Gang of Former Colombian Paramilitaries Begins to Surrender to Law Enforcement

first_img Around 425 members of a Colombian criminal gang, made up in part of former paramilitaries, began to turn themselves in to law enforcement officials in Villavicencio (in southeastern Colombia) on Thursday, as part of a process of “surrender,” spokespersons for the Public Prosecutor’s Office announced. “At this time, 36 individuals have arrived from Vichada (a department on the border with Venezuela). We’re expecting two other groups with around 82 individuals,” Carmen González, the national director of the Technical Investigation Corps (CTI) of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, told reporters. Eberto López, alias ‘Caracho,’ one of the two leaders of the Anti-subversive Popular Revolutionary Army of Colombia (Erpac), as this criminal gang calls itself, is believed to be a member of one of these groups. The official spoke at the exit from the facilities of the Las Malocas recreational center, located near Villavicencio (100 km southeast of Bogotá), where the authorities are receiving the Erpac members. González explained that this is an act of “surrender to law enforcement” by the members of this criminal gang employed by drug traffickers, one which does not imply any promises by President Juan Manuel Santos’s administration. The CTI director also indicated that the remaining Erpac members, who offered to turn themselves in to the authorities and who have been operating in the department of Guaviare (in southeastern Colombia), will arrive in Villavicencio, the capital of the department of Meta, on Friday. On another subject, she indicated that in two locations that she did not specify, the criminals turned over to the Public Prosecutor’s Office 47 rifles, 53,000 cartridges of ammunition, and a machine gun. She also specified that among the illegal group’s 425 members, 4 are women, and whether there are any juveniles is unknown. Meanwhile, the coordinator of the Criminal Gang Unit of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Luis González, revealed that this illegal group’s process of disarmament and surrender to law enforcement “began a month ago with the sending of a letter, signed by the organization’s leaders, in which they expressed these intentions.” The arrival of the Erpac members in Villavicencio also attracted family members of people who have disappeared in the country’s south and southeast, with the idea that some of their relatives might be among the group that surrendered to law enforcement. One of these was Hercilia Gallo, who told AFP that she hoped to find her son. According to the woman, her 18-year-old son disappeared in November 2010, in the town of Acacias (Meta). “My heart as a mother tells me that I can find him here,” said Gallo, one of many women gathered on the outskirts of Las Malocas. Erpac is one of around a dozen criminal gangs active in Colombia, made up in part of former paramilitaries who did not participate in the demobilization process negotiated by the United Self-Defense Units of Colombia (AUC, an extreme right-wing group) and carried out between 2003 and 2006. These gangs devote themselves to drug trafficking, among other crimes, and according to the police, they constitute the greatest threat to public order in Colombia. Ariel Ávila, a researcher with the Nuevo Arco Iris corporation and a specialist in the country’s armed conflict, indicated that the surrender of these fighters is probably related to the domination of the eastern Llanos region (in eastern Colombia) by another criminal organization, led by the drug trafficker Daniel Barrera, alias “El Loco Barrera” [“Crazy Barrera”]. This group is believed to have left the members of Erpac without protection following the death of their highest-ranking leader, alias “Cuchillo” [“Knife”], who was killed by the police in December 2010. According to Ávila, the group’s surrender is a consequence of its marginalization by “El Loco Barrera,” who is allied to another powerful criminal gang active in Colombia, “Los Rastrojos” [“The Stubble”]. “They were left unprotected because ‘El Loco Barrera’ stopped paying the ‘double payroll’ to members of government forces” who turned a blind eye to their activities, the researcher, who is conducting a study of the criminal gangs in this region, explained. This would be the first surrender of this size since the large-scale demobilizations of paramilitary militias that took place in the context of negotiations between Álvaro Uribe’s administration (2002-2010) and the AUC. By Dialogo December 27, 2011last_img read more

