A ten-year-old girl kidnapped in Colombia on September 29 was freed in the Arauca region on October 17, through the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced via his Twitter account. “We celebrate the release of Nohora Valentina. We thank the ICRC for its efforts,” the president wrote, without giving more details. Nohora Valentina Muñoz, daughter of Jorge Muñoz, the mayor of the municipality of Fortul, in Arauca, was kidnapped along with her mother by armed men while on her way to school. The mother was released shortly afterward. On October 17, the girl arrived home in a black pickup truck, escorted by members of the Colombian Army and police. “I’m thankful for those who helped free me,” the girl told reporters before going inside. General Jaime Reyes, commander of the Army’s 18th Brigade, indicated to reporters that the release took place in the municipality of Arauquita, “only a few kilometers from the border with Venezuela,” where factions of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) operate. The ICRC had unsuccessfully attempted a mission to obtain the girl’s release on October 14, for which purpose Santos’s administration suspended military operations in one sector of Arauca for several hours. “The ICRC’s participation in this handover was requested by the girl’s family and by the armed actors who held her captive. The ICRC thanks all parties for the trust placed in the institution and the facilities offered by the Colombian Government,” a statement by the humanitarian organization added. The ICRC did not clarify the identity of the kidnappers. The Colombian government had requested that Venezuela prevent the kidnappers from possibly moving the child to that country. The FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN), both leftist guerrilla groups, are active in the area, which is rich in oil. Criminal groups and drug traffickers also have a presence. By Dialogo October 19, 2011
By Kay Valle/Diálogo November 10, 2020 On October 22, the U.S. government donated two field hospitals to Guatemala’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance to support the fight against COVID-19. The hospitals have a total capacity of 80 patients and are equipped with water, power, air conditioning, and heating inside. The generators and 80 beds were also part of the donation.U.S. Southern Command and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) carried out the donation, valued at more than $548,000, through U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala William Popp, at the Mariscal Zavala Military Brigade in Guatemala City.The hospitals are equipped with beds, water, power, and air conditioning. (Photo: U.S. Embassy in Guatemala)On its Facebook page the U.S. Embassy indicated that the hospitals would support medical care in the Huehuetenango y Cobán communities.“We are receiving two fully equipped field hospitals that will be set up in areas where the COVID-19 [situation] is most complicated, where there is less coverage; we thank the U.S. government for this donation that will strengthen our activities,” Health Minister Amelia Flores said during the handover ceremony.For his part, Ambassador Popp stated: “The people of Guatemala have shown a great capacity to recover from this pandemic, taking strong and proactive measures to combat its spread. It is an honor to join […] to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and ratify our support for the Guatemalan people.”Guatemalan Army Colonel Rubén Tellez, director of the Ministry of Defense’s Press Office, told Diálogo that Guatemalan Army personnel, through the Humanitarian and Rescue Battalion, have been trained to set up the hospitals received and have provided strong support to government efforts to combat the pandemic.“The Guatemalan Army was actively involved in setting up temporary hospitals in Guatemala City, in Zacapa, Quetzaltenango, and Petén departments, in the Northern Air Command’s infirmary… thus increasing state capacity by more than 700 additional beds,” the officer said.The field hospitals join 12 military medical tents, 142 folding cots, and two power generators, valued at more than $240,000, that the U.S. government has donated to Guatemala to support their COVID-19 detection and treatment efforts.“I am grateful once again for this important effort of the U.S. government for Guatemala; we promise that [the equipment] will be used in the best way,” Minister Flores concluded.
