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U.S. Army’s Elite Train Belizean Forces To Build Partnership, Deter Illicit Trafficking

first_imgBy Dialogo May 11, 2010 Known for its beautiful coastlines and tropical weather, the Central American nation of Belize has been a destination for tourists all over the world. However, past the luxury ocean front hotels comes a realization many people are not aware of. Concerns about trafficking throughout the tiny nation have increased as operatives use Belize as a launching pad for trafficking. The upsurge in the illegal transit operations can be traced along many of Belize’s rural, remote areas, and vast ocean. It’s a problem that has been acknowledged by both Belizean officials and their American counterparts who are working in partnership in an effort to deter illicit movement within Belize’s borders. For members of Operational Detachment-Alpha or ODA, a detachment comprised of the U.S. Army’s elite Special Forces from the 7th Special Forces Group, it is a predicament they understand as the men advise and assist their Belizean Defence Force partners through training and mentoring. The goal of these efforts is to build the BDF’s military capacity in order to combat trafficking. “Belize is a cruise destination, but it has also become a trafficking destination,” said the SF officer-in-charge of the ODA. “Our goal is to build their collective capability, and get them operational in these remote areas to combat this problem.” The Army’s Special Forces are training a special group of Belizean soldiers who are assigned to the Belize Special Assignment Group (BSAG). Within Belize’s military, they are considered the first responders to handle illicit activities. This exchange is part of Special Operations Command South’s, the Homestead, Fla., based command that is responsible for all special operations in the Caribbean, Central and South America, theater security cooperation program. The program enables partner nations to better protect their borders and increase their capacity to conduct special operations. SOCSOUTH’s program also helps partner nations improve their training facilities, such as weapons ranges, in order to increase their military capacity. During the training, ODA personnel instruct their Belizean partners on a number of military skills, which include a range of advanced marksmanship, small unit tactics, first aid, and infantry maneuvers. All the training culminates in a field training exercise in which the American advisors employ practical scenarios into the training in order to prepare the BSAG troops for a real-life situation. “All of our training is based on real-world events in order to prepare them for unilateral operations,” said the SF officer. “We are working on the fundamentals so they can learn all the different skill sets, and ultimately, they can train themselves.” Their efforts in Belize are transforming the BDF into a highly trained special operations unit. During a recent trip to a marksmanship range, Belizean non-commissioned officers took charge of the training and guided their soldiers on the proper procedures of marksmanship. Although the American troops advised them on some aspects of the instruction, Belizean NCOs took the lead in conducting the training. It’s moments like this that make Belizean Cpl. Macario Salam proud to serve his country. “I feel it is important that our American partners trust me to train these men, especially since we are using live ammunition,” said Salam. “It is good that they let us train ourselves. They have confidence in us, and we are grateful for their training.” The accomplishments on the firing range came just days after the BSAG conducted a reconnaissance mission of a suspected trafficking route near the Belize-Guatemalan border, one of the first military operations of any kind along this remote, jungle area. This progress is a sign the SF men like to see. “We are here to advise and assist, but they are beginning to professionalize themselves. They have great non-commissioned officers. They are professional soldiers, and many of them have trained in British and Belizean jungle schools,” said the ODA SF team sergeant. “We have confidence in them; we have a positive relationship and know everyone by name. We have grown to respect their capabilities.” BSAG troops credit much of their success to the relationship that they have had with their American counterparts throughout the past few months. “They (U.S. Troops) are like our brothers,” said Salam, who has served in uniform for 11 years. “These men are veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their knowledge and experience have been very important for us to become better soldiers.” However, not everything comes easy, and many challenges plague military growth. Belizean soldiers feel that they can improve their capabilities with more resources. “We are dedicated and will fight no matter the resources, but we need the support to be there so we can effectively combat trafficking,” said Belizean Staff Sgt. Philip Coc. Despite the continued challenges, positive efforts have been made, such as the establishment of the Belize National Coast Guard (BNCG). According to the SF officer, the BNCG provides them the capacity to patrol their waters and deter the flow of trafficking. The SF officer also said that fighting trafficking also requires more than military strength and needs the involvement and cooperation of civilian organizations in order to be effective. “This is a full-spectrum fight which involves inter-agency cooperation with all agencies,” he said. “We have started communicating in order to gather the information we need to help us train and advise our partners for real-world missions.” The BSAG hopes to double in growth in the near future with a selection process, and new weapons will be given to them as they continue to fill their ranks. Ultimately, the goal for the ODA is to create combat multipliers to empower the Belizean military to eventually train themselves without American support. This goal is one that the BSAG strives to fulfill. “We want our country to be safe for the citizens and the tourists,” said Coc. “We have good training and the skills to engage any enemy. We are more than ready, but we need the continued support!”last_img read more

