Jamestown DPW Announces Additional Street Projects For This Year

first_imgJAMESTOWN — The City of Jamestown Department of Public Works has announced additions to the annual streets program that are being made possible through an increase in anticipated funding through the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, known as CHIPS.These new projects, in addition to the previously announced streets, are planned to be completed by the end of the summer-fall season, depending on the weather, the flow of public funding, contractor availability and the changing price of materials.The additional street projects are as follow:Mill and Overlay (Starting Aug. 24)South Main Street from the Arterial to the Main Street Bridge; Delaware Avenue from Summit Avenue to Newland Avenue;  Prather Avenue from the Arterial to Main Street.; Crescent Street from Second Street to Bishop Street..Curb and Brick Improvements on Ellicott Avenue from Pullman Street to King Street.Curb Improvements on Andrews Avenue from Harding Avenue to Third Street. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Mainly Quiet Labor Day Weekend Ahead

first_imgJAMESTOWN – Labor Day weekend will be mainly dry with seasonable temperatures, before a warm-up takes shape early next week. For today, partly to mostly cloudy with a slight risk for an afternoon shower. Highs in the lower-70’s.Tonight, mostly cloudy with a early evening shower possible. Lows in the lower-50’s.The weekend will close out on Sunday with sunny skies and highs near 75. Temperatures will begin to rise for Labor Day. Partly cloudy skies with highs near 80. A slight risk for a shower or storm is possible.Through mid-week it will remain sunny with temperatures in the lower-80’s and moderate humidity levels.WNYNewsNow is a proud Ambassador for the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation program.Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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John Lloyd Young to Star in London’s Jersey Boys

first_imgTony winner John Lloyd Young will star as Frankie Valli in the West End’s Jersey Boys when it moves to the Piccadilly Theatre on March 15. Young, who originated the role on Broadway in 2005 and won a Tony Award for his performance, will headline the London production through April 27. The cast of the Tony and Olivier-winning musical, which follows the rise of Frankie Valli and his chart-topping group the Four Seasons, will also include Matt Nalton as Nick Massi, Edd Post as Bob Gaudio and Jon Boydon as Tommy De Vito. Michael Watson will play the role of Frankie Valli at certain performances. 

Young earned a Tony Award and a Broadway.com Audience Choice Award for his Broadway debut as Frankie Valli. He starred in the indie film Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay! and appeared on Glee. His off-Broadway credits include The Summer of Swans and Sarah, Plain and Tall. He revisited the role of Frankie Valli in Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation of Jersey Boys, due out in June 2014. Jersey Boys opened in London at the Prince Edward Theatre in 2008 and will play its last performance there on March 9.center_img The cast at the Piccadilly will also feature Nicola Brazil, Sophie Carmen-Jones, Thomas Goodridge, Lucinda Gill, Matthew Hunt, Mark Isherwood, Charlotte Jeffery, Ben Jennings, Stuart King, Sandy Moffat, Sean Mulligan, Tom Senior, Emma Stephens, Matt Thorpe, Graham Vick, Ben Wheeler and Rob Wilshaw. View Commentslast_img read more

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Courtney Love Reveals Kurt Cobain Musical ‘Very Likely’

first_img View Comments Nirvana formed in 1987 and went on to establish itself as one of the most famous grunge bands in the world, releasing a number of successful songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Heart-Shaped Box,” “About A Girl,” “Come As You Are” and “Lithium.” Love has been embroiled in several legal battles with the surviving members of the band over song rights. Why did Love change her tune? She revealed that she had been “swarmed by tons of Nirvana fanmail and social media posts pushing for a musical to become a reality.” The key to the production getting off the ground? Love said that “there would have to be a story, and a great story, one that hasn’t been told before.”center_img Broadway might be smelling like teen spirit! The Kurt Cobain bio-musical, which was reported to be in the works before the idea was quickly squashed by the late musician’s wife Courtney Love, is back on. Love spoke with NME as part of the magazine’s tribute to the Nirvana frontman and said that if she could get the right people involved “then a Broadway musical is very likely to happen.”last_img read more

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Oscar Winner Christopher Walken Will Star in NBC’s Peter Pan Live!

first_img View Comments An Oscar winner for The Deer Hunter, Walken is no stranger to bringing Broadway musicals to the screen, having starred in this summer’s Clint Eastwood-helmed Jersey Boys and the film adaptation of Hairspray (produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who will reunite with Walken for Peter Pan). Walken’s  many films include Stand Up Guys, A Late Quartet and Seven Psychopaths. The actor began his career in the 1950s as a Broadway dancer. He received Tony nods for his performances in The Dead and A Behanding in Spokane. According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt confirmed at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour that the titular role will be played by a woman, as it is traditionally performed. The network honcho revealed that Frozen star Kristen Bell was at one point considered for Peter, saying, “she was interested but she’s doing House of Lies. It’s tricky finding the right person in the schedule that we need but we’re actually close.” “I started my career in musicals,” Walken said in a statement, “and it’s wonderful after all this time, at this point in my career, to be in this classic musical I watched as a child and to work with Neil Meron and Craig Zadan again after Hairspray. It’s a chance to put on my tap shoes again.”center_img A Great White Way family classic, Peter Pan premiered on October 20, 1954 at the Winter Garden Theatre, featuring a book by J.M. Barrie, music by Mark “Moose” Charlap and Jule Style, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins and Mary Martin in the lead role of the boy who won’t grow up. NBC has broadcast the musical live a total of three times previously: in 1955 (when it reached 65 million viewers), 1956 and 1960. The musical has been revived five times on Broadway since. Who’s the swiniest swine in the world? Oscar winner and Tony nominee Christopher Walken will headline NBC’s previously announced Peter Pan Live!. Walken will take on the role of the self-proclaimed “greatest villain of all time,” Captain Hook. The Peacock Network’s follow-up to the highly rated Sound of Music Live!, which starred Carrie Underwood along with many Broadway favorites, Pan will broadcast on December 4. Additional casting will be revealed at a later date.last_img read more

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Tickets Now Available for A Walk in the Woods Off-Broadway

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Oct. 18, 2014 Related Shows Tickets are on sale now for Lee Blessing’s A Walk in the Woods. The Keen Company mounting marks the first major New York revival of the Pulitzer and Tony-nominated play. Jonathan Silverstein will direct the show, which begins performances on September 9 at off-Broadway’s Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row, where it will run through October 18. Opening night is set for September 30. View Comments The drama tells the story of a Russian veteran and an American newcomer who meet informally after long, frustrating hours of peace talks. Kathleen Chalfant will take on the gender-swapped role of Botvinnik; Paul Niebanck will play John Honeyman. Chalfant garnered a Tony nomination for Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. She also starred in Wit off-Broadway and appeared in Painting Churches with Keen Co. Niebanck’s stage credits include In the Next Room on Broadway, as well as RX, Blood and Gifts, Shockheaded Peter and Bill W. and Dr. Bob. A Walk in the Woodslast_img read more

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Lessons of the Week! Jeremy Jordan, Kelli O’Hara & More

first_imgIt’s time to rip off your work clothes (preferably like this) and change into sweatpants…because it’s finally Friday! Yay! To celebrate, Broadway.com is bringing you a recap of all the weird stuff that happened this week. From Sarah Jessica Parker’s house-sized closet to the food obsessions of our favorite Broadway stars, it’s all right here in the Lessons of the Week.Matt Morrison & Adam Jacobs Are in a CultBefore going the clean-cut route in Aladdin and Glee, these Broadway bros were apparently involved in some dark stuff. In college at NYU, the stars belonged to a creepy sounding group called “The Tribe,” which Jacobs joked was “a secret cult.” Hey, you guys need some more members? We’ll drink that Kool-Aid any day of the week.The Secret Brought Sailors to BroadwayHow do you get a musical on Broadway? No, don’t bother asking for donations from your rich friends—just pick up a copy of The Secret! You know, that book from your aunt that you re-gifted to Goodwill 10 years ago? On the Town’s Jay Armstrong Johnson insists that the Law of Attraction got the show to Broadway. You think if we put this on our vision board, he’ll show up too?Wanna See If/Then? Pray.If your If/Then vision board doesn’t score you tickets to the hit musical, saying a Hail Mary might help. James Snyder took a field trip to the If/Then lottery this week and discovered that praying actually helped one hopeful audience member snag tickets. Hey, it worked for Jean Valjean. Didn’t work so well for Tricia in A Chorus Line, though.Glenn Close Is Still Ready For Her Close-UpMr. DeMille, it might have been two decades since the three-time Tony winner appeared in Sunset Boulevard, but she’s still making it clear she’d love to reprise the role of Norma Desmond in the film adaptation. You’ve convinced us, Glenn! Now you’ve just gotta convince the Material Girl.Jeremy Jordan Has a Secret TalentThe Last Five Years movie star is really great at a lot of things, including nailing that high note in “Santa Fe” and growing beards. But did you know he can also drive while simultaneously ripping his clothes off and making out with Anna Kendrick? That’s some serious coordination, Jeremy. Like, Cups-level coordination.Kelli O’Hara Needs Side-Eye LessonsBroadway darling Kelli O’Hara is about to become a TV darling, too! The Tony nominee will play, um, Mrs. Darling in the Peter Pan telecast on NBC. Will Sound of Music star Laura Benanti show O’Hara how to steal scenes with her shady side-eye? Will the world make thousands of O’Hara GIFs? We’ll find out in 83 days and counting.SJP’s Closet Is Bigger Than Your HouseWe always assumed Sarah Jessica Parker had some old Sex in the City costumes lying around, but it looks like she made off with the whole wardrobe trailer. She and Matthew Broderick (currently in It’s Only a Play) just put their townhouse up for sale, and SJP’s closet is bigger than some small countries. Will we be seeing any of that stuff at the BC/EFA Flea Market, SJP?Broadway Stars Are Food-ObsessedWhen we asked the cast of On the Town what they’d do if they were in New York City for only one day, we were surprised to hear almost every single answer revolved around food. Hot dogs, pretzels, Katz’s, Rosa Mexicano, soul food, the list is endless. Wow, you guys have a one-track mind! (It’s OK, we can’t go a week without thinking about peanut butter cups.)It’s Cool to Sleep Through The RiverA bunch of Broadway stars have made it clear that they’re not exactly thrilled about audience members talking, crinkling wrappers, clinking ice and filming bootlegs during their shows. Hugh Jackman, on the other hand, totally understands if you need to take a nap during The River. Great, we’ll just snuggle up to this, this and this.Don’t Mess with Angry Broadway FansWe’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—never, ever make a Broadway fan angry. Case in point: When the Broadway League ruled that they would not dim marquee lights for the late Joan Rivers, you spoke up and the decision was totally reversed within 24 hours. Great job, guys! This is one gang you do NOT want to run into in a brightly lit alley. View Commentslast_img read more

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See Honeymoon’s Brynn O’Malley Shop ‘Til She Drops on Say Yes to the Dress

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on April 5, 2015 View Comments It’s wedding bells for Honeymoon in Vegas star Brynn O’Malley—no, she’s not getting hitched in real life just yet, but she’ll Say Yes to the Dress on the hit TLC wedding reality show on March 6. O’Malley enlisted the help of co-stars Tony Danza and Rob McClure to pick out the perfect wedding dress to wear onstage in the hit musical. Check out these photos of O’Malley looking radiant in white, then see her and the gorgeous dress in person at the Nederlander Theatre! Honeymoon in Vegas Related Showslast_img read more

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Happy Birthday, Grease! 37 Fun Facts About Rydell High

first_imgSandy, Danny and the Rydell High gang are turning 37 today! The smash-hit movie Grease was released June 16, 1978, starring John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing and Jeff Conaway as the coolest high schoolers in history. Filmed on a shoestring budget, the movie adapted from the hit Broadway musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey went on to become the highest-grossing movie musical ever. Isn’t it the most, to say the least? Check out these 37 automatic, systematic, hydromatic facts all about our pals at Rydell High.1. The 1978 film was based on the 1972 Broadway musical of the same name, which originally ran for 3,388 performances and has since been revived twice.2. Several changes were made for the big-screen adaptation—the “Burger Palace Boys,” as the greasers were called in the Broadway show, were changed to the much catchier “T-Birds” in the movie.3. Originally, producers had the idea to make Grease an animated movie—they settled on a live-action film with animated opening credits instead.4. Four Grease film stars also appeared in the Broadway production: John Travolta (Doody on Broadway and Danny in the movie), Jeff Conaway (Danny on Broadway and Kenickie in the movie), Barry Pearl (Sonny on Broadway and Doody in the movie) and Jamie Donnelly (Jan on Broadway and in the movie).5. The majority of the cast hadn’t seen the inside of a high school in quite a while: John Travolta was 23 at the time of filming, Olivia Newton-John was 28 and Stockard Channing was 33.6. Frankie Valli sang the film’s title song “Grease,” which plays during the opening credits.7. Henry Winkler was considered for the part of Danny but he turned it down because he didn’t want to be typecast after starring on Happy Days.8. Susan Dey (The Partridge Family) and Deborah Raffin (7th Heaven) were both considered for the role of Sandy.9. John Travolta was initially star struck by singer Olivia Newton-John—he went to her house to convince her to co-star in the movie and was very impressed that she had a pool.10. To capitalize on Olivia Newton-John’s popularity, the film’s creators opted to keep her Australian accent and change Sandy’s last name from Dumbrowski to Olsen.11. Elvis was originally offered the role of Teen Angel, but he turned it down. It was played by Frankie Avalon in the movie.12. Another Elvis connection: In the play, “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” had a reference to Sal Mineo, but he was murdered in 1976, so the reference was changed to Elvis for the film. Elvis died on August 16, 1977, the same day the scene was filmed.13. Dinah Manoff, who played Marty, couldn’t dance, so she was conveniently missing from most of the dance scenes.14. Lucie Arnaz was the studio’s original choice for Rizzo, but her mother Lucille Ball refused to let her do a screen test.15. Gerald Ford’s son Steven was initially cast as Sandy’s jock boyfriend Tom, but even though the part had no lines, he decided he was too nervous. The role went to Lorenzo Lamas instead.16. During the movie’s shoot, the cast reportedly chewed 100,000 pieces of bubble gum.17. “You’re the One that I Want” was filmed at a traveling carnival that was only in town for the day. Portions of the carnival had to be re-created later for close-up shots.18. The hickeys on Rizzo’s neck in the diner scene were authentic, given to Stockard Channing by Jeff Conaway, who played Kenickie. Talk about method acting!19. The song “Greased Lighting” was originally supposed to be sung by Jeff Conaway, but John Travolta convinced producers to let him sing it instead.20. In Mexico and Venezuela, Grease was released under the name Vaselina.21. John Travolta was disappointed when the last shot of the song “Sandy” ended with a cartoon hot dog jumping into a bun. “He wanted a close-up [on him],” director Robert Kleiser told The New York Post. “But that hot dog was fantastic. I didn’t want to shoot the close-up because I loved the hot dog. That was a battle, but I won.”22. The movie soundtrack had two number-one singles: “Grease” and “You’re the One That I Want.”23. Although he was taller than John Travolta, Jeff Conaway slouched when he was filmed with the star so he would appear taller.24. Most of the dancers had character names like Sauce, Trix, Cee Cee, Woppo and Bubba, even though they were never used in the movie.25. It was 116 degrees during the filming of the Rydell prom scene, which took two weeks to film in downtown Los Angeles. Several extras were treated for heat-related illnesses.26. In the final carnival scene, Eddie Deezen, who played Eugene, was filmed on a spinning ride. Afterwards, he got sick and threw up in the middle of the carnival lot.27. Annette Charles (Cha Cha), who had been in the hospital undergoing tests for pain, checked herself out to film the drag race scene. That night, she was rushed into surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.28. Sandy’s pants in “You’re the One That I Want” really belonged to Olivia Newton-John—they were 25 years old and she had to be sewn into them when her zipper broke.29. The producers had hoped for a product placement deal with Coke, but it fell through. There are several shots of Coca-Cola products and signs in the scenes taking place in the Frosty Palace that have been blurred out or digitally removed.30. After the success of the movie, Paramount had plans for a Grease franchise, featuring three more movies and a TV series. But when Grease 2 flopped in 1982, these plans were put on hold.31. The writers of Grease were inspired to write the song “Beauty School Dropout” after seeing a news story about a teenage murderer who had recently dropped out of beauty school.32. Kleiser originally wanted to direct the song “It’s Raining on Prom Night” as a Singin’ in the Rain-esque sequence with Sandy, but that was vetoed in favor of a new ballad, “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”33. The actors behaved almost like real high-school students on set. “We were so bad,” Susan Buckner, who played Patty Simcox, told People. “Almost everybody would come in two, three hours late. They had to bring us all in and give us a lecture.”34. Jamie Donnelly had prematurely grey hair, so she had to dye it black to play Jan.35. Jeff Conway (Kenickie), later married Rona Newton-John, Olivia’s sister.36. Grease 2 had double the budget ($13 million) of the original film but only earned $15 million at the box office.37. Grease only cost $6 million to make, but has taken in $400 million internationally to date, making it the highest-grossing movie musical of all time. View Commentslast_img read more

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Off-B’way Hit The Humans Sets Main Stem Dates & Theater

first_img View Comments The rumors were true! Stephen Karam’s The Humans will move to the Main Stem’s Helen Hayes Theatre with the cast from the current off-Broadway Roundabout production—including Reed Birney and Jayne Houdyshell—intact. Directed by Joe Mantello, the show will begin performances on January 23, 2016 and officially open on February 18.In addition to Birney (Casa Valentina) as Erik and Houdyshell (Fish in the Dark) as Deirdre, the company includes Arian Moayed (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) as Richard, Lauren Klein (Other Desert Cities) as Fiona, Cassie Beck (Picnic) as Aimee and Sarah Steele (The Country House) as Brigid.The Humans follows Mr. Blake, who, after a sleepless night, brings his family from Pennsylvania to his daughter’s new apartment to celebrate Thanksgiving. Family tensions reach a boiling point as things start to go bump in the night. The production is currently playing an extended engagement at the Laura Pels Theatre through January 3, 2016.The creative team includes sets by David Zinn, costumes by Sarah Laux, lighting by Justin Townsend and sound by Fitz Patton.Dames at Sea will vacate the Helen Hayes on January 3, 2016.last_img read more

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Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton Will Launch Tour in September 2016

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster Broadway musical Hamilton will launch its first national tour in Chicago. The production will kick off with an open-ended run at the Windy City’s newly named PrivateBank Theatre beginning September 27, 2016. According to The Chicago Tribune, a second production will launch on the West Coast before continuing to cities across the country. Casting and further dates for the tour have not yet been announced.”I’m going to bring to Chicago a production of the same size, volume and quality as the one at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York,” lead producer Jeffrey Seller told the Tribune. “Chicago is the biggest theater market after New York. I wanted to sit down in a city that could support the show for a long term.”Directed by Thomas Kail and featuring a book, music and lyrics by Miranda, Hamilton is inspired by the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. The new musical follows the scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America, from bastard orphan to Washington’s right hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country’s first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Eliza Hamilton and lifelong Hamilton friend and foe, Aaron Burr, all make appearances in the tuner about America’s fiery past.Starring Miranda in the title role, the Broadway cast of Hamilton includes Christopher Jackson as George Washington, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton, Anthony Ramos as John Laurens and Phillip Hamilton, Daveed Diggs as Marquis De Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson and Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler. Javier Muñoz plays Hamilton at select performances. Lin-Manuel Miranda Star Files View Comments read more

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Nathan Lane & Matthew Broderick Reprise Producers Roles to Send Up Trump

first_img View Comments Star Files Nathan Lane Matthew Broderick & Nathan Lane Bialystock and Bloom are at it again! Tony winners Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick reunited on Jimmy Kimmel Live to give The Producers a 2016 election season makeover. Take a look at their sendup of a certain presidential campaign, complete with musical numbers, “checkies” from Cloris Leachman and a whole lot of Trump masks. You can catch Lane on stage on March 7 in White Rabbit Red Rabbit and on screen in American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson.last_img read more

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Tix On Sale for Rockettes’ New York Spectacular

first_imgRadio City Rockettes in ‘New York Spectacular'(Photo courtesy of MSG Entertainment) View Comments Related Shows NY Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettescenter_img Tickets are now on sale for the Rockettes’ New York Spectacular’s welcome return to Radio City Music Hall! The 75-show engagement will begin performances on June 15. Three-time Emmy winner Mia Michaels has been tapped to direct and choreograph while Douglas Carter Beane will pen the musical love letter to the Big Apple, which is scheduled to run through August 7.The production, which celebrates the magic of New York City, debuted in 2015, where it was headlined by Tony winner Laura Benanti and Derek Hough. Casting for this year’s run will be announced later.New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes celebrates New York City in the summertime centered around the trip of a lifetime for two kids, who, while on a vacation in New York, are separated from their parents. The city magically comes to life to show them its many splendid wonders and helps to reunite their family in the end. Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 7, 2016last_img read more

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Odds & Ends: Phillipa Soo’s Next Eliza Project & More

first_img Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Phillipa Soo’s Next Eliza Hamilton ProjectHamilton’s Phillipa Soo is non-stop! The 2016 Tony nominee and future Amélie, who as we all know by now originated the role of Eliza in the Tony-winning tuner, will contribute a foreword to a new children’s picture book biography about her. “I have lived and breathed Eliza’s story for the past two years,” said Soo in a statement. “I could not be more thrilled to be included in her narrative for young readers.” Margaret McNamara’s Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton will be published in 2017 by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.Juliet Stevenson & Lia Williams Switch It UpTwo queens. One in power. One in prison. It’s all in the execution. Juliet Stevenson (Truly, Madly, Deeply) and Tony nominee Lia Williams (Skylight) will trade the central roles of Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, decided at each performance by the toss of a coin, in Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart at London’s prestigious Almeida Theatre. Adapted and directed by Robert Icke, the production is scheduled to play a limited engagement December 2 through January 21, 2017. Opening night is set for December 9.Emma Watson’s Cursed Child VisitEmma Watson went to see the West End’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, starring Noma Dumezweni as Hermione, and what she had to say about it was everything. “Some things about the play were, I think, possibly even more beautiful than the films,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “Meeting Noma and seeing her on stage was like meeting my older self and have her tell me everything was going to be alright, which as you can imagine was immensely comforting (and emotional)! The cast and crew welcomed me like I was family and Noma was everything I could ever hope she would be.” The play is currently in previews at the Palace Theatre, with the opening gala scheduled for July 30. If you fear you won’t be seeing the show anytime soon, the official script will be published on July 31. #KeepTheSecrets View Comments Phillipa Soo(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser) Phillipa Soo Star Fileslast_img read more

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Euan Morton Will Lead National Tour of Hedwig

first_img Star Files View Comments Euan Morton Come on, Sugar Daddy, bring it home! Tony and Olivier Award nominee Euan Morton will headline the national tour of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, beginning November 29 at the Civic Theatre in San Diego. In addition, Hannah Corneau will take on the role of Yitzhak. Following the engagement in San Diego, the Hedwig tour will continue to play major cities across North America through July 2017 with Morton and Corneau.Morton earned Tony and Olivier nominations for his performance as Boy George in Taboo. He’s also appeared on the New York stage in Cyrano de Bergerac, Sondheim on Sondheim and Atomic. Corneau is making her Broadway national touring debut.Featuring a book by original star John Cameron Mitchell and a score by Stephen Trask, the touring production of Hedwig will also feature the members of Hedwig’s band “The Angry Inch”—aka “Tits of Clay”—including music director Justin Craig (guitar and keyboards), Matt Duncan (bass), Tim Mislock (guitar) and Peter Yanowitz (drums), all of whom originated their roles on Broadway. Rounding out the company are Mason Alexander Park, Shannon Conley, Dylan Fusillo and Matt Katz-Bohen.Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner Darren Criss and Tony winner Lena Hall kicked off the national tour of Hedwig, reprising their Broadway performances as the titular transgender rocker and Yitzhak, respectively, at San Francisco’s SHN Golden Gate Theatre on October 2, where it’ll run through October 30. The show will then move to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in L.A. from November 1 through November 27, starring Criss and Hall, before Morton and Corneau take over the roles.Directed by Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch tells the story of a fictional rock ‘n’ roll band, fronted by Hedwig, a transgender woman from communist East Berlin. Between rock songs, Hedwig regales the audience with both humorous and painful stories about her life, including her botched sex change operation. Trask’s score features “Tear Me Down,” “Wig in a Box,” “Wicked Little Town,” “The Origin of Love,” “Angry Inch” and more.The 2014 Broadway revival of Hedwig ran for over 500 performances and won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical Revival. Over the course of its run, the role of Hedwig was also played by Neil Patrick Harris, who won the Best Actor in a Musical Tony Award for his performance, Andrew Rannells, Michael C. Hall, Darren Criss, Taye Diggs and creator Mitchell. Euan Mortonlast_img read more

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Making Burgers Safe

first_img“The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking ground beef to 160 degrees,” hesaid. “That allows for a margin of safety.” “It’s easy to eliminate the risk of contaminated hamburgers,” said Mike Doyle, director of theUniversity of Georgia Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement. “Just make sureyou cook them properly.” “I continue to tell people to cook a hamburger until it’s no longer red inside and the juices rungray or are no longer pink,” he said. “But there is evidence that color isn’t always reliable.” Checking hamburger patties with most meat thermometers is hard, if not impossible. “Thereare some new ones that cost about $10,” he said. “They’re thinner and can be inserted into apatty easier than standard meat thermometers.” Young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are the mostsusceptible to foodborne illness. UGA studies have shown that heating ground beef to 155 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 secondswill kill E. coli bacteria, Doyle said. While scientists work on ways to stop E. coli 0157:H7 contamination of food products, it’seasy to protect yourself. The latest USDA recommendations call for using a meat thermometer to check the internaltemperature. And Doyle concurs that it’s the only perfectly safe way to check. E. coli 0157:H7 causes severe stomach cramps and diarrhea which oftens turns bloody aftertwo or three days. The symptoms usually go away by themselves after six to eight days. But Doyle said just getting a 160-degree reading isn’t a perfect indicator. “There can be a10-degree variation from one spot to another in some hamburgers,” he said. “The coldest spotisn’t always the center.” In a small number of people, most often children, the E. coli strain can cause a rare butserious problem called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure anddeath.last_img read more

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Griffin Field Day.

first_imgThe Agroforestry and WildlifeField Day Sept. 28 in Griffin, Ga., has something for everyone,whether you’re a forest landowner or a wildlife enthusiast.The event was previously calledthe Land Use and Forest Management Field Day. But the name andprogram have been changed to reflect the trend of landowners usingtheir land to make the most of the environment. This includesgrowing trees and crops together and allowing wildlife to flourishon the same property.ForHunters and Wildlife EnthusiastsFor hunters, the field day willoffer information on managing deer, wild turkey and bobwhite quail.Wildlife enthusiasts can learn about the benefits of attractingwildlife, creating a backyard habitat, controlling wildlife damageand managing threatened or endangered species.Forest landowners will benefitfrom the information on prescribed burning, forest health, marketingand selling timber, Georgia’s Forest Stewardship Program, bestmanagement practices for forest roads and annual pine straw removal.Those with wetlands on their propertywill want to attend the sessions on pond construction and renovation,waterfowl management and best management practices for streamsides.Leavell to Speakand EntertainChuck Leavell, 1998 American TreeFarm Program’s Outstanding Tree Farmer and keyboardist for theRolling Stones, will be guest speaker for the field day. Leavellwill also perform for the field day crowd during lunch.A $15 fee covers the presentations,lunch, a program booklet and field day hats to the first 300 registrants.The field day is sponsored by the University of Georgia Collegeof Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Warnell Schoolof Forest Resources, the Georgia Forestry Commission, U.S. Departmentof Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service and theGeorgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division.For more information, call (770)228-7318. Or visit the AWFD Web site at www.griffin.peachnet.edu/awfd.last_img read more

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Food Prices.

first_imgThe Consumer Price Index for all foodincreased 2.3 percent in 2000 and should rise about the same amountin 2001, say University of Georgia experts. After near-recordgrowth last year, beef and pork price increases are expected toslow. Other food items should see only small increases.”The slowing economy during the last quarter of 2000 is aforecast of a slower rate of economic growth during 2001,”said Bill Thomas, an agricultural economist with the UGA Collegeof Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Because farm commodities account for only 20 cents of eachretail food dollar, it’s more important to look at what’s happeningin the rest of the economy than to focus on farm prices,”Thomas said.What’s Driving Cost? Photo:USDA Americans can expect food prices to rise about 2 percent to 3 percent during 2001. Higher energy prices last year won’t necessarilytranslate into higher food prices, because transportation andenergy costs are small components of the total food marketingbill.”The total marketing bill equals 80 cents for every dollarconsumers spend on food,” Thomas said. “Transportationcosts are 4 percent and energy costs 3.5 percent of the marketingbill. If energy costs continue to be this high through 2001, another0.2 percent could be added to the rate of inflation in food.”Food price changes are a key to determining the portion of consumers’income that is spent on food. In 1999, consumers spent 10.4 percentof their household disposable income on food, with 6.2 percentfor food at home and 4.2 percent for food away from home. “During 2001, the long-run downward trend should continue,resulting in consumer expenditures for food amounting to only10.3 percent of their income,” Thomas said.Item-by-item CostThomas and other UGA economists make theseforecasts for individual food sectors:Meat Products: A booming economy continues to fuel demand for meatproducts, and overall meat prices were up 5.6 percent in 2000.Large meat supplies should limit gains to 3 percent to 4 percentin 2001.Fish and seafood: Prices should climb 2 percent to 3 percent in2001. A strong domestic economy is boosting sales in the restaurantand food-service sectors, which claim a growing share of totalseafood sales.Eggs: Prices will rise as much as 1 percent in 2001. Higherproduction levels and slower growth in exports have led to lowerretail prices the past four years.Dairy products: The CPI is expected to increase 1 percentto 2 percent in 2001. Strong consumer demand for gourmet ice cream,cheese and butterfat products, is expected to continue into 2001.Fresh fruits: It’s too early to know the full impact ofthe freezes in Florida on citrus prices. However, continued demandfor fresh fruits and normal production levels for major fruitsin the United States should boost the fresh-fruit CPI 2 percentto 3 percent in 2001.Fresh vegetables: After low farm prices in 1999, farmersreduced acreage in 2000, and prices climbed. Farmers took note, and shipments are expected to decline during 2001. Assuming normal weather and continued strong demand, the fresh-vegetable CPI should increase 2 percent to 3 percent in 2001.Processed fruits and vegetables: Adequate supplies of mostfruits and vegetables for processing is expected to limit theCPI increase to 2 percent to 3 percent in 2001.Sugar and sweets: Relatively low inflation, along withincreased production and lower retail for selected sugar-relatedfood items, is expected to limit the index increase to 1.5 percentto 2.5 percent in 2001.Cereal and bakery: With grain prices lower this year andinflation-related processing costs modest, the CPI is forecastto rise 2 percent to 3 percent. Most of the costs to produce cerealand bread products — more than 90 percent in most cases — arefor processing and marketing. Grain and other farm ingredientsaccount for a fraction of the total cost.Nonalcoholic beverages: The CPI is forecast to rise 2 percentto 3 percent. Prices of coffee and carbonated drinks, which accountfor 28 and 38 percent of the index, rose 3 percent (coffee) and4 percent (soft drinks) in 2000. Recent near-record arabica beanproduction in Brazil should lead to larger U.S. stocks and continuedmoderate consumer prices.last_img read more