Partisan attacks threaten judicial independence Partisan attacks threaten judicial independence Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Although the battle for state funding is largely over, Florida’s courts still face obstacles in getting needed money from counties and perhaps most importantly in challenges to their independence.Supreme Court Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead, speaking June 24 at the Judicial Luncheon at the Bar’s Annual Meeting, warned that partisan political influences are being exerted on the state’s courts and its judicial selection process.He began his talk by praising those who helped obtain legislative funding for the Art. V, Revision 7, changes made this year, that required the state to pick up a larger share of trial court operating costs.And he touched on challenges still facing the courts, including getting money for new judges and from counties, which still have a role in trial court financing.But Anstead saved his gravest warnings for what he said are growing partisan attacks on the independence of the Florida judiciary.He warned about “the increasing political partisanship that is eroding confidence in our outstanding merit selection process and its concomitant effect on our judiciary.”Around 30 years ago then-Gov. Reuben Askew campaigned for and got the merit selection system for filling judicial vacancies. It called for nine-member judicial nominating commissions, of which the governor only appointed three members. The Bar appointed three, and those six selected three public members.That system was created, Anstead said, to keep politics out of the selection process, because “Gov. Askew strongly believed that judicial appointments were too important to be handed out as political awards.”Indeed, the chief justice recalled that Askew’s first merit appointment to the 15th Circuit bench was a Republican, John Beranek, who went on to serve on the Fourth District Court of Appeal.But in 2000, the legislature changed the law and allowed the governor to appoint all nine members (although four are from slates nominated by the Bar), and political influence has begun seeping in, Anstead said.“There have been numerous press reports of partisan political influences being exerted on commission members,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a dangerous trend.“In addition, there have been attempts to exert partisan influences and pressures. . . all the way up to the Supreme Court.”Anstead attributed those pressures to “a total lack of understanding of the functions of the court and the rule of law. Checks and balances means there will be disagreements. Good faith disagreement among the branches and even within the judicial system itself is good and healthy.”He added, “My emphasis is on good faith. We must all recognize that the rule of law would be meaningless if the rule of law is not supported by an independent judiciary free of political influences of the other two branches.”Without independence, the judiciary is not free to make correct, but controversial, decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education, the chief justice said.And he noted that independence is what emerging democracies are seeking to emulate to guarantee their freedoms are maintained.It’s up to citizens, and especially officers of the court, to see that the judicial system remains independent and impartial.“The rule of law is not a liberal value or a conservative value and it certainly is not a Democratic value or a Republican value,” Anstead said. “Rather it is an American value; an American value that we, like President Bush, hope someday will be a universal value. But we only restrict it if we infect it with a partisan value that will someday destroy its independence.“There are news stories that the governor of Texas has guaranteed the outcome of some cases because of his appointments to the Texas Supreme Court. Please, please, never let that happen in Florida,” he added.Anstead pointed to the Revision 7 funding battle as proof that court supporters can have a positive impact when they unite on a problem. He named circuit judges Susan Schaeffer, Stan Morris, Joseph Farina, Charles Francis, John Laurent, Belvin Perry, Jeffrey Arnold, Nelly Khouzam, Beth Bloom, as well as 17th Circuit Court Administrator Carol Ortman, immediate past Bar President Miles McGrane, and State Courts Administrator Lisa Goodner as examples of judges and public officials who led the fight to get adequate court funding.But while the Revision 7 funding battle was resolving to the courts’ satisfaction, Anstead said the courts weren’t