Brazil Hosts Global Airspace Monitoring Agencies

first_imgBy Taciana Moury/Diálogo September 05, 2018 The Regional Monitoring Agencies (RMA) Coordination Group met in Brazil for the 13th edition of its annual meeting. Members of 11 of the 13 airspace monitoring agencies worldwide—representing 188 countries—participated in the event held June 11th–15th, in the Brazilian Air Force’s Military Convention Center and Lodgings, in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Accredited by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), RMAs monitor compliance and operational safety in the Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) airspace. RVSM, implemented at altitudes of 29,000 feet to 41,000 feet—where most commercial aircraft travel—reduced the standard vertical separation between aircraft from 2,000 to 1,000 feet, increasing airspace capacity. RMAs are responsible for the control and oversight of operations in RVSM airspace. In Brazil, the Caribbean and South American Regional Monitoring Agency (CARSAMMA), responsible for the area between the Gulf of Mexico and Patagonia, fulfills this role. CARSAMMA covers 38 countries. Standardization of procedures The 13th edition of the meeting was hosted by CARSAMMA and sponsored by the Department of Airspace Control (DECEA, in Portuguese), a division of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese) that provides administrative support to the agency. Jose Luis Perez, head of RVSM Monitoring Program of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, led the discussions. According to FAB Major Marcio Rodrigues Ribeiro Gladulich, head of CARSAMMA, the meeting enabled the standardization of procedures performed by monitoring agencies worldwide. “The meetings are crucial to develop efficient work,” he said. For Nonjabulo Gumede, member of the Africa and Indian Ocean Regional Monitoring Agency, integration among agencies is crucial to strengthen traffic patterns. “The constant implementation of new technologies further highlights this need, so that all agencies can speak the same language and act according to efficient and safe parameters,” he told FAB’s press agency. On the 2018 agenda: new altitude monitoring systems, security and vertical collision risk assessment and evaluation methods, RVSM airspace operational performance, compliance regulations, and the exchange of statistical data and information among RMAs. “The meeting also allowed for the improvement of metrics used in safety assessments and incident increase alerts for certain types of aircraft,” Maj. Gladulich said. According to FAB Colonel Luiz Roberto Barbosa Medeiros, head of Planning and Control of the International Air Navigation Studies Commission, the DECEA division that organized the meeting, the functions performed by monitoring agencies are fundamental for international aviation. The officer also highlighted the importance of such meetings for efficient work practices. “Technical adjustments and exchange of experience for RVSM operational safety worldwide take place during these meetings,” he said. Improvement in air operations Other important points discussed during the meeting were the implementation of a global bulletin addressing non-certified aircraft using RVSM; the Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast; the implementation of the Performance-Based Communications and Surveillance Monitoring System; and solutions for data exchange, among other topics. Brazil held the first RMA Coordination Group meeting in 2017. The meeting enabled a category change for different aircraft models. “By re-evaluating the minimum monitoring requirements, we were able to redistribute aircraft among various standard categories, increasing their reliability and reducing the number of certification flights,” explained Maj. Gladulich. “This will result in savings for the aviation community.” The South Atlantic Regional Monitoring Agency will host the 2019 meeting to be held in Spain.last_img read more

3 Months After Bombings, Obama Seeks New Military Force Authorization

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Lost in President Barack Obama’s hour-long press conference following his party’s embarrassing defeat on Election Day Tuesday was an unsolicited offering that he’ll be seeking Congressional approval for a new version of the Authorization to Use Military Force Act to fight the Islamic State.Obama’s request for a new AUMF comes three months after the US launched airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Iraq, and later in Syria. The Obama administration has used previous versions of the AUMF—one passed in 2001 and another in 2002—to justify the bombings. Left unanswered Wednesday was why a new version is necessary if the Obama administration already believes it has the authority to bomb Iraq and Syria under existing law.“We do not believe the President needs that new authorization in order to take sustained action against ISIL,” a senior administration official said in a background call with reporters in September. “We believe that he can rely on the 2001 AUMF as statutory authority for the military airstrike operations he is directing against ISIL, for instance.”Shortly after Obama announced increased bombings against Islamic State, which also goes by ISIS or ISIL, some started to question whether those actions were legal. Others speculated that Congress was reluctant to vote on the escalated military campaign because the election was only two months away, suggesting members of the US Senate and House didn’t want to be judged on which way they voted.With the election over, Obama said he’ll be “engaging” Congress regarding an ISIS AUMF.“The world needs to know we are united behind this effort, and the men and women of our military deserve our clear and unified support,” he said.The 2001 AUMF, enacted shortly after 9/11, gave President George W. Bush the authority to use armed forces against those that planned the attack, meaning al Qaeda, which ISIS is no longer affiliated with. The 2002 law authorized using military force against those same perpetrators and enables the president to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq.”There has been a complete reversal regarding Obama’s vision for both authorization acts over the last 17 months.Back in May 2013, Obama gave a speech at the National Defense University in Washington D.C. in which he talked about possibly doing away with the original AUMF.“Groups like AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States,” he said. “I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate.”Earlier this year, Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in which she called the Iraq AUMF “outdated,” and stated that the “Administration fully supports its repeal.”That was before ISIS claimed large swaths of Iraq and began beheading Americans and other westerners captured there and in Syria.“We now have a different type of enemy,” Obama said Wednesday. “The strategy is different. How we partner with Iraq and other Gulf countries and the international coalition—that has to be structured differently. So it makes sense for us to make sure that the authorization from Congress reflects what we perceive to be not just our strategy over the next two or three months, but our strategy going forward.”But why now?last_img read more