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Blueberry ‘farm’acy

first_imgBy Gerard KrewerUniversity of GeorgiaFor more than 60 years, the University of Georgia’sblueberry-breeding program has developed varieties adapted to thestate, where farmers now have the fifth-largest blueberryproduction in the nation.Growers have planted millions of blueberry bushes as a cash crop.Homeowners have planted countless bushes, too. Everyone knew thedelicious berries were great to eat. But only recently has theirhidden health value been revealed.It turns out that this humble fruit, native to the river basinsof south Georgia, is one of the world’s great health treasures.AntioxidantsBlueberries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants, whichhelp human bodies prevent cancer, heart disease and stroke.Scientists have long known that blueberries contain vitamins A, Cand E. This is where some of the antioxidants are located.However, anthocyanins and other compounds, some of which providetheir rich blue color, are blueberries’ major sources ofantioxidants.Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and TuftsUniversity have shown that blueberry extract can improve themotor skills of both mice and humans.Mice fed blueberry extract had improved memory, too. Research isunder way to see if blueberries can improve human memory.Still moreBlueberries also contain the cancer-fighting compound, ellagicacid. And they have significant amounts of dietary fiber, whichhelps prevent colon cancer.Recent research by the UGA food scientists indicates thatphenolic compounds found in blueberries work against colon cancercell lines.These amazing berries contain a compound that helps preventurinary infections, too, by keeping bacteria from attaching tothe urinary tract lining.As you can see, blueberries have benefits from the top to thebottom. The harvest is in full swing in Georgia, too, so you canget fresh blueberries now from the grocery store or producemarket.Freeze ’emFrozen blueberries are another economical source of healthbenefits. You can pick you own at many Georgia farms and freezethem. Or you can buy them in plastic bags at the store.For the past year, I’ve been eating them almost every day with mybreakfast cereal. I’ve much felt better since I started regularlyincluding blueberries in my diet. If you’d like to plant blueberries in your yard, they’re fairlyeasy to care for and can provide years of health-enhancingberries.The on-line Georgia Extension publication, “Home GardenBlueberries,” (pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/l106-w.html)can show you how to grow them.Or ask your UGA Extension Service county agent, who can alsodirect you to any nearby pick-your-own blueberry farm.(Gerard Krewer is an Extension Service horticulturist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.)last_img read more

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Bountiful blueberries

first_imgBy Faith PeppersUniversity of Georgia A late spring freeze followed by heavy rains were a blessing for some Georgia blueberry growers. But they brought more hard work to others, according to University of Georgia experts.The heavy rains delayed harvest of the southeast Georgia crop, causing some early concerns about highbush berry quality. “We had to work harder to make grade due to the heavy rains this spring, but it’s turning out to be good year for rabbiteye growers,” said UGA Cooperative Extension blueberry agent Danny Stanaland.“We grow two blueberry crops in Georgia – highbush and rabbiteye,” Stanaland went on to explain. The highbush crop in some areas of southeast Georgia, which is the state’s major commercial production area, “was hit hard by the late freeze and will produce only about 35 to 50 percent of the crop.” Robust rabbiteye cropFortunately, blueberry fans all over Georgia can expect a bumper crop from the rabbiteye variety. “It will be the largest crop of rabbiteye blueberries we’ve had in several years,” Stanaland said. That’s especially good news for Georgia’s 300 blueberry growers. The majority of the crop is rabbiteye variety, and about 10 percent of the total crop is highbush variety. “The highbush variety blooms and fruits early, making it more susceptible to the low temperatures and rain,” Stanaland said. “But, May 20 we finished harvesting highbush. That crop is gone.” Growers are now harvesting rabbiteye berries in three phases. “The early rabbiteye berries were wet and had some grading issues because it required more selective picking to get the good berries,” he said. “Now that it’s dry again, it’s much easier to harvest and grade, and fruit quality is very positive. We have the heaviest rabbiteye fruit set we’ve had in years. So, while we were short on highbush berries, we are going to be long on rabbiteye.”Pick-your-own timeIn the northern half of the state, where most blueberry operations are pick-your-own, growers are reporting larger-than-normal berries and an abundant crop, just in time for many markets to open this weekend. In 2008, Georgia blueberry growers harvested more than 14,000 acres of blueberries with an off-the-farm value of close to $61 million dollars, slightly above the five-year average. This year, growers expect to harvest between 12,000 and 14,000 acres, but that figure could surge as high as 15,000 to 20,000 acres, according to Stanaland and county Extension agent reports. About 75 percent of those acres are in southeast Georgia. Prices are holding steady in spite of the abundance of available fruit this year, which usually drives prices down. Growers are getting about $14 per flat — or $1.40 per pound — for fresh berries, only a shade lower than last year’s price.last_img read more

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Homegrown herbs

first_imgSpaghetti sauce would be lost without oregano. Salsa just wouldn’t be the same without cilantro. Rosemary chicken would just be, well, chicken without rosemary.All these dishes are made possible by herbs that can be grown in home gardens.Herbs “are actually fairly easy to grow in Georgia,” said Paul Thomas, a University of Georgia horticulturalist. “We have the perfect temperature, the perfect sunlight and acceptable humidity. As long as you do the appropriate soil adjustments, herbs can be excellent garden plants to grow.”Many herbs originated in the Mediterranean’s sandy, well-draining soil, not the hard-packed red clay encasing much of Georgia. To make herbs happy here, most gardeners need to add a few soil amendments and plant in pots or spots in their gardens that drain well.Thomas manages well-drained soil in his potted herbs by adding lots of sand and compost to the soil. He also plants herbs that spread easily, like mint and oregano, in containers.Out in the garden, Thomas digs a long trench two feet deep and fills it with thoroughly mixed compost, sand and native soil. In it he plants herbs that need a large root system, like fennel, rosemary and dill.“The goal is to make sure when it rains or I irrigate, the water goes right through the soil and does not accumulate where the roots are,” Thomas said. “South Georgians will actually have to add more compost to the sand.”Thomas’ favorite herbs are mint, basil, chives and rosemary. He adds mint to sweet tea, basil to turkey stuffing, pizza and salads and chives to soups, hamburgers and potatoes au gratin.Although rosemary is one of his favorites, Thomas warns that rosemary shrubs can grow quite large. Even small plants can spread to three or four-feet wide.Perennial herbs include rosemary, chives, oregano, marjoram and mint. Cilantro and parsley are annual herbs. Dill can be biennial.To master herb growing, Thomas says follow these 10 rules:1. Herbs do not like to sit in wet soil. An easy way to keep them happy is to plant them in a raised bed. Because the soil is above ground, it will drain very easily.2. Water herbs thoroughly when they start flagging. They will tolerate drought but their flavors won’t be as strong. Never allow herbs to go more than two weeks without water.3. Always plant herbs in full sun. If either their leaves or the soil doesn’t dry out after a rain, they will become more susceptible to diseases.4. Never crowd an herb garden. Plant herbs a foot apart so air can move between the plants.5. Never apply full strength fertilizers. If the package says 1 pound per 100 square feet, use half. Fertilizer minimally – once at the beginning of the growing season, four weeks later and then again another four weeks later after four weeks (about July). Follow treatments with a thorough watering.6. Always harvest herbs in the morning. The cut surfaces of herbs need to be bone dry by mid afternoon or disease will take over.7. Use a hose, not pesticides. If you find bugs on your herbs at 7 a.m., use a water hose and apply a spray from the side. The sideways water stream will wash the bugs off, and most never get a chance to return.8. Leave the black and green and yellow striped caterpillars on fennel and dill. They are black swallowtail caterpillars. Keeping the larva on fennel will result in butterflies later in the summer.9. Don’t let weeds crowd herbs out. This includes grasses as herbs cannot compete with them.10. Never mulch herbs with leaves or other debris. Winter-mulched herbs do not survive well. Thomas’ herbs survive over winter because he rakes all the leaves out of his herb garden.“You’ll find the more you use herbs, the more you treasure them,” Thomas said.last_img read more

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UGA turfgrass

first_imgWayne Hanna beams from ear to ear when he talks about Tifton turfgrass. Some might say he’s a proud papa, and rightly so.“We develop them, and to see them succeed, it’s just like a parent whose child succeeds … it’s the same experience to see grasses you’ve developed and tested over time,” said Hanna, a retired turfgrass breeder with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.One of those grasses, Tifway 419, is a bermudagrass variety developed in the 1960s by former USDA turfgrass breeder Glenn Burton. It’s most often used on golf course and athletic fields and currently covers the field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, home of the Georgia Bulldogs football team.“The turf is off the chain,” said Georgia football coach Mark Richt, who was in Tifton on Wednesday to speak at the UGA Day event held at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. “When we line up against South Carolina (in next year’s home opener), it’s going to be looking great.”Hanna said Tifway’s ability to withstand extreme pressure from collegiate athletes is why it has succeeded as UGA’s playing field and other fields throughout the country.“It’s dense, real wear-tolerant and it recovers fast from damage from athletes,” Hanna said. “Tifway is pretty disease resistant. It just doesn’t have a whole lot of problems.”UGA turfgrass breeder Brian Schwartz agrees. “It’s a fine textured, dark green grass that’s been used successfully for about 50 years. The football field there in Athens is probably the best looking one in the SEC, in my opinion,” he said.Tifway’s name comes from a combination of Tifton and fairway, meaning it is highly suited for golf courses. It is also highly recommended for lawns, making Tifway a versatile variety.“It doesn’t take any type of special care. It does well under a broad range of managements,” Hanna noted.Tifway 419 is used in other football stadiumsaround the country, including at Texas A&M and at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. But none compare to Georgia’s field, though, according to Schwartz.“(Richt’s) got a beautiful field,” Schwartz said. “Many stadiums are torn up later in the season and his is just looking great. They do a good job there.” For more on UGA-bred turfgrass varieties, see the website at www.georgiaturf.com.last_img read more

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Cotton Variety Selection

first_imgWith so many options on the market, growers have had to learn how to manage different varieties. In Terrell County, McGhee used different seed varieties from different companies, planted them in field trials and harvested the crops to see what variety worked best in his county. “We rely heavily on cooperation with our county agents to get these trials planted and harvested,” Whitaker said. “We use the information from these trials implemented by our agents to get an idea of how well varieties perform across the state.” Nick McGhee, Terrell County Extension coordinator, is one of those cooperating Extension agents.“This program is something that a lot of the growers in Terrell County can benefit from. Cotton variety selection is an important decision that they face every year,” he said. With cotton prices plummeting below 60 cents this winter, selecting a variety to plant for the upcoming season is a critical decision for Georgia farmers. The University of Georgia Cotton Variety Selection Program provides growers with the research-based information they need to produce the state’s No. 1 row crop.UGA Extension agronomist Jared Whitaker, who helped start the program, said he has seen the right variety choice add $100 an acre or more to a farmer’s bottom line. In 2014, DP 1252 B2RF, CG3783 B2RF and PHY 333 WRF were the varieties with statistically similar and highest average lint yield when averaged across all 20 trials. With regards to consistency across those trials, those same varieties had yields within the top three of 12 varieties evaluated in at least 45 percent of the 20 trials. For more information about variety performance from this program, contact your local county agent or visit the UGA Cotton Web page at ugacotton.com.The data produced from the cotton variety selection can be seen at ugacotton.com/cotton-variety-selection/.According to UGA’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, Georgia produced more than $1.2 billion in cotton in 2013. “We started the program so that we could evaluate a small set of promising varieties across a large number of locations and environments to observe performance in various situations and get an idea of where varieties perform best and which are most consistent,” Whitaker said.Jeff Davis County cotton farmer Wayne Herndon has helped with the program since its inception. Whitaker uses Herndon’s land to plant and test different cotton varieties.center_img “The program allows us to see what variety works best in different types of soil and environments,” Herndon said. “And it has helped me decide what varieties to plant.”Rather than growing cotton in just one part of the state for the UGA program, Whitaker aims to grow cotton in different counties across Georgia to see how the different varieties perform in various environments. Cotton seed can be expensive, and yields can be attributed to the variety that farmers choose. According to McGhee, cotton producers have the potential to increase their gross revenue by more than $3.5 million annually in Terrell County if they choose the right variety. “They were all planted in the same field and managed the same way, which determined what variety yielded the best,” McGhee said. (Jordan Hill is an intern with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

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Beautiful Buckwheat

first_imgBuckwheat adds nitrogen to garden plots, produces beautiful flowers and delicious pancakes.Each year I start my garden with grand visions of endless bounty. Something happens around the first part of July, though.By then, I’ve had plenty of squash and cucumbers, and even had a few choice tomatoes; basically, my stomach gets too full to keep up.Now, the spring vegetables are petering out, as well as some of those early squash and cucumbers. The stifling heat and humidity make going out in the garden almost impossible before 7 p.m.This year I have a plan to keep those garden beds from turning into pastureland. No, it’s not mountains of mulch or more hours with the hoe and tiller. It’s buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum).Buckwheat is an unusually fast-growing plant produced by commercial agriculture for its grain-like seeds. In the home garden, it is one of the best summer cover/green manure crops available.George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were some of the first American farmers to grow buckwheat, as they recognized its benefit in a healthy crop rotation. Native to Russia, the flexibility and adaptability led buckwheat to be grown on more than a million acres in the U.S. in the late 1800s.The grain is ground into flour and used in a variety of foods, from noodles in Japan to breakfast staples like cereal and pancakes in the U.S. I even had pillows made from buckwheat hulls when I lived in the tropical Pacific. The pillows are meant to be cooler because of the increased space for air. I never got past the crinkling noise I heard each time I moved.Buckwheat is easy to grow. Simply broadcast the seeds and lightly rake them in. A pound of seed is recommended per 500 square feet of garden space, or 3 ounces of seed per 100 square feet. You can’t really put too much seed down. Since it’s usually sold in bulk from the local feed store, it’s better to err on the side of too much. Buckwheat does not require highly fertile soils but will benefit from modest levels of nitrogen. Its many fine roots are well adapted to find lower levels of phosphorous, and when crop residues are returned to the soil, it becomes more available for other plants.Germination begins in about three to four days, and within 10 to 14 days, the ground should be fully covered with emerging leaves. This quick leaf cover protects the soil from erosion, retains moisture and shades out those dastardly weed seeds.Now just sit back, drink some iced tea and wait for the best part: the floral display that begins three to four weeks after planting. A large, dense planting will literally stop traffic. My neighbors tell me they always slow down to admire the 5-by-100-foot strip I planted along the roadside.The prolific flowers on buckwheat are a good nectar source for honeybees and other pollinators. The resulting honey is dark-colored and distinctly different in taste from clover or wildflower honey. The timing of flowering is also very beneficial to bees because midsummer is usually when there is less native forage available.Remember that those prolific flowers turn into a seed if allowed to develop and dry on the plant. If you do not want buckwheat carrying over into your next planting, cut the plants or till them under two to three weeks after flowering. Some farmers cut it and leave the plant residue on the surface as mulch, which will provide a premulched area for new transplants.last_img read more

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Hackett , Future Planning Associates merge

first_imgHackett & Company and Future Planning Associates, Inc. MergeWilliston, VT – on November 1, 2004, South Burlington-based Hackett &Company’s retirement plan and administrative group will merge with FuturePlanning Associates, Inc. of Williston, bringing together two of Vermont’sleading retirement consulting and administration firms with over 60 yearsof combined service.The merged company, with a combined staff of 20 “qualified plan”specialists, will operate as Future Planning Associates, Inc. under theleadership of Suzanne Stewart as chairman and Luther F. Hackett as ViceChairman. The other directors of the merged company include Jan Emmons,Marilyn Jae Lehto and Loretta Wood of Future Planning Associates and PattyBarry, Erin Helmken and Daryl Straw from Hackett & Company.”We believe that by combining our two companies we will be able to providethe full array of retirement and benefit planning services andadministration that are required in this increasingly complex field,” saidHackett. “As retirement planning takes on even greater complexity, aswell as importance to individuals and employers, our goal is to providesound advice and practical solutions that meet their needs,” he added.”Outstanding client service is our primary objective,” said Stewart in anoutline of the goals of the merged company. “In the same way that wecreate plans for our clients that are both long-term and future-oriented,this merger will ensure that Future Planning Associates will continue toprovide strength and continuity for the long term. By bringing together abroad array of individual expertise in talented staff and state-of-the-artdata systems, we will provide superior service to all of our clients,”added Stewart.With the November 1st merger, the company will operate in expandedquarters at the current site of Future Planning Associates, Inc. at 600Blair Park (P.O. Box 905) in Williston.Future Planning Associates, Inc. is a regional consulting firmspecializing in the design, implementation and administration oftax-qualified Retirement Plans, Section 125/Cafeteria Plans, HealthReimbursement Arrangements and COBRA requirements.- 30 –last_img read more

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Exchanges that will be 100 percent covered by FairPoint by 2010

first_imgCountyExchange NameTelephone Number Prefixes Milton893 Underhill899EssexIsland Pond723 Enosburg Falls933 Waterbury241, 244OrangeNewbury866 Essex Junction288, 878, 879 Vergennes877BenningtonDorset867 Vermont 100 PercentBroadband Exchanges in 2010 Fairfax849 Salisbury352 Williamstown433 Washington883 Lunenburg892ChittendenBurlington338, 651, 652, 654, 655, 657, 658, 660, 859, 860, 862, 863, 864, 865, 951, 985 AddisonMiddlebury382, 388, 443 Richford848 Manchester362, 366CaledoniaConcord695 St Albans524, 527 v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}.shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);}Vermont 100 Percent Broadband Exchanges in 2010 v364051 Timothy McQuiston 2 23 2008-09-23T21:43:00Z 2008-09-30T21:07:00Z 2008-09-30T21:07:00Z 1 204 1168 Verizon 9 2 1370 10.2625 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”;} Swanton868Grand IsleGrand Isle372LamoilleStowe253 Norton822FranklinEast Fairfield827 Morrisville888last_img read more

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Remarks of Senator Patrick Leahy at the Economic Recovery Conference at Champlain College

first_imgThank you, President Finney and Champlain College, for hosting us at this timely conference today.  We welcome this opportunity to offer Vermonters, Vermont businesses, and Vermont communities a chance to learn more about how they can take advantage of the recently passed federal economic recovery act.  And the more rapidly and effectively that Vermont puts these resources to work, the better we will be able to keep Vermonters working today, and the better we will be able to lay the groundwork for growing our economy for the jobs of tomorrow.   I d like to thank the Vermont Procurement and Technical Assistance Center and the Vermont Small Business Development Center for sponsoring and helping to organize this event.  For those of you who don t know about the great work these organizations do and the many other organizations represented at this conference today I really encourage you to take advantage of their superb knowledge and expertise about doing business in Vermont.  I also want to thank Governor Douglas, Legislative leaders, and so many Federal and State officials for being here today.  The Congressional Delegation worked closely with the Governor and the Legislature under the leadership of Senator Peter Shumlin and Speaker Shap Smith and with State agencies to make sure that the economic recovery plan is a good match for Vermont s job needs today and in the future. Vermonters are hurting today because of the economic and financial crises gripping the world.  We have a rising unemployment rate.  The State s budget, local municipal budgets and local school budgets are all stretched to the breaking point.  Our roads and bridges are strained and worn.  And hard-working families are struggling to put food on the table.  This really is one of the worst economic messes our country has seen since the Great Depression. As President Obama so clearly told the nation last week before a joint meeting of the Congress, rebuilding the foundation of a strong economy won t be easy.  It will take sacrifice, and it will take wise, concerted and sometimes courageous action.  And this economic recovery package is just one part of the solution.  We still have to stabilize our financial markets, our housing market, and consumer confidence in our overall economy.Some want these efforts to fail.  Worse yet, some pundits and even some politicians seem determined to try to make these efforts fail.  We cannot afford that kind of corrosive negativism in the best of times.  And when it comes to setting right an economy that has been going off keel for many years, this is anything but the best of times.  As for this Vermonter — and I think as for many, many Vermonters — I want this President and this country to succeed.  Some of the tools we need for economic recovery are in this legislative package, and the workshops where these tools will be put to work are right here in Vermont and in other states.  If Vermont gets a little head start on other states — that s OK by me.  This conference, which we re told is the first statewide conference of its kind, can help us jump off the starting block.   And I must say that the interest you have shown in being here is a sign that Vermonters are ready to lead the way back to economic vitality.  The economic recovery package is bold action taken by the Federal government to help put Americans back to work and we must be prepared to quickly and constructively take advantage of it. The package includes tax relief for working families and for businesses.  There are investments for broadband deployment, for job training, for electrical smart grids, for water and transportation infrastructure, for better schools, for housing, for first responders, for new energy sources, and for a whole host of other items that will help cushion pressures on the State budget, and for helping to lay the groundwork for a renewed and vibrant Vermont economy.In all, we expect Vermont will receive more than $700 million in direct federal funding under this economic recovery package, with hundreds of millions more coming to the State through competitive grant programs and tax reductions for individuals and businesses.President Obama has ordered Federal agencies to detail all of their economic recovery plans on the www.Recovery.gov(link is external) Website a site that I suggest you all bookmark on your computers.  According to the site, most of the Federal funding won t be released to states or noticed for competitive bidding until May.  But all of Washington has been impressed by the quick and competent way that formula grant funds already are flowing to the states, including millions of dollars to Vermont. Nevertheless, we hope that today s sessions will give you a sense of the breadth of opportunities available in the economic recovery package, will help you get a sense of how these resources will be directed, and will get you started thinking about ways your business, your organization, your municipality, or you yourself can take advantage of these opportunities.I ll caution you now — we probably won t have answers to all of your questions today.  As this bill goes into implementation it s impossible to know the details of everything.  My staff, the governor s staff, and our workshop panelists will do their best with the information they have available.  Most Federal and State agencies are still working on their rules and distribution plans right now, so please feel free to follow up with any of us in the weeks and months ahead. Again, thank you all for coming.  We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedules to be here today.  I hope you ll find this a worthwhile conference because the economic recovery package really is a unique opportunity to save and create jobs and to make life better here in Vermont. Thank you.last_img read more

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EPA sends $2 million in brownfield clean-up funds to Vermont

first_imgVermont s congressional delegation announced today $2 million in Brownfields grants for the state.  Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said the Environmental Protection Agency funding, $400,000 of which came from the economic stimulus plan, will go towards clean up of and reinvestment in properties blighted by hazardous waste. The City of Burlington will receive a $200,000 grant; the City of St. Albans will receive $400,000 in cleanup funds, and the New England Youth Theatre in Brattleboro will receive a $200,000 cleanup grant.There are also four regional recipients. The Windham Regional Commission will receive $400,000. The Lamoille County Planning Commission will receive $400,000. The Northwest Regional Planning Commission will receive $200,000. And the Rutland Regional Planning Commission will receive $200,000.The EPA defines a brownfield site as a location where the presence of a hazardous substance may complicate the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of the property. Cleaning up polluted site takes development pressures off of undeveloped open land.  It also improves and protects the environment.Details of the Vermont grants are available here.  To learn more about the Brownfields program, visit the E.P.A. Web site here.last_img read more

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Legislation would bolster successful SBA loan program

first_imgRep. Peter Welch unveiled legislation Monday morning aimed at freeing up credit to small businesses by expanding a successful Small Business Administration loan program. At Burlington s Chittenden Bank, Welch and members of Vermont s business and banking communities outlined details of Welch s bill, which is intended to bolster the popular SBA Express Loan Program. By increasing the SBA Express program s current cap of $350,000 to $2 million, the legislation would significantly increase access to credit for Vermont s small businesses. Welch will introduce his bill in the House this week.Small business owners throughout Vermont have struggled since the start of the current economic crisis with securing and retaining lines of credit. At a small business roundtable in Bennington last month, business owners told Welch that the tight credit environment was the single greatest difficulty they faced in expanding their businesses. Vermont small businesses need access to credit in order to weather this economic storm and right now, they don t have that, Welch said. By expanding the highly successful SBA Express Loan Program, I believe we can give our small businesses a key tool to survive these difficult economic times.Established in 1995 to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of SBA s lending programs, SBA Express reduces the amount of required paperwork and accelerates the approval process for small businesses. Because it significantly reduces costs for lending institutions, SBA Express has thrived during the economic crisis, even as other lending programs have not. The program s current loan cap of $350,000, however, has constrained the potential of SBA Express, experts agree.Bennington Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joanne Erenhouse and Chittenden Bank SBA Loan Officer Robin Shanahan joined Welch at Monday s event to reiterate the importance for both small businesses and lenders of expanding SBA Express. Franklin County Regional Development Corporation Executive Director Tim Smith and Rutland Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jamie Stewart also attended the event.Source: Welch’s office.last_img read more

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United States Senate passes Travel Promotion Act

first_imgThe United States Senate passed the Travel Promotion Act (TPA) late last week by a vote of 78-18. The House already passed the bill which is now on its way to President Obama who is expected to sign the bill into law sometime this week.   This is a major accomplishment for the hospitality industry, said Vicky Tebbetts, Vice President of the Vermont Chamber s Hospitality Council. This legislation is important for the continued growth and success of the travel and tourism economy in Vermont and across the United States.    The TPA will aggressively promote international travel to the United States by creating a public-private partnership campaign to market the country as a premier travel destination with the goal of increasing the number of international visitors. The Vermont Chamber s Hospitality Council commends Senators Patrick Leahy, Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch for supporting the Travel Promotion Act and recognizing the important role the tourism industry plays in Vermont, Tebbetts added.The Vermont Chamber s Hospitality Council would like to thank Congressman Welch for his efforts in getting this important piece of legislation passed. At the urging of the Vermont Chamber s Hospitality Council, Welch joined the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus last summer in order to represent Vermont s vibrant hospitality industry.  Welch is one of nearly 100 members in the Caucus which has worked on the Travel Promotion Acts of 2007 and 2009, promoting the brand of America to the rest of the traveling world and increasing international travelers to the United States.  In 2007, visitors made an estimated 14.3 million person trips to Vermont for leisure, business or personal travel and direct spending by visitors for goods and services totaled $1.6 billion. In addition, visitor spending entirely supports an estimated 37,490 jobs for Vermonters (approximately 12% of all jobs in our state).The TPA aims to create 40,000 new jobs in the United States to handle the 1.6 million new visitors to this country.  Travel represents 40 percent of fine dining restaurant sales in the United States, 25 percent of both family and casual dining segment sales, and 15 percent of quick service sales.  This industry also employs 13 million Americans.Source: Vermont Chamber of Commerce. 3.1.2010last_img read more

