Panama’s Security Forces Intensify Anti-Drug Efforts

first_imgBy Dialogo November 11, 2011 In early October, police officers pulled over a delivery truck loaded with narcotics and fruit. The vehicle contained 50 packages of cocaine hidden among boxes of plantains and cassava in the town of Yaviza. Two adults and a youth also were arrested in the car heading for the public market in Panama City. But the fruit truck wasn’t the only big vehicle bust. A National Police cruiser spooked four suspects in a dark-colored Nissan Patrol SUV along the southern corridor of Don Bosco, causing the truck to make several reckless moves through traffic before getting stuck in a drainage ditch. The suspects fled on foot and remain at large but several large bags of marijuana were found, along with an AK-47 assault rifle and multiple rounds of live ammunition. Horses are also part of the smugglers’ new arsenal. Instead of loading the animals with gold to be carried across the isthmus as Spanish conquistadors did more than five decades ago, drug dealers are now using packs of horses to smuggle narcotics through rural areas of Panama. The State Border Service has caught on, however, as it recently busted a Colombian rider and four horses carrying 14 sacks containing more than 340 kilograms of cocaine in Molilla, in Kuna Yala. Also inside the saddlebags were 28 rounds for a 9mm pistol, two radios, two cellphones and four SIM cards for the phones. “In one year, Panama catches well over 75 tons,” Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli recently told reporters. “And every ounce of cocaine we seize means less drugs and less crime in the streets of the United States.” Something fishy about cargo The Casco Viejo fish market in Panama City isn’t immune from the drug trade either. National Police received a tip that narcotics were being smuggled through the market and transported from vehicle to vehicle. An ensuing raid of the area uncovered 26 kilograms of cocaine wrapped in a small blue plastic container. “We received a call at 1 o’clock in the morning saying that there was some suspicious activity taking place in the parking lot,” said Maj. Franklin Serrano of the Chorillo police station. “We were told that merchandise was being moved from one vehicle to another. The municipal police arrived there, and a blue container fell from one of the vehicles as it started being chased by the municipal police. That’s where we found the drugs.” In Panama, cocaine has a street value of about $3,000 per kilogram. Serrano told reporters: “We are also trying to figure out if the drugs were destined for the Panamanian domestic market. We suspect that there were a lot more drugs in that vehicle. The policemen who chased it said that it looked heavily loaded.” But even drug dealers are wary of getting ripped off. National Police recovered more than $23,000 from a Panamanian gang that had reportedly stolen it from traffickers in early October. The cash was recovered from two houses as part of a coordinated effort in the San Augustín district of Los Santos. That wasn’t the only withdrawal from narco-traffickers’ bank accounts by Panamanian forces. National Police apprehended an alleged smuggler near Colón who had presumably crossed the border illegally from his native Colombia. The runner was arrested with more than $450,000. “Security in the country has been increasing and have reduced crime and theft,” Martinelli told reporters. “We must continue working until the crime is down to levels that are tangible for the population. We must work tirelessly to provide more security.” Meanwhile, Panama’s Ministry of Public Security has completed a new Caribbean operations base in Puerto Obaldia, Kuna Yala. The base is a joint venture between the United States and Panama to prevent narcoterrorists from penetrating the region. “It also has an important meaning because it is a boundary point with our sister Republic of Colombia,” said Public Security Minister José Raúl Mulino. As Colombian officials celebrate the death of Alfonso Cano, maximum leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), officials of Panama’s National Police continue winning small victories in the battle against drugs. Cano’s killing at the hands of Colombian army troops came only a few days after a FARC jungle camp was destroyed by the Panamanian National Border Service (Senafront) in the remote community of Madugandí, in the province of Darién. Two alleged FARC members were arrested by Panamanian security forces, which are attempting to stop the flow of drugs coming in across the border from neighboring Colombia. last_img read more