This will really make Americans save

first_img 17SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Can a doctored webcam photo save your retirement?Maybe.Prudential Retirement executives last fall installed a photo kiosk at an employee benefits fair so people could see pictures of themselves altered to look 65 years old or so. The reactions were “priceless,” said Jennifer Putney, vice president of participant engagement—but that wasn’t all. The number of people who enrolled in a retirement plan or increased their contribution rate went up 60 percent from a year earlier, before the kiosk was installed, she said. (Tweet This)With another benefits enrollment season upon us, tools like photo doctoring are proliferating—firms like Merrill Edge even use webcam images to provide the service online—as behavioral scientists search for ways to use ingrained patterns of behavior to induce people to save more for retirement.“A lot of self-control problems” like poor diet and exercise habits “are difficult to help people with,” said Shlomo Benartzi, accounting professor and co-chair of the behavioral decision-making group at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and chief behavioral economist at the Allianz Global Investors Center for Behavioral Finance. “What’s unique about retirement is it’s a more controlled setting where we can actually help people.” continue reading »last_img read more

The two big issues bank CEOs have with FinTech

first_imgFor all the talk about how well FinTech start-ups are doing, I hear two regular laments from bank CEOs. First, why aren’t we valued like FinTechs? and second, why aren’t FinTechs regulated like us.On the first point, it’s quite clear that FinTech start-ups are being valued on potential and not reality. When a Stripe is worth more than three Commerzbanks or an Ant Financial is seen to be worth more than ten Deutsche Banks, then sure, bank CEOs are a bit pissed off. As Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon put it, the bank is “getting absolutely no credit from anybody else in the investing community” on the firm’s digital banking efforts. Monzo gets two million customers in the UK and gains a $1.3 billion valuation; Goldman Sachs launch Marcus, get four million customers, $1 billion in deposits a month, launch a credit card with Apple, and its share price falls almost 20%. As Solomon states it: “If we were out in Silicon Valley and made 20% of the progress that we’ve made, we would get a lot of credit and people would be throwing money at us to own a piece of this business. But nestled inside little old Goldman Sachs, we’re just going to have to prove it over time.”Yea, yea, yea, yada, yada, yada.This first point is indicative of the fact that the banking sector is measured by real returns whilst the start-ups are measured by hope. Banks have shareholder return, return on equity, return on investment and so on and so forth. Real measures against real results. A start-up has a million customers, some of whom are active. It’s all about how you dress it up. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

‘It’s expected’: Chenango County says spike in cases no cause for concern

first_imgWhile 15 positive test results have come back in the past eight days, Sutton said there’s a different statistic his department is using to gauge the spread of the virus. “The goal is to get to a point where we are not doing positive transmission, so that every case is not infecting one person, so every case is infecting less than one person and your outbreak is controlled,” Sutton told 12 News Tuesday. “That’s where we really want to get to.” Isaiah Sutton of the public health department said more than 1600 tests have been conducted in the county over the past week; that’s more than one-third of all tests conducted in Chenango County since the pandemic began spreading locally in March. (WBNG) — Public health officials in Chenango County told 12 News they aren’t worried about the rise in COVID-19 cases largely because of one factor: testing. Sutton said there has been a slight increase in the number of exposures recently, a mild cause for concern but more alarming than the increase in positive cases. He said there’s no evidence yet tying the increase in exposures or cases to the county’s reopening.last_img read more

Portugal Launches Tender for Vasco da Gama Terminal in Port of Sines

first_imgThe Portuguese government has issued a tender for the development of the Vasco da Gama container terminal at the Port of Sines, seeking a concessionaire who would invest in the project.The successful contender is expected to invest an estimated EUR 642 million (USD 708 million) in the terminal that will have an annual handling capacity of 3.5 million TEU.The government further noted that the facility would be capable of hosting 24,000 TEU boxship giants thanks to a 1,375 meter quay with three simultaneous docking positions.According to the government, the concession contract is expected to be awarded in the last quarter of 2020, with work on the project starting in 2021.It was noted that the Vasco da Gama terminal would be built and financed exclusively by private funds through the concessionaire. The concession space will remain in the public domain under port jurisdiction.Related: Up to USD 613 Mn to Be Injected in Portugal’s Port of Sineslast_img read more

