Colombia: Authorities seize 1.54 metric tons of cocaine

first_imgBy Dialogo February 08, 2012 BOGOTÁ, Colombia – The Colombian Navy seized 1.54 metric tons (1.7 tons) of cocaine hidden in a rural forest area in the department of Nariño, near the Ecuadoran border, authorities said on Feb. 7. Rodolfo Amaya Kerquelen, the navy’s regional commander, said the narcotics were found in the La Tolita sector of the La Tola municipality, near the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The narcotics were packaged in 77 sacks, weighing a total of 1,548 kilos (3,413 pounds), with an estimated worth of US$38 million, he said. The cocaine was produced by what seems to be a partnership between the Los Rastrojos criminal gang and members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) operating in the region. Colombian authorities said the same partnership was involved in the explosive attacks that left 11 dead and dozens injured in Tumaco last week. [EFE (Colombia), 07/02/2012; El Espectador (Colombia), 07/02/2012]last_img read more

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Panama Hosts Central American Defense Seminar

first_imgBy Roberto López Dubois/Diálogo July 16, 2018 From June 5-9, 2018, Panama City hosted the Central American Regional Seminar on Countering Transnational Threat Networks. The event, sponsored by the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, convened 70 experts, including officers of the armed forces and police, as well as civilian professionals from 11 countries. Through a series of lectures and interactive sessions, participants examined the threats of terrorism, transnational organized crime, cybersecurity, natural disasters, and other issues. Experts from Belize, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama addressed strategies and policies to confront these challenges. “The seminar is important as a hub for the exchange of best practices, ideas that work, and didn’t work in the various member countries,” U.S. Army Lieutenant General (ret.) Frederick S. Rudesheim, director of the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, told Diálogo. “In this group of nations, we all can learn to fight against transnational threats.” Creating counterattack networks Transnational criminal networks represent one of the biggest challenges in Central America. Non-state actors, who are flexible and can adapt to changes, perpetrate crimes that affect the stability of the region. Cooperation among nations, intelligence exchange, and coordination of strategies to combat transnational organized crime are crucial. Identifying the leaders of criminal networks and disrupting their illicit activities—trafficking in drugs, weapons, and humans, among others—are tasks that should be conducted with a united front. Participants agreed unanimously. For Panamanian Minister of Public Security Alexis Bethancourt, who inaugurated the seminar, the solution rests on creating counterattack networks. “Countries have borders; organized crime doesn’t,” he told Diálogo. “Today, we take a look at these threats, we evaluate them, and we build networks to counter them.” Experts stressed the importance of interinstitutional and international collaboration to disrupt chains of command and production of organized crime. Most of all, participants emphasized, it’s necessary to build trust. “Trust is a factor that generates interagency collaboration, and distrust is an obstacle to cooperation,” said César Tapia Jiménez, coordinator of cooperation at the Mexican Ministry of National Defense. “Central American security can evolve toward expanded and collective security. This evolution can be achieved by fighting corruption and increasing trust among members, and by committing to providing resources to build a multidisciplinary task force that will act wherever the region requires it.” Regional narcotrafficking situation Due to its location, the central region of the Americas continues to be a bridge for the illicit transfer of drugs to the United States and Europe. As such, participants analyzed the situation at the seminar. Criminal organizations move drugs by land, air and sea—the Caribbean sea being among narcotraffickers’ favorite routes. “Our reality would be different if the cocaine route didn’t cross over our countries,” Tapia said. “Also, some things cannot be shown on a map, such as the population’s suffering under the threat of organized crime.” However, the fight strengthened in the Dominican Republic, said Dominican Army Colonel Raúl E. Mora Hernández, an event attendee. In 2017, Dominican authorities seized almost 16 tons of cocaine. In October 2017, the country launched the Empowered Society Reports application, which enables citizens to report illicit activities with their cell phones via text messages, photos, and videos. “The message is completely confidential and showed great results,” the officer said. “Sometimes not only programs, but also principles and values are important, because in our region we have too many drug breaches. Narcotrafficking gets into our lives; it buys us out, including the authorities. But most importantly, […] drugs are the enemies of the future and hope, and when we fight against them, we fight for the future.” For Commissioner Feliciano Benítez, Intelligence Chief of the National Border Service of Panama, criminal policies between countries must be more dynamic. “[Criminal] organizations not only use our countries to reach their markets, but also seek shelter,” Commissioner Benítez said. “Here [at the seminar], it’s not about seeking internal policies, but rather interstate policies.” Inclusive security Among other topics, participants of the seminar analyzed the threat of dissident groups of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the new key actors of narcotrafficking and organized crime in Colombia. Participants also examined the mara and gang phenomena in Central America. In addition, experts discussed human trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation, and stressed the need to improve migration control technology. Another discussion that generated much interest was inclusive security for gender equality in military and civilian institutions. Carmen Armidis Castellanos, a Dominican human rights expert, praised the progress of military women of the region. The Dominican Armed Forces, she said, have more than 30 percent of women. “There is still a large gap [for] women, so they should keep striving,” Castellanos said. “Men should be understanding and tolerant, because it’s where they belong, not because they are women but because of their skills, empowerment, devotion, and dedication.” The seminar was positive, Lt. Gen. Rudesheim concluded. “Most importantly, we are strengthening communication networks not only between countries, but also among members, the people here [who] know and trust each other.”last_img read more

