sagittarius A*, which contains 4 million solar masses, M87* contains 6.5 billion solar masses. One solar mass is equivalent to the mass of our Sun, approximately 2×10^30 kilograms. In addition to its size, M87* interested scientists because, unlike Sagittarius A*, it is an active black hole, with matter falling into it and spewing out in the form of jets of particles that are accelerated to velocities near the speed of light. But its distance made it even more of a challenge to capture than the relatively local Sagittarius A*. As described by Katie Bouman, a computer scientist with the EHT who led development of one of the algorithms used to sort telescope data during the processing of the historic image, it’s akin to capturing an image of an orange on the surface of the Moon.

By 2017, the EHT was a collaboration of eight sites around the world – and more have been added since then. Before the team could begin collecting data, they had to find a time when the weather was likely to be conducive to telescope viewing at every location. For M87*, the team tried for good weather in April 2017 and, of the 10 days chosen for observation, a whopping four days were clear at all eight sites!

Each telescope used for the EHT had to be highly synchronized with the others to within a fraction of a millimeter using an atomic clock locked onto a GPS time standard. This degree of precision makes the EHT capable of resolving objects about 4,000 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope. As each telescope acquired data from the target black hole, the digitized data and time stamp were recorded on computer disk media. Gathering data for four days around the world gave the team a substantial amount of data to process. The recorded media were then physically transported to a central location because the amount of data, around 5 petabytes, exceeds what the current internet speeds can handle. At this central location, data from all eight sites were synchronized using the time stamps and combined to create a composite set of images, revealing the never-before-seen silhouette of M87*’s event horizon. The team is also working on generating an image of Sagittarius A* from additional observations made by the EHT.

This zoom video starts with a view of the ALMA telescope array in Chile and zooms in on the heart of M87, showing successively more detailed observations and culminating in the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole’s silhouette. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada, Digitized Sky Survey 2, ESA/Hubble, RadioAstron, De Gasperin et al., Kim et al., EHT Collaboration. Music: Niklas Falcke | Watch on YouTube

As more telescopes are added and the rotation of Earth is factored in, more of the image can be resolved, and we can expect future images to be higher resolution. But we might never have a complete picture, as Katie Bouman explains here (under “Imaging a Black Hole”).

To complement the EHT findings, several NASA spacecraft were part of a large effort to observe the black hole using different wavelengths of light. As part of this effort, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory space telescope missions – all designed to detect different varieties of X-ray light – turned their gaze to the M87 black hole around the same time as the EHT in April 2017. NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope was also watching for changes in gamma-ray light from M87* during the EHT observations. If the EHT observed changes in the structure of the black hole’s environment, data from these missions and other telescopes could be used to help figure out what was going on.

Though NASA observations did not directly trace out the historic image, astronomers used data from Chandra and NuSTAR satellites to measure the X-ray brightness of M87*’s jet. Scientists used this information to compare their models of the jet and disk around the black hole with the EHT observations. Other insights may come as researchers continue to pore over these data.

Why It’s Important

Learning about mysterious structures in the universe provides insight into physics and allows us to test observation methods and theories, such as Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Massive objects deform spacetime in their vicinity, and although the theory of general relativity has directly been proven accurate for smaller-mass objects, such as Earth and the Sun, the theory has not yet been directly proven for black holes and other regions containing dense matter.

One of the main results of the EHT black hole imaging project is a more direct calculation of a black hole’s mass than ever before. Using the EHT, scientists were able to directly observe and measure the radius of M87*’s event horizon, or its Schwarzschild radius, and compute the black hole’s mass. That estimate was close to the one derived from a method that uses the motion of orbiting stars – thus validating it as a method of mass estimation.

The size and shape of a black hole, which depend on its mass and spin, can be predicted from general relativity equations. General relativity predicts that this silhouette would be roughly circular, but other theories of gravity predict slightly different shapes. The image of M87* shows a circular silhouette, thus lending credibility to Einstein’s theory of general relativity near black holes.

The data also offer some insight into the formation and behavior of black hole structures, such as the accretion disk that feeds matter into the black hole and plasma jets that emanate from its center. Scientists have hypothesized about how an accretion disk forms, but they’ve never been able to test their theories with direct observation until now. Scientists are also curious about the mechanism by which some supermassive black holes emit enormous jets of particles traveling at near light-speed.

These questions and others will be answered as more data is acquired by the EHT and synthesized in computer algorithms. Be sure to stay tuned for that and the next expected image of a black hole – our Milky Way’s own Sagittarius A*.

Hundreds set off on new migrant caravan

Thousands of migrants have arrived at the US-Mexico border after travelling more than 4,000km (2,500 miles) from Central America.

They say they are fleeing persecution, poverty and violence in their home countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Many of them say their goal is to settle in the US despite warnings by US officials that anyone found entering the country illegally will face arrest, prosecution and deportation.

Where are they now?