Update* Storms Prompt Change Of Venue, Time For “Frozen”

first_imgUpdate (10:55 a.m.)Due to the threat of showers and storms this evening the free showing of the movie “Frozen” has been changed to the Gibson Theatre beginning at 7 p.m.First Report (6:50 a.m.)BATESVILLE – A free showing of the family favorite movie “Frozen” will be held tonight at Liberty Park.The film starts at 7:30 p.m. inside the pavilion. The free movie event is presented by Batesville Parks and Recreation and the Gibson Theatre. Coolers and chairs are welcome and free popcorn will also be available.If you haven’t seen the film here is a plot summary featured on IMdB.com:Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.Park Superintendent Chris Bradford says a free movie event will also be held next month and the film will likely have a Halloween theme.last_img read more

Erickson: Johnson’s search for a men’s job should continue

first_imgWisconsin women’s hockey head coach Mark Johnson is a legend on the ice and as a coach, but it seems things aren’t exactly going his way in the latter arena.Last fall Penn State received an $88 million private donation intended for a start-of-the-art hockey arena and to found a Division I men’s and women’s hockey program.With an impressive resume, Johnson applied for the job, but lost out to Princeton’s Guy Gadowsky. Johnson told Madison.com he wasn’t certain he’d take the job if offered, but he had high enough interest in the position to visit Happy Valley for an interview.This hasn’t been the first time Johnson has lost out on the head coaching position for a men’s team.Johnson first started coaching at the collegiate level in 1996 as an assistant coach for the UW men’s team. But in 2002 when the new head coaching job opened up for both the men’s and women’s teams, Johnson was beat out by former teammate and current head coach Mike Eaves for the men’s team opening. Johnson then took over the women’s program.In their time here, both coaches have led their teams to national championships – most notably in 2006 when they both won. Johnson continued to bring his team back to the national championship game, winning in 2007, 2009, 2011 and finishing runner-up in 2008. If you’ve already forgotten, Eaves also led the men’s team to the national championship game in 2010 as well.For Johnson, in his eight years with the women’s team – he took 2010 off to coach the U.S. Olympic squad – he’s led Wisconsin to five national championships, winning four of them. Pretty impressive.In that time he also led the 2010 U.S. women’s Olympic team to a silver medal and won the WCHA coach of the year award in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011. Each year his squad has won a national championship he was also honored as the AHCA coach of the year.His resume speaks volumes, but for some reason he just can’t seem to land himself a coaching job with a men’s team.Johnson has always mentioned he enjoys coaching women’s hockey – probably due to the fact their egos are virtually nonexistent. But with accomplishing nearly all he can for a team, of course he’s going to want to move onto something new.As sad as it would have been to see him leave UW – after all, he played here while coached by his dad “Badger” Bob Johnson – he’s done about as much as anybody could possibly do for the sport of women’s hockey and the sport still isn’t receiving the attention or respect it should after 10 years in the NCAA.Women’s hockey rarely gets televised and has to play national championships in arenas that are shockingly unworthy to hold such an event. (For more on this see my column from March 25). Despite taking a program and transforming it into one of the best in the nation – if not the best – and in effect bringing more attention to the sport itself, people just tend to look the other way while still praising Johnson for his career on the ice.If there was anything else he could possibly do for the sport it would be to bring back gold instead of silver from the Olympics and that wasn’t even all on him.Having done all he can for one side of hockey, Johnson deserves the chance to coach a men’s team. It’s a different brand of hockey and a little closer to home for him. But by no means should he wait for Eaves to leave the Badgers before trying to take that next step.The perfect opportunity arose with Penn State establishing a hockey program. While he didn’t get the job in the end, there was no reason he shouldn’t have gone after it. Sure he has so many ties to Wisconsin that the idea of him coaching here is all too perfect, but let’s be honest, if it was a perfect situation he’d be in charge of the men’s team, not the women’s.With these ties in mind, there’s no reason Johnson should hold back from moving on to a new challenge if he sees fit. If athletes always had to play by this idea of being part of the organization they have the most ties to or is essentially their home, Aaron Rodgers would be playing for the 49ers, the NHL itself would get a complete makeover and Kevin Garnett would have never left the Timberwolves.Sounds ridiculous right?Wisconsin is certainly lucky to have Johnson around for a little longer. Whether they win four more national championships in the coming years or come close, the Badgers have the opportunity to keep one of greatest to ever be a part of the game.Without Johnson, hockey would certainly be missing something. But UW has to know they won’t be able to hold onto him forever.Kelly is a sophomore intending to major in journalism. Do you think Mark Johnson should forever remain a Badger? Let her know at kerickson@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