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Challenges for Change school budget reduction targets $23.2 million

first_imgThe Vermont Department of Education mailed FY2012 individualized education spending reduction targets Monday to each supervisory union, supervisory district, and the three technical center districts across the state, as required by Act 146 of the 2010 Legislative session. Overall the recommendations are for a 2.34 percent reduction across the state in education spending in order to meet the goal of saving $23.2 million dollars. District-level recommendations range from a 0.5 percent reduction to a 2.68 percent reduction.The determinations were made at the district levels, but aggregated to the supervisory union level as the law requires. The determinations considered factors outlined in the law, such as per pupil spending, student-to-staff ratios and demonstrated fiscal restraint. The department examined data from the past four budget cycles on· total education spending,· spending per equalized pupil,· student enrollment to direct instruction staff,· direct instruction staff to administrative staff,· and student enrollment to administrative staff. ‘We expect most school districts and supervisory unions to take these recommendations seriously,’ said Commissioner Vilaseca. ‘And they will do their best to meet them, just as they responsibly reduced spending last year. This is new territory, both for our department and for local school districts.’The boards of each supervisory union and district shall notify the commissioner on or before December 15, 2010 whether their combined budgets will meet the recommended reductions. By January 15, 2011, the commissioner shall report to the legislative education committees the total projected amount of FY2012 budgets, with a detailed proposal by which the Legislature can ensure the targets will be met.See Page 76, sections E1 and E2, for this specific requirement at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/DOCS/2010/ACTS/ACT146.PDF(link is external). A complete explanation of the formula begins on the following page.Challenges for Change School Budget Reduction Targets Calculations Brief overview of methodologyFor any given data element, the percent change between any two consecutive years was calculated (i.e., the percent change in netted education spending from FY2010 to FY2011). Percent changes were capped at plus or minus 50 percent to compensate for very large percentage changes resulting from small changes in very small districts. Additionally, some data were either clearly entered incorrectly or not entered at all, resulting in very large or low percentage changes.The four years of data resulted in three percentage changes. Those three changes were averaged for a district. Again, to accommodate small districts, the averages were capped at plus or minus one standard deviation from the mean. As supervisory unions are different from school districts and perform different functions, a separate mean and standard deviation was calculated and used for supervisory unions and supervisory districts. School districts and the three technical center school districts used a mean and a standard deviation based on their combined data.The resulting average (capped if necessary) was divided by the relevant group mean to normalize the data. This figure became the weight for any given factor. The exception was the factor for direct instruction FTEs per administration and support staff FTEs. That factor had a low mean for the school district and technical center (0.15%), resulting in disproportionately large weights for a modest average (e.g., with a mean of 0.15%, an average of 10% results in a weight of 67). Therefore, the DI per Admin & Support weight was decreased by a factor of 0.50 to mitigate the effect of the small mean.Weights from the various factors were aggregated. To account for the varying magnitudes of education spending (Burlington versus Eden, for example), the total weights for a district were multiplied by the ratio of the district’s netted education spending to the netted education spending as a whole.Some districts had a negative total weight, resulting in a negative factor after applying the relative netted education spending factor. Statistically, it is valid to add a constant to transform the negative values to positive. This was done by adding a constant of 1 to all weighted totals. This result was then multiplied against the ratio of the required $23,200,000 reduction versus the netted education spending total (2.348%), to give a weighted percentage for reduction.That weighted percentage was multiplied by the netted education spending for all districts, SUs, SDs, and technical center districts. The aggregated targets for the State exceeded the $23,200,000, so a reduction factor of the legislated target divided by the calculated target state total was applied to each district, bringing the targets to the $23,200,000 figure.Source: Vermont DOE. 8.4.2010http://education.vermont.gov/new/html/dept/press_releases.html(link is external)center_img OverviewSection E2 of Act 146 of the 2010 Legislative session specifies that FY2012 education spending will be reduced by $23,200,000 from the FY2011 level, while achieving the outcomes for education listed in section E1. The commissioner of education is directed to develop reduction targets for each supervisory union and technical center school district.These targets were developed by looking at the member districts of supervisory unions, the supervisory unions themselves, and the three technical center school districts. Additionally, supervisory costs for Supervisory Districts were removed from the school costs (e.g., supervisory costs for the Montpelier Supervisory District were removed from the Montpelier School District costs).Entities excludedSchool districts excluded from these targets were districts that:did not operate a school and tuitioned all grades;belonged to a union school and tuitioned all other grades;were members of two unions offering combined grades K ‘ 12;were members of joint school agreements as individuals but data were aggregated to the joint school level and were included; andunorganized towns and gores.Data elementsData used were the most recent available for the following elements and are as reported by the districts:education spending (FY08-FY11);equalized pupils as calculated with the maximum allowable 3.5% loss (FY08-FY11);enrollments (FY07-FY10); andteacher / staff data (FY07-FY10)direct instruction ‘ all licensed teachers in the classroom;administrative and support staff ‘ central office staff personnel for both school and general administration, including paid teachers aides.Education spending for school districts was decreased by supervisory union assessments, costs for grades tuitioned, capital debt, and costs for technical center students.Factors usedThe above data elements were used in the following six factors:netted education spending (after removal of aforementioned costs);netted education spending per equalized pupil;enrollment per direct instruction staff FTEs;enrollment per administration and support staff FTEs;direct instruction FTEs per administration and support staff FTEs; andnetted education spending as a percent of total netted education spending, applied to the aggregated weights from 10 – 14.last_img read more

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Vermont Senate committee assignments announced

first_imgLieutenant Governor Phil Scott, Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell, and Senator Dick Mazza, members of the Senate Committee on Committees, announced the Senate committee assignments for the 2011-2012 legislative session.Those committee assignments are:AgricultureSen. Sara Kittell (D-Franklin), ChairSen. Harold Giard (D-Addison), Vice ChairSen. Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden), ClerkSen. Bobby Starr (D-Essex-Orleans)Sen. John Campbell (D-Windsor)AppropriationsSen. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia), ChairSen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington), Vice ChairSen. Bobby Starr (D-Essex-Orleans), ClerkSen. Diane Snelling (R-Chittenden)Sen. Vincent Illuzzi (R-Essex-Orleans)Sen. Alice Nitka (D-Windsor)Sen. Hinda Miller (D-Chittenden)Economic DevelopmentSen. Vincent Illuzzi (R-Essex-Orleans), ChairSen. Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden), Vice ChairSen. Peter Galbraith (D-Windham), ClerkSen. Bill Carris (D-Rutland)Sen. Bill Doyle (R-Washington)EducationSen. Kevin Mullin (R-Rutland), ChairSen. Ginny Lyons (D-Chittenden), Vice ChairSen. Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden), ClerkSen. Bill Doyle (R-Washington)Sen. Sara Kittell (D-Franklin)FinanceSen. Ann Cummings (D-Washington), ChairSen. Mark MacDonald (D-Orange), Vice ChairSen. Sally Fox (D-Chittenden), ClerkSen. Dick McCormack (D-Windsor)Sen. Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden)Sen. Rich Westman (R-Lamoille)Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin)Government OperationsSen. Jeanette White (D-Windham), ChairSen. Claire Ayer (D-Addison), Vice ChairSen. Peg Flory (R-Rutland), ClerkSen. Anthony Pollina (D-Washington)Sen. Peter Galbraith (D-Windham)HealthSen. Claire Ayer (D-Addison), ChairSen. Kevin Mullin (R-Rutland), Vice ChairSen. Anthony Pollina (D-Washington), ClerkSen. Hinda Miller (D-Chittenden)Sen. Sally Fox (D-Chittenden)InstitutionsSen. Bob Hartwell (D-Bennington), ChairSen. Dick Mazza (D-Grand Isle), Vice ChairSen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia), ClerkSen. Bill Carris (D-Rutland)Sen. Harold Giard (D-Addison)JudiciarySen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington), ChairSen. Alice Nitka (D-Windsor), Vice ChairSen. Diane Snelling (R-Chittenden), ClerkSen. Jeanette White (D-Windham)Sen. Ann Cummings (D-Washington)Natural ResourcesSen. Ginny Lyons (D-Chittenden), ChairSen. Mark MacDonald (D-Orange), Vice ChairSen, Joe Benning (R-Caledonia), ClerkSen. Dick McCormack (D-Windsor)Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin)TransportationSen. Dick Mazza (D-Grand Isle), ChairSen. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia), Vice ChairSen. Peg Flory (R-Rutland), ClerkSen. Rich Westman (R-Lamoille)Sen. Bob Hartwell (D-Bennington)###last_img read more

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Construction contracts increase in both VT and NH

first_imgStatistics show that although construction in Vermont during the month of February looked to be slowing, overall contracts for future construction are above last years values. This includes residential, non-residential and nonbuilding construction. February and year-to-date data for Vermont:Similar statistics for the state of New Hampshire also show a significant increase in future construction contracts for the year 2011. February and year-to-date data for New Hampshire:Source: McGraw-Hill Constructionlast_img read more

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Op-Ed: Montana Is Blessed With Vast Renewable Energy

first_imgOp-Ed: Montana Is Blessed With Vast Renewable Energy
 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Jeff L. Fox for the Billings Gazette:The Bozeman Daily Chronicle recently editorialized that it’s “Time Montana realized coal’s limitations.” Similarly, The Billings Gazette recently ran editorials claiming that “Montana can’t stake its future on coal,” and Montana’s economy and energy sector must “Diversify or die, it’s our choice.”The editorials ran in response to the state’s grappling with the reality of a shrinking coal sector. Both editorial boards correctly identified that the challenges facing Montana’s coal sector extend far beyond the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” carbon regulations. Both also correctly identified that Montana’s economy is diverse, and that further diversification will help us shrug off any coming coal losses. However, neither fully captured the opportunity that renewable energy development can play in building a brighter future for Montana.Montana is blessed with one of the best wind resources in the United States, which can help power our state and large portions of the economies of Washington, Oregon and California, just like Montana’s coal currently does. Additionally, our solar energy resource is more than adequate to meet a sizable portion of our own in-state demand, if we get serious about utilizing it.People who want to invest in and help build Montana’s renewable energy future are already here, ready to bring forward the clean energy that is in demand. Reviewing the interconnection requests on NorthWestern Energy’s system reveals every utility-scale electric energy project being actively developed (more than 50 in total on NorthWestern Energy’s system) is either a wind or solar energy project. Not every project currently being developed is likely to be successful, but the fact that all are renewable is an indicator of where we are going and where we should focus our efforts.Tallying up proposed wind projects statewide reveals there are more than 2,000 megawatts of wind energy being actively developed right now in Montana. If built, 2,000 megawatts of installed wind energy would probably represent something like $3 billion in capital investment, more than 11,000 construction job years, and more than 500 permanent jobs, based on the “Employment Effects of Clean Energy Investments in Montana” report authored by energy consulting firm Synapse Energy.Two thousand megawatts is a good starting point, but we have nearly limitless low-cost wind potential in Montana that can complement the renewable resources in neighboring states. How much wind resource we develop is really up to us, but commitment to even a modest goal could provide significant economic impact to help with our energy transition.Matching coal’s economic footprint would provide support for Montana’s rural communities, pumping tax dollars, local spending, landowner payments and, most important, jobs into small towns, without disrupting their character. A wind project in every county would help keep small town schools — the lifeblood of rural Montana communities —in good health.Meanwhile, Montana is seeing our first utility-scale solar projects being developed and community solar projects taking off with rural electric cooperatives leading the way. The rooftop solar market is experiencing sustained double-digit growth in Montana and today there are already more than 50 main street Montana-based businesses involved in selling, installing and connecting rooftop solar energy systems.Finally, large pumped hydroenergy storage projects proposed for Montana could further increase the value of wind and solar energy potential.The transition to cleaner energy is happening all across the country. It can happen here, too.Nationwide the solar industry already employs more workers than the entirety of the coal industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects wind energy technicians to be the fastest growing occupation in the nation through 2024.None of this is to suggest the challenges facing coal communities aren’t real and potentially painful. Together, we all must ensure that utilities, mine operators, and politicians do right by the workers if those jobs disappear or are phased out. But, Montana also has enormous benefits to realize in the clean energy transition, if we are open to seizing the opportunities.Guest opinion: Renewables can diversify Montana’s energy economylast_img read more

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Green River Takeover

first_imgAnother Women’s Green River Takeover is on the books and it was bigger and better than ever. We had a total of 78 women put on and paddle the Upper Green together, with 32 of those women continuing through the Class 5 Narrows section.The idea behind the event is simply to get as many women as possible out on the water together in an effort to connect all of the amazing lady paddlers in the area and increase camaraderie and support in the community. It’s about meeting new friends, mentors and role models in the community. It’s about smiling.daniel-brasuell-dsc02421The day wouldn’t be the same without the assistance of the world’s finest shuttle bunnies. The help of these men should not be understated. They volunteer their time for the day to help out with shuttles, but in a bigger picture way, are there to show their overwhelming support of the women’s kayaking community. These guys are awesome.chad-blotnerIn addition to getting the women’s kayaking community together, the Takeover is also about remembering and channeling the spirit of Shannon Christy, a friend and fellow lady kayaker who we lost to the river a few years ago.Shannon always had a big smile on her face, and made sure you knew that “you are beautiful.” At the end of the Takeover, we do a big raffle with prizes donated from the event’s numerous sponsors to raise money for the Shannon Christy Memorial Fund, a fund that supports organizations and grants that build confidence and empower women and girls in our communities. This year we raised $2,800 for the fund, which was over 3 times as much as we have in the past.chad-blotner-7786This day really wouldn’t be possible with out the support of so many people and so many companies through their assistance with logistics, shuttle vehicles and raffle prizes. Thanks to all of the sponsors and shuttle drivers for supporting this community event. A special thanks to Dagger Kayaks and Adventure Technology paddles for being the main sponsors of the Takeover and continuing to provide the support to keep this event happening every year. I’m looking forward to next year’s Green River Takeover which I expect will be even bigger and better.last_img read more

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MountainTrue Brings All-Women Adventure Film Festival to Brevard, Boone and Asheville

first_imgMountainTrue is Western North Carolina’s premier advocate for environmental stewardship. Their staff and volunteers are committed to keeping our mountain region a beautiful place to live, work and play. MountainTrue members protect forests, clean up rivers, plan vibrant and livable communities, and advocate for a sound and sustainable future for all residents of WNC. For more information: https://mountaintrue.org No Man’s Land Film Festival (NMLFF) is the premier all-women adventure film festival based out of Carbondale, Colorado and on tour internationally. In its fourth year, No Man’s Land Film Festival has reached audiences in nearly every US state and has breached international borders with events ranging from Canada to Australia. A Woman Knows Her Place features extreme kayaking out West. The screenings kiff off in Brevard at Oskar Blues Brewery on April 3 with a free event that will feature a pre-show panel of women discussing their experience in the outdoors. Then on April 13, the festival will screen inside Boone’s Center 45 climbing gym. The Asheville event on April 25 will be the largest with an all-inclusive ticketed screening at New Belgium Brewery which includes indoor seating, hors d’oeuvres, a full-length film screening and your first beer compliments of MountainTrue. Weather permitting, films will also be screened for free on the lawn in front of the Brewhouse. Since the event is in late April, the weather could choose to be uncooperative, so MountainTrue encourages Asheville attendees toto purchase a ticket to ensure they get to see the films and to support the work of MountainTrue Vivid and etherial In Perpetual Motion is about the remarkable beauty when time stands still for just a moment.  No Man’s Land Film Festival – the premier all-women adventure film festival – returns to Western North Carolina for a second year, but this time with three screenings throughout the region. The Festival features short films about women adventurers who will inspire you with their tenacity and spunk – all interwoven to showcase the full scope of woman-identified athletes and adventurers. Tickets for all three screenings are available athttps://mountaintrue.org/nmlff19 In Mountain Bike Meets Painting, artist and mountain biker Micayla Gatto takes the viewer on a harrowing and surreal trip along ridge lines and down winding single track. No Man’s Land Film Festival Excites and Empowers “No Man’s Land Film Festival champions women in the outdoors. Through the film festival, we want to inspire women to lace up their hiking boots, strap on a climbing harnesses or hit the trail.” explains Julie Mayfield, co-director of MountainTrue, a Western North Carolina-based environmental conservation nonprofit. “Our mountains and rivers need more champions, and those of us who spend time playing in the outdoors are more likely to fight to protect the outdoors.” MountainTrue, a Western North Carolina-based environmental conservation nonprofit, is organizing three screenings throughout our region this spring and hope that the No Man’s Land Film Festival will inspire more women to spend time in the outdoors and, in turn, take up the cause of environmental conservation and protection. The NMLFF mission transcends the films presented, acting as a platform for powerful and progressive movement in the outdoor industry. For more information: http://nomanslandfilmfestival.org Shirin tells the story Shirin Gerami who pursues triathlon while adhering to Iran’s dress regulations for women. Becca Droz plays hip hop on the Mountain Top in Hip Hop Gone Wild NMLFF celebrates the full scope of woman-identified athletes and adventurers, looking to undefine what it means to be a woman in adventure, sport and film. NMLFF champions women with grit, hustle, determination and boundless passion, investing them with the respect, support and media recognition they deserve. Through human collaboration, No Man’s Land strives to implement and inspire change in the outdoor, sport and film industries, while cultivating a deep interest in exploring the vastness of the planet from a woman’s point of view. last_img read more

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Cocaine Paste Abuse Threatens Families Throughout Southern Cone

first_img MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Authorities in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile are fighting to contain the growing abuse of cocaine paste — a cheap, yellowish cocaine smoked by thousands of people throughout South America’s Southern Cone. In all four countries, the abuse of cocaine paste, also known in Argentina as paco, is far lower than that of marijuana or cocaine. Only 0.8 percent of Uruguay’s 3.4 million inhabitants use cocaine paste, according to the National Home Survey on Drug Use; that compares to 4 percent for cocaine and 12.2 percent for marijuana. Cocaine paste is often linked with criminals and those living on the fringes of society, authorities say. In fact, the proportion of cocaine paste users rises to 8 percent in the poorest neighborhoods of Montevideo, according to that same survey. Milton Romani, a Montevideo psychologist and substance-abuse expert who in April finished a six-year term as secretary of the Uruguayan National Drug Board, suggests that the abuse of cocaine paste is “a sign of the times” that first appeared in Argentina with that country’s 2001 peso devaluation, then spread rapidly across the Río de la Plata to Uruguay. “The financial crisis gave birth to a new market for drug traffickers. Cocaine base is a low-cost product that could penetrate a particular market segment, because drug trafficking follows market rules,” said Romani, an international human rights adviser. “Traffickers have to change with the times. Since they can no longer acquire large quantities of precursor chemicals, they must look at the way they make cocaine: the large laboratories in Bolivia are broken up into several drug kitchens throughout Bolivia and Argentina.” In fact, the strong dollar caused the cost of powder cocaine to skyrocket throughout the region, as did the 1998 decision to ban precursor chemicals, which by 2000 was having an impact. Both made cocaine paste a cheaper and more readily available alternative, authorities say. Between 2001 and 2005, according to a study by the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute, the use of paco in Argentina jumped by 200 percent, with more than 150,000 youths taking it regularly. Even so, its users represent only 0.5 percent of Argentina’s population, said Mariano Donzelli of the Secretaria de Programacion de la Drogaddicion y la Lucha contra el Narcotrafico (Sedronar). That compares to cocaine, which is used by 2.6 percent of Argentines, and marijuana, which is smoked by 6.9 percent of the country’s inhabitants. In Chile, cocaine paste is abused by 0.4 percent of the population, compared to 0.7 percent for cocaine and 4.6 percent for marijuana, according to CONACE (Consejo Nacional para el Control de Estupefacientes de Chile). Its principal consumers are men aged 18 to 34 and from low-income groups. Cocaine paste is obtained from an intermediate phase in the transformation from coca leaf to cocaine hydrochloride. “When precursor chemicals were blocked in producer countries, those countries began to find it difficult to manufacture their final product, so they began to cut [the cocaine] with just about anything,” said Uruguayan judge Jorge Díaz, who specializes in organized crime. “Instead of exporting already purified cocaine from Colombia, they now export the cocaine paste — since production levels continue to be high — and they finish it later.” Romani said each kitchen is a small cog in the network that exports cocaine hydrochloride, which continues to generate the most business for drug traffickers, since that cocaine is shipped to Europe or the United States. Several variants of cocaine paste exist throughout the region, each with its own brand and distinct ingredients. It’s a very cheap product; a quick high costs less than $3.00. Users smoke it in a homemade pipe, and a single dose weighs less than a gram. The drug takes five to eight seconds to reach the brain, but the high generally doesn’t last for more than 10 minutes. Even so, it has devastating short-term effects including anorexia, antisocial and violent behavior, psychoses and hallucinations, according to a 2010 report by Uruguay’s Clemente Estable Biological Research Institute. “The first time a person uses cocaine paste, the pleasure is very fleeting,” Romani said. “Users then consume more of the drug to calm their anxiety and ill feelings.” Authorities say those living in poor neighborhoods eke out a living trafficking in cocaine paste, often as part of small, family-run networks. “This occurs in vulnerable sections of society because the factors that lead to all micro-trafficking are occurring there,” Romani said. “These are sustenance level networks that arose in the midst of the crisis.” The same pattern is found in Brazil, and it’s beginning to take root in Bolivia as well. Criminal organizations with specific characteristics are necessary to coordinate the importation, transportation, exportation and sale of cocaine. The effort requires a large initial investment. For example, in Uruguay one kilogram of cocaine powder costs $7,000 to $7,500, according to local officials; cocaine paste, by comparison, costs $2,000 per kilo. Díaz said shipments never exceed 30 kilos, and that shipments of 25 to 30 kilos are attempted only by very sophisticated trafficking networks. Smaller deliveries, which constitute the vast majority of shipments, usually employ “mules” or human couriers. “They find jobless youths, often drug addicts, and they pay them 10,000 pesos [about $550] per trip. The courier goes to Argentina, usually to Buenos Aires,” he said. “They even go and return by bus, bringing 10 or 15 kilos.” By Dialogo July 22, 2011 The paste is delivered to a certain area of Montevideo and from there it’s distributed to various neighborhoods that same night, since the points of sale receive their supplies on a daily basis. The mules make two or three trips a week, saving up money and getting to know their dealer. After awhile, they begin to buy some of the drugs for themselves. They transport 10 kilos for the dealer who hired them, and generally keep one kilo for their own use. Over the past few years, said Díaz, the trafficking business has spread like wildfire, and this has made it difficult to eradicate. “It’s very difficult to fight these dealers, because the dealers transport small amounts that they divide up quickly. Second, there are many small groups involved in trafficking. A sort of cottage industry has sprung up in the poorest areas: the families live off of this.” Even after a raid, he said, a family will keep selling drugs, “because if you prosecute the husband, the wife will take over; if you prosecute the wife, her mother will take over.” Added to this is the danger that small-time neighborhood trafficking rings might save up enough money in order to later export and traffic cocaine. However, few mechanisms or structures currently exist to encourage regional cooperation in battling cocaine paste. “We enforce laws on precursors, we prevent cocaine from being exported [to Europe or the United States], we have to combat coca cultivation, and we get stuck with this junk too?” Romani said. Recently, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission — a unit of the Washington-based Organization of American States — has embarked on an initiative, spearheaded by Brazil with U.S. support, to deal with the spread of cocaine paste. The joint platform involving Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay consists of a first stage for technical and scientific cooperation to determine which substances will be targeted; a second phase for coordination of specific police and interdiction operations, and a third stage for medical treatment. Yet drug abuse alone doesn’t necessarily lead to a rise in violent crime, said Mario Layera, director-general of the Uruguayan Drug Trafficking Enforcement Bureau. “What I have seen in my area is that when drug abusers don’t have money, they will try by any means necessary to get their fix. First they sell everything they have, and later they start to steal other’s property to get money,” Layera said. “But I think those actions are better classified as simple theft and not as violent crime. To put it simply, using drugs isn’t what makes me a thug or mugger. Rather, it is other factors related to my actions or my personality that lead me down that road. I think violence is caused by many factors, and we should study all of them.” Alcohol and drugs accounted for 36 percent of crimes committed by Uruguayan prison inmates, according to a recent study by the Uruguayan National Drug Board. Half of those were alcohol-related; the other half were related to cocaine paste. This means that only 18 percent of the prisoners surveyed attributed their crimes to cocaine paste. Unfortunately with cocaine paste, the first target of the violence it creates is the user’s own family. Someone who abuses cocaine paste “begins stealing from his immediate family,” Romani said. It is very important to understand certain issues, mainly drugs, especially coca, where they really originate, where they go and what routes criminals use to get them to the desired location. It is very important that southern cone countries never stop combating this social ill! It is difficult for one country to fight it alone. Cooperation between all South American countries is necessary. Without this, there won’t be any results!last_img read more

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Brazil’s Armed Forces Plan to Launch Geostationary Satellite in 2014

first_imgBy Dialogo July 22, 2011 Brazil plans to launch a geostationary satellite — GOES — that would connect all the country’s defense and security organizations and allow for more secure communications among them. In late June, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim announced that the satellite would be launched in 2014. The satellite will provide direct links between Brasília, the border platoons and submarines in the Atlantic Ocean, he said. It will also speed up the transmission of images from remote areas. Jobim, in a recent public hearing before the Brazilian Defense and Foreign Relations Commission, said the geostationary satellite is of vital importance for national security and will make Brazil self-sufficient in such matters. The hearing was especially important because of the presence of 10 senators who are also members of the Amazon and Border Sub-Commission — two areas that would benefit significantly from the new satellite, if all goes as planned. Borrowed images Currently, the Brazilian government leases satellite channels from a Mexican mobile phone group that sends the images per request and without exclusivity. This service costs around $28.3 million per year. “Today, when we want an image, the Mexicans send it to us in 36 hours,” Jobim said. Building, launching and maintaining Brazil’s new satellite will cost $443 million, but it also will link 1,800 isolated communities to the Internet for the first time. The Defense Ministry envisions GOES sending audio and images from remote locations to federal authorities, while permitting real-time communication with and among all branches of the Armed Forces and all units in mission — including those on foreign soil. “While Brazil has other satellites, none of them is under the control and for the exclusive use of the government,” said Defense Ministry spokesperson Roberta Belyse. “This satellite will have military transponders in Band X and transponders for government use in Band Ka.” What’s a GOES A geostationary satellite or GOES is anything but stationary. It actually circles Earth in the same direction and speed of the planet’s rotation; this way the satellite’s location is always above a specific spot on the globe. Since all geostationary satellites are positioned directly over the Equator, only a limited number of such satellites can be placed in orbit. They’re located in the geosynchronous plane about 22,300 miles above Earth, which offers an unobstructed view of the planet. GOES’ continuous monitoring is essential for intensive data analysis. Being fixed above a single point allows the satellites to chart atmospheric changes that precipitate tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and other severe weather conditions. Brazil’s space program began 50 years ago, making it the fourth country to enter the space race after the United States, the former Soviet Union and France. Even today, Brazil is one of the few countries with a comprehensive space program that includes the development of rockets, satellites and launching centers. Brazilians are, indeed, very proud of their space history. However, a recent study, Caderno de Altos Estudos, by the Senate’s Science, Technology, Communications and Informatics Commission, urged the government to invest more to keep pace with current needs, as well as with international partners. Between 2012 and 2016, Brazil plans to launch three satellites, the Cbers 3 and 4, for earth observation, and the Amazon 1. Total cost for all three launches: $200 million. Good neighbors share resources Jobim emphasized on how GOES will help Brazil collaborate with neighboring countries, particularly with respect to border security. “Some of the satellite’s capabilities would be shared with other nations,” said Jobim, who announced the plans for GOES in the context of a broader presentation to the commission of the government’s Strategic Border Plan. He also recounted his recent visit to Colombia, which resulted in the first steps towards a binational plan for border security between the two countries, with a focus on protection of the Amazon. The Brazilian military devotes significant efforts to protection of its rainforest, and satellite images are an invaluable resource. In early July, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) released satellite images showing that 268 square kilometers of Amazon rainforest had been cut down in May 2011 — twice the amount of clearing as in May 2010. This follows reports that deforestation had increased to 593 square kilometers in March and April 2011 from 103 square kilometers in the same period a year earlier. “The GOES satellite would allow the sharing of security plans and real-time information of air, land and sea borders,” explained Belyse. In addition, she said, it will connect remote populated areas with emergency services and let them receive important government communications. In addition, these geostationary satellites serve other functions such as meteorological monitoring, feeding of GPS systems and provision of TV and mobile phone signals. Excellent information, today telematics will provide us with more security for our development on different socio-cultural level through geostationary satellites. I am sure that the Peruvian Government should take advantage of such benefits for the population. Hello, It’s a pleasure speaking with you, but I have a question. Why is Brazil so far behind in terms of security and technology?last_img read more

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U.S. Reserves Right To Meet Cyber Attack With Force

first_imgBy Dialogo November 17, 2011 The United States reserves the right to retaliate with military force against a cyber attack and is working to sharpen its ability to track down the source of any breach, the Pentagon said in a report made public on Tuesday, November 15. The 12-page report to Congress, mandated by the 2011 Defense Authorization Act, was one of the clearest statements to date of U.S. cybersecurity policy and the role of the military in the event of a computer-borne attack. “When warranted, we will respond to hostile attacks in cyberspace as we would to any other threat to our country,” the report said. “We reserve the right to use all necessary means – diplomatic, informational, military and economic – to defend our nation, our allies, our partners and our interests.” Hostile acts, it said, could include “significant cyber attacks directed against the U.S. economy, government or military” and the response could use electronic means or more conventional military options. Cyberspace is a particularly challenging domain for the Pentagon. Defense Department employees operate more than 15,000 computer networks with 7 million computers at hundreds of locations around the world. Their networks are probed millions of times a day and penetrations have caused the loss of thousands of files. The report said the Defense Department was attempting to deter aggression in cyberspace by developing effective defenses that prevent adversaries from achieving their objectives and by finding ways to make attackers pay a price for their actions. “Should the ‘deny objectives’ element of deterrence not prove adequate,” the report said, “DoD (Department of Defense) maintains, and is further developing, the ability to respond militarily in cyberspace and in other domains.” Key to a military response is being able to quickly identify the source of an attack, particularly challenging due to the anonymous nature of the Internet, the report said. In an effort to crack that problem, the Pentagon is supporting research focusing on tracing the physical source of an attack and using behavior-based algorithms to assess the likely identity of an attacker, the report said. U.S. security agencies also are grooming a cadre of highly skilled cyber forensics experts and are working with international partners to share information in a timely manner about cyber threats, including malicious code and the people behind it, it said. Before moving to offensive action, the United States would exhaust all other options, weigh the risk of action against the cost of inaction and “act in a way that reflects our values and strengthens our legitimacy, seeking broad international support wherever possible,” the report said.last_img read more

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Colombian Minister States FARC Fails at Ceasefire

first_img On November 26, Colombian Minister of Defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón, said that the guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) did not comply with the ceasefire announced on November 19 in Cuba, around the peace talks being carried out with Juan Manuel Santos’ government. “There is evidence showing that they have not complied with the dispositions,” Pinzón told daily El Tiempo from Bogotá. The official also said in the interview that the insurgents “historically have lied to Colombia over the years.” “I hope they would negotiate and, once and for all, declare a permanent ceasefire,” he added, after pointing out that “the Military and Police forces will remain constantly vigilant.” This was the minister’s response to the FARC, which accused Pinzón of sabotaging the peace talks from Havana on November 25. Regarding Pinzón’s accusations, the FARC’s 36th Front and Western Block sent communiqués, in which they confirmed their commitment with the truce, even though the 36th Front took responsibility for an attack on two energy towers, arguing that they were not aware of the ceasefire order. “The attacks on the energy towers in Reposo, municipality of Campamento on November 20, took place because the ceasefire order had not reached the guerrilla unit that was in charge of these actions,” they claimed. Santos’s government did not join the ceasefire, and from the beginning, stated that the Military forces would not stop combating the insurgents and other illegally armed groups while the talks aimed at ending the armed conflict with the FARC were taking place. By Dialogo November 29, 2012last_img read more

