Operation Ágata Boosts Cooperation Between Brazilian Armed Forces and Civilian Agencies

first_imgIn addition to improving security, Operation Ágata also provides social welfare assistance for residents in the border regions where the Armed Forces conduct the initiative. Security and social welfare Most service members and government officers participating in Operation Ágata were assigned to checkpoints strategically positioned on land and waterways, where they intercepted, searched, and inspected vehicles and ships. “Everyone knows that the majority of drugs coming into Brazil passes through the strip where we are operating,” Brazilian Major General Carlos Saú, Chairman of the Joint Staff for the Western Operational Area, said. In 2015, the Armed Forces allocated military resources throughout the region, which collectively encompasses 166 municipalities in four Brazilian states – Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, and Rondônia. Operation Ágata mobilized more than 10,000 service members – approximately 5,000 from the Army and 5,000 from the Navy and Air Force (FAB) – plus 450 professionals from federal and state government agencies. The operation also utilized technological tools in the Integrated Border Monitoring System (SISFRON) for the first time. This collaboration is a consequence of Brazil’s Strategic Border Plan which launched in 2011 with the goal of strengthening the government’s presence in border zones through Operation Sentinela and Operation Ágata; the former focuses on intelligence activities, while the latter’s mission concentrates on making interventions on the ground. That area, which encompasses nearly a quarter of Brazil’s total border region, stretches between the district of Vista Alegre do Abunã, in the state of Rondônia, and the city of Foz do Iguaçu, in the state of Paraná. From July 22-31, Brazil’s Ministry of Defense conducted the ninth edition of Operation Ágata to disrupt drug trafficking and provide social welfare assistance along the 4,045-kilometer border the country shares with Bolivia and Paraguay. Ten days into the operation, Soldiers and officers had conducted 42,509 vehicle inspections and searches and had seized four tons of marijuana. Soldiers and Troops also confiscated other items, including cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, electronic equipment, fuel, and car parts that organized crime groups were smuggling in an attempt to avoid paying taxes; the goods had an estimated value of 200,567 dollars, according to the Ministry of Defense. “We primarily use sensors, radar, and long-range binoculars to monitor the region and capture a variety of data,” Maj. Gen. Saú said. “The technology helps us make decisions on how to better employ our resources.” “We want them to be proud of what they’ve done, and to feel like the space belongs to them.” center_img In 2015, for example, 50 service members from the country’s Army and Navy teamed with 14 students and parents to completely renovate the Francisco Mendes Sampaio Municipal School in Ladário Mato Grosso do Sul. The 345 students were welcomed back from their mid-year break with painted walls, repaired plumbing and electricity, a new gym floor, and the works of student graffiti artists on exterior walls. During Operation Ágata 9, Troops also provided medical and dental treatment to residents, in addition to distributing medication and providing health care lectures, dental care kits, and recreational activities aimed at children as part of 7,341 civic-social actions. Captain Welliton Lopes dos Santos, Logistics Commander for the Western Operational Area, said the idea to involve students and parents in the renovation was intended to reinforce citizen responsibility at the school. By Dialogo August 07, 2015 Very good Hi. All of the Armed Forces should be congratulated. Great work. May nature protect you all. Good luck. It’s about time they’re taking action on the border. Drugs, the biggest problem in this country, should stay over