Central America Unites Against Criminal Groups

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre / Diálogo September 27, 2019 Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and the United States agreed to synchronize their intelligence services and cooperate in security operations against common threats, such as narcotrafficking and organized crime.The agreement was signed at the U.S. Southern Command- (SOUTHCOM) sponsored XII Central American Regional Intelligence Conference (CRIC, in Spanish), organized by the Honduran Armed Forces on July 16-18 in Tegucigalpa. CRIC is a forum designed to develop security strategies.“The agreement enables the creation of a swift system of classified information that will serve as a basis for strategic and tactical operations in the region,” Army Brigadier General Germán Antonio Alfaro Escalante, head of the Honduran Armed Forces’ C-2 Strategic Information, told Diálogo. “This measure will strengthen effective communication to foresee the operations of transnational organized crime in the region.”To optimize the armed forces’ work and that of security and justice mechanisms, experts agreed to develop communication platforms to identify groups and criminal leaders and to share critical information in real time throughout the year. They also outlined the main lines of action regarding security: the fight against transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), unifying their efforts and doctrines, combined operations, and training and instruction.Data from the Inter-American Development Bank shows that criminal organizations threaten the security and prosperity of the Western Hemisphere at a cost of about 3.5 percent of the regional Gross Domestic Product. The report Central America 2030 from Florida International University and Global Americans, says that TCOs are a threat that transcends borders in the Central American region. According to the report, 90 percent of the cocaine in the U.S. market now flows through Guatemala and Honduras.“While hundreds of gangs involved in organized crime in general operate in the Northern Triangle countries [Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador], in Panama there are companies that have become a base for money laundering and product trafficking,” says an article from the Mexican newspaper El Financiero. The news agency BBC Mundo also reports that security and stability in Costa Rica have worsened in recent years. Moreover, the Washington-based organization InSight Crime says on its website that Central American gangs and narcotrafficking groups are gaining ground in Belize.“Narcotrafficking boosts crime, extortion, and maras and gangs by 80 percent” General (ret.) Fredy Santiago Díaz Zelaya, Honduran minister of defense, said at CRIC. “Only as a united front will we be able to develop strategies to combat associated groups that cause so much harm to the country and the region.” Western Hemisphere intelligence officers joined efforts at CRIC to counter transnational organized criminal organizations operating in Central America. (Photo: Honduran National Defense Secretary)“To confront these powerful, violent organizations, governments should reevaluate and reorganize their security forces to better confront criminals,” say Elcano Royal Institute and the Peruvian Army’s Center for Strategic Studies in the report The Transformation of Latin American Armed Forces in the Face of Organized Crime.“For quite a while, the United States has developed appropriate strategies to respond to TCOs, and terrorist organizations are increasingly dependent on criminal groups to obtain financial and logistics support,” the report says.“SOUTHCOM’s efforts are very valuable, as it is a high-level coordination entity that makes joint doctrine operational,” said Brig. Gen. Alfaro. “The scenario isn’t easy. Combined work can confront the multi-headed monster that has spread its criminal networks in different institutions,” Army Brigadier General René Orlando Ponce Fonseca, head of the Honduran Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at CRIC.Honduran efforts to curb criminal activities are important; the results are evident in operations conducted against those involved in illegal activities in recent years. But these actions “are not enough [at the regional level] yet, because TCOs are a threat against political, economic, social, and diplomatic factors,” Brig. Gen. Alfaro concluded.last_img read more

NAFCU urges NCUA collaboration with CFPB, others

first_imgNAFCU Senior Regulatory Affairs Counsel Michael Emancipator on Friday urged NCUA to be more proactive in collaborating with CFPB and other regulators to ensure credit unions are not subject to conflicting or redundant regulation.“Just over the past year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Department of Defense (DoD), and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) have each moved forward in promulgating rules that significantly impact our members,” Emancipator wrote. “Unfortunately, many of these rules are redundant to other directives from the agency, or worse, improperly infringe on rulemaking authority congressionally granted to NCUA.“For example, the CFPB’s recently proposed payday loan rule would alter important provisions in the agency’s Payday Alternative Loan (PAL) program, which was designed specifically to combat the types of loans and bad practices that the bureau is trying to eliminate,” he continued. continue reading » 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Compliance: Indirect lending under Military Lending Act