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Peru Aims to Eradicate Record-Setting 22,000 Hectares of Coca in 2013

first_img LIMA — Peru’s government wants the world to know it’s dead serious about eliminating illegal coca crops used to produce cocaine. Interior Minister Wilfredo Pedraza announced Jan. 14 that his government will eradicate at least 22,000 hectares of coca in 2013. This is 4,000 hectares more than the original target for the year, and well above the record-breaking 14,100 hectares destroyed in 2012. Meeting the ambitious eradication target would be a major step in reversing the upward trend in Peruvian coca production that began around 2005. While previous governments met eradication targets, coca-growing farmers replanted at a faster rate. The government’s new plan includes a much broader reach for the eradication squad, known by its Spanish acronym CORAH, an increase in the budget for coca eradication and drug interdiction, and a program to dramatically boost the state’s presence not only in zones where coca is currently grown, but in areas where it could be grown. “We are developing post-coca and preventative strategies,” said Mario Ríos, head of the promotion and monitoring unit at state anti-drug agency DEVIDA. “We need to provide alternatives to farmers leaving coca, and make sure coca does not spread to other areas.” It’s still unclear if the CORAH eradication brigades will move into Loreto. Zarate said an eradication program similar to the Upper Huallaga would be too costly, because of the remoteness of the area. An alternative would be periodic eradication missions, as well as anti-drug operations coordinated with Brazilian and Colombian authorities. Peru and Brazil set up a task force late last year to develop protocols for joint police and military operations in border zones, given the fact that the two countries share nearly 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) of jungle border. Peru recorded 62,500 hectares of coca in 2011, according to the annual report presented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), an increase of slightly more than 2 percent over the previous year. That gain came despite the eradication of more than 12,000 hectares in 2010. Peru is the world’s second-largest coca producer, according to UNODC figures — right behind first-place Colombia, with 64,000 hectares under cultivation, and ahead of Bolivia, with 27,200 hectares. President Ollanta Humala has declared he’d like to see Peru fall to last place by the time he leaves office in July 2016. While estimates differ on production, most analysts believe Peru produces between 350 and 400 metric tons of cocaine annually. TThe Peruvian government had kept eradication brigades out of the VRAEM for fear of a social explosion, fueled not only by the Shining Path and drug traffickers, but also due to the lack of a state presence. Yet the Humala government, faced with increased violence and the spread of coca crops in the Belgium-sized zone, ultimately announced a major offensive for 2013. The Humala administration has earmarked $1.1 billion for the VRAEM this year, more than double the previous year’s budget. This includes major outlays in roads, water, electricity systems, education and health care. Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano announced in late December that the state would also incur $300 million in new debt in 2013 to fight terrorism and drug trafficking in the zone, including the construction of eight anti-terrorism bases and acquisition of boats and aircraft. Former coca farmer Teodoro Rojas said extending eradication to the VRAEM is contingent upon the government following through on its development pledge. “Coca can be eradicated, but the state also needs to eradicate the root cause behind coca-growing, which is poverty,” he said. “If the root cause is not eliminated, coca will only spread elsewhere.” Ríos said that Loreto is “a troubling new scenario. We are seeing a spread of coca and [opium] poppies happening at a fast pace.” Retired Police Gen. Juan Zarate, who coordinates CORAH, said the VRAEM and Loreto pose different challenges. The issue in the VRAEM, according to Zarate, is security, and the eradicators will require protection. This should be helped by legislation passed by Congress in late 2012, which gives Peru’s Armed Forces a role in fighting drugs. The government estimates that it will need at least six years to get a firm grip on the coca-cocaine problem in the VRAEM. The Humala administration has budgeted about $15 million for CORAH in 2013. This may not seem like much, but it’s the first time the program has its own line item in the budget. In the past, CORAH has been funded primarily by international donors led by the United States and the 27-member European Union. CORAH extends coca eradication efforts to VRAEM By Dialogo January 21, 2013center_img This year, Peru plans to extend its forced eradication program to major hotspots. The eradication brigade, CORAH, has focused exclusively on the northern Upper Huallaga Valley since its founding. Ríos said the coming year will see eradication in the valleys formed by the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro rivers, known as the VRAEM, and possibly in the Putumayo zone, in the department of Loreto, along the northern border where Peru meets Brazil and Colombia. In 2012, the VRAEM was home to nearly 20,000 hectares of coca, said the UNODC report, accounting for 32 percent of Peru’s total land devoted to coca cultivation. Coca crops have been on the rise there since early in the past decade. The area — the last bastion of leftist Shining Path rebels — has also been under a state of emergency since June 2003. Last year saw a jump in Shining Path violence, including the mass kidnapping of gas pipeline workers in April, and the killing of 20 police officers and soldiers. While coca crops in Loreto represented just 7 percent of land used for coca in the UNODC report, they have expanded rapidly, increasing from 1,209 hectares in 2008 to 4,450 hectares in 2011; that same year, coca output jumped by 40 percent. “This is the first time there will be eradication in the VRAEM and it has to be done correctly, accompanied by a state platform that provides all the necessary services. Isolated programs will not work,” said Ríos. Authorities say eradication will succeed only if coca farmers have viable alternatives and markets for what they grow. Peru has already replaced coca with coffee and cacao; other alternative products that show promise include rubber, biofuels and tropical fruits. “Alternative development is working and we are focusing on cooperation, not only in financial assistance but cooperation for technical assistance, creating markets and certifying products. We have to guarantee a diversity of products and markets for farmers,” said Carmen Masias, the director of DEVIDA. Project gets $1.1 billion in funding this year last_img read more

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Cyber War, a Strong Future Trend

first_img Currently we are under the impression that if there is a new world war, it will probably be in cyberspace, where there are neither laws nor restrictions, which can be a great advantage. The Internet also shows its dark side, maximized for use in military actions of espionage and sabotage, either by nations or any other non-governmental entity. The cybertroops may be used for both defense and for an ample offensive, hitting all sectors where there are connections and vulnerabilities. The problem is so present, that the United Nations studied a project to protect the state structures on the Internet and the organization of Cyber-Centers in NATO, anticipating the possibility that this new type of conflict will occur, and it is more possible today than a nuclear war. The threats generated by computer networks can be classified into five types, or what we call the 5Cs. A cyber threat is an effort to obtain non-authorized access to an online system, with the objective of extracting or manipulating data, violating the confidentiality, authenticity, integrity, or availability of the data within the system. Generally, it is performed by spyware, which may be introduced via legit software or via a Trojan virus. The same concept may be used for cyber espionage. Cyber war is defined as a group of actions adopted by countries against computer systems of other countries, with the objective of causing damage or interruption of services (see the Estonia case, in 2003, the first registered occurrence). Finally, Cyber terrorism is the use of the Internet to organize and execute attacks against critical computer networks, systems, and infra-structures, aiming to destroy or incapacitate them, as ideological motivations, causing chaos in the economy and inflicting fear in the population. We left cyber crime out, because of its criminal nature. In a way, their weapons are more precise and lethal than conventional weapons: until the super viruses are detected, they have already caused much irreparable damage to the opponent, similar to the effects of bacterial virus. A common characteristic of cyber war, as well as of other virtual threats, is that it becomes almost impossible to detect who initiated or sponsored such actions, because the trails left behind, most of the time, are part of the disinformation practice. However, the biggest threat to all countries is that they can also be triggered by non-governmental parties, driven or not by different motives, breaking a historical paradigm which governments previously initiated via their Armed Forces. *André Luís Woloszyn, Strategic Affairs Analyst By Dialogo February 12, 2013last_img read more

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First Results of the Operation Ágata 7 on the Brazilian Border

first_img Another front engaged in civic-social actions in the northern region. The partial results indicated that 25,955 people were treated and 4,608 medications distributed. Before the end of the operation, there will be medical, dental, and hospital assistance in Porto Murtinho, Mato Grosso do Sul state, and in Tabatinga, Amazonas state, as well as other locations to be determined by the military commanders from the west and south of the Amazon. Regulated by President Dilma Rousseff’s Strategic Border Plan, Operation Ágata remains under the command of the Ministry of Defense and the coordination of the Armed Forces Joint Staff, supported by 12 ministries, approximately 20 governmental agencies, police forces, and agents from 10 states and 710 cities. By Dialogo May 28, 2013 The stability of the first five days of Operation Ágata 7 indicated that the military raided 42,200 vehicles and 2,778 vessels along the 10,000 miles of the entire Brazilian border. With 31,263 military Soldiers and civilians – the largest headcount ever used in a federal government operation -, Operation Ágata also seized 43.5 pounds of marihuana, 11 pounds of cocaine, and 1.8 pound of cocaine paste. Four aircraft were intercepted and subsequently released after no irregularities were discovered. center_img The seizure of $ 260,000 by the 14th Motorized Infantry Brigade is an important accomplishment. The money, of unknown origins, was in a plastic bag, under the driver’s seat of a BMW car. The crime occurred on a highway in the city of Maravilha, Santa Catarina state. Operation Ágata began on May 18, between Oiapoque, Amapa, and Chui, in Rio Grande do Sul state. The initial plan was to use 25,000 Soldiers, but the current count shows a mobilization of 31,200 civilians and Soldiers, along Brazil’s border region. The operation started prior to the country hosting the Confederations Cup and the visit from Pope Francis, as part of World Youth Day, two large upcoming events in the country.last_img read more

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Costa Rican authorities arrest Augustin Reyes Aragon, alleged leader of ‘Los Tarzanes’

first_img Reyes Aragon has been wanted for drug trafficking since 2010, when Nicaraguan police issued an arrest warrant for him. The OIJ had been investigating the activities of Reyes Aragon and Los Tarzanes since 2012, according to OIJ Director Francisco Segura Montero. Los Tarzanes, which is allegedly is run by Reyes Aragon and his six brothers, is suspected of smuggling cocaine from Colombia and marijuana from Jamaica into Costa Rica. Authorities believe Los Tarzanes operatives store the drugs in Limon for later shipment by boat or truck to Honduras and Mexico, or for sale in Costa Rica’s domestic illicit drug market. Los Tarzanes In addition to the arrests of the suspected members of Los Tarzanes, Costa Rica police and security forces have scored a number of successes against transnational criminal organizations engaged in the drug trade. For example, on June 10 and 11, 2014, the Costa Rica Coast Guard seized more than 4 tons of cocaine found on Costa Rican fishing boats off the Pacific Coast. The seizure was reportedly the largest in the country’s history. Costa Rican drug seizures have more than doubled since 2011. Costa Rica security forces have dismantled more than a dozen international drug trafficking operations since 2006, according to published reports. The capture of Reyes Aragon and the increase in drug seizures may indicate that Costa Rican security forces are improving their effectiveness in fighting drug trafficking, said Armando Rodríguez Luna, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Costa Rican security forces have improved their effectiveness in fighting Los Tarzanes and other organized crime groups “because they have improved their ability to protect the country’s border in the fight against drug trafficking, and they have continued to collaborate and exchange information with other governments in joint border operations,” according to Rodríguez Luna. Julieta Pelcastre contributed to this article. Costa Rican authorities have arrested the alleged leader of a Nicaraguan drug trafficking group known as Los Tarzanes. Agents of Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Body (OIJ) arrested Agustin Reyes Aragon, 40, on June 12. They arrested Reyes Aragon during a series of raids in the Caribbean coastal province of Limon. Security forces also detained three other suspects: a Nicaraguan man, a Honduran man, and a female whose nationality was not immediately determined. OIJ agents confiscated two AK-47 assault rifles, a vehicle and currency in the amount of $14,000 (USD) and one million colones during the raids. Wanted in Nicaragua center_img Los Tarzanes was founded in the mid-1990s as part of a drug trafficking network operated by the now defunct Norte del Valle Cartel in Colombia, Nicaraguan police have said. Operating primarily as transporters, Los Tarzanes operatives use go-fast boats and vehicles to move shipments of Colombian cocaine and precursor chemicals for methamphetamine production north for eventual sale to Mexican transnational criminal organizations such as the Gulf Cartel (CDG). Los Tarzanes was originally based along Nicaragua’s southern border. In recent years, as Nicaraguan security forces have increased patrols in that region, the drug trafficking group has increased its operations on the Costa Rican border. Costa Rican security successes By Dialogo July 02, 2014last_img read more

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Fuerzas Comando takes place in Colombia

first_imgBy Dialogo July 24, 2014 Special operations and commando forces from Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States and Uruguay will participate in the competition. The opening ceremony for the 10th Fuerzas Comando exercise kicked off the competition, July 23. Prior to the start of the competition, the teams spent two days validating the events and their equipment in preparation for the exercise. The grueling eight-day competition will test the elite forces in areas such as physical fitness, weapons marksmanship, aquatic skills and tactical capabilities. The exercise concludes with a multi-national airborne operation and wing exchange ceremony, July 30, and the closing ceremony, July 31. The Countering Terrorism Fellowship Program or CTFP will take place simultaneously during the competition. This year, senior military and government officials from more than 20 nations will gather in Bogota, July 28-30, to discuss regional challenges such as transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking. The Fellowship Program is designed to improve military-to-military relations and provides a collaborative environment for regional military leaders. Both the exercise and Fellowship Program are aimed at enhancing training and strengthening regional and multinational cooperation, mutual trust, readiness and interoperability of special operations forces in the Western Hemisphere.last_img read more

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Colombian Navy launches first domestically manufactured vessel

first_img Other Navy ships built in Colombia “What we have today with this ship, which is 100 percent designed, manufactured and built in Colombia, is the dream of many people who put their hearts, hands, minds and efforts to transform steel into monuments for the homeland, peace, development and security,” said Pinzon. Thanks to the construction of these and other vessels, the Colombian naval industry is respected throughout the world by countries which purchase vessels manufactured in the country. The main mission of the Punta Espada will be to carry out maritime interdiction, patrol and surveillance operations in Colombian waters. Security forces will use it to detect, intercept, and inspect suspicious vessels. . “At the tactical and operational level, Colombia has responded to a number of needs that conflict and drug trafficking have been creating,” said Néstor Alfonso Rosania, a security analyst at the Center for Studies in Security, Defense and International Affairs of Colombia. The Armed Forces of Colombia will continue to receive the best available equipment and technological tools “because they are the ones who have put Colombia on a path towards peace,” the defense minister said. Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón, and the commander of the National Navy, Admiral Hernando Wills, presided over the launching ceremony of the Punta Espada in Cartagena. “Colombia has entered a select group of countries that have the technology and knowledge to build these kind of vessels,” said Rear Adm. Roberto Sáchica, the president of Cotecmar. The ARC Punta Espada – the first CPV produced entirely in Colombia – touched water for the first time October 31. It was produced by the Science and Technology Corporation of Naval, Maritime and Riverine Industry Development (Cotecmar) in conjunction with the Social and Enterprise Defense Group (GSED), which is part of the Defense Ministry. By Dialogo November 28, 2014 “The coastal patrol boat responds to needs from armed conflict and transnational drug trafficking It will provide the Navy with more mobility and achievements in operations against threats facing the country. This boat is not only fundamental to Colombia’s Navy, but it is also important to the Colombian military industry at the international level.” “It is a great start that this patrol boat is already sailing,” Rosania said. “This boat is the result of scientific and technological development that the Colombian government has been implementing in recent years. The Navy understands the need to build vessels to monitor both oceans and prevent drug trafficking from continuing in these areas. Authorities are concentrating their efforts on developing new technologies to combat threats of transnational crime and various related offenses.” “What we have today with this ship, which is 100 percent designed, manufactured and built in Colombia, is the dream of many people who put their hearts, hands, minds and efforts to transform steel into monuments for the homeland, peace, development and security,” said Pinzon. The Colombian military industry has built other Navy vessels. For example, in February the Colombian Navy launched the ARC 20 de Julio, the largest ship built in the country. It was designed and built by Cotecmar. For example, in September 2012, Brazil bought four LPR-40 patrol boats which were manufactured in Cartagena. It is important and interesting that countries like Peru and Colombia are becoming more technical with respect to the Navy. I read about ESMERALDA, a Chilean sailing vessel in AGORA, which until now was the largest, but according to what I read now it will be the UNION. Congratulations to both governments for their interest in becoming one of the big players in this area. Your information is very timely. I work in the National Port Security Commission in Honduras as head of Port Security Audits (APIP in Spanish)… I hope you continue to contribute with more information. “I congratulate everyone who has contributed to these projects, which were no simple feat,” Pinzon said. “These are projects that carry the vision of great people of this country, officers, non-commissioned officers, engineers, sailors and good Colombians, who have visualized Colombia’s real and strategic capacity in naval and maritime matters for several years.” “It is a great start that this patrol boat is already sailing,” Rosania said. “This boat is the result of scientific and technological development that the Colombian government has been implementing in recent years. The Navy understands the need to build vessels to monitor both oceans and prevent drug trafficking from continuing in these areas. Authorities are concentrating their efforts on developing new technologies to combat threats of transnational crime and various related offenses.” The main mission of the Punta Espada will be to carry out maritime interdiction, patrol and surveillance operations in Colombian waters. Security forces will use it to detect, intercept, and inspect suspicious vessels. . The ARC Punta Espada – the first CPV produced entirely in Colombia – touched water for the first time October 31. It was produced by the Science and Technology Corporation of Naval, Maritime and Riverine Industry Development (Cotecmar) in conjunction with the Social and Enterprise Defense Group (GSED), which is part of the Defense Ministry. Other Navy ships built in Colombia Thanks to the construction of these and other vessels, the Colombian naval industry is respected throughout the world by countries which purchase vessels manufactured in the country. “At the tactical and operational level, Colombia has responded to a number of needs that conflict and drug trafficking have been creating,” said Néstor Alfonso Rosania, a security analyst at the Center for Studies in Security, Defense and International Affairs of Colombia. “The coastal patrol boat responds to needs from armed conflict and transnational drug trafficking It will provide the Navy with more mobility and achievements in operations against threats facing the country. This boat is not only fundamental to Colombia’s Navy, but it is also important to the Colombian military industry at the international level.” Improving Colombia’s strategic capacity The Punta Espada will help the Armed Forces continue on that path. Military officials appointed Naval Lt. Cmdr. Henry Mauricio Barón Franco as the patrol boat’s commander. He will take command of a vessel that measures 45.25 meters in length, 7.1 meters in beam and 1.84 meters in draught. It can accommodate a crew of 23 people, and is powered by two diesel engines which drive a fixed pitched propeller. It’s also outfitted with a 25-mm caliber cannon and two 60-mm caliber machine guns. Colombia’s security forces recently obtained an important tool in their fight against international drug trafficking – a coastal patrol vessel (CPV). Improving Colombia’s strategic capacity Colombian manufacturers used global technology to build the patrol boat, which has the capability of refueling rapid response boats. The Punta Espada will help the Armed Forces continue on that path. Military officials appointed Naval Lt. Cmdr. Henry Mauricio Barón Franco as the patrol boat’s commander. He will take command of a vessel that measures 45.25 meters in length, 7.1 meters in beam and 1.84 meters in draught. It can accommodate a crew of 23 people, and is powered by two diesel engines which drive a fixed pitched propeller. It’s also outfitted with a 25-mm caliber cannon and two 60-mm caliber machine guns. “Colombia has entered a select group of countries that have the technology and knowledge to build these kind of vessels,” said Rear Adm. Roberto Sáchica, the president of Cotecmar. The Armed Forces of Colombia will continue to receive the best available equipment and technological tools “because they are the ones who have put Colombia on a path towards peace,” the defense minister said. Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón, and the commander of the National Navy, Admiral Hernando Wills, presided over the launching ceremony of the Punta Espada in Cartagena. The Colombian military industry has built other Navy vessels. For example, in February the Colombian Navy launched the ARC 20 de Julio, the largest ship built in the country. It was designed and built by Cotecmar. Colombia’s security forces recently obtained an important tool in their fight against international drug trafficking – a coastal patrol vessel (CPV). “I congratulate everyone who has contributed to these projects, which were no simple feat,” Pinzon said. “These are projects that carry the vision of great people of this country, officers, non-commissioned officers, engineers, sailors and good Colombians, who have visualized Colombia’s real and strategic capacity in naval and maritime matters for several years.” For example, in September 2012, Brazil bought four LPR-40 patrol boats which were manufactured in Cartagena. Colombian manufacturers used global technology to build the patrol boat, which has the capability of refueling rapid response boats. last_img read more

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Joint Operation Dismantles Criminal Alliance Between ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, FARC in Panama

first_img Cooperative framework to fight crime In recent years, Panamanian authorities have focused on fighting money laundering to protect the country’s financial sector. By Dialogo December 11, 2015 And they said it wasn’t so. Juanpa assures us the FARC are angels, that they don’t have even a cent for victim reparations, shame on them. MAY MEXICO FREEDOM PEACE AND JUSTICE While the peace talks continue, these Colombian “FARC” terrorists go on committing crimes here and outside of Colombia and if that weren’t enough, they’re raising the cost of services and the VAT to support these scoundrels paid for by us, the Colombians.Definitely, President Santos, you’ve screwed the country up. The cynicism of the “Colombian revolutionary forces” FARC, is unheard of. How can a group call itself revolutionary when it is clearly a drug trafficking group? I am, openly, in favor of the peace process airing in Havana, Cuba. I maintain hope that in the FARC group there are still idealists who want a decent homeland, respectful of civil rights and a democratic model of governance. They themselves should denounce the drug traffickers comfortably embedded in their ranks. The rest of us, the Colombians, openly and sincerely, will unite to fight them.Germán Sánchez Bernal If these FARC bandits aren’t going to go to jail for all the crimes they have it’s useless while someone goes to jail for stealing a soup packet from a supermarket to make broth to satisfy their hunger. Which of the two has committed more crimes, it’s anyone’s guess. It’s urgent for the communities to pressure their government leaders to unite in their actions and once and for all get rid of this scourge. It is important that those responsible in each country set up rules to keep public officials from getting involved in this scourge which are drugs. If that were to happen, an official would be banned for life from any public activity And where do you think the insurgent groups go to finance the wars. To the black market for all kinds of things: mining, oil, gas, weapons, drugs very interesting… What does your sour puss comment have to do with the article??? Where the laws are useless against those who steal the money from a country and go in pursuit of more money to be able to pay for their whims. MY FRIENDS, IT IS MY PERSONAL OPINION THAT WE WOULD SPEND LESS MONEY ON LEGALIZING THE USE AND CONSUMPTION OF DRUGS, BECAUSE I SEE AT THE RATE WE’RE GOING, IT’S A WAR WITH NO END. LET’S DO A WORLD-WIDE STUDY AND YOU’LL SEE I’M RIGHT. These terrorists have hurt us too much to be allowed to go on as if they had done nothing FOR GOD’S SAKE! SOMEONE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE DAMN DRUGS THAT ARE KILLING OUR YOUTH The news are very good If controlling the mafias by legalizing the production and sale of alcohol helped the USA by taxing them and this way strengthening the economy. Why don’t they legalize drugs, tax them, and sell them all over the place and they’ll put an end to so-called micro-trafficking and with this revenue increase health services for the people and this way control the evil that can come from using drugs, I let you ponder. The fewer fleas a dog has, the less he scratches Interesting articles in the magazine starting in 2016. Congratulations. Coca leaves are used as medicine. Unscrupulous people are the ones who use it for evil, in order to profit. Nothing can ever be done because the big countries are the main consumers and in addition they are the ones who move this whole mafia, the money from this business is what moves all the countries together. No matter how many strict laws we pass it will never change. The powerful traffickers are the big governments, that is why drug trafficking will never end. SOS for the drug addicts. This scourge that is overwhelming humanity and dragging us evermore toward destruction will have to be stopped. If not, we might end up exterminating the human race as a whole, since human ambition has no limits. What has been stated is very good Go hard on that crime against humanity MY FRIENDS.- THE WAR AGAINST DRUGS IS USELESS TOO MUCH EFFORT IS MADE, THEY HAVE BEEN FOUGHT FOR MANY YEARS AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO BE FOUGHT AND WILL NEVER BE STOPPED COMPLETELY, THE EASIEST WAY TO FIGHT THIS EVIL IS A WORLD-WIDE DETAILED STUDY TO LEGALIZE DRUGS I hope the same is done in Bolivia in order to improve its image. I take this opportunity to say to national authorities that coca has never been millenary. It’s true that they used it just for rituals but not to consume because it was prohibited by a decree from the Inca. Bolivia has many natural resources that are not exploited due to a lack of support for investment. The exploitation of agriculture with advanced technology is a solution to capture financial resources that would help my country grow. Very good and great. That hurts youth eradicate that junk Legislating the use of cocaine would put an end to those large businesses since the price would go down and those who hold large quantities would have everything tumble down and they would lose large amounts of money. If someone wants to hurt themself, it’s their issue because cigarettes are as harmful as cocaine. God willing that the current authorities aren’t mixed up with drug trafficking and the ministries don’t shield them. That is the worst evil for the development of countries because those who have financial power seek political power to violate the rights of the citizens. It’s not enough we still have to fight on all fronts Good news, dismantle criminal gangs. IT IS TIME TO PUT AN END TO ORGANIZED CRIME WHICH IS HURTING OUR SOCIETY SO BADLY This subject, more than politics, the military and the economy, needs something better; such as for example having sophisticated means and material that monitor conversations by politicians, economists, etc. etc. everyone. Since it’s impossible to control drug trafficking through all its channels, there is, it is possible to speak of the extraterrestrial invasion which truly is an undoubtable presence in the world. Just as now where they try to hide these facts, they also try to hide monitoring drug trafficking. The question is why aren’t they controlled, who benefits from these cases and why. Otherwise let’s develop sustainable projects with drugs and vitamins derived from coca, because they would benefit in particular poor countries very much. And, let’s stop investing so much money in things politicians, investors and multinational institutions cannot control.Sincerely,ANONYMOUS Propper information which prevents crime How can it be that there is no follow up in Colombia of all suspicious foreign nationals who enter the country seeking drug negotiations, who function as links with drug cartels abroad, particularly in Mexico To foster continuing cooperation in the fight against transnational organized crime, Mexico and Panama approved a memorandum of understanding on November 25. The Mexico-Panama High-Level Group document, which was signed by Min. Aguilera and Mexican Internal Affairs Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, spells out a cooperative framework for the countries to work together on public security, intelligence, international security and terrorism, legal cooperation and justice, crime prevention, customs, and immigration. Following a joint, 18-month investigation, Panamanian authorities announced on November 4th the arrest of 50 suspects allegedly engaged in drug trafficking or money laundering for the Sinaloa Cartel – the world’s largest transnational criminal organization – or the FARC. Two Mexicans residing in a wealthy part of the Panamanian capital allegedly served as the go-between in drug deals between the two organizations, and that connection led authorities to dismantle the network, Panama National Police Commissioner Omar Pinzón told local and international journalists. Panamanian security forces confiscated two tons of cocaine, $500,000 in cash, five go-fast boats, and 40 cars during the operation. The cooperation among the three countries “allowed us to dismantle this gang which, we have proven, was led by El Chapo Guzmán from Sinaloa,” Panamanian Minister of Public Security Rodolfo Aguilera stated. El Chapo has been wanted in Mexico and the United States in connection with drug trafficking, homicide, and other crimes since escaping from a maximum-security prison in Mexico in July. Panamanian security authorities said he hasn’t been seen in Panama. “We detected Mexican drug cartels with connections to the FARC,” Commissioner Pinzón said. “Security operations such as the one that uncovered the nexus between El Chapo and Panama are the result of the mutual trust that has been established among the various governments, which has allowed us to share accurate and timely security information.” In cooperation with Colombian and Mexican authorities, Panamanian security forces captured dozens of suspects who were allegedly part of a criminal partnership between the Sinaloa Cartel, led by drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s (FARC) 30th Front. “We in Panama comply with all rules established by the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF-GAFI) to shield our financial system and keep it from being used by criminals for their illegal activities,” Donadío said.last_img read more

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Brazilian Army Officers Fulfill Unprecedented Mission in the Central African Republic

first_imgBy Taciana Moury/Diálogo April 23, 2019 Major Felipe Biasi Filho, Captain Pedro Henrique de Araujo Bezerra Mendes, and Captain Albemar Rodrigues Lima, all from the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese), are part of an unprecedented Brazilian mission to the Central African Republic (CAR). The officers are part of a group of 180 service members from 12 nations, who work at the European Training Mission in the Central African Republic or EUTM RCA (RCA being the French acronym for the African country). EUTM RCA, with headquarters in Bangui, the country’s capital, is a peacekeeping operation that works in coordination with the United Nations Integrated Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic and other international and nongovernmental organizations. The goal is to overhaul the defense department and national security through planning and execution of consulting, training, and operational training activities for the Central African Armed Forces (FACA, in French). “In general, our function is to support the development of FACA’s capabilities, to make it self-sustainable to fulfill legal requirements in the defense and security department,” said Maj. Biasi. The Brazilian officers arrived in the African country in January 2019, and will remain there until January 2020. For administrative purposes, EB service members are linked to the Portuguese contingent. A bilateral Brazil-Portugal agreement approved by the European Parliament secured Brazil’s participation in the mission. History The conflict in CAR started in December 2012. The predominantly Muslim Seleka—a coalition of armed groups from the north of the country, whose name means alliance, in Sango, the region’s creole language—conducted an offensive operation toward the capital and assumed power. Violent incidents led to the emergence of Anti-Balak, Christian allegedly self-defense groups, which aggravated confrontations. EUTM RCA activities are based on three pillars: strategic advice, to aid planning and execution of activities at the Armed Forces General Staff and Defense Ministry levels; educational, to train FACA’s officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs); and operational training to plan and execute training for segments of FACA units. Within this organization, Brazilian service members occupy strategic advisory positions with Capt. Albemar, and educational advisory positions with Maj. Biasi and Capt. Pedro Mendes. “Capt. Albemar performs logistics advisory functions through the implementation of planning and participation in meetings with the Armed Forces General Staff, the Ministry of Defense, and logistics companies within the country to find solutions and promote the strengthening of the sector,” said Maj. Biasi to Diálogo. “I teach intelligence courses and Capt. Pedro Mendes is in charge of International Humanitarian Law and English,” he said. The officers teach their respective areas in officer training classes, short-term internships, and refresher classes for officers and NCOs who are part of FACA’s Territorial Infantry battalions. At EUTM RCA’s base, the official language is English, used for internal documents and daily briefings. However, French is the language for courses, meetings, reports, and interactions with agencies and local institutions. Preparations for the mission took place in two phases. The first was under the coordination of the Land Forces Command, an EB unit with headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. Participants underwent psychological tests, among others, and received all the material for individual protection, uniforms, and medicine needed for the trip. In December 2018, the second phase took place at the Portuguese Army’s 1st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Group in Queluz city, Lisbon. The unit prepares the Portuguese contingent. “We receive instructions on the current situation in CAR and on the specifics of EUTM RCA. We do target practice with individual weapons (rifle and pistol) from the Portuguese Army, combat first aid and psychological first aid training, and attend French classes,” said Maj. Biasi. Challenge According to Brazilian service members, the unprecedented nature of the experience was the main challenge to overcome. “We must keep the high standards of professionalism and dedication of Brazilian service members who were part of a UN [United Nations] peacekeeping operation,” said Maj. Biasi. “The fact that this activity has a different characteristic from what we are used to with the UN also makes it difficult.” “There is no room for failure; After all, it’s important to be able to contribute to the development of the armed forces of a country that’s temporarily unstable,” said Capt. Albemar. “The best part is to see the initial results of this work on site, with the assurance that this effort contributed, directly or indirectly, to save lives.” Capt. Pedro Mendes pointed out that the sacrifices and risks related to this type of activity are real, but the magnitude of the mission is motivating. “We can honor one of the principles of our profession, which is to avoid war. We help a country devastated by civil war and with serious social issues,” he said. “To be a peace instructor in one of the countries with the worst HDI [Human Development Index] in the world is, without a doubt, one of the most noble missions I was assigned in my life.” The officer also highlighted the importance of Brazilian service members working with different armies worldwide. “This is a way of expressing Brazilian military national power, showing that we are on equal footing with other countries in the world,” said Capt. Pedro Mendes. “The professional exchange enables the training of EB’s human resources.”last_img read more