there. Congratulations to our glorious Brazilian Army on the joint initiative to safeguard our borders and prevent the entry of weapons and drugs, as well as other activities related to the initiative. We managed Hallelujah! The Armed Forces need to get out of the barracks and serve on the outskirts of cities and in the countryside, especially in border areas, where Brazil lost its sovereignty a long time ago. Actually, if the Army doesn’t protest in the streets, we will be taken out by robbers, regardless of race, financial status or anything else. We are prisoners with no protection. White-collar robbers and street robbers are loose and doing as they please now. What we want is our Armed Forces to always act in accordance with our Constitution; just like they do in France, Sweden, USA, UK, Denmark, Norway, Germany, etc. Congratulations. May they continue becoming more professional. I would like to see that happen. It really would be a great reinforcement for the security of this big event to be held in 2016, another event. Awesome! This operation is wonderful. The most important thing is for our country’s military forces to bring themselves closer to society and reduce the fear people have of the military as being mean and negligent. Congratulations for the initiative. We need to demonstrate that we can fulfil the mission. Very nice. The country need more actions like this one to combat violence and drug trafficking in our country and state. Congratulations. Brazil needs to show these drug traffickers who they really are (just drug traffickers) and treat them as such. Let’s provide human rights to those who are decent and live with dignity. CONGRATULATIONS! This brings full security against any threat to our homeland. I love it. Construction begins with the foundation. So, the borders are the base of everything. Help from our local and state police, private security, civil police, etc. is not enough. A partnership is needed with other security forces such as the Army, Air Force and Navy. Congratulations, Carlos Sau. Every house begins with the foundation. Therefore, the foundation is the basis of everything. In the case of combating drugs, contraband, weapons, cigarettes, etc., the foundation is the borders of our country. Congratulations General Sá. Congratulations Very nice. This is exactly what the Brazilian Army needs to do, be present and impose respect before organised crime takes over everything. I love peace. Very good, in addition to keeping the military busy with useful social actions. This shows that the military is indeed an arm of society. CONGRATULATIONS Brave warriors, who Brazil appreciates. Brazil first. Another dengue victim in the neighbourhood of J. Amelia. This one was lucky. It’s going to be nice to have security. It should be for all moments in Brazil. “Operation Ágata is not just another initiative bringing together three separate branches of service, the Army, Navy and Air Force. This operation is characterized by combining members of the security forces and government agencies and adding all of their capabilities together for the good of society.” The type of cooperation shown by the FAB and the National Aviation Agency, in which the Military works with civilian government agencies, accounted for about 70 percent of Operation Ágata’s actions, Maj. Gen. Saú said, adding that interagency cooperation, which increased in 2015, is one of the effort’s strengths. Military operation integrates with civilian government agencies Meanwhile, the FAB, working in cooperation with the National Aviation Agency, inspected eight airfields and checked 60 aircraft for valid documentation, which led to the seizure of one aircraft in Porto Velho, in the state of Rondônia, and 24 issued notifications on document records irregularities with set deadlines for them to be remedied. Partnerships with prefectures and state governments also allowed Troops to issue essential documents, such as identification cards and employment cards, to residents.last_img read more