first_imgThe Department of Defense’s December guidance on the Military Lending Act (MLA) has impacted several credit union services, and a recent CUNA CompBlog post examines its effect on indirect dealer lending programs. The post discusses what loans must be in compliance with the MLA rule, and steps credit unions involved in indirect lending should take.Depending on what is financed, a creditor may find a portion of its loans are exempt from the MLA, while the remainder will require compliance.Loans that don’t finance GAP or credit insurance and that don’t provide additional cash-out financing that is unrelated to the vehicle’s purchase, are still exempt from the MLA rule.However, a loan that finances GAP or credit insurance, or provides additional cash out financing that is unrelated to the vehicle’s purchase, will lose its exemption and the creditor must comply with the MLA rule requirements. continue reading » 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: ICU strain, Chan on speed of spread, Mexico’s projections, Colombia’s chief ill, flu video vote

first_imgAug 31, 2009H1N1 cases may strain ICUs this winterExperience to date suggests that the novel H1N1 flu may put a heavy burden on intensive care units (ICUs) in coming months, said critical care specialists quoted in a Canadian Press report today. ICUs in some of the hospitals hit hardest by virus nearly ran out of specialized equipment and skilled staff. The Public Health Agency of Canada has scheduled a meeting this week in Winnipeg to discuss the problem.http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/9013059.htmlAug 31 Canadian Press storyMexico predicts 1 million cases in next flu waveMexico’s government projects that 1 million of its citizens will become ill this winter with the novel H1N1 virus, the Latin American Herald Tribune reported today. The country’s health secretary, Jose Angel Cordova, said on Aug 28 that the number of cases is stable for now, with about 80 to 100 infections reported each day. He said the government is working on emergency plans on school closures, social distancing measures, and hospital preparations.http://laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=342571&CategoryId=14091Aug 31 Latin American Herald Tribune storyWHO chief: H1N1 spreads at ‘unbelievable’ speedDr. Margaret Chan, head of the World Health Organization, told France’s Le Monde newspaper that the novel H1N1 virus “spreads at an unbelievable, almost unheard-of speed,” according to an Aug 29 Agence France-Presse (AFP) story. She said the virus can travel as far in 6 weeks as other viruses travel in 6 months and estimated that up to 30% of people in densely populated countries are at risk for infection. Chan also noted that about 40% of deaths are in previously healthy young adults.http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090829/hl_afp/healthfluwho_20090829132344Aug 29 AFP storyColombia’s president ill with pandemic fluColombian President Alvaro Uribe became ill with flulike symptoms on Aug 28 while addressing South American leaders at a summit in Argentina and was diagnosed yesterday as having the pandemic H1N1 virus, The Guardian reported today. He has continued working in partial isolation via phone and internet. So far no illnesses have been reported in other leaders or in Uribe’s travel group.http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/31/uribe-alvaro-colombia-swine-fluAug 31 Guardian storyHHS opens public vote for flu-prevention videoThe US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has invited the public to help pick the best video in its Flu Prevention Public Service Announcement (PSA) Contest. The top 10 videos, chosen from among 240 entries, have been posted on YouTube, and the public is invited to view the 30-second spots and vote their choice. The winner will receive $2,500 and see the video broadcast on national television.http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2009pres/08/20090829a.htmlAug 31 HHS news release with link to PSAsKuwait postpones kindergarten startKuwait’s education ministry said yesterday that the country will delay opening kindergartens for 2 months to curb the spread of the novel H1N1 virus, AFP reported today. The measure will also apply to nurseries and schools that serve students with special needs. Other schools will reopen at the usual time, the last week of September.http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=312015&version=1&template_id=37&parent_id=17Aug 31 AFP storyCVS stores to offer seasonal flu vaccineThe CVS pharmacy chain today announced that seasonal flu vaccine will be available starting tomorrow at 500 of its stores, according to a company press release. Vaccine will be available to adults and children over 18 months without an appointment. The chain said it will host about 9,000 flu clinic events starting Sep 15. With novel H1N1 vaccine expected to reach providers in October, the US CDC has said that people should receive the seasonal vaccine as soon as it’s available.http://info.cvscaremark.com/newsroom/press-releases/cvspharmacy-and-minuteclinic-encourage-americans-protect-themselves-early-seAug 31 CVS/Caremark press releaselast_img read more