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Colombia Has First Joint Command Sergeant Major

first_imgBy Geraldine Cook / Diálogo October 07, 2019 Diálogo: You are the first Joint Command sergeant major of the Colombian Armed Forces. What’s the significance of this promotion?Colombian Armed Forces’ Joint Command Sergeant Major Argemiro Posso Rivera: I was promoted in March 2018, and it’s an honor and great responsibility for me to be the first NCO promoted to this position. When I took on this role, I set two challenges for myself. The first is to facilitate more education and training for the new generations of NCOs so that they can reach this leadership position. The second is to request and make the sergeant major promotion possible for each branch of the country’s Armed Forces.Diálogo: What’s the importance of an NCO?Sgt. Major Posso: NCOs are the backbone of the military, because we are the commander’s right hand so he can fulfill his goal and the mission ordered by the State. Colombian NCOs are privileged, because our generals, admirals, and officers support us, since they recognize that an educated, professional NCO body results in successful missions.Diálogo: How have NCOs progressed in Colombia?Sgt. Major Posso: The professional development of NCOs in Colombia started in 2003, with the first honorary appointed command sergeant majors. In 2006, the career path decree of NCOs changed and the command sergeant major and joint command sergeant major ranks were created. Our professional development is due to the support of our strategic partners, U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH).Diálogo: What can you tell us about the Senior NCOs Integral Program (PISAJE, in Spanish)?Sgt. Major Posso: PISAJE is a six-month program to enable promotion to command sergeant major. The goal is to provide NCOs with new techniques, logistics management, leadership, and knowledge about national security and defense, so that they can support the commander in decision-making. PISAJE has been around for more than 13 years, conducting biannual visits to the United States and receiving NCOs from the region. We expect PISAJE to strengthen even more to allow new NCO generations to reach leadership positions.Diálogo: What’s the plan to continue with NCO training?Sgt. Major Posso: We are working to shore up the Colombian Sergeants Major Academy, so that all NCOs from our country’s military forces can attend and study there and for Colombia to become a regional benchmark. We hope this will be possible with the help of SOUTHCOM and ARSOUTH.Diálogo: What was the role of NCOs in the Colombian peace process?Sgt. Major Posso: The strategy of negotiating with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia resulted from teamwork led by our officers in the Colombian military forces. There’s no question that the NCO corps played an important role. We understood the commander’s goal and mission and helped him to accomplish it successfully. However, we had to pay a high price, because we lost about 6,000 soldiers in 54 years of internal conflict in Colombia, and more than 32,000 lost body parts in the battlefield.Diálogo: What’s the importance of the joint work conducted by NCOs in the region?Sgt. Major Posso: It’s important to work together to share experiences and lessons learned. NCOs have the United States as our strategic partner, and together we can provide new professionalization channels, so that we can have better trained and educated officers that can confront common threats in the region, such as narcotrafficking, illegal mining, arms trafficking, money laundering, and support humanitarian assistance operations.last_img read more