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Local bars keep an eye on judicial campaigns

first_imgIn Broward County, the Broward County Bar Association at (954) 764-8040. Local bars keep an eye on judicial campaigns In Dade County, the Dade County Bar Association at (305) 371-2220. In Orange County, Blackwell at (407) 422-2472 or his co-chair, Ava Doppelt at (407) 841-2330. In Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach County Bar Association at (561) 687-2800. September 1, 2000 Regular News Local bars keep an eye on judicial campaigns Patterned on a similar successful program in Dade County, the Orange County Bar Association has for the second time set up its Judicial Campaign Practices Commission to monitor six local judicial races. Two other local bars, in South Florida, also are running similar commissions to the Dade and Orange county efforts. Even before the filing period began, all 20 Orlando area circuit and county judges who faced reelection this year signed forms vowing to follow the edicts of Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, according to Orlando attorney Bruce Blackwell, co-chair of the Orange County campaign commission. They also agreed to submit any complaint over campaign activites to the commission, which in turn promises to issue a ruling within 72 hours. After filing, which resulted in six contested races, all but two candidates signed the entire agreement. One challenger agreed to follow the canon, but refused to allow the commission to resolve any dispute. The other candidate, also a challenger to an incumbent judge, refused to sign the agreement. Ironically, in both cases the Orlando Sentinel has endorsed the incumbent judges, said Blackwell. “We formed this commission in 1998 to be patterned after the Dade County commission, which has been incredibly successful in upgrading the judicial races in Dade County,” Blackwell said. “When we did it in 1998, we didn’t even have a phone call. Everyone signed it, but we didn’t even receive a phone call. “This time I have received a number of phone calls from sitting judges and candidates, in effect saying `Is it all right to say this?’” he added. “The process is working, because people are wanting to make sure they are very careful not to violate Canon 7.” The commission, Blackwell said, is set up to do what the Bar or the Judicial Qualification Commission cannot do — give fast advice or review of a proposed or actual campaign action. He, as well as lawyers involved with similar programs in other counties, said the campaign monitoring program also works well with the Supreme Court and Florida Bar’s seminars held in July for judicial candidates. Those meetings, held in every circuit in the state with contested elections, went over Canon 7 and state laws as they pertain to judicial races. Dade County began its program in 1986, and Dade County Bar Association Executive Director Johnnie Ridgely said every candidate signed its form this year. Marcus D. Jimenez, chair of the Dade Judicial Campaign Practices Commission, said the Dade Bar changed its pledge form a couple years ago. “We required them all to sign a pledge to campaign with dignity and go beyond what the canons require,” he said. So far for this year “these complaints are kind of tame down here,” he added. Complaints have been filed about some candidates using the word “judge” as a verb instead of a noun in campaign literature and signs. Those will read something like “Judge [the candidate’s name]” in large type followed by small type saying “by his or her experience,” Jimenez said. Such things are covered by the canons as well as a state law, he said, and the commission encourages candidates to avoid anything that could be misleading. Jimenez, a member of The Florida Bar’s Judicial Administration, Selection and Tenure Committee, also said he’s glad to see other local bars pick up the program and noted JAST had promoted it. Ted Deckert, chair of the Palm Beach County Bar Association Commission, said that program began in 1996 and all candidates signed for the first two elections. The bar was still collecting the signatures for the current election as this News went to press. He said the program is a boon to candidates. “For those who want to do it right, this is what they need,” Deckert said. “They need a place to go ahead of time before they make a mistake.” The Palm Beach County Commission has had no inquiries this year, but has issued opinions in past years, although none on major issues, he said. He praised the Supreme Court and Florida Bar education sessions held in each circuit for judicial candidates. “They made it abundantly clear to the candidates they were not going to tolerate rules violations and they [the court] would consider any appropriate sanction, including removal from office,” Deckert said. “They made it very clear to the candidates that if you cheat to win, they may take away your victory.” That in turn, he said, heightens candidate interest in the campaign commissions as a way to avoid violations. Cynthia White, executive director of the Broward County Bar Association, said that organization was still collecting signatures this year, but had had 100 percent participation since beginning its campaign commission in 1996. “I think it has helped,” she said. “We got some good publicity in the newspaper the very first time we did it. “We actually had a hearing on a complaint the first time,” White added. “Both candidates denied they had done anything [wrong] and said it was their supporters and they would put a stop to it. There were no complaints in 1998.” For more information about the various programs contact: last_img
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Board considers ethics of advance funding

first_img Senior Editor The debate over how much, if at all, lawyers should be involved in advance funding schemes for their personal injury clients has reached the Bar Board of Governors. And after a vigorous discussion, the board postponed taking action so members can review past drafts of ethics opinions on the subject. The matter was brought to the board at its October 19 meeting by the Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics, which reviewed the appeal of Proposed Advisory Opinion 00-3 from the Professional Ethics Committee. (The BRCPE also presented advertising appeals and other issues to the board.) PAO 00-3 says an attorney may tell a client about the existence of companies that offer advance funding and, with the consent of the client after consultation, may provide confidential information about the case to those companies. While an initial draft of the opinion said the attorney at the client’s request could issue a letter of protection to the funding company, the final opinion passed by the PEC said the attorney could not issue a letter of protection but could honor such a letter executed by the client on his or her own. BRCPE Chair Richard Tanner reported that his committee was recommending restoring the letter of protection section to the advisory opinion. Advance funding companies, which are apparently expanding rapidly both in Florida and nationwide, offer loans to clients secured only by expected recovery in an ongoing personal injury case. Board member David Bianchi said he looked into an advance funding company for a client and was shocked that the annual interest rate was more than 80 percent, and that with other companies it could be 100, 200, and 300 percent. “They get away with it because they tell everyone it’s not a loan, and therefore it’s not an interest rate,” he said. “They say they are buying a piece of the case and only get paid if there’s a recovery. That’s their justification. “We need to think very carefully about what we think lawyers should be able to do. We should then think about appointing a committee to look at how many funding companies are in Florida, what they have done in Florida, how many cases have they been involved in, and what’s been the experiences of the borrowers.” If there have been abuses, Bianchi said, the board might want to approach the legislature about regulating the industry. “We are not here to legislate morality,” board member Louis Kwall countered. “If these are legitimate, lawful companies, what right do we have to interfere in the relationship between one of these companies and a client?” Board member Jesse Diner added, “I personally don’t like people lending money at usurious rates. . . but I don’t think that’s for us to decide here.” Board member Chobee Ebbets said lawyers should not issue the letters of protection, arguing, “If I give a letter of protection to that company, I am buying into that.. . . I would never issue a letter of protection because I feel it is in direct conflict with a client’s best interest.” “This activity borders on the outer edge of appropriate conduct,” board member John Cardillo said. The board approved a motion by board member Kelly Overstreet Johnson to table the issue until it reviews prior drafts of PAO 00-3. On other matters, the BRCPE presented recommendations on three advertising appeals, and all were approved by the board: • The board and BRCPE said it was okay for a law firm to include in its ads the statement, “If you have been involved in an accident, you need an attorney fighting for your rights.” Bar staff and the Standing Committee on Advertising had found the “you need an attorney” phrase potentially misleading. • The board and BRCPE upheld the standing committee which said a Yellow Pages ad featuring a photograph of the advertising attorney must be submitted to the Bar for review and the $250 late review fee paid. The attorney had argued the review and fee were not needed. • The board and BRCPE upheld the standing committee that the use of a non-law firm member’s voice in an electronic ad violated Bar rules because the ad was not, as contended by the law firm, a public service ad. Tanner also reported to the board that at its November 29 meeting, the BRCPE will revise existing procedures clarifying that the board can request ethics opinions from the Professional Ethics Committee. The Bar Procedures for Ruling on Questions of Ethics were vague on that point. He noted that the proposed procedure will maintain Bar members’ ability to request opinions about their own prospective actions. The BRCPE considered further expanding who could ask questions of the PEC, but decided that “members with their fact patterns and the board raising specific questions is the best approach without throwing it wide open.” The issue arose after the board several years ago requested the PEC to look at issues surrounding insurance companies’ use of staff and outside counsel. After the PEC issued three opinions which were appealed to the board, the board declined to act because of the vagueness of the procedures. Board considers ethics of advance funding Board considers ethics of advance fundingcenter_img November 15, 2001 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

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71 lawyers file to run for legislative office

first_img September 1, 2002 Regular News 71 lawyers file to run for legislative office Seventy-one lawyers have filed to run for state House and Senate seats in this fall’s elections.Seventeen lawyers have filed for 13 seats in the Senate, while 54 have filed for 43 races in the House.That means, for the 2002-04 legislature, there will be no more than the current 13 lawyers in the Senate, while the lower chamber could see an increase from its current 31 attorney members.Those figures are from a preliminary Bar analysis of candidates who qualified for legislative seats in July. (Because this is a reapportionment year, all 40 Senate seats, instead of 20, are on the ballot, as well as all 120 House seats.)The records show that five lawyers are running unopposed for Senate seats, while six are unopposed in House races. Several more are challenged only by minor party candidates, largely due to the Libertarian party qualifying dozens of candidates in House races, including two Bar members.Primary ballots will be cast on September 10, and the general election will be on November 5. Under a one-time law passed by the legislature, there will be no runoffs in state races; the leading vote-getter in the primary will advance to the general election, even if he or she failed to get 50 percent plus one of the votes.(To find out what legislative district you live in, check your new voter registration card. Or check online maps: http://enight.dos.state.fl.us/maps/Senate/2002/index.shtml for the Senate and http://enight.dos.state.fl.us/maps/House/2002/index.shtml for the House. Each site has links for detailed maps of each district.) Senate Filings Elected in the Senate without opposition were incumbent Sens. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville, Steven A. Geller, D-Ft. Lauderdale, Walter “Skip” Campbell, D-Tamarac, Burt Saunders, R-Naples, and Alex Villalobos, R-Miami.In other races, attorney and former state Rep. George Albright faces Jon Marc Creighton and Rep. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, in the Republican primary for District 7. The winner faces Democrat Jim Ward in November.In District 19, Rep. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, and Alton Lightsey, both lawyers, are contesting Jerry Girley in the Democratic primary. The winner will face attorney and Republican Anthony “Tony” Suarez, and Beulah Farquharson, who listed no party affiliation, on the November ballot.In District 21, attorney and Democrat D.J. Czala will face the winner of the Republican primary between Rep. Mike Bennett, R-Sarasota, and Rep. Mark G. Flanagan, R-Bradenton.In District 23, attorney and Sen. Lisa Carlton, R-Osprey, faces Democrat Lawrence P. Milford in November.In perhaps the most widely publicized legislative race in Florida, Attorney General Butterworth faces Rep. Jeffrey Atwater, R-North Palm Beach in November for the District 25 seat.In District 27, attorney Dave Aronberg faces Scott Edwards in the Democratic primary. The winner faces the survivor of a five-way Republican primary.In District 30, attorney and Sen. Ron Klein, D-Delray Beach, faces Republican Steve Hatch in November.In District 36, attorney and Rep. Carlos Lacasa, R-Miami, faces Mike Gorrie, and incumbent Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, in the Republican primary. The winner will square off against two write-in candidates on the November ballot.In District 39 Rep. Cindy Lerner, D-Miami, former Rep. John Cosgrove, and former Rep. Ron Saunders, all attorneys, face former Rep. Larcenia J. Bullard, and Donald Jones in the Democratic primary, with the winner of that contest taking on the winner of a two-way Republican primary. House Races Attorneys elected without opposition in the House were Speaker-Designate Johnnie B. Byrd, Jr., R-Plant City, Reps. Jerry Paul, R-Port Charlotte, Joe Negron, R-Stuart, Chris Smith, D-Ft. Lauderdale, Timothy M. “Tim” Ryan, D-Dania Beach, and Marco Rubio, R-Miami.In contested races, in District 2 attorney and Democrat Jim Reeves faces Republican Dave Murzin and Libertarian Barbara J. Bujak in November.In District 3, attorney and Rep. Holly Benson, R-Pensacola, faces Libertarian Tom Petrone in November.In District 9, attorney and Rep. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee, faces Libertarian Mitch Covington in November.In District 16, attorney and Rep. Mark Mahon, R-Jacksonville, faces Libertarian Scott Palmer Carter.In District 21, attorney and Rep. Joe H. Pickens faces Democrat Jerald Cumbus and Libertarian Thomas F. Luongo.In District 26, attorney Pat Patterson faces Bob Dahlen in the Republican primary. The winner faces the winner of a two-way Democratic primary and Libertarian Jill Bradley in November.In District 33, attorneys Dean Mosley and Mickael K. Rathel are in a five-way Republican primary, with the winner facing Libertarian James T. Coakley in November.In District 36, attorney Ali Kirk faces Sheri McInvale in the Democratic primary, with the winner taking on attorney and Republican Patrick Howell and Libertarian John F. Kennedy in the general election.In District 37, attorney and Rep. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, faces Libertarian Timothy Moriarty.In District 39, attorney Tiffany Moore is in a four-way Democratic primary, with the winner taking on the victor of a two-way Republican primary and a write-in candidate in November.In District 47, attorneys Kevin Christopher Ambler and Bill Mitchell face one other Republican in the primary, while attorney Michael A. Steinberg has two other opponents in the Democratic primary. The winners will be on the November ballot with Libertarian Rob Schwartzberg.In District 48, lawyer and Rep. Gus Michael Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, faces Libertarian A.J. Brent.In District 49, attorney John “Q” Quinones faces Joe Mantilla in the Republican primary, with the winner taking on the victor of a two-way Democratic primary.In District 54, lawyer and Rep. John Carassas, R-Largo, faces Green Party candidate Kurt Gratzol.In District 57, attorney and Democrat Scott Farrell will be on the November general election ballot with the winner of a three-way Republican primary and Libertarian Tyson Richmond.In District 59, attorney and Rep. Arthenia L. Joyner, D-Tampa, faces Libertarian Rex Curry.In District 63, attorney and Republican Dennis A. Jones faces Libertarian Jason A. Downs.In District 64, attorney John Stargel faces Jerre Wilson in the Republican primary, with the winner taking on Libertarian Michael A. Krech.In District 67, attorney Steele T. Williams is in a three-way Republican primary, with the winner taking on a write-in candidate and a Libertarian in November.In District 68, attorneys Bill Galvano and Dave Miner are in a four-way Republican primary, with the winner taking on a Democrat and Libertarian in the general election.In District 73, Rep. Bruce Kyle, R-Ft. Myers, and Mike McQuagge, both attorneys, meet in the Republican primary, with the winner taking on a Democrat and Libertarian in November.In District 74, attorney and Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, is in a three-way Republican primary, with the winner taking on Democrat Linda I. Parnell and attorney and Libertarian Thomas Clark.In District 75, Rep. Carole Green, R-Ft. Myers, is being challenged by attorney and Libertarian Aaron J. O’Brien.In District 76, attorney and Rep. J. Dudley Goodlette, R-Naples, faces Libertarian Leslie Edward Sutter.In District 86, attorney Barry Silver faces Rep. Anne M. Gannon in the Democratic primary, with the winner facing a write-in candidate in the general election.In District 87, Peter Feaman and Adam Hasner, both attorneys, are in a four-way Republican primary, with the winner taking on the victor in a two-way Democratic primary and a Libertarian.In District 89, attorney Elliot Shaw faces Mann Killian in the Republican primary for the right to take on the winner of a two-way Democratic primary and a Libertarian in November.In District 92, attorney and Rep. John P. “Jack” Seiler D-Ft. Lauderdale, faces Libertarian Nathan “Nick” Lipschultz.In District 96, attorney and Rep. Stacy J. Ritter, D-Coral Springs, faces Libertarian Roger K. Eckert.In District 101, attorney and Democrat Gary Shirk faces Republican Mike Davis and Libertarian Michael Shane O’Brien.In District 104, attorney Yolly Roberson is in a five-way Democratic primary, with the winner facing a Republican and two write-in candidates in November.In District 105, Rep. Kenneth “Ken” Gottlieb, D-Miramar, and Martin Zilber, both attorneys, meet in the Democratic primary with the winner facing Libertarian Britt Craig in November.In District 108, attorney and Rep. Phillip J. Brutus, D-North Miami, faces Kevin A. Burns in the Democratic primary, with the winner taking on attorney and Republican Val Screen in November.In District 114, attorney and Rep. Gas-ton Cantens, R-Sweetwater, faces write-in candidate Acevedo Ramsis in November.In District 115, attorney and Republican Juan-Carlos “J.C.” Planas faces Rep. Renier Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, and Manuel “Manny” Alfonso in the primary, with the winner taking on Libertarian Thomas William Glaser in November.In District 116, attorneys Marcelo Llorente and Jose Luis Rodriguez are in a five-way Republican primary, while attorney Patrick Vilar is in a two-way Democratic primary.center_img 71 lawyers file to run for legislative officelast_img read more

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Judge Milton honored for his work with children

first_img Judge Milton honored for his work with children Associate EditorWhen a lawyer or judge does something special for children, Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead likes to send a thank-you note.And so it was, when long-time juvenile judge, the now retired W.A. “Bill” Milton of Grand Island, received the R. David Thomas Child Advocate of the Year Award.“Hopefully, by your example, other leaders and communities throughout Florida will recognize the importance of caring for all of our children,” Justice Anstead wrote to Judge Milton.“Surely, if there is a silver bullet for our social ills, it rests in the care of our children.”Caring for children comes naturally to Judge Milton, the father of three daughters and grandfather of four, the past president of the Florida Council of Juvenile Court Judges, the founder and charter member of the Lake County Boys Ranch and the Leesburg Boys Club, now the Boys and Girls Club.Judge Milton began his two dozen years on the bench in 1961, when he became county and juvenile judge of Lake County and ended up handling 8,633 children’s cases.As longtime friend Bill Mills said: “He was a progressive and innovative judge. He was unlike any other in Florida. Things that are being adopted today are the same things he was doing in the 1960s.”Besides handling a heavy caseload as a juvenile division judge, Milton also supervised the operation of the Juvenile Detention Center for Lake County. He helped turn it from a bare-bones operation into an innovative program that was only one of two centers in Florida that had a teacher assigned by the school board so that detained children could continue their schooling.Of 17 juvenile centers in the state in the mid ’60s, Lake County was one of only two counties that had a contractual working relationship with the school board to define truancy and develop written guidelines for detaining and helping turn around chronically truant children.Judge Milton also saw to it that a full-time mental health professional was assigned to the juvenile court staff. And he also instituted the first defensive driving school for juvenile offenders in Lake County.“During my years on the bench, I learned early on that the only chance we had to reduce our crime rate was to practice early intervention with ‘at risk’ children,” Judge Milton said. “I also believed that the only way our courts could be effective was to recruit the good people of the community as volunteers. Lake County was recognized many times for its volunteer programs for youth during my years on the bench.”As a 42-year member and past president of the Kiwanis Club, Judge Milton volunteered his time to the World’s Greatest Baby Shower, Clothes for School Kids, Backpacks for School Kids, and Books for Children.The Children’s Home Society of Florida not only nominated Judge Milton for the award created by Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, but a second honor by the Lake County Citizen’s Commission for Children.When Judge Milton sums up his many years working to help children, he said: “I felt it was the most important work that a judge could be involved in.”That attitude is what prompted Chief Justice Anstead to express in his letter: “Thank you for caring for our children.” December 15, 2002 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News Judge Milton honored for his work with childrenlast_img read more

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Journal directory errors noted

first_imgJournal directory errors noted A number of corrections to the 2004 Bar Journal directory have been noted to the editorial staff. To set the record straight: Jennifer Lynn Charak ’s e-mail address is jjacobs@prtc.net (p. 113). Maria V. Feliu Maurrasse should have been included on page 179. Her address is 10621 S.W. 117th Ave., Miami 33186, phone 305-779-5041; fax 305-271-4085, e-mail mariaFeliu@aol.com. Michael Steven Greene of Coral Gables was inadvertently omitted from the directory. His address is 269 Giralda Ave., Ste. 201, Coral Gables 33134; phone: 305-444-2610; fax: 305-444-2655; e-mail: msg@msgreenelaw.com. Cristina Elena Groschel ’s phone number is 954-735-0000 (p. 226). Stephen K. Halpert ’s e-mail address is shalpert@law.miami.edu (p. 233). Joseph James Huss ’s phone number is 954-761-3454 (p. 262). Joyce A. Julian ’s phone number is 954-467-6656 (p. 276).Due to an inaccuracy regarding her name, Shelly Wald Schwartz ’ information was printed out of order on page 538 and her name was incorrect on page 35 of the certified lawyers section. Ms. Schwartz is with Redgrave & Oliver LLP, 120 E. Palmetto Park Rd., Ste. 450, Boca Raton 33432; phone: 561-347-1700; fax: 561-391-9944; e-mail: sschwartz@boca-law.com. Robert Soifer ’s phone number is 407-236-0567 (p. 491). directory errors noted November 1, 2004 Regular News Journallast_img read more

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Elder Law Section, FAWL support gay adoption lobbying

first_imgElder Law Section, FAWL support gay adoption lobbying Elder Law Section, FAWL support gay adoption lobbying Senior Editor The Bar’s Elder Law Section and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers have become the latest organizations to endorse the Family Law and Public Interest Law sections’ request to lobby for the repeal of the Florida law that bans gays from adopting.The FAWL executive council at a recent meeting endorsed a resolution supporting the two sections, which want both to repeal the gay adoption ban and adopt a best-interest-of-the-child standard.The Elder Law Section Executive Council decided at its October 4 meeting to support the two sections’ request to push their position at the legislature.The matter is pending before the Bar Board of Governors, which exercises a general oversight of lobbying by sections. The two sections presented their case to the Bar Legislation Committee in August, but the committee tabled the matter with members saying they were concerned the matter raised deep philosophical differences among Bar members.Under Bar policies, sections, which have voluntary membership and dues payments, are given wide latitude on subjects they wish to lobby. Those positions must not contradict a Bar-wide legislative position, and must not create deep philosophical divisions among Bar members. The sections must also make it clear they are representing only themselves and not the Bar as a whole.Legislation Committee members said they were not concerned with the propriety of repealing the ban on gay adoptions and having a best-interest-of-the-child standard, but were worried that the repeal issue could create deep philosophical divisions. Members suggested the two sections approach other sections for their views and support their contention that seeking the repeal would not produce deep philosophical divisions.The Public Interest Law and Family Law sections had planned to take their case to sections during the Bar’s General Meeting, but that was postponed because of hurricanes, and most sections did not meet during the rescheduled meeting.Evan Marks, chair of the Family Law Section, said the two sections have sent letters to other sections asking them to look at the issue.“Our goal is not to get every section to say that the gay adoption law should be repealed, although if they did, that would be wonderful,” he said. “At the very least we would like the sections to say this is not so divisive within a substantial section of The Florida Bar as to prohibit the Family Law Section from lobbying.”Marks said he was happy that FAWL and the Elder Law Section had acted. He noted the section executive council not only supported PILS and the Family Law Section lobbying the issue, but concluded that the issue was not divisive of Bar members. Both section actions were by unanimous vote.The Family Law Section has posted information about the issue at its Web site, www.familylawfla.org. The date includes 11 major organizations, from the American Medical Association to the American Psychiatric Association, that support gay adoptions.Marks said he doesn’t think the gay adoption issue is any more divisive than the Bar’s support a few years ago of merit appointments for all trial judges and its recent vote to oppose Amendment 3 — which limited contingency fees in medical malpractice actions — on the November 2 ballot.He also noted that as this News went to press, the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors was scheduled to debate the issue, and make a recommendation for the Board of Governors’ December meeting.So far, although several individual lawyers have contacted Bar leaders and written letters to the editor in the Bar News, no legal organization has voted to oppose the two sections’ requests, Marks said.Aside from the Elder Law Section and FAWL, the two sections’ efforts have also been endorsed by the Equal Opportunities Law Section and the Bar’s Legal Needs of Children Committee. November 15, 2004 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

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Bar’s annual fee statements are on the way

first_img Bar’s annual fee statements are on the way Members may now pay their fees online at www.flabar.org Mark D. Killian Managing Editor Florida Bar members soon will receive their 2005-06 fee statements, reflecting no increase in annual fees and only minor modifications to the form.The fees are payable July 1 and are late after August 15.Members will receive one of two fee statements: one designed for active members and another for those who have elected inactive status. Annual fees are $265. Inactive members pay $175.“Members should be aware that the fee statements are two-sided and must be completed both front and back and be mailed along with their payment to cover their fees and sections joined,” Bar Finance Director Allen Martin said.Under the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, fees postmarked after August 15 will be assessed a $50 late fee. Members who do not pay by September 30 will be deemed delinquent. The delinquency may be cleared by petitioning the Bar, paying the fees, the late fee, and a $150 reinstatement fee. Online Payment Members have the option to complete their annual fee statement and pay their fees online via the Bar’s Web site at www.flabar.org, an option exercised by more than 8,500 members last year. But to do so, members must first be registered on the Bar’s Web site. If you have not registered, go to www3.flabar.org, click on the “register” link and then follow the prompts. Instructions for paying Bar fees online also are includedwith the paper form mailed to your official Bar address. Challenge for Children Members also have an option to make a voluntary $45 contribution to The Florida Bar Foundation’s Lawyers’ Challenge for Children campaign to help bring the benefits of the law and of lawyers to the lives of poor children. The Foundation will dedicate Bar members’ contributions to legal assistance to children through grants to legal aid and legal services programs across the state, according to Bar President-elect Alan Bookman. (See story above.) Last year, Florida lawyers contributed more than $180,000 to the Challenge for Children campaign. Pro Bono Reports This year’s fee form again includes a pro bono section for Bar members to report if they have met the Supreme Court’s aspirational pro bono goals. The court asks lawyers to provide 20 hours of pro bono service or donate $350 to a legal aid program each year.A series of questions promulgated by the court appears on the fee statement, depending on what option the attorney selected. The court wants to know:• How many hours of pro bono service the lawyer donated and if the work was done through an organized legal aid program or on the lawyer’s own.• If the lawyer’s firm provided pro bono collectively under a plan operated by a circuit pro bono committee, with an indication of how much was allocated to the member.• If the lawyer has contributed to a legal aid organization in lieu of performing pro bono work.• Whether the attorney was unable to provide pro bono service or met the provision for being deferred.• How the lawyer fulfilled his or her service if done in some manner not specifically envisioned by the plan. Community Service This year’s fee statement again features a purely voluntary section that allows members to report the community and public service they have performed over the past year. The purpose is to obtain data to show contributions lawyers make by way of community service. Lawyers may voluntarily report whether they have provided service to the legal community, religious organizations, civic organizations, or other charities and the number of hours donated.The community service questions are separate from the court’s pro bono reporting requirements, and answering these questions does not constitute compliance with the required pro bono responses. Trust Accounting The statement requires that all lawyers indicate whether they comply with the Bar’s trust accounting requirements and the interest on trust accounts rule.answering the trust accounting question, members certify compliance with Bar rules that mandate, “All nominal and short-term funds belonging to clients or third persons which are placed in trust with any member of The Florida Bar practicing from an office or other business location within the state of Florida shall be deposited in one or more interest-bearing trust checking accounts in an eligible financial institution for the benefit of the Foundation.”The Florida Bar Foundation may be contacted at (800) 541-2195 (for in-state members only) or (407) 843-0045 to answer IOTA questions. Installments Members who meet eligibility requirements may pay annual fees in three equal installments. The first payment must be postmarked by August 15. To be eligible, members must be in the second or third year since admission to the Bar or be employed by a government agency in a nonelected position that requires the individual to maintain membership in good standing with the Bar. Only annual fees or prorated fees may be paid in installments. Section dues must be paid in full.The three payments must be postmarked by August 15, November 1, and February 1, 2006. The Bar will send statements for the second and third installments. A $50 late fee will be assessed if the second or third installment is received late. For more information on paying in installments, see Rule 1-7.3(c). Other Options Bar members also may join sections and the Out-of-State Practitioners Division using the fee form. The attorney’s current membership in a section is indicated on the form. To join other sections, members may darken the circles next to the section they want to join and include the appropriate amount with their membership fees. Note that several section have increased their membership fees this yearThe fee statement provides lawyers the opportunity to reduce their section dues by joining combinations of the Government Lawyer Section with the Administrative Law Section and/or the Criminal Law Section or the Administrative Law Section and the Criminal Law Section.Members may opt for inactive membership by marking the inactive status proclamation located near the bottom of the front page of the active membership statement and paying their fees by a postmark date of August 15. Active members may not elect inactive status online.Those who chose inactive status on last year’s statement will receive an inactive membership fee statement this year. It has many of the same features as the active membership fee statement, but does not allow the inactive member to join sections. Inactive members, however, can become affiliate members of the Out-of-State Practitioners Division or the Administrative Law, Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law, Environmental and Land Use Law, and Tax sections.choosing inactive status, Bar members will reduce their annual fees by $90 and receive automatic exemptions from continuing legal education requirements. They will, however, give up a number of privileges, including the privilege to practice or advise on Florida law or hold a job that requires a Florida law license; to participate in the Bar’s certification program; to vote in Bar elections or be counted for purposes of apportionment of the Board of Governors; and to receive Bar publications, including the Journal and annual directory.Inactive members continue to receive The Florida Bar News. Inactive members who wish to become active again must call the Bar’s Membership Records Department at (850) 561-5832 or (800) 561-8060, ext. 5832. May 15, 2005 Managing Editor Regular News Bar’s annual fee statements are on the waylast_img read more