Sainsbury to rival Clearwater leisure scheme in Kingston

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Swiss railways fund hires new CEO from Publica

first_imgIwan Lanz is to succeed Marcus Hübscher as chief executive officer of the CHF18.4bn (€16.9bn) Swiss railways pension scheme.Lanz will be joining Pensionskasse SBB (PK SBB) from CHF41bn federal pension fund Publica, where he has been a member of the executive board since 2017. Initially a secondary school teacher, Lanz changed career to enter the pensions and insurance field in 2001, according to PK SBB. Save for a short period leading Aon Hewitt’s Bern office, he has been at Publica since 2003.“Iwan Lanz is a proven specialist and profound connoisseur of the Swiss pension system,” said Markus Jordi, president of the board of trustees. “The board of trustees is very pleased that the pension fund was able to recruit him to lead the executive management.” PK SBB has around 55,000 members, of which 45% are pensioners. It is one of the top 10 largest pension funds in Switzlerland.  Iwan Lanz, incoming CEO of PK SBBLanz will take over from Hübscher in November as the pension fund looks to its next steps following completion of a 10-year recovery plan.“I am impressed by how it has been possible to stabilise PK SBB in recent years after a difficult situation and to position it well for the future,” said Lanz. ”I look forward to actively contributing to the further successful development of PK SBB.”Hübscher announced his plan to step down in the spring, and has told IPE he will be exploring possibilities to take on non-executive roles. Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here.last_img read more

‘Technical incompetence’ hit | CONSUMERS SUFFER: Another 13-hour inconvenient brownout

first_img“This 13-hour brownout plunged one-third of Iloilo into darkness once more,” said Engineer Aldren Deleste, operations manager for planning of Panay Electric Co. (PECO), referencing on the power outages pummeling the city in the midst of the double whammy of scorching summer months and the coronavirus pandemic through the months of March to May. Worse, added Deleste, “these chronic power outages remain unabated even at the start of rainy season this June, a way for MORE Power to cement the stature of Iloilo City as ‘the brownout capital of the Philippines.’” “Oil of the power transformer was filtered and parallel works were also done outside,” he added, emphasizing that “at the extent of this maintenance, the scheduled repair works only resulted in a scheduled outage of eight hours.” As could be culled from the all-inclusive outcome of that technical audit, PECO noted that under its watch, “comprehensive maintenance was done at the La Paz substation in 2018 without any major outage,” contrary to the prolonged brownouts distressing Iloilo City consumers in line with the maintenance activities being undertaken by MORE. La Paz substation mainly caters to the transport and port hub of Iloilo and is one of the major anchors for commercial activities in the city. Hence, power interruptions not only bring inconvenience but may also cause serious economic losses. Yesterday’s scheduled brownout was from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. covering La Paz district (feeders 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). MORE Power claimed the maintenance of the La Paz substation was due to its overloaded condition. When these children’s family woke up very early yesterday, June 14, 2020, it was pitch-dark. There was no electricity in a wide swath of Iloilo City’s La Paz district due to a scheduled power maintenance work from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is not the first time the city has to endure some 13 hours of power interruption. Does the brownout have to take that long, inconvenienced consumers are asking. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN According to Deleste, when PECO did comprehensive maintenance, it logged a shorter downtime and service interruption of just eight hours, way shorter than the current harrowing 13-hour brownouts by MORE Power. This clearly negates the claim of MORE Power that the facility is overloaded and that should also debunk the basis of the maintenance work it is pursuing, he added. For well-experienced power distribution firms with extensive knowledge, he pointed out, it is a technically acceptable industry practice to undertake “comprehensive maintenance every five5 to 10 years based on proper daily monitoring and monthly predictive maintenance (PM), or what is known as condition-based maintenance.center_img “It seems MORE Power is trying to exaggerate the volume of its maintenance work to make it appear that PECO was negligent even if this is untrue, and even if it means suffering for the people of Iloilo City because of the long and more frequent brownouts,” said Deleste. ILOILO City – Already incensed by the seemingly unending prolonged and frequent power outages, consumers here were tormented by yet another 13-hour scheduled brownout yesterday, with MORE Electric and Power Corp.’s (MORE Power) maintenance work at the La Paz substation affecting a wide swath of the district. In contrast, said Deleste, the maintenance work of MORE Power is not as comprehensive but “surprisingly required longer hours.”/PN “The fact that MORE Power needs to do comprehensive maintenance means it has not been monitoring it and doing proper PMs,” said Deleste. “It also shows that MORE Power does not seem to know or understand the equipment, and that circles back to technical incompetence, which in turn causes inconvenience to the people of Iloilo and putting unwarranted blame on PECO.” Deleste, however, debunked this, pointing out that when PECO was managing the power distribution facility in Iloilo City, the La Paz substation was actually “underloaded.”Citing a third party technical audit undertaken by Singaporean firm WSP Consultancy Pte. Ltd., the PECO engineer conveyed that full-scale maintenance work was carried out at the La Paz substation in 2018; and that particular facility was rated “underloaded” during the audit process. For the La Paz substation, in particular, WSP Consultancy noted that “the capacity of generation seems adequate to cater to peak load demand of the PECO distribution network. The peak load observed in 2017 was at 110 MVA (mega-volt ampere), which is within permissible limits of generation capacity.” As affirmed in the 2018 audit report, “out of the 50-megawatt capacity of La Paz substation, under PECO’s watch, it was only loaded with 33MW which was technically 66 percent only of the full capacity,” said Deleste WSP Consultancy has deep and extensive multi-disciplinary expertise in energy infrastructure globally – spanning through planning, designing, building and operating a power plant; as well as in the automation, technical processes and ensuring reliability across the supply chain that include transmission and distribution of electricity to consumers.last_img read more