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Bar referral service adds new counties

first_imgBar referral service adds new counties The Florida Bar has added Okaloosa and Walton counties to its Lawyer Referral Service which now covers 48 counties.The Bar added the counties when the Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association discontinued coverage of the two counties.The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service is a public service program offered to provide access to the legal system. Nineteen counties are handled by local bar association lawyer referral services.During 2004-05, the Lawyer Referral Service made over 135,000 referrals.Under The Florida Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service, attorneys charge clients $25 for an initial 30-minute office consultation. Personal circumstances might qualify a client for a free half-hour session with one of a special panel of attorneys willing to handle cases on Low Fee, Elderly, Disability, and AIDS Law panels.More than 1,200 attorneys participate in the lawyer referral service program. Florida Bar members in good standing who have an office in a county covered by the Bar are eligible to join the service by completing an application and submitting a $125 membership fee. The attorney must also carry at least $100,000 in professional liability insurance.The Lawyer Referral Service is staffed at The Florida Bar headquarters in Tallahassee, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The service also has an online service at www.floridabar.org that is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Prospective clients may reach the service by calling (800) 342-8011 from anywhere in Florida. Bar referral service adds new countiescenter_img November 15, 2005 Regular Newslast_img read more

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Homeless Man Gets 25 to Life for Freeport Murder

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A homeless man was sentenced Monday to 25 years to life in prison for fatally stabbing a 21-year-old man with whom he had an ongoing dispute following a fight near the Freeport day laborer hiring site two years ago.Henry Martinez-Ramos had been convicted at Nassau County court in May of second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of a weapon. A jury found him not guilty of trespassing.Prosecutors said that the 26-year-old stabbed his victim approximately 86 times in his head, face, neck, chest and hand during an altercation along a secluded one-way street on Oct. 20, 2012.Martinez-Ramos then dragged his victim’s body to nearby railroad tracks and dropped multiple railroad ties on it to hide it.Freeport village police arrested him the next day.last_img read more

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CEOs: Don’t shy from compensation conversations

first_img continue reading » Credit union CEOs must overcome their reluctance to talk with their boards about compensation philosophy—not just for their own benefit, but for the good of the organization.It’s hard for many CEOs to be advocates for themselves, says Tom Telford, principal/area senior vice president for BFB Gallagher. “It’s just not in your nature to do that.”The main impediment sounds something like this, says Scott Albraccio, executive benefits sales manager for CUNA Mutual Group: “How do I talk about compensation without sounding greedy or self-serving?”The duo provided some pathways to solve that quandary during a presentation at the CUNA CEO Council Conference.First, they presented some common hurdles to healthy communication about executive compensation, with some assistance from the 70 CEOs in attendance at the inaugural event: 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Joint statement on BSA CDD requirements for PEPs

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » August has been a busy month for Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) guidance from federal regulators. First, FinCEN issued guidance about customer due diligence (CDD) requirements in the form of three additional frequently asked questions (FAQs). The FAQs clarified FinCEN’s expectations about obtaining customer information, developing a customer risk profile and updating customer information due to monitoring of the customer relationship. Then the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and the other federal banking regulators issued a joint statement explaining the types of BSA/AML violations that might result in a cease and desist order. The Federal Deposit Insurance Act and the Federal Credit Union Act both require the issuance of a cease and desist order if a supervised institution fails to implement a BSA/AML compliance program or fails to correct a problem with the institution’s BSA/AML compliance program after a failure is identified in an examination report or some other written document submitted to an institution’s board or management. Shortly thereafter, FinCEN issued a statement describing its enforcement approach to BSA violations. The statement identified six potential outcomes when FinCEN identifies a BSA violation: taking no action, issuing a warning letter, seeking injunctive relief, settlements, civil money penalties and referrals for criminal prosecution. And on August 21, NCUA, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FinCEN and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a joint statement explaining CDD requirements for politically exposed persons (PEPs). Today’s blog will examine the agencies’ guidance regarding CDD for PEPs.CDDThe Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) BSA/AML Examination Manual identifies the implementation of proper CDD policies, procedures and processes as part of the foundation of a strong BSA/AML compliance program. The manual indicates that FinCEN’s BSA regulations require credit unions to establish risk-based CDD procedures that do the following:last_img read more

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Trump says immigration suspension to last 60 days