12 personal finance skills everyone should master

first_img 54SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr I was happy to see that my son signed up to take a personal finance class in high school next year. I think mastering basic personal finance skills is one of the most important things you can do to improve your happiness and quality of life. But you’re a full-fledged adult. If you haven’t already, the earlier you start developing and using personal finance skills, the more time you have to reap the benefits.Here is my list of personal finance skills every frugal person should master.1. BudgetingSetting and following a budget is probably the most basic personal finance skill, yet only about one-third of people actually have a detailed budget. I went for years without an accurate budget, using my checking account balance as a rough gauge of how much money I had available to spend. Eventually, I realized this was a terrible way to run my personal finances. A detailed budget is necessary to get a handle on where your money is going and to start deciding where you want your money to go — instead of just watching it go away! continue reading »last_img read more

Leadership Matters: 6 practices to build a motivated workforce

first_img continue reading » 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr As nice as it would be, it is unrealistic to expect your whole workforce to be motivated all the time. However, a few simple practices can help build an environment in your credit union where employees are most likely to be motivated over the long term.The stakes are high: The overall cost of employee disengagement is estimated between $450 billion and $550 billion every year. Follow these six practices to ensure that you are not unknowingly draining the motivation from your employees.1. Build line of sight into your operating rhythm.Line of sight, the linkage between “what I’m working on” and “what the company is trying to do,” is fundamental to nurturing motivation. If employees—including those on the front line, interacting with members every day—don’t understand how they’re helping the credit union achieve its goals, they will feel unimportant at best and actively disengaged at worst.last_img read more

It’s a big week in Washington D.C. at CUNA GAC 2019!

first_imgOnce again the streets of D.C. are full of credit union advocates who have descended on our nation’s capital to attend “the premier event for political impact in the credit union industry.”In this morning’s General Session, CUNA President Jim Nussle will be giving an opening address that will be streamed live on Facebook starting at 9:30 a.m. EST. Following Nussle’s Speech, former senator and Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver the week’s first keynote address to the GAC crowd.Yesterday, the annual ED talk was given by New York Times Best Selling Author Alison Levine, writer of On the Edge and leader of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition in 2002. Levine’s experience with leadership in the face of adversity paints an inspiring picture of the obstacles one must face in order to be successful at climbing mountains or leading your credit union.“Even though you’re going backwards, you’re still making progress . . . Backing up is not the same as backing down…” Levine talked about the grueling up-and-down process to climb Mt. Everest, ascending to different level camps and then returning to basecamp to acclimate their bodies to the high-altitude conditions.As a leader, you can’t always charge forward, sometimes you have to go backwards for a bit.“Fear is okay. Complacency is what will kill you…”In order to survive the dangers of Mt. Everest, you can’t afford to be paralyzed by your fears. For credit union leaders, you have to get out and do your job even when you don’t feel like you can. According to Levine, “you can’t expect your team to endure anything you’re not willing to endure.”“Storms are temporary. You have to be able to take action based on the situation, not your plan.”Things won’t happen exactly as you’d like them to. Your plan is probably out-of-date as soon as you finish making it.“Calm doesn’t equal no risk…”Even when things seem to be going well, you never know what’s right around the corner. 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Pettit John Pettit is the Managing Editor for CUInsight.com. John manages the content on the site, including current news, editorial, press releases, jobs and events. He keeps the credit union … Web: www.cuinsight.com Details Check back for #CUNAGAC updates throughout the day!GAC underway, livestream of Nussle’s speech highlights MondayStrategic focus leads to successRecord-breaking 100 young professionals ‘Crash the GAC’Sunday scenes from the 2019 CUNA GACVideo: Fiserv giveback benefits children’s hospital, FoundationSunday’s top tweets from #CUNAGACComing to 2019 CUNA GAC? Here’s what you need to knowCan’t make it to CUNA GAC? Here’s how to follow the actionlast_img read more