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Comp Claims JNC taking applications

first_img July 1, 2005 Regular News Comp Claims JNC taking applications The Statewide Nominating Commission for Compensation Claims Judges is now accepting applications for one attorney from the territorial jurisdiction of the Fourth District Court of Appeal to serve a four-year term commencing July 1.All applicants must be members of the Bar who are engaged in the practice of law. No attorney who appears before any judge of compensation claims more than four times a year is eligible to serve on the commission. Commissioners are also not eligible for state judicial vacancies filled by the JNC on which they sit for two years following the expiration of their term. Commissioners are subject to Florida financial disclosure laws. Meetings and deliberations are open to the public.Those interested may download the application from the Bar’s Web site at floridabar.org or should contact the Bar at (850) 561-5600, ext. 5757, to obtain the proper application form. Applications may also be obtained by writing the Executive Director, The Florida Bar, 651 East Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399-2300.Completed applications must be received no later than the close of business July 29. Resumes will not be accepted in lieu of the required application. Comp Claims JNC taking applicationslast_img read more

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Two join Foundation

first_img T wo join Foundation The Bar Board of Governors has appointed Miami attorney George F. Knox and reappointed Sarasota attorney and former Young Lawyers Division President Michael Faehner to seats on The Florida Bar Foundation Board of Directors.The two will serve three-year terms beginning July 1. The board acted at its February meeting in Tallahassee. April 1, 2006 Regular News Two join Foundationlast_img read more

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Two-tier plan for paralegals taken one step further

first_imgTwo-tier plan for paralegals taken one step further June 15, 2006 Regular News Approved by the board, it’s now before the court Gary Blankenship Senior Editor A two-tier plan for regulating paralegals has been approved by The Florida Bar Board of Governors and will be forwarded to the Supreme Court for its review.The board, at its June 2 meeting in Key West, approved the proposal from the Special Committee to Study Paralegal Regulation. The committee, made up of attorneys, paralegals, and legal educators, has been working on the issue since last August.“I present this to the board as a well-reasoned and a well-compromised plan,” said board member Ross Goodman, chair of the special committee. “The paralegels and attorneys worked well together to come up with a very good program.”“The general description is this sets two tiers, one for paralegals as they presently exist [in Bar rules] and the second tier is for what we call registered paralegals,” he added. “The closest analogy [for registered paralegals] would be to board certification [for lawyers].”Board members initially received the report from the special committee at their April 7 meeting. The proposal would create Chapter 20 in the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.Under the two-tier system, the first tier would encompass paralegals based on the definition in Bar Rule 10-2.1, as someone with education, training, or work experience who, under the supervision of a lawyer, performs delegated substantive work for which the lawyer is responsible, Goodman said.Tier two paralegals would have to meet education and experience requirements or be certified by the National Association of Legal Assistants or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and then could hold themselves out as “Florida Registered Paralegals.” They would also have to meet continuing education requirements, he said.The proposal’s grandfathering provision would allow paralegals who can show five years of substantial experience, but who don’t meet the education or certification requirements, to become registered paralegals. That provision is limited to the first three years of the program.The grandfathering provision was necessary because, “You’ve got some paralegals who have been doing it for 20 years and that paralegal is more qualified than any 20 attorneys in town on that one area of law, but does not meet the other qualifications to be a registered paralegal,” he said.Goodman said the proposed rule also creates a disciplinary system and a code of ethics for paralegals. It was also reviewed and approved by the Disciplinary Review, Program Evaluation and Rules committees.In response to a question, he said the rule will probably need more work, such as setting standards for paralegal programs whose graduates will qualify to be registered paralegals. That will be needed, he said, because there are many “fly-by-night” paralegal education providers.The special committee began meeting last summer after bills were introduced in the 2005 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature that proposed a regulatory scheme for paralegals. Those bills, pushed by paralegal organizations, would have had regulation preformed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.That legislation specified that courts, when awarding fees, could only award paralegal fees for services performed by state-licensed paralegals.Lawmakers agreed not to push those bills when the Bar said it would study the issues, and the paralegal committee, appointed by President Alan Bookman, was the result.The committee met throughout the fall and had a public hearing. It initially proposed creating a Bar section for paralegals, which could then study further issues related to paralegal regulation.But paralegal members of the committee said it didn’t go far enough in recognizing the training and accomplishments of paralegals and the committee agreed to reconsider that recommendation.The committee then came up with the two-tier plan, which attempts to meet the needs of both lawyers and paralegals.retaining the definition of paralegals based on the language in Chapter 10 of Bar rules, it allows lawyers to retain control of who is considered a paralegal in their law firms. And by setting standards to be a “Florida Registered Paralegal” it encourages paralegals to meet minimum education, training, and continuing education standards — and law firms to encourage their paralegals to meet those standards.The proposal as adopted by the board must be reviewed by the Supreme Court in a rule amendment petition.center_img Two-tier plan for paralegals taken one step furtherlast_img read more

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LIRR Service Back to Normal for Evening Commute

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Long Island Rail Road employee cleaning off the platform of one of the railroad’s branches. (Photo credit: MTA)If all goes to plan, lovestruck Long Island Rail Road commuters traveling back to the Island won’t have to postpone any Valentine’s Day plans.Helpless romantics received good news Friday afternoon when the LIRR said it will operate a regular evening rush hour schedule. Commuters can send their Cupid-themed thank you cards to LIRR personnel who worked around-the-clock to clear heavy snow deposited on tracks during Thursday’s nor’easter.Still, the LIRR advised lovebirds to allow extra travel time and use caution on platforms and stairs while boarding and leaving trains.As of Friday afternoon, the railroad was reporting good service across the board.This should be welcome news to commuters who earlier in the day were forced to adjust to a modified weekday schedule. Officials canceled 14 trains due to the storm, affecting nearly all of its branches.Thursday’s storm also caused scattered 15 to 20 minute delays systemwide, but service improved later in the day.Railroad officials suggested that travelers seeking real time train information should download the TrainTime app or check the MTA’s website. Customers can also call 718-217-5477.last_img read more

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Driver in Fatal Northern State Crash Identified

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 27-year-old Oyster Bay man died Friday morning after striking a tree on the Northern State Parkway, State police said. The driver, identified as Nicholas Maniscalco, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The fatal crash occurred just before 9 a.m. Friday, police said. Maniscalco lost control of his Mazda east of Sunnyside Boulevard, struck a Mercury and then slammed into a tree on the center median, police said. No one else was in the car, police said. The driver behind the wheel of the Mercury was uninjured, police said. All eastbound lanes at Exit 37A were closed following the accident. The parkway was reopened around 1 p.m., police said. Any witnesses are asked to call State police at 631-756-3300.last_img read more

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Long Island Muslims, Faith Leaders Condemn Paris Attacks

first_imgThe US takes in nearly 70,000 refugees annually, according to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. And since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the United States has resettled 784,000 refugees, according to the independent nonprofit Migration Policy Institute. Out of that number, only three “have been arrested for planning terrorist activities—and it is worth noting two were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible,” the organization said. ISIS’ meteoric rise in the last few years has many concerned that radicalized individuals overseas could come to the United States and carry out attacks similar to the one that shocked Paris on Friday. Sixty-eight alleged ISIS sympathizers have been arrested within the United States—80 percent of whom were home-grown citizens, according to The Center on National Security at Fordham Law. The charges range from providing material support to conspiracy to kill to fraud, immigration violations, and drug crimes. Three of those arrested were categorized as refugees or asylum seekers. Humanitarian aid groups believe seeking refugee status in the US is actually the most difficult way of entering the country. “Refugees are the most security vetted population who come to the United States,” the New York-based International Rescue Committee said in a statement Tuesday. “Security screenings are rigorous and involve the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Department of Defense.” Similar statements were made by a bevy of aid groups. But the fear of further terror attacks has made Obama’s Syrian refugee program one of the most politically-charged initiatives of his presidency, with some expressing utter shock that the White House would even consider allowing Syrians in. For others, opening up the United States’ gates to 10,000 refugees, they say, is the best way to respond to bloodthirsty criminals hoping western nations forsake their values out of fear. “It is clear what we oppose, it is clear what we denounce, it is also clear what we promote,” Sniffen, of the Cathedral of Incarnation in Garden City, said Friday. “We promote communities of diversity, of love, and of faith commitments of every persuasion rooted in love of God and love of neighbor.” Even so, a poll conducted in 1939 found that 61 percent of those polled were not in favor of allowing 10,000 refugee children into the United States. Ben Carson, who is also seeking the GOP nomination, compared some Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs” before later softening his tone. Rep. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush suggested the United States should focus on protecting Christians over Muslims, and more than two-dozen governors have opposed President Obama’s plan to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees who have been fleeing unconscionable slaughters, rapes, barbaric beheadings, and poverty, as their home country continues to be soaked in blood. Denouncing extremism and xenophobia on Friday was Dr. Isma Chaudhry, president of the Islamic Center of Long Island, who said all faiths should stand together as a united front. “This is not a social or a political calling,” she said, “for us Muslims this is a religious calling, to stand together in solidarity with all faiths against injustice, against terrorism, against bloodshed.” Chaudhry argued that the fissure of fear being created only empowers terror groups like ISIS. “I urge you to think and reflect,” she implored. “This is a small group of self-proclaimed people, a small group of criminals, who in the name of Islam have done barbaric acts of violence.”“We as Muslims strongly condemn these un-Islamic actions,” Chaudry continued. “This is not Islam. ISIS is not Islam. Muslims are not violent, barbaric people. This is a small group of criminals and we, by dividing ourselves, are making them big.” RELATED: No Syrian Refugee “Tent City” Coming to Long Island, Local Aid Group InsistsImam Ibrahim Negm, a visiting scholar and preacher, said Muslims worldwide denounce the slayings in Paris. “Islam is a faith that promotes peace, that brings about stability to societies,” he told about two dozen onlookers, “not the distorted image of Islam that are propagated by these radical few which is creating terror and havoc throughout the world.” Dr. Faroque Khan, an ICLI co-founder and board member, said ISIS’s self-declared caliphate was illegitimate. “There is nothing Islamic about them, and it’s an illegal state,” he said. Speakers also took exception with recent comments and actions by elected officials who question the logic of permitting refugees entrance into the United States, despite claims from resettlement agencies that anyone seeking refugee status goes through multi-layered security as part of a rigorous process that takes 18 to 24 months to complete. On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted on a bill to further strengthen refugee security protocols, a measure the White House has threatened to veto. Rev. Lukens said denying destitute refugees is not only un-American but it goes against God’s teachings. “All people of faith and goodwill have mourned these past weeks, the terrible atrocities that were committed in Paris, Beirut, Nigeria and in Baghdad, atrocities that were committed by people whose creed is terror and hatred and whose aim is to sow fear,” Lukens said. “And in the face of that, people of faith and goodwill of every faith have a decision to make about how we will move on—whether we will grant these terrorists victory by letting our own fear diminish us as people, diminish our faith, turn us against one another, cause us to turn our back on the innocent in their hour of need. “The teaching(s) of the Gospel are clear and unequivocal,” he continued. “We are our brother and our sister’s keeper and we are taught as Christians that Christ himself is found among those who are called the least of these—the stranger, the outcast, the refugee—and that we will be judged by how we behaved toward these people at times precisely like these.”The Very Rev’d Michael Sniffen, dean of the Cathedral of Incarnation in Garden City, said acts of terror should inspire people of all faiths to follow their hearts, rather than be consumed by fear and selfishness. “In this time when our brothers and sisters across this world flee acts of terrorism and genocide,” Sniffen said, “we who stand in a privileged nation such as this cannot walk by on the road and call ourselves faithful. We must stop what we’re doing and look at our neighbor in need and pick them up and treat them as we would treat our own child.” For groups like ISIS, Khan said, it’s their hope that nations like the US to deny refugees access. “This xenophobia is not what American values are all about…it’s a violation of the spirit of our constitution, and most importantly plays into the strategy of ISIS,” he said, “which is trying to create a religious divide and anti-refugee backlash so the billion-plus Muslims will feel alienated and some will turn to extremism. If so, then our leaders are following a script and a trap put forth by ISIS and are becoming their best recruiters.” Recent polls have found that the majority of Americans do not support Obama’s plan to bring in 10,000 refugees, just a tiny fraction of the overall 12 million displaced Syrians—and 4 million who have fled, half of whom are children. The United States has a long history of accepting refugees, though the program has historically been unpopular, even going back to World War II. According to a recently uncovered poll conducted in 1938, nearly 70 percent of US respondents opposed German and Austrian refugees—the majority of whom were Jews displaced by the Holocaust—entering the US. The poll was conducted in the early years following the Great Depression, so many Americans may have been consumed by economic concerns. center_img Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Standing on the steps of an archway leading to a sun-splashed courtyard at the Islamic Center of Long Island on Friday, about a dozen leaders from various faiths delivered an impassioned condemnation of last week’s terror attacks in Paris, and voiced a striking repudiation of the so-called Islamic State and the vile atrocities the group commits in the name of Islam. Armed only with Biblical verses, Koranic teachings, heavy hearts, and signs that proclaimed “ISIS Does Not Represent Islam,” Christians, Jews, and Muslims gathered outside the Westbury mosque to denounce extremism and call on America—a country of immigrants—to welcome war-ravaged Syrians fleeing the 4-year-old civil war back home. “Let us show these disciples of death, these murdering ISIS thugs, how a truly great nation and her people behave in the face of terror. Islam is not our enemy,” said Rev. Mark Lukens, chair of The Interfaith Alliance of Long Island. “Fear is our enemy. Hatred is our enemy. And we defeat that enemy with faith, with courage, with unity and with love.” Their remarks came exactly one week after terrorists killed 129 people in Paris and injured more than 300 in coordinated strikes on cafes, restaurants, and a packed music hall.The attacks have prompted an outpouring of support for Parisians, but has also fueled what many consider anti-Islamic statements from US presidential candidates out of fear that members of the self-declared Islamic State could use the historic flow of refugees from Syria as cover to enter the United States. Donald Trump, vying for the Republican nomination, has said he’d consider shutting down mosques and implementing a database of Muslims in America, before suggesting the latter wasn’t his idea. last_img read more

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Tech Time: Preventing potential hacks

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr It takes more than just your IT staff to make it happen.by: Jim DeitchThe Sony, Home Depot, Target and other recent cyberhacks have credit union executives asking, “What can we do to prevent similar hacks to our systems?”And it’s a good question.Notably, most hackers don’t enter the security perimeter through traditional IT security systems. The “headline hacks” almost always begin with an employee or vendor inadvertently providing access. Lesser known financial services hacks have resulted in significant losses:A financial institution employee at work clicked on a link from an email that was supposedly from the president of that institution. The link inserted malware, which a hacker used to obtain complete network compromise, customer data, and a gateway into other systems in a federally insured financial institution.An employee clicked on a “spoofed” Wi-Fi connection that was thought to be secure. Logon information was stolen, and systems were compromised through insertion of malware into the initial compromised laptop. continue reading »last_img read more

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Leadership: It’s more than a business plan

first_imgRecently, a colleague shared with me a TED Talk by Bill Gross, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Idealab, a business incubator in California that has started over 100 companies, including Citysearch, NetZero, PETsMart and Tickets.com. In his talk, Gross shares the results of his research regarding what factors matter most for a company’s success. Specifically, he explores the product/service ideas, team, business model, funding and timing of both Idealab companies and high profile non-Idealab companies that have succeeded and faltered.Spoiler alert: If you would like to hear the results from Mr. Gross before I reveal them here, you can easily find the video through an online search. Otherwise, let’s move on…The number one factor in success for the companies studied was timing, followed by the team and execution around the idea. The idea itself ranked as the 3rd most important factor. This means that business model and funding were the bottom 2 factors.What?! The business model is 4th? I know, right?!Funding, I understand. But as leaders we spend a significant amount of time thinking about our business model, crafting strategy, designing 90- and 180-day project plans, forecasting and analyzing data.And, of course, there’s the team. You have to have a good team and with that, I’d say an equally positive culture. But even the idea is 3rd! That’s another big thing we spend time on… thinking of, vetting and promoting our ideas.Perhaps time for a deep breath?Maybe it’s not so shocking, as many business books discuss timing as important, at least in some degree, to the success of most enterprises. That’s where terms like bleeding edge, leading edge and fast follower come into play. Depending on the product, service, and other specifics relative to the business, any or all of those approaches may come into play through an organization’s lifespan.I also think this breaks down further to leadership success. Two of the books I’ve read somewhat recently come to mind when thinking of the importance of timing in leadership.In The First 90 Days, by Michael Watkins, which was recommended by a friend and sent to me by another shortly after my arrival at the New Jersey Credit Union League, there is indeed a focus on having a plan. In this case, not a business plan per se, but a personal plan of action in transitional periods. There are windows, of course, where one may aspire for x, y, and/or z by day 30, 60, etc. However, there is a constant undertone that deals with timing.Through learning, negotiation, team building, and more, a leader looks to move people towards the vision he or she has for the organization. The book also notes the importance of matching strategy to situation, which is also strongly relevant in this sense. While there may be a 90-day plan, as the book title suggests, making sure the team and operational environment is prepared for the steps that need to be taken to move towards the vision is essential. At times this will mean slowing down and veering from your plan to assess and advocate for your idea. In other instances, it may simply be time to move forward so that an opportunity is not missed. In either case there is importance on timing, and as the leader, it is of the utmost importance to be aware of this.Another friend from “credit union land” sent me the book It’s Your Ship, by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, a retired Navy Captain. As a Naval Commander, Captain Abrashoff speaks to the necessity of accountability in his role and that of his team. There are deadlines to be met and long-held expectations and processes associated with military command and execution. At certain times he challenged the status quo in areas ranging from hierarchical expectations to onboarding procedures and even missile training activities. Most importantly, he says, he listened to his team to best understand the areas where his ship could improve.Throughout, Abrashoff references timing, both in the opportunities presented to him in his professional career and as it relates to the transformation of the ship under his command, the USS Benfold, from the bottom of the fleet to the Navy’s top performer. There were instances where he had thoughts on what may inspire his team or improve operations, yet he did not act until the appropriate opportunity arose to provide the highest likelihood of success. The Captain had an action plan which, in the traditional structure of the armed forces, was certainly significant. However, as a leader, he used timing and team, the same 2 elements found at the top of Bill Gross’s list, to drive success.The takeaway, I believe, is that you must have resources, ideas and, most certainly, sound planning to succeed in business. But to move an organization to a point of distinction, a strong team and culture blended with an astute sense of timing, is essential. 30SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Greg Michlig Greg Michlig joined the New Jersey Credit Union League as President/CEO in May of 2013. He has a strong background in the credit union, association and related financial services … Web: www.njcul.org Detailslast_img read more

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What can you do about those late credit card payments?

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr I am a firm believer in not making the same mistake twice; I prefer to make new ones instead.  In that vein, please do me a favor and double-check the way your credit union handles delinquent credit card accounts.Late last week, a federal district court in Massachusetts ruled that American Airlines Federal Credit Union violated both the Truth in Lending Act and a similarly worded Massachusetts state law by seizing funds in the member’s account after she became delinquent on credit card payments due to the credit union.  A recurring question that the Association’s Compliance Department fields is just what steps credit unions can take to “offset” member funds when they fall behind on credit card payments.  The case provides a great opportunity for everyone to remember the basic rules and double-check their procedures.  (See Martino v. Am. Airlines Fed. Credit Union, No. 14-10310-DPW, 2015 WL 4920015, at *4 (D. Mass. Aug. 18, 2015)).The most important thing to keep in mind is that the Truth in Lending Act extends added protections to credit card holders.  Consequently, if you want the option of claiming funds to recover delinquent credit card payments, there are several steps you must take ahead of time.  Fortunately, this is one area where the regulations are self-explanatory. continue reading »last_img read more

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Embracing Apple Watch, Holograms, and Van Halen with BIG’s John Best (Part 1)

first_img 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Get ready for another “fintech” adventure, as our friend and financial technology expert John Best, president and founder of Best Innovation Group (BIG), crashes our virtual studio — guitar and all.  John is actually a very good guitar player being in a band for many years and says he plays everyday as an outlet from his intense focus on financial technology trends, issues, and breakthroughs for credit unions.In part 1 of our chat (after our brief Van Halen tangent), John talks about how holograms may be the MSRs of the future — along with 5G high-def video playing a similar role for credit unions, Minecraft being the new digital Legos, Hololens demo at E3 2015, and the latest updates at CU Wallet. There’s so much more in this episode, as there always is with John — adding Apple Pay and PayPal perspectives to the discussion, as well.Always a mind-bending experience with John. So enjoy — and stay tuned for part 2 next week when we address Apple Watch potential, why CUs are the “ring to rule them all,” MCX, and more on CU Wallet and holograms. continue reading »last_img read more

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Congress back next week; Obama warns against shutdown

first_imgWith one week to go before the end of the congressional recess, President Barack Obama warned lawmakers via Twitter to not “kill” the “growing economy” through another government shutdown or austerity measures.Obama’s warning came after reports that the U.S. gross domestic product grew by 3.7 percent during the second quarter, exceeding expectations.During the last week of recess, NAFCU continues to urge credit unions across the country to contact their U.S. senators and representatives in person to advocate for regulatory relief, a national data security standard for retailers and other top industry needs.Among the measures Congress is expected to take up soon after recess is S. 754, the “Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act,” a NAFCU-supported measure that would promote quicker, more efficient sharing of cyber-threat information between business and government. The Senate has unanimous consent to proceed, but further action won’t occur until at least September due to the August recess. continue reading » 16SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Call for CFPB to protect credit unions hits 330 signers, and counting

first_imgThe number of federal legislators calling for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to use its authority to protect credit unions hit 330 as of Wednesday, with a final count likely to come by the end of the week. This effort has been fully led by credit unions.The letter, composed by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), has garnered support from both sides of the aisle.“With major rules already being implemented and new regulations on the horizon, our letter reminds the CFPB that Congress intentionally provided for regulatory flexibility to mitigate collateral damage on smaller financial institutions,” Schiff and Stivers noted in their call for signers.The letter itself cites the section of the Dodd-Frank Act that states the CFPB has the authority to adapt regulations by allowing it to exempt “any class” of entity from its rulemaking.The creation of the letter, and the widespread support it has garnered, represents a successful deployment of the “fierce, 360-degree advocacy” Credit Union National Association President/CEO Jim Nussle has touted, including recently at the recent CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. continue reading » 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Development issue spotlight on access to credit

first_imgThis is the fourth of the 12-part series on our blog highlighting the 12 major development issues.  In case you missed it, last month we discussed education, which can be found here.  This month we are focusing on access to credit.Access to credit seems to be an easy development issue for credit unions to solve – as we are in the loan business.  Yet millions of Americans are paying obscenely high interest rates on loans to buy a new car, fund school clothes or even purchase a week’s groceries.  Credit unions need to build business models that are mutually beneficial –affordable rates and attractive terms and conditions for members and a product that presents a good business opportunity for the credit union.  Seems easy but unfortunately credit unions struggle to find the right balance between business and social values.  In my work, I have run across many credit unions that offer some great lending products that could be done in most credit unions.  I’m going to focus on three different credit unions who provide good examples of lending products:University Federal Credit Union in Austin, Texas gets it.  More than 10 years ago, the credit union began offering non-prime auto loans to members with credit scores below 640. continue reading » 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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New member growth cools: NAFCU

first_imgCredit union membership growth slowed slightly to 3.7% in April, NAFCU reported in its Economic and CU Monitor, which was released Tuesday.At the same time, share growth remained strong, reaching 7.1% in April, NAFCU said.The trade association reported, however, that the credit union community continues to lose an average of one institution per day through merger or liquidation. continue reading » 0SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Credit union analytics comes of age: 9 essential guidelines

first_imgA fascinating new report by McKinsey & Company highlights that credit unions can drive organizational value by creating an analytics culture.The report recognizes that financial services analytics has reached a point where marketing was in the 1970’s for the banking sector. Prior to that time, sales and marketing initiatives for credit unions and banks were rare. In 2017, a credit union would find it difficult to survive without some level of marketing effort.Credit unions today are beginning to acknowledge the potential benefits of analytics. Some brave pioneers in the industry have already gained experience in this area. Now, analytics is poised to be a mainstream activity. To this point the authors admonish credit unions and banks to, “establish analytics as a business discipline”. The implication is organizations must make a serious commitment to building an analytics culture.What can a credit union do to support such a commitment? The report lists 10 essential guidelines. continue reading » 14SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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CUNA engaged w/ appropriations, reg relief hearing this week

first_img continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr With both chambers of Congress back in Washington, D.C. this week, CUNA is heavily engaged with activities this week while looking ahead to proposals to fund the government past Sept. 30. CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan said CUNA is paying particularly close attention to the appropriations legislation on the floor this week, a large bill that includes 8 appropriations, including the financial services and general government (FSGG) appropriations bill.“The key things we’re looking at and paying attention to is funding levels for [Treasury’s] community Development Financial Institutions Fund, [NCUA’s] Community Development Revolving Loan Fund, regulatory relief provisions included in committee’s markup of FSGG and then the CUNA-opposed language that would subject NCUA to appropriations,” Donovan said. “We’ll be working with members of the House as they proceed through this legislation to ensure the things we support remain in the bill.”CUNA expects the Senate Appropriations FSGG subcommittee to pass its fiscal year 2018 spending bill next week, and the full committee is expected to pass the bill next week as week.last_img read more

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CFO Focus: Leveraging funds transfer pricing to maximize margin

first_imgCredit unions continue to experience tight margins due to many factors, including low interest rates, a flattening of the yield curve, growth of share accounts, shrinking loan portfolios and a shift in balance sheet structures. Even with a recent uptick in net interest margin for the overall credit union industry (up to 3 percent for Q1 2017), credit unions continue to operate in a historically low NIM environment. As net interest margin typically represents 50 to 85 percent of an institution’s bottom-line income, finance teams need an accurate and consistent methodology for calculating and analyzing NIM to truly measure profitability and performance. Although credit union mission statements are geared toward serving members, profitability is nonetheless an important factor in determining institutional health and viability and needs to be considered strategically in your organization.In an environment of tight margins, employing matched-term funds transfer pricing as a tool for proactive margin management provides an opportunity to improve bottom-line results. Funds transfer pricing is an internal management information system designed to allocate NIM across all segments of the credit union, including branches, products and members. FTP is often used for historical analysis and measurement, but should also be an integral part of strategic planning, budgeting and forecasting to ensure alignment with organizational goals and strategies. Let’s examine the use of FTP throughout the enterprise performance management cycle. 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

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5 ways to avoid a bumpy core conversion

first_img continue reading » There are few situations more fraught with peril or packed with possibilities for credit unions than a core conversion.The data processing system is the hub of the wheel that makes the modern financial cooperative go ’round, and the conversion process can be bumpy. Then, when it’s over, credit unions must figure out how to harvest the potential of their new system.But credit unions don’t have to go it alone. Vendors provide guidance during and after the conversion process, and consultants weigh in with expert opinion. Plus, credit unions themselves are happy to share best practices emerging from their own experience. Here are five. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Compliance staff on high alert

first_imgTwo watch phrases guide compliance officers as their credit unions navigate a steady stream of regulatory guidance and changes in serving members during the COVID-19 pandemic:Stay tuned.Document everything.Federal and state agencies are rolling out updates at a sometimes-dizzying pace as credit unions work through operational changes to protect the health of employees and members in the wake of the coronavirus; develop temporary loan products, policies and procedures for members in need; and plan alternatives for in-person board and annual meetings. And that’s just a partial to-do list.“All of this guidance is really helpful to credit unions and their members, but at the same time, you have to be able to process and use it,” says CUES member Bernard G. McLaughlin, president/CEO of Point Breeze Credit Union. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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HMDA, hmmm? Reporting data points as “not applicable”

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Like many of you, I have been busy, busy, busy attending NAFCU’s Virtual Regulatory Compliance School. The virtual experience was new for me (and I bet most of you), but the conference was a great success. I learned so many new things, but studying to be an NCCO is no easy task. However, after many long evenings of studying, I get to update my signature line to: Janice Ringler, NCCO!Congratulations and welcome to all the new NCCOs!On July 28, 2020, CFPB released its fourth update to its HMDA FAQs, updating question #7 in the Ethnicity, Race, and Sex section, and questions #1 and #2 in the Multiple Data Points section. The FAQ’s attempt to clarify when combined loan-to-value (CLTV), debt-to-income ratio (DTI), income, and property value needs to be reported on the LAR.  The FAQs state that all of these fields must be reported “if they were a factor relied on in making a credit decision—even if the data was not the dispositive factor.” The FAQs set a “relied on” standard to determine when the credit union must report the data for income, credit score, DTI, CLTV, and property value. However, Regulation C allows credit unions to report these data points, along with credit score and credit score model, as “not applicable.” A frequent question we get from credit unions is:If these data points must be reported if they are “relied on in making a credit decision”, in what instances would these fields be reported as “not applicable?” I have explored some possible scenarios below. continue reading »last_img read more