Denmark to ease coronavirus restrictions further from June 8

first_imgTopics : The third reopening phase would only take place if the number of infected and hospitalizations did not “increase more than expected,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.Night clubs, music venues and gyms would remain shut until the fourth phase of the reopening which is expected to start by the beginning of August, it added.Denmark was among the first countries to restrict public gatherings and close schools, restaurants and bars in a lockdown that quickly helped curb the spread of the virus, meaning it was also one of the first European countries to open up again.So far, 10,083 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Denmark, a country of 5.8 million people, and 514 have died of the disease, according to data from health authorities. Danish museums, amusement parks and cinemas will be allowed to reopen from June 8, the government said on Friday, after it struck a deal with parliament on how restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 could be eased further.In the third phase of its reopening plan, Denmark will also increase the maximum number of people allowed to meet in public to between 30 and 50, up from a 10-person limit, it said.Danish shopping malls, schools for the oldest students and restaurants will be allowed to reopen in the coming weeks said the government late on Thursday as it enters the second phase of reopening after curbing the spread of the virus.last_img read more

Dollar, yen appreciation behind Philips scheme’s 2.4% investment loss

first_imgThe Philips fund also reduced the strategic allocation of its combined equity and property holdings to 35-45%, following an asset-liability management study. Its fixed income allocation was to range from 55% to 65%, the scheme said.At year-end, the pension fund held 42.5% in equity and property, and 57.5% in fixed income.The pension fund said its passively managed government bond portfolio gained 2.9% “following high demand as a result of worries about the economy”. Source: PhilipsPhilips’ Dutch pension fund lost 2.4% in 2018Mortgages delivered 0.3% as a result of a new valuation method, based on individual housing loans and an interest rate based on consumer tariffs. Without these changes, the gain would have been 2.7%.It lost 1.6% on its holdings of emerging market debt. Of this, the majority was due to “strong volatility of government bonds of Turkey and Argentina”, the Philips scheme said.High-yield credit delivered 2.4% – an outperformance of 40 basis points – due to a defensive position aimed at a higher creditworthiness, it said.The Philips Pensioenfonds credited high returns from property funds for its 3.1% overall gain from real estate. This was 1.7 percentage points short of its benchmark, Philips said, but its portfolio was still under construction and in part invested in cash. The pension fund planned to fill the allocation with indirect non-listed property investments.Roel Wijmenga, the scheme’s chairman, said the board was concerned about the costs of a transition from average pensions accrual to degressive accrual, planned as part of wide-ranging Dutch pension reforms.He estimated that costs for his pension fund would be “hundreds of millions”, and urged the government to thoroughly look into the effects of the change in case “the remedy turns out to be worse than the problem”.Wijmenga said that the Philips Pensioenfonds was soon to begin the selection process for a pensions administrator to take over from PGGM, its current provider, from 2022. The provider would also have to ensure the scheme was optimally prepared for the introduction of a new pensions system.He added that PGGM would also participate in the selection process and that a decision should be finalised before the end of 2019. The €18.5bn Dutch pension fund of electronics giant Philips said its 2.4% loss last year was entirely due to its currency hedge.In its annual report for 2018, the scheme said that the US dollar and the Japanese yen had both appreciated relative to the euro, but its hedge was positioned for depreciation.Despite the negative contribution to its overall result, the pension fund insisted that it was sensible to keep on hedging currency risk given that its liabilities were in euros. In addition, it said research had shown that running currency risk didn’t pay off in the long term.However, the scheme said it had decided to halve the full currency hedge in its equity portfolio “for strategic reasons”.last_img read more

We have quality in Cranes – Onyango

first_imgFILE PHOTO: Uganda CranesKampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Cranes skipper Denis Onyango has said the team has the quality to get to the later stages of the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).Onyango, one of the experienced players on the Ugandan team said their target is to make it out of the group stage into the knock out round.Uganda will battle against hosts Egypt, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Group A of the tournament which kicks off on Friday in Cairo. The tournament which brings together 24 teams for the first time will run June 21st to July 19th.Onyango said although the team does not have star players like Mohammad Salah for Egypt, they will play as a unit to be able to get the get the results.“We shall need to work as a complete team. To get as far as we can, we need to get the best use of the team quality. We have camped for a long time in Abu Dhabi and virtually all the players know each other well. Against DR Congo, we need that first victory because it always pushes us further,” he added.In the international friendly games played in the United Arab Emirates the Crans drew goalless with lowly ranked Asian side Turkmenistan before stopping 2015 Afcon champions Ivory Coast 1-0.Head coach Sebastien Desabre also made it clear that his team is ready to compete at the 2019 AFCON finals. “We have good organisation, cohesion and quality in the team basing on values of working together,” he added.Group A: Uganda, Egypt, Zimbabwe, DR Congo Group B: Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, BurundiGroup C: Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, TanzaniaGroup D: Ivory Coast, South Africa, Namibia, MoroccoGroup E: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, AngolaGroup F: Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Guinea Bissau*****URNShare on: WhatsApplast_img read more