doing so well on getting more judges to deal with ever-rising caseloads. Last year, amidst budget cuts in the weak economy, the courts didn’t get any new judges.This year, when the Supreme Court asked for 88 new judges, the governor, the House, and the Senate all agreed that more judges were needed, Anstead said, but none were approved because of personal political disputes between House and Senate leaders.The good news is there are new House and Senate leaders taking over without the baggage of past animosities, Anstead said, and he asked for support for judicial certification next year.He also said despite the increased state monies under Revision 7 for trial courts, counties still have significant responsibilities for court funding, and the court system is looking at a $10-million deficit statewide in those funds.“So please, please, go to your chief judges and offer your thanks for their work in state funding, but offer your services to help with county funding,” Anstead said. July 15, 2004 Senior Editor Regular News
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Illustration by Jon MorenoWASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. government released a long-awaited geological report that contains startling news for the New York area.According to data released this morning, the whole of Long Island has begun to slowly drift northeastward, toward Connecticut.“The reason for this is unclear,” said a U.S. Geological Survey spokesperson, “but shock waves from the recent massive earthquakes in the Western Pacific basin might have loosened the crystalline bedrock on which Long Island has rested since the Paleozoic Age.”According to the report, the Island is drifting 96.52 cm (38 in.) per year—slowly enough to escape public notice, but fast enough to cause considerable damage when the North Shore of Long Island inevitably collides with the shoreline of Connecticut.“Shifting tectonic plates in our area,” continued the spokesperson, “could speed up this move dramatically. But it’s too early to calculate exactly how fast the Island will be traveling when it hits the mainland.”According to maps accompanying the report, Brooklyn will graze Westchester County and continue moving in a northeasterly direction until it comes to rest near Greenwich, Conn.On the eastern end, Montauk will wind up moving into Narragansett Bay.Manhattan and the Bronx will then be exposed directly to the Atlantic Ocean, and will develop miles of beaches along the East Side, stretching from Canal Street up to the previous site of the Throgs Neck Bridge. (These new ocean beaches will replace the entire FDR Drive and Avenues C & D.)Northport, LI, will run into Fairfield, Conn., a severe cultural shock for both communities. Not to mention the astonishment of Mattituck residents waking up to see the historic colonial homes of Old Lyme on the outskirts of their farms.Serious political and economic questions arise:Will Long Island continue to be part of New York State? Or will it become part of a new, expanded Connecticut?Will we actually understand our new senators and congressmen if they talk with odd Connecticut accents?Will wealthy residents of Westport and Fairfield be given access to Long Island beaches—or, as the area will be called, the “Connecticut Hamptons”?Will people from Manhattan forsake the Hamptons for the new “Manhattan Riviera”?Will business travelers continue to use LaGuardia and Kennedy airports, since they are now several hours away from Manhattan?And will the Nets and Islanders be able to draw a new fan base from Fairfield County, whose main sporting interests appear to be Jai Alai and World Wrestling?The governors of both states have called for a joint emergency task force to figure out if this “Island Drift” can be stopped, or at least slowed.Private talks with General Electric, manufacturer of some of the most powerful turbine engines in the world, hint at the possibility of multiple turbines being mounted on the North Shore of Long Island to push it back south, to its original location.But it remains unclear how this multi-turbine plan will overcome strict noise and environmental regulations in both Nassau and Suffolk counties.The U.S. Council of Vodka, Gin, Tequila and Rum Distillers were quick to announce their support for this joint task force, due to their serious concerns about whether “Connecticut Iced Tea” will have the same marketing clout as the current “Long Island Iced Tea.”In related news, a rumor that Texas has also come loose and might wind up separating from rest of the United States was greeted with enthusiasm from most other states.
34SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Liz Garster Liz Garster is AVP of Marketing & Client Services at TwoScore, a firm dedicated to helping credit unions achieve their strategic goals through marketing. Working in credit unions for over … Web: www.twoscore.com Details Hi, I’m here. You know, that Millennial that you want to join your credit union so badly? I’m sorry it took me a while to make it into your – oh, what do you call it? Branch? I overslept in my parents’ basement after a long night of polishing my participation trophies, and of COURSE had to squeeze in a quick avocado toast and mimosa brunch before heading over.(Okay, sarcasm aside, avocado toast easily ranks in my top 10 favorite foods, but if you pay $19 for it you’re really doing it wrong…)I’ve heard through the grapevine that my generation is the hot topic of your board meetings and strategic planning sessions. You want more people like me to bank with you to keep the credit union movement thriving. Always wanting to help, I’m here to give you what you’ve been asking for – a step-by-step guide outlining how you can appeal to me and my cohorts in four easy steps!STEP 1: Remember, we’ve been here before.While Millennials are talked about like they’re aliens in the media, it’s important to remember that older generations have long been mystified by younger generations and what motivates them. For example, while the quote below could have easily been written two weeks ago, the author of this Time Magazine cover story from July 1990 is making generalizations about Generation X, not Millennials:“They have trouble making decisions. They would rather hike in the Himalayas than climb a corporate ladder… They crave entertainment, but their attention span is as short as one zap of a TV dial… They postpone marriage because they dread divorce.”My generation isn’t the first—and it won’t be the last—to be labeled as narcissistic. Self-absorption is a trait often left behind as people age, so that reputation will begin to fade as Millennials get older (just in time for everyone to say the same thing about Generation Z!). So the fewer comments you can make about us not wanting houses or not caring about our retirement as you open our accounts, the better.STEP 2: Consider the humanity of Millennials.Reframe questions like “How do we connect with Millennials?” to “How do we connect with people?” Because at the end of the day, that’s all Millennials are. Just like any other bunch, we want to feel financially safe and secure. We have the same basic needs like transportation, food, and shelter that require money to fulfill. We want to believe we’ve made a good choice in selecting a financial partner. A generation can’t shift the foundation of credit unions’ “people helping people” philosophy. Listen to our financial needs and dreams and offer your assistance – just like you would anyone else.STEP 3: Don’t invest in technology for technology’s sake.Don’t overstretch to fill your credit union with shiny objects meant to entice us as “tech savvy” people. Technology, of course, is increasingly important in a world that is constantly innovating and evolving; however, if the technology you implement doesn’t provide a simple and efficient user experience, it’s time to re-evaluate. Rolling out underdeveloped or underperforming technological tools for the sake of being able to advertise them is always a bad move because as members adopt them and realize they’re cumbersome, you’ve branded yourself as the credit union with a clunky user experience. Millennials aren’t attracted to shiny new tech if it doesn’t do its job (and neither is anyone else). STEP 4: Stay true to who you really are.You might think it’s a great idea to completely redecorate your branch to look like the Apple store that just opened up at the mall. Just remember, we love you just the way you are, really. If that’s not your brand, Millennials will sense it. As long as you know your brand and embrace your differentiator(s), we’re likely to be enticed to do business with you. Straying from your credit union’s brand in the name of connecting with Millennials will only lead to service inconsistencies and a weakened brand experience, guaranteeing members of ALL generations will be heading for the door.
Blockchain and crypto and Bitcoin – oh, my! Faced with the reality of the cryptocurrency revolution, a lot of credit unions are acting like Dorothy and her friends tiptoeing through the forest, fearful of what lies around every corner. What’s a poor credit union to do?Let’s start with this: What shouldn’t a credit union do? The answer is simple. Nothing. Credit unions should definitely not do nothing. If your credit union is taking the ever-popular “wait and see” approach to blockchain and cryptocurrency, you’re going to see the crypto movement blow right past you as your credit union is vanquished to the Island of Irrelevant Financial Institutions. Your only consolation will be that you’ll probably see a lot of your friends there.Ok, then let’s buy a product with blockchain or public ledger in the name. That’ll fix things, right? Um, negative Ghost Rider. This approach tends to assume that blockchain is just a new technology toolset that you can use to do the same old things. Maybe you can do them a little better with a blockchain solution, but where’s the real innovation?The problem isn’t that banks and non-FIs are using blockchain and credit unions aren’t. Who cares? Your credit union needs to be concerned