What’s worse for your career: boredom or stress?

first_imgWould you rather feel ho-hum or completely overloaded in the office? While neither state is ideal, boredom and stress create different types of problems for employees.Boredom at work isn’t just boring for sufferers – it also leads to larger issues at work that affect entire teams and companies. Studies have shown that feeling bored can lead to disengagement, sabotage, withdrawal, abuse of other team members and intentional failure – all of which can result in decreased productivity. Chronic workplace stress can lead to serious physical and emotional health problems, including heart disease and depression.Both boredom and stress affect huge numbers of employees. A 2015 Gallup study showed that nearly 70 percent of U.S. employees report being bored or disengaged at work, while a survey by Everest College found that 83 percent of Americans are stressed out by at least one thing in their workplace.But which is worse for your career? An informal polling of career experts reveals that more believe boredom tops stress in terms of the most damage you can suffer as an employee. “I firmly believe boredom is worse for employees than stress,” says Elle Kaplan, CEO and founder of LexION Capital. “While you don’t want your office to become the next Amazon, some levels of stress are good for a business.” continue reading » 39SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Mansford brews up £15m Cardiff redevelopment

first_imgWould 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 newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Modi enjoys twin triumphs for India’s Hindu nationalists

first_imgThis triggered religious riots that killed 2,000 people, most of them Muslims.A lengthy legal battle ensued, but in November — in a major victory for Modi’s BJP party — India’s top court awarded the site to Hindus, allowing a temple “touching the sky” to be built.Wednesday’s elaborate religious ceremony was shown live on television and was reportedly set to be beamed in Times Square in New York. Small celebrations also took place across India.A masked Modi, 69, shared the stage with the head of the RSS, the militaristic hardline Hindu group that is parent to the BJP and which Modi joined as a young man.”Not only mankind, but the entire universe, all the birds and animals, are enthralled by this golden moment,” chanted the main priest.”[Modi] is going to make his position permanently in history purely on the strength of this temple,” his biographer Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay told AFP. Full steam ahead Other actions have also alarmed Modi’s critics and delighted his fans.Last year, a new law made it easier for millions of illegal immigrants from three neighboring countries to get citizenship — but not if they are Muslims.More may be in the pipeline, including a mooted nationwide register obliging people to prove they are Indian, and a uniform civil code doing away with Islamic rules in areas such as marriage.”Clearly, it’s full speed ahead with the Hindu nationalist agenda,” Kugelman said. His critics see him as remolding the officially secular country of 1.3 billion as a Hindu nation at the expense of India’s 200 million Muslims, and taking it an authoritarian direction.”Modi has certainly been India’s most transformative leader in recent memory,” Micheal Kugelman, from the Wilson Center, told AFP, making him “wildly popular, but also highly controversial and quite divisive”.The holy city of Ayodhya in northern India has long been a religious tinderbox, providing the spark for some of its worst sectarian violence.In 1992, a Hindu mob destroyed a centuries-old mosque there that they believed had been built on the birthplace of Ram, an important deity. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took center stage Wednesday at a ceremony laying the foundations for a temple at a flashpoint holy site exactly a year after imposing direct rule on Muslim-majority Kashmir — twin triumphs for his Hindu nationalist government.The site at Ayodhya, and divided Kashmir, have been two of the most divisive communal issues of the past 30 years in India, and Modi has attempted to draw a line under both.For his fans, both steps confirm Modi — elected to a second-straight term in a landslide last year — as a decisive, visionary and heroic leader, and India’s most important in decades.center_img Righting wrongs Further cementing Modi’s place in his country’s annals is Kashmir, divided between India and Pakistan since 1947 and the spark for two wars and the source of much bloodshed.The BJP had long seen the special status enjoyed by the part of Kashmir controlled by India as a historical wrong, and on August 5 last year, Modi abolished it.An accompanying security operation turned the region into a fortress for weeks, with all telecommunications cut and thousands taken into custody.Even now, India has “maintained stifling restraints on Kashmiris in violation of their basic rights”, according to Human Rights Watch.People from outside Kashmir are now being granted the right to buy land for the first time.This has ignited fears that Modi wants to change Kashmir’s demographic makeup with an Israel-style “settler” project.Fearing protests ahead of the anniversary, on Tuesday thousands of Indian troops imposed a tight curfew in Kashmir. The streets were all but deserted the following morning.In Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Prime Minister Imran Khan — who on Tuesday released a new map showing all of Kashmir as part of Pakistan — was due to lead a protest march.”We will never accept, and neither will the Kashmiris, the illegal Indian actions and oppression of the Kashmiri people,” said Khan in a statement released on Wednesday. Topics :last_img read more