SPSCC Partnership Confirmed for Craft Brewing and Distilling Center

first_imgFacebook685Tweet0Pin0Submitted by South Puget Sound Community CollegeSouth Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) has signed a letter of intent to partner with Craft District, LLC, to lease space in a craft brewing and distilling center that will serve as the long-term home of SPSCC’s new Craft Brewing and Distilling degree program.Plans for the new Craft District are underway with Sandstone Distillery as an anchor of the new project. Photo courtesy: Sandstone DistilleryCraft District began work in August to develop a commercial site in Tumwater near the former Olympia Brewing Company brewery. When complete, SPSCC intends to lease up to 10,000 square feet of space that will include classrooms, labs, small scale production space, offices, and a conference room.According to John Peters of Craft District, the center will also feature production space and tasting rooms for two distilling companies and a local brewery. Tenino-based Sandstone Distillery and Heritage Distilling Company of Gig Harbor, Wash., have each confirmed their intent to occupy the distilling facilities. SPSCC also plans to link its educational program with these commercial production spaces to give students the ability to gain hands-on experience.“This is exactly the kind of space and partnership we were hoping to find for our program,” said SPSCC President Dr. Timothy Stokes. He continued:“Co-locating our educational program with these successful local organizations will give our students a broad depth of experience and exposure to industry best practices. This great location will also allow us to build partnerships with manufacturers throughout the South Sound that will create a critical employment pipeline for our graduates.”SPSCC’s new Craft Brewing and Distilling program is launching in April 2018. Students in the program will complete 95 credits in classes covering business fundamentals, fermentation science, compliance and legal issues, and product development and will receive an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree.In this inaugural year, classes will be held on SPSCC’s Olympia campus, online, and in existing commercial production facilities in Thurston County. They expect to be in the center by fall quarter 2018.last_img read more

O’NEILL & PRAT TEAM WITH AVANTI BELLO FOR 1 ¾ LENGTH WIN IN $100,000 TIZNOW STAKES AS CAL-BRED SON OF INCLUDE GETS FLAT MILE IN 1:35.95

first_imgTIZNOW IS PART OF GOLDEN STATE SERIES FOR CALIFORNIA-BRED OR SIRED HORSES ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 26, 2017)–Avanti Bello took a steep drop in class and got back to his preferred distance in taking Sunday’s $100,000 Tiznow Stakes by 1 ¾ lengths under Flavien Prat.   Trained by Doug O’Neill, the 5-year-old horse by Include got a flat mile in 1:35.95.Breaking from the far outside in a field of seven older horses bred or sired in California, Avanti Bello, who was distanced here in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 4, broke alertly and was well within himself while procuring second position behind pacesetter Acceptance, who he tracked to the top of the lane, from where he took command.“The first part of the race, we didn’t go that fast which is good for (Avanti Bello),” said Prat.  “He doesn’t have a lot of speed the first part, but he needs to be right there at the end.  With not a lot of speed, I didn’t have to rush him.”Owned by Pablo Suarez, Steven Keh, Jim Richardson, Tom Roberts and Wonderland Racing Stables, Avanti Bello, who won last year’s Tiznow, was off at 3-1 and paid $8.00, $4.80 and $3.20.Now five for 11 at a mile, Avanti Bello is now 23-6-3-6 overall and with the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $413,416.“He won this race last year, so he’s a repeat winner,” said Leandro Mora, assistant to O’Neill.  “He shows a lot of heart.  Flavien knows this horse very well.  This horse doesn’t have a huge kick and he knows you have to time it right.  He’s a miler for sure.”Ridden by Tyler Baze, Grazen Sky had two horses beat mid-way around the far turn and rallied for the place, finishing a half length in front of favored Solid Wager.  Off at 6-1, Grazen Sky paid $5.60 and $3.60.Off at 5-2 with Victor Espinoza, Solid Wager never threatened the winner while finishing third, one length in front of Acceptance and paid $2.40 to show.Fractions on the race were 24.12, 47.38, 1:10.87 and 1:23.08.Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday.  First post time for an eight-race card is at 1 p.m.  Admission gates open at 11 a.m.last_img read more