More than 7,000 Central American migrants have arrived at the US-Mexico border after crossing Mexico and parts of Central America, according to official figures released by the Mexican Interior Ministry. They are staying in temporary shelters in the border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali.

Frances, a migrant woman from Honduras taking refuge in a shelter with a caravan from Central America trying to reach the United States, dresses her one year old daughter Sujey in Tijuana, Mexico November 20, 2018.
Image captionThe migrants have been given shelter, but Tijuana’s mayor has warned that the city will not be able to provide for them for long

Those now in Tijuana are part of a migrant caravan which left the crime-ridden Honduran city of San Pedro Sula on 13 October. The group, made up mainly of Hondurans, was joined along the way by other migrants from Guatemala and El Salvador.

Map of caravan route

There are also other smaller groups of migrants which have not yet reached the US border. More than 400 are in a shelter in Mexico City and more than 250 are in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa.

There are also four groups of Salvadoreans who have left their home country since the end of October. They are in different parts of Guatemala and Mexico, heading towards the US border.

In total the number of migrants expected to reach the border is predicted to reach 10,000.

What do they want?

The migrants say they are leaving their respective countries in the hope of building a better future for themselves and their families.

Some say they have been threatened or extorted by criminal gangs operating in their hometowns. Many are travelling with their children whom they do not want to fall prey to the gangs.

Others hope to get jobs abroad which pay enough for them to send money to their relatives who stayed behind.

Many say their dream is to reach the US. Some of them have relatives there already whom they hope to join, others have chosen it as their destination because they think they will earn higher salaries there than in Latin America.

What has been the US reaction?

Long before the first members of the caravan reached the US border, President Donald Trump labelled the migrant caravan as “an invasion”.

Ahead of the mid-term elections in the US, he tweeted dozens of time about the migrants alleging that “many gang members and some very bad people are mixed into the caravan heading to our southern border” and warning that “our military is waiting for you”.

Media captionTrump and the facts about the migrant caravan

On 2 November, just days before the mid-terms, he told voters at a rally that “if you don’t want America to be overrun by masses of illegal aliens and giant caravans, you’d better vote Republican”.

United States Marines fortify concertina wire along the San Ysidro Port of Entry border crossing as seen from Tijuana, Mexico November 20, 2018
Image captionConcertina wire has been strung across parts of the border to fortify it

He also deployed about 5,800 troops to the southern border to “harden” it, including adding concertina wire to some stretches of the border fence, a photo of which he tweeted on 19 November.Skip Twitter post by @realDonaldTrumpDonald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

The Fake News is showing old footage of people climbing over our Ocean Area Fence. This is what it really looks like – no climbers anymore under our Administration!

View image on Twitter

159KTwitter Ads info and privacy80.2K people are talking about thisReport

End of Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump

Mr Trump also issued an order denying the possibility of asylum to migrants crossing the southern border illegally – but that order has since been halted by a US federal judge.

The US authorities also briefly closed the San Ysidro port of entry to “restrict access to a large group attempting to run through the border crossing”.

On 20 November. US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen warned that “this administration will not tolerate frivolous asylum claims or illegal entry”.

What are the migrants’ options?

The migrants who have reached Tijuana are considering their options. Most of them set off with the plan of reaching the US and many say they will claim asylum there.

Media captionIsaac’s journey from Honduras to the US is made even harder by his disability

There is a legal obligation to hear asylum claims from migrants who have arrived in the US if they say they fear violence in their home countries.

Those seeking asylum must be fleeing due to a serious fear of persecution. Under international law, these are considered refugees.

If an asylum seeker enters the US illegally, they are still entitled to a hearing of their claim.

But those seeking a better quality of life – even if they are fleeing devastating poverty – are not considered refugees and do not have the same protections.

The alternative is to stay in Mexico. Outgoing Mexican President President Enrique Peña Nieto has said that those wanting to stay would be welcome and offered jobs, providing they agreed to register and comply with Mexican laws.

Migrants queue to register at an employment fair near the US-Mexico border in Tijuana, Mexico, on November 19, 2018
Image captionSome of the migrants have registered and queued at an employment fair to sign up for work

Some migrants have also returned to their places of origin. According to the latest figures provided by Honduran officials, 7,000 Hondurans have turned back during their trek north and returned to Honduras.

Some Hondurans have cast doubt on this figure but Director of Honduras’s National Institute of Immigration Carolina Menjivar has insisted that it is accurate.

How have they been treated along the way?

When the migrants first crossed from Guatemala into Mexico, they were stopped by riot police at the bridge separating the two countries. After an at times tense stand-off, the police let them through.

Many of the Mexican towns where the migrants stopped along the way offered them shelter, food and water. Volunteers dropped off shoes and clothes and cooked meals. A number of musicians, some famous, others less so, also turned up at the camps to entertain the migrants and lorry drivers offered lifts.

But in Tijuana, hundreds of people protested against their arrival holding up signs reading “no to the invasion”.