first_imgTopics : “By pausing immigration, it will help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens,” Trump said at his daily pandemic briefing.”This pause will be in effect for 60 days,” he told reporters, adding that he would decide on any extension or changes “based on economic conditions at the time.”The Republican president said the order would “only apply to individuals seeking a permanent residency — in other words, those receiving green cards.” “It will not apply to those entering on a temporary basis,” he added. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he was suspending immigration for green card seekers for 60 days, arguing the controversial move would help Americans find work again after coronavirus caused a surge in unemployment.Trump told reporters at the White House the suspension would come into force through an executive order that he would likely sign on Wednesday as he offered the first details about a vague announcement he made Monday night on Twitter.Addressing an issue key to his conservative base as the country is ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 43,000 people dead in the US, Trump said his move would help Americans who have lost their jobs during the ongoing shutdown.center_img The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted lawful permanent residence to around 577,000 individuals in 2019.Trump said there would be exemptions that his administration would detail before the order is signed.”We’ll sign it most likely tomorrow. Being drawn now and tonight, and it’s something we have to have in this country,” he added.According to US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Wall Street Journal before Trump spoke, the eventual executive order could include exceptions for farm and health care workers.The US government issued 462,000 visas in fiscal 2019, according to official data — a major drop from the 617,000 visas granted in 2016 under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.Any executive order on immigration will likely spark court action to reverse it, and has already raised hackles among Trump’s Democratic opponents.Before Trump’s briefing, Texas lawmaker Joaquin Castro slammed what he called “an attempt to divert attention away from Trump’s failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.”In a tweet, Castro accused Trump of “an authoritarian-like move to take advantage of a crisis and advance his anti-immigrant agenda.”The Supreme Court has in recent months offered several significant victories to the Trump administration in cases relating to immigration.A month ago, the high court allowed the federal government to maintain a policy that will send more than 60,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico.The “Remain in Mexico” policy unveiled in December 2018 and implemented a month later calls for non-Mexican asylum seekers who attempt to enter the US via that country to stay there while their cases are being decided.last_img read more

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Media companies ask for government relief package

first_imgThe Association of Media Companies and Profession said Thursday that media companies might need a relief package to help with paper procurement and utility bills to survive the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.The association, representing 12 member organizations including the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the Press Council, called for the government to subsidize 20 percent of the paper price per kilogram and 30 percent of monthly utility bills for the rest of the year starting from May.To lighten the financial hardship battering journalists, the association also said the companies would need a low-interest loan and suspension of the premium payment of employment social security managed by the Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan). “The fear of laying off media workers is becoming increasingly apparent as the industry sees business performance declining drastically, which is also happening in other industries at the same time,” the Press Council’s head of institutional and foreign relations, Agus Sudibyo, was quoted as saying in a statement released on Thursday. Like a few other businesses, many budget-strapped media companies are continuing to operate as usual while figuring out how to make a profit amid the economic slump induced by the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has infected over 16,000 people and killed more than 1000 according to official figures released on Thursday.As a result, the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) and AJI reported that 26 journalists were laid off, 21 were furloughed and 11 faced pay cuts or delays between April 3 and May 2.The government is allocating Rp 405 trillion (US$27.2 billion) to its coronavirus relief package, which allows restructuring of the micro-loan program (KUR) for up to six months and provides a free-fare utility for 24 million customers subscribing to the 450 volt ampere (VA) scheme and a 50 percent discount for 7 million customers of 900 VA for three months.“We, the Association of Media Companies and Profession, urge the government to expand the stimulus beyond the Rp 405 trillion stimulus package that has been decided,” said Agus.Topics :last_img read more

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Beni Stabili, Investire, Polaris create €7bn fund manager in Italy

first_imgThe shareholders of Beni Stabili Gestioni SGR, Investire Immobiliare SGR and Polaris Real Estate SGR have approved a merger between the three Italian fund managers.The move will create a new entity with €7bn of institutional assets under management and a portfolio of more than 30 funds.The new company will focus mainly on social housing, as announced by Fondazione Cariplo, majority shareholder of Polaris Real Estate SGR.It is expected the merged company will be the second-largest real estate fund manager in the country after IDeA Fimit. The merger between the three managers was announced earlier this year.Last week, the shareholders signed a final agreement outlining the governance and ownership structure of the new company, which is expected to start operating in January 2015 after regulators give a final go-ahead.Mediobanca and Lazard are acting as advisers within the transaction, according to reports in Italian media.The agreement was signed by Beni Stabili, the listed owner of Beni Stabili SGR, Banca Finnat Euramerica, which controls Investire Immobiliare SGR, and the shareholders of Polaris Real Estate SGR, which are Fondazione Cariplo, Italian surveyors’ pension scheme CIPAG and Fondazione Cassa di dei Risparmi di Forlì.An SGR (società di gestione del risparmio) is a platform dedicated to managing real estate funds under local regulations for institutional investors.Beni Stabili, an Italian REIT (or SIIQ) has been in the news recently as its board approved a €150m capital increase and new bank loans worth €500m, aimed at repaying debt used to finance a property portfolio leased to Telecom Italia.last_img read more

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