Gov. Wolf: We Must Protect the ACA and the More than 1 Million Pennsylvanians Who Will Suffer If It is Destroyed

first_img Healthcare,  National Issues,  Press Release Governor Tom Wolf today amplified his call to protect the ACA and provide health care for all amid threats as the US Senate Judiciary Committee hearings to confirm conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court begin next week and the pandemic ramps up across the country.“I’ve been talking about health care since I took office. And now, in the middle of a pandemic, it’s more important than ever,” Gov. Wolf said. “That’s why I’ve been out in the commonwealth over the past week or so talking about how health care affects Pennsylvanians, and what we are doing to make sure that every person in the commonwealth has access to the medical care they need during this pandemic and for years to come.”Since taking office, Gov. Wolf has expanded Medicaid so that more than 700,000 Pennsylvanians now have access to high-quality health care; fought to protect women’s reproductive rights by vetoing legislation that would infringe on those rights; spoken out against the ruling that struck down the ACA’s individual mandate; signed legislation to create a state-based health insurance exchange that will provide coverage in 2021; asked Congress time and time again to protect the ACA for all Pennsylvanians; and last week announced a health care reform package to lower costs, reduce inequity, improve transparency, and ensure quality care for all Pennsylvanians.Representative Carol Hill-Evans joined Gov. Wolf at the event, vowing to protect the ACA for her constituents.“I am pleased to stand with the Governor in York to ensure you I will do everything in my power to protect the Affordable Care Act for the 95th legislative district, keep my constituents insured, and create a fairer healthcare system for all,” Rep. Hill-Evans said.The event was held at Hannah Penn K-8 School in downtown York, part of the School District of the City of York. Superintendent Dr. Andrea Berry welcomed guests and discussed the benefits of having the Hannah Penn School-Based Health Center, a Family First Health clinic, housed in the school. The clinic – the only one of its kind in a school setting in the area – provides health care to many students and community members.“The physical location of the Hannah Penn School-Based Health Center within the Hannah Penn School demonstrates the potential of the Family First Health and School District of the City of York partnership to create neighborhood change,” Dr. Berry said. “In the coming year, we will take the next step on this journey to deepen our impact in the school and neighborhood and, through our collective connections, will work to drive systemic health outcomes for community residents.”Maureen Casey, a registered nurse, and constituent Stacie Ritter also joined the governor. Each guest spoke about their experience with the ACA and why it is imperative it is not dismantled.“Before the ACA, emergency rooms were overrun with people who had no choice but to use it as their primary care physician,” Casey said. “Nurses were treating patients with conditions that could have been managed, if only they could afford it. Sometimes it was too late. None of us want to return to those days, especially now that we face a pandemic, flu season on the horizon, and an economic recession that has families struggling just for the basics.”Stacie Ritter is a mother of twins, now 22, who were diagnosed with leukemia when they were 4 years old.“Here we are 10 years later still fighting to keep these ACA protections in place, but now in the midst of a global pandemic,” Ritter said. “We are fighting once again – with more than 200,000 dead – to protect our most vulnerable citizens from being discriminated against.”Gov. Wolf stressed that during a pandemic when our nation is facing a highly contagious, airborne virus that spreads rapidly when people gather together, it is extremely concerning that every Pennsylvanian doesn’t have access to health care coverage, especially the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, including those with pre-existing conditions who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19.“Right now, we need to be expanding access to coverage, in order to protect all Pennsylvanians; instead, the ACA is under attack at the federal level,” Gov. Wolf said.A case brought by Republican state Attorneys General will be argued before the Supreme Court in November that calls for the Affordable Care Act to be rendered unconstitutional based on a change to the ACA passed by the Republican-led Congress in 2017.“This is an unconscionable attack on access to affordable health care for millions of Americans, including one in ten Pennsylvanians under the age of 65, and it is particularly abhorrent in the midst of a public health crisis that is still unfolding,” Gov. Wolf said.Gov. Wolf also called on Congress to join in the fight to protect the ACA, especially as President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court has criticized both the ACA and legal rulings upholding it.“In the middle of a pandemic, and at a time when health care coverage for many Pennsylvanians is at risk, we must allow the people to have a voice in deciding the future of our country and our Supreme Court,” Gov. Wolf said. “That’s why I’m calling on Senator Toomey to uphold his own precedent from four years ago and commit to holding off on voting for or against any nominee to the Supreme Court until the general election is over and the next presidential term begins.“Pennsylvanians have a right to affordable, accessible health care. And they deserve leaders who will fight for that right. The most important thing we can do right now to protect health care for Pennsylvanians is to protect the ACA.” Gov. Wolf: We Must Protect the ACA and the More than 1 Million Pennsylvanians Who Will Suffer If It is Destroyed October 08, 2020center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