NCUA board passes appraisals rule, receives MERIT briefing

first_imgThe NCUA board passed a final real estate appraisals rule, approved an exemption from the Bank Secrecy Act’s Customer Identification Program and heard a briefing on the new MERIT Examination system at its Thursday meeting.The appraisals final rule adopts the interim final rule approved by the board in June without change. It  defers the requirement to obtain an appraisal or written estimate of market value for up to 120 days following the closing of certain residential and commercial real estate transactions, excluding transactions for acquisition, development and construction of real estate.It will be effective as soon as it is published in the Federal Register and remain in effect through Dec. 31.CIP ExemptionThe board also authorized an order granting an exemption from the BSA CIP requirements for certain loans to facilitate purchases of property and casualty insurance policies. This is a joint order together with the other federal financial regulators expanding a related order issued in September 2018. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Russia says its vaccine is 92% effective

first_img– Advertisement – A heath worker injects the ‘Gam-COVID-Vac’, also known as ‘Sputnik V’, Covid-19 vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), into a patients arm during a post-registration phase trial at the City Clinic #46 in Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images Russia said Wednesday its coronavirus vaccine is 92% effective at preventing people from getting Covid-19, based on interim trial results.The announcement by Russia’s sovereign wealth fund RDIF came two days after U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said their vaccine was more than 90% effective in phase three trials.RDIF said the early results from its late-stage phase three clinical trial of the vaccine, called “Sputnik V,” showed that its efficacy was “based on the 20 confirmed Covid-19 cases split between vaccinated individuals and those who received the placebo.”- Advertisement – Observation of study participants will continue for six months before a full report of the phase three clinical trials is presented, RDIF said, but it noted that the interim research data will be published by the Gamaleya Center team, which developed the vaccine, “in one of the leading international peer-reviewed medical journals” without indicating when this might be.Vaccine raceThe Pfizer/BioNTech analysis evaluated 94 confirmed Covid-19 infections among its trial’s 43,538 participants. The partners said the case split between vaccinated individuals and those who received a placebo indicated a vaccine efficacy rate of above 90% at seven days after the second dose.The latest announcement from Russia comes a day after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced that the country was developing a third vaccine. He also said Moscow was ready to cooperate with all other countries on vaccines but warned against the “politicization” of the process.Russia has itself been accused of engaging in a vaccine race as drugmakers around the world try to develop an effective protection against the virus that has caused over 1.2 million deaths worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Russia has the fifth highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections, with around 1.8 million cases reported to date.center_img “Currently 40,000 volunteers are taking part in double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled Phase III of Sputnik V clinical trials, out of which over 20,000 have been vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine and more than 16,000 with both the first and second doses of the vaccine,” a statement published on the dedicated Sputnik V website said Wednesday.In August, Russia became the first country to register and approve a coronavirus vaccine. The announcement prompted concerns from some members of the international scientific community about the speed of the approval — the vaccine had not yet started phase three trials at that point — and lack of available data supporting Russian claims for the vaccine’s efficacy and safety.Russia published some data from early stage clinical trials in September and has repeatedly insisted that its vaccine is safe and effective. On Wednesday, RDIF said that “were no unexpected adverse events during the trials. Monitoring of the participants is ongoing.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

Department stars

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Italy shuts stores across country to fight virus