LeBron Is Still Getting Better

LeBron James might remain the best player in the NBA. He might remain the most valuable. He might even remain a player around whom a team can build a perennial Finals contender. But the question right now is, “Can LeBron remain this good for the rest of the season?” Because this LeBron is very close to as good as we’ve ever seen, in ways we’ve never seen before.Just so everyone’s clear at the top: James is not the sun-eater he was in 2012-13, with the third and greatest of his Miami Heat teams. He may not be quite as incontestable as he was at the end of his first tenure in Cleveland, when he won back-to-back MVPs and dragged meager rosters on long and doomed and occasionally brilliant playoff runs.But James is posting career highs in true shooting percentage (66.4), 3-point percentage (41.6), assist percentage (42.9) and block percentage (2.6). His free throw percentage (77.3) is the second-highest of his career. He’s shooting 80.7 percent within 3 feet of the basket and going to the rim about as often as he ever has. He has created more shots for teammates than anyone but Russell Westbrook, according to data from Second Spectrum, and he’s done it while playing 37 minutes per night — a heavy load for a player in his 15th season (who has also logged more than 200 playoff games).The easy answer to the obvious question — How? — is that his jumper is falling. According to data from Second Spectrum, James is shooting an effective field goal percentage of 58.8 on step-back shots and 63 on pull-up jumpers — his two most common shot types after brute-force drives. Those dwarf his normal rate of makes on those shots over the last three seasons.The large and sensible parts of the brain say this is unsustainable. That it’s fun to watch James play-act past glories while understanding that the underlying foundations have shifted, moved on — that James’s MVP-level start is a mirage of risky habits and clustered luck. The smaller, more rascally regions wonder: What if this is how LeBron goes late-Jordan?James is one of the most amorphous stars I’ve ever watched from season to season. In various offseasons over the past decade, he’s picked up a post game, lost and recovered his 3-point stroke, added sneaky perimeter dribble feints and pivots, and refined the drive-and-kick game to its most basic and brutally effective elements. Who’s to say he hasn’t gone out and added the step-back midrange game that Michael made art and Kobe made genre fiction?I mean, just look at this:I’ve been watching LeBron for a lot of years, and I don’t remember him looking so fluid on those shots, so smooth through the hips and shoulders. That shot has always been available to him, it’s just always looked more calculated than natural — a computer making an arcane chess move more than a master moving in on the hunt. Now, it looks more graceful, a little tighter in the footwork. They aren’t suddenly perfect shots — there’s still the occasional (and occasionally more than occasional) wild launch from 35 feet or with a foot on or just inside the line, but they look better in aggregate. Maybe it’s easier to see it like that because it’s going in; that’s one danger of applying the eye test.But it also makes sense given how well James has shot both from distance and point-blank. There’s simply more room to maneuver in the midrange if defenses must treat him as a 40-percent 3-point shooter and an 80-percent finisher at the rim — while also playing the lanes because he’s passing more than ever. That’s going to remain true for as long as James is canning 3s like this and remains unstoppable at the rim. The jumper can come and go, but it has been relatively steady since it went missing in 2015-16. The drives are more reliable.The Cavs score 125 points per 100 possessions when James drives and finishes himself, passes to a teammate for a shot or is fouled (or he makes a turnover), and 118 points per 100 possessions on scoring chances that come from multiple passes after a James drive, according to Second Spectrum. Both rank first among players with at least 100 drives this season, and both are unlikely to change as long as James remains unstoppable, crashing into defenders and creating space where the defender had previously been standing.One caveat: This isn’t the indomitable James. The onslaught is not exactly unrelenting. The pitch is not fevered. James is finding more success driving to the rim, but he’s also drawing fouls at a career-worst rate — his .294 rate of free throws per field goal attempt is down considerably from his career average .418 — and his turnovers are a hair under his career worst (from last season). These may be clues that James’s underlying skills have tailed off and his results will soon follow. Or they may be evidence that LeBron isn’t actually trying yet.His defensive numbers confirm that he hasn’t returned to his peak. The Cleveland defense has been nearly 11 points better per 100 possessions when he sits, and ESPN’s defensive Real Plus-Minus has him in the negatives, below James Harden and Kyle Lowry. RPM is famously skewed toward defensive-minded big men, but James has historically performed much better in the stat. So, no, James isn’t the clamp-down bear trap he was in his Heat years. But he’s in the top 40 for shots defended (a good sign he’s not getting blown out of plays) and opponents are shooting just a 46.6 effective field goal percentage against him (a very good number). While he’s giving up “good” shots (expected value 52.8 eFG percentage, adjusting for who’s shooting, which is one of the worst figures in the league), he’s depressing value on those shots by 6.2 eFG percentage points, sandwiching him between standout defenders like Kevin Durant and Paul Millsap once he’s actually engaged in the play.We expect more from James because we’ve seen more from him. We’ve seen him slip from the best player in history to merely the best at this moment, and so his deficiencies call out in a way other players’ do not. Maybe he’s playing catch-up defense these days, or not drawing fouls the way he used to, or not willing Jae Crowder into making his wide-damn-open 3s. But 15 seasons into his career, he’s still getting better, and so far this season, the pieces he’s added have more than made up for the ones that have fallen away.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