Natural Resources Commission approves two preserves

first_imgIndianapolis, In. — The Natural Resources Commission approved two nature preserves at its bi-monthly meeting today in Indianapolis. The action increases to 287 the number of state-designated sites protected by the Nature Preserves Act.The two new nature preserves are Dewey Hickman Nature Preserve in Harrison County and Mary Gray Nature Preserve in Fayette County.The Dewey Hickman preserve comprises 125 acres southwest of Corydon. The preserve is named as a memorial to the superintendent of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp that was located where O’Bannon State Park is now. The preserve is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy, which was given the property by Richard K. Stem, president of Chester B. Stem, Inc.Indian Creek runs along a portion of the preserve, which consists of a variety of forested natural community types. It is located in the Shawnee Hills Natural Region. Its bird species include the state-special-concern species hooded warbler, sharp-shinned hawk and red-shouldered hawk, as well as the state-endangered cerulean warbler. Noteworthy plant species include the state-rare Eastern bloodleaf.The Mary Gray preserve, southwest of Connersville, is a 37.99-acre portion of the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary. The site is included in Alton Lindsey’s “Natural Areas in Indiana.”Research is being conducted at the preserve by bird banding during the spring and fall migration of the Northern saw-whet owl and ruby-throated hummingbirds. A turtle population research project has been in progress since 1985.Owned and managed by The Indiana Audubon Society, the preserve consists of a high-quality mesic upland forest with a showy spring wildflower display. The forest is dominated by sugar maple and tulip tree. These community types, along with their component flora and fauna, contain many species that are area-sensitive forest-interior plants and animals that depend upon large, unfragmented forest ecosystems.In other action, the NRC granted preliminary adoption to a new rule designed to remove 44 invasive plants from trade inside Indiana. The decision only starts the deliberative rules process. It does not put a new rule into effect.Invasive species in Indiana regularly move into the forest and restrict the ability of trees to regenerate because the invasives use essential nutrients and block sunlight from native species that regenerate more slowly.Indiana land managers (private and public) currently spend an estimated $8.6 million managing invasive plants every year. The goal of removing these invasive species from trade is to reduce the number such plants escaping into the wilderness, thereby reducing the amount of state and federal funding required to control them.The DNR has determined that 22 of the 44 plants identified can be found in trade in Indiana now, but only four are sold with any regularity. To decrease potential fiscal impact of the rule on small businesses, the DNR would make allowance for an additional year from the effective date of the rule to sell affected stock before issuing penalties. The proposal would also allow members of the public to report evidence of terrestrial invasive species to the DNR.The NRC will next provide an opportunity for public comment to be received in writing or through two public hearings that will be scheduled at times and sites still to be determined.  In other actions, the NRC…  – Accepted a hearing-officer report summarizing public meetings and making recommendations regarding a contract application from Salt Creek Services for a water sale contract from Monroe Lake.  – Accepted the recommendation of a committee comprised of members from DNR Divisions of Entomology, Nature Preserves, Law Enforcement, and State Parks to, rather than amend the current definition of mushroom in Indiana Code, as requested by a petitioner, keep the definition as being “edible fungi” and to advise the petitioner to seek special-use permits and individual scientific collecting and research permits as needed to conduct necessary studies on DNR properties. This approach will enable the annual morel season and other edible mushroom collecting to continue, and will enable DNR properties to be aware of and coordinate scientific mushroom collecting. DNR properties will be able to provide collecting and special-use permits for the scientific collecting of mushrooms with advance notice from requestors. The petition had sought a new definition of the “macroscopic fruiting body of a fungus.”The NRC is an autonomous board that addresses topics pertaining to the DNR. More details on these actions are available at nrc.IN.gov/2350.htm under “July Agenda.”last_img read more