with the fact that your members – remember them? – are buying cryptocurrency. And they’re buying that cryptocurrency using actual US dollars. Where do those dollars come from? Your credit union, of course.Let’s be clear on that. In the current environment, cryptocurrency takes money out of your credit union, possibly never to return again. And every dollar that’s pulled from your credit union also erodes member loyalty just a smidgeon. Where does that money go when it leaves? Some members may choose to be custodians of their own digital assets; others may park those assets with an exchange. Both of these options come with serious risks, but what’s a poor cryptocurrency investor to do?Hmm. Maybe credit unions could solve that problem. Maybe they could take on a custodial role that prevents do-it-yourself screw-ups and also avoids the wild west hacking that exchanges have fallen victim to. Wouldn’t that be cool if credit unions could remain relevant in the crypto age by doing what they do best – protecting their members’ assets?Maybe I’m on to something. What do you think? 49SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John San Filippo John is the co-founder of OmniChannel Communications, Inc., a company that specializes in B2B marketing to community financial institutions. He started out in the savings and loan industry, but wisely … Web: www.omnichannelcommunications.com Details
The goal of the profession and the Government is to activate and employ the domestic labor force. A more appropriate solution for employers in tourism is a domestic worker for whom there is no need for demanding administration, providing accommodation if it is someone from the local area, and which completes the authentic experience in Croatia for the end guest. “We certainly welcome measures such as dual education, the promotion of vocational occupations in tourism and a possible future reduction in the wage burden as well as tax relief in tourism that would ensure more competitive wages for those in the EU, but we need help now., “Said Žgomba and added that an urgent solution is needed by approving an additional quota of foreign workers for tourism because we are questioning the viability of the branch that carries over 20 percent of GDP. RESPONSE OF THE MINISTRY OF LABOR AND PENSION SYSTEM TO THE EMPLOYER’S APPEAL IN TOURISM: EMPLOYERS CONTACT CES RELATED NEWS: The appeal for the workers was joined by travel agencies, which emphasize if workers fail to reach an agreement with several employers, that they should be deleted from the CES records because they represent a brake on the employment of those who really want to work – UHPA and UPA HGK point them out. “We ask the CES to send those 4.000 unemployed, of which 1.600 on the coast, who are available for work in the season and have expressed a desire to work in the season, immediately and within three days to employers in tourism who lack labor, and if not manage to reach an agreement with several employers, please delete them from the CES records because they are a brake on the employment of those who really want to work”Said Boris Žgomba, president of the Association of Travel Agencies of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. HUT AND HUP APPEAL: URGENTLY MAKE A DECISION TO INCREASE QUOTAS BECAUSE THERE ARE NO WORKERS AND THE SEASON IS IN DANGER UPA HGK and UHPA are leading professional associations in tourism that represent the interests of over 1800 registered companies for the activities of travel agencies and tour operators, employ over 6 thousand people and contribute to the realization of approximately 15 million overnight stays. Travel agencies also joined the appeal for workers, and due to the burning problem of labor shortage, Croatian tourism is threatened by the impossibility of opening part of the facilities, as well as the deterioration of the quality of service. “Tourism is still an industry of experiencing and transmitting local experience, and man is the key to success in tourism,Fain emphasizes. However, we have been facing for a long time that there are no such workers, and the structural solutions that are being implemented or announced are solutions that will give results in a longer period of time. WILL WE FINALLY INTRODUCE THE SLOVENIAN MODEL FOR IMPORTING FOREIGN WORKERS FROM NEXT YEAR? Insane technical problems with the registration of foreign workers The lack of quality and qualified workforce and the consequent decline in the quality of service in the hotel and catering industry will also be felt by travel agencies, whose quality of offer largely depends on that of other actors in tourism. They have the same attitude in the Association of Travel Agencies of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (UPA of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce). Both professional associations welcome electronic applications, but administration remains a problem. The processing of applications for the employment of a foreign worker takes several weeks, which is too long, especially for facilities where the season lasts only 12 weeks. “Professional associations support the efforts of the Government and the Ministry of Labor and Pension System, as well as activities such as Tourism Job Day, providing retirees with part-time work and increasing quotas in 2019, but as these measures do not solve the problem because over 5 workers are missing“Points out Tomislav Fain, President of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies (UHPA)