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Results negative for Broome County coronavirus patients

first_imgRELATED: Two people tested for coronavirus in Broome County The health department told 12 News in a press release Monday that two people in Broome County were being tested for the virus after they returned from China in separate flights. They also say they are no confirmed cases of the virus either. BROOME COUNTY (WBNG) — The Broome County Health Department says the results of the coronavirus test for both patients are negative. The health department says there are no other people in the county being tested. last_img read more

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Broome County creates Recovery Task Force in preparation for end of COVID-19 pandemic

first_imgGarnar says the county is still working on a plan, but it will be a long and slow implementation. Broome County officials say New York City may be seeing a flattened curve, but opening too early may be ineffective for the county. “I think the apex is going to happen, I think we’re probably a couple weeks behind what the city is,” said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar. “Not just focusing on economic recovery, we’ve already heard from The Agency on economic recovery, but all types of recovery,” said Garnar. “We’re always re-evaluation, what are our emergency orders, every five days we evaluate whether or not we should keep an emergency order. A lot of what we do is dependent on what the state says,” said Garnar. (WBNG) — Governor Cuomo says it’s time to start thinking about life after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Broome County officials say they’re already working on a plan for the transition. Garnar says the process of transitioning back will be slow to prevent the virus from spreading rapidly again. “We have to understand on the reopening, as much as we have this emotion that we want it to happen, we want it to happen now, we can’t take this anymore, everyone feels the same. It’s a delicate balance, remember what we have to do on reopening, remember this has never been done before,” said Governor Cuomo. The Recovery Task Force, Garnar says, will take a holistic approach to recovering from the pandemic. From mental health issues to unemployment, he says his plan is constantly evolving. last_img read more

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Cuomo: Broome County is a virus hot spot

first_img(WBNG) — Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Broome County has an infection rate of 3.1%, making it a hot spot in the state. County officials linked the elevated cases to bars and restaurants in the city’s west side. As of Monday, there are 413 active cases of COVID-19 in Broome County. Over 150 are located in Binghamton. To see where cases are located in Broome County click here. Cuomo says local governments need to do a better job at enforcing virus safety.last_img

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Flipkart Big Diwali Sale 2020 Ends Tonight: Best Deals on Mobile Phones, Laptops, Electronics

first_imgApple iPhone XR (Rs. 39,999)iPhone XR is still selling at a discounted price during Flipkart’s Big Diwali 2020 sale today. Even though it’s not as low as the previous festive season sale, you can still make use of the bundled exchange and payment offers to get it at a decent price. iPhone XR 64GB is currently down to Rs. 39,999 (MRP Rs. 52,500) on Flipkart. An exchange offer can fetch you another instant discount worth up to Rs. 14,360. Paying with an Axis Bank card will sweeten the deal further by 10 percent.Buy now for: Rs. 39,999 (MRP Rs. 52,500)iPhone SE (Rs. 32,999)If you missed the last Flipkart sale, Apple’s iPhone SE 64GB is again down to Rs. 32,999 (MRP Rs. 42,500). This is one of the lowest prices we’ve seen on the iPhone SE 2020 since it launched in India. Axis Bank credit card customers can avail a further discount worth up to Rs. 3,000 on this purchase (includes extra Rs. 1,500 discount on transactions above Rs. 30,000). It seems like a great deal if you were on the fence all this while.- Advertisement – Flipkart Big Diwali 2020 sale is ending at midnight tonight. The Walmart-owned company’s Diwali special sale kicked off last week with hundreds of deals and bundled offers on popular smartphones, laptops, headphones, and other electronics. In case you missed it, you still have a little less than 12 hours to do all your last-minute Diwali 2020 shopping for electronics. We’ve handpicked the best deals and offers available on the last day of Flipkart’s Big Diwali 2020 sale.Flipkart Big Diwali sale 2020 – Best deals on smartphones today- Advertisement – Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (Rs. 59,999) Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is still selling at its Big Billion Days sale prices. You can grab one for as low as Rs. 59,999 during the Big Diwali sale 2020 on Flipkart this week. You can also avail a no-cost EMI option, and the bundled exchange offer to further lower the effective price. Galaxy Note 10+ comes with a massive 6.8-inch Super AMOLED display, and a quad rear camera setup.Buy now for Rs. 59,999 (MRP Rs. 85,000)iPhone 11 Pro (Rs. 79,999)iPhone 11 Pro is currently selling at Rs. 79,999 (MRP Rs. 1,06,600) during Flipkart’s Big Diwali 2020 sale. You can also avail another instant discount worth up to Rs. 3,000 when you pay using an Axis Bank credit card. This is one of the lowest prices we’ve seen on the iPhone 11 Pro during the festive sale season this year.Buy now for: Rs. 79,999 (MRP Rs. 1,06,600))Poco M2 Pro (Rs. 12,999)Poco M2 Pro is available at Rs. 12,999 (MRP Rs. 16,999) during the Big Diwali sale on Flipkart right now. That’s around Rs. 2,000 lower than its usual selling price online. With the bundled exchange offer, you can knock off another Rs. 12,450 (maximum) from the discounted price. Poco M2 Pro comes with a 6.67-inch full-HD+ display and a 48-megapixel quad rear camera setup. The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G chipset, supported by 6GB of RAM.Buy now for: Rs. 12,999 (MRP Rs. 16,999)Moto G9 (Rs. 9,999)Moto G9 is still down to Rs. 9,999 (MRP Rs. 14,999) during the Big Diwali sale on Flipkart. The phone comes with a large 5,000mAh battery and a 48-megapixel triple rear camera setup. Moto G9 is powered by Snapdragon 662, supported by 4GB of RAM. If you’re eyeing a new budget phone with stock Android, the Moto G9 seems like a pretty decent choice at this price.Buy now for: Rs. 9,999 (MRP Rs. 14,999)Flipkart Big Diwali sale – Best offers on electronics on last dayApple AirPods Pro (Rs. 17,999)Apple’s premium AirPods Pro TWS earphones with active noise cancellation are down to Rs. 17,999 (MRP Rs. 24,900). This is one of the lowest prices we’ve seen on the AirPods Pro this year. Combine it with the Axis Bank cards payment offer, and you’ll end up with a great overall deal.Buy now for: Rs. 17,999 (MRP Rs. 24,900)JBL Moviebar 80 soundbar (Rs. 6,999)If you got yourself a big-screen TV this festive season, and are worried about the awful sound experience, get the JBL Moviebar 80 soundbar as an affordable add-on to your setup. The soundbar is currently down to Rs. 6,999 (MRP Rs. 13,999) on Flipkart’s Big Diwali sale 2020.Buy now for: Rs. 6,999 (MRP Rs. 13,999)Avita Liber 14-inch laptop (Rs. 62,990)If you’re eyeing a powerful yet inexpensive laptop with no preference for a particular brand, the Avita Liber 14-inch laptop could the one for you. The laptop is currently selling at a discounted price of Rs. 62,990 (MRP Rs. 83,390) during Flipkart’s Big Diwali sale 2020. It is powered by the 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor, supported by 16GB of RAM. It comes with a 1TB SSD, and runs Windows 10 Home out-of-the-box. You can swap your old laptop and get up to RS. 15,650 as an additional instant discount.Buy now for: Rs. 62,990 (MRP Rs. 83,390)Philips 70-inch 4K smart LED TV (Rs. 69,999)Flipkart Big Diwali sale 2020 is offering the Philips 70-inch 4K smart LED TV at a discounted price of Rs. 69,999 (MRP Rs. 1,99,990) for a limited period. You can swap your old TV, and get up to Rs. 11,000 off as an additional instant discount. The TV comes with three HDMI ports, two USB ports, and is a 2019 model.Buy now for: Rs. 69,999 (MRP Rs. 1,99,990)HP Pavilion x360 14-inch laptop (Rs. 52,490)If a 2-in-1 can make working and learning from home better for you, the HP Pavilion x360 14-inch laptop is going at Rs. 52,490 (MRP Rs. 63,179) during Flipkart’s Big Diwali sale this week. The laptop is powered by Intel’s 10th generation Core i3 CPU, supported by 8GB of RAM. It comes with a 512GB SSD, and runs Windows 10 Home out-of-the-box. HP is also bundling MS Office with the laptop.Buy now for: Rs. 52,490 (MRP Rs. 63,179)MSI GF63 15.6-inch gaming laptop (Rs.66,990)For those eyeing a gaming laptop, the MSI GF63 is down to Rs. 66,990 (MRP Rs. 1,04,990) on Flipkart during the Big Diwali sale this week. The laptop comes with a big 15.6-inch display and is powered by the 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor, supported by 8GB of RAM. It comes with a 512GB SSD, and runs Windows 10 Home. For graphics, there’s Nvidia’s GeForce GTZ 1650 Max-Q graphics card, supported by 4GB of video RAM.Buy now for: Rs. 66,990 (MRP Rs. 1,04,990)Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details. Buy now for: Rs. 32,999 (MRP Rs. 42,500)Samsung Galaxy S20+ (Rs. 49,999) Another great deal that’s still available during the Flipkart Big Diwali sale 2020 today is the discount on Samsung’s Galaxy S20+. The phone is again selling at Rs. 49,999 (MRP Rs. 83,000) during Flipkart’s third round of festive season sales. The Walmart-owned company is also running a bundled exchange offer with up to Rs. 14,850 as an additional discount.Buy now for: Rs. 49,999 (MRP Rs. 83,000)- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Twitter, Facebook and YouTube Survived Election Day. More Tests Loom.

first_imgOAKLAND, Calif. — For months, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube prepared to clamp down on misinformation on Election Day.On Tuesday, most of their plans went off without a hitch. The social platforms added labels to misleading posts by President Trump and notified their users that there was no immediate outcome to the presidential race. On television, news anchors even cited fact-checks similar to those made by Twitter and Facebook.- Advertisement – Then came Wednesday. With ballots still being counted and the absence of a clear result, the flow of misinformation shifted away from seeding doubts about the vote to false claims of victory. Twitter rapidly labeled several tweets by Mr. Trump over the course of the day as being misleading about the result of his race, and also did the same to tweets from others in his circle, such as Eric Trump and the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany. And Facebook and YouTube used their home pages to show people accurate information about the election.The actions reinforced how even a smooth performance on Election Day did not mean that the social media companies could relax, fighting a relentless flow of toxic content. In fact, the biggest tests for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are still looming, misinformation researchers said, as false narratives may surge until a final result in the presidential race is certified. “What we actually saw on Election Day from the companies is that they were extremely responsive and faster than they’ve ever been,” said Graham Brookie, the director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. But now, he said, misinformation was solely focused on the results and undermining them.- Advertisement – “Platforms need to quickly expand their efforts before the country is plunged into further chaos and confusion,” he said. “It is a democratic emergency.” On Tuesday night, Facebook had to do just that. Shortly after Mr. Trump posted about the election’s being stolen from him, Facebook officials added labels to his posts. The labels noted that “no winner of the presidential election had been projected.”After the polls closed, Facebook also sent users a notification that if they were waiting to vote at a polling place, they could still vote if they were already standing in line.On Wednesday, Facebook added more labels to new posts from Mr. Trump, checking his claims by noting that “as expected, election results will take longer this year.” On Tuesday, as Americans voted across the country, falsehoods about broken voting machines and biased poll workers popped up repeatedly. But the companies weren’t tested until Mr. Trump — with early results showing how tight the race was — posted on Twitter and Facebook just before 1 a.m. Eastern time to baselessly lash out at the electoral process. “They are trying to STEAL the Election,” Mr. Trump posted on the sites, without being specific about who he meant.Twitter moved quickly, hiding Mr. Trump’s inaccurate tweet behind a label that cautioned people that the claim was “disputed” and “might be misleading about an election or other civic process.” Twitter, which had started labeling Mr. Trump’s tweets for the first time in May, also restricted users’ ability to like and share the post.On Wednesday morning, Twitter added more labels to posts from Mr. Trump. In one, he tweeted that his early leads in Democratic states “started to magically disappear.” In another message, Mr. Trump said unnamed people were working to make his lead in the battleground state of Pennsylvania “disappear.”Twitter also applied other labels to posts that falsely asserted victory. One was added to a post by Ben Wikler, head of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, in which he asserted prematurely that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had won the state. The Associated Press and other news outlets later called Wisconsin for Mr. Biden, though Mr. Trump called for a recount.On Wednesday afternoon, Twitter also affixed context to tweets from Eric Trump, one of Mr. Trump’s sons, and Ms. McEnany when they preemptively claimed that Mr. Trump had won in Pennsylvania, even though the race there had not been called. The company also fact-checked other assertions from Mr. Trump claiming victory in several battleground states such as North Carolina and Georgia, where the race has not been called, and restricted his false statements about voter fraud from being shared.“As votes are still being counted across the country, our teams continue to take enforcement action on tweets that prematurely declare victory or contain misleading information about the election broadly,” Twitter said. But the site did encounter a problem early on Tuesday night when several YouTube channels, one with more than a million subscribers, said they were livestreaming election results. What the live streams actually showed was a graphic of a projection of an election outcome with Mr. Biden leading. They were also among the first results that appeared when users searched for election results.After media reports pointed out the issue, YouTube removed the video streams, citing its policy prohibiting spam, deceptive practices and scams.On Wednesday, One America News Network, a conservative cable news network with nearly a million subscribers on YouTube, also posted a video commentary to the site claiming that Mr. Trump had already won the election and that Democrats were “tossing Republican ballots, harvesting fake ballots and delaying results” to cause confusion. The video has been viewed more than 280,000 times.Farshad Shadloo, a YouTube spokesman, said the video did not violate the company’s policy regarding misleading claims about voting. He said the video carried a label that the election results were not final. YouTube added that it had removed ads from the video because it did not allow creators to make money off content that undermined “confidence in elections with demonstrably false information.”Alex Stamos, director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, said the tech companies still had a fight ahead against election misinformation, but were prepared for it.“There will always be a long tail of disinformation, but it will become less impactful,” he said. “They are still working, for sure, and will try to maintain this staffing level and focus until the outcome is generally accepted.”But Fadi Quran, campaign director at Avaaz, a progressive nonprofit that tracks misinformation, said Facebook, Twitter and YouTube needed to do more.center_img “You have a hyperfocused audience and a moment in time where there is a huge amount of uncertainty, and bad actors can use that opportunistically,” he said.Twitter said it was continuing to monitor for misinformation. Facebook said, “Our work isn’t done — we’ll stay vigilant and promote reliable information on Facebook as votes continue to be counted.” YouTube said it also was on alert for “election-related content” in the coming days.The companies had all braced for a chaotic Election Day, working to avoid a repeat of 2016, when their platforms were misused by Russians to spread divisive disinformation. In recent months, the companies had rolled out numerous anti-misinformation measures, including suspending or banning political ads, slowing down the flow of information and highlighting accurate information and context. – Advertisement – Updated Nov. 4, 2020, 5:23 p.m. ET Unlike Twitter, Facebook did not restrict users from sharing or commenting on Mr. Trump’s posts. But it was the first time Facebook had used such labels, part of the company’s plan to add context to posts about the election. A spokesman said the company “planned and prepared for these scenarios and built the essential systems and tools.”YouTube, which is not used regularly by Mr. Trump, faced fewer high-profile problems than Twitter and Facebook. All YouTube videos about election results included a label that said the election might not be over and linked to a Google page with results from The Associated Press. Facebook took a more cautious approach. Mark Zuckerberg, its chief executive, has said he has no desire to fact-check the president or other political figures because he believes in free speech. Yet to prevent itself from being misused in the election, Facebook said it would couch premature claims of victory with a notification that the election had yet to be called for a candidate, if necessary. – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Aidusgun intuitive VR game controller easily attaches to an air gun » Gadget Flow

first_img– Advertisement – The Aidusgun intuitive VR game controller is so easy to use: all you have to do is attach it to an air gun. Comfortable to play with, this gadget just connects to the rails. You don’t have to modify your air gun at all. Thanks to this design, it works great for first-person-shooter games. And it’s so much better than using your mouse. Though this gadget can connect to your PC, smartphone, tablet, or VR game, it doesn’t require Wi-Fi connectivity. That means you can enjoy your games wherever you want. Make natural movements by turning quickly left and right thanks to its 180º to 360º range of movement. It’ll feel so intuitive to use the Aidusgun. In fact, this intuitive VR game controller actually transmits your motions wirelessly in real time—all without the internet. Use this virtual reality game controller to navigate through VR worlds like never before.last_img read more

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The Key States Biden Won en Route to the White House

first_imgUpdated Nov. 7, 2020, 7:37 p.m. ET And although it took days to learn who had won and the race was quite close, Pennsylvania indeed proved critical to the outcome. As expected, Mr. Trump jumped out to an early lead, thanks to ballots cast on Election Day, but Mr. Biden clawed back slowly and eventually overtook Mr. Trump as more and more absentee ballots were counted.- Advertisement – Florida (29 Electoral College votes)Perhaps no state was more closely watched this cycle than Florida, and the results there almost immediately dashed Democrats’ hopes of a blue landslide. Mr. Trump won the state by a significantly wider margin than he did in 2016, despite polling averages that showed him trailing before Election Day.More than half of the counties in Florida swung further right than they did four years ago. And although Mr. Biden did make gains in some areas of the state, he vastly underperformed in Florida’s most populous county, Miami-Dade, especially in precincts with a majority Hispanic population.Iowa (six votes), Ohio (18 votes) and Texas (38 votes)Optimistic Democrats hopeful for a blue wave saw Iowa, Ohio and Texas as potentially in play this cycle, but that proved to be wishful thinking. Mr. Trump thumped Mr. Biden by significant margins in all three conservative-leaning states, winning them for a second time.Of the three, Texas, where the president won by roughly six percentage points, ended up being the closest. Even as some white voters in urban and suburban areas moved in large numbers toward Democrats, many Hispanic voters in the Rio Grande Valley shifted decisively toward Mr. Trump.Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein contributed reporting. An initial look at county-level data suggests that Mr. Biden ran ahead of Mrs. Clinton’s performance in 2016 in most parts of the state. He showed particular strength in the suburbs around Philadelphia, an area that had been trending blue in 2016 and has only grown bluer since. He flipped the state back into the Democratic column with 37,000 more votes than Mr. Trump.Michigan (16 votes) and Wisconsin (10 votes)Four years ago, Mr. Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to win either Michigan or Wisconsin in decades when he defeated Mrs. Clinton by roughly 33,000 votes in both states combined.From the start of Mr. Biden’s presidential campaign all the way to Election Day, he and his team believed that rebuilding the Democratic “blue wall” in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would perhaps be the clearest and cleanest path to winning the White House. Mr. Biden also believed that the Democratic Party had to garner support from working-class and middle-class voters in Northern industrial states — those from families like the one he grew up in.- Advertisement – After days of vote counting, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has amassed the 270 Electoral College votes he needed to secure the presidency.All along, it was clear that Mr. Biden’s path to victory involved flipping a handful of states that then-candidate Donald J. Trump won in 2016 while also retaining the states that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee in 2016, won in that cycle.- Advertisement – In Michigan, a spike in turnout in Detroit and its wealthy suburbs, along with shrinking support for Mr. Trump among middle-class voters, helped secure the state for Mr. Biden. About two-thirds of the predominately white counties that backed Mr. Trump in 2016 moved somewhat left four years later, and a greater share of voters in those counties backed Mr. Biden than they supported Mrs. Clinton in 2016.Battleground States Biden Kept That strategy paid off, as Mr. Biden rode the support in Wisconsin’s cities and suburbs to victory. He was aided particularly by massive turnout in Dane County (home to Madison) and he ate into Mr. Trump’s margins in the Milwaukee suburbs.center_img New Hampshire (14 votes)The Cook Political Report considered New Hampshire competitive with a Democratic lean, and it was tightly contested in 2016. But Mr. Biden won handily, by seven percentage points, and the race was called relatively quickly. Though there were many twists and turns, Mr. Biden appears to have done exactly that. Here is a quick look at the key states he won, and what we know about why he won them.States Biden FlippedPennsylvania (20 Electoral College votes)Pennsylvania has been in the spotlight for months, and it was long considered a potential “tipping-point state” — the state where victory could determine the outcome of the entire presidential contest. Elections officials had signaled all along that it would take time to count the votes there, and that a final tally would not be available on election night. Mr. Trump won the state by less than one percentage point in 2016, but polls had Mr. Biden ahead in the run-up to Election Day. Noteworthy States Biden Lost Minnesota (10 Electoral College votes)Mr. Trump came surprisingly close to a victory in Minnesota four years ago, and his campaign poured significant resources into the state this cycle in hopes of flipping it. Nonetheless, Mr. Biden maintained a comfortable if not insurmountable lead in Minnesota throughout much of the race, and polling there ended up being pretty spot on.Mr. Biden won comfortably, by about seven percentage points. He ran up the margins in densely populated urban counties and made significant inroads in the suburban counties that Mr. Trump won in 2016.Nevada (Six votes)Mr. Biden managed to hang onto Nevada, a state Mrs. Clinton won in 2016, but it was a nail-biter that took days to decide. Like Mrs. Clinton, he did it by winning Clark and Washoe Counties, home to Las Vegas and Reno, which account for over 85 percent of the state’s total votes. His margin of victory in Clark County was down slightly from the margin in 2016, but it was up in Washoe. – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Boeing reports more 737 Max cancelations as FAA review nears end

first_imgThe Federal Aviation Administration is wrapping up its evaluation of changes Boeing made to the planes after two 737 Max crashes killed 346 people and prompted a worldwide grounding of the jetliners in March 2019.That review will wrap up in the “coming days,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement late Monday. The process has been expected to finish in mid-November and an order to end the grounding would be followed by pilot training, which is expected to take weeks.“Even though we are near the finish line, I will lift the grounding order only after our safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards,” Dickson said.- Advertisement – An employee walks past a Boeing 737 Max aircraft seen parked at the Renton Municipal Airport in Renton, Washington, January 10, 2020.Lindsey Wasson | Reuters – Advertisement – Boeing on Tuesday reported more cancellations of its beleaguered 737 Max jets, just as regulators wrap up their review of the planes following two fatal crashes.The aircraft manufacturer is facing dual crises of the 737 Max grounding, now in its 20th month, and the coronavirus pandemic, which as devastated air travel and the market for new aircraft.Boeing customers canceled 12 orders for the 737 Max in October and the company posted no new ones. Including aircraft Boeing removed from its official backlog, its outstanding orders shrunk to 4,275 from 4,325 last month.- Advertisement –center_img American Airlines has scheduled the planes to fly commercially at the end of December, the earliest of the U.S. carriers that have purchased them. The airline is also planning to allow customers to tour the planes and have its pilots and mechanics answer their questions in an effort to boost confidence in the jets, CNBC reported last month.Boeing said it delivered 13 aircraft to customers in October. – Advertisement –last_img read more

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WHO lowers reported Marburg toll in Angola

first_img Also yesterday, Latina Prensa (Latin American News Agency) quoted an Angolan official as saying the disease has killed more than 400 people. The story said Health Minister Sebastiao Veloso told reporters “that the infection still inflicts fatalities every five or six days, and that the death toll already exceeds 400 in four months, affecting seven provinces.” See also: MSF said the epidemic “seems to be grinding to a halt,” with only a few new cases confirmed in the past few weeks. “MSF has ended its emergency intervention and handed over its activities,” the article said. After a review of data on the epidemic, the Angolan Ministry of Health reported a total of 351 cases, 312 of them fatal, the WHO said today. In a Jun 17 update, the WHO had listed the Ministry of Health’s tally as 422 cases with 356 deaths. The WHO offered no explanation for the change in the numbers. However, the WHO statement said the outbreak response team in Angola “is currently following up 64 contacts in Uige Province,” where the vast majority of cases have occurred. “The team continues to receive and investigate alerts to potential cases,” the WHO said. “Clinical specimens from alerts are being transported to the Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory.” Jun 17 WHO report on Marburg epidemichttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2005_06_17/en/index.html The story says that 16 staff members in Uige’s main hospital died of Marburg as a result of inadequate infection control measures. The MSF article describes the difficulties that medical workers faced as they worked to control the epidemic by quickly burying bodies and isolating patients while trying not to alienate the population. People suspected of being infected were often reluctant to go to health facilities for diagnosis and possible isolation, mainly because there is no cure for the disease. The medical aid group Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF), or Doctors without Borders, in an article published online yesterday, put the size of the outbreak at 391 cases with 350 deaths. Dr. Armand Sprecher, a public health specialist who has dealt with both Ebola fever and Marburg, called Marburg “even scarier” than Ebola. “A person can feel a bit weak and look slightly ill but drop dead the next day,” he was quoted as saying. Jul 13 WHO statement on Marburg epidemichttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2005_07_13/en/index.html Jul 13, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The latest report from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the Marburg hemorrhagic fever epidemic in Angola gives significantly lower numbers of cases and deaths than previous reports. Meanwhile, still other numbers have been reported by other sources this week. The report says Marburg is hard to detect, with symptoms—high fever, diarrhea, and vomiting—that resemble those of other common tropical diseases such as malaria. “The disease is not as dramatic and ‘gory’ as media reports portray it to be,” the story says.last_img read more

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CDC releases viruses for novel H1N1 vaccine development

first_imgMay 27, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Sanofi Pasteur announced today that it has received a novel H1N1 influenza vaccine virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moving the company a step closer to starting production of a vaccine.CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said this afternoon that the agency is also sending the vaccine virus to other manufacturers, located overseas, who should receive the samples within a few days.Jeff McLaughlin, a spokesman for vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), said today he couldn’t confirm GSK’s receipt of the vaccine strain, but added, “We understand that the CDC is in the process of shipping the strain to all the relevant manufacturers.”CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) officials had predicted that the CDC would release H1N1 vaccine viruses to manufacturers by the end of May. WHO officials have said that production of H1N1 vaccines is most likely to begin in July.The preparation of a vaccine strain involves combining a clinical sample of the target virus with another influenza virus that grows in eggs. This process creates a new virus that has some of the properties of the target virus and the ability to grow in eggs, the US Department of Health and Human Services noted today in a fact sheet on vaccine development activities. Most flu vaccines are still produced by growing them in eggs.Wayne Pisano, president of Sanofi Pasteur, said in a news release, “As a company committed to protecting human health, Sanofi Pasteur looks forward to quickly understanding how this virus performs in a vaccine manufacturing environment and developing a working seed that will enable large-scale production.”Sanofi will now begin “passaging” the virus, referring to “the process for acclimating virus to grow in a production environment at optimum yield,” the company said. The process will take about 2 weeks.”Following quality controls, Sanofi Pasteur will be prepared to begin industrial production as soon as directed by public health agencies,” the statement added.Health officials have estimated it would take manufacturers 4 to 6 months from when they receive the vaccine strain to start producing a vaccine in quantity. But a Sanofi spokeswoman said last week that the company may be able to start producing its first doses in 3 to 4 months.Sanofi and GSK both announced within the past few days that they had received US government orders for novel H1N1 vaccines.In related news, the WHO has recommended that vaccines for the novel H1N1 influenza virus be based on an isolate from California, saying most H1N1 viruses isolated so far are very similar to it.A majority of the novel H1N1 viruses isolated so far are antigenically and genetically related to the isolate known as A/California/7/2009 (H1N1), the WHO said in a statement posted online yesterday.The WHO said that its collaborating laboratories, certain regulatory agency laboratories, and other partners are developing reassortant viruses antigenically similar to the California strain for use in vaccines.Skinner, of the CDC, said the agency used the California strain in making the vaccine virus now being released to manufacturers.WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said several other WHO collaborating centers and regulatory laboratories are developing novel H1N1 vaccine viruses. He said they include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, a US Food and Drug Administration lab, and facilities in Japan, the United Kingdom, and Australia.See also: May 27 Sanofi press releaseMay 26 CIDRAP News story “Companies receive HHS orders for novel flu vaccine”WHO recommendation on strain for vaccine developmentlast_img read more

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CDC says H1N1 vaccine supply is improving

first_imgOct 27, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The pandemic H1N1 vaccine supply is increasing significantly, and over the next 2 weeks Americans will have an easier time finding and receiving the doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.At a media briefing today, CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, said 22.4 million doses are available to ship to states now, which is 8 million doses more than the 14 million available a week ago. “We wish we had more vaccine now, but we’re beginning to get a significant increase in availability,” he said.Though polling shows many Americans are ambivalent about getting the vaccine, people have faced long lines to receive doses for themselves or their children, and some providers have had to turn people away. For example, yesterday officials in Jackson Township, N.J., turned away 1,000 people from a vaccine clinic after the facility exhausted its 1,500 doses, according to a report from the Associated Press.As states wait for more doses, flu activity is still widespread throughout the United States, Frieden said.  Flu cases have decreased in some areas, such as Georgia, but are increasing in a patchwork pattern of focal points—typical for influenza—throughout the country, he reported.Though Frieden said federal health officials are frustrated by the slow trickle of vaccine coming out, they are pleased by other aspects of the vaccine. The vaccine closely matches the circulating H1N1 virus and is likely to be very effective, he said. He added that federal officials have high levels of confidence in the vaccine’s safety because it is produced by the same manufacturers using the same methods as the seasonal flu vaccine, which has an excellent safety record.The CDC is observing the different ways states are distributing their vaccine doses and is working to identify best practices to ensure that available vaccine is given to priority groups as soon as possible, Frieden said.He added that school-based immunization clinics are likely to be one of the most efficient distribution methods, and he lauded districts that are distributing vaccination consent forms ahead of time. He urged state and local officials to make it as easy as possible for people to receive the vaccine.last_img read more