It’s not a porno, but a sexy video is enticing buyers to this Brisbane unit

first_imgThe video also has Ms Martinsson in bed with the couple.“We did a bit of an ending and I thought, ‘That’s a boring ending.’“So I thought, ‘Hang on! What if I just pop up between them,’ and we tried that and it kind of worked.”The closing scene has Ms Martinsson dropping into a bath between the couple who are sharing a romantic champagne moment. Agent Nathalie Martinsson (centre) is hoping ‘sex sells’ with the cheeky property video.In her amusing directorial debut, Ms Martinsson cast none other than the seller himself in a small screen spectacular that will raise a couple of eyebrows.“He’s pretty easy going so I felt like this was the right property to ask the vendor to be involved.”The mini-film includes a couple preparing for the day after what appears to have been a long evening.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home2 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor8 hours agoThe lady catches up on some light reading about orgasms while her gent heads to the shower.The flick then follows the couple throughout the day lounging, drinking and enjoying each other company while Ms Martinsson attends to their every whim.There’s also a slightly bizarre moment where the seller is dragged through the unit foyer to highlight the building’s facilities.The video features the seller as himself. The pool is perfect for a frolic … apparentlyOne Brisbane agent has taken video marketing to a new level.Nathalie Martinsson, a property consultant at Ray White Annerley, has adopted the age old approach of ‘sex sells’ to cut through with 11906/8 Harbour Rd, Hamilton.“I was just standing at an open home when no-one came through basically and thought, ‘What can I do that is a bit different?’”last_img read more