first_img“I can’t even recognise Rome now,” 30-year-old Muscovite Yekaterina said while posing alone for a photo by the usually bustling Trevi Fountain in the heart of Rome.Conte said the closure of nearly everything that had remained open would run for at least two weeks.How Italians will get by in the meantime is not entirely clear.”All shops will be closed except for basic necessities, such as pharmacies and food stores,” said Conte.”Bars, pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and canteen services will close. Home delivery is allowed.””No need to rush to buy groceries,” he stressed.Cash injection Conte’s announcement came hours after his government promised to spend up to 25 billion euros ($28 billion) to fight a disease that has put hospitals and the economy under intense strain.The size of Rome’s rescue was the same as one the European Union announced for the entire 27-nation bloc Monday.Italy’s Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said half the money would be used immediately and the other half stowed away and tapped should the health crisis spiral out of control.Part of the government’s cash injection is meant to help small businesses that are suffering the brunt of an implosion in the number of tourists who visit Italy’s art-filled churches and achingly beautiful hills.The government also put more meat on the bones of an emerging plan to let families temporarily suspend some mortgage and social tax payments.Gualtieri said “partial state guarantees” were being discussed to help Italy’s creaking banks survive a resulting cash crunch.Total shutdown Italy has witnessed nearly 60 percent of the deaths recorded outside China since the epidemic first started spreading from the Asian giant’s central Wuhan province in January.The government responded to the outbreak last month by quarantining 50,000 people in 11 villages that were worst affected in the north.That was followed on Sunday with social distancing measures in Milan’s Lombardy region and surrounding areas in which more than 15 million live and 40 percent of the nation’s economic activity occurs.The Lombardy measures were extended to all Italy on Tuesday morning.Conte’s announcement Wednesday ratcheted the restrictions up another notch.The multitude of measures have had a profound and slightly surreal effect on Italian life.The central streets of Rome were deserted on Wednesday evening and buses that are usually crammed with commuters ran almost empty.Tourists have essentially disappeared and the Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Square has closed to all but those who want to enter the basilica to pray under its soaring dome overlooking Rome.People have been told to keep at least a metre (three feet) from each other and handshakes are frowned upon. Italians have found themselves starting to talk to each other a few steps apart — while often laughing about the regulations along the way.”As soon as the emergency has passed, we will organise a free carbonara day for doctors, nurses and healthcare workers,” a closing note by a restaurant in Rome’s popular Trastevere neighbourhood said.Topics : Italy on Wednesday shut all stores except for pharmacies and food shops in a desperate bid to halt the spread of a coronavirus that has killed 827 in the the country in just over two weeks.Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the latest wave of restrictions in a dramatic appeal to the nation that came with the country of 60 million battling its biggest crisis in generations.”Thank you to all Italians who make sacrifices. We are proving to be a great nation,” Conte said in his nine-minute evening prime time address to the nation. Italians have watched ever tighter restrictions slowly eat away at the very fabric of everyday life.An existing clampdown on public gathering and basic travel had already emptied streets and shuttered everything from churches to restaurants.AFP photographers spotted masked sanitation workers in white nylon suits and rubber gloves spraying Florence’s deserted Saint Mark’s Square with disinfectant through a long hose.Cathedrals posted hand-written notes cancelling mass and cafes apologised to their regulars for having to turn them away.last_img read more

GFSCA Under-15 team to participate in USA Open tournament

first_imgGUYANA and West Indies Under-15 all-rounder Mavendra Dindial is among 14 players included in the Guyana Floodlights Softball Cricket Association (GFSCA)-sponsored team, set to participate in the third annual USA Open tournament scheduled for December 20-23.The tournament, organised by the Cricket Council of the USA, will be contested in three categories – Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 – and will be played at the International Cricket Council (ICC)-approved venue, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Lauderhill, Florida.According to the organisers, registration is open for teams and players with the top ten players guaranteed scholarships. The games will be broadcast live on MAQ Television.Romeo DindialThe promising and talented Dindial was part of the West Indies Under-15 squad who toured England last August under Cricket West Indies (CWI) High Performance coach Graeme West. He also represented Guyana in the regional Under-17 tournament, played in Trinidad and Tobago the previous month and was a permanent fixture in the Demerara Under-15 and Under-17 sides.Other notable inclusions are left-arm spinner Zachary Jodha, Arun Gainda, Romeo Deonarain and Alvin Mohabir who led the successful Demerara Under-15 team to victory over defending champions Berbice in this year’s Inter-county tournament.Jodha was part of Guyana’s Under-17 team which participated in the regional tournament in Trinidad and Tobago and was also a member of the Demerara Under-17 and Under-19 Inter-county teams.All-rounder Gainda, a product of Ogle Sports Club, donned colours for the Select Under-17 side in this year’s Under-19 Inter-county tournament while the versatile Deonarain made useful contributions with both bat and ball while he was a member of Demerara Under-15 Inter-county team. He also plays for the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC).The team will be managed by former Guyana and West Indies captain Ramnaresh Sarwan with Omechand Deonarian serving as assistant manager. The coach is former national player Hubern Evans while the physiotherapist is Dave Anand Mohabir and Lalta Gainda the technical assistant.The 14-man squad reads: Alvin Pradeep Mohabir, Nicholas Mukesh Shiopersaud, Gabriel Vivian Rookhum, Arun Gainda, Zachary Alexander Jodha, Romeo Deonarain, Nityanand Mathura, John Errol Persaud (Jr), Mavendra Dindial, Jonhatan Brayden Vang Lange, Dave Doobraj Mohabir, Ravindra Rovin Singh, Stephon Sankar, Premkumar Permaul.Meanwhile, the GFSCA squad will take on Blairmont Blazers Youths in two T20 practice matches on Saturday, December 17 at the Blairmont ground, West Bank, Berbice.The first game is scheduled to get underway at 09:00hrs.last_img read more