ICC World Cup Rohit Sharma credits Yuvraj Singh’s advice for record-breaking run in World Cup 2019

first_imghighlights Rohit Sharma blasted his 27th century overall in clash vs Sri Lanka.Rohit Sharma is the first player in history to hit five centuries in one edition.Rohit Sharma is just 27 runs away from breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of runs in an edition. For all the Latest Sports News News, ICC World Cup News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.center_img New Delhi: Rohit Sharma is having a record-breaking run in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. During his century against Sri Lanka in Leeds, Rohit created some new world records as India sealed the top spot in the tournament with a seven-wicket win against the 1996 champions. Rohit’s 103 was his fifth in this single edition of the World Cup. His fifth ton was a new world record and it broke the previous record held by Kumar Sangakkara in which he blasted four consecutive centuries. Rohit’s century took him past Shakib Al Hasan for most runs in the 2019 edition of the tournament and it also put him closer to Sachin Tendulkar’s overall tally of runs, which is 673 in the 2003 edition in South Africa.Speaking in the post-match press conference, Rohit has credited Yuvraj Singh’s advice and said his suggestions put him in a great space for the tournament. “I was not getting big runs before the tournament. Yuvraj Singh is like my big brother and he told me that I will get runs when it matters. Probably, he was talking about the World Cup. In IPL, we were having a good chat about the game. He was in a similar phase in 2011 before the World Cup. He was not getting enough runs. What he told me was to be in a good space. That is what he did and that is why he was so successful at that World Cup,” Rohit said.Yuvraj, who recently announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket recently, produced a magnificent performance with both bat and ball in the 2011 edition and he emerged as the Man of the Series as India won the World Cup after 28 years.Rohit’s knock has gotten him closer to breaking Tendulkar’s tally of overall runs in the World Cup and it has also given him a chance to break the Master Blaster’s tally of tons in the tournament as well as equal Sangakkara’s feat of four consecutive tons, having already hit three on the trot against England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. However, Rohit is not looking at records and states every day is a new day.“What has happened has happened, every day is a new day in cricket. I want to start every day as a fresh day. I come out thinking I have not played any ODIs or scored any hundreds in the tournament. That is the mindset I want to get in and I keep telling myself that,” Rohit said.India will take on New Zealand in the first semi-final in Manchester on June 9 and they will be aiming to get the better of the Kiwis after their first league game was washed out due to rain in Trent Bridge on July 13.last_img read more

Bad weather wipes out third day in second Test

first_imgSOUTHAMPTON, England (Reuters) – Bad weather continued to dog the second Test between England and Pakistan yesterday as a combination of bad light and drizzle wiped out the whole of the third day at the Rose Bowl.Although the weather appeared to improve in the afternoon, two inspections found that the outfield was still too wet and play was finally abandoned for the day after the umpires had a third look in deteriorating light.Only 86 of a possible 180 overs were bowled on the first two days as Pakistan, batting first, reached 223-9 with Mohammad Rizwan unbeaten on 60. With more bad weather forecasts, a draw seems to be the most likely result.Pakistan, who trail 1-0 after England’s dramatic victory in the first Test, need to win to give themselves any chance of taking the three-match series.Former England captain Michael Vaughan said the situation had not been handled well, especially given the effort to stage the series amid the COVID-19 outbreak.“It is frustrating for everyone,” he told the BBC.“I don’t think there has been any urgency. You think of the amount of time and cost that everyone has put in for this series to happen.“Over the three days there have been times when it has been raining, and you can’t play in the rain, but there have been 60 or 70 overs when we could have been playing.”last_img read more