Market insight with REIQ Townsville zone chair, Damien Keyes

first_imgTownsville REIQ zone chairman, Damien KeyesTHE typical home ownership selling cycle is five to seven years, although this is lengthening in many areas of Queensland following the recent mining downturn. When someone decides to sell their home one of the decisions they must eventually make is to set a price for their home. It’s important to understand that there is no exact science to setting price. The first step is usually to begin your research online. There are websites that will reveal the price that similar homes in your area, or even your street, recently sold for. All of the major listings portals have “sold” sections where you can start looking. Here are some tips you can follow: ■ Make sure that when you make your list of recent sales, you only go back a maximum of six months. Anything older than that and the numbers will be stale as the market has likely shifted in that time. More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020 ■ If you live in areas that are experiencing rapid change in property prices, don’t look at any sales data older than about 12 weeks. ■ Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the home a few doors down is similar to yours and therefore should sell for the same price. They may have renovated inside or have backyard features that you can’t see from the street that add value to the sale price. ■ Be very wary of the price you get from an automated valuation model. Sites that use AVMs are using an algorithm to come up with an estimated value for your property and this can vary widely from app to app. Algorithms can’t replace a human valuation, which will always be more accurate and reliable. ■ Buyers should also be wary of relying on AVMs when negotiating with the sales agent. AVMs are not as accurate as comparative market analysis, which is a collection of similar properties and their sold price. After doing some online research, the next step is to begin interviewing agents who will help you refine your price and let you know how realistic your expectations are. Choose an agent who is very experienced in your area. Be aware that most homeowners look at their home through rose-coloured glasses and when they compare their home with nearby homes that sold well, affection for their own family home can blind them to differences, flaws and any issues that might affect price.Trust your agent and the advice they give you.last_img read more

Raiders Down Jets In Middle School Hoops

first_imgTuesday, December 8South Ripley at Hauser.Grade 7-South Ripley 41 Hauser 35The visiting Raiders survived a furious Jet comeback in the second half to hold on to a 41-35 victory. Lane Sparks led all scorers with 25 points, while Bryce Franklin added 7 and Brady Linkel chipped in 5 points.  The 7th graders improve to 10-1 on the season.Grade 8-South Ripley 36 Hauser 29Just like the 7th grade game, the visiting Raiders built a comfortable lead going into half-time, only see the Jets rally in the second half. South Ripley weathered the storm to post a 36-29 victory. Dakota Day finished with 12 points (10 in first half) while Eric Vickers and Jon Adkins each scored 6 points. Kaleb Rinear led the team with 4 steals and Vickers pulled down 5 rebounds.  The 8th graders are now 8-3 this season.Both teams are in action Thursday at home versus the Milan Indians, 6:00 tip.Courtesy of Raiders Coach Jeff Greiwe.last_img read more

State Road 56 closed due to multi-vehicle accident

first_imgDearborn County, In. — Law enforcement officials are on the scene of a serious crash on State Road 56 between Aurora and Rising Sun. Officials say the road will remain closed until the investigation is complete.Unconfirmed reports indicate a multi-vehicle occurred around 10 a.m. and both directions are closed. A medical helicopter has been requested.last_img

Fall edition of BCEF ‘Give Thanks’ program kicks off today

first_imgBatesville, In. — The Batesville Community Education Foundation (BCEF) is sponsoring a “Give Thanks” fall campaign to honor Batesville Community School Corporation (BCSC) employees, according to BCEF executive director Anne Wilson. As the holiday season approaches, BCEF wants to recognize those individuals who are having a positive impact on the lives of BCSC students.For a minimum donation of $10, any BCSC employee – past or present – can be thanked for a job well done. The donation deadline is Friday, November 9 in order to have a sign with the employee’s name placed outside the school before Thanksgiving.Donate online at Paper donation forms, which are available at every BCSC school building, can be mailed in, dropped off at the BCSC administration building, or returned to school.“During our spring campaign, there were 113 staff members recognized, which is the most to-date,” Wilson noted. “It’s a great way to thank a staff member and help students at the same time by donating to the foundation.”The Batesville Community Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established to provide additional funding for innovative learning opportunities that go beyond the basics in academics, athletics, and the arts in the Batesville public schools, enhancing the educational environment for all students.More information about BCEF can be found at or Wilson may be contacted at or 812-934-2194.last_img read more