TENNIS: Federer gives lesson to young Milos Raonic at ATP World Tour Finals

first_imgRoger Federer was back in the groove at the ATP World Tour Finals as the six-time champion defeated Milos Raonic 6-1, 7-6 (7/0), while Japan’s Kei Nishikori made a dream debut with a surprise 6-4, 6-4 victory over Andy Murray on Sunday.Federer last won the prestigious season-ending event at London’s O2 Arena in 2011 and the world No 2 looks in the mood to add another title to his collection on the evidence of a powerful performance, featuring 24 winners, that avenged his loss to Raonic in the Paris Masters quarter-finals last month.Raonic, 23, is making his Tour Finals debut as the first player born in the 1990s to compete in the event after a breakthrough year that included a run to the Wimbledon semi-finals.But at 33, Federer has been in age-defying form this year and he arrived as the oldest player to qualify for the tournament in his record 13th consecutive appearance.Federer is set to become the oldest player to finish a season in the world’s top two and still has a slim chance of becoming the oldest player to end the season as world No 1 if he overhauls Novak Djokovic in the race for top spot.The 17-time grand slam winner brushed aside Raonic in straight sets in the Wimbledon semi-finals earlier this year and he wasted little time reestablishing his supremacy in their latest London meeting. Raonic has fired down over 1,000 aces this year and he looked to overpower the Swiss by firing down 138mph and 141mph bombs in his opening service game.But Federer wasn’t intimidated by that barrage, returning both massive serves to earn three break points that swiftly turned into a 2-0 lead.If that was disheartening for Raonic there was worse to come as Federer, defusing the Canadian’s serve with ease, broke again in the sixth game before closing out the set in emphatic fashion.Despite a chastening first set, Raonic showed commendable resilience and began to assert himself at the start of the second, forcing Federer to dig deep to save two break points in the fourth game.Raonic’s serve was in the groove now and, with his groundstrokes equally vigorous, the Canadian earned a set point at 6-5. Yet Federer managed to escape that predicament and forced a tie-break, which he took in ruthless fashion to seal the win.“I was very happy with how I performed. The second set was much tougher. I don’t think he played a great breaker but it was a great one to win,” Federer said.“It’s a small relief. We have a tough group here so it’s always going to be hard advancing but it brings me a step closer.”Nishikori is the first Asian singles player to qualify for the Tour Finals and he rose to the occasion with his first ever victory over former Wimbledon champion Murray at the fourth attempt.The 24-year-old had failed to win even a single set in those losses to Murray, but the last came over two years ago and he has improved greatly since then. He took the game to Murray right from the start and hit 20 winners in a 95-minute triumph that gives him a good chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.“Maybe in the beginning I was a little bit tight, but I started feeling better and the second set was almost perfect,” Nishikori said.“I knew I had to be more aggressive than usual and that’s how I won. It’s my goal to go to the semi-final and final.”Murray added: “It’s harder to qualify when you lose your first match. That’s pretty obvious.“I need to win my next two matches more than likely, and win them well if I want to go through.” On Monday, defending champion Novak Djokovic faces US Open winner Marin Cilic, while Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka plays Tomas Berdych.last_img read more