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In the first three months, there was an increase in traffic and an increase in revenue on motorways

first_imgIn the first quarter of this year, traffic on 10.014.976 vehicles was recorded on all HAC and ARZ motorways, and tolls were collected in the amount of HRK 455.636.108,00 without VAT, reports Croatian Motorways (HAC).Compared to last year, the number of vehicles increased by 3,56%, and the amount of tolls collected was higher by 9,62%. “The trend of increasing traffic and inflows from tolls in the first quarter is visible on all highways and, what is significant, in all categories of vehicles, despite the very unfavorable weather conditions that prevailed in February.“They point out from Hrvatske autoceste.The highest traffic of 3.631.886 vehicles was recorded on the A3 Bregana-Zagreb-Lipovac motorway, compared to the same period last year, an increase of 5,5%, as well as the largest inflow of tolls collected in the first quarter in the amount of 190.769.521,60. HRK 13,58 without VAT, which is XNUMX% more than last year.Considering the upcoming tourist season as well as the announcements about the daily growth of tourist arrivals, further growth of both revenue and traffic can be expected.</p>
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How the Istra Inspirit story “Casanova Tour” exceeded all my expectations

first_imgHow to start the story of Istra Inspirit, one of the world’s best tourist stories, confirmed and U, than with one story.A book is a book, a brochure is a brochure, an information board is a board, and no matter how many written words describe an event, it can become a real and striking experience only if we experience it live. On the other hand, we all know the power of stories, which accompany us from a young age to youth, work, and eventually we ourselves become storytellers when we become parents and tell the same stories to our children. The power of the story has always followed and will always follow the human race. Why? Because stories evoke strong emotions and experiences in us, and thus are strongly positioned. Pure biology.That is why the world of marketing has long accepted the storytelling concept in promotion, and for a long time big brands do not sell products but emotions, experiences and products are identified with human characteristics. So Nike doesn’t sell sneakers, Harley Davidson doesn’t sell motorcycles, while Coca-Cola doesn’t sell drinks.And tourism is the best of all – stories, emotions and experiences. Here’s a “trick” question: What do you remember from your last vacation? Accommodation or some special moments with the family? The answer is surely some experience, moment, emotion, not a hotel or accommodation. It was the power of the story that took me to Vrsar, the love destination of Giacomo Casanova, an adventurer and the world’s most famous seducer, who in 1743 stayed in Vrsar for a year. But this information, no matter how interesting, would not have any value without interpretation and would certainly not be remembered for long.And this is where storytelling and Istra Inspirit come into play, a multi-award winning experience tourism project that enriches the cultural and tourist offer of the peninsula by reviving historical events in authentic locations, through staged Istrian legends and myths.Thus, Istra Inspirit actors introduced tourists to ancient times or time travel, through the authentic streets and locations of Vrsar when Casanova walked and stayed in Vrsar, all through a storytelling concept or an interactive costumed walk. ‘In addition to numerous cultural and entertainment events that are traditionally organized during the summer months, Vrsar will try to provide its guests with a unique experience of traveling into history this summer. In addition to the Old Samnja, which revives Vrsar in the time of the Vrsar County and which will have two editions this year, we also started the Casanova Tour. Like the previous Casanovafest, this new interactive tour has the character of Giacomo Casanova and the description of his stay in Vrsar from the famous Memoirs.”Said Natalija Vugrinec, director of the Tourist Board of Vrsar and added that this event is a continuation of the story at Casanovafest, which was organized over the past nine years, and which through lectures, plays, film screenings, exhibitions and concerts presented the theme of love and eroticism in various forms. art.In cooperation with Istra Inspirit, a new concept has been designed for this tourist season – a guided interactive tour in six terms, in order to enable as many guests as possible to get acquainted with the interesting rich history of our place. “For the next season, Casanova Tour is planned to be supplemented with a gastronomic experience, in accordance with the EU project “I enjoy tradition” in which TZO Vrsar is one of the partners, and whose theme is the preservation and tourist valorization of indigenous foods and dishes. We are sure that such an event will be extremely attractive to guests in our destination, but also that it will have a significant promotional effect.. ‘ Vugrinec emphasized.Casanova Tour is a great example of the promotion of a destination through cultural and historical heritage and its interpretation in the manner of storytelling through theatrical expression in performance. A performance that is at least more than impressive, in the manner of legendary and striking Hollywood actors, without any exaggeration. You know the feeling when a movie scene becomes legendary, that’s exactly what the performance was like. By the way, over 200 different artists, performers and actors are participating in the Istra Inspirit project under the artistic direction of director Petra B. Blašković.Thus, the professional actors of Istra Inspirit, as part of the ‘Casanova Tour’, took all visitors on an unforgettable journey to the time of the Vrsar County when the seducer and adventurer, Giacomo Casanova, stayed in Vrsar twice. The first time, as he states in his ‘Memoirs’, which served as a source for the script of this innovative tour, he visited Vrsar for three days in August 1743, still as a poor and infamous priest, while the second time he came to Vrsar as a soldier during a voyage from the Venetian island of Malamocco, when his ship anchored at night in the port of Vrsar. Giacomo Casanova, accompanied by the voice of the greatest lover in history, was returning to Vrsar, allegedly because of the beautiful women from Vrsar. Through entertaining and educational content, visitors were able to discover the more intimate side of Casanovina Vrsar, and all the interesting events that characterized his stay in Vrsar, and among other things, visited the lookout under the palm tree near the church of St. Anton, the lookout of Casanova, the main city gate, and Casanova’s refuge within the city walls, ie we met Vrsar in a different way and I am sure an unforgettable way. The cast that participates in the Casanova tour consists of Frano Novljan, Šandor Slacki, Luka Barešić, Sedina Cerovac and Ivona Bulešić, who with their striking and above all impressive interpretation met, laughed and intrigued everyone present, and through interaction drew the audience into the story. and the tourists themselves became part of the story.As I was familiar with the Istra inspirit story, I had high expectations and a clear idea of ​​what awaited me, but to be honest, my expectations were not only met, but were completely exceeded. I was delighted with the level of acting and how the actors immersed themselves in the roles. With the old town backdrop of Vrsar, the costumed actors and the striking interpretation of the story was more than credible, and I can say for sure that the visitors of the Casanova Tour felt as if they were really in that time and space. At times, we were brought back to reality by random passers-by who visually “interrupted” the sense of history and time travel.Surely he would never have known Vrsar so well, nor would he have remained in such a strong memory that I walked the streets of the city alone. That is why the storytelling concept is so important in tourism, because it is precisely about strong emotions and experience.But, as I mentioned at the beginning of this story, the word is the word, and no matter how powerful the words may be and trigger an avalanche of reactions, you can only understand the true experience and value of this story if you experience it. That is why Istra Inspirit interpretations should be one of the compulsory subjects for all tourism students.In any case, if you want to find out what a storytelling concept is, I definitely recommend that you experience one of the 13 Istra Inspirit stories, whether you are from the world of tourism or marketing. Ultimately, as is usually the case in Lijepa naša, everything that is ours is wrong, or if you think I have gone too far with the use of superlatives in the description, I challenge you to see for yourself.last_img read more

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CBS: Tourist activity of the population of the Republic of Croatia in 2017

first_imgIn 2017, 43% of the Croatian population went on private tripsThus, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), in 2017, 1,6 million people or 43,1% of the Croatian population aged 15 and over were on at least one private multi-day trip.A total of 4,1 million private trips were made, of which 2,6 million (62,9%) were in Croatia and 1,5 million (37,1%) abroad. Most people traveled abroad to Bosnia and Herzegovina (20,8%), Italy (11,6%), Germany (10,9%), Austria (9,6%) and Slovenia (9,5%). The most common motives for going on a private multi-day trip are a vacation at sea (1,3 million trips or 32,1%) and a visit to relatives and friends (1,1 million trips or 28,3%).Most nights spent in non-commercial accommodation The population of Croatia made a total of 26,6 million overnight stays on private multi-day trips, of which 17,4 million overnight stays (65,2%) were realized in Croatia and 9,3 million (34,8%) on trips abroad. An average of 6,6 overnight stays were made per trip. On average, 6,8 nights were spent on trips in Croatia and 6,2 nights on trips abroad.According to the type of accommodation, most overnight stays were realized in non-commercial accommodation facilities (18,2 million overnight stays or 68,3%), of which 9,5 million overnight stays were with relatives and friends, and 8,3 million with own houses and holiday flats million overnight stays.Source: CBSThe average cost per trip was 1 kuna Total expenditures on private multi-day trips amounted to HRK 8,0 billion, of which HRK 3,5 billion (43,7%) in Croatia and HRK 4,5 billion (56,3%) abroad. The average cost per trip was 1 kuna.In 2017, 57% of the Croatian population did not travel, mostly for financial reasons In 2017, 2,1 million or 56,9% of the Croatian population aged 15 and over did not travel on private multi-day trips. The most common reasons for not going on private multi-day trips (possibility of multiple answers) were: lack of financial resources (55,2%), health reasons (25,6%) and lack of free time due to family obligations (19,9%).In 2017, 8% of the Croatian population went on business trips In 2017, 301 thousand people or 8,3% of the population of Croatia aged 15 and over were on at least one business multi-day trip. A total of 842 thousand business trips were made, of which 424 thousand trips (50,4%) were in Croatia and 418 thousand (49,6%) abroad.Source: CBS4,3 million day trips made In 2017, the population of Croatia aged 15 and over made 4,3 million one-day trips, of which 3,8 million (88,8%) were private and 485 thousand (11,2%) business.last_img read more

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The number of holders of the quality label “Holiday houses with a story” climbed to 46 houses with a total of 223 beds

first_imgRELATED NEWS: In addition to guaranteeing quality for guests, “Holiday Homes with a Story” has also shown resilience to the crisis situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and thus its sustainability. After a field visit and the implementation of the evaluation procedure according to several criteria, the existing holders of standards, as part of the 3rd certification round, were joined by 12 new holiday homes. Thus, the number of holders of the quality label “Holiday houses with a story” rose to 46 with a total of 223 beds. Top Hill Nest After launching the official website called MyVarazdinHoliday which in one place represents all holders of standards, cataloging and promotional campaigns, primarily on the German market, “Holiday homes with a story” have already become a recognizable brand and synonym for the quality of private accommodation in Varaždin County, point out the Tourist Board of Varaždin County. Thus, by the end of August, 34 facilities with the standard “Holiday houses with a story” realized more than 90% of last year’s overnight stays observed in the same period, and more than 70% of overnight stays were realized by foreign guests.center_img In order to offer the demanding market a better and different experience, the Tourist Board of Varaždin County is developing the project “Holiday houses with a story” whose main goal is to develop quality accommodation in the rural area of ​​Varaždin. / / / HOLIDAY HOMES WITH A STORY – EXCELLENT RURAL ACCOMMODATION BRANDING PROJECT IN VARAŽDIN COUNTY Holiday house Pavličević LUXURY HOLIDAY HOMES ARE NOT JUST A CURRENT TREND, BUT THEY WILL BECOME THE FIRST CHOICE. MARRIOTT CONFIRMS THIS AS WELLlast_img read more

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From February to September, 47% less traffic was recorded

first_imgtax administration However, a certain recovery was achieved in September, so the decline is much smaller. Comparing the second week of September 2020 (07.09.-13.09.2020), with the third week of September 2020 (14.09.-20.09.2020), the data show that for all activities it is visible 2% account reduction, while the invoice amount is lower by 3%. In activity I – providing accommodation and food preparation and serving is visible reduction of the number of accounts by 4%, and reduction of the amount of invoices by 8%. For all activities in the period from 24.02. to 20.09.2020. in relation to the period from 23.02.- 20.09.2019. it’s visible 26% reduction in the number of accounts, i 18% invoice reduction, say data from the Tax Administration. But the data also reveals a big drop in the tourism sector. Namely, in activity I – providing accommodation and food preparation and serving is visible 40% reduction in the number of invoices and 47% in the amount of the invoice. Turned into numbers, it is about ten billion kuna less turnover.center_img For all activities in the period from 14.09. to 20.09.2020. year compared to the same period in 2019 is visible 19% reduction in the number of accounts, i 18% invoice amount reduction.  In activity I – providing accommodation and food preparation and serving is visible 27% account reduction, and invoice amount of 48%. Also, comparing the period of 14.09. to 20.09.2020. in relation to the same period in 2019, the following is visible:last_img read more

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Letters to the Editor for Monday, Feb. 11

first_imgI’m referring to attitude of guardians, the lifestyle kids see and hear, day in and day out. Kids having no discipline or encouragement at home. It’s like Groundhog Day: same thing over, and over, same report, year in, and year out. Tell kids the truth. Everyone is not made for college. With all the trades begging for good people, that’s where their future lies. It takes hard work, no drugs, dressing right, talking right, you get it. Until the real truth is told, nothing will change but the deceivers. Al Marvell Scotia Warren perfect for Dems’ mentalityDemocrats, you can stop looking for your 2020 presidential candidate.All you believe in has been identified in the perfect candidate. Elizabeth Warren, liar, mentally ill, deceitful, devious, self-promoting and quick to jump on the diversity bandwagon.Geraldine KrawitzSaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Change culture by telling kids the truthFirst, you were spot on in the editorial about Cuomo and, most important to me and many others, Schenectady County education and graduation rates.All the money in the world isn’t going to change things unless the “culture” does. Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionTrump policies are hurting middle classDave Edwards’ Jan. 26 letter opposing raising taxes on the very rich makes assertions that require examination.When the rich paid their fair share, the United States was prosperous. The middle class was built during the 1950s when the top tax rate was above 90 percent; in the 1960s, a decade of unsurpassed economic prosperity, the top rate ranged between 70 and 91 percent. Today, as the middle class shrinks, the wealthiest one percent, according to the Tax Foundation, earn over 20 percent of all income, but pay taxes at a rate of about 27 percent, far less than the 50 plus percent Edwards suggests.The richest 0.001 percent of Americans earn over $160 million annually, but pay taxes at a 3.5 percent rate. The recent Trump tax cuts, most of which benefit the wealthy, have created a huge budget deficit that will eventually justify cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.Despite Edwards’ claim to the contrary, the American economy did better under Obama than under Trump. First, Obama started and sustained the 100-plus months of economic expansion that Trump brags aboutSecond, during Obama’s first two years in office, job growth was better, and the unemployment rate fell faster.Finally, the economy grew more rapidly in 2014 and 2015 than it did during Trump’s first two years.Unfortunately, the Obama recovery is now showing signs of a slow-down thanks to Trump’s unpredictable behavior and his ill-advised tariffs that have triggered a trade war.William ScheuermanScotialast_img read more

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Letters to the Editor for Tuesday, Nov. 26

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionRegulate location of stores selling CBDThe Nov. 20 Gazette article on the proposed CBD oil store in Niskayuna should raise some real concerns. The article pointed out that the difference between hemp and marijuana is the percentage of THC.Ms. Sosnow articulated all the concerns every parent should have regarding this shop being so close to the high school. You can be sure that when the governor gets recreational marijuana legalized in New York state that these CBD distributors will be selling it.Unfortunately most of the towns in Schenectady County do not have regulations where these CBD or marijuana shops can be located. The only town in the Capital District that does is Clifton Park.I brought this issue to the Rotterdam Town Board earlier this year, but they have taken no action to control these shops. These shops have no place near schools, parks or any place young children are. CBD by any other name, is still marijuana.Robert J. GodlewskiSchenectadySupport moratorium on D’burg solar sitesAt the Nov. 14 Duanesburg Town Board meeting, Supervisor Rodger Tidball provided residents with an opportunity to protect their property values when he announced the possibility of a six-month moratorium on utility-scale solar power plants.I have been requesting this assistance since July, when inadequacies in the town of Duanesburg solar law became apparent during the planning review of two 5 MW solar plants to be sited at 13590 Duanesburg Road.This site is less than one mile from a third approved solar facility. If all three power plants are built, my home will be adjacent to 75 acres of solar panels for the next 30 years.Other residents need to be aware that our solar laws do not prohibit this density of solar development.The best way to protect your investment in Duanesburg is to attend the Town Board meeting on Dec. 12. We must demand that the town enact the moratorium so that stronger solar laws can be written that will protect our property values. Join the Facebook group Duanesburg Neighbors to keep informed.Lynne BruningDuanesburgFind better ways to help cities in needGloversville residents should be indignant again for being ignored by the governor’s $10 million downtown revitalization award, this time to Utica.Gloversville is still trying to dig out of the depression left by the glove industry departure. While its charming old-time downtown architecture survives, roofless buildings remain to be removed, while sewage infrastructure is in need of replacement.Rather than one large, grandiose award, struggling upstate cities would be better served by handing out million-dollar awards to 10 cities, even if annually.It seems the governor is using this pot of gold for political purposes rather than to help the needy.David ChildsJohnstownMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

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Cambridge offices

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Bowden bounds on

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Cheshire set keeps on grinning

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Allders chooses McAlpine for £20m site

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UK agents need to throw off their blinkers

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Teesland to develop Londonderry park

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UK cities compete for boost from culture title

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Specialists chopped

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S. Korean woman tests positive for coronavirus after Thailand visit

first_imgThe statement did not explicitly rule out a visit to China by the patient, and KCDC Director Jeong Eun-kyeong declined to comment further.Tanarak Plipat, deputy director-general of the Thai Department of Disease Control, said the woman could have contracted the virus in Thailand.”It’s possible because the virus is already spreading domestically in Thailand,” Tanarak said.Thailand has reported 19 cases of coronavirus, among the highest number of infections outside of China. It confirmed the first case of human-to-human transmission of the virus inside the country on Friday, when a taxi driver tested positive.Topics : A South Korean woman has tested positive for coronavirus after visiting Thailand, South Korean officials said on Tuesday, the first foreign tourist reported to have been infected after a visit to the Southeast Asian nation.The 42-year-old, identified only as Patient 16, flew back to South Korea on Jan. 19 after traveling in Thailand, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement.Treated since developing chills and other symptoms from Jan. 25, the woman did not improve until Sunday, the KCDC added in a statement, and was confirmed positive on Tuesday.last_img read more

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Govt reprimands regional leaders for repatriating Indonesians from China without consultation

first_imgThe minister urged regional leaders not to repatriate citizens without coordinating with the central government.“At least notify the central government through the Health Ministry or the National Disaster Mitigation Agency [BNPB] because emergencies are a part of the BNPB’s job,” he said.The government has evacuated 236 Indonesians and two foreigners from Wuhan, China. They are currently under observation in a quarantine facility on Natuna Island, Riau Islands, where they must stay for 14 days to ensure they do not have the new coronavirus. (gis)Topics : Several regional administrations have repatriated Indonesians living in China because of the coronavirus outbreak without coordinating with the central government, a top official has said.“As far as I know, there are four [regional administrations],” Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said on Monday as quoted by kompas.com, but declined to name them.He said most of the returnees were students on local government-funded scholarships.last_img read more

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Thai police arrest gunman for killing ex-wife at shopping mall

first_imgTopics : A man killed his ex-wife and wounded another person at a shopping center in Bangkok on Tuesday, police said, just 10 days after a mass shooting at another mall in Thailand’s northeast.The man had gone into a beauty clinic at Century The Movie Plaza mall where his ex-wife worked and opened fire, killing her and wounding a bystander, Colonel Kissana Pattanacharoen said.The gunman was arrested while on the run in another province, police said on Wednesday morning. He was charged with premeditated murder and illegal gun possession, and three other charges.The shooting came with Thailand on edge after the shooting rampage earlier in the month.On Feb. 8 and 9, a soldier killed at least a dozen people at the Terminal 21 shopping center in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima. He had earlier killed his commanding officer, other soldiers at his base and several people at a Buddhist temple.Gun ownership is relatively common in Thailand, with about 10 million privately owned firearms in the country in 2016, according to Gunpolicy.org, or one for about every seven citizens.Gun violence killed 1,729 people in 2016, about 10 times the rate per 100,000 as in neighboring Malaysia, the organization said.Most violence involving firearms stem from personal disputes or robberies. Mass shootings or killings in public spaces are rare other than in the far south, where a decades-old insurgency persists.last_img read more

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US, S. Korea mull scaling back military exercise due to coronavirus

first_img“The situation is quite serious,” Jeong said.The two countries have significantly scaled back traditional joint military exercises so as to facilitate US nuclear talks with North Korea.This spring they planned to hold a command coordination exercise.Topics : The United States and South Korea said Monday they were considering scaling back a military exercise planned for this spring because of the coronavirus epidemic.The commander of US forces in South Korea, General Robert Abrams, and the head of that country’s joint chiefs of staff, General Park Han-ki, “are looking at scaling back the command post training due to concerns about the coronavirus,” US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a news conference.His South Korean counterpart, Jeong Kyeong-doo, said at the same briefing that 13 servicemen from his country have become infected with the virus and that all leave for the military has been cancelled nationwide so as to limit soldiers’ movements. last_img read more

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PREMIUMBPJS Ketenagakerjaan needs government help to pay compensation to laid-off workers

first_imgTopics : Forgot Password ? Indonesia employment compensation laid-off-workers omnibus-bill-on-job-creation BPJS-Ketenagakerjaan premium-income ILO LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here The Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan) needs financial help from the government to pay for the social security schemes of laid-off workers (JKP), one of workers’ benefits proposed under the omnibus bill on job creation. the agency’s senior executive has said.BPJS Ketenagakerjaan’s strategic planning and information technology director, Sumarjono, said in Jakarta on Monday the agency proposed that workers and employers share the responsibility for paying premiums for the compensation scheme for laid-off workers as stipulated in the proposed bill, which is currently being deliberated by the House of Representatives.“All social security concepts are based on premium payments. How could we pay the benefits without them?” Sumarjono told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the National Conference on Workers Social Security that was organize… Log in with your social account Google Facebook Linkedinlast_img read more

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Patient suspected of COVID-19, who tested negative, dies in Jakarta hospital

first_imgA patient at the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital (RSPI Sulianti Saroso) in North Jakarta who was suspected to have contracted COVID-19, but eventually tested negative, died on Thursday.The hospital president director, Mohammad Syahril, said the patient’s body had been taken by his family and laid to rest.”The 65-year-old patient was in contact with people who came from a country that has had the coronavirus outbreak,” Syahril said Friday as reported by kompas.com.He explained that the patient was already suffering an underlying medical condition. “The patient was old and had high blood pressure,” he said.Read also: BREAKING: Indonesia confirms two new COVID-19 casesThe patient was transferred from a private hospital to RSPI Sulianti Saroso two days ago.”His [health] condition was quite bad. He had to use breathing support from the moment he was transferred to our hospital,” he said.Later in the day, the secretary of the Health Ministry’s Disease Control and Prevention Directorate General, Achmad Yurianto, said the deceased patient tested negative for COVID-19.Yurianto added that the patient was infected by bacterial sepsis that sprang from pneumonia.”[His death] was not caused by COVID-19, but from other infections,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.As of Friday, Indonesia had four confirmed cases of COVID-19. (nal)Topics :last_img read more

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PREMIUMIndonesia, Netherlands agree to boost cooperation in various economic sectors

first_imgFacebook LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Indonesia and the Netherlands have signed business deals worth €1.5 billion ($US 1.7 billion) as the countries pledge to boost their bilateral economic relations.Indonesian Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto expressed hope the business deals, which cover agriculture, life science and health, water management, maritime affairs and energy, among other sectors, could come to fruition within the next six to nine months.Memorandum of understanding (MOU) documents on economic cooperation were signed in Jakarta on Tuesday during a business forum held as part of a four-day state visit by Dutch King Willem-Alexander and high-ranking Dutch officials.”With such deals, our trade transactions will increase, our exports will continue and investments will come [to Indonesia]. These [partnerships] are really beneficial,” Agus said.In his opening speech, he also … Google Topics : Forgot Password ? Linkedin Log in with your social account Indonesia Netherlands King-Willem-Alexander state-visit business-forum cooperation MoU Trade-Minister-Agus-Suparmantolast_img read more

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Rupiah at 1998 crisis level pressures reserves, foreign-denominated debt

first_imgAs of 4:59 p.m. in Jakarta on Friday, the rupiah had weakened more than 15 percent against the US dollar this year. It broke the Rp 16,000 mark during the day, a level unseen since the 1998 crisis. The benchmark stock index, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), has lost a third of its value this year.As of Thursday, a Rp 105.1 trillion capital outflow had been recorded this year as foreign investors dumped Rp 92.8 trillion worth of government bonds and Rp 8.3 trillion in stocks, BI data shows.“Our foreign exchange reserves are more than enough,” Perry said when asked about the impact of the market rout on the central bank’s dollar reserves. At $130.4 billion in February, Indonesia’s dollar reserves represent 7.7 months of imports, well above the 3-month international adequacy standard.Bahana Sekuritas economist Satria Sambijantoro said the potential rebound of the rupiah would depend on the government’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The rupiah breached Rp 16,000 against the US dollar on Friday, the weakest since the 1998 crisis, taking its toll on central bank reserves, corporate debt obligations and import-reliant industries as the COVID-19 pandemic prompts an Indonesian asset selloff.Bank Indonesia (BI) Governor Perry Warjiyo said on Friday that the central bank had spent Rp 163 trillion (US$10.1 billion) to buy government bonds in the secondary market to stabilize the rupiah as foreign investors exited the market.“The stabilization efforts that we’ve taken focus on providing a supply of dollars, which we will continue doing through intervention […],” Perry told a teleconferenced press briefing, referring to the central bank’s bond buying and intervention in spot and non-deliverable forward markets. “We think most of the rupiah’s weakness was driven by psychological – not fundamental – factors due to the ‘two-tier pricing’ in the forex market that discourages exporters and bonds investors from holding on to their rupiah-denominated assets, fearing further depreciation,” he wrote.The government has pledged to allocate Rp 120 trillion (US$7.5 billion) from the 2020 state budget to stimulate the economy, which may grow at the lowest level in 15 years, just above 4 percent, Finance Minsiter Sri Mulyani Indrawati said.State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said the weakening of the rupiah against the US dollar could also impact state firms’ debts, including flag carrier Garuda Indonesia.“We have been negotiating regarding the airline’s [condition] for more than a month,” Erick said in a teleconferenced press briefing on Friday. Garuda may need to restructure its foreign-denominated debts as it has struggled to pay its obligations as the pandemic hits the travel industry hard, he added.Garuda Indonesia issued US$496.8 million in global sukuk (sharia-compliant financial assets) on June 3, 2015. They are due to mature on June 3 with an annual return of 5.95 percent, according to the company’s financial report released in September of last year.For import-reliant producers, the rupiah depreciation would increase costs in a sector already hit by supply chain shocks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.“If manufacturers want to keep their products competitive in the market, they have to pick a factor of their costs that they can cut, which is their workforce,” said Indef Center of Industry, Trade and Investment researcher Andry Satrio Nugroho.Andry predicted that the factory activity benchmark, the IHS Markit Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI), would fall drastically in March. The index managed to climb to expansion for the first time since June at 51.9 in February. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, and one below 50 indicates contraction.“We have to finish the virus problems first, and then industries can catch up, just like what China is doing right now,” said Andry, adding that the recent stimulus should focus on healthcare instead.Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Kadin) vice chairman for industrial affairs Johnny Darmawan said on Thursday that the depreciating rupiah would be a further drag on already sluggish business activities due to social distancing measures taken by consumers and enterprises.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Sunday urged Indonesians to practice social distancing, a public health measure to slow the transmission of an infectious disease by staying 1 meter away from other people in the case of COVID-19. It involves “working from home, studying from home and praying from home”, the President said.“Production has declined because of social distancing measures to slow down the coronavirus. Business has already been lethargic,” said Johnny.Manufacturing industry players have complained about the disruption in the supply of raw materials as measures to contain COVID-19 bind factory production across Indonesia. Between 20 and 50 percent of raw materials for domestic industry are sourced from China, Indonesia’s biggest trade partner.The government previously announced two rounds of stimulus packages including a package worth Rp 22.9 trillion that includes individual and corporate tax breaks. The first package, worth Rp 10.3 trillion and announced on Feb. 25, provides for staple needs and mortgage subsidies for low-income families and fiscal incentives for travel-related businesses.Indonesia had 369 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 32 deaths as of Friday. Globally, the pneumonia-like illness has infected over 240,000 people and has claimed at least 10,000 lives. (mpr)Topics :last_img read more

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Indonesian exports, imports contract slightly in ‘encouraging’ sign: BPS

first_imgIn the first quarter of the year, the country booked a total of $41.79 billion in exports, a 2.91 percent increase from last year’s figure, while imports were $39.17 billion from January to March, a 2.69 percent decrease from the same period last year.Indonesia recorded a trade surplus of $2.62 billion during the first three months of the year, compared to a deficit of 62.8 million in the same period last year.BPS recorded $2.98 billion in imports from China in March, an increase of $1 billion from February’s figure, as Indonesia’s largest trading partner had started to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.Exports to China, meanwhile, were $1.98 billion, up by $7 million compared to the same period last year. This made for a trade deficit of $1 billion with China in March, lower than the $1.24 billion deficit in March of last year.The World Trade Organization (WTO) projected that global trade would shrink by between 13 and 32 percent as the economic impact of the health crisis remained uncertain.The WTO forecasted a rebound in the 2021 global goods trade of between 21 and 24 percent, depending largely on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of policy responses.Topics : Indonesia booked a US$743 million trade surplus in March as export and import activities contracted slightly amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) has announced.Southeast Asia’s largest economy recorded $14.09 billion in exports in March, a 0.2 percent decrease year-on-year (yoy), while total imports fell 0.75 percent yoy to $13.35 billion driven by decreased imports of capital goods.“This figure is encouraging amid the uncertain global situation,” BPS chairman Suhariyanto said at a media briefing on Wednesday. Indonesia’s manufacturing exports grew by 7.41 percent yoy to $11.12 billion, driven by a significant increase in the exports of machines and electric appliances, as well as of iron and steel. Agricultural exports rose 17.82 percent yoy to $320 million.However, the country’s oil and gas exports declined by 40.91 percent yoy to $670 million as a result of falling oil prices, while exports of products of mining also fell by 16 percent yoy to $1.98 billion.Imports of consumption goods rose 10.66 percent to $1.27 billion as a result of Indonesia’s recent, huge purchase of guns and ammunition. Imports of raw materials increased by 1.72 percent to $10.28 billion, while imports of capital goods shrank by 18 percent to $1.8 billion.“We must, however, be aware of the decline in capital goods and raw materials, which may have a huge impact on trade and investment,” Suhariyanto added.last_img read more

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