Op-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 economy
Another 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.The 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.In 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.This 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.
MountainTrue 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.
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!
By 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?
By 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.
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, 2012
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, 2013 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
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, 2013
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. 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.
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 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, 2014
By 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.
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.
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 wasnâ€™t so. Juanpa assures us the FARC are angels, that they donâ€™t have even a cent for victim reparations, shame on them. MAY MEXICO FREEDOM PEACE AND JUSTICE While the peace talks continue, these Colombian â€œFARCâ€ terrorists go on committing crimes here and outside of Colombia and if that werenâ€™t enough, theyâ€™re raising the cost of services and the VAT to support these scoundrels paid for by us, the Colombians.Definitely, President Santos, youâ€™ve screwed the country up. The cynicism of the â€œColombian revolutionary forcesâ€ 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.GermÃ¡n SÃ¡nchez Bernal If these FARC bandits arenâ€™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, itâ€™s anyoneâ€™s guess. Itâ€™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 WEâ€™RE GOING, ITâ€™S A WAR WITH NO END. LETâ€™S DO A WORLD-WIDE STUDY AND YOUâ€™LL SEE Iâ€™M RIGHT. These terrorists have hurt us too much to be allowed to go on as if they had done nothing FOR GODâ€™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 donâ€™t they legalize drugs, tax them, and sell them all over the place and theyâ€™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. Itâ€™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, itâ€™s their issue because cigarettes are as harmful as cocaine. God willing that the current authorities arenâ€™t mixed up with drug trafficking and the ministries donâ€™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. Itâ€™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 itâ€™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 arenâ€™t they controlled, who benefits from these cases and why. Otherwise letâ€™s develop sustainable projects with drugs and vitamins derived from coca, because they would benefit in particular poor countries very much. And, letâ€™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.
By 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.”
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 funding November 15, 2001 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News
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. 71 lawyers file to run for legislative office
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 children
Journal 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 [email protected] (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 [email protected] 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: [email protected] Cristina Elena Groschel ’s phone number is 954-735-0000 (p. 226). Stephen K. Halpert ’s e-mail address is [email protected] (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: [email protected] Robert Soifer ’s phone number is 407-236-0567 (p. 491). directory errors noted November 1, 2004 Regular News Journal
Elder 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 News
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 way
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 applications
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 Foundation
Two-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. Two-tier plan for paralegals taken one step further
Sign 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.
Sign 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.
The 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. 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.
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 »
Recently, 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 Details
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 »
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 »
With 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 » 16SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
The 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 » 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
This 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 » 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Credit 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 » 0SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
A 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 » 14SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
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.
Credit 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 »
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. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Two 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 » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
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 »
RELATED: 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.
Garnar 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.
(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.