Man killed in Natore road crash

first_imgRoad accident illustration by Prothom AloA man was killed and two others injured after a bus hit a rickshaw van at Bonpara in Boraigram upazila of Natore on Tuesday morning, reports UNB.The deceased was Sripad Das, 55, resident of Kalikapur village in the upazila.Police said that the accident took place around 10:30am when the passenger bus hit the battery-run rickshaw van in front of Bonpara police camp, leaving the three injured.Among the injured, Sripad died on the way to hospital.last_img

Rajapakse to step down Saturday

first_imgSri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena (R) listens to former president Mahinda Rajapakse. AFP File PhotoSri Lanka’s strongman leader Mahinda Rajapakse will step down on Saturday from his disputed position of premier, his son said on Friday, signalling an end to the seven-week long power-struggle that threatened to shut the government.”To ensure stability of the nation, former president …(Rajapakse) has decided to resign from the premiership tomorrow after an address to the nation,” his legislator son Namal said.The announcement came shortly after the Supreme Court banned Rajapakse, 73, and his purported government from exercising the powers of the office they claimed since October.A day earlier, the Supreme Court opened the way for potential impeachment proceedings against president Maithripala Sirisena ruling that he broke the law by dissolving parliament last month.A seven-judge bench unanimously agreed that Sirisena violated the constitution when he dissolved parliament last month to prevent Rajapakse suffering a humiliating defeat on the floor of the House.Sirisena had also called a snap election nearly two years ahead of schedule. That was also cancelled by the courts.Namal Rajapakse said they will join a coalition with Sirisena who triggered the political crisis on 26 October by initially sacking prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replacing him with former foe Rajapakse.Two of the country’s highest courts suspended Rajapakse till he could prove his legitimacy after he failed two no-confidence motions in the 225-member legislature in mid-November.The court rulings also meant that the Indian Ocean nation of 21 million people was effectively without a government and heading for a shutdown raising fears among international credit rating agencies and holders of Sri Lankan bonds.The country was taken by surprise when Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe on 26 October, almost two years before his five-year term was up and called a snap election for 5 January.Wickremesinghe refused to step down maintaining that his sacking was illegal. That issue is currently being canvassed before courts.- New government -Political sources said Wickremesinghe was likely to be sworn in on Sunday morning, in a move that is expected to end the power vacuum.There was no immediate comment from Sirisena or his office, but an MP from his party, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, told reporters that the president agreed to the latest measures to avoid a government shutdown after 31 December.If the stalemate continued, we would have ended up without a budget for 2019 and the government would not have been able to function,” Abeywardena said.Earlier, Sirisena had refused to reinstate Wickremesinghe saying he had serious cultural and policy differences with him. However, sources close to both sides said they managed to sink their differences during a closed-door meeting on Thursday.On Wednesday, the legislature voted overwhelmingly to demand the reinstatement of Wickremesinghe.The leftist JVP, or the People’s Liberation Front, insists that Sirisena should be investigated for orchestrating what they call a coup and that there should also be an impeachment process.last_img read more