Geistlinger & Hayes: Everything you need to know about Saturday’s CFB lineup

first_imgNow that the halfway point in the 2016-17 NCAA College Football season has come and gone, The Badger Herald Sports section is happy to introduce a weekly double feature that highlights the biggest games outside of Madison each Saturday.For any fellow College Football junkies out there, feel free to chime in and tweet any questions, comments or requests to @BHeraldSports for the column going forward.Football: No. 11 Wisconsin hosts No. 7 Nebraska as budding rivalry returns to MadisonAlthough the University of Wisconsin and the University of Nebraska football teams have met only 10 times in the program’s Read…No. 7 Nebraska (7-0) at No. 11 Wisconsin (5-2)Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WisconsinWhen: 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29TV: ESPN (Channel 660 on Residence Hall Cable) / WatchESPNLine: Wisconsin (-9.0)Since the University of Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011, its football team has faced University of Wisconsin five times. The Badgers have won four of those games by an average of 26.75 points. The Cornhuskers have not faired well in Madison. Their lone win was a 30-27 advantage in Lincoln during the 2012 season. Nebraska’s last three Big Ten games have come against teams boasting a combined 3-9 record in conference play. Their masquerade as an undefeated team ends in Madison this weekend.Geistlinger: Wisconsin 34, Nebraska 13Hayes: Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 19No. 3 Clemson (7-0) at No. 12 Florida State (5-2)Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FloridaWhen: 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 TV: ABC (Channel 607 in Residence Halls) / WatchESPNLine: Clemson (-4.0)The last few seasons have seen this game quickly blossom into a decisive brawl for ACC bragging rights, and the winner of this matchup has appeared in two of the last three national championships. Last season’s game was dead even through the third quarter, but Clemson University star quarterback Deshaun Watson and his fourth-quarter heroics gave the Tigers a 10-point edge by the final whistle. Florida State University has been too inconsistent to warrant a four-point cover from me. Clemson will win it, and Watson will have a defining performance for his stock in the race for the Heisman Trophy.Geistlinger: Clemson 27, Florida State 20Hayes: Clemson 31, Florida State 17Football: UW still searching for definitive starting five on offensive lineUnofficially, the University of Wisconsin football team used at least four different offensive line combinations during Wisconsin’s 17-9 win over Read…No. 4 Washington (7-0) at No. 17 Utah (6-1)Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City UtahWhen: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29TV: FS1 (Channel 672 on Residence Hall Cable)Line: Washington (-11.0)Many prominent college football analysts are trying to convince everyone in the central and eastern time zones that the University of Washington is a playoff-caliber team with a Heisman candidate in quarterback Jake Browning. For the most part, there is no choice but to believe this as most of us in the central and eastern zones don’t prefer to watch Pac-12 games with 10:30 p.m. kickoffs. At 7-0, Washington has rebounded from an embarrassing start to the season after defeating Rutgers University by only 35 points in Week 1. This line seems like it should probably be closer to two touchdowns.Geistlinger: Washington 45, Utah 21Hayes: Washington 34, Utah 28Geistlinger’s Upset Alert: No. 14 Florida (7-0) at Georgia (6-1)Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FloridaWhen: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29TV: CBS (Channel 603 on Residence Hall Cable)Line: Florida (-8)This SEC matchup between the University of Georgia and the University of Florida will be played at EverBank field, the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Georgia’s keys to victory lie in the hands of junior running back Nick Chubb and his ability to take pressure off of 18-year-old and true-freshman quarterback Jacob Eason. Thanks to things like miracle Hail Mary passes from University of Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs, close games have been cruel to Georgia this season. But I think this week the Bulldogs will conquer those demons and get over the hump against the Gators in a close one Saturday.Geistlinger: Georgia 28, Florida 27Football: No. 10 Wisconsin brings back Heartland Trophy to Madison with 17-9 win over IowaIt appeared Bart Houston had been discarded, cast away for the younger, more exciting option with an eye toward the Read…Hayes’ Upset Alert: No. 15 Auburn (5-2) at Ole Miss (3-4)Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MississippiWhen: 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29TV: WatchESPN (Streaming Only) / SEC NetworkLine: Auburn (-4.0)I think Auburn University stunned most of the country last Saturday with their 56-3 beatdown over the University of Arkansas at Jordan-Hare, but I am not sold on these Tigers just yet. On top of that, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is no easy venue either. Just look at the way the Rebels have challenged Auburn’s in-state rival and national powerhouse No. 1 University of Alabama during their last two visits. I’m taking Mississippi at home in The Grove.Hayes: Ole Miss 34, Auburn 21last_img read more