Media captionAnti-migrant protesters clashed with a pro-migrant demonstrator in the Mexican city of Tijuana

Why did they form a caravan?

Honduras, which has a population of about nine million, has endemic problems with gang violence, drug wars and corruption. The wider region has one of the highest murder rates in the world.

While Central Americans have long fled their homelands for the US and have sometimes joined forces along the way, the organised nature of this caravan is relatively new.

Migrants are often kidnapped by people traffickers and drugs gangs which force them to work for them. A large group such as this one is harder to target and therefore offers more protection.

How to stay safe in and around water

Tragic accidents happen all the time, and while it may be impossible to protect you or your family from ever having an accident, there are things you can do to reduce your risk. In the summer when you’re out doing water-related activities, keep these safety tips in mind to try to keep you and your loved ones from harm.

Swimming in a Pool

Swimming is one of those quintessential summer activities. When it’s hot and humid out, nothing feels quite as good as going to the pool and taking a dip. But if you have young children it can be dangerous, so it’s important to follow these tips to keep safe around the water:

  • Only swim in areas deemed safe that are supervised by lifeguards.
  • Don’t swim alone or allow anyone else to.
  • Take your children to swim lessons so they can learn how to swim.
  • Don’t leave children unsupervised around the water.
  • Don’t trust children to supervise other children around water.
  • Don’t drink alcohol when you swim.
  • If you own a pool, put a fence around it or a cover with an alarm.
  • Keep young children within arm’s reach.
  • Don’t keep toys in the pool for young children to be attracted to.
  • Get CPR certified in case of an emergency

Swimming in a Lake, River or Ocean

If you live near a lake or an ocean and frequent the beach to go swimming, you should also keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Know your limits – When you swim in open water it’s much harder than swimming in the still waters of a pool. This means you may tire faster and that can lead to trouble very quickly.
  • Understand the terrain – When swimming in rivers or lakes, the murky water can make it difficult to find people who go under. If you swim in a place with a strong current, such as where two rivers meet, it can be easy to be pulled under and swept away. Understand where you’re swimming and take precautions.
  • Wear a life jacket – It’s important when you’re out on the water to wear an appropriately fitting life jacket in case you get tossed unexpectedly into the water. This goes for children too.
  • Get prepared – Make sure you check the weather conditions on a day you will be out, and always make sure you have a cell phone handy as well as someone with you who can perform CPR if needed.
  • Share with your kids – Talk to your children about the dangers of being in open water and tell them what to do in case of an emergency!

Olympic protest runner finally rewarded

An Ethiopian runner who brought the world’s attention to a wave of protests in Ethiopia at the Rio Olympics has been rewarded by his government.

Feyisa Lilesa, who received $17,000 (£13,000), said his struggle had paid off given new freedoms in Ethiopia.

The athlete had held up his crossed wrists as if they were shackled as he took marathon silver in 2016 in protest at the treatment of demonstrators.

He had remained in exile for two years, saying his life might be in danger.

But sweeping reforms implemented by Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy, who came to office a year ago, encouraged Feyisa to return home last October.

Mass demonstrations by members of the Oromo community – Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group – had precipitated the resignation of his predecessor.

‘Hero’ digs road by hand for villagers

If you want something done, sometimes you have to do it yourself.

A man in Kenya has told the BBC he decided to dig a road by hand through thick bush to nearby shops to spare the suffering of his fellow villagers.

Using a hoe, spade and axe, Nicholas Muchami has so far cleared an entire mile in six days – and has a short way to go to complete the road.

It is on land officially earmarked for it, but attempts to get local leaders to build it have failed, he says.

He has been praised as a local hero for his efforts for Kaganda village.

Residents of the village in Muranga County, which is 80km north of the capital, Nairobi, had been using a longer 4km route to get to the shopping center.

The BBC’s Peter Mwai in Kenya says villagers had been upset because a shortcut to the shops, via a footpath passing through private land, had recently been fenced off .

This prompted Mr Muchami to take action.

“I have a lot of energy in me. I decided to volunteer,” he told the BBC.

He said he had worked from 07:00 to 17:00 local time last Monday to Saturday as he wanted to complete the road before the onset of the rains.

People were incredulous that Mr Muchami, who usually earns his living doing odd jobs during the day and as a guard at night, had volunteered for the job.

“When I was working on the road, people would ask me, ‘Are you being paid’?” he said.

Even though half a kilometer of the road still needs to be finished, locals, including pupils attending the nearby primary and secondary schools, have been using the section he has cleared.

“Now it has made people happy, and I am happy too. My work has helped people of all kinds,” the 45-year-old said.

He plans to continue digging the remaining part, even though other villagers have refused to help him because no-one is willing to work without pay, he said.

His story was first highlighted on Facebook by Kinyungu Micheke, who praised Mr Muchami’s persistence after the dismissive response of the local government when he had asked them for help.